Monday, December 29, 2008

An Update AND a Rant, All In One!

These last few weeks have been crazy. Between getting Christmas shopping done, visiting relatives, visiting friends, and planning more visits with relatives, I haven't managed to get anything constructive done around the house that I was planning to do. Which really isn't a big price to pay at all for spending time with loved ones at Christmas.

What I have managed to do is to catch up on laundry, get my Para LTC (that was beginning to rust - more on that later) traded out for a Glock 20, get new tires on my truck (Along with a new tie rod end and a front end alignment), and get traps and poison set out for the uninvited guest I mentioned previously.

Now, what's the deal with Para-Ordnance? I've had two Para pistols, both of which have exhibited a disturbing tendency to rust. The first was a P12-45 that rusted underneath the Hogue grips that I installed. After oiling it to make sure that exact problem wouldn't happen. The LTC began rusting at the hammer, the guide rod plug, and the slide rails. The former two are blued parts, so I'm not really all that surprised given my track record with bluing. But come on! The freaking slide rails?

Now, I realize that Para uses some kind of polymer coating for the OD Green finish. But I also own several CZ firearms and I've never had issues with the pieces that receive the polycoat finish rusting. The safety, slide stop, and hammer, yes (blued parts, see above) but not the polycoated parts. So, I don't have anything against "painted-on" finishes, as some have dubbed them. I think I just have something against the particular finish Para uses. Or maybe used. Both of the pistols I had were older firearms. It's possible Para has switched to something different by now.

On to the new Glock. The 20 will be getting the same treatment as my model 21. I've ordered a 3.5# trigger bar to install, two extended slide stops (one for each pistol), and a set of XS 24/7 Big Dot sights. Those sights on my 21 have sold me on the concept of express sights on a pistol. They are accurate enough for social use and fast to boot. Right now, I'm thinking the 21 will be doing nightstand duty and the 20 will be my main carry piece. This is, of course, assuming that the 20 passes function testing with the new parts I've ordered.

Well, that about does it for me. I'm off to get my hair cut and deposit my paycheck that I thought was a direct deposit receipt when I received it last week.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Giving Up

I'm thinking I should just give up and have my addy redirect to Caleb's site. Seriously. How he manages to find all this cool stuff absolutely boggles the mind.

Well, I'll Be...

Seems my current home-town of Conway is also home to a world-known USPSA shooter, one Matt Mink. I'll be honest and say that I'm not familiar with the name. But one of the things that really surprises me is that he's a CZ shooter as well. Check out the video at the link and you might notice that he's using a CZ SP01. It also mentions that he competes locally at a Pulaski county range. I'm wondering if that might be something that the guys and I might want to check out one of these days...? Anyone?

Seems the video embed doesn't want to work for me, either.

H/T to Caleb.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Freaking Mice

So, a little over a month ago, I notice that there's some rattling noises coming from one of my kitchen cabinets. Kinda like plastic being rustled around. I go take a look in the cabinets and eventually find traces that a mouse has been eating my ramen noodles. The mouse itself is nowhere to be seen. I also noted a rather large hole at the ceiling where the power for my above-range microwave is piped in. So, I take some spray-in insulation and seal the hole. A few days later, no disturbance of the insulation. A few more and there's a dead mouse in the floor of my back bedroom. No idea what killed him but he's dead and that's better than alive. I figure "problem solved".

Fast forward to this evening. I again hear the rustling of plastic in the same cabinet. Thinking another mouse must have managed to chew through the insulation, I proceed with flashlight and framing hammer to check out the situation. Low and behold, there's Mr. Mousey munching away at my ramen. Again. The ballsy little critter takes a good look at my flashlight and apparently only then realizes that there is a 6'2", 335lb, ticked-off, hammer-wielding, human male glaring at him. He freaks out and makes a mad run for it, jumping down onto the counter top and then disappearing behind it.

And I was so looking forward to using that hammer.

Another investigation revealed that, directly under the cabinets where my violated packages of ramen were resting, there was another gaping hole at the base of the lower cabinets where the water pipes run to the kitchen sink from the hot water heater. I have now used most of the remaining spray-in insulation to plug this hole. However, one has to wonder if Mr. Mousey has entrance and egress through the underside of the cabinets where I was unable to reach with the foam. I guess only time will tell.

Until then, I've picked up all of the food and medication that I had laying out on the counter top and have placed them in a completely separate section of the kitchen cabinets that appears to be unaffected by the infestation at this time.

I'm also keeping my framing hammer handy.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Half Asleep

I'm sitting here half asleep and trying to figure out what I want to post. I know there're things I want to put up here but I'm not so sure I can do so coherently at this point. I apologize in advance if I write something that leaves you scratching your head trying to figure it out.

I've had a pretty Thanksgiving holiday. Got to see mom and dad, my grandparents, aunt and uncle, cousins, and an uncle who I hadn't seen in a couple of years at least. Bro and his better half made it in as well, as did little sis, if only for Thanksgiving day.

Dad's been trying to get sick pretty much all day today. It's made him a little grumpy but he realized it and tried his best to moderate himself. Did a pretty good job, too.

He and I had mom try out several pistols that I brought with me this time. Dad had asked me to bring some so that she could get a feel for which one fit her hand the best. She ended up really liking the Star BM. I offered to give it to them but dad insisted on paying me for it. I showed dad how to field strip it but I'm hoping that mom will take some time with me in the near future to learn how to operate and care for it. It's in need of a re-finish right now as most of it is gone off the front and backstrap but I did have a couple of extra magazines for it. I plan on checking at Gander the next time I'm in LR to see how much they'll charge to either re-blue or parkerize a pistol. If it's close to reasonable, I'll probably take it back with me over Christmas to have that done.

I'm quite impressed by the amount of light that the tritium vials in the XS Sights Big Dot put out. I've noticed the past couple of nights that there's enough that there's a small patch of light washing around the rear sight. I plan on stopping by D, R, and T's tomorrow on the way home. I hope that I'll have the opportunity to try the new sights out while I'm there.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Frustration and Gratification

Well, it seems that I was a bit hasty about announcing my employment. My boss did indeed receive an email stating that I had passed my background check and that I was good to go. However, it seems that the background check that had come back was for another gentleman who had just been hired whose middle name is Barrett. My background check results did not come in until yesterday and therefore today was my first day on the payroll.

The only real problem that resulted from the miscommunication was that, since I thought I was off contract, I didn't send my time sheet in to my employment agency until this morning. Which means that it will be a week from Thursday before I get my next check. Things are going to be a bit tight what with the holiday travel I have planned and it being the end of the month but I'm pretty sure I will be able to squeeze by.

On another note, I made several purchases over the past month and a half that have all come in recently. The first is my Blade-Tech holster and magazine pouch for my Glock. I'm satisfied with the workmanship in their products, as always. My only gripe is that the mag pouch is set up so that the mag can only be inserted in one direction and it just happens to be opposite of the way I prefer to have the mag seated. But that's a rather minor annoyance.

I also received some XS big dot sights for the Glock. I've not had a chance to shoot with them yet. I'll post an update once I have.

Lastly, I've gotten an ACE lightweight stock for my AR. It's very close in length to the setting I had the CTR stock set for and doesn't yank whiskers out of my face every other time I shoulder it. Should have used a lube on the foam padding while installing it. I ended up taking out a couple of chunks. Figure I'll just get some electrical tape or black duct tape and patch it up. In order to match the stock, I also picked up a black Magpul pistol grip (the non-modular one) and put the old black handguards back on the upper. It's a true EBR again.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Well, it's finally official. I am now a direct, full-time employee at my workplace. After a year of contract work, I'm now getting salary and benefits. It'll be nice to finally have health insurance again.

My new debit card has arrived. My last one had to be canceled because of some dill-hole in Austin, TX (supposedly) fraudulently charging $0.15 to my account. That's right, fifteen cents. I figure they were waiting to see if I noticed and then charge more later. Oh well.

I up and joined a gym today. A couple of the fellas at work go there regularly and suggested I try it out. It was especially tempting because our company has a corporate account with them which means I get a discount. Paying less rocks. I'm currently planning on going three times a week. I'm hoping I can last this time 'round.

