Wednesday, January 30, 2008

AR15 stuff

Becca and I had a disciplinary talk the other day - I bought three Pmags, and she wondered why I needed MORE. I simply told her that when the zombies hit the fan, she'll be glad I have the magazines instead of the money.

Besides, these mags are TOUGH - see the video

This is when we got into the debate on whether a shotgun (Becca's choice) would be better than an AR15 (my choice) for zombies... It wasn't pretty. We finally reached a compromise - Becca said we need one of each (my evil plan worked!). Although she said she'd rather be sniping zombies from a rooftop rather than taking them on in the streets. We both agree that we'd much rather have the slow "shambling " undead from the Night of the Living dead, as opposed to the marathon running spastic carnivores of 28 days later.

Also, I made a cool tactical sling for the rifle for about $15 bucks - you can order the materials here - the instructions are here.

Here's some pics, because every post is better with pics:

The sling...

You'll notice have a windowed Pmag - great for zombies because they get really scared when they see how many rounds you have left. I like how you can use the clips on the sling to give you more slack, or even remove the rifle without pulling it off over your head (handy if you are wearing it under a pack/ruck).

Just so you know, it's Becca's fault that there isn't a hot model for my sling - she didn't want to be in the picture - but here's your weekly Becca fix...

Oh yeah, and as per Becca's "random bag of crap" post:

Eli will crush you!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

One of my favorite authors...

I found this website the other day - wikiquote

I was trying to attribute a quote to someone when I ran across the entry for one of my favorite authors, Robert Heinlein. This man was a graduate of the Naval Academy, a brilliant mind and author of great literary works.

The most recent work of his that I've read is Starship Troopers - many of you who have seen the movie of the same title might be rolling your eyes. Be assured that the only thing the two have in common is their title and a few character names. The book is EXCELLENT - it has great commentary on the role of citizens, the military and the government, as well as visionary descriptions of the future of warfare and society.

One of his quotes that I had never read struck a deep chord for me:

'Do not confuse "duty" with what other people expect of you; they are utterly different. Duty is a debt you owe to yourself to fulfill obligations you have assumed voluntarily. Paying that debt can entail anything from years of patient work to instant willingness to die. Difficult it may be, but the reward is self-respect.'

Heinlein appears to be an atheist, very mistrusting of religion, but I'll forgive him that based on his solid morals and values. Here's a few other gems:
  • Courage is the complement of fear. A man who is fearless cannot be courageous. (He is also a fool.)
  • A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
  • A generation which ignores history has no past — and no future.
  • Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.
  • An armed society is a polite society.
  • Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.
  • The more you love, the more you can love — and the more intensely you love. Nor is there any limit on how many you can love. If a person had time enough, he could love all of that majority who are decent and just.
  • You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once.
  • You live and learn. Or you don't live long.
  • Your enemy is never a villain in his own eyes. Keep this in mind; it may offer a way to make him your friend. If not, you can kill him without hate — and quickly.


Here's an early song for Valentine's Day, from the Old 97's:

I first heard this song from a friend at Utah State University back in the fall of 2000 - has it really been that long ago?

The Old 97's are a Dallas bar band - I dig their sound and I like this version of the song almost better than the studio recorded version from the album Fight Songs.

I think that songs are probably the closest we'll ever get to a true "time machine" - this one takes me back to some good memories.

Heartbreak, old friend, goodbye it's me again.
Of late, I've had some thought of movin' in.
Of all the many ways a man will lose his home,
Well, there ain't none better than the girl who's movin' on.

True love, I knew some thought of leavin' you.
Bad thoughts I had, when valentines were due.
Of all the many ways a man will break his heart,
Well there ain't none meaner than he pulls his own apart

Valentine, the destroyer, Valentine, you belong
In the stars, where you are, always rollin' on.
Cried, I've cried till I couldn't carry on.
It's a lonely, lonely feelin' when your Valentine is wrong.
It's a lonely, lonely feelin' when your Valentine is wrong.

Of all the many things that you were countin' on,
Well, there ain't none better than the girl who's movin' on.
No, there ain't none better than the girl who's movin' on.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

George A. Romero's Diary of the Dead

My brother in law scored some tickets to see the Romero zombie flick (or zombie training film if you prefer) at the Sundance Film Festival. We caught the 9:00 pm showing at the Tower Theater in downtown Salt Lake City.


