Thursday, July 31, 2008

Quote of the Care Bear Stare

I'm waiting for the first person to explain how that incident was a product of the Canadian culture of fear and violence, and how the other passengers should have just held hands and beamed some Care Bear Happy Rays from their tummies to make the guy feel loved and accepted.

Dwarf Fortress damp stone

Unfortunately, the page this search linked to doesn't explain Dwarf Fortress's use of a damp stone.

When you get a notification of a damp stone, it interrupts the dig action of your miner dwarf. To understand why this happens, imagine you are digging with a pick into a rock wall. You chip away some rock, and notice that the rock has a small stream of water trickling down. You strike the rock again, and notice more streams of water. This is a damp stone. You strike it again at your watery peril.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Quote of the I'd vote for him... twice.

‘Proportion’? Are you serious? A presidential candidate threw out a random tidbit about how he wants to make the largest change to the US government since… well… ever… and that’s ‘out of proportion’? Out of proportion would be digging a trench around Washington DC, filling it with lava, and then using trebuchets to launch plague rats into the city, only that would cost less.

Hmmm… If I ran for office and used my Lava Plague Rat Plan as a platform, I might actually get somewhere.

From Larry

Head on over there and give the whole thing a read. He fisks an commenter who supports Obama's forced volunteerism, and on the way explains in very simple terms why Democrats and Liberals are the real fascists.

The boomershooter has arrived

.308 Savage 10fp

Pics will follow soon!

fsck will save your fscking life

fsck, or the unix/linux command "file system check" is the answer to that horrible pit-in-the-stomach feeling you get when you boot up your computer, and by no fault of your own, you get a message indicating your hard drive is buggered.

When I ran windows at home and at work I had experienced about 8 random cosmic ray-related hard drive buggeries. All 8 resulted in complete rebuilds and tearful attempts to recover data.

Since I've switched to linux I've experienced no less than 5 of these buggeries. fsck saved me from all but one (fucking Maxtor!). One of which occurred quite literally four hours before a large project was due.

fsck was there to save my fscking life.

Thank you fsck, and thank you linux.

Chapter 7 teaser

"So what's that now?" He quickly bent forward, and swatted at the handle of the shovel hanging off my load-bearing vest. "That so you can dig a hole and hide in it when the zombies come?" His lunge toward me to touch the shovel nearly met a reflexive knee to the jaw, but I caught myself in time. Wait, why did I stop myself? I made a mental note to try not to catch myself next time. "It's not for digging. It makes puzzles." Chris scoffed, "What the hell does that mean? You talk in fucking puzzles, you don't make them." I unsnapped the shovel from its hanging sheath, and gripped it in my hand. "It's not that complicated. See this tree branch?" He looked at the branch as I pulled the shovel back, and chopped cleanly through a narrow section. "Now it's a puzzle. If you put it back together it'll be a branch, and if you make another move at me like that, I'll make you a puzzle." I pulled the shovel back again for effect, and Chris took a step back...

My chilled core warms considerably

To the James Broadnaxs of the world;

Smith & Wesson 442

I will not give you my life.
I will not give you my loved ones.
I will not give you my money.
I will not give you my cigarettes.
I will not give you my change.
I will not give you the time of day.

What will I give you?

If you're lucky; I'll give you 5 shots of 38 Special +P 125 Grain Silvertip.

If you're unlucky; I'll give you a lot more.

So I'd recommend you stop making excuses for your actions, before someone gives you some action right back.

UPDATE 7/4/12: Not that I expected anything different, but he laughed. I looked repeatedly for confirmation of his death or some schedule so I could know that this chapter was closed. Being Texas, I can only assume he is no longer burdening us with his existence. I sometimes wish I could have been there to witness his lethal injection, as grim as that sounds. I think I wanted to see if he truly didn't care until his last moments, or if the evil left him scared and alone with the consequences of listening to the whisper. Or maybe I just wanted to make sure this symbol of antipathy, hate, and ultimate indifference no longer shares my plane of existence... No... He may be gone, but his animus is not. It remains. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. What a sour world we live in.

Storytelling Firearms

They say that some guns can tell you stories. I never really understood the idea, but figured it seemed like something that would be true.

When I picked up my used GP100, I had spoken to people smarter than I about checking the quality of revolvers. My initial inspection made it obvious it had not be fired very much. Subsequent inspections by aforementioned smart people confirmed that this gun was, in fact, near new.

Extremely pleased with my purchase, I took the gun to the range to see how well I shot it. The first few cylinders seemed to be high and to the right, which was confusing because no manner of flinch I usually experience should put the shots there, and I shot the range's GP100 extremely well. I switched to my left hand, and found the shots to still be high and right. Afraid of dusting off the cliche, "Obviously, something's wrong with this gun..." I waited until one of the range workers was free, and asked them to shoot my new revolver. (we're quite friendly, first name basis and all :) Three of them wound up shooting, and each (in addition to shooting extremely well!) shot high and right. Sights were adjusted, and it was discovered they were turned severely up and to the right. Once the correction was made, I returned to shooting out the X, and generally marveling at how well I shot my new gun.

It wasn't until later that I realized that the sights being turned up and to the right meant the previous owner was shooting low and left. This is usually indicative of a new or otherwise untrained shooter, as flinch (in a right-handed shooter) causes the shooter over squeeze the trigger, pulling the muzzle down and to the left the split-second before the gun fires. This creates the illusion that the sights are off. The fact that the sights were adjusted so liberally, seemed to indicate the previous user did not seek help when he or she experienced trouble with the gun. That the firearm was in such good shape, and had little wear where wear quickly develops indicated it was barely fired. Personally, I've often heard spoken to new gun owners, "All you need is a big, scary revolver." and thought this "advice" might have played a part in this obviously new shooter's decision.

Pardon me, while I indulge in some extrapolation of the story of this Ruger GP100.

A man or woman saw fit to buy a gun, and spoke to a friend or family member who simply replied, "Get a big, scary revolver." and offered no follow up instruction or training. The man or woman bought the revolver, and a few boxes of ammo, and went to a local range to try it out. The man or woman was unaccustomed to the loud noises of the range, and the skill required to accurately shoot a handgun. The man or woman developed a nasty flinch which manifested as shots that fell low and left. The man or woman later spoke to their friend or family member who simply replied, "Adjust the sights, then." The man or woman returned to the range, screwdriver in hand, and adjusted the sights as he or she shot, moving them higher and to the right. However, once the sights were realigned, flinch still put the shots in the same spot, low and to the left. The sights were moved up and right until they would go no further, and the man or woman became frustrated with either the obviously broken gun, or the whole experience. The Ruger then made it's last trip to the local Turners, where it was sold at a significant loss.

I don't think I've been too presumptuous. In fact, I feel quite confident this is how things happened (or at least, as the revolver tells me).

Only the details remain.

Was this person simply an interested person, who thought they might give guns a shot?
Could this person have been a woman in need of protection from an angry ex-boyfriend?
Why didn't whomever made firearm recommendations suggest training, or offer assistance? Maybe this firearm "expert" couldn't shoot the revolver either.

But what happened next?

Did this person simply put down the revolver to try his or her luck at an automatic?
Or did this person, finding no support, or help, (nor seeking it) give up on the entire firearm ownership idea?

I take minor comfort in the knowledge that if this gun was meant for protection from a specific threat, it seems unlikely it would be given up just because it shot low and left; as the gun would still be effective at close range, and certainly retain effectiveness as a visual deterrent. Maybe it wasn't sold until the 10 day wait was complete for an automatic. Also, that the previous owner sought no assistance makes it likely the previous owner was a man. (sorry guys, it's just statistics.)

Now the gun makes me a little sad when I think of the last owner, who's ignorance denied him the opportunity to get the most from this exceptional firearm.

But I feel better when I start shooting clovers with a practically new gun that cost me about $100 less than I expected to pay!

Besides, with the internet and instant knowledge on any topic across the globe in the blink of an eye, I just don't suffer ignorance well.

Pistolcraft Level up!

A short range trip this last weekend revealed a developing comfort level with my 1911. The act of shooting felt more natural, and the sights regained their alignment quickly after firing. A few more range trips like this, and I think I'll be ready to get something out of pistol matches.

Gimme the gas muthafukka!

(sorry about the title, but I just watched the verbally and visually anachronistic, yet philosophically current movie Death Wish)

A weekly task gets me up at 5am, which I take advantage of to get cold gas at a station that has consistently low prices. I've been doing this for the past several months, and have thought very little of the chore.

The last time I filled up, I noted a man sitting on a nearby bus bench. This was a little odd, since the preceding months only had one woman occasionally sitting on the bench at the same time, on the same day of the week. After I started pumping I looked around, as I usually do, and noticed an older truck parked partially behind the gas station office, with a man in the driver seat idly looking around. A thought flashed into my head, and I felt very exposed. I looked again at the man on the bench, who was still looking forward, listening to his headphones, and giving zero hint of malfeasance.

I finished fueling, and left without incident.

The thought I had was about an article I had read years ago about gas thieves. The driver would wait partially hidden, while the pan handler would wait for someone to use a card to buy gas. Once someone started pumping, the pan handler would approach and ask for change, and get close enough to threaten the target with a knife. The knife would be pulled, and the target threatened not to move, while the driver drove to a pump opposite the target, and filled his tank with the target's pump.

Due to the early hour, and sleep interruption, I barely remember to bring so much as my wallet.
I shall remedy this in the future.

Drowning my dwarves

Since the death of my last fortress, I started another fortress in the forest for a different experience.

Being in the middle of a forest, you build your fortress down instead of into the side of a mountain. I picked a spot near a river, and quickly built three large farm plots for different plants. My grower quickly went to work tilling the soil (rock must be wet to grow on, but soil or sand works fine if near a river), and quickly began planting. I struggled with fortress design since I was no longer building from left to right, but settled on having most stockpiles above ground, and cutting the corners out of my dividing walls to make it easy to get around the fortress quickly. After most of the digging was done, I got my miner working on connecting the many lakes in the area to the river, to make a moat for the fortress (though there weren't really any nearby threats). All the while, I was building barrels, and constantly brewing plants, which generated plenty of seeds, and kept the food and drink development working brilliantly well.

After the moat was complete, I sent the miner down to the bedrock, and had him dig patterns to reveal any veins of precious or useful metals. I returned to the workshop development, and consulted the dwarf fortress wiki to find out how to make the clothing that the trader said they needed next year. A few missteps later, I was making pants from the pig tail plants I was growing. Sweet! I've never made clothing before! Around now the elven traders arrived, and demanded I have a trade depot, which I was happy to build. But for some reason, my carpenter was selected to trade instead of my trader, and he didn't know the values of the items. After a few attempted trades, the elves were becoming testy, and began acting like douche bags. This would not do. I ordered walls built around the trade depot, and screw pump parts, and floodgates built. I surrounded the trade depot with walls, and floodgates on one side controlled by a lever. Then I devised a method of pumping water from the nearby river up a few levels, and then how to dump it into the trade depot to drown snarky traders, and "acquire" their goods. Of course, once I started planning, I wanted to make it perfect, and the traders left long before I was done, but when I finally got the waterworks figured out, I skipped down a level to check on my fortress, and found it in the middle stages of flooding.

In my haste for good waterworks I dug out a corner of one of my farm plots very near the river, and it began flooding as I worked on my sophisticated trade depot trap. Genius.

I quickly ordered everyone to ground level, except my legendary miner who could swim, and got him building retaining walls (which was difficult because you can only build in one level of water, and it was spreading fast), but wasn't able to keep up. The cut-out corners, and many shortcuts that made my fortress efficient, were also making it very hard to segment off the water. Within minutes, I lost almost all of the fortress, and stranded three dwarves who couldn't make it around the rising waters.

I quickly modified the pump, and powered it up to buy myself enough time to build a retaining wall at the source of the leak, but I couldn't work it out. Due to the liquid dynamics, and the fact that the water level was so high on both sides of the leak, any attempt to approach the leak would result in widening the leak, and I wouldn't be able to get another pump working on the approaching area. Logistically, I couldn't stop the leak. The game mechanics made it almost impossible. After a while of trying anyways, I gave up, knowing I would restore to another save I had backed up for fear of save file corruption.

I watched the water level raise, and noticed a few things. First, the water was taking longer to get through the door to a bedroom one dwarf was trapped in, this made sense, because the door is an obstruction. I might have had time to save my fortress had I just used more doors in those cut-corners that connected my fortress so well. Secondly, the dog in the same room as the dwarf drowned before the dwarf did. After thinking about this a little bit; this made sense because the dog was closer to the ground than the dwarf. Just another reminder that it's the little details that makes this game different from all the others.

Just as my dwarves began getting hungry, and thirsty (all the food and drink stores were underwater) I quit, and restored to the save which was literally two steps from digging out that fateful section of ground. Lucky, I guess. I continued playing, knowing my dwarves were living on borrowed time, and completed the trade depot flood machine. I then dug a wider moat, and built a draw bridge out of some purple stone I found in the bedrock. The first year passed quickly, and I eagerly await migrants.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Official acknowledgement of the Zombie threat!

In the wake of the 5.4 earthquake that shook Southern California, Arnold Schwarzenegger warned that we must prepare for "anything and everything."

He then got in a biohazard suit, put on a lead apron and lead gloves, donned SCUBA gear, took three inoculations, squeezed into a space suit, opened a hatch, and climbed a ladder down to a fallout shelter. Then a cement truck backed up, and poured a concrete foundation over the hatch, and another truck pulled up, and they placed a statue of Ahh-nold as the Terminator, standing atop a pile of dead unicorns, punching Genghis Khan in the face.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Have you guys been watching that video?

Have you guys been reading that woman's words?


Pay close attention. There are many more James Broadnaxs out there. They feel no compassion, or mercy. And they feel justified in murdering because they had what they perceive to be a hard life. Somehow I seriously doubt that.

I didn't mean this break to last this long, but some demanding network security work intrudes, and it must be delivered by the end of the month. Limited hours of engagement have turned my days upside-down, and I'm feeling it. At least it's Friday.

In the mean time, check out the Brilliant Posts by Other Bloggers and Read the classics sections on the right. They're all worth your time.

I'll be back on the 30th. (after 2:16pm, for a hint)
See you then.

UPDATE: Oh yeah, Josh selling some stuff, so give him a click, and help a blogger out. Oh yeah, don't bother trying to buy that Limited Edition Benchmade Skirmish... It's taken. :)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chilled to my core.

Xavier has an unbelievable post up.

Two Texarkana teens rode the train from Dallas to downtown Garland Texas to commit a crime because, "dat's where the rich white folks stay at." They ran into two men in front of a Christian music studio, and engaged them in conversation. At some point the conversation ended, and the teens left, then returned to ask for a cigarette. One of the teens then drew a gun, and shot the two men, then as they tried to retreat, he executed them by shooting them in the head.

The following is a video of the teen's confession, and a twisted glimpse into the unfathomable mind of a remorseless murderer.
Do not watch this video if you want to remain ambivalent about carrying the means for your own self protection.

This video should be aired once a day on each channel to make people understand that evil exists in this world. Pure. Plain. Inexplicable. Evil.

You can argue until you're blue in the face about what drove this BOY to do what he did, and feel nothing about it. But it won't change a goddamn thing for Matthew Butler and Stephen Swan.

*pauses for a tissue, and a little prayer (for the first time in a very long time)*

How could such unflinching evil exist?

Because eternal love, and forgiveness exists.
Jamie had a message for the person who took away her husband and the father of their children.

"I hope that whoever did this that they would come to know Christ," she said.

"I hope and pray that my husband gets a chance to meet them in heaven and gets a chance to shake their hand and gets a chance to forgive them himself."

I break down crying for the first time in years.

no blogging for a while. when you come back to my blog and find no updates. just watch that video again, and read that woman's words. it's hard to sit here and write to change people's minds when people just keep dying. You read, and you read and you read and you read, and you come here, and youtype little messages in your little corner of the world and you feel like maybe just maybe you're doing omething right. but there it is. evil. brought to you by youtube. delivered all the way from texas straight to your eyes. what can you do? these aren't words on a blog, or pixels on a screen or ones and zeros of electricity flying aroudn the world. they're people. and they're evil. and they're innocent. and they're dying. and they're living. and they're getting off on good behavior EVERY FUCKING MINUTE. people don't fucking care. not you guys of course. if you're here is'ts because you understand what's out there. it's everyone else. the ones who just skip around waiting for the next great thing to happen to them, and voting for whomever's going to promise that next great thing. this country doesn't hav a problem with rose colored glasses. it has a problem with the people who DON"T wear them. "how could you be so negative? how could you think like that? how how how?" That's how. look at that fucking video. that's how.

Update here

Bank runs

There, but for the grace of Chuck Schumer go I.

Rifle case preparation for reloading

Carteach0 has a great set of blog posts about getting that used brass ready for reloading.

Good information for those interested in the process, or still on the fence about reloading.

With my Savage 10FP waiting eagerly for me to pick it up, and the ever-increasing price of 308, I'm getting a lot out of this information.

Give him a click, if only out of curiosity;
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Worst database structure ever...

The last version was pretty simple, so I didn't expect them to go nuts in the database with the new versions.


It's weird because very few functionality changes were made.

I gotta relearn the damn database all over again :X

Monday, July 14, 2008

3 ways to lower gas prices from Newt

A few ways to lower gas prices, some immediate.

I rather like number one.

UPDATE: Blogi changes my mind on number one in the comments.
UPDATE the second: Josh fires back!

California's flavor of freedom

It was Saturday night, and it was hot. My girlfriend and I were baking in our apartment, wondering what to do at half-past-midnight. We just needed to get out, so we settled on hitting a fast food place for a midnight snack. On the way back, I opened the window and found the air to be perfect. Just short of warm, with a slight breeze.

"Tonight would be a perfect night to go to a park, and eat, and look at the stars."

Of course, no sooner had the words left my lips than I remembered that an attempt at such an activity would be illegal.

The public parks in our county close at 10 o'clock. But this is just so the cops can kick out people up to no good, right?

Does it matter?

The result is the same.

Any sweeping law or regulation that is meant to stop or block a small percentage of the population still blocks the rest. Punishing the many because of a few bad apples.

People seem to think that just because the legislation isn't pointed DIRECTLY at them, it's no big deal. Wrong. If it affects you in any way; it IS pointed directly at you.

I can't even go to a damn public park.

This sure makes for a confusing, and angering "Freedom is..." statement...

Freedom is... being able to go to a public park.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


Here's the latest screenshot of my fortress Leaftome.

Dwarf fortress is still in alpha, and though many times you can play year after year, sometimes you can only make it to the second year before something happens, and your save gets corrupt.

The new year brought 18 migrants, and Leaftome really needed the extra hands. Unfortunately, they arrived from the south, where a particularly ill-tempered magma man was hanging out. I had been afraid of him early in the first year, and had sectioned us off, so he couldn't get to us from where he was. Unfortunately, this also meant the migrants couldn't make it to our fortress. They ran around as the magma man began shooting fire at the newly arrived dwarves, unsure of where to run. I quickly ordered a passage opened, and positioned my legendary miner (ultra-mighty) around a corner, so if the magma man made it through the passage, he would be attacked close range, instead of letting it shoot fire at the miner as he ran up to attack. Three migrants were down, and the magma man was following the remaining ones, already running for the safety of the fortress. I drafted another strong dwarf, and set him to join the miner when I got the message that my planter interrupted his task 'put item in stockpile' because he was 'interrupted by magma man.' I found him, running to pick up the items the dead migrants had dropped, and quickly forbade all the items near the magma man (which canceled the jobs of three dwarves, who had already started that suicide run). I drafted the planter (who was not very strong at all) so he'd fight, but he was no match, and was torn limb from limb. Literally. There was an arm lying a few spaces from the planter's final resting place. (Dwarf fortress is VERY specific with damage, you can literally rip off a monster's arm, and beat him to death with it)

The planter's death was not in vain, however, as he distracted the magma man long enough to stop him from following the migrants through the opening. I quickly ordered a wall built to block access again, but the magma man seemed satisfied with four dead dwarves, and didn't seem particularly interested in trying to make his way to the fortress. With the extra hands, (yet no blacksmith) we actually managed to get ALL the stone cleared out of the fortress! The magma moat was filling in nicely, and more of the craft jobs were getting done. Things were chugging along quite smoothly when I took another screenshot, saved, and quit.

It wasn't until I attempted to restore that I learned the fate of Leaftome.


I think I'll be backing up saves from now on, so at least I can restore back a save, and see if I can get around the corruption, of if it's inevitable once some unknown set of actions is set in motion.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Greetings from Leaftome

The fortress named (randomly) Leaftome is coming along nicely. It's nearly the end of the first year, and things are chugging along.

You can see in the middle where we've cut into the mountain and built out fortress. The red to the south west of the fortress is a magma vent. The black to the south east is unexcavated mountain. The green to the north is the side of the hill on the same level, the darker green is the next level down, and the blue is even further down. Dwarf fortress is 2D layers pancaked on top of eachother that interact, so an item that drops through the ground on one level will turn up on the next level down (unless you dug a hole through that layer too)

There is a farming plot one level down for food, but everything else is on this one level. I suspect things are going well, because two of my dwarves (one, a legendary miner) have paired up, and reading their thoughts relates that they are pretty damn happy. Ever since I figured out brewing produces seeds and cooking makes seeds edible, food and beer stores have been extremely full. Before, I would eat the food, leaving seeds, and it would throw off my numbers to have uncooked food (seeds) around. Suddenly my dwarves would be starving, and I wouldn't know why.

I had plenty of magma to access, but with the magma vent full of fire imps and magma men, I was afraid of fiddling around with floodgates before I knew what stone would melt under the heat, and flood my fortress with lava. I settled on setting up a series of floodgates to manage some water I drained from a lake a few levels up, so I could allow the lava to flow into a small channel I dug, and then pour water on just the opening, cooling the lava, and sealing access from the magma vent to the soft underbelly of my fortress.

Since Dwarf Fortress is a roguelike, it only uses characters to represent the elements of the game. This often leaves non-players wondering what the hell they're looking at. So for an explanation to what you're seeing, click on the next image.

Liquids (water and magma) are shown by their depth. 7 being the space is full completely of the liquid, and 1 being there is a minor puddle of the liquid. Fluid dynamics are entirely in place, and affected by gravity, and the multiple layers. Were I to cut into the retaining wall of the magma vent, the space I opened would spill out under liquid pressure, and try to spread all seven layers out to one layer in any open area it could expand into. Of course, when that space goes down a layer, the lava space next to that layer, goes down a layer into the first space, causing the entire layer of magma to spill into any open areas of my fortress. Of course, if there was one or more layers of magma above that layer, it would drain out the opening too, until it leveled off. Like poking a hole in the side of a water bottle. Pretty impressive stuff.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Website is down: Sales Guy vs. Admin

Big Hat Tip to Theo (extremely entertaining blog, but NSFW)

mmmm jalapalanios!

My jalapeno-containing lunch has yet to be blocked by the FDA.

I'll let you know if I get tomato AIDS.

Dramatic Lemur

My boss and I were laughing hysterically at this... twice... A good indicator of the day's Fridayness.

Quote of the "Augh! Hey, nice gun!"

Finally I remember my computer room rifle, a Standard Products M1 Carbine with clip on the shelf next to it. (who could object to being shot with such a fine rifle?)

"Sir, I would object more readily to your having shot me were you not wielding such a magnificent piece of history, and exceptional manner of weaponry."

Good morning from Honolulu

Honolulu works since I hit the date-line before then.

My sleep schedule is really more 2am-10am

A horrible thought

If I'm "economically challenged," and I force you, under threat of violence, to give me your money, I would be tossed in jail. (and rightfully so)

If I'm "economically challenged," and the government forces you, under threat of violence, to give me your money, and graciously accepts a percentage for facilitating the transfer; you would be out some cash, or in jail.

It occurs to me that if the government ever figures out how to get criminals to pay taxes on the stuff they steal, we'd be severely fucked.

My sides. They split. Please stop. No, really; stop.

From the mailbag...

Cell phones - New Law (July 2008)
According to new law that goes into effect July 1, 2008, you will no longer be able to use a cell phone while driving unless you have a 'hands free' adapter.

I went to Circuit City and they wanted $50 for a headset with a microphone for my cell phone. Having a friend in the cell phone business, I talked with him and, working through Office Depot, was able to come up with an alternative.

These kits are compatible with any mobile phone and one size fits all. I paid him $0.08 each because he bought in quantity.
Then we tried it with Motorola, Sprint, Verizon and Nokia units and they worked perfectly.

A photo is attached so scroll down & take a look and let me know if you want one.
Also, forward this to anyone you know, who has a cell phone, and who may want one!

I can hear you laughing. I thought you could use a laugh . . .



We're from the government, we're here to help smash your tomatos

During one of my inevitable arguments on government intrusion on our lives, I often hear the argument, "Well, at least you can't argue about the need for agencies like the FDA. They protect us all." Before now, I didn't really have an easy-to-understand argument (as they are precisely what is needed in arguments of this type) to put against the FDA.

This is certainly not an indictment of the idea of a Food and Drug Administration, I can see the need for oversight in tracking outbreaks such as these. My argument is against the bureaucracy that confuses, stalls, overreacts, and applies politics to health matters.

Secret Ingredient; A Puzzling Food-Done-It for the Feds
The National Restaurant Association figures the epidemic has cost the food industry $100 million, and one trade magazine has estimated that growers and distributors will lose $250 million.

"Whoopsie doodle! Our mistake. That was our bad. We're really sorry about that. So, uh... See you guys later, we've got more FDA stuff to do. Good luck with that whole... $250 million in losses thing."

It's Not Salmonella on Tomatoes....It's No Brain at the FDA
Take the ongoing saga surrounding the salmonella outbreak, where nearly 1,000 people have been sickened in 36 states. The Food and Drug Administration, in its infinite wisdom, has reassured the public about how to protect themselves. Key to that advice is what types of tomatoes to avoid, and which ones are acceptable for consumption. Sounds great, except for one small problem.

They have no idea where the salmonella originated, and, in fact, have no evidence that tainted tomatoes are the source of the salmonella at all.

The author then asks;
Failing to find an answer, what's next for the fearless FDA? Will it move on to the next haphazardly chosen food source to decimate another industry? Wouldn't be surprising.

Well lets give Chris Freind a tomato-free cookie.
The suspicion has reportedly shifted to other common ingredients of fresh salsa, which seems to be implicated in many of the cases. Jalapenos are said to be high on the list, but the FDA now understandably cautious about pronouncements has not issued any new warnings, nor has it completely backed off of the tomato advisory.

So who's suffering here?
The consumers, scared unnecessarily of the produce at their market, and the vegetables on their food.
The populous, fearing terror attacks from all angles, must now worry about the sickening ineptitude of a government agency protecting the safety of the very food we eat.
The nation, which very publicly suffers a government that can't pick its collective nose without poking the country in the eye.
The growers, who have been forced to destroy their livelihood for absolutely no reason.
The market, which suffers instability at the faltering of vegetable futures.

So what happens now? Does the government repay the growers for the crops they kept from being sold? Does the government spend more of our tax dollars solving a problem that they created?

Who cares?

They obviously don't.

Heads will not roll, because there is no accountability in government bureaucracies.
If they are forced to pay out tax dollars for their ineptitude, they will simply demand more, because they're now underfunded. (and they'll get it too)
Things will change for a short while, but we are almost guaranteed to see a similar overreaction in the future.

This embarrassing action will likely spawn demands that the FDA be "better" funded, to prevent these kinds of "oversights." More of our money will be given to them, and more bureaucrats will be hired, and further apply their broken process to the very sustenance we derive from the Earth, with the exact same results. Perhaps the FDA should get out of the food industry, and get back to denying potentially life-saving drugs to terminally ill patients.

Honestly, if you made a comic book that featured FDA-Man; he would be so evil, it would surpass the villain caricature, and become unbelievable.

Certainly, government is stranger than fiction.

"Now I'm off to burn farmers' crops, spin stories of poisonous vegetables, and take medicine from cancer patients! FDA-Man AWAY!"
ET glances skyward, and welcomes the sound of anti-aircraft fire.




Thursday, July 10, 2008

Sticks and stones my break my bones, but words will never save anyone.


The greatest lie intellectuals tell us is that "the pen is mightier than the sword." That's what cowards claim when they want to preen as heroes.

Billions of words have been hurled at Sudan's government. The misery in Darfur not only continues but deepens. While intellectuals wrestled with compound sentences, Darfur degenerated from selective oppression to savage anarchy.

Our diplomats and "distinguished commentators" see the world from the 17th floor of a luxury hotel or the office of an English-speaking Cabinet member. The insular safety of their lives has convinced them that every problem has a peaceful solution if only we can all have a good chat.

But those who rule by the sword (or the fist, or engineered famines or outright genocide) don't want to hash things out. They want to win. No elegant phrase has ever stopped a bullet in midflight.

The schoolyard axiom about sticks and stones works both ways.

Pacifists mean well. But they're a dictator's best friends. The man who won't fight for justice abets the terrorist, the tyrant and the concentration-camp guard.

All decent men want peace. But wise men know that not all men are decent.

The use of the pen is an indulgence we can afford only because better men and women grip the sword on our behalf.

Great thanks to Rustmeister for the link.

New Orange County Sheriff to "revisit" CCWs

Gun permits a loaded issue

"I probably will tighten it up a bit, but probably not as drastically as some people might assume," Hutchens told me. But Hutchens also indicated that she envisions a higher threshold on the "good cause" necessary for a citizen to have a CCW.

"Good cause" is code for "whenever I feel like it." It was originally devised to keep black people from getting permits. Southern sheriffs couldn't stop black people from buying guns, so they fought to make it to the "discretion" of the local sheriff, so they could block whomever they wanted why ever they wanted, and still be within their allowable powers.

This kind of double standard is only now being challenged on constitutional protections of all citizens retaining the same rights. Other challenges include equal protection between the states (in that someone who has a ccw from one state, can't have another state ignore the permit).

Hutchens noted that before her appointment as sheriff, when she was a retired Los Angeles County law enforcement officer living in Dana Point, she had a legal right to carry a concealed weapon. But she added, "Did I carry a gun everywhere I went? No. I feel pretty safe in Orange County."

Well, so long as you feel pretty safe; we'll probably be ok. I wonder if she currently lives in Laguna Beach, or East Santa Ana... Meh, I'm sure her feeling will keep all of us safe from violent transients, meth-heads, and criminals.

