Monthly Archives: April 2012
The freezer is getting empty, so man must acquire meat to fill it!
Alas, I have been unable to get into the field to hunt so I must do what modern man does… and buy it.
I visited my local butcher to ask for another side of beef. I was dismayed to discover he no longer sold sides! But I spoke with him about it, and I totally understand and support his reasons. In short, it no longer made sense for him, business-wise, to do it. Heck, I was the first person to ask him for one in 2 months. Alas…. Of course I can still get cuts from him, but there’s something cool about having the whole animal, fully done as you want it, and all the choices and selection just sitting in the freezer.
OK, I emailed them.
Emails exchanged, and it looks like we’re going to get a calf, about 500# live weight or so (probably yield 200-225# of meat). This will be “fatted calf”, if you will. Fed on momma milk and grass, mom’s all grass fed, organic, etc.. Apparently the meat will be a little more pink than red, quite tender.
To my knowledge, I’ve never had calf before. This should be different, and kinda exciting.
I’ve sent in my deposit along with cut sheet. I’ve only bought a side a few times, so I’m not 100% versed on the best way to get it cut and prepped. But calf is also going to be a wee different, and she had things on there like “arm roast”, and while Google told me about arm roast vs. chuck roast, I really don’t know what the fundamental difference will be… so we just got arm roasts to be different and we’ll see how it goes.
Oh… and they mentioned lambs too. Wife thought it’d be cool to try, so we’re getting 1 lamb as well. The few times I’ve had lamb I haven’t liked it because it was dry or tough. I figure folks just haven’t cooked it right, so this might be worth trying.
We shall see.
I reckon it’ll be a couple weeks before it’s ready for pick up. But I’m really looking forward to it! Not just because the novelty of calf, but more about knowing where my food comes from. How it was raised, how it was cared for, all that went into it. Food is better the closer you can get to where it came from. Closer to how it came from the Earth. Done old school. The CSA box we get from Johnson’s Backyard Garden. Getting this sort of local meat. The wild game I take. This is food.
PR days are always good, tho today didn’t start out the best.
“Week 3″ – BBB 3 Month Challenge
- 5/3/1 – Deadlift (working max: 335#)
- 1x5x135 (warmup)
- 1x5x255 (work)
- 1x3x320 (PR)
- Asst. #1 – Squat
- 5 x 10/10/10/9/9 x 170
- Foam Rolling
I have a lot of things on my mind, and obviously they were occupying me a little too much.
I left the house without my lifting belt.
I didn’t realize it until I was almost at the gym.
I walked home, got the belt, walked back. Yes I was annoyed with myself, especially for being so distracted and being too “future preoccupied” instead of dealing with the present. But… it was just a little more walking, more conditioning, more aerobic, more warm-up. Gotta find a way to put a positive spin on it, right?
Deadlift was good tho. I really felt in the pocket and all the lifts felt good. The 320 didn’t even feel all that heavy… well ok, it was heavy, but it didn’t feel heavy-heavy. I felt I could have done a lot more reps, but the program says no.
Squatting… man, that kills me, but this has really been good for form improvement. I’m happy with that.
So apart from starting out on the wrong foot, things went well.
What was I thinking about? Well, lots of things, but one thing that’s really been on my mind is what to do after the challenge is over. I think I know how my plan will proceed.
But here’s the interesting thing.
I’m thinking about stopping the challenge.
Tomorrow starts a big change in my life, a change that affects a lot of things. The 70% month of the challenge will be very time consuming, and I’m not sure I have the time to do it. My workout time needs to tighten up. So that means more supersetting, that means dropping the weight on assistance work slightly and decreasing rest between sets. I need to really be able to get in, work, and get out, in as little time as possible while still getting a quality workout. The way the challenge is laid out? It just won’t work.
I am not happy about it… it feels like quitting. It’s not, in that I’m not quitting because things are getting tough and I’m wussing out. It’s a matter of my life undertaking a massive change, and I have to roll with the waves and adapt. I refuse to stop working out, so I just have to find how to make things fit. I’m not sure I’ll stop the challenge, as that particular thought only crossed my mind a few hours ago. But I do need to think about it and give it proper consideration. Once things settle down, then I’d like to revisit the challenge because I can’t say I’ve done the challenge and met the challenge, until I have. And I hate leaving things half-done…. that’s something that’s plauged me through enough of my life and in recent years have rallied against. So we’ll see. I don’t have to make the decision yet.
