Something Pithy Here

"Begin at the beginning, and go on till you come to the end: then stop." -- The King of Hearts

I'm an adopted Texan. As they say, "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could!" I post pictures and opinions as suits my mood, mostly because I can. Hooray Internet! 

So far I have three blogs here. By the Way is the oldest. I started it in 2003. I lost a couple of years to Vox because I was too lazy to bother to export when they shut down. I consider it an exercise in accepting impermanence. When I followed my husband to Singapore for his first expat assignment, I started (T)expatriate: A Southern Girl in Singapore. That covers 2010 and 2011, give or take. Next came Oslo, and (T)expat 2: Norwegian Boogaloo,  in 2012. Now I'm back home, and back on By the Way.

Pix live on Flickr. I toss links out on Twitter when I feel like it. I'm still not sure what to do with G+ but I kinda like it.


Filtering by Category: In Celebration of the Second Amendment

Kalashnikitty for Christmas!!

Eric is printing up a batch of Kalashnikitty shirts, and this time he's also doing long sleeves and sweatshirts. I still have the t-shirt I ordered a few years ago and it looks great. These are really good quality shirts. Here is the scoop:

OK, guys and gals, I have gotten a lot of emails in the past few months about people wanting Kalashnikitty shirts and have decided to do up another special run just in time for Christmas.  These make great gifts for the people you love, and the people you love to piss off!  They will be in your hands before Christmas.

New for this year - long-sleeved shirts (add $3) and sweatshirts (add $4)

I will be taking orders until Sunday, November 23 and the order with my shirt maker will go in on November 24.  I should have the shirts in my hands and shipping out by the first week of December and they will ship out immediately by Priority Mail.

Here's the procedure for getting the shirts (this makes it a LOT easier for me to track and ship these things ASAP)

Email me ( with the following:

1 - Number and sizes you want - sizes are Child's Medium, Child's Large, Adult Small, Adult Medium, Adult Large, Adult XL, Adult 2XL, and Adult 3XL.

2 - Your name and address

3 - How you would like to pay for them (Check, Money Order, Paypal)

Only one color - a light ash grey (very nice) - shirts are high-quality, do not fade or shrink, long lasting, very soft. Image is screen printed, NOT iron on or transfers.  I've never gotten an email from any of my previous customers saying, "The shirt shrunk, faded, looks horrible after 3 months, etc." - these really are quite nice shirts.

Pricing - I have, in the past 6 years, never raised the price, even though my cost has gone up.  I'm STILL not raising the price yet - even though shipping has gone up, I'm going to eat that since you all have been so great to me over the years and I want to make these available to as many people as I can.

Any size up to XL is $20, 2XL is $21.50 and 3XL is $22.00

Long-sleeve shirt add $3.  Sweatshirt add $4.

Shipping via 2-3 day Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation is $5.00 for 1 shirt, and an extra $2.50 per shirt after that.

Check, MO, or Paypal is good for payments. If using Paypal, add 4% to the total payment, including the shipping.

** When you email me your order, include your full name and mailing address. I will email you back with the total.

Note: Make sure you contact Eric directly. I'm just advertising :-) And in case you've forgotten (or heaven forbid, don't know!) how awesome the Kalashnikitty is, here's a pic....

It's Kalashnikitty Time!

And now I'll be ordering my sweatshirt. Purrrrrrrrfect :-)


We're official.


Just for the record, because these things matter, the Blackhawk is Hester and the Python is Monty. (Of course.) Usually I name my own guns, but the MO came up with Hester (companion of Chester) and that was that.

Monty makes even me look like a sharpshooter--really--and Hester goes BANG in a BIG fun way. We got a lot of "WTF was that?!" looks :-) It was a very good day at the range.

Where'd all that dander come from?

I don't usually get too opinionated here (what can I say, I am extraordinarily averse to conflict) but this post at The Smallest Minority really got my dander up, especially when I got to this part of the quote:

I am not responsible enough to own a gun. And that is why I do not have one.

I almost fell out of my chair when I read that, and I've been thinking about it all afternoon.

Well, holy cow. I can understand not knowing about guns. I can understand being afraid of guns because you don't know about them. I can even understand preferring not to shoot certain guns after you do know about them because they are physically intimidating. After all, I have quite the flinching problem with the MO's H&K, although I surely intend to fix that.

But I do not understand glibly declaring oneself psychologically and morally unfit for the responsibility of dealing with a firearm. That's a total cop-out. Responsibility is the key word here.

(I am assuming that we are talking about a societally-functioning adult here. A ten year old child, say, or someone truly mentally incompetent, might be a different story. Although I've seen plenty of kids perfectly able to handle all manner of guns.)

How does such a person, so lacking in control of his own faculties, lead a daily life? How does he chop his vegetables in the kitchen without going on a knife-wielding rampage? Does he consider himself fit to drive a car? I suspect it's a lot easier, skill-wise, to mow down a pedestrian with a vehicle than to actually hit someone with a pistol shot. Does he walk around with his hands glued in his pockets because he's afraid he might accidentally haul off and slap the next person that walks by?

If so, it's time to put on the big boy pants and figure out why you would abdicate control of your own emotions and reactions to the point that you feel you cannot be trusted to have simple machines in your house without wreaking havoc on yourself or the general populace.

Cripes. This is victimhood run amok. Next thing you know we'll be having lawsuits with the same party on both sides.

Happiness Is...

Visible improvement at the range :-)

We had quite an eventful weekend, with a visit from The Shooting Trail crew. As always, Kim, Connie and the kids, Jack, David and Wendy, are delightful company. Add in the Layabout Sailor and his lovely lady Iris, and of course lots and lots of guns, and you have a recipe for a great time.

Saturday we met up at the Texas City Municipal Shooting Range for rifle shooting, and today we went to the Marksman Indoor Range down by Hobby airport. The MO and I are absolutely thrilled to discover two new (to us) ranges. Both places are well-run and staffed by friendly folks.

I had fun with the rifles, but what really has me (still) hopping up and down with excitement is the improvement in my pistol shooting I experienced today. Kim offered me some advice that I gather is "really basic" but made a world of difference for me. Thus I proudly post some of today's targets :-)

Granted, these are only at five yards, but you have to start somewhere. I particularly like the middle-right section on the second target. That's ten shots, thankyouverymuch. (Actually, that should be thankkimverymuch. Thank you, Kim!)

Target 2

Target 1

RWVA Roundup

I know I didn't get to meet everyone at the RWVA/NoR shoot, and I certainly didn't get names and faces and blogs linked up with everyone that I did meet (we must include urls on our nametags next time ;-) but here is a link list of the folks I know about:

First, our sponsors:
Revolutionary War Veterans Association Weblog
The Gun Guy

And in no particular order, some participants:
Head's Bunker Blog
Doc Russia
Emperor Misha
CombatController (on the NoR Forum)
Smoke on the Water
Mad Oilman

and many others.... We had 35 on our line the first day and there was at least one other full range. Who else was there? I'll keep updating the list....

RWVA/NoR Shoot in Texas

Halfway between Mingus and Stephenville is, well, pretty much nowhere. But situated nicely in the middle of nowhere is the Tac Pro Shooting Center, where the Mad Oilman and I spent the weekend (mostly on our bellies in the dust) learning a lot about firing rifles.

The trip was not without its scenic rewards. I haven't the faintest when the last time I saw a sunrise was, but Saturday morning's was magnificent.
Middle of Nowhere

We had about 35 people on our range, although we split into smaller groups later on.
Some of the line

We started at 25 meters, firing sets of three "zeroing" or "sighting" shots. The point here was to adjust your sights based on the centers of your groups, but calling my results groups would have been overly polite, so I just left things as they were.

Then we went through a series called an AQT which involved shooting standing, sitting, and then prone, at various targets, with rules about how many in which target and timing and all sorts of stuff. Having never shot my rifle except from a bench, the whole process was so bizarre that I was happy to hit the paper at all.

We scored these results and called that a baseline. There's a minimum score under which you are rated a "cook" (as opposed to a rifleman) and I figure I came in somewhere on the order of waitress or busboy.

Throughout the day, we learned about the different shooting positions, how to use a sling, shooting by the numbers, and we shot and scored and shot and scored. Periodically we'd move further back down the range, re-sight, and shoot some more.

By the end of the day, we were back at 200 meters, and those targets look pretty darned small by then. Somewhere along the line we shot another AQT to compare to the baseline, and I think most people went up but my score went down.
Seated shooting

Hey Ma, I'm hunkered!

The last exercise of the day involved squads of three shooters moving and shooting. They started at 200 meters and shot five rounds. Then they all get up and move down range a bit. Stop, get into position and shoot five more rounds. Move closer, repeat, etc. til you've shot 20 rounds. From the back of the range, it looks like they're just strolling along, but when you actually do it, it's surprising how much your heart rate goes up, and how long it takes to settle into position and calm down enough to shoot.
Moving and shooting

By the end of the first day, I was pretty sure I never wanted to hear the word "prone" again, but of course we came back for more on Sunday. We had a much smaller group, and it became obvious pretty quickly that, while I was enjoying shooting the exercises, I wasn't really progressing and needed some help with basics. (I think it was my response of, "I don't know, it's all pretty random," to the question of "Why didn't you even hit the target at all this time?" that clued them in ;-)

I went back to the 25 meter range with one of the instructors and we went through several sighting rounds and a lot of questions and another AQT. I still didn't make it out of the cook's category, I don't think (we didn't score it), but I hit at least one of the targets in each of the prone series, which was a first, so I called it progress.

I did get to the point where sometimes I felt like everything lined up in the same place as before (I have a real problem with this in all my shooting--it is very hard to reproduce a given stance, so it's hard to know how to "do it just like that next time!" when it does work--which is where that "it's all kind of random" comment from above comes from) and I even called a shot (I knew it was high and right) although I don't exactly know why I could call it, and it was only once.

Anyhow, the entire weekend was exhilarating and exhausting. I hurt in strange places and I may or may not be able to move tomorrow, but I learned a lot (really) and if I practice for a few years I might get out of the kitchen....

All work and no play

makes a dull, dull blog. Last week's business trip was Rather Stressful. And that's enough about that.

Happily, the MO and I spent a long Sunday morning at the range, he to break in his latest acquisition and I to, well, just to shoot. A lot. Chester and I had a wonderful time, and then I visited with Flora and Ivan as well.

I shot the .38 wadcutter ammo for the first time (can't shoot it at the indoor place) and doggone, that stuff makes a big ol' hole in the paper.... It's fun having two magazines for Flora, and I'm getting fairly accurate with her. (I guess--I can usually get all 20 shots in a 3" circle at whatever distance the closest pistol targets are at ASC, 5 yards maybe?) Ivan is more of a hit-or-miss proposition. Sometimes I can get all 6 in the circle, sometimes only half of them. My first shots tend to be high, and later low. Left and right doesn't seem to be so much of a problem, which is an improvement. Plus I can shoot all double-action now, so I'm getting stronger, too :-)

As we were packing up to go, the daily thunderstorm hit, and it was invigorating to be (sort of) out in the middle of it. The pistol and rifle ranges at ASC are outdoors--basically long tin-roofed pole barns. The wind was so strong that the rain blew clear through the structure. We stood at the front edge of the benches and still got quite damp. But it was a nice cool-down (it is August, ya know, and that means hot hot hot, almost as hot as Mike Prior (I miss the Mad Pony, but then I found Kalisah, how's that for a non sequitur?)) and exciting in that isn't-Mother-Nature-awesome-I'm-so-glad-I'm-under-a-roof" kind of way.


I'm very much looking forward to this. I read about it on Kim's site this morning and instantly signed up Mr. & Mrs. Oilman. Chester is going to get a workout, and the MO has an excuse to buy a new gun, so it's a happy thing all around :-)

I have no idea if I can actually shoot 300 rounds in a single day, much less come back for more the next day, but I'm damn sure gonna try!

Parental Shooters

My mom and dad specifically requested a day at the range while they were here visiting, and the MO and I were only too happy to oblige. As I mentioned earlier, the MO even purchased a new gun for the occasion (like he really needed a reason!).

Dad hadn't shot anything since his stint in the Navy (in the '60's) and Mom had only shot one time when Grandpap took his kids out to shoot his Luger sometime when she was a little kid, so this was basically a "New Shooter" situation.

The night before we went through the mechanics of each gun and basic safety. They both dry-fired each revolver, loaded magazines for the automatics and learned how the sights worked on each gun.

The MO had a "lesson plan":

the New Gun
the new revolver (S&W 617 .22 LR),

.22 automatic (Browning Buckmark),

.38 revolver (then same gun with .357) (Ruger Security Six),

.40 automatic (H&K USP Compact .40 S&W).

I think this progression worked very well. The new S&W .22 revolver is solid and easy to shoot (and needs a name, Mr. MO!), and Flora and Ivan are both incredibly well-behaved, and then Hans comes along and gets your feet back on the ground (for me, at any rate--I can't hit the side of a barn with that .40--serious flinching).

After "Gun Safety 101" Dad was stoked but Mom was feeling a little unsure about the whole venture. I tried to tell her all the things I do to calm myself down, which was probably precisely the wrong thing to do (more to remember!) but by the time we got to the range the next day, everybody was ready to go. Since The New Gun hadn't even been fired yet, the MO warmed up with it while I ran a magazine through Flora (heavens to betsy, I do love that gun!) and then we started with Dad on the .22 revolver.

Dad gets ready
Cool Hand Nan in action

We worked our way through all the guns (Mom wasn't too thrilled with the .357, but she had one of the best targets of all with the .22 revolver):
One of Mom's .22 targets

Here's Dad shooting the .40 under the MO's watchful eye.
Dad moves on up!

I'm very proud of them both. My Mom is a better shot than I am, and I've been doing this for a year! I'm going to blame part of that on my unwillingness to wear glasses ;-)

All in all, I think it was a successful outing, and I wonder if my folks might be seriously considering adding a firearm to the household. We definitely talked about how much land might be required to house a private shooting range once they move out to Texas. And they haven't even shot Chester or Maggie yet!

Once more, with feeling: "God Bless America!"

Dear Jason Brown,

Umm, did you follow the link on the post? Have you read anything else on my site? Perhaps noticed the categories on the main page (hello, "In Celebration of the Second Amendment")? Or mebbe checked out my blogroll (Kim DuToit, for heaven's sake)?

Either I'm not getting the joke, or you are going to lose your debate.

[See comment left recently on an old entry, "Do Guns Cause Violence?", in which one Jason Brown asks me to "send some facts ... agreeing that guns do trigger violence." I've been trying to decide for three days if the comment is some weird kind of b.s. spam and finally figured I'd just go with it.]

In preparation

The More-or-Less-Annual Parental Visit begins this weekend (woohoo!!) and the MO has made some adjustments to the household armory. (I know those don't sound related, or at least not in a good way, but they are, and it doesn't involve any in-law enmity.) Dad wants to go shoot pistols, so the MO came up with a "new shooters" plan, which starts with a small revolver and works up to a large automatic. To do this, though, he needed a small revolver.

A .22 revolver was supposed to be the first installment in the gun purchasing plan but we ended up doing it totally backwards (big stuff first, little stuff later) so we didn't have one. Until last weekend! MO traded in a well-marketed-and-very-expensive-but-not-so-well-manufactured 1911 for the biggest .22 I've ever seen. (Ok, technically the 6" barrel one would be bigger, but hey, it's still quite a hefty small-caliber revolver.) It is pretty cool to pop that cylinder open and see ten-count-em-ten rounds....

I think it will be an excellent introduction for the parentals. They've been listening to me rave about shooting for just over two years now, so I just hope they enjoy it as much as I think they will.

Katie, Bar the Door

Or rather, lock the cash box. Kim once again extols the virtues of the Ruger Blackhawk .30 Carbine revolver.... I know this is high on MO's wish list, and he spent some time fondling one at the NRA show this weekend. Of course, he fondled a lot of other guns, too, so who knows what will be next.

The coolest thing I saw at the show wasn't actually a gun, since I'm feeling fairly satisfied in that department (MO does a very good job of keeping me armed--thank you sweetie :-) but rather was this cool gizmo. It's a "bullet" fitted with a laser light. You load this thing and when you dry fire, it zaps the laser and you can see exactly where you were aiming. At home, for instance.... Without going to the range, for example....

They have kits for various calibers of pistol, revolver, rifle and shotgun. MO sez the cost of the kit would buy a lot of ammo, but then, he's a pretty good natural shot already--some of us aren't. I love the idea of practicing at home without the bang, as it were. And count the range fees, not just the ammo, and the cost gets better. Plus, what FUN!

In Celebration of the Second Amendment, Oh Yeah!

I installed some code a while ago that tracks incoming search phrases, and just tonight it found this one:

This was on the first page for this search phrase at MSN search! How exciting :-) I neglected to mention in that post that the low-recoil shells were Estate. Since I got the recoil pad, I can shoot regular shells, but the low-recoils are still especially nice.

Her Name is Flora

Full name: Flora, the Lily of the West. Which means she even has a theme song :-) After a couple-hundred rounds, we are good friends. The M.O. has a new gun to name as well, and it's very nice, but I was captivated by my lovely Flora....

Joan Baez, Joan Baez Ballad Book
Tim O'Brien, Odd Man In

(If Amazon actually HAD the Joan Baez CD, I would have ordered it instantly. This was one of my favorite records when I was a little kid, and I would loooooooove to have it on CD. I even went to the Vanguard Records site, which is attractive but barely functional, and couldn't find it there. I sent them an email, we'll see what happens....)

I put the Tim O'Brien link because it has a sample of the song. It's all wrong, of course ;-) since it's not Joan's version, but it's better than nothing.

PS - If the Amazon frame looks stupid, I have no idea why. They used to look okay.... I guess I'm going to have to switch to the "host your own picture" format. What a hassle....

Update: I zapped the frames. They didn't have a picture for the Joan CD anyhow....

I also love it when the M.O. shops!

When I got home from work today, there was a gray plastic box on my desk. Its label looked like this:

and its contents looked like this:

My very own .22 pistol! Seems the M.O. found a good deal on this Browning Buckmark at Collectors, and, ever sensitive to his lovely wife's needs (the wise words of Kim there), purchased it for me. Now honestly, what more could a girl ask for? My husband rocks!

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