Archive for February, 2018

Chicken, Shrimp, and Rice Stew

By From • Feb 20th, 2018 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

This flavorful stew boasts both rich hearty flavors yet tastes light and fresh all at the same time. Using basmati rice that has been broken into very small pieces by a food processor, it becomes a thickening agent for this dish, turning soup into a cr…

Rivanna Indoor IDPA Match

By From • Feb 19th, 2018 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

It’s been five months since I was able to get to the monthly IDPA match at the Rivanna range in Charlottesville, and I was looking forward to enjoying another fun match at the club. Saturday’s weather outlook called for a rainy winter day, ho…

The Problem With Algorithms

By From • Feb 18th, 2018 • Category: Blog Entries.Local


Facebook’s algorithms are in the news a lot these days, and with good reason. But this isn’t about Facebook. I’ve been thinking about algorithms in general lately. This has been brought on by my wife’s insulin pump, the Medtronic 670G. It’s the first closed loop pump approved by the FDA …

After Work Range Time

By From • Feb 16th, 2018 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

After work on Thursday, Colleen and I, joined by our friend “Checkered Flag,” made a run down to Winding Brook Indoor Range for a bit of stress release. We signed up for three separate lanes so everyone was able to do their own thing.For my practice se…

Lenten Appetizer and Entrée Recipes

By From • Feb 15th, 2018 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

No-stress delicious Lenten appetizer and meal recipes for you to enjoy and share!- Brown Butter Lobster Bisque- Creamy Caribbean Sweet Potato Soup- Chickpea Vegetable Stew- Shrimp and Broccoli Rolls with Peanut Sauce- Oyst…

For Valentine’s Day

By From • Feb 14th, 2018 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

It’s a stereotype we’ve all heard. Husbands who have to sneak beer into the house. Or they devise a plan for surreptitiously acquiring a new gun. I shake my head in amazement, and disgust, when I see guys bragging online about about “fooling” their wiv…

Valentine’s Day Haiku 2018

By From • Feb 14th, 2018 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

Candy Hearts

Fuck Cancer
Thirtieth Valentine’s Day
Thirty more coming

It’s edgy haiku in the 3-7-5 format.

I just made that up. I have no idea if 3-7-5 haiku is a thing. If not, it should be.

I used to consume a lot of those candy hearts around this time of year …

Chesapeake Cup IDPA Match

By From • Feb 13th, 2018 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

On Saturday, over 100 dedicated, and perhaps slightly crazy, shooters braved rain and extremely muddy conditions to shoot the Chesapeake Cup BUG and CCP Tier 2 Match at Sanner’s Lake Range in Lexington Park, Maryland. I’d been looking forward to the match and had been wearing out my phone’s touch screen watching the weather forecast in the weeks before the match. At least the temperatures in the upper 40’s to 50’s made the wetness bearable.

Adding to the challenging weather conditions, the ground cover in many of the bays does not react well to wet conditions. Much of the ground we had to traverse was left extremely soft and muddy. I likened it to walking in freshly poured concrete. On the bright side, it was not excessively slippery, but threatened to suck off shoes, and left a cratered, puddled service on which to navigate many of the courses of fire.

I started the match at stage 1, seated at a “card game.” The course required grabbing my “winnings” and then pushing a button to activate a mover. After engaging several targets while seated, we moved to engage more targets from cover. Unfortunately the wet weather interfered with the electronics, so when I pushed the activator button, nothing happened. I got to spend some time, sitting in the chair, watching match officials replace switches and troubleshoot the wiring.

Eventually, I was unloaded and our squad jumped over to stage 2. This was a quick course with six very up close and personal targets. After shooting that, I returned to my previous seat to shoot the now repaired stage. It was a little bit of a mental challenge to jump around the stages, but I got it done. Three members of our squad returned to complete the first stage before another squad showed up. Unfortunately the remainder of our squad had to return at the end of the day to complete stage 1.

After the close targets of stage 2, the third stage required us to shoot at a much longer distance. Sixteen targets, placed out around 25 yards, required one hit on each. I’ve been getting in some longer distance practice of late, so was looking forward to this challenge. Unfortunately, while I did have three -0 targets, I also had a number of -1 and -3 hits, for a total of 18 down. However, there were no misses.

