So long and thanks for all the fish

Well folks, it’s time. The blog has languished for so long that it’s time to close up shop and call my blogging days over. It has been a fantastic run, and I miss the intense (and often humorous) conversations over the myriad of topics I’ve talked about through the years.

I’ve always run Sharp as a Marble from my home, rarely have I run ads and when I did, it generally was for products I personally was invested in. Otherwise, I’ve born all the costs myself, including having to pay for business level internet, servers, software, etc. I’m a computer programmer by trade and for the longest time, it helped me keep my skills sharp. Things have changed over the years and I prefer to spend time with my family rather than coding when I get home. Ansible has languished in ancient technologies and I never really had the desire to upgrade it to later tech like React or Angular for the front end & RavenDb for the back end. Heck, I’m not even using APIs for this thing.

I also never seem to find the time to do the research necessary to do good posts any more. Also, I’ve already had all the arguments and it only feels like I’m rehashing what I said a decade ago.

This will be my last post. The website will remain until I finally shut down all the services I am currently spending money on and then it will go dark. I’m not even interested in keeping a flattened, text only copy around as that costs money too.

Locally, I’ll have a copy so if you ever need a reference to an old post, please let me know. I’m on Twitter as ItsRobbAllen and you can find me easily on the bookface thing.

I’m thankful for all the readers I’ve had over the past thirteen years. While this has always been a vanity site, you guys & gals, even the ones I had disagreements with, made it worth the blood, sweat, tears, hemorrhoids , and heartburn.

Thank you all.


posted by Robb Allen @ 10/3/2017 12:41:43 PM | Feedback (16)
Irmagerd! Hermicane!

We’re fine. Never lost power for more than 1/10th of a second, and that was only like twice. Tons (literally) of branches down all over the yard, but nothing hit the house, or if it did, didn’t do any visible damage. We’re not in a flood zone and in fact, being on the side of a hill, the worst ‘flooding’ we could have been subjected to was the pool overflowing a little onto the pavers.

The Good Lord looked after us. Not a scratch in our pool screen, and the only foliage that got smooshed was stuff we pretty much wanted to rid ourselves of anyway. We were blessed as neighbors down the street and behind us had trees smash through their houses (albeit from what I see, not in any living spaces).

I’ll blame the lack of blogging on the hurricane. Let’s go with that.

posted by Robb Allen @ 9/13/2017 10:56:26 AM | Feedback (4)
Things that suck, #29,882,399

I so wanted to meet Larry Correia in person. The Baen website said he’d be at a local(ish) bookstore on Friday & ComiCon on Saturday.

Showed up to said book store on Friday to find out the Baen website was wrong, that he had been there the night before, and that he was supposed to be at ComiCon on Friday-Sunday.

Which was also wrong information, he was only there Friday & Saturday, and I took my girls there on Sunday.

Dang it. I wanted to finally meet my favorite author.

Oh well, I’m sure there will be another tour some time. For now, I did buy an autographed copy of Monster Hunter Siege to assuage my disappointment.

posted by Robb Allen @ 7/31/2017 12:27:57 PM | Feedback (6)
Sweat & Fingerprints

Yesterday I was working up a good sweat on something. I needed to open my cell phone (a Google Pixel) to do something, but because my fingers were also sweaty, it wouldn’t open for me. I tried my iPad, but got the same results.

And this is the technology they want to put on guns? I mean, if there’s a sweat inducing moment, it’s when you have to go for your sidearm.

Heck, it’s not even sweat. While the sensors work most of the time, if I move to quickly, or don’t hold it right, it’ll complain. If it’s that picky under no stress whatsoever, then what happens when you’re heart is racing so fast your hands won’t stop shaking?

While I don’t see an immediate threat to force this on guns right now, I do see this technology being considered ‘mature’ relatively soon (within the next few years) and all these actual issues will be swept under the rug as if they don’t exist to push them.

Gotta stay vigilant about these things.

posted by Robb Allen @ 7/31/2017 12:24:40 PM | Feedback (2)
I don’t want to get your hopes up

But I’ve actually started writing down the outline for a book.

I’ve watched a few others put a few words together in their spare time & do pretty good. I can write good and stuff. Like really good. Plus I grammaticate real nice.

The interesting thing is that I’m packing more hours into my day by staying up later. I wake up ridiculously early, so it appears 7 hours is way too long to sleep for me anyway, so I can cram extra “things to do” in the later hours of the day, and when I’m tired, my mind seems to have an easier time of constructing ideas for stories. We’ll see if this actually works.

Still building a guitar.

Still playing in the Church Band.

Still coding.

I prefer being busy than not.

posted by Robb Allen @ 7/22/2017 5:45:53 PM | Feedback (8)
I miss this place

Last night, I had to look up a blog post I wrote a few years ago. As I am wont to do, I ended up reading back through some of my old posts.

