Sunday, September 27, 2009

I Gran Torino'd both yards this week--the place looks beautiful, if I do say so myself. The Pumpkins and gourds we grew will soon be placed on the front porch as decorations for fall. I've been pulling up expired cucumber vines to be followed by snow peas planted in their place. A good deal of our gardens will be resting over this winter..and we will compost them for next years crop. We did pretty good overall for our first year gardening...we gave vegetables away to those who needed them---sold some at the local farmers market---beautified our back lot---canned excess--maybe inspired others to garden for themselves---a very good first garden year as I look back.
I looked at gardening as a necessity for the future...a fall back in case of economic collapse much like the Russians went through in the 1990's. I've learned that on a 50x90 foot lot, in the city you can produce a tremendous amount of food with the proper organization and preparation. That we would have excess to trade or sell for other items that we might require. That we could grow herbs and spices to help out the stocks of prepared food we have stored. That I can hunt squirrels with an air rifle in the back yard if necessary...(trading off the karmic stain) That we could not totally feed ourselves..but we could come very close seasonally...and could use the excess to trade for food we could not produce...I discovered this year that with the right stock of food stored, our garden and trading of garden excess for additional supplies we could do alright--not great but alright for close to a year. The house is happy producing food and flowers, the yards look wonderful and artistic..and we give flowers and vegetables to the neighbors. I am happy.

From a bench rest I began sighting in the new air rifle this weekend. It is very strange that at 57 I am thinking about trying out for the Olympics. How weird is that Mal? Of course the only more non-athletic event than the 10 meter air rifle is Geezer electric scooter-chair racing. I have now joined the correct societies so that I may compete in selection events--I am selecting equipment. Reading. Keeping a practice log.
Trying to figure out which pre-selection events I have to compete at and what score is required to attend the try-outs. It is somewhat funny in that I had previously believed, (wrongly of course) that any citizen could show up and try out for any Olympic event that one's country participates in. WRONG--WRONG--WRONG--WRONG--WRONG! There are all these organizations involved, pre-events you have to perform at--requirements that must be met, societies that must be joined. BLAHBLAHBLAH. Who knew? I thought the Olympics were democratic--that the best who showed up attended...Nope. So I have to figure this out from the bottom. I've downloaded all the rules--but still cannot find simple answers to simple questions. I just want to try out you know? I am currently keeping the confusion on how to get there-as far away from actual practice as possible. I must admit that I am handicapped from the start by not being singled out at 16 to do this...and coached...and supported....and mentored. At least I have till 2012...I just want to say I tried---at something I apparently really enjoy. There's nothing wrong with trying---right?

This past week's average again was 53.7 MPG in the Prius and we used zero fuel over the weekend. JoJo rode her recumbent everywhere she needed to go. I am afraid that the current low pricing of gasoline due to the recession will reinforce societal stupidity but...The change to a cooler season increases my morning commutes mpg and this is great. I actually do believe JoJo and I have reached the lowest level of oil consumption possible for us--let's say 390 miles a week for me which includes daily commuting and required work driving once I arrive..and our gasoline usage is at about 8- 9 gallons a week for an average. I believe that while I am required to work this is about the reduction limit that we can meet. It is still hard to believe that just to work I require 32 gallons of gasoline a month! I will have to research and find out the comparison between us and the monthly gasoline requirements of the "average" American?

I'm currently reading Last Light by Alex Scarrow. I find it quite excellent. The descriptions of the middle east and the internal conflict which cuts oil flow to the west is really quite a thoughtful circumstance and right on the money as I remember from working in this region. There are two elements very well crafted within this novel--the first being the main character's focus on peak oil and his social isolation because of it, even within his own family. Secondly there is a scene where oil company workers with their Iraqi expediters are circled up in the desert with a Brit mechanized unit and the apparent walls between people cannot be broken even in a crisis. Last Light is a very good novel I recommend it to anyone interested in peak oil and self sufficiency.

"Age is a very high price to pay for maturity."

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It has been a long time since a totally new, unexpected, endeavour has come into my life. A thing i have never attempted that would totally focus me on the mastery of something previously unknown.This new endeavour is the Olympic air rifle and 10 meter Standing Olympic air rifle competition. The demon squirrel addicted me to this new subject matter. Originally a tool simply to dispose of the demon squirrel the air rifle became something else altogether.Target shooting with my Gamo, scoped, .177 caliber, air rifle became so interesting, I had to learn and do more with the entire air rifle genre.

