Sunday, September 19, 2021

Starman Jones

I wasn't much of a scifi geek in school.  I mean, I had a subscription to OMNI magazine, and talked about all the movies and tv shows back then, but I was always a practical type.  "How could I leverage that to help me now?"  Well, John Carter of Mars notwithstanding, everything else was basically neglected.

Later on, a friend loaned me Armor by John Steakly and I found Starman Jones on my own.  There is a part in Starman Jones where he explains to his love interest that space is like a folded handkerchief.  If you follow it across it's length it takes years to go from A to B.  But since A and B are almost touching because of the fold in space, you just punch up to light speed for an instant at A and you pop out at B.   Very interesting concept.  

I last posted 3 weeks ago, and BANG! here it is 19 Sept 2021.  The ensuing days passed so quickly.... almost like they didn't exist.  This is the weirdest headspace I've ever encountered.


Recipe Time

Falling back on my Rules for Normal Operational Capability¹, I remembered some wisdom from a past comment thread.  Do something you enjoy doing.  So I cooked up a roast, with a different spice set than normal.  I've always like to experiment with flavors.  Found out the offlimits stuff that way.

I made a few changes to the recipe though.  I had 9 pounds of pork roast, so I tripled everything.  

I always try and sear the roast before I cook it.  That brings out some really good flavor.  Then I put it fat side up and sliced into it about an inch in a few places.

No ground cumin, so I took the cumin seeds (cominos) and placed them in the mortar and pestle (molcajete) with some red pepper flakes.  Ground them down to dust.  A little warm water to make slurry and sloshed it on the roast.  No limes, so I used lemon juice and plain old cider vinegar substituted for the fancy stuff.

Slow cook for 8 hours, then warmed overnight.  It's falling apart and nicely spicy.  Probably gonna make some rice for it this afternoon.  And I have food to freeze for several days of yum.

Might as well learn to cook for my new neighbors....


Machine Shop Projects

The old taper attachment has been languishing.  
Thankfully, it doesn't mind waiting for me

My emergency bathtub replacement part lathe project exposed a weakness in the Logan quick change gear box that needs immediate attention.
One step forward, two steps back


When I get a little wind up, I have cleaning and cooking to do.  Then I'm down for a few days.  It's a cycle.  Look up long haul syndormeThen check this out.  It's a year old and I've not heard another thing about it.  I don't think I have this though.  What I have concluded is the muscles I built with a 100% operating lung capacity are able to remove O2 from my blood faster than the damaged lungs can replace.  I'm trying to drive cross country on a drag racer fuel tank.  I think of a thing needs doing, start in on it, and suddenly have to stop and rest.  Everything has slowed down to operate in that limited arena.  If I push on to complete it, it'll be days of rest, not hours.

I do like visual imagery that fully explains what I am attempting to convey


39 years ago today, I pledged my life and sacred honor to one woman.  I have remained true to that promise.  I meant it then, I've lived it ever since.  I had no "Plan B".  It's been 531 days on the island.  I no longer feel the pathological loneliness.  I am more comfortable in my skin than I ever remember before.  But I do know what Momma meant when she said, 'if you pour salt and sugar together, it's impossible to separate them again."  There are things that have become a part of me.  I know my way around a molcajete for instance.  And I know I can endue more than I have to date.  But enduring isn't a freeman's fate.  I aim to flourish.

All the trees where I grew up lean like this.  They were in the wind from the beginning.  That southwesterly wind caused them to lean to the northeast.  Every one of them that grew out by themselves look like this.  They were marked by their hardship, but they fought right on. 

I was raised probably less than 15 miles from here

I'm taking notes...


I'm gonna have to start a page to keep my brain dumps on, the glossary, and rules for whatever

[¹] Rules for Normal Operational Capability: 

In no particular order

Hang around people more intelligent than I am.  Listen, learn, apply, asses, repeat.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Getting Comfortable


My maternal grandmother had overlapping toes.  I remember seeing some white canvas shoes with holes cut into the top so there was room for her toes to do what they did.  It was kinda cool to remember that, and realize we didn't even notice it was strange, unusual or different.  That was just the way it was.  I don't think she ever wore them in public, but they worked just fine with the custom modifications around the house. 

Exactly like this but with holes on top

I was thinking about that today, as I move things around getting the place to more suit to my needs.  Kinda of my own cutting holes in the shoes.  Do people do that anymore?  Do they make adjustments to things so they are more comfortable or do they go to the professionals for a consult?  Then order a custom fit from the professional maker of the whozit.  Self reliance is something I grew up with, and didn't even realize.  It's pretty cool to see that now.  And realize that I am almost perfectly capable of making what I need.

It's not about people anymore


When the repair guy ordered the part for the fridge, it showed arrival on 28 September.  Fully a month away.  What the actual heck is that?  So, I decided that feeding ice to the icebox wasn't gonna work long term.  So I picked up a 7 cubic foot chest freezer and one of these:  
Set the on temp at 35, and off at 30.  It cycles the freezer perfectly. Makes a dandy fridge that doesn't dump all the cold air out when I open it.  And it's small, doesn't take up the whole room like a full size fridge would.  ( I have fevered dreams gutting the freezer and using the cooling system in that beautiful old icebox....)

Found out the lightning took out my natural gas alarm, too.  So I ordered 2 to replace the one.  And I did that because this freezer uses ISOBUTANE for refrigerant?!?!?!?!?!??!  R600a.  Here's some comforting information:  
"As a refrigerant, isobutane poses a fire and explosion risk in addition to the hazards associated with non-flammable CFC refrigerants."   Oh thank you Uncle Sugar.  You so sweet!
So, in order to protect mother Gaia, the druids that infect our regulatory agencies decided an explosive would be more earth friendly.  Since natural gas rises when it leaks, and the heavier gasses like propane and butane sink, I got one for the old ceiling location and one for the floor, under the durn BS I just bought.  Remember Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd??  Yeah that exact B--- S-------!!!!!  I'll pass, too.

Move along "citizen"

I remember the last days of DDT.  Read stories of how innocuous it was to humans.  Just killed insects.  I think you could eat it without any problem.  Pour it under the house, mix it with paint, blow it into cracks for DECADES of deterrence.  Back in WW2, they blew that stuff all over folks to delouse them.  You can see old films of concentration camp inmates being dusted with it.  Some dingbat shows up with bad science and slick packaging... pffft! it's gone.  Replaced with things that are much more dangerous to humans.  And have a shorter lifespan than the insects they are supposed to control.  Oh, and sorry about all those dead malaria victims in Africa and Asia.  I guess those people don't matter to the druids.

Back when I was much younger and just starting out, we lived in a duplex.  They would spray for bugs on our side, wait a few weeks and spray the other side.  Waves of bugs every couple months came to visit.  I took a replacement ballast for a sodium vapor street light back to the house from work.  Boss said it was useless, sure take it.  I wired it up like an electric fence.  Ran a ground around the bottom and a low hot wire.    So I figure this hot wire is gonna help a few million bugs go to bug heaven.  Baited it, went to bed....  Lightning erupts in the kitchen, a healthy bzzzzaaaaap! and then....
BZZZZZZ....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz...... zap!  
Then the smell of high voltage fried bug guts wafts through the air....  I hoofed it in there, unplugged it and threw it out the front door.  Good grief that was poorly thought out.  Great lesson on how smoke can provide an ionized path for arcs to follow.  That's about the only reason I don't assemble tiny laser turrets to encircle the house and go after those big palmetto bugs...  I figure I'd catch one on fire and it would run into the grass an burn the neighborhood down.  
DDT didn't do that.  R22 didn't do that.  But ISOBUTANE??  Really???  
Thanks Uncle Sugar.  You numbah ten.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021


Beauty is in The Eye of the Beholder

This is what the man that sold me the taper parts a year or so ago does. He's an old machinist and has several shops on his spot. Look at this beautiful work. Some may think it's putting lipstick on a pig, but in 1954 a Logan 200 cost about $410.00  Today that works out to $4,161.01 if you figure 3.5% inflation each year.  So this man basically made the Logan brand new, plus it has a lot of tooling.  It is normal to spend more on tooling than you spent on your machine.  He's only asking $500 over the adjusted original price for a lot bells and whistles to go with it.


She is basically new.  I saw it when it was in process.  He does really nice work.


Memories of Mountain Home and DAG

Mountain Home, TX is where the gunsmith that Dean Grennell recommended for building the .45 Super used to live.  The gunsmith is probably gone, and so is Dean.  Dean was a great guy.  Just read his stuff.  We corresponded for a couple years when I was reading his work to learn how to do what I needed to do back then.  He was class, front, back, clear through the middle. 


Dean Grennell

My favorite book

The 45 Super - Dean's baby

Monday, August 23, 2021

Logan Taper Attachment

The Last NOS Part

You know, I always wonder about the last part, or the last piece.   There is this character on YT that looks for civil war relics.  Aquachigger.  I find myself thinking at times, I wonder when the last dropped miniball will be found?  When will the last artillery shell come up out of the ground?  Kind of strange I guess, but no one knows how many were made, used or still exist.

I do the same thing with parts.  Finding this part that I needed was fortuitous.  I wonder how much NOS is out there for a Logan 200, or a LeBlond?  How do you find it, and how would you know that was the last piece?  Inquiring minds want to know...



First load in the soak went well. Got the small parts and the compound rest done. They came out pretty. No wear to speak of on this. I guess it got misplaced in it's youth.  No complaints!  It is truly NOS (new old stock).   I need to make a trough for the cross slide.  It will be soaked today.  May even have pictures tonight.  I did not expect the paint to fail like that.  Usually, Evaporust® won't pull paint.

The screw, escutcheons and gib look like new, too.  Hand wheel looks okay.  It'll shine up with use.

Do you see those VEE shaped marks on the left?  Are those the original scrapes or machining marks??  WOW, they are clear and crisp.  So are the markings on the dial.  No real wear to speak of.  Brand new.

Even a blind hog can root up an acorn once in a while

New Tool Alert!

 I found this rusty bucket on the auction site, and got it for a decent price.  Especially compared to every one else's idea of decent.  She cleaned up nice.  I need to dig out the buffing wheel and give her a shine.  But she is usable as is....

This side was up and rusty, not the dull finish on the barrel

This side was down and came out a bit shiny compared to the other side

Cross slide is soaking.  Got a bit more to go before I haul it out and start the hot water scrub on it.  Then the drying and oiling.....  Fun times.

Ya'll have a good evening!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

What a year! (this last month was)

Man, I don't even know where to begin... I wound up in the hospital back in July.  Son wound up in the hospital in August.  A couple days after that, lightning took out the network (ups, surge protector, modem, router), a laptop (yeah, the one I blog on, but I saved the data on the HD!), another pc, and my new fridge. Service call for the fridge is sked late next week. Almost a month after the hit. Son is out of the hospital doing way better.  I figure the mess throughout June pulled us down.  Loads of stress in the family, then BAM!  Have some pneumonia.  The unproductive, constant coughing is driving me nuts. And the sore muscles/rib/lung on one side is gravy on the cake.  Rest of the stress is on the back burner.... for now.

 Appliance Update:

I've been using this beauty until the fridge gets fixed. Glad I had this old girl waiting in the wings.  Else, I'd be scorching milk, and toasting flour to keep the germs at bay.  I'm already smoking meat to keep it fresh...  Hello 1900, I really didn't miss you. The old cloth seals were worn out, so I put on some new weather stripping. It works pretty well. 1920's vintage. Thankfully, my upright freezer didn't eat it during the storm, so I can make my own ice. About 20 lbs will last about about 30 hours. 

Upgraded and working, listen to it.. sit there quietly

I picked this up from craigslist last year when the old fridge died.  I got tired of digging in the soupy Coleman camp box. The wait was months on a new fridge back then.  I finally found one to order online at a big box store and waited a month for delivery, three months total using ice in 2020.  Progress.   Strategy side note:   I told the young lady that I had money in hand, she said it was already sold.  I told her when they flake out on you, call me back.  She did a few days later. I picked it up that night.  Heh.

Medical Update:

Doctor's appointment last week was eye opening. 30-40% lung capacity after 6 weeks convalescence. The test wore me out for two days. I guess the mechanism is called a cytokine storm. Same thing that killed all those young, fit folks during the Spanish Flu in 1919. Seems it causes the immune system to attack healthy lung tissue. I have baby lungs trying to feed adult muscles. I can burn through all the O2 in my blood with very little effort. If you remember holding your breath underwater until you felt panic, that's exactly how I work now. It is maddening. 



 Gratuitous Shop Porn:

So, off work due to sickness, short term disability dontcha know.  I've been "working" (read: stagger then wheeze then sit down) around the house. Cleaning up and out.  But there has to be some iron in the fire for the shop, and I found a beauty.   A year or so ago, I bought most of a taper attachment for the old Logan lathe.  

The parts that clamp on the bed ways and the long bar with the sliding shoe are all I had

 Mr. Garcia had started on a home built one, but never finished it.  All I needed was the extended cross slide for it.  And thanks to the auction site we all love to hate, I found one.  Watched it for a month, made an offer, nothing doing.  So, I saved up and bought it full price.  (Made the old Scot in me some upset)  But here it is!!  And it appears unused!!!  75 years old and minty fresh, sort of.

Very well packed!

I got it apart, no little effort, I'm telling you.  Only two tiny curls of swarf under the compound.  

She's a bit dirty, but unused


Had to make the collar removal device on the Logan so I could get the nut loose (LB-137).  Making parts for the lathe with the lathe.  Sweet sweet music. 


Bit of a burr on the screw, collar is not sliding past that.... yet

The little pins (LA-744) that hold the compound base dovetail are still in there and won't release.  I tried to suck them out with a magnet, but it looks like a bath in Evaporust is first, then, hopefully, I can remove them.

Logan 200 Series Compound Rest with part numbers

There that little guy is, hiding in the bottom of the hole

Gotta do some degreasing, then derusting.  I'm missing one gib. Plan is to make one soon.

S, I'm still among the living, and just above ground level.... for now.  What a year.



I'm sure you know about this site. His documentation efforts have saved me countless hours working on these old beauties I have.  Thank you Mr. Rucker. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

I Aplogize, Most Humbly

 When I was a kid, we played cowboys and indians.  I had my hat, vest, chaps, a belt with 2 silver cap guns...  I was born wearing jeans and boots (sorry about that mom). My sister said I was a self proclaimed "do dun dowdoy".  I've always had an admiration for the folks that settled the west, and those that were the best light cavalry on this continent.  I know I have at least one side represented in my lineage.  I have pictures on my walls right now that hung in my parent's room growing up.  Cowboys, Indians, western subjects,  old farm houses... I still consider my self a DOT (danged ol' Texan) that is riding line and looking for strays.
If this were me, I'd have my left leg hooked around the saddle horn too.

I don't hit the office much, and my area to cover is south Texas.  So I a wound up being a cowboy, well, sort of anyway...

----Non PC Content Below The Fold----

----content that was perfectly fine in 1977---- 

Monday, July 26, 2021


Not catching many breaks around here....

Morton Salt....  Remember the rest?