J'ever notice how like-minded humans seem to be drawn to nest together? We were in a fringe neighborhood of Houston yesterday, to purchase new weapons and it dawned on me that everyone around me at the strip-mall was anglo and mean looking. Kind of like we'd driven into the private digs of the local Hells Angels chapter. Very weird.
Since we were there, we decided to go hopping around from geocache to geocache in the vicinity. We drove to several more spots in the area and the people-scenery didn't change much. REALLY nice homes ... but everyone looked like they were hiding from Da Law or were in the witness protection program. Eeek. Think I'll stay away from that area from now on.
Anyhowski, I have two new toys to report on. First, the Trimble software for cell phones called Geocache Navigator. http://www.geocachenavigator.com/ Darn near free, this stuff loaded painlessly onto my Blackberry and suddenly I have a GPS geocache locater that's as good as many dedicated geocache units. Some of the really cool features are that you can plot out a selected cache on a map that can be switched among blank background or overlays of a street map or a satellite view (ala Google Earth) or a topographic map mode -- all while your real-time position and that of the cache are shown. On top of these features, there are tabs to select which show: the cache's detailed description at www.geocaching.com; the direction to the cache using an electronic compass needle; or, "radar mode" (my favorite) which looks like, um, a radar screen, showing you and the cache positioned relative to your direction of motion. This radar screen automatically updates and zooms scale, as you get closer and closer to the cache, until every step you take shows up as a significant pixel shift on the screen. The radar screen is particularly excellent in forested or otherwise GPS hindered areas because you can walk to a clear spot, get a good satellite fix, then take a visual of the x-axis to the cache (including the distance in feet) then move to a perpendicular clear area to shoot the y-axis and distance. So, even when the cache is beneath a dense cluster or beneath a bridge you can still nail that puppy. Ultra handy.
Admittedly, the GPS engine on our Garmin is more sensitive and accurate but I was still able to have the Blackberry guide me to within a yard of a cache in the open.
Next new toy: I was surfing the Kimber America site (manufacturer of my hip cannon) when I noticed a tab for "Less Lethal." Uhhrrrru?!? Had to look. Zounds!
Kimber, in association with a Swiss company, is selling a device that looks like one of those electric self-defense zappers, but these fire (yes, fire) a loogie of dense oleo capsicum, accurately, at 90 miles per hour, for 13 to 25 feet (depending on which unit you buy.) The 13 foot units are up on You Tube titled Guardian Angel. These things each carry two shots and hit with a bang. Kimber claims there is virtually no blow-back and that a shot will blast right through a stocking mask or defensive fingers, etc., and that it travels so quickly to the target that it is impossible for the bad guy to duck out of the way. No more pissed off big bad guys whom you just shot at with a cloud of pepper spray ... but he started weaving n bobbing when you pulled out the canister and all you managed to do was make him cough once before he beats the crap out of you.
Are these critters a substitute for Kimmie on my hip? Nah. There's always still the chance that you'll miss with both OC shots and, well, see above. Or, you might be "taking a knife to a gun fight." But, these little toys are so non-threatening looking that I'm pretty sure that you can open carry and nobody will think anything of it. So, at bars, the beach, school campuses, hospital grounds and other places where Kimmie can't be carried, these "pain launchers" are way way better than conventional less-lethals and infinitely better than nothing. Check 'em out. We bought two.