Monthly Archives: September 2011
Set your anti-gun bias aside. You should be outraged about the “Fast And Furious” scandal. This is not how our government and so-called “leaders” should behave. Because if they’re doing this evil, what else are they doing?
Given all the politics and the cover up that even the former ATF director says has occurred, could operation Fast and Furious have been about anything other than pushing for new gun-control laws? And given all of this obfuscation from the Obama administration, isn’t this scandal comparable to the cover up that surrounded Watergate? After all, both administrations forgot that America is a country that reveres its freedom of the press and that in America officers speak out when misguided policies get cops killed. Here mothers testify before Congress when they find out a secret government program, and a stupid one at that, got their son killed.
Not that morality ends at the American border. To stress this point, Rep. Issa held a conference call with journalists on September 21 in which he said Marisela Morales, Mexico’s attorney general, is reporting that at least 200 Mexican deaths can now be traced to weapons from the Fast and Furious program.
And so the investigation and the bloody aftermath continue….
Let that sink in: After months of pretending that “Fast and Furious” was a botched surveillance operation of illegal gun-running spearheaded by the ATF and the US attorney’s office in Phoenix, it turns out that the government itself was selling guns to the bad guys.
People were killed with Fast and Furious weapons, including at least two American agents and hundreds of Mexicans. And the taxpayers picked up the bill.
So where’s the outrage?
There’s none from the feds. Attorney General Eric Holder has consistently stonewalled Rep. Darrell Issa, Sen. Chuck Grassley and other congressional investigators.
In a constantly evolving set of lies, Holder has denied knowing anything about Fast and Furious while at the same time withholding documents from the House and Senate committees looking into the mess while muzzling some witnesses and transferring others.
Makes you wonder what the agenda was….
There are two possible explanations. The first is that the anti-gun Obama administration deliberately wanted American guns planted in Mexico in order to demonize American firearms dealers and gun owners. The operation was manufacturing “evidence” for the president’s false claim that we’re to blame for the appalling levels of Mexican drug-war violence.
If this is true, then Holder & Co. have got to go — and the trail needs to be followed no matter where it leads. For the federal government to seek to frame its own citizens is unconscionable.
A second notion is that the CIA was behind the whole thing, which accounts for all the desperate wagon-circling. Under this theory, the Agency feared the los Zetas drug cartel was becoming too powerful and might even mount a coup against the Mexican government. So some 2,000 weapons costing more than $1.25 million were deliberately channeled to the rival Sinaloa cartel, which operates along the American border, to keep the Zetas in check.
Of course, there’s a third explanation — that both scenarios are true, and that those in charge of Fast and Furious saw an opportunity to shoot two birds with one Romanian-made AK Draco pistol.
This is why I love “week 3″… setting personal records is satisfying.
- 5/3/1 – Bench Press (working max: 195#)
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- 1x5x150 (work)
- 1x6x190 (PR)
- Asst. #1 – Bench Press
- 5 x 10 x 105
- Asst. #2 – Dumbbell Rows
- 5 x 10 x 40
- Metcon – jump rope
- 1 Tabata set – all single hop
It’s very satisfying to set goals then meet them. To see continued progress. To do more than you ever have before, more than you thought you ever could. Bench pressing 1x6x190 isn’t monumental (given the all time world record for a raw bench press for someone around my weight is 600 lbs. or so), but it’s good for me. It’s also kinda neat to think that in 2 cycles I’ll be breaking the 200# mark as a work weight (I could break 200 now if I wanted to, but not for work weight).
I continue to bump my bench assistance weight up by 5#, doing 105 this workout, and still that doesn’t feel like enough weight to really work me, so it’s up to 110# next week. I recently watched Dave Tate’s “So You Think You Can Bench” series again and really worked on some finer points. I’m thinking during next week’s deload week that I might fiddle with my grip width, as Dave talks about elbows going too far below the bench pad, and that a potentially wider grip could be nicer on my shoulder. I’ll experiment and see.
