Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Hey, look!

Lights and night sights and lasers, oh my!

Fad diets and me...

"Dieting" is a thing I have literally never done. Never did I really pay attention to calories or carbs or any of that stuff.

I switched to diet sodas back in late '00 when I was rooming with Marko because that's what he drank and I was dead broke at the time and so that's what there was to mooch in the 'fridge. Once you get accustomed to diet soda, it's hard to go back to regular soda because it's so cloyingly sweet by comparison, so there was one source of calories removed from my diet without actually intending to do so.

Still, quitting smoking back in '13 or whenever caused my weight to balloon. Previously, the acts of drinking beer and smoking a cigarette had been so closely intertwined that I literally could not do one without the other. And since I couldn't smoke in the house, this limited beer drinking to those times I was sitting on the porch with a book and a cigarette. Decoupled from that habitual link, I could swill liquid carbohydrates whenever I wanted to, and I did.

When you're taking in enough calories to fuel the lifestyle of a farmhand or construction worker and only burning the calories of a sedentary gunwriter, there are consequences.

I knew that Marko was doing the keto diet thing, but it wasn't until he met me at the airport in Manchester in July that I saw how much weight he'd lost.

I don't know about me doing the full-on keto thing, but I pretty much cut out carbs and sugar as much as possible while I was in New Hampshire and lost a dozen pounds as a result. I knew I had eight pint cans of beer in the refrigerator here at Roseholme Cottage, so when I got home from the Granite State, I threw those in a cooler and took them along to Ohio for Paul-E-Palooza weekend and a Farewell to Carbs ceremony.

(A side effect of my dietary alteration: I used to go through sugar-free Tums like candy. I haven't had a trace of heartburn for a month now.)

There are now no beers in the fridge and there won't be until I've lost about another thirty pounds and established some kind of an exercise program above and beyond just walking around the block.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Fortuitous error...

It appears I forgot to register for Friends of Pat '17 this weekend and registration is now closed.

Which, you know, is actually okay because I'm kinda looking forward to being home for more than two consecutive days for the first time since the second week in July. As things stood I was looking at driving back to Ohio on Friday and spending three nights in a motel. I've had enough living out of suitcases to last me for another month or two.

Home again again.

I just spent the weekend sleeping in a tent in the woods in the northeast corner of Ohio, hanging out with a hundred or so violence nerds at Paul-E-Palooza 4. If you weren't there, you missed out on some good learnin' and good times.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Slide velocity...

The 115gr Blazer Brass I was shooting was the typical low-powered budget fodder. In the Glock 34 MOS, spent brass would often pop six inches straight up out of the ejection port and land at my feet. It was no great challenge to keep the dot in the window and on the target all the way through the recoil cycle.

And yet the same ammunition from the same lot cycled the slide on the diminutive P290 vigorously enough that spent cases were landing six or eight feet behind my right shoulder.

Slide velocity in these micro nines can be an issue if you're running hot +P ammo, because sometimes the magazine spring can't get the next round lifted into place in time.

Anyway, Wednesday I fired another fifty rounds through the gun with no malfunctions. This makes 200 rounds fired with no malfunctions. 1800 rounds to go.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Overheard on the Road...

Riding shotgun to MHT in Marko's Subie WRX, listening to the second of Dan Carlin's Hardcore History podcasts on the start of WWI...

Dan Carlin: "...and it was this series of tumultuous events..."

Me: "Oh my God! That's my favorite YA series! A Series of Tumultuous Events, by Lemony von Snicket!"

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Cradle and the Grave of Liberty...

Drove from Castle Frostbite to Boston yesterday to pick Marko & Robin up from the airport after their whirlwind tour of Europe.

With BOS being right off the interstate, the drive itself wasn't bad, but having no idea about what Boston's municipal ordinances might be regarding knives or chemical sprays, I had given myself an air-travel-grade pocket dump before getting in the car. I was armed with a flashlight and that was about it.


"Why don't you go visit thus-and-such place, Tam?" 

Because I have no idea what normal, innocuous thing that I normally carry in my pockets every day is a felony in some benighted parts of this country. Actions should be crimes, not objects.

Monday, August 14, 2017

No Mens Rea Required.

John Stossel alerts the general public to something that we in the gun community have been aware of for a long time: The Principality of Manhattan and its adjacent satrapies don't care about your gun license, and they don't care about intent. Accidental felonies are the order of the day, there.
"Another Georgia visitor, Avi Wolf, was jailed although he didn't even have a gun. He just had part of a gun -- an empty magazine -- a little plastic box with a small metal spring. He brought it to the city because it wasn't working well and he thought a New York friend might repair it. He couldn't believe he was being arrested."

Science Experiments in London...

  • The arduous process that would-be London cabbies put themselves through in order to memorize "The Knowledge" makes actual, measurable physical changes in their brains.

  • The Monument to the Great Fire of London is not only a 202'-tall column marking the spot where London's Great Fire began, it's also a giant fixed telescope intended to measure stellar parallax to confirm by experiment that Earth really orbited the sun. Unfortunately, it was built on one of the busiest thoroughfares in London and the vibration caused by passing traffic was enough to render the telescope unusable.

Pew! Pew! Pew!

Only fifty rounds through the P290 yesterday. The most exhausting part about putting any serious round count through these little guns is jamming those dinky magazines full of ammo over and over again. It takes seven loadings to dispose of a single box of FMJ.

The second most exhausting part is that tiny DAO 9mm pistols leave your hand feeling like it just did an exhausting bout of full-contact sparring. A hundred rounds in a short period of time leaves the trigger finger tired and the palm sore.

This makes 150 rounds fired with no malfunctions. 1850 rounds to go.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


Two hundred rounds of 115gr CCI Blazer Brass FMJ through the Gen4 34 MOS today. This lot is some very lightly-loaded ammo, as is typical of the loading. I didn't have very much trouble keeping the RMR's green aiming triangle within the borders of the window in recoil, between the light loads and the nose-heaviness of a longslide with a U-boat on it.

The soft-shooting ammo did trigger one classic stovepipe FTE, but otherwise I was having a good time hammering steel.

This guy...

Saturday, August 12, 2017


So, I lucked into a used P290RS with night sights, three mags, and two holsters for $300 at Indy Arms Company. Let's do the 2,000 round thing with it and see if it puts on a performance to match the one turned in by the Glock 43.

One hundred rounds were fired today to kick things off. I accidentally partially dropped one of the eight-round mags trying to work out the best grip on this thing, which caused the slide to close on an empty chamber, but I'm not counting that against the gun.

I was railing on some A/B/C steel at about seven yards. The DAO trigger took a little getting used to, but by the time I'd finished the first fifty rounds, it was pretty easy to maintain a cadence in the high .4's.

So that's 100 rounds down since the gun was cleaned or lubed with no malfunctions to report. 1,900 rounds left to go.

Friday, August 11, 2017

So much for crazy isolationism...

Kooky isolationist Trump,who has already ramped up involvement in Mesopotamia and all but threatened to knuckle joust the Supreme Leader of North Korea, is now telling us that military options aren't off the table in Venezuela.
"This is our neighbor. You know, we are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away and the people are suffering, and they are dying. We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary."
Well, all you Democrats who were worried about some New Isolationism where we turned into a hermit kingdom and abandoned the rest of the world to its fate can rest your heads, because that's sure not what's happening.

Taylor Made...

So, Taylor Swift has been on the witness stand lately, in a civil case brought against a former DJ accused of groping her backstage. No cameras are allowed in the courtroom, and Tay Sway fans have been less than thrilled with the performance of the sketch artist provided to document the trial.

Here's how he drew Taylor...

Wait, no, sorry... that's how a crazy lady drew Jesus.

Here's how the sketch artist drew T-Swizzle...

Potato Jesus, meet Potato Taylor Swift...

Big Damn Heroes

Matt Bracken is one of the best (perhaps the best) writers in the subgenre I'd call "libertarian/conservative gun nut post-apocalyptica", and from his first novel, Enemies Foreign and Domestic, his books have gotten better with each volume.

His newest, The Red Cliffs of Zerhoun, is a sequel to Castigo Cay. It's the further adventures of Dan Kilmer, a former USMC scout sniper, who has escaped the collapse of the US by sailing off in his 60' schooner and living the life of a free-trading smuggler in a world where the international economy is gone and most central governments have only sketchy control of their own territory.

Though the book starts off with our wind-powered Han Solo selling off a cargo of black market diesel fuel in an Irish port, it quickly turns into a story about a freelance hostage rescue mission by a team of colorful mercenaries in a story reminiscent of Forsyth at his Dogs of War best.

Normally I have to grade novels in this genre on a curve "Well, for wookie-suiter post-apocalyptica, it's a pretty good adventure novel." Bracken has finally broken the curve. This is a good adventure novel that happens to be in the wookie-suiter post-apocalyptica subgenre. Recommended without reservation.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

In the political language du jour, "No, you are!"

Separated At Birth?

Lost World

In a post at her blog, Bobbi referred to a "coffeepot AM" radio station. Someone asked about the meaning in comments, and she explained:
"[T]hat's some real old-time radio slang: a "coffeepot" AM is a 250 Watt daytime-only station (of which there are few left), where the station coffeepot is likely to be using more power than their transmitter. The typical county seat AM, that ran 1000 W day and 250 W night was also sometimes referred to as a "coffeepot." Most of those stations are now a thousand Watts or more 24/7 -- or gone.

In a small town with the once-usual array of businesses -- a grocer or two, a Farm Bureau Co-Op, an office supply store servbing (mostly) a couple-three small factories, a bank, a savings & loan (remember them?) and a couple of car dealerships, drugstore, movie theatre, and so on -- a little locally-owned AM like that might have as many as ten or twelve fulltime employees and a handful of part-timers. It could make decent money for the owner/GM, put the GM in a new Cadillac or Lincoln every year, and provide an adequate living to their staff, who would be largely entry-level folks working their way up. The programming was strongly local and included a lot of high school sports coverage. That kind of radio is all but gone now. So are most of the factories, all of the savings and loans, and so on....
If you, like most Americans, live in a city or its surrounding metro area and don't get a chance to wander an older small town Main Street every now and again, it's easy to forget just how much the world has changed in such a relatively short period of time.

For instance, somewhere right off the Main Street of Anytown, USA is likely an abandoned storefront with a faded sign reading "Radio & Television Repair". I wonder how many independent TV repair shops lasted into the third generation of ownership? And the thought of "radio repair" in itself seems almost quaint.


Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Hey, look!

"I know from working retail as long as I have that plenty of people come into the store and buy a little gun as their first and only gun, without any consideration of whether the control layout and manual-of-arms matched some existing arsenal they already have.

EDC Gone Wild...

When you stare too long into the EDC abyss, the EDC abyss stares also into you.

Sometimes it really is just dumb bad luck...

When initial reports came out about an IMPD officer's handgun discharging in the holster at a police funeral recently, I was highly skeptical. It's pretty much instinct when one hears reports of an unintended discharge to assume that someone was messing with the gun and violating that most basic maxim of safely carrying a firearm day-to-day: "Stop touching it!"

It turns out that the gun really was in the holster when it discharged:
"Lehn said as two IMPD officers stood up to leave - their seats very close together - the one officer's holster somehow became entangled with either keys or a radio antenna hanging from the other officer's equipment belt.
He said when the one officer stood up, the keys or antenna got caught in the holster and pulled on the trigger, discharging the gun. The bullet struck the deputy sitting behind the officer in her knee."
How could this happen? After all, "A holstered gun is a safe gun" is practically an axiom.

