Monday, October 15, 2018

Roller Derby!

Indoors shooting, and in not the best light. I used my trusty old manual-focus Nikkor 105mm f/2.5 lens on my Sony a7 II, via a Fotasy adapter. Shooting wide open with the ISO set to 800, I was able to get useably fast shutter speeds, although depth of field got a little tricky when the action was closer than about mid-track.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Automotif CXLIX...

1976 Plymouth Duster. My ex had a '75 with a 318 in it that he'd put mag wheels on, as well as a little ducktail of a spoiler on the decklid. He'd added a true dual exhaust that sounded a lot healthier than the 2-bbl smog motor actually was, and between that and the Direct Connection front license plate, its bark was entirely worse than its bite. Those were my peak redneck girlfriend days.

Saturday, October 13, 2018


I also used the combo of the EOS-1Ds Mark II & 70-200mm f/2.8L lens to snap a couple candid portraits of my friend JPG, which he was kind enough to let me share.

Although he'd no doubt demur, I think he's a treasure in the shooting world. This is a dude who turned a young cop named Jim Wilson onto the 1911 as an alternative to the service revolver. He was active in the earliest days of IPSC. And he still does pretty okay with a Thompson.

Because that's how I roll...

Gets full-frame Canon pro body and EF 70-200mm f/2.8L lens.

Uses it to take pictures of cats.

Can't lose a fight you're not in.

Claude Werner, aka "the Tactical Professor", had an interesting series of posts that analyzed the recent shooting in Texas where a father & son gunned down a neighbor during an aggressive dispute over dumping trash, of all things. He entitled it "Lessons from the Duel at the Dumpster" and it spanned three parts: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

The memes appeared almost immediately.
Claude has often expressed the sentiment that what the average CCW carrier could use more than any tactical pistol-shooting class would be a Dale Carnegie course. Being abrasive and confrontational and insisting on MUH RIGHTS! when carrying a deadly weapon is tap-dancing on a landmine.

I park way out in parking lots, where there's nobody contesting me for a space. Besides, I can see all around my car, and it's not like I couldn't use the extra walking distance anyway.

If I'm approaching a door at the same time as someone, they always get to go first.

I'll step off the sidewalk for the mom pushing the stroller or the old man walking his dog...or pretty much anybody. And I'll do it preemptively and with a smile. Goodwill is cheap.

I look at it this way: It's easy for me to be benevolent; after all, I'm the one with the loaded gun.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Reach Out & Touch

Objectively? It's big, heavy, holds only eight rounds, uses an ammunition feeding setup a lot more awkward than a detachable box magazine, has an external op rod of Rube Goldbergian complexity, fires an unnecessarily large round, and has the mechanical safety lever placed in an unsafe location.

Also objectively? The weight soaks up the recoil of the powerful round, the sights are nearly ideal for long range accuracy with irons, and it was the best general-issue infantry rifle of its day.

Watching Stingray use his to lay down some hate on the long range steel targets made me miss mine something fierce.

Having at one time owned the SVT-40, M1 Garand, and FN-49, my practical side doesn't regret selling the first two and keeping the FN, but my sentimental side sometimes does.


Bobbi points out an upcoming ballot question that will be put to Hoosier voters in November:
"Shall Article 10, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana be amended to require the General Assembly to adopt balanced budgets for state government that do not exceed estimated revenues unless a supermajority of two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the members of the Senate vote to suspend the requirement?"
This is shiftily written, since (as Roberta points out) the state constitution currently prohibits the government from going into debt for any reason unless we're, like, being invaded by Ohio or something. The reasons for this are historical and closely tied to the scenic canal that runs through the heart of Broad Ripple Village.

This water-filled ditch caused Indiana to amend its constitution.
Would it surprise you that the GOP currently holds supermajorities in both houses of the General Assembly? I wonder what Mammoth Improvements they want to go into debt for this time?

Thursday, October 11, 2018


I was all ready to type something when I looked out the window and noticed the sunrise was simply spectacular, so I grabbed a couple cameras and ran out into the dawn chill.

Now I can't even remember what I was going to type about except that it was something pointless and political.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Civics Fail

That was done for a reason and, contrary to revisionist history, that reason wasn't "but...but... slavery!"

Illustrative Analogy...

Every time someone points out that it might not be too wise to base your home-defense plans on bayoneting the bad guy in the back from ambush with your bump-stock-equipped Saiga that has Confederate-flag-pattern Punisher skulls cerakoted on the drum mags, it triggers the same thing:  A whole chorus of people baying "A good shoot is a good shoot!" and "Show me the case law!" and "But muh rights!"

A criminal defense attorney of my e-acquaintance offers up this brilliant analogy*:
"Your training and gear should, if possible, be as rational and understandable to the police & court system as possible. Think of it this way – I can put a medium rare porterhouse steak & a bottle of cabernet in front of you. That shit sells itself. I don’t need to explain it. Almost everyone likes it. (Vegans don’t count…and even then, all but the most extreme would understand that you are eating what normal people eat.) 
Sushi – a lot of people like it, some don’t…but everyone knows what it is and doesn’t think it is fucked up, weird and the people who eat that shit are fucked in the head. 
Guinea Pig? You try to get someone to eat it and they will look at you like you are a nut-job. Doesn’t matter if it is higher protein, lower fat & great flavor – it is a fucking pet. OK, some people in other countries eat it…but, er…not here.
Cat or Dog? You are a fucking nutter. Call the ASPCA. 
If your training or your gear cannot be explained to people who don’t know you without in-depth rationalization, convoluted reasoning and the suspension of disbelief… 
You have been feasting on the equivalent of Guinea Pig. 
Now, that may be just fine to keep you fed…but explaining it to your date may not work out well. 
When someone needs to explain what you did to a cop or a prosecutor, make sure they are selling a medium rare porterhouse & a bottle of cabernet, or at least some sushi. 
Don’t make your attorney sell roast Guinea Pig, let alone cat or dog."
*Which will be ignored by the people who've already ignored every other argument, but what the hell, why not throw it out there anyway?

A good summary...

...of the weekend's events can be found here.

This past weekend was the pole star of my year, holiday time well-spent with my family of choice. Only three hundred and sixty five days to go until next year.

What gun for Bigfoot?

There's been a discussion elsewhere on social media (as opposed to my blog, which is antisocial media) regarding the old shotgun vs. carbine for home defense question.

Both a 5.56mm carbine and a good repeating shotgun are fantastic home defense long guns that will absolutely wreck a bad guy's day at across-the-living-room ranges. Back about 2003 I sold my home defense gauge and went to the carbine and have only recently been flirting with going back to the shotgun. There are posts here from when I was a dozen years younger and a dozen years dumber on the topic and I guess it's one I should revisit.

Anyway I made the statement that if I knew one or two dudes were about to come through my front door, there was no gun I own that I'd rather have in my hands than my 870 stuffed full of buckshot. One commenter asked if I'd still prefer a shotgun in the case of "four dudes, one with an AR?", with a still from this ASP video:

Well, yes, even then.

These are the scenarios that get used to justify all kinds of esoteric gear purchases or training classes (although the former far more often than the latter, sadly.)

Time for some Real Talk:

  • Carbine, shotgun, pistol-caliber-carbine, paw-paw's lever-action deer gun...all of those are perfectly adequate to mess up a bad guy from a bunkered-in safe position in your house, but you ain't answering the door with any of them.

  • The best way to avoid a home invasion by multiple suspects with long guns is to not be in the unlicensed pharmaceutical distribution business. Of course, sometimes people buy a house or rent an apartment whose previous occupant was, and I suppose that rip crews get addresses wrong even more often than SWAT teams, so it's not a foolproof solution.

  • I have a whole bunch of ARs and cool go-fast gear because I think it's neat and I occasionally like to LARP in a carbine class, not because I think I'm gonna suit up in a plate carrier and NODs to defend myself from Joe Crackhead trying to kick in the front door. Its real-world use scenarios are pretty limited, but real handy inside those limits.

  • The best defense against typical crime remains immediate and ferocious resistance, preferably of the armed sort. Resource predators are unlikely to advance through a wall of lead for the chance at getting a wallet and a mediocre TV set.

Tuesday, October 09, 2018

It begins...

My range day at B'rado mostly consisted of me busting open the Case Club 8-pistol case and letting the other attendees get their hands on trying out some of the test goodies inside. (Incidentally, I bought this case last year and it's seen two Blogorados and one New Hampshire trip and has put up with everything Delta baggage handlers and sliding around in the back of a pickup on dirt roads can throw at it. Recommend.)

