Thursday, July 31, 2014

Aging infrastructure...

I spotted this light pole in the neighborhood recently while out bicycling. I'd never noticed it before, which is odd since it's obviously been there quite a long time.
This light pole up on Kessler Boulevard, on the other hand, is obviously of recent vintage.
While the new one is probably safer, I wonder how long they last?

Automotif XL...

Driving back to SoBro from an errand downtown, I didn't waste the chance to go motoring down the tree-lined curves of Fall Creek Parkway with the top down. It turns out I wasn't the only person who had that urge...
What's this, then? A '68 Camaro? Been a good week for vintage Camaro-spotting!
...a traffic light further down the road and a better shot. Having the top down and a camera with an LED viewfinder on the back makes shots like this possible. This pic would have been nigh impossible in a hardtop and/or with an old film camera.

Putting more stuff in my first aid kits.

So, after I took Ambo Driver's shooter self-care class, I put the blowout kit and tourniquet in the car. I already had a first aid kit in the car; this just expanded its capabilities. Then I ordered two more small IFAKs: a bright red one to go in the range bag and an unobtrusive black one to stick on my Maxpedition purse.

Is this because I want to be tactically prepared for a shootout in the Kroger parking lot like an operator? No, this is acknowledging the fact that I carry a gun everywhere and that anywhere I carry a gun, there is a small but non-zero chance I may accidentally bust a cap in my own ass with it. Yes, Plan A is "Follow The Four Rules"; I got that. Call this a fairly cheap form of "F$#@-Up Insurance". Besides, I already had a basic first aid kit in the purse; this just expanded its capabilities. I don't think it's necessary, but it could come in handy.

Oh, and I picked up a couple extra tourniquets to replace the ones in the kits. I figured that since I'm not trying to hide from enemy fire, an orange one made more sense. I can't think of any downsides to medical personnel being able to see the thing better. (I put one of the resulting spares out in the garage, where my roommate does all her woodworking with power tools. Can't hurt.)

I have to applaud...

...the tact of the Israeli ambassador on the Today show this morning when Savannah Guthrie was tut-tutting him over collateral damage in Gaza.

She was sitting not five miles from the craters of a terrorist attack that, directly or indirectly, set off a chain of events that has caused civilian casualties that the Israelis would darn near have to burn Gaza City to the ground and plow it with salt to equal. (Not to mention the civilian casualties caused by the eponymous Project hatched on the same island, down the street at 270 Broadway.)

Tactical RV...

Spotted at the Marion County Hamfest:

I get the utility of a "mobile command post"-type vehicle for a governmental subdivision that encompasses almost a million souls, but did they have to paint it up like Reinhard Heydrich's Winnebago? This is, after all, a vehicle that is more likely to be used in the aftermath of tornadoes, floods, or fires than in response to the bank robbery shootout scene in Heat.

There must not have been any hardcore whackers at the event, because this thing would have pulled 'em in like a bug zapper. They'd have been gently bumping off those shiny aluminum flanks like 300-lb polyester-clad moths around a Coleman lantern.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Automotif XXXIX...

Spotted this restomod on the way home from the range. It was turning right at 56th & Lafayette, so I wasn't able to get a better shot, unfortunately. It was mighty tasty, though.

Bitchin' Camaro

Bangity bangity bangity...

Fifty more rounds of TulAmmo 115gr FMJ. No malfunctions. Had fun shooting the plates from 15 yards (I had to move the table back; I think the people before me were shooting steel from about the seven yard line, which is just a little more daring than I like to be.)

This makes eight hundred rounds in the notebook. I should add that, other than taking it apart and lubing it when I purchased it, the pistol has not been cleaned or lubricated since. I said before that I'm not doing any kind of "torture test", and I'm not. Not many pistols get frozen in blocks of ice and then run over with a tank before being thrown out of a helicopter, but lots of guns do get neglected...

Overheard in the Office...

Me: "It's like there's a spinal reflex to yell 'FALSE FLAG! FALSE FLAG!' anytime something like this happens because, apparently, nobody's ever been to a gun show and looked around. Our side needs to own our 'tards."

RX: "If by 'own' you mean 'take behind the barn and beat the ____ out of'."

They could do this with pockets full of kryptonite.

I could watch this video over and over again.

And then there were none...

Mr. Theodore "Dutch" VanKirk, the last surviving crew member of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress "Enola Gay" on 6 August 1945, has passed away in a Stone Mountain, Georgia retirement home.

Gun pics...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Not helping...

If you're just rambling around Phoenix, AZ with your slung AR-15 and decide you need a cup of coffee, the Starbucks at Sky Harbor should probably not be your first choice of places to wet your whistle.

You're not helping, Peter Steinmetz.

As my roomie pointed out, there are plenty of pictures of IDF reservists somehow managing to enjoy a frappaccino without unslinging their shootin' iron and muzzling passersby. (And, as I replied, the only reason the IDF reservists in question are carrying those AR-15s is because they have to be armed and aren't issued pistols; a restriction that does not apply to private citizens in Arizona. Steinmetz could have had a sidearm conveniently strapped to his belt leaving both his hands free and not caused a tenth the fuss, but I presume that would not have suited his purposes.)

Trivial Pursuit...

You might not ever have heard of Hurley Manufacturing, the remaining company in the building vacated by Ovation, but we bet you have one of their springs. Among their products is the recoil spring that Colt ships in every AR-15, M16 and M4.
I did not know this.

A-ha! Stoppage! (Although not the gun's fault.)

After doing some shooting with my carry gun and also installing a gizmo on my M&P357 that I'll maybe write about later, I pulled the PPX out yesterday to put another 50 rounds of Winchester White Box 115gr FMJ through it, bringing the tally up to 750.

I was standing at about 15 yards and ringing the steel, having a grand ol' time, trying to play a tune on the different-sized plates. When the second to the last mag went dry I did a speed reload from the belt pouch and...
Round 741 failed to feed, although the reason was immediately apparent: Trying to do a fast reload with this gun, something I have not really been doing, I didn't seat the magazine fully. It was in the gun, and inserted far enough to let the slide shove a round out of the mag, but cartridge nose hit the feed ramp too low and the picture was the result.

Not sure I should hold shooter error against the gun. The unusual shape of the floor plates and magwell opening could take some getting used to for me.

ETA: Incidentally, nosing around the Walther fanboi sites, it appears that P99/PPQ night sights are compatible with the PPX.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Machines break.

So I went to the range today to do some stuff, but first I set up a target with the intention of seeing if all the drawing and shooting I'd been doing on the clock had help with my measure-them-with-a-sundial FAST times.

Between the first and second shots to the 3x5 card, my hi-vis orange Ameriglo front sight suddenly turned black. I distinctly remember thinking "Wow, it sooted up like that, that fast?" as I pressed off the second shot. Reload and find the sight for the shots in the 8" circle and... no, that's not sooted up...

My Ameriglo sight had spit its orange ring out after two years and a buncha rounds. I guess I need to look into a new one. Maybe switch to CAPs or Trijicon HD's.

Even with the sight gone, which really put a stick in my spokes for a bit, and what seemed a painfully slow draw getting fouled by my shirt, what felt like a slow run had a raw time as fast as anything I'd ever shot in AFHF. And subsequent runs were even faster, although still in the lower end of Intermediate. With a few raw times under 8 seconds, I think I've got it in me to get an Advanced if I keep at it.

Apparently if you practice at this stuff, you get better. Who knew?

Well, it is a desert...

Via SurvivalBlog I was led to a stub of an article on a topic about which I've long wondered. What happens to Phoenix when the drinking straws start making that bubbling sound in the bottom of the cup?

We've built some humongous cities and agricultural areas in the middle of a desert that are awfully dependent on a watershed and various aquifers that maybe ain't gonna keep up with the demand.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

I had a craving...

...for a big, over-the-top action flick that didn't involve superheroes or giant robots.

Looks like I'm good, then...

...and 50 more makes 700.

Half that box of WWB 9mm went through the PPX today with no stoppages, bringing the tally in my little notebook to 700. I let a certified HK junkie (and FAST Wall denizen) pause his VP9 practice to put a half-dozen rounds through it. He had the same bemused expression I wind up with* after shooting it, and said nice things about the trigger.

*I want to hate the gun. My inner gun snob want this sub-$400 pistol to just be a complete pulsating ball of suck and fail, but it keeps not being one. Anybody can make a crappy cheap gun, and lots of companies do, but making a good cheap gun is a trick that doesn't happen every day.

Awwww, who's the sad clown?

So, who else is planning on filling their mug by reading the comments section of the Palmer v. D.C. articles at HuffPo?

Don't you love it when people whine about "judicial activism" and "legislating from the bench"?

It's supposed to rain some more this morning...

...but the firing line at Iggle Crick is covered and the rain keeps the crowds down. I've still got a punch left on this here ten-visit pass, so...

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #102...

M&P9 w/Leupold DeltaPoint and Streamlight TLR-1s
Now that I have a decent timer, I can start seeing if and where the dot offers its biggest advantages for me over the conventional irons. It feels faster on stuff that involves a lot of transitions, like running a bunch of plates, but the clock won't lie...

I have been pleasantly surprised at how not sucky that Taylor Freelance mag extension is. I've had some less-than-satisfactory experiences in the past with other brands of aftermarket mag extenders.

(Also, note to self: Get some BUIS on that thing. I'm probably going to have to pair a tall front sight blank with a suppressor-height Glock rear dovetailed in front of the sight housing.)

Uncharacteristically big weekend news...

By now, you've probably heard about the win for Team Us in the DC District Court in the case of Palmer v. D.C. that strikes down the ban on the lawful carry of handguns in the nation's capital.

This is a good knight fork.

Now to see if they appeal it.

If they don't, D.C. will have to go shall-issue, the very idea of which you know is causing sphincters to clang shut amongst our Betters in the Capital District even now.

If they do, and it makes it up to SCOTUS, and they lose (which appears reasonably likely in light of Heller and McDonald) then it has wider national implications for effectively "no issue" places.

[Mr. Burns voice]Excellent![/Mr. Burns Voice]

Saturday, July 26, 2014


When that first big storm rolled through this morning, I was left feeling like my skull had been inflated to 90psi and bright white light was streaming out of all my cranial sutures. I gave Saturday up for a bad idea and lounged in bed all day because ow.

I had never seen an episode of Wagon Train before. Now I have.

Also, there was a movie called Arabesque which somehow managed to be awful in its contrived '60s psychedelia despite featuring Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren in the starring roles. Henry Mancini phoned the score in. I turned it off during the unsteadycam footage of a dude dressed like a sheik being chased through an English farm field by a combine. No, seriously.

Also, also, there was an episode of Gunsmoke featuring a midget were-elephant.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #101...

After I got done practicing draws today, I put fifty rounds of Magtech through the PPX, just banging and clanging on the plates from 15 yards for fun. No malfunctions. The notebook says this makes 650.

Automotif XXXVIII...

Stopping in at 21st Amendment on the way home from the range for some tasty Sun King Osiris, I noticed something in the parking lot across the street. Good thing I had my little Nikon with me! Let's walk across the street and look!
I spy...
...with my little eye...
...something that begins with the letter "M"!

Propaganda War...

At the sound of the beep...

Last Thursday I showed up at the range a little after they'd finished mowing, but the joint was already jumping (at least for midday weekday.)

The south bay was taken, and I arrived at the north bay at the same time as a guy who was setting up to function-fire a few boxes of ammo through his new 20-gauge autoloader. He was setting up at... 15 yards? Anyway, farther back than I usually did, but no matter; drawing to a small target was the point anyway.

My first draw-and-fire a single shot showed that I had a problem: The timer thought I'd fired a three-shot string. There was no way the mic on the timer could ignore the gauge blazing away ten feet to my left. Shotmaxx to the rescue! Time to try out the inertia sensor mode; that way the timer senses the shots by the motion of the recoil rather than the sound of the shot. It worked brilliantly.

Before too long, the folks in the south bay left and I moved over there. It was possible to shoot in the shade if I didn't mind shooting from... twenty... something? yards. Or was it fifteen? I had no idea.

Since I was shooting in the shade, I took off the gun burkha. I had a couple good times, despite the longer range to the plates.
When I returned on Monday, the south bay was unoccupied and I went straight there. This time I'd stopped at Home Despot on the way and had a new toy...
How far were the plates? About that far.(If this laser proves useful, I'm going to hand it over to Bobbi for home carpentry use and get a proper rangefinder.)
It was getting a little warm and sticky in the sun, so I only did twenty runs, but was rewarded with improved times from under the burkha.
Before I left, I pulled out the Walther PPX to put another fifty rounds through it. I dinged the plates for a bit with a box of TulAmmo and had no malfunctions. According to my notebook, this makes 600 rounds through the PPX.

Anyhow, gotta get back to the range today. Gotta keep showing up on the regular.

Neat Stuff

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Brownells wants you!

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #100...

Smith & Wesson Model of 1955 .45 Target, made in 1956

Well, Cheryl Ladd kidnapped another bunch...

Lead story on the national news this morning, miraculously enough, was Air Algerie 5107. How NBC determined a jetliner vanishing with 150+ souls aboard to be more important than a prank on an NYC bridge, I'll never know.

Am I the only person who's frustrated that none of the stock photos of planes in Air Algerie livery are actually of an MD-83? That's, like, a plane aspie thing, isn't it?

Someone vandalized the navel of the world!

From the urgency of the lengthy report on the Today show this morning, you'd have thought someone had infiltrated the Smithsonian, stolen the Wright Flyer and crashed it into the White House while yelling "Allahu Akhbar!" Instead, somebody had swapped some flags.

NYPD cops were swarming over the Brooklyn Bridge, even (or so the on-the-scene reporter breathlessly intoned) "counter-terrorism officers", all to investigate someone changing the flags atop the bridge towers. I realize this is kinda close to NBC's flagpole at 30 Rock, but you don't see CNN losing their collective fecal matter every time the "T" goes missing off the tower at Georgia Tech, now, do you, Matt Lauer?

And why the freakout this time? The rest of the nation scratches its head.

Man, there's no omphaloskepsis like Manhattan omphaloskepsis.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #99...

I've long had a soft spot for the S&W 3rd Gen pistols. The CS9 was one of the last, and the most easily-toted of the bunch. In the Eighties, you had to pay a mint to get a custom 'smith to do this to a S&W 39.

Pretty creative...

Wanna send a pizza to some IDF soldiers? DoubleTapper will help you get a pie to them.

What a fascinatingly interconnected world it is.

Once upon a time...

Once upon a time, I used to work in a one-hour photo lab in a drug store. (This was before I worked in the free-standing one-hour photo lab in what used to be, I think, a Taco Bell, but that's neither here nor there....)

Anyhow, every now and again a customer, usually (but not always) a woman, would come up and start to drop off a roll of film with us, and then suddenly think better of it and ask if she could drop it into the slot where it was sent off to our overnight photo service instead.

A quizzically raised eyebrow on my part would usually be responded to with a blush and a "Well, you know, it's those kind of pictures..."

"Ah," I'd reply. "In that case, you'd probably be better off leaving the roll with us. I mean, sure, me and Kristen will see them but... Look, if you drop that film in there, it goes to a big building full of people; it's not like it gets developed by a little elf in a tree someplace."

And it's true. I've known more than one person who worked in overnight bulk photo processing facilities who had the most amazing albums full of color glossy 8"x10" photos of strangers doing things that would turn you white.

That's why this story doesn't even nudge my surprise-o-meter.


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Speaking of the shirt-pocket camera...

Walking the bikes across the Indiana Avenue bridge over Fall Creek, I noticed activity on the water below and somewhat upstream:
What was making those ripples in the polluted creek?
I utilized the new camera's improved zoom capabilities over my previous shirt pocket camera:
Jellicoe was about to cross Scheer's T!

Imported juice.

Someone had asked about battery life on the new shirt pocket camera earlier, so...

Immediately after snapping this pic of a Kawasaki Versys while out bicycling to Kroger today, I went to zoom in for a tighter shot and the screen went white with a polite note informing me the camera was powering down due to a low fuel tank.

The battery was last charged over two weeks ago while I was in New Hamster, and since then I've taken just shy of 250 photos with it, as well as a fair amount of general futzing around figuring out all the menus and trick effects and whatnot. I am not displeased.

It was hot and humid... I didn't go to the range today.

If it was going to be hot and humid all week, I would have sucked it up and gone, but it's supposed to be pretty glorious weather Thursday and Friday. Dunno if I can wait that long, though. If it's not raining buckets tomorrow, I reckon I'll go put in an hour.

...and a gold house and a rocket car.

I'm trying to write up a list of the names of people I wouldn't kill for $23,000,000,000, and I gotta tell you, gentle reader, I'm coming up empty-handed so far.

I'm glad I quit smoking when I did, because this is getting whack. The absolute irrationality of that jury verdict (and the way that irrationality passes without comment in the national media) should scare you. It ain't far from there to the tumbrels.

How does that work?

How does that work? Does entering the IDF not require taking an "oath, affirmation or other formal declaration" to the State of Israel? Or are our armed forces archaic with all the oath-taking and joining Zahal is more like getting hired at WallyWorld? "Okay, fill out your W4. Here's your flak vest. Now your friends will think you're a ninja when you show them the dumb way we're gonna teach you to carry a pistol."

Monday, July 21, 2014

Overheard in the Office...

RX: "Who is John Stamos?"

Me: "I don't know who the hell John Stamos is; I'm long past the point where People magazine turned into Who Are These People? magazine."

Pass the popcorn...

Overheard in the Office...

Roomie makes a Modest Proposal...
RX: "'Mounds of poop along the borders?' If we would do that with Mexico, we might not be in so much trouble. If everybody in Texas and Arizona went down to the border and took a steaming dump..."

Nashorn, sarvikuono, nosorog, 犀牛

The rhinos are not the most active of creatures despite, like your humble correspondent, looking like they could use a bit of Zumba. Supposedly they spend about a third of their waking hours doing what you see in the picture above. Dominant bulls have slightly less naptime because they have to patrol the borders of their turf. Fun fact: Dominant bulls will mark their territory with mounds of poop along the borders. Also, a bunch of rhinos is called a "crash".

Sunday, July 20, 2014

One of my favorite planes...

It's just such an improbable-looking little thing, from a time when aviation technology was advancing by leaps and bounds. The P-26's first flight was in 1932. Fifteen years later, the U.S. Army Air Corps would have morphed through the U.S. Army Air Forces into the United States Air Force, privates would be airmen, and we'd be flying swept-wing jets.

By contrast, the current F-15 Eagle fleet (now Boeing products as well, thanks to aviation industry conglomeration and consolidation) is as much as thirty years old and more. Heck, there's a larger spread of time between the first flight of the F-22 Raptor and today than there is between the first flight of the P-26 Peashooter and the F-86 Sabre jet.

(H/T to Pergelator.)

Why are cheetahs listed as "vulnerable" by IUCN?

Because everyone knows cheetahs will never prosper.
This one was chillin' over by the fence where they can occasionally get glimpses of the plains game; kudu, zebra, and wildebeest apparently being the equivalent of cat TV. However, from probably a good 75 yards away, it became aware of me pointing the camera...

Much like its smaller relative, F. catus, power napping is a favorite activity of  A. jubatus.

Guns of August

There are some pretty belligerent words getting tossed around on the TV in the next room.

Gratuitous Gun Pr0n #98...

 I needed this picture where I could link it elsewhere. Don't mind me. Carry on.

FN FNS-9 with, um, slightly carried away stippling job. It's like every time the guy got to a border, he didn't like the way it looked, and so he'd stipple a little more until he'd eventually stippled the whole frame.
FNS-9 fits RCS Phantom for M&P 9 like it was made for it.

What immortal hand or eye?

 What a glorious animal...
I could spend all day watching tigers...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Bear pics...

Half of the grizzlies at the zoo were being very photogenic. (The other one turned his back to the crowd, took a huge dump, and then went and took a nap.)

I love the expression here.

Watch the skies!

Has a side job posing for the California state flag.

Ouch. (But a happy Ouch.)

Long day. Left the house with Shootin' Buddy before 0900 and pedaled to Petite Chou Bistro in Broad Ripple proper for brunch.
Brunch out on the terrace at Petite Chou.
From there, we bicycled all the way down the Canal Towpath until we picked up the White River Greenway down by the Naval Armory.
This is not where Indiana's war reserve of belly buttons is kept. #IStandCorrected
From there, it was down into the city until we crossed Fall Creek and could pick up the Cultural Trail and take it to White River Park, where we crossed the river on the Washington Street bridge and went to the zoo.
Good view of the skyline crossing Fall Creek.
After zooing, we retraced our route to Broad Ripple and had lunch at 317 Burgers, before proceeding to the Indiana Microbrewers Festival and wandering around sampling the wares from brewers near and far. (Mostly near, but Stone had a booth.)
The new orangutan exhibit at the Indy zoo might be the coolest thing I've ever seen in a zoo.
And now home, after a round trip of some 27-ish miles. I am sore, tired, and I have a mess of photos to sort out.
Everything that could have a bicycle locked to it had a bicycle locked to it. All the way around the building and every nearby traffic sign and the fence out on the Monon Trail. I've never seen so many bikes at a non-bicycle-specific event. I guess finding designated drivers is hard.
But I'm happy. Because I have to say it was a good day. (I didn't have to use my AK.)