Friday, April 29, 2005

1756 gun pr0n!

Oh yeah! After 6 weeks of waiting my new toy finally arrived! My doglock Blunderbuss. This baby feels just as nice as the first time I picked one up. I was hoping to have it for last weekend, but it didn't arrive. Now however I'm ready to load her with brass tacks and unload a hell fire never before witnessed in my neighborhood before!

I took a great picture of me holding it with a D-cell battery in the barrel. However my FTP programs trial period finally came up and I haven't been able to circumvent it's protection again.

So if you want to see what it looks like, go here and check it out.

If you know of a decent to good FTP program that is free, please tell me in my comments so I can continue to provide my loyal readers with horrendous pictures of myself and more adorable ones of other people and things in my life.

Someone made a huge mistake!

I think my job is trying to get me to quit. This morning my manager pulled me aside and started going over various personal goals they would like me to attain. At first, everything was okay, but then they dropped a bombshell on me. They… They want… (Gulp) They want me to be a mentor. (Waiting for the gasping to stop) I KNOW! I couldn’t believe it either. They want me to take classes on how to do various management duties and tasks, make a synopsis for mentoring and start implementing it by the beginning of July.

My becoming a mentor is like Michael Jackson running a day care center; it’s just not a good idea! See, first you have to like people to be a mentor. I have not a met a person in the last 5 years I liked. (Go ahead; re-read that last sentence, it is correct) I usually meet someone and work my way up to tolerate. Once I get past tolerate I start to get into the “I don’t hate them” phase. This usually consists of doing things in a social setting with them to see if they are as exasperating as I think they are. This phase may take years. I have a person from work I hang out with that counts me as there friend. I hate to inform them I’m still trying to decide if I want to lobotomize them with a yellow highlighter. Many people describe me as being “Mean and Hateful” (actual quote), I personally see myself as being antagonistic. If someone gets past that phase, I will then decide either that “yes, I loathe the reprehensible waste of protein” or “No, this is not a bad person”.

Does this sound like someone you want as a mentor? That and at the last conference I went to I was asked, “Oh Dark Overlord, how do you motivate your staff to work so hard?” (Yes, I make them refer to me as their Dark Overlord), I explained in all seriousness that it’s a mix between fear and intimidation. I don’t sugar coat bad news and when I have something nice to say, they really deserved the praise. They thought I was joking. I’ve been sent to sensitivity class twice and I can’t count on fingers and toes how many times I’ve had someone breakdown and cry because of me. I don’t pull punches, if someone is an indolent, incompetent troglodyte, I tell them. With what my position is, I don’t have time to be “nicey nice”, that is what their supervisor’s job is.

So here I am being told this, I actually felt each word like a blow to my gut. They want me to not only be a mentor, but there is talk of having people actually report directly to me. If that wasn’t enough, they also want to start grooming me for a supervisory position where not only will I have people reporting directly to me, but there maybe a lot of them! Okay, that’s not bad; I thought I had a couple of years to get ready for that transition… I guess not. As I was mentally picking myself up off the floor I get blind sided with this phrase, “Oh, and we want you to take the lead for the new Training committee to determine the new guidelines and protocols for training Customer Service Representatives.(CSRs)” I swear to god I about blacked out. It took all I had to not burst out, “Are you forking insane?”

I reeled from the overload of wretched information that washed over me like the putrid juices of a bloated body that is pulled from a stagnant pond. At this point, I was sure they either A) made a mistake or B) where playing a practical joke on me. I started to laugh it off, and then noticed my manager did not share in my joviality. No, she was serious and she had the right person. She even showed me the paperwork. I was mentally paralyzed, I couldn’t think straight and I did the inconceivable. I asked, “You do realize with whom you are speaking to, right?” She did not find that amusing, and told me I should be honored. I wanted to tell her that it sounds like my personal hell, but I didn’t. Now in the next couple of months I will be taking over this committee and going over the training guidelines for Customer Service Representatives across the company. Just typing that has made my fingers go numb.

I can’t turn it down, or I will kill off all promotability in myself, even if it is in a direction I don’t want to go. It’s not that I don’t think I’ll do a good job at it, but I don’t think I’ll enjoy it. I’ve contemplated every possible way to escape from this quagmire, unfortunately there isn’t a way that I can find that wont jeopardize my career. So at this point, I guess I’m stuck.

I guess the first class I need to take is on how to be more personable… (Shudder)

A plot most foul.

Has anyone besides me noticed a disturbing lack of a certain someone in the blogosphere? I’m talking about Alex of Alex in Wonderland. He has not made a post in a while now. I find this kind of disturbing since he just moved into his new accommodations. I know that when most men get a new toy or house they tend to play with, tinker or make changes to it. Well Alex hasn’t done any of that. In addition, we had been e-mailing back and forth for a while. I was trying to convince him to smuggle me a haggis into the US, he was trying to convince me I was daft. Those e-mails have stopped shortly after he made his last post. So where did Alex go? Personally, I think said “loving” wife Sally of Whimsy Capricious hatched a sinister domestic plot.

We already have her admitting to attempting to kill Alex. She, knowing Alex is allergic to nuts, had him drink a banana and peanut butter smoothie. What kind of irreprehensible wife would knowingly and willingly give her husband something that would kill him unless she wanted to have his corpse planted in the ground?

Then when word gets back to her about my investigation, she preemptively posts a denial before any conclusions could be drawn. By trying to thwart my investigation with denials of misdoings in advance to sway you, kind and intelligent readers, to her side is just another part of her master plan! Do not be fooled by this foul murderess!

In addition, if you take a look at Whimsy Capricious you will notice flaws. FLAWS I say! For with out Alex to fix them, they go on unchecked! Alex, being the good and kindly husband, ever the family man, always took care of his beloved wife and her blog. Yet, alas, with out the magnanimous Alex the poor site is falling into a state of disrepair. It is a sad, sad day.

Now I know what you are thinking, “Why would poor innocent Sally do such a thing?” Well I’ll tell you why! She is not innocent; see here, she is a gangsta beotch! She may have used a rubber band and some peanuts to “Put a cap in his arse” by shooting said peanuts down his throat while he was sleeping! As for being poor, again Alex being the type of person that looks out for his family probably took out a 1,000,000.00 pound (remember they are in England) life insurance policy on himself. An allergic reaction to peanuts causing him to go into anaphylactic shock would be covered as an accidental death by insurance!

I also don’t believe this is Sally’s first killing either. I believe she practiced her homicidal tendencies earlier this year by killing Madfish Willie. Why, I don’t know… but he’s been missing for a while too and since I’m throwing around murder accusations like a disgruntled housewife tossing peanuts about, I thought I’d throw him into the mix.

So there you have it folks. My theory on what happened to Alex. May the blog gods have mercy on his soul, for he has left us excessively early. Alex, we will miss you.

Disclaimer: This whole story is a fictional piece of work by a bored and deranged individual.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Another reason I'm a bad dad.

Good lord, I’ve turned into one of THOSE fathers. I’m having a hard time understanding and dealing with my oldest boy, Boopie. I keep trying to get him interested or letting him experience things that I enjoy, but he’s so apathetic I can’t tell if he likes something or not. Last year I took him to the Green Bay Packer vs. Jacksonville Jaguars game in Lambeau field. All he did was complain the whole time, he never smiled, and he never enjoyed a moment of it. He says he likes football and that he wanted to watch the game, but he never once seemed excited about the fact he was going. When I was a kid, my father took me to a Cubs/Cardinals baseball game. I hate baseball, but I was excited to go to a professional baseball game. It was fun and I enjoyed it.

Boopie says he wants to go to the re-enactments. So we make arrangements with his birth father so we can take him. When we get to it, he tends to complain about being there. I’ve tried various things to get him interested. I’ve tried teaching him tomahawk throwing, I even bought him his own. I told him when he gets older I’ll buy him a sword, that seems to bring a little smile to him. This last weekend I was sizing him for a rifle. I have a line on used child’s black powder rifle that I am thinking about buying him. At his age, I would have killed to have my father taking me out to get a black powder rifle for me to shoot. Boopie didn’t seem to care.

I know I am trying to put onto him things that interest me and that I like or liked as a kid. I also realize we are not the same person, but he does not seem to like anything except video games. I never had a lot of interest in them. He also loves cartoons. All he watches is cartoons. I had cable installed in his bedroom as part of a Christmas gift; all he watches is the Cartoon Network. I hate most cartoons. Other then the Simpsons and The Family Guy, I don’t watch them. I know, he’s at that age, but I was always running around with my friends at his age. I had a video game system; I just never played with it.

Why am I explaining all of this to you? His 12th birthday is coming up in just over a week and I’m still working on gifts for him. Whenever we ask him what he wants he doesn’t really give us a list. This isn’t just for his birthday either; he’s been doing that for Christmas as well. In fact, a couple of years ago, we asked him to go make a Christmas list and he said he wanted a new window for his bedroom (we were getting new windows put into the house at the time), underwear and pants. He didn’t ask for toys or anything like that.

When I was a kid, I would list all the toys that even remotely looked cool. I knew I wouldn’t get most of them, but I didn’t want to miss out on anything. I never once put down pants, underwear nor a window. I’ve tried fishing for idea’s and I’m getting nowhere. I even asked him about the new PSPs when they first came out, to see if he was interested in them. I got nothing. He didn’t seem to care or not. I’m at my wits ends. I’m tempted to get him nothing since I’ve gotten no communication of what he wants.

