Thursday, November 25, 2010

Could you repeat that, please?

So, I’m running around this morning packing for a trip to visit family this weekend when I hear Shorter Half in another part of the house yelp “What??

Apparently he was listening to the radio which was prattling on about the TSA. He stepped out of the room for a moment only to return to a voice saying “… after you finish checking the body cavity you can return the legs to their tucked position.”

I really, really hope they were talking about turkey at that point.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Family Fun

It being up near 60 degrees this afternoon, we decided to go outside and shoot the pellet guns.

There was a lot of this:

And then this:

With the Big, Bad Wolf properly perforated, it was time to move onto a more traditional target.

SD was not happy with her results. It didn't matter to her that she hit the center line, because she didn't hit the center of the target. She aimed for the center, but hit high, not once, but twice, and was quite frustrated. And when she hit outside of the circle, she insisted it wasn't her fault, she wasn't aiming there!

Here SD is earnestly explaining that she was aiming at the center and so the shot that hit outside the black must have been caused by a problem with the pistol. We explained that the pistol is a tool, and doesn't arbitrarily do that. She wasn't buying it.

You can see that SD is utterly dejected by her inability to hit dead center of the target. To try to illustrate how well she did, Shorter Half and I each took a shot at the target behind her head. Well, not while she was standing there, of course. But to show her that we can't always hit the center either. She refused to be consoled, even when we told her Miss Breda would have been impressed.
She was frustrated, and not having fun, so we decided to switch it up and gave her the option of firing my pellet rifle using a rest.

She liked it. A lot.
Still a bit high, but the important thing is that she had a good time, and stopped only because she was getting cold and it was getting dark.
Fun was had by all, and plans have been made to do it again tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Monkey see, monkey do

Sweet Daughter has strep throat, but was finally feeling well enough tonight to eat something other than ice cream. She wanted pizza from a local restaurant, but I told her we couldn’t eat in as she was still technically contagious, but we could phone the order in, run in and pick it up and eat it at home. But she had to promise not to touch anything. So far, so good.

I phoned the order in, threw on my shoulder rig, reminded SD to put shoes and socks on, and I put on my barn coat. I checked in the mirror to make sure I wasn’t printing, and SD asked what I was doing. I explained and ask if she noticed anything. I then grabed my purse and my keys and turned to find SD asking me if I could see the note paper under her jacket. She had carefully placed a folded up piece of note paper under her jacket in the same vicinity that I carry my pistol. Darned if she didn’t keep it tucked away the whole trip to pick up the pizza and back without dropping it or calling attention to it, taking it out only after we got back in the house.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

4,400 more

We're up to 6.270 stitches
Sweet Daughter came home from school early yesterday with a temperature of 103 and change. She slept all afternoon while I worked from home, and then work up promptly at 4:00 this morning. That meant I did, too. We kept her home and she was reasonably chipper, but started complaining of a sore throat around lunch time. Yay. That probably means a trip to the pediatrician tomorrow (just in case it's strep) which means she'll be exposed to even more germs.

And this is why I have so much leave on the books.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Waistcoat and breeches alterations

The breeches and waistcoat have been altered. So has the fingerprint on my needle-pushing finger, I think.

The waistcoat and breeches began looking something like this:

Note the 1750’s cut to the waistcoat, and the, um, baggy fit. Ditto for the baggy breeches.

Now, I understand that it is nigh unto impossible to buy something ready-made that is going to fit in the proper 18th-century manner. Men’s smallclothes (the waistcoat and breeches) were form fitting without being restrictive. Well, except for the seat of the breeches. Breeches were snug from the crotch to the kneeband, with the seat cut full so that one could actually sit in comfort.

Anyhow – the waistcoat was too big for the owner, so the back and sides were pinned to fit, and a new armseye drawn in. the tails in the back of the waistcoat were shortened, and squared off, instead of being flared. The front of the waistcoat was cut away at an angle, and shortened a bit. The cut-off bits of the waistcoat tails were made into new pocket flaps. There was a narrow band of fabric sewn over the neckline which was removed, and the resulting raw edges turned in. This was all done by hand, in part, to keep the cotton lining (hawk, spit!) from drooping as is often found when a garment is bag-lined. (This is basically when a garment and lining are assembled separately, then placed right sides together, edges matched up, and sewn around the outside, leaving a space to turn it all right-side-out again. This kind of lining tends to sag, especially if the outer fabric and lining are made of two different types of fabric. So as I opened up all the seams took them in, and re-sewed the lining to the seam-lines.

Side view - front has been shortened, and angled. Back has been shortened and squared off.

Front - enlarged armseyes and altered neckline.

Original pocket flap on top, new and improved version on the bottom.

The breeches … well they’re better than they were, I hope. These were also impossibly large, so I pinned the inseam until they were a bit snugger. I didn’t pin too far up, IYKWIM, but later, when I transferred the marks to the inside of the breeches, I extrapolated my sewing line up through the crotch. I took 98% of the stitching out where the kneebands were attached at the bottom of the leg, leaving the end with the buttonhole still attached. I ripped out the inseam seam, and then re-sewed it using my penciled-in line as a guide. Then I ripped out the stitching “gathers” over the kneecap. I understand that you need some extra ease over the knee area so you can bend your knee. What I don’t understand is why the gathers were over the knee on one leg, and behind the knee on the other. (Shakes head sadly) I tried to iron the wrinkles out of the fabric, and then I ran two rows of gathering stitches around the bottom of each leg opening, about ¼” and 3/4” away from the cut edge. I then drew up the slack in the gathering stitches as far as I could without actually putting gathers into the fabric. This is called “easing”. I effectively had the diameter of the leg opening as small as if it had been gathered without the unsightly wrinkles. I briefly considered hand-sewing the kneebands back on. I looked at the sheer volume of visible machine stitching on those breeches and laughed at myself. I figure that people are more likely to notice the hand stitching on the waistcoat than the breeches anyway, so I shortened the kneebands (since I had the legs were now narrower) and machine-sewed them on.
New stitching line drawn in.
The "gathers" at the bottom of the leg opening.

Leg opening with the extra fullness eased in. Those are wrinkles you see - not gathers.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

What 1,870 stitches looks like

Sorry, it's just knitting, nothing gruesome.

Not much, is it?

But this gives me something to work on when my needle-pushing finger is too mangled to push a needle.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Compare and contrast

Another reason I'm glad I don't live in Californina -- asking a kid to remove an American flag from his bike "for his own safety".  The idea has me so livid I just sputter when I try to articulate it. It is infurating on countless levels.

Compare with what Sweet Daughter brought home from school yesterday:

I'm sure she wasn't the only kid in her class that got to say that her Daddy and both grandfathers were veterans (although I bet she's the only one with a grandfather who fought in WWII). I don't think telling a kid to take his American flag off his bike would go over very well here.

H/T to Alan and my Blogfather.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

One man's dedication

More here.

A Petition to allow students and faculty with CHPs to carry at ODU

From a VCDL VA-Alert:

The students at Old Dominion University have grown tired of being disarmed by the University while crime is rampant around them. A group of students dedicated to changing the University's ban on self-defense have put together an on-line petition that urges the University to allow students, faculty, and staff with CHPs to carry on campus.

The organizers want signatures of ODU students, faculty, staff AND concerned citizens from around the state:

You can go here to sign the petition.

You can go to WAVY (it's a NBC, what can I say?) to see more.

I signed it and ask Joe Huffman's Just one question.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What do these 3 things have in common?

The United States Marines

The Edmund Fitzgerald

The Colt .45 Special Army Model of 1910

And the answer is ... November 10th!

Today is the 235th anniversary of the founding of the USMC, the Edmund Fitzgerald sank 35 years ago, and 100 years ago, the Ordnance Officers’ Board began testing John M. Browning’s (PBUH) Colt .45 Special Army Model of 1910 against the Savage Arms .45 caliber Model H.

In the end, the Colt weapon proved more easily field stripped, more accurate, and more reliable, with 12 malfunctions requiring replacement of 4 components, while the Savage had 43 malfunctions requiring replacement of 13 components.

Go get your gun geek* on and read the whole thing.
* Speaking of gun geek, Shorter Half added:
Wikipedia (in case you haven't already checked it out) is here.
US Army started testing Browning (PBUH) semiauto pistols, starting with this .38ACP (NOT .380ACP!!! – the .380ACP is a later, smaller, cartridge) in 1899. By 1906, the poor performance of the (then brand new) .38 Long Colt revolvers against Muslim fanatics in the Philippines made the Army insist on going back to a .45 caliber pistol. (A typical instance occurred in 1905 and was later recounted by Col. Louis A. LaGarde: "Antonio Caspi, a prisoner on the island of Samar, P.I. attempted escape on Oct. 26, 1905. He was shot four times at close range in a hand-to-hand encounter by a .38 Colt's revolver loaded with U.S. Army regulation ammunition. He was finally stunned by a blow on the forehead from the butt end of a Springfield carbine." Col. LaGarde noted Caspi's wounds were fairly well-placed: three .38 bullets entered the chest, perforating the lungs. One passed through the body, one lodged near the back and the other lodged in subcutaneous tissue. The fourth round went though the right hand and exited through the forearm. Wikipedia, .38 Long Colt – COL LaGarde is a big name in the .45 world, and this incident is well-attributed, even if I did swipe it from Rumorpedia.)

The 1907 version was the first to do away with the original “parallel rule” operating system (swinging links at both ends of the barrel, vs, the single link at the back of the 1907, 1909, 1910, and 1911). The 1910 version was modified to give the pistol the grip angle 1911 shooters adore.

The 1910 model you illustrated was the beginning of the first really “modern” .45 we all know and love. The real difference between the two is that the 1910 Colt is a developmental version, and the Army officially adopted it in 1911, with some VERY minor suggested changes.

Trial History is here.

THREE DAYS after the 1910 test reports were written up, the Colt Special Army Model 1910 pistol was adopted by the US Army as the Model 1911 pistol.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Remember the marketing fail?

I wrote about it here.

On the Wednesday after I returned, I sent an e-mail to the manager of the hotel telling them about my concerns. Nine days later, I’d heard nothing, not even a “Hey, we got your e-mail, we’ll get back to you”, so I sent a letter to corporate along with a copy of my e-mail. A week after that letter went out, I received this e-mail from the hotel manager:

Dear Ms. Nancy R.,

I would like to first apologize for my delayed response. I'm concerned about the concierge/time-share attendant issue you experienced at our hotel during your recent visit. I'm writing to thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to my attention.

We accommodate many guests each evening, and we strive to make their stay a satisfying one. The principal goal of our hotel is to provide dependable service to all of our guests at reasonable prices. Consequently, it's disappointing to learn that you had to deal with this situation.

Please accept my sincere apology.

I want you to know that the comments and suggestions we receive from our guests are taken seriously. They tell us what we're doing right, what we're doing wrong and how we can improve. Your willingness to share your recent experience is genuinely appreciated.

Please be assured that the issues you've raised have been addressed, and the appropriate action has been taken. A local time share company leases out the seat at our hotel and provides concierge services to our guests while trying to sell their spots, however this behavior was highly unacceptable. I would like to inform you that we have stopped the time-share program with them for the time being because of this and if it is started again we will not allow any of our guests to be harassed or asked questions as you were. We take safety very seriously and I greatly appreciate your feedback.

Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to share your concerns with us.

We look forward to serving your future lodging needs.


Hotel Manager

I’m not happy that they didn’t tell me the name of the time-share company (so I could contact them as well), but all in all, I’m happy with the outcome, and will stay there again.


Shamelessly stolen from McBourne's Musings.

Because it makes me smile and cry and want to cheer at the end all at the same time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bacon Soda

The people at Jones Soda have done it again.

"It's also good as a mixer in cocktails. Bourbon and bacon soda go together very nicely."

Also available in gift packs from the Bacon Salt guys! What a great stocking stuffer for the carnivore in your life.

A new blogger!

I’d like to introduce a new blogger, John Moseley, of Tales from Left Field.... .

He’s a living historian, and member of the Detached Hospital (among other units), former 8th grade history teacher, and all-around good guy. Don’t let the title of his blog scare you, he’s a staunch 2A supporter, too.

He also started blogging and didn’t tell anyone. I asked him, “If a blogger blogs alone in the forest and nobody reads it, is it really a blog?”

So drop on by and say “hey”. Tell him I sent you so he’ll know about the tens of people who read my blog. (Because it's really all about me. *grin*)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

More projects

I have got a crap-tonne of projects on my plate. In the past 3 weeks I’ve:

With help, made a linen workman’s cap for Al.

Made a wool bedgown for KenuckyJam, my Appleseed friend.

Re-pleated two aprons. I don’t care if I’m the only one who will notice  -- I needed to fix them.

Mended my patched brown gown where the stitching was coming out down the back.

On my plate:

Restyle and refit a 1750’s waistcoat into something more recognizable as something you’d see in the 1780’s.

Make some baggy linen breeches less baggy. I can usually do a pretty good job on fixing breeches, but I have to know you really well to do good work (meaning I’m going to have to be fiddling around up near the boys,) and that is just too fraught with potential complications …

Restyle and refit a jacket into something a little less feed sack-like.

Turn a pair of trousers into a pair of breeches.

Knit a cap for DLG (or something else if a new job means something else would be more appropriate).

Now the following don’t have to be completed until March, but still:

Make 3 linen shirts for Michael W.

Make 2 shifts and 2 gowns for Miss F.

Ditto for Sweet Daughter, who has outgrown everything she owns.

And then insanity struck. I finally got the Norah Waugh book “The Cut of Men’s Clothes 1600 – 1900”. And I saw a pattern in it for a banyan, and the book mentioned where the original was. I worked my google-fu and found it here.

And then I went traipsing around the interwebz and found this:
And it has this cute little motif:

So I informed one of the guys in our group that he really needed a banyan. I think I may have pressured him into buying the fabric so I could make it. Maybe. Just a little.

And banyan fever hit after I had decided I needed a riding habit. But not just any habit. A habit based on the regimental uniform for the Detached Hospital.

Something like this.
Mrs. Lovibond
Or this:

Lady Worsley
Or this:
Mrs. John Montresor
This means a shirt, neck stock, waistcoat, petticoat and jacket. Of all things, I actually have the epaulettes kicking around already. I’ve commissioned the hat, and have bought a wig. Which of course, means a block head of some sort for styling, and the right kind of brush, and shampoo, and …

Good heavens ... what have I gotten myself into?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Election Tie

I really need to watch what I say in front of people who don’t know me and my hobbies too well.

One of my many jobs is to cover the receptionist's desk while the receptionist goes to lunch each day. It's been a long time since that was my primary job duty, and I'm afraid I've lost some of the tact needed to do a good job.

An upper level manager from Not Our Division was signing a visitor out while I was covering the desk today and I noticed his tie. It had 18th century-like figures on it, and the landmarks in the background were clearly 18th century Boston.

“Nice tie!” I said.

“Good for Election Day!” he said.

“Or Boston Massacre Day!” I said, thinking of the background. Then noticing that the gentleman signing himself out may have possibly been a descendant of Crispus Attucks, I chimed in with “Or Bunker Hill Day, or Yorktown Day!” as I did not want to offend anyone.

I don’t think it worked.