Monday, September 18, 2017

A Prayer to St. Joseph Before Work

This was sent to me recently. I've decided to use it daily. Monday mornings especially.
O Glorious Saint Joseph, model of all those who are devoted to labor, obtain for me the grace to work in a spirit of penance for the expiation of my many sins; to work conscientiously, putting the call of duty above my natural inclinations; to work with thankfulness and joy, considering it an honor to employ and develop by means of labor the gifts received from God; to work with order, peace, moderation and patience, never shrinking from weariness and trials; to work above all with purity of intention and detachment from self, keeping unceasingly before my eyes death and the account that I must give of time lost, talents unused, good omitted, and vain complacency in success, so fatal to the work of God.

All for Jesus, all through Mary, all after thy example, O Patriarch, Saint Joseph. Such shall be my watch-word in life and in death. Amen.

– Composed by Pope St. Pius X 

The older I get, or probably more precisely, the younger my co-workers get, the more frustrating the daily grind becomes. But I must remind myself, there's a bigger picture.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Need For Range Time

It occurs to me...

When I do poorly at a match, I am anxious to get back to the range for more practice in order to do better next time.

When I do well at a match, I am anxious to get back to the range for more practice in order to do better next time.

After this weekend's match, it's definitely the former. Time to hit the practice range.

I've had a year of ups and downs on the range. It's a good thing I really enjoy the shooting, no matter what the scores say.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Thinking Outside the Box

One has to give Alex Diamond points for creativity.
Diamond was planning on attending New York City’s annual electronic music festival, Electric Zoo. The festival – held on Randall’s Island – was set for Labor Day. So, three weeks before that, Diamond traveled out to where the event was going to be held to case the scene.

Upon surveying where the area, Diamond “buried a Nalgene bottle full of vodka on the grounds of Electric Zoo,” he said on Facebook.

“The planning of the burial was simply,” Diamond posted on his Festival Pro Tips’ Facebook page. “We used Google maps and marked our spot on GPS so we knew where it would be. Then we waited.”

That's one way of avoiding the high cost of alcohol at events. After forking over $10.50 for a plastic cup of beer at Fedex Field a few weeks ago, I can relate. (It was Devils Backbone Eight Point IPA, so at least it was good beer.)

 See "Man sneaks alcohol into festival by burying it three weeks earlier" for the full story.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Celebrating 33 Years

For my wonderful wife and best friend on this special day as we mark 33 years of marriage. Colleen, I give thanks to God every day for putting you in my life. I look forward to 33 more years!

And now a musical interlude to help celebrate...

Happy Anniversary to a beautiful, loving, and patient, lady. I am blessed.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

More Trigger Time

In a fortunate turn of events, I had some free time after work Wednesday afternoon so I ran over to the range for a quick bit of trigger pulling. Since I'm shooting a large match this weekend, I figured a few extra rounds down range wouldn't hurt.

It was a simple and short session; 150 rounds mostly shot from 15 yards. At that moderate distance, I often find myself aiming for the center of the blurry brown object, instead of the upper half of the IDPA target. Concentrating on the where on the target results in better hits. I've noticed also that putting a black paster in the center of the -0 zone is a good training aid, but that helper isn't present in a match.

I'm as ready as I can be for the weekend. Shooting by myself on the range is a poor approximation of a match under pressure, but at least I go in feeling good. And it will be fun no matter what!

The mental picture for the weekend

That's Not Even Coffee

I found myself in the drive-thru lane buying overpriced chain coffee on a Saturday morning. I could overhear the driver in front of me ordering, "Doppio decaf espresso."

Huh? At first, I wasn't sure I heard correctly. Apparently neither did the barista, and she had the customer repeat his order.

In my opinion, decaf coffee is, by definition, not coffee. Decaf espresso to start your morning is even more non-sensical. And a double no less.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A Range Trip to Beat the Monday Blues

After a fun weekend away, I faced not only Monday, but a yard in need of mowing. Getting home from work I knocked out the grass, with still enough day left to get out to the range for a bit of practice. I had considered taking along some "terrorist targets" to mark the day, but opted to stick with the standard IDPA targets as I had specific drills planned. Again, I took along my current favorite guns, the two SIG P320 pistols.

The fun started with the Compact pistol from the 15 yard line. Right off the bat, the day was looking better with the first 10 rounds all hitting tight in the -0 zone. Feeling confident, I moved closer to the 7 yard line, and started working on strong hand and weak hand only shots, using the head zone of the target. Still, I was in the zone it seemed. I finished the rest of the box of ammo back at the 15 yard line.

Switching to the Full Size P320 for the rest of my time, I again started at the 15 yard line and then moved in for the SHO and WHO drills. Interestingly, I think I shot the smaller gun a bit more accurately when using just one hand.

Since I hadn't shot from distance very much recently, I ventured back to the 25 yard line. Shooting about 50 rounds from 25 yards, I was feeling good with my shooting. Good hits increase the pleasure of the rang time. Now confident and perhaps a bit cocky, I hiked the target down to the 50 yard berm. Just seeing the target at that distance is a challenge for me. A return hike after 10 rounds fired from 50 yards beat back my confidence a tad. Hitting paper 6 times, but with 5 in the -1 zone, led me to decide to work on that more. Another day.

Returning to a more sensible 15 yards, I worked on drawing from the holster and trying for a shot on target as quickly as the distance would allow. The session was capped off with a magazine's worth of fast pairs from the holster on the 10 yard target.

Overall, it was both a satisfying and fun practice session. The range has overly strict (IMHO) rules on fast shooting, a limitation I am trying to make some use of for mental preparation. I often find myself shooting too fast in the heat of competition, and getting ahead of my sights. Perhaps if I tell myself, "range speed" during the match I'll have better results. At the very least, successful practice sessions make for fun memories when relaxing with a beer later in the evening.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Rising Silo Brewery

I am not sure how we missed this place for so long. We've been visiting Blacksburg, VA regularly for several years, and had somehow never heard of Rising Silo Farm Brewery. The brewery is located just a couple miles from where we frequently stay, and after seeing an article online recently we decided to check it out during our last trip.

The brewery is located on a working farm, Glade Road Farm where visitors can also buy fresh vegetables, meats, and dairy products. A small kitchen is on site offering a limited selection of freshly made foods. An outdoor seating areas offer great views of the mountains and farm.

We made our visit to Rising Silo before dinner on a Friday evening, and there was quite a crowd already enjoying the beer. The brewery was offering 11 different beers and we debated on getting a flight. They also offer 8, 12 and 16 ounce pours. It's great to see options in serving sizes at craft breweries.

We eventually decided to forgo the flight and picked a couple beers. I figured I could always order another round. Colleen picked Blue Hefer-weizen. The beer had an interesting reddish tint to it, and Colleen found it very flavorful. I opted for Goat's Eye Rye Pale Ale. The spiciness of the rye was quite apparent, along with a mild bitterness. I thought this was a most exceptional beer, and enjoyed it very much.

We grabbed a couple pieces of locally made pita and focaccia breads to munch on as we enjoyed the beers. As we did, we struck up a conversation with a local couple who are regulars at the brewery. who told us how it was a popular spot among local residents as well as students. There were indeed a lot of families with young kids running around. 

I started reviewing the beer menu with the intent of trying another beer. Unfortunately, we had very little time for this visit, and the line for beer had gotten quite long. While it seemed to be moving quickly, I opted to forgo trying to squeeze in a second round.

As we left, we noticed that the crowd had grown significantly. The large parking area was quite full. and there was now even a parking attendant helping to direct people to open parking. Obviously, this is a popular spot, and not unknown to the residents of Blacksburg. The couple we spoke to earlier deemed it "the best beer in Blacksburg." We will definitely be back.

Monday, September 11, 2017

September 11: A Day That Must Never Be Forgotten

It's been sixteen years. Memories fade. There's a whole generation that doesn't remember the reality of that day. The events of September 11, 2001 brought horrors to our shores that the world should never be allowed to forget.

St. Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the Devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray,
and do thou,
O Prince of the heavenly hosts,
by the power of God,
cast into hell Satan,
and all the evil spirits,
who prowl about the world
seeking the ruin of souls.

Never in its 1400 year history has islam "coexisted" in peace with the rest of the world. It is foolhardy, and deadly, to believe it ever will.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

September 9 is "Buy a Priest a Beer Day"

A tradition initiated by the folks over at The Catholic Gentleman, "Buy a Priest a Beer Day" seems a worthy event.
On this festive day, faithful Catholics all over the world take their priests out for a beer and get to know them better. It’s a beautiful Catholic tradition that goes back to the time of St. Hopswald of Aleyard, the first man to take his priest out for a beer.

Okay, St. Hopswald wasn’t real, but your priest is real. Priests are people too, and they enjoy socializing over good food and drink as much as anyone. They also have a thankless and difficult job, a job that we couldn’t get to heaven without. Priests are the lifeblood of the Church, and they deserve some appreciation.

Even if you can't do it today, most of the priests I know would appreciate the gesture any day.