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Posts Tagged ‘I Like Mike’

A small ray of sunshine from London

Posted by Lissa on August 16, 2011

Mike sends this feel-good snippet of the day (subscriber only):

“They come to our shops,” one man told the London Daily Mail last week, “and we fight them with sticks.” When a gang invaded an upscale restaurant, threatening customers and demanding their valuables, the staff attacked them brandishing knives and drove them out.

Of course, the subtitle of the article — “In a civilized society, people would be allowed to defend themselves with guns, not baseball bats” — is both quite true and quite depressing. Still, we here at LookingForLissa celebrate those who defend themselves in spite of ridiculous limitations on the tools they can use to do so.

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Fresh eyes at an IDPA match!

Posted by Lissa on July 11, 2011

(The title is a riff off one of my more popular posts, Fresh eyes at a private range.)

IDPA IS AWESOME.  That’s the short version.

Want a longer version?  Why sure!  Okay, so, we left the house bright-and-early to make sure we made it to the range by eight.  In Mike’s case, this meant that he did his run at 4:30 AM instead of 5:30.  In case you were wondering — yeah, he really loves me 🙂  (He’s also training for a half-marathon, so he is in fact psycho.  If you were wondering about that.)

We pulled up at Not My Usual Range (NMUR) and it was already getting hot.  Toss in the fact that I was wearing jeans and it was already getting REALLY hot.  However, I figured we’d be done in a couple hours and be off before it got really hot.

WRONG!!!  OMG I thought it was just going to be one stage.  There were EIGHT stages (though one was optional and not scored).  It’s a good thing I brought literally four times as much ammo as I thought I needed, ’cause I went through almost ALL of it!

For those of you who (like me) are unfamiliar with the sport, International Defensive Pistol Association is meant to mimic real-life shooting scenarios. They limit the capacity to 10+1 (in my class anyway), demand that you wear a cover garment, have rules about how many magazines you can carry and where you can carry them, etc., etc. They actually weren’t that strict about the rules — I saw many people wearing vests that were clearly only for shooting matches, not everyday wear — but I didn’t know that when I got dressed.  Thus, the jeans (with pockets to hold magazines).  The cover garment actually worked pretty well – it was light and short-sleeved but did in fact cover my gun; they checked.

We start unpacking and immediately I find someone to take me under her wing.  Jane, let’s call her, and her husband John, were regular shooters at these matches. She invited me to join her group and I happily obliged.  They were the typical gunnies that I’ve come to expect — very friendly, very courteous, completely helpful, and just all-around awesome.  The whole group was like that, in fact.  They made sure I completely understood the stages and instructions and allowed me to go last every single time so I could see what strategies the others were using.

My first stage? TERRIBLE. I wasn’t clear on Vickers versus Limited Vickers so I only shot two rounds at each of the six targets. (Stupid stupid stupid.) The farthest targets were perhaps thirty feet away and mostly hidden behind friendlies. While Siguette is my favorite gun to shoot and the round capacity wasn’t a factor (I picked up another two ten-round mags the day before), the shorter sight picture is a hindrance for distance shooting.  Add in the fact that this was the first time in my life that I was speed-drawing a loaded gun* and that I went WAY too fast, and it’s not real surprising that I did terrible – I picked up over 20 points-down on that stage alone, PLUS my only failure-to-neutralize that day.

I completely forgot what the Sig Academy taught me about joining the grip towards your body and pushing the gun out. You can see I'm getting my grip and the gun is waaaaaay out there.

(Quick primer on scoring – you get zero points down for center-shots, either head or body, and more points the farther away from center you hit.  Points rack up for hitting friendlies and for failure to neutralize targets.  You have to shoot from cover if it’s available – 100% of your lower half and 50% of your upper body can’t be visible to bad guys unless you’ve already neutralized them, so you “pie” the scene. Shooter with the fewest points wins. More details can be found here.)

