Friday, July 24, 2009

Totally Oblivious

So, me and a friend were coming out of a Best Buy and there were two Hoover, AL Police SUVs parked outside. As we walked past one we noticed that the front right tire was flat, and I mean completely flat like someone had slashed it.



I couldn't resist taking a quick picture. The funniest part about the whole thing is that when two police officers came out with a shoplifting suspect they put him in the back of the SUV with the flat tire! My friend and I realized that neither of them realized the tire was flat.

So...

We watched, and waited. One of the PO went back into the Best Buy and then the other got in the flat tire SUV and was about to drive off. She got distracted a couple of time, but then was finally going to drive off. I know it's terrible, but we were waiting to laugh our asses off.

Unfortunately, a good samaritan came along and ruined the comedy that was about to take place. The police officer got out and examined her tire, and then we decided it was time to go. As we left, we saw the other officer come out and help her get the SUV ready to put the spare on.

Even though she didn't drive off on it, I realized she would have if someone hadn't told her. It cracks me up that TWO police officers walked around that damned flat tire for about ten minutes without noticing it.

You would think a couple of police officers wouldn't be quite that oblivious, but I guess I can give them a pass considering what they were dealing with. Then again, it brings to home a lesson I try to incorporate in my own training: Don't get so caught up in what's right in front of you that you miss danger or problems in other areas. Beware of tunnel vision.

Totally Oblivious

So, me and a friend were coming out of a Best Buy and their were two Hoover, AL Police SUVs parked outside. As we walked past one we noticed that the front right tire was flat, and I mean completely flat like someone had slashed it.

I FINALLY Figured This Asshole Out!

Okay, so there is this poster on one of the gun forums that I frequent that, most of the time, absolutely drives me insane. He is the most anti-gun gun guy I've ever met. Today, I finally saw something he posted that put it all into perspective:

"I consider rifles in gun racks the same as open carry...under most circumstances it says more about the carrier than a Rohrsach

...lookatmeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..."

Why, oh why is seeing a gun a 'bad' thing, but having one hidden away is okay? Maybe because deep down inside you agree with everyone who thinks guns and gun ownership is a bad thing? Could this be a symptom of self loathing?

I'm no head doctor, but, well....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

New Stuff

About two weeks ago there was a gun show in Birmingham. Having nothing better to do I decided to go spend some money. It was cool. They had a lot of nice stuff, including this military surplus backpack that I picked up:



It's got plenty of places on it for securing gear and other pouches so today I ordered a couple from www.511tactical.com. I always keep a backpack with random stuff I may need in my car. Comes in handy when you want more things at hand than you have pockets for. While I've got a pretty good amount of room in this backpack I tend to leave a lot of stuff that I'd like to have out just to keep things from being cluttered. The new pouches will make organizing the things I want to carry a lot easier. Anyway, hopefully the stuff will ship soon.

This one is a medical pouch for first aid supplies and small survival supplies:



This one is just a padded pouch for storing random stuff. I'll probably keep my packable Columbia rain jacket in it, among other things:




Depending on how things go with these two I may be adding another soon. I'll let you know what I think of them.

New Stuff








Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Shooting IDPA

So, I've been interesting in shooting IDPA (www.idpa.com) for a while now. I didn't really know of any places in my area that did it. The only two I knew of were a place that did 'tactical shoots' that were based on IDPA in a small indoor gun range, and another place where you could only shoot after becoming a member (for a small fee of $$$.$$). Anyway, I hadn't looked in a while.

I've been trying to elevate my shooting from 'practice' to 'training.' I've been reading a few books on the subject, along with loads of magazine articles, and watching videos online. The first thing I decided was that I needed to get a speed timer for training at home, and that I needed to do a lot more than just bull's eye shooting.

Lately when I shoot I've added movement, multiple targets, odd positions, etc. to my routine in order to mix things up. A speed timer will help out a lot, when I can afford one, as it will allow me to time myself at home so that I can not only shoot and hit my target, but shoot and hit my target quickly.

