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John Ross's article on the 500 magnum revolver
Hosting for posterity... | 10/13/2017

I noted when I went to look for it that John Ross's website is offline.  John's ... Read More

Star Trek – Discovery
A new hope (haven't I seen that somewhere before?) | 9/25/2017

As a longtime Trek fan, I wanted to review my thoughts, and writing them out helps ... Read More

A peek behind the curtain
Aquarium filtration | 8/25/2016

Took this pic earlier to help illustrate an answer to a question on a forum, thought ... Read More

More Blog Entries

John Ross's article on the 500 magnum revolver

Hosting for posterity... | 10/13/2017

I noted when I went to look for it that John Ross's website is offline.  John's written many wonderful things, but one that I simply can't let go is is article on the S&W .500 magnum revolver.  Found it on the wayback machine, and am hosting it here.

 

John, if you see this, and don't want me hosting it, let me know, and I'll take it down.  Otherwise, it'll be here when it's needed :)

 

http://www.midkiff.us/maghist.pdf


Star Trek – Discovery

A new hope (haven't I seen that somewhere before?) | 9/25/2017

As a longtime Trek fan, I wanted to review my thoughts, and writing them out helps me do so.  If anyone actually reads this, well… it’s just my thoughts… feel free to comment.  Or not.  Just FYI:  There isn’t a moment of Star Trek, TV or Movie, that I’ve not seen, several times over.  I’m a fan, not one so engrossed that I dressed my kids up as ST characters for Halloween, but a fan.

On the network:  CBS, beginning this series after a football game, starting late, in an era of DVR… great idea.  Not since the opening of Firefly has a TV premier been so badly screwed up.  Forcing people to watch 15 minutes of Opra talking politics before we can enjoy a brand new SciFi series, and then cutting off the end...  Stupidity?  Or simply a badly designed ploy to get folks to subscribe to CBS All Access? 

Carrying that thought a bit further, making episode 2 available immediately, on said subscription service… That was probably a much better method of attracting attention to your streaming service.  Doesn’t piss people off near as much.  Worked for me… I subscribed, though I still intend to unsubscribe before I get charged.  I doubt I’m going to find enough of interest to me to keep paying $6, or $10… since if I did keep the service, I’d likely take the commercial free option.

Pre-title Klingon sequence… having to read, and read quickly (I missed a few words), every word uttered by a Klingon during this show stinks.  The well-used method of ‘fading’ Klingonese into English works… let’s take advantage of that, please.  Klingon makeup rework… well, it’s not the first time, is it 😊  Not sure if I like it, or not. Heavy enough to make facial expressions impossible to read.  Still, it’s a cool look.  Need some time to decide on this one.

Title sequence:  Awful.  Hate the animated sketch board theme.  Worst effort in a ST series yet (my previous worst was Enterprise’s CGI expose, flybys from every angle they could imagine).  Maybe they intend to change it to past episode scenes as they move along?  We can only hope.

Music:  Pretty good.  Reminiscent of many prior efforts.  Not obtrusive, anyway.  Beat the heck out of Enterprise, with its ‘guaranteed to make you reach for the fast forward button’ theme song.

Characters:  So far so good.  Love the Capitan… you know, the one they’ve killed off already?  I know, the story isn’t about her, but I’m hoping for some flashbacks featuring her in the future.  A seven-foot-tall science officer that appears to be afraid of his own shadow?  Him I won’t miss.  I’m assuming, from what I’ve seen so far, Michael Burnham is about the only character we’ve seen so far that is going to be featured throughout the show.  I wouldn’t have picked Sasha as Trek material, but hey, pretty girl, did a good job in a difficult opener… I’m looking forward to seeing more.

Story:  Klingons making war.  An argument can be made for beating a dead horse, but hey, with substantial changes to the species, some surprises may be in order.  I’m game.  Mutiny.  Not exactly unexplored territory on this one either.  Hasn’t every captain that has yet sat in the chair has tried that one, at some point in their career? Not in episode one, I suppose, and up till now, it’s generally been rapidly forgiven, what with saving the universe and everything, but it seems as if this one is going to follow Michael around for a while.  I’m in on this one too. 

Graphics, direction, writing, special effects, etc:  Right in line with what I was expecting, what with the reboot of Kirk in the movies (which I love, by the way).  Bright shiny reflective surfaces to excess, good use of CGI, storytelling has been excellent, through what, an hour and a half?  Keep it up… and avoid the clichΓ© time traveling and alternate universe storylines… we’ll all thank you.

Looking forward to Episode 3 😊


A peek behind the curtain

Aquarium filtration | 8/25/2016

Took this pic earlier to help illustrate an answer to a question on a forum, thought I'd show it here...

 

So... Auto top off reservoir, sump with refugeum, skimmer, Herbie style drain setup, Calcium and Alkalinity dosing containers, cheap dosing pump, power distribution... This is what it takes under the hood to keep a reef system up and running.


Re-reading an old story

Winter Wings | 6/30/2016

New tank shot

7 months in... | 6/ 6/2016


Handgun Accuracy

1/14/2016

I’d say I am a fair shot with a pistol. Not great, but OK.  I certainly know guys that are far better.  Having been asked several times over the last few months how I got to be such a good shot, it’s starting to occur to me that perhaps I’m better than I thought I was.  Anyway, I’m always ready to help, where I can, so I thought I’d put fingers to keyboard and write something up.  It this helps you, great.  If it doesn’t well, I’ll provide a full refund J  So, without any further attempts at humility, here’s my thoughts on accurate handgun shooting.

Shoot. Shoot lots.  There is no substitute for putting rounds on target if you want to improve.  I fired more than 2200 rounds of .40 S&W last year, all from one Smith and Wesson M&P.  I didn’t keep track, but somewhere north of a thousand from my old Colt Detective Special, along with several hundred rounds from half a dozen other handguns.  If you only pick up a handgun twice a year, you’re not likely to hit what you’re aiming at.  Simple, huh.  Just like anything else, practice makes you better.  I guess an article on reloading is going to be next… I couldn’t shoot near as much as I do if I didn’t roll my own ammo.

Grip:  Anyone reading this, if you’ve ever taken a class on positional rifle shooting, hearken back. A good solid prone position, forearm resting gently in your hand, indexed to the same point every time, elbow under the rifle, nice tight sling, good body position, buttstock tightly in the pocket, good, solid cheek weld on the stock, handshake grip on the wrist, nice ‘C’ shape curve, trigger engagement always in the same place... bringing back memories?  Good.  Now, on a handgun, you’ve got your two grubby mitts on the grip, and that’s it.  I’m not going to try and teach a handgun grip by describing it, watch a youtube video, take a class… the point I’m trying to make is that the grip is absolutely essential.  It must be stable, and (keyword) CONSISTENT.  Grip the same way, every time, and practice it.  I keep a bluegun replica of my M&P next to the couch, and practice my grip while watching TV (yeah, I’m a geek, get over it).  Get a good grip, and practice it until it’s automatic.  The same grip, every time.

Targets:  Aim small, miss small.  I’m as big a fan of shooting steel as the next guy, but really, you put that IDPA size steel plate out there, hits are easy, but _where_ are you hitting it?  Who knows.  Get yourself some 4” circle plates, spinners, something of that nature.  Then, when you’re practicing, you’ve actually got to AIM to make it react.  Paper targets work too, but reactive targets are more fun.  I really like bowling pins for pistol targets, from 10-20 yards. Save those big targets for doubletap and speed drills.  Small targets help improve accuracy.

Drills:  There are as many pistol drills as there are instructors.  We’ve all come up with something that we like.  All of them are valuable.  I like to keep things simple.  Set up 8 bowling pins or 4” plates, walk back to 10 yards, and work from a holster.  Draw by the numbers, AIM, fire, re-holster.  Over and over and over.   Same grip, same draw stroke, same sight picture, same trigger squeeze… consistent.  Getting to where you can’t miss?  Great!  Back up some, or switch to a smaller target.  No rush, remember, we’re working on accuracy.  Speed will come, right now, concentrate on smooth, consistent hits.

On the off chance that someone reads this who has never had a class in basic handgun, or rifle marksmanship, I highly encourage you to do so.  Take a look at the United States Rifleman Association (http://www.usrifleman.org)  They (we, actually) offer excellent basic rifle and pistol marksmanship classes, along with some more advanced classes.  Check it out, you won't regret it.

Stay safe!


Well done

11/ 2/2015


New aquarium coming together

1st fish in, lighting mounted | 9/11/2015
Light mount in... Over exposed cell phone pic.
 
Full Tank Shot

Base rock is in

7/20/2015

50 lbs from ReefCleaners.  Nice stuff.  Just an initial 'stack'... to see what I could do with it.  Slow and easy :)

 


Aquarium update

Love it when a plan comes together | 7/15/2015

Much like my original design :)  Tank is in place, sump, plumbing, return pump, electrical supply... That's just tap water, I wanted to run the pump for a while, test the plumbing, see what I can do to reduce noise.  It's not bad, there is a vacuum relief hole in the top of the return line that makes a bit of splash... I've got a plan to silicon a bit of PVC in as a guide that should quiet it down without increasing the risk of an overflow.  The sump, an EShopps R100, has a couple of problems... 1, the return pump compartment is 3.5" wide, which severely limits your choices on a return pump.  I bought a cheap Chinese DC pump that will work for now.  The 2nd problem is the splash down area of the sump.  Needs a bit of a redesign, to keep the gurgling down. I'm working on it :)  

Next step, rock formation.  I've ordered 50lbs of dry base rock, and will begin sculpting as soon as it arrives.

I find myself enjoying the process... Not really in a hurry to get it 'done'... despite my wife and daughter asking when I'm going to put fish in it.  Slow and steady :)