Wednesday, June 30, 2010

80s Cheese.... where men are men, and everything blows up like a Fuel Air Bomb...

So a few nights ago I needed a good laugh. I lost an uncle on my dad's side last week, and its been a rough six or seven days. We said our final goodbyes yesterday, but I'm sure the real weight won't hit for a while yet.

Anyway. I was flipping through the netflix insta-queue on my xbox and noted that Iron Eagle was on there. I haven't seen that movie in *years* but I remember watching it as a kid and thinking it was so cool.

I knew it was going to be cheese going in. But that didn't stop me. My dad's a pilot by trade, he's been flying since before I was born and is currently the Chief Pilot for a major energy company around here. Manages a team that flys around the bigwigs in a Cessna Encore and a Bravo (if I recall correctly) and my godfather used to restore P-51s and his kids are almost done restoring an F2G Super Corsair - so to say that I've been surrounded by aviation since I was a kid is an understatement.

And there are a LOT of parts of Iron Eagle that make anyone who knows a thing or two about airplanes cringe. Not to mention the reuse of some factory footage for some of the air to air combat (My favorite is that to dodge missles and cannon fire, apparently the most effective manuver is the wingover. Always to the left.)

I'm not going to get too deep into the plot, since if a highschool kid and a washed up airforce Colonel and the highschoolers friends tried it, they'd all end up serving jail time at Levenworth or dead in the desert somewhere Ronny Raygun (yes, they did call him that early on in the movie) being president or not... there is something to be said for a movie thats *FOR AMERICA* and when the .gov wouldn't stand up for an American, well damned if there weren't some Americans who'd do it for them. Why? Because cheesy as it is, it felt good to watch something that wasn't afraid to be proud to be an american, to believe that because you're an american you might *be* better. (I'm not saying we are. But come on, do we have to appologize for being who we are?)

And hey, those backwards towelheads fly airplanes that blow up like wooden models, and everything they have must have a giant oil tank under it so a few 30mm rounds from an F-16's chain gun can blow it up like the Fourth of July... even though I'm punching holes in the air in an aircraft loaded for war, my most effective weapon is my deadly cannon of doom!

It made me laugh when I desperately needed one. And Cheesy as it was, it at least got one thing right.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Journal of a Survivor

So, I've had this idea for a new blog for a while - basically the blog of a survivor of the Zombie Appocolypse - an Alternate Reality story about how he survives, things that happen to him and the people he knows, etc.

I started it up earlier this week. It can be found at www.zombiear.blogspot.com. My hope is to update at least three times a week. If anyone has any questions for the narrator/author (who just happens to also be named Jon so I didn't have to come up with a new blogger handle, but certainly isn't 'me') feel free to leave a comment. It might get answered in the comments, or I might expound on it in a post. We'll see.

Anyway - I know I don't have many readers and I pretty much do this for my own enjoyment - but it is fun knowing *someone* might be reading ;)

-Jon

Monday, June 14, 2010

Projects

I've got a lot of personal projects on my plate (mostly because I keep putting them there.) Because I lack anything else to write about - and have too much time right now at work *not* to write - I'm writing a little blurb on all of them.

Rust Removal: Last winter I got a little snow into one of my toolboxes, but didn't notice. That spring, the snow melted (as expected) and the few of my tools that weren't stainless, started to rust, getting rusty water on a bunch of tools and staining them.

I started a couple weeks back, using my dremel knock off brush attachments to clean up these tools - until I burned through the brushes I had. Once I get new ones I'll get the suckers finished.

.22 Rifle Restoration: My dad has two .22s, one of which I've already cleaned up. The pump action he's bringing to me next he painted as a kid with silver paint on the metal, and black on the stock and forgrip. If I recall correctly the stock and forgrip are wood, so I'm going to take a look at that - and if they are, sand them down and probably re-stain them - then see about getting the metal bead blasted and maybe blued.

Bail Out Box and Bag: I had an idea recently to put together a Bail Out Box (and a bag) using an old pickup tool box I have access to. It would slide into the back of my current pickup nicely - probably right under the roll tarp (I need to test that) and would make for a nice semi secure enclosure to keep a somewhat larger gear prep then a standard bag. I might write a post on the contents I have in mind, when the time comes.

Sell Old Pickup: Since I bought my Ford, my S10 has just been sitting in the garage, I've been intending to sell it, but its been one slowdown after another. I need to finish the little projects on it so I can get that sold and out of my life.

Thats pretty much it. There's technically more - but those are the big things on the top of my list.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Monster Hunter Vendetta....

...is an extremely good book.

I picked up the e-ARC a couple days back and while I'm not a huge fan of electronic copys and will undoubtably buy a dead tree copy when they come out in September - but for now I'm quite content with the fact that I got to read the book *now*.

I have patience issues, what can I say.

MHV is definately a step up from MHI - which I really enjoyed but occasionally felt disjointed and certainly was a first published book - which are very seldom an authors best work Vendetta is better plotted, Correia trys (and succeeds though perhaps a little too obviously) at implimenting some foreshadowing - some of which will not be seen until the next Monster Hunter book with everyone's favorite Combat Accountant if not perhaps longer then that - but its clear that while MHI felt almost like a oneshot that had enough popularity to become a franchise MHV is crafting a much longer term story arc.

There's still plenty of action, and in true Correia style it starts at page one, and keeps you running full tilt right up to the end. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoyed MHI, and anyone who enjoys monster fiction in general.

Besides - its a book with guns, babes, necromancers, Elephant and Bear zombies, and evil giant crustatian overlords from another dimension. Whats not to like?

-Jon

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Roll pins and extractors Part 2 - or working with the right tools makes every job easier.

Well, thanks to a Migraine, I ended up staying home from work today. A trial of Treximet worked pretty well, and FedEx showed up with my roll pins and punches, so today seemed as good a day as any to finally finish the tear down, clean up and reassembly of my XD.

First thing I did was go out to the garage and fabricate the extractor removal tool. I used an old Hex key I found in the rusty tool pile (another project) and with my angle grinder took the end of the body down until it fit between the extractor and the frame, then used a dremel with a cutoff disk to cut in the hook. This actually took too attempts as my first hook was too thin and bent. Here's the finished product below, it worked like a charm.



Pretty its not, but it got the job done. To pull the extractor on an XD, after removing the striker assembly, you need to pull a small pin thats nested behind the rear block. You also need to keep a thumb on the striker block because its spring loaded, and it will go flying. In the pic below you can see the head of the pin to the right of the striker channel



Once you pull the pin and release the striker block, using the proper tool for the job, you simply slide the extractor remover between the extractor and the frame and wiggle back and forth while exerting a bit of up pressure and she comes out pretty easy. Below you can see the fully removed assembly.



Its worth noting that in this picture I displayed the striker block backwards to its normal orientation to display the groove in the side. Before I'd done all that of course, I'd pulled the striker assembly - which I did a few days ago, which is when I realized the roll pin was broke. Here's a shot of the entire assembly.



From left to right you have the buffer spring, the striker itself, roll pin, loaded chamber indicator, striker spring, plastic retaining channel and the retainer block, which sits on the shooter end of the firearm. I can say that with some unexpected practice, removing the assembly, and reassembling the assembly is a hell of a lot easier then it was the first time.

Once the extractor was removed I used one of my new punches to remove the loaded chamber indicator from the top of the slide. Here's a pic below.



(I have no idea why blogger refuses to orient the picture correctly - but you at least get the idea.)

Finally, with all the hardware (except the sights) removed we have two shots of the slide. Top and bottom.



On the top here, you can see the slot for the Loaded chamber indicator, where it and the spring sit - the pin is driven in from the side.



On the underside above, you can see the channels for the extractor, striker block, and the striker channel.

Overall its a pretty simple operation - with the right tools. I did a throughal cleaning using both Hopps 9 and finishing up with alcohol after the hops had dried off - I find rubbing alcohol works pretty well, it doesn't damage the finish, and drys quickly after you've wiped an area clean. As I suspected the loaded chamber indicator and the extractor had a lot of unburnt powder/carbon scoring. Quality time with a scraper, the above cleaners and a lot of patches and cotton swabs got both areas cleaned right up

Before I started putting eveything back, I test fit my new roll pins. As promised I did have to vice them down because they came too wide - and here the 2 is 1 and 1 is none rule came into effect as it took three trys before I got one fitted right that I was comfortable with driving it in place. The new pin seats a lot harder then the origianls and I think is a little heavier. But I think I like the tighter fit (the old one came out with hand pressure the first time, and went back in the same way.)

Once I had the pin driven back out, I lightly oiled everything, and starting with the extractor, and then working back through the block pin and striker assemblys reassembled everything with the loaded chamber indicator being last. After test fit, and then setting the pin, I verified that the indicator now has a much better range of travel.

I only dry fired it once after full re-assembly, but the snap sounds right again. It was a fun project, all told, and I learned quite a bit about how this particular firearm functions. Hopefully this weekend I can get it down to the range and run a couple mags through it as a live fire test - but overall I'm quite pleased with the results.