Over a year ago my in-laws were gracious enough to get me a nice gift certificate to Cabela’s for Christmas.  So I decided to use it towards the purchase of an RCBS rock chucker supreme master reloading kit.   Sounds impressive, I know.

Anyway, I bought the kit…and some additional reloading items, brought it home and it sat in my closet for about a year.  Such is life.  Then, about 4 months ago, I decided to start taking my gun shooting seriously and in order to do that I would need to start reloading.  So, I dusted off the gear….bought a workbench for the garage to mount the press on, and dove headfirst into the Lyman Reloading Handbook.

As a computer programmer by trade, I take pride in being able to solve problems.  And so at first, reading the manual felt like I was reading a completely different language.  Greek would be easy compared to this:  primer pockets, chamfer tools, carbide die sets, OAL’s, powder charges, and flash holes were just the beginning.  The basics seemed simple, but once you get into caliber specific information, a man could literally spend weeks lost in the veritable maze of permutations of casings, powders, bullets and primer options…..and that’s just for a single caliber!

After a couple of days on and off of reading the steps over and over, I realized I honestly still had no clue how to put it all together in practice to make actual ammunition.  So I did what any self respecting man would do in the modern age: I went and found a video of another dude on Youtube fumbling his way through reloading too!!  Actually…I found a really good 4 part intro that really cleared up a lot of confusion.    And so on a cold winter day I ran my first 50 handloads of 9mm through my trusty RCBS single stage press.  

When they came out (believe me, it took a while) I actually took pictures of them (right).  They were like little mini-children that I’d somehow spawned from a mixture of determination, ingenuity, sorta-know-how and a good dose of “I hope I don’t blow myself up” thrown in for good….er….measure.

So the mini-children sat in my gun safe for about a week.  I stared at them daily hoping the next weekend would be nice enough to head to The Playground and see if I came back with all limbs intact.

I think it’s fair to say as a point of note here that while there certainly may be people out there who have reloaded ammunition for the first time who did NOT in any way, shape or form feel the need to take out a second life insurance policy prior to “testing” their first loads.  If so, they have a set that clanks and I applaud their talents at not care much about life nor limb….or perhaps being too stupid to know otherwise.  Be that as it may, I was NOT one of those people.  To be quite honest, I let them sit in the safe longer than I really had to, but just wasn’t sure I had the guts to actually detonate them with anything less than body armor on.  And unfortunately, body armor is not cheap.

Anyway, back to the story.  So I take them out The Playground within a few weeks, along with several other guns and a full can of ammo intending to do bodily harm to some steel targets.   Poor targets.  And I figure I might as well just go ahead and find out if I read the instructions  (or as my Dad would say…the “destructions”) correctly, followed the videos and overall did a good job of making my first batch of explosive devices (yes Mr. NSA…I said explosive devices).

Anyway….I’ll save you the suspense.   Having to learn to type with one hand is a lot harder than I thought it would be.   OK, seriously….I fired all 50 reloads on target at 25 feet.  Sure, I had a big target…but you’re missing the point.  They worked!!  At that moment as I bent down to pick up my 50 cases of spent brass….thinking the whole while about cranking up the charge by another half a grain, getting something other than RNFP’s, or maybe trying some winchester primers on the next load…….I suddenly realized how all these people get addicted to reloading.



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More proof that politicians are technological tools

Apparently the DL’s are upset that the RL’s are attempting to send out a mass email to their “base” that shows a chart, developed by Kevin Brady (RL-Texas), depicting the tangled web that the new health care plan could will become.

So let me get this straight…one side is attempting to block a mass email so that people won’t be “mislead” by a chart.  Never mind that the press (via Drudge) on this story is likely to be read by at least as many, if not more people, than the original mass email would have garnered.  Not to mention that even before this story broke, the chart was ALREADY going viral

Finally, to add insult to injury, do these lying bastards we call representatives actually believe that the final result of whatever screwed up health care system they end up non-voting on will actually be simple, easy to understand, efficient and cost effective?  Uh huh. 

So cheers to our elected REPRESSentatives for spending time on a non-issue, yet again.

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Filed under Congress, Health Care


I must…ahem….confess that going to Confession is not my most favorite thing to do. I’ll allow you to ponder the utter deepness of that statement.

Ok, all joking aside. I say this because as someone who has made it a point to actually understand what I am doing with regards to religion in general, and Catholic religion in specific (which I find most people don’t even attempt to undertake — this is another entire blog, much less an entire post), I find that no matter how many times I frequent the Sacrament, it has never “taken” with me.

The point is that it never gets easier. Sin is sin. It’s ugly. It’s embarassing. Did I mention it’s embarassing? Yes, pity poor me sitting in the confessional looking at Fr. ?? yet AGAIN telling him why I can’t seem to stop ??, even though he told me LAST time to quit it, now. The debased portion of my readership will fill in the ??’s with lord knows what, pretending this is a sicko version of Mad-Libs for the perverted. The angels among you will find it easier to relate.

And yet, as it never gets easier, it never gets more difficult either. In fact I am yet still shocked that, after having divulged who I really and truly am to another human being, they do not simply run from me in horror. It is much like the knowledge one possesses that your spouse really (and I mean REALLY) knows you, and yet still loves you. In fact, the shock and awe I expect from Fr. So-And-So, even though I’ve never actually seen any priest react thusly, not only never materializes, but strangely enough fails to even register in the slightest.