I was disappointed, truly. I came in hoping to score out of the bottom quartile, at least, and suddenly I was certain I was going to be the lowest-scoring shooter at the whole bloody match.  Oh, and did I mention that my group happened to include the winners for the CDP-Sharpshooter, CDP-Unclassified and ESP-Expert as well as the third place in SSP-Marksman?  Yeah. It was intimidating and I felt completely outclassed.

Bang bang!

The second stage wasn’t much better – this one included more longer-distance shots and frickin’ PEEKABOO targets!  (After you shot one center target, the steel would fall down and yank a cable and a cross-field hostile would snap out for a SECOND from behind a friendly. Insane! At least those didn’t get counted as failures-to-neutralize.) Bye-bye to another 30-some points!  GRRRRR.  I was discouraged and hot.

Happily, things got better after that. The next stage was a moving one – you drew, switched to your weak hand and fired at three targets to your left as you moved forward. Slide-lock reload, and two-handed shots at the targets downrange as you moved right. Tactical reload – gotta catch and keep that mag! – and then strong-handed shots at targets on your right as you moved backwards. Ta-da!!

I took the time to get pretty close-and-person with the targets; the misses and large point-totals from the first two stages were haunting me. I still picked up a handful of points, but did fairly well.

The fourth stage was fun! Whoever wrote the scenarios obviously had a good sense of humor. Stage Four made you an air traffic controller at Orlando Airport. You start off “asleep” – that is, with your head on your hands on a table – and wake up to find that domestic terrorists are attacking.  “Upon realizing that your union coworkers aren’t packing”, you take care of business.

(MIKE: “Since you’d be a federal employee, at what point do you get carted off to jail for having a gun at work?”
LISSA: “I don’t know, but I hope it gives me enough time to finish all the stages.”)

Oops - forgot the cover garment!

You’ll notice that the table is high enough I can barely get my head onto it. I guess it wasn’t designed for 5’3″ shooters!

Zzzzz . . . boy, I sure hope nasty domestic terrorists don't interrupt my dreams . . .

At the beep, you stood up, drew, and moved to the first targets (I went right). There were a couple on each side; you had to down the nearest bad guys and then you could get the angle on the farther away guys.

My airport! Mine!!

Since this was *not* limited-Vickers, I put at least three rounds on each target. (Only the best two count. Oh, and I made sure to hustle and tape up some of my own targets whenever I did this – if you’re going to make lots of extra holes, it’s only good manners!)

Targets neutralized (and friendlies un-wounded), I moved across the stage – gun pointed downrange! – and defended the left side.

See the target out the window? Yeah, I killed it 🙂

I did pretty well on this one as well.

The next stage was awful. AWFUL. I learned just before I shot that if targets had black paint on them it was “hard cover” – i.e., any shots you put into the black don’t count. I *knew* that . . . but when I drew it didn’t even flit across my mind.  Not once. I put a good half of my rounds into the black paint and picked up a HUGE number of points-down.  Wahh!!!!!  Grrrrrr.

Sigh. Happily, Stage 6 was my best – only three points down! Yay! You started out with a target to your left, center, and right. In “tactical priority” you had to put two rounds in each target with both hands; then with your weak hand; then with your strong hand. “Tactical priority” means that each target needs to have a round in it before you shoot any of them twice, so there’s a fair amount of swinging about. The first time I did it I swung once more than I had to, but still, it was good – my points down were low and my time was pretty fast.  That helped restore my confidence after the Cover Catastrophe.

Stage 7 was steel and didn’t count towards the IDPA – it was just set up for fun. Steel was painted three different colors and there were three different shooting areas; you could only shoot red targets from the red-designated-area, etc., etc. I had fun with this but shot too quickly at the little-and-low targets that were the farthest distance; it took a while for me to get them to fall over!!

The last stage was my favorite and, interestingly, the most complicated. You started out by the corner of the building facing the front wall. When the beep sounded you drew and used the building as cover to fire on the hostage at the end of the “hallway” (who was behind a friendly). Once you cleared the hallway you could move farther into the maze. There were a total of six targets, two of whom were behind friendlies.

