Fort Hood Thoughts

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One of Hasan’s neighbours described how on the day of the massacre, about 9am, he gave her a Koran and told her: “I’m going to do good work for God” before leaving for the base.

Fellow doctors have recounted how they were repeatedly harangued by Hasan about religion and that he openly claimed to be a “Muslim first and American second.”

Major Nidal Malik Hasan, the gunman who killed 13 at America’s Fort Hood military base, once gave a lecture to other doctors in which he said non-believers should be beheaded and have boiling oil poured down their throats. He also told colleagues at America’s top military hospital that non-Muslims were infidels condemned to hell who should be set on fire.

Without “jumping to conclusions,” I feel that it’s quite safe to say that we’ve had our first terrorist attack on U. S. soil since the Bush administration put an end to such things. I suppose it was only a matter of time. It’s quite unfortunate that the powers that be failed to identify this scum as a threat before he went all splody-monkey. I hope they treat him right.

A Tail of Two Kitties

We had a plan last night that didn’t come together due to unforeseen circumstances. As these circumstances unfolded, they became really funny, even if in a macabre sort of way. The Kiddo is out of school today for some kind of weird reason, so his Granddad picked him up from school yesterday so they could hang out today. They both enjoy that, and it’s certainly convenient for us. We had a parent-teacher conference scheduled for yesterday at six, and I hadn’t yet had the opportunity to meet his teacher. After that, the local liquor store was hosting a wine tasting, although the owner’s first language is not English, and he writes it ‘wine testing’. He’s a great person, and I really like his family, but every now and then, there’s some little piece of Engrish that pops up to belie his near lack of accent. Yesterday, going over the plans for the evening, I mentioned to Jenni that after meeting with the teacher, and getting some wine in our systems, we’d be home alone! So, I proposed we grill some steaks and then have some ‘grown-up’ time (at the risk of giving TMI). She loved the idea, so we committed our intentions.

On the way home from work, we stopped at Braum’s to pick up milk, butter (the real stuff, not that ‘I can’t believe’ crap), some heavy whipping cream, and a couple of steaks. We went on home to put away our perishables, and had just enough time to let the dog out, relax for a moment, and high-tail it to the school for our meeting. I almost got too relaxed and forgot about the parent-teacher conference, but we did make it mostly in time. I like Kiddo’s teacher this year. She’s down to earth, intelligent, and cute! I’m betting that’s why he likes her as well! After chatting with her for about twenty or thirty minutes, we went on to our wine ‘testing.’ We tried about eight different wines from Kalifornia’s Central Coast. I think the Central Coast is why God has not yet allowed that state to fall into the Pacific! After wine, we returned home and grilled our steaks.

Somewhere in there, between the conference with the teacher and grilling steaks, the cats got a little carried away in one of their friendly scuffles. Let me preface the rest of this post: Our cats LOVE each other.

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We had a little unfounded concern about how Emerson would react to Ferrule when Jenni brought him home. We didn’t know whether he would be aggressive to the newcomer. But, it was clear to Emerson that Ferrule needed a mommy, and so his maternal instincts took over. I know how that sounds, but there’s really no better way to put it. He would bathe Ferrule, and protect him, and it wasn’t at all paternal, it was maternal – pure and simple.

emerson and ferrule in the sink U can haz pass teh sope, plz? K Thx!

They snuggle when they sleep, and put on sickeningly sweet shows in our home. But, sometimes they fight. It’s never seemed ill-motivated, but just some sort of elevated play. Usually, Ferrule is the instigator, and Emerson puts him in his place. They’re not always so nice, though.

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At some point in the evening, Ferrule’s claw punctured Emerson’s tail. His claws get caught on stuff when they aren’t trimmed. Apparently, prior to the claw extraction, there was enough pull to put a ~2-inch laceration in Emerson’s tail. Through the fur, it looked much smaller:

before

At first, we saw a little blood on the floor, in droplets here and there. Upon closer inspection, we located the injury and found that he had left quite the blood trail through the house. Of course, Jenni called the pet med emergency number. They advised that we clean the wound with hydrogen peroxide and water, and then leave it open. We were then to keep an eye on it to monitor any changes. After a little while, it was still dripping, so I called the emergency line again. The woman who answered the phone advised that we bring the cat in so they could suture the wound. Jenni wrapped Emerson in a towel so he could go to his nemesis: the car. He yowled the entire way to the clinic, and continued his protests when we entered. He certainly knows how to make an entrance! After some waiting, we were shown to an examination room, and a nurse took his vitals. After more waiting, the doctor came in, and said that he needed stitches. So, they gassed the cat, shaved his tail, and put twelve stitches in his poor tail!

