Gun Repair

A while back I acquired a non-firing replica of the Colt 1848 “Baby Dragoon” pocket revolver. Although it is non-firing, it has a working trigger / hammer mechanism and rotating cylinder. Somehow I managed to break it so there was no spring tension in the hammer. Well, I finally decided to disassemble the gun and figure out what went wrong.gun1
































After examining the mechanism and fiddling with a couple of improvised springs – to no avail – I decided to remove one side of the grip and check out the innards. Since the grips were not made to remove, I actually broke off the left side, and what do you know? A big tension spring!gun5










The spring had an obvious misalignment, so I worked it back into place, reassembled the gun and re-glued the grip. All is well. 🙂

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Locks and Keys

Certain everyday objects strike me as especially interesting or curious. I’m not a collector, but every so often when any of these items comes my way, I put them up on a shelf to enjoy for a while.

Recently I came into possession of several vintage locks along with an assortment of skeleton keys and other miscellaneous. Three of the locks are stamped YALE while another of the same design is stamped with the company name WILCO. The keys are mostly vintage with a few “faux vintage” mixed in. For whatever reason, this stuff catches my imagination, so on display they go… for now.


Locks7  Locks6



~ Inky 🙂

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Thoughts on Playing the Piano

It was the mid 70’s and I was about ten years old when I started piano lessons, quitting after no more than three years. I didn’t like the music, I hated to practice, and I wasn’t above some deception when it came to avoiding my weekly lesson. A fictitious “thumb injury” comes to mind.

Nevertheless, over time I continued to purchase sheet music – usually pop songs – and the hits of the day included tunes by Barry Manilow, John Denver, Elton John, and Simon & Garfunkel. “Hello darkness my old friend…” Oh yeah, good stuff. Anyway…

These simple pop renditions provided many hours of enjoyment all through my teens, and I have to confess that I was glad to know my way around a piano. Years later while working in a bookstore I discovered two contemporary pianists, Jim Brickman and Peter Kater, both of whom dazzled me with their snazzy renditions and modern originals, exposing me to a whole new world of pianistic possibilities. I was intrigued, but they sounded so complex.

Then, in 2005, I heard an elegantly simple piano piece on the radio called The Gift by pianist David Nevue, and I was hooked. By now we had entered the Internet age and David had a website where one could listen to music samples, order CD’s and – importantly – purchase and download sheet music for almost all of his compositions. I ordered The Gift and played it at church a few weeks later. I ordered other music as well, and the wonderful truth was that many of David’s arrangements and compositions were not that complicated! Even a piano lesson drop-out like me could learn and memorize them.

Thirty-five years after my last reluctant piano lesson I have developed a whole new repertoire of beautiful, energetic, and uplifting piano music. I’ll just go ahead and say it – it’s pretty darn awesome! Sadly, my piano teacher of the 70’s – Lois Dunsmore –  departed this life without ever knowing what a wonderful gift she gave me, my bad attitude notwithstanding. But I did contact David Nevue to thank him for re-awakening my desire to play the piano, and for making it so easy for hacks like me to sound so good. Seriously, I love that guy.

So if you once played an instrument but laid it aside, bored with the lessons, or the music, or the practicing, I encourage you to look around and see what today’s musicians are doing with that instrument, how they have changed and innovated, or simplified, or jazzed up the possibilities. You might just find a renewed enthusiasm to give it a go again and, like me, maybe even share your resurrected gift with family, friends, nursing home residents, church congregations, and anyone else who will be blessed by it.

You just might enjoy making some fresh music! 🙂

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Am I a Writer?

NOTE: This was originally posted a few years back on Xanga – anyone remember Xanga?! – but I thought it appropriate to re-post here for those who may question what it means to be a “writer.”  

Writers and published authors will sometimes state that the act of writing itself is their passion, and so they will always write whether they get paid for it (and published) or not. These folks are among the most prolific, and often successful, writers. Others find writing to be therapeutic, or they write with visions of fame and movie options.

I don’t seem to fall into any of these categories. I enjoy writing to a certain extent, the same way I enjoy various other activities, but I have no passion for writing in and of itself. I could easily go a day (or a month) without writing a single word. I don’t find writing to be especially therapeutic either (maybe just never thought of it that way).

What I do enjoy is being able to edit and refine my ideas before sharing them with the world. Too often my spoken words come out like a bad first draft, and I wish I’d have said things differently. That problem goes away when writing. I can say what I want in just the right way. It’s almost like cheating.

Yet despite that enjoyment, I often have to force myself to sit down and put words on paper screen. Sometimes I lose interest in my great story idea because I realize that it doesn’t have any ultimate significance – like it’s not enough for me to merely entertain or inform, I want to change someone’s life. Unfortunately, life-changing ideas are hard to come by.

The one exception to my lack of passion is when I am in the midst of a debate, and many of my debates have concerned some point of faith or theology. I once wrote a thirty-page response to a friend on the subject of free will vs. predestination, and I could hardly bring myself to leave the keyboard until it was typed, edited, printed and bound. I was passionate.

Most other times, not so much. I have already concluded that I’m not a natural born writer, or someone who needs to write like eating or breathing… but am I a writer at all? Well, here I am putting words on a screen, explaining my thoughts in written form for others to read. Many people would never conceive of doing such a thing, so yes, in some way that sets me apart from a large segment of the general population, I am a “writer,” and where that will lead – if anywhere – time will tell. 🙂

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