On the rows, last session I noticed I wasn’t caring about the negative that much, almost “dropping” the weight back down. Today I made sure to give as much thought to going down as I did going up. A cool side-effect is I found myself more focused on pulling the shoulder back, not just moving the weight…. ensuring the back muscles were doing the work, not the arm. Made a nice difference.
And what’s there to say about rope jumping…
I toy with jumping 10# for this next cycle, but I think that’s merely my ego wanting to get to 200# faster. Today’s work set of 6 reps was a hard push… on rep 4 I wasn’t sure I’d make rep 5, and on rep 5 I really wasn’t sure about making rep 6, and on rep 6 I felt like the bar in fact will be on my throat if I try for 7 so I did stop (form was failing, left arm peeding out). I perhaps could make a 10# jump, but I do think that’s driven more by ego and well… like Henry Rollins said, 200# is 200# and I don’t need her to teach me a harsh lesson. Better lesson learned to keep things in check and go for the long run.
Do you remember?
Of course, I probably should really do it this way:
Maybe looping and calling MoreMasters as well….
I work with people who have never programmed a Mac prior to Mac OS X. They only know of Objective-C and Cocoa. They never had volumes of Inside Macintosh or “develop” magazine.
I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing. The way we had to do things back then was a lot of work. Today’s still a lot of work, but it’s all focused on your personal logic and desires, not infrastructure. Cocoa is one of the best libraries out there, so deep, so broad, so robust. I’m quite pleased I don’t have to initialize the Toolbox any more.
The only person that should be looking down the barrel of your gun is your attacker.
Otherwise, you end up like this person. (h/t Shawn). Don’t worry, it’s not gory or anything… a little frightening, and a lot of head shaking at the rules violations.
Let us learn from the mistakes of others:
- Never look down the barrel of a gun!
- ALWAYS keep the gun pointed in a safe direction. Your face is not a safe direction.
- All guns are always loaded.
- Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy… like your face and head.
- If you fire a round and it goes click, obviously something is wrong. You may have a hang fire, which may well have been the case here. Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction (i.e. not your face), wait about 30 seconds (or more if you wish, no harm).
- What good do you think is accomplished by looking down the barrel anyways? If in fact you think there is a barrel obstruction, UNLOAD the gun first, then use something like a cleaning rod to pass through the barrel. You could even disassemble the firearm first. This goes back to the point about all guns always loaded. Break it into component pieces so all you have is a “tube of steel” isolated from all other parts and then ok, you can look down the “tube”. Even then my head is wired enough to only want to look down the tube from the breech end.
- Shotguns do not send clouds of death. Notice the hole in his hat brim wasn’t much bigger than the shotshell diameter. You can still miss with a shotgun, and lucky for this guy he did.
Don’t you think that the idea of both of you squatting down, as if to defecate, whilst one holds onto the other’s wrist, so that they can apply a countering technique, is somewhat off the planet?
For those that may not understand what he means, he’s talking about compliant training technique. You and your (compliant) partner face each other, assume a horse stance (“squat down”), partner offers up his wrist, you grab it and apply some sort of wrist lock technique, and your partner never resists. Partner taps because an ounce of pressure was applied, and you stand up smiling because you are obviously a badass. Yes, lots of people have a problem with this sort of training… because what are you training?
Granted, in the beginning, learning any technique requires such cooperation and compliance because you need to understand what’s going on. But once you have the basic idea in place, your partner needs to resist, which could just be applying more tension and “counter force” so it’s harder to apply the technique, all the way up to active resistance and “fighting back”. But, it really all depends upon the context and goal of your study. If you are trying to learn how to defend yourself, do you think some mugger or rapist is just going to compliantly offer their hand for you to twist? Or do you think there’s going to be struggle, resistance, and fighting? So which way do you think you should train? If however you are just training to wear a flashy uniform and look good for the crowd and the camera, I guess just ensure your teeth are straight and white and keep smiling… or grimacing profusely when the technique is applied to you. There’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you want to do. Just be honest with yourself and the training you receive.
Really, that’s what it comes down to. Ollie’s comment was a (not so?) subtle jab at Kuk Sool, but likely a deserved one (note: Kuk Sool is FAR from the only art that is like this). Kuk Sool as a martial art is actually a very good one and could be most effective — if it was taught in the right context and manner. However, these days the context predominantly seen for Kuk Sool is compliance and “looking good”, giving office workers a chance to exercise and blow off a little steam after a long day behind a desk. Nothing wrong with that (I can’t deny my fitness/conditioning level was amazing during my time in Kuk Sool). But I left (in part) because I was not being taught in a practical way and had a hard time dealing with instructors that demanded they knew how to do things “realistically” and “properly” when unskilled me could have just grabbed them and sat on them without much effort. Where are your 3608 techniques to save you now?
What Ollie wrote made me laugh, but it’s good food for thought. Ultimately it’s about knowing what YOU want out of your study. If you are wanting exercise and spirituality, find an art to allow you to follow that path. If you want to know how to fight, find an art for that path. You have to be honest with yourself, your goals, and what you’re studying. If it’s not meeting your goals, you waste your precious time and energy to continue down a path that won’t ever help you achieve your goals.
Setting Personal Records (PR) are fun.
“Week 3″ 5/3/1
- 5/3/1 – Deadlift (working max: 275#)
- 1x5x110 (warmup)
- 1x5x210 (work)
- 1x5x265 (PR)
- Asst. #1 – Hyperextensions
- 5 x 10 x BW
- Asst. #2 – Hanging Knee Raises
- 5 x 7 x BW
- Metcon – jump rope
- 1 Tabata set – all single hop
Like I said, it’s fun to set personal records. No, 1x5x265 isn’t earth-shattering in the grand scheme of powerlifting and strongmen, but it’s more than I’ve ever done before so that’s cool. PR’s are motivating, because I can see that the program and hard work is paying off, that I’m getting stronger.
What I found particularly cool about today was the moment the 265 left the floor my brain said “wow, that’s heavy”… because I’ve never done that before, totally new sensation. But within a moment of doing that, instead of being afraid of it, instead of doubting my ability, my attitude was to say “yes, it is heavy… and you’ll lift it, then you’ll lift it again, and again, and again, and you will become stronger and better for it”. And so I did.
Around rep 4 something interesting happened. I felt myself peeding out, but it wasn’t my back or posterior chain: it was my left arm. It wasn’t just my grip, it was something in the arm itself which of course then fed into the grip. My body was just not able to go much more. I squeezed out another rep and thought about going for 6 but with the gym owner standing nearby I didn’t want to risk dropping the weight so I just stopped at 5. I’m not arguing, but it was interesting that the weak point was my left arm.
Hypers continue to really work my back. I’m not sure if I’ll continue with them next cycle or switch to stiff-legged good mornings, since those will work the hamstrings more. Not sure, but thinking about it.
On the leg raises, I’m not upping the reps but every time I do them I get a little better at doing them without any swing, so there’s certainly ab work involved. The soreness I feel the day or two afterwards tells me I am working, I’m not totally cheating. So, all is alright and progressing.
Jump rope today went a lot better than it has the past some workouts.
I wasn’t feeling good nor bad today. Just there. I didn’t feel like I could tear the weights off the floor, but I didn’t feel like crap. Just… there. I haven’t gotten enough sleep the past couple nights, so that may be playing into it. Do need more rest. But still, managed to work well, set a PR, and move along. Progress is good.
Nothing like setting a personal record to start the week off on a good note.
“Week 3″ 5/3/1
- 5/3/1 – Press (working max: 120#)
- 2x5x45 (warmup)
- 1x5x90 (work)
- 1x7x115 (PR)
- Asst. #1 – Press
- 5 x 10 x 60
- Asst. #2 – Supinated grip pulldowns
- 5 x 10 x 110
- Metcon – jump rope
- 1 Tabata set – all single hop
So I set another personal record on press: 1x7x115. Never put 115# over my head, let alone for 7 reps. Felt good. Have a lot on my mind that’s really distracting me, but I did my best to keep it out of my head while I lifted… I don’t want it to get in the way, nor ruin things and consume me. One thing that helped? By chance over the gym stereo came Pantera’s “Goddamn Electric”, which is a rather inspirational song for me in numerous ways… so it was kinda cosmicly fitting and helped me feel stronger than all.
Doing 60# on the assistance press was tough… with only 1 minute of rest between sets it really wore me out. I struggled to get the last couple reps of the last couple sets, maybe needing an extra second or two before pressing. But you pound out the reps and keep going. I should stick with 60 for next week (deload week), and after that probably bump to 65 for next cycle.
On the pulldowns I accidentally realized what my shoulder needs: it’s not so much grip width as it is elbow position. I took up the usual “just wider than shoulder width” grip and felt my shoulder be unhappy but noticed how my palms were “twisting” off the bar in the down position… I opted to bring my elbows in more, as if trying to touch them together tho of course not to that extent: just keep them from flaring out. Made all the difference in the world. So, I focused on that and it really helped my shoulder. I may start to fiddle with grip width again, but for now this is fine. I’ll stay at 110 and probably go 115 next cycle. It’s important to get that full range of motion and I can feel and see it paying off.
Remember how I said if you wanted to feel uncoordinated just jump rope? Geez… what’s my problem lately? I feel like I’ve regressed in this skill. Not sure what gives. But I realized if I keep fumbling too much just “hop in place”… skip the rope and just keep moving. It’s better than losing time/effort to untangling my feet from the rope. *sigh*
Overall, good workout. Thrilled with the personal record. And I must admit, I can’t wait until I’m pressing 135 overhead for reps. In theory, I could do it for 1-2 reps right now but not going to sweat that, I’ll work up to it. But I kinda think it’ll be neat to press 45′s above my head. Yeah, there’s still ego here, I’m human.
In our “bug out bag” prep, a natural thing to want to have is a flashlight.
I settled on the Fenix LD15.
- I went with Fenix because they have a good reputation. No, it’s not a SureFire nor a Streamlight, but they use the Cree LED’s and Fenix gives you about the best bang-for-your-buck these days. Since I’m making BOB’s for 5 people, cost is a large consideration: I just can’t afford 5 SureFire’s and all the other “5′s of things” that will be needed for all the bags.
- Size/weight. I’m no guru at making BOB’s, but my thinking is having an “essentials bag” (in addition to some other bags). This is THE bag you grab if you can’t grab anything else, so it needs to hold all the essentials. IMHO, a flashlight is an essential. Leaning back to my backpacking days in Boy Scouts, size/weight of everything matters… a cubic inch saved here, an ounce saved there, it all adds up. So I wanted something on the smaller side. The LD15 isn’t much larger than a AA battery.
- AA battery. I hum-hawed for a while about what sort of battery to deal with. I admit bias towards the CR123′s because the LONG shelf life, which I think is important for a BOB since you have no idea when you’ll need things. Plus they are a good power source. However, they aren’t as common; a good grocery/drugstore might have them, but compared to AA’s? What is more ubiquitous than AA? So if things go really pear-shaped and resources are hard to come by, AA’s have the best chance of being found (in stores, in trade with other people, etc.). Furthermore, it’s likely there will be other things in my bag that need batteries, so being able to standardize on something is good, and AA’s should fill the bill. Fenix is all about the AA.
- I did look into things in terms of storage life. Quality AA alkalines or even AA lithiums should hold charge and be workable. A BOB can’t be made then shoved in the closet and ignored, you need to go through it at least once a year for any food or medical or whatever stuff. So, batteries are just part of that. IMHO, get some high quality ones, then eventually rotate them out and put fresh ones in the bag and use the old ones in the Wii remote, the TV remotes, and other such non-important things. No big deal.
That was my thinking really before I did much shopping and product investigation. My wonder was if Fenix would have something that worked for me. Would there be enough lumens? Could I get dual mode, for high output but also very low so I could do things like read and not blind myself? Will it last long enough (at least on the low setting, I accept high will drain it quickly)? And so on.
I believe I saw LA Police Gear selling the E11 on clearance, so I Googled for more information. That actually seemed like it might fit the bill, but many were comparing it to the LD15, so well… sure the E11 is cheaper (see point 1 above), but if the LD15 offers something more, go for it.
Obviously, I opted for the LD15 over the E11. A few reasons:
- The E11′s low setting was reported as actually kinda high (in terms of lumens/brightness). I can’t find reference to it now, but some people reported thinking it was too high. I don’t need that. Even my SureFire EL2 on low can be a little blinding if it reflects on what I’m reading just right.
- The E11′s switch is a tailcap clicker, which is acceptable to me. But the LD15 has a flat base so you can stand it upright like a candle. I thought that might be useful in the given context.
I did look at the rest of Fenix’s offerings. They have a lot of compelling flashlights that I think are good for EDC (Every Day Carry), such as on your keychain (I think the E15 could make the perfect keychain flashlight. I was rather impressed and think Fenix is a great way to introduce people to the world of better flashlights: performance is good, price is low. But nothing else really seemed to fit the bill as nice as the LD15 would. Remember, I’m buying for a specific context and reason.
I think the LD15′s high setting is bright enough, I think the low setting is dim enough tho still quite usable. I don’t mind that the on-off function is performed by twisting the cap — I would NOT want such a thing on a tactical light, but it’s fine here. In fact, any light I’d have in my BOB would have to be able to be disabled by twisting the cap off enough so that the light cannot be activated while sitting in the bag — and leaving me with a dead light. So, twist cap is not a problem at all.
The one thing I wish for is a clip, like on my SureFire E2L, so you could clip the flashlight onto something like a hat brim so you can direct the light where you’re looking and have both hands free. At least the LD15 comes with a basic lanyard.
Here’s a picture of comparison:
On the left, the SureFire E2L Outdoorsman: uses 2 CR123′s, 60 lumens max, 3 lumens low, LED-based, has a clip so you can hang it off things like a hat brim, costs around $185 these days. It’s my EDC flashlight and has proven to be most useful both for tactical needs and the normal every day needs that life brings. Happy investment.
In the middle, the Fenix LD15. And then on the right, a AA battery, for size/scale comparison.
So you can see, the LD15 is only slightly bigger than the AA: just wider because of the thickness of the case, and just longer because of the small tailcap and of course the LED housing.
How about performance? Quite good! I compared it to the E2L and was quite impressed with the light output. On high, the listed lumens of course put the LD15 as brighter, but practically speaking it doesn’t seem “twice as bright”. What was more noticeable was that the beam was wider, not as focused as the E2L. It’s not some floodlight, just not quite as “honed” as the E2L. Frankly, I think that’s acceptable for my context because I’m not wanting this flashlight to necessarily blind someone, I want this light for seeing as much as I can because life went pear-shaped. On low, you could really see how that sort of “beam focus” was useful, because it cast a more widespread light. You put it in low, stand it up on the tailcap like a candle, and we could light up a bedroom with a nice dim glow… enough to see everyone’s faces and what we were doing. Youngest even asked if he could have it as a nightlight. I also thought the low setting was certainly low enough and diffused enough that I could read by.
Truly, I’m impressed to get such performance out of a small package. I don’t know what runtime will be like with something like a quality alkaline or lithium battery will be. Fenix advertises high as 117 lumens for 1 hour 40 minutes, and low as 8 lumens for 39 hours, tested with a 2500mAh Ni-MH battery. They do recommend using a Ni-MH battery for best results, so I am curious how a quality alkaline will perform. Nevertheless, I think it will be suitable for the need.
All in all, I’m pleased with the purchase. I personally wouldn’t use the LD15 as my EDC flashlight, but that’s because my EDC needs are different. I do think this makes a good keychain flashlight for folks that may just want/need a light for those times when they need to manage something quickly in the dark. I also think it will fit the bill for the BOB: small, lightweight, dual modes and each mode is at a very useful level, flat tailcap to stand it like a candle, AA battery, inexpensive (relatively speaking).