30 November 2013

Two Steps Forward One Step Back

I clamped Dottie's upper down and sighted in on a convenient spot in the neighbor's yard.

Yes, they're OK with guns and me using their flower box as a boresight target.

The scope was pointing far above the bore and the irons so I unscrew the elevation screw to bring the pointer down.

The scope started getting wobbly.

The SUIT L2A2 is held against the mount by a spring.  Elevation changes are external and via the front mounting point.  Make the impact go down and you increase tension on that spring and vice versa.

My spring had become stretched.


So I took it off and squished it in the vice.  Only lost three units of blood getting the damn thing back on (twice).  The spring now has tension well past the point where I have to crank the scope down so the irons and the scope are aimed at the same spot at, give or take, 25 yards.

If it doesn't hold, there's a guy in England selling new ones.  I've put a message into him, $25 is cheap insurance.

.500 Double

While I don't have the $150,000 for the Phantom-Flex camera to confirm it, I think I know why some people double tap heavy recoiling double-action revolvers.

The shooter pulls the trigger.  The gun fires and recoils.  The recoil impulse is strong enough to deform the shooter's grip and let the trigger reset.  This happens too quickly for the shooter to relax their finger, so when the recoil impulse is finished, the finger closes again to get a second shot.

The reason you don't get a triple is the finger finally gets the relax command about this time.

Creative Differences

I have a post that I really want to write.

Every time I do, it veers off in unintended directions.

So let's talk about vacc suits!

This applies to my Traveller universe, which is an amalgam of OGLBB and GURPS tech.

Most spacers wear "skin-tights" almost continuously.  They are a counter-pressure style suit and would look like a leotard to we TL8'ers.  Because such suits leave nothing to the imagination, spacers also commonly wear a flight-suit over them.  The flight suit provides pockets as well as modesty.  In one pocket is an inflatable helmet for emergencies.  This attaches to the "neck ring", which isn't on a daily wear skin-tight.  It would be uncomfortable and get in the way.  There is an adaptor interface that runs below the neck and over the shoulders.  A real ring can be attached to this interface or the collapsable collar of the bag-helmet can attach directly.

Most lifetime spacers wear a comm headset near continuously with a substantial portion of the population getting the equivalent implanted so that it cannot be knocked loose or become lost.

Some people are nervous about the bag helmet, but in fact the material it is made from is tougher than the helmets issued to infantry in the early 21st century.

The skin-tight is comfortable enough for daily wear, but it's decidedly lacking in protections for doing real work on the outside of a ship.  They are intended as an emergency item only.  There are various over-suits that can add physical, thermal and radiation protection to a skin-tight if there's no means at hand to change into what spacers would call a "hard" suit.

29 November 2013


I just need to shut the fuck up.

Or at least stop commenting.

Can't seem to actually say what I want and go off on a tangent when I try.

So far off on that tangent that you can't even tell what I was trying to say.

Sorry about that, Tam.

Season 4

Erin covered the premier at length.

I am happy that they seem to have put the good writers back on the job.  Season three seemed kind of weak, in addition to being short.

My favorite part of e1s4 is that Discord caught the winter wrap up ear worm we all got!

Not Even Corellation

Read this.

With an increasing supply of guns, the rate of violence has either fallen or held steady; not increased.

In a rational universe this alone would be enough to show that guns aren't the problem.

It appears that more guns equals more guns!  And not much more, really.

The massive drop in crime associated with the additional guns our side often touts probably has more to do with the changes in how guns can be legally carried and used to defend oneself rather than there merely being more guns out there.


My spiffy used FN HP fails the "click" test.

In a nutshell, the click test is attempting to fire the (empty) gun on safe and see if the sear moves at all.

The top of the hammer notch is 0.022" above the nose of the sear when the gun is cocked.

Pushing down on the sear you can get the top edge of the sear 0.001" above the hammer notch.

0.023" of movement with the safety on.

The sear nose is 0.038" tall, so 0.037" is still engaged after you pull the trigger with the safety on.

I've got the Browning field service manual for the Hi Power.  My sear is in spec.  That means the little nub that's supposed to rotate to block the sear is a little low.  However it does confirm that there should be no movement of the sear with the safety on.

The huge question here is:  Does it matter?  Is the no movement a legal or engineering requirement?

The gun is not going bang with the safety on and there's still lots of engagement of the sear.  Thwacking it with a leather mallet sometimes got the sear nose to drop back down into the notch and it never dropped the hammer.  In most cases the hammer and sear stayed right were they'd been left and I never got a decrease in engagement.

It's also the same seven pound trigger pull to get the hammer to drop whether I start with the partially or fully engaged sear.

I intend to get things so they don't move with the safety on, but I don't think this is as dire a safety issue certain posters and gun smiths make it out to be.  I think this is a case of the perfect defeating the good-enough.

28 November 2013

Bipod Capable

A short rail section on the MOE handguards and I can put a bipod on Dottie.

It sure makes getting things zeroed easier to have a bipod or other support.


Evolution is a contentious topic.

There's been a rash lately attempting to say that it doesn't exist because we both do not know exactly we went from puddles of reducing chemicals to life AND that we can't duplicate the feat.

But not knowing where life started and exactly how does not nullify evolution.

Do you have a dog?

Notice that most dogs don't look a thing like a wolf.  Yet just 33,000 or so years ago there was just wolf.  And for many years after the split, dogs looked lots like wolves.

Now there are pekinese and chihuahuas.

Selective breeding and domestication prove evolution using artificial selection to achieve a desired goal.

Evolution is simply natural selection working on the genes of the wild animals.

That's it.

We can back-track a really long ways through the fossil record and we can, indeed, show evolution working its magic.

Just because we don't have a record from before a certain date, doesn't mean that it only began once we can study fossils.  The falsification is to find earlier fossils that continue the regression or that all fossils from before are identical.

And stop blaming/crediting Darwin for the idea!  His contribution was noticing that isolated populations of birds were adapting to take over niches they didn't fill on the main-land.

Keeping It Real

The McThag Household continues a tradition that dates back to the very first Thanksgiving.

An Indian feeds the starving White Man.

The Lovely Harvey is a Blackfoot and this is her day to take the kitchen from me.


My mother was never a turkey fan.

This stems from her mother being Italian and not having a single good way to roast a bird in her repertoire.  GRIN  That's not true.  Grandma did know how to cook a turkey, but her crowning AMERICAN family get together dish was the noodles and gravy.

To get the gravy, she perforated that poor goobler until it was dry as a desert.

Those noodles ROCKED!

And the exact formulation is lost because Grandma was a competitive cooker and her recipes are all secret to keep others from making them successfully.  The secret went with her to the grave.

At any rate, there's hardly a member of the Nattitucci extended clan that makes a turkey for any holiday.

We tend towards ham.  Being Iowans ham is a natural substitute and its super cheap around thanksgiving because the focus is on turkey.

So, today, on Hanukkah, we are making a ham.  It's OK: I'm an atheist, The Lovely Harvey is an animist and The Boy has no defined belief.

Our strange Thanksgiving tradition is the ceremonial can of cranberry sauce.

