Things I’m tired of seeing…

scifidoorB18.jpgb3be5c9d-3a99-4b08-93c7-d498e457ca61Larger1. Complicated Doors.
Doesn’t matter if it’s Ancient, Magic, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Alien, Vampires or whatever – the door to something important or even not important… is a complicated fecking mechanism of some sort that opens from the center with improbably numerous pieces and parts that have to move out of the way to unlock and thus allow the door parts to move away in any number of interesting and complicated ways.    Or barring that, they are just Ginsu Blade Fast and Scary… How come they can’t just be freaking doors?  What’s wrong with a regular damn door?  I bet if there really were Aliens out there, interior doors in their homes would be simple doors or maybe a bead-curtain. Not some mechanical device that rivals the workings of a Swiss Watch.  Because Aliens wouldn’t have a Complicated Door Fetish.  They would probably want efficiency… like a latch on one side and a couple sturdy hinges on the other.  The alternative to the Complicated Door is the massively oversized door out of impossibly heavy material and construction.   If the movie is really trying to hard, you will have a Massively Oversized Overly Complicated Door.

2. Crouching Slides that tear up the floor.
Any Boss-Fight anymore has this.  The Hero gets knocked back, but instead of sprawling like he just got smacked down, he slides away from the adversary in a Hero-Crouch Pose that’s solid as a rock, and as he’s sliding, he’s ripping up the ground.  Concrete, Marble, Tiled Floor – whatever it is – it’s getting ripped up in that power-slide.

2.5.  Exaggerated Action Crouching.
Iron_Man_2_johansson_crouch_0

3. Oversized Bladed Weapons.
ikkicon20This was once just Anime stuff, but it’s starting to pop up in other places – such as Tom Cruise’s new Sci-Fi remake of Groundhog Day.  The Hero Chick had a Sword worthy of a Japanese Cartoon.  Let’s leave them in Japanese Cartoons.

4.  Massive Collateral Damage to Private or Civic Property.
Superman.  Batman.  Pacific Rim.  Star Trek.  Avengers.  Lately it’s not safe to park a car or be in a building or even just in a city where a Super Hero is.  Because he’s going to use it like a Wiffleball Bat or get slammed through it like a missile, or he’ll just throw it.  Whatever it is you have – screw it.  It’s Collateral Damage in the great war against evil.  Geico doesn’t have Giant Monster/Hero policies… but maybe they should.  Because The Man Of Steel doesn’t give a damn you just dropped ink on a 450 dollar a month Car Note for that new Mercedes.   Hero is going to use it to smack the Bad Guy into your Office Building and then toss your sweet new ride you have a 72 Month Loan on.

Favorite Blade Roster

I have a lot of favorite knives, but most are from only a few sources.  I’m set in my ways… so mostly I like the Plain and Plain Edged versions of these knives instead of Serrated or Coated if those are options.  And some are no longer in production .  I also favor larger knives as a bigger blade makes work easier.   The Spyderco Native is probably the smallest of the knives on this list outside of the Spikes.  Why I like the Spikes so much?  I’ve no idea – I just do.
Is there a knife on this list that you like too?  Or is there a knife on this list that you just hate?   Let me know.

Fixed Blades:
Ka-Bar Becker BK9 Combat Bowie*
Ka-Bar Becker BK2 Companion*
Ka-Bar Becker BK11 Necker*
Ka-Bar “Big Brother”.
Ka-Bar “Warthog”.
Buck Omni Hunter 12pt*
Cold Steel Recon Tanto
Cold Steel SRK
Cold Steel Trail Master
Cold Steel Marauder
Cold Steel Scottish Spike
Cold Steel Tokyo Spike
Spyderco Warrior (Formerly known as the REKAT Hobbit Warrior**)
Ontario Marine Raider

Folding Blades:
Buck 110
Buck 110 Paperstone*
Spyderco Native*
Spyderco Native Stainless**
Spyderco Endura
Spyderco Police*
Spyderco Ulize
Spyderco Chinook*
Cold Steel AK-47*
Cold Steel Voyager
Cold Steel Recon Clip Point
Cold Steel Vaquero Grande*
Cold Steel Espada XL G-10*
Cold Steel Talwar XL G-10*
Benchmade AFCK***
Benchmade Rift Osbourne
Benchmade Bedlam*
Benchmade Onslaught
Benchmade Mini-Onslaught*
Kershaw Knockout*
Kershaw Blur

Hawks:
Anything Designed by RMJ Tactical

*Especially Favorited
** Unicorn Knife – Always wanted, never been able to snag.
*** Wish they would bring back!

Something going on at Kel Tec

Last couple weeks I’ve been stopping in at a lot of gun shops.  And there is something I’ve been seeing that I’ve not ever seen before.  Lots of Kel Tecs in stock.   KSG’s and RFB’s.  The Unicorns.
Something is going on at Kel Tec… They are kicking ass.

 

Small changes can make a big difference

My beloved Springfield 1911 GI developed a problem.  One of the wood grip panels developed a crack.  Not a big crack, but one that would have lead to the panel splitting.  In my experience, if I don’t pay attention, it splits while I’m shooting and I end up with pistol grip in my hand.  Painful and distracting when trying to shoot.

Chance was unwanted, but unfortunately necessary.  Being quite broke I asked my Facebook Friends if anyone had a set of 1911 grips laying around.  Luckily they did and sent them.   Simple black synthetic panels, nothing fancy… but they took the GI Springer from looking like it’s old war vet self and made it look different.

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It didn’t change the gun, but it changed the nature of the gun.  It’s appearance is different.  It’s feel in the hand is very different as well.  It’s like it’s a completely different pistol.  All because of a small change of a couple of grip panels, we’ve got big results.

In all reality, small changes make all the difference.  They way you stand when shooting, the way you grip.  How you focus your eyes.  Any number of little things that you can change can have big impacts on how you shoot.  The problem is we really can’t see ourselves shooting.   We can’t see the habitual errors we make.  And we can’t see how we can make an adjustment that could give us an improvement.

I was shooting with Massad Ayoob when he stopped me, physically repositioned my thumb – slightly – and instantly improved my shooting.   I’m not kidding or exaggerating.  That happened just a couple years ago.  As an instructor, I find it all the more important to be a Student.  We can never stop learning.  We can never stop seeking out those small changes to improve ourselves.   When you go to a training course, don’t expect to learn big magic ninja tricks.  Because there is no such thing… But if you are a good student, you will come away with a string of small changes.  And those can have the biggest results.

North Carolina’s BBQ sucks

When it comes to Beef.
They have the Pork BBQ Down.  I don’t think anywhere else is Pork BBQ on point with NC.  You can go anywhere  and get good BBQ Pork, but in NC, you can go anywhere and get great BBQ Pork.

Now, when it comes to Beef BBQ, I just gotta say NC falls short.  I’ve gone around Coastal Carolina and have sampled beef BBQ… and you know there the best I’ve found was?

Dickey’s.

Dickey’s a chain of fast food BBQ joints that all tastes the same wherever you go… And it’s good BBQ in the sense that a Big Mac is a good Burger.  Good when you’ve not had a burger of any sort in a long time.   But compared to others – it’s weak.  That’s Dickey’s.   I had a rather small Brisket Sandwich the other day at the Dickey’s in Raleigh, NC.  Man, it was the best Brisket I’ve had in NC.  Honestly.  The meat was tender and the Sauce  was tangy and spicy… it was good.   Compared to everywhere else I’ve tried Brisket at in NC.  The meat was flavorless… Didn’t taste like Beef.  It tasted like it was boiled or something.   Tasted like dishwater.   Actually, on it’s own, and anywhere else in the country, it would have been freaking disgusting.  But in the context of NC Beef BBQ, it was good.

That right there should enlighten you as to the state of Beef BBQ in NC.

Dickey’s does a good Pork BBQ too… I’ve not had any bad in NC.  Even at a chain like Dickey’s, which is over priced, mediocre and stingy on the portions.    Now, don’t be offended if you like Dickey’s Beef BBQ.  You just don’t know how good real BBQ can really be, and it’s probably not your fault either.  Because in NC when you say BBQ – that just means Pork BBQ.  Specifically pulled pork.  BBQ = Pulled Pork in NC.   It just does.   And that’s fine… for NC.  But really NC needs to learn to take Beef BBQ seriously.

And Dickey’s Ribs?  3 Ribs for 7.50?  That’s an insult.   Ribs should be served in 2 sizes.  Half Rack or Full Rack…. okay, 3 sizes – All the Racks.   Because when you eat Ribs and are 99% done, you should be thinking “OMG, I’m going to die from Stomach Rupturing Rib Over Dose.”  And the next thought should be, “But I got one more rib left, can’t let it go to waste.”

 

Armchair Quarterbacking: FORD

This is going to be brief.

1.   Thunderbird.   Bring it BACK.
Ford-Thunderbird-1955-EE.UU_.

The Thunderbird started out in 1955 as a hot little 2 Seat sports car, as an answer to the Chevy Corvette which came out a couple years earlier in 1953.  Unlike the Corvette, the Thunderbird grew large.  It transformed into a huge Lincoln Towncar thing, then morphed into this:

1987_ford_thunderbird

I had one of those, and it was awesome.  I had the Super Coupe version, rolling on Turbo Coupe wheels… yes, you had both options for forced induction… neither really gave a lot of power but both were great for long range interstate flights.

And then Ford did this to the Thunderbird:
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This was the 11th Generation of the Thunderbird.   Ford tried to do some Retro Styling to it and missed.  They took what could have been awesome and gave it all the bravado and machismo of this:

1991-Buick-Reatta-191476

How they managed to make a 2 seat, drop top Thunderbird as fun as a Buick Reatta, I have no idea.  But they did.  The 2002 Thunderbird was a huge flop and an automotive laughing stock.  So much so that Ford discontinued the Gen 11 Chickenbird in 2005.  This was even before I actually saw one in person.  And when I did see it, I laughed at it.  A lot.  It cried.

I only know 1 guy that liked his 2005 Thunderbird.  He bought one and loved it.  He said it was “Vogue”.  This isn’t him, but he looks like him:

Glee-Colfer-Born-Way_320

Not that there is anything wrong with that, but even he said the car was “too gay”.  He sold it a couple years later and bought a VW Beetle, because it was tougher.  He actually said that… and his Beetle has a build in flower vase.  He has since bought another Beetle.  This one has a turbo.  He’s learning.

So the car was a huge failwagon… Where did Ford go wrong?  With the Mustang, they took the retro theme and made it work.  By making it look modern with retro touches.  With the Thunderbird they took a car from 1955 and retro-Imaged it to the 1950′s vision of what the year 2000 was like.  When what they should have done was take a 1955 year car and make it look like current era modern and not past era future-vision.

Look, Ford doesn’t have a car that competes with the Corvette from Chevy or the Viper from Dodge.  Does it need it?  Yes.  Ford needs it.  Because Ford’s only performance machine is myriad different flavors or Mustang.  And the Mustang isn’t in the same league as the Vette and Viper.    Ford had the GT 40 Replica, the “Ford GT” for a very brief production run, and then killed it.  There are no more Ford GT’s so don’t even bring that up.  They are all in private collections owned by people who may drive it once or twice a year on their own property for a grand total of 6 miles annually.  That’s not a car.  That’s a trophy.  So shut it about the GT.  Ford needs something that has history name wise.  A recognized title.

What I’d do would be to put Ford’s design team in a bunch of Sports Cars, from across the board.  Miatta’s, BMW Z3′s, MG’s, Saturn Skys, Pontiac Solstice (same thing I know), an AC Cobra or two, the new Vette and the Viper… Then the Original, the 1955 Thunderbird.  Let the guys spend a whole day at the track.  No instruments.  No measurements.  Just drive the cars.   All day.  Enjoy the day.  And then tell them… We want a new Thunderbird, and put all that enjoyment into it.

2.  Bronco.

trollertr4

A Ford company in Brazil is making this.  They are calling it a Troller 4.  Ford needs to be calling this the Bronco and building it in the USA.  Make it a soft top, drop top, removable hard top like the Jeep Wrangler or Land Rover Defender.  The FJ is leaving the market, leaving really the JK Wrangler as the only real offroader option anymore.  Which is stupid.  So here’s what I’d do… Take another team of Ford Guys, and put them in a bunch of Rubicons.  Take them to Moab.  Spend a WEEK camping and living in the Jeeps, taking trails, having a good time.  And then the last day, put this Troller in front of them and tell them to make it a Rubicon.  Then build that.

EDIT:

#3.  The Ranger.

Ford needs to do a small pickup.  The market needs more options.  Even VW is working on one.  Ford needs to dominate this.   Just as small as the last ones.  Okay, maybe just a little bigger.  Not just a slight smaller truck like the Chevy Colorado, which looks like a chopped Equinox… Make it like the last Ranger.  But Modernized.  4, 6, and 8 cylinder options.  Same engine options as the 2015 Mustang.   2×4 and 4×4 options.  2 door, king cab, and 4 door options.  Keep it simple, keep it cheap, give it a good touch screen, make the little truck cool… and open it up so it can have massive aftermarket customizing options.   Make a Work Package, a Street Package, and an Off Road package… Mini Raptor.  Style them like the Raptor.  That same style grill and markings.

Politically Guilty Pleasures

10371395_10203158152608078_9202795256193388648_nHad an interesting conversation with Mark Walters that made me think.  He was cranking some music from Cracker and piloting his CamAARo down the freeway.  We talked briefly about music and he saw that I had some Rage Against The Machine in my play list.   Mark went off.  He will not have RATM playing in his ride… just like he wont listen to a lot of other Leftist musicians, (Bruce Springsteen) or watch movies staring well known Super Liberals like Sean Penn, among others.   Yet he did make the exception for  John Cougar Mellencamp, a known Liberal supporter.  We all make our lines in the sand and make our exceptions for whatever our reasons… and that’s all fine.

While I disagree with RATM politically, I have to say the group has some talent and can really jam.  The music gets me pumped.  Gah… Man… Hold on… I gotta knock out 20 pushups…

Okay, what about film… The actor that played Hawkeye in the series, “MASH”.  Alan Alda.  You know him.  I disagree with Alan a lot, but I still like him.  He’s a humanist and has very well reasoned excuses for his wrong opinions… but he’s thought about them and believes them on a (flawed) intellectual level.  I can respect that.  And I respectfully disagree… So while he’s a big time Liberal – I still enjoy his performances.

Sean Penn though – I almost walked out of the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” when I realized that Sean Penn was in it.   But then I stayed because he at least didn’t speak.  (Maybe he did, but I didn’t hear him) Doesnt matter.  He wasn’t really in it.  Just a couple seconds worth of Cameo here and there.  Anyways… I dislike Sean Penn and can’t watch really anything he’s in.   Because pretty much I don’t care for anything he’s in.   It’s not like he’s in Expendables 4 or Terminator 5… so he’s easy to pass on.

But what music or movies are your politically excused guilty pleasures?

The Blade Show

So I finally made it to the Blade Show.  It was fun and I saw many wonderfully crafted bits of sharp metal.  I was tempted greatly to buy many of the wonderfully crafted bits of sharp metal.
A couple of the blades I really liked were from Fremont Knives in Wyoming.   The one they call the Farson Blade, I found most interesting and think it would be very useful.   They also have it in a hatchet style tool.  Of course this is too light to be used like some camp hatchets… But damn if that wouldn’t be awesome for use as a cleaver.  These would be put to great use in the Ogre’s Grilling While Armed Echo Laboratory.
Now, the coolest stuff that resonated with me, was Zombie Tools.

10390202_10203143742767841_999867480622855527_n

ZT was holding court in style in the lounge, chilling and drinking cold ones, and talking blades with whoever wanted to talk.   They have a wicked Gladius type blade that I love, their axe, (which they call the Traumahawk – shit, I love their names) the cleavers… Gotta have me the Rat Bastard…   Freaking everything they make is just badass to the bone.  Finally meeting them face to face was the highlight.

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A small USA made Device

zippoA small mechanical device that I really like is an Iconic Made in America institution… the classic Zippo wind proof lighter.
Its so simple it’s elegant.   I have to admit a fascination with them.
The company started back during the Great Depression, supplied our troops during WWII, and is still making the same design.   It’s an American success story.  I think its something that every gun owner can appreciate.
If you are unfamiliar with the Zippo Wind Proof Lighter.  Go get one.
I carry one all the time or at least keep one in my car.  Its my good luck charm.