December 31, 2009
Went to Cowtown and practiced. Good session. Then it came time to pack up the car, and the tailgate wouldn't go up. Loaded everything through the doors, went home, unloaded through the doors, and found out there is no manual override inside (!) Called Roadside Assistance. They had the RS guy from Mercedes-Benz Arrowhead, a new dealer in Peoria. He said coming out would do no good. It needed their computer to diagnose. Earliest appointment because of the holiday is Monday at 0900. Going to the CCSA match Sunday is going to be a lot of fun.
The stock on one of my '73s split, and the SKB 100 had a problem. Back at the shop I opened up the split and used Gorilla Glue to try to fix same. Clamped it together and left it clamped overnight. A new stock is $255 from Taylor's.
The SKB's extractor has gotten bent or something. It interferes with the left hull. Couldn't fix. Will give to Johnny Meadows Sunday. A new extractor is $89.95 from e-gunparts.com.
Happy New Year, Y'all
Last Photos for 2009
Angelique, the newest member of the family. If you wonder why she has joined us, then you can't hear her purring
A Bigger Rig Than Ours:
42' Coach, 26' (OAL) hydraulic double decker trailer. Inside are a '70s Ford F150 and a late model Shelby Mustang GT500 convertible
The trailer placard says its GVW is 18,000 lb. Hmm, I believe the coach has a 400 hp engine, same as ours. Hills must be fun both ways. Alberta plates.
It does have an escape door, as ours does.
December 30, 2009
Went to Dillon. Got the offending spring and other needed parts, including all the parts of the primer feed mechanism that I replaced with my spares. Also bought a rheostat for the RF100 primer filler, some 200 gr. bullets, and D-Lead products.
Went to Sportsman's on the way back. Bought a lot of stuff, including a case of Estate 12 ga. shells for '97 usage. Went to Cowtown and practiced WB. Successfully shot 49 Estate shells. Shucked one out and didn't find it until cleaning up. I would say the Cimarron '97 works--quite well, and the cheap Estate rounds work find for a '97. I'll probably use them in competition, though that means I lose the panache of having Dooley Gang shells. Of course, unless I can get someone to bring some to Winter Range, I'll be out of them soon anyway.
In the .45 ACP I shot rounds that had failed inspection when I last loaded, and they all worked perfectly. Perhaps my criteria for match ammo are too severe. Naaaa...
Back at the shop installed the rheostat. It works well. Finessed the RF100 into working well again. Reassembled the XL650 and loaded 400 rounds of .38 Special.
December 29, 2009
FINALLY had my appointment with the podiatry department. Appointment at 0830. Got there early as we didn't know what traffic would be like. Was ushered in 15 minutes early. Introduced to what looked like a teenage blonde, very cute. She was the doctor, a 3rd year resident. She gave me a cortisone shot quite expertly and a pair of orthotics and instructions to freeze a water bottle and roll it under my foot to ice the foot.
The pain started to decrease pretty quickly and has been doing getter. But I have been suffering for a long time before finally getting treatment.
Reloaded in the PM. Needed to replace the primer indexing lever, a part that wears out quickly on the Dillon XL650. While everything was apart, the ball detent spring for the shell plate disappeared. I have 3 parts bin cases full of Dillon spares. But I didn't have one of those. Must go to Dillon in the AM.
December 28, 2009
Weather bad and didn't feel good enough to go practice. Worked on updating "Getting Started in Cowboy Action Shooting." Went to garage. Switched XL650 from .45 ACP to .38 Spcl and the RF100 from large pistol primers to small. I have toolheads with everything on them needed and complete large and small primer systems. I do have to switch the RF100 from Large to small. PITA, but the machine is expensive, so I haven't gotten another so neither has to be switched. Timed the switch. Supposed to take 15 minutes, but, as Emily Latella said, "There's always something." 1 hour and 15 minutes after I started the first round came off the machine. Quit 1 hour later with 400 rounds loaded.
Part of the time switching was what to do with the Large Pistol primers in the 650 and 100. The RF100 had a full tube (poor planning). Using a technique taught me by Randy Shelly at Dillon, the guy who designed the RF100, I moved the primer tube over the plastic plate the primers came in, loading them into their original spots. Then put the lid on. Half a tube was in the 650. Put them into the 100 and loaded them into the primer tube and repeated above.
December 27, 2009
Practiced. Had the place to myself. Later worked up a spreadsheet of shooting activities from now through Winter Range so I could figure out how much ammunition I need vs. what I have, Inventoried the ammo I have, not enough.
I have large pistol primers on order and ordered 3500 105 gr. .38 bullets (the most that'll fit in a Priority Mail box).
December 26, 2009
Practiced. Several people were trying new guns.
