It was cold.
Ammo was hard to get.
Few showed up.
The results were great.
We are keeping our fingers crossed that 2014 will be better.
It was cold.
Ammo was hard to get.
Few showed up.
The results were great.
We are keeping our fingers crossed that 2014 will be better.
The whole “nobody is trying to take your guns” mantra has always struck me like this:
It has always been so glaringly obvious that they are in fact trying to take away our guns, despite the lies seeping from between their teeth. During the 2008 Presidential Election, I commented to a coworker my concerns over upcoming gun control measures. My coworker shook his head and said, “every time a Democrat gets elected to office the conservatives think they’re going to ban guns.” And where would we ever get that idea?
The real question is why do they think we’re so stupid? Don’t run, We are your friends. Nobody is trying to take your guns away. Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes? These are not the droids you’re looking for. We still know alarmingly little about our current sitting president’s history, but we do have a very clear picture of his stance on guns. It was obviously only a matter of time before the administration took on gun control as a pet project. Despite their best efforts, our representatives are actually doing their job and have blocked unsavory and unpopular legislation to limit our rights. Obama has not hidden his disappointment at all and in fact has pouted about the defeat.
But still, nobody is trying to take your guns. Right.
Recently, renewing my carry permit has been in the back of my mind, as it has been almost five years since my permit was issued. There have been more pressing things to attend to, and I got sidetracked, but I started researching what I needed to do when we got back from the NRA Convention in Houston. My permit was set to expire in about five weeks. The state’s website advises that the renewal application may take 60-90 days to process. Crap. It also reads that one may apply for renewal within 90-days of expiration. They do allow a 30-day grace period after expiration, but apparently we’re supposed to get our application in exactly 90-days prior to expiration. Lovely. So, Jennifer and I got our applications sent in last week. Her original permit got issued after mine, so she should be in her grace period when her new permit comes in, if they take as long as they are rumored to. I, on the other hand, will likely have to leave my gun at home for a couple of weeks. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably had some idea that this was going on.
This morning I got a letter in the mail from the OSBI. Surely that couldn’t be in response to my application already! I felt the envelope, and it clearly didn’t contain a renewed permit, but only paper. Surely they didn’t already review my renewal application and find some reason to not issue me a new permit! I don’t know why I get so paranoid when it comes to these dealings. I tenuously opened the letter. It appears to be an auto-generated letter sent to notify me that my permit expires next month and that I should apply for renewal. *head scratch* It seems to me that this would be significantly more useful if they sent them out 90-days prior rather than 30-days prior to expiration, considering that if one waits until the last few weeks, one is pretty well guaranteed to be out of a permit for a while. And, if they’re not going to be any more helpful than that, why even waste the paper and postage? There’s our tax dollars at work. *sigh*
UPDATE – Jennifer tells me that the payments to the state have cleared our account, so apparently they’ve received our applications and have done SOMETHING. I’ll update you when we see permits.
This morning I attempted to pop open a can of Pepsi Throwback, but apparently the top of the can was not scored deeply enough for the opening tab to function properly, and I wound up with an unopened can and the separated pull tab in my hand. Not to be discouraged, I used the can opener in my Leatherman to open the can, and enjoy my Pepsi. this brought back memories of my childhood. When I was around seven years old, I liked to use my finger to push the flap of can top flat against the underside of the lid for some reason. I honestly have no idea why that held such appeal to me. When my dad saw me doing this on several occasions, he mistakenly thought that I was dropping the pull tab into the can, and he’d take the drink away from me, citing that I could accidentally swallow the pull tab and injure myself. He never understood my explanation when I tried to clarify that in reality, there was no loose metal in the can. I would often drink diet sodas, because the aspartame would give me such a buzz. In fact, I’d often eat artificial sweetener tabs like mints for the same head rush. At the time I never made the connection that the subsequent skull-throbbing headache was a direct result of the aspartame. I always had headaches when I was younger. When I started avoiding that crap, the headaches disappeared. As I have matured, artificial sweeteners stopped giving me any kind of buzz, but the headaches are still guaranteed, often accompanied by nausea. Sometimes I wish that everything was so simple as misunderstandings over soft drink cans and avoiding the wrong food additives.
And that was that. It felt as though we’d made a deal with the devil. Just as we had been warned, the others sneered at us.
“It’s just so gross,” I once overheard the other Electra comment one day, “the very thought of one of us married to a Bigfoot.” She said that last word as though it tasted bad. “They sleep together and everything. It makes me feel sick to my stomach.”
I had to note that it made her feel anything. I wondered whether that was specifically what Havoc was afraid of. There were very few creatures like us among the staff, and the vast majority of them were normal humans. From what I could tell, the exceptions were mostly like us; their treatments had failed to wipe their minds, so they were bribed into working for Deep Hawk and intimidated with the thought that they couldn’t rejoin normal society. I itched to get to doing something. I had no idea how long it had been since the last time I’d seen the sun.
Claire and Jovious had come to our training room for some actual instruction that was devoid of the mind and body altering treatments, or the theatrics that we’d seen in the beginning. Jovious and I sat to the side of the room as Claire and Naomi worked. Claire Placed a log on a pedestal and opened a can and began sprinkling it on the floor. The can scattered small pieces of metal. They looked like six-inch sections of piano wire. She sprinkled them in a fifteen foot trail between Naomi and the log. I’d seen her practice this exercise before, but she had gotten a lot faster with it. It no longer took a lot of concentration as it had at first. Once Claire stepped clear, Naomi raised her hands to her sides. Sparks showered from the corners of her eyes as she stared toward the log. Obeying her will, the pieces of wires rose up into the air and aligned themselves into two neat rows that extended from her hands to the log. Her eyes glowed white. The moment the rows of wires touched her fingers, there was a loud crack and a bright spark, and the log ignited.
“Very good,” praised Claire, “now can you put them back into their container?” she joked.
Naomi took a deep breath and scowled. Each wire pivoted until they were all vertical and then they snapped together into a bundle. Naomi whipped her gaze at the can and it slid across the floor to where the wires floated. It then elevated and enveloped the bundle of wires. the fire in Naomi’s eyes faded as she walked up to the can of wires and pulled it out of the air with her hand. She took it to Claire who blinked in disbelief.
“Wow!” she said as she took the can, “I was joking. I didn’t think that was even possible.”
“Don’t mess with me,” warned Naomi playfully, “and don’t ask me to do something unless you mean it.”
“Well,” Claire was visibly flustered now, “let’s call it a day for now.”
“Ssshall we?” projected Jovious.
Claire hit the flaming log with an extinguisher. We took the room as she and Naomi sat down.
“You have gotten very good at invisssibility,” praised Jovious, “today, we will sstart with human dissguissse. When you firsst met me, I dissguisssed myssself as General Havoc.”
“I remember that,” I thought back to him.
“When you get good, you will be able to imperssssonate sssspecific people. However, you will find that one or two formsss will come more naturally and will be easssier to hold for long periodsss. Now, concentrate and envision being ssssmaller, hairlesss, a man.”
I closed my eyes and concentrated. Shorter than six feet. Wearing clothes. Finer hair on the body and some hair on the head. Accessories even. I felt warm. I suspected that my psychic projection was working. My suspicion was verified by a snicker from my wife. Jovious didn’t vocalize very often, but he gurgled in approval. Or, was he laughing at me? I opened my eyes and looked in the full-size mirror that I used for these exercises. It was easier for Sasquatch to see through the psychic disguises, but the projections even worked in a mirror. There before my eyes was a man. He was about four feet tall with a hunched back. He wore very thick glasses that made his eyes look tiny, and a trench coat. On top of his head was a tweed fedora. I reached up and pulled the hat off to find a thin, comb-over. This was not at all what I had in mind. I thought the form that would come naturally might look something like my previous human form.
My surprise must have been obvious to Jovious who assured me, “It iss pretty unpredictable what your mossst natural disssguisse will turn out like.” He chortled.
“But I look stupid,” the voice that came out was shrill and sounded like an old man. This elicited more laughter from Naomi, who was joined this time by Claire.
