Saturday, July 31, 2010

Latest New Arrival

Last November, I ordered a precision rifle. After agonizing over accessorizing it properly, ordering said accessories, and waiting for it to be built and then assembled, I finally picked it up today.

Sorry about the crappy cellphone picture. As usual, the "real" camera's batteries were dead.

Now I'll really have to get my butt out to the gun club where they have a 650-yard range.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Must Have Been The Witchcraft

Courtesy of Breda.

You are 1% hippie.

Ok, you conservative soul. Do you even believe in global warming? Loosen that necktie a little, and try some organic food. It actually does taste better. And go to a farmer's market--they're fun.

Are you a hippie?
Take More Quizzes

Hide In A Corner

That's what Karen Lofton, a 45-year-old nurse, was trying to do when she was murdered by a suspected serial killer in her own home.


Her daughter Karissa, 16, was killed while trying to call 911 from her bed.


The security system in their home had been disabled and all the doors were locked. A Maryland UPS worker has been indicted for killing as many as five or more women altogether. It is believed he used UPS databases in part to select his victims.

News like this fills me with disgust and anger. If you have time to try to hide in a corner, you have time to get behind cover or at least concealment with a gun. If you call 911 it should be from a position of strength while armed. A place where your assailant is forced into the "fatal funnel" in order to continue his attack.

Having a gun and the skill and will to use it would not have guaranteed these women's survival, but it would have given them a chance. The murderer was armed, and did in fact shoot them to death, but he didn't instantly drop them in their tracks. They had time to take action.

Too bad that action wasn't effective.

Hide and cower? No. Call 911 so someone else can come and stop the threat for you? No.

Stop the threat. Reload. Call 911 as soon as it's safe to do so, not instead of saving your own life. Calling 911 brings the people who put up yellow tape and take photos. It's up to you whether your body or the bad guy's is the star of their show.

Your Very Own Zombie

Gnomes are lame. Your very own Garden Zombie, though, now that's cool.

ThinkGeek does it again.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I had a CLUNK in a public restroom over the weekend.

No, it wasn't my gun, the restroom was a one-holer, and it was in a business where if the proprietors had known what happened, they would have just pointed and laughed.

In no-jacket weather, I've been carrying my two reloads in a spare snubby-size pocket holster in my left front jeans pocket. It's comfortable, they're readily accessible, and they're less conspicuous than in a mag carrier on my belt.

While I was paying careful attention to my 1911 in its Minotaur Spartan IWB, the other side of my jeans drooped just enough for the two loaded mags to slip out of the snubby holster and hit the tile. No harm-no foul, but a great teaching experience.

Keep track of all of your EDC gear, all the time. Thus endeth the lesson.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Feeling Vulnerable

Now that I'm gimping around on a bum knee, my defense toolbox is significantly smaller. Many options such as good old Nike-fu (running away) are off the table entirely, and a lot of my empty-hand skills are seriously compromised. That means I'm more dependent on tool use.

Unfortunately, my new employer is so politically correct it hurts. On my first day, during the HR orientation spiel, I was warned that even pocket multitools are considered dangerous weapons and will earn equivalent disciplinary action. All company property and anything on it is subject to search at any time. And their posted criminal-empowerment zones include the employee parking garage.

Under state law, leaving a gun locked in a car in a posted parking area is not a violation as long as the gun does not leave the vehicle. State law does not, however, prohibit an employer from taking disciplinary action against an employee for violating their so-called safety policy. That means my new employer is rendering me helpless not only at work but also on the drives to and from, and for any other stops I might make during those drives.

Having been unemployed twice in the last less-than-a-year, I have a whole new appreciation for having a job in an at-will world. This last time I was job-hunting was right after Obamacare passed, and prospective employers were asking me wholly inappropriate questions about my health, whether I was on any prescription drugs, et cetera. If I lose this job, finding another will only get harder.

Being a professional geek involves working maintenance windows and callouts in the middle of the night. Where I work now is very near an area heavily frequented by the non-harmless variety of homeless people. It is the height of arrogant-liberal fingers-in-their-ears-la-la-la denial for this company to render me helpless from the moment I leave my house to the moment I return. Disarmed is not safe.

Yes, I'm looking into alternate parking arrangements. Other nearby garages are expensive and currently have waiting lists. Parking at a meter on the street is not an option.

Not looking like food is a big part of avoiding predators. That's a lot harder now that I'm temporarily mobility-impaired. I can't walk as fast or move with the same confidence and fluidity as before. That makes me look like prey, and I absolutely hate it.

So I'm being very careful to not do anything that can get me fired while looking for a way around the worst of my employer's helpless-is-safe newspeak stupidity.

And if anything happens that I can't handle with only a flashlight on a keychain, I will do my damnedest to sue them into bankruptcy for putting me in that position.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Guilty Pleasures

Why should Jay G and LabRat have all the fun? Here's a list of my guilty pleasures:
  • DVD NCIS-a-thons, best on nasty-weather weekends. Between the 5-disc changer, the DVD-VCR combo, and the high-def player, I can watch a whole season and then some without having to hoist my butt off the couch.
  • The old Roberta Williams-Sierra Online "King's Quest" game series, especially "King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride." Virtualization using VMware vCenter Converter and VMware Player (both free downloads) lets me run obsolete software in its true native OS as guests of a current operating system.
  • Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake and Merry Gentry books. I have 'em all, in both dead-tree and electronic formats. Now, between eReader and Kindle for Android, I can take the whole collection with me wherever I go.
  • Eating this cold, right out of the package. 'Nuff said.
I'm so ashamed.

Monday, July 19, 2010

I Write Like . . .

Now this is probably the last result I would have expected.

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Feminists, Victim Advocates, and Victims

I've had a rant fulminating in the back of my mind for a while now, and some things that happened yesterday finally brought it to a head.

I was at a grassroots activism conference sponsored by the Second Amendment Foundation, the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the Nebraska Firearms Owners Association. I was one of only three women in attendance, and the only one who did not come along with a husband. I was the only woman there who had never been anti-gun.

As Alan Gottlieb was describing the value of letting the public know about the true diversity of gun owners, one man raised his hand and said that since (in his opinion) most gun owners are white male rednecks, why shouldn't grassroots groups focus on that demographic? According to this man, "experts" agree that women don't really want to protect themselves, they want "John Wayne" to come to their rescue.

At that statement, everyone in the room who knew anything at all about me looked in my direction.

Yes, the eye roll was everything they expected.

When I told my Significant Other* about that statement, he scoffed that anyone who would say such a thing had to be a man who wanted women helpless so he could be the big, strong protector and ride to their rescue.

I agree with his assessment. There are nonetheless many vocal self-proclaimed "feminists" who are truly focused on keeping women disempowered. This article, linked by Joe Huffman, is a perfect example.

Gun control laws are absolutely a feminist issue, but for the exact opposite reason simpering cowards like the author above believe. Gun control laws do absolutely nothing but make the most effective means of self defense difficult or impossible to utilize by innocent people. They do not nor have they ever made any reduction in criminal use of firearms, or any other crime. Just look at Washington DC, Chicago, and (formerly) Great Britain for example after example.

Whenever somebody tries to tell me what to do or how to live my life, I immediately look to their motivations. What do these people stand to gain if I comply with their direction? What do they stand to lose if I don't?

In the article linked above, the recurring theme is "women are victims who must be protected." The sources of this "wisdom" are uniformly women-advocacy and victim-advocacy groups. In other words, organizations who would not exist if not for women and victims incapable of acting on their own behalf.

Nobody can control everything that happens to them in life, but everybody is 100% in control of what they do about it. I was a victim, and I was set up by my family of origin to be a victim. If you give off a "victim vibe," you will attract victimizers. And by playing it their way, abdicating my responsibility to keep myself safe to external authority, I ended up raped when that external authority refused to act on my well-founded fears.

Let me remind you again, this happened in Chicago.

I could have chosen to wallow in self-pity and helplessness after that. Many do, and there's a whole advocacy industry built around them. Many of these organizations, including NOW, claim to be "feminist" while actually promoting the idea that effective personal safety is too icky, patriarchal, or dangerous for women. Their constant mantra is that women must be protected. Seems to me the only ones who need to be protected are those who cannot or will not protect themselves.

Too many women's and victims' groups don't want women and victims to be empowered at all. They really want them to continue to see themselves as helpless. Truly empowered women, and victims who have become survivors, wouldn't need them any more.

Without a steady supply of helpless women and victims, their donations and grants disappear. Their cushy jobs being professional whiners disappear. They lose all their power. They have no reason to exist.

Any effort to disempower anyone comes from those who want that power for themselves.

Women are, for the most part, smaller than men and not as strong. That's simple biology, not politics. My gun, along with my training and the will to use both, puts me on equal ground with any attacker of any size. Gun control as pushed by the "advocates" would deprive me of that, forcing me to rely on the strength of others for personal safety. I know first-hand how that works out.

I don't need any advocates to look out for me. I can look out for myself.

* He's a real HOTR Man, and I love him for it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Now It Could Get Interesting

When I asked for my partial excuse from jury duty for gun stuff, I managed to avoid telling them what the excusal was for. Well, yesterday I got a supplemental jury duty questionnaire to fill out and mail back.

Right off the bat, there's a question about whether I have ever been a victim of a crime. Then I have to list all organizations I belong to. I have to list all my hobbies and activities, and what websites I visit regularly.

Care to speculate on the odds a rape survivor/shooter/gun rights activist will make it onto an actual jury?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Trauma-Free Trailer Training

Judge's ear melanoma has gone weird, so the vet wants to remove it and send it in for histopathology. As long as he's taking that one, he's going to remove the other melanoma on Judge's tail as well. That necessitates trailering Judge to the vet clinic about 30-odd miles away.

Judge has only been trailered once, when he was moved to where he's living now from the place where he was born. That was several years ago. Since I like to stack the deck for success whenever possible, we spent the day today doing Trailer Loading 101.

We pulled my trailer into a safely-fenced area so I could use free-shaping to get Judge calmly loading himself. I brought some of my other horses in as well, since loading like ladies and gentlemen is an essential skill. Milton The EvilPony™ is a trailer loading champ and could come in handy to give an uncertain horse a lead. Funny how even the worst little snot around has something he does really well.

By clicking and rewarding the slightest effort made in a positive direction, Judge was soon loading himself with no physical coercion at all. No halter, no lead rope, no drama.

It really helps to have a trailer that's big and airy enough for the horses to feel comfortable. Judge is a solid 16 hands, and in my 7'8" tall, extra wide trailer he has plenty of room.

Sarge was especially fun to work with. In about ten minutes, he would load himself when I told him, "Load up." He would stand in his proper spot, then turn around when asked, walk to the top of the ramp, wait until I told him it was okay, then walk down the ramp and stop at the bottom. Then I had to put him back out with the other horses because he kept loading and unloading himself and getting in the way.

Hopefully Judge will have smooth, stress-free trips to and from the vet, with Milton along for company. Once he gets there, well, I don't expect that part to be so pleasant.

Maybe I'm weird, but I enjoy playing with my horses, seeing how each one learns and the different activities they like over others, and learning how their minds work far more than riding them.

Raw Diets For Dogs

I'm a label reader, and the ingredients in commercial dog foods disgusted me. I also watched my very first dog, a Brittany, decline in old age while being fed a Hill's product formulated for geriatric dogs prescribed by my vet. It contained ground peanut shells among other things I felt could not possibly be good for even a facultative carnivore, but I followed what I was told. My dog paid the price.

Then my aunt's dog started losing function in her rear legs and we took her to Iowa State's veterinary teaching hospital. There, the chief of neurology diagnosed her with spinal myelopathy and said there was no treatment. Brandy would continue to deteriorate with ascending paralysis until euthanasia would become necessary. Again, we followed what we were told, and that's exactly what happened.

Then I stumbled across an article describing Dr. Wendell Belfield's successful treatment of this same "fatal" condition. I read, and learned, and changed the way I fed and cared for my dogs.

By this time I was up to my eyeballs in Greyhound adoption and vice-president of GPA's Midwest Chapter. A Grade-A running Greyhound owned by a friend who was the chapter president started having problems just like my aunt's dog. He went to ISU and was diagnosed by the same board-certified neurologist with spinal myelopathy. My friend called me to say that Conway couldn't stand up by himself any more and they were going to put him down. I told her to start giving him high doses of vitamin C, and that I would take the dog and see if he could get better.

I called Dr. Belfield's office, and he was happy to advise a local vet on a treatment protocol. No vet would cooperate, so I tried a less-aggressive regimen involving oral vitamin C to bowel tolerance, other supplements, homeopathic support, chiropractic adjustments, and a raw diet. Long story short, Conway got better. He got back up, and except for some minor incoordination between his front and rear ends remained happily chasing tennis balls for the rest of his life. His breeder/racing owner saw how well he had recovered, and I gave Dr. Sharon Willoughby, his chiropractor, copies of both his and Brandy's patient files from ISU. He was also the star of a number of Dr. Willoughby's teaching seminars in Illinois.

Seeing how diet helped Conway convinced me that raw food was definitely the way to go for dogs. I don't feel qualified to address cat nutrition, because I've never successfully transitioned a cat to a completely raw diet. Their tendency to go into hepatic hyperlipidosis has always scared me off taking the hard line of not offering the commercial food the cat will eat to force them to eat the raw stuff they're refusing.

Fortunately, dogs aren't so fussy or stubborn, and generally love raw meat and bones. Most of my dogs' food is exactly that: raw meaty bones. Ten-pound bags of chicken hindquarters are a staple. Pork neck bones and pigs' feet are another favorite -- modern farming practices have made trichinosis a thing of the past. The rest of the diet is a glop of "green slime:" raw vegetables run through a juicer with the juice mixed back in. Sometimes we change it up with some canned mackerel, cooked but still better than dog food. None of my dogs like raw fish, unless they can hide it long enough to get nice and rank. Then they roll on it.

Harriet in particular likes to bury food, then dig it up and eat it later. Doesn't bother her in the least. I certainly don't encourage it, but canids are predator-scavengers, and a healthy dog can handle carrion just fine.

Once in a while, I throw in a multivitamin on general principles, half of one of the caplets I take myself. Everything my dogs ingest regularly is sold for human consumption. Which vitamin formula? Doesn't matter. What are the dietary proportions? Doesn't matter. Does every bite we eat have to be "complete and balanced for growth and maintenance?" Of course not. Same goes for dogs.

There are plenty of raw diet plans out there that are wonderfully complicated. I started out that way, and over time learned it wasn't necessary. Probably 95+% of what my dogs eat is raw meat and bones. The rest is green slime, or a blob of canned pumpkin if I don't have time to mess around with the juicer. Notice the total absence of grain products. I used to feed whole grains, but not any more. The dogs do far better without them.

Periodic fasting is also good for carnivores on a natural diet. They'll even fast themselves with absolutely no ill effects. One day every week or two on water only is a good cleanout.

Feeding raw may be a bit more expensive than quality dog food, but you'll more than make it up in vet bill savings.

There is way more information available on raw feeding than I can link to individually here. There are also lots of holistic vets around now with whom you don't have to play the "don't ask, don't tell" game.

I take a team approach with my animals' health, with holistic and conventional practitioners. My conventional small-animal vet once told me, "If an average client asks us about raw feeding, we'll advise against it since they're not going to take the time to do it right. Your dogs live longer, healthier lives than theirs do, so whatever you're doing, keep it up."

Works for me.