Thursday, November 29, 2012
My garage was terribly cold and hard to get the motivation to work in. Since I sold the Versys and the dirt bike, I have more room to work and I decided to build a wall. Garry (handsome man in the Cereal Killer shirt) helped me frame it in, hang the drywall and plywood and install the door. I did the insulation myself after he left on day one, but that was quick and easy. Day two lasted all of 2 hours as hanging drywall is pretty straight forward.
The garage now stays about 59 degrees all the time and outside temps are usually below freezing. I have a small heater in there that kicks on when it dips below 64, but only when I am out there. The option of a warm room is great in assisting with curing and other “room temp” activities. Pretty soon here I will be building two more benches, some shelves and running some more circuits for machinery.
A customer came in last night and saw the wall and was impressed that I had built it since he had been in two weeks prior. I am going at this as hard as I can without it becoming a burden, so someday I will tear this thing down and work out of a separate space; all in good time.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Last year I tried to refinance my castle and got kicked in the proverbial nads due to my credit score. I had even worked a night shift at a new job site to pick up some overtime and was woken up with a denial phone call. Sweet!
So, I tried to re-fi again this year and have not been holding my breath. This morning, I was woken up by a call from the bank saying that it was all approved! This is great news. The interest rate is going down by almost 3% and I am changing insurance companies; turns out I’ve been paying nearly double for insurance for the last four years.
Below are a few examples of what I can now afford each month due to my savings!
· 91 pounds of grass-fed organic ground beef at Bill the Butcher
· 279 cans of C20 coconut water. (Train by day, Joe Rogan podcast by night… all day)
· Four new tires for my car
· Fancy smart phone without contract
· 110 Pumpkin spice lattes
· Full service on the Subaru’s front and rear differentials.
· 29 boxes of ammo for my .45
Getting the picture now?
Actually, this just means I’ll stress less and not actually GET more. It is something that, on the surface, seems like extra cash, but I’ll be doing my best to put this “breathing room” to use.
Friday, November 9, 2012
So… it’s been super long since I have added anything here… updates since last post are the following
· My friend Ken died October 13th, peacefully in his home.
· Managed to not shoot a deer all season
· Business is picking up and I have been learning more and more all the time
· Quit school (not as tragic as some might think) and I feel great!
· Been making lots of changes to the shop
· Sold the Versys and the Honda; I am motorcycle free.
Aside from these bullet points, I have just been doing the norm. Eating a semi-strict Primal or Paleo diet has kept the pounds off, kept me in less pain and my family annoyed.
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Sheesh… First of all, I sound like a wino for even starting a blog post about this, but since I even HAVE a blog that pretty much throws my decency out the window. Today is day 15 of my 30 days without alcohol and it’s been fine. I mean, there have been a few times that I would have enjoyed a beer, but it probably would have been more than one or perhaps a 22oz one.
I have a “Hop in the Dark” by Deschutes, waiting for me when I complete this test of my will and sanity. I suppose this small period of time will help me lose the last few pounds that I am packing around, but if not I don’t really know. Maybe I sleep better, but that’s still undecided.
Last night would have been a nice night for a cigar… yeah…. Sitting on the deck taunting the chickens and enjoying the sun set.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Eysenck's Test Results
|Extraversion (72%) high which suggests you are overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense too often of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity. |
Neuroticism (36%) moderately low which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.
Psychoticism (40%) moderately low which suggests you are, at times, overly kind natured, trusting, and helpful at the expense of your own individual development (martyr complex).
personality tests by similarminds.com
Sunday, July 22, 2012
The last long trip for me on the Versys was one to Kalispell, Montana. What an amazing place that is!! Once you get past the locals telling you that your helmet will kill you and apply enough chemicals to deter the bugs that surely will, it's a fun place. It was like camping everywhere we went. I even got to use the Versys for what it was intended for; it is an adventure bike after all.
Riding on the rocky, gravelly roads leading up to our hangout was a trip. A 400+ pound dirt bike (although clearly not a dirt bike) is a bit more fun than it should be. Anyhow, the chances are good that the next trip report of mine will be in a car. Once business picks up some more, I will be getting another bike, but not now.
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Last week, an old gunsmith who did work on my beloved 1911 pistol offered to teach me the way he does things. Now he might just be the most humble man I have spoken with in a while saying things like “This is just the way I do it, but you should keep an open mind because there is probably something better out there”. Larry is 71 years old, with 45 years of gunsmith work to draw from.
Monday morning I went over to his shop and he taught me how to prepare rifles and pistols for bluing. This is the nice shiny black finish you will see on some new guns and most old ones. The process is very involved and I think the 160 dollars he charges for it is very fair. There is at least an hour worth of setup, some waiting for the chemicals to work and then another hour or so of tear down and clean up.
Yesterday, Larry showed me how he does a trigger job on the 80 series 1911 pistols; these are stupid lawyer guns and Great Grandpa Browning would not be happy to know that some companies have bastardized his perfect creation. Well, after that gun was done, we moved on to something that is a pit fall for many new gunsmiths. The process of glass bedding a rifle stock is something that helps accuracy and also allows for adding strength and minimal weight.
As we prepared the stock, mixed the epoxy and taped off surfaces, we spoke about what it meant to be happy. The most enthralling part of the learning came from that of the time where we waited between steps. Not wanting to make small talk, we spoke about very poignant and remarkable things of Larry’s life. He has been married for 49 or 50 years this coming Friday.
There are more things to write about with this, but it has been such a dramatically wonderful experience for me to learn from someone that knows this trade better than anyone I’ve ever met. I saw the stock that he bedded and subsequently ruined when he was 19 years old; I am happy to see and hear about these stories in hopes that I can avoid these things. I will certainly make errors, but that is only human.
I spent a shit ton of money on supplies today, but I should make it all back with these three jobs that I’m doing tomorrow. Anyway, it has been awesome and will only get better.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Yesterday I took the Argentine Mauser receiver out of the WD-40 bath and knocked off the major crud with a few taps of a rubber mallet. After this initial removal, I went out and sprayed the part down with some heavy duty oven cleaner. This sounds super ghetto, but the person who told me to do it has been a gunsmith for 45 years and never has a lack of work. The first couple pics of the part on the white rack are with the foaming, caustic spray on there.
After rinsing off the oven cleaner, I dried the part as well as I could and went to work with the sand blast cabinet. Now, my compressor is small and cannot really stand up the rigors of sandblasting for any sort of extended period. Now, I know the part is nowhere near completely clean as I was only trying to free up the action. The bolt release is still stuck shut, so I might have to end up drilling out the screw and knocking the part off.
I am not going to invest any money into the part until I can confirm that the mating surfaces inside the barrel threads and where the locking lugs of the bolt (the thing you crank down to lock the round in the chamber) are fitting well. At a minimum, this will be good practice for me in metal preparation and surface restoration. The stamp is beyond saving as can be seen, but I am sure I can make a good use of the parts somehow.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
So, Tom has been mentioned on here before and he is a good friend of mine, but this time he could not make it to get the lathe. What I did get, though, is very interesting. I paid half the money and brought home a ton of tools of all types, reloading dies, cutting tools, files, gun parts and even an old rusty Mauser action. I would like to see how I can get that thing to work here in the not too distant future. That will be an interesting project to say the least because it is rusted shut now and is in an ammo can soaking in WD-40 as I type.
The couple boxes I got were the tip of the iceberg from this purchase. I got very lucky with this lathe deal and the lady who I bought it from is glad that it's going to a good home. I guess the pictures are just a bunch of parts to most people, but do a search for machining bits and you will quickly see why this is a great deal.
Yesterday while sorting through my new lathe and gun parts box, this big dog walked up to my oldest son. I was a bit startled at first, but it was not aggressive and was panting heavily. I called to him, but he gave no indication that he heard me. Even when I clapped loudly and whistled, the thirsty thing didn't move. I walked over, knelt down and let him sniff me. I then petted him and took a look at his tags. Luckily, Dakota had tags on and I called his family.
We gave him water and a few minutes later, his human neighbors came to get him. I was surprised at how strong, yet docile this thing was. I mean, it was not huge, but I drastically underestimated Dakota's strength. I have not had the best luck with dogs at this house, so this is a good experience.
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
It’s been a while since I’ve posted (I’m a busy dude), but this is a good one. I asked the old gunsmith who did work for me years ago to keep an ear out for any machinery or tools that are selling locally. Well, old Larry came through in a big way and I got hooked up with a customer of his.
