The Butler

Last night the spousal unit and I watched the movie The Butler starring Forrest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, and Cuba Gooding, Jr.  Awesome movie that shows how truly nasty people can be to each other, but also how people can work together to overcome evil.  I highly recommend it.

Live your book

I figure if you’re going to write about something, you should also experience it to whatever degree is possible.  Alas, I can’t go to other worlds, but I can take a precision rifle course to better understand shooting dynamics.

Over the weekend I took a Precision Rifle Course in Bend, OR.  Initially, I was going to take it in August, before releasing Surveyor, but the class got cancelled due to fire hazard (Bureau of Land Management shut down the range).  I had hoped to include the knowledge and skills I would learn in the novel, but couldn’t.  Glad to see I wrote it up properly.

As to the course, it was AWESOME!  Over two days I took my shooting skills from pretty damn good at 100 and 200 yards and extended them out to 1,200 yards.  The furthest I had shot before had been 300 yards (M-16), so I was doubtful I would hit the mythical 1,000 yard mark that the course instructor said I would be able to.  The first day was about three hours of instruction (learned about the effects of gravity, wind, and rifle twist deflection), followed by several hours of shooting from 100 to 500 yards.  I was totally stoked when I hit the 400 yard target, as that was farther than I had ever shot before.

The second day we shot starting at 500 yards and eventually worked our way up to 1,200 yards.  I think my spotter was more stoked than I when the first round I fired at that distance hit the metal silhouette target (on the left side) – the second round was dead center!  The wind was blowing steady at 10 MPH with gusts up to 15, so between the twist drift and wind drift, I had to set my scope adjustments (windage and elevation) so that the rifle was pointing about 5 feet left of the target and 23 feet above the target while the scope was on the target.

For those who have never shot long distance, one of the amazing things is to watch the passage of the bullet downrange as it displaces air.

Of course, during the friendly competition among the three groups (there were six students, one shot while the other spotted, then we traded places), I blew it.  Instead of moving my windage left, I moved it right, just before the first shot.  Every shot after that was off 😦  Good learning experience.

I hate Pirates

In the past I have lectured and written about pirates – ancient and modern sea pirates, that is.  Today, I’m writing about another type of pirate – intellectual property pirates.  Just like the pirates of old, these pirates are scum, stealing from those who work to benefit themselves (yes, I found a pirated copy of Surveyor).  Perhaps, if we were to resort to the old punishment to pirates (i.e., hang them from the yardarm), we would see less.  Perhaps not, but I’m willing to see the time and energy invested into it.


After a couple of e-mail exchanges, the local library (King County Library System) will be carrying Surveyor.  Yep, five copies.  Pretty cool.  I know it means less sales (as people prefer free stuff), but it also opens it up to more readers.  Besides, after borrowing books and movies from the library for over twenty years now, it’s payback time.