Thursday, June 28, 2012

End of the Republic

SCOTUS upholds the individual mandate as a tax.  This signals that there is no limit to the power of the federal government, thus ending the republic as it has been since the inception.

With this decision, congress can now mandate that NOT engaging in commerce is engaging in commerce, thus falling under the commerce clause of the Constitution.  The government may now force the American people to buy ANYTHING it wants to.  Cars, guns, birth control, rubber chickens, whatever they want.

It is over.  It can only get bigger from here, and it WILL.  Do not doubt for a SECOND that the fedgov won't take advantage of this new power.

Only revolution can solve the problems now, but only ONCE in history has revolution ever ended up granting the people more freedom.  That was the American Revolution.  Never before or since has liberty gained ground.

It is over.  I weep for the future.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Finding A New City - Rankings

Well, my travels are over and my wife's interviews complete.  Now it is time to look back and evaluate what is what.  First an overview of the cities, in no real order.

City Jobs CCW BJJ Cost of living Direct to Japan Winter Other
Chapel Hill lots yes some +53% no ok pretty city
New Haven no no one +39% no bad high crime
Chicago yes no lots +50% yes bad liberal hell hole, pro sports, lots of stuff to do
Pittsburgh some yes yes +3% no bad pretty city, pro sports
Baltimore lots no lots +30% yes bad high crime, crappy city, bad feel, pro sports
Dallas lots yes lots +12% yes no hot, bad traffic, spread out city, not many brew pubs, pro sports, great sushi
Washington D.C. lots no yes +60% yes bad bad traffic, liberal hell hole, high crime, very pretty city, pro sports, not many breweries
Portland some yes yes +24% yes always cold and rainy pretty city, lots of brewpubs, lots of outdoor stuff, LOVED pearl district
Birmingham some yes some -2% no chilly pretty city, nice downtown, lots of people dumber than me...
Ann Arbor no yes yes +20% no (but there is from Detroit) bad one industry, Huskers come to town, pretty city 
San Diego yes no lots  +65% yes no great down town, pro sports, lots of brewpubs, lots of outdoor stuff, BEACH!!
Albuquerque  some yes yes +10% no no hot!!, no green, many brewpubs, small city, close to skiing
Rochester no yes some +19% no (but there is from MIN) super bad small city, far away from everything, single industry, some brewpubs

Seeing all of that, there are a couple of cities that check all of the boxes, but most of what this is all about comes down to feel and where I think I can a least maintain my current standard of living.

My choice would be to go somewhere fun, but the fun places don't really match up with my political views or my life outlook.  How fun will the beach be if I don't have any friends?  Is it fun to get a beer at the brewpub if no one wants to share it with me?  Sure, I can learn to fly sea planes, but who will fly with me?

Anyway, here are my rankings for cities:

City Reasoning
Dallas Dallas checks all of the boxes.  It has everything I want in a city, except for a beach
San Diego SD was a tough choice for number two, it is expensive and no CCW, BUT it is so much FUN!!  I could live there for three years I think.
Portland Portland is a lot of fun as well, and I loved the pearl district with all of the beer and shops and what not.  Skiing is not far away as well as other fun hiking activities.
Pittsburgh Pittsburgh was a great city, very pretty, and has a good economy.  Pro sports gives lots to do.
Chapel Hill The lack of aviation is disturbing, but there is lots of work and the weather is nice.  Combine that with the beauty of the area and you have a city that makes the top 5.
Birmingham Very nice city, not a lot of work, but I could find something.  Good laws, the people there are easy to find similarities with (hunting and shooting are very big in AL).
Albuquerque ABQ is hot.  But is has a good craft beer industry to cool you down.  Living here would be a lot like living in OKC, with out the extra green.  I could do it, but I would want many vacations to get me out of town.
Chicago Chicago would be near the top if they didn't have such crappy laws.  No guns in the city?  Nope, I am going to have mine in the apartment, and just not tell anyone about them.
Stupidly high taxes, corruption through the roof, and very expensive to boot.  Just not a good combo.
Ann Arbor A pretty city, but that does not make up for bad winters and a non existent job market.  Flint and Detroit lead the top of the worst places in the country to live, and there is Ann Arbor right next to them.  Bad bad bad.
Washington D.C. No no no no
Rochester No jobs, winters that last 10 months.  Nuff said.
Baltimore It's a rundown shithole.  No.  No No NO!!!!
New Haven no.  just no.

