Another Great Commercial

I’ve explained before that I love a good commercial. Uncreative commercials are boring at best and sometimes outright irritating, but when they are done right, they become a form of entertainment all of their own. When advertisement first hit YouTube heavily, I was not impressed. However in the current format, where you can opt to skip the commercial after the first fifteen seconds, it’s forced many marketers to step up their game. If they can sell you on the commercial in the first fifteen seconds, then you might just watch the rest. This approach causes the quality to come up overall. Check out this Totino’s commercial:

Classic! And, it’s holiday-appropriate too. To that end, do have a happy Halloween. Let’s get some kids all sugared up tonight!

KTKC 2013 – The Day After

From September 1 through yesterday, September 30, whenever I was wearing clothing, I was wearing a kilt. I very literally spent September 2013 without wearing pants even once. Today, I wear jeans. Some of you stepped up to the challenge and helped me raise $705.00 for the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Thank you. Thanks to all of you for your generosity. The cumulative goal for this year’s drive was lofty, but my personal goal was admittedly unreasonably optimistic. And, I’d like to take a moment to talk about that.

I could point out the fact that this total is about a third of what came through my KTKC profile last year, but I’d rather point out that it is TEN TIMES what I raised in 2011. I’d like to pass out some virtual high-fives for that. I’ve had to carefully consider whether I will participate in KTKC 2014, but I keep coming back to an echoing yes in the hollow recesses of my brain. This year has been tough for a lot of folks, and I’m so proud that you all helped me out with your resources.

I’ve pretty well determined who is getting a holster named after them, but I have not yet contacted for details. You likely know who you are already and should expect an email from me shortly to sort out the details of the naming of the holster. I’m sorry I didn’t have more to offer in the way of prizes this year. We’ll try to step up our game for next year. To all of you who donated, I’m about to draw for the pauldrons. If you do NOT wish to receive them, please drop me an email and let me know to hold your name out of the drawing. Otherwise, you stand about a one in sixty chance of getting some delightfully random plate mail.

I’d like to take a moment to send congratulations to the top participants in this year’s drive. No, scratch that. I want to give a big congratulations to all involved, but especially the top participants. I hear rumors that in the cumulative three months of doing this, we’ve raised over $50,000 to benefit male-specific cancer. That’s not bad for a group of misfits and miscreants such as ourselves. In fact, that’s worth being proud of. Thanks again. Now, I’ve got to go prepare. We only have eleven months until KTKC, and I have some holsters to build!

Guns and Coffee?

I’m not going to bother linking to everyone in this post, but it seems like every gun blogger and his or her dog has weighed in on the non-committal letter from Starbutts concerning company policy on the carrying of guns. Here’s a link to the letter from the CEO, if you don’t have navel lint to gaze at or grass to watch growing, or sand to count, or any other more gainful thing to do with your time. Otherwise, I’ll summarize the new ‘policy’ for you:

Starbutts managment has decided that they don’t want to be a soapbox for the gun debate. They just want to sell bad coffee. They aren’t going to put up gun buster signs, and their “partners,” i.e. minimum-wage employees, won’t ask you to leave or refuse you service, but they would really prefer that you not come to their establishment armed. They won’t call the cops or anything, “but come on, guys! Please?”

In my home state, as well as many others, a business can put up a sign. If they don’t want guns in their establishment, they may post a sign that is “clearly visible at the entrance.” If you ignore this sign and enter anyway, you are not breaking the law anyway. If any worker at the establishment happens to notice your gun and if they then happen to give a trickle of whiz that you have ignored the sign, they may at that point ask you to vacate the premises. You still have not fallen afoul of the law if you turn heel at this point and find something better to do. If however, at this point you refuse to leave, they may call the police and you may be held liable for trespassing. In other words, there are a lot of ‘ifs’ to get through in order to make it illegal to carry a gun on private property here. What does that all mean for Starbutts and their new “policy” you might ask. Not so much as a hill of beans. Not even overpriced, former coffee beans that have the flavor completely roasted out of them.

And, what does this all mean to me? Just a little less than the aforementioned hill of tortured beans. I’ma tellya why too! Years ago, I started ordering my coffee beans online from these guys, mostly because none of the local groceries carried good coffee. CCM Coffee ships their coffee within 24-hours of roasting it, so it all tastes fresh and fantastic. You typically want to consume your coffee within a week or two of roasting it for the best flavor. For perspective, your typical canned coffee was roasted sometime since the Pleistocene. I only ordered a pound or two at a time because we couldn’t drink it before it went stale if I ordered it at higher quantities for a discount. Then, I started ordering green coffee beans in quantity, and home roasting in small volume to meet our coffee drinking needs. At this point, there’s a frou frou grocery store within walking distance of our home that has a couple dozen varieties of high-quality coffee (far better quality than Starbutts uses), reasonably priced; so I’ve pretty well fallen out of home roasting anymore.

The whole coffee beans go into a burr grinder, of which we have two (two is one, one is none). When it’s precisely ground to spec, it gets brewed with filtered water in our Briel Domus Uno espresso machine. Incidentally, Starbutts used to use good Briel machines, until they replaced them all with automatics once they found that a typical, minimum-wage barista can’t run a good machine reliably, even though I’m pretty sure I could train my Siamese to do it. Sometimes I’ll sweeten with a touch of raw agave nectar, and/or add a splash of milk, cold or steamed, depending on my mood. I usually drink it black. If you tell an average, knuckle-dragging barista that you want a double or triple shot of strait espresso, they will likely look at you like you just sprouted horns. Plus, I may or may not get dressed before I have my coffee. Try that at Starbutts!

Ten bucks will get you a pound of coffee that will make approximately fifty espresso shots, if I’m guestimating right. You won’t use a gallon of milk before it goes bad if this is all you do with it. A quart-sized bottle of agave nectar is about seven bucks and lasts me six months. Figure $.20 per shot on the beans and maybe a penny to sweeten your drink. Even if you go triple shot, with milk, you’re looking at well under a buck for a latte. Needless to say, I’m not spending money at coffee shops. Between equipment cost (~$300-$500 for a decent machine, plus ~$50 for a grinder) prorated over the years it will last (current setup here has been running fine for over five years so far) and expendable supplies (see above), it’s pennies on the dollar to brew at home as compared to going out for coffee. Plus, you get a far superior cup of joe.

Over the last few years, when the troops were rallied to support Starbutts for their refusal to ban us for our guns and to make up for their loss of business on the antis boycott, Jennifer and I would begrudgingly wander into the corner coffee shop and spend $20 on their crap as an act of solidarity. I can confidently say that Starbutts won’t be getting our $20 a year anymore. Boy, that’ll hurt! With the amounts I know other people are spending on coffee, and how those green and white signs seem to sprout out of the ground like weeds, they aren’t going to miss our $20, and we won’t miss their coffee. I know that some people are getting a little more worked up about this than others. I just don’t see it as much of an issue, one way or another, on any given level. Oh and, we’re still doing Kilted To Kick Cancer. Please take a minute and go donate here. Thanks you!

Otis

For a blog that purports to be a gun blog, there surely hasn’t been a whole lot of gun content here in a while. What are other things that we gun types are interested in?

No, I’m not talking about knives.

No, not flashlights either.

Not tactical pants.

Cleaning supplies! Because a clean gun is a happy gun. Right?

While Jennifer and I were at the NRA thing in Houston, we stopped by to say “hi” to the good people at Otis Technology. We left them with our contact info and let them know that we are both bloggers. When we returned home, I began to email back and forth with Heather at Otis, who was kind enough to provide some samples for review.

Case top

Thursday, FedUp dropped a box on my porch which contained Otis’ .22-.45 Pistol Cleaning System, their Optics Cleaning System, and their MSR/AR System. By a complicated turn of events, I wound up with a U.S.G.I. M-16 cleaning system some time back. Upon recent inspection, it is actually an Otis-branded system, although the contents of the kit are quite a bit different than the consumer system that came yesterday. I hope you’re as fascinated as I am when we talk about the details a little later.