Interestingly tho, this might be alright in other ways. This 60% month has shown me a lot, especially in terms of how hard it hits me. That, plus less rest, that will be brutal… and might help me in the fat-loss department too. This big life change is going to bring some interesting issues towards sticking to diet, so I want that to afford me more opportunity to tighten things up more. Who knows…. it might be the better decision. Much to think about.
Went to my local butcher today to order a side of beef.
I was dismayed to learn he stopped doing it. The cost was becoming way too much, not just in terms of money, but in terms of labor. He said it took about 6 hours to process it, and with so many other parts of the business booming — especially restaurants — it just didn’t make sense any more. He also said I was the first person in 2 months to ask for it. So, while I was bummed, it made total sense and I don’t blame him one bit for stopping it.
So I opted to drown my sorrows by buying 6 1.5″ thick Choice NY Strip steaks from him.
Thing is, I rarely cook steaks that thick. Usually 3/4″ or 1″ at most. I knew they would need a different approach being a somewhat leaner cut but also so thick. Don’t want to risk killing the meat, but it does need to get cooked. What to do?
Google to the rescue.
I saw enough places say to use indirect heat, which made a lot of sense. That will allow the steak to cook but not get burned on the outside while still raw on the inside. Then I read about this “rule of 3″ technique, which I liked. The technique is made for NY strip or ribeye, 1-1.5″ thick. Just what we have.
The steaks need to come to room temperature, and just a little salt and pepper on them.
Get the grill HOT. If gas, crank it up. If charcoal, get a lot. You’ll make 2 zones: a hot “direct” side and a cooler “indirect” side. The hot side should be so hot that you shouldn’t be able to hold your hand over the coals for 2 seconds… it must be hot!
Then, it goes like this:
3 minutes, side 1, direct heat
3 minutes, side 2, direct heat
3 minutes, side 1, indirect heat
3 minutes, side 2, indirect heat
Take them off, let them rest, let some butter melt over them, if you wish. Should turn out a medium or medium-rare steak.
The author says to never do more than 3 minutes on direct, tho you can do 4-5 minutes on indirect if you want a more medium to medium-well steak.
I will say, this technique worked out great! They turned out a nice medium-rare (almost medium) and were just delicious.
I think next time I need more heat, or I might try 4 minutes per side indirect. I thought more time, but when I think about the crust from direct it wasn’t quite as good as it could have been so yes… I think I need more heat next time. It was hot, could be hotter.
Anyways, thank you John for your technique. Solid!
I got me an M&P Shield. I’m one of the cool kids now, right? No… it’s me, I’ll never be cool; always a geek.
Yes I know, I should probably decorate this with pictures, but sorry… I’m lazy. But now that I’ve taken it to the range, I wanted to give some further impressions on it.
It is thin. It’s almost too thin for me. I am going to have to shoot it a lot and dry practice with it a lot to adjust to it. My trigger finger wants to go really deep into the trigger guard, almost to my distal joint. That’s too far, and then it causes me to either push or pull the gun and hit left or right. It all depends, because well… it’s the trigger. Because of the ergos of how much finger I put on it, then when I try to adjust because the trigger is hard, it’s all… rough.
Yes, this will need an Apex Tactical trigger upgrade. I did hear that installing the existing M&P hard sear from Apex smooths things out and improves the trigger a lot, but I’m unsure about installing that until there’s solid word this is OK to do. The tolerances might be just different enough. But honestly, I would reason S&W worked to keep as much between the full-sized M&P and the Shield the same, using same parts, to help keep manufacturing costs down and thus supporting the Shield’s low price-point. Still, word posted on Apex Tactical’s Facebook page leads me to believe Shield parts are coming soon.
The sights aren’t that great, but as I said on the full-sized M&P, they are some of the better factory sights I’ve used. At least the front post is narrower than the rear notch, so you do see light on either side of the front post. That’s great! I did take a Sharpie and black out the dots on the rear sight, and while not a wicked awesome set of sights, they are alright and will certainly do. I know Dawson Precision has a Shield in their possession now, so they should be able to figure out all the details to make sights. Just have to stay tuned.
But the big thing is, how does it conceal? Pretty damn well. When you use the short/flush magazine, the butt of the gun is about an inch shorter than my full-sized M&P. The Shield does fit somewhat into my Comp-Tac MTAC holster (the gun profiles are generally the same, and the leather back to the MTAC helps it fit better since it collapses a bit, but by no means is the gun secure), and when holstered… geez… it just disappears. With the extended mag in, it’s a little more obvious. I’d say it’s almost to the point of “might as well carry a full-sized”, but the thinness of the Shield helps to further abate “sticking out”. I was able to see a size comparison vs. an M&P Compact; the height is about the same, the Compact is wider of course.
Carrying it is pretty nice. I wore it in my MTAC for a while, using the flush magazine. You barely notice it, because there isn’t stuff jutting out everywhere. No beavertail jutting into your ribs, the butt doesn’t rub against the back of a chair, no clothing hanging up on it depending how you move around. One thing is that with the gun fully loaded there’s enough “backpressure” on the magazine that the magazine’s basepad it pushed back from the bottom edge of the magazine well, leaving a space. The edges of everything are rounded off, nothing truly sharp, but it did notice this area “scratching” against the skin of my side a bit. Nothing horrible, just a minor irritation, but there. I’ve got sorta sensitive skin, so I wonder how this will fare over the course of wearing it all day every day. I think it’ll be OK, just something to get used to and then the body will tune it out.
All in all, I like the Shield, and will like it a lot more once Apex allows for a better trigger.
I didn’t shoot much, only 200 rounds. 50 rounds of American Eagle 124 grain. 50 rounds of PMC Bronze 115 grain. 50 rounds of my handloads. 50 rounds of Gold Dot 124 grain +P. Everything worked fine, and boy that PMC has a TON of muzzle flash (never shot it before today). But everything fed and shot just fine and dandy, and I consider this a good first sign that the gun runs well, especially with my chosen social ammo.
Accuracy was acceptable, shooting out to 15 yards (didn’t try any greater distances). I know I blew some because of the trigger issues, either because I had too much finger and pulled the gun towards me, or too little and thus yanked it because it is a heavy trigger. In a close up fight, it’ll be fine, but for finer control and longer distance group shooting well… I’m back to wanting the Apex trigger. I wish I could convey the trigger over the Internet somehow so y’all could know… it’s not horrible, I’m sure most people will be fine with it. But once you know there are better triggers to be had in the world, you’ll find the factory trigger to be serviceable but with a lot of room for improvement. Which is why Apex has such heavy business.
It is a little hard to control, because it’s hard to get all your hands on it. Of course, it’s more controllable with the extended magazine since you can get your pinky on there, and pinkies play a large part in recoil management. What I really want to try tho is some faster shooting, like Bill Drills. Just can’t do that at the local indoor range. Also try some one-handed and see how it goes. I will probably try something like the “3 seconds or less” drill.
Reloading actually isn’t all that bad… a little hard to seat things because your palm’s in the way, but really not as bad as some small guns I’ve tried. I did notice that, try as I might, it doesn’t auto-forward. I admit the auto-forward is something I do NOT like about the M&P, so if this doesn’t auto-forward I’ll be happy.
Speaking of that… because of the limited magazine capacity, you’re likely to follow the practice of loading the magazine fully, seating and racking to put one in the chamber, then dropping the magazine and topping it off. Thus with that flush 7 round magazine, you can have 7+1. Thing is, when you do that? It’s VERY difficult to seat the magazine; you really have to slam it home, which is kinda hard when your palm is a bit in the way. It’s do-able, but you need to be careful.
Well… it’s still to early to draw any conclusions. All I did today was start to break it in, throwing lead downrange, some accuracy checking, does it feed different ammo brands, does it function, etc.. The trigger does feel a little better than when I first got it, but it doesn’t matter… it needs Apex improvement. But apart from the trigger, all seemed alright today.
I also want to do more serious shooting with it, like Bill Drills, the 3 Seconds or Less drill, and just put it more through its paces and see how it runs.
Finally, I want to let students try it. I want to see how folks with small hands can handle it. Can they rack the slide? Can they control it? Can they work that factory trigger? All too often small hands also come with “small strength”, so just because they can grip it doesn’t mean it’s going to be a good/right gun for them. I had Wife and Daughter try it, and there was a bit of struggle in working the slide, but with better technique (e.g. racking over the top of the slide, bringing it in close to the body like opening a pickle jar) they could manipulate it.
But I’m starting to like it… a lot.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go dry fire for a while.
Set a PR, but it was downhill after that…
“Week 3″ – BBB 3 Month Challenge
- 5/3/1 – Press (working max: 160#)
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- 1x5x120 (work)
- 1x3x155 (PR)
- Asst. #1A – Bench Press
- 5 x 10 x 140
- Asst. #1B – Chinups (supersetted with Bench Press)
- 5 x 3/3/2.5/2.5/2 x BW
- Asst. #2 – Face Pulls
- 3 x 12 x 65
- Asst. #3 – DB Hammer Curls
- 3 x 10/9/8 x 35
Setting a press PR is cool to me. Yes, the bar speed is slowing down, but the lifts are solid. 155 for 3 reps is good to me.
But after that, things sucked…..
Bench press was OK, but I totally brain-farted and forgot to superset with chins…. so I did chins alone, but geez look at that! Regression. I don’t know what gives. Again the half reps mean that I got most of the way up, used my foot on a bench to get me all the way up, then a good long negative on the way down. I dunno… off day I guess.
I also notice that on curls I’m not progressing… not that big a deal, just an interesting observation point.
Today started to make me wonder if, after I finish the Challenge, I might want to reset. Wendler reports that most reset after like 5-8 cycles, and after I finish the Challenge it’ll be 9 cycles. But I don’t know, we’ll see what happens when I get there. One thought is I might not want to reset just yet… do one more cycle that allows rep maxes and really see if I need it, because if I’m cranking 3-5 more reps than prescribed, I don’t need to reset. Or it might be that I reset on certain exercises, like press and squat. A bridge to cross when I get there.
I’m happy for the PR, just wondering why chins sucked so badly.
Given my recent open carry oddness experience, a few things about the article struck me enough that I wished to comment.
Before I start out tho, I should say that I’m not really an open carry advocate. Do I find it odd that it’s illegal in Texas? Yes I do. Do I wish open carry was free and legal here in Texas? Yes I do. If I could legally open carry, would I? Probably not, but I appreciate having the freedom of choice because sometimes it may be the right choice.
1) Open carry will cause hassles with other people and eventually the police.
Yes I can see this being a reality today, but the more I’ve thought about it the more I’ve come to believe it’s something that has to be done to allow for change.
Let’s say the wording was changed to “Openly allowing black people to walk around will cause hassles with other people and eventually the police.” Sure that was the case years ago, but today? It’s not perfect, but it’s better. Should we keep black people, or gays, or Jews, or Catholics, or women under wraps because it will cause hassles and eventually involve the police?
How about instead we let people freely live their lives, and work to spread education and knowledge?
2) Criminals are not deterred by openly carried guns
Yes they are. There’s the Waffle House case back in 2010. There’s also numerous stories in the Chris Bird book “The Concealed Handgun Manual”.
But I will grant, it does change the game for a criminal. The author presents a story that showcases that the crime in fact seemed to be motivated by open carry! He wanted to steal the open-carrier’s gun! So it didn’t just not deter him, but it also was the prime motivation for the crime itself!
3) Getting your gun taken is a likely possibility!
It’s possible, but when we talk to private citizens about how retention holsters aren’t necessary, it’s backed by many years of looking for a case where this happens. We might see more now, and certainly we will change our stance if we see this is in fact an issue.
But that all said, the author is right. You don’t have magic abilities nor are you Billy Badass enough to keep all criminals from ever getting within 10 feet of you. Shit happens.
4) Most people who carry guns have crappy holsters and no weapon retention skills
This is the one that struck me most, given what I saw the other day. Two people with guns on their hips in crappy holsters. I have no idea if they have any retention skills, but the crappy holster alone was enough. And it may not be just the holster, but their whole equipment system, such as a really cheap belt.
I don’t totally agree with Mr. Ellifritz’s reasoning, but I’m not in total disagreement with him either. I know this can be a controversial and passionate subject for many, even within the “proud gun rights advocate” community. My personal preference is to minimize abridgement of good people, of maximizing freedom and choice. But always remember, just because it’s legal doesn’t always mean it’s the right nor best thing to do. Legality doesn’t equate to moral or right or just or good or sound. I would just prefer to have it as a legal option, because the more choices a good person can have, the more options responsible people can work with, the better decisions they can make.
I just returned from the southern chapter of the local indoor gun range.
The reasons for my visit I’ll detail at another time. I wanted to write about something else that happened while I was there.
