Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Brass Monkey... That funky monkey...

I've been helping a friend the last couple of days sort spent brass for his business. He sells the stuff on Gunbroker.

Anyway, he calls me yesterday and say a guy came in from state capitol city and bought every piece of sorted, unsorted, cleaned, uncleaned, dirty, whatever brass he had (over 50,000 pieces) and he needed help if he was going to have anything to put up on the table this weekend at the show. So I grabbed my tumbler and drove out there. And there I've been for the last two days.

.45 goes in this bucket...
.45 GAP in this bag...
.40's here, .38Spl there, 9mm here, 10mm there.
etc., etc.

It ain't fun. But it did score me another 300 rounds of cleaned, polished, decapped, swagged, and sized military 7.62NATO brass. w00t!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

AR build update: The long awaited range report

Guess what today was. That's right it was take a new gun to the range day! I looked at the weather forecast and they were calling for high winds this weekend. So, I got up, loaded up the AR, ammo, ears, eyes, etc. and drove out to my favorite outdoor 200 yard range.
Here's the setup and the target after I sighted it in. I may have the red dot sight set a mite bit low. But not bad for 50 yards standing.
The upper group across the bull is iron sights, 50 yards standing. The lower group is the red dot 50 yards standing.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Hey Secret Police! Add me to the list too!

Over at In Jennifer's Head. I read a great letter to the .gov peeps that are keeping tabs on all us right wing nutters.

I just want to say, add me to the list. kaithxsbie

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Weekend (sort of) in A Day in the Life of a Charter Pilot.

So I made it back, through (around rather) the storms last night to actually sleep in my own bed.

My weekend in sunny west coast climes was replaced with a totally different weekend jaunting around Wisconsin.

We were alerted at the last minute, that due to a mechanical issue we'd be winging a well known celebrity to his concert dates in the great state of cheese and beer. When I got that call all it meant to me was a lot of back of the clock flying. Goodbye circadian rhythm.

Looking at the trip sheet though. It struck me that we actually had a block of time sitting in the home town of Lavern & Shirley. By block of time I mean roughly 30 hours. Hey, that's an eternity when you're flying charter.

And what would two enterprising men of legal age do with said time in said city? Right in one. We toured breweries. Yes, plural. First we went to the brewery where the "champagne of beers" is made and took their free tour with free beer at the end. And you can't beat free, let me tell you. Even if it was only 3 samples. I'm not an American Style Lager fan. Cold and tasteless is not a beer flavor, it's an abomination. But having said that, Leinenkugel's Sunset Wheat was a nice little fruity quaff. The amount of beer produced in that one place and the size of the warehouse (5 football fields) and how quickly it's filled and emptied (basically every 24 hours) really qualifies this place as a factory more than a brewery. But the tour was fun, the tour guide was cute and the beer was free.

On a side note, all through the tour and around the factory walls were US flags and signs thanking our servicemen. My friend pointed out that our company, with all of it's DOD contracts doesn't have one even tiny flag in any of it's hangers or offices. It spoke volumes about that type of people I work for. This brewery thought enough of our countrymen to show it's colors even though it's product can't go into the countries that our servicemen do. And my company, that's turning profits off of the very same institutions and people couldn't care less.

But enough soapboxing.

After that tour we drove a few miles down to the river and checked in at Lakefront Brewery for their tour/fish fry. Every Friday they have one. The price is good, 11 bucks gets you the tour and a 5 dollar off coupon for the fish fry.

The difference between Big Giant Beer Factory and these guys was amazing. Hand crafting instead of machine driven. Fermentation kegs named Moe, Larry and Curly (complete with portraits) instead of "Fermentation Vat #12"

First off, we were about an hour and a half early for the tour. The guy setting up the kegs in the beer tent said if we wanted to wait he'd be down to sell tickets about a half hour before the tour and here's a couple of cups, just be kind and tip and feel free to pour as much as you want taste test the ones he had on tap. And off he went. Being the conscientious men of good moral character that we were, we proceeded to tip heavily. In retrospect, I think that guy was one of the higher ups in the company, like owner. Anyway, after have a couple of very nice beers, an IPA, a stoutish type and a cherry one. The guy we were drinking with stood up and announced the tour would be commencing. You got to love a job where the REQUIREMENT is to drink.

Turns out he is one of the master brewers there. The tour consisted of 4 stops, all on the brewery floor. The first two were a quick primer on beer brewing and it's history. The last stop showed the bottling and kegging process. Is kegging a word? The third stop was, of course, another taste testing station. Because the buzz would have harshed if we'd gone the whole 30 minutes without a drink.

While the guy was no where near as good eye candy as the other tour guide, he was a whole lot funnier. While describing the kegging process he told us a story that became the battle cry for the night.

You see, there's a hole in kegs where they pour the beer in, and this hole is called, I kid you not, the bung hole. And after filling, the bung hole is stoppered with a bung. A sort of birch wood cork. Birch wood is used because it absorbs moisture and swells up better sealing the bung hole. Just regular birch, not old growth or anything like that. Well, one tour he had happened to have a very activist, very green lady on it and she asked what type of wood was used. He, being the good brewery tour guide he was, was none too sober and told her it was made out of the rare old growth bung wood. And sure enough, come Monday morning, he gets a call from the company president asking why there were eco-protester marching outside the brewery? And why were they screaming to save the Bung Tree? And for the rest of the night the toast rose up, Save the Bung Tree!

Trust me, it's funnier after a couple of beers.

And, for the record, Breweries are some of the greenest industries around. Everything is recycled or reused. From the used grains being dried and sold to local farms as feed, to the excess heat being sold back to the electric companies as power. It don't get much greener. If you care about stuff like that.

There's a reason I prefer micro-breweries products to Great Big Beer Factory. If you're ever in the land of beer and cheese get yourself a six pack of Lakefront's beers and try them. You will not be disappointed.

The fish fry was great. Some of the best fried fresh water fish I've had in a long time and they even had an oompah band playing. Folk's, it couldn't get much better than that.

It was a good day.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I tried really hard.

Honestly, I did. I tried not to make a political blog. I even went a couple of weeks. Cold turkey and everything. But this, which led me to this, just goes beyond stupid. Does he have that little regard for what his actions say. Or is it just that he doesn't care. He's the top dog now and dammit, he's going to rub our less-than noses in it. What extant the hubris?

And why is it not reported in the US MSM? That's a UK site there. Can you imagine what the outcry would have been if either Bush had done something like this?

I fly for a living and I can tell you that the cost of each pizza after factoring in the costs of a chartered jet would keep many of us well fed for a year.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

A Day in the Liffe of a Charter Pilot

Another trip has come and gone. This time we airlined out to the northwest coast yesterday to meet the airplane and finish a trip that ran over the 14 hour limit.

On the plus side we got to go to the Nike Employee Store and pick up a plethora of swooshed stuff at minimal cost. It was good.

On a side note, my butt is only good for about 3 hours in the cockpit. I'm just sayin.

You would not believe what a corporate hanger looks like. I mean all we needed was a choir singing praises to make the image complete.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Slow day in Whoville.

Not much happened today. I ran my gun shop circuit. Picked up a new hand loader for the .308, some bullets and polisher and ogled a rather nice Mauser (carbine length). I'm about 2/3 done tumbling my .45 brass and if I can ever find some IMR3031 I'll load up some rounds using the A-Max and another set using the Nossler HP. Someday, I'll do a range report on those and the AR, I promise.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Phone Calls.

Tonight, I got a nice call from one of my friends down Texas way. To protect her anomoninityousness (its a word!) I won't say her name, but she said something that absolutely floored me laughing. You know the sort of thing. Something that you would never in a million and a half years think would come out of that persons mouth, and there it is.

It's nice to have people you know and call friends. It's even nicer (more nice) when they can surprise you with stuff like that.

My day got brighter after the sun had set this day.


Sometime, last Friday, my site meter quietly clicked past 10,000. While it's no Tam, or Brigid, or Phlemmy, or Ambulance Driver, or LawDog, it is a nice round number.

Thank you all for visiting.

It's nice to think that, in our sometimes disconnected society, we can still meet to share our thoughts.

Gun Shows

Another Wannenmacher has come and gone. Aside from my feet, I had a great time. I picked up some more .308 brass, a Lyman 1200 tumbler at a great price, a pair of back up iron sights for my AR project, and borrowed a vice at the show to finish putting it all together. (See post below, WEEHEE) My friend Mike made another find of the century in the Snider Trapdoor rifle category. Urso found a good deal on a nice Cetme rifle and we're planning a day of shooty goodness when my off week rolls around again.

The atmosphere at this show wasn't nearly as panicked as the last show. But people were still buying whatever they could. I worked the OPS table again, when I wasn't wandering around lost, and of the 55 AR's we took down to the show, only a dozen or so came back. The fact is, OPS didn't have nearly the stock at the start of the show as they did 6 months ago at the last one. The demand has been just too much and too steady to allow the store shelves to recover.

On a side note, this is the first time in 2 years that I don't have a rifle project in the works or standing by. I thought about starting an AK, but I just can't get as excited about it as I was with the AR or the M14.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Friday, April 3, 2009

Home... Sort of.

I'm home. I spent a grand total of 24 days on the road last month. But since we can't count recurrent training and off days worked to that total, I only "logged" 16. Fun. They would have turned me around and sent me on another week out, but I gently reminded them that they have other pilots and I bribed the schedulers.

I'm definitely not drinking with the right crowd.

Right now, since we've lost a few pilots and added an airplane, we are so short handed that I can expect the same sort of schedule for the foreseeable future.

My bosses excuse for not hiring to even replace the loses is that he and the DO will fill in the schedule as needed. Except neither he nor the DO will fly on weekends or late nights. So the rest of us are getting cosy with the term Chronic Fatigue.

That's the nature of Non-scheduled 135 charter. No regulated days off. So if they wanted to fly us 10 hours a day, every day of the month, they can. The idea being that we'll have non-flying days and enough crews to cover the airplanes so no biggie. Except, when you have X number of crew and X+1 airplanes...

My boss blew up at one of the other guys for not agreeing to work his days off. Seeing as how we only have 6 hard days off (2 three day stretches) as it is. It's kind of hard to not sympathise.

The rumor is we'll lose our hard days off before we replace lost pilots.

And my bosses insistence that we're slow doesn't really jibe with the full flight schedule.

Edit: The trip that my friend got into hot water for not doing, didn't happen. See, the trip would have been on a Friday and that's weekend time for my boss and the DO. So, they weren't available for the trip because you see the weekend and all...