Sunday, June 24, 2018

Four Years


Saturday, June 23, 2018

Sapping and Impurifying...

Q-S1 + 06


 Local color, as seen on my walk to lunch yesterday.

Camera was the Q-S1 with the Pentax 06 15-45mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom. I ordered that lens from a dude in Japan a day or so before I broke my collarbone and it just got here the other day. I wish I'd thought to check Amazon for NOS lenses first.
.

Friday, June 22, 2018

How not to internet market, part three...

So, you're obviously capable of doing enough research to get my phone number, but you couldn't do any research about who you were pestering for a holster review?

I've literally dissed better holster companies than yours, bro.

Next time you buy a list of gun blogs from Media Lodge or whoever, take some time to do a little background research. Or hire an actual, you know, professional marketing company.

Jesus, anything but this bush league nonsense...
.

How not to internet market, part two...

When last we left the holster review, I'd been writing a pretty straightforward piece on why the holster was unsuited to be safely used for inside-the-waistband carry (appendix or otherwise) and fixing to leave it at that.

But I decided to look a little more into the dude who'd been hectoring me via email...
You know, the one who had escalated from wanting reply emails to wanting to talk to me on the phone...

Folks, I hate talking on the phone. There are, like, four people on the planet that I seem to be able to talk to on the phone for more than five minutes without wanting to open a vein, and one of them is blood kin.

So no, Luke the Feedback Guy at Craft Holsters, you may not have my phone number...

Does anybody else think a social-media dude for a company with five FB friends is sketchy af? Yeah? That's not just me?

Okay, so anyway, I'm fixing to write up this review the other morning when the landline here at Roseholme Cottage rings...

"Hello?"

"Is this Tamara?"

"Er, yes?"

"Of the booksbikeboomsticks?"

recordneedlescratch.wav

Okay, the landline number here at the house is not only unpublished, it's not even my phone line.

If you're going to be hawking holsters that are Tagua-grade hot garbage, not quite up to basic DeSantis quality even, despite nearly Galco-tier pricing, then maybe you want to make up for it by not being a pushy jerk with serious boundary issues? I'm just throwing that idea out there for free, run with it if you want.

Personally, I'd staple up some milk jug plastic and fashion belt loops out of duct tape before I'd purchase a holster from Craft.

So there's your holster review. Good day, sir.
.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Smallest Minority...

...will fit in a concentration camp about 6'x3'x2', unfortunately.

Holster Review, Part One...

Thumbnail sketch of my morning yesterday...

I got an email a while back from some dude repping for a holster company asking me if I wanted a free holster to review.

I get a lot of emails like this. A lot. Like I usually do, I didn't answer it.

Dude emailed me again, wondering why I hadn't replied to his email. I binned that one without response, too.

Dude emailed me yet again, wondering why I hadn't replied to his email wondering why I hadn't replied to his email.

This happened maybe one or two more times (I am clearly ignoring you, can you not take a hint?) before I replied.

I told dude that I was fixing to do a 2000-round test on an HK P2000SK and asked if his company had any holsters they would specifically recommend for AIWB carry. He sent a straight-drop, tuckable single-belt-loop holster.

It had...issues...that made it less-than-suitable for the intended role, in my opinion.

Then the P2000SK displayed its cycling issues, causing the test to be called off, at least temporarily.

I explained to homie that there was, at the very minimum, going to be a delay because I'd need to send the gun off to get fixed. He replied that he understood, and that I should just contact him with a link to the review piece when I got it done.

In fairness, I haven't exactly been communicative over the last couple months, between other work projects and then benching myself for the summer with a busted collarbone.

The emails started up again, wondering where the holster review was.

And then this morning I get this...well, in context I can only describe it as passive-aggressive...email missive from the guy:


No, you may not have my phone number.

But you're right that I promised you a holster review and you obviously want it very badly, so here it comes:

This holster is absolutely unsatisfactory for the requested role of appendix inside-the-waistband carry (or any inside-the-waistband carry, really) for the following reasons:

  • The holster mouth is completely unreinforced. The only thing keeping the holster from collapsing after the gun is drawn is the structure of the holster itself, which is a single layer of not-terribly-thick leather.
  • The sweatguard is a single-thickness piece of the same leather, which means that unless the wearer has abs as flat as the Texas panhandle, that sweatguard is going to collapse faster than the Falcons' defense in Super Bowl LI. Of note, while the sweatguard lacks the rigidity to remain vertical after this, experimentation proved it was still rigid enough to pull the LEM trigger on the subcompact HK.
  • The point of attachment is a single belt loop connected to the bottom of the holster via a single strut made of a stitched-together double layer of leather. Unfortunately two layers of this leather aren't much more rigid than one in this particular role; the holster was able to shift around rather more than I like. 
So, thank you for the opportunity to try your holster, but I would suggest the above areas be tended to in order to render the product suitable for carry.


Then comes this morning, to be discussed in Part II, to follow...

Attire...


I am indeed a hobbyist.

I tried to give Dark Star Gear money for this shirt when I first saw it, but they didn't let me. Next time I'm using a pseudonym.
.

"Oh god, it reeks of murder... Mustn't panic..."

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

QotD: Things Are Different Now Edition...

The late 1990s were only twenty years ago. Gas was less than a buck a gallon. Also, you could watch TV for days without hearing about our crumbling infrastructure. Some folks saw things looming on the horizon, though...
"In meetings at work during the run-up to Y2K, I made a number of suggestions about power conditioning and UPSes. They were pretty routine and most of them were implemented before the year 2000. In making them, I pointed out the power-distribution infrastructure was aging and there was a lot of construction around our two main sites, concluding, "we may be entering a time when commercial power is less reliable that we're used to." There was much harrumphing at that crazy notion. Now we're getting two or three glitches on the power every week, and ugly hits that take a fair amount of rebooting slam us a dozen times a year, despite a big UPS that carries the critical loads. I'm not happy about being proved right."

"Hi, $blogger! We're looking for reviewers!"

Here be no dragons...

"No planes, no interstates, and no hotels. And definitely no chain restaurants." These are the rules a Harvard prof uses in introducing Ivy League students to flyover country.

Go read the article. It's surprisingly fair, even sympathetic.
.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Gimplications.

So, to set the stage, it's important to understand the toilet tissue arrangements at Roseholme Cottage. We use only the best: Charmin Sensitive, the Cadillac of bumwipe. This is stored in an under-counter cabinet down at the far end of the galley kitchen.

If someone is fetching a replacement roll from there and notices we are down to three or four rolls left, they push the appropriate Amazon Dash Button, and a fresh case is summoned to the front doorstep in two days' time. Three, tops.

Anyway, yesterday morning, Bobbi had done her morning puttering-about and headed out the door to physical therapy. I was home alone when my morning coffee had its salutary effect on my still-sleepy digestive tract.

I got up and ambled into the bathroom, only to be greeted by a toilet paper roll with maybe three squares on it.

Not being Sheryl Crow, I ambled with rather more urgency toward the aforementioned kitchen cabinet, only to realize with dawning horror that it was empty.

By this point, my innards were starting to get a little insistent.

Fortunately, there was the latest shipment of toilet paper, still sitting in its case lot box in front of the cabinet.

Normally these boxes are in sorry shape. Containing three 8-roll packs, they are not insubstantial packages and usually burst open somewhat on impact with the front porch.

Not this one, though. This box was as mint as a comic book collector's prize possession, all edges un-rumpled and all corners square. All flaps still tightly glued shut.

Further...and this was a first...the box was sealed shut with clear packaging tape. And I mean it was sealed like the tomb of Amenhotep IV. And here I was in my pyjamas, without a pocket knife ready to hand.

I waddled briskly off in search of a pocket knife and returned to the kitchen, desperate to get into the box. I stabbed at it with the pocket knife in my one good hand, but the packing tape must have been kevlar reinforced, because the box just skittered away from the knife, across the tile floor.

Bracing it against the cabinetry with one foot, I managed to slice through the packing tape, only to discover that the Charmin plant must have bought their box-sealing glue on sale, because they sure weren't sparing in their use of it to glue the package shut.

Just before I had to declare an emergency and kiss my socks goodbye, the box flap tore in the middle, rather than giving way at the glue seal. I hauled out a plastic-wrapped package, tore it open one-handed, and headed for the smallest room at a butt-clenched sprint.

I was successful. It was a small success, but these days I'm taking them where I can get them.

And this was the Great Toilet Tissue Incident of 2018.
.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Low-hanging fruit...


Can't say the man's not consistent in his belief that illegal immigrant children should be kept with their fathers.
.

Family resemblance...

When Pentax jumped into the mirrorless interchangeable lens camera craze in 2011, it's pretty obvious from where they drew their styling inspiration.

The Pentax Auto 110 of the late-'70s and early-'80s was pimped as the tiniest interchangeable lens SLR on the market, using the little 110 Instamatic film cartridges Kodak had introduced in '72.

Pentax marketed the Q-series digitals the same way. Ironically, the teeny 110 film negatives are the same size as a Micro 4/3 image sensor, which is much larger than the little 1/2.3" sensor chosen for the initial Q models. (The later Q7 and Q-S1 had slightly larger 1/1.7" sensors.)

From Wikipedia.
The small sensors are going to cause problems with noise at higher ISOs...

click to embiggenate
The above image is using the 3.2mm f/5.6 03 fisheye lens on the Q-S1, which has the later, larger sensor. It's a 1/6th second exposure at ISO 3200 and is obviously noisy as dammit.

Despite being an interchangeable lens camera, the Q-S1 uses the same 1/1.7" sensor size as my late, lamented Coolpix P7000, a higher-end compact. (The original Q and the Q10 use a smaller sensor, the same size as the one in the old Canon ShowerPot SX500 I've since handed off to Bobbi.)
.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

So are "titular" and "prognathous"...

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Nothing so exciting...

Glock blue guns from Ring's have always been only available via gray market to the general public, retailed by secondary sellers.

People often wonder why this is:
Can't have irresponsible and untrained civilians owning things that LOOK like Glocks, but buy all the real guns they want. 
I... 
I... 
I don't get it. 
Bear in mind, this is GLOCK making the demand, not Blue Guns.
Civilian trainers can buy them for civilian training and civilian holster makers can buy them for civilian holster-making, but Glock apparently has a bee in their bonnet about cosplay or running around the back yard playing cowboys and bank robbers with anything that might look like their product.

Glock...to a level nearly unique among firearms companies other than maybe HK...vigorously protects its branding and trade dress and is real squirrelly about who it lets do what with it. Making a toy gun that even looks too much like a Glock will probably get you a visit from Smyrna's legal beagles with an armload of C&D's.

Glocks are apparently super srs bzness.
.

Steadycam...

Friday, June 15, 2018

Overheard on the Intertubes...

Frustrated Friend: "The enrollment at some of the non-shooting classes I'm hosting is disheartening." 
Me: "People are stupid about non-shooting classes. For a long time I’ve been comfortable bagging on folks who have 200 hours in a plate carrier with a carbine and not eight hours drawing a 19 from concealment, but I need to start bagging on people with 200 hours of running a 19 from concealment and not eight hours of legal/med/retention/defensive driving/intermediate force...  
 Congrats. You’re trained like Joe SOCOM in the skills you’re least likely to need..."

Quiet, shady tree-lined streets...

It's a quiet, low-crime neighborhood, but it is in the middle of a big city, and low-crime don't mean no-crime:
He was in his car in the SoBro neighborhood, parked in his drive along the 5300 block of Carrollton. It happened during a time of day where you’ll typically see families with kids in strollers and on shoulders. People on bicycles. A mail carrier making his rounds. 
Police said it was about 2:00 p.m. when that man, 34, was approached by two armed men. They got away with cash and a a cell phone.
That's not far from where I'm typing this, not far at all. The approximate scene of the crime was within easy line of sight as I walked home from lunch yesterday. As a matter of fact, you can see the relatively busy thoroughfare of 54th street, a common walking route for me, in the background of some of that TV news footage.

I'm going to wager that dude was sitting in his car, futzing around with his cell phone like people do all the time, when all of a sudden and from out of nowhere...!

Sitting in parked cars is where people get jacked up. You're pinned in a box, and most people don't pay any attention to their surroundings while they'te in there.

Look around you before you pull into the parking space, and again before you shut off the car. When you shut off the car, exit the vehicle smartly, don't get lost in your glass cocoon.

What interested me in some of the discussion about this was the weird reluctance people have to locking their doors, like it's something you only do out of fear. Let me quote fellow blogger Unc on that one:
My kids always, in an annoyed tone, ask: Why do you always lock the doors? And I respond with So I don’t have to shoot anyone.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Little project well underway...

A post shared by Tamara Keel (@tamarakeel) on

I've been waiting near a month on a zoom lens to arrive on the slow boat from Japan, but according to the tracking number it should show up Saturday or Monday.

This is going to be fun, albeit kinda sad, since the story of the Pentax Q series is already a closed book. Initially, I just wanted a teal camera, is all...

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Sorry.

I certainly did not intend to miss two complete days of blogging.

I don't think I've slept for more than two hours at a stretch for the last three or four days. It had been getting better...I think I managed four hours of uninterrupted sleep last Thursday or Friday...but it's gotten worse again.

Just being able to lay flat on my back would be such an improvement. I tried that for a little while this morning. Getting up from there without aggravating the shoulder is really hard, though.
.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Painted into a corner...

Let's start this off by reminding everybody that, as the good civil libertarians at a certain website proclaim in their very name, Photography Is Not A Crime.

And the folks at Photography Is Not A Crime (or PINAC) are on the same page with the cops and the courts on another basic issue:  If you are sitting in a place of public accommodation with two walls composed of floor-to-ceiling plate glass windows, you don't have much of a reasonable expectation of privacy, and therefore no real legal protection from being photographed.

And if the place of public accommodation you're in is staffed by people who just got a whole mandatory day of sensitivity training about their customer (and non-customer) service policies...

...how do you expect them to make someone stop taking pictures of your kid?

And why is this Starbuck's problem? Can you not ask the dude to stop yourself? And do you understand that, depending on jurisdiction, there might be no up-front legal reason he needs to? Now what?

(Personally? I'd leave. Simplest solution.)

Vague terms of service, capriciously enforced...

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Tab Clearing...


Camera for sale...


My Panasonic Lumix GF3 is up for sale on eBay.

Fantastic combination of a decent-size 12MP sensor in a tiny body that's just about pocketable when fitted with a collapsable lens, like the Panasonic 12-32mm f/3.5-5.6.


Thursday, June 07, 2018

Sensor Sweep...

The Nikon Coolpix S6500 I used for a year or so back in 2014-'15 is on the left, with the Pentax Q10 on the right.

The Q10 is the second iteration of the series, being a more value-priced proposition than the original Q, largely by replacing the magnesium shell of the original with a plastic one. It debuted in September of 2012 and featured a 12MP 1/2.3" sensor...

A digression to mention that digital camera sensor size descriptions date back to the earliest days of digital video. A 1/2.3" sensor is 6.17mm across by 4.55mm tall, or 7.66mm across the diagonal.

The Nikon, which hit the market in January of 2013, has a sensor with the same physical dimensions, but 16MP resolution. The lens on the Coolpix is the equivalent of a 25-300mm zoom, in 35mm terms, but only an f/3.1-6.5. Consequently the Coolpix tends to be noisy at longer focal lengths in anything but the best of lighting conditions.

With a wider choice of bigger, specialized lenses, and the ability to shoot in RAW for better image processing, the Pentax Q10 ekes a lot of performance out of the little 1/2.3" sensor by comparison...but it's still a tiny sensor. Noise is going to happen at higher ISOs no matter what trickery you employ.


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Punchy

As Bobbi noted, she's been working the early shift this week, which has her arriving home from work at about noon, doing her best to go to sleep not long after, and waking up with her alarm clock at about 10:00 PM.

Myself, I had been going to "bed" (for a given value of...) at midnight, because I'm trying to spread the pain meds out at least six hours apart to make them last as long as possible. Projecting forward off the recent past, I figure I've got about another week until things are down to a dull roar.

Even without this week's disruption in the normal routine at Roseholme Cottage, being forced to sleep semi-sitting-up meant that I was rarely getting more than two or three hours' uninterrupted sleep at a lick. The occasional four-hour stretch is still cause for celebration.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that if my writing is a little garbled for the next week or so, you know why.
.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

It's Summertime in SoBro again...

 Forced myself out of the house yesterday. The weather was nearly perfect, with temps in the high seventies and freakishly low humidity. Just enough of a breeze to make flags ripple a little bit.

 I strolled to Fat Dan's for a smoked pulled pork sandwich, sans bun, and I allowed myself some fries.

 The interior was cool, shady, and inviting...

 ...and you could see right out onto the sidewalk eating area.

 One of the aforementioned lightly rippling flags.

A secret backyard treasure!

All the photos were shot with either the Pentax Q10 and the 02 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5 kit zoom lens, or the Pentax Q-S1 and the 03 3.2mm f/5.6 fisheye lens.

Monday, June 04, 2018

I'm in the wrong line of work...

Ambulance bill for the ride to the hospital just arrived in the mailbox. Jayzus.

Literally a hundred times more than I've ever paid for an Uber going twice the distance. Hell, I could have Uber'd back and forth between Indianapolis and Lafayette every day for a couple of weeks for that money.

Next time, no matter how much I'm writhing on the floor and screaming in pain at 0300, just tap me behind the ear with a hammer and throw me in the car. If I need drugs en route, they're available on most street corners between here & 16th Street for a lot less money than that, and they've probably got even more Fentanyl in them than what I got on the ambulance.

Not unrelated: Be watching my eBay and Gunbroker pages in the next couple weeks.
.

Apples and Oranges

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Fun Show Time!

It's Fun Show weekend here in Indianapolis, and I'm headed there with Shootin' Buddy in a few. 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.
Thanks to the still-unknown medical bills hanging over my head, I don't really have any huge plans for this show, mostly just seeing and being seen and socializing with my peeps who I only see at Fun Show time.

Oh, I do need to get a couple magazines for the next 2k test gun...

That's right, thanks to the assistance of Commander Zero at Notes From the Bunker, it's fixin' to get all 1990's up in this place...

Saturday, June 02, 2018

End of an Era

Somewhere around here is a picture of me holding my very first serious camera, a Canon AE-1 Program like the one pictured above.

In that picture I'm a 24-y.o. kid inordinately happy with the fact that she's got a media pass and is working as a photographer's assistant covering the inaugural First Union Grand Prix bicycle race in Midtown Atlanta. My boss was doing important stuff while I got crowd shots with one of his Pentax ME's and my own AE-1. I also got some cool pics of some young rookie named Lance Armstrong out in front of the pack on his way to a big win.

I'd dig the picture out, but my jacked up shoulder isn't conducive to shuffling boxes around the attic just now. Remind me later.

Unlike Nikon, when Canon switched to autofocus cameras in the Nineties, they bit the bullet and went to an entirely new lens mount.

Canon still cataloged one model of 35mm film SLR, their top-of-the-line EOS-1V up until just now.

As it happens, those EOS-1V cameras in the catalog were actually "New Old Stock", however. The 35mm film camera market had collapsed so quickly that for the last eight years, Canon was selling new cameras that it had stopped making in 2010.

Having sold the last, Canon is now announcing that they are officially out of the film camera business after eighty years. They will be officially repairing the cameras through Halloween of 2025, although some repairs may be refused after 2020 based on availability of spare parts.

And so it goes.
.

Thumbnail Report: Urban Rifle with John Farnam

On the morning of Day One at Tac-Con 2018, John Farnam presented a two-hour block of instruction called Urban Rifle.

The description of the class in the brochure was as follows:
"This course is about the interplay between pistol and rifle (or carbine) applications in urban defensive contexts. We will explore the ways these two weapons systems can complement each other and the safest and most efficient methods of transitioning between them. All pistol work will be from a concealed draw. Good iron sights; EOTech or Aimpoint (Red Dot) sighting systems; or low-power, low-profile, forward-mounted scopes are best for this class. Rifles will be put to strenuous, rugged use and may get scratched up a bit. Pretty guns are best left at home. Equipment List: Approx. 20 rounds of pistol ammo; at least 2 extra magazines or speed-loaders; Approx. 100 rounds of rifle ammo; eye and ear protection; rifle magazine carrier."

John Farnam shouldn't need much of an introduction. He's been doing this as long as anybody, and his traveling roadshow dates back to the pre-Cambrian era of the days of tactical firearms training for private citizens here in the US.

Here's his bio from his website:
John Farnam is presently a fully commissioned deputy sheriff (Training Officer) for the Park County, Colorado Sheriff’s Office. 
A police officer and decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, John is one of the top defensive firearms instructors in the nation. He has personally trained thousands of federal, state and local law enforcement agency personnel, many private security agencies, foreign governments, and hundred of civilians in safe gun handling and the tactical use of the defensive firearms. 
He has authored dozens of magazine articles, five books, written several handgun manuals, produced numerous training videos (including the DTI “Operator Series”), and has written a model Use of Force Policy. His books, The Farnam Method of Defensive Handgunning, Second Edition, The Farnam Method of Defensive Rifle and Shotgun Shooting, Second Edition and Guns and Warriors, Volume One have become the standard texts on the subjects. 
John is a Senior Board Member of the Armed Citizens Legal Defense Network. In June of 1996, he was selected by his peers to receive the renowned “Tactical Advocate of the Year” award from the National Tactical Association. In April of 2009, he was inducted into Black Belt Magazine’s “Living Legends.” In November of 2011, he was elevated to the rank of Kyoshi Sensei within the American Marital Arts Association.
As could be expected, the class filled quickly.

The students were a good mix of private citizens and a few LEOs, with quite a few firearms instructors who were there to see how John taught his stuff and maybe find some gleanings they could incorporate into their own curricula. (This is a collaborative art and one sign of a good instructor is that they're always out there learning stuff.)

The class was almost entirely conducted in the 0-25 yard envelope, with most targets engaged in the 7-15 yard range.

Emphasis was placed on movement "off the X" and keeping the head up and in the fight. While disparaging of the rote "scans" that result in robotic head-swiveling taught in some places, Farnam was insistent that looking around to ensure things hadn't changed be a part of the target engagement procedure.
The class was almost, but not entirely, composed of AR-pattern carbines with a couple SBRs, but there was also a Sig Sauer 556 and a CZ Skorpion 2 carbine.

Gun-handling on the whole was solid and safe, and there were ample folks serving as RSOs/AIs to ensure no lack of watchful eyes.

LPVO's were more common than in days past, but this crowd was still mostly zero-magnification red dots, and even a couple of iron sight shooters.

John had plenty of techniques he taught peculiar to the environment of using a long gun at pistol distances. One was a method to buy enough time to get off a single precisely aimed shot at close range, useful especially for hostage rescue shots.

Farnam also taught a fast, coarse visual index for bringing the gun up from low ready. This was presented as being used in situations where speed to first shot trumped precision and can be seen in the photos immediately above and below. Rather than rotating the sights into the eye-target line, the gun remained horizontal and as soon as a visual index was to be had, the blasting started, all while moving off the X.

I don't know exactly how much time is saved by this versus getting the dot up there, but we weren't timing it.

One of the biggest doctrinal differences (if not the biggest) between Farnam's gun-handling mechanics and the things I learned from Pat Rogers and various Pat-adjacent instructors is the use of the safety on the carbine. Current best practice as I've been taught is that the safety on the carbine is on unless one is actively engaged in pressing off shots; the safety even goes on to reload. Farnam, on the other hand, doesn't express any strong preference for what you do with the safety while the gun is in your hands. I believe he stated that he takes it off when the gun is in his hands and doesn't reapply it until he slings the gun again, but I'm not 100% on that quote.

I'm going to look into his Defensive Urban Rifle class in Kankakee, IL this September and see if I have room on the calendar.
.

Friday, June 01, 2018

One thing led to another...

...when all of a sudden it was 11:30PM and I hadn't written any of the blog posts I'd meant to today.

I'll try again in the AM.
.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Reply hazy, ask again later...

Went down to the IU orthopedics clinic yesterday.


Exchanged my janky emergency room sling for a better one. Apparently the figure eight braces are uncomfortable and don't promote any better outcome than a good sling. Doc said it didn't look like it was going to need surgery, but took another set of X-rays to confirm that opinion.

We set an appointment for four weeks to make sure everything was healing apace.
.

There we go...


Scratched an itch I didn't even know I had. #TeelKamera
.

A matter of perspective...



Neat video. It's a good explanation of the "why" behind why we don't use wide-angle lenses for portraiture (and it's not because of "lens distortion".)
.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Tab Clearing...




Today's the day...

Ortho appointment scheduled for 2PM today.

Here's hoping they can just set it and put me in a figure-eight brace and send me on my merry way.

I haven't the time, money, nor inclination for surgery.
.

QotD: Japanglish Edition...

Bobbi commenting on how translations sometimes cause futon mouth:
"* We don't use the word "futon" in English the same way it is used in Japanese, I'm told -- for them, the fluffy soft mattress is the futon, and the futon frame has its own word. Possibly "spanner.""

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Those who know, know.


Is that a rail or a radiator?

Only half-kidding, because cooling fins would definitely be a worthwhile addition to the dust cover of an HK P7. The gun was not designed with 1000-rd/2-day pistol classes in mind. Folks I knew who took P7s to gun school usually had two or three of them and rotated through them as they got too hot to stuff down your trousers.

I like the traditional Heckler & Koch magazine setup, as well.

Via TFB...
.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Happy Birthday!

It's Bobbi's birthday today. Go wish her a happy one!
.

Tiny Tankies...

PzKpfw NbFz V advancing through Roseholme Cottage's back yard.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF3, Olympus M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6 EZ

Char B1 bis lying in wait for advancing Neubaufahrzeuge in the ambush at Patio's Corner.

Pentax Q10, Pentax 02 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5
.

Oh, put a sock in it, Diamond.

So, one Michael Diamond recently wrote a chiding little piece about the dysfunction of American civilian gun culture, by comparing it to the hard-nosed serious firearms professionalism he'd acquired in the Army.

I mean, thank you for your service and everything, Mike, but from what you've written, you were an intel officer in the reserves for seven years. I'm hard pressed to think of a gig in the United States Army that would give you less exposure to firearms that doesn't require a degree in medicine or divinity, and frankly I'm coming up empty.
"Although I had fired countless live rounds over the years on various military weapons ranges..."
As a matter of fact, Mike, I'm pretty comfortable making the statement that I probably expend more ammunition in any given month than you did in your entire seven year career, since you likely never busted a cap outside of required qualifications.

As has been brought up by fellow blogger McThag, the U.S. Army pistol qualification is barely a sobriety test, let alone any sort of marksmanship challenge.

Mike also references the Army's neurotic clearing barrel culture:
"Even without any ammunition, before entering a building every soldier had to demonstrate his or her weapon was empty by pointing it down toward a barrel of sand and pulling the trigger, causing it to make the “click” sound of an empty weapon (hopefully)."
Fortunately the Army appears to be taking baby steps toward getting over its fascination with all that unnecessary administrative gun-handling in the name of "safety".

Since you seem to like to harken back to stuff you learned from your part time gig twenty-five years ago to make you sound authoritative, Mike, here's a phrase you might remember from back then:


Memorial Day 2018

Remember.
.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Decent sale this weekend...

MassAmmo has 50-rd boxes of Federal Premium 9x19mm and .40S&W jacketed hollow point ammo, including HST, for under $20/box. And $12.99 flat-rate shipping!

I'm not being compensated for this in any way. Indeed, I'm pretty sure they don't even know I exist, and I only alerted you guys after I'd snagged a slight re-stock for testing ammo in anticipation of hopefully being back to shooting in three or four weeks.
.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Sigh...

"Hi! 
Thank you for choosing IU Health Physicians Orthopedics! 
In order to speed up your check-in for your appointment on Wednesday, please fill out these three pages of question-dense forms and have them with you when you arrive. 
Question One: What problem can we help you with today?"
Well, I broke the shoulder ON MY GODDAM WRITING HAND.
.

TANSTAAFL

Putting larger sensors in smaller mirrorless bodies isn't necessarily a cure-all answer that creates the magically portable camera that still has awesome image quality. Whether it's in a giant Nikon pro body or a comparatively svelte mirrorless Sony, a full-frame sensor is still going to need a full-frame lens hung off the front of that camera.

Pictured below are some roughly comparable midrange zoom lenses for three different size sensors:

At left is the Olympus M. Zuiko 14-42mm f/3.5-5.6, which is the basic little kit zoom for Olympus Micro 4/3 cameras. It's collapsible to make it more portable for carrying, but it's shown here in its ready-to-shoot state.

In the center is the Pentax 02 5-15mm f/2.8-4.5, which was the kit zoom for the Pentax Q system. It's a teeny little thing, barely the size of a shot glass.

Lastly, the right-hand lens is a Sony 24-70mm f/4 Vario-Tessar, which is a zoom for a full-frame Sony sensor. Being a constant-aperture f/4 lens makes it a little bigger than a cheaper variable-aperture lens of the same focal length range, but even its 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 stablemate is still the size of a middlin'-size coffee mug.

Thanks to the magic of equivalence, which has both upsides and downsides, all three of these lenses have pretty much the same field-of-view range.
.

Small Victories.

Lawnmower dude showed up.

It's crazy expensive as a one-time service, but it looks like it could be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly for a non-prohibitive sum. Depending on what I hear at the doc's on Wednesday and how things develop with Bobbi's knee over the next week, we may wind up having to do like the bourgeoise do and schedule someone to cut the grass this summer.

I'm not generally in favor, but what're you gonna do?
.

Friday, May 25, 2018

So over this.

On the one hand, I separated the fracture twice again today. Once trying to use a keyboard at my normal keyboard height and again cleaning up a ******* cat turd on the floor. I don't have the energy to try to put it back together again.

On the other hand, I'm only on ibuprofen today, because I've been trying to stretch the three day's supply of hydrocodone I was prescribed so it will last the week and a half until I see the osteopath to find out if it can be set or if I'm going to need surgery or what. I figure it's best used to make sure I can fall asleep, and so during the day I just rub some Vitamin I in it and walk it off.

On the gripping hand, the lawnmower dude still hasn't shown.

I've had better days, y'all, not gonna lie.
.

QotD: Bad PR Edition

Some people have no clue how awful they come across, especially if 95% of the people they spend their time with are dependent upon them for a living and therefore inclined to tolerate a certain amount of asshole-ishness. Take Michael Bloomberg, for instance...
Smartest strategic move Everytown has made is pushing [Bloomberg] into the background and using him as a wallet rather than a face. What we need to do, conversely, is make sure everyone knows Everytown is Mike Bloomberg. I won’t mention them without his name if I can help it.

Urban Privilege

So with me being laid up for the nonce and Bobbi not getting home until 7:30-8:00PM on weekdays, we're having to explore alternate solutions to common errands.

Between Amazon and Wally World, we haven't discovered much we couldn't get delivered (indeed, staples such as dish soap, detergent, paper towels, and TP were already being handled with Dash Buttons.) Bobbi did need to fetch cat litter, as our preferred brand isn't delivered by Amazon.

We're in a food jungle, or food swamp, or whatever the opposite of a food desert is. There are grocery delivery services we haven't bothered trying, and as far as prepared food goes, we can get pretty much any kind of cuisine delivered from about 10AM-Midnight seven days a week. My next-door neighbor has been good about calling when she was going to the grocery and asking if I needed anything.

The front lawn, which rain had kept me from mowing last weekend when it started to need it, is looking pretty jungly, but it turns there's an app for that: Plowz & Mowz is apparently like Uber for your lawn. It's supposed to conjure up some cat who will buzz-cut the front lawn any minute now. I'll let y'all know how that works out.

I miss a lot about living in more rural environs, but there are some upsides to city life, too.
.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

*pop*

From Facebook at about 2AM this morning:
Pretty sure I reduced the fracture today. There was a kind of grinding pop and I got all sweaty and light-headed for a bit. Oh, and the gap in my collarbone went away. 
Seems my sling was too loose and I’d been pulling my shoulder in the wrong direction for the last couple days. 
So when it popped into place, I held my arm in that position until Bobbi got home and asked her to take the slack out of my sling. 
Now I’m sitting here worrying about finding a good semi-sitting sleeping position. 
I just wanna get told I don’t need surgery on Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Sensor Sizes...

When the Nikon Coolpix P7000 finally ground to a halt, I went for a while using a Ricoh GXR with the P10 lens/sensor module installed. I'd never really meant to try using the GXR as a shirt pocket camera; I'd only bought it to use with the A12 module and Leica M-mount lenses, but I'd bought the spare body on eBay and it came with the P10 module, so...

On paper, it should have been at least a wash. The Ricoh interface and control layout on pocket cameras is handy and easy to use, both cameras had nominal 10MP resolution, both could shoot in RAW, and I was going from an equivalent 28-200mm lens on the Nikon to a 28-300mm equivalent on the Ricoh.

However the P10 had a smaller 1/2.3" sensor to the Sony's 1/1.7", which generally translates to noisier images at higher ISO settings. And I'd be spending more time at higher ISO settings, since the lens on the P10 could only open to f/3.5 on the wide end, versus f/2.8 for the Nikon, a difference that was exacerbated by the disparity in sensor sizes.

I tracked down the other pocket zoom module for the GXR, the S10. It had a larger sensor, still 10MP but a 1/1.7" CCD like the Sony's. The lens was slightly faster, opening to f/2.5 on the wide end, but it was only a 24-72mm equivalent. I was getting okay results, but as I began getting better with my work cameras, I started wanting better results from my pocket fun cam, too.

This is how I wound up playing with Micro 4/3 format, and eventually settling on a used Panasonic Lumix GF3 with a collapsible lens as my pocket "go everywhere" camera. The Micro 4/3 is generally considered to be the smallest of the large sensors, being about the size of a 110 film negative.

While there are some APS-C sensor cameras very nearly as small as the GF3, the bigger sensor needs bigger glass. Every time I tried to slide the NEX-5T and its 16-50mm collapsible lens into the document pocket of my shirt, the heavy glass would cause it to rotate nose down and I'd start getting bruises on my ribs from the corners of the camera body. The little GF3 doesn't suffer from this malady.

So I thought I was done with small sensor cameras until Bobbi cracked a joke while she was cooking a couple weeks ago:
"I'm surprised Tamara Keel doesn't have a teal camera."
OMG, why hadn't that silly play on words ever occurred to me?

I remembered that Pentax made some bitty little mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras that harked back, stylistically, to their Auto 110 SLR from the '80s, and I spent much of the first part of last week down the rabbit hole of the Pentax Q, looking for a teal camera for Keel, Tamara. I took a gamble on one last Thursday, and it showed up yesterday...

The Q10 has a little 1/2.3" sensor, like the Ricoh P10 module, which means that the bitty little kit zoom lens on that camera is a 28-83mm equivalent.

That's "aqua", which is a little too blue, so I guess I'm still looking for "mint".

I'm guessing it's not a common color, but it will provide some happy hunting on eBay for a while to come.
.




Last night's dinner...

...was delicious.


Bobbi put up a detailed ingredient list at her blog this morning. It's good for what ails you and not all ate up with carbs & sugar.
.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Misunderstanding Self-Defense: Practical

So as I mentioned, my local gun store/range has started offering an expanding suite of training classes. I was offered the chance to audit a couple of them recently, ostensibly in exchange for publishing reviews on my blog, but also because they wanted my feedback on the curricula, class structure, and so forth.

So I took the eight hour Fundamentals of Armed Self-Defense class a couple Saturdays ago and followed it up with the four hour Introductory Self-Defense Shotgun on Wednesday.

