Thursday, November 25, 2010

Working Kydex

My friend just showed me a silver-bladed Gerber Guardian Back-up he bought. It’s a nice knife. Actually it’s a dagger and while I like the lines, the lack of guards and its double-edged blade always make me a little nervous. Having sliced fingers open before, I would prefer to avoid it in the future.

He didn’t care that much for the original sheath and since he’s been working with Kydex, well, one thing led to another.

He did a nice job.

...And the award for clothing goes to .... Kydex!

The handle locks into the sheath with a positive click and stays there. You have to want to remove the Back-up. It isn’t going to fall out by itself. He mounted a belt loop so that the knife could be carried sideways, kidney position. The clip is also removable so other carry modes are possible.

It was nice to sit down at Thanksgiving and talk turkey with him about working with Kydex. I have at least one project stalled due to weather and ideas for a couple other projects. All I can say is nice work!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

103 Stories High

The glass observation ledges at the Sears Willis Tower lived up to their reputation. It took a little internal pep talk to step out on to the glass floor 103 stories in the air. First it was toes over edge followed by heels on edge. I figured if the glass started to crack I’d have a 50-50 chance of hurling my weight backwards into the building.

The Edge- Willis Style

Finally I got both feet out into space and the teenager next to me started to jump up and down. He almost got a busted nose for that stunt.

It's the next best thing to walking on air and not as windy!

It was vey nice to look out into space and see my college an apparently short distance away. UIC formerly known as UICC has undergone significant changes and it’s easy to see them from the Ledge. Gone are the second story walkways and the addition of dorms is very noticeable. Not so noticeable to the hard science people (because we didn’t spend much time there) is the completion of the Arts and Humanity building. The campus ran out of money and built only half the building. They had a staircase to the second or third floor that ended in a blank wall.

It was slightly overcast, so we could only see a couple miles in any direction, but it still remains one of the great overviews of Chicago.

These feet belong to the reason I'm standing out here.

Later we experimented with the subway and surface buses. People were very nice to us and helped with directions and instructions. My only complaint was that the bus/subway card vending machine only takes cash in dollar amounts. No credit cards! You always end up losing odd bits of money as fares are never whole dollar amounts. Many of the stations are dirty, noisy and congested but proved useful to get around.

I just got my new 2011 Spyderco catalog. Quite a few interesting knives, but it does bother me to see the knife industry cave in to the liberal notion adopted by many cities and a few countries. Of course, Spyderco is not the only company making these knife changes.

The liberal notion? It seems to be a belief in mechanical voodoo. At the core of the matter is the belief that evil spirits live in objects like tools and by making them less safe or harder to use the evil effects are diminished. By requiring that knives can close on your fingers, can’t be opened with only hand, and not clipped to pocket, the crime levels will go down. Told you it was mechanical voodoo.

I like Barrett’s stance on his 50 BMG rifle and California. He will not sell them to California police because the state has outlawed them to the general population. He accepts delivery of these rifles for repair and modification, but will not ship them back to the state agencies. They have to pick them up themselves.

Keep your edges sharp and your wits about you!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekend Chicago Style.

We’re spending a get-away weekend in Chicago. I’m staying just ever so south of the Loop, but still in downtown Chicago. I hope to do the Sears Willis tower. Perhaps if I get my courage screwed up I’ll try the glass booth observation platforms on the 103rd floor. It’s not the height that gives me the willies, it’s the glass floor.

Chicago is an anti-knife town. Spyderco used to make a short-bladed knife called Chicago to reflect the big city’s belief that objects are possessed with an evil spirit. It had an opening hole, but didn’t lock open and had a sub 2-inch blade. In my opinion non-locking blades are more dangerous to the user. As for blade length, well, your surgeon takes you apart with a small sub one-inch blade.

The result of this superstition is the logical belief that if you could get rid of these demon infected tools the city would become a new Eden. Sort of “let’s-not-cast-out-the snake-but-chop-the-apple-trees-down” (check your Bible for cross-reference) approach to crime.

Being dependent on someone else for my safety rubs me the wrong way. Still, I remember what a lawyer told me: it isn’t a crime until you’re arrested. I’m staying under the radar.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Television Knives

Whenever I run out of ideas to write about (Hey, like most of you I have to work for a living and sometimes the Muse gets buried by the day’s activities), I like to see what’s the knife of the day.

You know, what brand of knife is being carried by which fictional TV character in this episode? A couple of years ago Hannibal the Cannibal was sporting a Harpy by Spyderco. I still get requests for that knife. Before that, some now forgotten cable show about Soldiers of Fortune sparked an interest in Newt Livesay neck knives. I know this because I still have one of them hanging from a lamp over my desk.

I was catching up with the recently returned “Burn Notice” last night. This season Michael Westen is sporting an Emerson Sark. Oh, you’d know it if you saw it. It has the Emerson Wave designed to catch on the corner of your pocket and pull the blade open. The blade is a wicked looking curved talon.

Emerson makes many fine combat knives, expensive but worth it!

Michael used it to cut and build a prop bouquet of flowers to further the plot. Not the best demonstration of an Emerson knife, but still not bad.

Last season, I think, one of the characters passed out knives to everyone proclaiming “combat knives for everyone.” The knife? Just happens to be one I carry, the SOG Spec-Elite I.

Ahh, product placement! Usually it’s a car, laptop or cell phone, but it’s nice to see a familiar edge now and again.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Uncommon Valor Was A Common Virtue"

Veterans Day  November 11 2010

Let’s cut right to the bone on this; I didn’t think of it but I sure wish I did.  The quote belongs to Admiral Nimitz in reference to the Marines on Iwo Jima.  I know it refers to all the men and women of our armed forces.  They served our country then and now, and with God’s Blessings, will do so in the future.

Let’s remember them in our prayers and thoughts while they serve and give them a chance when they return to us.

I, you, we owe them that much.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

When Pumpkins Run Wild: Jack-O-Lanterns

I finally got the pumpkin carved to my wife’s our satisfaction. No really, we decided we liked it and I was all ready to hand out candy.

BOOOOOOO!  Are you scared yet?  You will be.

I remember when people made popcorn balls and home-made taffy, but those days are long gone. Even today an adult must be careful about talking to young children. There are too many creeps and sickos, so I limit my conversations to a simple reply “Hello” to children in the presence of their parents.
But on Halloween night, my wife and I can sit in our driveway and talk with the children and their parents. It was a good night.

I had among many superheroes and monsters:
3-1920 flappers (they claim I was the only adult to recognize them),
1- naughty nurse (I thank the gods I don’t have a teen-age daughter),
1- wrapped Christmas package.

Almost all of the Marvel Comic characters with the exception of Doctor Doom were accounted for.   He doesn’t seem very popular. Go figure.

Zombies were big this year as were the assorted and interchangeable monsters from the current crop of horror flicks.  Surprizingly few vampires, which really sucks....
No wonder nobody thinks of jack-o-lanterns as scary. Maybe next year I’ll dress up as an IRS agent coming over for an audit. That ought to scare the beans out you.

I'm from the IRS.  I want to see all your tax returns and records for the last 12 years!