Category Archives: Administrivia

Sedentary Sunday

We bounced out of bed, full of ambition, at 0700. By about 0710 we were reclining in a chair (a recliner, naturally), with Small Dog, under a poncho liner. We emerged about 1100 when it was time to deposit Kid at Driver’s Ed. On the way back we bought some odds and ends and reflected on our plan for the rest of the day.

And how it was out the window. We’re catching up on the week’s sleep deficit (sleep scientists: don’t bother, we know that doesn’t really work). And we may catch up on some overdue posts, and this PM, it’s off to see The Martian with family. (Blogbrother and his family, minus some chicks who are opting for chick-flick fare instead, are seeing it separately at 1200, because of scheduling conflicts. The world seems to orbit the schedules of teens and tweens these days).

Social Sunday

But it isn’t, really. We’re sitting here with an armload of Small Dog, dictating this message. SD and your humble blogger are home alone, after a very social day yesterday, with the rare family dinner out and some hanging out at the blog bro’s house while he and his wife went to a family friend’s wedding.

Had a fun time driving a nephew nuts by pretending to psychoanalyze him:

“Let’s go back to your childhood. Describe your relationship with your mother.”

“My relationship with my mother is just fine. Are you crazy?”

“And how long have you had these imaginary friends?”

“I don’t have any imaginary friends!”

“Oh, how sad. You don’t even have imaginary friends. What a heartbreak, you poor child. What is it like not to have any friends?”

[Shouting] “I have friends! They’re real friends, not imaginary ones!”

“Now, relax. Just relax; close your eyes and lie back on the couch. Try to control your anger.”

[Really shouting now] “I’m not angry!”

Ah, good times. Try it sometime when you have a kid whose mind you want to mess with.

But that was yesterday, and today has Plaintiff and Kid pursuing family out of state,

So really, until we depart for Crazy Nephew’s birthday party this evening, we’re all alone here in the Manor, apart from the insistent presence of Small Dog, the lap-seeking missile. We’re just basking in the reflected glow of a social Saturday, and meaning to get the overdue Saturday posts (Matinee and TW3) up sometime today, and get ahead of this week. We may go, schedule permitting, to see the Collings Foundation’s aircraft, which will be in the Nashua, NH airport (KASH on your flight plan) this week. But we have a bunch of this work to do, plus a little airplane clecoing and riveting, and a lot of the other work that leads to filthy lucre; sometimes we must divert the mission to ensure that a few of someone’s spare coppers clink into our cup.

Sunday Sunbeams

Today has been some kind of Sunday, as glorious as last Sunday was rainy, with Indian Summer warm sunshine and cool shade. Small Dog and Your Humble Blogger went out on the front portico and sat as if we were in Dixie, not the heart of Darkest Yankeestan, and as if he was a doughty hunting dog and not a snack-sized attention-seeking missile.

We had a book to finish, a bike to ride, and a plane part to disassemble.

The book was Andy Weir’s The Martian. If you like science in your science fiction, not to mention problem-solving and interesting characters, well, you’ll like this book. The Blogbro recommended it highly, and unlike most of his recommendations, we listened this time. Now that the book is over (and thoroughly enjoyed it was), we dread the upcoming movie. It actually looks good based on the trailer, even though it has Matt Damon. If Damon can convincingly play a brilliant astronaut/botanist/mechanical engineer, that’ll be the best job of acting Hollywood has seen in a decade.

Of course, corporate Hollywood thinks Bruce Jenner is perfectly cast in a dress, so they may not be the best judges of their own art.

The bike ride hasn’t happened yet, but will if we can find the air pump. There’s supposed to be 100 psi in the recumbent’s tires, and there isn’t. Two years ago we had three air pumps in this house, now we apparently have zero.

The plane part wasn’t a bad assembly job — it was just clecoed together, that is, stuck together with temporary fastening pins that fit in the rivet holes, but we couldn’t move on to rivet it because of an embarrassing oversight.

Now, we don’t feel too bad about this. After all, we finally got the RV-12’s rudder finished — some parts of the rudder skeleton had kicked our butts — and clecoed the skin on last night. But when we went to rivet it up, we discovered to our chagrin that the LP4-3 pulled rivets don’t fit through the jeezly holes in the skin. Of course, we’d moved on from the rudder to other parts before we discovered that (1) Van’s punches most of the holes undersize and (2) we initially drilled them out with a drill bit that was, yes, also undersize. So today we popped the skin off (which only required the removal of 250-something clecos) and redrilled the holes, spot checking with an LP4-3. Then we had to debur the 250-something holes, too. (on two sides each).

Did not work on it today, but have been spending (wasting?) a lot of time writing fiction lately.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 38

That was the week that was TW3We feel like this week was not an unalloyed success. We did a lot of work, but many of the stories we worked on did not see the light of day, yet (there’s a lot of writing to be done there yet). We do have a series on fortifications kicking off, and also, some submarine history that we think is neat because we didn’t know it at all.

What we did manage to get up onto the site this week included the resurrection of Tracking Point, some interesting European weapons news including a video inside the new Russian T-14 Armata tank and some ugly SA80 rifle history, as well as more culture stuff than we usually like writing. We’d rather leave that just to the When Guns Are Outlawed series, but… the time is coming when we’ll probably pull the plug on that series, too. The juice may not be worth the squeeze.

The Boring Statistics

This week was an average 2015 week. We posted 29 posts with a lower-than-average 288 comments by press time for this post (like last week, a little under a day late going live), and a total of about 20,000 words. Post count tied with last week, word and comment count  were both down. We did hit the once-a-week millstones, uh, milestones, the W4, Friday TdH, and TW3. No significant numeric milestones this week; in a couple weeks we’ll break 1,000 posts for the year, if that means anything.

The lower energy seems to have shown up also in the hit counts, which are also down a hair. Still much higher than 2014 levels, but not where they’d be if we blasted a few more Rangerette posts, perhaps.

The mean of 709 words was significantly higher than the median (528), probably because two 2000+ word posts skewed the mathematical average higher than the central tendency as measured by a median. There were only 5 posts of over 1000- words, with only two being over 2000. The longest post was the intro to the fortifications series, A Quick Review of US Coastal Fortifications; we put a jump in place rather than push other posts off the front page.

This Week’s Comments

The most commented post was Animal Rights Drone Invades Pigeon Shoot with 35 comments, and the runner-up was If the US Isn’t Serious, Who Is? with 31. The most commented technical post was Just How Bad Was Is the SA-80? with 18.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

Going Forward

This coming week, we’ve got more forts, more subs, more manufacturing technology, and we promise to pull something out of the safes, gun room, or War Room for show n’ tell.

Sunday Sun Withdrawal

It’s that time of year. The sun is down before seven.  If one is going to manage his time, he should manage it early, because the tree-pruning and bike riding hours don’t run as late as we were recently accustomed.

And with the coming of autumn, we have had some rain, the straggling end of storms that have hit more southerly and westerly places harder. We had very little rain this summer and about the average amount of heat, and since we didn’t water the lawn, it barely grew. We’ve mowed perhaps five times since the snow melted in early May.

Shrubs, on the other hand, found water somewhere. We’ve been on a madman’s orgy of cutting them back and still have some bits to do, but they’re the bits that require ladder acrobatics, one of our least loved activities. We actually hired a fellow to do this, but then he did as all handymen seem to do around here, sooner or later, and didn’t show up.

It’s been the last week of having the Blogfather around, before he sensibly decamps to his warm winter home. We have all enjoyed his company, even when he lapses into peremptory Retired CEO mode, which he does less and less these days, anyway.

Tonight, we’ve got everyone (almost, one is preparing to joust with modern medicine in the morning) coming over for a pasta dinner. Blogfather made most of the sauce, and we’re just warming and prepping, so why so panicked?

Normally, in fall, we’d be looking at the start of some new contract, or launching a new business, but we got nothin’ right now, and so this coming week will be one of contemplation, reflection, and redirection.

At least it will be good to get back into regular PT. It’s been a bit to-and-fro this summer, and one doesn’t bounce back as well on this side of the hill as one did on the way up. Still, we intend to make it a very long hill.

But geez, the sun’s only been gone a day and we miss the heck out of that sucker. Maybe it’s time for a new animal or something. (Small Dog just shot us a dirty look. Mind readers, those canines).

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 37

That was the week that was TW3This is been a busy week, and unlike recent weeks, we haven’t really been ahead of things.  Instead, we’ve been playing catch-up. We hate that. Still, we feel like we made some good points this week. We had two good posts on the latest on the German G36 disaster; we had an outstanding guest post from Maxim Popenker on Russian and Sovied captive-piston silent weapons. We show you some new technology in 3-D printing, and an AR 15 receiver made with old technology: carefully shaped from laminated wood.

Along with that, we had our usual observations on the twists and turns of life in the 21st-century, and on the bizarre disconnect between what gun-control proponents think causes crime, and what actual criminals show as their motivation, by what they actually do. (Our best guess as to what motivates crims? They like hurting people and taking their stuff. Nothing more complex than that).

The Boring Statistics

This week was an average week at our higher 2015 levels of activity — maybe a hair above average. We posted 29 posts with some 313 comments by press time for this post (which is less than a day late!), and a total of about 24,000 words. These were both slightly higher than last week’s (although we didn’t get last week’s TW3 up yet at all). No significant milestones this week.

The mean of 825 words was significantly higher than the median (644), which suggests there ere some really long posts that skewed the mathematical average higher than the central tendency as measured by a median. There were 8 posts of over 1000- words, with one being over 000, over over 2000, and one just barely under. We wonder if people read the longer posts (these days, the longest post is the end of week garbage collector, the Friday Tour d’Horizon where we throw in a bunch of things that were cuttering up our too-many tabs).

This Week’s Comments

Nothing really jumped out at us this week, we just enjoyed the usual repartee with the usual suspects. comments are hovering around 300 a week, give or take a few, but some posts get no comments and some get dozens. The most commented post was OT: Who Should Be the Next Bond?, with 36 comments, but the technical New Army Pistol Solicitation Padded, Targeted at Large Contractors drew nearly as many comments (33). Posts on the Rangerettes and the Great West Point Pillow Fight of 2015 were also popular. We’ve noticed that different people comment on, say, the military culture posts and the gun-technical posts. That’s cool: we’ve got something for everyody here.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

Going Forward

This coming week, we’re not sure what we’ve got. By this time, we usually have some of it lined up already. RIght now, we don’t, and you’ll be coming here to dead air monday morning if we don’t figure something out.

But that’s cool. We always do.

A Personal Note to an Individual Reader

This post will likely be meaningless to all but one of you. Still, just for the record —

Being (however rusty) conversant with the German language and modern German culture, we never associated the “bund” in your email address with a reference to anything but the Bundeswehr or the Bundesrepublik Deutschland, both of which, despite inevitably beginning with many who fought for one of the 20th Century’s worst dictatorships, are honorable institutions, and as much as any such institution can be, guided by honorable men.

(And we mean “honorable men” in the literal sense, not in the sense of Marc Antony’s funeral oration in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar).

We never connected your email address with Fritz Kühn and his merry man, a group that are mercifully forgotten over here (although there’s a book on the sphincter muscle somewhere in the UWORL, which is really overdue for reorganization. There’s also several books on FBI agents who infiltrated spy rings associated with that org). Kühn’s organization, the German-American Bund, started out as a cultural organization but he turned it into a de facto arm of Nazi Germany in America. It collapsed when he went to prison — not for being a Nazi, we’re free-speech extremists over here, but for being a Nazi who didn’t pay his taxes. We seem to recall a bunch of other charges and some moral turpitude into the bargain, but, like Al Capone, it was the taxes that did him in.

This is the USA. You can say whatever you please, but the IRS makes sure you pay for the privilege.

To reiterate, the word bund is a very common German word for various kinds of voluntary associations and not many Americans would assume it is related to the German-American Bund of the 1930s. (After all, we daresay the members and the people who disagreed with and opposed them are all as dead as Dickens, of if that haven’t made that great leap into the Choir Invisible, they’re standing in the door). Your gracious apology is noted and accepted, but it was completely unnecessary.

Sunday Solitude

Don’t get that much these days, but we had a half day of solitude this morning, before lunch with the Blogfather. Blogbrother and family are having a family weekend in a crowd of other vacationmakers, something that, inflicted on Your Humble Blogger, would probably induce him to spill the secret code, and Plaintiff and Kid are off with their friends, and apart from Small Dog, whose needs are, after all, small, we had a Saturday and half a Sunday to do absolute squatto. Alone.

Work will resume when people are back around and need hiding from, eh. There are shrubs to trim, perhaps a lawn to mow and certainly to edge, plane parts for priming and a store run must be made if we ever want the garage doors to open again — our sensibly laid aside stock of CR23 batteries turning out to be all CR 123s, a different animal entirely.

Speaking of animals. Small Dog has been out of sorts and barking at every small sound because he’s used to having multiple humans to herd together and some of his humans are missing. Of course, whoever is around is his favorite lap to sleep in, between these endearing bouts of flock withdrawal. He has thoroughly changed our attitude towards snack-sized dogs, just as the late lamented Khalid bin Mahfouz changed our attitude towards cats. While there’s a lot to say for a dog who can knock you over with a wag of his tail, a clingy little perma-puppy (who’s no trouble to clean up after) has his own charms. Talk about paying it forward! The primitive proto-humans who domesticated dogs (not to mention the ancient Egyptians with cats) did us, their descendants, a world of good. One wonders what we will bequeath on our posterity, and whether it will be nearly as valuable.

Sunday Stretch

Have you ever seen an animal stretch? Of course you have. Dogs do it all the time; some of them do it every time they get up. Cats are even more athletic stretchers, which probably goes a long way to explain their prodigious jumping ability. (Our late cat, Khalid bin Mahfouz — named after a terror financier who escaped justice by expiring of natural causes — would periodically turn up on the kitchen rafters, some nine feet above the floor. Sure, he was jumping from the counter to the cabinets, but these were still amazing leaps).

Stretching is good for the human organism, too. Not just physically; physical stretches seem to clear the mind as well.

And figurative stretches are important, too. Recently Your Humble Blogger and the Blogbrother completed the rearmost tailcone bulkhead of the RV-12. It was intimidating to us, as it had a number of rivets that had very long protruding shanks (AN 470 AD4-6s, if you’re a rivet geek, through only about .080″ or so of sheet). It is depressingly easy to turn a long shank, and some of the parts of this bulkhead assembly had required some machining that we wouldn’t care to do over if we wound up having to drill out rivets and produced oversized holes. The tail skid bracket needed to be cut off just so, and from another direction it needed a hole drilled and tapped. Nothing hard, just time-consuming in the setup to do it on a drill press. (A tap is done manually, turning the chuck by hand, with the press just serving to locate the tap and keep it straight). It had been a long time since we’d tapped a hole and we had that virgin delight of test-threading the bolt and having it fit perfectly, a delight that wanes when you do a lot of these, but that comes back in full cry when it’s your first in years.

The hardest stretch is finding the time for everything, and the only thing that works for us is maintaining a list and ruthless prioritization. As a result, there are always things on the list that don’t get done on time or don’t get done at all.

Some of the delayed items include this blog post, which is four hours plus late (albeit backdated); yesterday’s Saturday Matinee, which was posted this morning, about 13 hours late; and yesterdays TW3, which has not been posted at all, yet. (And might not be, as we’re already looking forward to this week).

A variety of mundane delights call us today — the lawnmower, the hedge-trimmers, the wash-and-prime cycle for the next batch of airplane parts, a dunk in the Blogbrother’s pool. A bike ride. PT has suffered a lot, and we can’t have that; we happen to be among the people who will croak if they don’t exercise, so we should be a bit inflexible about it, and this summer, haven’t been.

But can we do all those things?

Maybe. If we stretch.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 35

That was the week that was TW3This week was a busy one, with two of our Saturday posts (Matinee and this TW3) being posted late, and last week’s overdue Saturday posts never getting done at all.

Sigh. Sometimes you have weeks like that.

But we also published some good stuff, and we worked on some good stuff which isn’t published yet, it part because it was more work than we expected. (Funny how that happens).

what we’re thinking around here.

The Boring Statistics

This week was a slightly above average week. We posted 28 posts with a disappointing 269 comments by press time for this post, and a total of over 22,000 words. If we hit any statistical milestones, we didn’t notice them. .

Comments This Week

As mentioned, our comment count was down (many recent weeks have broken 300, and some even 400 comments. Not last week or this one). But we did get some comments of notable quality, and to our delight, the most commented thread was a technical thread on the 1968 vintage Quiet Special Purpose Revolver.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week (note: we’ll come through and blurb and link each of these sometime Sunday night or Monday morning (stricken as done)– apologies for the delay, but analog life takes precedence right now):

Going Forward

We have another incident of a questionable police shooting — but is this one really questionable? The cop lightly wounded the suspect, enablling his apprehension, but killed a citizen in the background as he sprayed out-of-control rounds in random directions.

And we should be able to finish our piece on the so-called “Spetsnaz” ballistic knife, whose origins are lost in the shadows of urban (or prison) legend, but which actually came to be made — and banned — as the legend spread in 1983-84.

We have two guest reports on historic sites in St Augustine, FL, from Our Traveling Reporter who is traveling (what else?) in that region of the country, and they’re stuck in the queue for editing.