Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Morakniv HighQ

Everyone who knows me knows that I'm a knife guy. I think that after the discovery of fire and the invention of the wheel the knife was and is mankinds greatest tool. I'm the first person people turn to when they need a knife. 

Typically I'm a big pocket knife guy but lately I've been in the market for a new fixed blade. Why the sudden interest in a belt knife? I'm glad you asked. My wife and I have been watching Naked and Afraid lately. If you aren't familiar with the show it's in essence a survival show where two experts, a man and a woman, are dropped somewhere nasty naked with only one tool apiece. 

Now, I have no desire to try to survive for three weeks naked in the jungle but it did get me thinking. If I could only have one tool what would I take. I debated a hatchet but that seemed limited to me. Great for chopping but not so good at skinning, carving or other fine work. Likewise for a machete just even less useful for chopping down trees. Thinking back to another favorite survival show Dual Survival, luckily this one is fully clothed, I remembered Cody Lundin doing a multitude of tasks with a knife. It's a medium sized, fixed blade that he where's around his neck. 

Ok, we've settled on a knife. But what kind of knife? This is still a mental exercise by this point mind you. I turned to Cold Steel knives for ideas. Cold Steel makes excellent products at a wide variety of prices but I still couldn't pick one. Next I turned to The Truth About Knives. That's an excellent blog if you are into knives. Very informative and entertaining. One of the first posts I read was about a Mora knife. The editors of this particular blog were quickly shown to be huge fans of these knives so I figured I'd research further. A few days of reading and I had to bite and order myself one. It came in today and I'm in love. 

Now THATS a knife! 

I got it from Amazon. Ordered it on Monday and it was waiting for me when I got home today. Hurray for Amazon Prime! I immediately pulled it out and tested the edge. It slid through cardboard with minimal effort and sliced almost as well. Next I found a scrap of maple to carve on. It bit into the wood well taking off thin slices of wood with each pass. I made a few notches to see how well it went and I was very pleased. 

Since this is an all purpose knife I expect to have it on my belt in the woods quite a bit. I threw it on my belt while I took the dogs out just to see how it felt. The weight is negligible. The sheath is kind of a cheap plastic but it's designed fairly well. It clips onto a belt easily but once there it's tough to get off. It also has a clip system to attach other mora knives to the sheath. If and when I get another I'll show how that works. 

All in all I'm well pleased so far. It's a tough carbon steel. It has a nice robust spine that supposedly holds up well to batoning but I didn't get a chance to try that out. It has a scandi edge that all the reviews say takes and holds an edge well. Obviously I haven't had to sharpen it yet so we shall see. The only con I can see is that it had a rat tail instead of a full tang. According to every review I've seen that doesn't seem to affect it's performance. And all for the low price of $10. That's right. It's not much more than a meal at McDonalds. At that price I had to give it a try. Now let's hope if I'm ever stranded naked on a deserted island I have my knife with me. 

The handle fits my grip well and is slip resistant. 

That's a nice thick edge. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Blakes 7 Re-Watch: Shadow


Where can I watch it?

Welcome to a review almost a year in the making. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to finish it. Life has been busy and is just now slowing down a little. Little being the key word. It didn't help that this episode was not my favorite. It's also highly likely that I'll be moving this series of reviews to my website and completing it there. Ok, without further ado, I present Shadow. 

Shadow is the first episode in my opinion that shows Blake's growing obsession with the destruction of the Federation. In this particular episode we see him attempting to strike a deal with a criminal outfit known as the Terra Nostra, a play on Cosa Nostra. The Terra Nostra is a large syndicate with their slimy little fingers in many a rancid pie. Their primary act of evil however is the drug Shadow. Thus the title. Shadow is essentially space meth. 

You got any more of that space meth?

Everyone is more or less on board with Blake's plane except for Gan. Imagine that. The slow one is the only person who can see that this isn't going to end well. 

Blake, I don't think that this will end well. 

Vila is onboard with negotiating with the Terra Nostra as long as he gets to visit Space City, or as he refers to it as The Satelite of Sin. As you can guess the crew thinks that's the worst plan since Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle 2. Just wait though, hijinks will ensue. 

The episode actually opens with two addicts robbing Largo, a Terra Nostra operative, of his supply of shadow. What's interesting in a sci fi show of this time is the bleak outlook on the future. We see people still selling and taking drugs. People ruined and even dying from it's use. In Star Trek addiction has long since been stamped out. Not here in the Blake verse. 

