Sunday, August 19, 2018

Happy Photography Day!


Hope those of you who are shutterbugs had some good times with a camera today!
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General Gripes...


  • Collarbone still hurts plenty, although it's a more manageable level of pain than initially. It's still enough to make me pretty grouchy.

  • Those spots on my Battleship Cove photos actually mean that I am about to learn how to clean the sensor on my Sony a7 II.

  • The doctor cleared me for two-handed pistol shooting again, and said that there was no danger of re-fracture, and pain would likely be my only limiting factor. So...yay? Back to work. I'm going to consider it as rehab for my shoulder.

Took a knap.

There's a gentleman who sets up in the Pioneer Village at the State Fair every year and demonstrates flint knapping. Every year I tell myself I'm going to buy one of his pieces just for the cool factor, but I never got around to it until this year.

This is some lovely rainbow obsidian from northern California that's been knapped into a broad blade about 3.75" long and affixed to an antler handle.

What caught my eye was the fat, asymmetrical antler handle that fills the fist nicely, the right hand in a forward grip and the left in a reverse. It feels kinda like a clinch pick.

The rainbow obsidian is translucent and, when the light hits it just right, has the multicolored internal shimmers that give it its name. (Also, I'm kinda just got by how pleasant the bokeh is on this Zeiss 32mm f/1.8.)
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Saturday, August 18, 2018

Peak State Fair

The Smallest Minority needs our help!

Kevin Baker, author of the blog The Smallest Minority, has had a serious health issue pop up that has him in the hospital and unable to work. His loved ones have set up a GoFundMe to help defray some of the costs since he's exceeded his paid sick time already. I've already kicked in a few bucks.

Please help him if you can. He's a good dude.
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1913 Avery tractor

I find this tractor mechanically intriguing, especially because everything about it is out where you can see it. Shot with Sony a7 II and 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 lens.

This is usually under a tent awning in the middle of the tractor park, and is a dark object, so it's usually been tricky to shoot. In 2014 it was parked under the sky, however.

That State Fair was when I was still using the EOS 20D and the 18-135mm zoom as my walking-around setup. I took a lot of my favorite pictures with that body and lens.

Friday, August 17, 2018

State Fair!

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

You know what's voodoo? Snapping a pic with your cell phone and then post-processing it in Adobe Lightroom right there on the phone.
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Skull sweat.

Some reviews are harder than others. The one I'm working on now is really hard.
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Thursday, August 16, 2018

What I hate...

...about the license model of software "purchasing" is encapsulated in the picture below:

I am positively swamped under deadlines, and Microsoft has decided that it can't remember if I have an Office subscription on this machine or not. Never mind that I was using Word as recently as last night.

So, I have to re-purchase everything because I simply don't have time for lengthy phone holds today.

Kids, once upon a time, you would buy a box with some things in it that were shaped like the "Save" icon, and you would stick those in a slot like a giant thumb drive, and you would load the "Program"...which was like an App, except it didn't constantly tie up your machine with unwanted bloatware updates...onto your computer, and there it would reside. It would function until you decided to sell the machine, at which point you could stick the "Save" icons into the next computer and install the "Program" on it and keep using it!
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QotD: Overabundance Edition...

From a brilliant interview with Penn Jillette:
"For 50 million years our biggest problems were too few calories, too little information. For about 50 years our biggest problem has been too many calories, too much information. We have to adjust, and I believe we will really fast. I also believe it will be wicked ugly while we’re adjusting."
Go read the whole thing. I've always liked Penn's take on things, and he just keeps getting better over time.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Not my bag, baby.

I used to painstakingly link and annotate and generally write as if every abbreviation and technical term needed to be explained to my readers.

Then I decided that took too much time and that I'd rather write to an audience of smart, curious people who knew how to use search engines, anyway.
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Vexing.

Shooting Illustrated has a thumbnail review up of the Taurus Spectrum with an included Viridian laser.

I've made some fun of Taurus's Spectrum before, but not for the concept.

It's a gun for non-gun-people, for non-hobbyists.

I have friends who are in IT, who are programmers, who build PC's for fun, who root their Android smartphones, and then I have friends who just, you know, want a phone.

Similarly, people who don't make firearms a hobby...or even have much interest in them as objects in and of themselves...have Second Amendment rights, too. These are people who are going to own the one gun and never belong to gun fora or gun groups on Facebook any more than they belong to garage door opener or lawnmower groups.

There's a definite place in the market for an iGun. A gun marketed to people who want to buy a self-defense appliance maybe because it looks cool and they can personalize it and that's okay.

 But from all I can gather, this disappointment (the latest in a long string of disappointments) from Taurus ain't it. See, the thing about an iGun is it needs to run reliably without the attention of a hobbyist owner or trips to the manufacturer.
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Monday, August 13, 2018

All Linky, No Thinky...

In lieu of me having to come up with something creative to post today, allow me to direct your attention to other people's creative posts:



Sunday, August 12, 2018

The Inner Life of the Cat.


Bobbi's post this morning is wonderful, as are the comments on it.

The social software of the domestic cat is still very much in beta, and is mostly built on a kludge of kitten-mother relationships. This is why a full-grown cat will nip you on the back of your ankle while you're cooking at the stove. That's how a kitten signals its mother to lie down and let it nurse.
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Saturday, August 11, 2018

Skin In The Game

We prefer Justice to be kinda squint-y.

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "Alexa, is the president of the United States insane?" 
Alexa: "The president of the United States is Donald Trump. Did that answer your question?"

Alexa is sometimes unintentionally hilarious.
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Busted gear.

I flew home from New Hamster on Wednesday and didn't set my gaming laptop back up again until last night. (I've been pretty desultory with my unpacking schedule since everything involving luggage is such a pain in the butt to do with only one load-bearing hand.)

Anyway, my long-serving Razer Naga was wedged in among my clothes where it was nice and safe from rough handling in the baggage compartment.  But something took all the starch out of the left mouse button, which no longer *clicks* when pressed. Now it's more of a...well, there's not really an adjective that springs readily to mind. The button still functions, but now there's almost no tactile feedback.

And of course the Naga like mine has been discontinued and replaced by a more expensive V2 with a button layout I don't like as much. I'm torn between the new Naga or buying the equivalent MMO mouse by Corsair.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Git some!

Argh.

Being in more-or-less constant pain from this busted clavicle has made me super cranky. Plus I have a lot of shooting and writing to do on stupid-short deadlines, which makes me stressed.

I just wish I could teleport ahead in time a month or so and have this all behind me.
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Thursday, August 09, 2018

Current Project...

Working on a quickie range review of the new Charter Bulldog in .45 Colt for Shooting Illustrated. It's new enough that the instruction manual included with the gun doesn't even mention the .45 Colt Bulldog, only the .44 Special version.

Being a big-bore small/medium-frame revolver, plus being a Charter Arms, fills me with both nostalgia and also very mixed feelings. The first hundred rounds went okay, but it had a hard time with the primers on a few rounds of the Magtech. The range didn't have any rental guns in .45 Colt, so I was unable to check and see if it was the gun or the ammo.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Lemme tell you 'bout 8 Mile...

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #170...

EAA Witness P Match Pro in 9x19mm. Review coming soon.
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Lesson learned...

Since I made the rookie mistake of not checking and wiping down my filter before shooting all those battleship pics, all of them looked like someone had sneezed on the lens.

The upside of that is I've gotten a crash course in Lightroom and Photoshop spot removal. Also, I purchased a container of wet lens wipes and put it in my camera bag, to supplement the microfiber cloth.
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Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #169...

The aft gunhouse of BB-59, USS Massachusetts, features three 16"/45 caliber Mark 6 guns.
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Monday, August 06, 2018

This is timely...


I don't really see anything there I disagree with.
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Outsourcing...

If you outsource quality control to the end user, just think how much money you can save!

The Winchester white box 9mm round above brought an HK P30L to a screeching halt.

Further, that lip on the bullet's heel, which is what caused the case to look like that, meant the bullet was wedged snugly enough in the chamber that when the firer attempted to clear the malfunction, the bullet stayed in the chamber and only the case was extracted. The powder was dumped into the magazine. This would have been a fight-ending malfunction.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Grousing...

The collarbone is still all jacked up. I guess you just don't knit up as fast at fifty as you do at thirty. (Funnily enough, I remember complaining after my big motorcycle wreck eighteen years ago that I wasn't bouncing back as fast as I did when I was twenty.)

Putting on a tee shirt involves laboriously threading it over the bad wing all the way up to the shoulder, poking my head in, and then wriggling the other arm up and in. It's an awkward process.

Another thing I noticed is that I apparently habitually put open-front shirts and jackets on with my right arm first. For the first month and a half, when I was religiously wearing the sling, this was no problem, since I'd thread my right arm into the sleeve of my gun burkha and then shrug it over my left. Now, though, nearly every time I put the shirt on, I reflexively put it on the wrong arm first, then have to take it off and start over.

Were I a profounder person, I'd insert something here about "training scars".
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Thursday, August 02, 2018

Oof.

Statistically speaking, you already know the person you're most likely going to need to pepper spray.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Consistency, how does it work?


So, you think that there's a bumbling madman in the White House who is Literally Hitler, and that the military is made up of reactionary goons who swear fealty to this guy, and the police of the nation are engaged in a coordinated conspiracy to straight-up murder oppressed minorities...and also those are the only people who should have guns.

Your worldview is wack.
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Sad but true.

So, if you go to any public range, you can see the marks from bullet impacts all over the place downrange. Some of the target carriers will be dinged. The tiles covering the ceiling baffles will have holes. There'll be divots in the floor and walls.


The vast majority of this is because most people just can't shoot worth a damn, but some of it is for a different reason.

