Concert – Overkill (and Evil United… sorta) – Backstage Live, San Antonio, TX, September 17, 2014

Last night (September 17, 2014) I went to see Overkill play at Backstage Live in San Antonio, Texas.

It was a strange night in many ways.

It started well before the show. When the tour was announced, I see the Prong was going to be the main support act. Cool! But… not on the San Antonio date (and a couple others). Not sure why. But what was even stranger was then that Prong was booked at the same venue on the prior night! So these two bands are touring together, but then for a couple dates they break apart and still play the same city but just on different nights. Uh… why? That was strange. I was always a casual Prong fan, so trucking to San Antonio just to see them wasn’t in the cards for me, but it would have been cool to see both on the bill.

So who was on the bill? Honestly I don’t recall who the other two opening bands were — some local San Antonio bands. But then there was Evil United, which is Jason McMaster‘s new band. I was stoked to see them, and considered it a reasonable trade-off for no Prong.

Then…. the night arrived.

I was going with my buddy W. Alas, his flight into Austin ran very late so by the time we got to San Antonio the 2nd band was finishing up. They sounded good, but I can’t comment much.

The crowd was a very thrash metal crowd. I mean, so many denim vests with backpatches and buttons. It was like the 80’s thrash scene  was still thriving in this little pocket of San Antonio. Not a single white t-shirt for miles. :-) This is a very different sort of crowd that you’d get if the same show was held in Austin.

The venue was ok. Never been there before. Parking was easy (lot right across the street, $10 geez). Didn’t like how there were pillars/posts everywhere and bar rails, which was nice for drinks but kinda makes it hard or precarious to move about. I also thought it was odd they served beer in glass bottles — yes, at one point the mosh pit stopped because a bottle broke and people were getting on the floor during Overkill’s set to pick up broken glass! Yeah, it’s a mosh pit, yeah it’s rough and “violent”, but no one wants to get hurt — it’s supposed to be a fun time! Still, some might call this strange.

Evil United hits the stage… for 3 songs. Song ends… McMaster has a little stage banter then… “OK, we’re done”. And they start breaking down their gear. Wha?? Spoke with some guy who said there’s been some drama for a few days… they were playing, then announced they weren’t playing, then suddenly they were at the gig. Guy said there was some b.s.’ing by the venue (who I’m told tends to not treat the artists well — I don’t know, just what the dude said to me), something about trying to force them to pay-to-play now. I don’t know. I saw Jason was standing by his merch table, so I went over to talk with him. What Jason said to me was they gave them 20 minutes to play and 4 of them were wasted because the monitors weren’t working. I find it really odd that they’d only get 20 minutes to play. Plus, the way Jason talked to me, I am pretty sure there’s a LOT more to the story. But it’s not my drama and Jason handled things like a pro. I was bummed to not hear a full set, but what I did hear I enjoyed. Still, what a strange set.

In between the sets, I went to the bathroom. I went to go wash my hands and as I went for a sink a guy pointed me to another sink with running water. My thought? “Oh, I guess that’s the only working sink”. No…. then the guy hands me a paper towel.

WTF? A bathroom valet in a club at a thrash metal show?

Yeah, I still tipped the guy, tho I felt suckered into it. But geez, what a strange thing to have at a show.

Finally Overkill hit the stage.

There is no compromise.

Overkill is thrash to the end. You buy an Overkill album, it’s going to sound like Overkill. They haven’t experimented or changed their sound (I’m sure Blitz won’t be dueting with Lou Reed). And yes, they are there to wreck your neck.

Despite the dude that was front-row-center with an iPad videoing half the show… despite the “over-excited jumping bean” that was banging into W and me and stepping on our feet all through the set… despite the bitchy cat-fight that almost broke out on the other side of us (what’s that Wrathchild America line about “clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right”?)… despite the strangeness of the crowd, most people were there for a good time and a good time was had. The pit was energetic and dedicated, the music was loud, and the show unrelenting.

Scored one of DD’s picks.

Really enjoyed how while they emphasized newer material, they pulled out a lot of old stuff. That was pretty cool.