I mostly took pictures of other people shooting*, but MattG was kind enough to use my camera to grab a few shots of me putting rounds downrange. Above is me with the Grayguns P225. Obviously my recoil control is still awful because of pain in my left shoulder.

That's me busting caps with the Langdon Tactical 92 Elite LTT.

The improvement in shootability for both these guns has to be felt to be believed. Both have been 100% reliable thus far, as well.

*Me going to the range on vacation is something of a busman's holiday these days.


Eastbound across Colorado, the sun was putting on a spectacular enough performance that I couldn't resist a cliched rear view mirror shot or five.

Slumping barn makes a photogenic foreground.

Both pictures were shot with the Sony a7, the top with the FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3, and the bottom with the FE 24-70mm f/4.

Missed flight, forgot stuff.

So the night before I was supposed to fly out, Bobbi had some unexpected work drama and before I knew it, it had gotten too late for me to go to bed.

See, I'd booked myself a 7:30AM flight from IND to ABQ via MSP. I like getting to the airport two hours before flight time to make doubly sure there are no TSA hiccups with the big case full of guns. There never are, but it's cheap insurance against the eventuality and I don't mind airports anyway. Once you're past the hassle of TSA, you're just hanging out in an overpriced mall.

So a 7:30 flight meant I wanted to get to the airport at five thirty, which meant leaving the house at 0500, which meant calling for an Uber at 0445 or so.

No problem, I'd just sit on the futon and read my newest P.J. O'Rourke book for a few hours and then summon my ride.

There was a front moving through. I could tell by the way my right knee and shin were twinging with pain. I rotated in my seat to elevate my legs, propping them atop my luggage stacked on the futon, and kinda laid back a little to

The next thing I was aware of was Bobbi yelling "Tam! It's six o'clock!"

Holy crap.

I grabbed the small camera bag and slid it down over the extended handle of the big camera bag, tossed the assembly onto the porch, followed by the suitcase and gun case. While doing this, I summoned my Uber, which was fortunately only six minutes away. I grabbed the camera on the way out the door and slung it around my forgetting it this year!

The Uber driver got me to the airport in record time, and there was no line at the Delta counter, but it took a good ten minutes to shuffle through TSA, not helped by them wanting to run my bag through the scanner a second time.

I gathered up my stuff and bolted to the gate...just in time to see the jetway disconnect and the plane get pushed back.

That's the first flight I ever missed.

Fortunately, I had built in a 3-hour layover in MSP because I didn't want to arrive at ABQ too early, and so I was able to catch the next flight out and still not miss my connection. They gave me seat 29A in a full Airbus 319. Seat A! A window seat! A miracle!

Row 29 in a Delta Airbus 319 doesn't have windows, if you want to make note of that for your next seating selection chart.

Got to ABQ, checked the weather for Blogorado and...whoopsie. Looks cold on Saturday! I may have made it out of the house without forgetting any camera gear, laptop power supplies, or gaming mice, which are the usual things I forget, but I forgot my coat. In fact, I had not packed any jackets or sweaters of any kind.

On arriving at our final destination, however, we stopped at the local Tractor Supply analog for ammunition and other sundries, and I went to look for a jacket. They had a clearance rack of Carhartt coats and I found one I liked marked down to $50. Even better, the cashier scanned it and pronounced the actual price to be $40.

When I reported this to my fellow Blogoradans, they descended like locusts on the clearance rack until the place looked like a Carhartt convention and the clearance was truly cleared.

This is my first piece of Carhartt apparel, and I'm pretty impressed so far.


The first couple times I went to Blogorado, I still had my first smartphone, an LG Optimus burner from Virgin Mobile. Cell phone service was nonexistent for me for the weekend, but I'd eagerly update the blog from any pirated wi-fi source I could find.

Conversely, switching to T-Mobile meant that my current iPhone was almost never without signal the whole weekend. I used my Amazon app to order replacement eye cups while we were driving along a stretch of highway where you could see to the horizon 360 degrees and not glimpse a single man-made structure other than the road. But I took a little vacation from the blog, the longest one ever since I started, I think.

But I'm back now!