How I Defeated a Shooting Flinch

Pistol ShootingI’ve, of course, been shooting all my life, but I’m really not that good at it. My rifle shooting is mediocre, but I don’t flinch. That just comes down to my accuracy.

Pistols are another story entirely. I only started getting heavily into handguns within the past few years, and with how little I shoot, I haven’t been able to experiment and work on getting rid of a nasty flinch I had. I couldn’t hit jack with a pistol unless I was lucky enough to flinch AFTER the bullet left the barrel.

Everybody says that all you have to do to cure a flinch is lots of dry firing and squeeze the trigger slowly, so the break surprises you, instead of slapping it. Well, I did both.

Didn’t work.

Dry firing is a different beast. I never flinched while dry firing, so I really don’t think that carries over into actual shooting (unless you do it thousands of times, maybe), and squeezing the trigger slowly didn’t make a difference because I would stand there flinching repeatedly throughout the trigger pull, anticipating the break. So you know how I got over it?

I stopped holding onto the gun.

As soon as I stopped squeezing it in a death grip like it was a fish trying to escape, the flinch was gone. With a Weaver stance, I apply the most grip with my support hand, but still don’t give it a death grip, and only apply minimal force with my dominant hand. You only need enough force to keep the gun from slipping through your hands, holding onto it harder doesn’t reduce recoil, that’s in the wrists and arms.

The tension in my hands seemed to worsen the feeling of recoil, making me anticipate it more, and therefore I would flinch and throw the muzzle down just before every shot, totally wrecking my aim.

I’m still a pretty bad shot, but I can at least hit within a couple inches of where I’m aiming instead of going a foot or two low every time. 😀

Dire Straits Alchemy on Blu-Ray

Dire Straits Blu-RayI used to watch this VHS all the time. My life probably wouldn’t be the same without Dire Straits, my favorite band of all time, so when it was announced that Alchemy would be remastered for a Blu-Ray release, I was psyched.

Just as a CD, Alchemy is fantastic. The audio quality is a bit lackluster, be it from the recording or the production of the CD, I don’t know, but the performance is top notch. The extended performances of Tunnel of Love and Sultans of Swing (6:15 and 5:07 longer than their album versions, respectively) are still amazing after listening to them countless times throughout my life, and the opening on Once Upon a Time in the West just sucks you in.

So, today, I ordered the Blu-Ray. A little word of warning for those in the U.S. of A.: don’t buy it from a mainstream U.S. store. There are sellers on the Amazon Marketplace that have it for roughly $20 instead of the $30 everyone else is asking, which, from what I hear, is because Warner Bros. is simply importing the regionless UK version into the United States instead of pressing their own, which jacks the price up for some reason.

I’m hoping to have my copy in-hand before I head out for Las Vegas and the west coast on July 4 so I can report back on it.

Wilderness Tactical Frequent Flyer Gun Belt

After shopping around for a holster for a while, I eventually narrowed my decision down to either the Crossbreed SuperTuck or the Comp-Tac MTAC, both hybrid IWB holsters with a leather backing and a Kydex holster body. Ultimately, the MTAC’s higher level of finish as well as modularity won out, despite a higher price tag. So I ordered it and a Wilderness Tactical Frequent Flyer belt (1.5″, 5-stitch version) to carry it on.

I mostly chose the Frequent Flyer over the more popular Original Instructor Belt because I won’t be attaching any emergency lines to my belt any time soon, it’s cheaper by about six bucks (nine if you go for the 1.25″ version), and I liked the look of the rings better than the Instructor buckle.

Why did I need a new belt? Because people on gun forums told me so, that’s why! The added stiffness of a “gun belt” supposedly helps a lot when carrying for an extended period of time. I received the belt today and wore my Glock around the house for a while, and I might have noticed a bit of difference, but it wasn’t exactly life-altering. It did make a difference when I tried on my brother’s USP in his paddle holster and was able to cinch the belt down on it to the perfect tightness. With a standard belt buckle, I would have needed a hole in between to get it to exactly the right tightness, but with the Wilderness belt I was able to adjust it down to where it took off a lot of that lopsided feeling without squeezing my guts in. The Glock in the Don Hume IWB holster didn’t seem much different, but I also don’t care for the holster that much, so we’ll see what happens when I try a new holster on my old and new belts.

Unfortunately, my Comp-Tac is still in the production phase. They advertised an 8-day production time when I ordered (though it’s down to 7 now) and it’s been 5 business days since I ordered, so hopefully it’ll ship by the end of the week. I intend to post a review and my further thoughts on the belt when I get the new holster in my hands.

Update: Their advertised production time is down to 6 days now. Today is day 6 for me and still no word. Dang!

How to Remove Gum from Carpet – For Real!

Just use Zout Oxy Foam. It comes in a purple spray bottle and it may have saved my life.

My friend stepped in some gum on the ground without realizing it, then got in the car, pressing the old gum into the floor mat. If it wasn’t my dad’s car, I probably would have just taken the lazy route and left it until such time as it caused a problem for me, but it was my dad’s car, and I therefore couldn’t just ignore it.

Going in, I had no idea how to remove old gum from carpet, so I did a quick Bing search. The most popular answer was “put ice in a plastic bag and set that on top of it, then scrape it up with a spatula or dull knife,” so I tried that.

Pffft. Yeah right.

That got me nowhere, so I raided the laundry closet and grabbed the bottle of Zout Oxy Foam, which I guess is actually intended to soak a stain before you put it in the laundry rather than use as a carpet cleaner, but I’ve used it on messes in carpet before and it seemed to work. Still, I had no idea if it would do anything to gum, but I didn’t know what else to do, so I tried it.

I gave the gum good coverage with the foam and let it sit (I pretty much just let it sit until the foam fizzed away, so 30 seconds or so) then scraped it with a knife. The liquid that was scraped up on the knife was a pinkish brown and the gum was red, so I figured I was getting somewhere. I wiped the knife on a paper towel after each scrape and pretty soon, it looked… clean! After spending twenty minutes with ice and getting nowhere, it took me about five minutes with the Zout stuff, and that’s only because the gum was spread around and stuck in four or five different spots.

Of course, then I wiped up my workplace on the dining table with rubbing alcohol and took half the rooster designs off. Oops!

I Should Be The Only Game Designer

I’ve been playing Final Fantasy XIII lately after receiving it from Gamefly, and I will say I’m enjoying it enough. (Moreso than the last game I received, Bioshock 2, which completely failed to grab me in any manner.) It’s not as special or gripping as Final Fantasy IX or Kingdom Hearts II, but it’s enjoyable.

But here’s the problem. I’m still working my way through its decidedly 33-hour tutorial and I’ve realized that, while making the experience smooth to ease into (or possibly easy to smooth into), I now have no reason to buy their sixty dollar game because I will never replay it from the beginning.

When it takes five hours to get to the part of the game where you can do something besides run forward into battle and select Auto-battle, never will I have the patience to sit through that again knowing that I could be experiencing the excitement of switching paradigms AND selecting Auto-battle.

I’d also like to mention that I had Listerine in my mouth for the entire duration of writing this post.

Monster Heatsink from Hell

I was looking up CPUs the other day (still haven’t decided exactly what hardware I’ll be using for my upcoming computer build) and found this picture on a post from Tom’s Hardware:

Giant CPU Heatsink from Hell

It's too big, Gus! (Click for full size)

Apparently they had used this heatsink, a Scythe Mugen-2 Revision B, to overclock an Intel Core i3-530 to roughly 4.3 GHz from its out-of-box clock speed of 2.93 GHz. Calling that “pretty impressive” would be a considerable understatement.

Unfortunately for me, this seems to have given me the idea that I could back off from the Core i5-661 (3.33 GHz) that I was planning on buying, to the considerably cheaper Core i3-530… and overclock it. You’ll notice the ellipsis. That’s because I’ve never overclocked anything, and in fact, have been kind of an opponent of overclocking most of my life. However, the ease with which this Core i3 seems to be overclockable, as well as the fact that I’m planning on using the ASRock H55M Pro motherboard (chosen because it’s slightly less expensive than, as well as reviewed better than the closest equivalent Intel board, and the added benefit of a second PCI Express x16 slot) which apparently has excellent overclocking options from the BIOS, means the temptation to overclock is higher than I’ve ever felt before.

All I can say now, though, is… we’ll see.

“Before It Breaks”, Song of the Month

Song of the month for April, 2010: Before It Breaks by Brandi Carlile.

I really discovered Brandi some time in mid October last year. My dad had bought her second CD, The Story, some time before, after hearing her on Pat Monahan’s (of Train) solo album Last of Seven. (The song is Pirate on the Run and it happens to be the best song on the album. The album has some other good tunes, but as a whole it’s a bit too “pop” for me.)

I had heard Brandi’s music here and there but never really paid attention until I started hearing some of her stuff playing at work, where we have all of our music on the server and have a rather large randomized playlist. I finally paid attention and realized it was some really good music.

Come Christmas, I gave my dad her new album, Give Up the Ghost, on vinyl, only mostly because he wanted it. 😉 As many new albums do, it took a bit of warming up for me; new and modified sounds and styles tend to throw me. But after a couple of listens, I knew that Give Up the Ghost was still great music, and one song in particular stood out to me.

That is, of course, Before It Breaks. Honestly, I don’t know what it means. I’m a bit slow on the uptake of song meanings; but with a beautiful piano lead (which happened to be inspired by Elton John, who spun another song from the album, Caroline, into a fantastic jam) and Brandi’s incredible vocals, this song quickly pushed its way into the rank of my “Temporary Favorite Song, Period”. That is to say, right now there is no song I like better, but it’s probably only a matter of time before that changes. Then again, it has been in the position since at least early February; I recall at the concert I had the pleasure of attending in Knoxville, Tennessee, I was practically the only one who clapped excitedly at the introduction of the song, though two others seemed to briefly follow my lead.

Speaking of concerts, even some of my least-liked Carlile songs became a thousand times better when experienced live. If you like any of her music, go to a concert. I hope I haven’t used the word “amazing” too many times in this post, because I’m too lazy to go check, but she and her band put on an amazing performance.

Anyway, the song was stuck in my head tonight, so spilling it into a blog post seemed like the right thing to do.

Obsolete Upgrades

Today, I bit the bullet and purchased a new video card from Tiger Direct to replace my aging Foxconn GeForce 8800 GTS–the old model with the G80 architecture and 320 MB of video RAM that I bought for way too much money about two weeks before the cheaper and slightly better-performing 8800 GT was released. My disappointment was palpable, like many things are.

However, the GeForce has served me well and I’ve gotten nearly two and a half years of bang out of my buck. Of course, it would go even further if I wasn’t greedy and didn’t want to run Starcraft 2 at 1080P on full settings on a 47 inch LCD… but I digress.

The replacement? Continue reading

Dire Straits

Kyle was playing through the entirety of Dire Straits’ self-titled debut album for the wild guess of about the 1,663rd time in his life, so I decided to look for a live video of the song “Lions” on YouTube. I was waiting for the album version to finish playing before I watched it, so I scrolled down to the comments, which is usually a terrible idea on YouTube.

Continue reading