Sunday, November 23, 2014

♪♫ Movin' on u-up! ♪♫

♪♫To a de-luxe leather driver's seat in the sky!♪♫

So, as Bobbi has alluded to several times, her Hyundai Accent was reaching that point where the various urgently needed repairs would probably cost a multiple of the vehicle's NADA book value and even were they done, she'd still be left with a rusty '02 Korean penalty box.

The "To-Do" list on the dry erase board in the kitchen had featured "CAR" for quite some time and so, when her friend the Data Viking came down to visit yesterday, we turned "let's go look at cars before the movie" into "we can watch the movie next weekend, let's you go 'head and buy a car and get this done with."

She settled on an older Lexus RX300, with high miles but good service records and super clean & straight. At her average monthly mileage, it's likely got another five to ten years left in it with proper maintenance, and while it's the FWD-only variant, it's got a lot more ground clearance for the snowy alley than the Accent did.

I'm not going to lie that part of what had me show her the RX was the way she insisted that the new vehicle be winter-capable and able to take 8-foot lengths of pine board, but also every time she got to talking about the Jaguar XJ6 she had back in the day, her eyes would get all unfocused and misty as she'd describe the hushed comfort of the leather-lined cockpit. I think that Lexus's crossover ute could probably satisfy both yearnings pretty well. We're getting into winter weather here, and Bobbi deserves the joys of seat heaters in her life.

There's the added bonus that Euro Motor Works, the shop that did such a great job helping me out with the Z3, advertises that they want you to think of them "as the "dealership alternative" for service on your fine European or Lexus vehicle," so she can get it worked on there for projects too big to tackle at home.

(Another Plus: Working on starship engines sometimes requires going out into bad traffic at odd hours or in awful weather, and I'm also not going to lie that I feel better knowing she's doing it in something that gets much more stellar ratings in NHTSA crash tests than the Accent.)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Sorry 'bout that...

Been out most of the day today helping Bobbi go car shopping.

Alas, despite leaving behind me a careful trail of grappa and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano leading to Roseholme Cottage, neither one of these beasties followed us home.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fairly Unbalanced

The Pauline Kael Award for the week goes to Sophia McClennan at for this piece, yet another turgid, smug rendition of "Ha-ha, stupid NASCAR-Americans and their talk radio and Fox News!"

The money quote:
"And despite the hype, it is not Stewart, Colbert and Oliver who are stirring up the partisan spin.  Sure they attack Fox News, sure they call out the outrageous positions of many Republicans, but they go after the Democrats too."
That's right! They call out the outrageous positions of Republicans for being too conservative, but they also go after Democrats for not being liberal enough. If that's not bipartisan, I don't know what is!

Isn't he the Decider, though?

I swear to gawd, in order to talk politics in this country, you need to have a spectacular case of selective amnesia.

Let's cast our minds back a few years, okay? Here are a couple visual aids:


Remember? That stuff really happened, right? Other people remember it, too, and I'm not in some strange parallel universe where it didn't happen?

Because this morning I have liberal commentators smugly and self-righteously talking about the virtues of the executive branch taking unilateral action in the face of a balky legislature. Meanwhile, conservatives are engaging in an orgy of pearl-clutching and all but throwing themselves on the floor in a hold-my-breath-until-I-turn-blue hissy fit about how "[w]e have a monarch, not a President, and impeachment is the only viable solution."

Jeeze, looking around, you'd think that this was some kind of unprecedented constitutional crisis and the executive and legislative branches had never been at loggerheads before.

Lucky Gun

I have to agree with this post. If the only reason you're thinking outside the box is because your box is all busted and you fell out one of the holes, you need to get it fixed so it works right before you go thinking outside it.

I mean, I like the idea of a CCW pistol that has an integrated light and laser and is devoid of sharp corners, but...
  • A pistol-mounted flashlight is a pretty specialized tool, and one that Cletus and Lurlene (and Officers Cletus and Lurlene) all too often think turns his or her pistol into a flashlight. No, Cletus, it's for illuminating things you're shooting at while both hands are hanging onto the gun; the flashlight in your pocket is for flashlighting stuff. If you're waving your gun around under your car looking for your dropped keys, it's time to start wondering whether you need to be trusting yourself with a gat in public.

