Category Archives: For Hire
Back when the book Glock: The Rise of America’s Gun first came out, I was contacted by the author and/or publisher about reviewing it. They would send me a free copy of the book in exchange for a review on my blog. I wasn’t interested. First, I’m not a Glock guy. Second, my blog isn’t a place for pimping and promoting stuff — if I do mention a product or service, it’s because I want to, it’s because I have a personal interest, and generally I spent my own personal money to obtain it. I really don’t want to shill for things because then you can only wonder if my motives are true or if someone’s paying me. I mean, look at most any magazine that promotes some product or lifestyle (it doesn’t matter: guns, fitness, fashion, guitars, home improvement, etc.). Notice they have advertisers all over the pages? Then notice what the magazine must also review? Do you think bad reviews are going to sell ad space? So how honest can those reviews really be?
That said, the Glock book came out in paperback back in January 2013, and they asked me again if I wanted to review.
About a month later I responded and agreed.
I agreed because I decided I wanted to read the book, and if I can get a free copy to read, why not? If the price to pay is a review on my blog, then so be it… because I’m not sure they’ll want me to review things again.
No, this isn’t a very favorable review. If I am going to review things here, I’m going to give my straight opinion on it, even if that’s saying it sucks. It’s my “no bullshit” rule in life, and I won’t set that aside for anyone.
I didn’t care much for the book.
It took me a couple months to finish reading it. I had other things going on in life and the book was low priority, but it was relegated to the bathroom for reading. So I’d read a few pages here and there, and eventually got through it.
At first, I was very turned off by the book. I was mistaken in my expectations for the book. I thought it was a biography of Gaston Glock. It started off that way, but didn’t keep going that way. It annoyed me because I thought either the author, Paul M. Barrett, was a shitty writer, or that I was duped. But it was just my own misconception, and, frankly, once I realized it was more a “biography” of the Glock gun itself, that made things clearer. Then looking back over the chapters already read, it made more sense. So if you keep that in mind — that it’s a “biography” of the gun itself, it’s not so bad.
And truly, the Glock handgun did a lot to change the face of firearms, police, personal defense, the firearms industry, music, Hollywood, etc.. So I agree that there’s an interesting and compelling story to tell here.
But I didn’t care for the telling of the story.
I guess I’m getting old and tired of drama.
Even as a kid I preferred non-fiction over fiction. Oh sure, some fiction is good and enjoyable. But I remember as a kid in elementary school when every other kid was reading stuff like The Phantom Tollbooth I was checking and rechecking out these books on “how to play chess” from the school library. Even today when people talk about their reading lists and have all this fiction, be it Harry Potter or 50 Shades or whatever, I’m reading books on how to program in Ruby. I’m not a total stick in the mud, but that’s just my preference.
So perhaps that’s why the Glock book turned me off. Sure it had some “just the facts, ma’am” stuff in there, but a lot of the book came off as an attempt to make some sort of “reality TV dramatic thriller” out of the book. All the sex, lies, and dirty politics… and let’s throw in a little more sex and intrigue. A bunch of “he said, she said” anecdotes, etc.. Really, it felt like Barrett was writing with the hopes of making it into a screenplay, or at least a reality TV show.
Maybe that’s the way to write today to appeal to today’s audience? I don’t know. But it just wasn’t my thing. If it’s your thing, great.
I did appreciate getting some level of insight into the Glock gun’s history. I did like reading some of the stories, like Barrett’s time with Mas Ayoob to help gain some experiences for writing the book. But I guess I would have preferred a straight history book instead of a dramatic regaling, at least for this subject matter.
I was also annoyed by the end of the book, since it had advocations of “See? This is how evil guns are, thanks in part to Glock… so we need to increase gun control”. Yeah… not the sort of book or author I’d like to support. So I guess I’m glad I got to read the book for free.
Best I can say is the book was a way to pass the time while sitting on the toilet.
This is so cool.
Fully functioning models of various firearms, built in LEGO. The engineering that went into this is fascinating.
What’s cooler is the plans for building these is soon to be released in a book called LEGO Heavy Weapons.
What’s coolest? The creator of these designs, Jack Streat, is 17 years old. This kid has a bright future in engineering. What were you doing when you were 17?
