Sunday, December 30, 2018

Kite Eye 5 - Powering down

She rode alojng the meticulous planned route, always at the blind angle of traffic cameras, CCTV`s or ATM`s, until she arrived at the safe house and pulled her bicycle between the narrow gap between it and the adjacent building.

She unlocked the little gate leading to the shadowy, dark garden. It was cluttered with discarded gym equipment and a bathtub or two. She looked up at the windowless walls surrounding that sad, sun depraved patch and locked herself into the back door.

Once inside she went straight for the bathroom where a large, blue container stood.

Perfect! She sent an appreciative thought to the logistics group responsible for the safe house and started to pour the bleach out of the container and in to the bath tub. She filled the rest with water and lowered herself in to the liquid. She scrubbed her finger and toe nails to make sure not skin cells or hairs were caught under it.

She showered to get the chloride stench off and put industrial grade hand moisturizer all over her body, the same stuff riggers used on oil platforms, wrapped her body in several large towel and laid herself to sleep. She was running on peak for days now and she would have to pay the price for it now; she closed her eyes and commanded herself to sleep and when she needed to wake up again.


Saturday, December 29, 2018

Kite Eye 4 - Doofus 3

His cats were fine, a picture of his friend and roommate with a lapful of fur proved that. And apparently his so called best friend has also made very liberal use of the term "best before" and raided his side of the fridge for food.

He sighed and logged off, wished he had problems relating to his age. Like designing his own home...preferably with a woman. Most guys in the mid thirties had families or at least had a realistic chance to get one.

He looked up at the screen, he could see himself trying to get over a narrow stream leading from a shallow basin left by the tide and in to the sea.

A sunbathing couple between the dunes, he lying on its belly and she just standing looking towards his position,  just disappeared at the screens lower left corner and he decided that he has seen enough.

He unplugged the camera from the TV and hooked it up to his computer and dumped 90 minutes raw and unedited footage on his youtube channel.

It was the best video he ever shot with a kite and he thought that it deserved to be uploaded without cosmetics. And besides, no one would ever watch it, except him and the others he would "emotionally blackmail" (his dear best friends term) to do so.

Contemplating weather he was a creep or not he went back to the bit with the sunbathing couple. Yup, she was hot. Long, sun brown legs in white cut off jeans shorts (!) and some muscle guy just relaxing...great. Everyone had some...

The hotels complementary WiFi was painfully slow and it looked as if the upload would take 4 hours.

He leaned back in the beds grotesque large pillows and grabbed his telephone and browsed its memory for the two new audiobooks he downloaded. The phone dropped out of his hand before he managed to play it and he was sound asleep. Meanwhile the upload continued.

Friday, December 28, 2018

Kite Eye 3 - Doofus 2

Back at the hotel, he closed and locked the door.

Finally alone!

He took a long shower to flush of the sweat, a childhood course...apparently he was doomed to sweat by just moving.

He would sweat in minus 20 degrees a just throwing a paper ball in to a basket (considered he would hit the basked as he, like his older sister once pointed out, threw like a girl)
As it got worse with age, clubbing was absolutely out of the question. Like so many other things he thought sadly as he inspected the flourishing patch of hairs in his ears and the receding hairline on his head.

He tried to own his baldness by shaving his head regularly, but not even that could hide the fact that his remaining hair retreated to the back of his neck.

Not fair, not fair at ALL!

A, off course, too short towel around his hips he went to the bedroom and fiddled with the cameras USB cable to connect it to the ridiculous large, wall mounted TV.

He found the right input channel on the TV and the sun glaring sea of Aberdeen bay came into view in hi-def quality.

He leaned back and admired his work: Not bad, not bad at ALL!!!

He made a cup of decaf with the rooms electric kettle and enjoyed the film, and the fact that he only was visible as a small, dark silhouette on the ground. Occasionally looking up as he slowly walked down the beach as not to disturb the kite. Apparently it was worth the effort as it looked as if the kite was nailed to the sky.

He grinned as he saw a offshore helicopter fly by just south of where he had been, almost in level with the camera.

Some days sucked less than others apparently!

The view was beautiful, amazing but even that started to get a tad monotonous,  so he started to check his emails on his laptop. His ship, which would have been due today, was even more delayed: Crew change now on Monday.


A whole weekend just wasted in Aber-doom!

He sent a short mail to his friend, which whom he shared a house, and asked him how the cats were.

He was too busy to notice, that what could have looked like a couple having sex between the dunes came into view on the screen. His own figure was also visible close to the waters edge, clumsily avoiding getting his shoes wet.

Suddenly the small, obviously female figure, was on the back of the man. One knee between the shoulder blades and did something in neck height. The male figures arms thrashed in the sand as he tried to get up, but his legs were locked by her right leg and so he was pinned down until he stopped moving.

If he would have looked up from his instant coffee and laptop he would have seen a tiny face starring directly up at the camera and down at him from the wall.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

A few words on brick stoves.

