Guns, lots of guns

So for my xmass present I got a gun handling course from my wife for the two of us. I wouldn’t normally write about this, but the course was so impressive that I thought I”d say something.

It was at BlueCore in Denver which is run by a handful of ex special forces folks including former Navy SEAL Eric who took our booking and who we chatted to on arrival. [No jarhead, he rocks long blonde hair.]

Our trainer was Tom who is a competitive shooter and has competed on a national level. His teaching style is awesome – totally relaxed and he knows his subject very well.

We played with two 9mm handguns and an AR-15 assault rifle.

The course was a full 2 hours one-on-one instruction starting with half an hour classroom instruction. Much of their approach can be applied to rifles or handguns so you don’t have to re-learn when you switch. e.g. Their rapid load and fire technique applies to both rifles and handguns.

After 1.5 hours of instruction we were starting with hands flat on the table, target starts moving towards you, pick up assault rifle, load magazine, cock, empty 5 rounds until mag is empty, put down, pick up 9mm, load mag, cock, empty 10 rounds in rapid succession all while the target keeps coming towards you.

After 2 hours we walked out there and couldn’t believe how much there is to gun handling. We could both just spend a year at the range working on our 9mm accuracy with the knowledge Tom gave us.

So if you want to learn about guns and are in Colorado or passing through, check out

Disclosure: I don’t own any guns and don’t have a gun license.

Rescued kitten Stix, 9 months after being found in the gutter with a broken pelvis

My wife, Kerry, went down to California last thanksgiving for a brief trip with her sister Sandy. They were driving along in Fountain Valley with my niece and spotted a kitten lying in the gutter. As they approached her she hauled herself out of the gutter in a badly injured way.

They immediately stopped and tried to get the kitten out from the bush she’d crawled into. The neighbors said she’d been hiding in that bush for at least 2 days. Animal control had been out and couldn’t catch her.

It took the three of them 45 minutes to get her out with my wife crawling under the bush coaxing her the whole time. She eventually caught the little thing and they took her to the Vet ER.

Turns out Stix, as she came to be called, had a broken pelvis. She was 9 weeks old. Three breaks, with the largest one highlighted on the xray below. This xray links to the hi-res full body xray if you’re interested.

Kerry and Sandy had to leave immediately to drive back to Colorado from California and they took Stix with in a cat carrier.

Stix was paralyzed from the base of her tail down and Kerry was told the kitten may not be able to use the bathroom properly. On the drive back to Colorado, in a Vegas hotel room the first time Stix peed in the catbox there were cheers. Later that night she pooped, and more cheers. In that hotel room when Kerry cleaned her cat carrier the blanket was covered in dead fleas that had fallen off from the anti-flea medication the vet gave her. She also wolfed down her first meal like she was starving.

Kerry started by saying she’s just going to foster her and find her a good home once she’s recovered. The road to recovery was long. Kerry kept her in a cat carrier initially. As she healed she bought a large pet playpen and kept her in there to limit her movement. She recovered further and eventually got to roam around the house supervised.

Of course attachments grew and she became our cat.

The first time she lifted her paralyzed tail slightly was a big day. A few months later we were watching TV with her and she actually twitched the end of her tail and we were shocked. More cheers.

It’s now 9 months later and she’s the new favorite child of our three pets. We have an australian cattle dog and Stix doesn’t realize she’s a cat. She imitates our cattle dog so much we’ve called her a cattle-cat. When Joey chases the ball, she goes after him. And she follows us around when we take Joey for a walk. That’s in between wrestling with our oversized orange tabby.

This is a video of her at the end of a 20 minute walk in 90 degree heat out here in Colorado. She’s very camera shy so it’s taken me a while just to get this footage. I’ve never known a cat that comes when you call her. She’s awesome and for starting life with a broken pelvis she’s turned into a great hiker and runner which is highly unusual for a cat.

Our cattledog has always been partial to me – they tend to be a one person animal. When Kerry is sitting reading, Stix will jump on her chest and snuggle right under her chin. So she jokes she finally has a pet of her own.

Not all rescues have a happy ending like this and the prognosis for Stix was very bad when Kerry and Sandy rescued her. But I see similar stories online and I think animals are tougher than humans because they don’t know that they’re injured or disabled and so they lack self-pity. As far as Stix is concerned, everyone else’s tail is just a little too active and for some reason in the last few months her back legs got all grasshoppery and now she just wants to run everywhere.



Spooky fun with ssh on OS X

Want to freak out your wife/husband/kids?

On a mac that you have access to:

Go to ‘System Preferences’. Under ‘Internet & Networking’ there is a ‘Sharing’ icon. Run that. In the list that appears, check the ‘Remote Login’ option.

Then ssh into your mac remotely by downloading putty if you’re on a pc or launch a terminal on another mac and run “ssh username@ip.address” without quotes to ssh to the mac while someone is working on it.

Once you’re logged in:

Crank up the volume by running:
sudo osascript -e "set volume 10"

Then run:

sudo osascript -e 'say "I am watching you." using "Zarvox"

Or if that doesn’t work, try:

sudo osascript -e 'say "I am watching you." using "Cellos"'

Make sure you have an automatic emergency defibrillator handy.


I’m in Colorado in a semi-rural area in Elbert County in the town of Elizabeth. I get a lot of work done here because there’s not much going on. This is taken from my macbook’s webcam pointed out the window.


Skiing down Rainier

Video from 1 week ago with Joe H and Tom R skiing down Rainier from Camp Muir. Thanks Joe for putting all the clips together! We ran out of water about halfway down and the clip about the water bottle is me holding a squeeze bottle filled with snow that just refused to melt. We filled up further down from a glacial stream. The clip where Joe shouts at me “This way” is him saving my ass from skiing off a cliff.

Posted in Fun

Hiked up to Camp Muir on Rainier and skied down

Had an amazing weekend with friends Joe Heitzeberg and Tom Romary. We met on Saturday evening in Rainier park. The campsite at Cougar Rock was full so we drove a few hundred feet down the road, parked at a trailhead, hiked in a bit and slept under the stars. We got up to paradise at about 7am and started hiking up to Muir on skis with skins. We hiked from about 5,500 ft to over 10,000 ft, took a break and had lunch and then skied down on a route we made up as we went along. At one point we had skied into a valley and had to climb a snowbank to get back on the trail (the alternative was skiing down the Nisqually river valley on top of the river and possibly falling through, so we decided against that).  Joe has posted photos and video here.  (Page 2 has the videos) The videos are a little large to download, so as soon as they’re up on youtube I’ll embed a few here.

Posted in Fun

Snowkiting and Powder in Utah

CRV and Bill Tai put together an awesome weekend in the mountains of Utah snowkiting. Thanks  Jeff Kafka and team for some awesome instruction. I think the most memorable moment was Chris Sacca getting up on stage at the local bar and singing Stairway to Heaven including the screamy bits at the end. Tell me someone got that on video!!

I didn’t have a camera but hopefully some photos will be on Flickr soon.

Saturday we snowkited and I had a few great runs although I got my ass seriously whipped by a 10 meter kite on top of the windy ridge until one of the guys on a snowmachine came and grabbed my kite for me.

Sunday the conditions were whiteout and it was snowing heavily so we hit Park City for the deepest powder I’ve ever seen. It was a warm clear beautiful day and I hung out with Sunil Paul and Sebastian Thrun and turns out Sebastian is a spectacular skier and he gave me some great pointers on how to ‘bounce like you’re on a trampoline’ in powder. We did a few really challenging (for me) runs through trees and it was awesome!!

Posted in Fun