Friday, May 31, 2019

Yesterday Was Leg Day

I may have mentioned that the Mustang has a brand-new clutch in it. I also may have mentioned that the traffic in downtown Dayton was a parking lot yesterday.

Today, needing to run some errands, I glanced at the weather and thought "You know, the Mustang would be fun, but it needs the a/c charged and it's hot and sticky and blazing sunny out there right now. The air in the Zed blows cold, especially when it's got all this humidity in the air to work with. Let's take the Bimmer to the store."

(Normally this would be a "It's a nice day, let's drop the top and take the roadster," sort of decision but today it was "It's swamp-ass sticky, let's leave the top up and take the car with the a/c." Besides, the Mustang had put in a bunch of work the last couple days.)

So I go out to the garage, hop in the Zed...and nearly slam my left foot through the floorboard when I go to depress the clutch pedal.

There was a moment of panic before I realized that nothing was broken on the car, I had just spent two days using the Nautilus Machine clutch on the pony car and forgotten how light the BMW's is by comparison. I mean, it's dealing with a fraction of the displacement and torque, so that makes sense.

Pony in its new paddock.



I'm gonna be honest, I just don't understand the guys on internet gun fora who wring their hands over the wear marks that show up on a gun that gets used. You'll see guys freaking out over everything from the brass smears left on an AR's shell deflector to the finish wear on the chamber hood of a recoil-operated pistol.

It ain't "battle-worn" but it's had the chicken strips rubbed off.
This is what happens to machines when you use them, and they should be at least taken in stride. Frankly, if you are carrying a custom 1911 called the Special Operator Close Quarters Combat Model and show up at gun school and the thing looks like its Extreme Conditions Finish™ has never been exposed to any conditions more extreme than the ones on the top shelf of your gun safe, you look a little goofy. You might as well still have the price tag hanging off the trigger, there, Minnie Pearl.

The other extreme, though is this fad for "battle-worn" finishes. Dude, that thing doesn't look "battle-worn", it looks like you rubbed the slide with sandpaper.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Automotif CLX...

1994 Ford Mustang GT, 5.0 five-speed, photographed in the parking lot of the Holiday Inn Express in Charleston, WV, about halfway between Stately Manor and Roseholme Cottage.

The pony trotted all the way to its new barn with no hiccups today.

Gassed up in Charleston before setting out this morning, and then topped up on the far side of Dayton. Despite spending thirty minutes in an absolute parking lot* in the middle of downtown Dayton, the pony managed a hair over 20MPG for the first two-thirds of the day's jaunt.

*Well, that's it. I'm downloading Waze.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Gun Culture 2.0

The Professor is a smart dude. You should listen to him and read his stuff.

Ten Years of Trek Time...

  • Last season of the original series on broadcast TV to the first feature film? Ten years (1969-1979).

  • The first feature film to Star Trek V: The Final Frontier? Ten years (1979-1989).

  • The first J.J. Abrams Trek flick to now? Ten years (2009-2019).

Friday, May 24, 2019

Automotive Inflation...

An excerpt from an hilarious Ezra Dyer piece at C/D on the thousand-dollar car:
What all these cars have in common is that they run and drive and I kind of want them. I wasn't looking for an Iron Duke Fiero, but something about a $1000 price tag fires the imagination. You could take the body off and make it a dune buggy! Or put a golf-cart motor in it and call it your Testeless Roadster. Or drive it around town and start rumors about yourself. People would be like, "I heard he invented shampoo and he's superrich, but he'll only drive a Fiero with one headlight popped up."
I understand these urges.

What's interesting is that in my adolescence, a thousand bucks was generally the floor for a pretty decent used car. Beaters were under a grand, and over the thousand dollar mark would generally get you a car less than a decade old with a minimum of dings and a five-digit odometer reading.

Keyboard Purgatory

There are a hundred and eleventeen keyboards lying around the house and strewn across the attic. I'm mostly just sad that the otherwise awesome Azio had such issues with connectivity. That, and it went to sleep at the drop of a hat and needed to ceremoniously reconnect all the damn time.

Apple's older tiny keyboard isn't bad, but I'd hate to type a novel on it, or even a 2,000+ word feature article. I like that it's battery-powered. The newer replacement is rechargeable. This is theoretically awesome, but I'd hate to need to type something right now and need to recharge my keyboard, as opposed to just throwing a couple fresh AA cells in it.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Hey, look!

The first half of the SCCY CPX-3 review is up online!

The Last Film

You could be forgiven for thinking the Canon EOS IX is the "EOS 9", but it's actually the "Eye Ecks". That stands for "Information Exchange", and that's a key feature of one of the last...and formats out there, the Advanced Photo System format (APS for short.)