Anyway, back to IDPA.

Everything I've read, and a lot of what I've seen, says I need to get into some kind of combat competition shooting, if for nothing more than the level of stress it will add to shooting. I want to do it, and I finally found a place where I can that is local.

They have IDPA matches the second Saturday and fourth Thursday of each month. I'm thinking that next month I might try my luck. It could be a lot of fun, and I know it will benefit my training. I shoot pretty well, but I've never really done it under a lot of stress up against shooters who are at least as good and probably a lot better than me.

I'm kind of nervous about doing it. I'm shy by nature, and this is not the type of venue (being both public AND involving firearms) where I want to make a mistake. I'm the introverted type, and that makes it very hard for me to deal with social situations. I feel so damned awkward in them.

But, this would give me a chance to meet some new people with similar interest (maybe even some single, attractive women?) and once I've done it a few times and met some people that awkwardness will be gone. I just hate being the FNG. I usually don't screw up though, especially if I'm given clear instructions. And as shy as I am I'll ask for help if I don't understand something.

Anyway, hopefully soon you'll being hearing about me competing. From what information I've been able to gather, matches generally last a few hours and it takes about a hundred rounds. I figure a match, including entry fee, ammo, and gas, would only cost me about $60, which really isn't all that much if I limit it to one match a month. Not really all that much if I go twice a month.

If you have any interest in the place, you can find information here: www.scssa.org and http://steelcityidpa.com/default.aspx

Sunday, July 12, 2009

170 Rounds To A Better Mood

I shot 170 rounds today with my Kimber Ultra Raptor .45ACP. It was nice. I shot from a bunch of different positions just to get in some practice at awkward and unusual shots. It was fun. My last fifty rounds I slow fired (about one shot per second) into a new target for a fairly tight spread. I've seen much better, and I am definitely going to keep practicing until I am the best I can be.












Family Always Makes It Worse

So I get home after having a pretty good night to notice that my mother is standing in her doorway next door and her car is gone. I decide to walk over and see if everything is okay, if she had an accident, if her crazy boyfriend stole it, whatever. She's got two little boys, my cousins, living with her since their grandfather died (their parents being MIA).

So she answers the door and is obviously drunk out of her mind. I ask about the car and she says she wrecked it. It's the third car she's wrecked in a year. She doesn't even have a driver's license.

So she got very hostile, started yelling at me to mind my own business. Then she starts yelling at me telling me that I'll fuck anything and that she hopes I'll get AIDS. For the record, I've had exactly one sexual partner this year. Just one. And she introduced me to the girl.

Anyway, annoyed I point out that I'm 24 and have no kids, and then ask her how many kids she had at 24 and by how many fathers (I believe the number was 5, maybe 6).

Then she says, "You can't have kids! Your grandmother never told you that, did she!" At first, I assume it's just that much more of her bullshit, but who knows? She's told me so many conflicting stories over the years that I don't even know if I could believe her if she told me the sky was blue and grass was green.

Among her other insults is that I am "living off" my dead grandfather because I live in a 30+ year old single wide trailer that is falling apart that was his before he died. It's now 1/4 mine, along with the land it's on (land which the trailer my mother lives in is also located on).

What gets me about this is that I asked everyone's permission before I moved here, and they said it was fine. I offered to pay rent, and they declined (acted like I was crazy for offering, in fact). Oh, and to top it all off I've put a few thousand dollars worth of improvements into this piece of shit I call home, and a few thousand more into property maintainence.

But I'm the bad son. I'm the moocher. Doesn't matter that I was the first to move out, and I've worked forty+ hours a week since I moved out in 2005. Doesn't matter that while I borrowed money from time to time from my grandfather, I'm the only person who ever paid him back.

Doesn't matter that I'm the only one of my grandfather, mother, brother, and sister to have finished high school. Doesn't matter that my mother lives rent free, and survives off the welfare checks she recieves for my cousins.

All that matters is that my mother needs someone to blame for the mess she made of her life. She blamed my grandfather before he died, and she's blamed me since.

My brother Daniel is her only son that loves her, except he can't stand to be near her. My sister Mary is the only daughter who loves her, except she only puts up with her because she'll baby-sit (why she would leave my neice with that woman is beyond me, but I'll only be treated like an ass for asking).

The fact that I try do better for myself, even with all of my fuck ups and faults, is the worst possible thing I could do in my mothers eyes.

My family has caused me far more stress and pain that I deserve to have inflicted upon me.

I've tried being kind. I've tried staying away. Nothing is good enough. You can't please people when the only thing they want in the world is for you to be just as much of a piece of shit as they are so that they can say, "See, you're no better than me."

Well, Mom, sorry. I am so much better than you their isn't a scale by which it could be measured. You disgust me. It makes me physically sick to know I share half my genetic material with you.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Banning Smoking In The Military...Bad Idea

This story is about a push by the Pentagon to ban smoking in the military:

U.S. soldiers are trained to handle deadly weapons and smoke out enemies but they may soon find that they aren't allowed to handle cigarettes and light up a smoke.

Pentagon health experts are pressing Defense Secretary Robert Gates to ban the use of tobacco by troops and ends its sale on military property, according to USA Today.

Jack Smith, head of the Pentagon's office of clinical and program policy, told the newspaper that he will advise Gates to adopt proposals by a federal study that cites rising tobacco use and higher costs for the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs as reasons for the ban.

The study by the Institute of Medicine calls for a phased-in ban over a period of perhaps up to 20 years.

"We'll certainly be taking that recommendation forward," Smith told the newspaper.

The VA and the Pentagon requested the study, which found that troops worn out by repeated deployments often rely on cigarettes as a "stress reliever." The study also found that tobacco use in the military rose after the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began.

Tobacco use costs the Pentagon $846 million a year in medical care and lost productivity, according to the study, which was released last month and used older data. The Department of Veterans Affairs spends up to $6 billion in treatments for tobacco-related illnesses, the study found.

The study recommends requiring new officers and enlisted personnel to be tobacco-free, eliminating tobacco use on military installations, ships and aircraft, expanding treatment programs and eliminating the sale of tobacco on military property.

"Any tobacco use while in uniform should be prohibited," the study said.




Personally, I don't think it would be a bad thing if our military members stopped smoking, or at least reduced their smoking. I don't generally consider myself a 'smoker' because I don't smoke cigarettes, but I do smoke cigars from time to time.

Here are a couple of my problems with this ban:

(1) It would refuse promotion to those who already smoked before the ban (at least that is what I get from the article)

(2) It would eliminate what the banners admit is a common stress reliever for combat troops, and I see NO mention what so ever of a replacement stress reliever. In effect, Pentagon health officials would be replacing one health problem with another.

(3) I don't like limitations on free choice that are not necessary to effective combat operations in our military. People in the military give up enough to do their jobs, I don't think it is right to eliminate what few pleasures they can find while engaged in military campaigns.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Robert's Picks

I like this quote:

"Sometimes 'peace' is just another word for 'surrender.'"
-the character Susan Ivanova from the science fiction television show Babylon 5

I'm reading:

A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton (good)

1633 by David Weber and Eric Flint (very good)

Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey (very good)

In the theater I saw:

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (good)

On DVD I watched:

Burn Notice: Season 2 (excellent)

Feudalism all over again?

A few weeks okay I was struck by a thought and jotted it down in one of my many notebooks:

"It occurs to me that socialism in all it's forms (Communism, Marxism, Leninism, Maoism, [National Socialism,] etc.) is nothing more than a rejection of human progress and a digression to feudalism."

Now, a common critique of Capitalism is that wealth, and by default power, is concentrated into a small segment of the populations and that segment of the population will use their wealth and power to see that the gap between themselves and the rest of the population continues to increase for their own nefarious ends. Now, I'd point out that a real capitalist society has never existed, but that's another thought all together.

Now, there is a gap, and from all tell a growing one, between the wealthy and middle to working class in the United States. I don't deny it, and I don't feel it needs to be defended. Some of those people are crooks, some of them are moochers, but quite a few of them earned their wealth.

Anyway, I am forced to ask, where is wealth and power concentrated into the hands of the fewest number of people? And what is the, ahem, job title of these people?

Let's just think about the former Soviet Union, shall we? From top to bottom of the government wealth and power increased. The purpose of the government was to see to the 'best interest' of the proletariat (serfs). The prols did most of the work, made up the bulk of the military, and in turn were ruled over by political officers and the Politburo. The Politburo is in turn ruled by a small council whose most powerful member is the chairman (king), the other council members being those with many supporters in the general Politburo (liege lords and their retainers, anyone?) The more men loyal to you, the more power you had, etc. etc.

If you look at the feudal system its stated purpose was for militarily strong men to protect weaker men from other military strong men. You give me a little of your food or other product of your labors, and I'll keep this other guy from stealing the rest. A little time with your nose in a history book will show you that in most cases it was nothing more than extortion (one thug takes what he wants from you, he leaves you just enough to survive and produce more, and protects you from other thugs in order to ensure that he doesn't have to produce for himself).

Socialism is exactly the same. The leaders of a socialist society take what they want from the general population in the name of fairness and to 'spread the wealth.' But in the end, they are the only ones to benefit in any real way, for it is they who decide who 'needs' what. The people at the bottom get just enough to survive...for a while they may even get enough to survive comfortably. All of their 'needs' are met...just barely.

Oh, you might think, "Well, the United States is a capitalist country, and we're not much better off than that?"

You might be that ignorant. If so, do one thing for me: the next time you get a paystub, take a long look at it. Pay particular attention to the line that says "Social Security" and notice the deduction from your actual pay. Capitalism, my ass. Oh, and bear in mind what happens if you refuse to pay that. Why, the same things that happens when the serf refused to give up a portion of his crops: either prison, or death.

Who decides what can be produced? Who decides what can be sold, or bought? Who can tell a business that their prices are too high AND hold them criminally liable for those high prices (you, the individual can refuse to buy if you think the price is too high, but you can't put a shopkeeper in jail for it, can you?)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Invasion!

Fleas, or some other tiny, invisible biting insects have invaded my bed. They were not there last night, but suddenly tonight (or should I say early this morning!) they are.

About twenty minutes ago I stripped down and crawled into bed. I decided to read a little bit and was finding myself more and more distracted by the two or three mosquito bites I aquired Friday night while sitting outside.

Then I started to count my 'old' bug bites as I kept finding myself scratching away more and more and more until I was about to go nuts. And there were four...five...six...seveneightninetenelevenWHATTHEFUCKISGOINGON!!!!

So I got up and took a look in the mirror and my entire lower back is covered in small to large swells that are obviously nice, new, pink ITCHY insect bites of one sort or another. Didn't notice any squiters buzzing around my room so I assume it's fleas.

Where they came from or how they got into my bed with me I don't know, but I'm going to be spending the night on the couch.

And I can't find my gods' bedamned Cortizone 10....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Senator Sessions,
I am very concerned with the proposals being made in the Senate concerning health care reform. I want you to know that I am adamantly against any 'reform' that leads to mandatory health insurance or penalties for those who choose to go without coverage.
As one of my representatives in the United States Senate, I expect you to fight against any bill or measure that would sanction what amounts to theft. If you want my vote when the time comes, you'll have to earn it by fighting this and other measures that seek to allow certain members of our government to loot the gains of one man or woman in order to win the vote of another less fortunate man or woman.

Looters, Pure and Simple

I digusted by this news story.

WASHINGTON -- Americans who refuse to buy affordable medical coverage could be hit with fines of more than $1,000 under a health care overhaul bill unveiled Thursday by key Senate Democrats looking to fulfill President Obama's top domestic priority.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated the fines will raise around $36 billion over 10 years. Senate aides said the penalties would be modeled on the approach taken by Massachusetts, which now imposes a fine of about $1,000 a year on individuals who refuse to get coverage. Under the federal legislation, families would pay higher penalties than individuals.

In a revamped health care system envisioned by lawmakers, people would be required to carry health insurance just like motorists must get auto coverage now. The government would provide subsidies for the poor and many middle-class families, but those who still refuse to sign up would face penalties.

Called "shared responsibility payments," the fines would be set at least half the cost of basic medical coverage, according to the legislation.

In 2008, employer-provided coverage averaged $12,680 a year for a family plan, and $4,704 for individual coverage, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation's annual survey. Senate aides, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly, said the cost of the federal plan would be lower but declined to provide specifics.

The legislation would exempt certain hardship cases from fines. The fines would be collected through the income tax system.

The new proposals were released as Congress neared the end of a weeklong July 4 break, with lawmakers expected to quickly take up health care legislation when they return to Washington. With deepening divisions along partisan and ideological lines, the complex legislation faces an uncertain future.

Obama wants a bill this year that would provide coverage to the nearly 50 million Americans who lack it and reduce medical costs.

In a statement, Obama welcomed the legislation, saying it "reflects many of the principles I've laid out, such as reforms that will prohibit insurance companies from refusing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and the concept of insurance exchanges where individuals can find affordable coverage if they lose their jobs, move or get sick."

The Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions bill also calls for a government-run insurance option to compete with private plans as well as a $750-per-worker annual fee on larger companies that do not offer coverage to employees.

Sens. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., and Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., said in a letter to colleagues that their revised plan would cost dramatically less than an earlier, incomplete proposal, and help show the way toward coverage for 97 percent of all Americans.

In a conference call with reporters, Dodd said the revised bill had brought "historic reform of health care" closer. He said the bill's public option will bring coverage and benefit decisions driven "not by what generates the biggest profits, but by what works best for American families."

The two senators said the Congressional Budget Office put the cost of the proposal at $611.4 billion over 10 years, down from $1 trillion two weeks ago.

However, the total cost of legislation will rise considerably once provisions are added to subsidize health insurance for the poor through Medicaid. Those additions, needed to ensure coverage for nearly all U.S. residents, are being handled by a separate panel, the Senate Finance Committee. Bipartisan talks on the Finance panel aim to hold the overall price tag to $1 trillion.

The Health Committee could complete its portion of the bill as soon as next week, and the presence of a government health insurance option virtually assures a party-line vote.

In the Senate, the Finance Committee version of the bill is unlikely to include a government-run insurance option. Bipartisan negotiations are centered on a proposal for a nonprofit insurance cooperative as a competitor to private companies.

Three committees are collaborating in the House on legislation expected to come to a vote by the end of July. That measure is certain to include a government-run insurance option.

At their heart, all the bills would require insurance companies to sell coverage to any applicant, without charging higher premiums for pre-existing medical conditions. The poor and some middle-class families would qualify for government subsidies to help with the cost of coverage. The government's costs would be covered by a combination of higher taxes and cuts in projected Medicare and Medicaid spending.



There is not a single moral justification for putting a gun to my head because I choose NOT to have health insurance. On every occasion I have used health services since I turned 18 and was no longer covered by parental insurance I have paid as I went.

"It's like this Mr. McDonald. You have two choices. Either you give us your money volunteerily, or we'll take it by force."

You know what really makes me sick? I own a gun to protect me from thugs who give me a choice like that. But I can't use it against these particular thugs because we live in a society where it is okay to steal as long as those doing the stealing convinced enough idiots, like-minded thieves, and general degernerates to vote them into political office.

I'm a helpless victim if this legislation comes to pass.