“Yesssss,” thought Jovious, “and what man would ever guess that sssomeone who lookss as you do would have ssssuch great power as you do?”
I had to admit, the furball had a point, “And I sound stupider than I look!” my voice actually cracked at the end.
Jovious reflected, “Fasscinating! Ssssince Sasquatch do not talk, I did not know how a voicce could be generated in a man disssguisse. It isss a good disssguisse.”
Naomi blurted out, “you look like a moleman!”
“That’s it,” I said as I clamped my eyes closed and tried to force myself into concentration. Maybe I’d forgotten a little too much of what it was like to be a mostly normal human being. Let’s go for something taller than Moleman but shorter than Bigfoot. Muscles and a tan. If I can look however I like, why not live it up? No comb over. It felt like it was working, and I knew something had happened when Naomi howled with laughter. I opened my eyes and heard a baritone voice with an exotic accent say, “Now what is it?”
In the mirror, I saw the man on the cover of every paperback romance novel I’d ever seen a lonely old lady reading. He wore a pair of burmuda shorts with no shirt. The arms and chest were sculpted with the tell-tale signs of a gym and personal trainer. Gold curls of hair rested around the shoulders. “Oh, that’s even worse! I’d rather look like the pigeon feeding Moleman!” Everyone in the room seemed to think this was the most hilarious thing in the world except for me. I released the disguise and melted back into giant ape-man. The others were just beginning to compose themselves when Havoc came through the door.
“Alright you two,” he addressed us, “I think you’re finally ready for a dry run.”
Naomi and I looked at each other inquisitively and looked back to Havoc.
“You’ve been working hard and have learned a lot about your new abilities. I had some of my guys hide an object and I want to see if you can retrieve it.”
I probed Havoc’s mind. His was a little harder to read than many, but still not impossible. I could tell that they had hidden an aluminum briefcase that was marked “PROPERTY OF DEEP HAWK”, but I couldn’t tell where it had been hidden.
“What kind of object?” asked Naomi.
“You’ll have to ask Reid,” he winked at me, “I suspected you’d try to cheat. I don’t know where it is. I specifically had them hide it in a location of their choosing so it wouldn’t be too easy on you.”
“It will still be easy for us,” I confidently announced.
Havoc let out a skeptical guffaw, “whatever. Use your powers. Do whatever you have to do to get the object and bring it back as soon as you can. Step one was to identify what the object in question is, which you’ve already used your powers to determine. Keep it up.”
“Hey,” I asked, “I’ve learned to disguise myself as a human. What’s keeping me from just moving out and living among people?”
“If you can call that human,” Naomi mumbled.
“First of all, even if you could keep up your disguise twenty-four seven, your psychic projections won’t fool a camera,” General Havoc explained, “if you just went out to live somewhere among people, I guarantee you that people would come up with family pictures with Bigfoot walking in the background. Every backup camera on a truck or RV would reveal your true form. Plus, not every person will be fooled by your projections. The disguise works well for short-term stints such as this one, but you can’t live on it by itself. Besides that, what is Naomi supposed to do? She looks more human than you do, but she’s not exactly normal looking anymore.”
I looked at my wife. He was right. With her coal colored eyes and hair in contrast with her vampiric porcelain skin, there was just no way that she was going to blend in with regular people anymore. As Havoc walked us to the door, he offered more advice, “try to avoid people for the most part. Find food and water, and shelter if you need it. At all costs, avoid confrontations.”
“So, we don’t even get supplies?” Naomi asked.
“Only what you have with you now,” said Havoc.
The two of us stepped out the door into the blinding sunlight. We turned back toward the door. Havoc said, “good luck you two.” And at that, he locked the door behind us.
EDMOND, Okla. (AP) — A 2-acre grass fire in Edmond has been extinguished and fire crews said a squirrel may have been behind the blaze.
Seriously, guys? I’ve got an eye on you. Squirrel season starts in six days and I’ve got a new bow sling to review.
“Michael,” he said, “are you dual wielding Leathermans?”
“I suppose I am,” I chuckled, “there’s a story about that and I’ll share it with you in a moment.”
Well, inevitable tangents happened, and ultimately I did not explain to Kelly why I had two Leatherman pocket tools in my pocket. But, that’s what the internet is for, am I right? This last Christmas, my father-in-law gave me a Leatherman Sidekick.
This was a nice little multitool with pliers, a locking straight-edge knife blade and locking wood saw blade, as well as a pair of screwdrivers, can/bottle opener, file/small screwdriver, small serrated blade, and a fold-away lanyard loop. This very quickly became my go-to pocket tool, displacing one of my pocket knives as well as the screwdriver set and P38 can opener that had previously lived in my pockets. It went everywhere with me until it disappeared one day. After I had not found it for a couple weeks, I decided to see what was in stock at the local Ace Westlake Hardware store. I had a $5 coupon to the store, so I dropped in to check out their inventory. I wound up purchasing a Leatherman Wingman that was on sale. This unit was very similar to the lost Sidekick.
The two units are built on the same frame, with the same pliers and screwdrivers. The blade on the latter is partially serrated, and it has a pair of spring operated scissors instead of the saw blade. The bottle/can opener and the file are common between the two models, but where the Sidekick has a serrated knife blade, the Wingman has a ‘package opener’ which consists of a protuberance with an inward facing chisel point for cutting tape and straps without being an actual knife blade. I mused to Jennifer that it would be nice to have a unit with the three knife blades, as each one fills a bit of a niche. So, although the replacement was a little different, I began to enjoy having it around; and then of course, you know what happens when you replace something that you have lost.
Having the two side-by-side has been interesting.
The differences were few but significant.
Of course, I was reminded of my earlier conversation with Jenni in which I said that I’d like to have all three knife blades in one unit. I noted that the leftover parts would make a unit that didn’t have a knife blade in it at all but would still have a handful of very useful tools. Apparently, it was time to void some warranties. I took out my torx driver and started swapping parts. The saw blade where the knife belongs functions nearly as though it was meant to be there. The lock doesn’t function quite as intended, but I don’t feel like a lock is necessary on a saw blade anyway. The knife blade where the saw belongs however… it bolted in, and would lock open, but it would not close completely into the handle.
It turns out that the blade stop was bottoming out shallower on this side of the unit than the one where the knife blade is intended to go, and it fit like this:
instead of the way it works in factory format like this:
So, I put a cutting wheel on my little Black & Decker Wizard and ground away a tiny bit of the pocket bottom, like so:
This allowed the blade to sit a little deeper in the pocket, while still retaining the function of the blade stop.
And, that made it so that the blade closes as though the factory intended for it to be there.
Once I had reassembled the cases, they don’t look like they have been tampered with at a glance.
I placed the partial serrated blade for a right thumb open and the straight edge as a lefty opener. I initially had an excuse for this decision, but it escapes me now, so it may have not been as important as it seemed at the time.
So, one of these now has an excess blade and the other has no knife blade at all. If I’m going into a place that disallows knives, I can very honestly claim that it is not at all a knife, and make a strong argument for keeping my multitool on me.
I have not been a fan of any of the products of the Taurus group in the past. Sorry, Gabe. I’m not hating. You’re gun is still cool. I have a dear friend who purchased a model 10 from a local pawn shop. It’s from the Bangor Punta era that we Smith fans are supposed to sneer at, but it is still a pretty sweet gun. Well… I have pined for a decent revolving carbine chambered in .357 Magnum. Or even better, .44 Magnum. And then…
What? What do we have here?
Umm… This appears to be a revolving carbine in .44 Magnum. In a bright blue. With walnut furniture.
Yeah. We may just have to get one of these babies.
This is the sequel to The Becoming, which I serialized here over the last couple of months. The previous nine installments were just a weird dream I had one night. As a testament to the power of the human subconscious mind, I recall getting up that night to use the bathroom and having the dream when I went back to bed, so the entire thing came about in only a couple hours’ time. It was so random and epic and weird that I had to write it up and share it. And, it had so many loose ends that I kind of had to continue it with my waking mind. You can start at the beginning here, and the last installment can be found here. Again, next week when it publishes, part 2 will be here.
