Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ideological Turing Test

Monday, October 16, 2017

Range time today...

Argumentum ad feces fabricatum...

William S. Lind, an ever-reliable source of military history lulz, dropped another funny one.

After some nattering about warship propulsion* that was incorrect, he wrote...
"What this means, and has meant for centuries, is that most of the time ships and fleets are in their home ports.  Small detachments may be stationed around the world, the gunboats of gunboat diplomacy.  But gunboat diplomacy worked because the gunboat was a reminder of the powerful fleet that could come quickly if the gunboat needed support.  Other than these gunboats and small detached squadrons, the rest of the navy was comfortably at rest in its home harbors.  There was, and is, no need for it to be anywhere else, not only in peacetime but often also in war.  It can go where it needs to when it needs to."
This is a dude who has obviously never heard the term "China Station" or "East Indies Station" or "Asiatic Squadron" or...or...well, all of 18th, 19th, and 20th Century naval history.

* "Because steamships had to coal frequently, they were more dependent on the land than were ships driven by the wind.  The replacement of coal by oil for fuel and then of steam by fuel-efficient diesels for propulsion..." Warships don't use diesel propulsion, generally†, Bill. Well, the Kriegsmarine's pocket battleships did, and knowing what a boner you have for the Jerries, this factoid probably stuck in your mind and you assumed all forward-thinking navies just went on to copy that.

†Following discussion elsewhere, I'll modify "warships" to "major surface combatants of the world's large blue-water navies".

Impostor Syndrome

I'm pretty emphatic that I make no presumptions of being any sort of firearms instructor, and yet I have agreed to help some friends out on the range today with a few pointers.

I'll try my best, but this is not really my safe space, if you know what I mean.


Not too many months ago, I'd get off my poor tired feet at night and my lower legs would be all narsty and swollen above the elastic of my socks. That doesn't happen anymore. In fact, I can actually see some definition of my calf muscles again.

Also, some time in the first week of October, my belt began taking on a very active role in keeping my current jeans from falling down to my hips, rather than simply being a means of strapping my holster on. Looking like it's time to bust out the next size down when I get home. If I lose two jeans sizes by SHOT, I will be positively ecstatic.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

In the meantime...

It's getting pretty Sunday afternoon around here right now, that portion of the weekend referred to by the great Douglas Adams as "the long dark tea-time of the soul". In lieu of content, have a kitten picture.

Her name is Shrike, from her hobby of eating wasps.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

The backside of the upgrade cycle...

PetaPixel recently had a piece on the things you can do with a cheap DSLR. The writer snagged a used near-dozen-year-old consumer-grade DSLR with a fixed 50mm prime lens for $80 and proceded to go shoot some pictures with it.

The camera in question was a Rebel 400D, known in the U.S. as the Rebel XTi.

It was Canon's 2006-model entry-level DSLR, meaning that in the hothouse world of camera technology, it's eight generations out of date (the current model is the 800D/T7i) and sells for about a hundred and a half used even from online retailers, if you don't want to Craigslist.

Coincidentally, it's the same model camera as the one I bought, also used, five years ago to stick my toe in the DSLR waters...

It's the first DSLR I took to Blogorado or the State Fair.

Come to think of it, a fair number of the photos in my "Favorites" folder were shot with the Rebel XTi.

So, sure, if you want a bleeding edge DSLR, you're going to be out well over a grand, but if you just want to make you some pictures, you can do can do pretty darn good for a tenth of that. The bigger-better-faster-more nature of the electric camera market has morphed it into something very like the computer industry, where the depreciation curve is brutal, with the difference being that you don't need the latest hardware just to play.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Well, that's embarrassing...

Some of the most fun I have on my annual New Mexico trip is taking photos of roller derby. I don't get to do much sports photography, so this is my yearly chance.

Last night I tried making do with the cameras and bodies at hand, putting the Sony 50mm f/1.8 on the NEX-5T and then getting daring and mounting the old Leitz Elmar 9cm f/4 on the Ricoh GXR body to shoot some fully manually in B&W. If there's anything more hipster than using 1955-vintage German glass on a Japanese digital camera to shoot pictures of roller derby, you'd need to be drinking PBR ironically to find out what it is.

Shooting with the NEX-5T was a breeze. Put it in aperture priority and crank it open enough to where you're still getting ~1/200th shutter speeds, and then trust auto focus and mash the button at the start of each jam, keeping the pack centered in the frame and know that the shutter whirring away at up to 10 frames per second would grab something good.

Using the manual focus lens on the Ricoh GXR was a whole different experience. Having to shoot wide open or at f/5.6 meant that at all but the longest shots across the rink, depth of field issues were a constant worry. I lost plenty of shots to "almost-but-not-quite-in-focus". The lighting was perfect for B&W shooting, though, and even though I had to press the shutter button for each one, I think I wound up shooting more frames with the manual Ricoh than either of the automated cameras.

We got back to the Nerd Ranch and I started throwing stuff from one Compact Flash (the yeoman Nikon D200) and two SD cards onto my laptop.

As I started sharing pics around, everybody was noting that the internet in the house was lagging something fierce. It was noted again when we were binge-watching a few episodes of Rick and Morty later that evening.

It wasn't until I sat down at the computer and checked my email this morning that I realized what had happened, since that's when I got the email cheerily informing me that all my photos had been uploaded to my One Drive account. Yes, I had failed to disable automatic photo uploading for this roadtrip...

It's something I never notice at home, because auto uploading five or ten pictures happens seamlessly in the background. Nearly two gigs of derby pics dumped on the hard drive all at once? That's a bandwidth hog.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Sweet photos...

Jennifer has some awesome pics from this past weekend.

Asymptomatic now, but...

Well, no more fever or achiness and I don't seem to be an endlessly-flowing river of mucus anymore. It's going to take a while to clean out all the distant corners of my sinus and bronchial passages, and my nose is so raw that even the Puffs Plus Lotion feel like 40-grit, but I think I'm coming out the far side.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

That man is in dire need of a Smithers.

I suppose the FCC could do something about WNBC's broadcast license, which would dishearten any Manhattanite cord-cutters out there who don't have broadband internet...


Automotif CXLII...

Vaguely post-apocalyptic-looking vehicle spotted in the vicinity of Los Alamos, NM.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Spent the day in bed.

I picked up some sort of bug in Colorado and, by the time we stopped for gas in Cimarron yesterday, my soft palate felt like I'd been gargling crushed glass and I was blowing my nose nearly non-stop.

Today featured a low-grade fever and general respiratory tract ickiness. There's nothing like not having full breathing capacity at 6,000 feet ASL.


At least the fever seems to have broken this evening.

Camera stuff...

I'd intended to shoot this trip mostly with the Sony MILC cameras. I had intended to use the 18-105 f/4 G lens on the Hasselblad Lunar for most shooting, and use the NEX-5T with an appropriate lens for the circumstances as a backup camera.

Unfortunately, I left the Hasselblad, complete with its shiny new zoom lens mounted, lying on a filing cabinet in the office back home.

So this left me with the NEX-5T body, a couple of fast primes (Sigma 30mm f/1.4 and Sony 50mm f/1.8) and the long kit zoom, a 55-210mm f/4.5-6.3, to shoot pics at Blogorado. The prime lenses were intended to shoot pictures of the hanging out and socializing in the evenings, and I would have to try to cover most of the action on the range with the 55-210 zoom.

Things went more swimmingly than expected, until Sunday...

See, Saturday night I'd been shooting in the garage with the camera set on Aperture Priority...and forgot to switch it to my usual range settings when I switched to the slow kit zoom at the range the next day.

Oh, well, at least it's got a fast enough shutter to keep stuff from being completely blown out, and at that shutter speed you get some cool stuff...

Monday, October 09, 2017

Somewhere west of Cimarron...

Snows came early to the high passes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains this year. Raton Pass wasn't bad and the road across Eagle Pass was just wet, despite all the snow in the woods surrounding it, but Cimarron Canyon between them was getting treacherous when we drove through...

Travel Day...

More later.

Oh, happy Columbus Day! Whoever thought that a pretty generic minor secular government holiday would be a reason to argue on the internet?

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Faces of Blogorado...


These were shot with my Ricoh GXR, using a 1955-vintage Leitz Elmar 9cm f/4, all at ISO400, f/22, 1/400th sec. This is a lot of fun...

Saturday, October 07, 2017


I've been otherwise occupied having a good time the last couple days, and the internet is still a roiling sea of goofy speculation dotted with islands of howling retards and the flotsam of some of the most truly goofy conspiracy theories I've heard in a lifetime of collecting goofy conspiracy theories as a side hobby.

I refuse to let this 'tardstorm bum my high.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

True Fact

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Paging Alanis Morissette...

Right click, save as "thetruthaboutirony.jpg"...

This is why I'm a misanthrope.

The internet has broken out in the dumbs. The right half of it is spewing kooky conspiracy theory nonsense and the left half wants to...I don't know, wish all the guns into the cornfield or something.

If you're out there rolling around in the toxic stew of these debates, here's a fun conversational grenade to toss into the mix, the way Woo Bum-kon tossed grenades at local villagers.

Monday, October 02, 2017

Real Talk

Every internet shithead can suddenly make a 500-yd high-angle precision shot with their SIG-brace-equipped 9" .300BLK with a zero magnification dot. Under fire. I'd like to beat that dude about the head and shoulders with his no-doubt-Punisher-skull-festooned AR pistol until he saw wisdom and Jesus.

Circus Circus

They're flashing the leaderboard on NBC news non-stop this morning. Brokaw, who has made gun-grabbing his beat, has been brought in to chew his lip and tut-tut.

Social media is in a frenzied game of "Pin the Loonie on the Other Party".

The Alex Jonesies are pointing out the similarities between this and the staged stadium massacre opening of Matt Bracken's Enemies Foreign and Domestic.

Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Pepperidge Farm remembers!

Tragic Consequences

Saw this from a Pennsylvania police department this morning:

First thought: What is up with a cop not locking his doors? Like Greg Ellifritz has observed on multiple occasions, the vast majority of thefts come from thieves wandering right in through unlocked doors. And as an IMPD detective I know points out, most private citizen in-home defensive gun uses aren't violent home invasions, but rather "meeting engagements", where a burglar encounters a surprised resident in a home the burglar thought was empty or only contained sleeping residents.

I don't know all the details, but I'm betting one thing saved that drunk dude: The officer was almost certainly trained in the use of a flashlight to identify a target, rather than shooting at shadows. There's so much gun store claptrap about "Well, ah lernt to shoot in the Army, and a light will give away yer position!"

You know what'll really give away your position? Killing a loved one.

Ninjas are not coming to kill us. We know a cheap and readily-available solution to this problem:

Or, you know, if you don't have a flashlight handy, you could turn the light switch on. Or if the power's out, you could try asking "Who's there?" Target ID is a thing.

In conclusion (or "tl;dr" if you prefer):
  • Lock your damn doors, people.

  • Ninjas are not coming to kill us.

  • Target identification is a thing. It's right there in the Four Rules.

  • Your house is not a free-fire zone.


I seem to have gotten all caught up in Saturdaying, and so here's a bit of linky in lieu of thinky:

First: A post from Mark at Growing Up Guns on "The Universal Draw Stroke". There's a way to get your gun out of your holster that doesn't point your gun at yourself. If you do it all the time, it's the only draw your hands know. This might be a good thing for you. Personally, I draw to a hard 2 even when I'm putting the gun away at night.

Second, a video from Caleb on the banes of the gun store shopper's existence: