Sunday, March 30, 2014

Physical Conditioning

Hit the gym to lift weight for the first time in 7 months, finally have the all clear from the doc and am sufficiently back in shape for it. Feels good, even if I've lost depressingly large amounts of strength. It'll come back fast, though, and burn off all of this fat built up by from 7 months of being banned from strenuous activity and 5 months of eating ridiculous, stupid food that would kill anyone who wasn't presently in high school or college.

Now to see how long it takes to get fighting fit again, be nice to be in shape for warm weather whenever that actually rolls around. I train mostly for fighting ability, but the appearance side of it is greatly appreciated, by virtue of the fact that I try to avoid trouble whenever possible.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

One Space Marines please

So today a friend grabbed Interstellar Marines for me. The premise, essentially, is that the gov't goes "you know, if we ever meet another lifeform from space, we're probably going to get our shit kicked in. Top men, get on that" and then they built a sweet giant underground training base. Every stage has a sun stand-in that cycles through the day, and changing weather and patterns. If you're on a ship/station/etc, you may wind up fighting with nothing but strobing emergency lights and the flashlight on your spaceSMG. The game is still in alpha right now, but it looks like it will develop to have very nice potential. A single player campaign has been hinted at by the various videos.

And now, I have a problem. I want to play a tabletop RPG, wherein I can be some manner of space marine/security. There's always the route of finding a crew for some GURPS: Traveller or something, but that's not quite what I want. Part of me wants to start rigging together a nice raygun gothic space setting, where old timey space rockets ferry a bunch of gruff military men with bubble helmets to far distant places, to use their Thompsons and 1911s to fend off the horrors of the void.

I've wanted to play in an RPG where I get to have a gun for ages and ages, I run 'em all the time, but I never get the chance to play in 'em. I might start working on something like this in addition to the Wastelands (which still need a better name).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Stealth Laws

Of the good variety. Passed in the past, but still relevant. I had paid a fair deal of attention to the laws regarding concealed carry in WI, and stopped paying quite so much attention after they passed. I was reading gunblogs and such by this time, so I figured I'd hear about any updates. Turned out when I took my concealed carry class, that there had been some laws that updated things and made them waaay better, that received absolutely no attention from anybody.

Was chatting with the HR manager at my new job regarding some of the companies policies being no longer legal, and she found that sure enough, there had been law changes that nobody ever heard about since their policies went into place. Better yet, she came around to the side of "You know, that makes a LOT of sense to make sure people are allowed to store them in their cars at least."

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tech Tuesday; A thought on mass transport

Vaguely tech Tuesday; related I've had a thought on what would make mass transport (namely trains) less stupid, obnoxious regulations and such notwithstanding.

The US is very heavily vehicle dependent, outside of the major cities. Wherever you go, you're going to need to rent a car or have friends who can give you a lift. Back when mass transport was the only real way to get around in any semblance of comfort, this was less of a problem. You'd just climb your horse (you have a horse, right?) into the stable car, and relax in relative comfort for a steam propelled journey. Upon reaching the rough vicinity of your destination, you'd saddle up and head out on your way, to your actual destination.

Why can't we do something like that now? The steampunk/dieselpunk in me wants to travel by train, but I want to be able to actually go places when I arrive (also Amtrak is terrible and basically the only option). At minimum, allowing scooters/motorcycles to be used in this manner would make a great deal of sense and be pretty easy, but in days gone by there were things for shipping cars by train. Usually it was more a "to the dealer" kind of job, but you can't tell me in this day and age we can't make what amounts to a land-based car ferry.

The motorcycle route is probably the most prudent, at least for the travelling individual or couple. Now that I have a job, I'll start working on my motorcycle that isn't a rideable deathtrap, and see where things go from there. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Stylish and functional

For ladies and gentlemen who lean that way.

Turn .45 ACP brass into armored nails

Never mind

Thought job was carry friendly, it's just not up to date with current WI gun rules and is no-carry with absolutely no indication of any kind of this fact. It's also apparently staffed, at least at the higher ranks, by whimpering ninnies who are terrified of the very question of "what is the company's official policy on concealed carry." They have nothing listed anywhere, because they didn't want to "cause anyone even more anxiety by posting it"

I think once I'm settled in I might chat with the guy who's in charge of safety and security and see if the "action plans" they mentioned are legitimate or powered by wishful thinking and unicorn farts.

Otherwise, seems like a good place (and it's not like any of the other places I interviewed were carry friendly anyway).

Friday, March 21, 2014

More Milestones

Not only have I gotten my first full and proper Job (not a summer job, not being an extra set of hands and a strong back at the family business, but a job that I hope will last for a significant span of time), but today I just completed my first fully solo car repair. I've worked on the family cars for ages, doing things like brake jobs and such, but those aren't significant enough to count. Today, I swapped the brake power booster on my car. My car is incredibly tiny, and doing so requires basically tearing out the entire steering column. I'm fairly certain that when they built this thing, it went base frame, power brake booster, everything else.

Now if only that had solved the problem I was trying to fix. I think the new master cylinder we had put in (we fixed basically every possible part of the brake system except the power brake booster, and what it was doing sounded like a power brake booster issue) might be bad, or might not have one of the lines on tight enough, or something.

Still, feels good to do something moderately extensive entirely solo.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Better Bathroom Habits

From the original Operators, the samurai

Basically, don't sit with your pants around your ankles, because getting caught on the can is a REAL bad spot, and it's even worse if your legs are tied together. The technique of picking your one leg up completely out of your pants/shorts/whatever doesn't work too well unless you have very loose legs or easily removed shoes. The site, being aimed primarily at men, only mentions the usual deed for which men sit on the can, but presumably technique might work for women? I don't know how those particular parts work as I haven't got them.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Thought for the whatever interval

The Glock is the Honda Civic of the gun world. It's about as uninteresting of a choice as you can make, but you know it'll do pretty much everything you want with no frills.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Carbine Stand-in

As mentioned in my previous post, I want a marginally tricked out intermediate caliber pistol as a hold-over until I get my fully tricked out AR-15 down the line. Initially I was looking at the PLR-16. It looks like there's a good chance that getting a PLR-16 with a 12" barrel will be either impossible, or obnoxiously expensive for what it is.

Right now the top contender is a Krinkov pistol in 5.45. The only problem with that is trying to put a red dot on it, which is kind of integral to my plan to use it as a carbine stand-in.

Any other suggestions for intermediate caliber guns that feed off of readily available magazines and cost $350-450 are welcome and appreciated. Getting things that have sufficient barrel length to milk a majority of power out of their respective cartridge is preferred. Numbers I've heard are 10" for 5.45 and ~14" for 5.56


Got one. It's even one of the few places I've looked at that's carry friendly, which is nice (although I need a tuckable holster and to finish getting back in shape so there's room for it in my pants now).

I'll spend a little of the first paycheck on things like a new phone and probably something shooty (I've been in contact with Kel-Tec to see about getting a PLR-16 with a 12" barrel so it has more oomph, although an AK pistol might cost similar amounts of dosh and be equally effective, and I've always wanted something AK based).

From then on it's marathoning those student loans away, with a side of collecting ammo if possible.

Monday, March 17, 2014

The Onion on Crimea

Sometimes The Onion's stories are close enough to what would be expected of real ones to be depressing.,35548/

Meditation and Anti-Meditation

AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA: For The Awesome (which includes the original, A Reckless Disregard for Gravity) is a fantastic game. It also has a bunch of amusing unlockable audio 'logs' in it.

The first one you get is a very useful "how to meditate", because the game is designed to be an adrenaline rush. However, there are plenty of those around, and it isn't very interesting. What IS interesting, is the Anti-Meditation.

Just watch it, and enjoy. It works best alone in a darkened room.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Knives; a few reviews and a look forward

How many knives is too many? I'm of the opinion that "too many knives" is somewhere between no room for anything else and impossible to achieve.

Presently, I carry 3, at least for certain values of "knife".

I've got my EDC, a 4" blade Cold Steel Ti-Lite. Good knife, but it'll shred the insides of your pockets and your fingertips if you aren't careful. It's also stylish in the same way as a stiletto switchblade, which is good and bad. Real easy to use for fine precision stuff, even with a 4" blade, and it holds an edge fairly well (comes ridiculously sharp out of the box, too). This one hangs out in my right hip pocket, along with 2 mechanical pencils, a pen, and my alumawallet.

Next I've got a multitool, a Gerber Multi-Plier 600 or so. Thus far it works pretty well, and does the trick for needing a knife in polite company, because nobody bats an eye at a multi-tool. Or, almost nobody, I've managed to find whimpering ninnies who were surprised by my last, smallest knife I carry. Could stand to have a few more tools, since it comes with a MOLLE holster and doesn't have to fit in a pocket. Thanks to having a locking blade, I'd say it still technically counts as a knife. It on my left hip

The last one is a little credit card multitool. You can find these things for as low as $1 if you're willing to look around and wait a month while it makes its way over from China. It isn't ergonomic, but it works. The knife blade is VERY tiny, but in the right hands it can get stuff done. I've also had people who were put off by me carrying this thing and trying to use it as a knife. "Do you carry that with you all the time?" "Yes, and it isn't working very well for cutting this tubing. I also carry this (see item #1), I just try to use the other one in public because it's tiny and nonthreatening *easily snips tubing to length*" If you can find this at the cheap price, its probably worth buying a big stack of them to give to everyone you've ever met. It ain't great, but it works.

They aren't knives, but I also wear a pair of these in my shoes most of the time. With black laces, they're pretty much only visible if you look at the shoes in profile. Nice to have when I don't have a steel toe available.

Lately, I've been looking to upgrade and add to these.  The Ti-Lite is nice, but I'm looking for a tougher lock up, and preferably something that won't punch holes in my pockets and such. The CS Spartan is presently the top contender, but I'm open to suggestions in the ~4" blade range for ~$50 (anything on the CS website can be found elsewhere for about half price). I want an off-hand knife for retention purposes, and have heard that this one is pretty good, and tiny enough that I can probably just tuck it behind the holster for my multitool without needing more belt space. I've got a Fury Tactical dive knife that I theoretically could use as an arm/leg knife, but I think I'd be better served by something else for most purposes. The grip on it is kind of terrible, but in a pinch it'd work, but I don't usually carry it. I'd like to add a neck and/or boot knife.

If someone ever actually has reason to check for all the knives I've got rattling around, it's probably going to raise some eyebrows. And be like the scene in so many cartoons and movies where there's the one weapon lover who's just taking guns and knives and stuff out of pockets for hours.

Friday, March 14, 2014

The motorcycles

They call to me. For so long I've resisted their calls, disinterestedly observing their technical beauty, but always easily maintaining arm's length from the desire to ride.

Nobody told me that the desire for a motorcycle came with gunblogging. I mean, I'd seen the effects, how so many bloggers have or had one, but I didn't think anything of it. I thought it was safe, that it wasn't contagious. I was mistaken. I got too close, and now it's got me.

Now I just need to build my own because I'm stubborn and don't trust regular motorcycles. If I can get it built vaguely soon, it'll make the possible 45 minute daily commute I might have for work if I land this job much easier on the wallet, and probably easier on the soul too. Trips are much nicer in a good vehicle, and it's hard to get much better than a sweet bike optimized for freeway travel.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

First world problems; swimming edition

Spring is pretending to exist (this being WI, it's just a teaser before second winter sets in for a while yet), and between that and having arms that are actually usable for swimming again for the first time in years, I'm in the mood for spending time in the water.

But there's a problem; my usual swimsuits are a tad on the smaller side, and don't have pockets. No pockets, no pocketknife. Actually, even the regular ones don't have pockets I'd willingly put my pocketknife in for swimming with if I could help it. And that's a problem. Gotta always have at least a knife, personal policy and whatnot. I've got my skin diver's knife, but the straps aren't long enough for strapping it to a thigh, which seems like the most logical place to put it. Neck knives might work, otherwise I just need to keep an eye out for

Even moreso, I don't have a gun I'd be willing to take in the water. I think I'm going to invent some of those single-use guns to be sold in a blister pack of three that Tam is always wanting to see, so I have something cheap and disposable that isn't a loss to dunk in chlorine or saltwater a few times and toss when it eventually rusts. I've had plans for a super-simple to make version of rifle, shotgun, and pistol already, might as well toss an extruded plastic gun that's good for 10 shots to the list. Open carry's even allowed without a permit in WI, for everything, so it wouldn't be a hassle to find a spot for the card.

I think "woe is me, however will I carry guns and knives while wearing tiny swimsuits?" is about as far into first world problems as you can get.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


Ahh the PLR-16. I've held one in a store, it was nice. A bit hefty, but fairly well balanced considering how much their is out in front. It will no doubt be a good bit more front heavy with a 30 round magazine in it, but still likely more manageable with one hand than an AR-15. Saw some article by someone stating that they always recommended pistols for home defense, in case you had to open doors or grab people or whatever. I'm plenty able to one-hand an AR-15, although doing so with it shouldered may be less doable depending on weight and balance, but an intermediate caliber pistol would probably work even better. My S2K works fine for one-handing (it balances like a pistol, because pistol carbine), but the long barrel's been proven to do weird things to ammo performance.

I might just go for a PLR-16 before my AR-15, so I have intermediate firepower in a package that won't just become obsolete when I get my AR. Usually I've seen the PLR-16 going for around $450 or so, which isn't bad, and would do a far superior job of impersonating a carbine for general purposes than my S2k does, performance wise. If the BATFE could actually be counted on to follow a judge's orders to stop counting putting a VFG on pistols as making an AOW, I'd be all kinds of all over that. Throw a red dot and a VFG on it, and I'd have a real nice little CQB almost-rifle.

I'd almost prefer it with a 12" barrel if I could get it, just to get as much performance as I could. 9" is a bit low for 5.56. Might have to call the company when it's time to order and see if I can get one made with the 12" barrel off of the SU-16D. It's not like I'm planning on concealed carrying the thing (and I wear a duster as my standard coat 8 months out of the year, so it wouldn't even be hard if I wanted to with a 12" barrel).

Rules to remember

In these days of "instant knife kills" in games, there are many things people don't realize. The first is that knife fighting is terrible, awful, gruesome, and absolutely vicious.
Often I've seen threads on various sites complaining about how the knife in tabletop game of so-and-so can't manage a one-hit-kill on anyone, particularly not in the hands of a near-untrained caster against a fighter. Some systems, like GURPS, make this slightly more viable (unlike things like D&D where at moderate level the knife will still do the same 1d4 damage it did at level 1 and the fighter will have 100 health), but the fact is that knives are kind of awful.

The other thing people seem to forget is that any critter that weighs half what you do can kill you. Humans, without conditioning and training, are freaking awful in a fight by comparison to the rest of everything. We min-maxed for IQ, and now we have things like guns. In a fight with nothing but fists and no technique to support their use? You wind up like this guy.
If you have good training and are in excellent condition, you can probably raise that number to your own weight, instead of half your weight. I use full-weight for myself, because I've invested significant time for fully 3/4 of my lifespan in my ability to fight, armed or unarmed. That's what it takes to be probably combat capable against things such as bambi, without the aid of tools.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tech Tuesday.... ish.

Whatever, close enough. I was busy being useful all day, what do you people want from me? To prepare my posts in advance?

Anyway, first off, more progress with the Tricorder X project type things. Iphone case portable autodoc. Not fancy enough to perform emergency surgeries though... yet.

Next up, a paper/cardboard microscope. Because why not. I can dig it.

And now for some tech that DIDN'T happen.

First, courtesy of Michael Z. Williamson on Facebook, comes the flying crowbar. This thing has the amount of ridiculous stupidawesome that means it has to show up at some point in something I run.

