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Monday, July 27, 2015

Nerd On Wheels

It's probably going to take another year to make my sister's cabin property the nerdy, prepper's paradise she envisioned. Ironically, the tasks I thought would be hard, like electricity and Internet, were the easy tasks. A lot of the plumbing related tasks like clearing the area and building the drain field around where the bathroom will go, are moving along but too slow for what I need. And not having reliable phone service turned out to be the deal breaker for now until we figure that out. A man's got to eat.

So, it was time for me to take a step back and look at where I am, and where I want to be. Where I want to be is still the outdoors, so one night when I was drinking Tequila, the idea came to me of living in a large-ish size RV and being able to live in a stable little house on wheels, where I can live in the same structure but vary the scenery. The next day I woke up sober and the RV still seemed like a good idea! Not only to me, but to my siblings.


Above parked at my sister's while we made sure it was good enough to move

It barely fits in the little nook at my brother's house, but it fits! Notice the slideout touches the deck
Above taken with the slideout most of the way in. You have to move it out a foot or so to get into the bathroom!
Basically this a little man-cave with the slideout extended
Right now the desktop is on a dual band Wi-Fi adapter until I'm ambitious enough to make the patch cable


Ty has claimed the bed, as you can see in the photos

Smokey likes it here, and he pretty much hates everything

The space behind my RV is a little creek. How awesome is that!
Added the UPS and the sound system. The bluetooth speakers weren't cutting it

My brother's deck is right behind the rig
I'm parked in a beautiful neighborhood
My truck even has its own nook


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: Sanrenmu 7010 [EDC Pocket Knife]

I have been a big fan of the Sanrenmu GB-763 for quite a while now. They make good pocket knives at any price, but when you factor in the price, I think they are very good, and some of the best bang for the buck you can get, if you don't mind waiting sometimes weeks for deliveries from China. For the most part I don't.

So when Kathy from GearBest offered to send me some Sanrenmu and Ganzo knives for review, I couldn't resist. I've never owned a Ganzo but I have owned (and even gifted) lots of Sanrenmu. You can purchase the Sanrenmu 7010 at their site, and don't forget the coupon.

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Product Link
Sanrenmu 7010 Product Link


Product Description

Price: $6.79 with coupon GB7010

This is a solid steel, frame lock, EDC style pocket knife. It's made of the typical 8Cr13MoV steel you would expect it to be made of, and it features a hollow-ground, drop point blade. It comes with a deep carry clip mounted right handed and tip down.

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Product Photo 1


Official Specs (From GearBest)

General
Type: Multitools
For: Hiking, Camping, Adventure, Home use
Material: Stainless steel
Specification
Blade Length: 7.0 cm / 2.76 inches
Blade Width : 2.4 cm / 0.94 inches
Unfold Length: 16.5 cm / 6.50 inches
Fold Length: 9.5 cm / 3.74 inches
Color: Silver
Dimension and Weight
Product weight : 0.089 kg
Package weight : 0.125 kg
Package size (L x W x H) : 13.0 x 8.0 x 1.5 cm / 5.11 x 3.14 x 0.59 inches
Package Contents
Package contents: 1 x Folding Knife

GearBest wanted me to remind everyone that there's a coupon GB7010 which makes this knife under 7 dollars!

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Product Photo 2

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Product Photo 3

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Product Photo 4
Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Product Photo 5
Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Product Photo 6

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Product Photo 7

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Product Photo 8
Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Front View

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Front View 2

Initial Impressions


Someone asked GearBest on their site whether this was a replica or an original, and they replied that it was the original. I definitely believe that. I'm normally not a fan of frame locks because the knives they come on are usually too heavy for me.

This one is still a tad heavier than I would normally carry, but I flicked it open, and it's smooth as silk. I'm also not a huge fan of knives that come with a clip that's tip down and can't be changed. But the frame lock on this is smooth as silk.

When I opened the box of knives, my friend picked up the Ganzo G720 and said "oooh I like this one" and I picked up this Sanrenmu 7010 and said "oooh I like this one," so I knew I wanted to do this review first.

