Saturday, June 11, 2005

Git ready fer the storm, Bubba!

Confederate Yankee tells people how to prepare for the next hurricane(and the next, etc.)

In the same vein as "If you live in a trailer park, or say "It was like this" frequently, you will be on the news after the tornado".

Various weapons BS in movies and tv

I'm not sure what got me thinking about this, but let's go.

You're probably familiar with this mess. A gun comes out and all kinds of noises happen. Think of the opening of The Matrix; the cops burst in on the girl(Trinity?) and you hear the clack-clack of slides working and clicks of safeties going off or hammers being cocked. Problem is they're carrying Glocks; no safety or hammer to make noises and nobody is working a slide.

Or somebody draws a revolver and you hear click-clack, but the hammer's not cocked, and that would only make one click anyway. Or someone raises a rifle and you hear a virtual chorus of metal crickets chirping, even though both hands are on the thing.

And of course we can't pass by on the volume levels. Some people have a close-range shootout in an office, firing about, oh, 30 to 50 rounds, and afterward none of them have a problem hearing.

And they have those miraculous shotguns and rifles that can be fired without any recoil or muzzle rise or any effect. Must be either some new way to manipulate physics, or magic.

The big one here is beating swords on each other. There were some swords, late period, made for sword-against-sword use; they generally left the bottom third of the blade- the area used for parrying- blunt. Parrying with a sharp edge will mess it up, nick and chip it, so leave that section thick. But broadswords?

Think about two things. First, a sword is primarily an offensive weapon, and if you're using it to block blows you can't use it to attack. The age-old answer to this is a shield; carry it on one arm and your sword in the other hand, and you can defend and attack at the same time. Second, a decent sword was expensive; we're talking premium battle-rifle price here. Every time you strike two swords together one or both of them is taking damage, often damage that can't be repaired. Small nicks can be polished out, same for a small chip, but a big, deep nick is there permanently, and if very deep weakens the blade; in extreme cases it can cause it to crack or break at the next hard shock. So you tried hard not do do that.

But in Hollywood? You can beat them against each other and everything is nice and shiny afterward. Must be some really special metal. Or magic again.

The firearms crap? They don't care about accuracy for the most part, they just want to throw in noises for dramatic effect.

With swords/axes? It's lots easier to set up a scene where only one piece is involved, as opposed to a weapon in one hand and shield on the other arm; it takes time to learn to work both properly, so to an extent I understand the problem. But it still irritates me that, at least for some things, they can't take the time to work it out properly.

Note: yes, I know there were cultures, Japan for instance, that specifically worked sword-on-sword combat; I'm not talking about them. I will also note that, from what I understand, Japanese styles emphasized deflecting parries, so as to keep the damage to the blade minimal. If other information is available, I'd be glad of it.

Friday, June 10, 2005

I don't have a bird to crap on me, like Steve,

so I have to do it myself. Metaphorically, of course.

Part the First
After the events of yesterday, between stress and lack of sleep, I was pretty much shot by evening. So I cleaned some things up, cleaned myself up, took care of some on-line stuff, and decided that I would now lay myself on the couch and anoint the body & soul with some Scottish Holy Water.

Part the Second
So I shut down the pc, picked up my 32oz. 7-11 cup half full of iced tea, turned out the light, and headed for the living room. And as I turned to corner my left foot hit the stool(that I DO NOT remember putting RIGHT THERE). This was closely followed by my right ankle hitting it, followed by my balance going completely away and my falling into the darkness. By some miracle I managed a fairly good breakfall, taking most of the impact on forearms(NOT my elbows or face, thank you God). This included the cup, never leaving my hand, striking bottom first, and the various laws of motion and energy demonstrated themselves by the contents moving vertically out of the container and then distributing themselves in various places about the living room. I lay there for about five seconds, then uttered the standard comment for such times("Well, @)#$*&"), and got up. The next few minutes were spent picking up and throwing out ice cubes, spaced about in an undoubtedly mystical pattern I had no damn desire to decipher, mopping up the tea, and then getting a new glass of tea, and finally plunking myself down on the couch.

At which time I looked at my left foot, with the blood seeping out from under the nail of my big toe, then at the skin scraped off my right ankle, then feeling the ache in my left hand from the impact it took. The shot glass was now filled with hydrogen peroxide and the leaking toe dipped in(all right, you figure out a better way), followed by my drinking directly from the bottle; not something I usually do, but it seemed called for here. Then, after about three shots and a few minutes, I dragged myself up to bed.

Part the Third
About 3a.m. a storm woke me up, so I hobbled down the stairs to pee, then decided to make sure all the windows were closed up on the windward side of the house; things had cooled off enough in the evening that I'd turned off the a/c and opened them up. So as I hobbled through the bedroom/office to the window, my left foot contacted- toe first, of course- the ammo can sitting beside the table.

"@(*^%% #*() &!%$#!!"

After making it back to bed, I went back to sleep. Or passed out, whichever.

Part the Fourth
Wherein I wake up this morning and get out of bed. My foot is as sore as you'd think, it turns out I also whacked my left knee on the floor and it doesn't want to bend, my left hand aches, and life is just so sunny I'd like to puke.

So I've been hobbling around all day like a refugee from somewhere nasty, and if I didn't have to meet someone this evening I'd flop in the house and commune with John Barleycorn again, but at greater length.

And how has YOUR morning been?

Another "don't know why" moment

I've heard of the place, and finally got around to actually going there: Jihad Watch.

Go there. It's got lots of stuff that needs to be seen.

Carnival of Cordite #17 is up

Over at Eric's Grumbles Before The Grave, check it out. Lots of good stuff.

This is a site I haven't seen before, I'll have to look it over. Subheading for blog:"Married, father, husband, Desert Storm veteran, security manager, sci-fi & Linux fan, geek, rational anarchist, classic liberal. Want to know what all that means? "

(yes, Kevin, I fixed it)

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Sometimes, life just sucks

I had to put the cat down today. She'd been dragging for the last week or so, Monday took her to the vet and got some medication. And it was downhill from there. She hated taking the pills, and I couldn't get her to eat, and this morning she lost control of some functions...

Shit. This is the third time over the years I've had to do this, and it never gets any easier. I need to hit the range in the next couple of days.

A fine quote, and something on the weather

Over at Acidman's place, between posts about shooing cats away from bird nests, was this:
quote of the day
"No drug, not even alcohol, causes the fundamental ills of society. If we're looking for the source of our troubles, we shouldn't test people for drugs, we should test them for stupidity, ignorance, greed and love of power."
P.J. O'Rourke

On the weather, when I got up this morning the 'partly cloudy' predicted last night was solid overcast. The weather weenies said a 30% chance of scattered rain in this area.
About 30 minutes later on the radio it was a 20% chance.
About an hour later it started raining.
Now we've got a severe thunderstorm watch over the area for most of the day. And the 'official' forecast still says 20% chance of storms, as thunder rolls around outside and the county just northeast of here has flash flood warnings out.
But the 'experts' can tell us what the weather and climate will be doing over the next hundred years or so.
Uh huh.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Back in town

Went out of town for a couple of days to visit my folks, so no posts and no responses to various comments.
To catch things up;
Mr. Completely has the results for his postal match, so go read the scores and vote. Preferably for me, but vote anyway.

I spent some time helping my dad clean out the barn, and move some heavy stuff around, in return for which I got Mom's cooking. Very good trade, I will tell you.

My cat's a bit under the weather, so I'm going through the fun routine of feeding her pills and forcing her to eat. You can imagine what a joy that is, but hopefully she'll get better.

I've got a big pot of mint to plant. Good for tabouli, and tea, and various other things.

I now have a recoil absorber for the Benelli, I hope it works as promised(see "vote for me" above).

And while I was gone I received two comments, surprisingly(yeah, right) from 'Anonymous'. One says 'F*** you', and the other is 'their innocent'. I'm too lazy to go back through the archives to find which posts these were added on to, but from the sparkling use of language and excellent spelling, I'll assume it's some, shall we say, 'liberal' type who objected to some political view I posted. I was thinking of some proper rebuttal, but I'll let them stand for themselves.

More later.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Know what happens when...

the bolt holding the blade on the lawn mower breaks? Yes, it stops cutting the grass, I mean what else happens?

In this case it simply fell to the ground instead of coming spinning out the back toward my ankle like a scene from a Stephen King novel. Very relieving, I assure you.

This started like so: Friend is selling house used to live in. Friend has been sick and hasn't been able to mow. I volunteered to go by after work today and run the mower over it. Front yard, ten minutes tops, no problem. Get the gate open and walk into the back and...

To put it in a politically correct manner, into his Rain Forest in the Making(RFM for short). The last time I saw anything that tall someone was using a combine to harvest it. And, due to various circumstances I won't go into, he'd left stuff in the yard here and there. Where you couldn't see it until you ran into it because of the RFM. Ah well, I said I would, so into the breech, etc.

It was about a third of the way through when the mower suddenly became quieter and stopped cutting. Being the observant sort I am this caught my attention and I killed the engine and pulled the mower back. And lying there in the last of the cut grass and matted clippings was the blade and the big washer and the lock washer. In the shaft was a half-empty hole, with the rest of the bolt still in it. Crap. After a couple of minutes of digging I found the broken-off portion, and by putting a socket on it and pushing hard into the shaft was able to get it to engage the rest of the bolt enough to back it out, a bit at a time. Broken-off portion too short to do any good of course.

So off to Ace Hardware, and I walked in the door three minutes before closing. Happily the bolt was a standard 3/8x24 thread so forty-something cents later I walked out with it, drove back, and put the blade back on. Then, on to further adventure.

It took about a half-hour to get the rest of the yard that I could, moving a few things, cutting tight around others and skipping some areas entirely. I kept pushing through the RFM, the grass, the bugs, for all I know the escaped marsupials hiding out from the zookeepers. I finally gave up after the following: the mower hit something and stalled, I backed it up and gave the starter a pull, and I could tell something was hung up on the blade. I tipped it up and found a pewter tankard. Not impaled, no, nothing so mundane. The handle of the bloody thing was looped around the blade. I have no idea how it managed that, as I had to take the damned blade back off to remove it. At which point I decided that was enough enviromental destruction(who needs a friggin' RFM in Oklahoma, for God's sake?) for one day, packed up my mower and tools and went home.

I called my friend this evening and advised him that if he ever let a yard get this bad again, don't call me 'cause I WON'T DO IT. Unless it's as a favor to his widow.

'Amnesty International' my ass

Found something interesting in this John Leo column:
"Rule 18. A different omission marred the reporting of Amnesty International's report charging torture in U.S. detainment camps. The group didn't just call Guantanamo a "gulag," an over-the-top remark that was universally reported. In a press release that most reporters ignored, the group also invited foreign governments to snatch certain visiting American officials off the streets and bring them to trial for crimes against humanity. The suggested snatchees, should they travel abroad, were President Bush, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA Director George Tenet, and other unnamed civilian and military officials. Amnesty International said that "all states have a responsibility to investigate and prosecute people responsible for these crimes," just as the British pounced on Augusto Pinochet in London in 1998. The snatching recommendation wasn't new, but the Amnesty press release is a useful reminder of the dangers of signing on to the International Criminal Court."

First, Amnesty International has given up any claim to being impartial or fair-minded, and should be either held up to ridicule or ignored completely. Second, any politician who says we should sign onto the ICC should be immediately tarred and feathered; I'll leave the 'ridden out of town on a rail' up to local option.