Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Show Us Your Detecting Assets

I have been told on a few occasions that I am "an asset" to metal detecting, or a good "ambassador" of the hobby.  This is certainly a huge compliment which does not go unappreciated, believe me!  (On the flip side, I was also called a bad influence because someone felt my profile picture was too provocative—So, six of one half dozen of the other.)

This got me to thinking though; what does it mean to be an asset to the hobby of metal detecting?  To me, an asset would be, say--a kick ass set of wireless head phones, a machine that rules out pull tabs, or maybe even a really good sports bra? Something that greatly benefits the detectorist in a tangible way.

Meanwhile, the term ambassador, when taken literally means "spokesperson" or "promoter"…  Do we really feel metal detecting is in need of promotion or any sort of cheerleading squad?  Let's face it, attracting new detectorists to the hobby really only benefits those selling equipment or the individuals who receive dividends for endorsing said equipment. And more coils on the soil mean less relics for everyone—which isn't exactly advantageous to detectorists—but it does equate to more history being saved, so I'm okay with that.

When contemplating the terms "asset" and "ambassador", it is important to understand their context is confined to the metal detecting subculture born on social media; not the hobby itself. In other words, if I am found to be an asset or ambassador by the court of social media, I do not immediately "qualify" in the eyes of a landowner. 

Can you imagine a permission pitch based on testimonials like, "WaterDigger says I'm a cool chick" and "NuggetBrain thinks I'm the bomb!"?  Regardless of how many YouTube subscribers they may have; the landowner will stare blankly, scratch their head, and say, "Who???"  They are more impressed that I can offer references from their neighbors or someone well-respected in their local community.

The majority of landowners are simply not a part of the metal detecting subculture or its dialog.  So there isn't much chance someone will be holding up their hand saying, "Oh hey, before I let you detect I need to know where you stand in the long-time feud between FindsRecoverer and BadDiggahGal."  Because, in the real world no one really cares!!!  

And thank GOD for that. I would hate to have landowners basing my permission on DirtInvestigator's judgmental assault of my profile picture after his trousers suddenly tightened, or over someone questioning my "dedication" because I produce YouTube videos.

In reality, landowners are not interested that JoeConfederate is pouting over RelicGal's percussion cap having more likes than his box plate; or that he claims SlickSilverSally became popular by acting like a clown.  Nor does it matter what machine WesElite swings, whether someone has been accused of staging finds, or which detectorists are sleeping together. 

The point is, metal detecting doesn't have a "reputation".  It is not a living breathing thing (though it may often feel that way). And it would take a hell of a lot more than a little bit of Facebook drama to do any wide-spread damage to the hobby.  I'm more concerned over rolling up on a property after a landowner has watched a television show depicting targets dug with a backhoe, or having to apologize because some yay-hoo has left gaping holes all over the place.  

When I'm standing there with my shovel in hand the only thing the landowner really wants to know is whether I’m going to damage their property or steal something. 

Hashtag Are-you-going-to-kill-me-or-my-lawn!

Am I right?

It's too easy in this world of social media, with all its personalities, to wind up with an overdeveloped sense of self-importance. While certainly an online footprint can have far reaching consequences; in this situation one's virtual reputation doesn't factor.  What really matters is owning the traits that gained me the respect of those individuals who called me an "asset" or "ambassador" in the first place.  And while I may not agree with the terminology, I like to think the meaning stands for integrity, kindness, and being a decent human being as well as any skills I may have developed as a detectorist.

When we apply these traits by respecting property, rebuilding the trust of landowners who have had a bad experience, positively influencing newer detectorists, and reinforce good habits.--In these ways each one of us is an asset and ambassador of the hobby.  And that my friends far outshines any minor rumblings from the mythical dark side of detecting lurking in the distant corners of the internet.

xoxo Siren Kimmie

Friday, July 20, 2018

Professional Metal Detectorists?

The hobby of metal detecting is filled with people from all walks of life.  I myself am an Information Technology Professional.  To become an IT Pro, I had to go to school to learn the intricate workings of computers and software. I am a trained, certified professional in my field.  Correspondingly, teachers, nurses, doctors, dentists, have spent gobs of money on an education, not for a degree to hang on their wall, but to become skilled in their chosen profession.

Metal detecting on the other hand, requires no specialized training courses.  There is no college curriculum or certification program which can be completed to achieve the title of "Professional Metal Detectorist".  In fact, there is no distinct talent or ability needed to engage in the hobby.  Believe me, even those with horrible technique and the cheapest detectors, still manage to find amazing things and have a great time doing it!

While experience and knowledge are helpful, they are not essential. Deciphering tones and navigating trashy areas will come with time, but a new detectorist hunting a target rich location has just as much chance of finding that pot of gold as a 40 year veteran of the hobby.  In fact anyone can find a pot of gold, it's bloody big and the tone will blow your ears off!

When I hear the term "Professional Detectorist" tossed around, or am accused of being one myself, I cannot help but wrinkle my nose--It's a misnomer.  Calling a metal detectorist a professional is like saying a prostitute is a professional.  It's a learn-as-you-go sort of thing.  Sure, you may fumble around the first time or two, but eventually you'll figure it out.  You can certainly hone your skills by watching and learning from others who have been doing it longer, picking up tips and techniques from videos or books, and through simple trial and error.  But the more you do it and the more you learn your equipment the better you will become. It really is that simple!

-xoxo Siren Kimmie

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Siren Kimmie at Ultimate Metal Detectors

Ever wonder what my favorite coil is? Or the go to coil for some of the most popular machines?  Well this article answers that question!  I was happy to provide some insight regarding the Garrett AT Pro.  check it out my article here:

Friday, July 6, 2018

Anatomy of a Social Media Argument

How to Avoid Looking Silly

Joe was scrolling through Facebook one day when he came across a post on Carl's timeline expressing a dislike for the color pink.  Joe, who absolutely LOVES pink, felt compelled to comment. 

"How can you HATE the color pink?" Joe demands.
"I just do!" said Carl.
"But it's so cool" Joe replied.
"I think it's an ugly color," argues Carl.
"You're wrong!" shouts Joe.

Is Carl wrong? 
Is Joe wrong? 

Since they are both stating an opinion, their feelings and preferences cannot be wrong.  No matter how much Joe demands that Carl should like the color pink, he isn't likely going to change Carl's mind unless he is able to change how Carl feels. Both parties should learn to respect that others have opinions which differ from their own and let it go. Instead they choose to have an intelligent debate.  However, as is so often the case online, the conversation takes an ugly turn as Joe attempts to grasp the origin of Carl's vehement dislike for the color pink.

"What is it about pink that you hate so much," Joe asks.
"Pink is a secondary color and I do not like secondary colors," Carl replies.
"Wait… Pink isn't a secondary color!" Joe demands, "It's a tint you idiot!"

Since pink is actually derived by mixing red and white, Joe insists that Carl is basing his opinion on incorrect facts and is therefore wrong (and apparently stupid). However, this newly gained information does not change Carl's opinion about the color.  The two men continue to debate the issue with Joe demonstrating the process of creating a "tint" and Carl providing examples of the secondary colors of light, mixing red and blue. 

The two being to argue whether magenta is a shade of pink.  Data is presented peppered with inflammatory memes, biased viral videos, and bogus news sources.  

Neither is willing to budge.

"I don't care, I just don't like the color pink. It's too flowery for me." Says Carl, "And I think you are dumb for liking it!"

"Flowery or not, it's still a cool color!" insists Joe, "So get bent!"

With deliberations coming straight back to opinions and feelings, two grown adults have been reduced to name calling and slinging obscenities (which makes them look completely foolish).  They begin arguing over the merits of being "flowery" as others join in, taking sides and presenting their own opinions and arguments.

The two men are no longer friends.
Their friends are no longer friends.
Incorrect information is shared, further dumbing down the interwebs.
Carl still hates pink.
Joe still loves pink.

Social media is the number one perpetrator of false information.
One should always verify facts before sharing them.
Arguing on social media is an utter waste of time and makes you look silly.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cleveland's Dogs and Why it is The Home of Rock and Roll

If you ever wondered why the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame resides in Cleveland and when the first "Dawgs" growled, here is a bit of history:

On this day in 1952 local radio disc jockey Alan Freed, who coined the phrase "Rock and Roll" to describe the kind of music he had been spinning on his radio show on WJW did something that had never been done before. He, along with Cleveland record-store owner Leo Mintz, who had great interest in appealing to young customers of all races, began sponsoring a three hour rhythm and blues radio program. The "Moondog" himself, Alan Freed, appealed greatly to the younger generation with his his hip new personality and cool vocabulary.  The late night radio show, known as "The Moon Dog House" became increasingly popular, spurning Mintz and Freed to expand on this popularity by holding a live dance featuring artists from the show. Dubbed as "The Moondog Coronation Ball," hosted by the Alan Freed, the "father of rock and roll" himself, featured headliners Paul Williams and his Hucklebuckers and Tiny Grimes and the Rocking Highlanders.

Tickets sold out in a single day and thousands of teenagers lined up early at the Cleveland Arena hours before the show that cold Friday afternoon. The Moondog Coronation Ball held on March 21, 1952 became recognized in history as the very first major rock and roll concert.

Unfortunately, the show was shut down by police in less than an hour due to near-riot conditions as approximately 25,000 fans swarmed the 10,000 capacity arena. Citing issues from massive counterfeiting and possibly over booking, the tremendous overflow crowd broke through the gates to gain entry into the concert. That evening Alan Freed took the the airwaves offering an apology to listeners who attempted to attend the event. He said, "If anyone had told us that some 20 or 25,000 people would try to get into a dance; I suppose you would have been just like me... You would have laughed and said they were crazy!"

The Cleveland Arena

As for the "Dawgs" of Cleveland - Alan Freed, the "Moondog" himself, and his successful radio show entitled "The Moon Dog House" paved the way for the likes of Geauga Dog, the mascot for Geauga Lake Amusement Park which was in existence from 1889 to 1999; Kobby the purebred boxer who was the mascot for Cleveland Fire Department's Engine Co. 24 in 1966; the Cleveland Cavilers' mascot "Moondog"; and of course, the Cleveland Browns mascots "Comps" and "Swagger" not to mention the infamous Dawg Pound...  Coincidence, subliminal or just  natural progression, either way The Cleveland Dog is firmly ensconced in the city's history and there is no doubt as to where Rock and Roll was born.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Don't be Fooled! Metal Detecting is HARD!

I recently received the following instant message:

" find so many great things, I wish I were as l lucky as you."

I paused for a long moment.

Often times I sit in amazement over the gobs and gobs of great things I see displayed on Facebook and YouTube every day. I sigh and gaze dreamily at belt buckles, box plates, and gold coins. So the idea that someone perceives me?... As lucky?... In metal detecting?... That took me by surprise.

"I work very hard for all of my finds, they do not come easy." I replied.

It suddenly occurred to me; if you've never metal detected before, and the only thing you know of the hobby is what you see on YouTube and Facebook, you are being deceived! 

The deception is not purposeful or malicious... I myself am guilty with my own videos by not showing all the trash I dig. I mean, who wants to watch 15 to 20 minutes of me digging canslaw.

It's boring!

Certainly I focus on the best finds. This is true of most YouTubers and Facebookers. It isn't meant to be misleading, but in many ways it is.
So please allow me set the record straight. Metal detecting, at least in my neck of the woods, is HARD WORK

Anyone brave enough to dig with me is guaranteed to spend hours, even days at a time, with sometimes little to show for it. You will suffer near heat exhaustion in dry sandy fields in the beating sun with 100 degree heat indexes. The air will be so heavy you can barely breathe and you will sweat just standing still. Mosquitoes, flies, and gnats will drive you to the brink of madness (and we're not even going to discuss the ticks and chiggers, or the completely over-grown woods with the meanest velcro-like thorns you have ever encountered). You will dig hole, after hole, after hole of aluminum and pull rings--or worse, wander back and forth on a massive field with nary a signal.

Metal detecting is not always one fabulous relic or coin after another. In fact, that type of digging is very RARE where I live. The potential is certainly there for pockets of goodies, but most of my finds were produced after a valiantly fought battle in some of the most difficult conditions. And they're certainly not right next door. My best locations include up to a two-hour commute (one way) and have no guarantee of producing.  It's all part of the detecting adventure.

So tease me if you must when I loose my mind over that general service button or I become ecstatic when I find a mercury dime or a civil war bullet. You see, these things are tough to come by around these parts, and I cherish each find as if I've just dug a million dollars--Because to me, especially the historical artifacts, they are treasures. I would love to live in an area where I can walk out the front door and dig 1800's coins and Civil War or Colonial relics--But that is simply not a reality for many of us. 

But you know, the way I look at it, as hard as I have worked to recover each of my finds...I think maybe, just maybe, I appreciate them a little bit more.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Sherman's March in March

General Sherman Marches through North Carolina (Credit: NCCivilWarCenter.Org)
The month of March holds great significance for those living in the South during the Civil War. While there are constant discussions regarding the hardships of soldiers fighting on both sides, we often forget what civilian life was like during these difficult years. While I'm a "Yankee" from Ohio, I now reside in North Carolina and metal detecting has opened my eyes to the rich and storied history of the South, particularly during the Civil War era.  With each new bullet, button, and relic I uncover I am tied intrinsically to the lives and stories revealed along with them.

The Carolinas were introduced to General Sherman and his army in March 1865 as he continued his march through the South. It is no secret that he and his troops laid waste to a lot of towns.  The strategy was to end the war quickly using "scorched earth tactics" to break the rebellion. Depleting supplies, destroying infrastructure, and undermining morale were key factors.  Further, as a means of "traveling light," foraging along the way for supplies was a necessary practice--In other words, the army took whatever they needed from local land owners and businesses.  According to General Order IV and V, "the army will forage liberally on the country during the march." Army corps commanders were "entrusted with the power to destroy mills, houses, cotton-gins" and other businesses and to "enforce a devastation more or less relentless" in accordance with any hostility or resistance they encountered. As such, Sherman's foragers, known as "bummers", making up roughly 10% of his army, sacked farms, homes, and stores, and stole from any civilians encountered along the way.  Such was the case with James C. Bennett, a citizen who was relieved of his money, watch and other valuables by one group of bummers and then promptly shot by another group when they found he had nothing left to offer.1

Obviously, when word of the army's actions reached the people of North Carolina, they were prepared for the worst.  Fayetteville's citizens were bracing themselves for Sherman's arrival with great fear in their hearts and they happily welcomed Confederate General Hardee and his troops with much fanfare on March 8, 1865. Children threw daffodils at their feet and the women in town prepared meals for their "hometown heroes" in grey.2

Meanwhile, Confederate General Johnston, feeling that a stand against the Union forces would not meet with success, took his troops across the Cape Fear River on March 9th and burned the Clarendon Bridge.  This act essentially meant doom for the town of Fayetteville.  Sherman had previously sent word, should the Confederates spare the bridge (a thoroughfare that was needed to expedite the Union movement) he would be lenient in his treatment of the town.

Preparing for the arrival of the Federals, Confederate General Hampton remained in Fayetteville to organized a "welcome party" to surprise Union Captain William Duncan and the seventy eight infantry soldiers who were sent into Fayetteville as scouts.  Roughly 12 Federal soldiers and 6 Confederates were killed during this skirmish which took place through the main streets of town. It is told that fatally wounded horses were screaming in the streets as the dead and wounded soldiers were tended.  The horses were left to rot where they died.1

One of the Yankee scouts entering town came upon an elderly man, unaware or maybe unimpressed as he held a pistol to the head of Rev. William Hooper whose grandfather had signed the Declaration of Independence. The captain demanded his valuables and called him a "damned rebel".1 His social standing would not have helped him regardless, as prominent citizens and the wealthy were treated with more aggression as it was felt they were more outspoken for the Southern cause.

By around noon on March 11th, Union troops had taken the Fayetteville Arsenal where General Sherman set up his temporary headquarters.  The troops then moved down Haymont into the city center. Every house and yard was filled with bummers taking whatever they could get their hands on. By the early evening Mayor McLean surrendered the town and the 14th Corp took occupation of the city marching past the market house as the band played "Dixie," causing resident Josephine B. Worth and her brother to "burst into tears."2 The citizens of Fayetteville were also heart sick to see their beloved arsenal, which was the equivalent of their own Central Park, now in the hands of the Union Army.

If ever there was evidence of the Civil War pitting neighbors and friends against one another, there is no better example than on March 11th, when General Sherman was surveying Fayetteville and was approached by Edward Monagan, an employee of the Fayetteville Arsenal and local resident. Sherman's face displayed "a ray of pleasure" as he recognized his old friend from West Point, but that pleasure was immediately replaced with a cold glare.  Sherman had just seen his scouts and horses lying dead on the ground from the skirmish earlier that day.  "We were friends, weren't we?" he asked of Monagan.  "Oh yes. You shared my friendship and my bread too, didn't you?" Monagan replied happily.  "That I did." Sherman stated flatly.  "You have betrayed it all.  Betrayed me, betrayed the country that educated you for its defense.  And here you are--a traitor--asking me to be your friend once more, to protect your property.  To risk the lives of brave men who were fired on from houses here today.  Turn your back on me forever I won't punish you, only go your way.  There is room in this world even for traitors." It is said a great sadness overtook Sherman as his friend walked away.  He kept his word and didn't destroy the home which still stands in Fayetteville today.1

While Sherman initially ordered the commanders to "avoid wanton destruction," of the town, it was difficult to control an aggressive army who had been destroying virtually everything in its path to this point. Civilians were terrorized, their livestock and food taken and once Union troops realized Fayetteville was not loyal to them, they began beating up prominent citizens and taking their valuables. Further dooming Fayetteville was Sherman's displeasure over the burning of the Clarendon Bridge which he called an "offensively rebellious" act, and responded by issuing Field Order 28: "The Arsenal, all railroad property, all shops, factories and tanneries and all grist mills, save one, will be demolished." In addition, Sherman had a grudge against the local newspaper, The Fayetteville Observer, who were quite vocal in their support of the South, and he was bent on the paper's destruction. According to Union correspondent D.P. Conyngham, who said the newspaper was "one of the infernatest nests of treason ever created in North Carolina" and was "a lying, truculent sheet that well deserves it's fate." Sherman ordered Gen. Henry Slocum to destroy the building and according to James Hale, the son of The Observer's publisher, Sherman and Slocum "sat on the veranda of the hotel opposite, watching the progress of the flames while they hobnobbed over wines stolen from our cellar."2

Jane Evans Elliot described this a a time of "sorrow and confusion never to be forgotten." On Sunday morning at 9 o'clock, "a party of raiders rushed upon [her] peaceful home." She details how they "pillaged and plundered the whole day and quartered upon that night." They stayed until 5 o'clock Monday evening after at least three different parties occupied her property. "The house was rifled from garret to cellar," she said. They "threatened [my husband's] life repeatedly and one ruffian galloped up to the door and pulled out his matches to fire the house. Oh! It was terrible beyond description." "One night they strung fire all around us and we took up the children and dressed the and watched all night fearing the fire might consume our dwelling".2

Fayetteville and the town currently known as Hope Mills had several cotton and grist mills. The business owners were horrified to learn that they would be burnt and plead with Sherman to spare them. Sherman responded, "Gentlemen, (slaves) and cotton caused this war, and I wish them both in hell. On Wednesday, those mills will be blown up."

