The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker

Wedding party pics (with guns!)

| November 29, 2005

(crossposted to and )

Simon and my AK My best man Simon with my AK. (Yeah, I know, I need to have a chat with him about his errant trigger finger). Liz and my SAA My fiancee, Liz, and our new Single Action Army. (This picture could also be titled “the last thing a bad man sees”, because we keep this piece loaded as a home defense gun. She’s more comfortable with old style wheelguns than newfangled autoloaders, and the most important thing when choosing a defense gun is one which you are comfortable with, so here we are).

Oh Christmas Tree

| November 29, 2005

Christmas Tree '05

Musings on Dickens and Scrooge

| November 29, 2005

Charles Dickens was a dirty hippie.

The only thing I don't like about Scrooge is the fact that he treats his workers like crap. Bob Cratchit is underpaid and he doesn't give people time off.

Aside from that, I don't have a problem with him. Yes, we pay taxes to support the poor. Why then, are we expected to give more money around the holidays? Stop taxing me, and I'll give more to charity which can help the poor more effectively than government. Plus private charity can screen out the people who are poor because of bad decisions and help the people who are there because of bad fortune, or attach conditions which require the poor to actually take steps to alleviate their poverty. The government dole can't attach conditions (wouldn't be politically correct, you know), so we just keep paying and paying and paying.

Dickens basically makes anyone who has money out to be an evil, greedy man. People who own businesses make money, sure, but that doesn't make them evil. They take the risks, they realize the rewards. Their businesses provide jobs.

Specifically talking about Scrooge, Dickens paints him as a bad man for evicting people who cannot pay the rent/mortgage. Well, what do you expect him to do? Allow people to live without paying rent? Then what's their incentive to actually pay you?

Maybe I'm just getting old, or maybe I'm just tired of the welfare state making people feel entitled to something which they didn't earn; like people who do work for their money somehow owe them something.

Any type of welfare state is unjust to the productive individuals who are forced to finance it. Perhaps equally bad, however, is the horrible harm it perpetuates on the poor. Poverty is not like an incurable disease. It is a problem that is resolved by full-time employment. But the poor individial must be willing to examine and change the destructive values that underlie and give rise to his poverty. In some terms, if only implicitly, he must grasp both the nature of selfishness and the role of the mind, if he is to achieve prosperity and happiness. The welfare state militates against such understanding and supports his most irrational preimises. This is one of the most important reasons why it must be eliminated.”

  • Bernstein, Andrew, “The Welfare State Versus Values and the Mind,” The Intellectual Activist, October 2001, p.22, as quoted by Elder, Larry, “Showdown: Confronting Bias, Lies, and The Special Interests that Divide America”, 2002, p.287

By popular demand

| November 27, 2005

I received the following email from Sabin:

It’s your blog and all. But I would really like to see your analysis and thoughts and these fistfights & mini-riots that have broken out over the X-box 360 release. What do you think of it? I advised a co-worker not to buy X360 and instead to wait for PS3 in march. She came back with “but what about HALO – that’s all my kid wants to play.” Damn. I guess I understand that. But still I want PS3 to maintain or grow market share.

Well, for starters: Guy uses concealed carry arm to defent PSP in parking lot of Wal-Mart. Now, while I think that killing someone over a PSP is kind of a bad way to go (not that this guy killed anyone; he presumably just brandished it). However, it's stupid to risk getting shot by mugging someone over a PSP. Of course, if you are that dumb, maybe you should be removed from the gene pool anyway.

Anyway, aside from that.

