I’m on a trajectory to burn a lot of gunpowder this year. With that, I’m going to need to add some equipment. We’ll talk quite a bit about this in the months ahead, but for now, I need to get a shell pouch.
After clay shooting at Garland Mountain, I’ve decided that I want one with two sections: one for a box of shells, and one for spent shells. I know you can get a nylon one for fifteen bucks, but I’d rather spend a little money on a good one that we can put some miles on. I’ll wear this on field hunts and clay shooting, some of which are some nice events, so I think it’s worth it. Here are six that I’ve found that I really like:
From top left:
1. Over Under Old School Camo Shell Pouch: The ‘old school’ camo is outstanding. Over Under also offers this in a solid khaki waxed cotton, but this camo choice gets our nod.
2. Canyon Outback Buckskin Gulch Shell Pouch: This one has a Barbour feel…probably because of the tartan lining. Very sharp…very English.
3. Redhead Classic Divided Shell Bag: The green is good here. The side pockets are nice for chokes and extra ear plugs.
4. Filson Belt Pouch: These aren’t offered on Filson’s site anymore, but there are a few places you can still find them.
5. Cabela’s Reserve Divided Shell Pouch: This option is a good price, but it actually might be too big.
6. Kevin’s Canvas & Leather Divided Shell Pouch: Right now this is the direction I’m leaning. I like the dedicated snap belt and the canvas/leather mix.
What do you think? Any I’m missing?
In refining 2017, I’m not letting any moss grow under my feet. A good buddy called me mid-last week and asked if I wanted to go shooting. I jumped at the chance. My Beretta A300 had been collecting too much dust, and I have been anxious to get out and pull the trigger.
We’ve got a few clay shooting places in the metro Atlanta area, but one that recently opened was getting good reviews. We agreed that Garland Mountain would be the place. We met in Canton and took his Tahoe up towards our spot. Garland Mountain is a sporting clay facility located in Waleska, GA, about an hour north of the city. It has a club-like, lodge feel, sitting on top of the mountain with excellent views. They have the capability to host events, and I’m left trying to find a reason to throw a party up there. I know they have plans for a restaurant, which will complete the circle. While it is new and shiny, it is not a costly couple hours of entertainment.
I paid about $100, which included 100 clays through 14 stations ($37.50), four boxes of shells at $7.50 each, half a golf cart ($10), ear plugs ($1), and a hat ($20). My buddy paid $50, which included his clays and his half of the golf cart.
Garland mountain has two courses, one being more advanced than the other. We chose the easier of the two, as it was our first time shooting at the facility. The stations were all outstanding – the majority of the stations are covered, which was nice when it started to drizzle. Everything is really clean and easily accessible. The staff is extremely friendly, and as I mentioned above, the views are outstanding.
Overall, it was a GREAT experience at Garland Mountain. Next time you are looking to burn some gunpowder, head on up and give it a go. Some images from our morning below.
A very large fireplace is the centerpiece of the clubhouse:
The view off the large back porch:
My buddy dusting some clays:
A Beretta A390 and my A300:
Me trying not to hurt myself:
Honorable mention: this vintage Cabela’s backpack. We dated this to be about thirty years old, and it is incredible. Filson-level canvas, and the old school duck hunt camo…I am currently scouring Ebay to find one.
2016 was a big year. There wasn’t one specific thing that stands out, but a lot of little things. We celebrated our first year in our new house and our second wedding anniversary, we both had good years at work, #FrankDawg continues to dominate, and the blog continues to see growth. As the year comes to a close, I can’t help but reflect. Sure, I have a lot going on, but I don’t think that will change. What I have noticed is that I’ve gotten a little lazy, and I’ve got too much stuff. With so many moving swim lanes in my life, I’m going to focus on refininment in 2017. What started this? Well, it was a post I did on jeans. I usually go through the blog to look at it from a reader’s perspective, and when I came across a post talking about how many unworn pairs of jeans I had accumulated, it gave me pause.
Why do I have so many pairs? What benefit does it bring our life here at the Fort? It tells me a couple things: first, don’t buy things just because they are on sale, and second, I’ve got way too much “stuff.” There’s a complication that comes with over-abundance, inefficiency. It’s a want vs. need mentality: of course you want that new pair of jeans, but you don’t need them. I don’t want a complicated life. I want a simple(er) life. I want a more refined life.
I’ve come up with three specific areas I’d like to apply some refinement, along with hypotheses on the impact these changes will make. Here we go:
Refine the wardrobe. I have to do a better job of maintaining the personal value of my closet’s real estate. There is only so much space, and the occupants must sustain a minimum level of importance. I have some really nice stuff, but I also have a ton of fillers that ultimately dilute my wardrobe’s overall composition. This causes unneeded stress when getting dressed in the morning, or before a night out. Fewer, better, more refined choices will allow me a more satisfying experience, and quite frankly make the experience easier. I’d rather have less, GREAT shirts in lieu of a bunch of mish-mash. Not only that, but I want to focus on wearing the great stuff more often. That’s why they are there, and that’s what they were built to do. My hypothesis: less is more when it comes to a wardrobe.
Better mornings and better evenings. I’ve gotten into a bad habit of lazy mornings and even lazier nights. It’s as if I take a long time in the morning to warm up, and pack it in too early at night. I want to start exercising early in the morning to give the day a kick start. I want do a better job of utilizing evening hours for more productive endeavors, like (more) reading/writing, meal prep, and focusing on the honey-do list. It’s amazing what you can get done in an hour (or two!). My hypothesis: Work at dawn and dusk will better complete the day.
Be more sporty. I grew up as an athlete, playing just about every sport I had time for. What’s changed is that I don’t play team sports anymore, instead electing to be a spectator. I play golf as much as possible, and have been getting into fly fishing, and have a quail hunt lined up for January. Beyond the regular weekend rounds or casts, I want to take a couple vacations that including bringing golf clubs and fly rods. My hypothesis: By taking a proactive, vested interest in participating in a sporting life, I believe I will become a more well-rounded individual.
What’s most important? Well, Mrs. RCS is 100% on board, so that helps. It would be next to impossible to make these sorts of changes without her. I’ll give updates throughout the year, but for now, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Images: Google Image search
And then there were four (for now). Since the playoff system in college football was implemented, it’s fair to say that it has worked. It feels much more fair, and now there is a no-hold barred approach to winning from all four teams. Does it dilute the other bowls? Sure. But that’s a product of over saturation. Why are there 40 bowls? I’m OK with it, because so-so college football better than anything else on TV.
Personally, I’d like to see the playoffs go to eight teams. I’m sure the networks would agree, with all the money they make off the games, but we’d need a couple conditions. First: NO conference tie ins. Second: NO games on New Year’s Eve. It is a horrible decision to play these games on the busiest night of the year. There is NO reason not to play these games on new year’s day, which adheres to college football tradition. Last: NO Joe Buck. I don’t have to explain that.
Imagine four more games on Christmas weekend…
Back to the games…We’ve teamed up with our good friends at State Traditions to do a rundown of each game. Here are all the details, and what you can expect in the Peach Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl:
2016 Peach Bowl
Washington Huskies vs. Alabama Crimson Tide
When: Saturday, December 31st at 3PM ET
Where: The Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Line: Bama -14
Remember the lead up to the 2012 National Championship where Lou Holtz was trying to convince everyone that Notre Dame had a chance? Then, roughly two minutes into the game, it was clearly obvious that Alabama could have won by 1000 points. Notre Dame was completely overrated and outmatched. This game will have a very similar feeling.
Look for Washington to keep it close for a quarter, but they haven’t faced a defense like what Alabama puts on the field. The Crimson Tide will transition to lock-down mode in the second quarter, and force the Huskies into panic mode. Watch Washington desperately pull out all the stops and make mistakes. You can’t do that vs. Alabama. This game will prove the theory that defense wins championships. Saban won’t let Kiffin run any fun plays. They’ll go vanilla for the entire second half, saving all the goods for the National Championship.
By 5:30PM, you’ll be free and clear to go take a shower and get ready for NYE. You won’t miss a thing.
RCS Prediction: Alabama 37 Washington 17
2016 Fiesta Bowl
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Clemson Tigers
When: Saturday, December 31st at 7PM ET
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Line: Clemson -3
This game will be a good one to watch. Because of stupid scheduling, it’s on New Year’s Eve, so the ratings are going to be artificially low. The Fiesta Bowl features two teams that we can expect to be consistent top-10 teams for the next ten years. Ohio State has an extremely well-rounded team, who have finally figured out how to win. Clemson has some of the best athletes in the country, and a defense that is firing on all cylinders.
This game will start slow. Expect a 17-14 score at halftime, with things opening up in the third and forth quarters. While both teams match up very well, I’m going to give the edge to Clemson for two reasons. First, Clemson will get the matchup edge at QB. DeShaun Watson is the best player in the country (Heisman be damned). He can make things happen that I don’t believe Ohio State has the ability to do. Second, the majority of Clemson’s team almost beat Alabama in last year’s National Championship. They have experience, and that loss to Bama is what has motivated them all year.
RCS Predication: Clemson 47 Ohio State 42
What do you think?
With New Year’s Eve just around the corner, it’s fair to say that most of us have something on the calendar. For those that haven’t made plans, no need to panic, there are some pretty good college football games on TV. I’m thinking that a nice (and unhungover) hike up the mountain on new year’s day doesn’t sound too bad either.
For those that are planning to party, remember one thing: manage expectations. NYE parties can be great, but they usually aren’t as mind blowingly epic as the marketing makes them sound. New Year’s has it’s own feel: the ‘out with the old, in with the new’, but in my experience, it’s more enjoyable to treat the night like any other spent out on the town.
Generally speaking, there are three types of parties. One that is formal, such as a wedding, party at a country club, or a gala. Second is what I’m referring to as a sporty event with a date or as group, usually at a bar or restaurant, or at a promoted hotel event. Lastly, the third option: hanging at a friend’s house.
Here is the breakdown on how to be the best dressed, wherever you opt to ring in 2017:
From top left:
1. Brooks Brothers Golden Fleece Swiss Pleat Tuxedo Shirt: I prefer a pleated shirt when you aren’t in danger of out-dressing a groom.
2. J. Crew Ludlow Dinner Jacket: When attending a black tie event, be the guy that shows up in a white dinner jacket. It’ll pay dividends.
3. Brooks Brothers Self-Tie Bow Tie: Always tie your own bow tie. No questions asked.
4. Cartier Dumont Men’s Watch: We’ve used the term ‘tuxedo watch’ here before. Here you go.
5. Brooks Brothers 4-pleat Cummerbund: Opt for a cummerbund rather than suspenders. More than likely you’ll be on your feet most of the night, so show off your crumb catcher.
6. J. Crew Ludlow Black Tuxedo Pants: Don’t think too deep here.
7. Res Ipsa X Brackish Black Suede Formal Loafers: Formal shoes should be fun. Add a little flare here, like the Brackish feather on Res Ipsa Prince Albert-style formal loafers.
8. Cartier Lapis Lazuli Cufflinks: Remember those old cufflinks your Grandfather gave you a few years ago? Shine ’em up and give them a go.
What to drink? A Vesper Martini, but only a couple. You need to make it to midnight.
From top left:
1. Ledbury White Dress Shirt: Tonight you want to go a little fancy. A white dress shirt is an ideal starter, as it’s more formal than any shade of blue.
2. Southern Proper Blackwatch Plaid Sport Coat: This is the jacket you build your outfit around. A classic, seasonal plaid that fits well and is pleasing to the touch.
3. Panerai PAM373 Radiomir Three-Day Platino Watch: Bring out the big guns. Speaking of big, with this 47mm face, you don’t need glowing hands to see when it’s midnight.
4. Sid Mashburn 1″ Chocolate Alligator Conroy Belt: A fancy belt that keeps with the rest of the outfit.
5. A.P.C. New Standard Jeans: Like the white shirt, don’t think too hard about the jeans. Go dark, as it is the most dressed up look when going with jeans.
6. Barker Black Wolfe Suede Loafers: Again, big guns for a big night.
What to drink? A Manhattan. Order it up if you are at a table, or on the rocks if you are on the dance floor.
From top left:
1. Thomas Wages Purple Gingham Shirt: Comfortable and casual. Gingham is the gift that keeps on giving.
2. Alan Paine Cashmere Cableknit Sweater: There’s always room for cashmere. She won’t keep her hands off of you.
3. Luminox 1827 Field Watch: Something casual and a very specific date function. Don’t be late…
4. Colonel Littleton #5 Cinch Belt: Adding a really cool belt to a relatively basic outfit gives it a subtle pop.
5. Harrison Badge Khakis: Buy good khakis. Wear good khakis. These are incredible. Extra points for a 2″ cuff.
6. Alden Unlined Chukka Boots: Casual, unlined boots that aren’t stuffy at all. Snuff suede for the win.
What to drink? Bring a six pack of your favorite beer. Use your sweater as a pillow when you fall asleep at 10:30. Have a glass of champagne at midnight (she will wake you up).
Happy New Year, folks. Looking forward to big things in 2017…
Merry Christmas, folks. I hope Santa is good to everyone.
99% of Christmas advertisements don’t apply to this geographic region. That’s fine.
I don’t like calling anything ‘southern’ unless it’s describing a specific region on a map. However, as with just about everything, the South likes to do things our way. There are some things about Christmas in the South that we call our own. I’ve been making some notes, and reached out to some of my friends to get some help on what ‘Christmas in Dixie’ means. Here’s the list:
Country Christmas music starting on Black Friday. The Saturday Night Gold stuff: Vince Gill, Reba, etc
Christmas trees with colored lights
Live Christmas trees
Spending time outdoors…
…Tee times around noon
Mud rather than snow
Wishing it was scarf/gloves weather
Comments about the last white Christmas back in ’97
Christmas Eve being as important as Christmas morning
Christmas Eve church service
Late night Waffle House after ^^said^^ church service
Deer/Duck hunting before opening presents on Christmas morning
Reindeer on the front lawn creatively placed into compromising positions
Cooking in the kitchen starting early Christmas day. With an open window.
Turkey and dressing. We don’t stuff turkeys. We fry them.
Sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top
Bourbon with egg nog for breakfast; on it’s own for lunch, dinner, and late night
Spicy cheese straws and Gingersnaps
Centerpieces of oranges, magnolia garland, and festive pine boroughs
College Bowl games > NFL games
Christmas mid-afternoon bonfire of wrapping paper and boxes
Feel free to add yours in the comment section below.