Tuesday, September 30, 2008

*JAWZ DROPPEDED*

What the?!?!?!

Take a look at this picture people. GASP!!!



I recognized you immediately!

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Art of Manliness: Nice Guys Don’t Have to Finish Last

Calling all guys!

Men, take note. This may prove useful.

My thoughts?

Hmmm....

Spencer

Friday, September 26, 2008

H.R. 2343—‘Education Begins at Home’ Act

*gets pumped up*

Come on, it's time to act! Make a difference, do something!

Deploy!

TBB: How to buy your 7979 Castle Advent Calendar [News]

*begins to get nervous that stock will run out before he has time*

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"America's Smallest Dinosaur" Uncovered in Canada

This should prove interesting. I really want to get a much closer ("bonier") look at the forelimbs. They are extremely reminiscent of the "bird" arms of Mononykus (even the name Albertonykus borealis reminds one of that dinosaur).

This should prove interesting!

Spencer

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ignorance is not bliss.

Now my sister has featured it!

The comments should be interesting to many of the men who read here.

Spencer

The List

Both Warskyl and Emil Bandy have featured this. Take a peek!

Spencer

P.S. You can find my own thoughts on the Warskyl comment.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"Always Mind Your Surroundings"

This was originally written for the Warskyl forums, but they seem to be functioning a little less than properly right now, so, lucky you, you get a rare treat.


I recently had an what I found to be an interesting experience while taking my sister to a movie. Thank God nothing actually happened, but it still was something to make me think. Perhaps someone else will find it thought-provoking as well, which is why I mention it here.

We went to an 8:05 showing of The Dark Knight (which I would highly recommend, by the way), and considering the length of the film I knew that it would be late when we got out. Neither of us were driving; a third party dropped us off at the back of the theater and said they would pick us up at the same spot. Thinking of safety issues, I asked for them to instead pick us up at the front (which is part of a busy strip mall). It wasn't likely that even after 10 at night it'd be deserted in the back, considering how popular of a mall this is, but I still preferred the safe route.

As the credits were rolling we waited to watch them/hear the music, and as I did this I noticed a fair amount of people exiting through a door beside the screen that I hadn't noticed before. Looking to be a bit of a shortcut to the front entrance of the theater itself and thus a quicker exit, I opted for this exit when we got up and were leaving. When I opened the door, I was greeted by a long and abandoned hall. People had just used it, it probably ended with the door I could see at the end of it, and was likely safe enough, but, still, red flags flapped in front of my eyes so I chose to go back the way we came and take the "normal" exit.

Being in a large shopping mall, I called up our ride, but unfortunately my earlier request of being picked up in the front had not been carried through. I again requested front pick-up, and then I got it!

I had my sister with me, and though things likely would have been okay if I'd done both things differently, I take no chances.

This to me is just a small way that I stay aware of my surroundings.

Spencer

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sgt. Grit Bumper Stickers

Credit goes to Sgt. Grit's bumper stickers for these awesome quotes/taglines. They are so my style. (Note for the ladies: While all of I've posted are "clean" some are harsh, as in violent, so consider yourselves forewarned.)


Except for ending Slavery, Fascism, Nazism, and Communism, WAR has never solved anything.

If you can read, thank a teacher. If you can read in English, Thank a Marine!

In the face of TERROR and MURDER, The call for peace is NOT PATRIOTIC, It's COWARDICE!

My Freedom Was Fought For By One Of Those Dum Military Persons

Marines Die So You Don't Have To!

Death Smiles at Everyone, Marines Smile Back

America, Love it or Leave it!

Dear Enemy, Take A Deep Breath

You will die, I will die a Marine

Let Them Hate, So Long As They Fear

Nobody Ever Drowned in Sweat

Gun Control, Hitting Your Target

Carpenters Hammer Nails. Plumbers Fix Pipes. Marines Kill People.

When It Absolutely, Positively Must Be Destroyed Overnight

Providing Enemies Of America An Oppurtunity To Die Since 1775

I May Look Harmless, but I Raised A U.S. MARINE

Artillery Brings Dignity to what would otherwise Be just a BRAWL.

One Shot, One Kill, One Thousand Yards. Marine Sniper.

Pain is Weakness Leaving the Body

It's God's Job to forgive bin Laden, It's our job to arrange the meeting.

