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Showing posts from 2009

Merry Christmas!

I just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Stay safe out there.

I have a sponsor!

It's been 2 years since I started this blog. After a few months I signed up with Amazon and started getting "free" gift cards every few months. Every once in a while I get an email from Amazon that says that I got enough clicks to earn a gift certificate. Those gift certificates have been coming more and more frequently lately. In fact, it was a year before I got my first one. The last few months have been great and I want to thank everyone who's used my Amazon store when you need something and you want to get it online. Remember, if you don't see anything that you like in my product links you can always use the search tab to find what you're looking for.

Meanwhile, I've gotten several emails from people asking me to put a link on my blog to their store or business website. I have no problem with linking blogs. You don't even have to link me back if I like what you're saying and I like what you have to say (disclaimer: I don't always a…

Got a french press

A year or two ago Rangerman over at SHTF blog made a post about a french press. I'd never heard of one but the concept made sense so ever since then I've always had the idea to get one in the back of my mind. It's never been a priority but I promised myself that if I ever saw one and the price wasn't ridiculous that I'd snatch it up. Last week I was Christmas shopping and I saw one for $4. There were actually two of them. One was big enough for one cup of coffee. The other was big enough for maybe three for $2 more. I bought the smaller one. I wanted it for camping so the smaller one looked like it would fit my needs better.

For those of you not familiar with a french press it's a pretty cool little gadget. It's just a cup with a lid/plunger contraption. The bottom of the plunger has a filter. You put the coffee in the cup. Then you add hot water and let it steep for a few minutes. Push down on the plunger and the filter pushes the coffee ground…

An article on off-grid living and some thoughts

I found this on Google news.It's an article over at CNN about off-grid living. It all seems like a great idea. And it is as long as living that way is a choice. Of course there was the bit at the end about how everyone should be doing this or we're all going to die. I contend that if everyone lived this way we'd be in serious trouble. Then again the majority of people couldn't possibly live this way. You have to be smart. You have to be resourceful. You have to have a good sense of responsibility. If you don't have the money for a really nice setup then you'll be living like a citizen of a third world country. If the situation dictates that we all have to live like that then most of us will fall into the latter category. Being forced into that situation by real environmental problems is one thing. You do what you gotta do to survive. Being forced into that situation by a government that wants to stem a problem that may not even be happening is some…

The Heidelberg Appeal

Back in 1992 a petition began circulating throughout the scientific community. This petition was drafted in response to the "growing concern" of global warming. Check it out here. Despite it's 4000+ signatories, including several nobel prize winners, it's largely been ignored by the global warming doom and gloomers who have managed to take control of the discussion and use it get rich, influence politics and convince people that they need to be told how to live "or else". The poorest countries have used global warming to demand the wealth of richer nations. The Chinese have used it to justify their one child per family policy. Businessmen and corporations have used it to get rich by convincing companies and governments that their technologies are "better" even though they're much more costly and inefficient. The super rich global warming doomers have even used it to justify their hypocritical extravagent lifestyles by claiming that thei…

These people have a lot of balls

First emails surface that suggest that top scientists in the field of climatology have been consispiring for years to find ways to doctor data and discredit anyone with a dissenting view. Then we find out that all of the original data that these people have based their conclusions on has beed destroyed. While they do everything to marginilize the significance of these facts world leaders are getting together for a major climate summit where they're trying to figure out what exactly we can do to stop this "cataclysmic event". I thought that the cap and trade deal was a bad idea. The same group of scientists who conspired, lied and fixed data to convince the world that we're all going to die if we don't do something now want the world's wealthiest nations to cough up 60 billion dollars over the next 5 years (that's just a lowball estimate...they admit in their report that it may actually end up being much more) to fund the measuring of every nook and c…

I has another new hobby

It's been a bit since I've picked up a new hobby. This time I was looking around a pawn shop and noticed a very nice Trek full suspension mountain bike (a Trek Liquid for those of you who know a thing or two about mountain bikes) in their usual gaggle of bikes. Expecting to see a $1000+ price tag I looked anyway. $129. Wow. Someone forgot a zero when they put the label on this bike. Anyway, I quickly snatched it up. The clerk commented on how the bike was labeled way too cheap and I thought for sure that he wasn't going to sell it to me. He didn't go past commenting about it, though, so off I went with my new bike.

So what made me think about looking at mountain bikes in the first place? Well, I grew up riding a lot. If I needed to go somewhere I'd get on my bike to get there. Riding my bike 10 or 15 miles to the next town for no real reason was common practice when I was younger. Then I joined the army, could afford a car and didn't even think abo…

An interesting development and Sportsmansguide

So I got my first paycheck since I took out the loan on my 401k. Surprise, surprise my takehome is now more than it was after the loan payment is taken out. All payments into the account are tax deferred so if after making your payment you end up in a lower tax bracket the amount that you're taxed is reduced. That could make your paycheck bigger than before even after you make your loan payment. Any payments made towards your 401k are taken out of your check by your employer before you get the income so you're not taxed on it. Oh and the interest rate on my loan is only 5.5%. If you have a 401k, lots of credit card bills and you don't foresee losing your job anytime soon then educate yourself. This could be a very good tool to get yourself out of debt. Technically, I only owe myself the money that I borrowed. If something happens and I can't pay myself back then I have to pay a 10% penalty on the amount that I borrowed and the amount of the loan counts as taxa…

Finally got a few bucks to play with

Now I'm trying to come up with a few things that I need. I want to get a new canner. The old antique canner that I've been using makes me nervous. It works well but it's from the 40s. I'll be getting one of those All American gasketless canners. I also want to get a better grain grinder to replace my corona. I'll probably just get a back to basics mill. I want the country living mill but it's a little more than I'm willing to spend for something that I probably won't use a whole lot. Of course, I'll be kicking myself if there ever comes a time when I do have to use it regularly. If anyone has a better suggestion for a grinder in the $100-$200 range I'm all ears. A set of Berkey filters are also on the list. I'm going to make a water purification unit out of a couple of 5 gallon buckets. I might also pick up some of those can organizers that Ryan at TSLR wrote about the other day.

As for food I'm pretty well set. I just buy …

Got a new flashlight

So I got a new flashlight. If you haven't noticed by now I'm a bit of a flashlight whore. I like to have one on my person at all times. Every room in my house that I spend any time in has a flashlight stored away somewhere. When it comes to daily carry lights they just need to be small enough to fit in my pocket and I need to be able to see when I point it at something and turn it on. Brightness can become a big issue when you need something that lights up a room so if you're going super cheap you could find your carry light severely lacking if you get into a really dark room. I'm also a bit of a cheapass and I have a tendency of losing flashlights so cost is also an issue. For a daily carry light I don't like to spend more than $20.

The last one that I was carrying was a Streamlight Stylus. I was pretty impressed with it but it did have it's drawbacks. First of all it was way too long. That's why I lost it in the first place. When I'd hop o…

Green Chili Recipe

If you grew tomatoes this year then you've probably already picked all of them and you're most likely trying to ripen the green ones before they rot. The green ones that are still green by now aint gonna ripen. So what do you do with them? Fried green tomatoes are the obvious solution but I can only take so many of those. Last year I made green tomato pickles out of them. I ended up with at least a dozen quarts. They're fantastic but I still have a ton left. This year I decided to can up some green chili. Someone asked for my recipe in the comments section of one of my other posts so here it is...kinda.

I've said before that I don't follow recipes. I follow guidelines. Green chili, like red chili, is really easy to make without following a real recipe. Here's the basic guideline that I use. You can multiply everything depending on the size of the batch. The amounts don't have to be perfect. There are a lot of mexican spices that you can add t…

Doug Hoffman

There's a campaign going on in NY District 23 right now. The current representative of the district, John McHugh, was recently chosen as the new Secretary of the Army. Now they have to hold a special election for the district. They'll be electing a new congressional representative in just a few days. The Democratic candidate is endorsed by SEIU. The Republican candidate is endorsed by the Working Families party which is an arm of ACORN. From what I've read the Democrat is more conservative than the Republican in this race. Luckily, there's a conservative candidate who's gaining a lot of traction. His name is Doug Hoffman. Considering that the other two candidates are fully backing their two candidates (Obama actually held a fundraiser in NY for the Democrat) the guy is way behind in fund raising. This is a chance to get a true conservative into Congress. Go check out his website here. If you like what he stands for then throw him a few bucks.

