Saturday, May 03, 2014

Bird Watching

I'm certainly no "birder." I enjoy watching hawks soar and hunt, but I'm not much into using binoculars and.trying to classify what I see. I just try to enjoy the majesty and power of the more predatory birds.

I was highly impressed with a picture I found on Facebook - it shows the freedom and fire behind a falcon perched in a tree. Pic is below the fold if you are so inclined.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I'm Sure He Does His Best

Just guessing mind you - but something tells me that even the most simplified, Sunday school approved tales from the Bible just blow right over Jeffy's little red noggin.' Either that or this is a disturbing insight into Jeffy's unabashed greed for gifts and candy, and he fears he'll miss out if proper procedures aren't followed. Just stay out of Jeffy's way and no one gets hurt. You've been warned.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Uh Oh

Trouble in Paradise. Apparently Daddy has to hide out from an increasingly discordant Mommy. The proof is that Jeffy is accustomed to this and "hidin' from Mommy" is now a family wide behavior. Just think of the fresh comic gold if they separated, or split and divorced! Mommy and Daddy start dating again, but with these little morons along for the ride!

No, no, you won't have to worry abut that, Dolly. The old Motorola Startac flip phones were smarter than you. I'm quite sure this will not change.

The first gay plugger. Things have changed since the seventies - "good buddy" now means homosexual lover and it's a derogatory term. So our canine trucker is either cruising for a bruising, or talking to his significant male other.

In this old Hi and Lois strip we see why there were no more kids after Dot and Ditto.

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Things That Go Bang!

My normal policy is not to let everyone know just what I have - I think not paying attention to the reputation that built up helped cost me some stolen guns. So I've never posted some of my guns before. But what the hell, here goes:

I loaded up the other morning and headed out to a very good friends' place to exercise both some guns and myself.

Clockwise from the upper right: first up is a Rock Island Armory GI style 1911. This puppy has a very soft spot in my heart - the gentleman who owns the place I shot at also has two older brothers, one a year older than me, and one I've been friends with since we were four. Their parents were of the "extra" variety to me - I was always welcome, encouraged, and helped from time to time. There are camping trips in our past. They were one of the first families to have a C-Band system, and I spent many an hour on the floor watching stuff no one else got to see - HBO and the like. I consumed many a meal under with my feet under their table, and even more cool - I got to shoot all their latest go bang toys over the years.

When the place burned down, I got a call not long afterwards from the youngest brother. I was to stop by his house and see he, his wife and his mom. I figured I'd be getting some money or something, but I wasn't sure, naturally. So, when I arrived and relaxed, M started in recalling those times growing up and how close we all were. And he brought up a very salient point - that they were not like other families. That they could recognize needs beyond just having cash - anyone could give me cash, but they weren't like that. He and his brothers knew that I had a Kimber Eclipse stolen, and that I also had Citadel 1911 fairly dressed out that perished in the fire, so that left me without a 1911. Well, that simply would not do - a gentleman always has a 1911 to arm himself with, so they got together and got me one, plus a box of ammo with some cash stuffed in with the shiny new hardball.

That firearm has far too much sentimental value to ever go bye bye for whatever reason. And besides, it shoots too well, too. I've always held that my eyes don't appreciate the tiny sights, but the truth is I do pretty well with 'em. The sight picture just seems a tad more precise than the blocky Novak style. I also prefer far more checkering on the grips and front strap, but this one ain't goin' nowheres. It has a charm all it's own.

Next up is a Ruger Single Six in .22LR. I've also got the 22 Mag cylinder but have no ammo. Single action six shooters are a favorite, and having one in .22LR is just a bonus. It's a sweetheart to shoot.

Then we come to another Ruger - a New Model Vacquero in .357Mag. You'll notice it's not .45Colt. Since .357 is a caliber I already have, it just made sense to me that when slightly rebuilding my collection to do without so many different calibers - concentrate on a few for simplicity's sake. Of course, with the ammo shortage and all, .45Colt shows up at the local Wally World with amazing regularity, and .357Mag and .38Sp are like hen's teeth. So much for that strategy.

When shooting a double action like a 29 variant in .44Mag, it always feels like the backstrap is trying to hammer the web of my right hand, compared to a Blackhawk in the same caliber rolling in your wrist. Those spade grips sure seem recoil friendly to me. Not that I mind the recoil of the double action style unless we're talking some little five rounder with a two inch barrel. That size pistola in .44Mag would make an awesome self defense gat, but you'd never get past five rounds of practice with the thing. Or I wouldn't.

Ruger has a well earned rep for quality, overbuilt revolvers, and the single actions are not any different. I've had several over the years, and they've all performed flawlessly.

Then we reach across some mags to one of the reasons I'm writing this post - the Sig-Sauer Spartan 1911. Clearly, I bought this thing because it looked so freaking cool. I'd talked myself into buying one then turned around and talked myself right out of one for some time, but Sig had other plans. The Spartan was one of the full size 1911s that Sig decided to include in their "Buy One Full Size 1911 And Get This 1911-22 For Free. The tan 1911 in the back there is actually a .22 that appears to be 90% equal to a full size. It looks as big, but put 'em side by side and you can see the slide and frame are slightly narrower, and from the grip it's shorter as well.

But that's what it took to jar the money from my billfold. I'll be talking more about the Sigs here in just a minute.

The next weapon is another full size 1911 variant from Kimber - the Eclipse Custom II. I like the sights the way they are - even though about all I use it for is target practice, I'd rather not have to carry it with target sights should that become an option. It's got all the goodies I want - low profile night sights, sharp, well defined slide serrations (don't need the front ones, but I suppose it's more stylish with 'em), skeletonized hammer, extended beavertail grip safety, checkered front strap and nice checkering on the flat mainspring housing, a bit of beveling on the mag well, skeletonized long trigger and the cool polished blackened stainless flats contrasting with the flat black matte finish - it's one of my favorite gats (The other being a 686 six inch barrel Smith with Hogue grips).

Then we roll around to the 1911-22:

It sure looks like a full size, but you can see with the extra pins and such that the internals are gonna be different. I haven't read the disassembly instructions yet. The mainspring housing is a WWII style palm swell variety, the trigger, ambi safety, the beavertail grip safety, mag release and trigger are all plastic. I'm sure there are more. It's really a shade more tan, too.

The mag release and plunger tube appear to be steel. For being a matte finish, it is pretty smooth. Came with one mag only.

I couldn't get the front sight to line up and my super slow phone camera to capture it to save my a$$. But, low profile night sights. Yes!!!

The one mag and the slide locked back.

I had been shooting Winchester Super X ammo, and it ran in my Mark II just fine, no hiccups. Not this baby. I think I had every kind of jam there was - it just refused to cycle completely. Which is why is kinda irks me when a new gun is issued with just one mag - if you run into problems like this, you have no way to determine if the mag or the ammo is at fault. I've got another one on order, but I'd not know  right away what the issue might be, unless one has different ammo available.

Which I did - I just happened to have a box of Remington Viper with the truncated cone, and it blasted things quite nicely. I got lucky at Cabelas once earlier this year and was able to purchase that stuff - it's all they had, so I took it with a smile. And looking at the specs, the Viper is 280 fps faster at the muzzle than the SuperX. Maybe the truncated cone is easier to feed - I just dunno. My thinking is that should you purchase one of these little jewels, best be equipped with some fast .22.

It shoots great - the trigger is quite nice, and it's just like a slightly lighter and smaller 1911. A person couldn't go wrong getting one of these things to practice shooting a 1911 a tad less inexpensively.

So let's check this bad boy out. Skeletonized long trigger, beavertail safety with memory bump, skeletonized (and a rather odd shaped) hammer, aggressive checkering on the mainspring housing, front strap checkering, taller mag release, low profile night sights, and that awesome oil rubbed copper burnished finish.

Hey, looky there! An external extractor! The Eclipse that was stolen had a external extractor, ,as did most Kimbers. Oh the uproar. JMB (moment of silence, please) must have been spinning in his grave. Sales were down and the forums were full of hate and discontent. If you had a slide that had problems and you sent it in for work, you'd get it back with an internal extractor.

So where are the internet hordes now? Shouldn't this be as big a travesty to the memory of JMB (moment of silence, please) as a Kimber with the same?

Personally, I could give a rat's a$$.Both varieties have their advantages and weaknesses, and either way is fine with me. I just think it's kinda funny.

This puppy ran fine on 230 grain FMJ, as did the Kimber and the RI Armory model.

How well did I shoot? Let's just say I got in some valuable practice and leave it at that. I had not been shooting like this in well over a year. Handgun shooting skills are nothing if not extremely perishable. I was about halfway through before I remembered how to breathe correctly.

And I was at this for at least five hours. I overdid it big time - I went shooting on Saturday and I'm still recovering. After I was done, I went to the grocery store at home and found out just how shot I was.

If I don't push myself beyond my limitations, I'll never get better. I just about didn't go, because it had been a crappy day so far - I felt like crap. I felt at the time that I just needed to push on through it, and I'm glad I did. I didn't have anyone to shoot with, so that was a little different.

I just know I'm gonna do it again.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Ignorant Fool

Adam Zyglis is the editorial cartoonist for the Buffalo News of Buffalo, NY.

Just so we know who we are dealing with here.

While he is correct that there are guns at Ft. Hood, I just cannot reconcile the fact that they are all locked up in the armory. Since 2007.

Which, when an active shooter starts going nuts at the base, makes all those guns as useless as tits on a boar hog. They might as well be kept several counties over for all the good they will do locked up when they're needed.

But Our Genius here just instinctively knows that there are a ton of guns on a military base, and that they were no deterrent for an active shooter.

I just hope Our Genius didn't strain his brain too much to come up with this.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

I Feel Normal

My view during the climb for altitude in the King Air "ambulance"

Welp, I've been in the hospital again. I still had a low red blood cell count, so I was anemic as hell, and my INR was about right, but it had been a lot higher. INR is International Normalized Ratio, and it gives a scale to the degree your blood is thinned. Normal is high ones or low twos, thin enough to prevent blood clots is normally around three. All the blood thinners out there will turn your innards to liquid if you take too much - warfarin has the slang name of "rat poison" for a reason. That is exactly what it is - rats and mice eat that stuff and they die horrible painful deaths when their guts turn to water. Oh damn. Cry me a river.

So anyhow, I had gone in for a doctor's appointment, and she decided I needed to be hospitalized. I started out in a regular room, but when I started eliminating fresh blood from the ol' starfish during a cleanout to prepare for a scoping, they moved me to intensive care. I'd already had a severe case of diarrhea before I ever got there, so my unmentionable body part was mighty tender. Still is - haven't quite healed up yet.

Scoping didn't really find anything, but I hadn't really started crapping pure blood just yet, either. They thought I had some scabs in my stomach and put a vacuum line down my nose. They were getting some blood up from my tummy, so I had apparently been doing some bleeding there. They more or less threw up their hands and decided there wasn't much they were getting done, so they decided to ship me to Wichita to Via Christy St. Josephs, where I was put in an intensive care room.

They pulled my tube tout suite - they said suction is the last thing you want to do - you don't want to suck up a scab and start more bleeding. I had not been allowed any food or water for several days by then, and I was about to go nuts. When they finally allowed me to drink, I about foundered on icewater - Sis was there and she probably got tired fetching refills for me all the time. I couldn't help it - it seemed nothing tasted better in my life than that cold water and I'd never get my fill.

What happened was that they weren't giving me my diuretics and I gained about twenty pounds of water weight while imprisoned. Since they are more or less set up to keep you in bed and not moving around in those wards, they have no real bathrooms for the patients. It's pee and crap in bedpans, urinals and commodes. The damn commode had a hole that was not elongated enough, so that I'd pee on the damn floor when I had to do my bidness. They finally decided that I had been bleeding in my colon, that it had stopped, and they moved me to a regular room, and later that afternoon (last Saturday) they cut me loose.

I got kinda crabby on Facebook because for about the fifteenth time someone asked me how I felt. I answered "Normal." That was not good enough for her - she kept hounding me for a more detailed answer. I was tired and cranky, and there were several reasons. One - I'd already answered that question about ten times too many, and by then I had the idea that people would rather just ask me and bother me and push my privacy hotbutton than look at all the other times I had answered that question. So I asked her what sort of right she had to ask, and what sort of answer did she want? Did she want me to blow smoke up her a$$ telling her how good I felt, or would she really like to hear the real nitty gritty (cue the highly irritated starfish, among other things. She let it go, and another of my friends called me "Mr. Grumpy."

Yep, I was that.

But let's look at what I mean by normal. Right now I feel about 25%. When I got out of the hospital, I could barely walk, I could not feel Mr. Winky and the boys because I had sat at the edge of the air mattresses and a really crappy chair for too long and had my nerves pinched. I swear, I put three pillows down on that chair and it still managed to kill off the family jewels. I'd gained about twenty pounds, so my feet were so swollen putting socks and shoes on was quite a chore. The skin on my shins was blistering and opening up to drain liquid. So, I figure I felt somewhere between 15 or 20% when I got out. Sunday I started recovering quite well and was able to walk around the house without losing my balance or being unable to get very far. By Monday, I'd lost a few pounds and I had about as much stamina as I've had for months. Not enough to go without riding the fat man cart at Wally World, but enough to load myself into my pickup, drive somewhere, and walk into the store without too much drama. Normal, in other words. Had I said I felt fine, I'd be lying. With my way of thinking about it - I'd have to be about 60% to feel "fine."

I figure that the high point in my life as far as physical condition was when I was in my early to mid twenties. I'd been working a very physical job at a warehouse and had lost over a hundred pounds working there. I was pretty much full of  piss and vinegar, and I'd say I felt about 95%. Now, complications from diabetes have brought that score down and I'll never get that good. I have no feeling in my feet, so balance is an issue. When the pain from diabetic neuropathy kicks in, that knocks the score down quite a bit as well.  Being morbidly obese knocks that score down as well. I think that if I do manage to drop a bunch of weight and get into better shape with far better stamina - I hope to be above 65% - maybe up to 70%. I have to believe my efforts just might have a payoff or I couldn't go on.

But now, anemic and with no wind at all, and carrying all this weight has really dropped that score. Before my current weight ballooned up so badly, I weighed about 350 - and I was carrying enough water even back then to make my shins weep like they do now, so as long as I can keep shedding water, maybe I'm in business.

I'd sure like to say "I feel fine" and be telling the truth.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

It's A Hell Of A Life If You Don't Weaken*

Sorry I haven't posted in a while, but let me explain a few things and maybe y'all will bear with me.

When I fell and was hospitalized (trip #3 of four), I not only stretched things in my feet too far, I also killed off most of my nerve endings. So now, most of the top of my left foot, and most of my right foot are numb. However, I am susceptible to diabetic nerve pain - where those dead ends seemingly fire randomly and with great intensity - they're like being stabbed with long, very sharp needles. Sometimes I can "feel" the ring on top of my left foot where it was infected.

So my doctor prescribed gabapentin, which is indicated for this very situation. It's not really a pain pill, but it's close. One of the side effects seem to be to have a rubbery face, and the need to sleep. Even now, with a full belly from supper, I'm fighting it big time.

But it has been less than effective at times. Seems I've got a bit of RLS going on as well. Sometimes I get major needle pricks in fully functional nerves - like the ones in my nads. The epitome of uncomfortableness. So I'm on Lyrica as well now. And I get even more sleepy. And for the times nothing is working, I have a scrip for generic Percocet.

Okay, now we have a perpetually sleepy Jeffro. But that ain't all. My diuretics are timed as far as when I take them for maximum effectiveness. I take one, then within a half hour or so, I take the next one, then I take Klor-Con so it can hit when I need it the most. So when everything is working, I'm fighting a full bladder every half hour to maybe two hours max - but rarely. Should I decide not to take the diuretics until later in the day so I can be less bothered while getting in a doctor's appointment, shopping at Wally World and so on. This generally means less time peeing, so that means more water retained and less weight dropped in the day. So lately I've been trying to time my trips to Dodge later in my peeing cycle.

I've also taken to riding the fat man buggies at Wally World. I've no choice - I cannot walk that far, period. I also have a handicapped parking permit for my ride as well.

Speaking of weight loss - I broke the 400#  barrier earlier. This morning I was 393 something. Considering how much tea I've had today, I would not be surprised if I lose ground tomorrow morning.

Oh, and that liquid restriction I'm on? Turns out I need to drink more fluids. Oh, damn.

At the moment, my INR is too high and I'm off the rat poison until it drops. I'm still anemic as hell.

I've also got that hybrid elliptical up and running - I just need to feel stout enough to use the damn thing. I ran it for five minutes the other day and it liked to kill me off.

Heh. I just had to clean up a super long string of the letter "k" because I fell asleep for a moment and was apparently gonna use it or something. This is about the third or fourth time I've had to clean up some sleepy typing while trying to finish the post.

So that is my life. Sleepy all the time because I cannot stay asleep - I get it in discreet intervals where I wake up with perhaps the keyboard still depressed and the sudden and immediate urge to get somewhere, anywhere to relieve my over full bladder. It's race time then, baybee. I'm also ever so gradually losing that water weight so perhaps I'll be ready and in shape enough for the heart surgeon to fix my leaky heart valve.

So, my days and nights and weeks all tend to run together. Jed, I'm sorry I haven't finished the email I had written for ya - it just sorta got lost in the "routine," as it were. Jess, I hope this helps out some. I'm not doing the best I can, but it is a fight.

*One of the favorite sayings of an old gentleman I worked for in wheat harvest so many years ago.