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Holy Shit…

We’re buying a house today.

Update: All the documents have been signed. We are now the proud owners of

A mortgage. And a kick-ass new house.

Clearing the Browser Tabs

This week’s kind of a big one at the Ward household as we’re closing on the new Ward Estate of Northern Rural Suburbia. Yeah, I’ll explain that later. Today, it’s links.

From Military.com comes an older article on Sig delivering its final prototypes for the new Army SAW. Including chambering in a new 6.8mm cartridge. The article expects new individual rifles in that chamber next year.

In the “Yes, Please” category, Variety reports that the Justified crew are looking to bring Raylan back in a new series. Still need to get The Wife through that series.

The title of this NY Post story kicked over my giggle box. Cancel culture is out of control – and Gen X is our only hope. Considering how overlooked the Gen Xers, I find this highly amusing.

I’ve got two articles from The Wirecutter. The first is how to clean your ear buds.. The second one is on why many of The Wirecutter’s picks are on the expensive side. These are good principles when looking at any purchase.

I’ve got an article from the Mises Institute on why everyone is so more freaked out about the riot at the Capitol. I refuse to call that an insurrection any more than I’d call a violent BLM an insurrection. It was a violent political protest, not an attempt to take over the government.

Finally, The Firearms Blog has a look at the 1986 Miami Shootout. This is one of those seminal gunfights that people who are serious about using guns in self-defense should study. How to stay in the fight when you’re hurt, nothing seems to be working, and everything around you is going to hell.

Metal Tuesday- Delain- Art Kills

This is a pretty good one off their newest album.

Monday Fiction – Zombie Strike – Part 6 – Chapter 63

The village of Rosca, island of Corsica, 14 August 2010, 0320 Hours Local: Countdown: 1 Year, 2 months, 16 days

Mateo Cortez watched as the monster slid on its snake-like body out into the corridor. That was the only part of the monster that was even remotely recognizable. Above the snake was a mass of gray flesh crisscrossed with pulsing vessels. Four appendages sprouted irregularly from the torso. Two ended in three finger hands while the other two were more like tentacles. And the eyes. Unblinking human-like eyes of different colors were dotted across the front of the creature. It was the closest thing Mateo had ever seen to the horrors that Lovecraft described.

One of the monster’s tentacles shot out at Mateo. He sidestepped, but he wasn’t fast enough. The tentacle ripped across his bracer and tore the PDA off. Mateo winced. It felt as if he’d just blocked a fast ball with his forearm. The other tentacle punched his chest plate. Mateo fell back as the wind was pushed out of his lungs. He gulped air trying to get his breath back. Before he could get back up, Jim stood over him. The tall cowboy fired his Big Horn .500 as fast as he could into the monster. The booms came fast and furious. It sounded like Jim was firing a machine gun instead of a lever action rifle. The bullets tore ragged holes in the monster. Thick, black fluid spurted out. A noxious odor filled the corridor. The monster made no sound. It whipped one of its tentacles across Jim’s face. The cowboy dropped to the concrete floor and didn’t move.

Mateo raised his M4 and emptied the magazine in one long burst across the front of the creature. It flinched back as a line of black ooze billowed up from Mateo’s burst. Mateo quickly jumped to his feet. He could hear the others firing, but after the concussive blasts from Jim’s big rifle, they sounded far off. It took Mateo a moment to realize they weren’t firing at the creature in front of him. He needed to see what was happening behind him, but Mateo didn’t dare turn away from the monster. Not until it was dead. Both tentacles shot out at him. He ducked the first one, but the second wrapped around his M4. More from instinct than tactical knowledge, Mateo let go of his carbine and drew his pistol. The tentacle yanked on the M4. Connected by the weapon’s sling, Mateo was jerked off of his feet and flew towards the monster. He lined up the Sig’s sights on one of big holes from Jim’s rifle. Mateo squeezed the trigger. The pistol roared once, twice, and kept on firing until the slide locked back on an empty magazine. The tentacle quit pulling on the M4. Mateo fell to the concrete floor. He felt his shoulder dislocate as it took the brunt of the fall. As Mateo changed the magazine on his carbine as fast as he could one-handed. Another thing Collin drilled into him over the past few months. The monster’s left side didn’t seem to be working. The tentacle and hand on that half of its torso hung limply. All of the haunting eyes were fully dilated, to the point they were almost completely black. The other tentacle and arm swung wildly. Mateo aimed the carbine at another hole. His shoulder screamed in pain. Blinking back tears, Mateo fired a two second burst into the hole. The other two appendages froze in mid-swing. The creature slid back into the doorway it had emerged from.

