The current schedule has me there all day Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, so I should be able to get the full experience. If you want to meet up with me and hang out, drop me an email at “linoge (at) wallsofthecity (dot) net”, or leave a comment here, and we can exchange cell numbers and whatnot. If you are looking for the perfect opportunity to tell a US Navy veteran who served in a war zone that he is “all hat and no cattle” to his face, as one of my recent detractors phrased it, you are going to have to find me on your… oh, hell, who am I kidding? Keyboard commandos of that caliber never have the nerve to say anything in person.
Even if you do not want to meet up, if you are attending the NRAAM, I would strongly suggest considering this offer. IFAKs / blow-out kits with Celox and chest seals and tourniquets do have instructions on them, but you will not want to be reading those instructions while someone is bleeding out on the floor. Thankfully, a side benefit of being a Triage Officer in the Navy (I do not know who thought it was a good idea to put an engineer in that role…) is that I am all too familiar with the use of that equipment; but, even so, my training is five years old, and I am considering whether my schedule can allow me to attend the class as well.
Anywise, plans for interesting holsters are already in the works; the necessary parts have been ordered and are in transit, and, if nothing else, I will bring the compensated Tokarev and its “race holster”. I think I have hit on a “race holster” design for the Mauser, but I am going to have to play around with the kydex before I am really certain, and I do not want to do that until I have the right parts on hand and can measure everything properly.
I do not plan on blogging the convention, and my good camera is still quite down, so do not count on high-quality pictures. Still, if any reader wants me to swing by any booth in particular, let me know, and I will see what I can do.
Unfortunately, I am still annoyingly unemployed, but I am only in that position because we moved so Better Half could acquire the job she really wanted, so, in that regard, we are in a much better place than a lot of folks. Given that, when the opportunity presents itself to help a friend, we try to do what we can.
… Especially when “help” consists of exchanging cash he needs for interesting things he has:
The C96 Mauser at the bottom was one of the “Wartime Commercial” variants and was likely produced between 1915 and 1921, as shown by its serial number (413***), the intertwined “NS” monogram on the back of the hammer, the “New Safety” design, and the 900m adjustment missing from its tangent sight. It is not an all-matching-serial-number example – the bolt and the lock frame both bear a a 413*** number different from the frame but the same as each other – but given that this gun was produced while there was a small conflict going on, I am not too worried, especially since I plan on shooting it. Amusingly, while the lock frame does not match the gun frame, but all of the pieces on the lock frame – the safety, the hammer, the disconnector, etc. – match the gun frame (for those unfamiliar with German guns, they serialize everything); I guess an assembly line worker grabbed from the wrong bin that day. Thankfully, on account of its age, one can safely attach an original or a reproduction stock to it without ending up in an all-inclusive federal resort for ten years… at least until the BATFE weenies change their minds again.
And, as I recently boasted on the Book of Faces, I not only successfully field-stripped the C96 to clean it, I put it back together… on the first try. Granted, I was using these instructions, and did not go into detail stripping, but still.
Moving upwards, the M1 Carbine is a bit of an oddity too. Both the receiver and the trigger group were manufactured by Inland, but their serial numbers (9460** and 16**, respectively) do not match. Even more interestingly, the trigger group is stamped LGK OÖ, indicating it spent time in Upper Austria after World War II. The receiver does not have the absurd over-polishing evident on most Upper Austrian M1 Carbines, though, so there is no telling. It has a 3rd style barrel band with bayonet lug and “AMCO” markings, a straight-face slide made by Underwood, a modified magazine catch from a manufacturer I cannot chase down (WA), a post-war rotary safety, a post-war milled rear sight, an unmatching stock, and so forth. In other words, it is a parts gun, and another that I will not feel bad shooting. Perhaps most amusingly, the barrel indicates Inland Manufacturing was a part of General Motors at the time of its production.
Finally, the Colt 1903 at the top is a .32 ACP model, and is apparently a Type III manufactured in 1913, according to its 147*** serial number. As far as I can tell, none of the small bits were turquoise blued, as some of the earlier Type IIIs were, but I personally love the “standard” high-polished blue finish. As far as my admittedly ignorant examination goes, this one is all original… but will still get shot, do not worry.
So now that I already have a crazy holster for a Tokarev, and also have a CZ-52, a Webley, a Mauser, and a 1903, assuming I were going to the NRA Annual Meetings (yet to be determined), what should I carry?
Behold the whole banner and the guy in the green shirt!
Yes, ladies and gentlepeople, Dragon Leatherworks is, in fact, a real business, and their banner and t-shirts (the green and orange ones, specifically) were featured in yesterday’s NCIS episode “Bulletproof”. Dennis Badurina – the man who does all the hands-on work – will happily make you a leather holster for pretty much any handgun you might own, and even a belt to hang that holster on if you need one.
You might want to get your orders in soon, though; free advertising like this is bound to consume all of Dennis’ free time.
(Can I just say, though, that I positively hate the “soft-focus” filming style of NCIS? Maybe it is just me…)
I do not know about the rest of you, but I need a laugh today, especially after coming home from Ikea yesterday to this charlie foxtrot.
For Christmas, we got my two-year-old nephew this vaguely Transformer-ish fire truck. The only problem is that said nephew gets borderline furious when it transforms; we can only figure he thinks it broke, and wants it fixed RIGHT NOW. The amusing thing is that courtesy of this not-really-Transformer (the term appeared nowhere on its packaging or the toy itself), I seem to have successfully converted my seven-year-old niece into watching and enjoying the Transformer TV series. I am not sure which series she is currently watching, but still.
If you know anything at all about Erin Palette, it is probably that she has a Mosin Nagant rifle that she has slowly and surely been customizing in a way that is sure to make purists all manner of… shall we say ‘annoyed’. Most recently, she has gone and shoved a 10-round magazine into it, because ten rounds is better than five. Obviously.
However, whilst teasing us with the prospect of her upcoming review, someone questioned the… financial utility of going down the path she had selected:
How is spending ~$600 to improve a $100 rifle "saving" money over just buying a $600 rifle to begin with?