And then, more images of the future that wasn't (but coincidentally is a heck of a lot of fun to play in games)

And one last thing, the march of technology. In another 10 years all of those things might fit in your head.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Your home is your fortress

So you might as well make it defensible as such.

First, some tips on location selection from The Backwoods Engineer

Having selected a nice location, it's good to put some thought into the actual specifics of protecting said location if you need to. As usual, someone linked this and I don't remember who.

When I'm at the stage of my life to be buying a home of my own, I'll try to keep both of these in mind. That said, my plan for the apocalypse is more along the lines of actually trying to hold some semblance of civilization together, rather than 'go inna woods' and leave everyone else to die. There's a reason humanity has always tended towards society; it works (more or less). It's hard to do things like keep watch and sleep by yourself at the same time. Similarly for hunting and gardening (usually). Some things just work better with a reasonable number of people working together.

Friday, March 7, 2014

EDC going (vaguely) mainstream

Thinkgeek has a dedicated Interest category for EDC now. A lot of useful things, like spare knives (there's always room for more knives, right? I need a cardsharp to compliment the little $1 punched steel credit card multitool I have).

There are also a number of things that may be more for people with more money than sense, but hey, it's still cool even if it isn't particularly useful, right?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Further GURPS projects

In addition to my own project for the Wastelands (which really needs a less overused name), and the slowly developing GURPS Index (all the rules that you'd want in the base book to play something other than a human or very close to human, but aren't there), I have a few other projects planned.

The first is building a somewhat complex GURPS setting based off of an acquaintance's world from his stories. Doing so will involve a bit of research to figure out the effective TLs for a few different areas, and building a template for the "improved" humans in the story (long story short, there was a mass plague requiring genetic engineering to save the species, and the scientist doing said engineering decided he knew best. It causes some problems, but at least everybody has regeneration and regrowth and resistance to metabolic hazards and other such handy things).

The other, is GURPS: Tables. Dungeon Fantasy has some rules for rolling up loot and encounters and other such things, but otherwise GURPS has almost no offerings for just generating things. I plan to change that, using the DF tables as a jumping off point. Loot, vehicles, village/town/city layouts, enemies, etc. Enemies will be organized with a difficulty rating, based on the combined point cost of the party, and for most purposes will also handle the loot generation (outside of dungeon delves, tomb raiding, and temple digs, any loot acquired will be whatever its former owners had). I'll probably break it up by Tech period (low, high, ultra) for the most part. Ultra tech will be the hardest, because the ultra-tech books assume that most current calibers that we have, many of which have survived since TL5, will go the way of the buffalo during the changeover to TL9.

One last minor project is figuring out how to handle a few melee weapons GURPS doesn't have, or I feel don't get portrayed accurately. With the rules as they are, there's no particular benefit to hitting with impaling attacks, because most slashing weapons can dish it out more on a swing than a thrust, and with a good swing you can just shear through armor. Other than that, I'm trying to build spiked brass knuckles, best I've come up with is to change damage to pi+ and retain the possibility of knockback (there were a bunch of other thoughts, but they make things more complicated)

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Grappling, the bane of all tabletop RPGs

But sometimes, grappling is used for wonderful, amazing, hilarious things. That said, very rarely do grappling rules seem at all intuitive or useable. Usually the players and/or GM will groan when a grapple begins, as they try to dig out the rules for it.

GURPS grapple rules seem a bit more versatile and friendly than those of many systems, such as D&D. D&D treats grappling as automatically dishing out minor amounts of damage throughout the duration, with a few other options like trying to move the grappled thing around. Shadowrun barely even mentions it, calls it "Subduing" and pretty much treats it as "successful hit=opponent is immobilized until the break out", with the options of doing minor amounts of stun damage, trying to get a better grip, or trying to knock down the opponent. Simple, but leaves a lot to be desired by players wanting to do ridiculous things.

GURPS, particularly once you look at techniques such as those found in Martial Arts, allows for all manner of things to be done. Occasionally there are rules that don't seem quite accurate (sacrifice throw is only available through Judo, despite the Suplex being the most well-known example of a sacrifice throw, used in wrestling. Well, "wrestling", at least.