Friday, December 29, 2017

Cool Stuff For Christmas

I had actually intended this to be a Boxing Day post, and then do my best to get a lot of writing done during the "vacation week" I give the authors at Blue Collar Prepping... but life had other ideas. I've been damn busy this week, but at least I've also been damn productive:
  1. I'm getting caught up on rest and becoming de-stressed
  2. My health is improving
  3. I'm making significant improvements in organizing and de-cluttering my life
  4. I'm doing end-of-year paperwork on what Operation Blazing Sword has accomplished (look for a "state of the sword" post next week)
  5. All while continuing to perform my usual familial duties. 
But enough of that! You folks want to see the cool things I was given, right?

120-sided die
Yes, you read that correctly: not a 100-sided die, but 120. It's improbably large, as you can see in the photograph, and given it's size it's about as heavy as you'd expect. 

I don't roll it the way I roll my other gaming dice (which is to say, I hold them in my palm above the table before rapidly rotating my hand away, leaving the dice to fall more or less vertically before bouncing to a halt) because it makes such a loud THUNK that I'm worried I will break something. Instead, I place my left hand on the table like a goal and then literally roll the die towards it in a most-horizontal manner. 

This was given to me by The_Jack, who is a player in the various RPGs that I run. I have no idea what I'm going to use it for, but it amuses me.
Now this is something that I have used, albeit briefly: after we got home from Christmas Eve service, it was dark outside but I needed to walk the dog. I can confirm that this lamp is both comfortable and bright. 

It has three settings
  1. Set Things On Fire
  2. Rather Dim, Actually
  3. Let's Induce Epilepsy!
Setting one is great for doing things at night, but you need to be careful not to blind your buddies by looking at their faces when you talk to them, and you also need to be careful not to blind yourself with "light splash" when you get too close to a surface (or when your hand goes up to adjust the angle or zoom of the light). 

Setting two avoids that entirely, but like my name for it suggests it's rather anemic. It feels like it's only about 100 lumens or so, but perhaps I'm biased because of how powerful setting 1 is. 

Setting 3 is basically a strobe version of setting one. It might make for a good tactical light if not for the dual faults of being mounted to your head and requiring you to take a hand off your weapon to turn the light on and off. 

Other things to like about this are a red light in the back for your buddies to see you and the ability to charge the two lithium batteries inside the case. It comes with three chargers: one for wall outlets, one for cars, and one for USB ports. 

Chaplain Tim recommended this to readers last year and I was finally able to get one. I haven't used it a lot -- mainly just to vacuum-seal clothes and fire-starting materials and food for my Bug Out and Get Home Bags -- but I really like what I see and so far it's operated flawlessly. The sole complaint I have about it is that the vaccuum is LOUD, but at this price point I can live with that. 

Note to those interested in getting one:  Don't buy the pre-cut bags. Instead, buy 100 feet of roll for $20 and make your own bags; not only is it cheaper, but you can make the plastic last longer by cutting them to size. 

This was given to me by my friend David Blackard. It's supposed to be a neck knife, but he had someone mount a belt clip to it. 

This sucker is sharp and handy. I'm not sure where to put it, but I'm definitely going to find a use for it. Until then, I'm wearing it on my belt. 

By the way: the scales on the handle are great for grip but aren't pleasant against the skin of abdomen. I learned that when trying to carry it concealed. 

Trauma Kit from Lucky Gunner
I've always gotten cool gifts from Anthony Welsch at Lucky Gunner, but this one wins points for being both cool and useful. 

That's a SOFTT-W tourniquet with a Phlster Flatpack Tourniquet Carrier and a mini compression bandage, compressed gauze and hemostatic gauze that fits into a Snake Eater Tactical stretchy-wallet-thing (I couldn't find it on their website) which carries all of that as well as a pair of gloves (those are the blue peeking out from the gray). 

This is the biggest item I received, and it's because I told my family "Look, I flew three times this year and it looks like I'm going to fly at least that many times again next year. I don't mind using mom's suitcase but it's soft-sided and I'd really like something hard-sided so I can have more confidence when I fly with a checked firearm. Also, spinner wheels would make my life so much easier. I know it's expensive, so how about [brother] and [sister] just send my share of birthday money to [parents] so I can get this?"

And I got it. And I'm excited to have luggage. This makes me feel so damn old, y'all. But I can't deny that I'm looking forward to taking this with me when I go on cool adventures to new places, meeting new people and talking about Operation Blazing Sword.

(I also received some girly stuff, but I doubt my mostly-male readers want to read about that.)

So what cool things did you guys for Christmas?

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