Canning coup, MRE’s, catalogs

An interesting day for the Zero. Was driving through the parking lot at Albertsons and noted they had a bunch of tables with merchandise set out in the parking lot. No big deal, I think. Just the usual selloff of stuff that’s discontinued, old stock, etc, etc. Mostly things like hair coloring, no-name crayons, plastic hairbrushes, etc. And I was correct…it was, indeed, mostly that sort of stuff…with one zero-rific exception….

They had ‘kits’ of canning supplies. Each kit contained several jars, lids, bands, jar lifter, food funnel, scraper and ingredient mix for whatever the kit was themed. For example they had kits for salsa, apple pie filling/applesauce, jelly, marinara sauce, vinagrettes and a few others. Normal cost? I dunno..the gal said usually twenty bucks. On sale – $4.00 per kit. That’s a decent enough deal since just a jar lifter itself is about that. I always feel the need to see if I can save a few more bucks though and asked the chick running the show if she’d take half price if I took all of the canning kits. She declined but after a little while said she’d come down to $3 ea. That’s 25% savings off of the already low price. Works for me. Picked up thirteen kits which translates to about 52 jars, lids, bands, 13 scrapers, 13 funnels and 13 jar lifters and 13 assorted flavoring packages for a mere $39. (EDIT: oops…make that 14, not 13…grabbed an extra one by mistake.Honest.)
Check it out:
Cut for your pleasure

Multitool, gas price nostalgia, Nalgene love

I continue to be pleased with the Leatherman Wave multitool that I got for my birthday. It does nothing supremely well, but it does everything well enough. No multitool is going to be perfect, since therell always be a need or function that is either unaddressed or not handled perfectly by the tool inquestion, but 9 times out of ten it’ll do the job well enough for the immediate need at hand. In fact, I like tis little thing so much that Im going to have to pick up a couple spares. It certainly beats the snot out ofp rety much any Swiss Army knife. McGyver coulda used one of these (and a set of balls).
I was re-reading some of my older entries from about two years ago and recall bitching that gasoline was $1.86 per gallon. Good times.
Im still deeply in love with the Nalgene water bottles. I’ve been tryng like hell to break one with various impacts and it just aint gonna happen. Im sure some folks will chime in and say ‘I can get an empty one-liter pop bottle for free that will do the same thing!’. True. Tell you what, you fill up that pop bottle and:
1) hurl it as high and as far as you can across a parking lot so it impacts on the ground and skids thirty feet
2) drop it from shoulder height, repeatedly, onto various uneven surfaces, including sharp rocks
3) Freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw, repeatedly
4) Clean with simple soap and water and remove all traces of previous flavorings
5) Find an aftermarket water filter that screws directly to the top of your pop bottle to make filling from a filter at streamside a breeze

Now, an empty designed-as-disposable pop bottle that does none of that for free, or something that will do all that and last pretty much the rest of my life for, oh, eight bucks.
Im all about saving money but not at the expense of utilitarianism, ergonomics and durability.

Power failures and sheep

The girlfriend suffered a power outage at work the other day. Was she concerned? No, of course not. Why? Because when she started woprking there the Zero asked her where the stairwell was, did it have emergency lighting, and lets go walk down it so you’ll know where it is in case theres a problem. And then I gifted her with a couple lightsticks and a Streamlight LED flashlight to keep i her desk. Thus, she simply took her flashlight and left the building via the stairs. The interesting part is the sheep she encoutnered who wondered if perhaps taking the elevators was safe or not..and then, when told the stairs might be a better idea, asked how she’d know what floor she’s on. At that point I would have left her to her own devices but the girlfriend is a more patient sort and escorted the brainless cow down the stairs. Will the woman learn a lesson about these things and perhaps spend $5 to keep a Photon LED light on her keychain? I’ll almost guarantee she will not.

How will she know what floor she’s on? Thats just too amazing to comprehend.
(The correct answer, of course, is you know what floor your office is on…you subtract one each time you come to a landing with a door on the stairs. When you run out of steps youre in thebasement.)

Birthday gear

My birthday came and went… a few of the highlights, in terms of gear and equipment:
A Coleman 530 from one of the LMI. Have to replace the fuel cap (uses the same fuel cap as modern manufactured lanterns so thats no biggie) and I may or may not have to do some other work to it…not sure yet. Heres the original 1950’s user manual.
The very cool Leatherman Wave multitool from the girlfriend. In using it, Ive discovered several very nice features. First of all, you can use either knife blade without having to open the tool, the blades are designed for one-handed ‘Spyderco’-type use, and the serrated blade has small serrations on the thumbpiece so you can tell without looking which blade youre about to open…a very subtle but very nice touch. Me likes this tool very much.

My brother sent me a nice Blackhawk tactical vest, which I’ll probably rig up set up as a spare or secondary vest for use at off-site locations. Which model? This one in this color. Also a copy of The Poor Mans James Bond…sort of a slightly updated ‘Anarchists Cookbook’.

All in all a pleasant birthday.

Inova, gun show stuff,

Speaking of flashlights, I’d been wanting one of these for a while. While there are plenty of lights out there, I wanted one that could be clipped to a backpack strap for hands free use. (This is why, in case youre wondering, why those old GI flashlights are shaped like the letter L) The Inova 24/7 is waterproof, runs on the usual lithium batt, and has 8 functions. I carry the Streamlight in my Bag O’ Tricks ™ but it isnt a hands free. (And before anyone asks, I dont find the headlamp lights to be as versatile as I like.) The 24/7 also has a couple of features that make it a good choice for my late night bike riding episodes….I can use it as a flashing tail light or as a headlamp. And only about $25. Best of all, I found ’em in Olive Drab and not the usual ugly safety yellow color. Me like. I’ll report on how it works out.
Attended the big Missoula gun show. Didnt see John Trochmann at this one with his usual MOM handouts and preparedness gear. I did, however, find some other dealers selling various sundries that will be of use. Additionally, I got to handle the new FN PS90 (used, $1200) and thought the ergonomics were great, the sights were majorly sux0r and I couldnt stop thinking of every episode of Stargate. Having read the ballistics of the cartridge, though, Im thinking that the only thing the P90/PS90 has going for it is the compact envelope. Anyway….

Also saw some Spec-Ops gear. I was under the impression this was the usual looks-cool-but-made-in-an-Asian-country stuff similar to Blackhawk. Cant say about all of it, but the few pieces I looked at were made in USA. (Pronounced ‘ooo-suh’) Specifically, I was interested in this piece of gear:

Which might fit the bill for the accessory (‘possibles’) bag for my CZ. The bag can be carried as a shoulder bag or can be affixed to a larger bag through the use of MOLLE attachment. Also it can be attached to belt/harness as a butt pack. Attach this 40mm pouch panel:

and I’ve got a way to carry spare rifle mags for the bolt gun. Might have to get one of these things…….
And I meant to post about this the other day – MagLite has jumped on the LED bandwagon and are now selling LED version of their big D-cell lights. (Their website was sorely lacking details.) However, Pelican is making LED flashlights toowith a unique twist – the bulb points backwards into the flashlight. The idea is that the light is aimed into the reflector where it is then ‘focussed’ to provide a tighter beam than lights that simply have the LED point forward. This product line is called their ‘Recoil LED’ line. Looks interesting but I’d need to try one head-to-head versus, say, the LED MagLite.