KTKC – Getting Close

Last year in KTKC, I accepted $60 total.  Thanks to all of your generous giving, my donation page has taken in $1,730.00 so far this year.  That’s trailing Stingray for second place by less than $400.  If the donations have stalled out and that’s all we’re going to see, then it still makes for some impressive results.   If you propel that number above $2,000.00, not only will we go ahead with Jennifer’s .50 BMG video, I’ll also publish pics and/or video of me at the range in a dress, as The Goth Queen.  We’ve got about 27 hours to make it happen, and that goal is so close!  Please do donate here.  Thanks again!

Blogaversary

Five years ago today, I broke ground on my blogger blog. It was actually five years ago to the minute that I published my first blog entry. A couple of you remember that blog. We’ve come a long way, my friends, and it’s been a wild ride. I’m going to try my best to make the second half of the first decade infinitely better than the first. Will you come along for the ride?

KTKC – That’s My Final Offer

Alright people, I’m in a pretty solid third place right now, not too far behind Stingray. JayG has handily whupped the lot of us in this deal. I told you that you’d get catsuit videos if I made first place. That goal seems loftier and loftier as we head towards the finish. So, how about this: If you put me in second place, we’ll still do the video of Jennifer in PVC with the M82A1. As of this writing, that’s less than $500. However, if we get our Christmas miracle and I finish in first place, not only will we do the Jen in PVC video, but at Blogorado, at the Sooper Sekrit Raynge, I’ll shoot in drag. Forget the kilt, I will put on a skirt or a dress, or something pretty. 😛 There will be photos. There will be video. It will be hilarious. We are close to the end, but this thing is not over yet. You can help by donating here. The donation website has been acting a little overloaded the last few days. Probably a good thing. If it’s giving you trouble, please be patient and try to reload it. Thanks again!

Kilted To Kick Cancer – The Last Friday with Standings Update, Updated…

Here we are, at the very end of KTKC 2012. I want to start by giving some huge thank-you’s to all of you who donated on my behalf. Among the kilted, you have put me in a solid third place, behind JayG and Stingray, but ahead of Kelly. Unless something crazy happens (again), that’s likely where I will finish. I am still expecting a few donations in, which have been pledged but not received, and we’ll just have to see if and how that affects the finish. I am so humbled and honored by your support; you people are amazing. The top four donors to my account are standing at $200, $150, $100, and $75 currently. One of my $50 donors was trying to donate again yesterday but was having issues with the donation website. **Update – My official top five donors as of right now are $200, $150, $150, $100 and $75. Thank you!** I expect that will be resolved shortly and we’ll have an actual top five to receive the gun grips, custom holster, and oil paintings. Because, we’re classy over here in this corner of the internet. 😛 I’m still going to need to figure out how to contact those of you who were the top donors. I’m sure we’ll figure out something there.

Also, one of the donors has requested one of Jennifer’s illustrious “designer” paper bags. If any of the rest of you who donated want an autographed paper bag, just give one of us a shout and we’ll make that happen.

As to catsuit pics, I believe that the promise was that if I took first place, I’d publish video of Jennifer shooting the M82A1 in skin tight PVC. Unless we have our own little Christmas miracle (which I’m not ruling out until midnight Sunday), I don’t see that happening this year. Perhaps next. However, the deal was that if you people put me in the top three, we would take some high-quality, high-resolution pictures and publish them for your review. Assuming I don’t slip from third place, we will be working to make sure this happens. Do you have any poses or angles you’d like to specifically request? I imagine we can take a few fun pictures. If you can manage to bump me up into second place before midnight on Sunday, we’ll do more pics in more poses and possibly even try to get Oleg in on the action.

I’ve gotten donations and well-wishing in this thing, but I haven’t received a whole lot of requests of stuff to do or give for donations. I really do value your input and would love to get some ideas from you. Obviously, it’s a little late in the game to change the plan, but we can start planning ahead for KTKC 2013, right? So anyway, we’re not done yet, but it’s looking good so far. Please do slide your donations my direction as we’ve still got a couple days. I’ll be wearing my kilt. Thanks again!

