Archive for February, 2009

Keep It Simple, Stupid

February 28, 2009 - 5:41 pm Comments Off

Yesterday we went to the range for the first time in *mumble mumble* months. Especially when we were still building our fence, we’d fallen into a rut with quite tall sides involving weekends; we’d either spend them cleaning, working on various projects in the home, or we’d blow EVERYTHING off and make a point of doing absolutely nothing productive. Shooting fell far more by the wayside than it should have; skills were kept up to “just good enough for minute of bad guy at seven meters” level for a defensive situation.

Anyway, the fellow that spotted Stingray’s concealment fail seems to have upgraded into actual shooting buddy, and we hit the range with him for a few hours yesterday afternoon. He brought a few toys of his own- a Smith and Wesson M&P Compact (which I quite liked and wouldn’t mind having one of my own), and a 4″ 1911 with modifications whose other stats I’ve forgotten that was also fairly fun to shoot. We spent some time joking around and generally getting to know each other better (as well as politely and carefully identifying one another as fellow crazy libertarians), and at some point he felt comfortable enough to offer advice, as my shooting skill has definitely rusted. This can be extremely obnoxious behavior, but in this case wasn’t and I appreciated it. He pointed out that I have a flinch, which pretty likely descends from the Walther PP we had with the nasty slide bite, or the Model 70 we have now that somehow- I have yet to figure out how- gashes my trigger finger each time I fire it. Nothing we have (that I want to shoot, anyway) really gives me any problems with recoil- so the solution for that is a pretty simple “send lots of rounds downrange that DON’T hurt and the problem will cure itself”. No problem.

The other thing he suggested (we were working on reactive steel targets at the time) was to shut out everything else but the front sight and not take any more time to fire each round than it took me to re-focus on the center of the next target. And you know what? I improved pretty dramatically over the course of the next several magazines doing that. Very rewarding experience- I had a lot more fun than I usually do.

Most of my individual shooting instruction on pistol has been from Stingray, who grew up shooting in rifle matches and slow-fire pistol. He gave me the advice he’d been given*: slow your breathing, don’t pull the trigger too fast, adjust your stance, wait for the “right” moment… and so on. And I’ve diligently kept all of this in mind with each shot fired ever since. All of it. Trying to keep each piece in my mind… and I improved a lot slower and couldn’t shoot as much because my hands and wrists would get tired much faster taking that much time per shot with my relatively heavy (but well loved) 1911. Turns out, a lot of that stuff apparently takes care of itself with adequate focus on the front sight and minimal conscious fretting about it… or at least it does for me.

What you’re taught makes up the teaching “DNA” that you pass on to others. Sometimes a little outcrossing is healthy, yes?

*Stingray would probably appreciate it if I mentioned that he certainly KNOWS the “front sight, press, front sight, press” mantra, he’s just very ingrained with the slow-fire stuff- which after all is what he spent 95% of his time actually DOING.

Welcome to Bizzarro Land

February 27, 2009 - 12:32 pm Comments Off

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tossed cold water on the prospect of reinstating the assault weapons ban

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will join Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in opposing any effort to revive the 1994 assault weapons ban, putting them on the opposite side of the Obama administration.
h/t to Blunt Object

I just… they … and then…
Is 20ga enough for flying pigs? ‘Cause I just saw one wing past out front, and I gotta try some of that airborn bacon.

Official Reports

February 26, 2009 - 10:37 pm Comments Off

US Officials: Iraq Pull-Out in Aug. 2010
AQ Officials: Iraq surge scheduled Sep. 2010.

Quote of the Day

February 26, 2009 - 11:28 am Comments Off

From SmartDogs:

I posted somewhere else that I propose February be named “my muse is a lazy, ignorant whore” month.

And I feel like mine is boffing everyone except me…

Amen, sister.

A Summary

February 25, 2009 - 5:30 pm Comments Off

If you imagine someone else holding the arm, this pretty much covers my week so far.
06season

If anybody needs me, I’ll be looking for the nearest clock tower.

Made of Win

February 25, 2009 - 5:24 pm Comments Off

Change

Y’all pretty much know how I feel about the famous socialist-realist depiction of Our Dear Leader, but I’d count this as a massive improvement. As an even better bonus, it’s purchasable for various styles of wear- and all proceeds go to the National Center for Science Education.

Hat tip to the Evilutionary Biologist.

*resumes frantic scramble for something, ANYTHING of substance to write about*

Not-So-Sweet Sisterhood

February 23, 2009 - 8:43 pm Comments Off

Peter posts about this article about competition and backstabbing among women with a question- is it really true, are women really like this with each other?

The answer he received immediately and uniformly was “YES”. The article itself didn’t impress me much- it absolutely oozes with the attitude that anything that happened more than about fifteen years ago might as well have happened to cavemen- but the overall conclusion is that, yes, women are NOT all that sisterly with each other just because they’re women- rather the opposite, in fact. If anything the article’s blinkers regarding the actual history of women pre-feminism (they laughably assume that before Betty Friedan, women had no life whatsoever outside the home) make it far too optimistic- it isn’t being in business and it isn’t technology that makes women compete and hide claws and fangs behind a friendly smile, it’s always been this way.

As I posted last week, females in social species in general aren’t exactly pacifists either. While female heirarchies tend to be more stable than male, being frequently inherited* to a large degree, they still exist and are still critical to the females. When a conflict does arise beyond the point that can be handled with subtlety, it’s usually a very serious one and the grudge may last for life. There is relatively no reason for unrelated females to bond, although bonds within family are usually ironclad- all other females represent competition for male attention. Within a group of chimps or baboons, friendships are formed- between certain males and between males and females, but usually not so much between unrelated females. They have their literal sisters as well as their mothers and grandmothers to pick their lice- random monkey skanks need not apply. If anything, we could expect this pattern to be even more pronounced in a semi-monogamous species like humans- male attention and male devotion shoot up in value in direct correlation to the amount of intensive time and care the infants need. Having your female relatives around helps a lot, but the less likely you’ll be able to rely on mom, grandma, and auntie the more important the male’s undivided attention becomes.

I’ve emphasized that nurture matters as much as nature before, and if anything human cultures have only exacerbated this phenomenon. When it’s worked into the structure of a society that a woman’s worth is directly tied first to her ability to have children and second to her ability to get a good partner, then every single other woman that isn’t a relative- and even sometimes even if they are- becomes competition. Someone you can bitch about men and at eat ice cream with isn’t worth a fraction what a reasonably valuable man is in such an environment, and is essentially disposable- teenage girls tend to be the purest distillation of this phenomenon, as I’d wager there isn’t a woman in this reading audience that hasn’t been promptly ditched by a BFF the second a boyfriend entered the picture- or done the ditching herself. Obviously, girls and women do still form real friendships among themselves, but such friendships tend to form best and strongest when they’ve nothing to compete over and a LOT in each other to identify with.

In terms of socialization, girls are generally highly discouraged from early on in their social interactions not to show any overt signs of aggression or confrontation. While boys may be kept from actually kicking little Timmy’s face in for taking a toy, the general attitude is that boys will be boys and such aggression simply needs to be managed and channeled in a healthy fashion- not quashed altogether as tends to be the pattern with girls. (Other women who were tomboys as girls and constantly frustrated by this are nodding along with me about now.) Little girls still have plenty of aggression and as above plenty of reason to compete among themselves- but discouraged from toddlerhood on to actually SHOW it, instead of a straightforward expression it’s likely to find the most byzantine of expressions, usually focused on social shunning or humiliation. If you must express yourself strictly through socialization, destroying a disliked girl or woman’s social life is far more rewarding than breaking her nose. If the woman in question doesn’t do a fair amount of introspection on the subject and decide to rebel against this, what prevailed on the playground will certainly continue up through the office or church group or mommies in the playgroup- aggression and competition carefully masked by smiles and pseudo-sweet talk.

If anything, rather than blaming women entering professional fields for giving them another reason to compete with one another, the increased flow of women into such fields is probably the most realistic cultural hope for mitigating these patterns. Not only does it give women more options to achieve than just the quality of man she can get, it puts women in the type of setting where men have achieved bonding with unrelated men from the veldt to the battlefield to the boardroom- one where an alliance offers a chance at greater success rather than just a vulnerability to a rival. Backstabbing can pay in business, but choosing your allies carefully and working those connections can pay a lot more, and over a longer term.

*An interesting exception to the males-disperse males-compete pattern is the bonobo. Their females disperse at adolescence and they have more conflicts among females than male-dispersal primates- but they resolve their conflicts with sex more often than with violence. They’re also “dominant” in the same fashion as males are in other primate groups. More interestingly, they’ll happily bond with unrelated females as buddies the same way the males will in other species…

Wardrobe Malfunction

February 21, 2009 - 8:49 pm Comments Off

…free state style. Last week I finally broke down and got a flashlight holder for my belt. Yada yada, sometimes bad guys are in the dark, etc. Mostly I just finally realized hey, if I have a light with me I won’t be squinting and trying to figure WTF I’m looking at in less than brilliant direct sunlight. So far I’ve already been reaching for my flashlight as much if not more than my multitool (though still nowhere near as much as just for a pocketknife). Not only is it useful as hell, but it brings a nice balance to the weight distribution. It does, however, take a bit of getting used to in some respects.

Since weekends are homeowner chore marathon days, I of course had some errands to run around town. And since Los Alamos didn’t get the memo that it’s supposedly the coldest winter since Gramps was killed by exploding trees walking uphill both ways, even wearing a hooded sweatshirt out was pushing the borders of overkill. With that in mind, I grabbed a sweatshirt that normally does fine covering sidearm, magazines, and leatherman but apparently is just a skosh too small to hide sidearm, mags, leatherman, and flashlight.

Standing at the grocery checkout, it was surprisingly slow at the store, so the cashier and I were chatting. The manager, a pleasant enough fellow but not someone I’d conversed with further than general pleasantries and such when he was manning a register was around too. I finished paying and went to leave and in departure from normal, he followed and motioned me slightly aside. I thought I’d forgotten something, but apparently not.

“So what do you shoot?”

Had I mentioned that previous conversations were just “How’s your day, nice weather, etc” already? ‘Cause I hadn’t ever said word one about toys that go bang around him before.

“Well, I’m fond of pretty much anything that goes ‘bang’….” I must’ve looked confused at this point. Turns out my sweatshirt had ridden up over the flashlight. When he saw that, he then noticed the magazine carrier, and from there saw the bulge – still well covered, he was kind enough to point out – on my hip. As it turns out, he’s rather fond of shooting too, and through the rest of the conversation we wound up just shy of actually setting a “Lets go plinking” get together.

Ok, there isn’t really much else to the story, I just wanted to gloat that there are still some places and people downright cool about guns, despite all the hand wringing and doom floating about over things like the college panicking over a single round of ammo. Hell, might even wind up with a shootin’ buddy out of all this too, and given that the closest folks we socialize with other than my parents are a good 45 minute drive off at best (or a couple hours for others), I’d call that a win.

See How Nice I Am For Not Hitting You?

February 20, 2009 - 5:35 pm Comments Off

One of the legion of bullshit bad ideas coming out of the First Hypnotoad* apparently managed to slip past me un-noticed. I’m sure there are others equally bad or worse that I’m also not aware of simply because I can only stand to scrutinize politics at all for about ten minutes before the urge to go out and start slitting the throats of registered voters (the ones with the most bumper stickers on their cars first, natch) gets overwhelming, but this one managed to flag on the radar. Today the Hypnotoad In Chief’s administration affirmed that it would not tax motorists on distance driven. Things like this make me wonder, though, if it isn’t just a scam to earn some positive feedback in an already very unpopular administration.** I really hope this is just a sort of ploy where they make up something patently outrageous and inherently offensive just so they can say “Nah, we’re not doing that. See? We’re not so bad!” Then again, after having just spent a surreal amount on pork (and celebrating with a fancy dinner while telling us to tighten our belts – what, we shouldn’t eat cake?) I wouldn’t take the Vegas odds on a real/fake bet on anything coming out of 1600 Pa Ave.

To be fair, I should give credit where credit is due. Congratulations, Pres. Hypnotoad, you finally managed to not fuck something up instantly. Who’s a big boy now? Yes you are!

Anyway. While I’m sure it would be a felony to tamper with the GPS tracker Big Brother The Lightworker says would be necessary to track my mileage, the nice thing is that (for now) we still have to be caught. A soldering iron, maybe a battery or two depending on how invasive the unit is, and a little judicious swapping of parts at inspection time, and we should be all set for some tax-free driving if this crap resurfaces. Alternately, drop it in an unmarked package outside Barry’s place, preferably with a dummy circuit to indicate the vehicle it originally sat in is pointed White House-wards with the engine redlined. Personally, I’d be interested to see how far the average local coyote roamed per month. It probably wouldn’t take too much to rig a collar, and odds are that even if the number of miles traveled is a tad pricey (at a quarter cent per mile proposed it’d take a while to rack up the bill though), it’ll still be a) affordable and b) interesting. I wonder what else could be studied via a tax bill with an Orwell-chip if such was mandated…

*You got a better idea for how he pulls that “tingle up my leg” inspiration shit off?
**Anybody want to run a pool on whether his approval rating will be lower than W’s when he leaves office?

You Hear That, Barry?

February 19, 2009 - 5:47 pm Comments Off

That’s the sound of people already getting seriously fed up.

Porkulon the Back Scratcher was a bad idea, Barry.
Killing independent oversight of government spending was a really bad idea, Barry. Only folks in Chicago seem to like Chicago politics, and it doesn’t seem like that many of them are thrilled with it either. You think the rest of the nation will stamp “Good job!” on that bullshit?
Making the folks who can do math and afford their homes pay for douchebags who intentionally got in way over their heads was a bad idea, Barry.

Listen to that, Barry. Your little lapdogs are already getting nervous. They might have chuckled after saying “Call the National Guard,” but there’s fear in those voices, Barry.

You’re seriously pissing us off, Barry, and you haven’t even been in the big chair for a month.

Maybe you should reconsider some of your “good ideas,” Barry. Especially any that might involve disarming the people you’ve already pissed off with your taxpayer looting spree. Just sayin’, Barry.