Sunday, December 31, 2006

Nother year!

New Year's is the time of resolutions, which I don't believe in. If you need to make a change in your life, make it. Don't put it off until January the 1st just because that's the start of a new calendar year. It doesn't mean anything more than you need to buy another $12 pile of card stock (hopefully with cool pictures) to keep track of dates on. I end up using whatever calendar I can get for free, which means they're generally tacticool. I'd spend my own money to have a cool high speed calendar full of cool guys with cool guns. Listen up, calendar makers: you're missing out on money here.

I try to keep resolutions that are on my list of things to do anyway, so I'm never disapointed with missing out on getting one done. Why resolve something I know I'm not gonna do? Maybe I suck, but I'm honest with myself. To quote Yoda, that modern primitive philosophizer, "Do. Or do not. There is no 'try'."

So what's on my list of things to do this year? That's pretty easy. Interestingly-to me at least-they generally have to do with education and learning. Some of 'em are just things I wanna get to and have been working at for a while, some are going to be rather major undertakings. At any rate, here's a bit of a list in no particular order for next year...actually, tomorrow:
  • Finish my degree. I'm six classes away, and started working on making things happen on this front about a month ago. I will be finished in '07. Might as well; I gotta start paying back those damn student loans anyway.
  • Get some education on my M4gery. I can shoot; that's not the issue. I wanna really know how to run the carbine, in all aspects of its use. I don't have a lot of experience shooting at distance with a rifle that isn't a bolt action. I wanna learn how to do all kinds of stuff I won't use, such as the continuation of my low light and room clearing education. I already have a tacticool job. I need the skills to back it up and continue to enhance my Intarweb Celebrity. Sorry, can't find the "rolling eyes" emoticon.
  • Get back to Cali for a visit or two. The family is still there and I still have the majority of my friends there.
  • Get to work on the writing of the book. I don't wanna give the concept away on the net and have somebody swoop in and steal it. I'm enlisting an English major friend of mine, and a buddy of mine who's a combat medic. It has to do with the Mobile Undead. I think you could gather that's what all the rambling on my blog about zombies and gear has been about. It may not be finished next year, but it will be underway.
  • Learn something else I didn't expect to. I don't expect it, so I don't know what that's gonna be, but I'm gonna learn something.
  • I'm gonna try to continue a couple things I'm already working on: I'm going to continue to try to eradicate profanity from my vocabulary. Swearing doesn't do anything to get my point across better, and it doesn't bring me closer to God. I'm also going to work harder on not making fun of people. This is very difficult for me. Some people are just begging to be made fun of, and they serve up opportunities like softballs to the outside edge of the plate. Resisting the easy is the hard part. If I can do that, I'll move on to resisting the more difficult. The difficult ones are usually the harder ones, believe it or not, because a good clever put down is art. But, since it doesn't help anyone else, I'm trying to stop that. Now my friends are using their "rolling eyes" emoticons.
I've got some stuff to do, and some stuff not to do. That oughta keep me busy for a while. But, being a anti-resolving kinda guy, there's always next year. I'm more interested in the journey than the destination.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Reincarnation? Are you serious about that?

For whatever reason, the grandmothers I work with seem to universally believe in reincarnation. They buy into it wholesale, and in addition, they believe in ghosts, too. Now, we're talking about working females who are between 40 and 60 years old, and are as previously mentioned, are all grandmothers. They're totally serious about believing in reincarnation.

This all started with the comment (don't ask me how; I don't recall) that if you get a child relaxed enough and ask them who they were before, they'll tell you. I don't recall ever once believing that I was someone other than who I am right now. They say its because of cultural conditioning, but if its true, why wouldn't it be culturally accepted? I know the answer to that, but I'm gonna drop some thoughts for you to ponder before the answer becomes exceedingly clear. This could get outrageously long; I'm going to try to restrain myself from throwing it all out there and losing you two minutes in by giving the highlights.

It would appear that everyone that believes in reincarnation believes that they were famous in a previous life. That makes sense; why would you not want to be someone famous or important if you're going to believe in past lives? How many people could have been Hannibal? Napoleon? The Mayor of York? A queen in ancient Egypt? If more than one person claims this simultaneously, then we have proof that this is a spurious belief. If we take the population of Los Angeles, for example, and figure the per capita numbers of celebrities in that town, we'll still have too many of the population of the city that would have claimed to be famous in past lives. There simply aren't enough famous or important people, as a percentage of the available population, for reincarnation to be viable.

As a corollary to the previous thought, some people believe that their previous lives occured very, very long ago. One of my coworkers claimed to have been an important or wealthy Egyptian from the time of the Pharoahs. Since lives were shorter then, what happened between the 40 years of life then and the life being lived now? Once you died, your soul or escence or whatever makes someone a person must have been doing something. Something becoming nothing doesn't happen much in nature. If someone is reincarnated, clearly there are rules. There are laws that govern what happens. Do you become a lesser life form for some reason? Do you become an ameoba for a while before you become a person again? Where's the reason in that? If you're taking up a certain amount of energy now, why would you take up less after a life? You'd have to to be something less than you are now. By the same token, if you were more, say, a 300 year old tree hundreds of feet tall, why would you come back as less energy? It just doesn't make sense. Your soul would have to be somewhere in the meantime, and there's no explanation of that.

Here's another incongruity: the number of people on the planet is increasing. In a July 2006 estimate, the CIA figures that there are 6,525,170,264 people in the world. That's more people than have ever been here before, and the number is rising. If people are being recycled through reincarnation, why are there more now than there were at the beginning of recorded time? The world hasn't gotten bigger or smaller. Its the same size planet as its always been. So where did all these n00bs come from? Other planets that they've been hanging out on while waiting to get back in the game here on Earth? That can't be, either, and that's my last point.

OK, consider this idea for a moment: you die, you're reincarnated as someone else, somewhere else. You're Phil, the new guy who accidentally turned cows inside out in South Park. You used to be Pharaoh Seti the First, and now you're Phil. Never mind that you went from being human to E.T. for a minute. Riddle me this, Batman: how'd you get there? Are you seeing where I'm going with this yet? Clearly, if this were the case, there would be laws that govern the logisitics of how this happens. It couldn't happen randomly. How much of what happens in nature is truely random? Not very much; remember cause and effect from your biology classes? So there's laws set forth to determine how all this happens. If you believe in reincarnation, you're probably about to be really upset with what must be the truth of all this.

In order for there to be laws, even laws that govern the rules of reincarnation that is total hooey, there must be an authority to set forth those laws. As stated previously, you can't just pop around and reincarnate as Tom Cruise (clearly he's an alien). Something determines who or what you become, so you don't end up with 50 people being Tom at once. As there are laws that govern nature, there is conspicuous evidence that all this has been managed and ordered to make it work. How did that happen? Couldn't just be a Big Bang that set this complicated system in motion. I don't buy that stupid theory anyway; its beyond rediculous. Its even more rediculous in terms of reincarnation. So here it is: for this to work at all, there has to be a supreme being. Even the goofy theory of reincarnation would require God to work. Reconsider your belief system, and get right with God.

That popping sound in your ears just now? That was your mind being blown.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Cingular is offensive

I have yet another rant. Cingular has started running this stupid commercial for their MP3 phones. Now, a phone that plays MP3's is kinda cool. The technology is pretty amazing and that somebody decided the world should revolve around your phone is visionary.

The problem is that Cingular apparently will allow anyone to get one of their phones. They have two college dudes who clearly use too much cannabis playing one of the greatest rock tracks of all time. Rock the Casbah is the best song on a very good record. Combat Rock is a great record from first track to last. The song is a seminal piece of music. These two pot heads should be old that they must have heard the song for years.

No, you morons. Joe's not singing "Stock the Cat Box." Why would you think that? Does that fit in at all with any of the lyrics? I know most popular music doesn't always make much sense, but Rock the Casbah does. They're pretty easy to hear. They're reasonably clear, for a rock song. That's what's so retarded. They're screwing up lyrics that most people in their age group know, understand, and can speak coherently about. I was going to say "eloquently", but further reflection prompted me to correct the error of my ways.

Ever wonder how they could get that song so, so wrong...when its on their phone? Didn't they have to download it? Didn't they have to have a source for it? Wouldn't that mean it'd be damn near impossible to get the song to the phone without knowing what its called? How could you download a song without having its title? Since the title is the same as the words in the chorus, it would take a heck of large bong load to screw that one up. And these idiots were getting in a car. They're clearly too messed up to drive. Those fools will kill someone.

Thanks for letting another college educated, talentless hack choose your ad campaign. Think about this: that was probably the best idea they had. Consider what might have been.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Air America Bankrupt? Bwaaaahhaaaaahaaaa!!!!!

This apparently happened all the way to September, but I found a blurb about it yesterday on the Yahoo news links: Air America is going under.

Now, if your first thought is "what the hell is Air America", first I'd have to nod sagely and then point that out as one of their many problems. Its tough to be very concerned about it when the whole network was completely forgettable anyway. Wow! They have Al Franken! ...uh...who? Isn't he that guy that had to coattail Rush Limbaugh to get any notice at all for his books, even putting El Rushbo's name on the cover? In the damn title? Yeah, there's a personality. I'm told he was a comedian, but other than having a goofy lookin' face, I can't think of anything funny he came up with. On top of that, he's far more hateful than I appear to be in my writings. He's one of those venomous lefties. He wrote a book that about 10 people read called "Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot." Yeah, seriously.

