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"walls of the city" logo conceptualized by Oleg Volk and executed by Linoge. Logo is © "walls of the city".

time to exit, stage left

It is kind of impressive how functionally all of the problems a vehicle is having can come down to one, little thing. 

In addition to the brakes failing, the Rover was also having a difficult time maintaining highway speeds as well as cooling its engine.  Defenders lack a lot (well, all) sound and heat insulation, but even through the bulkhead, I could feel – and especially smell – that the engine was getting really, really warm. 

Well, as with the last post, there is a reason for that.  For all of that, actually. 

Land Rover did a, frankly, shitty job with making changes to their vehicles.  Improvements were gradual, often spanned models and year changes, and were really, really poorly documented.  All of the documentation I read on Defenders indicated that all D90s had 3.54:1 differentials front and back, removing the need for an overdrive, and making them highway capable.  On the other hand, Series Rovers (i.e. I, II, IIA, and III) all had 4.7:1 differentials on account of the anemic 2.25L I4 they were built with – great for torque, not so much for top speed. 

Remember what engine my Defender originally came with?  A 2.25L I4.  Not so shockingly in retrospect, that means my Defender came with 4.7 gears. 

So, basically, the 3.9L V8 was having to literally work 1/3 again harder to maintain highway speeds than it was “expecting”, and those high RPMs (mind you my truck does not have a tachometer, annoyingly enough) were overheating the engine.  That excess heat was probably affecting the vacuum hoses or master cylinder in such a way as to cause the brakes to fail (at least, that is the working hypothesis of the shop at this point). 

The “fix” is to remove the front and rear axles of a Discovery (basically the same vehicle as a Defender, just with a different body and, conveniently, 3.54 gears) and bolt them into my truck.  All of this will “only” cost another $2000, on top of the more-than-I-was-planning-on-spending costs I have already sunk into the vehicle – a lot of which, mind you, were due to oversights of the shop working on it, including this one. 

Better Half and I have concluded that it is probably time to pull the ripcord.  It is going to be three weeks before the shop can get to the truck, so we are going to list it on Craigslist, Defender Source, and this site (look for the post tomorrow, probably), and if it sells in those three weeks, great.  If it does not… we will figure it out then.  The good news is those 4.7 gears will make a rock-crawler or other off-roader very happy… but are basically useless on the interstate or for commuters like me.  And the additionally good news is that the brakes can probably be fixed without swapping out the axles; it will just involve rerouting conduits and/or heat shielding and/or something else.

Well, that was a year of my life I will never get back, and a not insubstantial amount of money to boot. 

behold, the rover

IMG_20140829_185151119

Nope, that is neither my driveway nor my garage. 

There is, unfortunately, a reason for that. 

So Better Half and I drove up to the shop and we went through the whole pre-hand-off inspection, including a test drive, checking all the lights (one of the LED arrays has gone bad, but I am going to have to talk to the people who sold me the bulbs, not the shop), making sure everything still works the way it is supposed to (the blinker indicator on the dash does not flash any more, but that could be due to the LED conversion), throwing all the switches and levers to ensure they are still connected (apparently the heater core may be jammed “on”), and so on, so forth.  The V8 barely fits in the hole left behind by the I4, and all kinds of parts had to be shoved in random corners throughout the engine bay just to get everything to play well with one another. 

Anywise, we signed off on it, and settled up on the bill (which was about 1/3 higher than we were expecting, which was a whole separate problem), and I started to drive it home with Better Half tailing behind me to ensure nothing fell off or looked bad.  The engine felt and smelled stupidly hot – the temperature gauge was useless since it is set up for the old I4, not the new V8 – but it is going to run warmer regardless, and the smell was probably just a rebuilt engine breaking in (the shop only put about 20 miles on it). 

Thankfully, we were planning on stopping off at a mall on the way home, otherwise all of this could have gone sideways on the interstate. 

It got up to highway speed just fine (though the speedometer is about 10mph slow – apparently Rovers run the sensor to the transfer case, and different engine + different transmission + slightly different transfer case = whacky speedometer), and I pulled off the highway to start winding our way to the mall.  I made one turn just fine, and then made another turn to line up on the final turn into the mall’s parking lot, and time… got a little wibbly-wobbly. 

I was about six to seven car lengths from two cars ahead of me in the turn lane at the stop light, and there was traffic to the right of me and more cars in another turn lane to the left of me.  And that is about the time I realized that the truck was doing about 25-30, my right foot was flat on the floor, on the brake pedal, and the I was not slowing down. 

At all. 

I remember a few distinct things after that point.  First, I tried the pedal again, you know, just to be sure.  No dice.  Then I remember thinking, “Well, [deleted], what the [deleted] do I do now?” almost simultaneously with, “I just picked this [deleted] thing up and I’m going to [deleted] wreck it on its first drive.”  And then I hit upon the correct answer, or at least a correct answer, and cranked the bejesus out of the truck’s parking brake. 

For those unfamiliar with the platform, Defenders’ parking brakes are also part of the transfer case, and, predictably, all four tires locked up.  Solid. 

IMG_20140829_185444394

I dorked with the colors and contrast in the above image enough that, if you look at the closest turn lane, you can see the right hand tracks left behind by the truck entering before the arrow to the left, and exiting off the right side of the image.  You cannot quite see the left hand tracks, but, by God, I kept the bloody thing in its lane.  The noise inside the cab was pretty impressive, and Better Half, who was still driving behind me at that point, tells me the smoke plume bordered on “epic”. 

At least, that is what she told me once she calmed down. 

