Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Stay on Target....

Tonight, TOTALLY rocked! I got to shoot guns! I shot 8 rounds with a semi-automatic pistol like the one on the right and two shotgun shells (out of a shotgun - of course).

On the left is my target from the pistol shoot. We were told to aim for the chest and try to get our shots within the square. Five of the eight are within that square and three are damn close. I was thrilled. And yes there are five inside - that hole in the upper right has a little hole just below and to the left.

It was such a strange experience to shoot a weapon because I've never shot any kind of firearm before. None. I've used a bow for target shooting but it is completely different from what this entailed. I was expecting more kick than I experienced because I expected to have sore wrists after, but I didn't. I also didn't even notice the discharge of the shells as I was firing, even though I expected to notice that process. The interesting thing was that after the class was over, I had sore knees. I wasn't at all sore where I expected to be (wrists and shoulder).

As I fired, my hands started to shake a little bit and I think the more "wild" shots were shot later as reaction started to kick in. Sighting the weapon was pretty easy. However, they had us shooting from pretty darn close (5-7 yards), so that could be why. Their rationale for placing us close was that most shots are taken at close range, so we should learn what that's like. Also, they probably wanted us to actually hit the target and if we'd gone further back we might have missed. Still, they seemed pretty impressed with the class because I was definitely not the only one who did well.

Then they asked if we wanted to shoot the police shotgun. The three guys in the group weren't enthused because they were all hunters so it wasn't a big deal to them. Me though, I said I wanted to shoot. They loaded two shells, a buckshot shell and a slug shell.

The results were interesting. I've heard horror stories about people who've fired shotguns and them having huge bruises on their shoulders and the pain lasting for days, etc. So frankly, I was expecting to be in a world of hurt after doing it, but you know what? I wasn't. I must have done it right because the ONLY bruise I had was a couple of tiny lines from the shirt I was wearing which had a ribbed neckline. The edges where the stitching was left two slender lines on my shoulder, but other than that...nothing. My shoulder didn't even hurt.

I mean, I'd scheduled a chiropractor appointment for the next day and everything. But all for naught!

So on to target assessment. On the right is my shotgun target shoot. We shot from 10 yards out. The little holes in the middle are from the buckshot shell. Pretty damn good, even if I do say so myself! The slug shell - not so hot. Now the big hole on the right was part of the slug - the wadding. But the shell was below the target... dead center and just below the target. Basically, the perp I shot would have gotten it in the groin. I looked at that and kind of groaned to myself. It's entirely possible the officers may have groaned silently in sympathy too, but they praised my ability which was really nice of them.

Seeing where the slug went reminded me of the movie 9 to 5 where Dolly Parton tells the scummy boss that she'd change him from a rooster to a hen with one shot. This woulda done it.

Still, it was a very cool experience to shoot the weapons. The firing range instructor was knowledgable, enthusiastic, and a genuinely nice guy. I have been totally impressed with all the officers I've met. I think next week is evidence processing. CSI, here I come!!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bread Day

Greetings again!

Well, I took a chance. I've always wanted to bake fresh bread on a regular basis, but I haven't been that ambitious...or dumb. Right after I got my last paycheck I ordered the crock and sourdough starter from King Arthur Flour. It finally arrived in the mail and I had today off because I work this weekend. So I got the ball started with it last night.

I've got to say, my sourdough starter isn't NEARLY that white. I hope it isn't supposed to be. The good news is that it smells like it's supposed to so I think it will be okay. The thing is...this process takes FOREVER!!!! Both of my grandmothers used to make bread from scratch and I loved the results but I never really appreciated the effort so much as I have today. Between feeding and waiting and kneading etc. I mean whoa. I'm on another rising and I still haven't got any bread to show for it.

The other thing is that the recipe from KA says to throw half of each separation away and I couldn't bring myself to do that. I think my kitchen will soon be taken over by sourdough starter! Really. I've got one four cup measuring cup full, an eight cup measuring cup full and I also have the leftover starter in the pictured crock. I could probably make bread for a week and not use this stuff up. Sigh. At least it will allow me some experimentation.

This first batch is going to be an Italian style. I fried onions to a soft brown along with some garlic and that Italian Seasoning stuff I mentioned in a past post. It smells like heaven - but now my hands smell like onions cause I just kneaded the stuff into the dough and it's gonna make two loaves. We'll see how things go - wouldn't it be nice if it looked like the picture of bread to the left? Keep your fingers crossed. And yes, I'm feeling ambitions because I'm thinking that on Sunday I'll use one of the other starter bits to create "plain" sourdough.

Hopefully all this will result in nummy goodness before my house is so filled with bubbling starter it oozes out the front door.
Note: This made some excellent bread - though it took FOREVER to bake (feeding, rising, baking!) I didn't get any plain bread made, but the onion bread was good. I'm going to try again later.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

May the Force Be With You!

Class two of Citizen's Police Academy. Now this was cool! Tonight I got to hit a cop and no charges were filed! LOL. Oh, yeah. He was WELL padded.

The word for the night was force. We learned about the assessment officer's are forced to make every time they deal with an encounter with a suspect. This is referred to as the "Use of Force Continuum."

So the theory here is that as the subject/suspect escalates his/her behavior then the force used by the officer to meet that threat must match or exceed it. The sooner a subject is under control the better, but sometimes you walk into a situation that is already in the red zone where deadly force is required.

The discussion of this was really intriguing. We started out with discussion and watched some video tape scenarios - and these were actual incidents which involved police officers. In at least one, the officer lost his life as a result of what transpired, so it's very sobering to realize that one wrong choice could result in a death, either of the suspect or the officer.

Then we got to the practical stuff. They took us down onto the mats in the gym area for some light "training." We started out with handcuffs.

They showed us two different kinds - the kind with some room (like these on the left) and hinged cuffs which will exert even more control with a struggling bad guy. Dang, these were hard to manipulate. I have little hands so getting the cuffs oriented correctly in my hands in order to slap them on someone's wrist was a bit of a challenge. I don't think I ever really got the hang of this but it was interesting.

We started with a "compliant" perp. Then moved on to passive resistant where the person is holding their hands in tight to prevent the officers from putting cuffs on them. In order to get someone to give up their hands, police use pressure points on the face and head. I volunteered for this just to find out what it was like. There's a point just along the jaw, below the ear, and one under the nose. The Lieutenant started with my jaw. On me, it didn't work. He moved to my ear - still no dice. It was the spot under the nose that got to me, but I held out for awhile. I must have a high threshold of pain.

After that we discussed the use of the night stick. Officers start with a collapsible baton before they qualify for the one you see TV beat cops wearing. This is what we used. First the Lieutenant demonstrated on a volunteer.

I thought to myself. Oh, okay, I can do this. I ended up as the second one in line. Frankly, I think everyone else took a step or two back so I ended up second but...oh well. So the first up was one of the men in the class. THEN they drop the bombshell - you have to yell at the volunteer perp to tell him to drop.

I'm thinking... Oh crap and visualizing that plump, black lady cop from the Police Academy movies. You know, the one with the whispery, prissy voice until she gets scared or pissed? I decide, well girl, you better use your SCA Herald's voice. I know how to shout, I just usually don't do it in front of people cause it makes me nervous.

The police officer who volunteered to get "whupped" had a big thick pad covering him, so he was perfectly safe. In fact, he said he barely felt anything as we were hitting him. I watch the first guy up. He yells and connects with the approximate leg location pretty well. As I'm watching, I process mentally and realize this is just a rap shot to the leg. You hold the baton up above the shoulder, a bit like a baseball bat but use only on hand. Then you hold your opposite hand in front as protection - just as if I were holding a shield in my hand. Then you whip the weapon around and aim for the outside of the thigh.

I yelled loud, "Get down." Brought the baton around and down. I nailed it pretty good. I did it twice and I enjoyed every minute of it. I finally get why SCA fighter's enjoy fighting - I just don't want to take a shot in return. Ever.

So tonight was pretty fun. Next week...guns. Watch out world, Francesca's got a gun!

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Pirate name!

My pirate name is:

My pirate name is:

Dread Pirate Bonney

Like the famous Dread Pirate Roberts, you have a keen head for how to make a profit. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from piratequiz.com.
part of the fidius.org network

Happy International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Ahoy Mateys!

Each year on September 19th we can celebrate the buccaneer in us all because today is International Talk Like a Pirate day!
Back in the 1990s a couple of guys decided they'd become pirates for a day and started talking strangely. Instead of people just looking at them oddly, they started a movement.

I first heard about this special day a couple of years ago from some SCA friends of mine (like this should surprise you at all).
Since today is my last day of vacation, talking like a pirate might be a very good thing for me! On Monday, I shall return to the library renewed from goodly amounts of sleep.

In the meantime, swagger out into the day, me beauties! Drink some tasty grog, talk like a pirate and drive people crazy!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hanging with the Cops

I attended my first class in the Citizen's Police Academy. It was pretty cool. Chief of Police introduced himself and welcomed us to class. Two Lieutenants were our instructors and they will be running the session. Last night was a LOT of sitting and listening, not too much activity. Looking at our schedule though, I think that's going to change RIGHT away.

Last night we toured the police department and one of the on duty officers brought his squad car to the parking lot and explained about what kinds of things were in the car etc. We may even get to DRIVE one of these puppies later on. And yes, boys and girls, run for the hills. Class three will take us to the firing range and I'm gonna shoot a gun. I don't know if I'll be brave enough to take a whack at the shotgun, but I'm definitely gonna give the revolver a shot. (Pun TOTALLY intended!)

This is going to be such GREAT research for my writing! Not only will I learn tons of stuff, but I'm going to make contacts with officers that I can call on to ask questions of later. I'll keep you posted on developments as they occur. ;-)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Citizens on Patrol

Well, I'm trying again. This year the local police force WILL be holding the Citizens' Police Academy and I'm enrolled. Be afraid. Be very afraid. I'm going to learn police procedure and I think I might get to shoot a gun. Whoa. We'll see.

I'm definitely looking forward to the experience. Tonight is the first class. I'll report back tomorrow to let you know how it goes! I'm sure it will be far more organized than the movie version - I have confidence in our local officers. ;-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Calontir's New Crown

Long Live the King!

Long Live the Queen!

Long Live Calontir!!!

On Saturday, I spent the day in the Middle Ages. Time travel was not involved, I simply drove to an SCA event being held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (aka Deodar).

I haven't been real active in the SCA for a few years, but when the knight (now King) in the picture above, won Crown Tournament this year I decided it was time to start playing again. Yes, he's cute but why else was I so inspired? Well, he was the first King I remember well after I joined the SCA slightly more than ten years ago. You always remember your first King and Queen with the greatest fondness, or so I am told, and it's definitely been true for me. Through the years I have grown better acquainted with him and have always find him to be a genuinely good guy and very gracious.

The other cool thing about Saturday is that I saw SO many people I've known and been friends with through the years that I was reminded why I had joined in the first place. It felt good to get hugs from friends and to know they had missed seeing me. So for now, they are stuck with me again. I'll do my best to get to events when I can and support the Kingdom I love and the Crown I respect.

To check out a local SCA group near you, visit http://www.sca.org then click on the link to the right that says, "Find your local group." I look forward to seeing you at an event soon!

Monday, September 8, 2008

One week and counting....

Greetings all,
One week and counting then yes, I get a vacation. Or in my case a "staycation." I'm not financially set enough to go anywhere, but my plan is to stay home, sleep in, and write...write...write.

I have a ton of ideas and I'm rarin' to go. So keep your fingers crossed that the stars align and I have a great week of writing!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Jon Stewart from The Daily Show

This was on The Daily Show last night. I'll let him speak for himself.