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Sunday, July 31, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #102 - HEAT DOME!

Bust a deal and face the wheel with us as we enter the HEAT DOME! Two podcasts enter, one podcast leaves!

Who run Podcast Town? WE RUN PODCAST TOWN!
  • This week Beth tells us about a special someone's first time at the range: her 12 year old daughter. 
  • Sean takes a closer look at the story "Two in Fuquay-Varina wrestle AR-15 from man during dispute."
  • Barron gives us his thoughts on how some computer techs are treating Tiffany's computer problems.
  • In the main topic segment Sean and Erin discuss the "hack" of the DNC emails, and how the Democrat Party is responding to Trump's invitation to the Russians to release any Hillary emails they might have.
  • It's hot. There's a Heat Dome. (HEAT DOME!) How does that affect what you carry? Tiffany gives her thoughts.
  • Are you truly prepared if you don't have any way to provide emergency medical care? Erin give us some ideas on small, easy to carry blowout kits.
  • The Massachusetts Attorney General held a press conference and unilaterally declared Assault Weapons Ban-compliant rifles to be illegal. You knew that Weer'd was going to do a Patented Weer'd Audio fisk (TM), right?
  • And our plug of the week is for the Archangel OPFOR Mosin-Nagant Stock.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!

Listen to the podcast here.

Read the show notes here

Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. Go to www.FirearmsPolicy.org to join.

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense at www.LawOfSelfDefense.com .Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.

Upcoming Law of Self Defense Seminars:
  • August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC (Sold Out! - look for another Raleigh class February 19th of 2017)
  • August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  • August 20 - Tennessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  • September 10 - Alabama specific - Talladega, AL
  • September 17 - Minnesota and Wisconsin specific - La Crosse, WI
  • October 1 - Pennsylvania and New Jersey specific - Bensalem, PA
  • October 15 - New York specific - Poughkeepsie, NY
  • October 22 - Iowa specific - Johnston, IA

SHTFriday: Prepping for Going to the ER

This Friday, the shit really did hit when mom fell and cracked her head open, and then dad was hospitalized for heart problems. So, it's been a bit of a weekend.

I managed to make an article out of it, though. It's late, but I have a good excuse.


Thursday, July 28, 2016

Salem's Moment of Inspiration

I am obscenely busy this week recovering funds from a Paypal snafu and drama from work, so I'm forced to phone it in. But I won't leave you empty-handed.

Have a truly inspirational piece of work in my absence. I mean it this time. No sarcasm. This is one of those videos that I feel everyone that's ever been in a rough place really needs to see.




Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Because I hate wasting my good material on Facebook...



If you need this explained, it's because the 1911 was designed by John Moses Browning (PBUH) and the hardcore adherents of JHM append the honorific "peace be upon him" to his name.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Traveller Tuesday: Extended Mortgages

There are ships in Traveller that are canonically known as "Adventurer Class", i.e. they are ideal for parties of player characters. But some of them are downright un-affordable.
My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
Take the Mercenary Cruiser, for example. As listed in the 1e Core Rulebook -- in other words, with no weapons installed at all -- comes out to MCr. 481.6  (yes, the book says MCr. 433.44; it's wrong. Do the math and see for yourself). 481,600,000 divided by 240 months -- the standard 20-year mortgage -- comes out to over two million credits a month.  And this is before you factor in arms, ammunition, crew salaries, mercenary salaries, medical bills, damage to the ship, and the sundry other expenses that go with fielding an elite merc unit.

TWO MILLION CREDITS A MONTH.

Of course, the obvious answer to this is "An elite unit gets the best tickets, and those pay off in the tens of Megacreds." All right, perhaps so; but there are other ships out there with a similar problem.

Let's say that a Noble with 9 terms and a Social Status of 14 -- a Count -- retires and wants to buy a 600 dton Liner to become his luxurious Jump-3 mobile home. Why, the mortgage on that is only a mere 1,143,558.33 credits a month. And what does this long-serving, high-status Noble have in income each month?

182, 125 credits a month. (I know this because I used character creation to roll up the Count and used the Wealth system in Book 8: Dilettante during mustering out.)

Ponder that for a moment: A nine-term Count must take on passengers, or haul speculative cargo, in order to pay for a ship which is, I feel, commensurate with his service and standing. 

Fortunately, there is a logical way around this. I suppose I could have just led with the house rule, but I needed to get some ranting off my chest first. 

The Extended Mortgage
While the standard 20-year mortgage is what most peons regular people must use, there are always exceptions made for the wealthy, the famous, and the connected. These extended mortgages can go for 40, 60, even 100 years or longer, making expensive ships far more affordable. That same luxury liner that costs MCr. 1.144 each month at a 20 year rate now becomes
  • Cr. 571,779.17 at 40 years
  • Cr. 381,186.11 at 60 years
  • Cr. 285,889.58 at 80 years
  • Cr. 228,711.67 at 100 years
  • Cr. 114,355.83 at 200 years
How is such a thing possible? 
Essentially, the person signing the loan has a co-signer: his family name, his corporation, his estate, or some other institution which the bank believes will still be in existence at the end of the mortgage. In the case of His Excellency, the Lord Counte Raté vers le Haute, Count of Mongo and Baron of Jewell, the Right Honorable Nurushmusgirnaasi Shashaagramikshegii, he is essentially telling the bank "If I die before I pay this off, my family will continue to pay for it. Be it my children, my siblings or my parents, someone within the Noble House of Jewell will honor this debt."

