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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Orange Rooster vs Poorly Disguised Silurian, GO!

My unedited first impressions as I listened to the first Trump vs Clinton debate this evening while working:
  • Both of you, stop referring to "very small loans." A very small loan is the $20 I lent the guy at the comic shop. He paid it back by giving me a ride when someone stole the battery out of my car. 
  • "I call it Trumped Up Trickle Down." Hillary, quit trying to be funny. Funny doesn't work for you. 
  • Moderator says "Mister Trump, you have two minutes." Ten minutes later, Trump is still talking. Donald Trump is a complicated space-time event. No moderator can contain him. 
  • Yes, Trump is sniffling. It's allergy season. Sniffling isn't quite on the level of collapsing from 'heat exhaustion' in 85 degree weather. 
  • Hillary, stop putting Bill's accomplishments on your resume. 
  • The twenty minute mark. That's where the personal attacks start, and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they don't stop coming and they d
  • Hillary, quit shilling your book and your website. 
  • Hillary's feed cuts out at 24 minutes approximately. Was she replaced with a body double? Hologram? Silurian? Was she already a Silurian and they replaced her with another, higher ranking Silurian? Madame Vastra, what do you think? 
  • Hillary, would you like my tax returns? I haven't paid taxes either. I've gotten returns every year, except for the one where HR screwed up after my divorce, because I'm not in your tax bracket. I can't even see your tax bracket from where I am. 
  • "What is he hiding?" - Hillary Clinton, 2016
  • Trump, "That makes me smart" is one of the most tone-deaf things I think I've ever heard considering your constant referral to the shrinking middle class.
  • Although he does have a good point. If he's spent his entire career exploiting loopholes for rich people, he would know how to plug them. But would he? 
  • I really don't care if braggadocious isn't a word. It's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. 
  • Hillary, why are you putting so much focus on whether or not he's as rich as he says he is? I rather think I'd like a president that's not rich. *coughClintonFoundationcough*
  • Hillary calling for criminal justice reform. Mysteriously absent: references to super predators.
  • Both candidates endorse the watch list. Fuck me sideways with a school crossing sign. I want both of you to tell me, how do you get on the watch list? How do you get off the watch list? Who makes the decision? Who has oversight on who makes the decision? I have possible familial ties to what some people consider a terrorist organization in another country. What if I'm on the watch list? How will I know? How would I get off the list? This really bothers me. 
  • Hillary, how is it a racist lie that Obama wasn't born in the US? Is race determined by location of birth now? Was it a racist lie that Ted Cruz wasn't born in the US? 
  • According to the detective I spoke to after my PayPal account was hacked, China is behind the cyber-security attacks. They're stockpiling nuclear running shoes, I hear. 
  • Hillary has now also become a complicated space-time event. Neither of these people have an understanding of time limits. I don't trust either of them to stay only four years in office. 
  • "We must use the internet to stop ISIS." MEME WAR! NOW SUMMON THE RARE PEPES!
  • Hey guys, did you know Hillary has a website? 
  • "I have a better temperament than her." HAHAHAHAHHAHAlkh;laksdjs;dlka
  • No, for real, I hear that (in private) you really do, because I've heard anecdotes about how The Hill's a terrible person to work with. 
  • There used to be an old Vulcan saying: "Only Nixon could go to China." The Vulcans -- those that remain after the Abrams Event -- now say "Only Trump could go to China." 
  • "I am against Team America World Police." - Trump, 2016
  • Hillary, pregnancy IS an inconvenience to employers. Employees have to take time off to have a baby. It may only be a short leave as labor starts and then recovery, but it's still time missed. This is an objective fact. 
  • Wait, there's going to be a VICE presidential debate? Between Pence and Kaine? I'm going to need a mountain of crystal meth to stay conscious during this.
I can't vote for either of these people. I voted for Obama; at the time, I was still a progressive, so I may have uttered "It's about time it wasn't an old white guy." I think, honestly, I just couldn't imagine a Mormon in office.

I think I'm going to vote for the guy who didn't know what Aleppo was. I didn't know what Aleppo was, either. 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Two Clips from GRPC 2016

Okay, okay; they're actually just different parts of the same clip. But this clip is five and a half hours long, so I think you'll be okay with me splitting this into two parts.

The first part is where John Richardson, a friend of mine who is actually speaking before the conference, mentions me and Operation Blazing Sword during his speech:

Of course, I wasn't there to hear him mention me, because... well, there's a funny story to that:

I was sitting at the end of the row, dressed as a female (and apparently passing nicely) with Sean to my immediate left. Gail Pepin walked up to our row, walked past me, and crouched down to talk to Sean. Their conversation went something like this:
Gail: Do you know where Erin is?
Sean: Erin Palette?
Gail: [nods]
Sean: Erin Palette, my co-host?
Gail: Uh-huh.
Sean: The Erin Palette who's sitting [gestures with his finger at me] right over there?
Gail: [turns, looks at me, is horrified]

Meanwhile, I am grinning like a loon through all this.

Gail: [walking over] I am so sorry...
Me: Oh, honey, don't you even worry about it. The last time you saw me, I looked [makes facial hair gestures] different. That you didn't recognize me is about the biggest compliment you can pay me!

And so she crouched down in the aisle to talk about the logistics involved in me travelling to Live Oak, FL to attend a MAG-40 class at the same time that John was talking. And so, because I didn't want to be rude to John by talking during his speech, and because I wanted to hear Gail properly, I left the conference room to talk, because when the Princess of Podcasting, Pixels and Polymer Pistols speaks to you, you give her your full attention dammit.  And that's why I wasn't there when Operation Blazing Sword was mentioned to a conference room full of attendees.

(Yes, I realize I sound like I am shamelessly name-dropping, and perhaps I am, but I'm not doing it to impress you or sound sophisticated; I'm doing it because these are legitimately cool people and they chose to grace me with their attention, and I want to thank them for that.)

This second clip is from after the conference had ended. Paul Lathrop, who has talked to me before, wanted me to speak in a video livestream about Operation Blazing Sword. This caused me to freak out somewhat (see Monday's post for more details on that), and so I had agreed to do it only if Nicki Stallard was there with me so I didn't feel so freakish and alone.

Of course, by this time I'd been in full-on girl-mode for over 2 days, so I was feeling much more comfortable and at ease with myself,which (hopefully) shows in my interview. I've also been quite graciously told that my appearance, voice, and body language are all quite feminine, and while I'm not specifically trolling for compliments here (although they would be nice), I'd enjoy useful criticism on same.

There's one more interview which hasn't yet aired (you know I'll link to it when it drops), and I'm proud to announce that I will be a guest on Gun Freedom Radio this Saturday at 1:30 Pacific Time (that's 4:30 Eastern). I hope you'll tune in!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Gun Rights Policy Conference 2016: Some Kind of After-Action Report

Hi gang. It's late and I'm exhausted from a fun but tiring Gun Rights Policy Conference, so I'm just going to hit the highlights:
  • It was a very productive conference. I learned a lot of stuff, came home with a lot (and I mean a LOT) of free books, and made some great professional contacts for both me personally and for Blazing Sword professionally. It feels like the line between "being me" and "repping OBS" is blurring and merging. 
  • I also experienced tremendous personal growth this weekend. More on this later. 
  • Apparently, the names "Erin Palette" and "Operation Blazing Sword" are known to the attendees, because when John Richardson mentioned them, it got applause. 
  • Sadly, I was out of the room at the time, because when Gail Pepin wants to talk to me, I give her my undivided attention. 
  • Sarah Cade is a gigantic dork, and I mean that in the best, most complimentary way possible. 
Sarah loves to photobomb. Also, Sean was a good sport and wore his pony tees the whole time. 
  • Sarah also has a filthy, filthy mouth and is every bit as fun to hang out with as you'd think. If I can ever be in the same place as her an Oleg, he's going to have to do a photo shoot featuring us and it will be so awesome we'll be a WMD. Because Sarah + Erin = Sarin, bitches. 

Now a quick story about the personal development, then more pics, and then bedtime for me. 

Last week, Paul Lathrop of Polite Society Podcast said he wanted me to do an interview about Blazing Sword at GRPC. No problem, said I. "On video, livestreamed to YouTube," he said, and I about shit myself because you know I have issues with my body and face and the like. 

For the next few days I had what can be charitably called a petit mal freakout about it, because on the one hand I didn't want my face on video, and on the other I felt I had an obligation to talk about OBS. I came up with the solution of Can we blur me out or put me behind something large? So that people can hear me but not see me?

Which is when Sean Sorrentino, my cohost, did his trademark "Rudely cut to the heart of the matter" trick and said Sure! Of course we can. That way we can tell all the other trans people out there that they are totes cool with us, so long as they blur themselves so that we can't see them.

And I was like Dammit, Sean. You're an asshole and that was a cheap shot, but you're right.

So because of that, I thought "Not only do I need to do the interview, but now I have to do it en femme because to do otherwise would be dishonest and/or send a message that gun-owning LGBTQ have to keep their true selves hidden in order to be accepted."

Since  Nicki Stallard (west coast representative of Pink Pistols and transwoman) would be there as well, I knew I wasn't going to be alone and that someone would have my back. So I packed both girl clothes and boy clothes for the trip.

Friday night was the mixer/reception, and that was when I decided "Screw it, let's test the waters now rather than in a crowded room." And so I paired a khaki skirt and some boots with my pony polo shirt, added a wig and some jewelry and makeup, and (after asking for makeup from fucking gorgeous Sarah Cade, OMG you guys she is totally this statuesque goddess when she dresses up) we both went down to the reception together because a) I figured being seen in the presence of an actual woman actually accepting me would help, 2) I knew I'd have another ally at the party, and iii) I needed a security buddy to hover around if things got bad.

That was my crucible moment, because Halloween notwithstanding (because everyone is in costume then, it's socially acceptable) this was the first time I was "trans in public" and I didn't know how people would react.  If people gave me shit for how I looked, I knew I'd have to be in social camouflage for the rest of the weekend. You guys have no idea how scared I was.

To my delight and surprise, no one gave me shit. No one was even rude. I caught a few double-takes and looks of surprise, but I don't think anyone even stared. And to top it all of, I was interacting with people while doing this. I was passing. In public!

The only way I can describe the profound amazement I felt is to have you pick your superhero movie of choice, where the plucky protagonist finally acquires his or her powers. This was my "You're a wizard, Harry!" moment, because the realization that not only was I not being attacked, but was being accepted, was nothing but magical. There was even one delightful older gentleman who was taking pictures and he called me a "beautiful young lady."

Needless to say, this not only exceeded my expectations for the mixer, it quite frankly exploded them. Given the positive reception I was receiving, I just said "Fuck it, in that case I'm just going to be femme the whole time I'm here, because I'm loving this!"

And I did.

No one hassled me on Saturday, not even the older gentleman I sat next to in the assembly hall.
That's me to the right of Sean, in the third row.
I *said* that Sarah loved to photobomb, did I not?

I did a couple of interviews on Saturday, including this Facebook Live session by Paul Lathrop.

(Yes, I am now aware that "t-shirt and skirt" is not a flattering look for me. I did not know it then.)

And I dressed up all fancy Saturday night, because why the hell not? I brought a damn dress, I wanted to wear it, so I wore it.
Yes, my stance needs work. But goddammit, I was wearing heels and
MAKING THEM WORK. That ought to count for a lot. 
So yeah, by the time Sunday rolled around, I was comfortable and confident and generally feeling like hot stuff from all the compliments. Seriously, y'all:

So after a solid weekend of approval and positive reinforcement, appearing on camera for a Polite Society Podcast interview that was streamed to YouTube was no big deal. (I'll post it, and the other interviews, as soon as they're up. Although they're all largely the same thing, me talking about Operation Blazing Sword.)

But my point in all of this is: If I'd gotten shit for dressing en femme Friday night, I'd have been in social camouflage "boy mode" the rest of the weekend. But I wasn't; I was accepted. And I wasn't accepted merely because I was trans; I was accepted because I was a gun owner who just happened to be trans.

This is the lesson I would like the LGBTQ community to take from all this: Gun owners will welcome you if you take a chance on them. And the very few who don't will, I am certain, be shouted down by the rest of us.

Edited to add: the aforementioned Nicki Stallard received an award on Saturday for her work with the Pink Pistols. Ms. Stallard is, like me, both lesbian and transgender, and not only is she accepted but is also recognized and applauded for her work in the field of gun rights for gay people.

In fact, one of the speakers said "Look to your left; look to your right. You'll see that most of us are gray-haired white males, and we need to change that."  The gun community is actively looking to become more diverse and inclusive, and the more of us who speak up and join in, the more varied and welcoming it will become. 

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #110 - Radioactive Riots Forever

It's like Strawberry Fields, only with more rioting and radiation.
  • Beth is "On Assignment" and will return next week. We explain why in the podcast.
  • Who pulls a knife on someone for "stealing" his begging spot? Who is that beggar you're giving money to? Sean looks a little deeper while throwing Erin under the bus for an errant slip of the tongue.
  • Barron reminds us of something that Hillary's Information Technology consultant is learning the hard way: The Internet is Forever. FOREVER.
  • In the Main Topic, Sean and Erin discuss the #NCRiots in Charlotte.
  • In the wake of all the awfulness going around, we need some good news. Tiffany tells us of the story of a good Samaritan with a gun in a Kansas City parking lot.
  • Did you hear about all the radioactive water that leaked into Florida's aquifer? Erin tells us why we're all going to die. Or, you know, not.
  • It takes a scientist to take on a scientist. It's Weer'd vs. Science in this Audio Fisk™ of two Science Vs. podcasts.
  • Our plug of the week is for the Grass Roots North Carolina.
Thank you for downloading, listening, and subscribing. You are subscribed, right? We are available on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and now on Google Play Music!
Listen to the podcast here.
Read the show notes here
Thanks also to Firearms Policy Coalition for their support.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Regressive Progressivism: It's Okay When We Do It

A couple of years ago, an analogy was created. It was poorly thought out, yet was immediately embraced by the Regressive Left. It was a reaction to #NotAllMen (which had a valid point, considering the hashtag itself was a reaction to broad generalizations that allegedly scary and misogynistic statistics disproved), and was shared far and wide. And when people replaced a few words here and there to show criticism of the analogy, they were branded with various 'ists' in response. I share the analogy in its most prime form, below :

Just this week, one of the Trump kids (I can't keep them straight, nor do I care to) shared a similar analogy, which caused immediate backlash and uproar amongst that same Regressive Left which embraced the very same analogy when it used a different candy and a different group of people. 

Now, both images are simultaneously right and wrong. Within every group, there are troublesome people. No group anywhere, is without its bad apples, be it men, women, white, black, gun owners, gamers, feminists, atheists, Muslims, Christians, sport fans, police, or protesters. But the problem is, when you avoid or stigmatize an entire group because of those few people, you hurt a lot more and you shut yourself off from new experience. Interacting with any other human being comes with a risk, both to yourself and to that person.

To that extent, forget the fact that 10% of the candy is poison. 100% of the candy carries with it a risk of some sort of injury to yourself. Are you willing to shut yourself off from the experience of eating it because someone you don't know told you there's a risk? Of course there's a risk; life is a risk.

To address the first image: It's not okay when you do it.

To address the second: It's not okay when you do it, either.

To everyone getting outraged over the second one, I'd ask where you were when the first one was posted two years ago, but I know where you were: Justifying it. making jokes about male tears, mocking fee-fees. I'd ask you not to get self-righteous when people bring this up to you, but it's too late.

And finally, to Stephen Colbert: I tell you, sir, There are skittles that come in brown. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I Wear My Sunglasses At Night

As GRPC gets closer, I find I am increasingly scatterbrained as I try to do everything at once. I'm not sure why this is; in honesty, it ought be like getting ready for an NRA convention, which I've done three times now. But this is different somehow -- maybe because I'm going to meet people I'm looking forward to seeing for the first time, or maybe because I will be there in an official capacity and not as one of many anonymous guests.

Anyway, one symptom of this is a form of ADD, where my brain will latch onto a random thing as if it were critically important and not let go of it until I've either resolved the issue or worried it to death.

Which is why, when I woke up this morning with an unexplained urge to make a mixtape playlist for Vampire: the Masquerade, I pretty much knew I needed to do it. Fortunately my friends on Facebook expressed an interest, so the time I spent making it wasn't totally wasted. And now, I get to share it with you!

A few disclaimers before I start:
  • There's at least one song there that I'm sure will just ruin the experience for you. 
  • There are already two excellent V;tM playlists in existence. I didn't try to replicate them, although I did lift a song or two from them. 
  • I'm certain I've missed at least one song that "absolutely should have included" and its absence just ruins the playlist for you. 
If you want to make your own playlist (and you really should), then proper White Wolf numbers are 7, 10, and 13, if you're counting tracks. I went with 20 because I initially had 16 and couldn't bring myself to trim what I had.

  1. Forever Knight theme
  2. Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart 
  3. Moon over Bourbon Street by Sting
  4. Bloodletting (The Vampire Song) by Concrete Blonde
  5. Mitternacht by E Nomine
  6. Primitive Kiss by Carol Tatum (Angels of Venice) and Charles Edward (Seraphim Shock)
  7. Voodoo by Godsmack 
  8. You’re So Sexual by Christopher
  9. Vampyre Erotica by Inkubus Sukkubus
  10. Bloodline (v2.0) by The Crüxshadows
  11. Lilies by The Cranes (the best Malkavian song I’ve ever heard)
  12. Swamped by Lacuna Coil
  13. Black No. 1 - Type O Negative
  14. When You Don’t See Me by The Sisters of Mercy
  15. Hemoglobin by Beborn Beton
  16. Cannibal by Ke$ha
  17. Bloodsucker 2000 by Paralysed Age
  18. Nightfall by Xandria
  19. Cry Little Sister by Gerard McMahon
  20. Slept So Long by Jay Gordon

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