Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Plain Gold Ring (live) - Kimbra

[direct link]

Surprise! There's still some talent out there!

Quote of the ugliest of things.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

-John Stuart Mill, English economist & philosopher (1806 - 1873)

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

California steals from 9/11 victims

This is impossible.
This is unfathomable.
This just can't be true.

Who am I kidding?

This is expected.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Spyderco's Native knife line

I've written about the Native series before. They are the knives I've found most interesting in the Spyderco line.

The basic design started with the Manix, which featured a well-defined finger choil (between blade and grip), nice G10 grips, an acceptable but standard blade shape in acceptable 154cm steel, and funky ball bearing lock. The screws for disassembly were much appreciated.

Then they refined things with the Native, which featured a misshapen finger choil with uncomfortable sharp edges, the new spear point native style blade in excellent S30V steel, too-slick plastic grips, acceptable pocket clip, the standard strong lock, and aggressive jimping on the blade for your thumb. Rivets were used in this design, presumably to reduce cost. The Native was less expensive than the Manix when it came out, but has risen in value as people discovered the utility. This design actually returned to production after the next knife came out, and is currently available as a very high value low price EDC. It's hard to go wrong with this one.

Then the Native III which kept the overall blade shape and lock, but switched to VG-10 which is a bit too hard for my tastes. The partial serration was appreciated in this design because it left enough plain blade to use for detail work. You'll notice the choil returned to proper shape and gained higher sides to keep your finger safe and add grip. The jimping is reduced, just as grippy, and less visually disruptive to the design. Very well done. The biggest design addition here is the "design in the dark" grip which is significantly more ergonomic than the Native's flat sides. (detail of grip comparison here) The clip is also superior at both holding in place, and easily sliding off. When sliding on, the grip/clip interface tends to bind on your pocket. The blade shape is modified slightly to be wider, and fits with the lines of the knife beautifully. I would like to have one of these in plain blade, but they're hard to find at an acceptable price. This knife has been discontinued.

Next is the Native 4 which is more of a dress knife than a utility blade. The smooth carbon fiber grips look and feel beautiful, but are much too smooth. Notice the return of the Manix's lanyard loop for some reason. The blade design appears to be modified slightly with a dropped tip, still using VG-10. The choil is more elegantly swept back, but this only means less grip to me. Jimping is virtually non-existent. The blade is flat ground (blade body has no additional bevels from back to cutting bevel) which improves the looks somewhat, but reveals what we've already figured out; looks are beating utility on this design. The clip is now totally customizable (left, right, tip down, tip up), but not as good as the Native III's clip. Also notable is the addition of screws instead of rivets, meaning you can take down your Native for a detail cleaning finally. These additions all came at a price, the Native 4 was priced at about double the last two knives. (prices have reduced since release) This knife has been discontinued.

Finally, we come to the most recent evolution of the Native; the Spyderco Native 5. Immediately we can identify many desirable features. The blade shape has returned and retained the flat grind while switching to S35VN (supposedly similar to my preferred S30V). The clip is unfortunately still the new style, but can be set in any configuration. The choil seems to have compromised with the Native 3 and 4, and for some reason features internal jimping. Gladly, the screws remain to allow you to clean this caliber of knife. The G10 grips appear flat, and while better than the Native, aren't nearly as positive as the Native III. I vacillate on this, though. The wide grips of the 3 are great in your hand, but not so much in your pocket. I found myself carrying the Native more because it was less obtrusive in my pocket and was smoother entering and exiting my pocket. I suppose if I was holding the knife more than I was carrying it in my pocket, I'd prefer the 3's grips, but I carry far more than I use, so these G10 grips should be perfect.

While striking the right mix of utility and elegance, the Native 5 clocks in around $150, which makes this knife an extremely great value. The features and design have developed to the point of rivalry with knives over $200. This isn't the Spyderco throwaway you toss in a toolbox and forget about, this is your new Every Day Carry knife. Resting unobtrusively in your pocket, ready and sharp when called upon for utility tasks, sure of grip and totally controllable, prepared for years of reliable service.

This is an idea, a design, a knife worthy of carry.

The Next "Evolution" of Obama?

