28 June 2015


If you are automatically tagged a cross burner because you are a white guy that shows up somewhere in a beat up 62 Chevy pickup with Iowa tags, is that racism? Damn right it is. You don't have to be white to be a racist and you don't have to be black to be a victim of it.

The Southern Cross, more accurately known as the Tennessee Battle Flag (which is very similar to the Army of the Potomac's Battle Flag) is a symbol of the Confederacy because it shows up in so many paintings and movies (mostly because many of the more famous battles were fought in Virginia where the AoP operated). It was never an official flag of the Confederate States of America, although it was used as the union in the second and third Confederate flags and was also used as the second Naval Jack and Ensign.

South Carolina should either use the first Confederate flag or its own Sovereignty flag over the war memorial on its Capitol grounds to get rid of the strawman that the Southern Cross has become. Changing the flag won't change attitudes, but as long as we concentrate on the symbols I guess we can ignore the substance.

26 June 2015

Range Day

Today we took some time out with Range Partner to sling some lead downrange. It was the first time M and Range Partner had met and the first time M has gone shooting with me (and as far as I know, only the second time she has ever shot handguns).

Along for the ride was Grand-Dad's High Standard, both the Glocks and the Sig. Range Partner brought a Glock of his own at my request, a Glock 21 with a .22 caliber conversion kit. Younger Son also came along, but he and Range Partner took turns with a .357 Taurus snubbie that Range Partner brought along.

After a review of the Four Rules (the first time M had ever heard them, so we went over them pretty extensively) and some basic instruction on grip, sights, stance and operation (I was ever grateful for the instruction I received at Tigerswan because all I did was review with her what I remembered from learning there) we loaded up and started putting rounds downrange.

First up was the 9mm Glock 19, followed by the Glock 21 with the .22 conversion kit installed. I wish I could say these were my targets...but no. Two fliers, one .22 and one 9mm, in the eight ring and the rest in the black, with two of the .22 and one 9mm solidly in the X.

Next up was the .45 Sig. She wasn't sure if she really wanted to shoot it, but she at least wanted to try it out. Four rounds went into the Sig, and when the smoke cleared two of them were in the eight ring and two in the ten. Next up she wanted to try the Glock 21 in Gods Own Caliber. So, off came the .22 conversion and on went the .45 slide and magazine, five rounds in the magazine...and as you can plainly see, two in the nine, two in the ten and one in the X.

Not bad shooting...for a guuuuurl.

Yeah. Not bad shooting for anyone, and when you consider this was her second time at the gun range to shoot handguns (and since the first time was a "here, point this that way and pull the trigger" you may as well say it was her first time) you could say that was pretty excellent shooting. Hell, she out-shot me, and I couldn't be prouder.

I really wish I could send her to one of Kathy Jackson's classes to learn how to shoot properly, but I will certainly find some instruction for her somewhere. I was OK with showing her the basics, but I'm not an instructor and everyone can do with some instruction. (Speaking of which Sean...isn't it about time for another Tigerswan class?)

There just might have to be a Glock 21 in her future as well.

19 June 2015


$275 to change the plugs, right around $200 for the transmission service (which is really the only thing I wanted to have done; everything else I can do myself and certainly will do in the future) and $50 for the oil change. And just for those three items I sat in the dealers waiting room for a little over four hours. That's with an appointment.

And that isn't everything Ford recommends at 100K, oh no, there is also the rear differential, the coolant system flush and fill and the fuel system servicing which would run another $400 or so. And that doesn't include having them look at the little issues I'm having with the car, such as the blend door actuator needing calibration or the oil life monitor staying at 100%.

When they asked me why I hadn't brought the car in to them for a while I just laughed and said "Gee, I don't know." Fortunately I have a full set of tools, basic mechanical knowledge, and a whole slew of friends who love Mustangs and know how to do everything associated with them, so it's not likely they will see it again for another long time.

13 June 2015

And So We Begin

I am now the proud owner of a three stone setting in white gold that is on its way to the jeweler to have the topazes removed and a pink sapphire installed in the center.

After the sapphire is in I will be getting an estimate to install diamonds into the outer settings.

M is the proud owner of a bundle of nerves.

