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Archive for February, 2009

Nice Cans!

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

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Sorry.

I’ve never been very good about organizing my gun stuff. When I was fresh out of college and just getting into shooting, and owned only a humble Glock and Mossberg, this wasn’t a problem. All of my holsters, ammo, and accessories would fit in a shoebox in my apartment.

As the years have passed and I’ve moved into a townhome, then a house, my pile of “gun stuff” has grown to take over the floor of a double-width closet in my home. As I’ve been stockpiling ammunition, the gun stuff situation has gone from unruly to completely unmanageable.

Last Saturday I went down to the local surplus place. When I asked the kid at the counter if they had any ammo cans, he produced what he said was his only one. I opened it up and found a half-inch of used motor oil in the bottom. At least it won’t be rusted on the bottom. I paid him a discounted price of $3. He told me that there was another place about 40 minutes north where he gets most of his stuff, and they might have some.

Off I went into the rain, and eventually found the place. The kid at the shop in my town said this place was a mess, and he wasn’t kidding. The building had a space between the door and the counter about the size of a desk where one might stand and do business with the owner. To the left and right of the counter were pathways into wings of the building the size of double-wide trailers that were filled to overflowing with old army clothing, bags, and tents. I asked the owner if he had any of those old army deployment duffel bags, and he said “yeah, they’re around here somewhere, you’ll have to dig.” I dug for about ten minutes in various piles, and found only two that were missing their eyelets and torn in places. Pass. How do you make a living when all your inventory is in one big pile, and nobody can ever find anything?

All his ammo cans were out front. In a big pile. In the rain. Had he moved them 18 inches toward the building, they would have been under the overhang and bone dry. I went through the pile and bought his nicest 15 for $5 each.

I got them home, put on some tunes, and went to work drying them off and cleaning the dust from the inside. A little orange duct tape and a sharpie marker makes the cans very easy to identify.

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It’s not an efficent use of the shelving, but it’ll do until I can get to Home Depot and get lumber for sturdy permanent shelving in the room.

Damn Prags!

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Freaking pragmatists, always throwing those threepers under a bus, and selling us gun owners out for… Oh, wait.

Sometimes I wonder if any of the folks who nothing but stock up on ammunition and talk about killing feds while abstaining from any involvement in current politics have any idea just how many of their freedoms are still intact thanks to “pragmatists” like the NRA. From Uncle, tongue in cheek:

Not me. I’m stocking up on dried goods, gold, and ammo! And writing fiction.

It’s funny because it’s true.

Look, the list is: Soap Box, Ballot Box, Jury Box, Cartidge Box. Yes, threepers have all those tools at their disposal, but refusing to use the first two or three just so they can get the fourth more quickly and start shooting people makes them sociopaths.

Thanks, NRA. You’re not perfect, but I’m glad you’re on my side.

Multpile-Add Attachments

Friday, February 27th, 2009

Gmail now supports it.

About frickin’ time. Gmail is awesome, and we’ve transitioned here at work from mostly Outlook Express to Google for Your Domain. This makes a lot of administrative stuff a lot easier for me, especially backups. But Gmail still has a few things I wish could be tweaked, and for a long time efficiently adding multiple attachments was one of them.

Most weeks I have two or three emails that require me to send a dozen PDFs to one of my bosses. I know that the correct answer is “just use zip files” but one doesn’t do that after the boss complains the first time.

For a few months I’d been using the gAttach Windows app to let me add as many files to a draft as I like directly from the Windows shell, but that was a kludge and the app stopped working about 6 weeks ago. I’ve been clicking three times for every attachment. Madness.

Now, all I have to do is click “browse”, drag-select the files I want to go, and click OK. Done.

Kudos, Google. Now let me attach .exe files to my emails!

Getting Back Into the Fight After a TASER Hit

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The Firearm Blog found a great video experiment from Tactical Response: Apply TASER for five seconds, then see how long it takes for the TASERee to draw and empty a magazine into a target.

All three subjects are able to immediately draw and fire.

The video is here. I would embed it, but James Yeager is a poopyhead and disabled that option.

Tom Givens (slightly less of a poopyhead) once said that dying is damn-near voluntary. I would propose that incapacitation of any kind is similar, in that if you truly desire to keep fighting and believe that you can do it, you’ll be able to get over whatever has been done to you and keep going.

The Problem is Obvious

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

fail-owned-hell-fail

Americans need more healers on their World of Warcraft servers. Hey Obama, where’s the stimulus for priests and paladins?

From the always-awesome Failblog.

Illustrative Slings Reveal Your Mistake

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Gizmodo came across an interesting idea for slings:

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Appears to be just a proof of concept for now.

Early Birds

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I need ammo cans, because my stockpiles of ammo are getting unweildy in loose 50-round boxes. I called the local army surplus place, but there was no answer. The owner passed away last year and the shop had been re-opened by his granddaughter, so I feared that perhaps she had been in over her head and closed the business. I drove out there to confirm, but found that they were merely closed on Mondays.

So I attempted to run my other errand, shipping something to family in Albania via the USPS, only to find that the post office was similarly closed, but for President’s Day.

So in an attempt to not write off the entire afternoon, I went to Walmart to get one of them Gerber EAB knives. I found it at the Sporting Goods counter for $9.95, and checked to see if the ammo shortages were still going strong:

Whitebread: So, are you folks still completely out of 9mm?

Nice Lady: No, actually, we got in some Blazer Brass this morning. I haven’t even put it out!

Whitebread: I didn’t even know you guys sold Blazer. There’s not a tag for it on the shelf!

Nice Lady: Haven’t needed to. *lifts box of Blazer boxes onto the counter* Someone usually comes along and buys them all up as fast as we can get them.

Whitebread: How many boxes do you have, and how much are they?

Nice Lady: Let’s see, we have (counting) fifteen boxes of 50, at 7.97 a box.

Whitebread: Hmm. Can I be a meanie, and buy you out?

Nice Lady: Sure. The guy who normally buys it all is gonna be pissed, though.

Whitebread: Early birds, and all.

Considering I had happily been paying $22/100 before the election, $16/100 is a steal. I bought 500 rounds at about $24/100 last week, but I couldn’t pass up more at this price. It’s not like it’s getting any cheaper or easier to find. This puts me at about 1700 rounds of 9mm range ammo, plus 600 +P hollowpoints, so I think I’m set on handgun ammo barring any more deals.

I do not think this is what you think it is.

Monday, February 16th, 2009

From Squeaky: Obama commemorative coins “from the U.S. Mint” (true!) are actually 50-cent coins with Obama stickers on them.

The video says that the buyers were fooled by a bait-and-switch scheme, and were sold a false impression and hidden costs. Sounds a bit like a metaphor for the election as a whole, doesn’t it?

*Carry* your gun.

Monday, February 16th, 2009

As in, on your person.

Robbers steal $300,000 of dog jewelry at Parker Starbucks

Suddenly, the trio of masked men appeared, one brandishing a gun, Penington said.

The bandits took three “tubs” of jewelry and a briefcase containing the salesman’s handgun, she said. A description of the type of jewelry was not immediately available.

Mistake #1: Selling jewelry for dogs for a living. Seriously. $300,000? That better be the suggested retail value.

Mistake #2: Carrying your weapon off-body. A gun in your briefcase, backpack, or heck, even on your ankle, is an eternity away when the danger is half a stride away. Find a place somewhere on your torso to store your weapon for ready use.

Week-Late Range Report: Guns n Geese

Monday, February 16th, 2009

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Last Monday, with it being my day off, Mrs. Whitebread being on temporary layoff, and temperatures hovering around 68, we figured we’d be insane not to get a range trip in. I was itching to shoot my new AR-15, ordered at 10PM on election night. I had gotten a basic function check at the indoor range in town, but with ranges limited to 25 yards, I wasn’t going to get the extended-range experience that I wanted: shooting the rifle out to 100 yards. Besides, my wife had not yet gotten to shoot it, and with the minor recoil of the .223, I had the feeling she was going to like it.

Following instructions from pdb, I set up my folding table and chairs at 55 yards and erected a benchrest shooting platform.

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Oh, my! The sights are significantly off at 55 yards:

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The yellow spots are the sunlight shining through the holes left in the cardboard backer by the generous person before us who left their target stand up. I don’t understand why they do that… a complete target with wooden sticks and cardboard IDPA target backer runs me about $4 total. Usually someone has left theirs up before me, but if not, I always disassemble mine and take them with me.

Here I am, with sunglasses, working on an AR’s front sight. It was a very Sarah Connor moment:

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I know that you’re supposed to be able to turn the front sight post with the bullet tip you use to depres the detent, but mine was really stiff and would not turn easily. I used the pliars from my multi-tool and got the job done, but marred the front post in the process. Oh well. I didn’t buy the thing to look pretty.

It took almost a full magazine, shooting in groups of five, but I finally got my rounds in a 3″ diameter circle around the X ring. I know that this sucks for shooting a rifle that can hit man-size targets at 300 yards with irons, but I’m a newbie with lots to learn, and it still fills the purpose I had for the rifle, which is minute-of-badguy indoors or inside 100 yards outside. The rails hanging off the handguards are from Command Arms and are for holding the M3 LED light, which lives on the rifle at home, but was taken off for easier benchrest shooting.

Let pictures commence!

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Check out the gas in front of the muzzle and the brass (OK, steel) leaving the ejection port.

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Check out the brass in midair and the half-closed bolt! Easily my favorite picture from the day:

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We moved a little closer and did some shooting at 7 yards to simulate fighting with the rifle inside the house. MrsWhitebread and I swapped equipment and she gave it a try.

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It was a beautiful day, so we decided to grab Sonic and eat lunch at the park. I try not to think about how many rules we were breaking with the firearms on our persons and in the trunk.

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We bought a cheap loaf of bread and fed the ducks.

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This goose would eat the crust and leave the rest. Weird.

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Check out the blue eyes on this goose!

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It was a great day.

Uncut! Oo-Oh!

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Looking Under Shirttails

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

Recently, pocket-sized Spartan superwoman Breda decided to refuse introductions to shooting based on an individual’s preexisting ideological views. She caught some flack for it (covered by Tam), and much if it was undeserved and came from people who didn’t have rational discussion on their agenda when they visited her blog anyway.

My thoughts? With all due respect for Breda, I can’t give up on folks that easily, or paint with that broad a brush.

Frankly, I think it’s mostly a non-issue. Most folks who are anti-rights really have little or no interest in a range trip, and won’t ask. But what if they do? Do we turn them down?

I’ve taken lots of folks to the range for the first time. A couple of folks in particular had their minds changed about the nature of firearms, which made them start questioning their other assumptions about liberty and the nature of government. One of these folks went on to vote for Obama. When I questioned him about his reasons, I could not find a single issue on which he agreed with the Obama campaign platform. His reasoning came down to “Well, maybe a different sort of leadership is what we need. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I think that America needs a change in the way things are run.”

My friend was being an idiot. He was swindled, fooled, temporarily turned crazy and irrational. He told me that he’s starting to wonder if that was the right choice.

America is full of people who got caught up in the vague hand-waving promise of Hope and Change, but had no real idea what the substance of their own beliefs were, much less those of the candidates. They understandably were swayed by the feel-good “Yes We Can” message that promised rainbow-farting unicorns that pee free healthcare and magically Fix Things For Us. Now they’re seeing that he *didn’t* walk across the water on his way to inauguration, things haven’t been and don’t look like they’re going to be “fixed”, and they’re having second thoughts. Of course, most of them won’t admit it, because human beings hate admitting that they were stupid.

These people are not beyond saving. As a matter of fact, we need them. News flash, kids: We lost on individual rights in the last election, big time. Even the candidate we were hoping would take the white house was himself no great friend of individual liberty and smaller government. What should that tell you? That you should give up on changing minds because it’s obviously a waste of time? That we should only preach to the choir, and board of the doors of the church, refusing to let anyone else in? May it never be! There is no possible outcome to that course of action but the tyranny which we profess to oppose.

If someone who happens to be an acquiantance of yours asks you about firearms and asks you to go shooting with them, and you deny them your help because they at one time bought the lie of Socialism, then what have you done? You’ve driven them straight into the arms of the left wing, who will take their vote and happily continue feeding them rubbish. Congratulations on your idealism and chutzpah, but in your zeal to punish those who have been stupid in the past, you’ve ensured that they will remain stupid for all time.

You can’t be assured that every liberal you take to the range will become a friend of liberty. But if they’ve ASKED you to show and explain to them what shooting is all about, then you’ve seen a glimmer of inquisitiveness that you can pry open into full-blown open-mindedness. If you tell them to pound sand because they voted against liberty in the past, then the lie that the left tells about us will be made into the truth, at least in your case.

Can I use a religious metaphor? Am I allowed to do that?

A guy named Spurgeon once told a story in a sermon:

“You are only to preach to God’s dear people, if you go into that pulpit,” said a deacon once to a minister. Said the minister, “Have you marked them all on the back, that I may know them?” What is the good of this large chapel if I am only to preach to God’s dear people? They are few enough.

Now, the larger point of the sermon was that the desire to reach out to non-believers shouldn’t eliminate the practice of teaching those who are already on board. However, the point remains: If you think that we should only reach out to people who will be accepting of an individual-rights mindset, then how precisely are we to tell who can be converted and who cannot? I’d think we’re ahead of the curve in the situation in question, because the person has already expressed an interest in one facet of individualism.

Unless you think that the $30, $50, or $75 for a range trip is too high a price to pay for an attempt to bring someone into the joy of self-reliant thought. If you do, then that’s fine, but you’ve created more work for the rest of us, who are not content to go shoot our toys at the range and gripe about politicians on the internet.

Who have YOU told about liberty today?

Walgreens is a never-ending fountain of entertainment

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

I found these pictures among some cell-phone pictures taken around the holidays.

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Ammo Shortages, Preparedness, and Long-gun Discretion

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Today was my day off, so I did a little cleaning of the utility/preps room, and found that I was down to under 500 rounds of 9mm range ammo. A trip to Walmart was in order!

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But they didn’t have any. Not just that they didn’t have any 9mm range ammunition, they didn’t have any 9mm *period*. The four 50-round boxes of .40 represented their entire stock of that caliber. I was told that since election day, any 9mm, .40, .45, .223, 7.62×39, buckshot, and slugs were in short supply. He said they’d get a shipment, then folks would show up the next morning and buy out their stock.

Worried that this indeed represented a serious nationwide shortage (I’d not shopped for ammo since before the election), I headed to a local place and found what I needed. 500 rounds of 9mm at $11.99 per box of 50, plus 200 rounds of Federal XM193 .223 for $9.49/20. Expensive, but I feel better about my ammo situation. I may plan to start buying a box of XM193 and a box of 9mm range ammo every week, sort of as a subscription to build up my stocks. I still have 600+ rounds left of nice defensive 9mm +P that I got for a song a year ago.

I also went to Sams and picked up tarps, duct tape, work gloves, cat litter, propane canisters (for emergency heaters), about two years’ worth of powdered laundry detergent, and lots more durable goods and staples to help minimize the effect of the inflation that I expect shortly. The nice thing about being practical in your preparedness is that you end up using the stuff you buy “just in case” whether an emergency strikes or not, so you’re just buying what you’re going to use, but you’re getting it cheaper because you bought it in bulk. What’s not to love?

My journalist wife commented that she heard on the police scanner about the police searching for a man seen with an assault-style rifle hidden under his coat near a local school. Turns out he was meeting someone in the lot to sell the rifle and was trying, but failing, to discretely transport it. Protip: A soft nylon gig bag for a guitar, like this one, is great for discretely transporting a long gun. I have one for my AR-15, and it works so well that I don’t even have a traditional case for the rifle yet.

Does anyone honestly think that it would take more than 48 hours following a school shooting with an “assault rifle” for the executive orders and legislation to start flying? Imagine that what you have and/or can buy in the next short time is all you get for four, eight, or twenty years. Prepare accordingly, and if the worst doesn’t come around, it’s not like the stuff goes bad. Nobody has ever wished they had less ammunition stored up, unless their house is on fire, I guess.

The Silence Plug

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

Has this ever happened to you? You’re sitting in class, or in church, or at a lecture, or in a library, and you decide that you want to play Nethack take some notes, so you whip out your netbook/laptop/17″ monstrocity and boot it up. It’s starting up just fine when suddenly, [Windows Startup Sound]! Oh, noes!

I got tired of this happening, and since most manufacturers stopped putting a hardware volume control on their machines a long time ago, I figured I couldn’t be alone. Here’s how I fixed my problem.

If you have a pair of old/broken/crappy headphones, then you can use them for this. If you don’t, I recommend heading to a dollar store. I stopped into the local Dollar Tree on my lunch break, and got:

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If you’re into homebrew electronics and your supply of common parts is looking thin, the dollar store is a great resource. On the right is a $1 FM radio, purchased primarily for the undoubtedly craptacular headphones included therein. I also picked up the alarm hoping for a good reed switch for another project.

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Get scissors or a pair of pliars with a wire-cutter. My Leatherman did the job just fine. Cut as much of the “soft” cord off as you can. There’s a hard metal/plastic housing holding the plug, so you can’t cut that, but you wouldn’t want to cut it anyway, since it gives you a handle of sorts for your Silence Plug.

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You should end up with something like this. Here it is plugged into my Acer Aspire One:

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This is much better than some other hacks I’ve seen involving installation of a hardware switch into the laptop. This requires no hardware modification, is readily usable on other laptops, and gives you a ready visual/tactile confirmation that you will NOT be getting any sound from the laptop.

Peace of mind and freedom from embarrassment? I’d buy that for a dollar!

Also, you get a free crappy FM radio!

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Let’s see, there’s three good momentary pushbuttons, a pot, two LED’s, a headphone jack, and more! Into the parts bin it goes.

Unfortunately, the reed switch I was hoping to get from the alarm wasn’t an actual component, but rather two pieces of metal placed close to each other on a circuit board. You can see it here at the bottom of the board:

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No good for a tinkerer, and not nearly reliable enough to use as part of your safety plan. Don’t rely on dollar store purchases for your personal safety!