Cases four

Each of these cases is about the size and shape of a hamburger. Jennifer tells me that they look like a travel make-up kit. These should throw into a range bag nicely and sit in a bottom corner of a pocket until you inevitably have a gun at the range that refuses to play nicely. Jennifer and I do have some dirty guns around here, so we should be able to give these things a bit of a workout. Additionally, my brother, Microcosm Overloard has a couple different Otis kits that we should be able to discuss here as well. I fully expect Jennifer to throw in her $.02 too. To start with, let’s take a quick peek at each of the four systems.

Handgun contents

The .22-.45 Pistol Cleaning System (part number FG-610 BX), contents pictured above, includes a .5-oz tube of cleaner/lube, a .38-cal and a .45-cal copper bore brush, a bore reflector/flag safety, cleaning patches, large and small slotted tips, bore obstruction tips, a T-handle bar, three bore cables in various sizes, and the instruction manual. Since the centerfire handguns that we shoot are in .38/.357, 9mm, .44 Magnum and .45 ACP, I expect that we’ll make full use of all the components in this kit.

Optics contents

The Optics System (part number FG-240 BX) contains a lens cloth, a book of lens tissues, a lens brush, anti-fog lens cleaning solution, cotton swabs, and instructions. We don’t do much in the way of gun optics in our household, but we are avid photographers. I do know of a few scopes that we can probably try these out on. What works to clean gun optics should do well for our camera lenses as well.

M16 07

The U.S.G.I. M16 cleaning kit comes with bore cables, a bore illuminator, patches, brushes (although not a proper AR15 chamber brush), various tools, solvent for both gun cleaning and optics, optics tissues, a lens brush, and an instructional CD rom. That is a three-inch CD, for perspective. I won’t make the claim that this kit is absolutely complete since I received it second hand. But, the original owner only used it a couple of times, so I assume he didn’t lose any components or add any extras. I didn’t realize that they issued optics on M16s, but this cleaning kit seems to suggest that they do.

AR15 08

The consumer MSR/AR cleaning system (part number FG-556-MSR BX) is a rather impressive kit including two bore cables, a pack of bore patches, two copper bore brushes and two combination bore brush swabs, bore illuminator/safety flag, CLP, a proper 5.56/.223 chamber brush, a rifle cleaning cloth, cleaning instructions, breakdown variations of all the standard brushes and pics, and the new for 2013 B.O.N.E. (Bolt Operational Necessary Equipment) tool. If this last tool scrapes carbon as effectively as they claim, I have a feeling we’re going to be good friends! I believe quite a few of these pieces should work well in our .22 rifles and pistols.

I will be the first to admit that many of our guns don’t get cleaned like they probably should. My rifle has junk in it that needs to be scraped out, and I’m unbelievably excited by that! I once ran my M&P45c without cleaning it to see how long it would take to stop functioning properly, and it eventually surprised me during pistol class by no longer locking back on an empty magazine. The round count was somewhere over 1,000. So yeah, we have some dirty guns to try this stuff out on. And, the MSR/AR kit and the pistol kit should clean everything we have in the house, up to our shotguns. In subsequent entries on these supplies, we’ll take a more in-depth look at each kit and clean some guns.

KTKC 2013, Day 3

Please go here and donate to the cause. You probably all know that this month I will be wearing a kilt to help raise funding and awareness for male-specific cancers. In 2011, the first year for KTKC, my efforts raised $60 toward the cause. Last year, my total came in at $2,263. That is nearly thirty-eight times the previous year’s performance! If we could realize another gain proportional to that, it would put the donations at $85,352.82 this year. Even as awesome as you people are, I’m just not holding my breath on that.

weegoats

Honestly, if we can expect anything remotely resembling the same increase from last year to this year, there’s no reason that we can’t hit that $50,000 group goal. Therefore, I’ve set my personal goal at $50,000. Frankly, if we can do half of that, I’m going to be really proud of you all. If you help me make that $50,000 goal and I still don’t finish in the top three, even better yet. Again, please make your donations here. Thanks in advance!