  1. I am not buying an XBox 360 (no surprises there, right?)
  2. I am not going to weigh in on PS3 vs XBox 360 architecture (to avoid arguments with fanboys of either ilk), except to say that MS seems to be taking a “generic PC” approach, which is in keeping with their “One development tool to rule them all” philosophy (one game API for XBox and PC and all that). Sony, on the other hand, is using a lot more custom designed components which, in theory, would allow them to get better price/performance, provided it all works and they did it right.
  3. PS3 will be coming with a Blu-Ray disc drive (25GB per layer), whereas MS is using standard DVD (5GB per layer). I think this is a win on Sony’s part, because games are always wanting more data. On the other hand, it’s really easy for MS to make the XBox 360 HC (high capacity) or whatnot, though this is likely to lead to fragmentation (2 media formats for one platform, yadda yadda)
  4. There are reports of the XBox360 being spectacularly unstable. This is not unusual for any first-gen product, especially one so heavily hyped and rushed as this one. My guess is that these are parts issues that will be worked out in a few months, just like the original XBox.
  5. I expect Sony to have similar issues when the PS3 comes out, hence why I’ll be waiting at least a year to get one; probably two.
  6. Realistically, I’m good on games. I don’t have any killer-app that makes me “must have” the PS3. So, I can wait. I got my PS2 some 2 years after it had been out. I still have a bunch of games to work through
  7. My main reason for not buying an XBox/XBox 360 is that I don’t want to see Microsoft come to dominate the console industry like they dominate the PC industry (though I am somewhat sad that they have the rights to all the FASA games, which includes Shadowrun and Mechwarrior).
  8. It’s not surprising there is discontent over XBox scarcity. It’s even more annoying because Microsoft ENGINEERED the scarcity. They WANT the publicity. It generates hype, name recognition, etc. Google for it – there’s lots of info on how MS wanted them to sell out and such, so they only released limited numbers, yadda yadda.
  9. As far as the email above (the “But what about HALO” bit, and I assume we mean HALO2 here), well, if all your kid wants to do is play HALO2, then you’re kind of stuck with the XBox 360. That said, unless it’s the kid’s money, then as a parent, you have no obligation to run out and get the kid the XBox 360, especially this close to Christmas (a mother I know got her kid one, the extra controller, a couple games, etc. and spent over $750, Canadian. But, then again, she spoils him). Order it online and have it for the kid to open and play with on Christmas day. People spoil their children. Just because the kid wants something doesn’t mean they need or deserve it. They should learn to be disappointed; it will serve them will in life to not expect too much, appreciate what they have and work for what they want.

Pissed off about speakers.

| November 27, 2005

Okay, so my monitor died, right? So I bought one of these. It's basically the same LCD as in a 20″ Apple Cinema display in different clothing, with some different electronics, and with more inputs. So, I can hook up a playstation or a DVD player or whatnot to it. It does picture in picture, so I can have the monitor overlay a window over my desktop without having to deal with TV tuner cards and such. Great!

However, I need speakers, and I'm really irked that I can't find what I want. I need a set of small computer-style speakers (could be a small home theater system too) that has the following characteristics: (1) S/PDIF in (optical or coax) (2) Analog in (RCA or 1/8″) (3) 5.1 or greater surround sound. (4) Dolby Digital decoder. DTS decoder would be nice, but isn't mandatory. (5) The two inputs should be mixed, so that the both play at the same time (so that I get my beeps and such from the computer hooked to the analog input while listening to the TV show playing in th corner). (6) Under $100.

Now, I can find ones which have (2)(3)(5) and (6), but presumably they don't have a digital because it's easier to mix to analog sources than it is to mix two digital sources.

I have found systems which have 2 digital inputs and 1 analog inputs for $175, but I presume it's just a “switch between” rather than a mixing.

So, I got pissed off that I couldn't find what I want and am sticking with the stereo speakers that I have. I can only choose one input source, but I'm not spending a pile of money on something that's not really what I want. Besides, I'm probably just going to watch TV on it, which is mostly stereo anyway.

Politial commentary…

| November 24, 2005

I think that Blacks, Hispanics, and women are either too lazy or stupid to make it in the world by themselves and therefore need help in order to succeed.

Offended? Well, you should be. Now, realize that the above is basically what affirmative action legislation says, under the guise of “promoting diversity”. Diversity? Try “you're too inept to handle things yourself, so we'll help you”.

Similarly, all the helmet/seatbelt/drinking/etc. laws are equally offensive. “People are all too stupid to make decisions for themselves and live with the consequences, so we'll mandate your choices for you”.