  • An included pocket/belt clip. Because that's what people need more encouragement to do: Carry guns with unprotected trigger guards in poorly-secured ways that allow them to go clattering across the food court floor with sometimes noisy consequences, like that guy in Knoxville with the derringer back in the day.

  • No sights. Don't even get me started about your point-shooting gun-fu. Sure, maybe you'll need the gun to shoot some dude at contact distance... and maybe you'll need to shoot back at some looney tune dressed like a Batman villain halfway across a movie theater, in which case aren't you going to feel a little silly...

  • ...with a 12-ounce .380 sporting a twelve-pound trigger? I mean, yeah, I carry a little .380 with a graunchy DAO trigger... in my coat pocket in winter, just in case I can't get to the real pistol under my coat in time.
Little guns like this are great for backup guns or if your workplace/lifestyle make it absolutely impractical to carry something bigger, but all too often they're used by folks who view them as ballistic lucky rabbit's feet.  This little pistol is aimed squarely at that demographic.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Target Demographic...

On the way down to see Interstellar the other night, I was successfully marketed to. Shootin' Buddy and I stopped for a pint and a snack at the Thirsty Scholar at the corner of 16th & Penn.

Shootin' Buddy noted how much Indy had changed in the last twenty years. Only a decade or two ago, 16th & Penn would have been someplace you'd look to share some Boone's Farm with some hobos around a fire in a trash barrel or look for a burned-out house to dispose of a body, rather than drink craft beer and expensive coffee with painstakingly face-topiaried hipsters and herds of Ugg-wearing grad students.

High-Risibility Security Measures

Years of 'round-the-clock research have paid off as Silicon Valley robotics researchers have found a security measure more likely to be ignored, disrespected, vandalized, or outright pantsed than a 300-lb Mall Cop on a Segway Police Interceptor: I give to you the Knightscope K5, which is a white plastic rendition of a Quaker Vegan's idea of a Dalek.

How long after they're deployed to patrol some Bay Area food court will the first one have its camera disabled by someone putting a Guy Fawkes mask over its shiny egg-like domepiece?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Automotif LIV...

And while we're on the topic of Porsches, check out this roly-poly classic...

O.G. Porsche
The twin grilles in the deck lid and large rear window mark it as a later 356.
Saw this one in the neighborhood while out and about with Shootin' Buddy the weekend before last. I have never driven a 356, but I'd like to.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Automotif LIII...

Porsche's 911 has always occupied the prime parking spot in my daydream garage. Something about the wild-eyed performance combined with day-to-day usability appeals to me, I guess.

Yeah, it's a water-cooled 996. I still wouldn't kick it out of the garage.
And to think I'd looked out at the alley and decided to leave the Z3 garaged and take the Forester to the grocery store today because... eww! ...there might be ice or snow or salt on the roads. I feel like a piker now.

Well, that's done.

Hopefully I made one editor happy today. Now to placate the rest.

Monday, November 17, 2014

But what if it is a day at the office?

Ugh. I have to go to the range today.

Haha. No, seriously.

I have got to get this pistol shot for groups off the bench at 25 yards which, while it's technically "shooting", is possibly the dullest variety thereof, at least to me. Shooting three different loads for five 5-shot groups each is bordering on work in nice weather; when it's 23°F and there's a 15mph wind blowing out of Mordor-on-Lake-Michigan it puts the lie to that old saying about "A bad day at the range beats a good day in the office."

But I said I'd get this thing done by the middle of this week, and it's either shoot today when it's frickin' cold, or tomorrow when it's even frickin' colder.

I wish that the nice, clean, new indoor range down on the south side hadn't had that catastrophic range fire. There's a new-ish indoor range I haven't been to yet 'way hell-and-gone on the north side of town, but I'd hate to drive all the way out there and find that because I'm shooting a pistol, they'll make me use their 50' pistol lanes and not one of their 75' rifle lanes.

There's Don's Guns, but I value my un-shot hide and my self-respect too much to go there. I will go to my grave having never set foot in that sleazeball's facility.

Pop Guns (or whatever their new nom de commerce is) out on the east side of town is a good bunch of folks, but I believe they've only got a 50' range.

Broad Ripple needs an indoor range/gun shop.