June 2011 Journal

May 31, 2011, Tuesday

Monday night we moved into a hotel in preparation for putting the bus in the shop for the body work needed since November. Long, boring story on why it took so long.

Then Tuesday morning we took the bus in, then ran errands, etc. The cats did a lot of exploring. The dog was very insecure.

May 30, 2011 Monday, Memorial Day

MEMORIAL DAY is the day we remember that no one comes home from a war. One man goes to war. Another man comes home. Sometimes a boy goes to war, and a man comes home, usually bringing ghosts with him. Sometimes a whole man goes to war, and only parts of him come home. Women who go to war bring back more than men do. Men are expected to go to war. Women are not, and when they do, they are not prepared for what they see. Nurses see more horrors than front line troops, and they were not brought up for that experience. In all cases, however, those who do come home from war bring the war with them. The heroes, the ones we honor today, did not come home at all. As a result we live in the greatest country in the history of the world with freedoms not known elsewhere at any time.

Today's email:

CPT B,
On your annual to do list you can check off, give someone good advice. At Buff Stampede you told me I should switch from Sr. Duelist to Frontier Cartridge Duelist. Since the Stampede I have been loading BP. I've now shot three matches, and my times are roughly the same as smokeless. Net result is I won the annual shoot in Craig, CO this weekend.

Thanks for the good advice, "tis better to be a large fish in a small pond, than a mediocre Sr Duelist in the Pacific Ocean.

De Oppresso Liber
Wild Horse John

 

May 29, 2011, Sunday

Went to the Rio Grande Renegades 5th Sunday match. 2 good stages out of 6 shooting FC (2 hands).

May 28, 2011, Saturday

No matches today, so we actually did something different. First, at the RV Park is a vintage RV club's rally. They had open house on several vintage RVs.

Vintage Airstream Bambi

60s Airstream Bambi

A long, long trailer

'50s long, long trailer

Long long trailer interior

Living room of the 50s long long trailer

long long trailer kitchen

Kitchen of the long long trailer

Yellowstone RV

The 54 Yellowstone moved to the "museum" area

Yellowstone Interior

Kitchen of the Yellowstone

Yellowstone Interior

Living Room of the Yellowstone

Vintage Winnie

Vintage Winnie

60s Shasta pulled by 60s Ford Pickup

60s Shasta pulled by 60s Ford

56 Shasta

56 Shasta similar to Henry Ford's

And now for something completely different:

Route 66 Casino Car Show

These were just a sample of the cars there

Chevrolet gas pump

There's a solution, bring your own gas pump

Unique show car

Show car with all of the classic show car features

Another one

Gangster Era Chrysler

1933 Chrysler, needing only a couple of Gangsters with Thompsons

Two Chevies

Chevy coup and Chevy Sedan

Ford Pickup

Ford Pickup

55 Chevy Pickup

There were a lot of 55 Chevies, including this Bel Air convertible in the original colors

55 Chevy hardtop

55 Chevy Bel Air Coupe. My mother had a blue and white one

Hudson

Chevy Pickup[

54 Chevy Pickup. There were a lot of pickups there

Very Red Ford

red customized Ford

37 GMC T14 Stakebed truck

'37 GMC T14 Stake Bed Truck

 

47 Dodge pickup

'47 Dodge Pickup

 

May 26-27, 2011

Angelique casting a spell on a passerby

Angelique, casting a spell on a passerby

Worked in the garage. Finished the 1,000 rounds of major match ammunition (new Starline brass, 15 gr. (Wt)/12.8 gr. APP 3f, Federal Match primer, 105 gr. S & S Truncated Cone bullet, all test fitted in a Vaquero chamber. No upside down primers, ragged case mouths, or bulges/dents) Put them in 100 round shotshell boxes because that's what fits in the ammo pouches of the Rugged Gear Gun Cart.

Then started the reloading project from hell, .45-70 ammo for the Plainsman match. I've been loading it in the XL650. As Gary Kieft (Mogollion Monk) told me, it's like a monkey playing piano. It's not that he's good, but that he can do it at all. I switched to the 650 in disgust with the RCBS Turret Press I got for making .45-70. Everything that could break on it did. But loading .45-70 on a 650 breaks things, too. And things just disappear when I put it away into storage. Set it up on Thursday, then discovered that parts of the decapper were missing. Friday morning went to Sportsman's Warehouse and got a couple of .30-06 decapping struts. They don't sell that part of the .45-70 decapper/full length resizer, but the .30 fits. Bought several decapping pins. I remember putting away 10-15 when I last loaded .45-70.

Anyway, I put everything together and discovered all 3 dies were out of adjustment. They all have locking rings that were locked. So I damaged a few cases getting them adjusted. PITA. Loaded a box (20) using 50 gr. APP sticks, then planned to load the rest of the cases with 30 gr. APP 3f (what I have) and corn cob filler. But various things broke. The kicker was the shell plate. Ever break a Dillon Shell Plate? At station 1, the full-length resizer, when I went to pull the case out of the die, it popped off a piece of the shell plate, leaving the case stuck in the die. Unlike a case stuck in a Dillon die, one in a RCBS die is a bitch to get out, so I left it and finished up with another die (I've acquired multiple sets because of their delicacy). Or I tried to finish up. But now I had 4 out of 5 working stations, and it got to be a PITA to continue. I have enough rounds for EOT and a little practice.

Took The Redhead to dinner at The County Line Friday night. You should eat barbeque on Memorial Day Weekend at least once. But it brought back memories of a friend, Mac, who worked his way through paramedic school waiting tables at a County Line in Houston. He was a rallyist and autocrosser, liking fast cars. At one time he had a Mustang cleverly disguised as a plain clothes police car with a Paramedic sticker on the back. The sticker kept him out of most trouble with police. At least once he was arrested by a cop who obviously figured he would never need a paramedic's services.

He worked hard and got his dream job, Flight Paramedic for Life Flight in Houston He was one of my co-drivers on One Lap of America in '94. He had just gotten a new car, a near full-race Subaru WRC (World Rally Championship), which I compared to a Mitsubishi Zero, all offense, no defense. But it turned out what wasn't dangerous after all. One beautiful afternoon the Life Flight helicopter's main rotor blades came off due to a design defect, and the aircraft fell 4,000 feet. The crew's funerals were proper heroes funerals, but Mac was gone.

That brought back thoughts of all of my friends who died in helicopters and elsewhere in the late Southeast Asian Unpleasantness. It's Memorial Day weekend, and I really should be on a mountain with nothing to remind me of that fact until it's over.

May 25, 2011, Wednesday

Went to the RGR practice session. Fortunately Rustlin' John showed up. He was the only one. Must be a serious group, less than a month before EOT and a place to practice almost goes begging. The rule is 2 members must be there to practice. The next nearest practice spot is Zia Range, and it's a hassle to get there, a hassle to get a berm, a hassle to get the targets from the shed to the little flatbed trailer, a hassle to set them up, a hassle to police brass in deep sand, a hassle to get the targets back to the shed, and a BITCH of a hassle to get the little flatbed trailer back into its spot (probably worse now that I don't have a backup camera), and a hassle to drive back. Then I'm really tired.

Practiced shooting 2 hands with the Vaqueros.

Full Timer of the Week:

Full timer

Husband, wife, 3 kids, 2 German Shepherds

May 23-24, 2011

Adjustable Tool head for Dillons

Several months ago I got an email from Doug Williams asking me to test an adjustable tool head for a Dillon XL650. “I have invented a little something for Dillon 550 and 650 presses that I think will really shine in cowboy action reloading.” The product is a tool head that can be used to load .38 Special and .357 Magnum or .44 Special and .44 Magnum with the simple switch of a .130 spacer from the top of the mounting groove for .38s to the bottom for .357s."

Adjustable toolhead for Dillon 650

This is the CNC machined adjustable tool head. Note the stainless steel spacer on top.

Adjustable tool head and spacer

The spacer slides on and off and can be on top (.38 Special) or bottom (.357 Magnum)

I finally got around to testing it. It took a long time because I don't have any use for an adjustable tool head because I don't shoot .357 Magnum. Shoot it! I don't even want the brass to get anywhere near my .38 Special brass picked up at matches. But eventually I felt guilty. Doug isn’t a cowboy action shooter. He’s a tinkerer. He thinks that I actually get paid for writing for the Cowboy Chronicle instead of having to pay Cat and Tex $0.50/word.

From his eBay pitch: “For Dillon 650. (550B's are available, check my other auctions.) Change instantly from 38 Special to 357 Magnum and back OR from 44 Special to 44 Magnum and back without a 2nd tool head. Installs exactly like a factory tool head. NO MODIFICATION TO YOUR EQUIPMENT. This modified tool head is made for only for me by Whidden Gunworks. See their site for other shooting goodies. Also in the kit is a laser cut stainless steel spacer that installs below the tool head to raise it to the Magnum position or above the tool head for the Special position. This kit will save you buying a 2nd tool head, dies, powder check and powder measure at over $220 @ Dillon prices. No modification to your press. One die set and one powder measure switches from Special to Magnum instantly with NO POWDER MEASURE ADJUSTMENTS AND ONLY MINIMAL DIE ADJUSTMENTS. Your size die will need to be run up or down to meet the ram at its highest position like usual. IF you use powder check it will need to be adjusted a few turns on the rod that is pushed by the shell plate. About 30 seconds to switch from Special to Magnum and back. Two piece kit has modified 100% CNC tool head and laser cut spacer, all metal, American made. NOT A DILLON PRODUCT.”

Adjustable Tool head mounted on Dillon XL650Z XA

The tool head mounted on the XL650 in .38 Special position.

Tool head mounted in .357 Magnum position.

The tool head being installed with the spacer on the bottom.

,38 Special round and .357 round made with the adjustable tool head

Sample rounds made using the adjustable tool head, .38 Special on top, .357 Magnum on bottom, same bullet. Bullet seater adjusted .005 up for .357 Magnum.

I removed my Dillon dies from my .38 tool head and put them on the new tool head without incident. Then I put the spacer on top, installed the tool head. I adjusted the dies slightly to load my standard load, 105 gr. LTC bullets to 1.443”. This puts the crimp in the upper third of the lube groove. I loaded a hundred rounds like this, and then pulled the tool head out, put the spacer on the bottom and reinstalled it. The powder check die plunger needed an adjustment of about, as you would expect, .130”. The bullet seater needed about .005 adjustment because a .357 case is .135 longer than a .38 Special. If you’re using these for .44 Special and .44 Magnum as well, you’ll understand why .130 was chosen. .44 Special to .44 Magnum is .125”. The spacer splits the difference. I also needed to lower the full length resizing die about .130. Adjusting everything took a couple of minutes. If I did it all the time it would probably be a minute or so. I loaded the 50 rounds of brass Doug had sent me and marked them thoroughly so I won’t get them in with my .38s. I get enough .357 brass in my stuff as it is, usually discovered at station 3 on the press when I see the huge bell in the case. Instant scrap brass.


If you shoot .38s and .357s or .44 Specials and .44 Magnums, this is a more economical solution to doing the switch than 2 pre-setup tool heads with dies, powder check die, and perhaps powder measure. Doug sells them on eBay with a “Buy now” price of $55 plus $5 shipping. I really like the tool head and will keep my .38 dies in it (I have a bunch of tool heads). There’s a YouTube video on it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8RV9PSuKTI. Doug can be reached at dougwilliams@embarqmail.com

Latest B Western Rig from LoneRider Leather:

B Western Rig from LoneRider Leather

B Western Rig from LoneRider Leather

Hair on hide holsters.

Worked in the shop loading .38s and .357s for the above test, then back to .38s using new Starline brass for ammo for EOT and other Major Matches. Loaded slowly and carefully.

May 21-22, 2011

Rio Grande Renegades 3rd Saturday and 4th Sunday matches-Return to shooting

Went to the RGR matches Saturday and Sunday. Shot Frontier Cartridge (2 handed, Cartridge pistols). Saturday had 2 decent stages, high 20s. The rest were minor to major disasters (one P). The arm was doing okay until someone grabbed my elbow and said, "How did your surgery go?"

Tired after 6 stages and iced down the arm. Wasn't enough. Took Vicodin, which made me nauseated and gave me a headache in the middle of the night, so I got little sleep.

Sunday felt pretty bad but went anyway. Still didn't shoot worth a darn. 2 stages in the low 20s, a 23 on a 22 round stage. 2 other stages ruined by a backwards primer on a rifle round, probably 5-6 seconds lost counting "Click, cycle, bang, then at the end bang, cycle, click, reload. Bang. (Should have at least eliminated the cycle click.) That was a 30. Got a 28 with a short stroked pistol requiring going around 6 clicks to get bang. Stages were simple, fast. The competent shooters were getting 15-18 seconds.

The New Normal

One of 2011's buzzwords is "The new normal." The Gabriel Giffords coverage used the term a lot. If you'd used it for a drinking game and watched the news you'd have gotten really drunk. I'm facing "the new normal." I don't know if I'll be able to shoot 1 handed Frontiersman at EOT or not. I might have to shoot Frontier Cartridge there. I won't be competitive at it. Just remembering to shoot with both hands took some work. Shot one stage Saturday 1 handed before I figured it out.

Then I'm going to have another surgery in July (at least that's the plan—no date set yet by the VA). It will definitely keep me from shooting for months. I'll be in a splint 4-6 weeks, then have a recovery that might go 5 months. So shooting 2 handed might get me back into shooting quicker, and, it might be the only way I can shoot. There's also the possibility that I won't be able to shoot at all. If they screw up, the thumb doesn't work, and I can't pick up a pistol. Switching to right hand duelist is probably not feasible. The right thumb has the same problem, just not as far along. It doesn't hurt to use it to cock the pistol held left handed, but it's almost impossible duelist.

Until now this would be a rare photo of Capt. Baylor shooting Ruger New Vaqueros with two hands. At least it's still smoky.

Trxas Tiger doing two things at once

Texas Tiger displays her World Champion quality transitions picking up the shotgun as she puts the rifle down

Mr Peabody

Mr Peabody just emptied the right gun and switched to the left one. Fortunately for FCD shooters, he shoots Senior Duelist.

Vaquero Luna

Vaquero Luna took the other photos. Here he's going from one window to another and from one gun to another. He has just put the rifle down and is grabbing two shotgun shells. He shot some really quick stages Sunday, duelist. Another shooter FCD shooters want to stay in SD.

May 20, 2011

Photo from email.

Getting Ready to Shoot Again

I've decided to try to shoot the RGR 4th Sunday match, so I cleaned up the gun cart, took out Frontiersman stuff and added enough .38 special cartridges to shoot FC. Using 2 hands will lessen the strain on the left arm a little, and the left thumb, still untreated, hurts when used. (That doesn't mean I'm not going to shoot Frontiersman at EOT.) One of the tests to see if I can shoot is, "Can I manhandle the gun cart?" Well, I got it into the Jeep with only one surprise pain. I'll probably look for help getting it in and out, something I normally politely refuse.

Cleaned the guns. Cleaned the gun cart. THAT was work. It was sand colored from the April matches in high wind. Used high pressure air, the shop vac, and scrubbed with cleansers. Barely made a dent--except in the arm. Scrubbing is still a no-no the arm told me. Put everything into the Jeep.

The guncart in the Jeep set up for Frontier Cartridge

The gun cart set up for Frontier Cartridge rather than Frontiersman and other miscellaneous necessary gear (such as the Margaritaville Pirate Flag)

The guns and gear in the Jeep

The guns and gear in the Jeep

Speaking of the thumb, I made an appointment with a local well recommended hand surgeon who takes Medicare for a second opinion. Getting surgery without a second opinion is like buying a car without shopping multiple dealers (if not brands), and a lot more important. I can trade in a bad car purchase and just suffer monetary loss (like the last one...) But a ruined surgery....

May 19, 2011

Found in a parking lot of a grocery store, Menominee, Michigan (nothing about it in Snopes):

Jeep Bag

I found a Jeep bag designed to fit in the "trunk" area to hold grocery bags, cocaine, decapitated heads, etc. My leather gear tends to spend a lot of time in the Jeep, so I got one of the bags for the leather gear.

Jeep Bag

Jeep Bag in Jeep

I put i in the back seat rather than the "trunk" area because the gun cart goes there. Works fine.

Arm is getting better. Felt good enough to spend a little time cleaning out the shop. Working on the Buffalo Stampede article. That's work.

May 18, 2011

Yellowstone Trailer

This is a vintage Yellowstone camper. What little I've been able to find on the internet about them is: "In 1945, Elmer Weaver organized the Yellowstone Coach Co. in Wakarusa. The Yellowstone travel trailer was built and sold in Wakarusa Indiana. Yellowstone trailers were well built and the travel trailer of choice for carnival employees."

Yellowstone Camper

Yellowstone Camper

The one site devoted to them seems out of business. They seemed to have stopped production in the '60s. but one owner claims to have a '79. Anyway, they look cool and are an example of aluminum trailer production after WWII. Several trailer companies had aircraft roots. Similar construction was used.

There are several vintage RVs at this park. The owner has a neat collection.

Took George S. Patton, Jr. to the Eubank Street Dog Park.

The Redhead. training GSP.

Here The Redhead is training George S. Patton, Jr. She is calling him to come.

GSP ignoring The Redhead

Here GSP is ignoring The Redhead

License Plate woes

When I bought the Jeep I made sure that the dealer could transfer the Purple Heart plate from the ML. Then, 3 weeks later their title clerk called me and told me that the Polk Co. Tax Collector had called them and told them they had underpaid. So I had to send $1,000,000 to Polk Co. I called Polk Co. and negotiated to $35 or so. I sent them a check.

The temporary tag expired May 6. Finally my weekly care package arrived from Livingston, Texas. In it were the license plates, not a registration sticker for the PH plate, but a regular plate with a 7 digit number. Wunnerful. I called them. "The dealer didn't mentioned anything about Purple Heart plate, and it'll be $1.30 to transfer, and we don't take anything over the phone. You'll have to send a check."

So i did. I put the other plates on until the proper registration sticker arrives in 2013.

So cancel everything nice I said about Casa Jeep. Don't ever buy anything from them. If their title clerk is incompetent, lazy, or dishonest, most likely the service department is, too. Join my petition to have the salesman fired. Everything is always the salesman's fault, after all.

May 17, 2011

Best Jeep Cartoon ever:

Bill Mauldin's WWII cartoon of an old cavalry sergeant and his wounded Jeep.

 

Jeep Story

People have asked me if my new Jeep is my first one. Well, it's the first one I BOUGHT. There's a story in Common Valor that has a little bit of truth in it (condensed here):

When he got to the unit he had found no Jeep. One had been assigned to the unit, but no one could say where it had gone. He hadn’t been signed out for it, and the lieutenant who had last signed for it was long since out of country. That didn’t matter. He needed a Jeep. He said to Pham he needed a Jeep, and Pham called in a tall LCDB, Nung. Nung spoke perfect idiomatic English. He had been a translator for the advisors in the past, but Pham could speak English, and Jim could speak a little Vietnamese, so Pham hadn’t yet assigned Nung to him.

......“This man can help you get a Jeep. He will be your interpreter when you need one, and he will carry things for you.”

“Hi, my name’s Nung.”

“Good grief! You speak better English than I do. Where’d you learn it?”

“San Jose, California. Wish I’d stayed there.”

“I bet you do. What in heaven’s name do they have you as an LCDB for?”

“I was an MP. My enlistment ended. I went home. They considered it desertion. My sentence will be up soon.” When his sentence was over, he would regain his sergeant stripes and pay, but an ex-LCDB couldn’t be an MP again. He would stay with his unit.

“Well, first thing, I carry my own pack. I may need you to carry stuff, but it won’t be my pack.”

“Bully for you. Obviously you didn’t attend our fine military schools.”

“Obviously. Second, your uniform is in rags. First time we go to town I’ll buy you a new uniform.”

“Dai-Uy Pham won’t like that.”

“I’ll handle him. I’ll tell him you can’t be my interpreter and look that bad. It’ll make me lose face.”

“That might work.”

“Now, he said you could help me get a Jeep. How?”

“I’ll need two ration supplement packs.”

“Oh, and what are you going to do with them?”

“You don’t want to know.”

“Okay. I’ll bite.” So he got two ration supplement packs from supply. “Now what?”

“Now we take the Dai-Uy’s Jeep and go to Phu Loi. Then you wait at a cafe for a couple of hours.”

So they went to Phu Loi, and Nung left him at a little straw cafe, where he nursed a bowl of ramen soup fort two hours, fending off girls offering to “wash your car,” or “short time fife dolla.” (,,,portion deleted. You have to pay to read the dirty parts.)

In two hours Nung drove up in a new M-151A1 Jeep and another man drove up in the M-38A1 Jeep belonging to Dai-Uy Pham. He shook hands with the other man, who then walked away, and he walked inside.

“There’s your Jeep.”

The markings on the front and rear bumper were appropriate for Advisory Team 70, for the Senior Advisor Fifth Recon Company. The left side of each bumper read “AT70”, while the right side read “SA5 REC.” The top had painted on it the snarling black-panther patch of Vietnamese Rangers.

“Don’t touch anything, Lieutenant. It’s not dry yet.”

Email

Like your posting on Buffalo Hump...................... by the way,
there was a Comanche Chief named "Coyote Vagina" here in Texas also
................ how would you like introducing your self to others
with this name.

Keep up the good work.............

Doug Dukes

Buffalo Penis isn't sounding all that bad now.

 

May 15-16, 2011

Today's Email Wisdom:

"Thanking Obama for killing Bin Laden is like going into McDonalds and thanking Ronald McDonald for the hamburger. It's the guy cooking the burger that should get the credit, not the clown."

Went to the VA to schedule the hand surgery--rebuilding the thumb. They'll call me with a date. It'll probably be between June 19 and 26 because I told them any day after June 27 would be fine. The VA is a depressing place. You walk through the parking lot of Disabled Veteran and Purple Heart plates. Then you walk past a lot of old men in wheelchairs and walkers that once rappelled out of helicopters or charged enemy bunkers or flew medevac helicopters into walls of fire. Worse, you see young men and now young women in wheelchairs, their reward for serving their country. Their other reward is mediocre medical care. Remember, those of you in favor of Single Payer health care, that the VA is the only single payer plan in the United States. It is not nearly as good as the health care system you probably have now.

MAC USERS NOTE:

several times a day recently I have been receiving the scam message described in this alert from MacWorld:

On the Internet, trust no one

by Ted Landau, Macworld.com

On the Internet, trust no one. Or at least, as President Reagan famously said, “Trust, but verify.” In particular, whenever an unusual and unexpected message appears on your computer, be suspicious of its authenticity.

The most recent example supporting this advice is the MAC Defender Trojan horse. As previously covered here at Macworld, after clicking a link to a site that comes up in a Google search, a message may pop up claiming that your computer is “infected.” At the same time, a ZIP file is downloaded to your Mac. If you’re using Safari, the file is automatically launched, unless you disabled the option to ‘Open “safe” files after downloading’ in Safari’s Preferences. The downloaded file turns out to be an installer for a supposed piece of software named MAC Defender. You are asked to purchase this software so as to fix the “infection.”

It’s all a scam. There is no actual program to install. The goal of the creators of this con is simply to get your money and credit card number.

After reports of the scam began circulating on the Web, the package was modified with a new name: MAC Security. It’s just as phony.

This is merely the latest in a series of similar scams. For example, as reported in an Apple Support Communities thread posted in January, Skype users may receive a false alert claiming: “ATTENTION! Security Center has detected malware on your computer.”

How can you tell if these warnings are phony? What should you do if and when you receive one?

For starters, assume that all such unfamiliar messages are scams. Better safe than sorry. There are no legitimate error messages in Mac OS X or Safari (or any other Internet-connected software that I have ever used) that directly link to unrelated third-party sites. If the third-party site requests any personal information, from an email address to a credit card number, be even more suspicious (if that’s possible).

Don’t click on any links included in such messages. Don’t install any software that accompanies the message. Don’t provide any personal information at all. In fact, don’t do anything that the message requests that you do. Just ignore it and discard it.

I had been doing the right thing, so no damage.

I did have to go to the Apple Store because of sync problems with the iPhone, nothing to do with the above. The accused culprit was Norton AntiVirus. I've uninstalled it and just upped the security settings in the system.

May 14, 2011

Our possessed kitty strikes again:

This morning The Redhead discovered, to her (and my) chagrin that keeping a large plastic cup full of change, without a lid, in her medicine chest was not a great idea. You see Angelique likes change as kitty toys. She apparently saw the cup from the far end of the bus and flew through the air 15 feet, knocking the cup into the air and coins everywhere.

The Redhead screamed. When I asked why, she explained that a penny had gone into the air vent of the lavatory and disappeared. We have a Sani-Con macerator pump, and a penny going through the pump would be a $500 catastrophe, and a really filthy one at that.

But I had watched a video a few days ago on how to handle such a problem. In the video a diamond ring had fallen into the sink. The narrator took a shop vac and old pantyhose and retrieved the coin. The hose go over the end of the hose, and the ring was trapped there.

But this coin hadn't gone down the drain. The drain plug is attached with a frame that would keep me from retrieving anything from the drain. The air vent was a slot on a concave surface. Finally I taped up most of the slot so I could fit a hose end on the remaining. All I got out was crud.

So I removed the trap and drained it. More crud. No penny. Tried various things to dislodge it from where it must be stuck in the air vent. Nothing. About then The Redhead decided it must not have gone into the slot. I put everything back together and showered.

This convinced me that in addition to having a catwitch, my arm isn't ready for heavy labor yet. It became painful enough that I took another Vicodin, which I hadn't for several days.

We had dinner at Thunder Road at the Route 66 Casino. When we first went there I gave it a rave review about the high quality steaks at reasonable prices. Since then the steaks have been of lesser quality, about right for a $11.95 10 oz. filet or a $15,95 "Yanqui" steak (New York Strip.) More importantly, the last two times we've gotten a waiter. He worked hard and was incredibly polite and helpful, but, being a guy, I prefer one of the young ladies in hot pants. The Redhead was happy, though.

Route 66 Casino does have a no smoking area, and, while second hand smoke is pervasive elsewhere, it's not piped in as it is in Buffalo Thunder.

May 11-13, 2011

Our possessed kitty:

This explains some of Angelique's capabilities.

Mostly recuperation. Found one dog park on Wednesday, another on Thursday. On Friday the 13th we went to Santa Fe to have a Clear Bra installed on the Jeep. A clear bra is a clear 3M or Avery film to be put on the front of a vehicle to protect it from bugs and rock chips. The bus has a similar product called Diamond Shield. It also has pieces around the door handle. Any heavy wear area can be protected that way, also some headlights. Jeep headlights, no. The Mercedes had ceramic paint and acquired no chips in 75000 miles, but something tells me Chrysler, while they acquired a lot from the MB years, didn't go for ceramic paint. (The Jeep does have all kinds of safety features that originated with MB.) We went to Santa Fe because the Albuquerque Clear Bra dealer quoted $450 and was rather rude about it. $450 would be appropriate for, say, a Corvette or a Mercedes, where you do the bumpers and have a lot of difficult shapes to work with. The Jeep, however, didn't need the grille done as I'd gotten the chrome grille to accomplish the same thing, bug/rock proofing. Ditto the mirrors. One of the Santa Fe dealers, Pro-Trim, quoted $195. He later talked me into doing the rear fenders for another $50.

I figured out why they could do it for less. Their shop was a little place behind a Penske Truck Rental. No waiting room, obviously, so George dropped us off at the worst mall in the history of malls nearby. Realizing that I was giving the keys to a new Jeep to someone without, let's say adequate credentials. so I took his picture and put it on Facebook. I also mentioned the car has LoJack.

The Clear Bra guy

Anyway, we spent 2 hours at the Mall from Hell, and then he picked us up. He did an excellent job.

Then we went to Buffalo Thunder Casino because The Redhead hadn't been there. This is the first casino I've been to that piped in cigarette smoke. If you like second hand smoke, go there. We made $0.28 and left.

The name Buffalo Thunder for an Indian casino seemed a strange one. I am reminded of the famous Comanche War Chief, Buffalo Hump. His name was a euphemism for an Indian name represented in written sources in various forms, among them Pochanaquarhip and Ko-cho-naw quoip. When the original translation of his name was given to an Army lieutenant, he came up with Buffalo Hump because he didn't want to put Buffalo Penis on his report. With that in mind I figure Buffalo Thunder was someone called Farting Buffalo in his original language.

While at the mall I noted a VW GTI on display. With little else to do at the time I read the window sticker. The little devil was basically a no option car, and it has Sirius XM as standard equipment. Flash back to last month when we were looking for a new vehicle, the MB dealer couldn't come up with a $40,000 GLK with Sirius XM. It's OPTIONAL on a mid-line Mercedes still, and STANDARD on a $24,000 VW. I'm sure glad I'm not selling Mercedes anymore. The bean counters in New Jersey (MBUSA) are destroying the company. Something tells me that the competition probably has Sirius XM (Sirius and XM became one service last month.) I just looked up the cheapest Lexus, and it has XM as standard, but with only a 3 month subscription vs. the Jeep's 1 year. I guess Lexus has bean counters, too, just not as many as Mercedes Benz USA.

May 9-10, 2011

Emails:

Re the arm: Sorry to hear it is giving you fits.

Must be tough having to sit down to Pee cause ya cant lift anything heavy ;-)

Dan Varner

*****

Cap'n Baylor.

Trust you are healing nicely.

From my son the Hornet Driver, the newest drink at the O Club
The "Bin Laden"....2 shots and a splash of water!

Get well soon,

Surly Bill

May 8, 2011, Sunday

EMail:

Following his success at the Buffalo Stampede, Tex mounted his trusty steed Pegasus and headed out for foreign parts.

Tex finished Top Wild Bunch Traditional in the European Cowboy Action Championships in Starahowice, Poland this past weekend. He also finished 2nd in Frontier Cartridge Gunfighter to Thunderman from the Czech Republic … all with borrowed guns and ammunition!

Well done, Tex!

From EZGZ via Sweet Lorelei

Congratulations, Tex!

The Smart Car invasion continues:

The Smart Car invasion continues

They're everywhere! They're everywhere! Still the uber-left Global Warming Wackos will hate the RVers with them. Their car might be politically correct, but there's nothing else politically correct about RVing. Our carbon footprints are appropriate for Paul Bunyan no matter what we tow behind our evil diesels. I shudder to think what a hybrid RV will cost, and what cargo capacity it will have with 5,000 lb. of batteries and an electric engine that'll move a 30,0000 lb. RV.

I note this is the keyless model.

Most Unusual Toad Yet:

Snowie Toad

I'm not sure how they drive it to the store for milk, but that's their toad.

Snowie Toad

May 7, 2011. Saturday

Neighbor cat Zia, on a leash

Neighbor cat Zia on a leash. Obviously she's not one of our cats as evidenced by the leash

Winnebago View, Motorcycle, and Smart Car

Winnebago View with Motorcycle on trailer hitch and Smart Car in tow. Note wind up key.

Winnebago View and Smart Car

The View is a Sprinter based diesel class C, very small, but with fuel mileage in the upper teens. I guess this is the future of RVing with outrageous fuel prices and a falling dollar. Full timers?

We took George to a dog park in the AM where he picked a fight with a big dog, and The Redhead had to pull him off to protect the big dog. That's his story, and he's stickin' to it.

Dinner at Texas Land and Cattle, very crowded, some little-known holiday tomorrow. Arm is getting better...s-l-o-w-l-y. Still can't sleep as evidenced by my posting this at 0030 May 8.

May 6, 2011, Friday

Cleaned "Heaven" and "Hell," boxed them up, and took them to the FedUP hub and shipped them to Rowdy Yates. Neither works as well as the beat up ROAs, and "Hell" requires a '59 Chevy 3/4 ton truck overload spring for the hammer, and my thumb won't handle it any more. Rowdy is likely the only gunsmith capable of making them work as well as the other pair.

Also took the automatic fire bottle from the shop to a fire extinguisher repair place and discovered it isn't refillable. Called Griot's Garage. The gauge says it's empty, and it's never been fired (fires at 174°F). They're sending a new one under the lifetime warranty.

May 5, 2011, Thursday

Day By Day Cartoon May 5th

Day by Day cartoon

Jeep Stuff:

iPbobe Speedo

The Jeep doesn't have a digital speedometer. I like digital speedometers—that I can read in high contrast situations. The ML320's speedo needed watching or you'd be doing 80 when you thought you were doing 60. The Jeep's speedo needs watching or you'll be doing 60 when you think you're doing 80. (The words "aerodynamics" and "Jeep" shouldn't be used in the same sentence.) The ML320 had a tiny digital speedo display option, and it was invisible to my eyes going into the sun, etc., as was the rest of the speedo. The Jeep's analog speedometer is invisible to my eyes going into the sun unless I turn the lights on, not just daytime running lights. Since iPhones have an app for almost everything, I went through 3 speedometer apps before finding one that was (a) digital, (b) would work with the iPhone mounted horizontally.

 

iPhone Speedo

Finding a mount that would work on the Jeep was harder than I expected. There are few flat spaces on the Jeep's dash, and I didn't want a windshield mount. The second one I got (Arkon IPM515) did fit in the change pocket thingie on the middle of the dash if you pull out the insert and mount a 80 mm flat plate with included double sided 3M tape). Then the suction cup on the mount holds. The iPhone snaps in and out. Jeeps have a 115 v. output on the center console, so the charger can be mounted there without needing a car adapter. The speedometer's digit colors and background can be changed to taste. It works on GPS, of course, so it isn't affected by tire size, etc. You can even take a picture of the screen, I suppose, to show you're doing 155 MPH. Well, not in a Jeep. I've been 155 in a few cars (and one truck) on public roads and faster on racetracks (fastest being a SLR). Been there, done that, don't need any more pictures. Anyway, if you want to go fast, don't get a Jeep Wrangler.

Recuperation continues. I have no strength, no stamina. We won't even think about how much strength the left arm is losing. Sleep is still very difficult, but then I don't sleep well when I'm healthy between cats, dog, and combat related bad dreams.

May 3-4. 2011

Didn't do much Tuesday. Mostly tried to nurse the arm. Wednesday, however, was the day I'd been waiting for, Getting The Stitches Out!

Getting the Stitches Out

I took this with the iPhone while the nurse was taking the stitches out because The Redhead wouldn't. The nurse requested that her ID card not show up on Facebook, etc. So I PhotoShopped it out. The arm feels much better, but I was told not to lift anything as heavy as a revolver, and no shooting for a while longer. I should be recovered enough to shoot before EOT, though I might not get much practice. The Redhead's budget will appreciate the lack of Sportsman's Warehouse, Moulton Lead, etc. bills for a while. i will get to reload probably next week..

May 2, 2011, Monday

I closed out yesterday's blog too soon before I learned the headline of the day:

Usama Bin Laden discovers the 72 virgins all have names starting with "Mother Superior," and they are really pissed."

Craig Ferguson starts his monologues with "It's a great day for America." He's right. It is a great day for America. America exists because tough young American men volunteer to go to hostile foreign countries and perform impossible missions against all odds.

VA Visit

This trip was the every 6 months urologist visit. The heart of the visit is the PSA. Men who have had prostate cancer but have had the prostate removed should have a reading of 0.00±. Mine was 0.007, about what it's been. At this point the doctor mentioned that usually by this time men with aggressive cancers (4, 4 out of 5. 5) the cancer has come back. "We don't usually cure cancers this aggressive." I don't know if he means "We, the medical community," or "We, the VA." I suspect "We, the VA." Previously he had told me that if it did come back, it would likely be something I died WITH not OF.

My cancer surgery was not done in the VA system. I searched out a world-class surgeon who, at the time, had done a lot of surgeries with the Da Vinci robot, relatively new then. I think the number was 150 or so then. Last year a friend with newly diagnosed prostate cancer searched out experienced surgeons and got one who had done over 4,000. Experience, and the success rate, are everything.

I'm glad I have Medicare Part B so that if I do need surgery of this difficulty again, I can search outside of the VA System. I'll reiterate, mine was caught early, the PSA having gone up dramatically in one year between annual physicals. I believe the lesson there is to get the annual physicals. Prostate cancer kills a lot of men and infects a lot more. Women, with breast cancer, have gone public with several campaigns to raise money and awareness. Men tend to hide and to pretend that it won't happen to them. The latest techniques, such as the Da Vinci robot, have lessened the after effects of the surgery, especially the scary ones. Life does go on.

May 1, 2011, Sunday

I love Albuquerque weather. It snowed today. I missed the second local SASS match in a row. Today was a BRR match at Founders Ranch. That must've been fun. It's usually colder there. At least one person on Facebook is probably POed that I wasn't there. She said I should be there pulling targets. I guess technically she's right. I could pull some with the right hand, but it wouldn't be fun. Couldn't be a Timer Operator. You need to be able to grab the shooter in an emergency. I could only spot for people who shot well, less than 5 misses. Definitely couldn't score or pick up brass. But then, I'm generally under the influence of drugs that should (and do) keep me away from a shooting range. I have a countdown clock going to Wednesday at 1000, when the staples come out.

Other than that I mostly nursed the damn arm. It swells up. It goes down. You'd think they were giving me Viagra for wounds rather than pain killers. Trying to sleep, with it over my head, helps getting the swelling and pain down. Anything done standing or sitting, even if I'm holding it over my head, just causes it to swell back up and hurt like hell. I'd like to be writing about something more exciting, but, like the man says, "write what you know."