I was able to see an advance copy of the book. If you’re familiar with LEGO sets, you know they come with instruction manuals. The manuals are step-by-step pictures on how to build. At its heart, the LEGO Heavy Weapons book is no different; that sort of familiarity is good. But what the book adds to the mix is explanation and history. Up front there’s discussion about how he goes about design and creating models, which I thought was some pretty cool insight. Then each design has some discussion about what it took for him to build it. There’s also some breakdown on how the model actually works. It’s really quite cool to see all of this in-depth detail.
The designs are complex, and they’re going to require a lot of parts that are unlikely to be in your bins. Thankfully he provides a complete parts list complete with quantity and exact LEGO part number for ease of ordering.
Really, this is pretty slick.
It’s not going to be for everyone… serious LEGO and gun nerds need apply. But even if these aren’t your direct things, you just have to appreciate what Jack did. The desire to build, the patience to build, the further patience to document the design, the ambition to publish a book. Like I said… what were YOU doing at age 17?
(Disclosure: I was contacted by No Starch Press about this book, they gave me the promotional copy, and so on. While I normally don’t accept and do outside promotion because this blog is my personal blog, I opted to do this because I like guns and I like LEGO and chances are once I learned about this I would have posted it here anyways because I think it’s way cool. Besides, No Starch publishes a lot of awesome title… check ‘em out.)
You might have noticed things look a little different today.
I’ve been asked to be a part of WordPress’s new “WordAds” program beta test.
I’m a programmer… I’m a geek… how can I resist being part of a beta test?
The theme I was using wasn’t compatible with WordAds, so I had to pick a new theme. Just as well. I didn’t really like the prior theme, it was just the best for my needs of all the available choices at the time. But like all things in the WordPress world, always moving, always evolving, always improving. A lot more themes available now, and this new one I think looks good and offers a lot of features that fit my needs. So it all works well! I like the new look a lot more than the prior one, or really any theme I’ve used previously on this site.
So new theme, rearranged a few things, added a nice banner image. BTW, that banner image is a picture I took of a storm cloud that was rolling through my area on April 26, 2011. It was a HUGE storm, truly wicked to watch the cloud as it was rolling through. One of these days I’ll try to post some of the video I captured of it.
Anyways… the big change is WordAds. Because the back-end of this blog is presently hosted using the free wordpress.com hosting, you’ve probably already seen some advertisements when you come to the site. I believe the only thing that’s changing is the type of ad, from the old wordpress ads to these new WordAds. Exactly what it’ll all look like I don’t know… haven’t seen it yet.
This is my personal blog. It’s where I post what I want to talk about, from whatever angle I want to present it. This blog was not created to be a money-making venture. I tend to stay away from product promotions and other such things because that’s not what my blog is about. Plus, I don’t want to get into the bias that plagues a lot of magazines that do reviews but also advertise from those manufacturers. I mean, when was the last time you read a gun magazine that said the gun sucked? They can’t… the same manufacturer they review also gives them advertising dollars, and do you think that company will want to advertise with a magazine that trashes their product, no matter how honest it may be? I don’t want to get into that situation. If I say something is great, it’s because I think it’s great. If I say something sucks, it’s because I think it sucks likely due to my experience with it. I want the freedom to be able to do that without worrying about revenue pressures.
Thus advertisements that appear here? They appear due to the agreement with the server host. I have no control over them, and I have no idea what they are showing. In fact, while I knew they displayed ads in the past I never saw them because they don’t show them to me. Not sure if that’s because I’m the logged in blog owner, or all wordpress.com-based admins don’t see them, or exactly what causes them to be suppressed, but I don’t see the ads myself. So I generally don’t know what’s being advertised by wordpress. But, IMHO it’s a fair trade because I’m using their site for free, but they need to pay for all the costs associated in enabling me to do this for free.
We’ll see how this goes. It’s a beta test, and it’s a voluntary program in general (I could opt to pay wp.com an annual fee to suppress ads, or I could do my own full hosting on my own site… which was always my goal, but I have inertia to overcome, plus there are benefits to staying with wp.com vs. wp.org).
I got to review an Aimpoint CompM4s for TacticalGunReview.com.
(NB: I did not receive compensation for the review, but I’m still marking it as “For Hire” because I was doing it for the TGR website; and I will have the opportunity to buy my own CompM4s at a discount… and I will, because I loved it.)
Just returned from the local indoor gun range.
I’ve been wanting to rework my AR’s, so I’ve been swapping parts, buying a few new things, putting a few old things on the shelf. Still not at my 100% ideal setup, but close enough for now… especially since more changes require money, and right now I’m drained.
So the range trip was for two things:
- Re-validate the 6.8 SPC to ensure it was still holding zero.
- Zero the rebuilt Bushmaster
The Wilson Combat 6.8 SPC upper now rests atop a Rock River Arms lower, still with the RRA 2-stage match trigger. Shooting the Silver State Armory 6.8 SPC 85 grain Barnes TSX tac-load, shot just fine. If anything, it’s evident that I am the weakest link.
The main focus was to work on the Bushmaster. I wanted a lighter gun, so this is a minimal setup. I started zeroing it at 50 yards with some Georgia Arms “canned heat” 55 grain FMJ, just to get things on paper. A lot of twisting of knobs and adjusting the front sight post, and things were looking good. I switched to Hornady TAP FPD .223 Rem 75 grain. A slight tweaking to the sights and things were good. Then I got to the real meat of it all: the Aimpoint Comp M4s. A bit of adjusting, a bunch of playing and oh… what a sweet sweet optic.
The thing is? I can’t tell you much about it here. I received the Aimpoint on T&E for TacticalGunReview.com. So my experiences and results are going to be written up there, not here. I’m working on the write-up, but I have a little more field work to do before I publish it. When I do have it all up, I’ll of course link to it from here. I’ll just say that yeah, I dig that Aimpoint.
And… if you could guess by my previous post, going to the local indoor gun range is always an adventure. I prefer to go mid-week first thing in the morning: i.e. about as dead as it can be. But due to schedules, I had to go in the afternoon. The place was busy and I had to wait for a lane. Once I got one… boy, it was noisy in there (this is why you wear both ear plugs and ear muffs). It was also a continued reaffirmation as to why I generally try to surround myself with competent shooters. While most of the folks there weren’t bad, there was much room for improvement. Folks, this is why it’s essential to get good training. If you really want to tighten up those groups, if you want to stop throwing all your shots low-left, find a good teacher… I happen to know one.
As for some tips:
- Again ladies, you may have nice boobs, but for your own well-being, cover them up. Hot brass down the shirt is no fun.
- If you want to thumb-cock your revolver that’s fine, but there’s no need to point it up at the ceiling every time you do so.
- When you (un)case your firearm, please do it on the benches so the muzzle points downrange… not on the floor behind the line so the muzzle points towards everyone on that side of the line.
- We all know about ear/hearing protection, but eye protection is important too.
- Wash your hands before you touch anything you care about: your eyes, mouth, food, etc.. Not that there was food on the line, but many people were handing guns and ammo, then just leaving. There’s a sink, use it.
- If you want to borrow the extra benchrest that’s sitting unused next to me, all you need to do is ask.
When did the FTC start having jurisdiction over blogging? I obviously missed the memo. Actually they don’t, it’s still regulation over advertisers, but it’s acknowledging that blogging is one new avenue for marketing. Macworld has more.
Conceptually all of this bugs me and I could rant on for a while about it. However in the end, I have a degree of “OK” with all of this. The thing is that the Internet is a place ripe for transmission of information that’s less than truthful. When you couple in the ease of anonymity, it makes it hard to always believe your sources. Of course, one remedy to this is to trust your sources, do the work to vet them, and if you can’t be sure of the source then don’t be sure of the information. It’s one reason I make no bones about who I am on my blog: I’m willing to stand behind what I write and willing to let you know the source of the material. I am human, I will make mistakes, I will evolve my ideas and opinions and knowledge over time, but I do my best to be solid.
But of course, the reality is if someone wants to be unscrupulous, they will be and no law or guidelines or regulation will stop them. Thus in the end what the FTC did amounts to a whole lot of nothing useful and a whole lot of regulatory burden placed upon law-abiding citizens that are just trying to live their lives without hassle.
For the record, all of the “endorsements” and “reviews” and such that I’ve done on this blog are purely my own personal opinion. Anything I’ve reviewed or endorsed has been from my own personal experience, paying for the thing out of my own pocket, and either being a satisfied or unsatisfied customer. If I ever did receive something free, I’d say so regardless of the FTC ruling, because my own personal integrity depends upon it.
Updated: I like what Linoge did: made a “For Hire” category and any such actual paid/compensated endorsements/reviews/etc. and such get classified under that. Makes a nice way to corral things together and make context evident. So, I’ve created such a category and you’ll note that, at least as of this writing, this posting is the only thing under that category so some context to the category can be retained.