Sunday, June 29, 2014

Really Good Food!

Yep...previous pix was Urbino...I was there to spend some quality time with Benelli...Dianna's M2 rocks.

Afterwards, Dianna and new hubby Ryan Mueller needed a ride to Venice to begin their honeymoon...they graciously invited me to lunch along the Grand Canal.

I recommend the cold octopus in pesto with paper thin potatoes slices for  the opening salad (tastes like fine tuna rather that the rubber balls you get in the U.S.), followed by black cuddlefish prepared Venetian style over grilled polenta. I went with a light local white, but hey, you're there for the view!

More on this on this week's pod...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Yes...a Red Benelli!

Yes, it's Di Liedorff's new gun. No, you can't have it. Neither can I.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Newt in the Tall Grass

Frightening, isn't she???

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Sorry For Light Blogging!!!

And a warning that it will continue for at least another week. Last season SHOOTING GALLERY production was a nightmare because of the OUTDOOR CHANNEL acquisition...everything ran late, late, late, so my SG production dates ran smack into THE BEST DEFENSE and continued on until March. It was just brutal on everyone (me included) and we made the decision to push our production schedule early for the 2015 seasons, since we know there's always extra stuff at the end of both TBD and SG.

So I've been in the field Big Time at a time when I'm normally at home.

BTW, I've been thinking of doing a .22 action event for SG as a companion to the NSSF Rimfire Challenge episode. What I was thinking of was a sort of .22 3-Gun..."Tac optics" only, that is scope/ed dot dot rifle, iron sights on the pistol. Courses would be run on steel (maybe the Action Targets rimfire series); shotgun would be limited to pump or double barrel, with shotgun strings limited to 5 shots plus 1 reload on the clock. The idea would be to introduce 3-Gun to a little wider audience, plus provide us with a cool feature.

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Am I Speaking Tomorrow????

Yikes! I have a date saved on my calendar for a talk to a law enforcement group in Denver 18 JUNE...what I do NOT have is a confirmation, a place and a time!!!!! Help!

Monday, June 16, 2014

Some Thoughts on Compromises...

"Logic is a way of saying that anything which didn't happen yesterday won't happen tomorrow."
— Robert Heinlein
"Glory Road"

...since I've been writing about house stuff. Yes, some of the previous posters are correct...EVERYTHING is a compromise. We opted for the propane compromise, largely because I can back up the propane systems over time. First step is a wind turbine (probably a Bergey Excel 1 to help the solar along in the winter). Second is a diesel gennie to back up the propane gennie. Third is a solar hot water pre-heat system. Ideally, I'd like to add an outside wood-fired broiler for the primary heat, but that's a big hit. You take it a step at a time.

Our focus right now is on figuring out what the baselines are for summer water, electricity and propane usage and make sure the systems are buttoned down for the winter, which as we know from Game of Thrones, is always coming.

UPDATE: Here is a great article from science fiction author Sarah Hoyt, titled, appropriately, "Assume the Crash Position:"
For instance, have you guys figured out yet that OWS’s was supposed to be an attempt at a “proletarian revolution”? No? If you look at it, it becomes clear. Raised on stories of proletarian revolution, they thought if they squeezed us just enough, and then provided a spark – OWS screaming about the 1% — the country would spontaneously rise up in a communist revolution. 
This was obvious to me, because I KNOW communist myth. 
Then there was gun control, which has failed, even despite Fast and Furious. And Fast and Furious is something that only crazy, delusional and dumb people would dream up. 
But there are things he can still do – crash the economy (the continuous money printing can’t go on) disarm (while China arms) and effectively switch sides in the war on terror.
These might be enough. I can see a very difficult winter ahead. I am still/again afraid that we’ll lose at least a city, and possibly more to enemy action. And I’m very afraid both my sons will end up in uniform and possibly dying to pay for this massive mistake.
So… It’s time to assume crash position.
Ouch. Let me change hats here, and as you know I'm a big fan of hats. The hat I have in mind, however, is that of Producer of the late, lamented THE BEST DEFENSE/SURVIVAL. One of the key things that I, Michael Janich, Rob Pincus and co-Producer Tim Cremin tried very hard to do was help our viewers understand the concept of "social dislocations." We weren't necessarily talking about TEOTWAWKI, but rather the dislocations that happen when the technological chain is broken through natural events, terrorist, financial instability, etc. We used the example of Argentina's financial collapse, for instance.

At TBD/SURVIVAL we didn't go out and talk to the various and sundry list of outrageous people featured on some of the other channels. Rather, we went to experts/first responders in the field of disasters, civilian and military "wargamers" who do nothing but study bad and worst case disasters, training facilities where really, really dark scenarios were taken apart and studied.

When I began with a blank page for the New Improved Secret Hidden Bunker, my initial thinking was simple — within the budget we could afford, what could we do to insulate ourselves from the most likely set of social dislocations (and, quite honestly, have fun doing it...this is an adventure, however occasionally painful...)? I am painfully aware of the "Potiphar Breen Conundrum," loosely translated as, "Just because an event is most likely to happen doesn't mean that it will," and the corollary, "Just because an event is unlikely doesn't mean it won't." Or, in its most brutal form, "You can't beat the House."

So you start with the compromises and work forward from there.

Been in Idaho!

For the MGM Ironman, following Usual Suspects Di Liedorff, her new hubby Ryan Mueller and OUTDOOR LIFE's John Snow. What a great match, and — at least for right now — totally over my head! Can't wait for you to see this on SHOOTING GALLERY 2015. And congrats to Dan Horner, who won Open and Tac Optics. And thanks to my friend Travis Gibson who made our filming possible.

Some issues on the NSSF Rimfire Challenge...we were looking at the National Championships in Tulsa at USSA the first weekend of August, but now it looks like there's going to be a change of venue and date. Will have details tomorrow AM. BTW, after the disaster at the International Revolver Championships, I'm halfway thinking of shooting this year's Rimfire Challenge with a revolver as penance.

Here's a really, really depressing article you all should read, from Pajamas Media's David Solway:
The normalcy bias disposes us to disregard or extenuate such policy initiatives. But history has repeatedly instructed us that the normalcy bias may be lethal. “It can’t happen here” is often the prelude to it happening here with a vengeance. For no matter how we may wish to parse or interpret reality, facts are facts. “They’re little pictures,” says Selwyn Duke in American Thinker, “and as with a jigsaw puzzle, if you have enough of them, assembled properly, you can see the big picture. This is otherwise known as being in touch with reality.”
Read the whole thing.

My series on building the New Improved Secret Hidden Bunker will start running ina  week or so on the Cheaper Than Dirt newsletter. I'll get up links as soon as I have them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Finally! Good News on New Secret Hidden Bunker...

...we closed the loan yesterday, ending a year-long forced march ulcer-inducing process to build an off-grid house. The most amazing thing to me is that the New Improved Secret Hidden Bunker actually works. The solar system is easily generating enough electricity to keep things moving along pretty well. The key point is that my Sweetie and I began paring down our lifestyle a couple of years ago, which, because we are a childless couple, wasn't that large to begin with.

As I made clear to subcontractors again and again, our intent was never to move back to the 19th Century, and I figure Mother Gaia can't get along pretty well without our help. Instead, we wanted to maintain a pared down modern lifestyle...that means television (my profession, as it happens), a coffeemaker, computers, the Internet and, yes, even a phone! And a shooting range.

As I've outlined before, electricity is from PV panels and a bank of sealed batteries, backed up with a Generac propane generator designed specifically for off-grid operation. The generator is designed to kick on when the battery level reaches a certain point. All household appliances were chosen specifically for off-grid. We went with a conventional, extremely energy efficient refrigerator — no ice-maker, no water dispenser, with the freezer on top to allow the cold to "trickle down." It's about half the size of our previous 2-door stainless steel model.

The stove is a Unique, propane-driven and with no connection to the grid. The stove "fires" thanks to a 9-volt battery. No clock; no timer. Washer and dryer are conventional super-high efficiency front loaders. The dryer is propane. There's a dishwasher, again, chosen for its frugal use of electricity.

Computers are Apple and all on power strips to eliminate "phantom" use. All of the light in the house have been converted to LED bulbs (expensive little buggers!) augmented with Solartube-type skylights in the darker area. Water is from an 800-foot well feeding 2 1275-gallon cisterns build into the crawlspace under the house. Heat/hot water is from a dual-tier propane system I designed. The systems are totally separate to avoid a "cascading" failure. System 1 is a propane tank feeding the home heating system  — underfloor radiant heat — and a conventional propane hot water heater for the kitchen and guest bathroom. That system also provides prom=pane for the generator. The second system provides propane for a 3-sided fireplace/heater and the super-efficient on-demand hot water heater for the master bath.

The new Bunker is south-facing with tile floors for thermal mass in the winter and cool in the summer. House is built with appropriate overhangs to shield the south-facing windows in the summer. There are high ceilings with clerestory windows for air circulation. For summer cooling, in addition to the design of the house, we have ceiling fans. In the bedroom, we popped for a Big Ass Fan, the most energy efficient fan on earth. There are energy star fans in the great room and my office.

