Friday, December 09, 2005

December Stuff

I've added another bloglink to my sidebar.

"Xavier Thoughts - A Nurse With A Gun" has a lot to say, and says it well. Among his recent "thoughts", I especially recommend his "Idiot With A Gun" series, typified here; and also his brief, but cogent, "SQUIBS" article.

Note that I've updated my BOOKS/MOVIES section of the sidebar.

The BOOK is "The Chronicles of Amber", by Robert Zelazny. This is a compilation of 5 consecutively interleaved stories (novelettes, actually), originally serialized between 1970 and 1978 in Galaxy magazine. Zelazny wasn't the first author to do Sci-Fantasy . . . E.R. Bouroughs might arguably be the originator of that honor, as distinguished from Sci-Fiction. (Mary Shelly's "Frankenstein", for example, is more completely in the "Sci-FI" genre." But, in my mind, he was the first to make Fantasy Science Fiction, to give it another name, both popular and acceptable to the SF reading public. Rather than to give you a Geek Length monologue about the difference between SF and Sci-Fantasy, I'll offer the definition that Sci-Fantasy relies heavily on the proposition that "Magic Rules The World", and ignore Clarke's Third Law: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

I read this in the original serialized form in Galaxy magazine (to which I was one of the 'charter subscribers' in the 1970's), and then bought the individual books when they were published independently. Two years ago, while browsing through a used-book store, I found the two-volume set which included all of the stories. I bought it, and read it. Loaned it to a couple of friends. Having had it returned recently, I'm re-reading it for the fourth or fifth time and I'm still charmed by the originality of the concept.

Incidentally, Zelazny's work is reminiscent of Phillip Jose Farmer's five-volume "Riverworld" series, which unfortunately was typified by keeping readers spellbound from 1969 for YEARS, only to end with an ultimately unsatisfying explanation of the basic phenomenon. If you read all but the last book, though, it's a helluva rush. (Sci-Fi? Sci-Fantasy? It depends on whether you read the last book! Promises not kept . . . )

All I can say is that the publisher was a marketing genius, to milk an unresolvable theme for so many years.

The MOVIES section has been temporarily replaced by the MUSIC section. Ignore the heading on the sidebar; I frequently interchange the two, but I don't always change the heading because I'm so darned lazy.

The featured MUSIC CD is "Miami Vice", which was not only excellent Pastel-o-vision but also candy for the ears. Besides Jan Hammer's excellent compositions, the television series provided some of the very best music of the 80's, at least according to these biased ears. I especially draw your attention to "The Original Miami Vice Theme" which begins the set, and also "Smuggler's Blues", "Chase", "Evan" . . . well hell, almost all of it's great stuff, which is why I bought the music on tape several years ago and I bought it again on CD today.

(I plan to use the music to enhance IPSC videos which I post on the Jerrydgeek Shooting Gallery - see the sidebar - as I have already done with "Queen" and "Dire Straits", among others. I need more rockin' music! This is my investment in the future!)

Incidentally, if you go to the link you will see that you can listen to various segments of the individual songs. I couldn't get the Windows Media versions to play. I had to upgrade RealPlayer with new software to listen to the music. Windows Media is great for videos, and in fact I highly recommend it to view the *.WMV movies I present on the Shooting Gallery. But it sucks for music, and I load all of my CDs to my hard-drive via RealPlayer. That software has a better cataloguing system, and it's easier to work with in my not-so-humble opinion.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Blogging Stats

The following information is provided as a public service, so that you may know what information is revealed about YOU when you visit a website.

Judging by my frequent lapses in blogging activity, it may seem that I'm not interested in building readership.

The fact is, I'm always trying to find something new and interesting to share with you, and in fact I've even contracted with a blogging statistical service to tell me how many people have visited the blog. You can see that in my STATSCOUNTER, which incidently is the name of the service I use.

But I'm not only interested in how many people visit, I'm also curious about where they are located. The stats service tells me this. See the partial list of countries above? This is an accurate accounting of the country-of-origin for the last 1100 'hits' on this website.

Naturally, most of the hits come from the USA, because I usually write about events and issues which are of national interest.

Still, over 20% of the people who view this blog are 'extra-nationals' . . . people who don't live in the USA. (Unfortunately, due to size limitations, I've had to trim the last dozen lines from the graphic.)

In case it concerns you that I'm collecting information on my readership, you should be aware that I don't know WHO you are. Although I may know the town where you live and your Internet Provider, certain characteristics about your computer and your browser, your personal anonymity is assured.

For example, if you are a subscriber to AOL and you view this (or any other Internet website) through your AOL browser, the screen-name you're signed into isn't available to me.

This statistical analysis is not an unusual for a website owner, and especially for a blogger. Anytime you visit a weblog, you are likely to see a hits-counter somewhere on the sidebar. The same service which provides this counter will probably also provide statistics, and this service is so frequently offered free of charge (at least for the last 100 hits) it costs the webauthor little or nothing to sign up for, and receive, these statistics.

So, although we don't know who you are, personally, we know quite a lot about what 'you' look like.

For example, we know where you came from . . . that is, if you visit a website as a result of a link from another website, we know the URL of that originating website.

We know whether you're using Internet Explorer, NetScape, AOL, Mozilla or some other browser.

We know your display settings: 1024x768, 1280x1024, 80x600, 1152x864 are represented in a 503/303/122/77 ratio(with miscellaneous resolutions not referenced here.) This information is of importance to the webauthor because it helps to know what size of images can be readily viewed by the readership.

This may seem intrusive to you, but actually it is a service to webauthors.

The first thing we know about you is how MANY of you access the website every day. This is part of the Summary, which is provided as a graph.

Because, bloggers know what articles (and on what subjects) they post every day, by knowing which days receive the most activity they can keep track of the subjects which seem to be of most interest to their readers.

As a surprising side-benefit, for those of us who don't submit new articles as often as we would wish to, we may note that we still have visitors on days when no new articles have been published. This suggests to us that we have a certain number of readers who aren't referred to the website necessarily by links provided by other websites, but because either (a) they are regular readers, and they check the website often to see what has been added, or (b) they have visited the website because they have searched the internet for keywords that are of interest to them, and the author's website has registered a 'hit' on those keywords.

In fact, there's a special set of statistics kept on that very criteria. STATSCOUNTER keeps track of the keywords that result in a hit, and summarize it by frequency and number of hits. We also can see what search engines are used to generate those hits. In fact, we can summarize it by search engines used . . . FYI, GOOGLE is the most common, YAHOO is next, then MSN and EARTHLINK on a 22/10/1/1 ratio.

Getting back to the subject of LINKS, you should know that people who provide internet content are inclined to provide links to similar websites so that their readers can research the basic information they have been given, or so that they can easily identify websites with similar or associated content. Thus, you will see that Cogito Ergo Geek provides an extensive set of links on the sidebar (that funny looking blue area on the right side of the webpage.)

Bloggers blog for a lot of reasons, but most commonly because they have a primary interest and they not only write about it but they read about it as well. When they find another website which provides valuable content, they may . . . and should ('blogger etiquette') include this link so that their readers can enjoy the fruit of their web-surfing labors.

Part of 'blogger etiquette' is that, when you (as a blogger) find that people are visiting your website because they found a link to it , you (as a blogger) are obliged to provide a link TO that originating website. Thus, you have not only acknowledged that there is another website which provides interesting content to a common readership, but you have thanked that other author by the most valuable resource possible, a cross-link.

There are services which take advantage of this cross-linkage, and the service I use is Technocrati. You will see an icon on my sidebar with the icon, and the text "blogs that link here". When another blogger includes a link to my website, that information is captured and summarized in a special webpage which identifies the blogger, the blogpage, and a short description of the content of the originating blog which cites the link.

(This information is available to me, I see no reason why it shouldn't be available to you.)

Only those websites which have signed up for the free TECHNOCRATI service are cited there, but the statistics are only cited if someone actually USES the link to move from one website to another.
Probably the most interesting statistics are CAME FROM, RECENT VISITOR ACTIVITY, and ENTRY PAGES. These statistics provide a lot of information, but most importantly they tell us specifically which 'other' websites privided a link which led you here, what page you saw when you first entered, which was the 'exit page' (the last one you looked at before you left the website), and how long your visit lasted.

If you stayed for 10 seconds and left, I know you were unimpressed. That doesn't give you time to read more than a few lines of a Geek-Length article. On the other hand, if you stayed for several minutes, I know that you were either interested in the content, or you were interested in the images presented. This provides information that I can use to design web pages that are more convenient for you to use, or are more interesting to you . . . either graphically, or in terms of content.

Alternatively, it may suggest that you were accessing the website from a slow access method (dial-up?) and just weren't patient enough to wait for the images to download so you left immediately; or, there were no images at the top of the page, so you read the text and that held your interest while the images downloaded. I don't really know WHY you didn't stay very long, so I'm left with trying to interpret the raw data. That's good for you, because you don't want me to know a lot about you; it's not so good for me, because I'm forced to use trial-and-error techniques to determine what web design and what content is most interesting to you.

The implication is that I am doing a better job if I tend to push images further down the page, so you can read text while you're waiting for the page to load. Of course, a short visit may also indicate that you found nothing of interest, so you dropped in and immediately dropped out again because you're bored.

Or it may be that you just stopped by to find a link that you knew I had embedded in my webpage, and clicked on it to move on to the website you REALLY wanted to visit. In that case, I'm content that I'm providing a valuable service, because if nothing else I'm helping you to find the information you want and need.

The statistics provided to a webauthor are not definitive, they only help to indicate directions we can go to in our web design and the selection of our content. The most valuable feed back available is the comments you leave behind. Unless you are a webauthor whose only interest is in leaving a link to YOUR commercial website, there are very few comments you can leave behind you which are not welcome by any responsible webauthor. For example, if you don't agree with something that I have said, I appreciate it if you say so. I may not change my opinion because of your comments, but it will certainly make me stop and rethink what I have said that caused you to react negatively.

And at least I know you're reading, and thinking about, the value of what I have written.

Reloading: Primer Tube Filler

Reloading Tip:
Do you use a progressive loading press which features a "primer feed tube"?

