Author Archives: kwilson

Fire juggling in brief…

A short synopsis of the fire juggling pics…

 

The complete gallery is available HERE.

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Did ya’ ever notice…

Question – What do the following services have in common, from the standpoint of ongoing use?

1. Cleaning lady or service company
2. Lawn service
3. Snow removal service
4. Financial Adviser

Let’s put it in a scenario… You decide that one of these services is to be farmed out – say, house cleaning. That is, you are too lazy, too busy or too whatever to do it yourself. So, you check around and find what appears to be a suitable person or service org. Most of these arrangements are informal, so you say go ahead and they start.

The first few times are wonderful. If it is a cleaning service, your house is clean and tidy, including places you didn’t think of or didn’t want to think of. You are delighted. You can live in your mother’s standards without effort!

A period of time elapses when this continues and you settle into complacency around the service. It just happens as a given.

Then, slowly, the service starts to decline. This is not startling or extreme, just not up to the same standard here and there. A new lower standard settles in and that is what is permanent, not what you contracted for. If you are busy and not looking at it too closely, you may not notice for a while. The provider is too busy or rushed for everything, corners get cut, etc. It is slow creep…

You are paying the same and have the same service level expectations. So why is this?

It is like they are on trial for a while, but that is not the real service level. You only see the real level once you are in the bag as a customer and you relax.

There is something wrong here! Is the whole point that you should be able to relax with the assurance that the job is being done?

Now, I don’t have an answer other than vigilance and changing provider occasionally (a pain in the rear end). But this phenomena seems so prevalent in service areas that it is a sociological study in the making.

I am also willing to bet that this generalizes more widely, but that would be outside of my direct anecdotal experience to date. You can draw you own conclusions.

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Almost but not quite.. until now

Having expanded the theme to cover more of the expanse of present LCD resolutions, the form was right.

However, thanks to a timely user comment, I realized that readability had suffered by having the lines of text in the posts themselves containing too many characters – the average person being able to quickly scan only 60-70 characters without extra movement. Since I usually read the posts in the blog interface word processor, I didn’t notice this right off.

I bit the bullet and reverted to my original desire, on the back burner because it was too much work – widening via a second sidebar on the left rather than just wider textual area. some judicious forum searching turned up someone else with more the solution (there is nothing new under the sun, as usual).

So, there you have it, post readability retained yet screen usage increased!

This also means that more of the sidebar material is visible without excessive scrolling, so more of it may actually be seen.

Lastly, it has always annoyed me that when viewing a single post in old theme the sidebars were not displayed. To me this was shortsighted design, limiting the reader’s navigation options when leaving the page. This has now been remedied.

Now to convert my other blog to this format…

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Classic 1911A 45

Well, to complete the lineup (for now ), there just had to be something traditional and big…

SpringField 1911A Custom

A classic 1911A 45 Cal with wonderful custom work (Ed brown beaver tail, stainless barrel and hammer, exotic grips, Heine sites, carbon fiber trigger, and full tuning job). Who could resist…

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Guaranteed career for someone…

Want a trade and career with: good prospects, ‘honest days work’ self employment, a good income, very strong long term prospects, and that doesn’t entail working for the Government or big industry? Does that sound impossible today? Well, to my surprise, it appears that it is possible, if you think a tad outside the box…

Consider this:

1. Gun owners in Canada are legion. Even restricted, and yes prohibited (but duly licensed) gun owners are huge in number in all regions and increasing.
2. Firearms can not, in general, be serviced or modified by the owner.
3. Most firearms require periodic service.
4. Guns owners like to personalize and customize firearms.
5. Skilled gunsmiths, particularly for pistols, are very scare.
6. Though there are many good gunsmiths available in the US, it is virtually impossible to have firearms serviced cross-border (Canadian, not US, border services are actually the problem).

From this you might conclude correctly that:

1. There is a large, fairly affluent populace of firearms owners in Canada who need gunsmith services and can not easily obtain them.
2. A good gunsmith is greatly appreciated.
3. There is a very large (and increasing) trade in firearms and services, with very few full service dealers with real interest in their clients.

All this points to the reality that the prospects for a gunsmith with good skills (particularly with hand guns) are wonderful in Canada. This is particularly true with the movement of trade to the Internet, which allows a business to be visible, known, and to service clients Canada wide almost as if they were local.

Good so far, but now the problem…

No full time community college in Canada presently appears to offer training in the gunsmith trade. Even within the related tool and die making trade training, where this would be a natural option, there is little awareness – even as their base trade declines.

This would appear to be mostly a politics and awareness problem, since this somewhat exacting occupation appeals to the same ‘geeky’ propensity that much of high tech work does.

The only training available is of the ‘correspondence school’ variety. Not to demean this, since I have no direct knowledge, but it would not seem to offer the same level or legitimacy as college, and one wonders about government licensing afterwords. But I may stand correct in this later, if someone can fill me in.

Any training seems to be of the traditional apprentice variety – meaning that you must find a gunsmith in order to become one. This is something of a catch 22 admittedly. That notwithstanding, some mechanical and tooling skills, combined with some research, should yield a training path.

Conclusion

So, folks, it appears that if one would like a challenging, rewarding, self-employed career, where are you greatly appreciated by your clients and have a solid income, look no further than gunsmith’ing and firearms sales.

This is definitely not a tongue in cheek post. I only discovered this situation when I started to own firearms and wanted the sort of skilled and personable service that I would expect in my own field (IT). I have been fortunate to find a wonderful firearms adviser and gunsmith, but I had to look 1500 miles west. This says it all…

Now, since I am curious I may investigate training options a bit more.

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A Little Hard Chrome

I liked this as soon as I saw it. Hard chrome is the most durable finish (better than nickle) and looks so nice. This Para Ordinance LDA 40cal is a lovely gun.

This guns also adds heavier ordinance to the collection and make it feasible to use it in the high points division of IPSC or Defensive Pistol. It offers the higher power without resorting to the canon level recoil of a 45 cal.

The 40 cal will receive less use than the utilitarian 9mm, but is a great option. Since it is the same 1911 frame as my others, it is a good choice for easy transitions.

The magwell is very nice for a stock gun. The adjustable rear site yields good accuracy and also control when experimenting with different size ammo loads. Perfect for IPSC or Defensive Pistol.

The trigger is very smooth and longer than some. An interesting change.

ParaLDA-40cal-web

Many shooters start to reload ammo at the 40cal level, to save money. Though it is an intriguing idea, the start up costs take it off the table…for now.

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Everyone needs a 9mm

As the title says, we all need a 9mm. Just about the standard for many years, though the police now carry something a little bigger, with more stopping power. The 9mm is a nice compromise of a serious hand gun but with manageable recoil if you you shoot a lot of rounds in competition. That combines with quite economical ammo cost when compared to 40 or 45 cal.

Here are some of the features that I found appealing:
– 1911 format
– great STI quality
– reasonable recoil
– very reliable
– fiber optic front and adjustable rear sights
– exotic wood grips
– skeletonized trigger and hammer

STI-Spartan-9mm-web

The only area where the jury is still out is the parkarized finish. Though it is superior to blueing for wearability, I don’t know if I like the look. I am considering having it hard chromed at some point. We shall see.

A shooting review will have to wait until I have put more rounds through it.

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Reading the Bible as Literature – Part 2/2

Evaluation

I read the author’s intent as including several overarching goals, some stated and some implied.  The first stated goal is to show that the Bible is a form of literature. This is proven by the full spectrum of literary forms that are used consistently across most Scriptural genres, in both the Old and New Testaments. This also demonstrates that the extensive use of literary forms by scriptural writers was deliberate. This is effective in making Dr. Ryken’s case.

Second, having established that the Bible can be studied profitably as literature, the book seeks to analyze each Scriptural genre individually, briefly cataloging the literary devices used and a set of precepts for read the text with these in mind. Though a more complete academic treatment of each genre in possible, the book provides sufficient explanation, guidelines and examples to make each technique clear.

The area of the reading and application guidelines is where I would suggest that the book has a minor shortcoming. The guidelines or rules provided for each literary device, as applied to each genre, are scattered throughout the associated chapters. This is appropriate for initially explaining the techniques, but it is quite unwieldy in providing a set of tools for use in later application. The book would be greatly enhanced by the inclusions of either a.) an end of chapter listing of the genre guidelines developed in that chapter, or b.) an appendix listing the each genre and associated guidelines in summary.  The inclusion of an appendix would be best. The guidelines themselves, however, are for the most part clear and relevant.

The third goal is implicit more than stated. Throughout the book, Dr. Ryken refers to the importance of experiencing the stories and other forms of the text, rather the viewing them as colds fasts to be intellectually supported. He states repeatedly that to ignore the experiential aspect is to miss much of the communication and the intent of the writers.

I would agree very strongly with this. I consider to be more significant that the guidelines provided for literary analysis. I have long held the conviction that though exposition requires a strong commitment to factual analysis, the text has much more to communicate though it’s literary form. From my experience this has been actively discouraged in the church in modern times, yet Dr. Ryken’s book shows that it was clearly the intent of the biblical writers that it be read this way. I was very heartened to see this and I consider it to be the most significant contribute of the book.

Conclusion

This book makes a successful case that the Bible, both as a whole and in individual portions, should be viewed as literature. As such, literary analysis should be an equal tool set beside traditional hermeneutic techniques. The book provides a concise synopsis of appropriate literary forms and associated techniques for analysis for the major biblical genres. The most significant proposal for bible study is that the stories and other genres be experienced as much as analyzed. A convincing case is made that the biblical writers included literary techniques in order to convey an experiential meaning that is beyond that which the plain doctrinal and proof text meaning are capable of imparting.

The text of the bible is demonstrated through structure and example to contain a richness of expression that is only fully received when view from a total engaged perspective. This perspective includes all the experiential, emotion and intellectual inputs supplied by the text, and these are partially communicated almost exclusively through literary form.

Bottom Line

This book added a new hermeneutical and confirming dimension for me. It gave voice to my conviction of the importance of affective content in interpretation (something largely and proactively ignored in the Reformed community), and how that content is communicated.

Literary analysis has an important place in the interpretive process. I am not convinced that, as VP Long would propose in The Art of Biblical History, it must come before historical-grammactical and canononical analysis. However, I do feel it has an equal place with historical-grammatical techniques.

An excellent book.

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Reading the Bible as Literature – Part 1/2

How to Read the Bible as Literature
Leland Ryken Ph.D.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Zondervan, 208p
ISBN 978-0-310-39021-3

Introduction

How to Read the Bible as Literature by Dr. Leland Ryken is a call to all those engaged in Bible study to included literary analysis in their interpretive methodology and to allow a more complete personal engagement with the Biblical text. Dr. Ryken proposes that the traditional, exclusively intellectual approach to interpreting the Bible does a disservice to the literary nature of the text. This disservice results in a loss of interpretive content. Through the examination of literary devices in the various genres of Scripture he demonstrates the literary nature of the bible. He further develops appropriate sets of guidelines for the literary analysis of each genre, illustrating that this method yields a more complete exposition. He implies that tradition interpretive method alone relegates the emotional and affective content of the Scriptures to an inferior position within Scriptural analysis. This fails to allow the text to engage the reader fully, and as a result, a substantial amount of the intended communication is lost. He contends that complete engagement of the reader was the original biblical intent, a fact supported by the deliberate use of literary forms throughout the Scriptures. His solution is the use of literary analysis in hermeneutics. I agree with his position, though with some misgiving concerning application.

His techniques are able to add a significant wider perspective to both devotional and theological bible study. This supports his contention that literary analysis should have a prominent place in Hermeneutical instruction.

Background Information and Context

The present text stems from Dr. Ryken’s observations over many years in the classroom, primarily at Wheaton College in Illinois. As an English Professor in the seminary environment, he observed that while the tradition, intellectually based approaches to Scriptural interpretation were well addressed, the literary perspective was either ignored or considered inappropriate. He came to see this as completely at odds with his view of the Scriptures as literary writings. Further, he observed that a great deal was being missed in exegesis and interpretation though the omission of literary content which the Biblical authors had included through literary genre and device. This book attempts to address these omissions by developing a literary approach to interpretation. This is accomplished by introducing applicable literary genres and demonstrating techniques for literary analysis of each genre.

Summary

Dr. Ryken summarizes his book as “a ‘grammar’ of literary forms and techniques” (p10). However, in providing this exposition of forms and techniques, the book also provides extensive justification for their use as parallel techniques on equal footing with the standard grammatico-historical method. He proposes that “there is a preoccupation among biblical writers with artistry, verbal craftsmanship, and aesthetic beauty” (p9) which speaks to the experiential and emotional side of the interpreter. This important communication from the biblical writers has been ignored or denied in classic hermeneutics.

The book proposes that the sheer weight of deliberate literary devices used by the biblical writers supports a view of the Scriptures as literature. The bible also illustrates a strong propensity for communicating through the story as a primary medium, as opposed to theological discourse and proofs. This alters both the way the bible should be read and the communication it provides. As a result “The story does not primarily require our minds to grasp an idea but instead gets us to respond with our imagination and emotions to a real-life experience. Literature, in short, is affective, not cool and detach.” (p15).

The affective nature of the Bible, conveyed primarily through story but also expanded in almost all bible genres, is developed as the discussion addresses each genre individually. Beginning with the primary genre of  story, successive chapters extend this theme into poetry, proverbs, the Gospels, Parables, the Epistles, Satire, and Apocalyptic books.

Each genre is addressed with a definition, exposition of appropriate literary devices and textual examples. The examples not only demonstrate the literary devices but add additional weight the evidence in support of the Bible as literature. A set of interpretive rules emerges for the literary analysis of each genre. These rules provide a framework for the reader to apply the techniques to other texts.

The Bible is shown to be a book for stories, some related by biblical characters and others written in the lives of those historical characters. These stories communicate precepts through the experiences of people. A set of guidelines or rules are developed for reading the story genre. Similarly, other genres such as poetry have sets of guidelines for using literary analysis for interpretation. For example: ”Interpret as figurative any statement that does not make sense at a literal level in the context in which it appears.”(p102).

Throughout the discussions of each literary genre, Dr. Ryken demonstrates the use of the literary forms to communicate to the reader experientially. The motif of experiential communications is shown to be consistent over all genres and therefore throughout the Bible. For example, in discussing simile and metaphor within poetry, he states that “There is an irreducible quality to metaphor and simile that we should respect, both as readers and expositors”(p92). This irreducible quality speaks to the experiential and emotional, which is a common thread throughout the book.

The book concludes with discussion of the literary unity of the Bible as a story which “which has a beginning-middle-end pattern, a unifying plot conflict between good and evil, a focus on people in the act of choosing, and a central protagonist who is God.”(p179). These techniques are shown to combine to form a unified theme and convey “archetypal plot motifs” (p191).

All of the forgoing literary genres and techniques combine into an “affective power”(p196) which engages the whole person of the reader. The expositor and interpreter are stronger encouraged to participate in this engagement.

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Books in review…

My library has grown a bit (it is listed as part of my cataloging project posts) and as I read various books I thought it might be interesting jot down some notes – some comprising a review, some an outline, some just impressions and such.

There is no particular order in these reviews  and they represent only the books that I have had time or inclination to write about.

Maybe someone will find them of interest…

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Buckmark review

A few anecdotal comments on the Buckmark.

Overall, it is a very nice pistol. I choose it over the more common Ruger models because:

1. it was reviewed as somewhat more accurate
2. it has adjustable rear sight
3. the price for the stainless model was competitive
4. the grip is much more comfortable than the Ruger.

In the end, a club maintenance guy commented that for club service, where many people shot 1000s of rounds weekly, he would choose the Ruger for servicability, rather than accuracy. For a private owner shooting a few 1000 rounds, the Browning was a better choice.

I have not been disappointed. The gun is very comfortable so shoot and I like it.

It does, however, have one small draw back – the feed ramp appears to be a tad rough. This can cause jamming if a full mag is loaded with the slide locked open, then racked. It is correctable but should not be the case in new gun.

I recently considered trying a Colt 1911 format 22 pistol, since that would replicate the shoot position of my larger guns. However, since I don’t really like conversion kits, this may be out of the question. The 1911 format 22 pistols that are available in the US are not available to Canadians…

So I will stay with the Buckmark and have Gunner at Armco polish up the feed ramp. A good compromise.

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My first and smallest

Like many shooters, I start with a 22 cal pistol. There are numerous reason for this:

1. Relatively inexpensive pistols

2. Clubs do initial orientation and qualification on 22 semi-automatics

3. Clubs often have numerous 22 pistols for members to use until they have their own.

4. Ammunition is very inexpensive

Even once one has other large firearms, the 22 pistol is the most inexpensive way to practice technique on an ongoing basis.

My present 22 semi-automatic is a Browning Buckmark, shown below…

BrowningBuckmarkSS-22LR

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There be guns…

One of the other activities that I am interested in is sport shooting – specifically hand guns (for my opinions on hunting see my post Friends of the Moose).

Guns are neat and some people have asked about my admittedly small collection. I will post a few pics in this category with my toys and admittedly opinionated comments.

First a caveat on what many gun owners will consider a miniscule collection. If you are in the US, then responsible gun ownership is what it should be – relatively easy. This is good. In Canada, that is not the case. The nanny state does not trust its citizens to do anything for themselves nor take any personal responsibility. Shooting is even harder than private flying. As they say “Don’t get me started!”. With that I will leave more ranting for another day…

Anyway, shooting is lots of fun and is challenging for anyone at any age. As an aside, I have discovered through taking guests shooting that it is particularly empowering for women.

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Another great trip!

We made good time coming home (if you aren’t going 120 on the 401, you are posing a hazard), stopping in Tweed again.

We are tired but it has been a wonderful trip and a wonderful time shared. We talk about the next one…

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To the Beaches once more

We have to head east out of town, so I drive back to the Beaches to get some lunch on the way east…

Law At Beaches

We get lunch at Lick’s – an old favourite.

Then off to the 401 and out of town…

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