Archive for category: General

Rules and Harm

13 Apr
April 13, 2018

The girlfriend and I were out shopping because she needed a new pan. In the parking lot, we came across a truck that had taken up two parking slots. The GF harrumphed and said how she hated people who did that. I saw the same thing, but it didn’t bother me so much. Why? Because the truck wasn’t in a premium area of the lot, and there was plenty of other parking.

My girlfriend was annoyed because the driver was breaking the rules. I wasn’t annoyed because (s)he wasn’t causing harm. I’ve found that such criteria has become much more important as I’ve matured.

Random Thoughts on a Friday

06 Apr
April 6, 2018
  1. Physical therapy is much easier to deal with when liberal amounts of Sabaton are applied.

  2. Facebook thinks I’m politically “very conservative.” This May come as a shock to some of my conservative friends who think I’m too liberal.

  3. I don’t know why my iTunes refuses to go past step 5 on syncing my phone. And google has not been much help either.

  4. Reading a bunch of resumes makes me glad that I don’t have a job that requires me to do that on a regular basis.

  5. That point of just finished being sick is almost as bad as being sick. I feel so much better that I think I should be able to do everything I was doing before, but not back to full strength, so I can’t.

  6. Trying to put something on my blog every day makes me appreciate the folks who manage to do that and keep a regular full time job that isn’t blogging.

  7. As much as I enjoy working from home, there are times that having my home workstation so close to my personal system provides too much temptation. Particularly when I finally figured out something for the story I’m working on.

Every Day Carry

30 Mar
March 30, 2018

I’m listening to the Clockwise podcast, and the bonus topic is “What indispensable piece of non-tech do you carry every day?” The answers were a water bottle, a special kind of wallet, a microfiber cloth, and a nail clipper.”

I realize that the people on the tech podcasts generally don’t intersect with the people on my gun podcasts, but I was amazed that none of them said a pocketknife.

I started thinking about my EDC. So, for 2018, my current EDC:

Wallet

I use a Saddleback Large Leather wallet.. I keep one of those credit card multi-tools inside it.

Keys

I have a key ring that uses little caribiners to attach keys or other items. In addition to my keys, I have a Kingston 32GB flash drive, [Gerber Shard](tool, and a Surefire Sidekick.

EDC Pouch

This is one of those Maxpedition pocket pouches that I stash useful stuff: 1. First aid kit – needs a tourniquet, but decent for handling minor issues 2. Trauma shears – small pair for cutting bandages and clothes 3. Bic disposal lighter 4. Tweezers 5. Lightning to 3.5 mm adapter 6. Anker lipstick battery 7. Short lightning cable 8. Spare CR123 and AAA batteries 9. Reusable twist ties 10. Lightning to micro USB adapter 11. 32GB flash drive 12. Emergency cash

Pocketknife

Currently, I’m carrying a Leatherman Skeletool. It’s a bit “friendlier” for some of the areas I go.

Flashlight

Currently, I have an older Streamlight ProTac. I want to upgrade to one of the new ones. Must have all the lumenz!

Pepper Spray

I’ve got a little Sabre canister

Earbuds

Currently, I’m using a pair of Apple AirPods. Expensive, but worth the cost IMHO

Phone

I’m using an iPhone 8. I have the 256 model because I cram it with audiobooks.

Watch

I’m using a Series 1 Apple Watch, but will probably upgrade sometime this year.

Pen

Either an S&W M&P or CRKT tactical pen.

Sidearm

Unless I’m going to someplace I’m not legally allowed to carry, I generally have my first gen M&P9 with at least 1 spare magazine.

Ruminations on Travel

19 Mar
March 19, 2018

Work sent me to a conference in Las Vegas last week. A few tidbits:

  1. I still hate flying commercial.
  2. I hate flying American slightly less than flying United.
  3. The Vegas TSA set up was a bit more efficient than Tampa.
  4. I still think TSA’s a fucking joke.
  5. Why can’t a hotel have a pillow with a firmness above politician spine?
  6. My best taxi ride was worse than my worst Lyft ride. All of that quality for twice the price of ride sharing.
  7. When your hotel isn’t exactly in the best part of town, UberEats is very useful.
  8. Travel is hell on a diet.
  9. It’s amazing how much writing I can get done in the fifteen minutes before a presentation starts.
  10. It’s also amazing how only the vendors I’m not interested in are the ones that pay attention to me.
  11. No, I didn’t gamble. I know math. More importantly, I know statistics and I’m too frugal with my per diem.
  12. Going from Eastern Standard to Pacific Standard back to Eastern Standard and then to Eastern Daylight will totally confuse your body clock.
  13. It also fucks with remembering to hit my Star Wars game to get bonus energy.
  14. Oh, look at all the emails! From just missing five days. And how many are actually critical. Less than a dozen.
  15. Friends that come over everyday to watch your cats for you are golden. Friends who also clean your back porch better than it’s been since you owned the house are platinum.

