Saturday, December 31, 2011

Because I may not be "with it" later this evening...

Happy New Year, everyone. May 2012 be better than 2011. Not that this would be terribly difficult, mind...

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Yet another TSA failure.

A friend of mine - who is now officially a citizen of both the US and the UK - came back to the States for a family emergency over a week ago. I don't think she anticipated the crap she got from the TSA...nor did she expect them to steal some cookies her aunt made her for Christmas.

I guess peanut butter cookies are potentially deadly. I mean, that's the ONLY possible reason half her cookies are missing, right?

I understand this is petty compared to the other crap the TSA has done, but really, it's just one more reason they need to go. When will the government listen to the people and get rid of this useless POS agency already?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Since I won't be around the internets the rest of the weekend...

A merry/happy whatever holiday you celebrate this season. Christmas, Solstice, Hanukkah, Yule, Festivus, Kwanzaa, Saturnalia, etc. - may they all be happy (or full of grievances...).

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

This amuses me.

h/t to Unc

Monday, December 19, 2011

Marylanders don't need to carry guns, right?

It's such a safe state that no one should ever need it. Ever.

Worthy of note: a teacher from one of the local high schools was shot and killed at the same mall about 6 years ago. This mall is also a frequent center of violence for city teens, as the bus line runs right past it. Yay.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Interesting - West Virginia farm/retreat for sale.

As some of you know, my interests are varied. I love to read about cooking, baking, farming, gardening, livestock husbandry, herpetology, and a whole mess of other topics as well as firearms and hunting. At one point I started looking for blogs written by lady farmers/women who live on ranches to get an idea of what it's actually like. Call it mental preparation for the future.

Anyway, a few years back I came across this blog and I was immediately hooked. It's written by a woman who grew up in the DC area, traveled a bit as a military wife, wrote romance novels for awhile, and eventually decided to settle in a part of West Virginia where her family had lived for over 200 years. Seems perfectly normal, right? Well, this crazy woman decided to jump head-first into farming, and hasn't looked back since.

I'm kindof fascinated by her. I applaud her tenacity and willingness to struggle through the tough stuff to become a better farmer. Over the past few years of living on her farm, she's gone through gardening, livestock ownership and the struggles one faces when one's power goes out in the middle of winter in West Virginia. She's come through all the tough stuff and seems to have found herself in a place where she's truly happy.

She's also found herself in the possession of two farms, and cannot reasonably own both. So, she's selling one of them.

The listing is here, if you're interested. I know there are a lot of us out there who talk about TEOTWAWKI ("the end of the world as we know it") and how they plan on heading west, but is that truly reasonable? Why not simply hit a state like West Virginia? It's firearm friendly, has some of the prettiest scenery this side of the Mississippi, is chock full of wildlife, and is pretty darn green - makes for growing one's food a bit easier than it would be here, closer to the coast.

To be honest, if my plans didn't already have me heading West in the nebulous future, I'd seriously consider talking to her about it. At that price point, I'd consider it worth it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Do you read Letters of Note?

If not, you should. Here is a good reason why.

Rather timely, I think...

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Attention Preppers and Gardening Enthusiasts

If you're into gardening, or seed saving and stockpiling I would like you to consider buying a catalog and possibly the seeds for your upcoming garden from D. Landreth Seed Co. D. Landreth is the oldest seed company in America and was founded in 1784. They list every president from George Washington to FDR as prior customers. I recently found out that the company is having some financial problems and is attempting to increase their catalog sales in order rectify this problem. Their beautiful catalog is full of illustrations and information on seeds and plants dating back to 1839. It can be seen and purchased here for $5.45. It also makes a great gift for the prepper on your list.

Rather than just a plug I'll give you a review. D. Landreth is a local company to me and I have been buying seed from them for several years, in fact I have met the owners at local flower and garden shows. They are very nice, free with advice and will go out of their way to make sure you get what you want and ensure your order is straight. D. Landreth carries heirloom vegtable and flower seeds, bulbs and gardening gifts. If you are unfamiliar with heirloom seeds these are the type that grow what the package says time after time. They are exactly the type of seeds that you want to stockpile or cultivate and save in your survival garden. I've tried a lot of these different veggies and flowers and picked ones that I really like and that are easy to grow. The seeds I've received from D. Landreth have been consistantly fantastic. I rarely get seeds that won't sprout. The resulting plants always produce in abundance. I have found the plants to be hardy even when I get forgetful and neglect them. I have also tried sevceral of their flowers and their famous Zinnia Collection. If you like flowers try some in a sunny spot. Landreth's Zinnias grow big and are beautiful. We got compliments from the neighbors all summer and fall. I had a few plants even hang on and bloom in November this year due to our extended warm fall. The colors are fantastic and the effort was non existant. I thew the seeds in some loose dirt in a flower bed, covered and watered. Really! And bam! big colorful Zinnias all summer. The seeds really have been great. I only order vegtable seeds from 2 companies now and Landreth is one of them.

Some info about D. Landreth's difficulty
Help Save One of America's Heirloom, Non-GMO Seed Houses

Washington Gardener

D. Landreth on Facebook

Thursday, December 8, 2011

I hate when I do that.

I started to write about an AWESOME dream I had...with a bunch of bloggers who are also my friends...but the second I started typing, I lost all the details.

Dammit. It was pretty kickass, too...with lots of tasty weaponry, all of which happened to come from NFO's arsenal. Ah well.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Today. 70 years.

Big Picture's photo homage to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

More than I could ever say is in those photos. Go, look at them, and remember.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Range Report: Excalibur Axiom

This is going to be a slight departure from the normal sort of range report, as we opted to take my crossbow out before we attempt to hunt with it.

While I had an opportunity to test it when I bought it, Chris didn't get that chance, so this was doubly informative. We wanted to see just how it would behave outdoors, and he wanted to see what it would be like to cock it with both the crank and the string assist.

My impressions:
1 - The crank cock device works a lot better when one reads the directions.
1a - If I were only a few inches taller, the string cocker would be a lot easier to use. I just can't pull it the last inch needed to set the bowstring.
2 - With my noodle arms, holding the crossbow is alright, but holding it STEADY is difficult. Will work on that.
3 - Even with my noodle arms, I'm still a pretty good shot. Need to get to be more than just "pretty good," but for my first time shooting it outdoors, I'm pleased.
4 - This thing is pretty damned strong. I'm seeing far greater penetration than anticipated. In the broadhead target with even the cheapest of my three broadheads, it goes in about halfway. I suspect a bolt will go all the way through a deer with little difficulty unless I hit a bone. I invite any bowhunters reading this to correct me if I'm wrong here, but I believe the foam deer target is denser than a live animal.
5 - Wind and 2 extra yards REALLY make a difference in accuracy. Will need to work more on distance practice, I think. I'm also reading a heavier broadhead/field point may help with accuracy, so I might pick up a box of 150gr broadheads to try.

Chris also seemed to enjoy shooting it, though he's gotta work a little more on his aim. ;)

All in all, the Excalibur Axiom kit is well worth the money spent for a recurve crossbow.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Soldier's Angels fundraiser...

Over at Linoge's. Prizes are pretty awesome, too. Stuff like a pretty awesome belt (I have one!) and a pretty neat holster, plus a whole bunch of other really cool toys. Go check it out and donate.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Aww, poor baby.

Apparently a TSA agent reported sexual assault from a fellow TSA agent. Apparently she felt they retaliated against her, and now she's suing.

I have no pity. It's about time they experience this crap directly.

Via BoingBoing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Quote of the day: Thanksgiving edition.

I had this all ready to go yesterday but forgot to hit Publish. My apologies, folks. ANYWAY.

We are Americans and we are exceptional. And that is worth being thankful for! - Michael Bane

Read the whole thing, and have a happy Thanksgiving. Even if I am a day late in posting.

Oh, also? Read this. And go buy a bottle of Jack. Thanks to Jay for that second link. I'm already a JD fan, and I don't really need any more at the moment, but I'm going to buy a bottle soon anyway to support this.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I guess they solved the crime problem?

