Bradley Kimura Balisong

It served me well by not exploding into pieces after 8 years of us.

It served me well by not exploding into pieces after 8 years of us.

I’ve been into the butterfly knife flipping hobby for a long time. In fact, it was probably one of my first manual dexterity hobbies. For the longest time, I’ve used a random cheapo for almost 8 years. This cheapo was surprisingly good quality! Usually a 20 dollar balisong will explode or shatter or set on fire after a few weeks of serious flipping. This one just got all wobbly and loose, but it never stopped working.

So I’d often lose the knife and then, every time I’d find it I’d start flipping again for awhile. Well this time I decided that the knife has had enough abuse and I needed a new primary knife. The problem is, since I stopped, the market for Balisongs have gotten crazy small and all that began to exist was the low range (10-30 dollars) and 150+ knives. Now, I had the money to buy a 150+ knife but I couldn’t really justify it to my self. Luckily there is exactly ONE mid-ranged knife of reputable quality. So I picked my self up a Bradley Kimura for about 80 bucks.

Surprisingly I actually sort of liked how my old knife looked better, but this thing is just flat out quality.

Surprisingly I actually sort of liked how my old knife looked better, but this thing is just flat out quality.

I’ve so far been impressed by it. It’s faaar smoother than my old wave bali, has no rattle and, due to adjustable pins, will likely never rattle. The blade is actually an extremely sharp, useful blade as opposed to some shitty blade attached to a toy.

Some notes though. First, the closing pin requires way too much force to open and close. Maybe it’ll loosen up over time. It’s better than a loose one that I can open up in my pocket, but it’s still a bit of a pain. The drill hole for the closing pin is also on both handles. I guess it gives you the option to switch the handles if you’re some sort of freak, but I think it looks a little silly.

The knife has a sandwich design, which means it’s not fully enclosed and each handle is made out of 3 pieces of metal instead of 1 milled one. Usually this is bad, but in this case, the materials use are extremely solid. The only problem is that it is very ‘flat’. My wave bali had almost square handles, so rolling it in my fingers was very easy. It’s more challenging now, as I have to spin a wide-ish rectangle. Oh well, nothing more practice won’t overcome.

Despite all these little nagging bits, it just feels wonderful to hold and move around. It’s smooth like silk and the metal handles somehow have a soft quality to them. I’d definitely recommend this to someone who wants a balisong but doesn’t want to pay out the ass for one.

I’ll probably toss some videos of me flipping on youtube at some point.

RIP James Kevin “Poppy” O’Reilly

Poppy working on a crossword puzzle.

Poppy working on a crossword puzzle.

On June 8th, my Grandpa, known with great affection as “Poppy” died peacefully after a fight with cancer. He was 82. My family and I went up to upstate New York, where him and my grandpa (“Bobo”) live, a house that was once a summer home near lake Sacandaga, up in Saratoga Springs. There, me and my family also met up with 3 out of my 4 aunts on my fathers side, my respective 3 uncle-in-laws and my many cousins for a week of mourning and family bonding.

Big, close families seem to not be all that common these days, but they do a great job of supporting each other in times like this. It was good to see my family, despite the circumstances and everyone made the best out. We knew it was coming, so we were at least somewhat prepared. You can only be so prepared for these sorts of things though. For example, bagpipers are cruise control for tears as I learned.

Poppy and my Dad

Poppy and my Dad

I want to write about Poppy for a bit though. Poppy first off was a twice veteran, serving both in World War II (pacific theater) and the Korean war. He was a Marine engineer. He was a massive man. While ‘only’ 6’4, he possessed a huge build, with giant, mitt like hands. After the Korean war he became a New York Train conductor — a job he kept until retirement. He went on to have 6 kids, My aunts Cathleen, Robin, Trisha and Sharon as well as my dad, Michael and my deceased uncle, Jimmy. He was a quiet, relaxed parent who rarely resorted to anger. Even when resorting to extreme discipline, he maintained his composure. A story my dad often tells goes like this…

Him and his siblings were arguing over who got to use their new, fancy radio. Poppy, who worked the night shift, was in bed when one of them walked in, asking him to resolve the issue. Poppy told them that he needed to sleep and to please work it out amongst themselves. 10 minutes later one of them comes back. He repeated what he said, adding that they really did not want him to have to get up.

They still didn’t listen to him. Now, Poppy was the type who kept all the dangerous things in his rooms where the kids couldn’t hurt themselves. Well he took one of them out with him. A hand axe. He then walked up to the radio and calmly split it in two. He then, again calmy, said “Well, now you have nothing to fight over.” and went to bed.

Bobo, my Aunt Sharon and Poppy

Bobo, my Aunt Sharon and Poppy


Another story involves a technician servicing their septic tank. He was cleaning it with acid when he slipped and fell in. Instead of fall into the acid that was at the bottom of the tank to clean it, Poppy grabbed his belt buckle and, with one hand, lifted him out of the hole.

Poppy had a bazillion stories and was always willing to share them at great length. In his old age, he spent most of his time sitting quietly and reading — or solving crossword puzzles, which were a specialty of his. He took care of things, usually quietly and without fuss. He even took care of all the perpetrations for his death for everyone discreetly, so there was no panic when he finally passed. Poppy rocked and I will deeply miss him. I am just glad I got to know him as long as I did.

I’ve also been working on a portrait of him for a bit now. I’ve decided to take a break from it for now and post my progress.

:thumb126661462:

Some people!

I got the most righteous comments. For some odd reason it was on a piece of artwork on my older blog posts — you know, where no one will ever see it. So now you’ll see it.

Danny writes…

“kayin chats shit he is a theif i know the original creator of i wanna be the guy !! my mate jordan, he asked kayin along with others to help him and give them peices of raw data and kayin was one to help with the detailed animation. kayin ur a fukin theif !! u could never ever make anything tht good go fuk yourself !!”

Well you wanna know WHAT? Thats right I stole it! It’s all true! They trusted me to do IWBTG INNOVATED and HIGHLY DETAILED ANIMATIONS

You know. The ones that weren’t stolen from other games.

ALSO: I slept with Jordan’s mom. Thats right. I don’t even know if he knew that but when I was visiting England to discuss the design for the game, I saw a MILF and I just could not resist. I may have also inappropriately touched his little sister — but hey, me and his mom were drunk. Just comin’ clean here.

dfds

Le Garcon, Jordan's original MS Paint concept art

The story doesn’t stop there though. I might as well talk about the original intentions of the creator, Jordon. As a former French Native, the original name for the game was “Je Veux Etre L’Homme” and was originally not about 8-bit retro-ism (we were just bad at graphics) but instead the French theater and the misery it induces.

The kid was originally a young frenchman named “Le Garcon”, who had a fancy beret and threw croissants. Ultimately Danny convinced Jordan that this was really stereotypical… and also the croissants looked like turds. So we moved to a gun. On an interesting note, medium modes bow uses Jordan’s same exact code to follow the player as the beret did.

Mike Tyson replaced a giant, poorly clipped Jean Valjean as the game's first boss

Mike Tyson replaced a giant, poorly clipped Jean Valjean as the game's first boss


There was also a time when we fooled with having the game in Black and White to make it look more artistic. The ending also seemed to change whenever Jordan watched an M. Night Shyamalan movie. When I visited England and talked to him in detail about this, it was clear he was an art fag who didn’t want to make a real game. So I stole the goods, knowing that some stupid, artsy Frenchy would never finish the game before me! Also his mom had this hot cross between an English and French accent. I -HAD- to do it!

I doubt anyone blames me here. The game benefited immensely from it. Even the mom bagging part. You can all thank me later.

(… I guess you’re just not ‘famous’ until someone tries to take credit for your work)

Moving and Vacation to Boston

For the last view monthes I’ve been in the long, drawn out process of moving to a new house. This involved monthes of fixing and cleaning. My family relocated a small 10 miles to a much larger, nicer house and we’re just about settled in. This did wonderful damage to my projected time to complete Brave Earth — which is hardly worked on at all. The game will come out when it’s done, but I am so behind that projecting any vague release date is out of the question. Anyways, eventually I’ll post more about the house and show off my closet of a room (living with ones parents, while cheap and condusive to creating quality games is pretty great, there are some rough but acceptable drawbacks), but for now just take my word that I’m back to work. There might even be a little game in between now and Brave Earth. I’ll keep you posted.

Anyways, two weekends back, I flew up to Boston to hang out with some old gamer friends of mine. This has been an annual ritual for the group for the last 6 years and would be the 4rd time I’ve managed to attend (I missed the last 2). Our destination was a classic for the group. Nahant Island, at the home of one of our players. What makes this place so special?

A World War 2 Observation Tower

A World War 2 Observation Tower

Well, the home owner, Pat, is the proud owner of a World War II Observation tower, that was used to try and spot submarines in the Boston harbor. The first two years we did this, the tower was rigged up with ethernet cable and we played Call of Duty and Global Operations with two people set up on every floor (and then some folks on ground floor). These days though we choose to hang around, eat and drink and play various other, dorky games and generally just socialize.