There is the small detail, of course, that Erin never once claimed to be “saving” money over anything, or at all, and she easily combusted that particular straw man in fairly short order. But, being the person I am, I just had to respond:
I would say that Erin has handily dispensed with the straw man implicit in this particular comment, but let us take it at its face value, and go from there, shall we?
Potential answers include:
Because no one makes a $600 bolt-action rifle that throws 10 rounds of 7.62x54r before having to be reloaded.
Well, damn, that really is the only answer one really needs. I mean, one could go the PSL route if you wanted to spend around $1000 for a good, not-hacked-together one, or one could go the route of the all-too-awesome VEPR or Zastava 7.62x54r rifles that are slowly filtering over from Russia, but those both fail the arbitrary budget and bolt-action requirements.
But, hey, let us keep moving on with potential answers:
Because building something from the ground up is often more fun than buying it off the rack.
Because building something from the ground up is more educational than buying it off the rack.
Because building something from the ground up engenders a sense of ownership that buying something off the rack does not always.
Because at the end of the day, this rifle will remain a Mosin, and can thus be used, abused, and beaten upon in far worse ways than your average $600 bolt-action rifle (though corrosive ammo will still make the rifle its bitch).
Because feeding this rifle, no matter how much the platform itself costs, will still be cheaper than feeding another rifle that shoots a slug of similar ballistic properties.
Because this is Erin’s rifle and she can do with it as she bloody well pleases.
And probably the most important answer of all: Because fuck you, that is why.
The truth is, not everyone can plop down $600 for a rifle right off the bat, and while I am a firm believer and ardent supporter of saving money, I can certainly comprehend how that can be difficult for people. So they piecemeal-build things, like this. Is it the most financially optimal solution? Probably not, but I do not see where "financially optimal" was a constraint anywhere on this build, despite the ashes of a straw man vigorously screaming it might have been.
On the other hand, Erin has learned a lot about her rifle, has shared a lot of that knowledge with people who might not otherwise have a clue, and has had a load of fun in the process.
Personally, I call that a win.
But I am weird like that.
Firearms are just like any other hobby – some people enjoy walking into a store, buying the best and shiniest off the rack, and going home to show off their new acquisition. On the other hand, some people like starting from a beat up old platform and seeing what they can make out of it. To put it in contemporary terms, it boils down to the “built not bought” argument that has surfaced in communities involving automobiles, computers, houses, and just about anything else where the two options are viable.
Is one of those options “better” than the other? Define “better”.
And therein lies the core problem – what works for you may not work for someone else. Of course, the funny thing is that the same person who upbraided Erin for not meeting a goal she never actually set for herself also proceeded to berate her for the possibility of someone actually taking her advice when it came to products she reviewed. And what if Erin had taken his advice (before he gave it, granted, but still) and never proceeded down this path to begin with? She would know a lot less about her firearm, and would not have experienced the enjoyment of working on it herself.
In other words, she considered the cost worthwhile – not just for the firearm itself, though, but for the “whole package” – and who is anyone else to tell her she is wrong?
So get out there and dork around with your firearms. You never know what you are going to learn, and unless you really start doing bizarre things, the odds of you actually hurting anything is fairly low. Plus, the good news is that for older firearms, like, say, Mosin Nagants, not only can the price of admission be absurdly cheap, but replacement parts for the ones you jack up are pretty cheap as well (except bolts… if anyone has a good lead on affordable Mosin bolts, let me know).
Now that my father is on the road to recovery and I am back on my apparently usual side of the country, I have two takeaways:
First, do not get cancer. Obviously this is not something you can always control, but if you do have control over it (say, by stopping smoking), I would suggest exerting that control.
Second, cancer sucks, chemotherapy sucks, and radiation therapy sucks, but here is the news you do not want to hear: recovery sucks more. Dad’s was something of a special case, in that his cancer exhibited in his neck, which has kept him from so much as drinking water for most of the past three weeks, and that he received both radiation and chemo, but the general gist is the same. Both of those treatments ended about the same time, but his condition noticeably degraded for at least a week afterwards, and the climb up is looking to be a lot longer and more gradual than the slide down. Cancer is an illness, but unlike so many others out there, you are not just suddenly “better” once the medicos and techs finish their attempts at killing you.
There is hardly a faster way to ruin my faith in my fellow Americans than by going to the airport. Apparently the TSA was doing “random” ID checks for the folks boarding my flight out of SEATAC*, and some of my fellow passengers were talking with the tin-badged high-school-drop-outs doing the checking. During the course of the conversation, one of the uniformed thugs said, “I’m going to have to see your cell phone, sir…” and without missing a beat, my fellow passenger went to hand her his phone. No hesitation, no asking “Why?”, no nothing… just, “Here, let me hand you my multi-hundred-dollar electronic device that, by the way, has access to most personal – and, probably, financial – aspects of my life.” Turns out the TSA agent was joking, but that is entirely besides the point.
Our government has been working for decades to create a populace that obeys uniforms unquestioningly, regardless of who is wearing those uniforms or what they are demanding. I guess those years of conditioning are finally paying off.
If all else fails, incidents like this will drive the point home if nothing else will… Note that the SWAT team, called out not for a murderer or a rapist or any kind of violent offender, but rather for a search warrant for stolen goods on a house with a resident who has a permit to carry a firearm, found neither the people nor the property they were looking for, but willfully destroyed property in the course of executing their warrant. As a commenter at Say Uncle’s quipped, at least we “should” be thankful the family canine survived the experience.
On the other hand, there hardly a faster way to remind me that there still exist broad swaths of our country where a man can go live and mostly be unbothered by petty autocrats with delusions of grandeur than by flying across that country’s northern stretches. Of course, one does have to deal with the not-insignificant amount of snow I flew over, and likewise one has to deal with the not-insignificant detail of finding employment, but it is not like I am having much luck with that in the fastest growing major metropolitan area in the country regardless.
