Friday, August 31, 2007


When I bought my motorcycle in the end of July, it had about 3400 miles on it. Since then, I decided that I'd try to keep track of where I was every time I hit an even thousand on the odometer. I'd really like to manage some photos each time I do that. But I've had to accept that doing that probably won't usually be very feasible.

I hit the 4000 mile mark just outside of Little Plymouth, Virginia while cruising along route 14. Having been down it now, I'm not surprised that it's on the list of scenic roads in Virginia. Interestingly enough, I hit the 5000 mile mark at my driveway. Granted, I cheated a little by doing an extra lap around the neighborhood to pull that off....but I'm cheesy that way, so I'm counting it.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Homemade ammunition

About 2 years ago I bought a reloading press, along with an assortment of related accessories. Being a WoW junkie, all of that ended up sitting in the box it arrived in until a couple of months ago. Then it took me until about a week ago to finally buy primers, bullets, gunpowder, and clean up some used brass. After all of that, tonight was the night that I finally made my first batch of 9mm ammo.

Normal store bought full metal jacket (FMJ) for 9mm uses bullets that weigh 115 grains. I decided to use this opportunity to make something a little different from the norm. Instead of trying to basically duplicate factory ammo, I used 125 grain FMJ bullets and used a gun powder variety (Blue Dot) that takes up so much volume that it's impossible to accidentally put two loads into one bullet.

Tomorrow should be the day I go try this stuff out. Hopefully I'll still have all my fingers once I've tried it out.

Update: Read this if you're looking to start reloading yourself.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

And the conditioning begins

Well, I've finally managed to make time to go riding for something more than just a spin around the rural stretches of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. Initially, I had hoped to jet out to Richmond for lunch with Donia. But, since I never got hold of him, I decided to spend the better part of the day seeing parts of Virginia that I haven't seen in about a decade or so.

The early part of the ride was pretty uneventful. I started up Rt 17 to Gloucester, then took Rt 3 until it hit US 360 in Warsaw. From there, I just kept following 360 until I found a small road to jump over to Rt 14. I've learned a couple valuable things here. First, any "600" road in VA is miserable to ride. They're all paved, but just barely. On the other hand, Rt 14 is FUN. It's beautiful, it's twisty, and there's almost no traffic (besides the occasional motorcycle traveling the other direction).

Unfortunately, I learned something else this trip: people weren't exaggerating about how painful it is to spend long periods of time on the stock R1150R seat. It definitely looks like a custom Sargent seat is the next item on my shopping list.

Well, if any of you guys are curious about the actual route I took, just click here and you'll see the bulk of it.

Monday, August 6, 2007

How I like to end my evenings

Blackberry Mojito

1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
4 teaspoons granulated sugar (or 2 packets of Splenda)
2 limes
1/4 cup fresh blackberries
3/4 cup light rum
1 cup club soda
2 sprigs fresh mint for garnish

1. Place the mint and sugar in a mortar and "muddle" it with a pestle. Squeeze in the lime juice and add half of the blackberries. Lightly crush the berries.

2. Pour the mixture into a cocktail shaker and add the rum and soda. Shake to mix.

3. Place 4 large cubes of ice in two rocks glasses and divide the drink equally between them.

4. Garnish each glass with the remaining blackberries and a sprig of fresh mint.

Now, i tend to prefer this with raspberries instead of blackberries, and I use 7up instead of club soda, so I have to cut back on the amount of sugar used. I've also found that it's a lot less messy if you don't put the soda in until after you've used the shaker. Maybe I've been doing something wrong, but using a shaker with a carbonated beverage seems to be a bit messy. Another important thing to note is that you can just use a spoon and bowl to break up the mint. The important thing is to break it up enough to get the mint oil into the sugar.

NRA Certified

It's downright amazing to me just how much I've done in the last couple of weeks when I think of how little I accomplished the 6 months or so prior to that. Yesterday was the last day of my NRA Basic Pistol Instructor class, so my wife and I are now both certified to teach people how to shoot safely (or at least we will be once the paperwork gets back to us).

Before my wife's shooting instructor encouraged us to do this, I really hadn't given it much thought. I've always spent a lot of time trying to introduce other people to the shooting sports before this. So, when the opportunity was presented to me, it did seem like a logical extension of what I was already doing. What was the most shocking to me was how quickly I've found myself already in a position to start doing actual instruction. It turns out the range where I do some of my shooting, and my wife does all of hers, has a shortage of instructors available. I had friends teaching there already, so I hadn't thought I'd be able to do classes at the same location. But apparently they still have a surplus of people that want to take classes. So before I my wife and I had even finished taking the class, we had a gentleman that works at the range talking to us about helping him run more classes there.

I'm just excited that I'll be able to help more people get started in this incredibly enjoyable hobby, make some extra money on the side to buy even more toys, and do something that would look fantastic on an FBI application all at the same time.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Wonders never cease

Well, tonight was "ride a motorcycle for the first time" night for my wife. We didn't head out until dusk, so she didn't get much scenery, and the bug splatter increases by a factor of about 100 once it's dark out. But she gave it a shot and had a lot of fun.

It is pretty clear that I'll need to replace the stock seat on my Beemer if I want to get her to come along on anything longer. Maybe a custom seat from Sargent with a stealth backrest. I'm sure my wife would enjoy having something more than open air behind her but while we're cruising around. If I can get the seat before Labor Day, I might be able to convince her to cruise down to Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands for a weekend after the tourists start to clear out.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Even my wife enjoys a little change

Well, Sunday was my wife's first time out in a kayak. Shortly after buying my motorcycle, I stumbled across a guy selling a Carbon Fiber Necky Elaho HV kayak on for less than 1/2 the price of a new one, and it was basically unused. Ironically enough, I had actually been torn between a poly (plastic) Necky Elaho and the poly Wilderness Systems Tsunami 145 I bought when I was shopping for my first one.

My wife had always passed on earlier offers to come paddle with me, despite the fact that the friend I paddle with (Paul) had several extras. But with 2 kayaks sitting in the garage, and the fact that I'm not gaming anymore, I was finally able to convince her to give it a shot.

Paul has a web page where he posts photos and the gps track of any trips that he takes, and managed to snap a few of us while we were out and about. However, he only posted one of them because my wife prefers to have as little on the internet as possible that might prove she actually exists. Having a fairly public job, she finds that makes it easier to keep her private and public life separate.

My wife is the one on the right in the red kayak and I'm in the yellow one. If you get time, the photos from a lot of Paul's other trips are worth checking out as well. My personal favorites are from his Urban Kayaking page.