30 November 2009

November ePostal

I've made my list but need to check it twice. In the meantime lets take a look at the tiebreakers.

First off, the Bond Girl came from the cover art for "For Your Eyes Only". One entry came with a name for the Bond Girl but cited Wikipedia as the source. Pfft... Wikipedia and a nickel still won't get you a cup of coffee.

As previously mentioned, this movie is a favorite for the opening scene.

Clockwise from upper right, the egg shaped object is Blofeld's BathySub from "Diamonds are Forever".

Lower right is a "Death Orb" from MoonRaker. Side note, the term MoonRaker refers to the highest sail on a square rigger ship. From the deck it appeared so high as to "Rake the Moon".

Lower left is Stromberg's Atlantis from "The Spy Who Loved Me" "For Your Eyes Only" (thanks EJ - For some reason I frequently get those two movies mixed up).

Upper left is Zorin's Blimp from "View to a Kill". I expected the "Zorin" tag on the side would make this a gimme

Finally in the center was the Stealth Ship from "Tomorrow Never Dies". This was the hardest to draw as well as hardest to identify. The movie only shows front quarter views. I wanted a side view to expand the target area. It seems pretty clearly a pontoon design with a forepeak ahead of the pontoons. But the aft end is never shown and thus involved some artistic license.

Total tiebreaker points available: 11 But they are only tiebreakers. That means TrueBlueSam's 4 with zero tiebreakers submitted beats my 3 score with perfect 11 tiebreakers (perfect scores are easy when you make up the key)!

It'll take me another day or so to recheck the scoresheet and format it for the web. I will accept entries up until I post scores.

Now I expect most here in North America are saying "'tis too cold for shooting outdoors". But I'm still hoping some equatorial entries. And the SCSon asked about entering... Which brings me to this: If I extended the deadline to next Monday, would I get any entries? (Since I have just published the tiebreakers, all entries from now score tiebreaker = 0)

*I don't recall which images were captured from the cited motion pictures and which were culled from other websites such as universalexports.com If they claim all, I won't quibble. Either way UE is a good resource for all things Bond. I don't think UE was the site that had some of these images and now I can't recall the resource. Rats, I'll keep looking and post attribution when I find it.

Last Call!!!

November ePostal match entries are due tonight. Sitemeter shows a lot of downloads but so far only a few entries have trickled in.

Sitemeter also showed a lot of interest from the Philippines (Thanks Manfred!). I'd love to see some entries from there.

Don't worry about if you think you scored poorly. The range of possible scores runs from -25 to +25. One class is currently led by a score of 0! Send those targets in today!

27 November 2009

ePostal match closing weekend

A friendly reminder this is your last weekend to shoot the last ePostal match of the year. Entries are due by Monday night. I'm headed to the range today before the winds and rains hit tomorrow.

Rules and targets here

Update: I shot the match again today. In several tries I was not able to best my previous effort. Here's my Class 1 (Rimfire pistol, iron sights) entry. I was having a good day with three hits on the center target and three more on other villain targets. Unfortunately I nicked the bond girl three times.

BTW, whose brilliant idea was it to make the rule that shots between the legs in the lower left target do not score?

22 November 2009

Eighteen Dollars

Our friendly local Airport held an open house this weekend. The Army sent over a couple Apache helicopters and crews over. The pilot explained how the pilot sits in the rear cockpit and the gunner sits in the front. One of the weapons at his control is the 30mm chain gun. It's connected to his helmet mounted sight and aims anywhere he looks. Each bullet costs $18. According to the Army Times site, the gun shoots 625 rounds per minute. That works out to $11,250 per minute with a total capacity of $21,600 (1200 rnds).

The SCQueen inquired about the rocket pod (sorry no pic). She asked where she could get her car equipped - just the thing for dealing with traffic. Each pod contains 19 rockets at $600 each, and there is a second pod on the other side ($11,400 each pod).

Kinda brings a different perspective to the $2-4 per round cost of hunting ammunition. This is not a quibble on costs. On the contrary, nothing in my safe is going to put much of a dent in a tank. Instead, should the need arise, I'm going to need them to go and kill some tanks. And I believe in giving people the tools the need to do their jobs. Sometimes it's good to see where our tax dollars go. I'm ok with a gunner practicing with $18 rounds, 'cuz when you need him, there is no replacement.

