Communion Of Dreams


Blimey.
June 26, 2012, 3:47 pm
Filed under: Ballistics, Guns, Humor, RKBA, Society | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Cross posted from the BBTI blog, just to give you an idea of what my day has been like.

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Blimey. Just got the following email:

Someone directed me to this page from your site: http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/357mag.html

Now, I appreciate what you are doing, but how you are presenting it is not very helpful.

What a useless page that is. Hey, look, columns of unlabeled numbers! How exciting!

Is that velocity? Muzzle Energy? Momentum? Power factor? Drop over distance? What are the units?

It’s labeled at the top as “.357 Mag Results”. Why not “.357 Mag Muzzle Energy in ft-lbs”?

My response? This: “Sorry to disappoint you. We’ll be happy to completely refund your money.”

The guy wrote back, protesting that he meant it as “constructive criticism.” And then went on to protest that he *still* didn’t know what the data represented (in spite of the fact that it is listed on the Y-axis of every ammo graph and indicated elsewhere on the site).

Sigh. I wrote back the following:

From the homepage of the site, and also referred to in multiple locations elsewhere on the site: “Since we first launched BBTI three years ago, it has become a primary reference tool for firearms enthusiasts of all stripes and from around the globe. Our initial research data covered the relationship between barrel length and velocity for some 13 common handgun calibers/cartridges.”

But you’re absolutely correct, we didn’t spell out that the numbers were velocity in feet-per-second (the standard velocity measurement in the US). We’ll correct that to make it more explicit. The funny thing is that you are the very first person in 3.5 years to not understand that this was what was indicated. Probably because you came at it from someone else’s link direct to that one results page. At least that’s the most charitable conclusion I can come to.

And that, dear friends is why now each caliber/cartridge page now says .22 Results in fps. (or whatever the caliber/cartridge is). Never let it be said that we won’t go the e x t r a inch for the dimwitted and deliberately dense.

People really will always find something to bitch about, won’t they? Even if it is free & unencumbered research data that they can’t get elsewhere.

Blimey.

Jim Downey



Voila! The ZF-1.

Some of my readers here may not know it, but there’s another aspect of my writing life: I’m a regular contributor to Guns.com. And because of that I tend to keep an eye on what pops up on the site.

That scrutiny paid off with this delightful little item:

The Adam Savage Amazing ZF-1 Replica from “The Fifth Element” (VIDEO)

Adam Savage of Mythbusters is working on a perfect replica of the gun from the science fiction movie “The Fifth Element,” which stars Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman and little known actor by the name of Luke Perry.

For those of you who haven’t seen the movie, the Zorg ZF-1 is the end-all, beat-all king of weapons. It’s an assault rifle complete with homing bullets, a rocket launcher, arrow shooters (with explosive and poisonous tips), a net launcher, a flame thrower and the “ice cube system” (freeze gas). To top it all off, it’s ambidextrous. Who wouldn’t want a toy like that?

There’s more, but the real treat is this video:

Have I mentioned recently that I love The Fifth Element? Serious geekin’ here.

Working on a second part to Sunday’s post. Probably have that tomorrow.

Jim Downey



Am I a prima donna?

There’s a reason I’m self-employed.

It’s because while I can work fine with others, by and large I prefer to do things my own way, on my own schedule. This comes with trade-offs, of course, and it doesn’t mean that I can completely eliminate the need to conform to societal or even corporate rules. But I can minimize that crap and get on with my life.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed doing for the last year or so has been writing for Guns.com. For the most part I’ve just picked a topic, ran the idea past my editors, and then produced a piece of writing within the appropriate word-count range. Usually the changes they made to my writing were minimal, and everyone was happy. It didn’t generate a lot of money (free-lance writing in this day and age doesn’t), but during some of the lean times it was money which came in very handy.

Well, Guns.com has seen a remarkable growth in the time I’ve been writing for them (I got started with them very early on), and they’re now one of the biggest firearms-related sites out there. They’ve been very aggressive in gathering together a lot of talented people, and seeing that they have kept their content fresh & interesting. It’s been a lot of fun for me to be a part of that. It’s also taught me a lot (doing the necessary research to write a review or article is always a good education), and it has allowed me to keep my writing skills sharp.

Well, the other day I mentioned that I was making some changes in my usual routine, because of limitations of time and energy. And I’m giving serious consideration to making another such change – curtailing or even stopping altogether how much writing I do for Guns.com.

Now, partly this is just due to the natural pacing of things. I had set out to do reviews of most of the firearms we’ve tested for BBTI, and I have now submitted reviews for all those which Guns.com had not previously covered – there still some 30 or 40 such reviews pending publication (they like to spread them out). I also did a bunch of other reviews of guns which I had a chance to try recently which are a little more unusual than what most people ever try, and that was fun.

But there’s another factor here. With the substantial growth of the site, as well as the expansion of the number of contributing writers, Guns.com had to come up with some formal style guides for people to use. This is a common thing for any large site, and it is a mark of their professionalism that they put together a very good style manual more than 30 pages in length, complete with links of a lot of example articles. I was flattered to see that quite a few of those articles were ones I had written.

I find, however, that it presents a certain quandary for me: having to write to certain style rules.

That’s not my writing . . . style. I like to play around. Innovate. Feel my way through an idea, a topic, a story. If you’ve read my novel, or even this blog, you’ll have a pretty good sense of what I mean. While I am perfectly capable of writing within conventional rules, I’m much more interested in playing with the expectations of the reader a bit, challenging them by subverting those rules now and then.

In short, I don’t want the rules to apply to me.

In other words, I’m a prima donna.

But maybe that’s not a bad thing.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens. I like the guys at Guns.com, and I respect what they have accomplished. But I’m not interested in doing cookie-cutter writing – leastwise, not as a regular course of affairs. And besides, if I take the hour or two I spend on each article/review I write for them, and put it towards another novel, well I think that might be a better use of my time & energy. Particularly so, given the response so far to Communion of Dreams.

Speaking of which, remember that the Kindle edition is free today!

Jim Downey