Mar 30, 2012
For non-New Yorkers, CoBIS is the Computerized Ballistics Identification System. Every single new handgun sold in the state required a fired casing to be submitted to the State Police - with make, model, serial number, etc. Over the past ten or twelve years and 50-million-plus, this has solved precisely ... wait for it ... ZERO crimes.
This is a cause for celebration, and a small step on a long road.
I was pretty much reeling yesterday morning and in a fog for a lot of the day. I'm reeling again.
I'll be tapping out some thoughts later, and putting up a couple pictures.
For the time being, I'll leave you with a mental image:
Newbius, grinning from ear to ear, riding up on an electric scooter and tooting the horn the whole way - and presenting Mike V with a chariot for the NRA show.
That's just the kind of guy he was.
Mar 29, 2012
I used to love BestBuy. I'd buy movies frequently, usually from the 3-for-20 rack or similar.
The last few times I've been in there, though, it's felt like MediaPlay did my sophomore year of college (1999).
That is, emptying out, and trying to fill space to stay relevant. What used to be racks full of CDs and VHS and premium theater equipment was racks full of titles that were one step away from the $0.99 bargain bin and "as seen on TV!" tchotchkes to improve one's home theater experience.
When I can click on my TV and watch literally thousands of movies for eight bucks a month, or download music to an iPod for a buck a song, the appeal of spending $20 on a Blu-Ray disc generally goes away. (Blu-Ray itself contributed to this, although prices are falling quickly now.)
There are still some titles I'll buy on disc - but not as many.
Brick'n'mortar ain't dead, but it's sure not doing well.
We've lost another friend...
As soon as I get anything, I'll post it.
Please keep his wife and family in your prayers tonight.
I don't have anything further to add. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. I'll re-post anything I can. In the meantime, keep Newbius's wife, children, and family in your thoughts or prayers.
Shit. Shit shit shit.
Mar 28, 2012
"[The Talon is] beautiful enough to serve as an Open Carry accessory even with my best little black pants."
That line, right there, is why I am damning my home state of New Yawk.
Last spring when we all hit the NRA Annual Meeting in Pittsburgh (where open carry is legal, and tolerated if not smiled upon), there were several of us rocking Dragon holsters:
Left-to-right: Jay, me, Link, Weerd, and the Dragon himself. I still have that holster, given to me with the compliments of the creator. It's a beautiful burgundy-to-black burst with a python inlay.
I've since acquired a second Talon, as part of the Kilted to Kick Cancer fundraiser done last fall. It's also a burst, natural-to-burgundy, with a sanded stingray skin inlay.
They are ART.
And I can't show them off in New York. It is verging on painful to not use these beautiful holsters regularly.
Saw this video mentioned on the S&W Forum and figured it was worth sharing.
Which is faster, texting or Morse code? (SFW, goes to eBaumsWorld.)
Unfortunately, their trailer is about as bad as it can get. Small here, or you can watch it there. Of particular note around 0:40ish.
They've already pulled the trailer, not sure if they're planning to move the release date or not.
I got this email from him last night:
The lovely and talented Mrs. Dragon put her Executive Assistant skills to use for me about 12 weeks ago, trying to contact prop masters at various TV studios, and some actors/actresses directly. She got through to the prop master for NCIS, and about three weeks ago I sent them a FlatJack for a female actress who was complaining that all the holsters made the butt of the gun stick out or dig into her ribs.
Long story short, the FlatJack was a hit, the actress could wear a blazer-type jacket and not print...all was right with the world.
That by itself is making a big stride. Having a product appear - even for a few seconds - on primetime TV is a pretty good way to generate sales. Out of however many people watch NCIS, a bunch of them are going to be gun people, and some of them are going to say, "Self, that's a pretty slick holster. I wonder where it came from?" (To wit: Galco's "Miami Classic" shoulder rig, as featured on Miami Vice.)
That by itself is big news... but then it gets better:
I got a call from the prop master on Thursday with a special order request. It was built Sunday and shipped Monday morning. If any of you know the show, there is a goth girl character on it (Abby Sciuto, played by Pauly Perrette)...and this is called for in the script for said character....a goth-themed lunchbox. :-)
Mrs. Dragon didn't go looking for this one. They called Dennis.
He didn't include details, but the red stingray fleur-de-lis insert grabs me right off. A few pyramid studs and crosses for that goth/emo look, the little touch of the spikes on the bottom so it won't roll away... I dig it. I mean this as a compliment: It would fit right in at Hot Topic.
I don't think I'd carry *my* lunch in it, but I'm betting if you needed a bespoke lunchbox that was a bit more ... er ... masculine ... he might be able to wrangle something together. Or, you know, a nice holster.
Congratulations, Dennis - that's top-notch and fantastic news. In Weerd-speak: finest kind, man. Finest kind.
Edit with an update from the Dragon himself (emphasis mine):
Some details: started working on it at 0900 Sunday, took the pictures 0100 Monday. 16 hours of straight work, lots of coffee, and eating meals in the shop while working.
To be fair, I spent Saturday doing the math, sketching the product, figuring the sizes of the panels, etc.
Had to mold the panels out of Kydex first, then cover/laminate them with the leathers. (There's no way I could have a leather box this large hold this shape without a support structure. Along with surviving the rigors of beng on set and abused by gaffers...needed to have it structurally sound).
Each jig/mold for the kydex had to be built also, before trying to mold the parts.Got that? 16 hours of construction plus whatever hours were spent in planning and design. (If Dennis's projects are anything like mine, there's nearly as much time spent in design as in construction.) This sure sounds like an American Dream coming true to me.
Mar 27, 2012
- two live 12ga sport loads (7-1/2 low brass)
- one dimpled-primer .38spl
- three live rounds of CCI .22
Tumbling this could have proved interesting. I'm still not sure how that light-strike .38 got in there; I'm usually VERY careful about my duds.
Today I dug out my .223 dies and tumbler, and I'll see what I'm missing to start loading that soon.
* - except .22, that goes in the range's community bucket, which gets returned every so often and the money goes back to the range.
It's been a couple years since I've been to one, having hung up the instructor hat in 2009 after I got sick of the internal politics and growing pains.
However ... the shooting was always fun, the people were generally good, and the instruction was usually helpful. I miss that.
So I am heading south next month, meeting Carteach0, and shooting the Appleseed with him. I'm going incognito - no instructor hat (I'm off the rolls anyway), no patch (I've earned it several times over), and just going to shoot and learn.
I don't remember how many shoots I went to as an shooter and then instructor, but I don't think I ever left one without learning something.
Should be a good time. I'll need to scrub out the Savage and figure out what I'm taking for a backup rifle.
You know, at one time in most of the U.S., a busybody adult could ask a child or teen wandering by, "Do you live around here?" and the situation wasn't fraught with tension. We'd be better off looking for a way to bring that back, instead of letting loud voices mob everyone up into mutually-suspicious demographic subdivisions of our common humanity.Yup. Read it all.
Mar 26, 2012
I do, however, have a PILE of .223 brass to work with. And bullets. And primers. And powder. And dies. If I'm going to do any shooting with the AR, I need to start making use of these.
I know what I've found by googling, but do any of you have a pet load for 55gr FMJ and Ramshot TAC powder?
Mar 25, 2012
I was curious about weights of the carry pieces I've been using recently, so I tossed them on the scale. The M&P9 (full size) with a full mag (that'd be 10+1 in my parts) comes in at two pounds on the nose. The M&P40c with 10+1 tips the balance at... 1lb 15.5oz. Yep. A half-ounce lighter. Doubtless a large portion of the similarity is the difference in the weight of ammo, but I expected a larger difference.
Last night's lesson had more to do with not being stupid. We checked in to our hotel and I told the clerk I'd be paying cash. He was fine with taking it then, so I unzipped the back pocket in my murse and dipped in to grab the money we'd set aside for the hotel - sitting right next to the above-mentioned .40c. Fortunately it was a tall counter and no one was nearby, but... Oops.
Mar 23, 2012
You all need to hold me to it. If I natter on about some new boomer acquisition here, remind me. Please.
Aside from the ongoing pursuit of More Ammo, the only thing I'm planning on in the near future is an IWB setup for the M&Pc.
Gist of it: at the time I had no better info. Now that I've received my order, I do have info, and if you still need it, please drop me a note - nickname at gmail.
Shortly after acquiring my second pistol, I knew they weren't going to fit in the big cabinet for long, and picked up a small safe from Walmart. Nothing fancy, just enough to keep prying fingers away. That also filled up rather quickly.
We bought a house in '09, and in the summer of '10 I bought a gun safe. A real gun safe. Size-of-a-fridge, etc. It's not full, by any stretch, but it's cluttered. Things we've acquired over the intervening couple years, important paperwork, family silver, that sort of thing. On top of that, my pistol collection has grown.
When I had the small safe with a couple pistols, I got a gray steel Versatile Rack for them. Perfectly functional and still in use. Perhaps not the most efficient usage of space, but it works. Unfortunately, the handgun collection has exceeded four, and the remainder were left lying on their sides wherever I could find shelf space.
I stopped down to Tractor Supply yesterday for a few things and noticed they had the Cannon Door Panel Pistol Kit in stock for $50. I grabbed one and put it in.
Perfection. Took a bit of fiddling to get the heights right so the holsters can be full and the door can close without banging into shelves, but once I got that right it works a trick. No more (er ... fewer) guns lying on shelves at random.
As a side note, even with a GoldenRod and other protective measures in place, these ARE cloth sleeves the guns ride in. I would NOT keep a blued treasure in there. Stick to stainless/anodized/tenifered/melonited finishes.
Mar 22, 2012
Waiting for our last flight home yesterday, there was a group of college-age girls in team jackets.
Turns out they were the gymnastics team from some tiny college I've never heard of in Minnesota. (Wasiki? Wanisi? Sawini? Something like that.)
And their travel uniform is yoga pants, sneakers, and a track (warm-up) jacket.
Did I mention that they were gymnasts?
Mass media lied to me.
Today's thought was about the Liberty Belle, which is the name of the boat in the "Liberty Square Riverboat" attraction at the Magic Kingdom. We did the ride, which is a quite leisurely spin around a short (half-mile) man-made river in the park.
I watched it pull in to the dock and figured it was a typical Disney piece: lots of cosmetics to make it look nifty, with a lot of modern technology underneath to make it go.
We got on and I started looking. First from the stern. Looked for signs of prop- or thruster-wash. Nope. Eyeballed the construction of the sternwheel. Looked pretty hefty for being cosmetic.
Piston rams were shiny stainless. With zerks.
Dropped down to the lower deck, and looked closer. Good-size pistons, steam venting on the exhaust stroke, with a lot of valves hither and yon ... leading to ... a boiler.
By the time we got off the boat I was 99.44% sure they were running a real steam-powered boat.
Wiki confirms it. (With a note that it does run on a track under the water; no shock there given the liability involved if they run it aground!)
MrsZ did not understand why I thought that was so damn cool.
We also rode the Teacups, which MrsZ found thrilling:
And I found terrifying:
h/t Tango in #GBC
In one word: overwhelming.
Beyond that, Disney has worked things out to damn near a science. We were staying at one of their hotels (for a conference MrsZ was attending) and that made it stupid-easy.
Arrived at the airport, grabbed our bag from the carousel, and checked in with Disney. Got on their bus which dropped us at our hotel - well, we thought our hotel, but they'd moved our reservation and somehow didn't notify MrsZ - and checked in (once we got to the correct hotel).
From that point, it would have been entirely possible for me to leave my room with nothing more than an ID and my room key; transport was all readily available and free, and everything else was linked to the room. Park admission? Room key. Dining? Room key. Souvenirs, tchotchkes, knick-knacks, and other junk? Room key. (It's worth mentioning that you don't have to use the key, they're more than happy to take cash or plastic in many flavors.)
We spent three days doing the parks: Animal Kingdom on day 1, Epcot on 2, and Magic Kingdom on 3.
Next time, stretch it out. A day between parks to rest the feet and recover from the crowds, and easily 2 days each for Epcot and Magic Kingdom. They're just that big.
Beyond that (and ignoring the nasty bug MrsZ caught Saturday) it was a pretty good trip. It's an interesting feeling to get to an airport and think, "Ooh! Reasonably-priced food!" - WDW food is DAMN expensive, but the portions are huge. MrsZ and I generally ordered one meal and shared it with no complaints. (Side note, the Liberty Tree Tavern in Magic Kingdom serves fantastic food family-style "all-you-care-to-enjoy". It's pricey at $36/plate but excellent food. Salad, rolls, mashed taters, steamed veggies, roast beef/turkey/pork, stuffing, gravy, and dessert. Well worth it.)
The hotel staff was consistently cheerful and helpful, the park staff was still smiling after looooong days, and the only grouchy guy I dealt with was a bus driver. I walked around a family of four that was standing in front of the bus door and not going anywhere and he snapped at me for "budging" (onto an empty bus).
Travel-wise, we did OK. I remain highly cranky at security theater in general, but the folks we dealt with were polite and professional. We both opted out of the nudiescanner on the outbound leg, and the guy who screened me explained exactly what he was going to do first, then narrated as he went along. Front of hand for limbs, back of hand for bathing-suit areas. Fast and professional and no radiation. Coming back, they weren't running the pervomatics, and we both zipped through the standard magnetometer with no additional checks.
Overall: a decent trip, I'd certainly consider doing Disney again, but now I know what to look for and have a better idea of how to plan it. And damn, it feels good to be home with my dog (and cats, and chickens, and goats) again. With all my appropriate pocket stuff, including a carry piece.
Mar 18, 2012
Reading around the blogs, Roberta and Weerd are both down with something, NFO's back is trying to do funny things, and a bit more locally, MrsZ is passed out on thee hotel room couch recovering from what appears to be/have been a mild-to-moderate case of food poisoning.
Not sure where she picked that up, since we've eaten from shared plates for most of the last four days and I'm feeling fine thus fast.
Our park tickets are used up, and in the nick of time, too. I had reached people overload mid-afternoon yesterday, so today's zero pace was most welcome.
Mar 13, 2012
I was getting Netflix through the PS3; that has continued since the PS3 has a better image quality and perhaps a larger buffer. The Roku has mostly been used to pipe Pandora into the big stereo. I've watched a handful of TED talks, but that's it. I know it can feed me Amazon on Demand and HuluPlus, but I'm not keen to cough up MORE money for entertainment now.
So ... what should I be watching? What (free) content do YOU like?
Mar 12, 2012
There is a move in the state legislature to raise the minimum wage to 8.50. Of course, the voters want more. They're holding a rally today for a "living wage" of $12.78. Minimum. For unskilled labor. Welcome to the land of the $10 Big Mac. And a sure way to prevent new and small businesses from succeeding.
Public largesse indeed.
Mar 11, 2012
Edit Monday morning: they have sold out of the Rangers, but now have (still have?) 180gr Federal HST for $170/500. Still a phenomenal price, and if I had some extra money to play I'd be buying a case of those as well.
The Hard Sear and Striker Block? RAM? I'm presuming I don't want the Duty/Carry spring set, since I don't need a heavier trigger, nor the Competition kit since I don't need lighter. I just want cleaner.
So. Which is it?
* - There is a significant preponderance of S&W metal in my safe. Better than 50%. Interesting.
The only rifles I'd say are not acceptable are single-shots. Beyond that, you're likely to struggle with either a pump- or lever-gun. With those out of the way, I'd suggest using what you're comfortable with. No matter what you choose, you're going to learn to run it fast and smooth.
If you take a walk down a firing line at an Appleseed, you're going to see a lot of Ruger 10/22s. They're relatively inexpensive, reliable, and can be accessorized pretty much any way you want. There will probably be a few AR-style rifles in any caliber - from .22LR up through .308. Maybe an AK or two. A couple bolt-action .22s or autos in other flavors. And if there's a real masochist on the line, a Mosin-Nagant. (Hint: go to the far end of the line from that guy.)
I have seen every single one of those rifles shoot a Rifleman's score. Yes, even the Mosin. (He set the forward handguard on fire during the second or third rapid-fire AQT in a row, and was shortly reduced to opening the bolt with a scrap of 2x4 until it cooled down. We pointedly suggested he swap rifles for a bit - so he dragged out a MN 91/44 carbine. Talk about clearing the line around him.)
I personally use a Savage MkII BTVS - it's a stainless heavy-barrel .22 bolt gun with an Accutrigger. Easily one of the most accurate guns I've ever shot, and it will punch one-hole groups at 25m (from a rest) using bulk-pack ammo. It's also HEAVY (nudging 8lbs empty without a scope, and closer to 9lb with the scope* and rings). MrsZ uses a Ruger 10/22 International.
One rifle that was just starting to show up on the lines when I chose to leave the Appleseed program was the Marlin 795. It's an inexpensive rifle - about $125 at most big-box stores - with the trigger to match, but it is accurate. It's also VERY light. Fitted with a scope or a set of Tech-Sights it's a perfectly acceptable Appleseed rifle.
No matter what you choose, make sure it has a sling (preferably a GI web sling), is at least on-paper at 25m, and that you have several magazines. Four at minimum, but five or more is preferable. If you don't have a .22 already, this is a great time to get one. For the price of a case of decent .223, you can build a complete Appleseed kit on either a 10/22 or Marlin 795, or be well on the way with an M&P15-22.
(* - Appleseed teaches iron sights, but don't feel bad about using a scope. My eyes just can't find those grey-on-grey targets at 25m with an aperture sight, so I use a scope.)
Mar 9, 2012
Mar 8, 2012
Wins a million bucks in the lotto.
Lump sum is $500k.
Buys a house (on top of the one she already owns) and a new car.
Continues to receive food stamps, and says, "It's hard. I am struggling."
Asked if she had the right to the public assistance money, Clayton answered, "I kind of do. I have no income, and I have bills to pay. I have two houses."THEN IT'S TIME TO SELL A HOUSE, SWEETHEART.
My wife and I both work. We pay our mortgage, car payments, utility bills, and have a few luxuries (DSL, NetFlix, cell phones, enough to enjoy our hobbies within reason). We're not poor, but certainly aren't Scrooge-McDuck-wealthy. We're middle-class America.
A lump-sum of $500,000 would allow us to pay off our mortgage, cars, and student loans and still have more than half of it left. Relatively careful investment of that balance would allow one of us to stop working.
Instead of engaging her brain, this selfish twit blows five hundred grand on ... nothing. And continues to draw public tax dollars because she has no income.
At least the state is trying to do something about it. There shouldn't HAVE to be a law, but...
Update: CNN is now reporting that she has had benefits cut off. Woot!
Mar 7, 2012
I have a strange desire for a mousegun in a mouse caliber; .25 or .32ACP. A Baby Browning, Colt Vest Pocket, FN1906... Yeah. That'd work nicely. (I toyed with the idea of a Keltec P32, but simply put ... NO.)
I even looked up reloading data for .25s. A one-pound jar of powder would load four to six THOUSAND rounds. Most of the loads are in the 1.2-1.5gr range. That just tickles my funny bone.
Mar 6, 2012
The winner from today:
"38 special double barrel"
That started me down an interesting path. Now, a .357/.38 lever rifle is on my want list, but truth be told, a nice light .357 double barrel carbine would be ... awesome. Even sweeter would be in .357 Maximum, although I suspect the amount of freebore would seriously degrade accuracy with .38s.
Nice walnut, 16.5" side-by-side barrels regulated to POA/POI of 75yd or so ... that'd be a SWEET little all-purpose gun. (Handloads.com is showing a load for 200gr soft points skipping along at 1660fps from a 10" barrel. Careful loading and another 6" of barrel could probably nudge that to 1800+...)
There is a fellow making them, by the way - starting at $8500.
It's thoughts like this that make me consider the practicalities of gunsmithing...
Mar 2, 2012
However, I have no more apples to make it with, so I decided to try making it with store-bought applesauce.
Disappointing. Very sweet, not as much apple flavor.
Looks like I'll keep doing it the hard way.
Mar 1, 2012
Right now I'm leaning (strongly) to a Merkur 34.