Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cornered Cat Goes Print

One of the moderators from an online forum I used to be relatively active on has written a book. Kathy Jackson has maintained a website of the same name as her book for a number of years. I've perused it before and found it to be well written and very informative. As a number of people have written before, it might be written from a woman's point of view but it has information that anyone can use. I plan to purchase a copy myself for my own benefit and to loan out to others.

Monday, October 25, 2010

You Just Don't Get It, Do You?

Read an article today that attempted to examine the political motivations behind the Tea Party movement. I'll honestly say that there's quite a bit of what the Tea Party pushes that appeals to me but for some reason, I just can't warm to the group.

Anyway, the quote that inspired this post is as follows: “I would not call it a racist ‘sector’ of politics. However, I would say that there are elements of the Tea Party that use their opposition to things such as the national debt as a shield to hide behind, when some of its members are clearly opposed to Obama as a Black man being elected as the 44th president of the United States. Some of their rallies have born this out with signs depicting Obama as a witch doctor, a Socialist, etc.” - Dewey Clayton, Ph.D.

I read this and my head almost exploded.

I really have to wonder how this guy managed to pass basic general education classes with this type of reasoning ability. The witch doctor thing I'm gonna ignore, 'cause that's a whole other can of worms. But calling Obama a socialist is now a clear indication of racism? Give me a break! Here's a reality check, neighbor: Socialism is a political ideology that isn't inherent to any "race". Being called a socialist has everything to do with one's actions and nothing to do with the melanin content of one's skin. Very simply put, it's what a person does, not what they look like, that makes a socialist a socialist.

I couldn't help but be reminded of the quiz show at the end of the movie Billy Madison: “Mr. Madison, what you've just said... is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Interesting Quote

"Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal." - Albert Camus

This one hit close to home.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Missing The Point?

You know, I think they're kinda missing the whole point. Or maybe not. I find it hard to believe that anyone could be that dense -unless it was on purpose.

Yes, the population of "illegal aliens" would increase. But that's only because their kids would no longer be considered citizens. And I doubt they have any way to include the drop in illegal immigration that would likely result from this.

I personally don't have a dog in this fight. My beef concerning illegal immigration is the entitlement programs. And that's not in any way exclusive to illegals. There are plenty of "citizens" who are living on the productive public's dime, too.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

School Bus Camera Enables Arrest

12-year-old boy arrested in connection with sexual assault of 3-year-old girl on a school bus.

It seems that the arrest may have been enabled by footage from a camera that had been installed in the bus this past summer. As an electrical engineer at a major school bus manufacturer, I've sometimes wondered about the effectiveness of on-board surveillance systems. We install pre-wiring for a few of our customers but it's not exactly a popular option. It is a relatively simple wiring setup. We don't currently install the cameras themselves, so I can't speak to that. Now I wonder if we aren't going to be setting up more buses for them in the future. There's no way a bus driver can see everything that goes on in a bus. And I've always heard that attorneys would much rather have video evidence than eye-witness accounts in any case. What with kids getting more and more brazen as time goes by, I'm betting we'll be hearing about more incidents like this one in the near future. That's a bet I'd quite happily lose but the odds seem stacked against it.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Holy Pwnage, Batman!

Breda links to a video clip that made me cheer out loud while watching it. My favorite bit is at about 1:10 where the guy tries to get away and gets yanked back for more.

Remember, an attacker may eventually be able to impose their will on you but it should never be because you gave up and chose to be a victim. Fight with every weapon you have or can improvise, even tooth and nail if you have to. There's no such thing as a fair fight when someone is trying to victimize you.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

And The Winner Is...

The Barnes and Noble Nook. I picked one up at Best Buy before my business trip to Tulsa last week. I snagged the wireless only version, not the 3G & wireless. I can't see giving an extra $50 for the ability to download anywhere. If I can't download it at home, at a hotspot, or at a B&N store, I figure I don't need it too badly. I've already ended up buying three electronic books and downloaded a number of public domain books from Project Gutenburg (love that site).

Get Killed For A Good Cause... one of Larry Correia's upcoming books. Larry's the author of Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta. He's got another series that will be coming out soon called the Grimnoir Chronicles. Larry has a post up where he has offered to make you a redshirt (ala Star Trek) in one of his books. All you have to do is send a $50 donation (tax deductable) to a young man who is in need of a kidney transplant.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

One (1) Electronic Entertainment - Portable, Please

So, it looks like I'll be doing some traveling for work in the near future and I've been looking at some of my options in portable entertainment. I'll be taking the netbook, of course, but most of the entertainment factor with it is directly internet related. As I know enough about tethering to know how to spell it and that I don't have the necessary hardware, wireless internet access is going to be somewhat limited. I've been considering some other options out there.

Option 1: Nintendo DS. I've only recently been looking at this system. For the most part, Nintendo has fallen off my radar due to their games. The games all look like they were intended for pre-teens. And, that might be the case. Sony and Microsoft's offerings, at least on their consoles, seemed to have missed that particular niche. I wouldn't be surprised at all to find that Nintendo is intentionally marketing to that audience. I welcome any feedback to the contrary but, for now, this one is going on the back burner.

Option 2: Playstation Portable (PSP). I've been eyeing one of these off and on for about two years now. It first really hooked me when I heard about Final Fantasy Dissidia and then realized that Square has been churning out RPGs like mad for this platform. They've even ported some of the old FF games from the NES and SNES systems. (Squee! ...ahem.) The main problem I have with this system is that the RPGs are the only thing that really hold my attention for any length of time and even those haven't held it long enough for me to beat a single FF game. I typically will burn through the stories well past the half-way mark then will hit a tough boss or dungeon that stalls me out. I'll give it numerous tries but will eventually take a break from the game -just for a little while- that turns into the game collecting dust on top of the entertainment center. I just can't imagine that a handheld system with their typically undersized (gorilla hands!) controls and a small screen is going to help this situation any.

Option 3: Amazon Kindle. This one seems the most likely to get used a lot. I devour books, especially fantasy novels. I've recently put myself on something of a book-buying hiatus as I've got entertainment in dead tree format strewn hither and yon across the house. I really need to get those organized and put away before I go buying any more. The Kindle would definitely help cut down on the clutter. I really only have two issues with the Kindle. The first is that they've just announced a new graphite-colored case, Wi-Fi only version that retails for $139. That is exactly what I want. The problem is that they are just now taking pre-orders and I'm not likely to get one of these puppies before I have to head out on the trip. The second issue is money. I'd probably spend a small fortune on books in the first month alone!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

For The Ladies

One of the things that I've noticed has been missing in any quantity in the gun owners' arena has been advice for ladies who want to carry. Breda has a post up with some advice for the fairer sex (and some that applies to either gender).

Friday, July 30, 2010

1911 Musing

After doing a little more looking around, I think I've decided what my 1911 purchase (if I buy one) will be. The Spartan is STI's entry level 1911. It appears to be a Rock Island Armory frame, slide, and maybe the barrel. STI then fits the parts together and uses their own small components during assembly. RIA seems to have gathered something of a following in their own right in recent years. This usage of outsourced components means that STI is able to offer this pistol at an MSRP of $698.84, around $130 cheaper than the Kimber Custom II I was previously looking at. Edit: Based on some further study, it appears the Spartan is assembled at RIA and then QCed at STI. Not something that affects my decisions but it might be important to someone else who's looking for info.

There are a few drawbacks from my point of view:

1) The slide is cut for Bomar style adjustable rear sights. Adjustable sights have a reputation for losing zero relatively easily but there is a lot to be said for being able to tailor the sights for your preferred self-defense load. Probably not a big enough issue to keep me from purchasing.

2) The front sight is fiber optic. Personally, I've never used a fiber optic sight but I've heard they're fantastic in competition. The main issue I have with this setup is that most self-defense situations occur in areas of low-light. I'm not sure that a fiber optic will collect enough light in a wide array of low-light situations to be effective. Personally, I'd rather have a tritium powered front sight. STI makes a set of tritium powered night sights, both front and rear, that fit the Bomar style cut that would do quite nicely.

3) The mainspring housing is polymer. COME ON! Yes, the stresses this part sees makes this material okay for the application. But just okay. I've heard of these parts breaking, usually upon re-installation, often enough to make me leery. But that's okay. I've already decided that I'd add a mag funnel to help fill out my grip. Ed Brown makes a nice mag funnel that is incorporated into the base of an included mainspring housing. That will definitely be a necessity for me upon purchase of this pistol. With this part, I think I'd probably get a set of Alumagrips designed for mag funnels.

All gripes aside, I think this pistol will make for a fantastic base on which to customize.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hippie, Please!

You are 7% hippie.

Ok, you conservative soul. Do you even believe in global warming? Loosen that necktie a little, and try some organic food. It actually does taste better. And go to a farmer's market--they're fun.

Are you a hippie?
Take More Quizzes

That 7% was probably the soy milk. Durned lactose intolerance...

h/t to Breda.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Industrial-Sized Crazy

The suspect became angry and told the victim he was going to “choke slam” her. The suspect told authorities that he was a secret agent and that it was illegal for someone to eavesdrop on his conversations. The suspect stated that he was having a conversation with someone in his head.

Apparently secret agents are attending WWE matches for their force-on-force training nowadays.

One wonders why they even bothered stating this occurred at a Wal-Mart. That kind of crazy just doesn't exist anywhere else outside of the nuthouse or Congress...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Inception: Smart. Very Smart.

My folks came down for a visit this weekend. Friday night we went to the Chenal Imax in Little Rock to see Inception. If you have an Imax within driving distance, I highly recommend seeing this movie in that format. There were some scenes (You've seen the trailers, right? You know the scenes I'm talking about.) where the scale on the Imax screens was just mind-blowing. Unfortunately, that same scale made a few of the action scenes a little hard to follow but then I have trouble on some of the regular-sized movie screens, so take that with a grain of salt.

Lately, I've really warmed up to DiCaprio as an action actor. He's been able to project an air of competence and stoicism that makes him more believable as a man of action on screen. The rest of the cast was well chosen for their roles as well. Ken Watanabe was an inspired choice. Normally, I find Ellen Page slightly annoying but she was able to work around my preconceptions in this film.

The story was smart. They picked a single concept as the "sci-fi element" and then expanded the idea and its consequences in the "real world". That seemed to make for a more consistent story. Granted, there were a few moments where I stopped and started to mentally object. "Hold on - that doesn't make sense with what they said back there..." But then the movie would kick me in the teeth with an awesome visual or some impressively cerebral concept that yanked suspension of disbelief back to the fore of my thought processes.

Overall, I was thoroughly entertained and will be buying this movie when it comes out on Blu-Ray. My parents enjoyed it as well, which I think says a lot.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Right Tools For The Job

So, I decided to remove the scope mount hole plugs from my Marlin in anticipation of either a scope mount or an aperture sight. I broke out my gunsmithing screwdriver sets and got to work. The very first plug I tried to remove was jammed as tight as any screw I've yet come across. I managed to bend two bits and break another and I still didn't get the blasted thing out. Trying the other three yielded two that were simple to remove and the last is just as stuck as the first.

Despite what one of my coworkers has convinced himself of, I do not believe that thread locker was used on these two plugs. Firstly, only two of the four plugs had issues. I can't believe that only those two would get locking compound. Secondly, none of my Marlins have ever had thread locker on the plugs. I doubt they've started now all of a sudden.

At any rate, now I have two buggered-up screw heads and no way that I can think of to remove them myself short of purchasing a screw remover setup. I have no desire to risk sending this back to Marlin with them packing up the factory and all, so I guess I'll be sending this one off to the local smith.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Every time these come up on my radar, I have an irrational urge to order one. I probably wouldn't wear it save around the house or with friends. I definitely don't have the build for it nor am I anywhere near tan enough. And yet still I want one...

Circle-strafe FTW!

Well, now. This solves my biggest complaint about console FPS games. Do believe I'm going to have to give this a try.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Competition Good

The tablet PC market appears to be growing rapidly. Toshiba has announced a "Smart Pad" tablet PC to be launched before October. This makes me happy. I want my PADD and I'm cheap. Competition is a good thing.

Underseat Storage

Thinking I might just have to have one of these. I was discussing with one of my coworkers about 2 months ago the necessity for something to organize the stuff under my back seat. With the jumper cables, first aid kits, tools, and such, I have a rather cluttered rear cab area. The ability to store rifles and then lock the compartment is a definite bonus in my opinion.

This little item has also piqued my interest to some degree. I'm just wondering if it'd be at the right height to head-butt me in the event of a collision...

Anti-Air Laser System

Anti-aircraft laser unveiled at Farnborough Airshow.

Raytheon has created a 50kW IR laser system that is capable of destroying UAVs, mortars, rockets and small surface ships. They've even mounted the system onto a Phalanx (CIWS) missile defense system.

This is just awesome.

At one of my former jobs, we created some wiring harnesses for a number of Raytheon products. Makes me wonder if they're doing the harnessing for this bad boy.

Amazon E-Book Sales Claims It's Selling 80% More E-Books Than Hardcovers.

Note that they say hardcovers, thereby not including the less expensive and therefore more popular paperbacks. Still, that's impressive. I certainly wouldn't have thought it. Sure makes the Kindle and/or Nook look more desirable by the day.


Oh, for the love of...

Really...why even bother?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shopping Aggravation

I don't suppose anyone could point me to a site/store that carries big and tall clothing (as opposed to big OR tall).

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I have no self-control. None.

Swung by one of the local funstores yesterday with a coworker to take a look at some of the 1911s they had. I've been thinking lately about getting back into 1911s to some extent. Ever since I saw the magwell funnel on one of my buddies' 1911s, I've wondered if the extra length on the grip would make the feel more along the lines I prefer. Currently, I'm thinking of going with a Kimber Custom II with a Wilson Combat magwell.

While we were there, I happened to see a rather familiar-looking outline on the wall. They had, in stock, a Marlin 1895GBL which I have been looking for for almost 6 months now. The price was comparable to any I'd found online (after shipping). After hearing about the shutdown of the original Marlin factory and the dissemination of its tooling to various Remington factories, it was very difficult to hand the rifle back to the salesman.

So difficult, in fact, that I broke down today and went back to purchase it. I'm now in the market for some 45-70 ammo. I'm actually trying to decide what kind of ammo I need. Normally, my firearms are more of the anti-personnel variety. As this is something more of a fun gun, I don't know if I need to get soft points, hard-cast, FMJ, or HPs. Guess I should just see what's available and go from there...

Let's Try This Again

Boy, it's been a while. I've decided to give this blog thing another try. I got a bit burnt out earlier and just quit altogether. I'm going to see if not focusing almost exclusively on firearms will help me stay in the mood to blog more often. We shall see.