Thursday, July 30, 2009

Inane Studies: Men, women see differently due to hunter-gatherer past

I was initially interested in reading this study (apart from the repetition) ...

MEN are better at seeing things in the distance due to their hunter-gatherer past chasing animals, while women are better focusing on things at close range, a British study said.

In findings which reflect how men's and women's brains have evolved differently over thousands of years, they found that men are better at judging faraway targets.

Researchers tested their theory by asking a group of 48 men and women to use a laser pointer to mark the midpoint of lines on a piece of paper at different distances.

And I thought it could have implications for shooting, until I got to the next paragraph ...

Men were more accurate than women when the paper was placed at a distance of 100 centimetres, while women were more accurate when the target was only 50 centimetres away, within arm's reach.

Wait, what??? since when is a "faraway target" 100cms away? Especially when compared to 50cms. If you're a hunter and you've got an animal 100cms away, you've either caught it or you're dead!

Oh, and the rest of the article? ... Basically boring, but here it is anyway:

"Evidence already exists that separate pathways in the brain process visual information from near and far space,'' said psychologist Helen Stancey from Hammersmith and West London College.

"Our results suggest that the near pathway is favoured in women and the far pathway is favoured in men,'' she said, in a study published online in the British Journal of Psychology.

And she said: "These sex differences in visual processing may be a result of our hunter-gatherer evolutionary legacy.

"As the predominant gatherers, women would have needed to work well in near space, whereas the prey for (predominantly male) hunters would have been in far space.''

The article can be found here.

Range Report - Another New Thing

Last night I had the opportunity to visit a Air Pistol Club with a friend of mine. I've never shot an Air Pistol before and found it very challenging (tiny little targets set at 10m). I didn't do too bad - here's a photo of the targets:

I have problems with my eyes when shooting under florescent lights (I see a triple sight picture so I often have to guess where the gun is actually pointing). I would like to try the shooting again with my prescription glasses on to see how much difference that makes.

And, by the way, I'ld actually class Air Pistol shooting as more of a meditation than a sport!

Newbie with a Rifle

On Sunday, when I did the Practical Rifle shoot which I blogged about here, my girls came along to watch.

The youngest (5y.o.) decided that she didn't want to try, but my eldest (7y.o.) did try my Lever Action .22 Winchester rifle. She did good too!

Here's a picture of her concentrating on a shot:

Big smiles afterwards:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I Worry About the Future

I've just read a news article where a recommendation has been made to make public transport free for the under 18s to reduce the number of kids facing court.

Free rides could cut youth crime - report

VICTORIA should consider making public transport free for under-18s to reduce the number of juveniles facing court charged with minor offences such as fare evasion, a parliamentary report says.

The committee report found many young people, including the homeless and disadvantaged, wind up in the courts because they cannot pay fines.

Some have multiple fines for fare evasion and other "add-on'' transit offences, such as offensive behaviour or resisting police.

If they are dragged through the courts for multiple "petty'' offences, they risk entrenching themselves in the system, the report says.

"This ... can lead these youth further into the criminal justice system through both exposure to the court system and the effects of criminalisation and stigmatisation,'' it says.

The report recommends the Department of Transport undertake a feasibility study into providing free public transport for minors to break the cycle of compounding petty crime.

The recommendation was part of an inquiry into strategies to prevent high-volume offending by young people.

The report, by the parliamentary drugs and crime prevention committee, was tabled in the Victorian parliament on Tuesday.

Really? Have we really got to a place where the best way society has to stop kids offending is make things no longer against the law?

BTW I don't live in Victoria, but you can be sure that if it is happening in that State it will end up happening here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

This Weekend's Range Report - Things I've Not Done Before

This was an unusual weekend of shooting for me.

Firstly, on Saturday I shot Field Bore Metallic Sillhoute. I've not shot shillhoute before and I really didn't realise how difficult it was. In my defence I wasn't shooting my pistol but a club gun (9mm Tanfoglio). I enjoyed the challenge and would like to try again, with my gun and also a revolver.

After the shoot I helped out with the trainees as I do each Saturday. This week there were 3 trainees. The trainer (Les) basically let me run the majority of the training session (under his guidance) which was both challenging and enjoyable.