I don’t know, maybe I’ll just give him some pants, underwear and a window. I don’t know what else to do.

Am I the only one with this problem? Does anyone have any ideas or suggestions as to what I can do? I don’t want to be one of those fathers that pushes what he likes onto his kids, but I just don’t know what else to do anymore.

I hate getting old.

I finally saw my doctor about my leg cramps. He examined my legs and everything appears to be normal. No blood clots, no abnormal veins, nothing unusual. He advised me that some people just are prone to cramps. He wrote me a prescription for this medication that is supposed to help prevent them from occurring. I’ll have to wait and see what kind of effect they have on me. Hopefully it will be the answer to my problems.

While there, I thought I would have him look at my elbow. On Friday afternoon, while chopping wood, I noticed that I was starting to develop pain in my right elbow. I figured I had just over done it and tried to take it easy on my elbow. I thought I had a case of tendonitis. I’ve had it before and all that any doctor does is prescribe physical therapy. The pain got gradually worse over the weekend. Tendonitis doesn’t do that, usually the more you strengthen it, the better it feels. By Monday evening, I had a hard time picking up a bottle of water with out it hurting.

When the doctor was done examining my legs, I had him look at my elbow. He had me bend and rotate it in various directions, testing the strength and resilience of the joint. Finally, he told me what the problem was. It wasn’t tendonitis, I had tennis elbow. Tennis Elbow? How do I get tennis elbow? I’ve never picked up a racket a day in my life. My understanding family physician advised me that you could get it by lifting many heavy items. From Wednesday through Monday with all the packing, loading, setting up, tearing down, unloading and unpacking I did I brought on my tennis elbow (I refuse to include shooting in this list as it was too much fun).

What’s even better is that I’m supposed to take it easy for 6-8 weeks. No lifting or exertion of the elbow and tendons until the pain ceases. He advised I could pick up items that didn’t cause pain. Well, picking up my 16 oz bottle of water brings on pain! I have my next re-enactment in 4 weeks. I’m hoping my genetically freaky regeneration-immune system kicks in and heals me before then. If it doesn’t, I’m going to be hurting for a long time after that. I’m not giving up a re-enacting weekend just so I don’t hurt. Screw that, I’ll play hurt. I take my re-enacting serious, probably too serious if you haven’t noticed.

Now to add insult to injury, last night I lost my balance and fell landing on my right shoulder. Now I am experiencing sharp shooting pain from it. If it doesn’t cease in two weeks, I’ll go see the doctor again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

If I could be... THE MEME!

Sissy of And What Next nailed me with the Meme that Ogre made. I don’t know what I did to her that deserved this, but one day I’ll get even! She says it’s because I suggested she started re-enacting. What is so bad about that? Do you have any idea what the market value for a single female that re-enacts is on the circuit? She’d have the pick of the guys to go after. I can’t count how many re-enactors want to find a single female that re-enacts! Hell I have guys taking dibs on my wife when I die. (Yes, I have people watching my back so I am not offed)

Well, anyway, here are the meme rules

Immediately following there is a list of 24 different occupations. You must select at least five of them (feel free to select more). You may add more if you like to your list before you pass it on (after you select 5 of the items as it was passed to you). Each one begins with "If I could be..." Of the 5 you selected, you are to finish each phrase with what you would do as a member of that profession.

For example, if the selected occupation was "pirate" you might take the phrase "If I could be a pirate..." and add to it "I would sail the 7 Seas, dating lasses from around the world.

See how easy that is? Here's the list:

If I could be a scientist...
If I could be a farmer...
If I could be a musician...
If I could be a doctor...
If I could be a painter...
If I could be a gardener...
If I could be a missionary...
If I could be a chef...
If I could be an architect...
If I could be a linguist...
If I could be a psychologist...
If I could be a librarian...
If I could be an athlete...
If I could be a lawyer...
If I could be an innkeeper...
If I could be a professor...
If I could be a writer...
If I could be a llama-rider...
If I could be a bonnie pirate...
If I could be an astronaut...
If I were a dog...
If I were an inventor...
If I were a programmer...
If I were a genius...

If I were a lawyer, I’d be a defense attorney and do my best to get every single one of my clients off based on a technicality. I like my rights and I don’t want mine infringed just so we can put some one who may be guilty away. If the police can’t do their jobs properly with in constricts of the law, then they need to start learning how to do so.

If I were a doctor, I’d become a plastic surgeon just so I can exploit peoples narcissistic attitudes for my own greed and prosperity. They are going to do it anyway; I might as well take some of the pie.

If I were a psychologist, I’d be disbarred very quickly because I’d probably talk a bunch of people into offing themselves. Most of the wack jobs that see them are too full of themselves and only need a swift kick in the ass to see the light. Boo hoo I’m depressed… get over it. My life is not what I wanted either, but I’m making the best out of it. If you’re that bad, get a gun and rid the world of excess population already. Quit putting money into these hacks pockets.

If I was a professor, I’d be a history professor and I’d teach my classes in First Person representation. I had a history professor in college that did that during the Civil War segment and it was really neat. Everyone that had this class thought the guy was a little off his rocker, but the class was really fun.

If I could be a bonnie-Pirate, I’d be Seamus MacPhail, exiled Scot and scourge of the America’s. My ship, The Bonnie Flora, would be manned with an amalgamation of Celts, The finest of Jacobites, and maybe a token Irishman or two. We’d lay waste to all ships under the British flag. The American Colonies would feel the sting of my blade as I started amassing ships to me in a fleet that will draw the British Navy down upon us. I would force the French Government to assist in my endeavor by threatening their ships, for they still owe us Jacobites 9,000 troops! In exchange, I’ll help them win their fight with the Brits in the New World. We’d make…. Huh… what? Too in depth? Okay… sorry.

The rules don’t say I have to pass this on, so I won’t and I’m not going to do it.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Shooting fun.

Bou was talking about shooting over at her blog. It started me thinking about this last weekend. I had never fired my Musket live before this weekend. I had plans to do it but something always came up to prevent it from happening.

My Brown Bess is a .75 caliber flintlock smooth bore muzzleloader made by Davide Pedersole in Italy. The barrel is 42 inches long with an overall length of 58 ¼ inches and weighing in at 8.8 pounds. The stock is made of English walnut. She is a beautiful piece and I love the way she feels. I’ve held other flintlocks both rifle and musket and I’ve found many that I really like. However, none of them gives me the sense of power that my Bess gives me. My Bess is my favorite flintlock. After live firing her, that opinion didn’t change.

I’ve done mock battles with it, loading nothing but powder down the barrel. Due to the large caliber and the length of the barrel, I really have to put a lot of powder in her to get her to make a good loud thump. The ones that have rifles don’t have that problem; rifles tend to make a loud staccato crack with a standard charge. Since most of the rifles are .50 cal, they also don’t need as much powder. You can definatly tell the difference between a rifle and a musket firing. That tends to hold true even with live fire.

Friday night I took my Bess down to the live fire range and started firing off rounds out of it. Grau brought his rifle down and Littlejoe had his Kentucky Pistol. We just plucked away at sticks in the sand backdrop. I would say the fireworks display was most impressive coming from the Bess with its four-foot flame spout out the barrel and explosion in the pan when I’d fire her. Except Grau wins the best fireworks display award when he fired his mini-musket. (It’s a .69 cal smooth bore pistol that looks like a cut down musket) When he first tried to fire it, it would flash in the pan but not ignite in the barrel. To remove the round, he put priming powder in through the touchhole until he could blow the obstruction out. When it finally went off, this glowing sparking wad came out the barrel (The ball rolled out of the barrel right before the wad and landed 10 feet from where it was fired). We went to check out the wad and apparently last year Grau either cleaned out the pistol with a baby wipe or he used it as wadding. Because the glowing 1756 signal flare he made was a mix between an old baby wipe and black powder. That was rather impressive.

I shot Friday night, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. Sunday morning I was starting to get some regularity to my shooting. I was starting to consistently hit targets. They had one target that was half way down the range of ½ inch steel in the shape of a shamrock On my first shot I hit it dead center… and bowled out the target. The old timers running the range where rather impressed by not only the fact that I hit it with a smooth bore, but also the fact I bent the shamrock. One of them asked what kind of round I was shooting and my friend Jim threw him one of my lead round balls and not for the first time that weekend I heard someone exclaim, “You’re balls are huge!” They also joked about how each shot I’m throwing ¼ pound of lead down the range. When I’d hit the hanging shamrock, it would dance and tug at the stand. When one of the other guys using a rifle would shoot it, it would sway a little. On one of my last shots, I hit the shamrock and made it dance so hard that it pulled the stand out of the ground. I had to go out and reset it before I left.

I had a lot of fun shooting and am looking forward to doing some more. I only had two small accidents while shooting. The first happened when I fired my Bess by using a course grain black powder in my pan. A burning chunk of it flew out and went down my collar giving me one heck of a burn on top of the powder burn I was already developing. The other incident happened because I didn’t have the but of the Bess set properly in my shoulder when it went off. I was shooting using a 90-grain charge. (That’s a large charge for those that don’t know about black powder) When I pulled the trigger, it jumped and caught me in the arm. I have a bruise where it kicked me.

I guess I should mention I spent 2 hours cleaning it Saturday night. I never had the tools to properly clean it until this weekend. Therefore, it never was cleaned. Well it’s been cleaned out completely now. It’s in a like new condition. I plan on keep it that way, after I shoot it, I will clean it. I do owe Grau a 12 gauge cleaning brush; I ruined his working on my barrel.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I've returned from the Frontier.

Did you all miss me? I know, you didn't even realize I was gone. Over at the Spoon and Blade there are pictures and stories about this weekend.

I had a lot of fun, I'm pretty sore today. My muscles and joints are really what are giving me a problem. I had a good time this weekend despite the weather.

I think there is something going on with my group. There seemed to be a lot of tension in camp over the weekend. It was enough to drive me out of camp most of Saturday and Sunday. That didn't make my wife happy, and justifiably so. I left her alone with Boopie and Clone. Boopie being almost 12 isn't a problem, Clone however was clingy to her and wouldn't give her a moments peace. I guess I have to buy her more jewelry now to get back on her good side.

I'm not sure what exactly is going on with my group right now, and I really don't want to know. If I know, then I feel I need to try to help solve the problem. I've discovered my life is a lot more enjoyable if I let others fix their own problems. What ever the issue is, personal or political, it's starting to effect my having fun. If it turns into a situation where I am no longer having fun, then I'll have to decide what I am going to do about it. If that means taking my musket and going home, then that's what I'll do.

I'm going to wait and see how the next couple of events play out before I decide on anything. I have some serious thinking to do between now and the end of the season.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Getting to know you.

This is it folks, my last post before I leave for the weekend. I should be back by Monday afternoon to regale you all with tales of my weekend. I’m sure you are all tired of hearing how antsy I am over this weekend, so I’m going to let it go.

I spent some time last night going through the archives of some of my favorite bloggers. Focusing mainly on periods before I started reading them. I’m trying to get a better understanding into the mentality of some of you. In doing so, I’ve discovered a couple of things.

First off, I’m a very disturbed individual that really needs to work on my social life. Searching the archives of blogs for entertainment really is somewhat creepy. I feel like some kind of virtual stalker. Rummaging around in your basements and attics looking for hidden mementos that give a clue to the individual. In some cases looking at your underwear… Hey, you all posted it, not me! I’m just happy to look.

Secondly, I really don’t know anything about all of you. I have a glimpse into the mental workings of some of you. Depending on the blog, that glimpse can be different things. It can be about work, politics or children. Sometimes it is a combination of the three. Look at me, I basically blog about my hobby and throw in some family here and there. So while I enjoy reading all of your blogs, I at the same time feel I don’t really know anything about you. I’ve only had this blog for about 4 months, and only two of that has it really been active. For over a year now, I’ve been reading many of your blogs. Grau got me started with his and then I spun out of control. So for some of you after 18 months of reading your blogs, I still feel you are a stranger. Even though I’ve conversed with you via e-mail.

However, going through all the back posts, occasionally I would find a nugget. No, a nugget isn’t a good enough example, a gem. A precious and valuable gem that gave me more insight into who that person is. I found that each of the posts where “off topic” for the theme of the blog the person has. This gave me a better understanding of who that blogger is. So I’ve decided to do this more often. Just start digging through the archives of bloggers I truly enjoy.

If you really follow your traffic and you see hits on some of your older posts, that might be me. Possibly, it will be someone else that does the same after reading this post. If you decide to follow my lead in doing this, be patient. I sifted through a lot of posts, some good, and some bad. It is when you find a post that makes you understand the blogger better, that it’s worth all the work.

See you Monday!

Stupid Blogger!

Half of my last post disappeared. So I'll repost it here. I swear it was there yesterday. Anyways here is the second half of the Blunderbuss Story!

I was happy, all was right with the world, my blunderbuss had made it through customs! Then the dark cloud of reality sunk in. It was just delivered to the dealer on 04/20/05. Even if he overnighted it, the earliest it could get here is 04/21/05. That's too late. I'm packing up on the 2oth. There is no way it would get here on time even if he did overnight it.

My joy was quickly replaced with anger and hatred. Anger that I was not going to have my new toy. Hatred for the customs department. Whom are they protecting?! Are mass hordes of terrorists going to storm through the states using primitive Canadian blunderbusses?!?! NO, they are not!

As I walked through work one of my minions saw the thunderhead of anger and pain that was me coming her way. She screamed out and terror and ran to the bathroom for cover. Another minion tried to cower in his cubicle. This brought down upon him a level of wrath he had never experienced before for not working. My minions bore the brunt of the my pain and anguish over the whole incident.

Now I know you are thinking, "Why don't you just wait and pick it up the next day?" Well I can't. I had all deliveries to my house stopped. You have to do it for three days minimum so our deliveries won't resume until Monday. I can't remove the hold because it takes two days to process.

At least I know that I will have it for Fort Koshkonong on Memorial Day weekend.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

I feel protected now!

When I went to the Kalamazoo Living History Show last month, I ordered a blunderbuss for myself. I felt I needed another toy to play with that burns powder. It was bought in hopes of using it this weekend. The guy I ordered it from originally told me I should have it by this weekend with out a problem. Well, guess what? There’s a problem!

Sixteen days ago, I wrote my dealer to check on the status, re-iterating that I really wanted it for this weekend. He told me that he will check into it and if there is any possible way of me getting it on time, he would do it, including paying next day air rates at no additional charge to me. The very next day he forwarded me an e-mail from the manufacturer stating they shipped him the weapon in two packages on 04/05/05. There was an attachment on the e-mail. I don’t think my dealer meant to forward that part to me. When I opened it, it was the complete original e-mail from the manufacturer with his account info; it also had the tracking numbers for the packages with descriptions of what is in each package. (Can you see where this is going?)

The company that manufactures the weapon is based out of Nova Scotia in Canada. Apparently, they cannot ship functioning firearms across the US border, even “primitive firearms”. Therefore, they took the lock (Hammer/Frizzen/Springs) off and shipped it separately to my dealer from the stock and barrel. Well I was able to use the tracking numbers to see what is going on with these packages. The locks where received by the dealer on 04/07/05. It took them only 2 (two) days to get to him. When I saw that, I was sure I’d have my new Blunderbuss with plenty of time to spare.

Well two days later, I hadn’t heard anything. So I thought, okay. I’ll check the status of the stock and barrel. DAMN THINGS WHERE STUCK IN CUSTOMS! God dammit!

I tortured myself, checking the status every day for that second package. It didn’t move out of customs for over 2 weeks, 16 days to be exact. I’m glad they shipped it express, because that sure sped the process up!

Well I go to check this morning… wait, something is different. It moved out of customs yesterday and was delivered this morning!

My child is multi-lingual

The other night my family and I where sitting around the dinner table having our normal dinner conversation.
My wife and I to the kids, “Clone, Don’t throw food on the floor.”

“Boopie, EAT!” (Boopie is the only kid I know that refuses to eat; it takes him 30 plus minutes to eat a hamburger. He will stare off into space with a mouth full of food and not chew it unless you remind him.)

“Clone, Stop squishing your green beans into a paste.”

“Boopie, Chew with your mouth closed.”

“Clone, no more cheese until you eat your meat and vegetables.”

“Boopie, Sit right, face forward and EAT!”


In the middle of this, Clone turns, looks at me, and in that funky African Bush language with the clicking noises asked for what I think was chicken (Because that is what he was pointing at). I swear he started making that clicking sound in the middle of his sentence as part of the words. As in:

“Dada, Mo(click) dabit(click, click)anaw aye eat(click)ar”

All activity stopped at the table my wife and I stare at Clone. He just grins back at me as if saying, “That’s right Pops, I can speak the funky clicking language. NOW get me my chicken Beaotch!” I could not help but to laugh at him.

He hasn’t done it since, and I don’t know if it was a fluke or if he just hasn’t had the urge to speak in African bush lingo. I really wish I had a tape recorder going at the time, because you could tell it wasn’t an accidental set of noises.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

My new living will

Since I consider most of you family, I thought I would share this with you all:

Living Will I, ___________, being of sound mind and body, do not wish to be kept alive indefinitely by artificial means. Under no circumstances should my fate be put in the hands of ethically challenged politicians who couldn't pass ninth-grade biology if their lives depended on it. If a reasonable amount of time passes and I fail to sit up and ask for a __________ (cold beer, Margarita, Bloody Mary, Martini, Rum & Coke, shot of Wild Turkey, get the idea) it should be presumed that I won't ever get better. When such a determination is reached, I hereby instruct my spouse, children and attending physicians to pull the plug, reel in the tubes and call it a day.

Under no circumstances shall the hypocritical members of the Legislature (State or Federal) enact a special law to keep me on life-support machinery. It is my wish that these boneheads mind their own damn business, and pay attention instead to the health, education and future of the millions of Americans who aren't in a permanent coma.

Under no circumstances shall any politicians butt into this case. I don't care how many fundamentalist votes they're trying to scrounge for their run for the presidency, it is my wish that they play politics with someone else's life and leave me alone to die in peace. I couldn't care less if a hundred religious zealots send e-mails to legislators in which they pretend to care about me. I don't know these people, and I certainly haven't authorized them to preach and crusade on my behalf. They should mind their own business, too.

If any of my family goes against my wishes and turns my case into a political cause, I hereby promise to come back from the grave and make his or her existence a living hell. At the very least I will come back and become a Viking fan causing complete embarassment to them.

(Oh, and in the interim, don't forget to be generous with the pain medication!)

I don't know who orriginally wrote this, but I found it on a message board I frequent. It made me chuckle so I thought I would share the love.

Monday, April 18, 2005

...only going forward 'cause we don't know reverse!

Trekkie Appreciator
Survey Says... You scored 63 %

You like Star Trek and have obviously watched more than a couple of
episodes or movies, but you don't live or breathe the world (read: you
probably don't go to your local McDonalds in your Klingon gear - not
that there's anything wrong with that...). Excellent! You've managed to
tread the fine line between sci-fi buff and Star Trek nerd (otherwise
known as the difference between enjoying Star Trek for its
entertainment value and running around with a batleth quoting Klingon
battle poetry).

PS Like this test? Then don't forget to rate

My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 24% on Trekkies
Link: The Trekkie Test written by MadameBoffin on Ok Cupid

I did about as well as I thought I would. I really liked watching The Next Generation and early episodes of Deep Space 9. I never really got into Voyager and I don't think I've even seen an episode of Enterprise. Every now and then I catch reruns of TNG and DS9 on TV and catch myself getting sucked in. I guess that part of a nerd never goes away. I'm really curious to see how some other people do, especially the ones that really liked Trek as a kid. (Eyes Graumagus)

A parade round fired in honor of Jenna Thomas-Mckie from whom I blatently stole this test...

Cruel and unusual punishment.

Some of you may recall that I've been having a problem with leg cramps. Well I've hit a new level of cramp torture.

Since 3 am Sunday morning, I have had a leg cramp. That’s right, one long leg cramp that has been broken up by bits of tolerability and soreness that comes from over using a muscle. I’ve been drinking water by the gallon. In all seriousness I’ve probably drank close the 4 gallons of water in the last 24 hours. I’ve doubled my vitamin and vitamin supplements I’ve been taking. I am eating healthy, no junk food and I am getting potassium through foods as well. Nothing will make this cramp go away.

I’ve been stretching, used heat and tried massaging it. Nothing is working, nothing! Right now, I’m waiting for the doctor’s office to call me back so I can get in to see him. As I sit here, I can feel the muscles in my right calf and foot just waiting to for me to move so they can tighten up and continue their on going torture.

I do not need this right now; I leave for my re-enactment in 2.5 days. I’ll go with this crippling annoyance and still enjoy myself. I just may just reach a new level of surly and impatience.

Well since I am in pain and misery, I think I will torture a minion today. That might make me feel better.

Update 04/18/05: I was finally able to get through to the doctor. They wanted me to go to the ER for an MRI thinking I might have blood clot. I opted for an appointment. So I o on the 26th. They could have gotten me in earlier, but that would have interfered with my re-enacting and I'm not about to do that! I don't think it's a blood clot. The cramp finally went away about 20 minutes ago (36 hours after it started), now my leg feels like I've over exercised it. The muscle is all sore.

What a weekend!

For the first time in close to two months, I had a relaxing weekend. Saturday I spent the morning just playing a game on the computer and getting some small stuff done around the house. Saturday evening however was the kicker. A night filled with Beef, Babes, Booze and Blood!

I went to a friend from works house Saturday night to watch the Ultimate Fighting Championship on pay per view. The event didn’t start until 8:30, but people started arriving around 4:00. We decided last week to grill; everyone was to bring his own choice of meat. Well I told everyone, “I’m bringing a steak”. Therefore, the whole thing turned into a Steak fest. My steak was a nice 16-ounce porterhouse. Porterhouse is what I consider the best cut of meat; nothing tastes better then a good porterhouse. I wasn’t in the mood for a rare steak on Saturday, so I cooked mine to a nice medium rare. This steak just pulled apart with my fork when I was eating it. It was perfect.

One of the other guys there was throwing Miller Lite in the Rusty Wallace special 16-ounce cans to everyone that was nearby. I felt obligated to kick back a couple while cooking and eating my steak. Another guy brought a huge bottle of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum and a couple of 2-liters. He was passing out rum and cokes with out abandon. He grabbed my 32 oz Packer mug when I wasn’t paying attention and poured me a 50/50 mix. I love a good strong drink.

After dinner, we busted out a poker set and played Texas Hold’em. Now I didn’t have a lot of cash on me, and I didn’t really know how to play so I volunteered to be the dealer. Which was great, because I’m looking at all of the cards and telling guys that folded they shouldn’t have and stuff like that. The more I drank the more “advice” I was giving. We played until the fights started.

Back in college, I used to watch UFC more often. I remembered when the whole event would be a competition. You had to fight to the single winner position. Apparently, that is not how they do the pay per view events anymore. These were all the final matches. It was still good fun. Plus the ring girls were really hot. Now for those of you that don’t know what the Ultimate Fighting Challenge is. Think of uber-violent martial arts with broken bones and more blood.

On Sunday, I want to visit one of my ‘vous friends, Jim, to go shooting. He lives about an hour and a half from me, but I didn’t mind the drive. It gave me a chance to check out how the truck handled on the highway. When I got to his house, he told me that his club is having a competition today and they closed it off to black powder. That sucked! I was really looking forward to shooting. I stuck around and we cast up some round ball for my musket. Jim generally shoots a .45 to .50 caliber long rifle. He was laughing at the size of the round balls for my .75 caliber musket. I think it’s the only time a heard a guy say to me, “Wow, your balls are huge!” There was much laughter over that statement for a while. We went through a lot of lead to make my “Huge Balls”. We decided we would do a hell of a lot of shooting at the re-enactment this weekend. As it stands, I have like 5-6 pounds of cast round ball ready to shoot. After that, we just chewed the fat and got caught up, shared stories and tried to talk each other into doing some different re-enactments. Jim also gave me a pattern to make a hunters cape for my capote (Coat made out of wool blankets used back in the 1700’s) and he lent me a rotary knife to cut the leather.

When I got back from his house, I went to work making the cape. Measured and cut it out on a piece of leather I had bought a month ago. Then I had to cut the fringe into the leather. Let me tell you something, if you have to cut fringe into leather, get a rotary knife. It’s faster and easier then using any other knife or scissor. I spent 3 hours working on the cape. I decided a while back that instead of sewing on the cape, I was going to have it removable. I made it so it would be buttoned it on. Even though my wife offered to sew the buttons on, I opted to do it myself. I’ve been in an arts and crafts mood for a while now, I feel better about stuff I made myself. It gives me a sense of accomplishment. Even if it looks like complete crap, because it is complete crap that *I* made! I finished it and I think it looks pretty good.

Just to top off this weekend. I found out this morning that I got my Packer tickets to the Home Field opener in Lambeau on Sept. 18 against the Browns. It’ll probably be the only game I get to this year since the Packers have a horrible schedule. Three Monday night games, 1 Sunday night game, Christmas day game and a new year’s day game. Yikes! Only two home games start at noon; one while I’m at an event and another on my anniversary. As long as I get to a game this year, I’ll be happy. I have my ticket confirmation! Now I’m waiting to see how far I moved up on the season ticket list this year.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Jacobite Day.

Last year Graumagus sent forth the fiery cross declaring today shall be henceforth known as "Jacobite Day". As a clansmen of Grau's it is my duty, honor, nay privilege to go forth and help in the recognition of the Second annual Jacobite Day.

On April 16th, 1746 the battle of Culloden took place. This was the bloodiest and most horrific part of Scottish history. The genocide that followed led to the spread of Scots all over the world. Today there is no English regiment that claims Culloden as one of their victories due to the atrocities that accompanied the battle.

In honor of the day I shall leave us with a couple of old Jacobite toasts. I expect to see and hear these a lot today.

Here's to us!
Those Like us!

Damn Few!
And they're all dead!


Deoch-slainte dhan Righ thar an Uisage.
(For those that don't speak Gaelic, loosely translated it means;
"Cheers to the king over the water")


Grau, trying to prove again to Bou that we don't have accents, found this quiz. Of course I'm another one she accuses of having an accent. And as we all know, Midwesterners are considered accentless in America. So I thought I would take this and see what it has to say.

Your Linguistic Profile:

90% General American English

5% Midwestern

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Dixie

0% Yankee

Friday, April 15, 2005

Types of Canvas.

Today we are going to go discus Canvas. Canvas generically refers to any item (mainly tents) made out of, you guessed it, canvas. Canvas is a firm closely woven cloth usually of linen, hemp or cotton. In my opinion, the best tents are Canvas tents. They are strong, durable and down right rugged. Now of course if you are trying to back pack go nylon. My wall tent weighs 49 pounds dry and that’s not counting the poles and irons. The problem with canvas tents is when it gets wet you have to hang it to dry, (Like all tents) but it takes forever to dry (Unlike nylon). (ex Last year at Fort Koshkonong it rained the entire weekend. I had three pieces of canvas hanging in my basement and stairwell for a week.)

There are different types of canvas tents.

Baker: This tent is like a lean-to except that it has a back wall. These are often mistaken for lean-tos. On a historical note, there is much debate over the historical accuracy of these tents prior to the 1880’s. Many events no longer allow them on site. On a personal note, these things are a pain in the butt to set up. I refuse to assist in setting one up anymore due to the labor-intensive style in which they need to be set up.

Diamond Shelter: Also known as a plow point. This is nothing more then a square piece of canvas that has two conjoined sides staked to the ground while the corner on the open section is suspended in the air by a pole or tree. A single pole in the middle holds up the center. These are very basic tents and the owner is exposed to the elements, as there are no sidewalls on the suspended side. Usually only ducks and the mentally ill use these tents at events.

Fly: A flap of canvas that can be hung in front of a tent in order to provide shade or shelter from rain. (In this case it isn't the front of someone's pants!) Flies don’t have walls and usually don’t go all the way to the ground. Most tents can be equipped with a fly.

Lean-to: A tent with a roof that slopes in one direction all the way to the ground. It usually has a flap that hangs off the front that works as a door, fly or front wall.

Marquee: A very large tent with walls that detach. Merchants and vendors, to sell their wares out of, generally use these tents. These come in sizes up to 20feet by 30 feet with up to a 13-foot peek. Marquees also generally have between 8 to 30 side poles along the edge to hold up the walls.

Wall Tent: These are a canvas tent with four vertical walls. The front and back walls usually extend up to the peak. The sidewalls extend up to the edge of the “roof” These come in different shapes and sizes. The one I own is approx 12ft long, 10 feet wide with an 8-foot peak and 4-foot sidewalls. I’ve seen them up to 14 feet wide and 18 feet long with an 11-foot peek and 5-foot walls.

Wedge: These are your basic tents, also referred to as an A-frame tent due to the shape. A wedge tent is nothing more then a tent that has two roofs that run from the ground to the peak. Wedges are one of the oldest known tents in history. There are different types of wedge tents. A Typical wedge has a vertical back wall and two door flaps in the front. Some have curved back wall (known as a bell back wedge) that creates extra storage space. Grau’s engineering marvel is a double bell wedge. It has a bell on both ends with doors in the “roof”.

There are many other tents made of canvas; however, these are the most common. For a pictorial sample of them, please see the Fur Trade section of Panther Primitives.

No hat for me.

Six years ago, I bought my house. At that time I was working in Law Enforcement, mainly nights. That left my wife at home alone with our oldest boy. Working in Law Enforcement I learned there is no alarm system or Security Company that is as good at protecting a house like a dog is. Nobody likes to mess with a dog. Therefore, I went to the local pound and found the perfect dog; a black lab, German Shepard, chow mix named Bear. He has the long hair of a chow, but the coloring of a Doberman. He was already house broken, knew basic commands like sit, and lay down. He didn’t always do them, but he knew what they meant. He was just over a year old at the time. The only problem with him was that he did not like black people. We don’t know what happened to him before we rescued him, but I do know that it took years of working with him to suppress this trait in him. However, he still occasionally displays this tendency. In general, he is a good dog.

Several years ago my wife got a cat she named Groucho, after Groucho Marx. It was a black cat with a white face and little black mustache. She said it looked like a Groucho, I however said it looked more like an Adolph. She won. Bear and Groucho were best friends. They would play together. Groucho would hide and wait for Bear to come in to a room, and then pounce on him. Bear would fall onto his back and let the cat beat on him. It was funny to watch since Bear was 5 times Groucho’s size. Unfortunately Groucho got sick, his urinary tract had a sandy build up. My wife was pregnant with Clone at the time and I couldn’t afford the $2,500 they wanted to fix the problem. Therefore, I had to have Groucho put down. Bear never was the same after that. He would wander around the house looking for his friend.

Then Clone was born, Bear started behaving strangely. He started tearing up the house. He chewed/clawed through two doors, Antique doors. He started breaking out of his room during the day and chewing up the house. We would leave him outside, but he would bark constantly. We had a couple of noise complaints filed against us due to his barking. That almost cost us a rather large fine. He also would escape from the yard. He would jump the fence if no one were home. Therefore, we tied him up using a chain. He would pull and pull on the chain until it broke. More then once he broke a chain meant to hold a dog that was 200 lbs; he’s only 50, while wearing a discipline collar. Therefore, we couldn’t leave him in the yard when we weren’t home.

Clone loves Bear, he likes to pet him and hug him. However, Bear does not like Clone. He wants nothing to do with him. I think that comes from an incident when Clone was younger and just starting to crawl. I was being a bad parent and was letting Clone pet Bear. However, Bear was gnawing on a rawhide bone. I knew better then to do that, but I wasn’t thinking. Bear nipped at Clone and my wife went berserk on him. Now you have to understand, my wife does not like dogs. I won’t say hate, but it is a pretty strong dislike. She likes cats. I hate cats. Yes, I hate them; I cannot stand the damn things. I used to be a sadistic prick and go out of my way to kill the things up until I was in my mid twenties. My wife likes to think I like her cats. I don’t, I just really tolerate them. My wife is on our third cat. I tried to keep from getting another one After Groucho, but she really wanted one so I caved in. So she really tore into Bear.

Bear has been getting progressively worse over the last couple of years. My wife’s patience with him wore out about 22 months ago. Mine has been wearing thin. I’ve been fighting to keep him, until last night. Last night Bear jumped the fence in our backyard. He attacked two of the neighbor kids that were riding through the alley on their bikes. I don’t believe he bit the kids, but he did give them one hell of a scare. Their father came to our house really upset, and I do not blame him. I’d be pissed if a dog chased my boys. This was the straw that broke the camels back. My wife was really mad. So I had to make a decision is it worth the continued property damage and fighting with my wife to keep my dog? I slept on it and I made up my mind.

I had joked for years now that when he died I was going to turn him into a hat to wear at the re-enactments, once he died. However, the dog has to be gone tonight. So tonight after work, I will be taking Bear to be put down. I don't think I would be able to make the hat, even if I had been serious. I will miss him; he really was a good dog.

UPDATE: This will be the last I post on this, at least for a while. It's done and I blame myself for the whole thing. He really just needed more attention and affection then I was able to give him. What cut deep was that at the pound they told me they would hold him for 10 days, if no one wanted him they'd put him down. However people rarely adopt dogs his age. They pretty much accused me of just trying to shirk my responsibilities. I'm also pretty sure that I'm the only one that will actually miss him and feels a loss. Even after all the trouble he has caused he was still by Bear-Bear. He watched after my family when I was gone, even if that meant crying to my wife that someone was on the front porch. He once took on a Pitbull that attacked Boopie. One time he tried to go through a window to protect me from a stranger. We later found out that stranger was a mental patient that had a habbit of attacking and sexually harassing females. I'm sorry Bear. Please forgive me.

I will never own another pet.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

What are Irons?

Today’s re-enacting term of the day is IRONS

Irons: Generically used to describe any metal camp tools, utensils and accoutrement used. Especially since most of it is made out of iron. There are different types of Irons. (ex. I need to load the irons into my truck last so the mud can wash off in the rain.)

Fire Irons: These are the various metal items used with the campfire. These include the grates, tripods, pig spits, cross bars, S hooks to hang things from the cross bars, fire pokers and any other tool used with the campfire. (ex. Give the fire irons some time to cool off before you pull them from the ground unless you want another third degree burn.)

Cast Iron: This is the cooking utensils such as cauldrons, Dutch ovens, skillets and frying pans that we use to cook the food. I’d say these are all actual cast iron, but some of them are actually cast aluminum. Which I don’t recommend using, sometimes they melt if the fire is too hot. If you are going to buy something to cook over a fire with, buy real cast iron. (ex. After you’re done cooking, I need to re-season the cast iron.)

Pins or Stakes: These are the spikes we use to hold our canvas to the ground. They also refer to the metal rods that some tents use to hold the upright poles and the ridgepole together. (Ridgepole is a horizontal pole that runs along the peak of a tent.) (ex. Giles do you have some spare pins I can borrow? We have a storm moving in and I want to secure my tent.)

Camp Irons: These various items are used to dress up camp. Lantern hooks, Rifle/sword racks and ridgepole hooks are some of these items. (ex Tam, we need to get the Camp Irons up before dark so we can hang the lanterns on them.)

Slapping someone in irons: This is when we use manacles, shackles and chains to get the newbie in the group secured to the ground. We then strip them down, throw a sheepskin over them and sell “rides” to other camps.

Irons are not to be confused with “Shooting” irons. That is a term from the late 1800’s and not one we use. The definitions are not all inclusive of each category of irons. I just used the most common.

So if you are ever at a historical re-enactment and someone yells, “Be careful… Those irons are hot!” You’ll have a better understanding of they are trying to tell you. You will also giggle the next time you see a western and the sheriff says, "Slap'em in irons!".

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Re-enacting Phrases and Terms.

Since my re-enacting season is starting in just over a week, I thought I would share some terminology with my readers. I know that I and other re-enactors use slang and lingo that is unique to our world. Therefore, to help my readers to have a better understanding of what I’m saying, I am going to post various words each day over the next week. Today’s sample comes from Macgregor Games’ Glossary. I am going to save my readers time by giving you a sample of the words and terms I use. His definitions are much better then ones I could have come up with.

