Even the Apostle Paul had some fake friends
You are aware of the fact that all who are in Asia turned away from me, among whom are Phygelus and Hermogenes. The Lord grant mercy to the house of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains; but when he was in Rome, he eagerly searched for me and found me— the Lord grant to him to find mercy from the Lord on that day—and you know very well what services he rendered at Ephesus.
There is nothing more seductive in the world of tools than an entire toolbox that fits in a pocket.
Everything modern has circuits, chips, and software. Cameras, watches, and cars, and even many bicycles these days are essentially just computers. Everything has been poisoned with "smart" technologies, software, bluetooth, and awful apps. Every year there are new smart devices. Smart TVs, smart rings, smart fridges, and smart pens. There is seemingly no end to man's desire to put a chip in it. All of these things depend on batteries or worse, constant software updates. Inevitably after about 3 years they become disposable junk.
Leatherman have been making multitools for 40 years and their tools and many others can last forever if you take care of them. A hunk of polished stainless steel takes us back in time to when things were simpler. If something broke, you could fix it, if you didn't know how, you could figure it out just by taking it apart. Something about a world like that inspires confidence that all things can be put right no matter what they happen to be.
Some models even let you replace hard wearing parts like saws, files, bits, and wire cutters. This allows the tool that can fix almost anything to be fixed itself, and that fact is elegant and beautiful.
Do I need a saw, wire strippers, and a diamond file every day? Have I ever needed these things unexpectedly? Have I ever needed them at all? I don't know, and you're asking the wrong questions.
Most tools are purchased for a purpose, and they sit in a tool chest until they are needed. A multitool is purchased for all of the endless possibilities one may encounter and it is carried everywhere. Whatever forks open in whatever roads are traveled, with a multitool in a pocket, one feels as if they may follow whichever prospect holds out the greater adventure. When you think about the freedom that comes with one little box in your pocket, it is an exhilarating rush. Am I going to hot wire a car today? I haven't decided yet, why don't you tag along and find out. (Don't worry, I won't).
My current daily driver is a Leatherman Wave+. It strikes the perfect balance between having not enough and too much. It's heavy, but not too heavy to carry in a pocket. While there are many lighter tools and a few heavier, the Wave+ is perfect for people with desk jobs that tackle occasional projects around the house and in the garage. It's always been up to the task whenever I have needed it.
In a modern world where everything is cheap and disposable, a quality multitool is still a fine thing that can last a lifetime with proper care. More than that, a well made one inspires the imagination every time it's picked up off the dresser, or held in the hand, and as each tool is unfolded and neatly put back, one is free to wonder what trouble will find them next.
I quit Twitter a few months ago, not because Elon was buying it, but because I really don't like the way algorithms distort reality by amplifying the voices of celebrities and "influencers" who are often paid by companies and other entities to promote the "current thing". These tweets go viral, trend, and control the conversation on Twitter.
I still find myself checking Twitter occasionally. Unfortunately there is a lot of information there. People send me links to tweets or I want to find out what's going on in the topics I followed there.
By "quitting" I mean I deleted all my tweets and no longer post there, set my account to private and deleted the app.
I switched to Mastodon. Mastodon is a federated social media network. You can join a free server or start your own. I started my own. Nobody controls Mastodon, each server regulates itself. Since I'm the only user on my server, I don't have to worry about ads, trackers, algorithms, getting shadow banned, or being cancelled or dealing with people who have inflammatory opinions.
There is no algorithm on Mastodon. You just get a firehose of information from what's happening on your server - so on mine, my timeline is empty. There is also a federated timeline that shows posts from people I follow on other servers. Without the algorithm, the conversations on Mastodon are more diverse and there is not a small group of elitist people with blue checkmarks dominating the conversation. Servers are often focused on specific topics, sort of like reddit's subreddit scheme. Which makes it easy to avoid the purple haired weirdos.
No ads, no algorithms, no suppression of information, it's great.
I used Hostdon.jp to set up my server. I pay in Yen, and had to use Apple's translate tool to navigate the site, but my server costs about $4 a month. Not bad.
Over the last few years I found and relied on immense inner strength to stick to my "NO". I stuck to my decision despite massive peer pressure, threats, bribes, and guilt. I stuck to my NO not out of stubbornness, but because I truly believe in my choice. The wavy no pattern is a tribute to every person who has ever said NO and meant it and stuck to it no matter what was thrown at them.
We own some land miles from anywhere. When you own land, you need chainsaws and other dangerous tools that could easily sever an artery. Way out there, we're far from a hospital, emergency services, and even cell reception. While we do have a few neighbors, it would take many minutes to find help when seconds count. I like to be prepared. I carry a multitool, pepper spray, a flashlight, and bandaids in my EDC kit. Recently I got to use my bandaids when K cut her finger open on some splintered wood. It felt good to be equipped and able to help.
I've heard a couple of horror stories lately that inspired me to get a tourniquet. One guy saved the life of a co-worker when a chainsaw kicked and nearly cut the co-workers arm off. The man and his arm were saved by the tourniquet.
Another guy in the Amazon reviews of the tourniquet I bought cut his wrist in an accident while using a circular saw. fortunately he was prepared, and managed to slow the bleeding enough to survive while he waited for a life flight.
Another common way of severing arteries is in a car accident. I've seen several in my time, even a crash at 20 miles per hour is terrifyingly loud. I've been in at least 2 accidents in my life and many close calls. So far I've been fortunate to have no serious injuries.
There are tons of tourniquets on Amazon available for less than $10 a pop, but they're made in China and lack any certifications. I decided to go with a North American Rescue. It's the official tourniquet of the US Army, approved by the Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care and used by many first responders.
To see a list of other devices approved by the CoTCCC click here.
To buy yourself an orange NAR tourniquet like mine, click here (amazon affiliate link)
Chest Seals are used to treat something called a sucking chest wound. I go out into the woods and frequent places where people carry firearms. These are caused by gunshots and puncture wounds. We all know that in the US, firearms are common and many people carry them in public places, legally and illegally. While I'm personally not overly concerned about gun violence, or an accidental shooting, these events happen in our country every single day. It just makes sense to be prepared and I came across them while looking for a tourniquet. They are often sold together in an IFAK or Individual First Aid Kit. To buy some chest seals, click here (Amazon affiliate link).
If building an IFAK you may also consider adding a collapsible CPR mask, latex gloves, trauma shears - used to quickly cut away clothing that may need to be removed to assess an injury or wound, and gauze both regular and hemostatic, which can help wipe up blood and in the case of the latter stop the bleeding.
If you do frequent rural areas often, you should consider reaching out to the Emergency Services Dispatch in the area to find out of they use What3Words addresses. What3Words is an app that can locate you when you're far from a known address.
Having stuff is good, but useless if you don't know how to use it. I've taken a first aid course that included CPR but I think it's time to take a few more classes to make sure I know how to use these tools should I ever need to.
For the last year I've enjoyed the same level of email security as Hillary Clinton. I have a private server where my email is stored. It's a little white box that sits under my wet bar. What this has meant is that if anybody wanted to read my email, they'd have to get a warrant and come to my house or kick open my front door and get past me and all the tools at my disposal to resist such an action. I have no secrets in my emails, all I get is junk mail, receipts and notices to pay bills, and my main reason for having it is simply because I don't want google knowing what I've purchased or am thinking about purchasing. It's also fun to be secretive, I may not have a lot of secrets now, but what if I want to get some later? I like to leave the door of possibility open for such things.
Anyway, the provider, Helm, ran out of money. They were funded by Serena Williams' husband who is a venture capitalist and I guess most people are content with free email. After making it out to the other side I can't go back to free email. Helm simplified things while still giving me about 99% of the security, the tradeoff was of course that if they go away I have a huge learning task to keep the same level of email comfort and security I have now.
Helm says they're going to push out an update so that I can run a linux based server myself, but the complication will be if my ISP will allow me to open those ports. Many ISPs don't allow consumers to run email servers because they don't want spammers setting up shop.
Another issue will be setting up a static IP, which won't be free, but shouldn't be too expensive.
Worst case scenario I can use iCloud for email, they will host private domains, but I may be able to set up a VPS that runs a server... except that still leaves my data in someone else's hands, so I'm going to have to figure it out. I currently have my email set up as a catch-all, so any and all email sent to my domain gets routed to my inbox. That allows me to use a random and custom domain for ever new account I have to set up. Apple will give me a max of 5 email addresses and then force me to use their "Hide my email" service which I prefer not to use.
It's a shame more people don't care about owning their data, but I don't expect it to change anytime soon. In the meantime I will just have to learn how email servers work.
How did it happen? Why did it happen? I'm not sure. I don't need to write much at all, I type a lot. There is no reason for one man to acquire so many pens.
First I bought a pack of Sharpie S-Gels, only to find out that even though Sharpie is famous for their permanent ink markers, the S-Gel ink isn't fade or fraud resistant, and therefore not permanent. They write OK, not great, and I wouldn't recommend them.
Disappointed, I bought a 24 pack of Uniball Signo 207 RTs in 1mm. I like a bold line, if I'm taking the time to write it, it's important and I want it BIG. I have sloppy handwriting because I like to write fast, and the rollerball in a gel pen like this is very slippy, and it's harder to keep it neat. The Signo 207 RT is retractable, uses "Super Ink" which is fast drying (not fast enough for lefties), fade and fraud resistant (permanent), and the black ink is very dark, unlike some others I've used. I have some in blue ink in my cart now.
To my great disappointment, K doesn't like gel pens. She likes the old school oil based inks in ball point pens. She told me her favorite pens are the basic Bic ball points (Round Stick) because they're dirt cheap, write great, and last forever. She said they're impossible to improve further. I also found out that as far as writing goes, for her, black is the only acceptable color. I've lived with her for 15 years, but my world was rocked at learning this is how she sees things. While she did compliment the Signo for having a good click and a bold point she dismissed it immediately when the ink was not already dry after writing a short string of letters. I also have some Uniball Jetstreams coming, which I purchased for her. Like the Signo it has a good click, a bold point, AND black, OIL based (It's actually a hybrid ink, but we aren't going to tell her) ballpoint ink. Life is too short to use Bic Round Sticks.
When it comes to ink colors, my first preference is that it's permanent. I prefer blue, as it's easier to tell if it's been copied. I know that in the modern world this isn't much of a problem but when I worked in banking and as a notary, I always preferred blue ink. I've also learned that even though it's a less popular option, a dark green ink in some circles is acceptable as a professional color. When I explained this to K, she was simply not having it. Apparently back in the old days, editors at newspapers claimed that the letters they received in green ink were usually from lunatics, so they dubbed these people the Green Letter Brigrade. There is a fun article here discussing the history of green ink being associated with lunatics and crackpots. Funny enough, after discovering this I immediately ordered some green ink. Someone who saw my handwriting once said, "So you really write like that? In mixed case? It looks like a ransom note!" I'm not sure why, but when I write my brain likes to intersperse random capital letters.
Lately I've rediscovered my fountain pens. I currently have 4. The most expensive one I own is a Tornado made by Retro 1951. It retails for about $60 so it's basically a nice pen but it's nothing to show off. I've had it for 15 years, and I used it heavily in 2005-2008 for my journaling. I used Pelikan ink cartridges with it, but that ink was a disappointment, as over the years it faded. I have switched to Monte Blanc permanent black. This is amazing, dark black ink. The Tornado never lets me down. It has some scuffs and scratches but still looks pretty close to the day I purchased it.
I also own a Pilot Metropolitan which is meh. I haven't used it much, but it just seems to have too much ink flow and frustratingly not enough at the same time. The nib is always soaked in ink yet the tip of the nib is scratchy. It could be my converter, ink selection or a problem with the tines. I'll need to clean it out and try to figure out what's wrong.
I have a Lamy Safari which is in the color white and with a bold nib. It too is a mess. For some reason it is to have a continuous stream of ink, it skips. I'm not sure what the problem is here, it may need a good cleaning.
Finally I have a Kaweco Sport in green with a gold nib. This pen was such a disappointment. It writes fine, but the plastic build is terrible. It's about the same price as a Lamy Safari or a Metropolitan ($16-$20) but it's so cheap feeling. It looked beautiful online but when I hold it, I feel poor. It's also too small to use a standard converter and switching to a mini piston converter means that it will hold about half the ink of a cartridge. They have some metal versions of this pen for about $60 and maybe I'll treat myself to the brass one at some point, IDK.
Fountain pens have a lot of trade offs to a traditional ballpoint or a gel pen. First, they're prone to leaks, the nibs and ink feed systems seem to have multiple points where things can fail, and refilling them can be messy. What I like about a fountain pen is the inks and nibs are customizable, and a nib doesn't have the same loosey-goosey 360 degree range of motion that a ball point or rollerball pen has. The nib is round but it doesn't rotate so it is easier, in my opinion, to write fast and still keep it legible.
So far I've acquired 4 inks, and 1 is on the way. I have Mont Blanc permanent black and permanent blue, Pelikan black, and Pilot Iroshizuku in Syo-Ro which is a dark green. While I've looked forward to trying out this green ink, so far I've been unable to, as my other pens are already filled and the green Kaweco I ordered to match the ink doesn't fit the converter I ordered. I have an $8 chinese fountain pen in my cart now (Jinhao) so I'll have to update this once I get to try it out. The ink in my cart is another Pilot Iroshizuku color, Kon-Peki. It's a vivid blue one user described as feeling like looking into the sky on a bright sunny day.
I've also been interested in trying a Uniball Jetstream 4 and 1, it has 4 inks (black, blue, red, green) AND a mechanical pencil. Some say it's too fat, but what else could you need in life? 4 colors and a pencil. Done.
I also want to try out the Zebra Saransa Dry inks. They offer these pens in a variety of colors and the inks supposedly dry so fast that a left handed person should be able to write without smudging, which is impressive for a gel ink pen. These are not sold here but are imported from Japan and available on various websites.