Monthly Archives: August 2008

Yeah I got one.

I kinda had to. The BaliYo is a new pen by Spyderco. It allows you to perform flip tricks and do something with your hands without needing a real balisong knife.

Its cool, bigger than I imagined. The flipping is NOT easy for me based on my previous balisong experience. The DVD is nice for showing the tricks, normal speed then slow motion.

BaliYo

Here’s the retail packaging. Neato and very toy-like (which is a great approach.) I was bummed about getting the RWB color (wanted gray) but after using it a bit I’m glad I got the multicolor version.

Pros:

  • flips well
  • very fun
  • nice weight
  • rugged, takes drops well
  • writes with Fisher quality (actually it seems a bit better then my old bullet for some reason)
  • DVD included

Cons:

  • clip makes writing awkward
  • the music on the DVD is maddening
  • white pen barrel means visible ink marks on the tip
  • might impair my bali knife skills (?)

I’d like to see a metal version, but that would definitely be seen as more threatening. I like substantial pens.

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I have absolutely no need for this.

But I was on vacation and passed a certified Case store. I have always wanted a “stacked washer” fixed blade, and this little guy was cheap and cool. Like my other case blades, I’m not even sure what I’m going to do with it. Letter opener? Eccentric’s steak knife? Oh well, its neat.

Case1

Case2

The snap on the sheath is TIGHT. If I was good at making kydex rigs I might consider doing one for this… but seriously, like I’m ever going to wear a fixed blade smaller than a Military.

Case3

Case4

Comically, the box it came in is HUGE.

I really must stop buying fixed blades.

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A tale of three lighters

I’m not a daily smoker, but I do enjoy an occasional cigar a few times a month. A good friend once told me: “Cigars are a hot weather activity” and he was right. Now in the heart of summer, I find myself drifting out to the back screen porch at the end of the day for a bit of meditation with a hand rolled robusto.

I used to be a “wooden match and cedar splint” guy, but that’s a real hassle outdoors, time consuming, (and pretentious?) Several years ago I bought what has become my favorite lighter of all time: the Blazer microtorch. Small, easy to use, ignites easily, large fuel tank, and rugged (this thing has traveled the globe with me.)

The one thing lacking in the blazer is character. Enter the Zippo. I love the idea of Zippos. The authentic Zippo click of the lid. But traditional Zippos have issues I cannot overcome (I still own 2 of them anyway): the naphtha fuel is smelly and can impart a bad flavor into a cigar, and the fuel tends to dry out if the lighter is used infrequently. (I imagine if you smoked cigarettes it would be no big deal given frequency of use.) Still, I love traditional zippos and use them for candles, camping, lighting incense, etc.

Enter the Zippo Blu. The combination of the best of both worlds? Perhaps. I cheerfully bought the zippo Blu hoping it would retire my veteran Blazer torch, but alas it will likely end up living side by side with the torch for now. The Blu is what I like to call a rev 1.0 product.

Pros:

  • Size and shape are appealing, variety of designs available
  • Butane torch (no bad flavor, high heat)
  • Zippo CLICK (the main feature)
  • Flint spark wheel looks and feels right

IMG_5404.JPG

From left to right: Blazer MicroTorch -> Traditional Zippo -> Zippo Blu

Cons:

  • Fuel seems to deplete faster than my blazer
  • the lid hinge is chintzy and does not align easily with a one-handed close. not acceptable for a $40 lighter
  • Flint doesn’t always light the jet
  • The jet does not extend high enough above the wind screen making lighting of a larger cigar awkward
  • Gas switch does not have a hard cutoff like the Blazer

IMG_5407.JPG

The moral of the story: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it (my Blazer is my platonic ideal cigar lighter.) The Blu shows promise and I hope they fix the bugs to make it as solid as the classic Zippos.

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