As promised, after taking Sunday off, Union forces tore down the Arsenal walls and burnt it. Explosions shook the city as fires were lit in ammunition bunkers. It was described by Anne Kyle, a Fayetteville resident, as follows: "I can compare this day to nothing but what I imagine Hades would be, were its awful doors thrown open."2

With the city taken and homes burnt the Union was now faced with approximately 25,000 refugees. Sherman could not abide the extra mouths to feed or the slowing of his troops, so he devised a way to send them down to Wilmington in wagons and boats or on foot for this 120 mile trek. One of the vessels sank and 400 individuals perished.

The refugee's now dispatched, caused a new problem for the Union Army.  They now had a large number of horses and mules they would no longer need.  The solution?  Add the able bodied animals to their cavalry and shoot the rest, leaving them to rot on the ground.  This was a common practice of the Union, as Sherman did not wish to leave animals behind that could be used by the Confederate Army.

After many stressful days Sherman and his troops continued marching northward. One woman's account of those days gives a clear picture of what it was like for the citizens of Fayetteville during the war: "Sherman has gone and terrible has been the storm that has swept over us with his coming and going. They deliberately shot two of our citizens-murdered them in cold blood-one of them a Mr. Murphy, a wounded soldier, Confederate States army. They hung up three others and one lady, merely letting them down just in time to save life, in order to make them tell where their valuables were concealed; and they whipped-stripped and cowhided-several good and well known citizens for the same purpose. There was no place, no chamber, trunk, drawer, desk, garret, closet or cellar that was private to their unholy eyes. Their rude hands spared nothing but our lives, and those they would have taken but they knew that therein they would accomplish the death of a few helpless women and children-they would not in the least degree break or bend the spirit of our people. Squad after squad unceasingly came and went and tramped through the halls and rooms of our house day and night during the entire stay of the army. At our house they killed every chicken, goose, turkey, cow, calf and every living thing, even to our pet dog. They carried off our wagons, carriage and horses, and broke up our buggy, wheelbarrow, garden implements, axes, hatchets, hammers, saws etc., and burned the fences. Our smokehouse and pantry, that a few days ago were well stored with bacon, lard, flour, dried fruit, meal, pickles, preserves, etc., now contain nothing whatever except a few pounds of meal and flour and five pounds of bacon. They took from old men, women and children alike, every garment of wearing apparel save what we had on, not even sparing the napkins of infants! Blankets, sheets, quilts, etc., such as it not suit them to take away they tore to pieces before our eyes."3

When Sherman's troops pulled out of the town on March 15th, there was but one grist mill, no railroad, no boats, no stock. Sally Hawthorne, a town resident, described the aftermath, "Soon a pall of black smoke hung over everything" as the soldiers lit rosin pits and cotton stores. The city had no way to survive and recovery seemed an impossibility.  Fayetteville did in fact rebuild, and I've had the pleasure of strolling down her cobblestone streets and sipping wine as I gaze upon the Market House. Sadly a highway now runs directly through the center of what remains of Fayetteville's coveted arsenal.  Much of the structures were demolished in the name of progress, but a small bit of its foundations, along with a monument, marks the location near the corner of Hay Street on Arsenal Avenue where the town's once treasured grounds now rests. A memorial to that time and the people who lived it.

1: 150 years ago, Sherman targeted 'offensively rebellious' Fayetteville,, March 8, 2015
2 Ten Days of Hell,
3: War is Marching Our Way-Fayetteville Captured, The Fayetteville Observer, March 11, 2015
4: When Sherman Came: Southern Women and the "Great March," Kathrine Jones ed., (Indianapolis Indiana: Bobb-Merrill, Inc., 1964), 284-286