Last, but not least, li'l sis has (finally) been given a store in Jackson, TN. We're all ecstatic that she's been promoted but I'm a little disappointed that she didn't get one closer to me. I can live with it, though. Now she just needs to see about getting her concealed carry license since she's where she's gonna be for a while. Told you I'd pay for it, Binker, and I'm sticking to that. Give me a yell and we'll figure out when and where you can take the class.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cracks Me Up

I don't know what it is but every few months I see another link to the Lolcats page and I just have to browse for a while. And every time I see a new picture that just cracks me up. Take this one for instance...

funny pictures of cats with captions

I just about died.

Monday, November 10, 2008

What is Libertarianism?

I've had several people ask me recently, "What exactly is libertarianism, anyway?" I've attempted to answer these rather succinctly, as these folks weren't looking for a dissertation, with the phrase, "We should be allowed to do whatever we want so long as we don't interfere with the rights of others." I wasn't really satisfied with that answer and so I've plunged into the Wikipedia entry on Libertarianism. What I've come up with are a couple of quotes from that page that I believe to hit the high points of the libertarian philosophy (at least as I see it):

"...individual liberty, constitutionally limited government, peace, and reliance on the institutions of civil society and the free market for social order and economic prosperity..."

"Libertarians are committed to the belief that individuals, and not states or groups of any other kind, are both ontologically and normatively primary; that individuals have rights against certain kinds of forcible interference on the part of others; that liberty, understood as non-interference, is the only thing that can be legitimately demanded of others as a matter of legal or political right; that robust property rights and the economic liberty that follows from their consistent recognition are of central importance in respecting individual liberty; that social order is not at odds with but develops out of individual liberty; that the only proper use of coercion is defensive or to rectify an error; that governments are bound by essentially the same moral principles as individuals; and that most existing and historical governments have acted improperly insofar as they have utilized coercion for plunder, aggression, redistribution, and other purposes beyond the protection of individual liberty."

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Veteran's Day Sale

Blade-Tech is having a Veteran's Day sale in which just about everything is 25% off. I have several of their holsters and a mag pouch and I'm very pleased with the quality/price point ratio even when they're not having a sale. In fact, I'll probably order an item or two for my new Glock while I'm at it.

Go check it out.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tastes Like Chicken

I'm gonna have to eat a little crow here. After my Double Action Friendly I Ain't post, I went and bought a used Glock 21. Well, I say I bought it but actually TM was the one to talk the guy down to $350. TM then set me up with a new 3.5# trigger bar, grip plug, 13 round magazine (the original was only a 10), and a new slide stop as the old one was missing the vast majority of its finish. And I gotta say, I'm quite satisfied with the trigger. It's kinda like a soft two-stage trigger on a rifle with a really long first stage. And I hit with it just as well or better than with my Witness.

Think I'll keep it.

Also, TM let me know that CDNN is running a sale on G21 (non-SF frame) 13 round mags for $14.99 each. (In looking the link up, I noticed that they're now $16.99 and out of stock to boot! Gee, I wonder what brought that on? < /sarcasm >) They're marked "Law Enforcement Use Only" but they're perfectly legal for those of us in states that are still (relatively) free. I picked up two and a holster while I was at it.

Remember, Remember...

...the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I can think of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot.

And remember, it ain't just some line from a recent movie.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Put Up or Shut Up

Well, if the one-eyed monster can be believed, it appears that Barack Obama will be the next president of these United States. Much as I'd like to comment on this event, I'm going to keep my mouth shut.

"Why," you may ask? Because I didn't vote. Or perhaps I should amend that. I was unable to vote. I submitted my change of address form near the end of the deadline for this election and apparently that form was lost in the mail. I was thus unable to vote in my old county as my photo ID shows my new address in my new county.

But just because I won't comment on the results doesn't mean you shouldn't. If you're reading this, by all means, share your thoughts on the matter.

I will say that I pray the good Lord that He will aid Mr. Obama in the leadership of our nation. It's a tough job that may well be tougher for Mr. Obama due to his race. I certainly don't envy him.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Double Action Friendly I Ain't

A recent post by Caleb at Call Me Ahab has managed to put a burr under my saddle. In said post, Unix-Jedi makes a play on the line from Star Wars: A New Hope, saying: "Not as clumsy or random as a automatic. An elegant weapon for a more civilized time." He was, of course, referring to revolvers.

Now, please don't take what I'm about to say the wrong way. I realize that this was (mostly) a bit of fun between friends. I also realize that everyone has their preferences and everyone's preferences are different. The world'd be a really dull place if there was only one style of handgun, rifle, and shotgun in it.

But, please, don't try to sell me that bit about revolvers being the perfect carry gun. Folks can (and have) debated for days on end, back and forth about reliability, capacity, and concealability. But, for me, it boils down to one issue that's the deal-breaker: revolvers are intended to be fired in double action. And I just can't shoot in double action.

Oh, I suppose I could hit the broad side of a barn with a typical DA pistol. The Smiths in particular have a DA that is smooth enough for me to do okay with. But I consistently do better with pistols that have a crisp, single action trigger. It doesn't even have to be that light. If I were to take a box-stock Rock Island Armory plain-jane 1911 and a slicked-up Smith .357 (whatever model), I can state with confidence that (barring poor workmanship) I'd hit consistently better with the 1911. This has been true since I bought my first handgun (a S&W 66). I imagine it's also true of said stock 1911 versus pretty much any DA/SA or DAO autoloader. I don't know as I've never shot many of those types of handguns.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I don't see how one can naturally shoot a double action better than a single action. The only way I can see that it's feasible to compare the two is to have someone who has worked with DAs long and hard enough that it's not a handicap any more (Jerry Miculek anyone?). It just seems to me that for the average joe a SA autoloader is going to be significantly easier to get good hits with quickly. And isn't that the point of a defensive arm?

The Saints Are BACK!

Brian has just let me know that All Saints Day, the sequel to The Boondock Saints, has officially begun filming.

'Scuse me while I do my happy dance.

Another One...?!

Two students are dead and one person injured after a shooting Sunday evening on the UCA campus.

But don't worry. President Tom Courtway says the campus is safe. You can trust him. It's not like he'd lie to the general public to protect his job or keep enrollment up or anything...

("...AR-15 military-style rifles..." Who comes up with this drivel? Seriously.)

Anchor Dies of Wounds

Ms. Pressly passed away this past Saturday due to the injuries that were inflicted upon her Sunday evening/Monday morning last week.

Looks like the goblin(s) responsible are now looking at a murder one rap. Here's hoping the police catch them quickly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ticks Me Off Something Fierce

A local TV anchor was attacked in her own home last night. The victim is Anne Pressly of KATV out of Little Rock. She was listed in critical condition at the time of the article.

Believe I'm gonna oil my 870 now. Stay safe, y'all.

H/T to Tam.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The High Road Has A New Home

See the following email from Oleg regarding THR's new home:

My name is Oleg Volk, and I am the owner of The High Road(tm). When I started the forum in 2002, my vision was to create a place where people from around the world could engage in cordial discussion of RKBA related matters. Since then, you have helped make The High Road(tm) one of the best places on the web for learning about firearms, for educating new shooters and for supporting effective advocacy of the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

Due to pending legal issues, I am moving the forum to a new home at This is the one and only official site at this time, owned by me. The same high standards of civility apply. In the near future, we will provide more than just a forum. The High Road(tm) is becoming an information and activism center for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

With the help of GeoVario, our new host, The High Road(tm) is now online in its new home. The new location of The High Road(tm) -- -- will serve our members while the conversion of the .org domain name by THR's former sysadmin is being challenged in court (Copy of the complaint available: ).

Feel free to mirror this announcement on your blog (here is a link to mine with details of this matter and how you can help. ). If you link to THR, please update the link to point to Eventually, both .us and .org addresses will point to the same site again.

Thank you all

- Oleg Volk, Owner
The High Road(tm)

Edited to correct the links.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Quite A Weekend

Went to my parent's place this weekend. Mom was out Friday and most of Saturday but we got to visit late Saturday night and most of today. She, my sis, aunt, and cousin all went to LR to participate in the Race for the Cure (my maternal grandma died of cancer and my aunt is a survivor). Dad and I worked on my truck, replacing the front shocks and changing the oil. We also had some time for some heart-to-heart chats that there hasn't been much opportunity for lately. I enjoyed the visit thoroughly.

On separate note, my Dresden Files 2009 calendar arrived while I was away. I'm trying to determine the appropriate place to hang it. Present thinking is 'on the wall'. I've not got much further than that.

I've got some new mag springs and followers for my Witness coming in tomorrow. I've had some issues with the stock followers hanging or being sluggish to bring the rounds into position after the top round is fed. The Gram's followers from Henning Shoots Guns are supposed to help with such issues based on some posts at the CZ Forum's Clone Club. I'm itching to try them out.

And lastly...WANT!

As A Fan of Firefly...

...I'm not ashamed to say that this left me with tears in my eyes.

Big, BIG hat tip to Caleb at Call Me Ahab.

Aaaand, I'm gonna have to add him to the blogroll now, methinks.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

It's Been a Great Day!

Today has been a great day.

I went with several of the guys at work to the new pizza place in town, Old Chicago. Probably the best thick-crust pizza I've ever eaten.

My new knife came in today. It's a thicker blade than what I had thought it'd be and the handle size and blade length are exactly what I'd hoped they'd be. I'm quite happy with it so far. Now it just needs a little better edge on it. The sheath is quite nice, too.

I finally managed to get the custom hammer from fitted to my 97B. I managed to botch the fitting slightly as I really didn't have the right tools for the job. So there's a noticeable bit of creep to the trigger before let off. It's still better than the factory trigger that came on it. I also got the SA trigger to reset properly. Unfortunately, the take-up adjustment is now missing (tho I don't think it would have worked anyway given the way it fit before) and there are a couple of large shiny patches where I had to remove some of the material and the aluminum is showing through the finish. But a little aluminum black should fix that right up. The slimline grips that I had ordered now allow the magazine to drop free after a bit of judicious filing. Overall, I'm pleased with this setup and can hardly wait to try it out.

I'll be heading up to my parents this Friday. My truck is in need of an oil change and there's something wrong either with one of my shocks or with a torsion bar. When the front driver's shock deflects past a certain point, there's a pop that can be heard inside the cab and felt underneath the driver's foot. I'm going to have to have dad's jack and concrete floor to pull the tire and check/change the shock and torsion bar.

Mom, sis, and my aunt and cousin are all going to be in Little Rock this Friday and Saturday. I'm hoping that we can get an opportunity to all get together for lunch or something on Friday before I head up to their neck of the woods.

Oh, and I finally sent in my change of address info for my voter's registration this past Saturday (thanks for the help, Dick). I should now be eligible to vote in the coming elections.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

New Knife

Well, I broke down and bought a new knife today. I may very well end up regretting this. The description states that the blade was made using sewing needles. I'm hopeful that, if this has been done well, it should make for a very durable and sharp knife.

One of the failings I have regarding knives is that I tend to use them for things that they're really not designed for: prying, tightening screws, etc. I hope that, this being as expensive as it is, I'll stick with its intended usage exclusively. As such, I may still be in the market for a tough knife that can stand up to the abuse that I tend to put my pocket knives through. If you know of any small working-type knives with blades ~2.5"-3.25" in length and at least 3/8" thick that can hold up to heavy use/abuse, please let me know.

But I'm thinking it might be best if I tried making my own. I'm thinking that I may either use a file or pry-bar for the stock, anneal it to remove the temper, cut and file to shape and start the bevel, then re-temper and finish the edge and polish. Thoughts?

Friday, September 26, 2008

He's Got My Vote

Caleb over at Call Me Ahab has decided to throw his hat into the ring for president of these united states. You need to go read his 3-step plan for change in the U.S.

It's so beautiful it makes me tear up just thinking about it.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Trouble at THR

It seems that there's been a bit of a row between Derek Zeanah and Oleg Volk over at with several of the mods taking sides in the matter. As nearly as I've been able to determine, the issue concerned fundraising for the site via a certain commercial contract or putting up ads. It seems to have been perking for a few weeks and finally blew sometime yesterday with Derek disabling the board and kicking out Oleg and the majority of his supporters. Oleg has now decided that legal action is his best recourse and is requesting donations. Only now an update on Xavier's site has stated that Oleg once again has his admin priviliges.

I personally don't have a dog in this fight. I have enjoyed The High Road immensely for several years but my interest in the site has waned quite a bit recently with the Rifle Country forum being about the only one I visit any more. I do hope that this can be resolved amicably and THR can continue fighting the good fight and bringing newbies into the fold with open arms. And I do feel badly for those folks who may end up displaced due to this.

Whatever the outcome, I want to thank the creaters, staff, and admin of THR who made my stay there enjoyable and informative. You've all given me more than I could possibly begin to repay.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Gun Nuts Radio

To those who may not be familiar with this program, it is hosted by blogger Caleb from Call Me Ahab. It has been guest-co-hosted recently by Breda from The Breda Fallacy. Their most recent show covers some information regarding the past and present political agenda of candidate Barack Obama. I highly suggest giving this episode a listen. There were a couple of glitches where the broadcast cuts out but give it a couple of minutes and they're able to get everything working again.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Real Surprise There...

Via Matt G at Better and Better, we have the Politics Test.

My results:
You are a

Social Liberal
(75% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(78% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Kindle"ing My Desire

Thanks to Brian, I now have an itch for the Amazon Kindle.

This does not bode well for my bank balance...

Found On The 'Net

Several things have caught my attention lately and, honestly, I doubt I can do them all justice, so...

...time for some linky love!

The ATF has managed to misplace 76 firearms.

Tam gives a history lesson that is eerily familiar.

Breda guest hosts "Gun Nuts Radio".

Apparently there was a shooting at ASU Jonesboro this past weekend. Second-degree battery seems kinda light for shooting at and (kinda) hitting someone. Makes me wonder what extenuating circumstances there might have been.

I've decided I need to get another (better) safe/security container for my firearms. I've glanced at a few at Academy Sports in Little Rock and need to take a more serious look there and at Gander Mountain and Ft. Thompson sometime soon, maybe this weekend. I've taken a look around at a few safes online and this particular safe jumped out at me as being laid out quite well for my needs. I don't know if the price listed on that site is good, bad, or ugly but it doesn't seem too badly out of line at first blush. Shipping on something that size obviously sucks, so I'd like to find something local so that I can just have them load it in the back of the Tahoe and shamelessly guilt Dick and R into helping me get it into the house.

Well, that's it. Hopefully I'll have something meatier next time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Take Me Away, Officers...

...'cause I'm a thief!

Dick, L, T, and I went to the LR fun show Saturday. I spent most of my time scoping out .22 rifles (a few of which I was tempted by), looking for a Witness-P Carry in 10mm (none of which were in evidence), and generally just checking out the unusual amount of unusual stuff that's so seldom in evidence at these shows.

We were considering wrapping up and packing it in when, at a small corner booth, I saw a pristine little CZ 75 Compact, '02 manufacture. And then my eyes went a little wild when I saw the $300 price tag. I picked it up and looked it over and it was clean as a whistle. The gent behind the table began to tell me about the pistol but I let him know that I had quite a bit of experience with CZs in general and knew them to be fine guns. I then asked if the pistol had the case or any extra mags with it, to which he replied in the negative. Ah, well, no matter. Still a good deal.

And then he tells me that he can come down to $275 and he'll take care of the taxes. To which I replied, "You take checks or cards?"

So now I'm the proud owner of a CZ 75 Compact. Magazines are proving difficult to find for reasonable prices but I'm not giving up. And I think I may have to try out Crimson Trace's lasergrips for this one as well. The worst part of that is the grips have a MSRP that's more than I gave for the pistol!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Getting Randy

My apologies for the title. I just couldn't help myself.

Dick and I made a trip up to Rogers this past weekend to help Randy with his move down to Cabot. Charlie made an appearance dancing the Foxtrot but we managed to get Randy moved and settled. It's good to have him within casual visiting distance again.

We are so gonna have to get a road-trip planned now.

