Oniony – Local Band Led Zeppelin Unaware Another Band Already Had That Name

High school senior Connor McHenry had just received the UPS delivery for his band, Led Zeppelin, when his friend came over for X-Box. “My buddy Paul looked at the Led Zeppelin t-shirts and was like, I think there’s another band with that name. They were this ancient British band that literally sold millions of records out of their pickup truck at sockhops and discos all around the country.”

McHenry hit the history books to learn more about his band’s namesake. “They were basically a J.R.R. Tolkien tribute band. So for example, ‘Ramble On’ is about Frodo’s journey and ‘Babe I’m Gonna Leave You’ is about Tolkien firing his literary agent.”

“They’re fossils now, but they were definitely ahead of their time,” McHenry says with admiration. “Timmy Page was the first person to play an electric guitar and Robert Planet was an openly hippie transsexual. This was before Roe vs. Wade, so you can imagine the discrimination he endured.” He says wistfully that he would have liked to see the old farts perform, but that “they all died in a scarlet fever epidemic.”

The Chesterfield High band has gotten a lot of ribbing from classmates who remembered hearing about the heavy metal dinosaurs from their grandparents. It’s mostly good-natured, but Zep bassist Scot Bhatnagar feels that some people are pushing their buttons a little too hard. “They act like we’re drooling morons who didn’t learn our ABCs,” says Bhatnagar, who plays on the football team. “We can’t be expected to know about this stupid swing band from the 1940s.”

Science!

A new study claims that Louis Pasteur didn’t perform his most famous experiments. The paper’s authors believe Pasteur’s dad did the experiment while his mom went to buy posterboard and that “the parents were probably up until frikkin’ 3 AM doing their kid’s science project for him.”

On a completely unrelated subject, photos I made for Katie’s fourth grade science project.

Celery experiment for school science project

Celery experiment for school science project

Amazon Fire TV vs Apple TV vs Netflix and Chromecast

This is a followup to my Amazon Fire TV review. If you haven’t read it yet, you may want to read the review first. The Fire TV is great, but before you buy one there’s just one thing you have to ask yourself…

Are you an Apple person, an Amazon person, or a Netflix person?

Which device you choose comes down to the content ecosystem you’re using. If you have content on iTunes then an AppleTV and an iPad make sense. If you have content on Amazon and a Prime subscription then a Fire TV / Kindle Fire combination is a better choice.

The two systems are designed to work with devices from the same ecosystem. With an Apple TV you can use AirDrop to project content from Apple computers, iPads, and iPhones to your TV. Likewise, with a Fire TV you can fling content from your Kindle to your TV. If you mix a TV device from one company with a computing device from the other you lose that functionality.

Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire vs Apple TV and iDevices

Amazon Kindle Fire HDXThe Fire TV has made us re-think some upcoming tablet purchases. We realize now that we’re Amazon people.

Our daughter had wanted an iPad Mini for her birthday. After using the Fire TV she’s changed her mind and decided she wants a newer Kindle Fire. She likes the Amazon Prime content, with TV shows, movies, and music. She also likes the Kindle Lending Library that’s included with Prime. Every month you can read one Kindle book for free. Unlike paid Kindle books that can be read on any device using the Kindle app, the free Lending Library books require an Amazon Kindle device.

Read more of this post

Review of the Amazon Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV Reviewed

We had a TV problem at the house. The kids wanted to watch TV in the living room, because that’s where the TiVo lives. The den only had a Wii that connected to Netflix. We had an Amazon Prime subscription that had thousands of free movies and TV shows, but we could only watch them on a computer or the Kindle Fire.

When the Amazon Fire TV was announced it sounded like just what we needed. The Fire TV is a streaming set top box similar to the Apple TV or Roku. The differences are mostly in which streaming services they support. Amazon has a chart comparing the Google Chromecast and the others on the Fire TV page.

(The Chromecast is a different thing from the rest. The others are standalone boxes. The Chromecast requires a computer, tablet, or smartphone to “cast” content to it. There is no remote and the content is limited, but it’s cheap at $35.)

