GORUCK SK26

SK26label

I mentioned that I’d gotten a GORUCK SK26. I’ve been using it daily for a month and I’m into it. I haven’t carried a backpack on the regular since high school (’89!) and it took a couple of days to find the sweet spot where the straps were snug enough to be comfortable without having to contort myself to get in or out of it.

SK26front SK26back

The bag is almost absurdly overbuilt. The fabric is thick 100D Cordura which feels like it should wear forever. The straps are crazy thick and almost too stiff at first. From what I’ve read, they will break in over time and end up with almost a custom fit for the wearer. We’ll see. The extra thinkness in the straps also helps make heavy loads more comfortable (I can vouch for this).

SK26open The open plan of the bag lets you have access to all 26L in whatever configuration you believe best. I have a couple of standard EDC-dork things hooked to the internal PALS webbing: a couple of velcro straps, some small lights, and some carabiners. I’m a paracord bracelet away from being a doomsday prepper. The “SK” in the name of the bag refers to the “slick” look of not having any of the PALS webbing on the outside of the bag. Since my daily use was going to be carrying to the office I didn’t think the full-on techincal look was a good fit. A backpack is hardly professional office wear but I’m not as far over the line of propriety as I would be with buckles and straps and bungee all over the outside of the bag.

It’s tricky to see in that photo, but there is an elastic pocket there below the PALS webbing. It’ll hold a standard file folder easily. The folded down portion of the bag there has a closed zippered pouch and separate zippered mesh compartment. I haven’t used those much yet but they will end up being useful at some point. Probably. There is also a zippered slash pocket on the front of the bag for quick access if you need something at hand right away.

SK26andSlip SK26withSlip

The SK26 wasn’t 100% office-ready for me. I need a way to carry my coffee mug, pens, notebook, and some more EDC junk (pocket knife, leatherman). I purchased a Tom Bihn Vertical Freudian Slip to fill these gaps. It fits almost as though it was designed for the SK26. This combination results in exactly what I want to carry to the office every day. The other side of the Slip has 4 pockets for carrying papers and folders. I fit a large Moleskine squared notebook in there with no trouble. Like every other piece of Tom Bihn I own, the quality of the manufacture is top-shelf.

SK26withLPs

I was able to justify (to myself and the Household Appropriations Committee) the cost of the bag by it’s versatility as more than just a glorified briefcase. I had occasion to need to haul a dozen LPs I was selling this weekend. I removed the Freudian Slip and the SK2 swallowed them with plenty of room to spare. That photo above is 25 LPs in the bag. I could have probably snugged another 2-3 in there but 25 is a good max. capacity number for rating purposes. FYI, 25LPs make for a heavy load but those straps I was talking about made it almost comfortable to carry.

I didn’t even mention the laptop compartment that lives under the straps of the bag outside of the main compartment but that’s because I don’t carry a laptop every day. I have no idea how effective it is.

After a month of daily use I’m firmly in favor of the SK26 as an every day office carry bag. I have some travel coming up this summer so I will have more points of reference as to the bags versatility. I’ll let you know how it goes.

15 Days into a Whole 30

I spent close to 2 years on the 4 Hour Body plan wth good results. I lost a ton of fat and was able to keep it off by following the simple plan. My weight loss had plateaued but it was as at okay number and I felt good. During Thanksgiving week last year I was bored and hungry so I took a week off and promptly gained 10 pounds. I wasn’t worried because I’d been able to drop weight easily by getting back on the plan. Only it didn’t work this time. I never got “strict” about being back on the plan and I was stuck with that 10 pounds until this month. A friend of ours posted on Facebook that she’d just finished something called a #Whole30 and she was excited to get back to eating food again. I did some reading on it and figured I could probably use the reset and a tight ruleset to kick my self back into gear when it comes to paying attention to food.

So I am spending the month of May working on a new “diet challenge” (what a weird expression. is that the gamification of food?). The Whole 30 program is a “nutritional reset” that uses the paleo diet as a foundation. The gist is that you cut the most common problem-causing foods out of your diet and get to where you’re just eating eggs, meat, vegetables, fruit, fish and nuts. That means no grains, no sugar, no dairy, no alcohol(!), no legumes, no white potatoes, and no MSG (or other sulfites). It’s strict.

Cut out all the psychologically unhealthy, hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups for a full 30 days. Let your body heal and recover from whatever effects those foods may be causing. Push the “reset” button with your metabolism, systemic inflammation, and the downstream effects of the food choices you’ve been making.

I don’t come to this from a place of where I’m looking for answers to why I feel bad. I don’t have gut trouble or joint pain that might be the result of some gluten or dairy incompatibility. I felt bad because I was eating like garbage, not exercising enough, and probably having too many drinks. In Whole 30 I found a framework I could sit in for a month and get back to right.

The initial adjustment wasn’t so bad. The carb and beer quitting pains were way worse when I started the 4HB so the feelings weren’t anything new or unexpected. A big positive for us was Michelle discovering the joy of a juicer so we’ve been having lots of our vegetables by the glass. The trickiest part has been getting enough calories in a day. I still feel kind of run down even after a meal.

I miss drinks, too. May was not a great choice for this plan. Craft beer week is this month, the (beer friendly) pool opens, and the warm weather means it’s time for dusk beers on the back porch. I’ve been sticking to the plan well enough and I’m halfway through.

Paul Thomas Anderson movie posters

Hoo Boy. Mondo asked Aaron Horkey to curate a movie poster series based on the films of Paul Thomas Anderson. It’s an impressive list of artists and the work is top-notch. The Horkey is especially good. He modeled it on vintage stock certificates and it’s just outstanding.

boogie-nights-poster-small magnolia-poster-small

punch-drunk-love-poster-small hard-eight-poster-small

there-will-be-blood-poster

Mondo being Mondo, the onsale for these is going to be a pain in the ass and it will likely take a deep pocket and a substantial amount of luck to get them. I’m personally most interested in the “Boogie Nights” poster by Rockin’ Jelly Bean (NSFW there, btw). I’ve been a fan for years but have never had the stones to actually buy a print of his. The subject matter of his work isn’t something I could get clearance to hang at my house. My odds are slightly better since this is a poster for a movie that Michelle and I both enjoy. We’ll see, I guess.

Posted in art

New Ubuntu on an Old ThinkPad

We used to be a one desktop household and that was just fine. One place to check email, do taxes, manage music and play games. It was an idyllic time.

Michelle lead our house into “laptop in front of the tv” lifestyle and I’ve been jealously playing catchup ever since. I tried to squeeze a last bit of life out of an older Macbook, “Lappy“, but I couldn’t get the OS current enough to run current browsers. I bought a Chromebook, and it’s pretty cool, but it’s too light for me to use on my lap. It keep teetering and sliding around. The iPad isn’t comfortable to me for emailing or blogging and my iPhone is just too small.

I’m currently settled on a repurposed Lenovo ThinkPad SL500 with Ubuntu 13.04 installed in it. Thanks to my tendency to slacking, this is now the most up-to-date OS in our home. It runs reasonably well on this 5-year-old hardware. Startup and shut down are crazy fast. Like, Macbook Air fast. The 15″ screen is plenty big for anything I’d want to do. The bottom half of the machine is nice and heavy so it doesn’t move at all on my lap. The keyboard is comfortable to type on and must be close to full-sized because the keys seem to mostly be where I’m expecting them to be. I like it.

ubuntudesktop

I replaced the battery with an extended cell version so I can get close to 4 hours of life. That’s pretty good. I’d like to spend some more time with Ubuntu and learn about Linux in general but what I want out of this machine is the convenience of modern browsers and a comfortable place to browse. I’m there now and that’s enough for me.

Bike Crash – update

My post-crash check out identified a scuff on my helmet but no cracks in the plastic. I bought a new helmet this weekend and when I went to toss the old one I noticed some damage I missed last week:

helmetcrack

I guess I hit the ground a little harder than I thought. I’m a wear-your-bike-helmet-guy anyway, but this further cements the case in my mind.

The Sword at The National

swordRVA

Rolled out with Ronan last night to catch The Sword on the opening bill for Clutch. We’re not Clutch fans so we got in, basked in many R I F F S, and then got out by 10pm. I’m almost embarrassed by how excited I was to get out that early while still seeing the band I went for, all on a school night.

The Sword were terrific. I definitely want to catch them when they’re headlining at some point.

Another thing I noticed was a lot of legit metal-looking dudes there for Clutch. Someone was getting punched.

Dead Astronaut Gangsta from 3A

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Killer teaser image from 3A.

2 strikes against me getting it: 1) it’s probably 12″ and those tend to cost more than I’m willing to spend and 2) that little light inside the helmet (which is awesome-looking) will make definitely move it out of my price range.

Cool to look at, though.