Thursday, February 28, 2013

Interesting how a conversation can change directions

End of the day, talking with our spec writer over details of some documents we needed to put out the door to meet a deadline.  Thinking back, I can't remember how she steered the conversation to guns, but I found myself talking to her about handguns. She said she'd grown up shooting long guns and was comfortable with that but handguns scared her.  I said, well you learned how to properly handle a long gun and so you are comfortable with that right?  There's a proper way to safely pick up a handgun as well. You just need to learn that.
She said she had her father's pistol that he had gotten for her mother many years ago.  Said her mother used to carry it in her purse everywhere she went.  I said, you know that was illegal way back when, she just shrugged.  Oh well, says I, better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6.  She'd never heard that saying..made her laugh.
I asked her if the pistol she had was a revolver. She said yes; asked what caliber but she didn't know.
I said if I had to guess it's probably a .38.  Then she wondered out loud if it kicked much.  I told her, probably not much.
Her sister is a CCW license holder and had talked to her about concealed carry. Her sister also gave her some bad information about concealed carry with respect to the law. I set her straight on that.   She said she just didn't know if she could shoot someone. She said her sister had asked her, if it came down to you or the bad guy, could you shoot him.  She admitted she might. I told her that is the only circumstance where you should pull your gun. You don't just arbitrarily pull your sidearm and plug someone.  Then I told her when seconds count, your cell phone and 911 are a poor substitute, the police are twenty minutes away, arriving just in time to draw a chalk line around your body.  I saw a light bulb of cognition flicker a few times during that conversation.

I wrote about how Belle and I had taken a young lady and her husband to the range to introduce them to pistol shooting a while back.  I didn't start this conversation today.  I think the word is starting to spread amongst the ladies in the office.
Since she broached the subject, I'll touch on it again before too long. I think she was feeling me out.

I kind of joked about this before, but it may turn out to be the BAR mission statement.

 BAR, converting new self defense shooters one range trip at a time.

*  I did not grow up shooting pistols, and I do not claim to be a gunnie. The pistol jones started for me at the first BAR blogshoot in Lockhart, TX when Borepatch's .45 whispered sweet nothings to me, and I like shooting them...a lot.

In Search Of

The elusive 9mm round.
The federal gubmint has been buying hollow points by the billion. The scarcity of 9mm fmj is because of our fellow citizens freaking out.
Stopped by an outdoors store with a name similar to Bird Hill this evening just on the off chance there might be one measly box of 9mm.
No luck.
What I did see was a fair amount of .38, .45 and .40 caliber. More .38 and .40.
The BAR executive directors decided that the household would be all 9mm for economy of scale when buying ammunition. Seemed like a good idea at the time, and for a while, it was. A case of 1000 would last upwards of 5 weeks.  The last case ran out a while back.

We haven't been to the range in a while now - just can't bring ourselves to punch holes in paper with hollow points.

I see Ruger makes the same model pistol I have in 9mm in a .40 caliber.  Hmmmmm.
The neighborhood gun store, right around the corner carries that model.  Hmmmmm.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Oh How Times Change

Diplomatic trips to Berlin have been going on since the beginning of the Cold War.

I happened to be listening to Rush Limbaugh today and so I'm stealing his brain power in this oh so true comparison.

John F. Kennedy at the Berlin Wall

Then we have the eloquent Ronald Reagan with his classic challenge:


And now enter John Kerry and his little tidbit of brilliance (snark)

Do you think he was referring to his dumb ass?

Geez......   I never thought I would say this, but can we have Hillary back, please?


Monday, February 25, 2013


There are some things that make you take note of every minute of every day. In my experience, those events have been of the not good kind.
A friend, mentor and employer of 24 years passed this morning at 12:57 am.
God Speed Bill.
I could write volumes about the virtues of this man and at the same time I can sum it up in a few words.

I am a better man for having known him.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Joys of travel

Reminder to self:
Do not turn over curious looking strips of paper on the airplane seat.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Magpul Threatens

Magpul threatens to pull out of Colorado if gun bill passes.

Come on down to Texas. We've got a pistol packin' 2nd amendment supporting Governor.

Still waiting on the ammo manufactures to boycott the Government.

The huge government ammo purchases are a Cloward-Piven bonus for the Statists. Not only do they get to piss away money we don't have to spend to hasten the economic crash, but they dry up the civilian ammo supply in the process.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

All We need is one

To get things rolling.
Borepatch is advocating a Second Amendment PAC, and one of his commentors, is already on it. Another commentor, SDS, upped the anti to "Super Pac".
This brought to mind a news bite I saw earlier today, and another point of attack in this fight.

Second arms manufacturer to do so if I am not mistaken. One more and we have a "pattern".

What we need now is one ammo manufacturer to lead the way, and give the finger to the federal government.
 I am really partial to Magtech ammo for my pistols. Shoots really clean and I don't have to clean them as often.  Given the current ammo market, I'll shoot anything I can get my hands on, even if the muzzle flash and smoke looks like it came out of a blunderbuss*.

Might take a bit of googlefu to determine which ammo manufacturers are getting the federal contracts for ammo,  but in addition to creating our own Super Pac, I think we need to start putting pressure on the ammo manufacturers.

This ammo shortage won't last forever.
We need to let the ammo producers know we have a long memory**.

*Or Belle's Tokorev. Muzzle flash is about a foot long, and it gets attention a good 12 shooting stations to the left and right.
** Word to the wise; The internet never forgets. To use a famous quote, "Me fuck you long time"

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Not so Happy Sailing

The Carnival Triumph is floating aimlessly around in the gulf. This is the same ship the Lovely Belle and I took our first cruise on some months back.  I was a bit disappointed that the ship had a jet propulsion stabilization system in it. I wanted to feel the roll of the ship under my feet.  But then, I grew up on the water and around boats.  It doesn't feel right for a vessel to do nothing but shudder when you know you should be feeling the motion of the ocean. As evidenced by the number of our shipmates donning anti-chumming patches under their earlobes, I was apparently in the minority.
There is no sicker feeling than having your engine crap out on a boat.  (assuming you have no sails*)
I've broken down in shallow water. I've broken down in deep water.  The deep water break down was 30 miles out in the Pacific while Marlin fishing.  Needless to say, we didn't get a Marlin that day. Nonetheless, our crew got a nice tip for managing to breath enough life into the pile of rust that served as an engine to get us back to shore.  Here's a pro-tip for those considering hiring a boat to do some fishing in Mexico.  Life jackets are not mandatory on Mexican boats like they are here in the States.  We bring our own.  I don't know how long a Mexican fishing captain or his deck hand can tread water, but they seem to have a supreme faith in their abilities.  I'd be willing to bet it is less time than it will take for my life jacket to get waterlogged.**
The Gulf of Mexico is a very harsh mistress.  Storms can brew up rapidly and the waves stack up very tall and very close together.  Boats either capsize or their hulls fail and break up.
The Carnival Triumph, as huge as it is, being dead in the water in the Gulf is no small thing.
Reports are coming in about how filthy the conditions have gotten. The anti-chumming patches only work "so well".
 First they were going to tow it to Progresso, Mexico and off load the passengers to be flown back home.  Problem is they'd be towing a 6 story hotel against the prevailing winds, so they decided to ride the horse the way it was going and opted for, wait for it,...Alabama.
Welcome to your final Tropical Destination!   Sunny  Overcast and Rainy...ALABAMA.
You have to read that last line in your best British female accent because all the PA announcers are female brits.   They have a unique announcement delivery that is hard to describe.  It's sort of "I'm excited / I'm bored out of my gourd / I don't believe a word of what I'm saying, but I'm sure these  fat pasty faced american tourists will buy it because I have a british accent.   Well then. That wasn't so hard after all. I do believe I nailed it.
Belle and I had our cruise experience.  We decided next time we'd just fly down to Cozumel and party.
I'd perfected this vacation protocol many years ago, driven by the madness of family driving vacations across the whole freaking country.  Fly there, get luggage, check in hotel, go to bar, or go to beach with bar, vacation started. It ain't the getting there, it's the being there.
The ship is, and I apologize in advance,  fucking boring.

Oh, one more Pro-tip for you.  If you get stuck at sea on a Carnival ship and it totally effes up your vacation, or you lose a limb, or you die, you can sue. Yay!  One little complication. Under the terms of the contract you did realize you signed a contract...right?  No? ok, well never mind. Anyway, you will have to travel to Alaska to bring your lawsuit, and there are severe limitations,  under the terms of your contract to the compensation you can, potentially, receive.
Fine print is a bitch. Especially when you are already partied up as you board the ship.
As a back up plan, I suggest signing your dog's name on the dotted line, with your weak hand.

* With a favorable wind, a collapsed bimini top will sail an 18' Mako center console fishing boat all the way across a bay.  The dead outboard does not make a "fine" rudder, but it works, sort of.
Some 3 or 4 foot sticks and some bunji chords would have come in handy, but hindsight is 20/20. Holding the backside of a bimini up to catch the wind for a couple of hours gets a bit tiring.
Also, always, always pack the cooler like you are making Shackleton's Voyage, even for a 20 minute joy ride.

** Frankly this is a moot point. Anything floating on the water in the Pacific casts a shadow down through the water.  Fish tend to congregate around these shadows. The sharks orbit a few yards outside.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The passing of a Mentor

I tried to write this a little while ago and just scrapped the whole thing.
He hasn't gone yet, but his time is nigh. He's not my Father, but I have spent more time in his "house" than my own Father's.
He came to the office today. He's fighting cancer. He is a shell of his former self.
His time is nigh.
As a young man, he wanted to create a business of his own to support his family, and so he set out to do so.
He succeeded, creating a business that provided opportunity and success for many families. One of which is mine.
Yes, he is my employer. He enabled me to become his peer, in title at least.
I, solely, could never fill his shoes. Nor could any of my fellow partners.
My partners and I have a hard row to hoe.  Each of us possesses some of his best attributes. None of us  possesses them all.
Now it is up to us as a group to carry on his legacy.

I had so wanted this to be an eloquent post instead of the stilted mess that it is, but ...


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hard Time

Don Giovanni
Not my idea, but as my man, Borepatch, puts it, I am well married.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Family Lineage

At the last family gathering, I'm pretty sure it was a wedding and not a funeral, my brother and I got to talking about our ancestors.  I mentioned that I'd thought about going on "that" website to do some research about our family history.  Both of us recall the stories told to us by our grandparents dating back to the turn of the last century or so, but beyond that there's a black hole.
Unbeknownst to me, my brother informed me that our maternal grandfather had paid a genealogist to track down the family history.  My Bro had read the findings.  This apparently happened many years ago.  Hello? Why am I just finding out about this now?
My younger Bro' just laughed.  "Yeah, it was interesting to read but it didn't go back all that far".
"It got back to a horse thief that got hanged and PawPaw pulled the plug on the research." "After that, there's nothing."

My Bro laughed.  So did I.

God forbid that should ever get out into general knowledge about our devout religious family*.
On my Dad's side, my grandfather was a carpenter, and my Great grandfather was a house painter. My Dad never speaks of my GGF, and Dad hates to paint anything. I remember visiting my great grandmother on Dad's side, and my grandfather's retarded sister.
 Further back than that, I know nothing about the German side of my family.

One thing I do know about my family lineage is that it is full of humans full of the frailties of all humankind.
Guilty of all the seven deadly sins in spite of what they tried to present to the world at large.
God knows I've witnessed it in my lifetime. God certainly knows I'm guilty as well.
I'm working on it.

* I do believe in God.  I am not religious.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Destructive Testing

In my profession, we work as surprisingly small teams on projects that last years.  We are not a large firm, yet there are people in our company that I have never worked with. When I do pick up one of the "never worked withs" or a new hire on a project, right off the bat I tend to grill them on their decision making process. In my experience, with 99% of people, a grilling doesn't require much. "Why did you do it that way?"  "What about this?"  "What building code constraints apply to what you are working on?"  Typically, it doesn't take much to determine they are sleep walking through their job.

I've been doing this for a long time never consciously thinking about it, but recognized it as a pattern a few years back when I made a young female Architect cry.  What was it that I left in my note that made her cry you ask? "This is unacceptable", in reference to two drawings she had produced.
She was out in the corridor boohooing to one of her female peers. One of the firm principles came and asked me what I had done. I 'splained the situation and further noted that if she thought that was "rough", how would she handle a belligerent and pissed off client in a meeting.
That communicated to him. He repeated the same thing to her. 
To summarize it in two words, "grow up".
She stayed with us for 5 or 6 years then moved on to Californication, then Pennsylvania and finally wound up in New York.  I learned all this day before yesterday. She was back in town and came by for a visit.  She made a point of visiting me. Imagine that.
I digress.
The pattern I've noticed in myself is that I destructive test my newbies in very short order. I want to know what their threshold for stress is, and whether or not anyone is at home in the brainpan. I have a subconscious drive to determine who is a go to person and who is a pencil in very short order. My "go to's" can take a problem and solve it. If I have to constantly direct your every move, you are a pencil.
I am not mean in the process*, but direct and unwavering in my expectation of their performance.
Also, I'm not going to dumb this down to your level.  You are going to have to rise to my level of play. I will help you, but the onus is on you.
I have resurrected a few lost causes, and turned a few pencils into go to guys, or girls over the years.

*Ok, I admit, now that I'm consciously aware of my destructive testing protocol, I do take a certain amount of joy in watching them squirm. I have two that have been with us for 5 to 10 years now that have coasted along all that time. I've already upset the 10 year "veteran".  The 5 year newbie is rapidly discovering all the shit he doesn't know. He's starting to come around and ask a lot more questions. He's discovered that he's not as smart as everyone else thought he was.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The good and the bad

My clients threshold for wait-n-see was apparently 4 years. Like juuuust shy of one half the US population, they were hoping obummer would get voted out of office, and the tsunami of government regulation, taxation, and monetization would abate.   After a quivering sigh, they decided they'd have to get on with it regardless.  No development, no money.
So in December of 2012, all of the sudden, it was Katie bar the DOOR, we gots ta build us a buildin!
The good is, we are busy as all get out. The bad is that our clients are running around like the proverbial headless chicken.  There are a multitude of conflicting opinions on any given subject which makes it difficult to find a clear path to a solution, but "We've got a SCHEDULE to keep!  DO SOMETHING!"
For the first time since 2007, we are in hiring mode instead of downsizing via lay off or attrition. That's good.  The bad is that all the clients now want their projects documented in 3-D. The software, which shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, is horrifically expensive on a per seat basis and on an annual $ubscription basis. And, we need new computers and new software licenses for these new hires.  I do not like overhead*.
I'd rather spend the money on my people, as in put it in their pocket.  My peeps are the firm. Not the hardware.
The other good is that operating in a state of constant emergency seems like "normal" to me, and I'm finding that my mood is improving.  SNAFU.

On another note, my 70 something father finally decided that he needs a handgun with a little more punch than the .22 LR he has. That's good. I'd expressed the same notion to him some six months ago**.
Long story short, Dad wants Belle and I to head down and take him pistol shooting. He wants to get a handgun with a little more "punch".  The last time he actually shot a pistol might be as long ago as the late 50's when he was a weatherman in the Air Force doing his mandatory training with a 1911.
The bad is that he's headed into handgun purchasing mode in the worst buyer's market in the history of the world. Dad can be irrationally conservative with respect to where and how much of his money he spends.  When he finds out how expensive it's going to be to get more punch, he'll buy junk. No, really. I know the man. I grew up with him.  My ace in the hole is that I'm going to lobby The Southern Belle to go shop with him.  She knows her pistols.

Hanging paper with one arm and converting new shooters one range trip at a time,
Kx59 signing off.

*Leave your sense of entitlement at the door pleez. Do not complain to me about your computer in the middle of the worst recession in history.  Tell ya what.  I'll buy 20 new computers and hand them out, smiling like Santa Claus.  You can decide which of your peers I'll lay off to offset the cost.  Fairnuff?
K. Get back to work.

**I've always believed in the power of a gently delivered, "off hand" comment. But, it does require an intimate knowledge of your audience.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Not listening to the half time show

It's on the TV, but like the first half of the game, it's muted.
Instead, Belle has some drivin' Blues playing from her computer. The images on the tv are almost in perfect time with the music. Amusing to watch, and the music piping in via the intertubes at the BAR Corp. HQ is much better.
The pyrotechnics are getting ridiculous.  Each year (the mysterious) "they" feel compelled to push the envelope.