Sunday, October 31, 2010

Scary Movies

In the spirit of Halloween I thought I would compile a short list of some of my favorite horror movies, and the winners are...

Best Action horror movie - Predator (1987)

Best Campy horror movie - Theater of Blood (1973)

Best Evil Force horror movie - Final Destination (2000)

Best Evil Object horror movie - Christine (1983)

Best Monster horror movie - The Thing (1982)

Best Old School horror movie - Frankenstein (1931)

Best Psychological horror movie - The Shining (1980)

Best Slasher horror movie - Halloween (1978)

Best Vampire horror movie - Let the Right One In (2008)

Best Werewolf horror movie - An American Werewolf in London (1981)

Best Zombie horror movie - Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Honorable Mentions

Best horror movie title - Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)

Best unknown horror movie - In the Mouth of Madness (1995)

Best creepy children in a horror movie - The Brood (1979)

Best hyperbole in a horror movie trailer - The Giant Gila Monster (1959) ---"What is this black menace that kills everything it sees and hears? No human mind could imagine the enormous destructive power of this maddened killing thing. If you're young people in love, look out! If you're driving a lonely road, you're as good as dead! Never in the history of the United States, a monster of such size and power, and horrifying hatred of man!"

Saturday, October 30, 2010

The simple beauty of Mora

A short while back I was ordering from an online outdoors retailer and noticed that they had Swedish Mora knives for sale. For $10 I wasn't expecting very much but I had heard good things about them so I decided to give one a try. When I received my package I was very happy with the little knife that came inside, it was well made of high quality steel and at a bargain price. You can't ask for much more than that. Being me I couldn't stop at just one. I found this gentleman selling a much wider selection of Mora knives and found two more that I couldn't live without. I like them all. As I said they're high quality, made of the best steel and very reasonably priced too. They would make a person a good general purpose or camp knife. They also come from the factory with a very decent edge and are light in the hand and capable of very quick and precise cuts. I like the natural feel of wood so that's what I bought but they are also available with more durable synthetic grips if you prefer. I also favor a knife with a guard and made sure my next two purchases had them. Apparently the Swedes consider a knife with a guard more for children. The one at the top of the photo is actually listed in the catalog as a child's general purpose and wood carving knife. The only thing that I didn't care for were the plastic sheaths that come with them. I just don't like plastic much, but I'll have to admit that they do the job. If you're in the market for a well made, affordable and very usable knife you might want to consider the simple beauty of Mora.

Friday, October 29, 2010

An Experiment

I've decided to stop comment moderation on this blog, at least for now. When I had my first blog I had to begin approving the comments mostly because of spam. When I came to this site I just naturally kept it. But checking every comment beforehand is a waste of time, there is no real reason for it. Since I've been on Blogger there have been only six comments that I didn't approve and five of those were spam. The sixth being a commenter that liked to throw around the F-bomb for no good reason. I still have word verification so that should handle the majority of spam and I can handle the occasional troll after the fact. I guess we'll see how this goes...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

People with guns collection # 30

From my own personal collection!"Photographer Bob Kotalik - Gun collectors convention - Congress hotel - Mrs. Clyde Culver, of Cortland, Ohio, Holding - Left... a miniature of a Hopkins and Allen pistol. The Originals were carried in the 1870's by dance hall girls. They would hide the guns in their garters or bras. Right... An Elgin Cutlass-pistol. 54 caliber. There were 137 made for the U.S. Army in 1837. There are 13 left." Jul 26 1957

Now an expensive collectors item, the Hopkins and Allen "parrot beak" derringer wasn't much more than an oddity even new. Although it is cute you have to wonder about the effectiveness of that tiny single shot .22 pistol. I would have to think that a lady's sharp fingernails would have certainly been as good, if not a better self-defense tool. Even the long hatpins used by the women of the era would have been as useful to defend herself from ruffians. As for the cutlass pistol we still have them with us today, at least their descendants, and if you've got a pistol with a rail you can have one too.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I just posted chapter two of my book. I hope to post at least a chapter a month. Again, if you want to leave comments please do it here.

Monday, October 18, 2010


For several weeks Blogger has had a new feature that shows you stats for your site. Looking it over I see that THIS is currently my most popular post, THIS used to be but now is in second place. My blog's readers are predominantly from the U.S. (no surprise) with (surprised) South Africa coming in second place and the Netherlands in third (with France nearly tied for third). The large majority of my readers are using Internet Explorer (84%) with Firefox coming in a distant second (6%) and Safari an even more distant third place (4%). I felt that my readers would sleep better at night knowing all of this. I know I do.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


I finally decided to post the book that I am writing on this site. It is a TEOTWAWKI novel if you are into that type of story. Just check to the right where it says "My Fiction". I really couldn't make up my mind to post this or not but then decided that even if my book is no good I am already way ahead of many who want to write and never seem to get started. At the very least I tried and I am enjoying myself doing something I always wanted to do. I will have another blog post every time I put up a chapter. If you have any commentary please leave it here...

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Movie Reviews - Let Me In

Over a year ago a friend from work recommended an unknown (to me) little film called Let The Right One In. As I recall he described it something like "a Swedish pre-teen vampire love story". I thought he was joking, it didn't sound like anything I would be interested in. At the time I had also recently been subjected to the horror of Twilight, about 30 minutes worth anyway, and I wasn't vaguely interested in anything that sounded similar. Also, I'm not the biggest fan of modern horror movies as most only seem to me thinly veiled torture porn. But my friend kept insisting and even though it didn't sound very good I finally decided to give it a chance, every other movie that he had suggested I ended up loving. I am glad that I took the chance because Let The Right One In is now one of my favorite horror movies ever. And one of the reasons that I really like it is that it proves again something I have known a long time, that you don't have to be graphic to be scary. Horror is in your head, not in the amount of blood on the walls.

Now 2 years after the original the "Americanized" version has arrived, Let Me In starring Chloë Grace Moretz (Hit-Girl from KICK-ASS) and Kodi Smit-McPhee who played the boy in The Road. Let Me In is not a shot by shot remake of the first film but does borrow heavily from it. It also goes back to the original book Låt den rätte komma by author John Ajvide Lindqvist for inspiration.

Even though technically it's not I'll call it a remake for the sake of this review. Whatever you call this new one the basic plot of all three are the same, a tormented and lonely 12-year-old boy (Kåre Hedebrant in the original and Smit-McPhee in this new version) meets a kindred spirit when a strange girl his age moves next door (Lina Leandersson in the original and Moretz in Let Me In), a girl with a terrible secret.

I was really looking forward to this movie, so much that I went to see it in the theater, which is something that I rarely do anymore. I'll just say that I didn't like this as much as the original film. It's a good film and definitely has moments of greatness, but everything I loved the most about the first one is gone or at least downplayed. Besides being great horror the original film was also a touching and tender love story. You wouldn't think that possible in a vampire movie but the story of awkward pre-adolescent love in the first seemed believable and very real. The remake seems more contrived and creepy. I can't find any fault in the film's acting, Smit-McPhee, Moretz, Richard Jenkins and Elias Koteas are all fine actors that did their best with the script given them. The fault belongs with writer and director Matt "Cloverfield" Reeves. His version has removed the best parts from the first production and replaced them with more, more blood, more violence, more brutality. Most of the subtleties of the original are now gone. One thing that we Americans are rarely accused of is subtlety so I'll give Reeves a pass on that, but other matters I cannot. Probably the single thing that bothered me the most about Let Me In was the character of Abby (Eli in the book and first movie). Eli in the original film was a killer but at the same time also seemed tormented by what she had to do in order to survive. Reeves' character of Abby is more a predatory animal that doesn't elicit nearly as much sympathy from viewers, and it hurts the film considerably. Another issue I had with this remake was the effects. The first film proved that everything didn't need to be shown to be scary. Sometimes less is more. But evidently Reeves must have missed that point when he watched the first one as he wants to show everything including some (at times) laughable CGI effects that should have never made it past the cutting room floor.

If you're a big horror or vampire movie fan you will like Let Me In and possibly even more than the first film. If you measure horror by the blood and gore you definitely will. If you have some strange subtitle phobia you will probably like this new version more as well. But for the average moviegoer the original film version Let The Right One In is the movie to see. There is no doubt that Let Me In is a decent horror film and it does entertain, but if you ever should watch the original version then you'll really know how good Let Me In could have been.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Gone Shooting - Old-timer's Day

It was breezy and a little cool this morning but still a great chance to go shooting. Today I decided that I was going to have some old-timey fun so I took my old iron, none of that new stuff. By "new" I mean anything made after the second world war. I decided to take my 3 pre-war Smith & Wesson .357 Magnums since I haven't shot them this year. All of these pre WWII N frames are great handling guns and are just a hoot to shoot! All shooting today was done at 21 feet (7 yards) and using Winchester and S&B 158gr semi-jacketed rounds, which is what these old Magnums seem to like the best and was the original load weight for the .357 when introduced in 1935 (probably not a coincidence). I was shooting double action at Shoot-N-C 5-inch targets and as long as I could keep in the black I was happy. I ended up happy most of the day.

First up was a 3 ½ inch model that shipped to my hometown in July 1939. It's a great shooting gun and despite having the shortest barrel is the easily the most accurate of the three. The reason for the accuracy is the very fine bead front sight. I don't know why the original owner ordered such an impractical sight for a gun that is more intended for self-defense than target shooting. To be honest this front sight would be the last thing I would have considered for a gun that I might use to protect myself or had even the slightest chance that I might carry. But as purely target sight it can't be argued with. Using slow aimed DA fire I can keep the holes nearly touching and even picking up the pace some I can usually keep everything in a 2-3 inch group (I called that flyer so it don't count!).

Next up was a 4-inch gun that originally shipped to the Kansas City (MO) Police Department in 1940. This gun has been well used and refinished at least twice, once at the factory in 1948 and then again a few years ago. This fine old gun has seen a lot of hard use and has seen better days. Even so it will still throw 3 inch groups all day if you do your part. I bet this one has some great stories in it.

And lastly but not leastly is my 5-inch model that was shipped in 1939 to an Inspector in the Virginia ABC. This old revolver probably would also have an interesting story or two if it could talk. The gun just handles and "feels" right. There's nothing quite like a 5-inch N frame although I really like the 3 ½ inch models too.

The day wasn't completely perfect, I did forget my tiny screwdriver and the 5-inch and the K.C.P.D. gun both needed to have their sights drifted slightly (the KC gun down and the 5-inch left). But even with that minor annoyance I still had a great morning shooting some great old Smith & Wessons!

Friday, October 01, 2010

Continued light blogging...

I really haven't been posting as much as usual in the last two months and there have been a few reasons. Work of course, but I also had jury duty that took a lot of my time and energy in August and early September. But the main reason I haven't been writing on this blog as much is because I decided to try my hand at writing fiction and that has been consuming most of my free time lately. Yes, I decided that what the world needed was another TEOTWAWKI novel. I've been writing somewhere, on this blog or on my other websites and blogs since September 2002, but this is my first serious try at writing fiction. I haven't decided if I am going to post it yet or not. I probably will but I'm not completely certain. Part of me would like to let others read my words but there is another part of me that wouldn't want to hear that I'm a hack and I need to keep my day job. Whether I post my fiction or not I expect that my blog output will remain lower for the foreseeable future...