New Gun pr0n

| November 23, 2005

By the way, Garden State (just finished watching it) was overrated and featured a storyline that's been done way too many times.

An aggregate of lots of gun stuff.

ammo day purchasesNational Ammo Day purchases. 500 rds of 7.62×39 FMJ, 500 rds of .22LR, 100 rds of .45ACP reloads and 50 rds of .45 Colt. new .45 grips New grips on my .45. 45 target This is 30 rounds from my .45 at 20′, aimed. I have no idea how many went through that large ragged hole. That’s an oval on a regular letter size sheet of paper, by the way, to give you an idea of scale. New AK My new AK, picked up on ammo day. As it turns out, this is a straight SAR-1, imported by Century Arms. Surprisingly, I don’t mind the color of furniture, but the stock is a bit short. So, I got a 1″ rubber extension for it, which does double duty as a shock pad and stock extension. I have a pile of magazines for it too. It shoots very well. I don’t know why people complain about the accuracy. It’s as accurate as I am out to the distances which I can see without a scope. I might get a rail for a dot sight, so maybe I’ll throw a 4x scope on it and see how it does with a scope. But, I’m happy with it. Heck, even my mom shot it (she liked the short stock, because she’s all of 5 feet tall). It was sold as a used gun, but it was so new that there was still cosmoline on the bolt, and it started leaking out of the joint where the barrel and gas tube come together as the barrel heated up. Which reminds me – after 60+ rounds, that barrel gets HOT. New SAA My new Reproduction Single Action Army, an Uberti Cattleman, also picked up on ammo day. This thing shoots great. Takes a little bit getting used to a revolver again (it’s been years since I’ve shot one). My fiancee has decided that she likes it and has sort of adopted it. SAA and 1911 Awww, aren’t they cute together? (Yeah, the little emblems have fallen off the grips. I guess they just couldn’t take the stress of being on the gun as it was being fired. They were just superglued on anyway. No worries). Broken down AK For those of you who are unaware of just how simple an AK is, this is one field stripped. That’s right, excluding the magazine, it breaks down into 5 pieces, the smallest of which is the bolt. No springs to shoot little fiddly bits across the room, no little pieces to lose, just large solid pieces which can get ripped apart, wiped down, oiled up, then slapped back together. Of course, it’s a Russian gun, so you probably don’t have to clean it all that much. I shot about 150 rounds through it, and it wasn’t really that dirty.


| November 22, 2005

So, I've had some T-Shirt/Sticker/etc. ideas, so I've opened up a Cafe Press shop.


The new guns short list

| November 18, 2005

Liz and I were going back and forth as to what to get. Finally, we've decided to get several .22's. The list, as it stands now, in roughly the order that I want to get them:

Browning Buck Mark Pistol

Some variety of single action revolver in .22LR. Maybe a Ruger Single Six. Maybe not.

Taurus Reproduction Gallery Gun

Lever Action Henry in Carbine Length

By that time, hopefully, one of these, a short Ruger 10/22 will be out in stainless steel, so I can get one of these folding stocks for it and have a shorty autoloading plinking carbine.

So, that should keep me busy for a little while. 6 months at least.

Rotten luck turned good fortune

| November 18, 2005

So, my 19″ monitor (you know, the one that I got 3 years ago and was a floor model at staples so I got it for about 50% off) finally died. I just sat down at the computer, there was a Fzzt, a little smell of magic smoke, and the screen went dark.

So, on to ebay!!!!

I found this (it's an ebay link, so will probably go dead in a few days). But, basically, it's a Dell 2005FPW, which is a 20.1″ widescreen, which does 1680×1050 resolution, PIP and all this other fancy stuff. Plus, it has an S-Video and Composite connections, which means, that's right, I can play video games on it, and use it for cable TV display. (I know how cool they are because we have these monitors at work). Oh, and it's $460, shipped, which is LESS than the refurbished price from TigerDirect (without shipping). W00t!