State of My Podcasts

07 Mar
March 7, 2018

I’m going to try and do this on an annual basis. Part of it’s my own curiosity at how my podcast habits change. I’m also curious what others think about the same podcasts and which podcasts come and go.

I’m going to list the podcasts into some broad groups, with any annotations about frequency I listen to them or general impressions.

I listen to my podcasts in Overcast. I use four playlists:

  1. Daily – This is a playlist of what I want to listen to during my commutes, work, and other times. Some of the podcasts are put to the top on certain days. Some are “promotable”, which means they go to the top behind that day’s podcasts. The rest are filler, and I’ll get to them when I can.

  2. Writing – I use this as a warm-up for when I’m going to write as well as general knowledge to improve my writing

  3. Roman History – This one has two finished podcast series I’m listening about the history of Rome from its early beginnings to the fall of the Byzantine Empire

  4. History – Self explanatory

My podcasts as of March 2018:

Liberty

Cato Daily Podcast – A good quick bit in various topics from a libertarian viewpoint. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist.

Cato Events Podcast – Recordings of various panels put on by the Cato Institute. I’ve heard a lot of very interesting discussions and arguments. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist. I will delete if the topic doesn’t interest me, as these can be pretty long.

Clear and Present Danger -A History of Free Speech – This is a Friday morning podcast on my “Daily” playlist. Still a little uncertain about this one.

The Good Fight – Formerly “The Liberty Files”, this one is a promotable on my “Daily” playlist. This is one I like using for hearing the conservative side of civil liberty discussions. A bit heavier on the freedom of religion than I’d like, but understandable from the hosts’ perspective.

Reason Podcast – Reason’s weekly podcast with their editors is promotable on my Daily playlist. The others are filler. Some good content and some that just don’t interest me.

Short Circuit – From the Institute of Justice, this one discusses notable cases that IJ is a part of. This is a promotable on my Daily playlist.

So To Speak – FIRE’s podcast discussing free speech issues. This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

Economics

Econtalk – Economist Russ Roberts does great interviews with a wide variety of guests and topics. I’ve been learning a lot. This is a Tuesday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

GAO Podcast – GAO discussing some of their reviews. This one I use as filler on my “Daily” playlist

History

Hardcore History – Dan Carlin’s storytelling on various topics is spellbinding. This is promotable on my History playlist on the infrequent occasions new podcasts show up.

Hardcore History: Addendum – New one from Dan Carlin. The first two were interesting. This will be promotable if he continues.

The History of Byzantium – I only listened to a couple of episodes. It’s on my “Roman History” playlist to go after the “History of Rome”

The History of Rome – This one is on my “Roman History” playlist. Good for amateur historians like me. It’s a finished series.

Revolutions – Really good series on various revolutions. Each season goes through one of the more pivotal revolutions in history, starting with the English Revolution. I’ve listened to the first four seasons. This is on my History playlist.

War Stories – Good military history podcast. It’s in my “History” playlist.

Guns

Black Man With A Gun Podcast – Kenn’s podcast was one of the first I started listening to, and then I wrote Zombie Strike for him. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Down Range Radio – Right now, this is my Wednesday morning podcast, but it may get downgraded to promotable. Some of Bane’s nonsense and glad standing is getting on my nervesz On my Daily playlist.

Geeks Gadgets and Guns – A recent addition after they discussed Pathfinder with Erin Pallette. Right now it’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

The Gun Nation – This one is promotable on my Daily playlist on the rare occasions it drops.

Handgun Radio – This one I’ve been enjoying. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Handgun World – This one might go from promotable to fuller on my Daily playlist. Bob has good information, but sometimes his views annoy me, particularly when he goes off on rising evil.

Polite Society Podcast – Good information, but often too long. This one is filler on my Daily playlist

Riding Shotgun With Charley – Interesting so far, but currently filler on my Daily playlist

Safety Solutions Academy – Real good information. Paul is one of those trainers I’d like to learn from if I could scrape together the time and money. This one is promotable on my Daily playlist.

Self-Defense Gun Stories – I like the analysis of what went right and wrong from a variety of professional trainers. This one is a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Politics

The Economist – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. It provides a different perspective and reports on areas that barely hit my normal feeds.

