Thursday, September 30, 2010

Going Back to Court on October 28th

To get the full custody petition and motion to set aside the order heard.

Ought to be interesting.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Power Law Distribution Applies in Ways You Might Not Expect

Sonic Charmer, and Steve Sailer have been commenting on some sociological aspects of "prestige" education
9in the context of the new documentary "Waiting for Superman"), here, here, and here.

You should read all three; but I want to make a comment on a different aspect of this issue.

There IS an economic calculus to "elite" education, elite performance... to making the sacrifices and setting the priorities necessary to make it into that top 10%.

Unfortunately, most people don't understand this... and many of those that do, make the calculation improperly; because they have the wrong base assumptions.

Simply put, people presume there is some kind of linear relationship, or at least some kind of smooth curve, of input (time, effort, sacrifice) to output (reward, opportunity).

This presumption is entirely incorrect. There is a curve, but nowhere near as gentle a slope as people intuitively expect.

Both reward, and opportunity, tend to exhibit the power law distribution pattern.

You might know the power law distribution as the "80-20 rule" or the "90-10" rule; where 90 percent of the output, comes from 10 percent of the input (or 90% of the reward goes to 10% of the players).

There is a genuine benefit to being in the top 10% of “prestigious” schools; both in the peer group you form, and in the perception of future employers. Significantly better opportunities will be open to you in future.

Otherwise, nope nothing.

Oh, you get the benefit of a college degree; but at that point, all college degrees NOT from a top 10% university are effectively the same, or at most marginally different.

Doesn’t matter if you go to a $200,000 private college that isn’t a top 10%, or you go to Fresno state, or you get an extension campus degree at night; your future opportunities will be approximately equal (unless the specific academic program you attend it well known enough to be considered a prestige program within the field. I went to Embry Riddle for example, which in the aerospace industry is one of the top schools, but outside of it, is basically unknown).

Similarly, there is a genuine benefit to being in the top 10% of performers in any organization (maybe even the top 20% even in some organizations); whether it be work, or school, or the military.

You will receive better rewards and better opportunities will be open to you…

...otherwise, nope, nothing.

Being number number 10 of 100 is substantially more rewarding than being number 11. Being number 11, is only slightly more rewarding than being number 49.

Almost all endeavors in life with a competitive element end up being the same. 10% or 20% of the players get 80% or 90% of the rewards.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Anyone But Obama

Even from the grave:

The family respectfully asked in lieu of flowers that memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society or to the campaign of whoever is running against President Barack Obama in 2012.

Shamelessly stolen from Kevin.

Hey, We Resemble that Remark

Well, minus the gold anyway:

So all those hillsmen in Idaho, with their Colt 45s and boxes of krugerrands, who sent furious emails to the Telegraph accusing me of defending a hyperinflating establishment cabal were right all along. The Fed is indeed out of control.



So several people have asked how we manage to keep our sanity and our cool through this rather trying time.

This is part of how (be sure to pick 720p instead of 360p):

That's the view off our private dock. Sound is included just so you can note the almost complete lack of noise.

The other part is this (once again 720p):

That is indeed Wash waiting for me, after I've been gone for a whole 5 minutes. The damn dog follows me around everywhere. Normally that would be slightly irritating. Now it's comforting.


A few (thousand) words on "Ultimate Weapons - Top Ten Sniper Rifles"

So, I recently watched the History Channels "Ultimate Weapons: Top Ten Sniper Rifles"; and as is usually the case with "Ultimate Weapons", I was distinctly unimpressed with their rankings, listings, decisions and decision making processes.

Actually, I think their ranking criteria were generally good, but when you see just how they ranked things...

Those criteria were:
  • Portability
  • Rate of Fire
  • Accuracy
  • Range
  • Stopping Power
Frankly, when evaluating sniper rifles the only other major TECHNICAL category I would include would be reliability; but I would also have to include service history and record, when judging "ultimate" or "top ten".

The real problem I have, is what rifles they chose to include, and how they ranked them.

Ok so before I get into my own personal analysis of their ratings (and then giving my own), let me present their list and rankings without comment:

10. Knights Armament M110 (also known as the SR-25)

  • Portability: 3

  • Rate of Fire: 4

  • Accuracy: 4

  • Range: 3

  • Stopping power: 2
9. LWRC (Leitner-Weise) SABR 308

  • Portability: 5

  • Rate of Fire: 3

  • Accuracy: 3

  • Range: 3

  • Stopping power: 2
8. McMillan Tac 50

  • Portability: 3

  • Rate of Fire: 2

  • Accuracy: 5

  • Range: 5

  • Stopping power: 4
7. Tactical Rifles M40-A5 in 6.5x47 lapua

  • Portability: 3

  • Rate of Fire: 3

  • Accuracy: 5

  • Range: 4

  • Stopping power: 3
6. Desert Tactical Arms Steath Recon Scout

  • Portability: 5

  • Rate of Fire: 2

  • Accuracy: 4

  • Range: 4

  • Stopping power: 4
5. Accuracy International AS-50

  • Portability: 4

  • Rate of Fire: 5

  • Accuracy: 3

  • Range: 5

  • Stopping power: 5
4. Barrett Model 99 in .416 Barrett

  • Portability: 2

  • Rate of Fire: 2

  • Accuracy: 4

  • Range: 5

  • Stopping power: 5
3. Accuracy International AWSM (Arctic Warfare Super Magnum in .338 lapua)

  • Portability: 4

  • Rate of Fire: 2

  • Accuracy: 5

  • Range: 4

  • Stopping power: 4
2. Barrett M82/M107

  • Portability: 3

  • Rate of Fire: 3

  • Accuracy: 3

  • Range: 5

  • Stopping power: 5
1. CheyTac M200 Intervention LRSS

  • Portability: 4

  • Rate of Fire: 3

  • Accuracy: 5

  • Range: 5

  • Stopping power: 5

First thing I should note is, I have fired either the exact rifle in question, or a similar variant, of all but two of these rifles (the AI AS50, and the Desert Tactial).

Though I am by no means a military sniper, I AM an experienced intermediate and long range shooter. I have regularly shot at 600 and 800 yards, and occasionally shot at 1000 yards; and I am working on building a 1000 yard rifle for tactical shooting competitions, so I can regularly shoot at 1000 yard ranges.

Also, I know, have shot with, and have had some very long discussions regarding their profession with, several active and retired military snipers; and a larger number of long range rifle shooters.

Based on this, and on a large body of personal research, I have written extensively on the subjects of sniping, snipers equipment, long range shooting, and long range rifles.

There are a few folks out there in the gun blogging community (including some of my readers and friends) more qualified to comment on this subject than I; but I don't think anyone would say I wasn't a well qualified expert on this subject. I am more than just an enthusiastic amateur here.

Let the savaging begin...

Numbers 10 and 9, the Knights M110 and LWRC SABR 308:

Now, first things first, the M110 and the SABR are functionally nearly identical, depending on how the individual operator kits each out. They are both AR-10 designs, with 20" heavy barrels; it's just the SABR has a 12" upper as an accessory, so you can mission transition the weapon in the field easily. Of course, you could do the same thing with an M110. I know guys who've got short uppers for their SR-25s.

