Wednesday, October 19, 2011

How to be Alone

I decide a late October weekend cruise to the Magothy River from Baltimore is the thing to do. This is a no shore-side support evolution. No restaurants, dinner aboard. A purposeful alone time. Good way to use a cruising sailboat.

One of the weird things about the Chesapeake Bay is that a lot of boaters stop using it after Labor day, so I have the whole place to myself. Sailing out of the Patapsco River and rounding Bodkin Point, my only company is three skipjacks dredging oysters on Mountain Bar off Gibson Island. This cruise was a few years ago. I don't imagine we'll ever see skipjacks dredging oysters again in the Chesapeake.

It's perfect cruising weather, and is the same weather I have now in New Mexico - temperatures in the 40's at night, and in the low 60's in the afternoon.

This time of year we get a breeze out of the northeast sometimes, so it's a comfortable reach down the western shore until late afternoon when I motor into the little creek on the north side of the Magothy where the ugly orange glass house is (the same one that overlooks Ropes beach in Cotuit.) Dan Smeraglioulio will know which creek I'm in. It's a perfect snug little anchorage.

I need the Origo alcohol stove on once the sun goes down for warmth. Dinner is store bought fish cakes and baked beans, easy to cook and eat. The NE breeze lets go, and we lie at anchor in an utterly still cove. Later in the night, a light snow falls.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

A Foray into Edged Weapons


I've got my new tanto, a Japanese-style knife that's my new weapon of last-ditch defense. I plan on adding a wakizashi to the mix, a longer version of this, and also good for close quarters, and a tachi. The tachi is a sort of cavalry katana, and good for the coming zombie apocalypse because it is quite long, longer than a katana, and therefore better than one for dispatching zombies before they bite you.

My focus remains on short range defense within 21 feet. Most home defense related gun battles happen at very short range, and very quickly. Most likely, I'll have to win exactly zero battles, or in the worst case one.

Given that directing maximum violence at the threat is the correct tactic in a ten second fight (unless you can avoid the fight) having a close-in weapon is a good idea. This little thing works really well as a stabbing weapon, and good as a slashing weapon too. The wakizashi works the same way and adds more terror. It's big enough to behead, and was often used that way to preserve the edge of a katana. Lets not ignore psychological advantage, even in a ten second fight. No one wants their head cut off, even someone who broke into your house to kill you.

In looking into edged weapons, I've learned that there are a lot of different types of steel used to make them. The very best steel is undamaged in edged weapon to edged weapon contact, lesser steels not so. This little tanto is made from aus-8 steel, definitely not the best. But, it does take an edge, and I've got it razor sharp now using my Smiths compact sharpener. Since it will only be used either once or never, and against flesh and bone, it's immaterial if it loses it edge in the process.

For the zombie work, a best grade steel is certainly worth it.