14 September 2014

What are you looking at?

Kids these days, I swear.

Why are they looking at the dishwasher?

David vs. Goliath

This has been in my inbox for about 10 months. (I've been busy.) Hat tip to Big Cheese for the link.

Malcolm Gladwell revisits David vs. Goliath. Some people get down on Gladwell because he tends to oversimplify, and also that some of his positions are much disputed (the 10,000 hours thing, especially). The New Yorker has a diligent fact checking staff so his articles tend to be a better read than the books. Anyway: video.

It's the Thought that Counts

Strong life lesson right there. The box with the writing on it really brings it home.

Cribbed this straight from Alligator Sunglasses. 

13 September 2014

LET'S TALK GUNS: HK VP9 Review and Comparison with M&P9, P30L

Posted this review on a forum but it was behind a paywall. There are a lot of VP9 reviews and comparos popping up. Here's another one.

tl;dr: The VP9 performed well but I think the trigger is too heavy. Hoping it smooths out with use. Would definitely lighten the break if I could. It's a good gun for the money if you live outside of CA. (Note that 'good gun for the money' is very definitely not the same thing as being 'a good gun', full stop.)

Full version:
Brought a mixed bag of guns out to the range to introduce some new shooters. Experience varied - we had two very new shooters, three gun owners that shoot occasionally, and me. (I take classes as often as my schedule permits and augment my time away from the range with dry practice.)

Guns that people were available to shoot:
  • HK45 light LEM
  • P30L 9mm - light LEM
  • M&P 9mm - ATEi action work
  • VP9 - new and unfired
  • P2000 9mm
  • FN 5.7 (lulz)
  • MR762 (nice)
  • Springfield 1911 (LULZZZZZZZZ)
  • HK45 in standard issue DA/SA
I was mainly interested in comparing the striker guns, and also how the new shooters would react with their limited exposure to the different 'weapon systems' (har). I'm glad someone brought a 1911 so that the new shooters could get some experience with a gun that doesn't work. (Already worked the bugs out of my M&P or else they could have used that.)

The VP9 rated about the middle of the pack. The trigger is too heavy out of the box and the gun needs some use to smooth it out. Most of the HK models on offer had fired at least 1000 rounds so they were broken in. Even accounting for break in, the trigger on the vp9 was not popular. Too heavy. I understand why people say that it is similar to a Glock. That's not a flattering comparison. After some break in I will either send mine off for some trigger work or get a lighter spring. Not sure. As is, I think it's got a ways to go.

No one hated the VP9 - it wasn't at the bottom of anyone's list, but it wasn't anyone's favorite. That's about what I would expect from a $600 gun on a table full of more pricey options. People liked everything about it BUT the trigger. The VP9 doesn't make a lot of financial sense where I live. By the time you get done paying the extra fees and tax you could have bought a M&P and had the custom work done. Or bought a P30L. Both options are superior to the VP9. I like the gun but don't plan to reach for it in case of emergency. I'll reevaluate after it has seen more use.

If you live in a part of the country where you don't have to pay extra fees and can get the VP9 for the street price then I think it's a competitive option. It is accurate and as far as reports go, reliable.

Most of the guns ran flawlessly. The only gun with issues was the 1911. When we got together at the beginning of the day and I heard someone brought a 1911 I asked if they brought a gunsmith to make sure it works. That didn't go over very well but I didn't say a word when it jammed repeatedly, failed to feed, etc. The 1911 is the Harley Davidson of handguns.

Overall a safe, fun range day. The new shooters are looking forward to picking up a new HK before the end of the year (probably the P30L).
See you out there.

05 September 2014

Throwback Thursday (late): Forever and Ever, Amen by Randy Travis

This song came out in 1987. Country song of the year, according to wikipedia. I tried to hate on it back then but secretly thought it was great. It was the only country song I liked until I heard Sonora Death Row by Robert Earl Keen (that song gets its own post).

Hadn't thought about this song since ~1988 but they played it in between sets at a country music show I went to this past week. For some reason (I'm old?) it sounded really good to me. So here we are.

04 September 2014


This was stuck in my Outbox for months. Silly iphone.

It's a drawing of a sloth.
No reason.

03 September 2014

Nice Clothes, Lame Copy: Why I Won't Wear Triple Aught Design

Triple Aught Design is a company based in San Francisco that apparently makes some pretty cool gear. It is well designed, form follows function, low profile and (as far as I can tell) well made.

I refuse to wear it.

Their marketing copy reads like something out of a J. Peterman / Dynamic Pie Concepts wet dream. For example:

"Encountering a cold front mid-mission requires preemptive plans for being properly prepared and the right performance tools at your disposal to ensure success."

