Sunday, April 30, 2006

the ranks of the sleep deprived...

Chris, John, and I are currently sleep deprived and sore from hours of shootin' and talkin'. Pics of the NoR Spring Rally are coming as soon as we are functional again. My apologies to everyone who waited two days for a reply email from me, to say I spent the entire weekend focusing my energies around the above activities would be quite the understatement. But damn, that was fun.

Mel

Friday, April 28, 2006

Why did we vote for them?

Warbs asks over at the liberty papers "Why did I vote for you?" to the president and the republican party in general.

Why indeed, when they seem to be busily engaging in an orgy of self congradulation, cluelessness and fiscal excess not seen since Roman times.

an extended quotation:

"Let’s run down the laundry list of what Bush has done to screw up so far:

  • Signed a blatantly unconstitutional campaign finance bill
  • Increased federal government intrusion into education— without corresponding improvements like vouchers
  • Created a bloated new medicare drug entitlement— all the while hiding its true estimated costs
  • Threatened veto after veto, without following through on a single one
  • Comported his entire administration as if it were a monarchy
  • Supported the Patriot Act & domestic wiretapping— dramatically increasing the police power of the state
  • Failed to respond to Katrina, one of the greatest natural disasters in recent history
  • Imprisoned Americans without trial, counsel, judicial oversight, or even a hearing

That’s not even addressing Iraq, which is a whole different debate.

As Bartlett points out, Bush is the “conservative” president who said “We have a responsibility that when somebody hurts, government has got to move.”

Contrast that with Ronald Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

George W. Bush has been described as a “big-government conservative”. Bush’s idea of government is that it doesn’t work, except when he’s holding the reins. His presidency, however, is better described by PJ O’Rourke: “The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.”

Bush could have been defeated in 2004. In many ways, I wish he would have. Not by Kerry, of course. I don’t see how the Democrats could have their fingers so far from the pulse that they nominated so uncharismatic and vacillating that he couldn’t beat a weak Bush. If the Democrats had nominated someone who had come out with an understanding of at least finishing the job in Iraq, I would have voted for him.

With a pro-war Democrat in office, we might have had a chance at Bush’s only redeeming quality, coupled with the best feature of Clinton’s final 6 years: gridlock. We might have seen the Republican Congress start acting like Republicans, fighting spending. Instead, we’ve been stuck with a Congress who wants to send pork back home, coupled with a president too scared to rebuke members of his own party. Republicans have all three branches of government locked up, and they spend their time trying to act like Democrats. What’s worse? They have such little experience administering and creating welfare programs, that they’ve screwed up every attempt at doing so (i.e. Medicare Part D). It’s gotten so bad, that I DON’T EVEN WANT Social Security privatization if it comes from this batch of Republicans, because I know they’ll be serving the needs of investment bankers, not me.

The last several years have seen complete mismanagement of government. Just as PJ O’Rourke predicted. 2006 and 2008 are going to be a big wake-up call for the Republican party, and I, for one, think it’s about damn time."

So why did Bush get re-elected then?

Well, how about the fact that Kerry was nearly the worst possible candidate? How about the fact that the democrats didn't particularly WANT Kerry (or any other dem candidate who presented themselves) to win?

I'm not saying they deliberately threw the election, it's just that the dems didnt particularly want to win in 2004; much like the republicans in nominating Bob Dole in ‘96. Sure they knew Dole was going to lose, hell they knew ANY republican was going to lose; so why not give Dole his last shot, and lets make sure that Clinton is around to boner up everything and increase the republican majority.

The Dems wanted the same thing, and it looks like they may get it. What they wanted, was to improve their congressional position, because it is the house of representatives contingent that actually controls the democratic party (along with their “fringe” donor element). The best thing for the democratic congressional contingent has been the hostile to republicans press, and G.W.B. as president.

The congresscritters knew Kerry was a loser, after all they worked with the guy (he was one of my senators much of my life and I certainly knew). They also knew that he would be horrible for them in the mid terms if he won.

Did they throw it? No, they just picked the worst candidate from the field (welllll, other than Dean or Kucinich) , counted on him to lose, and counted on GW to make a huge ass of himself after the election (which he did like clockwork); thus improve their position for the midterms, and making it easier to put someone they actually want to get behind with full effort in for ‘08.

That said, honestly, I think if the republicans put up any halfway acceptable candidate, the “I will not vote for a democrat for president until this war is won” demographic will be enough to keep the presidency in Republican hands.

I’m a dedicated libertarian minarchist, and I’ll be voting with that demographic, because giving the reins to ANY democrat is even worse than if we were to have another GWB in office next term.

Not only that, I think congress is going to get spanked; but the reps will still hold a (thin) majority in both houses this midterm. If that happens, I’m willing to bet that a lot of congresscritters will newly descover the religion of restraint.

And no, I will never vote for a democratic president again, so long as the democratic party remotely resembles what it does today; because not only do you get a president, but you get a whole administration and executive branch.

What do I mean by that? Well the damage Bill Clinton did in his 8 years is utterly phenomenal if you’ve seen it from the inside. Because its all “inside baseball” stuff the general public doesnt see it, but I think a democratic president and republican congress would do more FAR more damage than a democratic congress would do with a republican president.

The problem isn't the president, it's the folks the President and his party appoint to the administration who truly believe in statism, socialism, and democratic political opportunism.

Although people always think of executive power, they don’t really understand what it means.

In legislative matters the president in not very much more than a figurehead; but when it comes to executive matters; basically the execution and enforcement of that legislation, and of the beurocracy of running the country; the president, and more improtantly the presidents party, is supreme.

I mean that literally in that the supreme court and congress can’t easily strike down what are called “adminsitrative procedures”; basically the means by which the executive departments choose to go about their business; even if those procedures might violate the law, or in some ways the constitution. Nor can they interefere with most appointments and promotions.

It’s a separation of powers issue, and it has been a HUGE sticking point recently for the ATF and congress, as well as the IRS.

Whether Clinton did anything or not due to gridlock, the damage his adminsitration did to the country as a whole through the civil service and executive beurocracy was ENORMOUS.

I myself was a junior officer in the Air Force, and I decided it was better that I take a buyout package, than continue serving under that president while he was so busy dismantling my service. I personally know of hundreds just like me who made the same choice, and there were literaly thousands more. In fact well over a hundred thousand more. People with 2 to 10 years of service who simply gave up on serving while under Clinton, because he made it that bad.

Those men would now be Majors through Colonels (promotable to general), and Sergeants first class through master sergeants (promotable to sergeants major).

These are the ranks within the military that truly get things done. They are also the ranks that have slots unfilled across the board in the combat arms fields (the loggies and supply guys are as always filled with career minded folks clogging up the middle ranks, but they dont have enough good people either).

You can’t build a sergeant major in less than 15 years. You can’t have a regiment or a brigade function well without a good sergeant major, and some good first sergeants. You can’t build a general in less than 20 years, or a colonel in less than 15 (and 15 is really pushing it); and you damn well can't have a good brigade without a good brigade commander.

So there are literally thousands of men who would be Colonels, Generals, Sergeants Major, and Master Sergeants (not to mention the mid grades) right now if it weren’t for Clinton.

Eric (frequent commenter) is one of them in fact. So is Combat Controller (another commenter). So are a whole hell of a lot of my friends, commentors, and co-bloggers. Heck I’d be right on the edge of Major myself (I made it to Captain in the reserves).

We can’t get those men back; they are needecd, and we can't replace them. That is only one small portion of the damage Clinton did to this country.

Then there’s all those decisions made in the executive departments by appointed functionaries. Every day they were building our government up, and tearing our citizens down.

Right now, 14 years later, these people appointed to low and mid level positions during Clinton, are taking that ideological view, and uing it to run our country into the ground. In particualr they are using it to push the government into near open war against it’s elected masters.

No, I will never again vote for another democrat.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

The World Has Gone Mad

A transcript of a conversation from just moments ago:

Mel: Dear god, what is that unholy amalgamation

Chris: {pointing to the large mixing bowl filled with carbohydrate rich snack foods} It's Pretzels and Doritos. I am mixing them together for I like Pretzels and Doritos. There is nothing else in it, because we have nothing else here that I want to eat.

Mel: Yes, an unholy amalgamation

Chris: Ahhh, we have cheese crackers, I'll add those to my unholy amalgamation.

Mel: Dear god, as I said, an even more unholy amalgamation.

Chris: John, would you like some unholy amalgamation

John: Very much so, it looks quite tasty

Mel: Aaaaagh! The world has gone mad!

Help! I need ideas!

Unemployment looks as if it will finally come through, so either Friday or Monday we *should* be okay. Which leaves me with another crisis...

What do I get Chris for his birthday?

Before I didn't have to worry about it for a while, since we were broke, but I get paid tomorrow and for the first time in months I may actually be able to spend a little bit of it.

So what do I get Chris for his birthday? I have no clue. I did books and a George Foreman grill for Christmas and the requisite lingerie for Valentine's Day, and now I'm completely at a loss. I'm not a guy, and getting something from his wishlist is pretty predictable.

So to all the guys out there, what would you consider a good birthday present? What would you like for yourselves?

Because I'm completely at a loss...

Mel

Just call me Mel, everyone else does...

Please send any suggestions to melody.byrne@gmail.com

Sweet Home In The District

Now that I are the age I are...

It's sure my death will not be far

HAPPY BIRTH-----DAY

HAPPY BIRTH-----DAY

Yay, I have survived one more of earths rotational periods; and without significant injury I might add.

Things are actually a fair bit better then they were last year on a personal front, in that I have a wife and kids now and they are excellent. Unfrotauntely they are worse with my mother and brother, but other than that things are mostly the same.

Here's what I wrote last year: Another Year, another YEARGH!!!!

Funny coincidence, this time last year I had just had my first day in a new job. This year I should be getting a formal job offer this day.

Even funnier, I had an interview today right down the street from the place I started working at a year ago; and so I stopped in to say hi. John OC works there (I hired him, used to be his boss)... Things are pretty much the same as they were a year ago; which isn't really a good thing.

Anyway I'm here, I'm alive, I'm mostly healthy, I have a great wife and kids, and I live in a great house. Sure things are rough financially, and with my mother and brother, but on balance, I'm happy, and I'm grateful for what I've got.

Thank you, whoever and whatever you are, for giving me a shot at doing this right for another year.

Oh and thank all of you guys for reading.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Aaaaargh, unpaid credits, debts, and the universe fucking with me... again

So, it's coming to the end of them month; that lovely time of bills due etc... AND I STILL HAVENT RECIEVED MY UNEMPLOYMENT.

At this point I should have been recieving my gubment cheez since the week beginning February 13th, so they are almost $3000 behind.

Paperwork delays.

See I filed my claim and then submitted updates for two weeks, but for some reason my record was purged. They made me refile and on March second my new claim was processed, pending re-interview etc...

So I continued filing my weekly updates, and for three weeks did so, when again the computer system said there was a problem with my record.

So on March 23rd I finally got through to them, and they said I hadnt returned my paperwork; except I had. After an hour on the phone they noted that I had, and reinstated my claim and put me in the queue for scheduling an interview, again. They also told me that I would get a letter telling me when my interview would be, and that it could take up to three weeks to be scheduled for an interview. I noted that I was supposed to be scheduled as of March second, but they said the paperwork problem had put my claim on hold since then and that it hadnt been done. Go to the back of the three week long line.

Ok so I keep filing my paperwork every week, and again the computer says there is a problem. Plus it's been three weeks and no letter, so I call again; This time I get someone who runs me through the standard bullshit I've already been through three times. I till them in detail what I've already been through and they tell me that my claim was put on hold from missed paperwork again. I make it clear AGAIN that I have returned all my paperwork. She looks AGAIN, and says oh ok I see that, let me clear this up for you, and I'll just approve the claim you wont have to go through the re-interview and the checks will be out to you today.

Hurray happy day. Of course I don't particularly trust them all that much anymore (as if I ever did), but I'm hopeful.

This coincidentally is about the time my bank starts charging me overdraft fees for little $5 and $10 automatic electronic transactions. I have a bunch of them, dont know exactly when they come out of my account, and can't easily cancel them all. Of course the bank pays them and then charges me $27 each for them. I call them and tell them not to do that. If I'm at zero, why would you pay a debit card transaction? If I was at a store with the debit card you would decline it, but because it came electronically you dont? What the hell is that? Oh if it was over $100 you would, but since they are so small you'll gladly take the opportunity to charge me 3 to 5 times what my actual overdraft was in fees arent you?

$452 dollars in fees later I finally get them to stop with the electronic pre-auth debits. Only two of them were for more than the fee they charged me.

Oh and I keep mentioning calling unemployment right? Well let me tell you how that goes. The unemployment help line is open from 8am to 4pm monday through friday. They have a single phone bank, with what seems to be a single phone line. Actually I think that it's 4 lines from the conversation I had last time. Four phone lines, for a state of 4 million with 160,000 recieving unemployment benefits.... no I exaggerate, thats only the line for the Phoenix Metro area, which has 2+ million of that 4 million.

Even better, you can ONLY get help on the telephone for these issues, you can't go in to the office. I know, I've tried.

So what you do is you redial the same busy number all day for days until you get an answer. The shortest time I've spent continuously redialing (thank god for auto redial) is 4 hours, the longest is 8 days. That is redialing constantly from 8am to 4pm for all of one week, not getting through, and then three days into the next week.

Anyway, to continue the saga...

When we last got through to the help line, the oh so helpful rep at the other end had said that my checks would be issued and out to me that day.

That was Monday; around Wednesday I figured they werent coming so I started dialing.

Friday the 14th, I got through to someone. That someone told me the person on monday had lied, and that she had cleared the pending issues, but that I would still need to be reinterviewed. I explained that I had been waiting for reinterview since February 14th, and she said that I was put in the queue on March 23rd and that it had been three weeks so I should be getting the letter telling me when my interview was going to be any day now but that they had a huge backlog and it could be three more weeks.

So I keep filing my weekly claims until monday when the computer says it cant find any record of my social security number in the system.

So I've been redialing all day since monday morning.

I kinda need the 3 grand.

Now even better, I have over $6000 owed me by various folks, $4000 alone from my best friend, who has supposed to have been paying me $500 a month since he got this new job almost 4 months ago. So far he's payed a total of $500, knowcking his $4500 to $4000 actually.

He's supposed to sell his car, buy a cheaper one, and pay me off with the balance. That isn't going to happen before my bills come due.

I have another friend who had $6000 worth of my guns stored in his range; and they seem to have gone walkies. Of course I kind of need those guns, to sell if nothing else. The sum total of his response so far? "Well, what am I supposed to do about it?".

This includes my varmint AR, my Smith EBR M14, and another AR upper, all with high end optics and accessories, drag bags, and about 20 mags each (hell that's like $600 in M14 mags alone). Also John OC's AR lower is missing. Shit you can't even replace the Smith anymore, they've stopped celling to civvies because they are months behind ofn their navy and marine contracts.

I've got $3500 or so worth of bills and expenses I have to pay off in the next week or two. I've got about 1/6th that to work with at the moment.

Oh yes, in theory I have a new gig starting in (I hope) a week or so, but I still won't get paid for at least a week after that, and as much as 4 weeks after that.

Not that I don't have the money coming to me, I've got PLENTY of money coming to me; I just can't get my damn hands on it.

See ever since I met Mel, I've been waiting for the bad to happen. If y'all know anything about my life, it's that I'm not allowed to have anything good happen without crushing bad happening to compensate for it.

Well, I'm surely hoping the last few weeks qualifies. The only thing left that could be worse is my mom dying, and even that would be half a blessing.

Funny enough, it was almost exactly one year ago that I was in a similar situation. The previous two years of supporting my mother, travelling 4 and 5 days a week, and getting screwed over at work had completely drained me by last March. Thankfully, I ended up starting a new job on my birthday (which is tomorrow), and things were going pretty well from then up until this March.

Yeah I mean the expenses of the last year were higher, and I still havent paid everybody back from LAST year (absent mindedness and circumstances on my part. I had the money set aside I just either forgot about things, or I got a bunch of big bills whenever I got above a couple months savings, or my mom hit a bad patch, or in one case I lost the guys contact info).

Then we go into this house with enough money for a comfortable cushion through to when I was supposed to be working again, and the expenses end up being twice what we budgeted for; my ex landlady steals our deposit, and the job gets put off for a couple months, and now six weeks later it's crunch time.

I say again AAAARGH. Please, let this be enough payback for the good that is Mel and the kids Ok. Yeah I can take more, but it's killing Mel, and I'd REALLY like to avoid having my life destroyed by circumstance again thanks...

Time to take out a title loan on my car and sell some more guns. Of course the most valuable ones to sell are MISSING, and lord knows I hate doing that, but it's just stuff, and just money.

Besides, half the fun is in the acquisition.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A (fairly) early morning conversation (the Pink Taco)

This morning's IM session with John (NOT KID SAFE)

John: http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/business/articles/0422pinktaco0422.html

Melody: yeah, I heard about this on the radio

personally it doesn't offend me, but I don't have sex shame issues either

John: the name amuses me, the reaction amuses me more.. I think it might be a leeeethle over the top for the corner of scottsdale and camelback

Melody: I think it's adorable

I'd go there just to prove a point

John: its deliberately risque.. but its still a restaraunt, not a strip club

Melody: yes, but it's a least a joke that goes over the head of kids

John: and hey, if their liquor license application gets denied... "no liquor for the pink taco"

Melody: blinks bad, BAD John

John: :P

Melody: I agree though that if the restaurant is going for the younger yet legal age crowd, that's a fairly appropriate name for it

plus SOMEBODY needs to pick on Scottsdale's stuffiness

John: yep

Melody: it's not like they went and called it "the Vagina"

John: exactly

Melody: I know it will get turned down, but you have to give them credit for having the balls to do it in the first place

John: messa ge board thread on it.

subject: "mmmmm, pink taco"

first female respondent:

"what's the big deal? It's not like the place is being named "The Bearded Clam" or something."

Melody: lol

John: next response to that:

If he really wants to stand out, he should name the place "Vagina" or, even better, "Euphemism For Vagina"

random male: "I'd eat there..."

Melody: blinks bad, bad...

John: another female: "I'm going to open a restaurant and call it Va'J-J's. I'm sure you'll all stop by for a bite."

Melody: shakes head you know this is going up as a blog post right?

John: hehe

heres the thread

http://chroniclesofgeorge.nanc.com/board/viewtopic.php?t=23711

random fact, last post in the thread. in reply to "The Bearded Clam" .. there is a biker bar in Ocean City, MD named that

Melody: oh god

John: its probably a clam shack, too.. MD has famous clam chowder, and other bay shellfish

Melody: so of course that's a good name for it

I love this city. So much political correctness and so many easily outraged people to play with...

Mel

Just call me Mel, everyone else does...

Truer Words, yet again



Monday, April 24, 2006

Critical Skill Sets

So I was thinking, what are the absolute critical primary life skill sets out there?

Sure not everyone has to have them, but a succesful person should be greatly accomplished in at least several.

Also we need to recognize there are soft and hard skill sets. The soft skill sets are those that are important for interpersonal and intersociety relationships, the hard are those that are important for survival etc... and any successful individual really needs to have at least a basic grasp of several from each set, and a mastery of at least one from each set.

Anyway here's the list I thought of:

Soft skills

1. Politics (public and personal - affects all walks of life)
2. Basic law (to survive in society)
3. Basic etiquette (also to survive in society)
4. Self education and research (including electronic if appropriate)
5. Oral communication (public and personal
6. Written communication (including electronic if appropriate)
7. Logic (including critical analysis)
8. Debate and argument (including critical analysis)
9. Basic commerce and economics (bargaining, pricing, basic sales knowledge, money management)
10. Intimate and Personal relationship skills (communication, conflict resolution, lovemaking)

Hard Skills

1. Food and water acquisition (hunting, gathering, trapping, farming and animal husbandry)
2. Food storage, preparation, and preservation
3. Basic medicine (first response, lifesaving, physical training, basic drug/herbal knowledge, hygeine)
4. Basic transportation skills with whatever modes are prevalent locally (including basic maintenance)
5. Basic mechanical (and electrical if applicable) repair skills (including very basic metalwork)
6. Basic tailoring skills (to manufacture and repair clothing)
7. Basic housework and mending skills (cleaning, organization, maintenance and repair of a household)
8. Basic carpentry and construction skills (constructing servicable shelter, tables, chairs, and cabinets)
9. Self defense (armed with and without firearms, and unarmed)
10. Basic strategy, tactics, and methods of local defense (including movement, and field fortifications)

I think these basic skill sets are universal to almost all socieites, and communities throughout time; excepting those that existed pimarily as plundering cultures (and most of those didn't last too long).

Even today, all of these skills; except perhaps food acquisiton from the raw, and local defense; are very important in our lives; and of course those skills are still critical to our societies as a whole.

In fact, I think that if you can identify a missing or grossly unbalanced or abused skill set in a community; you can identify communities that will fail, or that have major problems; as well as idenitifying major commercial opportunities.

This technique is also useful for writers. It can be difficult to build a society; one has so many things to think of; but with those skills sets in mind, one can then build the shell of society with which to hang the details on. Ensure that each of these functions is adequately provided for and met, and you have a functioning society. Make them all marginal and you have a collapsing one or developing one. Make one grossly distorted, abused, or absent; and you have inbuilt conflict to base your story on.

Anyone have anything to add?

UPDATE: Some have noted a few details, which I included in other skill sets (like lumping water gathering in with food).

A few people have noted parenting skills, but honestly I don't believe that these are skiills separate from what I have described. No, knowing these skills wont make you a good parent; but without many of them, you can be sure you won't be much of one.

The most important thing a parent can give is love; but very close to it are morality, discipline, and personal responsibility; and none of these are discrete skills.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

My Best Friend

I just said goodbye to my best friend; I hope not for the last time.

Jim and I have been best friends for almost 23 years. We met in the line at the door for our first day of second grade.; and have been through everything together since.

He's saved my life; I've saved his. We've bailed each other out of jail. We've been through bad breakups, and bad marriages (well, he never marrie dhis) and everything that life can possibly throw at you.

The thing as, as I have dealt with these things and grown up; he has not.

My best friend is still 13 years old at heart. It's the thing I most love about him, and most hate about him. He doesn't deal with his problems, he just ignores them, pretends they arent there, wishes they would go away, and sometime he drowns them.

See, Jim is severely bi-polar. When he was a teenager they called it "uncontrolled rage syndrom" or some such bullshit. He was very VERY poorly treated for it, running from zombified to the anger and depression being mademuch worse. I won't even get into the various idiotic "therapists" etc....

So Jim refuses to seek medical treatment for his problems today; nor does he take responsibility for them. He just drowns them.

See Jim isn't an alcoholic, he's a drunk. He doesn't have to drink, but once he starts, he doesn't stop. He knows it's a problem, but like his other problems, he doesnt face up to it.

I can't tell you how much I love this man. Other than Mel and the kids, he is literally the most important person in the world to me. More than my brother, more than my mother.

A few weeks ago Jimmy got so drunk, he couldn't find his car the next day, and John and I spent the day looking for it with him; after spending the night hearing from him every few minutes, driving drunk, getting into two fights, hiding from the cops...

A few days later Jimmy got VERY drunk again, and I literally had to carry him beack to my house, takes his keys from him, and get him sober enough to get home. During that time he nearly passed out a few times, generally made an ass out of himself, tried to start fights etc...

At that point I made him make a promise; that he wouldn't get drunk around me again. I told him he could drink, but that he couldnt drink at my house, and that he couldn't ever be drunk around me again.

Today we went to poker. He ordered a beer, and I reminded him of his promise. He of course said he would jsut have two and then he would switch to coke. At four beers I told him "You're already drunk, stop now."

So he had another beer without me noticing. Then we ended up both going out and by this time he was failry drunk and I told him that I was pissed etc... THe waitress put another beer in front of him, and I told him that if he drank it that was it.

I said that if he preferred beer to his best friend, that was fine; that he owed me $4000 and I'd kindly like it back as soon as possible; and if he drank that beer he'd be throwing away 23 years of friendship.

He basically said "Oh come one" and he drank the beer.

I got up, and walked out. On the way out I told him "I love you. You can be my friend again when you stop drinking".

I'm a grown man, I have kids, and a wife, and all those things. Why do I want to cry like a little kid? Why can't I see straight. How can he jsut throw his life and my friendship away like that.

I can't watch him do it anymore. I've done everythign I can; helped in every way; been there for him in every way...

I just can't do it anymore. It's time for him to start taking care of himself, giving back, making good. It's time for him to grow the fuck up and be a man. To be my friend again.

Until then, theres a huge hole in my life, and in my heart; but its better than watching him kill himself.

But I still can't see straight...

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Carrying Revolvers

So, none of my carry guns are revolvers, why is that? Do I have a prejudice against revolvers?

Not at all. I bought my wife an SP101, and I wouldnt have done that if I didn't think it was a fine weapon. I myself use a 5" 625 as my bedside gun.

I also used to carry a 386 mountain lite, and a 2.5" 686p (which was my bedside gun at the time), but I sold them (much to my regret).

I'd love to carry my 625, though it would pretty much have to be open carry (which is just fine here in AZ) since it's a bit difficult to conceal a 5" N frame.

I'm also seriously lusting after one of the J frame scandium airweights. I'm a recoil monster, and I've fired them with full house .357. Yes, they are unpleasant, but not so much that I wouldnt practice with them, and 5 shots of .357 plus speed strips or speed loaders is a pretty decent bit of fight ending power. Plus some of the really hot .38spl are decent enough for carry.

Actually, speed strips are easier to carry around than a loaded mag; though of course quite a bit slower to get into action.

Now I've recommended the KelTec p3at here over the j frame as a pocket gun, and I still do . The Kel tec is smaller in every dimension; most importantly thinner and lighter; so it slips into a pocket much better than even the short butt J's. That doesn't mean I don't like the J however. I jsut think it's not the best choice as a pocket gun.

That said, I would have no problem with it as a primary carry piece in an IWB or something similar, especially with a nice full hogue grip, or a spegel boot grip. Again, with speed strips, I'll take a 5 shots of .357 as a primary defensive weapon any day. In an IWB (which I've tried with other revolvers before... so so... but the 5 shot J is a lot slimmer), a small framed round butt revovler is even easier to conceal than most compact autos and some subcompacts. The butt is far less obtrusive, doesnt have sharp edges to snag, and is a more organic shape.

So I DO think revovers are suitable open and concealed carry pieces. Basically I don't carry a revolver, because I don't really have a suitable revolver for carry, and because I don't have the holsters to do so either.

At least for now...

A kind reader sent me a couple of spare holsters for the wifes SP101 last night (she only had a pocket holster for it), both Desantis strong side high rides; one the FBI speed scabbard, and one a somewhat more mildly canted thumb break pancake.

I tried them out, and let me tell you with the sculptured wood grip on it, the SP101 is INCREDIBLY comfy to carry in a high ride. In fact it's far more comfortable in a highride than any of my medium to full size autos (which is why I usually use IWB's with them). The sculpted butt being the only thing sticking out above the holster, theres no sharp edges, and no snags to worry about, unlike with an auto where the high ride is snag city, and bend the wrong way and you get jabbed in the ribs.

I had never tried carrying a small framed revolver in a highride before, only IWB and in the pocket so I didnt realize how comfortable it would be.

The reason I like IWB carry for my autos so much is because it pulls the weapon in very low and tight to the body, and presents the grip in a more natural location for my long arms. This has the added side effect of reducing the snags etc... caused by the square edged grip frame beign out there in the breeze.

Now the high ride for the revolver still has the other issue that makes me not care for it in general with my autos; most strongsides put the grip up a little bit too high for a comfortable draw for me. This is especially true of FBI cant holsters which place the grip frame near vertical, thus presenting me with an uncomfortable height AND uncomfortable angle. I prefer a cant in between FBI and vertical presentation. Something that puts a 1911 barrel maybe half to 2/3 of FBI, say 15 degrees off vertical, puts the grip frame into my hand nicely.

Anyway, trying the highride with the SP101 has me wanting even more to pickup a nice belt scabbard for my 625; and to pick up my own J frame again... Oh and an L frame wouldnt hurt either; I miss my 386 and 686 - I'd really love to have a 386P again, or a 686p, either in 4"...

Anyway, it has got me thinking more on the carry revolver front. I may even pick up my own SP101, a gun I REALLY like, other than it's generally poor trigger, which can be easily fixed.

Sure the J frame scandiums are smaller, lighter, prettier, and have better triggers; but with a good grip on them the SP's frame feel nicer in my hand.

Plus, the SP has one major advantage over the Smith.. you can buy one new for under $400 and used in great shape for under $300. The Scandiums run from $600 to $900 in the j frames, and up to $1300 or more for the L and N frame performance center models.

Even if it is ridiculously expensive ($900 list, about $800 retail IF you can find one), I still miss my 386 mountain lite... 7 shot, medium frame, 18 oz .357 with a 3" barrel. I can't THINK of a better primary carry revolver...

Well, I can think of one. Not so much better, as one I have more lust for. I REALLY want a Model 25 mountain gun, in .45lc with a dehorn job (not that it needs much), a nice sculpted grip, and deep matte finish. It's beautiful, relatively light (considering its an N frame with a 4" barrel in carbon steel anyway), and chambers a termendously effective, but controallable cartridge.

Oh and those titanium Taurus compact .45lcs... I've come SOOO close to buying one about four time. I swear next time I see one at a gun show out comes the wallet.

What can I say, I just love .45s' be they -70, lc, or ACP.

Thanks but...

I just got a call from someone claiming to be a recruiter for saudi oil company IT contracts.

He very well may have been legitimate. I've recieved Saudi contract inquiries before, and even done a couple short term (90 days or less) gigs over in the gulf.

That said, I'm not interested in that kind of travel right now, even if I did think that it was legitmate, and I don't.

See, the Saudis use two groups to do their recruiting: Slick english or American firms for the high end stuff, and Indian companies for the low end. This guy wasnt any of those. He didnt' know what time it was in America, he called on a Saturday morning, he was obviously reading from a prepared script, and the reverse lookup on his number shows an international calling card service.

Yeah, hello again Jihadi assholes.

No, that's ok thanks, I'm not going to give you my personal details. You can have fun wanking each other off and dreaming of your 72 virgins while I'm over here eating bacon and making love to my beautiful wife (though not at the same time).

Friday, April 21, 2006

Update on my brother

Oh my god they let him out.

Ok, so heres what REALLY happened. Rob was only slightly drunk (right at legal limit), another driver who was VERY drunk slammed on his brakes in the middle of an intersection, and they collided at approximately 40mph.

The other driver was also unlicensed and uninsured; driving a friends (insured) volvo station wagon. My brother was driving my mothers Toyota Rav 4.

In the crash my brother suffered six broken ribs, a broken arm and wrist, a broken leg and dislocated kneecap, a hairline skull fracture and a concussion, a broken optical orbit and nose, multiple deep facial and upper body lacerations including both his eyelids and his left eye (they think no permanent vision damage).

He was not wearing his seatbelt, the seat was adjusted very far forward (my brother is short), and most of his injuries were from the airbag.

The other driver was uninjured, and my brothers passenger was only severely bruised and battered.

He was arraigned this morning for misdemeanor driving without a license, violating his probation, and failure to appear. Additionally he will have to discharge the warrants in Massachusettts and North Carolina. They have declined to charge him with DUI. The other driver was also not charged.

They have scheduled his pre-trial hearing for next week (VERY fast in this state), and the lawyer is going to try and get him jsut 90 days, and have his suspended sentence on the assault charge continued.

If he's lucky, he's just going to get the 90 days. If they re-instate his suspended sentence he'll get two years, and probably do 9 months of it. He's VERY lucky they didnt charge him with DUI, but he was borderline BAC when they took his blood in the hospoital and they couldnt exactly conduct a sobriety test, so that was dropped. Otherwise he could probably expect 9 months for the DUI (two years sentence, 9 months actual time served) and another 9 for the other stuff; because his sentence would CERTAINLY have been reinstated.

Most importantly, he's not going to have a felony charge here.

Honestly I'm not sure how I feel about this. Yes I'm horrified at his injuries, but glad he's alive. I'm also glad he wont be facing felony charges, but I'm worried that he's just getting away with things again, and that will not only not help him; it will just make him worse.

My mother is going to report to the insurance company that he was not authorized to drive the vehicle. She has already done so to the police and they declined to arrest or charge him, because he said that he was driving home because his friend (who DOES have a drivers license, and who rents the spare room from my mother) was too drunk to drive home.

The insurance company may have a problem with that, I don't know.

Fully Involved



Ever seen a fully involved structure fire? It's a pretty awesome sight, in the original sense of the word. Fire is almost a living thing. It breathes, and it feeds.

On my 19th birthday, my brother was getting high. I was back visiting my mother from college, and had been out late the night before celebrating (because the birthday starts at midnight of course).

I had a separate apartment in my house on the top floor, with my own private entrance etc... I had moved out a few years before, but because I was living in various tiny apartments between college and the Air Force, I still had a lot of my stuff up in that room. Thousands of books, my sword and knife collection, the wood furniture I made at my uncles furniture shop, my guitars...

A hell of a lot of my life was there; anything that I couldn't carry in the back of my car basically.

My mother also had $25,000 in cash in a wall safe up there, and another perhaps $20,000 worth of jewlery stock. She was a wholesale jewler, and that is very often a cash business.

That morning, my brother went up to my apartment with several of his friends to get high. I had slept downstairs because it was cooler there and we didnt have air conditioning. I woke up a few seconds before hearing someone scream "Oh Fuck... FIRE!!!".

My brother, or one of his high friends, I never got it straight which, had dropped an ash into my sofa, which lit a cushion on fire. Being high, they didnt respond appropriately and the whole couch was ablaze before they ran downstairs.

The couch caught the roof on fire, and eventually burned the top two floors of the house down, including the money, the jewlery, and all my posessions. Everything in the rest of the house was severly damaged from water and smoke.

Everything I had in my life was in that house; everything my mother had.

While I watched it burn, I beat my brother nearly to death. He destroyed our lives, not for the first or the last time, because he wanted to get high.

He still won't take responsibility to this day.

My neighbors house is on fire. Actually several of them in a row. There is a fully involved multi-unit structure fire in the apartment complex the next street over from me. I saw the fire start while I was out walking the dog (I like to do it late at night because it's cooler, and I can't sleep anyway).

My neighborhood is mostly nice, older residential homes, but the church a block over has a row of what could best be referred to as charity apartments. Mostly they are occupied by young legal mexican immigrant familes, that make up most of the catholic population down here.

These are mostly good hardworking people, but some of them; mostly the brothers, cousins, and "friends" of the families who the church rents to; well to be charitable, they are in these homes because it's easier than working hard.

In this case, one of these trash decided to fight his friend with fireworks. In Arizona, in a stick built 40 year old apartment. In the middle of a drought.

I saw the last of the fireworks going off, and the assholes running away as the apartment blazed up; but I didn't bother trying to stop them. I was calling 911 when the first siren came near so I hung up. I told the cops that arrived what I saw, and they were questioning the apparent residents who were outside staring while their lives burned.

What's worse, is that this is one long continuous single story row of cheap stick built apartments. Most construction of that type around here is cinder block (both for cost and fire danger) but these places are so old they come before that code. They are also so old, and so dried out and covered with oil paint, that they are like matchwood. You couldnt have seen a place burn faster if it was covered with gasoline.

Within seconds, the column of smoke was thick and alternating black and white from wood and plastic and tarpaper and tar and all of those things that make up a house, and a home. The smell is choking, but under it is that familiar pleasant odor of dry wood burning.

By the time the first pumper arrived; not more than 3 minutes from the start of the fire (we are 1/2 mile from a fire station); the two units on either side of the origination point were also fully involved. and the fire was spreading further. The smoke is filling my entire neighborhood; I can even smell it inside my house right now. I dont see how they're going to be able to stop the whole row from going up.

10 families lives are going to be destroyed, because some drunk or high (I couldnt tell which, maybe both) piece of trash decided to play with fire.

Makes we wish I'd shot the bastards.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

A dose of reality...

Why so much?



So I had a couple questions about "Don't leave home without them" and "Carry that weight"; mostly about WHY, I carry, how often I carry, and the decision making processeses about what I carry.

The first question, why do I carry so much, and so often? That one is kind of harsh really. See I’ve had people try and kill me a couple times. One time it was my own brother. I’ve had very credible terrorist death threats. I get death threats on at least a weekly basis.

I DON’T disarm myself willingly

The only time that there isn’t a firearm within arms reach of me is when I am drinking (very rarely), when I’m in a state or federal office; or when I’m on a client site that doesn’t permit weapons (which is unfortunately most of them).

I will regularly disregard no-carry notices in commercial businesses as a customer or patron; but never with a client as that would be both unprofessional and stupid.

The KelTec leaves my pocket when I go to bed, otherwise it’s right there all the time. I’m so used to the carry weight of my full carry pieces that I often wear them around the house all day.

As I type right this second there are 9 loaded weapons within arms reach of me, including a 12ga, four .45s and a .357. The only unloaded weapons in my house are the ones that are locked up in the cabinet, or being worked on on the bench. The only thing more useless than an unloaded weapon is an unprepared mind.

I even have a pen gun for when all other types of carry would be impossible. It has no barrel to speak of, just a tube in front of the chamber, and the chamber CAN handle both .22lr and .22wmr safely (its a slightly tapered ream and the cases bulge very slightly, but don’t even come close to blowing); though the times I tried it with the WMR it was unpleasant.

Technically speaking I suppose it could take the .17 calibers as well, but it would permanently blow out the shoulder of the round… which come to think of it may not be a bad thing. It’s definitely not going to damage the pen gun, and it might do more damage at the nasty end. Then again, it might not depending on whether the bullet kept full pressure from exiting the neck or not, and how unstable it was when it left the chamber without a barrel to guide it.

I have various knives that WILL NOT be seen on xray or a magnetometer. They don't look like knives, and they won't ever be confiscated.

The only time I am unarmed is when I am naked; and even then I have been studying the martial arts since I was five.

Am I paranoid? Sure. That question isn't whether I'm paranoid, it's whether I'm paranoid enough.

There's another answer there as well. I carry so much because I can, without great discomfort. I'm a very big, and very strong guy, and I can conceal a full size 1911, a backup gun, two reloads, and a tactictal knife and flashlight without thinking twice.

Now, why those knives and flashlight?

The A2 aviator is expensive, and a little bulkier than the E1 or E2, but I think the option of a red led light source and an incandescent source is good to have. That said, I do own an E1L, and I'm probably going to pick up an E2L to replace it.

The SureFire E1L is jsut too damned small. It has managed to disappear itself in my house somewhere (I KNOWw for sure it’s here not lost somewhere outside).

Honestly it was a mistake picking it up. I loved it because it was so small; but it is literally too small. The E2L is only an inch longer, but much more usable; and with a much longer and slightly brighter runtime.

Oh and if you are going for a new surefire as a personal light, I HIGHLY recommend one of the LED models. I’m very happy with mine, and you can always buy the incandescent head for them later if you want (another thing to love about surefires).

Oh and I'm SERIOUSLY lusting after the SureFire U2, but it's almost $300.

The River Rock I carry when I'm not carrying a SureFire is a cheap and cheerful 1.5 watt LED light from Target. River Rock is one of their store brands, and that light, which is not much bigger than a maglight solitaire, and MUCH smaller than a mini maglite (and much brighter and with a longer run time) sells for $14.95. Sure it's nowhere near as tough, or as bright, as a surefire, but it's 1/6th the price.

Knives...

Well first of all I love knives as much as I love guns. I have dozens, and I would (and do) call myself a casual collector.

I have four daily carry knifves that I rotate around depending on what I'm wearing, or what I'm doing that day. Yesterday I had a Mel Pardue full size Ambush (a well used first run numbered prototype). I usually have either that, a Ken Onion blackout (smoothe), or a Benchmade auto mini reflex (smoothe). I generally dislike serrated edges for pocket knives.

Oh and I sometimes have my pocket clip model BuckTool. I like it better than my old leathermans (which I will never buy again after the last election) but not as much as the gerbers (I have two). Of course it’s alot easier to carry in the pocket with the smaller size and the clip.

You know it’s funny, but I’ve established a tradition of using my blackouts a while, then giving them to friends. I’m on my fifth one now, and I think the last one cost me $60. It's a knife I wholeheartedly recommend, and you can get it at WwalMart if you have no decent knife shop nearby.

Now back to guns.

Everyone knows I love the 10mm, and I like Glocks, so why don't I have a G29 (sub-compact 10mm)?

Simple: the g29 and my hands are incompatible. I have very large meaty hands, and with the long and stubby grip on the 29, I can't get a decent shooting grip. Now if they made a singlestack version I'd be on it in a heartbeat. Personally I'd like ANY decent THIN, RELIABLE, and LIGHT 10mm carry gun.

That's why I dont carry the G30 btw. It's the same height and length as the g36, but it's a doublestack with a 10rd magazine instead of the 6 rounder in the G36. Unfortunately, I jsut find the grip uncomfortable, and that's with my BIG hands.

Oh and honstely, I don't like Glocks all that much. They are ugly, blocky, bulky, and generally have bad triggers. However the g36 is the thinnest and lightest .45acp that I can actually shoot and carry; and it's incredibly reliable, so it's what I carry.

Now, shooting the P3AT. The most common question I get is what's the recoil like with full house loads?

In such a light gun it’s pretty damned snappy, but not painful; and they group well, and deliver a 90gr bullet at 1250fps in my testing (they say 1150 on the box). That’s near 9mm power, and above most .38spl at the same barrel length (125gr at 850fps from a 2” is the standard light load, but you can get as hard and heavy 125gr at 1050fps and 158gr at 1000fps).

I’ve found the CorBon, Winchester Ranger SXT, and Federal Premium Hydrashoks are all good carry ammo for my gun, but ymmv.

One thing though, the heaviest factory .380 load is going to be safe in this gun; because almost all .380s are straight blowback designs, and therefore the factories deliberately limit the pressure. With the locked breech action of the KelTec it could handle more pressure, if YOU as the shooter can.

I’m seriously thinking about picking up some components, and loading some .380 thats only for the Kel Tec. Before I do that though I’m going to pick up the +1 magazine, with a floorplate extension so I can get a full 3 finger grip on the gun.

Then I'm going to be careful, and work with the chrono a lot.

Think Conformity

Accident Report

Or maybe I should call it a negligence report.

My brother has never had a drivers license, and cant see more than six feet in front of him clearly without glasses; which he doesnt wear.

Last night, after celebrating his brithday all night; my brother had a drunken car accident; which amazingly enough appears to have not been his fault (he was t-boned by a redlight runner according to the guy who was in the car with him).

He had at least two cracked ribs and a concussion, some other injuries; and my mothers car which he was driving illegaly was completely totalled.

He's been released from the hospital, and arrested.

My brother is on probation for aggravated assault and posession charges. His arrest for DUI and driving without a license triggers an automatic revocation of his probation. He is not eligible for bail. He is also being held for two warrants in north carolina and massachusetts; both violating probation warrants there as well one for public drunkenness and tresspassing, and one for public drunkenness and posession.

This pretty much triggers an automatic two years (the sentence for the aggtravated assault and posession charges) AND he's going to have to face charges in Mass and North Carolina.

Honestly, I think this is a good thing for him. He needs to seriously unfuck himself and maybe jail will make that happen.

Unfortunately, that leaves my mother without someone to care for her; and without a car (the insurance SHOULD cover it, but that may be months from now). Mel and I can't take care of her, we're in bad enough shape ourselves.

Life really is a bitch sometimes isn't it.

Carry That Weight

I was just adding up some weights related to the post "Don't leave home without them"

On a light day, I'm carrying just the following "gear" :

1. KelTec P3AT - 13oz, loaded in wallet holster
2. Ken Onion Blackout - 4oz
3. River Rock mini 1.5 watt LED flashlight - 2.5oz

So that's not too bad, at only about 20oz. Of course that's not including keys and wallet etc... but still not too bad.

Of course that's the absolute LEAST I ever carry. The outfit I was carrying today was a lot heavier:



1. KelTec P3AT - 13oz, loaded in wallet holster
2. Mel Pardue Full Size Ambush - 6oz (not pictured)
3. SureFire A2 Aviator - 4oz
4. Glock G36 with +1 magazine grip extension and IWB - 31oz
5. Spare magazine with carrier - 8oz

That adds up to 62 ounces; almost 4lbs! Worse, that's the LIGHT weight option for my full sized carry pieces.

If we replace 4 and 5 above with my Springfield Champion and two Wilson mags (which I also regularly carry), you are talking about some serious weight:

1. KelTec P3AT - 13oz, loaded in wallet holster
2. Mel Pardue Full Size Ambush - 6oz (not pictured)
3. SureFire A2 Aviator - 4oz
4. Springfield Champion with IWB and Wilson 47d mag - 44oz
5. Two spare loaded 47d magazines with carriers - 18oz

A total weight of almost 85 oz, or almost 5 and a half lbs...

This is why I'm so interested in the new KelTec PF9 (16oz loaded), and the Kahr KP45 (28oz loaded). If I can knock nearly two pounds off that carry weight, then I am more likely to carry the more powerful options, under more circumstances.

Oh and it's also why I prefer the KelTec P3AT over the J frame smiths. Even the lightest Scandium versions weigh half again as much as the KelTec (13oz loaded in holster vs 12oz empty, without holster), and are TWICE as thick, longer, and taller. Every inch and every ounce counts here. If you dont spend the $800+ on the Scandium models, the aluminum ones are 3oz heaver, and the steel are 8oz heavier.

Honestly, unless you are going to fire full on .357 through them (and most don't because it's frankly painful) I don't think it's worth the tradeoff. I don't think .38spl offers a big enough advantage in a 2" barreled gun over .380 +p+ (in a 3" gun) to offest the increased size, especially the thickness and weight. Sure I think the J frame is a better weapon overall, but I think the KelTec is the far superior pocket gun.

Of course I still want a 340pd...

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Don't leave home without them

The Redoubtable Xavier posts this memely challenge:
"I challenge my readers who have their own blog and a camera to unholster their carry gun right now, snap a photo, and post it, linking to this page. Show the world that a gun does not have to be perfect to be beautiful! Don't make me have to tag you!"
Well, I've been meaning to write up a carry guns post, so ok X Man, we'll respond to the challenge. This is what we're carrying right this minute.

First, here's Mels SP101 carry kit. Though most of the time it stays in her bedside drawer, when she's out walking the dog this is with her.



It's your basic SP101, 3" with a light polish job, a bit of trigger work, and a set of custom carved laminated rosewood fingergroove grips. Amazingly enough, those grips are comfy for both Mel and myself, though they do very slightly interfere with speedloaders.

Oh and we only shoot .38spl out of it, because it's a handful with even light .357 magnum loads.

Now on to my carry pieces today... or rather pieces, since I almost always carry a backup.

First up is my G36. It has tritiums, and is lightly customized with a full glockjob as described here; an extended slide stop and mag release, and a +1 finger groove extension for the mags.



And it's companion, a Kel-Tec P3AT, dubbed "MightyMouse"



Finally, this is my complete carry kit today:



Consisting of the G36, Predator IWB with matching Mag Carrier, a +0 finger groove baseplate on the reload mag (I change to the +0 when I go out because it's lower profile. I can barely shoot it with the factory baseplate), the KelTec in a GuruDave hand made custom wallet holster, and a SureFire A2 Aviator.

Though Xavier says a gun doesnt have to be pretty to be functional, and I agree; I like to have nice things, and I like things exactly the way I want them. Thus all the customizations, custom holsters, and the lack of wear (even though I carry these badboys pretty well constantly).

I don't care if something is pretty or high status or expensive; I care that it works, whenever I ask it to; that it doesn't break or die; and that I can carry and use it effectively. I just find that by doing the right custom work, and buying the right pieces, you get those results better and more often.

Now, I carry heavier than most (with good reason). The P3AT is ALWAYS on me, because it’s no bigger than my wallet. The rest are listed in pretty much the order of how easy they are to conceal down here in AZ, where a little bit can make a big difference; though I find mysellf carrying the G36 more than the K9, just for the extra power. It IS a lot bulkier than the K9, but I wouldn’t really want to shoot .45 through anything smaller, and I'll take the .45 over the 9 whenever I can.

Anyway, these are my carry weapons in order of decreasing frequency of carry

1. KelTec P3AT (ALWAYS on me whenever possible) - wallet holster
2. Glock G36 with +1 extension - usually 1 reload, IWB
3. Kahr K9 - usually 1 reload, IWB
4. Yozt-Bonitz custom springfield champion - usually 2 reloads, IWB, belt slide, or high ride
5. Custom (full action job) HK USP compact .45 - usually 1 reload, IWB or belt slide

Note, three of those guns are .45s. Whenever I am wearing clothing that allows it I will carry a .45. Also, importantly, all my carry guns excet the Kel-Tec (which barely has sights at all) wear tritium night sights.

There are times when I only have the backup on me; business meetings arent exactly suited to heavy CCW; but if I’m carrying anything other than the backup, I usually have a .45 (8 or 9 including up the spout), and a reload (7 or 8) or two (for the 1911 because they are easier to carry), PLUS the backup (7) for a minimum of 22 rounds with me; and as many as 32.

No, I don’t think I’m ever going to run through that much ammo on the street without getting killed first; but I may lose a reload, or I may lose a gun.

If I don’t have the backup (very rarely these days), I always have at least one, and preferably two reloads. If I have the backup I generally drop to one reload; but if I’m wearing lighter clothing I will go with the backup and the primary, without a reload; for ease of carry and concealment. It can be quite easy to conceal a pistol but having both a pistol and reload hanging off the belt can be a lot harder (and heavier).

Actually, the KelTec, loaded, weighs less than a loaded USP mag, and carries easier because it’s flatter. It fits right into the back pocket not holding my wallet at the time; or into an inside jacket pocket or even front jeans pocket. You know what they say "The fastest reload is usually another gun".

Just today as I said above, I had the G36, a reload, and the KelTec. In fact, in pretty much all my carry situations these days, you can just add “and the KelTec” to the end of it. It’s pretty well molded itself to my left hip pocket, and just stays in there all the time.

Obviously, I’m trusting my life to that solution, so I’m going to recommend it.

The only thing is, shoot a G36 before you buy it. It isn’t for everybody. The grip isn’t the most comfy for someone who is used to a 1911; and without at least the +0 extension I find it nearly impossible to shoot. I just can’t get a good shooting grip on the gun without the extension, and the +0 still lets the gun jump a bit in my hand so my followup shots aren’t great. The +1 on the other hand makes the grip quite comfortable; but still, it’s a handful in the recoil department, especially for controlled pairs and mozambiques.

Actually the same could be said for the KelTec. They are small, light, and easily concealed, but they do jump a lot. Be sure you can shoot it comfortably and accurately before buying it.

Personally I dont mind any of that; but as anyone who’s shot with me knows, I’m a recoil rhino.

Now the only bad thing I can say about the K9, is that I wish it was the K40. Mine is a generation 1.5 (after the first production bugs were sorted, but before the new frame style) that I picked up as new old stock a couple years bad for about 50% off retail, and I just couldnt resist the deal. Thin is, even a +p+ 9mm is going to have velocity issues from a 3" barrel so I'm not the most thrilled with the performance to weight ratio as compared to the P3AT for example.

KelTec has a new pocket gun sized 9mm as well,

http://www.kel-tec.com/pf9.html

This thing is only a bit bigger than the P3AT, and quite a bit smaller than the Kahr, and smaller than J frame smith (1/2″ shorter, over an inch lower in height, and half an inch thinner), still a lot lighter as well, and is jsut fine for +p 9mm (though it would be a nasty little handful I’m sure).

I havent seen any in stores yet, but the release date is supposed to be the end of this month.

Another new model, the Kahr KP45 is too new for my taste as a carry gun; plus they want a fortune for it. Give it some time to prove itself and I’ll be pretty damn interested.

What I like about it? It’s .5” shorter, 1/8” thinner, the same height, and 3oz lighter than the G36; with a longer and slimmer grip, and lower bore axis (the stagger feed design allows for that). It's barely bigger than the K9, but it's a .45.

Actually I want one anyway, but I’d have to torture test it myself before I trusted it. Its the same design as the K9, which I do trust, but the .45 is an entirely different stress level for the gun; plus its a short, fat cartridge, which may not be the best in Kahrs staggered feed ramp design. We’ll see.

I've written about the Champion and the USP before, and I can't imaginge better guns to trust my life to. They are both entirely reliable, and more accurate than I am. The only reason I don't carry them more, is that they are both a little bit hgiher profile to carry than the G36. When clothing allows it either is my choice...

If I have to declare a preference it's the champion. It's customized exactly to my spec, and it feels like a natural extension of my hand. Plus the heaviest loads in the world won't shake my grip on it, something I can't say about the USP.

I also used to carry a SIG 229 in .357SIG (and .40 - changeable barrels) all the time before I sold it. The new SAS models look very nice, though I still prefer a standard SAO or SA/DA option and don’t care for the RDAK trigger pack that they come with.

Actually I’d love to see them do the same meltjob treatment to the new SA/DA models with safeties they have coming out (rather than the traditional SIG decock only), like the P220 Carry SAO. I prefer the option of condition 1 carry; even in a DA/SA; and I really dont care for DAO (though I carry a Glock, a Kahr, and a KelTec, all of which are similar).

When the money allows, I think that P220 SAS and the Kahr KP45 are going to join the stable so to speak; along with a 5" wilson to replace the one that got lost when my storage unit went under, and a 10mm commander from Dan Wesson... oh and maybe an XD.45

Oh and I want one of those scandium J frames... oh and maybe one of those titanuim Taurus .45 colts... and if someone makes a carry gun that can handle .454 I'm SO there... and that doesn't even get into my open carry guns like the 625... oh and I need to replace my 686p and 386p mountain lite... and... and...

I'm not an adict, really I can quit any time I swear.

Now, as to ammo, I usually keep one magazine of glasers, MagSafes, or BeeSafes handy depending on what the gun prefers; and one magazine of premium defensive hollowpoints.

My guns variously prefer 85gr Winchester Ranger SXT +p+ or Federal Premium (hydrashok) +p, 200gr Hornady XTP +p+, 124 gr +p gold dot, 185gr or 200gr +p Gold dot or 185gr hydrashok, and 185gr or 200gr +p gold dot or 165gr +p Hydrashok.

Why the Glasers? Well I spend a lot of time in locations where I can't be sure of my backstop, because it's a drywall wall; or in crowds.

I recognize the tradeoff in wounding potential on heavily clothed subjects, and in penetration of hard surfaces; but I think the reduced overpentration and ricochet risk makes up for it.

Importantly, I've been able to shoot hundreds of Glasers, MagSafes and BeeSafes through most of my guns, so I know how they function, and how they shoot (which is quite different from normal loads). If you can't do the same, I don't recommend using them. I also don't recommend using them if you can't afford to fire at least one mag of them through the gun every month to keep current. Oh and I can get away with the heavy cloths tradeoff, because I live in Arizona. If I were in the Northeast I don't think I'd make the same choice.

Oh and the Glock doesnt like them much, dunno why. It might be the polygonal rifling, but the HK doesnt mind them at all so I don't really know.

Now as to carry modes, I am almost always an inside the waistband guy these days. It's just a personal prefernce, but I like my guns to be low and tight to my side; and IWB does that best for me.

I can wholeheartedly recommend the solutions I describe above; based on thousands of hours of carry with them in all situations, climates, and clothing.

Now, whats on YOUR belt today?

An Update On My Mother

I'd been trying to reach my mother since last Friday, but didnt really think too much of it; there are times when they don't pick up the phone over there for a few days, and I figured if something was seriously wrong my brother would call me.

Of course, like the last time, I was wrong.

My mother had another stroke on thursday; either preceding or following a massive seizure during which she had multiple cerebral aneurysms (she now has over 10 unrepaired in her brain), and temoprarily lost the capacity for sight and speech.

She spent the weekend in the hospital, regained her speech and sight on Sunday, and was released Monday. I found out yesterday when she finally picked up the phone.

Even better, apparently the seizures, and the blood clots, have been damaging my mothers heart. They now believe there are several small perforations in her heart muscle. I don't have any further details on that yet, she's supposed to find out more later this week.

Additionally, she is schduled for a biopsy may first for the dark mass at the base of her brain, which is either amassive bloodclot, or a tumor (for some reason they can't tell).

My mother has entered the phase of her disaes the doctors refer to as systemic failure. Basically as each part of her gets worse, it stresses the other parts which get worse in turn until each system progressivley collapses, and she dies.

Again, they have no idea how long she has; or ven why she is still alive now. Aaccording to her doctors she should have died months ago.

Funny enough I spent all day Sunday fighting with various extended family members over... yes, my mother. They seem to be convinced that because my mother need a large amount of oxycontin to control the pain enpough so she does not die from it; that she is somehow a "drug addict".

Sometimes my family just kills me.

Patriots Day

Today is patriots day, April 19th (though it was observed Monday).

The revolutionary war began, not July 4th 1776, but April 19th 1775 when the army moved to sieze the caches of arms that his majesties loyal subjects had assembled over the previous three years of being treated as an occupied enemy territory.

April 19th 1775 was the day that Englishmen chose to become Americans, unable to tolerate any longer their suppression by force of arms.

On April 19th, an unknown subject, became a citizen, by firing his rifle at the men who would disarm him. The shot heard round the world. It took almost 15 years for it to finish it's travel, but when it did the greatest nation in the history of this world had been founded, formed, and launched on it's way.

This day is the 63rd anniversary of the final battle of the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto uprising. In early April, German soldiers began rounding up jews for their final shipment to work camps. On April 19th, passover eve, a group of less than 20 of them began fighting back, by killing a single german soldier, stealing his gun, and killing another, then another, and so on until perhaps 1000 men were armed and fighting back against the entire German army. An entire bridage worth of germans were killed, along with 6,000 of the approximately 7000 jews resident in the Ghetto. It ended on May 16th in a massacre by poison gas. The last of the fighters were trapped in a few buildings, and some sewer tunnels. They flooded the tunnels with gas, and then went in and exterminated all but a few; who they saved for show trials.

6,000 died on their feet, rather than on their knees.

On this day 12 years ago, the federal government murdered 81 law abiding citizens in Waco Texas, because they had some weird beliefs, and because they decided to defned themselves against tax agents acting as criminals. On the first anniversary of this event, the Murragh federal building was blown up, killing 161; in the bloodiest example of entirely internal domestic terrorism NOT conducted by our government (the bloodiest would have to be the bonus army).

Today is also my younger brothers 27th birthday.

Rob, I love you, even if though you are a nasty, angry, bitter bastard. Even though you have stolen thousands of dollars from me, and from our mother. Even though you have tried to kill me. Even though you have made me have to pull a gun on you. I still love you.

Happy Birthday Ben

Ya Mensch ya.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Point Blank

Seems I've been doing some mythbusting lately, and theres an interesting thread on the same subject going on at arfcom right now, so I figured, here's another one.

Point Blank Range

What exactly is point blank? If you went by the media it just means something like right in fornt of you or anything kind of close. Actually point blank does have a specific meaning.

Just to be clear, technically, point blank range is literallly, the range at which normal sight adjustment, and/or maximum variation in sight alignment for a weapon will have negligible effective result on point of impact on an intended target (i.e. it will hit within the effective target area); and for which the mechanical and initial ballistic variation will have as much a weight or greater in point of impact than variation in aim, or effects caused by projectile rise or drop.

Rather technical and wordy I know. I'm also leaving out the concept of minimum point blank range and maximum point blank range.

For example, maximum point blank range on a military rifle or defensive weapon is whatever range at which the normal range of sight adjustment or alignment will produce 18 or so inches of total change of point of impact (the width of the golden triangle), and at which a line drawn paralell to the ground straight from the muzzle when fired at the center of that adjustment range, intersects the ballistic arc of the round.

Thus, minimum point blank is the range at which advanced marksmanship isn’t as much a factor as the weapon and the ammunition (of course basic marksmanship is always necessary at whatever range). It is also the minimum range to establish a useful zero.

The military considers maximum point blank range for a 20” M16 using standard military ammo to be approximately 200 yards. Point blank for pistols varies from 5-50 yards.

The term arises from french artillery of the 17th century, as an expression for the range from which a cannon could not miss it’s training target, which was a circle with a white center i.e. “pointe blanc”.

Of course none of that is very specifically descriptive unless you actually know the weapon and ammunition being used. Somehow I don't think the newsies would describe a 200 yard shot from an AR as "Point Blank".

THe guy who wrote this test actually knows something...

Cockroach
You are 94% likely to survive the end of the world.
You found safety before the disaster, and waited until it was quite safe to come out. You've got almost no health issues, your supplies would last you years to come, and you've even spearheaded a small community of survivors to rebuild. You're on easy street compared to everyone else. Now, the trick is to stay on top.



My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on sp
Link: The Apocalypse Survival Test written by ci8db4uok on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test



Mel's:
One Step Ahead
You are 80% likely to survive the end of the world.
You're alive, with minimal effects from wh


One Step Ahead
You are 80% likely to survive the end of the world.
You're alive, with minimal effects from whatever disaster struck. You're in good health, with moderate supplies, have a plan, and maybe a few other survivors with you to help out with manual labor. Congrats, you're gonna do just fine when all hell breaks loose.



My test tracked 1 variable How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 73% on sp
Link: The Apocalypse Survival Test written by ci8db4uok on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

Being poor

So Chris has been interviewing quite a bit in the last few weeks, as the job he was told would start the middle of March has not yet, and we are quite literally broke. Yes, my part-time job pays for food and gas, but our bills are quite a bit behind. I've been trying to reach my brother in order to borrow money but I haven't been having any luck. Chris has someone who owes him quite a bit of money, but this friend has also fallen upon hard times lately and can't pay back the debt quite yet.

This isn't new to either of us, separately at least. I grew up with very little money, as did Chris. Even when I reached adulthood and during my first marriage I spent most of my time flat broke. It's just a fact of life, and while it sucks both Chris and I have learned to deal with it. A lot of the time you just have to bite the bullet and make the most of what you have. Budgeting is a way of life, as is cheap meat on sale and macaroni and cheese from a box.

This of course is going to change rather quickly because, as I said, Chris has been interviewing and has 5 different gigs on the line, one of which he just finished interviewing for and we're reasonably certain he will get. The contract is worth enough that we will be caught up on both bills and savings (3 months of expenses) within 3 months, as he will make more than twice what we need to live comfortably.

We have a common friend who, upon returning to the country from an overseas gig, found his single debtless self living at his mother's and working a crap $11/hour job. He doesn't have any financial responsibilities outside of car insurance and maintenance, and he isn't paying much in taxes.

We are close enough to him that he's heard about the financial problems we are having and that he knows I used to support myself in my own apartment on less than he is making now. But if I mention about how I want to send the kids to a Catholic preschool in the fall ($3800 a year each) and the adjoining elementary school after that ($3950 a year each once we join the parish) he complains that he can't talk about it, because he's "poor" and it bothers him. What's worse is when Chris mentions the pay of the jobs he's going for, because that's a very graphic reminder of how "poor" he is. This, of course, offends Chris and me greatly because we actually know what it is like to be poor. So for the college graduate who thinks $11/hour and single is poor, here is John Scalzi's essay. The points in bold are the ones I've gone through, either as an adult or a child.

Being Poor

Being poor is knowing exactly how much everything costs.

Being poor is getting angry at your kids for asking for all the crap they see on TV.

Being poor is having to keep buying $800 cars because they're what you can afford, and then having the cars break down on you, because there's not an $800 car in America that's worth a damn.

Being poor is hoping the toothache goes away.

Being poor is knowing your kid goes to friends' houses but never has friends over to yours.

Being poor is going to the restroom before you get in the school lunch line so your friends will be ahead of you and won't hear you say "I get free lunch" when you get to the cashier.

Being poor is living next to the freeway.

Being poor is coming back to the car with your children in the back seat, clutching that box of Raisin Bran you just bought and trying to think of a way to make the kids understand that the box has to last.

Being poor is wondering if your well-off sibling is lying when he says he doesn't mind when you ask for help.

Being poor is off-brand toys.

Being poor is a heater in only one room of the house.

Being poor is knowing you can't leave $5 on the coffee table when your friends are around.

Being poor is hoping your kids don't have a growth spurt.

Being poor is stealing meat from the store, frying it up before your mom gets home and then telling her she doesn't have make dinner tonight because you're not hungry anyway.

Being poor is Goodwill underwear.

Being poor is not enough space for everyone who lives with you.

Being poor is feeling the glued soles tear off your supermarket shoes when you run around the playground.

Being poor is your kid's school being the one with the 15-year-old textbooks and no air conditioning.

Being poor is thinking $8 an hour is a really good deal.

Being poor is relying on people who don't give a damn about you.

Being poor is an overnight shift under florescent lights.

Being poor is finding the letter your mom wrote to your dad, begging him for the child support.

Being poor is a bathtub you have to empty into the toilet.

Being poor is stopping the car to take a lamp from a stranger's trash.

Being poor is making lunch for your kid when a cockroach skitters over the bread, and you looking over to see if your kid saw.

Being poor is believing a GED actually makes a goddamned difference.

Being poor is people angry at you just for walking around in the mall.

Being poor is not taking the job because you can't find someone you trust to watch your kids.

Being poor is the police busting into the apartment right next to yours.

Being poor is not talking to that girl because she'll probably just laugh at your clothes.

Being poor is hoping you'll be invited for dinner.

Being poor is a sidewalk with lots of brown glass on it.

Being poor is people thinking they know something about you by the way you talk.

Being poor is needing that 35-cent raise.

Being poor is your kid's teacher assuming you don't have any books in your home.

Being poor is six dollars short on the utility bill and no way to close the gap.

Being poor is crying when you drop the mac and cheese on the floor.

Being poor is knowing you work as hard as anyone, anywhere.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually stupid.

Being poor is people surprised to discover you're not actually lazy.

Being poor is a six-hour wait in an emergency room with a sick child asleep on your lap.

Being poor is never buying anything someone else hasn't bought first.

Being poor is picking the 10 cent ramen instead of the 12 cent ramen because that's two extra packages for every dollar.

Being poor is having to live with choices you didn't know you made when you were 14 years old.

Being poor is getting tired of people wanting you to be grateful.

Being poor is knowing you're being judged.

Being poor is a box of crayons and a $1 coloring book from a community center Santa.

Being poor is checking the coin return slot of every soda machine you go by.

Being poor is deciding that it's all right to base a relationship on shelter.

Being poor is knowing you really shouldn't spend that buck on a Lotto ticket.

Being poor is hoping the register lady will spot you the dime.

Being poor is feeling helpless when your child makes the same mistakes you did, and won't listen to you beg them against doing so.

Being poor is a cough that doesn't go away.

Being poor is making sure you don't spill on the couch, just in case you have to give it back before the lease is up.

Being poor is a $200 paycheck advance from a company that takes $250 when the paycheck comes in.

Being poor is four years of night classes for an Associates of Art degree.

Being poor is a lumpy futon bed.

Being poor is knowing where the shelter is.

Being poor is people who have never been poor wondering why you choose to be so.

Being poor is knowing how hard it is to stop being poor.

Being poor is seeing how few options you have.

Being poor is running in place.

Being poor is people wondering why you didn't leave.

Update from Chris: I went and bolded mine (the ones we havent shared) as well

Mel

Just call me Mel, everyone else does.