Today I didn't participate in the IPSC shoot (as I didn't have my pistol) but I did go along to the practical rifle shoot. I used a Winchester lever action .22 rifle and had a lot of fun. There were only about 5 of us doing the shoot today but the stages were well set up and quite challenging. Afterwards I played with my favourite rifle - an 8mm Mauser. The gun belongs to a good friend of mine, but try as I might he won't sell it to me :(

I now have my pistol back and it is now "complete". Since buying it I have had the grips changed (to slimmer ones), a shorter trigger, a mag well, new hammer & sear, an ambi safety and an oversized mag release put in. The trigger has also been tuned and the gun is now BEAUTIFUL and very smooth. Now I just need to practice, practice, practice!!!!

And yes, I'll put a before and after photo of it up soon, I promise.

Friday, July 24, 2009

There are FOUR Rules Folks ...

So that "accidents" like this don't happen ...

Apparently Defence counsel Tamara Jago told the court that the shooting was a genuine accident.

The pistol was faulty and fired without the trigger being squeezed.

Now, let's review the rules:

1. A gun is ALWAYS LOADED. Always.

2. Do not point the muzzle at anything you're not willing to destroy.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you have your target sighted in.

4. Be sure of your target and what's behind it, before you pull the trigger.

Yep, #2 was not followed and someone got shot and, according to the article, The shot fired was from so close that blood was deposited in the barrel. ... mmm, sounds like the gun was actually up against someone's hand!

If you're handling a gun remember the FOUR rules - all four of 'em!!!

Now that's "Art" ...

By way of Marko, 10ft "photographs" which are actually drawn by Juan Francisco Casa using ballpoint pens.

Check them out ...

Well worth a read ......

If you've not seen this yet I really recommend reading the following and bookmarking the blog for regular perusal:

Dark Arts for Good Guys Series

Dark Arts for Good Guys Series - Bribery

Dark Arts for Good Guys Series - Bribery II

Dark Arts for Good Guys Series - Flight & Fight I

Dark Arts for Good Guys Series - Flight & Fight II

A Day of Cooking

I've decided that I want to stock the freezer up with lots of home cooked meals for when I go back to work.

So today, I've cooked a Chicken, Potato & Vegetable Hotpot (nothing terribly exciting about this recipe but I did use Chinese Five Spices, which has given it a lovely taste), enough Bolongaise sauce for 8 meals (for 4 people) and I've got a vegetable soup cooking now. There's still some beef in the fridge that I will cook up tonight.

What with the meals I've cooked and frozen recently, this lot should give me around 25 meals (for 4). Now I just have to remember to take one out of the freezer each morning before leaving for work.

UPDATE: Miss 5 wasn't completely taken with the soup, but she loved the Bolognaise. Miss 7 liked both.

Monday, July 20, 2009

On the Job Hunting Front - Update

Well I got the job and I start Monday.

I will be working on a data migration project which has a "go live" date of October 26th.

I'm really looking forward to the job as it seems to be a good challenge.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's raining outside

here's the current weather map ... I live just north of Armadale and west of Karragullen.

On the Job Hunting Front

I have an interview tomorrow with a company looking for an "Excel Guru". It's more a "meet and greet" than an interview (or so I'm led to believe) as I am the only candidate and they want me to start on Wednesday.

I just want to make sure that I can do what they need.

Will let you know how I go.

Oh, it's only a 4 week contract, but that suits me, although I love working with Excel Macros, I wouldn't want to do it forever.

Today's Range Report

Well today was not a good day on the range :( ... Mainly because I got "DQed" (disqualified).

This was a monthly trophy shoot at the club. I've not shot a trophy shoot (for one reason or another) since February so I was really looking forward to it. When the alarm went off this morning however I was in two minds about going - it was pouring with rain at the time and bed was very nice and warm! But I decided that I did really want to shoot this and dragged myself out of bed and up to the range.

I squaded with a great group of guys (there were three squads of around 9 people each) and we went to shoot the stages. There were 4 stages and each of the stages had spots where it would be pretty easy to "break 90".

However, on the first stage we shot, I didn't factor this danger into the way I approached the stage and doing a reload running right to left I broke the 90.

