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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Handgun Training and Shotgun Training Course in Los Angeles


I took my Basic Handgun and Basic Shotgun course at Self-Defense Firearms Training.  I did a lot of research before settling on a class and chose Greg because of his abundance of experience and credentials.

Greg is a subject matter expert and law enforcement trainer during the week. He is extremely knowledgeable in the laws and even gets to help write some of them. He also gets to have permits for some highly regulated guns because of his work. He's a character and makes silly jokes in class. He reminds me a lot of my motorcycle mentor Red when I worked as an instructor.

Basic handgun:
I had never touched a gun before and they had .38 special revolvers available for people that didn't have guns. The course is based on self-defense and while they had us aim at dots, we practiced swiss cheesing the entire torso for maximum organ damage in a self-defense situation.  Greg pointed out that my holes were grouped together too much in the center of mass for maximum damage. He had us practice double taps and triple taps with short pauses and long pauses. He also had us completely unload the gun with six taps. We shot at paper targets directly in front of us and to our left and right. The last thing we did was kill a zombie with six head shots. We ran through 250 rounds in about 3 hours as we switched off shooting with another person.

I left the class feeling proficient enough to hit an attacker without much, if any collateral damage. The only thing I would have liked is if I were allowed to physically handle a semi-automatic pistol even if I didn't get to shoot it. I would like to know exactly how it handles mechanically. This would help me be less fearful of them because of my lack of experience and for the handgun demo at the store when you buy a pistol.

I already knew that I was cross-dominant (left eye dominant, right-handed) and Greg addressed how to handle this in the class. Greg is also cross-dominant and told the class he has to shoot with one eye closed or he sees two sets of sights. Thankfully he said this because it gave me permission to shoot with one eye. If I hadn't I would have had a lot of problems because my eyes could not focus and see the front sight only. My first shots were high and left and once I corrected my stance for being cross-dominant, I started landing where I should have been.

Basic shotgun:
I have never touched a shotgun. Greg was accommodating and they had a 20 gauge Remington youth model for me to use for my shorter stature.  He also let me try a 12 gauge adult, the recoil was higher, but wasn't too bad.  However the length of pull was too long for me and just wasn't as comfortable.

I ended up shooting left handed because of the cross-dominance. I tried right handed, had to lean my head over very far to get my cheek on the gun and I was missing a lot of my shots. Bruce, one of Greg's instructors was extremely sweet and helpful when I approached him about the problem. We shot 200 rounds at metal targets in about 3 hours while switching off with a partner. I really enjoyed myself and had a lot of fun in this class. I left smiling which is unusual for me.  Greg also let me shoot his HK Benelli M1 Super 90 Shotgun which was crazy fast and powerful.

If you have any issues, just ask one of the instructors and they will help you.  I think this may be the least expensive class I found in the area. Greg will also answer any special questions you have during the lectures. I will definitely be back to take more advanced classes.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Canned Cat Food - Nature's Variety

*Disclaimer: The info I present here is from my research, and I cannot verify the information 100%. Please contact the company or use this information at your own risk for your pets.

I have been researching many different cat foods recently because of health problems with my cats. One suggestion Dr. Lisa Pierson of catinfo.org has made is the use of grain-free canned Nature's Variety. Through my research I have discovered that the canned cat food and canned dog food are probably the one and the same. They both have this  If you are a multiple cat household, it would save you money to purchase the 13.2 oz Nature's Instinct Dog canned for $2.99 versus the 5.5 oz Nature's Instinct Cat canned variety for $2.49 at my local Petco.

Ingredients for canned Chicken Formula for Cats from Nature's Variety's website:

Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Ground Flaxseeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Eggs, Peas, Carrots, Lecithin, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Kelp, Potassium Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salt, Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley.


Ingredients for canned Chicken Formula for Dogs from Nature's Variety's website:

Chicken, Turkey, Chicken Broth, Chicken Liver, Ground Flaxseeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Eggs, Peas, Carrots, Lecithin, Vitamins (Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Biotin, Riboflavin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), Dried Kelp, Potassium Chloride, Tricalcium Phosphate, Salt, Taurine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Sodium Selenite, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide), Artichokes, Cranberries, Pumpkin, Tomato, Blueberries, Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsley.

Nature's Variety Instinct Chicken Formula for Cats Nutritional Analysis:
Calories121 per 3 oz can
222 per 5.5 oz can

Guaranteed AnalysisCrude Protein (min): 11.0%
Crude Fat (min): 8.0%
Crude Fiber (max): 3.0%
Moisture (max): 75.0%
Calcium (min): 0.25%
Phosphorus (min): 0.20%
Vitamin E (min): 25 IU/kg

Taurine (min): 0.05%
*Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) (min): 30 mg/kg
*Omega 6 Fatty Acids* (min): 1.00%
*Omega 3 Fatty Acids* (min): 0.20%
VitaminsVitamin A: 44125.652 IU/kg
Vitamin D: 346.645 IU/kg
Vitamin E: 34.396 IU/kg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1): 4.336 mg/kg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 5.239 mg/kg
Pantothenic Acid: 9.947 mg/kg
Niacin: 46.437 mg/kg
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6): 3.136 mg/kg
Folic Acid: 1.139 mg/kg
Biotin: 0.199 mg/kg
Vitamin B12: 0.026 mcg/kg
Vitamin C: 41.211 mg/kg
Choline: 1779.957 mg/kg
MineralsCalcium: 0.384%
Phosphorus: 0.307%
Magnesium: 0.029%
Sodium: 0.114%
Potassium: 0.273%
Chloride: 0.181%
Iron: 41.824 mg/kg
Zinc: 54.763 mg/kg
Copper: 5.965 mg/kg
Manganese: 9.221 mg/kg
Iodine: 0.756 mg/kg
Selenium: 0.089 mg/kg
Ash: 2.206%
Amino AcidsArginine: 0.665%
Histidine: 0.269%
Isoleucine: 0.517%
Leucine: 0.787%
Lysine: 0.852%
Methionine: 0.270%
Methionine-Cystine: 0.508%
Phenylalanine: 0.432%
Phenylalanine-Tyrosine: 0.772%
Threonine: 0.411%
Tryptophan: 0.136%
Valine: 0.489%
Taurine: 1020 mg/kg

Nature's Variety Instinct Chicken Formula for Dog Nutritional Analysis:
Calories531 per 13.2 oz can
222 per 5.5 oz can

Guaranteed AnalysisCrude Protein (min): 11.0%
Crude Fat (min): 8.0%
Crude Fiber (max): 3.0%
Moisture (max): 75.0%
Calcium (min): 0.25%
Phosphorus (min): 0.20%
Vitamin E (min): 25 IU/kg
*Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) (min): 30 mg/kg
*Omega 6 Fatty Acids (min): 1.00%
*Omega 3 Fatty Acids (min): 0.20%
VitaminsVitamin A: 44125.652 IU/kg
Vitamin D: 346.645 IU/kg
Vitamin E: 34.396 IU/kg
Thiamin (Vitamin B1): 4.336 mg/kg
Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 5.239 mg/kg
Pantothenic Acid: 9.947 mg/kg
Niacin: 46.437 mg/kg
Pyridoxine (Vitamin B6): 3.136 mg/kg
Folic Acid: 1.139 mg/kg
Biotin: 0.199 mg/kg
Vitamin B12: 0.026 mcg/kg
Vitamin C: 41.211 mg/kg
Choline: 1779.957 mg/kg
MineralsCalcium: 0.384%
Phosphorus: 0.307%
Magnesium: 0.029%
Sodium: 0.114%
Potassium: 0.273%
Chloride: 0.181%
Iron: 41.824 mg/kg
Zinc: 54.763 mg/kg
Copper: 5.965 mg/kg
Manganese: 9.221 mg/kg
Iodine: 0.756 mg/kg
Selenium: 0.089 mg/kg
Ash: 2.206%
Amino AcidsArginine: 0.665%
Histidine: 0.269%
Isoleucine: 0.517%
Leucine: 0.787%
Lysine: 0.852%
Methionine: 0.270%
Methionine-Cystine: 0.508%
Phenylalanine: 0.432%
Phenylalanine-Tyrosine: 0.772%
Threonine: 0.411%
Tryptophan: 0.136%
Valine: 0.489%
Taurine: 1020 mg/kg

As you can see, they are exactly the same! It is much less expensive for the company to make one formulation and sell it in different cans than it is to have to make two different formulations. I haven't checked yet, but there are also other fomulations that are probably the same such as venison, beef, lamb, duck which may be good options if your cats have allergies. This little trick could save you money!

