Thursday, November 29, 2012

Chicken Bacon Ranch Chicken

I was looking for some recipes for the kids so they’d eat a little better and we’d spend less. I found this one for Bacon Ranch chicken in the crock pot and decided to make it last night. I got a late start, but about 6:00 it started to smell and the kids were asking for some.

I still had noodles to cook and the kids were anxious, so I hurried along and spooned some out. They loved it.

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Both ate big plates and I have a little left.

Tia is up next with pot roast in the crock pot tomorrow, but I have a pork recipe to try next week.

Knot Races

We got back to Scouts Tuesday night after a much-too-long hiatus. We’ve had a few meetings since August, but not many. We did get to a merit badge college and a community service event, but that wasn’t much.

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It was a back to basics night, working on some skills with competitions. It started with a knot relay race, kids tying knots and then getting them approved and running to the other side of the room. Delaney was a good helped for the younger kids who weren’t aware of some of the knots.

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He actually had to re-tie to clove hitch for them since they couldn’t figure it out.

After the races, there was a first aid thing, and then a tug of war. That got everyone involved, and was funny. The two teams split the competition, each winning one.


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Delaney also got his cooking merit badge form turned in, so that’s one more for January. We talked about him finishing Communications and Personal Fitness before the end of the year, which would give him 2 more Eagles and a good start on next year. I’d also like to see if he’ll get either Family Life or Personal Management done before the Mar elections. That would be a good progress for this six months without a leadership position, despite the layoff from cross country and my traveling.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Back to BFL

I fell off the diet somewhere, but more importantly, I fell off the exercise. I've been struggling to get back to lifting and doing a halfway job of it. I wanted to lift yesterday, and today, but time got away. However I did the 20min/2mi run tonight, pushing, and it was hard.

Tomorrow I need to lift.

Book #85

11788552I grabbed Seth and Chloe as a free book from Amazon before vacation. It’s an interesting story, with these two people part of a crew on the Moon that captures meteors before they can impact the Earth. However the Earth is inhabitable and a few hundred thousand or million live on Mars.

This is a thriller, with Seth and Chloe having some abilities, a coup on Mars and trouble between governments. It’s interesting, and I liked it, but the writing isn’t great, and the formatting is poor. There are times when scenes switch and it’s jarring because the book jumps from one paragraph to the next. That made it hard to read.

The characters are also a little inconsistent, shallow, and not well developed. It’s not bad writing, but it’s definitely missing something. I think the back story isn’t well developed for readers, and the main story seems to jump around a bit.

There are sequels, but I’m not sure I’ll get them. Undecided at this point.

Thanksgiving Skiing

Late posting, but a few pix of last Tuesday when Kendall and I went skiing. Tia was down for the day and Delaney stayed up too late and was tired. We got ready together in the room.

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We rode the bus, just in case Tia needed the truck.


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Kendall was ready to go right away.

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Not a great start to the season. Warm, about 40F and sunny. No wind, which was nice, but only 3 runs open. We chatted and laughed on the lift

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And we stopped a few times on the slopes when people were backing up the slopes. Lots of beginners.

It’s amazing to me how big Kendall is getting. She looks just like Tia in this picture.

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Just a half day for us as we needed to get back. We stopped by the sleigh on the way back and got a picture of Kendall.


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Then someone offered to take one with me as well, and so we got one together.

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We went Wed with Delaney, but only ended up with another half day. Warmer (45F), more ice and a couple slips from Delaney and me. We had fun, and called it a week with the warm weather and Tia not feeling well.

Looking forward to some better skiing in a few weeks at Steamboat.

Monday, November 26, 2012


We lost our pup yesterday. I was with Delaney all day at a Scout event, and Tia had training in various places, taking Kendall with her. When she got back in the afternoon, Uma was gone and didn’t come back.

We were worried, posting messages, sending emails, and even my driving around the neighborhood with Kendall after dark. Finally around 9:00 a neighbor called to say that she’d heard from another neighbor who’d seen her. I called and was told that someone was driving around the next neighborhood asking if anyone owned a Great Dane. I got another number, and feeling like a detective, I had my third Uma phone call of the night.

This time I left a message, but Tia wasn’t content. 15 minutes later she called again and we spoke to a lady who had found Uma. Or rather her husband had, seeing Uma in his yard, calling her over, and having our dog jump into his car and refuse to leave.

They drove around looking for the owner, but couldn’t find anyone and eventually called the Sheriff. Uma got sent to a kennel for the night, but at least she was safe. After dropping off the kids this morning, I went to pick her up as the kennel opened and she was glad to get into the car with me.