All of this, of course, is simply an intellectual exercise.  My choices and the ultimate decider's, my wife, choices are likely to be vastly different.  Her criteria depend not at all on the city that we move to, rather they depend on where she can get the best training for her career.  Ultimately, her career is why we are moving to this new city for three years.  I can gut out three years in New Haven, if I need to, however I am likely to be depressed and have difficulty functioning, counting down the days until we leave.  But I could do it, and I could hide how deep my feelings go from my wife.  I am a tough guy, and living somewhere I don't like will only make me tougher.  I need to find the silver lining in the city, just as I have found some very bright spots here in OKC.  

After talking with my wife as we left San Diego, I believe her choices will run:
Ann Arbor
San Diego

With her likability and undeniable skill, she will match to her first or second choice, so I am moving forward with my current client to see if they would mind a remote employee.  After my initial 6 month contract is up, we will see if they want more of me, if they do, remote work is a definite possibility.  That is a good thing, because there isn't a lot of opportunity in Ann Arbor.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Finding a New City - San Diego, CA

San Diego...  Wow.  San Diego was a TON of fun.  Lots to do with the many beaches, pro sports, and more craft breweries than you can shake a stick at.
Just as an example of the kind of fun you can get in to in San Diego, the wife and I spent a Saturday lounging on the beach, then heading out to get a beer in a well known brew pub, heard that the Padres were playing the Mariners, walked 3 blocks and BAM we were watching a MLB game.  It was awesome!  
The weather is actually cooler than I thought it would be.  San Diego's water is actually cold.  I tried to go swimming in the ocean, but I got out after just a little while.  It was too chilly.  
The ambient temperature was only in the low 70s as well.  Looking at the almanac, the average high in San Diego never strays above 77 degrees, but the average low never gets below 49 either.  Nice nice nice!!

There is work in the San Diego area, finding a job shouldn't be an issue, BUT the cost of living is 65% more expensive in SD than it is in OKC.  Ouch!
Taxes in CA are not as bad as I initially thought.  The Tax Foundation says that tax rates average at about 8.13%, with OK being 8.66%.  We would actually come out paying less in taxes.  BUT housing costs are about 245% more expensive in San Diego.  
Gasoline in CA is consistently about a dollar more expensive than in OK, really taking a bite out of the discretionary spending account.

There are lots of places that rent aircraft in the San Diego area, BUT the area is VERY busy with two major Navy airports and one very busy commercial airport.  Not really the wide open non controlled airports that I am used to.  Costs are high too, about $135 an hour for a Cessna 172.

Tons of places to train in San Diego.  Dean Lister has a school there, the Ribero brothers have their main school there, you can't throw a dead cat and not hit a BJJ black belt.  It would be awesome to train and learn around this area.

CCW...  An impossibility in San Diego.  California is a "may-issue" state, and the ultimate decider is your local county Sheriff.  The Sheriffs in San Diego are vocal opponents to ANY citizen even owning a firearm, let alone carrying one.  CCW is something I would have to give up if I wanted to live in San Diego.  Uber sucks.  I very much dislike the thought of being unarmed for three years.

All in all San Diego would be a great place to live for three years.  Then it would be time to get the hell out of there.  The people are just this side of crazy, and, after three years, we would want to own property.  Property is VERY expensive there, and it just isn't worth it.

Finding a New City - Ann Arbor, MI

Nestled in between Flint and Detroit is Ann Arbor.  I very nice little city to look at...  in the summer.  In the winter ice and snow are the order of the day.  More so than what I am used to in OKC.  Not attractive.

The University of Michigan is the major employer in town, with the rest of the city, basically supporting the University.  The town is notoriously liberal, with one of the nicknames being  The People's Republic of Ann Arbor.  Not good...

