One of the best fiction (not really my cup of tea as I prefer non-fiction generally) books I ever read, was American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. I read it when I was 27, and getting my MBA. The protagonist (Patrick Bateman) is a 27 year old investment banker. If you’re not already aware, the plot is essentially that Patrick is obsessed with superficial things, loses touch with humanity, is prone to murderous drug-fueled rampages, and may or may not be real. Its quite complex, but I don’t want to give anything away or color your perceptions. The book is sick, sadistic, psychotic, and extremely interesting. The style in which the book is written really allows you to experience the obsessive and crazy life of the main character. The book makes one think about the state of Capitalism, conformity, the American dream, and US culture in the late 80s. What is also interesting, is that the real Wall Street guys this book was inspired by, grew up to cause the subprime mortgage crisis, bailouts, Madoff, Enron, etc. This book is definitely worth your time, even if you’ve already seen the movie. The movie only begins to hit on the best parts of the book. If you haven’t seen the movie, its on Netflix and Amazon instant video.
An interesting parallel between American Psycho and the book I’m currently reading, A Man in Full, is the idea that the boardroom is a modern incarnation of the battlefield. This sentiment is made explicitly in A Man in Full, but really only alluded to in American Psycho though competition (in reservations, business cards, suits, tans, really everything), and physical violence. I believe both books were published within a few years of each other.
To get in the mood, enjoy a playlist inspired by the novel:by rsiv with
I was thinking about getting a hacking jacket, and I thought I knew a little about tweed… The wealth of knowledge linked above is amazing.
Photo courtesy of http://www.gonomad.com/component/content/article/30-outdoor-adventure/4827-virginia-blue-ridge-mounts-primland-sporting-resort , and if you’re not heard of Primland, check it out.
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A couple years ago, during a rainy fishing trip in Alaska, I picked up a waxed cotton Alaskan Brewing Company hat. It served me well in the rain, and I still have it. When I got home, I looked into waterproofing my own hats. I picked up a bar of otter wax, and bought the blue version of my favorite hat (pictured below in Old South Grey):
It was really easy. You just rub the bar on the hat, then heat the hat up with a hair dryer to melt the wax into the fabric. You can find some tutorial videos here. The finished product is great for a rainy day. Its an easy DIY project, and the hat will go great with your Barbour jacket.by rsiv with
I probably enjoy amazon prime a little too much. That said, I’ve bought several things in the last few months I’d recommend to my friends. Here are a few:
BBQ and Tailgate:
Weber wood chunks (cheaper than at my home depot)
Pork Rub (I’ve used this at our latest annual whole hog roast (best pig in 9(?) years), on the WSM on ribs, and on a pork butt for pulled pork. I love it, some think its a little salty.)
EZ UP tailgate shelters (I have a 10×20 Eclipse II for the house (love it), and just got, but haven’t tried out the Vantage. Its not tailgate season right now, but we did just use one for the smoker competition.)
Fiskars axes (My Dad needed a new maul for the house. I use the 36 inch one at the cabin. Light and gets the job done. Make sure you order the axe you need for the job you need done ((splitting, chopping, etc)).
Red Cross emergency lights (I have at least one of these in all the main rooms of my house. Lots of people have plans for home defense (guns, pepper spray, etc.), but that can be dangerous if you can’t see whats going on. These keep enough light to see whats going on, while not being too bright to sleep (your sensitivity may vary).
Icebreaker longjohns (I have both the 200 and 260 weight. I’ve used them skiing, hunting, in Montreal in -45 windchill, etc. Highly recommended.)
Old Spice Original Deodorant (17% aluminum zirconium tetrachlorohydrex gly ((19% is about as high as it gets for non-prescription)) great smell, classic.)
Less drowsy Dramamine (Off-brand, but compare the price per pill with the tube you can buy at the pharmacy. Insane value. If you’re prone to motion sickness, and especially if you’re prone but try not to let it hold you back, how can you afford not to buy one?)
Professional garment brush (I was having trouble keeping a velvet blazer looking fresh, and was watching Downton Abbey…don’t judge. It works wonders on normal suits as well.)
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I occasionally wake up from nightmares, in which I believe I’ve forgotten that an assignment is due. Its been almost two years since I got my last degree, but the fear persists. As I come out of the hypnagogic state, at least I get to realize that I don’t have to worry about school anymore. I remembered that I my student subscription the The Economist still works today, and took a look. I found an interesting article about cigarette companies:
“In Europe 7% of smokers had tried “vaping” by 2012 but only 1% kept it up.” I really thought ecigs would catch on, and based on commercials and seeing them in stores, I thought they had.
“This month health officials in China, home to more smokers than any other country, called for a ban on smoking in public places.” (As far as I know, its still only a potential ban) The night before the smoking ban went into affect in VA, my wife, a buddy of mine, and I went to a cigar friendly restaurant in McLean and had some PG cigars. Maybe one day I’ll try to convince my grandkids that the Virginia smoking ban was as big a deal as the last drink before prohibition.
Admittedly, this is already a pretty scattered post, but I’ll go ahead and switch gears again. I remember getting to read Harvard Business Journal articles for school. There were plenty of reading assignments I didn’t enjoy, but the HBJ articles were usually pretty good. I found one of my favorites (though its a bit dated now), so I figured I’d share:by rsiv with
When I first got into cigars, I found the jet lighters I bought to be very unreliable. Once I learned that one needs to purge the lighter of all fuel when it runs out, and before refilling, my lighters became slightly more reliable. The only lighter I’ve had that has lasted more than say 20 refills, is a cheap ($3 I think) Ronson from Wallyworld. If you don’t like Walmart, say because they kill small town America, ebay has them, and I bet some mom and pops might as well. Another interesting fact is that Ronson was the preferred brand of my favorite protagonist, James Bond.by rsiv with
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I forgot to mention, on that first upland outing, I got to hunt with a celebrity:
Badger has pointed birds for me several times now. I think thats him on the left.by rsiv with
I grew up around guns, but I did not grow up hunting. Both my parents shoot guns, but neither hunt. My dad did some hunting when he was younger, and I may get him to take it up again, but he never took me. My papaw and an uncle of mine took me shooting almost every time I visited them, but outside of taking a few shots at squirrels in trees with an iron sighted 22 before I knew what I was doing, I didn’t do any real hunting.
In college, a lot of my fraternity brothers hunted, and I felt left out. After I graduated, I decided to do something about it. I’ll admit, going from a twice a year shooter to a hunter is no easy task, but its certainly possible. The first thing I did was head to the internet for some research. I decided to start with the shotgun. I knew I liked shooting shotguns, and thought duck and upland hunting would be eventual goals of mine. I started researching the best all around shotgun, so I could keep my options open as I learned more. I’d shot the Remington 870 with my relatives, and at Goshen Scout Camp, where I got shotgun merit badge. If you’re on a budget, its my opinion that you should look no further (I own one now, and will probably end up with a few more before all’s said and done). That said, I read a lot about clay and skeet shooters saying that having to operate a pump is difficult, particularly for a novice, and that an auto or over/under is preferable. I though I’d do at least as much sport shooting as hunting (I shoot clays pretty often now, and I’ve competed in tournaments twice) so I wanted a scattergat that could do it all. After much research, I decided on the Browning Maxus as an all around shotgun. Mine is the hunter model, 3.5 inch chamber, 28 inch barrel. I picked the maxus because of all the positive reviews, but I’d say it was luck as much as anything else. I’ve been quite happy with mine, and a buddy of mine got a similar one and likes his as well. I’ll let an expert tell you more about it if you’re so inclined:
Buying a firearm for the first time is a bit daunting, but it is not particularly difficult. The following link describes a purchase from a gun store, but it is quite similar to purchasing from a gun show, or private FFL:
I’ve purchased from a store (in the case of the Browning Maxus), a gun show, a private FFL, and via private sale. As a first time buyer, I found it easiest to purchase from a store. They helped walk me through the process, and answered all my questions.
As I mentioned before, I had some experience with firearms prior to buying my first gun. Even so, I took an exam at the NRA range in Fairfax, which goes over the basic tenants of firearm safety. I also took a learn to shoot class at Bull Run Shooting Center. I found this to be particularly helpful. The folks over at Bull Run Shooting Center are very friendly and helpful, and are happy to help novices in my experience.
After getting aquatinted with shooting again, and learning about my new shotgun, I took a lesson. To find an instructor, I just called Bull Run Shooting Center, and they gave me a phone number to call. I explained my goal to my instructor. I wanted to hunt doves and/or quail the following year. He taught me the fundamentals, and after maybe three one to two hour lessons, said he thought I’d be able to take some birds.
My next step was signing up for a Virginia Hunter Education class. It looks like you can do the whole class online now. I took the self study and learned in an actual classroom, which I found helpful, but I do admit that it was inconvenient to find an open class close to home.
With my own shotgun, safety knowledge, the fundamentals from my lessons, and my VA Hunter Education Certificate and License (they’ll teach you what you need and how to get it in the class), I was ready for my first hunt.
By searching online, I found a place that offers preserve (wild upland birds are hard to find in this area these days) quail, pheasant, and chukar hunting. I explained that I (and the other members of my party, fraternity brothers I convinced to join my quest to become a hunter) was a first time hunter. They said that would be no problem, and that they’d be happy to show us the ropes. We had a successful hunt, a great meal, and an amazing and unforgettable time on our first hunt.
Stay tuned… I’ll write up my first successful squirrel hunt (rifle hunting), and first dove hunt soon.by rsiv with
I generally only read one book at a time. When I read a book I really like, I like to try to experience the book. For instance, if I’m going to Breckenridge, I might read a Bond book such as, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, which based on the cover (but not my memory), involves skiing and perhaps, a ski town. In an earlier post, I suggested reading a Louis L’Amour book while in the desert. When I read The Right Stuff, I had several conversations with my father about what the space race was like (as I was not yet born). I also like to try things that are mentioned in the books. Bond books provide a wealth of items such as champagne, clothes, destinations, food (full english breakfast for instance), activities, cars, watches, etc. In the book I’m currently reading, A Man in Full, a character enjoys a breakfast of Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee, and Sally Lunn bread.
What really caught me is that they say its a Virginia recipe, yet I had not heard of it. I ordered some Cafe Du Monde on amazon prime, and asked the wife to whip up some bread. She found a recipe for Old Virginia Sally Lunn:
It was delicious. I fixed it up with butter and blackberry jam (I believe they used plum in the book).by rsiv with