Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas tree preparation

Light: Ra Twisty 70Tr

Had to do some trimming of my mom's Christmas tree, so I used the only halfway suitable tool I had on hand (Spyderco Cricket) and the Twisty. Of course it worked well, despite low battery blinks.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

MB photo shoot

Light: Ra Clicky 140Cgt

I was driving home a little before midnight when I noticed the nice cloud formations that the moon was peeking through, so I decided to stop for some photos. I ended up spending almost two hours in Morro Bay, down by the beach, taking 15 second shots of the lights across the harbor and, later, me using the Clicky for various lighting effects. It worked very nicely, both as a very dim glow for making camera adjustments and as a bright burst to reflect some lighting off a tree. At the end of the night, when I got home, I found that I'd reached the end of the duracell that came with it, it would no longer even try to burst. I tried it again a little later and it would kick up to burst but immediately drop, though I think it may have only dropped back to 100, rather than the usual halving.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

$5 Home Depot 1AA vs 140Cgt

Light: Ra Clicky 140Cgt

I was at my mom's house when a friend of hers gave her a 1AA flashlight that he got from Home Depot for something like $10 for two or three. It was actually a pretty decent looking little light for the price, looked like about 25lm and a decent beam. But when my mom got it, she of course immediately flashed it across the room at me. I responded as anyone in my position would: I pulled my Clicky out of my pocket and hit burst. She commented to her friend, "See how much brighter his is?" and he said something to the effect of, "Well this one only cost about five bucks. A good flashlight starts at about $15. See how nice and round his beam is? His probably cost $39.99!" She then asked how much it did cost and I declined to state... That one made me smile.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cemetery walk

Lights: Ra 70Tr, NovaTac 120P

After tea, Hayley and I went for a walk in Santa Rosa cemetery. I hadn't come very well prepared since I wasn't expecting a walk in the dark, but I had my Twisty and I gave her the 120P. I set it to primary and handed it to her, no instruction beyond how to turn it on. I took a little amusement from that, since some silly cpf-ers insist that the light is just too complicated to hand off to someone without ground schooling. Rubbish. You click, it turns on; click again, it turns off; the UI is completely transparent if you want it to be. We had a nice walk, enjoyed the profound silence of the area, and had fun looking at the variety of tombstones.

Friday, November 21, 2008

More Port O'Brien assistance

Light: NovaTac 120P

Once again, the 120P provided lighting for the band to load up the trailer. I don't know how they manage it without me... ;)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Another Clicky dream

I had another dream about the Clicky. I got mine, but the body was covered in text and advertising and an X-Men logo with a picture of Wolverine. It had really nice aggressive knurling in a kind of spiral pattern. The body was thinner than it actually is, kind of AA size. The button was half moon shaped and offset to one edge for easier reach and set into a shrouded tailcap like the Twisty's. I went through the levels and found that the tint shifted around, getting really warm sometimes at low levels. Burst was incredibly bright, lit up the whole room, but when it dropped I could hardly tell the difference.

So I've had two nights of flashlight dreaming this week, both included something about the Clicky's release, and both tied flashlights in with marvel superheroes. This is getting too weird.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Schizatch Pursuit

Light: SF G2Z-M60

After class, I went into slo to leave some welcome home artwork for Chris to deliver to Noelle. But while I was preparing it, he took off past me. I went after him, chased him onto santa rosa, and managed to get right behind him at a light and flash his mirror with the M60. That got his attention real quick. He turned to look at what was going on and I got him in the face, which was necessary in order to... which was really fun. He threw up his hands and made a face like he'd walked into a surprise party. He pulled over into a gas station, we had ourselves a chat, and I handed over my art.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Not an adventure, but I figure this is a milestone worthy of a news flash since we've been waiting so long. The Clickies, both prototypes and the first of the pilot run of production models, have started to arrive! Finally!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Flashlight dreams (uh oh)

Strange dreams this morning, so I'll include the flashlight bits here since there hasn't been much activity lately.

I had a dream in which Hayley gave me a pack of novelty flashlights, to make up for losing the minimag I'd apparently loaned her. The interesting thing about the lights is that they were named something like "Ba Rok." I commented on how great it was that they were Barack lights, but looking at it now the Ba part seems to be tied to Ra, which was in the other dream I had. The lights started out black I think, but then changed into like six versions of Iron Man. No idea where that came from. I think we heard a noise like someone approaching the building, so we got up for a look and saw Tia walking up to the steps. We went out the door to meet her and found my mom standing on the halfway landing of the steps, shining a light on Tia, who of course thought it was me.

At some point, I had a dream about going to a show in a fancy opera house. I arrived a little late, as the lights were going down, so they didn't want to seat me until the intermission. Fine, went in to find a place to stand, turned on my HDS and put it to lowest output so I could see where I was stepping. A security guard walked by and told me to turn off the light. I apologized, but when I looked at the light I found it was already off, which I told him. He said it was on, I looked again, and then I tried to explain to him that what he was seeing was his own doing, the cool tinted led light he was shining on me was making my led glow slightly. He got angry but started to walk away, accused me of giving him attitude or something, and as he disappeared down a stairwell I shouted after him that I wasn't doing anything but trying to educate him. Or something like that. I started to wander around looking for a seat.

The Ra dream I had was similarly strange. I was in a large darkened room, sitting in the back. Henry Schneiker came out, only it didn't look like him; he was younger, bigger, and had short blond hair. He looked kind of like Patrick Swayze in Donnie Darko. He came to the back of the room and reached into a pocket or bag and set a Clicky on the table in front of me for the unveiling. I turned it on and shined it around the ceiling so everyone could see it. I tried to input commands and go through the levels as a demonstration, but then I realized that I couldn't and he was controlling its functions from a remote control while talking about it, so I just held it and aimed it around while he demonstrated. The beam was imperfect, like an old optic, defined center with blotchy spill and some chromatic artifacts. Also, when it changed level or I held the button down or something, it projected a green checker patterned focusing beam just like my Canon S3.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Van lighting promotes sharing.

Light: HDS B42XRGT

Joe and I decided to hang out with Van in the back of Nessie for a couple hours. While there, Van wanted to ignite some shrubbery to give to Joe, which proved to be a difficult task in the dark. Fortunately, I had my HDS to help with the task and he had no further difficulty in achieving the desired combustion. The light also helped Van to diagram (using the Pilot Neogel I'd brought as a gift for Joe) the difficult staging situation at the previous night's show in Redwood City. Later, I used it to dole out what I'd brought to share: a few fine selections from my collection of dark chocolates, which we all enjoyed immensely, though my companions seemed to be themselves consumed by a hunger of almost unnatural proportions. I was also using the light in a tactical grip as camera lighting at times. A good time was had by all, and we all shared and received delightful treasures. Except I didn't really receive anything, except some good stories. And Joe didn't really give anything, except his Nalgene for a couple days. And I left with much less chocolate.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fox Hunt!

Light: NovaTac 120P

I got out of math around 8.30pm and walked slowly across campus towards my car. As I was passing through the fields before the tech building, I saw something long and thin with a very long tail hopping through the bushes. I set myself on a course of interception and pursued it back past the astro lab, through the quad behind it, and finally to a fenced off plant storage area, where it was nibbling at some lavendery looking stuff. It turned out to be a very small fox, or at least I think it was since it was much thinner than any I'd previously seen. If not for the length of the legs I'd say it was a kind of weasel. All along the way, I used my 120P to get a better view of it and help light some photos. I probably looked a little funny, walking quickly across campus with a bright light taking flash photos of something no one else could see.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Linnaea's reading light

Light: NovaTac 120P

Went to Linnaea's for Samy's show. Chris joined me when he got off work and stood in the back next to their mini library. Of course this temptation was too great for him; he forgot about the music and began perusing the book selection. When I saw him standing there reading one in the dim light I handed him my 120P on about 4lm.

Also, I later noticed Samy at another table loaning his Twisty to his young guitar disciple.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rookie Mistake #1: The Meaning of EDC

Joe Auricchio
Lights: Fenix P2D-RB85, Nite Hawk Raptor 10w halogen bike headlamp

Joe: I was riding home from work
and I shifted into top gear
And the chain popped off the front chainring
Stopped to take a look
I was wearing my shorts, so I opened my backpack to get out my Fenix which was in pants pocket
Fished around... couldn't find it
Then I remembered that I'd used it last night and put it down on my desk
And this morning I'd seen it on my way out, thought about grabbing it, and decided, Nahhhh, what am I gonna need a light for
If I were in a movie there would have been a shot from the tabletop, with the Fenix very close in foreground and me in the back looking at it. The focus would start on the Fenix, then quickly shift to me contemplating, before I turn away
Then the camera would linger just long enough that the audience is told this was a mistake
What I *do* have is my bike headlamp
10 watts of halogen fury
15? I never remember
So I detach it and aim it back at the chain
Reattach, get back on, ride back home.
The Moral Of The Story Is: The first two letters in EDC stand for Everyday, Dammit!

Me: oh geez, you made rookie error number one
thinking about taking a light and deciding not to
that guarantees needing it

Friday, August 1, 2008

Shoe art illumination

Lights: HDS B42XRGT, SureFire L1(gen6), fauxton

After hanging around Linn's for a while, we went outside and found Piper sitting in the parking lot with William White, who was painting her shoes. The problem with this was that the parking lot lights are very yellow and have horrible color rendition, making artwork difficult. Piper tried to help with the fauxton I gave her, but its blue tint was only a slight improvement. They needed some extra light with a more sunlight-like tint, so they invited me over. I initially lit up the work area with the B42 since it was the only thing I had handy with a perfect tint, but I had to run it at full power to fully overcome the ambient lighting and that might not last long enough, so I pulled my AW cells out of the M60 and stuck one in the L1 (which I brought on a last minute whim) and used that for the rest of the session. It was perfect for the job; nice warm tint with good CR, focused spot to make efficient use of the output so I could keep it on low.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Joe's First Camping Trip

Joe Auricchio
Lights: Red Inova X5, Streamlight ProPolymer 4AA Luxeon, Peak Kilimanjaro AA (3 led, black HA), Fenix P2D Lux Rebel 80, Fenix L1P (in reserve)

I joined Rushi and his girlfriend Sheenika, as well as his cousin and cousin's wife, for four days of camping and hiking at Twin Lakes, near Mammoth Lakes.
This was my first camping trip, and one of my best opportunities to date to put torches to serious use.

Light report:
None needed battery replacement. I've had the X5 since mid 2006 and it's still on its original CR cell.
Red is absolutely fantastic.
P2 got quite a lot of use, since it was in my pocket.
Rushi really likes streamlight. He should get one.
Peak is about the right brightness for a general use light hanging from the apex of a tent. Unfortunately, its beam is a narrow spot.

Highlight: Folks in the spot next to us were rummaging around for something in their trailer, with some abysmally dim incandescent. I bet it was a minimag. Rushi asks if he should give them more light and I exhort him to. He pulls out Streamlight and illuminates the trailer and all its contents. Absolutely no contest. They got streamlighted real good. Distance probably twenty yards.

Lowlight: One of the hookah coals fell off the grill into the fire pit and, being partly black and partly glowing red, became immediately invisible among the black and glowing red embers. I grabbed the nearest torch and shone it on the fire and picked up the tongs to find it and pull it back out. But I couldn't see anything, since now the entire fire pit was glowing red. I was holding the Inova.

The Bottom Line: Despite teasing from streamlight-wielding Rushi, in my book the red Inova was the star of the show. I used it to find things in my backpack, get food and drinks from the bear locker, guide my match to the coleman burner, get another log for the fire, and navigate to and from the restroom. The only place I found a white light indispensable was carrying the night's trash and recyclables to and from the receptacles on the far side of the camp. This is bear country: we went in pairs, with strong lights, and didn't dawdle.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tactical wedding planning illumination

Light: NovaTac 120P

Tia and I were over at Ian and Katie's house for a homemade pizza dinner/experiment and a movie. After dinner, the girls retreated to the living room to look over wedding magazine clippings and make strangely intense faces at expensive dresses. But the lighting wasn't very good on the sofa and they asked me for some help. Of course I provided them with an excellent light for girly wedding planning, the 120P with tactical tailcap. Tia handled it and exhibited thoughtful light culture in bothering to switch it off when not in use. Then when they were done she dumped it into the folds of the sofa and left, naturally.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Morning HID walk

Light: Amondotech N30 HID

Around 4am I went for a walk across the ranch and back, out on the coastal trail and back on the terrace road. It was a beautiful night for it; clear sky, full moon, warm. Eerily warm though. I stepped out and it was like 65 degrees, at 4am. Then I felt the warm wind. The wind was alternating between warm and cool the whole time, suggesting it would be a seriously hot day. I took along the 120P, L1, A2, G2Z-M60, H30, ROP, Apex, and N30. Here are my observations:
  • The N30 is just awesome. With clear atmosphere, from the lower trail, I can easily light up the trees and the crest of the hill. The ROP barely begins to light them. Walking with this light on takes away that enclosing darkness feeling, it's like being a car driving down the path. It does attract a lot of bugs though.
  • It's interesting how tint perception changes with surroundings. Inside, the M60 is very warm and the Apex's USWOI is pure white. Outside, the M60 looks pure white and the Apex looks just ever so slightly cool and less defined. Not bad, but clearly not as ideal.
  • H30 is pretty useless outdoors, just not what it's designed for, especially when there's already a full moon providing dim even lighting.
  • The A2 is pretty useless. It doesn't put out enough light to justify its short and inconveniencing runtime. It doesn't throw very well, L1 is slightly better, M60 destroys it. It doesn't even have a tint advantage really, it just makes everything look well defined but brown, earth toned. My observations are kind of the opposite of normal; it's better inside where it demonstrates superior full-range color rendering, my best led tints are better outdoors and provide a more natural and accurate feeling view. So I think I have to conclude that, in these days of incredible leds, the only incandescents I really have a legitimate reason to use are the E2o for its efficiency and very reasonable amount of light and the ROP for quick spotting when the HID is too big or not appropriate due to the time it requires.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Welcome to Torch Slinger

I'm surprised it took me so long to have this idea, but it took Joe's fire story today to inspire me to create a blog for stories of flashlight use. I'm mainly interested in tales of EDC lights being called into action, but more planned or task-oriented stories are also welcome. I'm also leaving it open to pretty much any kind of portable light; torch, headlamp, keychain light, spotlight, whatever you've got. It is my hope that others will contribute to this whenever they have something to share, even if it's just a moment when you really appreciated having your light emitting friend on hand.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Fenix at San Diego house fire

Joe Auricchio
Lights: Fenix P2D RB85(?)

So there was a structure fire up the street
Same kind of house as ours: four units in one building
Started in one unit, spread to the others, mostly through the roof and attic (which might be shared??)
No injuries, but the building and all its contents are gone.
At least three units completely and totally wiped out, and the other one didn't look too good either.
Fire was at night. It was dark.
Rushi grabbed his Rebel and I got Ricoh [cameras] and we went out
Watched from the hill.
He ran out of battery, because he sucks
I got mostly poor photos, because my camera sucks
But there were a few times when I used Fenix on full to supplement the lighting
No flash - we didn't want to bother the firefighters
Who did a damn fine job
A few firefighters came through the fence from the school at the top of the hill we were on
one firefighter came down the hill past us
this hill is a solid 30 degrees, and full of slippery ice plants
he had some small light to watch his step but it was pitifully dim
So I illuminated his path with [Fenix on full power, ~130lm]
He shouted a quick thanks and went off to do his job
The firefighting was impressive at a few points.
Hoses shattering windows
The tall ladder trucks, which have hoses and lights at the top, and a fellow can climb up and direct the hose, which they did.
Shooting down from fourth-story height into the open roof...
One thing I wish I'd caught on camera or video was the big downstairs bay window...
The window has got to be eight feet by four
A few moments after we got set up on the hill, about 35 feet back
It explosively burst
We actually felt the compression wave and heat

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Repairing Nessie's door

Light: SureFire/Milky Spit ML1 (gen5 host, Cree P3-WC, McR17XR reflector)

Spent the evening at a Port O'Brien show at Steynberg Gallery in SLO. At the end of the night I had to fix the door of the tour van, Nessie. The lock pull for the sliding door had broken off and was obstructing the unlocking mechanism, leaving them unable to load their gear. I had to get in there with my ML1 and Swiss Army (pliers mainly) to rip the obstructing plastic guide ring out. Afterwards, I used my Benchmade Griptilian to cut a straw to fit over the lock mechanism and act as a temporary guide until they could come up with a better fix.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The M60 Mike Test

Light: SureFire 6P with Malkoff M60 Q5-WG dropin

I visited Mike at Madeline's and got him to do his classic flashlight test with the M60 (230+lm). He held it at arms length, aimed at his eyes, lit it off, and let out an, "oh god... that's a good one!" A couple minutes later he was in the back and I heard him say, "uhh I can't read that, I just got flashed in the eyes." It was a mean trick to let him do it with something that powerful, but I couldn't resist.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Cambria power outage

Light: NovaTac EDC-120P

After picking up my Malkoff M60 at the darkened post office (operating by the light of a couple tea candles, and some help from me while I was there), I went up to Tia's house. They were also without power and it was just about sunset. Tia had been making necklaces and I helped out by providing light with my NovaTac for about an hour. I helped them to sort beads, thread them, and search for various things in the darkness. It was plenty for most purposes, but I was a little embarrassed that it was the only light I had with me on the day of a power outage, if I'd had more I could have set them up around the area and not had to direct my one light the whole time.