Mateo wanted to sink down to the floor and wait for Tredegar to come and fix him. He didn’t have that luxury. Letting the M4 hang on its sling, Mateo turned to see what the rest of his team was fighting. Quentin, Sport, and Tredegar were fighting a five-foot tall humanoid creature. Humanoid in as much as it had two arms with hands and two legs. It had no head. Two red eyes the size of saucers blinked from the shoulders. A mouth of dagger-sharp teeth snarled from the creature’s midsection. Mateo watched as Sport poured an entire magazine from his MP5/10 into the monster. The bullets didn’t even puncture the thick leathery hide. Billy was facing off with what looked like a red leather saber tooth tiger. Jess was still balled up on the floor.

Billy could probably handle his enemy. Mateo wasn’t exactly sure what Billy’s limits were, but he was pretty sure the pup wasn’t going to hit them facing off with the monster. The others needed his help. Mateo strode over to them, his shoulder protesting every movement. The headless monster jabbed at Sport with a meaty fist. The Brit nearly tripped over his legs as he scrambled back from the punch. Quentin saw an opening and clubbed the creature in its mouth with his warhammer. Two of the teeth broke. A booming scream of pain filled the corridor. Tredegar uselessly fired his M4 at the creature.

“Sport, can you pitch a grenade into its mouth?” Mateo asked.

“Are you bloody insane?” Sport said, “The blast will kill us all.”

“We’re going to die if we don’t kill this thing,” Mateo countered. Sport clearly didn’t like either option, but he plucked a concussion grenade off his chest. Sport fell into a pitching stance and froze. A few seconds passed as Mateo, Quentin, and Tredegar placed shots at the monster’s huge eyes. The bullets didn’t puncture the eyes, but they did hurt the monster. It roared in anguish. Sport hurled the grenade into the monster’s open mouth. The maw clamped shut as the grenade slammed into the back. There was a muffled thunderclap an instant before the team was coated in sticky pieces of monster. Tredegar and Sport both bent over and vomited. Mateo turned to face the last monster. It was already over. Billy had the monster on its back. Fleshy bits were strewn around the spirit wolf. The wolf’s pure white pelt wasn’t even dotted with blood or gore. Billy leapt back over to Jess. He stood protectively over the girl’s still form.

“Well that was disappointing,” Alan said from behind his invisible shield. Mateo stormed to the edge of the shield. Alan met Mateo’s glare and shivered involuntarily. There were reasons Mateo was the leader of Zombie Strike.

“Lower this shield, give us Collin, and I’ll let you live,” Mateo said in a tight, controlled voice.

“I don’t think so,” Alan said.

“The rest of my men will have cleared out your few remaining cultists upstairs and probably have the horde you made out of the townspeople under control,” Mateo told Alan, “We’ve beaten back everything you could throw at us. We can wait you out.” Alan cocked his head like he was listening to an earpiece.

“Right now, the rest of your team is holed up at the edge of town with the zombies surrounding them. I will give those Army boys some credit. They did manage to wipe out the Truth’s forces here before the horde pushed them back into that little store.” Alan looked sincerely impressed.

“I can hold this shield up as long as I need to,” Alan continued, “Which is about three hours. After that, Mikhail and his elite forces will port into the facility and take all of you. So, why don’t you make yourselves comfortable and just wait for the inevitable? I’m sure that medic of yours could patch up that shoulder. It must hurt something fierce.” Mateo snarled incoherently at Alan. The sorcerer laughed.

Mateo hit the floor as the sound of gun shots boomed through the corridor. Alan collapsed to the floor. Behind him, Mateo saw Collin’s outstretched arm fall limply back to his side. The Glock clattered across the concrete floor. The man looked utterly exhausted. He must have expended the very last bit of his energy to shoot Alan in the back. Mateo got up off the floor and walked towards Collin. Pain and purple light sparked across him. The shield was still up.

“Go Mattie,” Collin said breathlessly, “I don’t know how long that shield is going to be up.”

“You know what’s going to happen if we leave?” Mateo asked.

“Better this way,” Collin said. An uncomfortable silence fell between the two men. “One other thing Mattie.”

“Yeah?”

“Get that warrant officer on the team,” Collin said, “You’ll need him.” Mateo nodded. He already decided to make the offer to Stahl. Collin’s request gave Mateo a boost of confidence. Mateo turned away from Collin, unable to say good-bye to the man. His emotions were still too conflicted. The team didn’t say anything as they collected Jim and Jess and hustled up the steps. Mateo looked back at Collin just before he climbed the steps. Collin simply nodded. Outside the town center, corpses littered the plaza. Mateo could hear the gunfire coming from where the rest of his team fought the zombies.

“Stahl, this is Cortez,” Mateo said over the radio, “Can you be extracted?”

“Yeah,” came the clipped reply, “We’re on the roof right now.”

“I’m calling Blackout,” Mateo told the warrant officer.

“We’ll be ready.” Mateo switched frequencies on his radio. His team had overheard his half of the conversation. They were already getting prepared.

“Blackout. I say again, Blackout,” Mateo said into the radio.

“Confirmed. Blackout,” a neutral voice replied. Mateo signaled to Sport. The man cracked two large chemlights. No visible light came from the two sticks, but they would glow brilliantly in the infrared goggles of the helicopter pilots. Ten minutes later, the night was turned to day by the brilliant halogens from a hovering helicopter. Three black-clad soldiers rappelled down. In less than two minutes, the entire team was secured in the cargo bay. Mateo saw a similar helicopter hovering above where the Stahl’s team was fighting. He closed his eyes as the helicopter roared seaward.

Fifteen minutes after the two teams were extracted, the C-17 Globemaster loitering over the town opened its cargo doors. Two GBU-43 MOAB’s opened their drag chutes and were pulled out of the cargo bay. The designers joked that MOAB mean “Mother Of All Bombs” with good reason. These were the most powerful non-nuclear bombs that the American military had in its inventory. The first bomb dropped quickly and detonated about five hundred feet above the town. Everything standing was obliterated. Then the second bomb pounded into where the town center once stood. It penetrated down into the base’s lower level and exploded.

[Zombie Strike Part 6 Chapter 64 – Epilogue]

Friday Quote – Clementine Puddleford

Never grow a wishbone, daughter, where your backbone ought to be.

Thinking About Year-Round DST

I hate the “fall back” and “spring ahead” of the changing between Daylight Savings Time. I’ve been advocating for us to pick one and just stick with it. There’s movement among the states to go to year-round daylight savings time, and I was all for it. That was until I heard the host talk about when the nation tried it back in 1974.

It was 1974, and the energy crisis was cutting into the American way of life, with odd-even gas rationing, a national speed limit and shortened Nascar races. The Emergency Daylight Saving Time Act signed by President Nixon dictated that clocks would spring forward one hour on Jan. 6 — and stay that way for almost 16 months, until April 27, 1975.

By fall, the dark mornings were apparently wearing on the American people. Proclaiming “it’s for the children” — those scholars standing at bus stops in the predawn — lawmakers threw in the towel of gloom. Year-round DST was scrapped, and on Oct. 27, clocks fell back.

Empirical evidence of a failed national experiment is a pretty strong argument against year-round DST. Not sure if that would mean the same for year-round standard time. I know where my proclivities lie, which makes me skeptical of my position in the light of new evidence.

Farewell to Bean

Last week, The Wife and I had to make the heart-breaking decision every pet owner must make. We had to take our beloved Bean in for his final vet visit. We knew it was coming. The vet told us it wasn’t likely Bean would see the new house. The cancer took its toll over the last month. Bean was barely able to get off the bed. The worst part – his disposition was still the sweet cat who just wanted cuddles and skritches. This one was hard on The Wife. Bean was her baby who she had when he was a kitten. To me, he was the cat who changed how I looked at hairless kitties.

We will miss you Bean.

Bean Close-Up

SuperBean

Metal Tuesday- Iron Bunny – 23

This is another excellent Japanese metal band. With a guitarist in a mecha suit. I know the Japanese can do straight metal bands (Mary’s Blood comes to mind), but I’m starting to think those are the exception.

Monday Fiction – Zombie Strike – Part 6 – Chapter 62

The village of Rosca, island of Corsica, 14 August 2010, 0310 Hours Local: Countdown: 1 Year, 2 months, 16 days

Mateo Cortez scowled as Alan emerged into the hallway. The tall sorcerer’s dark robes stood out against the concrete gray of the walls and floor. He looked surprised and amused to see the Zombie Strike team. Alan was holding a bloody knife in one hand. With the other he was dragging the rigid form of Collin DuBois. Mateo couldn’t tell if Collin was alive or dead.

Jim stepped to Mateo’s side, his Big Horn lever action at his shoulder. The hallway rocked with the rifle’s booming report. Red splattered the sterile gray wall as Alan spun and fell to the ground. Mateo shook his head, trying to clear the concussive effects of the big gun. He spun to reprimand the big cowboy. Jim had good reason to want Alan dead, but that didn’t give him a reason to deafen the team. Mate froze as Alan stood back up. The smiling face was gone. Alan looked annoyed.

“Nathan, that’s twice you’ve shot me,” Alan said, calling Jim by his old name. Alan’s voice sounded tinny to Mateo’s recovering ears. Jim didn’t say anything. The cowboy just casually worked the lever action and brought the weapon back up. Alan sniffed at the weapon pointed at him.

“Don’t bother, I’ve already invoked a protection spell,” Alan said. To demonstrate, he waved his knife in front of him. Purple energy sparked in the air. Mateo waved his team down. No sense in wasting ammunition.

“I told you to stay away from these people Nathan,” Alan said pointing his knife at the team. “You had the chance to be spared their fate!”

“You really expect me to believe you? Or stand aside if I did?” Jim asked in response.

“I suppose not. I guess I owe Mikhail five euros.” Mateo’s ears perked up. Mikhail, better known as Giant to Zombie Strike, had been the leader of the Truth’s so-called Champions. Zombie Strike still called them minions.

“So he didn’t die in Mexico City. That’s annoying,” Mateo said, trying to keep his voice even and casual.

“You didn’t think something like that would have killed him?” Alan asked, sounding a bit surprised, “Haven’t you figured it out? He is more than just a Champion; he’s the Chosen of Xipe-Totec. The man is immortal.” Alan made it sound like this was common knowledge.

“I’ve seen him bleed. I’ve seen him hurt. If I can hurt him and bleed him, I can kill him,” Mateo said.

“You would need that attitude,” Alan said, musingly. The sorcerer fell silent. Mateo wasn’t sure what to do. Alan had them dead to rights. With that magic knife, Alan could unleash a blast that could incinerate all of them before they could move. They couldn’t do anything against that shield. So what was the sorcerer waiting for?

Billy growled. The sound caught Mateo off-guard. He was turning to look at what Billy was growling at when Jess let loose a string of curses. Mateo heard the quiet pop of her SCAR. At the sound of gunfire, the team moved to face the new threat. Mateo whirled to see the alien-looking creature as it stepped off the stairs. He’d lost track of it during the fight with zombies. He hoped it wasn’t a fatal mistake. Jess kept firing, her hits ranging from center mass to head shots. The creature just absorbed the gunshots. Thick, black fluid oozed out of the bullet holes. If it felt pain, it didn’t show it. The creature lashed out, using its long arms like whips. One arm slashed across Jess’s body. Her SCAR clattered on the concrete floor as she shrunk back to a kneeling position, whimpering in pain.

The creature’s other arm lanced out at Quentin. The big man casually batted the green-wrapped appendage with his warhammer. As big as Quentin was, Mateo sometimes forgot how fast he could move. Quentin charged the creature. He thrust his hammer into the creature’s midsection. It swayed with the blow. Quentin didn’t wait for it to spring back. His arm drove the hammer down into the creature’s foot. The creature let out its unearthly screech. Quentin shoved the creature to the ground. With ruthless determination, Quentin hammered each joint starting from the ankles up. The creature couldn’t even muster a defense. It just writhed on the floor. With each wet crunch of the hammer finding a new mark, the creature screeched in pain. After both shoulders were destroyed, the screeching took on a new tone. It almost sounded as if the creature was crying. Mateo walked up and laid his hand on Quentin. The big man stopped.

“Finish it,” Mateo said. Quentin just nodded and brought the hammer down on the creature’s head. The disturbing sounds stopped. Mateo crouched down next to his foster daughter. She was clutching Billy as if the wolf was a life preserver. He tried to coax her into looking at him, but she just flinched from his touch and gripped Billy tighter.

“What did that thing do to her?” Mateo demanded from Alan. The sorcerer had propped Collin’s still form against a wall and was sitting cross-legged on the ground.

“I really should have considered that you might use that kind of blunt force trauma on Albert,” Alan said, focusing on the still form of the creature. Mateo slammed the shield with the butt of his M4. Brilliant purple sparks of energy cascaded in the air where the gun hit the shield. A startled Alan looked up at Mateo.

“What in the Flayed One’s name do you think you’re doing?” Alan asked, scooting back a few feet.

“What did you do to my daughter?” Mateo asked again, his voice tight with rage.

“Oh that. Enhanced neurotoxin. She’s feeling all of her emotional trauma for the last year or so all at once. From her reaction, I’d say she has had a rough year. I’m going to have to remember that.” Alan looked absolutely pleased with himself. Mateo could only stare at the sorcerer in shock. Alan looked past Mateo.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Alan said to Tredegar. The FBI agent was standing over Jess with an injector in hand. “The toxin reacts poorly to sedatives. It’ll set off every pain sensor in the body.”

“You’re a monster,” Tredegar said, putting away the injector.

“Actually, I’m not. I’m a faithful and powerful servant of the Flayed One,” Alan said. “Those are monsters.” He produced an alarm fob from under his robes. With a press of a button, the other doors in the corridor slid open. The team fell back to surround Jess in a circle of firepower. Billy growled. As Alan giggled, something out of Mateo’s nightmares slid out of one of the doors.

[Zombie Strike Part 6 Chapter 63]

Friday Quote – Alice Cooper

When musicians are telling people who to vote for, I think that’s an abuse of power. You’re telling your fans not to think for themselves, just to think like you. Rock and roll is about freedom, and that’s not freedom.

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