10 June 2015


100,030 miles on the pony now. I need to schedule it for its 100K mile check-up.

I also need to schedule a dentists appointment for myself.

I also need to schedule a vet visit for doglet.

I wonder which one will get done first...

09 June 2015

You Know...

He's right.

Mother tried to raise me to be polite and kind, regardless of my failures in these areas, but it does seem as if the squeaky wheels get the grease.

After all, look at the recent social issue upheavals. They got what they wanted by being dicks, even though they are but a small percentage of the population. Hell, even the American Revolution was start, fought and won by a bare 3 percent of the population, if the stories are correct.

Makes you think.

08 June 2015


I finally made it back up to Lenoir NC this past weekend for the monthly cruise-in. There weren't as many cars this time as there usually is, but we still had a good crowd. This time was different because it wasn't just me and Youngest Son; M came along as well which was nice.

And while we were out and about wandering the streets and looking at things we happened upon this quaint little shoppe...

Of course M had to go in and check out their stock of yarn and whatnots. There were a bunch of people sitting inside knitting and talking, too. Apparently every Cruise-In day they open early and stay open late just so the ladies who have no interest in cars but have husbands/significant others who do have someplace to go and have fun in their own way.

On the plus side, M says we can go back every month.

05 June 2015

A Time to Bake

M was feeling a little depressed the other day. Seems as if she was in the mood for cookies, so she went and got some pre-made chocolate chip cookie batter and tried to bake them...and they got burned.

So while she is at work I am busy making some cookies for her, using my own recipe:

Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/4 C flour
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
1 C butter, softened (that's two sticks)
3/4 C packed brown sugar
1/4 C white sugar
1 package instant vanilla pudding mix
2 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside.

2. In a large bowl cream the softened butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the dry instant pudding mix until blended. Stir in the eggs and vanilla. Blend in the flour mixture. Stir in the chocolate chips.

3. Drop cookie batter by rounded spoonfuls onto a cool ungreased cookie sheet. Press down to flatten the cookies out, they will not flatten out as they bake (but they will spread, so leave plenty of room between them). Bake only as long as needed for the edges to turn golden brown, about 10-12 minutes.

Makes 2 - 2 1/2 dozen cookies (I got 30 out of this batch).

I didn't leave enough room between them for these batches...but I have the feeling they will get eaten anyway.

I also had some bananas turning brown, so I made some banana bread for Eldest Son. I substituted rum for the vanilla as per a recipe I got from Eldest Sister, so I'm curious how it turns out. It smells good anyway.

04 June 2015


Time rolls by, another month gone and it has been more than half a month since I've touched these pages. Good thing you aren't paying for this.

So, what's been happening you ask (or not). First things first, M has started the arduous process of moving in. Yes, she agreed to it, and now we're getting it done.

The house is being cleaned one room at a time and as we re-arrange we are moving some of her things in and some of the old things out. There isn't much of it, and what we are moving out needed to go anyway. I expect that process to take a while but we hope to have the bulk of it done by August.

Last weekend I went to a rimfire rifle shooting match at Crosse Creek Rifle and Pistol Club just outside of Fayetteville where I shot my Marlin 795. You may remember I equipped it with the EOTech sights for Appleseed, although I have not yet been to Appleseed.

I sucked at it.

I didn't suck as bad when I got the sights dialed in (one click up, one click left) but the only reason I didn't finish dead last in the modified sights category is Youngest Son was shooting with the scoped Marlin 60. The scope was off as well, and he did better once we got it sighted in (8 clicks left), but he still managed to score dead last.

I'm sure that if we had taken them out a couple of days before and sighted them in we both would have done better but unfortunately I don't have a place close by to do so. Nevertheless I do really need to get out to the range more. I also need a spotting scope.

School is out in a couple of weeks and that will kick off travel season here at the Refuge. There are a couple of Pennsylvania trips scheduled and at least two Florida trips as well in August. We're also hoping to make an Iowa trip around Christmastime.

But in the meantime a new month brings a new ROTM.

May I present to you the lovely Magdelena Jasek. You can see more of her here.

And now I'm off to take Eldest Son to the dentist. The fun just never stops here at the Refuge.