Guys, thanks for dropping by our airport and thanks for serving!

17 November 2009

"Bond, James Bond"

update: This ePostal has come and gone. The latest one is here

Mid month update & bump Yes, this is a challenging contest. Consider the scoring range from +25 to -25. That means 0 is midrange! It is quite possible for a negative score to win the class! No matter how badly you think you score, send me your targets! FWIW, my best score so far is a +3. But I have two more weeks to better that mark and so do you!

Airsoft update
: I can only find 0.12g bbs around here, but appears ye olde binder paper is considerably thinner and will feed through the SCQueen's inkjet printer. Shoot the match at 5 yds and send me the targets. I'll make classes as appropriate.

"Do you want to play a game?"

Mr. Completely's November e-Postal contest is here!

If there has been one constant in my life it has been the James Bond movie series. Some of my earliest memories at age 4 or 5 are of watching the movies on TV with mom. I distinctly recall the eggbeater helicopter with the electromagnet pick up the car full of gunmen in "You only live twice". "Live and Let Die" was the first movie I was allowed to see in the theater with friends rather than 'rents. The local SVdP had used copies of Ian Fleming's original books for only a dime and I read them all. Many of my school book reports on were on the series. "Moonraker" is the sole survivor sitting on the shelf.

The helicopter scene at the opening of "For your eyes only" is my favorite Bond movie opening. Their stunt pilot flew and maneuvered a Bell 206 JetRanger inside a building! Holee Cow! Talk about Ball's O'Brass! Ya know, air flow changes when you transition from outside to inside and helicopter crashes tend to the unsurvivable....

OTOH, The CGI crap they are putting out now, well not so much. The para-surfing scene in "Die Another Day" has to be the worst CGI ever foisted on the viewers. (however a car with an extendable minigun could be useful in the daily commute). Who needs a CCW to deal with road rage when your vehicle is equipped with a minigun?

There is even a chance I'm in a scene of "A View To A Kill". It was filmed in the San Francisco area one year that we raced a sailboat on the SF Bay. We sailed most every weekend that summer and saw the blimp pretty much every time. There is a two second scene showing the bay with lots of white sails on the bay. Even money I'm on one of them. No I can't tell which one.

The Mission:James Bond needs your help taking out the villains. Your mission is to shoot the villain vehicles so he can get an early start with the Bond Girl.

Target:The target should be printed out full size on a 8.5" x 11 sheet. There is a ruler at the Bond Girl's waist to aid with sizing. If anyone has trouble downloading or sizing the target, your email gets back a .pdf.

: 11 yards for pistols, 25 yards for rifles. 11 Yards is the range minimum I have to live with. I shoot most ePostals with this disadvantage. For this contest we shoot on an level playing field. (It's good to be king).

Shooting position
: Standing unsupported, one or two hands. No time limit.

Scoring: Q has provided you 25 shots. First 5 shots on each villain vehicle scores.
Some targets include significant white space within the target for artistic purposes. A white space hit within the enclosed target area is a hit. Note: Villain in lower left - misses between the legs are not within the enclosed area and score as a miss.
The Bond Girl is a no shoot. Bond Girl hits subtract one for one with Villain Vehicle hits.
Tie goes to the shooter: Any shot that scores both a villain and Bond Girl counts for the shooter. No penalty.
Maximum score is 25 points.

Tiebreaker: Identify the game pieces and name the movie it's taken from. This includes the Bond Girl. My drawing ability, "challenged" as it is, makes this harder than you might think. Any comments on the artistic quality of the game pieces will forfeit all Tiebreaker points.

0: Airgun pistol (.177 CO2 or compressed air)
0.5: Airsoft (shoot at 5 yards)
1: Rimfire pistol, iron sights
2: Rimfire pistol, optic sights
3: Centerfire pistol, iron sights
4: Centerfire pistol, optic sights
5: Rimfire rifle, iron sights
6: Rimfire rifle, optic sights
7: Centerfire rifle, iron sights
8: Centerfire rifle, optic sights
9: other? Shoot it and let me know.

If I can work out a way to print out targets thin enough to be pierced by a an AirSoft pistol but sturdy enough to make it through a printer*, we'll have that class as well. That would allow shooting the contest from the comfort of your living room or garage.

Entries: Enter as many times as you wish, but only one entry per shooter, per gun. As usual, mark target with name, blog, gun details, class and score. Email a scan or photo of the target to sandcastlescrolls-at-msn-dot-com.

: November 30th 11:59PM local

TwoFer: Traction Control still has the October contest open until November 9th. That means for the next 9 days you can shoot both contests at one range trip. alas, the twofer window has closed and TC has published the results. But you still have the rest of November to shoot this match!

Update: Ian Argent notes in the comments while most airsoft pellets are 0.12g, heavier ones are available and punch clean holes. Experimenting here tonight it seems even the 0.12g projectiles will pierce 20# bond paper at 5 yds but leave ragged holes. I'll do some more experimenting and come up with a distance/projectile that works.

* If anyone has already figured this out, do tell! Consider this a bleg.

14 November 2009

Insert Tab A into Slot B

Has a more dreaded instruction ever been written?

The brakes on the SCTruck went soft and the brake light was illuminated. The pedal would slowly drop to the floor. My first guess was "bad master cylinder". Which translates into "Master Cylinder and power booster" because the fluid tends to leak past the master cylinder and into the power booster which eats a hole in the diaphram. Anyway the whole package is about $200.

But a close inspection of the area around the booster and inside the pedal turned up not a trace of brake fluid. Hmmm... That's odd. The pedal slowly dropping to the floor means the fluid is going somewhere. The puddle formed on the garage floor at the left front. I beckoned for help from the rest of the SCCrew and the SCQueen answered. "Step on the brake - I need to find the leak."

She did and I did. A fine stream shot from the hose down to the caliper. In most cars that's not a big deal. They all have standard ends. You go down to the local parts purveyor and buy a similar length hose for $10 and all is well. But Nissan has a funky end and special bolt that brings the fluid down the center of the bolt. Ugg, probably a dealer only part. Instead of $10 today, it will probably be $60 and 6 weeks.

But the local import-specialty parts purveyor said "I have it in the warehouse. Will be here after 9:30am tomorrow". Today the installation was attempted. Felt like it seated OK but fluid leaked out at the mating face. Hmmm, maybe it's upside down. Nope, Still leaks.

Lets take a close look at the parts. First lets look at Slot B. This shows the bolt hole and slot. If you look close at the slot, there is a small 45 or 60 degree ramp at the bottom of the slot, apparently to precisely position the hose fitting. That means the tab width and distance from the face to the tab are the critical dimensions. If it's too wide or the corner is too close to the mating face, it won't seat correctly.

So now lets compare Tab-A on the original part (top) to the replacement (bottom). It might be obvious to the eye the distance from the mating surface (left side of picture) to the bottom of the tab is different. Less obvious, the tab is wider on the new part. Measured with a caliper, the mating face-bottom tab distance was closer by 20 thousandths and the width is 10 thou over. That explains the failure to seat the mating surface which allowed the fluid to leak.

Now this is a problem I can correct in a few minutes with a file. But dang it, the part should be right! I shouldn't have to modify a part to make it work. Besides, if I do a bunch of filing on the part and run into a different problem, they won't take it back.

The SCQueen suggested I call the parts purveyor. I explained that the part they sold me wouldn't seat. It appears the tab is ground to shape and sloppily done in this case. The parts-purveyor wants to make it right and will have another hose Monday AM. But he confirmed my suspicion that they would not be able to take back any modified part. So the choice is to modify the part or wait until Monday for a new part which may or may not be closer to the original. The downside is that the truck will be down for the weekend. Fortunately the truck is normally the "spare car"* so it doesn't have to be fixed tonight. We may end up back at the $60/6week dealer only option.

