You Can’t Make This Up

Posted: June 6, 2018 in Uncategorized

On my way to work this morning I spied three bunnies crossing the road. Two little black bunnies, one short hair and one fluffy stopped in the oncoming lane. Middle of the lane and just to the left of center.  A larger cream colored bunny legged it straight to the middle of my lane and stopped.  Of course I slowed to a stop. They just looked at me. I eased forward the tiniest bit to see if the movement would get them going nope. They had no fucks. A young woman was coming from the opposite direction and she slowed to a stop. They looked at her, and had no fucks. She honked her horn, they looked at her again but still had no fucks.

Not until I put the car in park, put the break on, opened the door, and said, “Get out of the street bunnies!” did they suddenly recall they had fucks.

And they got out of the street.

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The ability for one group to alienate another over an issue that both groups are passionate about is truly mind boggling.  I had scheduled a class at West Coast Armory North in Everett WA for May 5th.  The class is required before you can take any of their defensive handgun classes.  I figured it would be geared toward people who had had the basics, been going to the range and had an overall familiarity with their weapon.  This was so not the case.  It was very much a re-cap of what I think of as a very basic class.  Knowing that no knowledge is wasted I settled in to glean what I could from the instructor and I did get a few pointers on improving my grip to improve shot consistency.  But there were so many other issues with the program.  Once the classroom portion was done we all trundled down to the firing range, and went into a smaller range next to it, with no shooting stalls.  Firearms were placed on folding tables five yards from the paper targets and six people at a time walked through simultaneous voice command drills.  Very very basic drills.  No dividers to keep your neighbors brass from hitting you in the head, crammed next to other folks, no mention of breathing or sight picture.  The instructor pretty much ignored the nice lady to my right who brought a revolver and didn’t even cover the operation of the weapon more than an offside comment here and there.  Clearing malfunctions was covered on the firing line, when they happened.  Which led to the same old fellow breaking the 180 a couple of times.  That was terrifying since this was the same old fella who was so startled by the action of the pistol that he fired twice instead of once.  I was not particularly satisfied by the course, needless to say.  I will not be taking other classes at WCAN nor at In Sights in Bellevue if their teaching paradigm is reflected by the instructor I met.  The most refreshing thing about that experience was the lack of NRA rhetoric.

That was not my key issue with WCAN though.  Their shop has a nice variety of items, even a revolver I would not mind owning. They have a good selection of gear and cleaning products and their ammo isn’t shelved behind the counter so you can actually look at the boxes and read the information.  They also have distinctly anti-liberal products on their shelves.  Chief among them is the “colorful snowflake” lower from Spike’s Tactical.

Colorful_Snowflake_2048x2048

I already consider Spike’s to be a bunch of fascist inspired right wing ass hats who would rather make money than do anything useful to support gun owners or the 2nd Amendment.  So I won’t spend money in shops that profit from carrying this lower or similar items.  I also will not encourage others to do so.  They aren’t doing anything other than perpetuating a negative stereotype of gun owners in this country.  Maybe I should open a liberal friendly gun store as well as become a liberal friendly instructor?

Me being me, I wrote a note to the store:

  • I was in your shop on Saturday and I notice you have the “libtard” lower for sale. As a liberal gun owner and one of several thousand members of a national organization of liberal gun owners, I would like to urge you to re-consider carrying products like this. It may increase your sales within a certain percentage of the local gun culture but it does nothing what so ever to promote intelligent 2nd Amendment support or education among non gun owning liberal or left leaning visitors to your establishment. All it is going to do is to insult people instead of opening a dialog. I cannot in good faith bring my business to your store nor recommend that other people do so, until your sales and inventory policy reflects a less incendiary paradigm.

