30 July 2011

'Twas a dark and stormy night!

No, really it was.  But then every writer dreams of that opening.  Here's my chance.

Your humble host was invited to give a talk to experienced engineers on the DayJob('tm)'s products.  Our hosts were most gracious and treated us to far better accommodations than when I perform similar duties for the $DayJob(tm).   Still while our host covered our room and board, the bed quite frankly was about as comfortable as a cement slab!  The SCQueen and I actively discussed what might have been softer.. the bed or the floor.   Another renter suggested a box of doorknobs would have been more comfortable.

Plan A was to enjoy the nice dinner & campfire with the group, spend a 2nd night at the inn and return Sunday AM.  But with fresh bruises from the previous evening... the SandCastle Queen wanted nothing more than her own bed tonight.  Call it Plan D. (plans B & C were already in the rear view mirror!)

So we enjoyed a pleasant dinner with the group and made our departure around 7pm.  Initially the lighting was far off in the distance then struck closer.  Soon the SCSon was asking questions about "what happens when an aircraft is struck by lightning?"  (Answer:  Faraday cage: don't sweat it!)

A couple strikes were so close it merely lit up the landscape like a flash bulb (for those that remember flash bulbs).  It rained so hard visibility dropped to around 100 ft even with wipers set on kill.

Leaving the storm in the rear view, lighting struck a quarter mile off the freeway... "Yawn"... it's already shown us better than that!

We're home safe now and will be in our own beds tonight... it doesn't get much better than this.

Don't wake me in the AM!

28 July 2011

Gunnie TV

main stream gun shows are taking over the airwaves.  Sons of Guns has started, Top Shot season 3 is about to kick off and there are more shows in the wings.

Sons of Guns has been running new shows for a couple weeks.  Looks like they've extended it to a 1 hour format with 2-3 projects per episode.  I'm going to skip right over the custom machine gun build and get right to the best part of the episode: a race between Jerry "full auto finger" Miculek" firing a semi auto AK-47 and a full auto AK-47.  Hmmm seem the race really is really a race of reaction times.  JM probably can't pull the trigger faster than an AK-47 but his reactions could be fast enough to make up the deficit.

Since Discovery has not put up the best 2 minutes of the episode, I'm going to spill the beans.  It was close but full auto won.

But the numbers are interesting:  From the low ready *Beep* to 10 trigger pulls, Jerry did it in 1.52 seconds with a 0.31 second reaction time.  Chris ran the full auto dry in 1.40S.  I really wish they mentioned Chris' reaction time.  Bet it was slower than JM's but the gun made up the deficit.  Here's a link to a bad version of the clip (recorded off the TV).  But for now it's the only one I can find.

Top Shot season 3 will start Tuesday Aug 9th 10/9C.  BTW, the season 3 preview shows one character holding an RPG.  I wonder if that's a hint of what is to come this season (heh heh heh, what kind of match could you come up with using RPG's?  In CALIFORNIA where the show is filmed?).  The email also suggests they might put up some more swag to give away as contest prizes.  I have some ideas there but need to get some buy in from them before announcing.  Stay tuned.  If I can score some swag to pass along, I will.
Full disclosure always... the History channel sent an email suggested they might send some swag my way.  I've posted about the show in the past and likely will continue to post about it in the future trinkets or no.   (But it's nice to be appreciated)  Also the few trinkets won't stop me from posting my opinion.  For example I was really disappointed in how Season 2 ended.  It seemed very scripted by at least two of the three finalists.   See also The Undefeated.  But I'll be watching again this season.

Finally David Codrea hosted Kristi from MetalFlowerMedia which produces "unscripted TV shows" (AKA reality TV).  They are looking for families for a new show:
This is a very special series for a major tv network* featuring families across the country who celebrate fundamental values of family first, pride in your country, and protecting what matters most. These families value our second amendment rights and are the backbone of our great country.
 You can apply here.

David's radio show is on 7-8AM AzST (Arizona Standard Time - the most stable time base ever - we never change!)   Currently this is the same as PDT.   You can listen via the internet here (click on listen live).  The last week show archives are here.  Updates have been spotty but they are getting better.

* until today they major TV network was mentioned right their on the website.  oops!

25 July 2011

Monster Hunter Alpha

The SandCastle Son and I did something I rarely do: Made a trip to the mall.  All it takes is a little proper motivation.  In this case today is opening day for Monster Hunter Alpha.  Actually we didn't go into the mall, just to Barnes & Noble which is at the mall which means dealing with mall parking and that's a big reason I don't go to the mall!

Helpful hint to my good friends at B&N:  It's easier to buy a book when it's out on the floor and people can see it!

We looked around for the book without success and waited a while at the information desk while the one clerk explained the basics of the Nook to a couple qtips.  Eventually a second clerk arrived looked it up for us.  She led us to the SciFi section where books #1 & 2 were on the shelf.  Then she went "into the backroom"... and came back with... a Halo book.  She enlisted the help of "She who is in charge of special features".  Apparently the feature won't start for a couple days yet.  But at least she came back with a copy of the book.

The SCSon is reading it now I and I should get my turn in about a day and a half when he's finished.