So, this 7010 probably has given me the best first impression of any budget knife I've had in a while. I caught a Spyderco Manbug on sale for 24 bucks and it had a perfect fit and finish, but it normally sells for $40 which you can buy almost 5 of this knife for.

Build Quality


The build quality on this overall is fantastic. This is an authentic Sanrenmu. It may be budget steel, but the knife itself just exudes quality just like a couple other SRMs I have like the GB-763 which has been traditionally almost impossible to find.

 Unlike most budget knives I have, this one actually has the same build quality in the clip as the rest of the knife. I love the budget Kershaws and even love their configurable clips, but the quality of their clips are terrible, and the quality of clips in general almost always seems inferior to the knife itself, so it's gratifying to see the clip well made.

The screws, not so much. The screws are the same terrible that I'm even used to seeing on more expensive, USA made knives. It seems like screws, especially clip screws are always terrible, with Spyderco being one of the few exceptions.

Fit and Finish


Very good overall. There's a small blemish on the handle texturing. It could've even been me that put it there so I'm not even sure if I should mention it. That's pretty much about it, and I could just as easily say that this knife is close to perfect.

The blade is centered perfectly. The blade deploys as smooth as any thumb stud knife I own. It's the only frame lock I own so I have nothing to compare it to, but the feel of it is perfect and it locks solidly. This review sample also came with the best edge of the 4.

But as I said above, I see pocket knives with close to a perfect fit and finish all the time. The remarkable thing and the level of quality and finish on this knife is that it's just under 9 dollars delivered with no coupon at the time of this writing!

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Fit and Finish 1Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Fit and Finish 3Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Fit and Finish 2



Blade


This knife features a typical hollow ground, drop point blade made of budget 8Cr13MoV steel.  The blade is about 3 inches long which is close to my ideal for EDC. Lots of folks like the bigger knives, but I like the more compact ones where you get the most blade surface for the weight.

The SRM 7010 came with a very good edge on it. The edge is "scary sharp" and to my old eyes looks perfect. The other SRM, the 4077 came with an edge almost as good but not quite scary sharp, and the two Ganzos came almost dull.



Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Blade View 1

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Blade View 2Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Blade View 3


Frame Lock


This is my first frame lock knives because the other ones I've held have been too heavy. I normally don't like solid metal knives because of the weight. But this knife is pretty compact so the weight doesn't really bother me. It's still on the heavy side for what I will EDC, but...

...did I mention that it deploys smooth as silk? Again, I'm not frame lock expert, but the lock seems to catch at least 60%-70% of the blade to my old eyes, and that seems more than acceptable. Frame lock is supposed to be a very strong mechanism and it sure feels that way to me.

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Frame Lock View


Deep Carry Clip


The clip comes configured right handed tip down, and cannot be moved. As I mentioned, the quality of the clip itself is well above average, even if the screws don't look good. But this is a knife made for knife enthusiasts by a company well known for catering to people who like knives.

I get that this is a solid steel knife and all those clip holes probably wouldn't look good. But all the more reason to put the clip up if it has to be fixed in place.

Now having said all that, it does ride just fine in my pocket like it is. It rides almost perfect in jeans other than the fact that it's upside down.

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Closeup of Clip ScrewsSanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Closeup of Clip

Handle


This is a solid steel knife, so it's not going to be grippy like a knife with G10 or FRN--something plastic and textured. It has texturing on one side, and a clip on the other side, and overall the texturing is sufficient. It has a pronounced guard and some jimping on the spine of the blade.

The handle is a little small for my largish hands, but it's fine for EDC and I wouldn't want the extra weight of having it fit my hand better.

Usability


I carry every knife I review for at least a week, and I try to give extra scrutiny to free knives for review like this one, especially when I like the sample.

This is a very good EDC knife. It carries well, deploys well, and overall it's a pleasure to use day to day. Sometimes I will subconsciously take a knife I'm reviewing out of my pocket and put in my Delica or Dragonfly, and I didn't do that with this one. It's a little heavy for shorts if I'm not wearing a belt, but for jeans the weight is fine.

Conclusions


This is a superb knife not counting the price. I am definitely going to carry this one, but I would carry it more if it had a tip up clip. But it does carry well in jeans, and it's a beautiful knife, so there's no way it's going into the "bag of shame" or being gifted.

I will also probably look at more frame lock knives since I like this one so much.

Gallery


Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Box Of Knives

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Lots Of Sanrenmu

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Birds Of A Feather
From Top: Kershaw Skyline, Sanrenmu 7010, Victorinox Tinker, Spyderco Dragonfly 2

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - On Scale

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Calipers 1

Sanrenmu 7010 EDC Pocket Knife - Calipers 2






Monday, July 6, 2015

Recipe: Mark's Marinara Sauce For Pizza And Pasta

About 10 years ago I set out on a quest to learn to make the dishes that I loved to eat the most. As I learned to make basic Italian food like baked ziti and pizza dough, the sauce I was making evolved along side these dishes.

Below is the sauce I use for most of the Italian dishes I make. I always put some kind of meat in the sauce, but it would do just fine without meat.

Baked penne with Italian sausage


Mark's Marinara Sauce


1 large can or jar random spaghetti sauce or 2 cans plain tomato sauce
1 1/2 pounds Italian sausage or ground beef, browned
1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
1 small can mushrooms (optional)
1 small can tomato paste to thicken only if needed


Directions


Sauce: Mix everything but the meat and onions and put on low heat or in a slow cooker.

Meat: Brown whatever meat you are using with the onions at the same time. I always start out with a dash of olive oil in the pan and throw a little fresh minced garlic in there to roast a bit before I throw the meat in. For ground beef I add a dash of salt and pepper while browning the meat, but for the sausage I only do a dash of pepper.

Make sure to stop when the meat is slightly under-cooked as it will finish cooking in the sauce. Drain the grease but make sure to leave a little bit.

Add the slightly-undercooked meat to the sauce and let the sauce simmer for about 45 on low, or in a slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.

Using The Sauce


What I usually do with a batch of this sauce is use about 3/4 of it for baked pasta, and save the leftover to make a pizza the next day. At first glance this recipe looks like you're putting too much meat and not enough sauce, but trust me, it makes a very rich sauce that everyone will rave about.

Sometimes the sauce for whatever reason isn't thick enough. Some brands of tomato sauce seem better and even batches among the same brand are thicker or thinner. So to thicken it up, I sometimes add the small can of tomato paste if needed.



Notes:

  • This recipe works fine with or without the small can of mushrooms.
  • I usually make this with Italian sausage but it's probably a little better with 50/50 ground beef and sausage.
  • This is one recipe where having a little body to the onions is bad. Ideally the onions just stew into the sauce and nobody notices they are there specifically. 
  • You can substitute minced garlic from a jar or even garlic powder, but it's not the same.
  • It doesn't really work without the sugar. It's everyone's grandmas' secret ingredient, though I use more and try to use high quality cane or brown sugar. You can reduce it to 1 tablespoon if you must.
  • This sauce is noticeably better if you stew it in a slow cooker on low for most of a day, still browning the meat first of course. When I do it in a slow cooker then I don't cook the onions with the meat. It all goes in the slow cooker separately. So it's a matter of deciding if it's worth waiting most of a day to eat it for having it be X amount better. Certainly not when it's 100 degrees outside as I type this!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Box Of Knives In For Review

Ganzo and SanRenMu have great reputations for making quality pocket knives, so I was very happy to receive a couple of each from Gearbest.com which I didn't realize had started carrying pocket knives.

But even a bigger site is no guarantee of getting a legit product, so I'm putting these 4 through their paces. Ordering direct from China can reward you with a gem like some of the ones I have, or a knockoff of a knockoff if you are unlucky. So far these look good, and I have a friend who is a martial artist trained in knife combat helping me carry and test them.

Instead of having a Facebook page for The Outdoor Nerd, what I am going to do is just post more to the blog.

Below, just in for review:

- Ganzo G720
- Ganzo G704
- SanRenMu 7010
- SanRenMu 4077



Friday, July 3, 2015

No More Facebook

The Facebook page for The Outdoor Nerd had some loyal fans, and I apologize for deleting it. There was no way to keep the blog's page and delete my own personal page. I did a gut-check and I just wasn't into social media. I used to tell people who felt the same "don't throw the baby out with the bath water" but in the end for me it came down to too much dirty bath water and not enough baby photos.

Thanks to the people who liked my Facebook posts, and feel free to drop me an email at markwing at theoutdoornerd dot com if you have any suggestions or feedback about what I'm doing with the blog. I love to hear from readers!

UPDATE: It's actually been more peaceful not being on Facebook, and I've been thinking about it in very nerdy terms. It's like the first Star Trek: The Motion Picture where V'ger melts the radio interface so that Captain Kirk has to go there in person. So what I'm looking for is a simpler, more direct experience, just like V'ger.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Recipe: Garlic & Herb Pizza Dough

For about the last 10 years or so I've been making pizza with a dough recipe from a web site that no longer exists. I don't even remember the exact name of the defunct site, so I can't even give it credit. But I remember the recipe and I can share it!

Most people who try this pizza don't even talk--they just make animal sounds. The dough is only half of it though, and I will give the recipe for my own sauce in another article.



Garlic & Herb Pizza Dough


3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white or brown sugar
2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup milk, heated to 115 degrees
1/2 cup water, heated to 115 degrees
dash of olive oil (my addition)

Mix everything together in a bowl but don't over-mix it. Cover the mixing bowl with a paper towel or cloth and let it rise several hours. Once it rises, roll it fairly thin on a floured cutting board. At this point the original directions just said bake it in a pre-heated oven at 400 for 20 minutes, but doing that never worked for me.

If the dough is sluggish to rise, you can proof it by putting it sun or heating it at 200 for 10 minutes and letting it sit in the oven and come up to room temperature, which should do the trick if your yeast cooperate.

Mama Celeste used the window sill to proof the dough, but whatever works...
What I do is press it into a greased pan or cookie sheet, and then put the pan int with just the dough for 20 minutes. Then I take it out of the oven, add the sauce, cheese and toppings, then I bake it another 10 minutes. Even then sometimes I need to give it another 5. It really depends on the oven.

Note: I know people who let it sit in the pan for a second rising, which will make the crust a little fluffier and less dense.

Above you can see the crust is mostly done when I put the sauce and cheese on
The finished product above. It's as rich as two large pizzas from the local delivery joint, not to mention 100 times better

Garlic & Herb Twisty Bread


Make the dough as above, getting to the point where you roll it flat. Then take a rolling pizza cutter and cut thin strips in the rolled-flat dough. Then take the strips, either folding them in half and twisting them into strips, or taking two strips and twisting them together.

Lay the strips into a greased cookie sheet and let them rise a second time. Once you've done second rising, brush the bread strips with olive oil and then sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top. There's other things you could sprinkle on like fresh garlic as well.

Then bake just like the pizza dough in a pre-heated oven at 400 for 20-30 minutes depending on the oven, until the top is golden brown. You may need to turn the pan halfway through, again depending on how evenly your oven heats.

"We want some pizza!"

Notes:


  • Vary the cooking time depending on how thick you make the crust. It may take a few tries to get the hang of it. If it's thin enough, you won't have to pre-cook the crust.
  • I usually use a half batch of this dough to make a pizza.
  • I use olive oil with my fingers to grease the pan, but you can just as easily use a different kind of oil, spray or even margarine.
  • If you make the pizza from leftover sauce, then make sure to reheat the sauce first. Cold sauce will cause the pizza to be under-cooked. The sauce doesn't have to be piping hot, just as long as it's not cold.
  • As the pizza is close to being done, it starts to pull away from the pan.