Our WONDERFULTASTIC governor, Martin O'Malley, has signed off on a $553,000 purchase order for a diploma mill. Because that makes a lot of sense.

So glad to see all the state's crime has been fixed. Oh wait...

Friday, November 11, 2011

Just wanted to say thanks!

THANKS TO ALL WHO SERVED! We do appreciate it.

Oh, the ridiculousness...


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This will probably only happen once

I give you the one and only time I have felt that gun laws in my state were better than ANY other state. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

REMINDER: BP firearms for sale (plus two .22 rifles)

Two of the firearms have sold, but there's still a bunch left. Go look!

Monday, November 7, 2011


This is totally happening tomorrow. I'm just letting you know. :)


Thursday, October 27, 2011


Looks like the idiot TSA agent who left the note in that woman's luggage got suspended. Of course, that probably means the individual got a promotion.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

San Diego protest to bear arms

I'm starting to like this Mark Dice guy.

Monday, October 24, 2011

So...everyone's pretty certain the TSA's staffed by hornballs, right?

In case you aren't 100% certain, maybe this will help cement that idea.

Dear TSA goons: Sex work pays better AND is more honorable than working for the TSA. And I've heard it can be a lot more fun. Might want to reconsider your line of work.

Friday, October 21, 2011

This is probably the only post I'll make about Occupy [YourCityHere]

...Seriously? This has to be fake, right?

Apparently not. This is disgusting.

h/t to MikeW.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Zombies and Shotguns

With the Walking Dead new season starting I saw a few posts from fellow gunbloggers (namely NJT, The Miller and Says Uncle) that go against convention and suggest that a shotgun is not the best zombie survival weapon. This theory is also espoused by Max Brooks in The Zombie Survival Guide. He actually advocates a .22lr pistol for dispatching zombies. I am going to have to both disagree and agree with them. While another choice in firearm and caliber may be better at actually dispatching zombies more efficiently, surprisingly, I believe conventional wisdom is correct in this case and think the 12 guage pump shotgun is the all around best zombie survival gun. Now before you jump on my case, I'm looking at the big picture here. While most gunbloggers and readers are familiar with and are usually somewhat practiced with firearms the average person is not. The average zombie figher may never have even picked up a gun before. I know, I know; you say let the zombies eat them and we'll have an ideal utopia of gunbloggers and gun blog readers, right? Keep in mind, I'm trying to be helpful. Usually, when I'm asked this question, it's by an average Joe/Jane and I'm not going to advocate something like an AR-15 to them. I do always say that if they want to be prepared when the zombies come they should buy a firearm and practice with it, but I know they won't. They want a quick fix like everyone else, a magic bullet if you excuse the pun, one gun to cover everything. To them I say get a 12 guage pump and here's the top ten reasons why.

1.)The 12 guage pump shotgun is availible almost everywhere. Chain stores, sports shops, gun stores and poice departments have them. They will be very easy to find and are inexpensive if you purchase ahead of time.

2.)Because of this widespread availiblility, ammo for them will be extremely easy to find and you will most likely run into 12 guage shells most often.

3.)They are extremely easy to operate.

4.)You don't have to keep them sighted in since they are designed to be point shot. Most Zombies you need to shoot will be at short range.

5.)They are extemely effective with almost any shot size. You are not shooting living flesh, you are shooting dead and rotting flesh with no ability to repair and heal itself. You'll probably get good penetration even with bird shot. People tend to forget zombies are not very sturdy.

6.)You can be reasonably sure your headshots are going to hit the brainstem or you can take most of the head off easily.

7.)You can incapacitate a zombie quickly by separating its spine or blowing a leg off in one or 2 shots and run away.

8.)Reloads - while slower - are straightforward and easy. You push shells into the firearm until you can't fit any more and you won't accidentally drop the mag while you're panicked.

9.)You'll get used to the recoil. After taking out a few to several hundred of the walking dead you won't be crying about your shoulder, since you won't really feel it anymore.

10.)The noise and flash will disorient Zombies closest to you and if you can't reload quickly most hunting shotguns make effective clubs.

As you can see I'm talking Zombie survival here, not zombie hunting. Hunting is a whole other scenario, one in which my weapons choice will be extremely different. Go see the blogs mentioned at the top of this post for that discussion. As for the problem of hoards of zombies and the limited ammo capacity of most pump shotguns, I'm thinking that's why I carry this Molotov Cocktail. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Spookytime - Undead

A couple of years ago, Chris and I came across this odd Aussie zombie flick on the boob toob, and sat down to watch it.

It turned out to be a festival of awesome and gore, capped off with one of the most ridiculous firearm contraptions I've EVER seen.

First, the website. A small warning - it's noisy and flash-heavy, so be aware of that before visiting.

So the basic premise is this: meteorites hit a town in NSW, Australia. Somehow (and this is not explained), people start turning into zombies. Then craziness ensues. Oh, and there are aliens helping to keep the infection contained. Because that makes sense. Read more about it over here.

And now for the gun list:
1 Remington 870 Slug Gun
2 Inglis Hi-Power
3 Beretta 92FS
4 Satin Nickel M1911A1
5 Norinco 77B
6 Colt Combat Python
7 Micro UZI
8 Smith & Wesson 916A Shotgun

The 916A is the wacky contraption I'm talking about. One of the characters, Marion, rigs THREE of these bad boys together. And shoots them. The ridiculousness is unparallelled. We haven't seen anything this nuts since Reggie's quad barrel from Phantasm II and IV. BUT WAIT, IT GETS BETTER! At the end of the movie a survivor, Rene, is seen with a QUADRUPLE shotgun.

Yes, friends, I have seen awesome. And it's made of four shotguns.

Friday, October 14, 2011


"Hey, random company in Virginia, here's all this money. Go record your fellow citizens for us."

Friday funny!

...What? There's a gun in it!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

More controversy over printed AR15 parts.

About a month ago, I posted about printable AR15 magazines. Now, Make reports that this has caused Thingiverse to reconsider allowing weapons and parts of weapons to exist on the site. More about it here.

I understand their concern - they want the site to remain accessible to schools, and schools will most likely block any website that shows how to create firearms. I don't think it's unreasonable to make those how-tos restricted by age.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

How did I manage to know nothing of this movie before now?

I just watched The Final Countdown. I didn't know it existed before this week, and thankfully Netflix Instant had it ready to watch for me.

If you haven't seen it, watch it. It wasn't superb, but the premise is neat and there's a decent amount of planepr0n. It reminded me of a series of books that were likely inspired by this movie.

I like this idea of suddenly being dropped back in time. I like the concept of forcing characters to decide whether to be honest about who they are, or hide their background in an attempt to fit in. I guess that's why I liked Back to the Future as much as I did.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Spookytime - The Crow

The Crow, based on the comic by James O'Barr.

Some will say it's an action movie, but it's really horror. I'll give you action/horror if you prefer. It is a tale of revenge, witchcraft, magic and redemption. The film was very popular, but if you haven't seen it please check it out before the damn remake comes out. It tells the story of Eric Draven and Shelly webster, a couple who planned to marry on Halloween. They never made it to their wedding - they were brutally murdered the night before, on what is commonly referred to as Devil's Night. Eric is mysteriously brought back to life a year later by a crow that guides and goads him on a path of revenge/redemption. This movie is dark, as is the comic - its color pallette, subjects, and mood are creepy and interesting. Is Eric just a zombie killing machine, the angel of death, or on his own path to somehow atone for his self-perceived failure? You'll have to ride along and find out.

The movie stars Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, who died just before filiming completed. He was killed on set by a dummy bullet stuck in a barrel propelled by a blank cartrige during a scene. Sad, as he seemed like he would have been a rising star based on his performance. The movie's director and producers decided to finish the film and shot the few remaining scenes without Brandon, opting instead for a script re-write and a stunt double. I think it wound up being a nice tribute to Brandon as people finally got to see his acting ability.

When I saw this film in theaters I made a mental note of the firearms on screen. This movie stood out to me as it seemed to be a collection or "who's who" of some of the most popular firearms at the time. The list can be found here on IMFDB Now that I look back at the list it seems the director or prop master chose guns for characters that somehow reflected their status or perceived status in the gang or the stereotypical gun they thought the character should have.

