Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Virgin Video!

  My God, it's a miracle!  The TSRA Garand Championship Video is up and it's never been viewed.  On the Blackfork6 Channel.
 Update:  As shooter and TSRA NM team member Karl Schultz would, (and does) say "Favor LEFT Got-dawg it!"

Monday, September 29, 2008

TSRA Calendar....2009

 Keeping an eye out for 2009 calendar photos.  Here's Nez Rongero and the Flag during the Garand Championship.  Nikon Coolpix 8700.  Polarizer.  Big Tiff file.  I thought Nez had the Championship won with a 287 until Mark Woodard shot a 289.
  I waited and waited on this photo hoping the guy behind the flag would move.  Nez has one round left in his belt pack.  I was afraid he would complete the string and be gone so I went ahead.
  My Garand was shooting better with a new Criterion barrel from the CMP North store, but still not shooting as well as I hoped.  Didn't come close to cleaning the 200 yard prone slow fire target, and that's the basic test.  97, I think.
  We shot the HXP 69 30-06 bought at the CMP North store.  I didn't hear anyone bragging about it but I didn't hear any complaints or see any tracers.

Update:  I hope I made a big enough point about the wonderful-ness of taking your old rifles out into the sunlight and shooting them for score.  My 1943 Springfield 03-A3 has been at this match last year, Camp Perry twice, killed a deer and now is back here at Temple, Tx.  It's still sweating cosmoline.  Pleasure to be around these old guns.

Update II:  Nice series of a guy shooting a Krag in the prone rapid.

Doc Range

  What else could someone named RANGE do for fun but shoot.  He's 87 I think.  He brought the kids, most of whom are in their 60s.  His grandson was along.  He's in his 40s.  

  His cane hangs in a notch cut in the side of his shooting table.  

  Doc Range, ( a veternarian from West, Texas),  has shot competitively for....fifty years or more.  We had a couple of old guys, including one with a Camp Perry, 1972 patch on his jacket.  1972 was 36 years ago.  I think Doc Range mentioned something about a match in 1952.

  Update:  Dr. Loyd Sneed from the TAMU affiliated Diagnostic Testing Lab came down to shoot his 270 bolt gun off a bench at 200 yards and got to meet Dr Range who knew everyone Loyd ever heard of in the Vet business.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

TSRA Garand, Carbine, Springfield and Vintage Championship.

  If you have never shot an M1 Carbine, which is likely- I mean, they made six million or so of them but lots of them were lost, destroyed, left in jungles, ditches, tossed in lakes, dropped in seas, et, et..6 million carbines down to a couple million today, say maybe a top of four...in a world of 3.5 billion...what are the odds?  Not good.  That you have shot one.  But I did.  Yesterday.  For score.  It's fun.  Like a date with an ugly woman fun.
  It's a little rifle.  Made as a pistol replacement it was so light, semiauto and hi-cap, (15 shot mag was 1942-state-of-the-art), that Airborne troops snapped it up.  Lotta rounds out quickly.
  Whatever.  Anyway, I have a couple.  CMP guns that were re-arsenaled in 1953 and stored since then.  New, nearly.  Early features, especially the barrel bands and great wood.
  But they don't shoot well.  Sure I killed a deer with one and they shoot OK...but not match quality.  The late barrel band with the bayonet lug secures the barrel much better. 
  So I struggled with a Standard Products through the 4o round match.  100 yards.  Five sighting shots, 10 slow fire prone, 10 rapid fire prone, 10 sitting rapid fire and 10 standing.  I shot two 90s and two 85s.  Dropped 50 points.  I would break a shot and sometimes it would be on one side and sometimes on the other.  Was shooting Remington UMC ammo from WalMart.  It grouped better than the Lake City I had.  That's not saying much.
  350 out of 400.  About fourth place.  Don Tryce won with a 462.  He jokes about having a National Match Carbine.  He's won it before at least once.
  Speaking of National Match Rifles, Gaby and Crawford tore my 1903A3 apart Friday night and fixed the old creepy trigger.  Crawford stoned the tool marks off the surface of the bolt cocking lug, (you could feel every one as the old trigger creeped along through the second stage) and Gaby ground a little height off the engagement sear.  Now it's one of the best triggers I have.  Never underestimate having access to Gun Gurus.  The Springfield needs only a new C Stock to be complete.  With the new wide front post and slick trigger it's quite a different rifle.
  Mark Woodard won the Garand Championship with a real score. 289 (out of 300).  Don Tryce won the Springfield Championship. (beat me by a point)  I won the Vintage Rifle for the third year in a row with my K31 and some Swiss GP11 ammo.  46 folks shot at the Temple Gun Club and most folks shot more than one rifle.  David Guthrie shot a Swede in the Vintage match.  (I beat him by a point)  Couple of Krags on the line.  P-17 Enfields were common.   TSRA Directors Ken Gaby and Rick Crawford ran an efficient match on the 200 yard line at the Temple range.  Video up soon.  Photo is Bill Aten shooting his P17.

Update:  I actually went down the line and shot this photo of Bill for next years TSRA calendar, which is supposed to feature more people and less still lifes.  Used a big file.  Handsome devil, his wife says.  I wouldn't argue that point with armed people.

Friday, September 26, 2008

TSRA Garand Championship

 Garand, M1 Carbine, Springfield 1903 and Vintage Military Match this weekend at Temple.

  Just back from the range and zeroing my Garand, (new barrel) Springfield, (new front post),  M1 Carbine, (new ammo).  Not shooting very well.  I can't tell if it's me or the rifles.  I didn't bother to shoot my K31 Swiss.  It's squared away.

  No new re-stocking the Garand, though it was very close.  I want to switch the 1903A3 to a stock with a pistol grip.  The CMP says they are going to start selling them.  Boyds sells them now.

  We'll see how it all turns out.  The chance to shoot your old iron is a wonderful thing!

  TSRA Calendar arrived in the mail.  Looks OK.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Deer Counting

  Our first deer count without moonlight.  Much darker in the woods and fields though the Milky Way looked about the same.  Sky was constantly full of high-flying airplanes tracking over.  You could see the lights winking among the stars.
  More deer.  50+  No big bucks, just a few year and a halfs.  Fawns.
  I took my view camera up to shoot a scene or two of the busted security light next to the roadway.  I tried several different exposing schemes, including double exposures, one for the background and one for the light.  There's a photograph every 200 yards around the ranch.
  In the big field along the creek we saw over 20 deer with the spotlight.  The Bronco has a high bird shooting bench on the back.  That's where I spotlight from while Alan drives and keeps the count.  At the Leaning Tower stand there weren't any Barn Owls, but there were about 12 pigs digging up the newly disced foot plot.  Alan and I have plenty of guns but usually all we have along is whatever he is wearing on his belt.  Tuesday night we had a Nylon 66 with shot shells and, for some reason, some .22 shorts and CB caps.  Alan hand-loaded a .22 short and I shot the nearest pig behind the shoulder.  25 yards out in the spotlight.  He gave a little grunt and trotted off toward the main herd.  We could see the shoulder bleeding in the spotlight and he had a little gimp in his gait.  With an AR or even a tube of .22LR for the Nylon 66 I could have shot half the herd. 

Making a photo

  My photo class at Tyler Junior College is still lurching about in the fog.  I blame the teacher but it reminds me of how hard it is to actually SEE what's in front of your face.  Especially so if you are going to drive it through a camera.  
  Very hard to be simple.
  I had them shoot a portrait of someone else in the class during class. We went outside in a nice pice of light and I posed some folks.  Then we went in the studio and I lit more people so everyone could shoot.  They are still struggling to make their cameras work.  Total disaster.  Of course, the only person not to pay tuition...me... I'm learning a LOT.
  Nothing as easy as it looks.
  I spent the whole work day before class shooting stills to go with a video series that the college is doing.  We were working in Ornealas dorm, a huge new luxury dorm just opened this semester.  They've already had to close the lobbies to activity because the kids were going wild.  The director running the dorm quit and went back to her old job.  Real chaos.  Signs up on every post in the lobby announcing its closure.  Trash.  Noise.  I'm sure it was a riot.
  It gave me a quiet nice place to shoot with lots of varied backgrounds and lighting situations, though it was full of strange colors of light.  And I had 18 subjects, most of them young and photogenic, though there was a drama along with nearly every one.
  The most drama free group I ever photographed was some MHMR folks at a sheltered workshop.  They looked like hell on the outside but had absolutely positive attitudes about their appearance.  To a man they thought they looked GOOD.
  One of yesterdays portraits above.  Window light and a foam-core reflector carelessly clamped to a stand.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Garand Goodness.

  I wonder if he'll make it?  I don't think the chances are very good, though you never know.  I gave plainly illegal advice.  Wonder if he took it or kept wandering around like the idiot he plainly was and ended up shackled in the depths of Smith County Jail while people patted each other on the backs about a good arrest?  Probably never know.

  The Redhead and I met Alan halfway on a highway that is the quickest route to a wet county.  I was collecting my rebarreled Garand.  There's a gift from your higher power.  New barrel, installed, then test-fired and set on Mechanical Zero by a gun guru.  You can't pay for something like that, you just thank God for the blessings.

  We were just a few miles from the county line when I noticed a pickup drifting across the double stripe.  Clear day.  2:30pm.  Very little traffic.  I hardly needed to swerve and I checked him in the rear-view mirror.  He never corrected, drifting all the way across the highway and disapearing over the shoulder with a little puff of dust.

  "Want to see a dead person?" I asked the Redhead as I braked and turned the 4-Runner around.  She didn't, but we needed to go look anyway.

  The shoulder dropped steeply, too steeply to be seen from the highway above.  The pickup was wedged in the bottom of a shaded creekbed among some hardwoods.   The truck was smoking and honking faintly.  He was already out staggering around and (surprise) talking on his cell phone.  A big healthy looking drunk youngster.  20 maybe.  

  I looked him over for blood and bones sticking out and had him turn around.  He seemed to be fine just drunk and in shock.  Young guy with a polo shirt, jeans and good teeth.  You probably couldn't hurt him with a baseball bat and three tries.  Idiot.  Airbags saved him from anything but a soft beating.  Sore tomorrow.  Plus his truck, or somebody's, was fubared.

  I folded the plastic cover of the steering wheel back to cut off the horn.  The airbags were all smoldering and smoking up the interior.  Half a case of cold Budweisers were loose on the floorboards.  I guess he missed the TV ads they put out about drinking responsibly.  Might have been coming back from a long night in the TOTALLY NUDE! GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! joints on the highway.

  He was calling his dad on the phone.  I looked up at the highway and noticed how concealed the crash site was.

  "You aren't going to pass a blood test," I advised him, "So if you call 911 you are going to be arrested, jailed for a few days and it's going to cost 20.000.00 and plus all the court and parole time.  You need to clean the beer out of the truck and get someone to come get you.  You don't look hurt to me.  I'm leaving now.  Good luck."

  When I looked back from the shoulder above he was tossing beer down the creek about 30 yards from the crash.  Not far enough for even the most inexperienced LEO to miss.

  Probably, he's going to lose his citizenship, end the afternoon handcuffed in a jail cell that smells like sweat, piss and vomit while a weekend judge sets his bail at 50,000.00 and a few of his fellow incarceratos pick him over.  It's a slam dunk with the no-refusal blood draws they are doing, so he would be done.  No voting, no guns.  Lifetime police suspicion from now on anytime he crosses their path.  It can be argued that he deserves all that, and more.

  It might be true, but it wasn't going to be true with my assistance.

  He could have killed someone.  He could have killed himself.  He might already have killed someone.  He might in the future.  Drunks deserve death or anything that happens to them.  All true.  And unknown.

  Wonder how it went?  Every day could have a complete novel written about it.

  We got home safely.  Had a glass of wine with dinner and silently toasted the mingled destinies of men.

Update:  Folks disagree, some with good grace and some so threatened that they seem a little snarky.  That's the way it goes on the internet.  Check the comments.
  Using my normal powers I found out who the kid was and called his cell phone to see if I could get more story.  No return call yet but I'll keep working it.

Shotgun Idiocy

  Now comes Joe Biden to pray for relief from the court of union opinion...and tell us why our guns are safe, safe, safe.....from Obama.  Oh....you say the SHOT guns are safe.  From Obama and the gun-phobic Democrats.  For sporting clays.  That's right.  A political party of LAWYERS.  Better check the fine print.

  Because the Second Amendment is about open, empty shotguns and Sporting Clays don't you know?  Not those death-dealing handguns or those plainly useless for civilian assault rifles and um....any other weapons.

  Hhhaaaaaaaaaccck.  Ptioooeeeeeeeeee!

 The NRA encourages this with all their "PC" official photos of folks with shotguns broken over their shoulders.  Even Heston used to fall for this one.  Cold dead hands indeed.

  Makes Sarah Palin seem like the only real man in the whole race....and she's not a man.

  Shotguns?  SHOTguns?  Bring me my 1911 and my AR15, you.....idiots!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Daily Deercam: The First Buck of 2008

  And it's not a very good buck- a year and a half youngster with a deformed horn.  Across the creek.  Haven't moved the cam.  
  You can see the horn folded down along his cheekbone.
  I've had a couple of deer with this same spike down in front of their left ear.  One ought to be a huge buck by now if he is alive.  Didn't see him at all last year though he was on camera late into the spring of 2007   This could be damage during the velvet phase but it looks awfully familiar.  Usually fabulous genetics in this watershed.
  Doe and her two fawns on my side of Butler Creek.  For the first time, though the weather is very good and range conditions look perfect, they look thin.
  Huge acorn crop coming in a month.  Ike knocked off loaded twigfuls. 
  Big shepherd dog on cam.  Shoot on sight.

Giant Squid Brains.

  Giant Squids have donut shaped brains.  The esophagus passes right through the middle of it.
  Go figure.
  Wonder if they think donut thoughts?

Home Defense Guns.

  One is a 95.00 disasterously sporterized T44 Jap that feeds but bulges cases.  I've got it for gun buybacks at the 250.00 level.  The middle is a precious Vietnam bring-back SKS that shoots left.  It's one of the few rifles in my case that I haven't shot a doe with.   The third is a Smith Enterprized AR Carbine that probably cost 1500.00.  Two-stage trigger and floated barrel.  
  If I had to shoot a burglar I'd use the cheap throw-away gun.

Update:  Anyone who knows me knows I wouldn't shoot anybody over anything, burglar or not.

End of Summer

 The mower is dead again.  The weather has been good since Ike so the central air rarely runs.  The house and neighborhood is quiet and you don't have that sense of money going down a drain as the meter spins.  I chopped two treetops full of overgrown vines, bushes and branches out of 94-year-old-across-the-street Mary Burton's yard and dumped them in the creek.  My new CMP Garand stock is sitting in the morning sun out back of my studio baking the Boiled Linseed Oil finish.  All the ants are poisoned.  I need to check deercams.  I'm resisting bidding on an 8X10 Deardorff on Ebay.   It's Saturday.  The Republican Party is dead.  The Texas coast is ruined.  I have a two door locks that need fixing and a gutter to clean out.  The East Texas Fair is in town.  I passed on a second cup of coffee at Bradys.
  I feel a little aimless this morning.  Good thing I'm enlightened.

House-sitting and Hummingbirds.

 The Redhead is house sitting a couple of homes, one of which has a small dog pack and a bird.  The other house is for psychotic cats.  Pretty wild.
  One bird of three left, an African Grey, who didn't used to say much except "Pretty Bird" and "Sally"  Sally is the Rat Terrior's name- the same rat terrier that ate the other two birds.
  Now the parrot won't say anything except "Bad Sally!  Bad Sally!" all the time.
  They leave the back door cracked open at the dog house so the pack will have access to the yard.  Yesterday two hummingbirds were trapped in the house.  One got out but the other was still there in the late afternoon and weakening.  I caught it off a chandelier with my hands.  As much as I would have love to keep it to photograph I instead carried it outside and let it go.  It flew up and landed next to another hummer in the tree across the fence.  Probably forgot all about being caught before it got there.  I hardly even looked at it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Talk Like John Garand Day

 Actually, it's Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Seems harmless enough.  Might be more fun to have a Talk Like a Rapper Day, Talk Like a Terrorist Day, (pirates were the terrorists of their time, no?)  Talk Like Your Dog Day, Talk Like Your Parents Day, Talk Like a Slave Day...et, et.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Daily Deercam

  Baited the Hav-a-heart with catfood.  Coon war is hot.  Nothing but coons on cam, though I had a battery die quickly.  27 images.  Mowed.  Burned.  All the peasant stuff.  Seems a little pointless when you read that career politician  Jamie Gorelick took home 26 million from Fannie Mae for mismanagement.
  And here I am picking up twigs like an idiot.
  Maybe Obama is right.  I should have been a lawyer or a community organizer instead of wasting time with deercams, oily rags and old guns.

  Update:  One coon posted to Coon Heaven.  (just down the road from Hog Heaven.)  Used a Standard Products M1 Carbine.  Two fawns and mom + button buck fawn and mom on BOTH cams about 500 yards apart.  Interesting thing is they aren't crossing the creek where I thought EVERYthing  crossed the creek...(no tracks on the sand bank) So, where the heck are they crossing?

Update:  In Comments, the question was raised as to whether the .30 carbine was too much for a mere coon.  It absolutely is.  Shot a skunk with it last year, and a doe.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

This Doesn't Come Around That Often...

  National Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Just comes once a year.

Geniuses with Garands

  I just wanted to post this photo of Alan Wilson and Dr. Loyd Sneed.  And some zero-outed doe.  It's fun just being around Garands and folks who can shoot them.  Unless you are the doe.  Then, perhaps, not so much.

Update: Or, as The Good Doctor prefers: Two Fools Who Laugh at Death.

And Now: A Word of Comfort, Compassion, Wisdom and Understanding from the Current Texas Garand Champion.

  I can't remember if I won it by a point or an X.  Not much, but that's all it takes, one point or one X.  Who knows or cares?  I won.  David Guthrie from Abilene won the year before and was second overall in August at Camp Perry.  He'll be back.  Several folks looked at the scores after day one and thought it didn't look very tough, so they drove down to beat my score.  Point or an X.  They had to go home empty.  It's good to be King, though I expected more groupies.
   My Garand is a rack-grade bargain from the CMP North store.  It won the 2007 championship and was 55th at the Camp Perry Garand Championship but wasn't really up to snuff.  (though snuff is outlawed, I think, unless you are 50 feet or more from a commercial establishment.)  No rifling left in the last 3/4 inch at the muzzle and not much throat left at the chamber.  Some red-blooded American GI no doubt scrubbed it out with a steel jointed cleaning rod to please his sgt.  Or a Korean, a Viet, a Greek, a Dane, et. et. et.   Hell.  It was THERE!
  Still, with Army ammo it was a dangerous weapon.  Kilt a couple of does at reasonable ranges.  I wouldn't stand around in front of it.  It shot the ten ring mostly and hit Xs in passing though it would cough up an 8 or 7 now and then on what looked like nicely broken shots.    But, as I have said and said and said, (to nearly everyone), I'm a CHAMPION, so at your National Matches I picked up a new Criterion barrel off a rack that looked like it used to hold Chrysler auto products.  Snuffy or Weenie or Petey or somebody let me sort through a few stocks to find the one with the best wood.  Rick Crawford put the barrel on.  The stock is soaking up layers of BLO, (Boiled Linseed Oil, one each) at the studio.  When I get it all together it ought to stay inside the 10-ring at 200 yards.  If it doesn't, I have three or four more rack-grades around here someplace.  One of them will shoot.
  The TSRA Garand, Vintage, Carbine and Springfield match is the last weekend of this month at the Temple Gun Club.  We'll sort everything out for next year there.  Big fun.  You could be King.  Just takes a point or an X.

Update:  This last go-round at Perry I was lucky enough to shoot Rick Crawfords Garand.  Much fun, but I only was 77th or so.  

Update II: I have some 30-06 National Match ammo around the house someplace.  A whole cans worth I bought off the High Road.  At the Championship you have to shoot issued ammo but I'm looking for an opportunity to shoot the good stuff.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Len, Debra, Colin, Dick and Gail

  I know they are busy or displaced but not a word from several folks in Houston and Clear Lake.  Keeping them in mind and heart until the situation down there is resolved.  Houston- the Energy Capitol of the world...without power!
  Best to all down there.

Update: Len called in from Blind Pig.  He and Kathy are keeping the cats dry and waiting on power to come on.

Fire Ant War

 Fire Ants come boiling up through the back wall of the studio now and then.  They build a red clay mound that comes through a seam in the floorboards.  

  The first time they did it I used boiling water out of the lab to push them back.  I'd fill up a half gallon stainless beaker at the darkroom sink and flood it over the mound.  The floor back there has a slant.  I really just wanted to see if it would work, and it cleaned up the mounds and collapsed them back under the floorboards.  It DID work, but it took a week of hot water a couple times a day to discourage them.  They stayed gone two years.

  This season I hit them with Amdro.  Yesterday.  Treated them inside and outside the wall. This morning I checked and they seemed to be in a state of retreat.  Many dead stacked outside the mound.  I can probably sweep it up tomorrow.

  Awful stuff.  They are a non-native species so I'm not as sympathetic as I might be, even philosophically, to their extermination.  Too bad we can't use Amdro on the mosquitos.

Morning light

It's gone.  Doesn't revive in the dark either.

Daily Deercam

 De-twigging the lake.  And the house.  Enough firewood to cook a moose.  No chance to retrieve the cam across the creek but the local does are still local.  Even the folks in the next house up saw the twins and their mom.  Fresh tracks on top of the reset dirt from the rain.  We burned a pile at the lake and mowed a corner of the lot.  Ike got the power but they are close to having it back on.  Some beautiful big trees down in town.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

10:50 photos

  Not much more open but a lot more aroma.  Side and back views.
  Enough of this nonsense.  The Romans used to throw big parties where these flowers opened but my toga is at the cleaners.  Going to bed.

10:14pm CST Photos

Open nearly to full.  I focused using flashlight, then turned it away for the camera speedlight.  The lower photos have a slight red tint that may be from the tungsten flashlight bulb.
  Nikon Coolpix 8700.

Full Moon

 Another shot at 9:14 pm.  Full moon tonight, though I don't think that affects them much.  Hard to know what a plant is thinking and feeling though, if anything.

9:12pm, CST

Just opening up.  I smelled it when I walked around the corner of the house.  Lights left off on purpose- I think they open better in full dark.

Here it is this afternoon.

  Cereus this afternoon.  They get this curve in them as they get close, then swell and loosen up.  With the hurricane rain this one had too much water if that's possible.

Tonight is THE Night

 Cereus going off after dark tonight during the full moon.  This is the flower bud just starting about a week ago.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Killing Ike

  Maybe it's the dude below who was writhing in front of a TV babette over his failure to follow "official instructions".  Maybe it was the dancing Bigfoot on the Galveston seawall.  Maybe it was just cabin fever or the feeling of being remiss in my duties as a Texan and a he-man manly man.  Or maybe it was the crime-fighting superheroness of the redhead in her waterproof boots.  Whatever it was, I was overcome with the sensation of "Fuck You, Ike" and went out to "Jeff Cooper" Western Civilizations way out of this environmental event.  Screw the internet.  Screw the updates.  Screw the national radars and satellites.  I went out and SHOT the damn thing in the eye as it came by.
  Ike is now a tropical depression.  Co-incidence?  I don't think so.

  "There ain't many problems a man can't fix with 700.00 and a 30-06."  Col. Jeff Cooper.


  Guy stays home in Galveston.  To surf after the storm left.   Makes it through storm.  Now he's whining that he should have left the place he made it through the storm in and WOULD BE TRYING TO GET BACK TO NOW....

  His neighbor made it through the storm in dudes HOUSE.  With a CAT

  Dude.  You made it.  Surfs UP!

  Hell.  You are THERE.

  Tricky link, at least for me.  (Fire, food, shelter, link...)  Look in the video bar to the right. 

  Update:  I bet Bigfoot is surfing!

Ike-ing Our Way Through Saturday

   Power flickers now and then, just enough to reset the computer.  Listening to battery local radio.  Eye is about 20 miles south.  Splattering rain.  Wind hasn't topped 40 here and usually isn't much.  It seems to be just swirling around.  Creek handling the flow.
  So, I slept in while the Redhead taught a class.  Most of them didn't show.  Big crowd at Brady's coffee to read paper full of old news.  Hasn't the internet just kicked butt on the daily newspaper?   Yes, we can!  Hung out for a bagels worth, then back home.  Redhead is watching a movie.  I think I'm going to make some ammo or go to the darkroom and work some film.  Just a rainy day, so far, and not a heck of a lot of rain.
  Dr. Sneed and I are emailing back and forth from College Station.  I think he's swilling wine. watching the storm and generally being one with his inner bum.  
  Len in Houston is out of power I expect but I bet he has dry cats.
  Calls all around.  Daughter.  Mom.  Alan.  Everyone standing by but not much going on.  Just another messy, rainy fall day.  
  Hell, I was THERE!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Bigfoot on Video on the Galveston Seawall!

  Finally!  It's a gay Bigfoot, or maybe he's got a date with Geraldo.  Or perhaps its a female Bigfoot.  But it's definitely Bigfoot.  

Update:  I left a comment on Brendan Loys site about Geraldo being on the seawall at Galveston that got quoted by Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit in full.  No mention of Bigfoot though.  

Update II:  Bear/Bigfoot video now on page two.

Last Nights Deer Census

  Up to Clarksville via the Alan Express.  He's very prepared for nearly anything.  I took my view camera, a 5X7 Deardorff and some Ilford B&W film to shoot a few images of some things I noticed Sunday evening.  Got nearly the same conditions and shot all my film.  Five holders, front and back.  I'll process all of one side, take a look and then process all the sheets from the other sides.  The Sycamore tree with the Poison Ivy plant held absolutely still for 20 second exposures at F32 with a polarizer and a light yellow filter.
  40 deer minus or plus a few.  Started with three does crossing the field behind the house.  The first one saw me unlocking the gate and ran, the next two followed suit but didn't know why and were "hopping"-getting air-to look around and spot the threat.  (It was Sarah Palin.)
  We saw deer on nearly every line we drove.  Alan uses a LED light that he can really pick them up on low down while I'm blasting from the bench seat up top.  Gorgeous night- about 78 with the moonlit pastures and trees, star-spangled North Texas skies and Alan doing most of the work. We live incredible lives here in North Texas.  I'm very grateful.
  The only hazard was a species of very ambitious civil engineering-type spiders who can span a hell of a reach with their webs.  Big reddish-orange jobs.  They hang in some impossible places and end up on your collar with a web-face wrap if you don't see them early.  I get them on my trails here about the time the little black and white crab-like spiders disappear.  I didn't take them personally.  They have lives too.
  20 hogs or so in one of the fields.  Six big ones and many small ones.  No eye reflection from hogs but you could spotlight them and watch with binocs.  Ran over a cottonmouth at the creek crossing who was gone when we came back 30 minutes later.  Alan says they survive being run over.  Two barn owls in the leaning tower stand, white in the spotlight.
  Armadillo.  A few small bucks.  Insect eyes all around and the big beam will attract a cloud of winged critters if you burn it for more than 10 seconds.  I walked up one of the green insect eyes I could see 20 yards away with my pocket LED as we were loading.  It was a striped grass spider and not a big one.
  Glad to get home at 1:00am.  Burnt all day though I worked a very successful photo shoot for a client and delivered it.  Babies in ICU.  
  Deer survey hangover.  Might be the Dr. Pepper, which I never touch except on the road with Alan.
 We'll sleep tonight.  Washing clothes and charging phones while waiting for Ike.  I'd like to see that film tomorrow if the power holds.

Hurricane Prep and wait.

   When I was a kid we used to have relatives for Freeport, Surfside and LaMarque come stay with us at the family house during hurricanes.  I can remember as a grade-schooler standing in the driveway watching clouds fly by overhead during one of the storms.  We never GOT much storm, just cousins camped out on the living room floor for a few days.

  This is a bigger deal.  I've never known the surge to be so high, deep and early plus with the internet folks seem to make a bigger deal of it all having more and better info.  You can see the damn thing on satellite, updated every few hours or watch Galveston flood on webcam.

  Just sprinkling here with a little wind stirring now and again in Tyler.  Going to go gas up and buy a few tag ends of groceries.   I'll be checking on neighbors and friends and hoping for the best for those down south.

Update:  If I was on the seawall I would be very tempted to fire a few rounds of 30-06 out into the center of the storm, just because.  Out of a Garand, of course. 

Update II:  Bloggers.  Webcams.  Live streaming.  Emails.  Satellite.  Radar.  Infared. Surge maps.  You can get info on this monster and instant updates from 100s of different sources.  Remember when you just read about this kind of thing in the next days newspapers?  Or watched a channel or two on TV?  Crazy.  Just as crazy as letting the few newspapers and TVs tell us what is going on with an election.

Thursday, September 11, 2008


  I was on a morning consult for a photoshoot when the media contact person for the company leaned out of his office and said "You better come look at this."  He had a bank of TVs set up so he could watch several channels at once.  The first World Trade Center Tower was burning on one of them.
  That afternoon I was going to Dallas to do a photoshoot of the North Texas Tollway.  It cancelled.  Everything cancelled except for watching the horror unfold in New York and the East coast.
  Congrats to the Bush Administration for keeping the country safe the last seven years.  Here's to hoping the next administration is up to the task.
  I don't think this is done but today I'm mindful of the blood and treasure poured out so far.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The Girls

  I don't THINK the button buck is one of the kids.  Could be wrong.

Daily Deercam

  That's it.  I'm moving the across-the-creek-cam.  The rains had the creek full and I log-walked over the torrent.  Good balance, especially with all the stuff but on the far side a very understanding young cottonmouth had to frantically whip away from underneath the exposed roots I was climbing on.  Two warnings.  Enough.  I'm moving the cam next trip to the end of the indian village.  Jumped a deer down there last trip.  Jumped two or more today, some went left and some went right in the brush.
  Nothing across the creek- it was card and battery-less, but they ate the corn.  They have found it.  Hate to give it up, but..enough.  It's currently running well.
  Five coons on the other cam.  Combat Operations: resumed.
  And the coons spun the cam.  I got to see the first buck, a little button buck born last spring on the cam.  Not much, he probably doesn't even know he's a guy yet, but it's a start.

Honest Voting

   You gotta show an ID to cash a 5.00 check.  I can't imagine why you wouldn't have to show something to vote.  Hell, I have to walk through a metal detector and be searched just to get in the voting booth.
  This MIGHT eliminate dead people voting, or people voting twice, or people being voted FOR when they are elsewhere.  It seems the least we could do.
  Good for Florida.  Maybe they will have a more honest vote. 
  There is a LOT more voter fraud in the country than people think, and thats without incidents like THIS subverting the political process.

"They were confused by my excellence."

  That's a quote from "Confederacy of Dunces".  It applies.
  In the last couple news cycles Obama has:

1.  Destroyed himself on O'Reilly by yakking away about everything and nothing.

2.  Called himself a muslim with George Stenopholas.

3. Explained the 2nd Amendment to Union workers.

4.  Explained what the founders intended guns to be used for.

5.  Called Sarah Palin a pig.

  Meanwhile, in contrast, Palin and McCain stop the bus so Sarah can hug a Downs kid.

  He's going to have to campaign hard in all 57 states to overcome his own mouth.

Update:  Biden can help!

Update II: A LOT!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Seeing In Front of Your Face

  When I went up to count deer sunday, for the State of Texas and Alan, I saw two photographs.  I didn't have my camera but there they were in a kind of perfection that lets you know you are in the presence something special.  I needed my 5X7 Deardorff and a couple of film holders.
  I just stood there and let those images pour in.  One was a sycamore tree with a huge interior Poison Ivy plant in heart-breaking light just after sunset.  The other was a dusk view up the road just as the security light came on.  Both of them were just dead-bang easy.  Set up and shoot.  
  Taking my camera along Thursday just for the two images.  They were right at the house, easy access.
  Taking into account that everything that happens....happens for the first time, the last time, and the only time, so it certainly might not be the same.  
  But there is always the chance.

Getting Down in J-Town.

  They aren't the TSA.  I had to take off shoes, metal stuff, pile all my valuables in a plastic tray, et, et.  When I got my checked luggage they had left a note on my undermawears.
  The Israelis just wanted this dancer to bust a move.

Cats Don't Know About Weather

  The cat- our cat, who seems to be above average intelligence for a feline, wanted to go out yesterday evening.  Ten minutes later it was a downpour.  She couldn't be found though I took a good look in the likely dry places with flashlight, umbrella and rubber boots. 
  I was checking flooding next door- not looking for her.  She's an adult.
  A little after six this morning, in she came.  She was somewhere dry and the somewhere dry had fleas.  She was estatic to get in.  She's a friendly cat, very laid back and adaptable, but not needy. I've been working her over with the fleacomb pulling them out along with the extra fur and dirt.  It's very effective and just more hunting as far as I am concerned.  Six or seven in the trashcan next to the computer along with a handful of grey fur.  She's happy.  She'll probably sleep through the day now.
  Still raining.
  I notice that most folks don't know how to handle their cats.  I regularly go to someone's house and start working their cat, beating butt, scrubbing head, working ears.  The cats freak out...but they can't stay away.  You would be surprised at what cats actually like.

Bigfoot: Jet Pilot, Drug Smuggler, CIA Operative.

  Here's an interesting story.  Plane with tons of coke aboard crashes in Mexico.  The previous year, the aircraft was used to fly someone to the US base at Guantanamo and back.
  Then the story gets deeper.
  Who owns these planes?  How did planes used by the CIA end up filled with drugs flying in and out of the US and all over the Caribean?
  I'm sure there is a simple and reasonable explanation.  I'm sure good investigators will get to it.

  But I doubt if anyone is going to be claiming: Hell, I was THERE!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Piper Palin and Trig Hair Issues

  I don't think I'm going to get any traction with the Bigfoot as Trig's Dad meme, but that's the way it goes. 

 On the other hand I thought this was the video moment of the campaign so far.  Not everyone agrees.   The folks who don't agree are....uh huh....the liberal media.  I'm shocked!

  Well.  Normal life isn't for everyone.

  If I was going to a Palin rally (not that we are going to see her in Texas), I would have a sign that says "I (heart) Trig."  I'm glad he's around with a family to take care of him.

  She's in Alaska seeing her son off to Iraq.  God Bless all the troops.

Update:  Who has the hair trigger?  Trig?  Piper?

Counting deer

  There are taboos and prohibitions about counting people or animals.  If you can COUNT something, you are well on the way to controlling it.  The Saudis, for instance have concealed their true numbers for years.
  I toss census information when it comes to the house.  Incredible questionaires.
  That said, our first deer count was a big bust.  Alan's forman was spraying the food plots with herbicide to kill the summer weed growth as we were driving up.  We saw less than 20 deer.  A record low.  Couple of little bucks mixed in.  Usually we see 50-80.  Low 40s was the previous bottom.
  We spotlight from a raised bench on the back of a 1967 Ford Bronco.  I use binocs to look at the deer up close in the light.
  Beautiful night.  Owls in the open blinds.  Barn Owls had filled up the Leaning Tower with rat fur and bones from their castings.  I'm sure they raised a whole brood in there.  We saw several other pairs of owls.  Stars and a quarter moon lit the scenes.  Some ground fog down along the creek meadows kicked the lights back in our faces and probably lost a few deer.  Data is supposed to be submitted to the state by this weekend.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dead Dog

  Peter Hathaway Capstick was right.  Don't go into the long grass.

  Dead dog I shot on a Thursday, August 14th.  After Camp Perry and before the week in Maine.  Doesn't take long to work them down.  You can see why so many fossils are incomplete.  Many hungry critters scattering the remains.

Daily Deercam

  Jumped a deer on the indian village right before I dropped off into the creekbottom to cross and service the far cam.  I got the impression it was a buck.  Don't know why or how.
  My battery was dead.  It's battery was dead.  Many mosquitos.  Corn gone.  Why am I doing this?  I left it dead but pulled the card.  One doe, later joined by her fawn, eating Iowa corn.
  Where the heck ARE the bucks?  

Read about Ike in Granma...next week.

  Hurricane Ike is fixing to soak and blow Cuba's people and the states property from end to end.  We can watch it on the Internet, but in the workers paradise, they don't HAVE the internets, so they won't be as worried as the rest of us.
  They can read about the Hurricane, next week.  
  Maybe their community organizers are spreading the word. 
  God help them.  Oh, I forgot.  No God in Cuba.  That's an opiate of the masses.
  Well, primos....bueno suerte.

  Update:  Ike pounding Cuba right now.  Awful for the folks down there.

Saturday, September 6, 2008


  Offhand is basically a game of concentration: Can you focus on the basics, shot after shot for 20 minutes, never looking ahead or behind?  The answer: Mostly.  190X4.
  Sitting at 200 I shot a personal best.  I don't really know how or why. Everything looked good and I concentrated on keeping the trigger moving.  I had to relax my front arm over and over. 200X13.  Two strings of ten shots in 60 seconds with a magazine change.  100X8 and 100X5.
  300 rapid was adequate: 98X3 and 99X5.  Total: 197X8.
  Then 600.  I shot EIGHT Xs out of 20 shots but only one 10.  Most of the rest were in a small group at 8:00 on the nine/eight ring.  I ruined a good day shooting with a 184X8.  
  I think some of the bullets were touching the lands and some jumping free.  Probably need to seat them all a little deeper.  80 shot match.  200, 300, 600 yards.  771X30.  Lotta Xs. 
  Update:  I've got a Stoney Point Overall Length Gauge.  Useless.  You can't feel when the bullet ogive  is touching the lands and I get wildly divergent measurements using a Sierra 80.  Alan is going to check it with his.  Supposed to be 2.42 inches.  I'm going to try setting them at 2.40 or shorter.  Everything short is working so it's a problem with the 80 Sierras.
  Haven't cleaned the rifle since before th National Matches.  Going to clean it right now for Alan's.  Going up to count deer tonight.

Update:  Explanation of the score in comments.  Funny what you remember- I noticed how happy my feet were shooting prone at 600.  Really had good position, especially those happy feet!

Update II: Alan used his bent Stoney Point OAL gauge on my chamber.  Looks like I am loading long which would make some touch and some not.  I'm going 2.42 and pushing the bullet into the lands never got that long.  2.40 max.  Going to set them back and try a little more jump.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Trigger Time

  Except for murdering coons and a dog with a .22, I haven't fired a shot since the last round standing at 300 yards in the Springfield Armory M1A Match on Viale range at Camp Perry.  The last match round I fired was an eight, I think, and went into Lake Erie.  It was some terrible ammo I bought from Dick Curry.
  Tomorrow we start the fall season at Carthage.  80 shot match.  First time to be together since Perry.  Probably have 30-40 shooters.  I've got the gear piled up, mags loaded in order on the outside of the rifle case.  My Garand is going to Rick for a new barrel.  1903A3 getting a new front sight blade, now that the CMP has signed off on wide front blades for that rifle.  Got a bunch of .308 LC NM brass for Jim Booker.  New Garand stock has one coat of boiled linseed oil soaking into it.  The kid's stuff ready by the door, though he is trying to bolt via an IM.  Too late and T.S.  Maybe I'll start letting him drive a little.
  Sneed called tonight about 9;30 when a big buck crossed the highway in front of him down near College Station.  I asked him if the ears were wider than the horns.  He said the BIG buck was way wide and tall, the little buck following was just a bit wider than the ears.  He's getting the eye and the fever.  
  Alan and I are counting deer Sunday Night up at Clarksville on his farm.  Usually we spotlight 60-90 deer.
  The trigger time is fixin' to get started.  Wake-up call at 5:00am.

Update: Somebody at the coffee shop cracked that I would be spending a lot of time with Betsy.  The Redhead just rolled her eyes as several folks sat up and asked, "Who the hell is Betsy?"
  Betsy is my AR.

Fading Spots

 The twins spots are fading.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Daily Deercam

  Digital files of three coons.  All adults.  They are on the bubble of having the cease-fire lifted, the Nazis!  One doe and her fawn on cam, the other resident doe and her two fawns also.  Spots fading on the youngsters.  Nothing across the creek except over-exposed files.  Corn had been worked but it was a long walk for nothing.  Lots of very fresh sign everywhere as Gustav reset all the sand for fresh footprints.  Several big dead pines felled by the wind.  Had to move the trail across the deep creekbottom.
  Mosquitos trailed me the whole way, but the weather has broken.  64 degrees this morning.
  I added a little deer attractant, something I haven't used before, to the corn at both cams.  6.99 at the feed store.  Smells like some sugary-salt mix.  Didn't taste it.  Yet.
  Not one antler in velvet or not since the first of the year.  Crazy.

Update:  You can see the difference in the facial structure of a young deer and an adult doe in this photo.  She's almost got these fawns up and going.  Another two months and they will look like adults.  She's a good mom.  Still nursing.  Raised twins and is in good shape herself.  Rut starts in about a month and a half.  Bucks will probably run the youngsters off but they will stay close as they can.  She may start running and lose them for a while.  They will probably get back together for a while after she is bred.
  I'd love to know exactly how old this doe is.  She's over 2 and less than 8 I would think.  Very successful and experienced mom.  


  I like the Palins.  Piper slicking down Trigs hair has got to be the video moment of the whole long campaign.  Good people.  Just like a lot of us.

  Maybe Trig could put a little hair spit on Biden. 

Nazi Raccoons

  Maybe I cease-fired too soon.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Night-Blooming Cereus

 Just missed.  Had a post planned and the buds beat me by a night.  Three blooms this week.  They start about 10:00pm and wilt under the light of dawn.  The plant is a member of the cactus family.  Flowers smell like ginger and lemon.  Mediterranean.  I don't know what polinates it here.
  This one is wilted in the rain from Gustav.  The buds start off about 1/3 banana size and shape and fold back on themselves making a big white snowball.  Many vaguely sexual-looking things inside.  Stamens.  Pistils.  God knows.
  Mine is from a cutting out of Mary Burton (God) across the street.  Hers used to put out a bloom once ever year, starting after she had the plant for a decade.  I manned up and gave my cutting plenty of dirt and fertilizer, hit it with a little bloom-or-bust flower food and got 10-20 blooms four or five times annually, clustered around the spring and fall.
  Mark Baldwin had a nice one that belonged to his lovely wife Susan up in Surry.  I repotted it while I was there.  Hope it gets a warm place to sit and some light for the winter.

Is BIGFOOT the Father of Palin's Baby?

  While I was watching Republican speeches last night, speeches which "Knocked it out of the Park" or Couldn't have been better" US magazine...well, heck, all of the media, including the NYT were asking the really pertinent questions about Sarah Palin and her family.

  Instapundit commented that the only way to keep Palin's daughter off the front page of the NYT would be to name John Edwards as the father.  

  I'd be less disgusted with the whole lot of liars if they would just go ahead with the whole parody themselves with a cover of the National Enquirer:  Bigfoot Father of Palins child!!!!

  You read it here first.

Update:  Palin's SS# published by left sites.  Nice job, guys.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Every Day a Novel

   But tomorrow may be a Russian novel, or at least an unedited Stephen King: I'm teaching a class at Tyler Junior College.  
  Not shooting...photography.  Basic black and white with a wet darkroom.  In the digital age.  Like teaching Daguerreotype after wet plate arrived.  One night course on Mondays and Wednesday evening.  In the same classroom that I sat in the first day I had a class about photography.
  We had more guys, few girls back then.  Now its flipped.  I have 17 girls and five guys.  I think I have a couple of Spanish linguists, so everyone is going to have to habla along and learn a little photo lingo.  Or lingua.
  I taught there years ago, (OK, 25 years ago) but still could recognize myself in the curriculum.  They have asked me to return several times.  I thought I better take them up on it.
  Rubbing my hands in anticipation.  I happen to teach a heck of a class, whatever the information I am given to disperse.  This ought to be really fun.  I know the subject inside and out and also the ORDER in which the material ought to be presented.  While I'm walking this group down this particular path I'll be completing an exhibition for the Tyler Art Museum next door.
  God help them.

  Photo above: Chair on a wall, 2000.  Silver print.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Sweating Gustav

  Doesn't look like much fun in Louisiana but here we had the first few drops of rain at about 5:00.  On the satellite we are pretty far out on the weak side of the storm.  The first projections had it coming to the house here in the Azalea District but later tracks bend it further and further to the east.  Hope the levy holds.  Pretty rough on the coast around Morgan City.
  Tyler Junior College, ETMC, University of Tyler all taking refugees.  This morning at IHOP we saw truckload after truckload of game wardens pull in for breakfast.  Rare to see that many in one group.  We heard horror stories from the waitress at Ihop, the teller at Target but they were in the drama of it and not watching the internet.  I feel as god-like as Obama, being able to watch it on satellite and internet.  Wild stuff.  The wind ran south all morning (thats where we were in the counterclockwise rotation) and only now is starting to change a bit.  The Redhead thinks the new media gets everyone a little too ginned up.
  Just being observers here.  Some folks, Xavier- are neck deep in the center of it.

  CNN has a report on gun confiscation from folks being evacuated.  Figures.

Update: Drizzling rain here all day.  Weather channel shows Arkansas getting rain.  Big rain in Vicksburg this morning as folks were going back to Mississippi.
  Big difference watching this storm as opposed to standing on the back of the galleon saying, "you think the wind is coming around a little this afternoon, Jore?"

Hannity, Colmnes and Rove

  Hannity didn't have much credibility with me after sucking up to Karl Rove, who, judged by results, destroyed the Republican party.  The "Architect" of losing the house, the Senate and now probably the Presidency.  Some genius.  Some CONSERVATIVE deep thinker.
  Oh yeah.
  He's got less, dipping into the negatives if he doesn't fire his so-called co-host after Alan Colmes despicable remarks about Sarah Palin's last pregnancy.
 I always thought Colmes was lucky to have this gig, being a blow-up punching bag for Sean on the show, but this kind of idiotic hate speech shouldn't be tolerated.
  So Sean, old buddy, are you just a "ho-ho-ho-host-along kind of celebrity media creation or do you actually have ANY real beliefs?