Saturday, July 31, 2010

Movie Reviews - Zombieland

Next up on my doomsday movie list was Zombieland and I must say that it is the best end of the world zombie apocalypse comedy that I've seen in a long time. I laughed from beginning to end, except at those parts where I wasn't supposed to laugh, that would have just been weird. If you like Shaun of the Dead you will probably like this one too, its like that movie but hopped up on PCP. This movie has it all, flesh eating zombies, a hot chick with guns, celebrity zombie guest appearances. You'll laugh, you'll cry, well maybe not that much crying but you will enjoy yourself and the movie will even inspire you to start exercising more, REMEMBER RULE # 1 - CARDIO!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Movie Reviews - Carriers

The next movie on my Apocalyptic must see list was Carriers and I thought it was a very good one, not perfect but entertaining, and even thought provoking at times. Carriers is about four twenty somethings (2 brothers and their girlfriends) trying to survive during a massive viral outbreak that has killed most of the population. The group is trying to make their way to a safe area (an old childhood haunt of the brothers) while avoiding close contact with anyone they meet. You see the virus that has wiped out most of the nation is very contagious, special steps or "the rules" must be strictly followed if a person is to survive. Within minutes of telling the audience these rules the group starts breaking them all while knowing that doing so could kill them all. And that story point brings up a very good question for anyone wanting to really think about it. Could you follow "the rules" strictly in a situation like this, where breaking them and having any kind of human compassion or empathy could get you or your entire group killed? Could you condemn innocent people to death to save yourself? I think I know how the average person would answer but would it be a truthful answer or just self-delusion? It is a good plot point and it makes for some interesting contemplation if you're up to it. I won't really go much into the story; I'll let you discover that on your own. I think that most viewers would like Carriers simply as entertainment and you might even find yourself asking serious questions about how "civilized" we would be once the facade of civilization comes off.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The horror.... the horror...

After seeing THIS all over the known blog universe I had to be a good little lemming and jump off the cliff myself. To try and make it more scientific I submitted 5 different entries with 5 different subjects. The final toll, I write like H.P. Lovecraft 4 out 5 times! I did write like Stephen King once. Well, I have been told that my writing is horrible. I know, I know, but I just HAD to say it.

Pocket gun update

It's been about six weeks since I started carrying my Smith & Wesson 342PD. I have used the gun everyday and I have been quite happy with it so far. It has been a hot, humid summer and this small and lightweight revolver has really been appreciated. I have many holsters that will fit this but I have been only using it as a pocket gun to date. My Kramer and DeSantis pocket holsters are what I have been using and I have been satisfied with both, although I do use the Kramer more often. While I like the DeSantis it is a little large for how I carry, which is usually in the front pocket of my jeans. The DeSantis is a great holster though, it will certainly never come out when you draw the gun, but I just like the Kramer more. The only modification that I am considering for the gun is a new set of grips. The factory rubber grips have a very tacky feeling and do tend to catch on clothes. I think a set of wood "boot" grips would make this great revolver even better and they will probably be added before long.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My gun bag

At the first of the year I made myself this "grab and go" bag for my handgun. Same concept as a bug out bag but only for a gun and related items. The idea behind it was that if I had to leave the house at a moments notice and only had the time to grab one gun this would be the one that I took. Before I go any further let me also state that I consider taking off to be a very last option in an emergency situation. If something bad does happen I intend to stay put where I am if at all possible. Intentionally becoming a refugee is never a smart idea. But I do accept that there are times, no matter how well you plan, that you won't have a choice in the matter.

I set this kit up only using items that I already owned. Not one additional dime was spent to make this. Everything that I included here was collecting dust on a shelf or sitting in my safe or in a box somewhere. The bag is an old nylon range bag that I have had for years and is still in great shape and very tough. On the inside it has 1 large pocket that will hold any full sized handgun. On the opposite side it has 5 smaller pockets designed for magazines but also perfect for many small items. On the outside of the bag there is 1 extra large zippered compartment that will hold a lot. The contents of the bag include: 1 loaded Colt Government Model .45 pistol, 3 additional loaded 8 round magazines, 200 rounds of 230 gr hardball ammo, 40 rounds of hollow point ammo, 1 folding "tactical" type knife, 1 regular pocket knife, and (not shown) 1 suede Bianchi inside the waistband holster, 1 belt magazine holder, and a small assortment of cleaning supplies (oil, grease, bore brush etc.) wrapped into a small bundle with a cotton rag. I thought this was a very good start especially considering that I didn't put any money into it. It is good but it needs refining, I'm currently looking at getting some type multi-tool for the bag (among other things) to improve it.

I picked the 1911 pattern .45 automatic because it is a full size pistol and yet is still (relatively) easy to conceal, has more than sufficient firepower, and parts and ammunition are widely available. In most of the situations that I considered a powerful, concealable handgun would be what one needed most. And since the thought behind this little kit was about if you could take only "one" with you I felt the 1911 was the best compromise. Of course if I knew in advance that I was going (and had the time) I would take every gun that I own and every single round of ammo to...

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thinning the herd... again

Starting last year I began to change the direction that my gun collection was going. A large majority of my collection was (and still is for now) about "shooter" grade older guns, Colts, Smith & Wessons, Winchesters etc., guns that I would collect for their beauty and historic value but could also shoot and enjoy.

Starting last year I began to change some of that. At the time my main concern was scaling down the calibers that I owned and getting rid of some of the more expensive ones that I might only have one or two guns that shoot. By the time it was over I had winnowed my collection down to nine calibers. They are: .22LR - .38 S&W Special - .357 S&W Magnum - 9x19mm - .45 ACP - 5.56 NATO (.223 Remington) - 7.62 NATO (.308 Winchester) - .30-06 and 12 Gauge. I picked the mentioned calibers for their overall usefulness, wide spread availability and price (compared to similar, but less produced calibers). I probably would have got rid of the .30-06 and brought it down to eight calibers if not for a match grade M1 Garand that I own and also already have plenty of Lake City ammunition for. I'll just keep that one.

This year my concern is more for "using" guns, guns that I need for more practical purposes than just target shooting, "plinking" and collecting. I just recently scratched off two on my "Need" list, my S&W 342PD (light pocket gun) and my "Bush & Wesson" AR-15 (5.56 semi rifle) bringing the list down to just two. Before the year is over I hope to complete the list by purchasing a 7.62 semi rifle and a .22 semi pistol (I don't count the Budischowsky I got back recently, I was thinking more like a Ruger). I have also been selling off some other handguns that haven't been used very much (if at all) in years. So far I have sold or traded all my K-frame .38s and all but the few J-frame .38s that I actually use, and there will be more going.

In the coming months I intend to sell off the last few "Safe Queens" and some more low use guns and to use those funds to give my gun collection a much more practical edge. I know that I will never get rid of all my collector guns but there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Not gone shooting

It's been nearly a month since I last went shooting and I'm getting itchy to go again, but I probably won't. I try to shoot at least once a month but lately the weather in my neck of the woods has been awful. Abnormally high temperatures and high humidity have made any outdoor activities miserable, even shooting. I don't have an indoor range close by and if this weather keeps up I doubt that I do as much shooting this summer as I wanted to. I want to try out my AR-15 and get my USP back to the range again but it might be a while. I'll just have to wait and see.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Movie Reviews - I am Omega

I have been on an Apocalyptic movie kick the last few weeks, watching several that I have been wanting to see for a while now. I've already reviewed two, The Book of Eli and The Road, and I will probably have some more in the weeks ahead. In fact here's one now...