My Sweetie designed the house specifically for the property...there is only one window on the side facing the prevailing winter winds, and that is a small, high window in the laundry room. The bedroom/master bath is position the farthest from the prevailing winds. Internet is through line-of-sight to a towner about 5 miles away. We have pretty good cell service, but I'm putting in a booster/repeater next week.

Yet to be done (read, we ran out of money) are a wind turbine, which will hopefully be in place before winter; solar hot water heating on both water systems, which I'm hoping we can hammer into place next summer, and gray water capture for the presently non-existant landscaping.

I'd love to show you guys pictures, but...OPSEC. I was appalled a couple of years ago when I found an Internet site with "directions to Michael Bane's Secret Hidden Bunker." Cute. There is no public access to the new Bunker, and I have overview of the only road from my new office.

BTW, I will be writing a series of articles on the off-grid experiment/experience for the Cheaper Than Dirt newsletter...I'll post the links when I have them!

Friday, June 06, 2014

First Day International Revolver Championships...

...absolutely fun day! Unfortunately shot like crap.You'd think I never did this before! LOL! Getting light primer surprise, since I'm shooting same lot .38spl FMJ ARMSCOR I practiced with. Tomorrow 1 Steel Challenge type stage, 4 run & gun field course, then dread 50-yard standards. Press on regardless...

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

On Open Carry Texas

This morning on the podcast I was critical of Open Carry Texas and their strategies designed to bring attention to Texas' lack of open carry for handguns. You're all familiar with these guys by now.

I have taken a lot of heat today, but I want to make it clear that I stand by my podcast.

The central core of my argument is that OCT tactics DON'T WORK. As a longtime Second Amendment activist myself, my guiding light has been simple, "Does the tactic I've selected bring us closer to victory?" This guiding light has led me (and my oftentimes cohort Paul Erhardt) to adopt unconventional, asymmetric tactics, tactics that many times put us at odds with the Powers-That-Be. But in every case the tactics we used brought us closer to victory.

The tactics being used by OCT are failing on every count. Read this piece by Sebastian on the FACT that OC in Texas is slipping away because of the antics of OCT. I don't want to get in a pissing match here, nor do I want to launch ad hominem attacks. We are, in fact, fighting the same war. But we do need to find the line between tactics and ego...believe me, I've been there myself.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

The Time! The Time!

I totally thought I had today under control...get the podcast hammered out (late...sorry Marshal!)...finish the other television producer stuff I had to do...go to the range an put a couple of hundred rounds downrange. That was before, of course, I had to deal with the Turkish travel visa...or the budget for a potential SHOOTING GALLERY trip that materialized this AM...or the Honda Element-full of crap that had to go to the landfill today...or this...or that...or this...

And it's almost 9 PM and I have no idea what happened to the day, except to say that it's gone baby gone. You all know the drill.

I'm going into the IRCs pretty much cold, not at all what I planned. I love shooting revolvers and I thought I had a good shot to finish well this year. Of course, that's what I thought about the He Man Wold Championships, where I was totally dialed in on the rifle and handgun and...get this...I didn't even show up for the match! The Real World is beating my ass into the ground.

But that's normal isn't it? We al do the best that we can do, given the fact that we have to keep our Real Lives perking along. My bosses expect me to at least pretend to be a television producer, with a half-dozen projects up in the air. The house...the puppy...the kitten...I swear, I'm running as fast as I can...

Sunday, June 01, 2014

A Good Sunday!

Spent most of the day assembling bookcases for my office, since I can't do anything until I can get stuff out of boxes and off the floor. Big hi-zoot television executive that i am, I of course bought the bookcases at IKEA. I was even able to assemble them, thanks to the miracle of hammer.

We knocked off at midday to do about an hour on the road ancient Trek OCLV hadn't ben out of the garage in months. A good spin helps distribute all the gunk in my knees to the approrpate nooks and crannies. When we got back from the ride, I did a quick 50-round drill with the GP-100 — 3 cylinders of just smoothly running the trigger (8-inch plate at 12 yards); One cylinder of smoothly running the trigger, plate at 15 yards. A bunch of one-shotdraws at 12 yards, followed by a cylinder full for 2-shots from the draw. I finished up the remaining rounds with "skip drills," maybe the best anti-flinching drill for revolver shooters ever created.

My good friend George Harris sent me a not to remind me to practice the "wall drill," dry-firing with the  muzzle an inch from a light colored wall. Any deviation in a perfect trigger pull is painfully obvious.

Yes, I'll get the BLR pixs tomorrow, right after I hammer together the last bookcase together!
I've never had a range on my property before. It's pretty cool!