Jul 30, 2012


The DF rifle is now wearing an EOTech. I dig it.

Catching up

It's been a busy couple of days around here. Nothing exciting or terribly important, just ... life.

In no particular order, a few things need addressing:
- The caption contest. The winning entry is Phssthpok:
A-wiggow-wiggow-wiggow-wiggow-wiggow, YEAH! (I'm sexy and I know it....)
If you don't get the reference, it's here, moderately NSFW. Phssthpok, drop me an email (or catch me in #GBC) with a shipping address for your crap.

- The e-postal match. It ends this coming Saturday. Thus far the only entries are myself and RollsCanardly... which isn't that exciting.

- Blogshoot is less than two weeks out. The offer for liquor from Fingerlakes Distilling stands; get your requests to me sooner rather than later.

Jul 28, 2012

First shots!

Took MrsZ and the Delicate AR to the range last night for the first shots.

Loaded up a mag, she sat down behind it, loaded, pulled the trigger ... *click*

That was the loudest click I've ever heard.

Turned out it was just barely out of battery, enough to keep the hammer from hitting the firing pin. Forward assist did nothing and the charging handle was too tight to pull, so I ended up popping both pins, thumping the bolt carrier on the bench to seat it, re-setting the hammer manually, and putting it back together. It went bang that time.

Seems like it did that for the first round on every new mag... Eventually I realized that I'd neglected to really scrub it and lube it after I finished the DuraCoat work, and that was probably a significant portion of the problem.

We put about 50 rounds through it with good overall results; it's got a good battlesight zero with the cheap-ass green dot sight I had lying around - and the Eotech I ordered should be here today. It's been thoroughly lubed now, and hopefully the next range trip goes better.

 25m. The five off by themselves are the sight-in shots, all the rest ... aren't.

This is what 40 rounds of XM193 does to a DuraCoated brake. It's pretty clear that it will burn a lot of the color off around the gills, but it's not flaking or peeling, which was my primary concern. A lot of that is powder residue and should come off with a dab of Hoppe's.

Modern Classical

Now that I have a real office and can have music on while I work, Pandora is about the second thing I open each morning. I punched up "Classical" yesterday for something new, and when something grabs my attention giving it a thumbs-up.

It seems the vast majority of things I've been thumbs-upping are relatively modern pieces, many of them from movie scores. In particular, the Harry Potter movies have been coming up a lot ... interesting.

Jul 26, 2012

Full Auto...

... the fastest way I've ever seen to turn money into smoke and noise.

Pay close attention around 0:08-0:14. See how many of those actually make hits on a target that's at across-the-room distance?

That's why full auto fire isn't effective fire: muzzle control goes to zero.

Out of practice

I shot the e-postal match the other day before I was rained out of the range. It's been a while since I've shot in standard positions, instead of off-hand or from the bench.

I forgot my shooting mat, and was therefore shooting prone from the concrete firing line.

Damn, my ribs hurt.

Jul 24, 2012

Printed Lowers

I know it was a discussion that's been kicked around here and there, but this guy actually 3D-printed his lower and built it into a complete rifle.

The genie's out, man.

Shakespeare had it right

Let's kill all the lawyers.

This guy needs an education in the definition of barratry and should be disbarred.
For various reasons, I'm really starting to feel some wanderlust.

This could be interesting, amusing, or ... disastrous?

Jul 22, 2012

Weekend Derby

MrsZ/Delicate Flower had her debut skating in Crown City purple last night - finally. I very carefully didn't volunteer to work the bout, since I wanted to watch her skate.

I'd love to say it was a great bout and tons of fun to watch and a nailbiter last jam... but I'd be lying through my teeth. The team they were playing (Charlie's Derby Dolls) is a new league, with inexperienced skaters and not much time together. (DF mentioned to me that this was their second bout. Ever.)

(DelicateFlower zips through the pack on her first jam of the night.)

Crown City Rollerz came out swinging for the fences - and it showed. DF jammed in the second or third jam and notched up 25 or 30 points without breaking a sweat. By the end of the first half it was 200-ish ... to zero. Fans were bored. CDD was trying, but they were just hopelessly outclassed. Imagine trying to run your Honda Civic against a NASCAR ride.

I overheard some conversation at the end of the intermission indicating that CDD was intending to forfeit, but decided (or had a talk with a ref and decided) to gut it out. Good for them - major kudos for sticking out an unpleasant situation and making the best of it.

The second half was essentially a repeat of the first: points getting racked up against a shut-down group of Derby Dolls. By this point it was actually pretty offensive - and the CCR coach kept skating her high-scoring jammers instead of moving people around to positions they may not usually play. She did let BabyJ wear the star for the first time ever, which was good - but I would have preferred to see ALL the skaters jamming over the evening.

(BabyJ rocking the jammer panty.)

DF jammed once more towards the end of the second period, and picked up another 25 or 30 points - and then made one of the classiest moves I've ever seen and let the opposing jammer get through/by for a point. The crowd cheered louder and longer for that one point than for any other jam that night.

I did end up with a few good shots from the night; I particularly like this sequence of Evil Lucian breaking through a pair of blockers.

Final score: 383-1. Don't get me wrong: I'm not criticizing CCR for winning. Both teams played clean derby and played hard. Refs were mostly on top of the game. I just think the losing team showed a lot more grace and style than the winners.

Jul 21, 2012

Physics fun!

Science Off the Sphere

Short YouTube clips of basic physics experiments ... done in zero gravity on the ISS. Antibubbles is VERY cool.

Caption/Meme contest

Found this one over on reddit. I don't know the backstory, it may be real or it may be a scene from something - but it sure fits our world. ETA: I have since learned that it's a scene from the TNT series "SouthLAnd", which I've never seen or heard of. Doesn't matter, contest continues!

Turn it into a meme, caption it, whatever makes you happy. Make me laugh! Post it on your blog and submit a link in comments. If you don't blog, dump it on imgur.com and post a link here. Spread the word, please!

Whoever makes me laugh hardest by Wednesday 7/25 gets a special prize. Think Woot-B-O-C levels of special.

(Click to embiggenate, right-click/save as.)

Ready? GO!

Jul 20, 2012

Deal Alert

GoPro Hero2 HD "Surf" edition for $235.

These are VERY high on my want list for a number of reasons. If I hadn't just grabbed an optic, I'd probably grab this deal. If you're not familiar with the GoPro cameras, check out their site. The biggest gripe I see (and it's a consistent one) is that sound quality sucks ... but the image quality is incredible, and that's a trade I'd happily make.

RAW followup

About a month ago, I put up a crop from a photoshoot I'd done for the derby team. The final poster got released this morning, so I'm comfortable sharing these now.

First image in each pair is the RAW file, the second is the retouched version. Model is Criminal Miss Chief, motorcycle provided by Stone of the Sons of Sam Motorcycle Club.

And the final result after the above image went through the designer and print shop:

Yeah, I'm pretty proud of that.

The Kill Switch failed...

Jul 19, 2012

Saving water

I mentioned to a friend last night that we'd finished connecting our rain barrel to collect what we could - and she asked if it was legal.

In my part of the world, yes, it is. We live between two lakes that combined hold around seven trillion (with a T-R) gallons of fresh water. I know in other places it's illegal, which just blows my mind - but that's not for today's discussion.

MrsZ's family had a few Intermediate Bulk Containers floating around the farm, and we laid claim to one. I gave it a good rinse and set it aside for a while. The other night I finally figured out just what I'd need to hook it all up, got the parts, and did so.

You can't see it in this picture, but it's actually feeding from both sides of the garage. I took the bottom elbows off and slipped on a piece of 4" PVC, reduced into a 2", then horizontal along the side of the building. A T connects them near the tank, a piece of 3/4" provides an upright overflow, and a threaded bushing in a second T let me connect a garden hose adapter. The heavy-duty slip fitting is actually critical - it gives me a way to remove the tank and its fittings if I need to.

Our garage roof is 35'x26' when you count in overhangs and such, so if my math is right it should take less than a half-inch of rain to more than fill the tank. Depending on how things go, a second tank could be added pretty easily...

Update this morning: We got about a tenth of an inch of rain overnight, and this is the result, snapped as I left for work at 6am:

(Yeah, I need to finish cleaning up the small parts/waste.)

Blogshoot prep

Just a hair over three weeks until I'm on the road with Bubblehead Les heading to NH for the shoot.

Not a lot of prep to do, in actuality. The pile of guns I bring has gotten smaller every year. Why? A few reasons:

(A) I don't have anything that's really extraordinary. It's true. The unusual pieces from my collection have made appearances (the S&W 647 and S&W 242Ti come immediately to mind). The HARD hitter showed up last year, and 3.5" magnums are only a surprise for one year. ;-) M&Ps are a dime a dozen, as are the various 1911-patterns. No need to drag a neutered 9mm across three states to join six more on the line...

(B) I realized last year that blogshoot isn't about the guns for me. Don't get me wrong - I love looking at, handling, and shooting the ordnance that everyone brings to the (multiple, heavily loaded) tables - but I'm much happier just being among My People. A pipe with DoubleTrouble, a frosty one (post shoot) with whoever cares to, and watching everyone enjoy the common thread of guns.

That said, if there ARE any special requests from the Z safe, please let me know.

Jul 18, 2012

I'm in, baby!

Time off finally got covered/approved, and my hotel is booked for Northeast Blogshoot!

I'll make the same offer I've made in past years: if anyone would like a bottle of something from the local distillery, ping me and we can make arrangements. Their rye and bourbon are phenomenal, the corn whiskey is pretty good, the pot still whiskey is very good, and the gin is excellent.

Jul 16, 2012

e-postal inaugural match

Two people interested is enough for me to start. Obviously I'll shoot it too.

Five classes, as mentioned before:
- rimfire / iron sights (25yd/m)
- rimfire / optics (25yd/m)
- centerfire / irons (100yd/m)
- centerfire / optics (100yd/m)
- open handgun (10yd/m)

All shooting should be done UNSUPPORTED: no bench, bags, bipods, etc. Sling up if you like. Shoot whatever position you like except for handguns - those should be standing.

Shoot it as many times as you like and submit your best target with details written on it: class, make/model/caliber. For numerically scored targets there is NO .30-cal rule; for others it's the judge's (my) call. The only prize at this point is bragging rights, but I may sweeten the pot at some point.

To submit your target(s), take a scan or picture and email it to me: zercool/gmail/etc. I'll gather them up and post 'em.

For the first month, we're going on an African safari! (I blame reddit; link NSFW.)

Print the first five targets from this page. (Elephant, tiger, lion, hippo, rhino.)

TWO shots on each target - because we're classy hunters, we're using a double rifle!

"Trophy" shots are center-mass, behind the shoulder and in front of the abdomen, and are worth 2 points.
"Call the PH" shots are anything else (including head shots) and are worth 1 point.
Misses are... Well. Zero. Duh.

Max points possible is 20. Get 'em done and to me by August 4. I'll put the results up sometime shortly thereafter and come up with another match if there's interest.

Good hunting!

(Edit to add: I will gladly take feedback on this. Too complicated? Boring? Not enough rounds? Too many rounds? Tell me!)

ePostal Match - interest?

I know there have been on-and-off e-postal matches around the blogs (Mr. Completely and SailorCurt are coming to mind), but I'm not finding anything current.

I'd be game to organize something if there's any interest... and by "interest" I mean "at least five or six people who want in".

It'll be a free target to download and print on 8.5x11, and I was thinking about the following classes:
-rimfire/irons (25m)
-rimfire/optics (25m)
-centerfire/irons (100m)
-centerfire/optics (100m)
-pistol/open (10m)

Going Galt

Robb posted a bit the other day about bloggers that just ... fade away. No great "I'm leaving", they just stop.

This morning, one of my blogroll posted that she's hanging it up. I completely understand her reasons for doing so, too - but that doesn't mean I like it.

Damn. Thanks, Sarah - I enjoyed reading.

Jul 15, 2012

Only in Canadia

Saw this one over on Reddit:

100-round BetaMag ... pinned to five rounds.

I don't think there's a stronger argument for "image is everything" king of the foodcourt.

Jul 13, 2012

More optics thoughts...

Since the Nikon appears to be a no-go in any reasonable time frame ... bite the bullet and go for Leupold Mark AR? Ouch.

Jul 12, 2012


I'll be in Salt Lake City for a week in September. I know at least one of you is out there. Speak up!

Jul 11, 2012

Compressor: fixed

I've had a Dewalt trim compressor (model D55141) for about a year and a half. Shortly after finishing the DuraCoat on MrsZ's rifle - in fact, the very next time I turned it on - it crapped out.

By crapped out, I mean, "I turned it on, and it chugged along and built pressure until the safety relief valve popped open and dumped the contents of the tank in a very dramatic way." Percussive maintenance did nothing.

I did some parts searches and found ... nothing conclusive. Some of the kind folks over in #GBC pointed me  to a few different places to order a replacement pressure switch ($25-35). Armed with that knowledge, I tore into the machine, and was one screw away from having it open... only to find my T20 driver was about an inch too short. A long-shank driver would be $15-20, a $30 part ... shipping times two ... we're rapidly approaching replacement cost.

My baby brother (in law) visited this weekend and had the right driver in his Jeep to take out the last screw. That done, he jiggled out the pressure switch and found me a part number (Devilbiss N003306SV, for my own reference) which I ordered from eReplacementParts.com on Sunday morning for a whopping $19 shipped. It arrived today, and I installed it (with a bit of cursing and a few skinned knuckles; these compressors were not designed for easy access) - and the compressor runs like a top and shuts off as it should.

I cut the hose off the old switch and found that it was corroded beyond belief - there is a design flaw in this compressor that I don't see a fix for (moisture accumulates in the cutoff switch's line). I'll keep using it as I have been, replace the switch again if I have to, and keep saving my pennies to finish the garage and put in a permanent-mount compressor.

(I also found that my micro-screwdriver set has a T20 bit, and an extension long enough to do the trick. I never considered T20 to be a micro bit, so I didn't even think to look there.)

On the hunt...

... for a scope. A very particular scope.

I'm looking for a Nikon P-223 3x32 with the matching rings.

They're out of stock everywhere I can think of to look - Cabela's, Bass Pro, Midway, OpticsPlanet, SWFA, Primary Arms... The earliest in-stock date I'm seeing is mid-to-late August, which I don't like At All.

If someone knows where I can find one sooner, please speak up.

Bad drivers abound!

Spent a lot of Sunday behind the wheel, traveling to MrsZ's derby bout and back.

The trip started with a driver sporting Mass tags that decided to make a three-car pass on a two-lane highway ... but didn't really put the hammer down, he just pulled out and dawdled on past us, promptly running the three oncoming cars off the road.

An hour later we were tailgated for a while by a passenger van, who ignored brake-taps and slowdowns and just pushed harder until we could get over. I expressed my sentiments with one finger as he passed us - and saw the large "GRACE BAPTIST COLLEGE" emblazoned down the side of the van and trailer it was towing. As he passed us he swerved enough to put his trailer into the space we had been occupying and me onto the shoulder ... which reminds me, I need to call their transport office to express some displeasure.

The rest of the trip was the usual allotment of bad drivers who couldn't figure out speed limits, exits, safe passing, or mirror usage.

Jul 10, 2012

The Public-Employee Whipping Boy

Story in the local rag, headline:
Vacation pay day: New York doled out $256M since 2007 for unused time

Short form: It's not fair that the state has to pay out all this money to public employees.
Critics said that government employees often get more vacation and sick time than workers in the private sector. "State employees have more generous vacation allowances than private-sector employees do. They get more vacation time sooner," said E.J. McMahon, senior fellow for the Empire Center for New York State Policy, an Albany-based fiscally conservative think tank.
Eighty-one percent of the cash outs over the past five years — about $208 million — came from unused vacation time, the comptroller's records show.

 Look, it's no secret that I'm a public employee. I have been for quite some time. My previous job - in the private sector - started me with three weeks (15 days) of vacation time and twelve sick days annually. I couldn't carry over my sick time, but vacation time could carry for a year, if memory serves. That'd be 27 days of time off annually, plus six paid holidays. If I stayed five years, they added five days of vacation time.

When I started my current job, I got 10 days of vacation a year, six "personal" days (sick days), and twelve paid holidays. Due to the scheduling necessities of the job, paid holidays are effectively vacation days. Add it up. 28 days off annually, down from 33. I can accrue up to three times my annual allotment in vacation time, and twice my holiday and personal time.*

Of course, that means I'm not taking time off. Doing that was how MrsZ and I were able to take a two-week trip across the country and back a couple years ago and I was able to pad it a week on either side. It's time off that I earned - that all those evil public employees earned - and didn't take immediately.

Whether we're paying for it a day or three at a time across a year or in a lump sum at retirement makes no difference - signing on to be a public employee doesn't mean we should give up our time for free. Unless something's changed in the private sector, they pay departing employees for accrued time as well... but we won't mention that; it doesn't fit the Evil Public Union Narrative.

* - if I work my full thirty years to retirement, I'll be able to have up to 12 weeks of vacation time accrued at any given point. If the county pays it out in a lump sum, yes, it's a significant five-figure number; about the equivalent of a new compact car or a pretty good used car.

Jul 6, 2012

Bedtime Watching

Back before the History Channel was all-weird-shit-all-the-time, they occasionally had some pretty good shows. Netflix suggested "The Revolution" to me last night... so I watched the first episode. It covered from the Stamp Act (1765) to the battles of Lexington and Concord (1775) with the various other pieces between: the Intolerable Acts, the Tea Tax, Tea Party, etc.

As per usual for the History Channel, it was moderately mediocre acting with some good insight from other views. One of the things that I caught myself doing was saying, "That's not true!" to the guy with major's leaves and "Military Historian, West Point" ... until I realized that he probably has a slightly better knowledge of it than what I remember from my high-school history class.

I watched episode 1 last night and then added the series (13 episodes) to the instant queue. I plan to enjoy the rest of it.

Unfortunately, a lot of it was striking a bit too close to home...

Jul 3, 2012

First world problems

So a while back I picked up a pair of certificates through GearHog for a Defensive Pistol class from Rochester Personal Defense (warning, site has auto-playing sound. grrrr). The theory was that MrsZ and I would take the class together. Unfortunately, they didn't have a lot of scheduled classes. No biggie, I put us on the "notify me" list.

And I recently re-read the class requirements:
- Eye and ear protection - check
- A working, reliable, defensive-oriented firearm - check
- 200 rounds of ammunition - check
- 3 magazines or speedloaders with holders ... need a new holder
- A quality, strong-side, belt-mounted type holster (NO shoulder holsters) - check
- A sturdy belt to hold your holster and magazine pouch - check
- Comfortable footwear and clothing - check

And then this:
As of 4/4/2012, ANY holster that utilizes the index or trigger finger of the shooting hand to disengage a locking device to release the handgun is now disallowed from ANY Rochester Personal Defense, LLC class, training, event, or any function that we host or have involvement with.
Um. Crap. My frequent carry gun lately has been the M&P40c in my murse. I do have a holster for it - a Serpa paddle.

I'm going to give MrsZ first choice on what to use when we take the class; I know she has a fondness for the 5946 - which I have all the required/approved gear for. My preference is one of the M&Ps, either the full-size 9mm or the compact .40 ... but that means a new holster and mag pouch. Crap.

I could shoot the class with my 1911, but I really don't carry that much anymore (and 200 rounds of .45 is steep). The PM9 and 642 aren't ideal for a 200-round class. Not taking a wheelie.

I'm torn between putting in an order with Dragon Leather for a FlatJack and waiting for it to arrive to take the class, or just ordering a Galco/Bianchi/Desantis something or other. (To be fair, I have a Galco FLETCH for the 1911 and it's a fine holster. But it's not a Dragon.)

So ... yes. First world problems.


I'm blaming Weerd for this one.

one dozen eggs, hard boiled
1-1/2c white vinegar
1-1/2c water
1 T pickling spices
2 T sugar
1 t salt
4 tiny onions cut in half

I'll let you know in a week, after I've added beer.

Jul 2, 2012

Photographers bleg

I may be doing some derby photography this coming weekend. I'm hoping to try some new glass in the process. Specifically, some of the faster "L" glass. My current attentions are on the 24-70/2.8L or 24-104/4L and 70-200/2.8L. If someone who reads this owns either or both and wants to let me borrow one, there'd be much thanks and such involved.

The other alternative is a rental, which would let me put my hands on a couple thousand dollars worth of lenses for about $150 for four days... Entirely reasonable, but I'd rather send a friend a bottle of good hooch than cash to some company.

If anyone has any insights on rental companies to use or avoid, or which lens is likely to be a good fit (the 70-200 may not be, because of the distances involved), I'm all ears.

Jul 1, 2012


I've got a damn blood blister on my right ring finger, after pinching it between the mag and grip on the M&P40c while putting a new mag in.

I think hammer bite hurts less.