This guy is…

Busy prepping

With no garden to tend to I've had a lot of time to devote back to prepping. I've been canning and freezing a lot of the stuff from the garden. Last night I canned up a few quarts of green chili out of the last of my green tomatoes and some pork chops that I had in the back of my freezer. I ended up falling asleep in the middle of the processing. Luckily, my wife turned off the stove after a couple of hours. Unfortunately, she didn't take the jars out of the canner or even open the lid. Anyway, I woke up several hours later and took the cans out. They were still very warm but they'd sealed very nicely. They were just a little darker than they should be. Hopefully they don't taste too terrible.

Tonight I'm making red chili out of about half of my tomatoes that actually ripened. Tomorrow night I plan on using the last of them for tomato sauce. I really need to get a juicer. Peeling them the old fashioned way (by boiling them and then peeling them by …

It's Snowing

So it's snowing here. Since I don't normally mark the date of the first snow I'm not sure how early it is (if it's early at all). I did read yesterday that some CO resorts are opening up earlier than they have in 40 years. Some Idaho schools are already calling in snow days. If this is a sign of things to come then we might have a pretty heavy winter. I don't mind too much. I'm kinda surprised that global warming hasn't completely destroyed our chances of ever seeing a snowflake again, though.

It's been getting pretty cold at night so I went ahead and ripped out most of my garden the other day. My squash plants were all dead. My zucchini exceeded all expectations and I've been drowning in it all summer. I canned some of it, gave some to neighbors and friends and ate a ton of it. I also found out that my dogs love it. I made quite a bit of dog food out of it. I just mix 1 part zucch with 1 part rice and 1 part meat (usually scraps or mea…

What a vacation

So I've got a week off. It was a "use it or lose it" situation so I've elected to make it a staycation. I could have spent a week in Cabo but I don't think that the wife would have appreciated that too much since she would have had to stay home. Next month I get another week off. It looks like it'll be the same type of situation. A buddy from work will be in Cancun that week, though, so maybe I'll have to figure out some way to join him. I'm not counting on that happening.

I was hoping for some nice weather so that I could at least enjoy a few days on my bike. I had planned to pitch a tent in the San Luis Valley for a day or two and scout out the region. It's looking more and more like that's where I'll be investing in my BOL. It's a long trek to get there from where I live but it's got a lot of features that I really like. Unfortunately it's been rainy and cold the last couple of days and the weather doesn't loo…

Arguing With Idiots is out today

Glenn Beck's new book Arguing With Idiots is out today. Love him or hate him you can't deny that he tells the truth. Make sure to pick up his book if you're sick of listening to idiots spout off with their ridiculous arguments every time you try to get into an "intelligent" conversation.

Inspirational "get out of debt" story

These days if you listen to the radio or turn on the TV you're bombarded with "pay off your credit cards for pennies on the dollar" or "declare bankruptcy fast and easy" all over the place. Personal responsibility isn't rewarded or even encouraged. At least some people are still willing to take the high road. These people had over $100k in credit card debt. Rather than declare bankruptcy like several people encouraged them to do they decided to work their butts off for a few years to repay what they owed.

Yeah, I get it. The evil bankers and credit card companies are out to get you. They just do whatever they can to soak you for every penny so when someone sticks it to them with a bankruptcy they deserve what they get. Forget the fact that you chose to take out the loan. Never mind the fact that you used their money with the agreement that you'd pay them back. What happens when people do declare bankruptcy and get out of debt? Most of them don…

Camping Options

I don't camp nearly enough. Usually I only get out for 2-3 weekends a year. I spent enough weeks in the woods in the army infantry, though, that I know what it takes to get by comfortably. A couple of weeks ago a few friends and I went out and spent the weekend in the boonies. It was a much needed break from civilization. As nice as it is to be able to flip a switch to turn on the lights or hop in the car to get to the grocery store sometimes you just have to unplug. Whenever I go camping I can't help but think to myself "what if I had to do this to get by?". It really makes me think about my preps. Now while the rest of my buddies were sleeping on queen sized air mattresses in 10 person tents or the beds of pickups I was sleeping on a portable air mattress that folds up small enough to fit in my pocket. They would have either had to drive their shelters in or carry them in during an emergency. Mine easily fit into my pack.

