Category Archives: Administrivia

Did Our Mother Have Any Children that Lived?

Reasonable question, after this morning’s cock-up. The Walther post was supposed to go live this AM and by midnight it just wasn’t ready, so we punted to this morning, finished it… and put it up as of 0600.

About 1100 we noticed it wasn’t there. When we went to launch the 1100 post. We put it up as of 0600 all right but not 0600 today… so we went back and exhumed it, and reinterred it in the appropriate grave site.

So today’s posts will be slightly delayed (by about one slot) and the Friday Tour d’Horizon may be canc’d.

We also took the time to dig through the spam queue and liberated three or four real comments from among several hundred spams. (We receive 4 point something spams for every real human comment, and our automated tools catch almost all the former and very few, thank Heaven, of the latter. And we’ve received over 25k real comments since starting the blog, so you do the math!) If you are Y., or Desertrat, or a couple of other regulars and wonder what happened to some comment(s) or other of yours, it has been sprung from comment purgatory and now basks in Elysium. Well, it’s in the post to which you posted it, finally.

Sunday Sweat

Arrgggghhh… behind again. In any event, our morning posts may be a bit late this week as we catch up on some back stuff and get morning PT back onto the schedule. NO going into the office first, going to the exercise room first. Round is a shape, but it shouldn’t be if one is SF.

That Was the Week that Was: 2015 Week 41

That was the week that was TW3Behind, behind, behind. This is the third straight TW3 to fail to go up on time; indeed, the previous two (and their week’s movie reviews) didn’t launch at all, which makes us feel a little better, because at least we got you a Saturday Matinee before the weekend was out.

Still, fun stuff like regular daily life around Hog Manor, walking Small Dog, preparing for the onslaught that will be New Hampster winter (in part, by decamping from time to time to warmer climes), and the regular writing of regular stories — of which there were fewer than normal this week, but with more words, as you’ll see — take up time.

And the airplane project continues apace. Sunday night (the night after this post was supposed to go up, backdated into its slot) we wound up taking off a temporarily attached fuselage skin panel because we didn’t like the way it fit. One of the edges had a gap here and there — only 0.010″ or 0.020″ (that’s twenty-thousandths of an inch) — but you could see it, and so we took the skin off, and ran an edge-breaker along its edge, and clecoed it back in place. No gap. Smiles all round. The skin itself is a marvel — only 0.020″ thick, it gets its strength from any ridges in it, and by being attached to formers and other skins in a semi-monocoque structure.

We’ve also been prepping wing ribs. Each one has 65 holes in it, all of which are a hair undersize, so we have to drill them out and deburr them (we’d have to deburr them any way). Then wash, etch, rinse, prime, dry… and assemble. There are, we think, 24 ribs, which gets us to 1560 holes have to be finish-drilled, and 3120 sides of these 1560 holes need a kiss from the deburring tool (all the edges of the ribs need deburring, too).  Wait, is that 24 ribs per side? If so, double everything! Whatever it is, there’s drilling enough to entertain the Rong Brothers for quite some time.

Airplane parts have inundated the gunsmithing bench, rather like asylum seekers and European borders. The difference is, we’re not just pretending to want the airplane parts. But of course, the guns are not getting smitten at the moment.

The Boring Statistics

This week saw a brief interruption in the regular four-posts-most-weekdays posting schedule. Wednesday we just gave up after When Guns Are Outlawed and did analog stuff for a while. We posted 27 posts instesd of the “new normal” of 29, leaving off the end of the day (1800) post and the Wednesday Weapons Website of the Week. We had heavier than usual traffic thanks to an Instalanche (thanks Glenn & Ed) and some other mentions on heavily trafficked blogs (thanks John, Ace & Maetenloch), all linked to a post from last week: Smart Diplomacy, etc. by the Roman Numerals). We had 333 comments by our somewhat en retard press time for this post, and a high-ish total of over 26,000 words. We didn’t pass significant milestones this week, but unless and until we backfill the week 40 TW3,we ought to mention two from that week: on 2 Oct 15, we had our 1,000th post of the year go live, and some time that week we passed 25,000 approved comments since the blog went live on 1 Jan 2012.

Our word count was higher than usual and what drove that was a few long posts. We had one over 3,000 words, three more over 2,000 words, and another five more (counting this one) of over 1,000 words — every one of those being a gross violation of every rule and guideline for web writing. Well, if you want clickbait as deep as a birdbath, Buzzfeed is still in business for now.

Those long posts drove a large delta between mean post length (950 words!) and median (~700).

The Week in Posts

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

Going Forward

We have tons of stuff lined up for this week but hate to promise specifics. We will say you’re going to be seeing more of the Castillo de San Marcos. By the way, for anyone planning a visit to NE Florida and San Augustine, if you’re interested in military history or military medicine do not miss the Spanish Hospital.

OT: Effects of an Instalanche, etc.

This week, our tale of computer content-filter woe whilst preparing for the 2002 World  (OK, Afghan Tour, although we did scatter guys across Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and occasionally Pakistan)  struck a chord. We got picked up by Ace of Spades HQ, Hogewash, and (far from least) Ed Driscoll at Since we’ve been reading them from five or so years (Hoge) to sometime before 9/11 (Instapundit and Ace), this is humbling. It also has concrete effects, as the graph below subtly hints:


That, dear friends, is the signature of an Instalanche, which we’ve had a couple times before, but is always welcome. As you can see, we normally poke around with about 4500-6000 unique visitors a day, which seems to us to be quite a few for a narrow specialty blog. But what’s really interesting is what happened when these sites, Ace, Hoge, and Instapundit, picked up a story.

Given their own sites’ volume, the click-through percentage was probably really small, but it still nearly doubled our traffic, starting when the first site mentioned it on 5 October. This graph in this post isn’t interactive, but the one in our admin console tells us that we peaked on 6 October with over 10,000 unique visitors in 24 hours. We expect that some of those newbies will look around and leave, and some will find the site congenial and join our regulars — the visits of both kinds of vistors are welcomed and appreciated. After every such “honorable mention” out-blog we’ve gained a few regular hangers-on.

What’s really interesting is what happened with “visits,” which is the statistical software’s term for page loads. The average visitor on 6 October visited a pretty routine two-point-something-small pages. But on 7 October, the average visitor loaded more than six pages. That suggests to us that some of the 5-6 October visitors are hanging around, looking at more pages as they decide whether our little corner of the net should be part of their daily infotainment time budget.

But that’s not what’s really really interesting — what’s really interesting, is the curious incident of the dog in the night-time, here. The dog that did not bark is comments. There have been a decent level, but not a crazy flow, of comments, and new first-time commenters don’t seem many more than usual.

Here, we postulate that the new users are scouting out the lay of the land before they join our post-blogpost repartee. And that’s perfectly alright, too.

Naturally we’re very grateful to Maetenloch at Ace, William Hoge at Hogewash, and Ed Driscoll at Instapundit for the links. And we’re grateful for each and every one who comes here to read this stuff. May you continue to be as entertained by the conversation as we are!

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.