Panasonic On-Ear Headphones RP-HS46 Review

I cannot stand “in the ear” headphones. When I am working out they’re always falling out during the best part of the song or during the last few reps when you need that motivation to help you push yourself.

Over the years I have used all different types of headphones and it wasn’t until May 2009 that I found the pair I could stand behind.

Panasonic On-Ear Headphones RP-HS46 Review

The Back-Story

In May 2009 I was working out 5-7 nights a week at my gym alone with my amazing Apple 30GB iPod I used to rock out with. I had gotten to the gym at my normal hour of 11 and got changed in the locker room when I found headphones had ripped the cable out (or something along those lines… I don’t fully remember). I quickly ran to my local Wal-mart to pick up the cheapest on-ear headphones. I found the Panasonic RP-HS46.

I ran back to my gym and worked out using these headphones for the next year and a half. I ended up not working out for a few years after my accident but I always carried my iPod to work with me so I needed a descent pair of headphones to get me by.

The Torture Testing

From 2011 until April 2015 I have used that same pair of Panasonic headphones while working at my fathers company doing decorative concrete work. To give you an idea of what that means, it is a lot of catching the headphone cord on equipment, lots of dust, dirt and sweat getting into the headphones. It is also a lot of bending over and putting pressure on the headphone plug. It is also hundreds and hundreds of hours of music being pumped through the headphones.

After all of that time, the headphones still worked until they finally gave up the ghost and went out on me in April. This forced me to shop online for a new set. When I had last looked online for the pair as a gift, I could only find them for $50-80 dollars on Amazon. I paid $13 (most expensive pair I had ever purchased at that time, so the amount had stuck in my head) when I first picked them up in 2009.

In April I was lucky enough to find them again for $8 a pair online so I picked up two.

Conclusion

Are these headphones the best in the world? No. Do they have the richest sound? No. Do they last unlike any others I have ever used? YES!

I wanted to write this review because as someone who beats the living hell out of clothes and gear just living a normal (for me) life I want to share what I have found to be durable and long lasting and can take the beating I put things through. These fit the bill.

Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey Review and Recipe

I have been fall down drunk twice in my life. I have been over the legal limit drunk but I have never lost my ability to make wise decisions (that I am aware of). When it comes to going to the bar on a weekend with friends or coworkers I am normally the designated driver. Not because I don’t enjoy drinking, but because I like falling asleep in a comfortable bed and not in a jail cell.

My dog decided to go for an adventure when I was 15. I was lucky and a policeman picked us up and drove us home with  my dog in my arms. That was my first and only time I have been driven in the back of a cop car. I swore never again.

I share these stories with you because I feel like my readers should know what kind of drinker I am. When you read more than one review on alcohol on my website you will understand that I drink because I enjoy the taste. I am not drinking to just drink.

BirdDogBlackberryWhiskeyReview

While I will be the first to admit I am not a connoisseur of any type of alcohol. I am a simple gentleman who likes to taste his drinks and not get completely wasted. I drink more at my house than I do at a bar because I like to know what I am drinking and I like to know that I am not going to pay $14 for a $1.50 worth of whiskey sour.

The Backstory

I was spending a day with my mother shopping (I don’t have a Sam’s Club membership so I use hers and it gives us a chance to spend some time together). On the way back to the house I wanted to stop at the liquor store to pick up a bottle of whiskey for dinner and she wanted to looks for a moonshine that a friend had turned her and my father on to.

I didn’t normally don’t spend time shopping for different brands of any kind of alcohol because I never really thought about it. I am simple I know that I like this brand and this price so I do the straight line for my bottle and the register and then I am out.

Since my mother was with me, we did a little browsing and came across Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey. My mother saw blackberry and she was like YES! we need to try this. The whiskey was $15 for 750ml bottle which seems like a fair price for flavored whiskey in Texas.

The Taste

We brought it back to my parents’ house and we opened the bottle and the aroma was wonderful! I stuck the bottle in the freezer for an hour to chill it down and then we tasted the Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey. This whiskey is smooth. It has all the tastes of whiskey when you first taste it and it finishes with a sweet taste of blackberry.

*Side note: when tasting alcohol I was taught to breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. the reason for this is that if you breathe in through your mouth you vaporize the alcohol which makes it evaporate and cause the burning feeling in your mouth.