I'll put up reviews of both classes here shortly...especially since I'll have nothing but time on my hands for at least the next couple weeks...but there was something else I noticed that was worth writing about. It involves a pretty common misconception people have about self-defense, and specifically self-defense with shotguns.

There was a dude in the Saturday class who was obviously not your typical gun hobbyist. He didn't even strike me as the sort of person who's always had guns around and just decided to get some formalized training in the legalities and practicalities of self-defense.

Years of working in the retail gun biz have given me a pretty good nose for the customer who has suddenly decided they need a gun because of some news story or incident that hits too close to home. This was that guy.

The first half of the class was all state-specific legal stuff, and the guy didn't seem much interested in anything but the Castle Doctrine stuff and laws pertaining to defense in the home. It was soon obvious that he didn't intend on carrying a gun, but was more worried about someone breaking in.

During the latter half of the class, which covered more practical stuff, as well as dealing with law enforcement in the aftermath, he was more interested and asking questions. When the effectiveness of the shotgun vis a vis handgun ammunition was being discussed, he looked almost relieved, although he seemed a little taken aback when it was mentioned that even errant buckshot pellets will travel through a number of residential walls and the safest backstop was the bad guy.

Sure enough, Wednesday night I showed up to the introductory scattergun class, and he was enrolled in that class, too. A few more facts came to light by his questions and reactions during the classroom portion of the class, where the effectiveness of various loadings was discussed, as well as the effect of choke and load choice on pattern size.

The loosest patterning buckshot I've tried out of my 20" 870 is Remington 9-pellet LE Reduced Recoil,  which will still put them all on a pie plate at thirty feet.
The student had, it seemed, shot 3 Position Smallbore Rifle in college, and remembered the difficulty of hitting the tiny bullseye at 25 yards. Because of this, he had wanted a defensive weapon he wouldn't have to aim under stress. Further, due to medical issues, he wasn't able to raise his right arm above shoulder level or effectively shoulder a shotgun.

He'd been sold a shotgun as a weapon that could be fired from the hip and sweep a room or hallway clear with a devastating wall of lead that would knock intruders from their feet, all without having to aim under the stressful conditions of having an intruder in the house.

He didn't stick around for the range portion of the class. Tony, our instructor, was willing to work with him using the vintage "underarm assault position", once taught as the right way to run a shotgun, but it would probably require more one-on-one time to do so than the class structure would allow.

If he had stuck around to observe the firing portion of the class, he'd have seen me fire four rounds of Federal FliteControl 00B at 25 yards, firing as fast as I could settle the sights...

I've fired some pistols that wouldn't do much better with five shots off a bench. Hardly the alley-wide wall of lead Hollywood (or the silverback at the gun store) primed us to expect...
.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Frustration.

Ugh, getting FedEx to come pick up a call-tagged package is a nightmare. UPS was probably annoying, too, but seemed downright pleasant there on the heels of the FedEx call.

I got pretty frustrated trying to explain what was going on to C3P0, and the basic level human I transferred to was actually dumber than the computer, reducing me to literal tears of frustration. I had to escalate to a supervisor to arrange for a simple call tag pickup.
.

The $6,000 Man

An entirely spring-powered "bionic" vest that provides support for a worker's arms, allowing them to do overhead labor all day without courting repetitive stress injuries.

I'd imagine a drywall worker with one of these and drywall stilts would be quite a sight.
.

Misunderstanding Self-Defense: Legal

So I saw a link to a story on the website "The Root" that trumpeted that a shooter they called "the George Zimmerman of Alabama" had been found guilty of manslaughter. Not being familiar with the case, I clicked over to read the details:
"Around 7 a.m. on June 16, 2016, Scott was making a delivery in his bread truck in Huntsville, Ala., when he noticed that the door of his truck was open. That’s when Scott said he noticed Mustafa walking away with his black lunchbox, AL.com reports. 
Scott testified that he yelled to the boy to drop the lunchbox but said the young man responded by giving him a “screw-you look.” 
“I told him, ‘Drop it or I’ll shoot,’” said Scott. When Mustafa didn’t comply and began to run, Scott shot at the teen but missed. So Scott shot again. And again. And again. And again. 
On the sixth try, Scott finally put a bullet in the back of the 16-year-old’s head."
Okay, that's pretty much exactly not anything like George Zimmerman, outside of the relative races and ages of the shooter and shootee. Beyond that, there's not a single similarity...legally or morally...between shooting a more physically powerful assailant who is pounding the back of your head against the pavement and backshooting somebody for misdemeanor lunchbox theft.

Totally the same thing as a fleeing lunchbox.
As a bonus,  I read the first batch of comments.

Almost everyone there was shocked he'd been convicted of manslaughter. They thought the charge should have been "Murder 2", because thanks to Law & Order, everybody knows the New York Penal Law, so they must have gone after manslaughter because racist and Alabama.

Rather, in this case, the prosecutor wisely went after the slam-dunk Manslaughter because it took the "heat of the moment" defense off the table and reduced Scott to trying to claim that he unluckily struck the kid with one of the fusillade of "warning shots" he sent after him.

Your carry permit is not a Batman badge. The only person more clueless about the legalities of self-defense than the column writer and his commenters was the trigger happy clown who just got twenty years to think about the error of his ways.
.