Message Of The Day

Tue, 05 Jul 2005

17:16 [zork(~)] cat 2005-07-05T09:15:26-0700.txt

Mini Review of Esbit stove

The Esbit stove is a fairly small and light camping/survival stove that runs off solid fuel tablets. I bought it as a backup stove for a long trip where a failure of my main stove, a MSR Whisperlite International could be a problem.

In general, the Esbit stove works as expected which is not as good as advertised but much better than nothing. The stove's packaging says that each tablet burns for 12-14 minutes and that one tablet can bring a pint of water to boil in <8 minutes. I found that in both times when I used the stove, it took about 2.5 tablets to boil about 1 pint of water. I didn't carefuly measure the time it took to boil or how long each tablet burned for but it seemed to take longer than 8 minutes to bring the water to boil. I did not have a windscreen when performing these tests.

The directions stamped into the stove show it using one tablet but the stove seems to work best when two tablets are turned on their sides and used simultaneously. Since the flame's heat melts the solid fuel then vaporizes it and the vapor is what burns, this makes sense.

The overall construction of the stove looks good. The edges are kind of sharp and could use some filing but that is a minor issue. It is simple, light and appears to be rugged. Several fuel tabs fit nicely inside the stove. The whole stove, many extra fuel tablets and a lighter fit nicely into the inside of my Snowpeak mini-solo pot.

So in general, I would say that the Esbit stove makes a convient lightweight stove for short trips and a very good backup stove for longer trips.

See also:

Thu, 26 Feb 2004

08:25 [zork(~)] cat 2004-02-26T00:20:50-0800.txt

OK I guess this is my first blog-like entry. Here I go. Here is the

latest entry from my journal. It is proably a bit too touchy feely and personal for the / crashmonkey crowd and they will probably squirm and cover their eyes and say "too much information" as they read it but since I'm a member of this crowd, I too get a to take a stab at shaping its character.

Sleeping with Critters.

The guy that I'm renting a room from has a cat named Max who sleeps with me almost every night. I've often wondered why he does that. Cat's are not social animals for the most part. He is a free animal. He can and does sleep in many different places throughout the day. Why does he choose to snuggle up so close to me almost every night. I've gotten to know Max pretty well. He's an old cat. I think he's about 14, almost all black, and evidently half siamese. He seems to have the temperment of a siames cat. It is kind of neat; he seems smarter than most cats. First of all he can talk a little bit. He seems to know two maybe three words of English: Out, Hello, and Max. At first, I couldn't believe it but now that I've thought about it a bit It makes a lot of sense. He's an old cat and he's heard "Hello" and "Out" many times during his life and just like a parrot he has learned to imitate the sounds. Day after day for years, when people walk into the room and they see him they say, "Hello Max" and so he's adopted that as his greeting. He also had to ask to be let outside to go to the bathroom and so two or three times a day he would stand by the door and mew and someone would come up and say, "Do you want out max." So now he says "out" when he wants out. Anyway, in addition to being able to talk a little bit, he also has some very simple emotions. You can almost see them. He doesn't like people walking around near him and he voices his feelings by making a sound and by taking a swipe at you. You can see him being upset a bit on his face. However, he has other simple emotions that are a little harder to explain. You can sort of see him move through them. They are not big complicated multifaceted emotions. They seem kind of primal to me.

Anyway, I've always wondered what makes him tick. Why does he come to sleep with me at night. He really does make a point of it almost every night. It is not like I pet him or anything. Most of the nights he just comes and he literally cuddles with me. It is rather odd, sometimes he almost does it like a human in some ways. He will strech out full length with his body next to mine and his head near draped over my arm. Other times he is more cat like and he will turn himself into a little circle but even then he doesn't often sleep down by my feet. He balls himself into my stomach. It is very much like cuddling.

I have to admit, that I never really thought about it because he is a cat not a human but it is kind of a nice thing for him to do. It sort of says in his own sort of way, I like being with you. I feel safe around you. You are my friend. When you are sleeping, you are much more vulnerable than when you are awake. Many of your defenses are down and you are certainly not in control of the situation. When two creatures are both allowing each other to be near them when they are in that state it represents quite a bit of mutual trust.

It is kind of strange. We humans are exceedingly particular about who how and when we sleep with. Most of the time the only people we sleep with are our lovers, parents, or children. Sometimes, women or girls will sleep with other girls but even that is pretty rare. Most of the time unless we are with a lover, parent, or child we sleep alone. I think this is kind of sad. Why does there have to be this such a strong prohabition to having people sleeping together. I think that part of it is because it is so rare and because when it does happen it between people who are not related it is almost always for sexual purposes. Since the platonic version is so rare and since the association with sex is so strong sleeping together almost implies having sexual relations or one kind or another. Heck "sleeping together" has even become an euphanism for "having sex".