The Recipe

The Atticus James Whiskey Sour

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Ingredients
2 ounces Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey
3-4 ounces Jose Cuervo The Original Classic Lime Margarita Mix
Ice to fill glass
Directions
Combine the Bird Dog BlackBerry Whiskey and Jose Cuervo The Original Classic Lime Margarita Mix in a large old-fashioned glass with ice. Stir, and serve.

This makes a great refreshing summer drink.

Overall Thoughts

After buying Bird Dog Blackberry Whiskey I am excited to try their other flavors. They have made a whiskey that is not only tastes good just on the rocks but also makes for some mean whiskey cocktails.

Bird Dog Whiskeys are reasonably priced and doesn’t leave you with a bad taste in your mouth

Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener Review

For Christmas last year I went out and got myself the Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener (Without tool sharpener). I didn’t really spend much time trying it out for the first few months. It seemed complicated and I was being lazy with my semi-dull knives. It wasn’t until a friend who is in the Army came to visit, that I really took it out and started learning how easy it really is to get a razor edge.

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Introduction

I have been on the hunt for a razor edge on my knives since I was old enough to learn how to sharpen knives. I have stick sharpeners, block sharpeners, diamond sharpeners, kitchen and utility sharpeners. I have so many sharpeners that I have a shoe box full of them and I am still finding ones from my youth. In my early teens I destroyed a few of my cheap knives by trying to sharpen them with a rotary tool and a metal grinding bit, all in search for the elusive razor edge.

First Impressions of the Ken Onion Edition

At first I wasn’t impressed with the edge I was getting with this Work Sharp sharpener. It was sharp but I really didn’t feel I was getting my moneys’ worth from this Work Sharp sharpener. The kit comes with a DVD that walks you through the steps. I just wasn’t impressed because the knife wasn’t all that sharp. I figured this wasn’t a dummies guide to sharp knives and that it really took a long time to learn how to get the edge you were looking for.

My First Sharp Knife

After working with the sharpener for a few hours I figured something out. My knives had been to hell and back. I have been “sharpening” them for years on different stones and angles and I had made a mess of my blades.

I needed to start fresh and re-profile the blades to the correct angle (as per the angle and belt guide in the book). I took my P120 extra coarse belt (this is a step I took on my own without guidance from the book as they do not talk about doing this) and redefined the edges on all of my blades. This was the first and most important step I have found to the perfect blade.

You need to start clean and have all the nicks and divots in the blade removed. Once I had done that, I followed the user guide and lo and behold I had a razor edge on my 10 year old EDC (EveryDay Carry) knife.

I have noticed that the knifes that have been re-profiled last a little bit longer between each sharpening now. I can see how re-profiling is not a one step method. It may take many sharpening’s before it is a super sharp leather cutting blade.

My $10 Razor Knife

There was a deal on some website offering these folding half serrated knives for $10. I picked up one for each of my family. I wanted them to have an inexpensive knife they could carry without worrying about losing an expensive one.

For those of you who do not feel the need to carry one on you, I recommend trying it out for 1 or 2 weeks. Count how times you find yourself using it.

When I opened the package with the 4 knives I wanted to see how sharp they were. I tried to shave some arm hair and found I couldn’t even cut warm butter.

I wanted to put this Work Sharp sharpener to the test and see if I could find a real edge on the knife or see if I had just bought myself 4 knife shaped paper weights. I went to my first step of re-profiling the edge. I quickly got a razor sharp edge on this knife and now I have been carrying it for about 3 months.

The Belts

The Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition Knife Sharpener comes with 5 belts:

Belts
(1) P120 Extra Coarse Grit Norton Ceramic Belt,
(1) X65 Coarse Grit Norton Norax 65 Micron Belt
(1) X22 Medium Grit Norton Norax 22 Micron Belt,
(1) X4 Fine Grit Norton Norax 4 Micron Belt
(1) 6000 Extra Fine Grit SiC Micro Mesh

The “X” belts are the ones you will use the most. They are meant for every blade with the exception of serrated, gut and bread knives which you use the 6000 Belt on.

I have noticed that after about 40 knife sharpens the belts are starting to wear. The book says “Belt discoloration is not an indicator of wear. Engineered belts expose new abrasive as they break down. Used belts may take extra strokes but will continue to remove material. These belts will keep going longer than you think. Keep using them as long as they cut.” [Found in the Ken Onion Edition User Guide]

Final Thoughts

I have found my razor edge!