Over the years writer Richard Matheson's classic vampire horror novel I am Legend has been made into a few movies. Most notably the version starring Will Smith from 2007 and the 1970's cheese classic The Omega Man starring Charlton Heston. There was also the low budget 1960's Vincent Price version, The Last Man on Earth, and I wouldn't be surprised if there were others too. All of these different versions make some sense as the basic Matheson story, lone human survivor battling an army of vampires intent on killing him is a good formula for a "watchable" movie. The most recent one that I have seen is I am Omega (also 2007) starring martial artist/actor Mark Dacascos. Although Matheson is uncredited this one is obviously another take, or should I say rip-off of his story. Dacascos stars in this version as the last human on Earth, well not the very last, there is that special forces guy (Geoff Meed) and of course a beautiful woman (Jennifer Lee Wiggins) that somehow has acquired the cure for the plague. I wasn't expecting much from this little production, certainly not Shakespeare, or even much of Matheson for that matter. What I was expecting though was a non-stop action roller coaster ride with Dacascos Karate chopping his way thru a legion of undead monsters from beginning to end. We don't even get that. What we get is Dacascos running down the same empty Los Angeles alley shooting the same couple of FX make-up vampires over and over again. Take a look at the image above, it's from the DVD cover and you won't see anything even close in the movie. I used it because I couldn't get any kind of decent screen capture for this film, there is nothing to capture, I just described 90% of the movie. Guy running down alley with a machine gun shooting at vampires. At least he uses short bursts. There is nothing to see here, no army of the undead, just the same few rubber-faced vampire goons with their heads exploding from different angles. No great martial arts action, although Dacascos does go nunchucks on them for a minute or two. No great pathos, like Heston mooning over a statue of Caesar, just Dacascos and his two emotions, sad and angry. There is nothing to see here, just move on and save your money. Or better yet watch any of the previously mentioned versions, any one of them is better than this. I'm glad this didn't cost me much or I would be getting sad and angry myself right about now...

Friday, July 16, 2010

The language of (gun) hate...

Recently on a gun forum I frequent a poster got upset over the term "high capacity" magazines and it got me thinking. His point was that these mags are normal capacity for the guns as designed and the 10 shot magazines are not the norm and is playing right into the anti-gunner's hands. He has a valid point and I have myself thoughtlessly used that term, like when I was describing my P228. I have never used the expression "assault weapon" because I know there is a difference and I know that it is a term designed by gun haters to poison the minds of people on the fence about this issue. But then I have recklessly used the phrase "Hi-Cap" without giving it a second thought as to what I was actually saying. Yes, words do mean things...

Monday, July 12, 2010

Gun trading days...

Me and my Dad did some gun trading today and when it was finally over he ended up with a well worn 1947 Smith & Wesson M&P and a safe queen Model 36 (square butt) and I ended up with a Budischowsky TP-70 (.22lr) and cash. Since we both reside in the same state no paperwork or waiting periods (we don't have a waiting period anyway) are required. I love this state!

The Budischowsky is a cute little mouse gun and a good shooter when it wants to. I originally bought it last year (see photo) and traded it off (for I don't know what) last summer. The main problem with this tiny gun is the ammo selection. It's very finicky about what it will consume. I know from owning it last time that it's best with Winchester or Federal but absolutely hates Remington Thunderbolt. When I shoot it again I will probably take a box of every type I own and see what it likes.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

People with guns collection # 27

From my own personal collection!

Ten gallon hat - check
Fox stole - check
Hand tooled leather rig - check
Big bore Colt revolver - check
This very stylish 1920's cowgirl is picture perfect!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Movie Reviews - End of the World Edition

I recently watched two movies both with a similar theme so I thought to review them here together. Both films concern the end of the world and probably anyone interested in one might want to see the other.The first is The Book of Eli starring Denzel Washington. Washington stars as the title character traveling through a sun baked apocalyptic wasteland, fighting starvation, thirst and roaming highway gangs so that he can deliver "The Book" to "where it is needed". Gary Oldman also stars as a charismatic leader intent on taking the book from him so that he can use it to control the last remnants of society.


The second film reviewed is The Road starring Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee and is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Cormac McCarthy. The story concerns a father and son and their efforts to stay alive in a world dying around them.


WARNING - SPOILERS AHEAD

Of the two The Book of Eli would definitely be more palatable to the average moviegoer. While not really an action movie there is enough of it to keep the film moving and from becoming boring. Big name stars, memorable scenes and dialog, a (somewhat) hopeful ending, this is the more "Hollywood" of the two productions and most viewers, whether a fan of this genre or not, would find it enjoyable enough.

And then there is The Road; despite both films having a similar subject matter they couldn't be further apart. The world of The Road is an ashen gray wasteland and at times in the movie you might actually wonder if it was filmed in black and white. But the pallid colors of the film are only a backdrop for its bleak narrative. In The Road nearly every living thing is gone, all but a few human survivors. Forests and crops have been devastated, never to return, animal life has been wiped out, the Sun is forever hidden, depriving the world of warmth and light. Through an unexplained catastrophe the world we know is long gone. Ten years have passed and all that remain are the slowly starving survivors, all knowing that the world is dying and eventually they will to, their only options scavenging, cannibalism or suicide. The father and son with the goal to "head south" wander this wasteland trying to avoid contact with "bad guys" and to just live one more day. The father desperately trying to protect his son and at the same time trying to prepare him for the inevitable time that he won't be there to care for him.

Despite minor issues I had with some story details, in order that it could have its "surprise" ending, I did enjoy The Book of Eli and would recommend it. Any fan of science fiction in general will like it and would expect many viewers that don't normally watch this type of film would still find it entertaining.

After watching The Road though I still can't say if I would recommend it or not. I can't honestly even say if I liked it or not. I can say that it is a disturbing and emotionally powerful film; the ideas and imagery will linger in your mind long after seeing it. The abject horror of it all will remain with you. There are several unsettling moments throughout the film, one that immediately comes to mind is a scene where the father has to quickly decide between killing the son he loves or let him be taken by cannibals. That scene and others aren't easily forgotten. The movie is slowly paced and as mentioned the depressing tone can weigh heavy on you. The film doesn't really have a story and that is the point of The Road, there is none, the "story" is the relationship between Father and Son. Both Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee are excellent actors and are up to the difficult task, they bring the horror, tragedy and yes at times even inspiring moments in this film and bring them to life. The story of the father, who nearly loses his humanity while trying to assure his and his son's survival, and the son who represents the best of humanity and those traits that deserve tosurvive. If you should decide to watch The Road I can't say that you will enjoy it, but I doubt you ever forget it.

Friday, July 09, 2010

You might be a "gun nut" when...

you get the latest Dillon catalog in the mail and the first thing you notice is the strange new gun on the cover, not the beautiful girl that is holding it...

Livin' in the 70s - Run Joe Run

The following story originally appeared on my first website, jwilsonsworld, on 4/20/2007.

Run Joe Run: David Janssen's The Fugitive recast as a dog. "Wanted: male German shepherd, black and tan, answers to the name of Joe. Accused of attacking his trainer Sergeant Will Corey, a crime he did not commit. Only Corey can prove him innocent, but he must find Joe before his pursuers track him down."

Brilliant simply brilliant. This would have to be my absolute favorite Saturday morning tv show ever. I can't recall ever missing an episode, even in reruns. Yes the storylines were simple (even for a children's show) but to my eight year-old mind this little morality play was completely engrossing. I loved dogs in general but particularly German shepherds so when this riveting live-action tale about a shepherd that was wrongfully accused and on the run from the authorities hit the airwaves I was hooked right away. My favorite part of the show was always when Joe, often in a difficult situation, would have a flashback to his old Army training days. The camera would close in with an extreme Sergio Leone type close-up on Joe's eyes while special "Joe thinking" sound effects would play. Suddenly Joe would remember something that had occurred during his training that would help him in the situation that he currently found himself, very smart dog indeed! Joe could do anything from turn on a water faucet, to help a lost blind girl find her way home (and anything in between). And much like the original Fugitive Joe would often selflessly help others without any consideration for himself. Why? Because he was an innocent dog accused of something he didn't do, and only an innocent dog would think of others. And have no doubt that he was completely innocent, the show's snappy intro let us know that fact right up front when it set up the entire premise for us (and in less than a minute too). Unlike the original Fugitive, Joe was never exonerated of his crimes and to this day is still on the run in badly worn bootleg copies of his adventures. But perhaps someday he will find some peace, or at the very least be released on DVD so that all of his old fans can enjoy his story all over again.

