Local Color, Local Heroes

Fall is in the air and last week we had a bit of local event-stuff at our Neighbor’s ranch. Out by the pond there’s a Bunkhouse and a Saloon built by Ed from local-cut timber, and we were invited for a Veteran’s Celebration pot-luck, which was a nice way to meet folks since we’re the newbies.
There were a variety of dishes including ground-elk cabbage rolls and our coleslaw.
Before dinner we had a Pledge of Allegiance, and after dinner Ed had a brief talk about his friend Buck who was a firearms instructor, and much-much more – who had passed away recently. As a half-Cherokee they held a ceremony for Buck atop a mountain overlooking the back-country of Lake Tahoe where his ashes were spread. There were a couple remembrances and stories told about him.
Basically the whole night was given over to veterans telling stories of their experiences, and it started with this: Ed’s first story revolved around the deceased’s participation as a US adviser training troops in a southern nation to the south in the mid-1980’s. Apparently a group of advisers he was leading on a bus was stopped by a group of “banditos”… Apparently they set up an ambush and flanked each side of the bus. Big mistake. After an attempt to communicate and resolve the issue (whatever it was) failed, the order was given and the guys inside the bus rolled out each side and took out the ambush. None of the “banditos” survived.
A petite female vet who must have been in her late 60’s (remember, never ask a woman’s age) recounted her time in Germany after Desert Storm when she had re-upped, where she met a German Chaplain with a German Shepard who went on marathon runs together with her unit, and who she ran into again in Georgia on runs when she was stationed there.
She also knew Ed and Buck from attending the one-room schoolhouse down in Pleasant Valley, while he went to the fancy there-room one further up the road, and her school beating them in Baseball. She was part Native American too and Buck used-to call her, “His Little Comanche.” Annie Oakley would have gotten a run for her money from her!
A third guy talked a bunch about being a Tunnel-Rat in Vietnam, the various equipment they used and later things…
Another Vietnam Vet brought his 94-year old father-in-law who had been a Marine artilleryman in the Pacific WWII, fighting from Peleliu to Iwo Jima – and who watched the flag(s) go up on Mount Suribachi, on Iwo Jima. He didn’t want to talk about that much and said he only survived because he was in the artillery. I got the distinct feeling he still was frustrated at the conditions and difficulties of supporting his forward Marines, against the Japanese redoubts and coral caves, but he was as fit and spry today as any 70-yr old – and more than most 60+yr old corporate-cubicle rats. Amazing.
I’m sorry I didn’t get to talk to the crew-member from the USS Pueblo and congratulate him on his survival and sacrifice, but I hope I will get-to at another event. People these days just don’t seem to understand that Service IS Sacrifice, and how far it goes.

Pinned & Recessed

IMGP2310_x800IMGP2313x800The 6″ 1970 Model 19-3 is a sweet chunk of shootin’ iron.
There’s a bit of muzzle wear from the old clam-shell holster (too bad it didn’t come with it), so I even have a holster already to add s’more, an older (naturally) but good condition Bianchi 5BH.
Now I’m looking for ammo, which is plentiful.

UPDATE: Plentiful but plenty expensive. Found some 158gr Hydrashoks and a bunch of JSP’s – looking for heqavy-weight bullets not 110gr. flyweights that go high – I want the gun to shoot to point-of-aim and not have to re-regulate it for flyswatter loads. I want Practice to be spent on trigger-work and cylinder manupulations, not chasing a zero…

Meanwhile it’s 98° outside, and to stave off potential Malaria I am back inside experimenting with Hendrick’s gin and some $pecialty “Premium India Tonic Water.” Love the quinine…

Four Miles

So… After yesterday plunking a chunk down on the ’70 Smith Model-19 and buying some WallyWorld .357 loads (and a plastic Plano “can” of its own), I awoke and went on-line, and saw on the Gun-Club Calendar that there was a “Tea Party Shoot!” 9:00AM – 12:00PM – and FINALLY got my sh*t together.
Being a revolver-happy guy at the moment, I packed the ammo for the two big revolvers – each in its own can of .45 Colt, and .44-40 WCF – and drove out to the range. Just eight minutes and four miles from garage-to-gate. Seriously I’ve never had it this good.
The folks were very pleasant and the atmosphere casual and firm but not overbearing. As long as you exhibit proper procedure and protocol, and ESPECIALLY MUZZLE DISCIPLINE, everything is smooth – BUT people with too much attitude and too-casual regard for safety get moved on real quick.
I shot the Colt M1909 for familiarity first. Not knowing what to expect of the Ruger .44-40 I wanted a baseline. And so I shot low and to the left and a couple flyers off the black – Doh! Another cylinder rectified that, then the Colt and its ammo went away, and .44-40 came out — and after shooting .45Colt loads (and not Cowboy loads) it was like shooting a slightly hot .38 Special. What a fun gun! Except for unloading. The SAA ejector rod that pushes-out cases is uncomfortable close to the muzzle and that was just weird. Also the loading process feels a bit stilted and formal – but I suppose that’s a good thing. So I went trading back and forth every couple cylinders – only one caliber at a time on-station – and had some fun. The SAA is a trip, but thumbing back the hammer with the support hand is very fast. Woot!