Lets just be honest and admit that it was super impressive how president Obama "came out" in support of gay marriage.

I remember it like it was yesterday... [wavy screen here]

He called a televised, joint session of congress, stood at the podium facing his dissenters in the room and in the world, and spoke his convictions clearly. He made an impassioned appeal to the equality of all people, as only he, our first black president, could make. He appealed to our better selves, and challenged us to support each other in the brotherhood of man, instead of finding petty differences to divide ourselves and isolate scapegoats. I particularly liked the part where he said he would make the issue of equality a cornerstone of his presidency, and indicated that he would send multiple recommendations for legislation to the congress for their vote, up or down. He wasn't just going to say words, he was going to take action, and make our politicians go on the record so future generations can look back and see how backward our world view once was.
It truly is a brave new world.

Oh no wait, he mumbled it in passing in an interview, and went home.

But that's alright, I guess. I mean, it was at least impressive to come out in support of gay marriage when public opinion is so against it!

Oh wait, U.S. Acceptance of Gay/Lesbian Relations Is the New Normal

To be honest though, when I first heard this announcement, I was confused. I had always figured most liberals support gay marriage, but traditionally, it gets voted down (with several prominent losses quite recently) leading to a schism between what people blurt to Gallup and what lever they pull behind the curtain. Either way, it was a divisive issue to take up on an election year. It was a very strange move that didn't make political sense to me.

But then I heard about Biden voicing his support for gay marriage and the praise heaped upon him by the LGBLT (lesbian, gay, bacon, lettuce, tomato) community.

Yes, if you ever question what this president is doing, just put yourself in his position and thin your skin so much you could suntan your liver. Then this move makes sense.

But enough of Obama's self-destructive, ham-fisted, poll chasing, lets talk about this exciting new study!

"Pro-Choice" Americans at Record-Low 41%

Gee that graph looks familiar...

So is this the next "evolution" of Obama?

Or do we have to wait until Biden stumbles into some perceived sleight?

Politics that change with the wind?
O brave new world!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Quick info dump

Challenge the premise that the destructive path America's leaders have chosen originates from good intentions. Change the reason, and these actions make grim sense. If I wanted America to fail.

Bill Whittle explains why Han shot first, and why Hollywood must erase that fact.

The debt limit explained in terms of a small family. Funny, short, and accurate.

One of those xtranormal videos of an Atlas Shrugged conversation. Hank Rearden talks to his brother Philip. I really like listening to it.

A powerful reading from Atlas Shrugged, what happened to the Twentieth Century Motor Company?

A clot of over-privileged San Francisco children dressing in black and destroying private property while the police watch and do nothing. Get your blood boiling.

College students get pepper sprayed after trying to storm a Board of Trustees meeting. Great for a laugh. Especially when one of them yells "MEDIC!" like he's trying to put his buddy's guts back into his body.

Bill Whittle explains why love of theory is the root of all evil.

Not sure how you could have missed this one, but if you have, watch this now. It's pure gold. Adam Carolla explains the OWS Generation. He cuts right to the core of the issue; envy.

"Through the desolate summits swept raging intermittent gusts of the terrible arctic wind; whose cadences sometimes held vague suggestions of a wild and half-sentient musical piping, with notes extending over a wide range, and which for some subconscious mnemonic reason seemed to me disquieting and even dimly terrible." - H.P. Lovecraft, At the Mountains of Madness

Was reading this story before bed. I snickered at the idea that a horror story might make it difficult to sleep. Bad idea. Lovecraft is more than horror.

"Whenever I need to 'get away,' I just get away in my mind. I go to my imaginary spot, where the beach is perfect and the water is perfect and the weather is perfect. The only bad thing there are the flies. They're terrible!" -Jack Handey

Run Rabbit Junk

California Screamin'

I'm having difficulty starting this post.

It's not that I lack complaints about California, I have plenty of those, it's just that I'm... exhausted.

I can't muster the ire to castigate the state on the mathematical certainty of its financial (and social) insolvency. I can't squeeze another drop of passion from the turnip that is my love for this state to pummel the high speed train to nowhere. I can't find a single synapse willing to explain how the variety of leeches up and down the food chain drain everything that was great from this state. Worst of all, I can't even bring myself to contemplate how bad the fall will be.

They won. They wore me down. I just don't care anymore. California is theirs. They can have it with all its dysfunction.

I've put in notice at my good-paying job with advancement opportunities, we've paid out of our lease, and we've shipped out the second car. We're moving to Kentucky.

We're not the first to leave, nor will we be the last.

We've been talking about moving for some time, but had no commitment to any state in particular. Kentucky was under consideration because we have some family there, but to be honest, other states were higher in preference. Last Christmas we visited our family in Kentucky, as we have before, but when we landed in California upon our return I got an odd feeling. I thought about it as we disembarked and finally put my finger on it as we rode the escalator down to the baggage claim. I turned to my wife and said, "I think we're moving to Kentucky." She nodded knowingly and said, "I think so too." And that was that. We left our hearts in Kentucky.

Given this revelation, I immediately checked the gun laws in Kentucky, and found them quite to my liking. Many states that would come to mind when discussing freedom have quirky laws about certain things. Kentucky doesn't have any that I have found.

I want to shoot steel targets in my backyard with my suppressed AR. I want use my Microtech UTX-85 to clean my fingernails. I want to own land that costs hundreds of dollars in property taxes, not thousands. I want to be able to defend my family without getting a signed Notice of Intent to Murder form from my attacker. I want strangers to return the greeting offered in passing. I want to drive to work in under an hour. I want to be able to hunt without researching conflicting ordinances and property lines for 6 months. I want to run a business without fear of the state changing my business classification and demanding back taxes while putting a lien on my business and preemptively draining my bank account (and charging me $200 for the privilege).

I don't want to live in fear that some bureaucrat is going to knock on my door with a piece of paper that says an endangered beetle lives on my land, or I use my wood-burning fireplace too much, or someone thinks I'm abusing my kid, or the tool shed I built needs to be inspected, or my birdbath doesn't have a circulation pump and filter, or my sprinklers ran on Thursday instead of Wednesday, or my garden is too large, or my grass isn't green enough, or my dog looks like a "pitbull mix," or my cat has testicles, or my cigar smoke wafted too far, or my kid's lemonade stand doesn't have a permit, or the political sign on my lawn is too large, or the tree across the sidewalk needs to be trimmed, or I can't have a chicken coop, or my pool doesn't have a fence, or my bicycle doesn't have a license, or I can't have people over to my house to discuss religion or politics, or my car is parked on my property in an unapproved fashion. I could keep going, but why bother?

I want to be free. Or at least, more free.

This move is a big shake-up, and I'm going to take advantage by making some other changes. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do next, but it'll be different. I feel like working with my hands, or for myself, or in a different industry, or all of the above. I don't know what's going to happen, but I know we'll be fine so long as we continue to trust the guidance in our hearts.

Blogging will become more regular (even if I have nothing to blag aboot) as he California job expires. It became uninteresting and unchallenging, and it ruined me for much else by the time I got home. I wasn't kidding about the upward mobility though, by their standards I was a golden boy. They hate to see me leave.

Everyone we've told has been surprisingly supportive. Hints in their speech make me suspect many have heard a similar call but declined to answer.

The stress of this completely out-of-character move may have contributed to the California burnout at the beginning of this post. All my specific concerns have been quelled with trust in guidance, but some deeper part of my brain can't help but worry. It's stressing me out and I can't address it. We move in twenty-something days, and I wish the waiting was over.

I've been playing around with new ideas and practicing the skills I enjoy. I whetted my appetite for fabrication by spending some time at a machine shop working on a project I've enjoyed planning. It's incomplete, but I'm cutting metal and learning fast. Once I get the prototype finalized, I'll toss it up on kickstarter. I think people will want one... or two.

I'm trying to be more productive with the things I like doing. Writing is one of them, so if I'm sticking to my plan, this blog should start getting busy again. Feel free to hold me to it.

I suppose that's it for now. It's terribly late for the morning I have, but I don't care because I finished this post just like I told myself I was going to.

This is the start of something great. Glad you're along for the ride.