Hey Larry - When are you coming to town to sign it?

Oh and clerk #1 was still explaining the basics to the qtips when we left.

18 July 2011

Hi Point Carbine/Video test

TBS posted Bea's Hi-Point carbine.  Long time readers may remember I picked one up a while back to shoot in a local club's pistol-caliber carbine match.  Rumor has it they will offer up another at GBR IV.  Good on 'em and thanks for the support.

So I finally got out to the match last month.  It's a hoot to shoot and cheap both to acquire and shoot.   Here's the stage 3 setup...
And here's the big picture

Here's what it looked like from the perspective of the gun.  (Disregard the date & time in the lower right.  It's wrong)  PS... This stage was shot with a pair of ProMag 15 round magazines instead of the factory 10 rounders.

16 July 2011

The Undefeated

The SandCastle crew spent the afternoon enjoying AMC24's air conditioning and the Sarah Palin movie.  The story was interesting from the early days cleaning up the mayors office and taking on the Corrupt Bastards Club.  It nicely filled in the story I didn't know prior to her arrival on McCain's team.

By the end the audience was clapping at the applause lines in both Reagan's and Palin's speeches.  It was really a fun afternoon.

On the other hand, the cinematography is horrible and really made the movie unwatchable.  Many scenes are out of focus, as though they were filmed in closeup off a TV screen.  The talking head scenes are a blur of zoom in/zoom out, shift right & left, pop right & left, sepia tones, normal tones.  Some of the TEA party scenes are so shaky it almost had to have been done intentionally.  I assume it's supposed to make it "artsy" but...

Great Story, but visually unwatchable.

Run Sarah Run!

14 July 2011

Monster Hunter International

I meant to write this review several months back after reading "MHI: Vendetta" (the 2nd book).  My bad, but not beyond redemption.  The 3rd book "Alpha" will be out in a couple weeks so get your pre-orders in now.

So here's the deal.... Your humble host bought the first book ("MHI") on a "signed by the author" deal and highly recommended by other gunbloggers.  I like having books signed by the author.  (I have several!)

I was expecting the typical "start from the bottom and work up though the hierarchy of baddies to the big dog.  But no.  Larry launches into battles between the heros and the undead at the top of what I knew of the undead food chain, and heads uphill from there!

The 1st book opens with a couple lines to appeal to most any oxygen consuming  reader:
On one otherwise normal Tuesday evening I had the chance to live the American dream.  I was able to throw my incompetent jackass of a boss from a fourteenth story window.

Even though I don't feel that way about the current boss, I suspect we've all felt that urge toward a boss at some time in our life.  I know I have.

MHI is a very entertaining read.  The 600-700+ pages fly by.   About 75-80% through the book I'm at the point where I think "Ok, he's written the hero into a corner.  How will he get out of this?"  (And he does)  As fellow fan "AerialApplicatorDoug"* observed "Larry really knows how to spin a tale".   Amen.

Ditto for MHI: Vendetta.  Where I bought the first book on the recommendation of others and shared it with the SandCastleSon, the SCSon spent his own hard earned money on MHI: Vendetta.  (Thanks Larry for autographing it in Scottsdale, AZ).   We will acquire MHI: Alpha as soon as released.

And Larry, we *EXPECT* to see you here in the desert to sign it soon!

* I considered referring to Doug as AADoug but that might leave in incorrect impression...   of both of us...

04 July 2011


Happy Independence Day, #235.

The Stars and Stripes are flying here at the SandCastle.

(others MM, Traction Control have posted thoughts from the time so no need to duplicate).

Hope your colors are flying as well.

01 July 2011

Epic suckage....

I cut out early form the DayJob(tm) to meet up at PRGC with the cool kids from GreatSatanInc for a round of fun steel.  We'd blown off the last couple weeks due to the 110+F temps.  But today's forecast called for "only" 107.

Normally we meet at 5:30 (nominally) 5:45-ish.  But today we both have evening engagements so we met at 3:30 and were the first ones on the course.

Stage one was deceptively difficult: 5 round targets at staggered distances, hit each twice all from box A (two runs).  Turns out the first three are easy but #4 & #5 (diagonally across the bay) were surprisingly difficult.

Stage two was very similar: 3 normal sized circles and 2 miniatures set further back.  Two hits on each from box A, then again from box B (one either side of the bay).  I did my best on the normal circles and made token attempts at the minis. 

I do not remember how many penalties I rang up but I'm fairly certain it's more than the sum of every other stage ever shot in my life.  I'd guess 7+/-2.  I also realized I'd burnt up more than half of the 150 rounds I'd brought for the match.  Comparing notes while reloading for stage 3 the entire squad told the same story. 

Stage three consisted of a plate rack + 2 poppers, x3.   I don't know if any of us actually finished the stage.  I aborted with a couple plates left on the last rack. 

Part of my issues were a couple magazines that wouldn't reliably feed.  Note to self, get these to the range and identify & replace the offending magazines.  Single shot is a slow way to shoot. 

By then none of us had enough rounds left to make a credible attempt on stage 4 so we turned in our cards and retreated to the AC of our cars.

This was my worst performance ever...  Still two hours shooting [and largely missing] beats two hours working!