We were camping 10 feet from our …

The healthcare speech and Joe Wilson

I didn't even bother watching it last night. I knew exactly what Obama was going to say so I didn't waste my time. I did, however, hear a lot of the commentary today. Most of it was based around Joe Wilson's little outburst. I've got mixed feelings about it. For years the left has been playing the same little games. This time, though, it seemed to me like the guy just had an emotional outburst. How many people sitting at home watching the speech jumped up and said the same thing when they saw the president utter those words? I would have at least rolled my eyes had I watched it. He later apologized for the outburst while maintaining his view that he didn't believe the president. Honestly, I went to his website to contribute after I heard about all of this. The guy obviously strongly opposes this whole thing for the right reasons. We need more people like that in congress. I was just going to float him $10-$20 but apparently a lot of people had the same…

Making money on ebay

I've been dabbling with ebay for years. It's a good way to unload some stuff that you don't need anymore or make some extra money on the side when you're strapped for cash. It really is easy money. I've bought things from yard sales and resold them for a huge profit. I've done the same with things from thrift stores. Years ago when I was playing an online video game I even sold a bunch of stuff in the game for real life cash. As long as you're not selling something that's alive, perishable or related to firearms then you'll probably be good to go. There are only a few things that you need to know when you're selling on ebay.

Sell what you know. If you don't know anything about what you're selling then you won't be able to accurately describe the item to people who know exactly what they're looking for. Those are the people who will pay the most. Get on google and do some research before you post your item up for sale. D…

The evolution of my garden

Growing up I spent a few summers working on my grandparents farm. I also helped my dad out with a small plot that we had in the back yard and the 5ish acre plot that a farmer friend of his let him plant on for several summers. I've read a lot of books so I think I have a pretty good handle on how to raise an average garden. I'm no expert but if growing food was the difference between life or death I think that I could squeak by.

Last year was my first solo attempt at a garden. I raised just about everything from seed. On one side of the yard I built 4 4x4 planters. On the other side of the yard I dug out a 20x20ish plot. I could expand that plot quite a bit if necessary. For now, that's where I stick my tomatoes. Last year I was pulling off at least 1 or 2 a day by this time. This year they're still green and it seems to me like there are nowhere near as many on the vine. The plants themselves are twice as large as they were last year. They're just not…

Quote of the day..or month..or something

I don't post many quotes but this one applies now more than ever.

"Of all tyrannies a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."
- C.S. Lewis

What do YOU do for extra cash?

Recently I've been looking for ways to make some extra cash on the side. I make more than enough to cover my expenses with my 9 to 5 but I still feel like I'm barely treading water sometimes. It's nice to have a backup source of income when you need an unexpected few hundred bucks to fix something. I've got a kid on the way and a furnace that probably needs replaced. That'll cost $3-4k for a bottom of the barrel unit or $6k for a top of the line, super efficient unit that will net me a $1500 tax credit. It's true...I'm not above taking government handouts when they literally shove them in my face and say TAKE THEM!!1 If social security is still around when I retire then you can be damn sure that I'll be taking it. Let's just say that I'm not counting on it in my retirement plan, though.

Anyway, stupid little expenses come up. Maybe you're just not making enough to pay the bills. Maybe you want to pay off some bills more quickly. M…

Yet another "travel trailer living" article

Found this on Google News. A family in Florida couldn't find work so they bought an RV, camped their way to CO and are starting to get back on their feet. Meanwhile they're trying their best to avoid government assistance. Too bad more people aren't like that these days.