Only three points down, baby! I went quickly but not-too-quickly; I put an extra shot into the targets that I hadn’t hit dead-center the first time; and I aimed for heads of the targets who were hidden behind friendlies.  (I always, always do much better at center-mass shots than head shots. Since the targets had about the top-left-quarter exposed, the taller people could aim at center-mass, but I just didn’t have the angle.

End result: I scored about halfway in my class.  Yay!  (Interesting, if we had been in same class I would have done better than both Jane and her husband John. Ego-boost!)

It was HOT. And LONG. I hadn’t packed extra water (they had coolers at each station) or food (thankfully we picked up breakfast on the way and I dug a mini-Cliff bar out of my purse for Mike) and I almost ran out of ammo and I didn’t have mag pouches.

And it was AWESOME. I had SO MUCH FUN and really got to practice real-life-type scenarios and met nice people and learned a lot and shot a lot and shot from behind cover and on the move and it was AWESOME.  Yay yay yay!!!

Definitely going back to do it again, and I’d recommend it to anyone who likes shooting!!

P.S. Safety rules were the usual stricter-than-God. They were nice when they corrected me for “airgunning”, but I had to practice-walk the stages with my arms crossed to keep from lining up angles.  Bad Lissa!

*Drawing at the Sig academy was slow and smooth. I’ve practiced draws, of course, but always with an empty gun; I’ve never visited a range where drawing from a holster was allowed. Also, my practice draws are from concealed-carry holsters; side-of-the-hip doesn’t count.

UPDATE: Weer’d links and Alan links. Thanks!

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Mike runs the Wounded Warrior 10K!

Posted by Lissa on May 16, 2011

While Lissa has been languishing with her wounded feet, Mike has really gotten into this distance-running thing. He’d done a 5K on March 5th and pushed really hard to be ready for this 10K.

And so, bright and ungodly early, we piled onto the UCF campus for the Operation Giveback race.

They started off with a host making a speech (punctuated by calls for HOO-AH, which were fine, and once the phrase “very, very hoo-ah,” which was not!) and introduction of the Bionic Heroes participating in the event:


(They tended to use “wounded warriors” or “wounded heroes,” but I like Bionic Heroes better.)

They lined everyone up with the Bionic Heroes in front (they got a five minute headstart):


I captured Mike as he broke from the starting line:


And again as he approached the finish line (marked by the metal latticework you see):


He says, by the way, that I cheered loud enough to penetrate the exhaustion and tunnel vision; he heard me. Along with everyone else in a 10K radius. 🙂

Overall, just a great, great day. I’m so proud of Mike for pushing himself to be ready and SO proud and happy that he did it for such a great cause.

And Bionic Heroes are The Shit.

The End

UPDATE: The World’s Most Dangerous (Bionic?) Librarian links; thanks!

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Gunnie gifts

Posted by Lissa on April 14, 2011

It’s coming up on our second anniversary and so I ordered a cute lil’ present for Mike.

The best part?

I got the idea from my boss 🙂

I’ll share the secret on Monday!

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We killed a snake and I’m sorry.

Posted by Lissa on November 17, 2010

Lissa is doing garden-y stuff in the front yard and walks around to the back yard to check her tomatoes.  Her eye is caught by a long, black, thrashing, sinuous shape in the corner of the screened patio.  She gasps.

Mike!  Need help please, there’s a snake in the patio!!”

Lissa has always liked snakes.  They’re cool!  And they eat pests.  And they’re pretty.  And when you pick them up, they contract and wrap around your arm (but never around your neck, kids!) and they’re just weird and they feel all smooth and cool and she wants a corn snake someday.

Mike . . . does not share this fascination.  In fact, he’s rather un-fond of snakes.  He has been known to growl, Indiana-Jones-style, “Why did it have to be SNAKES?”

Lissa takes the brand-new garden rake and slowly approaches the snake from the right side.  She gently nudges him with the rake.  The snake, wanting only to escape and realizing that Lissa is much, MUCH bigger than he is, oozes to the left.  She delicately chivvies him around the corner and to the door.  He slithers quickly into the overgrowth behind the house as she watches with a peaceful smile on her face, content, and confident that he will keep her garden area rat-free.

Well, the part about the garden rake was true.  And I did indeed approach slowly and gently nudge him with the rake.  Unfortunately, he did NOT turn tail and run.  He just thrashed harder.

I gingerly poked him some more.  He thrashed some more.  And then he started shaking his tail at us.

MIKE: “Lissa, are you SURE it’s just a black rat snake?  Why is he shaking his tail?”

LISSA:  “Well, there aren’t any rattles on it, so it’s probably okay . . . ”

Then he started trying to crawl up the rake.  I quickly scurried backward.

LISSA:  “Um, Mike, you want to try?”

Brave man that he is, he stepped up.  He didn’t have any more luck than I did with the rake — the snake continued to shake its tail and strike at nearby objects, NOT retreating at all — but he had more success with the big rubber pool hook.  Repeatedly picking up the main body of the snake (it kept oozing away), he carried it out of the patio and set it down in the grass.

Phew! I followed them out, still looking forward to the peaceful and contented smile.

Only the bugger wouldn’t leave.

Instead, he stayed coiled up, hissing, and striking at anything nearby.

LISSA:  “Mike . . . I think we might have to kill it.”

MIKE: “You want to kill it?”

LISSA:  “I think so.  If it’s not going to crawl away, and it’s going to stay here and be aggressive, I think I’d feel better with it dead.  The neighbors have kids, y’know.”

So I held its neck in place with the pool hook and Mike got the shovel and chopped his head off.


I didn’t WANNA kill it!  I wanted him to crawl away!  I did!!!

Oh, well.  I told our neighbors — who had warned me they’d seen a snake the day before — that we had killed it, and that I felt bad about it.  He didn’t QUITE laugh at me as he nicely informed me that his sons are five and seven and he kills snakes on sight.


So far our Florida Death Toll consists of one spider (that apparently only eats six-legged creatures) and one snake that eats rodents.  We’ll probably move on to killing butterflies and kicking puppies, next.

(a decapitated snake picture is beneath the fold)

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Posted by Lissa on October 21, 2010

Well, okay, that title is a bit misleading, since we killed the f***er.  How about

“Things I’ve Learned as a Home Owner #6: Sometimes horrible creatures will invade your house and you will have to do battle.”

It’s eleven o’clock at night.  I’m making the nightly round, checking the locks and doors, and I reach for the sawed-off broomstick that wedges the sliding patio door.  As I sweep back the curtain and reach down, I notice A SPIDER THE SIZE OF A F***ING CADILLAC SITTING ON THE INSIDE OF OUR GLASS DOOR.

My gasp leads Mike to call out worriedly, “What’s wrong?”


(Seriously.  I cannot emphasize enough the SIZE of this monster.  To a girl raised in the Northeast, it looked big enough to swallow Rajah whole and then chase small children.  It was horrifying.)

Question: What caliber for gigantic terrifying spider?

Answer: STING.  But Bilbo hadn’t given me one.

Here is the chain of events, as I can most properly recall it:

ITEM: Lissa and Mike go running for rubber gloves, shoes, 409, RAID, and magazines.  Lissa curses herself for not having a stainless steel flyswatter. Considers sacrificing her favorite kitchen spatula, which would of course have to be bleached, doused with flammable liquid, and burnt.

ITEM: MIKE: “Um, I have bad news.  The spider’s gone.”


ITEM: We discover that the spider has retreated to higher ground.  It is now lurking in the corner of our box-like curtain header, perhaps ten feet off the ground.

ITEM: In the process of re-locating the beast and in the interest of preventing future hiding places, we rip down the curtains themselves. They were getting in our way, they were ugly and I never liked them anyway.  I immediately fling them onto the back porch, lest they be hiding a million renegade spiders between their layers.

ITEM: Using an light bulb changer extension pole, we attempt to squash the spider.  It thumbs its nose at us and climbs higher still.

ITEM: Mike fiercely wields the sawed-off broomstick.  The monster judges discretion to be the better part of valor and makes a run across the wall.

ITEM: Mike SLAMS the scurrying bastard with a back-handed broomstick.  Two legs fly off and the fiend drops to the floor.

ITEM: Lissa flies across the field of battle and douses the fallen corpse with copious amounts of 409.  Just in case.

ITEM: Lissa photographs the vanquished enemy.  Pix will appear below the fold for the benefit of the arachnophobic.

ITEM: Mike notices that he has dented the wall/dinked the paint where he slammed the broomstick.  Then realizes that it’s just a big blog of spider guts.

ITEM: Lissa gingerly uses a pair of disposable chopsticks to pick up the corpse and place it in a plastic container with a tight lid.  She also picks up the two legs that flew some three feet from the body.  She douses the entire battlefield with 409 and scrubs compulsively.

ITEM: Lissa and Mike pour drinks for themselves.  Lissa drinks her Glenlivet with shaking hands.

And now: The Vanquished Foe!

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One of the many reasons I love my husband . . .

Posted by Lissa on September 29, 2010

. . . is that he doesn’t indulge in “I told you so.”

We were in a hotel over the weekend for a Mike Work Conference Thing-y and took the opportunity to play in the gym.  We do have a little gym in our apartment building here — one of the many things I’m going to miss when we move — but it has very few weight machines.  Thus, when confronted with the richness of row after row of Nautilus, I dove right in.

I was pumping out leg curls on this machine —

— when Mike wandered over from the free weights.

“Honey, you want to be careful on that one, or you won’t be able to walk,” he said mildly.

“I’m fine!!” I puffed.  “Feels good!” I panted.

Jeez, I know how to lift weights! Does Mike think he married some namby-pamby, delicate, fragile little thing? Hell no! I had a temp job moving furniture, for heavens’ sake!

I pumped out another set to prove my point.

Ladies and gentlemen, we all see where this is going, do we not?


We finished our workout and stretching and walked up the stairs.  I admit to feeling a twinge of misgiving, seeing as how my legs didn’t quite RESPOND the way they normally do.  I took some Aleve and was relieved that everything seemed okay.

The day after (Monday) I was substantially sore.  I could *feel* what a mistake the machine, and in particular the last set of curls, had been.

And Tuesday?


I spent yesterday walking around like a 90 year old after two hip replacements. I spent more time easing myself into and out of chairs than Nomar before receiving a pitch. I was munching Aleve like they were Altoids.*  Every time I sat for longer than an hour it was almost impossible to get up again.  I was tottering around like a toddler with a full diaper.

Thank GOODNESS it’s better today.  *sigh*

And what lesson did we learn from this, boys and girls?



. . .why, what did you think I’d learned?

*No, not really. But I wanted to!!!

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Flying with Firearms – A Guest Post By Mike

Posted by Lissa on September 17, 2010

When I told Lissa about a recent airport experience while traveling with firearms, she asked that I write up a little bit about it because her impression is that most people don’t realize how easy it really is.  Until I had done it myself, I didn’t either!

I found a great resource that has a lot of great tips (some is pretty basic, like don’t walk up and announce loudly, “I have a gun,” but it is very useful overall): http://deviating.net/firearms/packing/

My first time was a pretty nerve-wracking experience.  I had an early AM flight out of Boston and took a taxi far earlier than normal because I really didn’t know what to expect at the airport and I wanted to allow plenty of time for secondary screening and the like.   When I arrived at the ticket counter, I mumbled that I needed the form to declare a firearm.  At the next counter over, a state trooper was berating some poor chap who’d left his luggage unattended, while I was maybe six feet away talking about guns and signing the bright orange form that’s quite hard to mistake once you’ve seen one.  He never looked up.