The next stage was one of my favorites of the match. The scenario was a lab being attacked by terrorists. At the start, we grabbed a test tube which we had to carry in our hand for the entire stage. We also hit a large button on the wall that activate one close moving target. That mover jerked back and forth at intervals, the target literally jumped out of the way of your shot if your timing was just right (or wrong.) After that there were a couple steel poppers, place in front of a non-threat. Two more points of cover offered shots at partial targets fronted by non-threats.

To my chagrin, the rain started in earnest at this time, and the targets were bagged just in time for my run. Despite that, I believe I shot the course just -2. Unfortunately, the stage was thrown out from the match due to scores being lost for some shooters. Another failure of electronics during the day.

Stage 5 was a repeat of a fun stage we saw at a recent monthly match, with a couple swingers activated by steel at the opposite side from the targets. Alas, this stage was also thrown out due to scoring losses by the electronic scoring devices.

In what was the most interesting “pick up gun” stage I’ve encountered, the match provided a Mossberg Shockwave to be used at the start of the course. We got a few minutes to dry fire the pistol grip shotgun before shooting it. The stage started with the gun aimed down range, and requiring three shots on three steel targets. Finishing with the shotgun there were targets to be engaged, with the pistol, from both sides of a wall, including a swinger activated by stepping a rubber pad.

I found no comfortable way to confidently aim the short, wet shotgun, and wanted it nowhere near my face. Instead I held it low, racked off three quick shots and then engaged the steel with my pistol. It was a fun stage, and offered a chance to shoot something different. The Shockwave is an novelty gun and an interesting exception to the restrictions on short barrel rifles, but I am not sure of its practicality for self defense.

By the time we got to stage 7, the conditions had truly reached bottom. My pants were wet from bottom to top. My shirt still dry, but as it was the only dry place to dry my hands before shooting, that piece of clothing was soon wet as well. The ground conditions were such that our squad neglected to take any walk through of the course prior to shooting. And still, we’re having fun!

This stage started with engaging two targets, which I did while backing up to the next shooting position. Then kneeling behind a barrel, we faced one steel and three paper targets. Hitting the steel caused two of the paper targets to fall and be replaced with two others. Despite the conditions, this was my best stage finish of the match.

Stage 8 was a standards stage featuring both strong hand and weak hand shooting, requiring four magazines loaded to 6 rounds each. For the first string we shot the three targets freestyle, reloaded, and reengaged the targets SHO. The string was repeated, this time switching to WHO. I’d been practicing one-handed shooting, and recently made some adjustments to my grip. Still I was somewhat apprehensive as two of the targets were partially blocked by non-threats, with the most open shots being the head areas. Even though I was 8 points down, mostly from hitting the head but outside of the 4 inch circle, it was still one of my better stage finishes. I was also very thankful for the rubber Talon Grips I had recently put on the gun. My grip on the wet gun was greatly enhanced which added to my confidence on the stage.

The next to the last stage of the match contained what was probably my most memorable shot of the match. Starting with our hands on a target, we knocked over the threat, and engaged the target laying on the ground. Turning, we faced a small steel plate, set menacing close to a non-threat target. Almost forgetting it, I turned, steadied my aim and squeezed, knocking over the plate. While it wasn’t an exceptionally long shot, about 12 yards, I whispered a quiet “yes” as I moved to the next position. Two more steel targets on the stage allowed me a perfect run on all steel in the match — hitting them all with the first shot — a feat not often accomplished on steel targets.

The final stage of the match started with the gun loaded with 6 rounds and placed in box, our spare magazines set on a barrel down range. We engaged three targets while seated, then moved to retrieve our reload. At the barrel, we had a choice on how to engage the last four targets. We could take the shots from that position, where only the heads of the targets were exposed over a low wall. Or we could move to a low port and shoot the full target, but from a kneeling position. The former position offered fairly close head shots, though shooting low would mean hitting non-threat targets. I opted to take the head shots. Alas, on the very last target of the match, one of my heads shots was just outside the perf, and was a miss. I had called the shot good, despite not seeing the hole through the plastic bag. I almost made it through the whole match with not a single miss. Until. The. Very. Last. Target.

