Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

I was looking at my stats, and someone wandered onto my blog looking for ‘spanking machine’ in a search engine. There are some sick puppies out there in cyberspace. Whoever that was, I hope they find what they are looking for and don’t hurt anyone else in the process. *shudder*

The Shifter on the Car

You both read me whining the other day about the state of the car. As I said in that post, I did get the battery taken care of. I meant to work on the car yesterday, but as my lovely wife pointed out, the weather was freaking awful! So, I put that crap off until today.

The deal with the shifter cracked me up! The boy and I hopped into the car this afternoon, and tore into the center console to see what the heck was going on with the shifter linkage. As it turns out, there was a little chunk of plastic that had broken off of the bottom side of the cup holder, and fallen into the little well where the shifter rod resides. The cup holder wasn’t lacking any rigidity or security because of the loss of that plastic, but the chunk of plastic was impeding the travel of the shifter rod. We simply threw away that chunk of plastic and put everything back together. Problem solved! I still need to address the exhaust hanger business, and we need to work it into the body shop, but other than that, the car is tip-top.

It has ~105,000-miles on it, and it’s been a great car. The old Nissans that we have had have been good cars, but not nearly this bullet-proof. If it were not for the experience of owning this one, I would not have believed it. At the rate it’s taking wear, it should have no trouble doing the third-of-a-million-miles, like our BMW did. Not bad for a French car (apparently, Nissan is owned by Peugeot)! Don’t get me wrong – I miss my Hondas, but this Sentra may just be a keeper.

My Brother’s Household’s Firearms

I’m so proud!

My brother got a decent tax return this year! We have to pay in, but not much, so the blessings are well-counted. At the end of the year, he used his annual bonus to purchase one of the more traditional Para’s. It’s a single-stack .45 with a 5-inch barrel. The sucker is a real tack driver – like all firearms should be. It will also digest any ammo you put in it – as all firearms should. This has been the only gun in his house since then… until recently.

We acclimated my sister-in-law to shooting by first having her shoot my dad’s Ruger pre-mark .22 pistol. She fell in love with that flukey little thing. She shot my son’s 10/22 rifle, and then Great-Grandma’s .410. After that, she has shot .38 Special from our old M&P, Jenni’s 627, and one of my 586’s. These experiences convinced her that she liked .38 Special.

She has had a hard time with the slide on a semi-auto. She has wanted a handgun of her own that she could enjoy target practice with, but would work well for personal defense if it came down to it. My brother called me on Friday afternoon to tell me that they had picked up a brand-spanking-new S&W M-686 SSR. I am shocked, and somehow not. I’m really impressed that she chose this particular gun. The action is tuned by Smith & Wesson’s Performance Center. She turned her nose up at the Uncle Mike’s grips and the SSR-emblazoned wooden grips that came with the gun, and instead fitted it with a new Hogue Bantam rubber grip.

Then yesterday, he called me to tell me that he had just picked up an old Remington 870 at a local shop. He had been looking at Winchesters for some time, having fallen in love with my Rapture. But, he got frustrated with the availability of the old Winchesters, and found a great example of the Remington. It should serve him well. It’s an old gun in great condition, and he has asked me to cut off the barrel for him. Plans include the tritium bead and a mag tube extension. I can’t wait to run it at the farm! Ooooooo, shotgun goodness!

All in all, my brother is doing a great job arming up the household. I’m looking forward to seeing what other handguns they get, and also what they pick up for rifles. At the rate he’s going, he’ll probably get an AK, since we have AR’s here. You never know. I’m coming to a point in life where I can decide that the decisions I make are right, but if your decisions are different, they can be right too.

If the antis could all understand how much fun shooting can be, they would cease to be antis, and our battle would be over. Let us strive for that.

Bacon Explosion II – Meatloaf

Alright, everybody! In my last post, I chronicled my experimentation of the fabled bacon explosion. I tried again, using a modification of Mom’s old-fashioned meatloaf recipe.