Not always, though. See, Not All Holsters Are Like That. Some holsters require more precaution than others.

The holster in question was most likely for a pistol with a weapon-mounted light, and because the holster mouth on those has to flare widely enough to accept the WML, the trigger is shielded, but something small enough can still be inserted in there.

Pictured is a Bawidamann Gotham IWB with a Glock 34 wearing a Surefire X300U. An adult male probably isn't going to get his trigger finger in there at an angle that could pull the trigger, but a smaller finger might.

Proceed accordingly.

It's pronounced "ˈped(ə)ntrē"...

So, there's a video going around on the intertubes where a police officer, on encountering what is obviously (said with the same tone as "ackshually") a Hi-Point looks at it and, prior to the process of competently and safely clearing it, refers to it as a "Glock Forty".

The Gun Pedantry Brigade went into a feeding frenzy with the sort of enthusiasm normally reserved for those poor benighted souls unfortunate enough to refer to a magazine as a clip in front of the wrong crowd.

I had to disagree:
"[Safely clearing it is] all I care about. I don't expect every cop to be a gun dork any more than I expect them to be a car nerd or a ham radio buff. After all, they use their cars and radios a lot more than they use their guns, right?"
Oh, but no, I was informed.

I quote: "No Tamara, she and all law enforcement officers needs to have a clue about weapons if she is going to be dealing with them."

Well! I think you, sir, need to know about subject-verb agreement if you are going to be dealing with them, but that's a digression.

My actual rebuttal:
"She knew enough about weapons to safely clear the firearm. That's all she had to know. She doesn't need to know brand names, muzzle velocities, calibers, or any of that crap, as long as she can competently and safely handle firearms.

I've talked to more than one door-kicking face-shooter whose attitude about guns was "I don't care anything about 'em, I just use the ones they give me. My hobby is surfing" and couldn't tell you a Springfield from a Smith & Wesson without reading the side.
So then the "tool" argument was made by a guy who uses tools for a living. He has to know a flathead from a Phillips, a #1 Phillips from a #2, a Snap-On from a Craftsman, so shouldn't the po-po need to know stuff like that about guns?

My response:
"The LEO does not have a #3 Framminatzer and a Type VIII Whatsis. They have a pistol on their belt and maybe a shotgun or carbine in the car. They need to be able to operate these safely and competently. They should probably be able to make safe most commonly encountered firearms. That's all their job requires of them in the firearms department.

(And if they can do these things, then they are light years ahead of many people I know who can spout ballistics tables and the history of military rifles off the top of their heads.)

I'd rather be on the range with a safe, well-trained shooter who isn't 100% sure of the brand or caliber of their issue gun than any number of enthusiastic gun hobbyists who can endlessly spout "It's a magazine, not a clip!" but have lousy muzzle and/or trigger finger discipline.
Fetch me my pedant rifle!

This is a topic on which my opinion has swung nearly a complete 180 degrees over the years.


Monday, August 07, 2017

Absolutes and Overconfident Assertions...

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Hey, look!

Saturday, August 05, 2017

Maximum Skywriting...

Seeing a smoke-trailing light aircraft spell out a word in the sky is one thing, but during testing of a longer-legged version of the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing took skywriting to the next level.


Another Round of Smart Phone vs. Pocket Cam.

This time it's Southern Rockies Nature Blog putting a Pentax Optio E40, an older pocket cam about the same vintage as the Leica D-Lux 3 I've been keeping in my shirt pocket, against an iPhone 5s.

Go check it out here.

Nine Minutes...

On the one hand: Don't go suddenly reaching under your seat during a traffic stop.

On the other hand: I think the officer probably could have deescalated a little faster? I don't know what CHP procedures are once guns are out, though.

On the gripping hand: I'll be perfectly honest, I was thinking "Dude, if he 'bro''s you one more time, I don't think anybody would hold it against you if you shot him a little bit."

