Gone Shooting

By the time you read this, I’ll be far and gone away from my computer, off shooting with friends. With ammo prices and availability so dear right now, I may not get to the range regularly, but every now and then, a girl needs time with friends at recoil therapy. (I understand some women prefer spa dates, but I’ve always preferred 100LL or gunpowder to facials or pedicures.)

We won’t be doing this scenario, but here’s something cool if you have a gunfight upcoming in a work in progress, in a vehicle:

Once I get home, this is going to be more of my training than range time:

Someday, I want to do girl’s week out at Gunsite with some of my favourite female pilot & author friends. Not that all of them write things where they’d need it – and some are far better shots than me, and probably would be bored by any class where I’d be tail-end Charlie – but, you know, we could claim it was research, and have a good time.

The “if money was no object” trip right after that would be to Flinders Island, to beg Dave Freer to teach me how to dive. And possibly how to write something as awesome as Cuttlefish… or Dragon’s Ring.

If you could go anywhere and learn anything under the excuse of “Research!”, what would you do?

 

18 comments

  1. Research, well, Gunsight would be up there. Trapeze lessons. They actually have those where I am from. Helicopter pilot. Scuba. Hula. That’s enough for starters.

  2. More riding lessons, and more fencing lessons. A “staff ride” over some of the battlefields of Central and Eastern Europe (in part since the US Civil War seems to be a hot potato even for military historians). Going to some of the living history industrial museums to see how some of that early Victorian and pre-electricity stuff really worked (you know, steampunk!)

  3. Visit a few places made famous in the Pacific War: Midway, Wake, Tarawa, Ulithi, Kwajalein, Guadalcanal. Learn skin-diving in the lagoons and scuba-diving on the reefs. See what it’s really like to live there. As long as I’m dreaming impossible dreams, learn to speak Polynesian. And learn any and all WW2 history I can find about all of them. I know the books I have don’t tell the whole stories.

  4. I’d visit a sewage processing plant.

    About the time the US Civil War concluded, the Crossness Pumping Station went online, and pumped sewage out of London for almost a century. Its pumps were operated by engines built by James Watt & Co.. It is now undergoing restoration, and one of the humongous walking beam engines is fired on Trust Open Days. It is *enormous* – the beams weigh 47 tons each, and the flywheels are 52 tons. And all of the pieces, great and small, *move*, sliding and spinning, governors and regulators and valves and connecting linkages, the original components over a hundred and fifty years old, and they still work just fine.

    The plant came in under budget, so the builders blew the excess money on tile, columns, ironwork, and stained glass. It looks more like a steampunk cathedral than a sewage plant. Nobody complained about using the money for that; the plant was *important.* London had been wracked by plagues for centuries, and they had finally understood that sewage in your water supply was a bad thing. Crossness was perhaps the largest public health project in history, at that time. The engines were named after members of the Royal Family, and a Who’s Who of European nobility showed up for the opening day. They didn’t see anything at all amusing about naming sewage engines after Queen Victoria, her Prince Consort, Prince Albert (later Edward VII), and Alexandra (his wife, and later Queen Consort).

    “Prince Consort” is the engine they have running now. I’d bring a chair, and I’d sit there all day, watching the thing run. sssssnnnick-clack… sssssnnnick-clack…

    Fred Dibnah featured Crossness in a couple of his steam documentaries. You can find them on the place of tubes. Don’t worry if you can’t make out what he’s saying; his accent is so thick most Brits can’t understand him either. But it doesn’t matter; he was so damned *happy* to get an audience for his monomania, it’s hard not to get caught up in it.

    tl;dr: $SHINY steampunk

    1. Call your local waste water treatment plant and they’ll probably arrange a tour. They’re fantastic! I’ve visited Hershey’s sewage treatment plants twice. It’s nowhere near as exotic as what you’re describing but it’s still fascinating. Sewage people are used to being ignored despite being the people who save the rest of us from cholera. They’re grateful to show off to the public; at least the ones around here are.

  5. To the moon, Alice.
    One of these days, one of these days…
    (Amazing how a wistful tone can totally change the meaning.)

  6. Fencing lessons, more travel anywhere, brewing in a Belgian brewery, followed by distilling in Ireland. Track down origins of fairy tales.

  7. I’m already not doing a good job of taking advantage of training opportunities available locally.

    I need to get some more done locally before I could take advantage of anything I would actually need to travel for.

    For all that it looks like a great deal of fraudulent information is going to cause a massive loss of institutional trust, we are truly blessed with a vast wealth of information available cheaply.

  8. I started studying Chinese sword this year under the guise of research. Also, it’s super fun and on line for the duration.

    Because of my interest in terraforming alien worlds, I’d like to attend something like the Nature Reliance School. I just finished reading Doug Tallamy’s Bringing Nature Home. It was a real eye-opener on the importance to the food chain (excuse me, food web) of planting natives rather than alien imports. The natives feed the insects that feed the birds. When Heinlein said specialization is for insects, he was right. According to Tallamy, who is an entomologist, 90 percent of insects “specialize” in eating just one or a few species. Take those away by allowing inedible, alien invasive species (I’m looking at you, Japanese stilt grass) to run rampant, and you’ve reduced the food supply for your native insects, and thus for birds and reptiles.

    In the course of trying to figure out whether I have a white oak in my yard I came across the Nature Reliance School. If anyone wants to learn how to identify a white oak, this guy is very clear: https://www.google.com/search?client=firefox-b-1-d&q=images+of+white+oak+tree#kpvalbx=_19PxX9aMEMGE5wL7_KKIBA15

    1. One of the arguments for abandoning the “one square mile of wheat next to another square mile of wheat” type of farming done on the Great Plains is that if farmers went to strips and patches of different crops, the use of pesticide would go down (and the cost) because bugs wouldn’t have miles and miles of their favorite foods to eat. Ditto things like wheat rusts and smuts. Mixing native crops (amaranth) and pasture strips in with other crops would also encourage a return to safety-first agriculture and reduce the economic ups and downs. That’s the ideal. I have yet to see much on how it works in Real Life™.

    1. Hesse, on the Grimm’s Fairy Tale route, perhaps? I have a guidebook of just that, with history, fairy tales, and folk tales all woven in.

  9. Talking ‘if onlies’? I’d love to go some place where I could study and practice fighting in the traditional Western-style armed martial arts. Full plate, maybe even mail armor, as well as learning the kind of horsemanship used in pre-Islamic Persia and Central Asia. Picking up some of the languages would be good too.

    Unfortunately there’s nowhere to go to learn how fully sapient Iron Age anthropomorphic animal-folk built and maintained a society and lived with each other as well as their human kinsmen and neighbors, so that’s out. Probably for the best.

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