Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Morning Giggle...

Overheard a conversation in the office before heading out into the field this morning. We share a large common office area with building inspectors, construction inspectors, and health department folks.

One of the building inspectors likes to pontificate on his vast knowledge of public affairs and politics pretty much every morning. He makes sure to talk loudly so that everyone can hear him lay down the facts of whatever world problem he's solving at the moment. This morning, the subject was California's potential legalization of Marijuana.

The focus shifted to whether businesses having the right to continue to forbid employees to imbibe - even if the state legalizes a drug.* He was describing to everyone about how long drugs can be detected in someone's system if they do a Phallical test.

I truly thought I was going to crap myself :)

*My opinion: Of course they do.

Dog eats car....

One of the first calls I ran "solo" as an Animal Control Officer was in response to a report of two pitbulls attacking the bumper of a man's car. They really did a number on the guy's ride. You wouldn't think a dog could do that kind of damage to a bumper - but they can. I eventually found the rampaging dogs, chased one back into its yard, and impounded the other one.

All while a Police Officer nervously pointed a shotgun at me.

Ok... He was actually trying to point the scattergun at the dog. But considering the fact that I had the crazy dog on the end of a 5 foot long restraint pole, and we were circling our way across a residential front yard about 30 feet away from him... I'm not going to quibble. The dog was incredibly strong, and to get him from point of impound to my truck we had to circle our way across the yard like some kind of odd dance. With each loop we made, the cop swept me with the muzzle of the shotgun.

In the officer's defense, the dog was really scary.

In my defense, I ripped him a new asshole once I noticed what he was doing.

Anyway... that was a million years ago. I hadn't thought about it in a long time, until a friend sent me a link to the video below. The vid is from a dashboard camera in a police car, and took place recently in Chattanooga.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

From the Office of Duh....

Saw this roadside, while on the job yesterday...


Hopefully, all potential confusion has been avoided.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Morning Ritual

Everyone tends to have a morning ritual.

Me? ... I let the dog out first thing, if he bothers to even get up when I do. My Mrs. doesn't have to get up until I've already been at work for a while, so most of the time Angus the Rottweiler puts off his own morning ritual until a more respectable hour of the morning. As he's gotten older, I guess he figures whatever there is to see will still be there when he gets up.

Or not.

While they're both still sleeping, I'll get a pot of coffee going, get dressed while its brewing, and whip up some eggs. WBAP AM Talk radio on the old Truetone in the Kitchen, so I can hear the news.

Then I'll settle down in front of the 'puter for a few minutes to check in with the world.

A quick check of email, and then I'll hit Shorpy - cuz I'm addicted to seeing the ghosts of people long gone. I'll hit Geekologie, because it is meaningless and funny and doing what I do for a living makes you crave meaningless and funny sometimes. And if I have time I'll cruise by a couple of the blogs I frequent, just to see if there's anything new.

start the day

I had that coffee mug made up on Cafepress a while back. I like that picture of Bailey a lot, 'cuz it captures her mischievious side (which is considerable). It says "Scruff's Girl" on it.

"Scruff" is her name for me. All the "normal" grandfather names were taken, and I'm admittedly on the scruffy side.

Besides that, I think it'll sound painfully cute coming out of her mouth when she's big enough to talk :)

Then it's off to face the day. There are days when something alter's this regularly scheduled programming in the mornings. Improvise, Adapt, Overcome...

But things definitely tend to go smoother, and I'm far less apt to consider engaging in mayhem and wanton destruction, when life behaves properly.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Road Trip - 3/27/2010

I've been under the weather this past week. The forecasters had predicted that this Spring would be Hell on allergy sufferers, and they weren't lying. Everything that can produce pollen, apparently is RIGHT NOW.

What started as a stuffy head and sore throat progressed rapidly to my loosing my voice off and on for the past week, a dry hacky cough, and a general "head in a bucket" sensation that I can't shake. By Saturday, I was still puny... but cabin fever got the best of me and we hit the road for a quick trip to the cool town of Weatherford, Texas.

weatherford courthouse

Weatherford is one of the few places near the DFW area that still has several pretty decent antique shops open. Ebay made it too easy/cheap for folks to find lots of stuff they used to have to hunt for. We've seen many antiquing destinations that we really enjoy basically dry up and blow away over the past couple of years. So far, though , we've been able to count on Weatherford as a place to go to scratch our antique itch.

Besides, the Downtown Weatherford Cafe is a favorite lunch spot that calls to us from time to time :)

Weatherford Downtown Cafe

weatherford lunch

Very near the Cafe, is a business that has always caught my eye.

cotten bratton furniture

As you can see from the sign, that's the Cotten and Bratton Furniture Store - And Funeral Parlor.

Yeah... that's right. It looks like its still a functioning furniture store - with a little funeral chapel tacked on to the back.

funeral chapel

Looks like Art Deco influence to the architecture, but not wildly so, which makes me guess late 1930's? The pairing always struck me as quirky, so I snapped a picture this time around.

The antique hunting went well. My Mrs. picked up an old, gutted, oak wall telephone box - the kind with the hinged front door. It didn't have any of the inner or outer phone "guts" - its just the box. It will make an attractive and interesting little storage cabinet for some of her craft stuff. I found a Crosley Dynacone radio speaker from the late 1920's. I haven't taken a picture of the one I bought yet, but here's a pic of a similar speaker that I found online - to give you an idea:

Crosley Dynacone F

The one I picked up has been repainted at some point a garish red color, and the insides look to be fried, but otherwise the case is in great shape. My plans for this? Probably a repaint to gloss black, and retro-fit with the guts from a new donor box fan to make an Art Deco looking desk fan. I'll post pics when I get around to doing something with it.

Not a long trip, but it wiped me out. Too much antihistamine and congestion - but still had a good time.

Friday, March 26, 2010

.380 ACP

Ammunition to Go has 50 round boxes of .380 Auto Aguila 95gr FMJ Ammo, for $17.95. Not pre Obama panic prices, but it beats the $25 and up prices I've seen elsewhere, when I can find it at all. They also have Fiocchi Brand .380 at the same price, if that's your preference.

I've made my purchase, so I figured it was safe to pass the tip on :)

I've bought from Ammo to Go before. They are a Texas company, and good folks to deal with.

Girl Friday - 03/26/2010 - Ryu Ji Hye

Back to the present for this week's installment of the Girl Friday. Several months ago we looked at Korean Auto Show model Im Ji Hye. This week's Girl Friday is another popular Racing, Auto Show, and print ad model:

Ryu Ji Hye

ryu-ji-hye-canon-event-53 small

ryu-ji-hye-canon-event-28 small

Finding out details about Korean models is difficult if you don't speak Korean. About the only thing that I know about her, is that Ryu is her family name - similar to the English "Last Name". Koreans have a different order to their names, with family name first. That would make her "first name" Ji Hye.

And for the rest of it, since I was absent the day they covered Korean at Janie Stark Elementary School... I'll just have to let her pictures speak for themselves.

Or, alternatively, you can make up your own interesting story of her life, interests, and history....

ryu-ji-hye small

Ryu_Ji_Hye_Lucky_(7) small

ryu-ji-hye-canon-event-01 small

ryu-ji-hye-cjsr-round-5-11 small

I'll just content myself with imagining that she's a really nice, fiscally conservative, fun loving gal who enjoys shooting, motorcycles, antique blowtorches, and photographing old buildings, trucks, and cemeteries ....

ryu-ji-hye-canon-event-07 small

Hey... It might be true!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Comfort Food - Dessert Edition

I almost forgot the finishing touch on the Comfort Food post on Baked Beef that I made yesterday. What's comfort food without an indulgent dessert?

Chocolate Mousse Cake

That's Chocolate Mousse Cake. It's chocolate cake with chocolate mousse between the layers, sprinkled with chopped chocolate bar. The top has chocolate ganache poured over it, with the rest of the chopped chocolate bar sprinkled over all.

Chocolate Mousse Cake

I basically used the recipe found here, but I substituted Chocolate Fudge Cake mix for the cake mix in the recipe. I also used a big chopped up Twix bar instead of a toffee bar - since we aren't big toffee fans. It turned out really good, but I'll go with a different candy bar next time - or maybe some chopped up Girl Scout cookies....

Chocolate Mousse Cake

And no, my Mrs. and I did not eat the entire cake ourselves. We each had a piece and the rest is "donated" to one of our neighbors. That's our usual plan of attack for "cheat day". We eat sensibly for the whole week, and then relax for one day on the weekend. Our Neighbors reap the benefits... but not Smokey McHacksalot's crew across the street.

Those folks are creepy.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Comfort Food - Baked Steak

I'm a grillin' kinda guy. I love cooking with fire whenever possible. My grill set up is pretty simple, being just a Weber Kettle grill that burns charcoal. To me, its hard to beat a simply seasoned, grilled T-Bone or Porterhouse steak cooked over charcoal on a nice Spring or Summer Day.

Some days, though, you want to get your Beef On and the weather won't cooperate. That was the case this past Saturday, when Texas welcomed the First Day of Spring with cold, rain, and eventually snow. I thought this was a good opportunity to toss up a post on another of my favorite ways to prepare beef when you're trapped inside by the weather - Baked Steak.

You can really use any cut of beef for this. I normally use sirloin because its inexpensive. The main criteria is that it be thick cut - meaning around an inch or so. I don't think I would make this with any cut of beef under 3/4 inch thick. Here's the piece I used this time around:


That's a sirloin about 1 inch thick that was in the "reduced for quick sale" bin at the grocery store. I'll snag stuff like that when I see it, and then freeze it for later use. Trim off any fat around the edges, and then cut the meat into serving sized pieces. Salt/Pepper the meat and toss on any other seasonings you like.

Next, dredge the meat in flour and knock off any excess flour by patting it with your hands. Put the meat on a cutting board and hit it with a tenderizing hammer all over one face, pounding the flour into the meat. Flip the pieces over and tenderize the other side as well. I'm wanting to get one of those bladed style tenderizers, but for now I use the old fashioned spiked hammer version. That's the main reason you want a thick cut of beef for this dish. If you start out thin, after you pound it with a hammer it will be wafer thin - which you don't want.

sirloin tenderized and floured

Put enough oil in dutch oven to cover the bottom and heat to medium heat. Then brown the meat on both sides. Remove the meat from the pan and add a couple of chopped onions.

sirloin browned

onions saute

Saute the onions in the oil until they start to soften up and turn translucent. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside. For the next step you'll want about 4 tablespoons of oil in the dutch oven, give or take. If you don't have enough, add some. If you have too much, drain some off.

To the hot oil, add 4 tablespoons of flour. Whisk the flour into the oil to break up any clumps. As you are whisking and cooking the "roux", it will start to darken. I like mine to be a nice buckskin color - though you can cook it more if you wish.


When the roux is the color that you like, add some beef stock and some half & half (or milk, or cream). I say "some" because I usually don't measure it. You want roughly equal parts, and you want enough liquid in the pan so that the resulting "gravy" will just cover the meat when you put it back in the pan in a few minutes. Remember that the level of liquid will go up when you add the meat, due to displacement.... but this ain't rocket science. Just eyeball it and you'll be fine. Start with maybe a cup of both broth and half & half... and adjust from there.

Whisk the liquids together with the roux until it reaches the boiling point. The liquids will start to thicken a bit at this point, and you can turn off the burner and add the meat back to the dutch oven. Top the meat with the onions that you sauteed before, and put the lid on the dutch.

ready to bake

Bake the dish at 350 for 2 hours. The temp is pretty forgiving, if you have room in your oven and want to cook other stuff at the same time. I cranked up the oven temp to 400 degrees when I was half way through, then put in a loaf of Irish Wheaten bread to bake. After half an hour, I turned the temp down to 375 for the last 30 minutes and both items turned out fine.

irish wheaten bread

Here's what the beef looks like in the dutch oven after 2 hours.

baked steak done

The liquid reduces and the meat is tender enough to cut with a fork.

baked steak and mac plated

The stuff to the right in this pic is just stovetop Kraft Shells and Cheese that I doctored up with extra cheese, some sour cream, and a buttered bread crumb topping. It got baked in the oven with the other stuff for the last 2o minutes or so, right at the end so that it would brown a bit and crisp up around the edges.

Sometimes you just need your comfort food kicked up a notch when Winter digs its heels and and refuses to give up easily...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seen at the Dallas Zoo Last Week...

Anyone remember the movie Total Recall? You know... Arnold Schwarzenegger on Mars. Sharon Stone (back when she was hot).
Remember the character Kuato?


Funny how things like that come into your mind at the oddest times..

baby sling

Monday, March 22, 2010

AK Mags

Someone had emailed me about the 20 round 7.62x39 magazines that I mentioned in a previous post. Here's the skinny:

ak mag 30 20

That's one of my 30 round Tapco composite mags on the left. I love them. They are durable and reliable. I've got several, and they aren't to expensive. They are usually priced close to what you'll pay for steel surplus 30 round mags most places, unless you're buying in seriously large bulk lots.

The mag on the right is one of the 20 round Hungarian steel magazines. I bought several of them from AIM Surplus online, for just under $10 each. The magazines that I've gotten were all in wonderful shape, and only needed light cleaning. They work well in my WASR10.

For every three magazines you buy, you get a canvas magazine pouch like this:

ak 20 rnd pouch

Its a really nice pouch that holds three of the 20 round mags, with accessory pockets on both sides. Standard duty belt sized loops on the back. The color will vary some from pouch to pouch, but the one you see above is pretty typical of the ones I've received.

I don't know if you've tried to buy decent AK magazine pouches or not, but let me tell you the pickings are pretty slim. Lots of choices for AR mags out there, but AK pouch choices tend to be either so tight that they bind and grab the mag when you try to pull it out - or else they are something akin to just a big bag that you dump your loose magazines into while they rattle and shift around.

At that's assuming you're trying to find a pouch for a 30 round mag. When you're talking 20 rounders... its even worse. That's why I was so pumped about the mag pouch offer. With a little tweaking, these pouches will be the Cat's Meow:

1. I'll ditch the belt loops in the back, and replace them with some Molle compatible straps with snaps. That way it can go on and off belts, tac vests, or whatever quickly and easily.

2. Next, I'll put a little fitted blocking in the bottom of the individual mag cells. As made, the pouch keeps the magazines all the way down with the end flush with the opening. This doesn't give you anything to grab onto when you try to get the mags out of the pouch. With the blocking in the bottom, the mags will ride a bit higher and be easier to grab onto. That inch or so of magazine poking out makes a world of difference.

3. Finally, I'll remove the leather buckle style closure and replace it with either sewn on velcro or a snap closure.

Sounds like a lot of hassle, but it really won't be. Doing the mods on more than one pouch at a time will speed things along. Especially considering the end result will be 20 round magazine pouches for the AK that are head and shoulders above what you can buy anywhere else.

Learn from it.

For any Texas voters who are thinking about sitting out the upcoming Texas Governor's election because Rick Perry isn't their "ideal" conservative candidate, I hope you've paid attention to the real world this weekend. If any of you are sufficiently turned off by the vaccine push, the Trans-Texas Corridor debacle, or some other issue that you believe Perry has faltered on - to the point where you don't think you could stomach showing up to vote FOR him against challenger Bill White in November -

Please do me a favor.

Suck it up.

Bill White is going to campaign hard in Texas against our Republican Governor, and you're going to hear a lot of claims from him along the lines of "I'm not really one of THOSE kinds of Democrats..., I'm more like YOU."

They can not be trusted. If one thing has become glaringly obvious over the past week, that would be it.

They Can Not Be Trusted.

Republicans never had a snowballs chance of stopping this on their own. The votes weren't there. Every single Republican stood firm in opposition to this monstrousity. The only thing standing between the Socialist Bastards and a Constitutional Crap-fest of a bill was a handful of Democrats that got into office riding on claims of being "more like you".

They Lie.

Remember that. Some folks wanted to "teach Republicans a lesson" last November. I hope they learned a little something themselves on Sunday.

Ask yourself this:

Between Rick Perry and Bill White, which candidate do you honestly believe is more likely to offer genuine resistance to pressure from Washington?

If you don't cast your vote for one, you are in essence casting a vote for the other.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Uh... did I not make myself clear?

On Friday, the last day of Winter, I took my Valkyrie out for a short half hour ride in a continuing quest to clear the gunk out of the fuel system. It was a gorgeous day, with temps near 70 and sunshine. The Valk recovery is progressing nicely, and she no longer smokes like a crop duster on startup. By the time I brought her home I could get her up to the speed limit - pretty much. Seafoam cleaner rocks.

All in all, it was a good experience.

Saturday, the first day of Spring, I posted a dismissal of Winter - since the day was occasioned with wind, rain, and sleet. I welcomed the Maiden Spring, and ordered Old Man Winter to get thee hence from my sight.

This morning, when I went out to load up my gear for the beginning of my work week - this is what greeted me:

Kia Soul Texas Snow

That's my Wife's Kia, buried under about 6 inches of snow - with more coming down. I had already cleared the bulk off of my Tacoma, which you can see in the background. The streets are awful, so I didn't clear off my Wife's car. Further deterrent for her to get out on the roads unnecessarily. On my drive in to work (normally 30 minutes), I passed no fewer than 7 cars stuck in the ditches.

Texas Weather.... Whatta ya gonna do?

Range Day Report

FINALLY got in some range time Friday. We hadn't been to the range since late last summer. My Mrs got a rare weekday off, so we made a dash over to Garland to send some lead down range. My main objective was to sight in the red dot on the WASR10, which was equally long over due. As I said before, I've never used a red dot scope before - so I was very curious if I would like using one.

wasr10 ati strikeforce 20rnd

I'm happy to say that I love it! Even the cheap BSA scope that I was using performed really well. Here's my sight-in target:

wasr red dot target

I wandered a bit at first. Getting used to the scope and zeroing it in took 10 rounds. As you can see, the remaining 20 rounds were all pretty much touching in one big jagged hole. My Mrs. took a turn shooting the WASR, and she dug the red dot too. She wants one on whatever battle carbine we end up getting for her. The ATI Strikeforce stock was a wonderful upgrade to the WASR10, as well. Its like shooting a different (and better) gun now.

Oh.. and I zeroed the scope to shoot a little high on purpose. I was shooting at 50 yards to get the scope zeroed, and we didn't have time to shift over to the 100 yard lanes. I left it shooting a touch high at 50 yards, so that it would be just about dead on at 100 yards. I'll test that theory on the next trip.

The range was really crowded, even though it was a weekday. Nice weather is keeping folks coming in, which is good - even if I don't like crowds. I'd estimate that there were around 45-50 people there shooting, counting pistol, rifle, and shotgun lanes. Sounds like the invasion of Normandy when everyone gets going at once.

We both shot really well considering how rusty we were. I shot my favorite carry gun, the Beretta 85fs, as well as the FNP9. My Mrs shot her normal carry piece, a Bersa Thunder 380, as well as her Bersa Ultracompact 9mm.

fnp9 target

That's my FNP9, 50 rounds at 21 feet. Not up to my usually standards, but I had a case of the "yips" at first. Guess I shouldn't wait so long between range trips, huh? I tightened up the group as I settled down. Cheaper (and more available) ammo should make more frequent range trips easier this spring and summer. The Beretta target was a bit better.

I was surprised at the quality of shooters on the line this trip. Usually its really pathetic. We aren't expert marksmen (markspersons?), by any stretch of the imagination... but generally we still shoot circles around 99% of the other people at the pistol range on any given day. Of course, there were still the Gomers that couldn't keep their shots on the colored portion of the target - when they managed to hit paper at all. However, several of the shooters were actually pretty good this time. I don't know if it was just a fluke, or if all the increased traffic at the range over the past year is actually paying off :)

Oh.... and in case you're wondering - my Mrs. is not to be trifled with.

j headshot

That's 7 shots from her .380 ACP Bersa Thunder, at 21 feet.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Prescription or Cautionary Tale?

There's a difference of opinion in the comments over at It Don't Make Sense regarding the events going on in our Nation's Capitol. DC agrees with Rush Limbaugh on the point that "Perfect Churchers" have to own some of the responsibility for putting Obama in a position where he can shit on the Constitution to forward his own agenda.

I have to agree.

They aren't entirely responsible, of course. I personally own a chunk of that responsibility myself, since I coasted through life until recently - in regards to being politically aware and engaged. There persists, however, a mindset among some conservatives that Obama is "the best thing that has happened to the country". I even heard from some friends before and after the election that things had gotten to the point where we should just let the mess go down the toilet and pick up the pieces a la' Atlas Shrugged. There was clearly no difference between Dems and Republicans, so their thinking ran, so screw them all and just let the barn burn....

I've read Atlas Shrugged. It was ridiculously long. I thought it put forth some extremely good principals, and makes some amazing observations. I think there are some folks who read the plot of the book, though, and see it as prescriptive as a means for turning our nation around and pointing it in a better direction. They literally think that the events in the book could play out in real life to produce a happy ending.

That's a huge mistake, in my opinion. Atlas Shrugged is more of a cautionary tale. As a "Literal Prescriptive Blueprint" for how to respond to assaults on our liberty from the Left, it fails miserably. I mean... you only have to look at the book's plot itself to see what I mean. Standing aside and letting the barn burn resulted in one thing -

The Shitting Barn Burns Down.

Do you have ANY idea how bad things can get before any kind of wide sweeping epiphany via the general public might occur? Pretty fuckin' bad. I don't know about you, but my family isn't part of a secret gold based economy hidden in a mountain valley that is magically shielded from view from outsiders. The people I love aren't going to sit things out comfortably in their secret society "new life" waiting for the nation to cry out for their help.

And you know what?... You wouldn't escape the fire either, regardless of how many caches of silver dimes you have put aside.

We live in the real world. Right now in Washington, the Republicans that many said were indistinguishable from the Liberal Left are, and have been, largely standing firm against the majority of Democrats that support Obama's agenda. Are they perfect? No. Are some of them "RINOs"? Yeah, a few are. Do they all reflect the ideal of conservatism on all points? No.

Are they as two dimensional and unrealistically infallible as an Ayn Rand hero?


But unlike some people, I quit believing in Fairy Tales many years ago. When have there EVER been perfect elected representatives outside of a work of fiction? And even if you could find someone you thought worthy of your support - I guarantee there would be other equally conservative citizens who could find fault with your pick. Its not only time for sleepwalkers like myself to wake up and become engaged - Its also time for the Perfect Churchers to quit their bitching and take a more realistic tack.

If you can't tell the difference between Shit and Shinola, maybe its because you aren't looking close enough.

Don't let the door hit you...

I like Winter well enough. Its nice to get a break from the Texas heat for a bit. Christmas is one of my favorite times of year too. We got a lot of snow this year, which was neat for a change.

All in all, though, by the time it gets to the first day of Spring - which is today, by the way - I'm pretty much done with Winter. We've had warm and sunny weather for the past couple of days, but today is cold and dreary and rainy.

So hit the road, Old Man Winter.... and Hello Spring!

Hello Spring

Friday, March 19, 2010

Girl Friday - 3/19/2010 - Carroll McComas

If this week's Girl Friday doesn't set off the warning siren on the Obscuro-meter, I don't know who would. Besides just anonymous photos of some appealing woman from the past, I can't remember a Girl Friday that has less biographical info available online.

So, without further ado, I give you:

Carroll McComas

carroll mccomas 1905 resized

carroll mccomas 2

As best I can tell, Carroll Mccomas was born in New Mexico in 1886. She became a stage actress on Broadway, and made at least a couple of movies in the Silent Film era. I say "a couple" because I could only find references to two films, one of which doesn't appear to exist in any form at all now.

carroll mccomas 4

carroll mccomas 6

Then, mysteriously, Ms. Mccomas disappeared all together from the stage and screen for over 30 years. She reappeared on film in 1953, and did bit appearances on several television shows during the 1950's. She passed away in 1962.

That's pretty much it... Not much info, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

carroll mccomas 5

caroll mccomas 3

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Borepatch has an interesting theory in regards to the recent "leak" that revealed the possible shifting of a number of Bunker Busters to a position more tactically advantageous to us, should the US consider kicking Iran in the collective nards over the whole nuclear weapons issue.

Pretty interesting. I don't know if I buy in, at this point, but I certainly don't accept ANYTHING this administration might do, or consider doing, at face value.

Found this short clip on Youtube, of a bunker buster bomb test... pretty effective.

Monday, March 15, 2010

I hate Spring Break Week...

Just a quick note. Posting will be sparse this week, and I doubt I'll even have the chance to read my usual favorite blogs. Spring Break has sprung, and its unbelievably busy at work. Looks like the activity level may continue all week.

Posting will resume when I eventually run out of stupid people.

Advice from the Past

One of the sites that I peruse from time to time is Modern Mechanix. If you've never been there you should visit sometime. Its a cool blog-like showcase of vintage magazine articles from publications like Popular Mechanics, Modern Mechanics, Popular Science, and others no longer in print. I'm the most interested in articles from the 1920's through the 1940's. Its a really interesting place to get your "vintage technology geek" on.

They also have articles from less techno-centric magazines. One of those often featured is a magazine called Physical Culture.

pc october 1930

Modern Mechanix recently reprinted an article from the
Physical Culture edition that came out back in October of 1930. The article was one woman's advice to married couples regarding the secret to success in married life. I found the article itself pretty fascinating. If you're married, or considering taking the plunge, you might be well served to read it.

Now... before you go off and read it, you'll have to remember that this was written 80 years ago. The terminology and phrasing and general outlook were obviously somewhat different back then. Its easy to read the first few paragraphs and think that its nothing more than an outdated, male-centered piece. I think many modern folk may just glaze the surface of the piece and then ricochet off into a tizzy of gender equality furor... You can see some of that taking place in the comments for the article on the Modern Mechanix site.

Here's a little snippet of what I'm talking about from the article:

If the woman in the next block would remember that she married her husband because he was her superior, and content herself with her pride in him and her delight in serving him, as she did during the first year of their marriage, all might be well with them. But no! Having married him, she suddenly decides that he should become commonplace like herself. She has carved deep lines in her face and pinched in her mouth during the years she has spent railing because he appears to her “queer and highbrow.” While he withdraws into himself, except at such times as he vents his wrath upon her “stupidity,” and dreams of the woman he might have married. He paid for a cook in a gingham wrapper, and he wants—and grumbles because he did not get—a houri in a trailing robe with star-dust in her hair.

Somewhere... Gloria Steinem's head just exploded.

See what I mean? The way that's pitched above makes me cringe a little bit. When you read words like "superior" and "delight in serving him", its easy to dismiss the rest of the piece out of hand as totally irrelevant to us today.

You have to keep going, though, before you realize the underlying point that the author is trying to make. You have to read the piece through the lenses of 80 years of changing perceptions, while still seeing the commonality of the problems she is describing. She cuts both ways with her analysis. Neither men nor women escape her attention.

What she suggests is pretty damned simple. You really should read the whole article, but I'll summarize:

Understand exactly who it is that you are marrying. See them, honestly, for who they are. Once you make the committment to get married, treat it as exactly that - a committment. And once you've done that, here's what she suggests:

I am convinced of this: unless there is actual dislike or antagonism from the beginning (and there seldom is), marriage can, nine times out of ten, be made successful, if you go at it rightly. You need three things to start with: a “till death us do part” attitude, a determination on both sides to make the best of it, and a similar sense of humor!

And that advice applies to both sexes. Its not a matter of one person "settling". Its a matter of both parties being adult enough to put the necessary effort into the marriage, while being realistic and grounded in what exactly it is they are dealing with. Its largely a matter of maturity.

Again, neither the author nor myself proposes that such an approach is applicable for everyone. As well, if both parties aren't willing to commit their time and effort into the solution it probably won't work. But if both parties walk into the marriage with their eyes open - its stunningly simple and good advice.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Green Zone and Bull Riding


We caught the new Matt Damon movie, the Green Zone, Saturday. I had really been looking forward to this one, since I generally like Matt Damon movies - particularly the Bourne series. More on that in a bit....

Lots of previews of coming attractions before the feature started. We got to see a longer trailer for Iron Man 2, which looks really cool (movie comes out in May, I think). Also saw a trailer for a movie called "The Losers" that looks interesting... I'd embed trailer videos for both films, but I'm at work and the work server's no-likey youtube.

We still haven't been to see "The Crazies" yet... maybe next weekend.


From the look of the trailers for The Green Zone that I had seen, I was expecting sort of a "Jason Bourne in Baghdad" movie.... and as such it kinda fell short. Not really fair to the movie, but that was my reaction. The first part of the movie was really slow, in comparison to the Bourne films. Good action in the last 30 minutes or so, but to get there you had to sit through a good deal of "US Government=Bad" crap. Its the fairly typical Hollywood viewpoint that once you get above the level of boot on the ground soldier (or Chief Warrant Officer, this case), everyone in the military or government is a douchebag liar.

Generally I can just acknowledge that bias and move on, if the action and acting is sufficiently interesting... but in this case it wasn't. At least not for me.

Saturday evening we got to go to our first Rodeo event for this season. It was a PBR sanctioned tour event in Mesquite (Professional Bull Riders Assoc). Two hours of non-stop bull riding ONLY. Pretty good bulls at this turn out, though not on par with National Finals stock. Really good evening. I shot some cool video, since my still camera doesn't do very well indoors at long range with fast moving targets.

My dinosaur of a computer is really slow processing video, and I'm on call this week so I don't know when I'll get around to editing. I'll post some clips when I do. There were some awesome rides and tough looking wrecks as well.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tis the season....

Warmer weather has my Motorcycle juices flowing. I spent a sizable chunk of my time Friday trying to get my Valk up and running. Last spring I didn't ride much at all, then summer arrived and I got even busier. Pretty soon it was fall, and I still hadn't taken the girl out on the road. Fall turned to one of the coldest, snowiest winters in decades and the Valkyrie continued to sit - dejected and forlorn under the cover of the front porch of Castle Paladin.

Just one of those things, I guess. Many (but not all) Bike riders that I know tend to ebb and flow with their desire to ride. Sometimes you hit stretches were it just gets pushed to the back burner. Its always "next weekend" that you plan to hit the highway. But sometimes next weekend doesn't come. Thankfully, I've been riding long enough to know that bike apathy isn't usually permanent. I didn't do anything rash like sell the bike, or anything.

I have a friend who has owned 3 different bikes in the past 10 years. He would get bored with riding and sell his bike. Then a couple of years would pass and he'd get the urge again and kick himself for getting rid of his ride. He'd buy another bike, ride for a couple of seasons, and then sell it again....

The only mistake that I made was not prepping the bike properly for storage. Gas and other fluids sitting in an unused motorcycle over most of a year can do nasty things. I've managed to get her going, thanks to some Seafoam, but I think it'll be a couple of tanks of gas through her before she levels out and starts behaving right. Hopefully her cantankerousness will no rise to the level where a carb tear down is necessary. Rebuilding the six carburetor rack in a GL1500CT is not a project for the faint of heart.

I'm to the point where she'll start for me, but she's wanting to idle too low, clatter a bit when I roll on the throttle, and it takes forever for her to settle down and stay running at idle when I come off the choke after start up. I don't have legal tags/inspection on her yet so I've been limited to trips around the neighborhood. I'll put down some highway miles as soon as I'm street legal and see if that helps.


I've also started to notice that she's showing her age, cosmetically. A few chrome blemishes here, some paint scratches there.... just the usual stuff that you get on a 10 year old bike. She still looks awesome, from a distance. Kinda like a Monet - beautiful from afar.... but you start to notice weird stuff when you're up close.

My windshield is toast, too. The original owner used some sort of harsh cleaner on the windshield and it ate part of the protective covering off. Its deteriorated from there, even though I only use soap and water. The windshield situation is so bad that I finally just took it off while working on the bike today. Just couldn't see through it well enough under any kind of low light or glare conditions. I found a place online where I can get a replacement, so I'll probably look into that before too long. Just hopping around town without a shield is ok... but at highway speeds I gotta have a windshield.

Impacting a grasshopper at 70 mph is like getting shot with a ball bearing from a slingshot :)

I'd like to get the Valk painted one day. I'm really liking the "Satan Black" that I've seen, which is basically a flat or matte black. I might even go as far as blacking out most of the chrome on and around the engine, and have the wheels powder coated to match. That would look bad assed tough...

If any readers are in the DFW area and know of a good bike paint shop here locally, drop me a line or leave a note in the comments... I'd like to test the waters and see how much something like that would cost.

Of course, I could just try to do it myself. I could probably rattle can it if I went the matte black route. I'd be more comfortable having a professional paint shop lined up ahead of time, though, if I screw it up.
Here's a pic of a bike someone did in Flat Black with just rattle can paint - not too bad, in my opinion. Its not a Valkyrie, obviously, but you can see the paint treatment I'm talking about:

rattle can flat

And now here's Miranda Kerr on a Yamaha R6 - just because.

r6 kerr

Friday, March 12, 2010

Girl Friday - 03/12/2010 - Elvgren Pinups

Change of pace time for the Girl Friday post. This week's Girl Friday isn't a real woman at all. She's an idealized, innocent yet sexual, artistic creation by one of the greatest Pin up Artists of all time - Gil Elvgren.

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I've been in love with pinup art since high school. There are many pinup artists whose work I admire, but none more so than Gil Elvgren. Elvgren was at the top of his game, creating pinup artwork for commercial calendars, magazine covers, and other print media of the day from the 1930's through much of the 1970's.

The pics in this post are among my favorite Elvgren works.

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Elvgren worked from live models, whom he costumed and posed to match the particular vignette that he was trying to capture. The paintings are very appealing, in part because of their innocence compared to the in your face use of sex in much of modern advertising art. There's almost always what I call the "Oops" factor... meaning that what you see is presented as if accidentally revealed.

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"Oops!... here I am working on my roof in high heels and my skirt slid up a bit - oh my goodness!"

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elvgren sunburn

Everybody enjoys looking at a pretty girl, and Elvgren managed to pull off the Pin Up with charming innocence.

elvgren cookies