Mom’s recipe:

3-lbs 80/20 ground beef
3-eggs
1-medium yellow onion, diced
~10-oz breadcrumbs
1-small can of tomato sauce

Additions include:

3-pods of garlic, diced
1-small can of diced olives
3-lbs bacon

Put the ground beef in a mixing bowl with the onions, garlic and eggs. Mix by hand (take off all jewelry for this step), and slowly add the tomato sauce and breadcrumbs and judge mix by consistency.

Weave bacon into mats. With thick-sliced bacon, you will get about thirteen slices in each pound. It takes twelve slices to weave a mat. This recipe is for three meatloaf logs.

Smear approximately a third of the meat mixture on each bacon mat and pat it down. Don’t pack it, but pat it down to a consistent surface.

Sprinkle the tops of the meat with the diced olives and roll the assembly. Secure the roll with toothpicks.

Throw the logs on the grill at low heat, turning regularly. Pay constant attention so they don’t catch on fire, and allow internal temperature to reach 130-degrees.

Slice and serve.

My results? Of the two I cooked, one fell apart. I cooked these at my parents’ house. My dad insisted that they go in the oven prior to going on the grill. I would have put these straight on the grill, but he’s so darned convincing at times! The foil that they were wrapped in stuck to the bacon in the oven, and this was the result:

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It was ugly, but quite delicious. The other one, I was able to separate from the foil, and keep from catching on fire in the grill. This was my result:

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Nutritious. Delicious. Beautiful. Perfect food. I will be doing more of these. This was served with rice with sliced squash in it and broccoli salad. We had some kind of clearanced merlot. The meal was lovely, and I still have one of these, uncooked in the refrigerator. We’ll eat this one at home this week, no doubt.

Next time I try food wrapped in bacon mat, I see doing lobster tail strips and chicken tenders. There’s a great oriental food store in town, and I’ll pick up some lobster tails there. For anyone interested, the meatloaf bacon explosion was totally worth it. Don’t bother with the viral, sausage-stuffed variety. Meatloaf works well! I will totally try this sort of thing in a campfire. I would imagine that such a concoction would only take about 15-minutes in a good campfire.

Bacon Explosion – First Attempt

There have been these stories flying all over the interwebtron about people weaving bacon, rolling more pork in it (i. e. sausage, etc.) and cooking it like that. Last weekend, I felt just spicy enough to try it. We had some impromptu company, as we tend to with our family, and I didn’t really know what to cook. I was rummaging through the refrigerator and freezer, and found 2.5-lbs of sausage and 3-lbs of bacon. I remembered the bacon explosion and decided to give it a try. So, here’s my attempt at this culinary lunacy.

Step 1 – Weave bacon strips.

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As you can see, this makes kind of a mat. It seems like twelve, thick slices of bacon work pretty well for this thing. My 3-lb package came with about 39-slices of bacon in it, so I made three of these monstrosities. Raw bacon is quite pliable. In places where it didn’t want to fit tightly, I was able to kind of squish it to where it was supposed to be, and strips that were a little shorter were easily stretched to make the mat square.

Step 2 – Seasoning.

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I have just a little bit of dried sage and basil left from the fresh herbs of 2007 and 2008. So, I used some of these dried leaves, crumbled up, directly on the bacon mat before I put down the sausage – which leads us directly into…

Step 3 – Sausage.

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I kind of smashed the raw sausage thinly across the raw bacon mat. I’m glad I’m not allergic to pork, or I would have been covered in hives. This step was eerily like spreading high-gluten, short-grain rice across your nori when you are rolling sushi. With the sausage, taper your smear so that it is slightly thicker on the end that you will start rolling from, and leave a little space at the outside edge, because the meat will tend to bind up and walk on the mat when you roll it. I know that sounds kind of kinky, but I’m just sayin’…

Step 4 – Fillings.

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I decided to use some sliced cheese that we had in the refrigerator. It was some deli provolone that we had left over from the last time we made sandwiches. I knew it would come in handy, which is why we bought more than we would eat that night. The picture above is all we did to that roll. On the second one, I added the extra strips of bacon that did not weave into any of the three mats. On the third one, we diced up some organic black olives and threw them on top of the cheese. I’m here to tell you – that was awesome. If we do this again, olives are officially part of the recipe.

Step 5 – Rolling.

