Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Truth About Love

No, not over-sharing.  This is the title of Pink's album, which came out in September 2012, shortly before I left Afghanistan. I bought it instantly via download from Amazon.

Pink's last album, Funhouse, was a masterpiece, full of wit and rock, innovative and thorough in exploring themes ranging from rejection by your significant other ("So What" and "I Don't Believe You") to hardcore party-girl wondering how to cope with life without social lubricants ("Sober") to dealing with high-emotion relationships ("Please Don't Leave Me") and wondering at the confusion and crisis of modern life ("Ave Maria").  Even her slow Aerosmith-flavored "Mean" with Steven Tyler backing her up- my least favorite song on the album- isn't bad.  I would call Funhouse a very solid and enjoyable 4/5 stars.

After that last terrific album, I expected The Truth About Love to be, even if not as incredibly good, at least very strong.  I was disappointed.  The Truth About Love has a something of a funky 60-era sound, but the songs don't seem as clever or well-written as previous Pink offerings, and they certainly don't flow as well.  Here's an example comparing the first single from The Truth About Love to "Funhouse".

"Blow Me (One Last Kiss)"

You think I'm just too serious
I think you're full of s*
My head is spinning, so
Blow me one last kiss
Just when it can't get worse, I've had a s* day
Have you had a s* day? We've had a s* day
I think that life's too short for this, I want my ignorance and bliss
I think I've had enough of this, blow me one last kiss.

Compare the writing to that of Funhouse's title track:

Echoes knocking on locked doors
All the laughter from before
I'd rather live out on the street
Than in this haunted memory

I've called the movers
Called the maids
We'll try to exorcise this place
Drag my mattress to the yard
Crumble tumble house of cards

This used to be a funhouse
But now it's full of evil clowns
It's time to start the countdown
I'm gonna burn it down down down
I'm gonna burn it down

The Truth About Love's songs range from okay ("Here Comes the Weekend", "Beam Me Up") to mediocre (""Walk of Shame") to the outright annoying, nails-on-chalkboard "songs" like "Slut Like You" and "Are We All We Are".

If I had to do it again, instead of buying the entire album, I would just download the bluesy, gospel-influenced "The Great Escape", and put it on repeat.  Unless you are an absolute incredible fan of Pink, I would skip the rest.  If you haven't listened to any Pink, I strongly suggest Funhouse, which is what Pink should sound like.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Life is filled with so many things.  In the grand scheme, most of these things really aren't very important at all. Since I've been home, I have occasionally let the minor things annoy me in a major way.  At such times, walks, yoga or other exercise, or just stepping back and realizing that what I've let spin me up is actually pretty damn minor helps.

Happy Holidays, y'all.  I know there are some potential political challenges lawful gun owners face in the near future, but our country has survived worst tragedies.  We'll get through this current crisis as well.  Keep the faith.

Shooting Reviews: Sunglasses

I've been cranking out articles for Shooting Reviews fairly regularly since I've been back from Afghanistan.  The latest reviews 2 kinds of Oakleys sunglasses, and a pair each of Revision and Wiley-X.  If you read something I've written and have suggestions for improvement, please let me know: I'd appreciate the feedback.  If you enjoy something I wrote, do me a favor and take a few seconds to click on any of the advertisements on the page.  And, if there's something you'd like me to write about, drop me a line.  There's a whole lot of stuff out there, and I may not have considered what you have in mind.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Beat the drum slowly

 Four students at the University of Idaho have designed a "robot" that attaches to a drummer, carrying a full drum set that responds to a band drummer's movement. Full story on "Band Beesten" here.

Monday, December 10, 2012


The water was off for a while in the apartment today for pipe maintenance. Two things came to mind. We use a lot of water. It's easy to forget how good we in the US usually have it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Peachy Canadian

Alcoholic drinks frequently are too sweet, taste too much like industrial cleaner, are packed with calories, or some unholy combination.  Here's a drink that isn't terrifically sweet, tastes good, and is calorically reasonable.  And it uses my "go to" whiskey.  (Amazing how much less expensive decent Canadian whiskey is than decent US whiskey.)

Peachy Canadian
12 oz Diet Canadian Club Ginger Ale
1 1/2 oz Canadian Mist Whiskey
1/2 oz Dekuyper Peachtree Schnapps

Pour half the chilled ginger ale into a tall glass.  Add whiskey and schnapps, then top with remainder of ginger ale.  Can be poured over ice, and can be garnished with mint or lime.

140 calories
14 oz at 4.9% alcohol (1.1 "standard" drinks)  

To compare, one of my decent everyday beers is the Dos Equis Amber.  A 12 oz Dos Equis Amber has 146 calories and 4.7% alcohol.  

Friday, December 7, 2012

First Glimpses

I drew up the initial designs for knives I called the Uncontrollable Shivver and the Daily Kiri in January as I sat in the frozen wastes of northern Afghanistan. I'll give a detailed write-up later, but here are some of the first examples of the Temperate Shivver and the Daily Kiri.

Shirley-Owens Temperate Shivver and Daily Kiri

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Early Winter 2012 Movies

or, Silly Movies I Have Watched.  :-)

The Expendables 2 got a recent viewing.  Bigger, sillier, still with Stallone and Dolph Lundgren and with van Damn, Schwartzenegger and Willis with more than cameo roles, and with by-god Chuck Norris.  Lots of bodies blowing apart in bloody but unrealistic splashes.  Good for what it is, which is basically live-action cartoon violence by the folks who brought in most of the male box-office take for about 15 years, plus several current action stars like Jason Statham and Terry Crews, who has been in a variety of less-serious but fun roles.

A very enjoyable 3/5 stars.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil was even sillier than The Expendables 2, but it's meant to be.  A dark comedy filled with cartoonish death, this sometimes surprisingly well-acted comedy stars  Tyler Labine and veteran Alan Tudyk (of Firefly and A Knight's Tale) as hillbillies who are taken as psychotic killers by a group of camping college students.  I'd never seen Tyler Labine in anything previously, but he is superb as a sweet-natured good ole' boy with a eidetic memory, and Tudyk is probably one of the better actors of our time.

I'm not a big fan of the horror satire genre, but this is about as good as a low-budget movie of its type can be.  Another "strong for its grade" 3/5 stars.

eGear for the Holidays

I recently picked up an eGear PICO Zipper Light. I'd heard friends talk about them, and it was an inexpensive light to try- and, hey, I like lights.  A few days later I noticed the eGear Jolt Mini USB Rechargeable Flashlightwhile at L.L. Bean.  These are both inexpensive, neat, and useful little lights for yourself or a friend or family member.  The Jolt also quickly recharges out of USB ports, so no worries about finding batteries.*  There's a quick initial review of both lights up at Shooting Reviews.
Fully charged Jolt
I would probably be remiss if I didn't mention my favorite orange-beam Photon II LED .  I have used probably 40 or more different key-chain lights, and the Photon II is still my overall favorite.  The orange combines good illumination, long battery life (over 120 hours on a single replaceable CR2032  !), and preservation of night vision.  One of these lasted me about half of my deployment (not the same Photon I started with, since I give stuff away to troops who can use them).  The Photon II is still ridiculously cheap for a quality product with a lifetime guarantee.

*The downside to rechargeable lights is that they slowly lose charge, so the Pico would be a better light stashed somewhere to only use if the power suddenly fails.