New Gear

I've been neglecting this site recently. My apologies to anyone who visits with any regularity.

I have a few new gun-related items to write about. The first is a new red-dot scope offered by Vortex: the Strikefire. This is a relatively inexpensive red-dot that aims at the gap in quality between the $50 Chinese sights found everywhere these days and the $400 and up "serious use" red-dots such as the Aimpoint or EOTech. It uses a single CR2 battery, has a red or green dot, comes with a 2x magnifier that screws into the rear of the unit, and a 30mm ring with your choice of two heights.

I currently have the unit on my AR that I built back a few months ago. I'm using one of the goose-neck style mounts with an Aimpoint ring to get it to the correct height. Unfortunately, I've not had a chance to shoot with it yet. I'll give an update on my findings once I have a chance to wring it out. Right now, my only complaints are that you have to change the colors via the power button. I personally would have preferred a two-position style switch for this instead of having to push the button twice to either shut it off or get the desired color. The order of the colors also reverses itself with each cycle. As far as the dot itself, it still exhibits the same tendency to flare that every red-dot I've ever used has had.

I have also received on Thursday the High Noon Holsters Rock Steady Belt and laminate holster for my CZ 97B (that also works with my 10mm Witness-P) that I ordered back on February 22. Yeah, that was quite a wait but their website does state that their order times are long. It's not like I wasn't warned. Moreover, it looks like the wait was definitely worth it. This belt is exactly what the name describes: rock steady. It's incredibly thick and with the holsters that I've tried, it doesn't even think about sagging or twisting. I highly recommend this belt to anyone who is looking for a good belt to carry any substantial weight on it. Just don't expect to get it in a hurry.

The laminate holster is also a good bit of gear. It's not all that pretty but it does the job and does it well. I'm considering getting another one in their leather line (probably for a Witness-P Carry model in 10mm if I can find one reasonably priced).

Speaking of Witness-P pistols, I had an opportunity to shoot mine again over the Labor Day Weekend. The magazines and new mag catch worked great with nary a malfunction to be seen. I'm now planning to buy a mess of Georgia Arms 10mm (and probably some .45 ACP as well) to break it in right. They have newly loaded 10mm with Gold Dot hollowpoints that are zipping along in the same general power class as the Winchester Silvertips (at least according to Winchester's velocity data which has been disputed as being higher than actual and Georgia Arms' velocity data which has been verified several times by customers). And they're significantly cheaper than the WSTs to boot.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Lesser Evils

Marko at The Munchkin Wrangler has an excellent post on his reasons for no longer settling for the lesser evil when it comes to voting. He actually captures a number of reasons that I myself will no longer vote for someone only so that a worse choice might be avoided. I decided a few years ago that I will not ever vote against anyone again. I will only vote for a candidate whom I agree with.

Go take a gander.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

He Finally Caved

Lawdog has finally given in and gives us the now nigh-legendary tale of the Pink Gorilla Suit. Go, read, laugh yourself silly.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Gone Shootin'

Went to visit Dick today and get a little trigger time in at T's place. Dick broke out his new camera for the occasion. I tested out my Witness-P after polishing the feed ramp and swapping the recoil spring to the Wolff 18lb from the 20lb. Nasty tooling marks on the feed ramp. I was getting stoppages about 2-3 times per 15 round mag before working on it. The work seems to have paid off as I didn't have a single stoppage and Dick only had the last spent casing stovepipe. If that's the worst I see, then I can live with it. Recoil is brisk as always, even with the watered-down standard Remington 180 grain FMJ rounds. I'm still going to need to order another case of Winchester Silvertip and use the last 4 boxes I have from the old case for reliability testing before I can trust it. Here's a shot of it coming back into battery with a case caught in mid-flight. Also note the tactical blink being performed by that smooth operator behind the pistol. Yeah, I know, gotta work on that.

I also broke out the AR, more for a photo op than any real desire to shoot. We were at T's little pistol range and the AR would make Swiss cheese of the spinner target he's got out there (not that it matters too terribly much as Dick managed to hit the spinner frame and break it where it had been previously welded). The pic here shows the bolt in the full recoil position with the spent casing having just been ejected.

After returning to Dick's apartment, we spent a little while working on a lightbox for his new camera. He took a couple more pics of my gear that I haven't seen yet. He's going to email it to me as soon as he gets it cleaned up. He's also got a few pics of him shooting and his gear that I may show later with his permission. In all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Papa's Got A Brand New Bed

Mom and dad came down for a visit Friday night and the better part of Saturday. We did some running around while they were here as I have been mulling the purchase of a new mattress for a few months now. I always prefer to get input from both mom and dad on purchases of significant dollar amount on items with which I am unfamiliar. And this would be the first mattress that I've bought, ever.

We made the rounds to several furniture companies that I'd spotted previously and found a few likely candidates at each store. Then, we headed back to my house and dad picked up the phone book and started looking at furniture stores. That lead us to Bates Furniture in downtown Conway. Turns out they carry Dreamline mattresses, a brand that I had heard of before but was unfamiliar with. In talking with the salesman, we found out that the Dreamline mattresses are actually manufactured in Cabot, AR, less than 50 miles away. That was kinda the clincher for me as the mattress was just as comfortable as all but one of the others that I'd tried (that one being a $1400 model that I couldn't afford much less justify). The 25-year warrantee didn't hurt either. (Though the paperwork that came with the mattress says 20 years. Still better than the 5-10 year warrantees everywhere else.)

Long story short, the matress was delivered for free with a $10 fee to get rid of my old matress set. And mom got a free painting out of the deal (no thanks to Captain Observant, here). All told, it ended up setting me back a hair over $550. That's just less than the tires are gonna cost that I still need to get for the Tahoe. Good thing I've been getting overtime the last couple weeks.

I slept quite peacefully last night with only one instance of waking before my alarm went off. That's most unusual for me as I usually wake up 2-3 times a night. I think this is gonna work out just fine.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Arkansas Democratic Party Chairman Killed

Chairman Bill Gwatney was killed today by one Timothy Johnson of Searcy, AR. Johnson was also killed after reportedly fleeing and firing at police. No motive has been established at this time.

Prayers for and condolences to his family and loved ones.

Helena Curfew Extended

Helena's city council has voted unanimously to allow their police force to expand the area under curfew.

I've already made my position clear on the matter. This is a violation of rights protected by the Constitution. But these quotes by the mayor and a council member just leave me shaking mad.

From the Log Cabin Democrat's article:

Mayor James Valley:"Now if somebody wants to sue us, they have an option to sue, but I'm fairly certain that a judge will see it the way the way the citizens see it here. The citizens deserve peace, that some infringement on constitutional rights is OK and we have not violated anything as far as the Constitution."

So it's okay to infringe on constitutional rights as long as you don't violate the Constitution? Could someone explain that one to me?

Oh, and the citizens deserve peace? Really? I'm disinclined to agree with that statement. I'm in good company, too. Benjamin Franklin once said, "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

Also from the Log Cabin's article:

The council rejected Dickson's claims, at one point questioning the Little Rock-based attorney if she'd live in a neighborhood they described as under siege by wild gunfire and gangs.

"As far as I'm concerned, at 3 o'clock in the morning, nobody has any business being on the street, except the law," Councilman Eugene "Red" Johnson said. "Anyone out at 3 o'clock shouldn't be out on the street, unless you're going to the hospital."

Any one care to lay odds on whether Mr. Johnson would feel the same way if it was his neighborhood that was under the curfew?

I'm not going to touch much on the assertion that local drug dealers "carry...AK47 assault rifles...". A rifle built around the AK's action, maybe, but I sincerely doubt that the local hooligans have access to true AK47s. You know, the full-auto, military-grade small arm that have been banned from importation since 1986. My bet is that it's the common WASR-type rifles that are built up on US-made, semi-auto only receivers and are dirt cheap right now.

In closing, I believe I need to make my position perfectly clear: Nothing the police can do will be able to save this neighborhood. Nothing the mayor can do will be able to save this neighborhood. Nothing the city council can do will be able to save this neighborhood. The only way for this neighborhood to be saved is for the residents to decide that they will not stand idly by when they or their neighbors are assaulted. They need to make life too difficult for the goblins who are causing the problems. They know who these people are. They know who and where to keep an eye on for problems. And since this state is one of the few that are still relatively free, they have the ability to purchase arms for their common defense.

Yes, by doing this, uninvolved people are likely to get hurt. But the question is, which is more acceptable? A few people hurt over a short period of time while the neighborhood does the right thing and tries to sort itself out? Or a few people hurt by goblins who then go about their evil ways unmolested and are thereby emboldened to continue hurting more and more people with no end in sight?

Think about that for a minute.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mandatory Curfew in Helena Neighborhood

It seems that Helena's mayor James Valley has decided that its gotten too dangerous for the residents of certain neighborhoods to go outside. Therefore, he's ordered that anyone caught outside without a good excuse is to be arrested.

Says Valley, "It's something akin to martial law. It got to the point where somebody was going to get seriously hurt or killed if we didn't do something."

And we can't have people getting hurt or killed now, can we? After all, it's not like that can happen driving back and forth to work, right?

Uhhh...wait a minute...

But seriously, it seems that if the police see you on a public street, they can just toss the Fourth Amendment right out the window, having you and your vehicle searched. 'Cause, you know, only criminals would have any reason to leave their homes. Or maybe they're using the old standby justification of "if you don't have anything to hide, then you have no reason to worry."

Thankfully, the Arkansas branch of the ACLU has jumped on this, sending a letter demanding the curfew be lifted. Valley, however, doesn't seem to take them seriously. Here's one of my favorite quotes in the articles: "I invite them to move in on Second Street and be up all night with people shooting at them. That's my comment to them."

Well, no offense, Jimmy but be careful what you wish for. This is Arkansas, after all. I think the last thing you'd want is a bunch of independently-minded and/or rights-minded people moving into an area where they're likely to be shot at. 'Cause in all honesty, they're more than likely to shoot back. Which is exactly what should be happening in these neighborhoods in my opinion. Nothing like responding gunfire from multiple locations to put the damper on your attempted drive-by.

Hopefully the ACLU will pursue this matter further. I'd be tickled to see a lawsuit or organized civil disobedience. What makes me nervous, however, would be the possibility that the courts would back up the mayor in this matter. It really wouldn't surprise me any more.

Just Wrong...?

Would it be completely wrong and evil of me if I were to have the top front portion of my Puma's receiver tapped for one piece of a two-piece scope mount and mount a Burris FastFire reflex sight to it?

Yeah, I thought it would.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Puma M92 .357 Mini-Review

As stated previously, I bought a Puma M92 in .357 mag (imported by LSI). That evening, Dick, L, and I took it out to T's to wring it out. What is the verdict?

This gun is a BLAST! Its light weight and short overall length (~33.5") make it easily the handiest rifle I own.

It fed FMJ truncated cone 38 spl. with no problems. Unfortunately, the only .357 we had on hand was some old Hydra-shock that Dick had lying around. We ran a few rounds of it through the gun, which seemed to be a bit finicky with this cartridge. The recoil, even with full house defensive .357 is negligible.

On the down side, the sights were difficult to see against any dark background and hit a few inches high at ~20-25 feet. In order to remedy this, I ordered a new front sight with brass bead and a Marble rear sight. What I didn't know is that Rossi seems to have decided to use a completely different dovetail for their sights than EVERYONE ELSE IN THE GUN INDUSTRY! Yeah, I'm a bit miffed about that. Usually lever-action rifles utilize a 3/8" dovetail for both the front and rear sight. A bit of searching turned up that Rossi's dovetails are slightly larger which I confirmed when the front sight slid all the way through the barrel dovetail.

At any rate, I've purchased a Williams FP-94/36 receiver peep sight. It should allow me to fairly easily adjust for changes between ammo types. Now I just need to get the receiver drilled and tapped for the sight. This sight should also make it easier to adjust for having a suppressor on the barrel. I'm seriously jonesing to have this thing set up for a suppressor, especially after seeing the job this guy did on a 44 spl. Uberti 1873. To use a slightly out-of-date pop culture phrase: "That's hot."

Right now, I'm still up in the air as to specifics on the idea but I'm pretty sure that I'm gonna have to get the mag tube set back slightly in addition to having the barrel threaded. And I don't know of any local gunsmiths who aren't just swamped who are capable of doing this kind of work.

I'm currently looking at these two suppressors: AWC's Titanium Abraxas and Yankee Hill Machine's Wraith QD combo.

The advantage to the Abraxas is size. It's only 5.7 inches in overall length and weighs in at 3.3 ounces. The Wraith's stats are 7.5 OAL and 5.8 ounces. I'm also curious as to whether the Abraxas will need to have the mag tube set back. In the picture on AWC's website, it appears that there is a stainless sleeve that threads onto the barrel that is significantly reduced in diameter compared to the suppressor body.

The Wraith's advantage is ability to remove the suppressor easily. This could come in handy on occasion but I'm not sure if it's worth having that crazy-looking flash suppressor on the end of the barrel when the suppressor isn't attached. The only real concern I have is that a suppressor might not be legal for hunting. I've given Arkansas' state hunting regulations a cursory glance and didn't see anything on the subject but I'm thinking it's probably not permitted. And even if it is, I'd probably have a hard time explaining that to a G&F officer.

Anyway, that's my short review and hazy future plans for this little carbine. I'll have a few more short reviews once I get in a few more of the items I have on order and get the Williams peep attached.

Dang Funny!

This is particularly intended for the other electrical engineers in the crowd but I imagine anyone who spent any amount of time in college can relate to it.

Electron Band Structure In Germanium, My ***

That's just funny right there.

H/T to Kevin at The Smallest Minority (the link's a bit dated).

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Puma .357 Lever Action

So, Dick and I went to the local FFL storefront looking to purchase an H&R .357 single-shot carbine for myself. Unfortunately, it seems that this particular rifle is either more popular than H&R expected or wasn't made in large quantities to begin with as it is backordered (Davidson's). The proprietor was kind enough to print up a list of .357 carbines that were in stock with pricing and quoted me a price of $60 over the list. So, I ended up having him order a Puma .357 carbine with a 16" barrel. It should be in tomorrow.

After all was said and done, I ended up plunking down a little over $500 for the rifle. It was really just a bit more than I was prepared to spend on a rifle that is essentially a fun gun. But I honestly think I'll be happier with this than with the H&R which is the only gun under the price point I was hoping for.

Now my only worry is that I didn't really do any research into the Puma before ordering and I have no idea what kind of issues it might have. Ah, well, impulse buying is my specialty. I should be used to it by now.

Quiz Filler

Just because I don't really have anything better right now...

Your results:
You are Derrial Book (Shepherd)
Even though you are holy you have a mysterious past.

Derrial Book (Shepherd)
Dr. Simon Tam (Ship Medic)
Kaylee Frye (Ship Mechanic)
Jayne Cobb (Mercenary)
Malcolm Reynolds (Captain)
Zoe Washburne (Second-in-command)
River (Stowaway)
Wash (Ship Pilot)
Inara Serra (Companion)
A Reaver (Cannibal)

Click here to take the "Which Serenity character am I?" quiz...

H/T to Don.

*Edit: I give up. I have no idea why this is formatting with the gigantic gap before the table.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Dark Knight Rocks!

Friday afternoon Dick, his brother Drew, and I went to the Imax on Chenal in Little Rock to watch "The Dark Knight". I was fully prepared to hate this movie. Frankly, looking at the previews, I expected Heath Ledger to have butchered the part of the Joker. It looked like he was taking the role too far on the straight psychotic side, not having the fun that the Joker would with his sadism.

The very first scene where we actually got a good look at him proved me completely wrong.

Ledger did an amazing job. His Joker was vicious, cruel, and, above all, revelled in his sadistic nature. He was the perfect foil for Bale's Batman, another acting choice that I misjudged at first. As a matter of fact, I have only one gripe about the whole thing: Two-Face.

Maybe I missed some of the conversation between him and the Joker. It's possible I suppose. But frankly, I think that the script kinda fell flat with providing him with the motivation to take the actions that he did. I don't have any problem with the dark turn he took. He had plenty of motivation for that. Even the beginning few targets for his rage made sense. But when he turned on one of the main characters, I was completely lost. It was almost like the script writers needed a way to push him over the edge from simple revenge-driven killing to lashing out at innocents so that the audience would no longer be sympathetic to him but they had no idea how to go about doing it. So they just said, "Okay, let's have him turn on his allies for no reason."

But overall, I loved the film. I give it a 4.5 out of 5. And I recommend you go watch it at the theaters. You'll be glad you did.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Well, All Righty Then!

The latest slap to my ego was delivered today by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I had applied for health/life insurance with them through the NRA. I received a letter (in an envelope that had never been sealed) stating that as much as they wished they could cover everyone, I was just outta luck. It seems my height/weight ratio didn't meet with their approval.

Fair enough. I'm fat, I'll be the first to admit it. I don't really mind being fat. And, yes, I know all about the medical issues that go along with it. I hear enough from family alone to fill a medical dictionary.

But as I don't make near enough to cover the medical bills that could result from even non-weight-induced problems, I need insurance. Ergo, I'm gonna have to lose some weight.

I've decided to try out using this blog as a tool to help me reach my goal. "What goal in particular?" you might ask. To which I answer: 100 pounds.

The last time I checked, I weighed in at 350 pounds. I'm 6'2" with a large frame but that still puts me way past the obesity line. (Which seems to be moved further and further back each year. But I digress.) When I was at my healthiest, I weighed in at around 235 pounds. I still looked like I weighed more than that due to the excess skin. But I got to that weight by a combination of calorie control and exercise that I wasn't able to keep up as I got busy with school and work. I figure 250 would put me into the range where I'm healthy enough to get past the height/weight ratio requirements for insurance purposes and would be maintainable with my current schedule (which is quite a bit more relaxed than the ones I had during school).

So, what's my plan? Well, I intend to do it exactly the same way as last time. I will drop my caloric intake to approximately 2000/day. When the weight loss begins to plateau at that level, I will drop it to 1700/day. When I hit plateau at that level, I will then drop it to 1500/day. Once I plateau at that weight, I intend to bring the calorie level back up to 1700 and combine it with about 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day and 30 minutes of weights three days out of the week. I figure that a step-down style plan is the best strategy for me.

At this point, I'm not sure what form the aerobic exercise will take. When I was in college, I used the stationary bikes that were provided at the university gym. They were very nice pieces of equipment with adjustable length for the legs, programmable resistance, and displays for calories burned/time spent pedaling. I doubt that I'll be able to afford to buy one of these for my own use. I don't really want to get a gym membership either as I tend to purchase things and then not use them. (It's a character flaw, I know.) Suggestions for this would be welcome. I'm thinking this might be a good excuse do some juggling/replacing with my living room furniture to get my Wii up and running.

Lastly, I'll be logging my caloric intake each day on this blog. I figure if I can get some help from my few regulars to keep it up, I'll be far more likely to get and keep the weight off. We'll see.

And just so I have a starting point...

Today's calories were approximately: 2735.

I need to drop this by about 750 calories. I intend to keep the day's total in a side bar that I will put up after posting this. I'm asking my regular readers (all two of you) to do me a favor and keep half an eye on it. Call me on it if I forget to post or post a number that's really too high, eh? Thanks, I appreciate it.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Gee, Thanks Tam

Tam points out some of the more endearing TSA habits.

And since she didn't feel the need to warn anyone, I will. Don't click on the video. Trust me, you'll hate yourself if you do.

Now I gotta go dig the mental bleach out from under the sink. Again.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I Finished 1984 Today

Sweet merciful crap that was a depressing book.

Happy now, Dick?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Quote of the Moment Gone

I've removed the random quote of the moment. It wasn't pulling up the categories that I wanted and also pulled some quotes that I didn't particularly care to have associated with my site (mostly religious in nature).

In its place, I've added a "Currently Reading" list. I'll try to remember to keep this updated as I move from book to book. If I don't, feel free to give me a kick.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thank You For Flying Police State Airlines...

Now, please hold still while we attach your Electro-Musclar Disruption bracelet.

Holy crap!

If I hadn't already sworn off airline travel, this would be the cinder block that caved in the camel's skull. (Pardon the blatant mis-quote but this ticks me off no end.) It's like they aren't even attempting to disguise the fact that they expect the public to behave like sheep to their shepherd.

As grim as it sounds, I'm almost certain that, if implemented, this will eventually result in the accidental death of a passenger. And that tragedy will be passed off as the price we pay for security. Mark my words.

Hat tip to Mike.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Purchase Considerations

There are a couple of longarm purchases that I've been contemplating. I'd like to get some feedback on these.

The first is an H&R Synthetic Handi-Rifle in .357 mag. I've been looking at leveraction .357s to complement my GP-100 that I mentioned previously. These have generally been out of my price range (darned CAS shooters buying up all the good used leverguns) for what amounts to just a fun gun. Then I read an article (which requires registration, unfortunately) on an H&R Handi-Rifle that had been shortened to 16" and threaded for a 9mm suppressor. This seems like an ideal way to get into the NFA arena. The barrel should be fairly simple to get shortened/threaded and 9mm suppressors are almost a dime a dozen (well, not really, but you get the idea).

*edit: I wonder what it would take to have the barrel fluted? That's one thick hunk of metal and it shows in the weight.*

The second is the MechTech Carbine Conversion Unit, specifically chambered in 10mm to go along with my AutoOrdnance 10mm 1911 (and maybe my Para?). My AutoOrdnance still needs quite a bit of work to function reliably enough for carry. The CCU seems like it would address all of the issues I have with it at the moment (feeding trouble due to the GI-style feed ramp, no front sight, general sloppy fit). The CCU would give me a dedicated auto-loading carbine in 10mm for just under $600 investment.

Well, let me know what you think. All reasonable comments will be taken into account.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Yay! It's My Birthday! Yay!

Today marks the beginning of my last year as a twenty-something. So, what did I do today?

Rode my motorcycle to work;

Got lunch paid for by one of the senior engineers (the only one who'd been listening to me, apparently, as he was the only one who wished me a happy birthday before lunch) ((I kid, I kid));

Found out my mom was out of surgery and doing fine;

Was hounded into buying health and life insurance and given a firm reminder to start a savings account;

Priced insurance for my firearms and accessories (NRA members only, unfortunately).

Priced magazines for my Para;

And lastly, I'm in the process of watching episodes of the first season of Jericho.

I still need to:

Open said savings account;

Call AT&T Support to complain about my cell phone's mini-display screen self-destructing on me.

Busy, busy.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Alabama Bound ... Or Not

My brother has been in the process of applying for jobs in the Birmingham, AL area recently. He and his wife will be moving there soon for her work and he's interviewed with a couple of companies. Today he accepted a position to a local power company. So now they just need a place to live.

They and my parents had already made plans to head down there to look at prospective houses over the Fourth of July weekend and I was planning to tag along. Well, apparently, he managed to get Thursday off as well as Friday and now they'll be heading out earlier than expected.

This now leaves me with most of the day Friday open. Anyone have suggestions as to what to do with my newly freed up time?

Wolff Rocks!

In the couple of weeks, I've replaced springs in both my Saiga S-308 and Ruger GP100 with Wolff springs. The Saiga got a new +15% recoil spring and just this evening the GP100 got a new reduced power hammer spring and trigger return spring. My fingers are still half numb from the effort of getting everything back into place on that revolver. I'm a little wary about whether I was able to get it reassembled correctly, but the cylinder locks up and the transfer bar works fine, so it shouldn't be too big of a problem if it's wrong. It already exhibits a much lighter trigger pull in double action. Unfortunately, the lighter pull makes the grittiness just that much more apparent. I still need to function test to make sure I'm not going to get light strikes.

The Saiga was a breeze to change out in comparison. It actually uses the same recoil spring as a standard AK rifle even though it's a 7.62x51. I was able to figure out how to go about removing the old spring and replacing it with just a moment's study. The simplicity of the AK design becomes more impressive to me each time I do new-to-me work on the rifle. I'm hoping the extra power spring will help to clear up some of the malfunctions I've had with it in the past. We'll see.

But no matter the outcome of my experimenting, the springs were well-fitted and of excellent quality, as usual. I highly recommend Wolff gunsprings.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

...Doomed to Repeat It?

Well, I just finished watching the John Adams miniseries done by HBO and I am happy to report that it is not the waste of $60 that I had been fearing it might be.

However, it does bring up certain gaps in my memory of my history classes. As one "for instance", I remember that we covered a piece of legislation called the Alien and Sedition Act but I could not have said when it was ratified, under which president, nor what it did. This is not the first time that my poor memory has left me knowing that I should know something about something that happened in relatively recent history but unable to recall specifics. I find this to be distressing and I wish to remedy my faulty memory (as best as possible, anyway. I need to find some way to transpose history into mathematical equations. I might be able to remember some of this stuff then).

With this in mind, can someone out there point me in the direction of a relatively unbiased book on American History? I'm looking for more along the lines of statements of facts (i.e. who, where, when, and how) more than editorializing (i.e. why). I'd much appreciate it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Heller: Reservedly Optimistic

Well, I'm assuming that everyone has seen the SCOTUS decision on DC v. Heller that was given today. Personally, I'm really not all that surprised by the decision (based solely on other's interpretations thus far) nor the slim margin of the decision.

I'm reserving my full decision on this matter until I can read the majority decision. No, I'm not going to read the minority decision. I scream at my computer too often as it is. I was working up a not-so-small rant on the comments by the dissenting justices and the petty tyrants mayors of D.C. and Chicago. But I decided it was not worth the upset stomach it was most certainly going to give me.

But so far, I'm going to say that I'm both "somewhat placated" and "cautiously optimistic" with regards to the ruling. The decision appears to be almost exactly what I thought it would be, what with the ban overturned but provisions for "sensible restrictions" being allowed.

P.S. In looking at some more of the dissenting opinions, I realize I may have to read the minority decision. It's more than a bit unnerving to realize that some of the reasons you have for thinking the court didn't go far enough are being used to back the thinking that the court went too far.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Couldn't Have Said It Better Myself

Marko over at the Munchkin Wrangler posts a point by point rebuttal of one of his commenter's ideas regarding gun control. Go take a look. Don't forget to read the comments, especially the one by MarkHB.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Motorcycle Stuff

Well, I just dropped quite a bit on accessories for my bike. There are two things that I've complained about on multiple occasions about my bike. The first is that I have to lean forward somewhat to reach the handlebars. It being a cruiser (2005 Honda VTX 1300C), it's meant for the rider to lean back while riding. Unfortunately, due to my height (an abnormal amount of which is in the torso) and my normalish arms, the standard setup just doesn't work. To that end, I've purchased a set of pull-back risers. These bring the standard bars back about 2.25". One of the guys at work installed a set of these on his back this past weekend, so I got the chance to take a look at it on Monday. It definitely changes the looks of the bike. I wasn't sure if I liked it at first. Then I sat down and gripped the bars. Now I don't care what it looks like. It's just too comfortable.

The second issue I've had is with the mirrors. I'm a big guy with broad shoulders and the standard mirror stems just don't cut it for looking directly behind me. If I want to check the lanes to either side, there's no problem. So, I've ordered a set of mirrors with tall stems that should work nicely.

Now I just need to save up enough to get a Mustang seat, driving light bar, and floorboards.

Edit: Oooh, and a bluetooth headset!

Monday, June 23, 2008

It's Funny Because It's True.

Found in Laurel's latest post: On the topic of a likely Heller decision tomorrow: “It feels like we’re anticipating a really messed up Christmas… where you’re either going to get a pony, or find out your grandpa died.”

Thursday, June 19, 2008


So I was shanghaied into buying some steaks this afternoon. I ended up with 8 ribeyes, 8 boneless strips and 8 fillet of sirloin (bacon-wrapped). I have absolutely no idea how to go about cooking steak.

With that in mind, I'm going to suggest (Richard) that we get the same crowd together that were at the barbeque last time for an encore or, failing that, talk the Mintons into having a get-together. I'll donate these steaks to the cause as long as I'm not required to cook. I'm thinking weekend after this one as I know you have the MSF course to attend this weekend.

What say you?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Musings on What Might Have Been

I was checking out Breda's latest post and this quote caught my eye:

"When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."
- Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner

This quote has struck a chord in me. I'll be the first to admit that I do/say things on a fairly regular basis that leave others shaking their heads and me smacking myself about 5 seconds later. I realize that others do the same thing from time to time but I tend to do it at least four times a day (joking - sort of).

The point I'm getting at is that this has been happening since my very early childhood and hasn't shown much signs of diminishing. And I would have to say that it's the major influencing factor in my lack of socializing. I took the old adage a little too seriously: "Better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

I very much wish that I had read A. A. Milne's works when I was young.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

New Programs Galore!

Today my computer has seen a number of new programs or updates added.

First and foremost is Scribefire which I am currently using to write this post. I found it via Junyor's latest post. It is basically a text editor that will post directly to a number of blogs (one of which is Blogger, obviously) and is intended specifically for Firefox. I've only been playing around with it for a few minutes but I like what I'm seeing so far.

The next is Firefox 3.0. I just found out this morning from a coworker that this newest version was being offered today. I love Firefox and I'm looking forward to playing with this new version.

Lastly is the Google bar add-on for Firefox 3.0. In case you didn't know, the Google bar will need to be updated when switching to the latest version of Firefox. Thankfully, it's a simple matter to update as Firefox automatically recognizes the incompatability and will download and install the new version itself. From what little I've seen of it so far, it seems to be almost identical to the version I had previously installed.

That's it! Hope this was informative.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tinkering with Webcams

Friend and fellow blogger Junyor has been playing around recently with a webcam. Me being the shameless copycat that I am and Junyor being the shameless enabler that he is, I ended up buying the same model webcam myself.

He and I played around with some of the streaming websites and messenger apps out there for conferencing and he has posted a well-thought-out review of each on his site. I have watched the video he links in his post and I am in full agreement with his assessments. Go take a look.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Habeas Corpus Upheld by SCOTUS

Well, score one for habeas corpus. Richard sent me this link along with this comment:

"Honestly, I thought Justice Thomas was a bit more of a Constitutional scholar than that. I'm thoroughly disappointed.
At least the majority understands."

To which a mutual friend (who will remain anonymous until he gives permission to use his name on my blog) replied:

"those *expletive* repubs in the supreme court don't give a *expletive* about the constitution.
Live to regret the day when tyranny was defeated? I doubt it."

He is referring to Justice Scalia's comment that "Today the Court warps our Constitution ... The Nation will live to regret what the Court has done today."

The sad thing is that I do not think that this is a defeat for the dissenting Justices. I think that they view this as a minor set-back. We have to remember that people such as these do not think of themselves as tyrannical oppressors. They honestly believe that methods such as the suspension of habeas corpus in question are necessary to the continued well-being of this nation.

They think that they are heroes for pushing such measures. They think it's for our own good.

This line of thinking has made me recall the words of C. S. Lewis: "Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

(As an aside, I found a quote site when looking for this particular Lewis quote. It has a random quote generator that I'm going to add to the sidebar. Let me know what you think.)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Got a Wii

I was finally able to find a Wii today at Gamestop. I'd heard from everyone who owns one that these are a blast to play. Unfortunately, until today, I'd never even seen one in person. They were always out of stock.

I got it home and hooked it up. I set up my mii character and started up Wii Boxing. I have to say, I hope the other games are more responsive than this one. The left nunchuck controller was great, I could jab with it like a crazy man. But the right was almost non-responsive. Most of my punches would only carry about half way to the opponent character, pulling up short. The ones that did go through went incredibly wide. Every now and then, a punch would connect by arcing out very wide and landing a kidney shot.

After about fifteen minutes, I gave up. One thing about it, it's a workout. I was sweating up a storm. I just hope the shooting games are more precise. That's what I really wanted this system for.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Run That By Me Again?

It seems that Britain has decided that they have a knife-crime epidemic. Now that they've outlawed guns, I suppose those who supported that ban have to find something else to explain why it is that their nation still experiences violent crime.

Once again, I must point out that the weapon is nothing; it's the person wielding it who is dangerous. A person who has decided to commit a crime will use whatever tools are available to them, even if they have to manufacture the tools themselves.

Hat tip to Jason for the link.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I Have The Wierdest Luck

So, I ordered a mesh jacket and saddlebags from an online retailer (I won't go into the who/where until this is played out). The order goes through and all seems fine.

Then I get an email a couple days later. It seems that the jacket I ordered is on extended backorder. It won't be available until late July/early August. They told me that I was free to let this order sit until the jacket is available or I can go ahead and swap to a different jacket. So, I get to looking around and I see a different jacket that has some features that I like for only about $20 more. So, I send an email asking if this jacket is available and if so, go ahead and swap it out.

The very next day, I get a couple of voicemails on my cell (which I forgot and left at home) telling me that the saddlebags I ordered have been recalled due to faulty materials. Materials that make up the very functionality that caused me to pick this particular maker.


After playing phone tag with the person who initially called me, I managed to catch him via email. It seems that the manufacturer recalled every single one of their bags.

During this time, I'm still awaiting response from the guy who contacted me about my jacket. I don't get one until the following Tuesday (he contacted me originally on Thursday). He apologized for the delay and explained that he had been out of the office on Monday and responded as soon as he could. He confirmed that the jacket was available and asked if I wanted to go ahead with purchasing it. Of course I said yes, and the jacket should have shipped out yesterday or today.

I got a phone call at lunch today from the same gent who told me that the saddlebags had been recalled. It seems that the recalled bags had already been replaced and are ready to ship! I gave him my info over the phone and when I got home, I had an email waiting on me saying that FedEx has received the package and it's on its way.

So far, I must say that I am impressed with their responsiveness. There was a bit of a lapse in response time but the explanation for that is completely understandable. And their tenacity in getting things lined out combined with their polite nature really struck me favorably.

We shall have to wait and see how this turns out.

DC to Implement "Neighborhood Safety Zones"

I'm honestly speechless here. The anger and sadness this provokes in me is, well, indescribable. I knew that this sort of power grab was inevitable.

I knew it intellectually. But still it manages to surprise me. Sadden me. Infuriate me.

Call me naive if you wish but it disappoints me.

H/T to Lawdog.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spreading the Love

It seems that I really am a bad influence.

Junyor contacted me a few days ago via Yahoo Messenger to ask about motorcycles. Seems he'd picked up the itch from me. (Or maybe it's just the insane gas prices. I'm gonna claim credit regardless.) I began by asking him a few questions about what his intended uses were gonna be. Seems he had been looking around already and was eyeing a couple of 250cc bikes already.

As with Richard, I just had to point out that a 250cc bike will get excellent gas mileage - but there's a trade-off. Junyor was intending to ride his new bike back and forth to work (approximately a 40 mi. round trip). While the gas mileage would rock on trips like this, I pointed out that the downside would be a lighter bike that is easily pushed around by wind, both natural and that generated by larger, passing vehicles, and a bike that would be pushing its power limits on Dallas' bypass-like tollways.

We ended the conversation with Junyor looking seriously at a Honda Shadow VT750c2. It should provide him with enough power to keep him interested (and safe) for a good while, enough weight to stabilize him on blustery/high-traffic days, a seat low enough to fit him comfortably, and still get good gas mileage.

Now we just need to get Richard fixed up with a bike.

As an aside, I was finally able to get a decent idea of the gas mileage my bike is capable of. I had to switch to reserve tank yesterday on my way to work. I filled up on my way home and calculated the mileage as 32.25mpg. Not bad, considering that better than half of the driving was done just 2-3 miles per trip.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Post #100

Well. My 100th post. I should do something special, something big, something meaningful...

...I've got nothin'.

Actually, I'll be going to a barbecue tomorrow afternoon at the new house of some friends from church that I helped move a while back. I'm planning to take my bike but I'm not sure how to take along a lawn chair. I may have to head out to Target tomorrow afternoon to pick up one of those collapsible chairs that have a carry bag.

I passed this past weekend on a planned trip up to Osage Beach in Missouri with my parents and sister. I later found out that they intend to head to Branson Saturday night. Today I got an email from Ron Paul's campaign advertising a rally in Branson tomorrow night. Now I'm wishing I could have gotten the time off to go.

Oh well. You win some, you lose some. I'll probably buy some saddlebags and a mesh jacket for my bike instead.

On a side note, I've ordered a High Noon pancake holster for my Para. UPS' website shows that they've received the billing info but haven't received the package. I'm eager to get it and my earlier order of belt and holster for my CZ 97B. That order will probably be delayed until July, though, due to the made-to-order nature of their belts.

I've also finally ordered a replacement for my dearly departed ergo-keyboard. It has shipped and is sitting in a UPS facility in California at the moment.

Well, what do you know. Not a bad 100th post after all. Managed to get most of the things that I love or consider important stuffed in without too much effort.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Newest Addition to the Armory

Richard and I were doing a bit of window shopping weekend before last. We hit some of the local motorcycle dealerships as he is seriously considering a purchase. We also made a stop by Fort Thompson in Little Rock to look for a new holster for my Browning.

We didn't find a holster but did find a Para Ordnance widebody LTC for a very tempting price. After sleeping on it, I decided to ask Terry if he wanted to purchase my Browning. He and Richard have been bugging me consistently about selling it to one of them so that they can convert it to 9mm. Apparently, they have some idea of making the most durable 9mm ever. Whatever his reasons, we agreed on a price and it gave me the funds to pick up the LTC.

This pistol is sweet. A 4.25" barrel, 14-round capacity, stainless construction with an OD Green finish on frame and slide and black controls. My only complaint is the plastic mainspring housing (solved when I replaced the flat, plastic one with an arched, steel housing) and full-length guide rod. I've got the parts saved at MidwayUSA to solve the latter issue. The trigger is sweet and it feeds without a hitch.

Now I just need a good holster...

Another New Addition to the Blogroll

This gentleman has more than earned the spot. The post that interested me in his site can be found here. The post that made me laugh 'til I couldn't breathe can be found here.

Welcome "The Smallest Minority".

Monday, May 19, 2008

Wal-Mart Signs "Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership"

I know, this is actually old news. But I wanted to make sure I documented it. Personally, I've defended Wal-Mart on a lot of issues over the years due to the fact that they gave me the best job I had during college. But this has crossed the line. I've not purchased a single item from Wal-Mart since hearing about this.

See these links for details.

What really irks me about this is the fact that they are agreeing to "develop a computerized system that participating retailers will implement over time to log crime gun traces relating to the retailer." The issue I have with this is, how do they expect to get the data that a gun that they sold has been used in a crime? From discussions I've seen on THR (although I can't seem to find the thread I had in mind, that one has a good discussion going), there's only one database that contains such information and access to it is restricted to LEOs investigating active cases only.

The only thing I can think is that Bloomberg intends to set up a LEO to provide the information to his "Mayors Against Illegal Guns" group. Which is probably illegal itself.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Electrical Engineers, Rejoice!

The long-sought-after fourth component has been found!

Seriously. No, I'm not joking.

It's called a memrister.

And it's going to render every electronics/circuits book in the world obsolete. Well, maybe not obsolete, but definitely in need of revision. I'm not going to bother discussing its merits/uses in this post. The articles do a darn good job of that.

But please feel free to start a discussion in the comments.

And After an Almost Three-Week Hiatus...

You'll remember that two posts back, I mentioned a second movie that Richard and I watched the previous Friday. One that I was too sick to remember. Well, Richard stepped up and reminded me. Tremors II. Hilarious. And the gunplay is fun and accurate. I highly recommend it.

Also, you'll remember that I was sick due to allergies. Thankfully, I've pulled through and have managed to find an effective method for preventing allergy attacks of such drastic size. After talking it out with my dad, we came to the conclusion that it was mowing my yard that triggered my attack. I was then informed that there's this invention out there called a "filter mask". It's just a bit of formed filter paper that fits over your nose and mouth and is held in place by a rubber band.


Sarcasm aside, I've mown my yard once since purchasing a pack of masks and nary a sniffle.