Friday, September 30, 2016

SHTFriday: The Foldable Carbine

You've heard me singing the praises of the Kel-Tec Sub-2000 before, and this time is no different. It's a great gun that's fun, light, accurate, dependable (at least mine is), and easy to feed. 9mm ammunition, Glock magazines, and the ability to fold it make it a great firearm for any prepper's gun safe.

Go read more over at Blue Collar Prepping.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Orange Rooster vs Poorly Disguised Silurian, GO!

My unedited first impressions as I listened to the first Trump vs Clinton debate this evening while working:
  • Both of you, stop referring to "very small loans." A very small loan is the $20 I lent the guy at the comic shop. He paid it back by giving me a ride when someone stole the battery out of my car. 
  • "I call it Trumped Up Trickle Down." Hillary, quit trying to be funny. Funny doesn't work for you. 
  • Moderator says "Mister Trump, you have two minutes." Ten minutes later, Trump is still talking. Donald Trump is a complicated space-time event. No moderator can contain him. 
  • Yes, Trump is sniffling. It's allergy season. Sniffling isn't quite on the level of collapsing from 'heat exhaustion' in 85 degree weather. 
  • Hillary, stop putting Bill's accomplishments on your resume. 
  • The twenty minute mark. That's where the personal attacks start, and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they d
  • Hillary, quit shilling your book and your website. 
  • Hillary's feed cuts out at 24 minutes approximately. Was she replaced with a body double? Hologram? Silurian? Was she already a Silurian and they replaced her with another, higher ranking Silurian? Madame Vastra, what do you think? 
  • Hillary, would you like my tax returns? I haven't paid taxes either. I've gotten returns every year, except for the one where HR screwed up after my divorce, because I'm not in your tax bracket. I can't even see your tax bracket from where I am. 
  • "What is he hiding?" - Hillary Clinton, 2016
  • Trump, "That makes me smart" is one of the most tone-deaf things I think I've ever heard considering your constant referral to the shrinking middle class.
  • Although he does have a good point. If he's spent his entire career exploiting loopholes for rich people, he would know how to plug them. But would he? 
  • I really don't care if braggadocious isn't a word. It's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. 
  • Hillary, why are you putting so much focus on whether or not he's as rich as he says he is? I rather think I'd like a president that's not rich. *coughClintonFoundationcough*
  • Hillary calling for criminal justice reform. Mysteriously absent: references to super predators.
  • Both candidates endorse the watch list. Fuck me sideways with a school crossing sign. I want both of you to tell me, how do you get on the watch list? How do you get off the watch list? Who makes the decision? Who has oversight on who makes the decision? I have possible familial ties to what some people consider a terrorist organization in another country. What if I'm on the watch list? How will I know? How would I get off the list? This really bothers me. 
  • Hillary, how is it a racist lie that Obama wasn't born in the US? Is race determined by location of birth now? Was it a racist lie that Ted Cruz wasn't born in the US? 
  • According to the detective I spoke to after my PayPal account was hacked, China is behind the cyber-security attacks. They're stockpiling nuclear running shoes, I hear. 
  • Hillary has now also become a complicated space-time event. Neither of these people have an understanding of time limits. I don't trust either of them to stay only four years in office. 
  • "We must use the internet to stop ISIS." MEME WAR! NOW SUMMON THE RARE PEPES!
  • Hey guys, did you know Hillary has a website? 
  • "I have a better temperament than her." HAHAHAHAHHAHAlkh;laksdjs;dlka
  • No, for real, I hear that (in private) you really do, because I've heard anecdotes about how The Hill's a terrible person to work with. 
  • There used to be an old Vulcan saying: "Only Nixon could go to China." The Vulcans -- those that remain after the Abrams Event -- now say "Only Trump could go to China." 
  • "I am against Team America World Police." - Trump, 2016
  • Hillary, pregnancy IS an inconvenience to employers. Employees have to take time off to have a baby. It may only be a short leave as labor starts and then recovery, but it's still time missed. This is an objective fact. 
  • Wait, there's going to be a VICE presidential debate? Between Pence and Kaine? I'm going to need a mountain of crystal meth to stay conscious during this.
I can't vote for either of these people. I voted for Obama; at the time, I was still a progressive, so I may have uttered "It's about time it wasn't an old white guy." I think, honestly, I just couldn't imagine a Mormon in office.

