I Can’t Wake Up

Posted: December 5, 2014 in Uncategorized

What was that line from The Matrix? “Are you ever not sure if you’re actually awake or if you’re still dreaming?” Something like that, I guess. But regardless of whether or not I got the quote right, more and more often that’s how I find myself feeling. I wake up, I feel fine. Then I turn on the news, or go online, or listen to the radio. And I think that what I’m seeing can’t be real, that I’m still asleep, still dreaming, trapped in a dystopian hybrid of 1984Brave New World, and Fahrenheit 451.

What am I talking about?

I’m talking about a President that increasingly rules through executive fiat and blatantly ignores the constitution.

I’m talking about a Congress that lets him get away with it because they’re too busy fighting between parties to even pay attention.

I’m talking about a mainstream media that has traded in its role of Government Watchdog for the dual role of Government Lap Dog ad Government Attack Dog, ignoring the blatantly illegal activities of the government and vilifying and crucifying its opponents.

I’m talking about people having their reputations, careers, and/or (usually and) their entire lives destroyed because they openly expressed an opinion that was not in perfect lockstep with the people who’ve placed themselves in charge, or because they offended the wrong person.

I’m talking about sentences being cast by the mob before all the facts are known, and that same mob discounting or else flat-out ignoring those facts once they become available.

I could go on. But you get the idea.

If I wrote a novel about a world like this, no publisher would ever pick it up because they’d say it would be too unbelievable. And yet look around. Operation Fast & Furious. Executive Orders on illegal immigration. The ESA Scientist who landed a probe of a comet and then had his career destroyed because he wore a shirt that some thin-skinned reporter found offensive. The Martin, Brown, and Garner cases and the media immediately demanding the crucifixions of the people responsible, even though the courts ruled they were justified. The IRS scandal. The President ordering the government it “make it [the sequester] hurt.” It goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on ad infinitum.

And nobody cares. Nobody cares because nobody knows. Oh, everybody knows who won American Idol or Survivor or what the Kardashian sisters did at some party, because apparently those have become the things that really matter in our society. But the government destorying the Constitution? Not important, and anyone who says otherwise is apparently a racist homophobic cisgendered gendernormative thoughtcriminal.

Help. I’m trapped in a nightmare and I can’t wake up.

Teh Stoopidz! Tey BURNZ Us!!!

Posted: November 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

Holy carp and other assorted fish! Y’all won’t believe what happened to me today!

Let me set the scene for you: I was on my way home from the range when I decided to stop by my local supermarketto grab lunch for the next few days. Ham sandwiches are boring, but they’re easy to throw together when you’re staggering out of the house at an ungodly hour of the morning. But that’s not the point. Point is, when I go food shopping, I like to use the self-checkout lines if at all possible. Nothing against the cashiers, but I prefer self-checkout because a) it tends to be faster and b) I can avoid the looks of horror/disbelief/fear/disgust/some combination thereof when I buy a firearms-related periodical from our newsstand. This area really isn’t all that 2A friendly.

Anyway, I grab what I need and head for the self-checkout lanes… and there’s a line at least 10-12 people deep. And as I get closer, I can see the backup is caused by a combination of people who can’t read the big “20 ITEMS OR LESS” signs and people who can’t follow simple directions on a touch screen. So off to the cashier lanes it is. I find one with two people in it, both of whom have relatively small numbers of items in their carts, so I tuck into the back and wait.

Customer #1 is a, what’s the politically-correct term this week?, elderly woman. Once the cashier finishes scanning and bagging her purchases, she says “I have coupons,” reaches into her enormous handbag, and pulls out an envelope that is literally overflowing with coupons. I can see the poor cashier’s heart drop into her shoes as Custy 1 starts rummaging through the envelope and pulling out coupons. None of which are for this store. I swear, this dingbat must have had coupons for every single supermarket and food store in the state… except this chain. And wait, it get’s better: she couldn’t understand why the poor cashier couldn’t accept her coupons. Actually, that’s an understatement: she got downright belligerent, yelling and screaming and hooting and hollering, to the point where both the front-end manager and the store manager came over to see what all the commotion was about. Seems Custy 1 believed that all food stores are owned by the same “Corporate masters,” (her words), therefore we should accept all coupons, even if they’re not from our store. News flash: we’re not, therefore we can’t. And there’s no way to override our computer system to let it accept competitors’ coupons.

So long story short, Custy 1 spent a good ten minutes screaming and b*tching out her poor cashier before deciding our company is staffed by “f***ing racist Nazis!” (again, her words, and she was white btw) before storming off without any of her food. So Poor Cashier, who was visibly shaken at this point, had to void out her entire purchase (which turned out to be pretty substantial actually) and call over someone from the customer service desk to re-shop everything before she could get to Customer #2.

Now Customer #2, in contrast, was a young male, my age or more likely a few years younger. Old enough to know how the world works. Poor Cashier rings up his purchases no problem, and once she finishes, he scans his Discount Club Card. And then just stands there, waiting. Poor Cashier tells him his total, he says “okay,” and continues to just stand there.

“Will you be paying with cash or card?” Poor Cashier asked.

“What are you talking about?” Custy 2 says, “I just scanned my card.”

Cue my inner facepalm.

Poor Cashier tries to explain to this guy that you can’t pay with a Discount Club Card, and that it’s not the same as a credit card, but this ignoramous doesn’t get it. They go back and forth for a good five minutes, Custy 2 becoming ruder and more irate by the second, before Poor Cashier can call the front-end manager back over. Front end manager tries to explain it to the guy, but he still won’t hear it. After another few minutes, Custy 2 pulls out his cell phone sends someone a text, and just stands they’re smugly after informing Poor Cashier and Front End Manager that “now they’re gonna get it.”

A minute later, who comes storming up to the counter but Custy 2’s Mother. Yes, you read that correctly: a grown-ass man called his mother, who was waiting for him IN THE FREAKING PARKING LOT!!!! to come to his rescue. Mommy Dearest then proceeds to scream at Poor Cashier and call her all sorts of horrible things (the r-word was among the lesser insults) before Front-End Manager can explain what happend. And what does Mommy Dearest do? Yell and scream at Poor Cashier while pulling out her credit card to pay for her son’s groceries.

All in all, it took me nearly a half-hour to get through the checkout line. I couldn’t leave because some bubble-headded bleach-blone soccer mom, who was glued to her brand-new iPhone the entire time, had pulled her cart in behind me and refused to let me pass. As in she physically blocked me with her cart every time I tried to leave the line.

Poor Cashier looked like she was ready to cry by the time she scanned my half-pound of ham. I told her, “Don’t worry, I have a brain that works, so I know which coupons work here and that a Discount Club Card is not the same thing as a credit card.” That got her to laugh a little bit, thank God. Honestly, I wish I could have done more, but when I’m not at the range or working on my blog (*snerk!*), I work at that self-same grocery store. Putting those custys in their place, even off the clock, would almost certainly have cost me my job.

But seriously, holy carp on a stick! How in the heck do idiots like that manage to survive childhood? The coupon thing I get, sort of, but that said the way Custy 1 treated Poor Cashier was totally out of line. And Custy 2? Calling his MOM, when he’s a freaking grown man, to come to his rescue?! And Mom not only backing him up, but outright verbally assaulting Poor Cashier?! What on God’s Green Earth is WRONG with these people.

Ye gods and little fishes. And my folks don’t understand why I come home from work some nights with smoke pouring out my ears.

Do my a favor: my readers who don’t work retail and won’t put their jobs on the line by doing so: the next time y’all see some arseholes treating a Poor Retail Slave like what I saw today, put ’em in their place. Cry ‘havoc’ and let slip the dogs of war, so to speak.

Until then, peace.

-Raptor

Point of Clarification

Posted: November 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

Okay, I think my opening paragraph sounded a lot more ominous than I intended. I am fine. Honestly and truly. Mama and Papa Raptor are fine too. We’ve just had a lot of stuff going on all at once is all, and I’ve just been asked not to post about it. And we’re not the ones with the lawyer problem, don’t worry. A very dear friend of our family wound up in a very bad spot because of a narcissistic scumbag with an axe to grind.

We’re okay. Honest. We’ve just been caught in something of a whirlwind for the last few months is all. All I really need is for the world to hit the ‘Pause’ button for a few minutes so I can catch my breath.

Until next time, peace.

-Raptor

Holy moly it’s been a while! Yeah, I fell of the wagon again. Sorry, y’all. It’s been… well, let’s say it’s been a hell of a year. Lots of stuff going on, with a fair chunk of it being pretty lousy if I’m being honest. Can’t talk about it, unfortunately. Some stuff has lawyers involved, so I really can’t talk about it, but the rest I’ve just been asked not to make public. Don’t understand why exactly, but I’ll honor those wishes nevertheless. So, yeah, lots of bad news, a whole lot of changes, and long story short my familiar, comfortable world has been thrown for a loop. One thing I can say is that I’ll definitely be relocating in a few months, though where and when exactly I honestly have no clue. That one kinda came out of left field on me and I still haven’t come to terms with it 100%. But I’ll figure something out.

Anyways, remember that SIG P232 I bought back in February? Well, it broke. Again. So I sent it back to SIG and got it fixed, then promptly traded it in towards this little honey:

Ain't she a beauty?

Ain’t she a beauty?

It’s a 1911, specifically a Springfield Armory Range Officer Compact. Brand spankin’ new. First new gun I’ve ever bought, actually. Picked it up just about a month ago. And I really lucked out: the RO Compact is a brand-new model, so much so that mine was only the second example to pass through my favorite local gun dealer, and Number 1 had been a special order. Hadn’t even been planning on buying it, but I brought my P232 along with me to the LGS/range just in case I saw one in the display, and lo and behold, there it was.

I’ve only put maybe 250 rounds through it, but I love it. Fits my hand really well, balances nicely, and the recoil is surprisingly light for a compact aluminum-framed .45. Chalk that up to the dual-recoil spring setup. My only complaints thus far are that it’s a pain to field strip (full-length guide rods will do that to a 1911) and I’m not really a fan of the fiber-optic front sight. Looks and feels a touch on the fragile side, and when it gets covered with burnt powder residue, it doesn’t glow. I do plan on replacing the sights with some sort of tritium setup at some point in the future. Not sure exactly what kind, but that’s still a long ways off. In the meantime, I have a holster inbound for it. I’ll post a review on that once it arrives, as well as a full review of my RO Compact once I put more rounds through it. And come to think of it, I have never posted a review of my SIG P228. I will have to correct that oversight.

One final note before I sign off: I am going to renew my commitment to this blog. I will do my utmost to post regularly, though I can’t promise any sort of schedule. I need to get back on board the wagon with my writing in general, not just the blog. I do have a few ideas for articles/posts beyond the aforementioned gun and gear reviews. I’ll start posting them soon.

To my long-time readers, if you’re still here, thanks for sticking around even though I’ve been far less than faithful. Words can’t convey just how much that means to me.

Until next time, peace.

-Raptor

Four Men Went In…

Posted: June 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

June 27, 2005: four Navy SEALs, callsign Spartan 01, are inserted into the mountains of Afghanistan’s Kunar Province. Their mission is to locate Ahmad Shah, a high-ranking Taliban leader.

June 28, 2005: Spartan 01 is compromised by Taliban sympathizers and subsequently engaged by an overwhelming number of Anti-Coalition Militia fighters. A Quick Reaction Force comprised of SEALs and US Army Nightstalkers are dispatched to aid and extract Spartan 01. One of the QRF’s MH-47 Chinook helicopters is hit by an RPG and shot down. All aboard are killed.

All told, nineteen American warriors, including thee of the four SEALs of Spartan 01, died on that mountainside.

One man, Marcus Luttrell, survived. Badly wounded, he was discovered by Pashtun tribesmen, who tended to his wounds and protected him from the Taliban, even though they knew such actions risked their lives and the lives of their families.

Remember the men who died on that mountainside, and the loved ones they left behind.

SO2 Matthew Axleson
SO2 Danny Dietz
SOC Jaques J. Fontain
SSG Shamus O. Goare
CWO3 Corey J. Goodnature
SOCS Daniel R. Healy
SGT Kip A. Jacoby
LCDR Erik S. Kristensen
SO1 Jeffery A. Lucas
LT Michael M. McGreevy, Jr.
SFC Marcus V. Muralles
LT Michael P. Murphy
SO2 James E. Suh
SO1 Jeffrey S. Taylor
SO2 Shane E. Patton
MSG James W. Ponder III
MAJ Stephen C. Reich
SFC Michael L. Russell
CWO4 Chris J. Scherkenbach

Hooyah. NSDQ.

Raptor:

Hey y’all. Give this a look-see: it’s for an extremely good cause

Originally posted on Monster Hunter Nation:

A bunch of us writers are doing a charity anthology to help out a fellow writer in need.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/altered-perceptions#home

Rob Wells is an author, a peer, and a good friend of mine. A few years ago Rob’s life fell apart because of severe mental health issues, and he’s been putting it back together ever since. Imagine your brain having your fight or flight reflex constantly switched on, and being unable to switch it off. Rob has constant panic attacks, depression, and severe OCD that pushes him to self harm. His mental health issues cost him his job and severely hampered his writing career.

Over the last few years I’ve watched Rob face these challenges and keep on pushing through. I think the best thing that happened for him was getting a service dog, because no matter how imposing the world was, Annie the calming dog was always there for him…

View original 1,037 more words

One of my daily blog reads, Borepatch, has a rather interesting post that poses a rather interesting question. Basically, if you were about to “drop the hammer,” so to speak, and unleash a firestorm of lead and destruction upon your foes, what would you have blaring over your headset or your loudspeaker setup? Like Col. Kilgore from Apocalypse Now.

Having thought it over, if I were swooping down on Charlie Point, or about to lay the hurt on some Taliban or AQ, this is what I’d have playing in the background:

Led Zeppelin – “Immigrant Song”

Iron Maiden – “Run To The Hills”

Rammstein – “Zerstören”

Metallica – “For Whom the Bell Tolls”

AC/DC – “Thunderstruck” & “For Those About to Rock”

The Clash – “Rock the Casbah”

Johnny Cash – “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”

Wagner – “Ride of the Valkyries”

Gustav Holst – “The Planets: Mars, Bringer of War”

Tchaikovsky – “1812 Overture”

And I’m sure I’ve forgotten a few, too.

How ’bout you, fair readers? What would be on your “Drop the Hammer” playlist?