Shotguns and Story Time

I read a really good book today and shot a shotgun 24 times. It was a good day.

(Oh, wait! Talking of books reminds me that Already Read Books in Alexandria is in danger of losing its lease. This would be awful news. I mean, it’s a well-stocked used bookstore with cats. And quirky owners. In a weird little house off of Duke Street. If you like weird, books, and cats, support this store now before it’s too late!)

Tweenbot and I went to the Bull Run Shooting Center this afternoon to learn how to shoot shotguns and check out the facility. We got shooting lessons for $35 each and then took another crack at shooting targets for an additional $22 (the gun rental was included in our training). The main takeaway for me from this experience was that, 29 years after getting smacked between the eyes by a softball I was trying to catch from a pitching machine, I still have the same depth perception and hand-eye coordination I did as a 14 year-old. I fired 24 shots and hit my target (a clay disc launched from a pitching machine) all of one time. Tweenbot, by contrast, appears to have inherited accurate aim from Pa Protosaur (aka my father) and/or Dino Spouse. He was hitting at the same rate as experienced shooters.

The other cool thing I did today was read During The Reign Of The Queen Of Persia, which proved to be unexpectedly awesome. I have been passing it up on the New Fiction shelves at Alexandria City Library for several weeks now but finally decided to give it a try on the strength of its imprint. New York Review Books Classics, how you satisfy my snobbish heart!


Look Upon Procurement Man

Image of the guide to my online contracting class


Procurement Man is the star of CON 100, the first of many classes I will complete online and in person to obtain my contracting warrant. I have been spending lots of quality time with him between office tasks and in my vast amounts of spare time. Just wanted to share.

I hope someday that Procurement Man gets his own video game spinoff.

Operations and Maintenance

I took today off for preventative maintenance and went to the doctor. Three doctors, actually. Two of them are doctors I tried to replace when I moved from Columbia to Alexandria but went back to because I missed them. The third is a doctor I haven’t summoned the energy to replace because, heck, I’m already hauling up to Columbia. (Hi Columbia people! Still miss you!) Here is what I learned today:

  1. Always check the client’s SF-50 before guessing his or her occupational series from a position title. Yikes! Good thing that application deadline isn’t until Friday. Also good that the narratives and detailed parts did not need changing and that my client is a patient soul.
  2. Voting in local elections can make a difference (cf the victory of the Tea Party candidate in VA’s 7th District Republican primary).
  3. I need to go to Confession, because I have been mightily judging people who merit compassion – namely, the souls among my fellow library patrons and patients who have been variously mouth-breathing, sharing TMI at loud volume, tic-ing furiously, and emanating waves of body funk throughout the day. Seriously. I am just wrong.
  4. Mobile technology only works if you bring it with you from home. On a related note, I want my smart phone back. Mouse lost her phone last week and I have been letting her use mine.

Collateral Duties

Sitting in a car for hours at a time is painful and boring. Sitting in a car for hours at a time and covering the same stretch of I-95 in Northern Virgina repeatedly is painful, boring, and maddening. Spending a Friday evening and a Saturday as Teen Taxi after a full work week is … well, it does not bring out the best in me. Let’s just say that I have seen more of Potomac Mills and environs than I ever want to see again.

Lesson learned: when TeenBot asks me if I can give his friend a ride to another friend’s house, I need to ask “In which city?” before answering.

Other lesson learned: when I tell TeenBot he can hang out for a little while at the mall, I need to make it clear that “a little while” does not equal “enough time to watch a feature film.” (On the bright side, I now know that “The Fault In Our Stars” will not suck when Mouse inevitably asks to see it after reading the novel.)

Today’s project is writing a federal resume and application statements for A Paying Customer. I love paying customers. I’d rather write people’s memoirs and love letters, mind, but helping people apply for federal jobs appears to be something I’m good at. It brings in some pin money for orthopedic shoes and unexpected runs to and from Woodbridge. Contact me to find out more about my rates and track record.



Movie Fone

Mouse and I went to the movies last night. She lured me into reading Divergent and one of the two sequels and I totally got sucked in.

We were the only people in the theater for the 7:15 PM showing of “Divergent” at the AMC Hoffman. This came in handy once – about 30 minutes in – we realized that we weren’t completely satisfied with the film adaptation of the novel. Mouse started with occasional outbursts of indignation at lapses in continuity and stupid dialogue. Pretty soon we were laughing aloud. When we got to the umpteenth scene where what happened in the book morphed inexplicably into the hot guy saving the heroine on screen, she dashed her empty beverage cup to the floor and became running laps around the theater to keep from walking out.

Best things about the movie: Ashley Judd as the mom, Kate Winslet as the villainess, the overall set, the scenes of all the Dauntless running and jumping, and the casting for the role of Christina (Zoe Kravitz as the heroine’s bestie). Everything else was better in my imagination. I will read the next book in the series once the library serves it up, but I am not paying money to watch another one of these movies. I hated it almost as much as I hated “Titanic” and “Cool World.”

(Staying up past my bedtime for no good reason and watching “Good Hair” as I blog.  This feels like watching “Roger and Me” back in the day. I want to live in a world where Chris Rock releases a new documentary every year.)

Of No Particular Interest

  • The plus of living in a 1940’s townhouse is the way the windows are placed to create good cross-ventilation.
  • The minus of same is that, with the windows open, our neighborhood gets a lot noisier. Between the little kids outside yelping and the neighbor lady having a high-volume phone conversation in some other tongue, Mouse is having trouble concentrating on her studies. (This may also have something to do with the fact that she stayed up almost all night last night while “sleeping” over with a friend.)
  • Mouse frets a lot when she hasn’t had enough sleep.
  • Another minus of 1940’s construction is that our kitchen and bathroom venting is almost entirely passive. There’s a sort of exhaust fan on the oven, but there’s no fan in the bathroom. This means that my living room now reeks of burnt cooking oil, and the bathroom paint is peeling.
  • I forgot the correct temperature for the cooking oil until I was halfway through making a batch of syrniki.
  • When Mouse is fretful she wants a lot of reassurance about her homework.
  • We’re supposed to go to the Animal Welfare League of Alexandria today and get a new cat.