As with the other times I've reviewed the "ultimate weapons" or "top tens", I automatically disqualify any more than one of the items that is essentially the same design. There can be only one of each basic design in the list.

But it gets worse. They rate the SABR as 5 in portability, when in actuality, if you're going to carry both uppers into the field, it's LESS portable than the M110. If you're only carrying the 20" its the same portability. If you're only carrying the 12" sure, its more portable, but the accuracy and range go way down.

Then, for some reason, they mark the SABR down as having a lower rate of fire than the M110... When they use the same basic operating mechanism (though the SABR is piston operated, while the M110 is direct gas impingement), and the SABR has a handguard and barrel better suited for rapid fire heat dissipation.

They DO mark the SABR down 1 for accuracy, which is probably correct since it is biased towards modularity, and reliability, over accuracy; and because it's a piston based AR, making it slightly less accurate inherently. Actually, it's more like a half point difference, but there are no halves in this game.

Both get marked down on range and stopping power, being 7.62x51 based rifles; as they should be, at least in comparison to other sniping cartridges, such as .300wm, .338 lapua, .408 CheyTac, .416 Barrett, or .50bmg.

Oh and for both, the show said that the AR-10 was based on the M16... A major case of Did Not Do The Research (in case you don't know, it's the other way around. The M16 is a reduced size and power version of the original AR-10 design).

Do I think the AR-10 should be in the top ten of sniper rifles? Sure. It's doing the job every day in the field right now, and it's doing it better than any but the best hand built/rebuilt M14s did. Its just silly how they presented it here.

Number 8, the McMillan Tac-50:

I have no objection to the McMillan Tac-50 being on this list. I've fired one. I'd buy one. If I had to depend on a rifle making a kill shot at over 1200m, it would be one of my top choices.  It's a great rifle, a great design, and a great company.

Finally, it's got one of the longest confirmed kills on record (Canadian Cpl. Rob Furlongs 2,430m kill in Afghanistan), and one of the longest histories of established performance; with variants dating back to the Mid 80s. I would wager it's the number three .50 cal individual rifle for confirmed kills (behind Barrett and Accuracy International).

What gets me, is how they rate it the same portability as the M110? It's almost fifty percent longer, and more than twice the weight. One or the other is rated improperly. Same thing for stopping power; there are .50 cal rifles here rated as 4, and some using the same chambering rated as 5. Given that all the .50 cal rifles here have similar length barrels, there really shouldn't be any difference between them.

Number 7, the M40-A5 in 6.5 lapua:

I also have no objection the the Marines M40 rifle as a whole. It's an excellent rifle, and counting all variants over its service history (of more than 40 years), it probably has more confirmed kills than any other 7.62x51 sniper rifle (though the M24, M21, and AI family are all going to be contenders for that number as well).

...but why pick the -A5 variant in 6.5x47 Lapua?

The M40 is a long running series of Remington 40x short action based rifles, with custom bottom metal in McMillan stocks. The A5 is a modification of the now 15 year old A3 configuration, using Badger Bottom metal with a 5rd box, a 24" Schneider barrel with a 1-12 twist (optimized for 168gr bullets), and a McMillan A5 variant stock with a new rail system (with integral NVD mounts) and muzzle brake. However, the standard issue chambering is 7.62x51 nato. I have never even heard of it being issued in 6.5 lapua.

The standard issue M40 actions are built by Remington (as custom shop 40x actions, NOT Rem 700 actions as is said in the show; though the 40x is a 700 type action, it isn't actually a 700), and then the components are shipped to the Marine Corp marksmanship unit armorers; who blueprint the actions, assemble the components for each rifle (unlike the Army M24 which is delivered to the Army fully assembled, with scope, by Remington), and do their own riflesmithing; including hand selecting, crowning, threading, mounting and lapping barrels to actions and bolts. As far as I know every single one of them is chambered in 7.62x51 nato (they have a separate rifle using a long magnum action for .300wm, and .338 lapua chamberings. It's the same basic rifle as the M40 but isn't designated as such).

Tactical Rifles is a great company. I've done business with them, and I wouldn't hesitate to do so again. If you want an out of the box sniper rifle you don't have to mess with, they're one of the best choices to buy it from. As far as I know though, they are not making any M40s for the Corps.

As to chambering in 6.5 lapua, the only reason I can think to do that is for tactical competition, because I'm damn sure the Marine Corps isn't issuing anything in that chambering. It's a great chambering (especially for long range competition shooting), but it is NOT a military chambering; nor is it a chambering I believe any sniper would carry into action, because of supply issues. You can always get 7.62x51, you aren't going to be able to get 6.5x47 Lapua in a constrained supply situation.

All that said, I don't have a major issue with their ratings. Just a little quibble, because they don't give half points.

In 6.5 Lapua, you're going to get more retained energy downrange, a better .bc, a higher velocity, and a slightly more accurate chambering than 7.62x51, in a slightly more inherently accurate platform than the M110... For accuracy, maybe it should be a 4, maybe a 5. If I had the option I'd give it a 4.5 not a 5, but I won't quibble.

Same thing on range and on stopping power. It's probably a bit better than 7.62... certainly at extreme range it will be harder hitting and more accurate, though enough to push it one full rank higher... probably not.

Number Six, the Desert Tactical Recon Scout

You might think I would have a problem with it being a bullpup. Nope, I don't. Actually I think sniper rifles are one of the use cases where bullpups make sense. The weapon is 10" to 12" shorter than a conventional rifle with the same length barrel; and when you are using 24" barrels or longer for .338 lapua, that's a big advantage.

Also, it's nice that it's a modular weapon, with changeable barrels and chamberings. I don't like that it requires tools to take it down, but for a sniper system that's less of an issue than on a battle rifle or assault rifle; and it only requires tools for full takedown, not for a field strip.

In .338 Lapua., I take no issue with their ratings. If the weapon is built to proper standards (and I have no reason to suspect it isn't), then those ratings should be correct.

The only issue I have here, is that there is no history. Nobody issues this weapon. No forces I know of have purchased this weapon. The company itself didn't even have a web site until late 2008. They've only got 18 authorized dealers (several of which are very good companies I wouldn't hesitate to do business with though).

I think it's probably a good weapon; but I can't agree with putting any untried weapon in any kind of "top" list.

Number Five, the Accuracy International AS-50

Accuracy International on the other hand, has a relatively long, and very distinguished history. Simply put, they are one of the best, if not the best, company in the sniper rifle business (well... at least as far as the actual rifles goes. They aren't exactly very good at staying in business).

The AS-50 is an excellent design, with guaranteed 1.5moa accuracy at 1500m, and it takes down in 30 seconds without tools. It isn't as accurate as some other .50 cal sniper rifles, but it has a VERY high rate of fire (if it were belt fed, it would run 800rpm), it's considerably lighter than comparable .50 cal semiautomatic rifles but because of its operating mechanism there is generally less felt recoil, it is EXTREMELY reliable, and is just generally very effective.

It's also ungodly expensive, and very rare (production numbers are not released, but best guess, there's less than 500 out there, there may be less than 200), with only a five year operational history (though I understand it was actually in development and testing with SEALS from around 2001, and internally long before that).

Based on that short history, I don't know if I could put it on a list I was making, but I'm willing to give it a shot here.

I have two quibbles with their ratings. First, they give it a 4 for portability... It's more portable than some .50 cals, but no gun thats 54" long and weighs more than 30lbs can get a 4 out of 5 for portability, even if it takes down into two pieces (both of which are as long as a normal rifle... especially when they only gave the M40 and M110 ratings of 3). Also I have to say, that with a 3 accuracy, a 5 range doesn't mean much... and I don't think 1.5moa at 1500 is a 3, I think it's a 4.

Number Four, the Barrett Model 99

Barrett would be the other top choice for a .50 cal semi-auto sniper rifle, or even a bolt action repeater like the Model 95...

...So its kind of odd that they chose to represent the company here with the Model 99, a SINGLE SHOT COMPETITION RIFLE, in a chambering other than .50; the .416 Barrett, which was primarily created to get around civilian .50 cal bans in California and elsewhere.

Is it a good weapon? Absolutely. Is it an accurate weapon? Certainly.

It is not a military weapon.

It is not a sniper rifle.

It is a single shot competition rifle, for long range tactical competition.

It's 5 round box magazine repeater actioned brother the Model 95 IS a military rifle; in fact it is being purchased and issued by several military forces around the world, including several units in the U.S. military. THAT might make some sense to put on this list... the model 99 does not.

The .416 Barrett is an excellent chambering. Although it was created primarily for the purpose of circumventing .50 cal bans, the .416 is actually substantially more ballistically efficient than the .50bmg; so it is generally more accurate, and even though it is smaller and lighter, it actually has greater power at all but the most extreme range, against soft targets.

Unfortunately, because it has considerably lower mass,  it has a small wind drift disadvantage and is not suitable as an anti-materiel round to as long a range as high precision .50bmg.

What it comes down to though, is that with no magazine and a hard to supply chambering, this is not a military sniper rifle, or a military snipers cartridge.

The ratings are probably right, though if they're going to give any of the big bores a 5 in accuracy (and they do with the McMillan big .50) this rifle probably also deserves a 5; and it's rate of fire should probably be a 1, since it is a single shot rifle with no magazine (which makes it more accurate, but less suitable as a military weapon).

Number Three, the Accuracy International AWSM

Back to Accuracy International for their AWSM... and this weapon belongs on the list, no doubt. I wouldn't put it at number 3, but it's certainly a top ten sniper weapon. It is incredibly accurate, reliable and rugged, well designed, ergonomic, well made, and it's in the best long range soft target military chambering there is, .338 Lapua magnum.

AI makes several rifles of this same basic design family, which is a custom manufactured Remington 700 style action, with a lot of differences (it's sufficiently different that I wouldn't group it in with other Rem 700 type rifles like the M40 and M24). They make it (or have made it. I'm not sure what is currently in production) in four sizes, depending on the chambering (from 7.62x51, all the way up to their .50 cal bolt action); with stocks and accessories to match, some of which fold, and/or take down.

Realistically, for the purposes of this list, this rifle represents the whole family of AI rifles of similar design; and it can be fairly said, this is the most accurate, and best all around chambering, in the best featured model, of the line.

It's got the longest service history of any .338 Lapua rifle in military service (it was the first widely issued .338 Lapua military rifle), and it's got more confirmed kills than any other .338 in military service. It's the standard issue large caliber (as in over .300wm) sniper rifle for more militaries than any other (and including the other chamberings in the family, it is the sniper rifle issued as standard by more different militaries than any other... Though part of that is because it's the official choice of the UK, and most of the nations they support militarily. The U.S. focuses much more on either dedicated anti-materiel work with Barrett .50s, or lighter sniper cartridges like the 7.62x51 or .300wm).

In .338 Lapua, I have no quibble with any of the ratings, except to note they gave a single shot bolt action .50 a 2, and I think the mag fed bolt action .338s should be a 3 in comparison (but as I said above, I think the M99 should really be rated 1 in ROF not 2).

Number 2, the Barrett M82/M107

And we see-saw back to Barrett, for the M82/M107, the first standard issue .50 cal sniper rifle for any military, and the very first semi-automatic .50cal sniper rifle.

Prior to the Barrett, there had been some custom made .50 bolt rifles out there, and a few people had converted some .50 cal machine guns for sniping use (including notably, Carlos Hathcock); but in 1982 Ronnie Barrett released the first dedicated purpose produced .50bmg sniper weapon, with the M82.

This is the big daddy. There is no question, it is the number one .50 cal sniper rifle of all time. It has been in service for almost 30 years, with a spectacular record of success. It has more confirmed kills than any other .50 cal sniper rifle; and has more long distance vehicle kills, remote detonations, and other anti-materiel missions than ANY other individual rifle (as in non-crew served, man portable rifle)

The M107 is guaranteed under 2moa accurate to at least 2000m (most samples are 1moa or less out to 1500m with Barretts own match grade ammo), and it even has a suppressor for it (it's more than two feet long, but it works really well to reduce the signature of the shot. The earlier M82 models were incompatible with suppressors due to the HUGE and awkwardly shaped - but very effective - muzzle brake).

Again, the problem I have with their ratings is relative to the other .50s. The M107 is an accurate gun (as accurate as any .50bmg semi-auto can be anyway), and should be rated 4 not 3. On the other hand, it is 57" long, weighs 31lbs, and does not take down for carriage; it should be a 1 or 2 for portability.

Number One, the CheyTac Intervention M200 LRSS

Ooooh boy... I have real problems with this one.

Ok, the rifle is an excellent rifle, no doubt... but for one thing, it isn't actually a CheyTac. CheyTac doesn't make their own rifles, it's actually an EDM Windrunner sold under CheyTacs private label.

The rifle is guaranteed sub MOA to 2000 meters when using their ammo. There is no other company that will make that claim. It can generally achieve under 1.5 MOA to 3000 meters, if wind conditions allow it.

There's a reason for that. The rifle basically consists of a very long, very heavy barrel, bolted into solid machined aluminum and steel, with a trigger, handgrip, and a buttpad grafted on. EVERYTHING on this rifle is precision machined metal.

The .408 is an excellent chambering. It is possibly the most ballistically efficient extreme range chambering there is (almost certainly the most efficient relatively widely available chambering. There are some rare wildcats which may be better); and with the high BC bullets at high velocity that it shoots, it is more accurate, and carries more energy out to 2500 yards than a .50bmg.

To my knowledge, there is no regular production big bore rifle that is capable of greater accuracy at range, or greater range at 1moa accuracy, than the CheyTac; or rather, the EDM windrunner in .408 CheyTac.

The ratings... again I see no reason why the portability of this 53" long 31lb rifle should be anything other than a 1 or a 2, especially when they gave rifles with identical measurements lower ratings (though it does take down for transport). I see no reason why the rate of fire should be a 3 when they gave a semi-auto .308 a 3, and all the other big bore bolties a 2.

The show made a big deal out of how CheyTac offered a fully integrated system, with specially selected optics, accessories, ammunition, a ballistic calculator etc... But in reality, you can do that with any weapons system. This isn't really an inherent advantage to CheyTac.

My real problem though, is CheyTac the company, and the history of the weapon.

The CheyTac has been tested, and rejected, by every major special operations force in the world except Poland and Turkey (the only acknowledged military customers); not because it isn't an excellent weapon, but because it isn't a reliable company for military supply.

That doesn't mean there aren't CheyTac rifles out there in service; but they aren't a standard issue or standard procurement item.

As I said, CheyTac doesn't manufacture their own weapons. The CheyTac rifle is actually an EDM windrunner. EDM is basically one guy in Utah, Bill Ritchie. As of late 2009, I believe that EDM has severed their relationship with CheyTac, and I don't know who is currently manufacturing the rifle for CheyTac, if anyone. There are a couple other manufacturers who have licensed the design however, and of course CheyTac has a license for their own specific variant. Also, EDM is still making the windrunner, including variants in .408 CheyTac.

CheyTac also doesn't manufacture their own bullets for their proprietary chambering, they WERE made by Lost River Ballistic Technologies, which was a 2 man company before they recently folded. I don't know who CheyTac has manufacturing their bullets now, but last I heard they were still loading from their existing stock of lost river bullets.

CheyTac themselves employ about a dozen ... maybe.... because at times it has been reported they have been up to over 50 people, and at times have been two people... The "about a dozen" is speculation based on people who have recently done business with them.

What I can confirm, is that over the last 10 years, they have employed, and then either terminated, or had leave on them, over a dozen highly respected people from the long range shooting community; most of whom say they would never do business with the company again.

At one point, they took the position that they were not going to sell their "system" to civilians. That caused massive backlash and they quickly backpedaled.

Overall, CheyTac has a horrible reputation in the long range shooting community for poor customer service, and extremely long delays in delivery; with orders frequently taking over a year to deliver.

I personally have never dealt with the company (though I have shot a Windrunner in .408 and quite liked it), so I can't directly confirm the above; but these reports come from people I trust.

There is simply no way that a large military could deploy the CheyTac system; because it couldn't be supplied. There couldn't be enough rifles made, nor enough ammo made, to do so.

I understand there are a few dozen CheyTac rifles out there in JSOC land, but I haven't been able to confirm any use in action, or any known confirmed kills (I have unconfirmed reports, but nothing I can count on).

Based on this history, there is no way I could put this rifle on any top ten or ultimate kind of list.

Now the even more controversial bit, MY pics for top ten:

Alright, as I mentioned above, I believe I need to add another criteria, and that's history. I don't see how one can meaningfully evaluate something as an "ultimate" without looking at its record.

Yes, I have no doubt that the  .408 CheyTac is both more accurate, and more powerful, than any sniper rifle in .30-06 or .303 British. Based on history alone however I can't rate it over either the M1903 Springfield sniper variants, which were in active service from 1914 until 1969; or the SMLE Enfield Sniper variants, which have been in service since 1914, and are STILL IN SERVICE TODAY, nearly 100 years later.

That said, history isn't everything.

Based on both length of service, and on the number of confirmed kills, by far the most successful sniper rifle of all time is the M1891 Mosin Nagant. The basic rifle went into service 120 years ago, and is STILL the most common purpose built sniper weapon used by our enemies in Afghanistan. It almost certainly accounts for more confirmed kills than all other purpose built sniper weapons COMBINED; if only because of the winter war, and the Russo German campaign of WW2.

Based on those factors, it has to be on the list...


There is no way I would put it any higher than say 3rd; because compared to just about every other sniper weapon ever made, it is horrendously inaccurate and imprecise. The reason it has been as successful a weapon as it has, is because there are simply more of them out there, for longer, than any other purpose built sniper weapon; and because Soviet tactics for sniping emphasize getting an advantageous position at short range, to maximize the strengths, and minimize the weaknesses of the weapon.

The Finnish national hero Simo Hayha for example, universally credited as the most successful sniper of all time; made the majority of his confirmed kills at less than 80 meters (and all of his confirmed kills were under 300 meters. All but 20 or so under 200 meters) with an iron sighted Mosin Nagant rifle, or a Suomi submachine gun; using concealment, stalking skills learned as a hunter, the cover of darkness, and sheer balls.

Hayha killed between 500 and 800 Russians (505 or 542 claimed confirmed depending on the source, about 200-300 claimed uncomfirmed), all but 50 or so engaged individually or in small groups (those 50 or so he killed in two blitz attacks using a submachine gun), almost all at night,  in weather ranging from zero, to 20 below zero Fahrenheit, and all in less than 100 days.

On his 99th day in combat, half his face was shot off. He recovered, went on to train snipers for the Finnish army, and then was a professional hunter for the remainder of his life.

It's not the rifle that makes the sniper, it's the skillset, and the heart.

Also I need to discount history entirely for one weapon; the AK47.

What? Waitasec, why are the words "sniper" and "AK", even mentioned in the same paragraph never mind sentence?

... Because if you go by the role, rather than by the weapon; the most successful sniper weapon of all time is the AK-47 and its variants.

A sniper is someone who engages individual combatants, at medium to long ranges, from concealment; choosing targets for maximum effect, and not engaging in general infantry combat except at last resort. That is a role, not a weapons system. As I said above, its the skills, the role, and the hear (or the balls if you will) that make a sniper, not the weapons system.

If you look at the history of warfare since WW2, more combatants have fulfilled that role using the AK-47, than any other weapon. Much as I said with the Mosin, it's most likely true that the AK has been used by combatants in that role more than with all other weapons (certainly more than purpose built weapons systems), and most likely with more kills than all other weapons used in that role, combined.

That's why I used the caveat "purpose built sniper weapon" above.

That said, there is no way I can, with a straight face, refer to the AK47 as a sniper rifle; no matter how often it has been used in that role.

So, what's my list?

Ok, here goes:
10. HK G3 system rifles, including the PSG1
9. Dragunov SVD
8.  AR10 platform rifles
7. Barret M82/107
6. M14 based rifles, including the M21
5. Remington 700 family based rifles, including the M24 and M40
4. AI bolt action family rifles, in all chamberings
3. Mosin platform rifles
2. Enfield based rifles, including the L39 and L42
1. Mauser 98 action and DIRECT clones including the 1903 Springfield
Yes, I'm cheating a BIT in grouping so many rifles into families; but not too much. They are substantially identical within families so at that point you're quibbling over small details; which is why I didn't group the 700s in with the mausers, and why I separate out the Accuracy Internationals.

If you wanted to get very broad, the Mauser, 1903, Rem 700, and AI rifles are all Mauser based actions; but the 700 is enough of a development from the Mauser to classify it separately (though the Winchester Model 70 probably isn't, and the Springfield 1903 definitely isn't), and the AI is enough of a development from the 700 to classify IT separately.

Debate and discuss...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Mr. 3000


First Post!!!!!

Ok folks, people have been telling me to write my own blog for two years now, so finally, here it is.

Yeah I said I'd get around to it before, but I'm lazy, what can I say.

The initial content is mostly going to be stuff I've written for other peoples blogs, and fora etc...

Suggestions, praise, worship, and deification are all welcome.

Damn... almost six years ago, that was my first post.

This is my 3000th.

When I started this blog, I was single, in my 20s, broke, and angry.

Now I'm married, with two kids, in my 30s... broke, and angry.

But it's a different kinda broke, and a different kinda angry. A better kinda broke and angry.

Then I was broke because I had been unemployed for a couple months (and was unemployed for two and a half months afterwards), had run through my savings, and I was having a hell of a time getting my unemployment benefits from the state of AZ (which is apparently a common problem).

Now I'm broke because of kids and lawyers, and moving half way across a continent... but it's a much better kinda broke. For one thing I have a regular and good income... it's just my outgo is... substantial.

Worth it though, and hopefully soon that outgo will still be substantial, but will be directed to our own ranch; instead of paying off lawyers and debts (most of which were incurred because of lawyers).

At the time I was angry because of Politics.

Today I'm angry because of... Politics.

But I yell and break things much less now.

MUCH less.

Friday, September 24, 2010

On l'Affaire D'Colbert

The Republicans are talking about citing Colbert for contempt of congress...

Personally, I think he showed an entirely appropriate contempt FOR congress...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The new shows of 2010: Hellcats, Terriers, Hawaii 5-0, Detroit 187

Short version, a pair of solid triples, a soft double, and a foul tip.

Hellcats: Yes, a cheerleading show staring teen soap opera actors can actually be good. Ashley Tisdale and Ally Michalka are actually decent actresses, given the right material (they aren't exactly Oscar caliber here, but they're playing college cheerleaders). The supporting cast is great. Gail O'Grady is always impressive. The writing is actually pretty solid, the directing and cinematography are very good. It seems to actually be worth watching. Amazingly, it's in the DVR... yes, seriously.

Terriers: Great cast, great writing, great performances. Donal Logue is perfect here.The writing is sharp, funny, but not over the top. Some questionable choices on editing and cinematography. I predict it will be the next "critically acclaimed FX hit", and will end up being "Cables best new show" etc... etc... It's in the DVR.

Hawaii Five-O: Great cast. At some point Alex O'Laughlin has to have a show that works, because he's great (I thought Moonlight was a really decent effort, but the numbers didnt come). Grace Park is always excellent (and my god, she's 36 but she looks 18), and Scott Caan has something of his dad in him... Unfortunately he's also got something irritating about him, but his character works. The writing is mediocre so far, but I see a lot of potential. The action, and cinematography were good, though I wonder why they chose to mute the lighting and color pallette. This is Hawaii after all. The editing was a bit irritating. Too much quick cut. Overall though, I'm willing to bet it hits. It's in the DVR.

Detroit 187: The elements are all there for a good show, but it's not quite right. They've got story, they've got a couple of solid veteran actors in Michael Imperioli and James McDaniel (both of whom have played cops and crooks too many times), and some new faces who seem alright. The writing is OK... a little lazy cop show cliche there, but some good stuff too. The music is GREAT. The problem is the visual style of the show. It's choppy, it's irritating, it prevents you from getting involved in the story. It might be worth giving a few weeks to, to see if it develops; but right now, it's not getting a slot in the DVR.

More to come as we catch up with the new show premiers.

So, when did the producers of Glee fire all their writers...

And hire crack addled monkeys?

Seriously, what was that crap?

The whole point of Glee, the whole thing that makes it worth watching, is the character and soul and sweetness of it.

The characters are screwed up, but NOT caricatures. The stories are simple, not simplistic.

If the writing continues like this, Glee is dead and done.

Blogrolling has caved, decided to pack it in

Ok, so the last couple weeks everyone with a blogrolling blogroll (which includes about half of all the conservative blogs, and gun blogs out there) has been flagged as a malware distributing site by Google.

No, contrary to some overly paranoid folks (including a couple friends of mine. Sorry guys) this was not some left wing Google plot against right wing bloggers. It was purely a technical issue.

Google updated their malware detection algorithm to detect cross site scripting vulnerabilities. Because of the method that blogrolling uses to post and track their content, it looks like an XSS attack to Googles malware detection.

 This was utterly a false positive, and Google shouldn't have done it the way they did, but Google coded according to proper web standards. They aren't going to change it just to accommodate a few small web services out there, that use coding practices which are common, but insecure and not standards compliant.

Some might say Google did this on purpose to kill competitors, but I really don't think that's the case. It's a case of Google being a standards NAZI (as they have done before on other issues), and using their muscle to make others come into line.

Is it bullying? Not really. It's not playing nice with others either, but Google can always just say "Hey, we did it to standards. It's not our fault that you didn't".

Rather than update their code, blogrolling has decided to end their service. The coders who wrote the blogroll package no longer work for them, and it loses them money, so they've decided not to bother trying to update their code.

Accordingly, I'm removing the blogrolling blogroll from my sidebar. If you use blogrolling, I recommend you do the same.

I'll replace it with a google reader powered blogroll for now. See if I like it.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You know what's really great when you have had a crap day?

A deep fried bacon wrapped hot dog stuffed with cheese.

Yes, horrible for me.

I don't care.

I needed this today.

....and french fries.

Gotta have fries with that.

It's a moral imperative.

If Only...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not the best time of it at the moment...

I aint dyin, and I aint losin my woman, but that's about the best I can say right now.

Last week at work, they announced a surprise re-org. By surprise, I mean NO-ONE knew this was coming. It came down from the enterprise CIO, and was a surprise to everyone under that, including the guy who proposed it (who didn't expect it would be approved when he proposed it).

Meanwhile, we're 18 months into a four year merger integration, and our group already has over 100% workload through the end of the year... and we're already losing a guy in November (contractor), and another guy next March or April, maybe two (retiring).

Theoretically the re-org will be good for us. It may be very good for me personally... maybe... On the other hand it may not be. It's hard to tell. Upper management knows who I am, that I'm important to my part of the organization, that I'm one of the best guys in my role etc... But the guy we're being re-orged under is personally kind of difficult (he's a 60 someodd year old disabled viet nam vet from New Jersey; and manages to fulfill multiple stereotypes simultaneously), and doesn't like what we do (which is what prompted his agitating for the reorg in the first place). He has a different "vision" for what we do, parts of which I agree with, parts of which I don't.

Its going to change my boss again (my sixth in four and a half years), but we're not sure how or who. The guy we're being re-orged under has too many direct reports, so he's going to have to set up at least three sub managers, maybe as  many as six. Don't know how many, or who they're going to be yet; but it's a good bet my current administrative manager won't be retained in the group (I have a manager I report to for HR purposes, but my real boss is HIS boss). Also, it's going to take one step out of our reporting chain.... and much as is currently the case, we'll only be nominally under the people we report to for HR purposes; in reality we'll be reporting to the big guy.

The big problem is, we have that over 100% workload, and we have no idea what the situation is going to be. The re-org was made official last week, but literally no-one knows what's going to happen or how; including the guy who we're being reorged under, and the guy who made the reorg decision.

Complicating the matter is that my real boss prior to last Tuesday, has told my new real boss that he's going to need my services at least 1/3 or my time all through next year.

So... we shall see...

Then Friday, I had my final doctors testing followup for a while; to review the previous tests, as well as my records for the last couple years.

What it comes down to is, they still don't know what's wrong. We can identify symptoms, but not causes; and those symptoms are masking whatever the core issues are.

My testosterone is almost off the bottom of the chart, so we're moving to intramuscular injectable testosterone therapy. It should be much more effective than the androgel, and about 1/6th the price.

We're starting out with 1cc every three weeks, but will most likely need to move up both the dosage and the timing. He thinks we'll stabilize at 1.5cc every three weeks, I think we'll get to 2cc every 2 weeks; with a goal of an average T of 800 mcg/dl

My blood sugar is high, but not diabetic high. I IS however spiking higher than it should after meals, so that's something to worry about. Especially since the testosterone therapy can screw with blood sugar. Right now he doesnt think we should go with any direct therapy for it, we should try to control it with diet, excercise etc... The big issue, is that most of the medications that might help, might also make other things worse (especially metformin); except maybe Januvia, which is still under patent and therefore ungodly expensive (a couple hundred a month apparently).

My thyroid function is low, but not low enough to risk screwing things up worse by supplementing it. My cortisol is high, but not high enough to risk screwing something else up by medicating, especially since my ACTH is low (but not low enough to be a problem etc... etc... etc...).

Basically, everything is interacting with each other, they're not sure how, and they dont want to mess with anything they don't have to so they don't make anything worse.


It means I have docs who know what they're on about, get that this isn't about me overeating or being lazy, and understand that you can't just throw scrips at a problem to make it go away.

For the rest, the doc doesn't want me on any scrips; but he thinks I'm vitamin deficient because of my UC, my diet, and the other meds I take (Prilosec, OTC painkillers, Sudafed etc...). He wants me to take higher dosages of a better multivitamin, PLUS a b complex, and extra C and D; and then 2000mg a day of slow release niacin to help improve my HDL/LDL balance.

Also the niacin is important, because testosterone therapy can make my HDL/LDL balance even worse (and my overall cholesterol and my blood pressure, which I'm supposed to monitor regularly).

By the by, taking 2 grams of Niacin a day is quite uncomfortable. It causes what they understatedly call "flush". What that means is that you turn bright red and get very hot all over, like a bad sunburn. You also get the worst case of goosebumps you've ever had, and your body itches all over. This effect lasts for a half hour to an hour and is quite unpleasant, even using the "slow release" form of niacin. It is mitigated somewhat by taking the Niacin with meals, and by taking aspirin or ibuprofen 20 minutes or so before you take the niacin. Somewhat.

Combine that with a diet that weights protein heavier, and fats and carbs lighter, and getting back to regular exercise; and that should work to help my body self regulate, and bring things back into line. Maybe then, we can find a root cause for the hormone regulation issues.

We'll see...

Finally, I'm spending only the third night away from my wife in the last five years; while she heads up to Vancouver to meet with our Canadian lawyer in person.

He's very confident we can get the kids back quickly. Mel is enthused about a possible quick resolution... I think there may be some more delays, and she should moderate her expectations.

We'll see...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

6 Months in Idaho

We arrived at our new home precisely 6 months ago.

Wow.  Doesn't seem that long ago.

On the other hand, it feels like we've been here forever.

We're fully "assimilated" to the lifestyle here.  The greatest compliment I've gotten in quite a while came from our landlord's wife.  They live in CA most of the year and a few weeks back they were over at the house to cut down some dead trees in preparation for winter.  I was helping/watching, and the wife asks how long we've been here.  I tell her March, and she says "really?  You seem like a mountain girl already."

We can't really tell if we're ideally suited to North Idaho, or North Idaho is ideally suited to us.

We're both happier, healthier, less stressed, more content.  The kids enjoy the room to run and explore, and the doggies are in heaven.

We've met lots of genuinely nice people, made lots of friends, and generally established ourselves.  We've sampled the local food oddities (German-style sausage, fry sauce, and tons of huckleberries), spent time swimming in the lake, and started exploring our new home.

There are quite a few differences between how people act here and how they acted in the deathtrap called the Valley of the Sun.  Things move... slowly here.  I've yet to see a single act of road aggression.  People here assume you're not out to screw them over.  Everyone tends to mind their own business.  Yet, without the nosiness, there's a definite sense of community and neighborliness here.

Oh, and all that flak about North Idaho being a whites-only area?  Yeah, I'd be more willing to believe it if I hadn't seen blacks, Mexicans, Chinese, Japanese, even Sikhs... all at the same Costco at one time.

Even in itty bitty Sandpoint there's more than a few minorities, including the immigrants from Szechuan who run the local Chinese restaurant.  The kids are fluent in both languages but well assimilated themselves.  Quite the difference from Phoenix, where assimilation seemed to be a off-limits issue.

Everyone here seems to be from North Idaho, whether or not they started out here.  It's a good feeling.

A few weeks ago I got Mel-napped by Tom of Tom's Garden after stopping at their garden stand.  While showing me the grounds and how he got his tomatoes to grow in the climate we started talking.  He and his partner Joe moved here from Massachusetts, Tom 16 years ago and Joseph 3 years ago.  A friend visited from NY, and she remarked that "People are different here.  So nice, and friendly, and happy."

Tom said, "that's because we all want to be here."

An openly gay couple from the Northeast, happier and more free in North Idaho.

So are we.

It was a good move.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The things you realize while humming...

So, the Marc Bolan/T.Rex song "20th Century boy was stuck in my head, and all of a sudden it morphed into another song, and I realized, Escape Clubs "Wild Wild West" is a total ripoff of "20th century boy".

Though it may not be immediately obvious if you aren't a musician, it's almost a direct lift... though it may be. It was pretty obvious to me.

Oh and as a bonus, The Roots totally burned Robert Plant the other day on Jimmy Fallon the other night, playing the intro to what we would have expected to be Led Zeppelins song "Rock and Roll", but then singing Little Richards "Keep a Knockin" (itself of course a cover of the original Perry Bradford tune, but the version they were singing was definitely Little Richards).

Jimmy Page, while one of the greatest guitarists of all time, was also a well known (and many times successfuly sued) plagiarist; and he and John Bonham just lifted the intro whole and uncredited.

Now they are certainly not the same song by any means, and lord knows there aint nothing "new" in music; but Page lifted the entire structure, rhythm etc... From the Little Richard version:

I should note, I have no problem with what Led Zeppelin did musically. This is part of the whole blues tradition, borrowing and mixing things up, and covering, and reinterpreting. It's part of the music.

I just have a problem with not giving credit where it's due; especially when you are the second highest album selling band of all time, with some of the highest royalty rates, performance rates, and publishing rates in the business (only The Beatles, and the Stones have a higher royalty rate as groups).

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Google malware detection throwing a false trap on blogrolling

If you understood that title, you don't need any further explanation. If you didn't, you probably don't WANT any further explanation.

No, my website isn't distributing malware. Neither is blogrolling. Neither is tucows (which Google is ALSO throwing a trap on).

Sometimes freakers deliberately bomb legit websites on malware detection (through XSS, proxy poisioning, botnet report spamming etc...); as a DOS or IOS attack. Sometime malware detection is just plain stupid.

Too bad most folks don't think like this anymore

Monday, September 13, 2010

Consistency and effort wins championships... Coasting won't do it.

I'm a bit irritated with my boys, the New England Patriots.

Yes, they had what, by the numbers, might be considered an impressive win this week, but I'm not buying it.

Frankly, everyone paying attention expecting the Pats to blow out the Bengals, no matter what the color commentators were trying to sell.

The Bengals were outplayed from minute 1 to minute 60, by a Patriots team that wasn't even giving 75%, and a quarterback who'd been in a car accident right before the game.

The Pats barely even show up out of the tunnel for the second half (after running up 24 unanswered points in the first half); allowing the Bengals to make up 18 points from a 31-3 deficit at the 32 minute mark, with 17 unanswered points, before finishing the Bengals off with a fourth TD at minute 53. The Bengals final TD was just to reduce the humiliation.

Frankly, they coasted, as they have shown an unfortunate tendency to do when they come up against a "weak" team over the past few years (which has bit them in the ass more than once).

The problem is, the Patriots think they can get away with that kind of thing. The sad part is, against the Jets, Buffalo, and Miami, they actually might be able to.

The Pats have one of the easiest schedules in the league the first half of the season; finishing it out with a bye, Baltimore, San Diego, and Minnesota, with game 8 at Cleveland.

I'm not calling these walkover games; but I'd expect at worst 5-3 out of the first 9 weeks, likely 6-2, and maybe 7-1 or even 8-0.... IF THEY STOP THIS COASTING.

The first half of the season, I expect a very tough game against Minnesota, and no idea how San Dog, or the Ravens, are going to perform. Both are teams with consistency issues, and SD had an awful pre-season (though frankly, the Pats weren't so hot either, I don't generally consider the pre-season very indicative of regular season performance).

Cleveland... OK I'll call it a walkover right now. As of today, there isn't a less impressive team in the AFC, except maybe KC.

The second half of the season gets a bit tougher; with what should be strong challenges from Pittsburgh in week 10, and Indy in week 11.

Week 12, another walkover against Detroit, the worst team in the NFL (used to be the Saints and Cardinals were worse, but that was while they still had Barry).

Week 13, at home against the Jets on Monday night, I'm not too worried.

Week 14 at Chicago... who knows. Chicago is another team with consistency issues. I'm not confident enough to call it right now, but frankly I'm not expecting a playoff performance from da Bears this season.

Week 15 at home against Green Bay should be a tough one. Again, they've had consistency problems since losing Favre (hell, even with Favre), but they're never an easy game.

Week 16 at Buffalo I'm expecting a win, just like in week 3.

The regular season final at home against Miami... Frankly, when has Miami ever been able to perform in New England, in winter?

So, I'm thinking worst case season, 10-6; best case, 14-2; likely, 12-4; and I expect to take the division, again (As we have done eight years out of the last nine. 2002... Just not a good year. 2008 was an example of coasting hurting us, though frankly, at 11-5 we had what would have been a playoff season most seasons).

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Just to prove how anal I am...

... and how much of a music geek and pop culture and trivia fanatic...

In tonights episode of Mad Men, the original master recording of "Satisfaction" plays, as Don walks out to the street, staring around at the world in a skewed way; clearly intended to represent the alienation and changes going on around Don (who is a "standards" man, not a rock and roll man).

That bugged me and I couldn't quite place why. I knew Satisfaction was released in '65, but I just had the vague feeling that the song hadn't been released at the time of the episode.

Yeah, I know. I already admitted to be anal pop culture and trivia nut.

Anyway, I looked it up, and I was wrong to be bugged by it.

As it turns out, "Satisfaction" was released as a single on June either June 6th, or June 10 1965 (sources disagree), and on the album "Out of our Heads" on July 30th of 1965 (it was the number number one single from July 10th through August 7th).

Just to show how things have changed in the recording business, the song was only written on May 6th and 7th, and recorded and mixed between the 10th and 12th; the lead single of one of FIVE albums they released that year (and which became their first platinum release).

Anyway, as far as the attention to detail the shows writers pay, the day the show opens was four or five days before the birthday of "baby Gene", which is supposed to be Jun 21st.

When you think about it, "Satisfaction" is the perfect song for that moment. Don literally cannot get satisfaction from his life; meanwhile "Satisfaction" is nearly the perfect song to represent the kind of changes that were taking place in American culture in 1965, and in the "culture of men" that Don was a part of.

It's kind of a good watershed moment for the world of the WW2 and Korean war vets; changing to the world of the next generation, those who would become the viet nam generation.

It's often said "the 60s" as people think of it, started the day Kennedy was shot... and there's some truth to that; but I think maybe the summer of '65 is a better milepost for that.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Kafkas got nothing on us...

Prepare yourself, for a journey into the absurd.

This started off as a comment to a post on Travis Corcorans site, (inspired by a post on economist Tim Harfords blog) but grew so large and unwieldy I decided to post it here as well.

I once worked for the chief economist of a very large organisation. As his only subordinate, I argued that I should be appointed deputy chief economist. My boss politely disagreed. As an economist, and a German, he was presumably opposed to inflation in every guise.
Ha! Zing!
I’ve got a relative-by-marriage who’s personality is … well, let me stop there.

Anyway, she was very fond of impressing (“impressing”) everyone in the family that she was a vice president at Goldman Sachs.

Having worked on near the Street twice (once for D.E. Shaw…in Cambridge, and once for a spin out of Banker’s Trust … on Broad St and then later in Cambridge) I was asked by a family member to clarify what she was talking about.

So I told them “she translates documents from English to Tagalog, and she’s been at the company for more than two years”."
At MegaGigantoNationalBankCorp, where I have worked for almost five years, I am effectively an "actual" mid level vice president, in terms of position in the organization and responsibilities etc...

...Theres two guys between me and the CIO of the entire company (there are lower level CIOs for smaller divisions, each of whom reports to the president of their division AND the enterprise CIO) , and four guys between me and the CEO (of a 250,000 person company)...

...But they don't give me the title, because of corporate policy. Which frankly I don't much care about, except that I think the policy is ridiculous.

We have a formal "grade" system for HR purposes, which has little to do with actual responsibilities or position in the company; but is used for comparative pay scales etc...

The grades apply to different "fields", or 'specializations", grouped into "families". These are things like "systems engineer", "systems administrator", "systems manager", "Technology manager", "Systems Architect", "Application Architect" etc...

There are seven grades, from one to seven, with grade one being a Jr. teller, and grade seven being the top grade in any field. Executive vice presidents, chief enterprise architect, group technology executives etc.... are grade seven.

There are also "officers" (who have an "O" title), and "non evaluated professionals", which is generally what we use for people who have topped out in grade, but need a promotion or a raise (thus allowing them to break out of the rather rigid salary ranges), or who have an unusual career field or specialization that isn't covered inside the system.

Level five, six, seven, officers, and "non evaluated professionals", are considered "senior team members".

The basic difference between a "team member" and a "senior team member" is bennies. Senior team members are "eligible" to receive annual stock option grants, an annual "profit participation distribution" in the form of a share grant, a bonus which ranges from 10% to 25% of base pay, and five extra days of base paid time off (25 base days, plus 5 additional days every five years, up to 40 days). Team members are NOT eligible for such benefits.

So in HR terms, I'm a "senior team member"; a Systems Architect Grade Six.

The funny thing though, your HR grade has very little to do with your title, and your relative positions and responsibility within the organization can vary widely, even within the same grade.

Also funny, is that team members in technology job families, earn considerably more than team members in non-technology job families at the same grade. Further, those with an "architect" classification, earn considerably more (about 20%) than other technology classifications at the same grade, including technology managers.

I make more than my boss, who is technically in the same grade as I am; but is titled as a manager, not an architect.

If it sounds like needlessly complex bullshit, that's because it is.

A few mergers back, we absorbed a company where basically everyone was a VP; and to avoid further "VP inflation", they decided to restrict the VP title to "senior team members" who have masters degrees.

Also if we acquire your bank, and you had the VP title at your old bank, you get to keep it, even if you would not otherwise qualify (even if your new grade is below grade five).

So basically, if you're middle management (your title includes "group", "area", "community" etc...) or upper middle technology (if your title includes "senior", "lead", or "chief"), and you've got a masters, you get a VP title.

Triple BS (Aerospace Engineering, Computer Science, and Math) don't count for shit.

Anyway, this has the unusual result of having "vice presidents" reporting to "sr. system engineers" sometimes.

Funny enough, two of the eight guys I manage ARE titled as VPs (they are otherwise title as Sr. Architect); and the guy I report to is titled as "group technology executive and group vice president" (whatever the hell that means.

His HR grade is Technology Area Manager Six. He reports to an executive vice president (Technology Area Manager Seven) and "enterprise technology manager", who reports to the enterprise CIO, who reports to the COO, who reports to the CEO.

Remember what I said about needlessly complex bullshit?

There is not a day that goes by I don't miss just being out on my own (for all the hassles). I love my job, when they let me do it, but DAMN there is so much bullshit.

On the other hand, I keep more money from this job than I ever did on my own as a consultant/contractor, or as a co founder of a 20 man company (even when I was grossing four times my current gross. Small businessmen get HOSED on taxes, fees, insurance... everything else...)...

...and it's nice having 25 days of paid time off (actually usually a theoretical 30, which I never use since I carry over 5 days of unused from the year before basically every year) plus 11 company holidays per year, and gold plated health insurance etc... etc...

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Only Difference That I See

Is pretty much, well, everything.

The last time the kids were taken from me was December 4th, 2004.  I had just turned 24 and I was in complete shock, stranded in a foreign city with close to no money, no support, completely alone.  My only support network was my immediate family, who proceeded to freak out more than I did, and the guy I was seeing at the time who REALLY did not get it.  I had no money for a lawyer, barely had money for lodging and food, and had no idea what I was doing.

I still managed to get the kids back.

This time is a bit different.

This time, I have Chris whose role as my rock should never be understated.  I have a network of friends behind me, including many that I have met through this blog.  I have income.  I have a lawyer who, while he cannot take this on right now due to his schedule is busting his ass to find me counsel just as good as he is.  I have money to pay for a lawyer and a means to continue the fight.  My family still freaks out, but I can handle it better now.

I am far more confident, and competent, at 29 than I was at 24.  I owe this in large part to the gun rights community who pulled me out of my shell, good friends I can lean on, and a husband that keeps me sane.

Everything is different, including me.

I kicked ass before.  Only imagine what I can do with so many people behind me.

Never give up, never surrender.


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Saturday, September 04, 2010

We've TEMPORARILY Lost Our Children

Copied from the Guncounter thread, mostly because I just don't have the heart to rehash it this morning.

Never let your case be argued before a judge at 3:30pm the Friday before a long weekend.

Mel went to court today to stop enforcement of a fraudulently obtained order from 2006 issued by a Canadian court, to surrender the children to their biological father.

This order was obtained by their father by alleging custodial kidnapping. He deliberately did not serve notice of the hearing for the order to Mel, and the order was obtained ex parte. Further, there had been no judgement of custody at the time, and the residential agreement in place had not been violated, so there was no valid cause for the original order to be issued.

We went to U.S. federal court and won on this very issue. The 9th circuit declared that there had been no parental misconduct, no custodial violation had occurred, that there was no kidnapping, and that no valid custodial agreement was in place.

We went into court today with clear evidence this order was obtained fraudulently, including a federal court ruling from the 9th circuit that it was invalid; and that enforcing the order was not in the best interest of the children (which according to the UCCJEA, federal law, and Idaho state law is supposed to be the highest authority in all matters regarding children).

We also went in with evidence Mels ex committed perjury, which he admitted to on the stand. That he has effectively abandoned the children, that he has made no attempt at contacting them in over two years...

That doesn't help when the judge refuses to hear arguments or accept evidence.

The judge decided that she had to enforce this fraudulent order on its face, because she didn't have authority to do otherwise (which is not true), and literally would not hear any arguments or evidence to the contrary. She heard the opposing councils argument, and accepted his cites, and then not just ignored ours, but refused to enter them into evidence.

The judge acknowledge that what she was doing was not in the best interests of the children, but that she didn't believe she had the authority to do otherwise. She also refused to ensure access provisions for the children, as there is now no residential agreement, no custodial determination, and no access agreement in place. Again, she said she did not have the authority.

It was clear she wanted to get out of there as soon as possible. She even told opposing council "just write the order and I'll sign it".

We asked for an emergency stay so we could appeal, and she refused to hear the request, stating again she didn't believe she had the authority.

Shortly after I publish this post we will be taking the kids to the police station to surrender them to Mels ex husband.

Now the fight moves to Canada.

We turned over the kids at 5:30 yesterday.

I'm already attempting to move heaven and earth in order to get something filed in Canada NOW.

I already know what the bulk of the comments will be, so there's two things we need:

1. a place to stay along the I-5 corridor in northern Washington for the court appearances, preferably for both me and Chris as he can work anywhere there's an internet connection.

2. a place to stash my firearms in northern Washington before I cross the border.