Welcome to the My Slotted Life Project

August 31, 2009
This is me.

This is me.

Mobility.

Efficiency.

Durability.

Elegant simplicity.

These are the qualities I look for in the products I use.

I always go with function over form when selecting an item to meet my needs.

Essentially, every item I use or carry with me represents a slot in my life. For example, in the front, right-hand pocket of my pants I carry a pen, lip balm and a small multitool. Those are the slots. As of this writing, the actual items filling those slots are a generic Bic-style pen with a fading Batman print, ChapStick brand Medicated Skin Protectant/External Analgesic, and a Leatherman Squirt S4 (red).

My needs are simple, my requirements are basic, and my quest is never-ending.

It is my intention to use this site as a medium for displaying my findings as I search for the perfect item to fill each slot in my life, as well as opening up every slot for discussion. I hope that my visitors will contribute their knowledge and experiences to aid me in selecting the best possible solution for my slots.

Two small notes though. First of all, I firmly believe what my father taught me: that stuff is just stuff, and it is not important. My family, my integrity and knowledge are all far more important than any product or tool, but some things can be nice to have. Also, I believe that perfection is not achieved when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. I do not wish to burden myself with a large collection of junk, I wish to streamline the things that I use to the point that there is nothing there that I don’t truly need.

So, without further babble, here is my quest:

To find the perfect compliment of tools, products and toys that make life easier, more comfortable and more fun.

And here are some links to get you started helping me on my quest:

Watch this list for links to open to more categories. For now, the links provided are for the areas I am prepared to focus on. As I get my act together and organize my thoughts in other areas, you should see more links added.

Keep an eye on the blog for new product reviews, notes and other items of interest, but use the links to the pages to navigate the slots and see what items are winning in what slots.

Thank you. I hope we can find this project to be mutually beneficial.

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Childhood Watches

February 19, 2010

Do you have a favorite watch from your childhood?

Today I was writing up the slot item page for my watch when I was swept away to my childhood. I remembered those first few watches, and how much I loved knowing what time it was. My very first watch was likely the toy in one of my kids meals. Remember those days, when the bulk of your cool things came with kids meals?

I know that today, any time my six-year-old son is around a clock or is wearing a watch, he drives us nuts with the time. If we round the minutes at all, it is his civil duty to correct us. Any time we tell him to get ready for bed, he asks what time it is (we’re mean – we don’t tell him). Sometimes he even runs to the kitchen where we have a clock sitting on the counter that he can check when he thinks he is being sent to bed at an unjust time.

I must have driven my parents equally mad with my obsession with time and watches.

My favorite watch from those early years was nothing more than a novelty watch for children. I wish I could find a picture, but every search term I’ve tried has revealed nothing.

The watch was jet black, made entirely of cheap plastic, and it had the shape of a stealth fighter (F-117 Nighthawk) on the top. I believed a moment ago that part was a cowling over the actual watch face, but now that I think about it, I don’t believe it flipped up to reveal the time, I think the LCD screen was right there on top.

I remember positively that it made sounds. You pushed little buttons on the face and it made fighter jet sounds. There was at least an engine sound and a weapon sound. I don’t remember many details, because it was over twenty years ago, but I would love to be able to hold that watch in my hands again. I smile just thinking about it.

How about you? Do you have any fond memories of childhood watches?

Leatherman Charge TTi

February 18, 2010
Leatherman Charge TTi

Leatherman Charge TTi

If you are looking for the ultimate, not too expensive Belt Multitool, I know exactly what to recommend:

My personal favorite is the Leatherman Charge TTi. This tool is a lot like the Leatherman New Wave (which I already reviewed), but with several key improvements.

Most notably, the outer shell is rugged titanium, which adds almost no weight while contributing significantly to its durability.

Also of note, the four main blades (the knife, serrated knife, file and saw) are made of a stronger steel (S30V) than the blades in the Leatherman New Wave. I am no expert on metallurgy, but a quick Google search revealed that S30V is significantly better than the metal found in most commercial blades.

On the subject of S30V stainless steel for knife blades, Joe Talmadge of zknives.com said:

The jury is still out, but [S30V] may end up this week’s ultimate high-end all-around stainless steel, due to high performance coupled with easier machinability and sharpenability than the other steels in this class.

I’ll admit, there was one thing about the outer appearance of the Charge TTi that worried me – those half moon bites taken out of the pliers. They seemed unnecessary and I couldn’t help but think that the pliers wouldn’t be able to take as much force due to the apparent weakening of their structure.

I later found out that the half moon “bites” taken from the pliers are a crimper, and I realized two things.

First, the pliers don’t feel at all weak due to the inclusion of the crimper. Also, if you’re going to exert a lot of force on the pliers, don’t use the tips. They are weaker by nature (with or without a crimper), and it is only natural to use the surface closer to the inside of the pliers anyhow (you get more force there).

So, though I’ve stated my thoughts clumsily, I feel that I’ve sufficiently made my point. The Charge TTi feels like a vastly superior tool over the still wonderful New Wave. I will continue to carry and use my New Wave at work, but at all other times I will be depending on the added strength offered by the Charge TTi, my new favorite slot occupant for a belt multitool. I absolutely love it.

As always:

If you own a Charge TTi, please tell me how you like it.

I’ve you’ve got something you think is better, let me know!

If you’re not quite sold, ask questions in the comments.

Remember to rate this item for me. Thanks.

It’s Official

February 18, 2010

I do want to regularly update this site. I really do. It’s just such a big job. So, today I’m going to create some HTML based templates to help me maintain a consistent format with each page and each review, and with that I’ll be ready for regular updates. I recently acquired a lot of neat things that could be the ultimate items for a few of my slots, and I’m really looking forward to reviewing those things for you.

If this site interests you, please subscribe and I promise you will get some great updates soon.

I don’t currently have email based subscriptions enabled for this site, but if you’d prefer to get updates sent to your email inbox, please let me know in the comments.

Long Dry Spell

October 23, 2009

Yes, it has been a long time since I updated here. In fact, it’s been a long time since I’ve done any serious updates to any of my online sites.

One of the key factors behind my lack of updates here is our financial depression. Yes, things have been far too tight to buy anything new, and so I haven’t added anything new to my inventory. Of course, I have plenty of things in my inventory already that it wouldn’t kill me to add here, but I haven’t made the time (nor am I making the time today, sorry).

If you’ve happened upon this lonely project and you would like to leave me some motivation, I do monitor for comments regularly (e-mail alerts are sent, or they would be if people ever left comments) and would appreciate hearing from you.

In fact, if I get any comments asking for updates from strangers, I might just have to comply.

Leatherman New Wave

September 4, 2009
Leatherman New Wave

Leatherman New Wave

I am the happy owner of a Leatherman New Wave. The original Leatherman Wave, from what I understand, was manufactured for several years prior to 2004. In 2004 the Wave received a makeover, in which a few features were redesigned. I have heard that the New Wave is slightly larger (but not by much), and some reports claim that the improvements were substantial.

I don’t know much about the pre-2004 Wave model, but I love my New Wave.

Here are some things to keep in mind when considering the Leatherman New Wave for filling your Belt Multitool slot in life:

The Wave is not as heavy or cumbersome as some people suggest. I barely notice it on my belt, and in my hand it feels solid, not heavy.

The plier movement is a little stiff at first, but this quickly gets smoother. Also, the glasses screw driver bit can be a little tough to get out (to reverse it) the first couple of times. It comes with both glasses screw driver heads – Phillips and flat head.

For the larger bit holder, it does come with a Phillips and flat head bit combination, and an extension set with 22 additional bits can be purchased for under $15 (I have yet to make this purchase, but I plan to – watch for a post here when I do).

The New Wave is simple. It doesn’t have too many more tools than you could see yourself using. The scissors are great, the pliers are wonderful, the knife is pretty good, and the saw is useful.

All things considered, I think this might be the tool for me. There are several by other major manufacturers that I haven’t tried (Gerber, SOG, and Victorinox, to name a few), and some of them seem to be pretty formidable tools. If I ever have the budget to buy things just to try them, I will have to give them a go. Until then, I’m glad I spent my money on a Leatherman New Wave.

As always:

If you own a New Wave, please tell me how you like it.

I’ve you’ve got something you think is better, let me know!

If you’re not quite sold, ask questions in the comments.

Remember to rate this item for me. Thanks.

End Day One

August 31, 2009

Well, that concludes the opening day for this project. It’s been a while in the making in my head, and now I’m finally starting to get it all posted.

I appreciate your time, even though I feel that this is more for me than anyone else. I highly doubt I will get many visitors.

If things feel poorly written or not well thought out, it’s because they are. I intend on thoroughly editing and revising every page on here as I add more and expand the contents.

Your contributions (ideas, reviews, comments, ratings, etc.) will be sincerely appreciated.

Thank you. Wish me luck.

Merrell Chameleon Wrap Mid GORE-TEX

August 31, 2009
I'll take one pair, please.

I'll take one pair, please.

I first heard about the Merrell Chameleon Wrap hiking boots while researching survival gear and techniques.

Honestly, I already know what many of you will respond with if I give the details, but if these shoes come recommended by someone who uses them on a regular basis, I don’t care who they are. I would love to try them.

I am rough on shoes, so I need really tough, durable shoes that can take a beating. From what I hear, these shoes can do that for me.

Please, tell me what you think in the comments. Also, remember to rate this item for me. Thanks.

ChapStick Medicated

August 31, 2009
This stuff works.

This stuff works.

As of now, this is the only lip balm I’ll ever need. I began using it years ago and it continues to meet my needs. For the full article on this slot, see here.

I had problems as a child with lips that were constantly chapped. It took my parents and me several tries to find something that could keep my lips from getting chapped, keep them from getting worse, help them feel better while chapped, AND help them heal back to healthy status again. This stuff does it all.

If you use this too, please tell me how you like it.

I’ve you’ve got something you think is better, let me know!

If you’re not quite sold, ask questions in the comments.

Remember to rate this item for me. Thanks.

How the Squirt Won My Heart

August 31, 2009
Leatherman Squirt S4

Leatherman Squirt S4

In short, I wasted years carrying an inferior product before finding out that Leatherman made smaller multitools (see here for full details and history). I had always liked the idea of carrying a Leatherman, but as a young boy I lost things too often and didn’t want to spend $50 – $80 on something I’d probably lose anyway.

So, even into my adulthood I carried those childhood relics a while longer before finding the Leatherman Micra, a wonderful tool with only a few shortcomings.

Once those shortcomings forced me to look for a replacement, I went looking on Amazon to see what their prices on the Micra were (I had picked mine up in a department store). I was surprised to find that Leatherman had since released a newer, more updated tiny multitool that seemed to address my issues: the Leatherman Squirt S4.

The Squirt Closed

The Squirt Closed

I’ve carried my Leatherman Squirt S4 in my pocket for enough time to know that this knife is far better than the knives it replaces. If you’re looking for something mobile, efficient, durable and elegantly simple, this tool is for you.

It comes in three or four colors (Blue, Pink and Red for sure, maybe Grey), and there are E4 (electrician) and P4 (pliers) models as well. In all of them you’ll find a small tool (only a little thicker than the classic Swiss Army pocketknife, and roughly the same width and length) that can go anywhere (well, it will set off a metal detector, and it is technically a knife, so airlines and other protected areas are still off limits) and perform dozens of jobs for you.

Knife and Bottle Opener (Large Flathead Screwdriver)

Knife and Bottle Opener (Large Flathead Screwdriver)

I find myself taking it out frequently for the scissors, knife and tweezers, and occasionally for the screwdrivers and nail file. I never use the bottle opener (I don’t normally drink things that require that sort of tool), and the back of the nail file has measurement markings that are almost useless (although I have used them once).

If you own a Squirt, please tell me how you like it.

I’ve you’ve got something you think is better, let me know!

If you’re not quite sold, ask questions in the comments.

Remember to rate this item for me. Thanks.