Thursday, September 29, 2011

Overheard in my household...

On viewing (unintentionally. Restarted the DVR too soon) an offensively stupid commercial:

Chris: Lord... I SO hate...

Mel: Marketers? Advertising writers? 
Chris: Well... I was thinking "Fucking Idiots"... but those would work just as well

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Brazenly Stolen from Mad Mike's Wall

Michael Z. Williamson:

You live in a city. You don't know how to change a tire or oil. You don't know how to build a fire. You can't communicate without a cell phone. You can't fix your plumbing. You can't set up your own wifi. You're untrained in basic economics, chemistry, physics and history. You can't prepare food without packages, and aren't even aware that food has to be processed from root or bone before that. You only know and get paid for one very specialized task.

Yet you call me a "hick."

Every. Damn. Day.

A Little Speedshooting

For a number of years, I've been doing speedshooting demos at events, just for fun. My normal demo is Jerry Miculeks "machine gun finger" demo (he doesn't call it that, but it's been referred to as such on a few TV shows etc...). I empty a magazine into an 8" plate at 7 yards.

Jerry does it with a 625 (6 rounds of .45) or 627 (8 rounds of .38spl). I've done it with a lot of guns, but I generally shoot the drill with my slicked up 625, one of my 1911s (I particularly like doing it with my custom 10mm), or a Browning Hi-Power. The low recoil, fast slide cycle time, and high magazine capacity of the BHP make it particularly fun to speedshoot, as people really do think you're firing a machinegun.

Unfortunately, we've never managed to get one of the demos on reasonable quality video, until a few weeks ago.

I did a little speedshooting at this years GBR, and we got it on high quality video:

This is first, and the slowest of the runs. Unfortunately, it was also the only one I got on my camera, vs. one of the other guys cameras. I'm trying to get the videos from the other guys.

We did runs on two 1911s, an S&W model 686, a 459, an M&P 9, and a BHP. I'm not sure who got what on video unfortunately. Instead of my usual 8" plate at 7 yards, we used an 8.5"x11" target at 10 yards.

For this run I was using Skip's (a reader) Kimber custom II, loaded up 7+1 with Win white box 230gr fmj, from a Wilson mag.

8 rounds, 1.16 seconds timed off the video (10 runs timed from the video, all of them hit within .02 of 1.16 which was the median) first bang to last bang, for a 0.165s average split (recorded on Android Shot Timer Pro android app).

The timer recorded the following times:

1 -> 2: 0.11s
2 -> 3: 0.22s
3 -> 4: 0.16s
4 -> 5: 0.09s
5 -> 6: 0.22s
6 -> 7: 0.08s
7 -> 8: 0.28s

I think there's a good chance the pairs of long/short splits are timing inaccurately. I can believe the 0.11s... I'm pretty fast... but I'm not sure that gun, with that ammo, and that recoil spring; could physically cycle fast enough for a 0.09 or 0.08s split; and the followup round from each pair is much longer than the average.

0.08s is the fastest I have ever timed a single split from my 625 (I'm sure of that one, because I've done it in the middle of strings over and over again, along with 0.09s and 0.10s.. but I can't get my averages that low. I've been told it's the fastest a 625 with a standard cylinder and ratchet will cycle; but with custom work and a lightened cylinder you can get down to 0.06s); and I know that under perfect conditions my 625 will cycle under my finger faster than a 1911 will.

I think it would be more accurate to average the long/short pairs and round up:

1 -> 2: 0.17s
2 -> 3: 0.17s
3 -> 4: 0.16s
4 -> 5: 0.16s
5 -> 6: 0.16s
6 -> 7: 0.18s
7 -> 8: 0.18s

On the other hand, when I slow the video down to 25%, some of the shots seem significantly faster than others... so I don't know.

That's still pretty quick, but not ridiculously so. Most good competitive USPSA shooters can get single target average splits on a string below 0.18s; some below 0.14s, and a few below 0.12s (remember, that's averages for a string. Fastest single target split time on a doubletap, from a top competitor with a prepped race gun, could run as low as .06-.08. It's just that most folks aren't that fast on every shot).

Also remember, that was on 10 yards not 7... but the difference isn't all that much.

