Thursday, May 28, 2009


When I started this blog, Chris Byrne was one of the first bloggers who wasn't also a TFL/THR Staff Member to link to me.

Chris and Melody also publish the occasional recipe on their blog -- recipes which probably aren't for the faint-of-heart, or tofuista out there.

Unlike some other folks, they've actually sat down and put these recipes in a cookbook.

Nobody has enough cookbooks, folks. Go by and have a look.


Monday, May 25, 2009

Neater than kitten toes

Like most gunnies, when it comes to paper targets I have been using the old standbys of staples and tape -- usually staples -- to hold the targets to the cardboard or plywood backing.

Unfortunately, I do all of my shooting outdoors, and if the least little breeze gets between the paper target and the backing, it tears the paper off of a staple or two and you wind up with half of your target flapping merrily over the other half.

Plus, the plywood I usually use for backing gets shot to hell (pun intended) and there towards the end of the useful life of the backing -- cheap bugger that I am -- it can be a wee bit difficult to find enough intact backing to put a staple through.

Masking tape has all of the faults of staples, and a few of its own.

Namely, it doesn't stick real well in dusty conditions -- I'm in North Texas. We know all about dusty conditions.

I was giving the department Rangemaster a bit of a helping paw at Qualification, when he tossed me a can of 3M #77 Spray-On Adhesive and a stack of fresh targets.

Folks, this stuff is Freyja's own gift to gunny folk.

Three or four quick spritzes across the front of the used target -- still attached to the backing -- and you slap the new target up over the old one, smooth it, and move on out.

No muss, no fuss, and no blowing targets.


The 3M stuff is a bit costly at ten dollars or so a can, but you can find it on special at various hardware stores, and Duro makes something just as good for somewhat less.

Is it worth it? Oh, hell, yes. There's two cans of it in my range bag as we speak.


Memorial Day



Saturday, May 16, 2009

Now that's cool

Monster Hunter International, the first (of many) books by my buddy Larry Correia, is now available from Baen Books as a web download.

If you haven't read this book yet, Baen has the first seven chapters posted for free at the above address.

Now, that's cool.


Friday, May 01, 2009

Oh, bugger

One of the first tasks involved in renovating the old house was (is) reducing the knee-high vegetation that surrounds it -- which doesn't sound too bad until you realize that the lot that the house sits on is bloody near three hundred feet deep. And me with an electric push lawn-mower.


There I am, poaching nicely in my own perspiration, when a neighbor lady wanders up and enquires if I am "scared of snakes". Seems that she was fiddling with the garden hose; discovered Tommy No-Legs coiled up about four inches from her hand, and decided that this was an appropriate task for a handy redshirt.


I trundle over, peer sweatily into the coil of hose and spot what is obviously a fairly peevish young bullsnake.

Chuckling manfully, I reach down, avoid his first half-hearted swipe at my hand, pin his head to the grass with a handy twig, get a nice grip on the back of his neck and haul his scaly butt out of the hose pile.

I notice, as I hold him up for the admiring masses, two things. The first of which is that Neighbor Lady has disappeared. I mean, "Poof!" One moment she's there, the next she's gone, leaving only a faint odour of burning sneaker tread and a gently bouncing hoe to show that she was ever there.

The second thing I notice is that the bullsnake whom is currently wrapping himself around my good right arm has a rather nice, extremely loud, buzzing thingummy on his south end.

"Oh, bugger," think I, as I gaze in some consternation at the eighteen-inch long prairie rattler who is apparently expounding at length with regard to my ancestry, sexual habits and intelligence.

It seems that my Venomous Reptile Recognition Skillset may have gotten a skoshie bit rusty over the last decade or so.

One semi-controlled yelp later, and Chris showed up at a dead run, took one look at the irritated reptile and sniffed, "Well, take it to the pasture and let it go."

I was in the process of pointing out that I would be more than glad to let Jake go, that it wasn't really a question of me letting him go, but rather convincing him to turn loose of me when the wee bastard gave a squirmy little twist and hung his left fang in my thumb.

I will admit to executing a fast-ball pitch that would have made Nolan Ryan all misty-eyed, but I emphatically deny that I "screeched like a Newhaven fishwife" while doing so.

Anyway, I don't know how Chris would have noticed any screeching, considering that he had snatched up the discarded hoe and was vigorously -- and somewhat emphatically -- performing actions that might best be described as "Ginsu Viking" on the tumbling reptile whilst bellowing cusswords in about four languages at the top of his lungs.

As an aside, I'd like to give a hearty Paws Up to Hatch Corporation's SGK100 model of kevlar lined search gloves. I'm pretty sure that the designer didn't have "baby rattlesnake" in mind when he put those gloves together, but they kept me un-poisoned anyway.

*scratch, scratch*

I think I'll keep a closer eye out around the old homestead this summer.


The ancestral manse

When we were overseas, Dad would get a full month off each year, and we almost always spent this month vacation at Nana and Granda's home where Mom grew up.

I think we were still in Nigeria when Mom and Dad decided that we needed a permanent place to call home, and they bought a house in the same town, which gave us a place to hang our hats on vacation; and when we moved Stateside permanently, we had a place to stay.

After Dad died, and us kids graduated high school, we kind of scattered a bit, and the house fell into disuse. Chris kept it up for a bit, but what with first Granda and then Nana needing full time care, the house became a weekend retreat, and then storage.

Well, we have developed a need for the old place, so we've been over making it -- somewhat -- livable, but one of the great things about the house is that when you look out the back door, you're looking across literally several hundred miles of prairie and ranch-land before you stumble by anything that looks vaguely like human habitation -- and that's pretty much a wide-spot in the road.

Sounds good -- until you realize that while humanity itself is somewhat scarce out back of our place, there's a whole bunch of life out there -- much of which tends to look favourably upon empty houses.

As a "fer-instance", there seems to be a skunk what has taken up abode either under the floorboards or burrowed into the front flowerbed -- and said polecat might ought to unarse the place before he winds up the subject of a slam order.

Luckily for him, skunk-thumping is a couple of steps down the List of Things To Do Around The House. But probably not for long.

Gawd, I'm exhausted.