31 August 2015

Student Loans

If you've been delaying paying because life...

You see that the clock is ticking on going into default...

And you contact the lenders to start making payments...

And make an arrangement including an amount...

Never mind, they're going to garnish your take-home wages 15%.  That's about triple the agreed amount.

Fuck me.  Well, fuck Harvey, since it's her loans coming due.

With a degree from a college that's worthless.  She's got a degree from Corinthian Colleges.  Remember them?

Lego Red 2

This started as Lego 9493.

My changes to the X-Wing are minimal, just extending the stripe under the cockpit.  I also extended the nose gear one peg and added some 1x3 sloped bricks to the bottom engines to raise the height of the ship to the correct altitude when parked.

The big change to make it Wedge's mount was to get Wedge's helmet to add to the pilot figure and the proper astromech droid R2-A3.  This is for the Battle of Yavin.  For the Battle of Endor he's got a different astromech, R5-G8.

Quote Of The Day

Reality Check. The armed agents of the state have the same function in North Korea they do in the USA and vice versa. That is to intimidate those of questionable loyalty to the state. The goal is not to arrest or kill, it is to "keep 'em in line". When the armed agents have to arrest, club, kill, etc, etc, they have in a real sense, failed in their primary mission. The pivot point in the USA is that the definition of questionable loyalty has expanded, from a small minority of the population until it now includes just about everybody not a full time employee of the state. Therefore the armed agents must attempt to intimidate a wider and wider range of people, like those who cut down a tree in their back yard, or join a Tea Party, and so on, and on, and on. This requires an ever greater number of armed agents, who will fail (in the sense outlined above) ever more often. If the state finds it imperative to tax a single cigarette at thirty seven times its actual economic value the armed agents will have to arrest, club, kill, etc, the disloyal who act outside the states economic web (cf. NYC/NYPD). There it is.
W. Fleetwood in comments here.

Oldies But Goodies

State Alternative

Periodically I see what's still out there and thriving.

I use Midway as my barometer.

6.5 Grendel:  5 loads from 2 manufacturers.  5 available.

6.8mm Remington Special/6.8 SPC/6.8x43mm:  19 loads from 7 manufacturers.  12 available, 2 back-order OK, 5 unavailable.

.300 AAC Blackout: 31 loads from 12 manufacturers.  25 available, 2 back-order OK, 3 unavailable, 1 temporary unavailable.

.300 AAC Blackout Subsonic:  11 loads from 9 manufacturers.  8 available, 1 back-order OK, 1 unavailable, 1 temporary unavailable.

.300 is teh new hotness, to be sure.

Grendel is hanging in there!

6.8 seems to have achieved stasis but is down a lot in variety since I started.

6.5 and 6.8 are the boutique alternates.  Rabid fans and dedicated followings.

And it's only been six months since last time I did this.

30 August 2015

Maintaining A Record

None of the guns in my possession have shot any reporters, cameramen, local business people or cops.

I still resent the implication that because someone has shot a reporter, cameraman, business person or cop that I should be punished for their criminal behavior.

Wasn't me, didn't do it is still a positive defense.

Ignurt SOB

My first carry method was small of back and it was with a Glock 17 in a floppy-ass Uncle-Mike's nylon holster.

I was ignorant.  I literally didn't know any better and there was nothing to teach me.  Never mind that I was carrying illegally, because may issue Iowa gave a lot of authority to the local sheriff and Story County didn't issue permits to pizza drivers.

It seemed to make sense, it was comfortable, the gun was out of the way, and unless you bent over or sat down, well concealed.  But sitting down... driving for any length of time meant you'd be wanting a chiropractor and it was utterly useless for riding the motorcycle because you'd be open carrying in short order when the wind pulled up the back of your shirt.  Additionally the placement of the gun back there really added to the chances that a car accident would break something you wanted to keep (like your spinal column).

At the time there just wasn't anywhere to turn for better information and the fact that I was committing a misdemeanor didn't make me want to advertise I was packing.

It turned out my most common form of carry was off-body in my gaming bag.  A flight helmet bag has all kind of room and numerous pockets that are perfect for a full-size handgun and a couple of magazines.  It's also an illustration that when you make it illegal for someone to carry at all, they also don't care that you've banned guns from a given location.  I campus carried in that bag too; almost as if the magic gun free zone barriers are completely ineffective.

That was more than 20 years ago too.  Statute of limitations and all that.

Now carry permits are easy to get with shall-issue laws and there's a plethora (ask for El Guapo) of sources to learn what the pluses and minuses of any given gun/holster combination.

Now I buy my clothes with concealment in mind.  I've expanded my arsenal and have guns that are more tailored for concealed carry than a full-sized service pistol.  I have holsters that hold the guns in place and help hide it.

If I need advice, I can just ask because there's nothing untoward going on.

29 August 2015

Armored Cars

I remember...

I was in units that had Truck, Utility 1/4-Ton, 4x4 M151's (a lineal descendant to the original Willy's Overland Jeep).

I was in units that had Commercial Utility Cargo Vehicles (The Chevy version that was retconned into being the Light Service Support Vehicle).

I was in units that had High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles.

What do they all have in common?

They're trucks.  Light trucks.  The CUCV is literally a commercial pick-up.

Army units need such vehicles to do all manner of jobs that aren't appropriate for other, heavier, vehicles.  Including other trucks.

My line unit was a tank unit.  We had plenty of armor on hand...  We didn't need armored cars, we needed trucks.

Problem is, when we went to the Warren Tarra we discovered we'd been a little too generous with the second M in HMMWV.

Trucks don't make good front-line combat vehicles.  It should have been obvious, because they never have.

We tried to uparmor them, but that made them overloaded trucks with some armor.  At least in Vietnam we started with a deuce and a half...

What we were wanting was an armored car for these roles.

Apparently, we're going to be obtaining armored cars to replace HMMWV's.

Which is great for jobs that need an armored car (and we do have lots of them), but too fucking spendy for jobs that just need a darn truck!

Unfortunately, none of the auto makers makes a truck that's as simple and rugged as the old Dodge D150 or Chevy C/K anymore, so there's no handy COTS solution to the light truck problem.

Not that any procurement is simple anymore... Sigh.

Matter Of Taste

From here.

Actually pizza should have all three of pepperoni, sausage and bacon.

Just sayin'.

Sausage and pepperoni at a minimum.

We're not Godless savages here.

That Was It?

Erika went from the first named storm to a soggy beginning of the week overnight.

I'm going to buy a dart board and mark it with storm predictions and start mapping my results and seeing if it's more accurate than NOAA.

28 August 2015

Erika Approaches

Everyone is in freak out mode.

I couldn't put my finger on it because Erika is a very disorganized tropical storm.

Then it occurred to me, this happens every year for the first named storm to hit.

It's just the first one to hit this year is happening so very late.

Even if it's a tropical storm when it hits here, it's not going to be as bad as the last two weeks of July were for rain and wind.

Yes, serial unrelenting thunderstorms from a stalled front are worse than a tropical storm.  But guess which one is national news.

Teh Maths

And they don't add up.

