The Gray I Know

I wrote the first part of this shortly before I left Washington state, the rest here in Texas. It’s gray outside my window right now. The type of gray that only people who live in the Pacific Northwest for extended time know. The type of gray that once lasted for over 60 days straight, no […]

I wrote the first part of this shortly before I left Washington state, the rest here in Texas.

It’s gray outside my window right now. The type of gray that only people who live in the Pacific Northwest for extended time know. The type of gray that once lasted for over 60 days straight, no sun, just gray.

It is also wet outside. It’s not raining, nor does it ever rain the way Hollywood depicts it, the water is just present on the ground, in its near permanent state during the 9 months of the year where things are, well, gray.

Continue reading: The Gray I Know

  • Member Journal for 7/15/19

    This week, the struggle is real, but at least I found the best variant of the GR1.

    Wait, half way through summer already? Jeebus. This week: there are two iPad issues, I got a white backpack, I got an all black knife, where Amazon doesn’t win, my pursuits of fewer, and the remaining items for sale with a discount…

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  • Some Items For Sale

    I probably should have done this before I moved, but hey, better late than never. So I have a few things I am putting up for sale:

    I probably should have done this before I moved, but hey, better late than never. So I have a few things I am putting up for sale:

    Continue reading: Some Items For Sale

  • Evergoods CPL 24

    Meet the backpack which came within in a hair of dethroning the GR1 as the best backpack you can buy. It’s quite good.

    I have been needing to test this bag for a while now. It is, from a pedigree standpoint, a bag that should be right up my alley. But I’ve never really liked the looks of the bag, if I am blunt — it looks kind of bad on your back. However, sometimes the stars align and I say what the hell. I got this bag for something like $130 on sale, and I am glad I did. This is a damned good bag.

    Continue reading: Evergoods CPL 24

  • Member Journal — 7/8/19

    This week we dive deep into watches, and learn about some things I am selling… to you.

    This week: I’m reminded of my dad, activity trackers still suck, I sell things, bags for the inside of your other bags, picking just one watch, and profiting from mindfulness.

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  • Is the GR1 Still Worth ‘It’?

    More GORUCK talk, but let me remind you how good of a deal the GR1 is at full price.

    Over on Everyday Carry, Jonathan Tayag looks into whether he thinks the GR1 is still ‘worth it’ from a value perspective in 2019. He writes:

    And while you definitely get serious quality for your purchase, there’s so much competition in the EDC tactical bag market in the present day that it’s hard to really say that the GR1 sets itself far enough in front of the pack to justify it.

    He then goes on to list a few bags you might consider instead of the GR1, all of which are supposed to be able to replace it, but none do. Because there is no one to one camprison out there when it comes to the GR1. There is no other backpack on the market that is what the GR1 is, and anyone who has used one for long enough can immediately tell you that.

    There are plenty of GR1 clones (including at least one on that list of his). There are plenty of tactical looking and/or marketed bags. There are plenty of bags made from 1000D cordura. And so on and so forth. There’s plenty of shit out there is what I am saying.

    Some of them are also good bags. But none of them are as brutally simple, functional, and versatile as a GR1.

    So is the GR1 worth It?

    Hell yes. What the fuck. Yes, it is basically $400 to buy this backpack which is not at all an insignificant amount of money and is downright nuts for many people wanting to spend it on a backpack. But then again, as I mentioned before, it’s not actually that much money in the grand scheme of what good bags cost.

    But the bags I put on that list could be considered cherry picked right, so let me add some further perspective with more ‘normal’ selections that you see people who put thought into their bags carry:

    • Tumi, one of the biggest brands for traveling business people sells a backpack called the ‘Alpha Bravo’ and you will see it recommended all over. People love it. It costs $475. So $80 more than a GR1, and it is a shittier bag. I see it all the time at the airport.
    • Rimowa, you know those really fancy hard sided roller bags that you see tons of people carrying. The cheapest one of those bags is a cool $540. And that’s a bag you’ll only use when you fly on a plane. And one that everyone seems to have, or at least a cheap clone of it. Whatever.
    • Peak Design’s everyday backpack is $259. It is cheaper! But guess what? It is not a versatile bag, it is a specialty bag. Which is why you don’t see many people fawning over it after long periods of usage. So you spend $259 on it, you’ll still need at least one more bag when you decide that you actually don’t want to be limited in what you carry by your bag.
    • Ona Bags sells a beautiful 1000D backpack, $449.
    • KillSpencer Rucksack, $425.

    Any of those bags you’ll see at the airport. Because either you care about what you carry, so you spend money to get something nice. Or you don’t care what you carry and your backpack has a company logo on it because you got it free somewhere and everyone who sees that knows you got it for free and don’t give a shit, and it’s probably Swiss Gear or Timbuktu. ‘But it is a really nice bag, it just has a Google Cloud logo on it.’ Cool. Cool cool cool. Cool.

    The GR1 is perfectly in line with all of its peers. Bags like the constantly mentioned Evergoods CPL24 is underpriced. The GR1 isn’t overpriced, it is that some companies are not pricing goods high enough (to their own detriment, but that’s another article all together). (I’ll have a post about that CPL in the coming weeks.)

    So is the GR1 still worth it in 2019 at $395? Yes. Yes because there is no other bag like it and it has not in any way been lessened over time. It is still, hands down, the best backpack money can buy.

    The GR1 is much like the Rolex Submariner, there are many like it, but none of them are a Submariner. And that matters.

    You should own a GR1.

  • Duke Cannon Care Products

    Men’s care products, with bourbon scents because that’s what we need.

    Note: I was sent these items for review.

    For the past month or more I have been testing some of Duke Cannon’s men’s care products — soaps, shaving stuff, colognes. At first I was leery, Duke Cannon has a strong brand and that brand is ‘manly’, which I know can be off putting for many people, especially now. However, I cast aside my doubts to give the products a fair shake, and what I found is really good products with pretty funny tidbits hidden away in the packaging of the products.

    And beyond a lot of that, some of the packaging is down right cool looking, which is always a nice plus in my book. Here’s a look at what I have been using.

    The Goods

    Cooling After-Shave: one of my favorite products is the cooling after-shave. At the beginning of the year I stopped using an electric razor and quickly realized I needed some sort of post shaving care. This is the first one I really like, it leaves my face fresh, and not greasy at all. It can be a strong cooling sensation, which doubles as a great wake up aid. But that can suck if you are only waking up post shave. You know what I mean.

    Shaving Cream: I dropped using my other shaving cream after this arrived. It is a bit heavier than a pure shaving cream, but it applies quite nicely and does a fantastic job protecting your skin and lubricating it for shaving. This stuff is my favorite shave cream, I need to buy more. I’ve tested about a half dozen and this has a nice mix if traditional feel with a gel like performance on the skin. I’m a huge fan and it smells quite good too.

    Beer Soap: I actually got the travel sized bar, which just means it is a normal size bar of soap. This is a solid soap, but the smell isn’t my favorite — if you a beer person, then you will like the smell of this soap. If you don’t like smelly soap this is the least scented of the two I tried, and as far as I can tell doesn’t leave any fragrance on your skin. My wife started using it without noticing it was beer scented. So yeah.

    Bourbon Soap: I’m a big fan of this massive bar of soap. First the size is great, why more bar soap isn’t made this size is beyond me, but the over sized nature makes it great to keep a handle on in the shower. The smell is strong, but I would be lying if I said it smells like bourbon. It smells like something, but to me I don’t smell bourbon. I do however really like the smell of this. I could still detect a trace of the fragrance after I was done showering as well — though I don’t know if that was just because it is a rather fragrant bar of soap and I was smelling the bar still or if it was on me. Either way, I really love this bar of soap.

    Solid Cologne: I am not cologne wearer, and this was my first go with solid cologne. It easily has the coolest packaging and I love the sent (smells like that soap). It works well too, and I am now a solid cologne fan as it is very easy to control how much you are putting on to make sure it is just a hint and not an Axe body spray commercial. Two thumbs up, speaking of thumbs…

    Bloody Knuckles Hand Repair Balm: here’s how I tested this one, I moved across the country and handled tons of boxes. Those will eat your hands alive, unless that is you are using this hand balm. So yeah, two smooth feeling thumbs up. It takes a bit longer than I would like to soak in, but otherwise great stuff.

    Duke Cannon could have easily just been a gimmick brand with no real substance to it, I’ve seen that more than a few times. But at every turn the products were well above average and that’s saying a lot in the age of everyone outsourcing and branding cheap crap. This is not cheap crap. I wouldn’t be writing about it if it was.

  • Member Journal — 7/1/19

    A real potpourri of topics this week.

    This week: blogging’s consternation over Ive, initial thoughts on Whoop, talk about watches, tech-bro terms, there’s a new Raspberry Pi, and lastly some simple pants.

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  • Durability Is a Bad Metric, Let’s Stop

    Durability is not what you think it is, and is really hard to test for in a review.

    Typical review of GORUCK: “This bag might be the most durable bag you can buy.” Typical review of a second tier durable bag (thinK Evergoods, or any other company using 500D Cordura): “this is a very durable bag.”

    First, that’s all lies. Second, and I think this is important, those comments are being said without any testing to back them. Oh, yes, sure the writer stuffed his (it is always a guy) laptop and other shit in the backpack for the last week (which actually means Tuesday – Friday because the bag came Monday, and the writer has no need for a bag on the weekend) and went about his days walking around a tiny bit with the bag.

    Continue reading: Durability Is a Bad Metric, Let’s Stop

  • Member Journal — 6/24/19

    Do I want to eat a KFC/Cheetos thing because I switched to Google for some stuff? Perhaps, perhaps.

    This week: I use Google, I drink things which are smoking, hashtag that office life, someone says that backpacks aren’t cool, kids with horns, and Cheetos.

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  • Stuart & Lau Cary Briefcase Single

    This is the best briefcase I have used.

    Note: this item was provided for review.

    The Cary Briefcase is Stuart & Lau’s offering for the daily office worker’s go to briefcase. Or, rather, here’s how they put it: “the Cary is our functional and timeless take on your every day carry.” That too.

    This is a a timeless bag, and its made for modern gear with modern materials. It’s a zero break in needed type of bag, and easy to use. Let’s dive in.

    Continue reading: Stuart & Lau Cary Briefcase Single

  • Members Journal — 6/17/19

    What would happen if you tried to protect your privacy? You would lose.

    In this week’s journal: specifically, iCloud; rise of encryption and privacy semantic games; a preview of stuff I am reviewing.

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  • Member Journal — 6/10/19

    Are you watching this?

    First, Happy Birthday Dad. Second, this week a truncated version of the journal as there wasn’t much going on as far as good writing last week, and well I moved so that took most of my energy.

    This week: warmth, anxiety watches, somewhat, poop with no lights on, and some thoughts on iPadOS, naturally.

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  • Member Journal — 6/3/19

    Uber turns the tables on all of us, and a $40 hack to make your life less stressful.

    Shorter article this week, as you read this I am in the process of moving, also because I seemed to have already packed my keyboard so I am typing on the screen. Hold up, this is silly, let me find that thing. Ok, got it, onward.

    This week: competing theories of how to live your best life, being banned from Uber, and a practical level of obsession.

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  • The Totebook from Studio Neat

    Stop, buy some, then come back and read why buying them was a great decision.

    I received a couple of these to test from Studio Neat a little while back. As you all know, I am a huge fan of everything they do, these notebooks are no exception.

    I don’t know that there is a better notebook to buy out there. It’s taboo to talk about other competing products when you promote something new, but I am totally going to break that.

    Continue reading: The Totebook from Studio Neat

  • Ulysses 16: 2-Up

    a.k.a. How to run to instances of Ulysses next to each other.

    Today, Ulysses has a new app version bringing it up to 16. As you know, I think it is foolish for any person to not own this app, and just as foolish to waste your time writing in any other app. That doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement in this app, and thankfully the team behind Ulysses agreed.

    Continue reading: Ulysses 16: 2-Up