And there is the crux of the episode. Blake is willing to make a deal with essentially the space mob to overthrow the federation. A case of the cure possibly being worse than the disease. Blake, Avon, Gan and Jenna teleport down to meet with Largo. Meanwhile Villa is unsuccessful in convincing Callie to help him sneak down himself. Until he remembers that he can use Orac to operate the teleport. An Orac who makes some sinister remarks that Villa is oblivious to. 

We learn that Jenna was arrested shortly after refusing to carry Shadow for Largo. The implication being that they can even influence officials if you cross them. Of course Largo quickly betrays our crew and captures them.

Who would think that this man couldn't be trusted. 

If only someone had remained on board to possibly rescue them. Too bad Villa has teleported down to the planet and hidden Orac somewhere in the Liberator. An Orac who is starting to interfere with Zen and the ship. 

Through some telepathic shenanigans Blake let's Cally know that trouble is afoot. Luckily Callie is smarter than Villa. She regains control of Liberator just as Blake and his crew escape. After some consideration they decide to save a pair of junkies when they escape. Blake, however still isn't convinced that the Terra Nostra is bad news. He's just prepared to force them to help. Sure. That'll work well. 

About now Callie, who is searching for Orac, gets "a bad feeling" and winds up in a bit of a pickle herself. Orac traps Callie mentally inside his boxy, glowing mind. No. Seriously. 

Didn't I see this in an Aha video once?

Blake decides that the quickest path to get his way is to attack the Terra Nostra's chief product Shadow. Hurray for space cartel wars! They track the drugs origin back to a desert planet where moon discs are grown and processed. You read that right. Moon discs. Not just moon discs though. Telepathic moon discs.

No, seriously. 

Blake, Jenna and Avon teleport down to yet another quarry to scope it out and make snarky comments to each other. Villa wakes up from an alcohol induced coma and proceeds to lumber around like a zombie. And Callie sleep runs, at Orac's bidding, through the ship to teleport down to the planet where she collapses from the heat. 

It's about this time that Villa and Gan finally realize something is going on with Orac. Orac takes over the Liberator and sends it spiraling towards the planet. Unfortunately trying to unplug him kills the female junkie whose name isn't important enough to remember. We knew she was going to die. Extras very rarely survive the episode. 

It seems an Interdimensional alien is using Orac to invade our universe. What's the answer to all of this? Moon discs of course! Telepathic moon rocks. Between Callie and the Moon Discs, great band name by the way, combined power they are able to defeat the Dark Lord. Er, Interdimensional alien.  Whatever. 

Telepathic moon rocks. It's the new it thing in California. 

Hurray! All is well! Sorta. Avon rigs Orac to blow if another attempt to take over happens. Oh, and we learn that Avon took an ID card off of a guard on the planet that identifies him as Federation security. What?? Twist! Mind blown. 

Final Thoughts:
While the episode had some good points, the aforementioned new obsessive Blake, overall it was a little confused. Blake shows in this episode that he is willing to make deals with the devil and is showing less concern for the safety of his crew. The twist that the federation has control of the major criminal organization was nice although it could have been explored more deeply. That's a clever way to deal with a possible source of trouble though. Control it. And it's showing to me that both the villains and the heroes are willing to go to the same lengths to win. The subplot just doesn't work well however. Neither does Orac's apparent superpowers that never show up again. And come on, moon rocks ?

Rating: 2.5
Memorable Quote:
Gan: I Can't find Orac. Even tried calling his name.
Avon: Oh, I'm sorry I missed that. It's the kind of natural stupidity no amount of training could ever hope to match.

Coffee of the Day:
Starbucks Cafe Verona. From their website. 

The Story of Caffè Verona®
This is a coffee of one true love, and three names. We created it just for a Seattle restaurant in 1975, naming it Jake’s Blend. And people loved it. So many, in fact, that we began hand scooping and blending it to order in our stores, where it was known as 80/20 Blend, for the recipe. The love was so strong we finally made it official, calling it Caffè Verona® after the city that inspires so many. By any name, this is a thing of pure romance.

Body: Full
Acidity: Low
Processing: Washed & Semi-Washed

By any name this blend is dark with a hint of cocoa. Just the way I like it. With a splash of almond milk and a level scoop of coconut sugar it's freaking delicious.