Sunday, December 28, 2008

I guess they don't wanna sell 'em

I've been wearing my Danner Agitators for about two and a half years now, and they're pretty much well and truly used up. I've almost walked the sole off these things. I'd replace 'em, except for two issues: my employer doesn't carry Danners anymore, and they've discontinued this model. Can't figure that one out; we always seemed to sell quite a lot of 'em.

I have several friends that have Merrells, of various styles and makes. They've all got good things to say about 'em, so I figured I'd brave the crowds on Saturday and head out to Opry Mills Mall in Nashville. It was a balancing act: not really wanting to be at the mall on the Saturday after Christmas, versus knowing there were three different stores that carry Merrells, as well as a bunch of others that I would be willing to try. However, that's not how it all worked out.

I went to every place that had hiking boots, and to be honest, there were almost no decent sales going on. At best, there were a few styles that they had thin stock of, marked down to, at best, 20%. Most were along the lines of 10%. They still had quite a bit of stock; I was able to try on three or four different styles and brands. That's not always easy, as I wear a 13 wide. That's to be expected, since I'm 6' 6". I have fairly small feet for my size, and can ususally buy off the rack. That wasn't the case this time around. Stuff I was interested in was either full retail, or they had 5's and 6's left, with a puny discount.

Seems to me, if you're gonna depend on Christmas to make your year as most retailers do, you'd want to move as much product as you could so as not to have to pay taxes on it. That would seem to say that the economy, while not doing well, isn't quite as crippled as we'd been lead to believe. Stuff not being on sale, and indeed being priced at the regular retail price after Christmas, is a sign that they either misjudged badly (unlikely, because so few places were doing the normal deep discounting) or they felt that it wasn't the strategy that was necessary. Either way, I didn't buy any Merrells yesterday, or North Face, or Columbia.

But I didn't walk away empty handed yesterday. The Oakley Vault store pretty much always has stuff at the full retail price, so I don't generally buy stuff there. There are ways to get that stuff wholesale, if you know the right people, even though we're not an Oakley dealer anymore.

When Oakley is dumping footwear, they discount it very, very deeply. What I ended up scoring from the discontinued section was a pair of the Flak Low tactical shoes. I would have prefered the mids, or even the highs, but for $20, I'm gonna rock these until they fall apart. Yeah, that's right: twenty bucks. Even online most places have 'em between $80 and $90+. To say the least, I'm quite pleased. These are going to work nicely at the SHOT show in a few weeks.

San Diego is whipping Denver right now. Looks like the Chargers are gonna take the AFC West crown. All is right with the world tonight.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Good timing: wore out my slide stop

I've had my Springfield Armory 1911 A1 Lightweight for, oh, a dozen years or so. Its been getting customized over the course of most of that time, and is almost finished. Once I decide what night sights I wanna have low mounted on it (I'm thinking about 10-8's for it and the MnP), its gonna get refinished and then the work will probably stop. Probably.

The original slide stop that was one of the first things I had customized, was a King's extended part. At the time, I shot a Weaver stance with crossed thumbs. With that method, having the gas pedal didn't hurt.

However, I reached a plateau in my shooting, and wasn't getting better. I came to the realization that "Do whatever works for you" was, in fact, a very stupid philosophy if one wishes to be the best one can be at a given pursuit. The Way is thumbs forward, with a version of the isosceles stance, and being extra sure not to hook your support hand index finger on the trigger guard.

That posed a problem with that original slide stop; I was overriding it regardless of how I gripped the gun; I was either holding it down or pushing it up. I knew I needed to change the part, but we were out of stock at work, so I put it off.

Well, we got some Wilson Bulletproof slide stops in right about the time I found that my baby wasn't locking back in empty mags. I had worn out the original slide stop after ten or eleven years. Nice timing! I picked up the new Bulletproof part, and found that it didn't need extra fitting. That's a good thing, since I don't know of any 1911 smiths around here. I don't let anyone who's not the best available wrench on my guns.

I'm quite pleased with this new part; if I had known the what's up, I'd have had it on there all along. I guess JMB really did know what he was doing with that part. I still believe that 1911's have to have beavertail grip safeties and extended thumb safeties to be a usable fighting gun. Add to that high profile, quality sights, and you've got something goin' on.

I can't tell if this is an artsy shot; I kinda think it is. Since I don't have to pay for bandwidth, I'm gonna go ahead and put it up.

Lastly, here's the off side of this gun, for the sake of completeitude.

Couple things to note: the finish appears to be kinda two toned because, through shooting the hell out of it, I've rubbed most of the finish off the frame. This gun has an arched mainspring housing, where my Kimber Custom Royal has a flat one. I can't tell the difference. I shoot the SA better, but that's probably just because its got a hard fit Bar-Sto barrel in it.

The background I shot these on is my new TNF hooded fleece. It was a gift from a connected friend of mine; he's a cop that's got a lot of friends. There's no model name on it, and the numbers don't tell me what it is, either. What I know about it is that it's made in the US of A, and similar jackets are seen in pics of very high speed dudes. I'm pretty sure I know where it came from, but I can't prove it. Doesn't matter; I have my story and I'm stickin' to it. :)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

San Diego Chargers: What is goin' on there?

I'm keeping tabs on some football today, essentially procrastinating the taking of the laundry to the laundromat. The 12-1 Tennessee Titans had something to play for this week: a win and a Steelers loss gained them home field advantage throughout the playoffs. They lost. The Chargers, on kind of the opposite end of the scale at 8-5, trailed the Kansas City Chiefs through almost the whole game. They took a one point lead with :36 left. That's really unacceptable.

Jeff Fisher's job is not in jeopardy. Norv Turner's, though, absolutely has to be. I wondered why they made that hire in the first place, since the Chargers should have been very familiar with Turner when he was with the hated Raiduhs. Since the Chargers probably won't make the playoffs with one of the highest powered teams in quite a while, his job and most of his staff will have to go. Ron Rivera may be able to stay; I guess that'll depend on how much management likes him. The question then becomes: who's going to replace Turner?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Another reason to hate me: new S&W M&P 9

I lucked into quite a fortuitous trade this week. One of my friends had a .300 Whisper AR upper that he wasn't planning to use, so he traded it to a local dealer for the only thing that was of remote interest to him: an Mn'P 9mm cop gun. The cop guns come with three mags and don't have the magazine safety in 'em. 

So, he got rid of an upper he didn't really want for a pistol he didn't really want, and came into the shop with it. He knew I had a Glock 19, because I traded my Glock 30 to him to get that 19. He also knew that I was looking to get an MnP to solve some of the issues I was having with my 19. He asked what I had to trade for it, and I told him the truth: right now the only thing I have to trade is my 19. He thought about it for a moment, and asked if I wanted to trade it straight up, the MnP with three magazines for the G19 and 3 magazines.  I really like the G19, so it wasn't necessarily an easy choice to make, but I decided to do it. I know, it was obvious, but I made the right choice.

ATS started back with Saturday hours today, but arrangements were made for Matt and Paul to work. That is as it should be: I had a new, unfired firearm, and that just can't be allowed to stand. They both agreed that it was something that had to happen. I only had a hundred rounds to test it with, but I hadda use what I had.

I don't know if the MnP is more accurate than my G19, but I do know that I shoot it better. I shot noticeably tighter groups with it, and I do know why that is: the 17 round magazines of the MnP mean that the grip is a bit longer, and my hand fits it better. Because of the sheer bodacious size of my giant bear paw hands, manipulating reloads was a bit of a job with the G19. The magazines occasionally dragged on the bottom of my hand. That grip simply wasn't made for me. Additionally, I overrode the slide release fairly regularly, so I didn't always have the slide lock back. That's all attributable to trying to run the premier small carry gun when it doesn't fit quite right. 

What I found out today was that the MnP is a better platform for my physical attributes. In a lot of ways, the MnP is a refining of the Glock. Its not necessarily the G19's equal, but it has couple of features that are key. Other than having a grip frame that fits my hand better, it also has a short beavertail tang. The Glock has been known to cut the back of my hand because I have so much beef in the back of my hand and I take the highest grip I can. The MnP allows me to get up into the gun, but still protects me from blood loss. Bottom line: I'm very well pleased with the MnP in most areas: a grip that fits me better, no bleeding, and good accuracy.

I'm not sold completely on the sights. They're either Novaks, or a Novak design. The sight picture is fine, but the wedge shape means that they can't be used as a way to rack the gun. They're also not night sights, and that's going to have to change. If I can get the 10-8 sights with tritium, I think that's what I want to do. I have to give props to SnW, though, because the sights on my new kid were well regulated on elevation, and dead on for windage. 

