dreamspark




I'm doing 39 things
 

dreamspark's Life List

  1. 1. Finish my website
    9 team members . 1 cheer
    988 people
  2. 2. learn PHP
    1 cheer
    1,494 people
  3. 3. Learn SQL
    2 cheers
    183 people
  4. 4. start a jewelry business
    2 cheers
    25 people
  5. 5. Learn Japanese
    2 cheers
    10,807 people
  6. 6. start exercising regularly
    2 cheers
    285 people
  7. 7. make more friends
    1 cheer
    5,522 people
  8. 8. drink more water
    1 cheer
    20,213 people
  9. 9. grow and use Salvia Divinorum
    2 cheers
    4 people
  10. 10. learn to use a sewing machine
    1 cheer
    307 people
  11. 11. learn to crochet
    1 cheer
    1,129 people
  12. 12. stretch every day
    562 people
  13. 13. stop biting my nails
    1 cheer
    7,263 people
  14. 14. sleep better
    1 cheer
    808 people
  15. 15. take a writing class/join a writing group
    13 people
  16. 16. Write every day
    1,002 people
  17. 17. save for retirement
    281 people
  18. 18. get out of debt
    12,195 people
  19. 19. learn first aid
    256 people
  20. 20. do my taxes
    1 cheer
    164 people
  21. 21. become a certified women's self-defense instructor
    1 cheer
    1 person
  22. 22. get my baby tooth pulled and straighten the adult tooth
    1 person
  23. 23. get the beauty marks on my neck checked out by a dermatologist
    1 cheer
    1 person
  24. 24. learn graphic design
    2 cheers
    214 people
  25. 25. learn about desktop publishing
    1 person
  26. 26. learn survival skills
    114 people
  27. 27. read more
    9,073 people
  28. 28. learn more history
    58 people
  29. 29. Explore new technologies
    16 people
  30. 30. increase my knowledge of science
    2 cheers
    9 people
  31. 31. cook more
    2 cheers
    2,054 people
  32. 32. learn to draw
    1 cheer
    2,400 people
  33. 33. learn yoga
    1 cheer
    2,980 people
  34. 34. learn gymnastics
    184 people
  35. 35. learn XML
    1 entry . 1 cheer
    104 people
  36. 36. double my income in five years or less
    1 cheer
    1 person
  37. 37. learn to sing
    1 cheer
    2,900 people
  38. 38. learn photoshop
    1,533 people
  39. 39. learn to dance
    7,168 people
Recent entries
learn to safely fire and handle guns
Basic Firearms Course at Blue Ridge Arsenal, Chantilly, VA

About a month ago I took a basic firearms course at Blue Ridge Arsenal in Chantilly, VA. The class was four hours and consisted of about three hours of classroom time, including two 10- to 15-minute breaks, and one hour of range time. Ammo (up to 100 rounds), gun rentals, and eye and ear protection were included. The course was $125 and I had to register several weeks in advance. At the time of registration there were only a few slots left, and my group filled all but one. The class was well worth the money, and I now feel confident enough to pick up and check if pretty much any type of handgun is loaded or unloaded, unload the weapon, or fire it if necessary.

At first I wasn’t sure what could possibly take four hours to cover, but in fact the course was very detailed and informative. Handouts and the classroom lecture covered all the bases, from some basic history, to the internal workings of several types of revolver and semi-automatic handguns, to the function of the rounds themselves (the bullet is just part of the round, along with the casing, powder, and the starter stuff which I forget what it’s called, maybe starter, which sets off the black powder that causes the bullet to fire). Dummy rounds and parts of handguns were passed around for hands-on inspection as well.

The classroom time also included two-on-one and one-on-one physical instruction on gun safety, including dry-firing semi-automatics and revolvers (using good safety practices like keeping one’s finger off the trigger until prepared to fire on the target, and never pointing the barrel at anyone or in an unsafe direction). Also covered were the various causes and types of misfires, and what to do when one experiences a misfire or misfeed, which turned out to be more common that one might expect.

Once we had donned our safety gear and entered the indoor range, we had a Range Safety Officer as well as the two instructors for assistance, and access to nine different weapons, including various .22’s, a .38 Special, several 9mm’s, including a type of Glock and a Beretta, and a .45 semi-automatic. I think there may have been a .45 revolver too, but I can’t remember now. I fired maybe six or seven of these, including the .45 semi-auto, which I could barely fit my hand around well enough to pull the trigger. I actually hit a bullseye with it (at only five meters), but I needed help to chamber the first round because the action on the slide was so tough.

I think my best experience was with the Beretta 9mm. One of the worst was the Ruger .22, which misfed several times, and another semi-auto .22 that misfired so much they removed it from the range for maintenance. I had misfires with several weapons, most caused by improper wrist action on recoil I think, but the ones with the .22 semi-auto were likely caused by the weapon’s condition. It was brand new and may not have been thoroughly oiled, or it may have had some other defect that interfered with the slide action.

All in all, the class was interesting and informative, and the range was not as intimidating as I expected (after the first few shots startled the hell out of me and I’m sure several other first-time shooters who were already jittery going out there). I would highly recommend that everyone take this or a similar course to be prepared if the need ever arises to handle a gun. Even if you are a pacifist and a vegetarian, when you’re getting a Coca Cola Slurpy at 7-Eleven and a robbery occurs, the clerk hits the robber over the head with a Slim Jims display, and the gun goes flying, slides across the floor, and stops in front of your feet, you’ll know how to unload it safely so no one gets hurt, and probably be rewarded with a lifetime supply of Slurpies or something.



learn xml
Well on the Way

A few months ago I got an extra Westlake Training XML course manual from a co-worker and read through the beginning explaining what XML is and what makes a document well-formed and valid. I also read a lot of material on W3Schools, Wikipedia, and other sources. A few weeks after acquiring the manual I called up Westlake and got the new location of the course files to do the exercises, but then got sidetracked.

Finally last week I saw an announcement on the DC Web Women mailing list about a super-discounted 2-hour XML workshop being offered to members by Westlake. For $20 I found out I already knew a lot (the first 90 minutes were spent by the instructor basically demonstrating ways in which documents can be well-formed and valid or invalid), but I also got a chance to see some integrated examples of XML with XSLT and JavaScript and ask some questions. Now I feel pretty confident that I can write my own XSL and integrate XML data into HTML pages.

My new project idea is to build a web app for studying Japanese in the form of flashcards and flashcard quizzes. That way I can learn XML, XSL, and JavaScript, and study Japanese during free time at work and become super awesome fluent super fast. Yay!



learn cpr
CPR courses - quick and painless

I saw a course being offered at work and signed up. It was a few hours, pretty quick and painless. I gotta say though, you can pass and still not know what the heck you’re doing, so if you really want to feel confident in an actual emergency, you need to do more than the minimum. Don’t let other people taking things lightly detract from your learning or practice time, and don’t be afraid to call the instructor out on details. Also, if you see people doing things incorrectly or unrealistically and the instructor doesn’t notice or care, point it out. Someone should. Seriously, it’s not rocket surgery.



See all entries ...


 

I want to:
43 Things Login