So Air America is failing or has failed or something along those lines. The EIB Network it ain't, that's for sure. It would appear that the lefties are going to, or already have (and its been totally ignored) claim that the failure is due to station mismanagement, rather than the truth. The truth is, according to the facts, nobody is listening to them. They're not making money because companies (remember the "Tim Robbins" explanation of what Corporations do in Team America: World Police? I'll find that and add it in at the end here) aren't advertising and creating advertising revenue. Companies don't advertise where there money is not getting a return. Hello, Air America! Nobody's listening! No money for you!

Mismanagement is relatively easy to fix. Lack of listeners isn't. That's why its easy to blame the lack of performance on the management. You've lost millions; its time to come to grips with the fact that your format isn't appealing. The old Liberal crutch of "its all about feelings" isn't working when that feeling is simply "We hate Bush". It doesn't work. We hated Clinton and didn't whine about it the way you clowns are.

Sure, America is changing again, but citizens here in general are trying to find a centrist point of view, and that's certainly not the left. They may have elected a very inefectual Democrat congress (which may end up split down the center again), but they don't want leftist vitreol. Maybe they're finally figuring out what those of us on the right have always known: people can fend for themselves. The government doesn't need to be all up in our business. Sure doesn't bode well for the left.

So your big attempt at fighting back against Rush, Hannity, Hitchcock, Savage, and the long list of others has failed. I'm not sorry to say that I'm not surprised. The left has no idea what makes talk radio work, and they paid a big, big price for it. HAHAAAAAHAAAAAHAAAAAHAAAAAA!!!!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

New Parts for the EBR!

I swapped some .40 S&W ammo that I got for free for three packs of Magpul Gen II Followers and a couple three packs of Old Skool Magpuls in that cool tan color. Now I have something like 14 mags with the new followers and a few left to replace. The two mags on top of the pyramid in the pic are HK steel M4 mags. Gifts from a connected customer.

Also new (and part of the swap) is the Troy Battlesight. I recently got the Aimpoint M2 from a friend of mine. Its pretty much a pre-swap item. I'm gonna have to hook him up with something good, but his AR is better set than mine is. He gave up the Aimpoint because he has an Eotech on his rifle.

Last piece that's gonna be added is a fold down front sight. I'm thinking PRi, but I think I'll wait until after SHOT show to see what I'm gonna put on it. I still want to replace the buttstock with a Vltor Modstock, but I don't have to have that...I just want it real bad!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Gone Already?

I was discussing the current shows on TV with some friends recently. We found an unfortunate trend: it does no good to get involved in a show anymore. A program gets cancelled so fast that there's no time to decide if its worth getting hooked. I was starting to get into 3 lbs, and its cancelled already. There was a huge buzz and push for Smith, and it lasted for, what, five or six weeks? If a show doesn't hit right away-and I mean in the first airing and a couple weeks after-its gone, replaced with another stupid game show or "reality" TV.

I'm not sure what it is people want to watch these days. Many of the people I work with (its a unique demographic: they're all older married ladies with grand kids) are big fans of shows like Dancing with the Stars. They really care about who won. Apparently, they're rather representative of what people want to see these days.

Now, I can't quite figure out if that's because people really prefer those shows, or a few of them have become hits and the studios find them less expensive and easy to produce, and now its all they're making so we're stuck with 'em. When Survivor was introduced, it was unique, and drew a lot of viewers because of it. Now, they've done just about everything they can do with it, and in my mind it jumped the shark a couple seasons ago. I don't think it'll go away anytime soon though, because its relatively cheap to make and can still draw enough of an audience to sell advertising on it. I can't stand any of the alleged "reality" shows. They're vapid and intellectually vacant. They're not funny, and they're not compelling. They're not comedy, drama or action. I fear that we're stuck with 'em because the low production cost makes them irresistible to the networks. That's the reason game shows have made a resurgence. If it wasn't for the dramatic music, nobody would care about which case the contestant picked.

The other sad aspect of TV shows these days is that the high cost has pretty well killed off originality. 3 Lbs was another medical show. Smith was a cop drama from the opposite direction that people apparently didn't like. Jericho is kind of a version of The Day After that was released 20 years ago. Of the new crop, its unfortunately the best of the bunch.

I guess the bottom line is that until we demand more of the networks, this is what we get. It would appear that there's some of this going on now. A perusal of one of the forums I am a member of revealed this topic as a top five list. Most of those members responding didn't list network shows in most of their lists. A few did, and they were generally the same shows: Jericho, The Unit, and...uh...I guess that was about it. The rest were cable shows. Oddly, or perhaps not, is that most of those shows were semi-reality shows, like Miami Ink and American Chopper. The rest were premium channel shows, like the Sopranos and the like.

It would appear that network TV shows are going the way of the newspaper...or perhaps more accurately, network TV news. There are a fraction of the news shows now than there were several years ago. The reason for that is that more news is available faster on the Intarweb. Could it be that there's going to be yet another revolution that will have us watching our little monitors instead of our large TV's? That will be interesting to see.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Thanks for giving us crappy bowl games, BCS.

Unbelieveable. Florida vs. Ohio St. for the national championship? Are you kidding? Just give the trophy to OSU. The Gators stand no chance whatsoever of beating the Buckeyes. They're gonna get pounded, badly. Nice going, BCS.

Michigan plays USC in the Rose Bowl? At least USC is gonna get their ass kicked at home in front of their fair weather fans. Michigan is clearly the second best team in the country, and they have to play #5 instead of playing LSU, which would be a much better game. C'mon, let's get serious: Michigan lost only to OSU, who was ranked #1 at the time, by a field goal. Florida lost to Auburn. USC lost to two unranked teams, the second being UCLA when they had a chance to cement their position. SC is gonna get chewed up big time by Michigan, just like the Gators are gonna get mud stomped by OSU. If there was anything else to do during that holiday week, I wouldn't bother watching, but since its the end of the foo'bah season, I'm going to have to...cursing that worthless BCS abortion the whole time.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

These are a few of my favorite things

Somehow I've become known for my negative opinions on things like movies, guns, music, fake boobs, and various other things. I think I've figured out why that is. If something sucks, I'll say so in a nanosecond. Generally, if I like it, I won't talk about it all that much. There's just so much worthless crap in the world that I don't have enough time to comment on everything good that counteracts the garbage.

That being the case, I thought it might be fun to list some of my favorites, rather than all that stuff that I dislike. Now, this list is totally variable. My favorites are always subject to change, and the lists may vary in length, as well. I should also admit that I infuriate some liberal tree hugger with my opinions. They're dual purpose like that, which I appreciate. These may be in numerical order, but chances are they're not exactly in a set order. I may explain why I love 'em, I may not. Several of these are timeless enough to not require explanation.
Favorite Movies, Comedies:
  1. Caddyshack. One of the two movies that changed my life...or at least my sense of humor
  2. Stripes. This is the other one
  3. Ghostbusters. Are you seeing a trend here yet?
  4. Strange Brew
  5. Team America: World Police
Favorite Movies, Action:
  1. Pirates of the Carribean. Might as well make this all of them, even if the last one's not out yet.
  2. Heat. This one's worth watching just for the epic gunfight outside the bank
  3. The Ghost and The Darkness. The only movie to give me the same tingly sensation that bear hunting did.
  4. Bad Boys II. A lot of profanity, but such a well constructed buddy flick that I can't help but love it
  5. The Buccaneer. I wish this one was released on DVD. Its one of the greatest pirate/freedom type flicks of all time. I love this movie!
  6. Traffic. Had some goofy parts to it, but unlike Syriana, it made some sense and managed to tie the ends up pretty cleanly.
  7. Gladiator. It has epicality.
  8. 13th Warrior. I'm not generally an Antonio Banderas fan, but he was good in this one. This is one of those movies that I throw in to watch over and over again when nothing else sounds good.
Movies, western:
  1. Rio Bravo. Its John Wayne. All John Wayne movies rule.
  2. El Dorado. Essentially the same story as Rio Bravo, but I still dig it the most. John Wayne for president, post humously.
  3. Silverado. The best blending of comedy and drama in just about any genre. It both trancends and defines the western.
  4. Tombstone. This movie caused an epic road trip to the town. Good times.
Movies, Sci Fi/Horror:
  1. The Fifth Element. I love this movie. Its got everything, including Milla.
  2. I, Robot. Between the effects and the story, its pretty engrossing. enjoyable fun.
  3. Serenity. I'm not a huge fan of the series; I didn't see most of it. The movie's good fun, though, and the dialogue is unique.
  4. Underworld. Stylish, and with Kate Beckinsale in leather. Don't get no better...except with a sequel
  5. Underworld The Sequel.
  6. Shaun of the Dead. I'm not a huge zombie movie fan, but this one's unique and funny.
  7. Predator. So much to love about this flick, it can't be listed here. Just not enough space. Get to de choppah!
Movies, War:
  1. In Harm's Way. This star-studded epic really does deserve a top spot
  2. Three Kings. Sort of a war movie. Wierd and quirky.
  3. Band of Brothers. A series rather than one film, but its awesome.
  4. Blackhawk Down. Not a documentary, but a decent representation, according to those who were there, of the events in Somalia.
  5. The Patriot. Good flick to make you feel good about being an American.
  6. Master and Commander. Sort of a war movie, but different enough to earn a spot.
  7. Hamburger Hill. Good performances from several actors that you know now but probably didn't know then.
  1. The Quiet Man. John Wayne in Scotland as an American getting back to his roots. Quite good.
  2. Braveheart. Long, but entertaining
  3. Blade series. Sort of horror, but mostly action. Entertaining.
  4. Hollow Man. The effects are amazing.
  5. Hatari. Yeah, its another Duke epic, but even with the love story and song(they always did that back in the day) its a great story.
  6. The well known Steven Segal movies of the 80's and 90's (Marked for Death, Under Siege, etc). They're my guilty pleasure.
  7. Miracle. I remember this when it was happening. Its such a perfect snapshot of that time in history. Go rent or buy it, its great
  8. Lords of Dogtown, and Dogtown and Z-Boys. These both document events that happened in my youth. In a way, I was a part of this history, although not with them.
  9. Riding Giants. Another Stacy Peralta documentary. I learned a lot from this movie, and it was very entertaining. I didn't ever surf (I was heavy into Boogie Boards and body surfing, but never surfed, oddly enough) but this one kept me all the way through.
Favorite bands: I'm not gonna bother to break 'em out by style, I'm just gonna list 'em.
  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers. They still bring the funk, even when Flea isn't slapping.
  2. Demon Hunter. Really heavy, but musical
  3. Old Van Halen: never got tired of it. Everything they did with DLR was pretty great. Everything else was not worth owning
  4. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones: Really funky jazz, with an unusual mix of instrumentation.
  5. Mighty Mighty Bosstones. How can ya not like a band that has a song called "Haji"?
  6. U2 up until Rattle and Hum. Their facination with heroin references turned me off, but I love all the stuff before this.
  7. Stevie Ray Vaughn. He left us too soon.
  8. Living Colour. No better description than "unique".
  9. Parliament Funkadelic: Just started getting back into this band. They bring the funk, but keep it ultra smooth.
  10. Testament. Underrated, and fantastic. Far better than their contemporaries
  11. Anthrax with John Bush. I know a lotta people like the old stuff, but they weren't anywhere near as good with Joey Belladonna. Armored Saint was a great band because of Bush.
  12. Evanesence. There's something both soaring and haunting about Amy Lee's voice, and the band can keep up with her. I think I have a secret crush on the hot goth-ish chick.
There's a lot more, but I suspect you've been bored with this for a little while already. ;)

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It has begun!

As of last night, the merchandise that manufacturing has in stock...or had, I suppose, since its all over in the website's inventory now...went online. This is the beginning of the introduction of 20-30 items that will comprise the ATS gear line.

The reason we decided not to do a Blackhawk or an Eagle is that we realize that some items are just not cost effective for us to produce. We took a hard look at how things happen for other companies, and came to the conclusion that its not the right way for us. Several companies make a huge number of products, for every possible need. They're also hamstrung by that same inventory. They get an order in for a few Reverse Faced Quad Widgets that haven't been cutting edge and in high demand for a couple of years, and they have to go back and make that thing. Since they can't do just the three, they do 25 to make it worth making the run. Then they have 22 of them collecting dust for several months to several years because nobody else wants them. Its not a good plan for us; we're too small to absorb an overstock like that.

Manufacturing is balancing the production of a line of goods with a limited amount of resources. You either have too little materials, too little time in the week, or too few employees or machinery. A balance to achieve the best results must occur, or you fail...and not just at teh Intrenets. This is true of every manufacturer. I can't think of a single one that has everything it needs in the quantity that they need at the time they need it. Some have become very good at it, with the Just In Time method of getting materials, but JIT is hard on vendors, too. Every time you're dependent on an outside vendor, even if its another wing of your organization, bad things can happen. Not that they always do, but it appears that business has a proclivity towards chaos.

At any rate, ATS Brand Equipment is now available, and we're damn proud of it. We've got some unique ideas and products that nobody else has done, so far as I know. Ya like that disclaimer? ;) I think we're going to find a large chunk of the industry because what we have is cool. It'll probably be knocked off soon enough, and versions of it will appear in a couple other company's lines, but then we'll know we've "made it". Then all we have to do is work harder to keep us on top.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

BCS must mean Big Crappy System

Up front: I'm a Michigan Wolverine fan, but I also follow USC. SC is pretty much the best team from SoCal. Even though I've been away from SoCal for a couple years and may never move back, I'm always gonna be from there. The only team at the top that I don't like is Ohio State. How can I be a fan of OSU when I'm a Wolverine fan? It just can't be.

That said, Ohio State is clearly the number one team in the country. They've beaten everyone they've faced, some by a huge margin, and deserve the top spot. The problem is what happens from #2 on down, and who gets to play for the national championship.

The USA Today Coaches Poll puts SC at #2 and Michigan at #3. The BCS...who knows what that thing is gonna come up with. The whole thing is a mess, because its not absolute. In the NFL, your record is what gets you where you're going: playoffs, or early vacation again. Either you win enough to move on, or you're making plans for visiting someplace exotic in the winter months. That's not how college foo'bah works...and the system sucks.

USC and Michigan have very similar records; both with one loss. The difference is that Michigan's only loss was by a field goal to the best team in football. USC got bushwhacked by an unranked Oregon State team. Losses to unranked teams should be the kiss of death for a national championship, but in this case, USC may have a chance to do it if they win next week against UCLA. How is that possible? They lost to an unranked team, but the "pundits", the sports reporters, have been saying retarded stuff like "Michigan already had their chance to beat Ohio State. Let someone else have a chance". Did you fools not watch that game? It was great! These are clearly the two best teams going, because Michigan and Ohio St. haven't lost to an unranked team.

USC gets ranked #2 because....why? They beat Noter Damn? Michigan beat ND worse. They had a tough schedule. In the NFL, that doesn't matter. If you win with a hard schedule, you win with a hard schedule. But if you're a better team, you'll beat whoever's in front of you...except that one unranked team that ambushed ya. Therein lies the proof that the BCS system is hopelessly, permanently flawed.

The BCS isn't going to change, because the people that decide these things have come to the conclusion that the money is the most important thing. This whole retarded system could be scrapped and a tournament could be installed in its place, keeping the bowl games in the process. The "Bandini Manure Bowl" might be able to be scrapped, but I'm dead certain that the low rent bowls don't cost as much to sponsor as the big ones do. That means you put the expensive bowls at the top, and the most expensive bowl (which would go up for bid to get some really sick money coming in) would be the champeenship game. Its rediculously simple and obvious, but there's too much shady dealing going on in the series. There has to be; if there weren't, there'd be a football tournament just like there is an incredibly successful hoops tourney. Funny how the best teams end up at the top in the NCAA tourney, even with 64 teams in the tournament. Its more like pro sports, which I would normally argue against as being the poster chiles for how things should work in athletics. In the end, though, their system works. The BCS is consistently screwed up and can't be fixed. C'mon, you knuckleheads: go to the playoff system you know the world wants. Until you do, I give the NCAA none of my money.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Small Arms in the ZOS

The difficulty in discussing small arms in the ZOS (Zombie Outbreak Scenario) is that many things overlap in this topic. While such subjects enter in to this discussion, I will be limiting this to choosing a weapon and touching only briefly on caliber selection, insofar as it impacts terminal performance on the MUD.

Many have posited that the AK-47 series of rifles are the ultimate in MUD stoppers. While they can perform well, they are not a first choice. Obviously, the 7.62X39 round will drop the MUD if the shot is placed well. Therein lies the rub, though: the AK is not an accurate rifle. There are other choices that perform better.

The requirements of the projectile used against an MUD are different from those required to put down a human. Generally, death from gun shot occurs in humans due to loss of hydraulic pressure. This occurs through profuse bleeding. There's no significant bleeding going on with a zombie. Because the animation occurs in the brain because of the virus, blood flow no longer is an issue. This is why center mass shots are ineffective; no loss of hydraulic pressure there matters after infection. Shots to the hip area are still valid, although permanent stoppage will not be inflicted. Shots that break the pelvic bones may cause loss of mobility, but will not cause damage beyond that. Normally, shots to that region produce profuse bleeding because of the femoral arteries. Its a different situation altogether with MUD's.

Remove the head or destroy the brain. Working in the Zombie Hunter's (ZH) favor is the fact that once penetration of the skull bones has been achieved, destroying the brain with a high velocity projectile is not that difficult. Unlike muscular tissues, brain tissues do not have an elastic quality. If a bullet passes through them, kinetic energy becomes hydraulic energy, and the brain tissues become pulverised rather than blown out of the way in a temporary cavity. Muscular tissue can be repaired. Brain tissue cannot. This fact, coupled with the characteristic that blood flow or breathing disruption is no longer critical, means that as long as the round can penetrate the skull bones (assuming a frontal brain shot, because those are the hardest, thickest bones in the body) and reach the brain, it will serve to permanently disable the MUD.

That leaves the door wide open for what will stop the MUD, provided penetration and hydrostatic pressure are available. Consider what happens when a bullet enters a medium like a melon. Melons have high water content and hard outer skins. The bullets, especially rifle bullets, create massive inter-melon destruction. The same thing happens to a recently reanimated skull. The overpressure created by the rifle bullet's impact and subsequent path through the brain cause annihilative destruction. Such happy stuff to think about!

The parameters being what they are, what is needed is a rifle that is ergonomic and that has very good to excellent accuracy inherent in the design. The target is small, about the size of a 3X5 inch card. The area you're looking to be able to hit is a box that starts at about the eyebrow line and ends at the upper lip. Hitting that box will put the lights out permanently. Now the question becomes which tool is right to make that hit.

In general, there are many, many appropriate rifles and sub machine guns that will do the job. In order to make the hits count, accurate rifles are a must. There are some considerations to point out, which have an impact on the end user's choice.

Large caliber sub guns, like the .40 Short and Wide, .45 ACP, and 10mm guns from HK are awesome weapons. They have relatively large magazines, and have tremendous accuracy as a matter of design. They're short, handy, and fast to employ. The drawback is that the overall range is limited. A pistol-caliber subgun, unless in the hands of a master class shooter, is a 100 yard or less weapon.


In order to increase reach, a round with better ballistics and more downrange retained velocity is needed. Several rifles fit into this bill, and the assault rifle is in its element here. Chambered in 5.56X45, 6.8 SPC, 5.56X39, or a similar round are Zombie Slayers. In order to take advantage of the rifle's greater long range accuracy, rifle length barrels shouldn't be overlooked in the SPR (Special Purpose Rifle) role. Barrels between 16 and 20 inches have increased velocity and better terminal ballistics at distance than does the 14.5 inch or shorter carbine, such as Colt's M4 . While the shorter barrels are handier in vehicles and in confined spaces, a higher price is exacted for their use, to include increased muzzle blast and temperamental operation.

Rifle length AR from Daniel Defense

10.5" full auto carbine

Of course, rifles like the AK variants and the SKS can be used in a pinch, and more exotic weaponry can be employed, but they have major drawbacks compared to the AR variants. Their lack of accuracy is a detriment at distance. Since head shots are a must, an accurate rifle is the difference between life and death...or undeath, as the case may be. The AR system is both accurate and easy to maintain, which makes it a prime candidate for this application. Easy availability of spare parts, magazines, and ammunition are all factors that must be considered when developing the ZOS kitlist. This puts the AR at the head of the pack. In addition, the 5.56X45 ammunition is much lighter and physically smaller than the 7.62X39 that the AK uses. a 30 round AR magazine is considerably smaller and lighter than its steel AK counterpart, which means you can carry more ammunition in a smaller area, and that the ZF (Zombie Fighter) can be lighter and more maneuverable.

Many people still hold to the erroneous idea that "the AR weapon system is inherently unreliable." After 30+ years of development, that simply isn't the case anymore. In addition, the AR platform has been recently updated with the introduction of reasonably priced piston driven uppers, such as those produced by Patriot Ordnance Factory. Excellent reliability has been updated with fantastic reliability and cooler operation. In terms of absolute reliability and easy maintenance, piston driven weapons are king.

There is another layer of defense that is covered by the large-caliber battle rifles. These are magazine fed, semi automatic rifles that generally fire the 7.62X51 (.308 Winchester) round. Magazine capacity is typically 20 rounds because of the size of both the ammunition and the magazine itself. It is also heavier than assault rifle ammunition is. While the .30 caliber round adds additional reach for longer range shots, a price must be paid in terms of carrying less ammunition, and having that load be heavier. If available, the ZF squad should appoint a DM (Designated Marksman) to use a 7.62 rifle for stopping a Zombie advance outside the envelope in which the 5.56 or 6.8 rifles are effective.

DMR's are typically semi automatic rifles, like the Knight's Armament Co SR-25 or AR-10 rifles from Armalite. In a pinch, and outside of the military application of this information, a bolt action rifle may be used. Another advantage of pressing a precision rifle or hunting rifle into this role is that even heavier rounds may be used. Because of the greater terminal ballistics at longer range, many militaries around the world are transitioning from the 7.62X51 to a variation of the .300 or .338 Magnum rounds. The advantage is very long range shooting ability. The drawback is that the weapon is far slower to reload and has a far smaller magazine capacity; typically three or four rounds. As a tool in the toolbox, they are a nice addition. If they're going to be the primary weapon, great care must be taken as to when to employ the rifle and from what position. While the rifle has great range, it also has substantial muzzle blast, and that much noise can draw other MUD to your position if the rifle is employed carelessly.

If given the choice, the ZDO (Zombie Defense Organization) that is operating in the affected area should arrange their weaponry so as to take advantage of different envelopes of engagement. Starting with the precision marksman's rifle, to the long range DMR, then to the middle range assault rifle or carbine, and finally to the sub machine gun for CQB or other close range encounters.

Care must be taken in selecting which weapon system will be used in a ZD situation. While encounters are not likely to be exceptionally long engagements, it is possible that a siege-type situation may be encountered. Balancing the lethality of the weapon against its portability and the capacity to carry large amounts of ammunition is a must. Now is the time to consider and decide these issues, before you find yourself trying to defend a home with copious amounts of windows with a small magazine, bolt action hunting rifle. Better than nothing, but perhaps considering saving one last round may be in order.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The dreaded pursuit of education

Man, this has been a tough week. I've come to the conclusion that I need to break something loose and make significantly more money, because I'm tired of being poor and not owning a house. In order to do that, I have to finish my edumaction. I'm so stinkin' close to a Batchelor's in business management that I'd have been done a year ago if I was still in San Diego.

The problem is, I was almost bankrupt in San Diego. I was about to go under, and really needed to make something positive happen. A decent job offer came along that required a relocation to Kentucky, which I did. I've been with that company for two years now, and I'm just not getting ahead as I expected to. As a matter of fact, since I don't make commission anymore, I'm making less now than when I started here. I like what I do and I love working with soldiers. I think I want to stay in this industry, but I'm not willing to be the low man on the totem pole anymore. The chances of me making significantly more money here don't look all that great. So, I came to a decision: I'm going to finish my degree, which will take a little while. Probably a couple semesters to finish off what I needed for my core program and a couple of other requirements. Close, right? But therein lies the rub.

My previous college doesn't have a distance learning program yet. I think they need to test one by having me be the first one. I've looked into school around here at a couple of places (by no means an exhaustive search yet), and that's not looking very good right now. Turns out that my first choice, Austin Peay U, wants me to take at least half my core classes there. Ouch. One other place I looked since they were advertising on the radio here is Troy U, which appears to be similar to the U of Phoenix and schools of that sort. They don't have a business management option. Grrrr. How do you call yourself a school and not offer a business degree? USD didn't either. No wonder their sports teams aren't all that good. Maybe it was UCSD...I don't remember. Neither school's sports programs are nationally ranked with the real teams, so that tells ya something. What...I'm not sure.

I have a call in to the registrar at CHC. I'm hoping they have some options for me. Since I only need a couple of classes, I'm hoping that they'll let me pick 'em up here and submit transcripts to CHC. The waiting for the call is the part that's killin' me. I'm sure it's almost the end of the day there, two hours behind where I am, so I may not get that call today. Lord, give me strength, because this is just plain hard. I will finish this dang degree one way or another though. Mark my words.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Its Just Not Right

Well, its started already. Thanksgiving isn't even here yet and there's already ads for Christmas sales. That's just not right. Thanksgiving is getting short shrift, and its an important holiday, even outside of its spiritual ramifications.

Thanksgiving is really a fall holiday. Its the last holiday before winter starts into full swing, with its cold and snow here in KY. Its important because a poor single guy like me needs those leftovers to cut some costs on food. In addition, most of the year is gone, and its a good time to reflect on what went right for you this year. Even when one isn't blowing up the bank account, which is where I am, there's still a lot to be thankful for. I thank God nearly every day that, regardless of how little I'm making, I'm not going hungry. Despite how bad I might think I'm doing, there are a lot of people doing worse.

Now Christmas retailing is getting advertised during football games, and the last race of the NASCAR season (Yeah Jimmie Johnson!). What's the plan for this? Keep backing them up so that when the summer blockbusters come out, Wal Mart has a Santa in a Hawaiian shirt? Guys, you're ruining the mood. I shouldn't be able to get sick of hearing about Christmas until it gets here.

I wish I had some say in this, but I don't. Even when I was asked to decorate my stores by the owner of the company, I put it off until I got repremanded for it. I was able to stave it off until the day before Thanksgiving, where we'd throw the junk up before we left for a day off with the family. It was ready for the biggest shopping day of the season (biggest shopping day, not the biggest spending day. Why ya gotta use up so much time to not buy anything?), but not a minute earlier than we could get away with. When I win the Super Powerball Mega Gonzo Lottery, I'm gonna buy a whole bunch of stores that won't decorate for Christmas until December 15th. 'Course, they'll all be gun stores, so it won't matter much.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Fire the bum

I saw on ESPN this morning something that shouldn't ever happen in College sports, and from this individual it wasn't the first time.

Bobby Knight hit one of his players under the chin because the kid wasn't looking directly at him. Ol' Blobby hit him hard enough to knock his head back, and he was show sitting on the bench later, working his jaw around, clearly in some discomfort.

I played organized sports for a very long time. During that time, if the coach felt I wasn't paying attention to him, he could bench me. He could kick me off the team. He could do any number of things...but he knew better than to hit me. Everyone in a teaching or coaching role knows better. Even crazy gymnastics coaches, who are probably the most over the top bunch of all, don't ever strike one of their kids. Yet Blobby has done it repeatedly. How is it this hot head tub still has a job?

Indiana finally got tired of his actions and canned him several years ago. He even brought them bids to the NCAA tourney, and they won three national championships. He's enough of an ass that even winning couldn't keep his job at IU, and I applaud the school for that. Somehow he finds a job at some school in Texas that hasn't done much of anything since he's been there. No titles. No particular reason to keep him there, and yet they far.

Tell ya what, Blobby: if that was my son that you hit, I'd have either your job or your ass. Either you'd no longer be coaching there, or you'd be doing it with a couple black eyes and a fat lip, not to mention walking with a limp. I don't know if parents letting their kids play under your tutelage don't know your track record, or don't care enough about their kids to put up with it, but at some point, somebody's dad is gonna get pissed and loosten some of your teeth.

Yeah, I'm tough behind my keyboard. I should come and say these things to your face. I would, if I cared enough to go to Texas to do it. Fact is, Blobby, you're a bully. You have very little else going for you. You have the same rage issues that Softball Guy does. You know Softball Guy. Hell Blobby, you probably are Softball Guy in the off season. For those that don't know, Softball Guy is the wannabe athlete that competes in the Park and Rec Department's D League. He treats games like he was in the World Series, screaming and yelling at his teammates and generally talkin' a lot of smack. He's a decent player most of the time...for the D League. But he's a bully too, just like Ol' Blobby.

But Texas Tech's (yeah, I went and did some quick research) AD said Blobby didn't hit his player. The player said Blobby didn't hit him. The kid's parent's said Blobby shouldn't be reprimanded. Maybe its a Texas thing. Because Blobby is close to passing Adolph Rupp in total wins, I guess TT thinks he needs to still be there, to bring that prestige to the school. Tell ya what, though: Adolph Rupp, nor Mike Krzyzewski, Dean Smith, John Thompson, Clarence Gaines, Jimmy Valvano, Jerry Tarkanian, Lute Olsen, John Wooden and a whole book's worth of other winning coaches ever had to strike a player to get his message across. Because of that, Blobby, you'll always have a big fat asterisk next to your name in sports fan's minds. I just hope you get fired before you get to 800 wins.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The shotgun: asset or liability in the ZO scenario?

The venerable shotgun is probably the most misunderstood weapon in the self defense conundrum. There are still people out there that think the shotgun is like a horizontal howitzer, blasting adversaries through the air, over vehicles, and causing body parts to fly across the street and onto the roofs of tall buildings. In the movies, a bad guy (or a good guy, for that matter) is hit in the chest with a single round of 12 gauge shot, and he can be blown off his feet, being stopped only by a wall or other solid object. A single round to the chest can not only knock an adversary over the fender and onto the hood of the '80-something Ares K Car, but all the way over the hood and onto the ground on the other side, rolling across the street or sidewalk until they hit a solid object.

Sadly, none of this is true. Sure, shotguns hit hard, but they won't put a million ball bearing sized projectiles into everything in the entire living room. Here's a hard fact to believe, if your knowledge comes from the movies: shotguns, even with a cylinder bore (no constriction of the shot column at all), still keep their entire mass within a circle about the size of an adult fist up to about 20 yards. That's hardly a weapon that doesn't need to be aimed.

Shot spread is one factor that limits the shotgun. There are two others: effective range and ammunition capacity. Along with a limited magazine, there is also the exigency that is the reloading of the weapon.

As stated, shotguns have very limited range, especially compared to crew served weapons and rifles. They should be used in close quarters battle, where they are very effective, but where their glaring weakness is also brought to the fore: if the MUD's are of the high speed variety, the small magazine capacity and difficulty in reloading the shotgun really become liabilities. One of the combat shotgun's greatest features is its compact size, especially the "professional" models, like this Wilson Combat Professional Model from their Scattergun Technologies division:

However! if the advantage is a shorter barrel, the magazine tube must likewise be shortened to maintain that advantage. Since both motor skills and communication among the MUD are limited, the typical assault tends to be en masse; sort of a suicide charge...or at least it would be, if they were alive. If there are more than a few targets that need to be eliminated, then chances are good that the shotgun will be run dry, with little time to reload the weapon.

Clearly, the shotgun is a very effective weapon in this situation, but if the shooter hasn't mastered the combat reload, they're in very serious trouble. There are some in the world who could just about eliminate the ZO by themselves, given enough ammunition. If you don't train to that level, you won't perform at that level. That, however, is topic for another blog.

The other disadvantage of the shotgun is that the ammunition is large, cumbersome, and hard to carry. The shotshell is a type of ammo that is best suited to a static position or for the short assault scenario, especially if the gunner has mobile protection. Some will advocate heavy shot loads, some will advocate slugs. The fact is, they are both valid types of ammo. Its a fact that a slug will have very little trouble penetrating the brain pan of any MUD, much less an "older" one with any significant bone strength deterioration. In fact, the "double" is not an unheard of shot with slugs. The double happens when a shot that destroys the brain of one MUD travels on through the cranial cavity to exit the other side, and then penetrate another that happens to be in proximity. A slug can take out multiple targets, but its not something to be tried for. Just take credit for it if it happens, and chalk it up to luck. Its up to the shooter not to let it be known that it wasn't intentional.

Buckshot is definately a valid ammunition. At close range, its devestating. Buckshot tends to hold is pattern very well at close range, so a good shooter can use a headshot with buck to end an encounter. Which particular buck load to use is up to the shooter, or perhaps limited to what is available. #4 Buck is very popular in defensive situations, but anything between #4 and 00 is good to go. It is not recommended to go much lower than #4 in size, but in a ZO situation, one must do what one must do. A rule of thumb is, if you can't knock a tall Pepper Popper with the load at about 15 yards, then using it on an MUD is a bad idea.

Shotguns are one of the few defensive weapons in the world that benefit from a one point sling. Typically, the sling mounts on a pump action shotgun like an 870 or 500 (if you don't know what those are, you have a lot more research to do before using this article for anything) are on the bottom of the stock, and occasionally on the side of the barrel/mag tube clamp. Using a two point with this configuration will cause the top of the receiver to tip outwards, making for an unbalanced weapon that will have to be collected into a shooting position before it can be used. If the buttstock mount can be modified to mount to the side or top of the stock, it can be used, but it will generally be a less than ideal situation. If you must use a two point, then there is only one sling manufacturer to go to: Blue Force Gear. Three points are out of the question, in all cases. On shotguns, single point slings are the way to go. They are not ideal for extended missions outside the wire, but they are adequate. In a breaching or assaulting role, they work well, especially if the shotgun is the main weapon of the team member. One point slings have the disadvantage of being less secure than two points are, but they have the advantage of having nothing in the way of the pump or sidesaddle.

Its been shown that shotguns can be an effective weapon under the right circumstances, but they can also be a liability if used outside their design parameters. There are, of course, other issues to be explored in the use of the shotgun. This is meant only to promote thought and give some pointers in the use of the shotgun in the ZO scenario.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Birthday Wishes

I can't believe I almost failed to mention this. Good thing I still have a few minutes left in the day. Today is Mikhail Kalashnikov's birthday. If you don't know who he is, you haven't been paying much attention to world events for the past 40 or 50 years.

Mister Kalashnikov is the creative genius and designer of the AK series of rifles. If you need to know about the AK, hit up Wikipedia; I gotta tell ya, not knowing what an AK47 is reeks of lameness. His design changed everything for the Soviet Union. It allowed them to peddle their influence all over the world, essentially giving the AK away because it was so brilliantly designed. The rifle has had incredible influence on arms design ever since.

While his brilliance would have made him rich in the US of A, he was born and bred in Russia. He got a couple of medals for all his hard work (to include a Hero of the Soviet Union medal, IIRC), but didn't get the rewards he is so clearly due. Now that Russia is no longer a Command Economy (proof that liberal socialism doesn't work), they can't sell the rifles for a significant price; they're as cheap as $30 in some places in the world. Because they don't have a cash crop in the weapon anymore, Mikhail can't get the payday that he's so deserving of. He appears to be in amazingly good spirits about the whole thing, though. The gentleman truely has class.

Happy Birthday, Mr. Kalashnikov. God bless your genius. I'm gonna go get me another AK.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

You should read this

Here's a link to my boy Josh's blog. You really should read this; its very instructive as to the mindset of the current voter, and the type of people you'll end up with because of this election.

A little back story: Josh was riding his brand new motorcycle home from his motorcycle safety class, on surface roads. This crazy woman decides to pass him from directly behind him. She moves to the left lane, passes him...and then for some reason we can't figger out, she brakes, after having cut him off. With nowhere to go, Josh goes OTB. Her insurance company pays out to the limit of her coverage...which was the minimum. He had to sue her to get the rest. Josh's account of it can be read here, and there are a couple other posts he's made about that situation, too. Go check it out.

Nice going, people.

America, what the hell is wrong with you? Doesn't anyone remember history anymore? You idiots have given control of the house and senate back to the Dumbocrats. Seriously; what were you thinking?

Did anyone stop to think that by giving the Dumbs control, we'd be stuck with that moron Nancy Pelosi as the Speaker? I'd give you a link to info about her, but if you didn't consider that, you need to start doing your own research now. Go Google ol' Nancy and see what you get. Oh, you didn't realize that the moderates you thought you were electing were going to have the HLW (Hella Left Wing) leadership? Boy, you sure thought that one through.

You voted based on wanting to be out of Iraq, didn't you? We can't right now; get used to it. The job isn't done there, and until it is, our troops have to stay. And by the way, if you think we'll ever have our troops completely out of Iraq, you're out of your simplistic mind. We have troops in Germany, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, and South America. Most, if not all, of those are because Dumbocrat leaders put them there. Remember ol' Slick Willie, the Teflon President? Yeah, he said we'd be in Kosovo for a year. Oddly enough, two of my NG buddies recently returned from a deployment there. Yeah, leaving Iraq is in the cards. Especially when the situation there isn't stable. What, you want to cut and run on another fledgling government? We have to stick and stay, and we're going to. If we don't, someone you know will die at the hands of a terrorist. Here. In the States. Its not if. Its when.

Didn't 30 years of having these spacktards controlling congress teach you anything? What, are you too young to remember? I'll give you a hint: the reason your taxes are so high is because of what they did during that time. Nice job. I appreciate it. By the time they're done, I'll be lucky to afford to live in a large refrigerator box. I'll probably have to keep my AR in a much smaller box and live outside, though.

Here's what you voted for, America. This is the Liberal Dumbocrat way:
  1. higher taxes. Dumbs never met a tax they didn't like.
  2. more entitlement programs that you don't qualify for, but you have to pay for.
  3. higher taxes "on the wealthiest 1%". First, see how little that "wealthy" person makes to meet the standard. Then realize that you asked to increase taxes on the one who employs you. They don't have money to give you a raise anymore.
  4. Higher taxes and more spending
  5. Higher taxes and more spending
  6. Making it easier to get illegals into the US, to increase taxes and have more spending.
Yeah, you really thought this one through. With a little bit of luck, we won't be hit with a ton of anti-gun legislation again. Most of the biggest proponents of it have been voted out. However, the leadership still believes in it. I doubt they'll get anything passed, but just in case, you better stock up on high capacity magazines and lots and lots of ammo. They just might be stupid enough to forget what happened the last time gun owners had enough of being harrassed for being law abiding citizens. Wanna know how bad it can get? Take a good hard look at California.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

What a wierd trend

I am an admin on a few forums, and a moderator on a couple others. I'm a member of several others; some I'm a member of, I can't even remember. I think its safe to say that I'm a bit of SME on forums. I'm not calling that a good thing, either. I need to log off and go outside more often.

I'm seeing a wierd trend, though, on the slower forums I'm a member of. I've seen this happen to the comments section of various people's blogs as I'm doing research for various products, too: memberships created for the purpose of spamming. Clearly, heavy moderation keeps this from happening, but it seems to show up where the traffic level has dropped off. Somebody will make a post in a forum to sell junk that nobody wants, like medications, cleaning products, and other stuff. OK, maybe somebody wants it, but if a post like that is left up and members comment on it, they express their disgust with the practice.

The reason for it is that somehow they're making money on it. But how? Is it click throughs? Probably isn't from generating orders, but I guess that's a possibility. Spam in general doesn't make a lot of sense to me. I suppose its the online equivalent of the cold call during dinner. Somebody's placing orders, or they wouldn't be doing it. If it never paid off, the resources would be spent elsewhere.

All you people out there, listen up: quit clickin' on the spam. You're just making the Intarweb a harder place for the rest of us to get around on. Everybody complains about spam. Don't indulge them and we'll be able to get rid of it.

I know that comment falls on some deaf ears. These are the same people that believe the Minister of Interior Resources from Scamibia has randomly contacted them to help him get millions of ill gotten booty (or ill booten gotty*) out of the country. They think they need to update their security settings on their Paypal account. In fact, they're the very same people who are sure that Microsoft is going to pay them for every email they send. You people are the reason there is spam. Get off the Intarweb. You're screwing it up for those of us with some common sense.

*Name the reference.

Friday, November 03, 2006

I have been offended

Channel surfing this evening while waiting for the Lakers game to come on, I came across what may be the most offensive movie I've ever seen. Those that know me personally know that I'm not easily offended, but Hollywood has done it to me again. What's got mire ire up so much? One of the most retarded movies of all time: Drumline. What makes this so bad isn't the story. Its the same old same: ghetto kid goes to college, finds chick, grows up, blah, blah, blahbiddy blah. What is so damn horrible are the performance shots. Pathetic. Horrible. Disgraceful.

Now, bear in mind, they're slagging band geeks with their crap. That's a big deal. That takes a lot of doing. This movie could have easily gotten some great drumlines to play the parts. They didn't even bother to get a decent high school drumline. I don't know where they got the hacks they used, but they weren't good. If you watch the movie, watch how poorly coordinated they are. Watch how they don't step together, the drumline's sticks come to a whole slew of different heights. Their spacing is bad. The stuff they're doing isn't difficult for most drum and bugle corps.

Now check out how one of the all time great Corps, The Blue Devils, does it. That is the HEAT right there.

The Handgun in the ZO scenario

In our continuing look at the necessary tools for use in a ZOS (Zombie Outbreak Scenario), we've come to the handgun as a defensive tool in use against the MUD. In this area, Clint Smith is correct: a handgun is to fight your way to a rifle. However, if you're coming late to the party, unprepared and unaware without a long gun, you get to be the ZDU; Zombie Distraction Unit. While you're being devoured, your friends are either making "killing" shots with rifles or moving to a defensible position. You are part of the great unwashed cannon fodder. Since you don't want that to happen, read on and learn what you can do to defend yourself.

The factors involved in the use of the handgun versus the MUD are
  • speed is fine, accuracy is final (thanks to Larry Vickers for the use of that sage advice)
  • MUD's congregate towards each other. High capacity is paramount
  • this is not the scenario for your Hi Point, Jennings, Bryco or American Derringer
  • caliber matters
So you can shoot fast. Big deal; lots of the MUD could do that before they were bitten and turned into evil, ugly critters. Get used to this idea if you have to depend on the handgun to defend yourself: if you can't hit the brain box of your target, you might as well put the muzzle to your own head. Chances are you'd miss, though, because you were trying to shoot too fast to make a solid hit, and now you're a buffet for the undead. As we know from the training film SOTD, to stop a zombie, you must destroy the brain or remove the head. Regardless of what you've seen in the movies and heard in deh gangsta rap songs, handguns don't blow heads off. When you get right down to it, only explosives do that with certainty.

High capacity is crucial in the ZOS, because there will be a lot of them in a very short time. It doesn't take long to turn a victim regardless of which version of the story you subscribe to, and the MUD's can turn several victims in an hour. The chances of having to deal with only one zombie at a time are pretty remote. Scientists haven't determined with conclusivity what causes MUD's to cluster. Perhaps its a deep memory, such as the idea that "Poor people tend to cluster", as posited by the urban freestyle philosopher Eric Cartman. At any rate, high capacity is a necessity, and that will affect your choice of weapons. Bottom line: there's no such thing as too many rounds. Did you (assuming you're outside of California and Noo Yawk) think those 30 round magazines for the Glock 9mm pistols were silly? Do you think that right now? I didn't think so. Let's revise the first point: accuracy as many times as possible without reloading is final.

The third point should need no explanation. If you're not betting your life on a top of the line weapon, you deserve hands in your guts and teeth on your skull. Invest in a serious tool. There are many guns that I like, but 100% reliability is crucial. Some of you are going to hate to hear this, but Gaston Glock's product rules the roost. You don't like the way they look. They're not as large and angular as the Berettas and Smith and Wessons you've seen in the training films. All of that is ancilliary: Glocks always work. Get one, or at least something comparable, like a Springfield XD or an HK USP or P2000, or something else that doesn't rust. That means your Kimber II goes out the window. Besides, it doesn't hold enough rounds.

Here we go again: destroy the brain or remove the head. Memorize this. DTB, RTH. Simple to remember, and as true as America, mom and apple pie (can't include baseball; it sucks). Handguns don't do that. Here's another truth for you, while we're dispensing with the knowledge: handgun bullets poke holes. Rifle bullets tear stuff up. That being said, a zombie isn't a bear, elephant or heffalump. What we're up against is a former human, in a state of decomposition. The problem is, its a torpid putrefaction (slow as a herd of turtles in molasses crossing the road in a blizzard). That's why bunkering and outwaiting is a far more difficult proposition than it would appear at first blush.

Still, rotting will be happening, and zombie flesh will become easier to violate with projectiles as time passes. Whereas a very large caliber round would have been required if that were not the case, smaller, very fast rounds will work. The experts will agree that a compromise round like the .40 Short and Wide, going very fast, will do damage enough to incapacitate an MUD at close range. The 9mm, placed properly with a high quality projectile, will get the job done in a pinch, and you can fit a heck of a lot of them in a magazine. Here are the keys to choosing the round for you:
  • capacity is key. This is why relying on your .460 S&W will eventually get you killed (temporarily, at least, before you reanimate) if that's all you have.
  • hollow points with explosive expansion are your friend to blast as wide a channel as possible. You can quote Wyatt Earp from Tombstone to the Zombie Leader if you're feeling cocky "Your friends might get me in a rush, but not before I turn your head into a canoe". It won't help, but you can count it as your last act of defiance, assuming you're confronted by a ZL with a fire team with him.
  • Look for velocity. It can't hurt.
  • Big, as in "caliber beginning with .4" doesn't hurt.
  • If you rely on a revolver, we thank you for slowing the zombies down so we can get away and/or fortify our position.
Of course there's more, but get to thinkin' about this before I drop another bomb in your brain and give you information overload. More info on different weapons to follow.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Flawed Logic in Zombie Kit: Armor and Protective Gear

It was recently pointed out to me that FBMG Inc. offers a Zombie Defense Loadout. While they are to be applauded for the completeness of their offering, that $21,000 can be spent more effectively on other gear, and some of their choices are suspect at best. Using their offerings as a basis for comparison, my goal is to list some alternatives that will be better choices in this specific application.