This movie was AWESOME!!!

Let me preface this by saying that Romero basically cast the film with a bunch of no name actors that give it the feel from his earlier work. A girl who came with us said that it had a "campy" feel to it.

Two of the actors from the movie (Michelle Morgan and some guy I can't remember) introduced the film and answered questions about it afterwards. They said that "George" started working on the script for this film right after Land of the Dead; he had to do it "for the fans". The film was shot in less than 20 days on a budget of $5 million. He did this small and low budget so he could call the shots on the film, and get away from the big budget work where he had to appease "the money". In their words, this is an "Indy Film".

Many fans have been critical of George A. Romero's recent work, most notably Land of the Dead -
I implied from the statements of the actors tonight that Mr. Romero has been working inside a very small box, and this film is an attempt (a very successful attempt in my opinion) to get back to his roots.

I was able to ask one of the lead actresses a question on behalf of all zombie fanatics:

Scar Belly - "What weapons do you plan on using for the upcoming zombie uprising?"

(The audience laughed pretty hard at that one - the actors didn't quite understand what I was asking...)

Michelle Morgan - "Um... I don't know, I hope that in the next film we get to find an Army base and use tanks to run them over - as long as we crush thei
r heads that would be cool"

I highly recommend this film - it had all the critical elements of a good zombie flick:

hot girls - check
guns - check
creative methods of zombie brain destruction - check
over the top dramatic acting - check

It also settles the age old question of whether zombies "shamble" or run.

It was funny to see the audience erupt in applause whenever a zombie was "put down"/character killed in a dramatically unique way.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

In case you aren't sick of these...'s another picture of me holding up a dead rabbit.

The crazy thing is that I swear you can see the curvature of the earth in this pic... I love going to the desert in the winter - everything looks amazing, especially the mountains.

Also, I converted another coworker into a bloodthirsty savage:

Monday, January 14, 2008

I'm not going to include a picture on this one...

...because it is just gross.

Apparently this morning, Eli decided to use the bathroom while he was chewing a mouth full of cocoa puffs. All was going well until he sneezed. If you have no imagination, you can email me and ask for a description of said incident - otherwise I'll assume you all can guess what this mess in the bathroom looked like.

Of course, he was embarrassed and didn't say anything to us before we discovered it on our own.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Shooting at poor defenseless animals.

Well, we went on another rabbit hunt. I often go with my buddy Tony from work, and my little brother Jed has gone with me in the past. This was the first time that my cubicle neighbor (and push up buddy) Dirk has come along.

From the lousy cell phone pics, you can see that we had a pretty successful hunt in the desert to the west of the Oquirrh mountains.

My little brother Jed was the "dark horse" who scored the first rabbit of the day using his Ruger 10/22 with iron sights (his red dot ran out of batteries). The rabbit made a break for it when Jed was about five feet from his hiding place and didn't make it further than ten feet. Jed may be a cold hearted killer, but thanks to our mom, he dressed warm and had a thermos of hot chocolate.

The second bunny of the day. I was amazed at the difference my new optic (Eotech 512) made; I could adjust the brightness to make the reticle highly visible even with the reflection from the snow and I was able to acquire targets much more quickly than with irons or a standard red dot scope. I'm thinking of naming my rifle Anne, after a woman I've spoken to in the past. Anne is a lot like my rifle, you can try to have an intelligent conversation with both, but all you get in return are loud, annoying, unintelligible and unpleasant sounds. Maybe I'll just keep calling her (my rifle) Irene...

#3 - Tony dispatched this one to bunny heaven. Or bunny hell - we really couldn't tell by examining his corpse. I like to think that this bunny beat his wife, dealt crack to young bunnies in his neighborhood, and that our vigilante justice made the world a better place.

As Jed and I were walking over to inspect the dead bunny #3, we jumped this jack who was really good at playing hide and seek until we practically stepped on him. I got lucky enough to hit it before Jed (AKA Mr. One Shot One Kill) was able to plug him.

Dirk spotted lucky bunny #5 heading behind our line and was laying down a heavy volume of suppressive fire which allowed me to clock him (the bunny, not Dirk) as he ran across a flat.