It really is a shame that the world is like this. I think that as we erect these very strong barriers between ourselves ostensiblely to protect ourselves, we loose sight of the humanness of others because we have not experienced it first hand. We don't feel them breath. We don't feel their heart break. We don't feel the warmth coming off of their bodies. We don't feel the pleasure of being helpless around another and seeing other's helpless around us. Never being helpless, never being vulnerable, we can forget the exchange of trust between individuals that occurs in those situations. I can imagine how this could lead to an ever increasing number of people who become sociopathic to one extent or another. They do not have the image of another person, warm, breathing, heart beating and helpless next to them burned into their brains and because they don't have that connection with the humanness of another, they could become unfettered from the awareness of the humanness of others and feel comfortable hurting others.

It really makes me wonder, if the right thing to do with criminals is to lock them away from society. It seems to me that it reinforces the distantness that some of those people feel from those that they victimize. It seem to me that a better more human approach to dealing with these people is to put them in situations where they feel their own vulnerability and where they deeply experience the pain and suffering that deeds such as theirs creates in their victims. Instead of treating them as a seperate and distinct kind of human, we should seek to humanize them by making them more intimately aware of their own humanness and the humanness of others.

All of this thinking arose because a few days ago, a young lady invited me into her bed. She was the host of a party and I was one of the last guests there and as things were winding down we moved to the bedroom and to talk and interact with the last few people there. Somewhere around 2am, I think, I just fell asleep on her floor. I guess everyone else wandered off and as the girl was getting ready to bed down herself, she placed a blanket over me. It woke me up enough that I realized that in addition to being cold, the carpet was scratchy. I must have mumbled something about it and she said, something along the lines of "you can join me in my bed if you like". This woke me up considerably more, my mind raced to analyze the situation. I've been so conditioned by my upbringing that the first thing I considered was that she was making a pass at me. For no good reason that I can remember I threw away this hypothesis. Maybe I figured that ethicly I didn't expect her to be initiating an affair with her girlfriend's husband. However, since Nina and I have been having some considerable problems recently, I considered the possibility that she may be steathally working on probing or taking down my defenses toward her. She had a long time boyfriend who was not terribly different than I am. She broke up with recently and I considered the possibility that though it was unethical to try to steal me from her girlfriend, she may be quietly making a minority investment in me so that if Nina and I do break up, then she could have a head start on building a relationship with me. I thought that strategy was wise and it would be something that I would do. Therefore, whether or not that was what she was doing it was a good thing. So I threw that out as a decision criteria.

The thing that really made me decide to do it was the realization that my inhabitions were quickly building up a wall to an activity like that. What I realized that, I decided to take affirmitive action and crawl over into her bed. In my past, I've allowed my inhabtions to rule and several of those moments I have come to regret later. I can think of many times in my past where I didn't do something that I really wanted to do because of my inhabitions and the feeling of regret has nagged me for years. Plus earlier in the night, I had hit an automatic inhabition that I didn't realize was there. Several of us were giving each other massages. I really wanted to be one of the people who was massaged. I wanted to be touched but for some reason, anytime anyone put their hands on me I was way to tickelish to allow them to do anything. It is probably because, I don't get touched very much. I was feeling kind of frustrated from that and I didn't want to voluntarily cut me myself off from something in such close proximity to automatically cutting myself off. It would have just bumbed me out too much.

When I crawled into her single bed with her, at least one of us had to be on our side for us to fit. Most of the time both of us were on our sides facing the same direction. At first, I kept my arms folded between us but it really did feel awkward and so I asked her if I could put my arm over her. She didn't mind and later said that she thought it was very considerate of me to ask. We spent most of the night like that kind of spooning together. Her in front of me. I thought about it later, I think that was the only position that I would have felt comfortable with. If I had lain with my back toward her back it would have felt like we were sort of mad at each other or at least like we were trying TOO hard to take a very intimate situation and turn it into something not quite as intimate. On the other hand I feel like it would have been even more intimate if we were face to face and that little difference could have made the situation a little confusing. So the only ways that really worked were with both of us on our sides facing the same direction.

One other thing that I did was almost a bit comical thinking back. I had my hand draped over her shoulder and down her front and so I commanded my hand to hold onto her lower wrist even while I was sleeping. I wanted to make sure that I didn't let go so that my normal muscle relaxation wouldn't allow my hand to drift up and come to rest on her breasts and give her the impression that I was stealthily trying to cop a feel of her breasts. I was kind of funny, I woke up several times throughout the night just to check to make sure that my hand was still holding onto her wrist. In the morning my hand muscles were a little tired from holding onto to her all night.

In the morning, even though I woke up several times to check on my hand, I woke up refreshed and I felt really good. I felt happy -- which is kind of unusual for me. I really enjoyed it. It made me feel really good. It made me realize how much I crave and need human other human's contact. It made me consider the possibility that I'm a touchy feely person after all. I think that more people should do this more often and not just with their lovers. It would be good for them. People should learn how to take down the walls that seperate them, and learn to trust other people and be trustworthy. I think that if we all did this, the world would be a better place.

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