According to Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) legal policy analyst Jon Feere, who testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security in April, between 350,000 and 400,000 children are born annually to an illegal-alien mother residing in the United States — as many as one in ten births nationwide. As of 2010, four out of five children of illegal aliens residing in the U.S. were born here — some 4 million kids. Reporting that finding, the Pew Research Center noted that, while illegal immigrants make up about 4 percent of the adult population, “because they have high birthrates, their children make up a much larger share of both the newborn population (8 percent) and the child population (7 percent) in this country.”
The cost of this is not negligible. Inflation-adjusted figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture projected that a child born in 2013 would cost his parents $304,480 from birth to his eighteenth birthday. Given that illegal-alien households are normally low-income households (three out of five illegal aliens and their U.S.-born children live at or near the poverty line), one would expect that a significant portion of that cost will fall on the government. And that’s exactly what‘s happening. According to CIS, 71 percent of illegal-alien headed households with children received some sort of welfare in 2009, compared with 39 percent of native-headed houses with children. Illegal immigrants generally access welfare programs through their U.S.-born children, to whom government assistance is guaranteed. Additionally, U.S.-born children of illegal aliens are entitled to American public schools, health care, and more, even though illegal-alien households rarely pay taxes.
Let's keep things simple and max it out.

If 400,000 kids are born to illegal aliens, and they're 1 in 10 of the birth rate, then that's 4,000,000 kids total.

71% of illegal kids get some sort of welfare, or 284,000 kids.
39% of legal kids get some sort of welfare, or 1,404,000 kids.

Five times as many legal families get welfare than illegal.

I know the point they're trying to make, and this doesn't make it.

I also note that nearly half of the children born in the US are on "some sort of welfare" too.

27 August 2015

In GURPS Pi Is Three

Thanks to Pirate Fashions I got a crash course in the fine distinctions of the locks between wheel lock and flintlock.

There's lots of different lock styles that use a flint that while they're flint locks they aren't flintlocks.

In vaguely chronological order...

Miquelet or Spanish Lock.
Doglock or English Lock.
Flintlock or True Flintlock or French Lock.

And subtypes and variants.

The distinctions center around the location of the springs, working of the sear, working of the cock, if the pan cover is automatically retracted, if the pan cover is part of the frizzen and if there's a frizzen or just a steel.

In the real world there's some real difference how these operate so that if you're thinking in one system, it can trip you up working another.

In GURPS they're all the same skill, with familiarization.

Gotta Sleep Sometime

In case I came across wrong...

It is impossible to maintain 100% situational awareness 100% of the time.

As the post title says, you gotta sleep sometime.

There's a myriad of things that can distract you from your greater surroundings long enough to get you killed, and that's just accidents.

Most people when performing a task are involved with it enough to not really be too aware of their surroundings, and what awareness there is gets heavily filtered.

It was once called sense memory.

Sense memory is the shortest term, your senses perceive it, but a filter runs here.  If the filter deems it noteworthy it can bump it up to short term memory, and into your conscious awareness.  You're literally not aware of everything your senses are reporting.

Ever been someplace where something that has been making noise the entire time you're there suddenly shuts down and you suddenly notice the silence rather than the absence of the noise?  That's sense memory talking.

When I was learning this, we dubbed it "the denial circuit".  Because your sense filters aren't very good at discriminating when they've been programmed to ignore things that fit a certain mold.  Your whole brain is not involved in the filtering process.  What this leads to is your senses reporting what they expect to see and not what they're actually seeing.

A person moving around in a public place where you expect people to be moving around can get filtered almost out of existence.  You nearly have to make a conscious effort to notice the background and then you're compromising your ability to perform the tasks you were sent to do.

Catch 22.

This same phenomenon is at work with several eye-witness studies.

You do the best you can.  All we can really hope is these tragedies will make you reprogram your filters to be more aware and perhaps that will save your life.

Me?  Because of the misophonia I spend a lot of time trying to shut my surroundings out.  I'm going to be killed never knowing how if someone decides to off me.

Bought My Last E-Book

Going back to paper exclusively.

Don't publish on paper?  No sale.


Because not once in nearly 50 years of reading has my paper library been rendered inaccessible from a mandatory update to the software.

There's how old Gutenburg Bibles that still work pretty much as originally published?

In ten years you're not going to have a single book you paid for from Amazon unless you've also dropped on a new computer and taken it in the shorts with whatever OS Apple, Android or Microsoft decide to stuff there.

I'm already keeping this ancient machine running because I don't want to lose the games I've paid good money for, but at least they're properly abandoned by the publisher so there's little chance of an update killing them.

26 August 2015

More New Shooter

Willard took his granddaughter shooting again.  She's improving!

Ian even gave her some more trigger time with his AR-7.

I took the Star B and confirmed that it once again goes bang.

Code White

I watched the vid the scumbag shooter made with his cell phone.

He had his gun out and pointed at Ms Parker for about three seconds and none of the three people standing there noticed.  He then loitered around a bit before opening fire.

All three of the victims were totally unaware of their surroundings.  Mr Adams, the cameraman, had his sight-line blocked by the camera equipment, but Ms Gardner, the woman being interviewed, should have been able to see it.  Did the denial circuit kick in and not let her perceive what she was seeing until the shooting started?

Just dammit.

Pay attention out there!

Wal Mart Is Discontinuing AR And Tactical Sales

They cite sales being utterly flat.

But everything political nowadays.

But it seems to me that they haven't sold ammo at my Wal Mart for a long time... well it seems like it because they're always out of stock.

The Lovely Harvey bought a 10/22 from Wal Mart years ago and it was the most tedious and painful gun-buying experience we've ever had.

Not even getting NFA was as big a pain in the rear.  Let that sink in.

Update: added a link to CNN I found at New Jovian Thunderbolt's place where he's talking about the same thing.  The Wal Mart spokesman indicates that they really only want the Fudd's in there buying guns and not the rest of us.

Wedge Antilles

He's the only named character in all three of the original Star Wars movies who isn't part of the main cast.

Denis Lawson did such a great job of appearing to be flying his X-Wing and Snowspeeder that it captured my young mind and stuck hard.

I've said it before, he's the only BY GOD fighter pilot in the whole Rebellion.

One thing I've done is to make my Lego X-Wing Wedge's X-wing.  Research materials abound and it's simple.

You extend the stripe on the fuselage past the canopy by changing out the white pieces for maroon.  Then you get his helmet from the two releases ago X-Wing set and his astromech droid from one of two other kits.  Ebay is your friend for not buying whole Lego sets to get small bits like this.

Because parts are coming, so are pics...

25 August 2015

Where The Heck Have I Been

I guess I am not sexist enough.  I had no idea Andre Norton was a woman.

I just read what books of hers that came to hand and if the first chapter hooked me, kept reading.

This is right up there with learning that Alexandre Dumas was black.  Though with him I watched far more movies based on his books than reading.

You'd think the identity of the authors would matter to me a lot more than it does since I'm trending on the Sad Puppy side as more details reach me, wouldn't you?

Since anyone who leans towards the Sad Puppy side is a misogynist racist homophobe nazi klansman who probably murders a kitten every morning for our bloody marys.


All you have to do is to keep your damn traps shut and I'll keep clicking on your comic.

Open your trap and I'll have no recourse but to find something else to read.

This is why you shouldn't have a blog at the bottom of your strip.  You're apt to say something that will alienate a reader so they go away and never return.

This is why I am not excited about the return of Bloom County (Although Mr Breathed did it in editorials in the newspapers that carried his strip and not on a blog).  It's why I quit reading a very amusing pro-gun comic, Failure to Fire.  It's why I'm quitting Schlock Mercenary.

