The Caffeinated Penguin

musings of a crackpot hacker


| June 15, 2007

Well, I hope folks enjoyed the Zombie Invasion.

In other news, I managed to get the large pile of trees and limbs from cleaning up the property all burned and disposed of. There are still more fallen limbs to drag out of the woods and a bunch which need to be trimmed back, but it’s a start. There is also some old fencing which needs to come down, and some other misc bits of metal which need to be collected and checked to see if they are worth keeping. Most of the new steel will be – there’s some angle iron, some thin sheets, and a couple of massive posts. However, there’s also some rusty old car parts and such which I probably won’t keep. I also need to pull out a bunch of 4×4 posts which were used as fence posts. We have about a dozen of them, all good pressure-treated stuff, so that’s going in the garage for later. You never know what you might need those for. We’ve also (sortof) scored a 6HP Troy-Bilt Horse model rototiller. It is in nearly immaculate condition, needs new oil and some carburetor cleaning, but the parts for this are minimal (some rubber tubing and gasket material) and it’s mostly just a bit of work. The only big thing it needs are new tines, as these are very worn down. That will be like $100. However, we’re not going to do it until we buy it (hence the sortof). See, it needed a home, so it’s here and in our garage. We can fix it and use it how we please, and if we want it at the end of the summer we can make an offer. Now, for those of you that know these tillers, they need no explanation. For those of you that don’t they basically run forever if properly maintained. The engines are cast-iron blocks, really heavy duty stuff, and the rest of the tiller is mostly steel and iron as well. They literally go forever. The new ones, however, are not the same thing. They are made from stamped steel and, while the engine isn’t that bad (they’re using Honda engines, I think), it’s not really the same “beefiness” as the previous method of manufacture (Troy-Bilt was bought by MTD, who used the name to brand a completely different machine). It’s no wonder that a vintage Troy-Bilt in good condition will command prices nearly as high as a new one. The one we have, for example, with new tines would go for perhaps $500. New ones can be had for $570 at the low end and $750 as you get more towards the high end. Mikey has decided that he likes to hunt, and has been doing his best to control the local Chipmunk population. Ever the gourmand, he’s not restricting himself just to chipmunks. Yesterday he got a garden snake, a chipmunk, a mole, and a field mouse. He likes to bring them (usually mostly unharmed) to the glass door by the basement where he plays with them in the shade for the amusement of the humans. The folks from Abraham Heating and Cooling are here installing my A/C unit. It is about the size of a Volkswagen. I will post pictures. I am still arguing with the state of NY about gun stuff. For those not in the know, it breaks down like this: $30 per gun to bring into the state (need to pay FFL transfer fees to transfer it from myself to myself) * 9 guns = $270 $?? shipping (ship from RI to dealer in NY) $99 fingerprint fee $5 permit application fee == $374 Now, the thing is, the “bring the guns into the state” deal isn’t really law – it’s just the judge’s discretion, and he won’t issue me a permit if I don’t do it. I think this is silly, so I’m arguing with him about it. However, the argument will basically end with his next letter – I was building up to my “I can’t find this anywhere in the law so I conclude it is your discretionary authority in this matter. Given the issue if tremendous cost here, might you reconsider”. If he says no, there’s not much more I can do (though I have a letter from him saying no), and if there is some matter of law, I have asked him to cite the law so that I can send a letter to my Senator asking it to be changed. Of course, this will not change me getting the guns (because it takes too long for the law to get changed anyway), and since the $30 per gun goes to a dealer not the state, you can’t realistically expect to get it back. I’m also considering selling my 1911. If I end up having to bring all the guns here through a dealer, then I will need the money to pay for it, and it will be $30 less. At first, I balked because “well, I won’t have a home defense handgun”, but I’ll still have the .357 Magnum. Then I thought “but it’s my first 1911”, which is also not true. I had one of the polymer framed Kimber 1911’s, and sold it to get this one because the checkering was way too hard and it tended to bite me. Since it was plastic, you couldn’t really “dehorn” it like you could with a metal one. So, the idea here is that I sell this 1911, save money by shooting lots of .22. I won’t have to worry about reloading because that was mainly to feed the 1911. Then, in a year when things have settled out, I can go out and buy a nice 1911 by way of Springfield Armory, Kimber, STI or Ed Brown (full size, metal frame, single stack, maybe with the light rail on it, and then chuck some Crimson Trace Lasergrips on it). I also need to find a range. Many of them around here are “bubba” ranges (no rapid fire, no jacketed ammo, etc.). Sure, the guys are nice and all that, but I can’t do what I want to do. I found a range where they shoot IDPA, but they require factory lead-free ammo, which means $18/50 of .45. Considering I reload for less than half that, and money is tight, I can’t really afford to do that (and if I sell the 1911, I wouldn’t have a proper gun anyway (yes, I know I could use the .357. No, I probably don’t want to), so then it gets real cheap). I just need one where I can shoot the guns I have as fast as I want. There are a couple more ranges, and I have a couple more folks to contact, I’ve just been being lazy about it (inasmuch as “being lazy” means “working in the yard while it’s not so hot”). Anyway, time to go to work. Edit: I should also note that I would still have the Colt SAA reproduction, and nothing says “piss off” like a 250gr Hornady XTP JHP in a factory hunting load. This is Liz’s home defense gun (she likes the revolvers better than the autos) and I’m on the fence as to which is a better goblin-stopper round… Furthermore, there’s the intimidation factor. The .357Mag makes people think Dirty Harry, and the SAA makes people think Good the Bad and the Ugly (both Clint Eastwood, actually), but what does the 1911 give you? I think goblins are more impressed/scared by revolvers than autos for some reason…

Still here

| June 13, 2007

We got a large group of them at about 3. The 30-06 ammo is mostly gone, but man, that rifle can shoot. I was taking them coming over the hill (250m), and once they got to the garage it just got easy. I've been loading AK mags during the slack times, but we've still got plenty of 7.62×39. I've been using whatever is in mags, then reloading it with FMJ with the idea that I'll save the JHP. We've been saving the shotgun ammo because it's a much better zombie stopper up close.


  • Zombies smell
  • Cats don't like zombies
  • Wearing shooting muffs w/ the amplifying microphone cutout doodads is useful. You can shoot but still hear each other talk.
  • Brass all over the place makes a mess. Good thing the floor is tile.

It seems to be slacking off. Not sure what gives. I'd check on the neighbors, but it's dark already, and I don't want to head out in the dark. Liz and I went out to the garage and got the lights turned on, so we have more warning at night. Plus, we turned on the rest of the lights around the house.

The glass is actually okay. Despite the way too many windows, we've been pretty successful at keeping them away from the glass. There are a couple of cracked ones, but nothing too major.

Liz and I will have to sleep in shifts, if we can.

Met the neighbors

| June 13, 2007

Found what to do with that .45ACP ammo. One of the neighbors is an avid hunter and has a .45 for home defense. I traded him 1000 rounds for about 500 more 12ga 00 buck shells which will work in the shotgun. The other neighbor doesn't shoot much, but they have a .22 and not much ammo, so I gave him what was left of a box of Winchester Wildcats. Unfortunately, it's all I could spare.

The power is still on and we've saved up some water. Of course, after we did this I remembered that the well is artesian and fills about half a gallon per minute, so we do have long term running water.

More thoughts:

  • The AK is pretty much useless past 100m.
  • Close in rifles need holographic sites. Snap shots take too long.
  • You can take zombies with a .22. It just takes several of them in the head. However, the 10/22 is good for that at distance, and what else am I going to do with the .22 ammo?
  • They seem to mostly be coming in from the road, they don't like to come over the stream or through the dense woods.
  • We've seen no police, but heard some sirens an hour ago.
  • I saw some helicopters and jets, but not more than that.
  • I called my in laws. They're okay and have joined up with the neighbors on the street. They're pretty much all on the fire dept, and there is a retired policeman on the street as well. So, they should be fine.
  • I haven't been able to get hold of my folks, but that doesn't really mean anything.

Stay alive, folks.

random thoughts

| June 13, 2007

(1) Old shotguns from the 60's don't hold many shells (2) 12ga 2.75″ 00 buck magnum loads work well. (3) 3.5in magnums would probably work better. (4) NY Law sucks. I have 1000 rounds of .45ACP and a couple of boxes of .357 mag but no guns to shoot them because they're still in RI. Then something like this happens. I suppose I could throw the bullets at them.

Interesting morning

| June 13, 2007


The cats went nuts around 3am, and were hissing and carrying on. I could hear something moving out by the garage, so I grabbed the SAR-1 and a flashlight (really need to get myself a surefire, or that new one which is like 400 lumens) and went to the window to investigate. Someone was out front, I kid you not, eating on my front lawn. I called out, and he looked up, and I realized that this guy was messed up. He was eating a rabbit, and looked like death warmed over. I went back into the house, locked the door, woke Liz and started to close the windows. By then he was shambling over to the deck. I had flipped on the lights on the porch and could get a better look and something clicked… “Zombie”. Ran to an open window, put two rounds into his head at about 3m and he went down. Looked like a lone actor, but I'm not sure. I left the lights on, closed the windows, and secured everything as best as I could until daylight.

Tactically, I'm in an odd situation. We have food, water, clear fields of fire. On the downside, half my guns are still in Rhode Island (thanks NY State!), which leaves me with only one serious rifle. I've got a .22 which is good out to 100 yards, but I only have 500 rounds of HV hollowpoints, plus another 500 of match grade wolf. I have a pile of 7.62×39 to keep the AK going, but I wish I had picked up that polytech SKS at the gun store last week. We have a 12ga shotgun too, but I only have about 200 shells for it, and only 50 in 0 or 00 buck.

I'm hearing scattered shots coming from around, but that isn't unusual. I have to head out and try to make contact with the neighbors, make sure my flanks are protected. I'll write back when I can.

More bits

| June 12, 2007

For all the gamers (hat tip to

JPFO info on Red's Trading Post, a gun store fighting the BATFE. Their paperwork is 99.6% correct, with issues like not making sure that customers write “Yes” instead of “Y”. They have a blog here. Of interest here is the bullying tactics. The more they fight, the more the BATFE harasses them.

Make Congress read the bills they pass. The way I see it, this would serve two purposes . First, congress would write shorter, more easily understood bills because the bills must be read before a physically present quorum of legislators, and they don't want to sit through all that incessant reading of bills. Second, they would have to sign an affidavit saying that they have read and understand the bill, so there can be no “I didn't realize this was in the bill when I voted on it” crap.

Civil Disobedience re: gun rights. Note that I have not read these yet, I am just passing them on.

This guy is of the opinion that the federal government does not have the authority to collect income tax. Now, while I am not going to comment on the veracity of this stance, it seems like this situation is spiraling rapidly out of control – I fear another Waco. Furthermore, just like Waco, this is about taxes (remember – Waco started with a no knock raid about possible unregistered machineguns – the registration of which requires a $200 tax paid to the BATFE. Had they paid this tax, it would have been legal… well, until 1986 when the government decided that what was decided in 1934 (the tax) wasn't good enough and that they were going to ban all new machineguns). Anyway, seriously folks – does someone's refusal to pay taxes really necessitate a siege with countless law enforcement hours? It just seems a little excessive. Furthermore, I cannot deny that I am somewhat moved to go out and help these folks. Problem is, I don't have all the facts, and I have a lot of responsibilities right now. On the other hand, this concerns me because it makes me ask the question “how much will I put up with until I actually stand up to tyranny”. The flip side is, I'm not convinced that this is tyranny. I'm not even convinced that these folks are right. I really need to read up on this whole “the FedGov doesn't have the authority to collect income tax.”. I know they didn't in the beginning, but there has been 200+ years of changes, amendments and tort law which have modified this, and I'm not quite up on all of it.

Anyway, it's reading time.

Bring on the lawsuits

| June 7, 2007

Looks like they might pull the Tiahrt amendment from this year's funding bill

For those not in the loop on this, this amendment makes it illegal for the ATF to share results of gun traces with anyone not engaged in a bona-fide criminal investigation. So, if you find a gun at a crime scene, you can find out where the gun came from, if necessary to the investigation. Without this amendment, however, you can get a list of all guns used in crimes in locality X between this time and that time, without it being tied to an investigation. The fear here is that someone like Bloomberg would use this to create a list of gun shops to sue, since a gun sold by them was later used in a crime. Remember – if you can't ban new guns in some place, another way to stop new guns is to shut down all the shops, then make it illegal to buy guns from anyone not licensed in that place. Eventually, the old guns go away as people move/die/sell them/etc. A certain number will be passed on as part of the estate, but many of those will go to people who are scared of them and turn them it at the gun buybacks. Before you know it, you have a disarmed population.


| June 7, 2007

Pictures from Katie and Chris's wedding (finally, eh)

Let's see, what else…

Memorial day weekend was nice, I got to hang out with the twin nieces and rock them to sleep while everyone was around for the christening. Then we came back and did some yard work, which continued into the week. We've cleaned up the rolls of fencing, go the small garden we're doing this season in, pried up some tractor eating rocks, took down the mostly broken choke cherry tree, trimmed the branches off some of the pines, mowed the lawn again, dragged out some dead branches and fixed the mailbox.

Still to do:

  • Relocate the mailbox to be in front of our driveway, rather than offset from it.
  • Move some posts and relocate some gates in the fencing
  • (these two will make me spend some quality time with the post hole digger)
  • Pull out some old posts which we don't want up anymore
  • Trim up some more trees
  • Have a bonfire to get rid of all of the tree stuff

At that point we can start to get into some landscaping.

Of course, then there is all the indoor stuff, which is up to 6 letter sized pages on the notepad. I need to make a spreadsheet and prioritize it all.

Meanwhile, the A/C will be going in towards the middle of next week, I'm still arguing with judges about gun stuff, and I'm going to try to visit a range which is having it's open house on Sunday. I'm getting distracted from making as much progress on the house as I would like because of the barrage of letters I'm having to write to everyone about gun stuff, etc.

On the plus side, NY has a bill in the Assembly which would legalize homosexual marriage. My Assemblywoman is a cosponsor (what, a politician who is both pro-gun and pro-gay marriage? No way! Someone who actually believes in freedom. Wow!)

Anyway, I think it's time for bed.

Book stack update

| June 7, 2007

This will be my last book stack post for a bit, since I want to catch up on periodicals (some serious, some frivolous). Last post was here

Added and removed from the stack: Rebelfire 1.0: Out of the Gray Zone, Claire Wolfe and Aaron Zelman This appeals to me, because I am a big fan of the near-future dystopia. Basically, this is government run amok and people struggling against it, etc. It sounds trivial here, but really was quite good.

Finished: Starship Troopers, Robert A. Heinlein Super soldiers fight against space aliens and bugs. Action, adventure, and some interesting views on what makes a citizen and how one should be a good steward of society.

Tunnel In The Sky, Robert A. Heinlein A bunch of students on a survival test get lost due to an accident. What was to be a two week test took much longer. This is basically what Lord of the Flies should have been. I don't believe that society breaks down as much as Golding supposes.

On the back burner (since I'm reading periodicals): The Past Through Tomorrow, Robert Heinlein The Federalist Papers, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay We Were Soldiers Once… and Young, Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present, Howard Zinn The Underground History of American Education, John Taylor Gatto

Currently on the stack: The Falcon Banner, Christopher P. Lydon Sigil of the Wolf, Christopher P. Lydon The Lion's Pride, Christopher P. Lydon Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville Will: The Autobiography of G. Gordon Liddy, G. Gordon Liddy The Gun Digest Book of Combat Handgunnery, Massad Ayoob The Door Into Summer, Robert Heinlein Tomorrow, The Stars, Robert Heinlein The Rolling Stones, Robert Heinlein The Number of the Beast, Robert Heinlein Great Issues in American History, Volume II – From the Revolution to the Civil War, 1765-1865, Richard Hofstadter. Great Issues in American History, Volume III – From Reconstruction to the Present Day, 1864-1981, Richard Hofstadter and Beatrice K. Hofstadter The American Political Tradition and the men who made it Richard Hofstadter Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower, Stephen King SAS Survival Handbook, John “Lofty” Wiseman On Killing : The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society, Dave Grossman On Combat, Dave Grossman Serenity: The Official Visual Companion, Joss Whedon

Apparently, I am not wierd enough

| June 6, 2007

Hat tip to

So, mattcaron, your LiveJournal reveals…

You are… 0% unique and 70% herdlike
(partly because you, like everyone else, enjoy tea).
When it comes to friends you are normal. In terms of the way you relate to people, you are wary of trusting strangers.

Your writing style (based on a recent public entry) is conventional.

Your overall weirdness is: 7

(The average level of weirdness is: 27.
You are weirder than 8% of other LJers.)

Find out what your weirdness level is!

Apparently, I'm herdlike and not very weird.

I suppose I will have to try harder.