Saturday, May 31, 2008

It takes a state as big as Texas to hold a heartache big as mine...

It was 1981, and if you were a teenage boy in a small country town in south Texas and you didn't think Juice Newton was hot, well, let's be brutally honest. You were probably gay.

I did a volunteer overtime day this morning (3 1/2 hours of actual work, but of course I got paid time-and-a-half for 8 hours--as I told my dad once, I'm glad I don't have to buy my water from them) then came home and unloaded the last cache of stuff from the camper trailer. I was hoping to upload some photos today but unfortunately I still can't find my USB cables. I did find my iMic, which is troubling, because I thought I had stored it with all the other important cables.

So I lost no time in hooking up the iMic and digitizing a tape that I had recently rediscovered while unpacking. This tape was purchased at a music store somewhere in Dallas during our senior trip (which I actually remember in minute detail and get flashbacks every time I hear Journey's "Don't Stop Believing"). I purchased one other tape at the same time, the Eagles first "Greatest Hits," which was worn out long ago. I don't know how this tape has survived this long. Numerous other cassettes of this and later vintage have all worn out, become unlistenable, and were thrown away. This one still sounds great. It's even more puzzling because I listened to this tape far too many times to count and it should have worn out a long time ago.

I received the first part of my tobacco order this week, so I had further incentive to unload the camper because that's where all my pipe stuff was. It's all unloaded now, back in the racks on the shelves of my Sanctum. And I'm just coming to the end of my first pipe. Been too long since I've had the Gray Ghost.

So, all things considered, it's a pretty good Saturday afternoon.

Note to self: Ask mom if I can borrow the Dottsy album. I need to digitize it, too.

Friday, May 30, 2008

It's Hedley!!!

Harvey Korman, February 15, 1927 – May 29, 2008.

Almost makes me want to buy a Bersa...

Seen at Cheaper Than Dirt. A 22-round drum magazine for your Bersa .380, made by ProMag.

Now if they'd just come up with a 30-round drum for a P-32, or a 50-round drum for a P-22, or a...or a...

I'd better stop before I get too excited.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


I finally got around to telling my dad about the fox today. He had a counter story.

Last week north of Stockdale off FM 1107, several adult wild hogs ran across an open field, followed by numerous young. He said he counted as fast as he could as they all ran across in an almost single-file line.

He counted 37. "There may have been more. They were moving so fast it was hard to keep up."

Thirty-seven wild hogs in one place. That's bad. Someone over there needs to do some herd-thinning.

Now that's an expensive BB-gun target

The 70-year-old John Webber says his grandfather gave him the 14-centimeter high mug to play with when he was a child, back in 1945. He, as a child, used the cup for target practice with his air gun.

The golden cup, which was languished for years in a shoe box under Webber's bed, is decorated with the heads of two women facing in opposite directions, their foreheads garlanded with two knotted snakes.

Experts at the British Museum say the cup is actually a rare piece of ancient Persian treasure, beaten out of a single sheet of gold hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus Christ, AFP reported.

The analysis confirmed that the method of manufacture and the composition of the gold is 'consistent with Achaemenid gold and gold smithing' dating back to the third or fourth century B.C.

The Achaemenid Empire was the first of the Persian empires to rule over significant portions of Greater Iran. The empire was wiped out by Alexander in 330 B.C.
It's worth at least £500,000. Makes the empty shotshells I used for BB-gun targets as a kid look kind of shabby.

via Ninth Stage

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

How am I ever going to fit this in my pipe rack?

Receiving a package today from my good friend Brer of Power Of Babel. The "bleeding heart" tomahawk pipe from At 22 inches long, this is definitely a two-fisted pipe. It only has a false edge, but I suppose I could sharpen it in case I ever need to split any white-eye's skulls.

Why a heart? Why, because it's full of mercy, of course.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More found items

My kids discovered a box yesterday on which my wife had written, "Alan's games." So they wasted no time in thoroughly investigating it.

They found my two Tarot decks (Witch's and Rider-Waite). I still don't have the Lovecraft Tarot. Someday. No, I don't do fortune-telling. I just think they're cool.

The old (non-electronic) Battleship game.

A couple of fantasy-based board games that I don't remember buying but obviously did, and which I've never played.

But most importantly: Gamma World and The World of Greyhawk! I always loved to pore over those big Greyhawk maps. I thought they were so cool, and still do.