Tony broke the legs of bunny #6 - and we all expended an embarrassing amount of ammunition trying to put an end to it's suffering. Somehow, we forgot to take a picture... just as well, we probably would have missed with that shot as well.

Bunny #7 would have lived to die another day, except he decided to pause and look back at us from a clump of sage brush. Jack Rabbits blend in with the sage brush amazingly well; I put two rounds where I thought I could see him. The first shot yielded a small burst of what appeared to be snow getting blasted off the brush. I thought I had missed, but as I walked away I remembered that snow doesn't drift on the wind like rabbit fur does - I went back to the clump of brush and found the dead bunny.

Dirk got the 8th/final kill of the day. As we were walking back towards the Pathfinder, yammering on about the price of pork bellies, Dirk still had his mind of getting the last jack of the day. He pegged this guy as he ran directly away from him. The crazy thing is that after getting knocked flat in the snow for 5 seconds, this "Bruce Willis" of bunnies stood back up. I yelled to Dirk to hurry and finish him off, when Tony decided to do it for him - you'll notice from the pic that the visible hole goes all the way through the rabbit.

I don't think Tony was very happy that someone shot more bunnies than him on this trip (hee hee); he usually gets more than anyone else.

Final Tally:
  • Scar Belly - 4
  • Tony - 2
  • Dirk - 1
  • Jed - 1
  • Jack Rabbits - 0

AAR (After Action Review)

  1. Eotech sights rock.
  2. Snow on the ground makes for a good hunt.
  3. It was a beautiful day and we got some good exercise while we pissed off PETA
  1. Don't listen to guys in Toyota Tundras who tell you that there's a great spot, teeming with bunnies, just 5 miles down the road.
  2. Don't take your Nissan Pathfinder, which still can't drive in reverse, on a dirt road covered with heavy snow unless your passengers don't mind getting out and pushing your vehicle to turn you around, when you should have never listened to the guys in the Toyota Tundra in the first place.
  3. Never assume that you friends wouldn't actually use their cell phone camera to take a picture of you from behind as you are relieving yourself in the snow.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

In memorium

It has been just over one year since my grandfather died. The night he passed away, I wrote down some of my thoughts on his passing. I later refined these thoughts to deliver them publicly when I spoke at his funeral, but there is something about what I first put in words - spelling errors and all... There is a fine line between dwelling in the past and preserving memories that shouldn't be purged from our consciousness. I think this bears being repeated - thanks for reading it:

January 3rd, 2007
Tonight, my grandfather died at 5:30 pm, at the age of 86. 15 months ago, he suffered a stroke that took away his ability to talk, walk, and feed himself. Tonight he returned to his Heavenly Father and was reunited with his departed family.

He was one of the better men I ever had the privilege to know and beyond that I was able to call him Grandpa. I was his first grandchild - at a young age he taught me to shoot and first and foremost to respect firearms and to be safe when handling them. He, at around 60 years of age, often took me up th
e side of the mountain with a knapsack of hot dogs and marshmallows to cook over a fire before we would shoot targets. I remember riding in his truck with him on errands to the store while he sang, "don't sit under the apple tree with anybody else but me" and "Over there".

When he worried about me being bullied in school when I was about 7 years old, he brought two pairs of his old boxing gloves over and taught me how to box so I could defend myself. As I child, when I saw his old Army
Air Corps uniform, I was amazed and asked him if he had been an ace. He laughed out loud and said, "Yeah, only it was spelled A-S-S".

My grandpa was John Wayne to me - his deep voice, natural swagger, and crooked smile reminded me of the duke so much that once as a child I asked him if John Wayne was his cousin. He only laughed, but he was better than John Wayne to me because he was my grandpa.

I the 8th grade I once saw him cry - when I interviewed him about his time in WWII, while I was researching an English paper. He voluntarily enlisted and served as a gunner on B-17 bomber crew - they never were in
theater but saw training casualties weekly, "One a day in Tampa Bay" referred to the air crew death rate in training, he said. He witnessed the bombing of Pearl Harbor, while serving as a missionary for his church in Hawaii.

When I was running track and x-country in high school - he came to most of my meets with his camera. He was a better marksman than a photographer - he would line up his shots, holding his camera as though he were in a pistol match. He would give me the photos in person and tell me how
well I had performed.