I'm absolutely sure that on my fastest run with the BHP, I managed to get my average split below .14s on 17 rounds (from a KRD mag); because I'm dead certain I got down below 2.24s. My feel was that it was around 1.8s or maybe under (under .12s avg split), but I didn't have a timer on it. If I can get the video, I'll time it and see.

And yes, I'm a hell of a lot faster with my 625.

Jerry Miculeks fastest 8 shot run, from low ready, is 1 second, for an average split time on the string of a bit over .12 (.125 actually). If you consider reaction time, the average splits are probably a bit under .11. His fastest five shot string from low ready is .57, or .114 avg split.With reaction time that's probably an average split of .08 or.09.

I can run a Bill Drill in well under 2 seconds when I'm drawing well (not average first shot is around 1.4. Best I've ever managed was .84. Most of my Bills end up 2.5 or over); and a FAST drill in well under 5 seconds when my presentation and reloads are on (my reloads generally just aren't as fast as they need to be to be competitive, and I usually end up in the 7 second range); but when I manage it, I do it with split speed, not presentation or reload speed.

Or rather I COULD do all of those things, when I was shooting 500-1500 rounds a week in practice; which hasn't been in a few years.

The way things are today, and have been the last couple years (between the kids, work, and the cancer, I haven't shot very much... I doubt I've shot 1,500 rounds total in the last three years, and 300 of that was at GBR this year, and another 300 at boomershoot)... I have no clue. GBR (second weekend of September) was the first time I shot anything at all since Boomershoot (last weekend of April). Prior to that I hadn't shot since October 2010, and prior to that, February 2010.

I've been telling people for years that I was only a couple hundredths slower on the trigger than Jerry... Not that I was anywhere near as good as Jerry, or as accurate, or could ever get close to Jerry on target transitions, presentation, or reload (and that's where competitions are won, not in trigger speed. I'm nowhere near that good, or that fast)... Frankly, Jerry's reloads are just plain unreal... just that I was pretty close to Jerry's speed on the trigger.

Most of the time people don't believe me. Even after I do it in front of them (and I've done it dozens of times), they usually think it's a timing error... and it may very well be...

...but that was a cold string, from somebody elses unprepped gun, after not having shot handguns at all in a year, and not speedshot since GBR in 2009; and I still managed at least .16s, maybe better...

...I'm pretty sure that with a properly prepped gun, when I'm properly trained up and practiced up... I think I can match Jerry on split times (again, not on reloads, presentation, or transitions; just on splits). I don't think I can beat him, but I'm pretty sure I can match him.

I know I damn sure want to try.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Monster Hunter goes "Contracting"

Let's get this out of the way right now. This, is Larry Correia and Mike Kuparis new book "Dead Six":

If you read this blog, you will want to buy this book. It's officially out today, but I read it a couple months back with an advance readers copy. It's great. You should go and buy ten copies now and give them to everyone you know.

This link will let you go and do that: "Dead Six" at Amazon (paper only. Baen does not sell ebooks through Amazon because of Amazons DRM)

This link will let you choose an independent book store to buy from: Baens book store listing for "Dead Six"

So will this one, in DRM free ebook format: "Dead Six" from Baens "webscriptions"

You should go buy it now. Really, seriously, before you read another sentence.

Ok... if you need more convincing, here's the first 8 chapters: Baen books sample chapters for "Dead Six"

Let me repeat: If you like reading this blog for reasons other than "know thy enemy", you want to buy "Dead Six". And you want to buy it today, because best seller lists are all about velocity of sales, not total sales. We want to see Larry with another New York Times Bestseller now don't we?

Larry Correia should need no introduction in this crowd, being the former proprietor of Fuzzy Bunny Movie Guns, once one of the coolest Class III dealers in the country; and the author of the bestselling SFF/F/Adventure novels: "Monster Hunter International", "Monster Hunter Vendetta", "Monster Hunter Alpha", "Hard Magic", and of course the near future bestsellers "Dead Six" and "Spellbound".

Mike Kupari, most of y'all probably don't know. He's a good guy, a veteran who was doing his time in the guard and decided to re-enlist in the Air Force, to volunteer to be an EOD tech. He's over in Asscrackistan right now keeping other guys from getting their asses blowed up, by risking getting his ass blowed up instead.