I do, I've been using the Dillon XL650 for about 14 years and the thing I NEVER liked about it was using the Ashtray (Primer Flip Tray) to orient the primers, and the primer pickup tube to fill the primer feed tube.

For a while, I considered spending the (budget challenging) two hundred fifty bucks to buy the Dillon RF 100Automatic Primer Filler. But hey! I could buy a case of bullets with that money, so that's what I did.

Four or five years ago, a friend introduced to a simple, inexpensive, powered primer tube filler . . . the Vibra-Prime Automatic Primer Tube Filler from Frankford Arsenal.

It's all plastic, looks cheap, and it works like a charm. The best part is, instead of paying $249.95, you only pay $60!

There are three major parts to it: The primer tray assembly, the 'gun', and the tube assembly.

Step 1: Dump the primers in the bottom half of the primer tray, shake it to orient all the primers (just as you do with the Ashtray), put the cover over the primer tray so the outlet hole corresponding to the primer size (large or small) is open.

Step 2: Slide the primer tray assembly into the gun, insert the tube assembly (either the white one for small, or the black one for large primers) into the bottom of the gun and lock it into place.

Step 3: Pull the trigger and watch the battery-powered (one AA battery, not included) gun shake the primers from the tray into the tube.
Then all you have to do is dump the primer feed tube into the primer tube of your reloading press. It's all done.

After I got my Vibra-Primer, I immediately did a Geek Customization Job on it.
I separated the primer feed tube from the feed tube adapter in the primer tube assemblies, and added an extra step to the process. In Step 2, instead of using the included primer tube assembly, I just insert the primer tube adapter (white plastic for small primers, black plastic for large primers) into the gun. Then I put a Dillon Primer Pickup Tube in the hole where the primer feed tube went.

Before I did this, I bought extra primer pickup tubes from Dillon - two batches of four for small primers and two batches of four for large primers, at $16/4-pack - so when I start loading primers I pull the plastic tips off the pickup tubes and load THAT end into the primer tube adaptor. After I've filled each tube, I remove the tube from the adaptor, put the plastic tip on it, set it aside and start the process over again. That way I can load 8 tubes at a time (takes about 10-15 minutes, all together) and then I can load 800 rounds of ammunition without having to 'revisit the priming process'. And BTW, the primer tray CAN accomodate the large Federal-brand Primer boxes.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Mr. Completely: Barrett-Firearms -- AP Corrects their story

Mr. Completely: Barrett-Firearms -- AP Corrects their story

Thanx to Mr. Completely for the summary and the link. Now we all know that AP is a bunch of lying dogs, but at least when they get caught at it they CAN be forced to 'fess up.

I quibble with the references to a VPC spokesman (Tom Diaz) as a "criminal justice scholar", and I'm not sure about the vermont gun writer who "...said that when the .50-caliber rifle is used with the proper bullet, it would not destroy the meat."

But that's just me.

The main point, that a .50 Barrett would effectively defeat tank armor from a mile away, is now admittedly 'inadequately verifiable' as they say in Liberal Think Tanks. (Pun intended.)

As we here in Geekistans say, "it's all lies, damned lies, and Liberal Propaganda!"

You can see my original objection to the AP article at "Dastards at AP".

(And you can see the original article, as long as it remains available on the website of the egrigious SFgate website . . . here . . . thanks to Mr. Completely. Because I don't trust the Dastards, I've save the page to my personal archives under MYBLOG/BARRETT.)


SayUncle has more information about the author of the original article, Rose French.

The article was originally suppose to be a purely "business article", which doesn't explain how it turned into a front-page story in many newspapers or why it turned out to be an excellent example of "Ambush Jounalism".

Michael Moore would be proud.

Here are some of the more cogent comments from Dan Goodwin, Media Relations Manager for Barrett Rifles which is Mr. Goodwin’s inquiry to the AP’s Nashville bureau:

First, based on what was published, I believe Ms. French misrepresented her purpose in coming to our plant for a tour and interview.

I asked her what the story was about beforehand and she said “a business feature about your company.”

I relayed her request to my boss and Ronnie Barrett and they were concerned about it being a political story. Ms. French reassured me mention of legislative issues would be brief and “it’s mostly going to be a business feature.”

Please note Ms. French and her photographer were here well over two hours and half that time was a taped interview with Barrett.

The byline and copy ran 975 words, according to the word count tool on my computer. The portion dedicated to political opponents and experts was 407 words.

Now, I’m a J-school graduate like you fellows and somewhat math impaired. But my computer says that is right at 42 percent of the story.

Ms. French’s story had direct quotes from Tom Diaz of the Violence Policy Center before it had direct quotes from Ronnie Barrett. I also noted Mr. Barrett was only quoted once directly.

It was clear during her visit that Ms. French knew little or nothing about firearms in general and our products in particular.

(Emphasis added)

This doesn't explain why the inaccuracies were entered into the story, but it casts doubt on the professional ethics practiced by AP reporters and editors.

Jerrythegeek's Shooting Gallery

I consider this a major accomplishment, so don't put me down for bragging a little.

I've finally loaded ALL of the available photos from the September 3-4, 2005, Croc Match to the internet.

