Saturday, August 1, 2009

Monster Hunter International; first Impressions

The new release of Larry Correia's first book, Monster Hunter International, just hit store shelves, and I picked up my copy for about $8. The first edition's go for hundreds of dollars, so I was fine buying the second edition. Plus, something that popular must be really good, right?

IT IS! All the hype was true. I'm 130pages into it, and even though I've barely made a dent, it's got me hooked. The basic story line is all the creatures from your nightmares and horror movies are real, and someone needs to kill them. MHI is a family owned business that's been killing monsters for a hundred or so years, and they're good at their jobs.

Well, off to finish the book. Shouldn't take more than a week at this rate.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Things I forgot I had

I just received the stuff that has been in storage since June, 2007. Needless to say, there are many things I forgot I had. Some of the less remarkable things include a truly ridiculous amount of gladware, various glasses and kitchen implements, and a desk chair.

Now for the weird stuff:
1. A large sheet of plywood, formerly used as a back stop for the dart board.
2. A food dehydrator.
3. Sugar bowl; with sugar in it. Still good.
4. Glass vinegar caraffe. Not a drop spilled.
5. A coffee mug my dad got from work...Labeled 1989.
6. Coozies galore.
7. Partial bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
And finally,
8. Package of Roasted Garlic Idahoan instant mashed potatoes.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Almost broke my coffee table

I had the morning off today, so I slept in. I get out of bed, start a pot of coffee brewing, turn on Fox News, and am greeted by Obama, telling me how good the spendulus package is. [sigh] This day isn't starting well.

He was speaking at a police academy graduation in Columbus, OH. [cue Outbreak's awesome Obama voice]"For those who still doubt the wisdom of this bill we just passed, I want you to talk to these men and women who are about to be protecting the people of Columbus"

NO! [this is where I almost broke the coffee table, because I hit it so hard.]

I'm tired of being told to talk to people who are benefiting from these silly packages, and that that will change my mind. It won't. The packages don't work, haven't worked and won't work.

Tell ya what, Mr. President. I have some people I want YOU to go talk to. How bout you come talk to me. I worked hard in school, got scholarships to go to a college my parents couldn't afford to send me to, and got a job that pays me a comfortable living salary, and gives me health care. I save some money each month, instead of spending it all.

Or a couple friends back home, who are married, both are paramedics, and hardly see each other because they work opposite shifts so someone can be home with their baby. They don't need government aid. Hell, they just bought a house! They chose a small townhouse that they can afford. Not flashy, but its adequate.

Why aren't you talking to those people, Mr. President? [rhetorical question, folks]

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I hate the technology age.

Sounds odd from someone as young as I, but I do. I don't hate the technology itself. Its quite convenient stuff. My phone allows me to communicate everywhere I go. My iPod holds more music than I'll ever listen to. My GPS tells me where to drive. Wonderful stuff, this technology.

What I hate is keeping up with it. I figure it out about six months late, after I've bought something that I thought would fulfill my needs. Not saying any of those items don't do what I need, but I develop a desire for the newer thing that everyone else has. Call it keeping up with the Joneses, but it seems to be a trend for me.

My GPS is great. No complaints.

My cell phone is a 7-month old flip-phone. Works great. When it was time for me to pick a new phone, I thought I didn't need a Blackberry, or an iPhone. I still don't. But they sure are nice, and I realize now I should have picked one up when I had the chance.

My iPod Nano is great. Problem comes with using it. It comes with the headphones and the charging/interface cable. So I can use it while I work out. Awesome. For driving, you need a $20 accessory that plugs into the headset jack and broadcasts it on FM radio for you car radio to pick up. Not the highest quality sound, and it doesn't charge it. For that, its another $30. If you want quality sound, you need to plug it directly into the head unit. That's also $50, but it'll take a week to ship.

Leading me to my next point.

You can't buy anything in the store anymore. Everything has to be ordered online. If a store has it listed "in stock" on their website, you don't know if its at the store, or if they have it in a warehouse somewhere and its just "in stock" online. Quite irritating when you need something NOW.

So, yeah, after deciding today (2 days before I drive halfway across the country) that I cannot survive 9 hours in the truck on 3 CD's and a slew of country stations, I needed a way to make my iPod talk to my head unit. I hate the idea of the FM transmitters, because of the aforementioned crappy sound quality, so I went to Best Buy for a hardline connection. Aparently, the part required for my stereo isn't just a simple wire, its a whole "interface" and they don't stock it. 5 days to order it. Dammit.

After running around town for an hour or so, I finally found the $50 FM transmitter that would charge the damn iPod as well.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Next Chapter

Well, its almost that time, folks. After what will be almost exactly seven months in Little Rock, its finally time for me to hit the road. Its bitter sweet.

I'll be leaving a lot of stuff. Friends, for one. Some military, some civilian, they're all great folks that help each other and have given me more than I can ever repay. I will miss the fine group of people I have met here the most. I'll see some of them again, down the road, or downrange, but others I'll have to come back to The Rock to meet up with again. And I will.

