Archive for the ‘Arms races’ Category

A Simple Request

November 26, 2012 - 12:41 am 10 Comments

Now that the stupidest part of the year is well upon us, I have a request for those of you who must endure the bullshit that is air travel in the US this season.

If the blue-gloved stasi at the metal detector/lookey-loo machine tries to touch you, insist on fresh gloves.

In my wildest moments of optimism*, I can hope that this will catch on like gangbusters and be a lever applied at the fulcrum of budget as the demand for more and more gloves skyrockets, and the TSA comes crumbling down and joy returns to the land and nobody demands papers please and….

Yeah, and maybe I’ll get that letter of marque, too.

More realistically, you’ll at least have the peace of mind that the dimwitted goon about to grope you didn’t just grope Brittni Ambir’s active herpes outbreak ’cause hey, look at the cans on that one huh with the same gloves, and cause them some annoyance in the process.

*Usually called “christ, cheer up once in a while would you?” by friends

KTKC: Final Results

October 1, 2012 - 11:40 pm 4 Comments

…are here.

Three.
Fucking.
Dollars.

Right. More importantly, thank you all for every last cent of your donations. I know everything sucks big rocks off the ground for everybody right now money-wise, and that the blatherings of a semi-anonymous goober in New Mexico* were able to convince you all to part with that much money awes me. Awes me and makes me think I should finally get around to using my Powers for actual evil.**

The various promised rewards of dubious value will go up as soon as I’m able to get them. I’m sorry I can’t have everything ready the second Blogorado is over or whatnot, but the pressures from my work and social lives at this point have me honestly grateful that the drive is over for the year, so maybe I can have time in the day to do the little things like eat or acknowledge LabRat. It’ll be at least a week though, probably a bit more. I will actually have time to go through the song raffle before then, since most of you had the good sense to stay way the hell away from that offer, and I’ll let the two unlucky folks know on Wednesday, but the actual mp3s won’t be ready until… yeah, you get the idea. If you’re demented and still want in on that but just didn’t get around to sending in the receipt, I’ll still take them right up to that point. Just throw raffle somewhere in the subject.

Those of you going to Blogorado, I suspect there won’t be any shortage of recording devices, but if you have something with particularly decent audio pickup, I’d be obliged if you’d bring it along.

Just on the push from the one month, we raised very nearly double what it took the better part of 2011 and part of 2012 to raise. I suspect the final number will creep up some, but so far just for 30 days we took in $22,475.55, and we did it without global megacorporations kicking in x% of however much a roll of paper towels the guys in accounting decided would buy good advertising. Suck it, Komen (and, y’know, keep saving the boobies and all. But still, suck it.).

Thank you all.

*Hey, Kelly? Y’think since I was the third highest fundraiser we can get New Mexico colored in on that coverage map now? ;)
**Actually most of you would probably approve of the ends I’ve in mind. We’ll talk later. Somewhere private.

Fundraising: Hard Mode

September 28, 2012 - 9:31 pm 7 Comments

Right off, y’all are flat amazing. I want to deeply thank every one of you who donated. By hitting the $2000 mark, that’s four times my original goal, which based on last year’s efforts I thought was fairly ambitious. I am utterly blown away by this.

But there’s still 55 hours left in this to go. This party don’t stop until the cops come.

So if y’all are going to insist on blowing my mind every step of the way, then all right, motherbitches, it’s nightmare-hard mode time. If at 23:59 Central time on September 30, my fundraising total is higher than Jay’s, I will take my freshly waxed self over at Blogorado and Jay is gonna get a lap dance whether he likes it or not, and video goes up. Think of it as a victory teabagging after a come from behind win. I haven’t discussed this with him, so it could get interesting.

Donate here. You’ve got…fifty five hours and thirty minutes to kick the total up by another $2,890 as of current standings. Ambitious? Oh hell yeah. Let’s do this.

Uh…

July 10, 2012 - 5:18 pm 7 Comments

Seen in banner format above the main Los Alamos National Laboratory sign at the Otowi complex:

LANL Quality Assurance: Let’s all do it right the first time.

I see. That is exactly what I want to see as the quality control initiative of a high-powered science laboratory whose main mission is creating and implementing advanced weapons technology. It’s so comforting I could just wet myself.

What She Said

June 5, 2012 - 8:26 pm 8 Comments

So tired. My sinuses objected most strenuously to the steep changes in altitude during allergy season, plus starting the new regime as soon as I started to feel better have wiped me out.

So instead go read Farmgirl on the subject of open vs. concealed carry, or rather opinionating on the matter. She said pretty much what I would have.

NRA Convention Already?

April 13, 2012 - 11:21 am Comments Off

Well this one just managed to sneak right up on me, but apparently it’s time for the annual NRA Convention again. And while I’m not going, those of you who are, might I make a request?

Drop by the HS Precision booth, and ask about their choice of “celebrity” endorsements. I mean for fuck’s sake, even if you’re a “Yay government they do no wrong!” jackboot cheerleader, and you don’t consider Lon Horiuchi a murderer excused by federal fiat when justice came looking for him, then at the very least he’s a spectacularly bad shot.

What sane company would use either of those options to endorse their product?

Oh wait. HS Precision isn’t sane.

So yeah, if you’re going to the NRA Convention, please drop by the HS Precision booth and find out if they’ve perchance seen the error of their ways. But I wouldn’t bet on a friendly response.

Flagged

March 28, 2012 - 4:24 pm Comments Off

Not inspired by anything in particular, other than that I noted I seemed to be building a collection of observations of behaviors that throw up a little red flag for me. Stuff people do, or say, that indicates trouble might be coming later down the line. Mostly centered on ways people act in intimate relationships because intimate relationships tend to be where we find ourselves most vulnerable, but certainly applies to family, friends, bosses… Most of them are relatively innocuous as a one-time thing just because people are human, but as patterns… flag.

- Makes fun of you in public. This doesn’t apply to good-natured ribbing or giving of shit, though goodness knows that can get fairly intense in some groups or dynamic. This is stuff actually designed to get under your skin, to make you a little (or a lot) angry or hurt or embarrassed. Justification, if called on it, is usually some variant of “just a joke”, or “lighten up”, or “you’re too sensitive”. Actual friendly jokes in an actually light atmosphere aren’t designed to wound, even a little bit; the correct response to saying something to give a friend/lover a good-natured ribbing that turns out to be hurtful is contrition, not demands to develop a sense of humor. In general, someone who finds you being upset intrinsically amusing is to be avoided.

- Tells you your experiences are wrong/mistaken. Often this is just the result of being young and inexperienced enough not to have grown out of I Am The World syndrome, but it’s still a flag, especially in someone old enough to know better. In its worst form this is the foundation of gaslighting. Normally when two people’s experiences of the same event don’t line up, the normal reaction is to find out why someone else saw it a different way- not to tell them their perceptions are simply wrong/mistaken/totally out of line. It’s possible to be wrong or to misread situations, but someone who constantly tells you you do, or that you’re incapable of reading situations because of (reason), is waving a flag.

- Hates your friends and family and doesn’t bother to hide it in front of them. Love and friendship aren’t transitive, but the polite thing to do when you can’t stand a friend or family member of your partner/BFF/whoever is to try and avoid being in situations with that person and to let your partner/whatever know your feelings and why, and grin and bear it when it’s simply not avoidable. Actively doing stuff to drive them off is an isolating move as well as just being rude. That, and one’s friends and family are part of what make us who we are; we can’t pick and choose all of them and they won’t all get along, but someone who can’t stand ANY of your friends and family is making a statement that all the people who like you for who you are are awful/unlikable. This also combines with the first point- someone who makes fun of your friends and family in front of them is showing that their own amusement trumps your anger/embarrassment over poor treatment of people you care about.

- Acts entitled to your time/space/movement. This is a fuzzy one as expecting a loved one to spend time with you isn’t unreasonable, but getting upset over any plans you make that don’t include them, or plans you made for yourself without their input, or going places without them/their say-so is a flag.

- Things get really intense, really fast. Being swept off your feet can be a lot of fun, but eventually you need your feet back on the floor. Someone who tries to keep you constantly swept off your feet or bowled over is often someone who’s trying to keep you off your balance, period.

- Values you for your “innocence” and “vulnerability”. Remember that innocence means being innocent of knowledge and experience. Again, it isn’t intrinsically awful to find a lack of cynicism and an enthusiasm for life as though it were new appealing- but someone who doesn’t want their partners/employees/whatever to know what the world is really like is also giving themselves the experiential upper hand. In order to recognize a manipulative asshole when you see one, you generally need to know something about bad things and the people who do them.

- This one really does only apply to lovers- tells you your preferences in bed are wrong/unacceptable. If your major turnon is something the rest of the world broadly agrees is an active turnoff (like poop, or vomit) except for a few fellow fetishists, this doesn’t apply, but someone who tells you all men/women like oral, or don’t like something else you want, or otherwise presents your desires and requirements to get off as you Doing It Wrong is waving a flag. If they’re willing to ignore your boundaries, wishes, and needs in an intimate, private setting and substitute their own preferences and ideas of how Others Work, odds are good that behavior won’t stay completely confined there.

- Constantly mixed messages. In fiction this is grist for the plot and fodder for comedy. In reality this is sometimes someone who likes you better when you are confused. Again, this can be innocuous and can come from someone who is maybe a little unskilled at communicating; as a pattern, and especially as a pattern that persists after you make efforts at establishing crystal clear communication, it’s a flag. Relationships that have “suspense” as a norm after the getting-to-know-you period are not fun.

- Tells you you’re not like other (category of people you belong to), with the implication that you are awesome and somehow all the rest are not. This is not a behavior that deserves a lot of benefit of the doubt; someone who holds your gender/race/class/salsa dancing hobby categorically against you (and they will, as soon as you displease them) has not just waved a flag, they’ve waved a starter’s flag for you to sprint over the horizon. This behavior can be the result of inexperience/some other flavor of recoverable dumbassery, but it’s not your job to recover it if so. If it happens it’s probably going to be their own gender/race/class/merengue dancing group that does the bulk of the work on the perspective change.

- Frequently creates cognitive dissonance in how you feel about/after spending time with them. If you find yourself frequently having to justify to yourself why X was actually being friendly/well-meaning/innocuous when you felt crappy or nervous in their presence? They’re not really friendly and well-meaning. It’s theoretically possible it’s you and not them, but unless you know you have a PTSD history strongly triggered by white-bearded men and they happen to be a white-bearded man, if you find yourself frequently rationalizing the way someone makes you feel, that’s a flag. People that like and support us and make us feel good with that generally don’t have to do it by code.

- Here’s a REALLY fuzzy one: seems to be in a relationship with a script and not with you. Some people run their interactions with other people through a script or template of How This Goes and pay more attention to it than to other people. Everyone plans to a certain extent how to deal with others based on their expectations and what they have previously experienced; but everyone healthy is ready to throw the script out the window when contact with the other person reveals a flawed assumption or guess. For the people that are REALLY attached to the script, there’s going to be confusion at best and punishment at worst when serious deviations occur. And they will.

- To paraphrase Maya Angelou: When someone tells you who they are, believe them. Someone says they’ll hurt you? They almost certainly will. Someone says they can’t handle a relationship/relationships in general and always sabotages them? They’re telling the truth. Feel sorry for them if you will, but from a distance, because this isn’t even a flag, it’s a hand-written signed and damn near notarized declaration. You’re not going to fix them; maybe a therapist, who is not you, can fix them if and when they decide they need it. Do take into intent context; someone sobbing they’re so stupid and they always screw everything up is definitely sad and upset and feeling helpless, but that’s qualitatively different from telling you that they are destructive to people close to them. This is also different coming from someone you’ve known for ages and know has depressive episodes, as opposed to someone you’re eight weeks into a relationship with who is not actively melting down. Especially if this is coming from a Mixed Message Master.

- In converse to the above: is on a mission to “fix” you. Everyone has flaws, and part of intimacy is dealing with your partner’s flaws and supporting them in their own efforts to deal with their flaws, but even a relationship between two completely normal flaw-having people will run into unhealthy waters when one partner sets themselves up as there to improve and repair the other. Taken to further extremes this is a well-trodden path for gaslighters and abusers- convince the other person they’re so broken they are nothing without their fixer.

- Turning the above around again: believes it is your job to fix THEM and makes it clear you are being interviewed/maintained as Chief Emotional Support. Everyone has problems, and friends do help with problems, but the job of fixing so and so is always primarily on so and so, even if they have to hire some trained staff to facilitate it. And not even a paid therapist can help someone who isn’t working at it.

- Everyone in their life they no longer have a relationship with is EVIL. You can be friends with exes, or not, and it’s okay to be friends with none of your exes, but someone who only has EVIL, CRAZY exes/ex-friends is waving a flag around. Taken literally it means they only associate with crazy evil people and that therefore you two are probably not compatible- but more likely, it means either they see people as all-good or all-bad, or that their own contributions to conflicts are absent in their own minds. Often both. This doesn’t apply as much to family, given crazy and evil tend to spread through family and it’s entirely rational to want to get away from a crazy/evil family, but you still might want to pay attention to *why* the family is described as evil and crazy.

- Tries to argue you into or out of entirely subjective feelings. Argues you should have had a good time when you didn’t; a bad time when you had a great time; tries to make a rational argument why you should date them or hang out with them. This is a pretty common phase of immaturity, especially with people whose interests or field largely rely on everything being objective, but again, it is not your job to help someone out of a destructive idea or phase unless you are a trained therapist and they are giving you money.

- Believes boundaries are unnecessary, cold, or mean in an intimate/family relationship or “true friendship”. This is another starter’s flag: RUN.

- Treats relationships as transactional. Obviously this does not apply to employers and employees, who explicitly ARE in a transactional relationship, but someone who extends this attitude outside of work is waving a flag. While it is true that relationships shouldn’t be all give or all take, keeping an accounting ledger in your head- this favor for that favor, this gift for this act, this uninvited gesture for this demand for quid pro quo- shouldn’t be a normal thing.

- All of your decisions need to be justified to them. If you are a minor child this is one thing, but otherwise? You can do things solely for the reason that you want to do them. Someone who constantly makes you prove that something is justified before you do it without taking a large ration of grief from them is waving a flag. This has some realms of the reasonable- a partner might have legitimate concerns about your health or losing you or whatever- but again, there are limits. “I don’t want you to ride a motor cycle without a helmet” is a different thing from “I don’t want you to eat that donut”. This is another flag that is defined more by the pattern than by the single incident; someone who is really hung up about one small thing has a hangup, someone who makes you justify your food, friends, drinks, career path, and choice in cars is a controlling asshole.

- You find yourself constantly in conflicts you were not actually aware of. It is at least polite to send a declaration of war before the siege starts. This is another pattern-makes-it flag; sometimes we think we’ve been really clear about a feeling or priority or whatever and we haven’t and the other person is oblivious nonetheless. However, someone who is constantly initiating the silent treatment or passive-aggressive note or whatever else based on slights you had NO IDEA about until they are, grudgingly and resentfully, explained later, is flagging.

- Conversely: someone who is constantly obtuse and treats your feelings like some sort of chaotic force of nature they have no relationship or influence over. Someone who will not acknowledge your needs, feelings, or opinions until you scream, then treats you as all VOLATILE, jeez, is likewise flagging. Sometimes there can be other issues behind that problem, like being on the less neurotypical side of the autistic spectrum, but reasons aren’t excuses, they’re reasons for additional measures to minimize problems. Like really clear communication.

- Deliberately tries to scare you. Punches the wall next to your head, throws things when angry with you, threatens your pets, makes self-harm gestures in front of you when upset with you. This is another starter’s flag- run away, run now, run as fast as you can.

- Nothing is EVER agree to disagree. It is very important that you hash out every single issue logically and with passionate argument. Bonus flag points if it has to be done RIGHT NOW, DON’T GO AWAY ANGRY, LISTEN TO ME WHEN I’M TALKING TO YOU. Everyone wants to be right and prefers winning arguments to losing them; normal people know not everything should be an argument and not every argument represents a hill that someone must die on, and also that sometimes differences of opinion or preference aren’t that important.

- You don’t do stuff independently, everything is done at each other somehow. Everything you wear is a message! Every choice you make somehow relates back to them! Why are you not receiving my food and clothing related messages! Is it OK if I wear the purple top today?

Easter Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

March 27, 2012 - 11:21 am Comments Off

You there, step right up! Are you a parent upset at the cancellation of the easter egg hunt because that peroxide cunt with the Ford Suburban Subdivision kneecapped you before you could shank that snobby fuck from up the road and get your precious little Johnny Fuckaccident an egg rather than risk him doing it on his own and not finding one?

Holy shit are you in luck, Sparkles!

That’s right, this Easter Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! it’s Uncle Stingray’s all-adult egg hunt! Just sign this pain waiver that I totally did not rip off because Offdenson could kick my ass in his sleep and makes Ken at Popehat cry in the courtroom on a regular basis and step right up.

Here’s the rules, skippy. You wear eye protection, you wear a mouth guard, you find eggs. There’s 200 of them hidden about this field which may or may not also contain explosives, mines, booby traps, venomous snakes, and Justin Bieber. You want more pads? Well hey, maybe you’re not quite as dumb as Sally from the tennis club after all. Good thinking but that’s on you and I don’t really give a shit if you go in dressed in full medieval plate armor, but you get 30 minutes and at the end the top three people who can make it back to the entrance with the most eggs will win Fabulous Prizes(TM).

No, dipshit, I did not say whoever collects the most. Clean the Just For Men out of your fuckin’ ears and try using them for something other than your mistress to hold on to while your frigid wife cooks the books on her etsy shop. I said whoever makes it back with the most wins. Bonus prize if anybody finds and can craft a more lifelike puppet out of Bieber, and points are available for artistic style.

For the low low low entrance fee of $25 plus a small (large) surcharge to cover legal fees for the pain waver, you can get in there and get your spoiled little uterine dumpling all the Easter eggs they were denied by those uppity fucks who canceled the big egg hunt saying you over-obsessive pussyslimes were ruining things for people who have more personality and parental skill than a dead aardvark with gonorrhea! No kids in this, so when you grab that egg you can do so with the self-righteous justification that it’s FOR MY CHILD and shove that golf club so far up Dave’s ass if he even makes a move to that purple-speckled ovoid by the trip wire he’ll have to putt out before he can say good morning!

Break out the fire hoses and party hats folks, it’s Uncle Stingray’s First Annual Easter Egg Helicopter Hunt!

(h/t Salamander)

Bucked Stars

February 19, 2012 - 11:44 am Comments Off

So apparently there was something or other involving a burnt coffee superchain and something about gun folks, and no doubt a plethora of not only “guns r evil ’cause bad” opinions, but for icing on the mocha ventilated, plenty of back and forth on the pro gun side between our own that has slid far enough into stupid that I’m not even going to describe it. I was going to just let this whole thing slide as just too “Really? No, really?” to comment on. But I’ve seen one place too many trumpeting this as a victory to refrain comment further.

Moreover I would’ve bet that the overwhelming and deafening corporate “Meh” from last year wouldn’t lead to a repeat. I forgot that the overlap ratio between internet gun people and borderline-Asperger’s “You’re trolling me, right? No, really this is a troll.”-reaction generators is nearly 1.

So the sum total of all the hoopla for this year’s titanic victory? “LEAVE US THE FUCK OUT OF YOUR GODDAMN CRUSADES, WE MAKE COFFEE.“*

Yeah, we knocked that one out of the fuckin’ park.

*Paraphrased.

Belated Gun Meme

February 16, 2012 - 6:27 pm Comments Off

So I was whining to Spear about having nothing to post because everything political lately is making me incoherently angry and nothing else interesting seems to be getting my brain juices going. He suggested I do that “Five dream guns” meme that made its way around awhile back; I replied that I had skipped it at the time because compared to most of my blogosphere I know very little about guns and care even less about them beyond their being fun to shoot and useful tools. He indicated that would be why he’d like to see my version. So be it.

1. (categorical answer) A 1911 for every occasion. A super-slick custom 1911! An authentic milsurp service 1911! A beater 1911 to fuck with! A compact 1911! A 1911 tricked out for goblin zapping! A 1911 tricked out for target shooting! If we ever lucked into sufficient disposable cash to do stupid shit with, a gift 1911 presented in a box alongside a fox with some socks, with little 1911s sewn onto the socks!

I’m not going to participate in the pistol equivalent of the Cola Wars; 1911s have a number of drawbacks compared to similar pistols used for similar purposes. I just happen to like them, they fit my hand well and point naturally for me. Not the best, but pretty much the best for me.

We are already well on our way to this goal, minus the fox, socks, and box.

2. A .30-.30 lever action rifle. Lever actions are just great fun for me, it’s got a lot of historical appeal, and they can be carried around relatively painlessly and used to shoot whatever needs shooting, be it game, zombies, or goblins. I already have one of these and enjoy shooting it more than anything else I own. Only drawback is I either need to find a very good pair of tight-fitting gloves I don’t mind beating up, or accept the sacrifice of one of my thumbnails.

3. A Mosin Nagant, preferably of Finnish or Russian make from the 30s. This is pure historical battle rifle geekery; I find something just plain neat about a weapon made to be used to either shoot, stab, or beat Nazis to death with no appreciable ill effect to the weapon. There’s also the slightly mad (and more than a little masochistic) idea that if you can get minute-of-bad-guy accurate with one of those things with iron sights, you can shoot anything. There are certain orthopedic ill effects associated with this plan, but a possible solution may involve an equally regional tradition of wearing a coat made out of two sheep and a boat sail.

4. A shotgun that points swiftly and naturally for me and runs reliably. I also already have one of these. (Actually two, but one of them is OMGWTF long and wears me out faster than the other.) After having shot many shotguns I have mostly concluded the make and model are not actually all that relevant.

5. An AR-15 built specifically for me according to my preferences in weight, sights, barrel length, stock length, handedness, shoe size, and zodiac sign. This is the purest expression of the guns-as-legos desire, basically the rifle version of my 1911 fetish. Once this goal is accomplished I anticipate feeling vague shame about still liking the .30-.30 more. Goal in progress.