More on Mechanical Watches

Not to mention the times I’ve referred to my preference for mechanical watches in other venues, I have discussed it here several times. So much so in fact, that I just added “watches” as a category on this blog. When I was a child, I would get a cheap digital watch every now and then. These things would last for anywhere between two and six weeks when I wore them. It was terribly frustrating. When I was in high school, a friend of mine and I would often spend a Saturday hopping across the state border to Dallas, where we would check out record stores and the Galleria Mall. At the time, there was a store in the Galleria that sold Soviet surplus stuff. My friend bought a beautiful officer’s top coat in that store in extremely heavy gray wool. That coat had a double-breasted closure with red star buttons spaced at about four inches apart that buttoned all the way up to the chin. I bought my first mechanical watch in that store. It was a manual wind, Soviet paratrooper watch made in Russia by Vostok.

As I recall, this watch cost about $35 and was the first watch that I managed to wear longer than six weeks. I wore this one for two or three years, in fact. It has a nifty, gasketed, screw-down crown that keeps the water out when it is submerged. One time, I had a girl timing me with it while I held my breath underwater. She didn’t believe that I could hold my breath longer than five minutes. Somehow, the crown got unscrewed and the watch was ruined. At this point, it will wind and run, but it no longer keeps time, and will stop far sooner than it did when it was new. It’s probably not worth fixing, but I keep it around for the memories. It met its demise when Jennifer and I were dating. Seeing how much I had enjoyed my mechanical watch, Jennifer bought me a brand new Seiko Automatic Diver as a present. She often comments that it was more money than she had previously spent on a present for anyone.

One of the neat things about Seiko is the organization of their records keeping. With a little Google-fu, anyone can date a Seiko pretty closely. As far as I can tell, this one was made in August of 1994. Jennifer bought it for me in 1998, so it had been sitting in the jewelry case for a while. I had it overhauled a few years ago, and put a stainless steel bracelet on it after getting fed up with countless leather straps.

When we were getting ready for Christmas of 2007, we were doing pretty well for money at the time and decided to use the opportunity to buy nice anniversary gifts for each other. Our anniversary is on December 5, and even though that Christmas coordinated with our ninth anniversary, we thought that it would be nice to have the whole year to enjoy our ten-year anniversary gifts. Yes, we may be crazy. We’re having fun though. It was that Christmas that Jennifer gave me my first Swiss watch – a Tag Heuer chronograph.

This was a pre-owned unit that we had professionally overhauled shortly after purchase. Unfortunately, I think we could have found a more professional watchmaker for the task as this one has never kept time quite right, and the chronograph mechanism has never operated correctly since the overhaul. The bracelet has an ingenious expansion tab so it can be worn directly on a bare wrist or over a dive suit.

I’d really like to take this one to another watch shop so I can get more wrist time with it. It’s simply too nice a piece to not get use out of. I’ve had a few more novelty watches through the years too. One Christmas, Jennifer’s parents bought us a matching his & hers pair of no-name autos that were Chinese made junkers. They were pretty, in polished bi-metal with exhibition backs, but neither one would keep time, they weren’t water resistant, and I don’t even know where they landed. Jennifer once bought me a Pinky and The Brain themed wind-up pocket watch.

And yet, one of the strangest watches I’ve worn was a BMW-branded, fake Panerai Luminor GMT automatic. It had mineral crystals on the front and back and the construction seemed fairly solid. It was actually rather puzzling why the manufacturer chose to make an imitation of another product with unlicensed logos on it when they could have made a half way decent product of their own.

I accidentally broke the crystal seal out of the exhibition back on this watch and didn’t feel like it was worth attempting to fix. About three years ago, I kind of missed my old Soviet paratrooper watch and decided that I’d like another Vostok. As it turns out, the Vostok company survived the fall of communism and currently makes watches for the open market. I found a Vostok Amphibia automatic I liked on eBay and ordered it up.