Fire TV can stream Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Pandora, Showtime Anywhere, and dozens of other services. The only disappointment is that HBO Go is missing.

Amazon Fire TV Setup

Read more of this post

“Star Wars” is “Gone With the Wind” in Space

My new hobby – Watching Gone With the Wind with my wife and explaining that it’s the basis for Star Wars.

There’s Scarlett and Rhett.
There’s Princess Leia and Han Solo.

Sherman is burning Atlanta.
Grand Moff Tarkin is destroying Alderaan.


RHETT BUTLER: You still think you’re the cutest trick in shoe leather.

HAN SOLO: Maybe you’d like it back in your cell, your Highness.


RHETT BUTLER: No, I don’t think I will kiss you, although you need kissing, badly. That’s what’s wrong with you. You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how.

PRINCESS LEIA: I’d just as soon kiss a Wookie.
HAN SOLO: I can arrange that. You could use a good kiss.


RHETT BUTLER: I’m leaving you, my dear. All you need now is a divorce and your dreams of Ashley can come true.

HAN SOLO: You love him, don’t you? All right. I understand. Fine. When he comes back, I won’t get in the way.


SCARLETT O’HARA: Go on! I want you to go! I hope a cannonball lands slap on you! I hope you’re blown into a million pieces!

PRINCESS LEIA: Some day you’re gonna be wrong, I just hope I’m there to see it.


SCARLETT O’HARA: But you are a blockade runner.
RHETT BUTLER: For profit, and profit only.
SCARLETT O’HARA: Are you trying to tell me you don’t believe in the cause?
RHETT BUTLER: I believe in Rhett Butler, he’s the only cause I know.

PRINCESS LEIA: It’s not over yet.
HAN SOLO: It is for me, sister. Look, I ain’t in this for your revolution, and I’m not in it for you, Princess. I expect to be well paid. I’m in it for the money.
PRINCESS LEIA: You needn’t worry about your reward. If money is all that you love, then that’s what you’ll receive.

Bosch Dishwasher Long Term Review

Back in 2009 we replaced our old dishwasher with a Bosch dishwasher. Though I loved it at first, I wouldn’t buy another.

The Good

$T2eC16R,!)EE9s2ugOmBBR0(nYBnKQ~~60_12

You’ll just have to trust me when I say this black rectangle is a Bosch dishwasher.

I bought a Bosch because it was the quietest dishwasher on the market. It really is amazingly quiet. Every so often I’ll open the door to put something in the dishwasher and only then realize it was running. It’s that quiet.

Bosch dishwashers don’t use a heated drying cycle. If they did, they’d have the same door vent as other dishwashers, and that vent is a big hole in the soundproofing. Eliminating the heated dry cycle makes the Bosch quiet and energy efficient. The downside is that things don’t dry exactly like they do in a conventional dishwasher. After making a few adjustments, we found the secrets for getting a Bosch to dry dishes and I don’t consider that a problem.

Now I’m doing saying nice things.

The Bad

Because this was a $700 dishwasher in 2009 dollars, Bosch has to provide extra features to justify the sticker price. For example, normal $350 dishwashers have racks with a bunch of tines sticking up to hold glasses and plates. “Pshaw!” said Bosch.

Instead, to design their racks Bosch hired an engineer who played with too many Transformers toys as a child. Tines flip up and down. Most of the bottom rack has no tines or slots at all, except for some clip-on tines that flip up and down. The clip-ons fall off all the time. And when they’re not falling off they’re flipping down. After a couple of years we quit putting them back in, so there’s never enough things to keep dishes from falling over. Advantage – $350 dishwasher.

Speaking of things which fall off all the time, the wheels on the bottom rack fall off all the time. Even when they’re all in place the rack doesn’t slide smoothly into the dishwasher, so you have to wiggle or shove it into place. Round two goes to the $350 dishwasher.

Then there’s the button. On those horrible cheap dishwashers you press the button and the dishwasher starts. On this finely crafted European dishwashing appliance you press the button. Which just turns it off. You have to press the button again to actually start the dishwasher. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve pressed the button once and opened the door the next day to find a load of dirty dishes. And why you’d ever want to turn off a dishwasher I can’t even … You win again, $350 dishwasher.

Most dishwashers have a little latch under the handle that you have to press to open the door. The incredible strain of pressing the little latch has caused millions of Americans to develop calloused, arthritic fingers, excruciating shoulder pain and – in extreme cases – diabetes, asthma, scoliosis, impotence, and death.

Bosch to the rescue! There’s no little latch to press. You just gently pull the handle and the door opens. Or you can pull a little bit harder and the entire damned front panel and circuit board will rip loose, requiring a $170 repair. Two repairs like that and a fella could buy hisself one of them fancypants $350 dishwashers with all the tines and the non-falloff wheels. On the plus side, as a Bosch dishwasher owner I can smugly look back with heartwarming satisfaction on the four carefree years of my life when I didn’t have to press a little latch.

My wife has been annoyed with the Bosch’s quirks for years. I’ve put up with it because of how quiet it is, but that repair bill was the final straw for me.

Ridiculous Things About Sons of Anarchy #2

Blogging is light right now, so here’s a post from the archives.

Ridiculous Things About Sons of Anarchy #2 – They commit crimes like they want people to Facebook the pictures

f#&!ing ski masks. How do they work?

f#&!ing ski masks. How do they work?

The bad boys on Sons of Anarchy are just too pretty to cover up their mugshots. Mostly they rob and murder in broad daylight wearing SAMCRO-branded lifestyle apparel and looking like they just stepped out of a lineup.

  • In Season 1 Opie, Bobby and Jax go to murder the port commissioner in broad daylight without masks. His mistress sees them through the window and gives the police a description for a composite sketch of Opie and Bobby. Bobby goes to jail and faces the death penalty.
  • In Season 2 Opie blows up a Nords meth lab without wearing a mask. He gets videotaped and Ethan Zobelle gives Deputy Hale a disk with the video.
  • The same season the gang busts in on Zobelle’s gang to murder them all, again with no masks, only to find an audience full of families and a bank of video cameras. And then they all to go to prison.
We should have worn ski masks

We should have worn ski masks

The only thing the gang has in their favor is that the police chief is totally in bed with them.

CHIEF UNSER: Did anyone see who killed alla these people?
WITNESS #1: Oh hell yes I did! They were riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles and wearing black leather Sons of Anarchy cuts.
WITNESS #2: There was a tall beefy one with a red beard and his hair tucked into a black knit cap.
WITNESS #3: Right, and one guy was fat with a huge salt and pepper beard. And he had white stitching on the armholes of his cut.
WITNESS #4: Yeah, and one of ‘em was a skinny Puerto Rican kid with a short mohawk and tattoos on both sides of his head.
CHIEF UNSER: Shucks, boys. Looks like I caught myself a stone cold whodunit.

Previously – Ridiculous Things About Sons of Anarchy #1

Ask for the Time, Find out How a Watch Works

I’m researching a watch purchase and I ran across this episode of Timothy Hunkin’s British TV show, The Secret Life of Machines, that details the history of timekeeping culminating in the invention of the quartz movement and LCD.

The Secret Life Of Machines – The Quartz Watch Part-1

Part 2 (if you don’t watch anything else watch the kick-ass demonstration of LCDs starting at 6:10)

Part 3

Quartz vs. Mechanical Movements

One nitpick. In the last video Hunkin says “Today, dial watches are back in fashion, but they’re all quartz-controlled.” It’s true that the vast, vast majority of them are quartz, but some are still mechanical. A few of those even have to be manually wound, but most are automatic AKA self-winding movements. They convert the motion of your arm into energy they can use to wind the mainspring.

The question in my mind as I research watches is, why do people still buy non-quartz watches?

Quartz movements seems to have all the advantages. They’re much simpler mechanically, which ceteris paribus makes them much cheaper, more reliable, and smaller. They’re more resistant to impacts in sports like baseball, golf, and tennis. And they typically keep better time, to boot. For all these reasons Mr. Marketplace has chosen the quartz over the mechanical movement.