After three months of seeking web-hosting, getting gallery software installed (both accomplished by my friend Brian B. whose last name I always misspell), acquiring and learning how to use editing software, getting a high-speed internet access so I could upload 3GB of files, and then figuring out how to post the same content in smaller files . . . there are now more than 1,000 still photos and 40+ movies of this high-round-count match available to you.

The photos are running about 50-100 KB each, but they're all displayed in thumbnails so you can look at them before seening them in full-size.

The videos originally ran from 3MB to 23MB in size. Understand that these are eight stages averaging 50 rounds each so it takes a while to shoot them. Usually, 25 seconds or so is a winning stage time in the FAST stages. Some of the newer shooters in Production and L10 took over a minute to complete many stages. By editing and compressing the video files, I usually managed to reduce the file sizes to between 2mb and 5mb, althought a few of them are as large as 7mb. (The file size is usually marked on the caption, so you'll have some idea of how long it takes to download it.)

Thanks to a suggestion from a member of the Unofficial IPSC List, I used Windows Movie Maker software to edit them and, in the process, add titles and musical background. (You've seen some examples of the results here, as I've been learning the techniques.)

I undertook this project for three reasons:

  1. There was some interest in the Columbia Cascade Section in establishing an on-line 'scrapbook' of our local IPSC matches.
  2. Paul Meier, the Match Director of the Croc Dundee Banzai Ballistic match, wanted some way to let people accross the country know what it was LIKE to shoot a hi-round match
  3. It sounded like a fun, Geekish thing to do
I have a few 'other' albums up, based on photos and films of local matches. But the 2005 Croc Match album is huge! It is organized into one main album and nine sub-albums.

SWMBO was the photographer for most of the pictures and the videos. I also received stills from Norm the Ungratful, and also from a local shooter named Ron Downs. Norm was in the Super Squad, and SWMBO followed them around a lot during the 2-day match so there are a lot of picturs of them.

Ron was squaded with Mike McCarter and his Junior Squad (we have a very strong Junior program in CCS, with the section providing firearms, equipment, ammunition, training, coaching and other support) so we have a lot of photos AND videos of the Juniors.

I confess that I, like everybody else in the section, have special interest in seeing that the Juniors get all the support and encouragement we can give. Ron provided some terrific videos of Juniors in action. They're all shooting Production, with Glocks (my friend Bob, from Texas, will appreciate that) so they went through 7 or 8 magazines to get through each 50+ round match . . . most arrays were 8 or 9 rounds, and there were between 8 and 10 arrays in each stage.

As I was editing the videos, I began to notice that you can learn a LOT from watching them. I've seen a lot of mistakes, errors and boondogles here. Magazines incompletely seated during a reload, people making un-needed reloads, finger-freezes, standing reloads, bad stage tactics, and even an 8-second video of a Match DQ.

There was the folks who got frustrated by repeated feeding failurs and just quit the stage halfway through. I didn't include those videos, they're just too heartbreaking. And there were people who continued to have problems with jams and feeding, and just kept on going because there was no quit in them.

I saw Master Class shooters looking like newbies, and experiences shooters making errors during movement that, from the camera point of view, looked like DQs. That's why they don't use video as evidence in IPSC Arbitrations; the RO is the only one who really understands how the stage is layed out, and where the180-degree line is.

I saw a first-year junior, while reloading during the jungle run, turn around and LOOK BEHIND HIM to make sure the RO was in a safe position.

One of the sub-albums includes pictures of ALL the winners awarded during the Awards Ceremony. I figured that the people who shot the match, and won something, deserved the opportunity to download their winning picture for their own use. Since I don't know everybody, I didn't caption any of these pictures . . . but you know who you are.

I didn't throw away ANY pictures because they didn't have any big action to display. People who shot the match, and were photographed, can find their pictures here.

People who didn't shoot the match, but are contemplating attending the 2006 match, can get a good idea of what it's like by viewing the photos and movies here.

And people who just like to look at IPSC videos . . . you're in for a treat. Hope you have high-speed Internet access, or are a dial-up user with a lot of time on your hands. You CAN save the videos after viewing them. The movies are not only interesting, they're educational. Watch them several time (you only have to download them once), and you begin to understand where the competitors made bad choices, good choices, and to compare the various approaches to shooting a single stage. Wait until you see Yong Lee win Stage 5, "THE DOORS", or Joe DeSimone win Stage 5, "Combat Rock".

Don't get lost in the Jungle on Stage 4: "Soda Shop Boogie". And be sure to watch your muzzle on Stage 2: "Rock Around the Croc". (All stage titles are taken from popular music titles of the sixties and seventies.)

I've included the URL in full; it's also a link, so you can go there by just clicking on it.

Have fun. I did.

I just heard from Dundee Croc Match Director. He says the 2006 match will also be scheduled for the Labor Day weekend.

September 2-3, 2006

You can watch for registration information in the Front Sight magazine, and also at the Team Croc website.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Flashback: Feminism in the Workplace

I was working in the MIS Department (Management Information Services) of a large manufacturing concern in 1978 when I first encountered Feminism in its basic form.

We (the programmers and analysts) had been working in a primitive 'satellite' environment, because our offices were across the Willamette river and across town (Portland) from the head office, where the computers were located.

Our programming code was written on coding forms, and the Data Entry department would punch it in using IBM 028A Keypunch Machines. This would encode the form in punch-cards (I can't even find pictures of punch cards on the Internet anymore!), which were bundled together and sent to the head office to be read into the computer.

We called the the CTAM, or "Chevy Truck Access Method", because the messenger service was one guy in a chevy pickup who spent his whole day driving back and forth across town, taking our punch-decks to the computer and returning with the (hardcopy) printouts on the classic green-and-white-striped computer paper. Turnaround time was about 2 hours, which means you had 2 hours to read your output, figure out the problem, write the correction, get the Data Entry folks to punch up the cards, and get the revisions on the out-desk in time for the CTAM driver's next pick up. We had either 3 or 4 turnarounds a day, and it wasn't fun.

Then they put in a computer in OUR office, linked by the magic of electronic telephone lines to the head office. And we were a "Beta Test Site" for a revolutionary new communications device: The Dumb Terminal.

This consisted of a keyboard, a monitor (red letters on black screens, remember that?) connected to the computer. We could see the stored code-file, and make changes in it with a primitive line-editor. Type the line number in, and the REPLACEMENT line, and hit 'enter' to send it. No full-screen editing, no changing just the parts that needed to be changed. You had to type the whole line all over again, and get it RIGHT.

We only had four of these workstations for the whole office, so if you had to make a change you probably had to stand in line until a workstation was free.

Here's where the Feminism part comes in.

One afternoon, I was punching away at the workstation and this programmer came up to me and said "I need to use this workstation. This is important, and I have to get it out right away!"

I looked around, saw that all three of the other workstations were also in use, and said "Well, this is important, too. I need to get it right out. Check with the other programmers on the other terminals, okay?"

The programmer said "I already did, they have priority, I need to use THIS workstation right now."

It's hard to keep track of what you're doing when someone is yammering at you over your shoulder, but I made a conscious effort to be polite.

"Look, I am going to finish this job, but as soon as I'm done I'll phone you at your desk and hold the terminal for you, okay?"

I think this must have shorted a circuit, because you see this other programmer was a woman . . . a very attractive woman . . . and I don't think any guy in the shop had ever said 'no' to her before.

She kept trying to convince me that what she had to do was more important than what I had to do, so finally I said:

"I'm sorry, but my boss told me to get this out right away. There's nothing personal in this, I'm just trying to do my job. I promise I'll let you know when I'm done, it shouldn't take more than a half-hour and you won't have to stand in line behind me to save your place."

No good. She went away for a minute, then came back and interrupted me again. She said: "My boss, Rena, wants me to do this right away. She says that you should let me use this workstation, and you can have it back when I'm done."

"Look" I said. Rena is your boss. She's not my boss. I'm doing my job, and if you would just go away and let me do it, I'll be off here a lot sooner than if you keep hanging around here bothering me."

She ran off (literaly) in tears (literaly!) I had never seen that in a workplace, and I found it . . . annoying.

A few minutes later she came back with her boss, Rena, in tow. Rena said that this job was very important and had to get out right away. I stopped what I was doing, turned to her and said:

"Rena, you don't sign my checks and I don't report to you. What you should do is go to MY boss and explain to him how important your project is, and why I should stop doing what I've been told to do. If he says I should let your project take priority over the one he assigned to me, I'll happily step aside and wait until you folks are done. But I am NOT going to stop doing MY job just because you think it's important. If my boss doesn't agree with you, then you and he should go to YOUR boss and let him decide who has priority over the available resources, and I'll do whatever he says. Okay?"

Okay, so I remember the event and the discussions verbatim. You may find it surprising, and so do I. I remember it clearly because, at this point, Rena . . . the middle-manager . . . was crying too. There were crying technical people all over the place, and my manager never did come to me to say that I should stop what I was doing. Neither did his boss. My best guess is that they decided that the 'other project' didn't take priority over what I was doing, and I had been the target of someone who was trying to take advantage of my kindly nature.

I got the job done on time, even considering all of the unwarranted interruptions. But I've often wondered what made these two people think that they could intimidate me into subordinating my job to theirs.

Perhaps they didn't really think they could sweet-talk me because of their gender, or persuade me with their emotional display, but I had never had anything like this happen to me when the 'other person' was a guy. It was more like "Hey, I need to get this out right away! Can I bump you for a half-hour or so?" "No, sorry, I've got to do this now. Come back in a half hour." Okay, I'll tell my boss that there were no terminals available. Will you call me when you're done? Thanks."

The important thing about this is that you (or at least I) never see this kind of scene enacted in the office today. Nobody thinks they can take advantage of personal characteristics. Everything is prioritized according to the business requirements, not the person. All of this eye-batting and crying stuff isn't necessary, because we're all trying to do our job.

Where I work now, I'm new in the office (having been re-assigned to a new department due to a general re-organization) and my mentor is a woman. My closest co-worker is a woman. I spend a lot of time going to them and asking question about things I haven't learned yet, and they go out of their way to help me. Gender doesn't enter into it, there's no pressure except the job, and I feel a lot more comfortable working with people who don't use tears as a weapon.

I feel comfortable working with professionals. When men and women can work together as equals, you can spend the day just doing your job and a lot more gets accomplished. This is why we get the Big Bucks.

But when gender is an issue, you're working in a sick environment that doesn't promote productivity.

No, I don't have a major moral to this story.

It's just a story.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

December Blogmeat

BLOGMEAT is a Geek concept, intended to refer to incidental and unrelated Internet links presented to entertain, not necessarily to inform. I've tried to hold BLOGMEAT posts down to once a month. Since I've been doing other things, I haven't written much here lately, but I'll use this opportunity to bring together a lot of diary-type items which I've been storing up lately.

If you're even a nominal Christian, Christmas is A Big Thing. And even if you're not as Christian as that, in the USA it's hard to avoid Christmas no matter how hard the ACLU and related curmedgeons (in December, we should replace the word "curmudgeons" with the word "Scrooges") try to make it Not Politically Correct.

I'm not PC, except where Racist jokes apply, but Christmas has always been a difficult season for me. I like to give things to people. It makes me happy, sometimes it makes them happy too. But I have a hard time buying gifts for people at Christmas. The reason is that I feel OBLIGATED to give gifts, and that takes all the fun out of it.

Besides, I don't know what to give to some one when I'm just buying to fulfill a societal obligation. If I find something that someone I know would like, I can get it for them and I'm tickled if they appreciate it.

Free Image Hosting at

Fortunately, I have four Grandchildren, and they're very easy to shop for. I just go to the toy department and find stuff that I think is fun, and I buy it for them. I ran into some problems here, though. I found a 'toy' that I would like to have myself: The "Darth Vader Voice Changer" (Vince Pinto, where are you when we really need you?)

Push a button, it recites some of the best lines from the Star Wars movies.

  • The Force is with you!
  • Your Powers Are Weak
  • Don't make me destroy you
  • There is NO ESCAPE
  • The Force is with you
  • You don't know the power of The Dark Side!
This last is a personal favorite, having started competing IPSC Open Division a couple of years ago.

When you put the helmet on and press another button, it transforms your personal voice into the best mechanized James Earl Jones impression that modern technology and $28.95 can buy. The helmet is too small for my fat head, I guess I'll have to give it to my grandkids in Utah. I know they'll never appreciate the Powers of The Helmet as much as I would (or as their father, Ben, would, although if it would fit 6'2" Ben it would probably fit puny little six-foot Geek people.)

SWMBO informs me that this has just gone on sale at a local store for 50% off. I bought it yesterday. I wonder if I could take mine back and get two of them. Nobody would know if I kept one for myself . . . .

.... but no, that would be Just Wrong.

Taser Control

Naked prowler shot in genitals with Taser by deputies near Fort Myers Beach

Air Tax
It had to come to this eventually. Leave it to our French friends to be first on-board with this.

Next: San Francisco!

Study: Security flaw allows wiretap evasion

FBI tapping your phones? ZDNet reveals that it is technically possible to turn it OFF!

Rent-a-Toy-Hauler for a Home

Lost your home to a hurricane lately?
This manufacturer of mobile homes (fifth-wheelers especially) specializes in building them with a garage for your ATV. For only $26,000 to $53,000, he will build you one. But as a public service, he will RENT you one.

Attention Hurricane Katrina Victims:

We have low-cost RV's available with immediate delivery. Please contact us regarding the Hurrican Katrina Victims special discounted pricing.


Many other models & floorplans available for delivery to Louisiana/Mississippi area available!

This too-kewl websites even offers floorplans, pricing algorithms, and virtual tours of the toy-haulers.

My question is, is the 'garage' section big enough to hold my Dodge Viper?
Okay, so I don't have a Dodge Viper, but maybe FEMA will buy me one. It's got to be cheaper than leasing a Carnival Cruise Line ship for the next six months.

IPSC Photos: 2005 Croc Match

I've managed to find the time to edit, re-size, and publish most of the 500+ photos that SWMBO took at the September 3-4, 2005, Croc Match at Dundee Oregon. This includes photos of match (division, category, etc.) winners at the Awards Ceremony.

If you were at this match, you know it is the world's premiere Hi-Round-Count IPSC-type match. If you weren't there this year, you want to be there next year.

The photos loaded are all of the 'still' photos. I still have to load still photos from two other people who were there. One of these guys took some AVI-format videos, and if I can find a way to cut down the file size I'll put them up in a special sub-album with credit to the owner of the videos.

Also, I've managed on this blog to feature a few of movies that SWMBO filmed. I have several others, and as soon as I edit them down into a size and format that is easy to download (if you have a hi-speed connection) I'll include them in a special sub-album for each day.

The albums published are included in this list of all planned sub-albums:

Saturday Morning: the Shooter Meeting, introduction of the authors of the Jungle Run (Loren and Sherrie), miscellaneous shooter-views of the stages taken before the match started, photos from several squads on several stages, and photos of some of the individuals either shooting stages or standing around waiting for their turn to shoot. Also, there are some photos from Saturday Afternoon: SWMBO didn't change from the 1GB chip to the back-up 256MB chip until late in the day. 323 photos. DONE!

Saturday Afternoon: These are photos from the small Sandisk memory chip SWMBO loaded after the battery on the Geek Digicam gave out. IN PROCESS
Update: DONE!

Sunday Morning: Photos from the remaining stages from the 2nd match day.
106 photos. DONE!

Awards: photos from the Awards Ceremony of the individual winners, and some crown pictures at the cermony. 64 photos. DONE!

Norm Bright Photos: will be loaded 'soon'. Norm and his son Zac were on the 'super squad'.
Update: DONE!

Ron Downs Photos: will be loaded 'soon'. Ron was part of what may be called the 'junior squad', and includes some great photos of junior IPSC shooters competing. I'm trying to reach Ron so I can get his permission to publish these photos, but I don't have an email address or other contact means for him. Ron, if you read this . . . please contact me to give permission or to with-hold permission for me to publish your photos. ON HOLD

Ron Downs Videos: Ron took some great movies, but they're all in AVI format and I've not yet tried to edit them and convert them to WMV format. If I get permission, I'll do so. If I can't edit and convert them I'll make them available for a limited time in the original format. ON HOLD UPDATE: DONE!

SWMBO videos: She took a lot of movies, and I'll edit these 'soon' and post them on the website. The editing process takes a lot of time, as I like to remove extraneous footage, add titles and music, and then convert them to a file format (WMV) which reduces detail clarity but allows much faster downloads by making the resultant filesize smaller. If I have requests to do so, I may make the original video available regardless of the filesize. Each set of videos will be a sub-sub-album of the daily sub-album, just to make it easier to find them. IN PROCESS UPDATE: DONE!

Unfortunately, these photo files are too numerous for me to add comments to each picture. However, the gallery software allows non-logoned viewers to add comments. Please feel free to identify shooters and stages where you can. I depend on your discretion to keep these comments gentlemanly and family-friendly. No, you don't need to logon either to view the files or the add comments . . . unless the privilege is abused. I will eliminate the commenting option if it is abused and I have to delete derogatory or profane comments.

We won't see any inappropriate comments, of course, because IPSC competitors come in two catogories: Ladies, and Gentlemen. But you never know who is going to pick up on these links, so in the unlikely case that some Yahoo from Nowhere drops by to vent his/her spleen, you should be aware that they have the option of ruining it for all the Normal People who are intrinsically interested in this event. [sigh]

Keyword Searches, reloading cautions

I use a 'blog statistics service' called statscounter to keep track of who is referencing this blog, and why, when, how, and . . . if they arrived here as the result of a 'keyword search' (Google, Yahoo, etc) what they were looking for that brought them here. I thought you might be interested, so . . . Here's what my recent stats look like. (Note: don't bother clicking on the 'little drill down arrow", you won't get any usable information. I was just too lazy to pull the embedded code out of the cut&paste data.)

Keyword Analysis (jerrydgeek) 4th December 2005

This stat is based on your log of the last 1,100 pageloads.

TIP drill down Click the little drill down arrow next to each result to show the users that used this keyword to find your website.

Did you prefer the old keyword analysis? That's ok. We still have it, it's just called "recent keyword activity" now.

Num Perc.Search Term
drill down48.16%dundee shooting club
drill down48.16%jerrydgeek blog
drill down48.16%albany ipsc
drill down36.12%target taper
drill down24.08%.38 super in single-stack division
drill down24.08%bb gun age, massachusetts
drill down24.08%cossa ipsc
drill down24.08%oregon unsolved murders .net
drill down12.04%steven cooper and marion county and oregon
drill down12.04%practical shotgun
drill down12.04%glock√£€€custom ipsc
drill down12.04%alyrica
drill down12.04%crime story luca torello
drill down12.04%dennis farina
drill down12.04%uspsa classifier ranking
drill down12.04%ralph reiminger
drill down12.04%03a3 heat treated bolt replacement
drill down12.04%nancy sinatra video boots are walking on dvd
drill down12.04%clackamas kimber production numbers
drill down12.04%aftec extractor
drill down12.04%science fair project on aspirins
drill down12.04%producer mandy davis
drill down12.04%gerry kisses eva mendes
drill down12.04%samuel alioto's background in the court system
drill down12.04%never point an rpg at the marines
drill down12.04%uspsa 2005 championship results area 1 bill
drill down12.04%svt-40 carbine
drill down12.04%lv cop accidental discharge
drill down12.04%john weil new orleans
drill down12.04%66 year old and male intruder and texas
drill down12.04%38 super comp load data
drill down12.04%gma interview with susan gaylord buxton
drill down12.04%waddell's restaurant portland

49 100.00%

I don't know why COGITO ERGO GEEK was listed on some of these search results. For example: I've never heard of ralph reiminger, but I was found here. I suspect it was because of the following statement, which was included in my commentary on CRIME STORY:

Mann and co-creators Chuck Adamson and Gustave Reiminger envisioned CRIME STORY ...
This only proves that when you run a search, you may find some incidental hits that pique your interest.

Some of the hits results because I have mentioned words which are part of the search criteria. What these people found may not have been what they were looking for.

