Monday, May 31, 2021

Miscellany: Battle of the Pocket Trauma Kits

If you believe the news, there are almost 20 million people with a concealed carry permit in this country. However, I'll bet that very few of them carry medical gear, even though you are way more likely to need to stanch a wound in a victim than to create one in an assailant. Gunfights are rare - car crashes, sports accidents, and other occasions causing traumatic injury are not.

I have a full-on trauma kit at home, in my car, in my office, and when travelling, but I will cop to not lugging one around when I'm walking through Publix. For on-body carry, I make do with a CoTCCC-recommended tourniquet on the belt and an EDC trauma kit in the pocket. Here are the pros and cons of a couple that I've tried:

PHLster Pocket Emergency Wallet ($60, sleeve only for $20)

Contents: Compressed gauze, mini compression bandage, nitrile gloves, and a small WoundClot gauze pack

This is an elastic sleeve with two partitions (meant for medical stuff) and one small partition (for gloves). As packed from PHLster, it combines several practical bleeding control items in a package that will fit into a large pocket - think cargo pockets, jacket pockets, and some front pants pockets, but not your skinny jeans.

PROS: The sleeve keeps the items together in the pocket well and compresses them down to the narrowest possible size. The kit's contents are useful.

CONS: There's no way to attach the sleeve to a belt or other gear, and it's a pain to take items in and out of the sleeve. Somewhat expensive for what it is.

LTC EDC Pocket Trauma Kit ($75, pouch only for $35)

Contents: SWAT-T tourniquet, QuikClot dressing, nitrile gloves, and a "micro first aid kit" (with band-aids, wound closures, wipes, and antibiotic ointment)

Live the Creed created this pouch, which consists of two elastic-sleeved compartments in a folding wallet format with a hook-and-loop tab keeping it closed. 

The fully stocked kits were sold out, so I ordered just the pouch, and filled it with my own items for the test (a SWAT-T, Celox Rapid Z-fold gauze, and some nitrile gloves).

PROS: MOLLE compatible, so it can be mounted to a belt or bag easily. Pull tab and foldout design makes it easy to to access and use the kit's contents. A SWAT-T fits perfectly inside one of the compartments.

CONS: Compresses items less than the PHLster sleeve, so the package is slightly thicker overall and harder to get out of a pocket.  The compartments are narrower than the PHLster sleeve, so fewer items fit. Finally, the full stocked kit from LTC seems overpriced and contains items that belong in a first aid kit (e.g., band-aids), not a trauma kit.

Books: Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution


For this Memorial Day, I read Valiant Ambition, a nonfiction historical narrative about the Father of Our Country and the nation's most infamous traitor. The book is part two in a trilogy about the American Revolution written by Nathaniel Philbrick, and as you might expect, it's set in the middle part of the war, starting with the Battle of Long Island and ending with the discovery of Arnold's plan to surrender West Point to the British. That act, Philbrick argues, actually helped to unify a fractured country against a common enemy - our own worst instincts.

The book isn't just about Washington's maneuvering and Arnold's betrayal, though.  It also features some of the earliest Americans resting in honored glory: fallen soldiers at Ridgefield, Oriskany, and a hundred other mostly-forgotten battlefields throughout our land.  It's strange to think that Americans are shouting at each other over politics while standing on the same ground that other Americans died on to protect, long before there was even an "America." Perhaps books like Valiant Ambition will focus us on our common enemy once again.

Monday, May 24, 2021

TV: Disney+ Sports Dramedy Double Feature

The Disney+ streaming service is in a bit of a lull right now. WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier are over, Loki doesn't start until June 9, and the next season of The Mandalorian hasn't even been announced.

However, if you're a fan of kids sports movies, the kind where a ragtag bunch of misfits triumphs against overwhelming odds, Disney+ has you covered! The House of Mouse is airing two series that I'm enjoying more than I thought I would:

The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers

I have vague memories of the original Mighty Ducks movies, mostly of Emilio Estevez mugging for the camera and a bunch of kids quacking on a hockey rink. The sequel/reboot TV series brings Estevez back with Lauren Graham, a new set of kids, and the Cobra Kai-like premise of the original Mighty Ducks team now being the bad guys - the elitist, bullying jocks who are playing sports for all the wrong reasons. It takes awhile for the underdog team on the show to gel into something more than a caricature, but the child actors do a good job. Game Changers pulls off that tough balancing act with kids' shows - it's lighthearted and predictable, without being bland:

Big Shot

John Stamos hit it real, real big with Full House, but his subsequent lead roles have been...hit-or-miss (Anyone remember Thieves?). In Big Shot, he submerges his Uncle Jesse charisma into the prickly-but-loveable Marvyn Korn, a Bobby Knight-esque champion coach who is kicked from NCAA men's hoops when he throws a chair at a ref. Korn finds himself taking a coaching job at an all-girl's high school with a motley crew of students, faculty, and parents. It's a sometimes-corny mix of the sensibilities of creators David E. Kelley (Boston Public), Dean Lorey, and Brad Garret, with sometimes-cringeworthy acting, but by gum, it works: 

Tech: Origin Neuron PC review - The Seven Year Itch

PC gamers like me are always on the upgrade treadmill. My 2014 Lenovo K450e desktop was fine for last-gen games, but getting long in the tooth for the ray-traced, PS5/Xbox Series X-level titles on the horizon. So it was time to get a new computer.

Complicating things this time was the COVID-19 pandemic and the worldwide silicon chip shortage. Whereas in olden days I might have swapped out some parts (like when I jammed a new power supply and a GeForce GTX 970 into the cramped K450e case) or built a new PC from scratch, that all seemed impractical when I'd be paying north of $1,300 for the GPU alone. It also meant spending a lot of time ordering stuff online, putting it together, and troubleshooting problems.

So, I went with the expensive, lazy route - I bought a gaming desktop from Origin PC, a Miami-based custom PC maker owned by component maker Corsair:

I went with Origin since I've had good experiences with Corsair products in the past, and because they shipped fast (the computer shipped 10 days after my order, which is incredible in this strange time). It wasn't cheap - an eye-watering $2,700. But the system is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 7 5800X, a GeForce RTX 3070, and enough air and liquid cooling, RAM, and SSD hard drive space to support them. Recent games like Doom Eternal and Resident Evil Village run fast, even on max settings and 1440p, so much so that I had to get a new HP Omen 27" display to keep up.

Downsides? Well, aside from the exorbitant price, the small Corsair liquid cooler Origin uses seems pointless, and I could take or leave the glass door and RGB lighting. Still, if you need a gaming PC and you need one now, there are worse choices.