To keep this weblog nominally firearm- and self-defense-related, I wish there were a way to embed this video, but that seems impossible, so go watch it on Facebook and come back when you are done. Allow me to be perfectly frank: anyone who adopts the argument that those of us who bear arms for self-defense should simply hang them up and fight back with our fists “like ‘real’ men do” is a disgusting human being whose opinion can be discarded outright and without consideration.
Personally, I need to see about taking the class for my NC carry permit (just like drivers licenses here, you cannot simply “import” them from out-of-state, even though they recognize TN permits), and I am going to go take a look at one of Triangle Krav Maga’s classes. I have always wanted to take that martial art and my karate is getting rusty regardless.
A large part of the problem is that we lose lives in these attacks because no one plans to fight.
Lock down is not a plan, and it’s not a solution. It is a law enforcement procedure gone mainstream. The idea that a first floor classroom filled with children, with no lock on the door and no reasonable means of defense are simply supposed to wait for death to arrive is barbaric and sadistic.
Regular readers will know that I have a particular love for ingenious and creative methods of getting around asinine and pointless laws, so it should come as not surprise to you at all that I positively love the Troy Pump Action Rifle. I do not quite comprehend why the lower receiver is not AR-standard**, but what matters is that it takes all AR/STANAG-compatible magazines, and neatly bypasses pretty much every “assault weapon” ban I am aware of on account of not being semi-automatic any more.
*giggle* An Evil Black Rifle, only apparently without the “evil”. I have already concluded I prefer Troy Battlemags to PMags (they lack the “foot” PMags have, and are thus easier to stack), but this just makes me love the company more.
And as the last gunblog-related thing here for a while, I am intrigued to hear that Soldiers’ Angels has been given full ownership of the Gunblogger Rendezvous. Personally, I see this only as a good thing for all parties involved, and I hope this leads to bigger and better things for all folks involved.
Is it a bad thing when the only call-back I get for job applications these days is for an administrative role, and I was only called because the person who placed the ad was morbidly curious why I was applying for that position to begin with?
I think that is bad.
On the good news front, I have started taking a webinar course for getting my PMP certification, so at least there is that.
Speaking of making money, Michael Z. Williamson and a few others have expressed interest in reselling my Russian Origami t-shirts, so we may be doing another run of those in the future. This time around, we will probably be doing them on tan / sand / coyote / light-tacti-brown blanks, so the text and graphic should show up significantly better. No guarantees on any of this, but I will put up another poll or something to judge interest if we get to that point.
And with that, I think the cats and I need to finish our preparations for ZOMG SNOWICE APOCALYPSE 2014 Mk. 2; the dual-fuel stove has been loaded and brought inside, our secondary gas tanks have been topped off, a tub has been filled with flushing water, and… well, everything else has already been done. If you are prepared for the zombie apocalypse, an ice storm is just a storm. The only real oddity is that someone has trusted me to pick up their child from daycare. In my Mustang. Here is to hoping all of the salt the NCDOT crews put down two days ago has not been washed away yet…
( * – Wherein “random” means “if you make eye contact with either of the uniformed imbeciles standing on either side of the boarding gate”. I did not, and my ID was not checked.
** – Though, by being a non-AR receiver, it neatly bypasses any outright ban of ARs too, so there is that.)
On 20JUN13, I agreed to purchase the following vehicle from GMR 4×4:
A “jump in and drive away” 1985 Land Rover D90 with:
- ~55,000 miles - a 2.25L petrol engine - a verbally-assured “good”, “solid”, and “rust-free” frame and body - newly upholstered front seats - front seat heaters - a Mantec rear tire carrier - a CD player - a protective roll-cage installed.
- ~154,000 miles - a 2.25L petrol engine that, after having been driven for about 100 miles in my possession, connected cylinders 3 and 4 due to a long-term head gasket failure - a large white stain on the headrest of the passenger seat’s new upholstery - seat heaters with controls that are basically inaccessible if the Rover’s doors are closed - a Mantec rear tire carrier that was installed without correcting the massive dent in the rear door, resulting in the carrier preventing the door from opening all the way - a CD player without a faceplate, rendering it nothing more than an inert electronic brick - no roll cage on account of the seller being unable to find a shop capable of building it (the funds from this were applied to the shipment costs / refunded)
- no physical bill of sale (one was eventually provided) - an unsigned title with the wrong VIN (a signed registration certificate with the right VIN was eventually provided) - a broken driver’s side window regulator that was notated on the vehicle’s Ministry of Transportation paperwork from before its importation to the States (the parts for this were eventually provided by the seller) - an exhaust system that is “more rust than pipe”, to quote the people who interacted with it - a rusted-out-and-replaced-at-some-point-in-the-past rear cross member of the frame - a passenger side battery box that had completely rusted away and been replaced with a smaller, hand-fabricated box placed inside the rusted-out box - extensive rusting and corrosion on the leading exterior surfaces of both passenger and driver foot wells with unskilled repairs executed on the driver’s side - signs of rusting at the bottom corners of the door jambs beneath the “new” paint - a manual transmission that was incapable of selecting any gear whatsoever.
All reports are that the D90 drove onto its trailer in Vermont under its own power. Upon arriving in Tennessee, neither the truck driver nor I could get the vehicle into any gear, and the vehicle spent the next 3 months – literally – in a shop getting the broken transmission replaced. I know the D90 was removed from its trailer and put back onto it at least once between its pick-up and delivery, but the shipping broker – Approved Auto Transport, a division of Armada Services – disavows any knowledge of or responsibility for the broken transmission, citing the possibility of “pre-existing conditions”. The people who actually carried the Rover from Vermont to Tennessee – Jo-Rye Transport LLC – are functionally impossible to contact on account of their cell phones being disconnected and their email address being hacked.
Replacing the transmission cost me nearly $5,000 in parts, labor, time, shipping, and currency conversions (the replacement had to come from once-Great Britain, considering there are not many over here). I was able to drive it for about two hours before the engine blew, and the Rover spent another two months in the field of a very generous diesel mechanic in western North Carolina. After enlisting the even-more-generous help of a local Rover enthusiast, I was able to drag it back to the Raleigh area and it spent another two months or so in a local shop while I figured out what to do with it.
Replacing the engine with a significantly newer 3.9L V8 petrol out of a Discovery cost me just shy of $6000, with some of those costs hopefully being recouped by selling the new-but-incompatible-with-the-replacement-engine transmission I just installed. I will also be selling the old transfer case, as well as any parts that might be salvageable off the blown engine. I would like to effusively thank Braddy’s British Motor Works for allowing me to store the rover in their shop, and then being willing to take on the not-insignificant task of swapping engines.
Replacing the passenger side seat box is on the to-do list once I procure parts and will apparently cost somewhere between $100 and $500, plus my own time, to complete. There is little I can do for the rust on the rest of the vehicle save treat it as best I can.
Ideally the Rover will be coming home in the next few weeks, and I will post… more cheerful pictures of it when it gets here.
Suffice to say, I will never again do business with GMR 4×4 (technically “GMR Imports LLC”), Approved Auto Transport, Armada Services, or Jo-Rye Transport LLC in the future, and if anyone were to ask me for my opinion of those companies, I would likewise recommend against doing business with them.
If your phone has the ability to blacklist numbers (and, thankfully, CyanogenMod does), I would go ahead and blacklist the 1.268.762.**** area code and prefix. In fact, unless you have family, friends, or other people in Antigua and Barbuda who would otherwise be calling you, I would recommend simply blacklisting the entire 1.268.* area code. It turns out jackasses from that area code are doing some kind of “one-ring scam”, and calling them back – as people are wont to do when they receive calls from a number they do not recognize – can be expensive. Even more annoyingly, these frakwits are calling in the morning before I get up, and after their two attempts this morning bounced off my blacklist, they tried going the “unlisted” route as well, so that is now blocked on my phone too.
Strange world we live in.
If you should ever find yourself near Gig Harbor, Washington, or in any liquor store that stocks their products, Heritage Distillery Co.’s “Crisp Gin” is strongly recommended. I did not feel quite up to trying their “Soft Gin” on account of it being distilled from grapes, but their grain-based product is pretty much everything I want a gin to be. On a similar note, Heritage is apparently the only distillery in America that will allow you to come in and use their microstills to actually (and, more importantly, legally) make your very own distilled spirit from the grains up. That is kind of awesome.
Dear Android app developers: stop making programs where the end user cannot turn off the notifications. For example, that cutsey-poo Clash of Clans commercial that ran during the Super Bowl? Yeah, I downloaded the app, ‘cause, hey, crazy little skeleton dude patting his classic-bomb right before it detonates? That works for me. It turns out that every time one of your builders finishes one of his tasks, the program trips a notification on your phone, with the typical notification alert noises, lights, and vibrations…. with no way to turn it off save for turning off all notifications on your phone.
Yeah, that is bad programming. Stop it.
I do not think I will ever miss those old-fashioned, short-bowl toilets. If you do not know what I am talking about, go to any house that was built in or before the ‘80s and has not been updated since. You will find them.
A while back I bought a whole passel of these little dehumidifying box thingies. Do not do that. They are handy and small and easily recharged in the oven, but they are made of two pieces of metal very gently pressed together, and it does not take much force at all – say about as much as they would receive being dropped from counter heights – to cause those two pieces to separate. And those little pink beads go eve-ry-where.
When we got the new safe, I upgraded to one of these, which conveniently cuts the oven out of the loop, but still has the… structural integrity problem, with reloading it being a somewhat larger challenge.
Now, I could figure out how to be less of a klutzy idiot, but the safer bet is probably up-upgrading to one of these when my current one finally bites the big one. My parents have a passel of them for their safe / RV / basement / etc., and their construction seems a step above the other options on the market today… and harder for me to spontaneously disassemble.
So this video is making its rounds around my network of acquaintances:
For those concerned about the health and well-being of the ship in question, it is being driven into a chop yard where it will eventually be reduced to razor blades, so the point is somewhat moot.
I made a crack on the Book of Faces that I would be lying if I said I never attempted something like that at the Surface Warfare Officers School while I was there, and I suppose that is a comment worthy of a little explanation.
Surface Warfare Officers School (or SWOS) is where up-and-coming junior officers in the Surface community of the United States Navy go to receive what education they cannot or have not received on their ships to eventually test for and earn their Surface Warfare Officer qualification, without which you will pretty much be booted from the community and, by extension, the Navy as a whole. What used to be a six-month school immediately upon graduation of college, the Academy, or Officer Candidate School is now a one-month program generally attended about 18 months into your career; having heard… stories… of the six-month version, I can understand why this change was made.
At the time of my attendance, I was stationed in Mayport, FL onboard an FFG, or Guided Missile Frigate (a now-meaningless appellation, on account of the FFGs having their one-armed-bandit missile launchers removed some years ago). Having pulled a ship into Pascagoula, MS, Ingleside, TX, Norfolk, VA, Pensacola, FL, San Diego, CA, Everett, WA, Pearl Harbor, HI, Guam, and Bahrain, I can say that Mayport is one of the easiest, if not the easiest, naval bases to pull into, as you can see to the right. Basically you line up on the Saint Johns River channel, hang a left into the harbor… and then stop and wait for the tugs to push you up against one of the harbor walls. No bridges, no wrecks, no oil derricks, and only the occasional traffic.
That said, I also contend that FFGs are one of the easiest ships in the Navy’s fleet to park. They are gas-turbine powered, which means their one, solitary screw always turns one direction – clockwise, when viewed from astern (speed and direction were controlled by variable pitch propeller blades). Due to the oddities of hydrodynamics, this causes the stern of the frigate to “walk” to the starboard (right) side; when at flank (maximum) speeds, this “walk” could be as much as 4-5 degrees off from our intended direction of travel. This can be a pain in the nether regions at times, but can also prove to be quite useful.
On the other end of the ship, almost directly beneath the bridge, the FFGs mount a pair of retractable auxiliary propulsion units (APUs). These electric, 350 HP motors can be dropped from the hull and pointed 360 degrees, and, when used by themselves alone, can sometimes push the ship up to 5 knots (a knot is roughly 1.15 miles per hour).
So long as you are parking starboard-side-in, as we almost invariably requested, the bridge crew could use the combination of the stern walk, your rudder, and the APUs to simply drive the ship sideways and call it a day, even without the assistance of tugs. My ship technically never parked without tugs on station, but we did, on occasion, practice parking without their actual assistance.
Ok, lots of backstory; on to the probably-underwhelming actual story. While JOs are at SWOS, we spend a lot of time on the ship-handling simulators at the school. Newport does not have any functional ships homeported in it, so the instructor officers plop you down in front of three computer screens and put a headset on you, and you have to treat your computer like your helmsmen and tell it what you want it to do. Unfortunately, the voice-recognition software and I never got along terribly well, and I had never conned a steam or multi-screw ship, so the experience was both educational and frustrating for me.
We finished up one day’s training a good half an hour before the allotted time, and, as with so many things in the military, we were told that we would have to hang out in our training cubby until the end of class regardless, so was there anything we wanted to practice while we were there? I clarified whether they actually wanted us to practice, or whether we could just mess around with the system and see what we could do, and was told the floor was open.
So, I had my instructor load up an FFG headed into Mayport harbor. And I parked it at flank speed. You have to understand that once a ship goes into “sea and anchor stations”, meaning it is approaching a port, it is rare to order up a speed above 10ish knots (barring current/tidal oddities); speed is not your friend when you are trying to keep to narrow channels, avoid traffic, and so forth. However, by the time I passed the Pelican Roost RV Park notated on the picture above, my little simulated FFG was doing about 30 knots. I had to actually apply a little negative pitch to the screw to get the ship below 15 knots so I could drop the APUs (we were told, and the simulation echoed this, that dropping them above 15kts could result in catastrophic damage to them or the ship), but once they were down (around about the tug basin on the map above – the little inlet directly south of the northern tip of the harbor) and locked, I just twisted the ship 90 degrees off from its direction of motion, and balanced the APUs, screw, and rudder to walk (well, jog) us up against the western harbor wall. By the time we got there, we were making a little under 3 knots – sideways – which was well within the simulation’s tolerances for docking (and well within reality’s tolerances, assuming you have the big docking fenders handy, though most COs prefer <2 knots).
I gave the orders to tie up, which ended the simulation, and turned around… to find not only the classmate I was paired with and my instructor, but almost all of the other instructors piled up behind me, watching over my shoulder. Apparently no one had ever attempted to park in Mayport at flank before.
I understand this little parking exercise of mine was the reason I got second place for “Overall Shiphandling at SWOS” for that class cycle; I never clarified whether it helped me get there or cost me first place, though.
Unlike the folks in the video, though, my (simulated) ship was reusable after I parked it.
Regular readers of this weblog are probably wondering if I happened to start partaking of Washington State’s newest commercial enterprise while I am out here visiting my parents, on account of the title slapped on the top of this post, but I promise there is a perfectly reasonable, rational, and sober reason for me to have written it.
As we all know, Our Glorious President auto-fellated on Tuesday night with an impressive* display of both skill and stamina, and the predicted talking point of, “Screw you guys and screw the Constitution, I’m going to do what I damned well want,” was front-and-center during his performance. So, that evening and the following day, the Republican Party stood unified in their calls for President Barack Hussein Obama to honor his sworn oath, obey the Constitution, and operate within the express confines of the Executive Branch, right?
“We heard the president say this should be a year of action and that is our goal. We join the president in this effort to make this a year of action,” GOP Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers told reporters here.
Crap on a crutch people; Our Glorious President has been promising to close Gitmo since before he was elected, and in almost every State of the Union address he has given – including this one – so you really think this whole “year of action” bullshit is something you should just buck your supposed positions on and jump onboard with? Yeah. That will work out well.
The letter notes, “Of course, under our Constitution, most action requires the Congress and the President to work together.”
… which is kind of like the high school nerd passively telling the bully that the school rules prohibit the latter from beating up the former and stealing his lunch money… all while the latter is doing exactly that. Hell, it is even worse than that, considering that the nerd is apparently working with the bully to beat up and rob the other social rejects in the high school.
So the upshot of the Republican party voluntarily lying back and thinking of England? My mother has decided to become a libertarian, or at least an independent, and start voting third-party (or, more accurately, second-party**). I have to admit that is a relatively shiny silver lining.
Here is to hoping that more people realize the futility of our current not-really-two-party system and find their own way to work around it.
(* – If you are into that kind of thing, of course.)
(** – The only difference between the Republican Party and the Democrat Party is velocity (and, arguably, style); they are both headed to the same destination in the end.)
"In this year of action, the President will seek out as many opportunities as possible to work with Congress in a bipartisan way. But when American jobs and livelihoods depend on getting something done, he will not wait for Congress," Pfeiffer said.
"President Obama has a pen and he has a phone, and he will use them to take executive action and enlist every American… in the project to restore opportunity for all," Pfeiffer said.
And lest you think this is just the off-the-reservation, exhorting-the-crowd campaign-donation-begging (… oh wait) from one solitary White House paper-pusher, this is becoming a theme:
Obama has pledged to act, saying, “We are not just going to be waiting for legislation in order to make sure that we’re providing Americans the kind of help that they need.”
"The president sees this as a year of action, to work with Congress where he can and to bypass Congress where necessary," White House press secretary Jay Carney told ABC News Sunday.
Allow me to speak plainly, Barry; you have neither the power nor the authority to “bypass Congress”. Period. If Congress has to be involved in a process – say passing a piece of legislation – you cannot simply… will… them out of the chain of events. Unfortunately, the American people chose to elect you President, but note that word: “President”, not “Dictator”. It would be tremendously helpful if you knew the difference and stuck to the job description of the former, not the latter.
Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole wrote in a memo sent Thursday to federal prosecutors that it will not be a priority to block landmark marijuana-legalization laws in the two states. The federal government also will not make it a priority to close down recreational marijuana stores, so long as the stores abide by state regulations, according to the memo.
In other words, the second-in-command of the federal agency responsible for enforcing the laws of the United States government just arbitrarily and single-handedly stated that it would not enforce the laws of the United States government. In a just world, the Attorney General would have fired this man about five minutes later, issued a formal retraction, and done his damned job or resigned, but given that Eric Holder is still occupying that particular position, this is obviously not a just world.
Selective enforcement of the law is the first sign of tyranny. A government empowered to determine arbitrarily who may operate outside the rule of law invariably embraces favoritism as friends, allies and those with the best-funded lobbyists are rewarded. Favoritism inevitably leads to corruption, and corruption invites extortion. Ultimately, the rule of law ceases to exist in any recognizable form, and what is left is tyranny.
Selective enforcement is not the first sign of tyranny; it is just one of many symptoms of creepingtyranny. I stand by what I said last year; given that Our Glorious President has not been rightly slapped down by Congress for overstepping his powers, given that the deputy Attorney General was not fired, and given that we have a disturbing history of re-electing the same morons in Congress over and over and over again who enable this gos-se, we are getting exactly the government we want.
Are Connecticut politicians that stupid? Well, they are politicians, I suppose.
Apparently the last speculative accounting of “high capacity magazines” and “assault weapons” in the state of Connecticut numbered them in the “tens of millions” and somewhere around 400,000, respectively. To describe what is going on in the now-atrociously-mis-nicknamed “Constitution State” as “massive” civil disobedience would be something of a massive understatement.
So what is the politicians’ solution to their employers informing them exactly what those employers think of the politicians’ idiotic laws? Why, the state is going to offer an “amnesty” period for people to continue registering their firearms. *headdesk* While there may be one or two folks who got their paperwork in an hour late at the post office, I can guarantee you that the overwhelming majority of people who did not register then are not going to register now.
We have a President – a representative sworn to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States” – saying, unequivocally, that he will ignore that document whenever he finds its restrictions inconvenient. We have the deputy Attorney General – a man charged with upholding federal laws – telling his subordinates that they should instead ignore those federal laws. And those are just the most-recent, big-ticket examples.
Is it any great wonder that, with examples like those, the American people have decided that now is as good a time as any to start disobeying unjust laws? Here is to hoping that more people find their own way to freedom.
… *sigh* There is a reason… actually, a lot reasons why I do not read news sites or newspapers or even watch the news on TV. These three stories are simply things I stumbled across as my parents told me about news they had read recently and while I caught up on my comics reading. And, no, I will not be watching Our Glorious President pontificate tomorrow on how allowing him to transition his Presidency to a Dictatorship-in-Everything-But-Name is better for everyone and especially him. While that is in fact one of the very few things a President is supposed to do, quite frankly I have more important things to do… like getting my Torchlight 2 Outlander up to level 50.
If your job application system requires me to upload my resume, and then type my resume into your specific text fields all over again, your job application system sucks. I understand that recruiters and HR weenies want applicants’ information to be in an easily-searchable, standardized format, but if that is really the case, stop wasting everyone’s time and internet bandwidth with actual resumes.
There has not been a great deal of movement on the “job hunt” side of things, but, honestly, I think that is just as well. There is not a job in the world that I could have gotten in the past few months that would have allowed me to take off a month to help my father through his cancer treatments and recovery, so being unemployed played out fairly well this time around.
As for my father’s recovery, I have learned a few things. First, do not get cancer. Second, if you do get cancer, do not get throat cancer. Third, “end of treatment” is not synonymous with “will start feeling better”. Dad’s last chemo was a week ago Tuesday and his last radiation treatment was a week ago yesterday; today might be the first day where he is not in worse condition than the previous day… but the day is not over yet. The thing with radiation / chemotherapy treatment is that the doctors and technicians are doing their damnest to not quite kill you, and while that is bad enough, your cells do not start recovering just because they stop getting attacked. The technicians told my parents that each individual radiation treatment has about a ten day recovery window, which means your very last treatment has ten (or seven, if you take off for weekends like they did) other treatments stacked up behind it, still wearing off.
On the one hand, it is kind of impressive how carefully the dosages have been calibrated to do the maximum amount of damage to the cancer cells, but still not manage to kill off the host. On the other hand, it is somewhat depressing to see your father in worse condition five days after his last treatment than when you arrived in the middle of his treatment regimen.
Could be worse… they could have not caught the cancer until the next few months, in which case, from what I understand, treatment would have been pointless.
On a lighter note, now that I have had a chance to catch up on the coverage of SHOT Show 2014 out there, I have this question: can anyone confirm whether or not the new Mossberg MVP line of rifles chambered in 7.62x51mm / .308 Winchester actually take normal M1A/M14 magazines? All of the documentation on the rifle indicates it will happily take PMAG / DPMS AR-10 magazines, but those all have the nice notch on the left side of the magazine and are designed for straight insertion into the magwell. However, there is the occasional article that indicates the rifle will also accept M14/M1A magazines, which instead have the notch on the front of the box, a ledge on the back, and are meant for rock-and-lock insertion.
I can kind of visualize how the magazine release system could accommodate both magazines, but the only pictures I have seen of the magwell (2 and 3 in the gallery here) leave some questions unanswered.
Why is this important? Well, I already have an M1A, so an affordable bolt-action that feeds from the pile of magazines I also already have? That screams “Boomershoot rifle” to me. But with the next Boomershoot coming up on 02MAY14, the .308 variant of the MVP I want not being released yet, and me still being unemployed, I think it is immaterial for this year’s event.
And just so I do not forget it when I get around to acquiring a steady stream of income again, I will probably mount one of these on top of the MVP if it turns out it can accept M1A magazines. I was very impressed with the Nikon optic Better Half used at our Appleseed, and this one has a parallax adjuster, which is my only real complaint regarding their .22 model. Combined with a 4-16x range of magnification, a bullet-drop compensating reticle calibrated out to 800 yards on the 167 grain .308 round, and a Picatinny mount with a built-in 20MOA slope? Again, it is almost like they built it exactly for what I wanted. Sure, it is no IOR Valada, but it costs a quarter as much.
Anywise, time to go back to enjoying the Pacific Northwet… where it is so damp that no only does moss grow on lichen, moss also grows on pavement. It is almost a driving hazard…
Just look at them for a second. They almost look… backwards, do they not?
The fact of the matter is that it does not matter how “snag-free” your sights are when it comes to re-holstering your firearm*; the real question is whether or not it is going to get hung up when you un-holster it. Given that simple truth, I simply do not understand the increasing trend of firearm manufacturers and aftermarket sight providers to streamline the sights… from the front.
Trijicon, for all of its general-purpose awesomeness, provides a perfect case study of the phenomena I am talking about – look at their lineup for Glock pistols. Six offerings closely mimic Glock’s original sight profile (which generally resembles putting a small brick on top of your larger brick, and thus seems equally likely to snag in either direction), while the seventh and eighth options are a bit smoother… from the front. Oh, yeah, I know, there is a slight slope on the rear of the sight, but why did they not just invert the slopes front/back and go at it that way?
Obviously I am making something of a mountain out of a mole hill; one does not hear about concealed carriers dying when their firearms get caught up in their concealment garments, nor do you hear about competitive shooters losing precious microseconds out on the gaming fields due to the same… but still. If you are going to market a firearm specifically for concealed carry, with all of the melted edges and smoothed radii, one would think you would give the same level of attention to the sights.
Plus there is the added benefit that super-tactical operators can use the leading edge of rear sights like the one above to rack their firearm’s slide on their boot soles or belt buckle or whatever the hell the going high-speed-low-drag maneuver is these days…
(* – Assuming, of course, that you take a modicum of care and concern when holstering your sidearm, and do not just shove it in all willy-nilly-like.)
I work for a Texas-based company that makes rugged leather gear. We started doing product videos on our website about 3 years ago and it morphed into some pretty cool projects. One of those projects was short profiles on our employees. The first one was about a husband and wife who work here and their desire to have matching guns, so in case there were ever a crisis they could swap magazines. (Smith&Wesson M&P9s)
Well, it was submitted to Sundance Film Festival and out of the 8,100 short films, it was selected to be one of the 60 entrants. Then YouTube has told us they selected it to be one of the 10 in the running for their special YouTube award. (Crazy, isn’t it?!) We want to put the idea of husband/wife gun ownership in front of as many eyes as possible and thought that reaching out to influencers like yourself may be a good approach.
Now, as far as I can tell, Saddleback Leather does not make holsters, but given that the company is Texas-based, it should not be terribly surprising that some of its employees carry.
Anywise, here is the video (or click here to see it, since WP and RSS readers do not seem to have been getting along regarding YouTube videos):
Now, on the one hand, I cannot say as though I am too fond of using a laser pointer to entertain a cat when the pointer is still attached to a firearm… Tim obviously had his finger well outside of the trigger guard, but I honestly cannot say whether the magazine was dropped from the handgun, and there is still that whole Rule 2 problem. I guess it depends on how Tim feels about his cat, and his couch.
On the other hand, this clip is showing firearms in a positive light, carrying firearms in a positive light, and husbands and wives working together with regards to firearms in a positive light, so there is that. Even better, this is being shown at the Sundance Film Festival – basically THE small film event in the country – and is up for the YouTube Audience Award, so getting this video out into the wild and in front of as many eyes as we can does not seem like a bad thing.
So apparently more views on YouTube will help this video do better at both Sundance and the YouTube Audience Award, so take a look and see about passing it on to your various friends and folks. If nothing else, getting a positive outlook on families carrying firearms out into the world seems like a good thing to me, especially since it is coming from a source that cannot automatically be discarded as “part of the firearm community”.
I wonder what UPS drivers think of the people / places they deliver to.
For example, my parents live on a cul-de-sac, and we heard the Brown Truck of Joy coming from a long way off. So, since I was expecting a package, and since any distraction is welcome at this point, both my mother and I got up and met the UPS driver at the door. He said he had a package for me, we thanked him for dropping it off, and he jogged back to his truck.
But that got me to thinking – how many people actually meet delivery drivers at their doors? I guess it depends on how many businesses versus how many homes delivery folks hit every day, and how late in the day they go by houses, but even then, they are very much on a clock, and generally do not spend any more time at a house than is necessary to drop off the boxes and hit the doorbell.
There are, of course, exceptions… the UPS delivery person covering my last house knew I was a gun owner of some type, if only because of the stream of ORM-D boxes he dropped off on our porch. Hell, one of the times I did actually manage to meet him at the door, he cautioned me not to shoot all of the crates of shotgun shells he was dropping off all at once; I told him my shoulder probably could not have taken it regardless.
But, in general, UPS / FedEx / etc. delivery persons are in something of a unique position to see a limited cross-section of people’s lives. Obviously they have no way of knowing exactly what is in those brown boxes they leave on doorsteps and porches around the country, but they do have a general idea of mass and volume, and, occasionally, thanks to things like ORM-D stickers, a vague idea of what could be hidden within.
Even with all of the guesswork, though, packages from private carriers have something of a distinction from the material your mailman shoves in your postal box – you rarely, if ever, receive something through UPS / FedEx / etc. that you did not want or expressly ask for. On the other hand, the USPS delivery person shoves somewhere on the order of metric tonnes of complete crap into your mailbox on a yearly basis, and scant little of it is something you would be interested in unless you absolutely had to be. Bills and an unending stream of catalogs from companies you have never even ordered anything from may not tell someone much of anything, but seventeen boxes from “Adam and Eve” might.
This is not to say that your UPS man is keeping notes or stalking you through your deliveries or something, I just wonder what they they think of those deliveries, and how they are accepted. I mean, hell, Washington has had legalized marijuana for a while now, and Colorado just opened its doors to it as well; I am sure UPS delivers to the new, very busy stores that opened to support the new industry. The conversations must be… interesting.
Again, I am not trying to cast aspersions on anyone, it just seems to me that the job of “delivery person” is one where you are alone with your thoughts for a large portion of the day, and mine at least tends to run off on random-assed tangents given even half an opportunity to do so, much less something to run with.
Which, of course, is where this post comes from. My mother asked me yesterday how I was managing to cope with my father’s seriously degraded condition thanks to chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and my answer was that I compartmentalize well – I store away the angst and whatnot else until there is time to deal with it, and I instead waste my brain’s cycles on wondering how delivery people perceive the world.
For those not entirely in the loop, my father was recently diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the lymph nodes in his neck with no known origination point (>95% of the time, if it has shown up in your lymph system, that is because it metastasized, not because it started there). He has been on chemotherapy and targeted radiation beam treatment for 6 weeks now, and received his last chemo drip today, and will be polishing off his radiation treatment at the end of the week. I flew in about a week ago to help, and it is just as well – he is currently in the condition most people are in by the third or fourth week, and it would be a lot for my mother to handle on her own.
And, frankly, it is a lot to handle, “good at compartmentalization” or not. Remind me never to get cancer, and especially not throat cancer.
To end on something of a lighter note, I honestly have no idea what to make of this:
This is going to be another one of those posts wherein the backstory may or probably will not be explained. You are just going to have to deal with that.
Speaking on a personal level, I will never again do business with a company called “Texas AK Designs”, who are now apparently owned by / part of “Canis Design Group”. From my own personal experience, their shipping department is substandard, their customer service is basically non-existent, and their products… well, let me put it to you this way. I love Kel-Tec to death for the revolutionary and cutting-edge products they dream up, but the fit and finish of those products leaves me with a raging case of the heebie jeebies. That said, in comparison to the products from “Texas AK Designs” I have handled, products from Kel-Tec suddenly resemble a custom, hand-fitted 1911 from somewhere like Ed Brown.
Yes. It is that bad.
The parkerizing (or whatever finishing they use) is irregular, the metal is roughly cut, moving parts grate and squeak as they move, things that should not wobble do, and things that should fit into other things apparently do not. For example, their flagship product – a device that allows .223-chambered AK-pattern rifles to accept standard STANAG magazines – literally does not allow those magazines to drop free when the magazine release button is depressed. If you can dork up something that standardized, why should I trust you with any other measurements/dimensions?
And that is just their products. Apparently the folks behind the company get… shall we say “childishly upset” when other people come forward expressing concerns over the substandard quality of their products and regarding the difficulty they have had installing those products, to the point of attacking other small businesses on those business’ Facebook pages, and using those other business’ Facebook pages as springboards to advertise their own services. Having no particular dog in the fight myself, I am quite comfortable in saying that is pretty shameful behavior.
So, if you, like me, happen to desire an AK platform that can accept STANAG / M4 / M16 / AR15 / etc. magazines (just because .223 Saiga and VEPR magazines are stupidly expensive and hard to come by), I can only suggest investigating a company called Definitive Arms, LLC. For ~$450, they will take a rifle you provide, attach their conversion magazine well, reliability test it out for you, and send it back. For an additional $175, they will provide the same services, finish the firearm in their specific black parkerizing, and thread your barrel.
Honestly, I cannot say whether or not those prices are reasonable – this is something of a niche market – but these are the only other folks out there I am aware of doing this kind of thing.
Alternatively, if you are willing to consider something that is not technically an AK-platform, but functions in much the same way, take a look at Faxon Firearms’ ARAK-21 upper. It happily pins on to any AR-15 lower, allows for the use of folding stocks, and allows for in-the-field barrel swaps.
Oh, and yes, the glorious monstrosity at the top of this post would have been mine… if I had bothered to keep up with my finances in other arenas. As it is, I would like to thank Owen Martin at Snake Hound Machine for working with me on the build, and doubly thank him for finding that rifle another home once I concluded I could not reasonably purchase it any more. Unlike our federal government, I know when I am overextended. Unfortunately, Owen’s experiences with this particular build have convinced him never to do something like this ever again, so if you want one of your own… well, see the above post.
[Update] On the Twitters, @Keith1911 rightly asks, “what is wrong with a Kel-Tec SU-16?” In a word, nothing; in fact, I plan on procuring a PLR-16 at some point in the future, just because. For those unfamiliar, the SU-16 line of rifles uses a long-stroke gas piston for operation – much like the AK platform – but also uses STANAG magazines for feeding ammunition, so it would also satisfy my “AK-like-action-plus-STANAG-magazines” desires. That said, and simply put, there are better options out there. Like I said in the second paragraph above, the fit and finish of Kel-Tec products are not exactly what I would consider “confidence inspiring”, and they are not the most durable things in the world. Sure, most people are not going to stress test them to failure, but when you are looking for something that can meet the durability of the AK platform, well…
And aside from all that, despite having that funky-arsed magwell attached to its ventral side, the above rifle is still a Saiga .223, and uses all the same parts as any other Saiga / AK-platform rifle. Likewise, the upper receiver from Faxon is kind of unique, but it still uses the same AR-15-platform lower with all of the same parts commonalities as any other AR out there. The SU-16 family of rifles is unique unto themselves, with, as far as I know, no parts commonality with any other .223 rifle out there. Again, if you are looking for something that can meet the ubiquity of the AK platform, well…
So while the Kel-Tec rifles are an option, I do not think they are the best option… unless you are in a situation like Keith where he lives in Kalifornistan, and, in its factory original configuration, the SU-16CA does not require an asinine “bullet button” and is not an “assault weapon” under state law. Both an AK-platform rifle and the Faxon upper would count as the latter, which makes them either impossible to own or encumbered by the aforementioned or some other mechanical idiocy, and in that case, I can totally see purchasing a Kel-Tec. [/Update]