Authors are a special kind of dancing monkey, I guess.

In Howard Tayler's case, I'm not going to support anyone who's cheering about the result of this years Hugos.  The entire camp on that side of the debate has nothing they should be celebrating and should feel nothing but shame.  They did nothing admirable and deserve no congratulations for being the bullies Larry Correia predicted and proved they'd be.

24 August 2015


Swapped out the old followers in The Lovely Harvey's M&P magazines for the newest design on a "just in case" basis.

Her old one on the left and a new one on the right.

I've heard tales of the older style splitting and jamming the magazine, so an ounce of prevention is applied here.

I also noticed that the baseplate on her older magazines is different from my newer ones.

The list of revisions in the M&P pistol line-up are legion.

It Does Not Matter

When someone complains that they've had bad service from a vendor, guess what doesn't matter?

Your flawless experience.

Congratulations that everything went without a hitch for you!

If there's lots of people with a positive experience, then it just means the negative experience is rare, not that it didn't happen.

But thanks for treating it as if it was impossible because YOU didn't have a bad experience.

An Errant Thought

Watching the Planned Parenthood thing unfold.

I cannot help but feel that people with religious objections to abortions should not have to pay for them.  But since tax monies are spent supporting Planned Parenthood, there's no way to avoid paying for abortions despite your religious objection if you're paying taxes.

Along these same lines it occurs to me that such end-runs happen with depressing regularity.

I am thinking there's an obvious solution.

The government can stop spending tax money on things where it interferes with people's religion.

Think of how small our government could be under such a plan!

We could lower taxes dramatically and those without religious objections could now spend their own money funding Planned Parenthood to their hearts content!

Won't happen though.  The kind of people who are happiest with the status quo are also the sort that would never spend any of their money directly on the convictions they hold dear, they're more the sort that feels that everyone, especially someone else, should pay for their beliefs.

Sudden Sick

I feel fine.

I feel fine.

OH GODS I'M GONNA DIE!  So cold, so very cold!  101 fever no less.

I feel fine.

What the heck causes spikes like that?

Planes And Engines

Pics of each flyable plane in First Eagles 2.  Because they're mostly just re-engined variations, it gets repetitious.

The Luftstreitkräfte planes had much smaller increases in engine power than the Allied though both sides were getting their increases from higher compression and higher octane fuel formulations.

Also of note is the Oberursel Ur.II which is a licensed copy of the Le Rhône 9J used in many Allied planes, including the Sopwith Camel.  Some German pilots obtained improved engines from downed allied planes and mounted them in their Fokker tri-planes even!

It astonishes me over and over how gigantic these engines are given their output, and how low the rpm is for peak-output.  Never mind that most engines started the war with around 4:1 compression and the "overpressure" engines were barely approaching 7:1 by the end.  This is all natural aspiration too!

Below the fold for the bandwidth disabled.

23 August 2015

Like The Weather

The Hugo awards...

It was interesting watching the controversy, but...

I realized that I did not care before the whole Sad Puppy thing and that I don't care now.

Just like the movies I really like tend to not get Oscars; the books I like don't get Hugos.

All you can do about it is to buy the products you like and not buy the products you dislike.

If you dislike the organization that puts out the award, you should stop paying them too.  For the Hugo that means you need to not go to the convention or pay for a membership.

If you're paying them you really can't complain you're getting what they're selling.

It's like I've long said, if you're not stealing from Hollywood, you're paying for Hollywood.  And even stealing it, you're not getting your money's worth.

22 August 2015


When I was 14-18 I was immortal.

When I was 18-21 I knew I wasn't immortal, but knew that nothing bad would happen to me for years and years.

When I was 22-25 I knew something bad could happen to me, but I didn't care if it did.

That I survived those 11 years sometimes makes me doubt my atheism.

Examining, hard, what deity would consider my behavior pious and reward me with divine intervention... um... Yeah, they're not on the "good" side of the ledger.

Injustice Inside Information

A son of a friend has been shot in a home invasion.  Dead center in his left knee-cap, will prolly be OK in time.

Apparently this is the fifth such invasion and the same description of three suspects and an SUV.

This SUV has been sighted trolling the area, particularly near the son's house.

You'd think that the sheriff would be balls on to catch these people, wouldn't you?


Sheriff Chris Nocco's detectives have determined that since the son was (note the past tense) a well known juvenile offender (no felonies!) that this home invasion and shooting must be because he's a drug dealer, so no need to investigate.


How did they determine the, now 23, kid was a drug dealer?  He had a small safe with a fair amount of cash in it and his mom found a glass pipe while she was helping with the clean-up.

It appears that the unofficial policy is that as long as the savages are hurting each other, to let them run rampant and the finding of so much as a single item of paraphernalia, such as a pipe, makes you a druggie.  Especially if you take the political position that marijuana should be legalized and say so on Facebook.  Isn't it nice that you can be written off by law enforcement if you hold a political position that's disagreeable to the sheriff?

Even more fun is five home invasions in the same neighborhood in the past two months in the same general neighborhood didn't even deserve a mention to the media.  I'm of a mind to mention it myself now.

I was willing to forgive Nocco's changing the deputy's uniforms to OD Green, and their starting to look more like troops than law enforcement, because it seemed like he was doing a good job of keeping the peace.

It now appears, to this voter, that all he's doing is not talking to anyone who'd relay the actual state of criminality to me; i.e. the local media.

He barely survived being primaried last election, so he's vulnerable to be deposed by his own Republican party.  And since he's a non-signer of NFA paperwork, how would he be different from a Democrat?

21 August 2015


The Star B firing pins finally arrived.

He put them in the mail on the 17th, the monday following my conversation with his wife on the 12th.  Arrival was four weeks two days from when his ordering system failed.

Then he charged $5 for a $2.04 first class bubble envelope.

On the plus side the new firing pins appear to be new firing pins and the one I installed fits and appears to function.

A pencil is launched about a yard straight up.

Next stop is the range.

19 August 2015


It just occurred to me that the entire point of, "we have to pass it to find out what's in it," was to obscure congressional intent from the courts attempting to discern such intent later on.


If the pro-choice side concedes that abortions are repugnant.

Will the pro-life side concede that making them illegal will be as effective at ending them as the war on drugs has been at stopping the sale and distribution of marijuana?

Getting Pissed

There are some things in customer service that drive me batty.

This firing pin for the Star is getting to be one of them.

If you're not going to bother with an online ordering system that works, just don't bother with a web page.

When your online ordering system fails, don't put the entire onus on the customer.

When you insist that the customer check to see if their card had been billed NOW instead of in a few days when the statement arrives because, "I would love to get this taken care of sooner than later if possible," you'd better have your shit together when the card information is straightened out.

You don't hand off the responsibility to someone else when the customer confirms for you that his card had not been charged.

You make sure they don't wait two days before following up as you said they would after YOU said, "I would love to get this taken care of sooner than later if possible."

Once they do call, you get the fucking parts in the motherfucking mail the next cocksucking day!


The post office might be slow, but they're not this slow.

I put in the initial order on July 22nd.  I waited two weeks before complaining.

That puts us to August 7th.

There's three days of emails back and forth trying to get him to see if he'd been paid before he admits that he's got no system for checking to see if a particular customer has been charged if his ordering system fails like it just did.