An Open Letter to Miley Cyrus

Dear Miley,

Can I call you ‘Miley’? Great. I don’t watch TV, but after all the hullabaloo that I saw on the internet about your *ahem* performance at the VMAs, I had to check out a recording to see what the big deal was all about. I was previously aware of your recent antics, since I attempt to keep a finger on the pulse of the entertainment industry. I don’t want to wake up one day and find myself as one of those old guys who is absolutely out of touch with the current culture. I have not exactly been in approval of your approach before now, but you really crossed the line on Sunday.

mileycyrustongue

Why does this face look so familiar?

annoying_orange_by_imancb

It may be cute when my dog’s tongue is hanging out of her mouth, but it is not cute when you do it. And, I understand that sex sells. I really don’t have a problem with sex appeal in the entertainment industry. It’s been done for centuries. What I do have a problem with is soft core porn being peddled as family entertainment. When Stefani Germanotta paints on a scant outfit and makes a spectacle of herself as Lady Gaga, there is artistic value in it. Even at her most salacious, she retains a defined level of class. She incorporates elaborate dance routines with choreography, dazzling color, and many other elements that are not at all sexual in nature. On the other hand, when you get as close to naked as you legally can and grind against a dude’s crotch, rub your lady bits with a foam finger, and wag your nearly naked rump at a crowd and cameras, it is indecent. Twerking is not dancing. It is slutty exhibition.

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I know your daddy has remained pensively positive, but I can only imagine what your spectacle has done to his achy breaky heart. If someone I loved did something so disgusting, I can confidently say it would make me die a little on the inside. By contrast, last year, I published a very sexy video on YouTube of my beloved wife shooting .50-caliber rifles wearing a PVC catsuit that didn’t leave much to the imagination. Even though it was sexy it was not at all trashy. She was exhibiting her excellent marksmanship skills and agreed to do the video to promote men’s health.

Will twerking destroy a paint can 800-yards away? Yeah, I don’t think so. You see, every September a bunch of us guys commit to wear kilts all month and collect donations to raise awareness and support for male-specific cancers. After much discussion, we announced that if my sponsorship reached a certain level, we would make this video. There are these little things called boundaries, and my wife and I have boundaries that we won’t cross. Some things are better left in the bedroom and certainly have no place in public for just anyone to behold. As I watched the recording of your… …thing, the look of disgust on Will Smith’s face mirrored my own reaction.

willsmithmileycyrusvma

Indeed, it appeared that many members of the live audience were disturbed by your antics. I would like to advise you to seek a career that’s more in line with your talent set; there’s probably some openings in Las Vegas for a girl like you. But as you noted on Twitter, what you are doing is getting you a lot of attention.

And, in that you are right. Peddling your sexuality, objectifying your meat, and eschewing art in lieu of profane exhibitionism is making you a lot more money than the hard working girls that I alluded to above. Heck, I don’t even listen to your “music” or watch TV, and you even got my attention. What you did was the professional equivalent of crapping in bed and rolling around in your own feces. It got a lot of attention, but it is not at all good attention. You’re also now in the oldest profession. Rather than relying on work or talent, you have made a whore of yourself, Miley. And although that might seem like a really fun and successful way to go when you are twenty, what happens when you get older?

Well then, you’ll just be an old whore.

Old-Whore

Handgun License

A little over five years ago, I received my Concealed Weapon License. Oklahoma allows application for renewal within 90-days of expiration, and gives a 30-day “grace period” after the license is expired that a holder may still legally carry a handgun. In November, Open Carry went into effect in Oklahoma and all standing Concealed Weapon Licenses by default became Handgun Licenses. People are applying for Handgun Licenses in ever increasing numbers, and the people at the OSBI have had their hands full. Jennifer and I were able to send in our renewal applications on May 9, 2013 as I mentioned here. Not as early as we would have liked, but still earlier than the notifications the OSBI mailed us, letting us know that our permits were about to expire in 30-days. On July 13, I emailed OSBI to ask about current status, as my grace period had just ended. They promptly responded back and explained that they were waiting on background checks from the local and county constabularies, and that I should expect to hear something within 15-20 business days. On July 19, Jennifer’s new Handgun License was delivered in the mail, with an issued date of July 17. Today, after 76 days of waiting, my Handgun License arrived in the mail with an issued date of July 18. I must compliment the system as they did not take the full 90-days allotted them. I did spend a little over a week a few pounds lighter in public, but no one was injured. It just felt silly being the holster maker without a valid Handgun License. Of course, it also feels silly to have to jump through so many hoops to legally practice a constitutionally guaranteed, God-given right.