I'm sick of this racism crap

I don't understand why a racist black person today is perfectly acceptable. Black people were slaves a couple hundred years ago. I get it. For years they didn't have civil rights. I understand. In this day and age they don't have a leg to stand on, though. I do understand why some of the older guys still cling so desperately to their antiquated world views and beliefs. Some of them actually experienced what it was like. What they don't understand is that, as a nation, we got over it years ago. Black people have every advantage in today's society. Obama is a perfect example of that. But "equality" isn't good enough for these people. By "these people" I don't mean blacks in general. I mean the black nationals who believe that this nation still owes us something for the plights of their ancestors. They want to play on white guilt to ensure and expand the advantages that they've "earned". They get to play the vic…

Old faithful has died

It's true. For years I've been carrying the same lighter every day. When I needed to light a smoke it's never failed me. It's lighted many campfires. Any time that I've ever needed to get a fire going it's done it's job. 4 years ago, when I met my wife I was using the same lighter. I don't know how long I was carrying it before I met her. Today it finally failed me. I can't tell you how many times I tried to get a fire going when a flint and steel or a blastmatch just wouldn't work. Every time I've ever "given up" and taken the easy way out my faithful bic has always done the job. I've got a stack of zippos that always seem to die after just a few weeks. Meanwhile, I've been hoarding bics that never fail me. You can spend $25 on a blastmatch. You can spend $3 on a magnesium bar that you need a $10 knife in your pocket to use. Go ahead and stockpile containers of lighter fluid if you want to burn through it in …

What to do with radishes?

I'm already pulling out a bunch of radishes out of my garden. Those things grow fast. Unfortunately, there isn't a whole lot that you can do with them. Usually I just snack on them or cut them up and throw them in a salad. Tonight I ate a few of them and realized that there was still half a bag in the fridge and another few dozen that were growing fast in the garden. Last year I mostly just let them grow until they got so big that they were too tough and woody to eat. I'm determined not to make the same mistake this year so I went ahead and looked up some recipes.

I was surprised at how many recipes there are that use radishes. The first one that caught my eye was mexican cole slaw. I already had half a head of cabbage in the fridge so I went with that. It turned out pretty good. The other half of cabbage was used to make cole slaw out of some russian red kale that grew back from last year. That turned out really good but the mexican slaw was much better. As m…

Run a cordless tool off of a car battery

Here is a cool wikihow article that could come in handy if you're out in the boonies doing some work with power tools.

What I've been up to

First of all I'm sorry that I've been neglecting the blog. I really haven't been following the blogosphere as of late. There's plenty of doom and gloom in the news so keeping up with the blogs is kind of paranoia overload for me. Unfortunately, this has resulted in less posts here. My preps are in order so I haven't been thinking about it much. Just the other day I got my very first amazon gift card, though, so I felt obliged to do an update. $12 for over a year and a half worth of posts! woohoo! Now where to spend it?

I've been following the swine flu stuff pretty closely. At first glance it seems to be ridiculously overblown to me. Seven people die of influenza every hour in the US alone even when there isn't a pandemic alert. All of the hubub about this new strain just seems silly in comparison. People are getting sick but it doesn't seem to be serious. They're getting over it fairly quickly. Biden's comments today do worry me, t…

Thought this cartoon was interesting

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It was made back in 1934. It's amazing how history repeats itself. The powers that be honestly believe that the reason that the depression got as bad as it did was because they didn't start doing this immediately once all of the bad stuff started happening during The Great Depression. That's why they're spending so much money right now. Unfortunately, it wasn't the massive spending that got us out of The Great Depression. It arguably extended it for a few more years. The only thing that pulled us out was WW2. Hopefully it won't take another war of that scale to save us this time.

A little financial advice

I'm not a financial adviser so you probably shouldn't listen to anything that I have to say on the subject. Everyone else is doing it, though, so I figured I'd go ahead and give you my view. To this day, everywhere I turn, I keep hearing everyone scream "ZOMGZ PAY OFF UR DEBT!11" This was great advice when interest rates weren't that great or even absolutely ridiculous and you could invest your money in places that yielded a very high return. What can you possibly invest in right now that will yield you a better return? What you can do (if you have good credit) is refinance your debts to get lower interest rates. Got a mortgage? Refinance it and get that payment down. Got a car? See if you can get that payment down. Maybe stretch the payment out by a year or two to make it easier on the pocket book. Secured debt isn't a bad thing to have if you manage it correctly.

Most people who hate debt think that credit cards are the devil and the core ro…

Fixed the Virago among other things

I got all of the parts needed for about $100. You can't even tell that it's been in a wreck now. While hunting around for parts I found some nice backrests and luggage racks. I'm seriously thinking about getting something like that so that I can use the bike for some serious touring/weekend camping trips. I've already got saddle bags for it and I bought some luggage a while back that mounts to a sissy bar thinking that I'd be able to attach it to the little grab rail that's there now. No dice. Oh well. One nice thing about the whole experience is that I've come to realize just how easy this bike is to work on, how cheap replacement parts can be had for it and how durable it is.

I've also been cutting expenses. I got my cable bill reduced by $50 a month when I called them and threatened to cancel my TV service. That will last 6 months. If I can't get a similar deal in 6 months then I'll probably just shut it off. I also canceled my ho…

If you're gonna ride wear your gear

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I took my Virago for a ride today and decided to hit up some twisties. It was a beautiful day but there were a lot of icy patches and tons of sand on the road everywhere I went. I ended up going down pretty hard. I was wearing good gear so I walked away without a scratch. My bike was a little beat up but fixing it should be cheap and easy. I rode it home so it couldn't have been in too bad of shape. It just took a little bit of ingenuity.

The skid mark:



The McGuyver fix on the broken shifter that managed to hold together long enough to get home:

Life in China

Wanna know what life in China is really like? Just ask a motorcyclist. This guy rode all over southwest China on a 200cc dirtbike and documented his entire trip. It gives really good insight into what day to day life is like for a lot of Chinese. It also gives us a small glimpse of how they regard foreigners. After reading this guy's ride report it gave me a really good idea of just how far we have to fall. This is how a lot of their people live yet somehow they're regarded as our competition. It also just goes to show that no matter how bad things seem you can always make the best of things if you've got the right attitude.

Hobbies for preppers

Let's face it. No matter how bad the news gets there's always that chance that things will once again turn around and things will start to look good for humanity again. We will always have our upturns and our downswings. Things seem pretty bleak right now but all is not lost. Things aren't so far gone that there's no hope of a recovery. If things do recover then it will likely result in another period of prosperity that could last for another decade or two. Maybe what's going on right now really is the final nail in the coffin. Maybe it isn't. Maybe we're at the cusp of another depression that will last for years. Maybe we'll eventually bounce back. Maybe in 50 years automobiles will be remembered as mythical, magical artifacts and the average person won't even know what paper looks like, let alone know how to read words that are written on it. I've never been a gambling man. I like to hedge my bets. When it comes to prepping I do t…

Shuttin Detroit Down

I just heard this song by John Rich on the Glenn Beck show today. I'm not much of a country fan but this one is worth checking out no matter what kind of music you listen to. Skip to about the 3 minute mark if you want to skip the commentary.

I semll a coverup...

Suuuure blame it on the hackers. Let's just hope that this thing doesn't spread!

A book review

I just finished reading the book Plague Year. It's about a nonotech virus that is accidentally released. In a very short time it spreads all over the world and completely decimates life everywhere. Luckily, the original creator built a fail safe into it that causes it to become disabled at altitude. Basically, it can't survive above ~10,000 feet above sea level. The American government ends up centralized in a small town in Colorado where they manage to save some of the greatest minds in the nanotech field to work on a cure. Other major governments manage to survive in other parts of the world and they're all racing to do the same thing. At the same time they're implementing plans to make sure that if humanity manages to get through this then they'll be in control. Meanwhile, small holdouts manage to continue to survive in small pockets all over the globe. Most of the people are desperate and are doing whatever they can do to get by. Cannibalism is widesp…

Swedish Mora Sheath

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I'm a big fan of Swedish Mora knives. There aren't too many better knife options out there for less than $100. It beats everything hands down for less than $50. At ~$10 a pop they're a steal. I do have my gripes about them, though. First of all I hate the hard plastic handle. Some of the versions out there have a rubberized grip. The one that I have doesn't. I solved the problem by wrapping the handle with 550 cord. That ensured that I have an extra 10 foot length of 550 cord with me when I'm carrying the knife. It also provided a loop to make it easier to hold onto. Obviously, it also made a better grip and it made the handle bigger and wider which makes it a little easier to hold onto (for me).

The other gripe that I have is the sheath. I'm just not a fan of that hard plastic sheath. It's functional but it'll scratch up your belt when you put it on. Also, after I wrapped up the handle I couldn't get the knife to seat properly becaus…