The other area that the MnP falls short of the Glock is in the trigger. The sear break is a little creepy, but different from the Glock. The reset, though, isn't as good. If I can find somebody who can fix that up, and make the reset more like the Glock in terms of a positive "snap", that will go a long way to improve the MnP. As it is now, its a feature that I tolerate and may have to get used to. Of course, I have 100 rounds through my MnP; my Glock had 2200.

Does this mean I'm done with the Glock? Absolutely not! Glocks are still among the handful of real combat guns that have just about everything: adequate triggers, good accuracy, simple manipulation, and a legitimate 100,000 round service life. I think I may end up get a Glock 17 next, but another G19 is definitely in my future as well. 

Much is said about how "Glocks are uncomfortable", and "I just don't like the way they feel". I recently heard a statement from one of the LF forum members that answers those questions directly: "Unless its a female, I don't make choices based on feelings".  What the MnP and Glock both have is that once you shoot one and make it run, you kinda turn it in your hand and stare at it with your eyes bugged out a little, while saying "Where has this been all my life?"

Monday, December 08, 2008

An important video

Of particular note in this video, pay attention to her last few comments. Also note how Chuckie Schumer's expression says "I've already made my mind up, regardless what you say".  Her definition of what the 2nd Amendment is really for is exactly what the Framers had in mind when they wrote it.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Funny Dream

I dream pretty regularly, but its been a long, long time since I was able to remember them. Most of the time, I don't remember them at all, and on the occasion that I wake up remembering one, I can't usually retain it. That may mean something, but I really don't care. If they don't revolve around shooting, then there's not a lot that's interesting about them anyway.

Last week, I did have a dream I remembered, although I woke up before it had completely run it's course. Where I remember it starting was in the showroom. Matt E. and I were both near the back of the store, talking about something important, like whether to pick up a Glock 17 or an MnP next. We both look towards the front of the door as we hear a vehicle pull up in front and jump on the brakes. Five masked bad guys come charging through the door (I'm not really sure how they got in so fast and so well stacked, since the door opens out, not in) and start splitting down the front of the store. Matt and I each take opposite sides of the room; I go right, he goes left, and we draw and start shooting on the move. In this case, we were both running Glock 19's, but I wouldn't have felt odd about the dream occuring with 1911's. 

The five miscreants (you can always tell a miscreant in a dream, because whether its cold or not, they wear full face beenies) split three to my side, two to Matt's, and we hit each with multiple shots. They're all down, and we clear their weapons. Somehow, we know the Police are coming, but we apparently had plenty of time for what happened next: Matt and I start arguing that it's not fair that I got three and he got two. I guess he was offended that only two went his way, but it's my dream. If it's my dream, then I gotta be the star, right? At that point I woke up, so I don't know how long it took the PD to get there. Since those guys all know who we are and that we roll armed all the time, I don't think, in the dream, that they were in any particular hurry to get there. lol!

Tropic Thunder: a comedy that's actually funny!

My schedule didn't match up to see Tropic Thunder in the theater, which I regret now. I watched it on DVD this evening with homeboy and shooting partner Paul J. The interesting part of the experience was that the film was a Whollyweird comedy, and yet we were both actually laughing! I'd have never thought that possible if I hadn't seen it muh damn se'f.

I'm usually lukewarm on Ben Stiller. His movies can be quite funny, but more often he falls into the "cute" catagory for me, such as with Night at the Museum. Unfortunately, they're gonna do a Night at the Museum II. He was great as White Goodman in Dodge Ball, but that wasn't a Ben Stiller movie as much as it was a Vince Vaughn vee-hickle. In Tropic Thunder, though, he was outstanding.  There were times that I forgot that he was Ben Stiller and I believed he was Tugg Speedman. With some actors, that's easy to do; Robert Downey Jr. should be up for an Oscar for his performance as Jeff Lazarus, "I know what dude I am. I'm the dude playin' the dude, disguised as another dude! ".

The best part by far, though, was the parody of Whollyweird as a Whole. The drug addict, the agents, the deal makers, the Method actors, the consultants, and more, all skewered. While America was laughing hysterically, there were plenty of folks in The Biz squirming in their seats. After the flick, Paul and I were laughing at various lines that were added to the Chrystal Method's "That's the Name of the Game" ride out credits song, and we agreed that it seemed hard to believe that this movie got made. I still marvel that somebody green lighted a movie that made fun of what they do. For that reason alone, this one's worth seeing.

There's a lot of profanity in this flick, which is kinda typical for a comedy these days. I guess a lot of people find swearing funny; I'm not really one of those. This is still a funny movie, and I really do wish I'd seen it on the big screen with the digital sound system. Woulda been fun!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Alternate Thanksgiving

Since I didn't go home this year, and all of my friends are either deployed, deploying, or out of town, I stayed home and busted out the grill. Here's what was on it:

a big fat porterhouse, seasoned with EVOO, sea salt and fresh ground pepper, and a two (should have been one) cream cheese stuffed, maple bacon wrapped Poblano peppers. Had an Amber Bock in the fridge, so I macked that, too. I had some garlic and rosemary potatoes and some old fashioned potato salad, but I couldn't get to that stuff. It had to wait for Saturday afternoon. Managed to stuff some Phrench Silk pie down my neck, too, but didn't get a photo of that.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Solemn Holiday Post

My buddy Justin sent this to me today.

In 1986, Peter Davies was on holiday in Kenya after graduating from Northwestern University .

On a hike through the bush, he came across a young bull elephant standing with one leg raised in the air. The elephant seemed distressed, so Peter approached it very carefully. He got down on one knee, inspected the elephants foot, and found a large piece of wood deeply embedded in it. As carefully and as gently as he could, Peter worked the wood out with his knife, after which the elephant gingerly put down its foot.

The elephant turned to face the man, and with a rather curious look on its face, stared at him for several tense moments. Peter stood frozen, thinking of nothing else but being trampled. Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly, turned, and walked away. Peter never forgot that elephant or the events of that day.

Twenty years later, Peter was walking through the Chicago Zoo with his teenaged son. As they approached the elephant enclosure, one of the creatures turned and walked over to near where Peter and his son Cameron were standing. The large bull elephant stared at Peter, lifted its front foot off the ground, then put it down. The elephant did that several times then trumpeted loudly, all the while staring at the man.

Remembering the encounter in 1986, Peter could not help wondering if this was the same elephant. Peter summoned up his courage, climbed over the railing, and made his way into the enclosure. He walked right up to the elephant and stared back in wonder. The elephant trumpeted again, wrapped its trunk around one of Peter legs and slammed him against the railing, killing him instantly.

Probably wasn't the same elephant.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Went and saw Quantum of Solace yesterday with my bro M4Guru. While disappointed in the $4+ Coke that was not really a Coke, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I may end up dropping some spoilers in this post, due to my stream of unconsciousness writing style, so caveat emptor. I don't know if that applies here, but the only other Latin I could remember off the top of my head was "Otium cum dignitatum", which means "leisure with dignity".

The important thing with this movie, and Casino Royale that precedes it, is that the New Bond is a much better couple of movies than any of the previous iterations of Bond movies. Bad attitude, loose cannon, ass-kicking-sans-gadgetry Bond is miles better than the more recent, gadget dependent Bond characterizations. The constant references to Bond goin' haywire and killin' ever'body are both comedic and apropos. The only drawback is that they've got him running a Walther PPK/S mouse gun, rather than the "They finally get it!" P99 of previous movies. That's really my only complaint; I'd much rather see him running a Glock or MnP. A custom tuned 1911 is probably beyond the realm of possibility with Bond, but a man gun would be schweeeeet.


The other thing that I really liked, and a number of people have said they didn't like, was the new bad guy organization: Quantum. Its sort of an economic Al Qaida, an organization with a cell-style structure and even more secretive than anything we know about now. MI-6 didn't know a thing about them at the beginning of the flick, so its gonna be interesting, over the next couple films that Daniel Craig is signed on for, to see how this group becomes exposed and taken down.

There were still a couple things that I didn't "get", as I saw it only once so far, but I think it's entirely possible that those questions will be made clear later on. They did a nice job of conveying the sense of "everywhere and anywhere" with Quantum; they have a very, very long reach. Its going to be interesting to see how they are developed over the next couple of movies. Its all very sinister, but Bond will kill 'em all if the film calls for it...which, of course, it will. Which is, of course, why I'm such a fan. lol!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Quarrantine. It could have been good...

I'm not gonna bother with post election rants right now; both of you who read my blog have a pretty good idea where I stand on that However, that's not to say I'm not gonna be ranting!

