• Sidetracked


    The Bear Promiseâ„¢

    My bear is special

    I brought it to life.

    I chose it.

    I stuffed it.

    Now I am taking it home.

    Best friends are forever (sic)

    so I promise right now

    to make my bear my

    No. 1 pal!

    Doesn’t this poem remind you of something else?

     This is my rifle. There are many like it, but this one is mine.


    “The Bear Promiseâ„¢” poem is trademarked by Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc.

  • Sidetracked

    Choosing between the ACU and BDU [Propper]

    If the title caught your attention, you are one of three things:

    1. A combat operative
    2. A sportsman
    3. A shop-a-holic

    If you are thinking of getting some kind of camouflage clothing for your job, AirSoft, or an assortment of adventurous endeavors that may or may not include zombies or excrement that defy gravity and keeps on messing with your ceiling fan, you will probably encounter a manufacturer called Propper. On their web site, you will find out that camo gear now comes in two styles – the ACU and BDU. They are both American combat uniform standards like 501 and 505 are for Levi’s jeans.

    Although there are many top and bottom combinations for combat gear, in this article, I will talk about the jacket and trouser combination. Because the difference between the ACU and BDU is mostly in the jacket.

    Alphabetically, A comes before B, but for historical purposes, we will start with the BDU.

    [amazon template=image&chan=celiamania&asin=B001B8HXLE]BDU is short for Battle Dress Uniform. The BDU jacket comes with four pockets on the jacket and six pockets on the pants. It has been the standard shape for combat uniforms for two and a half decades until 2005 and the inspiration for many military style street clothing. This is the version you want if you want the pockets on the bottom of your jacket. Keep in mind, any equipment you don on yourself will inhibit access to all four pockets on the jacket. Most BDUs don’t come with the the soft patch of looped velcro fabric for placing patches. You’ll need to sew them on yourself. The pants have the traditional taper, and fits like “loose” jeans. There will be two front pockets, two seat pockets, and two cargo pockets on the outside of the knees – a familiar design to most men who have worn cargo pants.

    [amazon template=image&chan=celiamania&asin=B00DE5LZD4]ACU is short for Army Combat Uniform. This is the newer (not necessarily better) style combat uniform with only two pockets on the front of the jacket but with added pockets on the sleeve. You know, the ones in the post Desert Storm movies with the slanted front pockets? You will find yourself trying to put your hands in the nonexistent bottom pockets during winter. Do the slanted pockets help? Well, the idea was to make bigger pockets on the ACU than the BDU, and they slanted the pockets so to be able to put one’s hands all the way down into the chest pockets to fish out that dime you keep in there to tune the comm radio after its knobs fall off during an IED blast. This is the jacket you want if you carry everything on your chest from your armor, mags, pouches, water, etc… also these are the ones with the pre-sewn soft loop velcro patches on the chest and arm for branch, name tapes, and ranks etc. The mandarin collar can be closed to keep the dust and snow out of your neck. The pants are of the “baggy” nature and you will probably want to tuck them into your boots if it is allowed. Most ACU style pants come with more pockets on the calves for a total of eight. ACUs incorporate velcro pockets for elbow and knee pad inserts – which is great for general kneeling, but I can only imagine that the fabric would get torn during active sliding and diving.

    Still confused? If there’s a dealer near you, you should try them out. After all, combat uniforms are just like any other clothes. If it doesn’t fit you properly, you’ll be uncomfortable and look bad. If your financial situation allows, maybe you should get both kinds.

  • Sidetracked

    Magpul iPhone 4 Field Case

    I was an early adopter of the iPhone 4, so if you all remember, Apple gave (or reimbursed) us protective covers. My first iPhone 4 case was a Speck Fitted case with a fabric back. It was clean and cute but the fabric came off after repeated re-entry into my jeans pocket.

    My second case was a free one I got at an AT&T shop, the iFrogz Luxe Original. The case felt bulky with the square edges and the button on the back. This one completely failed by cracking and falling apart.

    So for the third case, I picked a case from a manufacturer where their other products have survived repeated pushing and pulling from my pocket. Enter Magpul.

    The Magpul Executive Field Case is a no-nonsense, does what it does, kind of case. It’s NOT CUTE at all. I mean, even the pink one looks… like a pink version of something that’s supposed to be black.

    We got a few of these Magpul cases and really like them. I’ve been using the “Executive” Field Case with less ridges and a thinner profile. It slides in and out easily from my pocket, has enough grip, and does not interfere with the controls much if at all. The only thing is that it’s only compatible with the AT&T version of the iPhone 4 and not the Verizon version. iLounge gave this case an A- because of it’s thin lip…

    Well, Magpul has released the classic “Field Case” with the full waffle pattern for the iPhone 4. This case has a taller lip that adds a tad more protection to the front face of the phone. With the full waffle pattern, it’s a little harder to slip in and out of skinny jeans, but has better grip and the Magpul logo on the back gives slightly improved tactile feedback so you don’t pick up the phone up-side-down.

    By the way, the cases are made in the US. If you care about facts like that.