Metal Tuesday- Icons For Hire – Cynics & Critics

18 Dec
December 18, 2018

Yay for a new female-fronted band. With a catchy name even.

Issues with iOS 12.1.1

17 Dec
December 17, 2018

I started having issues with my phone last week. Turns out that iOS 12.1.1 has some nasty bugs. In my case, my browsers and some of my apps don’t want to talk to the internet outside of WiFi. It may be causing some issues with my CarPlay.

If you haven’t updated yet, you may want to hold off until the next one.

Friday Quote – H.L. Mencken

14 Dec
December 14, 2018

The kind of man who wants the government to adopt and enforce his ideas is always the kind of man whose ideas are idiotic.

Duty to Protect?

13 Dec
December 13, 2018

Scot Peterson, the coward SRO who hid instead of confronting a murderer, tried to have a civil suit against him dismissed because he had no duty to protect the students and faculty. Much to my surprise, the judge was disinclined to acquiesce to his request. The civil suit continues.

I’m surprised because the courts have long held that the police do not have a specific duty to protect the citizenry. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be a case of the judge going against precedent. From my read, the judge is saying as the SRO, it was part of Peterson’s job to provide security.

So, we’re still on our own.

Single Payer Is Not A Good Thing

12 Dec
December 12, 2018

John Stossel has an article over at Reason on some of the reasons why single-payer healthcare is a bad thing. One of the fun quotes:

…Canada, England, Norway, Cuba, and a few other countries do have genuine single-payer. I’m constantly told that it works well—people get good care and never have to worry about a bill. They spend less on health care and live longer.

[Chris] Pope says that claim is naive.

They do live longer in many of those countries, but it’s not because they get superior health care; it’s because fewer of them are fat; fewer crash cars; and they shoot each other less often. “Take out (obesity), car accidents and gun violence, the difference in life expectancy disappears entirely,” Pope says.

The article doesn’t even touch one of my fundamental critiques – namely, don’t give government control of stuff you don’t want to see denied to people who think like you. Both sides have weaponized different parts of the government for their own ends. Now imagine what they can do with total control over healthcare.

Metal Tuesday- Bloodbound – Battle in the Sky

11 Dec
December 11, 2018

A new favorite that recently popped into my feeds.

Police and Armed Citizens

10 Dec
December 10, 2018

Via Miguel comes an article about how police need to learn how to deal with the prevalence of armed citizens. Including armed citizens who may not look like the stereotypical concealed carrier.

This has been a tough year for police and armed citizens alike. In 2018, we’ve seen a number of tragic mistakes made by police officers who shot and killed lawfully armed citizens in error, including a homeowner in Aurora, Colorado, a security guard in Chicago, Illinois, and a Thanksgiving eve shopping mall patron in Hoover, Alabama, among others.

RTWT, because there’s a lot of good information to be gleaned from the armed citizen side. Particularly on current police mindset and what we can do to help minimize fatal mistakes. Plus how we can help identify each other in a bad situation.

Friday Quote – H.L. Mencken

07 Dec
December 7, 2018

The trouble with fighting human freedom is that one spends most of one’s time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.

Gun Cams For Cops

06 Dec
December 6, 2018

From the Gun Writer comes a story about an Arizona department adding cameras to their guns. They will start recording when drawn and stop recording when holstered.

Personally, I like the idea. I think body and gun cameras when used appropriately can help protect LEOs from false accusations, bring bad LEOs to account, provide neutral evidence, and be used for training.

The trick is to make sure that the cameras are used, and used appropriately, and the chain of custody is followed.

My Ice Breaker Speech

05 Dec
December 5, 2018

Last week, I gave my Ice Breaker Speech at Toastmasters. It went well enough that I won Best Speaker for the night and garnered a lot of praise and good feedback. So, I thought I would at least share the text:

I’m Just A Writer

Fellow Toastmasters, and honored guests. Before I tell you about me, I’d like to tell you about a friend of mine – Mark. If you saw him on the street, you wouldn’t even notice him. Average height, average build, average face, average brown hair. Behind that plain facade, however, he is a most unusual person. Most of the people who know him say he’s brash and obnoxious. He’s got a bit of a chip on his shoulder. You might as well if you were ripped away from one family to a new new family that calls you an abomination. This pushes Mark to be the best there is at what he does. What does he do? He’s an assassin. And he’s a werewolf. No, Mark is not a flesh and blood person, but he’s still very real to me. As real as everyone here. Don’t worry, I’m not crazy, I’m just a writer.

If you ask me what I do, I’ll say “I’m a data analyst.” I love my day job. It’s the perfect mix of routine and complex tasks. Plus, it pays the bills. On the other hand, if you ask me what I am, I’ll tell you – I’m a writer. A storyteller. A spinner of tales. I create fantastic worlds inhabited by amazing people. I tell stories of adventure, action, drama, war, and occasionally romance. Some of my stories are pulpy, some are more grounded in realism, but all are designed to do one thing – entertain. Even if the only person I’m entertaining is myself.

I will say my writing has, shall we say, enhanced some quirks. For example, you shouldn’t worry if you hear me talking to myself. Often, I’m just running dialogue. How else will I know if it sounds natural if I don’t hear the words? I can live with the occasional odd look if my characters sound right. After all, I’m not really hearing voices, I’m just a writer.

My other interests complement and feed my writing. Let’s take history for example. Dan Carlin, often comments on his Hardcore History podcast that if you want to see how humans will react to any situation, look at history. The width and breadth of human civilizations are a fertile ground for any writer looking for inspiration. Want to have an idea of how people will act if aliens invaded? Look at what happened when to the Chinese and Muslim empires when the Mongols burst from the steppe. My interest in armed combat help me frame and write action scenes that are somewhat realistic, even if the setting is fantastic. Then there’s the soundtrack for writing. Some of it’s modern stuff – power metal, rock, and techno, some that date back centuries. So, if you hear me singing something in an archaic or unusual language, I’m not channeling spirits, I’m just a writer.

Can you imagine what’s the first question people ask when I tell them I’m a writer? “What have you published?” Patrick Rothfuss, who actually is a successful writer, said that writing is one of the only hobbies where you’re considered a failure unless you’re a professional. I’ll admit to some fear of rejection, and also of the marketing slog to get my works out there. For now, I’m content to pluck away at my keyboard, working hard to translate the pictures in my head to words on the screen. Sometimes that doesn’t go as smoothly as I’d like. Don’t worry though, it’s a frustration I’ve learned to live with. After all, I’m a writer.