January 17th, 2011

#2494: Blogmeet in Indy!

Man, Sunday was a day.

I was up at 5 AM in order to meet up with Og at 6; we met up with Mr. B and Midwest Chick, and proceeded to go with them in their Prius down to Indianapolis.

First up: the big gun show. O, man.

If it goes "bang" and hurls a projectile, it was there, just about. I discovered that the guys who sell ammo can't beat Wal-Mart on common ammunition. I saw (and drooled over) several small-caliber pistols. One guy was selling brand-new Ruger Mk IIIs for around $400, and I came about > < that close to digging out the gun fund and buying one; but I want to be careful with the gun fund and spend it wisely. Seems to me that if I could find a used Ruger (Mk II or III) I could spend less than $400 on it; on the other hand, if I had told the guy, "Tell you what: give me that gun for $400 out the door and you've got a deal" I bet he would have made the sale--and I'd have my first all-new gun, ever. Problem is, it's Indiana, and I live in Illinois, and there's a shit-ton of paperwork and nonsense that has to be dealt with.

I saw a nice Sig Sauer .308 that was under $300. (I think it was a .308; everything has kind of blended together.) I couldn't remember where I saw it after hooking back up with Og, so I never had a chance at that one.

After telling Og that I'm just about set on long guns, I saw an M1 carbine for around that price, and the more I think about it, the more I wish I'd immediately summoned Og and asked his opinion. A .30 carbine does not have a lot of recoil and is fun to shoot, and you can get insane mags for it; it wouldn't surprise me if someone made a drum mag for it. If you need to go sit up on your roof with a rifle and sandwiches in order to shoot looters, you could do worse.

What I did walk out of there with, however, was two extra mags: one for the Mossberg and one for the Astra. Now I can shoot, respectively, 14 and 12 rounds at a go without having to stop and reload magazines. The pair set me back $60, which isn't bad considering that the Astra mag is a 1924 original mag, not a repro, and unbuggered Mossberg mags are getting hard to find. The sticker price was $40 for the Mossberg mag, but the guy cut me a $10 break on the pair, which was awesome.

The new mag for the Astra fits better than the old one. When I slide the mag release, the new mag pops out the way it's supposed to. That gun, though, needs a detail strip and thorough clean and lube job. (And new grips. Og knows a place for that.)

And I got a boresnake for the Mossberg, too, so I can clean it properly now.

These are the two guns I shoot the most, because the range nearest me is primarily a pistol range. That's why I'd like to get another pistol--that and "home defense" is my main reason for owning firearms. A .25 will scare away someone who's still in possession of most of his faculties, but what if he's strung out on something? I don't want my life to depend on me being able to put all six .25 bullets into vital spots which are also soft enough to be penetrated by a bullet that can't even knock down a metal target at fifteen feet, shot from a gun which is mostly accurate when you have plenty of time to aim. Okay? Because if I have to shoot someone, I can guaran-god-damn-tee that I'm not going to be calm enough to hit the broad side of a barn. Cops train and train all the damn time and when they have to shoot at someone, they frequently fling a hailstorm of bullets at the target...and miss 95% of the time. Or more.

In the best case scenario, the criminal sees my gun--whatever gun it may be--and says, "No, I don't feel like being shot tonight, so I'll just leave...." and when the cops get there, I point a finger and say, "He went thataway!" Most rational people, confronted with any firearm, won't risk it. A .25 is less likely to kill you than a .44, but it can still kill you just as dead--there's just more luck involved.

But some guys will see a tiny gun like the .25 and say, "Pssh, that can't hurt me!" Especially if they're wound up on something, or desperate to get something they can fence in order to get their next fix...and then I have six chances to prove him wrong. (Well, twelve with the new mag. But I bet I wouldn't have time to reload.)

Well, once I've got a job, I can buy as many pistols as I want, and end up on an FBI watchlist because of my "arsenal", and probably go to jail because someone decided I was "too dangerous" because I live alone and watch Japanese cartoons....

Anyway, after the gun show, we went to see (and I met) Brigid and the four of us had lunch with her. She was under the weather and skipped the blogmeet, where we went next, and where I met Tam and Roberta; and Mr. and Mrs. Shomes, and a bunch of others whose names I am sorry to admit I don't remember.

One of whom is a regular reader of the Fungus. I met so many new people and heard so many blog names I forgot most of them--I only have the above links thanks to Og!--and next time I'm going to take pictures and write down names and URLs, damn it.

I'm bad enough with faces and names that you'd think by now I'd know better. *sigh*

And: I finally got to try mead. The blogmeet seems to occur at the same place, a microbrew pub; and they had mead ($6 per 5 oz glass 9_9), so I tried it. It tastes like a dry white wine to me. (Heck, for all I know, that's what they served me.) It tasts better than beer, but not by much; so I'm not likely to become a big drinker of it.

Anyway, I got home after 7 PM, making it an even fourteen hours that I was out of the house today. That's really nice, for a variety of reasons. Meeting new people, going and doing fun things with fun folks--there isn't enough of that going on in my life, and there dang well ought to be.

Driving to Indy, the interstate passed through a wind farm. Og blogged about it the last time he went; and as we were returning home, I saw that the red anticollision lights atop the windmills all blinked on and off in unison. The wind farm is miles across, and so you see red lights stretching to the horizon, all turning on and off at the same time. I couldn't decide if it was cool or creepy; but it was certainly a vast waste of time, money, and resources to put all that junk up, and Mr. B mentioned that the project is already running short on funds.

Og talked about how he's always been a big weather geek, and mentioned that he's noticed a change in weather patterns since the wind farms (this one and the one near Pontiac, IL) went in.

I'm not surprised. A windmill extracts energy from the movement of wind, which means there's less energy in the movement of the air; and this will change the way weather works. It's not obvious, but the laws of thermodynamics must be obeyed, and people who think windmills have no effect on the environment are fooling themselves.

One other thing: never let them put a windmill on your property without some really specific language in the contract which absolves you of any responsibility for it whatsoever; because some of the farmers who own the land those windmills are on apparently now have mechanic's leins against their property because the company that owns the windmills isn't paying its bills in a timely fashion. (Either they have them, or can expect them; I missed hearing part of that discussion.)

Anyway: I went, I had a great time, and am damn glad of it. I expect to go next time, God willing.

#2495: Bank holiday

...so I can do no business today; and tomorrow I'm preparing for the interview on Wed--so F it.

I still have an extensive list of chores to attend to, though, and right now I'm procrastinating. What's a man to do? My free time is (hopefully) going to be severely curtailed in a little while; knowing that, I want to enjoy being able to do nothing for as much as possible before my free time turns into paid time.

It's kind of like the last week or two of summer vacation, where you suddenly realize that you didn't get all the nothing done that you wanted to do while school was out.

If you're Haruhi Suzumiya, you make an extensive list of activities for the next two weeks and make your friends wear themselves out doing everything on the list--and then [SPOILER REDACTED] when [SPOILER REDACTED], some fifteen thousand times, until [SPOILER REDACTED] happens.

But if you're someone like me--who unfortunately does not have the power to alter reality to suit himself--generally you look at the dwindling time, sigh, and go back to sleep.

Mostly, what I need to do is go shopping. I'm down to about 1 day's worth of cat food, and a few bottles of Pepsi, and some of the food supplies need replenishing. I also need to hit Kohl's for a couple of dress shirts that have big enough necks that I can button them. (My brother swears by their shirts. I'll try one or two. WTF.)

I'm thinking about wearing a blue shirt with the suit on Wednesday, like I did to Mom's funeral. I really liked how it looked. We'll see what I find at the store, though.

* * *

Even with the insanity of yesterday, I didn't sleep much last night.

It was kind of surprising. I mean, I lay in bed Saturday night and dozed in an out for about five hours, then was up for a while; I hit the hay at 1 with a full tab of Xanax in me and fell asleep reasonably quickly, but when I woke up at 5 (a few minutes before the alarm went off) I was glad I didn't have to drive very far, because I was not exactly sharp.

I rested in the Prius on the way to Indy: I'd close my eyes and relax and try not to think too much--just sit and conserve energy--and that seemed to work fairly well. (Forget sleeping; I can't sleep sitting up.)

We were only at the show for a couple hours; the rest of it was mainly sitting and talking, which doesn't take much. To my surprise, the mead didn't knock me out; but on the way back up north, again I found myself going into powersave. (Og thought I might be asleep, but I spoke up and said I wasn't.)

On the way back from Og's place (where I'd left the Jeep) I--in my somnolent haze--took a wrong turn, and I only found my way home by accident; if one intersection hadn't been "right turn only" I'd probably still be wandering around Indiana. I thought I was driving west and I was driving south.

The intersection where I could only turn right, though, got me headed in the right direction; that road intersected Sheffield, which intersects with Exchange, and that's an intersection I recognized. So in fact I only lost about ten minutes or so while wandering around in a dazed fog.

Moral of the story: when I know I'm going to be out all day and probably coming home really tired and after dark, I'm bringing the GPS with me. Or at least a goddamned compass.

So: I got home, fed the cats, belatedly realized that I was hungry; I made a PBJ and crawled into bed. I ate the sandwich and turned off the light...and slept for all of three hours.


But I wasn't up for that long; and after a little while I went to sleep again and slept for a few more hours. I played some WoW and had some grilled cheese sandwiches (and wrote a blog entry) before going back to bed; but I didn't fall asleep, so I got up again and went to McDonald's for a bacon mofo.

...now I want to go to bed again. Well, the stores I need to visit are open until 8 or 9 PM, and I prefer shopping a little later and avoiding the crowds, so maybe I'll just set the alarm and go later.

And maybe I'll put it off until tomorrow. F it. Wednesday is when I'll really have to cudgel myself, because I need to leave the house no later than 7:30 AM in order to make it to the interview before 9 AM--and even earlier would be better. Leaving at 7:30 means being out of bed by 6:30, and I'll have two alarm clocks set for that!

* * *

At the gun show someone was selling Sten Mk III kits for $187. They were wrapped in cellophane smeared (on the inside) with cosmoline and I was hesitant to pick one up to look at it lest the cellophane rupture; I did bend over and give one a hard look, but I couldn't tell anything through the cosmoline. I suppose I should have asked the guy WTF the deal was, there.

I'll tell you: it'd be damn cool to have a Sten. But "kit" can mean anything from "assemble these finished parts to have a fully functioning gun" to "here is a bunch of approximately random metal chunks which you need a machine shop to finish in order to build anything that even resembles a firearm". Given the price, I'm thinking it's probably closer to the latter than the former.

It would, of course, be a semiautomatic firearm. The difference between semi- and full automatic is usually a little bit of machining or a slight difference in parts. (I recall a TV news story which was aghast that there was a gun which could be converted to full-auto simply by machining an ear off the safety selector.)

Most Stens seem to use 9mm ammo, which ain't cheap, though one of the beauties of the gun was that it was designed to be field-converted to use other ammunition. If a bunch of Brits with Stens captured some German ammo, they could change barrels and use the Kraut ammo in their Stens.

Oh well. It's not like I have money falling out of an anatomically unlikely orofice (though I do have the gun fund). Maybe someday I'll get one; and if not, it won't be the end of the world or anything.

* * *

There is a gun shop here in Crete I suppose I should try visiting. I can't even remember the name of the place; I just know where it is: just south of town on Route 1, north of the trailer park but a way south of the Zion Lutheran Church. It's in an old building, one that probably dates to the town's earliest years.

I'm guessing they wouldn't have much I'd be interested in, but I ought to go in there and maybe buy a box of ammo and see if they do firearm transfers, and how much they charge; because if I keep going to gun shows in Indiana, eventually I'm going to see something I want to buy and have money for same--and while long guns aren't a problem, you can't buy a handgun in Indiana and just tote it into Illinois. Five day waiting period, you know; and it has to be shipped to someone with a federal firearms license, who then checks that you're legal to own a handgun and does the paperwork.

...the place I go to shoot the Mossberg and Astra charges $75. That is a bit steep, IMHO, considering all they have to do is receive the weapon and hold it until you pick it up, then verify that you are who you say you are, do some paperwork, and make sure it's been five days since you bought the gun.

Then again, that place is run by an ornery older guy. They don't allow reloads on their range, mostly (I think) because naturally they want to sell ammunition. (Also, of course, some people are idiots. "I can put a lot more powder in here than that! I'll cram it full and that bullet will really fly!" Then the cretin wonders why his guns blow up....)

If the Crete place is cheaper, naturally I'll have them handle firearm transfers. And you never know: they may have exactly the pistol I want sitting in a display case at the price I want to pay. You never know.

* * *

I have to admit, I wouldn't mind getting my hands on my brother-in-law's AR15. There's absolutely no chance of that whatsoever, of course, since my sister is insane and probably wouldn't sell it to me even for twice its market price. (He's also got almost an entire can of easten European surplus ammo. Last time it was there, the box was under a desk....) Oh well.

I have this tendency to keep my mitts off stuff I don't understand, and when I was last out there guns were still in that category, so I didn't really look the thing over; but it looked awful sweet sitting in his gun case, I tell you....

Now, of course, I'd pick it up and clear the action and look it over, you know, before putting it back the way I found it. Once you learn how to handle firearms, and as long as you follow the four basic rules, it's not a problem.

* * *

Well: it's 12:30 and I have no motivation or energy for anything; and since it's those last couple weeks of "summer vacation", guess what I'm going to do?