An example of this is in the search for
03a3 heat treated bolt replacement
I'm sure I have mentioned the 1903/A3 rifle, which was the US Army's primary infantry arm during WWII until the Garand took over. It's a fine rifle, I have two of them (one converted into .25-06 caliber and entirely sporterized by my father), and the other a match-grade rifle which, as far as I know, has only been used in competition.

But I have absolutely no knowledge about "heat treated bolt replacement". To whomever submitted this search: I sure wish I could help, but I only shoot 'em, I don't build 'em.

Another hit which was (probably) unsatisfying is:
38 super comp load data
I've talked about the .38 Super, and mentioned that since I've installed the AFTEC extractor I am able to shoot both .38 Super and .38 Super Comp ammunition with 100% reliable extraction . . . even when I mix the two cases in the same magazine. (For what it's worth, I don't see a penny's worth of difference between the two cases, and I include in the comparison AP brass and .38 TJ, although I believe the latter is rumored to feature thicker case reinforcement near the base which would enable the case to restrain bigger pressure spikes caused by shooting heavy loads with very fast-burning powders. I'm only forwarding rumor here, I have no personal knowledge that this is or is not true.)

Naturally, if people are interested in these subjects, and are being directed to my website by the search engines, I would like to be a viable resource to them by providing the data they're obviously after. I can't do that in most instances.

I COULD provide some .38 super load data, but I don't choose to take the responsibility of providing load data to someone who would use it in a pistol which is not engineered to handle the pressures generated by this load.

I COULD mention that I use 8.0 grains of Vihta Vourhi N350 powder behind a 115 grain FMJ bullet from Montana Gold, that I use either Winchester Small Rifle or the CCI equivalent interchangeably, that I use these loads in both an STI Tru-Bore and an STI Competitor compensated 'race' pistols with similar results of an average velocity of 1471 FPS. I could even mention that I use the same load in any piece of .38 Super brass I happen to pick up on the range, as long as the brass isn't obviously overstressed (specifically: longitudinal splits, usually at the case mouth, would cause me to reject the brass.)

But I don't want to present myself as a reloading guru. In fact, I'm probably one of the worst reloaders I know. I don't really TEST loads. I look up load data from Jeff Maas's loading pages, usually, or talk to someone I know who uses the same or similar loads successfully. I start out with the same componenents at a much lower powder charge, and try several versions with slightly higher charges . . . but never higher than referenced. When I find one that works, that chronographs consistently at Major Power, and shows no obvious evidence of overpressure (usually shows up in flattened primers, then smeared primers or primers being punctured by the firing pin, or 'ridging' at the firing pin indentation, and ultimately in badly bulged cases) I stop testing except to see if I can get good performance using the compensated guns at a lower charge. And then I stop, and use it.

I don't really research load combinations. I never try to re-invent the wheel. And I never, NEVER take chances.

A 'bad' load could detonate in the gun, with unwanted results. It could damage or even destroy the gun. It could throw out metal fragments and/or burning gasses which would either cut or cause flesh burns in my precious personal flesh. It could cause the same damage to someone who happens to use ammunition I've reloaded. It could injure standing near the shooter when a reloading-caused accident occurs.

So if you think you have learned something about reloading from these remarks, remember the cautionary comments. remember any product names I've mentioned, and ignore what you may believe to be a recommended bullet-weight or powder charge. Think carefully before you use the load data you get from ANYONE, and certainly do not try to use the same data to build ammunition for you to use in your gun.

For example, I never mentioned how deep I seated the bullet. It makes a tremendous difference in the pressure which is generated within the cartridge, and this is the factor which causes cases to burst (the most common cause of injuries in pistol competition). I won't tell you what the overall length (OAL) of my loaded ammunition is, because I don't want you to try to duplicate it.

If you DO use load data from someone else, make sure you have the OAL and don't make your loaded cartridges any shorter . . . which compacts the powder more and increases both the heighth and duration of the pressure spike. Also, make sure you're using exactly the same case and the same bullet, because the OAL may not tell you how deeply the bullet is actually seated in the case. Different bullet designs (even from the same manufacturer) may have a longer or shorter ogive, and cause any given bullet to be seated hundredths of an inch deeper into the case. This is significant, and so is any crimping which is applied to hold the bullet in place. Of other significance is the chamber dimensions and design of a given gun, the manufacturer of the case (different internal capacity, different thickness of the case wall at the most frequent point of failure . . . the web of the case just forward of the base); whether a compensator is an integral part of the gun and the design of the compensator; the length of the barrel.

Yes, there are too many variables for one poor Geek to comfortably provide reloading data, so I'm not going to do it.

Final advisory: NEVER use reloading data from someone who identifies himself as "one of the worst reloaders I know".

If he has no confidence in the safety of his reloading data, you should avoid using it.

PS: neither do I know anything about:
gerry kisses eva mendes

but I do have this link to Eva Mendes.

I don't know who 'gerry' is, but I assure you that I have never kissed Eva Mendes (don't know her, either).

Heck, if I DID know Eva Mendes, and I DID try to kiss her, I would be twice killed; first by Eva Mendes, and then by SWMBO.

It ain't worth it.

Besides, my name is spelled 'Jerry' or 'Geek', not "gerry". *

Honest, honey, I swear! . . . .

*(Even SWMBO calles me 'Geek'!)