As Of 1/30/2018
Generally speaking, I am not a materialistic person. I could care less what brand of clothes or shoes I wear as long as they fit, look halfway decent and are of reasonable quality. Ditto for other items of practical usage. I’ve never spent a dime customizing a car to impress or show off. If I don’t like it just the way it is, I probably won’t buy it. That’s not to say, however, that I do not have things that I really want or have preferences about the things I do purchase. I wouldn’t be human and male if I didn’t.
Having said that, I have found that my wants and desires have changed as I’ve aged and matured. Yet, it is still a truism that the only difference between men and boys is the price of their toys. So, I thought I would share my ever evolving wish list with my readers in the vain hopes that someone, somewhere might take pity on me and fulfill some or all of my wishes (or, at the very least, clue me in when they find a good deal on one). I am trying to limit myself to items that are realistically attainable for/by me in my lifetime (though I stretch that definition a little in the aircraft category).
The first few items are not strictly material items with the possible exception of the third one. However, they are worth more to me in terms of importance than all the others combined.
Family & Home
1) A Happy Queen – I want a happy wife. A lot of people might put their kids or their house at the top of this category. Not me. Kids grow up and start lives and families of their own. They never truly let go of their parents, but they never truly stay either. Houses can be bought, sold, taxed and burned. Rising divorce rates, crappy economy, bald head and/or 12 pack abs be damned, a happy spouse will stay by your side forever.
The Queen and I met in 1997 and married in 2003. We’ve seen each other at our best and worst. We’ve survived disease and near death (both of us – pneumonia for me and the mystery illness for her), financial woes, infertility, in-laws living with us, arguments, frustrations, job loss and loss of family members. We’ve shared more blessings than we can shake a stick at.
None of that really matters. What matters most is that we both have strived to be better for the other. For instance, I know I am not the world’s best communicator (setting aside my profound, yet intermittent diarrhea of the word processor) and that that frustrates her to no end. Every time I screw up, I try harder to avoid the same mistakes next time. She does the same.
We also try to do the little things that eventually suffer in a marriage. I always try to get the door (car or building) for her wherever we are. Sometimes she beats me to it or I’m busy strapping a child into a car seat. She generally knows exactly when I need a long, tight, bear hug…or a batch of macaroni and cheese.
2) A Happy Princess – The Queen and I both wanted children (which is somewhat surprising in my case given my temperament when I was younger), and we are truly blessed to have M&M in our lives. However, after what we went through with the M&M saga, the likelihood of us pursuing another child is between slim and none. So, now, we focus our energy on giving M&M all the time, love and attention we can so that she has a happy childhood free of worry or fear. The time we have had with her so far has been nothing short of magical.
3) Hearth & Home – Everyone needs a place to lay their head that reasonably dry and out of the heat and cold depending on the season. The Queen and I are in the midst of a change in thinking on this item. We might just free ourselves from paying for our own cage and pitch a tent (or an RV) wherever the winds of whimsy take us.
Everyone needs some transportation, but not everyone needs a car…unless you live in Texas like I do. Even though I live in the Dallas Fort Worth area where something approximating public transportation exists, a personal vehicle is a necessity. And, unless you like smelling like a drowned and roasted goat when you arrive at work, motorcycles and scooters are not acceptable as a primary means of getting from point A to point B pretty much at any time of the year here. When it’s not 100+ degrees, it’s probably raining/hailing or tornadoes are touching down. Plus, have you seen how some of these retards are driving now? I mean, really, how hard is it to not hit the cars around you?
Setting all that aside, this is a wish list...not a grocery list. So, what do I want to wrap myself in to get from here to there and back again while having a little fun and exhibiting some style?
