|"professionals 'who'... not 'that'. Still, the kit looks good.|
I don't do them. Out of the Box reviews. Mainly because I am skint and can't buy anything new enough to still be in its box, and also because the things I do buy tend to be mind numbingly dull, such as a new laptop or fresh underwear.
For Out of the Box reviews of Gucci Boy's Toys you need to go to The Suburban Bushwacker or the Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
I was having a quick fag and whisky break from loading timber onto the truck (there's three very fit young lads out there I am paying so why do I need to bust my aged arse?) and was having a bit of a surf (the only emails I get are spam and every time I open up Skype I get the message, 'Your contacts haven't been in touch lately', sad isn't it?) when I stumbled across this well written and interesting article by Sam Biddle on Gizmodo.com. It wasn't just interesting it was, I suppose, a bit scary.
I was in bombed out Sarajevo in the early nineties and bumped into this guy whose actual job I never found out but he evidently had some desire to see that whatever I did there complied with whatever mysterious plan the people paying me had. Very Orson Wells. We got on like a house on fire which is a bit of a sick analogy when you think of the smouldering ruins of the city we were in. I told him that I was happy to stay on and do a bit more work but I really needed to get a message back to my wife in Angola. 'No probs' he said, 'come to dinner'.
Whereas I was billeted in the converted freezing cold cellar of an old couple's house surviving now by offering Bed & Breakfast, he was staying in a magnificent, turn of the century apartment block. All the windows had been smashed out and were now covered by sheets of plastic, the facade bore the evidence of shellfire and there were bullet holes all over the plaster walls and ceiling. Apart from that, it was delightful and I was warm for the first time in ages and starting to get a bit self conscious. You know how boots that haven't been thawed out for weeks smell when they start getting less stiff?
The food was excellent but, if I wasn't already on the back foot with surpise, after pouring me a large Slivovitch as ice cold as my accommodation, he settled into a sofa, fiddled with some cables and positioned a computer on his lap and said, 'Right, what´s your wife's number' I must have looked like a slack jawed village idiot.
'But you can't phone out of Sarajevo' I said, 'only on the military systems and they won't let scum like me near them'. That wasn't entirely true, there were systems that the press for example used but the cost was horrific and getting a slot unless you had a bit of pull, of which I had none, was bloody hard.
This guy was the first real computer geek I had ever come across. Like all geeks, he liked to show off so having given him the number, he then treated me to a running commentary as he hacked into various systems, then satellites, yet more systems and then his phone rang.
'Well go on, answer it!' he told me and settled back with his drink. I lifted the handset, heard a ringing tone and then my wife answer.
We were used to me being away a lot and were also accustomed to the fact that the sort of people who employed me didn't usually send me to nice places, the kind with a Tesco's and International Direct Dialling so we got the whole exchange of how everything was going on both sides and that I was going to stay on a bit longer over in about 30 seconds flat and I hung up.
'What did you do that for?'
'I didn't want to run up your phone bill'
He looked at me as one does the breathtakingly stupid.
'I don't pay phone bills' he said.
'Well who pays for that call then?'
'Who cares? We won't. Do you want to talk to her again?'
There will be loads of geeks out there who know how he did that but I was in utter awe of him. Here I was sitting in a bombed out apartment with war and snipers raging all around us having a chat with my wife on the phone, a continent away. And not just any continent, Africa where even today communications systems are distinctly fourth world.
Sam Biddle's article detailing how even the supposedly most controlled trade can slip effortlessly under the radar reminded me of that vey bizarre evening, but what got me giggling was not that you could, if so inclined, beat the system and buy all you need on-line to overthrow a dictatorship, but the thought of SBW or Rasch doing an Out of the Box review from that supplier! I mean, they will deliver anywhere you want, even to a GPS reference.
I would like a Remington Sendero in .300 Rem Ultra Mag (long butt, I need the eye relief, I wear glasses now) with a couple of boxes of Swift A frame and an appropriate scope delivered to 9o 20' 26.46" S 13o 09' 08.41" E. Cash on Delivery.
Amazon won't even deliver a UK configured laptop to Germany.
These guys, on the other hand, offer world-wide Death-in-a.Box and can do so with some really clever interweb trickery. And that is the really scary bit. All I want to do is drop a bush buck at long range, I'm getting too old for hours of bush bashing just to get downwind so I can get close.
If it arrives, I will do my first Out of the Box review. I am still dealing with this land invasion shit so it would be nice to get my eye in again.