Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Breakfast: The Full Bobbi

          What with starting the week on a couple of early-morning shifts and very little sleep, I decided to reward myself this morning: A half-thickness filet mignon, a fried egg, fried potatoes, fresh tomato and a little bit of bacon.  Yum!

     Tam appears to be enjoying hers, if the sounds coming from that side of the room are any indication.

     No time for a photo, but you should be able to imagine it.  Tomorrow morning, breakfast will probably be penitential oatmeal. That's fine, I like oatmeal, too.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

So, I Went To The Gun Show

     ...On the day after pay day.  Possibly unwise, if frugality was my goal...
     However, if owning a nice H&R .22 pseudo-Buntline and a psuedo-Webley (a/k/a Enfield No. 2 Mk 1, no star) was what I was after, well!

     Here's a close-up of my .380/200 slugthrower:
     Classy!  Yes, the date is 1933, very much in the range of revolvers I like to own.  The top of the barrel is marked ".38," along with "1933" and the Broad Arrow. It's clearly been civilianized ("civilianised?") and the years --and/or owners have not been kind.  Nevertheless, it' something I have been wanting for a long, long time. (The .38 S&W in the first photo ammunition can safely be shot in guns chambered for .380/200; it's not the exact right thing but it works.)

     The H&R is interesting, with its preposterously-long barrel, loading gate and spring-loaded ejector.  It's a double-action revolver using the same "pull-pin" removable cylinder design of many of their .22s.  I'm hoping it will be fun to shoot.

     Seen at the show, several Nambu semi-auto handguns and Japanese revolvers from the same WW II-ish era (both interesting and sad, since the reason those are showing up on the market is estate sales).  One dealer/collector had a Rast-Gasser and a couple of the Japanese revolvers; side-by-side, the hinged sideplate and internal works of the two were substantially the same. The Japanese revolver design was much improved by a top-break. automatic-ejecting mechanism, rather than the Rast-Gasser loading gate and manual ejection.  (This participial particular Rast-Gasser was in remarkable shape; the dealer opened it up and the steel still showed straw color, all the parts as crisp-edged and shiny as if they were new.)

     I had my pocketknife sharpened at the show -- I usually do, since I use it contstantky.  It's gotten so the folks at Knife Sharpest remember me.  Also picked up a nice-looking set of side cutters, some brass brushes, a couple of wood bits in need of sharpening, pin-punches, file handles and a key/small-items case in the form of a softly quilted hand grenade, possibly one of the silliest but most irresistible bits of kit I've seen in a long while.

Saturday, October 18, 2014


     I would not mind the office so much if the office-holders, like some blood-soaked versions of dollar-a-year men, took it with the understanding that it would end with internal exile followed by a firing squad.  But no.

Friday, October 17, 2014

It's "Grassy Knoll" Time!

     Tam just reported from her post in front of the TV, "...A third nurse who dealt with the Texas ebola patient has reported feeling ooky and quarantined herself...while on a cruise ship."

     Did they just tell those healthcare workers to get out there in the world and enjoy themselves as closely to as many other people as they could get?

     It is precisely preposterously coincidental bad news like this, the kind of thing that might be hilarious in a dark comedy but is tragic and deadly in real life, that fuels conspiracy theories.


Thursday, October 16, 2014


     Got home from work a couple of nights ago and turned to look back to my car before closing the garage door to see a fat golden-tan and dark brown cat making to dash away, its back to me.  Not one of the usual visitors, who tend to be gray and black with patches of white, so being a crazy-cat-lady-in-training, of course I sang out, "Well, hi there!"

     At which point the "cat" turned and gave me a sheepish look, as if to say, "Um...yeah, lady, about that 'cat' thing?  I'm workin' on it."  It was not a cat but a smallish raccoon.  It promptly skittered away on tiptoes and fingtertips, headed towards our neighbor's back yard. presumably to raid the cat food there.

     It's probably not the same one I met back when I was first moving in, but it's got similar manners.  Raccoons are clever, nimble and plenty strong.  They thrive in the city and are almost impossible to get rid of, so we're lucky to have a fairly well-behaved tribe in the neighborhood instead of aggressive ones.

I Think Skynet Ate One Of My Friends

     Had some normal e-mail back-and-forth, very low traffic rate, then it suddenly went spammy.  Most of his other online output went spammy, too.  The sole remaining place where he shows up, his posting has gone...odd.  Nothing but roughly-profile-appropriate links.  Can't get a response via any e-mail or online messaging address for him.

     I really dislike calling people up on the telephone.  Given my extraordinary ineptness at (and hard-learned desire to avoid) most close human interaction, if I do dig, I'll probably find out it's my fault.  Or he's found himself a new and better class of friend (in which case, see previous sentence and good for him).

     But the manner of it is...unsettling.

     Well, at least it's not The Ebola, right?

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's Always Happy News To The Newsies When A GOP Candidate Quits

     ...So why not exploit it?  In a very Romney-esque move, the couple took advantage of the media's glee over Ann Romney's anouncement that they are "done, done, done" with making a bid for the Presidency* to announce the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Dideases, which will open in 2016.  Some 200 researchers will work there on multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's Syndrome, Parkinson's Disease and related conditions.

     I was never a huge fan of Mitt -- another Massachusetts pol, no deep friend of gun rights on his own home turf, and there's a reason his state is referred to these days as "the cradle and grave of liberty."   Withal, he seemed pleasant enough and Ann Romney bore the strife of his Presidential runs gallantly.  Good on them both for getting a decent day's work from the running-dog lapdog press!  A little more of that kind of subtlety a few years ago would have helped in the voting booth.