He served many years as a district judge, he was politically active and a grassroots member of the NRA. He always told me that the 2nd amendment protected the rest of our rights. His service and willingness to fight for his country inspired me to join the military.

For almost 15 months, I've watched him lay in bed - unable to talk or even move his left side. I watched his eyes meet mine when I
came to visit him in various medical facilities as he was moved around by my aunt and grandmother. He would try to communicate verbally, but only groans came out of his mouth. He would grip my hand tightly and often I would have to leave the room so he wouldn't see me cry. Sometimes I would visit him and he wouldn't open his eyes. Worse wer the times when he was in pain or distress.

Monday we were told he was close to death and we visited him only to find him in great pain. He was barely able to breath and the fluid filling his lungs made a raspy sound my wife identified as the "death rattle". I left that hospital wishing for death to visit my grandfather as a tender mercy from th
e Lord. Tonight I arrived ten minutes after his passing to find his body, growing cold, but at peace and free from pain.

If I were a drinking man, I would be raising a glass to him tonight, for he truly was my hero. God I miss him - it was his time to go, but that doesn't make me miss him any less.

Here's to you Grandpa - I have things I still have to do here but I can't want till we can go up the mountain, cook hot dogs and sho
ot targets again.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The last semester

If you didn't think I was a nerd before now, this will help you make up your mind...

For Christmas, we got the last two parts of the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD. I watched them both over the course of last weekend and I found many chilling similarities between the fellowship's quest to destroy the ring of power and my quest to finally graduate!

I have to compare myself to the entire fellowship, NOT because I have multiple personalities, but because we... er... we mean I have personality traits that match many of the characters in the films. Principally, I would say that I most resemble Pippen, the hobbit that keeps getting the rest of the group in trouble, especially when he dropped the bucket/skeleton/etc down the well in the Mines of Moria.

I say I resemble Pippen because most of the "obstacles" I've encountered along the way to graduation have been of my own making. Luckily, Becca and Eli haven't been required to flee for their lives from hordes of orcs, trolls, and other various beasties composed of flame and shadow.

I feel like I'm climbing up the side of Mt. Doom so I can finally chuck that ring into the lava. I'm incredibly wary, waiting for some cataclysmic event to stop me from getting my diploma now that I'm so close!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Eli the heckler

This morning, I didn't work until 9:00 AM, a nice change from my usual 7:30 AM shift. I took advantage of the extra time by working out in the morning rather than the afternoon.

I didn't count on the fact that Eli gets rather punchy in the mornings. I stuck my toes under our couch while I did sit ups, and Eli perched on the couch above me and laughed hysterically. I'm not sure if he was mocking me or not, but I found the act demoralizing none the less.

I did manage however to stop him from throwing his stuffed animals at me while I completed my sets - he laughed a little less heartily after that.

Let it snow...

Eli was really sad when we left church today, and the only way we could console him was with the promise of building a snowman when we arrived home.


Of course, his mom had to encourage him to get into trouble...

Friday, January 4, 2008

I hate cars

Seriously - we are on the verge of replacing our third transmission in as many years...

The pathfinder for some reason does not want to let me drive it in reverse. What does this mean? It means that when I want to go home at the end of the day, my co-workers get to look out their windows at me as I push the pathfinder out of it's parking spot, then hop inside and drive away.

In the morning, the same occurrence will be witnessed by any of my neighbors that are fortunate enough to be wandering around the parking lot at 7:00 AM.

If you happened to be fueling at or passing the Texaco on 10600 South, and 1300 West, in South Jordan tonight, you witnessed me doing the same thing after the pathfinder slid into a snow bank after I drove onto the ice as I came out of the car wash. Eli (my back seat passenger) was EXTREMELY amused and shouted commands and words of encouragement.

I would take the pathfinder in to be repaired tomorrow, but our other car (recent ebay purchase) is already at the shop to have all the brake pads, rotors, and calipers replaced - being that they are comprised almost primarily of rust.

Did I mention that I hate cars?

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Called an old friend...

My buddy Clint found this blog through another friend and left a comment for me suggested that we get in touch. Clint is one of my favorite people from ROTC, so I dialed as fast as my fat fingers could mash numbers on the key pad.

