Friday, June 29, 2012

A good gunny is always a good friend

My search for a proper gun shop (used the yellow pages lol) lead me to a nice place in downtown Lexington that actually had more guns than employees (unlike others). After eyeballing all the pretties I could now buy, one of the clerks asked if I needed help. Being overly eager to make connections at the moment, I chatted him up, and actually found him to be a proper gunny. We discussed laws in California (which he was surprisingly current on), a variety of new guns, gun shop etiquette, some light politics, and generally hit it off. He excused himself to lunch, and asked if I'd like to come along to talk more.

He's actually very well informed about a wide variety of topics, and is a proper libertarian, which meant we couldn't stop agreeing with each other. I could feel my excitement building; this was my first Kentucky friend, and so far, he was going to be a really good one.

He invited me on a range trip the next day, which I gladly accepted. The trip was a terrible bust due to a series of failures, but the driving around meant I got to talk to him more, and we definitely built a stronger foundation for the friendship.

The range we planned on visiting was temporarily closed due to the actions of some idiots causing a fire. Tracers + belt-fed = WTF do you think it equals?! Friggin' FIRE! There was some light joking that they'd have to sell some of their full autos to pay for the fines and fire dept bill. There were actually a few other shooters there who were learning the range was closed too, after hooking up with them, one suggested a nearby range he knew, so we convoyed over only to find it strangely empty. We went to a local outfitters (which I guess is just a shop) and asked about entry or if we could call the owners (who the clerk knew by name) who indicated the range was temporarily closed, and they wouldn't accept day passes. Well gee. Luckily, one of the friends we went with knew of another range, a little closer to the way back. We arrived to discover the range was now a chapel. Must be a Kentucky thing.

Hours and dozens of miles after starting, we gave up on the rifle shooting, and went to a popular local shop and pistol range in Lexington for some consolation shooting.

Luckily, this place hadn't been struck by lightning or been swallowed up by the Earth, and we were able to actually shoot. I shot my friend's Taurus Beretta 92 clone stupidly well, leaving a 1.5 inch group at 7 yards (he doesn't shoot past 7 yards, because he feels that beyond that range, he can probably run. (Fair enough, when in Rome, etc...) I wondered if he felt the responsibility to defend strangers, but didn't ask. There'll be time for that in the countless hypotheticals we gunnies concern ourselves with. Free to do rapid fire, I indulged in what I was only able to test in the desert, and found my accuracy extremely comforting. Carrying a 9 is much easier knowing you can put 10 shots in a fist sized area in seconds.

After shooting, I spent some time perusing the wide selection and even found some nice classic arms. The prices were second only to the selection. Some pieces were very similarly priced to California, but so many others were significantly less than I was able to find. The selection of suppressors was also of much interest to me. A .22 suppressor will be first.

After this, I went to lunch at a steakhouse, and because I had just enjoyed my newfound rights, I open carried from the parking lot to the steakhouse and back again. No one's head exploded, the police didn't draw down on me, and I didn't act like an idiot. In fact, I was overly polite, and even scratched my right ear a few times to make sure the proprietors had the opportunity to see me carrying so they could ask me to return my gun to my car (though I saw no "no guns" sign). Baby steps for now. I believe concealed carry has significant advantages to open carry, but I can't get my permit until I've lived here for 6 months, leaving open carry my only option. I plan on exercising this right more until then.

Overall, I made a good new friend, got an introduction to Kentucky's gun culture, and exercised a new right. I can't wait to see what else Kentucky has in store for me.

"It's too complicated, you wouldn't understand."

No, I think we understand plenty.

Now that we've had some opportunity to let the SCOTUS decision impact us directly, get the experts' opinions, get the strategists' opinions, and reconcile all this with our own opinions, I still don't feel particularly positive about the outcome.

People keep telling me that this decision is clever, strategic, even genius, but all I see is a man who preserved the public perception of the court at the expense of the entire country. Save the trickery for something less crucial to the survival of the republic.

Destabilizing the commerce clause, building some precedent (with liberal support) for limiting the overall power of the federal government, and advancing states' rights seems like a pretty sweet deal until you realize that the trade off is short term approval of the federal government to TAX YOU FOR EXISTING.

I appreciate that we have a long game to play here, but a dangerous game is still being played. This administration in particular has been VERY quick to use tricks of its own to expand its power. When you give this administration an inch, it buys guns with stimulus dollars and sends them to Mexican drug cartels who kill hundreds of Mexican citizens and at least one federal border patrol simply to advance gun control. These are NOT the people to whom you hand a dagger because you know you're going to get a sword later. They're just going to stab you in the back while looking you in the eyes soon as their fingers wrap around the handle.

I don't understand the argument that made the integrity of the SCOTUS more important than doing its job. If you ask me, they're one and the same.

If the SCOTUS had come down the way everyone expected (you know, the constitutional way), we would have had plenty of talk about the SCOTUS being overly political, and judicial activism, and all the bobble-headed pundits would have backed Obama the same way they always have. But the citizen of this country would have understood what all the polls said they did:


So now, instead of all the pundits hating the SCOTUS, all the citizens understand there are NO further checks on federal power.


You saved the SCOTUS and lost the country.

If we're lucky, the enemies of the constitution will sit on their hands after their big win, Romney will win, the GOP will overturn Obamacare in its entirety, we'll trade some liberal justices for some strict constitutionalists, and we'll start getting this country on track.

But if all of those things don't happen exactly in that order, Roberts just handed Obama the win he needs to rebuild this country in his own image, with total federal control over everything we do, and everything we don't do.

Don't tell me that Obama won't stretch, bend, or break the "rules" in order to get what he wants. Is it beyond him to pack the supreme court? To simply choose not to enforce laws he doesn't like? To appoint unelected and unapproved czars to oversee huge swathes of economic and individual activity? To create labor relations boards under the treasury department, unelected, without congressional approval, appointed by him personally, who report only to him?

To personally oversee a "kill list" which includes American citizens who are to be exterminated by drone strikes without any form of process?

Then don't tell me that this is a win.

This is conservatives Republicans thinking they're clever by exploiting a little-known rule to beat an opponent who cheats.

This is winning the debate when the judges have already been bought by the other team.

This is fighting with finesse, skill, and guile, parrying every blow and eventually putting your opponent into an inescapable submission hold, only for him to pull a boot knife and stab you in the neck.

This is what this party has always done.

This is playing to lose.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

I've escaped to Free America

So long California. It's been fun.

We packed up our stuff, tossed the rabbit in the car, and headed for the border.

It was a great relief crossing the Colorado river out of occupied America and into the unknown. While I don't know what exactly is going to happen in Kentucky, I know well enough what will happen if I stay in California.

Ava did alright on the trip. She barely moved the first day, but started to eat, drink, and hop across the back seat to use the litter box on the second day. By the fourth day, she was laying on the comforter between the driver and passenger seats. She has proven to be a unique bunny who doesn't adhere to the usual rabbit behavioral rules.

The Subaru was excellent on the long trip, running all 2500 miles smoothly with the AC on through the heat and ups and down of the road. The ride and seats were easy on us, and according to the MPG tracker in the car, we bested the EPA's highway estimates.

A special thanks must go to David brand JalapeƱo Hot Salsa flavor Sunflower Seeds. Those things beat the hell out of caffeine on the long rides.

We took the southern route across the US, what I called the less-scenic route, in order to avoid complications with our cargo and our trip. I was quite wrong about the route being less scenic. I had expected little more than dirt and desert scrub until we hit Arkansas, but there were green pastures, dense forest, green plains to the horizon, and very few spots as ugly southern California. Certainly, Northern California is exquisitely beautiful, but southern California is a desert. Leveled, and paved over, with trees planted on top of it fed by borrowed water. Only New Mexico presented harsh lands, the rest were lush and green and inviting.

Northern Texas was second only to Kentucky, (thankfully) our destination, which only seems to get more breathtaking with each passing day. It really is beautiful here.

After some recovery time, we went to get our licenses, which required a total of 15 minutes from parking in front of the clerks office (downtown with no meters!), walking in, filling out paperwork, getting our pictures taken, and walking out with our licenses. It would take more than 15 minutes to find a parking spot at a California DMV.

I'm still wrapping my head around the small-town-ed-ness of this place. We're living with my Mother-in-law in a somewhat rural area, only 15 minutes from town, but there still isn't an easy way to "pop in" real quick. Assemble your chores for the day, go into town, and come back. Everything is further apart, and requires more of a commitment. Rarely do the roads exceed 55 mph, and I'm finding myself slowly acclimating to simply slowing down a bit. I haven't much to rush about at the moment, but it's still strange for me.