The lathe is made back in the 50s or possibly before; it needs some TLC, but I am hopeful. The lady who has it is very nice and made me a fair deal. I have to borrow money to get it, but it will only take me a little bit to pay it back. Anyway, I will post pics when I get it home and set up. It is a Logan 922 and it is HEAVY!!
This is the very first step to my next phase of my gunsmithing dream. With this, I will be able to re-chamber barrels, add threading, fluting and a variety of other things that involve spinning metal. I still have to learn all the ins and outs so I will be taking a class whenever I can. So yeah. Awesome.
Monday, May 28, 2012
Every year on Memorial Day, I find myself watching war documentaries, scanning through the Faces of the Fallen and old pictures. Do I miss the Army or being gone in a foreign land? Hell no. Do I get a wash of emotions when I see young men firing rifles into buildings and hear the zipping of rounds? Sure. The AK-47 and the RPK are two things you will never forget the sound of; they are so unique a sound due to their construction and design.
I often wonder if I've got any of the old gunslinger left in me, but it doesn't matter now. Still, it's just an errant thought that goes as quickly as it came. My answer to myself is always yes.
Not more than a few hours ago, I was pondering something really deep and meaningful to write and I dismissed it in lieu of this. I used to get emails, phone calls and text messages (I did get a few today) thanking me for my service, but I have to tell them "This isn't meant for me. I'm not dead". I can say, however, with resounding sadness that no person I know who has died in combat has done so for anything other than the men to their left and right at that time.
This has turned out disastrously... well.. here are links to the couple vids of interest I saw today.
Monday, May 7, 2012
*Re-posted today... formatting fixed...
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
Friday, March 23, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
This little spring here is the return spring (or what was left of it) for my wife's Subaru. There is a mechanism in some manual Subies that keeps the front left and right rear brakes locked when the clutch is in and the car is stopped. This is so awesome in Seattle on the horrendous hills and whatnot. It is not so cool when it fails.
I had no way of getting just the spring from the dealer, so I went into third world engineer mode. I grabbed the rear brake return spring of my 1988 Honda dirt bike mentioned on here a few months ago and with the help of some Boeing surplus aircraft steel wire I secured the spring in place. After the spring went in, I added two zip ties for flair and attitude.
I shan't fail to mention that it was pissing epic rain the whole time I was doing this. That made things a lot more fun because I was soaked. Anyway, I'll go the Tacoma Screw and see if they can, once again, save the day with my projects. Fun times, but at least I got it to work and didn't have to lose functionality of the awesome feature.
Friday, March 9, 2012
Monday, February 27, 2012
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Over the past three years, I have successfully added a tremendous amount of debt onto my already-full plate. These things were either out of want, need or convenience. I have tried to work less than I used to or at least attempt to do thing I enjoy more; this has been hard to do. Between school, family, work and everything else there is not much time left at the end of each day.
At my age, I can point out several things about my life that are present and not common in other people my age. For starters, most people under 30 do not own their own house; they usually have not been married for 8 years and a few other things. I can point out more, but I don’t want this to be seen as being cocky. I am lucky to be where I am in the first place. There is just as good of a chance that I would have been turned into a mist of goo and bone fragments by a bomb on the side of the road, but I got lucky. No amount of my own doing saved my ass; I do feel that I have an obligation to live well because I can.
Now I could be talking in circles here, and if I am I hope it comes around to make sense. I’m not going back to edit this bitch beyond spell check. Anyway, I have been working hard to not have to work as hard by trimming the fat, so to speak, and making other changes in what we have and do. My wife has been super understanding in this and as much as she likes her soap opera shows, she would rather I don’t have to work the extra time just to make ends meet when money is a little snug.
I opened up the bill for my motorcycle the other day and realized that the promotional period is ending in April so I have to jump through my ass to get five thousand bucks together before they jack the rate up to the moon. My own impulsiveness got me to jump on a loan that I didn’t really need. It sounds silly because I’m a grown-ass man, but I still make those sorts of decisions. Anyway, it’s yet another learning opportunity. I see guys like me all the time. They are all excited to do something and then I sound like the old man who tells them “take my advice and save up for it”. That is advice I would have ignored though.
