Monday, December 29, 2008

Latest addition: CZ P-01

A few months ago I decided to purchase a new pistol to replace my Taurus PT-111 Pro. I encountered some problems with the PT-111 so I wanted a more reliable pistol from a company I could trust. I did a lot of research and eventually purchased a CZ P-01 in mid October.

I planned a trip to the range shortly after purchasing it. The first magazine was an absolute pleasure to fire. The recoil was light and the P-01 fit perfectly in my hand. I fired approximately three rounds from the second magazine and experienced a failure to feed (FTF). I thought it was a fluke so I cleared the chamber and continued with the magazine. A few rounds later I received another FTF. I suspected a problem with the magazine so tucked it into my range bag and fired from the original magazine. Sadly the original magazine was also experiencing FTFs at an alarming rate.

I read numerous articles which stated the P-01 handled a variety of ammunition, including the Remington rounds I was using, extremely well. I tried my best to find articles of others experiencing the same or similar problems; however, I could only find praise for this pistol. These problems were a surprise to me, my local gun store, and even CZ's gunsmith. The CZ gunsmith was extremely helpful, created a warranty repair case, and ensured me that the problem would be resolved.

I shipped my pistol and expected it to be several weeks until I saw it again. To my surprise CZ received, repaired, and returned my firearm in approximately a week and a half. I suspect this is faster than average since their website even states it can take up to six weeks for a warranty repair. The repair notes stated that they polished the ramp, re-throated the chamber, and fired four magazines without a problem. I am unclear on what exactly re-throating the chamber is; however, these techniques appear to have resolved all of the problems. I fired an additional sixty rounds without a single FTF or hint of malfunction.

I feared that my purchase was unwise; however, after CZ's prompt response I am willing to accept that I may have received one of the very few firearms with a manufacturing flaw. I plan to return to the range soon to fire additional rounds. The Defensive Carry Forums have an extremely thorough and well written range review / report on the P-01 for those seeking additional insight.

Overall I am extremely pleased with this pistol and would suggest it to others. I did notice that the default guide rod is plastic and I plan on replacing it with a stainless steel guide rod from Steve Bedair. There is also some slight wear on the slide next to the ejection port, it seems to have worn off part of the finish but is purely cosmetic.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Overwhelming life changes

My life has changed a lot in the past few days. I haven't been able to completely comprehend the extent in which things will change; however, I know it's coming a lot faster than I expect. Tuesday evening I learned that Jenna is pregnant.

Jenna and I have discussed children numerous times and have always planned on it. We were expecting to wait several months, approximately a year, after marriage and it has only been sixty days. I guess we are a bit ahead of schedule.

While the timing caught us by surprise we are both very happy. We announced this to my parents last night and they seemed to be happy for us as well. We have a doctor appointment tomorrow to see where we stand and what we need to do next.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Home from Oregon.

It feels good to return home from a trip, even when it's as brief as my visit to Oregon was. I spent the majority of my time working but I managed to do a lot of exploring as well. My experience showed me that Oregon consists of many breathtaking views, excellent food, and a profuse number of incredible local beers.

I took a couple hundred photos and posted my favorites on picasaweb, thirty eight total. I feel that I only scratched the surface of what Oregon has to offer for photography; I already want to return in the spring. I placed nearly all of the photos on the map since I visited a variety of places like the Portland Japanese Garden, Voodoo Doughnut, and several waterfalls.

I only managed to visit four waterfalls during my trip: Multnomah, Horsetail, Wakeena, and Bridal Veil Falls. Of the four Multnomah and Horsetail were easily my favorite. I also did a lot of driving along the scenic Historic Columbia Highway which is where most of my photos were taken. I stopped at a lot parks, scenic views, and random spots along the way.

The food was a surprisingly good overall; I managed to visit most of the restaurants I wanted to try and many others suggested by co-workers or locals. My favorites were spread across 80 miles covering The Dalles, Hood River, and Portland:
  • Brian's Pourhouse - This was my favorite restaurant. They served one of the best steaks I have had in quite some time. The prices were a bit higher than I would normally pay but it is definitely a restaurant I would visit again and again whenever possible.
  • Double Mountain Brewery - This microbrewery had a selection of wonderful beer and astonishing food. One of my co-workers, Ryan, informed me that the owner also owned a bakery which produced the pizza dough resulting in some of the best local pizza.
  • Voodoo Doughnut - This tiny doughnut shop was everything I had expected and more. The number of people visiting the tiny hole in the wall was impressive; however, their doughnuts instantly showed me why. I had three doughnuts while in Portland: dirt, old dirty bastard, and maple bacon. The old dirty bastard was my favorite but is not for anyone attempting anything resembling a diet - this creation was covered in peanut butter, chocolate, and oreo cookies. I tried the maple bacon because of it's comic value, I had to try a doughnut with bacon which was good but not my favorite.
  • Tijuana Mexican Restaurant - This restaurant looked like a complete dive from the outside but several co-workers suggested we eat here for lunch. The interior was welcoming and the food was the best mexican I encountered during my trip.
I wrote down the names and some brief thoughts for each restaurant in my notebook. I was shocked at how poorly represented Oregon, especially Hood River and The Dalles, is on Yelp so I plan on contributing my experiences soon. I hope that posting them to Yelp will be more helpful than writing about them here.

The plethora of local beers deserves a post by itself; however, I did not write detailed enough notes to provide any real substance on the topic. I had no knowledge of Oregon's local beers before arriving and I still feel that I know very little. Thankfully a couple of co-workers introduced me to a few of the local beers: Double Mountain and Douchettes. I'm certain I sampled others but I can't recall which. I also had the pleasure of trying some home brewed beers from Ryan.

I'm glad I got to make the trip, I really enjoyed getting to meet the people I communicate with on a near daily basis. Hopefully I can return soon to explore and enjoy more of the area.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Visiting Oregon: Current plans

Portland, OR

I am leaving for Oregon this Friday and as part of my preparation I have been researching places to visit, photograph, and eat at during my stay. The majority of my time will be spent working but I scheduled the trip so I will have three days to explore and enjoy the area.

I will be staying near The Dalles during the week and plan to take day trips to visit the places that have caught my attention. The majority of my points of interest are near Portland or an hour plus drive from where I'm staying. I would really like to find additional activities near The Dalles but I need to research and find the best local restaurants since I will be eating out every night.

I have received a few suggestions from co-workers that live in the area as well as those that have previously visited. I'm sure I will go out to dinner with co-workers at least once since it's tradition for the visitor to purchase the meal. I think I have a few good places to visit so far:


  • Voodoo Doughnut - I first learned about this doughnut shop from Anthony Bourdain's show "No Reservations." Each menu item has a great name and they even have a doughnut with bacon on it.
  • Nora's Fish House - This was suggested by Simon and Gordon. A quick glance at their menu confirms their suggestion.
  • Apizza Scholls - Also featured on No Reservations. Famed as the best place for pizza in Oregon which yelp seems to confirm.
  • Baan-Thai - I was hoping to find some good Thai while traveling and this place was suggested by Gordon.
  • Brazil Grill - I eat meat. This is Portland's best churrascaria so it seems like a great choice.
  • Burgerville - A local chain which seems to be popular online. May be a good choice for a quick lunch or dinner.

Events / Attractions


  • Portland Japanese Garden - Wonderful for photography. It is open during winter but the weather may hinder photography.
  • Silver Falls State Park - A large park containing ten waterfalls and many walking trails. Should be great for photography.
  • Multnomah Falls - Largest waterfall in Oregon and second largest year round waterfall in the US.
  • Painted Hills State Park - Beautiful scenery for photography but may be too far due to 3 hour drive.
Please comment with any suggestions you may have or if you're interested in meeting up during my trip. I'd really like to know the best restaurants near The Dalles but I am willing to drive a little ways for good food and entertainment.

Monday, November 24, 2008

New home.

I have written numerous small articles and personal posts at over the past year. Jenna originally registered that domain for her use; however, I eventually hijacked it since it sat dormant for what I considered too long. The domain never really seemed to fit for my personal use and I was yearning for a more personalized space.

A few weeks ago I decided to consolidate my online presence - I had a collection of user names including schrierc, chrisix, chris.schrier and many others which was too cluttered in my mind. I forced myself to rename and move all of my utilized web accounts into a single username with great success. I lost a few twitter followers and will undoubtedly loose some RSS subscribers but I feel that the change will be worth the potential loss.

A part of this effort is moving away from penguinmeetpython to This website will be more of an experimental playground for me. Since I was using DreamHost for penguinmeetpython I felt confined into a painfully limited box. Dknowles suggested that I investigate SliceHost a few weeks back and upon investigating their service I was excited to try them. I decided to wait for my DreamHost account to expire so I could utilize the service I had already paid for. Since my DreamHost account expires in December I decided today was finally the time to create my SliceHost account and transition to my new home.