Work is difficult to come by in Ann Arbor.  It is unlikely that I would be able to find a job in the city that would pay me the same as I make now.  Which is bad news, because the cost of living is about 20% more expensive than in OKC.  Simply finding a job will be difficult, and I believe that I would either have to focus on systems administration, or go straight developer if I wanted work in the city at all.  Or, I could travel...
Taxes are actually attractive in MI, with a flat tax of about 4%.  State sales tax does add 6% to each purchase.

There are places to train in Ann Arbor, with a Ribero affiliate in town as well as a Royler Gracie black belt.

There isn't a lot of aviation around, but there seems to be a good place to rent at the local airport.  Good rates on Cessna 172s.  They have a Diamond DA20 to rent as well...  That should be fun.

There are some craft brewery places around town, so I think I will be able to find a beer.

Michigan is a shall issue state, so CCW shouldn't be an issue.

All in all...  The work thing really worries me.  It is more expensive to live around Ann Arbor, and I need a job.  They just aren't there.  I will have to keep working from home, or try something else.  Booooo...  A big plus is that the Huskers will be coming up to play Michigan at least once while we are there, AND Lansing with Michigan State is only a hour away.  I could see my Huskers play a couple of times while I am living there.  Something I have missed living in OKC.  I only saw the Huskers play once at OSU.

Finding a New City - Birmingham, AL

Birmingham is a little city.  It has good weather, not really getting any colder than freezing during the winter, and never getting any colder than -6 degrees.  Summers are sweltering, hot and humid.  The city has about 212K people, and about 1.1 million in the metro.  About the same size as OKC, maybe just a bit smaller.

Not a lot of aviation around, with rentals costing about $130 or so an hour for a Cessna 172.  That sucks.  At least here I can get a Cessna 172 with G1000 for about $150 a hour.

There is at least one place to train, but I don't know anything about the guy.  Apparently he is a BB from Sau Paulo, but my current instructor doesn't know who he is.  Not good

There is some work around town, but not as much as I would like.  Finding a job that pays the same would be very very tough.
Taxes in AL are low, not more than 5% at the most.  State sales tax tacks on another 5% to each purchase. Property taxes are low as well.
Birmingham, AL is one of the very few places that is actually cheaper to live in than OKC.  Birmingham is about 2% less expensive to live in than OKC.  That is a good thing.
Alabama is a shall issue state so CCW is no issue.

All in all, I would be treading water for another 3 years in Birmingham.  I wouldn't be moving my career, training, or hobbies forward, but I likely wouldn't be going backward either.  Birmingham, however, is a bit more of a jerkwater hell hole than is OKC, if that is possible.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Finding a New City - Portland, OR

Portland...  It's a beautiful city.  Views of Mt. Saint Helens to the north, Mt. Hood to the east, and the Willamette river and its many bridges running through the center of town, there is always a great view.  BUT it rains...  a lot.  And its climate is cooler than anywhere I have ever lived before.  June is supposed to be warm and nice...  not cold and rainy.

There are more breweries in Portland than in any other city in the nation.  That is a very good thing.  So much competition makes for some very very good beers. And I like beers...  a lot.

There is work in Portland, but not as much as you would think.  The economy took a real hit in 2008, and that sunk much of the tech opportunites.  Could I find one that pays me the same?  If I looked hard enough and made some sacrifices, yes.

Cost of living in Portland is about 24% higher than in OKC.  Housing cost is the biggest difference, which makes sense as the Portlandians are obsessed with "green" stuff.  This dries the cost for anything up.
Oregon uses a standard progressive income tax system with 5% being the lowest and 10% being the highest.  They have NO sales tax, witch is good.  Their property taxes are high, but, as we plan on renting, that won't be an issue.

Their cars have strict pollution standards, so I very much doubt that getting our old cars up to standard will be worth it.  Leasing new ones is very attractive, but that is a big extra cost.

There is aviation in the area, and some really good opportunities for learning how to fly sea planes.  That really interests me, and with all of OR's lakes it might be worth it to do.

OR is a shall issue state so getting a CCW won't be an issue.

