26 January 2007

OK, just a brief quote...basically I was doing the wikipedia crawl thing and I came on Mark Driscoll's page. From the previous page I was under the impression that he was an Emergie bigwig, which apparently is no longer the case, judging from this attributed quote:
"The Emerging Church movement is a bunch of disgruntled liberal evangelicals who gather together to complain about the megachurches of their parents."
I'm sorry, but that just gave me a little chuckle there. Cheers, right-wing orthodox cranks and hippie emergie nutters alike! Eb-oh-nee...and ahhhh-vo-ree...living in perfect har-mo-neeeee....

22 January 2007

Now I don't want you to start doubting the existence of universal order and all that, but I'm about to do the unthinkable...blog about sports.

Yeah, the American sport (there is only one, after all) has ensnared me. The Bears v Saints game was a bit disappointing, as I was rooting for the Saints despite their unrepentant and unbridled Frenchitude, but the Bears, well I'm happy they won. I like the Bears...something very 1960s about them, very "old time football team"...not like the flashy franchises that came later, they just have a simple mascot and they are a simple, respectable team with a lot of history. Go Bears!

I only caught the tail end of the other game...but it was the best part, seeing the final bit of the comeback as the Colts inched slightly over the Patriots. I really didn't want the Patriots to win...perhaps they just seem like a bunch of Northeastern blue-bloods. Peyton Manning (who I must interject looks uncannily like an overgrown baby) is actually pretty well-known for a modern quarterback...it seems like the QBs aren't quite the celebrities they used to be back in the Joe Montana days. That guy was a legend. Then he came to KC, but he left his game in San Francisco.

So yeah, I like the Colts and Bears...it'll be a good matchup, and I'll be pleased either way, though I'm rooting for the Bears!

It is funny, I have to admit, to witness myself try to write about sports. I know so little about it. It would be like if I started to write about cars. "Yeah, the camshaft has a sprunion that needs torque'ing before I'm ready to gusset the breach valve...but it shouldn't take much more than putting on one of those dual socketed hydraulic flanges I've got in the parts bin."

19 January 2007

Cosmoleniac - A person who takes a crazed interest in the act of disassembling, cleaning, finishing, and reassembling old military rifles.

Yes, I had already done found myself jonesin' for another rifle to work my magic on...the Mauser nicely polished and clean, all I can do with it is shoot it and maybe scrub the bore some more, until it starts to need a serious cleaning again. The call of the Enfield No4MkI was strong (fortunately not as strong as the lack of expendable income), but then it struck me...up on my wall, my first gun, the gun that stood at the ready to defend my household in the early years of my marriage (I suppose I'm still in the early years, as we enter our fifth year!), my beloved 1918 Lee Enfield SMLE No1MkIII*. A beautiful piece, with a unique bulldog-like snubby nose. It may lack a bit of the aesthetic elegance of the Mauser, but its bolt is smooth and fast, and it is built like a freaking tank. And aside from needing special tools for disassembly (I borrowed an extra long screwdriver, and I've got the special bolt/firing pin disassembly tool on order) it is fairly simple to dismantle...particularly the stock/barrel band that just swings open, instead of the Mauser ones you have to bang on and off with a mallet. I know .303 British isn't the best caliber in the world, but I'm not a hunter, and I've never had a problem with some sort of rim-based magazine jam, so I don't care.

So yes, I've got it partially disassembled. I'm thinking of baking (yes, baking) the stock in the oven to leach out any more cosmolene. The trigger assembly will be fun. There's a certain joy in cleaning these old machines. Not only the sort of therapeutic pleasure from stripping away the grime, grease, dirt, and (of course) cosmolene from the old rifles, but also in dismantling and rebuilding them from each and every pin, screw, and component...it gives an understanding I used to lack. I know now exactly how a Mauser trigger works (it's a terribly simple sort of thing). I don't do the same with my pistols because especially the small ones (like the Bersa) are so fine-tuned only a master gunsmith should muck about with them. Military rifles have a bit of leeway, and besides, I'm not depending on them as a matter of life and death.

How about, just for grins, I list out some military rifles I'd be interested in owning. Not even own, I guess...if you have one of these that hasn't been properly cleaned and degunked, I'll volunteer!