126 Instamatic, 110 Instamatic, Disc...each were an attempt to give casual shooters an easy-to-use form factor that didn't involve having to thread leaders on takeup spools while simultaneously preventing the clumsy-fingered from putting a thumb through fragile shutter components while loading the camera.

While indeed easy to use, these formats suffered from iffy image quality, especially the 110 and Disc, due to tiny negatives. The APS, on the other hand, had negatives almost the size of regular 35mm film.

The mode dial is relocated to the back of the camera because there's a little hatch on top where it normally would be on a Canon body. You just pop that open, drop the cassette (which has no exposed leader) in, and the camera does the rest.

Higher-end APS cameras, like this one, read and write magnetic data off the negatives, hence "Information Exchange". You can rewind mid-roll, and then reload it and it will advance to the first unexposed frame. It can record other data, like date/time or exposure settings.

All this was made possible by rapid advances in digital technology in the Eighties and Nineties, and those same advances would, of course, also lead to the creation of imaging sensors that would supplant film.

While 35mm film is still being made, APS sank without a ripple in 2011. This means that any you buy today is at least half-a-decade expired. The Fujifilm Nexia D100 I got claimed to have been cold-stored, and seemed to work okay. Colors were a bit muted.

It's a crapshoot on film, but on the Canons, at least, the APS cameras use standard EF-mount lenses, with a 1.2x crop factor. (This makes the excellent EF 40mm f/2.8 pancake a 50mm equivalent, BTW...) Similarly, the Nikon Pronea 6i uses Nikon's F-mount. Both the EOS IX and Pronea 6i use a pair of CR123 batteries, which is something kept in ample stock at Roseholme Cottage.

With the discontinuation of the film, the cameras are available for next to nothing, so it's a cheap experiment.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Mini Cam

Well I'll be dipped. The little Rollei A110 actually works still! I shouldn't be surprised; it's a solidly constructed little brick that went for (if I'm converting Deutschmarks right) between $150 and $200 when they started shipping in '75. That's not a cheap toy camera.

It needs to be manually focused, and I sometimes missed. (Although it made the dogwood look ethereal on that drizzly day...)

 Oops. ("Hey, what Instagram filter is that?")

The film was current production Lomography Tiger 110 with a 2020 expiration date. Unlike some Lomography films, Tiger isn't supposed to be color-shifted. Still, a high-end 110 with a built-in meter like this one would have read the plastic tab on the 110 cassette. That tab could be used to specify "High" or "Low" speed film, but Kodak never set a standard for what was high and what was low. Most manufacturers went with 400 and 100 ISO. Some higher end companies went with 64 as the "Low" setting, since there was Kodachrome 110 slide film, once upon a time.

The Lomo Tiger is 200 ISO, and I'm betting that the cassette had the long tab, so that the camera reads it as low speed. A number of photos have that slight magenta cast you get from lightly overexposed color film.

Just because you can do something...

Seen at's FB page...
Never have I ever been shooting an AK underfolder (or HK91A3) and thought to myself "Hey, this stock is so badass and comfortable that we need to find a way to retrofit it to other guns."

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Overheard in the Office...

On a newsstand near you!

The latest issue of RECOIL Concealment is now on a newsstand near you (I think. If the newsstand near you is a Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, or Walgreens... I got mine at Walgreens.)

Inside, you will find one of those shilling sellout reviews full of uncritical praise that... Well, I'm kidding, there. But you should read the review, so they'll let me write more.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Cycling Daze Are Here Again...

After months of sitting idle, the Broad Ripple SUV's tires were dead flat. We aired them up and pedaled the not-quite-a-mile down to Next Door SoBro for lunch.

It was my idea because their loaded smashers are my kryptonite...

Friday, May 17, 2019

Adaptable. Portable. Not so pocketable.

While the EOS M is a tiny camera and well-suited to using the Peak Design Cuff strap, the problem is that the APS-C sized sensor makes it hard to have truly tiny lenses. Canon makes an EF-M 22mm f/2 pancake that looks interesting, but that's more than I'd really prefer to spend on a toy lens.

The EF-M mount lens library is so small* that you practically need Canon's EF-to-EF-M adaptor. Add the thickness of the adaptor and then whatever EF or EF-S lens you mount on it, and we're now well out of pocketable territory.

Also, the first two versions of the M had weird and clunky interfaces, with sparse and dumbed-down external controls. You had to use the (excellent) multi-touch screen to do most things. If I were to commit to the M, I'd have to go with the M3, which added a front dial, articulated screen, and a full PASM dial & exposure compensation dial on the top plate.

*The lens library is small enough to make me question Canon's commitment to the mount. While rumor is that it will continue on as Canon's crop-sensor mirrorless complement to the EOS R, they may just be selling off overstock until they can give it the old heave-ho the way Nikon did with the ill-starred Nikon 1 family.

Fascinating neighborhood history...

"The other “bayou” was the fascinating Bacon’s Swamp. Today, the area that used to be covered by this large Marion County bog is part of Broad Ripple. Although Google Maps still shows a lake there called Bacon’s Swamp, this is really just a pond, re-engineered out of what used to be a genuine freshwater wetland.

Like its neighbor a little to the south, Bacon’s Swamp was created by the melting Wisconsin Glacier. About 20,000 years ago, the ice left an indent on the land that filled with water. As limnologists (freshwater scientists) describe, the process of swamp formation, lakes age and die like living creatures, filling up with sediment and plant matter and gradually losing the oxygen in their depths. Bacon’s Swamp evolved into a peat bog, one of the southernmost in the United States."
This is right in our 'hood. The Bacon farmhouse, a stop on the Underground Railroad, was on Keystone Avenue where the Donut Shop is today, almost a literal stone's throw from Indy Arms Company.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Facebook's Hidden Dislike Button

"Huh. She clicked 'Like' for every single post in this thread but mine..."

He's Not Wrong...

92 Elite LTT in Dark Star Gear Orion holster with Dark Wing.
At Mountain Guerrilla, Mosby wrote:
"[I]n this day and age, leather is a sexual preference, not a valid holster material. Look, I get it. A custom made, tooled leather holster is classic. It’s pure sexiness (see? Sexual preference.). Even for CCW use, it’s suboptimal, for a hundred different reasons that people in the training community (you know, people that actually practice this shit…) have belabored. If you’re still wearing a leather holster, that’s fine, just acknowledge your fetish."
...which is sure to trigger plenty of butthurt.

There are good leather holsters, but if you can buy it for fifty bucks or less at your local gun shop, it probably isn't one of them. And by "good", I mean that there's a whole slew of factors ranging from 'has a reinforced mouth and is rigid enough to not collapse when you're rolling around atop it' to 'is thick enough and well-enough stitched to get shoved down your trousers and sweated on for twelve hours a day for five or ten years without falling apart'.

There is, however, one area where I've seen some pretty clueful individuals looking into leather holsters again: AIWB holsters, and for a couple reasons.

One is comfort, in that the leather holster is generally more able to move with the body and naturally devoid of hard corners or projections. A well-designed kydex AIWB, especially with a wedge or pad or Melody's Dr. Scholl's solution will mitigate that, but it's there.

The other reasons have to do with retention. The most common failure mode Craig Douglas has seen for kydex is it just breaks during the tussle. The good ones generally don't, especially when worn by the sort of person who inspects their gear and replaces it when worn. And again, if it's under fifty bucks at the local gun shop, it's probably not one of the good ones.

The other part of retention is in how the holster retains the gun in the first place. Kydex holsters are popular because they're fast. The reason they're fast is that they rely on mechanical retention to keep the gun in the holster. You insert the gun until the holster *clicks* on the trigger guard. When you draw, you apply enough force to cause the holster to let go of the trigger guard and *pop*, that's it. The holster isn't holding the gun anymore. It's all or nothing.

A good, well-molded leather holster holds the gun via friction. (Insert the <$50 caveat here.) When you're rolling around on the ground hyperventilating inside a FIST helmet trying to keep dude from yanking your sims Glock out of the holster and flailing at him with a dull training blade in your other hand, any little bit of help you can get from the holster in ensuring the gun stays put is appreciated.

How important that is to you is, of course, totally predicated on what you consider the likelihood of that scenario.

While I would dearly love a baller J.R. Customs AIWB holster with, like, sharkskin trim for my Wilson because that's my fetish, I'm pretty secure in the idea that my daily Dark Star Gear kydex holster is up to the task.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Ugh deadlines...

Submitted two feature length articles today with a third due by Friday. Plus I need to do some photos for two of them.

It amazes me how closely the mental fog of a long day's writing feels like physical exhaustion. (Apparently that's science and stuff. The thinking probably burned more calories than physically running the keyboard did.)

Have some more gratuitous gun pr0n as a sort of pre-review teaser...

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

QotD: Tortured Language Edition

"The city's part of the deal will be paid for with an extension of the "innkeeper's tax," a few more pennies on the dollars that pay for hotel rooms. 'Cos what're visitors going to do if room rates go up, use some online service that presently doesn't pay that tax...? Oh, that's right, they might just do that. Better yet, local news sources are claiming "it won't cost taxpayers a dime;" taxpayers who vote in Marion County, that is."
Bobbi notes the bizarre language created by trying to find a diplomatic way of saying "The new facility won't cost local voters a dime because we're gonna take the cost from out-of-towners."

Massive Organ

Via The Online Photographer comes this video...

Being born at the tail end of the Sixties and growing up in the suburbs, I'm a child of the Mall Era and really missed out on the glory days of the downtown department store. We went to the mothership of the Rich's chain in Atlanta reasonably frequently, but by the early Eighties, it was a shadow of its former self.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Serious Gear Fail

Remember a couple years ago when an IMPD officer had his Glock discharge in the holster when the officer sitting next to him got some bit of gear inside the light-bearing Safariland and then stood up?

Well, just this past week another IMPD officer was tussling with a shoplifting suspect who got on top of him in the ground fight and attempted to pull the officer's pistol out of the holster. The holster's retention worked, but the dude managed to get a finger into the mouth of the holster and fire the still-holstered weapon, hitting the officer in the leg.

Not all light-bearing holsters are created equal, and some obviously have way too much clearance around the trigger guard. This kinda defeats one of the main purposes of a holster.

Friday, May 10, 2019

News of the World...

BBC News has a fascinating photo essay on the chaotic conditions in the backcountry of the Sahara, a region that has gone completely Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome with the collapse of the government in Libya and the atomization of ISIS and Al Qaeda.

Meanwhile, in North Korea news...

We seem to have taken possession of a North Korean cargo ship that the Indonesians busted last year for running around with its paperwork shady and its maritime safety tracking doohickeys turned off. Maybe we can file a mechanic's lien and rename it MV Pueblo.

As a side note, I'm looking at pics of Kim Trey in the linked article, and... Wow. He's really well into the transformation from Dear Leader to Maximum Leader, if you know what I mean. He's morphing into late-stage Marlon Brando before our very eyes. Dude is packing on the avoirdupois like there's nobody in his life to tell him "No."

Thursday, May 09, 2019

First aid isn't cool, but guns are, apparently.

Bring up the idea of first aid supplies and the response is predictable...

People who argue about spare mags and BUGs start hooting and chest-beating and flinging handfuls of leaves and poo, lest they be thought "unprepared".

Like OC spray or a flashlight, first aid gear (and the knowledge of how to use it) is one of those things that has much broader applicability in the real world than a Glock, but e'rrbody wants to carry the Glock. (And endlessly debate about what caliber it should be and what brand of bullets should be in it.)

I don't even necessarily keep the first aid gear on my person for most of the year. This is because I utilize the best protection against accidental self-inflicted GSWs: I leave the gun alone in my holster and don't mess with it.

There are three places I'm likely to unholster or reholster during the day, and totally uncoincidentally, there's a blowout kit staged at each of them (nightstand, car trunk, range bag).

I'm not a "high-responder"; if I were the sort of person likely to run over and get my hands bloody if I saw someone get injured, I'd be more likely to carry it on me. I have several friends who've actually used the med gear they carry on their person to respond to car or motorcycle accidents that happened in their presence.

If you do want to carry basic stop-the-bleed gear on your person, there are easy ways to do it. PHLster offers the Pocket Emergency Wallet and the Flatpack TQ carrier. Dark Angel Medical offers an ankle kit.

I'll let blogger wizardpc have the last word, here:
“I carry a 2lb gun because I might be in a gun fight” 
“I don’t carry an 8oz GSW kit because it’s heavy and, really, what are the chances of me needing that?" 
Okay, then. 
You do you. I don’t care. But the attitudes are a little comical.

(EDIT: I should add a disclaimer, here. PHLster's Amazon store is legit, but I'd caution against buying tourniquets from random sellers on Amazon, since odds are good that they're airsoft-grade fakes.)

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #176...

 The Zev OZ-9 at the range the other day, doing chronograph work.

Speed holes are to 2019 what tail fins were to 1959 and shoulder pads were to 1989.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Bad news today...

I knew from talking with Gail Pepin at NRAAM that Denny was in a bad way, and figured I'd wrap up the writing work on my plate and then take a couple days to go visit up in Rochester. Yet another lesson in Not Putting Stuff Off, I guess.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

The largest window for error...

Mark Luell asking the important question:
Based on pure probability, what’s the most dangerous thing we will do with our guns in our lifetime? Is it:

I don't keep a blowout kit handy in case I get into a gunfight with thirty-eleven ninjas in the Kwik Trip parking lot; I keep a blowout kit handy in case I get shot by the person with the greatest window of opportunity to shoot me.

If you're wandering around in public with a loaded gun on your person, but without at least minimal tools to stop a bleeding gunshot wound close to hand and some training to use them, I flat-out question your judgment.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Leading Experts Recommend!


From an Away Game...

Some keystrokes on why Heckler & Koch LEM triggers are such a hard sell:
"On the low-information forums, it's lumped in with DAO triggers as bad/wrong/stupid-lawyer-trigger-for-cops.

On high-information forums, it slows down people's Bill Drills and makes it hard to put up hero numbers. The relevance of these numbers to actually shooting people is the subject of numerous endless debates.

And with the general public? Well, a dude who worked at my LGS got all enamored of my (DA/SA) P30L while I was shooting the 2k Challenge with it, so he ordered an HK45 off Gunbroker. When it came in, he was all excited about it having the "Law Enforcement Modification" trigger... for about five minutes. Then he was shopping for the parts to convert it to DA/SA. I asked him why. He replied "Feel the second trigger pull!" I was, like, "Dude, you're never going to feel that second trigger pull!" but he just wouldn't wrap his head around it.

That's pretty much how every General Public customer responded to dry-firing a LEM in the showcase, no matter how patiently you tried to explain or demonstrate that the slide reset the action every time."

A sure barometer...


While I love the interface on my Ricoh GR Digital II, of all the brands of digital cameras (do we even need to specify "digital" as a modifier for "camera" anymore, or can we just accept it as the default?) that I've messed with, Fuji is the one that is most oriented to the photographer who cut their teeth on old-school film cameras.

On my Fuji the shutter speed is still controlled by a dial on the top plate, and the aperture by a ring on the lens. Nikon does this and charges a mint as the retro Df, while Fuji just does it on all their interchangeable lens bodies.

Fuji also has various film emulation settings in-camera, something more typically (and effectively, to be honest) done in post-processing.

"It ain't natural!"

Not everyone is happy watching the current Jeopardy! champion's gallop into the record books.
Personally, as someone who has traditionally yelled "BET IT ALL!" at the screen every time Double Jeopardy came up, I'm enthralled to run across a contestant with the chutzpah to do just that. Thus far he's had the smarts to ensure that it hasn't come back to bite him hard. Eventually it will, but until then it's fun to watch.

Sunday, May 05, 2019

Automotif CLIX...

The first drop-top Ferrari of the season tells me it's finally that time of year where the top can pretty much stay down on the Z3 except for rainy days and interstate road trips.


Saturday, May 04, 2019

How would you know?

There's one thing in particular that really puzzles me about pharmaceutical commercials.
"Sufferers of Sweaty Elbow Syndrome can relax. Clinical trials have shown that Placebon causes up to a 7.5% drop in elbow sweat production in almost half of users. If you or someone you love are living with SES, ask your health care provider about Placebon. 
In rare cases, patients reported depression and suicidal thoughts. Stop taking Placebon and see your health care provider if these occur. Side effects are rare, and include herniated discs, coronary artery blockages, and sudden incontinence. Patients who use alcohol or have visited regions with ebola outbreaks should not take Placebon. Do not take Placebon if you are allergic to Placebon."
It's that last highlighted part that gets me every time. How in the Ninety-Nine Names of Spongebob am I supposed to know if I'm allergic to a drug I've never taken? Environmental exposure?

Thursday, May 02, 2019


The compact camera market is in free-fall. Outside of specialty gizmos like "ruggedized" cameras that can film underwater or various superzooms, there's hardly a reason to buy a pocket camera for most people these days, given the capabilities of the typical cell cam.

The larger-sensor ILC (interchangeable lens camera) market is cooling, too, albeit at a slightly slower pace. But even freshly-launched, much-hyped offerings from biggies like Canon, Nikon*, and Olympus are featuring incentives to soften the impact of the summer slowdown.

*That $200 discount was fast.

The Fire Down Below

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Automotif CLVIII...

I don't know how my Roman numerals got all jacked up like they did, but "CLVIII" is the correct one.

At any rate...

"Hey, that's a super-straight W126. I wonder what year it is?"

"Ah. An '87."

Monon Trail Dogs

This is Duchess...

...and her buddy is, of course, Duke.

It doesn't seem like that great a job.

So, Harry & Meghan have secluded themselves, declaring that they'd like a bit of privacy for the birth of the royal sprog.

Naturally this means that NBC News has appointed a 'round-the-clock Watcher of the Ennobled Crotch, whose job apparently consists of peering at the grounds of Windsor Castle with the intensity of a young John Cusack holding a boom box aloft.

Incidentally, "Ennobled Crotch" is the name of my next band.