Archive for December, 2011

New Year’s Resolutions 2012.

Saturday, December 31st, 2011
  1. More range trips.
  2. More range trips with the younger set.
  3. Shoot more matches. I’d like to do a Steel Challenge match using the .22LR guns I have; another USPSA match would be fun, too.
  4. Go to a Project Appleseed shoot. They were doing shoots in Smithville late in 2011; that would have been an easy drive, but I couldn’t make their schedule work with my academic schedule. I’m hoping for another shoot somewhere close this year.
  5. Take at least one of the younger set with me to Project Appleseed (subject to parental permission).
  6. Get some nice gun leather. I’d like to get a good gun belt to start with. After that, I’m thinking something that will fit the Single Six and possibly the New Frontier: I wonder if I can use the same leather for both. (Galco has a holster for the Single Six, but does not list one for the New Frontier.) I’d also like to get a holster that will fit my S&W Model 29 and Model 25, which I think should be feasible; they’re both 6″ N-frame guns. As for sources, there was a guy in Wimberly but he’s apparently closed. I think there’s another guy in Lockhart, but I need to check on that. And I really want to order a 1911 holster from Dragon Leatherworks, too. I’ve heard Dennis on Vicious Circle, and he seems like a really nice guy. Plus every single review I’ve read of his work has been more than positive; try “ecstatic”.
  7. Do more research on gun leather before I buy anything. For example, when Skeeter Skelton talks about the “classic Tom Threepersons design“, it sounds cool. But what exactly does that mean, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of that over something like the “Austin” holster? (You know what I really need? “Gun Leather De-Mystified”. Or maybe “Gun Leather for the Complete Idiot”.)
  8. Get good optics on the Bushmaster and the M&P15-22.
  9. Get more magazines (including a drum) for the Thompson. If I can find a deal on vintage Thompson magazines, I do have a Dremel tool…
  10. Build out that AR lower that’s sitting in the gun cabinet.
  11. Figure out a way to discretely keep the Marlin 336 in my car during the work day. Tinted windows combined with a case, maybe?
  12. Either get one of the Ruger Scout Rifles (if I can find a deal), or do something about building one of the other .308 bolt actions out into a scout rifle.

A grand day out.

Friday, December 30th, 2011

If you’ve got a week off, and you live in a relatively free state, why not schedule a range day?

And if you’re doing that, why not bring the middle nephew:

especially since he got a pair of Say Uncle endorsed active muffs for Christmas?

(I wanted to bring the two older boys, too, but for logistical and other reasons I wasn’t able to make that work.)

So we went out to Best of the West in Liberty Hill. I had not shot there before (though I’d been there once for LaRue’s Range Day). I was actually pretty happy with the range; everyone we dealt with was polite and friendly, and we managed to get an entire 50 yard bay to ourselves. (I only felt like we needed 50 yards, since all I brought with me was .22LR stuff for the novice shooter.)


One. Million. Dollars.

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

That’s what the District of Columbia owes Richard Heller and his attorneys, including Alan Gura, in legal fees over District of Columbia v. Heller.

Actually, the figure is $1,137,072.27. The Honorable Mr. Gura and the other members of the legal team were asking for $3.1 million, while the city was arguing for $840,000.

Brain buckets.

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

I mentioned this in passing in this week’s TMQ thread, but for all of those who don’t read it: my sister has a new post up at the Park City Snowmamas site.

Why you should wear a f–king helmet when skiing or snowboarding or engaged in other activities of that ilk.

Of course, that’s just my paraphrase of what she’s actually saying. My sister never uses the word “f–k” in conversation. Except for maybe when one of her boys tries to sneak a box of Pop-Tarts or a case of Monster energy drink into the house….

TMQ watch: December 27, 2011.

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

We might as well get down to it. This week: the 2011 TMQ All-Unwanted All-Pros. After the jump…


Obit watch: December 28, 2011.

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011


…sanctuary volunteer Ron Priest says that when the chimp didn’t like what was going on, he would throw feces.

Don’t we all pretty much want to live our lives like that? Doesn’t that explain the appeal of “House”?

Edited to add: The Cheetah that died may not have been the real Cheetah.

Legal note.

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

The University of California and Dr. Patrick Harran, a chemistry professor at UCLA, have been charged with three felony counts of “willfully violating occupational health and safety standards”. Yes, you read that right: the University itself is being charged with felonies.

The charges stem from the death of Sheri Sangji in December of 2008. Ms. Sangji was employed in Dr. Harran’s lab:

Sangji was transferring up to two ounces of t-butyl lithium from one sealed container to another when a plastic syringe came apart in her hands, spewing a chemical compound that ignites when exposed to air. The synthetic sweater she wore caught fire and melted onto her skin, causing second- and third-degree burns.

She died 18 days after the incident.

I’m kind of hoping Derek Lowe will have some comment on this, and I’m willing to listen to arguments on the subject. My gut feeling is that the felony indictments are appropriate: Ms. Sangji should not have been working without a flame-resistant lab coat, and it isn’t clear to me that she was provided with appropriate equipment, training, or supervision. This is what trials are for, of course, and details may come out during the trial that will change my mind. But:

Two months before the fatal fire, UCLA safety inspectors found more than a dozen deficiencies in the same lab, according to internal investigative and inspection reports reviewed by The Times. The inspectors found that employees were not wearing requisite protective lab coats and that flammable liquids and volatile chemicals were stored improperly.

But the required corrective actions were not taken before the fatal fire, the records showed.

Edited to add: Many thanks to Chemjobber both for pointing us to Derek Lowe’s commentary, and for providing a link to an article from Chemical and Engineering News summarizing the incident in more detail.

Also, thanks to Lawrence for a somewhat related link, which we had missed: the U.S. Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board report on the Texas Tech lab explosion in January of 2010. I swear that I covered the explosion at the time, or shortly afterwards, but I can’t find the link now. In any case, the report is pretty much what you’d expect: “the physical hazard risks inherent in the research were not effectively assessed, planned for, or mitigated; the university lacked safety management accountability and oversight; and previous incidents with preventative lessons were not documented, tracked, and formally communicated”.

(Short summary: the lab was working on a government project involving detection of explosives. Part of their work involved making something called nickel hydrazine perchlorate, which goes bang rather easily. The lab had been making small amounts (100 milligrams) but the students involved in the production of NHP that day decided, for various reasons, to scale things up and produce about 10 grams. The NHP went bang while one of the students was trying to break up “clumps” in a mortar and pestle.)

The Old Bag.

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Back many thousands of years ago, when I was just a wee lad shooting photos with a Pentax K1000 and reading Popular Photography (rest in peace, Herbert Keppler), I kept hoping that PP would do an article or a series of articles or a column or something on “what’s in your camera bag”; basically, I wanted to know what real pros like Walter Iooss Jr. (warning: some photos, especially one in particular, may not be safe for work) and Eddie Adams took with them when they went on the road. I had ideas about being a professional journalist, one who not only did his own writing but also took his own photos.

Getting to the point, this piece at PetaPixel, showing what Umit Bektas packed in his camera bag for his stint embedded with a US military unit in Afghanistan, made my day today. That, in turn, links to a first hand account by Bektas for the Reuters Photography Blog, which goes into a little more detail and has some amazing photos. (Not of battle. You’ll know the ones I’m talking about when you see them. My God, look at that sky.)

My one gripe about these articles is that I’d appreciate some annotation. It looks like his backup laptop is an eeePC (a fine choice indeed), but I’m curious about what his primary one is. I can’t tell what his cameras are, either; the logo kind of looks like Canon, but again, I find it hard to be sure. I’m glad to see that he packed a GoPro (also the official choice of the Park City Snowmamas). And I had to look up “Bgan” and “Thuraya“.

But I still think this is pretty interesting, as is “A Glimpse Inside the Camera Bag of a Newspaper Feature Photographer“. More like these, please.

(Hattip: his Jim-ness on the Twitter for the initial link, and PetaPixel for the ones after that.)

(And of course, the most important thing about photography, war or otherwise, is: have a camera with you. I was so wrapped up in getting Christmas presents together on Saturday that I completely forgot to bring my camera gear, which ticked me off. I ended up having to resort to the Evo camera for photo purposes. Granted, between my sister and mother it wasn’t like we didn’t have multi-camera capability, including the ability to deploy a digital SLR if we needed it, but I was still ticked at myself.)

Administrative note.

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

I’m taking this entire week off of work, and using the time either to do stuff I’ve been wanting to do, hang out with family, or both. (If the weather holds up, we may try for a range trip this week.)

In the meantime, blogging is sort of on the back burner. There will be a TMQ Watch this week, but it may not go up until later this evening.

Side note: Apparently, I have been designated the “coolest uncle ever” on Facebook (I am unable to verify this for myself, since I don’t do Facebook) because I got this one:

one of these:

for Christmas. (At least, I think it was one of those: it was an H&K folder that McBride’s had on sale, cheap, but I didn’t make a note of the exact model. I know it was one that had the tanto point. If he still has the box, I’ll get the exact model later.)

Someone is about to start a new chapter in their life.

Tuesday, December 27th, 2011

Chapter 7, that is.

There’s a rapper who calls himself “Young Buck” (real name David Darnell Brown). He owes money to people. People like the IRS. People like his baby mama. And people like 50 Cent and the G-Unit record label; according to the LAT, he owes them “more than $10 million”.

“Young Buck” originally filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11, which, as you know Bob, allows one to reorganize their debts. But now the Chapter 11 has been turned into a Chapter 7, aka “total liquidation”.

The fun part? The name “Young Buck” (which is also trademarked) is an asset that will be sold off in the liquidation.

A couple of notes:

  1. How did he get that far in debt to G-Unit Records? According to the LAT, there’s some sort of contract dispute involved, but I’d really like to know more about what’s going on here. In a way, it is kind of reminiscent of Steve Wyrick: how do you get that far in the hole before someone pulls the trigger?
  2. Can we all agree that the phrase “peep the mad flow” does not belong anywhere in an article on a major daily newspaper’s website (except maybe as a direct quotation, in quotation marks)?

The street finds its own uses for things.

Monday, December 26th, 2011

The radio signal travels deep into the arid countryside, hours by foot from the nearest road. There, the 8-foot-tall (2-meter-tall) dark-green branches of the rockrose bush conceal a radio tower painted to match. A cable buried in the dirt draws power from a solar panel. A signal-boosting repeater relays the message along a network of powerful antennas and other repeaters that stretch hundreds of miles (kilometers) across Mexico, a shadow communications system allowing the cartel to coordinate drug deliveries, kidnapping, extortion and other crimes with the immediacy and precision of a modern military or law-enforcement agency.

Things that say “Christmas” (part 1 of an ongoing series).

Monday, December 26th, 2011

Lord of the Rings PEZ dispensers

More Christmas related stuff later, maybe.