What’s interesting is that the most sought-after, expensive watches like the Rolex Submariner and Omega Speedmaster are mechanicals. This even though they tend to be less accurate and require more maintenance than the $100 quartz watches in  the local department store display case. Rolex recommends servicing their watches every five years. The full-on tuneup is about 500 clams at an authorized service center. Even getting a cheaper lubrication and adjustment on a Roley at a local watch shop may cost more than a mid-range Seiko or Citizen quartz.

One advantage of mechanicals is that they never need batteries. So if you’re stranded on a desert island you may want a mechanical as opposed to a quartz whose battery could die. This is somewhat offset by things like the Citizen Eco-Drive and Casio’s Tough Solar that massively extend battery life, possibly to the life of the watch, but it’s still an undeniable advantage for mechanicals.

I recently had an experience that gave me one good reason to avoid battery-powered watches. When I graduated college my mother gave me a gold Seiko. I wore it in my twenties, quit wearing it in my thirties in favor of getting time from a cell phone, and decided to wear it again recently after my mother passed away. When I took it in to get a new battery I discovered that the old battery had leaked, ruining the watch internally. Financially, I’d be better off buying a new watch, but it has sentimental value. I’m sending it to Seiko to see if they can replace the entire mechanism.

A disadvantage of automatics is that if you don’t wear them for a few days the spring will unwind completely and you’ll have to reset the date and time. You can solve that problem by storing the watch in a watch winder that moves the watch, keeping it wound, though it’s still a hassle and expense quartz watches have made unnecessary.

I can’t decide if there’s a good, sensible reason that the most exalted and expensive watches are automatics.

It could be a matter of tradition, the way many gun enthusiasts stuck with Colt 1911s even after Glocks came along, or the way some motorcyclists prefer Harleys to their faster, more reliable Japanese equivalents. Anyone who has a thing for watches and wears a dial watch is at least a little bit of a traditionalist and a lover of mechanical things.

So maybe in some cases it’s the romantic versus classical points of view Robert Persig wrote about in Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. If you just want to know what time it is, a quartz watch will more than do the job and do it better. If you appreciate machinery and how things work the mechanical movement reveals its inner workings better.

I also wouldn’t dismiss the snob appeal for a watch enthusiast of having something the masses don’t have and can’t appreciate.

If I was looking for an heirloom watch to pass on, I’d buy an automatic, but for a watch for daily wear I’m having a hard time coming up with a practical reason most people would want to to buy anything but a quartz.

30 Years Later, My Epileptic Seizures Return with a Vengeance

The last time I had a grand mal seizure I was 12 years old. Wednesday night I had a pair of them that hospitalized me for three days.

Wednesday night after work I took the girls to soccer practice. At the park we spotted their grandmother/my mother-in-law and I leaned into the window of her minivan to chat. Then I went back to my car and got the gear bag, laid it out on the sidewalk, and told the girls to sit down so I could get them ready for practice.

They sat on the sidewalk and I leaned over them and put on their shoes, socks, and shinguards. Once five year old Natalie was ready I sent her on to the practice field. Then I got six year old Katie in uniform.

Once Katie was dressed I stood up straight. That’s when I passed out cold. My mother-in-law tells me I didn’t even put my hands out in front of me the way a falling person normally would – I telephonepoled face first into the ground. It’s a miracle I fractured my nose instead of breaking it.

It was after I hit the ground that I started seizing. Two of the parents were a nurse and an EMT. The coach recognized what was happening and kept the girls on the field practicing soccer; Natalie never knew what happened. My mother-in-law called 911 and handed the phone to my wife since she didn’t know that part of Maryville.

An ambulance took me to the ER, where I had another grand mal seizure a few hour later. My poor wife must have have been going out of her mind. She saw me with blood streaming out of my eyes, like the tears of a vampire.

Why now after all these years?

One of the first things I learned about epilepsy when I was a kid was that my older brother – 13 years my senior – starting having spells at the same age as me. He eventually outgrew them. I always assumed I would, too. I quit taking my phenobarbital some time in my late teens. My brother is in his mid-fifties now and has never had a relapse. So why did I?

Being bent over for a prolonged period as I was and then standing up could have caused me to lose consciousness. That in turn could have caused me to hit my head which could have caused the seizure.

There’s another possible explanation. It turns out that a medication I started 10 days previously lowers the seizure threshold and so does a medicine I’ve been on for a couple of years. It had been so long since I had seized I no longer thought of myself as epileptic and didn’t mention such things to my doctors. I’m off both medicines now and on anti-seizure medicine my doctor wants me to take for a couple of years.

I’ll probably never know if the fall called the seizure, or if the seizure caused the fall. An MRI, EEG, and blood work all came back normal. That is in fact great news. Another one of my doctor’s recent patients who had seizures out of the blue had a brain tumor.

No driving

In Tennessee you can’t drive for six months after you’ve had a seizure. The doctors tell me I might be able to shorten that with a note from a neurologist and an appeal. Until then I’m going to stay close to home and get back to basics for a while.

Picture: Closeup of Bumblee on Purple Coneflower

Bumblebee on Purple Coneflower

Bumblebee on Purple Coneflower with Antique LightBumblebee on Purple Coneflower with Infrared EffectBumblebee on Purple Coneflower with Sepia ToneBumblebee on Purple Coneflower with Yesteryear EffectBumblebee on Purple Coneflower with Greens and Yellows DesaturaedBumblebee on Purple Coneflower with Everything Desaturated Except Orange and Yellow

Photography Notes

  • The first four variations are done with Adobe Lightroom presets. The last two are manual color desaturations. Click to enlarge, or mouseover for notes.
  • Pics taken at F16 to get enough depth of field.
  • There was enough light that I could handhold at 1/500sec. VR in the lens helped.
  • I don’t have a macro lens. I used the Canon 550D closeup adapter on a Nikon 70-200mm lens. For some reason that combo never worked on the D40, but it works fine on the D7000.
  • I used the Adobe Lightroom saturation remote control that I learned about last week. Go to the HSL panel, click the remote, then put your mouse over the color you want to effect. Use the up and down arrow keys to adjust. The advantage of the remote thingie is that it can detect multiple colors – purple and magenta in the case of the purple flower petals – and adjust both as needed.
  • I really like the vignette on this photo. Here it is without vignette for comparison.

Is polarized light why birds run into windows?

Birds sometimes run into windows, especially big plate glass windows. Is polarized light or the blocking of same part of the reason?

I went into a store and forgot to switch to my regular glasses my prescription sunglasses, which are polarized. I can’t see without my glasses so I left them on in the store.

I was looking at some flashlights in a display case. I reached out to grab one and my hand hit the plexiglass in front of the flashlights. I hadn’t noticed that the case was enclosed.

When I lowered my sunglasses I could clearly see the plexiglass because of light reflecting off its surface. The polarized sunglasses blocked those reflections.

On the drive home I thought about how we see glass. Assuming the glass transmits light efficiently, doesn’t have anything on its surface, and doesn’t color the light, we see glass because of reflections.

Is that why birds run into windows – because the polarized light is being blocked? Maybe the birds are wearing polarized glasses or their natural equivalent, or maybe the glass is acting as a polarizing filter.

RelatedWhy every photographer needs a polarizing filter

Happy 5th Birthday, Natalie

Natalie

Some things about you at age five:

  • You just graduated preschool.
  • You just started a summer kindergarten program at the elementary school. After school you and your sister go to swim practice.
  • You love animals. You remember what cats and dogs you’ve seen and where. If there’s a cat or a dog you make a beeline to them.
  • You really like people, too. You make friends easily and are super nice to your friends.
  • You and Katie are in a dance recital at Maryville College next week.
  • You and Katie just made the Green Meadows swim team.
  • You love Spongebob Squarepants.
  • You like sleeping on the couch better than sleeping in your bed, just like your grandma Dorothy.
  • We’re having your birthday at Chuck E. Cheese’s, which you’ve been wanting since the first time you went there.
  • You like fruits and vegetables more than any kid I’ve ever seen.

Your mom and dad love you, kiddo.

Natalie Getting Ready for the Dance Recital

Natalie

PreviouslyHappy 4th Birthday, Natalie

Contract Notice: City of Round Rock Issues Solicitation for Pre-Cast Concrete Fence and Electric Security Gate System (Texas) website city of round rock

US Fed News Service, Including US State News February 13, 2012 ROUND ROCK, Texas, March 6 — City of Round Rock has posted a solicitation on Feb. 10 for delivery and installation of pre-cast concrete fence panels, piers and caps.

Contract, Tender Notice Type: Solicitation The Agency Requisition number is 12-014.

Open Date and Time: March 6, 3:00 p.m. site city of round rock

Agency: City of Round Rock (M2462) Solicitation Type: 14 Days or more for entire solicitation package For any query with respect to this article or any other content requirement, please contact Editor at htsyndication@hindustantimes.com

LuckyGunner Shoot Semi-Autos: Coonan, S&W M&P, Kel-Tec PMR, RFB and KSG

The Luckygunner shoot was mostly about fully automatic weapons, but there were plenty of interesting semi-autos to shoot.

Yesterday: 7 Full Auto Videos from the LuckyGunner Machinegun Shoot 2011
Today: Video and Notes for non-Full Auto Guns
Thursday: People Pictures and Some More Guns

Kel-Tec PMR-30 Pistol .22 Magnum

Of the three Kel-Tecs I liked the PMR-30 pistol the best. It’s the second coming of George Kellgren’s Grendel-30. As with the Grendel, Kellgren followed up the pistol with a rifle that shares the same magazines.

Chris Maynard with the Kel-Tec PMR-30 Rifle

Chris Maynard with the Kel-Tec PMR-30 Rifle

With its plastic frame the PMR-30 pistol is amazingly lightweight – just 14 ounces without a magazine. If I’m dreaming up a backwoods survival scenario I’d much rather have one of these than a silly AR-7.

Even with the light weight it was easy to control on rapid fire. The green and red fiber optic sights are easy to see even in bright sunlight. I wasn’t crazy about the heel-mounted magazine release, but with 30 rounds in a magazine I didn’t need to use it very often.

Kel-Tec RFB Rifle .308 Winchester

I liked the RFB (Rifle, Forward-Ejecting, Bullpup) second best. The RFB is another example of George Kellgren designing something out of the ordinary that a lot of people found compelling.

It was compact and easy to shoot. Noisy, but it’s a .308 with an 18 inch barrel so I guess that comes with the territory.

Kel-Tec KSG 12 gauge

Gun boards all across the Internet lit up when Kel-Tec announced the KSG (Kel-Tec Shotgun).The KSG has two 7 round tubular magazines under the barrel and a switch to select which barrel is feeding the gun. You have 14 rounds total, with the option to load each magazine with different types of ammo – birdshot, buckshot, slugs, or specialty rounds.

The KSG is interesting, but finicky. It was balky to load compared to any pump or auto shotgun I’ve ever used. As I was scraping rounds into the tubes I dreamed of a nice, slick, chrome-plated shell lifter. Likewise, the magazine selector switch is about as smooth as a corn cob in an outhouse.

One advantage of a pumpgun over an autoloader is that it works with a variety of shotgun shells. Not so for the KSG. The specimen on display jammed repeatedly on the load we were shooting, locking up the action.

The KSG is an intriguing design, but the execution seems finicky and not ready for primetime. I’d rather have a sleeker, lighter pumpgun with better ergonomics and no ammunition hangups. I’d only get the KSG if I desperately needed the two 7-round tube magazines and could train with it enough to compensate for its quirks.

Coonan 1911 .357 Magnum

The Coonan is pretty much what it says it is – a 1911 that fires .357 Magnum. Some of the parts are 1911 standard and some aren’t, but if you’ve shot a 1911 you’ll feel right at home with the Coonan.