I haven't looked around the internet to confirm, but I'm sure that there's a bunch of "See? He got a gun pulled on him even though he's a cracker," and a corresponding amount of "But if he hadn't been a cracker, dude would have shot him!" back-and-forth going on.

Would you buy an East German smart phone?

So, as Americans we're pretty bent out of shape (or at least a sizable fraction of us are) over the snooping being done by our government's intelligence and law enforcement agencies in the name of The War on a Noun. We believe we've got the First Amendment right to prank call Mahmoud's House of Semtex in Khartoum as many times as we want, and a Fourth Amendment expectation that the government needs a pretty specific reason and a judge's permission to count how many times that number shows up on our phone bill.

It's easy to forget that the majority of our consumer electronics come from a place with very different rules to the U.S. of A.. Half of what goes on on the nightly news or the pages of any political magazine here could get people thrown in in jail on the other side of the Great Firewall of China. I don't know how you say "Reasonable Expectation of Privacy" in China, but Google Translate gave me this:
So stuff like this should probably come as no surprise.
"By forgetting to remove this code on phones being sold to the US, Blu has exported the surveillance that is typical in China to buyers that are unaware elsewhere in the world," Dan Guido, CEO of security firm Trail of Bits, told Ars. The data being surveilled includes all the most sensitive information that a person would produce with their phone. Amazon is fully justified in their decision, and I encourage them to crack down further on similar privacy issues with Android phones sold on their website."
It's a complicated world, and it's not getting any simpler.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Thursday, August 03, 2017


Wednesday, August 02, 2017

I want to see his #edc #pocketdump on the 'grams...

If you were the dictator of some Central Asian ex-SSR and you wanted all the ladies in the kingdom republic to see what a virile hunk you were and all the men to know you were a hardass with which one should not trifle, what would you do?

You'd film a video of yourself bustin' caps and flingin' knives in a way that nobody named Kim has ever been seen doing, and make sure that your troops would be seen looking on approvingly as you schooled them in the ways of the warrior.

This did not go as planned...

Is that a...? It sure is. It's a Walther G22 that looks like a Cheaper Than Dirt catalog threw up on it.

This dude is the dictator of an entire country and who lives, I am given to understand, the sort of lifestyle that has him up 'til 3AM snorting huge lines of blow off the ass cheeks of Miss Turkmenistan, and here he is with a budget .22 rifle that your average Kentuckian feels like they've outgrown around puberty, plus he's got a shitty airsoft grade optic and light on it that cost less than dinner for two at Texas Roadhouse.


Someone obviously held up the "Applaud vigorously, privates, or be made Permanent Latrine Orderly!" sign.

 Sexy Beretta .22 target pistol, but still... it's a deuce-deuce.

Jesus, this guy throws knives like Obama throws first pitches. Also, what's up with the targets? Are those fedoras? Is he practicing in case the Blue Man Group comes to Ashgebat on tour and suddenly goes full M'lady?

This video accomplishes pretty much the exact opposite of what it's supposed to accomplish. It makes him look like an Instagram twink. This man needs a Smithers, because this is what happens when you have not one person in your entourage unafraid to answer honestly when asked "Does this dress make my ass look fat?"

This was a rabbit hole...

...down which I fell for most of a day.

Dude posits that contemporary Western culture, the lifestyle we find on this side of the "Hajnal line", is caused by a technicality in Roman inheritance laws.

He has a blog where he waxes prolific, too.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Open the car wash doors, HAL...

To the list of things that are connected to the internet to make it easier for hackers to take control of them, we can apparently now add car washes.

When I was little, car washes scared the bejeezus out of me, and that was before they could be taken over by some guy in Riga who could lock the doors and not let your car out until you paid him off in Bitcoin.

Congratulations, toddlers of today! You now have a legit reason, however thin, to be scared of car washes. We were just being irrational in my day.