Odd search

Just checking Statcounter and up came smoking pipe laws in texas. I suppose some municipalities have smoking laws that include pipes as well as cigarettes, but I don't there are any state laws regarding such.

Monday, May 26, 2008

No idea...

Oddee has posted their list of the 20 Funniest Newspaper Headlines Ever. Some undoubtedly taken out of context, some simply showing blatant stupidity. There's also one about a lawyer who accidentally sued himself, with a link to the old newspaper article explaining how it happened.

But the one above made me laugh the most. "We had no idea anyone was buried there."

Sunday, May 25, 2008


This morning at church service it was announced that someone who was a friend of a member had died of a heatstroke the day before. This person was only 27 years old.

I came close once, and knew something was wrong when I started getting the nausea. Fortunately I was with someone who drove me to a nearby convenience store where I pounded down a cold Gatorade and a bottle of cold water.

It's that time of the year, and it's only going to get worse before it gets better. Slow down, drink plenty of water, and be careful out there.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


The previous post was made while I was sorting some books today. I didn't do a whole lot of sorting, I figure one or two boxes a day is good enough. But after making that post, I got to wondering: will Doom II run on XP? I had recently discovered my old install CD of that game while unpacking, so I installed it.

It didn't work well, but a quick search turned up ZDoom, which solved the problem. Apparently there's still quite a fanbase of Doomers out there having fun with, and some discovering for the first time, the old games.

I still feel crippled without the special mini-joystick style mouse I used to have which made it so much easier for me to shoot while running. Heh. I still remember the first time I encountered the Cyberdemon in Doom (the first), which nearly made me soil my undies. It also occurred to me that the stereo I recently hooked up to the computer for playing mp3s is the stereo that I originally purchased with the intention of dramatically improving the sound quality of Doom. I'll have to hunt down a Cyberdemon and see what that WHAAAAAAAAAA!!! sounds like now.

Heh again. I was once playing one of those player-made wads and suddenly came face to face with a Cyberdemon. I immediately turned and ran for it. Several seconds went by when I realized I hadn't heard the tale-tell attack scream. So I went back, with extreme caution, and peeked around the corner again. The joker who had created this wad had created a new wall patch with a picture of a Cyberdemon on it. Only a picture. Ha ha. It nearly gave me a heart attack, but of course I laughed about it later. Sure I did.

I created two wads myself. One was called All In A Day's Work (dayswork.wad) and was loosely based on my place of employment at that time. The other was called Golgotha: Hill of Skulls (golgotha.wad). FYI, there's another golgotha.wad out there that I did not do. I thought I came up with a pretty original trick for this one. I put those floating things that vomit Lost Souls inside tiny rooms that would allow them to vomit the flaming skulls but would not allow them to escape and freely float around. The tiny rooms were very high up in towers, so that one had to climb a ziggurat before being able to shoot at them. This meant there was a constant supply of new Lost Souls coming at you until you were finally able to kill all those floating things (what were they called again? I forget).

The emails I received about them were all complimentary, and it was a lot of fun. One guy said the only problem he had with Golgotha was that it would make a great deathmatch wad but I hadn't put deathmatch starts in it. I never played deathmatch, so hadn't thought about it. So I put out a new version that included deathmatch starts.

But then my daughter was born, and that was the end of that.

Curious list found in an old notebook

HMP - No Armor 100% Health

Former Human Trooper
Dead - 3 pistol
Kills - 13 shots

Former Human Sgt
Dead - 3 pistol/1 shotgun
Kills - 5 shots

Hvy Weapons Dude
Dead - 7 pistol/2sg (1 pbr)/1ssg
Kills - Abt 3 seconds (13 shots)

Dead - 6p/1sg
Kills - 7 fireballs

Dead - 16p/3sg/1ssg/2 rocket/7 plasma
Kills - fast n/a

Lost Soul
Dead - 10p/2sg/1ssg/1rkt/7 plasma
Kills - 7 hits

SS Soldier
Dead - 6p/1sg
Kills - 8 shots

Hell Knight
Dead - 50p/8sg/3ssg/3 rocket/23 plasma
Kills - 3 blobs


(blank from this point on)

Draw your own conclusions.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Concealed Cartoonist

Cartoons by Joe Chaim at The Concealed Cartoonist. Via the USCCA newsletter.


