Brian Mason–Advice for Historic Gun Collectors

Good morning, friends, and welcome to “Advice for Everyone.” We’re glad to have Brian Mason with us today. Brian, can you tell us what you do for a living?
Law Enforcement

How old are you, and where do you live?
Dirty 30s, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Where can we find you on the internet?

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
I would have to say Edinburgh, Scotland for so many reasons I can’t even count.

Can you tell us something interesting about Edinburgh?
It is a tremendous city and so much to see but you need to take your time doing it in order to take in the vast culture around you, like the wandering bagpipe bands. But by far the best part is Edinburgh Castle. Take a full day to do it otherwise you will miss something. There is so much history and culture in that castle that you cannot possibly be let down.

Thanks! Your favorite meal would be?
Beef Stroganoff by a long shot.

Pet peeve?
People with wet shoes who grind and squeak their shoes on the floor.

Favorite book, or movie, or television show?
Does my own book count? Other than that, Band of Brothers by far.

Can you tell us a little about your book? Where could people find a copy?
The book is Biscuits and Gravy, Southern Comforts for the Heart and Soul. Currently available on Amazon. The book features a compilation of true short stories from my family’s oral tradition of the odd stories that happen in the south as well as a few of my own antics. They are all written to give some enjoyment and some serious stories to the reader but to also give some motivation and inspiration at the end of the day. Kind of like a southern version of Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul.

If people want to pray for you, they could pray for …..?
Focus, clarity and ease of mind.

Are you married or have you been? Any kids or pets?
I’ve been married almost two years now. My pets (cats) are demanding for attention every day but hey, that’s ok, it eases any frustration in the day.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I do a mixture of things. I’ll read, tinker with artifacts or go out into the wilderness on long hikes. Anything to keep my mind engaged or put a physical strain on the muscles.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
I do enjoy writing, anything from nonfiction to short stories to science fiction. I have an immense passion for history and as such operate a living history association. I love the outdoors and being away from civilization. I’m an avid historic gun collector and target shooter. My past career was as an archaeologist so I do enjoy old things, artifacts, antiques, anything with a story behind it really. I have been a part of many things. I used to be a part of Rotary International and with that have met her highness the Queen Noor of Jordan and entertained the ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire to Canada. I’ve stood as part of the honor guard to unveil monuments and been decorated by the 7th US Special Forces.

Can you tell us a little about your living history association?
The First Special Service Force Living History Association was founded in 2012 by myself and a gentleman in St Albert, Alberta, Canada. It was meant to bolster the living history program for the Canadian Forces in hopes of bringing better education and understanding to the public on the Second World War as well as veteran awareness. We focus on the First Special Service Force as our main allied representation, which was a special forces unit that operated from 1942 to 1944; comprised of half Americans and half Canadians, it became one of the most respected and feared units in the Italian Campaign. We also have a German contingent to show both aspects of the war but the hope is to educate folks on this era and veterans in general rather than them gaining their perspective from video games and Hollywood.

Thanks, Brian! Can I ask you to give some advice to historic gun collectors?
The first thing that comes to mind is plan and prepare. Otherwise you end up with a hodgepodge collection immediately that reproduces like rabbits in your gun cabinet. But outside of this, do your research, look at what is out there first and avoid those impulse buys. Think of where your main interests may lie, such as what era or type of combat you are interested in; this will affect what direction you might ultimately lean when collecting. If you know your stuff ahead of the game then you will know better what you are looking for and will avoid getting sucked into a void of either fakes, mislabeled pieces or the elusive ‘good deal’ that ends up burning a hole in your pocket so deep that it would make a miner blush. Once you know what you want, look around, don’t jump at the first deal like a schoolboy on prom night.

So you know your sources, you know your material. Take your time looking and look for those unusual markings, those rare configurations. Then, make your buy and then take care of the blasted thing. You toss it in the closet like those brand new gym shoes covered in cobwebs and you’ve wasted your money. Oil, lube, and the like are your friend. I suggest Frog Lube for your outer metal bits, no internal working parts–bad idea. Short and sweet, love it like you would a girl on your wedding day. Take care of it and you will be glad you did.

Brian, thanks for letting us get to know you a little, and good luck with your various interests and obligations. Take care and God bless.

Ty Unglebower–Advice for Freelance Journalists

What is your name?
Ty Unglebower

Can you tell us your occupation?
Freelance journalist

How old are you and where do you live?
39 and Knoxville, Maryland.

The most interesting place you’ve visited?
Probably Seattle, Washington. I was only there once for two days, but would like to get back.

Could you tell us a little about how Seattle caught your interest?
I was in high school, and Mom and my younger sister and I were going on a cross country trip. That was one of our stops. We spent two nights there, took several tours, and visited Mt. Rainier. I enjoyed how it seemed far less congested and claustrophobic than most East Coast cities I’ve been to, but still had plenty to do and see. The Space Needle of course makes it one of the more interesting American skylines as well.

Your favorite meal would be?
Spaghetti and bread.

Pet peeve?
Incorrect use of A.D. as pertains to years. It is properly “The year AD 1500.” Whereas most will write, “1500, AD.”
I also get highly annoyed with misquotations.

Where can we find you on the internet?
Twitter: @TyUnglebower

Looking at your website, you describe yourself as “writer, actor, introvert.” Could you give us some insight into why “introvert” makes your top three list of self-identifiers?
Introversion influences so many different aspects and processes in my life in ways that run counter to the conventional American social structure, it felt as though it would almost be false-advertising not to mention that I am introverted. To be open about this right off the bat provides some small cushion against the expectations folks often have about being gregarious, pushy, stimulus-oriented. It doesn’t solve everything, but it is a start towards knowing what I am and am not about if people know from the start that I am introverted.

Thanks for sharing that. Favorite movie?
Probably “The Lion in Winter.”

Are you married or have you been? Any children?
Never married, I have no children.

One thing many people don’t know you can do?
Truthfully, I don’t believe any of my talents are hidden. People who know me tend to know the things I do well.

What advice would you offer to freelance journalists?
Ask. Everywhere, anywhere if they are in need of a writer. Know what you like to write about, find a publication or paper or source that shares that interest, and just ask them if they accept freelance writers, or if they would be willing to let you try to write a piece for them. If you don’t get an assignment, do it all over again somewhere else. If you do get an assignment, do it well, on time, and still do it all over again somewhere else. Meet people connected with such places if you can, and if you cannot, at least compliment writers of pieces you enjoyed, even if it appears in national magazines. It’s difficult to find the work sometimes, and difficult to keep doing it, so writers ought to consider themselves somewhat on the same team, at least for a while.

If you had any spare time, what would you do with it?
I would devote more time to my writing in most cases.

Tell us some interesting things about yourself that aren’t already covered.
My first fully formed sentence was, “I can talk Mom, I just don’t want to,” at age three or so.

Could you give us a sentence or two about the greatest frustration you’ve faced in being a writer? How about the same with the greatest satisfaction you’ve found?
The greatest frustration with being a writer in my case is probably successful publicity, both for my work, and for my potential services. It’s difficult to find places for which to write more freelance material, and even more difficult to sell the fiction that I write and publish myself. Finding a way to be in front of the proverbial audience is frustrating, as is not having my work read by anyone/few people.

The greatest satisfaction I’ve found as a writer is when I do reach someone, and they tell me or the world about it. When I know I have entertained, or provoked thought, laughter, introspection in someone else by way of my writing, I’m contented to put up with the frustrations a while longer.

Thanks much, Ty. And may I mention also that I’m a fan of your work, and I’d encourage my readers to check out your website and Twitter feed. We appreciate you letting us get to know you a little bit. May the writing continue to bring satisfaction, and may you prosper in it.