I started (and finished) reading Massad Ayoob's "In the Gravest Extreme" last night, a seminal work in the area of firearms self-defence. Probably the best book on firearms in general I've ever read, even if it is (substantially) dated information. He talks about the "9 m/m" caliber like a fancy new invention from Germany! But I would recommend this to any and every gun owner. It is a sobering and reasoned examination of the ramifications of carrying or owning a weapon, and it forces the reader to consider hard questions that would be much better decided now than when life is on the line. Too many people think of a gun as a magical item imparting an aura of safety around the owner, and they give little thought to what they would do exactly were they forced to deploy it.
How's this for nerdliness: I'm going to make a crappy simulation of ballistic gelatin. Ballistic gelatin is a form of (duh) gelatin that is made do the density of the human body, and cartridges are fired into it to examine penetration, fragmentation, and wound channel size. It allows for a good comparison of terminal ballistics of various bullet calibers and styles. It also looks cool, I admit, which is the real reason I may attempt this. Basically I'm just going to mix up plastic milk containers full of jello (made to a thick consistency) and chill it, then blast it to kingdom come, and hope that it captures some bullets before they exit the other side. It would be awesome to get a perfectly expanded jacketed hollowpoint, even just to explain to people what the point of a hollowpoint is (because yeah...a LOT of people sure do ask me about that stuff...right...).
On the cooking front I've been interested in Asian foods, doing a lot of noodle dishes here recently. I like Thai rice noodles rather a lot, I've been cooking them and vegetables with pad thai sauces, curry sauces, and peanut sauces, all with a shot of Sriracha chili/garlic sauce for some blistering heat. If I ever do start that British brewpub, I'll be supplementing the good old Brit favourites with colonial tastes...chicken curry or tikka masala from India, and perhaps a Burmese/Thai noodle dish with lots of fiery chilies. That would go rather nicely with a malty, sweetish Southern England brown ale, I think. No fizzy pisswater lager allowed! Perhaps in October we could brew an honorary Oktoberfest Maerzen-style, but other than that, the lightest thing on the menu will be Bitter!
Two, at most three things remain on my "to get" list of guns for practical purposes. Note these are not "toys" like some guns might be...things to take to the range and have fun shooting with. I admit my last purchase, a Kel-Tec PLR-16, may have bordered on that, being basically designed as a weapon to be deployed against hordes of zombies. The first is a lightweight carry pistol, such as the planned-to-acquire Kel-Tec PF9. An HK USP Tactical would be "fun" but too expensive and impractical for anything but open carry. The second is that most trusty and proven home defence weapon, the 12-gauge shotgun. My plan would be to acquire a Mossberg 590 with ghost ring sights and retrofit it with a pistol grip and folding stock. Finally, and more optionally, would be a simple modern rifle with long range optics and a moderately powerful caliber, 7.62 NATO or higher. No there aren't many (any?) self-defence scenarios when you would need a long-distance rifle, but say I wanted to go hunting with the lads? Likewise, the Mossberg could double as a hunting weapon, though it would be comical to fire birdshot out of scary black folding-stock shotgun replete with tactical accessories. Kind of like hunting deer with an M82A1 Barrett .50 cal sniper rifle. Insert obligatory "go ahead Bambi make my day" joke here.
OK, one last gun-geek note. Is anybody else pissed that they named the .38 Special a .38 Special? Apparently the .38 Special is NOT in fact of a caliber of .38, as one would assume. I was always confused, because a revolver chambered in .357 Magnum can shoot .38 Special. Turns out, the .38 Special is actually .357. It's a bloody .357 Special if you ask me. Here I was thinking that a .38 Special was a rimmed, revolver version of a 9mm round. Just for clarification, the .380 Auto round, or 9mm Kurz, is 9mm x 17. 9mm Parabellum, the ubiquitous round known simply as "9mm", is 9mm x 19. I was thinking .38 Special was 9mm with a longer case than that, basically a juiced up 9mm. How wrong I was. The misleading bastards!