Previous photos here

Wed, 29 Mar 2006

We destroyed my handcrafted steel pistol target last weekend.
I had previously chronicled making the target here, but I never got around to posting what happened when we shot at it.

Here's a shot of the target in my back yard. We painted the plates white, so we could see the impacts better. Once it dried we loaded everything up and headed out to try the target. On the way I called Chris, because I knew he had just gotten a Beretta 92 with laser sight, that he had not had a chance to shoot yet. He was all for it, so we stopped by his place. Once we got to the location, Rob slapped on a couple of stick-on targets. In the third photo you can see the target with two black circles on it, to the left of the washing machine. Chris got the Model 92 ready.

So the first thing that happened was that the stick-on targets blew right off the steel plates. I guess they're meant to be stuck on paper targets where the rounds pass right through, but in this case the fragmenting bullets just blew the targets right off. The second thing that happened was that Rob began blowing the heck out of the targes with his .44 magnum. And also the .357. The 9 mm's that me and Chris were shooting didn't have too much effect on the 0.25 plate, but the .44's really put some divots in it.

Rob continued to punish the target with the .44. And me and Chris took a few shots also. You can see the plates getting more and more warped in the next three photos. I stopped taking photos, but eventually Rob shot the target to pieces. First the welds holding the plates to the 1" schedule pipe arms failed, and then welds holding the arms to the pivot tube were shot away. I have to say that the penetration on the welds wasn't the greatest, and if I had spent more time prepping and fitting them they would probably have lasted much longer. The fourth photo is a close-up of one of the steel pipes. This was a piece of high-pressure hydraulic line in its former life. It's approximately 1" in diameter, with a very thick wall (3/16"?). It had lots of dents, but only one penetration.

Then we turned our attention to the washing machine. Those stick-on targets worked just great on it. I think the sheet metal must flex enough, and not provide much resistance to the bullets. These were the fancy targets that turn green when you shoot them. You can see on the lower right target a nice grouping of green dots. Anyway, a good time was had by all. I'll try to get motivated enough to weld up some more targets for next time. What would be really cool would be a pair of target frames, each with two or three hanging targets. Then we could have an informal competition to see who could hit three targets first.

posted at: 07:12 | permalink |

Tue, 28 Mar 2006

I should have measured for overall length.
I just now thought of that, as I was writing this. Maybe next time I can get the tape measure out and measure the stretched-out cat Length Over All (LOA). Anyway, here's Martha relaxing, oblivious to her surroundings. And ignoring the fact that she's lying in front of the television, directly in the path to the laundry room. But why should she care? She doesn't do laundry.

posted at: 07:04 | permalink |

Mon, 27 Mar 2006

I finally made it to a Whip It Out at the Ballgame hash.
At least I made the Ballgame part. Me and C. were doing yard work, so we missed the actual running part. I bet it was fun, though. We got there just in time to meet the hashers on top of the parking garage. And P-rick had a couple of extra tickets for us. Cool. The group wandered over and into the stadium, where we meet RedBushwhacker and his lovely wife. And some other Treasure Coast hashers. We all had seats in the bleachers, where we would watch the Marlins and the Reds play ball. It was really a nice day. Yeast and Nurse were already in the bleachers, and so were CA and Amy. We all had the obligatory hash shirts on.

There were some interesting people sitting next to us. I think they came on a really short bus. Anyway, we watched the Marlins thrash the Reds by a score of 6-1 or so. (I wasn't really paying a lot of attention). We had more fun singing "Staying Alive" everytime a Marlins batter got two strikes on him. The Reds fan sitting a couple rows ahead of us taught us the song.

Once the game was over we made our way back to the cars. Along the way a happy, jolly P-rick agreed to be the guest voice on the hash hotline. Here he is in the studio, recording his PSA.

posted at: 07:13 | permalink |

Sun, 26 Mar 2006

I did a welding project this weekend.
It was mostly Rob's idea, though. He's redeveloped an interest in pistol shooting, so he wanted to make a steel pistol target. I Google's around and found some descriptions of simple hanging targets. But that wasn't enough for him. It had to have one target to shoot at, and one target to reset it. Fine. When he showed up I had already cut two 4"x6" pieces of steel plate, about 0.25" thick. I had cut some schedule 80 1" steel to suspend the plates from. That's when Rob showed up and began demonstrating his concept.