While shooting, two gentlemen came to the adjacent lane to shoot. I overheard one of them express their newness, in asking the RSO for some help in how to load the gun. Yes that was a red flag to me to be more aware and mindful of what was going on a lane over. But to the range’s credit, I’ve been seeing RSO’s actually in the shooting area actively watching what’s going on. I must give them credit for that improvement.
Afterwards, I was able to talk with those gentlemen for a bit as they were parked next to me. They are new and very eager to learn. Of course I gave them a KR Training pen and disclosed my assistant instructor status there. We went back inside to look at a few things, and here’s where I winced.
The guys behind the counter… I guess they’re used to being muzzle swept all day and are jaded and don’t think anything of it, for they had no problem walking in front of the muzzle of the gun I was helping the gentleman look at. One guy behind the counter chimed in, and as this was their house I just let him talk and did my best to keep my mouth closed. To his credit, he gave a lot of good advice. He was spot on about getting a good holster. He recommended larger guns and not compromising. And much of what he said was pretty good stuff. That’s a welcome thing to hear, as all too often the guy’s behind the gun counter don’t know what they’re talking about and dole out bad advice.
But what bothered me the most was his gun handling.
I should have counted how many times I was swept by his muzzle. I’ve been muzzle swept enough, and I still don’t like it and still don’t take it casually. Maybe in my case I know the guns are loaded, and in the store they reckon the guns aren’t, but that’s a little too much complacency for me (Cooper Rule 1 and all that).
The store clerk took what I assume is his carry gun out of a bag, to show his Raven holster to the customer. He was very casual in the handling of the gun. I have no idea if the gun was actually loaded or not, but we all (should) know Col. Cooper’s Rule #1, right? I will assume it was loaded with one in the chamber tho, because the way he spoke implied it was his carry gun, there was a magazine in… and so I’m pretty sure it really was loaded. But again, it doesn’t matter — rule 1.
And that’s why it bothered me even more with how casually he held the holstered gun… with one hand on the grip, and the other hand holding the muzzle. And he kept doing it… just a fiddling thing, like you know how you might punch your fist into the palm of your other hand? it was a motion like that, punching the muzzle of the holstered gun into the palm of his other hand. Just one of those mindless things where you’re keeping your hands fiddling with something, but wow…. what’s Col. Cooper’s Rule #2? And NRA Rule #1?
I was all ready to be impressed with how things are improving at the local indoor range, and then I saw this sort of gun handling.
The thing is, this customer was coming to these guys for answers. It’s completely understandable for customers to expect gun store clerks to know something about guns. The trouble is, when you don’t know anything about guns, you don’t know if the information you’re getting is good or bad… but based upon what you expect — gun store should know about guns — these newbie customers are going to take what you say AND DO as gospel.
So come on… you know people are coming to you expecting you to be the expert. Behave like one. This is not just what you say, but what you do. Walking in front of muzzles, not respecting safe direction, fiddling with loaded guns behind the counter, violating fundamental gun safety rules, violating your own store policy (that big sign at the front door about all actions must be open…). I was all set to be impressed, but was just let down at the end.
“This is the season. It’s summer. Many people are outside working in their yards. They leave the garage door open, and then thieves are driving around looking for opportunity,” said Austin Police Department Detective Jason Jewett.
One of the victims in Jester Estates is Senior Judge Jon Wisser. For years he’s sentenced crooks. This is the first time he’s been on the other side of the crime.
“I wasn’t gone but two minutes,” Judge Wisser said. “My garage door was open. The guy came in and stole my $4,000 carbon fiber bike.”
Crime of opportunity. Open doors, unlocked windows… most criminals want an easy target, an easy score, which they can then pawn.
We all do it… mow the lawn, leave the garage open. Might not be a big deal when you’re mowing/working on that side of the house, but then when you go into the backyard, it’s all unattended. And you might live in a “good neighborhood”, but check out these crime databases and you’ll see that crime strikes everywhere around you. So maybe when out working, close the garage door and lock it. Keep the opener in your pocket, the keys in your pocket, whatever. Maybe that’s a pain, but think about how much of of a pain it’ll be for all your things to get stolen and to deal with the loss, the police report, the insurance, and so on.
One thing I thought was cool in this story?
Families posted fliers in the neighborhood after many people started noticing items missing. A mail carrier saw the sign and notified police.
“That tip came in, and in about three days we had our guy,” says Detective Jewett.
Active and interested neighbors. They communicated with each other, they worked together. Involved and nosy neighbors can be good things.