Saturday, May 30, 2015

Jett And Tessa

Jett got to have a play date last night with Tessa, a golden retriever, as our two families got together for dinner.

Jett came ready to play:

The two hadn't met before, but they got along famously:

Then they immediately started to play, and hard.

Jett led off with his patented Jump-Jett maneuver:

Followed by play-death from above:

There was much running and leaping and a grand time was had by both dogs. They ended with a hug:

And then panting beside each other after a long play time.

Both dogs were well behaved, minded well, and a joy to have around and watch at play while the families chatted and the kids played together.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Lessons From Using The M&P9 And The H&K P30 At The Range

Finally got to the range again and it's been much too long, and it showed. Lesson #1 - more practice makes Aaron a better shooter.

I met a client of mine at the range, where we're both members, and what better way is there to entertain a client than at a shooting range?

I shot both my M&P 9 and My H&K P30.

First we shot a course of 18 steel targets that he had setup - poppers, chuckies (also known to others as mini-poppers) and ten plates.

From a holster and with a magazine change (10 rounds in each mag) I was shooting and getting all targets down in about 25 seconds, occasionally less, as we ran with my timer and took down the times for comparison.

I was clearly more familiar with the M&P 9 but was consistently only 1 second faster on each run using it over the P30. The P30's sights were more zeroed than the M&P. In fact the P30's sights were dead on. The M&P's however were slightly off to the right, complicating good hits on the farther small poppers. The M&P trigger was easier than the P30's but that didn't add nearly as much time to the P30's runs as I would have expected. 1 Second over 18 targets isn't a huge gap, especially when I've been shooting the M&P9 for years and have only 200 rounds through the P30.

Lesson #2 happened when I suggested we do some FAST drills and that drill really showed that I need lots more practice.

From a personal best of 7.66 seconds back when I took the AFHF class, I was now up to 10 seconds with the H&K P30 -- and with a good reason.

Whether it was regular use of the M&P combined with lack of regular use of the P30, I consistently hit the slide release rather than the magazine release paddle whenever I went to do the reload, which caused my time to suck rocks. Instead of a nice smooth magazine change I had to then hit the mag paddle, change mags and rack the slide - every time I did the drill. This resulted in the 10.8 and 10 second runs with the fastest a 9.4. The slide release on the HK for whatever reason was just beckoning to be unconsciously pressed every darn time I did a mag change. I think this was a leftover from regularly pressing the M&P's magazine release button which is close to where the slide release on the HK is as opposed to the location of the paddle release on the trigger guard.

It goes to show that shifting between different firearms with quite different magazine release locations can certainly slow you down.

Interestingly, on the clock with the poppers that mistake did not happen so it was likely the pressure to really drive down the time on the FAST drill had me consistently flubbing the reload by unconsciously hitting the slide release rather than the paddle as I really was trying to best my scores. On the plus side, the P30 was flawless for another 100 rounds, and it actually fits perfectly into the kydex NTAC holster I have for the M&P 9 (as does the Glock 17 for that matter - this thing is practically a universal holster). The P30 also fit the hand better than the M&P 9 and lined up on target very nicely. It was also reassuring to slowly holster it while holding the hammer down with my thumb as an extra level of safety to prevent an discharge while re-holstering. The M&P 9 also ran perfectly for another 100 rounds.

On the upside, even with the fumbles I still shot better and faster than my client so my ego, while bruised, wasn't completely battered. It was bruised enough to know that more practice and familiarization with the P30, and shooting in general, is clearly indicated.

I still need to find more mags for the P30 at close to MSRP prices.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Well, That's One Way To Not Secure A Perimeter

The Detroit News: Pontiac gunman missing after hours-long standoff

The county’s Special Weapons and Tactics Team arrived at the home and unsuccessfully tried to contact the suspect.

Deputies believed the man was still inside the home but entered the home at 3:09 p.m. and discovered that the man had left.

Either he had already left before they arrived, which seems likely, or somebody really goofed and left the criminal an easy way out.

I'm thinking Clancy failed to take the boys and surround the house.

The Poor Will Always Be With Us

Especially so when they keep redefining the term so you will always have the poor: The reclassification of 'poverty’ was a con-trick by the Left

That neat trick wasn't just played in Britain but also here in the US as well. In the US, verily we have the richest "poor" in the world.

via Instapundit.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tomorrowland - Enjoyable Yet Underwhelming

Monday we took the kids for a family movie experience and went to see Disney's latest film, Tomorrowland. I went in blind and without preconceptions as Natasha had selected it and I had not seen any trailers, nor any synopsis of the plot, before entering the theater.

While I enjoyed it well enough, I wouldn't say it was a great film nor really recommend others going to spend money see it. For me, it's a wait-for-it-'till-Netflix film.

Natasha did not like it, even with George Clooney acting as the female draw and eye candy in the film. She did however enjoy Hugh Laurie's excellent performance but that was a as far as she allowed herself to speak positively of the movie.

Leah liked the film, while Abby did not as she found too many plot holes that annoyed her, so it was a split opinion at the end.

I also found that it was kinda preachy with a bit of new age pap which was a bit of a turn-off.

Reasonably fun action scenes, some neat-o special effects, and while it did have a positive message at the end that wasn't enough to save it in our book.

It was good but it didn't make the cut to good enough to see again, and so to prevent any spoilers, that's all I'll say about it.

Kevin at The Smallest Minority has a different and more positive take on the film that is also worth your consideration.

That Takes Some Serious Parking Abilities

Taking the kids to a movie yesterday we saw a lady finish this simply awesome parking job and walk off.

Yes, she's not only angled into the space, but she's perfectly straddling the line between the two spaces.

I also like the folded in driver's side window. That's a nice touch in case anyone parks in the space beside her and gets too close.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Sunday Up In The Trees

On Sunday we woke, had breakfast and then headed out on our next adventure - At the Adventure Park.

After filing out waivers for this year we geared up and headed into the trees.

First I went with Abby on a green course and she absolutely tore it up with skill and confidence and more guts than the teenagers that were just ahead of us. The teens were freaking out and Abby was quite unimpressed that they couldn't hack it and kept freezing at obstacles.

While the obstacles on the green course were challenging, there was no stopping her.


Abby worked through each obstacle with skill and aplomb and launched herself off the zip-line at the end of the course:

video



Next, Natasha took Abby and I paired up with Leah and her friend Emmy and we did a yellow and a pink course.

 Leah also had no issue with leaping into space on a zip line, and she added a turn for style while doing so:

video

Interestingly enough, the easier pink course was actually harder than the higher rated yellow course.

 The obstacles were more challenging. They were harder to maneuver on, and with it being kid-sized I had to squat and crawl through a few of the obstacles.

Leah didn't like this chain obstacle as each chain was spaced pretty far apart for her, and they would swing around out of her reach, but she did it anyways,


We made it and then Abby took Leah on a yellow while Natasha and I did a Blue course.

The Blue course was a complete butt-kicker.

 It wasn't just that it was a lot higher than the other courses.
 It wasn't just that each obstacle was longer than on the prior courses.
 It wasn't just that this course demanded both balance and upper body strength to spare with some very tricky obstacles that waved around like a ship at sea.
 It also wasn't just that the ending obstacle was literally a leap of faith - you jumped off the platform 30 feet in the air with nothing below you, secured only by a descending strap contraption that slowed your descent down to a safe speed.

It was all those things put together, and they made it quite the challenge indeed.  Quite a few of the people on the course with us stated it was harder than the black diamond courses, and a few had to be rescued off the course by the staff, but we completed it. 

The long zip line on the blue course was awesome - the longest one in the park made for a rush of a ride. Stepping off into thin air at the end was cool indeed - I'd do that one again. 