Seductive Scents of Summer

Coppertone. Burnt firecrackers. Watermelon. Blendzall two-stroke castor-oil.
Anybody else?
PLUS: The lovely smell of the exhaust from a Holley-carbed, high-compression, high-overlap cammed American muscle car!
AND: Gunsmoke :-)
MORE: Charcoal-fired kettle barbeque’s, grilling meats in the evening hours. That and freshly cut grass.
UPDATE: Alox bullet lube along with said gun smoke.

And Breeze off a mountain lake…

…thank-you all

Four-Eyes h8te speech

Wearing spectacles is a pain, especially when you’re sweaty and they slide off and hit the dirt, or drop into the bucket of paint – but I’ve never be able to actually and intentionally stick something like a contact-lens into my eye – the flinch would toss it in the dirt every time. Besides they are effective (and constant) eye-pro in my thick RX, and protect from wind-blast, and shooters ready on the right and left.
Anyhow at this age now I wear bi-focals, and bi- or tri-focal…contacts? I suppose it’s been done by somebody, but for me just never-mind.
My pair of glasses (Smiths) snapped a flimsy post, and now we have to go back to Kaiser for repair-work. I was hoping that with this nice weather (only in the low 90’s) I’d be able to take the Gentleman’s Express out for a comfortable romp on the back roads.

Why I like Country Music

Songs about boots and Wranglers and trucks and cars, even Trans-Am’s – NO songs about bicycles or spandex or Tour de France or Triathlons or what you did in College.
Songs about wet t-shirts and rivers – NO songs about the Environment, elite suburban neuroses, or ways to “save the planet.”
Songs about smoking and drinking, especially drinking – things that are un-popular and un-acceptable among the Trendy Sub-Urbanistas – NO songs about diet and exercise, trans-fats or identity politics.
Songs about the USA, the USA kicking-ass, and the USA having a good time – NO songs about world-citizen social-justice hippie death-fantasies like, “If I had a rocket launcher” or the glories of Socialism.
I like it.

Still Chill

A month ago it seemed we were in the middle of Summer already, but after a few last-minute Winter storms that our proximity to the high Sierras engenders – where anything can happen weather-wise – we’re in a bit of a cool and calm spot between cloudbursts and lightning.
Spent yesterday messing with the phone. It’s an older 3G Sony-Ericsson with a dollop of extra RAM that held a bunch of old-old numbers on the SIM card. I attempted (and finally found) a way to look and catalog them through the ‘puter – and deleted a bunch from Die Alte Bayaryanlandeschaft. Not really interested in the new phone stuff -don’t need or have use for a handheld pocket-pal companion everywhere.
I’m not really much of a phone-caller anyhow, anymore. Prolific communication by that means has not been significant since High School when a 30-foot cord engendered long and private conversations on the basement steps of my parent’s hear-everything home.
Moving forward we’re signing on Monday morning and close of escrow for “The Ranch” is on Tuesday – which needs some telephony and interwebbery to marginally sustain life, not just the monster Sansui receiver and Klipsch porkys. We’re up another couple hundred feet at 1600’ but not on a hilltop, and the view is of pastureland instead of airplanes and rooftops. Still the skyscapes should be worthwhile and it should be generally quieter instead of hearing the roar of traffic below. Sound travels UP, and at the top you get a lot more than what you’d maybe expect.
It needs a new shed for the 42″ mower, to replace the ugly plastic thing that eroding and collapsing under the harsh Western Slope UV’s as we speak and watch. And there’s a list of physical chores as noted on the inspection report: lag-bolts for the ledgerboard that the sparkling new decking is attached-to, not just screws/. So I’ll be crawling and tunneling like in Stalag 17, underneath the Trex with my DeWalt drill and impact driver. Arrgh! Hot-dipped zinc-coated galvanized, stainless steel lags! Arrgh! Maybe some of these LedgerLOKs? Need an appropriately sized black impact socket. And there’s an outlet that needs its polarity reversed, and…
But it’s a sunny and cool and clear Sunday, and the rains have left things sparkling. Hangtown was yesterday down the hill, but I just couldn’t brave the crowds to be a part of that mix-up. More of an Enduro kinda guy anyhow, if any of that remains. Would like to meet some new ridin’ buddies, the old gang are far away and all fixated on that narrow ribbon asphalt with oncoming vehicles and a stripe down the middle. Hey, there’s a lot more potential for fun: whoops and jumps and soft meadows to crash-in – so many-more places where there’s NOT road – the woods and trees await!

Vintage Tunes


Michael Miller Mid-Century Modern Atomic Turquoise Fabric

I was thinking (yes, a dangerous venture on my part but inevitable) that the horn tweeters in the Forté speakers are an unstoppable force, no amount of fabric tacked over them will mute the tones that emerge. And similarly the bass is a wave-form that begins in the cone but forms its true height outside the envelope of the enclosure, somewhere hopefully in the room where listening takes place. Otherwise it’s like standing by the speaker-stack at a concert and just feeling the lumpy-thumpy notes of “Boris the Spider” pass through your abdominal cavity and shake your gizzard. What special “speaker-cloth” is needed for such extremes? And in case it matters anyhow, the backside of the cabinet has the passive radiator that allows it to breathe, so breathing is not an issue. But I am not an audiophile, and there are perhaps many places where this theory could be wrong.IMGP2112_xMidCentury
I was just thinking (there’s that dangerous word again) of covering the speaker grilles with some impossibly fab hipster mid-century atomic fabric.
Hmmm. Pre-visualizing is good, it could be a bit bright and frightening. Where’s my black-velvet painting…