Archive for December, 2006

Natalie’s Wedding

Well my little sister is officially married. I really admire her for never slowing down, and never giving up. That all started with me walking and her deciding that if big brother could walk – so could she. Natalie has been a go-getter ever since, following my successes up until the point she decided I was not moving quite quickly enough and she decided to lead the way by graduating college early early, and being the first of us to get married. Congratulations little sister, I wish you and Tyler all the best. Like always, you know if you ever need anything, I’ll be there.

I couldn’t go to my little sister’s wedding and not at least attempt to get some good photos of people enjoying the moment, so out came the camera and by the end of the reception my CF card was full. Not wanting to get in the real photographer’s (Mr. Carew of Carew Photography in Katy, TX) way, or ruin one of his shots with too much flash, I missed a few opportunities, but I think some of them came out quite well. Naturally, the photos were processed as quickly as my shiny new laptop could process them, which was ridiculously fast, and uploaded HERE to my flickr account.

Natalie's Wedding Photos
Ironically, Mr. Carew was shooting from my right at the very same moment I took this photo – accounting for the even lighting all around Natalie’s head – we both compared the shots and laughed at the accidental but helpful multidirectional lighting.

New Laptop

The time finally came to step up in the world of laptops. My Fujitsu P5020D was showing its age, lack of memory, and single core sadness a lot lately. Linux left me wanting quite a lot on my old laptop, and WinXP didn’t exactly make me want to do backflips either. For a while I had kicked around the idea of getting a Mac, even though I have traditionally been the most anti-Mac person on the face of the planet. That changed today when I brought home a 15″ Macbook Pro sporting the 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB of RAM, and a matte screen (reflections make baby jesus cry).

What brought about the change? Mostly my continued interest in photography and videos, but a number of people I know wouldn’t shut up about how great OS X has become, so I figured I’d give it a test drive. For the test, I went to a friend’s house and in 20 minutes whipped up a very nice photo video/slide show completely with a nice menu and plenty of bling. The machine was identical to the one I bought this morning, and it chugged through multiple tasks without a hitch. Everything was ridiculously easy to do, and that would definitely be a plus.

So now, here I sit blogging from my brand new Macbook Pro, and things are good. I’ve got the vast majority of my applications running and don’t feel like I’m missing anything at all. Earlier, I ran batches side by side on my fujip and the mbp – it took the poor little 1GHz Pentium M 3:32 to do the job, the 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo smoked through the batch in :42. I can dig it.

Macbook Pro

Christmas 2006 – The Review

Christmas went well for me today, got a few things I needed (and wanted) – and I got to spend time with my family. The last bit is clearly the most important as the chances that I am home for Christmas in 2007 are slim to none. For Christmas Eve in 2005, I was in uniform – though it was desert camo, and I was on duty. The evening’s festivities last year included at least three 82mm mortars, and two 107mm rockets (one of which blew the generator powering my tent into many small and large pieces.) This year, I was in uniform again, but in the calm and quiet safety of our church in Katy. Hopefully next year I can enjoy Christmas without explosions, but I think that’s a little far fetched.

Anyway, back to this year. We had midnight mass at 2100hrs – on the logic that it was midnight somewhere. By my calculations, that somewhere was right in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, but I suppose that is not important at all. Present opening occured sometime after we got back from church. Technically, the majority of our stuff was opened after midnight, thus actually ON Christmas – so we didn’t really cheat that much. After the hunting trip, I was in need of a meat grinder – for Christmas, I got one. I also scored some new clothes, a bunch of gift cards, a DVD, some things I can use at NTC next month, a calender, a poker set, and a 2GB microSD card for my GPS.

I posted the photos to my flickr account, as usual.

For Christmas dinner, a bunch of family and friends came over for what will henceforth be known as TheBestDamnedStandingRibRoastEVER(tm). I may not have any idea how to cook rabbit food – but I do wonderful things to meat. Given the fact that I love eating meat, that’s probably a really good thing. All in all I had a pretty Merry Christmas, and some great food.

Merry Christmas

To all my friends and family, Merry Christmas. Hopefully the day goes well for all and you get some nifty gifts and yummy food. Speaking of yummy food, I should probably get up and help cook!.

Merry Christmas.

Natalie’s Grad Pics..

… are finally online. Clicky click.

Natalie and her Diploma

2006 Huntin’ Trip

Saturday morning (the 16th) I headed out with my Uncle Juan to finally get in a good deer hunt. Who would ever believe a 23yr old, gun lovin’ Texan could have made it to 23 without ever killing a single deer? Trust me, it wasn’t a lack of trying that kept me from filling my freezer with my own venison – more like a lack of ever being in one place long enough combined with a serious lack of free time during season. Granted, the few times I ever did make it out to an area to hunt, I’d usually leave without seeing so much as a jack rabbit. All of that changed out on this lease, out between Junction and Rock Springs, TX.

Looking at my gun collection makes it fairly obvious that I’m a pistol nut, I don’t have much in the way of rifles – an old Russian Mosin-Nagant M44 that hasn’t been fired in around 4 years, an old Remington pump action .22LR (my first gun), and an old Winchester 1894 in .30-30. The 1894 came out with me, iron sights and all – zeroed at 100m with 150gr Winchester Powerpoints. A number of friends, both young and old, have given me hell for wanting to go out and hunt with a rifle that was designed well over 100 years ago, chambered for a round that was designed in equally ancient times. A few even said you couldn’t count on a “brush gun” in .30-30 for harvesting meat, they’re not “accurate” enough. Someone failed to pass that memo on while the 1894 was selling over 7 million copies. It might have also been a good idea to let the countless game animals of North America know they had nothing to worry about for the decades where just about every hunter on the continent was out in the field with a .30-30. Even in 2006, the memo didn’t make it to the two Texas Whitetail that dropped where they stood when a 150gr softpoint went in a .30″ hole in one side of their neck and came out a 1.5″ hole on the other.

Enough about the rifle though, on to the good stuff. We got out to the lease around lunch, loaded up the four-wheeler, and went for an afternoon hunt. On the way to the stand, we came up on around 12 deer, and 30 turkey – so I was pretty sure I’d be killing something tasty before nightfall. That feeling got better while spreading out some corn, a small doe with her youngin’ walked up to well within pistol range (30m) and just looked at us – like we were in the way. Less than an hour later, those two deer had company – two 8pt bucks, and 7 more does. I watched ‘em graze around for a while, trying to figure out which doe looked like she’d taste best in a bag of jerky. After about another half an hour the group made their way up even closer (70m), giving me more than a good enough picture to make a choice. Front sight post just in front of the shoulder, and centered in the neck, fully cock the hammer on my rifle, and squeeeeeeeeze the trigger. She dropped right where she stood, kicked a few times for maybe 5 seconds, and that was it.

I’ll inline a photo of deer #1 later

When we got the doe back to the camp, it was cleaning time. The only thing left of that doe was a spine, everything else is going to be eaten. A little while later, one of the kids on the lease with us shot his first doe too. He didn’t quite know what to think about a 9yr old and a 23yr old making their first (deer) kill on the same night. There’s a photo of him with his deer in my photo set from the hunt. After the cleaning was done, we did what men do – popped open some beer and grilled up some meat.

Early the next morning, we headed out to a different stand and waited for sunrise. Another large group of whitetail walked out, only this time there were 5 bucks 6pt and better, 3 spike bucks, and 3 doe. If I’d been able to take a buck, there was one standing out in the back just begging me to shoot him, unfortunately I was there for doe, I’ll get some horns some other time. After figuring out which deer I could shoot, they decided to hang out and stand directly in front of the deer I couldn’t shoot, which tried my patience, but in the end the nicest of the 3 does walked out on her own and got shot in the same spot as my first. This one just hit the ground, with a little flip of the ear and died.

Deer Hunting Trip, 2006

Deer Hunting Trip, 2006

So, after a good weekend, I’ve got two coolers full of deer. I kept the tail off the first one, and the hide off the second. I’ll have to look at getting some land of my own out in central .tx after my next deployment, so I can kill whatever I want during season and keep my freezer stocked with some good eatin’.

Several deer were “harmed” in the making of this blog, but that’s what happens on deer leases with a group of venison loving men nearing the end of their stay. Sure tastes yummy too.

Home for the holidays

I’m home, and I’ll be home until the 2nd.

So I want a new rifle..

.. and Savage Arms has what I’m looking for. The Savage Arms 12fv will probably be my next firearm purchase, likely to be followed by a stripped lower for a custom build on an M4. The 12fv will be a .243, just because it was the first centerfire cartridge I ever shot, and I like the capabilities and versatility of the cartridge. Top the rifle off with some nice glass in a set of quality rings, and anchor it down with a nice leather sling and I’m pretty sure I can kill anything that needs killin’.

A lot of people would go for the .308, but I already have two .30 caliber rifles and shot placement is not an area in which I need to pad with more caliber than necessary. Besides, if I do get a .308 it will probably be in the form of a FAL or some other battle rifle. The 12fv would round out my collection nicely I think and give me another option for hunting and plinking.

Self portraits?

You could say I was bored, but that would be the understatement of the year. Going out right now doesn’t make a lot of sense given that all of my current money, and my next paycheck are pretty well spoken for already. What does that leave me with as far as options go? Photography, and guitar – the two things I enjoy that I can do pretty much anywhere. Being below freezing outside doesn’t exactly thrill me to death, considering I start getting angry at the weather at around 70. Anyway, I stayed inside and played guitar for a while and then decided to snap a few shots of myself while not in uniform. A number of my favorite photographs are of the self-portrait variety, so I figured I’d mess with it some.

It's me

Getting ready for the holidays

Assuming my leave is approved as it was requested, I should be home in less than a week. I’ve got some gift buying to do, and a fair deal of work on my truck that isn’t going to do itself. Both my truck and my motorcycle need to be inspected, and the truck needs new registration. Before I get the truck inspected, or drive it across the country again, it could probably use a tune up. Everyone knows how much I enjoy turning wrenches in the cold, so that will be a wonderful event.. that probably needs to happen tomorrow. There’s a good chance I cover a lot of ground this Christmas, between hunting, visiting family, and visiting old friends. Should be a good time.

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