Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Endlessly useful

Here's another idea born from my Scouting past.

I just cobbled together another of these contraptions for Susan. We had a power failure last week, and I was the only one prepared in an instant.  Now we each have one.

What are they?

Mine is a tiny pocket knife (blade, screwdriver+bottle opener, nail file) together with a Mountain Equipment Coop Turtle light two-LED bike light. I use the Turtle light's bungee to secure it to the pocket knife.

It's a tiny little getup that fits in the palm of your hand, lives in my pants' pocket completely unobtrusively, whether in jeans or a suit.
Susan's is the same but with a Swiss Army pocket knife (the smallest they make - blade, nail file+screw driver, scissors, toothpick, tweezers).

Endlessly useful because...
  • Space-age packaging is impossible to open
  • Life is full of dim moments
    • dark drawers
    • unlit paths
    • dropped items in the theatre
    • unfamiliar darkened rooms
    • power failures
    • dark alleys in Venice
    • the suitcase storage under the stairs
    • some menus, in some restaurants
    • the space under the driver's seat where that vital thing just slipped to
  • Small children are fascinated by how bright light emanates from my closed fist
  • When you get a splinter, tweezers are your best friend
  • Sometimes the perforated line is just printed as a suggestion and there are no actual perforations
  • Walking at night on a road without sidewalks is safer with a strobing LED
  • It's way easier to open boxes from Revzilla 
  • When it's four a.m., the party is still swirling in your bamboozled brain, and even with a flashlight you've tugged your shoelace into a Gordian knot, a blade is your best friend
  • Stuff falls into nooks, crannies, and cracks
  • Crossing a busy street once the sun sets is safer when you're seen
  • That twine you used just won't snap
  • When you need a toothpick, nothing else will really do
  • Once in a while there's a loose screw
  • Once in a while, even guys break nails
  • Who's to say that there's emergency lighting on level three of the underground parking?
  • Cutting or snipping a loose thread is infinitely preferable to having your sleeve fall off because you tugged on the stitching
  • Unboxing Apple products is impossible with your bare hands
  • It's easier to prove that there is no monster hiding under the bed when you can shed bright light
  • Not all beer has twist-off caps
  • Cutting the tags off right now is sometimes a necessity
  • You're beginning to think that the car keys could be under the family room couch
  • Putting it on the dog's collar is safer for the dog, and just too damned funny
  • It's way easier to open boxes from Aerostitch
  • Holding the Turtle light between your lips makes an impromptu headlight that you can point with your head, and steer with your tongue. Better than anything else when working on a fiddly thing in a tight dark space (I mean like plumbing under a sink, or changing a light bulb in a closet - not what you were thinking).  As with many endeavours, just don't swallow
  • You can let it dangle from a backpack or purse and set it on strobe to keep you visible
  • Morse code is easier with a flashlight than with a Bic lighter 
  • It may not be perfect, but it's always there when you need it
Plus, the Turtle light is designed to bungee itself onto bicycle handle bars or forks. That means you can bungee it to motorcycle grab rails, brake levers, crashbars, handle bars...

Comes in white and red. The red one is useful on the bike if you have a breakdown at night. Bungee it to a rear grab rail and set it to strobe.

Be prepared.  It's more than just a motto for kids.


redlegsrides said...

Good EDC item!

RichardM said...

It sounds like you do a lot of unboxing! Or at least that's what catches my eye. What's "EDC"?

redlegsrides said...

EDC: Every Day Carry. The gear one carries as a matter of course. Heck, there's websites dedicated to this concept: http://everyday-carry.com/

David Masse said...

It's amazing to me that there are entire websites devoted to EDC.

Another guy-favorite seems to be building survival kits in Altoids tins.

David Masse said...

Dom beat me to it.

Oh, I don't think I do a lot of unboxing, but once a week something needs to be unwrapped or otherwise rid of its packaging.

Have you seen unboxing videos? Talk about too much time on one's hands.

David Masse said...

Dom that website leads the category, I think.

If you need to buy stuff so you can post and boast, CountyComm is the place to go, maybe after Cabelas and Bass Pro Shop.

redlegsrides said...

am well familiar with countycomm! :) so many gadgets, so little time....

Canajun said...

Just don't forget it's in your pocket when traveling. I think I have single-handedly provided every employee of the TSA with a small Swiss Army knife. I keep forgetting they're on my key chain.

RichardM said...

Hmmm, maybe a good blog post topic...

David Masse said...

Lost an Opinel No.8 to the TSA at Billy Bishop that some sentimental value. That happens when you drive in and fly out.

Trobairitz said...

And here I thought all I needed for EDC was lipstick! Kidding.

Does the light/knife combo count as a lifehack?

David Masse said...

Good point Brandy, another excellent resource, yes I think it is a lifehack.

And here I thought the women would avoid this topic the way they avoid mancaves.

David Masse said...

The TSA? That would be a very, very, very long rant.

VStar Lady said...

Also have a facsimile ... thanks to Bob. Mine also has a pen, just in case I need to leave a note in the dark after tightening the screw and trimming my nails. He just didn't think my giant Leatherman with 27 tools and my 7 various flashlights were enough.

David Masse said...

That Bob. Oddly I don't know if he also had a Scouting past. It wouldn't surprise me though.

When the MacGyver moments happen and I find myself prepared, against all odds... what can I say? It's a rush.

RichardM said...

No, what do you carry with you everyday...

David Masse said...

Ah yes, indeed.

Trobairitz did a 'woket in your pocket' challenge a while back that was basically an EDC post.

It's something that strikes a chord. What do you carry?

Michael B. said...

I use a headlamp from MEC. When I go to my GTS in the morning it's still dark. The advantage of a headlamp is it frees my hands, plus I can pretend I'm a locomotive. With a tiny turtle light in your hand you can't do it - you just look like a desperate dork :-D
I also carry a Leatherman multi-tool in my backpack; it can also clip onto my belt.
Perhaps I should buy a Bear Grill machete to cut my way through the urban jungle?

Trobairitz said...

If it helps, I am not a typical women. I hate shopping too. :-)

David Masse said...

Michael, I have so far resisted buying a headlight.

As for looking like a dork, we ride Vespas, big Vespas, our judgment and fashion sense is...

... unfailingly au courant!

One day, I'll be in Toronto on two wheels. We'll get together for a ride. There are one or two other Vespa riders there I need to meet as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Michael B. said...

OK, Dave, when you are ready to come here, let me know. A ride would be nice I recommend fortifying yourself with lots of V8 juice to be able to handle GTA traffic :-)

David Masse said...

I was there this past weekend. I am very familiar with GTA traffic. I was there on four wheels.

I come often. Two of three kids are there. I'll be back on two wheels too. Likely next summer.

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