Portland has a good Japanese community, and has a direct flight to Tokyo.  That checks a very important box for the wife.

There are some places to train in Portland, but not as many as I thought their would be.  To find a good place, I will likely have some driving to do.

All in all, I really liked Portland.  The weather kind of sucks, but the winters are rainy and chilly, not snowy and cold.  That is very good!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Finding a New City - Washington D.C.

Washington...  yup Washington...  I hate just about everything there is about Washington the city.  No federal representation, excessive taxation, impossibly high living expenses, god awful traffic, made worse by the various motorcades that go running around the city, horrific gun laws, rampant crime, and people that have a stick so far up their ass their breath smells like Pine Fresh.

What boxes does it check?  Dogfishhead has a brew pub in the city, and you can get lots of fresh beer...  There is a TON of work.  I would have to go back to working for the Government, but there is so much work there I could name my salary.  Two airports within an hour from each other can fly you to anywhere in the country, or the world.

Overall yuck yuck yuck.  I could live anywhere for three years, but I think that living in Washington might cause me to go insane.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

First Rule of a Street Altercation... Keep Your Distance!!!

Ignore the ignorant banter in the following video, and watch the fights closely.

In both situations, the non-aggressors made the same error.  The allowed the aggressor to get too close to them.
The first man didn't even see the headbutt coming, but come it did.  Headbutts are devastating strikes, using one of the the hardest parts of the body.  Sure, they are uncomfortable to throw, but a properly placed headbutt, like we saw in the video are good for a very quick brutal KO.

The second fight was started when a Good Samaritan attempted to help the fallen man up.  He lost awareness of his surroundings, and allowed the aggressive man to get too close.  When engaged, the man did a good job of spinning to face his aggressor, but did a very poor job of escaping the front head lock.
The only reason he got out of the front headlock was because the aggressor let him out.  If the aggressor wanted to throw some knees, take the man down, or try to work a neck crank, he was free to do so.  Not a good situation to be in.

How do you avoid headbutts?  Keep your aggressor at least at arm's length at all times.  Be aware of your surroundings and do not get in to a face to face screaming match.
At arm's length, you have time to react to the aggressor.  You can sprawl to avoid a take down, you can bring your hands up to block shots and you are in a good position to throw jabs to keep the aggressor away and set up bigger shots.  Space is essential!

When helping out a downed person, you must be aware of what is going on around you.  You can't just assume that no one will bother you simply because you are rendering aid.  In fact, as in this situation, rendering aid makes you an automatic target for the aggressor, or a friend of the aggressor who sees an easy target of a "friend" of the fallen.
You are vulnerable, and carry no badge of athority, therefore you are free game.  Be very careful.

How do you escape a front headlock?  Easy.  Watch:

Johnny Hendricks show this from the mat, but the moves are exactly the same from the standing position: Take control of the arm, non trapped arm goes out to the side, pull, and, shuck the rest of the body.
I like this movement much better than some of the other movements because I am moving toward my opponent's back, not giving my back up to my opponent.
You can see here:

Pablo Popovitch shows the extra detail of moving backwards to never allow your opponent to get set. The same thing when dealing with the standing front headlock.
Now, I feel VERY comfortable on the ground. If I am put in this same situation, I will most likely go to this ground position by simply moving backward and down until my knees touch the ground. My opponent will feel more and more in control as he puts more and more of his weight on top of my back. This is a good thing.
I is good for me, because by moving backward, I take away his ability to throw knees at the delicate areas of my face, the eye and nose bones. If he decides to throw knees he will only hit the very hard top of my skull. It won't feel good, but it won't break anything. Also, stretched out, if he throws knees it disrupts his base, making this arm drag escape that much more effective.

What about the back headlock?  Even easier!!

The back headlock is one of the simplest moves to defeat. You are overbalanced to the front, and you are giving up your back. A simple change of balance and you are in a horrible position.
If you stay calm, and think, you will be able to easily escape these two situations. The front headlock is harder to escape from, but, with a little practice, you should be able to quickly master the technique.

Bolt Barrel Breech Bullet... What?? Terms and Structures Guide For New Shooters Part IV - Which Gun Should I Buy

I realized I forgot the most important part, to some people..., of this series.  How to choose a gun!  Sorry about that...
Part I, Part II, Part III

I own several guns, and I carry one nearly everywhere I go.  I read up on all of the major gun manufacturers and most of the ammo manufacturers. I don't subscribe to any magazines, but I do a lot of reading about the science of shooting, and practicality of self-defense shooting. Guns fit under my larger interest of practical self-defense. I don't really wish to take the time to train with bladed weapons, so guns and unarmed combat are it for me.

In the city most "normal" people have very little exposure to guns. This is different from the farm where I was raised. There nearly every boy and most girls knew how to shoot and were well accustomed to having all sorts of weapons in the house. So, I get asked by people, who know very little about guns but have some interest in guns as a self-defense tool, which gun should they buy.

I am not a gun expert. I do not spend hours upon hours a week at the range. I go to the range maybe once a month, maybe more if I get the itch. I go to the trap range perhaps once or twice a year. But, I am a "safe" person to ask. I don't make people feel like they are idiots for asking questions, and I approach the subject as if it is a fun hobby to have. Most people are buying a gun out of an interest to keep their family safe in the worst case situation. Let's face it, if you have a gun in your hand, you are in the absolute worst case situation...

So, what do I tell people they should buy? I DO NOT tell them to go out and buy a Beretta PX4 Storm in .45, or a Glock 30, or a Sig 226. That would be like telling someone to buy a Cadillac STS when they only ask you what kind of car should they buy, before they even learn how to drive.
Now that we have discussed the different types of guns, actions, ammunition, and terminology, the very first thing new people need to do is learn how to shoot.

Learn How to Shoot

You don't need to purchase a gun to learn how to shoot.  Most classes will provide something for their students to shoot, so you don't need to worry about spending any money on guns just yet.
Learning how to shoot will build the foundation of skills that you will need to evaluate what kind of gun you want to purchase. It will also teach you about safety.

Safety is of paramount concern.  A gun is a tool, but like a table saw or a very sharp knife, you need to treat them with respect in order to avoid injury.  If you ignore safety when using a table saw, you are likely to loose an eye or a finger.  Ignore safety with a gun and you could get a hole where you don't want one.

The best classes are ones that are sponsored by the National Rifle Association, or that have a NRA certified instructor.  Don't worry about NRA as a lobbying organisation.  The NRA's primary focus is on gun safety, not on making sure every man, woman, child, and parrot has an automatic weapon.  When it comes to gun safety, the NRA is the group to go see.
Nearly every gun range or gun store will either offer or will know of a class you can take.  Just go to the closest store and ask about a beginner gun class.  Unless you are paying for the class that the shop offers, DON'T BUY ANYTHING!  The clerk's job is to sell guns, and I guarantee that they will want you to look at the "perfect starter gun."  Go ahead and look, but don't buy.  Take your class first!

After The Class

After your class is done, you will have shot something.  Most likely it will have been a little .22 pistol.    These are the typical class guns because ammo is very inexpensive, recoil is negligible, and they aren't very loud.  The problem is that, while these guns are a ton of fun to shoot, they are not very good for self defense.  
After the class you will be charged up and ready to buy!  You can bet the farm that the gun store will have a bunch of people ready to help you buy something right there when your class is done.  Again, their focus is to sell product, and the best time to sell product is when the buyer is excited about the product.  You need to be strong and not buy anything yet.  
What you need to do now is to go home and review everything that you learned in the class.  In a few days, and it really needs to be in a few days, don't wait a long time!  The skills you have just learned are perishable, and you need to get to the rage very soon after your class is done!!  In a few days you go back to the range to begin your purchase selection.

Choosing Your Gun

All gun ranges will rent guns.  You are going to take advantage of this.  First, you are going to rent a gun from each ammo type they have.  One 9mm, one .40, one .45, and so forth.  Don't mix up revolvers and automatics at this point.  Stick with the automatics, and come back another day to try the revolvers.  There will be more selection with the automatics, so that is why we go with them first.
Go to your spot on the range and try out each caliber type.  See how they shoot, and deal with the recoil.  Find the right ammunition that you think you can handle.
Don't listen to anybody about what they consider to be the best gun or ammo at this point.  Just shoot and find the ammo group that you like best.  There is no right answer, just the right answer for you.

After you find the type of pistol (revolver or automatic) you like, and the ammo group you like, it is time to expand in to the brand offerings in that ammo type.  If you choose 9mm, then rent all of the 9mm pistols you can get your hands on.  Shoot them, have the clerks show you how to break them down.  Put them back together.  Ask about holsters and accessories for each model.  Do as much as you can with them, and ask every question that comes to mind.

Now you will have a pretty good idea of what you want to buy.  You will have put several hundred rounds down range, and you will have practiced the safety lessons that you learned in your class.  Now it is time to think about the mission of the pistol.


Ask yourself this question:  What will the primary job of this gun be?  This is the mission of the gun.  The answer to this question will determine the type and feature set of the gun you buy.  
If the gun is to be used for home defense, think about getting a full size pistol with external safeties, and a Double Action/Single Action trigger pull.  This is a good way to keep you safe when you have time to collect the gun and get in to a defensive position, such as you would if you were dealing with a home invasion, and you are awoke by a noise.
If the gun is to be used as a carry pistol, think about getting a compact or a sub compact pistol with no external safeties.  In a situation where you have to draw and shoot quickly, you do not want any fine motor movements, such as a thumb safety, to delay you getting your gun in to the fight.  You want to grab and go.  
If the mission of the gun is for shooting competitions, you want to make sure that the gun you buy will be easily customizable, and that there is a large market of after market accessories.  
If your mission is just to have something to shoot at the range, then you should think about small caliber pistols that use inexpensive ammunition.  


Now that you have done all of your homework, it is time to buy.  I like to go on to the internet to see if I am getting a good deal on the gun.  Places like The Gallery Of Guns are good places to start, as you can look up the type of gun you like and do a search for it in your local area.  There you can do your price comparisons and make sure you walk in to the gun store with a price in mind.
Be ready to fill out quite a bit of paperwork when you purchase, and know that a background check will be done on you by the ATF.  This is federal law, and the only way you can get around it is to buy your gun from a private party.
Some states will have waiting periods before you can pick up your pistol, and some cities force you to register the gun before you pick up your pistol.  You will have to deal with all of this red tape before you can actual take home your gun.  Some states/stores/cities will have laws/policies that will prohibit you from carrying your new gun out of the door.  So be ready to have a clerk walk you out of the store, then hand your gun over to you once you are outside.
If you are, like me, in an area that is gun friendly, you can pay and walk out of the store with your brand new gun.  Just go with the flow and follow all laws and policies.
If you buy your gun from a private party, be sure that you get a bill of sale that allows you so many days to have a gunsmith check over the gun, and to have the Police do a check on the gun serial number.  Be sure that the bill of sale has the Name, Address, and phone number of the seller.  I would even attempt to get the seller to agree to accept partial payment for the pistol pending these checks.  You can take down the SN and run it with the Police.  Then you and the seller can agree on a time and a gunsmith to do the operations check.  Easy peasy.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Last Ditch Triangle Escape

Ever roll against someone who has a really really good triangle choke?  I mean a really good triangle choke.  Always finishes, always seems to catch everybody, it is his go to move.  You attempt posture to avoid the move, and that works for a while, but when he grabs the triangle, you really have no escape.  I have a couple of guys at my gym who are unstoppable with their triangle chokes.  I have tried just about everything I can to escape, but nothing seems to work.  When they lock the choke, it breaks my posture, and I have no way to straighten back up.

The traditional escapes require you to have posture.  If your posture is already broken, you can not use them.
So, what can you do in this situation.  The following escape is a last ditch type escape, it restores your posture, and puts you in a position to break the triangle's hold.  It is a neat gimmick.
I say gimmick, because it should never become your go to triangle escape.  It is a last resort, holly crap escape.