December 25, 2009
Peace on Earth,
Good Will toward men
December 24, 2009
The Redhead made us a steak dinner, and we cocooned for the evening.
December 23, 2009
Got to Cowtown (had the place to myself. Locked the gate behind me to keep out interlopers. Members have the combination.) Pulled out the guns. Noted that I didn't have the SKB. I had the other green case, with the .45 '73 in it. Had the .38 '73 and the .38 pistols, and, strangely enough, the '97. Decided to shoot exercises, single shot draws with the pistols, singles from the table with the rifle, then doubles. Can't work the action on the rifle faster than .3something. Then shot one pistol, switched, shot the other. I could get 2 shots, one from each, in under 3 seconds no matter which gun I started with. Then I tried shooting 10 shot strings, and the gun changes went back to 2+ seconds. Hmm. Has to be a concentration thing. Worked on that. Got the transitions below 2 seconds. This improving times is all itty bitty victories, one at a time, each costing $30,000 in ammunition and 500 hours of practice. Then shot one from each gun, with the rifle 2 windows away from where the pistols were shot. Started in the high 6 second range. Ended in the mid 5s.
Then got the '97 out and shot up all of the smokeless shells with me. It worked well. Must be manhandled. Nothing gentle. Worked on reloads because they keep writing 10 round stages and the like. 4 shot routines started mid 4s, got to low 3s. Did 4 shots because of 4 knockdowns on the range.
Back to the bus, then the trailer. Reloaded .45 ACP. I'll be out of large pistol primers soon. Found some Remingtons online last night and ordered 5,000. I like to order at least 10,000 online to justify the $20 hazmat extortion, but a) don't have the money and b) don't have the money. With shipping, tax, hazmat, and mandatory Obama Re-election campaign contribution (when did that pass?), paid $40/1000. It's time for the revolution.
December 22, 2009
Went to practice. Shot a couple of boxes through the Cimarron '97 without a bobble. Remington STS Lights, Winchester AA Featherlites, and S & B 2-1/2" low noise, low recoil shells. It ate everything. Ejection was flawless. It just needs a good action job and a bigger bead on the front, and maybe lengthening the forcing cone. It seemed like it recoiled more than the Winchester that has had that done.
Wore out my shoulder shooting the STS shells. Methinks Featherlites will be the fodder of choice, at least until the forcing cone gets done.
Then I started practicing with the 1911, first 10 round strings, then shoot one, change magazines, shoot one. Eventually I changed to shooting 2, then mag change, then shoot one. The reason was I normally shoot one magazine while the weak hand picks up the next magazine and moves it close to the gun, so that I don't have to get it from my belt to the gun while not accomplishing anything else of importance. But shooting 2 gives me time to grab the magazine and get it back up to the gun in time to do the mag change. I did this and variations about a hundred times. My left arm now was hurting from my trigger finger to my crotch and back, but I was beginning to get it.
I did a particularly fast mag change just as Smackwater Jack and his friend were walking up. Jack exclaimed something like, "Wow, what a mag change!" I checked the timer. 1.65. Hit the target, too. :)
His friend had a compact Hi Standard, pretty much a copy of a Colt Officer's ACP. He was having trouble with it. For one thing he didn't know how to take it apart. Jack asked me if I could do it. It had a full-length guide rod, of course. I said sure. Within a few seconds I had the gun apart. This had the desired effect. They were impressed. I helped them with their problem. Within a few minutes the gun was working perfectly.
The Hi Standard is another Armscorp gun, like Rock Island Armory and Legacy Sports, Philippine made.
Back home worked in the garage.
I've had to rewrite this because I left the computer, and the little black witch came and sat on it, leaving something like...,,,,,fff,ff,fff,,...ff for several rows where December 22's blog was supposed to be.
December 21, 2009
Letter of the day
Dear Mom and Dad:
It has now been three months since I left for college. I have been remiss in writing and am very sorry for my thoughtlessness in not having written before. I will bring you up to date now, but before you read on, please sit down. You are not to read any further unless you are sitting down... Okay?
Well, then, I am getting along pretty well now. The skull fracture and the concussion I got when I jumped out of the window of my dormitory when it caught fire shortly after my arrival, are pretty well healed now. I only spent two weeks in the hospital and now I can see almost normally and only get three headaches a day.
Fortunately the fire in the dormitory and my jump were witnessed by an attendant at the gas station near the dorm and he was the one who called the Fire Department and the ambulance. He also visited me at the hospital, and since I had nowhere to live because of the burnt-out dorm, he was kind enough to invite me to share his apartment with him. It's really a basement room, but it is kind of cute. He is a very fine boy and we have fallen deeply in love and are planning to get married. We haven't set the exact date yet, but it will be before my pregnancy begins to show.
Yes, Mother and Dad, I am pregnant. I know how much you are looking forward to being grandparents and I know you will welcome the baby and give it the same love and devotion and tender care you gave me when I was a child. The reason for the delay in our marriage is that my boyfriend has some minor infection which prevents us from passing our premarital blood tests and I carelessly caught it from him. This will soon clear up with the penicillin injections I am now taking daily.
I know you will welcome him into our family with open arms. He is kind and although not well educated, he is ambitious. Although he is of a different race and religion than ours, I am sure you will love him as I do. His family background is good, too for I am told that his father would be soon reunited with his family when he finished his term in jail early next year.
Now that I have brought you up to date, I want to tell you that there was no dormitory fire, I did not have a concussion or skull fracture, I was not in the hospital, I am not pregnant, I am not engaged, I do not have syphilis and there is no boyfriend in my life. However, I am getting a "D" in History and an "F" in Science, and I wanted you to see these marks in the proper perspective.
Your loving daughter,
Last night The Redhead's Dell computer went Tango Uniform. This morning we went to Best Buy and saw the Geek Squad guys. They genuflected over it and suggested she buy a new one. So we went looking at laptops. $30,000 later we came home with a HP. We are officially over budget this month. Merry Christmas, Redhead, The.
Went to Legendary Guns and picked up the Cimarron '97 I foolishly bought at the convention. I say foolishly because why would I need another '97 just for . They never break, do they? I did get it for pocket change as the Cimarron people were boxing things up on Sunday at the Convention. I foolishly passed on a Norinco/IAC trench gun at EOT, for a lot more money, but a good price, especially for the cool factor. But I hadn't just sold guns I'd won then.
I noted it doesn't say "TTN." "Polytech PRC CFA, Fredericksburg, TX." Compared to the horror stories about TTN, this seems as well made as a Uberti. Finish is plain, as is the wood, but it looks like good wood. It has a fairly thin black recoil pad. Business like.
Brought it home and tried dummy rounds through it until my arms gave out. I'll shoot it tomorrow. Johnny Meadows will get it early next year for smoothing. It works okay, but I'd like it to eject more vigorously and operate with less effort. Aside from that, it's okay.
DUMMIES FOR '97 PRACTICE: (From Long Hunter) Insert wad in empty hull, crimp. The empty won't wear out the extractor, and the wad stiffens the walls so it lasts longer.
Mine don't have to last long. I lose them on the floor, to be found when I clean up for travel.
The Redhead took the little witch to the vet for her second round of shots and wellness check. She hijacked the place, stealing $14,000 from the till and 25 lb. of cat treats.
December 20, 2009
CCSA Wild Bunch match. Wore the WB uniform for some pictures. The guy at Work-N-Ranch sent me a pair of boots for old feet, stovepipe boots with low heel. They're brown and looked like officer's boots of the era, so I put the M1911 spurs on them.
They're not expensive boots, probably $100-150. Made in India. Half rubber soles on "Genuine leather" and rubber heels. Inside there is no removable insole, which is about the only bone I have to pick with them. Old, fat guys need room for their orthotics, and those not using those need room for their Dr. Scholl's Gel Cushion insoles. They were more comfortable than I expected, and I was still ambulatory after 6 stages.
Spurs not included
Also I wore a watch from Dan Burns Associates, Inc. (336) 841-7998, P O Box 6023, 8011 Arbordale Ave, High Point, North Carolina 27262. www.erieffwatches.com/. It was their first convention, and they weren’t doing as well as they expected to. Displaying at the SASS Convention is very expensive. Vendors who know the audience do well. After all, 600-700 conventioneers just before Christmas have to be a good audience for SASS products. But I figured that SASS people just didn’t know Mr. Burns and his company because it was their first time. What they make is custom logo watches, specifically for us a SASS logo pocket watch. The pocket watch can have your badge number etched on the badge (case front) and alias on the case back for $179.00. The watch without etching is $159.00. These come in a tin case. Case and chain are $20 each, and come in a faux suede pouch. The watch’s features include: Swiss Ronda 715 quartz movement for extreme accuracy, Stainless steel case with jeweled interior, Guilloche dial in ivory with the SASS logo at 12 o’clock. A digital date is in a small window. The front of the case is etched with the SASS Badge logo. It sports a hardened mineral crystal, and has an 8” chrome-plated chain. This is a well-made watch, practical for shooters, as the stainless steel case can take abuse. I like the fact that the time is easy to read for eyes that are no longer 20/20 and 18 years old.