Seen at Rustmeister's via Jed.

Urocyon cinereoargenteus

I was just making the nightly rounds and was standing by the back door looking out at the sand, trying to see another copperhead--because when it's still this abysmally hot this late at night, the snakes are out--when something four-legged walked out under the security light. When it first came into my peripheral vision, I thought it was a big cat, but when it turned sideways and walked across the yard I could see it was one of these:

Far out. I have never seen a gray fox before. I know they are generally considered to live statewide, but they didn't use to live around here. Another animal that has moved in from who knows where. Long ago, some 40 years ago that is, I saw red fox on two separate occasions, but I think they have since died out.

I watched it quietly poke around the house for a few minutes before it spooked and vanished into the darkness. I was so excited I almost called my dad, but he's probably asleep by now. I'll call him about it tomorrow.

Becoming part of the problem

I'm aware of the problems and controversy with E85 fuel, but man, gas prices are just pounding me into raw meat. And my pickup is a flex-fuel vehicle that can use either gasoline or E85. So I drove by San Antonio's only E85 fueling station on IH35 today to see about getting some. I knew I wouldn't be able to get any today, but I had to gather the appropriate info. I know the HEB in Schertz also sells E85, but I'm not going to drive all the way to Schertz. That's too far out of the way.

So I went to cleanfuelusa's website when I got home and filled out the form for an access card to open up the pump. Their Bexar County site is currently not issuing any new cards because of overwhelming demand. Huh. New cards will start being issued the second week of June.

They don't have big signs advertising the price per gallon like all the gas stations do, but a quick calculation based on the previous customer's purchase (still on the LCD display) puts it right around $3.10 per gallon. The location isn't very convenient for me, but it could be worse, and I can make that much of a detour on the drive home to save 70¢ per gallon. That's more than $10 for my usual 15- to 16-gallon fill-up. Based on information from Ford, I wouldn't get as good mileage as with gasoline, but I think with a savings like that it would still put me ahead. I'll be able to figure this out accurately after I've actually run a couple of tanks through it so I can get some real mileage figures.

If there's really is that much demand, they should put in a couple of more stations that are easier to get to. Say, one on IH10 East and one on Highway 151. I think a 151 site would be really good for all those northwestern commuters, although it wouldn't help me much unless I'm going that way during the day--and I do go that way quite often.

Anyway, here's hoping I get a card by July. Also, E85 exhaust smells so sweet. Every time I smell it, it reminds me I need to buy some Everclear.

P.S. I'm familiar with the smell from my previous job as a contractor for CPS. They run their entire fleet of pickups (the ones used by meter readers, anyway) on E85, and they have their own pump. I never drove one, but I smelled the exhaust often as they were leaving the yard in the morning.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Don't cancel your plans for 2013...

Ian O'Neill of Universe Today explains why the Mayan calender ends on December 21, 2012:
The base year for the Mayan Long Count starts at "". Each zero goes from 0-19 and each represent a tally of Mayan days. So, for example, the first day in the Long Count is denoted as On the 19th day we'll have, on the 20th day it goes up one level and we'll have This count continues until (about one year), (about 20 years) and (about 400 years). Therefore, if I pick an arbitrary date of, this represents the Mayan date of approximately 1012 years, 7 months and 1 day.

This is all very interesting, but what has this got to do with the end of the world? The Mayan Prophecy is wholly based on the assumption that something bad is going to happen when the Mayan Long Count calendar runs out. Experts are divided as to when the Long Count ends, but as the Maya used the numbers of 13 and 20 at the root of their numerical systems, the last day could occur on When does this happen? Well, represents 5126 years and the Long Count started on, which corresponds to the modern date of August 11th 3114 BC. Have you seen the problem yet? The Mayan Long Count ends 5126 years later on December 21st, 2012.
Seems like the ancient Mayans were quite clever, but not quite clever enough when it came to calendars. But then, their civilization ended long before their calender did, so I guess it worked out for them.

Too much work

If you need a dryer vent kit, that is, the duct, the clamps, and the vent hood, do not go to Home Depot, because they don't have it. Lowe's does. Home Depot has only rigid aluminum ducting (and nothing else), which is worthless if you have to snake the duct around an obstacle like I did.

And apparently last night's wind blew around under the house too much because I had left the end skirting open so I could crawl under there again to work on the duct. Almost all the skirting on the back side of the house was knocked down. It would have taken me a long time to put it back if I hadn't had my two little helpers.

That was a lot more work than I had planned on doing today, but now at least the dryer works and the skirting is all put back so the wind can't blow under the house again. And if you think I was extra careful crawling under the house because of last night's copperhead, you would be correct.

That time of year again

NHC's newsfeed has kicked into action, reminding me that hurricane season is now upon us.

Animal sightings, good and...well, creepy

Good: This morning I saw a cottontail rabbit dart across the road in front of our house. I haven't seen a cottontail around here in years. Decades, probably. It's good to see that they're still around. For some reason they've never become very populous here.

Creepy: While working today, on the 100 block of Colfax St. I saw a (relatively cleanly) severed cat's head. The eyes were closed, which is the part that really creeps me out. It was very suggestive that someone had intentionally closed the cat's eyes after decapitating it. It was a black cat. Or at least the head was.

Snake weather

Dispatched the first copperhead of the year last night, right by the back porch.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

John Rutsey, R.I.P.

Whatever Happened To reports that John Rutsey has passed away due to complications with diabetes. Rush fans will know who he was.

Colors Out of Time

"What color was this one, Daddy?"

The questions, they never end.

"It was dark green. Shiny dark green. That part there where the driver sits used to have a tinted windshield. The other part is where the motor went."

"So this part had the driver and this part had the motor?"

"Yeah, that's why it was called Double Trouble."

"What about this one?"

The recent move has unearthed a cornucopia of past history for my kids to learn about their parents. Especially, it seems, about their dad. One of these things was a shoebox filled with old toy cars.

"Gold. That was my Batmobile." A '57 Thunderbird made by Matchbox. It had fulfilled that role well, in spite of the color.

I did not treat my toy cars with gentle kindness. Most of the time I was having "car fights." Smacking them into each other to see which one stayed on its wheels. They are all now broken, some paint chipped off, most of the paint simply worn off from age. Wheels missing, windshields gone. I was shocked to see them in this condition. Shocked.

It's too bad, I think, that there wasn't someone around to keep a play diary when I was a kid. If there had been, I would be able to pinpoint the exact day that I stopped playing with my box full of cars. Because I know that somewhere on the spiral of time there is a day when I played with them for the last time, put them back in the big shoebox, slid them under my bed, and never looked at them again. When was that day, and what did I do the next day? At least thirty years ago, probably more.

I say again, I was shocked at how bad they looked. Because I know that that is exactly how they must have looked--except for a thin layer of dust that collected while in storage--when I put them away for the last time. And that is not how I remember them.

Now matter how battered these toys looked while I was playing with them, I still saw them just as they came out of the box. The Double Trouble, part of the Hot Wheels Johnny Lightning line, was one of the heaviest cars I had and stayed on its wheels very well when smacking into another car. Solid, dark and dangerous. The white Jackrabbit Special, another Hot Wheels car, was jaunty and self-confident with its speed, hampered only by a tendency to veer left. A red Ford pickup from Matchbox was quiet, clever and deceptive, because in spite being only a pickup, it was one of the fastest cars in the collection. Another solid car, a blue Lincoln Continental from Matchbox, had such a low center of gravity that it almost never flipped, but wasn't very fast. Yes, they all had personalities back then. Such as the frivolous purple Baja Runabout made by Tootsietoy, or a malicious orange dragster from the same brand.

They all looked battered and broken to me now, but still I remember how I once saw them, and that no matter how broken and paint-chipped they became, I still saw them all as new toys. A green truck and trailer made by Tootsietoy came with a plastic boat that rode on the trailer. The boat stayed bright white with red trim until the end, it seemed, though now the red is faded and the white is dingy, and the truck is missing paint.

They are all a treasure trove to my son, who had to ask me specific questions about each of them. I still remember many of the names. Beachbuggy, Roadster, a Mercedes-Benz ambulance (it used to be white, I said, and had a back door that opened. It also had a little plastic guy on a stretcher that you could take out).

And I wonder. How does he see them? Does his imagination paint them with the colors I described to him? Does he see them with colors of his own?

The Double Trouble is now only primer gray. Every bit of glistening dark green paint is gone. One of the wheels is missing.