I'll be leaving a great apartment building. Its only a year old, parking garage, right downtown, within stumbling distance to my favorite watering holes, and everything else downtown has to offer. The management is great to work with, pro-rating and extending leases for us unpredictable military folks, and working with our odd situations in general. They've been great. But the building is a great little community. A lot of the residents know each other, socialize, and my friends were only a few minutes away, if that far. Great place to live.

I'll be leaving some great watering holes with great staffs who know me and always have a cold one waiting for me. The Flying Saucer and Cregeens will be tough to leave. Thanks for the beers, guys.

But some things are best left behind. I'll be leaving the Black Jack 20 and SR232, for a few years, at least. I'll be leaving the most worn out airplanes in the fleet, albeit for some that are only slightly less worn out. I'll be leaving AETC (Air Education Training Command), for a while, anyway.

I'll be gaining some things, too. A whole new group of friends and colleagues awaits me in Texas. I'll have a reunion with some old friends I haven't seen in a while. I've got a new apartment set up and a home of my own in a few months time. I'll get all my stuff that I last saw in Florida, almost two years ago!

I'm sad for all the stuff I'm leaving behind, but I'll replace it all-no replace is the wrong word. I can't replace this place and these people. But I'll find others to fill their slots in their absence, make new friends, find new bars. I'll make the most of it, as we military types do every time we move. It'll be one hell of a ride.

So, thanks for the beers, the good times, the french toast, the spare room, and everything else. I'll see you all down the road.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Movie Review: Taken

I just went out and saw the movie Taken, starring Liam Neeson. It's about a retired CIA operative whose daughter is kidnapped while visiting Paris. He uses his skills learned from years as a Secret Squirrel to track down the slavery ring that took his daughter and try to get her back. It seems to be an action/drama. There is some genuinely good acting combined with Liam Neeson kicking some serious scumbag ass in numerous, and sometimes creative ways. I wouldn't be surprised if he won some awards for this one and I hope the morons in Hollywood recognize it as a bit more than the typical action-suspense movie with the typical action-suspense actors blowing things up and shooting things. I enjoy both, and Neeson's character does shoot a lot of stuff, but not to the point of cheapening the movie. Any more, and I'll end up spoiling it for those who haven't seen it.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Outbreak's First Book Review

I've never done anything but a passing verbal recommendation of a novel, so this will be a first. I just finished Pale Horse Coming by Stephen Hunter, and it was excellent. It's told in three parts from the points of view of the two main characters: Sam Vincent and Earl Swagger. It tells the tale of an old prison farm for "coloreds" in Thebes, MS, circa 1950.

I'm not going to do a book report, and describe what happens. What I will say is if you can't tolerate a heavy amount of racial slurs, used in context of the time, of course, steer clear of this book. It's not a racist book, quite to the contrary, actually, but it accurately portrays how good ol' boys in Mississippi used to refer to blacks. Also, if you can't stomach some pretty graphic violence in print, again, not the book for you.

Now, if you like prison break stories, guns(lots of guns) and one hell of a suspenseful story, you'll enjoy this book.
This was my first Stephen Hunter book, but won't likely be the last. Hunter has an interesting writing style that drops enough clues for you to figure out one mystery without actually revealing it till the end, and then whacks you with an interesting turn that you'd never expect just when you're feeling smart.

Highly recommended.

Peltor Tactical 6-S Review

I haven't made much light of my love of guns here yet, but I have a few new toys in the gun inventory, so I thought I'd start reviewing them here, as well as over at We The Armed.

First up is the new hearing protection, the Peltor Tactical 6-5 earmuffs.

I took Scott and Paul out to the range today and tried the new muffs out. They're are electronic earmuffs. They have a microphone on each ear cup and a speaker inside, but the mic's won't pick up gunshots, so you have crystal clear hearing except for the gunshots. Pretty cool stuff.

Now, I was a bit skeptical of the hearing protection these things would actually provide. We were shooting at an indoor range, where I've always doubled up on yellow foamy ear plugs and ear muffs, because either one on its own still allowed an uncomfortable amount of noise through. I chose to try the Peltor's with no plugs to start out, though I had them in my pocket.

The most surprising thing was, I forgot about the plugs after the first shot. The Peltor's worked GREAT. The noise level was comfortable even as the range began to fill up and 4-5 people were shooting at the same time. I could hear the guys' questions very clearly with the electronic system, and everyone other conversation in the room, too. They don't just let you hear like normal, you can hear BETTER.

The only downsides I could find were the cheesy headband, though it works fine, so it doesn't need any more over engineering. Also, they're pretty pricey. I've seen them between $50-100. I got mine for $25 second hand, from a friend, but now that I've used them, I can say I would be willing to drop $50 for them if I had to.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Holidays with Outbreak

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! It certainly was for me.

Christmas break started with almost a week back in the hometown with the folks and some friends I don't get to see often. I had a great time. We then trekked down to The Rock and celebrated the New Year at my Favorite Olde Pub with some of my best friends and some exquisite beer.

When I arrived back at The Rock, I had my very first Evil Black Christmas Present waiting for me from the nice people at Stag Arms.

I also brought some old heirloom guns back from the hometown and will be refinishing them and hopefully they haven't fired their last rounds yet.