I found myself prowling the Internet reading anything on competition air rifles. The Olympic games offical 10 meter men's air rifle event suddenly became my addicted focus.I found myself drooling over photo's of Olymic competition air rifles..the high tech accessories, shooting jackets, the quiet beauty of shooting the perfect, perfect 600 target....comparing rifle prices...Although my mind screamed that this--this is what I want to do--the Olympic 10 meter mens Air Rifle
I could not yet justify the expense of the type of Olympic air rifle I really truly desire that I truly need:
The Feinwerkbau 600 T-----(pictured at the left) so in an attempt to practice, to learn, to advance my skills and then go nuts money wise..So this week I purchased a Daisy Avanti 853CM air rifle shown below--The Avanti is not cheap in itself but compared to the $2000 to $4000 standard Olympic quality air rifles it definitively is the place to begin this quest to shoot this event.

Iron precision competition sights, movable barrel weights, composite stock, equipped with a German manufactured Walther barrel in .177 caliber and regulated to a muzzle velocity of 550 f.p.s just like the Olympic competition air rifles. The Avanti has the correct fundamentals to investigate this strange desire of mine.The Avanti 853M was the least expensive, beginners, competition air rifle I could purchased from a reputable source.
Combined with the Avanti where two other items I had to have to get started--first match grade .177 wadcutter pellets--no problem--ordered them with the rifle..the second item was much more difficult. A specific target shooting jacket is absolutely required for training in this discipline...the problem is two fold..finding one and then affording one. The ISSF shooting jacket is regulated, specific and really expensive. Way too expensive for a beginner to justify. So although the jacket doesn't fit the international rules--I found a $65.00 canvas and rubber shooting jacket from champion's choice that will allow me to practice with the absolute necessary support of a precision shooting jacket. If I ever compete in the 10 meter i cannot use this jacket...but if i ever get to that point the purchase of an authorized jacket will be something i will have to do. Way good enough for now though.
One of many excellent qualities of the air rifle discipline is the ability to practice a real Olympic event IN YOUR BACKYARD----my first step was researching to determine the exact parameters of the ranges/heights of the Olympic 10 meter air rifle event to be able to set up a practice area in the back yard. They are: 33-1/3 feet from an Olympic specific target standing 55" (plus or minus 2") off the ground are the exact distance/height target requirements of the event. I am in the process of designing a target stand consisting of an old shower curtain and a cardboard box--real Olympic potential eh? There again that is the beauty of the thing--that a 57 year old geezer, practicing in his backyard on a target stand made from a shower curtain with a beginner's rifle and a canvas and rubber illegal shooting jacket might actually be able to do the 10 meter air rifle event. I am sort of my own Jamaican Olympic Bobsledding team in action. Just practicing for the Olympics, nothing to see here.....

Marksmanship--the ability to hit a mark on demand.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Well I am totally apologizing to my wife---there was a demon squirrel----(read about the was part below) and she was absolutely correct----(completely unforced testimonial and apology after a short waterboarding session)........thereby forcing a small newsy blog in mid week...........covering only the demon squirrel and the 9-12 teabagger march---a match made in heaven as far as i am concerned.
Only in America can you assemble 10,000 idiots to march on the capitol without any type of actual purpose. There is an excellent photo set on Flickr taken of the 9/12 marchers, their signs and demands ranging from the every popular birth certificate bozo---to fat guys in revolutionary war outfits carrying no to socialism signs... My personal favorite is the rednecks----in lawn chairs------in the pickup truck bed---- covered with the stars and bars....How cute!......If you were worried that the neighborhood crazy cat lady had died cause you hadn't seen her lately---she was probably in DC at this marching thing.....This is the public that bothers me...the abject stupidity, the no thought required philosophy covered by patriotism. I am at least glad that they are out in public to scare the moderates into voting democratic. Take a moment to view the photo's on the link below, it will alternately scare you and have you laughing your ass off....

He is an Un-Demon Squirrel. As of yesterday. Yes, he did indeed exist and I owe my wife many, many apologies...and yes he was definitely a demon. I watched his little angry face search for my wife on the patio, through my scope...before.....well, before he was reborn to a nice squirrel momma in Central Park. As soon as i observed his demonises in the pecan tree I knew I was going to have to pay a price for all the Yeti Squirrel jokes I've been using on my wife....the squirrel was definitely there and I have to admit he was definitely large, demon like, and obviously Territorial about this tree. That much you could tell immediately.
My new air rifle worked perfectly, powerfully and the demon squirrel felt no pain. Of course there are two bad parts to of all this.....first, I have now gotten deeply into air rifles....and am dreaming of owning one of those expensive, German designed and manufactured, Olympic fiction type air rifles....the second is that from this point on if my wife thinks she sees Bigfoot in the backyard I am required to agree with her.

If you want to fight terrorism, buy hyrid cars and solar panels.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lately my personal universe has been expanding after several months of contracting.
The recent past has been better than which came before. I still cannot wait for retirem
ent and discovered that many other boomers have the same retirement recreactional plans as I have.
Just call me Froley.
I do seem to have lost the desperation I felt over havng to keep working for the next few years?
I remain deeply troubled about our society.... how fragmented we the overall general public bases it's monster's opinion from a position that begins as an idiot and quickly goes downhill from there. A perfect example is the conservative supported, tea baggers. These people who showed up at the capitol on 9-12. This group simply does not want to think. This collective consciousness is identical to the pre-Nazi-era Germans--they do not know what they want--but they want it. The simple fact that they are claiming that too much is changing is enough evidence of dangerous level mass stupidity in action.
NONE OF US IS AS DUMB AS ALL OF US... should be on their T-shirt. They will follow anyone who waves a flag in front of them and tells them how great they are..... I am truly afraid of what will come if they or their know-nothing movement is actually successful in some way, shape or form.

A few more months of work and preparation however and we will require nothing from anyone, any group, any power structure. We are, (as far as I know) the members of a very small new group, the Obama liberal survivalist urban homesteader.

The garden is still producing--we have even stopped canning veggies out of it but we are still eating daily from it. Since we are new to gardening in this area we really have no idea of how long into autumn our garden may produce but we'll find out. Some of the produce has turned a little bitter, especially the skins on our cucumbers. Still good to eat what you have sown.

This week's MPG on our Prius was a high point for the year so far at 54.3 miles per gallon a true average for a standard week of commuting into work and then driving about for work meetings and errands. The cool mornings has help increase my daily mpg as long a the wind stays away--Gasoline here in my area of New Mexico is running about $2.49 per gallon. The price actually means nothing to me since the highs or lows of it do not affect my personal goal of using the least amount of oil i can and still have a viable lifestyle.
It's been raining here on and off since Friday evening. We are always happy for rain in the high desert---No yard work this am due to wet conditions. So we decided to take the dogs to the local park by our zero gasoline vehicles and ride around town alittle just for fun and practice. JoJo was all ready to go with her recumbent, but I had to organize, air up the tires and spruce up my segway since i have lately been too busy to ride at all.
Off we went and quite the sight we were I'm sure. JoJo's recumbent with the dog trailer attached is about 8 foot long-and then me following on the segway! We were like the annual Nerd parade passing by----The puppies obviously loved the trailer--I watched them while rolling along and they were relaxed, sniffing and looking out the back and side windows...very active involved in checking out the scenery, but really, really calm and cool. They must think it is a rolling little doggie house or something. These little trips are a test for how we can ride together with the two very different systems Segway and Recumbent--but there has been no problems coordinating how we ride together so far. We all had a great morning, traveled pretty far and it was completely oil free! The Middle East can bite me!

So I have the new air rifle ( tremendously cool and accurate by the way ) sighted it in yesterday...320 gold plated .177 caliber pellets on hand, mini-binoculars----and no DEMON SQUIRREL....
Once again the wife's arch-enemy, the demon squirrel has apparently disappeared into our urban back lot Himalaya's like the Yeti without a trace----I will spend the upcoming weekend attempting to get a glance at this mythical demon squirrel who, it is claimed, (by some), upside down taunts my wife, chattering from the pecan tree trunk and hurls nuts down upon her in some grotesque form of backyard warfare....but so far....this demon squirrel may be one of her Woodstock kool aide flashbacks or something----i have still yet to see this demon squirrel. 10 days and counting. The hunt continues through last evening and this sightings......

It is good to be reminded of the small, closed minds, like "you lie" Joe Wilson's---It is good to be reminded that South Carolina produces assholes like Wilson and their Republican governor Sanford--Remember him? The family values defender South Carolina Governor with the Argentine mistress? It is good to be reminded of Republicans for what they are.

I just obtained "LAST LIGHT" by Alex Scarrow. An SF novel on a total embargo of oil exports and the subsequent destructive results in Great Britain. Published by Orion Books, UK. I haven't started it yet so I cannot advise thumbs up or down. I am in one of those I wanted something which requires, no brain involved to read. I get like that sometimes---reading without the desire to think--just to you think Stephen Hawking ever feels that way?

"When my species conquers this planet, you will be on the protected list,
no harm will come to you."
Beldar Conehead