Sunday, April 26, 2009

...and Take Your Money.

When I told friends that I was going shooting at the range in Virginia they would always ask where the range was. It's Virginia I would say, don't they have gun ranges on every block?

Of course this is not exactly true but we did end up in a very strange industrial park that housed our shooting range along with a messianic Jewish synagogue, a tire repair place and a church. I guess it's sort of one stop shopping for the impending apocalypse.

As usual for me, half of the fun of the experience was simply getting to see all of the other people that came out to shoot on a beautiful Saturday. There was the father and son wearing military style gear and speaking in Polish, there was the middle aged woman wearing a We are Virginia Tech shirt, and there was the tall muscular guy who unloaded a full clip of perfect head shots in about 30 seconds the very first time he stepped up to the line.

I can't wait to get to go again.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Guardin' the Garden.

I think it's important to have someone who keeps an eye on your home while you're away, even if that someone is made of plastic and planted in a big ceramic pot in your yard.

Go Caps?

His tuba was painted like a cobra and they were playing Van Halen and Kanye West songs. I stood on the street in my work clothes holding my briefcase while staring at them for the better part of a half-hour.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fun in the Sun.

It was beautiful this weekend and Lydia and I walked along the Potomac down towards Mount Vernon. Along the way we saw a bald eagle carrying a fish in its talons and I got to perform a non-stop monologue of non sequiturs about whatever the hell popped into my head. Fortunately for me Lydia is very tolerant of my mental illness.

Anyway, we also watched this fat little man pop out from the ground and sun himself on a rock for a while. He didn't seem particularly frightened of people at all. I guess he's never been to a Chuck E. Cheese and seen the children wielding mallets.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Making Believe.

I was at Safeway looking through the neverending aisle of chips when a small boy started walking towards me. He was probably eight or nine and he was walking down the aisle while pretending to shoot at the bags of chips in the top row.

He would take three steps forward and stop, turn his shoulders and pretend to rack a round into a shotgun that he imagined holding in his two hands. After taking careful aim at a bag of chips he would pull the imaginary trigger and let out a low “boom.” He even made the proper motion for recoil in his hands with each trigger pull.

After destroying four sets of chips and progressing down the aisle the boy stopped in front of me. He leveled his make-believe gun at me and took careful aim by closing one eye and looking down what would be the sight. I stood there and stared at him with a blank look, not sure what to think about what I had been observing. We stood there for a moment until I asked the boy what kind of gun he was firing.

“It's a shotgun. A 12 gauge,” he said while still pointing what had become a very real seeming weapon directly at my head.

“Oh,” I replied.

And with that the boy turned his aim from my face to a bag of Dorito's Cool Ranch chips a foot away. He pulled back his finger and nothing happened, no boom and no recoil. I looked at the boy confused. “Must have gotten jammed,” he shrugged and walked on down the aisle towards the salsa.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Get in Here Quick.

I don't know what goes on in this place, but I want to find out. And in a hurry.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Surplus Defense.

The thing about the guy that works at the Army Surplus store is that you're not quite sure at first if he's actually crazy. You walk in and he has a sign on the door about the pending rapture and you think that maybe he just has a good sense of humor about working in a store filled with camouflaged everything and machetes.

But then, after wandering around the store for a bit you hear the manager have this conversation with a customer:

Customer: "What's that?"

Manager: "Oh, that's called the Sharpie Knife. It's a knife disguised as a Sharpie magic marker."

Customer, looking confused and scared: "Why would you want something like that?"

Manager, a bit upset because he is being asked such a stupid question: "Well, you'd want it if someone attacked you and you needed a knife to defend yourself. That's why."

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Fried Chicken and Hazmat Suits

After a very fun night of Korean Fried Chicken and Karaoke (new favorite karaoke song: Can't Fight the Moonlight from the Coyote Ugly soundtrack) I came home late to find that both ends of my street were blocked off by fire trucks. Around the corner were about a half dozen police cars all huddled together and as I parked my car the Hazmat unit and a decontamination truck pulled up with their lights flashing.

A mix of police and firefighters were all gathered on the front porch of a house about a block away. I walked over to where they were standing, expecting to be shooed away or told to step back, but no one even noticed me until I started bugging them with questions.

One of the firefighters in a very bored voice told me that they weren't sure what was going on but that there was nothing to worry about. I didn't point out to him that usually when nothing is going on the Hazmat team isn't called out, but then again I'm not the professional.

I wanted to stay out and see if anything fun might happen (and by fun I mean someone getting to put on a Hazmat suit) but I was tired and my voice hurt from singing Hungry Like a Wolf earlier in the night. I went back inside half expecting to be woken by an evacuation notice in the middle of the night.

By the time I was up the next morning everyone was gone and it was as if nothing had happened at all.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


I had a very nice meeting at the Red Cross headquarters the other day. Their building is really beautiful with a stunning main lobby that lets in lots of natural light and is lined with large glass crosses.
I learned that the symbol of the Red Cross is not affiliated with any religious group, rather it is the inverse of the Swiss flag.
I also learned that the Red Cross asked a marketing firm to try and come up with a new symbol that would have absolutely no religious or political connotations anywhere in the world. The company came up with the Red Crystal. Now this just sounds like a movie with David Bowie and Muppets in it, but as has already been established I don't know anything about marketing. However, after seeing the new design for the Red Crystal it was immediately pointed out that the crystal looked a lot like a red diamond. A blood red diamond to be exact. I have a feeling they're going to end up sticking with the cross after all.