Friday, April 30, 2010

That explains a lot.

One of my (many, many) takeaways from this year's Aim Fast, Hit Fast was an explanation for why I never seem to bungle the slidelock manipulation on an emergency reload. (The whole getting-the-mag-in-the-gun bit is another can of worms entirely.)

It turns out that proper procedure (assuming the gun is configured in a manner that allows it) is to ride the thumb on the slidelock lever during the reload. When you slam a new magazine home, the gun will bump upwards into your thumb, depressing the lever at exactly the right time, every time. Satisfaction!

Actually, it hung me up worse at first to find out what was going on, as I accidentally manipulated the lever several times trying to consciously reproduce the effect. But damn if it doesn't work extremely well. Unfortunately the 1911 jockeys are SOL (unless you've desecrated your gun with an extended slide release, in which case I can't help your immortal soul).

On Simple Pleasures.

Recipe for contentment:

5.11 XPRT Patrol boots, Black (1 pair)*
1 can, Kiwi Black
1 Old dishrag
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex on Netflix Instant Watch**
Guide to polishing boots (this one is the best I've run into so far)

GitS is damn good - both movies, and both seasons of Stand Alone Complex. Both from an aesthetic standpoint - I suppose the best way to describe SAC would be "post-Blade Runner" - and from a thematic one, GitS stays engaging. The movies do bog down in philosophizing a bit, but usually by the time you process what they're saying a crateful of Seburo firearms show up.

I realize that I spoke ill of the English voicework in GitS:SAC, and I was quite premature. That said, the characterization does seem to change subtly in each dub - the Japanese one is more meditative and subdued, while the English version is a good deal more forthright at times. (For instance, watch the Laughing Man's final scene with Kusanagi back to back with either one.)

Furthermore, GitS:SAC nails the 2D/3D hybrid style that a lot of Anime seems to be going to. Occasionally you'll see a flat 2D frame pivoting in a 3D space (think Doom, or better Doomsday) but generally the use of a high detail cel-shaded style for the 3D blends perfectly. Actually, between this and Cowboy Bebop: The Movie it seems that the good studios have got this covered. (The series had some egregious O HAY SHINY STUFFS moments.)

Speaking of Cowboy Bebop, GitS features a spectacular Yoko Kanno soundtrack.




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* This consitutes an unpaid endorsement. LA Police Gear had 'em on sale, and instead of another pair of ATACs I got the top-of-the-line model for the same price. If there's a level of comfort in footwear that qualifies as obscene, this is a good starting point.
** Though as of 5/1, as Inspector Clouseau would say, "not anymore."

Friday, April 23, 2010

On The Böker Sublaw.

Ever since I read the Mercop review, I wanted a Subclaw. Actually, that's not entirely true. After reading that review, I wanted a grab n' stab sort of backup blade, and a fixed blade in a sheath on the belt line (a la clinch pick) seemed just the ticket. California's surprisingly reasonable* knife laws require fixed blades to be carried openly, however, and that ruled out the La Griffe or Ka-Bar's attractive TDI line (which, incidentally, includes a training variant).

I ordered the knife, rather painlessly, from KnivesPlus, at the entirely acceptable price point of $25.97. (The usual absurd knife manufacturer markup of 70% or more seems to be intact.)

Cold Steel Ti-Lite (4" Blade); Böker Sublaw (1 7/8" Blade)

She's actually a bit bigger than I anticipated. While being wispy thin, the blade and grip are quite tall, which makes for a surprisingly comfortable grip. The beefy clip is held in place by a trio of Torx screws and is reversible. Unlike the Ti-Lite, it didn't loosen noticeably within the first week of carry. A lanyard hole is included. Also unlike the Ti-Lite, the thumb stud is duplicated on both sides and doesn't seem screwed in. The Ti-Lite's Torx screw also loosened up after about a year and a half; loctiting the screw to the stud produced a usable stud that seemed to stay put while rotating in place, which is unnerving. Hopefully the Subclaw's stud is a bit more durable.

Fox Labs 2oz Cop-Top, SIG P226/.40, Cold Steel Ti-Lite, Böker Sublaw, Surefire 6P LED, Tactical Polymer Coffee Ring Mitigation System (5.5" model)

Unlike other openers, I've yet to find a way to snap the 'claw open rapidly; riding the stud out to full lock seems to be the only way to run it. (Of course, it took me a year to figure out how to snap the Ti-Lite's thumb stud, so...) The clip seems to hold on tightly. Clipped to the inside of a waistband at 1 o'clock, it'll stay put all day. Deployment, after some practice, is smooth, but not nearly as fast as a strongside pocket clip. I guess some more practice is in order.

The blade, in AUS8, shipped in "disturbingly sharp" condition, and I'm all too happy about that. Actually, it's sharp enough that I'm hesitant to use the knife, lest I fail to return it to factory condition. On the Ti-Lite, AUS8 seems to produce a shaving sharp edge that will last a few days under moderate use. (I just found out that stropping the hell out of the blade with the rough backing of a leather belt does wonders for edge quality.)

So far, I'm impressed, as well as lacerated - that hawkbill blade is nasty! The combination of an aggressive point and a shaving-sharp edge with some bite really cuts deep. For the price point, the Subclaw seems to be a worthwhile investment.

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* Despite most, if not all, of California weapon laws being utter bunk - at least we know the legislature wants to protect the people from air gauge knives and shobi-zues, whatever the hell those are - all folders, other than switchblades, can be carried anywhere not otherwise prohibited. Fixed blades must be carried openly, which doesn't entirely make sense, but there's not length limit, either. Sticking a cavalry saber down your pants leg is bad juju, while wearing one on a Sam Browne belt is a-ok.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

An Observation.

So I was ruminating about Avatar at work the other day (I suspect Red Letter Media is to blame) and I had a bit of a revelation.

Of course early peoples* were in perfect harmony with nature. If you aren't in perfect harmony with nature, you starve to death (or get eaten, or poisoned, or whatever). The only way your bodily functions can continue working while you are not in perfect harmony is a societal support structure. Early agriculture-based societies could be slightly less in harmony with nature, because they maintained a reserve of food, and had a bit more protection from the elements. Today, we're not in tune with nature because, except for major natural disasters, it bloody well isn't necessary for daily life. The dirty hippies tend to ignore the fact that they can willingly choose to be 'more in harmony with nature' because of societal supports.

Combine this with a very interesting study about interpersonal violence, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau can officially suck it.

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* I was tempted to use "First Peoples," if only to needle Evergreen State College's "First Victims Club." On further consideration, that takes things down the long, dark road of unfortunate implications.