30 März 2009

Oh, THOSE status reports?

Yes, those fucking status reports! These are the same status reports that I collect every Thursday and have been doing so for the last four or so months. These are also the same status reports that I have been specifically reminding you, Johnny Bistro (Johnny B. for short), about for the last four weeks. You know, the same status reports that EVERYONE calls you out on in person in our weekly meetings.

Yes. I'm glad you'll finally start updating your status reports on Thursdays, starting this week (hopefully).

In other news, there obviously isn't a guy named Johnny Bistro working here. That would be awesome, though, on the order of working with folks named Cornelius and Sally Mae.

A trip to the pistol range...

So, to celebrate getting into grad school, my good friend Peter decided to take a month off to go travel the Mediterranean + Europe.

We figured we should probably do something before he leaves... something that involves things you can really only do in America. So, obviously, firearms!

We (Ozan, Peter, and myself) went to Reed's Indoor Range and fired off 9x19mm from a SIG P226; that's what I'm shooting here:

What I am really doing in the left frame is clearing a stovepipe failure... but I think the 'dodging' interpretation is more interesting.

I'll put up more pictures later once I get them from Peter... when he gets back from gallivanting around in those lands across The Pond.

29 März 2009

Oh, Gun Store Commandos.

A gun store clerk commando (the term was introduced to me by my friend Russell) is "technically" (the quotes indicate that this isn't really a hard definition) someone who works at a gun store and is aggressive about giving you their unsolicited opinion regarding matters of firearms and what you the customer, who isn't right, should be using them for. They may or may not have had military/law enforcement experience, but that's irrelevant.

The first time I encountered one was at Kerley's Sporting Goods; the same Russell had taken me there to check out some firearms (I think I was in the market for my first rifle). I said something simple about an M1911 in a display case; something on the order of "is that an M1911?" or "that looks nice." The clerk then decided to tell me all about people he had known in the military and segued unsmoothly into why I should buy a lever action .22 LR rifle. I haven't seen this fellow working there since.

Recently, I took my Yugo M59/66A1 in to get it checked out; I was having trouble taking apart the bolt/firing pin assembly. I was showing the rifle to the owner (I believe his name is Harry) of the shop and this Random Guy ("RG") who was standing to the side (and absolutely brimming with nervous energy) comes in and takes the rifle out of Harry's hands and takes the receiver cover off and bolt carrier/bolt out. This is a very clear "WTF" moment -- I don't know this guy and Harry probably doesn't know this guy. Even so, the polite thing to do would have been to ask ME (the owner) first before even touching my stuff. Anyway, Harry checks the bolt and we both confirm that yes -- it needs to be detail stripped and cleaned before I shoot it.

Harry then asks me if I want the rifle put back together at which point RG then decides to take the parts from Harry (again without asking), informing the both of us (or no-one in particular) that "I'm really good at this." He puts the bolt in backwards. Harry points this out and RG isn't able to figure it out. Man, fucking weirdos. I have to say, gun stores attract the weirdest people. I remember a previous time I had a sort of similar experience and Harry apologized to me later about it. The whole thing feels like The Office in that sort of weird awkward situation kind of thing where myself, Harry, Casey (the other cool clerk), and the other level-headed customers at the shop are the straight men to the wackos (everyone else).

The whole thing is highly annoying, but I guess no matter what you do or where you go, stupid/strange people abound. It just seems to be at a higher frequency when firearms are involved, sadly.

28 März 2009

MGS4 + Redwall/Mouse Guard = Cat Shit One

So, I found this interesting little anime/manga called Cat Shit One: The Animated Series. Don't let the name scare you; it doesn't appear to have anything to do with shit. It's no secret that I love military themed shows, and the more "realistic" the better. I say "realistic" because I'm no expert and so I couldn't really tell if what's being portrayed is correct, but there you have it.

First, I want to say that there are some really obvious MGS4 stylings here: the game is post Cold War and appears to be about the rise of PMCs (private military companies/corporations or mercenaries) and in the Middle East. The music is set "appropriately" and the opening follows a truck before deployment. The similarities are more than startling. But enough of that; perhaps it's an attempt to generate interest by riding off of MGS4 and I'm okay with that.

It looks to be about two Americans (Americans are represented by rabbits) named Packy and Botaski doing a mission(s) in the Middle East somewhere. I'm going to assume they're not part of an official military unit; maybe non-official or semi-official. The persons who I imagine to be Arabs are represented by what look like camels (oh, that's clever). Packy and Botaski are assaulting some village to rescue their friends (?). Other than that, there are some nice bits of realism that I can sort of pick out... and I always love trying to identify weapons.

Packy seems to be armed with an AR15 style weapon; at first glance it would appear to be a carbine kitted out with all the normal fittings... so an M4 perhaps. A closer look, mainly at the magazine, reveals that it is probably an KAC SR47 or SR47-type weapon. The curvature of the AK47 magazines is quite distinct:

Around this point, he also discards his primary arm and transfers to his sidearm. I'm guessing the reason for the inclusion of this bit is because it looks awesome when you can smoothly transfer to your sidearm and put someone down. I do have some questions though; why did he toss the weapon aside? I can understand why it wasn't slinged to him -- a sling can be used against you if someone sneaks up and pulls the sling, thus trapping you and your weapon, especially if you have no one watching your back. There didn't appear to be any diagnosis of weapon malfunction; but then again, you can learn a lot just by the way the trigger pull feels and in a really tight situation, why take the chance (I guess)? He later appears to use his primary weapon, so the malfunction wasn't an actual jam or part failure. His sidearm also appears to be American; maybe some sort of M1911 (but is a bit "blockier" than most). It is hard to tell from this picture though, so it's mostly a guess on my part:

Botaski appears to be using some sort of M14 weapon with an EBR stock:

Nice. I'm glad to see something other than a massive hard-on for HK weapons... though, I am American, so there's my bias.

Anyway, none of this actually says anything about the content of this series. I can't wait for it to come out!

Notes after the fact:
The Sister: But that doesn't make sense - they don't even have opposable thumbs!

Ozan D.: oh no. they've gotten andy. we're too late.
Alex C.: dude, it's metal gear bunnies. of course they got andy

Christine W.: bunnies shooting people
Christine W.: i'm not surprised you liked this
Me: That's what my friends said too.
Me: I'd say it's bunnies shooting camels...

24 März 2009

Another pet peeve - proof-read your shit!

I often get requests at work for things which I don't mind, because in some ways, I'm really just an intern. I do mind, however, when these requests are either unclear or in some way internally contradictory... because that means I have to spend some effort interpreting or mind-reading the requestor. For example:


Sent: Tue 3/24/2009 4:12 PM
Subject: Sally Mae* onsite tomorrow... needs badging
Body: Hi Andrew,

Can you please provide Sally Mae with detailed directions on the badging process. She will be arriving Thursday later in the afternoon, onsite Friday, and through the weekend and into next week.



*Names changed. Sally Mae sounds like a co-ed you can take advantage of and Cornelius simply sounds fucking awesome.

This may sound minor and people (like Cornelius, the sender) may be really busy, but how busy are you that you can't spend five seconds to proof-read something and then fix it?

Yay Google Ads!

There's no real need to say anymore; I'd hope that the image is self-explanatory.

Gasp! A post!

So, as those around me know, I keep saying that I'll start blogging about my experiences at work and all the of the unfortunate situations I find myself in while in the office... so, I guess I'll start by easing into it.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people decide that they need to touch a computer display to point something out. I guess I understand that there's a certain tactile sensation to it that perhaps metaphysically (or not) connects the pointer to the pointed item... but otherwise, I feel that it's completely unnecessary. Whether it can damage a relatively soft LCD is questionable, but it WILL leave a greasy fingerprint -- SO DON'T DO IT.

Moving along... so here at work, there is a snack section. It just so happens to be near my desk. For a group of our size (at least 50 people, probably more), the snacks disappear quite quickly. There are only two snacks that don't: beef flavored ramen and Reese's peanut butter cups. Thankfully, I like both of these, so it works out for me.

This makes sense: beef probably isn't so common in India (a lot of our group members are straight from India). The peanut thing is a little stranger, given my American-centric view of the world. Peanuts, and peanut butter in particular, appear to be preferred by Americans only. I remember whilst in Germany I was asked about what we, as Americans, put on our toast in the morning. I said that besides jam and butter, we use peanut butter. Some of my lab colleagues didn't even know what that was, so I had to explain the idea of a peanut spread. To the others, I received only a quizzical look as if to ask "But... why would you do that?" So, from that experience, I have drawn a tentative conclusion that Germans don’t enjoy peanut butter. As it turns out, those colleagues were heading to the US for an ACS conference, and for fear of putting peanut butter on their toast, they all packed Nutella (which is delicious, so why not?). Another data point: I did learn later from one of my professors that one of his lab colleagues fresh from Germany had discovered peanut butter and became instantly hooked. The guy gained a noticeable amount of weight as a result.

Apparently, peanuts aren't as common in Thai cuisine as an American might think from eating Thai food... so says a Thai acquaintance of mine. He is, however, kind of sociopathic (in a literal and not figurative sense) and kind of a close-minded moron, so I don't know how inclined I am to believe him.

So, based on my limited observations, I guess I can add India to the list of places that don't enjoy peanuts with quite the same gusto as America. Yes, there is no real point to this blog post, but I’m bored, so why not?