It was a heckuva good workout and just about every muscle is nice and sore, and I've got serious bruises on the inside of my arms from brushing against the cables and muscling my way through the obstacles, but it's all good.

The family had a great time and we used every minute of our allotted time on the courses. Next time, some Black Diamonds await for the adults to conquer.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Pulled Pork, It's What's For Dinner

Our guests arrived and I had some smokey goodness waiting for them.

Friday after work I headed to Costco and purchased a whole Pork Shoulder, commonly known as a butt. This calling ti a butt is, by the way, quite funny for the kids.

When you're eating pulled pork you're not eating a pig's behind, but the shoulder area. Now you know.

I got home, washed the butt and then slathered it in yellow mustard and applied the rub.

I then smoked it for 4 hours with a nice amount of cherry wood for smokey goodness.

Then I took it off the smoker, put it in a foil pan with a cover and put it in the oven at 220 degrees until morning. Four hours in the smoker gave it just about all the smoke it would get and then any heat will do. This topped me from being a zombie on Saturday from tending a smoker all night.

In the morning I pulled it out of the foil pan where it had cooked in its own juices nice and slow for hours and placed it in pans to pull.

It was fork tender and easily pulled apart with two forks.

I filled up two pans, each to the brim with the pulled pork then covered them in foil and left them in the oven at a keep warm setting.

On getting home after the Fair, I slathered the contents of one pan in a sweet barbeque sauce and prepared it for service.

We also had some pretzel buns from Costco that were an excellent delivery vehicle.

The guests absolutely loved it.

One said it was better than the puled pork he had recently had at Slows BBQ, which is very high praise indeed considering Slow's is about the best BBQ in all of the Detroit area.

We gave care packages of it to each guest and we still have a ton of it, which is a nice problem to have.

Yesterday At St. Mary's Fair

For the ninth year in a row, we took the kids to St. Mary's Polish Fair - the largest high school fair in the nation.

We met up with some of their friends and started doing the rides.   It's fun to see how they've grown over the years.  They can go on rides now on their own unaccompanied by an adult.

First there was the sedate balloon ride:


Then it was off to the slide:


Now they've gotten bigger they can handle more exciting rides like my favorite, the Hang Glider fun of the Cliff Hanger:


video

I went on that one with Leah and enjoyed the ride.   She stated it was less scary when I was talking to her as it spun us up, up, and around.


The kids still enjoyed the classic airplane ride, flying of course in a classic biplane in the colors of the United States' hat-in-the-ring squadron, the storied 94th Aero Squadron:



















But they also rode the Tilt-A-Whirl for the first time:




















They could almost walk in a straight line after they got off.

They also did roller coasters both with and without me, and many other rides.

As a harbinger of the future, they also drove bumper cars on their own.  I can see my insurance rates rising steeply in the next few years.....

It was a great time and after a tasty Polish combo lunch and a few more rides we headed home.

At home we prepared for our friends to come over for a feast, which was then highly enjoyed by all.

Friday, May 22, 2015

The aFAArmative Action Scandal

So, what happens when even with affirmative action, minorities still fail the qualifications required to become air traffic controllers?

The answer: Some cheat.

The more full answer: As alleged in the story, An officer of the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees may have helped them cheat by slipping them the answers to one of the qualification tests.

Doesn't that just give you a warm feeling while flying the friendly skies?

Fox News: America Faces an Acute Shortage of Air Traffic Controllers Known as 'Guardians of the Sky'

Promoting cheating on the test according to the FOX Business investigation is FAA employee and air traffic controller Shelton Snow, an officer of the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees. Charging $50.00 per year, it is one of several organizations which offer membership to people of color and minorities who work for the Federal Aviation Administration. 31-year-old Moranda Reilly, an aviation enthusiast, joined the NBCFAE when her friends told her that as a female applicant, it would help improve her chances of getting hired as an air traffic controller.

She was stunned when she started receiving voice text emailed answers to the BQ test from Shelton Snow.

“I was shocked when I first heard it,” said Moranda Reilly, a member of the of the NBCFAE, Moranda Reilly came forward to share with FOX Business evidence of cheating.

Reilly, 31, is a CTI graduate who holds an aviation degree and a “well qualified” status by her test score of 86 in the difficult and cognitive Air Traffic Selection and Training Exam or AT-SA. Reilly insists that she did not use the answers to the personality test which she failed.

This is terrible for many reasons, one of most important is that unqualified controllers may now be working as air traffic controllers a result of this scheme.

Just as badly, qualified minorities like Ms. Reilly now suffer suspicion that they too may have cheated to get their positions as controllers, when instead they did it on merit alone. They will now suffer enhanced suspicion that they were hired as affirmative action hires for politically correct reasons and not for merit or ability to actually do the job.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Yet Another Detroit Democrat State Senator In Legal Trouble

Bad behavior from Detroit-area Democrat Politicians is unfortunately to be expected.

First we had anti-gun Virgil Smith arrested for shooting at his ex-wife's car (Yet another data point that antis tend to project their own lack of self-control and behaviors onto law-abiding citizens).

Now we have Senator Bert Johnson with a Illinois warrant our for his arrest for failure to comply with a creditor's exam after failing to cooperate after a judgment for failure pay his Chicago-based campaign a bill for $21,983.37 for political fundraising.

There seems to be quite a recurrent theme with Detroit Democrat Politicians failing to obey the laws and not having their own finances in order now isn't there?

If this continues at this rate, Detroit's entire senatorial delegation might all be in jail by the end of the year.

AJ Has Now Joined The Blogosphere

Better late than never, and a little arm twisting and peer pressure was required.

AJ, a most excellent fellow and commenter on many a blog, and fellow attendee of the NRAAM and other shooting events, has finally opened his own blog at Wandering Neurons.

Expect him to come up with some good stuff for your own neurons to process.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ah, That Smart Diplomacy On Iran

Remember the deal that Obama trumpted that he had achieved with Iran?

Not so fast:

Fox News: Iran's leader rejects foreign access to military sites, scientists

Iran's supreme leader vowed Wednesday he will not allow international inspection of Iran's military sites or access to Iranian scientists under any nuclear agreement with world powers.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told military commanders Wednesday that Iran will resist "coercion and excessive demands" from America and other world powers.

...

A fact sheet on the framework accord issued by the U.S. State Department said Iran would be required to grant the U.N. nuclear agency access to any "suspicious sites."

It sure looks like Iran didn't get a copy of Obama's fact sheet regarding the terms of the deal, and that Iran has been playing Obama and the US State Department like a fiddle since 2008.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Canadian Craft Cannibals

Canadian military is faced with years of defense underspending, and an increased operating tempo. As a result, some in Canada's air force have resorted to stripping museum craft for spare parts to keep operational aircraft flying.

Fox News: Canadian Air Force snags plane parts from museum to fix ailing aircraft

In July 2012, air force technicians used the navigational units from an old Hercules plane on display at the museum to install in a similar plane still in use, the Ottawa Citizen reported Monday.

The National Air Force Museum on the Canadian Forces’ Trenton Base in Ontario features a large collection of retired military aircraft. Museum curator Kevin Windsor told the Citizen that classified equipment is typically taken off the display planes, but the museum tries to keep the aircraft as close to operational as possible to give visitors an authentic experience.

The search-and-rescue squadron at the Air Force base in Trenton contacted the museum’s executive director, retired Lt. Col. Chris Colton, to ask permission to examine the Hercules, in search of two inertial navigation units.

Canada really needs to increase its defense budget, as spending 1% of GDP isn't cutting it when the increased demands from NATO, sovereignty and SAR patrolling and war-of-terror-whose-source-must-not-be-named continue to increase the costs to be borne.

He Likes To Move It

The Detroit News: Man clocked driving 153 mph on I-75

Somebody knows how to get some serious performance out of a 2005 Dodge Magnum. Points however are deducted for doing so while apparently running from the police.

Impressively, and almost unbelievably, the guy could reach 153 mph on Michigan's pot-holed roads without wrecking his car.

Murphy's Law was confirmed not to be in town at the time.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Sunday At Birmingham's Summer Parade

Birmingham, Michigan held its summer parade on Sunday. The weather couldn't have been better for a parade - sunny but not overly hot with clear skies.

Birmingham is a small yet very tony city north of Detroit.

The theme of the parade was honoring Vietnam War veterans.

First came the city commissioners along with a nice early Ford:

Then the fire trucks with sirens wailing and lights flashing:

Next came a contingent of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, led by the Sheriff himself.

Included in the procession was the Dive Team:

Next was an Honor Guard of Vietnam Era vets, who marched to some very loud applause.

Many more Vietnam veterans organizations marched by.

Some vets drove:

Classic cars were also in the parade:

As was a classic fire truck:

And a classic ambulance:

Marching bands:

A unicycle team:

And, you can't have a parade these days without some demonstrators:

Nothing like a bunch of know-nothings yelling "No justice, no peace" and "Black lives matter" during a parade honoring Vietnam Veterans.

Once the parade ended, we wandered to the end point of the parade, a park where a quite a few of the parade participants hung out.

Among those at the park were the clowns making huge soap bubbles while on stilts:

The kids got to climb into the fire truck and look around it, which they enjoyed.

It was a great day for a quintessentially American small-town parade.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Weekend Fun - Paintball!

On Saturday I went to Hell with some good friends of mine.

Hell, Michigan that is, and we played some paintball at Hell Survivors which has quite an impressive set of playing fields.

We played for three hours and it was quite a bit of fun, but led to quite a bit of soreness both from paintball hits in lots of places and just running around lugging a paintball marker for hours.

Lesson 1: If you moved, you got shot.

Lesson 2: If you held in place, you got shot.

Lesson 3: Shooting back helps.

In one game, I was the last survivor of my team. While I had a decent position and was happily engaging multiples to my front, and I nailed a couple of them, but the rest were pinning me nicely in place complete with an automatic paintball gun. Since I was pinned, another couple players came around and flanked me and that was that.

We played multiple games in quite a few locations including an urban mockup that was fun with very close range action.

Some people take the game extremely seriously and have the equipment to match, but it was all in good fun and everyone was a good sport and everyone had a darn good time.

Friday, May 15, 2015

SIN Studios Grand Opening

Yesterday I attended the grand opening of Strength In Numbers Studios in Lansing Michigan.

SIN Studios is a video game development company that I'm proud to have as a client.

They're developing a hot new online video game, Project Tuebor.

This game is going to seriously rock.

They've got quite a team of very talented developers and the animation modelling is exquisite. The game should be released next year and it's going to be one to watch - and play.

If you're wondering what Tuebor means:

It also happens to be the motto of the State of Michigan.

Entering the studios you see these signs:

It's setup like a startship - each colored line lead you to that designated area in the office. Command Bridge being the president, marketing and such, Engineering being the coding aspects, Science being the secret development area and the Holodeck being the break room for entertainment.

Each sign has a catchy little tagline at the bottom, here's the one for the science deck sign:

As you might figure, its a fun place to work and they're quite enthusiastic about what they're doing. The opening party was very well attended.

Yes, that is an Imperial Stormtrooper in the crowd. Elements of the Great Lakes Garrison of the 501st Legion attended the grand opening.

Hey! That is the lawyer we're looking for!

Among the activities at the opening there was the opportunity to play a pre-release level of the game. You could also be motion captured by their animation system and your movements loaded up in the computer in 3D. There were also some wings on display:

Even if you got them on, you still wouldn't look as good as this wearing them though:

That will be one of the player characters the players can play in the game. Like I said, it's going to be pretty awesome.