Spoiler follows.

I went to see Quarantine with Matt E. and Paul J. about a week ago, partly because it looked cool and partly because there's not much else of interest in the local theater right now. It looked like an interesting take on the zombie genre, and it proved to be that...and less, in a couple of areas.

Starting back with Blair Witch Project, the Bouncing Handi Cam (BHC) technique was born as a new and creative way to film a movie. It was innovative at the time. Unfortunately, several other movies have taken it up as a plot device, such as was done with Cloverfield. Now its getting tired and isn't creative anymore. And there's more that goes with it, too.

Despite what directors may think, you don't have to wave the camera around like a spastic drunk for me to remember that there's a guy with a hand held camera that's giving us his perspective on what's happening. It may come as a shock, but if the same dude has the camera throughout the movie, its not all that tough to remember who he is and what he's doing. People, in general, can keep track of such things. Do us a favor, director-type personages: bounce it a little at first to give us the effect...then quit it. I'm not willing to get motion sickness just to watch your damn movie.

An additional, equally irritating corollary to the BHC style of filming is the absolute stupidity of the people who are getting filmed. There are cops at the apartment building, who have 15 in the gun and a couple reloads each. If there are three of 'em, that means there's 135 available rounds, and there were maybe 20 people in the whole building. Call me crazy, but if you have to shoot an infected body, chances are you're gonna have to do that for everyone else that gets infected. You know from recent experience that the building is sealed, and that the paramedics can't do anything about the infection. That being the case, kinda seems stupid to feed your neck to somebody you know has been bitten, doesn't it?

I'm getting sick and tired of people who should know better, acting like morons. If you can't have 'em act like they would be trained to act, DON'T PUT THEM IN THE DANG MOVIE! That ranks in Stupid right up there with backwards sights on rifles and endless magazines. There are tons of people that can be experts for movies that can fix the Stupid if the director is smart enough to pay attention to what they say. Most of the time, they aren't. Its getting to the point that directors are the cause of everything that irritates me about movies. If I find another director that gets it right, I'm gonna go see every damn thing he does. At this point, it looks like Ridley Scott comes closest...but he's smart enough to listen to his advisors. I'm thinking there's a trend to be seen there...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Hell Yeah I Voted Today

Got my ballot cast this morning before work; just barely before work! The line was pretty impressive. I'm glad to see people getting out to vote for a change. Not "vote for change", but voting rather than not voting.

And, since this is my blog and I can say whatever the hell I want to, I'm gonna state this as clearly and succinctly as I can: if you voted for Obama and voted for democrats in the House and the Senate, you've ruined America for many generations to come. That inexperienced spacktard of a junior Senator's moronic ideas are going to drive America's economy and standing as an economic, business, and military power into the ground. The buzzword of "McCain is Bush's third term" doesn't mean nearly as much, or be anywhere near as damaging as Obama being Carter's second term. If that's how you voted, you screwed up and I will blame you long after Obama's impeachment has forced him from office.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Cormac McCarthy is...different.

Today I finished my latest fiction read: "The Road", by Cormac McCarthy. This is the same gentleman who wrote "No Country for Old Men", and about ten other books. I've only read the two mentioned here. If nothing else, he's different.

I don't want to go too much into the plot in case either of the people who read my blog want to read it for themselves. I would like to point out two characteristics of "The Road" that are unusual, though: as in "No Country", and I suspect all of his novels, McCarthy doesn't use much punctuation besides paragraph breaks and periods. No quotation marks, inconsistent use of apostrophes and commas, and not much in the way of avoiding choppy sentence structure. Its all very unusual. The other factor I will comment on shortly.

At first, I wondered if there was something wrong with him, and I wondered if perhaps he shall I put it...kind of trendy as the new author to read. But then I'd come across a passage that was so brilliantly, beautifully written that I knew he was not a fool, but instead was writing exactly how he wished it to be read. "The Road" is the tale of a father and son who have no one else in the world besides each other. Of this, McCarthy writes "They were each other's world entire". The elegant simplicity of that passage is striking to me. While McCarthy does create uneven and perhaps even rough passages, I've come to realize what it is he's sculpting with them; it is both the simple and literal, and the expansive and complex. Therein lies the genius.

I was most of the way through this book before I realized that I had been given neither of the main character's names. They are both the everyman of the story, and yet, they're both completely developed, totally realized personifications. As I read, the pictures I imagined were of very definite individuals. And yet, they were referred to only as the man, the boy, the father, the son. The same method is described in the handful of other characters in the book.

While I have no doubt that some will abhor this book, and McCarthy's other writings, for its unique, quirky constitution, those that can grasp the larger significance will find his peculiar method of word-smithing refreshing, powerful, and thought provoking. For a writer, no larger praise can be given.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Google Chrome is cool!

My brother turned me on to the Google Chrome browser when I was staying at his place on my recent trip to Cali. I've been a dyed in the wool fan of Firefox for several years now, but Chrome is faster. Its also really easy to use; perhaps even moreso than Firefox is.

I just installed it a very short while ago, and I'm wondering what took me so long to do it. Check it out; it may very well be the best browser available.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The grind

Well, I'm back to work again, and already missing Messican food. The trip home was quite valuable. I got to spend a lot of time with family and friends, and had a blast meeting some more members of the LF forum at The Yard House in Costa Mesa. Expensive food, and a decent beer list...although what they had listed as Bass Ale was in fact Bass Pale Ale, which is most definitely not the same thing. Luckily, they had Harp, which is a good substitute. I even got a chance to go to lunch with a local LF'er, which was very cool. Not all that pleased to be back to work, but what ya gonna do?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

so far so good

I haven't done much since being here in San Diego, other than relaxing as hard as I possibly can and eating Messican food. I've been here about six days so far, and I've been to Buenos Dias Taco Shop (Jackson Drive in La Mesa) almost every day. In fact, that was the first stop on the way to my brother's place from the airport.

I've successfully watched MNF with Josh and Matty, and talked to a goodly number of old and new friends. I'm off to meet Battle Monkey, one of the LF brotherhood, for lunch at Casa De Bandini's in Old Towne, another favorite haunt from the 25 years that I lived here.

I'm gonna be gettin' together tomorrow night with some old friends, and then heading up to Orange County (the real OC, not the one where OCC is from) for another LF meet-and-greet. They're always fun. Somewhere in there I gotta try to get together with a couple more friends; with jobs and families and bills it can be tough to do, but I'll see what I can make happen, amidst relaxing the hell out of this place. lol!

I'm not at all looking forward to going back to work on Monday.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Wednesday isn't comin' fast enough!

I should be asleep right now, but MNF just ended, with the Vikes squeaking one out against Nawlins. All I'm thinking about right now is getting out of here for a while. I'm off to San Diego-the mostly sane part of California, being a military town-to visit friends and family. This is my holiday visit, since airfare in December is ridiculous, and I gotta squirrel away pennies for SHOT in January.

I'm gonna be hangin' out with my bro Josh, and I'll be gettin' together with my brothers from Lightfighter. I'm very much looking forward to this, even though it means not going to the range for a couple Saturdays. It'll be worth it to get some real Messican taco shop grub, and real, fresh seafood.

And, in case you're considering stealing my guns while I'm away, they'll be staying with friends who also have guns...and know how to use 'em, big time. :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

China is on the cutting edge of space exploration!!

China's space program took a majorly huge gigantic monstrous outrageous ground breaking step forward with a 13 minute space walk.

"This mission's success is a milestone; a stride forward," Premier Wen Jiabao said at mission control.

Except that the US did it 43 years ago, longer ago than the Chinastronaut that did it this time has been alive. Must suck to be the also ran to the US at nearly every turn.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Awesome parody

For whatever reason, the kookiness of hippies has been on display in overwhelming force of late. The Earth First Kooks are pretty much the weirdest of the bunch. I heard about this video from the Glenn Beck Show (nothin' like good ol' hardcore Conservative radio at work), who called it "the funniest video ever". I think it probably is, but the other one I found while searching out this one takes the prize. Whoever you two comedic geniuses are, I salute you! We are in the presence of greatness.

Here's the original vid. Makes me wonder, though: what are the chances that the drumstick that one dude has, and perhaps the drum head itself, aren't made from trees and animals? Just sayin'...

Now, as great as that vid is, check this one out. You're gonna love this!

How cool was that?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The left is so odd

Every now and then, I plug a word or phrase into Google and see where it goes. Today, the term was "zombie". That lead me to's Hall of Shame. That's a collection of photos from the site. It appears that they have quite the collection of sought-after photos.

While looking through the photos of freaks on the left, I came across this one:

Now, one of two things is going on there. One, since this is a lefty freak, we may have the appearance of a bearded lady. The other option: he's too dumb to notice that the gummint can't be in his ovaries. This is the kind of thing that I find so hilarious about the hard left. I don't even know if they notice how flat stupid they make themselves appear, on a constant basis.

Here's another fave:

I think her sign was supposed to read "Kennedy", and she just got distracted by a shiny thing or more drugs and made a mistake. In the immortal words of Bugs Bunny "what a ma-roon".
And one last one:

Apparently, she's having a little trouble with her history...but what leftist whacko doesn't?

One last bit of advice for the nut jobs on the far left fringe: if you're gonna have a protest called "breasts not bombs", put the perky ones in front, and don't let the knee shooters have signs. Those of us that like boobs would really appreciate it. The way you did it 7/25/05 was rather hideous. Then again, hot girls with perkiness have no need of political exhibitionism. Quite a conundrum, isn't it?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Busy days...and nights!

I've wanted to post more often of late-I'll be dammed if I know why, but I do-but I have not been home. Typically, that would mean I'm off having fun, bustin' primers, barbie cue-ing, watching TEOTWAWKI training films, studying the art of Ludlow-Fu, or at least being away doing something that's more fun than not fun. That hasn't been the case of late.

The software package we used at work, CAM Commerce, has proven to be an unreliable, glitch-filled beast. The thing it does worst, tracking inventory, is what it was supposed to do best. Additionally, CAM didn't appear to be able to fix it. The unfortunate conclusion was that we changed software.

If you've never changed entire systems for a retail operation, you may not know how big a deal that is. Everything you have has to be exported from one system and loaded into another. CAM being a beast meant that we found that it didn't export everything. More work. We not only have a retail storefront operation, we also have a website that has its own inventory; essentially, two different stores. Yeah, its a big deal. It kept us closed for about five days as we worked long, long hours to get open again.

I hear a couple people asking "but don't you work in manufacturing?" Yeah, but not for a week I didn't. I've got another week in the showroom this coming week as Matt E. is down in Flo'da assisting with the running of another couple classes at Camp Ares. I should be going back to QC after this week, but I will probably be transitioning back to the showroom in the near future, which I'm very interested in doing.

On top of all that, we're supplying contractors for post-hurricane operations down Gulf-way. Our division supplies the contracting division, so again, extra hours are the name of the game. I was at work on Saturday again, from about 10:30 to about 11:00 last night, getting another shipment ready to be picked up. I'm on salary, so its not like I'm pulling overtime for all this, although the company takes care of me for the extra work.

So today, I'm catching up on reading other blogs, and keeping tabs on my forum. ;) I wish it was mine; I'm just responsible for running it. That's OK, its sort of a home away from home, and I'll be seeing a bunch of those regular members at SHOT in January. I'll be in San Diego for 11 days next month, which won't be getting here fast enough. I'm dyin' for some real Messican food!

Monday, September 08, 2008

I'm lovin' it. Thuh Raiduhs...suck again!

I'm on my way to bed to get enough sleep to be able to make it all the way through work tomorrow, but I've been watching Monday Night Foo'bah this evening; Thuh Raiduhs vs Denver.

I'm not a particular fan of Denver, since they're in the same division as my beloved Chargers. However, I'm a fan of whoever is playing Thuh Raiduhs. Denver is giving out a beatdown big time. When last I checked, it's 24-0 with 8:23 left in the 3rd. This will very likely get even uglier than it already has...and I'm all for it.

I'm just glad that Alice Davis has decided to continue with Thuh Raiduh's Commitment to Excrement. Thanks, Big Al, for not being able to leave foo'bah to the professionals. It's guaranteeing that Thuh Raiduhs are gonna suck for the foreseeable future...which, of course, I'm all about!!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Sunday Mack Fest: I love the grill!

Typically, I try to make something more interesting and fresh on Sundays. Not sure why that is, exactly, but I suspect its because I get bored eating stuff out of a box or can all the time. I pretty much always grill on Sundays, but the grub differs: chicken, biff, fishies or piles of pork are in a sort of alternating kinda...uh...thing. Today, it was pork chop time again.

The past two Saturdays, I've been at Crack Barrel with Top and Paul J. after going to the range. Since Top's wife was out of town, Saturday was even more leisurely than usual. Worked out well, though, because by the time we got to The Crack, I was quite famished. The Country Boy Breakfast with pork chops has proven to be the new favorite.

Even though I had the chops yesterday, I hadda have 'em again today. I got the recipe for Argentinian Style Porky Choppage from my bro Conndcj, a prosecutor in Connecticut that is my go-to authority on well made food recipes. As with most good recipes, this one was way simple: first, some pork chops. Drizzleate them with EVOO, then minced garlic, sea salt, and red flake pepper. He recommends using thin chops, which go pretty fast on the grill. When they come off, they look like this, though:

Trust me, they're better than the pic looks...and the pic makes me hungry again.

I added to that some steamed mixed corn (sweet baby corn and classic golden corn) with asparagus and carrots. Because this is clearly way too healthy, some three cheese garlic bread went on the grill, too. This time, I didn't burn it at all, which has been a garlic bread failing for me in the past. I like to cook fast. I'm finally learning to slow down! At any rate, the garlic bread was mackin', too.

Washed this down with a couple Newcastle Brown Ales. I had a couple Harps at my boss's bar on Thursday, too. That's the most beer I've had in a week in quite a while! I dunno how it happened, but I'm pretty much on the wagon most of the time anymore. Its not that I don't drink, because I still do in very moderate quantities (that's been the rule more than the exception for the past four or so years), but good beer in this area is both rare and expensive. Just not worth the investment anymore, I guess. Newcastle sure goes nice with pork, though.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Palin: Biden, you in trouble, dude.

I caught most of Sarah Palin's speech at the Republican convention this evening. I'm not gonna get too deep into it, because there are pundits on both sides spilling millions of electrons all across the Intardweb on it. I realize she didn't write the speech, but she totally killed delivering it.

I will say this, though: I think Joe "Five Years Longer in the Senate than McCain" Biden is in trouble. Its pretty damn clear that the lady can handle herself. If you like McCain for the Straight Talk Express, you're gonna LOVE Palin. She was direct, to the point, and clear in what she wanted to say. She didn't mince words. She was great.

This is only one speech, but if that's how comfortable she'll be in a debate, she's not gonna have much of a challenge from the incredibly arrogant Joe Biden. Its going to be difficult for him to attack her without looking like as ass, just because...well...he is an ass. He's got a long record of putting his foot in his mouth, and he has been on record as saying that Obama isn't ready to be president. Nobody likes Biden other than those in his district, who for some inexplicable reason, keep reelecting him. Northeastern white boys haven't helped the dem ticket. Biden is going to have that same problem.

OK, I read a lot into one speech. But I gotta say, Palin came off as the American version of Iron Maggie. I understand why she has an approval rating as the governor of Alaska of 80%. She's the highest rated governor in the country. If you look back over the history of the country, many governors have been our been our best presidents. Senators...that's a spottier record.

I won't be the only one voting for the Republican ticket more for the VP than the President, but I can get behind a lot of what McCain's about. Hopefully, Palin will be able to temper his more left leaning ideas. I think she can.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Here's a revelation: Oakley makes great eye pro!

I'm sure that title is blowin' your mind; nobody ever figgered that Oakley might be some of the cream deelie cream of eye protection and stylish shades. Gotta admit, that even if Oakley didn't make really high end, optically pure stuff, they have a unique combination of style and panache. Oakley is the supplier of shades to Megaforce...not to mention some other high speed friends of mine.

I started my journey with the Valves, specifically the Ducati limited edition version. The photo is by a dude named Boiworx. He does nice work!

I've been runnin' these for about four years now. Mine aren't as flawless as his, but they're still in good shape. They've been from Cali to Florida, and a couple points in between. Makes me look even cooler than I am in 'em.

Since most of the dudes I shoot with are/were either cops or soldiers, the ubiquitous (I just wanted to see if I could spell that word right the first time) M Frame are the eyewear of choice. That's to be expected: they're ANSI Z.87 rated (you can bounce stuff off 'em without blowing up your eyeballs) and, as with all the Oakley stuff, optically neato. That technical term means that they're clear, without distortion, all the way to the edge of the lenses. I was kinda bummed because I had a set of the very good Revision Sawflys. They're quite good, but they're not Oakleys. They're not the M Frame's equal in coolness. It really doesn't matter if you can shoot or not; if you're rockin' M Frames with Comtacs and a custom 1911 or a Glock, everyone there assumes you know what you're doing. The proving of that statement is up to you. lol!

I've wanted a pair of Half Jackets almost as long as I've had my Valves. I debated for quite some time as to whether I wanted the Valves or the Half Jacket XLJ's. The Valves won out because they were limited editions, and we had a few different types of Half Jackets to choose from. At the time, my employer was still an Oakley dealer and we could get product from them. That was shortly after the Gummint Sales Program was started, which made being an Oakley dealer outside an Army post unprofitable. But I digress. One of my SF bros recently offered a trade to me. He gave up a used pair of Half Jacket XLJ's for some customized sewing that I facilitated. I didn't do the sewing, I asked a pro to do it. And...wah lah! Half Jacket XLJ's are mine now!

After doing some research, I've come to find out that I can get Oakley to make me prescription lenses for these, too. I've got my eyes on the black iridium finish, for both my M-Frames and new-to-me Half Jackets. Then I won't even have to shoot. I can just hang out at the range and have everybody think I work for the CIA or somethin'. lol!

I know, I'm a geardo (aka gear whore, gear queer, etc). I can't help it; this stuff is too cool. There is no substitute for quality.

Bucky shoots and scores again with the Limpics.

This would be so much better if he wasn't a damn cat. In the end, though, right is right. The cat is right.

I don't know why, but there's something very funny about Toilet Bocci.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Not sold on homeopathics, but...

There was a dramatic shift in humidity yesterday, roughly doubling overnight. Because of that, I had a gargantuan sized bout of sinusitis. My sinuses were so clogged that leaning over to pick something up caused my cheek bones to hurt. I don't remember the last time I had this much sinus trouble.

It got to the point where I couldn't sleep because I couldn't breathe. I tried all the medications I had on hand, which admittedly was not a whole lot. It wasn't working. So, I hit up the Intardweb, and came across this page. Since nothing else was working, I tried the method of acupressure on that page, and was somewhat pleasantly surprised. I was not totally better in moments, but I was able to get my sinuses clear enough to breathe.

There's a guy who advertises on the local talk radio show (the music stations that are available at work...suck) is advertising that he bought a million copies of a book "that the drug making companies don't want you to read". Really? What's the cheapest a book can be published for? a buck? Two bucks? That's a million to two million dollars for a book. Yeah, I'm not pickin' up what he's layin' down. Homeopathics perhaps have their place, but they're not the only way, and I seriously doubt they're the "natural cures that the drug companies don't want you to know about". If they really worked, the drug companies would be marketing them and making a buck off 'em. That's why markets work.

Kinda sounds like the global warming scam on some levels, because there's no way that nuttiness works on the open market...unless, like Algore, you have a company that sells...nothing, really, which is what offsets are. Funny how BS doesn't float in an open market.

My sinuses are still not clear, but they're better. Now all I gotta do is get rid of this runny nose.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bucky is clairvoyant on the Olympics

As you know, I'm no fan of cats, but sometimes cartoon cats get it right. See what Bucky has to say about the Limpics:

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Denver Cops on the Ball

This is too great not to post to my little corner of the Intardweb. Speaking of Intards...don't dare the fine officer to "do it again". NSFW for some dirty, nasty, scumbag hippie profanity.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Goin' Home

After stopping by the Messican food place yesterday after the range, I came to the conclusion that I have to go home to get some real grub. There's no real Messican food here, and fresh seafood is non-existent. That is a no-go at this station. I got a round trip ticket on Southwest, non-stops both ways, for $325. I thought that was pretty good. Apparently, San Diego is far enough away that $130-something is about as cheap as it gets. I've yet to find a $49 fare from here to there.

I've flown Southwest for several years, and only once had a flight delayed. Unfortunately, that one delayed flight was going to Vegas for SHOT, so I missed the opening night meet-n-greet. That was a loss, because of my Intardweb celebrity. Its not for me; its a tradgedy for those people that don't get to meet the famous Haji. There will be a next year, though, at SHOT 09 in Orlando. Yeah, Vegas is better.

I like the people here, because so few of them are from here. Its like San Diego in that respect: military towns have people from all over, so it has less of a small-town feel. In most other ways, though, this is definitely small town, and that's not how I grew up. I need to get back to the big city, and San Diego is big enough. Nashville, which is about an hour from here, is about the size of one of SD's suburbs. Its a nice city, though. I just happen to like San Diego a lot better.

As you might imagine, Mom is pretty happy to hear that I'm coming home, and so are my brother and sisters. I gotta make time for SoCal LF'ers, too, and some friends from all over SoCal. I really need about a month off, instead of 11 days. lol!

Friday, August 22, 2008

How come I can't do this all the time?

Did this at a little over seven yards, left handed. The drill we were doing simulated getting shot and losing the use of one arm, and having to clear a stoppage before being able to use it again. Since you will likely have no use of the affected limb, the gun is retrieved from the ground. Since an spent cartridge is in the chamber, when the gun is sighted in, it goes "click" when one attempts to use it. The stoppage must be cleared, one handed (using the belt as a place to push the gun against to cycle the action is my favorite), reloaded, and fired at the target. Apparently, I was concentrating quite intently on the clearing, so I just brought the gun up in my left, hand, sight alignment, sight picture, trigger squeeze, follow through...and a center punch hit. I gotta work on doing that more often. Maybe I just need to shoot with my non-dominant hand with everything I fire. Who's got a 416?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

The Limpics

I'm a big time sports nut. I love watching competition. Football, basketball, hockey, MMA, motor sports, competitive shooting...its all great. Baseball sucks bad, but there's gotta be something that sucks, so baseball wins. With that kind of a background, you'd think I'd be lovin' the Olympics.

The thing is...I've been horribly disappointed. Every time I get home from work, I turn on the TV and hope to see an interesting sport in Bay Jing. I'm dyin' with this coverage; gymnastics isn't sport, and the other stuff they're showing couldn't be more boring. Where's the shooting? I cought a bit of air rifle, and that was all I could find. Of course, the swimming events, with the amazing Michael Phelps, have been great, but few and far between. The Redeem Team has been straight smokin' opposition, beating them by more than 30 points a game. But I haven't seen any games in the past week! We're in the dang medal round, and I can't catch a game! I'm staying home tomorrow night to try to catch the game; IIRC, its the gold medal contest.

On top of all that, I'm still blown away that the IOC allowed China to have the games. True to Commie form, they didn't do the things they said they'd do: the smog is still horrible, the Intardweb access is not unfettered. They're not allowing their people to see the games, because they don't want them to assemble and protest.

The whole dang thing is sickitating. That the IOC was gullible enough to believe them calls their judgement into question, at the very least. Here's a news flash: Communists lie. All the damn time. If you were wondering why Russia is still in Georgia when they said they were pulling out, you haven't been paying attention. Commies lie. Make no mistake: when the former president and current "prime minister" of your country is former KGB, you're a commie country. Commies lie. I know, its a hard thing to fathom. Here, I'll repeat it again: Commies lie. Get it? Got it? Good!

Saturday, August 09, 2008

I needed another reason to be hated

I stopped by a surplus store on the way back to work from lunch at the New Korea Buffet (mackin'!) that usually has some interesting stuff. I came across one of the best scores I've gotten in a while. Amidst all the stuff I didn't want, was something I did: a pair of Peltor Comtac I's.

They're used, but appear to be quite well taken care of, and are in better shape than the pair I already own. "WHAT!" I hear you exclaim. Yeah, you're loud enough to be heard over the Intardweb. Keep it down or the neighbors are gonna call the cops. But, since you're incredulous, you go on to exclaim "You already have one! What do you need another pair for?" Well, the reason for that is simple. They don't make the Comtac I's anymore. They've been replaced with the Comtac II's, which are, in many respects, a superior headset, especially if you wear them under a helmet. Ask Matt or The Big Johnson how good I look in a helmet. They gonna testify! LOL!

Where they fall down, and fall down badly in comparison, is in the way the battery doors attach. On the C-I's, the cover for the batteries is a screw-down lid. on the C-II's, its a friction fit "plug", which has been said to come loose at inopportune times.

Of course, being the low speed nobody that I am, that's never happened to me. However, it has been said by considerably more high speed somebodies that the issue exists. So, even though I'm highly unlikely to ever see that matter-at the range or in a class is as close as I would ever get without the Zombpocalypse-I gotta look like I'm "in the know" by being one of the old school guys. "Yeah, I really like the Comtac I's better. Can't believe they were ever discontinued" I stand there lookin' Tactically Delicious with a custom 1911 or lightly modified Glock 19 and high speed lookin' carbine with expensive parts on it, decked out in the latest in fashionable tactical nylon gear (from ATS, of course. Gotta pimp the company ride!).

Also, notice the sexy new Magpul trigger guard! I like that part a LOT.

Oh, yeah. I got the Comtacs for $40.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Zombie hordes: where to find 'em

I've been dabbling in the arena of the Zombpocalypse for a while now, from movies to books to Intardweb activity. That being the case, I've managed to find a few forums on the topic, which have been occasionally helpful and occasionally a source of frustration (just ask Top how many times his hair has been on fire. LOL!). Overall, though, there is quite a bit to be gained on a variety of topics...and its fun. Here's some of my regular haunts:
Zombie Squad

Hotel 23

All Things Zombie

There are some others out there, but I haven't visited them all...yet. Takes time, since I have other forums of interest to attend to. I can't put off washing the dishes forever.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Courage, strength, and perseverence. I gotta warn you, this will be humbling.

Mark Campbell is an officer in the Canadian Army. Recently, he was WIA in Afghanistan, The following is copied from his post at explaining what happened and what is happening now. I have to say, this post humbled me, and at the same time, confirmed that I have a lot of work to do on myself. His attitude in amazing and inspiring. This is the quality of service personnel we have in this fight. We owe them all a debt I fear we will never fully understand, much less ever be able to repay.

Howdy Fellow LFers,

First and foremost, I'm still alive and kicking so no "memorial" stuff is required at this point. Second, many thanks for all of your well-wishes and associated kind words. All is as well with me as can be expected under the circumstances. I had a "bad day" in Siah Choy (Zhari District) back on 01 Jun, but it certainly wasn't the end of the world. Indeed, I am quite thankful that aside from the loss of both legs above the knees, I am 100% good to go. In other words, the same old me - for better or for worse!

To satisfy any natural curiosity, I was hit by a comd-detonated AP mine that initiated a complex ambush against the ANA coy that I was accompanying on a village clearance op. The blast threw me straight up and slightly backwards such that I landed just behind the blast seat on my back. I did a crunch and saw that both legs were gone below the knees. I yelled for assistance and managed to get a CAT around my left stump before attending troops took over my care under fire. Both legs were tourniquetted and I was extracted under fire to a secure location while the coy engaged the enemy under the very capable guidance of one of my coy mentoring teams. I remained conscious throughout, which turned out to be a PITA due to the incredible degree of pain I was in.

Three other members of my HQ were evacced with me, including my Med Sgt, who provided life-saving treatment to me while simultaneously treating himself for blast-related concussion. There was a running gun battle back to the designated HLS that lasted about an hour, followed by a 25-minute helo ride to KAF and 30 minutes of in-processing at the Role 3 Forward Surgical Hospital. By that point I was literally begging to be rendered unconscious via anesthetic, as the pain was totally out of control. That was by far the worst part of the entire episode - feeling every single second of the 2 hours it took to finally get some pain relief.

I underwent intial surgery at the Role 3 in KAF, and was then air-evacced to Landstuhl Germany. Once I was anethesized at the Role 3, I was kept unconscious for the better part of a week aside from a couple of occasions where they woke me up for various assessments and phone calls. I was intubated and kept in intensive care due to blast damage to my lung tissue which compromised oxygen processing. Once I regained consciousness, I remained in the Landstuhl ICU for a further 5 days before being placed in the general ward. My repat to Canada was delayed as a result of the lung damage, which impacted my ability to fly at altitude under normal pressurization. Eventually all was well, and I flew from Germany to Edmonton via Airbus and Challenger.

I have been in the Isolation Ward of the U of Alberta Hospital for just over two weeks now, where my wounds have undergone follow-on treatment. Initially the treatment consisted of debriding and irrigating the wounds every 2 days IOT ensure the presence of healthy tissue suitable for skin grafting. I still had a lot of dead tissue in and around my wounds as a result of the blast and the Afghan "super-bug" that I contracted. After a week of dressing changes and cleanings the surgeons were able to conduct the initial skin-grafts required to create suitable stumps for prosthetic legs. The donor tissue came from my upper thighs, which added a whole new level of discomfort. Morphine, Dilaudid, OxyContin, etc, have become my new bestest friends! Anyhow, as of today the docs assess that the graft on my right leg is 100% successful. The graft on my left leg is only 85% healthy, due to the fact that my left thigh took the worst of the blast damage and therefore requires the most reconstruction. If all goes according to plan, one more surgery this coming weekend will sort out the graft on my left stump and put both at 100% so that I can get on with healing and rehab.

I will remain at the U of A Hospital for a few more weeks to let my stumps heal, then transition to the Glenrose Hospital (still in Edmonton) for 3 to 6 months of in-patient amputee rehab. The length of my stay in rehab will depend entirely upon my personal rate of progress through the recovery programme. The good news is that the Glenrose provides cutting-edge/state of the art amputee treatment. There will be plenty of hard work, but | can expect to see maximum return on my rehab efforts.

The support and assistance that I have received throughout every stage of my injury, evacuation and treatment to date has been superb. As you can appreciate, there are still many unanswered questions that need to be addressed, but for the most part my immediate requirements have all been met. My family, friends, co-workers and the various institutional representatives have all been incredibly supportive thus far. My Wife of 18 years has been a rock-solid port in some pretty stormy seas of late. My friends, spanning 27 years of military service, have rallied around my family and shown their true colours. One could not hope for better friends, and I consider myself a very rich man for their company. Likewise, the various military institutions that affect me have been tremendous in their support, starting with a personal visit by the Canadian Forces Chief of Defence Staff (Gen Rick Hillier) and working down the chain through the Army, my Regiment (the PPCLI), and my unit (3rd Bn, PPCLI). I honestly couldn't ask for more in terms of assistance and support in dealing with my current challenges.

Anyhow, I just wanted to let you know that I am doing fine despite my recent set-back. Yeah, the Taliban bastards managed to wing me. They didn't kill me though - just slowed me down a bit. I'm a partial mobility kill, nothing worse. My injuries will heal and my mobility will eventually improve. I am pleased to say that this is much more than a large number of former Taliban can boast. We did some very good killing on the ops immediately preceeding and during my injury with an extremely high "exchange rate". No doubt the lop-sided killing has continued in my absence....

Life has thrown some new challenges in my path, but at the same time there are new opportunities to be exploited. I just need to figure out what those opportunities are and how they apply to me in order to chart a suitable way ahead for myself and my family. First things first though - for now I need to focus on mending and regaining my mobility. I'll worry about the long-term stuff later.

That is about all I have to report for now. Many thanks again for your concern and your individual well-wishes! That means a lot to me coming from such a distinguished group of BTDT fellow warriors.

Soldier on, no regrets!

Mark Campbell (aka "Stumpy") :Smile:

PS. Here's a link to a recent article with embedded video featuring my mentoring team on ops. The op occurred way back in April before the campaign season really ramped up. As a result, there isn't any kinetic contact. Still, the reporter manages to pretty accurately capture the typical mix of friction-induced stupidity and tactical success. A good intro for those not familiar with ongoing NATO efforts to professionalize the ANA. Enjoy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Zombie Mythos: distilling the suspension of disbelief

My bro Top and I have been on a quest of late to catch up on the Zombie movies we've missed. I've seen a few more of them than he has because our schedules for study (in a semi-reclined position, which is, of course, tactical because we typically have a carbine around) haven't matched up all that well of late. That will happen when one member of the team is married and the other is a slob bachelor. lol

Most of what we've been watching, re-watching, and studying have been Romero films. He's clearly one of, if not the, preeminent authorities on this topic. I think he's probably got more time invested in the whole theme than just about anybody else. There are others, of course, but some just don't make any sense. Part of the appeal is the ability to suspend one's disbelief, and if the mythos doesn't jibe with the physical laws and accepted norms, then suspension of disbelief becomes quite difficult.

That said, I've come to some conclusions as to the world of the mobile undead. I tend to dismiss the concept of voodoo zombies out of hand, mostly because they don't fit the definition very well. To be a zombie, one must die and be reanimated, while voodoo zombies are made through various non-physical means. They're created by some other nefarious force, typically an individual or group of individuals. That precludes the overtaking of the world with zombies: there simply won't be enough of them to do much more than to have their evil overlords overtake an island or other smaller geographic area.

There are a couple other theories that make a modicum of sense, but that will make this entry far longer than I intend for it to be. I'm trying to document my thoughts and not bore the hell out of the two people that read my musings.

So what does make sense? The virus idea holds the most merit, both in how it starts and how it is transferred between infected and non-infected. There seems to be equal credibility for both the most common theories: that the virus was man-made and a mistake that got loose, or that it is an exotic virus transferred through pests like bot flies. I was told by a medic friend of mine that the "bot" in bot fly is short for "botulism". If you've ever seen video of bot flies being removed from a person or critter (search You Tube), its pretty easy to see how bugs could be the original culprit. From there, a virus could easily be spread by way of the accepted means: the bite.

Which brings us to the most asked and debated question about zombies that there is: high speed, or slow and shambling? While I appreciate the emotional elements that high speed zombies bring to a film, the idea doesn't hold up to scrutiny in light of the subject being a migratory dis-exanimate. Because the virus is causing the re-animation, the body is not living in the accepted sense of the word. Therefore, there will be atrophy and decay, which would preclude the ability of the musculature and infrastructure of the locomotive partially-deceased to support high speed movement. Also, a virus always affects a body negatively. Ever had a cold or viral infection that made you feel better? High speed zombies, after a short while, must have failure of their sustentacular tissues. (Go ahead and look it up, its a real word.:))

To sum up, the mythos of the zombie appears to be best described by George Romero's conception of them. While he doesn't go into much detail as to how they become the ambulatory unresting, his conceptions of how they would move the actions they would take appear to have a basis in science. Along the lines of the T-Virus from The Resident Evil series, that they feed appears to be a deep rooted instinct, not a requirement. That, too, seems to be at least within the realm of possibility.

I may decide to delve into this further in the future, as there are a couple more things that I think need to be expressed. My mind is wandering a little too much right now to continue.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Holy cow, I can't stop myself!

I can't seem to stop myself. Granted, I stated I was going to do this, but...dang! Hello, my name is Haji and I have a gun parts addiction. lol!

As previously noted, I dig the Buffer Tech Battlegrip, but its too thin for my bear paw type hands. To solve that problem, I replaced it with a Magpul MIAD. I got the full set, which comes with the front strap that has the built in trigger guard. Problem is, it still has a finger rest on it, which I hate more than the thought of an Obama/Clinton ticket. So, I slapped the flat front strap on the MIAD. Now, though, I have a gap between the grip and the trigger guard. That was problematic, so I added the Magpul aluminum trigger guard. It fills the gap, which is what I wanted most of all, but it has the added benefit of lookin' cool. Since I don't have all that much ammo for the carbine, if I can't shoot it, I can make it look cool!

This isn't my rifle; the pics belong to Magpul. Take a look at that rifle. Does it look like the roll pin hasn't been put in the trigger guard yet?

July 4th: some perspective

I'm half watching, half listening to the History Channel's The Revolution as I write this. Taken in total, that our nation was ever able to be formed, much less succeed and prosper is an amazing thing, and shows divine intervention over and over again. In school, we get the textbook information of dates and names, which is boring. If I had been taught the truths of what was really going on, I would probably have a much, much different view of history in those days, and I would not have taken all these years to understand what was at stake.

The English felt that they were treating the Colonies fairly, and had just spent a whole bunch of money defending them by whuppin' the French in the French and Indian War. The Colonists, obviously, felt quite differently about it. They were being taxed without any representation in England for their concerns, problems, or grievances. The Colonists came to a place where they knew they were not going to have things getting better under the King of England, and they were being oppressed. They decided it was time to throw off that tyranny. As a kid, I remembered thinking, "Well, yeah. Of course they would. That's an easy choice". What they were really facing was much more grave than I was able to understand for a long, long time.

Simply by signing the Declaration of Independence, our Founders took their lives in their hands. Think about what was going on there: John Hancock, the first signer, put his name at the top, literally defiance writ large. The King will know his name and he's made himself a target. That doesn't just mean he can be arrested, although it includes that. No Miranda rights, no civil liberties being recognized. In addition to risking being killed, he also risked his family and friends. Mr. Hancock could have been tortured and maimed. Being declared guilty of sedition didn't mean they'd just haul you out and hang you or shoot you. Being executed didn't have to be quick and painless. It could be much worse than that. Given the rights we now enjoy because of the Framer's work, it's easy to neglect what a big deal that is. Try to imagine the consequences of what he was facing. If you don't at least think "wow", you're not grasping he situation.

But because he and the rest of the Founding Fathers knew what they were getting into and stood to anyway, we have the nation that we have now, the best place in the world to be. Don't let July 4th pass as just a day you grill some food and don't have to go to work. It is that, and I have cherished memories of celebrating the 4th with friends and family, but it is so much more. It is a day in which we must, as American citizens, citizens of the greatest nation ever to exist on the planet, reflect on what we've been given and what was risked to make it happen.

God Bless America.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Wanted: another of the patented quick reviews

Went to see "Wanted" this evening with Top and JAG, since JAG is PCS-ing to Virginia and I'm unlikely to see him anytime soon. The word is: don't. Despite a couple funny lines and a nice butt shot of Angelina Jolie, the gun stuff was stupid and the movie sucks overall. If you're into guns at all, don't bother. It'll piss you off on so many levels, I can't even count 'em all.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Latest pics of Schwaggie: new stuff installed again!

I have generous friends; I am truly a blessed individual. As I posted about in regards to the last range session a couple posts down from this one, I've found that I shoot better without my vertical grip. That created a need not to get burned by my rail, which is known to get hot. Enter my bro M4Guru, who schwagged me the Knight's rail panels you see in the new pics. Now I have good rail coverage to keep from getting burned, and I can still use the rail against barricades and such without undue damage. Yeah, it makes me happy.

In terms of tekneek, what worked, and worked noticeably better for me, was to grasp the fore end just behind where the front sight tower is. My thumb wraps around the top of the rail running pretty much parallel to where the cut for the FSP is on my rail. My index and middle fingers are reaching forward a little bit; I've messed with using my index finger to point towards the target, but I need to experiment with that some more to see if there's any merit or improved performance from it. The one thing I'm trying to do, though, is to grab as much rail as I can, so the gun can be pulled into my shoulder. What I'm talking about is really getting behind and on top of the gun as I can; I find that when I aggressively pull that thing into my shoulder and lean into it, the muzzle hardly moves at all, and I'm getting nice, tight groups with adequate speed. I say adequate because I've never been, in my mind, a fast shooter. Matt E. has a timer that I think I gotta do some work with.

I also added a Magpul MIAD, set up in the fattiest fat fat configuration available. I love the Tango Down Battle Grip; its one of the best designs available. However, I have giant bear paw hands, and that grip is just a little too skinny front to back for me. I set up the MIAD as much like a fat ass Battlegrip as I could. I got the full kit, and would have used the trigger guard option if it didn't have that damnable finger rest on it. At first glance, the nublet on that part is hollow, so if I shaved it or filed it off, it'd probably leave a hole. I'm considering filling it with epoxy or something and shaving it, but it seems more likely that I'll pick up the Magpul aluminum trigger guard, which will solve the problem of the gap at the trigger guard, too. Getting a Gapper would be a less expensive solution, but this is a carbine we're talkin' about. If you don't have a boat, and I don't, the rule is that you spend all that disposable income on the gun. Its just the law.

Another new part is the Viking Tactics padded VTAC sling. I just put that on there, and don't have enough experience with it yet to make a real determination on it yet. It appears that the padding is set back further than it should have been, but I think I still need to mess with the adjustments a little before I decide if that's the case. I like the extra travel due to the longer straps; that seems to be solving my problem rather handily. It adjusts a little faster than my VCAS, but I'm not sure that's as much of an advantage as it appears to be at first blush.

Incidentally, that mark that looks like blue paint on my LaRue M68 mount, is in fact blue paint on my LaRue M68 mount, and the upper receiver. I marked the Troy Battlesight the same way, although the mounting screw is on the other side of the gun, so the mark on the receiver for it is, too. The purpose is twofold: first, it is a quick visual reference to see that everything is still tight, and secondly, if either of the sights get removed for whatever reason, they can be put back in the same place easily. Yet another jewel gleaned from Black Eyes and Green Rifles.

Unfortunately, The Big Johnson is on leave and Top's wife's B-day was today, so we didn't go to the range like we normally would have. I thought about just going and shooting for a bit, but I end up using up more ammo than I intend to when I do that, and I don't have the added benefit of being pushed out of my comfort zone by shooting with guys who are better than me. Instead, I did some more work on building my Intardweb Celebrity. It is a never ending task. Such is the lot of the Online Famous.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Happening: The Quick Review

Just got back home after watching The Happening with Top and JAG. I could have saved eight bucks. I hear about Global Warming all day long, on the radio, in the news, and everywhere else I turn. I didn't need M. Night Shamalyan to make a movie about it.

The thing that's not scary about this flick is that nobody gets murdered. Suicide is not all that scary, and it should have started in Europe, rather than ended there. They're figuring out that Global Warming is hogwash (HA! When was the last time you saw that word on a blog?), since they've been taxed to death over it already, and its getting worse, according to those who make money on it. Recent polls show they've had enough of it. The movie shoulda killed them all off first, before America finally understands that its all hooey and people like Algore (who's mansion in TN is using 10% more power with all his eco-friendly upgrades and replacements than it was originally) are making BIG MONEY off of it.

Save your money; skip the latest Global Warming Movie.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Another myth: the lining up of the gas rings.

The gas leak from "the aligning of the gas rings" on an AR bolt thing is an old wive's tale that's been going around and around, and repeated by gun writers to the point that it's become fact without proof. Seems to be more proof that most gun writers don't know as much about guns as you do.

The gas rings act a bit like an "o" ring would if one could be used in that location. When the bolt is in the retracted position, or is out of the bolt carrier, the rings are relaxed, and as such, have gaps in them. The reason for that is that the rings need to compress as the firing cycle takes place. They couldn't do that very well if they couldn't be collapsed, could they? Think about it. When the rings are working, THERE'S NO DAMN GAP!!! Alignment of the gas ring's gaps, in that case, don't mean anything, because they're not there when the rings are working.

What you need to know about gas rings is that if one of them is working properly, the gun will work. If all three are worn to the point that they don't work, the gun will choke, even with a proper amount of oil on it. The test is to push the bolt into the "closed" position in the carrier, and hold the bolt inverted. If the bolt moves to the "open" position under the weight of the bolt, your gas rings are worn and need to be replaced. Install some new ones and test. If the bolt doesn't move to the open position, your rings are good and you need to get on with wearing another set out.

Do yourself a favor and take what gun writers say with a grain, on up to a brick, on up to a shipping container, of salt.

Hey! More parts to test at the range today!

Since I can't afford 5.56 ammo anymore, I apparently just buy parts for the gun instead of shooting the heck out of it. ;) I just can't shoot that carbine as much as I'd like, given the price of ammo, but I'd rather shoot 20 or 40 rounds at the range than none at all. I shot through almost all the ammo I had on hand, though. Luckily I still have about 400 rounds of the case of 9mm I picked up a while back. I can get a hook up on PMC, which seems to work pretty good...but it still ain't free.

I had a few new parts to verify: a Magpul MIAD, Buffer Tech extractor upgrade kit, sand paper grip tape for my G-Lock 19, and a VTAC sling. Short answer: they all worked, and a couple were exemplary.

The decision for the MIAD was because the Battle Grip I was running was just too thin for my big hands. Problem solved. I just wish the "trigger guard" front strap piece didn't have the finger rest. I would have used it if it didn't have it. I'm not sure I can shave it off, but I might try that later. If there's one thing I'd change about the MIAD, its that I would have the front strap modified to cover "the gap" between the grip and the trigger guard, which the Battle Grip does by design. If that proves to be a big deal, I'll pick up a Gapper for it, but I kinda doubt it'll be an issue.

The extractor upgrade kit seems to work as advertised; all the cases extracted and appeared to be going about 400% further than they had been. I dunno if that's the truth or not, but that's what the description at Brownell's said. At any rate, they were going a bit further, although the extractor was never a problem before. I just didn't like having the stock buffer insert being blue when it should have been black. I don't think it really mattered, but I have piece of mind, and new parts. Its the journey, not the destination, I guess. :)

The sand paper grips made a huge, huge difference. As both the readers of my blog probably already know, my hands are large. Glock 19's aren't large. I needed something to be able to hang onto that thing without constantly readjusting my grip, and that was the ticket. The kit comes with a couple pieces for the slide; one for the front of the slide, and one for behind the grasping grooves. I took the smaller one and put it on the frame as a leverage point for my support thumb, now that I have adopted (or am adopting; I'm still not 100% there) the "even more modern than modern technique" of thumbs forward isoceles. I'm sold; its faster and steadier.

The VTAC really needs no introduction; not having heard of it at least in passing means that black rifles aren't your thing. Besides, this sling will probably be getting swapped off tomorrow. My bro Jon told me he's got a padded one to give me. I need to weasel some rail panels out of him, too, because I found out one more thing today: I shoot better without the vertical grip. This was not a revelation that I wanted to come to; I like the vert grip. I had to give a solid shot (so to speak) to working without it, and found that I can control the carbine better, meaning its more steady and my groups are smaller. We were doing some non standard response drills (any number of rounds between, say, 3 and 7, or some other numbers) and I was just ragging a hole in the target. I can get a grip on more gun and really get behind it. Like I said, I didn't want to come to that conclusion, but the proof is in the...something other than pudding. The proof is in the peanut butter and chocolate ice cream, which I'm going to get right after I finish this.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my progress. I think I'll go into some particulars of the drills we did at a later date; they were excellent for a couple of reasons. First, we weren't just shooting bullseye targets, which I find a good way to "break the tunnel vision" of just shooting ten rings. It changes your mindset, and gets you to thinking about shooting something other than paper...i.e., critters, humans, and zombies. Second, any time you can move around and shoot, that's a huge plus. There's limited value in standing in front of your target from a known distance and doing the same thing over and over. I heard an interesting comment at the range, too-what can I say? Comtacs rule! The range is split into a pistol range and a rifle range. The rifle shooter was talking about distance combat shooting, saying something along the lines of "when are you going to have a long range shot (I think he was talking about a hundred yards) in a tactical situation?" I looked over after he said that to see him shooting his AR off the bench. I just chuckled and continued on my way.

So, to finish up this post-I didn't mean for it to get so long, but it did-I'm gonna show some more current pics of Schwaggie. I'm gonna have to shoot some more in a day or two, since the Ace sling mount will likely be further out, probably at the end of the rail, and it should have some new KAC rail panels and a padded VTAC sling. In the end, its all about supplying more fodder to post about. Here's some more pics! I hadda add the one of Top because its such a great shot of the "more modern than modern technique".lol

Another twist on the Nigerian 419 Scam

Got yet another variation in my e-mail. They're definitely branching out with their attempts to find suckers. When I thought about it a bit, I came to the conclusion that it seems as though the scammers have been a little slow on the uptake to hit up the religious folks, since most, if not all, of the world's major religions call for giving and taking care of the less fortunate. At any rate, here's the latest:

From Mrs Susan Morgan
N�[38 Rue Des Martyrs Cocody
Abidjan,Cote d'Ivoire

I am the above named person from Kuwait. I am married to Mr.Abram Morgan, who worked with Kuwait embassy in Ivory Coast for nine years before he died in the year 2004. We were married for eleven years without a child. He died after a brief illness that lasted for only four days.

Before his death we were both born again Christian. Since his death I decided not to remarry or get a child outside my matrimonial home which the Bible is against. When my late husband was alive he deposited the sum of $2. 5 Million (Two Million Five Hundred U.S. Dollars) in the bank here in Abidjan in suspense account.

Presently, the fund is still with the bank. Recently, my Doctor told me that i have serious sickness which is cancer problem. The one that disturbs me most is my stroke sickness. Having known my condition I decided to donate this fund to a church or individual that will utilize this money the way I am going to instruct herein. I want a church that will use this fund for orphanages, widows, propagating the word of God and to endeavour that the house of God is maintained.

The Bible made us to understand that blessed is the hand that giveth. I took this decision because I don’t have any child that will inherit this money and my husband relatives are not Christians and I don’t want my husband’s efforts to be used by unbelievers. I don’t want a situation where this money will be used in an ungodly way. This is why I am taking this decision. I am not afraid of death hence i know where I am going. I know that I am going to be in the bosom of the Lord. Exodus 14 VS 14 says that the Lord will fight my case and I shall hold my peace.

I don’t need any telephone communication in this regard because of my health hence the presence of my husband’s relatives is around me always I don't want them to know about this development. With God all things are possible. As soon as I receive your reply I shall give you the contact of the bank here in Abidjan. I want you and the church to always pray for me because the Lord is my shepherd. My happiness is that I lived a life of a worthy Christian. Whoever that wants to serve the Lord must serve him in spirit and Truth. Please always be prayerful all through your life.

Contact me on the above e-mail address for more information’s, any delay in your reply will give me room in sourcing another church or individual for this same purpose. Please assure me that you will act accordingly as I Stated herein. Hoping to receive your
Remain blessed in the Lord.
Yours in Christ,
Mrs susan morgan"