T-bird the leader of the thugs has a pistol. Blued Taurus Pt-92
Top Dollar the overall leader of the gang has a pistol but its shiny, Stainless Pt-92
Fun Boy the gang's brash sadist uses a S&W model 29
The cop, Albrecht uses what else? A Bretta 92fs
Pawn Shop guy has a Mossberg 500 Crusier of course
Bad Guy that's supposed to know what he's doing has something exotic a Calico M900
and a Mossberg bullpup.
Skank the guy who thinks he's in charge has a Desert Eagle
Generic Henchman get MAC 10's
and the skilled henchman get MP5's

So were they trying to stereotype the guns or did it just turn out that way? What do you think?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Did you miss out on the Kilted to Kick Cancer contest?

You now have a chance to win some of the stuff that was originally listed. JayG is auctioning off everything he won in it. Go check out the details here.

Try and Crack a smile on Monday!

Turkey Attack!!

If the overreaction of this news producer doesn't do it your Monday is hopeless. :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Washington Times is taking on the gun issue in DC...

And it's being written from a woman's perspective.

For a small bit of background: Senior Editor Emily Miller is a DC resident and wants a gun. Says she doesn't feel safe in DC anymore. Has decided to go through the entire process of purchasing a firearm, and is posting about it daily.

To follow her story on the Washington Times site, go here; go here if you want to follow her on Twitter.

Hopefully this will be helpful to others in DC who want to buy, but don't have a clue where to start...and good luck to Emily!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Black powder guns for sale!

Posting this list for a friend of mine. All listed prices are negotiable. She will be watching this post, so please feel free to ask questions. If you prefer a more direct line of communication, please email me and I'll get you in touch with her. My email is falnfenix AT gmail DOT com.

Anyway, on with the list!

CVS, Kentucky, Flintlock .45 -- $200
Euroarms Brescia, Kentucky, Percussion .45 -- $380
Ranson Italia, Zouave, Percussion .58 -- $380 - SOLD
Pistol, Tower, Flintlock .58 -- $138 - SOLD
Thompson/Center, Hawkin, Percussion .45 -- $260

She's also selling two .22 bolt action rifles:

Winchester, 67 -- $170
Springfield, 82 - $155

Pictures and serial numbers are available upon request. All are located in Maryland.

*Since the legality of this has come into question by the resident blog troll, whose name I won't bother mentioning, these are legal to sell. Black powder firearms are legal to purchase online without a background check, and in Maryland, the personal sale of long arms without a background check is perfectly legal. My friend would not deliberately break the law, and neither would I.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

I'm a supporter.

There's a new link over in the sidebar for Violence Unsilenced. I was going to write a hefty post about it, then I visited Jennifer's blog and noticed she wrote a better post than I could have written.

Go read it, and take a newbie to the range.

Monday, October 3, 2011

It's Spookytime!

In honor of my favorite month and my love of horror movies I will be making some suggestions for your viewing pleasure, while using the wonderful database over at IMFDB to highlight some of the firearms that make appearances in these movies.

We'll start out with one of my favorites. The Monster Squad

This great poster was done by artist Tyler Stout for the Alamo Draft House.

This is a great movie to start the month with. It's got a pretty good script, comedy, 80's camp, and the classic Univeral Studios Monsters as reimagined by Stan Winston. At the time it came out it had very advanced effects and it still looks pretty good. It's also very kid friendly. It follows a group of friends and their secret club The Monster Squad, where they talk about and share their love for all things monsters. Lucky for us their geeky knowledge becomes the only thing to stand in the way when Dracula puts his plot in motion to rule the world.

If you're going to battle monsters you need some tools right? Here's the List from IMFDB of the guns that make an appearance in the film. It includes a 12 Gauge side by side, a Webley Mk IV, a S&W Model 15, and a S&W Model 3000 pump gun. In addition there's daggers, bows and arrows and some dynamite. There's even a scene in which one squad memeber makes his own silver bullets. These nerds turn out to be pretty resourceful and it's amazing how the grown ups are just never prepared.

So what would you choose for battling monsters? Remember you have to use the right tool for the job and your zombie aresenal just might not cut it against real monsters.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Friday Gun Funny!

Hey, it's got a gun in it.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Something worth sharing.

So hunting season is almost upon us. I know at least a couple readers are avid hunters, but both Chris and I are newbies, so I hungrily devoured this series by ZerCool. Go, read, learn.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

I swear, mention there's no blogfodder and then stuff starts falling out of my head...

It appears there are two excellent fundraisers going on right now.

First, Carteach0 has a fundraiser for the Wounded Warrior Project. Go, read the post, support the Project.

Secondly, Ambulance Driver has a bit of a competition going on. Remember, guys, get your bits checked. Cancer's a bitch. I don't want to lose another friend to it.

Printable AR15 mags??

Don't want to buy mags for your AR15/M4gery? Got a 3d printer?

Make has information for a free mag download for your printer. Go, print, test!

...Seriously, though, that's pretty stinkin' cool.

Monday, September 19, 2011

My turn!

This is the knife that makes *everyone* laugh...mostly because of the color. It has +5 Unicorn Smiting...

I love my rainbow Leek. :D

Ok, I'll Play

Appearantly OG has restarted the Old What's In Your Pocket meme, but this time it's pocket knife specific.

SOG Twitch XL Tanto
It's fairly inexpensive, well built and thin. Everything I require in a pocket knife.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The free ice cream machine is a bit dry.

Have a lot of crap going on offline, haven't had time or energy to blog. Go hit the people on the sidebar for interesting things to read.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I wasn't going to post anything today...

BUT I will happily direct you to Tam's post on the matter.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Failing at market research: example!

This came in the mail yesterday, and it was addressed to me...not Resident. Chris didn't get one, so I can only guess I'm on a mailing list that he isn't on. While I appreciate their desire to support charities, I really don't think they're going to do terribly well in their campaign...unless, of course, their campaign is limited to making me laugh hysterically every time I read this thing.

Anyway, presented without further comment:

(apologies on the quality, the scanner I used is NOT the both to embiggenate)

I thought we were supposed to be the bullies?

I used to be a fan of, and have gotten some neat ideas from the stuff posted. On Monday, the blog owner posted a hack for a Buckmark. While it involved minimal IKEA parts, it was different and a bit refreshing to see posted on that particular blog, especially since the blog is popular worldwide and is regularly viewed in countries that don't allow firearms.

This morning, however, I read this. This disappoints me. When I last saw the comments on the removed post, they were mostly I wonder when the train wreck happened.

I guess we evil, evil gun owners lost another battle. Or something. Because the SuperMegaGood anti gun people harassed yet another individual to the point of pulling content from something they own.

Friday, September 2, 2011


We're now onto day 5 without power.

This is the sort of thing I'd expect if we were, say, in the middle of nowhere. Heck, I'd expect it if I still lived a county over, where there were cows a 20-minute walk from my house. I certainly don't expect that in Baltimore CITY, where (generally speaking) the power doesn't go out for us.

What kills me, though, is this is an issue that could have been easily prevented. Heck, most of the outages were preventable. BGE simply refuses to do the proper maintenance and due diligence required in order to run an effective power company, and they do this in order to protect and increase profit margins.

In our little town in Harford County, where I used to live, our biggest cause of outages was squirrels. Not storms, not freak wind, not ice. Squirrels. Why? Because out there the county and the power company actually kept trees away from power lines (and squirrels apparently love to chew on the lines). I vividly remember major storms (both ice and rain) coming through and watching the power flicker, but it very rarely went out...and it always came back in a few hours. Even in the nasty ice storm of 1994, we retained power with nary a hiccup.

In the decade+ that Chris has been in the house, the trees have been trimmed once, and those who did the trimming left a limb sitting on the lines...but not attached to the tree from whence it came. Because that makes sense. In the 5 years I've been with Chris, the power has twice gone out for over 24 hours. Both situations were caused by trees damaging the lines or the transformer. Last time, the line was knocked off the pole, and this time there's no visible damage, so we're assuming the aforementioned limb hit the transformer.

Last night, Chris and I drove through an area north of Baltimore to assess the damage, as we have friends around there who have gone without power as long as we have. The first thing I noticed: there were bucket trucks up there. LOADS of them! I counted five in a 2 mile drive through the neighborhoods. Where are our trucks? The work locations list says they were working near our home yesterday, but I didn't see any trucks. I didn't even see a marked city-owned vehicle. There is no indication whatsoever that we have any priority.

So where does that leave us? Generatorless (because we have a specific model we're buying, and it's backordered to kingdom come), borrowing an outlet at a neighbor's house so the fish tank can filter for an hour or two a night, and generally miserable. It's frustrating knowing the Governor's on TV and all over the news saying how they're working diligently, blah blah blah...and it's especially disheartening when BGE gets a nice big fluff piece in the Baltimore Sun, touting how awesome they are for getting so many people back up and running in such a short time.

And here's an interesting little bit of information: in Florida, everyone would have had power by now, save a few individuals out in the boonies. Friends down there agree, and they've actually seen real hurricanes.

Frustration is high, morale and sanity are low, and BGE is not the shining star of success they'd like to be.

While I was writing this post, the power was turned back on. THANK YOU Michigan, Ohio and Georgia Power!

Interesting tidbit - I don't know if Chris got the names of the gentlemen who said this, but they say they've never seen a power company with this poor maintenance. What does that tell you, BGE?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Has anyone been paying attention to Iceland?

Actually, I have a better question: Why can't we do this here?

Monday, August 29, 2011

So, we survived.

As everyone else is saying, this hurricane wasn't as bad as we were expecting. Chris and I were pretty much prepared for whatever it could toss our way, but we were really hoping we didn't lose power. Sadly, we did, and we've hit Hour 32 of no 'lectric to the house.

The worst part, though, isn't that we lost power. It's that my block is the only block in the neighborhood to lose power, and it's all because the city sucks horribly when it comes to maintaining trees in the easement behind us. Last year, after over 10 years of letters and phone calls from Chris and other neighbors, they finally came out to trim the trees. They left a limb hanging on the lines, and we're pretty sure that played a part in killing power to the block. I'm told there are tree people in the neighborhood (currently lounging on the side of their truck, if twitter photos are any indication), so hopefully power will be restored sometime today.

My fish will be happy. So will I - I have lots of baking to do.

DISCLAIMER: yes, I know, we should have had a generator. We'll be rectifying that soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

I hate living on the east coast.

I'm supposed to be driving to New Jersey for a friend's wedding reception right now, but instead Irene decided to rain on my parade. The winds aren't what's keeping me's the fear of getting lost and stranded somewhere in NJ, and I'm really not down for that.

So I'm home, and being home allowed me to help get the house ready for the Smackening (and potential crazy power outages to follow).

I got gas on Thursday, and was absolutely amazed at the amount of people at Costco. The place was so packed they were spilling over into other parking lots just to park their cars. I heard they still had water as of yesterday morning, but I'm sure their shelves are now bare. The milk, eggs, bread, and TP are surely gone, as well. People have to make their TP casseroles, you know.

It made me wonder...just how few people actually know how to handle extreme weather in this stupid state? I'm somewhat used to the panic from a potential snowfall, but we really don't deal with hurricanes all that often so the idiots are even more frenzied than they would be in the winter.

Anyway. Those of you in the path of this thing, stay safe.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What happened to customer service?

I started looking at some polymer 9mm pistols and one of the pistols I was interested in was the Walther P99. I checked out Walther USA's website and there wasn't much information on different models or accessories. You see I'm a lefty and although I have seen and fired Walther p99 pistols with right side slide locks and safeties I did not see any reference to them on the website or in the product catalog. For those of you that don't know Smith & Wesson distributes Walther pistols in the US. The pistols are still made in Germany they're just imported and sold through S&W. I did find exactly what I wanted on the Walther Germany website and so after checking various boards and sites on the web with no luck on model numbers I decided to email customer service an ask. I sent

After looking at the website and current catalog I am still having difficulty finding the correct model of one of your handguns. I am interested in the Walther P99 AS 9mm shown here

I have heard of, and seen pictures of this handgun with an extended, right side, ambidextrous slide stop and long magazine release for lefties but I cannot locate the model on the website or the catalog. I do see the model listed on the German Walther site here:

It shows additional codes for various features

PS = steel sights with phosphor 3-dot
AM = elongated ambidextrous slide stop
LM = long magazine release

Is a pistol so equipped available, and if so what would the model number be that I would tell my gun shop to order?


After about a week I received this reply.
the models you saw are only available in Europe and are not available in the states. Thank You

While it directly answers my question, he doesn't go any further at all. Not, but we have this model, or this kit is available for it, or anything. Just NOPE, sorry. I do believe Walther has a pretty recently released similar pistol that even has ambidextrous controls on it. I don't think that's asking too much to expand on an answer or make an alternative suggestion. I guess this might be a partial explanation why you don't see a lot of Walther sales. It even makes me wary of buying a S&W now.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Even Woot is selling gun stuff?

This was a pleasant surprise this morning. Apparently even a immensely popular site like is now selling occasional gun-related items.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Friday Gun Funny

Would be better if he spell checked!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our ARs finally work!

Or: Why I can't recommend Del-Ton to anyone.

To recap -
I ordered two AR15 uppers from Del-Ton on 1/31/09. This date is important, so keep it in mind.
Between February and the end of November, I made the following posts about it:
Sigh, backorders
Great googly moogly!
Yet another Del-Ton delay
Good news, better news, and bad news
Good news, everyone!

Chris's upper showed up in September, and mine showed up the first week of December of that year. I neglected to post about the upper showing up due to my grandfather's passing, but it did show up that first week in December. By the time mine showed up I was just thrilled to see anything. So: Ordered everything at the end of January, and the second upper showed up almost a YEAR later. In that time, I received absolutely no information from Del-Ton - I had to waste my time and call THEM to get the same answer over and over and over. I don't care how busy a company is, a form email does NOT take much time to write and send out to customers. Thanks to the beauty of technology, said email could have been drafted while someone dropped the kids off at the pool. Anyway, moving on...

We did not get any opportunity to test either upper until 7/4/10, and on that range trip both rifles had consistent issues. I posted about the problems we had here. We did not get another chance to really test anything until last month, when Chris's friend helped him diagnose the problem. After swapping bolts, uppers, lowers, and magazines they were able to determine there was an issue with the gas system in both uppers. Please note, I was quite angry...I expected better of Del-Ton. I suppose I should have used the lack of communication from them as a sign regarding their build quality.

By now, it's well past any warranty would be in effect, so this weekend we took the uppers to Dan over at Gun Connection. Dan was able to diagnose and repair both uppers while we waited. What he found, though, was a bit distressing...both because Del-Ton sent defective parts and because neither Chris nor I knew what we were doing with these rifles. I spent much of Saturday fuming at Del-Ton's shoddy build quality and my own stupidity, and I have since learned my lesson.

So, the problems: On Chris's upper, the gas block was so screwed up there's no way he'd actually get anything to cycle properly. If you take a close look at the photo, you'll see where the hole inside it was poorly almost looks like the person who worked on the part used a small explosive to get that hole in there.

That's pretty freaking bad. It also wasn't on properly, as we could jiggle it without loosening anything. No wonder there was an issue with the gas system!

Dan replaced the gas block with one from Daniel Defense and put everything back together. On my upper, the gas tube was off by about 15 degrees and it was clogged (user error - it wasn't properly cleaned before we took it out the first time). He reseated everything and did a particularly thorough cleaning for me. A little over a hundred dollars in parts and labor later and we left with two functioning rifles, though we were charged with testing both over the weekend to make sure everything worked.

Yesterday, during a break in the nasty weather, we took them out...and they worked beautifully. Chris had some difficulty with his optic, but that's user error and will be rectified once he reacquaints himself with the instructions. I, on the other hand, landed almost every shot where I wanted it once I figured out how to use my scope. Overall, I'm glad this ordeal is over, and I'm especially glad we now have two functioning rifles that are quite a bit of fun to shoot.

To sum up:
boo Del-Ton
yay Gun Connection
thoroughly educate yourself about a firearm if it's known to be finicky
thoroughly educate yourself on a retailer before spending a significant amount of money.

The final result of two mags through my rifle (while also learning the particulars of my optics - the low shots were the first few i took, and i aimed for each box at least once to see how well i could do):

...Yeah. I'm happy now.

In other news...

Remember when this happened?

The officer who shot the marine in question was sentenced today. I don't think 5 years is enough.

You know what makes me sick?

It isn't the fact that "flash mobs" are now organizing to steal things from stores. It's not even the fact that this is happening in Maryland.

No, it's the fact that the police don't care enough to investigate. How, exactly, do they think dismissing this incident is acceptable?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Confidence or Stupidity?

A video that Breda posted with a posed question about firearms raised several other concerns from Weer'd , SaysUncle and Mike about the particular training observed in the video. These concerns specifically addressed how the training is bad advice and ineffective. I'll go farther and say it's stupid, misleading, and will probably get someone seriously hurt or killed.

I've met countless women that tell me they feel more confident after taking a self-defense class or tae-bo class at their local gym. I tend to ask what they learned and why they feel more confident. The most common answer is, "because I feel like I can defend myself." I usually say something to the effect of, "no you can't, but if you'd like to practice the techniques or learn some new ones I'd be happy to work with you." That reply almost always incites RiotGrrl bravado about empowerment or, "I know some stuff now and I don't have time to practice more." Both answers illustrate why this type of training is bad; it gives people confidence in nothing. It takes long hard practice to get proficient at self defense of any kind, much less unarmed self defense. This is usually the part of the conversation where I get uncomfortable. I am torn between feeling like a preachy, lecturing asshole and feeling like if I'm not, this person is not going to realize that what they learned is only going to get them seriously injured or killed. "I know, but wait!" you say, "You were already an asshole with what you said before." I just can't help that initial reaction. Before you judge me, though, let me tell you an interesting story and take from it what you want.

I have a background in martial arts and I've had several instructors, but one in particular was entirely different from the usual sort of instructor. He was in fact a little strange and mysterious. For this story I'll call him Bob. Bob was a very good instructor and teacher and he knew the techniques very well like the other instructors, but after he taught you something he would say, "So how do you think you'd actually use that technique in a self defense situation? Let me show you." He would then start a sparring match with someone in the the class and emphasize the usefulness (or lack) of a particular technique in a real world situation. This truly was odd. Other instructors would show you techniques and how they worked accepting that they were good, but they'd never make you prove it nor point out their weaknesses. This really set Bob apart. He was also mysterious in discussing his past experience outside of class, yet if you ever saw him fight or move through techniques you knew he was good and seemed to have a lot of experience fighting. He really looked like he knew what he was doing.

In our class Bob had a star pupil - I'll call him Dan. Dan was very good: he held 3 black belts in various disciplines and obtained the last one by embarrassing a higher level figher so badly in a tournament that he was promoted on the spot. This guy wanted to be a martial artist. He wanted his own Dojo and did nothing but practice and teach on the side to make extra money. He was fantastic to watch in action. Dan is a very nice guy and was a great assistant instructor, but once in a while - usually after a tournament - he'd get a little cocky. Bob would pick up on this in the following classes and arrange a little match.

While Dan was Bob's star pupil, I was his favorite demonstrator model. This led to me obtaining many aches and pains and bruises but I also learned a lot. I guess it was because I was the biggest guy in class, and hey if you can do it to him it just might work.

So Bob's match would be set up between Dan and I. Bob would say, "I just want to see what you guys can do." I'd like to point out that at this time Dan had 3 black belts and about 8 years of constant experience, and was about 5'10 and weighed about 165 or so. I had no black belts and about 2 yrs experience. I was good, but also nowhere near the level of Dan's technique. I was about 6'4 and 250. So we'd suit up and go not quite full contact. I'd catch a lot of punches and kicks in the face and body usually, but eventually I'd get close to him and we'd lock up. When that happened 7 times out of 10 I'd get Dan into a position where he'd have to give up or risk serious injury. How could I possibly beat this guy? The answer is simple: the size difference gave me the advantage. He was in great shape, had all of the technique and practice, but the leverage and mass of my size with a little bit of knowledge allowed me to win. Not that I didn't pay for it, mind you. As Bob would always say, "No one ever wins a fight, there's only degrees of losing." That was indeed the case after our battles.

After a few matches Dan finally picked up on what Bob was trying to teach him and his after match cockiness went away. We did continue our bouts so we could get better and the more matches we had, the more the outcome would favor Dan. He adapted, he pulled techniques I had never seen and he got smarter about his fighing. He had to practice very hard to even out the size difference and it took a lot of trial and error and time. The initial outcomes were not flukes - it was purely due to the difference in size and weight. Keep in mind that this was a pair of guys who weren't really trying to injure, maim, rape, or kill each other. Think about that when your self defence confidence is high after your hour long class. How well do you think you stack up to a guy with 3 black belts and 8 year experience against an attacker twice your size with real intent to hurt you?

I'm not against training and technique, but make sure you don't kid yourself as to your effectiveness. Please think about this.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Another Freestate visit...I'm getting a lot of practice lately...

Yesterday I met up with an old friend, who I finally met in person for the first time. Thanks to the powers of the internet J and I have known each other for quite a few years and finally got our schedules coordinated enough to meet up for a shooty evening.

I brought the Bersa and the Rock Island, he brought a PX4 Storm in .40, a Buckmark (with a suppressor), and two SIGs (with a suppressor on one of them). Neither of us are newbs, so this wasn't like my normal range visit.

First, I'd like to make a confession: I made my first Really Dumb Mistake at the range. Somehow I forgot to put on my shooting glasses before walking into the range, and J had to remind me. Apparently my mind was elsewhere. Thankfully, my stupid mistake was corrected without incident and we continued on our evening of killing paper.

Anyway, my impressions:
1 - The Buckmark. I like this a hell of a lot better with the can OFF the front, though it was neat as hell to shoot a .22 with literally no recoil and almost no sound. The backpressure from the suppressor was distracting, however, so I took it off after the first magazine. Overall, it's a nice little .22, and that might end up on the short list.
2 - The Beretta. I asked J to bring this since I'm in the market for a PX4 Storm in 9mm. I wanted a feel for the real thing, rather than the testers they had set up at the NRA convention. My overall impression is good, but I can see why people truly hate this gun in .40 - my trigger finger went numb after two magazines. Apparently this is a common complaint of the .40 PX4. Controls are where they need to be, the slide release isn't too much of a pain in the ass, and the rotating barrel definitely helps with recoil. This was the first .40 I've had the opportunity to shoot, and while I don't see myself buying a .40, I don't really understand why people hate it. It's alright. Definitely liked the pistol, though.
3 - The SIGs. At least one of them was in .45, and this was the suppressed gun. Again, I have no love for the suppressor. I'm told they're more pleasant to shoot outdoors, and maybe he'll give me an opportunity to test this at a later date. Right now, though, do not like.

He seemed to like the Bersa despite his big bearpaw hands, and I think he's got 1911 envy. :D Thanks, J, for hoofing it all the way up to my range. Next time I'll head down your direction.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Who says women are weak?

This lady would like to have a talk with you.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

It's raining in Baltimore...

so here's a funny.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Freestate Gun Range

I think this is the first time I'll be naming a range near us, but this one is worth talking about.

A few months ago, an entrepreneur came to Maryland Shooters with a question for the forum: "What do you want to see in a range?"  Naturally, the masses responded with enthusiasm.  This was unbelievable...a range actually wanted OUR opinions before opening?  REALLY??!?  Everyone listed their grievances with the other local ranges and specified things they absolutely wanted to see in this new location, and the owners took it all in...and thus far, they've made something excellent with it.

The range in question is Freestate, and out of all the ranges I've been to in Maryland, they're the one I'm actually going to join.  They have TWO bathrooms (where most have one, if you're lucky), classrooms, a waiting area with chairs and tables, an onsite gunsmith, a location where a  snack bar will be (in the works right now), and air conditioning on the range itself.  The guys who own and operate the location are courteous, friendly, and welcoming.  The range itself is modern, with an electronic target deployment system and active targets, and a bag bench behind the shooting stalls.  Oh, and they allow .223 rifles AND silhouette, zombie, "bad guy," and animal targets  They have a decent class offering including Tactical Pen.  Memberships are under $300 (cheapest around, from what I've seen...), and I'd say it's worth it.

I waited until my third visit to the range to do my writeup because I wanted to see them under different situations.  Here's a summary of the three visits.

First visit: Fourth of July weekend with Chris, friends MB and P, and myself.
The visit itself was nice enough.  We were given the tour of the place, shown how to use the target deployment system, and set up with two lanes.  Overall the experience was pleasant, but we could tell they were still working on things.  The women's bathroom was lacking fixtures and had a unisex sign on the door.  I brought this up and was told it would be better by the next visit.

Second visit: Two weeks ago with Chris and his coworker, my coworker, coworker's SO, and myself.
This visit was more pleasant (despite a malfunctioning AC system).  We showed up around 10:15 and they were still setting up for the day - apparently they had people waiting outside before they opened at 10.  We were set up on three concurrent lanes and had our shooty fun.  My coworker and their SO had to leave early, so we closed out our two lanes while Chris and his coworker continued to shoot.  While I waited for them to finish up, I waited at the tables and had a nice chat with Randy, one of the owners.  We discussed the range, how business was going, and my opinions of other local public ranges.  I noticed he would not share any opinions of those other ranges and consistently steered the conversation back to his business.  This was incredibly professional, and made me feel more confident about the range sticking around.  Oh, he bought me a soda, but he didn't need that to win me over.  Promised I'd get a membership when I had the disposable funds for it.

Third visit: Last night with my cousin V.
They were busy! It took a few minutes to get us signed up for a lane (part of that was V filling out the initial waiver).  I did notice the clientele differed drastically from previous visits - most notably in the amount of female patrons.  For once, I wasn't the only female adult!  That said, I think the owners/ROs need to clearly define the rules regarding entering and leaving the range area.  There is a two door "airlock" sort of setup, where you must shut one door before opening the other to reduce noise between the range and the lobby.  The doors do not automatically shut, and apparently the individuals who were there last night assumed otherwise.  I had to correct the group more than once (because no one else was doing so).  This is a problem, and one I hope the range addresses.

Overall, I'm pleased with Freestate...and I'm never going back to the range we used to frequent.

Boo, Chiappa. Boo.

Way to make no one in the blogging community want to buy one of your pistols.

If you're going to use RFID tech in inventory management, it's great to let your customers know about it.  I don't have a problem with it, really...but please, don't let your distributors do the talking for you when it comes to responding to complaints, especially if they're going to be snarky.  That just paints you as the bad guy.

**Edited to add** I've read the press release, and I misunderstood who was originally saying the chips can only be read within a couple of inches.  So glad to see MKS is failing in both their snark and their facts.  WTG, failboats.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

No FFL needed!

I thought I had seen it all. With the 100 yr anniversary of the 1911 it seems almost every firearms manufacturer is getting in on the production action. Now it seems you can get 1911's from the most unlikely vendors. A whole bunch of these just showed up in my office. I hope the alphabet boys don't come next.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fellow Blogger a question.

Does anyone know how to kill the linkspam at the bottom of a post, other than manually deleting every link?  Furthermore, does anyone know what causes this, other than manually linking a post?

I'm stumped, and there's a lotta links that need killin'.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I think the best birthday gift...

Is time spent with good friends.

Chris and I went to Virginia for the weekend to celebrate my birthday.  Newbius, NFO, Mike V, my old buddy S, and even my dearest friends L and his wife H (who trucked down from PA) hit the NRA museum and range with us.  We did the museum tour, then hit a restaurant for lunch and had a crazygood time while noshing on some pretty good food and having high-larious conversation.  After lunch Mike and Newbius had to skeedaddle, but the rest of us blew through a good bit of ammo at the range.

I learned:
1 - Gold Dot .45 ammo?  Holy Hannah.  I'm definitely not used to it!
2 - HK USP .45 = Heavy...and thick. Not my bag, but it shoots's just danged big for me.
3 - I am entirely too likely to drop the muzzle in anticipation of recoil when shooting .45, but I don't do so at all when I switch back to .380.  I really need to get some snap caps to practice more, I think...
4 - I need to lose weight so my holster fits better.  More on the holster later this week...Michael, we've got another winner!

Today we went to the newer Air & Space Museum...and it's well worth the $15 parking price.  Seriously.  Saw the Space Shuttle, the SR71, and a whole mess of other cool stuff.  If you're in the DC area, GO THERE.

Also, we stayed at the Springhill Suites Fairfax, and I can honestly say it's in my top 5 list of non-resort hotels.  If you find yourself needing a hotel somewhere near DC, GO THERE.  The room is EXCELLENT, the bed is comfortable, the staff is pleasant and helpful, and the breakfast is pretty good.  Oh, they'll have a flyer for a local pizza joint in the room...definitely order from there if you've got a hankering.  It's one fo the better delivery pizzas I've had in awhile.

All in all, this was a really nice weekend and I'm glad we decided to stay down there.  I'm also very thankful those who could make it out did.  I love you guys, and I'm glad I got to meet/talk with Mike. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Well, dangit.

I was starting to write about this moron but you guys beat me to it.

I'd like to add the inherent problems with this proposal:
Problem #1 - Chris and i really, seriously, can't think of a place (that would be affected by this proposal) IN the city where one can buy ammo.
Problem #2 - Rob&Ride goes out of the city into the county and straight to a Dick's...and ammo.
Problem #3 - bus goes out of the county to various malls...and Dick's.

Basically, this guy's plan is already a failure.  Way to go, dinglebrains!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Why your new knife might seem to suck.

So you bought a new knife and you used it a few times, but then you put it away with the tens and hundreds in your collection. It was cool, but didn't seem to hold a good edge very long or stay sharp, but that old crapper fishing/hunting/kitchen knife you use all the time does. How come? The simple answer is because you don't use it.

Commercial knives available today are some of the best in history, even the crappy cheap ones. The reason is the steels used in today's knives are some of the best ever made. The computer controlled foundries are producing higher quality steel with less impurities in greater quantities and therefore cheaper than ever before. So even some of the really cheap crappy knives you pick up have pretty decent blade steel.

Why does my new knife suck though? Because of the grind. Check out this nice illustration at wikipedia. Almost every knife you buy that was mass produced will come with a #3 saber grind because it is the easiest and best grind for all around use that a machine can easily make. It has two precise angles, and blades can quickly be ground to a razor sharp edge. So blame the robots! There is nothing wrong with this, but from looking at the illustration you can see the edge is very thin and can easily be flattened or bent out of shape. Most people continue this grind shape on their knives because they use all manner of angled gizmos to sharpen them. Angled ceramics, electric sharpeners and things you pull along the edge are all designed to keep that straight angle on the blade and give you a razor sharp edge.

If you're satisfied with this, great! keep doing what you're doing. The only real difference is you will be sharpening more often, and your edge is more vulnerable to chipping, but you'll have just as sharp a knife, that's just as useful. If you want more out of your knife buy some type of whetstone. Before the usual exasperation, (OMG! How do I use a flat stone to sharpen things? There might be math involved!) let me assure you there is less math involved than there is with the other sharpening gizmos - it's just the other gizmos have done the math for you. You will have to acquire some skill which will mean practice. I will admit I do still use the gizmos for quick stuff and kitchen knives. What you get with a flat stone is an eventual convex edge. That's #6 on the above chart. The convex edge is just as sharp as the V or saber grind, but it is much stronger and will stay sharp longer, and be less prone to chipping. It's all in the sacred geometry. OH NOES MATH! Relax, it's only in the explanation. The convex edge has much more steel backing the edge. Remember from geometry class? Say it with me, circles are stronger than squares and triangles.

So how do you get one? If your knife came with an edge like that you're in luck, as it was most likely hand ground. If not, you can do it yourself, and you don't even have to work hard at it. How? Use a flat stone when you sharpen things. This is where we get rid of the math. Your human sense of angles is vague. You try to hold the precise angle on the whetstone, but due to human error you wont get it exactly right each time. You will however not quit until it's sharp. Over time you will round the angle that the machine ground at the factory until it becomes convex. This happens a little even when you use the sharpening gizmos as long as you're using them often. That's why the old crappy bait knife and kitchen knife I mentioned earlier always seem to stay sharp.

My dad showed me how to use a whetstone when I was young and I've been practicing ever since. There are plenty of videos on youtube that show how to use a flat stone so I won't go into that here. The problem is in the beginning when you're not so good at it YOU WILL most likely scratch the blade. Start with a knife you don't really care about the finish on until you get the hang of it. Once you get it down you'll have no problems with scratching finishes. It just takes practice and best of all once you get the technique there's nothing for you to do, just keep using the flat stone and you'll get that convex edge. So get practicing!

Friday, July 15, 2011

XKCD's spot-on...

Yet again.

Don't forget to check the hovertext. :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

He actually stuck the landing?

Thanks to NFO, I saw this post this morning.

I'm floored.  That guy's a spectacular pilot.  Go, read the post, watch the vid.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Confession time: national politics, and why I avoid most conversations.

I've never really had an interest in politics.

As a child I remember watching the adults in the family scream at each other about politics, and I never understood why they got so angry.  I never really wanted to understand.  I just wanted to run and hide...I hated the screaming.

I grew up with an aversion to politics and political discussion, and even now I find myself reluctant to self-educate when it comes to the federal government.  I honestly don't believe that we have any sort of control over who ends up in office...on a national level, anyway.  Why bother, if the guy who ends up in office really is pretty much the same as the guy before him?  This is the same reason I didn't bother registering to vote until a couple of years ago, and why I'm registered as an Independent.  I don't agree or disagree fully with either of the major parties, and refuse to pick a "side" when the loudest members of either "side" tend to be single-issue voters.

So I avoid the discussions...and I avoid the namecalling...and I avoid the crap.  It's exhausting, it's disheartening, and I'm sick of hearing and reading about it.  I find myself skimming more and more posts because I just don't have the heart to read about it.  It all sucks, it's not getting any better, and I think expecting things to improve might be a bit foolhardy.  I really don't think anything's going to get better without  revolution...and I don't know if that would actually make anything better.  I just see the country swirling 'round the bowl, and I wonder when we'll eventually go down the drain.

I know this post will anger more than a few people out there, and it may make some of you decide to stop reading what Chris and I have to say...and frankly, I don't care.  Call me whatever you will, but I'm just burnt out on all of it.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Call for suggestions - .22LR pistols for bullseye?

Chris and I have started shooting Bullseye at the club, and while he's shooting the Neos, I've been shooting the Rock Island.  This pistol is perfect for it, but ammo is I'm considering picking up a .22LR semiauto.

I'm considering a Neos, S&W Model 22A, or a Ruger 22/45.  I already know a bit about the Neos, but I wanted to consider other options as well.

So...which of the above would you recommend?  If none of those, what WOULD you recommend, and why?

Thanks. :)

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Last Space Shuttle

I'm having a hard morning. I'm excited, proud, angry and sad all at the same time. Today was a triumph for America, but the country was also diminished in a very public way. Today was historic. Today was the last Space Shuttle flight, STS-135. Atlantis is now safely in orbit set to rendezvous with the International Space Station on Sunday. I'm very proud of and thankful for all the astronauts, crew, contractors and anyone else that made the STS program a reality. You did a great job!

When Atlantis lands and is prepped for the museum The United States of America will have no ability to send a person into space. Think about that when your kids pose this question to you. Hey Mom/Dad when you were a kid did a man walk on the moon or was there really a Woman in space? After your answer the next question will be, How come we don't/can't do that now? You'll be forced to say, well Russia and China still can, but not the US. How are you going to feel about that? Are you going to explain that the US government has no business in space exploration? That space is the domain of the private sector? That there are a few companies now that own the only means of space travel?

When NASA goes to space, we all go to space. Every single American Citizen, not Lockheed Martin or Boeing or Rocketdyne or even just the Astronauts, All of us. Every inch of space NASA travels into we're right there along for the ride. You can call NASA a matter of national pride, or even a charitable organization or our gift to the world if you want to, I don't care, but it needs to be there. The progress of civilization and the future of mankind need it to be. Americans need it to be, especially now. The space program was always the one thing that no matter what kind of shape the country was in, or what your ideas of greatness are, you could take pride in as an American. We put a man on the moon, we have a reusable space vehicle, we discovered other galaxies. Now it's, we used to be able to do that stuff. Maybe it's my age and remnants of of the cold war mindset I grew up in, but I don't like that feeling.

You can dog NASA and its government funding all you want, but the simple fact is without NASA there would be no private sector space exploration. NASA's astronomical budget (pun intended) is a result of those same private sector contractors you're cheering for. I'm not saying there shouldn't be private sector space exploration. I'm all for it, but NASA needs to be in front of, or right there with them. There is hope, and a bit of a future. NASA has joined up with SpaceX A private company that's hell bent on space exploration and getting to Mars. They are currenly testing a manned space capsule that has sucessfully re-entered Earth's atmosphere. BTW without NASA's help they would still be sitting on the launch pad. The CEO is claiming Mars in 2020. I hope I'm here to see it even though it won't be the same. We'll have to see what happens. Sticking with the Ameican theme all I can say is, Ok Private Sector. You're up, let's see what you got kid.

People Control Does Not Work

Jay over at MArooned turned me on to this article from CBS News in Baltimore that I had not seen, and as I read it I realized that it points out all the failures of Baltimore and Maryland's crime prevention and gun control policies.

At the 4th of July celebration in Baltimore's Inner Harbor area - one of the safest spots in town - there was a child hit by a stray bullet, a stabbing murder and numerous fights broke out. This is not unusual activity in Baltimore on a non-holiday weekend, but hundreds if not thousands of people that have fled the city and rarely come into town were there for the 4th of July celebrations. They saw anew what the downtown area is like. Most of these people never come to Downtown if they can help it, and ignore the news as they live in their suburb utopia. Now there is local outrage, because the Mayor and the Police Commissioner have been telling the citizens the downtown area is safe since a rash of attacks by packs of teens in 2009.

Maryland has some of the toughest gun control laws in the country. Among the existing hurdles, it has a regulated firearms list, a ballistics database requirement for new sales, a waiting period, and purchase time requirements. It's the 7th most restrictive state according to the Brady Gun Control Center. Maryland is also a "May issue" concealed carry state. Because of this, and the permit issue review board, that means you will not get a concealed carry permit. Citizens are told to call the police if you are attacked or need help. Baltimore has gone further than that to "protect" you while you're in town. They have installed surveillance cameras all over the city and they will be spending additional tax money to install more. The city also has instituted a curfew for teens in the city to combat the previous problems with attacks. Finally, the city also tested an acoustic gunshot detection system. It is unclear if it ever produced any results or was fully instituted.

While all these safegard laws are in place there were also about 600 police officers downtown for the 4th of july celebrations. Sounds pretty safe right?

The CBS article states "Police say they made 30 arrests and handled 20 curfew violations." "An all-out brawl broke out." "Several fights broke out," and "a 26-year-old from Alabama...died after he was stabbed in the neck with a bottle." "Chaos also erupted at Light and Pratt streets, where a 4-year-old was shot in the leg with a stray bullet."

The Police Commissioner responded with, “We had incredible deployments down there and literally feet away from where this incident occurred,” and the Mayor responded with, “This is absolutely ridiculous. People come down to the harbor to enjoy themselves,” The City Council President said, “Most people are out here for a good celebration and to have something like this, most people won’t come back next year.” Police also added "the camera located at the intersection did not capture any part of the shooting. Detectives did not recover any shell casings, either."

Wow! So what do we do now? The city leader's statements almost sound like they were saying,"But we tried so hard? Why did this happen to us?" An army of cops, high tech surveillance systems, the ballistics database, lawfully owned guns off the street, a legally unarmed and defenseless populace...all useless to prevent these crimes. Will we have martial law next? Perhaps we just can't have nice things. Should we call the TSA for grope-downs at all city events? More regulation and restrictions on law abiding citizens? Ban all bottles? More reactionary policing?

I'm dreading the new laws and restrictions that will come of this.  How long will it be before we have checkpoints every few miles?

Whatever happened to "The Free State?"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Is the Bunny Man Back?

WJZ Baltimore reports a man attacked a roadside speed camera vehicle with a hammer on the BW parkway yesterday. SWAT was called, they closed the highway and used helicopters, but could not catch the suspect. He vanished into the woods next to the highway after apparently brandishing a shotgun then beating the vehicle with a hammer while the speed trap camera operator was inside. There were no injuries and the police have no motive.

I would hazard a guess at the motive, the individual doesn't like speed traps. In any event this type of story causes me to raise an eyebrow due to my knowledge of local legend. You see the Baltimore/Washington area has an urban legend called The Bunny Man! This attack fits the story except for a missing bunny suit and an axe instead of a hammer. OK, OK I'm reaching a little, but perhaps the contractor in the vehicle was too ashamed or frightened to admit he saw a 6ft dude in a bunny suit. Maybe he mistook a hatchet for a hammer. A random vandalism attack and the suspect disappears? Poof! Who would believe him? Maybe he doesn't know about the legend? Maybe they're not releasing all the details so they don't start a panic. I can't believe all that police power and tax dollars were used to no avail in order catch any regular criminal, or that any regular criminal could evade such a manhunt so easily. It's just a bit strange.

It is nice; however to see real research into an Urban Legend and as the legend is more prevalent near Fairfax, VA a local librarian and archivist there named
Brian A. Conley, of the Fairfax County Public Library did some pretty in depth research to get to the bottom of the story. The Bunny Man Unmasked.

So you can accept Brian's in-depth investigation and conclusion or you can wonder if The Bunny Man is STILL AT LARGE!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Things on my brain.

Part Two of the weekend happened today - we went to the new local range with our guests.  We were there about an hour, killed some zombie (targets), and had an excellent time.  Well...excellent, aside from Chris's AR15's feed problems and a couple of feed issues with my (admittedly dirty) Rock Island.  UMC bulk pack .45 is some dirty stuff, since that's all I've shot through it for the past 100 rds.

I was going to be more chatty about the 4th, but Newbius covered it for me.  Go, read the whole thing.

I'm just in too good a mood for this trash.

I was going to write a lengthy response to this, but decided against it.  Presented without further comment.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Hoping you're celebrating our nation's independance appropriately...

Chris and I opted to take two out-of-town friends to Ft. McHenry, down in the city.  They had a small munitions demonstration (translation: THINGS THAT GO BOOM), and the weather was nice enough we opted to wander the grounds for a couple of hours, soaking in the history.

We were going to go to Antietam, but figured our friends would appreciate seeing Baltimore Harbor from the ramparts of McHenry.  It really is a nice view.

Because this is fitting for both this post and the holiday, have one of the better renditions of the Star Spangled Banner (thanks, Borepatch).

Hoping everyone else out there is having a lovely weekend!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Did I shake something loose?

Apparently I did over at MArooned Jay was able to post on ideas he's had for some time; that gun grabbers know their position is futile, their facts incorrect, and nothing is solved by their position, yet they do it anyway. Why? I can give you two quotes from Albert Einstein.

"Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."


"If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts."

Without putting on my tin foil wizard hat this time and going into theories of power, and historical essays about why the Second Amendment was included in our Constitution or showing data that cities with the strictest gun laws have majority, minority populations I can give you a simple answer and 2 things to do.

Guns are scary. Forget for a minute that you're familiar with guns and think about all the people out there that aren't anti-gun, but not pro-gun and familiar with them either. Many of these people show an irrational fear of guns, just like people show an irrational fear of snakes and spiders. It's one thing they encounter in their lives that can end a human life in an instant, yet they also don't seem necessary, like the other things in their lives that can, such as cars, and the food they eat. Remember this is an irrational fear of the gun itself. As if one sitting on a table would suddenly jump up under it's own power and kill you. Just like people think snakes bite you all of a sudden for no reason. Then these people are introduced to others that show them statistics, and agree with them that guns are bad and play to their fear. Everyone wants to be liked right? Everyone wants to be part of the crowd, to be agreed with, right? So why not throw in with these like minded people. Then the anti-gun campaign gains members and momentum and becomes a large group. Humans in groups with shared beliefs and goals will do some weird, crazy and interesting things. Then the cycle perpetuates itself.

What can you do? I'd ask you to do two things. First take a friend or family member that seems to be afraid of guns or anti-gun and ask them if they would like to go shooting. At the range, or the trap field. Teach them about safety and show them the fun and interesting things you can do with guns. As guns are scary, they are also inherently fun and exciting when handled safely and treated with respect. Tell them you're not going to talk about politics or self defense and stick to it. We're just going to go shoot some guns. I've taken a number of people to the range that were new or afraid of guns. When we're done everyone is safe and I hear; That was fun, or That was cool, Guns aren't really that scary. There you have it. You may not have converted someone to our side, but you just broke the cycle of irrational fear and most likely just ended any chance of recruitment by the other side. That person will now question the scare tactics and group think responses. You will have given them pause when they hear or read about gun issues, and that pause may be enough.

Second I would ask you to just start asking Why? Not just with gun issues, but any time someone talks about anything that may restrict or eliminate your rights and freedoms. Don't argue their issues, just ask for logical reasoning and purpose. Why do they want to do this? Can they come up with a logical answer? Does it make sense? That's it. I don't need evidence to combat supposed facts you spew at me. I just want to know why you want to do it and if it makes sense.

Ok I didn't get out my tin foil wizard hat, but I guess I did get out my soap box. I guess I'll go put that away too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


So Jay over at MArooned beat me to the punch, but I have to say if this happened in any other city, like this one with high crime rates that rifle would have been long gone and not reported by a passer by to another officer to correct the situation. Here that would be just another statistic. An "assault rifle" in the hands of criminals according to anti 2A people. I understand that cops are people too and they make mistakes like everyone else, but I can't imagine a situation other than a running gunfight that would make you forget your weapon like that. Especially when you're supposed to be a trained professional. It makes you wonder what else this officer forgets to do.

Monday, June 27, 2011

First time carrying: a non-event!

Chris and I were visiting MikeW this weekend (in other words, outside of Maryland) and I carried in the purse I bought from Michael.  I passed by alcohol, children, and police officers, and nothing happened.

That is, of course, how it should be.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Gunnies never cease to amaze me.

One of the things I always wanted to do is to start doing some shooting sports, but I've never really had the time or money to get started easily. I finally got my chance. I was recently able to join a local gun club and have met some really nice people. One of these people suggested that I try and come to their weekly bulls eye competition. He said it was no pressure, inexpensive, didn't take long and I could shoot any pistol I had. He also said it would be a great way to get into some competition shooting. I told Laura about it and we decided to check out the next match.

Thursday rolled around and we headed up to the club range. No one I had previously met was there. I told the range officer we were looking for the bulls eye competition and he indicated it was right here and one round was in progress, but we could jump in on the next one. He was really nice, and helped us get registered and told us what we were going to do. After that round was over, we met some of the other shooters that were there, and they also helped us get set up and gave us the basic rundown on the matches. All of these people even though neither one of us had met any of them before, were really helpful, patient and nice. Just then 2 of the guys I had met before including the one that invited me to come showed up. As the other shooters noticed that I knew them they relaxed even more and pretty soon everyone was talking and joking like we were old friends. When the competition started they explained each stage, the scoring, and what to do, like they were actually glad to have some new people around and they all made us fell very welcome.

It was good fun, an interesting introduction to actual competition and something I want to do again. The guy that invited me said, see, if you get used to this I'll have you shooting IPSC by the end of the year. I am continuously amazed with the people involved in shooting and shooting sports. It's such a big difference from the people I deal with every day that I can't help but be. I hope as I meet more and more gunnies I continue to meet great people that are willing to share their sport.