Lunch was included with our match fee, and provided by Southern Bobby-Q Catering. I ate my tasty Italian Sausage quickly, while standing in the rain, before the bun become totally water logged.

Overall, the match was a lot of fun. We suffered through prop failures on a few stages, but nothing that caused huge delays. The issues with the electronic scoring forced some competitors to have reshoots, and ultimately the deletion of two full stages from scoring. The match staff had opted to use no paper backups, which was a lamentable decision. After shooting through the mud and rain, it would have been nice to have the effort count. That I felt I had good runs on those two stages only added to the frustration, though I did hear from some competitors who met the news with relief.

The condition of the ranges, as a result of the new ground cover, does give me concern for upcoming matches. Looking back through some of my previous match reports and pictures, the material has been in place for at least several months, though I’ve not had the misfortune to shoot there after a heavy rain. Sanner’s Lake is one of my favorite places to shoot, I do hope they can resolve the problem in short order.

Despite the weather and somewhat uncomfortable shooting conditions, I was generally happy with my scores. I placed 30th of 117 Overall, and 11th of 49 in my division and class. Of course, having the one miss at the end, moved me out of the top 10. Still, with now just 2,000 rounds through the compact gun, and only three matches using it, I have little cause for complaint.

The day was long, but enjoyable. The shooting was fun and the people friendly. It’s not always going to be sunny day, and shooting in foul weather can indeed be fun and safe. Capping the day off, once I was home, the gear and myself cleaned and dried, I enjoyed the exciting final few minutes of the VA Tech men’s basketball team’s defeat of their rivals in Charlottesville. All in all it was a good day.

I kept my phone under cover and packed away for much of the match, but did capture some pictures of the stages. They are posted here.

[ This content originated at Musings Over a Barrel ]

Saint José Sánchez del Río

By From • Feb 10th, 2018 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

Today, February 10, is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Saint José Sánchez del Río. On this date in 1928, this 14 year old boy was killed by Mexican troops for refusing to renounce his Catholic faith during the Cristero War. The story of this period of Catholic persecution led by Mexican President Calles was told in the movie “For Greater Glory.” The young martyr was beatified by Pope Benedict XVI on November 20, 2005, and later canonized by Pope Francis on October 16, 2016.

The Saint’s story is one with which few American Catholics are familiar. That is a tragedy in its own right. Though they might not know the Saint’s story, many Americans are no doubt familiar with his face. The picture, shown below, of the young boy with Cristeros fighters is one that is often seen hanging in Mexican restaurants, among other old photos. Probably not too many diners know that a Saint and fighter for religious freedom is looking down at them while they eat.

After José was captured by government forces fighting the Cristero, he was forced to witness the torture and execution of fellow Catholic countrymen, yet he never wavered in his faithful resolve. He was himself was tortured and urged to shout “Death to Christ the King” with the promise his suffering would be over. On the day of his torturous execution, the soldiers cut the soles of his feet and he was made to walk barefooted to the grave they had dug for him. He was repeatedly stabbed with bayonets as he made his way to the place of his martyrdom.

Even after he had been shot he continued to cry out “Viva Cristo Rey!” (“Long live Christ the King!”) The commander of the soldiers was so furious that he was able to resist the government barbarism, he finally shot the boy in the head. As he died he is said to have drawn a cross on the ground with his own blood as a final act of defiance.

During the Cristeros War many Catholics were killed by the Mexican government for their faith. This tragic part of recent history is pointedly ignored by the history books in both the United States and Mexico. It is a story that needs to be told and learned by all free people.

Saint José Sánchez del Río is truly a Saint for our times. His faithfulness in the face of torture and death should be a model for all of us. I pray we can be as strong when our own persecution comes.

Blessed José Sánchez del Río, Pray For Us!

[ This content originated at Musings Over a Barrel ]

How much does a VA reckless driving lawyer cost?

By From • Feb 10th, 2018 • Category: Blog Entries.Local

If you received a reckless driving ticket, you are probably wondering what to do about it and how much does it even cost to hire a VA reckless driving lawyer? Many of my clients have never needed a lawyer before, so it’s not unusual to be concerned about the costs involved. But as I’ve written […]

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