Being Free America, I expected the roads to be paved with Gadsden flags, and a gun shop on every corner, but I had more gun shops in a 10 mile radius in SoCal than I have in a 30 mile radius here. I understand there are fewer people here, but I didn't expect it to be this sparse. I suppose hunting only requires a few good rifles and shotguns, and doesn't need much ammo, but I expected sport shooting to keep the gun shop count high. It may be that I'm not looking in the right spots. Perhaps I should close google maps and crack a yellow pages (they still exist!). My little brother would love to shoot Puma's new PPSH clone in .22, and that doesn't exactly fit in with the type of guns you'd find at the goo' ol' boys' hunting shop.

I had expected some degree of culture shock coming here, in the form of different stores, different food, different accents, and different attitudes, but I've had trouble identifying any negatives in these differences. The stores are similar or the same, the food available matches what we had in SoCal, the southern accents are light and disappointingly sparse, and the attitudes are the kind of polite I tried to represent in SoCal. I do feel the need to adjust my soft polite tone to a louder polite tone, because people seem to have trouble hearing it or seem confused when they do. I've already caught myself matching some pronunciations, but only in response to the same.

More updates soon when I feel like it. Everything is just slower here, in a good way. Again, I'm having trouble adjusting.

Dollar Shave Club

[direct link]

Chromeo bonus!

Lead Breakfast - Pulp Fiction mix by Pogo

[direct link]

Two great tastes that taste great together!

My favorite part is at 1:53

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Quote of the every form of tyranny

Upon the altar of God I pledge eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
~Thomas Jefferson

Looking to get into .300 Blackout without breaking the bank?

H&R Handi Rifle break-action .300 AAC BLK $360 MSRP

Did I mention suppressors are legal in Kentucky?

"8 rounds is enough if you don't miss!"

You've likely heard this before.

It's the answer to a question you didn't ask.

It comes in a variety of flavors; salted with a drawl of some kind, topped with unbecomingly childish superiority, slathered with disdain, even tastefully prepared with the liberals' favorite spices: ignorance and confidence.

It doesn't matter how you season it. You can't hide the bitter taste of WRONG.

Aside from the fact that you don't know how you're going to be able to perform under the stress of a self defense situation (all you need is ignorance and confidence, then success is sure!), this statement has another problem.

Though I must apologize in advance for the problem I plan to outline. I know that most internet gun arguments use some degree of subjectivity, leading to an animating debate about the topic which eventually devolves into two parties picking up their jousts, climbing on their rocking hobby horses, and rocking endlessly at each other. Sadly, my point is not up for debate, because my point is math.

9 Attackers - 8 Rounds = 1 Attacker

You can only expect to shoot 8 attackers with 8 rounds. Any additional attackers are unlikely to wait patiently while you reload.

There have already been a number of reports of small mobs of blacks getting Justice for Trayvon® by beating white people (or people who they judge by the color of their skin to be white) indiscriminately. Race issues aside, when there are multiple reports of more than 8 people attacking innocent individuals completely randomly, you have to consider the possibility of facing more attackers than you have rounds in your mag(s!)

Pretty unlikely? No argument there. But you don't carry a gun because ever having to use it is "unlikely," you carry because you feel you have a duty to be prepared.

There might have been a semi-convincing argument if the comparison was between 8 rounds of .45 and 10 rounds of 9mm, but we're talking about over double the capacity in a comparably sized pistol. I don't know of any argument that can be made here with a straight face. In a worst case scenario, you can shoot the same amount of people twice and possibly have a couple rounds left over.

So when someone tells you that 8 rounds is enough, or some other flavor of the same, tell them you hope they never get attacked by a high-capacity mob.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Break your molds

When I was younger, I told an equally prudent friend that I didn't understand how people could just pick up and move without a serious plan. Now I am that person.

The stress of the move broke, and I spent the day feeling absolutely fantastic. I enjoyed every person I met, enjoyed every cloud in the overcast sky, enjoyed the traffic on the drive home from work, I just felt so free that I couldn't worry myself if I tried.

I hope this keeps up, because I'd love to feel this way every day.

The change isn't a difference in the way I feel about life's "requirements" but a trust in my abilities and a trust that the universe has a way of working things out. I know that I have talent, and I know I can offer the market many things, so I'm just not worried about controlling every aspect of this move and planning for every contingency.

The things I'll need are just waiting for me to show up.

I'll show up, and I'll bring my "A" game, but I'm not going to get caught up worrying about what's going to happen next.

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization: Come here to this gate.

Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate.

Mr. Gorbachev — Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

It has been 25 years since these words were immortalized.

HotAir has some good links relating to this speech, its impact, and the entire text of the speech.

It's not about the west or the east, it's not about communism and capitalism. It's about freedom. Freedom, understood in a way that has vanished in most of America.

I've never read it before. It's powerful.

Mayor Bloomberg's milkshake

My milkshake brings all the cops to my door,
They're like "Don't sell any more!"
"Drop the popcorn, get down on the floor!"
Bloomberg's got a new nanny-state war.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Understanding How Modern Liberals Think

[direct link]

A long, complete, in-depth analysis of the very root of the way modern liberals think.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Mora Knives

I was excited to see something new on my last trip to the gun show; a small booth of Mora knives. The well endowed Swedish woman in a low cut shirt running the booth was excited when I told her I had heard of Mora knives. I vaguely recalled someone mentioning European Mora knives on a forum and doing some quick research on them. Because I had never seen Mora knives in the US before, the result of my research was dim in my memory, but I remembered it being positive.

After handling a few of the knives and furrowing my brows at the strangely low prices, I decided on the knife that felt best in my hand and had the best overall look. I picked up the Mora 946 for $20.

The blade-to-grip size ratio was smaller than I was used to, but the grip felt so incredibly comfortable and positive that it was my first choice. I prefer a defined finger guard for utility knives, and because this one was added so artfully, it didn't disturb the lines of the grip. The light jimping on the grip was unobtrusive and positive. The actual grip material escaped me, it was rougher than rubber and had a feel more like a rough G10. It slid along your hand at minimum pressure, but as soon as you squeezed it seemed to glue itself to your fingers. Water does not seem to affect your grip on the material at all.

The second aspect that attracted me to this knife was the sheath. Retention is by friction on the handle, which has been quite effective so far. You'll note that the grip enters the sheath the same way most strapless leather sheathes do, this look has been attractive to me lately, and was definitely a plus on this knife. Modern materials with classic styling.

The "loop" on the sheath was actually clip made of the same materials as the sheath. I prefer clips for general use because it's easier to snap them on and off your waistband without playing with your belt. If you don't normally wear belts (like me) you don't have to worry about putting one on just so you can have a fixed blade knife nearby. Note the unfinished injection point in the blue plastic facing the camera. Easily removed or smoothed, and with no functional impact, it's perfectly acceptable on a $20 knife. There are a couple other unfinished edges on the grip, but they fall under the same category. Unobtrusive, reparable, and acceptable.

The clip rotates with a bias in the vertical position. This has aided in comfort when sitting as the knife seems to rotate out of the way on its own, without you needing to "prep" it for sitting. I've read reports of the clip being unsatisfactory due to crouching or sitting pressure pushing the clip up and off of your waist, but have yet to encounter that. From here you can see the button loop which is probably a popular method of carry for the Swedes, but most pants here lack suspender buttons. Still, the design of the clip is such that the button should be kept at the top of the slot by pressure (see the angle of the clip in the above picture).

The last feature I appreciated about this knife was the overall style. The lines of this knife and sheath combo blend beautifully together. Soft curves at the top, and geometric lines at the bottom. Looks were definitely a factor in this purchase. I'll always choose utility over looks, but having both is a definite benefit. It's hard not to appreciate a beautiful design.

The first few things I cut with this knife split easily, and after some slight misuse, I decided to touch up the edge. You probably noticed that this knife has a Scandinavian grind, meaning it has one bevel from the blade width down to the edge of the knife. This simplifies the sharpening process if you use the right tool. I used the wrong tool. I spent a couple hours fighting with the edge using the stones from my Spyderco Sharpmaker. My pocket microscope kept showing slight bevels due to minor inconsistencies in my sharpening process. The failure opportunities are exaggerated by the fact that you must remove steel from a 1/4" bevel as opposed to the 1/16" edge on most double beveled knives. After I switched to a proper whetstone, I started getting the results I wanted. These knives are made for whetstones because the extra long bevel can easily be pressed flat against the stone and drawn back and forth without worry of angle. After about an hour of metal removal to grind past the edge damage, it returned to a facet-free edge that bit easily into light materials along the entire length of the blade. I noted the grind was not perfectly even at the tip, and adjusted my draws to the slightly different angle. The result is an edge at the tip that is a bit thinner, and sharper.

The lesson was learned. Don't chip or deform these edges by letting them touch hard materials, and don't try to shortcut sharpening them by giving them a deeper pass on the sharpener. Grinding past the damage to reestablish the flat single bevel requires a lot of metal removal. Of course, this weakness is also a strength in that sharpening with a basic whetstone is extremely simple. This grind also seems to bite into and slice into materials easier than the double bevels I use. I don't have any hard evidence of this, but the feel of the knife was definitely different. I felt more like I was parting materials than cutting into them. I look forward to using this knife more, and will post any developments.

After coming home with the 946, I did some research on Mora knives to refresh my memory of their performance. Reviews were extremely positive and spoke mainly to the quality of the rolled steel and simplicity of the designs. After finding them somewhat difficult to order online, I decided to go back to the gun show the next day for the single purpose of buying another knife, the Mora 2000, for $40.

The Mora 2000 made a noticeable splash when it came out, so this model seems to have the most reviews and information available online. By comparison, it took me about 30 minutes of research to confirm the model number of the 946. Even then, information is very sparse about the less popular models. I decided to make my second Mora knife this model because it was a flagship of sorts, and because it had a larger blade with a belly and a more blunt tip. The proportions of the blade were more to my liking, but that was as far as preference by appearance went. It's an ugly knife. The grip material is surprisingly positive, and the hard plastic ends don't afford much protection from slipping, though I've yet to slip on the grip material. The pommel is flat, which some claim is good for hammering, but without a guard between the grip and blade, I'll skip that feature.

The sheath keeps the same classic form of friction retention on half the grip, but skips all the style. The sheath feels cheap and thin, but those who have used it longer attest to its strength. It is symmetrical for ambidextrous carry, which gives the sheath an odd profile which (coupled with the partial grip insertion) may increase your ability to carry this all day without worry of someone pointing and screaming "HE'S GOT A KNIIIIIIFE!" (depending on your locale, of course). Ok, I can't avoid the elephant in the room any longer. The color. This color scheme is so close to a standard OD green and coyote/desert brown, but is clearly off by several shades. It looks like dog vomit. But I didn't buy this knife for the looks... obviously.

Leave it to the Swedes. You tell them their blades need two bevels and they add it in the wrong direction. The blade is beveled a little over halfway down the blade. Clearly, the intent here was to provide the cutting benefits of the single bevel without so thick a blade jamming in your cut. I imagine this makes it easier to bite deeply into materials, but have yet to test this. It's a very interesting feature, and certainly adds something unique to the design.

The belt loop is a basic piece of leather with a slit and openings for button carry. I have yet to test this on suspender buttons, but suspect it is meant to offer a quick on/off method for casual carry. Because this is more of an outdoorsman's knife, I understand the reason for a solid loop instead of a clip, and appreciate the quality of leather for the loop material.

The loop is very flexible, which makes it less rigid in carry than the clip on the 946, and makes it more comfortable overall. It's also much thicker than I'd expect for a knife of this price point.

Both sheathes feature drainage holes to prevent the hard plastic from becoming an unintentional canteen. It's a minor feature but strangely lacking from more expensive designs. Another indicator of design by experience. One other small feature both knives have is no ricasso, meaning the cutting edge goes all the way up to the grip. Apart from the unique style, this allows you to do push cuts with minimal arm movement by putting the material up against your grip. This prevents you from swinging your arm through the cut when the knife makes it through the material. More control is always better, and because you're sharpening with a whetstone, there is no noticeable impact to this design decision.

I haven't had much opportunity to try out this knife yet, but that will change once I get to a state which allows you to interact with nature instead of making illegal things like moving branches out of your way.

I very much look forward to comparing these knives to my expensive utility knives. I feel like I've found something that's better than what we have, but didn't catch on for some reason. Unless further testing reveals catastrophic failures in them, these are easily worth more than the $60 I paid for them both. The $20 946 is less than I'd pay for the sheath and grip alone.

It hasn't been my experience that you can find tools that are cheap, good, and reliable, but I'm very open to the possibility.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Friday, June 08, 2012

Mr. Rogers Autotuned Remix by PBS Digital Studios

Extremely well done!

The description indicates that PBS Digital Studios will be coming out with more of these

Extended Prometheus Trailer

Looks awesome. Now I'm definitely going to see this tonight.