The Fifth Column – This is a really good roundup focusing on the issues of the day and how the media reports them. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen – Charles C. Cooke. That’s why I listen to this podcast. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Neal Boortz Daily Commentaries – I loved listening to Boortz when he was on syndicated radio, and now I get two minutes of him. It’s interesting to see how I’ve diverged from him over the years. It’s only considered promotable on my Daily playlist because I get it daily.

The One With Greg Gutfeld – Only listened to a couple of episodes, but it feels similar to Greg’s Redeye days. Currently promotable on my Daily playlist.

Part of the Problem – Rabid anti war libertarian comedian Dave Smith is interesting. He’s certainly challenging some of my ideas. Promotable on my Daily playlist.

War College – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. An interesting look at politics and military issues.

Tech

Clockwise – This is a Friday morning podcast on my Daily playlist. I like the format and it helps keep me up to date on tech issues and trends.

Daily Tech Headlines – Good summary of big tech stories, and the weekend history segments are interesting. It’s considered promotable on my Daily playlist only becuse it comes out every day.

General

Friendly Fire – New one about three guys watching and critiquing war films. It’s a Friday afternoon podcast on my Daily playlist.

The Incomparable Game Show – Often hilarious, sometimes dangerously so when driving. It’s a Friday afternoon podcast on my Daily playlist.

Penn’s Sunday School – Penn prognosticating on the world. It’s a Tuesday and a Thursday morning podcast on my Daily Playlist.

Squirrel Report – It’s not a Friday afternoon drive without this one.

Unjustly Maligned – On hiatus, but I’d recommend going through the back of episodes.

The Way I Heard It With Mike Rowe – After growing up with Paul Harvey’s “The Rest of the Story”, this one is a wonderful substitute. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Science & Skepticism

Skeptics Guide to The Universe – This was my first science podcast and really helped forge my skepticism. It’s a Monday morning podcast on my Daily playlist.

Skeptoid – Another one that helped in developing my skeptical outlook. It’s a promotable on my Daily playlist.

Writing

Writing Excuses – If you are a fiction writer, I can’t recommend this one highly enough. It’s currently the only one on my Writing playlist.

Concerting on the other side of 40

24 Sep
September 24, 2017

I’ve noticed two big differences in how I approach concerts than I did when I was younger.

  1. I no longer feel the need or desire to be in the crush around the stage. Hell, I’m willing to pAy a bit extra to get seats away from the floor.

  2. Ear pro. I remember boasting of being slightly deaf to my dad after he picked me up from a Faith No More concert. I was stupid back then.

I’m sure there are more, but those were the two that stuck out at me.

Why Am I An Optimist?

29 Aug
August 29, 2017

Because as bad as civil discourse on social media can get, there are people who prove that when the fecal matter impacts the turbine the good get going. Case in point: the Cajun Navy.

http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/ct-cajun-navy-hurricane-harvey-20170828-story.html

These are folks who dropped everything, hitched up their boats, and drove for hours on the chance that they can rescue people in their darkest hour. Not because someone was paying them or they were forced to at gunpoint, but because of an altruistic desire to save lives. One guy in the article reports rescuing forty people. Forty Frickin’ People.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m generally optimistic when it comes to people.

Want to Help Harvey’s Victims?

29 Aug
August 29, 2017

Charity Navigator put up its vetted charities working to help the victims from Hurricane Harvey.

https://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=content.view&cpid=5239

Mine will be going to the American Red Cross, but find one that appeals to you.

Derek’s Mildly Useful Reviews – The Hitman’s Bodyguard

27 Aug
August 27, 2017

I suck at doing reviews. Still, I feel the need to express my opinions about various things. So, for my first mildly useful review, “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”.

TL;DR – Amusing as hell with a decent amount of pleasing action tropes

The Good:

1. Ryan Reynolds

2. Samuel L. Jackson

3. Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson playing off of each other

4. Lots of gunfights, chases, and explosions

5. Selma Hayek

The Bad:

1. Plot barely hangs together

2. Reynolds love story is kinda stupid

3. This is not “John Wick” with better actors

Pat and Martina Do a Duet

07 Apr
April 7, 2015

Miguel posted this video up of Pat Benetar and Martina McBride singing Martina’s “Independence Day.”

https://youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Zbv5iJEDzN8

I absolutely adore Martina’s expression when Pat sings the chorus. You can just see how honored she is that this legend is singing her song.

Yes, as surprising as this might be, I do like music other than metal.