Saturday, April 23, 2011

The question isn't whois going to let me;

it's who is going to stop me." - Ayn Rand

That quote probably embodies the spirit behind the new Atlas Shrugged movie better than anything from the book actually.

The director and producers didn't have a studio, didn't have actors, didn't have a distribution network, didn't have any of the normal resources required to make and distribute a movie.

They did it anyway. And it's good.

Other than Armin Shimerman I didn't recognize a single actor in the movie. And it didn't matter, because they were good. Taylor Schilling does a great job as Dagny; Graham Beckel (he's had bit parts in Castle and Battlestar Galactica) is outstanding as Ellis Wyatt.

The pacing is a touch slow, but it's meant to be an epic, so that expected. The score is outstanding. Frankly Elia Cmiral deserves an Oscar for the score. He won't get it, but he deserves it.

The biggest problem with the movie - it's "Part 1" of 3. Much like The Fellowship of the Ring, it feels unfinished. And of course it's a rather depressing film because it is only the first 3rd of the book. The movie ends on the iconic scene of Wyatt Oil's burning fields.

I left it as I found it
Take Over
It's Yours

I've always loved that scene...

At $10 million to make the film, and earnings of $2.5 mil in the first week (with only 299 screens) I predict that this movie will be a modest success under the traditional criteria; i.e. it will make it's nut.

On the other hand, we are talking about a book that 50 years after it was published is number 1, 2, and 3 on's political literature best seller's list. (1 and 2 have different introductions, 3 is the audiobook). Thus I predict over 1-million sales of the DVD when it comes out.

I also predict that this is the movie that, like Silence of the Lambs did for Jodi Foster, will make Taylor Schilling a star.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Patriots day

19 April - Lexington and Concord.

Keep your powder dry everyone. I find that little brass cylinders sealed with a primer on one end and a bullet on the other are excellent at that purpose.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

New Expedition

Ended up buying a 2003 Expy. This one is 3 years older than the other one we looked at, but actually has fewer miles by a few thousand. Blue/Tan with cloth seats, 4WD, Heavy Duty Tow package. Goodyear Wranglers with pretty decent tread left as well.

Oh, and the dealer did not try to blatantly screw us. He put on new front brakes (including brand new calipers), and we ended up paying about $3000 less than we would have been willing to pay for the other one.

Friday, April 15, 2011

BAG Day Delta Elite

Today is April the 15th. Everyone knows that the 15th of April is Tax Day. It is also BAG day. (Buy A Gun day).

It is of course important to keep up these important civic traditions. I therefore give you the BAG day Delta:

BAG day Delta

BAG day 10mm

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Did NOT buy a new truck today

So I was all set to buy a used 2006 Expedition. Decent shape, ok mileage, pretty much everything we wanted except it had the light duty towing package instead of the heavy one and it had leather seats :-(

This is AZ, Leather is HOT.

Anyway Dealer is asking $13K, and I know he won't come down much. I offer $14.5K out the door. Plus he has to fix the CD player and DVD player. This was actually about $150 too high. Basically I was asking him to eat his .doc fee.

He comes back with an extra thousand in "super secret" fees.

I say fine. I'll give you your asking price, just fix the broken stuff.

Sales guy says we have a deal.

Then my wife looks at the paperwork and it says they will fix the electronics and we will pay their cost. Um... NO. Oh and he also wants to charge us for the cost of tinting the windows.

So I tell the wife to give the phone to the manager. He makes a bunch of excuses. I finally say something allong the following:

Let me get this straight, I'm offering you your FULL asking price as advertised. I'm offering to pay ALL the Taxes, and your doc fee, and you want ME to pay to fix items that you advertised as present in the viehicle and working?!?!

"Well I'm already loosing money one this deal"

Too bad, we're done.

I intend to call the BBB or e-mail them on Monday.

Regardless, the folks at Certified Benz and Beamer are a bunch of crooks and weasels, don't buy from them. (In fairness, I think the sales guys are fine, its the manager who is a crook).

Edit to add: Found the BBB complaint form on-line. Look like they have 4 complaints about advertising and sales practices in the last 12-months. No wait... make that 5.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Guns Guitars and a lousy day

So I had saved up quite a bit of "fun" money. I was thinking about a new Guitar. I've been really enamored of the new BreedLove American Series guitars, and since Breedlove recently got bought out, there is a good chance that this series will be temporary.

Last night I saw that Elderly had a used on in stock for abut $250 less than new, and the deep concert size is a sweet body size.


Alternatively I'd love to have a smaller bodied 12-string, either a Concert or OM size. I thought really hard about buying that guitar from ELderly, but in the end decided to give it a day or so because I planned to go to the fun show on Sunday.

I got up early and picked up my friend Scott. We managed to hit the show about 20 minutes after opening, so there was almost no line to get in. Decent sized show, 4 fair pavilion halls plus some tents.

Now there are only one or two things that I was really interested in: A Dan Wesson 22 Revolver, a nice .45 acp revolver, or a decent 1911 in 10mm.

Wandering the show I found a very nice 1955 Smith and Wesson .45 acp target revolver. Now, I wasn't 100% certain that the gun was not originally chambered for .45 Colt and cut down for moon clips, but I made a note of it. The fellow was asking $650 which I think was probably a pretty nice deal.

Later on I found a Colt Delta Elite at a dealers table for a bit over a grand. I laughed a little bit. Then I saw the Argentine surplus Sistema Colt he had with a price of $750 and I just shook my head.

In the same hall I saw another Delta Elite, this one priced at $850. That's not a great price, but it's certainly a fair one. I grabed the guys card and made a note of the price.

A bit later I saw another Delta Elite, this one priced at $800. Better yet this was a private sale so no paperwork and no sales tax. Made another note.

After we ate we were getting about ready to leave. I kept thinking about the Delta. I went back to look at it and the guy offered to let me have it for $750, the exact same price as that Breedlove I was thinking abut.

I've wanted a 10mm for a long time. I'm looking it over and it looks ok. The barrel has been swapped out for a match style barrel but again that is ok.

This is the Delta Elite:


I was feeling a touch of buyer's remorse because I really do prefer a GI guiderod and bushing, but the price was good enough that I was willing to overlook that.

I take it apart and clean and lube it at Scott's place. Looks clean inside, not abused at all.
I get it home and go to load it and the cartridges won't go into battery.

What the...?

Take it apart again. Drop a cartridge into the chamber. Wont go in. Think about it. I grab a 40 S&W cartridge. Perfect fit.


Some idiot, and probably the guy before the guy I bought it from, converted a Colt Delta Elite, one of the finest combat handguns in existence, from the mighty 10mm to the .40 S&W. Most likely this was to shoot IDPA or IPSC where a 40 could give you a slight advantage over a .45 or 10mm. (1 more round than the 45 and softer recoil than the 40)

I suppose it could make a nifty pin gun as well. (Pin Gun = gun for shooting bowling pins off of a table). It is NOT however a ten mike mike. I wanted a ten mike mike.


I'm extremely frustrated right now. I've already listed it on our local gun board (with a completely honest listing) and will be happy if I can get out of it what I paid. Otherwise I can fix this. It will probably cost about $200 in new and used parts but it is recoverable.

I'm still pissed though.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


One of the orange trees that was dieing finally got to the point where we ripped it out last weekend. I let the kids play in the hole for a week then went tree shopping.

Since we have 19, count them 19 orange trees left I thought we ought to put in something different so I went on the hunt for a Grapefruit tree.

I went to 4 nurseries before I finally found a Red Grapefruit tree at Lowes.

Special plug to SummerWinds Nursery though:

They had a huge selection of fruit trees, including pluots, low chill nectarines and peaches, as well as the new low chill cherry trees. They also had several multiple budded plum trees, some as many as 5 on one tree.

Guess what followed me home...