A knife for father’s day

My nephew loves his dad.

I said I would help my nephew to make a training blade as a father’s day gift. I’d planned on a simple wooden trainer – but he had other ideas. After saying that “his dad deserved the best” – he talked over his options with me then spent the day in the shop making a rather awesome knife.

I was impressed, as it was a lot of time-consuming work. We started with an old piece of scrap, a half finished milling prototype for a knife I made a while back. He used files to finish shaping the blade. The blade was made out of aluminum, and he insisted on 5 sanding passes to get the blade face to look just right.


Once he was happy with what the blade looked like – we stamped in his dad’s name on one side, and “I love you dad on the other”. He even made sure we checked that “I love you dad” would be right way up, and readable, when his dad was using the knife.


We watched a bunch of YouTube videos on para-cord wrapping knife handles. Once we found a pattern he liked, we drilled the handle and he wrapped it up.


It was a tricky process, as he had to hold tension on the cord, while setting the pattern on the top and bottom of the blade. I offered to do the wrapping, but he wanted to do it.


In the end I was really impressed with what he made. It is a sweet training blade in itself, but my nephew was right – you can read “I love you dad” when you are using it, and thats just awesome.


Ben holds a grudge

Ben must hold a grudge – I can’t tell what is worse – this picture of me or my board position. I got slaughtered at Go – but the Wisky was excellent. Come to think of it – those two things may be related. All in all I am calling the trip, if not the game, a win.


Rope-work Practice

Today was the first, of what will hopefully be a regular, climbing practice meet-up. We me up at Marymoore parks’s climbing wall to go over “the basics”, but we all played it by ear as to what that was going to mean.

Everyone there had some trad-clibing lead exposure – and would like to climb together in the future – so we started with anchor review. We went over how we would set up anchors, equalize them, and then reviewed belaying. It was really interesting and I learned a fair bit.

I had mostly climbed in larger slower parties when you are 3+ people running on 1-2 ropes with gear. Where as the Peterson’s, who are better climbers than I am, mostly have been focusing of fast multi-pitch swings. I’m looing forward to changing over how I set up anchors after seeing their setup. I thought I had taken pictures of the anchors – but apparently I didn’t. As part of reviewing anchors we then went over belay signals and practiced rope tug signals to make sure we were all on the same page for when we climbed together.


None us had belayed two climbers up at the same time before. So we went over that next. Then Conrad climbed up one of the walls and belayed us up onto a ledge there where there are three bolts which scream – set up an anchor on me. Cameron then built an anchor so we could review, again, the dual belay setup.


At this point it was freezing cold so we quickly reviewed rappelling techniques and bailed to go find beer and Cuban food. It was a really fun day, and I think we all have a good idea of each others skills and weaknesses.

The most embarrassing part of the day is I had not thought we would be getting very far off the ground, so I ended up having to climb the wall in running shoes with no sole edge. My feet kept paddling right off the rock, so it took forever and I was making all sorts of old man noises climbing what was at best a 5.6 climb. All the guys were nice and didn’t laugh too much.

Being given tools? Bring Whisky!

So downsizing my shop I opted to find my tools good new homes, over just trying to make money selling them on ebay. As a result I recently gave a bunch of friends tools. One of them that I gave some saws, planes, and chisels to showed up with this lovely gift in return.


Best part is when I asked about the brand, he said something to the effect of “I brought this type since I know you are a whisky snob”, which was hilarious as I thought he was the whisky snob. Apparently one of us had brought out the good whisky the first time, and it started a feedback loop that took at least 3-4 years to discover. Which I am totally fine with – because hey, if you are going to drink whisky then drink the best whisky you can lay hands on.

As it turned out – my friend did not really know how to use some of the tools I was giving him, he is a power tool guy, so we did a quick class. When I told him the saw he was being given was at least 110 years old he took it and started sawing as carefully as if he was dancing with a woman of the same age. While I appreciated the caution, after going over things like the proper way to hold and use a saw, he was still doing it in a whay that would never get him anywhere. We stopped for some whisky, and wouldn’t you know it after that he was sawing like he was dancing at his prom!

Math in the real world

The wether has been below freezing for a week and a half. The garage windows has remained frosted over for most of that time. Looking at the window it struck me as an example of “Math in the real world”. The metal window sills leaked heat out of the glass forming a differential curve. Looked to me like a k(1/X +m) curve – or maybe a tangent function. Weird but it made me happy.

Eating imported yeast poop!

So Vegemite is basically yeast poop left over from making beer. It is spread over toast in Australia. I went 3 years living in australia before a girlfriend insisted I had to try it. I hated it, but she had it on her toast in the morning and after the 3rd or 4th time trying it I got used to it and grew to like it. Now when I miss Australia I get a hankering for Vegemite.

Stop laughing at yourself and act

This picture is more representative of how I have been feeling lately. I got a plan, I am fixing things, but I need to stop laughing long enough to act. Life is weird.

This picture is from a climbing trip a few years ago. I lead a single pitch climb as a quick warm-up for the day and Grant cleaned. Rather than rapping off there was a permanent ladder set up. Grant and I got down, and then realized both of us had through the other one had the rope.  This is especially funny as Grant and I had climbed together a lot and are normally in sync.

Once Jesse stopped laughing, and that took a while, he took pity on us and showed us the fast way to get the rope back. Jesse asked for my cordelette and grabbed a stick. He couldn’t quite snag the rope – so he showed us this really cool trick turning our gear picks into a sort of make shift grappling hook. Very cool.

Ok, what now?

This picture pretty much sums up how I have been feeling lately. “Huh, how did this happen and what am I going to do about it?”


That is me in the picture, but it is my friend Konrad’s cabin. I was helping him thin out some tree’s near a few years ago and the last one – well – it did not go as planned.

Missing grad school

Just ran across a bunch of old photos from back in grad school. Not sure what I miss more about grad school – dumpster diving with my friends to get parts to build insane things, or having an advisor who’s response to “Hey, are those your students out there dumpster diving behind the physics building” was “Yes, get a camera”.


How you know when it is time to upgrade your phone….


How do you know when it is time to upgrade your cell phone? When you go to the computer history museum and find that your model phone is one of the exhibits. *cough* Guess I should upgrade more often than once ever five years.

In my defense – I said I would use the iPhone 1 one until it died and the thing just would not die no matter how badly I treated it. I did everything to that phone but accidentally slam it in a car door and it just took it.