OK SDA

Recently, renewing my carry permit has been in the back of my mind, as it has been almost five years since my permit was issued. There have been more pressing things to attend to, and I got sidetracked, but I started researching what I needed to do when we got back from the NRA Convention in Houston. My permit was set to expire in about five weeks. The state’s website advises that the renewal application may take 60-90 days to process. Crap. It also reads that one may apply for renewal within 90-days of expiration. They do allow a 30-day grace period after expiration, but apparently we’re supposed to get our application in exactly 90-days prior to expiration. Lovely. So, Jennifer and I got our applications sent in last week. Her original permit got issued after mine, so she should be in her grace period when her new permit comes in, if they take as long as they are rumored to. I, on the other hand, will likely have to leave my gun at home for a couple of weeks. If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, you probably had some idea that this was going on.

This morning I got a letter in the mail from the OSBI. Surely that couldn’t be in response to my application already! I felt the envelope, and it clearly didn’t contain a renewed permit, but only paper. Surely they didn’t already review my renewal application and find some reason to not issue me a new permit! I don’t know why I get so paranoid when it comes to these dealings. I tenuously opened the letter. It appears to be an auto-generated letter sent to notify me that my permit expires next month and that I should apply for renewal. *head scratch* It seems to me that this would be significantly more useful if they sent them out 90-days prior rather than 30-days prior to expiration, considering that if one waits until the last few weeks, one is pretty well guaranteed to be out of a permit for a while. And, if they’re not going to be any more helpful than that, why even waste the paper and postage? There’s our tax dollars at work. *sigh*

UPDATE – Jennifer tells me that the payments to the state have cleared our account, so apparently they’ve received our applications and have done SOMETHING. I’ll update you when we see permits.

NRA 2013 – Thursday and Friday

Thursday, Jennifer and I got up early with the plan to pick up the rent-a-heap (as OldNFO calls it), with the intent of her taking our Compact Tactical Assault Sedan to work while I took the foster car home to load our junk, ready to drive once she got home from the office. She had a couple of loose ends to tie up before she could take off, but she was still planning to cut out early. The rental company jacked up our reservation and didn’t have our car by 7:30 as arranged. At that time, they offered excuses and said they could take a car to her office by nine. They didn’t have a compact, as we had booked, so they were going to upgrade us to a midsize. I dropped her off at work and took our CTAS home. At nine, she texted to let me know that the rental company had not yet delivered a car. She called and reamed them a new one, so they ‘upgraded’ us, once again, to a Dodge Avenger. Our original booking must have been for a two-door Speck with a three hamster engine. They got her the car at around 9:30, and we were on the road by ten. In all fairness, the rental company was extremely receptive to our multiple complaints and has made overtures to remedy the mishandling.

The drive was not terribly noteworthy, considering we drove through both Dallas and Houston. There weren’t too many situations in which I knew we were about to see some idiot cause a forty car pile-up because he was in such a hurry to rush up and tailgate the next driver in line or cut across four lanes of traffic with no signal, or both. Maybe I’m just growing patience with age. Thursday night, we met up with some of our friends for some Cajun food. Jennifer and I split a dozen oysters on ice, five pounds of crawfish, sausage, potatoes, and corn. Yum! Friday morning, we woke up at the butt crack of freaking dawn and headed down to the convention center. Parking was a veritable nightmare. If you don’t mind spending $30 to park your car for a day, it wasn’t bad at all, but that is extortion, IMHO.

The show was what I have come to expect out of a trade show. There were lots of pretties to handle and we got to meet many interesting people. Some of them are people that we have grown to know and respect online, others that we only knew by reputation prior to this weekend, and still others that were fresh introductions. Also, we had the opportunity to catch up with some old friends, if not nearly enough of them. But, that’s how these things go. It seems like no matter how much you try to pack into each day of the weekend, in the end you’re always short on time. Please do expect some pics and accounts of guns and gear, as well as more detailed stories, and it looks like we’ll have some extended test and evaluation stuff to look forward to. In the meantime, I’ll post some more updates tomorrow, and suffice it to say that it’s been an extraordinary trip so far.