This is a cool watch. The crown screws down just like its Soviet predecessor. Unfortunately, the crystal appears to be acrylic. Also, the bracelet was sized for a Siberian grizzly. I have sized a watch bracelet before, so I attacked the Vostok undaunted. The link pins were resistant to all manner of tooling I’ve ever used before on a watch bracelet. I wound up destroying one of the links beyond repair, and resolved myself to the notion that I would need to purchase a new bracelet for it. That was shortly before I got laid off from traditional employment, so this watch went to the back burner, i.e. my underwear drawer. Last weekend, I found a gold tone, 1970’s era Seiko 5 at a garage sale for fifty cents.

It’s certainly not in mint condition, but not only does it run, but it keeps time as well. In case you aren’t familiar with this iconic classic, Seiko’s “5” designation means that it:
1. Has an automatic movement
2. Is waterproof
3. Is shock proof
4. Displays the calendar date
5. Displays the day of the week.
According to my questionable dating methods, this watch was made in January of 1970. It needs a new bracelet and it couldn’t hurt to have it overhauled and a new crystal installed. Still, the watch seems serviceable enough to justify this additional cost. I may just put the work into this one that it needs and make it Teen Bot’s first real watch. Jennifer has been wearing a 1981 Seiko 5 for the last 13 years that she received as a hand-me-down from her mother. I was searching the internet for a suitable bracelet for the Seiko 5, and decided to drag out the Vostok and look for a bracelet for it at the same time. That’s when I found this.

That is a pair of watch bracelet pin pliers that I ordered for $11.00 after shipping. I figured I’d wind up paying more than that for a bracelet for the Vostok and would likely use them more than a few times. And, they might just work on what was left on the factory Vostok bracelet for that matter! Well, they did actually. Within fifteen minutes of receiving the package, I had the Vostok bracelet sized and adjusted, and I’m wearing the watch right now!

It’s funny. I never thought that I’d be one of those guys who had a bunch of watches. And yet, they’ve kind of accumulated. I do intend to get the Tag fixed when I can afford to. I’ve probably worn the Seiko diver that Jennifer bought for me before we were married more than all the others combined. If you’d like to start wearing mechanical watches but you’re worried about the price, I’d encourage you to consider the options. The purchase price of my higher quality watches ranged from less than a dollar on up to around a thousand. And, I’ve spent very little time wearing the thousand dollar watch. Conventional wisdom might cause you to shy away from anything but a Swiss or Japanese movement. The Seiko that I have worn so much, my trusty workhorse, has a Singapore-made movement. Do an Amazon search for “Seiko automatic” and I suspect you’ll find something you like for less than $100.00. That watch should provide a half century of performance with a little maintenance.

What to do on a Monday in your kilt…

Why not take a squirrel

And, turn him into meat?

The shot was another thoracic hit, and dropped the critter from the tree he was sitting in. It was so quick that he surely didn’t know what had hit him and he was in squirrel heaven before his carcass hit the ground below. The shot was at about 50-feet with a .22 Short, again displaying the surprising stopping power of this nearly silent round. Jennifer did all of the skinning on this one, and she has a project in mind for the pelt that will make you laugh if she can actually pull it off. The meat came out to just under a pound on the bone. The squirrels have been very active recently. Farm Mom confessed to me that of all the animals she’s eaten, squirrel has never been on her menu. I’d like to shoot a few more of them and haul them to Blogorado for that reason. Wish me luck on that. For ranges such as these, I’m thinking of putting my bow to work to see how it does. I’ll need to pick up some small game heads, I suppose. It’s less than a week until the opening of deer & turkey archery and rabbit seasons. And, I believe dove is in full swing. Speaking of archery, Jennifer shot an email to a couple crossbow manufacturers yesterday asking for a T&E model. Wish her luck on that!

And, on the small game; it’s always fascinated me that taking an animal down to packaged meat is no big deal to some people and simply unthinkable to others. At the radical extreme is someone who finds chicken cooked on the bone unappetizing. I would chalk it up to experience depending on the individual, but that doesn’t necessarily seem to have a whole lot to do with it. Sure, I dissected animal specimens in biology class, have bought whole birds (chicken, turkey, duck, goose) to cook for dinner and pieced them out myself, and have been known to cook a squid at times, which come with all internals intact. However, I didn’t have any experience taking apart an animal that I had just dispatched until I first did it. And, it didn’t really bother me even then. I like animals just fine, but I really don’t mind eating them either. And, tree rats are tasty – I know Teen Bot likes them.