Left to Right: Bill, Steve, Chris, Jason, Pat. Foreground: John and Ben. Dog: Macy

Left to Right: Bill, Steve, Chris, Jason, Pat. Foreground: John and Ben. Dog: Macy

I sadly lost most of my pictures, but I got a few from some other guests. We played a lot of Soul Calibur 4 while we’re there. Every time we go up, a Soul Calibur game gets pulled out and even though I am not a fan of the series, I end up playing and totaling everyone. I chalk this up to general fighter experience and my simple Mitsurugi mixup and pressure. That said I am, over all, pretty bad at all 3d fighers, but good enough to whip some 30-something year olds. :P

In that picture you have… (left to right)

Bill: A man who has been a teacher, paramedic, career fighter and has owned multiple homes and properties. He’s one of those guys who is never satisfied with what he’s doing and is constantly challenging himself.

Steve: A PHP programmer from Times Magazine. Very clever and quick witted. Also one of my better Soul Calibur rivals.

Chris: The guy that generally owns us in any FPS we play. He didn’t do so great in Soul Calibur. He’s a generally nice guy who makes great hotwings.

Jason: The shirtless one. Jason does various computer work, some of which I believe is freelance. Generally a very funny, relaxed guy and also one hell of a cook. Usually he’s wearing a shirt and headshooting people with ‘laser eyes’. Also rocks a wicked Voldo (relatively speaking).

Pat: The homeowner. Says he always dreamed to have a tower! Relaxed, quiet guy who loves buying gizmos and gadgets. Does coding work for the military. He’s always reminded me of Jim from Mission Hill. Also he is very shrewd when it comes to politics.

Foreground…

John: I just met John this year. He beats me for the youngest in the group now. He was extremely nice and seemed very big on learning about the past of the group and the people he didn’t meet yet. Great guy.

Ben: My pilot to Boston. Oh wait. I didn’t write about that yet…! Ben is a grumpy flight instructor and definitely one of my closet friends. Ben is unshaven perhaps more than I am.

Dog/Macy: Macy is a great dog that likes to lick people while they sleep.

Not Pictured…

James: Ex-Lawyer and now computer tech. Hyper philosophical and a lingophile. Great guy to listen to while he’s drunk! Looks like a cleaned up, ex biker.

Brian: Military engineer who has worked on many vehicles used to terminate human life. Also a master and teacher of the kung fu art Hung Gar. Despite this, he is soft spoken, polite and humble.

Reese: Not sure what Reese is doing these days (tax consolutant I believe?), but he’s probably the one still most invested in geek/roleplaying culture. Well, besides me! Another smart guy and great conversationalist.

Dan: Another person I haven’t met yet. He was by far the oldest of this and I believe he was into his 50s. He was very quiet generally but extremely nice. I played a good game of Settlers of Catan with him involved.

Adam: Tall motherfucker, great cook and filthy, depraved individual. We got along excellently. I’ve played online with him before, but never met him. Him and Jason did all the cooking for the weekend, san hotwings.

Anyways the eating situation was excellent. Jason and Adam cooked constantly the whole time, providing a fantastic menu throughout the 3 day weekend.

Friday:
-Dinner: Beer poached sausage

Saturday
-Breakfast: Fantastic fucking pancakes
-Lunch: 6 home made pizzas. The yeast was even cultivated from scratch by Jason
-Dinner: Spicy pulled pork and beans.

This is not actually us

This is not actually us

Sunday
-Breakfast: omelettes. Loaded with bacon. I got to eat a ton more of these than everyone else, mostly to make up for the fact I drink far less beer than everyone else.
-Lunch: Hotwings made by Chris. It was a basic recipe apparently, but they were the best fucking wings I ever had.
-Dinner: “Chacarareos”. I probably butchered the spelling. A sandwich from Chili. Grilled chicken, tomato, munster cheese, string beans and an avacado spread. Something I usually would hate, but it worked out great.

Monday, we skipped on eating so everyone could get to the airport on time. I can’t stress how good the eats were. Far better than your usual ‘burgers and dogs’ guy hangout food. All and all the weekend was awesome. It’s always good to hang with old friends. But now, the flight.

Ben and I decided this year that Boston was easily in flying distance of a small aircraft. We packed a Tecnam Eaglet to the brim with the little luggage it would fit, crammed our fat asses into it and flew an hour and a half to Beverly Munciple Airfield, just outside Boston. The return trip was mostly the same, only I flew for about 10-20 minutes and we goofed off a bit near the end. Sadly the weight prevented any real serious maneuvers. I did get a lot of great shots, which I’ll post down below, along with some video. Also I got some shots of a Messerschmitt Bf 108. I had some shots of a MIG-15 at Beverly, but that was lost when my camera decided to erase it’s self.


First video is us fooling around a bit between CT and LI. Second is the landing. I’m also reading off the check list, which is why the camera gets pointed at a piece of paper for so long. Sorry, but no audio.