Man, it wasn’t half bad, was it? I got myself thinking & even chuckling from time to time. I miss blogging.

Why don’t I do it more? Time. Time is my enemy. My job requires my full attention. I take breaks to do other tasks that are waiting. It’s ok, the pay is good, I like the people I work with, and sometimes the challenges are fun. I rarely want to stab a box of kittens when I get home. But to really blog is to spend time combing news, getting correct information, cross checking, and crafting the absolutely best fart joke you can to tie the whole thing up.

I miss doing all that. Seems like I have ideas for what to write, but never the time to really get it done.

Today, I’m doing something rare – I’m taking a lunch break. Usually I just heat up my lunch and plow through my work at my desk. Today, I needed a break (had a project that failed & was pulled. Not my fault, but to put as many hours as I did into a project to see it not work is depressing). So, I decided to write this.

Because I want this place to stay around. I don’t want to give up on it.

I miss my readers too. Looking back through those posts really made me happy with the conversations I fostered. I never cared about eyeballs, I cared about the comment section. To me, that was the caliber of the post.

I’m also pleasantly surprised that I’ve stayed consistent in my views over the years. Sure, I’ve changed my stance on all kinds of things (when I started this blog, I was a Republican! Talk about change!) but my foundations have remained solid. So, this really is like a diary and it’s fascinating to go through history like that.

Not shutting down any time soon. I keep telling myself I’m going to write Ansible 3 some day, but I tend to dream a lot.

posted by Robb Allen @ 5/31/2017 12:42:46 PM | Feedback (8)
A friend I never met

I’m not as active in the gun blogger world any more. My blog is a hobby and plenty of people were able to  turn theirs into careers, and from that, plenty of great gun-related websites sprung forth. There’s still a need for blogs, especially those of us who don’t run any ads, to provide information, but as I’ve moved forward in my career, the time necessary to write well informed pieces started becoming harder & harder to find.

So, when I found out this morning that Bob Owens of took his own life, I was shaken.

Never met Bob IRL. Interacted with him plenty on his old blog and elsewhere. I didn’t always agree with him which is how life works, but I was glad he was a voice for our cause.

This really hits home for me because, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I battle with panic attacks.  I’m mildly bi-polar and never really had to fight heavy depression for too long (mostly the mania, which honestly is enjoyable), but the panic attacks that came with the whole affair are scary. Not soon after my youngest was born, I had a bad episode and remember holding her in my arms, not capable of feeling any emotion whatsoever. None. Not love, not anger, not fear. Nothing.

For me, I’m able to fight that. It’s not because I’m stronger than most people, it’s not because of my intelligence. It’s blind luck that I’ve been able to focus my mind away from the depression and lessen the effects of a panic attack as well as medication that helps keep the chemicals in my brain balanced. I live a very normal life. PAs are few & far between and I haven’t had to deal with crushing depression in over a decade. But I understand it and I know the hopelessness one feels when that happens.

I can’t agree with Bob’s assessment that he was a coward or wasn’t strong enough any more than I could agree with a diabetic whose blood sugar spikes even when they eat well. Depression is a health issue, where your mind doesn’t work like it’s supposed to. You might go to all the doctors and be on all the medications and nothing will help. Lord knows  it took several years before they were able to find the right medicine and the right dosage that worked for me. Again, I was lucky that I was able to battle through it all during that time, but I completely understand that feeling that nothing will ever be good again.

One of the best explanations of depression can be found here

And that's the most frustrating thing about depression. It isn't always something you can fight back against with hope. It isn't even something — it's nothing. And you can't combat nothing. You can't fill it up. You can't cover it. It's just there, pulling the meaning out of everything. That being the case, all the hopeful, proactive solutions start to sound completely insane in contrast to the scope of the problem.

When you’ve hit the bottom & cannot even comprehend that there is a way out, it’s hard. And sometimes people cannot take the pain (or complete lack of emotion) any more. We’re emotional beings, and when the largest part of your mental self is not working, death can feel welcome and at that point, any feeling is one you latch on.

Of course, this has nothing to do with guns. Nobody sits there and thinks happy thoughts, sees a gun, and then decides that they want to kill themselves. The responses on Twitter from the gun banners is to be expected. They are the compassionate ones, unless it’s someone who they don’t approve of, then the knives come out. It’s disgusting, but expected. Their emotions aren’t stunted, but unfortunately they’re stuck on hatred rather than compassion.

I’m sorry to see Bob go, I feel bad that he suffered so especially since I can relate. His suffering, however, has now passed to his family so if you can help, please do.

If you’re depressed, find help. It can be defeated and there are many, many ways that don’t involve ending your life & leaving your family behind. You’re not a coward, you’re not weak, you’re sick and sickness can be fixed.

And if you ever need a random ear to listen to, hit that contact button up top. I’m here for you.

posted by Robb Allen @ 5/9/2017 11:21:43 AM | Feedback (1)