I was really annoyed at myself and disappointed that I didn't get to shoot for the rest of the day, but that's how it goes sometimes. Just got to practice those right to left reloads to make sure it doesn't happen again.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Hunting - The Why

A friend said to me:

"So don't want to hear the details - tree hugging furr (sic) baby lover
here, BUT hope you had a brilliant time "

in response to my recent hunting trip.

And it got me thinking about why I wanted to go on a hunting trip.

I think if you had asked me a year ago if I would be willing to shoot an
animal my response would have been "no". So what has changed?

One of the biggest impacts on my thought processes over the last couple
of years has been a friend - S. He has, at many times, challenged me to
justify my attitudes and decisions and to question my motivations and
beliefs. Sometimes this has lead me to change my stance on things,
other times not.

My attitudes to hunting is one of those areas of change, mainly based on
the following questions:

1. I like to eat meat - so why am I not willing to kill it? How
can I be willing to ask someone else to do something that I am not
willing to do?

2. I like to eat grain based foods and vegetables, feral animals
destroy these crops. Why am I not willing to do something to protect
this food source?

3. If I was in a situation where food was not available from the
local supermarket do I have the skills and knowledge to source my own?

This hunting trip was therefore the culmination of this change in
attitude and an attempt to answer these questions, particularly the
last one. I don't at the moment, have all the skills and knowledge
required to be able to source food for my family and myself if needed,
but I have more.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cooking: Veal Steak with Beans Hotpot

Today when I went to the supermarket I found some veal steaks at $11.99 a kg (the casserole beef was $15.99). I decided to try the veal steaks in the slow cooker as follows:


We have:
- 1/2 cup onions
- 500gms veal steaks (6 in total)
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup frozen broad beans
- 2 x 400gm cans chopped tomatoes
- olive oil
- 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
- black pepper
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 400gm can red kidney beans
- 400gm can white beans
- 400gm can chick peas
- 1 teaspoon beef stock powder

1. Turn slow cooker onto high.
2. Heat oil in a frypan, add the Mixed Herbs and Onion, saute for a few minutes.
3. Add the veal, brown on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside.
4. In the slow cooker add the tomatoes, beans, frozen vegetables and black pepper to taste. Mix well.
5. Remove half the ingredients from the slow cooker and set aside.
6. Lay the steaks on the remaining contents in the slow cooker.
7. Pour red wine and add the beef stock powder into the frypan used for the onion and veal. Mix well to remove any remaining onions.
8. Pour the red wine mixture over the veal steaks.
9. Add the other half of the slow cooker mixture (which was set aside at step 5) over the veal steaks.
10. Cook on high for 3 hours.
11. Serve with rice or mashed potato.

The 5y.o. & 7y.o. reckoned it was "very good". Hubby wanted me to remember how I made it so I can make it again and I thought it was really nice. I was worried that the veal would be dry, but it wasn't.


A couple of weeks ago I was thinking about going hunting. I've never been on a hunting trip and I was thinking that it would be something I would like to try.

However, the majority of hunting trips that I have heard about from the guys at the Gun Club were "boys' weekends away" and involved more drinking that actual shooting. I'm not a fan of alcohol and guns together - separately they're okay - so I wasn't sure who to talk to about joining them on their next hunting expedition.

As it happened, I was in the Clubhouse after working with the trainees the Saturday before last and the Training Officer mentioned that he was "heading north to do some shooting". So I asked if he would mind if I tagged along (I know he's pretty strict on keeping guns and alcohol separate too). He said that it would be okay, so last Thursday I headed "up north".

The town is about 370kms north of my place and is mainly a wheat growing area - there's some cattle / sheep around but the farm we shot on was mainly under wheat.

I've not done many long drives recently on my own so I was a bit apprehensive initially (he had gone up a couple of days earlier). However, once I got passed Bindoon it was a fantastic drive - there was a 30km stretch where I didn't see another car in either direction. The weather was overcast and raining and the colours of the pastures and the sky and the occasional bit of sun were just fantastic.

I reached the town in around 4 hours.

I had made final arrangements about the trip with him on a really bad mobile line so we had got as far as "meet you at the pub around lunchtime on Thursday".

I was at the town at 11.30am, the pub didn't open until 4pm :( AND I had sort of assumed that he wouldn't be looking for me until 1pm or so. As it was freezing cold (about 13degC) and pouring with rain I thought I would try and make contact with him rather than just sitting in the car.

It was then I discovered that I didn't have any mobile phone service ... not a problem, there was a public phone across the road ... except that didn't take coins and I don't have a phone card ... ah, again not a real problem as there was a Post Office on the other side of the road ... nope, they don't sell phone cards - nor does the supermarket. Right ... looks like I'm sitting in the car waiting! ... So I bought a puzzle magazine, some yogurt and sat down to wait.

Just after 1pm I spot him walking along the road ... we caught up and went into the house he was staying in for a cuppa.

Over the next three days we went out a couple of times to the farm to shoot. Thursday was just too wet to find anything, but it fined up on Friday and Saturday, so those were better days (still cold and windy but at least no rain).

A view of the main road to the farm on the Thursday:

The farm is about 20kms out of town and is owned by the Training Officer' friends. I met most of the family at various times and really got on well with them too.

As I mentioned earlier most of the farm is under wheat and they have a major problem with a variety of vermin - particularly rabbits, foxes and goats. So they were our main targets.

View across the farm on the Friday:

I don't have any rifles on my licence so I was using two of his - a bolt action .22 and a bolt action .22 hornet. I initially started out with the .22 and managed to miss everything I was aiming at, so he set up a paper target and we sighted it in for me. Then we set up a rabbit target at 160m and I hit that pretty consistently with the Hornet - which quickly became my favourite.

Me with the .22:

We drove around various parts of the farm spotting the animals and really didn't see many until the Friday evening when we spotted a large Billy Goat on his own. After watching him for a few minutes it was obvious that he was injured, so we got the Hornet out and tried to get close to him. I managed to get a shot off, which connected and he sort of started to run away ... so under the barb wire fence we went to a rocky outcrop to try again. My friend suggested that I lay down to aim, which I did, right onto pickles! ... Anyway, I got a second shot off and into the Goat and he went down. We then went up to him to cleanly kill him. I then handed my friend the rifle while I started to pull the prickles out of my hands, elbows and knees :)

I reloaded the rifle and we drove off in search of more animals – my friend was driving and spotting and I was "shooting". I jumped out of the 4wd a couple of times to go after rabbits (which were always on his side of the track), but didn't get any shots off until after about 45mins. We were at the top of a hill, in a clearing and there were a few rabbits around. I lined up the perfect shot and 'click' ... odd ... checked to see what was wrong and discovered that I had lost the magazine out of the rifle!

We then spent the next half hour retracing the track (it's night remember) looking for the magazine - luckily we found it!

Off we went again and I managed to get two rabbits. My friend showed me how to skin and gut the rabbits. He did the first one and I skinned the second one - decided it was way too cold to stand around gutting it as I wasn't going to keep that one for food.

I also managed to get a shot off at a fox. We think I hit it, but a good search that night and the next day failed to find the carcass.

So after a fun night we headed back to the house.

Saturday was another sunny day and I finally got to see the goats out in the open. The people who own the farm were saying that they thought there were about 200 wild goats on the property. We saw a flock of about 40. I managed to get some shots off but I don't think I hit anything :( They move pretty fast.

I did get another rabbit, which I was hoping to bring back to Perth to cook, but the shot had travelled the length of the body so not good for eating :( We really didn't see much else.

During the day on the Saturday we decided to head about 40kms south and visit a Camel Soak. This is a natural watering hole that was used during the construction of the Rabbit Proof Fence in the 1900s.

At the Camel Soak:

On the Sunday, I said my goodbyes and packed up to head back to Perth. Where I was joining up with my family to head the 400km south to Albany.

The trip back wasn't as easy as the trip up. There were lots of "oversized" vehicles on the road and it ended up taking 5.5hrs to get home.

The Albany trip went well - the main aim was to see my dad - but the absolute highlight (according to my 5y.o.) was the dead baby Humpback whale that had washed up on a local beach.

