Saturday, August 31, 2013



So, during the DNC's multi-million dollar Martin Luther King-themed campaign extravaganza in DC last week, I was listening to NPR like a good SWPL so I could feel Better Than You.

During the proceedings, they cut to a commercial for a show where they would ask some of today's high schoolers, who should get off my lawn are the future of our nation, what the March on Washington meant to them and what it would take to get them to join a modern-day iteration. I nearly drove into a tree when the following emerged from my speakers:
I would join march if it was about this – the judgement of people. Not even about their skin, but just judging them because of the content of their character.
What? What?  (*screeech! crash!*)

That's... that makes no damned sense at all! Of course you judge people by the content of their character! It's easy to do because their character is made manifest in their actions. Watch, it's simple:

"That lady is rescuing a kitten; I judge her to be good. That man is trying to take my wallet; I judge him to be bad. Those kids over there are pushing little old ladies into traffic; I judge them to be really bad and maybe I should stop them."

There's a difference between not being unfairly judgmental and having a complete lack of judgment, honey, and clearly you are incapable of judging the difference between the two, having mistaken the latter for the former.

On a side note, the whole Democrat-party-utterly-partisan MLK extravaganza* was especially surreal to me in that the March on Washington is exactly as far in the past today as the Armistice was from the year I was born, but you didn't see Nixon campaigning in '68 under the slogan "Vote GOP! We Beat The Kaiser!" because maybe they still taught history in schools back then.

*The nation's lone African-American senator was not invited to attend because he was from the wrong party, but a couple of cracker ex-governors of Georgia and Arkansas were, because they were from the right one. What's the difference between Barack Obama and Jimmy Carter? Barry's never eaten in a segregated restaurant.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Tab Clearing...

*Thanks, NJT!



He always seems completely jazzed just to be out there shootin' stuff.

That's a lot in internet years...

My blog is older than YouTube, but Unc's is older than MySpace!

Eleven years is a long time on the internet. (In much the same way that eleven miles is a long way in Luxembourg.)

That was like tastebud Nirvana...

Around Roseholme Cottage, we generally use chili sauce in preference to catsup on burgers, fries, hotdogs, and suchlike. (Heinz is good, but patriotic Hoosiers use Red Gold.)

A couple weeks ago at the giant box store, I noticed on the shelf a New! Limited Edition! product: Heinz® Ketchup Blended with Real Jalapeño. It sounded intriguing, so I purchased a bottle, which then sat unopened until lunch today.

On a lark, I opened the bottle and applied some to my hot dogs (Hebrew National: Accept no substitutes; JHVH doesn't.)

As I was assembling lunch, I licked some straight off the butter knife: Oh. My. Lord. That sweet and tangy ketchup taste with just a bit of lingering jalapeño heat building up afterwards... I darn near dumped some in a bowl and went at it with a spoon like it was a thick soup. Just in case it really was a limited edition, I'm going to sock away a couple extra bottles.

QotD: Wish I'd Said That Edition

Ambulance Driver in comments at Gun Nuts Media:

Overheard in Roomie's Bedroom...

TeeWee: "As America weighs its options in Syria, we'll examine the potential costs..."

Me: "Jesus wept! You've barely finished goading the administration into a war and now you're hand-wringing over the 'potential costs'?"

Thursday, August 29, 2013

SP4 Bubba

It hit me like an epiphany that there is a reason .mil-oriented Leatherman tools (MUT and OHT) don't have files:
"Dude, I have an AR back home and my dad's a gunsmith. I can totally give your M4 a sweet trigger job..."

On the bright side of things...

That's a pretty lame ROI you got there, mister fiscal whiz.

Epic Tone Deafness...

From what appears to be a USAF training document on Equal Opportunity, comes an instruction block on "Extremism". Some examples of historical extremism are given:
As noted, an ideology is a set of political beliefs about the nature of people and society. People who are committed to an ideology seek not only to persuade but to recruit others to their belief. In U.S. history, there are many examples of extremist ideologies and movements. The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule and the Confederate states who sought to secede from the Northern states are just two examples.
LOLWUT? So, members of a nation's armed forces are being told that the founders of the nation in whose armed forces they serve were the kind of extremist kooks they need to look out for? Was this material screened by anyone with measurable brain activity?

Anyhow, some examples of the bad kind of extremisms follow, number one of which is:
NationalismThe policy of asserting that the interests of one’s own nation are separate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations. Many nationalist groups take it a step further and believe that their national culture and interests are superior to any other national group.
I hate to be the one to break this to A1C Snuffy or MSgt Powerpoint Presenter, but your job description is to kill people and break their stuff because the interests of your nation differ from the interests of theirs. Not to put too fine a point on it, but you guys are the sharp end of the nationalism spear.

I have yet to read all 133 pages, but it's bound to be full of comedy gold as touchy-feely Human Resources gobbledygook is applied to the people whose job description includes maintaining a nuclear arsenal capable of taking out a fat kid's portion of the global population pie chart and occasional bouts of cluster-bombing the wogs.

(H/T to Stephen.)

Government thumbs on the scales...

Are you one of the tiny percentage of American motorists who could actually use an electric vehicle? And by this, I mean "Do you lease? And is your daily commute less than 20 miles round trip, with garage parking at home, and a minimum of long errands or freeway driving?"

Because if so, the automakers are willing to lose money to get you to buy one of their electric cars. Substantial amounts of money. Provided you meet one more important criteria: You live in California.

Why? Government, of course.

Back in 1990 California passed pie-in-the-sky standards for future "Zero Emissions Vehicles" (because Remotely-Emitting Vehicles sounds tacky.) Never mind that the technology for practical electrics was twenty-three years farther off back than than it is today; Sacramento said "Volt fiat!" and it happened. Sorta.

So, thanks to weird cap-and-trade-esque language in the legislation, every Leaf or Spark sold is wiping away the sins of an Infiniti or Corvette. And every Tesla is like an indulgence that can be auctioned off to an automaker that wants to sell, say, a Bentley but doesn't have any ZEVs of its own to cancel out its transgressions against Gaia.

If Ayn Rand had put that mess in a book, it would have been laughed at as unrealistic.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

QotD: Snark Week Edition

A black belt in snark-fu? Iowahawk has it.

Damn, I'd give an arm to have typed that. Well, a finger... Part of a finger... I'll trim one of my nails a teeny bit into the quick the next time I have the clippers out, anyway.

Eight years ago today...

I made my first post here at VFTP. That was 2,922 days and 10,057 posts ago.

Still here. Just because.

From comments elsewhere...

At Sebastian's place:
Actually, this time we’re going to be flying close air support FOR the terrorists.

Instead of bombing al Qaeda, we’re going to be bombing the people trying to kill al Qaeda.

The GWoT is not over, we’ve just joined the other side by proxy.

Historical Trivia Scoreboard...

The Terrorists Have Won...

...and we're flying their CAS missions now...

Welcome to Bizarroworld.

Overheard in the Office...

Bobbi is relating the tale of a misunderstanding on the internet...
Me: "I feel your pain. My Indian name is 'Tells Jokes To Aspies'."

RX: "I don't get it. Could you explain that?"

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Where there's smoke...

For the first night of the Midnight 3 Gun match I was running Federal bulk-pack 115gr FMJ. After the first stage on the second night of the match, I had to break into a box of WWB ball ammo and...

Holy smoke!

That was stage two, which involved a stroll downrange on a roped off path that started out with the shotgun and finished with some cardboard pistol targets. In between were some steel plates and a triple plate rack that were optional pistol/shotgun targets.

I'd been slow but accurate with the pistol and reloading the shotgun on the clock could be timed with an hourglass, so once I broke all the clays, I ditched the gauge and drew my pistol and on the first target noticed I had a problem: My smokeless powder wasn't.

Gray steel and brown cardboard against beige desert dust, the whole thing obscured by a floating cloud of smoke lit bright white with my CTC LightGuard. Without the light the targets blended almost perfectly with the background. With the light the smoke was like fog lit by high beams.

Here is my question, internets: Was it the switch to the WWB that produced more smoke? Or was it some trick of the weather (the air had gotten distinctly colder and clammier as we neared the dew point)?

Well, the cops may be drunk, but at least the judges are... oh, wait.

Marion County, where the wheels of justice grind slowly, erratically, and possibly criminally: Drunken cops and deputy prosecutors, prosecutors being investigated by the feds, and now this!
The state judicial qualifications commission took the “extraordinary measure” Monday of calling for the suspension of Marion Superior Court Judge Kimberly J. Brown, who is facing 45 counts of alleged misconduct.

What a mess. Can we just get a do-over? Send everyone home and pick new teams tomorrow or something?

Needs more lasers.

Want your own autonomous flying drone robot? There's a Kickstarter for you!

I dig the autonomous flying part of it: It "knows" how to fly, you just tell it where to fly and what to do when it gets there.

Get the funk out...

After a wet April-May-June-July, it's been a bone-dry August. As a result, Indy's sewers are dry and when you get down around Fall Creek, the pong rising to fill the low-lying air is eye-watering. I don't see how the fixie-riding hipsters that infest the Delaware St. corridor south of the creek can stand it.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Dude, for... seriously?

So a Johnson County, IN deputy saw a motorcyclist pass a semi at about twenty over and fail to signal a lane change, so he lit the blue lights and pulled the dude over.

On making contact with the operator of the motorcycle, the deputy established reasonable, articulable suspicion of Operating While Intoxicated, based on the following five clues:
  1. The rider had watery eyes.
  2. The rider had slurred speech.
  3. The rider had an odor of alcohol on his breath.
  4. The rider admitted to drinking "the night before".
  5. The rider had a badge and ID showing he was a member of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.
I think point number five by itself should be considered Probable Cause for arrest on OWI these days.

I gotta hand it to Sgt. Scott for breaking the pattern: Usually drunk IMPD cops are running motorcycles over, not riding them.

Ignorance and hubris make a humorous combination...

ubu52 informs Robb Allen why a sign noting that faculty members may be armed is a bad idea at a school:
This sort of thing might work well in rural areas and small towns, but in the cities, criminals might think that's a good place to get guns. 
Oh, definitely. I live in a city, and crooks are all the time strolling into the cop shop down on 42nd and College and boosting the guns right out of the cops' holsters.

Oh, wait, no they don't.

You gotta love how the thinly-veiled contempt for the rubes in the sticks was worked into the, er, bizarre theory about how crooks obtain guns.

Yes, ubu, a significant percentage of cops who are killed by gunfire are killed with their own guns, but that's not how that happens.

Overheard in the Hallway...

FN's full-line catalog is an honest-to-Browning full-line catalog, containing everything from CCW pistols and Sporting Clays shotguns to remote-operated .50-cal machine gun vehicle mounts and gun pods for tactical air support. It's currently in the reading room here at Roseholme Cottage...
RX: "I want one of these gun pods for my car!"

Me: "It's rated for Mach point six eight..."

RX: "Point seven five."

Me: " it should surely be able to handle the velocities of the Hottest Needle of Inquiry."

RX: "And it has a 'spent links and fired case collector' so I won't get a flat!"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Signs, signs, everywhere signs...

Seen around Broad Ripple (click to embiggenate...)

Sign out front of Twenty Tap the other day.

Seen on the Monon by B.R.I.C.S. on the way home from today's blogmeet.

Minus 20 points.

This was a well-done report, but I'm going to have to deduct ten points for no mention of anthropogenic global warming and another ten for failure to blame Republicans.

90% A-

(Protip: If you live six feet above sea level, a six-and-a-half foot wave means your carpet cleaning bills just went up. The math is not hard.)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Gear list...

This week I mean to get around to a full-on "lessons learned" recap from the Crimson Trace M3GI match...

Some gear ho' stuff for my own future reference before I forget...
  • Pistol: Smith & Wesson M&P 9, Ameriglo I-Dot Pro sights, CTC LG-660 Lasergrip and LG-760 Lightguard, Dark Star Gear OWB holster and ¡BLACKHAWK! mag carrier. Federal and WWB 115gr FMJ ammo.

  • Rifle: MGI QCB upper in 5.56 w/M4-profile Stag Arms bbl, CTC MVF-515 light/green laser foregrip, Vltor stock, Hogue grip, YHM Phantom flash hider, Aimpoint Comp ML2 in LaRue LT150 mount, Magpul MBUS, Magpul 30rd PMags, Raven Concealment Moduloader mag carrier, Armscor 62gr 5.56 ammo.

  • Shotgun: Remington 870 Express 20" smoothbore slug gun w/ rifle sights, @%$& Remington 870P machined extractor, Mesa Tactical 4-shell sidesaddle, Magpul buttstock and rear sling loop, SureFire 618LM forend, Scattergun Technologies 2-round mag tube extension, Estate 2 3/4" #7.5 target loads, extra shells in the pocket of Lee Jeans purchased at Gander Mountain.

Saturday in the Ripple...

The show was interesting. Ammunition levels are creeping back up, as Adam Smith's invisible hand tinkers with prices and purchases. There was plenty of 9mm commercial ammo to be found, but you had to look to find any much under $0.40/rd.

Rimfire was around, but spendy; by noon today, though, some of the dealers with more... optimistic pricing on bulk pack .22LR were spontaneously offering to haggle.

After the show, Shootin' Buddy and I went to 10-01 Food & Drink for some lunch before wandering down to Starbucks to get some coffee.

Starbucks was full. The hippies and yuppies of Broad Ripple must have missed the boycott alert.
Sipping our tasty beverages, we ambled back towards the truck. Along the way, I saw my first roly-poly Fiat 500L in the wild. The styling makes absolute sense if you stop to realize that kids who were ten years old when the Disney flick Cars hit the theaters are about college age now...

It looks like a life-size refugee from a Chevron commercial.

Fun Show Time!

Let's sing the Fun Show Song!
Flintlocks and Flop-tops
And Number Three Russians
Black-powder Mausers
From jackbooted Prussians,
Shiny Smith PC's from limited runs
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Socketed bay'nets
On Zulu War rifles,
Engraved, iv'ried Lugers
That make quite an eyefull
Mosin tomato stakes sold by the ton
These are a few of my favorite guns.

Rusty top-breaks!
Smallbore Schuetzens!
And all of Browning's spawn
I just keep on browsing my favorite guns
Until all my money's gone.
Looking for ball ammo in 9mm or .357SIG*, maybe a switchblade, and of course any exceptionally cheap & tatty top-break Smiths.

*Good discussion going on re: The NCHP and their M&P 357 complaints here. Anybody who knows someone inside that can give better detail than the PIO knucklehead's "extractor port" is encouraged to chime in. The earlier sear bounce issue is pretty well documented, but it gets vague from there, leading me to wonder if this isn't that they fell out of love with the guns over that and now are getting the four year itch...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Improvise, overcome, adapt...

Pretty clever setup on one of the Team FN guns for getting the bipod down in a hurry.

True devotees of Max Wins will make sure that their string is the same color. (Actually, I suppose that any highly-visible color will do the trick.)

Tab Clearing...

And today's random picture:

Seen at a West Lafayette, IN sushi bar: "Ah wants me some unagi, some maguro, some toro, and a bottle of ripple!"

The cheesy side of internet marketing...

Alan posted about the seemingly mass emailing from offering to buy gun blogs which they could then fill with their own content, leveraging the Google pagerank and following established by the original owner.

I found the same email in my spam trap while I was in Orygun. As a bonus, there was a followup email that began with something along the lines of "Thank you for your response...", which I found doubly hilarious, seeing as I didn't know that the email to which I had supposedly responded even existed yet.

Attention "David Smith" of Maybe this whole internet thing is kinda new and unfamiliar ground to you, but this is a "blog". A "blog" is a kind of online diary kept by the kind of person who keeps diaries on the internet where other people can read them.

I realize that, for a brief time in the mid Aughties, some marketing wiz decided that companies needed "blogs" because everyone wanted to read the day-to-day musings of fictional legal "corporate persons" who were created by filing tax paperwork, instead of by a mommy and daddy who loved each other very much.

With few exceptions, that didn't really catch on. I can tell from your personable banter and nuanced grasp of human interaction that your firm is not slated to become one of those exceptions.

In short, what you are offering to do is buy my diary, and then turn it into something that is
The Life And Times Of Tamara Keel From 2005-2013, Plus A Bunch Of Dull Semiliterate Unrelated SEO Spam From 2013-Present.
If this strikes you as a viable marketing technique, I have to wonder how you keep from starving to death from forgetting which end of the spoon goes in your mouth, you lackwit.

Good day, sir.

Overheard in the Office...

During the complicated ballet of moving breakfast dishes from the kitchen to the office, Huck is temporarily sequestered in Bobbi's room so that The Stomach That Walks Like A Cat won't bolt into the dining room and devour Rannie's chow. Rannie, meanwhile, has lost interest in her food on the dining room floor and wandered back into the office herself.

I address the cat:

Me: "Are we done with breakfast? I'm not going to leave the other cat locked up just because you can't decide whether you want to eat more or not. Even though 'indecisive' is the middle name of my cat. 'Rannie J. Indecisive Wu'."

RX: "Is this true?"

Rannie: "Wooo."

Me: "She's not sure."

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Every now and again the floor quivers slightly.

It's because Broad Ripple's famous singing tree hippie is up with his chain saw taking chunks off the top of the dead silver maple out front and they plummet to the earth below with a ground-shaking *THUD!*

I pretend it's because the Boche are shelling the lines near our bunker. ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa.

It's like the universe is gaslighting me...

The liberals in my television are all a-flutter about some Middle Eastern dictator gassing his own people.

Apparently if this happens while there is a Democrat in the White House, we need to rush some troops on in there and intervene.