That’s what I did in my kilt yesterday. Please do donate to my Kilted To Kick Cancer page. Thank you!

Monday – Weekend Kilt Recap

This weekend, I was kilted, as I have been this month. I’ve completely given up on trying to convince “Mom” at the liquor store that the kilt is anything but a skirt. She’s from Korea and only has so much grasp on the English language. She at least thinks the goal of cancer reasearch/awareness/preparedness is noble. I got compliments from several strangers at Target and from a few people at church yesterday. Yes, I wear my kilt to church. And, sit in the choir loft in it. But, you good people deserve to see some pictures. I had to do some work on the car on Saturday.

And then, I mowed the lawn.

Of course, I actually enjoy grilling dinner.

Ahem. I said I enjoy grilling dinner.

That’s more like it! My friends, your donations these last couple of weeks have been so incredibly generous. Thanks to all of you who have donated. As of this writing, you have donated a total of $990.00, which is awesome! Stingray has managed to pull ahead of both Kelly and me in the running. Remember friends, if I finish in the top three, we’ll publish high-resolution pics of Jennifer in the PVC catsuit. If I win first place, you get the video depicting .50BMG recoil-induced butt jiggles. Right now, it would only take me $250 to overtake both Kelly and Stingray for second place. It would take a bit more than that to swing first, but that’s not a complete impossibility even still. In addition to all kinds of hair removal, and to “up the ante” from the sexy PVC pictures and/or video, JayG has offered to spend some time in a pink kilt and Stingray has offered to sing us a song. Humiliation? is that what you want? Do I need to put that catsuit on myself? When you donate, add a note with your opinion on the matter. Like, “Yeah Evyl, we want to see you squeeze into that thing,” or, “FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY DO NOT PUBLISH PICS OF YOURSELF IN SKIN-TIGHT PVC!!!” What the other guys keep promising but fail to acknowledge is that you simply can’t shame the shameless. You want to see me do something stupid in return for your generous donation? Bring it on!

Please donate here!

Last of the Fair Rides

That’s right, my friends. These are the final two remaining videos of my kilted fair ride experience. This was enough fun though that I may wear my kilt next time we visit a theme park! Maybe next year I can take in a hog hunt in my kilt or something. I’m going to have to think of something fun for next week too. Any suggestions? By these two rides, I was just about a pro at riding these things without showing the world what one wears under his kilt.

The best reason to ride these things with kids is they can tell you what to expect. You would think that I would pay attention to what these contraptions do prior to riding them. But, that wasn’t the point. Plus, kids totally freak out on these things. It’s pretty hilarious in my humble opinion. Kind of like the kid screaming next to me in this next vid:

And, I’ll be the first to admit that these two videos aren’t quite as entertaining as some of the others I’ve posted this week (like yesterday’s for example), so I’ll close with someone elses video. How about a kilted Darth Vader playing bagpipes on a unicycle?

Remember that there are giveaways for the top donors. Without naming names, my top three donors have been $150, $100, and $75, respectively. Then, I’ve got five donors at $50. That makes eight top donors, and I only have five prizes to give out! I will allow cumulative totals to be considered though. If you’ve given $50 and want to put yourself ahead of the other four, feel free to give another ten or so to take fourth, for instance. If you’ve been itching for a new, custom designed and crafted, leather holster; at this point, a $200 donation to the cause would get that. Have you enjoyed the videos? Would it be worthwhile to offer all of them in 1080p on an SD card as an item in the prize package? Let me know if the comments. Please also remember that Jennifer has offered to make a spectacle of herself if I win. A hot, recoil-induced butt-jiggling spectacle in black PVC.

We’re in the last week people – this is the final stretch. As of this writing, I’m sitting in a precarious third place. I am gaining on JayG and Ambulance Driver, but we need to pick up some momentum if we’re going to pull it out for the big win. Plus, Stingray and Jeff B are right on my tail, and they’ll be pulling out all the stops to get ahead. Please do slide a little money to my donation page to raise funds to benefit male-specific cancer.

