Thursday, September 27, 2012

Went to a gun show in Dallas last Sunday.

I arrived at my buddy Dave's place up in Gatesville around 8AM and was greeted at the car by his pooch, Red. She's an awesome mutt. You've seen her in some of the pictures from our shoots. 

As we drove off towards Dallas she trotted along Dave's gravel drive, only stopping to head over towards his mothers place in the end.

Once we got up towards big "D" we stopped in Duncanville so Dave could show one of his old guns to a friend of mine. Jim Donovan recently published a book about the Texas Revolution and the Alamo, and he'd asked if Dave could show him a real "Brown Bess" musket.  

This one was an "India Pattern" from around 1805. The Mexican forces in Texas used their own version of the Brown Bess  that was very similar to this one. I've told Jim that he needs to come down to Gatesville some time, join us in one of our shooting outings and check out Dave's full collection. It'll blow his mind.

When we got to the show I left Dave off to head into the show, parked under the parking garage and went off to give blood. The Carter blood folks always have a bus out in front of the hall and I usually try to donate when I can.

 Apparently my blood, which is O+ , lacks a contaminant that many people carry, making my blood very good for prematurely hatched squealers and HIV patients. So, I donate a lot. makes me feel good, like when I vote. My civic duty, I suppose. Anyway, I got into the gun show free (they charge $10 to get into this one nowadays!) with a new T-shirt and a bandage on my arm.

It was a good show. I saw a few people I knew, including Randy Kline, the gunsmith who built several of my coolest Kalashnikovs. I also ran into a real hero. 

Last time I came to this show I bought an autobiography from an old gentleman named R.V. Burgin. His book, Islands of the Damned, is the story of Mr. Burgin's youth in the United States Marines and his experiences in the Pacific War, particularly the savage fighting on the island of Peleliu. His story was used and he was portrayed in the recent HBO series The Pacific. 

I shook Mr. Burgin's hand again and told him that I'd enjoyed his book tremendously and was honored to see him again. Considering his age, it was a surprise and a great pleasure to see him still up and around, still going strong. God bless him.

One chore I wanted to accomplish at this show was getting a few pocket knives sharpened. There's a guy there with the right equipment who'll put such an edge on my little peanut, I could use to do surgery. 

Yea, I know. I should sharpen my own gear. I can, and do on occasion. But it's just too handy to have this guy give a few of my blades a professional edge for a few bucks.

After the time spent at the sharpener, I decided to go have another look at something I'd seen earlier on the other side of the hall. A couple of well dressed old gentlemen were sitting at a table with several interesting implements, including a nice replica of a Viking sword. 

The sword was cool enough, but the item sitting on the top of the pile grabbed my imagination like nothing has in a while. I recognized it right off - a replica of a Frankish throwing axe from about 2000 years ago.

 It's an elegant beast, with an easily recognizable head. I couldn't resist, and immediately decided to take it to the sharpenin' dude and see what he could do. You should have seen his eyes light up when I showed it to him. The picture above was taken as he went to work. He had to change the belts and shift things around a bit, and it helped him when I took the handle out of the head. Purdy, ain't it. No, I haven't tried to trow it yet. I'll tell you how it goes when I do.

Oh, and those knives above are the ones I had the dude sharpen.  That little peanut is the blade I carry every day. The other is one that I carry on occasion, just for jollies. It's design was inspired by the Type 3 bayonets they use with modern Kalashnikovs. Here you go.

After the show, Jim Donovan joined Dave and I for a late lunch at Sal's Pizzaria, on Wycliff, just up from the gun show. The Strombolis at Sal's are to die for. Huge friggin' things, filled with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms and meat sauce. Jim brought a box of books he had sitting aside for me, and Dave and I both bought copies of his Alamo book, and he signed them for us. It was a great time.

After that, it was a long drive back to Gatesville to drop Dave off, and then the drive back to Killeen. I got home in time to watch the Packers fiddle around and get hozed by the Seahawmks, refs, whatever. My little padna, in her green Clay Matthews jersey and yellow foam rubber cheese hat, was cussin' a blue streak. I think I learned most of the good cuss words I know growing up, listening to my mother cuss at the TV while we watched the Cowboys. "Get that son-of-a-bitch!" Denise has picked up that baton and run with it. Big time.

Anyway, it was a good, full day. Hope you enjoyed the report. Feels like old times. I'll have to try to do this more regularly. Cheers.

Friday, September 14, 2012

My buddy Mushy just sent me some shots from my last visit to Mayberry...

Er, Harriman, Tennessee. He's just gotten his computer up and running again and is busy Photoshopping a thousand or so pictures. Anyway, one in this batch stood out to me, because I remembered how much I loved my version of the shot. Here's his picture,

... showing me taking a shot of his lovely wife Judy as she takes her Brochette shrimp off the skewer. I'd cooked dinner for them that night, and I wanted to make sure I recorded their reactions. I know, you're thinkin' "Jesus, put down the camera and EAT!" Aaaaaa, but you don't know us if you're thinkin' that. Well, Judy might have been thinkin' that, but she's used to it. Anyway, if I hadn't been bein' such a goofball, I never would have gotten this shot.

Whis was one of my very best pictures from the trip. Just look at the mischief in those eyes.

I'll eventually post some more shots. Until then, here's a taste...

My buddy Bruno in Missouri...

My Brochette Shrimp...

The view from the tree house tower...

Mushy in love (and me too)...

The Aviation Museum...

And the spread outside Harriman. What an awesome place. Awesome weather, and of course, awesome people. I think it was maybe the best trip yet. They always show me a wonderful time. Cheers.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Critter post.

Dude, it's been a long time since I last posted here. The whole process has changed. I'll have to do it more often, to get used to it again. Anyway...

The little wiggler you see here scurried out from under a set of shelves in a classroom where I was helping out the other day. The women in the room started to panic as I leaned down to pick the little dude up. How can anyone be afraid of a little gecko? For Christ's sake.

I walked the little scudder out the back door and left him on the stuccoed outer wall of the school. I assume he lives there still, searching out little bugs to eat. Beautiful, fascinating, and so gentle to hold. And a nice shot from my phone. Nice detail (click to enlarge).

Anyway, I'm off. Have a nice Labor Day holiday, and think of old Neil when you look up at that beautiful full moon this weekend. Cheers.