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Thursday, August 22, 2019

Unknown Armies Episode 11



So... that didn't go as I expected.

Sigh.

Let me tell you a story. Back in 1995, I was asked to GM a game of Vampire: the Masquerade at the local engineering college. They were all members of a local RPG group who really wanted to play this hot new game but didn't have anyone to run it for them. I was active on the various World of Darkness mailing lists at the time (ah, mailing lists. How 90s) and someone saw I was in their area, said "Would you like to run for us?" and I was all "Sure!"

So I showed up and saw that most of them had made their characters. OK, cool. I get an idea of who they are and what kind of characters they're running. I start an introductory scenario where they, newly made vampires, present themselves to the head vampire of the city (the "Prince" in V:tM lingo) and meet the local clan heads (movers and shakers of power). Then I say to them, "OK, what do you do next?"

I was met with blank stares. Apparently the idea that they, as player characters, should have goals and motivations was foreign to them. They wanted to be told what to do. They wanted to given a quest, go do it, then come back and get a reward and another quest.

They were D&D players in a very NOT D&D game. I was frustrated by this and tried to make it work, but I failed. I was told by one of them (who was a good friend of mine for many years after) that I was expecting a "very advanced form of roleplay" from them.

I feel like that's what is happening in this game. I put the players in a strange place, and instead of trying to blend in, lie low and figure out why they are there, they fight it and do their best to opt out of the scenario. I think you can hear it in my voice as I die a little bit inside in what is supposed to be the climax of the scenario.

Honestly, the only thing I thought was successful was when they (probably unwittingly) crafted an ad-hoc ritual to pull them back to Texas. They technically shouldn't have been able to do that without a magickal charge, but at this point I was basically "Oh thank goodness, they're actually working together and engaging in ritual symbolism" and I decided it was better to reward them for desirable behavior rather than drag out an obviously unfun and unhappy scenario for purposes of rules.

I don't really know what to do. These are D&D players in a very not-D&D game, and I don't know if I can change this game to suit their playstyle without eliminating the elements that make it fun for me to run.

Thanks for letting me vent.


Monday, August 19, 2019

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 065: Strange Flexes



In This Episode:
Weer'd is on vacation again, this time in New England, so Erin is once again in charge of the episode, this time with co-host Oddball. Erin also cut all the audio to make it sound pretty despite some significant hurdles, so please tell her what a good job she did.
  • Erin and Oddball contemplate why the media overplays tragedies to the point of dancing in the blood of the dead;
  • Weer'd fisks David Hogg's attempts to increase gun control laws in Maine, of all places;
  • In Gun Lovers and Other Strangers, our David (no relation) details the etiquette for selling a gun from his perspective as a gun shop employee;
  • and Oddball talks about a pet peeve of his: when gun owners "flex on the poors."



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Show Notes

Main Topic
Weer'd Audio Fisk
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

Monday, August 12, 2019

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 064: Erin is Captain Now



In This Episode:
Weer'd is on vacation in Ireland, so Erin takes over the ship ("Look at me. LOOK AT ME. I'm the Captain now.") and enlists ACP contributor Egghead to be her Cabin Boy for the show.
  • Erin and Egghead discuss two very surprising Tweets that address mass shootings in unexpected ways;
  • David tells us what gear we need to avoid doing the Hot Brass Dance;
  • Egghead reviews the CountyComm GP-5 General Purpose Radio for both Ham operators and preppers;
  • and Trunk Monkey Steve tells us how he keeps his Ninja Wagon up and running in Tales from the Trunk.



Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


Show Notes

Main Topic
Gun Lovers and Other Strangers
General Purpose Egghead

    Thursday, August 8, 2019

    Unknown Armies Episode 10



    I want to assure my listeners of a few things:
    • I didn't suddenly decide to run a Star Trek game instead of Unknown Armies. 
    • There's a reason why this happened. However, like all good UA stuff, it's never initially apparent. The PCs might find out why it happened, or they might not. 
    • There's actually reasoning and a pattern going on here, although it's difficult for my players to see. 


    Monday, August 5, 2019

    Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 063: Circuses and Monkeys



    In This Episode:
    • Erin and Weer’d discuss the return of Cam & Company and some of the recent developments at the NRA, specifically the consolidation of power by Wayne La Pierre;
    • Egghead reviews the Niteforce P12 flashlight;
    • Oddball explains the pros and cons of different knife handle materials;
    • and Weer'd brings us an interview with Jake Skillett of VonBernd K-9 Training.




    Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


    Show Notes

    Main Topic
    General Purpose Egghead
    Oddball's Corner Pocket
    Jake Skillett

      Sunday, August 4, 2019

      Pink Pistols article in Crosscut Magazine

      Dorothy Edwards of Crosscut magazine was introduced to me by the head of the Portland, OR chapter of the Pink Pistols. Dorothy had been observing and interviewing members of that chapter for an article she was writing.

      She was also at the March for Our Rights in Olympia, WA at the end of April (an event I was sadly unable to attend because it happened on the same day as the NRA Annual Meeting), and was surprised by how many people came up to the Pink Pistols booth giving support, thanking them for being there, and obtaining information for family and friends. Dorothy, as most in news media, had the belief that the 2A community was not welcoming.

      She asked me many good questions when we spoke, not just the usual "Tell me about how Pink Pistols/Operation Blazing Sword started." Unfortunately our entire conversation is not in the article (it never is), but it's a good depiction of of who we are, what we do, and why the Pink Pistols needs to exist.

      Please take the time to read it.



      Monday, July 29, 2019

      Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 062: A Case of the Sillies



      In This Episode:
      • Erin and Weer'd giggle a lot;
      • David brings us some tales of humor and woe from his job as a firearms trainer;
      • The Egghead reviews the Thyrm Switchback flashlight accessory;
      • In part two of his interview with Logan Metesh of High Caliber History, Weer'd and Logan discuss the Pederson Device;
      • and Steve brings us a little snapshot on what a Monday afternoon looks like for a private investigator.




      Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


      Show Notes

      Egghead
      High Caliber History

      Sunday, July 28, 2019

      Twin Cities Pride Festival

      I am super late in publishing this -- I think Twin Cities Pride was literally a month ago at this point! I really hate how my blogging has trailed off in the past however many months. I just have a lot of balls in the air right now and, unfortunately, "Writing this blog" suffers the most when I'm pressed for time.

      That said, look for some big and awesome changes coming to Operation Blazing Sword soon!

      These pictures were taken on Saturday, the first day of Twin Cities Pride. I was a guest of the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus and I worked the booth for both days, answering questions and promoting both Operation Blazing Sword and the Pink Pistols, specifically the Twin Cities chapter. It was a lot of fun and I found that the people who came up to our booth were typically either gun owners or were interested in becoming such, and those I talked to were receptive to joining Pink Pistols, making use of OBS instruction, or both.

      I was told that this was the first year that the booth wasn't treated with hostility, and some of that was attributed to my presence. I made a joke about how "Well, of course people are being nice. Who would be rude to someone as nice as me?", but in truth there's a powerful legitimacy to standing up and saying "Yes, I'm queer and I'm armed and I'm not ashamed. Who are you to tell me how I can't defend myself?"

      In previous years the members of MNGO had to explain why they were at a Pride event, but by simply being there I served as a demonstration that the Second Amendment and armed self-defense is something that belongs to everyone, regardless of sexuality, gender, or political affiliation. Of course, it also helped that if someone had questions about resources for armed queer people in the area the booth staffers could just refer someone to me instead of trying to answer the questions themselves.


      The first day was sunny and warm, but tempered with a nice breeze that kept things from getting too hot. There were lots of dogs at Pride (apparently Minneapolis is a big ol' dog city) and one of the MNGO staffers brought her Great Pyrenees puppy, which worked as an amazing draw to the booth. So many people came up just to pet the floof ball!


      Yes, that's Sarah Cade and yes, she's wearing a rainbow Gadsden flag as a cape. I made a joke about how she was a "fabulous superhero and now had the cape to prove it".

      The wheel of fortune was filled with questions, like "What's a straw purchase?" or "Is crime going up or going down in Minnesota?" People would come up, spin the wheel, and be asked the question. If they were wrong, we told them the answer and gave them a piece of candy (from the pink basket). If they were correct, we let them take a sticker ("I'm a gun-owning liberal" was surprisingly popular") as well as some candy.


      By the way, the rainbow Gadsden in the front left pole kept blowing everywhere in the breeze, knocking stuff over and frequently hitting me in the face. Which lead to one of the Zero Context Quotes of the Day: "That rainbow flag is bukkake-ing my face with pride."



      This was taken on Sunday during one of the rare moments it wasn't raining. Mind you, it didn't rain very hard, but it rained a lot and lots of rain doesn't mix well with fabulous Pride outfits.

      By the way, for those who are curious:
      • Anyone who thinks that all gay people have fantastic style and taste should come to a Pride festival to be proven wrong. I like rainbows too, but there were so many of them them that the place looked like it was full of unicorn vomit. 
      • What you need to keep in mind is that Pride is basically "queer Mardi Gras". Many of the costumes are deliberately provocative and outrageous, and not at all indicative of what queer people normally wear. If you go, be prepared to see a lot of skin, such as topless women with tape over their nipples and men in shorts so small and tight you can tell their religion. 
      • On the other hand, I saw many more people who were just dressed normally in t-shirts and jeans or shorts, just having a great time. I noticed that wearing one of the many various queer flags as capes.
      By the way, my Transgender Socially Awkward Situation Defuser Card was the surprise hit of the show. I grabbed a box at the last minute just on a whim, and whenever someone would come up to the booth to look around it would be likely that they would take a card even if they took nothing else. I lost track of the number of times someone wearing trans colors would pick it up, read it, and gasp in astonished delight "I need this!" or "I wish I'd had this years ago!" I'm going to get another batch made up with the URLs of both Pink Pistols and Operation Blazing Sword on the back as a kind of stealth advertising. 

      I had a great time at Twin Cities Pride, and I hope the Minnesota Gun Owners Caucus will have me back next year. 

      Saturday, July 27, 2019

      Unknown Armies Episode 9


      More weirdness at UT Austin and the PCs are beginning to wonder just what exactly is going on and what they've gotten caught up in.

      My biggest criticism of this game is about myself: we're using the Unknown Armies rules and setting, but it doesn't feel like a UA game to me. I feel like I'm not giving an authentic UA experience, mainly because I just can't seem to express the theme and flavor of UA that I get from the books and so I end up with creepy weirdness instead.

      It's hard to describe what that theme and flavor ought to be, because if I knew specifically what was wrong I think I'd be able to fix it. The best I can do is say that when I read UA, there is a very distinct flavor to it,  like maybe a Hunter Thompson novel but with magic instead of drugs, and I can't seem to evoke that flavor. It instead feels like a bunch of normies walking around going "Huh? What?"

      I'm trying to give them a taste of Power And Consequences, but -- probably due to inexperience with the setting, or perhaps fear of getting screwed by the GM, they aren't grabbing it by the throat. So instead they're just trying to understand all the Weird Shit going around as other people do their thing, and it feels a lot more like a World of Darkness RPG only with fewer monsters. Or perhaps a Ken Hite conspiracy game but with magic.

      Eh, I'm probably overthinking this. As long as my players are having fun and keep coming back, that's the important thing. I just wish I could shake this feeling that I am doing it wrong and if I could only figure out this one thing, it'll be the game that I want to run.

      Anyway, here's the audio. General NSFW warning, mainly for language.



      Wednesday, July 24, 2019

      Important OBS Update!












      Due to a number of problems with the Google Maps system we were using, we are moving to a privately controlled internal database. Here's how to use it.

      To Sign Up as an Instructor
      1. Navigate to www.blazingsword.org
      2. Mouse over the "Volunteer" button
      3. Click the down arrow under Volunteer
      4.  Click directly on “Instructor Signup and Update”.
      5. The sign-up page requires only three pieces of input: first name, last name, and email address.
      6. At this point you can choose to not receive notifications by un-checking the Mailing List checkbox.
      7. Fill out the information and click the "Sign Up" button. 
      8. You will receive a verification email, so make sure to look for it.Click on the given link and go to your record.
      9. You will be taken to a confirmation page which gives you a private link to further edit your record. You will also be emailed the same private link to the given email address to use later to update your information.
      10. Fill in the desired information, and click on the “Save Your Changes” button to save all information. You may come back to this page at any time to update.

      To Make Changes
      Did you make a mistake? Move? Got a new certification you wanted to add? To edit your information or update your information, just follow these steps.
      1. Go to "Instructor Signup and Update".
      2. Click on the blue link which says "Forget your private link? Need to Update your record? Click here to have it emailed to you."
      3. Enter your email address and click on the "Submit" button. 
      4. The link will be emailed to you. 
      5. Follow the link to make changes to your record. 

      How to Delete Your Record
      Taking a break from it all? No longer wish to be listed?
      1. To Delete your record, please email info@blazingsword.org and we'll pull your record.

      Frequently Asked Questions

      Were existing entries ported over?
      Most entries were ported over. We would love it if you were to double check your entry, as some entries were scrambled (instructors listed in the wrong location, etc) during the migration. 

      Why did you change databases?
      The scrambling is one of the reasons we moved away from Google Maps. Every time we tried to extract our data, it tended to come out badly scrambled. This new system prevents that. 

      Moreover, unlike the old system, you own your information and not Google. You can have it deleted whenever you like instead of it existing in a Google server forever. 

      Finally, it makes our lives easier. Instead of having to manually enter your information, this is an automated system. 


      Monday, July 22, 2019

      Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 061: Geeks Gotta Geek Out



      In This Episode:
      • Erin and Weer’d talk about the demise of Eric Swalwell's presidential hopes;
      • Weer'd interviews Dr. John Edeen of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO);
      • David lists some of the 2A pitfalls of living in Tennessee;
      • and Egghead gives us Theremin Build Part 2: Oscillators.




      Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


      Show Notes

      Main Topic
      Oddball’s Corner Pocket
      Gun Lovers and Other Strangers
      Logan Metesh Interview

      Sunday, July 21, 2019

      GunGals Live Chat with Dawn Hillyer of Hiding Hilda LLC

      I had a great time tonight talking with Dawn Hillyer of HidingHilda LLC on this week's Gun Gals Live! We had some technical issues along the way, but all in all it was a great show.

      Monday, July 15, 2019

      Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 060: Show Your Work and Use Footnotes



      In This Episode:
      • Erin and Weer’d talk about the demise of Eric Swalwell's presidential hopes;
      • Weer'd interviews Dr. John Edeen of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO);
      • David lists some of the 2A pitfalls of living in Tennessee;
      • and Egghead gives us Theremin Build Part 2: Oscillators.




      Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


      Show Notes

      Main Topic
      Dr. John Edeen
      Gun Lovers and Other Strangers

      Sunday, July 14, 2019

      GunGals Live Chat: Home Defense Plans.... Do You Have One?

      Last week I didn't have much to say, but this week I have an opinion and everyone's entitled to it! That's because this week's topic is "Home Defense Plans" which is something that I, a prepper, have a vested interest in knowing.

      Friday, July 12, 2019

      Why There Will Be No Gatekeeping Within the Pink Pistols





      Gatekeeping: When someone takes it upon themselves to decide who does or does not have access or rights to a community or identity.


      I'm going to explain why gatekeeping hurts us and why I and the other mods won't tolerate it here, and I'm going to use queer dynamics to illustrate it.
      • Gay and Lesbian people think that Transgender people shouldn't be under the LGBTQ tent because "being transgender isn't a sexual orientation, it's a gender issue".
      • Yet Transgender people say that Gays and Lesbians have it easy because they don't stand out in everyday life, and besides it's socially acceptable to be homosexual these days, so if anything trans folks are more oppressed and deserve more representation, not less.
      • And I could point out that Gays and Lesbians don't actually get along, but I'll go one step further and tell you that subcultures within each don't even get along. For example, we have Bears (masculine homosexual men) who deride Twinks (feminine homosexual men) for being "too faggy", and we have Lipstick Lesbians (feminine homosexual women) who look down on Dykes (masculine homosexual women) for being "too butch".
      • Meanwhile, practically everyone hates Bisexual people due to a combination of unfounded fear that the Bi person will be unsatisfied with only one type of genital and cheat/wander/leave their SOs, and jealousy that a bi person can adopt a hetero-normative lifestyle and reap all the benefits without suffering any of the ill effects.
      • Then there are the Trans people who pass ("go stealth") who just want to be thought of as men instead of transmen/women instead of transwomen, and they are called cowards by the "out and proud" Trans people who feel that trans acceptance will only happen if we are visible to the world. The stealthers regard the outers as attention whores and drama queens who are setting back trans acceptance by being outrageous.
      • (In fact, there's an amazingly accurate parallel between stealth vs. loud and concealed carry vs. open carry.)
      • Then there are the Aces (asexuals) and Aros (aromantics) who no one really knows what to do with because "What kind of social oppression do they face?" Apparently, if they aren't being victimized for their sexuality then they don't "count" as authentically queer to some people.
      • Want to refine it even further? Let's bring race into the mix. QPOC (that's "queer people of color") have to deal with being a racial minority as well as being a gender and/or sexual minority, so all of us with racial privilege should let them do all the talking.
      • How about class? If you're poor and you're trans you're going to have a much harder time transitioning (if you can transition at all) because therapy and hormones and surgery take more money than they can afford.

      I could continue, but you get the idea.

      The moment we start gatekeeping is the moment this group fractures around identity issues and an ever-tightening death spiral of ideological purity. If we say "Only queer people are allowed in the Pink Pistols" then that inevitably results in statements like "You vote Republican, you're a traitor and not truly queer" or "You're Bisexual, you can live a heteronormative lifestyle, you're not truly queer" or "You're a heterosexual stealth Trans, you don't belong here, you aren't properly queer" and so on until there's only one person left standing who is "authentically queer" and the rest are just posers and traitors.

      So we, the mods and admins of this page, say NO to this self-destructive course of action and instead encourage people to find ways to live with each other.
      This is a group for pro-Second Amendment queer people and those who support them. It will always be that way. The only thing we ask is that if you are not queer in some manner that you be queer-positive. We won't throw you out if you aren't (but we will if you're abusive to our queer members), although we warn you that making statements like "I don't believe in your lifestyle, but..." will earn you as much popularity and acceptance as people who say "I believe in the Second Amendment, but..."

      So to reiterate and reinforce:
      • We don't gatekeep against heterosexual people who consider themselves Pink Pistols.
      • We don't gatekeep against cisgender people who consider themselves Pink Pistols.
      • We don't gatekeep about race, or class, or religion, or anything else.

      All of these inherently divisive positions must be set aside in favor of what we all have in common: Our desire to have the right to keep and bear arms and the right to use those arms to defend ourselves. Everything else is irrelevant to our mission.

      Or, put more pithily, "Teaching queers to shoot does not imply that only queers can teach them, or that we can't have straights in the organization."

      Which brings us to the word "ally". Some of us (specifically Gwen Patton and myself, but there may well be others) want to take the term "ally" out behind the woodshed and treat it like the rabid dog it is. The only "allies" we have are from other organizations that do not consider themselves to be members of our organization; anyone inside the organization is one of us, period.

      When someone is labelled "ally", the assumption is that the person doing the labeling is stating "I'm the REAL member here. You're just an ally, a second-class citizen." It's divisive, derisive, and demeaning, and it belittles those members who support us 100%, regardless of race, orientation, sex, gender, kinks, relationship structures or lack of the same, by telling them that they're still outsiders here. That just reinforces the attitude that they're not one of us and the pernicious idea that because they're not us, we should exclude them, mock them, ignore them, neglect them or even hate them.

      Our straight members aren't just here to get us coffee, bow, and scrape. They're 100% full members, just like us.

      This is how it was when Doug Krick founded the Pink Pistols 20 years ago.

      This is how it was when Gwen Patton was First Speaker.

      This is how it will be with me as National Coordinator.

      NO GATEKEEPING.

      Monday, July 8, 2019

      Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 059: LibertyCon AAR



      In This Episode:
      • This is another Roundtable episode because Erin got in late from LibertyCon and David, Oddball and Xander all attended as well, so it became an impromptu after-action report of the convention.
      • We mainly discussed LibertyCon and its events, but there is discussion of a few current 2A topics, and Erin got VERY tired at the end.




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      Show Notes

      Sunday, July 7, 2019

      GunGals Live Chat: Video Types and Styles

      The Gun Gals are joined by CloverTac and Ghost Tactical to talk about making videos... in, ironically enough, a show with no video!

      If you've ever thought about making a video but didn't know how to get started, this show is for you.

      Friday, July 5, 2019

      Interviewed by Jon Del Arroz

      This past weekend at LibertyCon, Jon Del Arroz interviewed me to talk about the origins of Operation Blazing Sword, the necessity of the Pink Pistols, and coming out of the Gun Closet.

      (The bit about the "sexy Russian spy" is an inside joke that is difficult to explain, but rest assured it's all in good fun.)


      Now, this interview is noteworthy because JDA is a conservative Christian and yet he was perfectly comfortable around me. This is important to point out, because I know that JDA has a reputation as a troll and a shit-stirrer. And yet, he didn't try to argue with me or convince me I was wrong or broken or confused; instead, he accepted me at face value and let me speak about issues which are important to both of us: the right to self-defense and the right to keep and bear arms. In fact, he even hugged me! (So did his wife.)

      I know that it's not possible for everyone to get along. However, this interview proves that queer people and conservatives aren't natural enemies. We should build bridges between us by focusing on common goals and similarities, not on our differences and disagreements.

      And that's the entire point of Operation Blazing Sword: building bridges between communities.

      Monday, July 1, 2019

      Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 058: Roundtable Nerd Singularity



      In This Episode:
      • We get extra geeky talking about Klein Bottles;
      • Egghead details the horrors that is Whisker Fatigue;
      • Erin's describes her trip to Minnesota for Twin Cities Pride;
      • We discuss the suspension of Chris Cox from the NRA-ILA and NRATV ceasing to broadcast;
      • We briefly touch upon Oregon's governor sending the State Police to collect GOP lawmakers to force them to vote;
      • And  because no podcast is complete without guns, we all have a nice giggle about the new Hi-Point "Yeet Cannon" and the hilarity that surrounds its announcement.




      Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


      Show Notes

      Monday, June 24, 2019

      Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 057: Throat-Kicking to a Happy Marriage



      In This Episode:
      • Erin and Weer’d talk about Gun Free Zones in the news;
      • The Egghead talks about his new project of building a Theremin for Weer'd;
      • Weer'd Fisks a video on the Brady Campaign Changing Their Name;
      • Oddball is Joined by Panya to tell the story of that one time when he kicked her in the throat;
      • and Loveball returns to the show to tell us about Storyland, a great place for kids in New Hampshire.




      Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


      Show Notes

      Main Topic
      Weer’d Audio Fisk
      Loveball’s Segment:

      Thursday, June 20, 2019

      Unknown Armies Episode 8


      Hopefully the weirdness is building as the PCs investigate UT Austin and realize that not all is as it seems on campus.

      Now that Weer'd Beard is a player (although he missed this session), he's able to clean up to audio for me and reduce the dead air. So a track which used to be 2:46:18 is now 1:55:13. That's much better, both in terms of storage space and listener frustration.

      In time I'll go back and correct previous episodes.

      Oh, I almost forgot: there's swearing in this one (and, I think, in all previous episodes, but this one specifically had a player ask me to put up a warning) so consider it NSFW.



      Monday, June 17, 2019

      Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 056: The Bad News Edition



      In This Episode:
      • Erin and Weer’d talk about unprofessional behavior from the NRA 2nd Vice Preisdent, the latest mass shooting in Australia, and the Vox Ad-Pocalypse;
      • Weer'd Fisks Cory Booker and his Presidential anti-gun platform;
      • and David gives us a lesson on some common misconceptions regarding the design of the AR-15.




      Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


      Show Notes

      Main Topic
      Weer’d Audio Fisk
      Gun Lovers and Other Strangers:

      GunGals Live Chat with Scott of Celtic Holsters

      It's technically a Gun Gals episode but we're broadcasting on Armintha "That Guy's Wife" Dover's channel tonight!


      Sunday, June 16, 2019

      A Busy Spring with More to Come


      As we close out spring and welcome the beginning of summer, I'd like to take a few moments to let people know all that Operation Blazing Sword and Pink Pistols have accomplished lately.


      Training and Education
      Operation Blazing Sword continues its pattern of teaching, on average, at least one queer person how to safely operate a firearm every other week. The "at least" disclaimer is important here, as OBS does not require its students to out themselves before our volunteers will teach them due to the immense social pressure against firearm ownership within the queer community. Therefore, it is entirely possible that we trained more than 26 people last year; a number closer to 50 is more likely, and perhaps even more than that.

      Outreach
      This is another core component of our mission, because if people don't know we exist then we can't help them. In April I had the privilege of speaking at the University of Mary Washington's Second Amendment Day (you can see video of my presentation here), and one of the attendees was a young gay man named Beau who wanted to learn use firearms for self defense and who wanted to know more, yet was at a loss regarding how to proceed. As a result of his questions, the father of the young woman who ran the 2A Day event offered him his services, which is more impressive than it sounds because her father, Michael Johns, is the rangemaster for the NRA range in Fairfax!

      Additionally, we held a raffle for a range day and one of the winners donated their prize to Beau! So now Beau is going to get exceptional training by some of the best instructors in the business, all absolutely free of charge. I cannot and will not take full credit for this -- I didn't make Mr. Johns offer to comp his range time, nor did I make the raffle winner give his prize away, those are both amazing acts of kindness and generosity that belong solely to those people -- but I feel safe in saying that had I not been a speaker, Beau wouldn't have attended (he told me as much) and if he hadn't attended he wouldn't have asked those questions, and if he hadn't asked then he wouldn't have gotten the help he wanted.

      Gun Laws
      Since Operation Blazing Sword is a 501c3, we cannot agitate politically (endorsing a candidate or denouncing another) without endangering our nonprofit status. However, what we can do is speak out against ridiculous firearms laws, such as New York City's draconian ban on transportation of lawfully owned firearms. To that end, the Pink Pistols -- a division of Operation Blazing Sword since September 2018 -- filed an amicus curae brief in favor of the plaintiff, the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association (NYSRPA). I encourage you to read the entire writ as it's extremely well-written and reads quickly, but in case you don't have time, here are the amazing concluding paragraphs:



      Pulse Anniversary
      I will close out this post with thoughts on the tragedy which started OBS by Gwen Patton.

      Click to embiggen


      Saturday, June 15, 2019

      Erin Palette and Tony Simon: The Second Amendment Protects Us All

      My appearance on "Cam & Company" alongside Tony Simon​ at the 2019 NRA Annual Meeting.

      Say what you like about the NRA and/or NRATV, Cam Edwards​ has been a great friend to me personally and to Operation Blazing Sword. He gave me my first nationwide appearance and has had me on his show every year since the founding of OBS. He's a lovely fellow and I can't say enough good things about him.





      Friday, June 14, 2019

      Interviewed by WMFE Orlando












      I was interviewed for the 3rd anniversary of the Pulse terror attack by a local NPR affiliate station.

      I held off from posting this because I hoped a longer version of my interview would be published -- it was nearly 30 minutes long -- but instead I'm only given one paragraph at the very bottom of the article and only 3.5 minutes of the interview were embedded.

      Still, it's a positive representation of me, my cause, and of gun owners, and hopefully my message will be seen and heard by those who didn't realize Operation Blazing Sword exists and is ready to help them.

      https://www.wmfe.org/pulse-orlando-still-mourning-three-years-after-deadly-shooting/116282

      Monday, June 10, 2019

      Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 055: Let's Talk About Other Things



      In This Episode:
      • Erin and Weer’d talk about the parting of ways between the NRA and Ackerman McQueen, then discuss the shooting in Virginia Beach;
      • Oddball tells us about non-metal knives;
      • Egghead reviews the MantisX Training System;
      • and the ACP House Dick tells a sordid tale involving a GPS Tracker and a bridge over muddied waters.




      Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


      Show Notes

      Main Topic

      Oddball’s Corner Pocket

      General Purpose Egghead

      Saturday, June 8, 2019

      Interviewed by the Tactical Leprechaun

      This is a great interview of me by CloverTac, aka the Tactical Leprechaun.

      In this interview I talk about not just the history and purpose of Operation Blazing Sword, but also my own firearms journey, the history of the Pink Pistols (now an incorporated division of OBS), the problems within the NRA, and the need for a politically neutral pro-Second Amendment advocacy group.

      Monday, June 3, 2019

      Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 054: A Passion for Fashion



      In This Episode:
      • Erin and Weer’d talk about the new Swiss firearm laws and Erin's recent media appearances;
      • Erin interviews Amanda Suffecool about her brainchild, the Concealed Carry Fashion Show;
      • and David examines the very important issue of "How do you use the restroom or otherwise disrobe when carrying concealed?"




      Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


      Show Notes

      Main Topic
      Concealed Carry Fashion Show

      Sunday, June 2, 2019

      GunGals Live Chat with Michael Sodini of Walk the Talk America

      The Gun Gals asked me to come back as a regular, so tune in every Sunday night at 9pm Eastern to listen to our show live, or catch up on YouTube anytime!

      Tonight we interview Michael Sodini, founder of Walk the Talk America ... but a surprise guest crashes the interview midway through!



      Saturday, June 1, 2019

      Making Sense of Star Trek 3: the Classes of Axanar

      In my previous post on this subject I defined the various ship classes of Star Trek and their roles within the fleet. Now I'm going to return to where I began this series by explaining how the ship designs of Prelude to Axanar just make sense to me (unlike those of later Treks).


      We're going to ignore the Klingon ships, because let's be honest, most fans care more about the Federation ships anyway.

      One of the things which I noticed is that the saucers on the first four ship classes, i.e. the ones which existed prior to the Four Years' War (and if you don't know what I'm talking about, go watch Prelude again) have the same radius. Look at the measurements under the names: the first is length, the second is width, and the third is depth. Notice that the second measurement of all four ships is the same: 122 meters. Notice that the nacelles don't extend out further than the saucer, either.

      Why is this important? Because it means Starfleet was using standardized saucer sections across ship classes. I don't know about you, but I think that's brilliant, because it suggests to me that Starfleet had standardized specifications for hulls, nacelles, etc and instead of designing a ship wholecloth they just plugged parts into a design to get what they wanted.

      Yes, they got the name wrong. I'm guessing there was a last-minute naming convention swap between the Hermes and the Geronimo (see below). 

      The USS Hermes, on the far left, is a frigate. (See this post for an explanation of what that means.) It has one engine, meaning it's not very powerful (see my explanation of nacelles = boilers here.) It's obviously a scout which has been retrofitted for war by attaching a weapons "roll bar" to the top of the saucer in order to give it the ability to fire photon torpedoes.

      The joy of this is that classes are now configurable for their missions. Do you need a Fast Frigate? Add a second nacelle to the top (this would obviously not be compatible with the rollbar). Need an Endurance Frigate? Add a secondary hull instead... you know, like the USS Kelvin.

      Image found on Pinterest

      Want a ship with the power of two engines that can also shoot photon torpedoes? No problem, that's the destroyer USS Magellan, just move the mounting points over to accommodate two nacelles on the ventral side and integrate the photorp launcher into the saucer, right above the impulse engines and ready to absorb energy straight from engineering. You can easily see how this design became the USS Reliant.



      Want a destroyer with more endurance? Just put a secondary hull onto it and call
      it the USS Korolev, a light cruiser. Now it has more flexibility, more sensor power, more small craft.


      I'm sure some of you are wondering why it has a notch cut out of the saucer. I contend that it's there to add visual distinction to the design, because otherwise it would be confused with the Magellan class. It already looks like a Magellan with a secondary hull, so adding a cutout increases its visual distinctiveness. It's bad reasoning for a navy, but it makes perfect sense for a movie.

      Talking about saucer cutouts brings us to the USS Geronimo (erroneously labeled the Hermes in this picture. I don't know why they decided to halve its primary hull, as its double secondary hulls and dorsal nacelles (a design not seen again until the Constitution) looks plenty distinctive already. I truly can't explain why they gave up so much valuable real estate. But if you look at the top-down picture where the photorp launcher is, you can see that the dome on top of it is in almost exactly the same place as the one on the photorp launcher of the Magellan.

      See, I told you they switched the names. 

      That one very odd quirk notwithstanding, I really like this ship. It's clearly a medium cruiser and it seems optimized for two things:
      1. Science operations, with its double forward sensor arrays in the navigational deflector dishes of the secondary hulls;
      2. Small craft operations, with a plenty of room for shuttles (and Fast Attack Craft in wartime) in its deep double shuttlebays. 
      In other words, it's a carrier that also doubles as a sensor platform -- all the better to coordinate small craft attacks and carry out electronic warfare during battles. 


      All of this uniformity of design changed during the war, because as per Prelude to Axanar, the Klingons were handily defeating Federation ships in all battles which necessitated a bespoke design. Still, you can see how the design of the USS Ares is an example of "Like the Korolev, only moreso" with its longer secondary hull and more widely-placed nacelles.



      Of course, everyone knows this lady. The Constitution class is certainly dramatic looking, with her long goose neck and swept back nacelles.


      From a tactical standpoint, these design choices don't make sense, but it's worth repeating that the Enterprise was designed, first and foremost, to have a striking and unique design for a visual medium. In that sense the designer Matt Jeffries succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, as the Enterprise is still iconic 50 years later. This is, unfortunately, also where Starfleet designs stop making sense to me, with far more exposed parts and each class a custom design with a unique hull configuration.


      Thank you for riding with me on this in-depth geek-out regarding the ship classes of Starfleet. I hope you had fun! Leave your comments below. 


      Thursday, May 30, 2019

      Unknown Armies Episode 7


      This is a "building" episode. I've realized that my PCs simply aren't proactive and need to be told "This way towards the adventure", so I have accommodated them by having their reward from last week being "Here's the adventure, go do it, you'll learn stuff."

      I also added a new player to the group:  my podcast co-host Weer'd Beard. He's been enjoying listening to these episodes (in fact, I think he might be the ONLY person who listens to them) and wondering why the players didn't ask X or do Y, so I just asked him straight up if he wanted to join the game. As you can see, he said yes.

      So now the players are investigating strange going-on at the campus of University of Texas, Austin. Again, I worry that I'm not properly capturing the feel of the Texas Gothic aesthetic and/or the mood of Unknown Armies. I know how those things ought to be in my head, but I'm not sure how to express them properly.

      Advice is welcome from my listeners -- but does anyone else listen to this? Or am I just shouting into the void?


      Monday, May 27, 2019

      Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 053: Rights of the Round Table


      The crew decided to do the show in a slightly different format. Think of this as a cross between the regular show,  the "on location" shows we do from the road, and an ACP Mag Dump with the potty talk scraped off.

      In This Episode:
      • David and Oddball talk about the changes to the Tennessee Carry permits and the political process that got them there;
      • Erin showcases the Pink Pistols Amicus Curae writ on behalf of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association in their case against New York City's firearm transport ban;
      • Oddball explains some new Developments in the New York City case against the "Gravity Knife" ban;
      • Erin discusses the new changes to Florida's Lobbying laws;
      • Steve talks about Rick Ector's Women Shoot in Detroit;
      • and we all spend a little time talking about the NRA and its turmoil.




      Did you know that we have a Patreon? Join now for the low, low cost of $4/month (that’s $1/podcast) and you’ll get to listen to our podcast on Friday instead of Mondays, as well as patron-only content like mag dump episodes and our hilarious blooper reels and film tracks.


      Show Notes

      Sunday, May 26, 2019

      Erin on GunGals Live

      Armintha, aka That Guy's Wife, the lady whose interview of me I posted on Wednesday,  invited me to be a guest on her live hangout with her co-hostesses Gunpowder Beauty and Gun Snob's Wife.

      This has some stuff you haven't heard before, such as how I struggled with suicidal thoughts as a teenager, as it's 1 hour 13 minutes of us just chatting rather than a structured interview.

      I had a great time with these gals and I know they felt the same, as they asked if I'd be willing to come back. My answer "Yes! I'll come back any day you like!"

      Wednesday, May 22, 2019

      That Guy's Wife Media

      I'm in a video! You've probably heard all of this stuff before (I get asked the same questions so I end up repeating myself), but it was taken right after the Concealed Carry Fashion Show by my friend Armintha Caldwell Dover. Please  give her channel (That Guy's Wife Media) some love!

      The Fine Print


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

      Creative Commons License


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