Anyway, towards the middle of June, I will have more money to save each month because I won’t have three bills that I currently have.
So… dummies… if you want something … just save your fucking money or buy something that will make you happy and you can just pay cash for. I will not make these mistakes again…. One exception could be a car loan because saving 15k in cash takes time.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Monday, February 6, 2012
Now before you get all mad, I think this is a little bit your fault. I mean, who in their right mind is going to trust something fragile and made of wimpy glass to a guy who can barely tie his shoes and a girl who dreams of riding a moose into the woods with an AK and a backpack full of canned SPAM? I mean, this makes a little sense that you would at least expect this to happen. Right?Okay, so now that we're on the same page… So, when I was quietly soothing my chest pains with more caffeine, I MAY have bumped your little press off the highest shelf near our desk where it most likely fell the distance of about 4.6 feet where my poorly-tied shoe "caught" it before rolling off and onto the floor.Now I'm not sure if it was the fault of my shoes that were meant for robots, the friction of the air passing by during free fall or the actual impact with the ground, but there is a small crack near the top. If I had been wearing my Vibram Fivefingers shoes, you can rest assured that this email would not be in your inbox.So, between Jessica (aka: Queen DorkLord) and me, it will be replaced or simply glued at your request. As it sits, it is fully functional, but the crack does add more character than I am qualified to have around me. I just wanted to let you know, so that next time you're here and see the fault line peering you in the eyes, you do not decide to go on a coffee binge and blog about various shades of window tint.Thanks for reading this and giving me enough time to get far, far, far away before your rage is unleashed.Love,Jack
Sunday, January 29, 2012
He told me about a time where he had to sneak into a village and dispatch the sentry, a teenage boy, with his knife. He talked about holding the boy as he bled to death over about a minute. His detail was amazing, heart-wrenching and sickening in a way. I understand why he had to do that; the boy with the AK-47 was ready to kill the Americans who were in his country and they simply couldn't allow that. Not to get into politics with this is hard, but I will just say it is a sad series of events.
While I try to keep him off the subject of warfare, it is actually hard being that it is one of the things he and I have most in common with. I can see it in his face and eyes when he talks about certain parts of his experience where he goes somewhere else. His eyes glaze over a bit and sometimes get to the brink of tears, but they don't flow out. It is hard to describe, but he goes to another place in time and his actions get more animated while he speaks. This is a man with passion, training and a lot of horror that never left him.
So, a while ago we were supposed to go on a motorcycle ride and he told me that he was having a tough time with the clutch lever so he wanted to move it back. His hands were beginning to curl in like a fist almost; it is the way a soldier will hold his hands at the Position of Attention. He went to the VA to see what was going on; the results came back with sad news.
The doctors at the VA told him he has ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease) and that is what had been causing many of the issues he had been having. For me, it made sense why he would systematically jump from subject to subject and routinely repeat himself several times in one sitting.
Due to the illness, that is progressively getting worse, he had to sell his motorcycle, he sold his guns and can not even open a door knob. Yesterday I went over and installed some new handles on the garage for him so he can at least get into his beloved shop for tools. I am more than happy to help him in these ways; I can only hope my sons or perhaps grand kids, would be there to help me when I am old and dying. Ken's son has not spoken to him in years, so for whatever reason that is it means that the help is not coming from him.
Anyway, I was happy to pick up Ken's Glock 22 (yes, another one) and am trying to sell the old 30-30 Winchester for him. He's a good guy who is a real pain in the ass to deal with at times; being stubborn is a trait not well-suited to one who is incapable.
Monday, January 9, 2012
I wake up most days thinking about how someday I’ll die. Is this normal? I don’t feel a sense of fear, per se, but rather a sense of motivation to “make it count”. The next thought is whether this is what everyone thinks of or if it is a phase for me. It hasn’t always been this way though. I guess it is good in a way so I get to choose what is important to me now, and what can wait.
Meh. There have been lots of days I was shocked to have lived through and yet here in my safest place in my life thus far, it sneaks back in. Odd really. I have an awesome life though, so I lump this in with “First World Problems”
Sunday, January 8, 2012
Thursday, January 5, 2012
Working on your car can be awesome, but it can be a horrible, hellish nightmare. :)
Here is a pic. The grey is the JB Weld and the metal deal sticking upright is the methanol injection nozzle.
Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Me: Yeah man, this salad is great. You take some arugula or spinach; cover it in pomegranate seeds, goat cheese, walnuts and vinaigrette dressing. So good; David’s fiancé made it for the beer tasting.
Tom: Yeah, you know those huge boxes like the ones they would deliver a washer or dryer in?
Me: Yeah.. why?
Tom: If you took one, and filled it up… I mean ALL the way up to the top with AIDS, it still wouldn’t be as gay as what you just said.
In his young years, he spent his days roaming the mountains of Southern Afghanistan looking for scraps of food with his family. As each slow step sunk slightly into the coarse sand, the effort seemed nearly fruitless at times, as it would take the better part of a day to go a short distance. Having been born a half decade before the United States ever brought war to the region, Torry learned to avoid the common pitfalls such as unexploded ordinance and landmines.
Nights in the valleys were cold and the days were hot, but he carried everything he needed to survive on his back. Following the traditions of generations of other nomads like him, he found joy in the smallest of things. Crawling on his belly over the jagged rocks to avoid being seen while looking for food, his neck, legs and arms showed scars from years of such activity. He had many siblings as well as extended family all living in the same four square miles.
They all grew up without running water, electricity or even a roof over their heads, but they were happy. One after another, his siblings left the area they grew up in, never to be heard from again. One day, Torry was out looking for his food near a ridge when he was grabbed by two large men and thrown into the covered back of a truck. It was dark and the smell of excrement stank in the noon sun. The truck rumbled along as Torry struggled to find a way out.
After what seemed like several days, he was taken from the truck and given a piece of fruit and a small amount of water. His captors had treated him rather kindly compared to some others captured in the region. He was loaded into a crate with a few others who he recognized. There they waited to meet their future. None of them knew what was to happen once the crate was opened. What had they done to deserve this? Where were they going?
Fast forward ten years: Today, Torry lives in America where he no longer has to work as hard to find his food. He lives alone, but has a large house and all the amenities. He no longer worries about stepping on a mine or unexploded rocket, but he does get lonely as there are no others like him nearby. Torry, my Afghanistan Tortoise is awesome… so he deserves a badass story. U mad?
Monday, January 2, 2012
If, as you read this post, you think "well, that could be me" then I'm sorry… It is written for one person. They know who they are… That's right. You know I'm writing about you; little lazy bitch … and YES, I am the end-all, be-all in living healthy *sips coffee*
You use complicated handshakes that nobody else understands to greet friends you've seen only days before. You mask your natural scent with what smells like a combination of lemon Pledge and Raid, which makes my sinuses close up after a few minutes. The shoes you wear trying to be cool are ridiculous and nobody thinks you are edgy or cutting-edge for doing so. Knowing about music that is "underground" doesn't make you cool, it makes you have one less thing to talk to people about (which you whine about all the time).
When you slam on my hobbies, house, job or anything else about me, it really highlights your lack of drive or sense of self worth. To me it sounds like a cry for help…. Remember my last response to your weak-shit insults about my job? As I recall, I said something like "Well yes (some of your points are valid, but dick-ish), but now I'm about to go home on my brand new motorcycle to my huge house where my kids and wife are and where we have two turbo cars in the driveway, chickens, beautiful mountain views and a I'm going to have a few drinks of scotch… (it went on for a while)". Remember how bad you felt when I just shoved your face in that proverbial pile of dog poo?
This description makes my wimpy friend Brian sound like a saint. Brian may be a wuss, but at least he's nice and mostly accurate in his insults. I love destroying people in a way that others can watch and I am still justified in doing so. Also, the smoking… lots of people smoke, but seriously, when are you going to quit smoking those stupid fucking things? Do you think anyone in the smoking area wants to hear about what an asshole your boss is or how stressed you are? I don't think you'd know a bad boss or legit stress if they were standing on your neck. Hell, I have not worked under, around or near a manager or supervisor in several years that I would make a special point to complain about. Go work for my old platoon sergeant and his 70 IQ points and then see what you think.
Maybe this post will trigger something in your mind, which will fix the above-mentioned irritants. Maybe you will just ignore it… we shall see.
Does anyone know someone who sounds like this?