Monday, April 24, 2017

Patience Needed at the Bar

One way I judge bar service is by how long my beer glass stays empty before the bartender notices. The truth be told, if the glass is already empty when the server notices, they are behind the curve. We were traveling last weekend and stopped into the hotel bar for a drink after dinner. It didn't take long to realize my second beer was going to be long in coming.

More than 14 minutes passed before the bartender looked up and acknowledged me, despite us being seated right in front of the taps. (I didn't start the timer for a few minutes after emptying my glass.) On the other hand, we saw one patron's beer get poured as soon as he ordered it, it then sat on the bar for 15 minutes before being delivered.

We took a chance on ordering a late snack as well, and the food service followed the same pattern. In the end our food was comped by the manager. On the bright side we did enjoy fun conversation with other patrons as we commiserated over our woes at attracting the attention of the staff.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Marketing Genius

This would cause snowflake meltdown if it aired in the U.S.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

No Shooting Last Week

I know that I have been quite fortunate to be able to visit the range frequently. It's a conscience effort on my part to go shooting at least once a week. Those visits, in addition to the organized matches, are my version of sanity in a busy life. Yet, all that frequent shooting, makes NOT going all the more noticeable.

I've had my range gear with me at work all week. But this was also the week that saw the implementation of a large project I'd been leading for months. Staff was trained, equipment was in place, and we were on time! A range trip celebration would have been the icing on the cake.

Yet it was not to be. Even with the project rolling out successfully, other duties kept calling. No time to rest on laurels as there's always other work to do. Each time I thought a break was in sight, the phone would ring, or someone would come by the office with a new task or request for assistance. On a couple evenings after work I even thought about heading over to the outdoor range, but never made that trip either.

As one of my favorite diversions, the range time was sorely missed. So now I'm previewing next week's calendar...

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Problem With "Steal the Glass" Promotions

A popular event at many pubs is the deceptively named "Steal the Glass" night. There's usually a few beers offered from a featured brewery, and the patron gets to "steal" a special glass, featuring the brewery's logo. Often that glass is a simple shaker pint, other times the glass can be unique or interesting in some way. 

The fallacy of the promotion is that with few exceptions, the drinker isn’t "stealing" anything, they are actually paying extra for the beer, in order to keep the "free" glass. I have dozens of glasses I’ve acquired at Steal the Glass events, but often times I simply don’t want the glass, and I certainly don’t want to pay extra for a glass I don’t need. And therein lies the rub.

We went out for dinner at a local pub the other night. I had seen a post on Facebook that the restaurant was "featuring" SweetWater Brewery, and pouring their 420 Pale Ale and SweetWater's 20th Anniversary Imperial Hash IPA. However, when we arrived we learned the beers were part of a "Steal the Glass" promotion. In addition, there were actually no SweetWater Brewery specific glasses being offered. Instead we would pick from leftover glasses from previous events — it was a "garage sale."

Wanting to try the Imperial Hash IPA, but not wanting to buy a random piece of glassware not even related to the featured brewery, I inquired if I could get the beer at the regular price and not pay the premium to "steal the glass. As I knew it would be, the answer was in the negative. I knew that because I had asked in the past, with the same answer. I didn't need or want the glass, so I ordered a different beer enjoy. Fortunately, I did have a very tasty Heavy Seas Loose Cannon IPA served from a cask.

We end up at this establishment on Wednesdays often, so we happen to hit their "Steal the Glass" nights with some regularity. And indeed, there are often interesting beers being offered. On occasion I even opt to pay to "steal," and take home an interesting glass. However, on more than one occasion we have been refused the featured beer for not wanting to pay extra for a glass. A pub should have glasses in which to serve beer without requiring the patron to buy one.

I wonder, could I bring back some purchased glasses and get refills at a discount?

Too much 'extra' glassware already

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Spam: ISIS holes

From a recent comment posted from Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan, intended for the two year old "The ISIS Shooting Drill" post:
That being said, the stuff you're drilling holes in can change vastly. It could be timber, brick, glass, steel, or possibly tile. Distinct bits are typically required for every various surface. [Link redacted]

The search term "drill" was all it took for "Mueeid Soomro" to find us. I suspect the irony of "drilling holes" given the subject matter was lost on the intrepid entrepreneur.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Father & Son Range Visit

Our son was able to come home for the Easter weekend. Even though he was here less than 48 hours, we were thrilled that he made the long drive so that we could celebrate as a family. We were sitting around Saturday afternoon talking, mostly about guns, and the discussion turned to a possible range trip. Colleen was planning an early dinner before the Easter Vigil. My part in the preparations involved steaks on the grill, and that was supposed to happen in about 15 minutes. We had several hours still before we needed to head over for Mass. I called an audible to delay dinner and we headed over to the range so he could shoot the new P320.

We set up a couple targets and my college student started putting shots in the center of the target right off the bat. (Sometimes he's annoying that way.) I kept loading and feeding him magazines, and encouraged him to work back to greater distances. He stayed consistent with good hits as he moved.

We had also brought along the smaller SIG P239 and he shot that for a bit too. He's been shooting that gun for years, and always enjoyed it. It is indeed a fun gun to shoot and I too bring it out regularly. Quite quickly he ran through the 200 rounds I had packed, though I did take the trigger for about 20 shots.

It was a short but especially fun outing. I didn't do much shooting myself, but the talk time with my son was most enjoyable. We were back home about an hour later, and I quickly fired up the grill. The dish of scalloped potatoes was still warm from the oven when the steak was served. There was even time for a cup of coffee before we headed out for the Easter celebration.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

"He is not here"

With those words, we learn that the promises of Our Lord were fulfilled. The empty tomb reminds us that death and sin have been conquered. Whenever I think about the Resurrection, I am struck by the sense of awe the women must felt at the tomb. I often too wonder what those who persecuted Him must have thought on Easter morning.

As we go through life we face many trials and tribulations. But we must always remember that "the worse thing that could ever happen" has already happened. The biggest battle man could ever face has already been fought, and won, for us. Jesus conquered death so that we could have eternal life. We rejoice in that knowledge at Easter.

Today we celebrate the fulfillment of Our Lord's promise of eternal life. On this most glorious of days, our worries and fears are laid to rest. We are reminded that the war between good and evil has already been fought, and that good has forever triumphed. For three days, Satan thought he had won. Three days vs. eternity. Easter gives us the strength to persevere against the lies of the evil one, to resist temptations, and to fight the persecution Christians around the world face on a daily basis.

Here's wishing you a blessed and joy-filled Easter. May the joy of the Resurrection remain in your life all year long.

Mass offered on the Tomb of Jesus,
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem.
Photo by Colleen

Then the angel said to the women in reply, "Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for he has been raised just as he said.
-- Matthew 28: 5-6

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Friday Morning On The Range

I took the day off from work Friday, and took advantage of the cool morning air and the bright sun to do a bit of shooting. As I was loading the car I noted there was an intermittent, but strong, breeze blowing through, so I packed a metal target stand as well. As it happened, the breeze was quite strong at the range. I employed a large rock to keep my extra targets from blowing away from the bench. Hanging cardboard from the rope at the berm would have been futile.

The new holster from Comp-Tac had arrived during the week so I was finally able to get in some live fire drawing practice with the new gun. During my dry fire this week I had noticed that my grip on the draw was somewhat different than my previous set up, so I experimented with adjustments to my hand position. As the session went on, I could see corresponding improvement.

The range time started with draw practice at 7 yards to work on that grip and getting on target. I also did some one-handed shooting, something I will continue to repeat each range visit. A bit of shooting on the move finished up the opening salvos.

Feeling good, it was time to move back to 15 yards. This is my favorite practice distance of late. It's beyond where I can see the target clearly, so it provides a decent challenge. I shot at least 50 rounds focusing on hitting the head section of the IDPA target. With attention to grip and trigger pull I was putting most of them pretty well-centered. (If only I could that combine that accuracy with match speed...) The rest of the time was spent firing multiple shots into the body and head areas in combination strings of fire. The shooter on the next bay was also shooting rapid strings, so I took advantage of lack of "overseers" and followed suit.

This was the first "real" shooting I've gotten to do with the SIG P320. That makes 750 rounds through the gun. I admit it, I simply enjoy shooting, and doing it with a new gun is a special treat. On top of all that, it was a most pleasant morning to be outside on the range. Despite being "off" from the day job, my phone alerted me to a message from our CIO. I returned his call, leaving a voice message in return. Of course gun fire started up from the neighboring bay while I was leaving my message. It may be an interesting conversation when we talk next week.

And that's a wrap

Friday, April 14, 2017


The ancient greyness shifted suddenly and thinned like mist upon the moors before a wind.

An old, old prophet lifted a shining face and said:

“He will be coming soon. The Son of God is dead; He died this afternoon.”

A murmurous excitement stirred all souls. They wondered if they dreamed

save one old man who seemed not even to have heard.

And Moses, standing, hushed them all to ask if any had a welcome song prepared.

If not, would David take the task?

And if they cared could not the three young children sing the Benedicite,

the canticle of praise they made when God kept them from perishing in the fiery blaze?

A breath of spring surprised them, stilling Moses’ words.

No one could speak, remembering the first fresh flowers, the little singing birds.

Still others thought of fields new ploughed or apple trees all blossom-boughed.

Or some, the way a dried bed fills with water laughing down green hills.

The fisherfolk dreamed of the foam on bright blue seas.

The one old man who had not stirred remembered home.

And there He was, splendid as the morning sun and fair as only God is fair.

And they, confused with joy, knelt to adore

Seeing that He wore five crimson stars He never had before.

No canticle at all was sung. None toned a psalm, or raised a greeting song,

A silent man alone of all that throng found tongue — not any other.

Close to His heart when the embrace was done, old Joseph said,

“How is Your Mother, How is Your Mother, Son?”
-- Sister Mary Ada

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Back to the Range

I escaped for another lunch-time outing at the indoor range on Tuesday. Approaching the range I noticed a number of Sheriff's department vehicles at the end of the street. Hmm, that might not be good. Fortunately they seemed to be concentrated around the business next door. The range itself was devoid of patrons, just the way I like it. Only one other shooter came in while we were there.

On this trip I was accompanied by a coworker who was having trouble shooting his new M&P Shield. What I saw was the classic "low and left." I offered some free advice and then set out to work on my own shooting.

I took along some B-34 silhouette targets, also known as the "ISIS Shooting Drill." Rolling the target out to 15 yards, the order of the day was slow aimed fire. I found I was pulling my shots directly to the left a bit, only slightly but certainly noticeable at that distance. (And I do find anything "left" to be especially offensive.) If I had been shooting at an IPDA or USPSA target, all would be well, but the small scoring rings on this target makes the shift stand out. At the same time, if I really slowed, I could keep them all in the 4" head area. 

As usual, it was a pleasant diversion from work. Another 150 rounds was put through the new SIG P320, and I'm still quite pleased with how the weapon shoots.