Thursday, April 30, 2020

Chirrp! Whirrr! Chortle!

Holden is turning out to be a very mischievous cat...who has a hard time getting away with much of his intended mischief because he's also the most talkative cat I have ever encountered.

Seriously, even when he's just walking around the house, he kind of narrates his journey to himself with a constant stream of subvocalized chirps and warbles that I have to believe are Holden-speak for "Well, here I am walking down the hall, and now I think I'm going to turn into the dining room and...whoops! It looks like the nice mommy is cooking in the kitchen! I should go in there and..."

Where this habit gets him in trouble is when he tries to do things like jump up on my desk when I'm not in the room so he can get into the window behind my monitor. He'll chortle with excitement at the the thought, which will alert Bobbi in time to turn her chair around and intercept his leap.

Similarly, he's discovered the bathtub and has decided it would be the perfect ambush spot from which to leap on Huck. So when they're playing chase around the house, Holden will dash into the bathroom, leap into the tub, turn around all hunched up, and whirr and chirp with delight at how perfect his hiding place is. This will cause Huck to glance into the bathroom, hear the enthusiastic noises coming from the tub, and give the feline equivalent of a shrug and wander off down the hall, leaving Holden to sit in the tub, all amped up with nobody to jump. Well, almost nobody...

Consensus Reality has broken down...

"Triggering them libtards" is the Red Tribe version of virtue signaling.

Our GOP governor got called a "RINO cuck" by internet randos for wearing a mask when he went to meet Air Force Two today. The same governor whose wife is a firearms instructor and who had an official inaugural event at a shooting range.

Is a small world a sick world?

Just earlier this year, I bought a camera on eBay from a seller in Japan. The camera arrived on my doorstep 48 hours after I'd ordered it, and I hadn't even paid extra for expedited delivery. It was a new benchmark in speediness for standard shipping in my personal experience, and I'm wondering how long it will be before I see its like again.
Japan Post will temporarily suspend the following types of mail: EMS mail; Parcel postal matter; Regular mail (small packages and printed materials). The mail following types of mail will continue: Parcel postal matter (Handling by sea mail); Regular mail (letter, postcard, mail for the blind); and Regular mail (small packaging and printed matter).

Meanwhile, an April 23rd advisory from the USPS titled "Alternate Transportation: Air to Sea Diversion in Effect" states, "The Postal Service will utilize sea transportation to address the issue of limited air transportation resulting from widespread flight cancellations and restrictions due to COVID-19. This option will remain in effect until sufficient air transportation capacity becomes available."

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

It's Iowahawk's internet, he just lets us use it

Emergency Meme Resupply

I was like "Please don't let that be Tenne...oh, damn, it's Tennessee."

Monday, April 27, 2020

Kydex or Leather?

Noticing the Milt Sparks holster in the photo with the SP2022, someone asked on Facebook "Back to leather for any particular reason?"

The short answer would be holster availability. Most of the kydex manufacturers I work with on the regular, like PHLster, Dark Star Gear, and Henry Holsters, only catalog for the most common of guns for practical reasons. And sadly neither JM Custom Kydex nor Custom Carry Concepts, who support a comparatively large range of models since they're still bending the old-fashioned way (at least last I checked), have an SP2022 amongst their mold guns.

I'm Facebook friends with the owner of Milt Sparks and he offered to make me a holster, so here we are. I have a Keepers Concealment AIWB holster on indefinite loan from Cecil Burch, but I gotta lose the Covid Nineteen (pounds) before that's going to be in the cards.

As far as having a strong preference between kydex or leather, I really don't have one. I like good holsters and I don't like janky ones, and there are good and bad holsters made out of both materials.

They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Kydex is easier to get a fast, consistent draw, since it releases the gun all at once. With the molded kydex holster the gun is held in by a mechanical lock, usually on the front of the trigger guard; once it "pops" there is nothing keeping the gun in the holster.

Incidentally, in a rolling grapple for a holstered gun, this complicates the retention problem; a well-fit leather holster will provide plenty of friction rather than letting go all at once like a kydex rig. Also, a quality leather holster, especially a horsehide one like this Sparks Summer Special, is going to be more durable over the long run than a kydex holster. Kydex holsters are more likely to break when exposed to the kind of forces encountered in weapon retention training, and will eventually fail even just from the normal use of drawing and re-holstering if you have a serious dry-fire regimen.

You pays your money and you takes your chances.

Sunday, April 26, 2020


Snoozy Huck with the D3 & 24-120mm f/4. Had to shoot wide open so should have used a lens hood. Still...those eyes.

Huck and Holden spent a bunch of time both this morning and this evening wrestling all over the house at various levels of full throttle, so this afternoon's quiet time (some of which they spent dozing side-by-side on the futon) was much appreciated.

DA/SA Solution

The eventual plan is to move to a Keepers Concealment AIWB holster, but first I need to diet off the "Covid nineteen".

All things considered, I probably liked the P30L better than the SP2022, but after both were slicked up by Grayguns, the DA pull on the SP2022 was rather better. Buttery smooth and much more manageable for a fast, accurate first shot from the holster. I wouldn't kick either out of the gun safe, but the SP2022 gets the nod for the plastic DA/SA carry gun this year.

Double the Storage, Redux

Digging deeper, it appears that at least one of the ad hoc Kodak DSLRs prior to the DSC-14n had dual card slots. This was the DSC-7xx series, which were built in 1999-2001 off of Nikon F5 chassis.

They were 6MP cameras back in the day when that was a crazy high resolution for digital cameras, and featured a brace of Compact Flash slots, blowing my theory for the original reason behind dual slots.

Of course, back in that time period, 128MB and 512MB Compact Flash cards were exotic and expensive and a 6MP camera could fill one of those up in a hurry shooting like a photojournalist. And in an era when these DSLRs cost $8000 and didn't always match the resolution of a good film camera, photojournalists were pretty much the majority of the users.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Double the Storage

From everything I can gather, the Kodak DCS-14n, a Nikon N80 converted to a full-frame digital SLR, was the first one to offer dual card slots. It sported a Compact Flash slot, which had been the typical storage medium for digicams back in those primitive days, as well as a slot for the then-new Secure Digital format.

In 2004, Canon added the same feature to the second iteration of their EOS-1D pro body. Like the Kodak, the Canon allowed you to write to the cards either sequentially, making the second one a "spare magazine" of sorts, or you could write to them both at the same time, which offered redundancy in case a card was damaged or lost. Unlike the Kodak, you couldn't take advantage of the (at the time) much faster writing speed of the CF card by telling the 1D Mark II to save .RAW to the CF and .JPEG to the slower SD.

I have no idea why the initial two-card configuration happened. I am guessing that it was because SD cards were seen as the wave of the future, as indeed they have been in non-professional cameras. Pro photographers have a bunch of accumulated infrastructure in card readers, spare cards, et cetera, and remember that back in the early Aughties reasonably-sized memory cards were a not-inexpensive investment.

Indeed, to this day my Canon 5DS retains the "1 CF slot & 1 SD slot" configuration.

Somehow, though, "dual card slots" became one of the ways to signal that a camera was a "pro" body, or at least had pro aspirations. Wedding photographers especially seem to love them some dual card slots.

So when Nikon dropped the D3 in 2007, it also had two card slots...but they were both Compact Flash. (And the D7000, which was decidedly straddling the line between pro and consumer features, had a brace of SD card slots.) Format upgradeability is obviously not the aim anymore; it's just a thing that's done because that's how we do things.

Super Nineties

I was today years old when I found out they actually did a Hudson Hawk video game back in '91.

I probably missed it at the time because I was already gaming on a PC clone and it looks like they didn't do a DOS version.

From elsewhere...

" first digital camera took 1.44MB floppies. My second one, the Coolpix 990 I got from Oleg, used CF cards and, while it could read up to (I think) a 512MB card, it came to me with a lone 64MB card.

My current work camera, the 5DS, still has a CF card slot, but that 64MB card won't hold a single RAW image from the 5DS.

Hell, even a JPEG from the 5DS is bigger than the hard drive on my first two computers that even had hard drives."

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Miniature Velociraptor

This little fellow was cheerfully dismembering an earthworm and swallowing the chunks on the sidewalk in the rain this afternoon. Nikon D3 & 70-210mm f/4.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Community spread earlier than previously presumed.

Post mortem testing on Californians who died in early February moves back the start date for community spread:
"The two in California had no known travel histories to China or anywhere else that would have exposed them to the virus, Dr. Sara Cody, the county's chief medical officer, told The New York Times. They are presumed to have caught the virus through community spread, she told the Times."

Floating Dystopia

Early in the whole Covid-19 apocalypse there was a lot of coverage of various cruise ships being forced to roam the oceans looking for a port that would admit them and allow their passengers to disembark.

All those situations have pretty much resolved, and the passengers have flown home with tales to tell of being cooped up in their floating hotel rooms.

The crews, however, are still aboard, and they don't live in floating hotel rooms...
"Most ships returned to sea after offloading paying customers, and cruise companies are now scrambling to find ways home for tens of thousands of their employees. The C.D.C., which issued a no-sail order for cruise companies in U.S. waters last week, is not permitting any evacuated crew or passengers to travel on commercial aircraft.

Some crew members on board said in interviews that they are not getting paid while they wait, and many fear that the virus is still onboard the ships."
Fried fish heads! Yum!
"For close to a month, Matthew Gordon has been living in an 80-square-foot windowless cabin, stranded at sea with thousands of fellow crew members after their cruise ships’ passengers departed.

Aboard the MS Volendam off the coast of the Bahamas, Gordon said each day starts with a reminder from the captain about the importance of social distancing and, recently, a plea for understanding as the cooks, pending new supplies, work through what’s left of the food.

Gordon had grown used to the fried fish heads that have become a lunch staple, but a recent toothache — on a ship with no dentist — made chewing so unbearable that he has turned to a liquid diet while he waits to hear how he will get back home to Augusta, Ga."

Monday, April 20, 2020

More on the Japanese pull-back from China

An article in the Nikkei Asian Review goes into a bit more detail on the maneuvering to get more Japanese industry back to Japan...or at least out of China.
"Due to the coronavirus, fewer products are coming from China to Japan," Abe said. "People are worried about our supply chains."

Of the products that rely heavily on a single country for manufacturing, "we should try to relocate high added value items to Japan," the leader said. "And for everything else, we should diversify to countries like those in ASEAN.

Wiki Closeout...

I have once again wound up with too damn many Wikipedia tabs opened from various bits of research.

This Thing is the Apotheosis of the Karens

So, a local TV station was soliciting questions regarding the current Covid-19 situation to fill a little Q&A time on the morning news today.

One viewer sent this gem:
"My brother took his dog to the groomers last week. How can they be open at a time like this?"
Imagine stewing over the whole weekend at your sibling's effrontery in taking his pet in to be cared for until it got to be too much and you had to passive-aggressively fink on him to the local television station.

In order to answer Gladys Kravitz's question, though, among essential businesses in Indiana are those "businesses that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for animals, including animal shelters, rescues, shelters, kennels, and adoption facilities." So that covers your brother's dog groomer as well as his doggie daycare center, if he has one.

As to how they can remain open at a time like this? Probably with curbside dropoff and pickup, like we did for the new cat's last vet visit, or like most places with a lick of sense that have that option. (Heck, my local package store has taken that route; I can't say I hate it. Maybe a drive-thru window is next?)

The main lesson here, though, is get up out of your brother's grille. Quit finking on him for imaginary transgressions. See if your therapist does remote sessions via Skype, or get into the boxed wine a little earlier in the day, or something. But you need to unclench, Karen.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Find, Fix, Finish

Having recently read Relentless Strike, a history of Joint Special Operations Command, from before its actual formation up through Operation Neptune Spear, I then picked up Killer Elite, which is more specifically a history of "The Activity", which is JSOC's in-house intelligence outfit.

Consisting of "knob turners", or signals intelligence guys, as well as more conventional human intelligence operatives, this is the organization in JSOC responsible for the "Find" and "Fix" parts before the doorkickers (or a drone strike or JDAM) do the "Finish" part.

It goes into a surprising amount of detail on the methods used to track down everybody from drug barons in Columbia, to war criminals in the former Yugoslavia, to the various Islamic terrorist franchises operating around the world right now.

If the history and methodology behind this stuff is as interesting to you as the action, shoot-'em-up parts, then this book will be worth your time. And the Kindle version is very reasonably priced!


Signs and Portents

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Same, but different...

Last year, when I was still using the full-frame Sony cameras for work and had a Canon 5D Mark II as a play camera, I picked up an old Canon 7D body to play around with.

The 7D came out in late 2009 as, basically, an APS-C sensor version of the 5D series. It had the same control layout and ruggedized construction as the semipro 5D Mk II, with the biggest difference, other than sensor size, being that the crop sensor 7D had an on-board flash.

So, fast forward a year later when I'm using Canon bodies for work and have a Nikon D700 to play around with, and I notice that the crop sensor Nikon D7000 bodies are selling for about two-fitty.

Well these were a rough contemporary to the 7D, and made about as big of a splash when they dropped, and so I figured they'd be about equivalent...

It turns out that neither Canon's 7D nor Nikon's D7000 have even a rough equivalent in each other's lineups.

The 7D was the size and shape of Canon's high-end semipro bodies, complete with their ruggedized construction and control layout, albeit with a crop sensor, built-in flash, and a few other features from the prosumer lines.

The D7000 was a compact camera like the D3000 and D5000 lines, with the control layout of the consumer/hobbyist Nikons, but it had a screw-drive focusing motor in the body allowing it to use older AF-D Nikon lenses, dual CF card slots like a pro body, and a rugged metal chassis and weather sealing.

Ah, so that's what everyone meant...

Early in the stay-at-home days of the pandemic, call it 4/6 or so, before Bobbi was out sick for a bit, I watched the first half or so of the pilot of Breaking Bad.

Last Saturday morning, I watched the rest of that first episode, then episodes two, three, and four in rapid succession. It hooked me in a way the first couple of episodes of Justified has yet failed to do*. Bobbi and I are now well along in season one of the show and I'm completely hooked.

*I'm assured that the second season of Justified, where they begin focusing more heavily on overarching season arcs rather than "monster-of-the-week" eps, will be more my speed. I just haven't slogged through the first season yet.

Profiles in Courage...

So, some folks at a company in France pooled in to buy one of their execs a birthday treat: A ride in the back seat of an Armée de l'Air Dassault Rafale B fighter jet as part of a three-ship aerobatic training flight.

The 64-y.o. dude in question had never ridden in a fighter jet before, and nobody thought to ask him if this was a thing he'd be interested in. In fact, he was terrified.

But he showed no indication of his fear and climbed aboard. As the jet passed through 2500 feet on its climb-out, he panicked and grabbed spastically for a handhold...and wound up ejecting himself.

The ejector seat landed him without major injury, and the pilot was able to land the plane.

The dude's smartwatch recorded a pulse rate as high as in excess of 140bpm when he was climbing aboard.

If courage is being pants-crappingly scared and carrying through regardless, this dude is a lot braver than most are giving him credit for.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

QotD: Bizarro World Edition...

"I had the weirdest dream last night about a bizarro 2020 America where the Republican President was saying "total authority" and the Democratic governor of New York was talking about States' Rights." -Paul Simer


Tab Clearing...

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

It's not all bad.

I usually refer to NextDoor as "" because it seems to be a website designed for people who like to complain about stuff, or who need to generate drama in their otherwise boring lives by imagining every car that drives by is criminals who've come to take the white women.

It's not all bad though. This poster subverted the trope rather nicely...

South of 46th Street is deep inna heart of Midtown. There's not a ton of large green space nearby, so I'm assuming they infiltrated down the Monon Trail from the small Marott Park herd. Apparently they can sometimes be spotted around dawn over in the Canterbury Park area, possibly from the woods fringing the remains of Bacon Swamp.

Obliviousness at the Fresh Market...

So, Thurston Howell and Lovie, with their shopping cart between them, are taking up fifteen linear feet of the serve-yourself part of the cheese-and-charcuterie coolers at Fresh Market.

She's spending an interminable amount of time trying to attract the attention of one of the guys across the deli island, who are frantically slicing meat and cheese for the three or four customers over there, standing on their taped X's. Since all she's doing is making little half-hearted waves of her hand and their backs are turned, this isn't going well.

I'm hanging back six or eight feet, tapping my toe. Factory packaged pre-sliced cheese is gone and all I want is a slab of Emmentaler & maybe Gruyere or Gouda.

Finally I manage to flag a deli clerk down and point him toward Mrs. Howell, who's barely tall enough to be seen over the cooler.
Clerk: "Can I help you?" 
Mrs. H: "Do you have Brand X cheese spread? He really likes Brand X cheese spread." 
Clerk: "It's right over here." 
Mrs. H: "All that's over here is beer cheese. He likes cheddar." 
Clerk: "All we have is the beer cheese." 
Mrs. H: "But do you have cheddar? He likes the cheddar."
Repeat the above exchange two or three more times, with slightly different phrasing each time, as though Lovie is sure that, if she formulates the question right, the clerk will admit to having a secret stash of Brand X cheddar spread in the back.

Finally the clerk convinces them and Thurston and Lovie wander off toward the registers, freeing me to step up to the self serve cheese counter and start looking for Emmentaler and Gouda... only to have a Members Only jacket and Sansabelts try to insert itself between my grille and the cheese. It's Thurston, standing in the foot of space between me and the cheese counter, asking the clerk if he's sure there's no cheddar spread.

Pepper spray out of pocket, I'm like "HEY! SIR! Can you step back?" while doing so myself. I don't really think I'm going to need to spray dude, so it's as much of a fidget spinner as anything else. My thumbnail flicks at the safety lid* for something to do.

Dude lived in such a Thurston-centric universe he barely had any idea someone was yelling at him from an arm's length away.

FML. People are too dumb. Let's walk hand in hand into that last midnight and leave this place to the orangutans. They can't possibly be any dumber.

NB: "Spicy Treats Dispenser" shall be referred to as "Social Distancing Reminder Spray" for the duration of the current unpleasantness...

*If you're going to pocket carry spray, something like POM with the spring loaded safety flap over the actuator button is infinitely superior to the twist nozzle kind, unless you like spraying your crotch with liquid fire. I mean, if you do like that, I'm not going to judge. No kink-shaming here.

Monday, April 13, 2020

From a discussion elsewhere...

In answer to the question "Why is the world so goofy?" made in response to one or another of the thousands of weird little fandoms and social groups that dot the digital savanna:
"It's always been goofy, it's just that the internet...and specifically social media...lets you see the wackiness and the stupidity in the head of the average person.

Essentially, the World Wide Web has given everyone an extra tall flagpole from which they can fly their freak flag.

Also, it allows them to spot others whose freak flag is like their own, and they can then congregate, at least virtually, and compete to see who can fly their club's freak flag the highest.
We now live in a world where people issue threats of physical violence to each other over the internet about which video game or cartoon characters can have fanfic romances with which other video game or cartoon characters. These arguments consume them for months and years at a time and are treated as very serious business. Wrap your head around that if you can.

New and Improved! (and improving)

Indiana State Department of Health has revamped their Novel Coronavirus reporting page, adding info about the percentage of the state's ICU beds and ventilators currently in use, as well as adding more granularity to the cases and deaths graphs*.

*Adding that separate "newly reported" part to the graph helps, as it shows that it can sometimes take a week or more for a death to make it into the system. There were no new case reports that were more than 48 hours old, but it will be interesting to watch that over the next couple days, too. A lot of that is going to be caused by delays in testing as well as delays in reporting.

That's a relief...

Via internet last night, Bobbi checked her status with the testing center. She found out that while she has a coronavirus, it's not the coronavirus. In other words, it's not COVID-19, just a bad cold in a cool, wet spring in the middle of allergy season.

(Since we're pretty much a common risk pool, this kinda confirms my opinion that my mild morning sniffles are pollen-related rather than any kind of harbinger.)

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Tales From the City

Via The Online Photographer came a link to "A New York Lock-Down Visual Diary", by pro photographer Peter Turnley.

It's really quite good. You should go scroll through it.

And now we wait...

Bobbi has a writeup of her adventures yesterday noonish...
"I’ve got a day or three to wait before I know if this is just a dire pollen season or my own Encounter With The Virus, but it’s easier to face after what I saw on the drive-through testing line."

From Elsewhere...

The Boys

Sensing that Bobbi was still feeling puny, Huck and Holden both spent most of the afternoon curled up on her bed with her.

Then, after sunset, they wrestled so noisily up and down the hall that we had to separate them for a half hour or so to let them calm down. It sounded like someone was rolling a couple bowling balls wrapped in a beach towel down the hardwood floor.

Both pictures were shot with the little Sony RX100. I'm still just got with the image quality of that sensor, for being a little 1" piece. (Of course, compared to the 1/2.3" and 1/1.7" sensors you usually find in cameras that size, it's positively ginormous. So there's that.)


Saturday, April 11, 2020

This is droll.

I'd mentioned before about how people in NH living near summer resort areas were starting to give the hairy eyeball to New York license plates that were turning up en masse at vacation cabins months before the season normally started.

The New York Times actually had a piece on the stresses this was causing locals, and I shared it on Twitter. Only to be told by some internet rando that this was certainly not true, because she was hunkered down at home!

Friday, April 10, 2020

The New Kid on the Block

Bobbi was feeling poorly again today, and Holden kept her company on her bed.

For his initial visit with our regular vet this past Monday, Bobbi had typed him up an introductory letter...

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Daily Entertainment

We've been watching the Netflix production of Altered Carbon and it's really quite good. Bobbi commented that there's just an embarrassment of good SF on television these days.

It's been most of a decade since I read the book. I need to re-read it.

Surprise! It turns out that you're the zombie bikers.

Speaking of New Hampshire...

'Bugging out' to your survival retreat has been a staple of prepping since back when it was still called 'survivalism'.

Put into actual use, the cracks in the plan are starting to show.

Marko's town in NH has lots of summer homes around the lake for New Yorkers and New Englanders, and they've filled up. He admitted that he's already looking askance at anything with NY plates on his rare runs into town.
"For now, in the absence of any clear federal guidelines restricting domestic travel, residents in many small towns across the US are drafting their own ad hoc policies for outside visitors. In Skamania County, outside of Portland, there are signs spray-painted with “STAY OUT LOCALS ONLY” posted around town. One resident told me that community members will follow around any car they don’t recognize that enters the neighborhood. (The local hardware store is also offering free toilet paper with the purchase of a firearm.) At a small backwoods inn on the banks of the Rogue River in Oregon, 200 miles from the nearest hospital, the owner told me that even with a “NO VACANCY” sign up, and the restaurant closed down, she still had people knocking on the door, looking for a long-term place to stay.

In Dare County, North Carolina — the Outer Banks — police have set up a checkpoint to turn back anyone, even a second-home owner, who’s not a full-time resident. The tiny island of North Haven, Maine, has banned all visitors, including people who own property, while locals in Vinalhaven tried to forcibly quarantine three people by downing a tree across their street because their car had out-of-state plates. In Marfa, Texas, like dozens of other vacation spots across the country, the local government has requested that all short-term rentals be shut down. But locals I spoke to in Marfa and in towns across the West suspect that people are still renting under the table, or have simply transformed their Airbnbs into three-to-four-month furnished rentals and are listing them on Zillow, Craigslist, and Facebook Community Pages instead.

Loss of "Urban Privilege"

When I visit New Hampshire, I'm reminded of how convenient it is to be way out in the woods and able to go shooting by simply stepping outside.

Of course that, and the peace and quiet when you aren't shooting, are the biggest attractions to being out way past where the buses don't run. If you want to do anything else, it pretty much involves hopping in the car for anywhere between fifteen and thirty minutes, and Amazon Prime is still two day delivery.

Living in Broad Ripple means having to drive to the range, but being able to walk or bicycle to stores and restaurants, and if I'm feeling really lazy, pretty much anything can get delivered: Door Dash for food, Drizly for alcohol, and Amazon PrimeNow is two hours instead of two days.


Drizly has pretty much collapsed, with most of the local liquor stores being too short-handed to meet demand. Of course all the restaurants...the ones that are still running...are carryout only; Door Dash has gotten spotty. And Amazon's normally same-day PrimeNow is crushed under the demand, releasing a limited number of future delivery slots every day.

I've been sitting here with Diet Mountain Dew in my virtual cart since Tuesday, hitting refresh with no luck. It looks like I'm going to be heading over to the Safeway, to observe the use of cargo cult PPE by the employees.

Tuesday, April 07, 2020

...and people in hell want ice water.

Gun stores being deemed "essential" has got the usual suspects all assmad about it.

The head of Everytown for Gun Grabbing was given an op-ed at to have his hissy fit:
"Much is still unknown about Covid-19, but one thing is certain: Owning a gun does not make you any safer from it. But that didn't stop the Trump administration from caving to the firearm industry by treating gun store workers just like the real frontline responders-- police, doctors, nurses-- in new advisory guidelines issued to state and local officials that designate who should be allowed to keep working during the pandemic."
I know you don't like to hear this, Feinblatt, but the ownership of firearms is a right enshrined in the Constitution and upheld by the Supreme Court. If you want to own one, you need to be able to buy one. Just because you don't like it and are threatening to hold your breath until you turn blue doesn't change that fact.

Monday, April 06, 2020

From a conversation elsewhere...

If you have a cell phone, you have a remotely activatable microphone with a GPS locator on your person. It doesn’t have to be a smartphone, either. If you haven’t been conducting yourself accordingly since about the time Clancy released Clear and Present Danger, I don’t know what to say.

Also, if I were an information-hungry oppressive government, I totally wouldn't pay special attention to the person who refused to own a smart phone or a credit card or "smart speaker" and did all their transactions in cash. That wouldn't be super conspicuous at all.

We learned a long time ago that black was a lousy color for night camouflage because "nothing" stands out from a background of "something".

The definition of eternity...

The second apartment I lived in, after I moved out of my parents house, my roommate was a fantastic cook. For Thanksgiving, he decided he would cook a turkey.

There were only two of us living there. We ate turkey for a while. Turkey sandwiches, turkey stew, stir-fried rice and turkey, turkey noodle soup...

Do you know what the definition of "eternity" is? Two people and one turkey.

Yesterday Bobbi placed a takeout order with Half Liter BBQ for a whole brisket. I'm having flashbacks.

It's a lot tastier than turkey, though, I'll give it that.

Friday, April 03, 2020

It's an endless font of memes.

First World Problems

When I last attended a class in Alliance, I brought my "work" carbine along and was mortified to discover it started doubling midway through day one. I set the gun aside and one of the other students was kind enough to lend me his spare stick to finish out the class.

All blinged out and nowhere to go...
Fortunately, Dave Laubert was nearby and actually performed a house call at the range to check on the ailing blaster. Unfortunately the problem was that it just had enough miles on the lockwork that the hammer/sear engagement was getting spotty. Understandable, because it was a very early Nineties Colt Sporter lower with the original guts still in it. Also unfortunately, because it was a very early Nineties Colt, it's a large-pin lower with a pinned sear block, so getting replacement parts wasn't going to be as simple as running by my local gun store...

Since I had my own backup carbine at home, all sighted in and ready to go, I just pressed it back into service as the housegun and filed the now trigger-group-less Colt away as a "when I get around to it" project.

A giant rail farm, straight outta 2007, with an AFG and MTAC
Some time late last year I was in Indy Arms Co and mentioned my woes to Mark, the manager, and he was like "Hey, I've got an Armalite large pin trigger group right here on the shelf I'll make you a deal on." So I bought it and it rode around in the trunk of my car for a bit until, right before SHOT, I dropped off the carbine and trigger group at the shop. (I've built enough AR lowers to know that if someone else wants to do it, I'll let them.)

It was late February before I got around to picking up the gun and now I haven't had a chance to confirm its reliability myself. It passes all function checks and I'm pretty sure it got test-fired, but still...

So the backup housegun is still the one with the loaded mag in the well.

What's making me itch is that I had intended to replace the Leupold 1.25-4X that's on it with the 1-6X Vortex Viper PST II I won at TacCon last year, and now I have no easy way to sight it I guess that's going to hold off for a bit. At least that way it's still dialed in if some weird scenario requires its use.

Sudden Relevance

Thursday, April 02, 2020

Locomotive Breathalyzer

I consider myself something of a connoisseur of conspiracy theories.

I'm pretty up on moon landing hoaxes, lizard people, TACAMARs, the secret crematorium hidden in the Beech Grove rail yard, the moon not real, flat earth, Bilderbergers, chemtrails, Freemasonry, FEMA coffins, Jade Helm, Qanon, the Trilateral Commission, cattle mutilations, crop circles, and the one hundred and one different people who killed Kennedy...but the one involving hospital ships is a new one on me.


The phone rang back in the first week of March, when things were first starting to get crazy. Seeing who it was, I let it go to voicemail because I just wasn't ready to deal with it yet.

The other morning, because I had to drive right past it to get to Indy Arms Co to pick up a couple test guns, I listened to the message from The Paw Patch Place. Rannie's paw print was ready to be picked up.

Because we're in crazy times, I pulled into the parking lot and called, and one of the vet techs came out and put a small bag on the hood of the car. After she went back in, I retrieved the bag with an alcohol wipe in my hand.

After forty-eight hours of letting it sit in the garaged car, I brought it in and opened the little box that was in the bag.

Turns out my feelings are still pretty raw.

Wednesday, April 01, 2020

Big Boys

For all the times when Huck would pounce on Rannie, hoping she would play, and Bobbi and I would muse to each other that what Huck needed was a young and spry tom who was just eager to play all the time, Holden's arrival has taken some getting used to.

I'll be sitting here at my desk in the office and hearing the thumps and bangs of two big tomcats rasslin' around in the hallway...

...and when I stand up with a spray bottle in my hand and lean into the hall to see what's up and what sort of fight might need breaking up, the two of them will stop what they're doing, perk up, and stare right toward the spray bottle nozzle inquisitively.

It's very much a "What?!? We were just rasslin' around out here!" reaction.

Emergency Meme Resupply

This is obviously a joke. In real life you'd use OC and not Mace.

Zero Thought, Zero Logic...

The bobbies in some UK jurisdictions are getting way overzealous in their enforcement efforts...

"In North Yorkshire, police published a photo showing a group of officers stopping a car. "This driver was making an essential journey, unfortunately others are not," they wrote."

Did you catch that? Some dude is "out for a drive due to boredom" there in Warrington and the po-po disapprove.

Suppose I'm in living in Warrington (because, I don't know, I've taken complete leave of my senses and moved to England) and I decided to take the Mustang for a spin due to boredom.

Gratuitous Mustang picture to debug a Facebook image grab issue.

Assuming I remembered to drive on the wrong side of the road like they do over there, how many people would I come in contact with...within the magic six feet of... if I drove a twenty mile loop out from the house and back with no stops? Absolutely zero.

There would be zero chance of me picking up anyone else's germs, or giving anyone mine...unless I got pulled over by a platoonlet of snooping coppers who insisted on getting all up in my grille.

Information Overload

First, a couple pics.

Actually, I'm doing better today than yesterday, and better yesterday than the day before. This is where adopting a bit of Stoicism comes in handy. Stoicism isn't "don't care about things" or "don't have feelings"; it's about understanding which things you have control over, and controlling those things, and then just letting go of concern over the rest.

There's a lot of stuff going on right now that's outside of your control. Whether it's pandemic stuff or the associated legal or economic stuff, there's bad news aplenty to keep you busy reading all day. You can sit and press F5 on the CDC or DJIA  or $NEWS_SITE and get more info in real time all day while you're sitting at home. Right or Left, TV or Internet, news and editorial sites are a seething roil of panic and/or outrage, bad news and anger.

Here's some advice from a friend, dispensed in an online discussion sparked by that first image up top.
"So I’m spending half my time working right now reassuring people that a lot of what they are experiencing is totally normal. Anxiety prone people are biologically predisposed to be much more attentive to stimuli they find threatening and it feels superficially empowering to compulsively engage information about this crisis. 
But obviously it ultimately just exacerbates the anxiety and distress and then it’s this vicious loop of thinking more information is the answer.  
The information is all the same. You can learn everything you need to know with about ten minutes of reading per day. Everything else is just media doing the media thing. 
Also, the stress is just a background radiation right now so even if you aren’t dwelling on it, you experience it bodily through increased fatigue, restlessness, issues with concentration and short term memory, joint and muscle pain.  
I’m mostly telling my patients to be mindful of the line between being informed and just indulging a compulsion and to try listening to what their body is trying to tell them. Get plenty of rest. Move around. Get fresh air and sunlight. And find things that get you out of your head for a while. And navigating the stress of this while taking on the stress of hundreds of others is exactly as much fun as it sounds." -Michael Tichy, CNP
Ride your bike, play a game, read a book, binge watch that series you've been meaning to catch up on. But don't alternate hitting refresh on some news site or social media page and seething in the comments sections. Take care of yourself and yours and chill.