Friday, August 31, 2012

Follow that truck!

Does anyone else here get the automatic inborn reaction, any time they see a Snap-On truck, to chase it down until it stops? I get an instinctive reaction like a german shepherd seeing a bicycle whizzing past.

Then again, I know where I get that - if we weren't going anywhere critical, my father would perk up, instantly on quivering alert, and say "Ooh! Snap-On!" And we'd get to go see the toybox on wheels! (That's got to be one of the few professions where situational awareness that you're being followed registers as a good thing.)

My mother was a good sport, all told, as she'd give in with a sigh and mutter, "It's still less expensive that an emergency room bill from using a cheap tool." And then she'd direct a meaningful stare at my father's right hand.

I was so happy, the day I got my first snap-on tool that I bought with my own money - it was a scribe, and expensive as it was at the time, I didn't care. The day before, I'd proved the value of eye protection when the cheap sears tool had snapped and half came flying back at my face. I still wince at their prices, but I'm slowly building a small set of things that save my hands, wrists, and eyes.

Since moving to the Lower 48, I'm no longer working at a place that gets weekly visits. But every time I work 25 minutes late, on the commute home, I fall about half a block behind a snap-on truck. And it is so very, very hard not to follow him until he stops and lets me buy some wrenches, or...

One of these days I'm going to chase him down, and my husband will probably worry that I'm home late for dinner, even when I come in triumphantly holding a torque wrench like it's the key to the city.

Monday, August 27, 2012

sights and growling sounds

So, I managed to shoot the front sight off my PMR-30. Well, not the whole front sight, just the bright green bit that you put between the two bright orange bits. The black part that holds the bright green fiber optic may be more old-school, but gun ranges are dim, dark streets dimmer, and I like bright shiny colors.

Kel-Tec's version of customer service: I ask how to send gun back, since I can't find the part locally. They mail new sight free... a third-generation version. (Apparently, other folks had issues.) Really, you can't beat the customer service!

A good friend and I break out the manual, with Calmer Half looking fondly on, and we start cleaning it. By which I mean he disassembled it, re-assembled it once he was certain he knew how it went, and stood by while I very slowly followed his (and the manual's) directions. Nice thing about American-made products: the manual is not in Engrish, it's in American. The spring did defeat my hand strength; I had to ask for male help. I am not too put out about this; I have to ask for help on pickle jars, too, because I misplaced my not-for-plumbing strap wrench.

Unfortunately, the sight is nicely dovetailed, and trying to drift it out gently didn't work. So what's a gal with lots of improvised and inappropriately sized tools to do?

...Take it to a gunsmith, of course!

It took the gunsmith maybe fifteen minutes to disassemble, note where I'd gotten the recoil buffer backward when I'd reassembled it, note the rarity of a customer cleaning a gun before bringing it in for work, pop the old sight out, put the new one in, adjust it to be straight, and reassemble the gun. The gunsmith rocks, and I will highly recommend him if you ask.

The attached shop, not so much. After being in there, I growled and shuddered on the way to the truck, shaking off the store's miasma like a dog shedding water. Calmer Half gave me a puzzled look. "Love?"
"Next, I'm taking you to a lingerie store, so you can feel freakin' invisible to the sales staff and be talked over and past! You note how the idiot behind the counter turned to you and asked if you were buying anything else when I put the ammo on the counter? And went for your credit card when I pulled out my wallet? And tried to hand the bag to you? The reason I asked him a direct question in your conversation was so he had to actually look me in the chest and acknowledge I exist. I won't darken their doorstep again!"

Calmer Half, wise man that he is, made soothing noises and gave me ice cream. Astronaut ice cream from the gift shop after exploring a science museum, but it counts!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Different Tastes

I understand there are different kinds of heat. I know that Calmer Half will likely never appreciate the joys of a good chili con carne, or at least, it's going to take years to get him to move from the most mild of salsas to medium, much less pico de gallo.

However, I cannot stress this principle strongly enough:

When I can smell the curry in the back of my throat from two rooms away, IT IS NOT MILD.

There is no way that will ever be mild. Mild is when you have to stand over the stove to smell the dish, Not when you watch someone dump a cup of curry powder in, stir twice, and say brightly, "It's ready!"


...I don't think I ate enough ice cream. Excuse me, I'm going to go cram an entire bottle of antacids in my gullet now, and wash it down with a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread. Mild, my fat butt, that's worse than "my favorite aunt kimchee! Is best!"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

That sidebar on the right

For those of you who actually visit the page, not just pull the content on a feed, I'm not trying to monetize the blog. The rectangle over there on the right reminding you of the 2nd Amendment Foundation's Gun Rights Policy Conference is there because GC, who is an utter gentleman and rarely inflicts his delightful sense of humor on the unsuspecting, asked me to make sure the word is spread.

Even if it's not something I'm throwing myself behind body and soul, it's something one of my friends is doing so - and I will do my best to support my friends. Besides, SAF are some great people who aren't just throwing "likes" around facebook, but putting real, hard work into the long battles offline in court rooms to preserve and defend our right to protect ourselves. So go on and check it out, eh?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Music, books, and mischief!

I know it's not the weekend yet for the rest of you - you'll get your turn when it's a nice Sunday morning and you're waking up for breakfast or church, and I've already been head-down in the data for hours, trying to get my people up and the long list of projects completed before the bigger bosses want them done on Monday morning.

For now, I get a morning with tea and chocolate, kicking back and relaxing. My most pressing tasks are to enjoy alpha-reading Calmer Half's novel and do another load of laundry, while stopping now then to simply enjoy the brand-new album out from the Cruxshadows.

If you don't like techno, you won't like this - but if you do, I strongly recommend As The Dark Against My Halo. It hasn't been an easy five years since their last album, including their label deciding it wasn't going to release any new records, and having all their equipment stolen. On the bright side, the lead singer married another band member and had a baby, and their band news page has been full of hope and optimism, and amazed wonder. I can hear it in the music, too - they take take a mastery of darkwave music and a powerhouse band they've built, and have gotten even more optimistic and soulful. (I didn't think they could without crossing into sappy, but they managed!)

I have another treat coming later today that more of you are likely to enjoy than the music - Mad Mike has another book out, and it looks like yet more fun and mayhem with Ripple Creek Security. When Diplomacy Fails is out in paper and ebook, and the first seven chapters are up free at Baen, right here. Mike knows his guns and his sharp pointy things, and if he's a devious, twisted mind, he's also fiercely honorable, and writes books that work as really fun action tales, as political satire so sharp it cuts the heart out of sacred cows and served them up as shish kabobs, and as hilarious send-ups of popular culture, internet memes, and blogs.

You won't get to see it for a while yet, but when you do, Calmer Half's book will be a great treat. Especially after I'm done torturing his main character and world, and making Calmer Half explain on paper all the things in his head he forgot to put in, interrogating everyone's motivations and generally having fun... right now it's a good story, with plenty of glimmers of being great. Just stand back while we get out the hammer and chisel, and all the dremel tools, because this one's gonna shine!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Scents and Sensibility

LabRat over at the Atomic Nerds has been going through the self-dosing chemical-warfare experiments - namely, trying on new perfumes. In a fit of "Hey, if all the cool kids are doing it, I can, too!", I tried two Demeter perfumes given to me by a friend with a wicked sense of humor. (How wicked? Check the names when you read that far. I love her twisty brain!)

I should have thought first about the way that I use unscented laundry detergent, clean with unscented chemicals, and use unscented shampoo and deodorant. My life isn't completely scentless: I use clove-cinnamon toothpaste, and some nice mild soaps with lovely scents from the farmer's market, but the only chemicals I tend to wear are splashes of simple green or bleach when mopping the floors or cleaning the bathroom, engine oil and avgas from the plane, and a little MPro from cleaning guns. I hold my breath when I have to enter the laundry detergent aisle in the grocery store, and I'll only touch the National Geographic magazines in waiting rooms, because the others try to punch me in the olfactory nerves with perfume samples.

The two samples I had:

Riding Crop
The Riding crop scent (like all of ours, in our somewhat humble opinion) is right on the barrelhead. That wonderful worn leather aroma. This was a naughty name and we couldn't resist. Heck, who knows what mischief you can get into with this one.

My review: Sprayed on my wrist from the little spray bottle - sneeze. Inhale, sneeze. Flee bedroom. Sneeze. Gather up stuff for work, moving quickly, being punched in the nose with the sharp smell of leather freshly unrolled in the craft goods tent. Breathing shallowly, get in car. Sneeze. Roll down windows. Drive to work with windows down, occasionally blowing my nose.

Once arriving at work, find it's diminished enough that I just faintly smell of leather. Wonder if it's just because my raw-feeling nose is too deadened to notice. Fortunately, I don't have to interact with people for the first half hour. Go wash my hands halfway up to the elbows. Still smell traces of leather until well after lunch, then a lingering sharp smell until I got home to shower.

Redhead in Bed
Shake together gin, lemon juice, syrup, and ice. Strain into martini glass over strawberries. Garnish with strawberry and enjoy!

My review: Sprayed on my wrist from the little spray bottle. Sneeze violently. Inhale, sneeze. Flee bedroom. Sneeze. Gather up stuff for work, moving quickly, being smothered by the sickly smell of strawberries. Breathing shallowly, get in car. Sneeze. Roll down windows. Drive to work with windows down. Try to drink tea, gag at the taste of strawberries on my tongue as I inhale, like trying to drink a tea with rose petals that's sat so long it's akin to paint thinner. Only with strawberries instead of roses.

Get to work late from accident slowing traffic, no time to wash off wrist for the first two hours. Find myself completely uninterested in eating lunch, as my eyes feel sore and my nose and throat feels raw.

...Two points does not a comprehensive test make, but I think I'm going to wistfully read LabRat's descriptions instead of ordering any "melancholy death of Nicholas Tesla", no matter how wonderful it sounds.

Yeah, Labrat's definitely a tougher lady than I am. So is any woman who can dose themselves repeatedly to determine what scent they like. You ladies win. I'll be out at my hangar, where I have this nice respirator for working around smelly stuff, a kindle full of books, a plane, a gun, some nice new Cruxshadows music, and the sad realization that I don't think my lungs would be up to going clubbing anymore, even if I did drop enough weight to look good in clubbing gear.