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This really works best with two people. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I was afraid it would be, but you will definitely have to hold your mouth right. Start at the fat end of the mat, and roll it toward the thin end. Roll it tightly enough to work the air out, but not too tightly or you will destroy the roll in the process. When it is rolled, have your partner stab some toothpicks into the ends of the strips to hold the thing together. You will wind up with a big, fat, gooey, log of pork.

Step 6 – Grilling

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Don’t be like Michael. Don’t leave your pork unattended. Do you see that ‘what the hell do I do now?’ look on my face? When the pork grease drips into the grill and ignites, and you turn off your gas and the flames are still like that, the fire is burning with the intensity of a thousand suns. It was like the fires of Mordor in there. In this picture, my arm hair was getting singed.

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Ooooooo, that’s hot! Hot, hot, hot, hot!! Okay. So, these things got a bit more crispy on the outside than I wanted them to. In fact, the bacon on the outside edge of the roll kind of transformed into carbon in places. All that being said, I would call the first attempts a success. It was really good!

Step 7 – Slice and serve.

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This stuff was very tasty! We served it with sourdough bread and spinach and tomato salad. Especially for the cost of the meal, it was fantastic! Five of us ate on it on Saturday night, and then we had enough leftovers for three on Sunday afternoon. The crispier edges were a little much, but most of the slices were completely edible without scraping or cutting off any of the blackened crust. Next time I do anything like this, I will not be walking away from the grill for any time. Rather, I’ll have a helper with me to run errands and such.

Step 8 – Ideas for improvement and such.

The olives are a must. They were awesome and really made the deal.

Mozzarella would have been better than provolone.

I’m wondering about wrapping the roll in foil with holes poked in it. That might keep them from catching on fire so easily.

This could make wonderful campfire food!

It would be interesting to use a thinner spread of sausage and top it with tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, and all kinds of pizza toppings. I bet that would come out really good!

Rather than using sausage, a great high-brow alternative would be to alternate strips of lobster tail and chicken tenders. The flavors of the bacon, lobster, and chicken would make all kinds of music on the palette!

Meatloaf. I need to do a meatloaf like this. I’ve been trying to figure out for some time how to do a meatloaf on the grill, and this is the answer to that. Next time, I’m going to use a meatloaf mix instead of sausage, spread it on the bacon mat with green or organic black olives and garlic on it before I roll it. That would be incredible! In fact, I may have to do that this weekend…

Random Occurrences – Today’s Ghetto Story

When it rains, it pours. Things always happen in threes. If it’s not one thing, it’s a lot of things. The car has needed attention on a couple of things for a while now. We’ve been nursing her along on a worn-out battery for some time. Yesterday, I went and bought a new Exide Orbital. These things are supposed to be the best lead-acid battery you can get currently. Apparently, the eight-year-old Optima battery that was in the car was a little out dated, as well as aged and weak. With the Optima, the starter crank of the engine had been reduced to a “Wow, wooooaaaow, wow, chug, chug, chug, bbbbbrrrrrrrr,” when we were lucky enough that it actually started on its own will. With the Orbital, it has been restored to “Ch, ch, ch, vroom!” The guy at the battery shop, Rick, tested the starter and alternator, and said that they were in exemplary condition. I’m relieved that the battery itself was all it took to correct that problem. I was pretty convinced that was all that was wrong, but the paranoia of a dying battery damaging an expensive starter and/or alternator was something that I just couldn’t shake.

The Spec-V still has a rattly exhaust because I’ve been too Scottish to pony up the $40.00 that it’s going to take to get the proprietary exhaust hanger from Nissan. An exhaust hanger should not cost $40.00. It should be a $2.00-rubber donut that you can pick up at the auto parts house. I should be able to get twenty exhaust hangers for what Nissan wants for the one – which is exactly why I dreaded the loss of the starter or alternator. I may try to jimmy-rig the exhaust hanger once more before I give up and spend the big bucks for the proper, Nissan part, as the last time I did so surprised me by lasting for over a year that way.

Yesterday, when we were on our morning commute, there was another driver that clearly had their head lodged in their rectum. They made this evident by pulling that cranial-rectalitis maneuver of whipping in front of me and going nowhere. I was ready to accelerate and pass traffic (get this) in the passing lane, and clearly they had no intention of doing so. I pushed a little harder and closed up the gap between us, so they gave me a warning tap on their brake pedal. I had not the time nor the patience for such low-brow savagery yesterday. I dropped it to third gear, whipped two lanes over and washed past, stirring the gearbox all the way. Apparently, somewhere in the robust shifting, I popped a shifter cable loose or something. At this point, it feels like the shift-gate is crooked, and wiggly. I know that sounds weird, but the gears are not quite where they are supposed to be in relation to the shifter position, and it seems to move on top of that. Sometimes I can’t put it in first and other times I can’t put it in second. When it goes into either gear, it goes in smoothly and locks positively, but the other one is a futile, uphill battle. Tomorrow, I’ll have a look at it as it feels like a bracket or something came loose under the center console. For the time being, it is little more than an annoyance, as the car has plenty of torque for the second-gear start, and the ratios are close enough to skip second if need be.

Don’t even get me started on the body work that the car needs due to being hit by an uninsured motorist on my way to jury duty. We’re trying to wait until after we’ve paid our taxes to get that one taken care of so we don’t strain under that load combined with our insurance deductible.

But, I digress…

This morning, after chugging my way to work, with the exhaust rattling, using first or second gear, but never both, I parked the car in my usual spot, facing the street. As is my habit, I locked the car up and walked toward the trunk to stand there and recompose prior to going in to work. While drinking my cheap coffee (which I don’t usually do, but sometimes – especially on Fridays), I lit up a cigarrette.

Across the street from the building where I work is a street that goes down to a really rough apartment complex. It’s a pretty regular occurrence that a handful of unmarked Crown Vics will park in the intersection, a bunch of plain-clothes cops with vests under their Hawaiian shirts will go over a battle plan, and the lot of them will speed into the apartments to beat the crap out of the meth-heads, pimps, gang-bangers, or whatever. Yeah. Nice neighborhood. The rent is cheap though, and that’s why we’re here.

Anyway, when I get to work, the kids from the apartments are standing by the stop sign, waiting for the bus. Usually, I’m putting my guns in their case when the bus comes to pick up the kids for their undoubtedly adventurous trip to school. Today, there was one child waiting for the bus with his back-pack. He appeared to be somewhere between ten and twelve. As he was standing there, waiting for the bus, I was standing across the street, smoking my cigarette. He began to yell. I ignored at first. Then, I became aware that he was yelling at me.

The Getto kid said, “Excuse me, sir!” I have to give him some points for manners in this address.

I turned my head slowly and credulously, “Yeah?” I responded.

He inquired, “Is that your last cigarette?”

I asked, “What?” thinking that I had misheard him.

“Is that your last cigarette?” he repeated himself.

“Yes,” I lied, “This is my last one.” Lord, please forgive me for telling a lie to the hood-rat.

He persisted, “Do you mind if I take a drag off of that one?”

“Yes,” I said with iron conviction and disbelief that he would actually ask such a thing, “I would mind that very much.”

No words were exchanged after that point. I was tempted to ask the kid how old he was, and point out that what he was asking me to do was to commit several criminal acts. I held my tongue and didn’t say anything. I spread the word in the office, and we joked that my tires would be slashed by the end of the day. The car is insured, and I’m not terribly worried about that. I’m not deliberately inviting vandalism, because it would be a pain in the butt to fix the car, but I’m not losing any sleep over it since I’ve got monetary coverage. The whole situation just caused one, great big ‘WTF?!?!?’ for me.

My Big Mouth II

I’m making some pretty good progress on the impossible holster already.  I haven’t cut a piece of leather, or laid down one stitch, but I’m still seriously thinking that this could actually be a success.  I’ve done several sketches, and scrawled out the beginnings of a pattern – which in this phase looks more like an X-Ray of the completed piece rather than a plan for it.  Currently, I’m working out curves and textures to make sure that the thing will be as viable as possible in real life.  I feel like I have but one shot at this one (pardon the pun).  It’s going to take so much material, and so many hours of work, that if I fail, I won’t want to try it again.  But if I succeed, I will have earned the bragging rights.