Once I’d checked in—they count a gun case as a checked bag, so you may have to pay, depending on your situation—an airline baggage handler escorted me to a table off to the side of the security lines and ducked through a door to fetch someone from TSA.  She came out, looked in the case—including under the foam to make sure I didn’t have any contraband—and pronounced it fine.  I locked it with regular combination locks—NOT TSA LOCKS*—and she took it off into the back to have it find its way aboard my plane.

At the other end, because the bright orange tag I’d signed saying my guns were unloaded was affixed to the case, I had to claim it at the baggage office and show a photo ID.  It turns out this isn’t supposed to be how it works, but the nice TSA lady put the tag there, so it wound up getting special handling.  Federal law (http://cfr.vlex.com/vid/31-delivery-common-contract-carrier-19675270) says there shouldn’t be any identifying labels when guns are being transported this way.  Sure, gun cases may look like gun cases, but most people won’t make you because they don’t expect guns in airports.

I have since traveled with firearms multiple additional times and they’ve all gone smoother than the first.  It’s interesting that the TSA people all handle things a little differently.  One guy didn’t even look inside the case because he figured that he’d find…a gun (and they were going to x-ray it anyway).  The most recent time, I got a TSA person who must be a bit of a firearms enthusiast.  He saw my M&P45 and said, “That’s really nice.  Is it a .45?”  He also took by far the longest to search the case (he took me into the back room to do this) because he was busy admiring the gun.  Perhaps not coincidentally, he was the only one who, without any prompting, knew that the bright orange declaration goes INSIDE the case or else it becomes an illegal identifying label.

The moral of the story is that, if I can travel with guns in Boston’s airport, it’s really not that big a deal as long as you play by the rules (both TSA’s and your airline’s).  I’ve never even been asked for my Massachusetts LTC, perhaps because only an idiot would take guns he can’t legally own onto an airplane and announce this fact to the federal authorities.

* TSA regulations require that only YOU have the key or combination to open your firearm case.  Regular TSA locks on a gun case are an invitation for theft.


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The Kitteh’s Request (belated)

Posted by Lissa on August 23, 2010

Dear Ceiling Cat,

Pleez to send Daddy a happy birthday.

Also a house.


(No, I didn’t forget Mike’s birthday, I was just out-of-pocket this weekend!)

Previous requests here and here

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Enter The Dragon!

Posted by Lissa on April 27, 2010

Good morning all!  I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but here at the Kitty Den we run a 50s-ish household.  For example, I do the grocery shopping each week and almost all the cooking; Mike takes out the trash and handles the finances, etc. When it comes to firearms, Mike’s job is to do the fiddling, the changing out of springs, the customization, and often the cleaning; my job is . . . to shoot them.  And shoot them well.  🙂

Regarding that firearms division of labor — I’m good at my job, but Mike is perhaps better at his.  Watch, for example, a basic Ruger 10/22 . . .

. . . turn into THIS:

Isn’t that fun???  That’s what happens when your husband takes a Ruger 10/22 — a boy’s (or girl’s) basic first rifle — and puts on a skeleton stock with a pistol grip, a bipod, a sling, and a cheap-but-accurate scope.  I call it The Dragon — and yes, Mike laughs at me, but whatever — because it reminds me of the Dragunov that appeared in Burn Notice.

We’ve only taken it to the plinking range (50 yards) once, but it was a HOOT!  We had a bunch of food cans (pumpkin, beans, peas, etc.) as well as some Diet Coke cans and two 2-liter plastic bottles.  In retrospect, we should have brought a bunch of water; the cans are too light and will often fall over in the breeze before we have a chance to snipe them.  A few inches of water in the bottom does a decent job of making them stay put, so I sacrificed some of our bottled water stash from the car trunk.

As nice as it is to punch holes in targets — especially targets with reactive spatter-stickers on them — it’s even MORE fun to make them fall over.

What a great way to spend a beautiful weekend afternoon!

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