February 17th, 2011

#2554: Stuffed

Dang it. I woke up wanting a big farm breakfast; I made and ate one. Two strips of bacon, two potatos, two jumbo eggs. Then I finished it off with a cinnamon roll.

...but I'll tell you what: I don't feel hypoglycemic now!

* * *

You can read this dense and technical examination of how the laws of thermodyamics prove Al Gore wrong. I can't explain it any better than the writer does.

When I say "technical", I mean it: there are equations.

Here's what I took away from the article even before the guy got around to saying it himself: "...[T]he increased precipitation would tell us that the earth is either not warming at all, or it is cooling...."

And: "...[I]f you are increasing precipitation, you are EXPENDING and using up tropical heat energy stored as latent heat, and further, that latent heat is being released back to the atmosphere at high altitudes where it is effectively radiated...."

AND:
These recent heavy snows reaching far south from average are an indication that the earth is cooling based upon the laws of physics, and if you examine the US NCDC temperature record for the continental US, that is precisely what we find, a decrease in temperature during the last decade that trended downward by .67 degF or .37 degC. GLOBAL temperatures remain static, with no statistically significant change and that is attributable to the thermal inertia of the oceans that have been receiving a higher amount of solar radiation from the sun during the last period of high solar activity that terminated after the peak of solar cycle 23 back in the year 2000.
Emphasis added.

Before I got to that paragraph, I was struggling with how to explain that my own read of the article led me to think, "This all sounds like the Earth is cooling...." Then I found that I didn't have to. Heh.

* * *

Incidentally, he also says, "The only way such theory works with CO2 is in atmospheres that do not have a hydrological cycle with a greenhouse gas like water vapor,..." Like Venus. Venus' atmosphere is primarily CO2 and sulfur compounds. Which planet, again, was the inspiration for the "CO2 is a greenhouse gas" idea?

* * *

Ah, to live in the glorious workers' paradise of China, where you get free cadmium and arsenic in your rice!

Yes! My friend who had the Chinese girlfriend thought she was so lucky, because she didn't have to worry about having a home, or clothes, or food! Pity he didn't know about this, because then he'd have had another benefit to add to the list.

Here in America, of course, we can't get cadmium or arsenic in our rice (or melamine in our powdered milk) because of all the evil capitalist swine who want to make a profit on the backs of the poor. All those evil bastards care about maximizing their profits and saving their own hides from prosecution and lawsuits under our flawed capitalist system!

I for one am tired of this backwards, evil system that keeps heavy metals out of our food supply! I demand that we emulate China now!

* * *

Yeah, if you're a 30-year-old woman who has only been on two dates in your life, I'm guessing that your intellect probably isn't the reason. It's probably because you don't have boobs. Whoops! Whee! What an incredibly creative typo that was! What I meant to say is, it's probably because those men are all stupid louts who can't even succesfully pick their own noses without advanced training and specialized equipment.

...uh? Oh. < / sarcasm>

The woman says, in her extrusion, "...women are born smarter than men."

Yeah, after reading her article, my first thought was, "Man, what a bitch. No wonder she never gets any."

"I knew that if I had pulled up the boyfriend who had not familiarised himself with the pronunciation of all 50 American states, he would not have had sex with me for about a fortnight. He would have gone quiet for a bit, and resented me for ever." Yeah, you know? Or maybe he would have said, "Gee, I didn't know that! Why is it spelled that way, then?"

Then: "My belief is that this post-feminist generation of men is even more useless than my father’s generation. While my dad could change a tyre and mow the lawn, as well as pay all the bills, this new generation (and I include all men up to the age of 50) feel no obligation to take charge of anything. Which means women not only have to make them feel smart, we have to do all the practical stuff, too." If a man tries to open a door for you, you scream at him. If he tries to buy dinner, you scream at him. If he does anything you don't like, you scream at him.

Think I'm wrong? She says, "But I guess whether or not a man can take being barked at, or pulled up over his pronunciation, depends on his calibre."

No it doesn't. It's dependent more on whether or not you're a decent enough person to make it worthwhile for him to put up with "being barked at". You don't want a man; you want a target dummy.

That's probably why you have so much trouble finding one: there are not many men desperate enough to put up with a wrinkled harridan's bullshit.

* * *

Somewhere I saw an article which was critical of Jim Butcher's Dresden Files series. Let me see...ah:

Here it is.

The central point of the article:
Has anyone, from Mr. Butcher to the writers of the various iterations of the CSI-NCIS-FBI-NY Miami-Las Vegas televised cop drama, noticed that police departments and their relationship with the general public have changed considerably in the last 80 years? Are they familiar with the term “police union”?
He goes on to explain that the police in these stories (citing examples from Dresden Files) are not portrayed realistically, because the police union would protect them from a lot of the fallout that these stories use for dramatic tension.

I had dismissed this article, because this kind of thing falls under the heading of "conceit of the genre", but then--last night--I suddenly had a thought:

The guy is reading a series of books about a wizard who uses magic to fight off all kinds of supernatural threats, from renegade fairies to vampires to werewolves to evil warlocks to-- And his primary complaint is that the cops are unrealistic?

...I laughed out loud at that.

The article begins with, "I recently read three more books from Dresden Files, the popular noir magic series written by Jim Butcher. And while I quite enjoy them, something was bothering me throughout the books...."

Look: how can you complain about the lack of police union protection and not notice that the story is about a wizard? If you can suspend your disbelief enough to accept, "Hey, this guy is a wizard in modern-day Chicago," why does the depiction of the police give you trouble?

Certainly you don't have a leg to stand on in dismissing it as "nonsense".

Look: I've read these books. In one book, Dresden uses necromancy to reanimate the skeleton of the dinosaur skeleton standing in the Field Museum, and then he rides it into battle against the bad guys in that book. You have no trouble with that, but you can't accept underpaid cops and Murphy getting demoted?

Shit, don't people have any freakin' perspective any more? It's a work of fantasy fiction; it's not a tract on the realities of being a police officer in a modern metropolis. It's not even a police procedural! It's a story about a wizard using magic to fight bad guys!

*sigh*

#2555: Did some more shooting today.

I finally had the energy and the inclination to go do some shooting. It'll probably be the last time until I get a job, though.

The Ruger shot pretty well. I had trouble seeing the sights on it, though, so I did not shoot very well. The lighting at the range could use a little improvement.

Out of five magazines' worth of shooting, it jammed three times. I think it's just dirty; the expended cartridge would jam up atop the fresh round, preventing it from feeding all the way into the chamber. I'd have to stop, lock the slide back, and then eject the mag to clear the jam. (I'm thinking the expended cart was sticking to the bolt or something and not ejecting properly.)

Interesting bit: when the gun jammed, I'd see an orange spark go flying downrange.

I only put four rounds through the Astra. I had wanted to do more, but the range doesn't accept credit/debit cards, and I hadn't gone to the ATM before going out there, so I couldn't buy more. I kept four bullets in reserve, Just In Case, which left 4 for shooting. Oh well.

I shot the Mossberg the most. I'd load up both magazines, then start shooting at a target, switch mags, and keep shooting at the same one. After doing this with one target, there was a rough > shot through the bullseye: seven rounds of the 14 had overlapped. That's some damn fine shooting for a nearsighted dude on his third trip to the range.

I felt pretty cruddy before I went; I felt wiped out when I left--but although I feel drained, it's kind of like draining a blister or pimple: it's a relief. All the BS went down the barrels of my guns and perforated some paper targets.

Now I've got to clean my guns. But maybe I'll procrastinate on that and do it later, because I really do feel like limp pasta. I didn't really sleep last night; I went to bed around 10-ish and slept until 2 AM, then was up afterwards. I tried to go to sleep around 5-ish but couldn't, and ended up having my farm breakfast as noted in the prior post.

This time there was another guy there, shooting; he was shooting some frickin' howitzers, too: 9mm, .40 and .45. Shit. Sounded like cannon shot in there; of course it's indoors. Anyway he shot his stuff and I shot mine, and when he left he swept up his brass. I swept up mine before I left, of course.

All told, I feel a hell of a lot better, emotionally, than I did earlier. Shooting at stuff really is cathartic.

* * *

Amusing bit: I got that nice > pattern by telling myself, "Okay, dude: you have to make this shot count, because if you don't hit where you're aiming, you don't eat."

It made me realize that--before this--I wasn't taking shooting as seriously as I ought to. I'm not thinking in terms of "you need to hit that target" but "well, it'd be nice to hit the bullseye".

If I take it seriously, I shoot better. Big surprise.

The other thing: I'm trying not to lift my head when I work the bolt, but for some reason I keep doing it regardless. There's no need to lift your head when working the action, and in fact it tends to spoil your aim if you do. At least, you end up having to reacquire the target after the gun's back in battery. So I'm trying to break myself of the habit.