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She’s home and safe, and has a new collar with our phone number embroidered on it coming. I also plan to hit Home Depot to day and get a talled fence for the back yard that we can use to ensure she doesn’t get away when we’re gone.

She’s happy to be home, but tired. She was subdued, shaking, and upset in the kennel. Glad to see me, but in a hurry to leave. She’s spent the morning like this, even foregoing the chance to walk around with me when I went to break the ice in the horse water.

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It would be easy to find an excuse not to run on any day. So I never look for one.

My mantra.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Broncos on a roll

I watched the San Diego/Denver game today from last week. I have to say one of the surprising things is how well the defense played. I still expect the bend and stretch defense, unable to get enough pressure on the QB, unable to stop some good routes, and letting lots of runners loose. I have to say that watching the first three quarters, I was impressed and pleased to see the defense working hard and making stops, including lots of 3rd down stops.

A complete contrast with the Washington/Dallas game, which I stopped watching at halftime. Dallas was a mess, and apart from Ware, their defense is a mess.

Despite not a great game from Peyton, despite a few turnovers, they played well and kept their composure, even while winning. They didn’t stop. I was a little disappointed in the sacks, and worry about those against Tampa Bay and Baltimore, but I certainly think we have the chance to win 4, 5, or even 6 more games this season. It should be an 11-5 season at the worst.

Looking forward to seeing how they handle KC tomorrow.

My Artist

Just before school let out, Kendall brought this home last week. I haven’t been too diligent in uploading photos, but wanted to capture this one. She sculpted a horse head from paper mache.

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Book #84 - The Partner

51ObvREN-gL._AA160_I picked this up on vacation at the “book share” shelf in the clubhouse. I wasn’t sure I’d read it before, but the first few pages of The Partner captured my attention in between sets of lifting. A sad ending, though, one I didn’t expect.

A lawyer stole $90mm from his firm after faking his own death. He’s been on the run for 4 years, but the private investigators tracking him have found him. They kidnap him in Brazil and begin to torture him to find the money. He’s got plans in place, and his lawyer, a female in Brazil as well realizes he’s been kidnapped and immediately puts her plans into play. She moves the money into banks he has no idea about and then disappears herself, heading to Europe.

Before she leaves, she calls the FBI to let them know that Patrick, the thieving lawyer, was captured. Pressure from the FBI gets Patrick extradited back to the US, but the PIs continue their search for the money with the name of the lawyer.

What follows is a wild ride. As the law firm, their client, the local authorities and the FBI begin to try and prosecute Patrick, he’s one step ahead of them the whole way. With the help of Eva, his lawyer, and an old friend to represent him, he manages to manipulate the system beautifully. It’s a great story , and a fun read. The end, however, while fitting, is sad for me.

Worth a few hours of your life. One of Grisham’s better books.

Book #83 - The Phoenix Rising

51czhYe qpL._AA160_The second book of The Phoenix Conspiracy series, I started The Phoenix Rising as soon as I finished the last one. A word of warning: this one ends with a bit of a cliffhanger as well and the next book wasn’t out when I finished it (sad face).

In this book we find Calvin and his crew guests of the Harbringer, the stolen battleship. Calvin agrees to help the rebels when he’s shown evidence of a problem in the empire. Duplicates of people that look exactly the originals and are being used to replace key people. Add to that Calvin’s discovery of the new weapon that can potentially destroy stars (and their solar systems) and Summers joins him in his pursuit of the new weapon.

It’s an interesting adventure as Calvin must manage a mixed crew of humans and Polarians, as well as confront his family and the Remorii, including the strigoi. It’s a wild ride, but you really need to read the other book first to grasp what’s going on.

Not great writing, but not bad. Lots of introspection into Calvin and the difficulties of not knowing who to trust or even having the maturity to command well, it’s still a good read.

A New Washer

We went with an LG. Our repair guy didn't love them, but comparing a bunch of washers at Home Depot one day, with a great sale going on, we decided to get the LG.

Our old one started leaking recently. When we called out the repair guy, he found the two halves of the drum were warped slightly and under load (weight), the agitation cycle would cause leaking. Not a lot, but enough to be a problem.

However replacing the drums was about $500-600 and since new washers are in the $600-1000 range, it didn't seem worth it. So we ordered one and delayed delivery until we were back from vacation.

The guys came early this morning from Home Depot. We had the 8-12 window, but since we're out in the country, I guess they started here, calling at 7:45am to say they were coming. Arriving at 8:15, they pulled the old one out in about 5 minutes and then spent 10 installing the new one.