Note to Middle Eastern dictators: If you want the New York media establishment on your side, only nerve gas your own people during Republican administrations.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

That was weird...

All the time zone juggling combined with the staying up 'til 0530 in the morning has left me extremely susceptible to afternoon nappy-times.

Today I flopped down on the futon for a bit and read some more of Warbound on the iPad, with the iPad's alarm clock set to go off in 45 minutes*. Sure enough, I dozed off at some point and dreamed I was in Sweden, in a ferry terminal that was converted from this huge gymnasium-sized church that had a stained glass ceiling.

There were the usual newsstands and gift shoppes lining the walls, and one place that was selling used musical instruments. I lingered over a white violin (haven't played a violin since elementary school.) There was also a string quartet playing "O Store Gud", which was cool, because I could murmur the chorus in Swedish.

It was raining outside, and the runoff was washing ravines in the landscaping, which bore a startling resemblance to the Worgen starting area in World of Warcraft.

*A book with a built-in alarm clock. How SciFi is that?

Overheard in the Hallway...

RX: "Well, hopefully you cleared that malfunction in a slick and cool way."

Me: "Panicky and grabasstic, slick and cool; to-may-to, to-mah-to."


Other than a dud primer experienced while shooting the qual at MAG-40 back in June, my carry gun has not failed to go through its complete cycle of operation since the TulAmmo fiasco in Colorado last October...

...until shooting the plate rack* on Stage One at M3GI, where I experienced a... well, let's be honest, you don't stand there and diagnose the malfunction while you're on the clock, but whatever it was, a tap-rack didn't fix it and I had to rip the mag out of the gun and stuff in a fresh one to finish dropping plates. This will affect your score, in much the same way as will missing the pool from the ten meter platform†.

I guess it's time to give the gun a real bath. Maybe even wipe out the inside of some mag tubes while I'm at it.

*And a fiendish plate rack it was, too. Rather than nice circles, the plates were cut so they spelled out the logo of the stage sponsor: *FLIR*. The asterisk-like blobs on either end were pretty straightforward but if you held dead center on, say, the "R", your bullet would go right through the hole. Thanks to FarmDad's "bastard plates", I was ready for this and didn't have any problems with hitting the actual metal part.
As a bonus, I finished the stage and the guys on my squad were all like "Did you see that film crew?" What film crew? "The film crew that was following you through that stage! You're totally going to be on TV!" I wish I could have found out who they were filming for so I could warn people to look away from the screen at the appropriate time.

I don't know if I mentioned this...

...but I fixed a shotgun with a nail file the other day. I'm still pretty jazzed about that.

(You have to understand that I am as mechanically inept as it is possible to be and still operate a light switch. Sure, I can explain in tedious detail the mechanical functioning of... well, all kinds of things, and yet my actual manual mechanical skill level is such that every morning's shoe-tying session is a nail-biting cliffhanger with the outcome in doubt.)

QotD: Primary Colors Edition...

Unc tosses out a great one-liner regarding potential primary challenges to Senator Lamar Alexander, (RINO-TN):
Well, when it comes to voting the bums out, you have to start with your own bum.

Fun Show Afterparty.

This weekend is the great big Indy 1500 Fun Show. I'll be going Saturday morning and maybe Sunday morning, too.

Anybody who wants to chill out afterwards at The Broad Ripple Brewpub is welcome to join me for a Not-Exactly-A-Blogmeet there Sunday at 3PM.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


The gloriously terrible thing about the internet is that any chucklehead with a keyboard can put forth their theories about what makes the world tick.

Usually the most outlandish of these involve shape-shifting lizard people and underground bases for Nazi flying saucers, but sometimes they can be just as far-fetched without invoking a single extraterrestrial or paranormal meme:
Racial divisions exposed by the trial of George Zimmerman for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in Florida plays into the interests of the corporate sponsors of the Stand Your Ground laws. Paranoia over gun rights and the threat of hoodie-clad black youths running wild have helped the corporate fearmongers carve off a generation of former Democrats, particularly in the South, and lure them to a new home in the Republican Party, regardless of the corporations’ sociopathic positions on their economic well-being.
That's right, the crackers in the boardrooms of America, puffing on cigars and blowing dollar-sign-shaped smoke rings, have come up with a brilliant plan to empower their Republican voter base: Turn racist Democrats into Republicans by codifying common law self defense principles in state statutes! Soon we can all go live on the space station and leave Matt Damon down here to die of cancer!*

I... I just... Look, I'm as much for ending the War on the Fourth Amendment Drugs as anybody, but the timing of this... novel... theory so soon on the heels of marijuana legalization in WA and CO cannot be mere coincidence.

*Except Matt Damon will almost certainly be on the space station while I'm down here dying of cancer. That Hollywood has so much hate for rich white people when Hollywood is in fact made of rich white people is a source of never-ending mirth to me. It's like a coral reef that hates polyps.

It must be in the air, because they're not drinking the water...

Indiana State Police trooper from Evansville comes to Indianapolis for a wedding, takes a few deep lungfuls of that Indy metro air, and next thing you know he's under arrest for waving his gun around while intoxicated, and then scores bonus points for getting froggy with arresting officers.

Is there just something about the 317 that drives cops to drink?

Life in the Panopticon...

The Silicon Graybeard is thrown into full "I am not a number, I am a free man!" mode by the announcement that the NFL will be supplying free clear plastic logo bags to season ticket holders with which to carry their belongings into the sacred precincts of football stadia. (Non-season-ticket-holders will have to source their own clear totes.)

Optimistic me says that this is only going to help big-screen TV sales, but people are getting used to surveillance nation. If you'll take a probulatin' from the .gov to go visit grandma for Thanksgiving, then why not undergo one from mall cops to go watch a bunch of grown men in spandex pants writhe in sweaty piles on the ground and pat each other on the butt?

As I commented over at SG's place:
In many NFL markets, twentysomething football fans have been carrying clear or mesh bookbags to school all their lives. This will just be like a cozy class reunion for them.

Homo privatus, an odd offshoot of the species that thrived from the Fertile Crescent to Hibernia for a few thousand years, is largely supplanted now by Homo communis.
On most of the globe, for most of history, "privacy" has just not really been a thing. I think it's important, but Neanderthals probably thought wooly mammoth herds were important, too. Arthur C. Clarke and his longing to merge with the collective hive mind was probably on the right side of history, alas.

Monday, August 19, 2013


This Planefinder app for the I-Thingie is pretty cool. According to it, I'm currently at FL350 somewhere between Wamsutter and Rawlins, Wyoming. I can see I-80 intermittently.

Having Planefinder and Wikipedia at your fingertips adds a whole new dimension to air travel. Make sure you get a window seat!

Leavin' on a (very small) jet plane...

Getting ready to head to Mayberry RDM and board one of those little "executive mailing tubes" for SLC, and then an Airbus back to the Circle City. The high desert is beautiful, but I get to missing Broad Ripple before too long.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Another Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun in the books...

I'll write plenty more on all the cool stuff that happened and things I learned and people I met and suchlike, but for now, I've ordered a pizza, packed my bags for tomorrow morning, and plan on getting my first normal night's sleep since last Monday...

As the sun sets slowly in the west... we get ready to rock and roll.


I returned to the motel room at about 0200, consumed three cans of a local witbier like I was at a frat party, and went toes up in the bed in short order.

Now I'm shuffling over to the awards banquet, fortified by Diet Pepsi, vitamin I, and a cup of hotel room coffee-like substance. I traveled completely across the country and got my ass handed to me by the best shooters in the industry in return for free chow, brochures 'n' product literature, and a hat with my name on it.

I feel like a real gun writer.

Fixed it.

Shotgun ran fine all night.

I knocked the burrs off the extractor with the file on a pair of nail clippers. I'm kinda stoked about that. :)

Saturday, August 17, 2013

What have you been up to today?

Me? I've been repairing a shotgun with a nail file, using the hotel room floor as my work bench.

The Good: Two Leatherman tools. The Bad: Neither has a file. The Ugly: My nail clippers do.

Stupid rookie mistake.

I need to do some emergency shotgun work here in the hotel room and also catch a nap between now and when the bus leaves for the range at 5:00 local.

Let's just say that if it wouldn't have gotten me DQ'ed for breaking the 180, I might very well have busted the last several clays on stage five by flinging the 870 downrange at them. Instead, I just said "That's it. Call it." to the RO and ate the ton of Failure To Engages, then muttered "For you, ze var iz over," at my gauge.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #64:

Very specialized sporting goods: An Open Class FN SLP shotgun...

Friday, August 16, 2013

"You're gonna need a bigger boat faster lens."

Not going to be a lot of dramatic match photography from me. Here's why:

Shooting is happening. Honest.

You can see the green laser in this one, which is kinda cool.
 Some carbine shooting is happening there, and then the dude takes off into the darkness and scoops up his shotgun downrange someplace and there're some more flickers of light and clouds of dust...

It looks a lot cooler to the eye than it does at f5-point-something. With a max ISO of 1600 and a not-very-fast lens, I'm a little limited. At any rate, I won't be dragging the big girl camera along tonight; I have enough gear to schlep as it is...

Try to learn something new every day.

For instance today I learned that assembling a Raven Concealment Moduloader would be a lot more fun at home, sitting at my desk with proper tools and a beer and time on my hands than it is on the morning of the big game, in a hotel room, with a Leatherman and a Mountain Dew.

It's not very racegun, even though I've adjusted the tension on the mag holders down as far as it will go, but it'll still beat fishing a spare AR mag out of a Royal Robbins vest pocket like last year. I don't recollect there being any stages here where a blazing fast rifle reload is going to be important, but I'm trying to correct each specific gear-related deficiency I had at that previous match.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #63:

Completely gratuitous picture of dead sexy Colt Competition rifle and Leupold optic combo.

Unicorn sighting...

FNS-9 Competition
The FNS-9 Competition they had there was only for coonfingering and oohing and aahing, but out where the manufacturers had the dog and pony show going on the firing line was an FNS-40 Competition, coming soon to a gun store near you.

I got to shoot the .40 and was pleasantly surprised at how soft-shooting it was for a plastic fo-tay. I was able to make several hits on a 70-yard BC-C steel target cold, and probably could have gotten my batting average at that range over .500 with only a little more time on the trigger.

Why blue rifle?

Because racegun.

Thursday, August 15, 2013


The Crimson Trace Midnight 3 Gun Match is epic fun and I was all on board with the idea of nighttime 3 Gun shooting catching on and becoming A Thing, but last year Frank James pointed out to me the very real logistical barriers, which are:
  1. The tally of facilities big enough to host a really sprawling 3 Gun match, especially one with stage guns like M249s, is a fairly small number, and

  2. The number of those facilities that are located someplace where you can cut loose with belt-fed machine guns at 0300 and not have someone call the cops can maybe be counted without having to take the mitten off your other hand.
COSSA certainly fits the bill, being a sprawling range complex on 600 acres of nothing out in the middle of BLM Nowhere. You could run one at The Facility Formerly Known As Blackwater. Maybe a couple others? It'd be a short season right out of the gate.

It's a pity, because CTC is really on to something with this idea. Did I mention that there's a stage that starts with you shooting a 40mm grenade launcher at a car? Yeah. Epic fun.

The Best-Laid Plans...

Well, maybe they weren't the "best-laid"; maybe they were only the "okay-laid", but they were definitely "plans". Or at least "plan-like".

Anyhow, yesterday at the little opening dinner put on by Danner, a thought occurred to me...

"I should find somebody who's a total gamer and just pick their brain for suggestions and that should be good for a few places in the standings over last year's dismal performance," said my brain.

"Hi, Caleb!" said my mouth.

Caleb suggested that even though we weren't shooting that night, unlike most of the media who would be shooting with the ROs, we should ride along out to the range and walk some stages and watch other people shoot, rather than going back to hotel rooms and getting shut-eye.

"That is so completely gamerfag that I never would have thought of it in a million years," said my brain.

"Hey, that's a great idea!" said my mouth.

So I tagged along out to the range with Caleb and Shelley. Surely somebody else out here would be calling it an evening early and we could just catch a ride back to the resort with them instead of having to wait for the bus, which wouldn't be headed back until the night's shooting was done at 0300 local.

Were I able to draw, here is where I'd put the little stick figure labelled "plan" and the big speeding semi truck labelled "reality".

Anyhow, although valuable intel was gleaned and I already have a few stage plans, or at least fragments thereof, forming in my mind, we didn't get back to the rooms until after 0530 local. I'd been awake since 0500 EDT the previous day, and on four hours sleep to boot.

I just got another five, but my body won't let me sleep past what it thinks is one in the afternoon, no way, no how.

I would do bad, bad things for a really tall cup of coffee right now.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Heading for the range...

Gonna walk some stages and play with red and green lasers under the same environmental conditions as the actual match.

I won't be shooting tonight though. Tonight is the Media Match.

If I'm going to get my ass kicked, it's gonna be by the big kids.


Landed at the hopelessly twee Redmond, OR airport and took a shuttle van to Bend. (I'm almost looking forward to seeing what the TSA experience is like at Mayberry RDM on the return flight; the whole airport struck me as a pretty laid-back kind of place.)

Got to the motel room in the little resort complex.

The Good: There's a minifridge.

The Bad: It's empty.

The Ugly: I'm on foot.

What a cruel hoax the fates have played upon me! I should have boosted an extra bottle of water from the van driver. Or bought something back at the conference center.

Our hosts are putting on a happy hour in a couple hours. I think I can make it on tap water 'til then. Don't tell anybody back in Broad Ripple.


Overheard at the TSA checkpoint...

At IND they hand you a little slip at baggage check in if you are flying armed which you are then supposed to present to the TSA supervisor at the checkpoint...
TSA supervisor: "Handgun, rifle, or shotgun?"

Me: "Yes."
The young guy who did the bag check was all excited "Wow! You shoot 3 Gun? I've shot some steel matches. I really want to try 3 Gun. Good luck at the match!"

Despite the borked firearms check in setup they have in the new terminal, they have so far been screwup free for me at IND, in seeming defiance of the odds.

By the Salty Sea.

I am in an airport surrounded by guys in coats and ties, all with the first name "Elder", according to their name tags.

Perhaps not unrelatedly, I really want a beer all of a sudden.

Airport bar has Wasatch Polygamy Nitro Porter. Will advise.

First World Problems...

So, here I am, hurtling through the air at a significant fraction of the speed of sound, 29,400 feet above the ground according to the Plane Finder app on my iPad, and I'm feeling a little whiny because of the elbow room here in redneck first class.  Paging Louis CK.

Turbulence ahead someplace. Captain says anybody who needs to go potty should do it now, although not in so many words.

Handy travel tip for the armed traveler.
More later. I'm going to look down on Illinoisans for a bit.


Early morning cab ride with an extroverted Nigerian taxi driver who kept Lady Antebellum cranked to eleven for most of the trip.

Should have brought the Bluetooth keyboard for the iPad; the 17" laptop is a beast to haul out and besides, its batteries are flatter than White county.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

There's a shop nearby...

...that always has the most interesting cars on the lot. I thought about patronizing them until I read the online customer reviews, which are practically a uniform litany of horror stories except for one lone and vaguely sock-puppety positive review. Thank heavens for the intertubes.

As it is, I think I'll just continue driving by and looking at the cars without stopping.

'67 Pontiac GTO, '67 or '68 Mercury Cougar, and '69 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. A minimum displacement of 1161 cubic inches. The Cougar's probably pulling the average down.

"They look like dorks!"

Rakes are not illegal nor immoral. Leaf rakes are normal, legal, decent, and everybody (or at least everybody with a lawn) should own one or three...

...but I personally think you'd still look kinda dorky standing in line for a venti cinnamon dolce latte with one in your hand.

(Also, I'd like to see the Venn diagram of "People Carrying Their AR15s Into Starbucks" and "People Who Absolutely Freak Their $#!+ About The Militarization Of Law Enforcement Every Time They See A Picture Of A Cop With An AR15." I'd bet there's a surprising amount of cross-enrollment in those two clubs.)

*Post title explanation for the unhip.

Monday, August 12, 2013

BBQ and Butt Chisels. (Heheheh... 'butt'...)

So I'm out running around today with Brigid & Co. because somebody was having a birthday. Our mission, should we choose to accept it, was to put Mongolian BBQ in our tummies, and then find a certain woodworking store.

The first part of the mission went off without a hitch. With lunch taken care of, we headed back to the Truck of Doom and consulted Google Maps for final approach instructions to Woodcraft.

The computer, as computers are wont to do, plotted a route that had us convinced it was crazy.

As a digression, today I was wearing one of my favorite shirts from Because of its color, I tend to accessorize with my ball cap and the cheap-o orange-on-black Casio watch* that I bought for the specific purpose of someday using it to troll known horology nerd ToddG.

At one point the road, which looks like it's going to turn into somebody's driveway at any moment, is meandering in a completely uncertain direction and I moaned "Of all the days to not wear my real watch! It has a compass!" whereupon I was reassured that the Truck of Doom had one as well.

In the end, we found the store, tucked away on a practically access-free access road.

And it was magical, full of eldritch engines for the crafting of wonderful things†.

*Because they're all orange, see? It's the closest I come these days to attempting to match my clothing to any kind of coherent color scheme.

I wish Bobbi had been able to come, although the two of us think different things in tool stores: Bobbi will be admiring some esoteric two-handed reverse-bevel dovetail chisel and talking aloud to herself of all the wonderful things she could build with it, and I'll be next to her and hefting the slightly larger model, muttering "Man, you could really **** somebody up with one of these things..."

The Itchy and Scratchy Show...