after

That, my friends, is $285-worth of medical care! Ouch! I wish I could get that kind of money for every twelve stitches I put in a holster. Besides that, my stitching is much prettier! Jenni says that I don’t have to shave and drug my holsters, and I said that the vet didn’t have to wet-mold and finish the cat. With Emerson drugged and floppy, we went back home. We have to have the stitches taken out in ten to fourteen days. We put him to bed in the closed bathroom, so Ferrule wouldn’t mess with him all drugged up. Oddly enough, Ferrule seems to feel almost guilty in the whole situation. I suppose if any breed of cat is even capable of such a thing, it would probably be a Siamese variation. Then again, they also seem to be the breed that is most likely to hold a grudge…

Watch your step, Ferrule.

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Sewing Machine Update

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about how I’m probably going to need to get a sewing machine for my holster work. If I can simplify my stitching setup, I’ll be able to speed production for a couple of reasons: Hand stitching holsters is time-consuming and it’s very hard work. Even if I could speed production in hand stitching, I’d get one heck of a case of tendinitis, which would halt production altogether. I need a machine. So, I set out to do some homework, and have come to several, unfortunate truths.

A lot of people doing the kind of work that I’m doing are using vintage machines. Some of the old industrials are unparalleled beasts. The biggest problem is that they are very expensive, and will probably need work and parts to be right. Plus, they are huge and heavy. I simply don’t have the space or money for such a thing, and I need to purchase something that I can immediately put into service, not something that I’d have to tinker with or find somebody else to work on. I’m not into the idea of picking up a project that will eventually lead to production after much investment and much more, subsequent investment.

So, I looked at some new machines. There are several sewing machine shops in town. The heaviest machine that Bernina makes is the 950 Industrial. This is not a leather machine. From what I can tell, it is a really heavy-duty dressmaker. I believe that it would do leather garments quite beautifully, and it shouldn’t have much trouble doing upholstery grade leather. The Bernina reps seemed to believe that it would work for me, until I brought some of my material to demo at the store. Then, they told me that it would not work for that. I visited the Pfaff store, and was pointed to the Grand Quilter. Once again, when I produced sample leather, the story changed. I’m sure that it really is a grand quilter, but it is not a leather machine.

Then, I visited a less-retail store called Huey’s. The people there are friendly and knowledgeable. The first machine they pointed me to was the Juki DNU-1541. This was by far, the most promising machine I had looked at. They had a demo machine that they allowed me to play with. It is tough, and it is smooth. It will sew through about 3/8-inch of leather, which is honestly fine for most of what I do. Then, they broke the machine sewing through my leather. With much tinkering and tuning, they were able to get it to reliably stitch through two layers of my leather, but it was working too hard on it. Sadly, this machine will not work, either. The next machine they pointed me at is about three times as much money. I just can’t justify that right now.

One oddball machine that I stumbled across early in this search is the Tippmann Boss. This is a manually-operated stitcher that operates by a hand-lever like a casino machine. I kind of wrote off this machine early on, thinking that I could get a powered unit for the same price. After everything that I’ve looked at, this is starting to look like a far more valid option. I might ask Huey’s about some of the heavier Jukis, but this is currently on my mind:

I could work with that. At a svelt 23-lbs, and with its compact nature, it would fit my current lifestyle better than a powered machine. It would achieve what I’m currently needing, and for far less money. With the way it would accelerate production, it shouldn’t take long to pay for itself, and possibly a more serious machine later on! Perhaps I’ll wind up buying something like the Bernina or Juki for lighter work, and dedicate the Boss to the heavier insanity that I like to tackle from time to time… I’d still have to figure out some way to come up with the scratch in the first place…

Halloween Update With Pics!

