mad anthony

Rants, politics, and thoughts on politics, technology, life,
and stuff from a generally politically conservative Baltimoron.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

What I did on my weekend vacation...

Most weekends during the summer are pretty much the same. I catch on stuff around the house, go to the gym, pet the cat, watch some tv, nap, run some errands, and maybe hit some yard sales if the weather is ok.

This weekend, though, I went into the woods and shot a Thompson submachine gun, among other things.

There is a group of shooting enthusiasts in the IT department at the college I work for. Every year, they would take a trip to a cabin owned by a coworker's gun club. I was invited last year, but declined because it was the weekend of a hamfest. I regretted that, because later that year Jimmers, the gun club member, passed away, and I missed a chance to spend a weekend with a really cool person, a chance I would never get back.

But luckily Jimmer's wife decided to continue the tradtion, and she and her two sons joined us for a weekend of shooting. I came along, despite having fired guns a grand total of two times before this weekend. I'm a horrible shot, and usually need to be reminded of the basics of using a gun, at least the stuff besides which end to point towards the bad guy. But I enjoy shooting, and it's also an opportunity to spend some time with a really cool group of people. So Saturday morning I drove to coworker's apartment, loaded the essentials (a sleeping bag, clothes, and 24 cans of discount-priced beer) into his Mustang and headed towards Confluence, PA.

Three hours later, we were there - a cabin in the middle of nowhere, in an area whose main industries seem to be white-water rafting and timber production.

I didn't get to do a whole lot of shooting - I mostly hung back and watched the other guys shoot. I did get off a few rounds with a Sig 9mm that a coworker borrowed for me to use from a friend, and shot a couple other guns, including a Thompson submachine gun, which did an amazing amount of destruction.

We also ate well - dinner and breakfast at the Lone Star - a local resturant not affiliated with the steakhouse chain- where the portions were huge and the prices low. Unfortunately, I was getting over a bit of a cold, so I couldn't taste dinner all that well. We also got rain most of Saturday night, which cut into shooting time.

Still, despite feeling like crap for most of Saturday, it was fun. I got to hang out with some cool people outside of work, shoot some guns, eat some good food, and relax. It was nice to be away from technology, from email, from the distractions and chains that I typically structure my days around. Jimmer's widow and kids also seemed to have enjoyed themselves, which was good.

The weekend also made me once again consider buying a gun of my own. True, I probably wouldn't use it all that much - range time isn't cheap, and spending time shooting usually means giving up spending time doing other things, like going to the gym. And part of me is probably just wanting to fit in with my gun-enthusiast coworkers, most of whom were raised in gun-friendly households and shooting since they were 3 feet tall. But there are a few concrete reasons for wanting my own piece - it would let me become familiar with a weapon, which would be easier, and would let me become a better shot, at least with that weapon. It would let me buy cheap ammo online instead of having to buy ammo from the range like I do if I rent. And if I did decide I didn't use it enough to justify keeping it, I could probably resell it and get back most of what I paid for it. I hate spending money, and I have some long-term things (like paying enough of my mortgage off to drop PMI) that I want to save it for, but I'm still giving it some serious thought - not that I need to make up my mind right now. After all, I've got plenty of time until next year's trip....

And now, for what everyone's been waiting for - the pics!

the so-called "arsenal of democracy"
another shot of the weapons cache
me with the tommy gun
the cabin we stayed in
the woods outside the cabin
another shot of the woods outside the cabin
Clark, a coworker, with the Thompson
another shot of Clark with the tommy gun
the borrowed Sig 9mm
Stop! Rifle Range!
another shot of the entry to the range
got bullets?
The Lone Star Restaurant
the crew eating dinner
pickled egg, anyone? - I ate one, but thanks to my cold couldn't really taste it.
Chicken Fried Steak
route 68, on the way back


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