Being shown the blue goldfish: - once used to a naive 13 year old who was asked "did he want to go and see the blue goldfish?” He replied yes and was then taken and had his head flushed down a portaloo. Also known as a blue rinse. (-No, honest! I’ve heard this tale told many times. I even personally tried to get a kid to fall for it once.)

Booshway: From the French "bourgeois." The event coordinator, or person who signs the checks, and is responsible for everything that goes wrong, from the weather, to the loud and drunk Scots' encampment.

Brick Farmhouse: The flushie constructed of cinderblock that's convenietly located near your otherwise period camp. Also known as the Brick Powder House.

Camp Herpes: (Fur Trade) As in you've "contracted Camp Herpes" -a re-enacting friend needs a place to sleep "just until I find a new place" because he/she got fired/ split with the spouse/were evicted/truck broke down etc... and it turns into a nine- month stay by a freeloading slob who refuses to help around the house or get a job that pays enough to contribute anything to he household. Also used in reference to a veteren re-enactor that has yet to buy their own lodge/tent and continually borrows another re-enactors lodge/tent to use.

Confessional: Portable toilets. Every morning, 2-3 re-enactors would plant themselves in the port-a-poties as the gates opened, and the first patrons in the area would be treated by confessions between the toilets. "Damn, Padre, this wafer tastes AWFUL!" Also known as Hooters, Portaloo and “Our lady of the blue water”

Dog Soldiers: Participants who volunteer to provide overnight security at events. "-I don't know officer... he must have been lurking around camp last night, and tripped and landed on a tent stake -three, or four times..." (Comes from a term for Native Americans who worked for the U.S. Army.)

Ducks: Re-enactors who can be counted on to show up for an event no matter how bad the weather may be. This term was picked up at a rendezvous in Spirit Lake, North Idaho. The best day was when it only rained, there was no hail, and the wind didn't knock any limbs out of the trees! (Example: The Illinois River Scum. A great bunch of guys, very hard-core.)

Fair Weather Mountain Man Association (FWMMA): an unofficial group of re-enactors who refuse to attend events that coincide with rain, snow, hail, or any other sort of inclement weather. At rendezvous, they are usually the ones with spotless, gleaming-white lodges (even the smoke flaps are white). Mud is to the FWMMA as kryptonite is to Superman. They are despised by ducks. (See Graumagus’ event schedule for the last couple of years. *Smiles and runs away*)

Flatlanders: The visiting public.

Jameson's Disease: The after-effects of an overdose of Irish whiskey, aka, the "bottle flu."

Responsibilityitis: a reoccurring condition that can cripple any re-enactor at any time of the year. This ailment is always directly linked to an event or series of events outside of the rendezvous world. For example, taking the kids to softball practice, attending weddings, visits from the in-laws, pulling a fallen tree off your roof, sumping a flooded basement, or having a 9 to 5 job (the most severe case). Among the less politically correct members of the local rendezvous', it is known as "thewifes". As in, "Graumagus’ a no-show this weekend. The wife's got him taking care of her twisted ankle." ( I personally don’t have a problem with “thewifes” since mine is also a re-enactor)

Rondyflu: That sick feeling you get in the winter when there are no rendezvous to attend, also calling in sick to work so you can go to a rendezvous. (I have had a full-blown case of this for almost two months now)

I know this was an extensive list. I wanted to get the stolen borrowed ones out of the way so I could go one with originals from my group and myself. I did alter the definitions some for personal references and a better general understanding.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Ping this!

Harvey of Bad Example did a whole post on when to and when not to do a trackback. This led to a conversation about how to install the auto detection code for Haloscan. The code allows programs that use an auto detection feature for trackback pings to work with blogs that have installed Haloscan comments. This code doesn’t really help bloggers like myself; I still have to do the manual trackbacks. It does help all the bloggers that are using programs with auto detection to quickly and easily leave me a trackback. So I, from some nudging from Harvey, looked into the code for this.

Now I’ll admit I made this ten times more difficult then it needed to be because I didn’t pay attention to the code and left in a bit that I shouldn't have. So I thought what I would do is show all my fellow Haloscan users what they need to do so that others can more easily ping them.

So here it is:

First. Find the section of your template that has the code for your Haloscan comments. Found it? It should be in a section between the bit of code <Blogger> and </Blogger>. You should see some code that looks something like this:

<a class="comment-link" href=" HALOSCAN ID/<$BlogItemNumber$>/" alt="Comment" onclick="HaloScan('<$BlogItemNumber$>'); return false;" target="_self"><script type="text/javascript">postCount('<$BlogItemNumber$>'); </script><noscript>Comments</noscript></a> <a class="comment-link" href=" HALSOCAN ID/<$BlogItemNumber$>/" alt="Trackback" onclick="HaloScanTB('<$BlogItemNumber$>'); return false;" target="_self"><script type="text/javascript">postCountTB('<$BlogItemNumber$>'); </script><noscript>Trackback</noscript></a>

This piece of code may not be exactly the same as it is on your page, it all depends on your set up.

Second, cut and paste this piece of code on the line RIGHT after it.

<!-- Begin trackback -->
<rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf=""
trackback:ping=" HALOSCAN ID/<$BlogItemNumber$>" />
<!-- End trackback -->

Change the bold AND italics part of the code to reflect YOUR haloscan ID. Once you have made this change and you save your template it should work just fine. If you still have problems, feel free to contact me and I’ll be more then happy to give you a hand. I hope this helps!

UPDATE: It appears that Ogre also posted on this phenominon. So if you want another reference go see his post regarding Haloscan Trackbacks.

Water of Life.

I was out looking at blogs I don’t check daily, when I found a post over at Ninjababes’ Ramble that caught my interest, Whisky School. I checked the link out and this sounds like it would be right up my alley. You get to spend three days learning hands on how the distilling process works by making whisky in Scotland. As part of it, you get to keep 9 liters of the whisky you made, after it ages. I would love to be able to do this. It sounds like fun. I could even tie this into my re-enacting!

For two to three years I’ve wanted to make a replica period still and make the Water of Life out at the events. The problems I have had is that I don’t have a way to make a period still and I don’t know how to operate it. Now I can get books to learn how, that’s easy enough. Getting a period still…. That’s a completely separate problem. My father at one time offered to have his shop make one for me if I could find a design. I never found the design (I didn’t look very hard), and my father retired.

One of these days, I will be making whisky out at the events. That should get one heck of a reaction out of the public! Then again, I won’t be able to keep the other re-enactors out of camp.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Boys and their toys.

I spent the weekend working my arse off preparing for my re-enactments. Around 7:00 last night, I had decided I was done for the weekend and sat down to watch some TV. This lasted just long enough for me to find something for me to work on while I sat there. I started to take apart my Kentucky pistol and clean in the lock. That was when my oldest boy, Boopie, came in and asked if I wanted him to gather up what wooden/period toys he was planning to bring with to Macktown next week. I assured him that was a good idea.

Twenty minutes later, he calls me in, points to a pile on the floor and says, “These are what I’m bringing with. There are others I’d like to bring but I know you wont let me bring too many.” He wasn’t wrong about that, but I wasn’t letting him bring this monstrous pile of wood with either. He had a wood musket, a wood/metal flintlock rifle, a double barrel shotgun, 3 wooden swords, a mace (The medieval melee weapon, not the seasoning. This wooden toy could double as the real thing with as heavy and sturdy as it is), a shield and a small wooden knife. I looked at this pile of toys in disbelief.

Turning to him, I asked how he was planning to play with all of these toys. He promptly advised me that he needed all of them “just in case”. Just in case? Just in case of what exactly? A re-enactment of the great child rebellion of 1756 and he was the quartermaster? I told him that he did not need anywhere near that many toy’s coming with. He then broke down what they where all for to justify the need. He had to have the different firearms so that he could get four shots off before the enemy got to him with out having to reload. The rifle for distance, the Musket for when they were closer and the double barrel shotgun for when they got within 30 feet. Okay, scarily enough that makes some sense… What about all of the melee weapons? He then advised that he has a sword and shield in Highland fashion for close up fighting; however, he has his two scimitars as back up weapons just in case his main weapon breaks or is lost. He goes on to explain that the mace is there just in case the Brits have shields of their own so he can smash them*. Okay. I can see the logic in it, it’s flawed but I can see it.

He never mentioned the knife. Okay, I’ll bite. So I ask, “What about the knife?” Dad, I need that to scalp the Brits. I misted up for a couple of seconds. My oldest wanted to scalp a Brit. I then explained to him that we are Scots, not natives. We wouldn’t do anything barbarous like scalping an enemy soldier. Nope, we would cut their heads off and mount them on pikes as warnings to others.

We compromised and I am letting him bring 1-2 long guns and 2-3 other weapons. However, he is not allowed to bring the pike. We then went over his choice of firearms. He decided to bring the Shotgun because it has two barrels. I then went over the difference in his firearms, the up and down sides to all of them. This then led to the question I’ve been waiting to hear for a couple of years now, “Dad, when am I going to get my own real gun for the events?” We sat down and went through the Dixie Gun Works catalog looking at the various rifles, muskets and pistols. I told him he had to mature some more yet, but he’ll probably get one in the next year or two. That answer seemed to satisfy him. He is turning 12 here in less then a month. Maybe I will have to see about getting him a cheap starter rifle/musket.

(*I play with him in the back yard using these toys. I’ve used his mace against him to batter his shield arm until he can’t lift the shield anymore. He picked up this technique and started using it with some limited success. Yes, I actually rough play with my kids. It scares the neighbors and builds character. We don’t actually hit each other. Just weapons, shields and any armor a person has.)

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Wood burning redemption

I spent most of the day yesterday working on my re-enactment gear. I finished dying my frock a darker green and my white knee breeches black. I also finished my possibles bag. While working on these I watched the DVDs of the Pioneer House series with my wife. It’s about 21st century people spending 5 months living in an 1883 lifestyle on the Montana Frontier. I love shows like this, to look at the equipment and see how the people react. My wife and I would love to do a show like this, but we just don’t think we could get the time off of our jobs.

While watching Pioneer House and finishing my dying and leatherwork I had an urge to do more wood burning. I know, I know after my last debacle I should know better. I alse know a lot of you where being nice and said it didn’t look like total crap. I appreciate that, but it did and it still does. I wanted to give it a second try, I had an idea on what I did wrong. I KNEW I could do better.

I needed to get my family distracted so I could have a chance to work on this. They have not let me within 10 feet of my wood burner since that tragic day. When we finished the last episode of Pioneer House I turned to my wife and said, “Since I bought the new truck, it’s only fair that you get something for yourself. Why don’t you go shoe shopping and buy yourself…” I got that far before the front door was slamming shut and the van was backing out of the driveway. One down, two to go.

Boopie… I know! Boopie has been grounded from video games/TV for a week now; he should be ready for some mind numbing time. “Boopie, I’ve been thinking that since you’ve been so good, you can play video games for a couple of hours if you like.” I hear his TV turn on and the sounds of computer-generated cars crashing into one another. Two down, one to go.

“Clone, you look sick, hmmm yep a fever. Here have some children’s chewable morphine and lets take a nap.” (Snoring coming out of his room) Ahh, yes my master plan has worked. No one knows what I’m doing; I could do what ever I wanted for the next couple of hours! I went outside pulled out my wife’s chair and her folding stool and proceeded to make designs on them. Yes, I used my wife’s camp furniture to do the designs on. I didn’t own anything that wasn't already designed. The stool was particularly difficult because the top of it folded in half. The problem with her chair was that it’s made of oak and was bought 8 years ago. It has quite a bit of weathering to it. I got them finished and I’m pretty proud of myself. I don’t think they turned out half bad. When my wife got home she was at first upset that I was wood burning again. However, after she saw the designs she wasn’t upset at all.

So to make of for my last mishap, I’m posting the pictures of my second attempts.

My wife's Chair

My wife's chair

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My wife's stool

My wife's stool

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Saturday, April 09, 2005

6 years down on a life sentence.

Today is a day of great joy, or sorrow depending on how you view it, for it is the 6th anniversary of Harvey of Bad Example and his Beloved Wife, TNT of Smiling Dynamite. In light of this occasion I thought I would give a brief cliff notes farce history of their courtship and what led to their marriage.

This tale of lust love started way back, a long time ago. But we'’ll skip ancient history and just get to the good stuff. First you must know that TNT loves seamen and their vessels. (That’s sailors and their ships, not Mr. Happy and his man juice, god this family has issues!) She would go down to the Great Lakes Naval Training Academy to view eye candy as they would come and go (From the base! People please!). Unfortunately for her, Harvey was in the Navy or village people, we aren’t exactly sure.

In the Navy

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Harvey, upon seeing this brown haired beauty decided he must have her. TNT, being of sound mind (and definitely body, oh yeah!), put up her defenses. She fought tooth and nail, buck and ball, sword and saber, okay she just hammered him with artillery.

Oh yeah!

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This was not enough to deter Harvey, No he persisted and spent all of his waking hours plotting and planning on how he could get her. This worked to no avail. She did not want Mr. Bad Example knocking on her door. She knew he was up to unsavory activities.

In the Navy, again

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TNT was at her wits end at what to do with this stalker suitor, so she left and joined the circus. She did a topless trapeze act for the delight of the audience.

topless trapeze?

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She felt that with the constant traveling Harvey would never be able to find her. She was wrong. Harvey took a job with a financial institution in order to track TNT using her financial records and SSN. Upon locating which circus she had joined, he tried to convince her to marry him. It didn’t seem to work. So as a last resort Harvey hired a couple of thugs (whom threatened to break both of my legs if I identified them) to “convince” TNT to marry him. So they twisted her arm, literally. I have photographic evidence!

The Brute!

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Now, 6 year later and with Harvey slipping TNT sedatives, they are still together. So go congratulate Harvey on trapping marrying someone way above his station. Don’t forget to apologize congratulate TNT for her patience, loss of mental stability, ability to put up with his crap, happiness at settling for marrying Harvey.

In all seriousness, congratulations to the both of you on your anniversary. May you still have at least another 50 years of wedded bliss.

BTW they were married exactly 6 months to the day before my wife and I.

Friday, April 08, 2005


I have always carried a knife of some kind since I was 7 years old. I even remember getting my first pocketknife; a yellow handled king-fisher. My Grandfather bought it for me one time when I was camping with him. I used to carry it around everywhere, until my mother took it away from me. Since that time, I carried various different knives including a gravity blade, switchblade, stiletto, and several lock blades. Today I own quite a collection of pocketknives consisting of ones that I have bought or given to me. Whenever I go somewhere and if someone needs something sharp, anyone that knows me asks to borrow my knife because I always have one. The few times I had forgotten it at home brought about great shock in all that discovered I had forgotten my knife.

Due to my intense affair with pocketknives, I am also diligent in the care of them. I clean and oil the blades and hinges on a regular basis. Most importantly, I sharpen them all the time. This does not apply to just pocket knives I own, this includes all the belt and sheath knives I use. Now you have to understand I am an Eagle Scout with a Bronze palm. For those of you that aren’t familiar with the Boy Scout organization, Eagle Scout is the highest rank you can obtain. Once you are an Eagle Scout you can earn your Bronze, Silver and Gold palms. This means you went above and beyond a regular Eagle Scout. It is a point of honor and merit that an individual earns the Eagle Scout award. It is again that much more for every palm you earn after it. I am only a Bronze Palm, I could have gotten my silver and gold but I earned a different prestigious award, and that took up a year and a half of my life. Once you turn 18, you can no longer advance through the Boy Scout organization so there is no chance for me to go back and get them. I learned many things through Scouting and I recommend anyone with kids have their children join. One of the lessons I learned was how to care for and sharpen knives. I’m good at sharpening knives. I get irritated when they dull on me. Therefore, I am constantly sharpening them. I actually own a knife where I sharpened it so much that the blade looks nothing like it originally did. I have some friends that think I over sharpen my knives. One friend had me sharpen his butterfly knife for him. After I was finished, he was pleased with the sharpness of the blade…. Until he opened it and sliced his hand all to hell. He had asked me to sharpen the false edge as well, so I happily did. He ended up dulling down the blade so it was safer to use. See, when I sharpen a knife I put a razor like edge on it.

Why am I telling you all this? Well if I didn’t give you the background the next bit won’t be as amusing. Last night I was going through my costuming for the event and I checked my belt knives. Both of them needed sharpening. I was giving one of them to my wife to use in her kitchen box so it needed a good edge. The other knife is the one I use for everything around camp. I pulled out my whetstones and went to work. For safety reasons I did NOT put a surgical edge on the blade I was giving my wife. The blade I was keeping I decided I needed to put a really good edge on, the best I’d ever done. So I sat down and proceeded to sharpen. After about an hour, I thought I would test the blade. Nope, not sharp enough. It left some stubble. Back to work. Half an hour later, check the blade… better, but no sharp enough yet. About 5 minutes later… OUCH!!! Hand cramp! Good lord all mighty! My right hand curled into a gnarled claw like some arthritis-ridden old man. Every one of my fingers was in pain, the palm and back of my hand was spasming. I did not want let go of the knife. I had the image of me sitting on my couch with this knife pinning my foot to the ground in my head. My hand seized down on the handle, I couldn’t let go now. I searched for something to help me pry the knife from my hand. Finally, out of desperation, I grabbed my cleaning rag with my left hand to grab onto the blade and try to wrench the knife out of my hand. (Didn’t want to get my oily fingerprints on the blade). Messaging my hand until the cramps went away; I finally found the sheath for the knife buried under cleaning rags. Looking at the rag, I can see where it is all sliced up from my trying to pry the knife free and there are small cuts on my left hand. Nothing serious, just very minor slices, not even bleeding. I've never, ever had anything like that happen to me before. And yes, I'm taking more potassium!

Tonight, I get to go and do it again. My knife still isn’t sharp enough. When I tested the edge against my thumbnail, I can still feel a burr AND it still isn’t sharp enough. At least this time I didn’t slice my leg open cleaning the blade. (That is story for another time).

$%#@#$% Blogger!

I tried posting some stuff last night while on a break from my cleaning/repairing. However no matter what, inevitably, I would get an error message; "Page contains no data". My irritation reached a boiling point. I spent an hour longer then I should have trying to figure out if it was my computer causing the problem or Blogger. I noticed other blogs on blogger were able to post, so I thought it might have something to do with my new firewall. I checked the settings and tinkered with it, I even disabled it. Nothing worked.