Feeling safe in Orange County has nothing to do with issuance of CCWs. The only reason the local sheriff is involved is because the local sheriff is supposed to be more familiar with the resident. The CCWs she approves apply throughout California, not just in Orange County. She can feel that OC is made of pillows and foam padding, but that means nothing to those who live here, and work in LA, or other more violent counties. But I'm sure she already knew that...

But Carona did ease the restrictions to allow CCWs to be issued to people involved in "transportation of valuable equipment" – which could be anything from computers to other firearms. In fact, about half of the 1,100 current CCW holders in Orange County are in that category.

Whoops, the cat's out of the bag. This makes me wonder if she's getting any pressure on this. I know she wants to be elected next time around, and the author correctly notes that CCWs are basically the ONLY reason people would vote for sheriffs. With that, and Heller, I can't help but wonder if she'll change her mind.

Still, it seems to me that in light of the Supreme Court decision, public officials should be figuring out how to make firearms rules less restrictive rather than more restrictive for law-abiding citizens, especially those who have been thoroughly screened and trained.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

30 days: Gun Nation (tv show)

A very well done show, wherein an anti-gun woman lives with a pro-gun small family for 30 days. She is made to learn to use guns, work at a gun shop, and shoot guns. Watch the full show at the link below.
30 days: Gun Nation

A few quotes from the anti-gunner.
"My biggest fear is arguing with someone who doesn't have their facts straight." Anyone seriously arguing against guns never uses facts, because the facts are not on their side. Too often people simply assume that the facts must be on their side because their side is right. Facts carry no such biases.
"I picture them with the confederate flag hanging up, drinking moonshine on the porch." Seriously? You know you're going to be on TV, and be watched by millions, and you still can't help from indulging in this idiotic mischaracterization of your opponents? At least be respectful.
"People who say they need guns for self defense I think they're paranoid. Who are you afraid of, who are you protecting yourself from? I live two miles from where four murders in two nights were committed, and I don't have a gun." Strangely, this was after she related a story where her friend was killed by a patient with a gun. Stranger still, she practically says that she has more need for a gun than they do.
"The honor system shouldn't work on a killing machine." First, they already made it clear everyone got a background check along with the form. Since we're talking about killing machines, we should probably should have a background check when buying an SUV.
"Every time I hear a gunshot I don't think of a good old boy shooting clay pigeons. Every time I hear a gunshot I think of a child or my friends, and they don't get it." I can think of cheesecake every time a train whistle blows, but that doesn't mean everyone should salivate when a train goes by (worse analogy ever) It's a shame she has terrible thoughts and memories associated with a sound, but clinging to them in the face of an opportunity to let them go is sad.
"Nobody's trying to take away your guns!" Yeah. She's right.

She was amazed to hear a story of someone who actually used a gun to protect themselves. People don't realize how often this happens. I highly recommend you hold on to this link, Civilian Gun Self-Defense Blog where Clayton Cramer is constantly posting these kinds of stories.

At the end of the show, the gunny says if there was a way to keep guns out of the hands of criminals without infringing on his rights, he'd support it completely. She claims this as her victory, and suggests that he felt otherwise before she arrived. I don't think so. One thing you'll always find, is that pro-gunners are very anti-crime. In fact, you'll probably find them to be harder on criminals than anti-gunners.

An unsettling future

DI has a post up, wherein he relates his personal difficulties with the high cost of oil, and covers what events could lead to fuel costs doubling.

John Bolton has recently stated that Israel "will have to" attack Iran due to estimates of it completing and possessing nukes sometime in 2009. Iran has recently taken delivery of Russian TOR-MI missiles. None of these concerns are fresh or new, but they have come to startling maturity. Iran has also made statements that if Israel hits them, they will "close" the Strait of Hormuz, only 21 miles wide at its' narrowest point, and strangle the route exiting the Persian Gulf for an estimated 27% of the world's oil exportation.

I believe the repercussions of an attack on Iran could double the price of gasoline at the pump in a matter of days, not weeks. That would paralyze society, especially if it occurs during the winter. It would virtually stop delivery of food to grocery shelves. What small town, with a budget that is already commonly in the red, plows its' highways after a big snowstorm with gasoline and diesel expenses of that magnitude? How does business function and continue? What happens to communications, electrical grids, police and fire resources? How long might it go on without relief? How desperate do cold, hungry people quickly become? Where do they go? What happens if banks close and people have no access to their moneys? No cell phone service or ATM's?

He goes on to ask his readers to prepare for the coming difficulties. Before you dismiss him as a "survivalist," ignore, for a moment, the first part of his post, and treat his recommendations as simple preparedness for unforeseen circumstances. All people should be somewhat prepared for disasters (natural or man made), and his simple requests will cost you very little time and money, and provide peace of mind.

The reason most people fail to prepare is not because they think a natural disaster could never happen. Most people don't prepare because they are afraid to think about what would happen if they were unprepared for a disaster. This seems a little backwards.

You don't need two year's worth of food, and a hand-pump well in your backyard. A few hundred dollars worth of preparation will put you head and shoulders above 95% of the population.

It's not fun to think about breakdowns such as these, but if you are a provider, you must.

As an aside, in the comments G-Man notes;
I've always thought it was quite odd that the liberals are always shrieking about a climate change catastrophe on one hand and then belittling the survivalists on the other... "The world's going to end but boy are you wierd for stockpiling and arming yourself to the teeth"... Oh well I've given up on hoping liberals would ever make sense...

May we all look back on these troubling times, and laugh at our worry.

What happened to my country?

Yosemite Sam over at The Ten Ring has a thoughtful post up that is worth your time.

In the evening, though, a curious incident took place. The train stopped at a station and two police officers, with M16’s, got on the car, one at the front and one at the back. My interest was immediately piqued, but soon, I could feel resentment and anger boiling up inside of me.

This was happening in America.

This wasn’t some airport or security zone. This was on a subway car, full of commuters, going home. I remember when I traveled to Kenya, when I was in the Air Force, and I noticed that soldiers and police with machine guns commonly patrolled civilian areas and I remember thinking with pride that I lived in a country where that didn’t happen.

Read the whole thing. This country is changing into something out of a damn movie.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

It's ALIVE!!!!

A week ago I took two jack pine seeds out of cold stratification, and put them into this peat/soil bundle. This morning I checked on it and saw the sprout reaching skyward.

You can barely make out the green sprout pushing the black seed upward.

Green sprouting up, and the black seed hanging off it to the right.

After I got home from work 12 hours later, I showed it to my girlfriend, and was surprised to see such a change in the short length of time.

Soon my army of mutant Jack Pine trees will be ready...

Monday, July 07, 2008

Will power

The funds were available
The price was right
The gun was in great shape
It was on the "can has?" List
There was no 30-day consignment wait

But I managed to NOT buy it.

I can quit whenever I want.

Says the guy who lost count of his guns a while ago...

Self Defense in Austin

"First I tried to point it up in his face so that he would see that I had a gun so he would take off running," said Burgos, "But he didn't."

Quote of the PDB

Since Sig-Sauer doesn’t make a Glock 19, I don’t have much use for their firearms.

I lol'd

If close your eyes, and hope REAL hard...

There will still be only one season of Firefly.

I was reminded of this sad fact this weekend, as I watched the series (8th time?) with just as much enjoyment as the first time.

Le sigh.

From the desk of PDB

Ok, so maybe that's not what the picture was originally, but that's all I saw.

If I came this way...

Pogo - Lost

It's 90% sounds from Alice in Wonderland.

Shooting clovers

This weekend at the range, for the first time, I shot clovers at 40 feet.

It's a beautiful thing. Pics will follow.

This was, of course, with the GP100 I shoot so well. Can't do it every time, but at this rate, I should be there soon.

In other news, I still suck at shooting glocks. The G19's front sight was too fat, putting me all over the paper. When I pulled the glock in closer to my face, I started shooting in an 8" circle COM. Feh.

Overheard on the radio

It seems bartering is making a comeback. Sites like craigslist are filling with people offering guitar lessons for furniture, computer repair for groceries, and other goods and services for trade.

Funny, we were just talking about this. I was saying how cool it was because if the deal is between "wholesalers" of that good or service (IE, not selling used goods, but a retailer, or provider of a service), both parties technically profit. Someone who sells electronics can trade a TV to someone who writes websites for site development. This way, both parties are trading at cost, instead of retail. Website creation costs $1000, but actually costs $300 to the coder. TV purchase costs $1000, but only costs $300 to the TV seller. Coder and TV seller spend $300 and get $1000. Not to mention both parties skipping $1000 in taxes.

But the bad news is...

Ah, they're probably going to talk about fraud, or misleading advertisements

... the IRS says some of those trades are taxable.

*composing myself* Ok, yeah, I'm sure they'll get right on that...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Friday, July 04, 2008

Welcome to my world

When you start a game of Dwarf Fortress, you create a world. Though a complicated generation algorithm, realistic land masses, climates, weather, lakes, rivers, and mountains are formed.

Clicky for holy-shit-thats-hueg-leik-xbox size

My fortress is in the south east, a little north of that icy mountain north of the lake a little east of the bottom center of the map.

One character represents a region, which represents a local area of 16x16 characters, and each local character represents a few hundred by a few hundred characters of actual playable area. This means the actual playable size of the world measures somewhere between "what the shit" and "no, seriously, what the shit?!"

In the fortress mode, you select a smaller area of the local area you want to put your fortress in, but in adventure mode, you can travel the entire world, and explore a thousand years of history and civilization development.

The fortress is coming along nicely

In other news; Dwarf Fortress remains unaffected by new moons...


Yoshi is hit by a dart!  Yoshi is killed!

...............| #
----------.----- ###
. # #
# # ###
# # #
### ---------# # ###
# |.......-# # # --------
###|.......|# # ####|..<...|
#........|# # ###|......|
|.......|# # ###.......|
|)^@....|################# ### |......|
--------- -.-.-.- # |......|
# |.^...|####### --------

Kisho the Hatamoto St:18 Dx:16 Co:18 In:8 Wi:11 Ch:7 Lawful
Dlvl:1 $:65 HP:15(15) Pw:2(2) AC:4 Exp:1

Ok! Ok! Fine! I won't play.

Damn new moon...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Konnichi wa Kisho!

Konnichi wa Kisho, welcome to NetHack! You are a lawful male human Samurai.


Kisho the Hatamoto St:18 Dx:16 Co:18 In:8 Wi:11 Ch:7 Lawful
Dlvl:1 $:0 HP:15(15) Pw:2(2) AC:4 Exp:1

Ok, time to get started.
Be careful! New moon tonight.

Fuck it, I'm gonna play.

Hilde has been disintegrated.

I don't want to talk about it.


Mary says always...

Motherfucking awesome. I've listened to it and his other songs non-stop for about an hour.

Four of Pogo's songs available for free download from

Much thanks to Some Kind of Robot for the vid.

Paint the line

I know extreme, and that's some extreme ping-pong-ing.

Of course, any sport you can play atop a launching rocket, or a soviet submarine is extreme by definition.

extreme: ex·treme /ɪkˈstrim/ [ik-streem] adjective, -trem·er, -trem·est;
1. of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average: extreme measures.
2. utmost or exceedingly great in degree: extreme joy.
3. farthest from the center or middle; outermost; endmost: the extreme limits of a town.
4. engaging in a competition atop a launching intercontinental ballistic missile, or on the deck of a surfacing Soviet submarine in the Antarctic.

Aphex Twin - Flim

The Walking Dead - Chapter 6 - Horse Thieves

Read Chapter 5 here

We stood frozen for a long while until Pat broke the silence, "Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold; mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, the blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere the ceremony of innocence is drowned; the best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." Yeats. I didn't figure Pat for poetry. Josh seemed to straighten, and cleared his throat, "We need to get moving again." Back in the jeep, and back on our way Pat and I were silent. I didn't know what he was thinking, but I barely knew what I was thinking... The miles flew by in a blur while we sat deep in thought. I wanted to do something. I wanted to find the people who did this, and send them to the center of San Diego so they could feel the burning pain of what they had done. I was on edge, and wanting a fight. I wished for some zombies to vent my frustration on, but knew that encountering them this far out would be worse than the relief destroying them would bring me. Pat began clicking something incessantly. I exhaled angrily and turned my head to glare at him. He wasn't clicking anything, instead he was looking at my AR. I looked down at it so I could make a show of asking him what he was staring at, and found my thumb was clicking the safety off and on. I removed my hand and crossed my arms, exhaling deeply. Try to relax. There is more work to be done, and you need sleep. But I didn't even try to sleep. I knew I wouldn't be able to, and feared what my dreams would bring after this development.

We drove on. Faster than before. Hoping to escape the horror behind us, and hoping to find some hint of humanity ahead.

The path had become more treacherous, full of hairpin turns, and switchbacks. I could see Josh eagerly taking the hard turns on the motorcycle, trying to expel his aggression through the throttle. Miles in, Josh disappeared around another corner, and was soon followed quickly by the lead car, when we heard screeching tires from what had to be Josh's motorcycle. I grabbed the "oh shit" handle and unbuckled myself as we caught up and swung around the corner to reveal a roadblock and a crashed motorcycle ahead of the convoy. Josh was standing and was taking his helmet off in front of a man pointing a shotgun as his chest. Shit! My door was already opened as we began to slow behind the next car, I saw the road was slightly raised and surrounded by bushes and trees, and knew the slight ditch on the side of the road would give me good cover, and a good angle on the bastard holding the shotgun on Josh. As the jeep slid to a stop, I jumped from the jeep, and started a low run to the side of the road, AR ready for action. I was half way to the ditch when I saw I had made a mistake.

I tried to stop, but the dirt on the worn asphalt rolled and slid my feet forward faster than my body was moving. I fell flat on my back, losing my grip on my AR, and sending the magazines flying from the mag pouch. I sat up slightly and looked at the side of the road where four men had suddenly appeared with shotguns and rifles, stopping me in my tracks. I looked at my AR, which was within reach, but had been turned around in the clamor. I briefly calculated how long it would take me to grab it, get it into a grip, aim, and start firing, but only got half way before realizing there was no way I would survive such an attempt. So, this is how the story of Perry Bishop ends. He fell on his ass, dropped his gun, and was shot by some fucking yokels. Sad. I looked again at the men who were going to kill me, and saw there weren't exactly poised to shoot; they were really just casually standing around while holding guns. They clung their guns closer as they stared at me, but it was obvious they weren't out for blood. I raised my palms to them so they didn't change their minds. An authoritative voice called from the roadblock, "Stand down!" and the men in front of me relaxed slightly. I looked at the roadblock and noticed the side of the road was suddenly dotted with armed men who had appeared from the brush. I saw a man walk from behind the roadblock, and hug Josh. I guess we're here...

Two of the men walked up to me as I rubbed the bump on the back of my head. "Looks like you had a bit of a spill there." I gave a wheezing chuckle, "Yeah." The younger man shouldered his shotgun, and started gathering my magazines while the older one picked up my AR and said, "Looked like you were fixin' on shootin' us." He spoke without anger. I looked up at him and saw he had my AR in one hand, and was reaching his other to help me up. I grabbed his hand and he pulled me to my feet. "Not quite. I didn't even see you guys there. You scared the hell outta me." The grip that pulled me to my feet turned into a handshake, and the man smiled, "Well, we may not have and plastic space guns up here, but we sure are sneaky!" I laughed and he joined me. The younger man, somewhere in his 30s, began handing me magazines as I fed them into the pouch. When I was done, the old man handed me my AR and said, "Welcome to Horse Thief Canyon."

After exchanging some pleasantries I drove the jeep behind the convoy to Josh's parent's house. They've got a pretty good setup out here. The area was pretty densely wooded, and each home had some acreage to it. The kind of place I wouldn't mind settling down in one day. As we turned into the long driveway I thought about Josh's dad. He was unmistakable; tall, and triangular. He made me wonder what his wife was like. As we pulled to the house, she burst through the door, and ran to Josh. She was small, but was clearly full of energy. But which gave Josh his cynicism? I parked the car next to the others, and joined the group surrounding Josh, already planning the unloading. I unburdened myself before we started we started unloading the equipment and supplies. Most of it went into a small divided garage that housed the ammunition reloading equipment Josh always bragged about. It even had the shooting window that opened to a cliff face about 400 yards away, just like he said. I couldn't help but smile at the impressive selection of equipment. Heh. Lucky prick.

I parked the Jeep in a side garage, and hurried to join the group making its way to the house, catching part of a conversation. "Why do I get the feeling I'm either going to be really happy, or really mad after dinner?" Josh asked his father. "Well, it all depends on how you feel about being a sergeant in a militia..." Josh groaned emphatically, and his father continued. "And, it depends on how you feel about the judicious application of high explosives in isolating ourselves from the threat." My ears perked up; "Wait, did somebody just say we get to blow stuff up?" Josh's dad, Gary, turned and looked at me with a smirk. Josh gestured to me, "Dad, this is Bishop; that guy I told you about." Gary's smirk grew into a smile, "The guy who likes to blow things up. Gimme ten." He put his hands in front of him, palms up. Gimme ten? Been a while since I've done that. Not sure what to expect, I slapped his hands with mine firmly. Gary seemed to be pleased and said, "Well, you still got all your fingers, so we'll talk after dinner."

Dinner was good. Well, it looked good from outside. I wasn't hungry, and I wanted to be alone.

It bugged me that they were just sitting there eating without a care in the world. I saw a few people walking around and figured the roadblock was disbanded after Gary left. Sloppy. I walked back to the garage we unloaded the vehicles into, and searched for the box I had noticed. It was a big box named "mil surp stuff." I needed some web gear to decrease the amount of straps I had hung across my shoulders, and loose items bouncing against me every step. In the box I found some load-bearing equipment, basically a vest with straps and pouches. After a bit of futzing, I had a pretty good fit that didn't restrict motion, or hang loosely. I loaded six magazines into the attached pouches and fished around in the box for some extra magazine pouches to attach. Under the first layer of stuff I spotted a dark ghillie cape, and eagerly pulled it free. Niiiice. I put the cape on, and checked my reflection in one of the windows. The white of my face and neck stood in stark contrast to the green and brown of the ghillie. Shemagh. I found my backpack among the unloaded bags and supplies, and fished out my green and black shemagh. A shemagh was basically what you see middle easterners wearing over their face. It's very soft and very light, making it useful for both hot and cold weather. It's also huge, four feet by four feet, and is usable as everything from a broken arm sling to a small towel. Because you gotta know where your towel is. I folded it into a scarf shape, and wrapped it around my neck three times, making a pass across my face before tucking it into itself. I checked my reflection again, and pulled the hood of the cape a little lower. Time to go on watch.

I started a walk through the lightly wooded area around the house. There were enough brush and trees to slow someone down, but not enough to fully obscure view for shooting. Along what appeared to be the property line the trees and brush were denser making a barrier the zeds might not think to try to climb though. The front seemed to be the only real way in, and there was already a good fence up there. I settled into a spot where the overgrowth extended to the front of the house, giving me visibility from the front gate to the front of the house. I knelt among the shrubs and bushes until I found a spot that gave me a low line of sight to both locations, and got settled in. The heat of the day was waning, but the ground against my front cooled me considerably. My mind churned over the events of the day, pausing only on the near death experiences I had. After about an hour I realized I should probably feel tired, but I just couldn't. At least I'll be awake for the watch. A low murmur rose from the road. Could zeds have made it down the road without being noticed? I realized I had no way of contacting the people inside, but figured I would have to positively identify them first, and decide on a course of action once I see where they're heading. I slowly moved my rifle to the ready, raising my upper body slowly to meet the rifle which could get no lower with the large 30 round magazine in it. Gotta remember to ask Josh if he has any 20 round mags. As the murmur grew slowly I fought the urge to angle myself to see further down the road. The human eye is drawn to movement, so you can be the most camouflaged motherfucker in the world, but if you move, you'll be spotted. The front sight was shaking slightly. I'm tense. I need to relax. I've done this before. I took a few slow breaths, but couldn't find the calm I needed. Movement from the street behind some bushes. They'll probably walk on by. Clear laughter rang out, and into view walked seven armed men, long guns slung casually, chatting amongst themselves as they turned to walk toward the house. Idiots.

I watched them as they walked toward the house. One was telling a joke, and the others were listening intently. On the punchline "...that's my wife!" they erupted into a chorus of laughter that seemed to ring in the canyon. I was ready to jump out of the bushes and yell at them for being so loud, but they seemed to catch themselves, and continued chattering in a lower tone. I got a better idea. As they continued to the house they passed the section of overgrowth I was in. I grabbed the branch of the bush I was behind, and shook it slightly. The rustling went unnoticed. They were almost to the house now, and were talking about who was going to be the first one to bag a rioter.
"A rioter ain't no deer. He ain't gonna be sneakin' around, sniffin' the air--"
"--Eating grass?"
"No, I'm just sayin' they're probably gonna be walking around clueless. If any of 'em show up, it'll be a damn turkey shoot!"
"As I recall, you missed that turkey shot two seasons ago!"
Stifled laughter came from most of the men. The man who was speaking glared at the wisecracker, then rang the door bell.
"Ha ha, Gus. I'm just sayin' we're hunters, we're the ones with the keen senses. Ain't gonna be one inside 300 yards without us knowin' it."
I pulled the shemagh down to speak, and said loudly, "Is that so?"
All seven men jumped and unshouldered their long guns, bumping into each other, and getting tangled in each other's slings, before pointing in my direction trying to see through the darkness. I stood up slowly, and walked toward them. The door swung open behind them, and Josh yelled to me, "Hey, dick, it helps when people inside know you're going to go outside and stand watch!" I couldn't help myself, and laughed as I walked to the house.

Gary had called the "Men's Club" over to discuss their next course of action. Of course Josh probably destroyed whatever plan Gary had developed over dinner. They didn't know they were dealing with zombies, and Josh had probably mentioned that bit of information. The question at hand, however, was whether or not they believed him. After they started arguing I got annoyed and went into the kitchen. Josh's mom was clearing the left-overs, and noticed me walking in.
"They're a bunch of animals, aren't they?" She said with a nod toward the living room full of arguing men.
"Those things out there are easy to deal with. Opinionated men, however..."
She laughed. "You're Perry, right?"
"Yes, ma'am."
"Oh shut up. Call me Jean. Why weren't you at dinner?"
"I was on watch. Just keeping an eye on things."
"And which of my men sent you out there?"
"Well, I kind of just went on my own."
"So you refused to eat the food I made."
I was thrown off guard. "No, that's not what I meant. I just wasn't hungry."
"Wasn't hungry after making your way down from Orange County?"
"I ate before I left." I lied.
"You're lying to me, Perry." Caught off guard again!
"I-- I'm sorry I missed dinner, I meant no disrespect. I just thought I should have kept an eye out." I initiated a tactical retreat. "Let me get back in there, those guys are probably--"
"Perry Bishop!" I froze. I was suddenly four years old. "Sit down in that chair, and eat your dinner!"
I jumped into the nearest chair. "Yes, ma'am!"
Her stern demeanor instantly changed to sweet, "There, that wasn't so hard, was it?"
As soon as the food was in front of me, my stomach groaned, and hunger came charging back. Jean refilled my plate twice times before I was done. She seemed pleased.

I sat at the empty table, idly picking my teeth, when I noticed the clear, empty table in front of me. "Jean? Is there a place I can clean my rifle?" "Certainly, Perry." She walked out of the room, and returned with a small tackle box, and a beach towel. She spread the towel on the table in front of me, revealing black smudges of gun powder, and the unmistakable scent Hoppe's 9. She opened the tackle box, which was full of gun cleaning supplies, "I don't wanna see any smudges on the table, otherwise I'll have to beat you with that broom." She smiled, and resumed cleaning dishes as I began stripping my AR. People give the AR a lot of crap because it vents its gas into the chamber, causing most of the parts to become dirty. I've done stress testing on my AR, and with good ammunition, it takes between 1800 and 2000 rounds before I start getting occasional failures. After another thousand rounds the failures become very prominent. I figured if I was ever firing 2000 rounds in a single firefight, I was either shooting with my eyes closed, or should have retreated long ago. There are more reliable rifles, but few are as accurate, light, and easy to shoot. Besides, I like this rifle. I had a small pile of soiled patches when Gary sat at the table, clucking his tongue. "That's why you always clean your rifle after you shoot it." I looked up at him, still cleaning, "What do you mean? I always clean my rifle after I shoot it." Gary smiled, "Hey, there's no shame in it. I'm just saying either you're being less than truthful, or that rifle's been shooting a lot more than the story I heard backs up." What is he talking about? Jean turned off the faucet, and turned to the table, "Gary, he's the one from up north." His face changed, and he looked again at the pile of soiled cleaning patches. "How many?" His voice didn't have the playful inflection it had before.
"Lost count."
"Bullshit. How many mags then?"
"Nine... and maybe two more."
He sat up straight, and eyed me. "I'm guessing you didn't miss very much."
"No, sir. Not that much."
"How far north?"
"About 5 miles in from the border of the county. But they're pretty sparse up there."
He scoffed, "That nuke didn't do shit."
"No, sir."
We were quiet while that sunk in.
"Gary, do you know how to weld?"
"Not perfectly, but I can get it done."
"Good. If you were thinking about bringing that bridge back there down cleanly, I'll need some housings made."
He thought for a moment about what I said, then his eyebrows shot up, "EFPs?"
"Yes, sir."
"Shit, where'd you learn that stuff?"
"Here and there."
"'Here and there' huh? We'll talk about that tomorrow.... I'm setting up a fire watch, but I think you've earned the sleep."
"Nah. Sleep is for the dea--" I caught myself. "If there's a spot open early morning, I'll take it."
"You got it."
He picked up the upper half I had finished cleaning, and began inspecting it. He put it down in front of me, and tapped it. "These from today? They look new." I looked at the upper, and suddenly noticed the scratches and light gashes on the corners and edges. The bright silver of the metal gleamed where the black finish had been scraped off against asphalt and who-knows-what. I looked at the lower half I was still cleaning, and saw similar flashes of silver. "Aww, man!" I looked back at Gary who had a broad grin. I was confused, "What? This is funny?" "No," He said, "It's just that now the two of you match!" He started laughing heartily, and I remembered the road rash I had on my face. "Oh, you're a riot." I said, holding back laughter. He stood and walked out the room, laughter subsiding, "Oh-400 hours, Mister Bishop." "Yes, sir."

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

A surprising fact from AP!

Surprising fact: Half of gun deaths are suicides

Well, golly gee! I hate surprises like that, so whenever I write a post about a topic, I do what we in The Biz call, "research."

You see, when you do "research," you investigate claims, and find out details!

For instance, if I were writing a post about the number of people who get injured riding bicycles, I would look up the relevant number of bike-related injuries.

But here's the tricky part! Once I HAVE that number, I try to find out WHY that number is what it is. If this particular number includes pedestrians who are injured BY bicycles, then I'll want to remove those to get my number as accurate as possible.

You see what I did there? I asked questions! Instead of just finding something that I believe is true, and posting it because it fits my expectations.

Macgyver does it again!

It's just crazy enough to work!

1. Take Juice 2. Add "Cran"

Having grown tired of the idea of creating new juice drink flavors by adding cranberry, and the prefix "cran" to the existing juice name, I plan to put an end to it.

Cran-gra-ple-nana-berry-melon-fruit punch



You can stop now.

Quote of the work

This job would be great if it wasn't for the fucking customers.
~Randal Graves

I just leave this running for optimal firefox usage.

~]$ while(true);do killall firefox-bin; sleep 2d; done

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

You're too stupid

The recent "hands-free" cell phone law that passed in California reminded me of the basis of all of these idiotic laws.

You're too stupid to use your phone while you drive.

You're too stupid to manage your retirement.
You're too stupid to raise your kids.
You're too stupid to own a firearm.
You're too stupid to teach your children.
You're too stupid to eat healthy.
You're too stupid to voluntarily buy car insurance.
You're too stupid to make your own decisions.
You're too stupid to decide how much to pay your employees.
You're too stupid to invest your money freely.
You're too stupid to use fireworks.
You're too stupid to make health decisions.
You're too stupid to know smoking is bad for you.
You're too stupid to choose a breed of dog for a pet.
You're too stupid to understand financial risk.
You're too stupid to understand a contract.

You're too stupid...

You're too stupid...

You're too stupid...

Fingers in my pie?

I don't know what this user was looking for, but his search term bothered me.

Ok, I'll admit it. I might not be able to stop you from getting your finger into my pie. But if you do, know that you'll pull back a bloody nub.

Breda had something to say about pie...

Enfield to ET: "I'm not a fucking toy!"

At the desert shoot I finally got the opportunity to shoot my Enfield. Sadly, I didn't have any surplus (or otherwise inexpensive) ammo, so I was forced to use the $30-per-20-round box of soft nose 303 from the only local place that sells 303, Big 5. I didn't mind that much because I just needed to test-fire.

Everyone was excited to see what the "big bullets" were going to do to some of the targets, so they set up some gallon water bottles, 3 liter soda bottles, and melons at about 75 yards, and gathered around me expectantly. Ok, performance time...

I slinged (slung?) up and got into a sitting position. (I really like the thin front sight blade, now I want a thin replacement for my m39). I decided to use the smaller adjustable peep sight, and set it for 300 yards, unsure of the zero (or even if it was sighted in). First shot was called a little high, but good for windage, so I lowered the rear sight two notches. The second shot blew the gallon water bottle into the air. From what I understood it was quite a show. I fired 5 more times, enjoying the sights and manageable long, single-stage trigger. I missed all the results of my shots, but didn't miss any targets. (even got the smaller 1 liter bottle)

I handed the rifle to my brother-in-law, who was turning out to be quite a shot. While settling, he seemed to be having difficulty, so I showed him how to sling up, and he scored two hits.

Around this point the Enfield must have taken umbrage to being used to shoot water bottles instead of Nazis, because the next shot resulted in a broken firing pin, and the cocking piece and half the firing pin flying backwards into my brother's face. This is why we wear eye protection! The cocking piece drew blood on a small cut on the side of his nose, but his sun glasses stopped it from going any farther than that.

I figured the wear on the firing pin probably was indicative of lots of firing, and wondered if it might have actually seen some action. The guy I bought it from said he got it from his father and hadn't shot it much. Though most sellers will usually do their best to convince a buyer that the previous owner was an old lady who only took it to the church on Sundays, this guy seemed genuine.

I thought about calling the Enfield "The Joker" because the date painted on the stock is 4/1/53, and now I guess this would be a good prank. "Got your eye! Ahhhh... Just kidding."

If anyone has any insight into this kind of failure, or recommendations for places to pick up replacements, please feel free to comment.