Archive for August 6th, 2010


I think I freaked out a few of my neighbors.

At the very least they must have thought I was some weirdo snooping around in the dark or – worse yet – filming their homes in the dead of night for nefarious purposes.

dog night vision

Granted, I can have my weird moments.  But the fact is all I was doing was testing my brand new night vision monocular.

As the technology goes, my low-end Bushnell monocular borders on being a cheapie (think cell phone prices).  I can’t afford much, after all. But bear in mind that those super-cool, Borg-creepy head-strapped night vision binoculars that you see in thriller movies and shows and on soldiers in real life can cost a bomb.  A bomb being around $3,000 to $10,000 or more for the very best.

But hey, I’m still happy with my humble, AA battery-powered baby.  It does a decent job of illuminating with eerie greenish light whatever is in shadows.  Still, because there’s enough ambient light in my neighborhood from streetlamps and porch lights, I really couldn’t get the full effect until I went inside.  That’s when I turned off all my lamps and switched on the monocular’s infrared feature.  Instantly everything in my darkened living room became fuzzily visible in a yellowish color.

It was so cool.

to catch a thief roof

Layla, of course, possesses far superior night-vision binoculars, yet even hers aren’t up to tough military standards (her needs aren’t that extreme or expensive).  In The Compass Master she wears them while secretly hiking across open, rough terrain.  Well, since I’m going to be like Layla – at least within my budget – then over a few coming nights you’ll be able to find me after hours at a nearby park, or checking out the darkened boundaries of a country club, monocular held to my eye as I try not to stumble over bushes.

Of course I’d love to combine my new night-vision abilities with climbing a building in the dark.  And this leads me to the topic of…

My climbing the wall experience.

I tried it out with a friend last weekend, as I told you I would.  What surprised the heck out of me was that I really did pretty well.  Learning how to tie the ropes, adjust the harness, belay and so on wasn’t difficult at all.  But the really great part was that I had no trouble climbing a couple different walls several times.  Didn’t need that much upper body strength, and did just fine.  At about $10 a visit plus a little more for equipment rental, I shouldn’t have too much trouble getting the basics of the sport down solid. 

Needless to say, transferring those skills to real-life scenarios and buildings is another story.  But now, for the first time, I’m beginning to have some confidence in my abilities.

So cool.