The other thing is, it's tiring. I can shoot brilliantly on one target, and on the next, suck--because I'm fatigued. I have to push harder to make each successive shot count, and after a little while I end up having just to put the gun down and walk way for a bit, because I simply cannot concentrate any longer.

Anyway, at least I got to try out the Ruger, and proved to myself that the decent shooting I did last time wasn't a fluke--and learned something new about myself in the process. I guess that was $20 well spent.

#2556: Keep your weapons clean.

So I said that I might procrastinate and clean the guns later--well, I changed my mind, and cleaned them this afternoon before hitting the hay for a nap.

First, I went and got the cleaning supplies...and then discovered--in the back of the gun cabinet--Dad's cleaning kits. The light's not too good where the cabinet is; that's my only defense in not seeing these things sooner.

I had been told that the Ruger's a bit of a pain to reassemble after it's been field stripped. I pulled it apart and cleaned, cleaned, cleaned; then I lubed it thoroughly and went to reassemble it.

Well...

Yeah, it's kind of a pain to reassemble, but I followed the instructions in the manual, and bip bap bonk I had a functioning firearm when I was done. I had to do some fiddling; it wasn't like making a sandwich and I had trouble getting the barrel reseated, but I didn't have to take a box of parts to a gunsmith to have him show me how to reassemble the thing.

(Og demonstrated the procedure with his Mk II. I did not remember very much of it, but I remembered enough.)

Next up: the Astra. The Astra is easy to field-strip; lock back the slide, rotate the barrel and withdraw it; release the slide and push it forward off the frame.

Oh: remove the magazine first. I felt so stupid for forgetting that. The gun was empty and couldn't fire by the time I'd gotten to the slide removal point, but it was A) an unsafe mistake regardless and B) just plain stupid.

I got after the Astra with Q-tips and Strike Hold, and cleaned a lot of gunk out of the action. I'd done my best to clean it after I got my FOID card and all, but I didn't have a good firearm cleaning solvent on hand. Besides, using it obviously knocked loose more crud. Cleaning the barrel is going to require more work; I need to get the right size brass brush to clean it properly. It's still crummy inside and I don't have any patches for the cleaning kit, so I'm going to have to buy an asston of patches the next time I see any for sale.

When I got it back together, man it was like night and day. It's a lot smoother now than it was before; I reckon if I run another 50 rounds through it and give it a super-thorough cleaning, it'll be even smoother. I like shooting the thing, and it's a neat little gun, even if it's about as effective for self defense as a paintball gun.

Then I turned my attention to the Mossberg.

The Boresnake works as advertised. I hadn't expected it to require so much effort to pull it through the bore, but when I looked down the barrel it was shiny clean. (It had not been that dirty beforehand, though.) The bolt was a bit cruddy, too, so I cleaned it and relubricated it. I swabbed out the receiver with Q-tips and gave everything a light coat of oil; and then I had a gander at the sights.

The peep sight was hard for me to see through, so I got a pipe cleaner, soaked it with Strike Hold, and then swabbed out the thing. That replaced the "long time in a gun case" cruft with all kinds of pipe cleaner cruft, but a quick blast of canned air got that out, and now I can actually see through it; there's not a bunch of interference fringes any more. I also discovered that--gee!--the sight folds so it's not sticking out all the time. *sigh* Nothing like knowing your firearm!

Then I--smelling of gun oil--wiped it all down with a gun cloth, to get rid of fingerprints, and put everything away.

I hit the hay around 5 and slept for four hours.

* * *

Dad's cleaning kits are both from Montgomery Wards, and they're old. How old? They come in metal boxes with metal inserts to organize the parts; that's how old. Vintage 1960s, probably.

One of them was just sopping with oil. He had a tube of some kind of water-displacing oil in there, and over the past 20 years it had leaked. I cleaned it out and mopped up the oil (one reason I reeked of it) and put everything back in except for the tube of oil. That I put with the other cleaning supplies.

The other one has fluids in glass bottles. I'm thinking it's for cleaning shotguns, as it's pretty sizable.

...they're all banged up and stuff so I doubt they're worth anything to collectors.

* * *

Man, that was fun. All of it--the shooting, and the cleaning. Makes me want to pull out the other guns and clean them, just 'cause I can--but hell, without bore patches, what can I actually do?

I'm going to start saving socks that get holes in them, and cut those up. That'll do.