Saturday, January 21, 2006

Oregon is a wet and muddy state ...

One of my favorite movies is "Jeremiah Johnson", a 1972 effort starring Robert Redford as a Mexican War veteran who travels to the Continental Divide of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado (he gets around a lot) to become a "By Gawd I Are A Mountain Man" in search of peace and serenity. He gets very little of either, as this is a video representation of the book "Crow Killer" by Raymond W. Thorp. (I've read it: Bloody scary, it is!)

Toward the end, in a casual meeting in a snowy Winter glenn, Johnson asks Bear Claw Cris Lapp (Will Geer) what month it is. Cris replies that he's not sure it's February, but probably March, and adds: "March is a wet and muddy month. Some folks like it; farmers, mostly".

I live in Oregon, and I find all months from January through April to be "wet and muddy months". I endure it, because the year-around verdure of Oregon is worth the rain-forest climate we live through for a third of every year.

But it can be difficult for some of us. This from a recent edition of the Salem Statesman-Journal:

Wet cemetery pulls woman in

She says she was stuck in mud at a recent burial site for almost an hour

January 18, 2006

MONMOUTH -- The phrase "one foot in the grave" has a whole new meaning for Clara Connelly.

"People are always making a joke about it," she said. "But I actually experienced it."

Connelly, 81, was visiting her husband's grave Sunday at Fir Crest Cemetery when she stepped near the edge of a recent burial and her foot plummeted into the soggy ground, she said. She was stuck up to her knee in mud for nearly an hour before managing to pull free.

"It was a gloomy day, and it was getting to be dusk," she said Tuesday when she returned to the site. "Nobody knew I was there. No car went by. There I was out in the open, doing the splits."

Connelly laid her head on the nearby stone marking the resting place of her sister and brother-in-law and prayed. Every time she tried to pull her leg out, it seemed to sink farther "like quicksand."

Mrs. Connelly eventually managed to work herself free, and from the reports seems to be recovered from the grisly experience.

There's a pun in there, but I won't say it!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Geeks Bearing Gifts

Urban Legends Reference Pages: Politics (Congressional Pensions)

A recent email-frenzy regarding the Social Security program has been making the Internet rounds lately, claiming congressional disinterest in funding the program is because "senators do not pay Social Security" and "they get paid their entire salary, after retirement, for the rest of their life (or words to that effect).

I received a copy of this email today, and decided to research it in depth. For me, the first place to go for information about this kind of email is

The Snopes rating on this rumor is: FALSE

Bottom line, Senators DO pay into the Social Security program, and they do NOT receive their entire salary (with huge payments to their spouses) unto death.

Go to the link and read the whole thing.

The reason that I include this on the blog is that I receive a HUGE number of these "announcements" every month. I use to receive them every WEEK, until I started replying to my family members .... and everyone on the headers of the announcements that they sent them to, besides me, pointing out that the rumor has been investigated and debunked by at least one source which I consider reliable.

Usually, this source is Snopes. Sometimes it's an anti-hoax website such as the CIAC Hoaxbusters website. (This is the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of the Chief Information Officer, Office of Cyber Security, also known as the "Computer Incident Advisory Committee").

Another place to check out these warnings is the Symantic website.

You really need to check these internet rumors out, friends, before you proliferate the hoax by forwarding them to your mailing list. If you receive one of these hoax emails, you would be performing a service to yourself, your family and your friends if you confirm them before you forward the email.

Note that while these are usually started as deliberate hoaxes, in the same mindframe of those who create viral software for internet distribution, sometimes they are simply tongue-in-cheek jokes sent to a small circle of friends. This isn't always perceived by the recipients as humor, and the risk is that it will be forwarded in all seriousness and will be misinterpreted by the next level of recipients.

I can confirm that this is true. In 1999, I received an obviously joke email, and found it so funny that I made minor changes and forwarded it to a few friends.

Within the week, this email achieved certain notoriety by hitting the CIAC HoaxBusters list with a bullet.

It was a take-off of the Trojan v*r*s (deliberately obscured word) announcements, relating to the Greeks, a wooden horse, and the similarity between the words "Greek" and "Geek". I had originally taken my nom de plume from "Jimmy the Greek", naming myself "Jerry the Geek". when I saw this email hoax, I couldn't resist modifying it slightly . . . in parentheses, as I too-often do ... and forwarding it to a few friends. The original never again saw the light of day, but the Geek Version was somehow picked up and forwarded relentlessly for years. You can see my version, still in the CIAC files, here.

When you read it, there can be no doubt in your mind that it's a personal pun, and a joke. I never expected such notoriety. Nor did I expect that the phrase would be picked up and used so universally; a NetScape search on the phrase "Geeks Bearing Gifts" lists over 3400 hits, and you have to get pretty deep into the search-results list (hit #70) to get to the original. Generally, the term is now commonly used to refer to dubious software, most frequently Windows ME. (!)

I've learned my lesson. No longer will I send funny emails to people without making sure there is NO chance that they will misinterpret it as a "real" warning.

This is your opportunity to learn the same lesson. Do NOT forward any joke email unless you have clearly labeled it as something which should not be accepted as fact.

Be sure you've checked it out before you forward it. I've given you three good resources, you can bookmark them and use them to check out the validity of the claims before you impose the confusion on others.

That's what I do.

Also, I own the best Security software I can find, and update it every year. I run the AV update daily, and scan my hard-disk at least twice a week . . . daily, if I'm doing a lot of net-surfing. It's the only way I know to prevent my email addresses from being used to forward hoaxes & bogus files to my friends and family.

PS: Okay, so now there are 3401 hits on "Geeks Bearing Gifts". What goes around, comes around, eh?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Winchester Is History! - 'Gun that Won the West' becoming just part of history

Jimmy Stewart raises his rifle in defense of Shelley Winters in a scene from the 1950 film Winchester '73.

Confirmed on January 18, 2006: Winchester Rifles will no longer be made in America.

Or anyplace else.

Currently being produced by a Belgian company "Herstal Group, the Belgian company that owns U.S. Repeating Arms and the right to the Winchester name", the New Haven, Conn. factory which currently manufactures Winchester Rifles for U.S. Repeating Arms will close its doors forever as of April 1, 2006.

No, this is not an early April Fools joke.

Winchester Rifles will continue to be made in Belgian and other European plants, but the traditional designs will not be among the product line.

Citing declining sales, Robert Sauvage, spokes man for the Herstal Group, this week announced that the 200 employes at the New Haven plant will be without a job after March 31 of this year.

The recent history of Winchester Repeating Arms, once owned by Olin Matheson, includes a "massive strike" by Machinists in the late 1970's which caused Olin to sell the plant, and the copyright to the Winchester Name, to the U.S. Repeating arms. That company is going out of business in six weeks.

"It would be like Chevrolet going out of business or Chevrolet being made in Japan or China," firearms historian Ned Schwing said. "Winchester is an American legend, whether you're a gun person or not."

We'll miss them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Air Bags


GeekNews - Jan18

I tire of finding an excuse to present BLOGMEAT.

Henceforth, I'll save it up and compile it every couple of weeks.

The trick is to present the MSM news items without editorializing.
However, I reserve the right to slug my own headlines.

Announcing the first fortnightly version of

GEEKNEWS: News That Caught My Attention In The Past Couple of Weeks!

Volume I, Edition I: January 4 - January 18, 2006

January 4, 2005
Old Man Misses Victim Burglar With Evil Gunshot!
Vows To Take Shooting Lessons.

Undocumented Non-Migrants Bravely Defend Against Harsh Police-State:
NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico, Jan. 8, 2005 — A few weeks ago, five men were shot to death in a car repair shop in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico.

In any other city, it might be called a massacre. In Nuevo Laredo, it's called business as usual.


January 12, 2006
The Boston Herald
Bush Is Killing Sean Penn!

Although politically overactive actor Sean Penn has not stepped into battle, the country’s involvement in Iraq is going to slowly kill him.
The Oscar winner told the audience at an anti-war forum hosted by the Progressive Democrats of America in Sacramento, Calif. the other night that the stress of living under the Bush administration is making it impossible for him to quit smoking, the PDA’s Web site reported.

January 13, 2006
Alito Reveals More In One Week Than Kerry Did In One-Year Presidential Campaign
Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court is gliding toward confirmation despite a week of hearings in which Democrats tried and failed to hobble his prospects with withering questions on abortion, presidential power and ethics.

Democrats argue that the former Reagan administration lawyer is likely to tip the court's balance to the right in replacing centrist Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. But with little success so far peeling votes from Alito's confirmation as the nation's 110th Supreme Court justice, Democrats showed not much appetite for mounting a filibuster on the Senate floor.

Instead, they are seeking to slow Alito's ascension by demanding that the Judiciary Committee's chairman, Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., delay the panel's vote a week.


The Charlotte Observer, January 12, 2006
Can we say "Bible"????
A Rock Hill man leaving church Wednesday night used his Bible to shield himself from the blows of a man who tried to rob him, according to a Rock Hill Police report.


Associated Press; January 12, 2006
Man Is For The Birds


A South African anthropologist said Thursday his research into the death nearly 2 million years ago of an ape-man shows human ancestors were hunted by birds.

"These types of discoveries give us real insight into the past lives of these human ancestors, the world they lived in and the things they feared," Lee Berger, a paleo-anthropologist at Johannesburg's University of Witwatersrand, said as he presented his conclusions about a mystery that has been debated since the remains of the possible human ancestor known as the Taung child were discovered in 1924.


January 18, 2006
Ann Coulter Disses Hillary "You Know What I'm Talkin' About" Clinton
Coulter arrogantly expresses disrespect for comments by former White House Distaff, spoken in a Black Church, on MLK Day, to a Black Audience, using Black Argot: Where is the outrage against this unwarranted attack on The First Black First Lady?

So Hillary Clinton thinks the House of Representatives is being "run like a plantation." And, she added, "you know what I'm talking about."

First of all: Think about what a weird coincidence it is that Hillary would have made these remarks in a black church in Harlem on Martin Luther King Day. What are the odds? Did she even know it was a holiday? Bravely spoken, Senator. I haven't been this surprised since finding out Hollywood likes a movie about gay cowboys.

As Hillary explained, the House "has been run in a way so that nobody with a contrary view has had a chance to present legislation, to make an argument, to be heard."

Yes, that's what was really missing on plantations during the slavery era: the opportunity to present a contrary view. Gosh, if only the slaves had been allowed to call for cloture votes. What a difference that would have made!


January 19, 2006
WFRV Television: Madison, Wisconson
Wisconson Governor Bravely Resists Efforts of NRA-Funded Senate to Impose Concealed-Carry Law on Citizens
(AP) MADISON The state Senate approved a Republican bill Tuesday that would let Wisconsin residents carry concealed weapons, setting up what could be a fierce political clash between the Legislature and Gov. Jim Doyle.

The Senate's 28-5 vote sends the bill to Doyle, a Democrat who already has nixed one version of it and has vowed to veto this one.

"The governor believes people carrying loaded weapons around will make Wisconsin less safe," Doyle spokeswoman Melanie Fonder said.

But Republicans say people should be allowed to fight off criminals.

Wisconsin is one of only four states that bans concealed weapons. National Rifle Association lobbyists working with Republican legislators have been trying make them legal here for years.


Hydro Shok!

My brother-in-law, bless his heart, once shot himself through the hand with my pellet gun.

I had left it lying around in my room (this was a LONG time ago, when I was in high-school and still living with my parents), and he had picked it up in an idle moment and, while talking on the phone, pointed the muzzle at the palm of his hand and pulled the trigger. Apparently, he wanted to see what the CO2 air discharge felt like. Well, he was distracted.

When he got back from the hospital emergency room, his only comment to me was that he couldn't believe I would leave a loaded gun just laying around.

Well, believe it. My gun, my room, your hand. Not mutually compatible.

There's nothing new about this story. When people start making assumptions about guns, and especially when they handle guns when they're distracted or "just not thinking", Bad Things Can Happen.

Tonight, I received an email from the Unofficial IPSC List describing such an incident.

His name is Rich Timm. He has been shooting for 27 years of his 32-year life. ONE time he got impatient when he was checking his gun "to see if it needed cleaning", and put a 135 grain .40 S&W Hydra-Shok round though the palm of his hand. That's gonna hurt a lot more than a .22 soft-lead pellet.

Here is the PDF which (apparently) he authored. Warning of "graphic images", which means there are photos taken in the emergency room of the hospital showing the small, bruised-looking entry wound and the back of his hand being . . . missing.

Money Quote:
The wound was the result of complacency.

Be careful out there.

Free Annual Credit Report

Did you know you can request an AnnualCreditReport . . . online, by mail or by phone . . . for free?

You may not remember that I mentioned this federally legislated program last year, in a March article. I laid out all of the details, so you may want to click back and reread it.

I'll wait.

(dum de dum dum ...)


Good. Here are a few comments.
  • You can only request the report every 12 months, so if you requested one last year you can't request another one until the anniversary date.
  • The report is available from three credit reporting companies: Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax.
  • You don't have to choose. You can order a FREE credit report from ALL of these companies.
  • The information available to each of the reporting companies will probably differ in details. I know mine did.
  • If you find information which is inaccurate, which doesn't seem to apply to you (they sometimes get someone else's data confused with yours, because it is often reported by name), or which is outdated (some records can legally only be kept for a limited time, such as seven years) you can dispute it. This is also for free, and generally they just wait a while and then write to tell you that the disputed entries have been removed.
  • You do NOT get a Credit Rating with your free report. However, they will happily provide you with that information on a one-time basis. The fee is usually about $25.
  • They WILL put you an an emailing-list, and send you monthly offers to provide regular reports. The cost for this service varies, and you can just ignore them or you can take you up on it.
  • Did I mention it's free?
Often, the credit reporting companies will also offer you Income Tax-return services. That is, you can fill out an on-line form with information from your W2, and they will prepare your tax return for you. I've heard that you can no longer use your telephone to enter your 1040 or 1040EZ returns, so this might be an attractive alternative.

The drawback is: it takes a while to enter the data, but then it takes a while to fill in the paper form, too.

Another drawback to the online Income Tax-return service is that they're not always accurate. You will want to roughly figure your taxes from a tax table, to get a ballpark figure on what your return or obligation ought to be. That way you have some idea of what figure THEY should come up with.

When I took advantage of this service last year, I found that the Federal return they calculated actually saved me money.

However, the Oregon Stage tax return (another $15, if you accepted their numbers), had me owing $1600; my figures showed that the State owed me money, because I had overpaid. I declined to accept the State tax figure they had calculated, and sent in my own . . . which was accepted.

Caveat Emptor: Free is a very good price, but sometimes it's not really free after all.

(Presented as a public service by Jerry the Geek)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Countertop Chronicles: The Gunnies

The Countertop Chronicles: The Gunnies

Here's your chance to nominate your favorite websites for Gun-Blogger of the year.

Here's the Real Deal:

As originally proposed back on January 7th, I have decided to organize The Gunnies, a web poll to determine the blogsphere's favorite gun bloggers as of the beginning of 2006. Jeff Soyer was the first (or at least the first I stumbled across) to notice that The Bloggies had once again decided to snub one of the largest and most diversified segments of the blogsphere - the Gun Bloggers.

Hence, The 2006 Gunnies Awards.
The Countertop Chronicles is a website worthy of a read under any circumstances, and I can't imagine why I haven't linked to him earlier. That will be corrected in the near future.

In the meantime, go there and vote your choice. While I would be grateful for a plug or two, I can think of many gun-related blogs which deserve recognition. You probably can too, and I encourage you to take a few moments to go to the link and vote either by comments, or by email to the webhost.

Here's how to vote:

The nominees for each category will come from comments posted to this blog or emailed to countertop AT gmail DOT com with the subject line "The Gunnies". All previously made nominations will be factored in (so if you've made one, no need to resubmit it).
And here are the categories:

The Categories (what you all have been waiting for)
  • Best Gun Pr0n - This category honors the blogs that consistently showcase the most beautiful images of firearms and firearm related subjects.

  • Most Educational - From how to posts, shooting tips, gunbuilding/ gunsmithing tips to historical information, this category honors those blogs that consistently advance the state of actual mechanical and operational firearms knowledge.

  • Best Rants - This category honors those blogs that fisk the best, bitch the most, yell the loudest, snort the angriest, and do it all with the most style.

  • Best Legal Analysis - This category honors those blogs that provide the most concise, accurate, and easy to read/understand analysis of the legal and legislative developments impacting firearms and firearms ownership.

  • Best Aggregator - This category honors those blogs that provide the best top level one size fits all access to the widest range of firearms related postings - whether to other blogs or mainstream media sources and whether with constructive commentary or not.

  • Best Range Reports - Nothing is finer than a day at the range, whether testing a new gun, participating in an organized competition, out in the hunting fields, introducing new members to the nation of riflemen, or simply plinking away in the backyard, this category honors those blogs that either organize or record range sessions and best spread through actual example the true joy of firearms.

  • Best commentary - This category honors those blogs that provide the most insightful original editorial commentory

  • best Gun Post - This category honors the single post made to a weblog over the course of 2005 that best exemplified the 2nd Amendment or advanced the state of knowledge of the second amendment and related issues or simply put to shame by its sheer brilliance all other posts in the blogsphere.

The hat tip (H/T) goes to Xavier, and my recommendations are, in no particular order:
  • Mr. Completely
  • Analogue Kid
  • Xavier
  • Geek with a .45
  • Cowboy Blob
  • Publicola
  • Michael Bane
  • Gullyborg
  • Front Sight, Press
Yes, I've left a lot of my favorite gun blogs out; it wasn't because I don't like 'em, it's only because these are the websites I so frequently visit that their links on my sidebar are wearing out. If I visit a website often, it's posted on my website (for MY convenience!) and that's how I rate my favorites.

YMMV, so don't use MY criteria. Figure out your own reasons why you would nominate a blog for recognition, and in which category. For example, I would put Analogue Kid (Random Nuclear Strikes) high on my list for rants; Mr. Completely for range reports; Rivrdog for aggregator, and probably Gullyborg for overall. (This is subject to re-evaluation, I'm just stream-of-consciousness.)

I still haven't figured out where to nominate Geek with a .45. Maybe in the Best Commentary division. His overall rating is astronomical, but then there's the exquisite Smallest Minority . . . or can we include him in Best Rants?

This will take some thought, obviously I've already petitioned for more time, because the first round nominations are DUE ON THE 18th!

Don't let the grass grow while you think it over.

Wolverton Mountain

My friend Rueul ("Rule") Emery has been hosting various types of pistol matches in the shadow of Mount Saint Helens for a couple of years now. Generally, he tends toward bowling pin matches (are you listening, Mr. Completely?) but now and then he puts on something a little different. Fish, who HAS been to Rueul's matches, suggested that I post his latest announcement to the blog, in hopes that more people will learn about another match available to them in the general area of NW Oregon / SW Washington.

This is not only a chance to promote an unusual pistol match, but I can also see if the MS-WORD connection to Blogger works well enough to format information originally presented in a word-processor format. Apparently, it works fairly well (although I did have to convert the images to *.JPG format and host them through my old pal ImageShack.

Wolverton Mountain Gun Club

USPSA Style 1911 Single Stack / Revolver Match

Neither Rain nor Snow nor IPSC targets shall…”

Sunday February 26, 2006. 9:30 am walk-thru

Donation: Shoot the match with one pistol for $10, or
then re-shoot with your other pistol…..for $18 total

  • 4 challenging stages, approximately 72 rounds.

  • Most shooting will be from under roofed bays.

    Any standard IPSC pistol will be acceptable, but stages are revolver (6) or 1911 friendly for those who can count to 8.

    Hot cider will be available at the warming room.

    Contact: Reuel Emery email:
    Phone: 360-687-1947

    Pre-registration requested: or… just show up.
    Wolverton Mountain Gun Club Registration
    USPSA match Revolver/1911 Provisional Match Date: ______________
    Name:____________________ EMAIL: __________________________
    Address:_____________________ City_________ State ______ZIP_______
    USPSA NO: ________________ Class: ________
    Circle appropriate:
    Donation $10 or $18 Make Check payable to WMGC
    Mail to: R. Emery
    12415 NE 279 St
    Battle Ground, WA, 98604

    Free Image Hosting at
    Take Woodland Exit 21, turn East at bottom of ramp, and follow SR-503 east past Burger Ville.

    After 22.5 miles, turn right on to SR-503 heading south at Jack’s Restaurant.
    Free Image Hosting at
    Follow 1.5 miles to Williams Rd, turn left, and take 2nd road on left at Wolverton Mountain Gun Club sign.

    Incidently, you can see Rueul shoot his brand new birthday gift, which I presume is a S&W Model 625, at last weekend's IPSC match here and here. The files are about 3 or 4 mb each.

    Tri-County Gun Club

    On the third Sunday of every month, you can shoot an IPSC match at the Tri-County Gun Club in Sherwood, Oregon. I've talked about this club before, of course. It was, for example, the co-host of the 2005 Columbia Cascade Section Match last August. (The weather was warmer, and dryer, then.)

    Oh, and don't forget the "Practical Shotgun" match, also in August, and also hotter than Hades.

    This past Sunday, SWMBO and I made the 70-minute drive up I-5 to Wilson, took the North Wilsonville Exit to Day road, left to Scholls Ferry Road, Right to Tonquin Road, then 3 more miles to the TCGC "Training Facility". They have a huge facility there, including trap, skeet, sporting clays, indoor and outdoor small-bore ranges, outdoor pistol range, black-powder range, a beautiful clubhouse, bench-rest ranges out to 600 yards, an on-site rock quarry where Practical Rifle matches are held at least once a month, and . . . the Action Pistol Range.

    This range not only features monthly IPSC and Cowboy Action matches, but is used as a training facility for several county sheriff's departments and municipal police departments, as well as the National Guard. (The U.S. Marine Corps 6th Engineer Support battalion pays for their range time by using the heavy-equipment of their Engineer Company to perform range improvements. Not only does the club benefit from their essentially free labor, but the Marines have a place where their Engineers can keep their skills sharp with earth-movers of various kinds.)

    This club owns 220 acres of forested hills within a half-hour drive of downtown Portland. At a guess, there are about 2000 members, and the annual dues are$120 with a one-time initiation fee of $175. (Information from the TCGC website.)

    As is the case for many shooting clubs near major metropolitan areas (Portland is the 30th largest city in America, by population), TCGC has fought a running battle with land developers who want to shut them down so surrounding property can be 'developed'. That means, they (not the gun club, the developers) would cut down all the old-growth fir trees, level the hills to fill the surrounding wetlands, bulldoze roads and build tacky-but-expensive houses all over the place.

    Fortunately, TCGC counts among its members a number of successful lawyers who have, through the years, donated their time and legal expertise to fight this urban incursion. It's not a cheap battle, nor an easy one, but it helps that the original 172 acres were purchased in 1944, which establishes a clear precedence over the Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usimmediate needs of the developers in this rural area. The nearest town is Sherwood , (which holds an annual Robin Hood Festival), "One of the fastest growing towns in Oregon".

    The club has recently more-or-less completed a major improvement on the Action Pistol Range, which provided them with 13 bays. Some of the bays are about 100 feet square, which not only allows them to set up some outrageous run&gun stages but also provides plenty of rooms for rifles to be used.

    Because of these developments, TCGC has recently been selected to host the 2006 Area 1 Match (July 16 - 18, 2006) by the United States Practical Shooting Association.

    Oh, I almost forgot to mention the outcome of the Sunday IPSC match.

    I didn't win, but Beven Grams almost did.

    However, I took pictures!

    You can view the album here.

    Film includes some excellent examples of moving-while-shooting, in Stage 3. It also includes some embarrassing moments on Stage 1, where competitors often forgot to shoot at ALL of the targets. Well, it was a confusing stage.

    The album contains a sub-album, with unedited full-length raw film showing the agony and the ecstasy of IPSC competition. Unfortunately, there's more agony than anything else. The files in the sub-album run up to 23mb in length, although the edited *.wmv versions in the main album are usually 4mb.

    Knock yourself out.

    Nobody got sunburned, it didn't rain, and even thought most of us hadn't been shooting for 6 weeks before the weekend, we all had a great time. What more can you ask?

    Monday, January 16, 2006

    CCS IPSC - January Match at ARPC

    FINALLY we get to shoot IPSC again!

    It has been a long dry spell, and I'm not talking about the weather.

    We haven't been to an IPSC match since early November, and we, SWMBO and I, have missed the exercise, the camaraderie, and the smell of Gunsmoke.

    ALBANY Saturday Classifier Match:
    Unfortunately, SWMBO was feeling a little under the weather on Saturday (pun intended), so I had to go to the ARPC Classifier Match on Saturday by myself. I arrived at the range at 10am instead of the intended 8am, because I overslept.

    When I got there, Mike "Mac" McCarter saw me pull in, and as he was just moving from Stage 6 to Bay 1 -- near the stats shack -- he invited me to join his squad, as they only had 7 people and all the other squads were 9 or more.

    This turned out to be one of the few occasions when I wasn't squaded with The Usual Suspects -- the composition of which varies but is usually composed of a bunch of fat old men and SWMBO.

    Mac runs the Junior Program in the Columbia Cascade Section, so I wasn't surprised to see that there were only four fat old men and three lean, energetic teen-age competitors in the squad.

    The three juniors were Chris Cardoza, Chris Champ (whom I had not met before), and Andrew Jacobson (Mac's grandson). The 'fat old men' included Mac, John Matlock (president of ARPC), Mark McDonald (son of two other Junior shooters, who were not present today, and Jeff Cardoza (Chris' father). There were also two spectators named Larry and Skip. I never understood the relationship of Larry, but Skip was a preacher whom Mark knew personally and whom Mark had convinced to begins competing in IPSC. Skip was a charmer, and would have been competing this day except that his pistol was in the shop having some work done on it. I look forward to shooting with Skip on another date.

    Because this was a Classifier Match, most of the stages weren't very interesting photographically, although they were technically challenging.

    I started on SIX CHICKENS CM03-02. This is a 12-round Virginia-count standard exercise with a lot of no-shoot area showing between three 2-target arrays with not a lot of brown paper showing. To my surprise, I shot it without penalties. This built up a lot of confidence, which I later discovered was not justified by my current shooting abilities.

    Stage 2 was another classifier, RAW DEAL CM99-33, another 12-round Virginia count classifier which served only to bolster my false confidence.

    Stage 3 Crap Shoot was the first of two 'field courses' which was especially designed to allow the shooters to stay under cover against the rain. Actually, and surprisingly, we didn't get rained on during this match. But had it rained, ARPC was prepared to keep us as dry as possible. I appreciated that, even though I didn't score very high due to my conservative approach to the stage. Well, as I said, it has been over a month since I shot a match and I continued to shoot conservatively (read: slowly) until the end of the match, when I shot too fast and missed a target. But I'm getting ahead of my story.

    Stage 4 was one of my favorite classifier stages MELODY LINE CM99-08. This allows the shooter to shoot quickly, as long as he or she has confidence and the ability to back up that confidence. I had shot the same stage at Albany in October of last year and got an A-level score. This year, I shot with the same confidence but without the same level of expertise, and missed the last target with the last shot. The Mike dropped me from a solid B-level score to a mediocre C-level score. Some days you're the windshield, some days you're the bug.