I’m thinking that the holster should be the same red as the suit in question.  It’s starting to look like I’m going to have stitch lines and seamless junctions running in seemingly impossible directions.  For its structure, I’m going to employ some tricks that I’ve used on previous holsters, and some that I’ve only ever thought about before.  That’s not like the wild runnings of random creativity either.  These untested ideas will work.  I know they will.   In form and function, this thing is going to be so very shocking…

I’ll post updates.  Don’t even worry about that.  There will be updates.  If I fail miserably and the thing is garbage, you will know about it.  I’m still optimistic though.  I’ve been told that this can’t be done, but I don’t listen very well apparently.  Wish me continued luck.

Me and My Big Mouth…

Friends,

Both of you ought to know that today, I either made a grave mistake, or I paved the way into some level of fame.  I was trolling the forums of the local gun range (which happens to be the best gun range on the planet), and I happened upon a thread where there was an ongoing discussion between a brand new gunnie, asking about recommendations for a slighter-built person carrying concealed, a woman talking about CCW, and a woman who works at said range, saying that she was about to conduct a class on women carrying concealed.

What I got out of the conversation was that one would have to adjust one’s wardrobe to carry, would have to carry a small gun, and it might not be terribly comfortable.  I disagree.  Yes, one must be mindful of one’s dress when one carries a firearm, fully concealed.  But, it should not be uncomfortable, and it doesn’t have to be a small gun, as long as you pick the right holster…

Granted, I think that Oklahoma Shooter knows what she’s talking about.  But, she got me to thinking about my life, and my wife, and the holsters that I have made, and the fact that I might be up for a new challenge.  I took her words as a challenge.  I’ve been able to hide some large guns under some fitted clothing on some small forms before.  Perhaps her call was a challenge to the ultimate in this game.  Yeah.  I’m in.

Exhibit A – Jenni’s pleasure shooter, “Envy”, Smith & Wesson 627, 5-inch barreled, N-Frame, 8-Shot, .357 Magnum, Big-Boy Revolver:

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There was a point in time that I saw this gorgeous, red, woman’s suit on the internet. I couldn’t afford it at the time that I first saw it. It was a Gianni Versace. Shortly after the fact, I was able to pick up the same suit on ebay for Jenni. I won’t tell you what I paid, as I don’t want Gianni rolling over in his grave.

Exhibit B – Jenni’s gorgeous, sexy, red, Versace suit, that leaves little to the imagination:

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My proposal, that I hastily posted in the H&H forum today is,

My lovely wife is all of 5’4″, and she currently floats between a size 2 and 4. I think she needs a holster for her 5″ N-frame. I believe that I can hide that 44-oz beast under sexy Versace, and still have it wear comfortably, and remain accessible to draw quickly.

Which means nothing less than this visual:

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As I said to OKShooter, wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted.

Car Battery

It looks like we’ve got to get a battery for the freaking car.  The battery in there now has been there for about two years.  The car is only five years old.  The original battery croaked in a typical 3-year span, so I slapped the Optima from one of the project cars in it.  That Yellow-top is probably eight years old, and has been in at least three cars (that I can think of ) now.  I knew that we were going to have to replace it, but I really wanted to put that off until after we had paid our taxes.  But, alas – its time in this world is quickly drawing to a close.  My connections are clean, and it runs down within minutes of the headlights being on even if I have trickle-charged it for a good 24-hours.  It’s a lot worse in the cold than when it’s warm outside.  This morning, I forgot to turn the lights off when I stopped for gas.  Approximately five minutes of gas-pumping is all it took to discharge it to the point that the keyturn produced one, mournful “rurch” of a crank.  I had to ask for help from a complete stranger in the not-so-good side of town.  Fortunately, the guy who I asked was willing and compassionate to my plight.  I think I’m going to get a new battery just down the street from my workplace at the battery store.  I really didn’t want to be out the money right now, but that’s what happens when we let these things plan themselves.  I don’t want to put it off for so long that it kills my alternator as well.  Those Nissan alternators are NOT CHEAP!