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Safety, and Bullets That Turn to Dust

Posted in Uncategorized on February 16th, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment

Even Lobot from The Empire Strikes Back knew to wear hearing protection when handling firearms... well, blasters.

When you go to the shooting range, you wear glasses to protect your eyes, and hearing protection to protect your ears.  This is because guns blast all kinds of things out into the air and potentially your eyes, and they’re so loud they can cause damage to your hearing.

So what happens when a cop on the street has to fire his gun?  Why, he risks damage to his vision and his hearing, that’s what.  I SAID HE RISKS DAMAGE TO HIS… yeah, you get the joke.

That’s why we use suppressors, and partly why we use frangible rounds.  A suppressor is basically a “silencer” for submachine guns, like our hoses.  We need to hear the bad guys crawling around, which means we can’t wear those big, 1970’s like headset earmuffs.  Our helmets do have hearing protection built in, and we also have electronic amplifiers that increase the sound levels.  The thing is, we don’t want our guns making all the noise and masking the sounds of the bad guys, so we try to quiet our guns.

Likewise, we don’t want bullets and junk coming back at us.  When a bullet hits a rock, it may ricochet, or even break apart causing multiple fragments to come back at us.  By using frangible rounds, or bullets that turn basically to dust upon impact, there’s nothing significant coming back at us.  That means our eyes and asses are safe.

Mr. FPSRussia put together a cool video here that shows you how a silencer/suppressor can diminish the noise a weapon makes.  In the same video, he also shows how the frangible rounds we use add to shooter safety while still delivering maximum damage to our targets.

Clip vs. Magazines

Posted in Uncategorized on February 10th, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment

Apparently this issue is very important to someone with Photoshop.

We’ve taken some flak from readers who have finished my book, “Vikings, Vampires, and Mailmen,” and have noted that the metal thing filled with bullets you load into a gun isn’t called a clip, it’s called a magazine.  Well, they’re right.  That isn’t lost upon us.

The thing is, we call our magazines “clips” for the same reason US Marines call their parade grounds a “deck,” or how sailors tell you to “batten down the hatches” when they mean to use bungee cords, not battens, to secure hatches and loose items.  The term “clip” we use comes from World War II, specifically the M-1 Garand rifle.  It was the standard-issue rifle for US soldiers.

You see, a single-shot rifle has a barrel, and behind it is a chamber where you load one bullet, and then fire.  In multi-shot guns, you generally have a magazine that stores the bullets and loads them one at a time into the chamber.  Some weapons have removable magazines, and some don’t.  When you have a removable magazine, like with modern pistols, the spring that pushes the bullets up is in the magazine, and you put the whole thing — bullets, spring, containment device and all — into the handle of the pistol, and everything works.

With the M-1 Garand, the magazine was built into the rifle.  You took a pack of bullets, held in a cheap metal clip, and pushed them into the magazine.  When the bullets were done firing, the clip was ejected, but the magazine was still inside the rifle.  Basically, a clip just holds the bullets together, but the magazine does all the work.

Many of the guys who helped build the USVS that you know and love today were WWII vets.  They beat the Nazis and they beat the bugs, and damned if I’m going to say that the words they used to do so were wrong.

Today, my team still says “clip,” but we mean “magazine.”  We also ask for more “film,” when we mean flash cards for our digital cameras.  Just throwing it out there in case you didn’t understand that sometimes old habits are hard to break.

The Kensington Runestone

Posted in Uncategorized on February 2nd, 2012 by Othniel – Be the first to comment

This is the Kensington Runestone. Judge for yourself.

In 1898, a farmer by the name of Olof Ohman claimed he dug up a 200-pound rock while plowing new woods near his farm.  His son noticed that the big rock had carvings on it, so they flipped it over and tried to read it.  This happened in Kensington, Minnesota.  Initially, Olaf and his son, Edward, thought the stone was carved by native Americans.  They thought it was possibly an “Indian Almanac.”

The runes were Viking runes.

From that moment until now, people continue to debate whether the stone is real.  As they’ve debated this, more runes have been discovered along the northeastern United States, like in Maine and Rhode Island.  And experts finally realized that an old tower in Newport, RI wasn’t actually a mill, but a Viking tower that during the winter solstice, points to Kensington.  For a quick and easy lesson on all this, go watch the History Channel documentary, “Holy Grail in America.”

We also found some Viking runes down in Alabama, which of course you can read up on in my first book, “Vikings, Vampires, and Mailmen.”

The point of this post is that the Vikings made it to Minnesota, and they found something out there that was very important to them.  So important, in fact, that they built a rather impressive tool to lure the vampires away from it.  That’s what makes the Kensington find so important: were vampires a huge problem for them in the New World?  And if not, what was so important about the Kensington location that they worked hard to keep vampires away from it?

 

The Birth of the Hose

Posted in Uncategorized on December 5th, 2011 by Othniel – Be the first to comment
The Mac-10 submachinegun

This is the factory-made Mac-10. Ours look a lot different.

You know how in the movie Roadhouse people repeatedly say to Dalton, “I thought you’d be taller?”  Well perhaps the most frequent comment we get from older military guys has to do with our hoses, or our Mac-10 “hose” submachineguns.  Anybody with experience firing and maintaining a Mac-10 says something like, “Your guns must jam a lot.”

Well yes, factory-standard Mac-10’s do like to jam a lot.  In fact, when our team was first offered a modified Mac-10 as our primary weapon, there was much laughing involved.  A jammed gun means we get eaten by the bad guys.  We laughed quite a bit at this poor sales rep who brought this new invention based on an outdated gun with a bad reputation.

Then one of our guys test fired it, and everyone shut up.

You see, our Mac-10’s aren’t factory-standard.  They may resemble the stamped metal Mac-10’s from over forty years ago, but each one is modern and hand-built.  The insides have completely different guts, and employ such crazy things as glass and ceramics.  You’d think glass and ceramic materials would be too fragile for such a weapon, but these technologies can easily handle the workload.  In fact, not only do our guns rarely jam, the cyclic rates are increased over the factory models.

Check out this dated video to see the factory model Mac-10 (and Mac-11).  Now imagine ours having over three times as many bullets, a forward firing handle (so you can fire it with your front or back hand), and a suppressor that makes the thing awfully quiet.

For a better idea of how many rounds these hoses throw downrange, check out this video from the madman Dmitri over at FPSRussia — he’s firing two Mac-10’s at the same time.

Our Time in the Horse Box

Posted in Uncategorized on November 29th, 2011 by Othniel – Be the first to comment
We drank a LOT of beer at Stonehenge.

We darnk a LOT of beer at Stonehenge.

The crew and I stumbled home to our hotel in Salisbury tonight after having a great time at a place called the Haunch of Venison.  That’s right – the polite English way of saying a deer’s butt.

The place is hundreds of years old.  We had our good friend Father Padraig from the Knock Shrine flown in to join us.  He knew quite a bit about the history of Salisbury, and shared some rumors about the pub as well.  Supposedly, centuries ago the pub was used as a brothel, and a tunnel was dug between it and St. Thomas a Becket church so that the priests could visit privately.  We ate quite well and drank a lot of beer and spirits in a place they call the Horse Box, which is a smaller bar in the building.  It’s got a pewter bar top!  Rumor is that Ike and some of his WW2 masterminds used to meet there.

If you’re ever in Salisbury, you’ve got to check this place out!  And if you don’t know much about Salisbury, you should check out the book Sarum, by Edward Rutherfurd.  It’s a brilliant read, and even I read the whole thing while on duty here at Stonehenge this last week or so.

Which brings me to why I was there — the team and I just finished a job at Stonehenge.  You know, that big circle of rocks north of Salisbury in the UK?  We were called out there because some archaeologists have some new ideas about this oval-shaped area they call a Cursus just north of the Stonehenge monuments, and we were brought in to provide undead protection.  That’s right – undead protection.  We were hired to be like rent-a-cops or movie shoot medics in case the Indiana Jones-type gravediggers discovered something that wasn’t done moving after years of being dead.  This isn’t the first time we’ve worked Stonehenge.  In fact, in the last couple of years we’ve pulled similar duty on other digs.  Just scroll through this blog and you’ll see at least one.  The thing about this one that was silly is that although Stonehenge is believed to be a burial site for perhaps thousands of people, they were all supposedly cremated first.  Which means that even if they were vampires when they were finally taken out, the cremation process would have finished the job.

I pointed this out when we were called the last time, but no, the Federal Powers That Be required us to go for diplomatic reasons.  It makes it look like the US is playing nice with the UK.  Because you know how our two countries have had trouble getting along since the War of 1812.

Just thought you’d all like to know how your tax dollars are being spent.  Oh, and if you’re ever in Salisbury, make sure you visit the Haunch of Venison — it rocks.

Twilight Vampires Are Pedophiles

Posted in Uncategorized on November 23rd, 2011 by Othniel – 3 Comments
Michael Jackson Clearly Dead Like Edward Cullen

The King of Pop was probably undead long before Edward Cullen even hung around vampires.

In the Twilight series, the main character, Edward Cullen, hides his immortality by pretending to be a high school student in Washington state.  He was born in 1901, which makes him 104  years old by the time the first book was published in 2005.

That’s right — a man, after 104 years of life, decides he should stay in high school.  I’d blast my brains out before I had to go back to high school.  Eddie Cullen is a millionaire, or at least should be a millionaire given that time is in his favor.  He could easily claim he’s the grandson of the owner of a big company and work in the mail room.  He could pretend to be a spoiled trust fund baby.  He has many options, yet he chooses to surround himself with underage children.

He’s a pedophile.

Care to argue it?  He falls in love with Bella, who is a teenager, and he’s almost 90 years older than her.  Technically it’s probably not illegal in Washington state.  According to Washington State law, Cullen probably didn’t break any laws.  But if he had sex with her in Arizona, where Bella had just moved from, at exactly the same time he was banging her in Washington, then yes, he’d be in jail.

Best case scenario, Cullen is a creep.  Anything less than that, he’d be doing time at Big Joe Arpaio’s tent city jail.

 

Nick Cage – Vampire?

Posted in Uncategorized on September 20th, 2011 by Othniel – Be the first to comment
The rumored Nick Cage as a vampire photo

Whatever the hell this is, it is not a vampire.

No, Nick Cage is not a vampire.

Some idiot is trying to sell a photo on eBay. He claims it’s over 140 years old, and is authentic. And it apparently looks like Nick Cage. Which is apparently because Nick Cage is over 140 years old and is a vampire, or so he suggests.

Sure, it does look a lot like Nick Cage. But there are significant problems with this whole auction. First, it looks like Nick Cage’s face was photoshopped in. Nick is looking straight while the person sitting down is looking to their right. Secondly, it seems sketchy, and the auction has already been taken down.

But before all of this drivel, no vampire sits down in a freaking tuxedo and smiles for a camera. Vampires eat people just like you eat a hamburger. Do you sit down and let a cow take your photo before you eat it? Do you then put on plays on the farm to entertain the cows for 100 years to lull them into a false sense of security?

No, vampires eat people without even making eye contact.

So no, that is not an 140-year-old Nick Cage. It may be a photoshopped version of Nick Cage, but he isn’t a vampire.

 

Crusty x2 in Texas

Posted in Uncategorized on March 18th, 2010 by Othniel – 1 Comment
This is a Crust Job.  No matter what happens, these bones won't do anything but rattle a bit.

This is a Crust Job. No matter what happens, these bones won't do anything but rattle a bit.

So the team just got back from Kerrville, Texas for what we call a Crust Job.  You see, some laborers on a construction site discovered some bones that didn’t want to stop moving, similar to a gig we had in Israel a few months back.

We went down there and removed the body.  The whole job took about five minutes.  But because of the nature of the gig, we had to hang out for a few days in case anything else started moving.

The third night at the hotel the guys and I were matching “Man v. Food” on the Travel Channel, and wouldn’t you know it, they were featuring the huge pizzas at Big Lou’s in San Antonio, which was only a few miles from our hotel!  So seven of us big and hungry men climbed into our trucks and headed down Route 13.

Yes, it's well over 3 feet wide!

Yes, it's well over 3 feet wide!

The first thing we noticed?  You’ve gotta wait.  The place is busy as all get-out.  So I put the company plastic on the bar and half of us get seats while the bartender pours what they call Big Ass beers.  Precisely the type of refreshment bug killers prefer.  We’re all on our second when the maitre d, or maitre e, or even the maitre f (it was THAT busy) brings us over to our table and the food starts coming.

They ask you to order your food before you sit down, and seeing as how we were all pretty hungry, we’d ordered a bunch of appetizers.  They start bringing out brisket pizza wraps and garlic bread and wings.  The table gets heaped with food, even including Larry’s huge salad, and it probably should have been enough to fill us up.

THEN comes the M.O.A.P. — the Mother Of All Pizzas!  The 42″ loaded pie that the owner claims weighed about 30 pounds, and I believe him!  Each slice is almost two feet long!  You need two plates to hold just one *thin* slice of this dinosaur slab.

Needless to say, we barely finished it, and nobody on the team had dessert.  It was a quiet ride home and everybody went right to bed.  It was easily the best pizza dining experience I’d ever had in the south, and I’m embarrassed to admit that if I hadn’t had six other guys with me, I’d have never been able to even scratch that gigantic pizza!

Anniversary of the Mong Kok Attack

Posted in Uncategorized on October 14th, 2009 by Othniel – Be the first to comment
This is a quiet night for a Mong Kok market.

This is a quiet night for a Mong Kok market.

The past weekend marked the 12th anniversary of a pretty nasty bug attack in the Mong Kok area of Hong Kong.

Mong Kok is the most densely populated place in the world.  Located on the Kowloon Peninsula on the island of Hong Kong, just off the coast of China, the area boasts a population density of about 130,000 people per square kilometer.  By comparison, Manhattan only has about 26,000 people per square kilometer.

Only a handful of months after the People’s Republic of China took Hong Kong back over, a Chinese government vampire hunting group ran into a few bugs in a tunnel under the Ladies Market of Mong Kok.  Had the bugs stayed underground the problem may have been small, but unfortunately, the bugs got startled and ran to the surface.

It was Saturday, October 11th, at about 9pm at night.  At that time of night, Tung Choi street is a mob scene.  The bugs burst into perhaps the most densely-packed crowd on Earth that night, and ravaged brutal swaths through the shoppers as they fled.  Since bugs tend to be much faster and stronger than regular people, they tore their way through the panicked crowds, creating even more damage as people trampled each other in fear.

An estimated 7 people were killed by the bugs due to trauma, with an additional 34 succumbing to trauma from trampling.

To make matters worse, there was a H5N1 bird flu scare in Hong Kong at that time.  Due to fears the new Chinese government would simply euthanize anyone afflicted with a contagious disease, many of the people injured in the attack that night stayed at home and didn’t report their injuries.  And, as one would guess, many of these injured people developed all different types of infections.  As many people in Mong Kok tend to live in incredibly overcrowded apartments, these diseases and infections spread rapidly, and within days a huge outbreak of bug attacks hit.

And, like the Chinese government tends to do, it attempted to hide the whole thing.

Needless to say, the area was finally locked down, with hundreds of people treated by military field hospitals.  Countless others were removed from the area and transported to “special hospitals,” though none of them were ever seen again.

Of course, the Chinese government denies all of this to this day.

Leaving Nothing Behind

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16th, 2009 by Othniel – 1 Comment
A common RFID "chip."

A common RFID "chip."

A guy wrote to me recently asking how we can walk into a town, potentially make quite a big mess, and then leave without leaving a thing behind.  It’s a great question.  I answered with four simple letters:

RFID.

Radio Frequency IDentification is a technology that uses little metallic stickers to keep track of things.  You see a watered-down version of RFID technology more commonly these days in stores as security devices, where an alarm goes off if you try to leave the store without having the sticker or tag neutralized.

Real RFID technology involves a receiver keeping track of all the RFID stickers in the area.  So, for example, you could put RFID stickers on all of your DVD or Blu-Ray discs.  When someone takes one out of your house, the receiver notices the disc is missing, and can alert you.  Likewise, when your friend returns it, the system will let you know the disc is back in your house.

We put RFID tags on all of our equipment.  In addition to the sticker-type tags, we’ve got some pretty tough plastic ones that we have sewn into our gear.  We then have receivers built into all of our trucks.  If I accidentally leave a glove somewhere, my truck lets me know that I left it behind, and keeps bugging me until I go back and get it.

Sure, it’s a smart technology, but it’s not space age by any means.  Ford announced at the beginning of last year it was going to put RFID tracking technology into its trucks, and stores across the country have been using it for years.

So no, we’re not invisible nor are we ghosts.  We’re just meticulous about staying out of the public eye, and picking up after ourselves.