May 31, 2013

Look around...

You never know who's around you.
The words on the page leapt out at me: “in the face of intense and overwhelming hostile fire … with no regard for personal safety … on his own initiative, Private Crawford single-handedly attacked fortified enemy positions.” It continued, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, the President of the United States …”  
“Holy cow,” I said to my roommate, “you’re not going to believe this, but I think our janitor is a Medal of Honor winner.”
Read the whole thing at NFO's place.

May 25, 2013

A few more arrivals...

I continue to be intrigued by the incredible variety of silver coins and bullion out there. Pick a hobby. If it interests you, there is almost certainly some sort of bullion coin to honor it. Wildlife? Flowers? Sports? Check, check, and check.

I sold some of my "junk" silver and turned into a few Canadian Maple Leafs and a few ounces of silver shot. I have plans for the shot, and the Leafs are beautiful:

I also ordered a few pieces of copper because the designs are beautiful. Copper is far from an investment metal (at least in raw form), but it does have value - as art if nothing else:

And last but not least, I traded for these specimens of Liberty Dollars. The guy whose signature adorns them - Bernard von NotHaus - has been convicted of various federal crimes and labeled a domestic terrorist for having the temerity to create his own currency. The actual creation of a currency is not the issue - there are many local currencies in use around the country - but the fact that it "may be confused with legal tender". He did very tricky things like putting the words "Liberty" and "Trust in God" on the coins he minted... which have since been confiscated by the federal government.

Apparently there is a New Liberty Dollar being minted now... and I fully intend to acquire a few.

May 24, 2013

Jennifer has wise words...

"Where have all the good men gone?"
You really think he’s going to keep buying all those drinks and dinners while you prattle on about the inherent misogyny of society? Or the patriarchy? That’s a great way to score yourself your very own beta male.

Just read it all.

I've been saying this for years. And I spent too many of those years listening to womyn who wanted an alpha male - that is to say, strong, popular, handsome, a leader amongst his peers - willing to become her own little beta.

Not me, sweetheart.

I had a woman (she was no lady, that's certain) snap at me once because I was holding a door for her. Not opening it for her; this was a mall or something and I happened to reach the door first. I simply held it open after I had walked through. She got to the door and snarked, "I can get those myself, you know."

I went through the next door ahead of her too - and pulled it shut behind me. Petty? Of course. Satisfying? In the extreme.

Fortunately, I got lucky and found a lovely lady who was willing to let me hold doors for her, buy her a drink, and listen to my babbling... in return, she holds doors for me, pushes me to be a better man, buys me a drink now and then, and babbles right back.

It's about partnership, folks...

May 23, 2013

Continuing apace...

The dash to the finish line is starting. I'm wrapping up projects at work and trying to document precisely where things stand so that some might be able to pick them back up in the future. Is that likely to happen? Unknown.

My exit leaves the department with about 2.5 FTEs open (or about 15%). Another person is out on short-term disability, one beyond that is scheduling a disability leave next month, and yet another is counting days to retirement.

Thirty percent understaffed, with no current candidates. Ouch. Much as some like overtime, there comes a point when it's just too much.

Things at home are wrapping up too. I've been sorting things for junk/donate/sell; starting with clothing. I'm up to two laundry baskets full of stuff to be donated, mostly shirts that I don't wear anymore. I've started listing the bigger stuff on craigslist - my kayak, golf clubs, and the like.

There remains a VERY long list of things to do in the next [mumble]. Packing. Dumpster. Cleaning. Selling.

Stay tuned...

May 19, 2013

Stubby P-Mags... because.

I went to the ArfCom Going-away party last night, at their new, never-really-opened retail store. You see, they're just as screwed by the new laws as the rest of us, and they're on the way to Texas.

It was a HELL of a good time. Thirty or forty people, good brews, a roasted pig, lots of good talk about a wide variety of topics, bonfire, camping... Much-needed relaxation.

I got a good look around the store, and picked up a few things... a Maxpedition bag I'd already ordered, a few t-shirts, an ArfCom-engraved Zippo, a few Maxpedition accessories, and ... can it be...

Oh yes, it can be.

A pair of ten-round PMAGs. I have a small stack of pre-94 aluminum mags in a safe place, and another small stack of new 30-round PMAGS waiting in Colorado ... but the truth is, I actually LIKE shooting with a ten-round mag when I go to the range. If you want to get prone, these are great. And when I have some free funds and I'm in MO, I'll add a few 20-rounders as well. Because I can, and because screw you, NY.

May 16, 2013

Big News - and a HUGE to-do list

I got the call this morning. I have been offered a job in Missouri.

I have conditionally accepted, pending my review of their benefits package, etc.

I have that information in hand, and tomorrow I'll go through it with MrsZ... but it looks good.

Real good.

It's quite likely that I will be living in Missouri within 30 days.

I am slightly freaked out by this idea, but mostly excited... and I have a lot of you to thank for it.

The support, both moral and on my multiple trips west, has been incredible. I got to meet a few more bloggers, not stay in impersonal hotels, and relax with My Tribe.

Now ... the hard part: divesting ourselves of four years of house accumulation, packing up, selling the house, and getting out.

Holy crap.

Deal Alert: Pseudo Pelicans

Over at UnholyCocktail. These are "Vault Case" brand, and have excellent reviews over at Amazon - and they're a HELL of a lot cheaper than comparably-sized Pelicans.

"Small" (-7) cases are $13-15, and should be just big enough for a J-frame or pocket auto. The -12 is much more conveniently sized for a medium- to full-size pistol with extra ammo, and has padlock loops for air travel.

It's worth noting that anything over the two-pistol size will incur per-item shipping charges, the -7 and -12 fall into flat-rate shipping.

I've ordered two -7s and a -12 - the 7s will get minimal "prep" gear and be tucked into my kayak and truck toolbox, and the -12 will be a grab-it or travel case.

(I don't get anything from the above link.)

May 15, 2013

Another Blogger self-published!

Marko put out his book not too long ago, and today, Peter - the Bayou Renaissance Man himself - has done the same thing.

Take The Star Road (The Maxwell Saga)

Kindle only, $2.99. I've got my copy, have you got yours?

Silver once more...

I've been tracking spot price pretty carefully at Kitco lately. Silver has dropped a little more and is hovering just under $23 right now.

What little research I've done on sourcing says that's about the point where the mines and refineries will start cutting production because the margin is too thin.

Can paper (spot) silver go down some more? Absolutely. Will it? Some say yes, some say no. I suspect it'll drop a little further, but not by much. (Although I've also heard rumors that tech factories in China are spooling back up and will increase demand, driving spot back up.)

Of course, paper and physical prices have diverged - physical is still selling at $26-28/ozt for generic bullion and $28-30 for government bullion.

So, if you were thinking of buying some silver for a rainy day, here's my advice:

Do it. Silvertowne still has free shipping on some items and Amagi Metals has very reasonable shipping.

Skip the dinner out and Starbucks this week and pick up 4 ounces of silver.

(I'm not a financial planner, advisor, or consultant, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn last night.)

This article/opinion, linked by Silicon Graybeard, is worth the read, if a little tin-foil-ish.

I'm not going to tell you to put ALL of your cash into silver. Keep a ready reserve on hand, always... but if you have some extra...

May 14, 2013

Bit more silver...

I traded into these, and snapped a few pictures last night.

First up, a 2013 "Panda".
These have a serious following, as they are absolutely gorgeous coins.



Second, a "Strategic Reserve" 1oz round. These have some history behind them. In the 1970s, the Hunt brothers along with a few other investors made a significant effort to corner the world silver market - and succeeded, with holdings of about 1/3 of the world's silver - at least on paper. The market and government made some rules changes, and the US Government decided that silver was no longer a strategic metal. Accordingly, they started releasing some of their holdings for sale, both to private mints and the US Treasury. (See "Silver Thursday" for the market effects.) The Continental Coin mint picked up a significant portion, and in 1981 struck the "Strategic Reserve" series from that silver. There are 1oz rounds and bars, 5oz bars, and 10oz bars... I'm still looking for a 1oz bar. ;-)



And finally, a 1921 Morgan dollar - the last year of mintage.


May 12, 2013

Today's gems

First, a quote from The Miller:
"A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because its trust is not in the branch but on its own wings..."

That's some deep stuff, right there. Take five and let your mind go down the rabbit hole.

And my not-so-deep thought for today...

The Great Seal of the United States has a 13-star-burst at the top. It reminds me a whole lot of the classic comic-book punches:

Seriously. All we need a cartoon TR going, "BIFF! POW!"

May 10, 2013

Friday Musings

Two posts from BRM got me thinking today...
First, some thoughts he has on the current ammo drought:
I've taken my own advice (from the article linked above), and cut down on the number of firearms I'm keeping, and rationalized the number of calibers/cartridges in my collection. On a limited budget, I don't really have a choice. On the other hand, the money raised by doing that has enabled me to build up my stocks in calibers/cartridges I really need, and I now find myself with sufficient for the next few years at least. By shopping around, and swapping ammo when possible rather than buying it, I've been able to achieve that without breaking the bank.
Wise words. I can't tell you the last time I bought ammo; I stacked what I could when I could in '10-'11 and can't say I've bought more than a few boxes here and there since. Other things in life have taken priority, like the house, paying down our debt, etc.

I occasionally look at the contents of the safe and debate what I could pare down, and there are definitely some that could be removed (anyone want a Hipoint carbine?) but I've pared down a lot of the excess-caliber stuff already. .22, .223, .300, .270 in the rifles, 12 and 20ga, and .38, 9mm, .40, .45 in the pistols. (OK, and one .44Spl wheelie, but that comes out during hunting season only.) The .17HMR went down the road, as did the AKlone and several .30-30s over the years. None of my pistols are anything remarkable, which means shipping them makes most deals less-than-a-deal. Other stuff has sentimental attachment - f'rex, my first shotgun is a plain-jane 870 SuperMag, but it's on the never-sell list.

So, yes, I could thin the safe if I wanted to - but it's been pared a fair bit already. I've toyed with paring the ammo stash, but there are limits to how low I'm willing to go - and to what end? Another few ounces of silver? A lower loan balance? Those things can come later, the ammo ... I don't know when I can replace that.

And secondly, What happened to sharing in the blogosphere? I'm not even going to excerpt it - just go read it. He makes a great point. I don't have a huge following, because what I write isn't THAT interesting to many. I check the sitemeter now and then, and once in a great moon it'll get Tam- or Uncle-lanched, but not often. I got linked by CommanderZero a couple weeks back, which was a noticeable uptick in traffic (thanks!) ...

but mostly I'm writing because I can, and because I enjoy it. I have a lot of stuff in my head that I just CAN'T share, which is frustrating. Like AD and LawDog and MattG, I have some fun stories from work - but I'm not comfortable with releasing them yet. And truth be told, I'm not half the storyteller any one of those three is.

But meantime - I hope you enjoy my brain droppings, and I'm going to make a sorta-promise to link to one of you hooligans in every post.

Maybe I will be... someday. :-)

Verrrry nice

Ran across this coin while looking for info on some other stuff. Now I want one. With a mintage of 15k, that's... slim. But I'll keep an eye out.

May 8, 2013

Flippin' silver

Looking to shuffle around some silver as things catch my eye. Thus, for sale:
- two rolls of Mercury dimes, $135/ea shipped/insured. Average circulated condition, some pretty worn.
- eight Monarch "Butterfly" 1/2oz rounds, $150 shipped/insured for the lot.

- 5oz Strategic Stockpile bar
- Taku
- ASEs/Leafs
- "Slave Queen" or "Freedom Girl" rounds

Drop me an email or a comment if interested.

ETA: Well, those are gone. If anything else hits the block, it'll be here. :)

May 7, 2013

Spring maintenance

Since spring seems to have finally arrived, we dug the mower out of the back of the shed, sharpened the blades, and I am keeping busy cursing the thing. Don't get me wrong - this mower is 25 years old and still runs (JD Green and made in Moline) - but it's more rust than metal now. If we weren't trying to get the house on the market, I'd be pushing hard for a new one. As is I'm still considering options for acquiring a newish one...

May 6, 2013

Proper Customer Service, two stories

First, my own experience:
I ordered some silver from Montana Rarities a few weeks ago. An extra piece arrived with the order, and I emailed the owner to find out what he wanted to do. He eventually got back to me, apologized for the delay (it's been busy in the PM market), and suggested a couple options. Perfect.

Second example, from the Larue forum on Arfcom:
Guy buys a used Larue scope mount on a classified ad. It arrives and looks hinky. He posts pictures, asks, "is this real?" and waits. Less than two hours later, the company owner pops in, declares it counterfeit, and offers him a new-in-box exchange for the counterfeit so his flying monkeys can work over the fake.

What's the common thread? Meeting (and exceeding) expectations. Montana Rarities isn't the cheapest silver seller on the 'net; they seem to be $0.50-$1.00 higher per ounce than the big shops - but the owner answers the phone and his emails. Larue charges dearly for their products, but they stand behind them - and even behind products that aren't theirs.

Yes, a Larue bipod and mount is still on my wish list.

May 2, 2013

I spent most of last week on the road for BabyBro's wedding. MrsZ and I got to meet Brigid and Barkley on the trip out, and another evening with the always-gracious pediem and ThotPD on the way home.

Aside from that, it was a LOT of seat time. Near-on 2,700 miles in five and a half days of driving. The rental - a Nissan Altima S - racked up a very impressive 36mpg average for the trip (and I'm not known for a light touch on the go-fast). It wasn't *quite* as comfortable as the Toyota Camry from the first run west, but it was decent.

The interview seemed to go well; I'm keeping my fingers crossed for further news on that soon.

If this move actually happens, I'm beginning to think I will thin the safe out a bit more than I otherwise might. Very little in there is truly irreplaceable, and I'm not keen on the idea of moving *mumble* guns 1,200 miles and into an apartment.