Thursday, April 16, 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back in Black (Random Equipment Notes)




Call sign "CARRIED INTEREST".  Aka "The Wraith."  600+ hp  6-liter W12 twin turbo.  0-60 4.3 sec/200 mph top-end :), yet still remaining within the parameters of elegance and civilized taste.  The Flying Spur is part of a larger upgrade to, shall we say, "institutional grade infrastructure" on multiple dimensions.  More detailed reviews on effectiveness in both social/lifestyle and pure performance contexts to follow after a few months of work with this beast.








TOM BIHN LUGGAGE AND FILSON 72-HOUR BAG:

Tom Bihn is well-known among the hardcore vagabond-travel types and the gear is really well thought-out.  I have fancier-looking and heavier luggage for certain applications, but the Bihn stuff is what I use all the time.

Here we have two bags, the Synapse 25 backpack for technology/gadgets and the Aeronaut maximum-legal carry-on (which does have concealed backpack straps) as a "shack pack" (overnight bag normally left in trunk of car and used to support unplanned opportunities). 




We all probably have opinions on this, but the system that I personally use for EDC luggage goes something like this:

1.  Go Bag.  The requirement here is versatility in social and practical use contexts.  You want a bag that, ideally, you could A) take into a business meeting; B) use as a carry-on flight bag;  C) *comfortably* take with you on a day of sightseeing as a tourist; D) work out of if you had a few hours in a coffee shop;  E) take with you on a casual date (if you had to). 

The single best bag for these purposes that I have found is the Filson 72.  It's about the perfect size and it has a retro, WWII-vintage or safari-esque look that works well in a variety of settings and has captured my imagination.   I also use some beautiful and attention-getting Saddleback leather products for more glamour, but the Filson bags are light and efficient. 






2.  Tech Bag.  If I want to bring a lot of gadgetry around and can prioritize comfort over other variables, I usually will want to use a backpack in the 20-25 liter range.  

3.  Shack Pack.  This is a carry-on sized bag for clothes, shaving kit, etc.  It would normally be left in the trunk.  The items carried in it are for comfort; I assume that if I am out and about I will be dressed in Hedge Fund Gigolo, so the Shack Pack is meant to complement HFG. It gives you the ability to change into something more functional/casual, work out, and so on w/o having to go home first.  Most of the items are from TAD Gear and Arc'teryx; I suppose that the concept could be called "Paleo Gigolo".





I really dislike being inconvenienced, especially with tedious, routine life frictions.  Alas, a frequent inconvenience occurs when I have to transfer pieces of equipment between the Go Bag and the Tech Bag; these are the two bags that see the most content-transfer because they are both used regularly and serve a similar role for me.  Filson has helped me out with these padded "Multipad" sleeve/organizers.  They come in different colors, including tan and black:




Each sleeve has layers of internal organizer pockets: 





Here is Filson plus the two Bihn pieces:




A former member of the Strauss/Mystery pick-up artist crew and professional gambler-turned-nomadic world traveler named "Tynan" has produced some excellent gear reviews and minimalist-travel type load-out lists using a Bihn Synapse bag (I am currently using a few of his suggested items): 

Tynan Gear List


TERANISHI LEATHER

In terms of some interesting leather goods...  Teppei Teranishi left the Orange County hardcore music scene and has been doing handmade artisanal leather work in the Pacific NW.  Here we have three items:  the indigo/tan minimalist leather wallet at the top is a really nice, conversation-quality piece; the larger Dopp kit on the bottom right is stashed in my shack pack Aeronaut; and my favorite of the trio is probably the small Moleskine notebook cover with the integrated pen sheath (pen I put in there is a Fellhoelter in titanium that I purchased from the master outfitters at TAD Gear). 



The notebook cover contains a small leather business card case from Wulf.  Here it is next to a beautiful Saddleback cover for the larger Moleskine notebooks that I use for (archived) journals:





 V.K. NAGRANI

These guys make really nice dress socks, boxers, and sweat pants, among other things.  They transform the shop into a lounge at night; I could readily imagine Danny Ocean and Rusty Ryan shopping there.








SPIKE'S TACTICAL




This rifle is a Spike's Tactical "Black Assassin" with a Magpul sling and Hazard 4 "Evac Smuggler" soft case.  This is my favorite general format for a utility-outfielder-type AR and Spike's executed it very well.  They are great people to work with.  

I will be mounting optics, weaponlight, etc. in the next couple of weeks, but so far I really like this thing and would certainly put it on the same shelf as my AR carbines from other high-end makers.  Spike's Tactical also makes an integrally-suppressed SBR called "the Compressor" that unfortunately has a current backorder log of almost a year.  Having handled one briefly in the Spike's shop, I can say that a tricked out Compressor will probably be my home defense piece as soon as I can acquire one.   


VIOLENT LITTLE MACHINE SHOP

Amusing morale patch: 




  




TAD CORE PROGRAM

A selection of the very, very best interdisciplinary combat instructors---i.e., guys who can put together a training package that has elements of shooting, empty hands, knife, social dynamics/social engineering, tactical applications, and so on---are now conducting classes in association with TAD out in California.

TAD CORE TRAINING COURSES

This is a real Dream Team.  I have learned and continue to learn a lot from these men.   Much of the Septivium concept and curriculum is based on conversations I have had with them over the years. 





Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Donovan on Training




"I write for a species of man that does not yet exist."

-Nietzsche


Inspiring writing on training philosophy---S&C, MMA---and physical culture from Jack Donovan's excellent A Sky Without Eagles :

"Why bother?

"Given the investment of time and the potential loss of productivity, I think it's important to think about your motivation.  What reasons can justify working to become physically stronger or faster or more agile or more skillful than necessary to be 'fit enough' to survive in the modern environment?

"One could argue that the modern, First World lifestyle is unsustainable.  As any evolutionary biologist would point out, environments change, and part of being 'fit enough' means being able to survive potential changes to your environment.  It's naive to assume that things will always be as they are now.

"....Martial arts training is the manliest kind of training, because its end is directly related to the primary role of men---fighting and defending.  

"...A man can train to attract women, but men will admire him more if he trains to scare other men.  

"...Acting and behaving 'as if' brings me to the conclusion I finally reached in my own search for a higher, better reason for spending so many hours of my life in the gym, maintaining and improving my dying body.  

"I train for honor.

"I train because I refuse to be a soft ambassador of this Age of Atrophy.  And I refuse to be a shuffling, slobbering, potato chip gobbling evidence of modern decay.

"I refuse to be 'Exhibit A.'

"...The athletic potential of the male body is wasted on the modern world.  The best of us occupy ourselves by training to perform tricks and play games, but our bodies are built for work and for action.  Men are capable of Herculean labors, and the male machine wants, at the apex of its potential, to be hurled in a warp spasm of muscular inertia at danger and, ultimately, death.  

"I don't train to be 'fit enough' for the modern world, or to gain the esteem of the average modern man.  I train because somewhere in my DNA there's a memory of a more ferocious world, a world where men could become what they are and reach the most terrifyingly magnificent state of their nature.  I don't train to impress the majority of modern slobs.  I train to be worthy enough to *carry water* for my barbarian fathers, and to be worthy of the company of men most like them alive today..."





*****

This book practically crackles with powerful quotes and key insights.  In my view, Jack Donovan and his strategic partners at places like Pulse Firearms Training are really systematizing a new masculine synthesis that goes way beyond hobbies and side interests and into core lifestyle design and systems for potentiation of the human animal.  What a great group of guys.







Friday, April 18, 2014

Twenty-Five Quotes and Aphorisms from Nassim Taleb



1.  Education makes the wise slightly wiser, but it makes the fool vastly more dangerous.

2.   An erudite is someone who displays less than he knows; a journalist or consultant the opposite.

3.   You never win an argument until they attack your person.

4.   You don't become completely free by just avoiding to be a slave; you also need to avoid becoming a master.

5.   The difference between magnificence and arrogance is in what one does when nobody is looking.



6.   Deficits are similar to carbs: the more you eat, the hungrier you get.

7. You have a real life when most of what you fear has the titillating prospect of adventure.

8.  I wonder if a lion (or a cannibal) would pay a high premium for free-range humans.

9.   You may not be able to change the world but can at least get some entertainment and make a living out of the epistemic arrogance of the human race. 



10.    Wittgenstein's Ruler: "Unless you have confidence in the ruler's reliability, if you use a ruler to measure a table you may also be using the table to measure the ruler."

11.   If you want to get an idea of a friend's temperament, ethics, and personal elegance, you need to look at him under the tests of severe circumstances, not under the regular rosy glow of daily life. Can you assess the danger a criminal poses by examining only what he does on an ordinary day? Can we understand health without considering wild diseases and epidemics? Indeed the normal is often irrelevant. 

12.   Consider that the turkey's experience may have, rather than no value, a negative value. It learned from observation, as we are all advised to do (hey, after all, this is what is believed to be the scientific method). Its confidence increased as the number of friendly feedings grew, and it felt increasingly safe even though the slaughter was more and more imminent. Consider that the feeling of safety reached its maximum when the risk was at the highest! 



13.   The same past data can confirm a theory and its exact opposite! If you survive until tomorrow, it could mean that either a) you are more likely to be immortal or b) that you are closer to death.

14.   Using leverage to cure the problems of too much leverage is not homeopathy, it is denial. The debt crisis is not a temporary problem, it is a structural one. We need rehab.

15.   A man without a heroic bent starts dying at the age of thirty. 




16.   A good maxim allows you to have the last word without even starting a conversation.

17.   It takes extraordinary wisdom and self-control to accept that many things have a logic we do not understand that is smarter than our own.

18.   If humans fight the last war, nature fights the next one. 

19.   Daily news and sugar confuse our system in the same manner. 

20.   A man is honorable in proportion to the personal risks he takes for his opinion.

21.   The weak shows his strength and hides his weaknesses; the magnificent exhibits his weaknesses like ornaments.





22.   You are rich if and only if money you refuse tastes better than money you accept.

23.    In science you need to understand the world; in business you need others to misunderstand it.


 




24.    Unlike a well-defined, precise game like Russian roulette, where the risks are visible to anyone capable of multiplying and dividing by six, one does not observe the barrel of reality.

25.   It does not matter how frequently something succeeds if failure is too costly to bear.

 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Seasteading Redux



One of my friends (and best students), Peter Parsley, is an ambassador for the Seasteading Institute.  The highly entrepreneurial Peter has put together a very nice introductory video on Seasteading, a topic which I briefly discussed here about four years ago..

Have a look and please contact Peter/Seasteading if you would like more info. 


Wednesday, March 26, 2014