I haven't tried this food yet as I'm not sure about the clay that is included in the ingredients and it is more expensive than the Innova and Wellness that I currently use. I am also going to be posting more foods that I think are exactly the same with ingredients. Hopefully this will also help to see if companies change their formulations and ingredients over time which has occurred.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Tomato Basil Soup

I've been craving Tomato Basil Soup. The first time I had it was in Texas and the second time at Whole Foods. Some recipes use a bit of cream, but I chose to omit it from the recipe that I adapted.

2 cans Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes (14.5 oz)
1/2 large yellow onion - chopped
3 large garlic cloves - minced
2 cups water
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon butter
2 cups Fresh Basil
1/8 cup sugar
Salt & Ground Pepper to taste

Add olive oil and butter to a large pot. After butter has melted, add onion and garlic, sautee until onions begin to brown. Add tomatoes including juice, 2 cups water, and 2 cups chicken broth. Simmer until heated. Add sugar a bit at a time to desired sweetness/tartness. Add basil, stir, and CAREFULLY puree with an immersion blender to avoid splattering/spraying hot soup. Salt and pepper to taste.

Add cream if you like, omit the sugar, and leave out the puree steps if so desired. Another nice addition would be frozen sweet corn.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Reduce, Recycle, Reuse Pickle Juice

I recently purchased a large jar of Carnegie Deli Refrigerated Pickles from Costco and they are delish. It reminded me of Chinese Pao Cai which I endeavored to make. After failing in locating recipes online, I thought, what if I just re-use the pickle juice?

I searched online and it seems there are varying opinions about whether it's safe to re-use pickle juice. There are many people who enjoy pickling carrots, onions, and cauliflower in pickle juice and others who enjoy it as a marinade for meats or seasoning in deviled eggs, potato salad, and tuna salad.

My local Campos Tacos sometimes includes pickled carrots and potatoes with their tacos. Next time I hit the store, I'm going to pick up some carrots soak them in the leftover pickle juice.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Whatcha gonna do with all that junk, all that junk inside your trunk?

I have probably spent the last 6 years of my life trying to de-clutter. Some days I get fed up and I can easily fill a couple of bags full of trash, usually old papers, junk mail, magazines, etc. Other days, I sit paralyzed on my couch, unable to figure out how or where to start.

My friend Norma once told me that I didn't have that much stuff. If that is true, then why do I feel so overwhelmed by it all? Over the years, I've been brainwashed by advertising media that I needed certain things to improve my life. There's the latest microdermabrasion kit which will make me younger and prettier, therefore improving my chances of attracting a boyfriend. The newest herbal supplement which will give me immune support, relieve stress, and give me an abundance of energy, which will allow me to work longer hours, go to school, and sleep less.

Eventually, I've learned over time, that these products don't really improve my life, and I ended up wasting life energy earning the money to pay for these items, stressing over the clutter that it ultimately created, and chastising myself for falling for the media claims.

I've gotten to the point in my life where I want to simplify my life to save time, energy, and my own mental sanity. I however, can't let go of things such as files, tax returns, boxes of notes and books from graduate school, boxes of supplies from my failed acupuncture clinic. I really hate the feelings of overwhelm it gives me. I feel weighed down by it all and sometimes I feel that if it all burned up, I'd be better off.

But if it all burned up, that'd open up another can of worms such as, what if I get audited by the IRS and my documents are gone? What if my cats got lost and I don't know their microchip ID?
I'd also like to simplify my life to the point where I can easily pick up and move whenever I needed to. For someone reason I feel the necessity to be able to run away at a moments notice, which I should probably investigate a little deeper psychologically.

I've investigated many de-cluttering options from Peter Walsh, Julie Morgenstern, various internet blogs, professional organizers, and I've figured out that 1) I don't have enough storage space in my apartment, and 2) I need to hire a professional. However, most professionals work on re-arranging and organizing instead of helping you figure out what to throw out which is what I need to do.

I recently got laid off 50% time from my job and I my funds are ear-marked for purposes (rent, food, cat litter) other than hiring a professional. But if this "stuff" is causing me stress, wasted time, poor sleep, and peace of mind, shouldn't I make it a priority to get help? No matter what it costs me?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hippo and Tortoise, Best Friends


Awww, I saw this story on Oprah today. How cute!!!

An orphaned hippo adopted a tortoise as his parent after surviving the Tsunami. See the NPR link above for the story.