Less than four hours later, this is the response I received from the store owner:

Mr. MacEwen

Thank you for taking time to bring this to my attention! I absolutely agree with you and have taken the following actions:
1) Directed that the offending item and anything similar be removed from our store.
2) Directed that no similar items be ordered.
3) Discussed the issue with the person that ordered the item to explain my thinking and intent.
4) Will write an email today to all employees discussing this issue.
I view myself as an educator re firearms and the legal use of firearms who happens to own a gun store. As such, I welcome all gun owners and prospective gun owners to our facility and promise that they will be treated with respect and dignity.
Regards,
John Holschen
Owner, West Coast Armory North
There is of course a cynical part of my brain that is yelling at me that he is just making mouth music to sooth this savage “libtard” but I prefer to think that this fellow is a pro-active educator to whom my business should go.  I am far more likely to take my business there now.

A short one

Posted: April 13, 2018 in My Brain Meat

If civic virtue is the foundation of political philosophy and you live in an uncivil society does that mean that the fundamental political philosophy of your society is flawed?  Civic virtue is a fluid concept.  Within the macro-culture of this country the characteristics of civic virtue or even just civil behavior change not only from sub-culture to sub-culture, but within each micro-culture as well.  Overall, citizens of the United States cannot agree on the characteristics of civil behavior.  One would think that the law of reciprocity would be a universal axiom, but anyone who has used a public toilet knows that we are not inclined to treat others as we wish to be treated.  People justify their actions by citing their background, family life, neighborhood and religion.  If you don’t go their church on Sunday then they feel no need to treat you kindly during the rest of the week.

Ruger SP101 Holster

Posted: March 18, 2018 in Uncategorized

It took me a few tries to come up with a holster the size I wanted that had enough retention, but the gun form is a HUGE help.

rugersp101

Good morning to my seven faithful readers!  As I have said several times in the past, my mom is a dyed in the wool hippy.  When I was a child, this was both entertaining and sometimes frustrating.  I distinctly recall wanting to be a cub scout when I was a kid and being told no.  At the time, and I mean for the briefest of moments compared to an entire lifetime, I was upset.  I was not upset enough press the matter though I did ask her about it when I was older.  Her answer was that she had read 1984 and had a distrust of such organizations.  I was in high school, thought I knew it all, had read 1984 and it didn’t scare me because I lived in the land of the free and the home of the brave and nothing like Orwell’s dystopian vision could ever come to pass.

I probably should have listened to my mom.  As I approach near middle age myself, (I turn 43 this year) I find that ignorance really was bliss.  Not that I would ever put the blinders back on.  You cannot be put back into the Matrix.  On any given day I find that I can compartmentalize the happy horseshit that is going on in this country and get on with my own agenda of being happily useless.  But something struck me this morning.  I saw the phrase, “If you see something, say something.”  I had an immediate attack of déjà vu.  Red Scare propaganda posters popped into my mind, including the parody posters you see all over the wasteland in the Fallout game series.  I thought of the child-spies in 1984.

Self-Compassion

Posted: March 2, 2018 in My Brain Meat, Uncategorized

Over the last few months, I find that I often feel lonely and isolated.  It gets me down, not for long periods of time, as I know that it is not a rational reaction.  But when it hits it crashes down on my thought process like a ton of bricks and effects how I feel about any given thing.  Self-esteem, already a fragile construct, takes grievous injury from nearly any incoming stimulus and the first reaction is nearly always an overreaction.  That leads to self-doubt, which is like the follow up uppercut that ends the round and wham my emotional health hits the mat while the ref counts to ten.  There are better ways to live life.

I have said before that I worked with a therapist for a while (two actually) and that really helped.  I don’t feel overwhelmed with anxiety or fearful of attempting things because I might fail.  I learned to ask myself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?”  The fact is that the worst thing that can happen 95% of the time is something not to be afraid of.  I have to regularly remind myself of that, which usually entails greatly limiting my exposure to social media.  Unfortunately, social media is how I keep in touch with my already small social circle and that is another contribution to feeling socially isolated.  I talk to my wife about some of these issues, she is pretty sharp and more in touch with this process than I have been.  She brings up, not for the first time, that I do not practice mindful self-compassion.

She might be right.

So why do I feel isolated?  I have friends.  I know they are friends, they comment on my social media (joking).  My personal perception is that I am removed from community.  I don’t feel like I have a tribe.  Social circles may be social but quantity is not indicative of quality.  Hopefully the seven people who read this blog won’t take that as a back handed Bilbo Baggins reference.  Community is a social unit comprised of people who have something in common, norms, religion, values, identity, and hobbies.  The list is exhaustive.  I don’t feel like I have a tight connection with the people around me so every criticism is like a hammer blow pushing me out of the circle.  This is highly damaging to a person’s self-esteem and the lower your self-esteem the less likely you are to engage in actions of self-compassion.

Active compassion is the precursor to empathy and moves people to alleviate the suffering of others.  Therefore, self-compassion is relieving your own suffering.  Sounds easy right?  If you step on a tack, do you leave it in your foot or do you hop around in one of nature’s dance lessons trying to pry that thing out and go on about your business?  The problem is that you feel the tack, it hurts, your immediate response is as close to involuntary as it gets. “TAKE IT OUT!” Your brain screams.  However, if you don’t have a gauge for pain, or maybe your gauge is broken, you may not know when to engage your self-compassion routines, and take action.  Possibly, you are sitting there thinking that sounds weird, pull the “tack” out.  Great, good, awesome.

What if you think that you deserve to have that tack in your foot?  What if for some reason you start to feel that you are not worthy of relief from pain and suffering?

I read that self-esteem is our overall subjective emotional evaluation of our own worth.  So if we think we aren’t worth much then the chances are we won’t do much to help ourselves.  It is natural for us to internalize the judgement of others and add that to our self-image.  The problem is we often believe what we choose to believe is our own truth rather than fact.  I start to think that people don’t like me.  Do I ask them whether they do?  Of course not!  It’s totally obvious right?  Wrong.  The inner Drew just jumps right to the negative response.  The answer is to rebuild or shore up that self-esteem. Re-program yourself from the negative and start working on the positive answer.  Learn your tells, ask people if you are in doubt.  I always talk about mega communication even if you think you are beating a dead horse, but I don’t think I have been practicing it.  Because who the hell randomly asks their friends, “Hey man do you actually like me or are you just being polite?”  I know, I would feel stupid asking that too but knowing that my gauge is broken means actively monitoring the relationship.  I wonder if that is why introverts feel like being social is exhausting.  I mean I am writing this and it even sounds like a lot of work to me.  I imagine that putting into practice will be an effort and feel difficult because our self-image is like a brick wall.  Not too hard to build, materials are abundant, but really fucking hard to change once the mortar sets.

Solution- Improve your self-esteem.  You know I don’t think I can find that in my emotional owner’s manual.  Lost the manual, what do you?  Use Google of course.  Oddly enough, there about a zillion sites out there with all manner of tips.  I picked a few that I want to work on.

Positive self-talk

Cut out the self-deprecating humor, humor is a shield that keeps you from getting to the issue, lets you laugh it off and is often a construct to comfort others.  Actively ditch the negative self-talk until it is no longer habit.  Use the words, “I am awesome!” until you start to believe it.  When you find yourself engaging in negative self-talk take a moment and ask yourself if you would tolerate hearing someone say those things about someone you love.

Stop comparing yourself to others

This is hard.  Really damn hard.

Get more exercise

It is hard to start but I always find that I feel much better when I am more active.  I imagine that is true for most people.

Don’t strive for perfection

No one is born with the ability to do anything perfectly well.  Even decades of practice may not grant that ability.  I know that a lot of my anxiety came from having unrealistic expectations of myself.

I know there are more things to do, more practices to incorporate and more affirmations to be aware of, but you know baby steps.  I hope that making myself more aware will help with practicing mindfulness and self-compassion.  If you don’t suffer any of these sensations or thoughts and find it difficult to fathom the mindset of people who experience this, don’t worry about it.  You only need to do one thing.  Tell your friends that you like them.  You value them and their presence in your life.  It’s going to feel touchy feely and awkward but trust me; you will do worlds of good if you just tell people how you feel about them.

Of course I did

Posted: February 27, 2018 in Uncategorized

I made a holster for my pistol, because that is how I roll . . .

rapwnewholster

I thought I had made the pattern slightly too small but it actually fits perfect with good retention but still easy to draw. I am sure I will make various types until I find one I like best, I may even buy some kydex and make a hybrid model.