Once I took the the time to sit down and read the book and started practicing, the easier it was to put a nice edge on my knives. Work Sharp does not have a hard box for this $150 sharpen which I think would have been better.

I keep mine in the original box it came in with all the belts and book. I think if it had a carrying case, like that of most drills, it would really add to the life of this sharpener.  I have had a few friends come over with knives to have me sharpen for them. I have taught all of them how to do it themselves so they can take my Work Sharp home and sharpen all the knives they have at home.

Porter Cable 20V Lithium Ion Drill 2014 Review

I purchased this drill at the beginning of 2014 because all of 5 my Milwaukee 18V Lithium ion batteries had started to reach the end of their life span. I needed a good drill for some home remodeling projects and just normal honey do list items around the house.

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Introduction

Over the years I have owned five different cordless 18 volt drills. I have learned that about the time that all my batteries for that model drill, start to reach the end of their life cycle it’s time to shop. There is always a newer drill that is smaller, lighter and has better torque for a cheaper price than it is to replace my old drills’ batteries. I was lucky when I found this Porter Cable Drill on a deal-a-day site for a much better price than I had found anywhere else.

Specs & Features

· Voltage: 20

· Battery Type: Lithium Ion

· Max Power: 330 UWO

· Clutch Settings: 23

· Chuck Size: 1/2″ ”

· Tool Weight: 3.5 lbs

· Length: 7 3/4”

· Height (w/battery): 9”

· High performance motor delivers 330 Unit Watts Out

· 2 Speed gear box (0-400/0-1,600) delivers the power needed to complete large and small applications

· Metal ratcheting chuck minimizes bits slipping in chuck

· Battery gauge displays charge remaining in the battery

· LED light brightens dark work areas

· The compact size and light weight  allows tool to work in tight areas and minimizes user fatigue

· 20V Max Lithium Ion batteries with 1.5 amp/hour cells delivers more power and runtime in a smaller package

Size

This is the smallest, yet most powerful drill, I have owned as of yet. My last drill from chuck to back came in at about 11” which makes this drill noticeably smaller. The battery even come in at under 2” which is an inch and a half shorter than my last drill.

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Power

After about one year of use, the drill still has a very strong battery. I have on occasion drained the battery and had to switch over to my Milwaukee to finish the job. It is a simple remedy to just buy another battery, I just haven’t got around to it .

Torque and Speed

This drill has a lot of torque. If you are new to higher quality cordless tools it is important to remember that these are work tools and not just a cordless screwdriver. One of the ways to find out how much torque I have to drive a 3/8” lag bolt into a piece of hardwood like oak. If I can snap the head off I know that I have to watch what I am doing more carefully.

This drill has two speeds as most current construction drills have. You generally need to drop the speed down to “1” if you are using it as a screwdriver because it will easily strip out the screw head.

Weight

The biggest difference I like from a fatigue standpoint, is that the Porter Cable 20v battery is one pound less than my 18v Milwaukee battery . Any reduction in weight without losing any power is a major benefit.

Grip and controls

The grip size is perfect for my size medium hands and there is still room for larger hands. The grip is rubber so you are sure to keep a grip even with sweaty hands. The forward and backwards controls are in perfect reach for my thumb and index fingers to quickly change the direction. Your speed or torque switch is mounted on the top of the drill like most other drills and is very easy to switch when you need more speed or more torque.

This drill comes with two magnets on top to store extra screws while you are working on a project.

Charger

The charger is very easy to use. The only complaint or concern I have is the power cord. It reminds me of the power cord on the “no name” throw away drills that are given to people who don’t use power tools but feel like they should own one. The wire for the cord is either a 18 or 20 gauge wire with thin insulation so one needs to be careful when using it.

Final thoughts

Overall I am very happy with this drill. I would have liked to have had a second battery but for the price it isn’t a problem. If you are used to the older cordless drills you will like the way this drill handles. The battery life is very long considering how lightweight it is.

 

Leatherman MUT First Impressions

This is my first impressions of the Leatherman MUT (Military Utility Tool). I plan to release my full review later this month, after I have had a chance to use the tool more. I have had the Leatherman MUT for about a week now. I haven’t used it much in the field and it has spent most of the time in its pouch on my person or in the desk next to me.

SPECS of the Leatherman MUT

MUT SPECS

The Leatherman MUT weights in a 11.2 oz. or 317.5 g so it falls on the slightly heftier side of what I normally carry (Leatherman Wave 8oz).  The weight is not that noticeable on my hip.

I did take the 3/8 wrench/ AR front sight tool out of the pouch as I am afraid of losing it. I have been carrying the Leatherman Rail to the range since I got it Christmas 2013 which has the sighting tool on it. I think if maybe there was a way the wrench combo could have been added to the MUT that might have been better. I don’t know yet and I will get back to you on my finding later.

Serrations VS. Straight Edge

The Knife has serrations which I have never been a fan of on the same blade as your straight cutting blade. Since Leatherman was trying to make this the best battle tool they could, I get it, as there are a lot of people out there that like that. It is all about getting the tool to fit your hand and not weight 400 pounds.

A Gunsmiths Point of View

The carbon scraper will be nice when I am cleaning the review guns as they tend to be more worn than my firearms. I took this tool into my gunsmith who agreed that this was designed nicely for taking your guns down.

The pouch is sewn to handle even the heaviest of wear and tear. I will talk more on the webbing and how it adjusts for your belt or molle gear in the next article. 

Overall Thoughts 

I am very happy with this new (to me) Leatherman MUT.  I can see this replacing my Leatherman Wave for everyday carry.

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X-products X-15 50 Round .223/5.56×45 Drum Magazine Review

Typically I am not one to share my hopes and dreams with you as this is a gun website full of guns and gun stuff but today I need to share with you the nightmare that has been in my life for the past year now.

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As I am sure a lot of you have seen the X-products 50 round X-15 .223/5.56×45 drum magazine for the AR-15 platform and might have even seen the video below of me firing off all 50 rounds with the ZA-15 which, as you see, feeds the rounds like a dream. But this isn’t the part where I tell you about the good but where I share my nightmare.

When I first started my testing a year ago I fell in love with the magazine and I am known to call this the p-mag of the drum world because of how fun it is. I love to walk around with the bad boy in my rifle and shoot off a few rounds. Of course it makes you want to reload your mag more and that is my nightmare.  I will be at the range and go to open that ammo can to reload only to see that it is empty of .223 ammo to feed the drum and gun. Damn, that stuffs goes fast when you are having fun!

All joking aside this is a really great magazine that I have found is great for everything from plinking on the range to sighting your AR on the lead sled to displays at your local gun shop.

Testing stages:

The crew and I talked about trying to torture this magazine by driving over it or throwing it off the tower but since X-products has done such a good job at designing this out of aluminum and steel it would be really hard to show any kind of damage to this without blowing it up or taking a blow torch to it which there is really no real world reason that SHOULD ever happen.  Our testing was concentrated on just sending rounds thru it.

Jams and misfires:

I have put about 1000 rounds through this magazine without any problems what so ever. I own a surefire 60 round casket magazine which looks cool but since we primarily shoot steel cased ammo we get metal on metal friction which stops the magazine from working but since the X-15 drum is designed in a spiral the ammo has a hard time locking the magazine down.

Size:

I live in the great state of Texas where I am not limited on how many rounds I can have in my magazine so I own 30 round magazines and up which can be a problem if you are sighting your rifle in on a lead sled but I found that the X-15 works great for that and I don’t have to change mags if 10 rounds wasn’t enough or if you are sighting in a number of ARs.

Drum mags:

I have a few friends who have owned beta mags and other AR drums and they haven’t liked them all that much.  Most of them were skeptical about the X-15 when I first started talking about them but after they used mine they could feel the difference.

When you load the mag in your rifle for the first time you might think this is going to make your gun heavy and unbalanced. By keeping the weight straight under the gun it doesn’t unbalance the rifle and the weight doesn’t really become much of a factor when you are pulling the trigger.

Overall thoughts:

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For $239 this might seem like a high priced magazine but you have to consider the durability that a steel and aluminum drum offers you. Would I go out and buy 30 of them? No, because I don’t need that many drum magazines with having less expensive AR polymers. However, if I have a need for a reliable over 30 round magazine this is my first choice.

I have not yet gotten into 3 gun matches or competition shooting but I have seen a few videos online of competitors using the X-15 and they have nothing but great things to say about them.

I love this magazine.  It is well made, durable and dependable.  It is also a hell of a lot of fun.  I am really excited to see what they have in store for us in the years to come.

Lifetime Fitness review

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Growing up, I was heavily involved in extracurricular activities such as Boy Scouts of America and a club swim team. I swam for almost 7 years and enjoyed the workout but not the competition.   When I aged out of the team I needed a new home to swim and keep physically fit.  One of my Eagle scout brothers and best friends at the time took me to visit our local Lifetime Fitness club.

After a few trips to this fitness club I had fallen in love with the place and had to get a membership. I had the membership for many years until I broke my back and had to drop it while I healed. I used to work out before my injury from 11pm until 2am most nights and I loved it. The gym was always empty and quiet so I could focus on my needs vs. having to wait for a piece of equipment and losing the drive to have amazing sets.

Other Gyms

In 2011, I needed to get back to the gym and start getting healthy and fit again.  I joined my city’s rec club, which for someone coming from a fitness club was a joke, with the 8 machines and the dumbbells that only went up to 40 pounds. The room always smelled like a locker room and the equipment was worn out from the years of people using and abusing it.

I never felt like I was doing anything so I joined a big name fitness gym with my mother since she wanted to get fit alongside me.  She could use me as a trainer of sorts to help her on her path to fitness. She and I would work out from 2pm until 3pm most days because that was the time this gym was less packed and not filled with bodybuilders who like to make sex noises when they fondled the 115 pound dumbbells  (You know who you are! The other gym members and I all want you to stop that!).

Gym Amenities

Keyed-Lockers to me don’t make or break a gym for me; but I do like being able to shower and change at the gym after I have sweat my body weight on the gym floor. I would rather have a locker for which I didn’t have to bring my own lock, but since this big name gym is not super expensive I understood the need for personal locks. Towel service again is not a make or break, but the peace of mind to know that if you leave your towel on a machine that you can grab another is nice.  It’s also nice in the shower knowing you will always have a fresh clean towel that you don’t have to tote home wet is great.  However, if you are on a budget and you have to bring you own to afford the membership, it isn’t the end of the world.

The most important aspect for me in a gym is having different exercises for different muscle groups, which keeps me from plateauing and becoming bored. This big name gym was a step in the right direction but it never felt right to me. I love to work out, and I think if someone feels the same, a gym or fitness club like Lifetime Fitness should almost feel like a second home.  It should be a place where you are comfortable enough to work out and never feel uneasy.

Hours of Operations 

 

I have always been a night owl and I find most of my best work comes from the quiet night. When I found out this big name gym closed at 9 most nights I was rather sad but determined to make it work. I find that I sleep better after I have worked out. 

I don’t suffer many muscle aches, since the hours after the gym I tend to be at my computer and then in bed sleeping. When I wake the next day, I feel some ache and think maybe I should skip working out that night to rest up.  Once I really start moving again, the ache goes away and I am ready for my day.

Returning Home

The beginning of February 2014 I threw in the towel with the other gym and made my way back home to Lifetime Fitness. While the club is more expensive that what I was paying, I truly see for my own personal health that it is worth my money.

I am paying 4 times what I was at the other gym but Lifetime Fitness it is not just a gym. When explaining Lifetime, most people see it as an expensive GYM where you waste your money. I understand that if you don’t plan to use it like I do and spend the time there it would be seen as expensive.  Lifetime Fitness in my area is a country club of sorts, the affluent moms of the area love to come up there and socialize and get fit at the same time.  It can seem snooty at times, but once you realize other members don’t care what you are doing and just get back to working out it all turns to white noise. For the males in all of us, I just have one thing to say about this place… YOGA PANTS!

One of the things I really like here is that there is such a variety of equipment for each area of the body.  An example is that I can do a week of just leg workouts and never do the same exercise twice, like you would in a smaller gym.

Growing up as a Lifetime Fitness member I can honestly and truthful say that Lifetime is a major part of why I am alive today. I use to work out 5-6 nights a week with friends and I built up my back enough that it helped in saving me when I broke my back. The doctor told me that the muscles I had developed certainly saved me from being paralyzed and maybe even from being killed in the accident.

While Lifetime’s only contribution was being open 24/7 and having the type of workout environment I wanted and needed; I still do thank them for being there.

Friends

The guest polices are more restrictive than that of most other gyms. That is so people don’t leech off someone else’s membership and abuse the clubs equipment without paying for it.

When you work out alone as much as I do, you start needing spotters.  I have made a  number of friends who worked out at the same time and were on similar fitness regiments.

Final Thoughts

This is a place I feel comfortable, someplace I can feel like I am not being judged because I am not a bodybuilder. I see Lifetime Fitness as a second home and I am glad to have the ability and finances to be a member here.