I think I'm going to vote for the guy who didn't know what Aleppo was. I didn't know what Aleppo was, either. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Two Clips from GRPC 2016

Okay, okay; they're actually just different parts of the same clip. But this clip is five and a half hours long, so I think you'll be okay with me splitting this into two parts.

The first part is where John Richardson, a friend of mine who is actually speaking before the conference, mentions me and Operation Blazing Sword during his speech:

Of course, I wasn't there to hear him mention me, because... well, there's a funny story to that:

I was sitting at the end of the row, dressed as a female (and apparently passing nicely) with Sean to my immediate left. Gail Pepin walked up to our row, walked past me, and crouched down to talk to Sean. Their conversation went something like this:
Gail: Do you know where Erin is?
Sean: Erin Palette?
Gail: [nods]
Sean: Erin Palette, my co-host?
Gail: Uh-huh.
Sean: The Erin Palette who's sitting [gestures with his finger at me] right over there?
Gail: [turns, looks at me, is horrified]

Meanwhile, I am grinning like a loon through all this.

Gail: [walking over] I am so sorry...
Me: Oh, honey, don't you even worry about it. The last time you saw me, I looked [makes facial hair gestures] different. That you didn't recognize me is about the biggest compliment you can pay me!

And so she crouched down in the aisle to talk about the logistics involved in me travelling to Live Oak, FL to attend a MAG-40 class at the same time that John was talking. And so, because I didn't want to be rude to John by talking during his speech, and because I wanted to hear Gail properly, I left the conference room to talk, because when the Princess of Podcasting, Pixels and Polymer Pistols speaks to you, you give her your full attention dammit.  And that's why I wasn't there when Operation Blazing Sword was mentioned to a conference room full of attendees.

(Yes, I realize I sound like I am shamelessly name-dropping, and perhaps I am, but I'm not doing it to impress you or sound sophisticated; I'm doing it because these are legitimately cool people and they chose to grace me with their attention, and I want to thank them for that.)

This second clip is from after the conference had ended. Paul Lathrop, who has talked to me before, wanted me to speak in a video livestream about Operation Blazing Sword. This caused me to freak out somewhat (see Monday's post for more details on that), and so I had agreed to do it only if Nicki Stallard was there with me so I didn't feel so freakish and alone.

Of course, by this time I'd been in full-on girl-mode for over 2 days, so I was feeling much more comfortable and at ease with myself,which (hopefully) shows in my interview. I've also been quite graciously told that my appearance, voice, and body language are all quite feminine, and while I'm not specifically trolling for compliments here (although they would be nice), I'd enjoy useful criticism on same.

There's one more interview which hasn't yet aired (you know I'll link to it when it drops), and I'm proud to announce that I will be a guest on Gun Freedom Radio this Saturday at 1:30 Pacific Time (that's 4:30 Eastern). I hope you'll tune in!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Gun Rights Policy Conference 2016: Some Kind of After-Action Report

Hi gang. It's late and I'm exhausted from a fun but tiring Gun Rights Policy Conference, so I'm just going to hit the highlights:
  • It was a very productive conference. I learned a lot of stuff, came home with a lot (and I mean a LOT) of free books, and made some great professional contacts for both me personally and for Blazing Sword professionally. It feels like the line between "being me" and "repping OBS" is blurring and merging. 
  • I also experienced tremendous personal growth this weekend. More on this later. 
  • Apparently, the names "Erin Palette" and "Operation Blazing Sword" are known to the attendees, because when John Richardson mentioned them, it got applause. 
  • Sadly, I was out of the room at the time, because when Gail Pepin wants to talk to me, I give her my undivided attention. 
  • Sarah Cade is a gigantic dork, and I mean that in the best, most complimentary way possible. 
Sarah loves to photobomb. Also, Sean was a good sport and wore his pony tees the whole time. 
  • Sarah also has a filthy, filthy mouth and is every bit as fun to hang out with as you'd think. If I can ever be in the same place as her an Oleg, he's going to have to do a photo shoot featuring us and it will be so awesome we'll be a WMD. Because Sarah + Erin = Sarin, bitches. 

Now a quick story about the personal development, then more pics, and then bedtime for me. 

Last week, Paul Lathrop of Polite Society Podcast said he wanted me to do an interview about Blazing Sword at GRPC. No problem, said I. "On video, livestreamed to YouTube," he said, and I about shit myself because you know I have issues with my body and face and the like. 

For the next few days I had what can be charitably called a petit mal freakout about it, because on the one hand I didn't want my face on video, and on the other I felt I had an obligation to talk about OBS. I came up with the solution of Can we blur me out or put me behind something large? So that people can hear me but not see me?

Which is when Sean Sorrentino, my cohost, did his trademark "Rudely cut to the heart of the matter" trick and said Sure! Of course we can. That way we can tell all the other trans people out there that they are totes cool with us, so long as they blur themselves so that we can't see them.

And I was like Dammit, Sean. You're an asshole and that was a cheap shot, but you're right.

So because of that, I thought "Not only do I need to do the interview, but now I have to do it en femme because to do otherwise would be dishonest and/or send a message that gun-owning LGBTQ have to keep their true selves hidden in order to be accepted."

Since  Nicki Stallard (west coast representative of Pink Pistols and transwoman) would be there as well, I knew I wasn't going to be alone and that someone would have my back. So I packed both girl clothes and boy clothes for the trip.

Friday night was the mixer/reception, and that was when I decided "Screw it, let's test the waters now rather than in a crowded room." And so I paired a khaki skirt and some boots with my pony polo shirt, added a wig and some jewelry and makeup, and (after asking for makeup from fucking gorgeous Sarah Cade, OMG you guys she is totally this statuesque goddess when she dresses up) we both went down to the reception together because a) I figured being seen in the presence of an actual woman actually accepting me would help, 2) I knew I'd have another ally at the party, and iii) I needed a security buddy to hover around if things got bad.

That was my crucible moment, because Halloween notwithstanding (because everyone is in costume then, it's socially acceptable) this was the first time I was "trans in public" and I didn't know how people would react.  If people gave me shit for how I looked, I knew I'd have to be in social camouflage for the rest of the weekend. You guys have no idea how scared I was.

To my delight and surprise, no one gave me shit. No one was even rude. I caught a few double-takes and looks of surprise, but I don't think anyone even stared. And to top it all of, I was interacting with people while doing this. I was passing. In public!

The only way I can describe the profound amazement I felt is to have you pick your superhero movie of choice, where the plucky protagonist finally acquires his or her powers. This was my "You're a wizard, Harry!" moment, because the realization that not only was I not being attacked, but was being accepted, was nothing but magical. There was even one delightful older gentleman who was taking pictures and he called me a "beautiful young lady."

Needless to say, this not only exceeded my expectations for the mixer, it quite frankly exploded them. Given the positive reception I was receiving, I just said "Fuck it, in that case I'm just going to be femme the whole time I'm here, because I'm loving this!"

And I did.

No one hassled me on Saturday, not even the older gentleman I sat next to in the assembly hall.
That's me to the right of Sean, in the third row.
I *said* that Sarah loved to photobomb, did I not?

I did a couple of interviews on Saturday, including this Facebook Live session by Paul Lathrop.

(Yes, I am now aware that "t-shirt and skirt" is not a flattering look for me. I did not know it then.)

And I dressed up all fancy Saturday night, because why the hell not? I brought a damn dress, I wanted to wear it, so I wore it.
Yes, my stance needs work. But goddammit, I was wearing heels and
MAKING THEM WORK. That ought to count for a lot. 
So yeah, by the time Sunday rolled around, I was comfortable and confident and generally feeling like hot stuff from all the compliments. Seriously, y'all:

So after a solid weekend of approval and positive reinforcement, appearing on camera for a Polite Society Podcast interview that was streamed to YouTube was no big deal. (I'll post it, and the other interviews, as soon as they're up. Although they're all largely the same thing, me talking about Operation Blazing Sword.)

But my point in all of this is: If I'd gotten shit for dressing en femme Friday night, I'd have been in social camouflage "boy mode" the rest of the weekend. But I wasn't; I was accepted. And I wasn't accepted merely because I was trans; I was accepted because I was a gun owner who just happened to be trans.

This is the lesson I would like the LGBTQ community to take from all this: Gun owners will welcome you if you take a chance on them. And the very few who don't will, I am certain, be shouted down by the rest of us.

Edited to add: the aforementioned Nicki Stallard received an award on Saturday for her work with the Pink Pistols. Ms. Stallard is, like me, both lesbian and transgender, and not only is she accepted but is also recognized and applauded for her work in the field of gun rights for gay people.

In fact, one of the speakers said "Look to your left; look to your right. You'll see that most of us are gray-haired white males, and we need to change that."  The gun community is actively looking to become more diverse and inclusive, and the more of us who speak up and join in, the more varied and welcoming it will become. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #110 - Radioactive Riots Forever

It's like Strawberry Fields, only with more rioting and radiation.
  • Beth is "On Assignment" and will return next week. We explain why in the podcast.
  • Who pulls a knife on someone for "stealing" his begging spot? Who is that beggar you're giving money to? Sean looks a little deeper while throwing Erin under the bus for an errant slip of the tongue.
  • Barron reminds us of something that Hillary's Information Technology consultant is learning the hard way: The Internet is Forever. FOREVER.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin discuss the #NCRiots in Charlotte.
  • In the wake of all the awfulness going around, we need some good news. Tiffany tells us of the story of a good Samaritan with a gun in a Kansas City parking lot.
  • Did you hear about all the radioactive water that leaked into Florida's aquifer? Erin tells us why we're all going to die. Or, you know, not.
  • It takes a scientist to take on a scientist. It's Weer'd vs. Science in this Audio Fisk™ of two Science Vs. podcasts.
  • Our plug of the week is for the Grass Roots North Carolina.
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.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Regressive Progressivism: It's Okay When We Do It

A couple of years ago, an analogy was created. It was poorly thought out, yet was immediately embraced by the Regressive Left. It was a reaction to #NotAllMen (which had a valid point, considering the hashtag itself was a reaction to broad generalizations that allegedly scary and misogynistic statistics disproved), and was shared far and wide. And when people replaced a few words here and there to show criticism of the analogy, they were branded with various 'ists' in response. I share the analogy in its most prime form, below :

Just this week, one of the Trump kids (I can't keep them straight, nor do I care to) shared a similar analogy, which caused immediate backlash and uproar amongst that same Regressive Left which embraced the very same analogy when it used a different candy and a different group of people. 

Now, both images are simultaneously right and wrong. Within every group, there are troublesome people. No group anywhere, is without its bad apples, be it men, women, white, black, gun owners, gamers, feminists, atheists, Muslims, Christians, sport fans, police, or protesters. But the problem is, when you avoid or stigmatize an entire group because of those few people, you hurt a lot more and you shut yourself off from new experience. Interacting with any other human being comes with a risk, both to yourself and to that person.

To that extent, forget the fact that 10% of the candy is poison. 100% of the candy carries with it a risk of some sort of injury to yourself. Are you willing to shut yourself off from the experience of eating it because someone you don't know told you there's a risk? Of course there's a risk; life is a risk.

To address the first image: It's not okay when you do it.

To address the second: It's not okay when you do it, either.

To everyone getting outraged over the second one, I'd ask where you were when the first one was posted two years ago, but I know where you were: Justifying it. making jokes about male tears, mocking fee-fees. I'd ask you not to get self-righteous when people bring this up to you, but it's too late.

And finally, to Stephen Colbert: I tell you, sir, There are skittles that come in brown. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I Wear My Sunglasses At Night

As GRPC gets closer, I find I am increasingly scatterbrained as I try to do everything at once. I'm not sure why this is; in honesty, it ought be like getting ready for an NRA convention, which I've done three times now. But this is different somehow -- maybe because I'm going to meet people I'm looking forward to seeing for the first time, or maybe because I will be there in an official capacity and not as one of many anonymous guests.

Anyway, one symptom of this is a form of ADD, where my brain will latch onto a random thing as if it were critically important and not let go of it until I've either resolved the issue or worried it to death.

Which is why, when I woke up this morning with an unexplained urge to make a mixtape playlist for Vampire: the Masquerade, I pretty much knew I needed to do it. Fortunately my friends on Facebook expressed an interest, so the time I spent making it wasn't totally wasted. And now, I get to share it with you!

A few disclaimers before I start:
  • There's at least one song there that I'm sure will just ruin the experience for you. 
  • There are already two excellent V;tM playlists in existence. I didn't try to replicate them, although I did lift a song or two from them. 
  • I'm certain I've missed at least one song that "absolutely should have included" and its absence just ruins the playlist for you. 
If you want to make your own playlist (and you really should), then proper White Wolf numbers are 7, 10, and 13, if you're counting tracks. I went with 20 because I initially had 16 and couldn't bring myself to trim what I had.

  1. Forever Knight theme
  2. Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart 
  3. Moon over Bourbon Street by Sting
  4. Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) by Concrete Blonde
  5. Mitternacht by E Nomine
  6. Primitive Kiss by Carol Tatum (Angels of Venice) and Charles Edward (Seraphim Shock)
  7. Voodoo by Godsmack 
  8. You’re So Sexual by Christopher
  9. Vampyre Erotica by Inkubus Sukkubus
  10. Bloodline (v2.0) by The Crüxshadows
  11. Lilies by The Cranes (the best Malkavian song I’ve ever heard)
  12. Swamped by Lacuna Coil
  13. Black No. 1 - Type O Negative
  14. When You Don’t See Me by The Sisters of Mercy
  15. Hemoglobin by Beborn Beton
  16. Cannibal by Ke$ha
  17. Bloodsucker 2000 by Paralysed Age
  18. Nightfall by Xandria
  19. Cry Little Sister by Gerard McMahon
  20. Slept So Long by Jay Gordon

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Busy, with Going Dark to Follow

Hey all, jsut wanted to let you know that thinks are busy busy busy for me as I get ready to attend the Gun Rights Policy Conference in Tampa this weekend. I'm making arrangements and packing up my stuff, and between that and general anxiety about meeting new people and being interviewed on-camera (*gulp*) I don't have as much time to blog as I'd like.

I'll try to get in a Traveller post today, and I have a half-finished Monday Gunday update on Blazing Sword that I'd like to publish, but after that I'm likely to go dark as I make final preparations and then drive to the conference. I really doubt I'll have much time to write while at the conference, although I hope to have a BCP video in the can by then and set to post on Friday.

So TL;DR  if for some reason you don't see me post anything else this week, I'm okay. I'm just getting ready for a drive to a conference to meet people.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #109 - One Aux Port Closes, Another Port Opens

Shh. It's okay. Just try to relax and enjoy this episode of the GunBlog VarietyCast. You'll only feel a little pinch...
  • Beth went to frickin' Crimson Trace where they put frickin' lasers on frickin' guns. She's back to tell all us about it.
  • What kind of father takes a .44 Magnum and shoots at his son? What kind of son makes it necessary? Sean takes a closer look.
  • The iPhone 7 loses an aux port and the Galaxy Note 7 loses its cool. Barron tells us which is important and which is just not worth worrying about.
  • Tiffany invites police officer and tactical trainer Chuck Haggard to discuss the very timely issue of police/community relations.
  • You hoped she'd never go there, but she does. What do you do when you need to rehydrate someone but they can't drink? Yes, the old urban legends are true, and Erin tells you how it works.
  • He's the anti-gunner's favorite "gun guy", but he's really just a sheep in wolf's clothing. His interview with Boston Public Radio gets its very own Patented Weer'd Audio Fisk™.
  • Our plug of the week is for the Gun Rights Policy Conference Livestream at
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 sponsors for this episode, Remington Ammunition and Lucky

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Herd Immunity Tee Shirts

My last Teespring campaign didn't succeed, but I'm giving it another chance. Not only are GunBlog PonyCast tees and hoodies available, but now, for the first time ever, are my "Concealed carry is herd immunity against crime" tees. You can get them in white text against bold backgrounds, and black text against light backgrounds.

 And of course, my fabulous PonyCast tees are available in a rainbow of colors!

Get them now, because the campaign ends next Sunday!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Forecasted: Salt Showers, with Scattered Political Relevance

When Colin Kaepernick declined to stand for the national anthem at... whatever event he was at, I had a very strong response of not caring one way or another. I was so driven not to care that I found myself leaving strident comments of "WHO CARES?" on posts both condemning his supposed disrespect and praising his alleged bravery.

As you'll notice, I don't even know the details of where he was or what was going on. Was it the Olympics? A basketball game? A Kanye West show? I'm not even interested enough to ask you to tell me below in the comments.

I think one reason it didn't bother me is that I never stood for the pledge of allegiance in high school. After all, I'd spent a great deal of my life outside the US, and didn't feel (and still don't) particularly nationalistic. I have very little memory of my time spent growing up in the States, and if pressed, I can't say I identify as American, even though I'm legally a citizen by birth. I'm glad Twitter didn't exist back then, as I'm sure there'd have been a two-sided flame war regarding my early morning laziness. Besides, I'm a strong believer in free expression, and that includes the freedom not to express, which was what Kaepernick was doing by not standing.

South Park is back, and after last year's triple threat of social justice, native advertising, and PC hypocrisy, I'm back on board. This episode, Member Berries, opens with a scene very relevant to my feelings on sportsball-man's refusal to stand: A girls' volleyball match is opening to a packed house in the South Park school gymnasium, with the crowd intensely interested not in the game but in whether the one black girl on the team will sit or stand during the anthem, and immediately losing interest and leaving a total of four people in the stands once the game starts. This is mirrored later on in the episode as a proper football game takes place with the unveiling of JJ Abrams' "rebooted' national anthem, with announcers saying you'd have to be an absolute asshole not to stand during it. The camera, not coincidentally, focuses on a rather familiar-looking football player while they're saying this. In the end, Abrams' "rebooted" anthem renders the sitting or standing debate completely irrelevant, to the frustration of everyone present and to a great deal of those watching.

A subplot, particularly entertaining to anyone that had been following Gamergate or any of the culture wars of the last few years, revolves around an internet troll named "skankhunt42" harassing female students of the school. Everyone seems convinced the troll is Cartman, who is playing hard to a stereotype of virtue-signalling, complete with "Token's Life Matters" shirt and giving a speech about how funny girls are, even managing to lambaste Amy Schumer and Paul Feig in the process. Cartman goes on to fake a discriminatory assault on himself, in the hopes of bringing attention to himself and stoking hostility between the boys and girls of South Park Elementary. In short, Cartman is playing the perfect Social Justice Warrior.

Gaze upon the face of a concerned activist
A couple of storylines that may or may not go anywhere have Congress begging JJ Abrams to reboot the National Anthem (while this is paid off slightly in the episode, it's unclear whether or not it will be continued on later on), and the Trump vs Clinton references showing up again, with Hillary herself as "Turd Sandwich" and Garrison (with his running mate Caitlyn Jenner) as Giant Douche. Garrison's face has become more orange for reasons I can't quite put my finger on.

Interestingly enough, the political storyline does a nice job of touching on what must be Trump's internal struggle as he considers the outlandish promises that he's made while being faced with the possibility of winning the election and having to follow through with them, albeit with South Park's trademark absurdist humour.

The episode ends with a suspenseful reveal regarding the internet troll, and the lesson (one that I don't necessarily agree with) that "Sometimes in life, you just have to suck a turd."

This wasn't as strong a start as last year's premiere, but I'm interested to see where it goes. There's been a lot of fodder from all directions for them to work with over the last year, perhaps even too much, and it's yet to be seen whether they can keep a focused story throughout the season like they did last year.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Erin Interviewed on the Polite Society Podcast

This Monday I was the guest interview for episode 389 of the Polite Society Podcast.  I'm pleased with how it went, in that I was more comfortable and gave good answers, and didn't make any egregious gaffes like the "40mm" one I made in my GGG interview.

If you'd like to listen to the whole show, you may download it here; if you only want to listen to my interview, then go to the Polite Society page and click on "Interview Segment" 1 and 2 in your browser.

And please leave a comment saying how awesome I was, and that they need to ask me back again!

Monday, September 12, 2016

Palette's Product Reviews: LaserMax Manta Ray

Faithful readers of this bill have no doubt noticed that Fridays have been a bit sparse around here lately. This is because, for the past month or two, Friday has (for some reason unknown to me) become a bad day to write: either I'm exhausted, or I'm stressed out, or I have a headache, or whatever.

On the reverse, after a nice restful weekend Mondays are now very good for me. So in order to keep up productivity, I've decided to switch to Mondays for my Blue Collar Prepping blogging.

Go read today's article and tell me what you think, either here or there.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #108 - This Is the Intro That Never Ends

Yes, it goes on and on my friend. Your co-hosts started bantering, not knowing what it was, and they'll continue talking forever just because...
  • Do shooting ranges for women exist? Of course! But they aren't "Barbie's Dream Range". Beth speaks with Kim Condon, the owner of Boondocks Firearms Training Academy, about her female-friendly range.
  • In Felons Behaving Badly, friend of the show George sends in a story titled "Two men accused of breaking into Union County chief deputy's home in custody." You'll never guess what Sean finds out.
  • ITT Tech got their federal student aid money spout cut off, and Barron tells us what that means for its students and graduates.
  • In our main topic, Sean talks with Bob Mayne of Handgun World Podcast, the co-founder of Self Defense Radio Network.
  • We all love a good movie, and Tiffany tells us how sharing that movie magic can help us bridge the gap between gun people and non-gun people.
  • Did you know it was National Preparedness Month? Prepping is going mainstream and Erin tells us how that happened.
  • We all thought it was dead and gone, but suddenly, it's back! ... but not better than ever. Loaded Conversations drags a half-finished podcast off the ash pile and serves it up for another Patented Weer'd Audio Fisk™.
  • And our plug of the week is for RoadID. See the show notes for a $5 off coupon.
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 to join.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

A View From The Top

I've been on vacation for the past week, so have had little time for research, but I got some sight-seeing in. So on that note, have some pictures!
The main attraction - Sandia Crest

I have recently been informed that "Sandia" means "Watermelon." 

Authentic Cactus

Ducks and geese at the Tingley Beach on the Rio Grande

Miniatures at the Tinkertown Museum, halfway up the mountain

That's some real Wounded Knee shit there - Tinkertown Museum

I took this one specifically for our lovely editor (Thanks! -- Erin)

A kiln made of glass bottles - Tinkertown Museum

New Mexico busts ghosts in style

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Traveller Tuesday: Heatflec

It's taken me a while, but I have finally been convinced that a reflect coating on starships is a bad idea.
Not only are these good points, but consider also the following:
  • Reflec needs cleaning/polishing to maintain efficiency
  • That polish would be damaged by the thermal effects of atmospheric exit and entry
  • Micrometeorite impact would also damage the mirror coating
  • After taking hull damage, the coating logically ought to be reapplied
So fine. This post is me throwing up hands up in despair about reflec. Let us eschew magically perfect mirror technology and instead embrace magically perfect heat dispersal technology. As was pointed out to me, most Traveller ships are heat traps and the heat has to go somewhere or else it'll boil the crew. So I'll go with the option that makes my life easier.

Thus: Heatflec. (I needed a word for it and it's catchy.)
My use of Traveller setting and dress falls under
fair use guidelines for both Mongoose and Far Future Enterprises.
Not that we're dumping heat* instead of redirecting light, that meant heatflec needs to work against fusion and plasma weapons as well. Just to keep things familiar, I'll keep the same bonus as reflec did for lasers.

Of course, this increase in performance needs to come with an increase in price as well. Let's increase it to MCr 0.25, which puts it at the same price point as 1e radiation shielding (which to my mind has always been too expensive for what it actually does. 2e changes it to MCr 0.025, which is a little too much in the other direction, I think; switching the numbers with 1e reflec -- MCr 0.1 /dton -- seems about right).

If a GM doesn't want to give armor vs heat but still wants to have a way to radiate heat away from ships without fins, I think it would make sense to steal the numbers from 1e's self-sealing coating and make non-armor heatflec MCr 0.01 per dton.

The delightful part of all is that since we aren't reflecting laser energy with a mirror but are instead absorbing thermal energy, heatflec is 100% compatible with stealth coatings and does not require my configurable hull workaround.

Therefore, we have this as the finished product:

Thermal Dispersion Coating ("Heatflec")
TL: 9
Cost: MCr 0.25 / dton of hull
Effect: This coating provides +3 armor against lasers, plasma and fusion weapons.
Restrictions: This coating may only be added once.

Additionally, I present you with this house rule: When the hull has taken 1/3 damage, reduce heatflec's armor bonus by one. This means that when hull has been dropped to zero (using 1e mechanics; I still like the difference between hull and structure), the ship has no bonus to resisting thermal damage. Of course, at zero hull points the ship has no hull integrity and is completely open to vacuum, so heat buildup is the least of its worries right now.

*No, I have no idea where it goes. I'm good at handwavium bullshittium, but I'm not that good.

Erin on the GGG Podcast

That's Geeks, Gadgets and Guns episode 111. We mostly talk about guns and Operation Blazing Swords, but we wander all over the place.
I expected this podcast to drop earlier, which is why I went shooting Monday instead of writing anything.

I have NO idea what is going on with the audio. Also, I apologize for some of my brainfarts; at one point I say "40mm" when I know I meant ".40 caliber and 9mm".

Download and listen here.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #107 - Budget Little Black Dress Rifles on Campus

Top coat, top hat, and does this rifle make our butt look fat? Just come a-running just as fast as you can to this episode of the GunBlog VarietyCast, because everyone's crazy 'bout our podcast, man.
  • Ladies, you have that little black dress. Beth asks, do you have that little black gun?
  • Who kills a grandmother in a home invasion? Sean takes a closer look.
  • Have you updated your iPhone yet? Barron tells you why you should.
  • In our main topic, Erin and Sean talk about Walmart blowing out Ruger American Rifles for $200, and budget optics for your budget bolt gun.
  • Tennessee just started allowing full-time faculty and staff to carry concealed on campus. Tiffany reminds us that this doesn't mean it's a great idea to broadcast that you're one of those carriers.
  • What is GOOD survival TV? Erin tells you what programs she considers worth watching.
  • Maura Healey goes on a local Fox affiliate for an interview. Is she lazy and stupid, or just a liar? In another patented Audio Fisk™, Weer'd reports and you decide.
  • And our plug of the week is for the Parasol Protectorate and Finishing School series of books, both by author Gail Carriger.
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.orgto join.

And a special thanks to our sponsors for this episode, Remington Ammunition and Lucky Gunner.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Current YouTube Debacle

YouTube is kind of a big thing for me. I'm a cord-cutter, and have been for a long time now: when I got my first solo apartment, I looked into cable prices and realized that a basic package was just far too much more than I was willing to spend for what I'd get and what I'd get out of it. It was at that point that I started looking into alternatives, and began the arduous task of downloading episodes of television shows over a dial-up connection.

To you millenials, this may sound shocking. You think the internet is your ally. I was born in dial-up. I didn't see high-speed, always-on connections until I was a man. (Obligatory Bane reference complete.)

I like YouTube because it provides a platform for a lot of voices, and a way for those voices to monetize their content so that they can continue to provide content as long as people keep patronizing, keep clicking, and keep viewing. It allows me to watch music, entertainment, and news from sources that are not approved by one of the few major satellite or cable content providers. Without it, I'd be stuck with Syfy or CNN, The Home Shopping Network or FOX News. Instead, I can listen to arguments from all sides of an issue, from rational to emotional to paranoid.

Recently, several prominent and many more obscure content creators have been hit with automated notices that their content has been demonetized. In other words, they haven't been silenced; they haven't been removed; they're just not making money anymore when people watch their content. Ostensibly, this is due to YouTube's concern over advertisers, as the pre-scripted message provided to the video producers indicates.
The Rules. So, really, nothing is monetizable anymore. 
The first major case was 10+ year veteran vlogger Philip DeFranco, whose video regarding the woman who claimed she was harassed by a Lyft driver revealed that she was being abusive and harassing because he had a bobble-headed hula doll (the kind they practically issue you when you step off the plane in "the continent of Hawaii", to use her wording) on his dashboard. 

There was a knee-jerk reaction, as his video did include the acronym "SJW" in the title and Google has publicly invited some of the more notorious "anti-harassment" advocates to their headquarters before, but the tide quickly shifted when a producer for The Young Turks (basically the FOX News of the Left and arch-rivals with Alex Jones) tweeted that they were hit by a massive demonetization wave that affected over 500 of their videos. 

That tweet, coincidentally, is now unavailable. I suspect it's because a progressive was referring to it as censorship when there was no government intervention and no one was silenced... just de-funded. Fortunately, the internet never forgets

Then came the smaller channels. One lost revenue on a video about depression, another over a video on how to conceal acne. Even videos about suicide prevention by Boogie2988, the Internet's nicest guy, weren't safe.

My theory here, as one of YouTube's support Twitter accounts will not shut up about, is that they're doing it to push YouTube Red. YTR is a subscription-based service that feeds money to participating content creators, based on their view-counts, from the subscription money instead of advertising revenue. By de-monetizing regular YouTube videos, Google hopes to force content creators to switch to using YouTube Red instead. 

Let me give you an idea of the impact this would have on someone who isn't a content creator, but merely a subscriber. I don't have a webcam, and I don't particularly like being on camera, so I watch, listen, and learn. I take in a great number of various voices and viewpoints by listening to scientific lectures, entertainment podcasts, and political rants from all around the spectrum while I play video games. One of my favourite things to do after work is to put my feet up, boot up something like Assassin's Creed or Fallout, and wander around the map picking up collectibles and climbing towers while learning new and different things. So while this doesn't affect me directly, it does upset me that YouTube is doing this because YouTube is probably the Google product that I use the most. 

My fear is that this demonetization push is going to reduce YouTube to cat videos and make-up tutorials, with content creators that want to discuss serious topics fleeing to smaller, less reliable platforms for fear of their livelihoods. After all, if regular YouTube did this to them, who's to say that youTube Red won't do exactly the same later on?

Google:  Please don't do this. If this was a bot, turn it off. If this was a conscious decision, reverse it. You don't realize how important YouTube is to some people's day-to-day lives. It's a more powerful information and entertainment platform than any network or cable television channel, and you're neutering it.

The Fine Print

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