Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Fitness Update

Before Christmas I began using a Kettlebell as my main form of training and I loved it- it's a tough but enjoyable workout. However, just after New Year I had a “bad back incident” which totally scuppered my fitness plans. Consequently, I’ve had to spend the last couple of weeks trying to build up slowly and as such I’ve begun rowing again. Last week I did four 2000m sessions on my Concept 2. This week I’ve moved up to 3000m and I’ve trained Sunday, Monday and today. I expect to do five sessions this week then take a two day rest break. When I last rowed regularly I always took a day off in between each session but training each day (and not doing too much) has seen me get better results. So far this week I’ve set a new 3000m record each time I’ve trained, taking seven, then eleven and, tonight, twenty seconds off my previous times. It can’t continue like this for long I’m sure but it feels good to be making quick progress and I’m convinced that training like this (and taking a full two days to recover) is the better option for me at the moment. I’ve noticed in the past that whenever I have had a two day break when training regularly I’ve always felt much better, as if my body has make extra gains. I would never take two days between each session, but with this cardio workout and moderate training time, it’s much easier to train solidly for four or five days and then take a longer break.

I’m aiming to keep the rowing up when I get back to the kettlebells (put back another week because my back’s not quite up to it yet) but I reckon the distances I row will stay a bit shorter. A few thousand metres here and there will keep me in practice with the occasional longer row once in a while just to see how my fitness is progressing.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Shooting the Tyrannosaur

In a post around about a week ago I posited the idea of hunting truly BIG game- dinosaurs (as in the upcoming Ray Bradbury-based movie, A Sound of Thunder). One of the weapons I mentioned was the .577 Tyrannosaur, a potent round indeed and one which I doubt I’d be able to handle very efficiently- and I’d rather have a weapon with recoil that was manageable rather than one which was difficult to get back on target relatively quickly.

Accurate Reloading used to have a selection of videos of people firing the Tyrannosaur and getting hammered by the recoil- free registration is now required to view the videos on their forums. I’ve just signed up and am awaiting confirmation of my account to see if the videos are still there. In the meantime the forums seem to be pretty lively and probably worth checking out if you’re at all interested in firearms or hunting.

Friday, January 21, 2005


Seeing as how I’m a citizen of Northern Ireland, it’s extremely difficult to legally own weapons (though this law strangely doesn’t seem to affect the ability of the terrorists in this country from getting their hands on handguns, AKs, .50 cal rifles and even RPGs). Shooting is a pastime that I greatly enjoy and when the spring and summer eventually come round I’ll be doing a bit of plinking in my backyard with my airsoft guns. As yet I haven’t really taken to the “sport”- although running round the woods with a battery powered full-auto airsoft gun sounds like incredibly good fun. No, for now I’ll stick to a bit of relaxing target shooting. I have two airsoft weapons at the moment, a gas powered KSC Glock 17 (cheap and plentiful) and a Tokyo Marui VSR-10- a bolt action springer.

(Airsoft comes in three different flavours- AEGs which are electric; Gas, which use bottled gas injected into a reservoir into the gun to, usually, fire the BB and move the slide; and Springers, which require the gun to be manually cocked for each shot).

The Glock is a lot of fun to shoot, so much so that my other half bought herself a G18C which can also be fired full auto. It’s an awful lot of fun to shoot, though it’s a dreadful drain on my BB supply. However, what I really like to do is to get out with the VSR-10, lay down on a mat and take aim at a number of targets scattered across the bottom of my garden. My only complaint about the VSR-10 is that the sights are a bit crude- the rear aperture is too wide. A scope can be mounted to it, but for now I’m happy enough with my ability to knock little holes into bits of paper as it is. The great thing about airsoft is that it’s so inexpensive; the guns are priced way too high in the UK but I got mine shipped from Hong Kong- and if you’re using a springer then all you need to pay for are big bags of BBs. It’s also ideal for the backyard- not too noisy and best at smaller ranges.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Back Home

Well, we’re finally back in our own home. As my DIY sessions continue, it feels like an entirely new home (with much of the stress of moving house thrown in for good measure). The kids’ room is almost finished bar some wallpapering and my new bedroom actually feels like a room to hang out in, rather than just a space to crash in. Still a lot of work to do downstairs and the fact that I keep finding new jobs to do isn’t helping.

One of the reasons for our re-modelling is the fact that it’s New Year and I’ve decided to make some changes. Normally, New Year’s is a holiday that I don’t particularly care for but it seemed like a good time to make some resolutions. Another thing I don’t normally hold for. As well as changing my diet to a more healthier way of eating (and having a weekly weigh in session), I’m determined to transform the way we live- the DIY is part of that as I struggle to clear the clutter in our home and get the family into a routine. So far the diet change is working- I’ve dropped nearly a stone in weight since before Christmas (Kettlebell training is due to resume in a week when my back settles down a bit) and it’s all down to healthier choices rather than calorie restriction. Makes me wonder how badly I was eating up until now! The DIY bit is beginning to take effect, primarily because a lot of the kids’ toys are in their new bigger bedroom and we don’t have to tidy them up twenty times a day.

Things are pretty busy but I’m hoping to get back to blogging regularly now that we’re settled back in. Thanks to everyone who has stopped by.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Dinosaur hunting

Thank Goodness for Airborne Combat Engineer- after another couple of days without internet access, I again popped onto my Infernal Machine to check how much spam had been gathering in my Inbox and to have a quick gander at what was going on in the world. ACE was the first site I looked at and lo and behold- a new Ruger revolver! This one is a beauty, a snub-nosed, wilderness back up chambered in .454 Casull. Nice. ACE also has a few posts on the Smith and Wesson .500- including one on a Gary Reeder revolver. ACE mentioned a mastodon in the article and it got me thinking- if you were to go back to Cretaceous/Jurassic times (depending on you own particular preferences when it comes to dinosaur spotting/hunting) what weapons would you be packing? For the sake of it, you’ll have a secure operating base from which to venture out so there’s no real limit to your armoury. Each trip out though, you’d probably only be packing a single rifle and side-arm/carbine. Any thoughts? Comments left on this would be greatly appreciated for next time I get to come back online.

For a quick reference on the game around have a look here, a pretty handy resource for dinosaur information. Off the top of my head, I reckon my sidearm would be a .475 Linebaugh. Not sure about a rifle, though I’d be tempted to pack the aptly named .577 Tyrannosaur! More likely though, it’d be a more manageable .458 Lott with the A-Square Triad ammo selection. More on that later when I get a bit more time.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Holiday Season Recovery

No blogging for a while- the run up to Christmas was particularly stressful for me and the family, and not just because of the holiday itself. Christmas Eve and Day were great fun but really busy as we had to switch between our home and those of both our folks. Since then we’ve had to cope with one of the girls getting a particularly nasty stomach bug and the other teething (she’s NOT enjoying the experience one bit) and really low energy levels. My Other Half and I are exhausted. Throw in some major DIY around the house (with my usual exemplary timing I’ve decided that we should fix up the kitchen, the bathroom, put down a wooden floor in our living room and swap our bedroom with the girls’) and you’ve got a recipe for…well, I’m not sure what just yet. It’s a major re-organisation but we’re determined to make some changes to our lifestyle and new year seems as good a time as any to get started. 48 hours solid sleep would be handy right now but it doesn’t seem likely. We’re also house-sitting for a week so I’m without computer access most of the time- got a lot of catching up to do when we get settled back in and the DIY is all done. I had a quick look at Mad Ogre and Airborne Combat Engineer today- it seems like an absolute age since I’ve been to either site and I only had time today for a quick read. ACE has a great article on one of my favourite topics, big-bore handguns, specifically the Smith and Wesson .500 Magnum. Go have a read!

Just before Christmas I got myself a 16kg Kettlebell and began to teach myself the techniques involved in this old school system. I haven’t been able to train as much as I’d like (this week has been wiped out after my back played up and I ended up collapsed on the floor for a few hours, eventually requiring an emergency visit from a Doctor in the wee small hours) and over Christmas my eating habits have not been modest. Even so, as of last weekend, I’d managed to strip off about 8lbs (in about two weeks) and I put it all down to KB training. I definitely feel stronger and while it’s an exhausting workout to do, there’s not much in the way of muscle soreness afterwards (one session knackered my hamstrings for a couple of days and my legs felt really heavy but it doesn’t compare to the soreness of normal body building). I’m not sure when my back will be up to me re-starting training but I’m dying to start swinging that KB- it’s a fun tool to train with and the results are pretty obvious. I’m eager to move up to either a 24kg or a 32kg KB where I think I’ll see a real increase in muscle but I’m going to leave it for a few months and get a good, solid base first. No point in risking injury and the 16 is ideal for getting the technique right. Dragon Door is probably the place to go if you’re interested in learning more on the topic- the forum there is a great resource.

Anyway, expect some irregular updates here for maybe another week or so and then I’ll hopefully be back posting more frequently. My thanks to all who take the time to come read.