We had a very enjoyable chat about knives, guns, and surviving a Russian invasion using only our wits and cool survival gear.

Clint is living up in Idaho (staying true to his roots - I'd rather not say which city, since several law enforcement agencies and various loan sharks are no doubt looking for him), student teaching seminary!

Clint and Sara are apparently loving life, and enjoying raising their little "scrub" (term borrowed from our buddy Chris) - one big happy fam-damily.

I'm really glad that I've started this blog and that I've been able to read the blogs of other friends I've met over the years - even though many of you are living in other cities, states, or countries, it's nice to know that you're still in the fight and can remember my name!


In case you were wondering...

...yes; Eli IS a ladies man.

That is all.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

No you're not hardcore...

... unless you live hardcore!

We went snow shoeing today with our friends Joe and Jeri down in American Fork canyon. You can read about this adventure on Jeri's blogs here.

We rented snow shoes on the cheap from the Outdoor Recreation Program from the U of U. It was tons of fun (except when I took over for Joe breaking the trail through the powder - talk about hard work)!

Becca hates the cold, and hates being cold (not sure what the difference is), but I took care of her and made sure she was dressed in warm (albeit not figure flattering/fashionable) Army gear.

The new rig.

If you aren't into rifles, you might as well skip this post as you will find it extremely boring.

For those of your who are either into rifles, or just decided to ignore my disclaimer... I bought a holographic rifle sight to put on my rifle - an Eotech 512 to be exact. Chances are if you are into rifles then you already know about these sights. If not, I'll break it down for you:

A holographic weapon sight projects a reticle into an optical window that you use instead of lining up a front and rear iron sight - this concept has been used for Heads Up Displays in fighter aircraft since the 80's. The Eotech reticle has a circle with a dot in the middle of it - shown in the picture on the right. The idea is that since you aren't lining up iron sights, or trying to find the correct eye relief and focal point behind a traditional magnified scope, you save time when trying to acquire a target. Also, when you are engaging targets at close quarters , you simply put the large circle (which is easier to find) on your target. For targets beyond close quarters (think the 300 meter popup target on the BRM range), the small dot in the center allows the rifleman to make more precise shots.

Here is a peek through mine:
These sights have been out for a few years, and L3 communications (the company who makes the Eotech series of Holographic Weapons Sights), pretty much has a corner on the market. They make a pretty rugged and reliable product with excellent battery life.

I'm pretty excited about this purchase, since I had to save my "fun money" for some time to make the purchase and even sell my SKS (so sad...). Part of my excuse for making this purchase is that I will probably use a similar sighting device in the Army if I get assigned to a "high speed" unit, seeing as how most of the line companies are using Aimpoint CCO's, Trijicon ACOG's, or Eotech HWS's. But the real reason is because gun gear is fun! You can bet that most of my "training" with my new rifle setup will involve killing bunnies and coyotes, as well as making small groups of holes in paper at the range.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

We spent the New Year with our family - the people we care about most. My sister Laurie and her husband Carl were kind enough to invite us to their home to welcome 2008. The funny thing about this party is that I usually keep Becca up past midnight anyways... oh well, any excuse to throw a party.

We had fun playing various games and telling stories, but perhaps the funniest occurrence of the night was Eli's attempt to blow a noisemaker horn at midnight. Somehow, he had a difficult time with the concept that the HORN was supposed to be making the noise, not him. He'd puff up his cheeks, then make some kind of a kazoo sound as he softly blew into the horn. Becca had to hold the horn for him so that he could manage to "kazoo" hard enough to make any noise at all.

I managed to get a rare picture of Laurie and Carl kissing - cute couple!

My mother, sister Leesa, and brother Jed were in attendance. Unfortunately my dad was home sick (we still called him on speaker phone to pester him multiple times during the night), and of course Todd was down in Peru - probably lighting off homemade firecrackers (I hope he comes home with all his digits).

2007 was kind of a rough year - we had hoped to add another member to our family, and we've all worked to be "beholden to none" and to get my education finished and my military career back on track. Along with the monotony and hard work we've enjoyed fun vacations, enjoyed each other's company, taken advantage of how close we are to our families and become more active in each others lives.

2008 promises the realization of many goals and a higher standard of living for the Brough family. I hope that all of you have a happy new year!