So, when I posted about our Halloween weekend camp out and shoot out, I promised pics. I was going to do this yesterday, but with the shiny objects and all, it just didn’t happen. So, without further delay…

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The weather was beautiful! It’s pretty difficult to argue with a warmer than normal, Oklahoma Fall afternoon!

Fall Colors

The moon was out, and the sky was clear and blue.

The Moon

My parents even got in on the action!

Mom and Dad

Kiddo had fun spinning his glow stick on a string.

Isaac With Glow Stick

It looked like so much fun that I had to give it a try!

Dad With Glow Stick

Yes, I am just about that goofy in real life.

The next morning, we shot clays.

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And, shot clays.

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And then…

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I love shooting clays!

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Sunday was arguably a prettier day than Saturday. It was the perfect weather for shooting.

The Flying Pigeon

My sis-in-law didn’t shoot much, but I know that she hit at least one with her single-shot .410. It is debated whether she hit more than that. I think she did. Either way, I think that’s braggable.

And the Hit!

Here’s me, sending clay birdies to hell! Muahahahahahaaaa!

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And, that’s about all we’ve got for now, as the other cameras that were there haven’t produced photos yet… Maybe I’ll be able to add some more when I get them.

Halloween Recoil Therapy

My brother’s birthday is October 22, and Jenni’s birthday is October 23. They decided that the best way to celebrate this year was to have a camping trip for Halloween. Since my birthday is in August, it’s usually way too hot to have any such celebration, so I decided to postpone it until Halloween weekend. Eventually, my brother announced that it would be a birthday party for anyone whose calendar birthday fell within six months of Halloween. 😀

So, on Saturday afternoon, we trucked it out to the family farm. Much to my surprise, my parents actually showed up! They don’t usually come out with us. My brother had his heart set on a huge group, but I was really relieved that most of the invitees didn’t show. I just didn’t have the patience for a large group and firearms. My brother’s friend Danton came and brought his Winchester 1200 and Model 94 in 30-30. My friend Sean met up with us after dark, and Danton and my parents left later Saturday evening. On one personal trip into the woods, Jenni saw a bobcat climb down a tree beside her, make eye contact with her, and scamper away! I kind of knew we had some wild cats in the area, but I’ve never actually seen one in the wild.

That afternoon, we shot some paint cans and apples with our handguns and rifles, and shot some clays with our shotguns. Danton let me try out his M94. I’ll be putting one of those on my must have list! Kiddo got to blow up a paint can with his 10/22, and show off his rapidly improving rifle skills. He also tried out the 20 gauge. I’m going to have to work with him on his shotgun stance, but I’m confident that he’ll do great once he finally gets it. I put 30-rounds through my AR, and I think that was all the EBR action we had over the weekend. Funny enough, we brought three .22 rifles, and I didn’t shoot a single rim fire round!

After we finished shooting for the evening, we buttoned down the guns and had campfire hot dogs and meatloaf. We drank whiskey and smoked cigars and had a great time. We went to sleep relatively early and the results of our sleep was mixed. At some point in the night, a curious animal of some kind brushed against our tent a few times. We joked that it might have been Jenni’s bobcat!

The next morning, we got up and had bagels with cream cheese, cinnamon rolls (thanks to Jenni’s parents), and RedBull Cola (thanks to Beej, who couldn’t make it on this trip). After breakfast, we went back to shooting. Yesterday, I believe I put more full-house Magnums through my .44 than I had in the combined, previous 12-months. I burned up a whole lot of .357 Magnum as well. And, I shot clays until my shoulder hurt and could have happily shot that much again had I not shot out of bird shot shells. I didn’t feel inclined to shoot any .38 Special or .44 Special. I was looking for the big booms on this trip! Apparently, I needed that. I felt like I needed that.

Danton and Sean each tried my M29. Danton commented that it is a “brutal beast”, and Sean only cared to fire half a cylinder. I have to give it to them, the M29 is a handful, but I love it!

The weather was beautiful, and the shooting was good. I can’t think of a better way to spend 24-hours of a weekend. We enjoyed God’s creation and indulged in some of the better things in life. Jenni and I really needed the down time, and found the weekend to be a great stress-reliever. If I had it to do over again, I would have left two of the .22’s at home along with one of the AR’s. I would have brought half as much handgun ammo and twice as many shot shells. I’m hoping to upload some pics in an update.