Wednesday, July 31, 2013

When the Last Sword is Drawn

I'm going to review several other movies within the next day or so, but this particular movie deserves its own separate entry.  This film is at least loosely based on the life of Kanichiro Yoshimura, during one of many periods of great upheaval in Japan.  During the era in which the film happens, the US and European nations have forced Japan to acknowledge them and open trade arrangements, which in turn led to internal power struggles and civil wars. 

There is some doubt as to what exactly happened to Kanichiro Yoshimura, but this movie can certainly stand on its own merits.  We in the United States have certain expectations that we associate with honor.  This movie ultimately asks the question of what true honor really is, and looks at the sometimes competing obligations of family, political allegiance, and even personal life.

There is some good to excellent sword work in Last Sword, including at least one draw and cut by Koichi Sato that alone would have been worth watching the movie for.  Star Kiichi Nakai gives one of the best film performances I have ever seen.  This film won the Japanese Film Academy's Best Film, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor awards for 2004, and they were all well deserved.

I'll give this film five stars for an amazing plot, and perfect acting, and take back half of one for some of the flashbacks being confusing as to timeline.  In Japanese with subtitles.
4.5 of 5 stars.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Feel Free to be Used

I recall losing the last vestiges of respect I had for someone a few years ago.  This person claimed to be strongly in favor of women's rights, yet defended Bill Clinton when I mentioned the rape accusations against him  (by accusing Bush II of war crimes, as though that was germane)!  I cannot understand how some people are entirely willing to overlook public figures' actions, so long as they agree with them politically.

Cold Fury has a blog today about the Democratic Party's callous exploitation of over half the population...

(To be fair, I don't like the Republican Party much, either, but at least they aren't the party of race hatred and engineered public dependency.)

Pelican 1910

We all have our failings and foibles.  Me?  I like lights.

I have MagLites, SureFires, Pelicans, Fenixs, customs, and various random Chinese lights in varying levels of reliability and quality, in addition to my very favorite ElZetta, the light I judge all high quality lights by.  MagLites are quality lights, but have frequently not been the most compact or anywhere near the brightest lights available.  SureFires are best quality lights, but are not cheap, and have all been 123s until recently.  The Fenix lights have been reasonably priced and bright, and also offered in AA and AAA versions, but have not been as sturdy or reliable as other offerings. 

I think many users will find the Pelican 1910 to be in a "happy spot" of size, power, and price, considering its very high quality.  I've been using one for the last six months, and it's a damn good light.  The review is here, but if you don't have a lot of time and want to skip the verbiage, just click on the pic to order from Amazon.  

Monday, July 22, 2013

It Begins Again

The Stuff
I moved to Maryland in early 2011, not eager to actually be in Maryland, but happy to leave my unhappy associations of Virginia behind.  I've lived near Andrews Air Force Base since then, and in general, life has been very good.  I've had a lot of really great times in a comparatively brief span, and for that, I'm grateful. 

I'm happy M and I were able to find a place quickly when we needed to, and it was comparatively affordable, considering the insane housing prices in the area.  But, the rent is continuing to creep up here while we are running out of space to properly house us and Boy and Dog when they visit.  I don't have room to set up a reloading bench.  And the neighborhood here in Prince George's County isn't great.

We're moving to Columbia next month.  I would be happy to be in another state, but we will be in a much nicer neighborhood, close to many great restaurants, gyms, and within walking distance of a dojo I want to attend.  And I will have space to set up my loading bench, finally. 

Life is change, but change can be good.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Seen Recently

I was out walking a few days ago, and nearly bumped into this guy as he snoozed over his malt liquor.  I politely backed away, and left him in peace...
Pen for Scale

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tie That Yellow Ribbon

I am finishing my second post-deployment Yellow Ribbon Event.  Fortunately, I didn't have to drive nearly as far as the last one I attended in Hershey, PA.

In the meantime, I've published an article about the old-new dazzle paint here.  The concept now really seems like a slice of the early 20th Century.