Monday, March 19, 2018


The best part about Tactical Conference 2018 was that it was three days of being more or less entirely  unplugged.

We were leaving the hotel at 6:30 so as to arrive at the range before 7:00, in time to get signed up for some of the more in-demand classes. Lunch was on-site and we didn't head back to the hotel until after five, and then all three nights I had dinner with friends and colleagues (some of whom I hadn't seen face-to-face since last year) until late.

While I did my usual motel room habit of letting the TV drone softly with cable news while I slept, I didn't pay it a ton of attention. I'm also now three days behind on work and email, but it was worth it.

My batteries are pretty charged, and I added at least one more class to my training roster for the year (Gabe White in Missouri in June). Plus I have more stuff to write about. I may even try the novel tactic of pitching it to editors instead of waiting for them to come to me.

This was a good weekend...

Can't wait to start going through all the pics...

Look for write-ups on stuff I saw, both here on the blog and elsewhere.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

At gun school...

Students taking Claude Werner's Snubby Skills block of instruction at Tactical Conference 2018.

Friday, March 16, 2018

It's the lens, not the camera...

So, I really like my Sony a7. It's two generations out of date, sure, but that makes it pretty much the cheapest way to get into a full-featured pro-grade 24 megapixel full-frame camera.

I would have loved to use it at Tac-Con '18, but the longest full-frame E-mount lens I have is the Zeiss f/4 24-70mm, and that's just not long enough to hack it for outdoor shooting class photography. I need to start rolling my pennies for a Sony f/3.5-6.3 24-240mm lens before Blogorado gets here. (The fast 24-70 will make a fine walking-around lens for NRAAM.)

In the meantime, I'll be using my hipster street photography Micro 4/3 gear for Tac-Con. The OM-D E-M5 and Pen E-P5 are both solid bodies, and most importantly I have a good "walking around" zoom in Micro 4/3 format.

It's not the fastest lens in the world, but the 28-300mm equivalency makes it a super-useful outdoors 10X walking-around zoom.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Florida, man...

I have some thoughts I need to unpack on that goofy Florida armed teacher thing, and some of the idiotic commentary I've heard on the topic, but it's going to take more pondering in my head.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Like diet tips from Jabba the Hutt...

Apparently China tut-tutted the U.S. about gun control saying that we had a gun violence problem that violated our citizens' civil rights:
The US has no other choice but to adopt gun control,” [the Chinese propaganda organ] said. “The right of life is the most fundamental human rights. The right to bear arms cannot overpower the individual’s right to live.” 
Funnily enough, Xi Jinping, we don't have a real big problem with protesting citizens getting run over by tanks in this country. Nobody's set themselves up as President for Life here, either, like you have.

I'm not saying correlation equals causation, but I'm not saying it doesn't either. Come to think of it, dudes like Xi are why we have a Second Amendment in the first place. Deer hunting is just a side-effect.

Overheard in the Office...

*ring* *ring*


"Hello! My name's Jenny McSomething, and I'm a volunteer calling on behalf of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. Can I speak with Roberta, please?"

"She's not available. Also, I work for the NRA. Have a nice day!"


Tuesday, March 13, 2018


The EDCL2-T is same size as the E2D Ultra I used to carry, with over double the output. You can light up a critter half a block away, no kidding. The low-beam is a lot better integrated, too. No separate button pushing is required. You gently press the button for five lumens, push harder for all twelve hundred.


Monday, March 12, 2018

Automotif CXLVI...

This is the first time a car...well, a truck...has really made me feel old.

I saw this thing waiting at the traffic light at 54th & College and was interested enough to snap a picture. The shortbed GMT400 was a clean-looking truck and my thought as I was deploying the camera was "Cool that someone is still running one of those old things and keeping it nice and straight..."

And then I realized that when young, fresh-faced 20-year-old me got a job at a Chevy store back in 1988, these things were brand spanking new and were for pickup truck styling what the Ford Taurus was for domestic sedan styling. And then I felt old.

I'd still drive a short-bed GMT400. A C1500 Silverado, preferably, with an L05 5.7L V-8, a five-speed, and a gnarly short rear end.

Sunday, March 11, 2018


The other day was supposed to be some sort of "unplug from sundown to sundown" event, where people were going to put aside the tablets and smart phones and walk away from the keyboards and commune with real human beings.

There's kind of a problem with that, though. The power of social media means that for a lot of us, the people we want to commune with are inside those devices from which we were supposed to unplug.

Of the people I consider friends who I know well enough to like to unplug and spend time with, there's one in this house, another in the north 'burbs, and then it's an hour or more's drive to get to the next closest ones.

I need more tribe close-by.

Friday, March 09, 2018

That's a change...

When last I left Mac OS to go back to Windows machines for my day-to-day work, I lamented leaving the easy integration of Image files behind. I guess I was running Win98SE at the time?

Anyhow, fast forward to today and going from Win10 to High Sierra was the exact same feel.  Scrolling through usefully-magnified image files in a folder just doesn't happen in Mac OS...well, I'm sure there's a way to do it, but I haven't figured out the right combination of Shift-Command-Clicks. Ironically, I didn't need to seek any tutorials in Windows to learn to "Open" -> "Scroll Arrow".


No pleb holsters, neither!

After some extremely frustrating writing time, I made an emergency schedule change and decided that this morning's range visit was just some me time, some sanity shooting, a little recoil therapy. I set aside the work guns and pulled some old favorites out. They're still dirty, and the Wilson in particular still needs to be field-stripped, photographed, cleaned, and lubed, but I was just going to shoot for fun.

I almost packed up and went home with that third shot on Dot 8, the one that's clean off the paper. I'm glad I stuck around, though, because Dots 9 and 10 are pretty solid. This was three yards, untimed, 47/50. I should have cleaned it. Oh well.

The Springfield Pro was drier than a popcorn fart, and I can't remember the last time I fired it, but it has to have been at least a year or more ago. That Black T finish has rather a lot of lubricity, though, and the slide still feels almost like it's had an Acc-U-Rail job done.

The Wilson is so filthy that the slide is noticeably sluggish. It still ran fine though. Apparently it is unaware of expert opinion.

The Springer was at seven yards and the Wilson at fifteen. I was pushing just a little bit with the seven yard shots, and shooting like I was on the clock at fifteen yards. Pushed a little too fast on a couple of those. They're still within the generous USPSA A-zone, but I see four where I'd let my grip come all apart and that high one I hadn't let my sights really settle yet but my trigger finger had already made up its mind.

Automotif CXLV...

I think this is one of the best-looking designs of the '90s. It's a shame it was replaced with that godawful-looking pumpkinseed of a droptop.

The styling, which is super simple and clean at first glance, is loaded with little Easter eggs. Notice how the angle of the stylized "L" in the Lexus logo is repeated over and over in everything from the angles of the headlamps and window corners to corners of the fog lamps and the lines where the styling creases on the hood terminate at the front bumper.

The ten-spoke wheels were only on the cars with the 3-liter six cylinder, which was also available with a manual transmission. Yes I absolutely would drive one of these, even in plush-bottom 4.0 V8 and automatic transmission configuration. This would be a hella good roadtrip car.

Turning of the seasons...

Thursday, March 08, 2018

Trying out a new thing...

The CLENS lens protectors from Thyrm & Sage Instruments are like tear-offs for your helmet visor, only for your flashlight. They do the same job as smearing the lens with grease, only much less messily and for more money. Clean-up is as simple as peeling it off after your day at the range, leaving the lens no dirtier than it was 400 rounds ago.

Thyrm sent me these to try, but I'm gonna be ordering a couple more packs. That should be a many years' supply for school guns.

I don't get it.

So, via this piece at Ars Technica, we learn that the FBI (or at least certain of its field offices) has a pretty cozy relationship with Best Buy, via the latter's Geek Squad service department.

Apparently if the FBI suspects someone of having some kiddie porn on their machine and can't quite get a warrant, they just ask the Geek Squad guys about it when dude brings his computer in for service.

See, since you just handed the computer over to the dudes at Geek Squad and asked them to go rooting around in it, you have no reasonable expectation of privacy for all the smut on D:/shorteyes, you nasty bastard. Or at least this is how the courts have ruled thus far.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, who is as FROM MAH COLD DEAD HANDS about zeroes and ones as Charlton Heston was about muzzleloading rifles, has filed a FOIA suit to see what, if any, kind of Fourth Amendment-violatin' shenanigans are afoot here.

I, myself, have not really dug in far enough to have an opinion. I know that if you'd brought film with kiddie porn in to the one-hour photo lab where I worked back in the day, we'd have called the po-po. Happened at least once that I recollect.

I do have one question, though... Who in their right mind drops off a hard drive full of hard time with the local rent-a-neckbeards? That is, to use an apt term, criminally stupid.

Here Comes the 'Splain Again...

This comes up every year...

Most of my 'net friends are fairly bright, and so I'm sure they've all figured this out by now, but just in case:

Magical Thinking

All the usual propositions are being trotted out in the latest well-organized and well-funded push for anti Second Amendment legislation, and apparently the people pushing them are immune to cognitive dissonance. None of these proposals would have stopped a monster intent on shooting his way to the forefront of the 24-hour news cycle.

Let's break it down, shall we?

  • "Universal Background Checks": The Columbine shooters acquired their guns via straw purchasers who passed the background checks. The Sandy Hook shooter got his by killing his background-check-passing mom and stealing hers. The guy who tried to shoot up the Townville elementary school killed his dad and took his Glock.

  • "Raise the purchasing age for firearms to 21!" Leaving aside all the mass shooters who were over 21, this ignores all the dudes referenced in the previous section.

  • "Ban the AR-15!": Townville dude used a Glock. There were no AR-15s at Columbine, nor at the summer camp in Norway. The Virginia Tech shooter used pistols. The Winnenden school shooter in Germany used a Beretta 92 9mm pistol.

  • "Ban 'assault-looking weapons'." Perhaps not coincidentally, none of the weapons I just mentioned would be affected by such a ban.

  • "Well, then ban semiautomatics!": The Washington Navy Yard shooter used a pump action shotgun, as did the perpetrator of the Erfurt school massacre in Germany (although his jammed). Two of the Dunblane shooter's four handguns were revolvers, and the Monkseaton and Cumbria shooters in the UK used double-barrel shotguns. The Cumbria shooter also had a bolt-action .22 squirrel rifle.

  • "Three-day (or five- or ten-day) waiting periods!" These nutbars scheme for months or years before they act out their crimes. This proposal borders on farcical straw-grasping.

  • "Smart gun technology"? Even if this worked, this only affects the one or two who killed someone to steal their guns. The rest were all 'authorized' users of lawfully-purchased guns.

  • "Microstamping"? Great, we know all these shell casings came from the gun in the hand of that dead guy over there. That sure helps. Wow.

So none of these proposals help anything. All this does is make things annoying for normal, law-abiding people who want to be able to defend themselves from robbers, muggers, rapists, and the occasional King of England (or creeping fascist tyranny, which the same people who are trying to take our guns away paradoxically assure us is descending on our fair land.)

So, what if you were successful in your wildest dreams of returning us to 1870s firearm technology (a pipe dream at the federal level and unlikely outside of the most anti-gun states)? Surely that would end the plague of death-spraying bullet hoses, right?

Dream on.

Monday, March 05, 2018


Fun little overnight jaunt down to Louisville. Stayed at an adorable 1880's-vintage Airbnb with friends and enjoyed a nice dinner out on Saturday and brunch on Sunday morning before heading back up to Indianapolis.

 14-ounce ribeye steak au poivre at Le Moo...

Sunday morning at Toast: "Bloody Mary, full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death...which I hope is soon. Amen."

Steak and eggs, because it's diet food if they hold the toast and you only eat a couple grapes.

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Themed restaurant idea!

Since faux-Aussie-themed Outback Steakhouse has been such a success, Bobbi and I came up with a ripoff idea: A Soviet-themed Siberian Borscht House! The ad campaign slogan could be "No rights, just rules!"


I'll see myself out.

Already memeified...

“Playing Hooky For Gun Control”? Jesus, that’s brilliant! Why didn’t I think of that when I was in high school? What kind of heartless monster would punish you for cutting class if you claimed you were doing it for a noble cause?

I can only imagine how well “Sorry, I’m not doing any more Trigonometry homework until someone does something about the starving children in Africa!” would have flown. I could have been invited to sing "We Are the World" at LiveAid instead of having to take the stupid useless SAT.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Pod People

So, here at Roseholme Cottage the resupply of groceries and household goods is most often handled on my daily rounds. I do this to try to allow Bobbi to come straight home from work without needing to stop at the store on the way.

Consequently, on the wall in the kitchen is a dry erase message board on which needs are communicated: "coffee creamer", "eggs", "breakfast meat", "39 gal bags".

In the morning before setting out for the range or wherever, I'll snap a photo of the board with my phone and use the picture as a checklist at the store. It's a kludgy system, but it works.

There are, however, certain consumables that are harder to keep track of: TP and paper towels live in a cabinet and it's all too easy to reach in there and find that there's only one or two rolls left and it's late of a Saturday and nobody feels like driving anywhere.

Similarly, dishwasher soap gets disproportionately used by me, since I do the dishes on weekday evenings at cat-feeding time. If I leave town with only one or two pods left in the tub, it can be a rude surprise for Bobbi. Conversely Bobbi is far more fastidious about sorting colors and fabrics in her laundry and goes through Tide pods at a brisker clip than me, who has two weekly (or biweekly) loads: Black fabric, and Laundry Thunderdome.

Enter this post from Joel about Amazon Dash buttons:
Do you buy these for $5 each, one for every regularly expended commodity, and then when you want more you just push this button and AMAZON AUTOMATICALLY SENDS YOU MORE???
Well, kinda yes, Joel.

They charge five bucks for the button, but then knock five bucks off your first order, so they're essentially free. I got one for each of these four high-use household commodities: TP, paper towels, dish pods, and laundry pods. The operating theory was that whoever notices it's down to a two- or three-day supply can just poke the button and...thanks to the magic of Amazon two days, more will show up on the front porch like magic.

Et Voila! We were free of the stocking vagaries of the local Meijer or Kroger, which were too often perversely out of my preferred brand of bumwipe or plain white Bounty (select-a-size in the jumbo packs, please) right when I needed more, forcing me to go looking at Target *shudder* or more widely afield.
Does anybody really do that? Are you supposed to stick them on your fridge or something? What if your 5-year-old gets bored and pushes the button a hundred times to see what will happen? Will all your utility payment checks bounce as a trailor-load of Red Bull shows up in your driveway?
Well, you have to press and hold for a sec for the little light to blink white then go solid green to show that it has successfully done its WiFi thing, and the button is then inoperable until Amazon receives word that the order has been delivered.

We don't have any five-year-olds in the house, so that's not a big worry, but I do have a story along that line...

When the four buttons arrived, I put them on the corner of my desk preparatory to rolling them out as needed. The paper towels went first and everything functioned smoothly. This was heartening. Charmin Gentle was next and again, all went well.

I was in the kitchen one evening a couple months ago, right before the cats' feeding time, when Bobbi called out from the office. "I think Huck just ordered some Cascade pods!"

See, one of Huck's attention-seeking behaviors in the ramp-up to dinner time (especially during these four months of the year when dinner is an hour late) is to knock shit off desks near the humans.

"Relax! He can't have ordered anything just by knocking it off," I hollered back down the hall, "You have to hold it down for a bit to get it to connect. He would have had to have stood on the button until the light turned green."

"The light is green."

Oh, well. We were going to need to use that button in a week or so anyway.

Still, when that box hit the porch I brought it inside and informed the cat that his Cascade Platinum Pods were here.