What really blew away W and I? Blitz. He’s not lost a thing. I mean, he’s got such power and range in is voice, and despite the “thrashing” and demands of such music, every yell, every scream, he was all over it. So many singers as they age just can’t do it any more: the bands tune down the guitars so they can still hit the higher notes of a song, or certain songs are no longer sung, or the way they sing changes. It’s no one’s fault, it’s just what happens as you get older. But Blitz sounded awesome. Powerful as hell up there, just commanding the stage with his voice and presence.

I also enjoy how Derek (rhythm guitarist) is so interactive with the audience throughout the show. It’s fun being on his side of the stage and just watching him.

This isn’t to take away from DD or Dave. I mean, DD is the band’s foundation (not just as the bass player), but when he plays he’s just in his groove. And Dave… I swear, if there’s any sort of undiscovered guitar shred god, Dave should be in contention; he’s really a great guitar player. Thing about Ron (drummer)? He was up on this riser and because of the lighting, I couldn’t really see him and say much, but the drums did sound good.

Oh as an aside. I had no idea foam ear plugs had fidelity differences. I had some orange foams (don’t recall the brand, but bought at Academy sporting goods in the guns section). I had them in at first and everything sounded muddy: couldn’t hear vocals or guitars, but the drums came through like a muddy sledgehammer. It was horrible. I happened to also have a set of Hearos on me and switched to them. Oh wow! It was an amazing difference and suddenly everything sounded good. Both were the foam “bullet shape” style plugs, both with that 30-something NRR rating. Could it be that the orange were more attuned for shooting sports than musical fidelity? Maybe, but I just had no idea foam ear plugs cared about fidelity — never experienced any differences in the past, this was new to me. But hey, it’s Hearos from here (hear?) on out.

Anyways, despite all the strangeness of the night, it was a great show and I’m happy I went. It was a birthday present from W, so I thank him for it. :-)

  1. XDM
  2. Armorist
  3. Overkill
  4. Electric Rattlesnake
  5. Wrecking Crew
  6. Black Daze
  7. Rotten to the Core
  8. Bring Me the Night
  9. End of the Line
  10. Long Time Typin’
  11. Under One
  12. Pig
  13. Hello From the Gutter
  14. Ironbound
  15. Bitter Pill (encore)
  16. Elimination (encore)
  17. Fuck You (encore)


Jason McMaster & Me


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Challenging human predators


Reading this, I think about KR Training’s Defensive Pistol Skills 1 class. That class teaches both presentations Claude mentions: challenge, and shoot. In light of the most recent DPS-1 class (the rains forcing us to do more dry fire and discuss dry fire), I think it’s important for people to realize that one’s dry fire practice shouldn’t just be about pistol fundamentals or other such hard-skills. But one’s dry fire practice, if you are practicing for the purpose of self-defense, should practice all such relevant skills, which includes things like yelling those challenges (e.g. “STOP! DON’T! MOVE!”).

Originally posted on tacticalprofessor:

Pointing guns at people you have no intention of shooting to force compliance with your demands is poor business.

–Ed Head in his article Pistol Provocation

I agree with this statement and feel it can be even further amplified from the perspective of training people how to Control a Confrontation. The statement can be, and has been, misconstrued by the inexperienced into “I believe that the first time any bad guy should know you are armed is when he sees the muzzle flash.” As a philosophy, reluctance to display a firearm without firing is a mistake. The majority of criminals are looking for a victimization not a fight. The display of a firearm by the intended victim, along with the obvious intent to use it if necessary, is an indicator that the victimization has the potential to turn into a fight. That’s not what economic predators are looking for.


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Wasp Spray for self-defense

Once again the suggestion to use wasp spray for self-defense has reared up.

No. No. No.

This is a terrible idea.

You could find yourself in a lot of legal trouble. City, County, State and Federal laws vary, but in general to use wasp spray in this manner is illegal. You’re a law-abiding citizen (right?) – why would you choose to do something illegal, especially when there are legal products – pepper spray – specifically designed to be used as chemical deterrents? Yeah I know, you’re being attacked, all bets are off. But after the attack is over, there will be an aftermath and it will be filled with lawyers and legal issues. Why should you risk complicating matters for yourself? There are acceptable and more effective alternatives (pepper spray), so why would you choose otherwise?

Pyrethrin’s are not designed for this purpose. It’s questionable if they will be effective at stopping an attacker, and they could cause great harm. You might think “great harm to my attacker? that’s what I want!” Well, there’s always risk of failure to properly identify your target, splash and spray back (into you…), and other ways that innocents could be affected. But ignore the “harm” factor because we aren’t out to harm people — the goal is to stop the attacker. If pythreins are of questionable effectiveness, why would you use them?