IMG_20140829_185457508

Once we calmed down enough and called one of the guys who worked on it, we checked, and there was no fluid leaking out from underneath it.  Given that I could pump the brakes back into very brief life, it seems likely that something in the master cylinder failed. 

Good times. 

So now I am about to head back out again and meet the gentleman so he can flatbed it back to the shop where it has been for the past 9 months. 

At this point, I am almost wondering if I should just get it running and sell it.  Of course, by now, I have almost replaced everything that can be replaced, so… yeah.  As someone recently said on Facebook, if it were not for bad luck, I would have no luck at all. 

yes, “gun control” supporters want you dead

… All for the damning reason of daring to exercise your Constitutionally-protected rights. 

By now, everyone has heard about the incident in Arizona where a firearm “instructor” paid the ultimate price for his own negligence.  It is unfortunate that someone is dead, but it is doubly unfortunate that a nine-year-old girl now has to suffer with the knowledge of having killed someone for the rest of her life. 

Make no mistake – I believe just about everything about that situation was wrong, but “more laws” certainly is not the answer when faced with basic human irresponsibility. 

Predictably, however, the “more laws” crowd is out in force, happily dancing in whatever spilled blood they found, along with some even worse ghouls.  Consider this particular… piece of work: 

BostonSnobLaughing @BostonSnob:  I can’t stop laughing at that girl blowing away her gun instructor. I just hope he didn’t procreate. Hey, @NRA, congrats! #2a #gunsense

Yup, you read that right.  This… individual… is, quite literally, laughing at this situation.  The unfortunate, if negligent, death is a source of amusement for “Cranston Snord” there, while he simultaneously congratulates / blames the NRA – an organization that has basically nothing to do with NFA-regulated items such as the Uzi in question. 

Anywise, I screencapped that particular tweet and then posted it as an example of a member of the “gun sense” movement celebrating the death of a firearm owner, and, well, I guess I should have expected this: 

sk45202MoronicRightWingers @wallsofthecity:  If anyone tells you #gunsense doesn’t celebrate "gun deaths", they’re lying. #guncontrol #everytown #notonemore pic.twitter.com/vE4YAaVVZH

@sk45202@wallsofthecity so what? pic.twitter.com/2Hllw5Rw7x

@wallsofthecity:  So you’re saying the senseless deaths of innocents should be celebrated? I just want you to be clear. @sk45202

@sk45202@wallsofthecity if they are moronic right wingers, yes.

I even gave sk45202 there a chance to back out, but he just doubled down on his murderous bigotry. 

Make no mistake, it positively infuriates me that small-minded, ignorant, intolerant people are incessantly trying to find ways to restrict, limit, regulate, or outright abolish the rights of law-abiding Americans, but I have never once wished death upon any of them, nor would I celebrate their deaths if that were to happen.  Disagreeing with people is all well and good, and animated disagreements are certainly to be expected, but I cannot say as though I have understood or will ever understand the mentality of wishing death upon those you disagree with. 

I guess the “good” news is that some anti-rights cultists do not want you dead, they just want you to shoot yourself in uncomfortable places: 

maroofieShootThemselves @maroofie@wallsofthecity @SadieCitrus only if more gun nuts would shoot themselves in the nut: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/alaska-man-accidently-shoots-crotch-article-1.1919048

Yup, Maruf Khan there wants “more gun nuts” to shoot themselves in their genitals. 

And here I thought the “gun control” / “gun sense” / “Moms Demand” / etc. movement was about reducing shootings?  Silly me. 

Of course, if you really want to chill the debate, you allow yourself to realize that Maruf Khan is espousing a position not far removed from straight-up eugenics.  After all, it would appear as though he would prefer that people who value their rights and freedoms would not procreate and pass on those values to their children.  Granted, such values are not genetic in nature, but it is not like humanity does not have a long and sordid history of trying to destroy a belief system by killing off or breeding out those who support it. 

And to wrap us back around to the beginning, laughing at firearm owners being killed is not an isolated incident: 

widemanSenseofHumor @wideman:  9 year old girl kills her gun instructor with a Uzi 9mm. The universe has a sense of humor :-) #NRA #GunSense

@tazcat2011:  .@wideman You find that incident amusing? #gunsense

@wideman@tazcat2011 I am trying not to chuckle about this. I wonder is SNL will touch this incident?

No, I am fairly certain Saturday Night Live will not touch a nine-year-old girl shooting her instructor to death; even they, unlike most anti-rights cultists, do have some standards. 

And, honestly, I am not even going to bother transcribing this screencap from @goingprorogue, but instead I am just going to let it stand on its own (remember you read from the bottom and work up): 

goingprorogueHilarious

I do not even know what to make of that.  Yes, the account does seem to be dedicated to ridiculing some Canadian politician or another, but, even so, it takes a particularly sick individual to joke about people “deserv(ing) to die”. 

And yet individual like these – individuals who want us murdered for daring to exercise, much less defend, our Constitutionally-protected human rights – are the same people who cannot fathom why we would own and carry firearms.  On the other hand, their desires to disarm us and leave us defenseless make perfect sense in light of their desires to murder us. 

*sigh* 

Now that I may have potentially ruined your Thursday afternoon by exposing you to the sick, twisted underbelly of the “gun control” movement, I give you two cats, one shelf: 

IMG_20140803_172209-001

remember, people like @_NIKD_ vote

Occasionally, I am flat-out astonished at the mind-boggling ignorance of anti-rights cultists.  For example, take this gem:

NikDMutuallyExclusive @_NIKD_: @Bloviate_Barbie @tazcat2011 @GH719 @wallsofthecity @Tomfreeusa | No, not necessarily. And robbery =/= assault. Mutually exclusive.

The person went on to rationalize that s/he was trying to make the argument that not all robberies include assault, but that is definitely not what s/he said.  Furthermore, to that point, I would argue that all robberies do include the threat of assault – after all, what exactly is the robber going to do when you say, “No, I’d rather hold on to my cash, thanks.”?

Interestingly, the UCMJ – the only law I am really familiar with – does include “assault” as a “lesser included offense” of “robbery”, meaning that the military, at least, does consider all robberies to also be assaults.  On further research, though, this concept is not limited to the military; Wikipedia (for whatever it is worth) indicates that in the common law of crime, “robbery” is “larceny” plus “assault”.

In other words, NikD there was not just ignorant, s/he was astonishingly ignorant… and wrong to boot.  

Unfortunately, when useful idiots like NikD there are led around by morons like Jonathan Lowy, director of the Legal Action Project of the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, ignorance is to be expected:

"There’s still justification to have some delay before somebody can accumulate an arsenal," even if they already own a weapon, Lowy said. "Courts should not be second-guessing the judgment of the Legislature."

(Emphasis added.)  Apparently this blithering moron failed the “checks and balances” portion of his grade school civics class.  Now, in fairness, we are talking about the government of Kalifornistan, rather than the United States as a whole, but that particular state’s system was modeled almost exactly after the Fed’s system, including legislative, executive, and judicial branches, and the predictable ability for the judicial branch to tell the legislative branch that they overstepped their bounds.

The good news is NikD obviously will not have a hard time securing employment at the “Brady Center To Prevent Gun Ownership”, but the bad news is that s/he and Jonathan there both vote and both may procreate, or, worse, may already have.

It is important to remember that education is entirely wasted on people like these, but it can be quite useful for fence-sitters or other undecided folks who might encounter them.  Superficially, their claims may (or, hopefully, may not) make sense, but once confronted with the cold, hard facts of the situation, the anti-rights agenda completely falls apart.

that is not me driving it

But at least it is driving: 

You might have to click through to see the video if you are reading this on an RSS reader. 

No real estimate on when it might be done, but this was the first time it has been out of the shop in nine months, so I guess I should take what I can get. 

“gun sense” is a protection racket

Triangle Tactical brought my attention to this Facebook comment: 

JodyAverillDestructionofProperty

… and does a wonderful job explaining how this action is a punishable misdemeanor – either Class 2 or Class 1, depending on how much property was destroyed – in North Carolina. 

However, another thought came to my mind. 

The entire “gun control” / “gun sense” / Moms Demand / Everytown / Bloomberg’s-tax-write-off movement has turned into nothing more than a protection racket

Oh, no, the “moms” in question are not showing up at these businesses in cheap, oversize suits and delivering some line of, “My, it’d be a shame if something happened to your business… why don’t you pay us to keep it safe for you?”  These “activists” are not big on actual face-to-face confrontations with the people whose minds they are seeking to change.  Instead, they are taking to the internet, and literally threatening to destroy Kroger’s property if Kroger does not ban open carry on their premises. 

And lest you think this is an isolated idea, it is not:

kommonkatCart 

…and: 

BlueNationUntdLeaveTheCart

Hell, the concept is not even limited to grocery stores: 

My proposal is as follows: we should all leave. Immediately. Leave the food on the table in the restaurant. Leave the groceries in the cart, in the aisle. Stop talking or engaging in the exchange. Just leave, unceremoniously, and fast.

But here is the key part: don’t pay. Stopping to pay in the presence of a person with a gun means risking your and your loved ones’ lives; money shouldn’t trump this. It doesn’t matter if you ate the meal. It doesn’t matter if you’ve just received food from the deli counter that can’t be resold. It doesn’t matter if you just got a haircut. Leave.

I am not going to link to the original source of that quote, you can Google it for yourself if you like, but make no mistake – University of North Dakota professor Jack Russell Weinstein is endorsing fraud, civil fraud in all cases, and criminal fraud in some, depending on jurisdictions.  And, predictably, this suggestion was taken up by the anti-rights cultists and paraded around the internet as the authoritative answer to encountering an open carrier in a private establishment. 

“My, it would be a shame if I had to get up and leave without paying, after eating my meal, just because you allow the peaceful exercise of a Constitutionally-protected right on your premises… why don’t you stop that, mmkay?” 

For clarification, I have absolutely no problem with boycotts; not giving your money to a company or organization you disagree with is a time-honored method of expressing that disagreement.  I did it myself, just this weekend.  But there is a massive difference between “declining to do business with” and “intentionally and maliciously destroying and/or stealing property”. 

It has been a long-held opinion of pro-rights activists that “gun control” / “gun sense” supporters are largely comprised of criminals or people with criminal tendencies; after all, rendering their potential victims defenseless is only “logical”.  While the various and sundry rap sheets of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns certainly indicates that is the case for the leadership, these examples show the rot may indeed be systemic and pervasive. 

on ferguson

When the only immediately-apparent difference between police forces and military units is the word “POLICE” emblazoned across their backs: 

FergusonPolice

… our country has a problem. 

Or, to put it another way: 

AdamaPoliceMilitary

In fairness, we are not using the military as a police force in this case (though I understand the National Guard has been mobilized), but when you start giving the police retired military gear, and you train them in almost identical fashions, you get a certain amount of “monkey see, monkey do” no matter how hard you try.  And this is all without even addressing the side-effects of repeatedly teaching cops that they are above the law

I mean, seriously, remove the velcro ID patches from the cops in the first picture, and they could be troops on the ground in Mosul or something equivalent. 

On the other hand, when did it become a good idea to loot countless businesses, burn a convenience store to the ground, and violently riot for ten damn days in response to a perceived injustice?  An insufficient amount of data has been released about the shooting that sparked off this parade of idiocy, so I am not going to comment on it, except to say that the reaction, on both sides, has been wholeheartedly wrong.  Of course, when you make every attempt to burn a part of a city down, the police are, naturally, going to take a… particular interest in you and your compatriots. 

So, yes, while the riots have provided us a unique glimpse into the side effects of encouraging our police force to behave like a small, internal military – something our Founding Fathers hated and our laws actually prohibit – the riots themselves are wrong, on every count. 

In this case, everyone loses, especially the people of Ferguson. 

speaks for itself

In general, the anti-rights cultists have largely abandoned the lie of “only wanting to compromise”, which is just as well; it was always a lie, everyone knew it was always a lie, and it convinced no one. 

But, occasionally, you find a useful idiot who did not receive the memo: 

comebackshaneCompromise@comebackshane: @Soldier1eaODGrn Reasonable should be determined by an equal number of representatives from both sides. Compromise.

@wallsofthecity: The pro-rights community has been "compromising" for over 80 years. It’s time to reclaim our rights. @comebackshane @Soldier1eaODGrn

@comebackshane: @wallsofthecity @soldier1eaodgrn Compromise is a continuous thing. It doesn’t go away. You can’t just go, "Fuck it, I’m done!"

@wallsofthecity: Actually, we can. "Compromise" requires both parties to give something up. #guncontrol never hass. @comebackshane @soldier1eaodgrn

@comebackshane: @wallsofthecity @soldier1eaodgrn OK…you can own a semi-automatic military style weapon…after a proper background check and training.

compromise_v21Yes, that was Shane Ross’ – aka @comebackshane – notion of “compromise”: he will “allow” you to continue owning your “semi-automatic military style weapon” so long as you submit to his demands. 

Now, just so everyone is on the same page, the definition of “compromise” is “an agreement or a settlement of a dispute that is reached by each side making concessions.”  What concession did Shane here make?  Oh, right, he “allowed” you to go on exercising your rights to keep and bear firearms, own private property, and tend to your self-defense.  These mental midgets literally believe that respecting basic human rights is a “concession”. 

As the title says, that speaks for itself. 

Of course, this is the same useful idiot who could not define “assault rifle”, and managed to define “assault weapon” as “semi-automatic firearms with a detachable magazine”… and that was it.  I shit you not.  Yes, this individual wants to restrict, if not outright ban, something he cannot adequately or properly define.  As I am fond of noting, “gun control” supporters seem to exhibit the Dunning-Kruger Effect with… shall-we-say above-average frequency. 

By now, everyone should be familiar with Lawdog’s famous – or, perhaps, infamous – dissertation on “compromise” in the “gun control” arena, but please refresh yourself on how much we have surrendered for absolutely nothing in return. 

Should I “compromise” with someone looking to murder me?  No?  Then why should I waste my time “compromising” with someone trying to deprive me of other rights, especially when the “compromise” itself is naught but a bald-faced lie? 

sylvester stallone is riding his hypocrisy all the way to the bank

In general, I try not to let actors’ political positions and opinions from coloring my perception or reception of their work.  After all, they are entitled to their own opinions as much as anyone is, I am paying them to entertain me, not for their own personal opinions, and if I really threw a flag on every statist actor, I would not have much left to watch.  For example, Nathan Fillion is vocally anti-firearm, and Brent Spiner supports Our Glorious President. 

But, sometimes, I am willing to make an exception.  I was going to go see Expendables 3 this weekend, until I saw this: 

SylvesterPansy

Let me get this straight, asshole… you make millions glorifying and glamorizing the wanton and destructive use of firearms, and then turn around and have the nerve to tell the American people that respecting basic human rights is equivalent to “living in the Dark Ages”? 

Vaffanculo, jackass.

And lest you think I am overreacting to a Twitter meme, Stallone did say these things, sufficiently far back that I should have known better.  Of course, to make matters even more hypocritical, Stallone has applied for, and received, a carry permit, so he wants firearms – and even understands the most-prevalent use for them today – but does not you to have firearms.  How generous of him. 

He does a decent job pretending to be a door-kicker, but something tells me he does not have the spine necessary to put his anti-rights dreams into practice, personally. 

home gunsmithing

Well, tinkering, at least. 

The promised parts from Kel-Tec arrived, and that seemed like a good time to do some work on the 1903 as well. 

The new extractor spring is actually different from the old one – it is about 5mm longer.  The angle in the metal is identical to the old one, and the metal itself seems similar, but it seems like it will apply more force to the extractor itself, and thus the case I am trying to extract, than its predecessor.  I would have taken a picture of it, if it were not for my dead smartphone and the fact that all of my other cameras are currently over in Europe with Better Half and her mother; however, if you look at this picture, and see how the spring (the piece of metal on the outside) does not go all the way to the end of the extractor?  Now it does. 

Obviously I have not been able to hit up the range yet, but I have some limited hope this might solve my problem. 

As for the 1903, I knocked out the pin that tried to fall out on its own previously, and then took a look at the two-part firing pin and its associated spring.  The 1903 is “hammerless”, in that its actual hammer is hidden inside a shroud on the slide, so the firing pin has to be in two pieces to be removable.  Both parts seemed in good condition, though the actual tip of the firing pin was interestingly more rounded than pointy, and it seemed that way by design.  The spring seemed, well, springy, and ran almost to the tip of the forward pin, so I have to assume everything is pretty much as it should be. 

I am hoping just taking things apart, cleaning them, and putting them back together was enough to correct whatever issue there might have been.  If not, I will just have to get some replacement springs and possibly a new firing pin retaining pin, and go from there. 

Obviously the man does not need my praise, but I am eternally impressed at the… “simple” is the wrong word, but perhaps “elemental” nature of John Moses Browning’s designs.  There is not a lot on his firearms that does not need to be there, and they work in perhaps the simplest possible way.  I am certainly not planning on putting the 1903 into carry rotation, but a mid-size, all-metal handgun in .32ACP seems like a perfect introductory firearm for anyone who has not had the chance to shoot something before.  If only its sights did not suck… 

Anywise, regardless of whether the replacement extractor spring works or not, Kel-Tec has already beaten Remington’s pants off when it comes to customer service.  Hell, Remington’s first “fix” did not work either, so Kel-Tec may come out ahead in the end after all. 

catching up on technology

And boy has phone technology leapt ahead and two years.  Anywise, the consensus from the intertubes appears to be that my old Galaxy S3 is dead on account of some variety of hardware fault, and is probably unrecoverable.  As such, here is the short list of possible replacements so far: 

PhoneComparison

A few clarifications… 

“Pure” indicates whether or not the Android operating system is left unmolested by manufacturers or carriers trying to do their own thing with it. 

“User serviceable battery” is kind of misleading; for example, the Nexus 4 battery can be replaced, but it is a non-trivial exercises compared to simply popping off the back cover and replacing it. 

Dimensions are in millimeters, weight is in grams, release date is approximate. 

The S3 is included simply for a reference point of where I am coming from; given its cost, I see no reason to go back to it, even though all of my accessories could carry over.  The good news is Better Half also has an S3, so she will still be able to use the cases/batteries.  The S5 is likewise included as a reference point of being “the best” smartphone on the market at the moment (according to The People Who Decide These Sorts Of Things); there is no way I can rationalize its cost, though.  And speaking of cost, the Blackphone is right out on that detail as well, but is still an intriguing concept.  Yes, the OnePlus One costs more used than new, but that is because getting it new requires some asinine invitation system, and invitations are unsurprisingly in short supply.  And, finally, the Blu phone is included as a curiosity, but not a lot more. 

It is looking like my desires for a clean Android OS and a user-serviceable battery may be somewhat mutually exclusive.  Hell, getting a pure Android with an external card slot can be a challenge, but that is a side effect of Google apparently wanting all of your data in one spot. 

Anything I am missing? 

the hits just keep rolling in

So, I have a Samsung Galaxy SIII originally locked to T-Mobile but since unlocked and running an AT&T SIM card.  It was rooted almost immediately after I received it (talk about bloatware…), and has been running the most-current, stable install of Cyanogenmod ever since (10.2.1, currently). 

I will not lie and say it has always been easy to keep it updated and running smoothly, but today takes the cake. 

I used the phone to make two calls this morning and take one picture around lunch.  About 1530, I picked it up to make another call, and it was not responding to the power button (it was locked, not off, last I saw it).  I held the button down for a while, mashed it a few times, and then gave up and disassembled its armor and removed and reinstalled the battery. 

Now, it will not boot past the “Samsung Galaxy SIII” screen. 

It will not boot into recovery mode, at all. 

It will boot into download mode, but ODIN refuses to recognize the phone’s existence when it is plugged into a desktop, and Heimdall cannot communicate with it. 

From reading around the forums, at this point, it is sounding like I am hosed, but I want to see if anyone out there has any other tricks or secrets up their sleeves. 

My alternatives seem to be sending the phone off to these guys – an idea I am not entirely thrilled with – or buying a replacement on Swappa and seeing if anyone will buy this thing from the boneyard – not exactly my favorite plan either. 

If I were flashing or rooting or updating or something, I would at least understand why this happened, although the “what” is sometimes confusing.  But this time, it was just sitting on my desk, minding its own business, and… *splat* 

It is good that I am finally off the drugs that precluded alcohol consumption, because this has been one hell of a month, and it is only half over.  Of course, the cloud around that silver lining is that the pain will start coming back now… 

kel-tec is winning at customer service

Regular readers (or even irregular ones) will have seen the preceding post regarding the issues I was having with my Kel-Tec PF9 failing to extract spent cases randomly, and then locking up solid.  I will answer everyone’s questions in the comments there, but I want to stress that I did not contact Kel-Tec about this problem, and I was planning on taking my torx set to the range and dorking around with the extractor spring screw, as seems to be the generally-accepted way of correcting extraction issues

Then, this email showed up in my inbox this afternoon from Kel-Tec’s Customer Service Manager: 

Hello Sir,

I understand your having some trouble with your PF-9 we do have a new updated extractor spring to help accept a wider variety of ammunition and help the overall performance of the gun.

-If you can provide me with an address I can get this new part out to you today.

Again, I did not contact Kel-Tec before this email; I was planning on doing so if my “dork around” session did not pan out, but I had not gotten there yet. 

I am basically having to pull teeth to get Remington to correct a rusty-assed bolt that one of their firearms came with, but here Kel-Tec is, throwing parts at me without me even asking. 

That is customer service, folks. 

Now, obviously, I would have preferred if the firearm did not have this problem to begin with, especially since this seems to be a problem PF-9s have been having for years now and one would think it would eventually be isolated and corrected.  However, I have no idea when mine was produced, and… well… it is a Kel-Tec after all.  I was kind of expecting to have problems. 

But when the company goes out of its way to stand behind its product and support it?  Yeah, I can appreciate that.  This will not make me a Kel-Tec fan-boy, but if the gun ends up working at the end of this, I will be satisfied. 

well that sucked

Decided today was a good day to drag the new acquisition to the range, along with that shiny 1903.  Things… did not go well. 

I was able to put two magazines through the 1903, and at 10 yards it was trivially easy to keep inside of the 10 ring on a standard full-size human silhouette target, and inside the 8 ring at 25 yards.  For me being out of practice, and for that thing having functionally no sights to speak of, I consider that a win.  And, yes, .32 ACP out of an arguably full size pistol has basically no recoil; if anyone ever wanted to resurrect that platform, I still contend they would make money hand-over-fist. 

However, this happened at the end of each magazine: 

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That little pin sticking up out of the serrations – the one with the hair on it – it should not be sticking up like that.  At the end of each magazine, the pin was sticking about half an inch out the left side; in fact, if I slap the side of the 1903 hard enough, the pin pops out all on its own.  According to this helpful diagram, that little rod holds the firing pin in place, so I am thinking I should do a detail strip and figure out what else, if anything, might be misbehaving. 

So I moved on to the PF9, and, well, this happened so much there is not a lot else to tell: 

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That is a failure to extract coupled with the slide trying to shove the next round into battery and getting it jammed between the spent case and the feed ramp. 

As an engineer, I confess to being fascinated that the cartridge provides enough impulse to cycle the slide without even hardly coming out of battery. 

As a consumer, facing one of these failures at least once a magazine (on average – some magazines were clean, some failed every other round) is damned frustrating.  I was running two separate magazines through the gun, and both threw the same error; it did not seem to matter how I held the gun; it did not seem to matter how I shot… it just, randomly, would completely fail to extract and then jam itself up.  And with that next round being partially out of the magazine and partially in the gun, clearing the jam is a royal pain in the arse. 

Unfortunately I forgot to bring my toolkit to the range, and the torx screwdriver they had there was too small for me to get good enough purchase on to really mess with the extractor screw.  Additionally, I only had enough patience to put 150 rounds through it, so maybe it will… sort itself out.  Who knows?  I am going to take the pistol to the range again, along with my toolkit this time, and see if another 150 rounds or so will make a difference, and then I guess it is time to box it up and send it back to its mothership as well. 

When it shot, it seemed to shoot well enough – inside the 9 ring and head at 10 yards – but I am sure my… frustration… affected things.  The gun had horrible range manners though – spent casings every which-way and burned powder and other crap all the way up to my elbows. 

Speaking of messes, I have to confess to being rather disappointed in the state of Personal Defense & Handgun Safety Center.  Apart from the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center, they are the only indoor range on the south side of Raleigh, and you can tell that they know they have no private competition… the target retrieval system “worked” in the barest sense of the word, ceiling tiles were falling down, their concept of “sound insulation” is old carpet that may or may not have originally been green but definitely is now, and there were literally dead cockroaches on the bathroom floor. 

The “pro shop” section was at least well-kept, and their inventory is fairly impressive, but… I doubt I will go back, even when the Wake range is closed again. 

(Speaking of, Coal Creek was closed maybe two weeks for the entire five years I lived in the area, but the Wake County Range has to close for a month every year for “maintenance”?  Admittedly this is a range used by every police department in a who-knows-how-many county radius, and they probably shoot all kinds of interesting things into the backstop… but still.)

we are all serfs

I used to think we owned our house free-and-clear now that we paid off the mortgage. 

Then our property tax statement arrived. 

Bonus:  our house’s tax appraisal is somewhere around 20% more than we paid for it, reappraisals only happen every eight years, the last one was in 2008, and you can appeal for a reappraisal, but “Any inflation, deflation or other economic changes occurring after this date do not affect the county’s assessed value of the property and cannot be lawfully considered when reviewing the value for adjustment.” 

It is funny; our Founding Fathers placed massive importance on land ownership, up to and including requiring it for suffrage.  Now, none of us can own real property – after all, if you are still paying for it, you do not actually own it. 

famous on the internets

So I had the opportunity to hit up a Raleigh-Durham gun show today, and I cannot say as though I was disappointed. 

I was, however, heartily amused at the security theater that took place on the way in.  You walk up to a ticket both, hand the nice lady your money, and she hands you a ticket… which you hand to a gentleman not 10 steps away.  Then, the police officers manning the show tell you to empty your pockets and hold the items in your hands as you walk through a metal detector… which was very clearly off.  After you do that, you can go on your merry. 

These shows are very much “no loaded firearms allowed”, but if the police, or anyone else for that matter, thinks that level of “security” is going to stop anyone from carrying into the show, they are sorely and sadly mistaken. 

And speaking of theater, there were easily 10x as many, if not 100x as many people at this local gun show than were at the “MOMentum 2014” shindig the “Moms Demand Gun Control, a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of Bloomberg” held in Denver this weekend, which was apparently a nation-wide gathering of their “leadership”, or somesuch nonsense.  Hell, I would go so far as to say there were more women actively shopping and buying firearms at the gun show than there were at the anti-rights cultist box wine party; I personally witnessed a handful of women filling out 4473 for carry guns, and even more shopping for one.  I even heard a dealer disrecommend a snubby revolver as the a first carry gun, which indeed warmed the cockles of my little heart. 

Anywise, I saw KSGs ($1000), UTSes ($1400 – hah), a fairly standard Saiga-12 with the trigger group moved forward for $1700 (thank you Obama), Tavors ($1400), an actual PMR in the wild ($600 – I really wanted it, but survived the temptation), plenty of AR lowers in the $50-$75 range, and all kinds of magazines back around $10-15… and I very nearly bought one of these, just for the giggles of it. 

I did bring back a few more .50 caliber cans (because you can never have too many), some .32 ACP for that 1903 I procured but still have not actually shot, a no-name AR15 armorer’s wrench which will hopefully hold up well enough… and this little guy: 

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Yes, that is the first Kel-Tec I have ever bought – a PF-9, to be specific – and while I would never go so far as to say it is a “good” gun, it is a good value, especially for what I have planned for it… but more on that in a later post. 

It did not, however, come with rust on its slide face, so it already has that going for it.

Easily the highlight of the show, however, was a gentleman from Ed’s Gun Shop asking me if I was Linoge while I was browsing their wares.  Apparently he has been a long-time reader of the site, and one of Oleg’s pictures gave me away… plus I was wearing a hat with a “walls of the city” patch on it, as well as my “I R SRS GNBLGGR” t-shirt*, so that probably helped too. 

I guess I am officially Famous on the Internets. 

(* – One dealer asked about the shirt, on account of his not getting on the first reading.  He did not really get it when I explained it to him either, but that is ok; inside jokes are like that.) 

remington update, number whoreallycaresanymore

So y’all saw the letter I sent to the Director of Sales at Remington Arms; his response was added to the post, if you missed that. 

Four days later, a ticket was created in Remington’s customer service system and I got an email about it. 

Three days after that, a hardcopy set of a Service Request, a mailing label, and instructions on how to send the firearm back to Remington were snail-mailed to me, and I received them a few days ago. 

This time around, the “reason for return” section of the Service Request has both “D_V010 – Barrel – Rusty” and “B_V032 – Bolt – Poor Finish” filled in already.  At this point, given the service department completely ignored the paragraph explanation I provided on the last one, I am not going to bother trying to provide an explanation; if I had to make a wild-assed assumption, I would guess the service department does not even look at the hardcopies, but instead only listens to whatever their computers tell them. 

So, back in the mail it goes. 

At this point, though, I would not count on a lot.  Between repeated cleanings and putting somewhere around 500-750 rounds through it, there is not a lot of the “original” rust left on the bolt, except tucked in the corners between the face and the rim, and beneath the extractor.  Will the service department notice this?  Dunno.  Will they write it off as me not cleaning the gun, or something like that?  Would not surprise me. 

But, hey, they are footing the bill for the shipping, so I might as well give it a shot.  At this point, a Remington 700 is going to rack up more frequent-flyer miles than an average Taurus, though… 

(For those not familiar with the whole story, see here.) 

never thought i would see the day

By now, you have probably heard the outstanding news that the District of Columbia’s outright ban on carrying a firearm outside of your home has been struck down as unconstitutional, but the absolutely awesome part of the ruling, in my opinion, is this section: 

Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.

I am not a lawyer, of course, but those people who are lawyers have indicated that this sentence means that DC now has permitless, Constitutional Carry, and will until such time as the DC city council enacts some sort of Constitutional carry permitting process. 

It is almost worth it to make the drive up to the Mall and quietly do a loop around the reflecting pool while carrying, but, personally, I do not want to be the test case. 

the joys of sleep deprivation

Since my last “SWO Life” post was such an educational hit, I thought I might expound upon a somewhat related point that, even to this day, throws Better Half for loops. 

Hopefully all of my readers are aware of this, but sleep is hard to come by in the military, and the Navy is certainly no different. 

When ships are in port, life is fairly easy; Officers’ Call is at 0700 or 0730 every morning, depending on the ship’s Executive Officer, and work proceeds from there until… well, until the day’s work was done or your Department Head says you can go home, which, for me, ranged from noon to 2300, depending on what was going on and who my Department Head was. 

hatchUnderway… well, life gets a little more complicated.  As you can probably imagine, certain tasks on the ship have to be done on pretty much a 24/7 schedule – navigating the ship, keeping an eye on the tactical situation, and running the ship’s propulsion and power plants, to boil it down to the three biggies.  To keep the first two areas manned*, ship’s watch rotations generally look something like this (though there are always deviations for a number of reasons): 

Watch 1: 0700-1200
Watch 2: 1200-1800
Watch 3: 1800-2200
Watch 4: 2200-0200 (Generally called the Mid Watch)
Watch 5: 0200-0700 (Generally called the Rev Watch)

In all cases, you were generally expected to arrive on watch 15-30 minutes ahead of time to get a grasp of the situation before taking over your post yourself, and you were definitely supposed to arrive shaved, showered, and otherwise presentable, which could require 5-50 minutes preparation, depending on the person. 

On larger ships, or if you were lucky, you were part of a four-watch rotation, meaning three other people did your job on a rotating schedule with you.  On smaller ships, there were three watches. 

So, best case scenario, starting from the top, you would stand the following watches:  1, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1 again. 

What does that actually mean?  Well, let me lay some ground rules first.  In addition to whatever watch you stood, you were still expected to accomplish whatever “work” you did on the ship, whether that was turning a wrench or pushing papers.  Work days on the ship ran from around 0730 or 0800 to 1700ish, but if it was a particularly busy day, or if you stood watch in that window, you were expected to finish whatever you needed to in whatever time it took.  While it did depend on my CO, both ships I served on frowned on sleeping during the day, regardless of what watch you stood and regardless of whether your work was done, and two COs outright forbade it.  Also, of interesting note, bridge watches consist of standing the entire time, while CIC watches are almost entirely sitting, and Engineering watches depended on whether you were in the engineering spaces or in the Central Control Station, as well as depending on what went wrong that day. 

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(Yes, that middle rack was my bed, once upon a time.  Imagine a 6’2” person trying to get into that thing, much less get a good night’s sleep once he was in it.  If I was on my side, my shoulders just about maxed out the vertical clearance.  ) 

So, starting from the top…  get up at about 0530 to get yourself presentable and feed yourself, stand Watch 1, go to bed at maybe 2000 (Taps is technically at 2200, but we will fudge a little here… as long as you can sleep through the 1MC announcement that is.), get up at 0100, stand Watch 5, stay up through the whole day, maybe catch a catnap at 2000 again, stand Watch 4 until 0200, then go to bed until Reveille at 0600 to work, stand Watch 3, get a decent night’s sleep (assuming nothing goes wrong), stand Watch 2, catch up on the work you missed during the day so get a touch less sleep, and start all over again. 

For two nights, you scored a grand total of 10 hours of sleep… total.  Awesome.  Then for two nights, you might have gotten 8 each… if the XO did not need a report, or if the oil-water separator didn’t throw a bearing, or if you did not need to work on your Surface Warfare Qualification… or… or… or…  Rinse, lather, repeat. 

What about the worst case?  1, 4, 2, 5, 3, 1. 

Get up at 0530 again, stand Watch 1, maybe catch a catnap, stand Watch 4, go to sleep until Reveille, stand Watch 2, hit the rack at 2000, stand Watch 5, stay up through the day doing your work, stand watch 3 until 2200, get up again at 0530 for Watch 1. 

~5 hours of sleep, ~5 hours of sleep, and then ~7 hours of sleep.  Again, assuming all is well in the world. 

And Navy crews do one of those two scenarios 7 days a week that the ship is underway, no days off, all while still somehow managing to do their “normal” jobs on the ship as well. 

Is the need to have positions on the ships manned 24 hours a day completely understandable and reasonable?  Of course.  Is it also reasonable to conclude that this sleep cycle tends to wear on a person over time, and may contribute to situations where US Navy warships get t-boned by tankers weighing orders of magnitude more? 

Of course. 

I am certainly not trying to excuse what transpired on the Porter, but I am trying to explain an aspect of the situation a lot of people might not be aware of.  Sleep deprivation behaves much like intoxication, and we do not allow intoxicated people to operate heavy machinery, though we seem to have no problems putting people with limited amounts of sleep in charge of multi-thousand-ton warships.  Again, the 24/7 watch requirements of warships is completely reasonable, but allowing people to get the sleep they need to maintain that over time is also completely reasonable. 

(* – Engineering spaces often have their own watch rotations on their own schedules, often due to requirements about how long you can stay in a given space at X temperature.) 

schadenfreude

So over the weekend I happened to learn that the individual who thoroughly shafted me on my Land Rover D90 purchase has fallen on some hard financial times.  I will not say this news makes me particularly happy, per se, especially since he has a family and a couple of small kids, but I will say that it could not have happened to a nicer person.

On a somewhat related note, if you are in the market for a Rest-Of-the-World Land Rover 90/110/Defender (not to be confused with the North American Spec versions), please be very careful who you purchase one from and please do all of your due diligence about the VIN and its authenticity.  Jalopnik has a brief summation if you do not feel like crawling through that thread, but the even briefer story is that a jackass was importing less-than-25-year-old-Defenders with older-than-25-years VINs from a variety of vehicles, and the Feds finally noticed.  The jackass in question is facing charges, but the real bummer is that the people currently in possession of the illegal vehicles are going to lose those vehicles, permanently, and then get to sort out reparations from the jackass.

Vehicle laws in the US are damned near as stupid as firearm laws.

These three VIN checkers all agree on what my Defender is, and match up to the documentation I have from Land Rover themselves, so I tentatively recommend them for idiot-checking purposes.

Remember, vehicles – meaning the actual frame, body, engine, etc. – that do not meet NHTSA/EPA standards can only be imported if they are 25 years or older, and they must be imported in their original configuration.  Now, once the vehicle is here in the States, you can do as you please with it, but you had better have the documentation to support that the changes transpired after it crossed our borders.  And, regardless, slapping a new/different VIN on the vehicle will not change that, and will only lead to a world of hurt.

And all that said, if there is one post in the Defender Source thread I would recommend reading, it is this one from someone whose Rover was confiscated, partially quoted below:

Doug and I met yesterday, and as he stated above and numerous times previously, the DHS does follow this forum. The same agent also remarked to me about how they were watching this thread the day these vehicles were seized. Though this is only my opinion, he actually seemed quite pleased with response this event had caused.

[…]

If I were to ask anything of the members of this forum, it would be to be mindful of the fact that the Department of Homeland Security is reading your posts. Also bear in mind that DHS conducted surveillance on the vehicle owners in the weeks and months prior to their seizures. I would ask how you would feel if you found out the government had been watching you at home while playing in the front yard with your kids, or watching you at work, or even watching your parents house?

Yes, DHS agents did, in fact, go to the parents’ house of a Defender owner – an address where the vehicle was not registered, mind you – in order to confiscate the vehicle, when they could not find it at the owners’ residence.  The surveillance only makes sense, given that.  However, “makes sense” is uttered with the sarcasm and disdain appropriate for the very notion of surveilling law-abiding American citizens who have not committed a single crime and are, in fact, the victims in this sad turn of events.  Welcome to the police state.

Sadly, no, I do not have my Rover back yet, and no, I have not decided if I am keeping it long-term after I do receive it, but things like this certainly dampen my enthusiasm.

(For clarification, the title refers to the first paragraph.  The rest of this post is just pure suckage for those involved, and I extract nothing positive from it whatsoever.)