When In Doubt, Empty the Magazine

Happiness Is...A Belt-Fed Weapon

I've Got a Marine and I'm Not Afraid To Use Him!

What do you feel when you kill a Terrorist? RECOIL

To Err Is Human, To Forgive Divine, However Neither Is Marine Corps Policy.

Some Heroes Wear Capes, Mine Wears Kevlar

We Don't Accept Applications, Only Commitments!

One Shot, 12 Kills. MARINE ARTILLERY

Another Marine For Peace, One Terrorist at a Time

Guns Don't Kill People, I KILL PEOPLE

My Marine Can Pick Off Your Honor Student at a Click and a Half

Stop Global Whining

I Wasn't STUCK In Iraq, I VOLUNTEERED

A Dead Enemy Is A Peaceful Enemy. Blessed Be The Peacemakers.

Marine, Your Best Friend, Your Worst Enemy

I Fight What You Fear

I VOLUNTEERED For Combat. It's What MARINES Do.

We Do More By 5AM Than You Do All Day

My Kid Fought In Iraq So Yours Can Party In College.

U.S. Marines, Travel Agents To Allah

USMC Sniper. REACH OUT and TOUCH SOMEONE

U.S. Marine, We Don't Suffer From Insanity, We Enjoy Every Minute Of It!

Don't Make Me Call My Marine!

If You Can't Stand Behind The Troops,Then Stand in Front of Them, Please!

First Iraq, Then France!

Travel to Exotic Places, Meet New People, KILL THEM

All Men Are Created Equal, Then Some Become MARINES!

Marines Fear Only God, No Others

Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Anyone Who Threatens it.

Give War A Chance

Marine Sniper, You Can Run, But You Die Tired.

"The Marines Came to Tikrit. The rest is details." - Marine General.

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem."
- President Ronald Reagan



Spencer

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

Maintenance

Bear with me as I fix up my blog for a new look! I'm still working out the bugs and getting it all organized.

10 killed when freight, commuter trains collide near Los Angeles

It's more than ten.

I wish I'd been there....

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Goodbye

Tonight my best friend Nathan Cunningham leaves for his mission. He will be gone for a full two years.

Much of the time, the posts of mine that say the least mean the most. So....

Farewell, my friend...my brother.

Spencer

Monday, September 08, 2008

Utah Trip! Day 4

Thursday rolled around way too fast, and I woke up in something of a funk. Monday had been glorious, I hadn't even thought about leaving much on Tuesday, it began to become real on Wednesday, but Thursday morning it hit me, and it hit me hard. I had to leave in mere hours. In short, this was an extremely unpleasant thought to me just then.

Well, we got going, first doing a little bugging op. You see, I had really really wanted to meet the famous Sara, whom I'd known from before. Circumstances had kept her from coming to any of our hang-outs before, but also circumstances had kept us from contacting each other for about 16 months. So this would be my first time hearing from her in a long, long time!

We went to her place of work (a last-ditch attempt I was not going to pass on), but alas she wasn't to be found. We even asked after her, but the lady wasn't sure who we meant. "But if you were looking for her to ask her out for a date, there are plenty of other girls around!" she said. Hilarity!! Haha, I hadn't thought of it; two guys, asking for a girl? Totally fishy, don't you think? ;-D

Dissappointed and a little frustrated, we went back home. We were going to meet Amy for lunch around 12:45, but I had been bugging Nathan about getting there BEFORE that time; being on time wasn't gonna be good enough for me this time! ^_^

To my immense joy, it turned out that Sara was free for several hours after her class! We'd missed her, sure, but she could join us! We went to the meeting place (I'd already packed up a bit, so had little to do but spend my last hours there), looking about for her. I spotted a girl who fit her appearance (from the pictures I'd seen so long ago) even with my bad eyes; Nathan affirmed this, she came up to us, and we met! It was fantastic, lemme tell you! Sara had been in the top people on my must-meet list, what, me having been so fond of her before. We had an extremely pleasant, entirely unawkward introduction (Hug right off the bat! What's not to love?) and we were on our way!

