A Fallen Childhood Landmark

Some of my fondest memories are from the trips that we used to take during the summer when I was a kid.  My dad was usually able to schedule things so he didn’t have any jobs booked during a multi-week stretch during summer vacations.  He’d load up my mom, my brother, and me into the Winnebago and we’d take off for a road trip.  We traveled all over the country in that motor-home, and had some fantastic times.

I distinctly remember going through Big Trees State Park and visiting the drive-thru tree.  Unfortunately, the tree fell during the storms yesterday.  I think that trip was the one where we visited Yosemite and had deer wandering through our campsite.  Not a big deal to folks who are used to deer, but for a kid who grew up in an L.A. suburb it was really impressive.

My mom would usually have to call me up front to look out the windows because I’d have my nose buried in a book, but the scenery I remember from those trips will always stick with me.


Astronomy Now has a post up with a photo of the International Space Station and Mercury transiting the Sun this morning.  It’s always a good idea to get some perspective on the size of things.  On a much smaller scale, I drove up to the Sacramento/ San Francisco area from L.A. in December to work on a job with Dad and was reminded that distances in the West are a bit different than the Northeast.  The 412-mile trip up didn’t even get us out of California, but that same distance takes you from New York City to Cleveland, Ohio.  That crosses New York, goes across all of Pennsylvania, and takes you halfway through Ohio.  We visited Rhode Island, Boston, D.C, and Connecticut when my brother and I were in grammar school and everything seemed like it was just down the road.  The short version is: it’s worth taking a step back and really thinking about scale.

Made It Through!

It was close, but 2016 didn’t get me.   That’s been almost entirely due to luck and good fortune.  There were certainly plenty of people who couldn’t say the same.  According to the CDC about 610,000 Americans had a first stroke this year (out of 785K total who had a stroke).  It’s pretty miraculous that I not only survived having an ischemic stroke, but, nine months later, I’ve almost fully recovered from the damage.


I can’t say I’ve made a full, 180-degree turnaround on my habits and behavior, but I know I’m on the right path.  Quitting cigarettes was the first big step that absolutely needed to happen.  It’s scary to think now that I got to the point of needing to look at images of the dead parts of my own brain on CD to finally stop smoking and stick with it.  Sometimes it takes the full 21′ length of the clue-by-four upside the head (see what I did there?) to make an impression.

First the little one, then the big one.

Closest to the Top of my Head
The Little One


About midway through the brain, top-to-bottom
The Big One

The next major hurdle will be sticking with daily exercise.  No worries, I’m not going to become an overwhelmingly preachy, lifestyle-obsessed asshole; just more of a general type of asshole :-).  It’s the folks who won’t admit that they’re *any* kind of asshole that you have to look out for.

For anyone who doesn’t already know it (or needs a refresher), the FAST mnemonic can really save your life!  I speak from experience on that one.  If I hadn’t already memorized it – mostly from watching House reruns – there’s a good chance I’d have blown off the symptoms and avoided going to the ER to get checked out.

Getting this thing off the ground!

I decided that’s it’s about time for me to finally switch out of a purely consumer role as far as my blog activities go.  Time to get to creating instead of just reading and tossing out a comment once every few years.  Enough of the lurking already!  The occasional previous comment or forum post has been under the screen name VegasChris.  Since my business name (Mershon’s Method Firearms Training) is out there now and my name’s been listed under thousands of company filings, no point in being coy about who I am and hiding behind a screen name.

I spent the last 12 years working at a filing service and took the last year off to get my shit together.  I’m working on getting a day job to pay the bills while figuring out the best way to do something firearms-related for fun and/ or profit.  In the meantime I’m setting this blog up as an outlet for my random thoughts, stuff I find interesting, and rants about the world.  The older I get, the more things I feel compelled to rant about.

Anyway, welcome to my place; glad to see you.