I was up at 5 AM in order to meet up with Og at 6; we met up with Mr. B and Midwest Chick, and proceeded to go with them in their Prius down to Indianapolis.
First up: the big gun show. O, man.
If it goes "bang" and hurls a projectile, it was there, just about. I discovered that the guys who sell ammo can't beat Wal-Mart on common ammunition. I saw (and drooled over) several small-caliber pistols. One guy was selling brand-new Ruger Mk IIIs for around $400, and I came about > < that close to digging out the gun fund and buying one; but I want to be careful with the gun fund and spend it wisely. Seems to me that if I could find a used Ruger (Mk II or III) I could spend less than $400 on it; on the other hand, if I had told the guy, "Tell you what: give me that gun for $400 out the door and you've got a deal" I bet he would have made the sale--and I'd have my first all-new gun, ever. Problem is, it's Indiana, and I live in Illinois, and there's a shit-ton of paperwork and nonsense that has to be dealt with.
I saw a nice Sig Sauer .308 that was under $300. (I think it was a .308; everything has kind of blended together.) I couldn't remember where I saw it after hooking back up with Og, so I never had a chance at that one.
After telling Og that I'm just about set on long guns, I saw an M1 carbine for around that price, and the more I think about it, the more I wish I'd immediately summoned Og and asked his opinion. A .30 carbine does not have a lot of recoil and is fun to shoot, and you can get insane mags for it; it wouldn't surprise me if someone made a drum mag for it. If you need to go sit up on your roof with a rifle and sandwiches in order to shoot looters, you could do worse.
What I did walk out of there with, however, was two extra mags: one for the Mossberg and one for the Astra. Now I can shoot, respectively, 14 and 12 rounds at a go without having to stop and reload magazines. The pair set me back $60, which isn't bad considering that the Astra mag is a 1924 original mag, not a repro, and unbuggered Mossberg mags are getting hard to find. The sticker price was $40 for the Mossberg mag, but the guy cut me a $10 break on the pair, which was awesome.
The new mag for the Astra fits better than the old one. When I slide the mag release, the new mag pops out the way it's supposed to. That gun, though, needs a detail strip and thorough clean and lube job. (And new grips. Og knows a place for that.)
And I got a boresnake for the Mossberg, too, so I can clean it properly now.
These are the two guns I shoot the most, because the range nearest me is primarily a pistol range. That's why I'd like to get another pistol--that and "home defense" is my main reason for owning firearms. A .25 will scare away someone who's still in possession of most of his faculties, but what if he's strung out on something? I don't want my life to depend on me being able to put all six .25 bullets into vital spots which are also soft enough to be penetrated by a bullet that can't even knock down a metal target at fifteen feet, shot from a gun which is mostly accurate when you have plenty of time to aim. Okay? Because if I have to shoot someone, I can guaran-god-damn-tee that I'm not going to be calm enough to hit the broad side of a barn. Cops train and train all the damn time and when they have to shoot at someone, they frequently fling a hailstorm of bullets at the target...and miss 95% of the time. Or more.
In the best case scenario, the criminal sees my gun--whatever gun it may be--and says, "No, I don't feel like being shot tonight, so I'll just leave...." and when the cops get there, I point a finger and say, "He went thataway!" Most rational people, confronted with any firearm, won't risk it. A .25 is less likely to kill you than a .44, but it can still kill you just as dead--there's just more luck involved.
But some guys will see a tiny gun like the .25 and say, "Pssh, that can't hurt me!" Especially if they're wound up on something, or desperate to get something they can fence in order to get their next fix...and then I have six chances to prove him wrong. (Well, twelve with the new mag. But I bet I wouldn't have time to reload.)
Well, once I've got a job, I can buy as many pistols as I want, and end up on an FBI watchlist because of my "arsenal", and probably go to jail because someone decided I was "too dangerous" because I live alone and watch Japanese cartoons....
Anyway, after the gun show, we went to see (and I met) Brigid and the four of us had lunch with her. She was under the weather and skipped the blogmeet, where we went next, and where I met Tam and Roberta; and Mr. and Mrs. Shomes, and a bunch of others whose names I am sorry to admit I don't remember.
One of whom is a regular reader of the Fungus. I met so many new people and heard so many blog names I forgot most of them--I only have the above links thanks to Og!--and next time I'm going to take pictures and write down names and URLs, damn it.
I'm bad enough with faces and names that you'd think by now I'd know better. *sigh*
And: I finally got to try mead. The blogmeet seems to occur at the same place, a microbrew pub; and they had mead ($6 per 5 oz glass 9_9), so I tried it. It tastes like a dry white wine to me. (Heck, for all I know, that's what they served me.) It tasts better than beer, but not by much; so I'm not likely to become a big drinker of it.
Anyway, I got home after 7 PM, making it an even fourteen hours that I was out of the house today. That's really nice, for a variety of reasons. Meeting new people, going and doing fun things with fun folks--there isn't enough of that going on in my life, and there dang well ought to be.
Driving to Indy, the interstate passed through a wind farm. Og blogged about it the last time he went; and as we were returning home, I saw that the red anticollision lights atop the windmills all blinked on and off in unison. The wind farm is miles across, and so you see red lights stretching to the horizon, all turning on and off at the same time. I couldn't decide if it was cool or creepy; but it was certainly a vast waste of time, money, and resources to put all that junk up, and Mr. B mentioned that the project is already running short on funds.
Og talked about how he's always been a big weather geek, and mentioned that he's noticed a change in weather patterns since the wind farms (this one and the one near Pontiac, IL) went in.
I'm not surprised. A windmill extracts energy from the movement of wind, which means there's less energy in the movement of the air; and this will change the way weather works. It's not obvious, but the laws of thermodynamics must be obeyed, and people who think windmills have no effect on the environment are fooling themselves.
One other thing: never let them put a windmill on your property without some really specific language in the contract which absolves you of any responsibility for it whatsoever; because some of the farmers who own the land those windmills are on apparently now have mechanic's leins against their property because the company that owns the windmills isn't paying its bills in a timely fashion. (Either they have them, or can expect them; I missed hearing part of that discussion.)
Anyway: I went, I had a great time, and am damn glad of it. I expect to go next time, God willing.