The contents are reverently dropped out of the can with the expected sucking noise to a small saucer.  Said contents remain untouched until the dishes are to be done, whereupon the flaccid cylinder of bitter fruit puree is discarded.

27 November 2013

Shi Shu Helps

We dropped the cranberry sauce.

He retrieved it.


Got this from Gunbroker for a reasonable $25.

Made in China for Leapers for TAPCO...

Mounted it to Dottie's flat-top.

The mounting post and hook are well below the line of sight of the BUIS when deployed, but I didn't take a picture of the sight extended.
With eye-cup.

Without eye-cup.  Looks "Star-Wars" without the eye-cup.

Again, I am struck by the clarity of the optics.  Better than a 4x scope has a right to be considering I bought it when Clinton was president for $50 and it spent an alarming amount of time underwater.  Time to take it out and get her zeroed!

Update to comment on the clarity.  Took it out to the back yard and noticed Jupiter was out.  I can see the Galilean moons!  With just 4x!

Free Advertising

Eric seems to have actually read a post or two before shooting this off, so he gets a nice smelly fish as a reward!


No, he gets his ad posted!

[We] have ammo for dirt-cheap after clearing out some of the damaged boxes in our warehouse --- cosmetic damage to boxes with unharmed rounds. (For example we'll have 2100 rounds of .22 delivered in an ammo can for $99).

You can see all the details and calibers we'll have in stock here:


If you think it's worth sharing, the ammo will be put "in-stock" on Friday morning at midnight. We're limiting each caliber to one per customer since it is kind of a unique deal and we want to help as many shooters as possible. Just thought you might be interested.

Of course, I am broke so I can't take advantage.  Unless someone wants to ship me an order of 7.62x51mm in the spirit of Christmas?

Fixing Health Care

If you genuinely wish to fix health care in the United States you have to answer this question.

What happened to the general practitioners?

When you answer that question you have pinpointed when it went off the rails.

26 November 2013


I was reading this post from Joe and the comments.

Under a myriad of federal laws you need to be arrested to have standing to challenge their constitutionality.

By that point you're just flat boned even if you win and the law is declared unconstitutional.

The comments talk about the barriers to standing a little.

Something simple that could be added...

First we really get hard core on getting jurors fully informed.

Next, if a jury acquits a suspect on the grounds that it's unconstitutional then the law is automatically unconstitutional and void.  With caveats:  The verdict can be appealed and it automatically has certiorari all the way to the top.

If the law is ultimately decided to be constitutional, the suspect is still acquitted.

And the Supreme Court ruling that it's constitutional doesn't mean the next jury can't nullify it tomorrow and start the process all over again.

"We, The Jury, find this law to be unconstitutional..." should be a valid verdict and it's every citizen's right to declare so.

Gun Thought

I have at least two friends whom I've gotten into shooting.

They appear to understand the whole thing about rights.


They'd sell the gun because they were moving to place that banned guns in a heartbeat.

Not, "I'd never move someplace where my gun is banned."

A couple of them don't even bother to vote.  Although as time goes on and I find myself voting more and more against rather than for...

But I have not managed to successfully communicate how important it is that the Constitution is a limiting document, that our government is well outside those limits and bringing back to those limits is a wholesale good for everyone to this small group that almost gets it on their own.

How on earth would I explain it to someone who doesn't understand at all?

To someone who doesn't understand that something can be both wrong and legal?  Interestingly these people all seem to grasp that something can be right and illegal.

To someone who doesn't grasp that "the Supreme Court is/was wrong" is a perfectly valid statement.

How do I explain that they shouldn't buy a product from a vendor who is not supporting our rights if I can't get them to understand what their rights are and what that means?

25 November 2013

You Do What Now

I found a field service manual for the Browning Hi-Power.

A "special tool" is required to hold the hammer while you are removing the sear pin and sear.

There are instructions for making your own tool in the back.

You take a nail and bent it into a U shape.  0.44" inside between the legs and the legs are about an inch overall.

A nail.

I've gotten so used to "purchase proprietary single use fixture" that instructions on how to make my own part out of common hardware seems strange.

Did I Say It Was Easy

Shit!  I did.

Um...  Sorry?

Edit to add...

All's well that comes out well!  I guess.  He started here...

He didn't even know about magazine fouls and getting his toes in the shot...

They grow up so fast!

Quote Of The Day

Me: "No matter how many times I do it, I don't like paying the bills."

QOTD Marv: "No matter how many times I do it, I don't like it when I slice my finger chopping onions."

Me: "But you don't HAVE to chop onions."

Marv: "I like onions.  I like having electricity, water and a dry place to sleep."

Me: "You take all of the fun out of being miserable and feeling sorry for myself."

I swear you could feel him BEAM through the google chat interface.

24 November 2013


I had read "The Hobbit" before I'd encountered D&D.

I remember being upset during character generation that my Magic User couldn't wield a sword.  Gandalf had a sword, Glamdring.

Looking back now...  In most cases my magic user was a more effective member of the party than Gandalf ever was.  At least using direct action.

Burr Saddle Some Disassembly Desired

Perhaps it's from being a draftsman.  Perhaps its from doing some technical writing.

Getting the terms right is essential.

Otherwise we could call everything a "thingy".

There are places where getting the term wrong can land you in jail.  Ask for a flash-hider when you meant muzzle brake in places which ban the former, for example.

The clip/magazine thing drives people nuts.  Why?

On one side there's a group of people who insist that they are different and can show what those differences are.

On the other side, there are those who say they are the same thing.

Try ordering en-bloc magazines for your Garand.

It's not just guns.

Disc brakes have pads.  Drum brakes have shoes.

There are numerous things that are bearings on a car, and you need to be specific to get the one you need.

Specificity often derails some people.  You have to coax them into describing what they mean because they don't know what it's called.  After about the thirtieth time of doing that, you start getting prickly about people calling things what they are.

Is it a bullet or a cartridge?  Clip or magazine?  Stock or grip?  Silencer or suppressor?  Rifle or carbine?  Assault rifle or assault weapon?

Words mean things.  The reason they mean things is we use these crude symbols and series of fleshy vibrations for communication.  Without common terms, communication can't occur.  Someone who speaks chinese and someone who speaks english can talk at each other all day thinking they are being perfectly clear and not transmit one meaningful thought.

To communicate we have to speak the same language.  The "pedantic" people who are making an issue of clip v magazine are essentially saying, "the terms have been established, learn them."  If clips and magazines are the same thing you should be able to show that to be true.  Admitting that the terms are only synonymous conditionally basically says the pendants are correct.

The very act of complaining about the "pedants" is itself pedantic, or didn't you check to see what the word you were using meant?  Oh wait...

Two Things

Two things that drive me nuts about Jackson's Hobbit above and beyond the "lets make shit up whole cloth to make each film fit a three act format"...

Birdshit mousse.

Scrotum beard.

If you've seen it, you know what I am talking about.

23 November 2013


I just noticed something...

I'm right eye dominant in every one of the little parlor tests you can take.

I am right handed.

I was playing around dry firing the Hi-Power with my left hand to get used to the idea and I suddenly noticed that I'm just naturally using my left eye.

So naturally, in fact, that I apparently have no trouble using my non-dominant eye in the dominant role.

Colt Browning v FN Browning

Almost nothing in common...

Browning v Glock

In many ways more similar than different.

Browning v Browning

Very similar and very different.


I once lived in Iowa.

I'm not unusual.  There are tons of people who were born in Iowa who grew up and left.

Iowa's chief export is people.

At times I consider myself an expatriate living abroad.  Florida is simply not the same place as Iowa, it's got a completely different vibe.

There were tons of things about the place I used to live that I considered normal until I moved here.  There are things I miss terribly.

Winter is not one of them.

I am chided by friends that I have hurricanes here.  I have the possibility of a hurricane.  In 16 years just three tropical storms.  Iowa had 16 complete winters!

Of course, the reason I left was the harassment by the local police because I had the temerity to stand up at a city council meeting and ask the police to justify their purchase of full-auto MP5's.

Everyone who did that meeting suddenly was a speed demon or some other minor transgressor; but constantly.  After my fifth ticket for 37 in a 35 zone in three months I knew the writing was on the wall.  It made me suicidal in fact.

My mental well being was not aided by the abysmal job situation in and around Ames.

It was mere happy happenstance that landed me here.


Mec-Gar makes a fifteen round magazine for the Hi-Power.

It's not longer than the standard thirteen rounder that was developed for the gun.

The follower is shorter and the spring is designed to nest instead of stack up.

They removed a dimple from the body of the magazine to allow more space at the bottom for the spring.

Two extra rounds, about $2 more and not noticeably heavier; I'm impressed!

The grape-vine has it that Mec-Gar is the maker of current production Browning magazines as well.

22 November 2013

Paging Garand Paging M1 Garand

Where is Rifle, .30 Caliber M1 4314215?


My mom had me tested.

The word "gifted" was tossed around a lot.

I once thought I'd like to join Mensa.  Then I met some of the membership...  Passed the test though.

When I decided to toss my hat into the ring and be the Gamemaster instead of a player, I did so when I was 13 and I did it in the Commons at the Iowa State University Memorial Union.

I was playing Traveller.  Little Black Book Traveller.

My players were science fiction fans and college aged.

I held their interest.

They challenged my knowledge.

But I went from being the smartest kid in class to the dumbest person in the room.  Not least knowledgeable or most ignorant.  Dumbest.

2" cock at a porn shoot dumb.

Unlike Mensa, they were generous and patient and taught me.  I learned as I could.

More than once I noticed that they were intuitively making connections that I could only see after much careful consideration and calculation.

I find that I am no longer among those people.

But I now often notice that I am making connections that the people around me don't see.  I lack the patience to teach them how to make the connections on their own.

It's frustrating sometimes because I see the problems and their solutions so very clearly, but have no means to implement them.  I also see how their solutions to the problems will just breed more and worse problems than they solve.

It's frustrating to see the error made by others and not be able to explain how it was wrong; and worse demonstrate to others why.  At least in these cases, the errors eventually run their course and all is revealed in time.

It's why I have no regard for several people others hold in high esteem.  Once you've made the connection and seen them for what they are, the veil will not stick.


You know, since it's JFK all day today...

With all those "violent" gun owners out there...

Why hasn't someone taken the shot?

With all those TEA party people out there...

Why hasn't someone taken the shot?

With all those racists out there...

Why hasn't someone taken the shot?

Could it be that the gun owners and Tea Partiers aren't all that violent?

Could it be that racism today is not what racism was yesterday (if indeed it was that bad back then, look who we have to rely on to deliver the information).

I don't like being punished for something I did not do.

Lately it feels like someone wants to punish me for something that someone superficially like me did not do (with a subtext of "yet" and undertone of "people like THAT all want to").  Who's being prejudicial and bigoted now?

21 November 2013

No Possible Way This Plan Will Backfire

The hated LBJ even said it.

To paraphrase: make all political decisions based on how someone who hates you will run it once you've put it in place.

Sooner or later the Republicans are going to have a simple majority in the Senate and are going to beat your Democrat ass like you were a mouthy wife of a drunken red-neck biker-gang member who's just refused to make the beer run for her "small dicked" old man.

You'd think they'd learn, this is not the first time they've changed the rules to make what they want to do easier.

Three Classes

Strike Fighters only has three ship models for carriers.

SCB-125 Essex class for CVS-11 Intrepid, CVA-14 Ticonderoga, CVA-19 Hancock, CVS-20 Bennington, CVA-34 Oriskany which are all actually SCB-125 Essex class!

It gets wonky later.  All of the super carriers for 'Nam are represented by a Kitty Hawk class.

This is appropriate for CVA-63 Kitty Hawk, CVA-64 Constellation, and CVA-66 America.

CVA-41 Midway, CVA-42 Franklin D Roosevelt, and CVA-43 Coral Sea are all Midway Class and all got the SCB-110 upgrade.  They're a lot smaller than a Kitty Hawk and the deck profile is completely different.

CVA-59 Forrestal, CVA-60 Saratoga, CVA-61 Ranger and CVA-62 Independence are all Forrestal Class and shorter than Kitty Hawk with a different deck layout.  Closer than the Midways though!

The real shame is CVAN-65 Enterprise.  Enterprise is a unique class with a distinctive island in Linebacker I and II.  They used Kitty Hawk again and even has the stack smoke!  BWAH!?!

CVN-68 Nimitz is represented by a Nimitz class model, so she's correct.

I should see if some enterprising modder has made models for the Midways and Forrestals and Enterprise.

Before someone stomps me for it...  During Vietnam carriers were CVA not CV I checked.


I've been doing some comparisons on the stats between the Hi Power and pretty much every other wonder nine ever made.

That the first double-stack 9mm to get wide acceptance is still competitive in capacity and weight with modern polymer guns says a lot about the skills of the engineers involved.

And lest we forget, polymer is more a means to make making the gun cheaper than a real advance in how it works.


Also known as the Skyhawk, A4D, A-4 and Heineman's Hot Rod.

It's tiny and has a smallish bomb load by the time Vietnam rolls around.

It's fragile and all of the avionics are steam powered.

It's underpowered and bleeds energy like a stuck pig if you treat the stick like a club.

A-4E with 1967 post Shoehorn avionics upgrade.  Namely an RWR and ALQ-100.  The new electronics were added to the hump on the back, allowing gun ammunition to be restored to 100 rounds per gun instead of 20.

Treat her like a lady and use some finesse and she will bring you home.

19 November 2013


Submarine Controversy

Raiders of the Lost Ark has a controversy about how Indiana managed to survive the trip on the U-Boat.

Much of it seems to circle around how he survived being lashed to the periscope because even the Mediterranean Sea is cold enough to kill you after a few days.

I want to know how he went undiscovered since U-Boats are not capable of traveling submerged for more than a few hours before the batteries are depleted.  They're really surface ships that can submerge; not like a modern nuclear boat or even a diesel electric.

The schnorkel was not invented in 1936, so they had to come up for air to run the diesels and charge the batteries.  When they did, the watch would have noticed a stowaway, there just isn't anyplace to hide.

Ammo Day Purchase

Thanks to Deer Hunter Guns!

Minty CLP

As I mentioned a bit ago... I bought some Frog Lube to try out.

I am still skeptical of all in one products, but it did an excellent job of dissolving and flushing out the accumulated grit from the inside of my Hi Power.

The mint smell is also welcome to The Lovely Harvey since she's kinda sensitive to most solvents.

Still, LSA is time proven as a lubricant and corrosion inhibitor.

Magazine Safety

The Hi Power has a magazine safety.

It is easily removed.

I removed it.

While I had the trigger out, I cleaned all the parts and the dark recesses where they reside.

I took out the transfer bar too, and that had genuine SAND in its groove.  Literal grit in a gritty trigger.

Some 'splainin'.  Lots of pics below the break.

National Ammo Day!

Go out and get 100 rounds of anything centerfire.

For the first time ever, a single round of .22LR rounds as a round!

18 November 2013

Read My Lips

You Can Keep Your Insurance Plan

h/t JayG

Dieudonné Duo

Top, DSA FAL; bottom FN Hi-Power.

I feel like I need a BAR to go with the 1911 now!

Even Exchange

A refinished Colt Pocket Hammerless in .32 is gone.

A refinished FN Hi-Power is here.

Check off another JMB(PBUH) design from the list!

Here's my Fabrique Nationale Hi-Power Mk II.  It's an Israeli police contract gun.  It's nearly certain that it was refinished, but they did a great job of it.

The seller under-promised and over-delivered.  The ad indicated that it included a 10 round magazine, not true.  He included a new Mec Gar 13 rounder.

I cannot believe I put off getting one for so long.  It fits my hand like it was designed for it.  I probably was in a "caliber has to start with a 4" snit so I didn't consider a lowly 9mm.  I'm over that.  It's got as many shots as my Glock 21, the loaded gun weighs the same and is physically smaller.  The loaded magazines weigh less than the Glock as well, so the overall package is lighter with spare magazines.

All in all I am very happy!

Obligatory comparison pic with a 1911.

The big and the small of the McThag FN Herstal collection.  I collect .25's so you know I had a 1905 around here someplace!


Sight Unit Infantry, Trilux L2A2.

I have one.

While it was great for the L1A1 I used to have, the sights on a metric FAL are too low to see over the mounting post.

It's just 4 power, but the clarity of the glass is amazing.  It's the kind of scope you want to use, even with the strange inverted post reticule.

I bought a carry handle mount for it.  Puts it way too high and my example is warped.

Tapco used to make a P-Rail adaptor, but they are few and far between.  Every once and a while I see one on Gunbroker and get sniped.

I expect to get sniped again in a few days.

A 4x scope would be about perfect for Dottie and 6.8x43mm.

17 November 2013

Rolling In

Still in the A-7C on 19 December 1972 Suppression of Enemy Air Defense over North Vietnam as part of Linebacker II.

Pickle, Rockeye Mk 20.

This was my last successful mission over Vietnam.  I took a hit over Haiphong the next day and spent the rest of the war as a POW.  Bummer.

Red Storm Rising, 1979!

A-7E from VA-82 off Nimitz on 19 September 1979 for Operation Northern Sabre to defend Iceland from the Soviet invasion.

My squadron has taken out Kiev.  Lost nine planes and pilots in the process too.  The complete lack of stand-off anti-ship weaponry for the Corsair in 1979 is telling.  The navalized version of the Gecko SAM is particularly deadly.


Saw it.

Neill Blomkamp does an excellent job of visualizing tech.  And soul crushing poverty.  The latter just by filming on location in a third world country.

It was a pretty popcorn movie.

Things that made my teeth itch...

If you're going to have things floating around inside the cabin, have the ship stop thrusting.

An open topped Stanford Torus would work, but it's also fucking stupid.

A MANPADS is your go-to weapon for shooting unauthorized ships heading towards your fragile space habitat?  Employed by a barely functional psychopath?

I want an explanation why the auto-doc was denied to the surface dwellers.  I can think if several, but I wasn't given a canon one.  Most of the ones I can think of change the ending to a very sad one as everyone loses access when the critical supplies that make the magical med devices run out.

An aside.  One of the things on the auto-doc display was "reatomization".  That got me to think of a hilariously horrific effect.  The surface dwellers are FAR sicker than a citizen of Elysium, so the computer has to do significant reconstruction.  So the mom puts her desperately sick daughter in the machine...  "accepted citizen" a bright bug zapper like flash, a smell of ozone, and the daughter is gone with the display reading, "compiling"...  After a few the machine starts putting the kid back together, clean and healed.

Just Saw Enderszzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

What a steaming pile.

Closer to the book than Starship Troopers.

That's not saying much.  The Hobbit is closer to the book Starship Troopers than Verhooven's version.


It was just so damn generic.

There's a million cliches.

The story was very much like what you'd think Ender's Game was about if you overheard someone at the next table telling someone about the book while you were eating dinner and watching the game on the TV over the bar.

Someone get Robert Orci to retire.  Berman only destroyed Star Trek.  Orci destroys all Sci Fi he touches.  Someone stop him before he kills again!

16 November 2013

It's A Trap

Mr Obama's unconstitutional declarations delaying, preventing or reversing Obamacare are a trap.

What will matter, in the end, is the law as written, passed and signed.

Wait for the fines for "why wasn't your company in compliance on 01 October 2013?"  That's what the law says.  The president doesn't have the power to change the date mandated in the law.  The president doesn't have the power to change the forms of insurance now mandated by law.

If the company offering the plan you want to keep that isn't in compliance with the new mandates, they're culpable.  They can be punished for going along with the president's Rose Garden press conference.  You can be punished for not buying a compliant plan.

Remember you heard it here (and maybe elsewhere) before the fines began to be levied.

15 November 2013


Via Weaponsman.

Chock full of all the minutia we gamer geeks debated at length.

14 November 2013

SLUF On The Break

A-7C of VA-82 (Marauders) on the break over America CVA-66: Yankee Station 28 July, 1972.

The Corsair II is one of my most favorite planes.  Developed on a tight budget, delivered on time and ever so barely overweight.  Last of a long line of successful aircraft from Vought (Ling Temco Vought by the time the A-7 was made).

This SLUF (Slow Little Ugly Fucker) is an A-7C with the TF30-P-408 engine upgrades made in 1971.  The C variant is interesting in that it wasn't intended to be made at all.  A-7C was reserved then skipped with the next variant after the A-7B being the Air Force's A-7D.  The Navy liked many of the changes made in developing the A-7D and requested their own version, the A-7E.  But there weren't enough TF41-A-2 engines to go around so the first run of what should have been the E model came with the same TF30-P-8 engine as the B.

I Can See What You Were Trying To Do

But you messed up.

And that killed suspension of disbelief.

In the 3e GURPS supplement, "Funny New Guys" there are magic carpets.  It's an alt-history where magic exists and this supplement details that world's Vietnam.

The carpets the Army uses are: LUC-1, UC-23 and AC-05.

I can see where they were headed here.  H is the designation for rotary wing (helicopters) so change the H to a C for "carpet" and you're good!


C means cargo.

And you don't double up.  This is why tankers get a K designation, T means trainer.

Besides, the designation system already has a code for lighter than air vehicles.  Z.

For Zeppelin.

So magic carpets should be LUZ-1, UZ-23 and RZ-5 (no preceding zeros!) and R instead of A because it's a recon carpet not an attack carpet.  This all assumes that they dumped the established blimp/dirigible numbers and started from 1 again.

And post MacNamara the 'L' would be changed to an 'O' making it the OZ-1.  And that's a lot more magical sounding, ain't it?

Quiet Inquiries

I've asked around.

There's a part of my life that I most certainly was present for.

I really did it.

I am getting feedback that I may not have doing it with the people I thought I was.


Because nobody has heard of them!

If they were who I was told they were, it's a small enough pool that someone should know them.

13 November 2013

On The Cheap

I am reading how the USAF wants (and is accomplishing) to finally kill off the A-10 Thunderbolt II (aka Warthog) to pay for F-35A.

A fully loaded A-10C is a frighteningly cheap airplane.  They are refurbished from original build A-10As.  716 were originally built at a unit cost of a mere $18.6 million a piece in today's dollars.  The refurb was for 356 airframes for a cost of about $965 thousand per plane.

Compare that to $113 million a piece for an F-35A.

There's evidence that the costs almost five times as much F-35A is about 1/4 as capable at close air support as the 40 year old Hog.

Word is the F-35A is not comparing favorably to the $26.76 million F-16C it's meant to replace too.  For this math to make sense, a Lightning II has to be four times better than a Viper at EVERYTHING. We won't even get into the fact that the F-16C is not the most advanced version of the plane in production (and still for a lot less than $113 million per plane).  It's telling that the troops are demanding the Warthog overhead when they can rather than F-16's because the Viper can't hang around for very long or carry near the number of passes against the bad guys.

In doing some of the research on planes the Air Force hated I bumped into an old friend.  The A-7D.  In today's dollars a mere $16 million per plane.  Accounts from Vietnam indicate that the A-7D was a good CAS plane.

The problem is the USAF doesn't want to do the CAS job or let anyone else have fixed wing planes that can.

I am getting very sick of reading about them shirking a job they are chartered to do.

They don't wanna haul cargo, but fuck if anyone else will.  (COUGH COUGH C-27J COUGH)

They don't wanna do CAS, but fuck if anyone else will; this is why the Army has helicopters with an AH designation.  It's why the troops on the ground pray for Marines overhead instead of zoomies.

They want to have nukes (so they can lose them apparently) and they want sexy hair on fire fighters.  And nothing else.

And I am sick of reading about it.  I am sick of doing the math and noticing that we're not getting our money's worth from our purchases when the USAF is attached.  The Navy has a much better track record for keeping costs on aircraft under control.  By the way, the A-7D started life as a Navy plane.  The F-4 Phantom started life as a Navy plane.  Maybe it's time to nuke the USAF, roll the CAS back into the Army and Marines and give the air superiority mission to the Navy.


Hostess was not put out of business by union intransigence, as some (including me) would have you believe.

What put them out of business was the crushing costs of rediscovering how to make Twinkies.

You see the Twinkie was developed in 1930 by James Alexander Dewar for the Continental Baking Company.

Millions upon millions were made during World War Two as the Department of War demanded non-perishible foodstuffs for the troops.

So many, in fact, that from 1945 through 2013 not a single new Twinkie was manufactured.  The expiration date printed on the packaging was actually so that the Twinkies could be removed and placed in new packaging for marketing reasons.  The seemingly inexhaustible supplies were running thin by 2008 and Hostess realized that they would have to make more.

Alas the secret to making them was lost with the death of Mr Dewar.  Even if he'd been alive he was obsessed with making bad scotch at the end of his life and would not have returned to baking.

Crippling the research to making new Twinkies was the Food and Drug Administration's rulings that food be made from, well, FOOD.  Hostess was unable to find a way to synthesize the vile chemicals needed for Twinkie manufacture from food in time to save the company.

It was only happenstance that allowed the discovery of Mr Dewar's notes burned onto a barrel stave in a New Jersey knick-knack store.

The rest; is history.

Inside Joke

There are more than a few things that require perspective to understand.

There are more than a few perspectives that require particular experience to gain.

Thus, without the experience, the perspective is unattainable and understanding is impossible.

I've seen this a lot as a veteran.

The people who've never been don't understand because they lack the experiences that would let them see it from where they aren't.

There are things that are hilarious to veterans that are baffling, insulting or distasteful to...  I don't want to call them civilians because I am most assuredly now a civilian too.

A classic example is giving birth.  This is something a man cannot understand and a woman will not understand until they have had a child.

Outsiders might comprehend, but they will not understand.

I've noticed a couple of turns of phrase where the reader asks, "what does that mean?"  When I explain, I have not illuminated them in the slightest.

I've noticed that we tell jokes that are... well... distastefully disrespectful.  The color of military humor is black and the moisture level is very VERY low.  It's a coping mechanism and not accessible fully to an outsider.

Like when I am at the bottom of a frozen ditch in Germany.  Both legs broken.  Waist deep in the the knee deep water because both shins are bent around more than 90 degrees.  The TC, after asking where I was and how I got down there and learning I'd broken my legs, "What did you learn?"

12 November 2013

More MOE

The MOE handguards can be a source of irritation and frustration.

The front is designed to work with either a round or triangular handguard cap.

This is the front of the MOE handguard (foliage green).  There are two sets of ribs that engage the cap.

If your cap is round, all of the ribs go inside the cap.

If your cap is triangular, the cap goes between the ribs.


It is now 9:10, 11/12/13

Blaming The Wrong Entity

Steve Jackson has posted about losing his house to the flood in Austin, TX.

It seems that a lack of federal money kept people from moving out of the flood plain, so they got flooded.

I am willing to bet that there's an 1843 survey map of the area showing the entire area that's underwater as a flood plain and that there weren't any residences there for a long, long time.

It's like the people who could read those maps understood what the dangers were and didn't build anything they wanted to keep there.

Time and again I've read about a flood like this to find that the affected area was marked as a flood hazard on a 150 year old survey.

It's not the government's fault for not buying you out.  It's YOUR fault for buying a house there without checking the damn map!  Especially if you didn't have flood insurance.  Don't even whine that flood insurance in a flood plain is too expensive, Bitch, I live in a hurricane corridor and I pay for hurricane AND flood insurance.

Upside Yo Head

Why thank you, The Boy, for teaching me that a hand propelled Fiber One bar to the temple fucking hurts!

We'll add that to yesterday's lesson that a box of raisins delivered in the same manner likewise is painful.

Statute Of Limitations

Apparently there is no such thing if someone thinks something was stolen during WW2.

OK, Poland.  You owe a shitload of Jews a shitload of land.

Proof?  Apparently I don't need any actual proof.  But there aren't any Jews living there now, so that must mean the Polish government colluded with the Nazis to have them murdered to get the land.

This crap pisses me off.

Even if it is stolen, it was stolen more than sixty years ago.  The original owner is dead, the thieves are dead.

The US has statutes of limitations for theft so this shit shouldn't fly.  The longest one for theft I've been able to find is fourteen years.  So some time in 1953 (1959 at the latest) whether it was stolen or not became moot.

Then there's the likelihood the present owner purchased the gun in good faith.

Two wrongs don't make a right.

11 November 2013

Shooting Lesson

Um, Wall Street

A 1.89% drop in price is not a plunge in value.

The Guns They've Stopped

95 years ago, this very moment, the armistice ending The Great War took effect.

It is Armistice Day, Remembrance Day and Veteran's Day; depending on where you live.

For Veteran's Day:  Take one out to dinner, movie, get laid; whatever.  Especially the vets who stood the watch when nobody was shooting, but if it started the world would burn.

Of course, at one time, if you had not seen the elephant, you weren't a veteran; however, "They also serve who only stand and wait."


This day is for those who served, not for those who are serving.  That's Armed Forces Day.
This day is for the living vets, not the dead ones.  That's Memorial Day.

It cheapens the other days to attempt to consolidate them all today.

10 November 2013


The free market is grounded in trust.

Nothing illustrates that more than what I am doing buying a gun via Gunbroker.

The seller trusts that I will send him the money.  He also trusts that the people running the web site will punish me if I renege on paying for my purchase.  He's got a bit of leverage here since he's in possession of the product, no money no shippy.

As the buyer, I am tossing a non-trivial amount of my hard scraped together cash into an envelope and trusting them to ship the item promised in the auction.

Because I am a C&R FFL and not a more normal one, I also have to trust a third party to accept the shipment of the gun and not substitute a less valuable item in its stead.  Or, worse, claim they never got it and sell it themselves.

So Your Friend Bought You A MOE Stock Set

The handguards are easy.  Just make sure you have things lined up at the front.

The stock is easy.  It's just hard on the fingers to pull the little lever to get the latch past the end of the receiver extension.

Neither require tools.

The pistol grip requires tools and there are pieces that will fall out if you're not careful.

Tool.  A big screwdriver.  In most cases, this is a flat-blade.  CMMG and a couple other places use an allen head.

Here's how you should start.  Lower separated from the upper, hammer cocked, safety on, take-down pins pushed back in.

Next look inside the pistol grip to see what kind of screw you're dealing with.

Then remove it.  Lefty loosy.  Counter clockwise looking down like we see here.  Put the assembly upside-down on a flat surface and try to keep it oriented that way.  It's not hard to do, but it's a little clumsy the first time.  Don't pull on the grip, let it stay put while you remove the screw.

Once you have the screw free, pull the grip away from the lower slightly.  Notice this little spring?  You want to save that!  It's mostly up inside the pistol grip and it engages the safety detent in the lower.

With the grip off, there's nothing holding the detent in that hole.  With no spring pressure on the detent, there's nothing holding the safety-selector in its hole.  If you're too worried, tape the lever of the safety-selector to the side of the lower.

Here's what the selector, spring and detent look like if they come out.  Don't panic if they do!  The safety-selector can also fall out, again, don't panic.  They all go back in as easy as they came out.  The point on the tip of the detent goes into the hole first.  It rides in that slot cut in the barrel of the safety-selector.  The lever of the safety-selector goes on the opposite side of the detent's hole just in case you get a little lost.

Let's get aggravated!  It is best to start with the screw sticking out of the appropriate hole.  MagPul gave us two that are the same size and you want the one closer to the front.  If you look inside the grip, there's a recess for the screw head in the correct hole.  Use the screw that comes with the grip, don't reuse the one that came with the rifle.  To get the screw in the hole I balance it on the tip of the screwdriver and then lower the grip onto the screw.  Some tape to hold the screw to the driver helps a lot as well.

Put the detent spring in the small hole in the grip.

Hold the spring in place and put the grip on the flange.  Once you have it placed as pictured, the spring can't fall out.  Line up the screw at the hole.  The screw hole angle is not the same as the grip.  I've found its best to not even try to get the grip lined up here and to just get the screw started a couple of threads.  Notice the blue stuff.  That's a loctite analog.  It makes screwing the screw all the way in a chore, but it also keeps it from unscrewing itself.

Once you have the screw started, make sure the detent spring is in both holes.

Then push the grip down flush with the lower.  Now tighten the screw all the way down.  Rightie Tightie or clockwise looking down the grip.  Because of the blue stuff, it might feel like you've got it all the way down before it is.  To check, try wobbling the grip.  If it shifts, you have more tightening to do.


I just noticed something.

My M16 clone at 38-3/4" feels really long.

The FAL 50.00 clone at 42-5/8" doesn't.

I think it's because the XM177E2 clone is a mere 33" and Kaylee is 34-1/16" and since all three are AR's the ergonomics match and thus the M16 seems long by comparison.

The FAL has completely different ergonomics so it's length doesn't seem as long because it's not tripping the same muscle memories.

I Should Not Laugh

I stumbled across this auction.

It reminds me of a story.  And I don't know the whole thing.

The take-away is that you shouldn't buy several copies of the same gun because they have sequential serial numbers if you can't actually SAY that when ATF comes by and gently inquires as to why someone needs four H&K P7M13's so bad they bought them the same day.

Especially since they were never affordable guns.

IIRC, Ravenclaw Eric has the whole story.  Perhaps in comments?

09 November 2013

Nine Milimeter

Since I am soon to have a Hi-Power, the first wonder nine, I took stock of the calibers in the house already that are 9mm.

We've got (in GURPS puissance order):

.380 ACP/9x17mm Kurz (1908)
.38 Special (1898)
9x19mm Luger/Parabellum/NATO (1902)
.38 Super (1929)
.357 SIG (1994)
.357 Magnum (1934)

Wow this caliber is common in handgun cartridges and those are really just the most common running around today, plus .357 SIG and .38 Super.

Looking at my cartridges book, there's scads and scads of "also rans" in 9mm as well.  Some of the common rounds today were developed from rounds that are no longer common today.

.38 Special is a lengthened .38 Long Colt and .357 Magnum is a lengthened .38 Special.

.38 Super is .38 ACP loaded a lot hotter.

While I trend towards the "use a round that starts with 4" philosophy; you have to admit that this caliber has been around enough years that if it really sucked, it'd be far less common (paging .32 caliber).  If you're honest with yourself, you'll have to admit that there's just not much difference between the full power nines and the 4x rounds.  Even going magnum doesn't improve the wound ballistics enough to compensate for the extra blast and recoil most of the time.

Happy Birthday

To Lex.

There is a void where there was once an unbearable lightness.

To say that he is missed understates things rather a lot.

Hoist the Guinness (for strength) and the Jameson (for courage)!

08 November 2013

Pretty Solidly Dead In Committee

Stand Your Ground Repeal Dead In The Water 11-2.

But they still want a (another) recount.  And no matter how it comes out, they want their way.

Fuck 'em!

Rubicon At My Back

Got the funds for selling one gun safely deposited, and my first disposition entry in my bound book.

Stabbed the "buy it now" button on a 1985 Israeli police contract FN Herstal made Hi Power Mk II.  Parkerized with plastic stocks.  "Excellent" condition with original slide, barrel and matching numbers. Sadly, just a single ten-round magazine.

Now for the fun job of rounding up a local FFL to charge me $30-$50 to write some information in their bound book.

The Browning HP has appeared on quite a few character sheets of mine over the decades.  The first example was a Top Secret character since it had 13 shots.  And since the only lists of gun stats we had at the time was the game and a couple of WW2 gun books, it truly was grand puissance.

That whole "available from 1935" thing caused it to appear in quite a few other characters too.  Players go for more shots like real folks do when even a whiff of an AWB is mentioned.

This gun is both a firsts and lasts gun for me.

I've an extensive collection of guns that are JMB designed.  I've long been a fan of the FAL, designed by Dieudonné Saive.  The Hi-Power is the last gun Browning had a hand in, and Saive brought it to completion.  The last Browning, the first Saive.

Another perk of the design from a gamer perspective is the sheer ubiquity of it.  The list of users is damned near the whole world less USSR, Warsaw Pact and USA.

It occurs that while John Moses Browning was The Prophet, Dieudonné Saive is the preacher who got The Word out.  Except for the Ma Deuce, few of Browning's designs got the international penetration that the HP and FAL achieved.

Black Fish

The other day I caught the CNN Films documentary Blackfish.

Thanks to science fiction I am inclined to think cetaceans are sentient.

Thanks to science I know that they are extremely smart.

Because of this I have never been comfortable with places like Sea World.

The documentary format is greatly enhanced by sitting there with your laptop and looking things up while they go along.

I knew they had big damn brains before seeing the movie.  What I did not know was how it was structured.  Yeah.  I am going to lay even odds that Killer Whales are sapient.  Too many of the structures in a Killer Whale brain correspond to "this is where we keep our smarts" structures in humans that we shouldn't be treating them like animals until we have proof otherwise.

And that brings us to how they're treating them even if they ARE animals.

Something that whale biologists have known for a long time is the individual pods of killer whales don't use the same calls or even body languages.  If they are shown to be intelligent, what we have is different cultures and languages.

What Sea World is doing is mixing and matching whales from diverse pods and shoving them into ridiculously small spaces with one another.  There's a lot of violence between the whales.  It seems likely that's because they can't get away from one another.

What this documentary did a good job of was making me seek more information; but it also picked at my prejudices.  And that reminded me.

It was produced by CNN and the Motion Picture Association of America gave Michael Moore an oscar for documentary film making.

Verify before trust.

07 November 2013

How Does X = Y

Liability insurance for guns has been going around lately.

Some have been saying that it's de facto gun registration and some are wondering how that may be.

Go check your car insurance.  You will notice the VIN number of every vehicle on the policy there.  You get temporary indemnity for recent purchase and in some cases for rented and borrowed cars; but there's a time limit where if the car is not listed on the policy, coverage is no longer extended.

Try getting a coverage rider for theft added to your home-owner's policy.  They will ask make, model and serial number of every gun covered.  This is so you cannot claim the loss of your non-existent Luger collection.

The insurance company is going to want to know the number of shooters and number of guns.  They are going to ask questions like how often you carry and where.  They're going to make inquiries about training.

How is this all registration?

The standards to obtain a subpoena are fairly low.  Once there's a nice, mandatory, list of every gun at the insurance office they can simply subpoena the records and, viola! they have a shopping list for seizure.

How would they get grounds to subpoena those records, you may ask?  When insurance is mandatory, having an uninsured gun will be a crime.  Perhaps equivalent to speeding, but it gives law enforcement a reason to ask for your paperwork.  Sure, you have your insurance card for that gun, but they have to verify that card is valid; so they call the insurance company and get your policy.  Viola again.

Open Tab

Because I am looking at Browning Hi-Powers, I opened up a new tab to Browning's web page that lets you figure out when a gun was made based on the serial number.

The tab is titled, "Date Your Firearm".

Do I have to buy it dinner too?  Wait, I guess I do; ammo.

Now I feel guilty, I'm going to cheat on it like the same day I finally get it.

Small World

I am inching closer to scraping up the money to obtain an ex-Israeli Hi-Power.

I figure I'd better have a local FFL line up since it's not an old enough HP for my C&R.

So I used GunBroker's FFL finder thing and I discover one of the local gun dealers who does transfers is an old boss of mine.

My boss from the last time I was a drafter, in fact.

I think I shall call.

06 November 2013


At least when The Lovely Harvey is raging incoherently I know that it's incoherent because I don't speak the jargon of her workplace and profession.  She knows what she's saying, it makes sense and would be perfectly understandable to her co-workers.

I cannot say that about a great many people.

05 November 2013

Stepping In It

I commented at Joe's.

I'm repeating the comment here...

Since it was brought up, the slippery slope fallacy is a term from formal debates where example A conjecturally leads to example n without supporting evidence of a logical progression.

However, in the real world there are slippery slopes where the presence of the first law leads to the passage of the second and so on until there are no rights remaining.  This has been seen with guns more than once and since it takes decades of hard work to reverse a law it's considered far better to fight their passage in the first place and skip all of the potential harm of having it on the books.

The historical fact is that governments can't be trusted with lists of gun owners.  All too often those lists become the means to disarm the law abiding.  And it has happened in the US and it is happening in California since they have recently banned a subset of firearms which were registered.

Often the argument to ban guns is couched in terms of saving lives.  That would be a noble goal; except that deaths caused by the criminal use of firearms is trivial compared to the number of deaths caused by governments deciding that a particular group needs to be eliminated.  Hitler and the holocaust are a common example, but he's just an honorable mention in the race to murder the most of your own citizens.  Every nation that's murdered millions of its own people has gun registration followed by gun prohibition before any "undesirables" are arrested or killed.  It literally takes centuries for the criminals to murder enough people at their present rates to catch up with the number of people murdered in a mere 40 years of the 20th century.

That the entire intent of the 2nd amendment was that the populace be armed well enough to resist tyranny (however unlikely) seems to contraindicate the government having the power to even locate all the guns, let alone confiscate them.  The people who wrote the Bill of Rights left copious notes about their position and the intent of every one of the first ten amendments (and of the Constitution itself).

Because lists can be used to do so much harm to the populace, it is wise to prevent any lists to be made of both guns and their owners.  Requiring insurance is merely making a list that is held in the hands of a private company.  Those lists could be appropriated and then used to confiscate.

Remember the intent of the 2nd.  It is to allow the populace to be armed well enough to resist tyranny.  In practical terms that means the citizenry must have access to an arsenal equal to the government and not subject to the government's permission because tyranny is a government job.

04 November 2013


I'm a sufferer of misophonia.

It's a joy (not!).

There are countless small, background noises that you don't notice that make me want to die.

Gum chewing.

Crunching chips.

Smacking lips.

It's not just sounds, it's any sensory input.

A stray thread brushing my leg.

A nervously tapping foot.

Smell and taste are not so much since those senses are easier to apply a filter.

I've mentioned it before, I'm sure.

How it relates to the previous post.

My friend's wife is a twitcher.  She's in constant motion, ants in her pants.  All gestures are grand and wasteful of motion.  She naturally sprawls out too, so she occupies a large arc of vision.  She chews loudly and her whole face is involved.  There.  Is.  No.  Escape.

What happened yesterday is the site for viewing the eclipse was about an hour from the hotel.  The hotel she chose, the site she chose.

We had to be to that site an hour before dawn to give her time to set up a telescope with sun-filters.

Ediston Beach, South Carolina is rather cooler than Suncoast Florida too.

Because she pegs the irritate Thag meter so hard I attempted to get a moment's peace (and stay out of the bitter 40˚ wind) in the cab of the truck while she yelled at my friend because she brought her telescope and he wasn't helping her to set it up right.  The kind of yelling that if anyone had started in on me that way I'd have been, "you brought it, you deal with it.  Don't like my help, don't get my help."

I don't like seeing my friends abused.

Did I mention that we were stuck in a truck for an hour?  Yeah.  There's no straight shot from St George, SC to Ediston; so we were on smaller roads and making lots of turns.  My friend is driving, she's in the back seat and has programmed the destination into google maps.  For all the good it did, since her phone was in her pocket.  My friend missed a turn, realized he'd missed it and was trying to figure out how to get back on route when she blew up on him about how he wasn't paying attention.

Um, hey, navigator: why didn't you have your app open and let him know we were getting close to the turn?  Then once you have the app open, notice that while the line on screen showing the route is clear to you, we can't see it up front.  Yelling, "that was our turn back there!" doesn't help in the slightest.

She was being unfair to my friend and there was nothing I could do about it.

She billed this eclipse as being near total at dawn.  It was not even close.  Not worth a six hour drive to see.  Worth six hours to hang with my friend, if she wasn't there.  Definitely not worth an hour of her ranting about his driving, and hour of her bitching about how he's not telepathically sensing the "correct" way to set up HER equipment.  Not worth thirty minutes of a not very impressive partial eclipse.  Not worth another hour of her basically doing none of the packing up while ranting at my friend for doing it wrong while she nattered away with two passersby who asked about the scope.  Not worth an hour drive back to the hotel with her running 210% twitch because she's agitated by my friend being so bad at obeying her mental transmissions.

Definitely not worth going through without a means of escape.  Being trapped 30 miles from my car in a situation that's pure torture for me removes nearly all value from the experience.

I can endure a lot.  I really can.  Understanding and compassion from others substantially mitigates the agony and greatly increases my ability to endure.  Clueless self centeredness and not even attempting to change how she does things...  Yeah.

I won't even start in on how she's teaching her dog to be a bad dog by reinforcing it's poor obedience.

Being Polite

Mrs Myfriend, you married my friend.  That doesn't automatically make US friends.  That doesn't automatically earn you the slack that my friend gets.

It means you get a certain amount of civility.

It means that when you patter on and on about topics I have no interest in, I will not tell you to shut up.

It means that when you're patently wrong on a topic I know well, I will not call you an ignorant cow.

It means that when you constantly interrupt and change the topic back to one I have no interest in or to express your ignorance on something I do, I shut up and stop talking.

Because I am being polite.

I did not go off on your boor of a father at your wedding out of consideration for my friend, your husband, NOT YOU.

I do not tell you what an ignorant boor YOU are out of consideration of my friend's feelings, not yours.

Politeness has limits.  I'm getting close to mine because you won't back off and notice that you're being tolerated out of polite consideration towards your husband.

I don't give a fuck who you are related to from the Revolutionary War.

I don't give a fuck about how Texas is better than every other place.

I resent being lectured on how where I live is inferior to Texas.

I don't like seeing my friend being berated by you because you're disorganized and anal about your broken process.

I am sick of sitting in silence listening to you lecture on things that are patently wrong about several topics.  You want to talk about these things?  Fine, well talk, but I have sources that prove you wrong.  But you don't want to talk about those things, you just wanna lecture.

The reality of the situation is that if I'd met you at a party I would never see you again.  I would avoid you.  Because you are married to one of my oldest friends, if I want to see him, I have to see you.

While I am unwilling to lose my friend, I have lost friends before and can cope with the loss.  At least if I walk away there's a chance that I can be friends with him again someday.  If you keep being a fucking cunt, I'll eventually tell you that you are and that will be the end of the friendship and there will be no reconciliation.

Just like if he reads this blog.

I'm just too pissed to care at this point.


Ten hours of sleep nicely erases the fatigue from not sleeping much and driving six hours each way.

Next time I'm up in Charleston, though, I am going to the Yorktown museum.

03 November 2013

That Was Disappointing

The degree of totality for the hybrid solar eclipse was greatly exaggerated by my buddy's wife.

I should have seen it for myself looking at the charts and graphs, but she seemed so certain.

C'est la vie.

That Was Exciting

My machine, a MacBook Pro, 15" (mid 2007) running OSX 10.6.8 was suddenly running over 80˚ C and the fans were pegged a 6001 rpm.

Activity Monitor said that 'syslogd' was running 100% CPU and 'launchd' was cranking at 43-60%.

A reboot changed nothing!

I freak and hit Bing for an explanation.

It seems that this is a well documented 10.6 issue.  Twice a year at the time change, if you have the clock in the menu bar, you get a 20-40 minutes of massive error logging.

It unfucks itself, but I'd never seen it happen before.

01 November 2013

Live Or Shopped

This vid is making the rounds...

Set it to full screen and 720.

I've been reading the debates about if it's real or not and I've noticed something.  There's not a single tanker in the lot talking about it.

Except me!

The behavior of the round is consistent with a Soviet Russian 125mm HEAT shot fired from a 2A46.  You get a pretty good view of the projectile in flight and it looks like an BK-14m.  Yes, HEAT rounds fired from smoothbores have fins.  Soviet Russian rounds have much larger fins than US rounds.

That you can see the round in flight is not really unusual.  They're big and since this is almost head on, it stays in the line of sight.  It popping into sharp focus is what has most people screaming "SHOP!"  I think that it's just passing through the plane of focus the camera is set to.  The heat shimmer is making the T-72 a bit out of focus and the pile of blocks to the left are not too far out of focus.  The round falls back out of focus as it gets closer too.  Plus this is likely a very zoomed in set up, that can do interesting things with the depth of field.


One would think that in a place with as many gun laws as Los Angeles, California that bringing an "assault rifle" into an airport terminal would be impossible.

Who wants to be first to tally up the violations before he fired the first shot?


The more I read on the background of the Traveller Interstellar Wars setting the more interested I am in it.

The available tech tastes more familiar to some space worlds I'd created from whole cloth while still retaining the flavor of the old familiar game.

It doesn't hurt that I don't have to keep translating back and forth between 3rd and 4th edition rules because IW is 4e native.