AR modification for sleeping enemy



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The only thing more tiresome than privileged people exempting themselves from the rules…

…is privileged people acting sanctimonious when the rules momentarily become convenient and other privileged people go under the bus.

The news has been full of rich’n’famous people dealing with accusations, often decades old, about things they’ve been doing with their hands and tongues and wangs. Perhaps you’ve noticed. People who’ve been working right next to the miscreants or their victims are shocked! They had no idea! Sure.

I keep trying to come up with jokes about it and they keep falling flat before I’ve finished writing them down, because it’s just all so tiresome – people have been pushing social limits about sex since the invention of la différence, people have been getting caught at it for about that long, and the infractions have been greeted with outrage or shrugs according to the style of the moment. I myself, while never anything remotely like a magnet to women, can think of at least two youthful indiscretions involving places my hands didn’t belong under the circumstances, that would have me very worried if I were currently in Hollywood or congress. Is it wrong? Yeah. Sure it is. It’s also human nature. Did your hands wander? Bad. Did you return them to your own lap when asked to? Tough shit, your political enemies (and former friends, apparently) will still crucify you if they can, or hand the executioner the nails if it will provide a moment’s advantage.

But posing for the photograph is just...well, that's Anthony Weiner-class stupid right there.

But posing for the photograph is just…well, that’s Anthony Weiner-class stupid right there.

Personally I find the odor of sanctity harder to take than the (often quite tame) misbehavior. People’s Exhibit One, from someone who hasn’t been accused (yet):
McConnell, R-KY: “As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this. Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable – in the workplace or anywhere else.”

Really? When did this start? Because unless this is very recent Senate policy, McConnell should maybe call it the “Except For Ted Rule.” Because (do correct me if I’m wrong) I believe Mitch McConnell was in the senate at the same time Ted Kennedy was and this iron rule never seemed to be mentioned back then. And Kennedy just had the highest profile, he was hardly the only one.

So forgive an old man, please, if I fail to be shocked by Franken’s adolescent vulgarity or McConnell’s new-found sanctimony. They’re both perfectly welcome to visit the underside of the bus and I hope they lose everything – but for reasons other than where they’ve been keeping their hands and other body parts.

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I was recently attacked and wounded by a local animal.

Nasty, big, pointy teeth! A vicious streak a mile wide!

Nasty, big, pointy teeth! A vicious streak a mile wide!

She’s much larger in person, let me tell you. She’s Maya (not actually shown in the photo,) a 12-year-old blind and deaf and really cranky Shih Tzu who has never liked me.

Normally she puts up with me after a lot of barking and growling, but I went in there when L was on a day trip to take Maya for a walky, which involved a leash, which involved me actually touching Maya when her person wasn’t around, which Maya wasn’t prepared to countenance in the least.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have thought she could open that tiny mouth wide enough to insert a human hand. I wouldn’t have thought those bitsy little teeth would break skin. Wrong and wrong. She turned like a snake and got me on the hand, and when I failed to learn my lesson and tried again she got me on the other hand.

That’s never happened to me before.

She got put on her leash, and we went for her walky, because I don’t take shit from purse dogs. But damned if she didn’t take her revenge for the indignity.

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If I can’t have decent coffee, I don’t want to be in your apocalypse.

Regular readers know I’m addicted to one import from cities far, far away…

Trader Joe’s house blend, only whole bean need apply. Normally we keep around three cans in stock here, but with one thing or another we’re down to a single unopened can. Landlady’s bringing another but that’s not for three weeks. It’s time to either open the last can, or…

Hm. Well.

Okay. I pride myself on how carefully I rotate my food stock, but I have to admit that Plan B can (marked “emergency use only”) has been on the shelf a long time. In fact…

er, um…okay, it’s good that we’ve managed, through the continuing generosity of Landlady, to fend off the emergency this long. I put up that single can of store-brand ground coffee against a St. Famine’s Day that never really came. The vacuum seal is intact, it’s probably, er, “fine.” but four years past the best-by date is not a good sign to find on a can of coffee, which unlike canned corn has a definitely finite shelf life.

Ah, well. The sacrifices we must make in the name of inventory management…

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Luxury costs

Of course the big question, not yet answered, was never “Do I want a space heater with a thermostat?” Duh. Of course I do.

I also want a silent VTOL and the power of invisibility, but I can’t have them. The question of whether I can have a full-time heater, even only used at night, is still open. Because the space heater uses a pilot light, and the pilot light uses propane, and propane uses…



I first lit the pilot on September 23ish, and really meant to let it run that propane bottle dry just to see how long it took. Couldn’t quite bring myself to do that due to plumbing issues – I didn’t want to turn my back on a furnace with a rubber hose. But I can say that today I swapped out propane bottles on the space heater for the first time and it really only heated the bedroom for a couple hours each on a few mornings. It’s not appalling propane consumption but it’s looking about as significant as I feared.

The original design spec was to use it only on truly cold nights, and not as a crutch to get away from the woodstove. Of course being human I have every intention of pushing that second thing as far as possible: The Lair has improved to the point where the only thing I still really dislike about winter, other than unavoidable traction issues, is that first shivery hour in the morning before the fire in the woodstove lets me take my coat off. That’s obviously most acute on mornings after single-digit nights but it’s not exclusive to them. Also, frankly, lighting the pilot in a cold firebox is a real time-consuming pain in the ass.

But anyway, we’re still experimenting to learn how quickly how much usage uses up a propane bottle. Unfortunately right now it’s looking like “pretty damned quick.”

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Oh, yeah. That’s what I’ve been missing all these years.

This was the first really frosty morning in a couple of weeks, as winter probes our defenses for weaknesses. I’ve learned a new life lesson: If you want your shelter to be well insulated, hire a consultant from Minnesota who thinks insulation is really important. The addition’s floor needs work, since it needs insulation and skirting, but the walls are fine. Much better, in general, than the main cabin walls.

So though I could tell it had turned a bit cold overnight, the bedroom outside my blankets wasn’t terribly chilly. The bedside thermometer said 54o. The thermostat was on but turned to minimum and the heater had never kicked on. So I just reached out, flicked the lever on my primitive little thermostat, and rolled over to snooze for half an hour. When I finally went boots-on it was closer to 60o and I could pull on my jeans without that cold shock on an old man’s shanks.

Hermitage is good, I’ve got no complaints. But I had truly forgotten how much civilization lives in the humble thermostat.

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Redneck roof repair

In our last exciting episode we learned that some errant wind gust had tried to take the powershed’s roof off. I found that unacceptable, but had to think a bit as to how I was going to crank the frame back together.

A combination of c-clamp and hammer did the job. I’ll use hurricane straps on the rafters, but needed something more like plates on the header across the front of the building. I didn’t have anything like that. But thanks to all those cut-up pallets I did have billets of rock-hard cured hardwood.

So I cranked the header down as well as I could with the c-clamp, and then ran three of those pre-drilled billets across the inside. As a final step I drilled up from the bottom and screwed in eight 3″ deck screws. That should keep the roof where it belongs.

Post-mortem of the original job indicates that I deserved to lose the roof. If I’d paid to have that frame put up, I’d want to go back in time and fire the contractor. But it’s stronger now.

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Oh, my goodness. Speaking of Little Bear…

I was just giving his face a good rub when I noticed something I’ve been waiting for…

Look who’s getting gray on his muzzle!

He was born in early March 2009, so he’s pushing 9 years old. Doesn’t seem so long…

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LB’s means of communicating with the local wildlife…

One reason for the morning walkie is to give Little Bear a chance to sniff out local doings. He’s a dog, and they say scent means more to dogs than sight or sound. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know sometimes LB will suddenly veer off from the beaten path and find a spot where something happened of which he clearly does not approve. He’ll get right down and smell the spot, rake the dirt with his claws and give it another good leisurely smell, then at last lift his leg and anoint the spot with what I imagine to be a comment of his own, probably something along the lines of “This is mine, so go away and don’t come back. If I meet you, you’re dead.”

Other than just keeping me company, which would work just as well and more economically with a smaller dog, that’s really LB’s only practical function. He does take coyote sign in his territory personally, I know that for a fact. I know for a fact that coyotes fear him, and that they stay away from the cabin and thus from my chickens. I assume those things are related.

So when LB wants to take a moment and commune with the local wildlife, I indulge him without complaint.

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I almost lost the powershed roof.

And I don’t even know when it happened.

I happened to be up on a ladder inside the powershed Saturday, doing some unrelated maintenance. I looked at the roof over the door and thought to myself, “Why did I go to all the trouble of filling the holes left by the roofing with expanding foam, when there’s an inch-high gap the whole width of the building right under it?”

The answer, of course, is that there ain’t supposed to be no steenking inch-high gap, there or anywhere. You can’t even see it from the floor, which is probably why I didn’t notice before Saturday. No idea at all when it happened.

Looking to the right, in the direction facing the cabin…
You can see those two “rafters” have come up off their nails. Externally, the screws that bend the roofing over and fasten it to the walls have popped out of their holes.

Must have been a hell of a gust. This wouldn’t be the first utility building in the area to suddenly flip its lid, but it’s embarrassing to see how close it came to happening to me. The powershed is a repurposed pantry shed somebody else hired me to tear down, being non-specific as to what to do with the pieces. At the time I was scrounging more heavily for my materials than I do now. Also I’m a better carpenter than I was then but even when I assembled it in 2012 it was … not my proudest achievement.

Last month I rebuilt the powershed floor and thought I was done for the year. Turns out I also have some fairly serious retrofitting work to do on the roof before the next big gust comes along.

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What a difference a curtain makes…

Okay, so Friday I … hung curtains. Yeah. That happened. Shut up.

Reasons for this were entirely practical, basically all the reasons you’d want curtains on a window including, believe it or not, “people looking in.”

Anyway: Having actual storebought curtains on windows freed up the odd expedients I’d been using, including this extremely long thing I snagged from the dollar store, and which I promptly moved to the bedroom door: Continue reading

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Things you can make with 550 cord…

Well, let’s face it. You can make anything with 550 cord. I’m currently macrame-ing an evil TUAKmobile with JATO bottles, ejection capsule and quad 20mm autocannon. It’s not going well: Do you know how much Arrest-me Red 550 cord costs? Weaving it in sufficient density to ward off 30-cal rifle ammo has been a challenge, financially if not technically.

But in the meantime I repurposed a disused interior clothesline into curtain holdbacks.

Nice thing about 550 cord, it’s basically indestructible and never seems to wear out. UV doesn’t affect it. Once it uses up its stretch it never needs re-adjustment.

This cord holding up the chickens’ top cover has been under substantial tension for several years with no sign of deterioration. With a snow load that thing gets heavy.

I moved here in 2006 with a 300′ spool that’s nowhere near used up, since the stuff is apparently endlessly reusable.

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The last furniture

Landlady and Ian came up this weekend with a bunch of stuff for Ian’s Cave, including the dresser that’s been hanging fire for a couple of months…

The original dresser is a long, low thing made of pressboard somebody was throwing away eight years ago. It’s spent the intervening years up in the loft, and I didn’t think I’d be able to get it down without further damage. Turns out it did lose one leg, but that just helps it fit in around here.

Landlady and I moved it under the clothes rack, where it barely fits, and then the new one went where the old one was. There is literally not a wasted inch: Just enough space to open a drawer on either dresser, not enough to stand in front of the drawer while you’re doing it. Speaking of no wasted space…

I wanted a side table for the reading chair, which is quite low. Rummaging around a thrift store in town, Ian and I found this iron plant stand. I cut a piece of scrap shelving for the top, and it works perfectly! Something else to paint when I get around to painting trim.

So we’re officially done furnishing the addition.

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Let’s encourage California to secede. Or at least keep its congressvermin home.

That’s right, Mr. and Mrs America. Once – actually twice – again you have proven that you simply cannot be trusted with dangerous assault weapons, with their pistol grips, their barrel shrouds, their hyper-deadly shoulder things that go up. Why would you ever want a high-capacity magazine clip ammunition device that can fire hundreds of bullets in a second? Why, America? Why?

Well, it doesn’t matter. Bidding logic and history be damned, our own beloved hall monitor Diane Feinstein is here to save us from ourselves. Again.

Got to give her credit for consistency, I suppose. She’s got an idea stuck in her hairsprayed head, and she’s not letting it go. No matter what we may think of it now, we’ll thank her in the end. If she has to break our fingers one by one until we do.


According to the article at the NRA link, this updated Assault Weapons Ban corrects deficiencies in the old one, making damned sure you won’t be buying or selling anything of which Feinstein disapproves ever again.

Of course it’ll go nowhere in this session, republicans will have trouble enough holding their majority as it is. But Feinstein figures she’s senator-for-life, she can outwait us. You’ve got to admire her tenacity, if nothing else.

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We have another name for Congress!

So appropriate, I don’t know why it’s not already famous.

…the National Parasite Collection, a 125-year-old hoard of bloodsucking, fluid-draining, flesh-eating, mind-controlling, and host-castrating creatures that all make a living by living off other animals.

Residing in DC, of course. You wouldn’t expect to find it in Utah, where people would just stomp and then scrape them off their boots.

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Poseur (n): See this advertisement

Piffle. I had one of these when I was a kid. Only I bought the jacket at a surplus store for like $5 and decorated it myself with a felt-tip and a bunch of cheezy buttons.

And I was protesting the government’s insistence that I go fight in an actual war with no objective I cared about, that might actually kill me. I might arguably have been wrong (I wasn’t) but it wasn’t pointless.

That was then. Self-expression is so…late sixties.

dumb jacket

Yes, for a low, low $375 you too can have something that looks like but isn’t a personally-vandalized M65 field jacket.

Imagine the bitch-fight that will ensue when two woke genderfluid betas show up at a protest in identical faux-graffiti coats! Why, they’ll be so busy ineffectually slapping at each other they won’t even have time to Bring Down the Man!

Kids today. I roll my eyes in their general direction.

Emo Jima

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Where we all end up…

It’s not long for Ghost, I’m afraid. He’s getting more incontinent by the day and it’s clear he’s in pain. L is getting serious about euthanasia. So I had a talk with Neighbor D on Monday, asking if I could bum some help with his backhoe.

He came by through the wash and picked me up, and we rode to Boot Hill together.


Yes, we have an actual boot hill. Its name is “Boot Hill.” Continue reading

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Breaking news on the chainsaw bayonet…

Okay, so by now everybody knows that USA Today came out with a (I assume unintentionally) hilarious video about the terrifying Ruger AR-556, no doubt leading up to all the reasons it and all ARs ought to be banned. We’ll be goofing for a long time on the chainsaw bayonet, which really ought to take its rightful place in the annals of beloved gungrabber lore beside the Shoulder Thing That Goes Up.

Except – I genuinely do hate to break this news, but – at least one bubba actually did make and post a video of a chainsaw bayonet mounted on an AR. Yes, really.

It doesn’t seem to work very well…

…but for the record, there it is.

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I do try to learn something new every day…

So Monday I was in the food market in the crappy little town about 10 miles away. It is a sufficiently crappy food market that it is slowly losing all its customers to the perfectly good Safeway in the slightly bigger town about 35 miles away, and so more and more of its square footage is being given over to the owners’ Ace Hardware franchise.

You literally never know what you’re going to see when you walk through the door. But there’s a good chance the store will be selling it by the pallet-load. And sometimes, to an aging hermit, some of it seems…odd.

For example: Monday I saw an entire pallet of this…

I did not know what it was. Just from glancing at the packaging it could have been anything. I looked more closely…

Okay, look. I was a diesel mechanic. Small diesels, yeah, I never worked for Peterbilt, but there’s no such frickin’ thing as “diesel exhaust fluid.” Nor is there a round tuit, or a left-handed adjustable wrench, or carburetor grease.

On the other hand, back in the early Paleogene period when I was in tech school an instructor thought he’d play a little game with a student, sent him to the parts department to get a radial tire tube. The student left, the instructor chortled and let us all in on the joke that there was no such thing as a radial tire tube. Minutes later the student returned with a radial tire tube, because the instructor was behind the times and incorrect.

The store can be a little weird, but they weren’t selling an entire pallet-load of a fictitious liquid. So what the hell was diesel exhaust fluid?

So I’m behind the times. Way, way behind the times.

Fortunately I kept the matter to myself until I had a chance to look it up…

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Your pug can’t do that.

LB likes peanut butter.


ALL the peanut butter.

How does he do that?

He’s not saying.


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