Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Video Killed the Radio Star

It seems that Nikon is closing its plant in Wuxi City, Jiangsu, China, where it made compact cameras (including the CoolPix S6500 in the photo) and budget lenses. The company blamed "the rise of smartphones" in the press release.

Since everybody carries a small-sensor compact camera in their pocket nowadays and just gives you a dull, bovine stare when you try and explain the difference between longer focal lengths versus digital "zoom", the market for cheap pocket cameras has completely cratered.

People shopping for cameras now are shopping for something with which to take deliberate photos, as opposed to something to keep in pocket or purse just in case they need to document a moment.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #165...

Finally got to see a friend's Grayguns HK P7M8 longslide in person today. Pictures don't do this thing justice. It's so choice.


A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

Tac-Con '18 is almost full...

There are only six registration slots left at Tac-Con 2018. If you wanna go, you'd better git...

Registration links are here: http://rangemaster.com/2018-tactical-conference/

Sunday, October 29, 2017

How I spent my afternoon...

So,when I talked to this editor on the phone a couple weeks ago about the piece I'd just turned in, he offered some suggested changes. A couple I thought made sense, and a couple had me scratching my head and thinking "I'm pretty sure I covered that, but okay. I'll reword it and see what you think."

So yesterday I line out the changes to the first section, and then I sit down this afternoon to finish out rearranging the rest of the article. I finish my changes on the first page, page down to the second, and...where's the rest of the article? There's only seven hundred and some-odd words here, and I know I wrote about 1600ish...

I must have accidentally deleted it while making the edits on the first page or something, I think. No problem, I'll just open my sent items folder in email and extract the version I sent him.


No wonder he sounded so dubious on the phone. I'd sent him the first 700 words and the rest were just gone.

Thank Gutenberg for MS Word's change-tracking function, because I was able to find and resurrect the deleted 3/5ths of the article.

That was a bit of consternation I didn't need today.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

An observation...

Having spent a couple months now scrutinizing the labels on food in the stores, this is something that stumps me...

You'd think I could find a better savory delivery device for nacho cheese, salsa, or guac than frickin' celery sticks.

Contrasting Contractions

By current convention, the WWII slang terms for our enemies in the Pacific, "Jap" (short for "Japanese") and "Nip" (short for Nipponese) are generally considered to be bigoted slurs. As a decently acculturated urban SWPL Americanperson, I feel a little uncomfortable even typing them.

So, what I'm curious about is this: Are the British slang term "Yank" (short for "Yankee") or the German "Ami" (for "American") also bigoted slurs we should strike from oral histories? If not, why not?

There's a fine gradation of slurs among my fellow Cracker subtypes. "Kraut" is insulting but not totally verboten, while "Mick" and "Frog" are pretty borderline, and "Wop" is beyond the pale these days. But who keeps track of this stuff, and how does it permeate among the culture? By what process do we update our internal three-ring binders of acceptable terminology?

Farewell Flight...

Coming in on short final at MSP on this trip, I glanced out the window and saw this Delta MD-88 on a parallel runway. Since my D200 was in my lap, I picked it up, cranked the zoom lens out to 140mm, tickled the ISO up a notch to 640, and popped off a couple frames.

There was something a little poignant about it being pictures of a jet coming home to roost, since I knew these were going to be some of the last pictures I took with the camera. It wasn't even supposed to be along on this trip, since I'd intended to shoot the whole thing with the Sony/Hasselblad MILCs that had increasingly come to take over shooting chores for the DSLR. Only a mixup leaving the Hassy at home and getting the wrong camera forwarded caused it to be along for the ride.

While on the trip, I'd decided that I was going to look seriously into a camera with a full-frame sensor, either a Nikon D3 or (more likely) a Sony A7, and either way that would leave the APS-C D200 sitting unused and its "G"-type DX zoom lens unusable on either the new camera or my older Nikons.

I was going to need to re-home it, because it had a lot of life left in it...

This camera's been with me to Colorado and New Mexico, Washington and New Hampshire, Virginia and Arkansas.

It's got a lot of memories in it now: Three Blogorados, two Paul-E-Paloozas, Tac-Con '17, a couple NRAAMs. It's been to both classes I took from Pat.

It's taken some of my favorite photos...

...and some of my best.

It's weird finding myself a lot more attached to a camera than any gun I've ever owned. Yeah, it's just a tool for work, but I can't just let it gather dust on a shelf, and I'm certainly not selling it to J. Random Camera Dealer...

Fortunately, I found a new home for it, where it will continue on in its current line of work. I hope it makes thousands more memories for its new user.

Now it's time for me to start putting some memories in this one...

Friday, October 27, 2017

Charity Gun Raffle...

A member of my extended Blogorado family is having a rough time of it in the medical bills department, so some folks are organizing a gun raffle to help defray expenses. Go check it out.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Tick tock...

After a couple weeks on the road, I return home to find myself fully adjusted to Mountain Time. So I sit here at the keyboard at quarter to three in the morning, with aspirin and a gin & tonic, and staring at a can of Mello Yello Zero. I'm debating whether I should just stay awake through the night and do a brute-force reset of my internal clock, or try and get a few hours of sleep and fuzz through the day.

It was 38°F here in Indy when I arrived home. That's a dozen degrees chillier than it was back in New Mexico, and apparently even colder than it was outside the airport in Minneapolis (not that it mattered there, since I never set foot outside.)

Time to rotate the long-sleeve tees up from the basement, move the wool socks to the front of the drawer, and break out the long underwear. I find myself kind of hoping we'll get a real winter this year, after the wet firecrackers of the last couple.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


Pretty sure this is a strained or torn intercostal. At least it only hurts when I breathe.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Noon in your pocket.

And you can get these things from SureFire's web store using Ballistic Radio's discount code "ALLTHELUMENS" for 30% off...

Monday, October 23, 2017

Been busy this weekend...

There will come a time when I am too old for this shit, and so I want to get a bunch of it in while I can.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Something I said I'd never do...

When I was packing guns to bring to a recent shooting event, I didn't do my usual thing of tossing an odd mixture of T&E guns and show-off oddities into the case.

Instead, I brought all Glocks, albeit in a variety of calibers. I'd originally intended to dragoon some of my friends into something science-y at the range, but elected to leave the shot timer at home and just make anecdotal observations. With the Glock 19, 32, and 38, you have three substantially identical pistols, the only difference being caliber (9x19mm, .357SIG, .45GAP, respectively). How would that affect people's rate of fire on plates and poppers?

It was interesting. Everybody loved the full-size Glock 37 .45GAP; especially as it had a nice Apex trigger in it. With the smaller guns...? The 19-size platform is docile in 9mm, but splits go to hell with the hotter calibers. It's a downright handful in .45GAP form. There's probably a blog post in there somewhere, but that's not what this one's about.

See, on a whim, I threw a box of 230gr HST .45GAP into my luggage before I zipped it up, along with a Raven Phantom holster for the Glock 37. I don't entirely remember my reasoning.

This past Monday, when I had agreed to do a little shooting coaching for some friends, I didn't know what the gun and holster situation was going to be at the range, and so I wanted to make sure I had both G19's and at least one holster (in this case, my own Dark Star Gear IWB) available for loaners.

So I loaded up the Glock 37 and carried it myself. I've been carrying it all week.

It's not really a whimsical carry choice, I guess. It's a Glock just like the Glock I usually carry. They both even have the same Ameriglo CAP sights. It's as thoroughly-vetted as any Glock I have; my logbook says 2,510 rounds now, making it my third-most-fired G-lock.

But my head is telling me that I'm doing this on a whim, and whimsy and carry pieces don't mix. I don't mind fun guns...heck, the fact that my Luger is in .30 Luger rather than 9mm made me more likely to buy it, not less...but carry guns are srs bsns. You don't want to wind up shooting at a fool with a gun you picked out that morning because it matched your socks. Fool-shooting guns should be selected for fool-shooting utility and nothing else.

"But, Tamara! You said there was no realistic ballistic advantage to the .45GAP over the 9mm and you've given up five rounds and added a bunch of weight for nothing!"

I know, I know.

I'm switching back to the usual dull Glock 19. Tomorrow. I have to, anyway, because who can afford to shoot .45GAP in gun school?

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Public Service Announcement...

Wasted day...

All I did was lay on my back and wait for my head to stop hurting.

And nap.

And surf a little Facebook.

TW: Whining ahead...

This has to be some sort of allergy to some local fauna combining with the dry air that is keeping all my mucus membranes irritated and flowing like rivers.

I have single-handedly killed two boxes of Kleenex and gotten substantial assists on three more.

Time to fall back and start taking the antihistamines instead of pretending the cold medicine fixed everything because the fever and sore throat were gone.

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: