Thursday, November 26, 2009

Moon (Sci-Fi Drama 2009)

This film certainly felt like a low-budget one since there was really only one actor involved, but the space scenes could not have been done by a small production company.

The movie was O.K., but it could've been much more badass in my opinion. The main guy's acting wasn't very good but the director could've done much more in terms of internal turmoil of the mind. I don't know what the director chose to focus on because no other part really stood out. Yeah I can't say much more because I'd give away the main part of the plot, but it's not exactly a secret either.

The ending also could've been much better, but it left the audience with little news snippets instead. This is a cop-out way of handling an ending.
Rating - C

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2009 Honda Fit Sport

I ended up selling the Saab for multiple reasons, but the main one being that there was no longer a dealer in Reno and Rachel V was still in need of service visits. The two problems that occurred later on were that the front passenger-side speaker started going out and my lights, which I had told the peeps before that something was wrong, would blink on/off randomly. When people started flashing me at stoplights was when I got irritated up to the point of doing something about it. I did get the car at a good price so since I knew it was depreciating quickly, I had to sell it off before it went down even more. So with the onset of wifey arriving, I also knew that I needed a car to teach her how to drive in so MPG became a greater priority. I decided on the new remake of the Honda Fit because of its great MPG and because it was tiny. As expected it was and still is a Honda...but what does that mean? Read on.

The car itself runs fine. It's actually faster than the Impreza believe it or not. The trunk can fit a shitload of stuff as experienced in one pretty hefty Ikea trip we recently made. The interior is boring and has creaky plastic, but again, that is to be expected. The MPG averages around 34 mixed with a max of 40 highway so not too shabby at all. Like a Honda, during the summer months if the AC is on, the car becomes slow as fuck and lacks in any sort of acceleration...very annoying. The USB direct-connect auto system is terrific. All you do is connect your MP3 player to it and the stereo will immediately start playing a song...no lag that usually comes from a CD Player. One shitty thing was that they decided to take off the audio steering wheel controls, reserving it only for peeps who purchase the Nav system. Fuck that. The HVAC controls are circular in design and kinda crappy...it's something about turning a huge knob is not my idea of a modern automobile...it just feels cheap. Yeah and turning the fan past '2' makes the cabin noise exceed regular speaking volume. The paddle-shifters are nice when you're not using the AC; they are responsive and make the car feel faster than it really is. The 5-gear automatic transmission takes the cake for being probably one of the greatest features of this car. With it, it feels much like a real car rather than an econobox even though that's exactly what it is. The interior has a very crappy center console. The placement of the drink holders are inconvenient and the lack of a center storage box/arm rest just drives the annoyance home. It does have these side drink holders that are located near the fans that are nifty so it's not all a loss.

So yeah, did you like my huge single-paragraph review? I'm tired and it just isn't worth making neat paragraphs for features that are standard and only require a one sentence line to describe 'em.

Overall I bought the egg car for my wife so that we could save gas and she could learn in a smaller car. The Fit is a nice addition to any person's fleet considering that the storage space is totally immense, but it does have its downsides...and coming from a luxury-class car I do tend to have a good memory of the differences. So yeah...one of these days I'll be trading in the Impreza because it's worthless to me. The new VW Golf Turbo Diesel looks good on paper but it's as expensive, if not more expensive than a GTI... So yeah I don't know what I want as my next car but I know it can't be hella cheap like the Fit is and it can't guzzle gas like the Saab did. Reliability is still important, but the fact that I'm even glancing at a VW makes me think that there still is some wiggle room.

Pros
  • MPG
  • Small Footprint
  • Great Storage Room
  • Peppy Tranny w/o AC
  • Better than the Impreza
Cons
  • Boring
  • Overpriced
  • No Audio Steering Wheel Controls
  • HVAC Noise
  • Wind Noise
  • Becomes a Mule if the AC is Turned On

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past (Romantic Comedy 2009)

This was a free Redbox rental and yes there was nothing else available. As one can expect this movie was yet another bullshit Matthew McConaughey flick. I don't see why he still gets gigs since he always plays the same lame character in all of his romantic comedy flicks. Do chicks really think he's attractive?

There is nothing more to say about this other than its sheer resemblance to all of the other movies in this genre. The female characters are always weak-willed and the guys are always bastards. The plot is usually laughable and the humor is very plain. I can only picture obese, low self-esteem girls with a pint of ice cream plopped in front of their couch watching movies like this. One has to think that it most likely costs more money to make one of these sub-par romantic comedies than what they get back, right? So why do production houses still sponsor this trash?
Rating - D

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Up (Animated 2009)

Good ol' Pixar; they never seem to disappoint. Toy Story 3 is on the horizon too so that's definitely something to look forward to.

This movie was good...animation, story, humor, one-liners...everything. As expected, the dog was the highlight of the movie. Terrific character and very dog-like in every sense of the word. The main character was O.K. but he was still an old guy and that age group rarely is associated with humor or fun. The beginning of the movie was pretty sad...I'm sure the animators even shed a few tears making it.

Not much else to say except that it upheld the baseline of good, quality animated filmmaking.
Rating - A

Monday, November 02, 2009

1951r Russian Tula SKS Rifle

This SKS was the next gun that caught my eye. Historically, it was the replacement for the Mosin Nagant, but was barely used because the AK-47 got invented and took over as Russia's main go-to rifle. Many countries still use the SKS in ceremonial duties, just like the US still uses the M1 Garand for the same purpose.

The rifle uses the same 7.62x39 cartridge that the AK uses. It's called an intermediate cartridge which, from what I've gathered, means that it's good enough to kill a guy but it's not as heavy and doesn't have the range of a full-powered cartridge. I personally like the kick of a full-powered round, but yeah in a combat scenario, the more ammo you can carry, the better off you are.

The SKS has a bunch of aftermarket parts available for it which I, stupidly, got caught up in buying. In hindsight I should've just stuck with the stock rifle, and added a few key improvements, but all of the options out there got the better of me. Here is a list of parts and why most aren't worth purchasing:
  1. Tapco T6 Stock - This plastic stock does the job if you have no stock at all, but it just doesn't feel right when you shoot it. It's very plasticy and does not provide a deep, secure *thud* that the wood stock gives. It's an good option if you're dying for a pistol grip, but if you're planning on going this far, why not just save some money and buy an AK?
  2. 20-Round Tapco Magazine - Stock, the SKS has an internal 10-rounder; this works fine and should not be changed around. The 20-rounder has a duckbill front which makes it very awkward to switch out considering how the rifle was designed with the Bolt-Hold-Open (BHO) and the charging handle. I think it's a matter of ergonomics. It was not designed with the intention of having a removable magazine and because of this, it just feels odd using one. Also, I had to do a bunch of dremeling on the mag because it didn't fit too in my Russian receiver.
  3. Buffer Technologies SKS Recoil Buffer - Pretty worthless. It muffles the sound of the bolt slamming against the back of the receiver, but it really doesn't help any. In my lifetime I don't think I could ever wear out the bolt to the point where it breaks the receiver and/or cover.
  4. Ameriglo SKS Type 56 Front Night Sight - You lose the ability to do small tweaks with the front sight because the glowing side is only on one, thus you have to twist it in 180 degree increments. Also, since there are no SKS rear sights, having one glowing green dot is not going to help much at all.
  5. Murray’s SS SKS Firing Pin - This was purchase that was totally worth the money. You just can't trust that stock, floating firing pin...it feels like an unreliable mechanism of the area gets too gummed up with carbon or debris. Murray's Firing Pin feels solid and it works.
  6. Choate SKS Recoil Compensator - It did nothing for the recoil, but it might be a flash suppressor. I wouldn't know because I didn't shoot at night. One good thing is that it does stay on and will not pop off like other cheaper solutions, but again, it really doesn't do much except lengthen your rifle.
  7. Tech Sights .047 Dia. Front Site Post - I purchased this because I kinda screwed up the stock one trying to make it smaller with a file. Yeah, non-machinists like myself should not be messing with rifle parts. Anyway, although it's much smaller than the original, it's a little bit too small. Functionality is up in the air as well because the front sight adjustment mechanism of the SKS/AK is not an exact science. You have to "guess" to see if the damn thing is even moving. Because of this fact, its really is not worth it to get a slimmer front site because it's highly doubtful that a normal person with that generic adjustment tool would be able to zero in on a specific, far-off position as accurately.
  8. ATI SKS or AK Sling - Not worth the extra money. The color scheme of black nylon does not go with the whole wood stock ensemble. Just find a real, green SKS sling for around $25 on the forums.
  9. Choate SKS Scope Mount - I did purchase this, but did not go through the installation because of the lack of tools. In my research, it would've been the most stable solution for mounting a scope or red dot on the rifle.
So here's the main thing I learned with the SKS. People shouldn't try to make it into a tactical rifle because you'll only end up spending a lot more money than you're supposed to and it'll probably suck when compared to another rifle that was built with those intentions. If you want to put a red dot on a rifle then buy one that comes with a rail already in place. No need to stress about leveling out a mount prior to drilling and tapping a few holes...again to the non-machinists out there, it's way more work than it's worth.

In the end I went back to a stock rifle because that's the way it looked when it first caught my eye. I get better groupings with the SKS when compared to a Saiga, and it was cheaper too. I'm still not sold on the cartridge size though. It's a great one to use when you're shooting on the cheap, but I totally enjoy the 7.62x54r more, even though it's corrosive.

Another thing I discovered during my research was that all Chinese, Albanian, and most Russian SKSs came with chrome-lined barrels. Yugoslavians don't come chrome-lined. I say 'most' for the Russians because they started lining them sometime in 1951 which means that it's very likely that my rifle is not, which sucks. So for those who are looking for a Russian SKS, get one dated 1952+.

One thing that I didn't like about the rifle was the trigger group. I had to take it apart to put in a USA-made trigger and it was all sorts of weird. Taking it apart was O.K. but putting it back together sucked. The AK-47 trigger group makes a whole lot more sense to me.

The rifle also has more parts than an AK. It has a much nicer feel in terms of shooting and the mechanics of it all, but if I needed something that was more-so dependable, I'd still go with an AK.

Pros
Very good looking rifle with bayonet
Solid wood stock
Cheap ammo that isn't corrosive
Price compared to a quality AK

Cons
7.62x39 is not as fun to shoot vs the 7.62x54r round
No built-in mount system
Trigger group design
Top-loading + stripper clips = a hassle
Stripper clips might be lighter than mags, but they feel flimsy
Too many parts vs an AK