"A little to the left... no, back to the right... oooh, yeah... riiight there!"

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Frickin' frangibles...

So, it was a beautiful day at the range. Low seventies and sunny, a shaded firing line, and the only negative weather-wise was humidity that required gills.

After a bit of shooting with the .22 to make a hole in the middle of the target, I got out the M&P 357 and went to work with it.

It's a bone stock gun except for the sights, with a truly awful early M&P trigger that has absolutely no tactile reset. I'm getting to where I kind of like that: It forces me to shoot it like a revolver and quit trying to play fruity reset games with the trigger that can cause trigger freeze. (Maybe I could shoot an LEM or DAK trigger better these days than I usedtacould? I should try that.)

The first ammo I shot was a box of Fire Frangible ammo from Precision Ammunition. The projectiles were either ??gr or maybe ???gr; the manufacturer did not deem that information important enough to note on the box.

I got to shooting and thought to myself "You know, I know I'm not that good of a shooter, but I'm not that bad, either, and these things are hitting all over the place." So for the last few rounds in the box, I fired slow deliberate shots at each of the three small targets above the main bull. The two I fired at the center target are circled in orange above. That's a not-quite-3" target at only seven yards, and I was barely hitting it.

Was it me? Or the ammo? Or the gun?

I broke out a box of conventional Fiocchi 124gr FMJ and the first five rounds of it that I fired are in the yellow outline. I used the same sight picture as before, only with much better results.

I'm guessing the flyweight sintered bullets might not be grouping that well, what do you think?

(Incidentally, this is one of the downsides to using oddball superlight projectiles like Glaser or MagSafe for self-defense: Twist rates, locking geometry, and sights are seldom set up to work with rounds whose ballistics vary wildly from the norm.)

(PPS: According to Blogger, this was my ten-thousandth post on VFTP! Go Team Me!)

Paying it forward...

When I was in a jam, you people on the internets saved my bacon.

Now friend Bonnie's in a jam, and Erin's rallying the troops. If you can help, I know it will be appreciated.

Recoil therapy.

Heading to the range to get some recoil therapy in. I have a match coming up and, while basic long gun marksmanship skills seem to be stored in long-term memory, I can forget how to shoot a pistol over a long weekend.

I'll be busting out the M&P 357 for its inaugural range trip so as to reduce the impact on 9mm stores. The gun is identical down to the orange Ameriglo I-Dot Pro sights, so other than the noise, it should be like shooting the same pistol.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Northbound and down...

Rolling north from K-Town to Naptown shortly.

I miss cruise control. Then again, the top on the Z3 is getting pretty noisy at freeway speeds; agricultural as it is, the cabin of the Subie is tranquil by comparison.

Friday, August 09, 2013

All's fair...

More Fair pics:
Trailer with a bunch of stationary gas engines driving an array of machines, from water pumps to corn shuckers to a washing machine.

Goat standing around and looking cute.

One of six Massey Harris I-330 tractors built for the U.S. Navy; this is the only one left.

Spiffy threads...

Gunsmith Bob was working on a couple of 10/22 barrels over on the lathe here at CCA yesterday. I wasn't really paying attention to what he was doing, and so when I saw the finished result, it took a while to figure out how he managed to thread them and still retain the front sight...

Greater unified theory of getting irked.

So, I posit that there is a subatomic particle called the "annoyon".

There's a general background of these annoyons sleeting through the universe, and occasionally they strike people. Depending on how energetic they are, an annoyon will decay in anywhere from a matter of seconds to a few minutes.

The problems in life arise when a person is bombarded by a stream of annoyons such that an annoyance charge builds up faster than the particles can decay.

I further posit that certain things emit annoyons. Heated platinum, for example, which is found in automobile catalytic converters. This would explain why heavy traffic is like taking a bath in annoyance while attending an auto race, where the cars have no catalytic converters, is merely an excuse to relax and drink beer.

I would assume that electron guns, such as those found in CRT monitors, beam a steady stream of annoyons mingled with the electrons, which would explain why watching network TV or reading the internet is an exercise in face-palming, hair-pulling aggravation, but this doesn't explain why doing these activities is so irksome even when done on an electron-gun-free LCD display.

Obviously I'm still working on this. I need millions in grant leech cash.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

The cries of my people have been heard...

Seen in comments to the McKay's post today:
Unless there's another McKay's I Knoxville with the same paint scheme and trashcan arrangement (with free zine rack in background), the sign is gone.  
So Gunsmith Bob and I ran by there this evening to see. Sure enough, the offending sign was gone!

The market has spoken.
Thank you for being so quickly responsive to customer feedback, McKay's! We immediately went in and rewarded you in the best capitalist fashion: With green pieces of paper.

Full barrel.

Fire a squib. Fire another one behind it.

You now have two bullets lodged in the bore.

Swing out the cylinder and reload.

Fire another squib. Fire a fourth.

The fourth squib prevented him from firing any more, because the bore was already full of bullet and the fourth projectile lodged halfway into the barrel with half still in the cylinder, locking the gun up tight. The clue to what was wrong was the shiny copper ogive of the first bullet now protruding slightly from the muzzle.

Remember: If it goes *pop*, STOP!

Under pressure.

That is not actually a belted magnum variant of the .223 Remington case; the "belt" is where the pressure expanded the case head.

The round locked the Bushhamster "CAR-15" flattop carbine up tighter than a drum, hogged out the primer pocket and unseated the primer, and flattened the headstamp against the breechface.

This dude came really close to a very eventful range trip. Always wear your eye protection.

Overheard in Gunsmithing...

Me: "I can fix that Kimber. There's a band saw right over there."
Kimber stopped replacing their external extractor slides for free some years back.
"We're sorry you're stuck with one of our discontinued experimental abortions. Sucks to be you. We'll fix our mistake... for $200.".


I need to get a portable reader for CF cards or an extra cable for the Rebel, because I have pics of a couple of spectacular malfunctions brought into the gunsmithing shop within 48 hours of each other, both of which were related to reloaded ammunition.

Brief safety pointers until I get the images up:
  1. If the gun makes any noise other than a normal, healthy *BANG!*, don't pull the trigger again. And for the sake of Sam Colt, don't pull it another two or three times.

  2. If you don't know what you're doing, reloading rifle ammunition probably isn't for you.
(Also, maybe I should think about a ring flash for this kind of pickcher takin'.)

Your head needs salt.

I've been real snappy lately. Stuff's been getting under my skin with appalling ease, and I've been pounding keyboards and biting off heads with what is, from the safe remove of five minutes later, very little provocation.

I need a vacation, maybe?

Also, I have a new theory of getting irked that involves sub-atomic particles, but it still needs a little polishing. And a particle accelerator.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

The dialog in my head...

" then I said 'No, seriously, get off my lawn.'"

Imagine Airman Johnny's disappointment...

...when he transferred to the Air Force to get away from those tractors the Army recruiter hadn't told him about:

Note the enclosed cab on the USAF version. Army tractor drivers say the Air Force tractors have heated leather seats, intermittent wipers, eight-speaker stereos, and dual-zone climate control.

I wonder what his screen name was on INGO?

To you suburban and rural Hoosiers:

I understand that the neighborhood around the Fairgrounds is a little scary at first glance, what with the boarded-up houses and unkempt lawns and the general Little Detroit vibe given off by portions of the nearby cityscape.

To hear some folks on the state firearms forum talk, they won't go inside I-465 in less than platoon strength, and 38th Street might as well be Route Irish. In reality, unless you are actively engaged in the unlicensed pharmaceutical business after dark, statistically speaking, it's just not that scary.

Certainly not scary enough to mandate the carriage of five guns to the State Fair.

What is that? Like, a Kel-Tec in every pocket? It's a free country and all, and I'm the last person to chastise somebody for a spare magazine and a BUG, but how can you enjoy the Wild Mouse when you're rattling and clanking more than the midway ride itself?

They'll send you to bed without your supper if they catch you.

Still, we need to get this weird "Special No-Go Zone" out of the state gun laws.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Johnny joined the Army because he was sick of driving a tractor...

Click for crazy-big.

The text on the sign begins "Massey-Harris made three unique tractors for the military in the mid 1950s..."

Twenty-six of those were I-162 tractors for the U.S. Army, of which this is a surviving example. Tractor collecting and military vehicle collecting are both pretty esoteric hobbies. I suppose at their confluence is military tractor collecting, a hobby whose annual conventions could likely be held in a broom closet.

I've noticed in the field of firearms collecting that the narrower the field, the more knowledgeable and obsessed the participants, and I'll bet you this guy could talk the hind legs off a mule on such minutiae as military tractor oil filter specifications...

Monday, August 05, 2013

Labor-saving devices!

While it'd still give you callouses, it's nowhere near the workout you'd get beating your laundry against a flat rock:
EcoHipsters: They were green before green was cool.

A nice assortment of wringers, none of which filled me with a burning desire to abandon the spin cycle.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

It's been a good run, McKay's.

I have blogged many times before of my love for McKay's Books in Knoxville. I don't know how much money I've left in there in the last decade, but it runs well into four figures, if not five. Many is the year when "books" may have been the single largest line-item expense in my personal budget except for...

...except for guns. And this sign seen on the front door today tells me that my money is not wanted there anymore.

With the new law in Tennessee, the same one that allows you to CCW into places that serve alcohol, these little signs at the door are no longer just a formality. If you were to not notice this little out-of-the-way sign at knee level off to the right of the busy entrance and walk past it with a Kel-Tec in your purse, you would be committing a misdemeanor in the Volunteer State.

I wonder if McKay's realizes how many of their customers they may be turning into criminals with this sign? I mean, something roughly like one in twenty Tennesseans has a toter's permit, and the number trends higher in the hills and hollers of East Tennessee. Eighty thousand more Tennesseeans joined the ranks of the legally armed in the first six months of 2013 alone, and every single one of them is going to know to leave their gat in their car if they want to buy a used copy of Fifty Shades of Grey from McKay's?

Further, the sign is a slap in the face to logic and reason. The only guns it's going to keep out are the ones being carried by people who've been fingerprinted and background-checked, tested on basic marksmanship and knowledge of Tennessee's self-defense laws. The bad guys? The ones who would do harm with a handgun? They'll walk right through that sign like it was made out of paper.

I'm sorry, McKay's. We used to have something special going on, but we're all broke up now.

PS: Since I moved to Indy, I'm only in McKay's eight or ten times a year (2 visits/trip, one with Gunsmith Bob and one with Staghounds) but those of you who live locally and were weekly or monthly customers can politely express your dismay at (865) 588-0331.

Glue some gears on it and make it steampunk.

 A 1920's-vintage Rumely Oil Pull kerosene-burner, out of La Porte, Indiana. Advance-Rumely didn't survive the Depression, being bought by Allis-Chalmers in '31.

As best I can tell, Advance-Rumely was the largest employer in La Porte in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. Allis-Chalmers Manufacturing went under, for all intents and purposes, in 1985.

It's a locavore traction engine.


"In the World of Tomorrow, little Billy, even the tractors will be streamlined!"
We were so prosperous as a nation, even our farm equipment was Art Deco...

The Elder Scroll VI: Woodworking

The man looks as though he's hunched over the saw working on a piece, but what he's actually doing is holding the saw down so Bobbi doesn't try and make off with it. She was pretty deep in the throes of avarice around the woodworking shop in Pioneer Village.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Flash Gordon, your tractor is ready...

1948 Silver King
I'd never seen one of these before. It looks ideal for maintaining the row crops on the plantations of Ming the Merciless.

Squid tractor.

Anyone know what the Navy would have used this for?
 One collector had brought an impressive lineup of immaculate ex-military tractors, like this former U.S. Navy International in can't-lose-it yellow.

(Incidentally, the lines of this tractor were penned by Raymond Loewy, the man who drew the future.)