Hiking in Muskoka – Day 2

1 Jul

If you read my last post, you know that I was hiking up near Huntsville, Ontario, searching for “Dogleg Lake,” an unnamed L-shaped lake I found on Crown land (public land).  The reason I chose it was that there were no hiking or ATV or snowmobile trails that went near it, so it would be a little difficult to get to.  In my experience, the more difficult a place is to reach, the less likely it is to be visited by a bunch of yahoos who get hammered and throw their fucking trash everywhere.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not afraid to cut down a live tree or two to turn a good campsite into a perfect campsite.  But I’m not going to hammer the place flat, toss empties everywhere,  leave piles of shit and toilet paper lying around on TOP of the ground, and generally turn it into a nastier version of a highway rest stop.  When I’m gone, you won’t know I’ve been there. 

Plus, I like having the place to myself.  Part of getting away is escape.  Feeling like you’re the only one on the planet.  It’s hard to reach that Zen-like state of calm when 100 meters away, there’s a group of potheads whooping it up and playing Billy Squier’s “The Stroke” at maximum volume.

I couldn’t take my truck the first day and got dropped off, spending most of my exploring time hiking up the logging trail that led to the point at which I intended to hit the woodline in search of Dogleg Lake.  So, rushed for time, I stupidly followed what a couple of different maps showed was an active logging road, even though the satellite photos didn’t show it.  Even if there’s heavy tree growth, if there’s a trail, you can see what looks like a “crease” in the trees on the satellite photo.

Dumbass move.  It wasn’t there.  And the harder I tried to make my way up it, the more not there it became.  I turned back about 300 meters short of the lake, according to my GPS.

That’s why I ended up doing the Solo Stove video – I was out of time and energy. 

The next day, I went back and took the route I originally had planned and made it to the lake, but it still wasn’t ideal.  On the way back to my truck, I tried yet another route and it was way easier.  The north shore of Dogleg Lake looks like it’s got some promising high ground to make camp, once black fly and mosquito season are over at the end of the summer.  My buddy Mike is coming up with me in a couple of weeks and we’ll scout out that side.

Can You Smell What EoJ Is Cooking?

25 Jun

This past weekend I was out in the Muskoka region of Ontario,  looking for access to a lake on some Crown land (public land) that I had identified as a potential campsite.  We were taking our Master Race up to a condo we have at Deerhurst Resort near Hunstville, and this lake is only about 25 km away, so it was a good opportunity to sneak away for a few hours.  It looked like I could get pretty close using an existing logging road, according to a topographic map I had loaded on my phone.

Well, the logging road that was supposed to swing me north right up into the lake doesn’t exist anymore, and I turned back about 300 meters short of my goal.  Very disappointing, considering I had to spend a couple of hours just walking up to my starting point, as I got dropped off in a car that couldn’t make it up the logging road.  So, I decided to eat some lunch and take a video showing how to use my new backpacking stove.

It’s called a Solo Stove, and it is a stupid-simple, lightweight, robust woodburning stove suitable for small outdoor cooking chores.  I also have an alcohol burning insert, made by the same company, and I’ll post a video of how that works later.  I’m not into the whole “survivalist” or “prepper” thing, but if you are, this is an indispensable piece of kit for your home, car or bugout bag.  The fuel for this stove is free, and you can literally pick it up off the ground.  Something to keep in mind even if you’re trapped at home without power or gas for cooking due to a snowstorm, hurricane, earthquake or flood.  With this stove and some twigs, you can sterilize an unlimited amount of water for drinking and cooking.

I paid  something like sixty bucks for mine and it is worth every penny.  It’s made out of 304 stainless steel, pressed into one piece, except for the ash pan and grate, which is NiChrome wire.  This is one sturdy piece of kit.  And long after your neighbor’s white gas, propane or butane stove has run out of fuel, you’ll still be burning.  Once he’s been sufficiently weakened by dysentery from lack of clean drinking water, you can just stroll over and liberate his canned goods and women.  Now you’ve got yourself the beginnings of an empire, friend. 

Sorry in advance for the video quality.  I couldn’t find my good camera before I left, so I had to one-hand everything with my Samsung Galaxy SIII, which has a surprisingly a clear picture, but as you will see, is not that easy to hold onto.

