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.

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Show Notes

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
  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 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.


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

The Fine Print

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