It turns out that some folks...usually people who just come in to rent a gun, but sometimes even people who you'd think would know better...think that it's like a BB gun shooting gallery: that anything downrange is fair game to be shot at. They'll get bored with missing their target and deliberately shoot at the wall or floor or whatever until yelled at by range staff. Some people's kids, I swear.

Look, pretty much all that stuff downrange is, of necessity, bullet-resistant to a greater or lesser degree, but the only part of the whole ensemble that's actually designed to be shot is the backstop. Try and ensure all of your bullets land there, okay?

Also, although it pains me to have to point it out, there's a Rule Four angle here, too. Y'all remember Rule Four, right? "Be sure of your target and what is beyond it"? This means that if you're five foot one and you hang a B27 target at five yards and try and shoot it in the noggin, your bullet is going to impact the range ceiling just a few yards behind it. Similarly, almost anybody trying to shoot a Casino Drill on a standard target is going to wind up skipping bullets off the floor.

There's a reason that in a class like this on an indoor range, all the shooting is done with the targets right in front of the backstop.
So please, when using a public indoor range, be mindful of where your bullets will impact after passing through the target. This helps keep maintenance costs down and keeps the place from looking like hammered crap.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Return of the Swamp Thing

Ouch...

The way my shoulder feels right now, I kind wish home X-ray machines were a thing.

I suppose it's just a front moving through, but...ow.
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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Good TV...

Seasons 1-8 of House are free to watch with Amazon Prime video at the moment. I'd forgotten just what a great show that was...
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Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #169...

Supersonic .300BLK loads from Sig Sauer and Hornady. In the background is a Sig Rattler with a Surefire M600df Scout light on it.
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Dunning-Kruger is a hell of a drug.

In December 2015, Chad Myers and his wife Shawndalyn set out to solve a problem: They both wanted to carry concealed handguns, but many of the holsters designed to hold the guns were notoriously unreliable. Typically hooked to a waistband with a clip, they can fall off and fall down your pants, Chad noted.” 
 In other words:
I just started carrying a gun and basically don’t know anything about it, but I have this genius idea for a product that none of the millions of others who have been doing this for generations have yet considered.” 
 This holster is the love child of naivety and arrogance of truly Olympian proportions. Nearly every crappy CCW gimmick, from Lethal Lace to the Handgun Sling, has this same stupid-ass origin story.

I know several folks with successful startups producing useful things, and that's because they got out into wider world and, via lots of training and/or competition, identified an actual void in the market and moved to fill it.
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Friday, July 27, 2018

A Farewell to Carbs...

Well, while I was all jacked up with my arm in a sling, I figured I'd make the experience a little more tolerable by allowing myself to enjoy some of the things that I'd missed most on my new diet. So allowed myself to have some IPA, an order of fries here and there, the occasional hot dog bun...

Also, I didn't pay much attention to my calorie intake. Well, that's not accurate, actually. I still recorded everything I ate, but didn't care if I blew over the calorie limit every day.

Yesterday was my first day out and about without wearing the sling, since I wasn't planning on going anyplace crowded where my shoulder was likely to be jostled. (I might have overdone that a bit, 'cause my clavicle was hurting by nightfall...)

Anyway, since I'm gradually working my way back to light duty, I figured it was time to step on the scale and see how much damage I'd done, between lack of physical activity and indulging my every dietary whim. Fourteen pounds in two months and a week.

No worries. That's still twenty-six pounds lighter than I was this time last year.

Back to work, then.
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Thursday, July 26, 2018

QotD: Your Eyeballs are the Merchandise Edition...

"The media is in the business of selling your attention and will do nearly anything to get it." -Roberta X.
You know the drill. Go and RTWT.
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Not exactly "pain-free", but...

I haven't had any Ibuprofen since yesterday morning but, absent my shoulder getting jostled, the pain is down to a manageable level.

I'm sure my liver and kidneys will be glad of this news.
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Context matters.

This morning my tranquilo was yet again interrupted by someone sending me a link to yet another goofy gun accessory designed for "close combat" that was demonstrated by its inventor engaging in said "close combat" with an armless rubber dummy.

In the middle of this demonstration, dude did a slidelock load of his pistol and then fired finishing shots into the dummy's head. He did that reload standing there in arm's reach of the dummy. Well, it would have been arm's reach if the dummy had arms, but you get my drift.

I guess that's a valid technique if you get in a lot of fights with armless rubber dummies, but it's a little silly to expect someone's just going to stand there and let you reload a gun right up in their grill.

There's a reason I prefer stuff that's been proven to work against people who are trying their best to stop it from working. You need to pressure-test stuff against a resisting opponent, or it's all so much theoretical range ballet.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Tab Clearing...


Morning Routine...

So, every morning for the past couple months I've been toddling into the kitchen with a little salsa bowl, into which I deposit:

  • One "old lady" formula multivitamin
  • Two glucosamine chondroitin horse pills
  • Three calcium citrate horse pills, and
  • Three ibuprofen

That's enough calcium, glucosamine, and vitamin D that I should have fabricated a complete second skeleton at this point.
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Sunday, July 22, 2018

Writing Problems

The problem with having a bunch of writer friends is that we've all heard the same piece of advice a blue jillion times, and in turn we dispense it almost reflexively:
"I'm having difficulty writing right now.
"Well, you know the solution to that! Apply ass to chair in front of the keyboard and just write."
Yes. I know how to write, thanks. The problem is that I seem to be experiencing difficulty doing it at the moment.

This is the equivalent of being told, when you're having difficulty walking, to:
"Just put one foot in front of the other!" 
"Thanks. I'm familiar with the mechanics of walking, yes. I've been doing it since an early age, but what I'm trying to say is that I appear to be having difficulty doing it right now."
And what chaps my ass is that the writing I do is the easiest, lowest, meanest sort. I don't need to come up with plots or characters or even story ideas. I don't need to have 80,000 words on an editor's desk in three months.

I write short little non-fiction columns and articles on dry technical matters, and I write them on request, rather than on speculation. All I need to do is spit out my opinion on the requested topic when my string is pulled, and I seem to be experiencing great difficulty doing that at the moment.

This is where some writer friend chimes in with "There's nothing special or creative about writing. It's just a job and you do it like any other job."

Hey, people find themselves unable to deal with their job...face burnout...all the frickin' time. I know people from accountants to auto mechanics to dentists who found themselves unable to deal with the thought of one more stuck spark plug or nasty cavity.

I don't think I'm burned out on writing, but it's like there's a magic force field around the MS Word icon on my desktop that manages to deflect my cursor someplace else, like Safari or Lightroom*, every time I get near it.

I'll bust out of this like I have every time before, but dammit, if you can't vent whinily on your own blog, where can you vent?


*And yes, before someone suggests it, my work computer doesn't even have games on it. I have a Mac mini desktop that only has MS Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, and whatever bloatware came with this version of OS X. The games are on a Dell laptop that doesn't get booted up before 6PM.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Saturday Morning Rambling

So I'm actually watching a golf...tournament? match? game?...whatever, and finding it moderately interesting. Not a sport I've ever had the faintest urge to try, but there's obviously a ton of technique involved.

What I'm really paying attention to are the photographers, both the pros and among the spectators. What kind of clod holds an iPad up to take pictures in the throng around a green? The people behind you want to see Tiger putt, too, jerk.

More than one pro running a Nikon or Canon with big glass on a monopod has a Sony a6xxx slung around their neck that they occasionally grab one-handed shots with. That's interesting.

This led to a discussion on Facebook about sports photography, which bears some relation to the photography I like the most.

Kevin from Misfires And Light Strikes described the setup for shooting basketball games back in the days of film. That had to be some challenging work.

Photographing shooters on an outdoor range in daylight isn't terribly technically challenging, but indoor sports is something that's near impossible to do without equipment selected for the task.

Indoor sports photography with your typical f/3.5-5.6 "all-in-one" vacation zoom is an exercise in frustration. I once filled up a couple cards of awful, blurry crap for lack of the right lens, as well as zero experience in shooting that sort of action. I learned some things that didn't work, though, and am itching to try again.


Friday, July 20, 2018

Prime Day purchase arrived...

SureFire had sent an M600 DF Scout Light writer's sample for testing. Having used it already in the shoothouse as well as regular house-type houses in Alliance, OH, I have a pretty good idea how it's going to work...

Tactical Mom Jeans
But I also knew that there was one accessory that made a ton of difference in comfort, given my preferred light placement: The 45-degree offset mount. I ordered one from Amazon on Prime Day and it showed up on the porch day before yesterday.

You can see the offset mount better in this embiggenable picture of one of the other attendees.
Now I just have to switch the mounts out on the light and throw it on the house carbine.
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That Sinking Feeling

This July Fourth, in the middle of downtown Indianapolis, a century-old brick sewer line collapsed, opening a sinkhole in the middle of the intersection of Ohio and Pennsylvania. The busy intersection was closed for a week while repairs were made, further snarling traffic downtown, which was already bad from having I-65 through the heart of downtown closed for a month for bridge repairs.

With that sinkhole repair only a week or so in the rearview, a crater opened last night beneath the intersection of Illinois and Maryland, right in front of Circle Center Mall, and just in time for thousands of people to arrive downtown for Summer Celebration.

The intersection of Illinois & Maryland. The impending sinkhole would be in the lower left corner of the photo.
Marion County's Republican party is seizing the issue and making waves:
"This is not what we want them to see," said Senator Jim Merritt, the head of the Marion County Republican Party. 
 Merritt believes it's time to take stock of the city's infrastructure and is calling for a public audit.
While the Unigov combination of Indianapolis city and Marion county makes the local government not quite the Democrat shoo-in of most big cities, the Republicans are still definite political underdogs. However, they got a mayor in office for two terms back in 2007 on the platform of plowing side streets clear of snow in the winter.

Current Democrat mayor Joe Hogwarts is having a rocky first term, with collapsing streets, thousands of massive, un-filled potholes, and what looks to be a third consecutive year of record homicides. If the GOP can scare up a candidate with more charisma than a dead tuna, next year's elections are likely theirs to lose.
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Automotif CXLVIII...

Driving home from the range yesterday, I noticed this in the parking lot of the corner shop where I get minor stuff done on the Zed Drei.

I pulled into the parking lot and did an orbit while hanging the Nikon 1 J1 with the 10-30mm kit zoom out the driver's window.

My feelings toward the lines of the fixed-head coupe have softened over time. I used to consider the roof a bulbous abomination on the E-type's beautiful lines, but it's gotten to where I find it rather attractive from certain angles, like that rear quartering view.

Internationale

An interesting article at Rolling Stone about foreign fighters with the YPG...
“We ended up with a mixed platoon,” Franceschi says. “Ideological and ex-soldiers. We were sharing our perspective on revolution with the military guys, and they were giving us training and advice. It was beautiful to watch.”

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Sunny Day...

Bobbi and I walked over to Good Morning Mama's for brunch today.

The weather was positively gorgeous. High seventies and low humidity. Just enough clouds in the sky to look all fluffy and photogenic.


We sat on the patio, shaded by both the pergola and the umbrellas at each table. It was pretty idyllic. The breeze stayed tolerable until it was about leaving time, by which time I'd picked up a gnat that had decided that slaloming through my eyelashes was great sport. We'd finished up by then anyway.


I had the stuffed burrito Sonoma, which is just eggs, chorizo, peppers, onions, and cheese, wrapped in a flour tortilla. Bobbi had fried eggs over house-made corned beef hash.
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Although I can't think of a practical reason...

...the idea of a Glock 42 in 9x18mm Makarov just tickles my fancy.

If only they made a .32ACP conversion barrel. I'd be on that like a duck on a junebug. I'd buy a Glock 42 just because such a barrel existed.
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Clone Correct...

Looks like Sig is bringing the .mil version of the P320 to the commercial market as the P320-M17.


That's kinda cool...

Magpul has gotten into the sunglasses biz.

They seem to offer blue mirrored lenses, which I'm partial to, and my Wiley X AirRage sunglasses are about wore out. (Sunglasses that rely on tension in the temples plus friction from rubber pieces on the temples to hold on to your noggin eventually get un-tense and non-friction, it turns out. Based on my experiment, this takes about five years.)

I use ballistic-rated sunglasses because I don't want special shades based on whether I'm planning on going to the range that day or not. This way I always have eye pro with me.
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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What They Think Of You...

Indiana is bracing for a hotly contested senate race this fall, with incumbent Joe Donnelly (D-IN) facing GOP upstart Mike Braun, who won one of the nastiest primary mud-wrestling contests it has ever been my misfortune to live through.

With control of the senate teetering on a knife edge, this race is attracting national attention and a lot of out-of-state dough. In fact, the Senate Majority Project ad below complains that "out of state billionaires"...ie the Kochs...are buying ads to smear our beloved "Indiana Joe". (A recent pro-Braun ad accused Donnelly's family printing business of off-shoring south of the border and dubbed him "Mexico Joe".)


The thing is, the Senate Majority Project has received a couple million from Bloomberg, as well as at least $10M from Newsweb Corp, which is Chicago billionaire Fred Eychaner's company.

So an ad complaining about out-of-state billionaires buying ads was paid for by out-of-state billionaires.

But they think you're too dumb to know that. You know how I know this? Well, this ad was no doubt produced by some LA or NYC agency, and look at who they think will convince those on-the-fence blue collar union worker* Hoosiers who voted for both Obama and Trump, Lugar and Donnelly. They assembled this People of Walmart cast of Totally Not Actors to convince us confused hilljacks of flyover country that people just like us were standing up for Indiana Joe.

There's a tiny chance I'd vote for Braun, because the dude's SoCon mouth noises he made for the primary seemed about as convincing as the visual effects in the original Star Trek series, but I'm insulted enough by this ad to guarantee it'll be a cold day in hell before I vote for Joe Donnelly.

*Did you catch the patch on Do-Rag Dude?
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Some is good, more is better, too much is just enough.

Shootin' Buddy's theory on redundancy for your carry gun was that you should "find a gun you like, and buy five copies." That way you'd have:
"One on your hip, one in the safe, one at the local gunsmith, one at the manufacturer being overhauled, and one stored off-site at a trusted, safe location."
Commander Zero seems to have a similar eye toward redundancy, and explains it here. Go read.
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Monday, July 16, 2018

RIP 9/21/2011-7/11/2018

I think it was about six years ago that Bobbi and I walked into Target's camera department...well, it was just like an aisle or an aisle-and-a-half by then...and saw a display for a new and unfamiliar camera from Nikon.

It took interchangeable lenses, but not regular Nikon lenses. The back and top of it were nearly devoid of controls, like a compact camera. There was what looked like a mode dial, but it was mostly unfamiliar hieroglyphics instead of the normal "PASM".

There was a position with a movie camera icon, so that was video. And there was a green camera icon, which I guess would be automatic scene selection? Program mode? Who knew?

There was a video display playing a looped commercial showing the cool burst photography tricks, and high speed video. I remember the price tag seemed gobsmackingly expensive, as much as an entry level DSLR kit, maybe a few bucks more.

And some parts of it didn't impress 2011 me, who didn't know much about cameras.

The lens that came with it only had three zoom X's, while the Kodak EasyShare pocket camera I was using at the time had that many and cost me a fraction of the price. They both had the same number of MP's, too. (2011 me didn't know much about sensor sizes and crop factors at all, and only had a half-forgotten grasp of apertures and ISO's and other such things.)

In retrospect, it's like the Nikon engineering department had been dragged kicking and screaming into building a mirrorless camera with the sole directive that it not steal a single sale from Nikon's meanest entry-level D3100. The result was a camera that seemed oddly frivolous to camera nerds and yet frighteningly expensive to people who wanted to move up from clipping plastic magnifiers to their iPhone lens...or from Kodak EasyShares.

The last new bodies in the series had been released back in early 2015, and everyone knew that the Nikon 1 was dead, so the announcement a few days ago was pretty much pro forma.

That being said, the early ones like the J1 I'm playing with this month are available dirt cheap as refurbs or used, and even the J5's can be found as NOS in some places for decent prices. Last of the Nikon 1 line, the J5 had a much more normal camera interface, but it was too late to save the line of quirky cameras.

I do want to see how the high-speed video and burst shooting does for action shots at the range...
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I bought it for the lenses...

QotD: Not Fellow Travelers Edition

Trivial Pursuit...

On the top of the stack in the Reading Room is Osprey's US Cold War Aircraft Carriers: Forrestal, Kitty Hawk and Enterprise Classes.

I was idly skimming the section covering CVN-65, the Mobile Chernobyl, and noticed that it named the ship's skipper at the time it was commissioned: Vincent P. de Poix. Dude was a fighter pilot in the South Pacific with VF-6 for a little over a year in '42-'43.

Think about this as a metric of the speed of technological advance in the 20th Century: The first captain of a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier got his primary flight training in a fabric-covered open-cockpit biplane. When he was born in 1916, the unofficial air speed record was 134mph in a British S.E.4 fighter plane, which is likely rather slower than the first plane to land on the Enterprise was going when it trapped the wire.

As far as the ship he was skippering, it remained in service until the end of 2012. To put that in perspective, the Enterprise's first captain was born during the Wilson administration, before commercial radio was really even a thing. The youngest sailor on her last deployment was born during the Clinton administration, about the same year as the letters "www." started popping up on billboards and in magazine ads.
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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Ugh.

Finishing up writing a piece and trying to come up with delicate ways to tell the reader that they're likely wrong about something...

Meanwhile, have a pretty picture from my 'hood:


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Friday, July 13, 2018

From Elsewhere...

Wait, that goober in Illinois saw a woman wearing a Puerto Rican flag on her shirt and started yelling “Are you a US citizen?”

Has that ignorant spoo-bubble been asleep since 1897?

Hey, Jasper, here’s a surprising telegram from President McKinley.
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Photography Is Not Terrorism



So, okay... Lesson learned: When I'm out semi-surreptitiously photographing people and stuff on the street with small cameras, I shouldn't look all Arabic while doing it. And I definitely shouldn't wear one of those radical-chic keffiyeh scarves either.
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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Range day...

Rushing along with the P365 review, today was an outdoor trip with Mike Grasso to get some chrono numbers.

I was going to grab some pics for an online sidebar while I was at it, but I left my camera bag at home. Fortunately there was a camera in the pocket of my gun burkha, a Samsung TL500...


This is a .jpg straight out of camera. I remember shooting with my previous Leica D-Lux 3 (nee Panasonic LX2) under very similar conditions...


I just wasn't as happy with the results. The slightly newer Samsung seems to do better in the shade. That's probably why the Leica got sold.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

#MyLifeInPictures

Trollololol

Posing with a trophy from a gun "buy-back", a police sergeant shows off a deadly Hi-er Point LUL-Z Mk.XIII "Ghost Gun".

One more assault weapon off the streets!


(h/t to alloutdoor.com)

Coarse Idjit Filter

Freakout Fatigue

So the announcement of the president's SCOTUS nominee was greeted by choreographed raucousness on the steps of the Supreme Court.

I'm assuming the whole thing was planned ahead of time, because of the four rumored short-listed candidates, Kavanaugh is the one least deserving the hysterical overreaction ("very confirmable", in the words of Chuck Todd).

I guess Bernie and Liz didn't want to waste the chance to get a bit of photogenic grandstanding in as politicking season ramps up toward November, and 2020 beyond that.

I have to say that I don't get the spaz-out over the idea of a GOP president nominating the replacement for a justice who was selected for the high court by Ronald Reagan.

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Monday, July 09, 2018

Prime.

A couple of shots with the Nikon 1 J1 and the 1 Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 prime lens. Thanks to the crop factor of the 1" sensor on the CX-format Nikon, this has the field-of-view of a 50mm lens on a full-frame camera.

 It handles daytime indoor available light shooting pretty nicely if it's not super dark.

I love the tap handle for Fountain Square Brewing's "Hop for Teacher" IPA. It's the one that looks like a paper airplane.
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Frustrating.

The P365 test is, of necessity, on a short schedule. I normally have bunches of range visits spread out over a couple months, instead of a couple very high round count ones sandwiched into a week.

I'm hoarding my remaining pain pills for really bad nights or weather fronts, and I don't want to take them on days I'm planning on going to the range, so it looks like I'll just be gutting out some pain this week.

Even if I weren't shooting, I'd need to be parsimonious with them because all the drug-seeking yahoos who can't hold their dope are making it hard for people in legit pain to find relief. ("I don't have 'overactive nerves', Doc, I have a fractured clavicle. Are broken bones common drug-seeking behavior?")

And if institutional paranoia about opioids wasn't bad enough, well, there's hardly anything you can't make worse by getting the government involved...
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Sunday, July 08, 2018

Back to work...

Yesterday saw me at the range for the first time since the accident.  Gonna be doing some shooting with a new test gun for a Shooting Illustrated article...



Saturday, July 07, 2018

Interface...

Earlier I made this comment about the Nikon 1 J1:

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

Which in turn spurred this...


For those who haven't been bitten by the shutterbug, "PASM" (or an anagram thereof) has become a quasi-standard array of settings on the control dials of cameras that offer the photographer control over some of the basic camera functions.

  • "P" = Program: The camera analyzes the scene through the lens, references the current light sensitivity setting of the sensor (or film speed, in the old days) and sets what it thinks is the best combination of shutter speed and aperture diameter to get a good image.
  • "A" = Aperture Priority: The photographer sets the aperture diameter, which gives them control over the depth-of-field (how much is in focus) and the camera then adjusts the shutter speed to get a good image.
  • "S" = Shutter Priority: The photographer sets the shutter speed, most likely because they're worried about freezing motion, and the camera adjusts the aperture to let in enough light for the shot.
  • "M" = Manual: The photographer takes full manual control over shutter speed and aperture diameter.

There's also a setting, usually colored green, that's labeled "auto" or has a little green icon of a camera or similar. In that setting, the camera takes control of pretty much everything, including ISO (light sensitivity) and turns your DSLR into a two-pound Point & Shoot the size of a shoebox but with the potential for really good image quality if you accidentally point it the right direction when you press the button.

It's generally an indicator that a camera has pretentions to being used by serious hobbyists when these settings are easily accessible via a control dial on the camera and it was one of the things for which Sony's higher-end NEX series of mirrorless cameras caught some flak. They had well-laid out controls and all the technical chops to be serious hobbyist cameras, but switching back and forth between, say, Program mode and Aperture Priority mode required a dive into a menu.

This was understandable with Sony because maybe the guy who did the camera interface had just gotten transferred over from the DVR remote control or car stereo head unit division the week before and only knew cameras as an added feature of his cell phone.

But the "PASM" dial on Nikon's 1 series was initially buried one layer deep in the menus, too. And Nikon doesn't have an excuse, since they practically invented the modern serious camera interface, or at least stole its various components and integrated them.
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Friday, July 06, 2018

Telephoto zoom & fast prime...

I've been trying out a couple of different lenses on the Nikon 1 J1 to see how they handle.

The above shot was taken with the Nikkor 30-110mm f/3.8-5.6 run all the way out to 110mm. These are flowers in the neighbor's garden photographed from probably 15 or 20 yards.

This one was walking home from lunch yesterday in the gaps between thunderstorms. I was using the Nikkor 18.5mm f/1.8 prime, which is compact and very light.
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I don't know what it was...

...maybe the front that came through yesterday, skidding a line of thunderstorms ahead of it and dropping the temperature by twenty degrees in a couple hours, but my collarbone hurt bad yesterday. As bad as at any time since the first week after; not the dull ache I've grown accustomed to, but the jagged stab of broken glass.

It's been enough to make me wonder if somehow the fracture hadn't become mobile again.

It was better today, but only by comparison. If it's still sharp & stabbing on Monday, I may see about getting an X-ray someplace for a second opinion on just how well this thing is knitting.
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Thursday, July 05, 2018

Sorry...

In rather a lot of pain today. Yelling at the cats when they bother me and then immediately feeling badly about it.

I'm not concentrating well enough to follow the complicated plot twists of the Dr. Phil show, let alone write anything coherent.
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Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Punny.

Hey, look!

There's a column I wrote up at Shooting Illustrated.

It's got some tidbits I picked up from Claude Werner's snubbie classes at TacCon '17. Claude's one of the best thinkers in the training industry. If you get a chance to take a class from him, you should.


Happy Independence Day!

I hope all y'all have fantastic and very 'Murrican day on this Fourth of July.

Go and tell some royalty to piss up a rope.
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Pocket knives...

I have a bunch of pocket knives, and I used to rotate through them but for the past several years now I'd pretty much settled on a plain ol' Spyderco Delica, albeit one with the Emerson wave opener on it.

At some point in the last few days, though, I lost it, either at the movie theater on Saturday or at Fat Dan's for lunch on Monday.

So I spent some time this morning pawing through my knife roll, trying to decide what to put in my pocket to replace it.

There were some unexpected memories in there, too...

I've had this CRKT K.I.S.S. longer than any other. Back when I first got a job in a gun store, I bought a Spyderco Delica Clipit that I wore around the store hanging from a belt loop and used for opening & breaking down boxes and such. When I started commuting on a motorcycle, I traded the Clipit for the K.I.S.S., because the Clipit would scratch the tank on my GPz.

That means I've had this knife something like twenty years or more.

Those scratches on the pocket clip are from the asphalt of Peachtree Street, when I had my catastrophic wreck in the summer of '00.

I was carrying this knife at my very first Blade Show, and I met Ed Halligan and chatted with him for a while. He was a kindly old dude, and we compared wreck stories. He rode his bicycle some sick distance every day, like thirty miles or more. One day, a couple years before our meeting, a hit-and-run driver knocked him off his bike and he rode home, a dozen miles or so, with a busted clavicle. Guy must have been tough as nails.

Marko got me this Kershaw Blackout as a "welcome to Tennessee" present when I moved up to Knoxville, late in 2000. I think having the K.I.S.S. and the Blackout at the same time was the first time in my life I'd ever owned more than one half-decent pocket knife at the same time.

I've got knives that are a lot fancier these days, but these have seniority.

As far as what knife to carry now, however? Well, I might as well just carry the waved Spyderco Endura. I'd only switched to the Delica from it because when I put on all that weight, the bigger Endura was uncomfortable in my pocket. Having lost the weight, I can carry it comfortably again.
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Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Deselection...

It happened as I was taking a picture of a flower. The picture above, as a matter of fact.

The photo below shows the location, although it was taken a month or two earlier. I was down near that stop sign you can see in the photo, just past the parked car. The flower was in the landscaping of the house on the corner, to my right.

Now, this was literally two or three days after the daytime armed robbery I referred to in an earlier post. That armed robbery occurred two blocks south and one block west of the the flower in the photo...

Anyway, while the neighborhood we live in is on the northern edge of what could be described as "Midtown Indianapolis", the side streets are quiet enough that you hear cars rolling up. Even Teslas and Leafs.

While I don't know the folks that live in the corner house, we've nodded at each other plenty over the years, I know they have a son about high school age, and they've patronized Indy Arms Company while I was working there.

So when I heard the car rolling up behind me, I turned in that direction not only out of simple curiosity, but also to see if it was my neighbor pulling into their normal on-street parking spot.

It wasn't.

The car that was slowing and swerving toward the curb wasn't the older 3-series coupe or the new Honda compact SUV driven by the residents of the house, but a white Dodge Cirrus or Plymouth Breeze hoopty that had been hit everyplace but the ashtray. Driver and passenger were neck-tattooed dudes dressed like extras from the "Worst Part of Indianapolis" video and both were looking right at me. Meanwhile, I'd unconsciously (and not necessarily smartly) exhibited a classic "picking" motion, with my camera now cradled in my left hand and my right thumb coming to rest on the OC canister in my front right jeans pocket, elbow pushing back my gun burkha just a little bit.

The car stopped its arc toward the curb and returned to the center of the lane, made a rolling stop at the sign, and turned right.

Were they slowing down so dude in the passenger seat could bail and snatch a camera quickly?

Were they the guys from the previous day's robbery?

I'll never know.
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Weights and measures...

All the Pentax Q stuff is so tiny and light. In the Event Messenger 100 (a small, purse-sized bag) I'd carry the 01 standard, 03 fisheye, and 06 telephoto zoom lens, with the 02 standard zoom mounted on the camera. If the camera wasn't in the bag, it felt empty, the lenses are so light.

The Q7 and the four lens kit weighed barely an ounce over the one pound mark. I have full-frame autofocus zooms that weigh more than all of that combined.

The Nikon 1 J1 is small and light, but the bigger 1" sensor means it needs bigger lenses. It all still stows in the Lowepro bag with ease, but just ten ounces makes a noticeable difference in the weight of the bag.
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