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April 23, 2011

My Swiss Army Knife

Well, this always had to be the first post in this series and is in many ways what inspires it. Will also probably be the longest post. I have had the same Swiss Army Knife since I was a child and it has over time become the thing I own which would hurt me the most to lose. I am not sure exactly when I got it but the most likely time was just before going to Timberlake Camp (part of Farm & Wilderness) in Vermont for the first time in 1979, when I was 9. Ever since I got it, I have carried it in my pocket almost every waking hour of every day of my life. I think the particular knife I have is the Huntsman although mine doesn't have the Hook on the back. I have used my knife for all sorts of things, from whittling & carving to sawing to opening tons of wine bottles, beer bottles, cans, and for so many other things on a nearly daily basis - today I used it to peel an orange for example. I am sure every single tool I have used on at least twenty occasions, even the awl. Just an unbelievably practical and useful item to carry. The only tool mine lacks which I really wish it had is a phillips screwdriver but the tip of the can-opener can often serve as a limited substitute.

By the time I was in college, my knife had started to get beat up and a mess, eventually losing the toothpick and tweezers, having the scissors somewhat messed up and finally having the plastic sides come off it which was the last straw as it made it really difficult to hold and would catch on things in my pocket. Painful as it was, I finally knew I had to do something about it. Victorinox has a lifetime guarantee so I finally sent it back to them in Switzerland, including a note on what it meant to me. Unfortunately, though, I knew it had to be so much cheaper and easier for them to just replace it which is why I had delayed sending it back so long. Amazingly, though, they did repair it and I was thrilled!!! This was the closest I ever came to losing it although on two other occasions I lost it for a week or two. The first time was after staying at a friend's parent's cottage when I was around 16 - came back without it but they found it later and brought it back to me.

The other time that had me nervous was a year or so ago. Following 9/11 and the annoying changes to not allow pocket knives on planes, I bought a modern copy of my knife so that when going somewhere with checked luggage I would bring that instead and so not have to risk checking my real knife. I also made a promise to myself that if I ever had to make a choice between missing a flight and losing my knife, I would miss the flight. This plan has worked well for me but I finally forgot, last year on a trip, to leave my knife at home. Had no checked luggage and noticed my knife in my pocket as I got to the security line so turned back to try to figure something out. Fortunately, they now have a box where you can put an item in a plastic bag and fill out a form to have it sent back to yourself. I was very nervous about this but decided to trust it and I did eventually get it back although it took like 3 weeks during which I had largely given up - I even tried calling the TSA despite the needle in a haystack issue of finding it if they had lost it but with no luck.

Posted by aarondf at 09:43 PM | Things | Comments (2)

These are a Few of my Favorite Things - Introduction

I had planned to do this series from the moment I started this blog but never got around to it. With resuming posting here now recently, seems a good time to actually do it. Not really sure the purpose of this other than for me which is probably why I never did it before but I guess that is reason enough.

I am going to write a series of posts on my favorite things, almost entirely things I own but there may be some exceptions. These will range from the quite small to the very large, with the first two posts I plan being at the extremes, and then after that probably most of the posts will be on artistic pieces.

Posted by aarondf at 09:29 PM | Things | Comments (0)

July 30, 2008

New Cell Number

Bought an iPhone and am loving it (although have really not used it as a phone almost at all). Along with it comes a new cell phone number. Doing some minor obfuscation to avoid spam calls my new number is six uno seven 417 - 930 cinco.

Any apps you'd particularly recommend? One thing I'd really like to do but don't know if there is yet a Windows app that allows it is to put (and at least read if possible) text files on it.

Posted by aarondf at 12:43 PM | Things | Comments (0)

October 19, 2004

Bought a Laptop

On the spur of the moment, inspired by the 1 day (today - Oct.19) Dell $750 off $1500+ laptop deal Peter blogged, I just bought a Dell Inspiron 600m. Given that you sacrifice the standard 15% off and I didn't exactly hit $1500, this is an extra about 30-35% but that is pretty good and lets me get an acceptable machine for $1K which I was not sure I was going to manage. I hope the keyboard and trackpad are managable for me. This machine is actually significantly more powerful than my old home desktop so I may even use it there too.

I've been thinking about a laptop for a long time but putting if off - for now at least I'm happy this inspired me to move on it and get past the Mac/Windows choice.

Posted by aarondf at 02:08 PM | Things | Comments (0)

June 12, 2003

Cook's Illustrated vs Consumer Reports

I forgot to mention this in my last entry. There is an obvious comparison of the equipment reviews in Cook's Illustrated to Consumer Reports and for me CI wins easily. I like CR and subscribe to it off and on but I have two big problems with their reviews. First off, although they select a winner it is never really clear to me how much better it is than the others. There is not enough direct comparison of the top few choices. CI picks a very clear winner and nicely explains why they chose that one. The other big problem I have is availability. With CI, I have never had a problem finding something they recommended (it may be helped that they and I are both located in Boston), usually at Kitchen's Etc.. With CR, OTOH, I often have problems finding things and they don't give any indicators of what stores would be good to find a given model in. I am currently having no luck finding the top scorer in their recent air conditioners review and this is quite annoying. Both are very useful magazines but I personally like CI much more.

Posted by aarondf at 10:37 PM | Things | Comments (0)

Things: Introduction

I had thought about doing this for a while but reading Recommendo yesterday and the related Tools are the Revolution piece finally decided me. I am going to review every once a in a while things I own; tools, art, tech, whatever. I will focus on those things which others can buy but will sometimes review more unique items.

One thing I will generally not talk about is Kitchen stuff and instead will again highly recommend Cook's Illustrated magazine and their accompanying PBS show America's Test Kitchen. This is the cooking show for engineers, where everything is tested and tested again to find the best solution, treating cooking as a science rather than an art which is how I cook. It will be less useful to serious cooking people interested in play in the kitchen. A few items which they recommend and I highly endorse are the Oxo Swivel Peeler (which I found before discovering them and love), the Unicorn Magnum Pepper Mill and the Microplane Zester. All of these won their category's test. I have not yet been steered wrong by their reviews or recipes.

Posted by aarondf at 11:37 AM | Things | Comments (0)