20 October 2011

Wealth vs Time and Our Leased Lives

It is probably an observation many others have made, the correlation between wealth and time. That being that the more wealth you have the less time you seem to have. Sounds crazy but let me explain.

I have observed wealthy people with very little time, their time being spent accumulating or attempting to accumulate wealth. I have observed the inverse as well, where there is a lot of idle time and not a lot of wealth. I'm not saying either is bad or good, I am saying that both are in limited supply. The more wealth one accumulates the less time one seems to have, the purchases become bigger, but time is not what I'd call in abundance.

I've got close friends in both categories.

On the one had, one is quite wealthy, very successful and nearly everything he touches turns to a pot of gold so to speak. However when we talk he's always complaining that he never seems to have enough time to do the things he wants to do. His time always eaten by his responsibilities, his focus called upon to maintain momentum and so on.

On the other hand, one is not wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, he gets by but seems to always be in a situation where he believes if he just had more money then he'd be able to do what he wants to do. He has plenty of time, in fact he has the time to do about anything that suits his fancy, provided it isn't expensive.

I think in the end the real trick isn't sacrificing time for wealth, but rather finding the balance between the two or perhaps searching down the path of less is more. Time spent that is memorable and gratifying is time well spent indeed. Consider, both time and wealth are spent, one results in memories that last a life time, the other results in items or material, to an extent experiences too I guess. These things also play a part in memories. As tangled as it seems it becomes a matter of perspective.

More wealth can be made, but it certainly seems to me to be harder to make more time. I'm fast approaching the time is better than wealth perspective.

So what should one do? In our society it seems wealth is a requirement, is it? We use it to secure shelter, food, security, clean water, education, also for materials, items, and so on. Does it buy happiness? I'm not convinced of that, I am convinced that it buys distractions.

I believe we've turned society into our Warden, that we've turned civilization into the prison, that we are not so free as we believe, and to hide from this fact we distract ourselves through wealth. We're all just lengthening shadows cast by a sinking Sun. Mortal. I think we hide from this reality, or hide this reality from ourselves through our endless never ending craving of distractions.

To chase these distractions we pursue wealth, it enables us to perpetuate the distraction. Remove the distractions, realize we're mortal, live with this knowledge and would it change the way we live? I think so. Would we speak to each other differently? Think of and treat our children or loved ones differently? Treat ourselves differently? Yes, I think we would. Instead we hide our mortality, and thus believe we hide our flaws.

Somewhere along the way I'm pretty sure we made a wrong turn. Established ourselves as willing slaves to a grind we believe equals freedom when in reality it isn't all that different from indentured servitude. We trade our time for a wage, for money, for wealth, then give that back in order to survive. Ultimately that equals ownership. If your time is owned by another, how is that freedom? The real trick played upon us all, was making us believe, that we're in control and have chosen this course. Have we really? No matter the where or the how, our civilization has become one where you must allow another to own your time, in exchange you are given pieces of paper that ultimately you must return to the very entities that own your time. How is this not leasing your life to another?

In the end what does wealth spent mean when you pass the veil? I don't really think it matters much.
In the end what does time spent mean when you pass the veil? I think maybe, it matters a whole lot.

18 October 2011

Danner Talus

I've been a user of Danner boots for years. I've always found their products met the hype. I've had some Acadias, Elk Hunters, Pronghorns, and a pair of Mountain Light IIs. I've relied on Danner footwear and I've never had a problem recommending their products.

Until now.

About six months ago I purchased a pair of Danner Talus boots.

From their website:

Boot Details

  • 100% waterproof and breathable GORE-TEX® liner is engineered to keep your feet dry and comfortable - even in extreme conditions
  • A full-grain, all-leather upper provides outstanding waterproof protection while the leather padded collar offers ankle comfort
  • Abrasion-resistant rand encircles the boot where wearing most often occurs
  • Speed lace and hook combination system for a secure, true fit and quick entry and removal of boot
  • Fatigue Fighter™ footbeds are deeply padded for all day comfort and high-mileage arch support
  • Vibram® Bifida outsole provides natural movement for the foot. The thrust, grip and brake areas are characterized by different shaped lugs positioned according to the most recent biomechanical concepts.
  • TPU shank
  • 6.5" height
  • 52 oz

The boots are certainly built tough. Double stitching, rugged upper, top quality leather and other materials. The typical quality I have come to expect from Danner was certainly apparent.

After six months of use I've made my decision regarding these boots, I'm not happy.

On a rating of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best here's how they turned out for me.

Comfort = 6
Durability = 9
Traction (dry) = 9
Traction (wet) = 1

While they are comfortable to wear they run hot, so in the summer on the trail they would set my feet on fire. In Spring and so far through fall that has not been an issue and they have been comfortable.

They show little sign of wear other than the treads at the heel and the ball of the foot, and this is limited.

Traction on dry ground is superb, any surface.

Traction on wet ground is horrible and on wet rocks they'll kill you. The Vibram sole is just way to hard and stiff, little to zero give at all. It doesn't cup or wrap a surface, on wet rocks, tile or other flat hard surface you might as well be wearing roller skates.

In mud they were virtually useless there as well, the treads fill up very quickly, are not self cleaning at all, and any type of mud had this effect. Because the footbed is so stiff there is little flex, because there is little flex the mud holds solid within the tread pattern. Take a look at the toe area and the outsole leading up to the toe. It's flat and smooth, when walking up terrain, especially in mud, I'd like to see tread in this area. Most other boots I have, have tread running to the toe and some over it, with the Talus there is nothing. So on a steep bank or similar terrain situation where you want traction and you need it at the toe, you won't get it from these boots.

The GorTex in the boots works, they never soaked through even after several creek crossings over the past few months. While crossing those creeks was an iffy proposition if the bed was rocks, they were indeed waterproof.

In the end I think these are primarily designed for dry regions, I know their use in the sand box has met with decent reviews. I believe the problem for use in wet terrain is related to the Vibram® Bifida outsole, the thrust, grip and brake areas are characterized by different shaped lugs positioned according to the most recent biomechanical concepts, that material and design that they are touting, if reconfigured to a slightly softer material and redesign the traction lugs then I believe the boots would be suitable. Virtually all of my disappointment is associated with the outsole.

For any wet or muddy region use as they come from the factory, I'd look elsewhere and there is no way I could recommend these boots to anyone who might find themselves in wet terrain.

This is merely my opinion based on six months of field use.

17 October 2011

Set it straight, don't be that guy

Recently I've seen one argument after another regarding everything from knives and axes to bushpots and shelter halves. I'll say it again, I avoid these measuring contests like a two day dead skunk in July because they are pointless, serve no purpose of any kind, not for the supporter of high end high speed low drag nor anymore so for the minimalist and his Mora.

Get real people.

It doesn't matter.

What you buy has no bearing on who you are, no matter how much some people would like to believe otherwise, and this goes both ways. It is as much true for the guy dropping serious coin as it is for the guy who believes he is better because he isn't dropping serious coin. Get a grip folks, it doesn't matter.

Some folks like GB and others like Wettererlings, still others like Husky and more still no name at all. Does it matter? No. Twice in the past week I've seen reference to folks linking knives to manhood. Are you kidding me? Is this really seriously an actual thought or merely a means to insult someone because they like something you don't? How 'bout it? A little honesty is needed.

What someone chooses to use is their damn business,  it's their prerogative and it belongs to them, not me and not you nor anyone other than that person. It's juvenile to attempt to insult someone else because of their choices and preferences just because they do not align with yours, grow up. More often than not these asinine arguments are beyond childish in nature and lead no where and serve no purpose at all.

Don't be that guy, if you want to share your experiences then by all means do so, that is the point. If you want to demean someone else because their choices don't align with yours, well you've got special problems that require special attention. Put your damn ego away. Mentor, coach, share, inspire, in the end the decision belongs to the individual, to insult because their view isn't yours puts you in a camp of egocentric chairborn commandos with more a word to how rather than any actual real experience.

Some folks decide on a piece of kit for more reasons than just so and so said it was good. Some of them are perhaps tight in the budget and know they'll likely not be able to make multiple purchases of this particular type if gear. So they buy overbuilt or extreme or rugged and can take anything. Maybe it has nothing to do with ego or manhood or overcompensation, just maybe they are trying to ensure longevity in that particular piece of kit?

For a very very long time my finances were tight to say the least. Just about everything went into the family, the house, the bills and so on. I save money for certain things, extensive conversations with my wife about the benefits or attributes of this or that. All of which was completely uninteresting to her, and no harm on her account, some folks just don't share an interest, is what it is. One of the things I clearly remember though was how long will it last? Is it durable? Not because I was "what iff'ing" an apocalypse or because I was "adding excitement of I might die if I don't have this", nope, nothing like that at all. It was nearly entirely centered around not knowing when and if I'd have the money to make another purchase. Instead of buying the cheapest thing I could find, I bought items I know would last many years. Would cheaper alternatives have sufficed? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe what I did buy will find its way into the hands of my sons, complete with many years of stories and adventures.

Just maybe that is worth more than $12.50 and massaging some minimalist's ego.

13 October 2011

Shore of Lake Superior

I got back into town today from a business trip to Denver. On the way back through from Minneapolis to the barn I stopped along Lake Superior to take some pictures.

06 October 2011

Improvised Striker Steel for Primitive Fire Building.

When I am afield, I don't remember the last time I didn't have a short 6" bastard file. I primarily use it to resharpen my broadheads, but I've used it on a roughed up knife, on axes and so on.

The rock I used isn't flint I know that for a fact. I don't really know what the make up of it is but it works like a dream.

Some pictures and a video below. The stuff I used to make the new char cloth are breast pocket flaps from an old warn out cotton canvas field shirt.

Firecraft Kit

File, stone, wasp's nest, some char cloth and other goodies in there. Finding pieces of wasps nest is always a bit of good luck. Makes a great material to blow a coal into to get a flame.

Close up of the squared end on the file and the stone I'll be using.

Set up and getting ready to spark it.

Video of sparking and blowing the coal to flame in the wasp nest tender.

Charring in action.

Finished char, turned out real good.

02 October 2011

Natural Tinder & Fire Steel

A fire steel is a damn fine thing. Doesn't matter the weather it just works, durable and lasts for years and years. It's the handiest way to get a tinder bundle going, again, in nearly any weather or temperature. Doesn't rely on butane or other fuels, isn't susceptible to moisture.

Natural tinder is, well, just that, naturally occurring, in Bushclass Basic one of the classes was on 5 man-made tinder sources. You can find my original offering for that one here, below is a similar exercise, only the tinder sources are all naturally occurring. 

Dried cattail stalk husks, dried long grass, Basswood inner bark, Birch bark, an unknown seed puff stuff that was on some long weeds in the cattails, a dried flower bunch, I've forgotten the name of the flower type, and cattail fluff as well as cornstalk tassels.

If you can get your hands on some dried cornstalk tassels the stuff works great, short of Birch bark it's my favorite these days. The stuff caught a spark really well and burned for a while. I pulled a bunch of it to put in my firecraft kit.

Some pics of the tassels.

Video with all of the materials I used.