We had some grand fun for a little bit after this, going to pick Ryan up so we could all hang just one last time. I can't really justly express how happy I was to meet Sara; really, I had a fantabulous time the entire time she was around! I was elated to find out that she'd at least been able to lurk on my blog; she even knew I'd taken Tae Kwon Do (That means she'd at least dropped by in the past year!)! Now she's taking it; we had a mega-fun time talking that one up. ^_^

We picked Ryan up at his house, and the itinerary for the day (Besides lunch with Amy, and killing all those commies--they have such horrible combat skills!) was mopping up what we hadn't done in the three days before. We went to the Jordan River (basically a river in a park in the middle of the city--how awesome is that?), where I struggled to grasp a grasshopper. I did succeed, being aided by Nathan and Ryan especially. I let it go, though; I'd forgotten to bring my insect collection kit. Arggh!!!

When we hit the riverbank we tossed rocks in; I preferred the long, overhand lob--you know, the grenade approach. ;-) Due to a lack of large stones I invented a method that entertained the males in my company; grapeshot! You simply reach down, grab a handful of little pebbles or gravel (if avaiable) and let 'er rip! Very satisfying plunk attack into the water. We wondered how many fish I'd brained. ;-D


Next we paid a visit to the Wells Fargo were Ryan and Nathan had been heroes (see here
), just so I could see a Utahn Wells Fargo. All I did was withdraw a little cash, partly as something to do, partly because I could use a little, but indeed, all of us went in. No one was in line when we got there (it's kind of a small branch I thought), so I was called right up. My three friends stayed behind me goofing around as I did my business. (Only Ryan has a Wells Fargo account...fix this, Nathan! Sara, you too! ;-P) All three of my companions can attest to the fact that I got first-class treatment when I stated my employer. ;-) Heck, they even rolled out a red carpet and let me walk on their backs! Well, okay, maybe they didn't do that, but I still had "5" service. :-D

After this, we submitted Sara to what the Utahns called a draft. Oh, but not just any draft; nothing windy or military about it. :-D It was all Lego! Mwaahaha!!! Basically, you all pitch in to buy one big set, then divide the parts. ^^_^^ Beautiful ABS euphoria. :-D

We went to Toys R Us and straight to the Lego aisle. We squabbled over what set to buy (Thankfully we'd settled on the Agents theme, at my suggestion, in the car though!), but Ryan's vote won out (we bought the Volcano Base, see here). Ryan paid (On his WF debit card! ^_^), I handed him my share ($25) in cash, Nathan stated to the cashier in conversation that Sara was the referee, and then we were off! When we all got back to Nathan's house, I had to do something in the basement (Pack some more, I think?), and when I got back upstairs I could hear all the sounds of Lego in the dining room area ("Ooh!" *clank* "Look at these!" *plink* *ping*). Nathan snatched a dark bley baseplate in triumpant exultation, and this caused me to start snatching choice pieces as we all popped open the poly bags. When Ryan and Nathan caught wind of this...well, we had been planning to do something much more civilized--er, I mean just organized (;-D), but things turned into a free-for all. We doled out the minifigs like human beings, but after this it was all chaos! Reaching, grabbing, everything!

...

Okay, maybe it wasn't really that bad. We did help each other out, but we looked like animals more than we acted like them. ;-P I felt sorry for Sara; she had to sit back and behold this ugly spectacle. I'd been trying to convert her to Lego, but this may have permanently scared her off. :-( At one point Nathan exclaimed and dived for one piece, and I did the same, but not knowing what the part was; I just tried to get whatever Nate had been going for! (LOL, honestly, it was all in good jest.)

We all came away pretty much with the stuff we wanted, and what a bargain! Great parts, too! That was awesome, guys; we hafta do something like that again when Nathan gets back! (But this time, I pick the set!)

Then Nathan showed me his violin Enesco. He played one of my all-time favorite songs, The Ashoken Farewell (from Ken Burns's The Civil War), which was also redone by Mairead Nesbitt for the debut album of Celtic Woman. Yeah. Just had to get that in there. :-P


Salt Lake burns? :-P


Next, the two used Nathan's computer to show me Ryan's custom minifigs on Flickr, their video The Bare Leg Project, and another video, The Deafinator. (Amy was so Sarah Conner! And Nathan? He's the liquid guy. Oh yeah. :-P)


Matt and me.



No caption necessary!


Then it was time to meet Amy for lunch (we were a bit early, but, like I said...yeah. :-P) Sara wanted to stay with us, and Ryan did too. We drove as a happy party to Amy's workplace (By the way, it was so good to finally see where she works! I hear about the place all the time, and it's good to put a "face with the name," so-to-speak.) We were quite early (Like tweny minutes!); Amy was surprised to see us, especially so many of us! ("We've come for what's ours...and that is...Amy!" :-P)

We waited around the front desk, watching her work. :-P Nathan and Ryan amused themselves with the free peanuts, then the popcorn with even more glee. I just contented myself with stealing a business card. ^_^

She got a call from her sister, Heather, and apparently she had to pick her up or something so we didn't physically take Amy to lunch, but we met her at Arctic Circle, joining with Heather and their mom for a few minutes. She didn't have long; a bad day of understaffitis had struck at her work, so this goodbye was going to be short. :-(

I sat next to her (For the record, I think Arctic Circle has the best fry sauce! Woot!) as I ate my lunch. Like I said, things were short, but we got some pictures in!








Heather, Amy, me, Nathan, Sara, Ryan.


This was one of the "worst" goodbyes to date for me. I'd been dreading it for days now, but without that goodbye I wouldn't have been able to say hello would I have? So, it was a necessary evil.

And soon, it was time. We hugged several times, whispered a few words a away from the group, and that was it. I won't go into things any more.

Before progressing, I have to thank everyone who was there (Nathan, Ryan, and Sara) for coming to lunch. Really, I would have taken things much worse had there been no one to keep my spirits up and cheery just then. Especially Sara; she was still "new" to me so I hadn't yet gotten over the excitement of meeting her. On top of all this, she even asked for my phone number as we left! I'd initiated the conversation, yes, but still! Meeting Sara was one of the highlights of the trip, I have to say. :-D So, Sara, you can take this as my official public thank-you. I wouldn't have done nearly so well if you hadn't been there. Thank you, and God bless you!

I next chose to sit down next to her. ;-P Sorry, guys, but you just can't compete. ^_^

More pictures!










Well, not much happened after this. Ryan had to go to work, then Sara, and it was time for me to get to the airport as well. I gathered up my stuff, we piled into the car (Matthew wanted to come bid me farewell too--when speaking of Nathan's mission he stated that he'd have "two people to miss"--Nathan and me, too! :-D), and Nathan drove (uh, sped) us to the airport.

An fairly uneventful while later, it was time for our goodbyes.

Our last photo op.





A kind man stopped out-of-the-blue and offered to take this shot for us.


It was time for me to go through security. One last hug for both of them, and I was on my way. After an uneventful hold-up at security, I turned one last time before stepping onto the escalator to wave one last goodbye. This was surprisingly hard; rarely am I ever very fond enough of guys to take a goodbye this emotionally. I waved, and they both waved back. I turned, went up the escalator, stopped at the top and turned around to wave again at the top. But they were gone.

I boarded my flight, and went home.

I've had my suspicions before, but now I'm pretty confidant that all goodbyes are from Hell.

The next day, my answer to everyone at work when they asked me about my trip was that I was "Reverse homesick." I was for days.

And...that was it. It was indescribably beautiful to meet all these fantastic people. I will keep in touch with them with energy!

But...there is a downside right now. Tomorrow will be the last time I will hear from Nathan. He's going on his mission. This is going to suck.

Spencer

P.S. 750 posts, huh?

Galleries:
Nathan's
Spencer's 1, 2, and 3

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Utah Trip! Day 3

On to Wednesday!

I woke up around 8:30 (as we'd planned) very tired. I could hear some movement upstairs, and Nathan wasn't up anyways so I waited. Eventually the other occupants of the house must've left, and Nathan got up. I was so tired that I said he could shower before I did (I'd been doing it first); I wanted a bit of rest for a few minutes. As is usual when I plan to "rest for a few minutes" I fell asleep, and didn't wake up until like 9:45. AAAGGHHH!!! Incredibly frustrating. Apparently Nathan had had some stuff to do anyways, and hadn't had the heart to wake me up. When I sleep in like this it makes me grouchy, but it wore off soon.

Our next stop? The North American Museum of Ancient Life. And if you know me, you know that to me this equals awesome. ^_^ (Ancient life? What does that mean, peeps? ...fossils! :-DDDD)

Since we'd gone through most of the music I had to show Nathan, he brought along some of his. He showed me a bit of Pirates of the Caribbean (I'm a Hans Zimmer fan), but also a band I've had an interest in for a while now: Bond. He's totally hooked me. (Alegretto! Aahh!!)

We soon arrived at the museum (it's at Thanksgiving Point, south of Salt Lake City) and took these shots of the colorful character of the outside of the building.










Before you even have to pay, you're greeted with a fantastic display of a theropod (Argh, why can't I remember the genus??) surrounded by several Othniela scurrying around its feet. I should mention now that all the displays in this museum were spectacularly beautiful, with landscaping and everything; the mounts themselves were in the most lifelike poses, and it was nothing short of a wonderous experience for a paleo fan.










I mistook the theropod for an Allosaurus (they look amazingly similar), but there was no disappointment, only surprise. Since I can't seem to remember its name I think it was one I'm unfamiliar with.

Above us stretched a massive model of what could only be a full-sized Quetzalcoatlus I think (it didn't say anywhere). What else could it be? Quetzalcoatlus is the largest pterosaur of them all, with a wingspan spanning forty feet if I remember correctly? (Note: I forewarn all that I'm only human and moreover am an amateur; do not take what I'm bound to say in euphoric detail as fact, please! Not that you would, anyways. ;-P)










Take a close lateral look at the chest region; you see that large bump of sorts? That's called the cristopina; it was a ridge on the sternum that served as an anchor for all those strong wing muscles.

On to the "real" stuff! (This was gettin' good. 8-D) We paid for admission, but I was sidetracked by the look of the gift shop, so we went there first. Right outside of the shop visitors are greeted by a Triceratops skull, but inside? May I say that Utah must have spectacular gift shops? Both here and the Clark Planetarium were places in which I could have gone bankrupt, but especially here! Safari LTD models, books, paleo memorabilia of all kinds and colors, and even some real fossils! I was going to purchase some things but no employee could be found, so I hid my stash in a corner (quipping to Nathan that I'd done this before ;-P), planning on coming back for it. (I ended up walking away with a treasured book by Martin Lockley--boy that was cheap!--a yellow diamond-shaped sign with a Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton on it that reads "T-REX CROSSING", a, Orthoceras fossil, a small pair of real shark jaws, and a Safari LTD model of the in-egg embryo called Louie, based off of the National Geographic-commissioned Brian Cooley model. Way cool!!!)

I can't even begin to describe the interior in even a small measure of justice; there was enough to overwhelm the senses of a person such as me, and there was so much that I'm sure I missed quite a bit. First off, of course we get the Evolutionary propaganda so we get the time "before the dinosaurs" but some of these exhibits were the highlight of the museum as they had dioramas of a forest filled with giant insects and two centipede-like arthropods possibly longer than I am tall, seabeds populated by Orthocone-like squid relatives, ammonites, etc.


This view of an overhead Dunkleosteus model does it no justice!


Superb!

Soon we encountered a window laboratory that was beautifully reminiscent of where I spend my Saturdays. ^_^ I made Nathan take these pictures:










I wonder if any top-level researchers work here? I was really surprised I'd never heard of this museum before Nathan mentioned it; I'm familiar with paleo stuff across the world for crying out loud! When Nate brought this one up I liked the idea, but when I visited their website I quickly backpedaled and told him:

Wait wait wait, I just went to their website!!! Come HELL OR HIGH WATER we are goin', and we are goin' if we have to run over a herd of...goats, sheep, or whatever you guys have in Utah (pigeons?). I only took a quick peek at their exhibits and I about died. THESCELOSAURUS!??! I need see no more. Nathan, we are going to a museum.

I'm friggin' EXCIIIIIIITED!!!!!!!!!



When I turned around I was confronted with a sauropod leg erected right there in the middle of the floor, and as it was right next to a "hands-on" children's table, still in this strain of though I began to touch/stroke/feel the massive leg bones. Nathan spoke up a second later, "Spencer...." as he pointed to a little placard that said "Do not touch." Oops. :-O


Dimetrodon and three Eryops.



Herrerrasaurus ischigualastensis and Eoraptor lunensis! Paul Sereno! ^_^



Tanycolagreus and Othniela models. The adornment on the Othniela looks, ahem, added.


The "main" hall, filled with dinosaurs, was to die for. Pterosaurs hung from the roof, a Supersaurus and a Brachiosarus (!) greeted all who passed, and many other dinosaurs populated the ground beneath them. The Brachiosaurus was great enough, but the Supersaurus was downright euphoric! It was so big, I couldn't even fit it in one shot!



Supersaurus trunk and limbs.



Supersaurus skull and neck vertebrae.



Another view.


There was so much here that I will not endeavor to contort my brain and get it all out of my memory. Instead, I will show you pictures (not necessarily in order)!


Anterior view of Brachiosaurus body cavity.



Brachiosaurus skull and neck (Note those long postzygapophyses!).



Pterosaurs hanging from the roof! This is a bad shot; they were much more convincing in person.



Ceratosaurus over a sauropod "carcass".



Hesperisaurus (Asian stegosaurid).



Utahraptor in a dynamic pose (Just before a leap?).



Just me and Utahraptor. I stare him down with a mixture of fearlessness and awed admiration, and he stares right back.



Pachycephalosaurus (background) and Psittacosaurus (foreground).



Chasmosaurus with a dromaeosaurid (Dromaeosaurus?).



Gastonia.



Edmonotosaurus, adult and juvenile.



Thescelosaurus (One famous specimen contains a fossilized mass found in the chest region that may actually be a fossilized heart.)



Triceratops.



Two Struthiomimus.



Protoceratops (As I mentioned to Nathan, I'm guessing this was a male, though the sexual dimorphism theory for these animals isn't, and likely won't/can't ever be proven.).



Fantastic skull display!



Tupuxuara skull (pterosaur).



Pterosaur skeleton (Anhanguera? Can't remember.) Note the beautiful folded-wing walking pose.


And...the climax!







Now, the marine and mammal hall. (Unfortunately I didn't get good pictures of two of the most impressive specimens, Elasmosaurus and Tylosaurus. I mentioned to Nathan that I've actually thought over studying extinct marine reptiles, such as pliosaurs and mosasaurs, instead of dinosaurs. Maybe both?)


Giant turtle Archelon, and I mean giant. The museum's website states the flipper-span to be 16 feet!



Basilosaurus skull. (Believe it or not, that's a whale!)


This was one of the museum highlights. Perhaps a bit on the larger size (But that's just my opinion; the fun thing is, no one knows...!) and not the greatest representation ever, but it's still amazingly impressive.


Carcharodon megalodon!



La da da dee da....



Carcharodon megalodon mural. For scale, that medium-sized shark is a Great White. Yes, I just said that the medium-sized shark is a Great White. :-O



One of my childhood favorites, the giant terror bird Diatryma.



See the crouching Smilodon? :-D



Whoa. Big sloth!



Mammoth in impressive pose.


...and, that's just about it. ^_^

We left the museum (After I'd made my $50+ run to the gift shop!), at least one of us very happy. :-D We listened to some more of Bond, and, having dropped our plans (on my suggestion) to go bug some bats that apparently live in some abandoned auditorium or something (What was it, Nate?) and to the famous (I guess?) outdoor store, Cabela's.

And what a time we had there! It had been Dave's idea as I'd desperately wanted to try the rattlesnake they served in their restaurant, but alas I had to settle for an elk sandwich. Still was dang good. ^_^




Now, by this point you may be asking yourself, "Restaurant? Inside a store?" Yup. :-D The store is as big as a Wal-Mart practically, and has a restaurant to boot! The "departments" aren't Electronics, Toys, Home, Clothing...no, it was camping gear, guns, knives, camouflaged clothing, and anything else guys like us might have wanted. We had a great, fun meal, then bounced around the store a little bit.

One of the highlights was the giant mountain display in the middle of the store, with real stuffed animals everywhere! Another great part was the room with stuffed Utahn wildlife.

Oh yeah! And check out this gun room! I had to jerk a cart out of the way for the picture, but it was way worth it, if for nothing else than that gatling gun, or at least the tusks!




Nathan introduced me to a fun shooting game, and we played that for a few minutes. It was a good warm-up to what we'd be doing later in the day with Dave: shooting. :-D

After a bit more browsing we were off then, but I kept on stopping with an "Ooh!' or an "Aah!" Poor Nathan. :-P

We headed back to his house at this point to play some video games. I'd brought a bunch of mine, but first we sampled Matt's Wii, playing some strange fighting game filled with every video game character you can imagine. It was fun to actually beat Nathan on one and get trashed in all the other rounds, but it was the kind of game that pretty much bores me usually though.

We then played my games on a PS1. Heheheh! :-D Army Men: World War: Final Front and Jurassic Park: Warpath. I totally trashed him in both, and Matt had a great time watching his brother get kicked around with a brutal something he called "skill." Take that, Utahn! ;-P

Then we took on an old Nintendo 64 game, Goldeneye (Yes, that Goldeneye!). I had absolutely no idea how to play this game let alone even work a N64 controller, it had super cheesy graphics and was horrifically dated, but with a good opponent, it was loaded with play value. ^_^ We had a grand old time doing this, until it was time for us to leave. After all, we didn't need to continue to play with toy or virtual guns, for we were meeting Dave: to use real ones. *evil grin*

We met Dave at a shooting range around 5:30, paid and got all ready, tried not to be annoyed at those running the place (or at least Dave and me, haha), and soon we were a-shootin'!

This had been a must when the idea had come up as Nathan, me and Dave planned our little excursions. I'd never, ever shot a gun before (Long story; short answer would be inaccessability--where I live--No duh, California?--and upbringing.) This was quite the experience for such a gun buff as me. ;-D

Dave gave me a quick but good safety briefing, then I tried his small little .32 Tomcat, a Beretta. The first shot.... That was something. I don't think I'm ever forgetting that day.

Next I got to try his bolt-action hunting rifle, an heirloom from his father. This is what we had been cleaning Monday night before playing hide-and-seek in Castle park, and what a beauty she was! Besides being a gun, and then a rifle, I found her wooden stock to be very attractive. ^_^

This baby, a thirty-odd six (.3006) had quite the kick. The first shot kicked my shoulder fairly hard (though Dave had showed me the correct way to pack it in my shoulder) and the scope smacked me in the forehead!

Soon I got to try his High Point 9 millimeter handgun, the one my friend carries. I liked this gun a lot and thought my shots were fairly on-target, but when we got to the target evidently they weren't. ;-D

We'd had we would have a total of three 15-minute shooting sessions, and after the whole thing was over I was sure I'd done poorly with the rifle (which I'd used last), but when we got the target, my two shots were almost on bullseyes! Okay, a bit off, but for my first time? Dave told me that I was above average! For the 9-mil. I was still only about average, but, needless to say, I was very pleased. ^_^

Due to what Dave described as "Nazi" rules at the range, the semi-automatic assault rifle that he had borrowed from his father wasn't allowed there (being a class 2 firearm). So, as we'd initially planned to shoot everything out in the middle of nowhere, we went out to the middle of nowhere to shoot the AR. ;-)

We were going to go stargazing that night, and this trip was also something of a reconnaissance mission to locate a good spot to do this. We ended up driving for over an hour and leaving the valley, but we found a nice spot to deliver some lead to...um, the dirt.

As I'd hoped, it was just me, Dave and Nathan. We weren't far from a road, but to me, a city-choked California guy, this was almost wilderness! I was amazed to experience something I'd never ever experienced in my entire life. I hadn't even really thought about it before. No sound. No cars. No wind. Not even any audible animal sounds. Just us.

A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I want more of that! The constant filth of city is killing me alive.




Dave's amazing senses identified a car in the distance (where we'd turned off the road). Nathan could see it, but even though I thought I could I had trouble identifying much. Cursed cataracts.

The fact that this vehicle seemed to linger made Dave slightly nervous (We were doing nothing wrong, but you know how guns are viewed by them "sheeple." :-/). So he made it quick; one full mag each; that would give us five shots.

Dave unzipped the case to the AR-15 (a .233), and we took these shots. Some of my favorites from the whole trip. :-D










Dave fired first; in fact the fun was a virgin, having never been fired by anyone ever before. He selected some abandoned boxes to use as targets; apparently we hadn't been the only ones to use this spot for such a purpose. Shotgun shells and what looked like broken skeet plates littered the ground.

Then came my turn. I had Nathan watch where the shells went (I collected a bunch that I myself fired, ;-) ), and blasted away. The first shot misfired (my fault, I didn't operate the gun right), so I got to keep the bullet. ^_^

This was my favorite gun of all; not very powerful, but being a semi, it was quite a blast to shoot! (Ahem, pun unintended.) With this we left the area, not seeing the vehicle again however.

We spent a lot of time driving at this point. Dave took Nathan back to his car at the range parking lot, but I stayed on with Dave. We'd soon be gathering people for stargazing, and, long story short, it wasn't until late at night that we got this underway. The time with the two of them was dang fun, though. I had a blast. I will not divulge to anyone what we discussed in all that time. (Smilies, Nathan. :-P)

Sometime in all this I spent a few minutes at Steph's parent's house (having waited for Dave outside, only to have Steph let me in and laugh when I thought it was chilly out, :-/). Stephanie decided she wouldn't go another step soon after leaving the door, and Dave made his way back to her as I followed, quipping to me, "You want the arms, or the legs?" "Huh, I guess I'll take the arms," I replied. When Dave got to her she embraced him, said all she really had needed was a kiss, and I, um, ambled about a bit as I left them to their...ahem, business. ;-P

Dave bought us a late dinner at Arby's (Refusing to accept payment! The nerve!!!), and Nathan picked up Stephanie Udell, the only one able to come stargazing besides the original three and Stephanie Higham, Dave's wife. Amy had not been able to come; we would have to say goodbye one last time at lunch the next day. Earlier I'd told Nathan that we wouldn't be running on what Dave later told me was "MST" (Mormon Standard Time); no, we would be EARLY to lunch, and if I had to kill 1,000 commies to be able to eat lunch with her, I'd do it. He said, "I'll line 'em up!" to which I replied, "All right, just give me samurai swords, and I'll do it!"

Nathan parked his car again, and the five of us piled into Dave's very nice car. It was dark and late by this time, but we still headed off for an hour drive to the spot and an hour drive back. I sat behind Stephanie Higham in the passenger's seat, Nathan sat behind Dave, who was driving, and Stephanie Udell was between us. We had a fun ride up there (Ask Nathan, Stephanie Udell had been on my list of must-meets!), and we all talked a ton. (Nathan, don't even go there! *water cup on roof*)

When we arrived, it was cold, almost silent, it was darker than I was ever used to, and I could see more stars than I'd seen in my entire 20 years. I finally realized what people were talking about when they spoke of looking for the constellations; all I can ever see is Orion's belt, and that's if I'm really really lucky. When I got back I took only a quick look at the stars and could see about three in the sky. Yeah...this was...just...wow!




We talked and had a bit of fun there. You know...I've always thought I was made for cold, never being even touched by "cold" that almost killed people back home. But I guess Californian cold isn't cold at all. :-/ I'd left my jacket in Nathan's car, and was downright cold. I roughed it though. ;-)

We soon heard coyote's in the distance, and as I'd been trying to get anyone (Ideally everyone!) to howl anyways, I threw my head back and gave what I thought to be a very convincing howl. Stephanie (Udell) protested, "Don't make them come over here!" and the general request was echoed. ;-D I hadn't planned on doing it too much anyways, and was quite confidant I'd never attract an animal I tried to imitate. A while later Dave did fetch his 9-mil., but just to be safe. After all, we had two ladies with us. :-D

Around this time Nathan pulled a prank on me, whispering "Come here! Spencer, come over here!" and when I obliged he snapped his camera right in my face, flash and all. Gar! That prompted some slugs. :-P

I made everyone take pictures, but apparently Steph (H.) had her back turned in the dark. :-P




Soon we were off, it being very late, and we had quite a fun car ride back to civilization; we talked, joked, Stephanie (H.) tried to figure out what religion I was... :-D I'd realized that my hands smelled very nice; I kept on sniffing them as I sat right next to Stephanie (U.), insisting on calling the smell "GSR" as Dave protested that it was merely gunpowder. Never mind, I thought, GSR sound so much cooler. ^_^

Oh, and curse the Utahns! They all pulled another prank on me, propagated by Nathan. Jackalope! Rabbits with antlers. Darn you people. :-! I didn't believe it, and then Dave and Stephanie (U.) chimed in. I was too immersed in everything else to think about it much, but they almost had me (which is embarassingly shameful, what being such a bioliogy nut and all), but I make a conscious decision not to believe it, and challenged Nathan to back his claim up with a skull. ^_^

When the drive was over and we were back in suburbia, we split up. This would be the last time I would ever see Dave Higham, so we gave each other a hug, said our goodbyes, I shook his wife's hand, said goodbye to her, then we headed for Nathan's car. I waved one last time and called a goodbye as quietly as I could manage, and then he that was it.

Nathan and I were to take Stephanie home, but before that I insisted on pictures. ^_^


Nathan's squinting. :-D



Did I mention how much fun this girl is? :-P


We each got a hug, took her home, each got another hug, and that was it. :-D

And so ends Day 3. What a day; what a night!

Spencer

Galleries:
Nathan's
Spencer's 1, 2, and 3