     Now if a few more of the perennial it's-my-turn GOP suits would step down, and their party admit there might be a little more wrong in DC than just the policies of a dislikable El Supremo, they might get somewhere in 2016.  --Don't hold your breath; with the media firmly against them and a general tradition of tone-deafness, I fully expect the Republicans to have me voting Libertarian again in '16, even if they mostly only beat up on the Bill of Rights seven-eighths as much as the current leading brand..  (Some of you will blame me for President Hilary afterwards.  Hey, get your party to run someone I can in conscience vote for or shut the heck up.)
* As I have explained before, if a description of the working and living conditions were applied to any other position, no sane person would want the job: you have to live over the store, you're on call -- and frequently called on -- 24/7/365, including vacations; you can't travel without a police escort and your #2 guy -- rather than having been selected as someone who could do your job when you are away as you would do it if you were there -- is usually a boob chosen to placate some otherwise-unreachable group of stakeholders and otherwise a fellow people are worried might inherit your office.  You can't invest freely and the pay, for a top-level executive position, is not all that great.  It's a limited-term contract, your prospects for paying work afterwards are dim, and once your stint is done, you'll retain most of the negative aspects (harried by lunatics, unable to travel without security, close scrutiny by media) but none of the positive ones except fame -- or notoriety.  Come to think of it, even if the job is Leader Of The Free World and Big Giant Head Cheese Of America, what normal person would want it?  You may disagree, but I wonder what Ann Romney wrote in her diary.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Well, That Was...Something

     Went up to Mom's old place to pick up the last few items and drop off my keys, on a kind of gray day.  Warmer, at least.

     No one there.  Texted my brother, offering to leave the keys and use the snap lock on the front door so the place would be buttoned up, if not dead-bolted.  He replied he'd be on his way shortly and my sister was en route, so considering there was little in the house, I could even leave it unlocked if had to leave before either arrived.

     As I was making a last sweep through, my sister showed up.  Now, we are very different people; and she did raise four very nice kids.  She even writes (poetry), has taught High School and college English classes and has (as you might expect) advanced degrees.  She's done an awful lot of the "detail work" with Mom, going item-by-item, weekend after weekend, in a long and often emotionally painful keep/donate/pitch.  Conversely, my work and other factors have caused me to miss one entire weekend and overwhelming emotion has had me struggling to leave my house and mostly silent and distracted when I get to the old place throughout this process.

     So when I said to her that this has been very difficult, she responded as if I was claiming some special burden.  I tried to back away from that and she mentioned in passing Mom was scheduled for more surgery in November, then lit back into me.  She made it pretty clear the price of finding out when Mom would be in the hospital was submitting to a harangue about how little I had done and how dreadfully hard she had worked, at bitter don't-you-interrupt-me length.  And how "she'd been trying to tell me" about Mom's next surgery the previous weekend, in a coy series of telephone messages about "weird news about Dad," that I had asked her to just text or leave the information as voicemail, since telephone conversations with my sister are lengthy, discursive* monologues.  (Also, "weird news" about a dead parent?  How often is that anything you really wanted or needed to know?  The guy did as best he knew and now he's gone.  Leave him be.)  She had refused to do so -- I found out from Mom Saturday it was just a bank mistake, in which they'd duplicated an existing account in my late father's name.

     I didn't want to deal with the conflict Sunday, so I went to my car and left before my sister had worked up a full head of steam, resulting in a last-word text from her, "You'll just have to find out from your brother!" and I thought, Yes, I will.  I've had it with her; for now, she's seen the last of me.  And that's probably for the best.

     Family: you're thrown in with them by accident and convention tells us we must love these people we grew up beside.  That doesn't mean we necessarily like one another and trying to fake it just leads to more pent-up resentment.  Forget that; I'm out.
* So maybe we're not that different, though I hope I am less negative.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Transitions: Moving Mom's Home

     My Mom has been in an assisted-living facility for something like six months now -- a nice one, very apartment-like, as much independence available as people can handle and help if needed (food options range from a dining hall to cooking in a nice little kitchen in your rooms to meals brought to you, for example).

     Meanwhile, she's had a house full of stuff, two lifetime's accumulation, hers and my late father's, plus whatever the three kids had abandoned.  Clearly, the paid-off house needed to be turned into money, but the things in it--  They needed to be turned into a much smaller bundle, memories distilled down, the silly decorated-brick bookends my sister made at age 12 going to Mom's new place, the massive, multi-level Victorian-style iron plant stand I gave her a decade ago leaving with me, Dad's assorted tools to my brother, sewing items culled and sorted -- some staying with Mom, some to granddaughters (Sis and I having accumulated our sewing tools and supplies ages ago). And so on, and on and on, with the bulk of the work falling to my siblings, my own employment being a bit short on days off just now.

     Even so, it is surprisingly affecting and I found myself misty-eyed and/or morose several times yesterday, remembering earlier times.  That house was never my home, but it was a refuge a couple of times, once for several months between jobs, and later after I broke my knee and the doctors wouldn't let me go home alone until I was out of the leg-immobilizer.

     And today, a little more to do up there.  Then I'll leave my set of keys and.... No more.  My brother and the new owners are closing the sale Tuesday.  It's an ending of sorts and a hard lesson to learn: it all comes down to this.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

A Phased Plasma Cannon In The 40 (Mega)Watt Range?

     Not exactly.  But some days it seems awfully close:
     C'mon, it's got to be exotic weaponry, right?  --If you priced the lens we removed just before this picture was taken, you'd be sure of it!

     (Doesn't look a bit like this thing, though.)