Brick stoves are somewhat being regarded as the holy grail in regards of off grid cooking or survival.
There are MANY instructions out there: The 12 brick stove, the 36 brick stove and so on.
Brick stoves really are a great thing, but I think that those instructions always kind of ignore the fact that even in the best of times you will have a hard time to find the right amount of bricks, in the "correct" size just lying around. 
And this is problematic as I think that this could keep more than a few persons to discard a good solution just because the materials are not "perfect".
I made quite a few brick stoves over the years, when bricks were available, and I never really managed to make them as in the instructions.
That does not matter: It can be butt ugly as long as it works, and it will work as long as you remember just few things:
- a brick stove is nothing else than a rocket stove,  a Hobo Stove  or a Draft Stove . (Dear child has many names) It creates a draft of air from the base of the fire to the place where you place your pot/bottle or can and so creates a very hot flame that needs very little fuel.
- the main advantage is abovementioned draft, the second is that the fire is not in contact with the moist ground. That obviously means that there is no cold ground that steals energy from the fire or making the fuel wet.

Here a good example of a brick stove...

...that is made from some odd bricks I "liberated"...

..but really worked. See how most of the bottles bottom is balancing over the fire?

Again: Odd sized stones, not the right amount.

But if you are a bit creative... can really...

...make it work.
My kids made this one, and it`s actually a kick ass stove!
Note the different kind of bricks/pave stones.
`nuff said!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Kite Eye 2 - Doofus 1

It looked good, hopefully the improvised camera rig (made out of some aluminium tubing he found on the beach) didn't shake the camera all to much.

He looked over the bay as he reeled in the kite and enjoyed the august sun`s play in the puddles left behind on the beach by the tide. He felt slightly less frustrated for having to stay one extra day in the hotel. The walk out here alone was worth it, not to speak of the perfect flying weather.

He packed his kite in the long tubular bag he carried over his shoulder and made it back to the city, there was a Subway on the way and late lunch there was definitely on the bucket list.

He nodded to the garbage men as he approached the promenade. They were watching him flying during their extended cigarette break and he tensed up as he could sense some questions coming his way.

He lowered his eyes and tried to put as much distance between himself them, and not to look like a out-of-place person at the same time. It was very much the same feeling he has felt during his, what he now thinks of his pre-death-purgatory, school years on the battle ground others knew as "school yard".

He relaxed as he passed the group of men and looked up again, he could see large parts of Aberdeen from here and he stopped up to take a picture of the view. It would not get any prettier as he came closer and he wanted to preserve the moment as much as it was possible with his old fashioned telephone.

At subway he ordered a footlong and loosely browsed through parts of the video he shot with his kite.

This actually didn't looked all that bad considered that his "camera mount" was something he tinkered together from duct tape and alu tube. He would try to hook the camera up to the hotel rooms TV to have a better look.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Kite Eye 1 - Peak Performance

She collapsed over him when she heard the sound of the crushing larynx. Slowly she removed her spasming legs from the leg lock she used to pin him down, her hands still cramped around the dowel that she had used to turn his chain into a garrotte.

The same chain she insisted that he should buy the evening before when he was drunk and stupid. Eager to please her he bought the heavy titanium link thing, not knowing he would purchase the instrument of his own murder.

She counted a thousand heartbeats before she started to scout the over the crest of the little mould they chose for their tete a tete, always one hand on his back as to maintain the illusion of a couple of love birds on the beach.

No one close, the sound of a helicopter returning from the North sea, a homeless looking for bottles at a burned out campfire, a large kite flying in the distance. She squinted to better see the dark figure holding it and slowly walking North across the Beach, looking up regularly and occasionally waving towards the colourful kite.

A childish buffoon, a retard perhaps. lollygagging and playing in the sunshine without a care as the world turned around him.

Slowly she let herself glide backwards in to the mould in the dunes and started to dress herself. She had instructions to leave the client where she served him: He deserved to be shat on by seagulls.

As she stood up to leave and put on the light summer sandals she bought just hours before, she took a second look at the homeless wretch and the buffoon. Both had their backs turned towards her.

Satisfied she moved between the dunes, keeping out of sight from the beach and the nearby houses until she reached the beginning of the esplanade leading towards the City.

She smiled to the elderly garbage men enjoying their smokes and smiling at the long legged, young woman smiling at them and returning their banter in a flawless mimic of the local accent. 

She unlocked the bicycle she had left there and went on, waving and smiling to the men.

She crossed the bridge towards the inner city and waved towards some of the familiar faces of running students from the university she enrolled to just weeks ago. She did not return to her dorm room however but continued straight to a smaller house close to the docks, where she expected to find new instructions and travel details.

Thursday, December 20, 2018

The Heressy Of The Top-Down Fire: Fireplace

One of the blessing of having a fireplace is that you can train, and experiment with, fire starting in the comfort of your home (*).

It really helped develop my outdoor skills, as much as I bother to develop them, and made me a fire place ninja in terms of start up.

My method of choice is the tow-down fire as it develops very little smoke, burns clean and leaves less ashes behind: It is a bit contra intuitive as you don`t, as usual, build a fire up by putting kindling on the bottom but on the TOP of larger pieces of wood.

I accidentally "invented" this private version of the top-down method as I was alone at home with our (then) 6 month old in our new house during the winter of 2013, the gas and electricity went and I had no kindling or starter wood for the fireplace. Just half a cubic meter of fire wood left by the previous owner.

As the temperature dropped I decided to try something new and arranged the wood so there would be a maximum air flow to the fire...just hoping it would work.

It bloody well did! :-)

This is what we want, and I`ll show you how to get it...
Put half a log VERTICALLY in the fire place.
Lean another half against it...
So you create this funnel like shape.
Take a fire starter (or some kindling with starter wood)
This is the non chemical, ecological kind.
Wedge the fire starter between the two halves.
Give the fire starter time to burn properly and then put another half log on top.
As a lot of oxygen is transported from the bottom of the fireplace to the flame.. starts to get VERY hot.
And ignites the two bottom halves and the top log
This is 5 minutes after I ignited the fire starter.


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Crank it: The Freeplay KITO

The Freeplay KITO is an old friend of mine and part of my equipment for almost 9 years now.

It is sturdy, reliable and almost indestructible:  A worthy replacement for all the crappy dynamo flashlights I bought over the years in the hope they would do a good job.

They didn't...

The KITO sounds like the survivalist`s "Wunderwaffe" as reliable light source....and if it wasnt for the rather diminutive light output this even might be true, because the KITO is not the brightest and is actually just enough to navigate around a dark house in search for the fuse box.

But hey: A light beam of 1000 m length leads directly to the owner of a high powered flashlight, right.?

Not that I am paranoid (audience laughs) but that could be one of the considerations to purchase a KITO.

Conclusion: This flashlight will probably be the last item in my stocks that will break down, just for that I give it 4/5 points!

The KITO in all its simplicity.

The first thing I noticed was the heavy duty crank and dynamo mechnism.

As you can see: Not the brightest shiner

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Improvised Rescue Harness

It might come as a surprise for some: But climbing courses for sailors / riggers are pretty common. Especially when you are expected to save lives from a collapsing/burning/exploding oil & gas platform.

Yup, sailor and mountaineer: That`s me!

Find Lars.

Anyhow, I learned how to make this improvised climbing harness on a industrial climbing course. It is ideal for (controlled)  lowering of injured/unconscious persons and is quite easy to make.

So it is a good idea to practice on another person as well.

Lay a rope double and put the bight over your right shoulder.
Hold the rest of the rope in your left hand.

Like this.

How it looks from the back.

Tie a loop in the end you are holding with your left hand.

Put the bight on your right through the loop...

...and pull.

Pull the bight over your left arm, your shoulder and then head.

Adjust fit.

How it looks from the back.

"This is GREAT!" my wife said.

You probably have to cut yourself or a casualty out of the harness after use as
a lot of weight comes on the knot.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Discount Flashlights & Torches - The Rossmann Flashlight

"Rossmann" is a chain of drugstores slowly spreading across the European continent, globalization can be a godsend when you are in Paris and your 9 month old spawn refuses any baby food other than it is used to, and they have the (for a drugstore) usual surrealistic range of products.

As it happens also cheap flashlights.

I picked one up from the impulse shelf, just some cheap little thing for the fuse box, as I waited in line.

Two days later I bought 3 more.

I was very surprised about the quality for the price (5,99 Euro) and wanted to have more in case this was just a seasonal product (It wasn't).

Anyhow: I already lost most of my millennial readers due to too much text, so here some nice pictures. :-P

So, this is what you get for 6 Euro: A  sturdy flashlight, mostly out of metal
with rubberized handle and on/off button. No focus.
Which is not necessarily a bad thing in my book! 
The flashlights lens is sealed with a thick O-ring.
You can see the small, square LED....

...which is surprisingly strong....

Rubberized button? O-ring? Is it waterproof?
Let`s find out!

Submersed for 5 minutes and still going strong.

Not bad at all!

Just the package with general data

Friday, November 30, 2018

Kelly Kettle Hack No. 6 - The Still

I don`t know if it is the man flu I am currently having (and that I am mortally bored) but I when I woke up this morning I asked myself:

"Hey, I wonder if one could use the Kelly Kettle to turn seawater to condensation the steam from the boiling seawater and.....just some improvised stuff anyone could make with stuff lying around in the kitchen"

Aaaaaand, turns out: One can. :-)

First wrap tin foil around a smooth stick, about 1 m long.

Compress the tin foil around the stick.

Just make sure that you leave one end lose and open, like a funnel.

Voila, a tube!

Everything set up and ready....

Firing up the old kettle.

Attach the funnel end of the tin foil tube to the spout of the KK before
the water starts to boil: The tube gets hot (!!) FAST.

Bend the other end down in to a metal cup.

Like that.

And here comes the steam!

Which condensates right away in the cup.

I add a piece of tin foil to make it more effective.

And we wait...lets say 40 minutes.

YES! About 200 ml of distilled step: Vodka!!