Can you really carry a can of wasp spray around? You can carry pepper spray. OK sure the small keychain cans can’t spray 25 feet, but you can buy cans that can, such as this model from Fox Labs or this one from SABRE RED. Keychain model on your person, larger spray cans at home.

If one of the touted reasons for using wasp spray in self-defense is because you can hit targets at great distance, have you ever tried to hit a wasp nest that was 25 feet away from you? I don’t know about you, but I never hit them on the first shot because there’s no way to aim, the nozzle isn’t really designed to be highly accuracy, that stream is very thin and small, and let’s not forget about the wind. How effective do you think you will be in deploying this under grave pressure at someone attacking you? Consider then purpose-built, purpose-designed pepper sprays tend to present a “fog” or “cloud” pattern out to such distance, effectively making a wall of pepper spray.

Watch the difference in spray patterns (1:55 into this video)

Bottom line: there is no reason to use wasp spray for anything other than ridding the exterior of your home of wasps and hornets. There are legal, effective, products on the market — pepper spray — that serve the same touted purpose, but do so in a more effective and legal manner.

Please, please, please, stop recommending wasp spray. That means you, Today Show.

2014-09-17 training log

Man, you go up 10 lbs and everything feels different.

So I felt that I made good progress at the prior weight in model 1, so time to bump up the weight. I bumped up the “working max” by 10 lbs. and then recalculated everything. Interesting that all the calculated weights only went up 5 lbs except for the 1 rep weight. But even just going up that small amount added a larger workload. So the 5×5 went slower. That’s how it goes.

Or it could be today was that plus just being off. I felt sluggish getting out of bed. Work’s been stressful, maybe that’s in play. Who knows. I wouldn’t chalk today up as a -10% day tho; still a good 80% day… but just not all mentally there this morning.

In related news, I keep feeling stiff in my legs. Sitting all day in front a computer, I reckon. I’m making an effort that every day I do some bodyweight squats, at least 10 reps. I do some simple stretching, like just standing up straight and reaching up to the sky, holding that for a while and just relaxing into it. It feels more yoga-like than “athletic stretching” (for lack of a better way to describe it), but it feels good and my body is feeling better doing it. Just take the dog out back in the afternoon, and while she runs about, just stand on the back patio and do these stretches and squats. Feels good.

Based upon Paul Carter’s Basebuilding

  • Squats (model 1)
    • bar x 5
    • bar x 5
    • 150 x 5
    • 175 x 4
    • 205 x 3
    • 225 x 2
    • 260 x 1
    • 180 x 5
    • 180 x 5
    • 180 x 5
    • 180 x 5
    • 180 x 5
  • Deficit Deadlift (model 1)
    • 275 x 3
    • 275 x 3
    • 275 x 3
    • 275 x 3
    • 275 x 3
  • Leg Press
    • 165 x 20
    • 165 x 20

KR Training 2014-09-13 – BP2/DPS1 Quick Hits

Sometimes, it’s “just another day” at KR Training. But this past Saturday was an exception to the rule.

It was a Basic Pistol 2 (Defensive Pistol Essentials) and Defensive Pistol Skills 1. Many students stayed for both classes, which is typical, but what was atypical was…


…the weather.

The first major cold front came through, and it seems summer is officially over. We dropped around 30º in a day, from being in the mid-90’s going to the mid-60’s. It was wonderful! However, with that drop in temperature also brought a lot of rain. I don’t know how much rain fell at the A-Zone Range, but at my home in Austin we got about 2.5″. It certainly felt that way at the range, with much rain coming on Friday and making for soggy, muddy range conditions. Then despite the weather reports, the rain kept going throughout most of Saturday. Sometimes a light drizzle, sometimes a break, and sometimes it went so hard for so long we just had to go or stay inside.

The weather made things challenging, and I want to give credit to all the students for their positive attitudes and willingness to keep working regardless of the conditions. You don’t get to choose the conditions when the flag flies for you, so it’s good to get used to less than ideal circumstances.

One thing this changed up was exactly what we did in class. We just couldn’t run the same drills. But major props to Karl Rehn for his ability to improv — it’s probably because he’s also a jazz musician. ;-)  Seriously, if I can brag on my boss-man for a moment, this is something I’ve long admired in Karl: his ability to adapt. It could be because the weather isn’t cooperating, it could be because he sees the class as a whole is struggling and needs more focus on some element, or maybe he sees everyone is exceeding expectation so he can push further. But he’s always able to call an audible and do what’s right and best for the class, even if it’s not specifically what’s on the lesson plan, it’s still within scope for addressing what the students need within the scope of the class goals. It’s a rare trait, and I’m not sure students can appreciate it because they only see a small slice. But I’ve been around Karl in a teaching capacity for 7 years now and have seen a lot of how he operates. He’s got talent.

Back to students….

One take home? Preparedness. Not just things like carrying your gun or loading all your magazines before coming to class and such. But simple things like if it’s going to be sunny, wear sunscreen. If there’s a chance of rain, wear boots and a raincoat. Windy or chilly? a jacket or windbreaker would be wise. Don’t just think about your gun and ammo for class.

Speaking of equipment.

Equipment Matters

Another way the classes were atypical were the guns we saw. Some years ago you’d see wide variety in classes, but the past couple years it seems that everyone’s pretty much settled on Glock and M&P, with some XDm and the occasional other thing (Sig, H&K). But then suddenly this class was loaded with all sorts of different guns. Not a bad thing, just interesting.

Still, I think a lot of people were able to see how much equipment matters.

Gun fit? Very important. We had a few people with small hands and short fingers, and it was challenging to find a gun that fit them. But now that you know about gun fit (here’s a guide if you need a reminder and reference), now it’s time to go back to the store and just go through everything in the case until you find something that fits you. Yes, that might mean less than ideal calibers like .380 Auto or even .22 LR. But those are better than nothing, provided it means you can find a gun you can shoot, shoot well, and are happy to shoot (meaning you’ll practice). Also, don’t neglect potential for custom gunsmithing to help as well. You may need to get a grip reduction to reduce the mass in your hand, or a different trigger that doesn’t change the weight or safety of the trigger but does change the position so your finger can properly operate the trigger.

Accessories matter too. Lots of people with plain old belts, and they got to experience how they just don’t work well. They cannot support the weight, they twist, they sag, they give, the are too thin and narrow and holsters flex and move. Good belts are important.  I’ve used belts from TheBeltMan, and these days I wear a Wilderness Tactical Original Instructor Belt. The Wilderness belt is NOT fashionable at all, but no one ever sees my belts and I like the “infinite adjustability” because of all my weight fluctuations. There are many good makers of gun belts; use them.

Same goes for holsters and magazine pouches. You will NOT find anything good or useful in the stores in town. Hooray for the Internet tho, because there are people like Comp-Tac, Blade Tech, Raven Concealment, Custom Carry Concepts, Dale Fricke, and many others making quality holsters. A key factor is you want a holster whose mouth stays open so you can reholster without problem. Kydex is good for this.

But while equipment is good, once you have it settled, that’s enough. It’s time to move up the ladder to more important things.

Dry Fire

One side-effect of the weather was we got to do a lot more dry fire work in class than we normally do. I know it’s not as exciting, but I hope the students were able to see the value. I mean, they learned how to draw from a holster and draw from concealment all inside and dry — didn’t have to fire anything, ammo was not necessary.

Many of the skills learned cannot be practiced at local ranges. But about the only thing you can’t work on dry is recoil management. That’s one skill out of the many involved in pistol shooting, so focus on what you can. It’s easy, it costs you nothing but a few minutes of time every other day.

Check out Ben Stoeger’s books and other material on dry fire.

I’ve also got a bunch of stuff right here on my website about dry fire.

Extraneous Movement

We saw numerous people making extraneous movement.

This is simply movement that doesn’t need to be made, and probably shouldn’t. The most common thing was on drawing the gun, squatting down.

I totally understand. I did this for a long time myself.

The thing is, it’s unnecessary movement and can work counter to what you’re trying to do. The biggest problem? When you move your body like that, you now affect where your eye-target line is. So not only are you trying to bring the gun up to the eye-target line, you are also making a moving target because the eye-target line is moving! All this movement makes it harder for you to quickly acquire a sight picture.

The only way to overcome it is to be aware of it, and work on it in dry fire.

Video yourself. Or watch yourself in a mirror. It will tell the truth.

So much of what we do is about economy of motion. For example, how instead of serializing the movements of pressing the gun out and pressing the trigger in we do them simultaneously? We don’t have to move faster, but the simultaneous motion allows us to achieve the end result much sooner. Economy of motion.

Good Day

Despite the rain, it was a good day. The temperature remained cool and it was wonderful to have a day on the range where we weren’t soaked in sweat afterwards. Still soaked, but I’ll take the much-needed rain.

We had full classes, and each class was majority female. We had students aging from college to retirees. People of various backgrounds too. Again, I like to point out the wide diversity of students in classes because it shows that you cannot pigeonhole nor stereotype gun owners and people that take responsiblity for themselves.

And while I bragged on my boss-man, I also want to brag on my fellow assistants, Tom and Tracy. It’s great when you can have a well-oiled machine.

Thank you all for coming out and giving us the privilege of teaching you. I hope you had a good day, learned something, and we hope to see you out on the range again soon. :-)

Delica clip replacement

I carry 2 Spyderco Delica folders. Great knives for all sorts of purposes.

Alas, the way the clip is fashioned they snag every now and again on things. Usually they just bend and I can bend things back into place, but I guess the clip bent one too many times and it broke on one of them.

Looking around for replacements, I found it odd that I couldn’t find any for sale on Spyderco’s own website. But a bunch of third-party discussions came up, and I was pointed to these Titanium pocket clips on I liked the fact they were low-rider (the Delica’s stick out a lot from your pocket), and the slim clip does end up looking like a pen clip. All good things.

Alas, they didn’t work for me. The hole spacing does NOT fit the Delica. I saw others with this issue and they drilled things out and got it to work. Well, that only sorta worked. There’s just too much spacing and not enough room to drill before the holes get too big and the screw heads won’t hold. The screws also go in at a slight angle, which means they don’t hold fast – and on one it did pop out. As well, I’m not sure if it’s the bend or the clip itself, but when I first put them into a pocket, I heard ripping — they slightly torn my pant pocket.. .not a deep tear, just some ripping of threads. Ugh. So that was $18 down the drain, because there’s no way I can return them now that I modified them. Nothing against these clips or, they just don’t work for me.

I searched around Spyderco’s website again. They really need a better website. But I did find on their support/contact page they actually have an option for “need a replacement clip”, so this probably comes up enough. I sent them a note and we’ll see what comes of it. I also noticed they have a “deep pocket clip”. If I could get those on my Delica, I’ll take it; I asked.

So… we’ll see.

Meantime, if any of you have suggestions on Delica clip replacements that actually work, I’m all ears.

2014-09-15 training log

Well, maybe today was better… I don’t know. I don’t quite feel like I’m treading water, but today’s progress wasn’t much over last week. Still, a bit of progress is still progress, so I’ll give it a little more time to see how things go, else I’ll switch up to “model 2″.

I did opt to make one change. I swapped close-grip bench presses in and behind-the-neck presses out. I don’t have problems getting the bar off my chest nor through the mid-way point, but it’s after that point, which is perhaps a triceps weakness. So hey… how about some close-grips instead. If a little extra triceps work can help me there, I’ll take it.

Oh, I am going to make an effort to pause all my warm-ups. I was reading John Phung’s “A Very Important Letter to my 14-Year-Old Self”, which reads like a letter I’d write to my own 14-year-old self, and one thing he wrote:

Pause your warm ups at the bottom position. It’s an easy way to sneak in paused work into a training session.

Geez… duh! Yeah.

Based upon Paul Carter’s Basebuilding

  • Bench Press (model 1)
    • bar x 5
    • bar x 5
    • 115 x 5
    • 130 x 4
    • 155 x 3
    • 170 x 2
    • 190 x 1
    • 170 x 8
    • 170 x 8
    • 170 x 8
    • 170 x 8
    • 170 x 6
  • Machine Flies
    • 85 x 10
    • 85 x 10
    • 85 x 10
    • 85 x 10
    • 85 x 10
  • Close-Grip Bench Press
    • 95 x 12
    • 95 x 12
    • 95 x 12
    • 95 x 12
  • Hammer Curls
    • 30e x 10
    • 30e x 10
    • 30e x 10
    • 30e x 8
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Writing about whatever interests me, and maybe you.


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