* As one that maintains their own vehicle, a spare car is the penultimate luxury. A spare car means "I don't have to fix this tonight" or "I don't have to ride my bike to the parts purveyor". In the past I have done both - worked until the wee hours of the AM because I needed to drive it to work tomorrow, and ridden a bicycle to buy parts. A garage to work in is the ultimate luxury!

09 November 2009

Rule #3

PD: Officer accidentally shoots self at police academy
Rumors that he had just uttered "I'm the only one professional enough in this room to handle this Glock" are almost certainly untrue.

Seriously though, lots of bones in the foot. Hope it was "just a flesh wound" and he heals well.

05 November 2009

Jury Duty

I've been summoned.

more later.

Update: It's now later.

"Juror number 7, you are released". Woo Hoo! Since I've been released, I can talkblog about it.

First of all the courtroom was probably the smallest I've ever seen. Maybe 30'x60'. The court staff, attorneys, complainant and defendant were present before we were allowed entry. Then add in 62 jurors and the room was packed. 14 in the jury box, and other 14 in front of the jury box, 30 or so in the gallery and two more across the room in from of the clerk of the court. The place is as crowded as my desk!

The choirboydefendant looks young. He's presumably over 18 because we are in adult court, but probably not more than 22, I'd even bet south of 20. He wore dark slacks and a red/gray long sleeve shirt. I looked for tats peaking out at the wrists and neck but didn't see any for sure.

The case involved one choirboy shooting another attempted murder with a firearm. The actual trial was expected to start Monday and continue every afternoon for three weeks plus lengthly deliberations beyond that. If my mental math works out, the trial would wrap up just before Thanksgiving and then deliberations continue for an indefinite period following that.

The judge went through several general questions for every juror. The judge, early in the process, read the case synopsis and asked if that caused bias for or against either party. Juror #18-ish objected and started in on how she thought guns were bad and CCW was wrong... I bit my tongue while mentally shouting "HELLO! THIS CHOIRBOY IS ACCUSED OF ATTEMPTED MURDER. WHAT MAKES YOU THINK THIS CASE HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH CCW? IS HE OLD ENOUGH TO EVEN POSSESS A FIREARM LET ALONE A CCW? DOES HE HAVE PRIOR FELONIES THAT WOULD PRECLUDE HIS LEGAL GUN OWNERSHIP? I'D BET MY NEXT PAYCHECK HE IS AN ILLEGAL POSSESSOR AND HENCE THIS CASE HAS ABSO-FRACKEN-NOTHING TO DO WITH CCW!" I so wanted to hear the judge say "Juror #18-ish, you're released on the basis that YOU ARE TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND THE PROCEEDINGS." (apologise for the shouting text but that's the way it played out in my mind).

I believe in the the jury process though if it functions as explained today, it's deeply flawed. For instance one question the judge asked was something to the effect of "Can you apply the law as I explain it to you without regard to your own feelings on the law?". I think she might have even breathed something about "in other words, we don't do jury nullification here." I raised my number in objection. How many times has the SCOTUS gotten the verdict wrong and only reverse themselves 50 or 100 years later. In current day, I think the SCOTUS clearly got it wrong in the McCain-Finegold restrictions on free speech. I cannot apply this law in good conscience. The existence of one such exception suggests there are probably others. But if blindly following the judge's interpretation of the law is a requirement to serve, is this really a jury of peers? Any judge worth their salt is going to paint the law in such a small box there is only one possible conclusion. Why have a jury? If they gave me the written law and perhaps any precedents which I could decide if they were on point or not then let me make my own interpretation, I'd be good with that. But such was clearly not the case.

This trial was going to be lengthly enough that I would clearly be neglecting my dayjob(tm). I am developing a product we are trying to get on the market by the end of the year. Usurping more than half of my productive hours would surely cause a schedule slip.

But I didn't raise that issue with the court. I have a bigger concern. I coach two First Lego League teams at my son's school. We meet two days a week after school and our regional competition is December 5th. It's crunch time and pressing me into jury service would mean the end this program.

Yes, I played the "it's for the children" card.

I'll give props to the judge for releasing me on that basis. I sold this program to the principal and she put up the money to fund these two teams on my word that I would see it through. I'm glad this unforeseen roadblock will not interfere with that commitment.