Friday, December 29, 2006

The First Amendment according to Calguns

UPDATE 7/1/08: In the time I've continued to spend on Calguns, I've come to understand the reason for their decision. I may not have to like it, but I must respect it. Frankly Calguns has driven progress for gun owners in California more than any other organization, large or small. They're the reason I have a legal AR type, and they are currently in the process of challenging the AWB through a non-profit foundation.
Calguns is worth your time, and deserving of your money.

The original post follows below. Regard it with my above notes.

David Codrea felt the need to voice a dissenting opinion on Calguns, and joined up so he could make his opinion known.

He was politely warned that the forum had rules and that he should reword his post to make it more polite and respectful. He was banned for life for his first post with no warning.

The Calguns site owner replied to his post in the first comment, and explained why he had been banned, and the rules regarding the Calguns forum usage. Usually, this kind of information is sent via e-mail to someone who was banned for a week or a few days, or (more often) in a follow up post under the first.

Additionally, the person who claimed to be the owner of Calguns said that he wasn't familiar with David's politics, and knew nothing about him. This, I suspect, was an outright lie. If he really was so involved in "his" site to be the one who instituted the life-long-warningless-insta-ban, I find it hard to believe that he missed the many posts which reference David and his politics in a derogatory manner. Conversely, if he is going to claim ignorance for being a more "hands-off" owner, then why was HE the one who instituted the ban, and decided that it should last a lifetime?

I smell bullshit.

David IS a bit harsh around the edges, but his voice needs to be heard because he's saying things that people don't get from the big 2nd Amendment lobby. David Codrea will not accept anything less than a full, and unconditional surrender from the gun-grabbers, and we need to have that voice in our community.

I will no longer be supporting Calguns with my donations, and hope you'll do the same.

If you know any other Calguns members, share this information with them. They need to know about Calguns' backdoor censorship.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

You fall into a pit!

"You fall into a pit!" "You land on a set of sharp iron spikes!" "The spikes were poisoned!" "The poison was deadly..." You have died. Do you want your possessions identified? [ynq] (n)"


One of the many insta-deaths...

I hate loving Nethack.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Neck deep!

I'm neck deep in someone else's database. Actually it's worse, it's a large company's database which means all the parts can be as disjointed as they want. If it was just one idiot's code, at least it'd be consistent!

I've been digging through the database for two days now, and feel like that one guy on the movie Real Genius who's helping them get the laser working. In the middle of everyone quietly pouring over research, he just stands up and starts screaming and going nuts and runs away.

That's me.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Goodbye Eilom the Ranger...

I said in an earlier post that I wanted to start my own Ranger, well I did and he was doing great.

I didn't get too deep, but I wasn't trying to. I was playing the way the fellow from the story was, and I was collecting all (and I do mean all) the items from the nearby levels and putting them in my storage box on the mine town level in the Mars temple. On a side note; collecting everything is a good way to keep the monsters from attacking me with crystal plate mail or really nasty weapons. And when you can test if the items are cursed or not, and try them on safely, I found quite a few good items that brought my armor class waaaaay down! I think I'll be doing this from now on. I'm going to have to put my Valk through this process to see how low I can get her AC...

I'd just sacrificed a whole bunch of monsters to my god when he rewarded me with Stormbane. Stormbane is an awesome weapon, but it's intelligent, so it can be unwieldy. I was practicing with it to get my skill level up, and had returned to the temple. I walked toward my box, and the Priestess got in the way. Normally when you choose to attack a peaceful being you are asked if you are sure you want to attack. Since I was wielding Stormbane at the time, Stormbane attacked her before I had the chance to stop it. I was a pretty low level, and priests of temples are rather strong (not to mention that if I kill the priest of a temple the temple becomes haunted). I tried to be nice, and prayed to my god (who was still supportive of me), but the priestess was just too powerful for me and...

Goodbye Eilom the Ranger...

Damn. I was doing so well!

Oh well. No use crying over spilt Ranger blood! Time to learn from my mistakes and get back to the game! I started a Valk named Velma afterwards, and have been finding some good items. Somewhere along the way, I found a cursed ring and a wand. I zapped the wand at a corridor to see if it was a projectile launching or area effect wand and nothing happened. I figured it was a speed monster wand (as those are common early in the dungeon) and zapped it at my pet housecat. *POOF* Red Dragon. OMG I polymorphed my pet cat into a Red Dragon! Kick ass! Totally lucky! I looked at that cursed ring and thought it would be awesome if it was polymorph control, but that's just wishful thinking.

Nethack has traps for you to keep you from just trying on unidentified rings, amulets, or reading unidentified scrolls. You pick up an unidentified scroll, feel adventurous and read it. Whoops, your +4 shield crumbles to dust. Bugger. Or you toss on an unidentified amulet. "What harm could it do?" you think, "I'll probably find out what it does later, or by interacting with the dungeon." Whoops. It was a cursed amulet of choking. It chokes you for 4 turns and kills you, and since it's cursed, you can't take it off. Way to go. You put on an unidentified ring, "There are no killer rings, the worst it does is knocks my roll down a few points in some category. Eventually I'll get it off." Whoops. It was a cursed ring of levitation. You float to the ceiling. You have a weaker attack since you have no footing, and you fly backwards when you launch a projectile. Not too bad right? Oh wait. You can't pick up anything off the ground since you're on the ceiling, nor can you go down a level since the stairs down are on the ground. And you can't try to dip the cursed ring in a fountain to remove the curse because the fountain is (say it with me) on the ground. Better start reading some of those unidentified scrolls and hope one is a scroll of remove curse (and not destroy armor or punishment), otherwise you need to go up levels and hope to run into a nymph who will steal your stuff, and hope she steals your cursed ring. You can help her do this by removing and dropping all your inventory so that the ring is the only thing she can steal. Of course, once you drop all your inventory, it'll be on the ground... As you can tell, there are quite a few obscure ways to die in Nethack. So if you're character's kicking ass, or just barely getting by, that cursed amulet of choking will do you in. And if the amulet doesn't; the randomly generated monster wielding a wand of death is just waiting around the corner.

Nethack is the only game I know of that actively tries to kill you in any way possible. There's no coddling here; it's just straight, 100% doom. Whether you're three turns into your game or 30000, the Random Nethack God WILL throw you a curve ball (or eight) to try to kill you.

Crap, where was I. Oh yeah, wishful thinking. I didn't want to try on the ring for the aforementioned reasons, but there was a sink a few levels up. Sinks eat rings (just like in real life) and by dropping your ring into a sink, the sink will display the ability the ring endows thereby identifying it (if you can recognize the message). This, however, requires that you lose the ring down the drain. I tossed the ring into the drain, and cursed as it displayed "For a moment the sink looks like an erupting geyser." Which is the message you get when you drop a ring of polymorph control into the sink. Bugger. Go fig.

So my Valk missed the chance to have poly control and a wand of polymorph, but she still had a pet Red Dragon named Zippo! I forget where she is right now, but he's doing A-OK. I'm looking forward to playing her some more, but not looking forward to her assured demise at the hands of the Nethack God.

UPDATE: I had a great run, but Nethack got me...

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Catching up (on nethack)

Howdy folks, just dropping you guys an update due to posts failing to make it out of the gate...

I've got three posts waiting to be finished, and four recordings waiting to be posts, but those things fell to the wayside in favor of something (presumably) more important.


I got a few false starts (IE, getting my ass kicked) and then got a good character started up. After I made it to the mine town, I got a little greedy and tarried a bit too long... Which allowed the Random Nethack God plenty of time to ensure my distruction. I died from a lucky shot from a sleep ray... Carried by a randomly nasty monster. Fux.

I started another character, and resolved to play this close to the vest. About 6 hours of total play time got me

Velkommen Val, the human Valkyrie, welcome back to NetHack!

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Val the Woman-at-arms St:18 Dx:16 Co:18 In:10 Wi:12 Ch:9 Lawful
Dlvl:6 $:3524 HP:95(95) Pw:27(27) AC:1 Exp:10

My Lawful Human Valkyrie, just exiting the Sokoban mazes (first time I really tried the maze, and beat it for a possibly blessed Bag of Holding. Though I already had a BOH, I got some wands and rings. I'm trying to get good with some spells, and it's kind of hard because I'm not used to using them. Anyways, after completing the Sokoban, I was afraid I'd get careless if I continued, so I took a break, and planned my next moves.

It's amazing how attached you get to your character when you're given one life, and no save points. Those 6 hours could instantly be wasted by making the wrong move (or a stupid or aggressive one). The thing is; when you get in a tight spot, you usually have an escape opportunity. You just have to be smart enough to see it.

If you're low on health, and surrounded, you have a few avenues of escape, some obvious and some unobvious. You can pray to your god for healing (presuming you haven't done anything to piss him off), you can read a scroll of teleport (or just random unidentified scrolls, hoping one is teleport), zap yourself with a teleport wand, zap a wand of digging straight down to make a hole you can escape through, read a powerful spellbook you can't understand for a chance of the powerful magic teleporting you (there is a risk of injury or confusion when you do this), quaff unidentified potions and hope one's healing, or throw them at monsters and hope they're confusion, break a wand to release its magical energies (dangerous), drop a scroll of scare monster (or drop all your unidentified ones and hope one is scare monster), zap yourself with a wand of speed (or quaff potion of speed) drop your heaviest stuff and run, zap monsters with wand of slow monster to help you escape, rub all your lamps... Gee... that's all I can think of now...

