Friday, August 29, 2008

Weaponology--The Sig 225/P6

What an awesome little pistol this thing is. It's like a tiny shrunken Sig 220, chambered for 9mm, and holding 8 rounds in the mag. Sig replaced it, sort of, with the 239. The 239 is much more top-heavy, about 1/2 inch shorter, and has a thinner grip frame.

What that amounts to me is a gun that I just didn't like very much. And I like Sigs. The 225 has been out of production for awhile. That's a shame, because all the knowledgable gun folks thought the 225 was the best pistol Sig ever made. It was one of my holy grails of pistols. I'd sort of given up on finding one.

Enter the surplus market for Sig 225's. The German police dumped all their surplus and retired 225's on the US. This is a good thing, because one can score themselves a P6 (German version of the 225) for $300 or under. They vary in condition, from new in the box to 70% condition (as the Blue Book grades such things). This is a good thing as well. It's about half the cost of a 239, and they have equal magazine capacity.

If one isn't scared of a little blueing being rubbed off, these guns are quite a bargain. I'm not. The pistols I've come across that are worn on the outside usually are perfect on the inside. Police and civilians don't usually shoot a gun enough to caue significant wearing, especially on a durable duty pistol like a Sig. Even the severely holster-worn ones that I've seen haven't been shot much, from what I could tell. The barrels appear in good shape, the recoil springs seem solid, and the internals are fine. The triggers seem to work well, though the double action is a bit heavy. The single action is wonderful. While I appreciate beautiful pistols, I also appreciate ugly ones that work well.

The 239 probably has it beat in terms of a smooth double-action, but that's the only place where it does. The 225 just feels right in my hands, better than the 239 ever did. The 225 points better, feels better, and just flat-out makes a better pistol for me. Spare magazine location has been an adventure, but I have two spares, so I'm not really all that short-supplied.

I'd imagine this gun is going to be my main winter carry piece. It's about as thin as a good 1911, about the same dimensions as a 239, and; as noted, just seems to point better for me.

Cheap Sig Sauers. What a deal.


I shot the little beast this weekend. Not half bad. I put the rounds where they were supposed to go, and I'm not disappointed in the least. However, the Sig 239 recoils much less. That makes perfect sense, since the 225 is much lighter. It's not uncontrollable by any means, it's just a little flippy with hot ammunition. I had two failures to feed. They're explained by either weak mag springs, or me hitting the slide stop up while shooting. I'm leaning towards the latter. The slide stop sits pretty close to my thumb.

A good DA/SA trigger is hard to beat. I can handle it much better than the Glocks, to say the least.

My suspicions were correct. This is going to be a great little carry piece for the wintertime.

On the other hand, I also shot the Sig 229 in 9mm. I can honestly say it's the best-shooting 9mm that I've ever messed with. Nothing better, so far. It's a bit heavier than the 225, but you get so much more control with it. There's nothing like shooting water jugs, and being able to deliberately bounce them in the air with your rounds. I can do that with this pistol.

Just to reassure myself that I do shoot Sigs better than Glocks, I also ran a few rounds through a Glock 17. No comparison. The Sig works much better for me.

It makes me want to trade off every Glock I own.

There's Hope for McCain, After All

Sarah Palin's the VP pick? Not 100% confirmed yet, but looking good. The Governor of Alaska, no less.

That was a brillant pick in my opinion. She's smart, pretty, tenacious, forthright, mother of a special needs child, and a hell of a campaigner. Plus, she's actually CONSERVATIVE. Hot damn. She's stood up against her own party quite a few times. She doesn't capitulate to the Left.

Traditionally, there's not much that a VP candidate does to boost the ticket. I think history will show this one helped.

I'll actually vote for McCain, now. I think there's a lot of us actual conservatives who feel the same.

Awesome. There's a bit of light at the end of the tunnel. It will be hard for McCain to salvage conservatives after adding the stupid Global Warming plank, but this helped.

Don't think about Geraldine Ferraro, don't think about Geraldine Ferraro.....

Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm Starting to Sound Like a Damned 9 Inch Nails Song...

Grieving sucks. There’s just no other way to put it. You think you’re over the worst of it. You think the pain is starting to fade. In reality, it’s like a bad tooth. It doesn’t hurt until you poke it a bit.

And you do poke it. You’re cognizant of how bad it hurts when you reach for the telephone to call the person that’s gone, and realize halfway through dialing what you’re doing. You realize it when you see something on the news, and think to yourself, “Gee, I wonder what Mom’s going to have to say about that.” Then you realize you’ll not ever talk to her about the news again.

Colors don’t seem as bright. Food doesn’t really taste good. Nothing seems fun. When that person crosses your mind, you feel a gut-wrenching sadness.

You think about all the things you should have said, should have done, and you feel guilty as hell for not having done them. You regret every harsh word that you ever had with the person. You’d give anything to take all of that back.

But you can’t. And you won’t. Ever.

It’s even worse when you really have no sympathetic ear to turn to. Nobody other than this blog to air out how you really feel.

This is what I get by way of sympathy, from the person who’s supposed to be closer than anyone else in the world to me:

“I really thought you’d get over this quicker, since you’re up here and away from everything that might remind you of her.”

Thanks a whole hell of a lot. Boy, I feel better now. I lost my mother, moron. It’s not like the dog just got run over or something.

It’s amazing. But I think you can actually get a little clarity about things in the midst of a tragedy. If that’s what I can expect as far as warm family support, I’m better off on my own.

This sucks. How much exactly am I supposed to endure, here? Come on, God. Cut me a little slack here, please.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Who Were They, Exactly?

Hospice told us over and over that people who are dying see people who aren't there for the rest of us. They see and talk to people who have passed on long before. This is quite common.

Is it something in the mind that is just a symptom of the disease and of the mind shutting down? Or is it something else entirely? Why is it so common?

I saw this happen for myself. My mom asked me who all those people standing behind me were. There wasn't anyone else in the room. She proceeded to have a conversation with them. She greeted them warmly, like old friends or missed loved ones, and had a good discussion with them about something. She spoke clearly, and was clearly responding to somebody.

She had been incoherent for a good day, at this point. She couldn't converse with us before this, and didn't converse with us afterwards.

Hospice told us the angels were there. They give comfort to the dying, and let them know that it's OK to let go. Now, Hospice folks know something about this sort of thing. They are people who take care of the dying. This is their profession. They deal with this almost every day. They say that it happens almost 100% of the time.

What do we make of this? I don't have any answers.

I do know that my Mom passed away at 10:30pm. On the dot. That's when she took her last breath. I know that because I was standing there, holding her hand.

Almost 200 miles away, my niece's husband had the strong feeling that somebody had just entered their home. Being a police officer, he was a bit alarmed. He armed himself, and went to investigate quietly. Nobody there. My niece awoke, and started crying. She said she couldn't say why, exacatly. She says she looked at the clock when she awoke. It was exactly 10:30. Her husband confirmed this.

We didn't report Mom's passing to my niece and her husband until the next morning, around 8:00a.m.

One can take away from that what one will.

I do know that I stood outside that night, quite late. The suburban carrying Mom had long since left the house. Everyone had gone home that needed to go, and everyone else in the house stayed asleep. The night was still, and quiet. The stars were out, and the moon hung low in the nortwest sky. I could hear a couple of young coyotes yelping somewhere on the property. That far out, you don't have any light pollution from the cities. You can't hear any traffic, unless a lone car moves down the dirt road over 1/4 of a mile away. You're as isolated as one can possibly be in the modern era. Oddly, I didn't feel alone.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A Eulogy

Editor's Note:

I went back and fixed this to close to what was actually said. I left some parts in it here that I skipped in the eulogy, simply because everyone there could read her particulars, and the blogosphere doesn't have that luxury. Not that anyone actually cares, but this is my little memorial to her.

"It is truly only at a time like this where we realize how little time we really have on this Earth. Mom would want me to tell all of us here today that we should not let a day go by that we do not tell those whom we love how important they are to us. Our time is too short, and it would have been even if Mom had lived another 50 years.

"It is impossible to encapsulate someone’s life into a short eulogy. This will not even begin to give the audience an idea of her likes and dislikes, her complicated nature, or; most especially, the effect she had on the lives of everyone here today. Carolyn Cooper Miller was born on June 19th, 1937, to Russell and Myrtie Cooper. She is predeceased by her mother and father, as well as her brother James Russell Cooper, and her great-grandchildren Bella and Abbey Lester. She is survived by her husband, Keith Allen Miller, and her sister Jane McDaniel. She is further survived by her daughters Christi Leonhardt and her husband Kenneth, Kelly Lester and her husband Ricky, and her son Kyle Allen Miller and his wife Myrlah. She is also survived by her grandchildren Derrick Russell Lester and his wife Janelle, Kenna Leonhardt, Katie Garcia and her husband Gabe, Jacey Lester, Loni Lester, and Connor Allen Miller. Last but not least, she is survived by her great-grandchild Gabriel Draiden Garcia.

"Mom passed away at home, in the time and place of her own choosing, surrounded by her husband and children. This is exactly the way she chose to live her life.

"This does nothing to tell the audience what sort of person she was. We could and will tell you about her railing against the Catholic Church, Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party. We could tell you about walking into the house and hearing her giving Congress a good tongue-lashing as she watched them on C-Span, Fox News, or CNN. You can take it from all of us that her tongue was sharp and acidic. Could she have but actually gotten a few of those politicians in her presence, that sharp tongue could have taken care of a lot of our country’s current problems before they ever got started. I promise that none of us will ever flip on a news channel without a smile. And we’re going to miss it. Our wife, our mother, our grandmother, our great-grandmother, our friend, is gone from us. We will not have the benefit of her guidance, her wisdom, her arms around us, and most especially, her unconditional love. We’re going to miss that.

"I know that is pure selfishness on our part. We cannot for a moment have wished the suffering that Mom went through on her, even for moment. As much as we still want her and need her, we know that she is free of the awful struggle and pain that she was in the last year of her life. And I cannot for a minute begrudge her the joy she must have felt at begin reunited with Mimi and Granddaddy, Mildred, Jimmy, Hermann, and Marcus.

"I hope that everyone here has someone in their life that is 100% in their corner the way Mom was for all of us. There was no more staunch advocate, more fierce defender, or at times, harshest critic.

"There’s no question in my mind that my mother would have gladly laid her life down for her husband, children or grandchildren, without question or hesitation. That is unconditional love. Through a mother or a wife’s sacrifice and love, we get perhaps a small glimpse of the love that God has for all of us.

"Anyone who knew her knew how much Mom’s family meant to her. If we can get an idea of what her life stood for in just a few words, and if we can take something away from her life, it would be through an understanding of the importance to her of her family and of God. My mother’s life stood for the importance of family, and of a relationship with God. It was what she devoted herself to, and put all of her resources and efforts into. And all of us here today are her legacy.

"We see in our society today the effects of broken families, and the consequences of removing God from our day-to-day lives. We have prisons full of people without a supporting family, and without a relationship to God. Mom regarded family as the direct expression of God’s will on Earth. Family is the unifying force.

"Mom taught us that a family sticks together, no matter how hard it was, no matter how unhappy we might be with each other, A family sticks together, through whatever evils the world throws at them. They stick together emotionally, financially, spiritually, and physically. No matter what, those of us in this family knew, and continue to know, that we can always count on the support of our family. This gives us the strength to venture out and try to make our way in the world. We knew the consequences of failure could never be that terrible, because we always had a home to come back to.

"With the unconditional love comes unconditional forgiveness. Mom taught to us the value of forgiveness, because truly no family can be whole without it. There are times where I’ve been mad enough at my family to disown them. In the heat of the moment, we can end up doing just that. But is the heat of the moment enough to cost the entire relationship? Absolutely not. The Bible teaches us not to let the sun set on our anger, and this is but one reason why. Anything that poisons or destroys a family’s relationship flies in the face of what God wants for us. She’d want me to tell those of you out there to let go of those resentments and anger, before it is too late.

"Mom believed that most of our problems in the world today emerged from a de-emphasis of family and God in a person’s life. She believed it was a mistake to allow anything else to occupy the spaces that God and family should occupy. I think the family relationship is truly what God meant for us to be. I know that every person that I dated, every friend that came over for Sunday dinner, loved what we had as a family. Few of them had it, and all of them wanted what we have as a family. That is proof enough for me this family is the way God meant for families to be. Mom would also want me to tell all of you that if you’re not having a weekly dinner with those who mean the most in this world to you, you’re missing out. Start. You’ll be extremely thankful that you did.

"Do not think for a moment that family means only a blood relationship. It also includes those friends who are family as well. You're all here today because you're a part of Mom's family as well. Thank you."

This is a little closer to what I actually ended up saying, I think. It's still kind of a blur. To say that was the toughest public speaking gig I've ever had is quite an understatement.

Godspeed, mom.