At least he drew it out first. I didn't really follow all the details, but I figured I'd let him make it work. He started looking at what I had already finished, and eyed the chop saw.

The design called for a fancy mechanism, with lots of little arms and levers and stops. Basically you would shoot at the top target, which would fall backward after you hit it. Then you shoot at the bottom target, which would knock the top target back upright. Repeat. It sounded like it might work. I had some rebar that would probably work for the arms and levers. Here's a rare picture of Rob using safety gear, as he chops up the rebar.

Once Rob had all the pieces cut I assembled them with the mig welder. There were a couple errors along the way, but a chop saw and a welder can fix a lot of mistakes. To make it stiffer we built a simple frame out of some 1" EMT conduit I had around. Once nice thing about this project was that it got rid of some of the scrap metal pile. We finished up, and drove the target frame into the ground to test it. It seemed to work. You could hit the top target, and it would topple backward, then hit the bottom target, and the top target would reset. The only questions were: would it stand up to being shot at, and would the reset mechanism work when hit by bullets instead of hands? Read the next installment to find out...

posted at: 11:47 | permalink |

Sat, 25 Mar 2006

I forgot I took these photos of a pirate at the RennFest last week.
But then I found the photos in my phone. This guy just didn't fit in with the rest of the RennFest crowd. Later on when I saw the pirate encampment with a bunch of pirates they looked authentic. But this guy was walking around near the lords and ladies and beggars. We stopped to talk with him, and after about 30 seconds he flipped up his eyepatch and scratched underneath it. And he had a good eye under there! Dirty cheating unauthentic pirate...

posted at: 10:18 | permalink |

Fri, 24 Mar 2006

I stopped by the beach yesterday.
I took the day off, and part of the afternoon's events was a cruise past the pier after lunch. It was a beautiful day. There were lots of girls on spring break, and people everywhere. The lifguard stands were flying a strange flag, though. They had a yellow flag for (I assume) caution, and also a purple flag. What the heck is purple for? Maybe the lifeguards are Lakers fans?

posted at: 07:32 | permalink |

I saw the world's ugliest AstroVan recently.
Unfortunately it was night, and I didn't have a flash with me, so I couldn't capture the full ugliness of it all. Linda noticed it first, saying "Look at the brushtrokes on that van". Sure enough, it looked like it had been painted with a broom and some white latex housepaint. They had even painted over the AstroVan badge. At least they took a few minutes to mask off the door handles, or maybe they just painted around them. The picture really sucks, but at least you can see the white-painted badge, and the runs and drips nearby.

posted at: 07:22 | permalink |

Thu, 23 Mar 2006

Last night's hash was a Bootlicker special.
And by that I mean an uninspired trail with a lot of beer. So it was a good thing overall. The runners could tell something was up when Boot kept juming and hawing during the chalk talk. Finally it became clear that the evening's entertainment was to be a pub crawl, but there would be a run first.

The run was everything I expected it would be: short, straight, and laid from a car. Well, I'm not sure it was laid from a car, but the checks were all at intersections and the marks were all in driveways. I didn't get a chance to examine Boot's car, but I bet there was flour on the steering wheel. After a three mile box run we arrived back at the shopping center where we started, to find a strange looking mark with three arrows. Nobody could figure it out, so we just went to the closest bar, where, surprise, the first beer check was. Boot doesn't like draft beer, so we stood around swilling Bud longnecks until it was time to go. Boy was that a loud jukebox. Boot didn't want any pictures.

Then on to the Peruvian restaurant for stop number two. They didn't speak a lot of English there, but Boot managed to make himself understood and get a beer for everyone. That new hasher with the fourteen names explained that they don't speak Peruvian in Peru, but instead they speak Spanish. Is that crazy or what? I wonder where they speak Peruvian?

The third stop of the evening was John D's, which used to be a craphole out on Okeechobee with some local character. Now it's just a craphole in a strip mall. We all had fried food and beer. Mmm. And then we went home. As I was going to my car I saw the hasher with all the names lurking in the parking lot.

Epilogue: I woke up about 3 am to violently expel the chicken wings I had at John D's. I thought it might just be me, but SMD said the same thing happened to him. How can you screw up chicken wings?

posted at: 13:48 | permalink |

Here's an update on the Baby Truck
which was last mentioned here. You may recall that I saw it down in Delray on the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day. Well, the next Sunday Rob and I were returning from firing lots of 9mm out at 20 Mile Bend, when I spotted the Baby Truck up on a trailer, heading the other way at a high rate of speed. I was confused, but Rob explained that MudFest was that weekend out in Loxahatchee, and that the Baby Truck was undoubtedly on its way out there. This was confirmed a few minutes later when I saw a semi with a trailer full of cars heading west. It took me a minute to figure out what was wrong, but I finally realized that the semi wasn't towing a car carrier trailer, but instead had a big flatbed trailer, on which the cars were simply stacked. They were good looking full-size sedans, so I guess they were going to be fodder for some kind of monster truck. I did find a local mudder site at Stroid, but I couldn't find any photos of the Baby Truck on it.
posted at: 08:22 | permalink |

Wed, 22 Mar 2006

I really like this photo.
Someone in Iraq has a sense of humor. If you look closely at the grenade you can see that there is a smiley face drawn on it. "Have A Nice Day!" I should probably link to the page where I found this image.

posted at: 07:12 | permalink |

Tue, 21 Mar 2006

We finally made it to the Rennaisance Festival on the last day.
It took a while, but we finally found time to make it down to Quiet Waters park in Boca for the festival. Linda's brother Al is their official photographer, so we met him there, and walked around with him. He knew everybody. And he kept taking pictures. In fact, when we got there he was up on top of the entrance gate, taking pictures of a king or something. You can just see his head in the top photo.

We had been there a few times before, so we saw our favorite shows. I didn't take a lot of pictures, but I did snap a couple of the Dueling Gypsies, or whatever they called themselves. They were good with the swords and with the crowd.

The thing I kept noticing was that most of the trees were gone. That happened back during Hurricane Wilma last year. It was even worse in the south end of the park, where the mountain bike trail used to be. It had been badly battered by the hurricane, and then the park recently came in with bulldozers and leveled almost every tree that was left. Their explanation was that they were removing the non-native species, which has become a fetish here in Florida. I hope that someday we can get the mountain bike trail back, but I don't think we can make it like it was. Linda had to wear a hat because it was sunny.

We kept eating and drinking. I had a bunch of pina coladas, which apparently had a lot of alcohol in them. I don't even remember taking these photos. It looks like a character study of a couple pirates. I slept all the way back in the car, and when we got home I went out in the back yard and slept all afternoon in the hammock. I even missed Kevin's birthday party. Mmmm. Pina coladas.

posted at: 07:12 | permalink |

Mon, 20 Mar 2006

We went back out to shoot more guns on Sunday.
Rob had gotten a set of Crimson Trace laser grips for his new Browning Hi-Power, and he really wanted to try them out. So we loaded up and headed for Wal-Mart. This time I just took the S&W Sigma 9mm and the Mossberg 12 ga pump, and Rob took the Browning. He wanted to focus. We got some 9mm ball at Wal-Mart, and I had brought along some of the steel 7 1/2 shot from the closet. I still have boxes of the stuff left over from when we did a lot of duck hunting. It was a long drive west, but it was worth the trip. When we got there we found that someone had left a washing machine as a target. Cool. The riding lawn mower that was also out there was getting pretty shot up. Although leaving the washer might just have been illegal dumping, too.

Like last time, we were using clay pigeons as targets. The washing machine was in almost pristine condition, with just a few holes punched in it. Even the dials were still on it. It did seem to have a few shotgun slug holes in it, though.

No, Rob hasn't changed over to the gangsta-style way of holding his pistol. He's adjusting the laser grips. They have both an up-down and a side-to-side adjustment, both of which require a tiny allen wrench. Fortunately the nice people at Crimson Trace ship two wrenchs with the grips, which makes it easy to adjust the grips. Rob's adjustment method was to put the laser dot on the washing machine and pull the trigger. Then he would ajust the sights based on the bullet strike. After a couple iterations of this he had the sights dead on.

Then I got to try the sights. They worked pretty well. You could see the laser dot out to about 20-30 feet in the bright sun. Once I got the hang of it I stopped using the iron sights, and just put the dot on the target and squeezed the trigger. Pretty effective, and I'm sure it's much more effective in low-light conditions. I'd like a set for my Sigma. The only problem is that the Sigma has a plastic frame like a Glock, and the grips are integral to it. So I would have to get one of the pointers that goes inside the recoil buffer spring. And because the Sigma is a relatively unpopular pistol, those sights go for around $450. So I'm not ready to take the plunge yet. There was more of the safety glass from last time lying around, and we found that it makes a dandy target, as it shatters nicely when hit.

We had clay pigeons everywhere, even an old work boot that made a nice holder. After I shot all the 9 mm I brought out the 12 gauge, which worked just like I remembered. The steel 7 1/2 shot was effective against the pigeons, but not much else. It just left pits on the safety glass. The washing machine took a beating. At one point the front panel just fell off. So we shot up the tub inside. Finally we were out of ammo, and it was time to go home. I think we'll be back out there. On the way back we were discussing how to weld up some steel swinging targets.

posted at: 07:18 | permalink |

Sun, 19 Mar 2006

I am about done with St. Patrick's Day.
For this year, anyway. We did the hash and parade last weekend, we sold beer all night long on Thursday at Clematis, and then we went to downtown Lake Worth on Friday for the real St. Paddy's Day. Linda and I met Sheldon down at the Dwarf. For once it was packed early on a Friday night, which was good, but we couldn't get a beer, which was bad. So we gave up and went to Sushi Blue across the street. There were only a few people in there, like always, so we thought it was a good choice. But the waitstaff was unbelievable slow, like always, so it turned out to be a bad choice. After 20 minutes we left, to go to Saito's. Saito's is a sushi and Thai place, which used to have all-you-can-eat sushi, but they seemed to have ended that sometime in the two years since we'd been there. Anyway, the sushi and the Thai were good. Sheldon and I were ready to rage on into the night, but someone else wanted to go home, so I had to leave all the Sheldon on his own to face all the hot women. I bet he did okay. And I'm ready for next year's St. Paddy's Day already.

posted at: 09:03 | permalink |

We got to serve beer at Clematis again last Thursday.
The neighborhood association was lucky enough to get the St. Patrick's Day date, so we figured we would have a good night. I mentioned it to the hash, and sure enough, a couple hashers showed up to help out. Linda got to wear her St. Paddy's Day hat again. If you look close in the third picture you can see that our neighbor has his hair cut in the shape of a shamrock. And there's Nicole in the fourth photo.

Here's some more shots of our neighbors. That guy standing way away from the camera in the third picture is Ed. And that's Debbie in the fourth one. You already know Nicole in the second photo.

Toward the end of the night Darren showed up. I asked him to wear my little plastic hat on his enormous head to I could get an amusing photo. I think it worked. We stayed busy all night long, but we never got swamped, and we made a decent amount of money for the neighborhood association. We're going to spend it on the application to close the Mercer cut-through street in the back of the neighborhood. That may cut down on all the through traffic we get.

posted at: 08:43 | permalink |

Sat, 18 Mar 2006

That darn cat.
I was leaving for work on Friday morning, and I heard a loud "meow". It sounded like the orange cat that sometimes comes by for dinner, and it sounded a little distressed. So I looked around, but didn't see him. I kept hearing the "meow" as I walked out to my car, but I still didn't see where it was coming from. Finally, as I got the car, I spotted him up in a tree, harrassing the birds. I couldn't tell if he was in trouble, or just saying "hey look at me", so I called out, "Orange Cat! Get down from there!". And he did. He hopped right down and walked over to see if breakfast was in the offing. It wasn't. So I went on to work, and he no doubt entertained himself for the rest of the day bothering the birds, squirrels, and Martha.

posted at: 10:23 | permalink |

I got my new ThinkPad Z60M last night.
I have been wanting a new notebook for a while. My Toshiba was adequate, but it was three years old this month, and there were some minor annoyances with it. For one, the USB ports are all 1.1. That sounds minor, but I use my external DVD burner and external USB hard drives a lot, and they are really slow with USB 1.1. Although now that I think of it, the DVD burner has a FireWire connector, and so does that ThinkPad, so I will have to try that also.

I found some great reviews of the ThinkPad Z60M online, and I started looking at specs. I went with the 1.73 GHz Pentium M, which was faster than the Celerons they have, but not as fast as the 2 GHz Pentium M they also offer. I passed on the titanium lid as well. And finally, I couldn't bring myself to pay the extra $150 for internal Bluetooth. The Bluetooth USB dongle I have been using with the Toshiba will work for now, but it is pretty fragile, so I will look for a Bluetooth PCMCIA card.

IBM sold their ThinkPad division to Lenovo, which is in China, so that's where my ThinkPad was made. It was made to order for me. I could follow the order process on Lenovo's website. I saw that it was build on a Wednesday, shipped on Thursday, and in my hands on Friday. The box was waiting for me when I got home on Friday night (thanks Linda!). Of course Martha thought the box was the best place in the house to sit.

I started opening up the box. This might be the best part of getting a new computer. Inside the box was some fresh Chinese air. I smelled the inside of the box, but couldn't really detect anything Chinese-y about it. I did have to keep shooing Martha off the box, though.

I got out out. Cool. And the accessories were all there. But there was one more thing I had to do before I powered it on. The configuration I had ordered came with 256 Mb of RAM, which we all know is inadequate. So I had bought two 1 Gb sticks off eBay for $70/each. Fortuitously, they had arrived that same day. So it was time to install them.

There were instructions in the box on how to install the memory, but I just couldn't get the palm rest off. So I turned to the PDF manual for the Z60M that I had previously downloaded. That was better, but I still couldn't figure out how to remove the palm rest. Finally I google'd for it, and found some really specific directions. With that knowledge the palm rest popped right off. Hooray. The new RAM went right in, the notebook went back together, and it booted for the first time (outside of China). The old RAM went right onto eBay, where I hope to get $10 for it. I have been using the Z60M for a couple days now, and I really like it.

posted at: 09:47 | permalink |

Fri, 17 Mar 2006

It was Dr. Suess's birthday a couple weeks ago.
March 2, to be exact. I know this because we were down at Clematis By Night, and the public library had a booth set up to celebrate Dr. Suess's birthday. Inside the library the kids were making Cat In The Hat hats, and outside they had a contest where you could name your favorite Dr. Suess book, and win a set of Dr. Suess books. But we didn't enter.

posted at: 07:23 | permalink |

Wed, 15 Mar 2006

We saw the one-man Star Wars show last week.
I had heard about this guy Charles Ross (I think on NPR) and his show. Over the course of an hour he reenacts the first three Star Wars movies (episodes 4,5, 6). Apparently he's a Canadian guy who grew up far away from broadcast television, and had seen the first movie over 400 times by the time he was 10 years old.

Anyway, the show was really good. It was pretty physical, as he threw himself around the stage. We were all waiting to see what would happen as he did Han Sol encased in a block of carbonite, where the block rocks back and forth before crashing backwards. He rocked a few times, started to tip, and then bailed out.

His accents and gestures were really good. How can a guy in a black jumpsuit make you believe he's Jabba the Hut? I don't know, but he does. He did leave out the scene I was really waiting for, where Obi Wan says to the stormtrooper, "These aren't the droids you're looking for".

I didn't get any photos of him during the show, because I thought he might cut me up with a lightsaber. But here's a couple of me and Linda before the show in the Rinker Playhouse.

posted at: 07:19 | permalink |

The St. Patricks's Day parade reached a new high this year.
We passed out nearly 1800 jello shots to the crowd (we had to save some for ourselves). I don't know the total hash attendance, but there were 50 people on the RSVP list. Plus OP came. The first I knew about OP was when he called me from the TriRail. He had met up with Mike and Mike's kid Andy, who were coming up to meet me and ride down to the parade together. OP wanted to know if he could come too? I said sure, and picked them all up. Andy got to sit up front, Mike and OP were in the back. We stopped by my house to regroup, and so OP could get a beer. Andy tried out the chopper project, and Mike wore his hat.

Soon enough it was time to go. Oddly, Circumspector opted to take her own car and not ride with us. Good thing, too, since GH called soon after we left, and asked for a ride. We picked him up and I made him sit in the back with OP and Mike. On our way out of Lake Worth I was checking out the hottie washing her car, when I realized it was the Head. I backed up, and she came over and talked to us for a minute. She didn't even throw the soapy water on us!

Only a few minutes further on we had to stop for gas and more beer. And OP had to use the bathroom. If you look right in the center of the first photo you can see him facing the camera and doing his dirty little business. The cops checked us out pretty carefully as we got onto I-95, but didn't detain us.

Things were hopping once we got to the start of the hash. HalfLife was showing off his new teeth, and GH was bending over in preparation for something. Bootlicker was hanging on the float to stay vertical. We had to use a field expedient to get the inital "ON" on the foot, after finding that one of the feet had blown off on the 70 mph drive down. But eventually we all assembled for the money group shot.

The hash itself was uneventful, marked only by the eight phone calls from Mike asking, "Where are you?". We were near the train tracks, he was on the train track, and all he had to do was go north. For some reason that was not possible. At least Circumspector got Plop's head painted.

After the hash we and the float made our way to the assembly point, where we stood around for 30 or 40 minutes waiting for some organization. We made good use of the time by passing out jello shots to everyone around us.

Pretty soon we were under way. We were behind a big ladder truck full of firemen, and in front of a police bagpipe band. What a perfect location for the hash! There were some exotic dancers in a car not too far behind. We saw DumpsterDiver in his Gumby costume along the parade route.

The circle went well. The center of attention was the office chair. It was very popular. Much beer was drunk.

We close with these shots of Princess trying to cool off. I think I like the first one best, but I just couldn't decide. So I present them all here for your perusal.

posted at: 06:54 | permalink |

Tue, 14 Mar 2006

I found another batch of Bike Week photos from Daytona in my phone.
This happens sometimes when I take a camera along. I'll use the camera for most of the photos, but now and then I'll take a photo with the phone, and then forget about the phone photos until the next time I download from the phone.

Anyway, here they are.

The first few photos are from the Friday night pub crawl. A camera phone with no flash isn't the best tool for a dark bar, but you can make out the basics. The first photo is Itsy and this week's girlfriend, and the second is a closeup of AC. I really like the third photo here. It gets my award for "Unable to Understand the Lyrics". If you're going to write graffiti, at least get it right.

Here's a wider shot of the second bar, a picture of the boxing machine that thankfully went unused all night long, and a group shot that includes Kiddy from Tampa.

Here we see a random Harley parked in front of the hotel. I liked it because it was so different from the shiny chrome and paint on most of the bikes. It was *dirty*! Plus a couple shots of Main Street, including a cameo of my thumb.

As always, we stayed in the Mayan Inn. This year we had an oceanfront room Howard joined us on Saturday, and stood out on the balcony with me in the wind, looking at my car. It was cool and blustery, so the pool was unoccupied.

On Sunday we headed over to the Arlen Ness area on the mainland. AC and, um TR (not her real name) tried on these $60 handmade sunglasses. I got a shot of them in the glasses, and they put them back on the rack. Everyone was happy.

posted at: 21:32 | permalink |