  • Lee Enfield No4MkI. The classic WWII era Enfield, and main armament of the British infantry. I'm keen to snag one of these as a foil to my WWI SMLE Enfield, and to have as a shooter to use up .303, with its nicer aperture sight.
  • Mosin Nagant M91/30 and M44. These were the rifles that drove the Nazis back on the Eastern front, a crude bolt-action that is a bit homely, yet still not without a bit of aesthetic charm. Chambered for the potent 7.62x54R, a rimmed round similar in ballistics to the 30-06, 8mm Mauser, and .303 British used by contemporary armies. These are cheap with a capital CHEA.
  • M1 Garand. The first prominent semi-automatic battle rifle. Note I said prominent, as I'm sure there were a number of other semi-autos, but the Garand was basically the first big one. A beautiful, well balanced rifle, with an internal mag of 8 rounds of 30-06. These are NOT cheap, I assure you.
  • M1 Carbine. An interesting "in between" weapon. Firing an almost absurdly unique cartridge (the .30 Carbine) that lands somewhere between pistol and rifle round, this is a fun gun to shoot; my father-in-law has one. It is a definite cobbling of compromises, with a moderate blend of power and light weight. Oh, and its got aperture sights! Also not cheap though.
  • Lee Enfield Jungle Carbine. Nice little .303 gun that costs far too much, I used to really want to snag one, but collectors' prices have really driven the cost up on these. Short barrel, large flash hider, basically a miniaturized shoulder cannon. Requisite accessory, Aussie bush hat. On second thought, maybe its best I not own one of these.

16 January 2007

Couple not-so-important things of which I will choose to blog. First off, last night I experimented with pepper vodka for the first, and in all likelihood last, time. Allow me to explain. A particular beer I was brewing utilised an experimental new hop variety...one that I discovered, too late, gave a distinct green onion aroma. While that scratched my plans to turn the beer into an Apricot IPA, I was unwilling to sacrifice the batch, and surmised it was a fine time to experiment with a pepper beer, at last. Green onions may not work well with apricots, but they'll go fine with peppers!

So off I went to the imported foods store, and I purchased a couple bags of dried chipotle chilies. I put 20 of these peppers in a container and soaked them in about 300ml of vodka, which took on a distinct orange-brown hue after several days. I then took the peppers and vodka and added them to the beer...reserving about 40-50ml of the infused vodka.

Last night, I thought, let's give that a try. So I cut a strip of celery, stuck it in a glass with ice cubes, poured the 1.5oz of pepper vodka on top, and then poured in about 5-6 oz of Spicy Hot V-8. Stirred it up. Smelled it...chipotle tomato, not bad...interesting. Took a sip. MADRE DE DIOS! GOTT IN HIMMEL! APEKATTDRITT! Yes, it was that hot. I can handle a lot of heat, but this, this was pure capsaicin leached out into that drink. Way too much heat to be bearable, my face was on fire. I don't normally admit defeat so easily, but I dumped it all out without subjecting myself to a second sip.

Which leads me to believe...this Chipotle IPA is going to be a bit of flamethrower! I must say, pardon the schadenfreude but I'm keenly looking forward to inflicting this on my fellow St. Crispin's members.

Moving on, my foolish heart, smitten at first, then slowly resigned to reality, is recovering. Yes, last Thursday was the SHOT Show for 2007, where all the firearms industry companies get together to show off their products to distributors. And what should happen, but Kel-Tec, the gun company of whom I am a most devoted fan, decides to come out with a 7.62 NATO bullpup design. An unprecedented design, it is too...forward tube ejection, improved trigger design, all kinds of goodies that make this the perfected bullpup. And at 7.62 NATO! I would have been giggly excited over 5.56mm, but they up the ante with a .308! Needless to say I was quite giddy about it...until I saw the MSRP. $2K for the 18" carbine, $2.5K for the 24" battle rifle, and $3K for the 32" target model. In order to purchase one next year when they become available I would have to put aside $40 a WEEK. While I struggled for a while with that, I came to the decision that no, there is no practical reason I need a .308 tactical rifle, and that is a lot of money for a range toy. For $700 I could get a nice FAL anyway, a proven design...not that I need it! Who knows if they keep making them, I could get one 5-10 years from now perhaps, no need to get one right away.

Here are some pics of that lovely new rifle: