Monday, October 11, 2021

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 173: NRA Lawsuit 101 with Professor Capanna


In This Episode
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss Smith & Wesson's departure from Massachusetts after 196 years, and then analyze The Trace's softball interview of David Chipman.
  • Paloma Capanna comprehensively dissects the New York Lawsuit against the NRA. For the first time ever, all of the elements are laid out clearly and in order for all to see!

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Show Notes

Monday, October 4, 2021

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 172: All the News is Awful


In This Episode
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss the line item in the NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) which contains an ERPO (red flag) law against military personnel, and California's sharing of gun owner private data with any university that wants it;
  • Xander brings us his Interdependent Thoughts on gun safety for kids;
  • and Weer'd fisks a CNN Interview with the director of the gun-prohibitionist  documentary The Price of Freedom.

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Show Notes

Sunday, October 3, 2021

A Booby Trap

I was hit with this challenge by my friend Adrian, so here's my best shot. 

Let's be up front about things which were always up and in front: she had a large bosom, she knew its effect on people, and she dressed to use it to her advantage. But that was not the extent of her character; those who could pry their eyes away from her inviting cleavage could see the quirk of amusement upon her delicate mouth and the gleam of judgement within her deep brown eyes. Her unruly black hair fell past her shoulders in long waves, and her fresh face and fair complexion suggested youth and naiveté in exactly the same way that the lair of a trapdoor spider suggests a lovely, harmless place to spend time. She was a huntress, and what she hunted were those who couldn't see the woman for the boobs.

You can't ignore that cleavage, and trying to do so would be disingenuous. But that expression of hers tells me that she's up to something, so I imagine she's smarter than she (deliberately) appears to be, and when she goes on dates she tries to figure out what kind of person she's with is. She wants you to look... but if you look for too long, you've failed her test. 

It is, quite literally, a booby trap. ;)

Thursday, September 30, 2021

My Toons, Let Me Show You Them: Palette

Wow, I can't believe I've never talked about my first level 50 on City of Heroes, my namesake Palette. 

She wasn't my first character, but she was the first character I played as me, i.e. she was the character I made when I gave myself permission to explore the possibility that I was transgender. "I'll make and play a girl character," I told myself, "and see how long it takes for someone to accuse me of being a guy."

That never happened, of course, and that's how I'm here today. It just seemed fitting, then, that I honor her by taking part of her name as my own for my new life. 

I am really, really pleased with how this came out. 

Her biography is a lot more simple than some of my other characters, partly because I created her when there was a much shorter word count allowed and partly because I was still learning to write well. Still, I think I captured the spirit of the Mighty Marvel Capsule History:
A bohemian artist of the surrealist style, Sarah McLughan was accidentally sucked into one of her own painted landscapes. She soon realized that her paintings were, in fact, mental gateways to other dimensions, though she isn't sure if she creates a new world each time she paints, or if her paintings come from clairvoyant visions. She now uses her connection to the realms of chaos to disorient criminals by scrambling their senses with synesthesia.

Oh, and her art? A critic once described it as "A cross between Dali and Escher, on an acid trip." Sales are good. 
If you know me and you know my taste in fiction, you can instantly see an homage to the Chronicles of Amber and their use of tarot-esque cards to travel between dimensions. This doesn't mean that Palette was specifically an Amberite... but I wasn't ruling it out, either. I wanted to keep things open-ended. 

Later on, my character discovered the Shadow Shard, a land of illusion, and I thought "Hey, maybe Palette's from there." Then the game introduced Praetorian content, and I liked the highly magical vibe of Night Ward, and... well, you get the idea. I went through a bunch of origins for her, and none of them felt especially right... or especially wrong, either. 

At this point, I enjoy and embrace the ambiguity. It seems fitting, and it mirrored my quest to get her costume right. Not "just right", but merely "right". Oh, my original concepts were horrible. No, I don't have them saved, they were that bad. I was trying to make her costume represent synesthesia, and that just didn't work out at all. Eventually I just went with pink and purple, because 1) pink and purple and Palette are all p words, and 2) the colors matched that of her powers (this was long before the game allowed us to customize the colors of our powers).

For those curious, her main powerset is Illusion Control, which is explained in the game as "You can manipulate light and sound to manifest all sorts of Illusions, aiding your allies as well as deceiving your foes," but I always imagined her powers as "Synesthesia, but cranked up to 11."  

With regular synesthesia, your senses are cross-connected, such that numbers have colors or sounds have tastes. This is a quirky bit of neurology, but to my knowledge people with synesthesia don't suffer from it. 

BUT! Imagine if it were to come upon you unawares, strong and sudden, while you were trying to do something highly stressful like, I dunno, rob a bank or something. Suddenly the sound of the bank alarm is generating flashes of light which obstruct your vision, and the tastes of all the differently-colored numbers turns your stomach, and the screams of the bank tellers makes your skin feel like it's on fire. I imagine it would be terribly disorienting and painful to have your senses amplified and cross-connected in a manner which you couldn't process. You'd probably fall down and curl into a twitching ball. 

That's why I made her an illusion controller, and that's why I named her Palette: because of the palette of colors, sounds, and sensations she had at her disposal. She's a strange hero, and quirky in the fine tradition of B-class heroes (more quirky than The Question, less quirky than Ambush Bug) and I like her just the way she is. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

You Have Milk

It's 1997. Rammstein's most popular song has debuted, and I know just enough German to be dangerous. 

My friends and I hear the music on the radio for the first time, and we start headbanging. Then the lyrics begin, and I start laughing so hysterically that I have difficulty breathing. 

When I've recovered my composure enough to explain to my friends why I'm pissing myself with laughter, I explain "Du Habst Milch" in German translates to "You Have Milk" in English. 

Not once do I ask myself "Why would a hardcore German metal band write a song proclaiming that someone has milk?"  No, I just take it as a given, because in my world this makes perfect sense. 

Needless to say, I was EXTREMELY DISAPPOINTED to learn that the actual lyrics were "Du Hast Mich" which, translated, means "You Have/Hate Me". *

I still prefer my version of events.

* Before anyone gets all "Well, akshually" on me, let me explain that the song is more complex than people realize. 

  • Du Hast = You Have
  • Du Hasst = You Hate 
Hasst and Hast sound a lot alike, especially when sung aloud. 

Also consider that the chorus, Willst du bist das tod euch scheidet, treue sein fur alle tagen, which means "Will you stay true to each other for all of your days until death separates you," is the German version of wedding vows, including "Till death do you part." 

Put it all together and it's pretty clear that, as someone said on Facebook, the song is clever wordplay regarding the dichotomy of love and hate in marriage. 

Monday, September 27, 2021

Assorted Calibers Podcast Ep 171: Precedent is a Powerful Thing


In This Episode
  • Erin and Weer’d discuss:
    • The recent school shooting in Russia and the gun control laws that failed to prevent it;
    • The massive influx of new gun owners and some of their vital statistics;
    • The ruling by a US Military Appeals Court that bumpstocks aren't machine guns,  and what this holds for the future.
  • Next, Sean Sorrentino gives more detail on last week's story where Grassroots North Carolina called for disciplinary action against an anti-gun State Senator;
  • and David geeks out on cartridge cases and primers, and what makes them unique and interesting.

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Show Notes

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Gun Rights Policy Conference 2021

Due to the issues with getting my father into a nursing home for the period of February through mid-August of this year, I was unable to record a video for the Gun Rights Policy Conference this year. 

However, you should watch this year's GRPC anyway! The SAF and the Gottliebs have been good friends to me and to Operation Blazing Sword, and I hope you will continue to support them as they fight for our 2nd Amendment rights.

There are five videos in the playlist. This is the first, and the others will auto-play in order. 

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