It's going to be a great game and I strongly believe that based on their vision and effort they're going to have a major success on their hands.

It's good to see a new Michigan-based business poised to take off.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Michigan Gun Law Reforms - Now With Pneumatic Fixes

Governor Snyder has signed the air gun reform bill into law.

The Detroit News: Snyder signs bills to loosen airsoft gun restrictions

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed laws relaxing Michigan’s restrictions on BB, pellet and paintball guns.

Under bills approved Tuesday, the airsoft guns will no longer qualify as firearms under state law.

Snyder says the laws address confusion surrounding definitions of firearms and provide clarity to sportsmen and others.

In short pellet guns, bb guns, airsoft and paintball guns will no longer be classified as firearms requiring registration and users will not potentially be charged with felonies for mis-transportation.

This is a very good thing as most purchasers of these items had no idea they were considered firearms and it will make purchase of air guns much easier in the future including form out-state sellers that were previously refusing to ship air guns to Michigan.

This is a welcome and appropriate fix to what had been quite an oddity in Michigan law.

Martin Zale Case Heads To The Jury - Update: Guilty

The Detroit News: Jurors debate fate of Howell road rage shooting suspect

Zale testified that he was in fear of his life after Fleming having banged on the side of his truck threatened him through the open window and punched him in the head.

No witnesses testified as to the punch occurring, though others did state Fleming banged on the truck before approaching Zale's door.

Lots of testimony was entered as to Flemming's aggressive nature, as was Zale's prior road rage incident.

The prosecutor in this case has made some interesting statements, including the claim that since the incident took about 5 seconds it was insufficient time for the scenario to have unfolded as Zale described.

Another interesting statement of his was his insinuation that having self-defense insurance is an indicia of wanting to shoot someone:

“You basically insured yourself in case you ever shot someone, didn’t you?” Rose [The county prosecutor] asked

Rather inflammatory, but it is good to know that prosecutors may address the issue so a proper response can be made.

The prosecutor has also made some curious statements regarding Michigan law concerning the duty to retreat and hopefully Mr. Zale's defense counsel rebutted the misinterpretation.

We'll see what the jury decides.

As Dan helpfully pointed out in the comments, he has just been found guilty of 2nd Degree Murder.

The Detroit News: Driver guilty in Howell road rage killing.

Mr. Zale made a lot of mistakes.

However, it appears the prosecutor may have committed some appealable errors, so this may not be over yet.

Monday, May 11, 2015

The Sebastopol Cannons Of Victoria Park

The first military commemorative display in Victoria Park is also one of its most interesting - The Three Cannon.

The Three Sebastopol Cannon were brought to London Ontario soon after the capture of Sebastopol in 1855.

Each cannon sits on its own brickwork block, in a semi-circle facing outward from the Boer War Monument that was added five years after they were installed.

The three cannon consist of two captured Russian cannons and one British cannon, all with markings still visible.

They were turned into a monument at Victoria Park in 1907.

Affixed to the British Cannon is this plaque:

The royal seal "GR" is still visible on the British cannon:

This cannon has serial number 164:

The Imperial Russian seal is visible on both the Russian guns:

Foundry markings on the Russian cannon indicate both were made at the same foundry and their serial numbers are still legible:

It says, made at the Alexander Foundary. Other markings are in Old Russian and hard to decipher, but appear to be weight or shot loading abbreviations.

Some further research indicates that these are 24 pounder guns,as indicated by the 24 # symbol at the top. The second line is the weight of the gun in poods, an old Russian measurement equivalent to 36.11 pounds. The last line has the date of manufacture which can't be fully made out in the picture but looks like 1849.

Today one of the Russian Cannon has the Kiwanis Memorial Bandstand at pointe blanc range, but the touchhole is sealed, lest anyone wish to re-fight the Crimean War in Victoria Park.

Finding cannon from the Battle of Sebastopol in London Ontario was quite an enjoyable and unexpected find.