So I called my bank on the 10th and spent two hours on the phone because you can't just talk to a person anymore to learn that my card had not been charged, because he was in a hurry and couldn't wait two more days for my bank statement.  I emailed him my findings minutes after learning them.

His wife called me on the 12th.

Still no parts.

For someone who can't wait two or three days he's sure generous with my time.

Do not do business with Bob's Gun Parts out of Royal, Arkansas if you can in any way avoid it.

If you are in Royal Arkansas and see his shop on fire, there's a gas station just up the street where you can piss without accidentally putting the fire out.

Hard 'n Phirm - Pi [Sing-along version]

First Eagles 2

A sort of review...

Great War planes are slow.  Slower than Cessna slow.

They are also a lot more work to fly, even simplified like the game is.

You have to give it rudder to counteract the prop torque.  Trim what tabs?

The amount of rudder changes with airspeed and power setting too.

Next is the gun sights, or lack thereof.

On the Albatros, the convergence point is a little solid block up front between the guns, not a gunsight at all.  Not that it matters except in the most steady state trailing shot.  Kentucky windage is the preferred method.

Get in close, no closer, NO closer, NO CLOSER.  Like fill your sight picture with his plane.  That's about 100 yards for range.  Then it's astonishing how many rounds don't connect with anything vital.  You can perforate the wings and fuselage of a WW1 plane and not affect it's performance much, let alone kill it.

After a couple hours in an Abatros, you're not going to think of an F-4B as lumbering or wallowing anything.  The Phantom is fast, responsive, accelerates quickly and is very predictable.

These planes are frustratingly stable, they feel like they actively resist maneuvering.  This is good for staying in the air at all, but not so great about pointing the guns.  The good news is everyone has this problem.

That said, the turning circles are amazing.  Of course, at 100 mph you're not pulling very many G and you're bleeding energy like a stuck pig.

Yet, I am having a great time!  Learning something new, these games always inspire me to look up the historical information.

Wing Tip Clearance

While it appears that there's plenty of room between the water tower and the church steeple...  The game box it occupies must be much larger because it took off the left wingtip when I flew between them.

I'm flying a November 1918 campaign in Cambrai, France with Jasta 8 flying Abatros D.V (170 hp engine).

I survived the crash so they gave me a new kite.

Despite the 170 horsepower 4.1:1 compression ratio 903 cubic inch engine... I would not be able catch a Cessna 150 in level flight!

18 August 2015

What Are We Proving Again

Tam's testing to 2k rounds on that SiG has me to thinking and Willard to mentioning...

What are we testing here?

It's a great demonstration of reliability, to be sure.

What did Tam get for failures in that SiG?  Like three ammo-related out of 2,000?

It's almost boring, except it's shooty and that's nearly always fun.  A shitty day at the range beats a great day at the office, I says.

I think we're at the point in history where the gun's going to work as long as the ammo does, and factory ammo is damn near to the goes bang without fail point.  0.15% failure is damn good, really, and unless all three of those bum rounds happened in sequence with each other in a fight, you're prolly OK.

I think the market has winnowed out the truly bad designs from the serious competition and where such designs still cling is where cost is the overriding factor not performance (ala High-Point).

This reliability standard has been on the horizon for a while.  The original M1911 testing required 5,000 rounds with zero gun related failures, and the issue M1911 could routinely do it as long as you used the issue ball ammo.  I frequently have to point out that damn few "1911's" are made to the US Army's specs, which carries both good and bad with the changes to those specs.

But a 1911 that survived the acceptance endurance test would shortly need a few parts replaced.

New guns wouldn't.  The materials and the designs are really improved.  Engineering didn't sit still for 100+ years even if the basic idea going on with the gun isn't much changed from when Browning came up with the dropping barrel.  A modern gun is a refined and constantly improved linear descendant.

So, what are we proving by dumping 2,000 rounds without cleaning or lube?

Most armies and police forces carry a pistol and two reloads.  That's common for the CCW holders who carry spare ammo too.  That's a mere 52 rounds for a Glock 17.

I think all we're demonstrating with these endurance tests is that our new gun is, indeed, a modern well engineered pistol.  Sadly, it's something that needs to be proven and we can't just take it for granted.

New Game

Thirdwire is having a sale on their older PC titles, so I dropped on First Eagles 2.

The flyable list is:

Albatros D.III with 160 hp Mercedes d.III engine.
Albatros D.III with 170 hp Mercedes d.IIIa engine.
Albatros D.III made by Ostdeutsche Albatros Werke (OAW)
Albatros D.V with 160 hp Mercedes d.III engine.
Albatros D.V with 170 hp Mercedes d.IIIa engine.
Albatros D.V with 180 hp Mercedes d.IIIaü engine.
Albatros D.Va with 170 hp Mercedes d.IIIa engine.
Albatros D.Va with 180 hp Mercedes d.IIIaü engine.
Fokker Dr.1 with 110 hp Oberursel Ur.II 9-cylinder rotary.
Fokker D.VII with 170 hp Mercedes d.IIIa engine.
Fokker D.VII(F) with 180 hp Mercedes d.IIIaü engine.
Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5a with 200 hp Hispano-Suiza 8Ba or Wolseley Viper engine.
Sopwith Camel F.1 with 110 hp Le Rhône 9J Rotary.
Sopwith Camel F.1 with 130 hp Clerget 9B Rotary.
Sopwith Camel F.1 with 150 hp Gnome Monosoupape 9N Rotary.
SPAD S.XIII with 150 hp Hispano-Suiza 8Aa engine.
SPAD S.XIII with 200 hp Hispano-Suiza 8Ba engine.
SPAD S.XIII with 235 hp Hispano-Suiza 8Bb engine.

WWI planes are emphatically different from the jets I've been flying.  Frustrating learning the new tactics and having the top wing in the way.

17 August 2015

I Just Wanted One Thing

Dear Brownell's,

All I wanted was a couple of replacement followers for Harvey's M&P 9.

Since the shipping would be more than the parts I actually needed, I looked around for stuff that would be "worth" the shipping costs.

An hour later with $500 of stuff in my cart...

DAMN YOU BROWNELL'S!  Damn your meretricious nature!

Ten minutes later I finally admit that I don't need everything right now and that I don't have $500 anyways.

An hour later I have it pared down to the parts I originally wanted and a Stripula.

Brownell's knows if you are weak and they, like wolves, only prey on us.

Be wary if you enter the woods internet with your credit card loosely secured.


What the heck happened to black powder?

It wasn't all that long ago that you could buy a complete set-up in Wal Mart.

Now I can't even find percussion caps at a gun store!

I've found them online and the hazmat charges are insane.

On Birthright

I've said before...

"To be considered a natural born citizen of the United States your parents must have been legal residents or citizens of the US at the time of your birth. Persons born to illegal aliens will be considered citizens of their parents country, but will not be charged with illegal entry."

A simple change.  Easily done.  Well, if not easily, simply.

This ends the anchor baby problem.

Yes, I would send these children back to their parent's country.  They're not our problem.  Their parents created what problems exist with them and It's not our responsibility.

16 August 2015


In Traveller, the Star Trek could be regarded as an alternate history because it's set 3,300 years in the past.

It could be also be considered a fantasy story as well because of the unrealistic and magical technology compared to the surprisingly mundane Imperial tech.

Edit to add:

If you think of Traveller computers as needing this space as shown instead of thinking of them as the little line-replaceable-units; then the LBB computer sizes make more sense.  It doesn't forgive the 1 lb. hand computer that's just a remote terminal though.

15 August 2015


It only occurs to me after I've done the search...

In our massively connected and recorded internet existence...

Is looking up "Failed Presidential Assassination Attempts" likely to get a visit from the Secret Service?

My original reason for looking is my memory remembers more attempts on Republican presidents than Democrat.  It's about the same.

If there'd been more attempts on Republicans I was going to see how many of the would be assassins were some flavor of Socialist.

The Socialists are falling behind in their attempts and being replaced by Islamists, just in case you're curious.


Today, on the deck of USS Missouri the Second World War ended with the unconditional surrender of Japan.

This is also the last actual war the US has fought, everything after that lacks a congressional declaration of war; including D'Warren Tara.

Targeted Ads

Or should I say Searsed since it's Sears generating them...

I sure hope this combination is causing some confusion with the NSA's tracking system.

If Convicted

While I have no confidence that even busted red handed Hillary will be convicted, let alone sentenced to anything more than a hand slap...

It'd be nice if she was and the judge added the same modifier to her sentencing that Barry Seal got.

I'd love to see the minds explode while their patron saint has to go without Secret Service protection because "You will not own guns, you will not be around people with guns, you will not hire people with guns."

Wanna Make College Affordable

Take away all the money.

It's counter intuitive.

All giving people money to pay for college has done is raised tuition.

Look it up.

When that fountain of funding dries up the colleges and universities are going to have to lower tuition, justify the costs to the students or die off.

In a generation we went from being able pay tuition at a state college with what's a minimum wage job today to an associates degree at a community college costing more than Harvard did in the 1950's.

The actual material being taught did not actually become more valuable.

The best they can do to sell the education is that you're likely to make more over your lifetime than someone without a degree, but they forget to subtract paying off your tuition and student loans.

Never mind that where you went to school still matters a great deal more than what you learned when it comes time to get a job.  I've watched The Lovely Harvey talk rings around a Yale grad at an office party.

She's got her MBA from the same rinky-dink defunct Corinthian College school I went to.  She definitely knows more than that Yale MBA does about the subject matter, and he admitted it.

Guess who's making more money and has the higher position?

They're friends, so she could conceivably network out of it, and that underscores that it's not what, but whom you know.

Higher Prices

Something I do expect from Verizon Wireless is to further lock out phones that don't come from them.  Ask Anglave how much they liked his Nexus 5...

A foot note in every article about this new deal is that they're going to continue to have a payment plan for your new phone!

Let's pick on Marv...

Marv's share of the plan is $60 now and his $480 phone was $250 out of pocket.  So Verizon has $230 worth of subsidy here.

Under the new plan his share drops to $20.  That means it takes a mere six months to pay off the subsidy at the old $60 a month, but the contract is 24 months...

Assuming that the plan really cost $20 all along and $40 was there to help subsidize phones, of course.  But it's representational.

The devil will be in the details.

Lower Prices

There's much ado about Verizon Wireless dropping the contracts and phone subsidies.

It will take my bill from $260 a month for four phones and a tablet with 5gb to $140 a month for four phones and 6gb.

On average a smart phone lasts us three years.  We've been taking advantage of the subsidy and renewing the contract when we do.

I did the math...  It's simple math.

$120 per month saved, x24 months for the contract is... $2,880.  Even if the unsubsidized phones are $600 a pop we can replace all four every year, essentially for what we're paying at present.

Remember how I said three years?  That comes to $5,040 saved, minus (4*$600) or $2,640 saved over three years.

And it actually saves more!  Because the subsidy isn't for the full price of the phone.  The Motox is $375 as I've configured it, and I paid VzW $200, so they only subsidized me for $175.

So a $600 phone is really $400 out of my pocket more than when they subsidize...  That's still better than what I am paying.

Putting the money aside is in that "adult responsibility" column that's been so very hard to learn.

It's also unlikely that our phone choices will be $600 phones.  That's an iPhone.

As I said, my Motox is $375 bought straight from Motorola with customization.  With half the memory it's a $450 phone from VzW.  $480 for the next phone we have... then $350 for Harvey and $210 for her mom's non-smart phone.  Worst casing... $450 + $480 + $350 + $210 = $1,670 to replace them all.  Even at two years we've saved more than enough with the new plan and have more than $1,200 still in our set-aside.

And this assumes that prices will stay the same or go up.  Electronics don't trend that way.

I think that Verizon Wireless' plan is going to work for them if enough people can handle buying that first off-contract replacement phone outright.

14 August 2015

Visiting The 2,000 Worlds

I am attempting to grok the K'Kree.

I think the Hiver are easier because they're so totally alien physiologically you can't start from anywhere but zero.

I think they're going to be easier than Vargr because they're alien enough to avoid some preconceptions whereas the Vargr are remarkably similar to Humaniti in enough ways that the differences end up being subtle.

And I am ever so amused that Traveller has militant xenophobic obligate herbivores and the race called Vegan isn't it.


If Italians were as touchy as some identity groups, if you said, "as the day goes by," they'd start screaming, "I ain't no bisexual!"

Woo Hoo

Reverting to 1970 technology worked for the seller of the firing pins!

I didn't tell him I answered his call on my smart phone out of fear it would send him running and screaming to the hills.

I should have my Star B back up and running pretty soon!


If the reason I own a gun is penis envy, explain the girls.

I know several gun owning women who can easily get all the penis they want who own guns.  At least one doesn't want any penis at all.

13 August 2015

XKCD Was Right

But if I had a shot of scotch for every time I see American history revised around the Native American and his innocent noble nature; I'd open a distillery and rebottle that shit because I couldn't drink it fast enough to dent the supply.

There's enough atrocity to go around on both sides.

What makes people all weepy over the noble savage is they were massively overmatched and the people weeping are descendants of the victors in this war.

War?  Singular?  Try wars, plural.

Again, there's enough blame to go around on both sides.

If the American Indian was wholly innocent and never went back on their word, never murdered anyone, never massacred settlers and never committed a single atrocity...  Maybe...

But that's not true.

The conflict in the US West was mutual and it was a fight to the death.  Both sides wanted the fight, and got it good and hard.

It Came From Facebook

A picture showing the Starsky and Hutch Torino, Dukes of Hazzard Charger and Smokey and The Bandit Trans Am; asking which we'd prefer.

In stock form, the Charger is the best muscle car.  But I'd never own another genuine MOPAR again if my choices were General Lee or Smart 4 Two.  Great engine, horrid electrical systems.  MOPAR gave Lucas a run for their money on failures.

Painless Wiring didn't get started making EFI swap harnesses, just sayin...

I'd own a modern Dodge with a Hemi™ in it.  I'd own a classic MOPAR with a complete to AC-Delco wiring conversion (Painless' bread and butter for a long time).

That leaves me with the smog motors from Ford and Pontiac...

Well, the Pontiac is easiest to fix.  So readily fixed that the producers of Smokey and the Bandit fixed even the hero car.  It took me years of watching the movie before I recognized what I was looking at and why it's impressive.

Right after Bandit picks up Carrie and she intones the verbal incantation, "Does this thing move?" the Trans Am takes off and chirps the tires in the 1-2.  That chirp left 20' marks!  If you keep watching, he chirps 2-3 as well.

The Trans is my choice of the three, but like the MOPAR, I would have to have it fixed.  Of the three it's the easiest to get handling well.  This is, of course, until the memories of the Silver Camaro start to override the nostalgia and remind me how much owning a 2nd Gen F-Body is Love-Hate.

The Torino is the car I want to like (because I liked the show).  But I just can't.  There's nothing wrong with the looks to me, or inherently with Ford.  It just doesn't trip the lever.

Fords, like GM's, are easy to work on and have lots of parts available to make things better.  GM beat Ford to the punch on the simple means of meeting smog rules, so there's a lot more plumbing in there, but nearly all of it is discarded when you're fixing the problem and unless you live outside the US where they still check for that crap, there's no reason to keep it.

As an aside on smog shit, Hot Rod or Car Craft once did an article about getting better mileage from your hot rod.  They took it down to a CARB testing station to see what the emissions were before and after.  The only thing left of the emissions system was the catalytic convertors and it was cleaner at the tailpipe after the mods.  It almost failed in stock form and passed with flying colors with a new engine tuned up well.  The inspector, however, said the car would still fail because it didn't pass the visual inspection that looked for the outdated vacuum controlled emission equipment, intake and carb.

h/t Tam's Facebook


Jimmah has cancer?

Has it really bad?


Hope he suffers to his last breath.

11 August 2015


I enjoy Deadliest Catch.

It's interesting to see National Geographic say that the arctic ice is all but gone while these crab fisherman are ALL saying that the ice is farther south sooner than it was even a couple years ago and how several places their parents fished are just no longer accessible because of where the ice is nowadays.

I tend to believe the fishermen because their interest is entirely in filling their holds and don't have anything vested in making things seem different than they are.  Even if they were, there's constant footage of their map displays and you can see the damn ice out the windows.  The ice is where they say it is.

Social Status

For [5] per level you can change your Status from the default of 0 and become a noble.


There's a down side in that you've got to spend more to live appropriately or lose the status.

But say you wanted to make a character who's a baron.

Seems simple enough, shell out the 20 points for being a lesser noble and you're in!

But is that all of it?

Barons held land, so some wealth should be associated with it.

Barons could mete out justice, so legal enforcement powers should be purchased.

Barons, being nobility, weren't subject to the same laws as commoners.  Some legal immunity might be appropriate (depending on how the immunity is exercised; for some crimes the sentence is the same for commoner and noble, it's just the method of execution that varies).

The higher up the social ladder you are in the peerage, the more wealth and power you wield.

Nobles have a duty to their liege.  That liege may also be a patron.

Nobles also have a duty to their fief.

There are historical societies where one can be a noble, but penniless and powerless; and common, but rich and powerful.

For a fantasy game there may even me restrictions on nobility and being a wizard or cleric.

In many cases the focus of being a noble is managing the fief and being an officer and soldier come time of war, bringing your fief's levy of troops with you when called.

As time passes, historically, the powers fade even if the wealth doesn't.

Should buying the title be enough to get everything else, or should it be a la carte?


I once speculated that DRM was doomed not from base profit motives of thieves but by the shiny-red candy-like nature of cracking the problem to a certain mind.

I think I found another piece of evidence that supports my supposition.

Look up how The Odyssey Notes were solved.

If you put a mystery out there and tell people it's unbeatable, there's going to be people who find that irresistible and if it can be beaten, they'll be the ones doing it.

Because they can.

It's especially obvious with DRM because they start with the knowledge that it can be beaten because a defeat needs to be built into it so the rightful purchaser can play the media.

Apocalypse Speculation

Iran is almost definitely getting nukes.

I will be shocked if they don't get some sort of agreement with The Soviet Union Russia that considers an attack on Iran the same thing as an attack The USSR Russia.

We had such agreements with several nations of Europe during the Cold War (and they're likely still in force as part of NATO).

Knowing that the mullahs be wantin' the poxyclips to summon the 13th Imam...

Would you put it past them to pop off their nukes at home to make it look enough like a US or Israeli first strike and hope, in the confusion, The USSR Russia launches a retaliatory strike at the US and NATO?

Mandela Effect Explained

Here, read this.

There is no such thing as The Mandela Effect.

What's happening is far more people have Temporal Inertia than we thought.

Temporal Inertia (Mental, Supernatural) [15 points]  
You are strongly rooted in probability. If history changes, you can remember both versions. If you are involved in a genuine time paradox, you are not erased, even if the rest of your world is! You have a place in the new timeline, whatever it is, and remember all your experiences – even the ones that never happened. (In an extreme case, you have two complete sets of memories, and must make an
IQ roll any time you have to distinguish between them under stress . . . you might need Acting skill to stay out of the lunatic asylum.)
There is a drawback: there is a “you” in any parallel or split timeline you encounter, and he is as similar to you as the timeline allows.
This trait is only worthwhile in a campaign in which paradoxes or changes in history – erasing past events or whole timelines – are possible. See Unique (p. 160) for the opposite of this advantage.
GURPS Basic Set: Characters p. 93.  © 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2004, 2008 by Steve Jackson Games Inc.

There is no longer anything to see here, move along.

This Is Why I Wrench

Completely replacing both front calipers and pads is under $100 on The Biscayne.

Just takes a few hours to do, and most of that is running to the parts store and bleeding the brakes.

I can't even work up too much upset about the right front caliper getting stuck on me.  That caliper has almost 300,000 miles on it and was first mounted on the car in March of 1990 in the Willow Run Assembly plant.

I think the last time I did the pads was before I got The Precious too.

The Type A Front Door

Copyright 1998 Steve Jackson Games.

This is the main airlock and entryway on Deck 2 of a Beowulf class Type-A Free Trader, up is forward.

It's served by iris valves on both ends and has iris valves in both the overhead and deck near the inboard end.  Ladder up leads to Deck 1 and the passenger common area and staterooms.  Ladder down leads to Deck 3 and the lower-forward cargo area and purser's "office".  The inboard hatch (iris valve) leads to the crew common area and staterooms.

For more convenience during passenger boarding, a folding set of steep stairs is used instead of the ladder rungs set into the wall.  These stairs also have the advantage of blocking the valves to the crew area and cargo deck.  The 1.2m diameter iris valve and steep stairs serve as a reminder to passengers that Flying Free Trader is not luxury service as can be found on a Subsidized Liner like a Stellar Class.

Aft of the airlock is the bay containing the low berths.  Notice that it's not sealed against vacuum in the airlock!  Luckily, the berths themselves are.

One hex is one yard across flats.

This deckplan is not entirely accurate about the outer door.  The iris valve is actually set back from the hull about 1.5m and is parallel with the inner door.  The angled portion where the valve is shown is just a fairing that opens up like a door and is hinged at the top.  The creates a bit of a porch outside the iris valve.

A set of collapsible stairs extends out from under the porch to allow access to the airlock from the ground.

Similar to this:

The stairs on a Beowulf are a little longer because the hatch is about 4.5m off the ground instead of the 2.74m shown here.

The outer iris valve is equipped with a standard Imperial 1.2m docking ring.

It Is Not 1985

But you'd never be able to tell from so many gun parts sellers.

My quest to obtain a replacement firing pin for my Star B is reaching epic frustration levels with the seller.

His archaic web page, which is just an image of his paper inventory sheet, lets me fill out an order form that would be at home in the center of a circa 1985 Numrich catalog.

No shopping cart, enter the name of the part in its box, the part's number in its box, how many you want, the price, do the quantity times price math...  Subtotal... add tax if your in his state (I'm not) then shipping...

All manually like you were filling out the form on paper before there was teh intertubes.

You hit send and then you hope and "allow two weeks for delivery" because LITERALLY his wife makes the trip to the post office once a week with the orders.

Hope wasn't enough.  His order form failed and two weeks passed without parts.

He's very responsive to email, I am happy to report, and neither of us is yelling at each other.

I spent more time than it should have taken to get my bank to confirm that my card had not been charged.  The seller made sure I checked so that I wouldn't get gigged twice for the parts.  I appreciate that!

He's put it on his wife to give me a call and we'll complete the order over the phone like it's 1960 or something.

10 August 2015

Bike Week

A convention of motorcycle owners who like to cosplay as a motorcycle gang.

Yet somehow feel they can actually look down on gamers, geeks and bronies.

Didn't cost me thousands of dollars for my fashion accessory that I have to leave parked outside the convention center where nobody who can see my costume can see it.

09 August 2015

Another 70

It's been 70 years since anyone has popped a nuke in anger.

It's actually astonishing.

Weapons, once invented, tend to get used.

Come to think on it, I am surprised that there hasn't been a lot more chemical and biological warfare too.

NBC is scary shit, but being scary has never stopped people from slaughtering their fellow man before.

08 August 2015

The Guts Of An Iris Valve

And why they kind of need to be round rather than door shaped.

07 August 2015

Maybe I Should Reconsider

Chuck "Moar Gun Control" Schumer dislikes the deal with Iran?

Maybe a nuk-lear Persia is something I want now.

Or is Chaz just blinking 12:00 at noon again?

Not One

There's like 40 Republican candidates and not one with a beard.

Something wrong with that.

You've Never Even Tried To Play

Yonder on Facebook...

It's no secret I am a fan of GURPS.

I've literally been playing it longer than it's existed because FuzzyGeff bought Man-To-Man.  1985.

GURPS is on its 4th edition in those 30 years, but one thing hasn't changed: If someone complains about another table-top RPG, damn sure someone is going to insert how much GURPS sucks.

And it's always by someone who obviously didn't actually play it.

Yes, you idiot, I can tell from here because what you're complaining about doesn't actually exist in the game.  I know that because I have actually played it.  Not only played it, Gamemastered all four editions.

Gamemastered for people who don't even like me as a person, but the gaming was good enough to keep them coming back.  If the game was as bad as all that, these people would have taken the excuse to leave and run.

Do you know what the complaint is really about?


GURPS is the first game system that was actually designed to be generic (it's in the bloody name!) and non-genre specific.  That means there's going to be sections of the rules that never get touched for any given genre.

Generic means there's going to be some amount of cumbersome, but I've played a lot of systems since I started gaming in (oh shit) 1978 and keep coming back to GURPS because it really shines at the worlds I like to create.

Some of my enthusiasm is of the "born again" variety.  I really loathed the idea of points based character generation when I first had to deal with it.  In 1981... with Champions 1e.  GURPS was the second point-based system I played.

As an aside, it seems that most complaints about GURPS are actually realized with Hero 5e, can it be as simple as people getting the point-based games confused?

A gigantic hunk of my enthusiasm for GURPS comes from converting from other game systems.  Twilight 2000 got converted first.  Then Traveller.  Then Megatraveller.  Then, well just about anything GDW made since they did good world design but not so much good game design.  GURPS never failed to adapt to the new worlds.  Not only did it never fail, it also got easier to hammer into shape with progressive editions.*

When you're converting other games and trying to maintain the tone and feel of a genre, you've really got to open the hood and see what makes the other game tick.  You are forced to confront how much of your game isn't actually in the rulebook, but are house-rules to bypass errata or just flat missed by the game designer.

LBB Traveller and AD&D were two such games where we didn't hardly use the actual rules while playing the game because they are HORRID game systems.  We used the skeletons of the system with our own flesh hung from the bones.  It made bringing new players to the table extremely tedious.

Hopping back and forth between game systems when hopping between GM and genre got old fast too.  Especially when everyone remembered a good rule from a different game to handle a situation and the GM put their foot down about the not-as-good rule that actually went with the game we were playing.  Then the argument about it that wasted so much game time...

GURPS, although complicated and a bit cumbersome, at least had the charm of once learned you'd learned it.  The worst part of the game is still, after thirty years, character generation.  Scope comes to play again.  For players used to and comfortable with the narrow scope of character classes the sudden lack of constraints is a problem.  Here's where the real meat of the complaints is.  They simply don't know how to make a character without the constraints channeling them into their party role, so they take it out on the thing that's "hurting" them, the game.

The next thing that always gets that player is balance of points.  The core complaint about people who hate GURPS, is their favorite spell or ability from another game doesn't work the same (different rules, duh) or is brutally expensive when it has to be given a fair point value.

It's been fun to compare it.  Back in 1982... when we split off of Bear's home-brewed D&D to play "real" AD&D we all rolled up 1st level characters and played the game.  Four years later, with GURPS: Fantasy for GURPS 1e in hand, we recreated our party from 9th grade...

It was interesting.  The fighter was about the same.  The thief was more fighter-like, but also far more versatile.  The magic user was more survivable.  The ranger and the cleric were fucked up, but we figured out how to mash something together.

Where things got interesting to me was how the characters progress from the start position.  After a bit of running in AD&D, the fighter wasn't really much more effective, but the cleric and magic user... Oy vey!  Their advancement was exponential compared to non-spell users.

With GURPS the power level stays fairly flat.

To capture the epic scope of AD&D in many campaigns you've got to issue your players epic points.  (Here's a hint the GM decided how many points you start with, not the GAME).

*GURPS has actually been through 6 editions.

0e is Man-To-Man which is just a combat system. (1985)
1e and 2e are nearly identical. (1986)
3e was a substantial change and this is where the game started to actually live up to it's promise. (1988)
3eR or 3rd Edition Revised came out and this is the definitive 3e version, but it's also starting to collapse under its own weight.  (1996)
4e is 3eR pruned back and rationalized.  (2004)

Looking back at 3eR I can see clearly what a steaming mess it'd become.  We happily played it because we'd been playing 3e and the changes to the system occurred incrementally and organically through supplements and errata so we didn't notice we'd stepped into a new edition so much (we also ignored a good hunk of the optional rules).  3e had forgotten it was supposed to be generic and had new core game rules introduced with every world specific book.  3eR was an attempt to consolidate those rules into the main book, but the contradictions were insurmountable if you were attempting to combine some genres.

I sometimes wonder if complainers are talking about this mess.  It'd be a valid complaint, if the specifics of what they're complaining about hit on the contradictions!  And if the complaints were different from when it was the far simpler, but definitely incomplete 2nd edition.

It's the scope they don't like.

They don't like that a world doesn't come with the game.  They don't like their role is not narrowly defined for them by character class.  They don't like that their starting power level is identical to the other players and the system, by design, tends to keep the player's power level similar as they advance.

If I were cynical I'd say it's because they have to use their imaginations and think for a change.

Trust Issues

How does one find out how the debate went if one can't stand to watch such things and doesn't trust any news outlet to report about it honestly?

06 August 2015


Today it has been seventy years since the first atomic weapon was used in war.

Trinity might have been the first atomic device detonated, but Little Boy was the first atomic weapon.

The delicious irony is yesterday President Obama was crowing about what a great deal HE had made with Iran over their nuclear weapons research.

I really worry that WW2 will be known as The First Nuclear War someday because of how inept Democrat presidents are at handling the Middle East; Iran in particular.

05 August 2015

I Did Not Think You Could DO This

The Droids You're Looking At

It comes up often in geekdom...

Why didn't Obi-Wan recognize C3PO and R2D2?

Quick!  Show me a picture of your first television set!  Clock radio.  Coffee Maker.  Kitchen table...

Protocol and Astromech droids are mass produced consumer electronics!

C3PO might be special because Anakin build him from scrap parts, but he was made to, eventually, look just like a standard protocol droid.  We see at least two other identical except for color droids in the original movies!

We see even more R2 units scurrying about.

It's like spotting a particular VW Beetle...

As for remembering their names, do you remember the license plate number on your parent's car 20 years ago?

I know lots of people who can't remember the model their parents owned 20 years ago!

04 August 2015

Vintage Ammo

There's at least as much tape as box remaining.

41 rounds remaining.

It's like someone loaded up their Gov't Model and called it a life.

What year did they start putting .38 Super on the head?  The box appears to be from 1930-1933.

Inside the FN FAL


Up on the bridge, everything is a glass cockpit.  Configurable displays, touch screens, soft-switches, even some motion-capture holo-display controls.  The whole ship can be run from the bridge, in fact.

Why then, engineering?  More importantly, why is it manned?

Because engineering is where the manual overrides reside.  Valves with wheels.  Hard wired physical switches.  Dedicated electronic controls with manual switched redundancies!

A warning panel with distinct and dedicated lights (three bulbs per light!) telling you what system is having a problem instead of a pop-up on a computer screen that your entire life on the internet has trained you to instantly minimize and ignore.

Letting the ship's computer run things is preferred, and far more efficient, but... if your choice is between it efficiently not working at all or inefficiently working some with the harsh reality of hyperspace pressing in on the hull...

It's the difference between replacing a nothing part like the primary field strength generator or shutting down the entire waveguide form while in hyperspace to replace and re-wind the field initiator coil (all while trusting the secondary FSG to hold while you remember where in The Void did you leave your 0.05mm magnetic superconductor spool and wondering if your splicer's powercell is still good).

Physical tell-tales are a good thing.

A skilled engineer can tell at a glance at the annunciator panel in engineering and see if, perhaps, an alarm is spurious by seeing what other systems are not illuminated.  They might then be able to override the computer and keep an essential system online or even operate it in a degraded capacity and avert disaster.

Traveller Tuesday is an Erin thing I intermittently also do, but it's Her idea originally.

03 August 2015

Must Be Racism

One of my neighbors has put his heart and soul into his house and the flooding came halfway up his lawn.

He was out when the clouds broke, fixing what he could.

Some "idle youths" were wandering the neighborhood doing the same thing The Lovely Harvey and I were doing.  Checking out how bad things were.

The neighbor stood at the corner of his property and kept the youths under observation their entire transit up the block and around the corner.

Should I mention that both he and the youths were of the same complexion?

Should I mention that it's much darker than my pale-blue Scottish hue?

We kept a bit of an eye on them too, to be honest.  There's been some break-ins at homes where the residents evacuated already.  I am pretty sure the kids were some of the local teens and generally harmless.  We don't live in the 'hood and neither do they.

Or is this my white pale-blue cisgender privilege talking?

Shhh Dancing Monkey Shhh

Ms Schumer, you're pretty and I like it when you take your clothes off (although I've lost a lot of respect for C3PO now).

And that pretty much sums up what I'd like from you.

Since I didn't demand you get nekkid at gunpoint, you can stop pontificating about guns now.


It should get bigger if you click on it.

Gun Nutty

I know that I'm too into guns now.

Watching the videos on C&Rsenal's YouTube channel.

The person they have shooting, May, is a pretty woman.

It took The Lovely Harvey saying, "she's pretty," for me to stop looking at the gun she was firing and notice.

Hi, my name is Angus McThag and I'm a gun-nut.


Shown here is the Pasco Sheriff's Department testing their new Moisture Resistant Amphibian Protected vehicle.

Rain Rain Go Away

It's been raining solid for about a week here.

Not a gentle rain, but torrential nearly all day everyday with a stalled front right on top of us.

I can't find an online source, but the news said 18" in the past week.

Update:  The nearest station shows 25.50" for July, all but 2.2" have been from the 17th on.  12.25" from the 24th when we had the first round of flooding.  Then we've had 5" in the past three days.

I am astonished how a couple of inches a day, every day, adds up!

This is how it looks down the road from my front porch!

People are taking advantage of the empty lot where the house used to be to get their cars out of the worst of it.

Zoomed in to gauge the depth...

The dip on the street I live on is filling in too.

Because of the slope in my front yard, I'm about three feet above the present water level, I should be OK.  Fingers crossed.

02 August 2015


In the process of moving my posts from LiveJournal to here...

I've noticed something about a friend that kind of bothers me.

The way they enter the debate is to WIN.  Not convince me, but to CRUSH my position and declare victory.

That bothers me a lot.

Especially since I didn't notice that what was going on when it was happening.

What stands out while copy-pasting much of this is there's absolutely nothing they've commented on where they agreed with me.

But when there was a disagreement, reams and reams of links and rebuttal.


Just damn.

Practical Experiment

A long time ago...

I was at the range with an FAL.

One of the target shooters there saw me blasting away and, jokingly, said that in combat I'd need to hit more often.

I, in jest, replied, "it's surpressing [sic] fire!"

This led to a little challenge.

His scoped bolt gun, vs my FAL.  We set up some milk jugs full of water at the 100 yard line.  We start with rifles down, unloaded, and first one to hit a jug wins.


"GO!" and we lunge for our rifles.

The target shooter sits down at the bench and starts thumbing rounds into his magazine.  I grab the FAL and shove the loaded magazine into the well.

We actually start aiming at the same time.

I start banging out rounds, missing around the gallon container and getting a little frustrated.  Finally after about ten shots my jug explodes.


About a second later I'm surprised to hear him fire his first round.

He's very surprised to find that I'm finished and have hit the jug already.

It was illustrative of a couple things.

We were both so focused we'd lost track of that the other guy was doing.  He thought the lull in my shooting was me running out of ammo and pausing to reload.  He admitted that the sound of my shooting was affecting his aim and adding pressure.

We chatted a bit about the lesson we should learn from this and never really came to a conclusion.


I remember that once upon a time that black people were considered ignorant and ineducable.


I've seen photos from a time when people might not be familiar with the word 'electric' with signs that say "DANGER: Electric Fence" with black workers pictured.

Ineducable, ignorant and stupid, yet expected to be able to read.  That underscores how stupid racism can be pretty well too.

Today we can't print words on a sign and expect people to understand the meaning, today it has to be an icon or pictograph.

Today when we're educated, knowledgeable and smart; we're not expected to be able to read.

It really slaps me in the face when I see a car ad on TV spell out MPG as emm pee gee.  I sometimes wonder if they know that means miles per gallon.

I am dreading when someone says, "this engine makes 220 aich pee and 200 ftttttttt luhbuhss."