Monday, July 05, 2010

My Black Rifle

This is my AR-15. There are many more like it but this one is mine. Mine isn't a pure breed, it's a mutt. I purchased the completed lower (a S&W) the day after our current White House resident was elected to office and just a few hours before the price gouging started. For a few months after that I searched for a reasonably priced upper to complete the gun, but for a long while there was no finding any at all, let alone "reasonably" priced ones. After some months looking I set it aside for other projects. Since then the lower has been in my gun safe collecting dust. A few days ago I finally got around to buying the rest of the rifle which is made by Bushmaster. My "Bush & Wesson" is a 16-inch, A3 upper with the detachable carry handle. Right now it's just your basic "black rifle" but I intend to do some customization in the coming months, which will probably include an optical sight. But of course that is only after I make sure that the rifle is completely functional and good to go with the iron sights.

This is the fourth AR that I have owned over the years. The best being a Colt Match HBAR that would cut one hole groups at 100 yards. I never shot any of them that much. I would usually shoot one a few times, lose interest and then trade it in on something else. I don't guess that I'm much of a "Rifleman". I've owned some rifles over the years, and still own a few now, but my main interest has always been in handguns and concealed carry. Maybe I need to change that.

Gun haters have managed to label these guns "assault rifles" which they are not. But I will give them credit; they and their media sycophants have managed to make the label stick. I have even heard (ignorant) gun owners refer to them as such. Wish I could own an assault rifle, but they are hard to come by, their cost would make a nice down payment on a house and then there is or course all of the legal hoops to jump through to own one. I don't own an assault rifle I own a semi-automatic copy. It might look like one but functionally it is the same as a Ruger Mini-14. But the Mini-14 looks more like a "rifle" so I guess it's not quite as "evil" as an AR-15. All of this is irrelevant anyway as our enemies on the gun issue would prefer that all of them be destroyed.

I don't intend to sell this one ever. Now I understand a little better the need for such rifles. This current president and his friends helped educate me on why civilians like myself need them. If for no other reason than they don't think we should have guns at all, particularly these, which are somehow extra "evil"...

Friday, July 02, 2010

Me like free ammo

M.D. Creekmore over at The Survivalist Blog is giving away 1000 rounds of 9mm ammunition (courtesy of LuckyGunner.com). All you have to do to enter is have your own web site or blog and write a post about the contest. So I do and I did. Now I'm entered to win a case of free 9X19. A 1000 rounds of ammo is always a good thing to have - FREE is even better!

Livin' in the 70s - The After School Special

The following story originally appeared on my first website, jwilsonsworld, on 3/11/2007.

ABC's After School Special: Bite-sized life lessons for young people. In the 1970s one show that I absolutely could not miss was the ABC Television Network's After School Special, that program would come to teach me a lot about life and the world around me. The After School Special would often times take on difficult subjects, subjects that I might be too afraid to approach my parents with, and brought them out in the open for discussion. The After School Special took on those subjects and also made them understandable at a child's level while at the same time never talking down to us. Subject matter like divorce, alcohol and drug abuse, school bullies and death were all topics that were tackled and handled in a very effective and honest manner. And unlike most television programming for children they didn't always take the easy way out, just like in real life every story didn't have a happy ending and we were shown that to. In the After School Special we had a program that was designed to talk to us kids about the more serious problems and concerns that we might have in our young lives, and most importantly it did it in way we could understand. The After School Special would continue educating and entertaining young people for nearly two decades until finally it was done in by the very tv stations that had once championed it. With the rise of the afternoon talk show, intelligent, educational children's programming was no longer profitable. But long before that I had already stopped watching. By the early 1980s I no longer needed the wisdom of the After School Special, I had by then reached my early teens and like every other teenager since the beginning of time I suddenly knew everything. Looking back, I do miss those times when the world was simpler and all it took was a one-hour tv special to make you feel better about the world and your place in it.