 It's a little smaller than our GE dryer, but not too much and it looks nice. A test cycle is underway, and then I'll get to the real testing: lots of dirty clothes.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Book #82 - The Phoenix Conspiracy

61JSAWLmxRL._AA160_Another sci-fi book. Not sure why I grabbed it, but The Phoenix Conspiracy grabbed my attention right away. It’s the future and the captain of a ship is heading back to a port, essentially under arrest after he went rouge and had his ship destroy some civilian freighters from another race.

The book then jumps to an investigator. He found the Phoenix in his stealth ship, but something isn’t right. He asks for more of an investigation, but is denied. When the captain of the ship escapes with another large battleship, he’s assigned to the chase.

Something doesn’t feel right. The way the orders come to him, the assignment of the Phoenix’ former XO, the nagging suspicion that there’s some other motive lead Calvin, the stealth ship CO to question his orders. He’s pulled in multiple directions, and we see them all through his eyes as he tries to sort out the possibilities of the galactic situation on a chase around the galaxy.

A thrilling climax battle that he barely escapes has him on the stolen battleship at the end, leading me to purchase the next book immediately.

Home From Vacation

A quiet vacation for us. Not much snow, Tia injured, and we just hung out a lot. Perhaps a little too much time for the kids in front of screens, but we had some fun playing games and giggling with each other. A nice break from life.

Back today after being in Winter Park since Sun night on quite an adventure.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Getting Big

My little boy isn't so little anymore.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Temporary Fence

We’ve been a little worried about going skiing with Uma. She wanders a bit, and Tia has been wanting to get a fenced area in the backyard. We’ve debated what to do, and finally since time is short decided on ranch fencing and t-posts as a temporary measure.

I got up this morning, and as Tia drove out to a lesson, I headed to Home Depot and loaded up with supplies. I forgot how heavy the 330’ roll of ranch fencing is and it was a struggle for me to get it in the truck.

I got home and Kendall said she wasn’t feeling well, so I went out and started pounding t-posts after lunch. Just as I was finishing, she came out and started helping. She owes me some money, and this was part of the work she needed to do. With her help, we wrestled with the wire, unrolling it around the back yard. Actually I did most of the wrestling while Kendall used pliers to get the wire hooks around the t-posts and wire.

We finally finished a couple hours later, and the back yard is secure. We hope.

We’ll see when we go out tonight if the dogs can get out.

Friday, November 16, 2012


I had planned on working outside today, but I needed to get things set for vacation and ended up with only an hour of work on the generator house before I had to get kids.

I raced back and went to work, getting the shell up and a plywood roof on it temporarily, which might have to hold for a week. Fortunately the forecast doesn't look too bad.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Last Talk of the Year

It’s been a wild 60 days for me. Starting in mid-September with the Colorado Springs user group and ending tonight with the Denver user group, I’ve given a lot of talks. All told it’s been 13 different events

  • SQL in the City (various cities)
  • PASS Summit
  • SQL Server Connections
  • 3 local user groups
  • The Denver SQL Saturday
  • A PASS VC presentation

I’ve given a total of 24 talks on 9 topics. They were mostly technical talks with a few professional development items sprinkled in there. I’m done tonight with my last one for the year.

It’s been a lot of fun and I’ve had some good questions and discussions, but I’m a little worn out. I am looking forward to a couple months off, though I suspect that next year will be a similar, or even greater, pace of talks. Hopefully I’ll build a couple more new ones and then ride those for some time.

The Rational Root Theorem

Delaney was struggling with some math last night dealing with the rational root theorem. Tia and I were both digging in, trying to awaken those long dormant skills in our brains. I was starting to remember the roots of polynomials, but Delaney wasn’t feeling good and stressing, so we sent him to bed.

This morning he still wasn’t doing great, but said he didn’t want to miss school. He went, and I suspect he gutted it out so he doesn’t have homework over next week’s vacation.

Apparently I will, however, with the need to brush up on some algebra from Khan Academy to be sure I can help him where it’s needed.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Back to the UK

Heard today I need to go back to Cambridge for some planning for 2013 at my company I December, so I’ve booked a (short) trip back across the water. I could have gotten out of it, but in talking about strategy and trying to make next year work better for me and the company, I think in person is the way to go. As much as I love email, it’s not the same as being in the room with someone to debate, discuss, and agree on things. Even today’s video call was a stretch and made it hard to get things done.

This will be a record year for me. Three trips to the UK and over 50K miles flown. Not sure that’s good or bad, but it should make next year go smoother in the air.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Still Sick

Delaney was doing better last night, but felt bad this morning, so we gave him another day off.

I, on the other hand, have more work to do and chores than I expected. Plus I get to drive to Boulder for a talk tonight.

Busier than I’d like.

Book #81 - Final Impact

51KjPDSi1bL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_I hate to see the trilogy end, but I re-read Final Impact again hoping for something more. Hawaii fell at the end of the last book, but it was recaptured here. D-Day is the marker in this book as it comes about again, this time in a different place. With Hitler and Stalin aware of the future, it’s a second guessing by all sides as to what will happen.

Atomics come early, and it’s an amazing read to see how WWII might have turned out.

Book #80 - Designated Targets

51qgB0v5gdL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_Another re-read. After I read Weapons of Choice, I jumped on to Designated Targets and enjoyed it once again. As the uptimers from the future try to integrate into the past, it’s an interesting ride. Julie continues as an embedded, hard nose reporter, while Kolhammer must try to recreate new technology to protect the US. Hawaii is potentially under attack but the future forces are spread around. Halabi must act as the eyes and defense of the UK while Lonesome Jones is busy in Australia.

An exciting possible past when the future comes early.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Sick Kid

Delaney woke up with an upset stomach today. After a bit of time in the bathroom thinking he might throw up. He went back to bed and was sleeping after I got back from taking Kendall to school. Hopefully he’ll be better tomorrow since he’s going to miss a couple days of school next week while we ski.

I’ve been using TimeHop the last few weeks, getting a glimpse into the past. This picture popped up today, which brings back lots of memories.


We had a fun night at volleyball last night, but we’re all beat up. Kendall skipped it, wanting to go hang out with the neighbor kids instead. Her ankle is still a little sore, so we let her stay back.

The three of us went and had a good time, getting a little practice, and some scrimmages with various people. The coach of the team that beat Kendall’s team in the tournament played and he’s something else. Quick, and great placement of the ball. The rest of us struggled to imitate what he did.

However we got beat up. Tia banger her knee and jammed a pinky. Delaney jammed a thumb, and me banged my wrist trying to save a low ball. Three ice packs were needed when we got home.


Last Saturday I went to Seattle early to spend a day with Kyle. I landed in the early evening and took the train up to downtown to meet Kyle at The Purple CafĂ©. He likes the place, and apparently Tia loves it. I didn’t know we were supposed to sit at the bar and try cheese. Instead we got a table, chatted, and had a nice meal.

Sunday I was up early, running, and then transferred my stuff to my hotel for the conference and met Kyle near his place. He was running late, so I took a bus down to West Seattle. An interesting experience as I haven’t been in a bus in a long time.

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We walked around the area a bit, which is more suburban and relaxed than downtown. Kyle had been wanting to go to Bakery Nouveau, which is a world famous bakery that’s won international competition. We got coffee and snacks and sat outside eating.

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German chocolate cake for Kyle, and chocolate bread for me.

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The rest of the day was a tour on both the North and South sides of Seattle. We caught buses up to the Fremont troll

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And Queen Anne, the famous overlook of Seattle.


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Me posing, and then Kyle.

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A great trip, and a highlight for me. Short, but hoping that we get Kyle to come back to Denver for the holidays. It was great seeing him, he looks happy and wonderful, and seems to have really grown up since he’s moved to Seattle. A real young man coming into his own in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Nice to be back home

Again. I think I’m done traveling for the year, which is a relief. My trip to the UK is tentative in Dec, but I’m crossing fingers it gets cancelled.

Did get some work done today on the shelter. Roof is one and ready for rain.

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Now I’m hoping I get a little bit of a break tomorrow and can get a little more done on the sides.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Sleepless in Seattle

Only slightness. Last night was a struggle to sleep, after a very long day that was rather exciting. I saw so many people that I haven't seen in a long time that it was a bit of a buzz at dinner. A good SQL in the City event, with good talks that went well for me and great attendance. Then our networking event, which was well attended and less of a mad rush and more of a chance to sit and talk with people.

The night before, I struggled to sleep, until 5:00am. I woke up, went back to sleep, and then didn't get up until 7:15, missing my chance to run with friends.

A fairly quiet day today, which is good. I need some downtime.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Last night we had date night, since I've only been back in town for 2 days and I leave again today. After a nice dinner, we went to see Flight. I had no idea what it was about, but it certainly was intense. A drunk, addicted pilot saves lives, but loses a few in a crash. The whole film really deals with the aftermath and the investigation, but mostly the pilot working through his personal demon.

Denzel is phenomenal. At no point did I think he was acting. I really thought he was an addict. An amazing, but intense movie. Hard to watch in places.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Book #79 - Exposed

51fyCa6EkDL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_Another in the Chandler series, Exposed is really a novella, shorter, but good. In it we have Chandler on assignment. This is before Flee, and she’s pretending to be a novel, intent on rescuing a girl from a model shoot where Chandler has been told this is a front for a slavery ring. She’s told to bring the girl out "without” hurting her at all.

Her contact is a ex-military, posing a a driver. Chandler gets in, finds something suspicious with the men running the shoot, and just manages to catch the landing gear of a helicopter before it takes the girl away. She manages to get the girl down, and gets into the car with her contact. They get away, but as Chandler leaves, she realizes something is wrong and finds out the contact isn’t who he said he is.

Chandler rescues the girl, but there’s an amazing twist I never saw coming. It’s exciting, and a fun, albeit short, read.

Book #78 - Weapons of Choice

51d g dH4sL._AA115_A re-read for me. Delaney and I were discussing Weapons of Choice and he said I ‘d forgotten a few things, so he gave it to me on a trip for a re-read.

Excellent story, drew me in, invoked emotion, and made me want to read the rest of the trilogy.

True, but a little deceitful

I saw this tweet come across my screen today:
That’s true. Despite the job growth in Sept (re-adjusted) and the good (unadjusted) numbers from October, unemployment is 7.9%. A decent part of the growth, despite new jobs, is more people entering the workforce.
When Obama took office, the rate was 7.8%. Not much different, but according to the BLS, that was the Jan 2009 rate.
The issue I have is that Obama took office on Jan 20, 2009, and was POTUS for only a 1/3 of the month. Arguably that rate is not his. The Feb rate was 8.3%, much higher, and while that’s on his watch, it’s growth that started in Dec 2007 (4.4%) and increased until Oct 2009 (10%). There's also a short look at Obama v Bush.
I don’t think Obama has done a great job leading the country, and I’m not sure he’s done enough to help build recovery, inspire people, or even stand up as a leader of the US. However he certainly hasn’t made this a worse country. He has steered us through a recovery that could have been better, but wasn’t horrible.
The best thing you could say about Romney is that he could have done better, but I’m not sure I’d buy that, especially when he changes his mind constantly about how to deal with issues.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Gun Store

Delaney turns 14 this year, and in lieu of a party and presents, I took him to Las Vegas. He’s been wanting to go, and since I had to go for work, I decided this would be a good time. I also had a surprise.

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I’ve seen the ads for “The Gun Store” in Vegas before, and when I knew we were going, I checked out their packages. Sure enough, Delaney was eligible to shoot. He saw the ads when we landed and I surprised him Monday by telling him that this was going to be his birthday present. He had $200 to spend.

After a quick lunch, we drove down Tropicana to the store.

It’s a neat place, and popular. A gun store in the front, and a range in the back. We signed up and headed back, standing in a line with a couple dozen other people that were there for the shooting sports.

Photo Oct 29, 2 48 14 PMPhoto Oct 29, 2 48 09 PM

Racks of weapons on the wall to see. Instructors would come get them, along with ammo, and take people back to shoot. Delaney decided to do the pick 3 package, which let him pick 3 guns and double his ammunition. Once we were in line and waiting, he decided to add a fourth gun to round out his $200.

Photo Oct 29, 3 59 13 PM

We waited almost an hour, but finally got up to the front of the line, and saw our ammo bin.

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He was excited, but also serious and ready to shoot. We ended up with a young guy taking us back with his weapons. Delaney started with a pistol, and the instructor explained things to him, and then Delaney got ready to shoot.

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It’s tough to shoot, and Delaney definitely struggled with his aim. Not sure he was as bad as I’ve been in the past, but this was hard.

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I got some video of his pistol shooting that I uploaded. Good instruction from the range guy, but Delaney was definitely excited and hurried a bit with his shots. He kept locking open the gun, which we traced to poor placement of his left thumb.


Then it was time for the real guns. First up was an MP5, a sub machine gun from what Delaney tells me. He had some nice long bursts on this one, and it left him shaking a bit with joy. After the instructor left, he said it was really exciting, but more of a kick than he expected.


After this, another machine gun. This time the M4.

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Delaney did better this time, getting his aim down and riddling the targets nicely.


Now time for the big gun. The M249 SAW. We got a nice posed picture before this one, so Delaney could have the slip slung on top.


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He shot better, and loved this gun. I’m sure he’d want to buy all these if he could.



That was it. An hour wait, probably 15 minutes of shooting, maybe less, and Delaney was thrilled. We walked out with a mug, beanie, and targets that he has now plastered in his room. Totally worth it.