In effect, the loan is being guaranteed by a larger institution with both a solid reputation and non-liquid assets. 

Game Mechanics
The character wishing to make such a mortgage needs one or more of these:
  • Social Standing of 12 or higher
  • A family or corporation willing to assume the debt  (Social Status of family or corporation head is used instead of character's SOC)
  • 1% of the total in liquid funds that are used as a down payment (+1 DM; +2 DM if  5%, +3 DM if 10%)
  • The character is on anagathics legally (+1 DM)
The base difficulty is 12 for a 40 year mortgage; each additional 20 year mortgage term increases the difficulty +1. 

The character then rolls SOC + Admin + other DMs. If the character seeking the mortgage has Broker, he may roll it instead of Admin with a +1 to his roll. If the character has neither Broker nor Admin, he may roll Diplomat with a -1 DM. 

Other PCs or NPCs may assist by creating task chains. For example, a financial adviser may be brought in to roll EDU + Broker to prove the character is financially solvent and a good risk; a lawyer or other bureaucratic specialist may be brought in to handle all the paperwork with INT + Admin. 

To conclude our example, the RH Count of Mongo (SOC +2, Diplomat 3), trading solely on his reputation, needs a roll of 8+ in order to get a 40-year mortgage on his luxury liner. If, however, he wishes to get the monthly mortgage down to a rate he can afford -- 160 years at Cr. 142,944.79 -- then that has a difficulty of 18. Count Tobias will need to trade upon his family's name, prove he is on life extension and in good health, bring his staff with him,  be his most charming self, and possibly even liquidate some of his holdings in order to secure such a loan; difficult, but still possible for a man of such means.

A handy spreadsheet to calculate this may be found here. Also included on the sheet are entries for calculating interest on a ship mortgage, if one wishes both increased realism and evil to inflict upon PCs. 

A Closing Thought
From one of my players: Not only is the extended mortgage very Vilani by passing debts along family lines, it also encourages long-term stable businesses, and families, with sensible assets. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Archangel OPFOR Stock for the Mosin-Nagant

Today I'm doing something I really should have done sooner, but I felt I needed to test it thoroughly before I reviewed it. That feeling of "needing to test it a bit more" lasted for over a year. During the course of that year, not only did I shoot it extensively, but I allowed other people to shoot it as well and they all had good things to say about it.

As I am not a hunter I did not take it hunting, nor did I deliberately abuse it as I do not believe in testing to destruction. However, it is my opinion that this stock is rugged enough to take whatever punishment you dish out, as the plastic is definitely not flimsy.





[This space is reserved for all the purists who will undoubtedly object to modifying an old rifle. Consider your opinions voiced, noted, and ignored.]

The Price: 
$205.75 MSRP, $174.95 Amazon, $152.99 MidwayUSA
I'm going address the elephant in the room first: Why would anyone buy a stock that costs as much as the rifle it goes on?

The first and best reason is "Because of the magazines." Archangel has created a 10-round detachable box magazine for the Mosin that is still reloadable from the top via stripper clips. The sheer convenience of this is not to be underestimated:
  • Do you have a scope over the action that prevents you from using stripper clips? This solves your problem permanently. 
  • Do you get tired of loading via clips and wish there was a faster, easier way to reload? This is your answer. 
  • Would you like to double the ammunition capacity of your Mosin and you haven't been able to get in touch with Riflemods to order an extended magazine? Not only does this answer your prayer, you get a more convenient way to reload your rifle. 
A word of warning: Archangel makes both 5-round and 10-round magazines. If you buy the stock, make sure you get one with the magazine you want! I believe the stocks on Amazon are 5-round magazines only. Price at MidwayUSA: $13.79 for a 5-round magazine, $16.49 for a 10-round.

The other two reasons are "Better ergonomics than any other Mosin stock out there" and "It automatically floats the barrel." Combine this with being lighter than the typical wooden Mosin stock and the ability to pick the color you want, and it's a winner.

Now, if you were to ask me "But is it WORTH paying the cost of a second Mosin?", then I'm afraid I can't answer that, as worth and value are not the same thing as price and cost. What I can tell you is that for about $350 to $400 and some elbow grease, you can buy a surplus rifle and turn it into a really nice shooter. It may not perform as well as a $1,000 Remington 700, but you'll also end up paying half that Remington price.

What You Get
The basic package comes with a single magazine and a stock that "Fits most M1891 rifles, hex / round receivers on 91/30, Soviet M-38 / M-44 / Chinese T-53 carbines" and "Fits Finnish M39 models with some modification". However, given the large variation in styles and manufacturing standards of Mosin Nagant rifles (especially WW2 era), some mild fitting may be required.

The stock also comes with two action screws, a wrench for same, and a barrel tensioner (in case your barrel doesn't shoot properly while floated and needs to be seated).

Installation
Other than one issue explained under "Cons" below, installation was drop-in simple for me. I understand, however, that this is not the case for everyone, and some fitting may be required. 

Pro:
The stock comes pre-inletted for a Timney trigger and bedding pillars, so no extra work is required to install those either initially or later.  

Con:
The stock does NOT come pre-inletted for a bent bolt, which will require modification. This is nothing that a Dremel tool won't solve, but it is both annoying and a strike against the product in my book, because 
  1. A notch for the bent bolt should have been part of the design from the beginning, and
  2. There is a hex screw for a completely pointless "OPFOR" plate right where the bolt goes, and
  3. The plate covers an even more pointless hole into the action of the rifle. Simply removing the plate would not be a good idea. 
So not only will you need to Dremel out a notch for your bolt, but you will also need to remove one of the screws. Fortunately, the OPFOR plate is just plastic, so a single screw will hold it in place. 

Ergonomics
This is where the Archangel stock shines. The gooseneck pistol grip with palm swell feels great in my hand and makes reaching the trigger far more comfortable for my Hobbit-sized hands, and the adjustable comb riser allows me to achieve a proper cheek weld instead of my previous chin weld. 

Similar to the comb, the buttstock also extends for anyone who desires an increased length of pull (for my readers who don't speak Gun Lingo, length of pull or LOP is the distance from the trigger to the butt of the gun. If you're a short person with short arms, you want a short LOP; taller people with longer arms will be happier with a longer LOP).

There's also a groove for you to place your support hand under the rear of the stock, sniper-style.
Pro:
Everything feels comfortable and natural, which helps improve accuracy.

Con:
If you are kind of person who needs to elevate the comb for a good cheek weld, you had best memorize how many clicks you need to get there, because after 15 there is no way you are removing the bolt for maintenance without lowering the cheek pad.

Other Features

Pro:
The stock comes with a half-inch thick rubber recoil pad already installed. However, the 7.62x54R cartridge can weary a shoulder quickly after a day of shooting (especially if you're shooting more often due to the convenience of magazine changes), and so I am pleased to report that a large (one inch thick) Limbsaver pad will fit over the buttstock for added comfort. 

There is also a small storage compartment within the pistol grip itself, suitable for holding things like hex wrenches, lens cleaning cloths and broken shell extractors.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/41uEFTzWJwL.jpg
Con:
Notably absent, however, is a rail system for mounting accessories like a bipod. For that you must separately purchase and install a forend rail. At $16 and Prime shipping from Amazon it's not a major dealbreaker, but (aside from the principle of the thing) installation requires you to remove the action from the stock. If you think you will want the rail, get it along with the stock and install it at the same time to save yourself the hassle.

Both:
Neither good nor bad is the sling attachment system. Rather than providing eyelets for traditional sling swivels, the stock instead sports three cups (one in front, 2 on either side of the buttstock) for quick-detach push-button swivels. If you have these kind of swivels lying around, that's great; if not, you're going to have to buy a pair before you can sling your rifle. 

Magazines
I know I talked these up earlier, but I want to address a curious feature about how the magazines interact with the rifle. I may end up horribly butchering firearm terminology while explaining this, so please forgive and correct me if I do.

The Mosin-Nagant has an internal magazine, and because of this there is a feed interrupter inside the action which prevents all of the cartridges from ejecting up and out every time the bolt pulls back. However, this feed interrupter has made devising detachable magazines for the Mosin tricky at best.
http://www.archangelmanufacturing.com/#!AA76R 02/zoom/c188b/image_1v34
Archangel gets around this dilemma by making the feed interrupter in integral part of the mechanism instead of trying to bypass it. When a magazine is inserted, the feed interrupter interacts with the magazine and causes the top cartridge -- which had been held in place with a retaining loop --to come out of the magazine and advance upwards until it is stopped by the ejector.

If you aren't certain what I'm talking about, watch this video starting at the one minute mark for a better explanation.



What this means is that when you insert a magazine, that top round is going to pop free regardless of whether or not the bolt this closed. If you then decide to remove the magazine without chambering that top round, it's going to be loose and will fall away. This can result in lost ammunition.

There is a way around this, however:
  1. Move the bolt fully to the rear. 
  2. Apply downward pressure to the topmost round until it fully depresses into the magazine. 
  3. Eject the magazine before re-seating the bolt. 
The magazine is ejected via an AK-47 style release lever that is easily worked by the thumb of your supporting hand, but the magazine does not need to be "rocked" in or out like AK mags. Here is a video of the magazines being swapped

My Grade: A
I would have given the Archangel Mosin-Nagant OPFOR Stock an A+ if it had an already inletted notch for a bent bolt and came with a forend rail standard.

I think that this stock is definitely a worthy upgrade to an already dependable rifle. Having detachable magazines that can still be top-loaded via stripper clips is worth the price alone; that fact there are other ergonomic features and performance improvements (like the floated barrel) make this stock worth getting.

As an example, here is the tightest shot group I have ever made with this rifle, and it was made with this rifle stock installed.


I cannot say how much of this grouping is due to the performance increases made by the stock, and how much is simply my shooting technique improving over time. The answer is likely some degree of both. What I can say is that the Archangel OPFOR stock is incredibly comfortable, and that makes everything about operating the rifle easier.

Con: 
Stock costs as much (or nearly so) as the rifle.

Pro:
The stock improves the rifle immensely. The entire magazine system is, in my opinion, enough to justify buying the stock.

I recommend this stock to all Mosin-Nagant owners, despite its price tag. 

I promised Sean I'd do this

Folks who know me know that I don't like asking for help.

But my co-host Sean Sorrentino wants me to have better audio gear, so he's trying to raise money for me to get it and he asked me to share this with you.

As he says in his post, When we’re done, Erin will have the ability to record her own interviews, plus will have better control of her locally recorded audio for the podcast.

I will confess that the Zoom H5 recorder will be very useful if I end up doing telephone interviews about Blazing Sword. The headphones and amp are (I think) there to prevent some of the buzz that occurs when I speak; if I recall correctly, Sean thinks it's EM interference from the cables. I'm not an audiophile so I can't really speak to that.

Anyway, he asked me to share this, and I said I would, so... here it is:
Erin, 
Please start a special Amazon Wish List for "Podcast" and make it a "Public" list.
  • PNY Elite Performance 32 GB High Speed SDHC Class 10 UHS-I, U1 up to 95 MB/Sec Flash Card (P-SDH32U195-GE) -http://amzn.to/29U9fPZ  Bought! Thank you!
  • Hosa XVM-105M Right-Angle 3.5 mm TRS to XLR3M Microphone Cable, 5 feet - http://amzn.to/2aEKmVK  Bought! Thank you!
  • Hosa CMS-103 3.5 mm TRS to 1/4 inch TRS Stereo Interconnect Cable, 3 feet - http://amzn.to/2a7DDFh  Bought! Thank you!
  • Mediabridge 3.5mm Male To Male Right Angle Stereo Audio Cable (2 Feet) - 90° Connector For Flush Connections - Step Down Design for iPhone, iPod, Smartphone, Tablet and MP3 Cases - (Part# MPC-35RA-2 ) - http://amzn.to/2abSr6O  Bought! Thank you!
We now have $300 in your "Buy Erin a Multitrack Recorder" fund. We need $320 just for the recorder. We need about $550 for everything, including the headset and the XLR/TRS which is the lowest priority. 
I think that by putting it into a list, we might be able to have people buy something off the list and save them having to give us cash. But at the very least, when I have the money, it will already be set up so I can send it to you.
As requested, I've made a public wishlist titled Podcasting.

So there you go. If you enjoy the Gun Blog Variety Podcast but are annoyed by the audio artifacts every time I speak, you can donate to make those go away.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #101 - the TIE Fighter episode

Join our ragtag group of pro-gun freedom fighters as they struggle against the evil Empire of malice, stupidity, ignorance and lack of due process or legislative oversight!
  • Beth is tired of "Smart" anti-gun answers to pro-gun statements so, she answers the anti-gunners in turn.
  • Sean looks at the two suspects in the murder of an elderly woman in Kinston, NC.
  • "Legitimate malware?" Barron shows us how to avoid malware served up from sources you thought you could trust.
  • In our main topic, Sean and Erin take a brief look at the recent decision by the Massachusetts AG to unilaterally redefine State law to ban so-called "Assault Weapons."
  • Before you can go somewhere, you first need to know where you are. Erin tells you what kind of maps you need and how to get them.
  • In a special double segment, Tiffany and Weer'd compare their shared history. Both started out as anti-gunners, and both have become pro-gun activists. How did that happen?
  • And our plug of the week is for Merrell Jungle Moc shoes.

Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!

Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here

Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. Go to www.FirearmsPolicy.org to join.
And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense at www.LawOfSelfDefense.com. Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.

Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars
  • August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC (Sold Out! - look for another Raleigh class February 19th of 2017)
  • August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  • August 20 - Tennessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  • September 10 - Alabama specific - Talladega, AL
  • September 17 - Minnesota and Wisconsin specific - La Crosse, WI
  • October 1 - Pennsylvania and New Jersey specific - Bensalem, PA
  • October 15 - New York specific - Poughkeepsie, NY
  • October 22 - Iowa specific - Johnston, IA

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Uncle Salem's Flat

There are racists in the world.

This revelation should come as no surprise to anyone, be they Left or Right, progressive or conservative, spiritual or atheist. The only difference lies in where the line between "racist" and "not racist" lies for people, and whether they use the dictionary or a sociology 101 definition.

For some, racism comes when a member of one race looks down upon members of another race for no other reason than they believe them inferior in some way. For others, systemic power is all that is required; with that power, everyone of a particular race is racist, and without that power anyone of another cannot be racist at all.

But there's another particularly invasive and vicious form of racism that bothers me more than most, for reasons that I honestly can't put my finger on. Maybe it's my commitment to freedom of thought and speech that makes me susceptible to offense on this issue; maybe it's my strong opposition to groupthink and echo chambers. Whichever it is, I cannot stand it when people heap abuse on someone who believes something that isn't in complete lockstep with members of their identity group. This includes, but is not limited to:
  • Black people being called "Uncle Toms" or "Coons" for not buying into Black Lives Matter. 
  • Women having "internalized misogyny" for not being feminists. 
  • White people being called "race traitors" for dating black people or protecting civil rights. 
  • Gay people being called "self-hating" for not thinking all straight people are out to murder them. 
  • Asians being called "bananas" (yellow on the outside, white on the inside) for whatever reason (yes, I've seen that). 
Demographic groups are just that, demographics. They are not ideologically identical monoliths, and shouldn't be treated as such. They also shouldn't be infantilized for not believing what you believe they should believe. People have their own reasons and influences for believing what they do, just as you do, and they probably believe you are just as wrong as you think they are.

There's a phrase that is very fitting here, as much as it bothers me to quote something coined by one of George W Bush's speechwriters: "The soft bigotry of low expectations." Believing that you know better than someone else without knowing or experiencing the situation of their lives is a very subtle but invasive form of bigotry; couple that with expecting to believe certain things based on their race, and you get a disgusting form of collectivist racism that allows someone to dismiss someone else's point of view because they're "simple-minded" and "self-hating" and "don't know any better".

It's sickening and truly offensive and if you think this way, you're a bigot. But you probably don't think of yourself that way. You probably think yourself a good person. So good of a person that you're somehow better than the person who doesn't think the way you think they should. But you're not.

You're still an asshole to someone based on the circumstances of their birth. And that, I cannot abide. 

Last Night I Invented a Word

A German word, no less.



English has no such word, but one of my friends suggested I try German. Unfortunately, not even the complex language of Teutonic Cruelty has such a word -- but German is marvelously modular in that you can put words together like Legos to create complex concepts.

For example, here are just some of the compound words you can create with everyone's favorite little fecal swear:

die Scheiße([Das ist mir] scheißegalI don't give a shit
Scheißdingshitty thing
scheißfaulgoddamn lazy
scheißhöflichobsequious

By the way, the ß in German has a double-S sound, so Scheiße (all Nouns in German are capitalized) is actually pronounced Scheisse.

So I consulted my dictionary and came up with two words that fit how I felt and smashed them together to create a new but utterly proper German word:
Angstfreude

It's a combination of angst, which means fearful anxiety, and freude, which means happiness. Thus, angstfreude means "fearfully happy."

I think it fits how I feel right now:  "Dear Hollywood, I've loved these books for decades. It will be wonderful if you do them properly but I'm almost certain you're going to ruin them."

For those keeping track, this is the third word I've invented. The others are dalqué and mediabation.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Can't We Please Vote For the Pony?

Can we PLEASE vote Princess Twilight Sparkle for President? I guarantee you she'll do a better job than any of the other candidates.

Artist: Pixelkitties
In fact, here's the lineup for the Equestrian Party:

President: Twilight Sparkle 

She's a Princess. She knows magic. She loves to read. She's OCD about rules and procedure. We're guaranteed to have the smartest, most ethical President in history. 

Vice President: Pinkie Pie

The Vice Presidency is pretty much a joke these days, and VPs mainly go to funerals, parties, and other functions that the President can't or wont attend. If it's a joke and it's a party, that means Pinkie Pie!

Secretary of State: Rarity

Daaahling, please! She's smooth, she's cultured, she speaks with a Mid-Atlantic accent so that she sounds European enough to win people over, but she can also be tough as nails when necessary. Isn't it time that America look good on the foreign stage again?

Secretary of the Treasury: Applejack

She's honest. If that alone doesn't qualify her to manage our nation's money, there's also the fact that she's a hard worker and knows the value of a buck (pun gleefully intended). (Her brother Big McIntosh would make an excellent Secretary of Labor, and her grandmother Granny Smith for Secretary of the Interior.)

Secretary of Defense: Rainbow Dash

Aggressive, but a team player. Has the heart of a warrior but knows enough to listen to the wisdom of others. Plus, she can perform a totally sweet Sonic Rainboom. 

Secretary of the Interior: Fluttershy

Fluttershy is a friend to all animals, so naturally she will want to take care of them. But she's also kind enough to realize that humans have to be treated fairly as well. Plus, she can star down a freaking dragon, meaning she's tough on pollution. 

Secretary of Health and Human Services: Zecora the Zebra

If you want to keep your people well,
You'll hearken to Zecora's spell. 
Her potions will help cure what ails ya, 
Even the bird flu from Southeast Asia. 

Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security: Special Agent Sweetie Drops
She's a skilled agent from an elite, secret agency dedicated to hunting and imprisoning monsters. Fighting terrorists and keeping America safe ought to be a snap for her. 

and finally, White House Press Secretary: 

Because it's not like he could do the job any worse than the last few people who had the job. 


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

More Blazing Sword in the News

July 3
We are Instapundited again (thanks, Sarah Hoyt!) as we celebrate having instructors in all 50 states. I still giggle every time I see the title "Meet The Woman Who’s Trying To Arm The LGBT Community", because it sounds like I'm a fabulously gay arms merchant.

July 14
Sean Sorrentino, wearing a purple shirt that seems like it's the exact shade of our map pins, appears in an article from The NC Capital Connection titled "After Orlando Attack Free Firearms Training Offered". Aside from the terrible lack of a comma between attack and free, it's a good article that mentions OBS in a positive light. I would have liked a link to our Facebook page, but the NCCC kindly embeds our interactive map within the article, and the important part is getting the word out. 


July 19
I have a ten-minute segment on NRA News' Cam & Company. I come in at the 44 minute mark, and while it isn't my best work, it's a national program and thus the largest audience I've had to date. 

https://acdn1.nranews.com/uploads/production/episode/thumb/1723/thumb_640x/nr-160715-news-cc-edmorrissey_720pm-00032.jpg

If you missed it, today's episode has already been uploaded as a podcast. You can listen to it on iTunes or, if you use Android, I'm told that if you point your podcast player at this link that you can get the feed that way. Or you can click on the above C&C link to watch it on the NRA website. 

I'd love to appear on Cam's show again, and I the next time I am that OBS has become an even greater force for good in the world. 

Thanks for your continued support, everyone! Hopefully we get that 501c3 charity status soon!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #100 - The Scary, Evil Features of an Orange Flare Gun

It's a full century of GunBlog VarietyCasts! Come join us as we shake our moneymakers to these trendy tunes:
  • Last week Beth brought us the ladies of The DC Project as they started their week on Capitol Hill; this week, she tells us how the project went. 
  • What kind of reprehensible excuse for a human being person steals a puppy? Sean looks a little deeper and finds out exactly what sort of person steals a puppy. 
  • It seems like everyone's playing Pokemon Go. Barron tells us about the risks that come with it. 
  • In our main topic, Erin and Sean discuss that Vox article (oh Vox, you so silly) where they found that 20% of all Democrats want to ban every gun they saw... including an orange flare gun. 
  • In the aftermath of Dallas, Tiffany asks each of us: Are we going to be the water? or the flame? 
  • How do you deal with protests that block roads? Erin gives us some strategies to make road blocking protests less dangerous for you and your family. 
  • Weer'd goes big and brings us four Patented Audio Fisks™ for the price of one. 
  • And our plug of the week is for Big 3 East Training Center
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!

Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here


Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support. Go to www.FirearmsPolicy.org to join

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense at www.LawOfSelfDefense.com Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.


Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars:
  • August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC (Almost Sold Out!)
  • August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  • August 20 - Tenessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  • September 10 - Alabama specific - Talladega, AL
  • September 17 - Minnesota and Wisconsin specific - La Crosse, WI
  • October 1 - Pennsylvania and New Jersey specific - Bensalem, PA
  • October 15 - New York specific - Poughkeepsie, NY
  • October 22 - Iowa specific - Johnston, IA

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Tinker, Gamer, Techie, Fried

 or "How I Spent My Weekend, by Salem MacGourley."

The weekend started normally enough. I'd dragged a dear friend through the horror that is Aliens: Colonial Marines (made better, but not great, by the overhaul mod), and we'd just finished late Friday night. We were considering playing just a bit of another game before calling it a night, but we took a break first. I went to the restroom and fixed a drink, and when I'd come back, my computer had shut itself off. I turned it back on, sat down, and...

The LEDs came on. The fans spun... then stopped. And started up again. And then stopped again. And started up again. And repeated this a few times.

I sent my friend a couple of messages stating that I suspected the computer had overheated, and took the time for the weekly call to my mum. 20 minutes later, it was still refusing to power on completely. This had happened a couple of times before, but leaving it off for 10 minutes fixed it. This time, though...this time it was through.

So I called up a friend in Texas and he was on the phone with me through various tests. I ripped out all of the external components and tested: same thing. I opened the case and disconnected the video card; same. I swapped memory around; same thing. Unplugging the hard drives let it boot into the BIOS, but as soon as I'd attempt to boot to anything, even a flash drive with the windows installer on it, it crashed again.

After much frustration and loud swearing, we determined that the issue was most likely the CPU. This was unfortunate, because if wasn't covered by warranty, it would have been a $250 replacement. Fearing the worst and being stranded without a comforting screen, I went to Wal-Mart and bought the cheapest stand-in I could find: a $200 HP Stream laptop. I spent as much time as I could researching and reading tech sites for an alternate solution on the stuttering and sputtering little potato, and I eventually found another possible culprit: the power supply.

Fortunately, I'd needed a new power supply when I'd bought a video card a few years back,  as the original did not have the proper connectors for the video card. After figuring out a way to make the archaic and under-powered power supply connect to the current-gen motherboard, I powered it up... and the system booted to Windows. Later that day I was off to Best Buy for a new power supply (I hate waiting for shipping when it comes to emergency parts), and some replacement fans as I'd noticed two of them weren't turning and had cables frayed beyond repair.

Oracle (yes I named my computer after Barbara Gordon, shut up) is now currently back online and functional, as well as properly cooling again. I returned the now-unneeded laptop to Wal-Mart, and learned a valuable lesson last weekend, one that nobody should ever forget:

Windows 10 should *never* be put on a laptop with only 2gb of RAM. Don't buy an HP Stream. They're junk. Fork over the extra hundred bucks and get a real laptop, even if it's an under-powered piece of junk, because even then it won't be as worthless as an HP Stream.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Brookerin Experiment

I thought I'd posted this already, but I didn't... hence why I'm backdating this to Wednesday.  (Also, it's my blog, I can do what I regarding time and space.)

So last Satruday, someone posted to to my Facebook page a link to a "Let's Play" of a game called The Brookhaven Experiment and asked me if I was moonlighting, because "I swear the game voice sounds like you."

So I gave it a listen, and it was rather creepy how much the voice of "Kali" sounded like me. I mean, I could tell it wasn't actually me, mainly because she sounds a lot more feminine than I do, but it's close enough for me to go "OK, yeah, that's probably what I would sound like had I been born genetically female."

My podcast cohost Sean disagrees, but that's because he spends a lot of time listening to my voice (poor man) while he edits my audio every week.

Give it a listen and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

It's Amazon Prime Day!



You all know I hate asking for help, and I especially hate asking for donations.

However, I don't mind asking that folks use my Amazon referral link when you shop, because it costs you nothing extra and yet it earns me some nice kickback cash.

Since today is Prime Day and there ought to be some awesome sales going on, I'd like to remind my faithful readers that it would be a big help to me, on a direct and personal level, if you would use my link to shop for goodies on Amazon

Until I can get Operation Blazing Sword on its feet as a 501c3 tax-deductible charity, you can help me by using this link; referrals from Amazon help stretch my budget and allow me to accomplish more with my limited resources. 

Thank you kindly, and happy shopping!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Pop Packs by Triumph Systems

Triumph Systems' Pop Packs were something I discovered during the Big 3 East Spring Media Event. They are essentially Capri Sun-sized bags of brightly colored gel, but that does them a disservice. Let me explain what they are and why they're awesome.
They're Distinctive
As you can see from the picture above, they come in three bright (practically day-glow) colors and have a variety of shapes and numbers on them. The picture above is not exclusive in that manner -- for example, not all pinks are circles or have a number three on them.
These were mine, until we shot them. 
This is useful because you can perform "call out" drills with them: you can say "pink triangle" or "green two" or even "first one to shoot all the yellow wins", and not only does it give  a challenge, but it's more decisive than many of the non-reactive competitive shooting targets out there.

They're Fun
Oh my, these are fun. When you shoot one in the center, its explodes in a shower of brightly colored gel. You KNOW you hit it, and there's a visceral thrill in making things go boom and splat. And the best part is that the bigger the caliber, the bigger the splat; when I was at Big 3 there was a woman there who was shooting them with an AR, and it was like being at a Gallagher concert -- gel went everywhere, including onto the spectators, and it was awesome and hilarious. 

They Don't Make a Mess
But despite all of this, and unlike a Gallagher concert, they aren't messy. Sure, gel sprays everywhere, but it's non-staining and water-soluble, so it washes right out of your clothes. (I know this from direct experience-- my 'Princess Luna dual-wielding TAR-21s' shirt got sprayed good and hard, and it washed out good as new.) It's also bio-degradable, so if it doesn't wash away in the rain it'll break down in the air and sunlight. And unlike watermelons, there aren't large pieces to pick up; when The_Jack and Oddball shot the ones I brought to the East Tennessee Bloggershoot in May, the ruptured packages were still in one (admittedly ruptured) piece, making it easy to police the range afterwards.

They're Great for Kids
This ought to be self-evident. They're bright, they explode in a good way, there's no concussion like with Tannerite, they don't stain and cleanup is easy. These are all-around good clean fun, and that makes them perfect practice targets for kids who are leaning how to shoot, as the instant feedback of shooting is married to a "Wow! Whee!" factor.



They're Inexpensive
You get a dozen of them for $19. That's roughly $1.60 for a single target, which is probably what you'd end up spending if you mixed the gel yourself and put it into baggies, but then there'd be more work involved on your part. It will add up if you buy a bunch and burn them all at the range, sure; but the same can be said for ammunition. Plus, these strike me as more of a "special occasion" kind of thing rather than a regular target.

Buy them through Triumph Systems' website rather than from Amazon; shipping is only $7, while the ones I've seen on Amazon start at $26 and then require $4.50 in shipping.

They were designed by a Navy SEAL
That's me at Big 3 East with Jared Ogden: Navy SEAL, Ultimate Survival Alaska participant, Eagle Scout, and all-around great guy. Yes, I am a fan.

My Recommendation:  A+, will buy again. 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #99 - Savage BotNet Cameras Give Bad Advice at the Post Office

The internet is full of derp and malice, wrapped in porn and cat videos. Come join our intrepid cast of Derponauts as they plumb the outer limits of human stupidity!
  • Beth Alcazar was in Washington DC this week with the ladies of The DC Project. She and some of the other ladies sit down and tell us about it.
  • Sean Sorrentino looks into the people involved in the story "Hope Mills Man Wanted In Stabbing Of Daughter's Boyfriend".
  • In the Tech Tips segment, Barron tells us about the 30,000 IP camera bot net, and how you can protect yourself.
  • In our main topic this week, Erin and Sean talk about "Bad Internet Gun Advice!"
  • Tiffany Johnson is on assignment and will return next week.
  • What do you do when you have to go to the post office? Erin Palette investigates the laws involved in what you can carry, and your alternatives to using the USPS Gun-Free Zone.
  • In another patented Weer'd Audio Fisk™, Weer'd takes on sex advice podcaster and extreme anti-gunner Dan Savage.
  • And our plug of the week is for Liberty Handgun Vaults.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!

Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here

Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense. Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.

Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars:
  1. August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC
  2. August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  3. August 20 - Tenessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  4. September 10 - Alabama specific - Talladega, AL
  5. October 1 - Pennsylvania and New Jersey specific - Bensalem, PA
  6. October 16 - New Mexico and Texas specific - Las Cruces, NM

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Erin Has Been Busy Doing Important Stuff

Hi gang!

I realize I haven't posted here since last week, and so I just wanted to come up for air to tell you that yes, I'm okay. I've just been very busy with this whole Operation Blazing Sword thing and getting it turned into a 501c3 tax-deductible charity so that we can be proactive in doing good instead of just being a matchmaking service.

I have all sorts of dreams for what I accomplish with OBS:
  1. Reaching out to ALL disenfranchised, like the disabled or the elderly;
  2. Sponsoring firearms clinics where people are taught the basics of firearm operation or are helped to get their concealed carry permits;
  3. Being able to refund the cost of ammo to OBS trainers (and those who elect not to petition for a refund could then hopefully write off the cost of that ammo on their taxes)
  4. Being able to donate to gun-friendly and LGBTQ-friendly causes, like someone who has been arrested for having a spent brass casing in their car;
  5. And of course being a highly public stick in the eye for everyone who assumes that gun owners hate gay people and that gay people hate gun owners. 
But right now, getting that dream in motion is proving quite consuming. In fact, I was feeling so stressed out about that (and other stuff) that I put Blue Collar Prepping on a one-week summer hiatus just so I could deal with things -- and that's why I haven't been posting here, either. 

I didn't get as much accomplished as I wanted this week, but the reduced demand has been VERY good for me mental-health wise, and hopefully next week will be less stressful for me. 

So here are the next steps for Operation Blazing Sword:
  1. Set up a mailbox at the local UPS Store. This is going to be a bit awkward, as it will take $115 that I don't currently have, and until we incorporate as a 501c3 we can't accept tax-deductible donations -- but we can't incorporate until we have a mailing address. 
  2. Appoint a board of directors. So far it's me and our lawyer, and I'm told I need at least one more person. I think it would be hilarious to ask the International Lord of Hate Larry Correia to be on the board of a pro-gay group, but he might not want to for a variety of reasons. 
  3. Decide upon a registered agent. For those who don't speak legalese:
    "For a variety of legal actions from lawsuits to tax liens, it’s important to be able to show a court proof that you provided your opponent with a copy of whatever you’re filing with the court, so the opponent has an opportunity to respond. This is called “service of process” and is similar to a game of tag. Because a corporation is not a human being you can “tag,” but merely a fictitious “corporate person,” it could be difficult to show a court that proof. Society gets around this by requiring corporations to formally designate someone who can always be “tagged” on their behalf. That person is the Agent for Service of Process, or Registered Agent." 

    I have two options here: the cheap one or the safe one. 
    • Cheap Option: I'm my own Registered Agent. This costs me nothing. However, because OBS is going to become a legal entity, my real name and address will be on the document. You all know how much I value my privacy and that I don't want to involve my family in any crap that might be aimed at me but splash on them. 
    • Safe Option: Hire someone to be my Registered Agent, which will cost about $275 for the first year and needs to be paid up-front. I'd like to go this route, but if I don't have $115 for a mailbox I definitely don't have twice as much for an RA. 
  4. Once I get all this done, then and only then can I hand it off to lawyer to file for 501c3 status. 
So the good news is that I know what needs to happen next.  The bad news is that I don't know HOW to make it happen. 

Does anyone have any good ideas?

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #98 - The Queen of All Media

It's Erin's first episode as regular co-host, and wouldn't you know it, she's started reorganizing and redecorating. Just be grateful she didn't insist upon more ponies in the show...
  • Beth Alcazar talks with Carla Corrigan about being a new mom with a gun.
  • Sean Sorrentino investigates the story "Mom shot while holding baby inside Wake County home; Man arrested".
  • In the Tech Tips segment, Barron explains credit card skimmers.
  • In our main topic this week, Erin gives us a behind-the-scenes look at what went into her recent interview with the BBC.
  • Tiffany Johnson tells us about the recent Supreme Court decision on the Texas abortion laws, and how it has some interesting reasoning that may have a striking effect on gun laws.
  • Erin Palette's rapid rise to Queen of All Media didn't happen in by accident; she gives you some idea of the prepping that went into her interview success.
  • Weer'd take Senator Jeanne Shaheen to the woodshed with another of his patented Weer'd Audio Fisks™.
  • And our plug of the week is for JM Custom Kydex holsters.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!

Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here

Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

And a special thanks to our sponsor, Law of Self Defense. Use discount code "Variety" at checkout for 10% off.

Upcoming Law of Self Defense seminars:
  1. August 7 - North Carolina specific - Raleigh, NC
  2. August 13 - Oregon and Washington specific - Sherwood, OR
  3. August 20 - Tenessee and Kentucky specific - Nashville, TN
  4. September 10 - Alabama specific - Talladega, AL
  5. October 1 - Pennsylvania and New Jersey specific - Bensalem, PA
  6. October 16 - New Mexico and Texas specific - Las Cruces, NM

The Fine Print


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

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