Expecto Patreonum!

Become a patron via my Patreon page and you can help me produce quality nerdy things.

For more information on how this works, please read this post. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Ammo Ambassadors

Ammunition To Go (a company from whom I've bought ammo before) is running an excellent campaign known as Ammo Ambassadors:
We're giving away 100,000 rounds - that's 2,000 boxes of 9mm ammo just for bringing a new shooter to the range! So, be sure to start planning today as quantities are limited!

Here's how this works:
    Free ammo
  1. Find a buddy or family member that's new to firearms. 
  2. Print off this target and take it to the range with you. 
  3. Introduce your new shooter to firearms and snap a photo of them with their target. 
  4. Send us a copy of the photo with the submission form below. 
  5. We'll send you two boxes of 9mm ammo for free as a thank you for your time and energy helping grow the number of firearms-friendly folks in the United States.

This is what we call a Win-Win, folks:  You take a new shooter to the range. You both have fun. You educate them on firearms and hopefully get them voting for gun rights and gun freedom, And in return, you get free ammunition -- that's completely free, with no shipping or handling (I know this because I've already gotten some with that code) -- to help defray the expenses incurred in letting someone else use your ammo.

What's not to love?  Go become an Ammo Ambassador today!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Monday Gunday: Demand Knowledge

A terrible thing happened in Oregon last week, as I'm sure you've all heard by now. The day it happened, I said "I can't wait to be told how this is somehow my fault."

I didn't have to wait long.

But I'm not going to be talking about the shooting, or about how of course I would have stopped it if I could have, or how despite all the media frenzy we're still on track for the lowest murder rate in 100 years (and if you think I'm picking from biased, right-wing sources, kindly look at this article from Slate, a magazine whose readers describe as having a "generally left-of-center" viewpoint. The actual data may be found in this PDF), or how it's this constant mediabation that glamorizes mass murderers and creates more of them.

All of these are excellent topics, and have already been covered, likely in a better manner than I could. Just today my friend Nicki Kenyon talked about how background checks didn't prevent this crime because all of the Oregon shooter's guns were purchased legally, and her facts come from this New York Times article (another source that is noted for not being kind to gun owners.)

So what are you going to talk about? I hear you ask. Well, it's simple:  I'm going to talk about how nice it is that the mask has slipped and gun control people are finally letting us know what they think about us, and how proud they are that they don't even read the laws they're clamoring for.

For example:

This is exactly what I'm talking about:
Meme: Anyone who hates background checks is someone who shouldn't own guns.
Eric Wenthe:  Here is an example, based on how things actually are under current Washington State law, which shows how background check laws can be used to punish certain people.
Commenter: Oh look, here's someone who loves guns and hates background checks, so obviously he's another nutjob not to be taken seriously.
Wenthe: So I assume you haven't bothered to read the actual legislation for this thing you want so badly?
Commenter: No, and you're the embodiment of evil for even suggesting I do such a thing. 
This is what my friend Salem calls "No reals, only feels." We've seen it a lot lately: it isn't important to understand a thing you hate. In fact, knowledge of evil taints you in some way. No, it's far more virtuous to stay blessedly ignorant, because feelings are what matter.

This is actually a big help for us, because not only does it make it plain what they want and how they think (no more of this "Let's have a discussion" business when they really only want to make demands; at least now they've decided that pretending to have a discussion is useless). it also demonstrates how they reach their conclusions and what they refuse to think about.

In other words, the people who are demanding change have no idea how to go about getting what they want, because they are starting from a position if ignorance.

I've been trying to think of a way to express the notion that we the people ought to expect the people who are demanding passage of laws actually know a thing or two about those laws. And then it hit me:

It's not my best work, I admit -- I rather suck at graphic design -- but you can clearly see both logic and sentiment there.

If anyone can improve upon this, please do so, with my blessing.

Doctor Who: That's One Big Lake We're Under

You guys are killing me with these cliffhangers

I'm torn on the subject of Toby Whithouse. I'm really never sure if I'm going to enjoy his episodes or not. School Reunion was all terribly cheesy, but it did give us Sarah Jane and K9 and Mickey's realization that he was the tin dog and Giles acting very menacing. Vampires of Venice was fairly dull, but it did give us Amy's scarf and leggings. The God Complex was delightfully weird but terribly unfocused, leaving too many questions unanswered. A Town Called Mercy was pushing the boundaries of cheese, but lots of fun, and Farscape fans got to see Chrichton again.

Oh, and he wrote an episode of Torchwood. One of the better ones, but that's not saying much.

Under The Lake is very old school. Very, very old school. This episode very well could have been a Troughton-era, base-under-siege episode if you'd just stripped away the budget and used an old black and white camera. And like the last few weeks (and pretty much the entire year), it's a two-part story, but while the last two-parter had a weak and unfocused part one, the pacing in this part one is absolutely breakneck. And running. Lots and lots of running. There are so many people running from one place to another that it had me wondering where Clara buys her boots.
But the Sonic Sunglasses still just make me sigh and feel old.
The concept of Chekhov's Gun returns here as well, with the markings on the inside of the alien shuttle being burned into the minds of everyone except Lunn, the sign language translator. I'm fairly certain that this, and Cass's insistence Lunn not look inside the shuttle, are going to pay off next week -- moreso than how it's already paid off with the ghost's reluctance to kill him. And I'm expecting an explanation for how Cass knew not to let him go in the shuttle that doesn't involve her getting splashed with radioactive chemicals and developing superpowers.

This may be my favourite guest cast, as well, with Colin McFarlane playing the recently deceased base commander (he's been in an episode of almost all of my favourite British shows), Future Sheldon Cooper in the form of a greedy corporate rep, and actual deaf actress, Sophie Stone, playing Cass. I especially adore O'Donnel, the resident Doctor fangirl, introduced in a scene where the psychic paper actually tells the truth for once identifying the Doctor as being from UNIT.

My personal favourite scene has to be the Doctor's excitement over ghosts. Previously, ghosts have been a number of different things: gaseous alien beings; stranded, out-of-phase time travelers; Cybermen crossing over from other dimensions; or alien demigods. Granted, there's still a scientific explanation here (focused electromagnetic fields being used to broadcast a distress signal), but this is the closest to a proper ghost we've seen in the new series, and his excitement over actual, proper ghosts put a smile on my face, followed up quickly by Clara's empathy flashcards. Including the “It was my fault, I should have known you didn't live in Aberdeen.” Poor Sarah Jane...

It's the little things that make this relationship work.
While I still enjoy Clara and Jenna Coleman, I can tell her time (as has been rumoured) is drawing to an end, as she was bordering on insufferable smugness in this episode. Not quite Series 2 Rose Tyler, but close. Granted, it's a different Doctor, companion, and creative team, but the last time we had a crossover companion was Rose Tyler, and she spent an entire year being insufferably smug before her gobby face got chucked into another dimension. Don't get me wrong -- I still fell to pieces watching that epilogue -- but I was glad to see the back of her by that point. 

I didn't think they'd top the visual of The Doctor with a Dalek firearm threatening to exterminate young Davros, but the slow zoom on undersea ghost Doctor with Clara's shoulders nearly caving in on themselves just about did it. Here's fingers crossed that Part 2 can keep up the pace of Part 1, giving us an even better two-part story than The Magician's Apprentice/ The Witch's Familiar did.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #59

Adam had a previous engagement, but Erin Palette stepped in and handled the back up co-host duties.
  • Erin also talked about morse code.
  • Nicki Kenyon is still insisting (maybe not unreasonably) that the Russian incursion into Syria is not a proxy war.
  • Our Special Guest this week is Paul Lathrop of The Polite Society Podcast. Paul just came back from the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference and he's going to tell you why you should go.
  • Barron B gives us some insight about cleaning up your old computer rather than upgrading.
  • And Weer'd does another patented Weer'd Audio Fisk, this time on the Democrat presidential nomination heir apparent, Hillary Clinton. 

Thanks for downloading, listening, and subscribing. Don't forget to share with a friend. Please like and share The GunBlog VarietyCast on Facebook, and if you use iTunes, give us a review!
Listen to the podcast here.
Show notes may be found here.
Special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense. Get state specific training in the laws of self defense, and if you use discount code "Variety" at checkout, receive 10% off.

Friday, October 2, 2015

SHTFriday: Some People Just Want to be Afraid

There's a lot going on in my head today and I tried to tie together the Oregon shooting with the Ebola panic from last year. I'm not sure how good a job I did, but I tried. 

Read the article and tell me what you think?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Serious and Personal Take On The Voice Actors Strike

Brace yourselves, this will contain an appeal to emotion.

There looms upon the horizon of the video game development world a strike amongst the voice actors. Negotiations between the union that represents them and the various powerhouse publishers seems to have stalled, and it's starting to look like some of the biggest names in the voice business are going to down tools shortly. What impact this is going to have on upcoming releases is unknown, but in my own selfish indulgence, at least it means Fallout 4 won't be delayed as that game is now little more than a month away.

I find myself strongly supporting this strike. I'm going to set aside the issue of unions as I'm sure I can find a dozen differing opinions on that topic (which have been discussed by some more knowledgeable than I), and it's not what I want to discuss here. In my years of gaming, I've seen the medium grow from little more than crude platform jumping with the barest of excuses being transmitted through text on-screen (if you were even that lucky – I used to play the hell out of Jumpman and I still don't know what the story behind that game was) to a point where games are rivaling – and even surpassing – film and television in their ability to keep you in suspense, touch your heart, scare you, and leave you in tears. I wouldn't have such a wistful smile when remembering my relationship with a cat-bird-lizard-alien if it weren't for Jennifer Hale and Brandon Keener. I wouldn't have sobbed my eyes out at the pain of realization of the real relationship if it weren't for Troy Baker and Courtnee Draper.

Voice acting in games has become such an amazingly versatile and essential storytelling tool, and it has to be done right. Professional voice actors are considered professional for a reason: you can't just slot someone in there who can't do the job properly. This was recently demonstrated with Peter Dinklage in the gloriously overbudgeted Destiny. Dinklage is not a voice actor

Don't get me wrong, Dinklage is amazing on-screen. He gesticulates and articulates and gives facial expressions that work absolute magic. His portrayal of Tyrion Lannister will be remembered for years to come, but acting isn't voice acting. You've got to carry everything in your voice, even if you've got a rendered face on-screen, and he just wasn't capable of doing that in Destiny. I liken voice acting in games to old-fashioned radio drama. Big Finish, for example, was the first light that Doctor Who fans had since the oft-derided Paul McGann movie, and they were audio-only stories that still managed to convey a sense of scale and wonder that even the show has trouble matching at times, with scenes carried by often naught more than the voices of the characters.

Game voice work has to be even harder, especially if you're doing a Mass Effect, a Dragon Age, or a Witcher where there's potentially hundreds of hours of content and a ton of storytelling that will depend on player choice, variable genders or species of characters, or simply where you walk in a world.

So, personally, I support this. Even if it brings the industry to a grinding halt until its resolved. They games industry can take a year off if it has to. We can live without next year's Assassin's Creed or Call of Duty if it means that the people providing the heart of the story don't work their voices into early failure to get there.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

WNW: Ice Cream

I felt crappy yesterday after getting a flu shot, so I forgot to post something.

Enjoy this back-dated video showing a Turkish ice cream vendor trolling his customer.

The Fine Print

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Noncommercial- No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Creative Commons License

Erin Palette is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.