What the fuck? Maybe I'm cherry picking - let's try another one, this time for pants:

"This quick drying, packable, lightweight 100% nylon fabric ensures that you can move seamlessly through multiple environments, endure changing climates and easily transition to water-based missions."

Nope. Water-based missions? The fuck are you talking about? It goes on in this vein for most of their products. It's ridiculous, which is too bad because the clothes are right in my wheelhouse.

Thing is: I don't go on water-based missions or encounter cold fronts mid-mission. I just, you know, do shit. Often outside, usually with a firearm, sometimes in the rain or changing weather, and always in some type of multi-purpose clothing, a combination of Crye Precision / Arc'Teryx / Icebreaker.

People I know that actually do go on 'water-based' missions would never, ever talk like that about clothes. TAD is marketing to people that live in some kind of weird dot MIL fantasyland. It's not a mission - it's a trip to the grocery and I want to stay dry. Or it's a long hike and it might get cold on the way there or the way back.

I'm all for situational awareness and being prepared but when do you cross the line into being a complete and utter yahoo? I think it's right around the time you start reading that copy from TAD and believe that it is sexy instead of just overwrought and ridiculous.

01 September 2014

Everything Old is New Again: Exile - Kiss You All Over (Starkiller Edit)

This is not the hottest slow jam - the edit could have omitted the mediocre chorus intro, as most of the mixes that incorporate this edit tend to do. No matter. There's a lot to like here: it keeps the 70's tempo of the original and makes it danceable, that guitar riff, and the big ending. Enjoy. 

When You Gaze Into the Abyss

A couple weeks ago I spent the night in San Diego for a conference. I stayed at the Hard Rock downtown. It was very well appointed, modern, and expensive. Kind of odd, 'edgy' interior though. To wit:

When looking for something I dropped I got down to look under the bed. Saw some legs and thought there was a dead body under there. I looked up towards the head and a person was looking back at me and I thought there was someone hiding under the bed and now I was going to have to kill them and/or run away or both.

Oops! Just kidding about the monster! The bed went all the way to the ground and for some completely unknown reason there was a 4" strip of reflective material around the bottom. WHY IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY WOULD YOU PUT A MIRROR UNDER THE BED? FUCKFUCKFUCKFUCK I ALMOST TRIED TO FIGHT THE MIRROR.

Go ahead and laugh at the video - someday you will see a monster and you will understand.

31 August 2014

Love Generously

Sweet Pups is the Best Pups
We love all medium to large pups in this space. The smalls, well, they look like chew toys. Anyway, If you love your dog then they will love you generously in return. That's a good deal.

Give your pups a kiss for me.

Hot Jamz: Follow the Sun by Alex Cruz ft. Xavier Rudd (Bootleg)

This song has a catchy melody, pleasant vocal, and a harmonica. And bird noises. (Not sure if I like the bird noises). And: free download. You could ask for more but that would be unreasonable.

I got this jam in heavy rotation - it's good from start to finish. 

30 August 2014

Too Good Not to Share: Here Kitty Kitty Kitty

Death's Glare
On the heels of that last post, here's a screen cap from video of a leopard that got loose when they were trying to relocate it from a village in India. I love it. But it is also my nightmare.

That is a Leopard, and It Has Come to Destroy

A woman in rural India battled a leopard in a brutal fight to the death. That's a leopard in the video above. She had a sickle, but my money would have been on the leopard. That is fucking intense. In related news my alarm went off super early yesterday and man, that sucked. So I know the feeling. Kind of.

For real, how does that happen? These attacks happen more often than we realize but this woman was a little bit lucky and a whole lot of tough. Tough really isn't the word; I don't know what word to use.

Some backstory: I learned a lot when I volunteered at the local animal shelter. One of the things I learned is "volunteering at the local animal shelter sucks" and also "animal shelter volunteers tend to be crazy animal rights weirdos". But the story I tell most often is to try and get people to guess what the most dangerous animal at the shelter was. We had shelter animals, rescues, and also any random animals picked up by animal control: snakes, turtles, dogs, cats, pigs, a goat, caiman, ducks, rabbits (so many goddamn rabbits), etc. No big cats or bears but just about everything else. 

What's your guess? Was the most scary animal the fighting pit bull? Or was it the rattlensakes? Hint: it was distantly related to that leopard. The animal that made everyone uncomfortable, and the animal that they would most often kill instead of release for adoption, was feral cats. They were unadobptable. Bigger than your average house cat and 100x more pissed, they were more consistently savage and vicious than any other animal. Even the most savage pit bull would settle down after a while. Not the feral cats. They are terrifying bundles of hate. People would gear up like they were going to do some ARC welding to handle cats, including the helmet and mask and everything. So when I imagine what that looks like in a cat that weighs 10x as much it frankly freaks me the fuck out. So, yeah: leopards. I prefer to appreciate them from a safe distance, like "via the internet".

25 August 2014


He was probably excited after spending all that time with the boys.

No idea how true this is but it's too good to pass up.

24 August 2014

Pool Time!

Hitting the private cabana at the pool with a babe used to look a lot different. Thanks to Friend Jeff for providing the babe (his daughter) and snapping a photo of the meatball in the hat.

I told my friend, "Hanging out in your cabana was just like Vegas - some underage girl (pictured) drank too much and threw up."

It's on the Tip of my Tongue

Inspired by a recent column on the Guardian: Is there a word for when you feel like you've lost something important to you and don't know how to get it back?

I mean besides "life". 

Get Lost to Get Found: A Field Guide to Getting Lost

A friend sent this because we were talking about making plans (or, more accurately, not making them). I've written more than one essay about plans on this space and thought the quotes were interesting. The block quite is from a book by Rebecca Solnit, and the pull quote is Maria Popova from the surprisingly good Brain Pickings.

But unlike the dark sea, which obscures the depths of what is, of what could be seen in the present moment, the unknown spills into the unforeseen. Solnit turns to Edgar Allan Poe, who argued that “in matters of philosophical discovery … it is the unforeseen upon which we must calculate most largely,” and considers the deliberate juxtaposition of the rational, methodical act of calculation with the ineffable, intangible nature of the unforeseen:
How do you calculate upon the unforeseen? It seems to be an art of recognizing the role of the unforeseen, of keeping your balance amid surprises, of collaborating with chance, of recognizing that there are some essential mysteries in the world and thereby a limit to calculation, to plan, to control. To calculate on the unforeseen is perhaps exactly the paradoxical operation that life most requires of us.

Kind of dense but it can't all be puppies and babies and babies and puppies around here.

Space Ghost = Winning

I used to watch Space Ghost religiously, even though it was on at a weird time and it was completely insane. The guests and dialog were crazy. It was Between Two Ferns years before that was a thing. Anyway, Space Ghost was fantastic, in part because of dialog like this.

Continuing Education: Science of Happiness

My cousin Bill sent me this (timely) free online course from Cal on the Science of Happiness.

Check it:
“The Science of Happiness” is a free, eight-week online course that explores the roots of a happy and meaningful life. Students will engage with some of the most provocative and practical lessons from this science, discovering how cutting-edge research can be applied to their own lives.

I don't know what to expect but I can find two hours a week - maybe play less xbone? - and learning how to live a happier life is definitely a Thing I need to Learn and Practice.

Let's do this. See you in class. 

23 August 2014

Backlog: C is for Cookie (Pasta)

Pasta Cookies are Best Cookies
This is old but great. Hat tip to Ruby's Dad for this one.


Ruby, getting up close with the camera with some funny whiskers.

Give that girl some hugs and kisses already.

18 August 2014

Old School: 1967 911S Flogged Around Laguna Seca by Pat Long

I have two uncles, one I talk to fairly often and another that I don't communicate with all that much. The latter had ambitions of being a race car driver after he got out of the service. It didn't happen (he became a journalist, and wrote about cars instead). I sent him the above video because it was his era of car driving and this was his response:

Thanks... When I think of Laguna, I still think of the old course, before they added that stuff in the infield. One time at a BMW press day I went out in a 5 Series and took about 10 laps--can't remember my lap time, but it was decent. I was sure the car didn't have more than half a second or so left in it.
 David Hobbs raced for BMW in the IMSA series, and he was giving demo rides. I handed him the key and got into the passenger seat. On his second lap, he went four seconds quicker than my best time, driving with one hand, pointing out the apexes and telling a story about a hot blonde TV producer who was filming a commercial. That's when I realized I wasn't going to be a racing driver....

17 August 2014


Blog got kind of heavy for a minute - how about a picture of a super cute puppy? Ruby, get in here! How can you not want to kiss that girl?

Still haven't met this girl in person. Next time I'm in the bay area it is happening. Can't wait.

Sloth in Motion

Oh hey did Mozilla post a GIF of a sloth? Yes. Yes they did.

White People Problems: Yoga Idiots

Long-time readers know that I attend yoga classes on a semi-regular basis. It's good for you, it's a social outlet, it is humbling, personal growth, hot girls in yoga pants, blah blah blah. For the most part I am insulated from the yoga yahoo extreme but every now and then I am exposed to it. There's only so much inward focus you can do in a crowded class. It makes me want to put these people on a vegetarian/vegan, gluten free, quinoa-based, environmentally friendly rocket and launch them into the sun.

Scene: end of yoga class, rolling up my mat. Conversation (overheard): 
Girl 1: Oh my gosh you have so much going on right now!
Girl 2: Oh my gosh I know - I'm sooooo busy.
Girl 1: I saw that you're going to culinary school.
 //Ed: An odd choice for someone who is creepy skinny. 

Girl 2: Yeah it's sooo great. It's vegetarian/vegan and it has been so GOOD for me
 //Ed: Visual evidence suggests otherwise.

Girl 1: And you know /name/, because they're active in the animal rights movement!
Girl 2: Yeah! That is soooo great that you do that too.
Girl 1: Thank you so much - we are planning an event at the pier tomorrow. Did you know they kill all those fish? We have t-shirts and we're going to make it really friendly and approachable.

//Ed: :: blurgh :: Hey did anything happen last week aside from the brutal murder of some bait fish on the pier? Like, did a man get gunned down in the street or anything? Police sweep in and violate anyone's constitutional right to assemble, all in the name of law and 'order'? Ring any bells? No? Oh. Carry on with your crusade for the rights of the anchovy.

I'm sure your "approachable" protest is going to make a huge impact with the fisherman. BTW, do you speak Spanish and/or Vietnamese? No? Oh. Maybe not so much.

:: Exeunt all ::

It's so nice that I live in a place where people can go to vegetarian/vegan culinary school (Example recipe: wash organic broccoli, eat, enjoy(?)) and also not worry about my neighborhood getting occupied by the local clown school police force. Black people in Ferguson need to worry about dying in those streets. White people in Costa Mesa got problems too: people are killing fish on the pier!

Enjoy your week. I'm eating lamb for dinner. It helps remind me not to be a sheep.

12 August 2014

The NFL is the Worst: Turn Down for What-the-Fuck-Ever

There's been a lot of digital ink spilled over the two game suspension Ray Rice got for knocking his fiancee unconscious in an elevator during an altercation.

I don't watch football any more because I do not feel like supporting an organization that suspends a player for two games for punching his wife in the face and four games for taking MDMA when on vacation. Also unacceptable: suspending players for 5 games for trading on the value of their image or likeness when they were in college and still 'amateurs'.

The message is clear: Punching your wife? Not good. Doing relatively harmless recreational drugs in your off hours? Bad. Disobeying the archaic, absurd, hypocritical rules in the NFL's minor leagues the NCAA by trading your jersey for tattoos?  Very bad. In other words: Beat your wife at your discretion, but don't you dare affect the NCAA / NFL revenue stream. Some things are inviolate.

As an aside, what do you think is at longer-term health risk: a severe concussion or eating some molly? Asking for a friend.

Dancefloor Destroyers: I Want You Back by Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5

Haven't posted any music here for a while. Weird, because I listen to music almost every waking moment. Busy, you know?

Anyway, here's a certified multi-generational Dancefloor Destroyer from 1969. That hook! That vocal! That bassline! That chorus! I love this song.

Thanks for reading. 

10 August 2014

I Need One of These*

So Cute I Can't Stand It, from SPACE
As reported about six weeks ago, here's the spacesuit-themed onesie I got Baby Samantha when I was visiting the American Museum of Natural History back in June. She didn't fit it first but she's ready to barf all over it now. Good times!

I said it before, but: If those things came in adult sizes then we could be matchies. I love the spacesuit onesie. A lot.

* I mean the onesie. What did you think I meant?

The Things They Carried: 1066 to 2014

Photo essay of soldier's kit inventory (aka "battle rattle") from 1066 to modern times, from the Telegraph. Interesting, if you're into that sort of thing.

That's a hell of a lof of crap to haul around. The modern gear is very sophisticated but what amazes me is that the loadout from 1588(!!) maps very well to the loadout from 2014. Firearm and related accessories, backup to the firearm, clothes, and food kit. (The 2014 loadout is from a Sapper, or EOD guy, and most of his gear is unique to his role.)

I've Been Away

I was out of town for a week of training in the middle of Long Island, NY. I say 'the middle' because Long Island has desirable real estate at both ends: NYC on end, and the Hamptons on the other. So the property in the middle of the "island" is... less desirable. It's the part you drive through. Or fly over, if you're private-helicopter rich. Think of it as the Long Island equivalent of the flyover states.

In celebration of my return here's another old picture of David Letterman in a sweet ass UCSB shirt. I would actually pay for one of those. And wear it.

Lots to catch up on so I'll get to it as time allows.