I learned that I will make 2 suggestions to Mr. Burns. 1. I think the chain should be 10 inches instead of 8. 2. I would like to have an option of a T-bar at the end instead of the clasp. The clasp is authentic, but it's harder to use when putting the watch in your vest pocket. The T-bar will work on most buttonholes.
Other than that it's a cool watch.
The reason I wore the uniform was to get photos of me shooting the Comanchero in a Wild Bunch match while wearing the uniform. This is harder than you would think. This is the best one we got:
The photographer did a great job, but the timer operator blocked all of the photos. Story of my life.
I tried cropping it:
Nope, his arm is covering part of the rifle.
Good match. I was second in Traditional behind Krazy Kurt. I started off well but had my first stage disaster on the last stage. Missed 3. Wound up a few hundredths ahead of Two Dot who had his disaster on the first stage.
In my IPSC days having 2 rounds of empty brass in the air was no big achievement, but I did this using one hand!
And yes, the ammunition exceeds the power factor
December 19, 2009
Went to the CCSA (Cowtown) match. 3 posses, all former world champion frontiersmen. Won anyway, one 25 second stage (10-10-4), 1 miss on another. The rest low 30s. Had to reshoot 2 shotguns on the one with the miss. 6 stages. Pretty tired afterwards. Foot hurt.
December 18, 2009
Worked in garage and on secret writing projects.
December 17, 2009
How to Know if You're a Redneck Jedi
You have had an X-wing up on blocks in your yard.
Your Jedi robe is a camouflage color.
You have used your light saber to open and cook a can of pork and beans.
You think the best use of your light saber is picking your teeth.
At least one wing of your X-Wing fighter is primer-colored.
There is a blaster rack in the back of your landspeeder.
You can easily describe the taste of Ewok.
You can find no grammatical errors in the way Yoda talks.
You have bantha horns on the front of your landspeeder.
You think that the Stormtrooper Elite Guards are just KKK members with really good sheets.
A peaceful meditation session is one without gas.
You can levitate yourself using a force from within, but not The Force.
Your master has said, "My finger you will pull..hmmm?"
You have lost a hand during a light-saber fight because you had to spit.
The worst part of spending time on Dagoba is the dadgum skeeters.
Wookies are offended by your B.O.
You have used The Force to get yourself another beer so you didn't have to wait for a commercial.
You have used The Force in conjunction with fishing/bowling.
You have used a light saber to clean fish or open a non-twist-off bottle of beer.
Your father told you, Shoot, son come on over t' the dark side...it'll be a hoot.
You've had your R-2 unit use its self-defense electro-shock thingy to light a bar-b-que.
Work on one of my writing projects was interrupted when Angelique decided to contact Cat Central using C-Mail. I believe the message was, "I've found my suckers, and I'm claming them. Don't send any more cats here."
Went to the Phoenix VA for an evaluation I shouldn't have had to go to. Wasted most of the day. Got kitty toys, a horizontal scratching post, and catnip from PetCo. Amazingly Arthur liked the catnip. He never did when he was younger.
December 16, 2009
December 15, 2009
Weaver Gal sent some photos taken when 17 SASS people visited the Venetian in costume:
The Redhead and me at our table. Just noticed the menus matched The Redhead's 1890's Walking Suit
Several SASS people at the Venetian
SURPRISE! YOU HAVE A NEW CAT! MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Okay, now we have 2 cats. This is Angelique (named after the witch in Dark Shadows. She is 10 weeks old, all purr and curiosity. The Redhead came home from getting cat food at the vet telling about this rescued kitten... to make a long story short, now she's ours. According to George and Arthur, she's an evil witch and will put a spell on us. I believe she already has.
I have no idea why this cat make you think of witches.
No, we are not interested in any more free kittens--the bus is at capacity!
Preparations for Christmas: Today we put the 8 ft. Douglas Fir tree up in the living room and decorated it. We may have to move it. Might be too close to the fireplace.
Oh, that's right. We're in a bus with a 7' ceiling and a furnace, no fireplace. That makes getting ready for Christmas much less work.
December 13-14, 2009
Practice, Practice, Practice
December 12, 2009
Went to the ACSA match at Ben Avery. 7 stages. By the end my left foot was hurting up to my knee, and the right one was only a little behind. Passed on lunch with several other shooters as a results. Came back to the bus and crashed.
Good match. No complaints about the stages. Several were ambidextrous. I didn't shoot well.
Yesterday two guys came around looking for work detailing. Had them detail the bus and trailer today. Excellent work and price:
B & R Luxury Detailing, Robert Dohrman, 602-999-6225, 602-741-1880
Because we had Xzilon applied at the time of purchase, we haven't had to pay for waxing, and the bus always washes up well. We did have them wax the trailer, which was a bitch, I'm sure, since it hasn't even been washed since we got it.
