Tuesday, June 30, 2015

I LOL'ed.

Shooting in Washington...

The cameras I took on the trip:
  • Nikon F5: My favorite camera to play with. Have I mentioned how I have a mad, passionate, irrational love for this camera? Shot mostly B&W (T-Max and Tri-X) plus a roll of Portra 160.

  • Nikon D200: My new work camera. This thing takes the place of my trusty Canon 20D. Well, it will when I get a VR lens to replace the Streetsweeper.

  • Nikon Coolpix P7000: Most of the pictures on this blog for the last several months have come from this camera. It rides in the "document pocket" of my gun burkha and is my "go everywhere" camera.

It's the sort of thing Twitter was made for...

Turns out that was exactly 140 characters. (Coincidentally that will be the maximum allowable length of an election season stump speech in 2024. All other messages will have to be conveyed by the candidate's tattoos.)

The opposite of a surprise.

So Chris Christie has just thrown his oversize hat into what has become an impossibly crowded ring. At this moment, the only people in this country who are not contending for the GOP presidential nomination are me, you, and Hillary Clinton.

The headline at Meet the Press's site regarding Christie's announcement read thusly:
I think Bridgegate proves he's no longer the guy the media have picked to take a fall in the ninth against their guy. Now they want Jeb for a target dummy.

Of course the media's all in a sulk at the moment because the more Progressive among them are coming to terms with the fact that Elizabeth Warren isn't running and that, while there IS a candidate with legitimate Progressive chops contending for the Democrat nomination, he's even more of an Old White Dude than Hillary.

The downside...

...of visiting friends in the Mountain or Pacific time zones is that I'm a natural night owl and, propelled by the energy of wanting to stay up and hang out with people I see way too infrequently, I go to bed at late o'clock local time. You know, eleven or midnight, maybe a little later, like a grownup.

But then my eyes pop open involuntarily at about 0700, or 0800 at the latest because oh my lord, have I fed the cats*? And that happens at 0700 or 0800 Eastern time.

What this translates to is a week of three or four hours of sleep per night, which I can keep up for a while, but it eventually takes its toll. And I paid that toll last night, gladly, with eight hours of deep, dreamless sleep. It was glorious.

*No, it's not that I think that thought literally, but years of having the alarm clock go off at 0600 gets the body in a rhythm.

** Desmond Morris, Catwatching, p.75

*** You know how to drive someone crazy? Put in a footnote that has no referent in the text.

Monday, June 29, 2015


Grueling flight schedule back from the curiously dry Pacific Northwet.

I just left southwestern Washington state, where it's been a blistering, sunny, sticky, ninety-something °F for the last several days, and landed in Indianapolis, which has been overcast, rainy, and experiencing daily highs in the mid-70s in my absence. Freaky.

Flight left from PDX at midnight last night and I wasn't wheels down at IND until ~10:30 local this morning, changing planes at ATL in a comedic round of Musical Departure Gates.

Here's a picture of Mount St. Helens. I'm gonna get some shut-eye.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Saturday, June 27, 2015

I can't leave you people unsupervised for five minutes.

So, I go spend a few days at gun school, largely disconnected from the intertubes and the 24-hour news cycle...

Swear to God, my Facebook feed is full of more bomb throwing and nihilism and less love of fellow man than downtown Beirut in the '80s.


Friday, June 26, 2015

The changing face of gun school...

So, for years, this was the image that sprang to my mind when I thought of a self-defense shooting class:
Nick Grossman of Bolt Defense does an exemplar drill with right-handed Jeff playing a left-handed student.
Some dude teaching another dude how to shoot guns. Frequently "classtumes" were involved, as cargo pants and gun company tee-shirts came out of the back of closets, along with multicam plate carriers and morale patches.

Rory Miller is practicing the exemplar drill with Glenda Edwards of Friday Harbor Gun Runners as the student.
Now, I've been in quite a few co-ed shooting classes that were only co-ed because I was there. However, as time goes by, more and more women are getting CCW permits and becoming more interested in self-defense and shooting in general.

Our teacher for the week, Kathy Jackson (aka The Cornered Cat) demonstrates the exemplar drill with Tammy Smith of GunStart.
Lately there has been an explosion in the number of women's firearm classes taught by women. Many of these new instructors were new shooters themselves not too long ago and there exists a need for passing on to them the institutional knowledge of how to safely teach firearms self-defense. Further, many experienced firearms instructors have little to no experience running classes with a majority of women, and how this will affect group social dynamics and learning styles.

Melody "Limatunes" Lauer offers instruction as J.B. Herren of Friday Harbor Gun Runners serves as the student.
In the future, the above photo might not be as uncommon a sight as it is now or was in the past. And that's a good thing.

Stay Off My Side.

Q: "How can you tell an open carry activist from an incipient spree killer?"

A: "One just up and starts thumbing rounds into his gauge right there in the middle of Walmart."
Barring some amazing extenuating circumstances, if some local had proactively put a round into the back of the guy's grape while he was doing that, I'd have a tough time voting to convict. Personally, if I see somebody just up and start loading a long gun in public with no berm or deer anywhere for miles around? I am unassing the AO with a quickness.

You are not helping, dickwad.

(h/t to Unc.)

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015


Don't start with me this early, internet. I'm really cranky before my first cup of coffee.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

A damned sight worse.

Losing the rear sight didn't do anything good for my accuracy. Given the pace and type of shooting, at seven yards there should have been a ragged hole with a few outliers from getting frisky and overconfident on the weak-hand shooting. Instead, my target looks a mess.

All guns break.

You know what'll really help you focus on your front sight? If your rear sight snaps clean in half on the fifth shot on the first morning of gun skool. You did bring a second gun, right? Right?

Basically, when the slide assembly reached the rear limit of its travel, the back half of the sight decided it wanted to keep going and it had enough inertia to do so. I don't recollect it actually hitting me, but always wear eye pro, kids! .

Monday, June 22, 2015

A small chunk of metal and plastic and ego...

There's a comment over at Ambo Driver's blog, right here.

Translated, it reads: "Waaahhhh! I bought this gun and then, after I bought it, I decided to google it to validate my decision (rather than googling it first to help me make an informed one.) When I did, I discovered that half the internet was making fun of the dumb gun I wasted my Best Buy paycheck on, and so, in order to salve my tender, butthurt fee-fees, I told a fat joke."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Still Ticking

Fifty rounds of nasty steel-cased Wolf Polyformance 115gr FMJ and fifty of Remington's 147gr High Terminal Performance JHP loading went downrange via the Sig Sauer P320 this morning at Iggle Crick. First I've tried of the latter.

No malfunctions, although I again caught myself parking my thumb on the slide stop and preventing it from locking back on the empty mag twice. I've almost gotten shut of that issue, but it apparently still likes to crop up if I'm trying to run the gun fast.

The gun still has not been cleaned or lubricated in any way since I popped the latches on the box several months ago. The round count now stands at 1,150 with one dud primer (#903) and that weird failure-to-feed (#978). In just 850 more, the gun gets a bath...or at least some lubricant.

Today Was A Good Day...

Breakfast and coffee at Good Morning Mama's to get the day off to a good start. I had the fruit, yogurt, and granola parfait in the foreground. Yum! Lotsa blueberries and pineapple in there.

Range time at Eagle Creek Pistol Range. Shot both the M&P22 and the P320.

Shootin' Buddy with a 22/45, me playing with 5 frames-per-second. Check out the cool fire visible in the ejection port, where the shell has just been pulled free of the chamber.

After we finished up at the range, we got to Glendale Mall in time for the noon showing of Jurassic World (where I made sure to point out the cool stuff from Dennis at Dragon Leatherworks!) and then into Broad Ripple Village for lunch at the Sushi Bar.

Alas, now I have to catch up on some work...

I swear...

Dream Cars 5

 Ultra-lightweight BMW Gina roadster.
The fabric-skinned car does weird, organic things by altering its body lines...

Friday, June 19, 2015

I hate you, AT&T.

There needs to be a special Smart People Illuminati you can join where you get special Service Line numbers so you can avoid having to listen to endless ****ing phone tree questions that ask retards "Is the land line plugged into the wall?" and "Is the cup holder on the computer retracted?"
I nearly threw my ****ing cell phone across the room.

"Yes! Yes! I already checked the simple stuff! That's why I'm calling you people!"

The barometer is dropping.

I can tell this by the crackling pain in my right shinbone. I just use the barometer in Clifford, the Big Red Watch to confirm what my built-in one has already told me.

You can hear the jimmies rustling at the thought...

"Put Ayn Rand on the Sawbuck!"


I'm getting pretty jaded over here...

XM17 draft request for proposals released

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Jun. 17, 2015) – The U.S. Army Program Executive Office Soldier announced today that a draft solicitation for a new military handgun was released on the Federal Business Opportunities website. This announcement follows the agency’s notice that the Army intends to host a fourth industry day July 7-8 at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J., to discuss the document and receive feedback from industry.
Oh, look! Lucy's holding the football again. Let's see who runs up to try and kick it this time.

"THE ARMY'S NEXT SERVICE PISTOL?" is turning into "NEXT-GENERATION MID-ENGINE CORVETTE?" of the firearms journalism industry. (Except there's actually a greater likelihood of the latter.)


So the Drudge Report headlined a link yesterday from that notable clearinghouse of chemtrail data, reptiloid spotting guides, and black helicopter sightings, Infowars:

Naturally, the crankier corners of my internet, for whom the bleating of "False flag! False flag!" is nearly a spinal reflex, scooped this rather dubious ball up and ran with it...

For starters, I wouldn't believe Infowars if they told me the sun was coming up in the east without independent verification, let alone splash their uncorroborated tale across the top of my page as a credible source of info.

Even if he was on SSRIs, so what? As Andrew Rothman pointed out over on the Book of Face, everybody in a hospital who dies of a lethal infection was on antibiotics, but that doesn't mean antibiotics cause lethal infections. People's ability to discern cause from effect has gone out the window; we live in the era of Post Hockey, Ergo Propter Hockey.

Drugs didn't pull that trigger: An evil bastard with heart full of hate did.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Camera decisions...

A gracious reader sent a package containing a couple of 35mm Nikons: An F5 and an FM2n. Prior to this, my Nikon use had been limited to the little entry-level EM and some mid-Nineties consumer-grade autofocus bodies. Handy cameras, but nothing to wax rhapsodic over. The FM2n and the F5 were not like that; I was (am) smitten with those cameras. I'll pull them off the shelf just to handle them, and maybe do a little dry-fire practice, as it were.

Much as with guns, I'm not really a brand fangirl. If I had any sort of brand loyalty, I guess it would be to Canon, since an AF35ML was my first 35mm camera and an AE-1 Program was my first SLR. As a result, when I bought my first DSLR, it was a Canon as well.

I'm not a brand fangirl, but...

Film cameras are fun for me. A hobby. Digital cameras I use for work: Pictures for columns or articles, stuff for the blog, and so forth. If I can share lenses between hobby film cameras and digital work cameras, that's a big savings in money, space, and hassle.

I'm seriously thinking about trading in my three Canon DSLR bodies and my EF-S lenses on a Nikon D300 or even a D700 and just keeping the EF lenses for the EOS film bodies.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Disparity of forces and missed opportunities...

From a good interview with Steven Zaloga (if you're at all a tank nerd):
"To give you a general sense, in April of 1945 the Germans have about 90 tanks on all of the Western Front.  All tanks, everything, Panthers, Panzer IV, Tigers.  They had a handful of Tigers.  They had about 400 other armored vehicles, assault guns, Stug III and things like that.  So they had just short of 500 armored vehicles on the entire Western Front, from the North Sea all the way down to Bavaria and Southern Germany.  At that point in time the United States had 11,000 tank and tank destroyers, to give you some sense of the disparity in forces."
Regarding the state of armor museums in the US:
" No, not at all, I mean, it’s a national scandal how bad it is.  Until recently, until five or six years ago there were two significant collections.  There was the Patton collection down at Fort Knox down at the armor school and there was the Ordnance Museum over at Aberdeen Proving Ground (Maryland.)  With BRAC (Base Realignment and Closure), the base realignment program, they basically took both collections and just threw them away.  There were plans to move the Aberdeen collection down to Fort Lee.  It was in fact moved down there but the Army has no money, so the tanks are basically sitting out in an open field rusting away.  The same thing happened with the Patton museum collection, that was sent over to Fort Benning and its basically sitting in the motor pool, with nothing to show and just rusting away."
True Story: So, this one time when Shootin' Buddy and I went down to Knob Creek, we got down there early in the afternoon the day before so we could take in the Patton Museum. As we pulled into the road leading to the gate, we were confronted by the big "Beretta in a red circle/slash" sign reminding us that the whole facility, parking lot and all, was on an Army base and our sidearms were strictly verboten. So we headed off to the hotel to ground our bags and de-gun.

We went back to tour the museum and my first thought was "Oh, damn! I left my camera in my bags back in the hotel room. That's okay, though, I'll bring one on my next visit and take pictures of all these cool tanks..." Only now I never will because they're not there anymore. Thanks, Obama Bush!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Do you doubt it?

It was almost certainly its proximity to the flagpole that got this thing its media legs. I mean, did the much scarier Texas 7 even get this much coverage, this high up in the hour, on the national news shows? It's been a while, so I might be downplaying my memories...


What am I going to do with this cake?

The other day, while I wasn't looking, Borepatch hung up his keyboard:
"It's been a long run, but two weeks before my seventh blogiversary I'm hanging it up."
Happy Trails, BP!

Safety first, accidents last!

Via email from Shootin' Buddy:

Velociraptors must remain locked in employee's personal vehicles. Violation of this policy may lead to penalties up to and including termination of employment.

Dream Cars 4

One of Edsel Ford's personal rides.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Priorities, polictics, and a USS Cesar Chavez...

I mean, Larry McDonald* was actually murdered by a foreign nation's armed forces. And he was a Democrat, too, so what's the hangup?

The Jack pointed out that if being a shot congresscritter is enough to get a warship named after you, why is there no USS Leo Ryan*? He was a victim of Gun Violence and Religious Extremism!

What the hell, I'll go there. Besides, you know you were thinking it, too...

*Raise your hand if you needed to click on the links to find out who Ryan or McDonald were.

Overheard in the Dining Room...

I glance at a stack of books and note the one on top...
Me: "'Ada's Algorithm'... That was one of your birthday books, right?"

RX: "Yes."

Me: "I was pretty sure one of the books I'd got for you was about Ada Lovelace."

RX: "So much more interesting than Linda."


I ask you...

(Actually, it's gelato, because Broad Ripple.)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

"Ralphie boy!" redux...

Nikon FM2n, Fujicolor 200
The test roll is back from The Darkroom, and it looks like the Nikon FM2n is cleared for takeoff.

True Confession Time: While I've been on a film jag of late, the cameras I've been using have pretty much all had some form of training wheels. I mean, the Canon EOS-1N and Nikon F5 are auto-everything beasts hardly different from a DSLR in the handling department, and even the Canon A-1, Leica R4, or Olympus OM-4 have various automated modes, be it a full-on program setting or just aperture priority.

But this Nikon FM2n and the Olympus OM-1? They're manual everything. The only reason these cameras have batteries at all is to run their on-board light meters, but if the battery dies or falls out, the camera will still run fine, you'll just have to use an external meter. Or shoot from the hip.

I'm looking forward to working with them.

Dream Cars 3

Sometimes credited as "the world's first minivan", the Stout Scarab was designed by William Bushnell Stout after he'd met and interviewed Buckminster Fuller at an auto show and written an article for the Society of Automotive Engineers newsletter about Fuller's Dymaxion car.

Envisioned by its designer as a sort of "mobile office", the second-row seating in the spacious Scarab could swivel and face the rear, and there was a stowable table between the rows.

Thanks to unibody construction and a rear-mounted Ford V-8, the floor of the Scarab's  passenger compartment was low and flat. Check out the stylized Egyptian scarab motif on the snout.

Stout's vehicle never saw series production, with only a handful of examples built. Five are alleged to survive today.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dream Cars 2

Voisin was originally an aeroplane company founded by Gabriel Voisin and his younger brother Charles by buying out fellow aviation pioneer Louis Blériot. After the death of Charles in an auto accident in 1912, his brother carried on in the business, and the company made aircraft for the Aéronautique Militaire during the Great War.

Following the war, Gabriel quit the plane biz and made cars for a couple decades under the name Avions Voisin.

The C25 Aérodyne cost more than the contemporary Bugatti Type 57.

Of the twenty-eight examples of the C25 that were produced, only eight featured the dramatic Aérodyne styling, with its disc wheels and retractable sunroof.

Dream Cars 1

Spent the afternoon at the Indianapolis Museum of Art with Bobbi, taking in the Dream Cars exhibit...

 1948 Tasco Prototype. The front fenders steer with the wheels.

 Tasco stood for "The American Sportscar Comany" The car was designed by Gordon Buehrig, creator of classics like the Duesenberg Model J, Auburn 851 Boattail Speedster, Cord 812, and the Lincoln Continental Mark II...

The idea of the Tasco was pitched as a way for Beech to get into the booming automobile market in the postwar years. Buehrig patented the T-top with this car and sued GM in 1968 over the T-tops on the Corvette.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Magic Bullets?

So there are several varieties of high-speed ultra-light bullets on the market today that make some pretty amazing claims about their ballistic capabilities, both exterior and terminal. I plunked down some of my own money over a couple gun shows on a few of the better-known ones with the intention of trying them out, first over the chrono, and then into ballistic gelatin to see if they held up to the claims in the ad copy.

The three loads, all in the ubiquitous 9x19mm, are Polycase's 74gr Inceptor ARX, Dynamic Research Technologies' 85gr Terminal Shock frangible hollowpoint, and Liberty Ammunition's 50gr Lead-Free +P hollowpoint. Since all the rounds tested made pretty bold velocity claims, I used the Sig P230 for chrono testing, since its 4.75" barrel was the longest 9mm tube I had handy.

First is the Inceptor ARX. This oddly-shaped bullet is designed not to fragment in tissue. Instead, its designers claim, the shape of the bullet causes it to yaw and the fluted ogive uses "lateral force dispersion" for "rapid energy transfer" to the target. The box claims 1475fps at the muzzle for the injection-molded polymer/copper bullet. The chrono results for a ten-shot string were as follows:
HI: 1525
LO: 1458
AV: 1490
ES: 67.07
SD: 20.95
So that's pretty much spot-on, and likely would have averaged exactly at the box-flap numbers out of a 4.5" gun like a Glock 17.

The 85gr Terminal Shock frangible HP from Dynamic Research Technologies (DRT. Get it? Huh? Do ya? DRT?) runs at a claimed 1350fps out of a 4" test barrel. Out of the 4.75" P32, the test numbers went thusly:
HI: 1348
LO: 1280
AV: 1306
ES: 68.59
SD: 22.75
As you can see, despite having three quarters of an inch more barrel length, the average velocity was still 50fps shy of what was measured at the box flap. Further, the somewhat erratic velocities common to hot-loaded, light-for-caliber pistol bullets were even more noticeable here than in the Inceptor.

Finally comes the Liberty Ammunition 50gr +P Civil Defense HP, with its claimed 2000fps muzzle velocity. From the Sig, the actual numbers for the ten-round string were:
HI: 2090
LO: 1994
AV: 2037
ES: 95.42
SD: 28.35
Well, no reason to doubt that it would have matched the velocity claims when fired from the typical 4"-4.5" service pistol. It was loud, but recoil was minimal. Check out that Extreme Spread, though... The fastest and slowest rounds varied by almost 100fps in the same magazine!

Further, none of the thirty rounds chronoe'd rounds caused any malfunctions in the test pistol, despite their exotic shapes, weights, and velocities.

Tune in for the next segment, where they'll get shot at, into, and through things, to see how well the claims of terminal effectiveness match reality.


So, yesterday at the range I used the P320 for some chrono testing (more on which later) and then ran another fifty rounds of Federal 115gr +P+ 9BPLE jacketed hollowpoint and fifty rounds of Wolf steel-cased 115gr ball through the gun. This brings the round count to 1050 rounds without cleaning or lubing, 950 to go before bath time, and nothing in the way of preparation done to the gun other than taking it out of the box.

On the fifty-eighth round of the day, number 978 through the gun, it experienced the first malfunction of the test other than that dud round of Wolf.

Yeah, I don't get that one either, but it looks mag-related? I noted which magazine it occurred with and we'll drive on and see what we will see.

And we're off to an abstruse start for the day.

It was probably funnier in my head.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Fortunately this must have occurred before I got in the car. I'm in danger of driving into a ditch often enough from yelling "No, you soft-pated herbivore, that's not how it works!" at the radio during the Diane Rehm show, which I listen to on the way to the range, as one does.

Automotif XCIV...

Bobbi was working the early morning shift last weekend and I benefited from her weird work schedule, as she was eager to get something to eat after clocking out just before noon. She offered to spring for lunch three days in a row, an offer I gladly accepted. Because chow in Broad Ripple, amirite?

Saturday we pedaled to Petit Chou Bistro down on the canal, home of the best onion soup gratinee in town, so far as I've found. (If I have a lunchtime mojo for French onion soup, my neighborhood choices are the Aristocrat pub, Marco's, or Petit Chou, with the latter's standing head and shoulders above the other two.)

On the way there, I spotted this:

A 1993 Cadillac Allanté, the final year of production and identifiable by the presence of "32V Northstar" badges and the absence of the vent windows. A DOHC V-8 with 295bhp was rather a big deal in 1993, especially in a domestic car, but it wasn't enough to save the Frequent Flier Caddy. (The Allanté's body was assembled in Turin, Italy and flown by cargo 747s in batches of 56 to Detroit for final assembly.)

Tab Clearing...

Working on it...

Internet Sloth is too cute for words.
Typin' as fast as I can, here...