Just got off the plane from L.A., where I went for the weekend. Grace and Jordan organized an outing of 14 people to go trap shooting, which sounded like as good a reason as any to pop down and say hi. I took my shotgun with me, which posed surprisingly few complications. The only restrictions were that I had to check it (for some reason, they don't let you take it as carry-on. Probably because it wouldn't fit in the overhead compartment), and that it needed to be in a locked container. At check in they had me open it up and checked to see that the chamber was empty, and then it had to be checked again by the TSA people.
The biggest problem of the whole affair was that odd-sized luggage gets processed after all normal luggage has gone on to the carousel, so I had to wait (along with the lady with the surfboard) for about 20 minutes for it to come out.
The range in L.A. was a pretty nice set-up. It was about 45 minutes from Jordan's place, and was pretty big -- they had about 10 trap ranges. Since it was a large group of mostly non-shooters, Jordan arranged for an instructor, Warren, and a beginner's package, including loaner guns, birds, and ammo. I thought Warren did a pretty good job as an instructor; he's obviously been a coach for a while and could spot everything you were doing and tell you exactly why you missed the target on any given shot. Unfortunately, a coach will not let you continue to perform an activity with bad form, and he began to grate on some of the shooters by the end of the day.
Nonetheless, a good time was had by all, and we ended up with a bunch of spare ammo. Again. Since it's not clear how much (if any) ammo I could take back with me on the plane, I left it in Nate's good hands, as subtle encouragement to go shooting again soon. Nate, by the way, turned out to be one of our natural shooters, and was hitting about 80% of his birds by the end of the day.
We left the range at about 5pm and headed to the beach to hook up with Jordan's brother, who had a bonfire and beach party arranged. Neither Grace nor Jordan read the directions closely, and only remembered that it was "near the volleyball nets," a misleading phrase from the evite. Naturally, there a large group of volleyball nets on the south end of the beach, which we saw when we pulled in to the parking lot. We walked all the way down the beach, confirmed that there was no one we knew, walked all the way back up the beach, checking out the groups along the way, and then decided to call it quits after wandering up and down the beach for about two hours.
As we were pulling out of the parking lot, Jordan's brother gives him a call and tells him exactly where the party is. It turns out that we walked right next to them, but there was no one Jordan recognzied as we walked by. So, we turned around, said hi, and hung out for a few minutes, before achieving group consensus and heading back home for food and showers. Best idea of this portion of the expedition was ordering for pizza delivery while driving back to Jordan's house.
After food, showers, and (for me and Nate) more food, we headed over to the night's party, at Howard's house. Howard is a friend of Jordan's, and another one of those people who knows everyone. My intel on Howard at this point was that he throws cool parties and mixes a mean Long Island.
We went and mixed with the beautiful people of L.A., and had a good time. Nate said he was off his game, which was somewhat dissapointing since it was a target-rich environment. A couple of Jordan & Grace's friends (met earlier that day at the gun range, names now long forgotten) are counting sexual coup with J&G, and scored (literally) in the bathroom. There were threats to even the score before departure, but to my knowledge they were not carried out.
I must admit that I didn't look at the bathroom quite the same way after that. Fortunately I'm a guy and I pee standing up.
Spent sunday being hung-over, surprisingly so since I had so little to drink (two mai tais, one long island). Sadly, this too is becoming a theme. Worked my way through half of a Tom Clancy novel that I've already read, and this helped keep my mind off of the small angry dwarf pounding relentlessly on my skull with a sledgehammer. Fortunately queasiness and small dwarf cleared up a little into my plane flight, so air sickness bags were unnecessary.
Also found out while catching up on my email that Mark has started a blog, after a little prodding from yours truly, and that he's taking the plunge and becoming a permanant, landed resident of Minnesota. Check it out.