I actually got to practice today about 2 hours. Too tired to do much more. Shot a sample of the 200 gr. .45 ACP loads and pronounced them more than acceptable.
Got ready for the ACSA match tomorrow, ammunition, balls powder, caps, etc.
December 10, 2009
Went to Cowtown at 0900 and met Justice Quick. He had opened the lock by hitting it with a hammer on a little steel spot on the side of the brass lock. I had Break Free CLP, so we lubricated it, and it worked. I thanked Justice Quick. He left. I went inside and discovered I had everything needed to shoot except guns. Back to the bus. Worked in the garage making 200 gr. .45 ACP loads.
December 9, 2009
Went to Cowtown. The gate was locked. The padlock wouldn't open with the right combination. Worked on it for half an hour or so and gave up. Called Justice Quick, and he said he had a little problem with it, but it worked for him. He said he was going there in the morning, so I made an appointment to meet him there.
Worked in the shop. Set the 650 up to load .45 ACP using HP38. Of course, everything had gotten out of adjustment. Realized the 200 gr. LRNFP bullets were a shape I hadn't encountered before. Made some dummies to make sure they fed in the Gumment Model. Then tested same. No problem.
December 8, 2009
Up at 0100 with gastric reflux when George S. Patton, Jr. told me in no uncertain terms that he needed a walk. It seems he hadn't properly taken advantage of the facilities when walked in the rain and at a truck stop. So I put on clothes and took him to the dog park. Poor guy. He's a happy dog now.
Worked on the blog and other computer stuff all day. Took the ML out of the trailer. Practice can wait.
December 7, 2009
Drove to Phoenix arriving in the dark. Rained all the way. Snowed in Kingman. Cheated death and destruction one more time. Set up in the rain in the dark. Storm came through in the middle of the night causing us to put down the satellite internet dish because of high winds.
December 6, 2009
Slept in--exhausted. Then we headed to the Riv and discovered that the Las Vegas Marathon had (as previous years) blocked Las Vegas Boulevard. We probably walked across before. This year my feet wouldn't allow it, and we had a bunch of stuff in the room, including the engraved Confederate General Officer's sword that couldn't be taken through the casino.
Took 45 minutes to cross the street, having to go way past the Stratosphere, come back down a parallel street and come in the back way. Roads that were closed at Las Vegas were not marked until you got there. @$!%^@$&!!!
Breakfast at Kady's, then I went to the exhibition floor. I'd been working with Dan at D Bar J for two custom hats:
This is Captain John Hughes' Texas Ranger Co. D, 1895, El Paso. Captain Hughes is wearing a sombrero
Captain Hughes' Sombrero, 9-9.5" crown, 6" brim, pencil roll with lacing. We took some time trying to figure out what color it really was. I thought it was lighter than pecan, but we settled on pecan because it fades. It should be noted that D Bar J is one of few hat companies who can make it because they have a blocking machine.
5 scouts of the 8th Texas Cavalry Regiment, known as
Terry's Texas Rangers after its organizer and first commander, Colonel
Benjamin Franklin Terry, who was killed in their first battle, Woodsonville,
Kentucky, on December 17, 1861. Wartime photo of men from Company C.
From left to right are believed to be Peter L. Kendall, unknown, Felix Grundy Kennedy, William A. Lynch, Unknown.
The unknowns have been variously identified as Dick Oliver, Tom Burney, W. Wood, or George W. Archer.
Original with the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society.
5 different hats. Two frock coats, both different (1 & 4), three different sack coats, different footgear.
I picked the hat from the second man, identified as Unknown. Dan is good and went over every detail after re-measuring me and using an antique machine to make a cross section of my head for proper fitting. I picked up a Texas Star from Coon Creek and gave it to him.
All week Dan was taking orders for campaign hats "just like Captain Baylor's." We might have a group photo going at a big event next year
Abilene of Cimarron Firearms with "Crossfire Trail" or "Northwest Mounted Police" 1876 Winchester replica, not sure which
Abilene is showing off a shotgun I said we needed, a medium priced, good quality hammerless double. This one has a mechanical SINGLE trigger, so it's not recoil sensitive like the SKB, and it's from Turkey. I told Texas Jack (Mike Harvey), new Hall of Fame inductee, that he needed to send me one for a Cowboy Chronicle test. I doubt I'll see it. I don't think I've convinced him yet.
I always look for an excuse to photograph this young lady from Taylor's & Co., Inc. She's holding a Burgess rifle. I'm due to test the first production model to arrive--any time now. Taylor's appreciates having me test their guns for the Cowboy Chronicle.
Victorian Cowgirl. Not sure what Bighorn's looking for
Ted Blocker Leather. I asked about their Wild Bunch rig. The holster looks good, kind of 1980 IPSCish. The mag pouches are too tall.
