Better And Better

If you don't draw yours, I won't draw mine.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Out there searching. / Out here fumbling. Out here waiting

The 20 mile per hour wind may be humid, but at least it's cold. 20 degrees Fahrenheit might not seem like much of a chill, but it's enough tonight to flash freeze the ditches full of last night's rain. The mud reflects the diffused light from the cloud deck only 1500 feet above, which in turn is lit by every sparse streetlamp in my little town, along with the fullest, biggest moon of the year, that I can't see. In the doggiest town I've ever known, I've not laid eyes on a single canine all night.

The radio is so quiet that I periodically turn it up, and when someone finally does speak up, it blares annoyingly. I turn it back down, and then go through the same cycle.

I'm the only car on the streets. The occasional rig tending oil wells does trundle through town, and I leave them be.

I'm just looking for that right stop. The guy burgling cars. The drunk side-swiping parked vehicles, while trying to get home. The runaway 14 year old sneaking out to meet her new Internet boyfriend ("...so dreamy. He's 29!") at the street corner. Something to give tonight's patrol some meaning.

It's fruitless, and feels futile.

The goal is to work ourselves out of a job, I guess.

I sure could go for some coffee. But it's getting too close to the end of the shift, and bed time.

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Thursday, January 28, 2010

"When's the show going to start?"

In October of 1989, I went to see the Rolling Stones at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. At the time, I thought that I had better see them while I could, because they were so old, they might quit making music any day now. Heh. What did I know?

We had been caught in very heavy traffic getting there, and arrived about 45 minutes late. That turned out to be just fine, because the guys opening for them were just wrapping up their set with their biggest hit. They ran a little long with their guitar solos, and the repetition of the title line of the song, stretching their last piece to about 9 or 10 minutes. My best friend and I rolled our eyes a little, waiting to see Mick, Keith, and the rest do that voodoo that they do so well.

The rest of the 60k+ crowd lit up. A pair of lesbians near us made out. For country boys from the sticks, this was a bigger spectacle than a goat-ropin' at the county fair, to be sure.

When Living Colour left the stage, we were mighty pleased. And with good reason. The Stones put on the best show I've ever seen, before or since. A friend said, "Mick could have had every person in that stadium, woman or man."

Well. I don't know about that. But the show was awesome, and I still have the T-shirt.

But it's kind of a shame that I didn't get how telling the lyrics to Living Colour's biggest hit song were. Because frankly, it could be our current President's theme music.



Neon lights, a Nobel prize
When the mirror speaks, the reflection lies
You won't have to follow me
Only you can set me free.
I sell the things you need to be.
I'm the smiling face on your TV.
I'm the cult of personality.
I exploit you, still you love me.
I tell you one and one makes three. I'm the cult of personality.

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You call this rough?

According to our Obama's spokesman Robert Gibbs (who clarifies what the President says, even though this President is really good at communicating off the cuff), our President planned to give a State of the Union Address in which the he would "outline the fact that we've lived through one of the most challenging years in our country's history."

Indeed, last night our President himself called this past year "one of the most difficult years in our history."

Huh.

Let's see here... Difficult years in American history:

1775–1783: The American Revolution
Panic of 1797
Shay's Rebellion
Whiskey Rebellion
Depression of 1807
War Of 1812
1846-48 – Mexican-American War
1861-1865 -- US Civil War
1865-1877 Reconstruction
Panic of 1873 and the Long Depression
Indian Wars
1898 --Spanish American War
Assassination of President Garfield.
1899-1913 Philippine American War
1917-18 – World War I
1918-19 -- Spanish Flu Epidemic
1929 -- 1933-- The Great Depression

1941-1945 --World War II
1950-53 – Korean War
1962 – Cuba. Cuban Missile Crisis
1963 -- Assassination of JFK
1959-75 – Vietnam War
1974 -- Resignation Of Richard Nixon after Watergate investigation.
1975 -- U.S. Forces Evacuated from Vietnam, Cambodia,
1970's Oil crisis
1979-1981 -- Iran Hostage Crisis
1981 -- President Reagan is shot
1986 -- Challenger disaster
2001 -- Sept 11 Attacks, Anthrax campaign.
2001 -- War in Afghanistan begins
2003 -- Invasion of Iraq begins.
2005 -- Hurricane Katrina

Shoot, I know I'm missing a bunch. So how does this last year stack up?

I question if 2009 even makes the top 90 most unpleasant years. Certainly not for a man who handed the MVP trophy before he'd ever taken a turn at bat.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

P.S.A.:

Natchez Shooters Supplies has PMC Bronze 90g .380 acp for $19.99/box of 50.

Most folk I know have been hard put to drum up .380 for much under a dollar a round, lately.

That is all.

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Getting a bit silly, aren't we?



I've been looking at getting a set of the superb LG-405 Crimson Trace laser grips for my M37. These are the short "boot grips" that are compact enough for concealed carry. I've handled them on several J-frame revolvers, and have found them to be a useful addition to a very useful, yet hard-to-use, Always Gun.

The price on the LG-405 (or LG405, it's listed both ways), however, refuses to come down like it's slightly larger sibling, the LG305, has. The 405 is not found for less than $235, while the 305 can be had for about $170. So I save up my pennies, and wait.

What's funny, though, is that Crimson Trace ships the laser stocks with warning stickers (note page 4) that they expect you to put on your firearm once you've mounted the sights.

The stickers are most amusing. One declares compliance with a standard of radiation. The other, meant to be mounted on the firearm in front of the laser aperture, has an arrow pointing back, and reads: "AVOID EXPOSURE. LASER RADIATION EMITTED FROM THIS APERTURE."

Why are these stickers so amusing? Because, as the lasers are actually pistol sights, the only way that you could receive radiation from them would be to view the frickin' laser beams from this view:

At which point, you have more pressing concerns.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

Giving a little something.

Look, I'm a poor man. And, I'm a pragmatist. I've got mine, you know?

But I'm sitting here in my climate-controlled sun room, drinking decent coffee out of a clean glass, typing away on my magic elf box. My stomach is full, and I'm about to register for Spring 2010 grad school.

I may be a "poor man," but I ain't really hurtin'.

And, if you're reading this, neither are you. You're reading this on your computer or your super phone or your netbook or your cybertronic feed or whatever. You're probably seated comfortably. You probably aren't too worked up about where you're going to get your next sip of clean water.

I just sent $10 to the Haiti earthquake relief effort, and it was about as easy as I could imagine. Open your cell phone. Text ""HAITI", and send this message to phone number 90999. Press "Send." This goes to the Red Cross.

The text is free (as in, you'll not be billed for making a text). Your phone bill will be charged $10. You'll get a (free) text message asking you to text "Yes" to confirm that you really want to. You reply "yes." Then you get a text confirming that they got it, and offering you the chance to cancel.

This is about as easy as it gets.

I'm about to do it again.

Here's an interesting video of before and after satellite pics of Port-au-Prince. It appears that, if we get some dozers and earth moving equipment in quick, and clear the roads, real relief could happen quite suddenly.

____________________
EDIT:
Here are some other organizations you can donate through.

EDIT:
There are some hoaxes out there, I understand. This is NOT A HOAX. I researched it thoroughly before I did it, and before I posted this. I wouldn't steer you wrong, friends.

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lemme get this straight:

According to Pat Robertson, if Haiti hadn't made a pact with the devil 200 years ago, there would be no earthquake there, and the horrible poverty that preceded it likewise could have been averted. "True story," he said in his telecast on The 700 Club.

Because, as we know, there's NO other way that anyone could have possibly defeated the French. Only by using Faustian strategy could such a thing be accomplished.

And it took two centuries before the time was just right, eh, Pat?

Folks, there was a time when this guy had a real shot at the Republican presidential nomination. [Shudder.]

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Pocket pistol.

My friend Marko, who some years back pared back to just 3" K frame revolvers for main carry duty, decided to get himself a Ruger LCP pocket pistol. He even includes a photograph of it in his hand.

Hm. He claims that it's as small as the KelTec, but when I pulled my P3AT out of my pocket, my gun seemed a bit smaller in comparison.

Maybe it's just personal perception.

Heh.

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Notes on Avatar.

Dad and I saw Avatar yesterday.

I have to say, "visually rich" is not a descriptive enough term to use for this movie. I strongly suggest seeing this flick in 3D, preferably in OmniMax; it changes my perception of what can be done when making movies. I actually almost kind of understand the concept that obsessive whiners are claiming to experience depression when stepping back into the real world after viewing the movie.

But I found that all of Tamara's and LawDog's remarks were true. (Warning: DON'T read LawDog's post if you don't want spoilers. For that matter, don't read this post, if you don't want spoilers.)

As a father of two young girls, I have probably seen more female-oriented Disney movies than the average straight, meat-eating, gun-loving man in his late 30s.

And halfway through Avatar, I knew that I had seen this movie before.

Apparently others agree.

And I have to say that I also noticed something that Pocahontas 3D had in common with District 9:

"And that's how we scatter 'em like roaches." --Avatar

"I cahn't believe that I get paid to kill the likes of you!" --District 9

What is it with over-the-top villains in modern popular S.F. movies?

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Remembering rough weather camping.

Over at Random Acts Of Patriotism, ASM826 recalls snow camping back in 1969.

I recall winter camping in the 1980s with my troop.

We had Kelty sleeping bags, and Eureka 2-man backpacker dome tents. Being mostly in North Texas, it was hard to achieve an honest-to-Gawd two-day freeze-out in the winter. Sure, cold snaps happen in Texas-- as I write this, it's 14 degrees outside-- but planning to have the whole troop camp out during one is difficult. Some Scouts never got a full weekend freeze-out. I honestly don't remember if I ever got my Winter Camping badge, which means that I probably didn't.

What I did get a lot of was rain camping. Texas in the spring and autumn can be mighty pleasant, which means that's when we did a lot of camping. But that's also when some impressive amounts of rain comes in.

I recall one campout where we arrived at our site two hours after dark. I was 13, I think, and was new to the troop. I had an 11 year old tent mate, who had used the dome tents before, and began to set our tent up in the very spot where he had come to a stop when we fanned out from the central part of the camp area (The chuck box and the van that had brought us that Friday night.). I looked at the ground, and saw that, while his spot was flat, it was also at the confluence of two mild depressions that came down a gentle hill above us. I vetoed the spot, and moved us to a low ridge a few feet above it, and we set up there. I further irritated my tentmate by stopping to take time to carefully pull and re-pull the ground cloth so that it perfectly fit the underside of the tent, and folded the excess under the ground cloth, pulling it back out and redoing it when I found that he han folded it OVER, unwittingly making a basin. I dug a shallow trench on the uphill side only, and left the dirt on the downhill side of the trench, to be refilled when we struck camp.

There were no clouds, and the moon was full, with a halo around it.

About 3:00 AM, all hell broke loose as a thunderstorm ripped above us. The lightning in the clouds above us seemed just a hundred yards away, and was clearly visible through the fabric roof of the tent and the fabric rain fly above it. The noise was deafening. The rain pounded our tent like golf balls poured from a great height, and before long, some small hail joined it. The wind vexed our little dome tent fore and aft. My tentmate was at first scared. I told him to be quiet, and watch, and listen! It was thrilling. Before long, he and I sounded like people watching a particularly good fireworks show, muttering "Ooh! That was a good one!"

Over the wind and the pounding rain and the thunder, we began to hear other sounds. Yelps of other unhappy Scouts, as the rain began to enter their tents. One pair of boys had picked our abandoned low flat spot, and they were experiencing a very, very swampy time. Others had seeping occurring at the edges, where their groundcloths hadn't been properly put down, or the land just pushed water into their tent walls. Howls of frustration filled the camp.

But in our tent, my bunkmate and I laughed from within our dry sleeping bags, and enjoyed the storm.

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Late to the party. Again.

You ever had friends reference a book as being great, and you nod, knowing that you SHOULD have read it, but can't quite admit that you haven't? You're agreeing that it probably is good, because people you know and trust have said so, but you're not saying "Yes, I read it." That would be dishonest.

But still, you don't want to openly admit that you're among the unwashed who hasn't yet read this classic.

Maybe I'm the only one.

Anyway, I've been acquainted with Larry Correia for about 7 or 8 years. I wear shirts that he designed and distributed for The Firing Line staff (Larry had actually joined the site months before I did). We've been staff members together on The High Road.

Larry's an interesting guy. Big. Really big. Portuguese descent, lives in Utah, is an accountant who put himself through college the hard way. He also, I believe I've mentioned, started up FBMG, a fun little shop that sells any kind of firearm that can be had. No, not just those-- ANY kind. They have a bit of fun out there in the high desert.

Well Larry's latest iteration of self is that he's a writer.

A writer who discusses the practical extermination of monsters.

Vampires? Sure thing. Three kinds, and thanks for asking.
Werewolves? First shake out of the box.
Zombies. Wights. Gargoyles. Golems. All are slain in Larry's first novel.

Slain with shotguns, pistols, rifles, Gurkha knives, flamethrowers, and RPGs.

For every one of you out there who's sick and tired of the Twilight series taking over everything, this is your vindication. In Larry's book, vampires are killed by the good guys, because they are dangerous, predatory, and evil. (Seems like there's a moral in there, somewhere.)

Most of you reading this already know very well that I'm talking about Monster Hunter International, the critically-acclaimed book by Larry Correia that was released by Baen books back on July 28th, 2009.

Larry writes about what he knows. He knows about being a giant in a small man's world (right there with you, pal). He knows about being an accountant who has "other skills." He knows about guns. He knows about having to deal with a big government that he doesn't have a whole lot of respect for. And you gather that he's always known, down deep, that there's something less-talked about, which lurks beneath the concrete surface of reality as we know it.

I'm ashamed of the fact that I hadn't yet read it, even though I had been around to read some of his early drafts before he sent them off-- even before Kathy Jackson proofed them.

I meant to. But I wanted to have my copy inscribed by Larry, himself.

So it was with great pleasure this Christmas, when I got a nice package from FarmGirl and FarmMom, with cookies... and a copy of M.H.I that had been personally dedicated to me by Larry Correia, with his logo above his signature. What a delightful and thoughtful gift from FarmGirl.

I'll tell you right now-- it's a great read. At over 700 pages, it's a surprisingly quick read, as well.

On his bio at The High Road, Larry Correia lists his occupations as "Accountant, gun/gear dealer, wannabe writer." I've since read that he's updated his bio elsewhere to "accountant, writer, retired gun dealer, and finance manager at a defense contractor."

If his next book is as good as his first, he'll need to retire the other jobs, too.

Go get a copy, and enjoy a fun read.

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