Last year I gave the Coonan 1911 in .357 Magnum some ribbing. I got to shoot one this weekend. It shot fine. Recoil was very manageable, as you’ll see in the video below. Are they supposed to slidelock after the last shot? This one never did on three magazines.

Me Shooting a Coonan 1911 in .357 Magnum:

They’re OK guns if you just gotta have a 1911 that fires .357 Magnum, but I just don’t see the point. With that barrel length you can get near-.357 Magnum factory load performance out of a .357 SIG or 9mm +p+. In return you’ll get a much larger selection of guns with double the magazine capacity and a grip that’s shorter from front to back. Or if it’s a classic 1911 you want there’s .38 Super.

To me the Coonan only makes sense if you’re handloading something much hotter than factory loads. Even then, you’re just getting an extra round in the mag +1 in the chamber vs. a revolver and you’ll have to swap springs when you change loads. I’ll stick to my revolvers when I’m shooting .357 Magnum. 1911-philes may of course feel differently.

S&W M&P9

With all the cool kids buying M&Ps I wanted to shoot SayUncle’s S&W M&P9. I had shot an M&P before, but hadn’t given it much consideration. The grip does feel a little better than a Glock. What I was really curious about was the LaserGrip option.

I love LaserGrips. One gripe I’ve had about Glocks has been that there wasn’t a great way to use a CrimsonTrace LaserGrip. The wraparound units seemed kludgey and enlarged the grip. The new LaserGuard that attaches to the rail seems better, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your holster.

With the M&Ps there is a non-kludgey way to attach a CrimsonTrace LaserGrip that doesn’t increase the grip diameter or limit your holster selection. The M&P LaserGrip goes in the replaceable backstrap. No muss, no fuss. I had wondered if activating the laser with your palm would be awkward, but it wasn’t. It just worked with my normal grip and I never had to think about it. Win.

7 Full Auto Videos from the LuckyGunner Machinegun Shoot 2011

Luckygunner Blogger Machine Gun Shoot 2011 - Kriss Submachine Gun

Dear Guns and Ammo,

I had read stories like this in your magazine, but I never thought it would happen to me.

I spent the weekend shooting machine guns at the Luckygunner Blogger Machine Gun Shoot/Bulletfest 2011 near Maryville, Tennessee. I got to fire full auto versions of the AR-15, Browning Automatic Rifle, Glock 18, HK G3, Kriss Vector, MP40, S&W M76, Thompson, and Uzi.

The guns were great, LuckyGunner supplied the ammo for free, and it was a chance to meet bloggers who came to East Tennessee from all across the country. I put a lot of names to faces.

Today: 7 Full Auto Videos
Wednesday: Video and Notes for non-Full Auto Guns: Coonan 1911, S&W M&P9, and Kel-Tec PMR, RFB and KSG
Thursday: People Pictures and Some More Guns

1. Glock 18

For years John Donovan of Castle Argghhh! has told me that my link to his Glock 18 video sent him more traffic than any other referrer. Last weekend we both got to shoot one.

The Glock 18 on full auto was more controllable than what I had heard on the Internet playground. The 33 round magazine kept it running a good long while, too. I count nine or 10 bursts in that video followed by a single shot.

Me Shooting a Glock 18 on Full Auto:

2 and 3. Browning Automatic Rifle

The BAR was my favorite of the historical guns. Nice piece of history designed by John Moses. That Thirty Aught Six makes it a little bit of a bear to fire in full auto, though its 18 pound weight helped controllability.

Gal Shooting a Browning Automatic Rifle from the Bench:

Me Shooting the BAR from Standing

4. MG42

The German MG42 had a very distinct sound. Even when a dozen guns were going at once you could always tell when someone was firing the MG42 due to the high cyclic rate. I just missed firing this one myself. SayUncle shot it, they said “this is the last ammo belt,” the next two guys in front of me shot it and I stepped up to the line to discover that was all she wrote. It goes through ammo in a hurry.

I’d love for someone to count the number of rounds fired in this short video. It sounds like three shots, but it’s three high speed bursts.

German MG42 Machine Gun:

5. KRISS Vector

KRISS was on hand demonstrating their line of .45ACP pistols, SBRs and submachine guns along with the Sphinx pistols. They were nice guys, very patient and professional, and they ran a good line. The subguns were very controllable and had all the bells and whistles, including suppressor options, red dots, folding sights and forward grips.

Here’s Tam of View from the Porch shooting all three versions and displaying some fine gun handling skills. You’ll also see Reuben (not sure of the spelling) of KRISS doing the orientation. Great guy to have on the line.

Tam Shooting the KRISS Vector Pistol, SBR, and Submachine Gun (full auto begins at 3:00):

6. M14

I didn’t get to shoot this one, so I just imagined shooting a full auto M1 Garand from standing. Sebastian from Snowflakes in Hell described it as “brutal” but he still came off the line with a smile on his face. He don’t want no teenage queen.

Sebastian Firing the M14 on Full Auto:

7. HK G3

Great ergonomics. Very satisfying. This was surprisingly easy to shoot off the bench with a bipod, but I’m not sure how controllable it would be standing. There’s a reason militaries have switched to assault rifles. The full auto AR-15s were a breeze to shoot in comparison.

Me Shooting an HK G3 on Full Auto:

Bonus video: Maxim belt loading mill

There were a couple of Maxim Guns on hand. With their big carriages they’re made more like artillery pieces than infantry weapons. Here’s the crew-served device for loading cartridges into the belt. One person loads cartridges into the hopper and the other cranks. I was told the design prevented cartridges from going in backwards.

Belt Loading Mill for a Maxim Machinegun:

Thanks!
Many thanks to LuckyGunner for inviting me and for all their hard work. Likewise for the volunteers who manned the stations and kept things running, and for the people who donated their arms for us to try.

Special thanks to the person who lives next door and doesn’t mind the sound of machine gun fire for two days. Best neighbor ever!

Come back tomorrow for notes on the guns that weren’t full auto. (LATER: the post is up here.) If you’re coming here for the first time, welcome. You can subscribe to the RSS feed or friend me on Facebook.

Back from the Beach / DSLR Video and Audio

Crab in a Conchsell, Panama City Beach

The Jones family was at Panama City Beach this past week for vacation. This post might have been a hint. We’re back now. We brought back a pound of sand and that was just in one pair of shorts.

For pics, visit our Panama City Beach Photo Album on Facebook. I promise that most of them don’t suck.

Dusty's Oyster Bar, Panama City Beach

DSLR Video

I took a few videos using the Nikon D7000’s video feature. Here’s my favorite one for video quality and content:

Hermit Crabs and Scallops:

My first two digital cameras were point and shoots that had video. Then four years ago I bought my first DSLR. Back then DSLRs didn’t have video, because they just didn’t.

Now that I’ve shot a few videos I realize how much I missed video. Being able to capture moments with my kids is pretty awesome in and of itself. Good video quality is a bonus.

DSLR Audio

Audio quality using the built-in mic is shaky and I wound up with lots of wind noise. The next thing I buy will be a boom mic with a windscreen.

The new Nikon ME-1 is one obvious choice. I like everything about it except that it can only draw power from the flash hotshoe. That limits mic positioning and means that you can’t use a hotshoe flash when switching between video and still photos without swapping the flash and mic. Combined with Nikon’s GPS they’re starting to have accessories fighting for the hotshoe. C’mon, Nikon – add space for a AA battery and avoid that whole problem.

One question I’ve got on the ME-1: can you point it backwards? You’ll want to do that for making tabletop videos with the lens pointed forward and the mic pointing back at the narrator behind the camera.

Another obvious choice is the shockmounted Rode VideoMic. It’s battery-powered, but can be attached to the hotshoe for convenience. I’ve used it at work and the audio is good. The build quality is a little cheap, though, and there are lots of reviews that mention damage during travel.

Katie and Natalie at Panama City Beach: