Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Quote of The Day - Perspective

"I wasn't having a good race. every step was more demanding than the one before. I was on the course feeling sorry for myself, just wanting the pain to be over. Suddenly this young boy came jogging up on my right and said with a big grin on his face "beautiful day for a run, huh?" I looked down and saw that he had no legs. He was running on prosthetics made from carbon fiber. It was, indeed, a beautiful day for a run."
-John W. Quinn

Perspective and attitude matter.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Go Anywhere Gun - Beretta Jetfire

This is my "go anywhere" gun.  The gun that goes in work slacks, or into my gym shorts walking from the gym to my car. The Beretta Jetfire. Some may say it's silly to carry a .25 ACP in one of the most dangerous cities in America, but it sure beats the 1911 sitting in my safe at home.
Unlike Caleb, I never have a hot cuppa Dunkin coffee with me.....

$200, in great shape, and it looked like it'd had very, very few rounds through it and was then pretty much never carried.  The patina look in this photo is due to the sun & the photo app I used.

I think my iPhone with a Mophie case might weigh more than the gun does.

The only downside is that the Desantis Nemesis pocket holster I've been using for it is not the greatest.  Anyone else who has carried / used to carry a Jetfire have any other pocket holster suggestions?

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Quote of the Day - Thomas Paine on "Dropping the Rope"

“To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.” 

Thomas Paine

Not just argue with, but engage at all, in any capacity.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

BAG Day 2015

So, today is Tax Day, also known as "Buy A Gun" day.

I won't be buying a gun today.  Maybe I'll stop by Cabela's and buy a box of ammo.

Given that I'm not buying a gun, what are all of you gonna buy?

I admit, I wouldn't mind picking up a lever action rifle in .32 H&R Magnum, or perhaps another Dan Wesson 1911, but neither of those are going to happen.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Quote of the Day - Wronged

" I won't be wronged. I won't be insulted. I won't be laid a-hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same from them."

- John Wayne
Love this quote. The man was wise in lots of ways.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Someone Like Me

I think it's the right time in my life to re-read this book.  If forgotten just how good it is ��

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Missed my 7th Blogiversary

It's hard to believe I started this blog back on December 10, 2007

And here I am, bringing this blog back from the brink of dead. :P

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Quote of the Day - A Necessity

"In a truly civil society peopled primarily by enlightened, sober individuals, the carriage of arms might be deemed gratuitous, but it is nonetheless harmless. In a society that measures up to anything less than that, the option to carry arms is a necessity."
- GeekWithA45

Via an old post of Kevin's

I know it's old, but it's so damn true.  And no society has ever measured up to that, nor will one ever.  There are always crazy people out there, and they don't wear big old warning labels.


I finally received my Delaware CCDW permit as of early December.  It's good for 3 years, but since all renewals happen on the same exact day, which I think is May 31 2017, it's really only good for 2.5 years.  They don't stagger renewals each year, and then wonder why they have a processing backlog.

I am still a proponent of open carry, but I must say it's quite convenient to finally be able to just slip my 432PD j-frame and a speedloader in my pockets.  This is also the first winter where I've actually been able to regularly carry.  Not to mention I can actually carry in Wilmington, which is good since the violent crime rate here is worse than 99% of the country, including worse than Baltimore, Philly, Oakland, Compton, Camden etc.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Delaware CCDW Reciprocity

In case anyone is ever looking to see which states have reciprocity with Delaware, that information is available at the AG's website.

Currently we have reciprocity with Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.

We do not have reciprocity with Virginia anymore, so the easiest option for VA residents wanting to visit DE would be to get either an Arizona non-resident permit or a Maine permit.  The Maine permit (PDF warning) is super easy to get.  No fingerprints or photo needed even.

As of last month I now have a Maine Non-Resident permit and a Pennsylvania Non-Resident Permit.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Music Monday

Been on a hiatus dealing with some personal issues that were stressing me out to the point where I was becoming a person I didn't recognize and didn't want to be.  I'm out of that toxic fog now, putting it in my rearview mirror and excited to get back to being an even better, stronger me in all aspects. And I think I'll get back to blogging a bit.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Good shootin' Mom

Took my 11 hour CCDW class recently and paid for my mom to take it and NRA basic pistol as well.  Here's her target.  I think this was 7 yards with the Firestorm FS22 I gave her.

And here's mine with the rare .32 Bersa Thunder.  Women do shoot better. :). I should have my DE permit in hand sometime this summer

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

My Life With Cerebral Palsy - Part 9 - What is "Normal?"

When you grow up with any kind of disability there's this overbearing need to be "normal" or at least to do what you can to appear that way to the able-bodied.  Society drills it into you, and your parents do too, in a well-meaning way, by telling you that you can accomplish all of the things that any "normal" kid can.

Here's the thing though, what's "normal?" and more importantly, does it even matter?

On particularly bad days at work, when I'm limping noticeably or someone catches me grimacing and asks what's wrong my first response is two-fold.  One, lie and say I'm fine because a 29 year old man shouldn't limp around the office. Two, feel ashamed because "fuck, I slipped up and didn't hide it well enough, and someone noticed." Three, lie about why I’m limping once I've been made, because I don't want most of my co-workers to even know I have CP.

You know what though?  Fuck that.  Why should I feel ashamed? Because I didn't hide the reality of what my body is enough for others to realize that it's not like theirs? Why?  As someone put it to me recently "It's not my job to make other people feel comfortable." How and why did I learn that kind of self-shaming behavior?  So I was limping.  I limp Every Single Day, only some days it's not bad enough that people notice or say anything.  I am in pain, Every Single Day.  That's my reality.

My roommate will sometimes happen to notice I'm limping and ask what's up, what happened etc. etc.  I guess I said something to him about my walking and he took it as I want to walk better, not slap my foot as much etc. and because he realizes that I can walk more "normal" sometimes he'll do this "are you thinking about it?" comment to me, to remind me to think about how I'm walking and walk more normal.  I understand that he's trying to help, but this is the difference between my perspective and that of someone able-bodied. I have CP.  I am never going to walk "normal" and that is ok. 
Just because I can force my body to do it for small stretches doesn't mean I can flip that switch on 100 % of the time.  It's exhausting to do even for small stretches.

Parents do the same thing, even though they’re well meaning.  Just the other day my father sees me doing pushups.  He tells me I shouldn’t do so many pushups, I shouldn’t work out so hard because “you might tear something.”  I understand trying to protect your kid, but if that kid gets hurt trying to do good things to better himself, then so be it.  He also tells me not to do pushups because my left side will take over and my muscular asymmetry will get worse.  He, and frankly lots of able-bodied people have told me over the years “just work you right side more, it’ll catch up.” That’s probably true for able-bodied folks, and I know I used to stubbornly fool myself into believing it. I would go work only my right arm. I'd do extra reps at the gym, yet I could never get that side to look normal. I mean, my right side doesn’t receive and interpret signals from my brain the same or as efficiently as my left side.  All the muscles on that side are in a perpetually different state, even at rest, than on my left, so no, it won’t “just catch up.”  I can get stronger yes, but the muscles will never behave the same.

I’ve always had a thing about my muscular asymmetry.  It’s bothered me most of my life, as part of that “not normal” thing.  But I’ve had people in my life get me to see of late that, honestly, it’s such a trivial thing to let bother me.  I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that physically I’m in the best shape of my life.  I think that perhaps, because it was always an issue for me and I always wanted to even myself out, that certain people feel they need to remind me that I’m mildly asymmetrical.

Here's the problem with trying so hard to appear "normal" and hide that there's anything wrong with you. It's exhausting, mentally and physically, even though you're doing it almost unconsciously. Even worse, when you inevitably fail to hide, you feel like you screwed up somehow.  My CP is very mild compared to a lot of people, and yet even I could not possibly hide it 100% of the time. When I read this article and saw how this complete stranger, a total asshole in a bar, was treating an amputee, I was appalled. I was appalled not just due to this creeps behavior, but also by the fact that the woman felt she had to in any way explain herself to him. Here's this asshole, a total stranger, basically treating her like she's some kind of circus freak, and she's being NICE to him.  You should never have to explain your disability to someone who’s being an ass, yet so often we feel like we’re obliged to, like not explaining is somehow rude.  It is not.

One thing that people tend to do almost without realizing it is to make comments like “you’d have been great “if.” Other times they'll proceed to say what would be otherwise be a compliment followed by “for someone with CP” without understanding how condescending that is from my perspective.  I can remember times where my dad would mention how great of an athlete I would have been had it not been for my having CP.  I remember in my early 20’s an old high school basketball teammate saw me out running.  I stopped and we got to talking and he mentioned how good I was back then followed by “you’d have been so much better if not for your CP.”  I never snap at folks or get angry at them, because it’s not something to get angry about, or hold against them, but from my perspective such comments have always felt condescending.  I mean would you walk up to a 3 ft. tall midget and say "you'd be gorgeous.....if you weren't a midget" and expect them to take that as a compliment?  Hell no.

Also, people will use words like “inspiring” to describe everyday things that someone who isn’t 100% able bodied does.  Going to the gym, running, wearing shorts in public with a prosthetic limb.  A truly inspiring act is inspiring regardless of the person doing it, and it’s a word that should be used to describe acts that are in fact extraordinary.  Doing something fairly ordinary doesn’t suddenly become extraordinary just because I have CP.  I mean hell, I ran a 5K race this weekend, my first in 12 years.*  If someone there had somehow found out I have CP and had congratulated me and called me “inspiring” for finishing that would’ve bothered me.  I know they mean well, but it’s still mildly annoying.

My normal isn't the same as what's normal for someone without CP.  It’s not even normal for someone else with CP, given variability of the condition. With that in mind, I've realized how important it is to look at things from that perspective. I also realize how stupid and completely obvious that is now that I'm writing it. I suppose you could say it's a matter of denial vs. acceptance. Accepting that, Zoinks! I have cerebral palsy! Accepting that doesn't mean I'm giving up, or giving in, or being a bitch. Mentally, I think there's a difference between working to appear more "normal" within everyone else's frame of reference and working to better myself from my reality, where my "normal" isn't someone else's "normal."  The latter is a far healthier approach. Frankly, I’m glad I’ve known someone who has come to that same conclusion in their life who could aid me in coming to a similar epiphany.

As another example, for the better part of a year I've been working on trying to walk down steps without reflexively putting a deathgrip on the railing to steady myself. Then, one day recently, I busted my ass on the stairs and thought to myself "this is fucking stupid. I'm going to get myself hurt." I wanted to walk down steps not holding on, because, shit, I don't even know. Because "normal?" Because I was trying to fool myself into thinking I shouldn't have to?

 I tend to have a habit of working out hard, then getting discouraged because I'm not gaining weight, not gaining much muscle, or not seeing big gains. This is the first time where I've been able to sustain working out, and it's not because my body has suddenly changed. No, I've sustained working out because I'm trying not to measure my progress based upon where some able-bodied person tells me I should be. I'm not measuring progress how I expect a "normal" body to respond. Rather, I'm being realistic about how my body responds, accepting that, listening to it, and trying not to be frustrated by it. That means not measuring myself against what I consider "normal."  I feel like I have to work twice as hard to make half the gains. But hey, I can't change that. All I can do is accept that reality and work twice as hard. That means not giving up because I'm not making huge gains or weight gains, nor basing things on how I look. Do I feel better? Hurt less? Am I objectively getting stronger? If the answer is yes then I'm making progress, doing right by me, and measuring progress against nothing except where I was the month before. So far that mindset seems to be sticking and keeping me from throwing in the towel and saying "fuck this." and it has been working for a good while now. 

I'm learning to accept my "normal" and work within it, rather than looking at someone else's able-bodied "normal" and trying to attain that by the means they would use. That's a tough thing to do, but I'm getting there.

*Interestingly enough, I looked up my brother on the race website and found a 5K race he ran when he was 29.  I actually ran this 5K 57 seconds faster than my non-gimp older brother did at my age. Of course even now he could still pin me and beat me up easily :P

Also, since I think each of these CP posts should have photos.  Here's one of me in one of the only pictures I found of my neon green leg braces, also known as AFO's (ankle foot orthosis)

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My Life With Cerebral Palsy - Pt. 8 - Quotes on Cerebral Palsy

A good friend of mine sent me this article and honestly, it's one of the best cerebral palsy related articles I've ever read.

Obviously I'm a straight man, not a woman who likes other women, and I don't think I'd enjoy bring tied up and my body covered in clothespins, but aside from that everything she wrote is just SO damn relatable.

I mean, I could quote the entire article, from her points about walking the line between able bodied and not, to people who constantly tell you you're "inspirational." God do I hate that.  Or where she talks of coddling "because you've had a tough life / been through a lot."  My brother told me that once, but I disagree. No. I haven't. I have awesome friends, a family that gives a shit, I can support myself and I am lucky enough to be blessed to live in the greatest country on earth.  I have challenges that I wouldn't have to deal with if I didn't have CP, but I am lucky, and unbelievably so. I try & keep that in mind even when I'm frustrated with my body and venting to someone, as I did this weekend (if you read this sorry for my complaining!)

And yes, her point about convincing yourself that your body is attractive / desirable is difficult.  It's a tough sell, at least in my experience.

The author talks about her lover being worried she'd hurt her.  This happens in every aspect of life for those who aren't totally able bodied, but guess what? Don't worry about it.  We've dealt with our bodies little idiosyncrasies forever, so chill.  We know our bodies pain messages better than anyone.  We'll tell you if you hurt us.

Heck.  I tried to do push-ups with a petite young woman sitting on my back this weekend. She didn't hurt me, but I failed. she proved to me I need to get stronger :)

I find that, since most folks don't know much about CP and what they know equals to either "wheelchair bound / cognitive disability" or both. They aren't sure how to deal with folks with mild CP like the girl who I'm quoting or myself. (Admittedly my CP is more mild than hers)  What you end up getting is often either pity or undeserved admiration.

As the piece says,

" At best, disability allows you to create a tenuous peace with your body, and anytime it decides to violate that mutual agreement can be terrifying. You take the time to figure it out — what it likes and dislikes, where it functions best — and stick to that routine, until New Pain reminds you that you’re never quite going to have this figured out."

Read the entire bit about pain and new pain vs old pain.  As someone with CP I couldn't explain it any better than that.

Sometimes, when you do something to ratchet the new pain up 5 notches, you want to scream and punch something. I rarely do.

I went camping recently and didn't realize that sleeping arrangements would turn my pain meter up way, way past my "normal" even with beer, Advil and DFH Honey Rum.  I tried my best to hide it but I was a goddamn grumpasauras come evenings.  Thankfully I have great friends and one graciously kneaded out my back each night, despite the fact that I felt like I was imposing asking for a massage / help.

One night at camp my legs felt like they were on fire most of the night & I tried not to make any noise.  That's the unexpected new pain that scares you. I'm getting older and New Pain is becoming more common.  I need to get a better handle on it and I need to be more preventative rather than just trying to "tough it out" without help. In case you didn't know I hate asking for help. Sigh.

One last point she makes worth mentioning is people looking past your disability.  I was nodding vigorously reading that part!  I spent far too much time trying to do that myself rather than accepting it.  The last thing I need is for family / friends / girlfriends to do the same.  I have CP.  I will always have CP. it's not a disease. It can't be cured, but at the same time it does no one any good to act as though it doesn't exist.  This is something my roommate does to me that irks me. The "just work your right side harder so it catches up" isn't how things work.  It's hard for folks who are 100% able bodied to understand that sometimes, for no particular reason you can pinpoint, you're going to come home limping even though you didn't do anything strenuous to warrant it, that basically, your body isn't going to cooperate.

This is why I do things like get a morning ab workout & push-ups in even on vacation.  I firmly believe that my body is like a car with worn parts, and if I work hard enough maybe the damn thing won't break down prematurely. I can't control other people's misguided assumptions, so I focus on what I can control, which getting this decrepit Dodge Omni of a body as strong as possible to compensate for the out of spec parts :D 

"The problem is not our bodies — it’s the misguided assumptions people project onto them. That we shouldn’t want them. That we don’t know how to use them. That they need to be cured. That’s what I want the people in my life — friends, family, girlfriends — to look past. I don’t want them to look past me. My disability is essential to my body."


Monday, July 28, 2014

D.C. carry ban struck down!

Just a quick word on the monumental news of the USDC striking down D.C.'s ban on carrying guns, since folks have been saying that the ruling requires D.C. to accept reciprocity for out of state permits.

While it is true that the ruling appears to say that D.C. can't ban carry for D.C. residents or non-residents, I couldn't just slip my J-frame into my pocket and carry there tomorrow on my VA or AZ etc. non-resident permit.  My reading of the opinion is that while D.C. can't ban carry, anyone wishing to do so must carry a firearm that is legally registered in D.C.  So yeah, you could carry in D.C., but you'd still be violating their possession statute by bringing both an unregistered firearm and unregistered ammunition into the District.  IANAL, but that's how I see it.

UPDATE - I'm sick and my brain is apparently not working today. 7-2502 02(a)(4) is the statute regarding registration.

The Court says,

 "the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism"