Boker Plus Action 2

Posted in Reviews on September 29, 2009 by Onyx

Now it’s no secret that I carry a knife with me at all times. Aside from being an Eagle Scout, there are several good reasons why I carry a knife. While having an obvious use in self defense, it also functions as a great tool to have in everyday situations as well as unexpected survival ordeals.

Pocket knives are great as tools and in some cases, self defense weapons, but let’s focus on the self defense part of that function for a while now. You’re cornered, you’ve got one shot at dealing with your attacker before he deals with you and he doesn’t know you have a knife. How long does it take to fold out a normal knife? No more than two seconds, right? Well, in that two seconds, you could be well on your way to being six feet under after your attacker figures out what’s going on. So how do you lower the time it takes to open your knife?

Now we discuss a device that is called an “auto knife.” Sitting squarely halfway between a normal knife and a switchblade, the auto knife is a perfect compromise between combat effectiveness and everyday utility.

Imagine a pocket knife with a button on it that opens it almost instantly. It still opens and locks the same way, it just does it with a spring action. There are two forms of these knives, one is powered by a spring and can only open uisng the spring action (legal in only a few states and to those with an active military ID) and the kind that are powered with a torsion bar (legal in most states and for sale to the general public).

The Boker Plus Action 2 is the latter kind.

Boker Plus Action 2

Boker Plus Action 2

Let’s start with the basics. It costs 50USD, has a blade length of 3.25″ (legally not a deadly weapon) with an overall open length of 7.75″ and comes in two color schemes (Black Epoxy blade/satin sand; satin gray and black). The blade is partially serrated with a drop point and is made of AUS-8 stainless. The handle has rubber grip inserts and the frame is made of EDP coated 6061-T6 aircraft aluminum. Dual functionality (normal and automatic opening) with a linear locking mechanism, hidden opening switch and red dot safety.

Now that’s all fine and dandy, but what you really want to know is how does it do as an everyday pocket knife.

I’ve had this knife for a little more than a year now and I can attest to it’s remarkable performance. I carry it almost everywhere I go in my back pocket and it is the perfect knife for doing so. It’s profile is right in the sweet spot of not being too thin and therefor, difficult to hold, but not being pointlessly bulky. The dual opening action means that you don’t have to scare your friends or the general public when you just need to open a box or something of that sort, but you have the option of an automatic opening when you need it (for example, when you only have one hand available to operate the knife) or if you just want to show off.

And show off you will. This knife is a real looker. The black blade with silver text certainly will turn heads. I’m particularly fond of the gray/dark sand finish on the handle. It’s a unique color for a knife that is understated, classy and interesting without appearing to be without function. Its design is also very modern and European in style. You can definitely see the German influence Boker put into its form.

This knife is also equipped with a “tip up” belt clip which hooks to the edge of my back pocket to keep the knife easily accessible. This keeps the knife’s center of gravity lower than the clip being used to support it, so it feels like it’s hanging from the clip rather than being pinched onto your belt by the clip.

The handle has a very comfortable curve to it without any complicated extra nooks or crannies to help you grip it, it just fits your hand very well. Both upright and inverted, the knife feels solid in your hand and thumb support is suburb in both positions.

The spring action in this knife is a little hard to get used to, especially considering the location of the release button. The spring, however, is quite powerful and gives a smooth and satisfying pop when you open it. Some people who have borrowed my knife have complained about it almost slipping out of their hand duringĀ  the opening operation. However, I have concluded that I should not hang out with these friends anymore because they aren’t manly enough for this knife.

This knife then, overall, is a good choice if you’re looking for something both different from your run of the mill pocket knife and something with a high degree of functionality. It’s easy on the eyes and carries a feeling of German design that you normally see in their automobiles. It’s a little pricey for many people, and it’s especially not a good knife for those prone to losing knives. It may also be illegal in some places, so do be sure you check into that before you buy this knife. Otherwise, you can look forward to many years of service from this very well made knife.

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Energy Drinks: Starbucks Doubleshot vs. Java Monster

Posted in Reviews on September 13, 2009 by Cobalt

Okay, so, I know what you’re all thinking. Energy drinks? Really? Truth of the matter is, I couldn’t think of a single thing to review, but I couldn’t let Onyx keep having all the fun. So, yes, this review is about energy drinks.

That being said, what about ’em? Well, considering I don’t really care for the “regular” energy drinks, I’ll be rambling a bit about a twist on the energy drink formula: coffee/energy drink hybrids, specifically Starbucks Doubleshots (not to be confused with the doubleshot, which is nothing more than two shots’ worth of espresso) and Java Monster.

First and foremost, let’s take a look at energy contents.

Starbucks Doubleshots take a more conservative blend of ingredients, listing its energy contents per can as 2 grams of Maltodextrin, 1.8 grams of Taurine, 450 milligrams of L-Carnitine, 180 milligrams of Inositol, 325 milligrams of Panax ginseng, and 90 milligrams of Guarana. That’s 4845 milligrams of assorted energy ingredients in every 15 fluid ounce can. Not too bad.

Compare that with Monster Java’s energy ingredients. Now, mind you, they’re not as forthcoming with information – I couldn’t for the life of me figure out whether their listings counted as per-serving, or per-can. Either way, they have 3,700 milligrams of assorted ingredients (they don’t list the volumes of each ingredient, only what ingredients are included in the energy blend) in whatever it is.

But how do these blends compare, as far as their actual effects go? The honest answer is, I couldn’t tell you. I feel more or less the same after having a Java Monster and a Starbucks Doubleshot (though the former did manage to keep me awake for a few hours longer during an all-nighter I pulled one weekend). In that regard, it remains totally up to the consumer’s preference which is more “effective.”

So, if they do basically the same thing… What’s the point of comparing them?

Taste.

Which brings me to my next comparison. How do they taste? Having compared two equivalent flavors of each brand (mocha and vanilla, to be more precise), I’ve formed my opinion.

Doubleshots are the clear winners of the taste test. Both the mocha and the vanilla flavors are quite good, somewhat similar in texture and flavor to their frappuchino counterparts, despite the flavor being thrown just out of the ballpark by the energy contents. For what it’s worth, mocha actually reminds me a bit of the artificially flavored cotton candy you can find in gum and other confections.

Java Monster, on the other hand, still manages to retain a thin, bitter-yet-sugary taste. This was the main issue I had with the “plain” flavor of Monster, which I swore tasted something akin to lightly carbonated, artificially flavored green apple soda. You can actually still get a hint of this flavor in the Java Monster, which is the primary reason that I don’t care for the taste. Ironically, “Moca Loca” (mocha) Java Monster tastes better to me than “Mean Bean” (vanilla), which is precisely the opposite of my preference for Doubleshots. Go figure.

So which drink is ultimately better? I really do have to go with Starbucks Doubleshots on this one. They taste better, and frankly, the difference between the two drinks’ ability to get you through another class or two is negligible.

Webcomic Roundup – Sandra and Woo

Posted in Reviews on September 13, 2009 by Onyx

One of my favorite things on the face of the planet to review has to be webcomics, so trust me when I say this won’t be the last time I say a thing or two about webcomics. The reason being that there is just no hiding anything when you produce one; if something is off, everyone is going to see it. Honestly, it’s more fun to review terrible webcomics, but I’ll try not to review terrible ones too often, seeing as that’s rather useless to the audience.

Now then, with that being said…

Sandra and Woo

Sandra and Woo, much like the link banner says, is a comic about a young girl living in the suburbs with her father and her recently acquired pet raccoon.

Right at the start of the story, you’ll notice that this comic has a bit of quirkiness to it as well as some video game references. This is normally enough for me to pin a comic as “just another boring gamer comic that will never gain anyone’s interest and will burn out unnoticed by the end of a year” and my faith was certainly not bolstered by the Sly Cooper reference IN THE FIRST STRIP OF THE ENTIRE COMIC. I, the intrepid reviewer did force myself to trek onward into this strip for you the loyal viewer (I know you exist somewhere and that you’re someone other than my mother…). And I must say, I found the results to be much better than I had forecast from the first frame.

This strip actually really reminds me of Calvin and Hobbes in the way that the “talking animal” theme is handled. The focus is almost exclusively on the girl and her animal companion and their various adventures viewed through the lens of childlike awe of everyday happenings. Facial expressions, body language and dialog are top notch, although I have a suspicion that the production team is not primarily English speaking. In fact, I’m going to hazard a guess that they might be German, seeing as the entire comic is available in German/auf Deutsch. This is reflected by the occasional dialog abnormality. While technically grammatically correct, these awkward phrasings are usually dead giveaways to a non-English speaking production team. These, however, are not enough to break the flow of the strip and are acceptable.

The artist’s style actually is a strange one in that it makes me think of something like a cross between Western cartooning and a slight Manga influence. Let’s get one thing clear, I DESPISE the Manga style when it’s emulated by Western artists. Normally, something like this would irk me enough to give the art of a comic a bad review, but oddly enough, it doesn’t really bother me on this one.

Story wise, this comic is typical of a normal humor comic in that it consists of very short self-contained arcs that usually have minimal overlap and carry over material for the rest of the comic. Some arcs are better than others; I wasn’t terribly impressed by the “insulin ban” arc, but the short arc structure certainly works for the humor part of the comic.

Now onto a topic that has probably had the more internet savvy audience asking the question “Is this a furry comic?”

Well… yes and no. On the DMFA Scale of Webcomic Furriness (1 being a comic about humans doing entirely human things in places where there are only humans and 10 being Dan and Mab’s Furry Adventures and all of its batshit insanity) this comic scores about a four. To put that in perspective, Garfield scores about a three and Calvin and Hobbs scores a four. Although when I did some snooping around the comic’s site, I did notice some things that sent up some red flags. A couple of animal characters (one of which being a fox, which scores MAJOR furry points) one of which having a strange name that may be attempting to be “cool” or “mysterious”, several links to articles and information sites about raccoons, foxes and other animals, and the mention of Sly Cooper in the first strip all caught my attention. Personally, I wouldn’t worry about it.

If the word “furry” means “covered in fur” to you, disregard that paragraph. Also, don’t google it…

But on the whole, this is a well written, quirky and quaint humor comic that thus far has prooven entertaining. The artistic style is strangely refreshing and expressive without the use of too much color and really brings out the best of the writing. All of this is accomplished in what I would call (at the worst) a PG atmosphere without the need of the crutch of crude humor. This is truly a unique spectical these days and worth a look even if this isn’t your cup of tea.

Pendulum: In Silico

Posted in Reviews on July 29, 2009 by Onyx

Considering my location, people find it very strange that I listen to electronica and many of its subgenres. America is rather devoid of any electronic music and this is especially true in the deep south.

My experience with electronica to this point has mostly been with genres such as Trance, Downtempo and even some Triphop. And then over this last spring break, I found out about a little something called Breakbeat. We’ll get into how I found out about that some other time.

Now then, In Silico was released in May of 2008, about a year after the Hold Your Colour album was released. Hold Your Colour is most famous for the song “Slam,” which was featured in the PS3 launch title Motorstorm. In fact, “Slam” is probably Pendulum’s greatest hit, which means that In Silico has some pretty big boots to fill.

Right off the bat, you’ll notice that they’re doing things a bit differently these days. “Show Down” keeps the breakbeat intact, but the electronic feel takes a back seat to some heavy guitar work and thundering bass. Lyrics are also very much more upstaged this go round as evidenced by almost every song having lyrics woven all the way through them.

Honestly, this feels like “electronica lite” to me. My friends who hate electronica (which they are VERY quick to remind me of when they ride with me in my car…) not only tolerated it but said that they actually enjoyed it. My primary genre of listening is electronica, so I must say that this is a refreshing direction that has been taken with this album. Old fashioned rock sensibilities have been layered over the tried and true Breakbeat and filled in with electronic flourishes. The finished product is indeed fascinating to listen to. However rock elements are not the only things in play here…

“Propane Nightmares” starts with a trumpet solo which sounds like it had its origin south of the border accompanied by a classic James Bond esque guitar part. This then shifts into a hard electronic part with the introduction of the vocals. And just in case that wasn’t confusing enough, the percussion part comes into the mix. Despite all of these far fetched parts being used in this situation, the song is in fact my favorite from the album.

It would really be easier to say what I don’t like on this album. “Showdown” is rather dull in my opinion. “Mutany” is a little past over the top. Ok, “a little over the top” is a mild way of saying it, but you get the point.

In short, this is a good album if you are interested in trying something electronic for the first time but are afraid of getting some strange “I have a straight 4:4 beat and this Scifi quote that I’m going to loop over and over again” album. If you’re into electronica like I am, give this a try! It’s most certianly different from anything else you’ll find in Breakbeat or anywhere else for that matter.

Haphazard: reviewing everything it encounters

Posted in Site News on July 28, 2009 by Onyx

Welcome to Haphazard, the blog that chronicles the dizzying highs and sickening lows of the real world, the internet and everything inbetween. Sugar coating is out of the question here as the whole point of the reviews seen here is brutal (and hopefully humorous) honesty.

As stated earlier, any object of interest is up for review. A webcomic, a car, an entire website, a movie or anything else tangible is reviewable here. Have something you think is interesting? Let us know and we’ll check it out and possibly review it.

Content here could include anything (barring the completely obscene of course) from obscure art to a cup of tea at a local coffee shop. We’re open to anything here.

So please, stick around and enjoy yourself. Our first review will be posted shortly…