Nice shootin', Tex.

The temperature flirted with 40 degrees today and it was sunny so I asked the kids if they wanted to go outside and shoot some targets. A very enthusiastic "YEAH!" was the reply.

So we did!

John shooting the bb gun

Started off with John going over the rules of handling firearms and then it was time to shoot. He's fairly small for his age and the bb gun is too big for him to shoulder correctly. But it's light enough that he can do an unconventional hold on it. Working with him on the mechanics of holding a rifle and how/why to support it correctly.

He's actually a decent shot and while he likes shooting at paper targets that he creates, he really enjoys more reactive ones. Soda cans are good, especially if they're full and shaken, but his favorites are some of his little plastic dinosaurs. I can't help but smile when he gets a hit and shouts "Yeah! Take that dinosaur!"

He's getting mature enough to start coming to a real shooting range this summer. I'm trying to decide if it makes sense to get a youth .22 rifle, maybe a Cricket, or if I should get a .22 pistol instead. I think even a Cricket might be a bit big on him even now.

Oh well, if that's my biggest problem, I certainly can't complain!

It's all fun and games ...

Oh wait, if you teach them right, it CAN be fun and games!

John got a bb gun for Christmas last year and he's had a blast getting out in the backyard to shoot it. Zoe finally expressed interest in joining her brother so we grabbed some targets and headed outside.

John shooting

Zoe shooting

They both took turns shooting and insisted on running up after each shot to debate who had the closer hole. Zoe still has trouble pulling the trigger by herself but she's got the enthusiasm! Paper targets were a lot of fun but they got to see how dangerous a bb can be when we shot some unopened soda cans - seeing them fall over and soda jet out of the hole left an impression.

John is just about old enough to get out to the real shooting range - now I just need to get a better .22 rifle for him to shoot. Poor me - another good reason to buy a rifle.

On the Jukebox: Dire Straits - Live from Wembley Arena, 1985

I'm a huge Dire Straits fan and I'm always amazed at Mark Knopfler's phenomenal ability to make a guitar sing.

This is one of the best live performances of their's that I've ever seen:

Worth A Listen: Live From Daryl's House

There are a handful of Hall and Oates songs that I've always liked but I never went out of my way to listen to the duo. I didn't own any of their albums nor did I ever see them tour.

So it wasn't exactly breaking news to me when I heard back in 2008 about a new concept Daryl Hall had created. But after several friends and family recommended it, I checked it out and was hooked. Live From Daryl's House is an interesting concept. Each month, Daryl Hall invites an artist or music group to his house where he and his band jam for several hours, covering some of Hall and Oates's songs as well as some from the guest artist.

Two episodes have become favorites and get played relatively often:

Episode 5: KT Tunstall
Here is a clip of them playing Out of Time

Episode 15: Company of Thieves
Here is a clip of them playing Pressure, a Company of Thieves tune:

I highly recommend checking out the show and, even if you're not a fan of Daryl or his music, check the archives. He's had quite a few guest artists that cover a wide variety of music.

Worth A Listen: Vika Yermolyeva (vkgoeswild)

Found via Facebook - Vika Yermolyeva can seriously rock a piano! She covers an insane variety of excellent songs.

Sweet Child O' Mine


More Than A Feeling - a rather unique cover

Personal Jesus - actually covering Johnny Cash's version

Stop by her site and give her a listen!

New Shooter - Don't Shoot Your Eye Out Kid!

My son has been asking when he can come to the range with me for quite some time. I figured I'd ease him into it so I suggested to my brother that a BB gun would be a good gift idea. Well, he certainly took that idea and ran with it!

What did he open Christmas morning? A Crosman BB/Pellet rifle! To say he was excited would be an understatement.

John on Christmas morning

In the backyard

Got him out this morning to shoot it for the first time. Lined a few empty cans and an empty milk jug at about 30 feet. While not a natural (yet!), he managed to hit about 50% of the targets the first time! He's a bit small to really use it well - we will see how well he grows into over the next few years before we upgrade him to his own .22 rifle.

I was one proud papa this morning!

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all of my friends and family. And you too. Ha! Here's a bit of Eric Johnson - a decent way to get in the Christmas spirit.

Now all that you need is some Die Hard and you'll be good to go!

Worth a Taste: Penn Brewery - Bacon Brew Dog

Just had a fantastic lunch at Penn Brewery, a local German brew pub. I've been there several times over the last ten years and it's always had good German food. They brew their own beer too and most of them are fantastic. But today's meal, despite not including an excellent beer, was extremely good. I had their Bacon Brew Dog. It's menu description is:
A 10 inch Silver Star frankfurter stuffed with fresh jalapenos, wrapped in three pieces of bacon, then deep fried and topped with shredded cheddar jack cheese, BBQ sauce and vinegar slaw in a hot dog bun.
Hot damn is it all that and more! The jalapenos were very fresh and pretty hot, the bacon was very crispy, and the BBQ sauce and slaw paired well together. The only thing I would have changed is to put it on a more substantial bun - this one started falling apart when confronted with so much tasty goodness.

Cheers to Penn Brewery - that was a tasty dog!

Worth A Listen: Gretchen Menn

If you haven't checked out Gretchen Menn before, do it now. She's a phenomenal guitarist who was influenced heavily by Steve Morse, Eric Johnson, and Frank Zappa. You can definitely hear a bit of Eric Johnson in her playing. Quite a few of her songs have vaulted into my playlist.

Valentino's Victory Lap

Oleo Strut

Worth A Listen: Meytal Cohen

I can't recall what brought Meytal Cohen to my attention, but Hot damn! This woman can rock a drum set.

Covering Metallica's Enter Sandman

Covering Paramore's Misery Business

Covering System of a Down's Toxicity