General Havoc returned to the control room where Shelby met him. He carried a heavy air of worry as he proceed through to his office and Shelby followed him in. “What happened?” she asked him.
He sighed, “She made me cut off pursuit.”
“Well, that was pretty obvious,” Shelby pushed.
“We’re going to have to convince Reid and Naomi to work for us,” he declared resolutely.
Shelby asked, “so you’re going to hire them?”
“I don’t really have a choice,” he answered her, “they seem to trust you more than about anyone else. Would you be so kind as to get them for me?”
I awoke to a knock at the door to our quarters. I didn’t even know that I had fallen asleep. When I realized what was going on, I leaped to my feet and approached the door. “Who is is?” I demanded.
“It’s Shelby,” came a voice from the other side of the door, “can I come in?”
I looked at Naomi, who sleepily nodded her head as she sat up on the edge of the bed. I opened the door, and before I could say anything, Shelby began talking to us, “I know that you two are angry right now, and I know that you have a lot of resentment towards General Havoc and the other people who work here, but please do try to keep an open mind. Havoc wants to meet with you and talk about some options.”
“Options?!?” I cried, “our options are none of his business! We’re leaving this place and never coming back.”
“To do what, Reid?” Shelby asked, “you are an eight foot tall ape. Are you going to just go back to your suburban lifestyle? Are you going to get a job waiting tables? You know, they don’t even really build cars or homes sized for your stature. Please just at least hear Havoc out. As much as I hate what’s been done to you, it is done. We can genuinely help you at this point, if you’ll let us.”
She had a point. I sighed, “fine. We’ll hear him out. But, I’m not going to rule out the possibility of burrowing our way out of this building to go and live in the woods somewhere.”
This is how we found ourselves at a table in a conference room that we didn’t previously know existed. Havoc was at the table with us, as were Shelby and a couple of men that we hadn’t met before.
“Reid and Naomi,” said Havoc, “I would like to apologize for the way you’ve been treated.”
I really hated this guy. “I would like to run your head through this table,” I muttered at him, and then out loud, “don’t you think that we deserve just a tad more than a simple apology?”
The man to Havoc’s right had a notebook that he scribbled some notes into.
“Yes I do,” Havoc said. “We can offer you a real opportunity here. We can certainly use your talents.”
“We’ve heard all of this before,” Naomi said, “that’s how you led us into this mess in the first place. The real question is, why in the world should we help you?”
“Fair enough,” Havoc said, “I feel like we can help each other.”
“And,” I interrupted, “you owe us some answers. Why’d you call off your thugs yesterday?”
Havoc sighed deeply, “well, all of us answer to someone. I was instructed to cut off pursuit and to make ovations toward you.”
“I don’t think that word means what you think it means,” Naomi stated flatly, “why did you try to brainwash us? Why did you turn us into the things we are now?”
“It’s difficult to explain,” said Havoc slowly and deliberately, as though he was calculating every word, “the program tends to work better when our front line individuals are devoted to the establishment primarily.”
His cold attitude toward the ‘front line individuals’ made my scalp tingle with my rage, “You are kidnapping people, brainwashing them, and deforming their bodies without their consent. How many laws are you breaking; both codified laws and natural laws? Can’t you see that this is wrong?”
Havoc stared at me for a moment prior to answering, “everyone who enters the program does so of their own free will.”
“Your program is misrepresented, and you use drugs to influence your volunteers,” I corrected him, “give me one good reason we shouldn’t walk right out that door and never darken it again.”
“Reid,” Shelby said, “I tried to tell you earlier…” and then, Havoc cut her off.
“Reid,” he said, “you are a Bigfoot. Where are you going to go? Naomi, you are an Electra. Where do you propose that the two of you will go together? If you stay here, we can give you a life. You will be paid handsomely and your every need will be taken care of. You both have abilities now that you didn’t have before, and we can help you learn how to use them to their fullest.”
“We will not be separated again,” Naomi said resolutely, “that’s my first condition.”
“Agreed,” I crossed my arms.
“Done,” Havoc said.
“Ever,” clarified Naomi, “when we train, we train together. If you have to make changes to the very facility to make that happen, then that is my condition.”
“And, we get to leave anytime we see fit for whatever reason or no reason at all, at our option, with or without notice,” I added.
“That’s a lot to ask,” noted Havoc.
“Dude,” I snapped back, “you have to understand that we have suffered some pretty heavy violation at your hands. We are not your little mindless puppets, and these are our conditions to assure we don’t get screwed anymore.”
“No, that’s not it,” Havoc said, “Electros work with Electros and Sasquatch work with Sasquatch. What you’re asking us to do is completely restructure the social structure of our teams.”
“Figure it out,” Naomi said, with a few sparks showering from the corners of her eyes. I still didn’t have any clue what all she could do now. The sparks were subtle, but took me by surprise.
“We will,” Havoc cautioned, “but you will likely hear about it from the other creatures working here. They’ve all been conditioned to do this one way, and they won’t easily accept what you are proposing. We can mitigate that to an extent by making you staff and giving you staff quarters instead of general population quarters.”
“So,” I clarified, “if we leave, we’ll be outcasts. If we stay, we’ll be outcasts. We’ll be together either way though? I can live with that.”
Havoc continued, “there is going to be friction, but if your friction spills out and causes issues between the Electros and the Sasquatch in general, we’re going to have bigger problems.”
“Do you have a frog in your pocket?” snapped Naomi.
“All I’m asking is that you make an attempt at keeping the peace,” General Havoc flushed with suppressed annoyance. Turning to the man to his left, “can you prepare their new quarters in the staff section, and begin whatever we need to give them their own training area?”
The man gave a speechless nod as he stood up from the table and left the room.
Thursday, Jennifer and I got up early with the plan to pick up the rent-a-heap (as OldNFO calls it), with the intent of her taking our Compact Tactical Assault Sedan to work while I took the foster car home to load our junk, ready to drive once she got home from the office. She had a couple of loose ends to tie up before she could take off, but she was still planning to cut out early. The rental company jacked up our reservation and didn’t have our car by 7:30 as arranged. At that time, they offered excuses and said they could take a car to her office by nine. They didn’t have a compact, as we had booked, so they were going to upgrade us to a midsize. I dropped her off at work and took our CTAS home. At nine, she texted to let me know that the rental company had not yet delivered a car. She called and reamed them a new one, so they ‘upgraded’ us, once again, to a Dodge Avenger. Our original booking must have been for a two-door Speck with a three hamster engine. They got her the car at around 9:30, and we were on the road by ten. In all fairness, the rental company was extremely receptive to our multiple complaints and has made overtures to remedy the mishandling.
The drive was not terribly noteworthy, considering we drove through both Dallas and Houston. There weren’t too many situations in which I knew we were about to see some idiot cause a forty car pile-up because he was in such a hurry to rush up and tailgate the next driver in line or cut across four lanes of traffic with no signal, or both. Maybe I’m just growing patience with age. Thursday night, we met up with some of our friends for some Cajun food. Jennifer and I split a dozen oysters on ice, five pounds of crawfish, sausage, potatoes, and corn. Yum! Friday morning, we woke up at the butt crack of freaking dawn and headed down to the convention center. Parking was a veritable nightmare. If you don’t mind spending $30 to park your car for a day, it wasn’t bad at all, but that is extortion, IMHO.
The show was what I have come to expect out of a trade show. There were lots of pretties to handle and we got to meet many interesting people. Some of them are people that we have grown to know and respect online, others that we only knew by reputation prior to this weekend, and still others that were fresh introductions. Also, we had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends, if not nearly enough of them. But, that’s how these things go. It seems like no matter how much you try to pack into each day of the weekend, in the end you’re always short on time. Please do expect some pics and accounts of guns and gear, as well as more detailed stories, and it looks like we’ll have some extended test and evaluation stuff to look forward to. In the meantime, I’ll post some more updates tomorrow, and suffice it to say that it’s been an extraordinary trip so far.