Armor is a good thing. It can keep you from dying when not having it would perhaps cause that result (I know, very deep thinking, that). However, most of the armor that is getting mention on the market at this time is far heavier and less effective against the MUD's (Mobile Un-Dead) because it was designed to stop bullets, not teeth. In the instance of civil unrest and rioting, hell yeah, give me an Eagle CIRAS armor carrier with IIIa soft armor and some level 3 polyethylene plates. For the ZO (Zombie Outbreak) scenario, though, its unnecessarily heavy and cumbersome. Riot gear, which is designed for protection against blunt trauma (like bites) is preferred. I would start with the Exotech EX-01000 from Hatch as a base:
This rig is a fairly lightweight and as stated previously, is designed to protect against blunt force trauma. Add to this some puncture resistant full gauntlet gloves (too many brands to list, but I'm partial to Hatch and Damascus). The thing to remember is that you're going to need to be mobile. Full plate armor may provide excellent protection (my friends and aquaintances that are into the SCA keep harping on how easy to move in and comfortable it is), but your ability to get up and go if you have to will be diminished. If you subscribe to the belief that Zombies infected with the Rage virus gain both strength and speed, that's not to be desired. Even a slow, plodding zombie will catch you eventually. He doesn't have to take a break to drink or catch his breath. he doesn't need to stop. He/she/they can keep going almost indefinately, and they feel no pain or fatigue. Clearly, mobility is paramount, which is why converted busses and campers are so popular with survivors needing to un-ass their current location. That's getting into an area for another entry, though. We'll revisit that topic at a later date.

Bear in mind, though, that armor in this case is just another barrier. Its protection is not absolute. The armor in this instance is designed to give you a chance to fight, not to be an all-inclusive solution to stopping infection via bites or absorbing blood through the mucus membranes or through ingestion.

Because of those threats, a helmet is not the detriment it would seem to be in this case. While you may take a bite to the skull, its not very likely for a couple of reasons: first, most people are hard headed. Its not as easy to get a bite on a skull as it is on the other extremities. Secondly, most people have a pretty good idea of where their head is. It tends to be protected by moving it out of harms way...generally, and by most people. As with everything, there are exceptions. At any rate, the protection afforded by riot helmets-the face shield and neck protection-starts to look like the gear to have. Protech, an Armor Holdings company (AH owns most everybody of consequence in the LE and .mil arenas. If you own tactical gear, chances are you own something made by one or more of their companies), makes several good helmets. I would prefer the TR 2200 with nape protection added.

This helmet has the advantage of being just about the lightest helmet with extra protection available. Its not going to stop a bullet, but it will stop a bite to the dome, and the face shield-providing that you actually lower it in a fight-will stop that blood borne stuff from getting into your face. I would strongly recommend adding a pair of Oakley M-Frames underneath, preferably their shooting array, to be kept either on your gear or in your assault pack. Those are also beyond the scope of this composition, but you need to start thinking about what it is you're going to need to bring. Here's a hint: think magazines and ammo.

What about footwear? I'm partial to Danner's boots. I've got a few pairs, hikers and duty boots, and I love 'em both. The Gore-Tex waterproof lining will probably assist in being a blood borne pathogen layer, but its not rated as such, so take necessary precautions.

It has been claimed that ACU works as cammo against the typical zombie. There may be some truth to that, but existing cammo, like woodland if you live in that environ, or desert tiger stripe, a favorite in arid regions, will work just as well. Since the eyes are an easy way to gain infection of the Rage Virus, they are attacked first, and vision is degraded. MUD's can still catch movement, however, so the effectiveness of cammo may very well be overrated. Consider the number of COD's (Crusty Old Dudes) from the midwest and north east that wear jeans and a red flannel shirt while deer hunting with their .30-30 Marlins or Winchester 94's. These old masters bag deer with what appears to be amazing ease. Its not luck; its experience and training. Stealthy movement is something to be learned now, so it can be applied during The Outbreak. I can almost guarrantee that the COD's and their families will probably just head into the woods and survive the whole thing. The Boy Scout Motto is "Be prepared". They are. Are you, city dweller?

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Zombie Defense

Since its that time of year, I've been pondering the inevitable Zombie Infestation question. Most of my point of reference has been the current crop of Zombie Defense Training Films: Dawn of the Dead (the next to last one, with Ving Rhames. I want him on my team in a Zombie Defense situation), 28 Days Later (which hypothesizes the most logical reason behind the Zombie Epidemic: its PETA and Earth First's fault. I'm down with that), and of course, Sean of the Dead.

Now, while SOTD is pretty much a comedy, there is some good tactical information in there. Such as, head shots are effective. In fact, they're the only effective method of ZT (Zombie Termination). Also, defensible space is critical. Sean and his group chose a bar (The Winchester), which is really not a bad choice.

So, the first step is to prepare a defensible space. The only disadvantage to The Winchester was the number of windows. The problem with windows is that they're easily broken by application of excessive weight. Therefore, as solid a building as possible (if you're limited to a single building rather than a place like an Army base. I have one of those across the street) with as few windows as possible is prefered. Roof access from the inside with limited to no access without ladders from without is also a good thing, for posting lookouts. The need for defensible space does not change if the arrangements are for a single person. This is unlikely, as chance favors the prepared mind, and those prepared for the Outbreak will have plans in place with others for the common defense. Try to choose a place with few windows, and if windows are unavoidable, try to find a building with bars.

The other factor is that TWD's (The Walking Dead) may or may not have increased strength. I can't really see a logical reason that they would exhibit this in real life, except in the instance of the Rage virus posited by 28 Days Later. This scenario also has the idiosynchracy of increased speed because of the virus. This disease is more of a transformation away from human than it is the reanimation of the dead, but its close enough in characteristics to be considered of the same genre. These factors make hand to hand combat undesirable.

Which brings us to the question of the ZT Loadout. In my particular case, the prefered weapon is my M4gery. Basically, its a 16" barrelled, semi automatic version of the Army's M4 carbine.
Chambered in 5.56mm, its one of the best zombie blasters going. If I had my druthers, I'd prefer a piston driven upper, like the HK 416, for its somewhat increased reliability. The nice thing about 5.56 is that its fairly light weight ammo, so you can carry quite a bit of it. It has good upset from a 16" barrel, which means that its rather explosive-especially with specialized projectiles like the Hornady V-Max. Again, if I had my druthers, I'd include a Surefire Scout Light for target verification. I'd also add an Eotech holosight.

Armor is of limited value in this application. Puncture resistant gear would be a plus, so perhaps riot gear is the best bet. Bulky, put puncture resistant. Full seal goggles are a must. The ESS Profile NVG Turbofans are the hot ticket.

How to carry working gear, then? Currently, I'm using an SOTech Hellcat,

Hosted on Fotki

but I'll be transitioning to an ATS Tactical Gear rig as soon as we're finished making them. ;) I can carry nine mags on the rig, with extra PALS webbing available for more storage. Also required is the Camelbak hydration system carrier. Dehydration is the Zombie Schlayer's verst enemy. In addition to the chest rig (probably over the aforementioned riot gear if I can secure it before the outbreak) I'll be running a Lightfighter RAID pack for extra mags, MRE's, batteries, and various other sundries.

While this is just the very tip of the iceberg, rest assured there's more gear reviews for Zombie Defense Gear coming. I want you all to be prepared.

I can't believe it.

Thuh Raidahs won again? What is the world coming to? They have a winning streak now. That sucks. At least some good came from sports this week:
  • The near-interminable torture that is baseball season has ended. Too bad they're gonna do it again next year.
  • The Bears destroyed the Niners. Apparently the bye week came at a good time for them.
  • The Chargers whipped the Rams pretty good, although they made it an entertaining game. Still no definitive word on what's gonna happen with Shawne Merriman. Seems to be a given that he'll be out four games.
  • Basketball season starts on Tuesday. That can't get here soon enough. My Lakers won't take the title this year, but they should be competitive.
  • Jimmy Johnson is within striking distance of the Nextel Cup with three races to go. Jeff Gordon is probably out of it, being a little over 140 points back, but he's in sixth or seventh place. That means most everybody above him still has a legit shot at it. That's pretty interesting racing.
Not a total loss...although that's what I wish the Raiduhs would have done this year.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Preparing young 'uns for the future, or making fat slobs?

I was channel surfing after watching my Michigan Wolverines win again, against a game, tough, overmatched Northwestern team. Found a couple things to watch for a few moments, such as the Sports Center after game show to catch up on scores. We all know Noter Damn is gonna beat Navy. ND is a sports franchise, Navy is a military academy that turns out leaders who play football while they're there. How ND stays ranked playing games like this is still a mystery to me.

As I commence to the surfing, I came across a couple things that really got my attention. First was a commercial for a new Penguin movie called "Happy Feet". I turned around to see an animated penguin rapping Curtis Blow's "Don't Push Me". I don't care who ya're, ats funny aight ther. The next thing that caught my attention, becuase the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Special wasn't airing, was a couple of commercials for a couple new Fisher Price products. The first was a kid-proof digital camera, which frankly I find to be a brilliant idea and a wonderful product to bring to market. At least this kind of toy has the potential to get kids to go outside...although the potential downsides of what could be caught on camera are pretty obvious. Be careful, parents!

The other product I'm undecided about. The Fisher Price Star Station is essentially a kid's version of a karaoke (or as I prefer to call it, "kill me, choke me") that's been dialed in for kids. The upside of this is pointed out on FP's site: it can help a kid get used to doing things in front of people, which will make him comfortable with it later in life. I was never a show off, center of attention type kid, so when the time came in school to give presentations in front of the class, I had to learn on the job how to be comfortable in front of an audience. The other upside to this product is that it may help kids to appreciate music and pursue it. This can be a magical thing. I can say from experience that there's very little that will bring as big a grin to one's face as much as playing in front of a crowd. I got one of the biggest rushes in my life playing in front of 750 people. It was awesome. No wonder people wanna be rock stars.

The thing that concerns me, though, is that this product works through the TV. I'm torn here. Now, the upside to technology is that kids get exposed to it at an early age and grow up with it. Running computers and such will be things that they've done all their life by the time they get to the job market. That's probably a good thing. The ugly, insidious thing, though, is that anything that is TV based or computer based (like a blog! Oh, the irony!) has two effects that I consider...if not pernicious, then at least undesirable: they are visual stimulants, and they're indoors activities.

I am fearful that our nation's youth (yeah, I'm a bit of a xenophobe. I don't care that much about other nation's youth) are losing valuable skills by using the things that are available to entertain them. Video games may increase hand/eye coordination, but they keep kids sitting in front of their Idiot Boxes for hours upon hours upon hours. They're not using their imaginations, and they're certainly not out getting any exercise. That's not a good thing. We don't need fat people with no social skills and no ability to think outside of the parameters placed before them (yes, its true, I am making a concious effort not to use cliches with the terms "box" and/or "paradigm").

Its a well known fact that I think LARPing (go ahead and search LARP on your fave search engine) is at least 14 different kinds of geeky, and its got some seriously comedic aspects to it. But at least they're outside and using some imagination and creativity. The funny thing is, these are many of the same people who spent their formative years inside playing games rather than being outside running around in the world. I don't know if that's good or bad in sum; what I do know is that it beats the hell out of sitting in front of a screen ad nauseum.

All I'm getting at is that I'm seeing the results of the kids graduating after me. I'll use High School as a cut off, since that's where people either go on in their education, or they try to make it in the working world. I've worked with some of the "gaming generations". They don't think on their feet all that well. They don't deal with other people skillfully. They certainly write and comprehend what they read at a lesser level than there had been previously.

The older people I interact with tend to have a similar upbringing to mine: tearing around dirt lots on their bikes, having played a lot of "war" or "cowboys and indians", and having spent a good bit of time digging holes and making forts. That appears to be an art that is being lost. It is my opinion that not doing those kinds of things not only makes our latest crop of kidlets less fit, it makes them mentally weaker, too. That is not to say that I had a perfect upbringing and a wildly imaginative childhood, but it appears that mine was moreso than is the current standard.

Its definately not too late for our kids, but parents are going to have to make a concious effort to change the way things are. Let's face it, its pretty damn easy to let the TV and the computer be the parent and supervisor. Get it together, parents, or your kid's greatest achievment will be not unlike the all powerful player in the World of Warcraft game that Cartman, Kyle, Stan and Kenny were into. Your kids are going Southpark on ya. Do something about it. Make that kid go outside and get dirty.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

who'd a thunk it

I can't believe it. I thought I'd had it all figured out, but apparently, I don't know anything. It seemed so clear, so obvious. Alas, t'was not.

The Raiders aren't the worst team in the NFL...this week. That dubious honor goes to the Hapless Arizona Cardinals. After getting eaten alive last week by Chicago, getting Thuh Raiduhs seemed to be tailor made for the Hapless Cards. You get your head handed to you in the last game, the best thing you can have is the worst team in the League coming in the next week. Turns out The Hapless Cardinals can't keep a child out of the kitchen, much less keep Thuh Raiduhs out of the end zone. They gave Commitment to Excrement 22 points!

I was really hoping that JOakland would be defeated all season long. Now the Hapless Cardinals have ruined that for me. It could have been the perfect season. It could have been great. Now its not. Thanks a lot, Hapless Cards. I'll remember this one for a long time.

On top of that, San Diego lost to KC, and my Bears didn't play. Michigan won again, and for some reason, Noter Damn is still ranked. I don't get that one. They squeak by the teams they should beat, and got destroyed from the first minute to the last against Michigan. They should be number 100, not number 10. I'm confident, though, that they won't be in the top 15 by the end of the season. That's a blog entry for another time.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Law of Unintended Consequences, As Applied to Automobiles

Electrical problems are never the funnest thing to fix in a car, because there are so many things that can be the culprit. A month or so ago, my A/C stopped working. Its getting into fall here in KY, so the weather wasn't all that bad. However, knowing that winter would be here shortly, and also knowing that I didn't have a heater in addition to not having A/C, I decided I should set out to fix that problem.

I did a bit of research (in hindsight, I wonder about the validity of that, applied to this situation. More on that will be revealed shortly) and found that most of the time, these kinds of failures are due to relays. So, I dig out my repair manual (do yourself a favor and get the Chilton's manual; they're the best of the bunch. I don't recall who wrote mine, but it sucks), and find out that I have to use my owner's manual to figure out which relay it was. I replaced the A/C relay, which made no difference. About a week later, I got paid again, and looked up the other relay that was supposed to be the one. Installed it correctly, difference. That leaves the likely culprit to be the blower motor. I find out that the auto parts store down the street has 'em cheaper than I can get one on the Intarweb, so I'm stoked.

Now, according to my manual, all I have to do is unplug it, remove the screws to remove it from the firewall, and reverse the proceedure to reinstall. Seemed pretty simple. I start on the removal process, and find that there is a wire loom in the way. No problem; I trace the wires, mark the ones I need to mark to put 'em back in the right place, and I unplug some stuff. That gets the loom out of my way to get to the bolts.

I have large hands, so its a bit of a chore to get the bolts loose, but I do, without dropping a socket, socket wrench, screw, or inciting bleeding, which is a normal occurance when I work on a vee-hickle. Cool; the blower motor is loose now.

Let's take that thing out, then. Hmmmmm....that throttle body thing bolted to the fender well is in the way. Aight...what size bolt is that? Its a Mazda, its a mostly-metric Ford Ranger. Cool; I have that socket, and its only one bolt. I even manage to get that thing loose without loosing the bolt. Great! Back to the blower motor. I'll just pull it straight out, and...Dammit. The washer fluid/coolant overflow tank/bottle/reservoir thing is in the way. Now, these would have been two different pieces back in the day. Are they now? No! One big piece. Well, there's only two bolts, so all I gotta do is get a socket on an extension bar down in there and get it loose. Turns out that its a nut rather than a bolt, but that's no problem. I still haven't lost a socket, nut, or anything important yet. One nut loose, one to go...Dammit. The other nut is concealed under the edge of the air cleaner box. Now I'm looking at having to take apart the whole left side of my engine bay. Then the call comes.

A friend of mine that works in the showroom part time calls me, because I live very close to the shop. He had purchased a stripped AR15 lower receiver and lower parts kit while at work, and was going to build it at home. Turns out he had taken it out of the store in a stainless steel dish. The guys that closed up that Saturday were chatting in the parking lot, so he set that dish on top of his car. You know where this is going, don't you?

He gets home, which is about 15 minutes away, and finds its not in his rig. He calls me and asks me to drive up the street and see if I can find it. Well...I can walk it, which I did. Now, according to the BATF (who's bringing the chips?) a serial numbered part is a gun, regardless of what other parts are there or are not there. So when he told me he had lost the receiver, I heard "gun". I took off at that moment at a brisk pace.

Long walk short, I found the receiver and a couple of the lower parts. It was about a mile from home, so I got a nice two mile walk in the middle of my tear down of the left side of my truck. Two miles later, I'm back to work on the damn truck.

I can't find any mention of how the airbox is secured to the fender wall in the poopy manual. It appears to be stuck to the fender well through grommets, but its not coming loose, and I'm losing patience. So I do what any other red blooded American shade tree mechanic would do: I started forcing and man handling the reserviors to get 'em out of my way. I have to admit to being a little bit surprised that I didn't break anything in the process.

At this point, I've removed everything that I can get loose, and there still isn't quite enough room. However, through brute force I man handled the motor and fan free...which took about ten or fifteen minutes. Turns out the fun didn't end there! The new motor didn't have the fan on it; its just the motor. That wasn't too difficult to fix, it just took a bit of time.

Oddly, the motor popped back into the housing without too much difficulty; that was only a few minutes. Again, I managed to get everything back in without loosing any screws and only dropped a socket once. Luckily, once installed and power was applied, it worked like a champ. I know you were worried about that part.

The job that shoulda taken about half an hour or forty five minutes ended up being something like three and a half hours. With a two mile walk in the middle. But at least I have a heating and cooling system again. For now.