Let me repeat... Mike had already served. He had already done some time as a PMC too... He was free and clear, and no-one could say he hadn't done his part... but he volunteered, to go BACK, and do one of the most dangerous things we do (under THIS president no less). Yeah, he may not be so bright ;-) but he's one of the good guys.

Oh and there's one other thing...,

I'm in the book... and if you're a Guncounter member, so are you:

If you can't read that, the portion relevant to the guncounter reads:

"We would like to thank Chris Byrne and the Gun Counter for fixing the computer situation. Their generosity is much appreciated."
And of course, Larry and Mike, we were all glad to help.

There's a small story behind that, but we don't talk publicly about what we do for our servicemembers, veterans, and familys and friends in need. If someone else wants to tell it, that's fine... people think I blow my own horn too much as it is.

That said, it would be disingenuous to not mention I'm in the book in another way as well.

After we helped out with the computer situation, Larry told me he was redshirting me...

Instead of just your basic redshirting though, he made me an actual (minor) character, with a pretty interesting death.

...Just a bit more than your basic redshirting.

Oh and yeah, there's no way you're not going to be recognizing me there... Next time I go to a con, someone is going to recognize it.

Cool. Very cool.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Whipping it out for Og

No, I haven't suddenly gone all "black plastic mack" flasher... I'm responding to Ogs meme about pocket knives:

Take the knife out of your pocket and take a picture of it, and post it. Or post a picture of the same knife from a brochure or whatever.

No, not your favorite knife, or your prettiest, but the one that never leaves your side.
This is my most common daily carry pocket knife:

It's a first production run Mel Pardue Ambush, made by Benchmade in mid 2003, when they were still making these in the U.S.

I've probably carried it in my left front pants pocket 8 days out of ten since I bought it in early 2004... and it certainly shows.

That said, the blade is great, I keep it incredibly sharp, it handles well... I love it. In particular I love the size of it.

Most pocket knives are too small for me, this one most definitely is not; with a 4.25" plain edge blade (4" sharpened length), and a 4.75" hilt, .5" thick and 1.25" wide at the widest, it's one of the few pocket knives out there that actually fills my hand, and gives me a blade long enough to balance properly. Also the action is so smooth I can flick it open quick as an automatic, and flick it closed faster.

Unfortunately, the Ambush has been discontinued by Benchmade (Mel Pardue will still make you one if you want though, with any decoration or hilt you want... but he aint cheap, and his backlog is I think about two years at this point), as most people seem to think it's too big for a pocket knife. The "mini ambush" was also offered up until recently, but it only has a 3" blade, and a polymer hilt.

I have plenty of other pocket knives; from expensive high end custom pieces, to $10 "superknife" utility blade type folders, and I do carry them sometimes... but the ambush is my default knife to pickup and clip to my pocket every morning.

One Cup at a Time

Recently, someone asked me what I would recommend for brewing coffee for one... for someone who didn't drink a ton of coffee, and who didn't want to obsess over the details.

Then a few days later, a forum reader asked for recommendations for making coffee on a liveaboard boat. 

I figured I would set my rather long response down here in blog post form.

So  a little background, for those of you who may not have followed my blog obsessively for years, as to why someone would be asking me for coffee advice:

I am a coffee fanatic. I was at one time an 8-12 POT, not cup a day drinker. Through my late teens and twenties, I was so caffeinated, you could have distilled my blood to make energy drink concentrate.

There was a collectible card game called netrunner, that had a card with the quote "There's too much blood in my caffeine system". I lived by that quote religiously, and had a framed copy of the card up on my office wall at one point.

Over the past six years, I have written six posts, specifically about how to make coffee; never mind the literally hundreds of references to or mentions of coffee.

I have cut my coffee consumption WAY down over the past few years; but as it is, today I still drink anywhere from one to four, 12oz mugs of coffee a day, most days (usually just one or two though now).

I only drink GOOD coffee.

Starbucks, is not good coffee...

....and fritalian is ridiculous to order coffee in anyway; plus it's overpriced crap.

I had a technivorm drip brewer, which makes the best drip coffee there is... Because it's the ONLY drip coffee maker that brews at the proper temp.

I have a 15 bar pump espresso machine, with a dual boiler; and a conical burr grinder.

I have several different French presses, and an electric kettle that gets me a full pot of just under boiling water in about 90 seconds for said presses.

I have or have had, a classic Bialetti moka pot, a vacuum pot, and a Chemex brewer.

All of these make spectacular coffee. All of them take a fair bit of time and effort to do so.

I break out one of these brewing methods (usually my thermal carafe and my double walled stainless French press. Less heat loss) when I want the best possible, truly excellent coffee.

However, as I no longer drink pots of coffee at a time, and my wife drinks far less coffee than I do. Unless I'm entertaining, I have no need for brewing more than 4 cups (we drink 12oz mugs, so thats 2 6oz "cups" each right there by coffee measure) at a time anymore.

Also, the biggest problem with drinking good coffee, is keeping coffee good for more than a few minutes. There are a lot of tricky, or expensive ways of doing that, and they work quite well... but they're tricky or expensive.

The best way is to just brew good, hot, fresh coffee; as many cups as you need right then and no more; and drink it immediately.

To my mind, there are about six good ways of doing that.

The first is to use a single cup drip filter. These work pretty well, but can spill easily (especially on a boat) and be a bit messy. Also there is a lot of heat loss during the brewing process. On the plus side, you control the water very precisely; the temperature, volume, and steep rate.

The smallest two sizes of chemex brewer and french press also do pretty well; but you really need to brew at least 4 cups (coffee "cups", so 24oz) at a time to get proper results. any smaller amount of grounds, and the wetting and brew times aren't quite right.

There's something called the "aeropress", that makes really excellent coffee, one cup at a time. It's a bit less messy than the other methods here, and makes about as good quality coffee, but of a slightly different character and flavor.

There's also the cold brewing process; where you brew in cold water, overnight, and VERY strong, to make a coffee concentrate. Then when you want a cup of coffee, you either mix the concentrate into an iced coffee with ice water and adulterants (cream, milk, sugar etc...); or you mix it with just under boiling temp water.

There are a couple of elements to take note of, that these methods share.

First, they all require you to grind your own coffee for best results. So does every other brewing method of course, but each one requires a different grind to brew properly.

You shouldn't grind more than a few days worth of coffee at a time at worst, and it's best if you just grind a days worth, or even a pots worth, at once. However, I don't recommend you grind coffee one cup at a time, as such a small quantity tend to grind suboptimally. You want to grind as much as you'll consume for the morning, or all day, and just keep it in an airtight container.

Second, all of the methods I listed above require an external source of hot water. I personally prefer an electric boiling kettle. Most U.S. branded kettles aren't very good, because we aren't major tea drinkers in the U.S. The UK and EU brands are generally better, but also considerably more expensive. The best of them can boil a quart/liter of water in under 90 seconds (some in as little as 30).

Unless you're cold brewing, you need to brew coffee at over 190 degrees, and under 210 degrees; with an ideal temperature of 195-205 degrees. A good boiling kettle will get you there quickly. Just let it come off the boil, and by the time you get the water into the brewer, it'll be at 206 or below.

Actually, if you want to know why your drip coffee maker produces crap coffee, that's probably why. Most of them don't get the water near hot enough; and most of the ones that do drop the water onto the grounds while still boiling (which extracts much more bitterness and off flavors from the grounds).

So... all of that is a bit fiddly... and a bit messy, and all require a multistep process etc... etc...

I think they're worth it for really great coffee, but they can be a pain in the ass. And I think that they're a bit impractical for a boat, unless you have a lot of room, and stay docked all the time.

Even mediocre coffee making methods like drip and percolators, leave a lot to be desired on a boat. There's still the glass carafe, or the relatively unstable percolator etc... and of course the mess of grounds.

About 18 months ago, recognizing that my wife and I no longer drank a pot of coffee at a time, that we ended up throwing away more coffee that we were drinking, no matter what we did to keep the coffee "fresh" and tasting good (and we tried everything)....

And recognizing that "really good" coffee was acceptable most of the time, instead of "spectacular" coffee...

...We bought a Keurig machine; this one in fact: Cuisinart Keurig Brewing System

We brew one cup at a time, each cup takes about 30 seconds to brew (including the time to heat the water), each one is hot and fresh exactly when you want it.

More importantly, it's really good coffee. Some of the k-cups (the single serving coffee packs) verge on excellent. Yeah, I can make better coffee with a French press, but this is almost as good, and a hell of a lot more convenient.

There are four disadvantages to the Keurig: One, at retail, it's about $0.40 a 6oz cup for coffee (a lot better than starbucks, but still more than the standard "1 tablespoon per six ounces" Folgers at $6 a pound {appx. 64 tablespoons per pound}, or about $0.09 a cup; or the local whole bean roasters at $9 a pound for about $0.15 per cup). Two, there is a bit more waste per cup to dispose of. Three, you are limited to the coffee that k-cup makers decide to give you. Four, you have to have k-cups, and they aren't widely available everywhere.

On the other hand, there are a couple of mitigating factors here:

We found that compared to when we were brewing full pots, we wasted so much less coffee, that we were spending less on the K-cups as we were on the coffee we were brewing. Also, we were throwing away about the same volume of trash as we were before (though admittedly, the keurig trash involves non dumpable/digestable/compostable plastic). Finally, buying mailorder is much cheaper, and more convenient; to the point where through Amazon we can get each cup down into the $0.20 range (or $0.40 since we brew a double into a large mug), with free shipping (free two day shipping in our case, since we're prime members).

Oh and as to general availability, I have found k-cups in every supermarket, Target, WalMart, Costco, and Sams Club I have been in, in four different states, over the last two years.

Further, there are three direct solutions for these problems:

Firstly, there is a filter pod accessory, that lets you grind and use your own coffee, on a single cup basis. Our Cuisinart came with one, but third party models are available from Amazon for $10-$15.

You simply load your coffee up to the line (first line for "normal' second line for "extra bold"), drop it into the machine just like one of the disposable kcups, and brew. Just rinse out the filter when you're done.

This reduces the cost to whatever you pay for coffee normally. There no additional waste, no additional cost, over and above whatever brewing method you were using before. It also lets you use whatever type of coffee you want, whatever roast you want, and gives you some flexibility in grind (though not too fine or too coarse, or it won't brew properly).

What you lose of course, is the sealed k-cup convenience. You still have to grind your own coffee, and you clean up one at a time etc...

The second solution is a little tool and filter papers, that lets you make your own disposable filter coffee pods. You grind and seal the coffee in the filter papers, then drop the sealed filter paper into a reusable kcup holder.

The filter papers are a few pennies a piece (the current amazon price is $10 for 50, or $0.20 a piece; but if you buy by the case, it goes down to something like $0.02 a piece), and are compostable. You don't throw away any plastic. Also, the plastic reusable kcup holders can often also hold coffee pods from other brands like Nepresso and Senseo; so you aren't just limited to the brands that offer K-cups.

It's still less convenient than the k-cup, because you have to grind the coffee and load up the filters; but its no more inconvenient than any conventional coffee brewing method.

The third method also uses a little tool and disposable filters; but the disposable filter is part of an entire disposable kcup. Instead of using a resuable filter holder, you just seal the coffe in and discard the whole thing, just like the original kcups.

Oh and for our machine, there's an added convenience, in that it will give you up to 12oz of 195 degree water on demand, for tea, hot chocolate, instant soup etc... And then 30 seconds later, another 12oz.

When we want coffee that isn't offered in a k-cup, sometimes we break out the french press... but more often than not we're just loading up the filter pod, because it's so easy and convenient.

Of course, there's always instant....

I'm not dead...

I haven't been kidnapped, and I haven't converted to anti-gunism.

I've been nearly silent for days at a time lately, because, as it is wont to do; life has been very busy getting in the way of me doing anything but what was right in front of me.

Hopefully, as of today, that will be changing somewhat. I should have a flurry of posts out this week, including my gunblogger rendezvous report, and some product reviews, and announcements about my life... LOTS of stuff.

I just need to actually get it done, and not have life get in the way again.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This is, literally, my life...

And not just games, but pretty much all my hobbies and interests.

When I have the money, I don't have the time. When I have the time, I don't have the money...

Though, I'm trying to change that. More on that later.

The mere fact that someone made this movie makes me happy

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Time is Money... and so many people forget that in so many ways...

The alt text reads: "And if you drive a typical car more than a mile out of your way for each penny you save on the per-gallon price, it doesn't matter how worthless your time is to you--the gas to get you there and back costs more than you save".

When I was growing up (and before she lost her license for good when I was 14... though she got it back again ten years later in Arizona) my mother used to go LITERALLY miles out of her way, to avoid having to make a left turn across traffic, or at a busy traffic light; or to avoid a few lights. Not only were we traveling a much longer distance, but it was taking longer and wasting more gas, just so she didn't have to wait for traffic.

She would also drive three towns over for gas that was three cents a gallon cheaper, when she was buying six or seven gallons. 21 cents?   For an extra 30 minutes, and an extra gallon of gas (at the time about $0.90), to save $0.21

But she FELT that she was "saving". She was "getting a better deal".

Well... No... she wasn't. But she FELT she was, and of course, there's millions out there just like my mother on this issue.

One of the things I run into a lot of the time in my business, is the idea that someone is "saving money", buy doing things that take hours and hours (at $100 per hour per man or more) to save a few hundred, or even a few thousand dollars.

When it takes four guys, 20 hours each, to save $5,000 once... that's not saving, that's losing $3,000 (for guys like me, it's a lot more, as my internal cost is something like $145 an hour, for a loss of almost $7,000).

Now, if it takes four guys, 20 hours each, to save $5,000 every week for a year... That's saving money. Hell, if it's eight guys, 100 hours each, it's saving money.

Travel and expenses are one of the biggest areas I see companies nickel and diming things; trying to save money by choosing crap flights, remote hotels, not renting cars... when they cost tens, or even over the course of a year, hundreds, of hours of their employees time.

One company I deal with is a perfect example: They have a policy that you must always book the lowest cost flight with less than two stops, on the lowest cost carrier. Now, I don't know if you're familiar with airline schedules, but I'll use one I'm familiar with directly to  illustrate my point.

United has two direct flights from Spokane to San Francisco a day, and the reverse route; an early morning flight, and a late night flight, with a flight time of 1:45 to 2:05 (it's 730 miles), at a price of between $370 and $490 dollars for more than 24 hour but less than 30 day booking (most business flights are booked less than 10 days in advance).

Delta services the same route, twice a day, for $249 to $369 dollars, and thus under policy they must always book the Delta flight.

Great, every time they fly they're saving $120 to $240 right? If they fly twice a week every week, that's as much as a $24,000 savings...

Well... on the flight, sure... but what AREN'T you seeing?

The United flight arrives in SFO before 9am, or leaves after 8pm (which means you don't need to be at the airport 'til 6pm). The Delta flights depart at 10:30am, and 6:30pm, meaning you have to be at the airport by 4:30pm, giving you only a half work day on the return flight day.

Not only that but they're one stop flights, through Salt Lake City. It's 1:45 from GEG to SLC, then a 2 hour layover, then another 1:45 from SLC to SFO (and the reverse is true), a total enroute time of over 5.5 hours. Adding the time to transit to and from the airport, and clear security, and that's one full work day.

So, your $24,000 savings over the course of a year, is actually 75 man days of lost work (vs 0 man days, since the United schedule allows a full work day on each travel day). In my case, that means a $90,000 loss.

Not providing remote data networking (air cards, mifis etc...) same thing. $80 a month enables a $140 an hour staff member to work anywhere, anytime, with security. Sadly, though airports and hotels often have wifi available, that WiFi is frequently insecure, slow, and often doesn't support the VPNs and secure authentication methods that most companies require for remote access; and of course, most vehicles (cars, busses, trains whatever) don't have network access. A wireless 3g/4g hotspot costs $80 a month, and enables data access at a minimum of 512kb, and up to 10mb, for up to five people, anywhere you can get signal (which is most any major urban area or along most interstate highways). The first HOUR I spend working from an airport pays for that MiFi every month. Even a $40k a year guy costs the company $65k a year (or more); and so it takes two and a half hours to pay the cost back.

If you consider again, that hourly rate, and we presume 100 workable travel hours a year (and there have been years where I was running more like 500 workable travel hours)... $8,000 lost vs $960 paid...

Save money where it makes sense, sure; but do the cost benefit analysis.

Prepping my GBR posts

But I've got a LOT of them coming, or at least a lot of pictures and videos to edit, and I'm working remotely right now. I'm probably going to start posting them tomorrow, maybe later tonight; but I probably won't be done til after Thursday or Friday... or maybe even next week.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

3652 days

September 11, 2001, 8:46am Eastern Daylight Time:

3652 days, 9040 dead,
and we will continue
until the mission is complete

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty. This much we pledge—and more. -- John F. Kennedy

We Will Never forgive

We Will Never Forget

We Will Never Stop

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Blogging from the road to Reno

Stopping outside of Travis AFB for dinner. It took me 90 minutes to get from the parking lot at the SF end of the Bay Bridge to Fairfield... and yes, for those of you not familiar with NorCal geography, that's a long time.

ProTip: never trust that the quadruple dose (my normal dose, but quadruble for most people) of extremely strong diuretics you took at 1pm has worked its way out of your system by 6pm just before setting out on a long drive in heavy traffic. You will be very, very unhappy if you do.

Yes I'm on my way

Though in this case, I do actually know where I'm goin.

I'm going to Reno, to the Gun Blogger Rendezvous, and I'm leaving in about an hour.

Unfortunately, I'm driving up from San Francisco, so no shooty goodness with me; but there's always plenty to play with there anyway.

If you're coming, see you there. If not... YOU SHOULD BE.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Speaking of the UPS Guy

Went to see UPS guy this morning because Chris ended up boarding a plane without a necessary medication (irritating mix-up) which I then needed to overnight to his super-seekrit temporary work location (yes he still needs to write a post).

Now I work in a bank and I had the extreme fortune (i.e. lowest seniority) of being scheduled to work the last open day before Labor Day and the first open day after Labor Day. All the people who were smart enough to avoid the bank on Tuesday came in Saturday. Everyone else came in today.

North Idaho, particularly north of the Coeur D'Alene area, is a sparsely populated place yet bank of my employ has 3 different branches in the area. We end up seeing the same people day in and day out because that's our customer base and they don't like driving very far to bank. Or really, do anything.

Everyone sees everyone else all the damn time. It's like a small town spread across a bunch of townships and CDPs.

After a certain amount of times taking care of the same person, not only do you stop checking their id (because we know them after all) it's actually a bank policy. You know them personally, under id you get to choose "known" and you get to greet them by name and make their life easier.

So today, while overnighting said necessary medication, the UPS guy goes through all of the hoops and asks for payment. I swipe my card, and somewhere between the swipe and the signature the screen says something like "show identification". I don't know exactly what it says, because in a split second it's gone.

"UPS wants me to get id from everyone," he says, "but it's a small town and I know everyone and it's just a big hassle. And some people get outright offended."

Every merchant in the area feels the same way.

This is why big government policies and procedures fail. The business climate in DC or NY is not the business climate in North Idaho. Just like when you hear a shotgun in downtown LA the police get called but if you hear one in North Idaho you just assume someone's hunting (fairly safe assumption).

Rifle rack in the back of a teenager's truck? Either its a dangerous situation or they're going hunting this weekend. All depends on where you are.

One-size-fits-all policies don't work in this country, and the more they get shoved down the throats of everyone outside of DC the more discontent in flyover country grows.

It's a good thing for DC that us rural folk aren't near as violent as they'd like to pretend we are...

BTW, unemployment may be up here, but the cash economy is still going strong. Something about avoiding all of those taxes...


Quote of the Day, Ben Stein Edition

From Ben Stein, whose summer home I passed literally 4 times today:

Even so, this summer in Sandpoint is life the way it is supposed to be lived. As my pal Jane said long ago about North Idaho, "This is the America we pledge allegiance to when we pledge allegiance to the flag."

Yeah, that's about the way we feel about it too.

It's odd reading about the town you kinda live in from the eyes of someone who only lives here part time. The UPS guy? Saw him today before work. Ivano's in town? Went there Friday night and saw the magician while we were there (he came into the bank the next day and saw me since he remembered who I was). Ivano's Del Lago? Did a post on it. The same Burlington Northern Santa Fe train that runs past his summer home runs past our house.

Now if only I could stop barely missing the guy...