This is because of two things I believe. The first is simply that most priests have hear more confessions than any one of us laypersons cares to think about. If anything, hearing confessions to a priest is probably more akin to penance for them, rather than our imaginative fantasies of soap opera lore. The second reason is that we must not forget that while Confession is hard, it is a Sacrament, and thus God has seen fit to bestow an abundance of Grace upon those who come, even fearfully, with a truly repentant heart. Believe me, I know.

So while I can’t say I enjoy it when I need to go, I have found that I learn more about what it means to be holy by bringing to the fore exactly what keeps me from it.  It’s not easy to do….but I think that is the point.

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Cramer’s Insane

With These Cuts, We Can Get Back to Business
By Jim Cramer

About this article:
So what, gold? So what, dollar? Get this economy moving with the little inflation we have, ex oil and ex corn, and we are in great shape. I know the hawks will try to chop off this gain. I know I just missed 200 points in the Dow. But I have to tell you that things are now better. We need these rate cuts. We can’t sell a lot of homes — despite the fire sales — and we need the fixed-income world to get back to earth. We need people to lend. We need people to feel better. And now they will. This is the exact opposite of what the bears want. It is crushing them. Too bad.

No Jim, it isn’t crushing us. It is saddening to us. Unfortunately these cuts don’t actually fix anything, all it does is introduce more (virtually) free money into a system whose problem is that it has already lent out too much free money.

The bubble contracted a bit, but it’s still a bubble, and all that has happened is the Fed has traded pain for the banks into pain for the average hardworking American who is going to have to deal with massive inflation in the weeks/months/years to come as foreigners with trillions of dollars realize that it just doesn’t pay to keep buying (or retaining) a currency whose sole backer is so willing to water it down.

Good work Jim, keep the charade going. That’s your job.

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Filed under Cramer, Fed, U.S. Dollar

It’s Been Great Knowin’ Ya….


(Left: DJIA vs USD/EU)

–Fed cuts key loan rate by 50 basis points.

–Stock market surges as Wall Street realizes that the Fed is committed to bailing out all the idiots who jumped on the housing bandwagon and didn’t have enough money to buy a ticket.

–The rest of the world, who is holding our dollars, realizes that the Fed is committed to watering down their investments until they are worthless.

While I am quite ticked off that the Fed proved it’s just a whipping boy for Wall Street fat cats, this really doesn’t delay the pain that is coming fast. It’ll just make it that much more painful when it does come.

The message today was loud and clear: Don’t bother being a good saver. Don’t bother being fiscally responsible. Don’t bother with that whole ‘work hard’ to earn something attitude. Instead, go for the “free” money. Get in over your head and let the government (taxpayers) bail you out. Not because they want to, but because they have no choice.

What a gutless, pathetic excuse for a government we have.

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Filed under Fed, Inflation, U.S. Dollar

Regex in Visual Studio

If you’re a daily user of Visual Studio like i am, then you’ll appreciate this nice feature I recently actually figured out how to use: backreferences in regular expressions built within search and/or search & replace operations.

Let’s say I have the following code from a VB to C# conversion, that incorrectly uses method parentheses ( ) when it should be using index brackets [ ] .

if ((grid.Items(intCounter) is GridDataItem) &&grid.Items(intCounter).Display)
CheckBox chkSelectForAction = (CheckBox)grid.Items(intCounter).FindControl("chkVal");
if (chkSelectForAction.Checked & chkSelectForAction.Visible)

And now  let’s say this construct of “.Items(val)” is all over the place, and i want to change it to the correct “.Items[val]” construct.  The obvious problem is that for each match of “.Items(val)”  the inner value (val) may be completely different.

Here is where the power of regular expressions and backreferences helps us.

In the Visual Studio “Find & Replace” window, type the following into the “Find What:” box:


In the “Replace With: box, type:


Now let’s explain.  In the first “find” regex, we tell it to find the literal “Items” then the character “(”  — using an escape character \( since we don’t mean to open a match expression.  Then we open the backreference block { }.  This tells VS that when a match is found, to store it in the first backreference (which is accessed via \1).  Then we tell it to find 1 or more of any character other than a closing parenthesis “)” — via [^\)] . This is so the regex doesn’t overrun the bounds of our indexer.  Then we close it up with closing the backreference block } and the ending parenthesis literal \).

Now, when each match of “Items(xxx)” is found, it will store xxx into the backreference of \1 (since there will be only one occurance of the “xxx” part in each match.

And in the same execution, it will fire the “Replace with” block, which accesses this backreference, replacing the entire match with Items[xxx].

And that’s it!  You can probably see how powerful this be when you consider global search and replace operations.  The only trick is to try out your new regex on a selection or single page prior to executing it within an entire project or solution (since you can’t “undo” that operation).

Happy regexing!


Filed under .NET, ASP.NET, C#, Regular Expressions

Stock Chart Anomaly?

DJI Linear

This is Friday’s DJIA chart.  I just happened to notice it this weekend as I was poking around the Yahoo Finance area.

Now I’m no financial guru by any means.  I’m no day-trader and I certainly do not claim to be an expert on the machinations of the Wall Street elite.   However, even I look at this chart and wonder how the hell something as volatile and “chaotic” as the minute by minute fluctuations of the world’s largest stock market could produce a near linear growth for nearly 2 hours.

It seems to me that if trading were suspended during that time, one would expect to see a plateau of sorts.   But a perfectly linear progression of millions upon millions of stocks being bought and sold by literally millions upon millions of different people?  Bueller? Bueller? Anyone??

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