I was going to wait a year to see if I actually took to blogging enough to warrant my own site, but how am I going to know if I actually like it if I'm irritated at not being able to post? I'm sure my blood will cool down and things will go back to normal. For now, I just needed to put a volley of musket fire into blogger this morning.

UPDATE (04/08/05 10:50 AM): Now it appears Haloscan is having issues. It's going to take more then a musket to alleviate this problem. It's time to break out the mortar!

And you thought haggis was nasty!?!?!?!

I've eaten some nasty stuff. I've eaten things that normal humans know better then to put in their mouths. I once ate a pizza that had been left under my dorm room bed for a month. I'll pretty much try to eat any type of food once. However, I've found something that will make me pause and think... no, I really have no desire to try this. Yet, at the same time my curiosity gets to me. If I find a can of it, I may have to try it.

Over at The Sneeze - Half zine, Half blog, Half not good at fractions they had a post regarding Cuitlacoche. They describe it as:

Cuitlacoche is a black fungus that infects corn fields, making the kernels bulbous and swollen as they fill with spores. It also goes by the name Huitlacoche. If you're having trouble with the pronounciation, it's: Cuitlacoche (kweet-lah-KOH-chay) or Huitlacoche (dat-sfuckin-NAS-tee).

Well apparently this guy actually tried some and his description of the whole thing was hilarious. Both my wife and I laughed hard enough that it hurt. I will warn you however, if you have some delicate sensibilities, you may want to stay away from the site. Some of the humor is harsh for some. For me, it's like talking to my friends or any cop I know.

Thanks to I hate my cubicle (Not work safe) for the link!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Almost time to go!

In 12 days I will have to finish repairing and packing all of my re-enactment gear into boxes, making sure everything is read to go. My wife and I need to make sure all of our costuming is washed and packed. I need to make sure all the equipment is in working condition and that the repairs I needed where done. We need to have the inventory of supplies for the weekend filled; including food and drink. In 12 days I have a lot of stuff to finish. Our kitchen box is done. Designed, stained, sealed and hardware installed. I finished my powder horn and possibles bag. Last night I finished cleaning all the firearms. I need a new flint for my Murdoch, but that will have to wait, hopefully I can get one out at the Gathering at Macktown. I’m test firing them next weekend to make sure they are all in a safe firing condition. I got confirmation that my new Blunderbuss will be arriving sometime next week. So I will need to make sure that is in firing condition. 12 days is not that far off.

In 13 days I have to load my vehicles with all the gear that I need. Two tents, one is a 10 foot by 12 foot Wall Tent with a 9 foot peak. The other is an 8 foot by 9 foot wedge tent/lean-to that I use for storage and for Boopie to sleep in. I also have a 10 foot by 16 foot fly that I set up in front of the wall tent as kitchen area. All are made of sturdy canvas. My wife has to have a heater for these cold events, so I will pack a kerosene heater and 10 gallons of kerosene just to keep her and the boys warm. (Left to my own devices I would sleep under blankets and skins to keep warm.) I have two trunks of clothes. There has to be enough costuming for my Wife, Boopie, Clone and myself to last for 4 days of re-enacting in the cold. I have to bring bedding for 2 adults, a 12 year old and a 2 year old. I have to have food for all of us. There are tables and chairs that need to go. We need to bring a kitchen box, lanterns, axes, cast iron Dutch ovens, skillets and fire irons so we can cook and eat meals. There will be a musket, two pistols, and a blunderbuss brought with so I can play in the battle. I need to bring the Mortar in order to get pictures of young lasses with it. I need the black powder and cleaning supplies for the weapons. The swords, knives, pole-arms and bayonets will be brought along for ceremony and display. Furs, hides and traps that are used to dress my camp will be brought along as well. I’m sure there are things I’m forgetting, but you get an idea. Fortunately this year I have a bigger truck to haul this equipment in. In only 13 days I’m going to have to pack all of these items into two vehicles.

In exactly 14 days from now, I will be antsy. I will be seeing if my wife can leave work early so we can get a head start out to the event. I won’t be of any use to anyone in my office as my brain won’t be there. The vehicles will be loaded and parked out in the parking lot, ready to go straight to the event. I will want to get everything set up so we can start having fun. I want to get out there so I can catch up with friends I haven’t seen in months, some since last October. I want to listen to other peoples stories, and tell some of my own. My need to escape is almost overwhelming. A primal desire deep in my soul is calling me to the campfire. I can smell the smoke from the fire, the forest, the canvas, the burning of black powder and the food cooking now. I can hear the animals, the sounds of musket fire and of craftsmen; the blacksmith’s hammer, the bow maker’s lathe, the rope maker’s trundle and the silver smiths file; The sound of musicians playing songs of old on the guitar, fiddle and bodhran. I can barely contain myself. 14 days is way too long to wait!

Tartan day, Revisited.

I would just like to take this time to publicly thank Ith of Absinth and Cookies for putting together the Gathering of the Blogs. I personally enjoyed not only participating in it, but also reading everyone else’s posts regarding Scotland. There where a couple of pranksters out there that will need a thorough pummeling for their posts. They know who they are, so I won’t be mentioning them here. :P

I learned a couple of major issues from participating.

1) Too many people have not tried Glenmorangie Scotch, 18 years. It’s my favorite Scotch on the market. If you get a chance to try it, do so. It’s well worth the money

2) Not enough people are familiar with Steve McDonald. He is a musician that does modern Celtic music about Scotland and Scottish legends/lore. He is one of my favorites. The two CD’s that he has that I highly recommend are Stone of Destiny and Sons of Somerled. If you like Celtic music, I suggest checking both of these out.

For all the Scots, those of Scot’s decent or just a fan of the Scots; it was a pleasure to read all of your posts. If you didn’t get a chance to join this year, keep your eyes open next March and sign up then.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Tartan Day!

Today is Tartan Day. I will be making a larger post tonight regarding it. For now I'm going to link all of my Gathering of the Blogs posts I've made at this time.

Minced Callops
Barley with Mushrooms

What is a Jacobite?
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

Highland Fashion Show

Just for a picture of me in a modern kilt, go to Who am I.

For More Posts regarding Scotland and Tartan Day; follow the fiery cross to these sites:

Gathering of the Blogs

Absinthe & Cookies
The Country Pundit
Not Exactly Rocket Science
Lintefiniel Musing
The Pirate's Blog
Ninjababe's Ramble
Margi Lowry *dot* com
Miasmatic Review
A Celt
Misplaced Keys
Mixolydian Mode
Bobo Blogger
The Bull Speaks!t
Frizzen Sparks
Llama Butchers
Jenna Thomas-McKie
Physics Geek
Daily Vegetable
Aaron's cc
Boudicca's Voice
MB's Blogasm
Black Five
Doggie's Blog
MB's Blogalicious
The Gun Line
Swanky Conservative
Just Between Us Girls
Grim's Hall
The Laughing Wolf
Villanous Company
Straight White Guy

This post will stay as my top post for the rest of today.

Maybe it's in the genes.

From the dawn of time I came… Well okay not really, but I couldn’t pass up a chance to quote Highlander. Since today is Tartan day, I thought I would share some of my Scottish ancestors that came here to America.

Back in 1836 my Great, Great, Great Grandfather on my mothers side left Scotland and was one of the First settlers in Northern Illinois. According to the stories that had been passed on to me, he left Scotland for financial reasons. As his family and he were getting ready to board a ship, he was arrested for his debts. He told his family to go on with out him as he knew he had kin waiting for them in the US. His wife with 6 children, the youngest being 2 and the oldest 15 set sail with out him. He escaped from the guards, making his way to America one step ahead of the law. He had a hand in settling the small town of Argyle in Northern Illinois as well as neighboring Caledonia. They were the first Scottish settlers in Northern Illinois. Unfortunately I don’t have a lot of ready available material on him. I would like to give more information. Most of the records my maternal Grandfather had on his ancestor were lost in a house fire. I’ve been searching for more information; however I have been pretty unsuccessful at this time.
My maternal relatives seemed to keep the Scottish blood flowing in the family as they tended to only marry others of Scottish decent. There was a Norwegian, Swedish and Irish immigrant on her side, however the rest where Scot or Scottish decent for 6 generations. To try to explain the genealogy of my Mothers side of the family would take forever so I’m going to leave it at that.

My Father’s side is much easier. Back in the 1920’s my grandfather left Scotland after his first family died of the plague. I kid you not, the plague. That is what is listed in the family documents as to reason of death. With his first wife and two young children dead, he decided to start a new life. My Grandfather packed his belongings into a trunk and left for America. I have an aunt that still has this trunk in her house. He settled in northern Wisconsin up by Menomonee and Colfax. He was in his 40s and married a second time to my grandmother, a woman 19 years younger then himself. Together they had 8 children, 1 died at birth and the other dead before her first birthday in 1945. I never had a chance to meet my grandfather. He died in 1967 of pneumonia over 6 years before I was born. I discovered a couple of years ago that he left Scotland one step ahead of the law as well, unfortunately I have found nothing to substantiate this. However the aunt that told me that was doing a lot of genealogical research into the family at the time. If this is true, that makes at least 7 relatives I know that left Scotland one step ahead of the law.

These are the only two that I have any detail on. I have many other relatives that came over from Scotland. Unfortunately time and fires have erased a lot of their stories.