When Your Interior Monologue Becomes External

9 May

Many of us have put our foot in our mouths at one time or another.  Hell, I remember reminiscing with some high school acquaintances I ran into a few years ago.  They graduated a couple of years ahead of me, so I didn’t know them except from playing football together and “J.B.” and I got to talking about funny things and people we remembered from school when I veered off into the weeds.

Jeff:  “Hey, J.B. – remember that lunch lady with the lazy eye?  How she was always pointing at some kid and saying “C’mere!” but she’d be looking somewhere else?  What was her name?”

J.B.:  “It was Janice.”

Jeff:  “Miss Janice!  That was it!”

J.B.:  “She’s my mom.”

Jeff:  “oh.”

Thank God no one was videotaping my assholery.  Unfortunately for GOP Oklahoma State Representative Dennis Johnson, the internet is forever.

 

 

My favorite part is when someone stops him in the middle of his speech to show him the shoe-treads on his dick and he says, “I did?  Oh.  Sorry about that, Jews.  Y’all are good businessmen, too.  I guess you could say that your people really have a NOSE for business, am I right?!”

What a fucking idiot. 

At least this story introduced me to “Heeb Magazine”, which seems to specialize in self-deprecating, tongue-in-cheek humor.  The writer adds his own acceptable uses of “Jew” as a verb, including my favorite – to “Jew it up.”

Jew [Something] Up

Situation: You have close Jewish friends coming over for a “holiday” party, and the blue-and white lights just aren’t enough to make them feel welcome. [Note: Jews always appreciate your sad attempts to make us feel welcome with subtle acknowledgement of our third-least important holiday that happened six weeks prior.]

Example: “We only have five candles to Jew up the mantle, but they’re all different sizes!”

Shalom!

Federal Agents Detain Unarmed Suspect At Roadblock

1 May

When it’s giggle- time, nothing is beneath me.

 

NOTHING.

You were all thinking it.

A Saskatoon man is demanding an apology and refusing to pay a $175 ticket for not wearing a seatbelt, because he has no arms and can’t fasten one unassisted.

I know, I know.  How can the cop be such a dick to a guy with no arms, right?

When the Mountie requested his licence and registration, Mr. Simonar stepped out of the car and asked the officer to retrieve the documents from his pocket.

See?  That’s a brilliant move.  You can see the cop’s wheel’s spinning:   Hmm.  Rummage around in his pockets next to his bozack, which this dude hasn’t been able to touch, himself, for almost three decades?  Pass. 

“Ahem.  That won’t be necessary, citizen.  Just try to be more careful in the future.” 

Fuck, yes!  High fiv-!

Sorry.

He said the officer was prepared to let him go, but a Saskatoon Police Service sergeant overseeing the operation instructed him to issue a ticket.

“He became very ignorant, and said, ‘Well if he can’t put his seatbelt on maybe he shouldn’t be driving.’ That’s what really made me mad.”

Hmm.  He’s actually got a good point, though.  You managed to rig up a device to steer your car with one foot (five cars!), you can put the thing in gear using your feet, but you can’t figure out how to fasten your seatbelt?  C’mon, dude.  There’s a whole organization of people out there who paint with their feet.  I’m pretty sure you can figure it out.

And give the cop a break, would you?  He’s an officer, sworn to uphold the law.  He probably doesn’t like ticketing you, but his hands are tie-

 

Sorry.

 

The Cuttening Approachesth

24 Apr

It’s here!

image

I’m determined to spend some quality time in the backcountry this spring, so I’ve been piecing together my kit in preparation. This is merely the first in a series of outdoors-related posts guaranteed to bore the tits off my reader.  Sorry.  Let’s see what Daddy got!

image

The Becker Knife & Tool BK-2, made by KA-BAR.  “Oh, Jeff! It’s so big!”  Yeah, I get that a lot.  Actually, though,  the blade is only 5.25 inches, but the spine on the high-saber grind blade is a quarter inch thick.  It is an absolute handful of a knife.  One full pound of 1095 carbon steel, full tang with an exposed skull-crusher / hammer butt type pommel, making the overall length 10.25 inches. There is a lanyard hole, to ward off the forces of modernity.  I like that.  Plus, it’s a chopper. You don’t want this whizzing out of your hand and into your femoral artery when you’re miles from help.

The grip scales are a material KA-BAR calls “Grivory.” I assume it’s a portmanteau of “grip” and “ivory”, combining two lies in one convenient package.  I have large hands, and these scales are huge. And slick. I can only imagine how slippery they’ll get when wet.

Speaking of which, I’ll have to imagine, because fuck those scales.

image

Hmm, so add “hollow” to your list of sins, Grivory.   Not to worry.  I ordered you some new threads.

image

Nothing like a new pair of threads.  And these threads are custom canvas Micarta scales, made for Becker’s BK series of knives.  And how much did this fine new knife cost? Sixty-five bucks.  That’s it.  For a knife that will last forever with proper care.  Another forty for the scales, and you’re talking a semi-custom knife for a hundred bucks.  A knife that was shaving sharp with a few licks on a ceramic hone, and which can also split hardwood logs.  There isn’t a better deal out there for this size of survival/wilderness/bushcraft knife.  I’ve looked.  A LOT.

The next step is going to be beating the shit out if this blade and fucking up that obscenely thick powder-coat finish.  Once I’ve uglied it up nicely, I’ll strip that coating off and put a nice forced patina on. 

Expect to see some more posts and probably vids as I put together my pack and head up to the edge of Algonquin.

Mind you don’t cut yourself, Mordechai!

Are You Man Enough To Dress Like a Flaming Homosexual?

4 Apr

That’s the question Buzz Bissinger throws out in this GQ confessional.  If you’re not familiar with Buzz Bissinger’s name, he’s the guy who wrote Friday Night Lights, a book about small-town Texas’ obsession with high school football.  If you didn’t read the book, you may have seen the movie, which I always confuse with Varsity Blues, which starred the kid with the enormous forehead that was also on Dawson’s Creek.  Which also sucked.  There was also a TV series made from the book, and it ran for five seasons.

Anyway, Buzz is the architect behind this enormous success, centered around the rough-and-tumble manly sport of football, with healthy doses of skirt chasing thrown in.  That’s some red-blooded All American stuff.  So what kind of manly man builds an media empire around America’s manliest sport?

 

Oh, MY.

Oh, MY.

 

Ostensibly, the article is about his passion for Gucci clothing, which quickly morphs into a defiant apologia for dressing like fucking Ziggy Stardust on his way to Fat Camp.

It started three years ago. I have never fully revealed it, and am only revealing it now in the hopes that my confession will incite a remission and perhaps help others of similar compulsion. If all I buy is Gucci, I will be fine. It has taken a while to figure out what works and what doesn’t work, but Gucci men’s clothing best represents who I want to be and have become—rocker, edgy, tight, bad boy, hip, stylish, flamboyant, unafraid, raging against the conformity that submerges us into boredom and blandness and the sexless saggy sackcloths that most men walk around in like zombies without the cinematic excitement of engorging flesh.

That’s some unique imagery, Buzz.  So’s this:

 

Wake up, Jimmy.  It's Rape O' Clock!

Wake up, Jimmy. It’s Rape O’ Clock!

 

Uncomfortable yet?  It gets worse.

 

Some of the clothing is men’s. Some is women’s. I make no distinction. Men’s fashion is catching up, with high-end retailers such as Gucci and Burberry and Versace finally honoring us. But women’s fashion is still infinitely more interesting and has an unfair monopoly on feeling sexy, and if the clothing you wear makes you feel the way you want to feel, liberated and alive, then fucking wear it. The opposite, to repress yourself as I did for the first fifty-five years of my life, is the worst price of all to pay. The United States is a country that has raged against enlightenment since 1776; puritanism, the guiding lantern, has cast its withering judgment on anything outside the narrow societal mainstream.Think it’s easy to be different in America? Try something as benign as wearing stretch leather leggings or knee-high boots if you are a man.

“Our forefathers fought for our right to tuck our shit back and tart ourselves up like Thai ladyboys on vacation at Mardi Gras, and THIS is how we honor their sacrifice?”

Consider me properly chastised, Buzz.  But still, I can’t help thinking that there may be something a little deeper than you just feeling hemmed in* by the strictures of contemporary American fashion.  Is it really the clothes? 

 

*unworthy, hackish garment-themed pun

 

I bought dozens of stretch jeans and leather leggings and leather pants that sculpted my lower body the way I wanted, with no room for speculation. I bought dozens of leather gloves that actually did fit like a glove. I bought dozens of boots, some with a flat or low heel that any man can wear, some with five-inch heels that only a man with real balls could wear.

C’mon, Buzz.  Dude, it’s almost dinnertime.

I never fit the traditional definition of a sexy male straight or gay—tall, ripped, six- packs within six-packs. I wanted the power that sex provides, all eyes wanting to fuck you and you knowing it, and both men’s and women’s clothing became my venue.

I began to wonder about sex and sexuality and where exactly I fit in in the complex spectrum. I did go into the sexual unknown, and the clothing I began to wear routinely gave me the confidence to do it, to transcend the rigid definitions of sexuality and gender, just as I also know there were the requisite stereotypical snickers.

Was I homosexual because so much of what I wore is associated with gays? [No, it was because you were banging dudes - EoJ] I did experiment. And while I don’t think it is my sexual being, I can tell you that gay men as a group are nicer, smarter, have a shitload more fun than straight whites. Was I veering toward becoming a dominant leather master in the S&M scene, the leather fetish an obvious influence in most of the clothing I purchased and in much of high fashion itself? I did experiment. Was I a closeted or maybe not so closeted transvestite? Tom Ford makeup is divine; the right foundation and cheek blush and eyeliner and lipstick can do wonders for the pallid complexion. Thigh-high boots add to any wardrobe, although walking on six-inch stilettos for hours is just a bitch and therefore confined to the privacy of my house, seen only by the UPS man, who at this point could not possibly be surprised by anything.

Okay, so maybe I’m not hungry, after all.  Seriously, though.  In 6,000 words, we have to listen to 5,500 of them talking about how fucking fierce he thinks he looks in this or that item of Gucci leather.  He thinks the problem is his “shopping addiction.”  Undoubtedly, he has a compulsion, but the shopping isn’t a problem.  He’s spent over $650,000 on Gucci, but he can afford it – he had a massively successful career and inherited a shit-ton of money.  His three wives and kids did not lack for anything.

Except a dad who wasn’t fucking dudes and acting like we’re all a bunch of squares for not wearing stiletto heels.  Because we don’t have the balls to wear thigh-high boots.  And blow dudes. 

And that’s what really pisses me off – this attempted mainstreaming of mental illness parading as “hipness.”  You’re not liberated, Buzz.  You’re not exploring anything.  You’re a fucking miserable mess, and unfortunately, you have the money and the fame to get the occasional bully pulpit, such as your radio gig from which you were fired after only six months for being a screechy drama queen.  You’re one empty, terminally unhappy dude, and there isn’t enough dick and Gucci to fill the hole inside you.  I know you think you’re Billy Bad-Ass, Buzz, but I wouldn’t trade places with you if I were living out of my truck. 

Sometimes it’s not everyone else, dude.  Sometimes, it’s just you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Too Many Cooks Spoil The Fighter Jet: How Our Weapons Get Made

28 Mar

I’ve run across a lot of discussions lately about the problems plaguing some of our newest, and supposedly greatest weapons systems.  For those who have never served any great length of time in the military, or who have not worked for Uncle Sugar in the Department of Defense, it may seem baffling as to how you could fuck up something so simple as a plane, or a ship.  After all, we’ve had planes for over a hundred years, and ships for millenia, haven’t we?  Seems like it would be a relatively smooth curve to keep making better versions of them.   But it all depends on specialization – what you want to use them for

We have a lot of different type of planes in our military, all designed for specific missions.  We have F/A-18 Super Hornets for carrier-based fighter-bombers, F-15 Eagles for land-based air superiority fighters, AV-8B Harriers so our jarheads can launch them off of rough, short landing strips or helicopter carriers, and A-10 Thunderbolts, which are solely designed to carry 18 tons of bombs and cannon rounds for killing enemy tanks and troops in the open.  Needless to say, they are very specialized aircraft with mission specific designs.  An A-10 couldn’t be expected to intercept an enemy fighter, just like an F-15 couldn’t fly slow enough to provide Close Air Support, or soak up the damage from anti-aircraft fire that an A-10 can and continue to fly.

Until some fucking genius decided he was going to design a plane that would replace ALL those different aircraft.  With predictable results.

Meant to replace almost all of the military’s jet fighters at an initial cost of more than $400 billion, the F-35 has a clamshell-style windshield with a good view to the front and sides. But it’s got no line of sight to the rear, which is blocked by the pilot’s seat and the plane’s upper fuselage spine. Today’s A-10s, F-15s, F-16s, F/A-18s and F-22s, by contrast, have so-called “bubble canopies” with good all-round vision.

The limitations of the F-35′s canopy are “partially a result of designing a common pilot escape system [a.k.a. ejection seat] for all three variants to the requirements of the short-take-off and vertical landing environment.” In other words, the Joint Strike Fighter’s windshield is constrained by the need to fit a standard ejection seat and the downward-facing engine of the Marine Corps variant, which allows that model to take off and land vertically and is located directly behind the cockpit.

Did you get all that?  You can’t fucking see behind you.  Now, I’m no fighter pilot, but I have seen Top Gun and Iron Eagle 1 and 2*, and if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that fighter pilots try to shoot other fighter planes down FROM BEHIND.  And the reason they can’t see to the rear, is that because in one particular variant of this plane, there’s supposed to be an engine right behind the pilot.  Not this plane.  But another type that uses the same fuselage.   

*don’t even talk to me about Iron Eagle 3 – that was just ridiculous.

So what we’ve got is one plane that’s supposed to handle ALL types of combat aircraft, but can’t do ANY of their missions particularly well.  How the fuck does this happen? 

The short answer is:  Les Aspin.  Les Aspin was BJ Clinton’s Secretary of Defense for one year.  ONE.  YEAR.  When you need to turn the mightiest engine of war the planet has ever seen into a shambling, broken, underfunded mess by gutting funding and and you only have one year to do it, you call fucking Les Aspin.  Some of his greatest hits include:

  • “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”  That worked out great.  Thanks, Les. 
  •  When then-General Colin Powell requested tanks, armored personnel carriers and AC-130 Spectre gunships to support our troops in Somalia, Les Aspin said NO.  Just      a  couple of weeks later, we got 18 killed and 75 wounded in the Battle of Mogadishu.  Bang up job, Les.
  • Looking at the programs for the next generation of strike aircraft and fighter aircraft and deciding, “Just use the same plane – what’s the difference?”  Great call, Les.

But it’s not just his fault.  Twisting something so intuitive and simple into a shambolic pile of ratmeat is always a team effort.  And don’t forget the fact that lots of generals were seeing funding for their pet programs cut, so if they wanted to remain relevant in a military that was beginning the biggest drawdown since World War II, they were going to have to figure out some way to stick their dicks in the mashed potatoes, too.

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Pentagon Wars, which is about the early development and testing of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle – a beast that is near and dear to me, having spent six years driving one, serving as gunner on one, or jumping in and out of one as a crunchy.  The movie highlights everything I’ve been talking about with delightful absurdity.  I’m posting the relevant clip below – it’s about 10 minutes long, and it starts in 1968, as the first design for the Army’s newest Armored Personnel Carrier is presented.  Watch how they twist what was going to be a simple troop carrier into something… else.

 

 

It’s pretty funny how as the vehicle gets bigger and bigger, the poor Colonel in charge has less and less hair.

 

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “That’s fucking retarded!”  Yes.  Yes it is.  Large bureaucracies are jam-packed with selfish, short-sighted careerist assholes that are all too willing to sacrifice quality, safety or effectiveness to satisfy their immediate apple-polishing needs, while leaving the rest of us to live with the consequences of what they’ve set in montion twenty years down the road.  The only solace I can give you is that as stupid as our defense procurement and management is -

Everywhere else, it’s worse.

 

 

BONUS INCOMPETENCE:  That’s right.  I’m looking at you, Littoral Combat Ship.

These words have haunted the Navy ever since Gilmore’s office uttered them in December 2011: “LCS is not expected to be survivable in a hostile combat environment.” At a Navy expo in April 2012, Secretary Ray Mabus insisted that LCS is “a warship and it is fully capable of going into combat situations,” while heralding the LCS’ 2013 deployment to Singapore.

Gilmore’s new report stands by the 2011 assessment, though it sands down the rough edges. “LCS is not expected to be survivable,” it finds, “in that it is not expected to maintain mission capability after taking a significant hit in a hostile combat environment.” Additionally, Gilmore discloses that the Navy has “knowledge gaps related to the vulnerability of an aluminum ship structure to weapon-induced blast and fire damage,” but that it won’t conduct tests for those vulnerabilities until later this year or next year.

Awesome.

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