It's nice to be back home now, but I've got a ton of washing to do.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Cooking: Beef and Mushroom Hotpot

I took a photo for tonight's dinner and then changed it completely as I went along.

- 1 teaspoon Mixed Herbs
- Olive Oil
- 1 Onion chopped finely
- 700gm Casserole Steak cubed
- 3 Large Potatoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 can chopped Tomatoes
- 1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup (Condensed)
- 1 teaspoon Beef Stock powder
- 1 cup hot water
- 500gm Frozen Mixed Vegetables
- 200gm chopped Mushrooms

1. Turn slow cooker onto high.
2. Heat oil in a saucepan, add Mixed Herbs and Onion, saute for a few minutes.
3. Add meat, brown on all sides.
4. Pour meat and onion into the slow cooker.
5. Add potato, canned tomatoes, mushroom soup and frozen vegetables. Mix well.
6. Mix the beef stock powder with a cup of hot water and add to the slow cooker.
7. Add half the mushrooms. Mix well
8. Cook on high for 2.5-3 hours until potatoes are tender.
9. Stir through remaining mushrooms and serve.

I said that my 5y.o. didn't have to eat it as she doesn't like cooked mushrooms (she will eat raw mushrooms till the cows come home, but won't touch a cooked one). So the tasters tonight were my 7y.o., my husband and I.

What can I say - we all had seconds (but luckily there is enough left for another meal).

Definitely will be making this recipe again.

There was a lot of liquid, you could reduce the cup of water to half easily.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Kids and Toy Guns

About a year ago my youngest (5 y.o.) asked for a pink toy gun with a holster. I hadn't been able to find one and I was also in two minds about the wisdom of giving toy guns to kids.

I know lots of people who had toy guns as kids and have turned out to be responsible adults - some gun owing, some not. But I also didn't want the girls to think guns were something they could play with.

Today in the shops my eldest (7 y.o.) spotted some pink toy guns, with holster, belt, pretend bullets, pretend lasso, sunglasses and a sheriff's badge and asked me if we could buy it. Which we did.

After picking up my youngest from a play date we came home and I got their toy guns out and my 9mm and put it on a table to have a chat to them about things.

I asked the girls what the difference between the guns were. The eldest said - "That one is real, this one is pretend" and the youngest agreed. I then asked them what the rules were for using the real gun. My youngest replied "you have to hold it safely". When I asked what "holding it safely meant", I was told that you didn't point it at people (or the T.V.) and that you don't put your finger on the trigger.

I then asked them if the same rules applied to the toy gun. My youngest said "No, it isn't real".

I then asked them what they do if they found a gun - real or pretend - they said, "Leave it alone and tell an adult."

I thought, "Fair enough, they do understand the difference and they know how to behave with a real one" so now they're off playing with their toy guns.

Here's the photo ...

PS. Just overheard the girls playing. The youngest said "I'm working there to shoot animals for the people to eat as they don't have any food."

PPS. The eldest is now drawing a picture to show the youngest where she needs to hit on a "bunny rabbit" to kill it.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Range Report

I know I haven't written much about shooting recently, but I have been doing a lot of it. As I am not working at the moment I have been up to the range mid-week as well as Saturday and Sunday.

While I was in Melbourne / the Gold Coast the trigger was tweaked on my gun and an ambi-safety was put on. I LOVE how the trigger feels now. It's very light. So I do have to be a bit careful that I don't put any pressure on it at all until I'm sighted in.

There's a trophy shoot at the club the week after next and I am hoping to do well in it.

Today I had my loads put over a chrono - not done this before - I was pleased to see that they were all pretty close in power and they're making the 1050 fps that I was aiming for.

One thing I have noticed when I shoot is that my first stage (or 20 rounds) are high - always. After that they settle down. I thought it was just me, but today when my friend shot the loads over the chrono he had the same issue. Not sure what could be causing this.

The other news is that I'm still helping out with the trainees on Saturday and the girl I blogged about here and here did her 'Safety Test' on Saturday and passed. This means that she is no longer a trainee and can shoot with the regular squads. It is amazing to see how quickly she has progressed. She went from someone who took 10mins to pull a trigger to a confident IPSC shooter in just a matter of months. Well Done - 'Miss T'.