Monday, May 29, 2006

Memorial Day

A day to remember those who gave the ultimate so that we can do silly things like dress up like cowboys and play games.

Each year I'm reminded of my uncle Ted who passed on while I was young from lung cancer. He fought the disease for about a year and in that year, my parents and I visited he and his wife several times and I remember talking to Ted about everything from cars and girls to his time in military during WWII. Ted was a seabee stationed in New Guinea. Lucky for him, he didn't see much in the way of the Japanese, as he always put it, he was more in danger from the snakes falling out of trees onto his tractor than any Jap.

I always liked uncle Ted because he treated me with respect and was always a nice person who had intellegent things to say and I greatly appreciated that he served his country but was more impressed by the kind of person he was and how he treated others. One of the memories I'll always have is having Thanksgiving dinner at his house because he was too weak to travel, I always felt that it meant a great deal to him to have his family around him, my father was the same way. Ted was always upbeat even though cancer had left him ravaged, offering advice and encouragement to me and always ready with a joke.

Ted didn't last much longer after Thanksgiving and we laid him to rest before Christmas of that year. I recall being asked to be a pallbearer at his funeral and how I felt it to be an honor to be asked. I recall how cold it was on that day, the fire from the honor guard and the short, meaningfull graveside service and the somber look on my father's face of having lost a dear brother.

I didn't know Uncle Ted for very long, but I cherish the time that I had with him and I thank God that men like him existed and still exist that keep us safe from those that would do us harm.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

So True

This cracks me up. I still read the damn things, but I've never really seen a bad review. Thanks to Xavier for pointing this one out.

Friday, May 26, 2006

What's wrong with people?

OK, I know I'm getting off topic lately, but this really pisses me off. Today, the Capitol Police closed down the Rayburn building for five hours and Capitol Hill overall for part of that time. Why? Because someone called the police and reported that they thought they heard gunshots in the Rayburn garage.

Now today when I went to lunch, I saw on the TV the CNN reporters jabbering away inanely lunging for anything sensational to attract the viewers attention and I'll admit that for the first few minutes, I fell for it. Then I heard two key clues; the only thing they were going on is the one call and there was construction work in the garage. At that moment, I knew that this was all just a waist of time, some dumbass heard a hammer drill or concrete nail gun (which is actually a gunshot) and shit his/her pants, called the police and several hundreds of thousands if not millions of dollars went to waist.

I can believe that some dumbass office worker who has never done an honest day's labor in their life would mistake normal construction noise for gunshots, what gets me is the response? Hey! I know, send a couple of guys to check this shit out before you go all commando and close down Capitol Hill and bring in the FBI HRT team to take down all the hostiles. Methinks someone is watching too much 24 lately and fancies himself a Jack Bauer. You and I are working damn hard to pay for all this shit and its being pissed away chasing down noises and not actuall bad people!

So I guess to be a part of the solution, I'll post some tips for the many many dumbass office workers out there.

  1. Know what a God Damned gunshot sounds like! You can do this buy going to a range and shooting one.
  2. Don't assume what sounds like gunfire actually is gunfire, there are many things that sound similar that aren't
  3. Don't call the police unless you KNOW someone is threatening life with a gun, you know, see it with your own eyes, that sort of shit.
  4. Finally, if you're that God Damned scared, stay the fuck home and suck your thumb you pussy!

As for the Police

  1. Office workers are morons who don't know what guns sound like, don't listen to them when they talk about gunshots
  2. If someone calls to report shots fired, send a car, hell send three, just don't call SWAT and every cop in radio range to come and waist our money searching for something that never happened on one fucking call!
  3. Has anyone else called in? You would think in a big office building, someone else might have heard the shots too, guns are loud you know!
  4. If you get a shots fired call, make sure some shots are fired by shooting the caller and the commander

I guess its not all bad, at least Congress wasn't able to prattle on about letting illegal aliens have amnesty or how they shouldn't be subject to pesky things like felony bribery or the Constitution.


Thursday, May 25, 2006

Cowboy Camping Reduex

Ok, you’ve heard me jabbering (Jose’s favorite word) about cowboy camping for a couple of months now and of course here we go again. The thing that draws me to camping at the shoots is simple. I have a desire to stretch the cowboy experience as long as possible.

I enjoy shooting and I am very competitive. I also grew up role-playing so the idea of dressing up and playing cowboy is just as appealing. The three things that keep me coming back to this sport again and again are the shooting, the people, and playing cowboy. Those three things are not in any particular order.

When you camp at a multi-day shoot you get to shoot for at least 2 days, hang out with great people all afternoon and into the evening, and if you do it right get to play cowboy for a couple of days. At Hooten we just camped and it was fun, but definitely not as fun as it could have been if we were prepared. That’s why I have been pushing for a cowboy wall tent, cots, and sundries. But now there is a new idea crawling around in the back of my head.

A couple of great people have just started up a new club, the Pleasant Valley Renegades. This club is a little far away for us to attend often (It’s about 2.5 hours away) but I’m sure it will be a quality place since it’s on No More Slim’s land and Randy Atcher and Lizzie of the Valley are helping Slim run the club. They have said that if a member would like to put a cabin down by the range it would be ok as long as it was on skids and could be moved if necessary and looked cowboy. Also slim said that if you had a cowboy wall tent then you could also camp right down next to the range. The modern stuff would have to stay up on the ridge overlooking the range. Slim and Randy are already planning on putting in cabins and it sounds like they are going to go for a look and feel similar to Hooten.

I love this idea and the thought of getting a cowboy cabin just keeps popping up.

If Pleasant Valley is as successfully as I think it will be then having a premium camping spot at a range that is family oriented (They are pushing for families to join by charging only 5 bucks more for a family) would be great fun. If I can get the guys to go in on it then we could look to spend 4 or 5 weekends a year camping, shooting, and hanging out with great people. Who knows maybe I can get the old lady and my little princess to come and spend the weekend as well.

So, what would you need…first, a cabin. I guess there’s a Mennonite nearby who builds barns, sheds, and such on skids for about a grand cheaper then you can buy. So let’s start with a 12’ by 12’ building with a 4’ front porch. Then we throw in a full size bunk bed (a couple of 4x4 posts and a bed frame with wood slats should get it done), a wooden table, some chairs, an old dresser with a mirror, a sideboard, and for the other bed either a futon or just a regular bed. All of these items could be made or bought real cheap. They could also be made to look cowboy very easily. Then just add in some odds and ends from River Junction Trading Company, or Conner Prairie, or the Pioneer Village and you’ve got yourself a cool looking cabin. Oh and don’t forget the gun rack!

The only real modern conveniences I would want would be a small refrigerator, a fan, and a space heater. Lights could be provided by little brass lanterns and we could cook on the Coleman stove. Now if the place were big enough an old pot bellied stove would be awesome. I know most of this is just a pipe dream, but still it’s banging around inside my head and it’s easier to talk about it here then to keep bugging the guys.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Calix Meus Inebrians

It means "My Cup Makes Me Drunk." Now why would you want to ruin a perfectly good cowboy sight with a Latin phrase? If you were thinking that then I have a answer for you.

Often cowboys are portrayed as simple, stupid folk with little knowledge outside of roping a steer and riding a horse, but the truth is much more complicated. Trail drives, bunkhouse life, and line work could be tedious events filled with long hours of boredom. To fill this time many cowboys would find themselves reading all types of literature. One story puts a cowhand in a line shack wall papered with old newspapers for an entire winter. After reading the north, south, east, and west walls he was just starting on the ceiling when the weather broke. He doubted he would have made it another week.

From can labels to pulp fiction cowboys would read or find someone to read to them to pass the long hours, but the truly prized works were true literature with Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Sir Thomas Moore are but a few of the prized authors. Having read and reread these works cowboys would often recite favorite passages, memorize favorite lines, and quote specific works. The more knowledgeable this made them appear the happier they seemed to become.

This affectation was not lost on purveyors of sin in the old west. Many saloons, dance halls, and taverns would spice up their names by chosen Latin phrases to attach to their signs, or by taken names from great works and using it for their business. The Oriental, The Alhambra, and the Arabian Nights are but a few examples.

This brings me back to our title. In the true fashion of the old west I propose a title change:

Amigo’s Cantina
Calix Meus Inebrians

Badges!?!.... So the topic of our shooting club getting badges was broached (is there a pun there?) the other day because currently, we are using a plastic badge that people don't like, it isn't period and its cheap. I've done some reasearch into getting badges with Thunder Valley Rebels and maybe something else on them like a seal or logo. Well there are many places that make badges for Law Enforcement and such, but those are really too heavy and too expensive for club badges and they don't really have the old timey look to them. Judge suggested Buffalo Brothers badges, but like always, he won't call anyone, so that was up to me.

Turns out the badges aren't that expensive even with a casting startup fee and a minimum amount of badges. For 15 badges, it works out to $350-$425 or $23-$28 each. That's much cheaper than the modern LE badges and it'll look more period correct and I think we'll sell far more of them. Win Win.... Win

I'm not much for badges, especially my SASS badge, but I'll wear a TV badge simply because I'm proud to be a member of TV and if it would help to promote the club, then I'm all in.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Why are you like you are?

That's what I want to ask Federal Express. You see, normally, if a company ships something to me from Fedex, it takes at least a week to get to me and it usually involves me calling FedEx several times and them toying with me by holding my package at the local facility or one nearby for 3-5 days taunting me while giving me lame excuses about how the weather is bad or they're REALLY busy (like I'm not). They've also shipped something to my town then handed it to the Post Office to deliver, to which all I can say is Wha?! Then there's the old "drop off the package on my porch" when I pay extra to have a required signature. You might say I hate FedEx... and you'd be right.

Fast forward to today when out of the blue a package I ordered three days ago arived EIGHT DAYS ahead of when they indicated it'd be here. The package came from Shenzen, China, yes, I said China, in a mere two and a half days. That's less time than they were going to ship a package earlier in the year from 60 miles away! Don't get me wrong, I'm glad it came early, but why would they continually taunt me with relatively local deliveries and then be able to get an iPod from China in 60 hours, hell, I didn't think you could fly to China in 60 hours!

My point is that customer service in the past several years has really gone to hell. Just order some custom leather for CAS or anything else custom and you'll get the standard "four to six weeks" and you'll still be waiting four to six months from then. Of course they'll run your credit card the day after they take the order and give lame excuses and promises. Try cancelling a cellphone or other such service and see how long it takes to get your check from them, think they'd be that patient for you? Hardly!

To all SASS vendors, shipping companies and any merchant in general, if you want to retain my business and loyalty, treat me with respect, don't lie to me and do what you damn well tell me you are going to!

Monday, May 22, 2006

What's in a hat?

Identity, that's what.Judge%20and%20the%20Giant%20Ky04

When I first started shooting SASS, I bought a cheap straw hat a) because it was cheap and b) because I couldn't get a felt hat to fit my big-ass head. I didn't like that hat, so I got a sombrero and that worked well for a while, but it wasn't made well and the writing was on the wall. Next came the Sunbody Sombrero that was made better and would tide me over until I got my custom felt hat from Tonto Rim. Finally, last year in August I acquired my custom made felt hat from Tonto Rim and I love the hat, but everyone asks "where's your hat?" You see, after 2+ years wearing a sombrero, everyone has identified me with that hat and now its odd for them to see me without it. You want my definition of frustration? try spending $250 and four months waiting on you custom hat only to have folks ask you where your crappy straw is!

Oh well, hot weather is coming and everyone will get their wish and I'll wear the sombrero so I don't melt.

That blasted new hat that I love and everyone else thinks I should forgo.


I've been a little frustrated lately with the fact that I just can't move up in the world of SASS shooting. I have been shooting duelist for a couple of years now and things have pretty much settled at Thunder Valley that I finish behind M'Bogo and Randy Atcher. Nice guys and very good shooters, but I'm tired of finisihing in the same place and I got to wondering how I would finish shooting two handed Traditional style. I guess I made the mistake of mentioning this too many times to Copper Quincy during our drive to/from Kentucky and now I've got a reputation as "Jabbering" about it, whatever. Since I spent so much time "jabbering" about this, Judge and Copper decided to shoot two handed on Saturday as well. The more the merrier I say.

Things turned out pretty interestingly, I scored my first real win in SASS by besting all Traditional shooters (thanks to a shooter or two for not showing up). I beat everyone that I felt I could beat that was also shooting two-handed and beat one guy I thought I might have a chance at (Fighting Eagle). Most interesting to me was the reversal in positions of Judge and myself, usually, he shoots 2-3 seconds faster than I do per stage (raw time) and Saturday, I shot nearly 3 seconds faster than he did (raw time). I guess he's a better one hander and I'm a better two hander, go figure. Of further interest to me is that M'bogo still beat me shooting duelist, that guy is good! I also figure that if I were to switch to Traditional shooting, I'd quickly get back to the same old rut of finishing behind the same people since I can count 49 and Modern shooters since they shoot the same two-handed style.

The only thing I wish is that Drew First and Zwing Hunt would have showed up as they're good and I'd like to have seen how close I was to Drew and how far behind Zwing I was. But I got the plaque, so maybe its best they didn't show.

Now I just need to get that damned holster from San Pedro so I can compete on equal ground with Judge in Gunfighter!

Friday, May 19, 2006


Well I have the ’66 short stroked and tuned by Gigante Guns. I’ve got the clothes; spurs, leggings, vest, pocket watch, scarf with slide, sleeves garters. And, I can borrow the shotgun since Jose has his TTN hammered double. So that means I’m shooting Classic Cowboy tomorrow!

I’ll have to remember to shoot it double duelist instead of gunfighter, but it’s something different and I think it might be fun. I’m looking forward to running the ’66 and seeing how it works. It feels great, and I can’t wait. My competition might be No More Slim and his birdsheads, but that will be fun.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

A Hoot at Hooten

Sorry it has taken me so long to update, but alas I have been very busy. Last week at the Kentucky State shoot was a ton of fun. Yes the vendors were better in the past. Yes “something” seemed to be missing. But the shooting was great, our posse was awesome, and I enjoyed the camping even if the weather didn’t cooperate.

Friday was gorgeous and it didn’t take us long to check in a set up a great little campsite. We hooked up with the Thunder Valley boys and girls and drank a few beers. Redneck Rebel, Marshal Spencer Owen, Abu, Graver, Lizzy of the Valley, and Randy Atcher were all staying at a really nice bed and breakfast about 15 minutes from the range and they invited us to have a steak dinner with them Friday night. We didn’t take long to make up our minds. We had a great dinner, drank everything we could get our hands on then crawled into the sleeping bags. That night it must have gotten down to about 40 degrees and man that can be cold when you aren’t expecting it.

Saturday was beautiful, and the stages were a lot of fun. The shotgun targets were giving me fits and weren’t going down very easy. I had to make up 5 targets in the first 4 stages, but everything else was clean so even though I was adding about 4 or 5 seconds a stage I was happy overall. By the time the day was done I was still clean even though the clean match jitters hit me hard on stage 10. We finished the day smoking cigars, drinking beer, eating BBQ, and buying blankets in preparation for the evening.

Things took a slight turn for the worse at about 4 am when the rain started. It didn’t stop the rest of the day. So we had a wet and miserable Sunday, but I managed to keep the clean shoot going and finished with my first clean match ever, and at a State level match to boot!

Copper took some fantastic pictures and everyone had a good time. Our posse was fantastic with all the Thunder Valley boys, a nice Manatee, a couple of fun black powder shooters from Tennessee, No Purse Neuce, and the world record holder Widowmaker. Everybody worked hard and made the 2 days fly by. I picked up a short stroke kit from Manatee and Jose should be getting it put in my ’66 real soon. I generally hate the award ceremonies but these seemed to be better the usual and I made it home to see my daughter Sabrina before she went to bed. Great weekend!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Kentucky State Shoot


Well, I'm finally warm again! The camping experiment (at least experimental on my part) was COLD and WET! Friday and Saturday were absolutely perfect weather days for shooting, problem is, it got down to around 40 degrees at night, thankfully, one of the vendors was selling blankets. Sunday morning brought the rain and I woke up with water dripping into my eye. Not fun...

As for the shooting, well, Judge shot well, he had his first clean match ever and is rightfully full of himself. I'm proud of him for resisting temptation and not blowing it. Oh, and listening to me when he counted wrong :) Copper Quincy shot pretty decently too, just not clean and I'm pretty sure he enjoyed his first large match.

As for how I shot, well, my pistol marksmanship needs a lot of work, I'm thinking a remedial class or something. There's really no excuse for it, I can do it, I just lose focus and don't do what I crowd.06need to do; lock out the arm, actually see the front sight, you know the hard stuff.

That said, I was happy with my speed, even though on a stage where I feel that I shot as well as I'm capable, the guy I'd like to beat still got me by 2 seconds while shooting black powder. I'm starting to think this one-handed thing isn't for me. I may try traditional shooting at the next match just to test the waters amongst the regulars at Thunder Valley. All the guys I could compete with seemed to have gone gunfighter or frontier cartridge on me. I ain't shootin black and I can't seem to get San Pedro Saddlery to send me a holster I ordered four months ago so I can shoot gunfighter (which is what I wanted to do from the get-go).

Copper Quincy has the pictures from the shoot and we'll post those as soon as they become available. Copper made the weekend much better with his camping knowledge and gear as well as taking pictures. He also kept me from destroying that guy who backed into my truck at the gas station, its hard to go postal on someone when your cop buddy is with you.copperhead.joes

I feel that every large match you attend is a learning experience, so what did I learn you ask?

  • 40 degrees is damn cold!
  • Don't lose your temper during a stage, 7 misses is rough on the overall
  • There ain't a better breakfast than one cooked on a Coleman stove
  • Spring Mountain Inn has a mean steak dinner
  • Don't mix tequilla, beer, whiskey and wine and then shoot the next day
  • Black powder shooters are a hangover's worst nightmare
  • Thunder Valley has a lot of good shooters
  • SASS participants are good people, most anyway (there's always a Pecos Pete)
  • It doesn't matter how large the target, someone's gonna miss it
  • Jackasses who drive while on the cell phone should be flogged
  • If you hold a state level match, you should know how to hang targets
  • Even if you're cold, wet and shooting like crap, its still better than nearly anything else you could be doing!
UPDATE: Copper dropped off the photos last night so I've added some to this post. you can see more of them on my Flickr account.