"Did it used to be fast?"

"Yes," I said. "It was very fast."

"It still is," he told me.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Yesterday I was walking along and came to a pair of meters that were on an elevated curb. So I stepped up on it right next to a telephone pole and...was knocked down by the pain that shot into my shoulder. Near the intersection of Old Castroville Road and General McMullen.

There was a pipe, for some reason, mounted to the pole, and when I stepped up there, not paying any attention, I took the end of the pipe right in the muscle that goes across there between the neck and the shoulder.

I have been rewarded by one of the most dramatic bruises I've ever had, and a soreness that is persistent, if not too acute. But I don't feel much like sitting at the computer today. It hurts more today than it did yesterday. I expect it to be stiff tomorrow.

Monday, May 19, 2008

30 Military Stories Many Didn't Hear About, But Should Have

From All American Blogger:
Operation: Hearts and Minds is a Newsvine group I started to detail the positive news about our military that is often overlooked. Too many good news pieces are not reported on because of body counts or the “If it bleeds, it leads” attitude of the media. Quite a few of those stories end up here.

I also try to cover a story on the podcast about our military and show the progress they are making around the world. But there are so many (currently my “Military News” RSS feed has over 1000 stories in it!), it is difficult to cover them all. So, in an effort to do more, here are thirty stories that you might not have heard about, but should have.
Go read and see how many the MSM missed because they were occupied with more important things like Br*tn*y Sp**rs.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

I'm somewhat embarassed...

I scored a Dynomite
60% on the
Quiz by SheGoddess: Quick weight loss

...that I identified as many as I did. I spent most of that time listening variously to such artists as Johnny Cash, Don Williams, Deep Purple and Styx, and too many of these questions ventured dangerously into the disco realm. I really wish I hadn't been able to ID the Bay City Rollers in less than one second, but sometimes you can't always control the radio.

via Rustmeister

Found items...

While moving/unpacking.

1. My Cthulhu for President button--that last surviving item from a "press kit" I bought at a game store some 20 years ago.



Item #2 was purchased for me by my wife. "When I saw it, I knew you had to have it." It has caused at least two observers to become offended upon reading it.

Item #3 was purchased for me by my mother, who made essentially the same comment as my wife did about item #2.

My life-sized poster of Jim Morrison, alas, did not turn up during the move, although I kept an eye peeled for it throughout. I don't know what became of it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Saturday night nothing blogging

I'm too tired to think of anything original to say, although I am staying up for a late-night pipe in my Sanctum Sanctorum. Getting the storage pod completely emptied today was utterly exhausting, especially moving all those books (I say again, ye gads!)

The DishNetwork guy showed up late today and did a really good job with installing the new dish. He took extra care running cables because it was obviously a new house, and they are barely visible. He also took extra time to make sure we were receiving everything we are supposed to. I went ahead and added local channels to the mix so we won't have to "assume Fox viewing positions" every time we want to watch something local. I was pleased and surprised to find that KLRN is re-running "Good Neighbors" on Sunday nights. That was one of my favorite old Britcoms.

While waiting for the DishNetwork guy to show up and do his thing, I did do more ripping of CDs that had neglected before. Here's some of them.

School House Rock! Rocks
Andrés Segovia -- The Baroque Guitar
Barbershop Harmony Time with the Buffalo Bills and the Chordettes
America's Greatest Hits
The Best of The Band
The Best of The Beach Boys
The B52's -- Good Stuff
Blood Sweat & Tears -- Child is Father to the Man
Roy Rogers -- Country Music Hall of Fame Series
The Best of Carly Simon
Linda Ronstadt's Greatest Hits
Bonnie Raitt -- Nick of Time
John Coltrane -- From the Original Master Tapes
Joni Mitchell -- Ladies of the Canyon
Bryan Ferry/Roxy Music -- Street Life (20 Great Hits)
Marillion -- The Thieving Magpie
Peter Gabriel -- Passion
Marillion -- Season's End
Marillion -- Six of One, Half-Dozen of the Other
Agent Orange -- When You Least Expect It

I'll be getting a USB hard drive pretty soon to hold all the mp3s. Heh.

It's official...

The storage pod is now empty.