BowTech Assassin – A Review

Some time back, Jennifer and I decided that we wanted to get into hunting. The family farm has seen its share of critters, and it seems to have an ebb and flow on dominant species. The deer were very heavy for some time, but the deer have always been there. The coyote population grew and the deer population predictably shrunk. Then the hogs came through and ran off the coyotes and largely ran off the deer. The hogs disappeared when we started seeing lion tracks. When the food source for the big cats dwindled, they moved on. Judging from the prints we saw, I would say it was a mother cougar and two nearly grown cubs. Now that the cats are gone, a few coyotes have moved back, and the deer population is growing again. Additionally, the property is populated with ducks, dove, quail, bobcats, and raccoons. One thing in the Oklahoma hunting guidelines that always torqued me the wrong way is that I could go out for two weeks with my rifle to shoot deer, and Christmas weekend; but those archers had over three months to hunt deer and other animals! If you can’t beat them, join them, right? So, I started shopping for a bow.

There are two gun shops in town that i frequent that have archery shops in them. The one focuses on Hoyt and Matthews and the other carries quite an array of bows, mostly PSE. The latter has all the latest, flashiest, whiz-bang crossbows on display, including PSE’s Tac 15 and Horton’s Fury. Each of these shops was able to show me a range of compound bows with varying degrees of aluminum, carbon fiber, and other composites in their construction. I liked this new sport already. One thing none of the salesmen could explain to me though, is what made the $800 bow one bit better than the $300 bow. I asked them in those exact words, “What makes the $800 bow better than the $300 bow?” One explained that a carbon fiber bow didn’t get cold like an aluminum bow does, so it’s more comfortable to your hand in the cold. One of them even chocked it up to basic physical ergonomics. I’m sorry, but I can adjust to any of that.

That’s about when I started discussing this with Wai. He and I became friends when he started commenting on my blog several years ago, and he is an archery wiz. I asked him what the difference was between a $300 PSE and an $800 Hoyt. He explained to me that the more expensive bow was assembled with more durable components to tighter tolerances. This I understand. He further explained that the Hoyt wasn’t really up to the quality standards that the price commands, and that I should look at BowTech for my purchase. He told me that although they are a newer brand, the BowTech products are the best you can get, and their prices are surprisingly competitive. Aforementioned bow shop number two carries BowTech, so I gave them another visit. In BowTech’s catalog, they picture their bows in beautiful black or raspberry finishes. At the shop, they had Mossy Oak camouflage. I asked about black and was told that it is about an $80 up-charge and they would have to order it in.

I promptly purchased a BowTech Assassin in Mossy Oak camouflage, which is a complete package, including a quiver, arrow rest, silencers, wrist sling, string stop, shocks, brake pads , curb feelers, flux capacitor, and all that other stuff. The price was a cool $600 and came to around $700 after arrows, release, and tax. Once upon a time, before the internet knew me, I worked for Autozone. When they started carrying snacks, chocolate was shipped in a box that was lined in 1.5-inch styrene. I hoarded those styrene sheets, knowing that they would come in handy one day. Approximately 14-inches of styrene put together with packing tape makes a dandy archery target. You can stick a Shoot-N-C on the face, and it’s about perfect. Especially when you’ve just spent $700 on a bow package, it hurts less to cheap out on a target.

When you shoot a bow everyday, you will split arrows. Drop it off to once a week, and you’re lucky to make a 3-inch group at 20-yards. Ask me how I know. People talk about gun shooting as being a perishable skill. And it is! But, its perishability pales in comparison to archery. Getting good at archery is somewhat startling as well. One quickly learns that the support hand doesn’t need to be clamped onto the grip. Think precision riflery. The support hand just needs to be there. Keep your elbow pointed out rather than down on your support side so you don’t hack into your forearm with the bowstring, letting off around sixty pounds of force. If you make this mistake twice in two consecutive days, your arm will look like you stole it from a zombie. Ask me how I know that as well. The draw hand needs to come back to the jaw bone. If you can index your hand to your face the same way each time, much the better. The fuzz of the peep should frame the ring around the front pins. Pay attention to the level in the front sight, but don’t crank the bow over with your support hand. Focus on the front pin and place it on the dot on your target. Mind your breathing and focus. Slowly as you can stand it, press the trigger on your release on the exhale when your front pin is in line with your target and the bow is perfectly level. Follow through for a solid two-count: “One one-thousand, two one-thousand.” Now, lower your bow so you can draw your next arrow and repeat the process on a different dot on the target so you don’t start splitting arrows. Before long, you’ll be making a sub-5-inch group at 50-yards, plenty good enough to kill any big game out there.