Sport Ear, really good electronic ear protection and amplification. I wear a pair of their top in-the-ear model and love them.
Guns of the Old West had a good convention
Dan Burns Associates, Inc. sells modern watches with SASS badges and cowboy on them, custom engraved if desired, very strong but authentic in look. He wasn't happy about the convention and the cooperation of SASS. Dealing with Cimarron Lou had been problematic, but she's gone, and now it's worse. I suggested he make a watch available for an article, and he has emailed me asking where to send the watch. I'll check it out and put it in the column, probably March
Action Targets had a good convention
Waddie Wear--last year the lady took my class and vowed to make some of the shirts I said were no longer available, such as the one on the black and white poster. She hasn't done any yet but did have some red and white cloth to duplicate one shirt from my seminar. She promised more.
Bob and Mrs. Mernickle of Mernickle Leather show off a rather plain B-Western Rig
Apparently Fiddletown likes Flash.
Talked with Coon Creek about Wild Bunch uniforms and asked about a Texas star belt buckle shown on a photo of a Texas Cavalry scout.
Leta said, "We don't have one like that, do we, Buck?" He looked at the picture and said, "Sure we do." He opened some cases and went through several levels to find it. They do help with the details.
As expected, didn't win anything in Duelist in the Wax Bullet shoot. I remember Texas Slim was second and Cowtown Scout third. All 3 were not seniors. Elder Statesmen, Silver Seniors, and Senior Duelists saw their categories eliminated, but two or three women's categories had only one or 2 entrants. There were at least 5 Senior Duelists. Coyote Calhoun was saving money. Of course seniors are the backbone of SASS, so why not screw them?
But I'm not bitter.
Saw a '97 at Cimarron. TTN, but it worked well, not like some recent ones. Negotiated. Didn't like the price. Dropped by again as they were putting things up and made a ridiculous offer. Robert asked, "Are you going to write about it?" My response was that if I did it should be free. He took the offer, making me feel I offered too much.
As I say, it works well enough to use in a match as is. I'd like it smoother, so I'll be looking for a smith who works on TTN's. Some don't. Considering some of the bad ones, I understand. Expect life with the TTN to be chronicled here. It's going to Legendary Guns in Phoenix, so I should have it next week or so.
That evening we went to dinner at "The Best Steak House in Las Vegas" the Steak House at Circus Circus with The Man With No Name and Konnivin' Katie. Good company, pretty good food, but not up to Nero's at Caesar's.
We sat and talked until 10:30, and no one filled water glasses after the check was paid. The place wasn't crowded, to say the least.
December 5, 2009
Shoot at 0830, teach one class, a little time on the exhibition floor. Still haven't talked to all the vendors.
The Redhead didn't want to take the 2 hours to put on "THE DRESS," so she wore her blue one. This was okay by me since I was going as General Lee, and becoming General Lee is an ordeal in itself. She would have wanted to put on THE DRESS in our room at the Riv, and I needed to do the General in the bus. Difficult to do both simultaneously since I have to lace her into THE DRESS. No problems with the beard this time. The boots are a bitch.
This was the target, Robert E. Lee in full dress parade uniform. I'm pretty sure he didn't go to battle wearing the gold general's belt and General Staff sash.
The costume contest was in the rooms the wax bullet match had been in, open to the public and visible. Much bigger turn out than last year. 10 in military, good field. Lots in other categories.Some good looking costumes. Some with major errors, a Confederate officer wearing a Medal of Honor, for example. This brings up:
Captain Baylor's Rules for Wearing Medals:
1. If you are dressed as a specific person, and your photo/painting, etc. shows him wearing a medal, then wear it.
2. If you are portraying a soldier who fought in a particular conflict, wearing the campaign and service medals that would have been given to the average soldier of his rank is correct.
3. If you were awarded a particular medal yourself, then it's okay to wear the equivalent on the uniform you're wearing. There was no Purple Heart during any of the conflicts we normally portray. The Pyramid of Valor started during WWI, so it's hard to find, for example, the equivalent of a Silver or Bronze Star.
4. Awarding yourself a 19th century Medal of Honor when it doesn't meet the first three conditions is not a good thing. It shows a disrespect for everyone who actually did go to war and come home with very expensive pieces of cloth and metal.
5. The Confederate Army authorized one medal and awarded it on paper about 4 times, but they never made any actual medals, so a Confederate uniform should not have any medals on it.
We got there early, but others had gotten there earlier, and, again, we were at a table with people we didn't know. Often this is good because we meet new people, but with the number of friends at this event we should have worked it out better. Of course, a lot of people didn't go to the banquet. It was at the Top of the Riv. Last year the banquet at the Top of the Riv was incredibly crowded, with a terrible sound system, and awful food.
It was also expensive, at $75 a person or more. We got in "free" because I put on 4 seminars. Boy, do I work cheap. So a lot of people went to better casinos with better restaurants and got better meals without having to put up with Victorian dancing. If you LIKE Victorian, you were well treated. Miss Tabitha always does a good job with it. I just care about Victorian dancing like a cat cares about football, or, for that matter, like I care about football unless it's played by young women in lingerie. I didn't want to see any of the Victorian dancers in their lingerie, by the way. It wouldn't help.
But we went for the costume contest awards presentation. First came the promenade. The Redhead doesn't like to promenade, so I went by myself. Not comfortable with the other couples. Solomon Star was with me, but we weren't a couple.
Photos by Major Photography
This is how I looked, Robert E. Lee in his plain (Brady photos) uniform, not the fancy one at the surrender, with general's belt and sash, engraved Confederate General Officer's sword, knee protector boots with the spurs from the Confederate Museum in Richmond, Virginia.
My presentation was awful. I tripped on the way up the stairs (no depth perception in that light) and absolutely forgot everything. I'd handed the painting to the judges, so they could see what I was trying to do. I remembered I was Robert E. Lee, General of the Army of Northern Virginia, and said so. They asked me to speak louder. I did. I have a command voice that could have reached the Casino, but it was gone then. I told them they could see most of what I was trying to do on the painting, that I was wearing my plainest uniform with Colonel's insignia because I had earned that rank in the US Army, and because I didn't like politically appointed generals. I explained that it was in full dress form because I did not go into battle with the fancy belt and sash. Then I mentioned that the boots were authentic and politely showed them the soles and heels. The spurs were the ones in the Confederate Museum*, and so were the spur straps. I pulled the sword out and showed that it was an engraved Confederate General Officer's sword.
They asked me to turn around. I did, and asked if they had any questions. One of the ladies asked me if the boots were uncomfortable. I replied they were terribly uncomfortable to walk on but would be very comfortable and functional on horseback.
I didn't use the 45 seconds allotted me. Either the costume was going to stand on its own or not. Too much presenting can hurt you. I didn't have to say when I was. They understood, I believe, that General Lee only existed in that uniform during the war.
*Made by Lindholm Brothers Spurs (Wimpy) from photos of the originals. Nice job, Wimpy!
Really nice scarf slides were Costume Contest awards
My name was called last in the category, giving me, finally, a first at the Convention. The award was a very nice scarf slide, much better than last year's medals. The top three uniforms were very good. Second was a Naval Officer of 1895, and third was a 1880s corporal in full dress uniform. They looked technically perfect to me.
My thanks to the judges, the Carolina Belles and Cowtown Scout to keep the military types straight. I always feel better when I see him on the committee. He studies uniforms to excess (owns 12) and can usually separate the BS. He's been on the other side of the table enough to understand contestants, too. He has won here when I was a judge. The Belles, of course, know ladies' clothing quite well and seem to be able to sort out the men's categories quite well also.
Cat Ballou formally turned the future costume contests at the Convention over to the Carolina Belles. I can't think of anyone who could do it better. They have been instrumental in raising costuming to its current high level of sophistication and authenticity. I do pity their husbands when it comes time to transport their costumes to an from the convention. I'm sure the lady contestants are glad they're judging and not competing.
If you're wondering why I'm not listing the other winners it's because I was unable to listen to much of the presentation because of people congratulating me. Tex said he didn't recognize me, and a lady asked if I was a specific Confederate officer. I remember hearing Happy Jack and Copper Queen getting second in couples. His white tie outfit, made by a museum curator from an original, was absolutely perfect. I also remember Shotglass getting second Best Dressed Lady and Sloan Easy winning. I think the Dodge City Fire Department and ladies won the Dodge City category and La Bandida was second, and was best undressed in the entire convention, as usual.
When I get the full listing, I'll post it. Sorry, no photos this year. The little camera is broken, and I wasn't going to ask The Redhead to deal with the big Nikon.
After the banquet we went to the Judge Roy Bean Saloon, with me sans beard, sword, and sash. The Judge and Justice Lily Kate were playing video poker for the world's most expensive free drinks. Shotglass was already in T-shirt. I would have been if I'd had the good sense to bring a change to the room at the Riviera. Probably wouldn't have done much good as it took a big boot jack to get the boots to the point The Redhead could pull them off. Justice Lily Kate took the "Last Plane Out" of snowed in Houston. Global warming my ass.
December 4, 2009
Shot wax bullets. Only one class to do, then went to Evil Roy's class. Kept getting called away. Missed some. Got a glance in the exhibition floor. Saw Dan at D Bar J and talked hats. The Redhead called once for me to meet her at "The Judge Roy Bean Saloon", which is the sports bar at Leroy's, a room off the casino. I was delayed by Dan and another guy and took over 20 minutes to get there. As I approached, the video poker machine she was playing erupted in happy noise. She had 4 deuces, $1000. Suddenly she was no longer mad I was late.
Now, it was Friday, after 4 at the sports bar, and no bartender. She went to the bus to change for a trip to the Venetian with the Winter Range crew, and I waited with several Oregon cowboys who were smoking cigars in the easy chairs. But no bartender. At 10 to 5 a lady walked in behind the bar, and Flint McCloud went to order drinks for the house, meaning us. He came back with drinks, but she had given him a hard time. She didn't open till 5. Most of the Riv workers are taking some kind of happy pills to put up with the conditions there, but she missed hers. They've cut back a lot and the remaining people are working a lot of overtime. One of the reasons we were going to the Venetian is that only Kady's and Kristofers are open now at the Riv. This caused us to miss the pajama party with the Dooley Gang.
When she got back we went down to the taxi level and Allie Mo and some others were there talking to a "limo" driver, a big SUV. Apparently the limo driver had convinced them to take the limo and to take a bunch of the people who were going. We had 7, so we went along. Big mistake. The limo wound up costing $50 + tip. The taxi ride back, with an honest driver, was $6.70 + (large) tip.
Anyway, we went to an Italian restaurant in the square, nice place. Larsen E. Pettifogger had arranged it, reservations for 14. They offered him a table in an upstairs room with no view of the courtyard. He chose 2 table for 7 out in the "outdoor" restaurant. 17 people showed up, all in costume. Allie Mo gave a complete description of the sport to everyone who asked what we were doing. Great waiter, very charming to the ladies, probably like that guy who got Amanda Knox in trouble. Good food. Wandered the area a while after dinner. Some took gondola rides. We didn't.
Blurry Cel Phone Photos from the Venetian:
Weaver Gal and The Redhead in their finery. The Redhead is wearing the 1895 Walking Suit from Aspen Filly
Organizer Larsen E. Pettifogger
LT Col. Scratch and Blackjack Zak join the correct side
December 3, 2009
Hell Day at the SASS Convention
0830-Convention opening, Wooly Awards at at Top of the Riv.
1000-Shoot Wax Bullet match, stages 1-3. Still pissed that Coyote Calhoun eliminated my category. Hard to get enthused, especially since the guns still don't work any better than last year, and the bullets still have minds of their own.
1230-Taught "Authentic Men's Costumes"
1400-Computer went black, battery dead. Nearest power cord at bus. Called The Redhead and begged her to bring one. She left a poker game at Circus Circus and went to the bus. Then she called to tell me that the keyless entry wouldn't let her in, and I have the only key. Limped to parking garage, drove to the bus, brought back a power cord. Only ran over a little old lady and a baby carriage and ran two red lights. Made up for it by killing a clown. Made it in time.
1430-Taught "Black powder For Dummies"
After that got a few minutes in the exhibition hall. Redwing has made a Unicorn knife for Frontiersmen:
Unicorn knife shown with left-handed sheath to be attached to a holster. The purpose of the shape of the handle is to firmly seat caps on nipples. I don't think he's going to call it a Unicorn knife.
1830-Went to Life Member Reception. Ate "free" food, drank expensive little drinks.
Da Agony of da Feet kept me from staying to watch the Classic Cowboy/B-Western/Saloon Girl Costume Contest. Too bad. People were talking about La Bandida and others the rest of the weekend.
Bed, pain killers.
December 2, 2009
Registration day, SASS Convention
Guns are like parachutes, if you're ever in a situation that you need one and you don't have one, you'll probably never need one again.
Registered, went to the meet and greet. The drinks there are very expensive, but to make up for it, they're very small.
December 1, 2009
Slept in. Went to the Encore for an expensive lunch, $51+$10 tip. Won $51 using the Wynn's $10 for getting a Red card. Everything in the Wynn and Encore is red. I couldn't find The Redhead. She was wearing a new red cashmere sweater and blended in really well.
The injured foot became too much of a problem, and The Redhead prefers to gamble alone, so I went back to the bus, worked on "Wild Bunch for Dummies," getting it up to 5 chapters.
The Redhead came back, and we went to the Riv for dinner and met several SASS people, mostly at the bar. The Judge was there, looking better and telling horror stories of his treatment. They won't know if they got all of the cancer or not for several months. Wimpy and the Judge compared cancer treatment stories. Everyone else was bragging on how much they lost or won gambling.