Oh man, I have a lot of books to sort. Ye gads. I mean, I never realized how many books I had until I had to move them. I am completely staggered at the sheer volumes of books in this house. I will probably be taking some to local used book store for trade credit, and maybe listing some at like I did several years ago. There's just too many that I don't need and don't want anymore. Maybe I'll just give some away, if I can find someone who wants them.


Most of my pipes and all computer peripherals (and the old desktop machine) are still stashed in the camper trailer. I put them there so they'd be easier to access during the move.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Catching up and stuff

My "regular reads" on Bloglines show about 4,000 unread posts that built up during my absence. Obviously, I can't read them all, and most of the news is old now, anyway. But I will be going through each one and at least scanning them to see what's been going on.

In other news, I think I'm going to do some blog-splitting. This blog will continue to be devoted to humor(?), strangeness, Lovecraftiana, gun fun and general observations. But I think the more serious stuff will be going to another blog. I'm still working out the details on how I'm going to do it.

The secret lore of toads

Two days before the quake thousands of toads suddenly decided to move across a bridge in Taizhou, a town in the Jiangsu province (see photos). Chinese web users are wondering why the local authorities didn't relate the event to the imminence of an earthquake, and why scientists didn't take notice of the bizarre disappearance of a lake in Enshi, in the Hubei province, on April 26 (see photos).
See for yourself.

I can only imagine the intermittently squishy bumps those cyclists must have felt crossing that bridge.

Some pandas were acting strange, too. Follow the first link for another photo of the big hole where a lake used to be. (Although in Texas, we would just call it a nice tank).


Doing some CD ripping today. I received a newish Rush CD recently from, and when I went to rip it, I discovered that I had somehow neglected to rip all my other Rush CDs. So I went over to our recently unpacked rack and looked through it for a stack of discs to rip.

I must have another box of CDs somewhere, because I noticed a few missing. For example, the two Tangerine Dream CDs that I already ripped weren't there, but the one I have previously missed ripping was. Don't know how that worked out.

So here's a list of discs I'm ripping today, mostly because I somehow missed them before.

Fly By Night
A Farewell to Kings
Permanent Waves
Moving Pictures
Hold Your Fire
Roll the Bones
Vapor Trails

Michelle Shocked -- The Texas Campfire Tapes
Kraftwerk -- The Man Machine
The Alarm -- Electric Folklore Live
Tangerine Dream -- Stratosfear
Styx -- Pieces of Eight (previously digitzed from vinyl--now I have a much better copy)
The Doors -- Waiting for the Sun
Herbie Hancock -- River: The Joni Letters

I recently received The Doors' "Absolutely Live" remastered also, but I haven't ripped it or even listened to it yet. It arrived during the transition phase, and it just ended up in a box somewhere. I think it's with all my computer peripherals, which I expect to get unpacked pretty soon.

UPDATED to add: I am familiar with "Absolutely Live," in case that wasn't clear. I haven't listened to the CD yet, but I've listened the the vinyl version many times.

A noteworthy occasion

I just connected at 49.2 Kbps. My fastest ever connection. That is all.

Spawn of the Deep

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (April 29) - Marine scientists studying the carcass of a rare colossal squid said Wednesday they had measured its eye at about 11 inches across — bigger than a dinner plate — making it the largest animal eye on Earth.


The squid is the biggest specimen ever caught of the rare and mysterious deep-water species Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni, or colossal squid. When caught, it measured 26 feet long and weighed about 1,000 pounds, but scientists believe the species may grow as long as 46 feet.
Photos at the link. Via Nick Redfern.

Just got the latest newsletter from Remington...

All about the Remington Model R-25™, the latest ECR (Evil Camouflaged Rifle) from that company. Having grown up on venison harvested with a .243, I find it pleasing that they made this rifle available in that caliber. That would make one smokin' sandhill deer rifle.

Wallpaper is also available.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


If you ever call Dish Network customer service and get someone named Amber, just hang up and try again. She's an idiot. That is all.

The highest standards

Oddee has a list (with photos) of funny typographical errors. Most of which I can't describe lest they draw unwanted G00gl3 hits.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Avoiding the Kill Zone

Perhaps foremost in my own personal philosophy of self defense is: stay out of dangerous places to begin with. Although adhering to this rule may not always be possible, it should be among the first things that are considered in staying safe.

USCCA has a good article on avoiding the Kill Zone.
While the concept of Kill Zones developed out of the ambush tactic,
their use is not restricted to ambushes, nor are they used only by the
military anymore.