The BowTech Assassin knows its job. It is reliable enough that I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do with it for maintenance or upkeep. The bow shop set up the draw weight and draw length for me. I readjusted the draw length by about a half inch or so, and adjusted the weight by a few pounds since then. I’ve fine-tuned the sights probably twice in the last six months. I’ve waxed the string. I’ve shot the snot out of this bow. In figuring out what the heck I was doing, I broke or lost half a dozen arrows. The second half dozen has lasted three times as long and all of those latter arrows are still intact. Unlike most compound bows from the competition, the Assassin package comes with all of the peripherals you need to start shooting. You would expect the accessories to be cheapo junk that you would want to upgrade from, like the accessory pack that comes with a Sprinfield XD (does anyone really use that holster or mag loader?), but the extras that come with the Assassin are all name-brand, industry-leading, top-quality products that do the job right. From my experience, BowTech is like the Nissan of compound bows.

The Assassin is light. It is an aluminum construction with carbon fiber and composite fittings, but at less than four pounds it’s a lot lighter than it looks. I’m looking forward to dragging it around the woods with me in just a couple of weeks, as it’s lighter than any rifle I’m likely to do the same with. It’s extremely compact, especially considering the amount of power that it puts downrange. I’m torn on whether or not I want to get a shoulder sling for it, or simply carry it in my hand in the field. I do need to get a case to transport it in, but everything that I’ve found had been ridiculously oversized.

People talk about a bow’s recoil, but I’m probably not the one to talk about such things. In the world of guns, I’m a recoil masochist. A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunist to shoot a Ruger LCR in .357 Magnum. This is Jennifer’s Nana’s first gun, and she brought along a box of .38 Special. I scrambled for my own box of 158-grain, .357 Magnum and eagerly shot off several cylinders of the stuff. I really can’t speak objectively on the recoil of a bow. Even so, follow through is intuitive and uninterrupted shooting the Assassin. I find that if I relax into The Zone as I do for precision rifle shooting, the string will yank my hand forward and yank me back into reality unceremoniously.

This bow delivers power. BowTech boasts that their products produce more speed than their competitors’ products and at ten pounds less draw weight. Having little to no experience with these things, and having no access to a chronograph, I can’t confirm or deny this claim. I can, however, tell you that this bow will deliver a carbon arrow through the hood of a car, through a stocade fence, and still clear ten yards before sticking into the dirt. Judging from the penetration I’ve seen in wood, steel, styrene, and straw, I’m confident that this bow will deliver broadheads into the heart of the biggest game Oklahoma has to offer, piercing flesh and bone along the way.

I can’t express how pleased I am with my purchase. This bow has just delivered and been flawless since I purchased it. It has not yet taken life, but deer archery season starts on October 1. To that end, October 1 marks the start of deer archery, Fall turkey archery, and rabbit seasons – all of which have been sighted at the family farm. I should probably pick up some small game heads to compliment my broadheads when I’m in the field with it. I have slacked off a bit from my daily practice, and my groups are showing it. With less than two weeks until October, I should probably fix that. In fact, I believe I’ll go shoot some right now. I would highly recommend BowTech’s products even after my limited experience. Also, they back their bows with a lifetime warranty, should anything go wrong.

**FCC disclosure – I paid full price for my BowTech Assassin and everything that came with it, and didn’t get any discount, despite the fact that my sister-in-law works at that store. BowTech didn’t approach me for a review, nor did they compensate me in any way for the review. It’s just a really kick-@$$ product that I wanted to share with my readers. Thanks and have a nice day.