    Stage 5 was another field course, WHICH ONE NOW, in which both the shooter and the targets were mostly under cover. It required us to shoot the last two targets through a low port, and this caused a lot of problems for most of us. I managed to shoot a few videos of this stage, and this is the primary reason (apart from vanity) for writing this article.

    I saw a couple of incidents which illustrated the reason why I so enjoy IPSC competition. Both of them illustrated the friendly environment which is typical of an IPSC match, and I posted the videos on the Jerrythegeek Shooting Gallery so I could share them with you.

    In the first film, Andrew (Mac's grandson) does a fine job of addressing the field-course until he attempts to engage the last two targets, through a very low port under a bench. During this engagement, he moves his pistol too close to the 2x4 which supports the bench, and in fact the recoil drives the front sight of his Glock up into the soft wood, where it momentarily sticks. Of course, this causes a jam which costs him precious time. This is the reason why I usually warn new shooters to keep their pistol far behind the shooting port, a lesson which it took me ten years to learn myself. That is, when your pistol is too close to overhead cover such as a shooting port, the recoil often causes the pistol to impact on the material at the top of the port. This slows down the cycling of the slide resulting in some nasty jams. Andrew, unknowingly, provided and excellent example of this phenomenon, and I'm not sure he even yet realizes that he caused his own jam or how it happens. In fact, since we all know that we're not always aware of some of the things we do while shooting a stage, he might not realize it until he sees this video.

    After Andrew finished the stage, his grandfather took him to take for his action. In fact, Andrew didn't realize he had hit the overhead so hard that the front sight momentarily stuck into the soft wood, but Grandfather Mac saw it immediately. In truth, I had to watch the video a couple of times before I saw it.

    All ended well, as Mac pointed out the error and then clapped his grandson on the shoulder to show that it was all in jest.

    If Robert Ruark had held off writing "The Old Man And The Boy" until this weekend, I feel certain that this incident would have been featured as an exemplar of how a grandfather serves a useful service in teaching his grandson how to handle firearms. In fact, if Mac reads this and reminds me, I'll not only loan my copy to him and to Andrew, but I'll also loan him the follow-up volume "The Old Man's Boy Grows Older". These are recommended reading for any man and boy who choose to learn not only how to shoot, but how to act.

    After Andrew completed the stage, it was Mac's turn. Mac was careful to shoot the stage clean, and provided an excellent example in "how to act".

    If that wasn't enough, the next shooter was Mark M. Mark had scoped out the stage carefully, and determined that if he reloaded between the first two ports he wouldn't have to reload while moving to the third port . . . the low port which cost Andrew so dearly in time.

    but in the actual even, when Mark moved to the 3rd port he reloaded anyway . . . and he didn't need to. On the video, you can clearly hear mark say (as he reloaded the dropped magazine):
    "I didn't need that, but I done it anyway!"
    after he complete the stage, his memory was that he said "Darn!" Entirely not consistent with the actual verbiage, but it shows how we forget the details of how we shoot a stage, and only remember the gist of our thought process.

    After this stage, the "Junior Squad" was done with the match and they moved on to other things.

    I had yet to shoot stage six, TAKE YOUR CHOICE CM99-12, and I was fortunate that the previous squad hadn't cleared the stage yet. I prevailed upon the good humor of John B. to run me through the stage. I discovered that I must have been in a hurry because I managed to miss one of the targets, again with my last shot.

    My experiences in this match taught me some valuable lessons, which I will promptly forget:
    • when you haven't shot in competition for a while, you tend to shoot conservatively
    • when you shoot conservatively, you tend (if you're an Open shooter) to adopt the rhythm of Limited shooters, and wait too long between shots when you should be striving for fast double-tap times
    • conservative shooters also tend to think a lot while shooting. This is anathema to fast stage times. You must strive for a zen-like mindframe wherein you only want to shoot as your mind and your body know you can shoot quickly. You think slower than you shoot. Just walk though the stage often enough that you know what you must do, and when you must do it. Then . . . just do it. Don't think You can ruin your stage by over-thinking it.

    Of course, it helps a lot if you get your hits.

    Later: the Sunday Match, with a LOT more videos.

    Match results here.