Kill Zones are used by terrorists all the time as well as by common
street criminals. Targets of ambushes now include ordinary citizens
along with government officials and corporate executives. And many
violent crimes are committed in what could be classified as Kill Zones.
(We will continue to refer to them as “Kill Zones” even though the street
criminal may more often use them for robbery, rape or assault.)

Kill Zones are a subject you should know about if you are serious about
tactics and survival. It’s the last place you want to be if you are the
target of an attack. Conversely, it’s the place you want to draw
potential threats into.
I assume that most folks who regularly carry a firearm are already familiar with this concept. Still, it's good reading, especially for those who might be new to the concept of personal self defense.

Monday, May 12, 2008


I'm back. I finally got the phone patched together so I can get Internet access again. Still lots of unpacking to do, but with a working internet connection things should become a lot more bearable.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Getting close now...

Just about everything is now done except the final inspections and paperwork. We hope to be moving in by next Tuesday or Wednesday.

Saturday, May 03, 2008


Well, the house is in. Power and water have been connected. The all-important air conditioner has been installed. Technically, it is nearly livable right now.

The septic tank must be dredged (part of the terms of the loan). The skirting must still be installed, and the porches built. Lots of little things on the inside need to be touched up and repaired from the move. We expect it to be about two more weeks before it's all over.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Remember the Dragon

"Daddy, is dragon's real?"

It was a question he had been asked before. Once, when tired of fielding a multitude of unanswerable questions from a little boy, he had simply said, "No, they're fictional."

"But was they real when dinosaurs were alive?"

"Maybe," he had answered. He'd give the kid that one. "I guess no one knows for sure."

"Was dragons a kind of dinosaur?"

He never ran out of questions. "No, I don't think so," he had answered. "I think they're something completely different."

So how would he answer this time? He looked around at the familiar forest that he had played in when he was a boy. A return to his old home had resurrected a lot of memories, and generated a million new questions for his son, who wanted to know about everything and wanted to fill in all the gaps about his father's childhood.

"Maybe," he told his son. "Some people think they are."

"I think they're real," his son declared.

"When I was a kid," he said, "I thought they were real, too."

No, that wasn't exactly right. He hadn't thought they were real, or even believed they were real. He had known it. As sure as he knew the sun would rise and set, as sure as he knew his own daddy would put him to bed with a Bible story every night, he had known that dragons--or one dragon, anyway--was real.

"Let's go this way," he said. His son followed him out of the clear field where bermuda grass grew, into the forest where trees grew thick and tall. He walked with the certainty of old familiarity to a tree that had grown with a hollow that curled out of the base of the trunk. Like a tiny wooden cave, the dark opening perhaps six inches across. "See that hollow there?" he pointed to it. "When I was a little boy, a dragon lived there."

"No way," his son protested. "A dragon can't live there. It's too small."

"It can if it's a magic dragon," he answered.

"Oh..." His son peered carefully at the opening, then looked through the surrounding forest. The wind sighed softly through the hundreds of oak and hickory trees that surrounded them. There was no other sound.

"Do you think he's still there?"

"I don't know...maybe. But he was a magic dragon, and he didn't come out when grown-ups were around."

"I never want to grow up." Another declaration that his son had made numerous times.

"I know how you feel," he said. "But everyone has to grow up someday. The important thing is that no matter how grown-up you get, you promise yourself that you'll never forget what it was like to be a kid."

"I never will," his son assured him.


"Can I stay out here and play now?"

"Sure. When you're ready for supper just come back to the house."

He left his son there, playing beneath the trees, and walked back toward the house. Halfway across the grassy clearing he heard a distant rumble behind him, and turned to catch a shadowy glimpse of an enormous shape moving behind the trees. In the sky was a thin wisp of quickly dissipating smoke. He paused there, listening, and heard nothing else but the sound of his young son's voice, unintelligible in the distance, a shout, and perhaps laughter.

It must have just been an airplane that made the sound, flying invisibly high overhead. Only a thin wisp of cloud in the summer sky. Nothing but shadows cast by the shifting limbs as the wind gusted through the forest. He walked on to the house. He knew that if he went back, he wouldn't see anything, anyway. Nothing but his son playing by an old hollow tree. But he remembered.

He remembered.


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