1) 1970 Datsun 240Z – So far, I have had two 240Zs. They are basic, no frills, sports cars. They are insanely easy to work on. They handle well despite the long nose. And, I fit in them. Actually, I want two of them. One to restore to original, and one to modify into a fire breathing monster. Well, a supercharged, 4.6 or 5.0L Ford V8, tire smoking monster with a body kit and extra wide wheels in the back to keep the power from spinning the back end around.
|This one is very similar to the one I had originally.|
|I'll take one just like this one. |
(both photos above sourced from www.cargurus.com)
|(photo sourced from www.factoryfive.com)|
I love motorcycles despite the fact that I’ve laid one down myself and seen more than my share of bike accidents including the moron who turned an unpaid for, uninsured Yamaha R1 into a million itty bitty pieces when he hit the side of a Honda Accord at about 60 miles an hour. The biggest recognizable piece was the engine. He survived, by some miracle, with only a minor case of road rash.
In my opinion, crotch rockets are the motorcycle equivalent of an M16 with a giggle switch…all plastic and flash that make a lot of noise and waste a lot of money. Nice, but not my thing. I wouldn’t mind a dirt bike or an enduro, but street bikes are where my interest really lies.
Until recently, the Victory Cross Country 8 Ball was a strong contender for my heart's desire.
|(photo sourced from www.victorymotorcycles.com)|
Then, Polaris up and kills off the Victory brand. Well, that just sucks. So, I go looking for what Yamahooha has to offer; and, low and behold, I discover that they have discontinued my previous favorite: The VMax. What IS it with these companies? All I want is a cruiser/muscle bike with a nice, big engines, a fair amount of chrome and room for two to ride comfortably. Oh, and I want it to look cool. Maybe I'll just rent a bike when I feel the need.
Airplanes are something of a family tradition. I am a fourth generation pilot even though I am not current right now because it’s a horribly expensive hobby (if you think a gun addiction is expensive, compare the price of AVGAS [at 10 gallons an hour or so] to ammo and get back with me). My mother’s parents ran the airports in Georgetown and Killeen, Texas back in the 1960s. My mother’s mother’s parents were licensed pilots. My mom was licensed. My uncle (mom’s brother) was an ATP rated pilot who worked for many years as a bush pilot in Alaska. Grandad was a well respected A&P mechanic and IA for many years and gave me my first airplane ride at the tender age of 6 weeks old. Grandmother was ATP rated and one of the first women hired by the FAA as a safety inspector back in the early 1970s. She was also my instructor. I suppose you could say flying is in my blood.
I’m not rated for anything but single, engine land. I once dreamed of a glider rating until I actually tried it. Once off the tow rope, it was a magical experience. The ride up close on the tail of the tow plane, not so much. With the possible exceptions of owning a DC-3, Grumman Widgeon or a PBY Catalina, I have no desire for a multi engine rating. Although I am not currently rated so, I wouldn’t mind a seaplane and high performance rating. My choices are limited accordingly.
Most of my flying time has been spent in the Cessna 150/152 and Cessna 172. The 150/152 is strictly a 2 person plane as long as the second person doesn’t weigh too much and doesn’t mind being very cozy with the pilot. It’s really not intended as a long distance, cross country machine. Despite the advantage of being able to go “as the crow flies”, it’s slow enough that birds have been known to pass them in the air and it’s also possible to hover one at minimum controllable airspeed on a steady, high wind day (ask me how I know these things sometime). Unfortunately, they haven’t made any since 1985, and most of the 7000 or 8000 or so they did build have been used and abused as trainers. In fact, the two main airplanes I learned to fly in (both 152s) were crashed by fools years after I moved on.
The 172 is technically a four seat airplane with a better cruise speed than the 152, but you’d better keep a close eye on weight and balance if you plan on launching with four, full figured adults. Forget about luggage. I consider it a pilot and 2 passenger plus minimal luggage plane. It’s capable of short to medium range cross country flights without too much trouble, and it’s reasonably comfortable for someone my size. They are about the easiest aircraft to fly by most accounts and reasonably affordable if you buy an older one. Having said that, I am really not interested in one. I’ve been there and done that. The older ones prior to 1985 are pretty tired for the most part and, with the exception of the early straight backs from the 1950s, are boring. The newer ones built after they resumed production in the 1990s are out of my price range and smarter than me to boot.
So, what would I want in an airplane?
1) Cessna 177B Cardinal – Cessna only built these birds for a relatively short time period compared to the other models in it’s line, but it has a devoted following. It’s a small step up from the 172 power wise, and the strutless, cantilevered wing with a swept back windshield make it look gorgeous. It’s closer to being a true four seater than the 172, and it has wider doors which make ingress/egress a bit easier. Most examples that come on the market are in much better shape than the average 172 too.
|(picture sourced from Wikipedia)|
2) Cessna 182 – The 182 is all but identical appearance wise to the 172, but the extra oomph in the bigger engine makes this plane a true four seater with the good cross country capability. There is a reason the 182 and its tail dragging cousins, the 180/185, are popular bush aircraft. I have a particular affection for the early, straight back models. They just look classier.
|(photo sourced from www.globalair.com)|
3) American Champion Citabria/Decathalon or Super Decathalon – I love, LOVE I TELL YOU, tail draggers. You fly tail draggers from the moment you turn the key on until the moment you switch it off. By comparison, you “drive” a 172 from the ramp to the runway. I have flown the Citabria and enjoyed every minute of it. The Decathalon and Super D are basically the same airframe with extra power and bells and whistles. They are capable of more demanding aerobatics than I am.
|(photo sourced from www.airplanemart.com)|
4) Pitts S2C, Steen Skybolt or Christen Eagle – If I just told you how much I love tail draggers, we don’t need to discuss my unspeakable lust for biplanes. I can build one in my shop from plans. I wants it…my precious.
|(photo sourced from www.steenaero.com)|
5) Team Rocket F1 Evo – This is a modern, two seat, all metal, tail dragger kit plane based on the Vans RV design. It’s fast. It's sleek. The kits are made right here in Texas. Yeah...I'd get me some of that.
|(photo sourced from www.planepictures.net)|
This section of the wish list changes almost as often as I change my underwear. It's the most financially accessible of my hobbies, and the market seems to want to add new toys on a daily basis (and that's before we even get into accessories). I've recently split this part of the list into three categories: Must Haves, Nice To Haves, and I Can Dream Can't I?. Several of the items have been on and off the list more than once as my mind changes about firearms related topics. Some of them may come off (or on) again. Bottomline: I like to shoot, I like different guns for different things, you can’t stop at just one, and there is no such thing as enough guns. All photos are shamelessly borrowed from the manufacturer's websites.
The Must Haves
1) A full size polymer 9mm. I am a diehard .45 ACP fan. Always will be. But, I must bow to the inevitable that the 9mm is cheaper to shoot, offers decent ballistic performance for it's size, it doesn't beat the snot out of you in a full size gun, and it's lighter than .45s of similar size meaning your more likely to have it on you when you need it. Specifically, I like the Smith & Wesson M&P9 2.0 with the 4.25" barrel. The overall size difference between the Glock 19 and the 4.25" M&P2.0 is negligible at best. Maybe a half inch added to the bottom of the grip to get you the extra two rounds over the G19 and the M&P Compact. I tried one at the range recently. I have to say that Smith really listened to the community and fixed a lot of the things people had issues with in the 1.0s. The more aggressive grip texture eliminates any need for a stipple job without doing its best impersonation of a cheese grater. The felt recoil is practically non-existent. Sights are good to go out of the box. The trigger....the trigger....sigh. It is a HUGE improvement over the 1.0. BUT...it's still not great. It has a fairly long take up with a bit of clunkiness thanks to the hinge. The broken glass grittiness of the 1.0 trigger is much less than I recall. The break is crisp-ish without being overly heavy, and the reset is good with positive tactile and audible feedback. But, hey, Apex. I'd go Apex any way because I have developed a real preference for flat faced triggers. It helps that I like the aesthetics of the M&P over the Glock 19, but I'd take the Glock if I honestly felt there was any meaningful advantage for me over the M&P. It also helps that the M&P is priced about $100 less than the Gen 5 G19.
Ruger GP100 7 Shot
3) A rifle chambered in .357 Magnum. You knew this had to be coming. You can't have one without the other. If a revolver in .357 is versatile, a rifle in the same caliber is all that on steroids covered in awesome sauce. The two combined are a reloader's dream (the same could also be said of revolver/rifle combos in .44 magnum and .45 Colt as well). When it comes to pistol caliber carbines for straight walled revolver cartridges, there can be only one true choice: lever action. Now, you could pay through the nose for pre-Remlin JM stamped Marlin 1894. You could also pay through the nose for a Japanese made Winchester. But, if you want made in the USA quality for less than a kilo buck, Henry is the only game in town right now (or was until SHOT Show 2018). Specifically, I like the Big Boy Steel in the 20" barrel. Like I've said before, I'm a sucker for blue steel.
|Henry Big Boy Steel|
A close runner up in this slot is the Ruger 77/357. The lever gun is classier and a little quicker to run for follow up shots while the Ruger has the advantage of being able to eat pretty much any monster hand load you can dream up. I've seen suppressed versions of both, but the Ruger makes more sense for a suppressor host thanks to the detachable rotary magazine as opposed to the end loading tube magazine of the Henry. Both are tuneable to the individual owner's preference. Whichever one doesn't find it's way home first lands in the Nice To Haves list.
4) A more concealable handgun in 9mm or .45ACP. The Glock 30s has been my go to choice for this slot on the list for several years; however, Sig recently unvealed the P365 in 9mm. Tough choice. Have to try them both and make a decision. No photos of the Glock since Glock doesn't put photos of their products on their website (the put Flash Player 360 deg views).
1) Bolt action .22LR rifle with a threaded barrel. I haven't made a final decision on this one yet. The contenders are the Ruger American Rimfire Target and the Savage MkII FV-SR. Both are suppressor ready. Of the two, I like the aesthetics of the Ruger the best, and the added bonus of being able to use my 10/22 magazines is a definite plus. I might also consider the CZ 455 Varmint.
|Savage MkII FV-SR|
|Ruger American Rimfire Target|
3) Custom .308 rifle built on either a Remington 700 action or an AR-10 semi auto.
4) A Commander sized 1911. I just like the way the Commanders point, and I actually shoot them a tad better than the Governments. Odd that. Leading contenders are the Ruger SR1911 CMD, the Colt Combat Commander and the Sig Nightmare Carry. Each have their pluses and minuses. For my budget, the Ruger is the most likely choice. But, having had a Sig 1911 in the past, I'd find a way to get another eventually.
|Colt Combat Commander|
|Sig Nightmare Carry|
5) Custom Ruger 10/22s for the family based on Kidd or Tactical Solutions X-Ring receivers.
6) A pistol caliber carbine chambered in .45ACP. I could go really old school and get a semi auto Thompson SMG clone. I hear those are pretty heavy though, and putting a red dot on a Thompson just seems like sacrilege to me. There's a little bit less old school in the Marlin Camp Carbine. Not a bad choice for the discerning hipster. But, an AR style PCC in .45ACP from a maker who embraces Glock magazines is probably a better choice. I like the CMMG Guard in this role.
I Can Dream Can't I?
2) An SVI custom "1911". It's hard to call something so radically different a 1911 even though you can see the lineage in the design. Given the cost of one of these gems, it's definitely a dream gun.
3) Les Baer 1911. I'd take any of them if one was handed to me no questions asked. If I'm saving my pennies, it's probably going to be the Thunder Ranch special. Clint Smith knows a thing or two about gun fighting, and Les Baer knows a thing or two about making guns. Put the two together, and you've got probably the pinnacle of fighting 1911s.
4) Smith & Wesson 627 V-Comp. It's probably the most attainable gun on the I Can Dream list, but still pricey enough to give me pause. 8 rounds of .357. Moon clips. Two tone. Yeah baby.