The point is, you can do a lot in this game, you just need a combination of brains and luck to get through. Unfortunately, this game is notoriously evil. When you start playing you'll soon find yourself dying in very creative, imaginative, and downright murderous ways. That's why it takes people years of playing to beat it. Your first ascension (beating the game) is a very momentous occation.

But back to our story... I've been overworking myself lately, so the nethack was a welcome relief. And I really needed it.

Wow, I just spent almost 6 hours reading through a nethack story! I was looking up pictures to post for you guys, and I found some guy's chronicle of his first truly serious game of nethack! It's awesome! You can head HERE and read the first entry to get a pretty solid feel for what it's like to play nethack! Great story!

Head over there and read the first entry; it's not too long, and gives you a pretty good feel for how the game is played. It may seem a little corny if you haven't played before, but if you keep reading you'll realize that all this thought was necessary.

Yeah, I started this post at 8:11am today, so... yeah... Just got caught up in the story! Now I want to start my own Ranger!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Xavier hits the christmas target!

Xavier has posted gifts for gun nuts.

How to find just the right gift for the gun nut you're nuts about!

History repeats itself

Short, informative, and entertaining. The trifecta of youtube watchery!

HatTip to SayUncle

Monday, December 18, 2006


Raise your hand if you were surprised by the twist on the season finale of Dexter last night.

ET raises his hand and looks around the classroom expectantly

I don't usually try to figure out the twists before they come, I prefer to enjoy sitting back and letting the show take me for the ride; but this twist had me genuinely surprised. (I feel inclined to point out that I WAS a little drinkded, and not entirely on the ball at the time)

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Preaching to the choir?

David reminds us of the true meaning of a phrase we've all used (likely misused) at one point.

I know I'll think twice before I use it in the future.

Additions and removals

I've added a few blogs and removed a few blogs from my "Blogs I frequent" non blogroll on the right hand side of the page.

Unlike a blogroll; this is a list of blogs that I actually read on a regular basis...

New additions are Prepair to be Boarded and A Keyboard and a .45.

Both have become blogs I read regularly for different reasons. Give them a click!

Backhanded victim blaming.

Updated Please read comments.

An acquaintance of mine was the victim of a mugging and a savage beating. The story was related to me via a post on the blog of a friend close to him.

An apparently well meaning and rightfully angered commenter argued the following;
This is a class thing, not a race thing. The most desperate use the most desperate measures as these two pieces of shit proved. Their intentions will never justify their actions, especially when they hurt someone. But, on Average, I’d say such people, if rich, wouldn’t resort to such actions at all.

If you’re lucky enough to have the choice, simply never wander through the dark, quiet streets of a lower-class neighborhood at night. You’ll get mugged by the black man, raped by the hispanic, your car pimped out by the asian and murdered by the white serial killer.

(emphasis added)

While I took mild issue with a few of his points I took offense to his flippant statement. (Honestly, had he not used the word "simply" I probably would have ignored it) I added the following to my comment after expressing my condolences;
“simply never wander through the dark, quiet streets of a lower-class neighborhood at night”
Blaming the victim is quite the spectator sport it seems...

To which he replied;
Existingthing, you, my friend, are a classic idiot. I like how you took out the first words of that sentence, “If one is fortunate enough to have a choice…”

Being a true bitch seems to be quite the blind-spectator sport.

Ah but say what you want. I’ll just consider the source.

Oh darn, was that a personal attack? Even so, I didn’t manage to reciprocate the shit you threw my way. Now lick your palms and pray to Jesus for forgiveness.

Misquoting IS a cheap trick; though, were it my intention I probably wouldn't have done it 1/8 of a page away from the original quote. I didn't use the full quote because I found it even more offensive in its entirety. I thought that including the word "simply" would make the intent of his statement clear. Clearly this was ignored.

A voice of reason requested that we not argue on such a tragic post, and I didn't post my reply there.

My reply to this fellow is below. I expect he will find it, as the only way he could attack me personally is if he knew me personally (he doesn't) or read my blog.
(I overlook one possibility; that he was just personally attacking me without knowing anything about me. In which case I could care less if he read this.)


"If you’re lucky enough to have the choice, simply never wander through the dark, quiet streets of a lower-class neighborhood at night."

This is backhanded victim blaming. You're having it both ways, and it's bullshit. You begin talking about choice; one always has a choice. "Hey man; that was a bad time to head home; why didn't you just sleep there? Rent a hotel room? Take a cab? Cower in an alley under some loose newspapers?" What, then, is the definition of NOT having a choice? I could argue that no place is safe; light or dark, quiet or noise, lower-class or upper. Crime can strike anywhere at any time. Does that make ANY victim of ANY crime at fault for "bringing it upon themselves"? Or are YOU the all-knowing, all-seeing final word in what's safe or not? And if so, why won't you impart your wisdom?

I took particular offense to the use of the word "simply". There is no street light indicator which lets people know when the streets turn from "safe stroll home" to "dangerous straits". Situations are constantly changing, and a walk home that was safe the other 261 times can suddenly becomes a life-threatening trek at any moment. Anyone who argues that there's anything "simple" about assessing potentially dangerous situations has clearly never been in one. No one walked up to the victim and said; "Hey buddy, tonight's walk home is going to be a life threatening one. Press 'A' to call a cab; press 'B' to walk home anyways." This wasn't someone who was "asking for it" or "tempting fate". This was someone who was just living his life.

More to the core of the issue, what if you DO have the choice and you choose to walk home at what some may argue was a dangerous time; or through what some may argue was a dangerous neighborhood? Two guys decide to break the law and your spirit by mugging you and beating you savagely. Would your argument be that this fellow got what he deserved? So, there's no blame on the bastards who attacked the victim? Or would you be so callous as to imply that there is shared blame? There's no gray area here. One party is innocent. One party is guilty.

Either way; it's bullshit. You ARE blaming the victim, and if you were not yet aware of that fact; you need to sit down and think seriously about how you view life's challenges, and the compassion you feel (or don't feel) for the others who face them as well.

I love Dennis Miller...

(but I'm not IN love with him)

The meaning behind Gutei's Finger

Someone came to this page from a google search for "meaning behind gutei's finger". The truth is that I cannot claim to know the true meaning behind this, but I know that the feeling it got when I first read it was something like enlightenment. It was a short burst of greater understanding and (at the risk of sounding like Moonbeam McStarchild) cosmic oneness. I know I would have extreme difficulty explaining it. But I'm not sure that it really can be explained. Just understood.

I've only experienced the feeling once before; the first time I read a poster of Albert Einstein that my parents got me when I was very young. It read, "Imagination is more important than knowledge". For a fleeting moment; everything made sense. I didn't know what the feeling was at the time, and tried to get the feeling back for literally years after that. Every few months I'd sit in front of the poster and concentrate on the quote and its meaning. I'd just wind up frustrated, and give up for a few months until I could try again.

I guess what it really means is only what you think it means.

bloody gun

Every few weeks I find a particular google image searches that links to my site. These recurring searches are for the query; "Bloody Gun" and link to one of my gun pr0n pictures (which is odd because I can think of at least one reason why that search query shouldn't find my gun :). The kicker is that all of these searches (over 15) originated from Canada (I think different parts; but don't remember specifically. I think I'd remember if it was the same place though) and took place rather randomly.

It's usual to see swells of odd searches that bring traffic to your site. For example; about a month ago for, some reason, people from france started searching for pictures of Mount St. Helens. I still have no idea why people are suddenly so interested in pictures of cockatrices or my nethack character. But this search wasn't a swell; this was consistent and sporadic. This was a persistent search.

I like to see what rank my pages and images bear for particular searches. I didn't want my guns to the first results for "bloody gun", so I ran the search myself and started clicking through pages and pages of the search results. I've tried it three times (weeks apart), and I think the farthest I've gotten was page 51 without seeing my gun. This means to be that these people were searching through over 51 pages of image results looking for a "bloody gun" to suit their use.

I sure do wonder why some folks from Canada would require pictures of bloody guns? Why not search for dirty gun? Or tasty gun? (Mmmmm...) Or (dun dun DUN!) safe guns? I suspect I know the answer...

I guess you'll always find what you're looking for.

"Hey! We did our job too!"

Feds Raid 6 Swift and Company Meatpacking Plants in Apparent Illegal Immigration Search

Imagine if they did their jobs for more than 1 day a year... All that needs to be said was said earlier.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


When you publish a post on it puts your blog at the head of a queue that seems to be used in a number of locations. One of which seems to be the "Next Blog" button in the top right corner of every blog.

After I published my previous post, I hit the sitemeter to see if people were sick of me not posting enough to stop showing up (not quite yet, I'll have to try harder!). I saw that the most recent view was referred from the following URL: Since there are no links to my blog on the site, the only way I could get a referrer from there would be for that person to hit the "Next Blog" button.

Sadly, this poor soul was researching how to quit smoking, and chose to view a random blog which happened to be one with a recent post on how I'm enjoying smoking cigars.

I'm doing the devil's work.

But hey; it's a free country, and it's your body. Should you wish to treat it badly you should be able to ruin it as you see fit! I'm merely a messenger.

Cigar Smokery

While in Mexico I picked up some Cuban cigars (how could I not?). I was never one for smoking, but couldn't resist partaking in what is explicitly verboten in the US.

I puffed and coughed and choked and generally had a miserable time. But I did it. When then time came to return, I can neither confirm or deny having returned with some.

Since then I've been slowly smoking them whenever I felt the compulsion, but never felt driven to do so. Only recently have I started craving the tobacco taste infrequently. Now that I've developed a taste for the cigars I find myself at the last few inches of my last one, and reluctant to finish. I'm even more reluctant to go to a cigar shop and buy more.

It's a bit of a vice, and I could easily give it up, but if I'm not doing it in excess, why should I worry?

I dunno. Lately I've been content sniffing the bit of cigar I have left, but am finding it increasingly difficult to be satisfied with just that.


I just had to use my inhaler. I was sitting in bed, catching up on the gun forums, so it's not like I was running 5 miles or anything...

I stopped using it after I got better, and haven't had to use it for months. I doubt this was an isolated incident... One more thing to worry about...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sorry guys...

I truly wish I could tell you this story; but must regretfully relate to you that doing so would be of significant detriment to myself.

One may feel that something one is unable to share with others is scarcely worth doing at all. However, I'm of the mind that those things can sometimes be the most rewarding.

Unfortunately the only way to test this theory is to do something that I'm not willing to do; share. So I remain blissfully ignorant to the possibilities of greener pastures, and shall be content simply to chuckle to myself idly.

Hackers don't usually get to share their guilty pleasures.

(at least; the good ones don't.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Defiant Infidel's hunting experience

Defiant Infidel has posted the second installment of his series in which he takes us on a hunting trip with him.

You will find that he is not simply narrating his experience, but sharing with you the details, thought, and planning that goes into a day of hunting.

A truly enjoyable read.

If you have yet to read the first installment; you may find it HERE. I highly recommend you read these posts, and check back for the completion of the series. They're truly worth your time.

Infinitely Amusing.

Kevin's back on the air!

Kevin over at Toast, it's not just for breakfast anymore, has cut his blogging hiatus short to air some grievances with the recent proposed RNC confirmation. Defiant Infidel commented, arguing that we should keep up the good fight, and things will change. Sadly, I don't share his optimism, and begrudgingly suggest a more radical solution.

The times; they are hard...

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Bond's back, and his haircut sucks (finally).

Last weekend we saw Casino Royale with Stouty and his wifey. It was a lot of fun to watch, and was one of those movies that really made you feel what was going on. I don't usually like writing about movies but this is really more about a character, so I don't mind!

Daniel Craig is the antithesis of Pierce Brosnan.

Pierce Brosnan's Bond, (who took short breaks from boning anything with two legs, drinking martinis, wining and dining any vagina within 30 feet, and playing with his watch to save the world in under 5 minutes while holding his gun like the limp dick in a $300 haircut that he is) would get his shit ruined in 7 different ways by Daniel Craig's Bond.

Casino Royale's Bond was ruthless, cunning, dangerous, skilled, smart, tough as nails, and everything you'd think of when you thought of a top class secret agent. Seeing this take on 007 made me feel like watching the old Bonds. Casino Royale's Bond acted more like a secret agent than what Bond has become recently.

James Bond had become something of a comic book character. I compare this to the pre-"Batman Begins" Batman movies. Those Batman movies were cartoony, takes on comic books. Watching Mr. Freeze (Our Governator) call his raver, hip-hop, hockey team minions to attack Batman was directed to be something out of the comic book. The situations, characters, and plots were surreal, unbelievable, and just plain far-fetched. But there isn't much wrong with that, because this was a movie based on a comic book. Sticking to the comic's style just helped it maintain what made it popular in the first place.

007, on the other hand, is not a comic book character. Sure, the situations Bond deals with verge on surrealism. But, a giant ice castle? It's just an example of a number of unnecessary eye candy distractions to keep you from noticing the tired plot, played quips, and the same storyline that has been in every Bond film. "That entire place is made of ice! I'll bet that cost lots of money to do! I wonder if it's cold in there!" Shut up. No one cares. Go watch Mission Impossible 3. Bond became a comic book superhero who sleuthed around in plain sight in a full tuxedo with his fashion accessory Walther PPK, and used every gadget Q gave him at least once a movie, and at least twice to save his life from certain sharks-with-frikkin-laz0rs death. Lately, his car has even become a minor character; using all the gadgets Q gave him before he left to save the world, and boning female cars while we're not looking no doubt.

They took 00 agent number 7, who was a top notch, world class, kick ass spy, and turned him into James Bond; who was not. Bond became about gadgets, being suave, ordering martinis, introducing himself with his last name followed by his full name, puns, and boning anything within arms reach. Bond became an idealized version of a spy. He wasn't 007 any more, he was James Bond. 007 did spy things; and James Bond did, well, James Bond things. And even though he hit like a girl, he did have a great haircut.

Casino Royale got back to the original Bond. This Bond was a 00 agent. To me, this was the real Bond. Good to have you back James, hope you'll stay a while.

It has come to my attention that Daniel Craig has expressed some very un-Bondly opinions. I should have made clear that the Bond I enjoyed was the Bond Daniel Craig was written, and directed by other folks. I'm not going to say that he added nothing to the character, because that's almost impossible, but I just want you to know there is a distinction between the actor and the character. Now dance, monkey! Dance!

Oh yeah, I just realized who this Bond reminded me of; Steve McQueen.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Groking Electronics

Sorry about the light posting, I've spent most of my downtime with my nose buried in webpages, books, and wires. This past week has seen most of my free time spent researching electronics in a renewed effort to understand some basic circuits.

I've been wanting to get into electronics for quite some time. I understand basic electronics (add battery to motor, make motor go; go motor, go), but didn't understand components, and circuits. I had a basic understanding of resistors, capacitors, relays, etc, but wasn't sure how to impliment them.

Last week I rediscovered my attraction to BEAM bots. Not having successfully learned electronics had always bothered me, so I resolved to get my nose back to the grindstone and not stop until I understood electronics to my satisfaction.

So, I dug up my old links, and books, and researched them for quite some time. I spent a lot of time finding out what I didn't know, so I would know what to research further. I eventually hit the wall I'd hit in the past, where I couldn't understand electronics theory. I spent a lot of time trying to find things that I could reverse engineer to understand, but only came up with more questions and confusion.

Suprisingly, the internet has a real gap of information on this topic. I picked my friend's brain who said that it took him a long time to truly grok the theory behind electronics circuits, and how components worked. This eased my frustration a little bit. I knew I could do it, and was willing to do the work.

I decided that if I couldn't research my way over this wall, I'd have to start playing with components, and learn on the way.

I picked up some components and a solderless breadboard, some basic components; a solar panel, a few motors, and a kit (for parts), and started messing around and recording my observations. (btw, a breadboard actually makes creating circuits easy and fun. It's a must have, and can be had for cheap.) After I started seeing how the components reacted with eachother and experimenting with different configurations, I began to understand.

It took a lot of time and work to get to this point, but I'm glad I'm making progress. I just wish I could have become impatient with the lack of information earlier.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Paintballing at last

I had been kicking myself for not getting my lazy ass to the paintball field, and I finally got fed up enough to go.

It was a pretty mediocre day at OC Asylum. There were about 8 rental walkons, a large group claiming to be some form of team (after I watched them play, I didn't believe them), and one other pumper of moderate skill (which was perfect for me, because I hadn't played in such a long time!)

Before I started, I wandered onto the field to get a feel for the bunkers which were usually in different positions from week to week. I stood off to the side as a (quite skilled) semi player gave a young kid (brother?) a pep talk, and then they separated to play against each other. It was obvious that this was the kid's first time, and that this was simply a training exercise. I watched because I wanted to see how he was going to teach him. I soon discovered that his teaching style was not to have one... He sent 1 to 3 balls at the kid and encouraged him to shoot back. He tucked in, and handled his marker properly, and generally held just short of wailing on him. The kid returned fire a few times, but half way through, stayed behind his bunker. The player approached the kid's bunker, and told him to fire back. The kid called for him to stop, and asked a question, "Is there a surrender option?"

Aww geez. "Alright! Alright, that's game!" I said, and walked toward the two. "Why don't I play against the kid and take it easy, and you give him pointers as we play?" The player replied, "Yeah, that sounds like a good idea. I'm not very good at teaching..." Yeah. So I played against the kid, and got him to actually return fire, and to keep most of his body in, and to shoot straight, and not be afraid to get shot. The player gave him pointers as he played, and I called out tips as we played. I would send some balls wide so he could see that they weren't going to hit him, and stay out to return fire, and plenty of other confidence building exercises. I love this stuff. I get so sick of the idiot "Agg kidz" with their wiping, ramping, overshooting, cursing, screaming, angry ways giving paintball a bad name, and turning newbies off to the sport. It warms my heart to see kids enjoying the game. By the end of this training session, I got the feeling that I had accomplished what I set out to do, build confidence, make some memories, and give the kid something to remember when he's at school on Monday. I was sure he'd be back, and that's what it's all about.

Unfortunately, the "team" monopolized the field for large periods of time to do drills. The drills were valid (unlike many I see), and I saw the value in what they were trying to impress upon the players. Unfortunately, there were only two players that I saw who played the drill correctly, and one that I saw who actually improved from his first failure. Oh well. I guess you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him focus on the flag instead of trying to shoot out people who outnumber you and are behind good cover. (horses aren't very good ballers)

My play time was mostly spent playing 1 on 1 with the other pumper. I immediately discovered that he was a few skill levels below me, in movement, and strategy. On shooting we were about par because I was still trying to regain my muscle memory with my Chipley S5. I figured I was at about 85% of my previous shooting skill. My snapshooting was off by about 7 inches at medium distances. So I spent most of my time giving the other pumper pointers as we played. When he failed to follow some bit of advice, I'd shoot him out. This went on for a few games, and I started to get lazy with my movements. He got me once when I started playing loose after the game lagged. (but, in my defense, I wasn't 100% in the game at the time :) I was still kind of instructing when he made a good move. By the end of the day his strategy had definitely improved, though his movements were still a little sloppy. I commented that he was playing better, and he said, "Well, you gotta adapt when you keep getting schooled!" This elicited a smile from me.

A little bored with my sub-par performance with my S5, I grabbed my Phantom to see how it was shooting. I admit that I'd been neglecting my phantom for quite some time, since I'd been playing my pro friends, I found that I needed the constant feed my S5 had against their semis. Additionally, I loved the way my S5 shot, and could shoot it better than my phantom. Back when I was playing with my S5 almost exclusively, I picked up my phantom and was surprised to find that I was at about 70% of my previous shooting skill. Rather than practice with it, I just put it back down, and played with my S5. Folly, thou name art me. Anyways, I grabbed my phantom, and returned to play more 1 on 1 with the pumper. I gave it some quick tweaking and was surprised at how well it shot (I guess I always am). I knew that playing was the only way I'd find out how effective I was with it, so I got back out on the field. After three surprising rounds, I determined that I was at about 95% of my previous shooting skill level with my phantom! Beautiful! And not having to carry around a big cocker and 68/45 tank, gave me better movement. SO good.

An odd thing happened near the time I left, while playing the pumper, our shots managed to collide in mid-air. We both spotted it instantly and reacted with surprise and disbelief. In pro games where you're firing ~20 balls a second pretty much non-stop, it's not uncommon to have your paintballs hit your opponent's paintballs (frankly, it's uncommon for that NOT to happen once every few games), but this was pump ball. Where you really have to pour yourself into each ball that leaves your barrel, and be connected with every other player on the field to play well. At this particular juncture, I was testing his resolve. I had just enough of my mask showing to see him, and was letting him shoot at me without returning fire. I was staying out for the balls that were going to miss me, and dodging the ones that were headed for my goggles. It's kind of an intimidation move and is supposed to force your opponent to rethink the strategy of shooting at you from that distance or angle. He had three my way, and only one was going to hit, I quickly drew my phantom up to fire, and he didn't duck in as he had done previously when I did this exercise. He stopped firing and stared at me, and I stared back at him, waiting to see if he intended to try to dodge my shot. I planned on him attempting to dodge, because I can send two in rapid succession and break the pattern. This meant that after he ducked in to dodge the first shot successfully, and drew back out, the other ball would be timed to hit him as soon as his head popped back out. This was a good lesson for pumpers to learn, and I was looking forward to teaching it. As we stared, something caused our neurons to fire at the same time, and we both shot. I didn't see his muzzle report because mine masked it, I remember thinking that he was waiting awfully long to dodge my shot, when our shots hit each other and broke in the air. We immediately knew what had happened, but it took a few hours for me to dissect the exact exchange that occurred.

Man, I love playing pump.

Labeled posts

Whew! I just got all my posts labeled. Enjoy the ease of searching!

Armed at home

Every so many weeks, the topic of carrying a pistol at home comes up on the gun forums. The argument invariably comes back to the point that you are VERY unlikely to be randomly targeted by home invasion robbers. I tend to agree with this point, but like to remind people that there are many "passive" ways to attract a home invader.

A home invader is going to be on the look out for two targets, soft targets, and valuable targets.

You can become a valuable target by doing something as simple as throwing away a pill bottle. Drugs are valuable, and if you show that you have them, you just became a valuable target.

You can become a soft target by doing something as simple as turning on the light when you go to the bathroom. If your bathroom has a window that is visible from a public or common area, a home invader would be able to see that you are currently occupied, and are unlikely to resist or react quickly enough to a forced entry. The same goes for taking a shower.

The point is that there are far too many ways to become marked as a valuable or soft target to keep from becoming marked. The only way you can protect yourself, your family and your property, is to be prepared with the most effective weapon available to you.

Gun owner or no, there's little excuse for being caught off guard in your own home.

Just give him what he wants.

A surprising number of people (some gunnies included!) want to convince you that if you're put in a dangerous situation, all you need to do is shut up, cooperate, and give him what he wants, and you'll be fine. "Don't be a cowboy!" "Just give him what he wants!"

Agree with this idea? I hope not. Because it just got you shot in the face.

Just shut up, cooperate, and give him what he wants? Unfortunately, what he wanted was to leave no witnesses.

"But I live in a good neighborhood!" part 4

Two women posing as postal workers request entry from the home owner, and once inside, tie up the victim and take their valuables. Article Here.

Most people prefer to be friendly and accommodating; I'd wager many of us (myself included) would probably invite someone in if they had business (or claimed they had business) with us. The difference is, I would be armed. Home invasion robberies are on the rise in Orange County, which is surprising considering how many gun owners there are in OC.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Adrenaline Situation

It took me a bit of time to get this all written down. I wasn't sure if I should post it, but I decided that it's worth posting, even if I'm not totally comfortable posting it at the moment. It's still a little fresh.

Last weekend I left to run some errands after I got up at the crack of noon (What? I was up early!), and stopped at the gas station to get some air for my slow leaking tire. I pushed the button on the side of the compressor, and nothing happened. When I entered the ampm, I noted a young girl (16?) in a baseball uniform arguing with the clerk about the pump number. I asked them to turn on the air and went out to try it. Nothing, I returned to ask them to turn it on again.

When I entered there was a man yelling at the clerk about charging the wrong pump number. The girl was standing behind him.

I began assessing the situation.

The man was a middle-aged Mexican, overweight with obviously muscular legs and arms, a little bit shorter than me, wearing a raiders windbreaker, denim shorts, and white socks up to his knees with raider slippers, and very pissed off. The clerk was middle eastern, average build, about my height, and also very pissed off. The counter separating them was about 2.5 feet wide, and clear of items. They were both very close to the counter, and easily within arms reach of each other. Did I mention they were pissed off? The man was arguing that he had authorized the wrong pump and they wanted their money back, the clerk said that they authorized the wrong pump at the island, and that they're not getting any money back because someone was at the pump an used the gas.

I put my cell phone to my ear, and wandered around as if looking at the junk food, to a position at about 8 o'clock behind the man, about 5 feet away, and partially behind one of the snack islands.

The man's argument degraded to yelling about "Motherfucking ay-rabs" and going "Back to Iran" at which point the man's wife entered the store and started calming her husband.

Whew. These guys were getting pretty hot under the collar, good thing the wife will calm things down. She talked to her husband, and convinced him to return to the car. Unfortunately he stopped just short of the door. I avoided his sight, and moved to a 7 o'clock position behind where he now was, partially behind another snack island.

Then, when I thought things were winding down, the wife started arguing with the clerk. She argued that he authorized the wrong pump, and that he was taking money from a 15 year old girl. (The girl was white, like Scandinavian white, so I'm assuming they were giving her a ride to a game or something, and she was going to pay for gas. During the yelling the man mentioned that they weren't from around here, so the girl was probably getting ride to an away game or something) The clerk continued arguing that he couldn't give them their money back because it had been spent by the person on the pump that they authorized. Unfortunately, it didn't take long for the wife's argument to degrade into more name calling and yelling. Finally the wife seemed to give up, and told the girl to wait in the car. Then she grabbed a candy bar (twix if it matters :) and said that he stole $35 from the 15 year old girl and that she was going to take the candy bar. The clerk yelled that if she walked out the door he was going to call the police, which prompted more yelling.

This whole time I was standing there with my phone to my ear, I was starting to get worried now because the man was standing silently, fists balled, and was just shooting daggers at the clerk. Yelling people are emotional and angry, and likely to get over what they're yelling about soon. Quiet people are thinking rationally. You should worry about quiet people. I looked at the way he was standing and speculated on how he might move, and thought of different ways to bring him to the ground quickly. I felt the pre-fight jitters start up, and was worried that he was wearing a windbreaker on a hot day while wearing shorts on what was probably a long driving trip. Amid the yelling, the clerk dared the wife to leave with the candy so he could call the police, she yelled back that he wouldn't dare, and walked out the door. The clerk had the phone in his had and yelled out the door that he was calling the police now and that he had their license plate on tape. The man just stood there glaring at the clerk. I was getting really tense now. The clerk, unaware the guy's wheels were spinning furiously, told him that he should go get the candy back because he had their license plate. The man just glared at him. The clerk who had the phone to his ear already said, "Fine, I'm calling." He turned to the phone and pushed the hang-up button on the phone and started dialing. Just as the clerk turned to the phone the man turned his head slightly and looked at the camera in the ceiling. He knew he was on tape, and he still hadn't decided what to do. I remember thinking "Here it comes." and reminding myself not to draw until I saw a weapon. I remember my eyes twitching because I wasn't blinking and that I was holding my breath.

The next bit is going to sound cliche, but I assure you, the cliches are true. The man looked back at the clerk who was turned toward the phone and the clerk was staring at the man out of the corner of his eye. The man took a deep breath and said to the clerk, "You know what...?" (Everything after this took place in honest-to-god slow motion. Thinking about it now seems so fucking unreal. At the time I didn't even think it odd.) The eye the clerk had on the man went wide and he started to turn his head to face the man, who's body was now moving, but not in any discernable direction yet. Every muscle in my body instantly tensed, and my body lowered into a ready position. Then I saw the man's right elbow draw back, and saw the right side of his windbreaker pulling back. It was the beginning motions of a draw, and all I could think of was, "I can't believe this guy's going to shoot the clerk over this!" I almost started moving but reminded myself that I still hadn't seen a weapon. As the man's hand swept back along his waistline I could see the clerk started to figure out what was going on, and developed a look of terror almost instantly. I remember thinking that I should have drawn my knife and suddenly realized that it was already in my hand in the downward position, and I was squeezing it so hard it hurt. Every fiber of my being was poured onto that arm motion, every muscle in my body was hard and burning. When his hand made it to the 5 o'clock position my heart dropped. I don't know any other way to describe the feeling, it just felt like my heart dropped down to my waist. I couldn't feel my body, I was just a pair of eyes, burning a hole in his windbreaker, trying to see what I had to see.

I saw his index and middle fingertips drop into view below the windbreaker, below his waistline. The rest of his fingers followed, and they shoved themselves into his back pocket which bore a heavily worn wallet outline. I could see that he was fishing for his wallet, but I couldn't get myself out of the red. The clerk couldn't see this, and his expression had turned to naked fright. I'm not sure how long it took the man to get his wallet out, it was probably pretty quick, but I really don't know. He brought his wallet in front of him and finished his sentence, "... fuck you." He threw three bills out of his wallet at the clerk. "Arab chickenshit." And the man left. I don't know how long we stood there after the man left, eventually someone walked in. He called to the woman with an odd look on his face, "Hey, get out of here, we're closed! I'm on break!" then a pause, "Our computers are down, use the machines by the pumps." The woman left, and the next thing I knew I had walked out the door, and the clerk locked it behind me. As I began to realize what had just happened, I realized I still had my knife in my hand, and closed it, and put it away. I remember that I walked back to my car, but don't actually remember the walking. I leaned against my car, then doubled over and threw up. I opened my car door and got in. Once I sat down and put my head back, I started to feel myself relax, and let a deep breath out that I didn't remember taking in. As soon as my muscles relaxed I started shaking pretty badly. I'd had this before, these were adrenaline shakes, and were normal when your body dumps adrenaline into your system, and you don't use it. It took 15 minutes for me to stop shaking.

As soon as I got back on the road, I remembered I needed air for my tire, and stopped at the gas station at the next corner. I got out, and pushed the button on the side of the air compressor and it chugged to life. Thank god.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Screw the PS3, and Sony.

A coworker of mine wanted to get a PS3 and I asked him why. He really didn't have a reason, other than that it was new.

The Wii offers a new kind of gaming, using an innovative controler, and offering games that take advantage of that feature. The PS3 has... well... better graphics. Nintendo is coming out with games that push the boundaries established by years of gaming. Sony has... well... better graphics. Nintendo is trying to make their games more accessable to different age groups. Sony has... well... you know... I think time has proven that for most gamers, gameplay, not graphics, is most important. But hey; I'm sure the next RPG Sony releases will have graphics so lifelike that you'll begin to become mentally divergent. Of course, playing the game will be like driving nails into your shins, but it'll look SO awesome.

The PS3 doesn't make sense. This does.

Sooo... CLose...

CA, US 11/17/2006 8:15 A.M. OUT FOR DELIVERY
11/17/2006 3:22 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
CA, US 11/17/2006 2:43 A.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
11/17/2006 12:45 A.M. ARRIVAL SCAN
CA, US 11/16/2006 11:59 P.M. DEPARTURE SCAN
11/16/2006 12:51 P.M. ARRIVAL SCAN

Gah! I can almost taste it! I feel like Tweak! Gahhh!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Waiting is the geekiest hardest part

Ok, so I'm not too proud to admit being a little JESUS CHRIST! Incredible! Ack! Don't tap on the glass! It eats BIRDS?! This shit is scary!-- *whew* Where was I before the... unpleasantness...? Ah yes. I'm not too proud to admit being a little excited about my newly purchased piece of geekery. I may, however, be too proud to admit how distracted I've been for the past few days waiting for it to arrive. I have automated scripts that don't check package status as much as I have in the past few days. Of course, the fact that UPS "rescheduled" (read: delayed) my package didn't help my impetuosity... I'm not usually this apprehensive about things I order, but I think this item is too geeky for me to let slip to the back of my mind for very long.

But it'll be coming tomorrow (knowing UPS, tomorrow before I got to work), and I'm starting to settle down...

Just the idea of all that Linuxy, geeky, wifi-y, perl scripty, openssh-y goodness is, it seems, a little bit too much for me to handle sanely. What will I do once I actually have it in my hands?

If it doesn't come tomorrow I may drive off a cliff...

Damnit! "But I live in a good neighborhood!" Part 3

Woman raped at gunpoint at Garden Grove center

I'm going to have to stop doing these.

Get a good look at this piece of trash.

Will it be a visit to the supermarket or a threatening situation? Ask yourself next time you leave your residence.

Cheap, Assisted Mexican Carry

This issue came from Mexican Carry allowing the front of my XD to slip down my pants. The butt of the gun latched pretty well to my pants, but the front could easily slip down, causing the "hook" of the butt to follow it.

I have used this "clip" before. It's from a clothespin-style spring clip that was cut to leave a figure 8. The 8 was folded over itself unevenly, and became a strong way to hook things to your clothing. I used one on the small (and previously useless) keychain loop on my Victorinox so I can clip it to my back pocket without it falling sideways, and making sitting uncomfortable.

A little bit of paracord kept the gun firmly attached to the clip, and since the loop was too small for the trigger guard, I didn't have to worry about it slipping all the way through. When drawing the clip and cord either flew off and free of the gun, or stayed clipped to my pants. Not very complicated, but very effective.

As always; clicky for full size.

Don't forget!

Clicky for more information.

"But I live in a good neighborhood!" Part 2

Three white young women become victims of a savage hate crime on Halloween. If you have the stomache, read about it here or read a well done synopsis here. A truly heart-breaking story of random mob violence and innocent victims.

Try not to get too angry when you read about the victims calling 911and getting a busy signal, and the witnesses who called 911 and did nothing.

Try not to get too emotional when you read that it was broken up by a single, unarmed good samaritan who put his life in danger to save these young women.

This is a terrible story, and a situation that could happen to anyone. Don't be naive. Be prepared.

Will it be a fun Halloween out with friends, or a threatening situation? Ask yourself next time you leave your residence.

Hat tip to RJ at A keyboard and a .45



Jumbo Prawn anyone?

It seem that if you seek Large pictures of Prawn you will find my XD-9 glamour shots...

Hey, I takes traffic wherever I gets it!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

What an amazing time to live in.

Fixing phantom limbs with virtual reality

It seems phantom limb pain can be reduced by donning virtual reality gear and fooling your brain into thinking that your missing appendages have returned by using the virtual limbs. Amazing.

An acquaintance of mine is missing a leg, and he told us about the phantom limb pain he gets. Imagine an itch you could never scratch, dull or stabbing pains that you can't fix? Imagine feeling these pains for days straight. Crazy stuff.

Truth from The Great One

I didn't have to listen very long to find out why Mark Levin is known as "The Great One"

Two nights ago Mark dispensed some great truths in a monologue entitled "What conservatives believe", and so many people requested a transcript that he posted the audio, and a fan transcribed it.

It's definitely worth your time.

AUDIO: What conservatives believe.
TEXT: What conservatives believe

Lacking double standards

I came in at a different time today, and listened to Shawn Hannity on my way in.

If I can listen to Shawn, (who's viewed as a "republican cheerleader") frequently hold republican feet to the fire on issues of lacking conservatism or dealing with broken promises; why can't I hear something similar when I listen to NPR?

Somehow democrats can do no wrong in the minds of liberal commentators (and "reporters"), yet almost every conservative show I've listened to is very vocal about issues where the republicans and the president failed? Every few weeks some liberal will call up one of the conservative shows and complain that the host never says anything bad about Republicans. To which the host will reply, "You don't listen to my show very much do you?" and then proceed to rattle off the many issues where they've been vocal about Republican problems.

What do these liberal hosts think they're doing? I mean, they've GOT to know that the only way the party will get better is with criticism. They can't just complain their way into power... Oh... Damn... Well, maybe now we can see some of those extreme "new directions" that the dems so blindly supported to win votes... Sure wouldn't want the crowd getting angry... *snerk*


Today's the last day of a sale at Turners that knocks $20 of a Yugo SKS, AND it happens to be payday. Bad combination.

I'd rather spend the money on an AK parts kit, and some flats. Actually, I'd rather just get both!

Bah! I need to get some sleep. I'll update later to let you guys know if I was strong enough to resist...

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Concealed Carry Problem

As some of you know I'm planning on getting my CCW permit. I've been sweating how I'm going to carry, since every position I could get the holsters into maintained a noticeable bulge in places that couldn't be excused as folds of a shirt or jacket. Unhelpful was the fact that I was not a slender person. I have a bit of a spare tire which allowed me to carry Mexican at 12 o'clock (though uncomfortably), but kept me from carrying at 3 o'clock since my sides stuck out beyond my waist, and pushed the handle of the gun out to print on my clothing. Worse was the fact that I usually wore baggy jeans or shorts that rode a bit below my waist. (Not hanging below my ass or anything, just loose and low) I didn't like wearing a belt, and carrying a gun usually means wearing a belt. I figured I'd have to start wearing a belt, and changing the way I dress to be able to successfully conceal a weapon.

What I was trying wasn't working, so I started doing some research... Months later I'd made some progress.

The closer the gun is to your body, the less it will print, and the lighter it will seem. The smaller a gun is, the less it will print. Shoulder holsters are basically worthless. Leather beats kydex for in-waist-band holsters. Get a good belt and dress in layers to reduce printing. And most importantly, dress around the gun! Carrying a gun isn't supposed to be comfortable!

Um... great.

I could get some of the cheap holsters (that came with my handguns) to not print, but only if I cinched the belt down to an uncomfortable degree. I didn't want to carry around a mouse gun if I didn't have to. (not that I have anything against mouse guns; they have their place, but I didn't want to have to have one as my primary carry simply because I couldn't make a full size work for me) Shoulder holsters are complicated, cumbersome, and feel heavy. In-waist-band (IWB) is usually uncomfortable if you don't have the figure of a slender reed. I don't like wearing belts, and dressing is layers is hard when you live in Huntington Beach where 75 degrees is about as cold as it gets any season. (Heh, as if we had seasons...) I was not looking forward to dressing around anything, or changing the way I usually dress to be armed. Frankly, the statement that carrying a gun isn't supposed to be comfortable struck me as a bad attitude to have...

Another issue I had was the fact that actually have a butt, which made sure that anything that went between my pants and my ass would stick out like a sore thumb. This made carrying any full-sized (or even compact) gun from 4 to 8 o'clock almost impossible, not to mention the uncomfortable prospect of sitting. After reading Tam's post it was clear that I should carry the gun in a way that wouldn't require me to unholster and reholster when sitting for extended periods (work or driving). Which seemed to make most positions except 12 and 3 o'clock undoable with my 5" 1911.

So I picked up a few different types of holsters to see how they fitted (just to get an idea, the good holsters are expensive), and saw no way I could properly conceal anything other than with an IWB and a belt, or an OWB and a belt squeezing the hell out of me. (not to mention buying new clothes) As I tried different configurations with a paddle holster and IWB this high, or that high, with a cant or without, I just got pissed and gave up.

So, frustrated with the seemingly inescapeable prospect of changing how I dress to legally carry (to carry, the gun MUST be concealed), I took my 1911 out of the holster, removed the chafing paddle holster, took off my belt and my jeans, and put on my casual, loose shorts and a t-shirt. Then I picked up the full-sized 1911, and shoved it into my waistband at 3 o'clock, and was amazed.

Since my shorts were low on my waist, the grip was below my side, which pushed my t-shirt out and kept it loose over the gun. The curvature of my side at 3 o'clock made the butt of the gun print, but since the gun was so low, it only looked like a small hard object on my beltline at 4 o'clock. Under the shorts the long slide went straight down the side of my thigh without printing one bit. The shorts fell loosely over the slide and only caused the slightest protrusion, but no printing. Even if I shifted my hips, the end of the barrel pushing my shorts out to a minor point that was easily dismissed. I tried to push the gun down further into my shorts, but found that I could only do it if I pulled my shorts up to get slack, and held them out as I pushed the gun down. It was getting caught on grip corner closest to the trigger, and seemed very solid. I put on my jeans without the belt and found the 1911 carried exactly the same way. If I gave the gun a forward cant the barrel caught the curve of my pants and brought the butt of the gun in even more (though it was higher). I grabbed my 4" XD and put it in my waistband and found that it did not conceal as well as the 5" 1911 (I guess the 1911s really do live up to their reputation!) Could I really carry Mexican primarily?

Um.. No? Well... probably not.

Getting a clipdraw would keep the gun from coming loose during activity, and falling down my pant leg (oops), but wouldn't keep bending or other activity from pushing the gun up. I'm afraid that if I get a nice leather IWB it will add unnecessary bulk to the slide and make it obvious that something was under my clothing, plus most require a belt. Right now it's between the Comp-Tac and the Milt Sparks VersaMax II. The Comp-Tac, is thin, fits at 3 o'clock, and is very adjustable. Unfortunately it is kydex and may require a belt (I suspect I can fabricate something to avoid that). The Milt Sparks VMII comes highly promoted, is good at 3 o'clock, is supposed to be very comfortable, and can take kydex tuckable (beltless) clips. Unfortunately it isn't as adjustable as the C-Tac, it seems to keep the gun higher than the C-Tac, and the leather might add too much bulk to the slide. Fortunately, someone already did this comparison here, which gave me quite a bit of insight, but didn't help me make up my mind...

Well, knowing the turnaround time on a CCW in Orange County (without a stalker and a restraining order), I'll have plenty of time to make up my mind before I need to make a decision.

"But I live in a good neighborhood!"

NEWSFLASH: Violence happens everywhere! Film at 11!

Will it be a night on the town, or a threatening situation? Ask yourself next time you leave your residence.

Monday, November 13, 2006

(clever knot/not word play here)

I know quite a few knots, and I've had to use them many times. It's a very basic skill that can serve you when you least expect it or most need it.

Sadly, learning knots usually includes you straining to make sense of a complicated diagram. This site, however, does an excellent job of showing you exactly how you can tie some basic knots.

You MUST tie these knots to remember them. You WILL forget if you don't.

If you are a bit lazy and want to know the really important knots to know, here are my top four;
1. Bowline
You could always use a loop, and a bowline will never let you down!

2. Sheet Bend
Used for tying two lengths of rope together. Extremely useful, and (despite it's relatively simple form) extremely strong.

3. Taut Line Hitch
Forms a loop that is adjustable to make the line between two ends very tight. Very useful knot.

4. Figure 8
A stopper knot that (unlike others) is easy to untie and adjust without sacrificing strength under pressure.

Why learn how to tie knots? A better question is; why NOT learn how to tie knots?
(That's right, I didn't use the "knot" instead of "not")

Hat tip to the MakeBlog.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Ok, so I'm a little bitter.

I've been a bit down lately, hence the light blogging. I didn't know why until I realized that I'd been avoiding the details of the election results. I guess I've just been disgusted with the Democrats' win. Actually, that's not true. I've been disgusted with HOW the democrats won.

I'm sure I'll be focusing on projects for some time till I can get over the Democrats' huge win.

Am I bitter?

Yeah. I'm bitter.

I'm bitter that republicans, after getting just what they asked for, majority control of the government, went back on almost every promise that got them there.
I'm bitter that our "security-minded" republicans did NOTHING (and I DO mean NOTHING) about our borders.
I'm bitter that our "conservative" republicans spent like there was no tomorrow.
I'm bitter that the democrats, running on a platform of complaining, won.
I'm bitter that the democrats won popular support by offering a "new direction" in Iraq; backwards.
I'm bitter that Iran applauds the democrats' ascension to power, and the public STILL can't figure out why radical Islam prefers Democrats in power.
I'm bitter that supposedly impartial reporters could be seen and heard cheering for Democratic wins in the midterm elections.
I'm bitter that a joke of a congresswoman is third in line for the presidency.
I'm bitter that the people voted with their emotions instead of with their heads.
I'm bitter that the so many Americans just couldn't see thought the BS.

But most of all?
I'm bitter that Americans need another attack before they start taking the war on terror seriously.

I hope the pendulum swings back to the right within two years, but I'm pretty sure that won't happen because I'm sure the Democrats will play it close to the vest because they know that people don't realize that they have no new, good, or winning ideas. The prospect of a government run by these hippie democrats in such a dangerous time is enough to keep me up at night. Jesus, a government run by these whining babies? Who would they blame when the fit hits the shan?

Defense-minded people

It was refreshing to talk to someone who's thoughts on defense were more involved than "If som'un be all up in mah sheet, I's be all like 'Bam, sucka! Glock foe-ty, yo!' an I's be all like, 'pop! pop! pop! sucka-what?! pop! pop!'" *ahem* Quite.

After a bit of time at the range last night, I went to the parking lot to leave. I saw a man shine his flashlight on and around his car as he approached it. I was a little bit behind him, and asked him if he had an inova light since the beam was clearly from an LED. He said it was a Surefire, and talked about it a little bit. So I showed him my E2 and we talked flashlights for a few minutes. Turns out he did some work for Surefire so he was well versed in their line.

I mentioned that I was planning on picking up an E2D (Yes, I STILL don't have it; but my E2 was working so well...) and he advised against it. He spoke about the legal ramifications (in Kalifornia) of carrying such an aggressive product. I told him that it shouldn't matter, because the striking bezel also serves the function of protecting sensitive areas. To which he replied that it wouldn't matter since the product is advertised as a product with weapon-like features. This would defeat the purpose of the innocuous use of a flashlight as a kubaton, because the flashlight became a weapon as soon as it was marketed as one. (Damn marketing!) Then he asked if I was going for my CCW, and after I remembered that I'd asked about a letter in the range lobby, I told him I was. Then we started talking about how the California legal system protects a criminals, and appropriate response.

While it may have been clear to you that force was the correct action, in California it's almost guaranteed that you will be sued by the aggressor's family. Without going too much into appropriate response, he talked about a layered response, and how it could make a serious difference to a jury or judge. Things like flashing your flashlight and warning on the first degree, pepper spraying as second, and drawing as the third.

Certainly there are many situations where drawing is the appropriate first response, but the chances are that you will encounter a situation that falls in one of the many shades of gray. The gray area is where the hero gets thrown into jail or bankrupted financially. Having the ability to take that gray area, and respond with "gray" actions keeps you from having to go to the extreme of drawing your gun, and would make it clear to a jury that an aggressor who was not deterred by these gray actions needed to be drawn upon.

We talked about a number of other topics pertaining to defense, and I was glad that I was able to hold up my end of the conversation, but realized that I needed to develop a more complete carrying strategy. I'm glad I got a chance to talk to him, and hope to see him again.

Are we crazy for giving this kind of thing so much thought? Maybe. But I'd rather be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Downward Spiral is so fucking awesome.

I just thought I'd share that.

I love picking through music I haven't listened to for a long time.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Monitor eBay for new items

I've been looking at the Sharp Zaurus SL-5500 for a bit of time. Wireless + Openssh + internet browsing + mp3 + movie = geek happiness. (honestly, I really only care about the wireless, and openssh, but the rest is pure icing!) The Zaurus series runs a full distribution of Linux which = teh roxor. I'm trying to be a bit more careful about my handheld device purchases, because I sure hate spending money on something I'm not going to use, or stop using after a short while. The SL-5500 is a perfect introduction to the Zaurus series since they are plentiful and can (usually) be had for a little over $100. People don't like them because they have very limited battery life when using wireless, but there are ways around that. I figured I would be able to get acquainted with the Zaurus and see how I like it, and if I lose interest in it easily. Then, I can decide if I want to get a SL-6000 or something.

But I digress...

The reason this script was put together was because someone posted their sl-5500 for a very low price on the buy it now feature, and it was snatched up (what I can only assume was) very quickly. This script will check to see if there are any new items in the search results, and send you an sms with the item number so you can check it out. Note that this script only searches one page, though could probably be changed to search many or all pages...


$message='sl 5500';

@rray=split ('<tr ', `curl -L ' 2>/dev/null|grep 'List View'`);
if(@rray[0]!~/script/){print "fission mailed!\n"; exit;}

$oldids=`cat sl5500.ids`;
`rm -f sl5500.ids`;

for(split('<td ', $_)){
if(/coitem\" value="(\d+)"/){
`/home/bishop/ $message -- $id`;
`echo $id >> sl5500.ids`;

If you wish to make your own script, make sure you add a check like in line 3 to make sure ebay responds to you. For some reason, every 20th or so try would get a connection reset from ebay. This made no sense, so I just tossed in that check. It pretty much runs the same way my gmail notifier works. Simple is good.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

VOTE F.U.D.!!!!11

Fear/Uncertainty/Doubt for reelection!

That's the name of the game now.

All morning all I could hear was cases of complications that some voting locations had. Of course, when the workers had too many people, or had some kind of simple complication, they had to send people to another voting place. NOW if there is even the slightest hitch in a voter's giddiyup, it's voter disenfranchisement! Somehow, we've been running elections for hundreds of years without problems, and now a poll worker can't sneeze without a voter bitching about being "turned away" or "intimidated"...

Yeah, so, um, I went to the place for the votes, and stuff? And like, there was this like, it was like a huge line. So I'm all like, well this is a Republican plot to keep me from voting! Cuz e'ryone knows that, like, not that many people, like, vote. You know?

I was going into the polling place, which was in a RED HOUSE, by the way! Anyways, I was going there, and they had these flowers, and the flowers were attracting bees, and there was this bee there right by the door. So it hit me, this is a democratic district, and the house is red, so clearly these Republicans were trying to keep democratic voters AWAY! I don't know if I'm alergic to bee stings, so I could like die! They were trying to kill me!

I was going to vote, and then I saw that they were using those voting machines made by that Republican-owned company, Diebold? And I was all like, "I'm not voting on THOSE things! It's gonna make me vote for Bush!" And this lady was all like, "Der, Bush isn't even on the ballot" And I was all like, "I'm not using that thing!" And so the lady gave me this paper ballot, and it was all like, confusing because I had to like punch holes! And I was like, "What is this? I need a hole puncher to vote? And you all are going to know it was me, and you're going to rip up my ballot because I didn't vote for Bush!" And the lady was like, "You put it in this box, and we don't have the key." And I was like, "Sure you don't, NAZI!!!" And then she said something about like her surviving the holy-cost and I was like "Whatever!" And I left. I am so, like totally distenfrenchized.

STFU n00bs...

If conservative measures win, everyone will be screaming foul play, if the liberal (Sorry, I mean "progressive") measures pass, well, it was a perfectly fair result, and any claims of foul play are republican talking point neo-con bushitler religious-right vast right-wing conspiracy.

Though, I suppose time will tell if the Republicans will be sore losers too...

The daily show

I was happy to see the daily show claim that the mid-term elections matter very little because the system doesn't work.

I hope that it changed the minds of those (many) who use the daily show as their primary source of political information...


There, that ought to do it...

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Musings on spare time

What do you like to do in your spare time?

A fair question. A good question.

My personality type lends me to keep from idle banter with people who aren't very good friends. When I noticed that I had people that I'd known for years who I didn't really know anything about, I decided to make a conscious effort to ask some personal questions of these people. What do you like to do in your spare time was a pretty good question, and usually got people started talking about themselves. I used to think that people talking about themselves was annoying, but since I've started listening, I've found the experience very interesting. I suspect I simply enjoy not having to talk-- I mean, listening. I like listening to people talk about things that they like. But I digress...

Recently someone asked me this question (much to my surprise), and after I managed to sputter out an answer, and I became perturbed by what I'd said.

Er, so... Besides shooting? I... um... well, I code a lot... and... er... yeah.

Yeah, I think that pretty much captures the essence of my answer.

The subject was quickly dropped.

Over the following weeks I became more and more bothered with my answer.
Is that all I really do? I play games some times, but not that often. I draw, but that's really only when the feeling strikes me. I used to go to lots of fun websites, but I don't anymore. I've GOT to do more than just code! What the hell does that say about me? How much of a loser am I???

This line of thought and desperate search for other things I do for fun left me seriously bothered.

Until I happened upon something I'd forgotten a long time ago.
hacker n.

[originally, someone who makes furniture with an axe] 1. A person who enjoys exploring the details of programmable systems and how to stretch their capabilities, as opposed to most users, who prefer to learn only the minimum necessary. 2. One who programs enthusiastically (even obsessively) or who enjoys programming rather than just theorizing about programming. 3. A person capable of appreciating hack value. 4. A person who is good at programming quickly. 5. An expert at a particular program, or one who frequently does work using it or on it; as in `a Unix hacker'. ...

From the Jargon File. emphasis mine

I'd forgotten. It's alright for me to code for fun.

It's what I do.

Alone in Kyoto

Air is one of my favorite ambient groups, and it's the exception that proves the rule that everything from France sucks.

Currently being enthralled by:
Air - Alone in Kyoto

that link wasn't working for me, but it sure looks like it works... Let me know if it works for you...

Friday, November 03, 2006

Costco Bans guns

Costco Bans guns

Costco apparently feels that your right to legally carry a firearm to protect yourself and those around you stops once you meander through their gaping entrance.

Vote with your dollars, let them know how you feel.

Hat Tip to SayUncle

New body's done, now to transfer the brain.

After I'd repaired the iPod nano, it was time to semi-retire my iPod mini. I knew that iTunes would fight me tooth-and-nail to keep me from moving my legally owned music from one of my legally owned devices to another. I wanted to transfer all my music from one to the other (and learn how to backup my music), and I wanted to do it on a low level to keep it simple.

The iPod saves the music that's put on it under random names under random folders. If you dig into the memory on an iPod, you'll find all your music, in a playable format, but you just don't have all the song names that corespond to the filenames. The music-to-filename information is held somewhere in the iTunes directory under the iPod_control directory on the iPod's storage partition. So, I just went into the iPod_control directory on the nano, and replaced the folders in it (music, itunes, and device) with the folders from my mini. After a bit, the transfer was complete, and I unmounted the nano, and found that the nano had all my songs, and playlists. I was suprised to see that the system playlists, "25 most played", and "my top rated" were still populated. The "recently played" system playlist was empty, which leads me to believe that the contents of this playlist are figured on a lower level than the rest.


EDIT: Bugger!
There something wrong with some of the music... I did some testing, and have concluded that what I did SHOULD have worked, but it seems that some entire CDs won't play, though they appear in the listings, and playlists. I'm not sure if there is any particular reason why certain CDs don't show up, though I suspect that there is a slight difference between the way the mini and the nano store their data. When I plug the nano into itunes, I can the music off of the nano that I can't play ON the nano... I poked it for some time and was unable to make any progress. I suspect I'll resign myself to transfering the music over as I did before, and making a list of the music that doesn't work so I can remove it from the device in itunes, and add it back... Strengeness...

Ok, it's only the music that I bought and downloaded off of iTunes. Which makes sense because Apple's BS DRM nonsense probably registers any music bought from iTunes and put on an iPod to the specific iPod that it was put on. That would explain why iTunes would play it off the iPod, but the iPod refused to play it, and why it would pick up the track length which indicates that it's able to read the file (it just doesn't want you to hear it). You'd have to strip the DRM off of these tunes, though I'm not sure how well the song-to-file table will adjust. I'm going to remove the songs from the iPod with iTunes, and then add them back. At least the problems were only with songs already in the iTunes library (so I don't have to go searching for them...)

We can rebuild him. We have the technology, and those tiny screwdrivers.

Mrs. Ipod? The surgery was... (dramatic pause!!!)... a success!

Yes, we've gone from this;

To this;


The whole iPod nano screen replacement took about 30 minutes, and cost $21 for replacement LCD (TFT) screen and tools. Before I bought the screen and tools, I pried the nano apart to make sure that I could take it apart, and put it back together without destroying it utterly. After I got the screen and tools, the tools made it a little easier to crack the sucker open, but they weren't required.

Pulling the back off the nano was the hardest part. It had a number of metal snaps in place that I disabled or broke while opening it up, but the case still locks back into place with sufficient tension. Basically, you just need to use a flat or edged tool to slowly work the snaps apart. Take your time with this, and be ginger. Note that there will be some force required to make the final separation of the back and the rest.

Once here, there are a few screws you'll need to remove. Two of them hold a thin piece of plastic in place, keep track of that plastic, and which way it's facing before removing it. The screws are NOT interchangeable, keep track of which screw goes in which hole. You will need one of those micro philips screwdrivers. Don't worry too much about disabling the battery, but be careful not to jab any metal at the circuit board. Lithium Ion batteries have a nasty habit of catching on fire when they're shorted... There's also a small slat of copper colored fiber just left of the bottom center of the battery. Note it's position, it is kind of loose, and will need to be right where it was when you put it back together.

Now that you've got the back off, and the screws out, comes the tough part. There are four parts here now, the frame, the battery, the screen, and the circuit board. All four are connected to each other, and will not spread apart easily. Note that I said spread apart, not come apart. I chose to simply spread the pieces apart, you may choose to remove the attaching parts from each other for ease of screen replacement, but I didn't want to complicate things, and only had marginal difficulty doing the replacement with everything attached.

Here is a slightly exploded picture of the pieces. This is as far as I had to get it to do the replacement. To help you get your bearings in this picture, note the click wheel is facing out on the frame. The dull aluminum square at the bottom left of the screen is the battery (it's only attached by the two wires, so it's a little loose, make sure you support it), the white square at the base of the frame is the backside of the screen, flipped down. The frame window for the LCD has some stickiness on it which holds the LCD in place. It will feel like you're doing something bad when you pull the LCD from the frame window, but don't worry.

That orange ribbon cable is running from the LCD screen to that off-white bar-shaped connector on the circuit board. That bar holds the ribbon cable in place with friction, IT DOES NOT POP OPEN!!! You can remove the ribbon cable by holding onto the ribbon cable firmly, and pulling it down (or, to the top left in the picture) The ribbon cable will slide out of the connector with minimal pressure, and will separate the LCD display from the rest of the parts. Take a look at all the tiny gold connectors at the end of the ribbon cable. Pretty tiny eh? This means that you have to make sure the ribbon cable on the new LCD is seated correctly. Pick up the new LCD, and set it up as the old one was when you pulled the ribbon cable out. Try not to "walk" the ribbon cable into the connector, it should go straight in with a little force. Be careful not to pinch the cable. This is kind of tricky since you need to use some force to get it in, but be careful with the delicate cable. If the cable stops going in, it's probably seated completely. When I did it, I thought it was in shallow, but couldn't get it in any more, so I put it back together and it worked.

When reassembling the nano, make sure that the LCD screen fits onto the circuit board with the four feet on the back of the LCD housing. Try not to futz with the LCD to frame window contact, since it could cause the adhesive on the frame window to bunch up, and warp the clarity of the window. Make sure the battery is seated properly, and that copper colored fabric thingy is right where it was before. Also, match up the HOLD button switch nub on the circuit board to go in the middle of the two prongs on the hold switch on the top of the back. You might have trouble getting the whole thing flush with the frame before you put the screws back in, so don't sweat the bulges until it's all screwed down. Don't attempt to start it up before the back is on, it won't work. It has two connectors on the circuit board that will prevent it from starting up without the back on it. Sure, you could short these connectors and try to power it on, but doing so would start a flow of current through the board while you're handling it, and is not recommended. Once you get the back on (it may take a few attempts to get all the snaps seated properly), plug it in to power.

You should see this :)

PS: I experienced some slippage in my hold switch. It wouldn't come off hold because the hold switch wasn't engaging the nub on the switch inside. I put the switch to the right position, and squeezed the hell out of it to make sure the back and front were seated together properly. After that, the hold button engaged the nub and had the proper tension to snap in and out of hold. Keep an eye on it.

Reply to anonymous

Over at my Why own guns? post, a comment was left that I started replying to. Well, I ran out of space, so I'm just posting it.

The comment:
You don't think violence increases violence and guns increases guns? If you buy a big gun the criminal or the bad guy will only buy a bigger gun, no? This is a big debate in Europe where many countries police don't carry guns and they usually have fewer crimes/death by guns. I think your post is a bit one sided, the dangers with guns is not only that it get in the wrong hand, but also that you'll get a society with more guns and increase risk of it being used badly.

My post is a bit one-sided, but so is your comment. You're not taking into account the positive ways guns are used to protect otherwise defenseless people.

Your argument that guns escalate the situation does not advocate pacifism, it simply argues that if we keep guns out of the mix, victims will be bruised instead of dead. How does this stop the criminal? Arguing that we should lie back and give the criminal what he wants is a foolish and dangerous prospect. Arguing that we should remain unarmed and engage the criminal to defend ourselves pits a citizen against a vicious, experienced criminal. That's a fight the criminal will likely win. The simple fact is that criminals don't prey on their equals, they prey on easy targets. The idea that criminals won't take the upper hand if they can have it is just silly. Bats, knives, and legs still kill people, and WILL be used by criminals to get the upper hand. Banning all objects capable of killing is impossible.

It is true that if we were able to totally stop the flow of illegal guns, and keep the police force unarmed, there would be no gun deaths. But to argue that no guns means no murder is just wrong.

The issue I think you have with guns is that guns make killing easy for criminals. What you're not taking into account, is that guns also make defending yourself easy. If a 90 pound criminal with a knife squares off with a pro wrestler, the criminal is going to get trounced. If the criminal has a gun, he would have an unfair advantage. But criminals prey on the weak, not the wrestlers. Grandma vs a 300 pound criminal is not going to end well for grandma. Give grandma a gun, and suddenly the tables turn. You could argue that grandma with a gun is only going to bring about criminals with guns, but criminals don't like going to jail or dying, and if their choices are to murder grandma, get in a shootout with grandma, or retreat and pick another target, 90% of the time they'll simply retreat. Criminals aren't that complicated, they work the same way any predator does. They only understand strength.

A 100 pound woman versus a 300 pound rapist is no contest. Is that fair?

As the saying goes; "God didn't make all men equal, Sammuel Colt did." Who won in a fight used to be based on who was the most skilled with weapons, and anyone who wasn't was virtually defenseless. Guns made all men, women, and (yes, even) children equal. While I have no proof to back it up, I think that an armed society is a polite one. Anti-gunners like to hearken back to the days of the OK corral, arguing that if everyone was armed, we'd all be shooting each other. But the "wild" west was actually quite lawful. Because when criminals shot other people, they were hung. They were not given 5-10 and released 7 years later to continue their work. They were hung. They were dead.

You said that a society with more guns has an increased risk of them being used badly, that's not entirely correct. A society with more guns in the hands of criminals increases the chances of them being used badly. A society with more guns in the hands of citizens has an increased chance of them being used correctly.

At the end of the day, the simple fact remains: If all the guns suddenly disappear, we still have a crime problem. If all the crime suddenly disappears, we don't have a gun problem.