Jun 29, 2013

Someone already said it, but y'all write too much. Thanks. :) Feedly seems to be stuck ay "999+". I've marked a few "all as read" but working through many more. And I've got a few in the pipes - as soon as I have solid net access, probably this week.

Jun 24, 2013

One Week In

It's been a week (and a day) since I got here. Seven nights.

There have been a few down moments/days, but mostly it's been positive. I'm still calling New York "home" when conversing with coworkers. That habit will be a long time to break.

The piles of boxes are starting to shrink, albeit slowly.

The first week of work went reasonably well. I've got plenty of learning to do yet, as I try to sort out the geography and landmarks of a new area... but radios are still radios. We're far more involved here than I was at my previous center, which is a nice feeling. Coworkers have been great; pointing me towards places to go and away from things to avoid.

It's DAMN hot out here. Thank goodness for central air. Dixie and I are taking our walks either first thing in the morning or well into the evenings.

Gas service should (finally) be turned on tomorrow. I've been taking cold showers for a week and quite frankly, I'm tired of it. Seems the previous tenants weren't fond of paying their bills, and the gas company had to "investigate" to make sure I wasn't them with an assumed name.

There's plenty left on my to-do list - I need to get MO plates and license, take a CCW class, find car and renter's insurance, and eventually find a local bank... but none of those things are today's priority. Today I'm going to unpack a few more boxes and head up to the furniture store to see if they have any mattresses I like.

And last but not least... guns aren't a taboo topic here. They run a CCW class at the union hall monthly, a couple people have targets hanging in their offices, my landlord and I had a nice discussion on deer hunting... It goes on. Open carry is generally legal (although it can be locally regulated) so I don't have to worry about an accidental exposure...

And all my mags are back up to standard capacity.

Stay tuned.

Jun 18, 2013


Not gentry, but I have landed in Missouri.

I have an apartment in a town a bit east of the new job.

I have the dog with me.

I have all my guns and most of my ammo with me.

I do not have my wife with me... and that is very tough.

The drive was awful. I can't think of any better way to describe it.

I rented a 6x12 tandem-axle trailer from Uhaul, and it was as expected: Heavy. It did, however, fit most of the important stuff. The truck is rated for 5,000lb towing - and I suspect I was well over that when all was said and done. It survived the trip, averaging somewhere around 14.5mpg over 1,155 miles and a lot of hills. Now that the trailer is gone, it feels like a sports car.

Day 1:
I left the house at 7:15am, and drove through the hills of western NY at a stately 55-60mph, occasionally less. I got my teeth rattled out on the washboard of I86 in the Seneca Nation, then on into PA and free air. I tried to grab a picture of the "Welcome to Pennsylvania" sign, but the camera wasn't quick enough as I went by.

I stopped around 2 at Pediem's place for a bathroom, drink, and to stretch legs for a bit. Dixie appreciated the stop... By 2:30 I was back on the road west. On to Columbus, where we picked up I70 and smoother (flatter) roads. Traffic picked up some around there, but not too bad. I chugged across western Ohio and into Indiana, stopping for gas every 120-150 miles or so. Note: if you're going west on 70 in Indiana, there are some truly horrible potholes in the right lane in the first ten or fifteen miles. They have signs well before them, that say "ROUGH ROAD, USE EXTREME CAUTION". The signs should say "HEY STUPID MOVE TO THE LEFT LANE OR YOU MIGHT LOSE AN AXLE OR VOLKSWAGEN". I managed to get BOTH of the potholes with truck and trailer; if I'd been going any faster it might have been interesting.

I'd been intending to have dinner with Brigid, BRM, Wing, and Barkley - but timing was not going to allow it.  I was doing OK to meet for a drink and chat, until I70 came to a complete standstill at mile 110. As in, "shut off the truck and get out to stretch while you sit for 20-25 minutes" standstill. Once we were finally rolling again, it was far too late for dinner and bordering on too late to visit - but Brigid was again the gracious hostess and stayed up a little late, put a plate of food in front of me, scritched Dixie a few times, and let me babble at her, BRM, and Wing before I made my apologies and headed to my hotel for bed. (Side note to those present: sorry I wasn't more of a conversationalist. Totally wiped.) I checked in and crashed shortly after 11pm. Yes, sixteen hours on the road, to go 650 miles.

Day 2: Up early again, I was on the road by 7:15 once more, and just kept chugging. The drive across the remainder of IN and IL was uneventful. I stopped in St Louis for coffee with a dear friend, then continued west. I picked up a follower in the form of BabyBrother and his wife around Marshall, and they followed me to New Place to help me unload. We got here around 4:00 or so and had the trailer empty by 6:30.

I am still surrounded by boxes and chaos, but things are slowly getting organized. I'm learning where things are, I've met many of my neighbors, my new landlord seems like a nice guy...

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit homesick. The first 36 hours here were VERY tough. There may have been some overactive lacrimal glands once or twice. I went through Walmart to get a few essentials, and zoned out while standing in the cereal aisle trying to decide. The woman stocking boxes broke my reverie by asking me if I was OK or if I needed help finding something. ... When the Walmart lady is wondering if you're OK, there might be a problem.

There's a beautiful city park about a half-mile walk away, which Dixie and I have done both mornings since arriving. I've chatted with the other half of our duplex over a beer, and with the landlord over a beer - he lives three houses away. There are several firefighters and at least one cop living within a block or two. It's a pretty quiet neighborhood - very working-class, very good people, who have been nothing but welcoming to a stranger.

This has not been an easy process - in any way. Nor has it been cheap. My fun money will be zero until the house in NY is sold and MrsZ is out here and hopefully working some... but you know what?

I'm free.

You can't take the sky from me.

Jun 8, 2013

Movie Goofs

I can forgive a lot of movie errors in gun stuff. Bottomless magazines, clips/mags, cocking noise for a GLOCK, etc...

but ... I just watched the first four minutes of "End of Watch". Aside from it seeming to be an LAPD version of "Jarhead", the main character is doing a home-video type thing of getting ready in the precinct locker room.

Including holding up his, "department issue side arm, the GLOCK 19 9mm":

Click to embiggenate... but it says "GLOCK 22 .40" on the slide.

That really makes me grind my teeth tonight, for no apparent reason.

Looking back...

I'm on my last shift tonight.

I've been in this job for nearly eight and a half years.

I'd like to say I'm bittersweet about leaving, but the truth is - I'm not. I'm ready to go. It's time.

I've made a few changes that the next generations will hopefully enjoy, and I've made a small difference in a few lives along the way.

I expect I'll be touching a lot more lives over the coming years, as I change to another environment with similar work.

I've heard the good, the bad, and the ugly. I've picked up my share of demons along the way - I'm sure that MattG, LawDog, AD, and all the rest of the emergency services pros can identify. I've had a few calls I'll never forget - good and bad. Including this gem:

It was a major holiday. Which one doesn't matter; suffice to say it was a family-type holiday. I was working the evening shift, which tends to be calm until dinner is over, the two-buck-chuck has kicked in, and everyone starts dealing with (A) five-hour chest pain, (B) that time my cousin stole my phone, and (C) forgetting to turn off the stove.

It was still early in the shift, so we were kicking back, comparing notes on the dinners we'd all had with our respective families, watching TV, and so forth... until the phone rang.

"911, do you need police, fire, or ambulance?"


"What's the emergency?"

"Well, I guess I need the police."

(About this time, the address and name of the caller popped up on my screen. It was ... familiar.)
"OK, Jane Doe, what's going on tonight?"

"Well, you need to come over and tell her to stop!"

"Tell who to stop, and stop what?"

"The little colored girl who's stealing my bras!"

(Migraine salute begins.)
"I ... see. And where is she now?"

"Right there in the corner of the living room."

"Uh-huh. And can you ask her why she's stealing your bras?"


"Why not, Jane?"

"Well, she doesn't have a head, so she can't hear me."

(Enhanced migraine salute.)
"Right. (Pause.) Well, actually, Jane, we already talked to her."

"You did?"

"Yep, earlier today. She promised she wasn't going to steal your bras because it's a holiday."

"She promised?"

"Yep, she sure did!"

"Oh... well, okay then."

(Further migraine salute, and laughter.)

Was it proper call-handling? Eh. Debatable. I was quite familiar with the caller - Jane is a very sweet lady who occasionally forgets a dose of meds, and sees things. She's never been a danger to anyone (including herself), and her husband generally gets her back on a dosage schedule pretty quick.

If she'd called again, she'd have gotten a welfare check from a badge - but I was comfortable with how it went, and I'd probably do it again.

Little chuckles like that make up for an awful lot of acute tachylawdias, SOCMOBs, and all the other nasty shit I listen to.

Jun 4, 2013

Cleaning house

I'm digging through piles of stuff that has accumulated over the past several years, as we prepare to move. I'm unearthing a few things that I really don't need to move across a few more states, because I really have no use for them. Obviously, I want to send them to good homes... so here they are at bargain prices:

20 7.62x39 stripper clips with an AK guide. Yours for the cost of shipping, call it $6 for a small flat rate box.  SOLD.

Most of a box (originally 250) of Nosler .451 185gr JHPs. (I loaded a handful of rounds and didn't like how they shot in my GI 1911). Plus a few dozen no-name 230gr TMJs. $40 shipped.  Sold.

Leather ammo slide, holds a dozen .30-30 rounds. Well-worn, but still flexible. Some mink or Neatsfoot would go a long way. $10 shipped. Sold

Comments are moderated, so let me know.

Jun 2, 2013

New safe

In preparation for the impending move, we evaluated what stays and what goes. The gun safe I bought a few years ago was on the "it ain't going" list. It's large, heavy, and ... well, isn't that enough? Moving it would be awkward at best.

Accordingly, I put out some feelers, an ad on Craigslist and Armslist, and found a buyer relatively quickly. He picked it up yesterday.

This morning I went down to Tractor Supply and bought a new, smaller safe. It's not that much lighter - 500ish pounds as opposed to the 800 of the previous Cannon - but it's much more compact and much more secure. Twelve bolts on four sides, instead of four on one side. Full-swing door. Slightly higher fire rating...

I am pleased with it, and getting it into the house was remarkably uneventful. Most of the collection has been re-secured, and the remainder will be put away in the next day or two. I will probably be purchasing a steel cabinet for the low-dollar stuff, as well...