The inaugural fundraiser to help the MPN Research Foundation.

Thursday, March 23, 2017


We are, as the saying goes, off and running. Tickets are selling. We are generating more and more buzz. We're wrapping up final details with sponsors; our flashlights are on the way to be engraved - we have 12 extremely good flashlights 

WorkSharp Ken Onion with options

Now it's primarily a question of finding the time for me to get everything done, to keep existing processes on track, and to manage the fiduciary responsibilities. 

I'm also going to provide a "user guide to raffles" if you will - essentially a guide that outlines the different tasks involved in holding a raffle, from identifying an overall theme to finding sponsors to deciding on prizes, ticket costs, sponsors, and odds. This guide is largely what I've learned from puttting this raffle together.

WorkSharp Guided System with swag
Note: both systems come with a shirt, cap, and coffee mug.

The above pictures are of the WorkSharp prizes, which will be 4th and 5th place. The next pics to post will be a couple more of the Emerson, and then I'll dig into the top 2 prizes, the customized knives.

We have, theoretically, two weeks left. I suspect I'll extend that deadline; we have been impacted by a couple events involving credit card processing that were beyond our control and yet necessary to work through.

While that doesn't leave me happy, these items were critical; I think I handled them well considering.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

It's not just a knife

As one of my last projects, I want to help as many other patients as possible. I have come to realize that one of the most effective ways to do this is to enable the MPN Foundation to do their work. By organizing this raffle, by raising funds, and forwarding them to the MPN Foundation, I hope to be giving some patients a chance at a life.

This iteration of a project, whether completed or not, makes me wish for a couple things: one the donation to the MPN Research Foundation. Two, I get to work my ass off looking forward to a goal; finally, I honestly hope that this project becomes some part of my legacy, that somebody continues growing it, nursing it to health, and making it good in ways that that I cannot imagine.

It's the only thing I have for my exit plan.

I don't want it grown for me. No, not for me. For Tina. For George. Two friends who have not made it. For all the others who have suffered, and are still suffering.

For all those who won't make it as long as they should.

For all those who suffer with the pain from this cancer.

With that in mind, here's a sneak peek at some customization of a Gayle Bradley Folder 2. Keep in mind the colors for myelofibrosis are red and orange. The knives will be in my grubby paws next week (that familiar Snap you will hear is me putting on the rubber gloves, get your mind out of the gutter) for extensive photo opps.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rolling along to a higher standard

We have sold some tickets!

I say "we" because although this was my idea, and I'm responsible, there are so many good people involved in the realization of the idea that I feel as though I'm part of a team.

In any event, we are rolling along, despite the normal bumps in the road.

As promised I am posting more pictures of prizes. Since every prize package will include a PK Design Labs Flashlight, here's what that light looks like:

PK Design Labs: PK-FL2-LE

PK Design Labs: PK-FL2-LE

Please note: these are pictures of my personal copy of the light. If you zoom in, and notice scratches, or whatever, don't worry. I've had my light for a number of months.

As well, the lights have arrived from Hong Kong, and will be on their way to...the engraver!  In order to make the event a bit more memorable, and to have something quite special that nobody else will have, we are getting the lights engraved with (something like): Blades Against Myelofibrosis Inaugural Benefit - Ides of March, 2017.

As with everything else in this benefit, we are holding ourselves to a higher-than-normal standard. Where other people might be content to make available t-shirts, we're not only doing that, but we are also providing high-end flashlights with custom engraving.

This is another example of how things should be done. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

We Open Today

As strongly suggested in prior posts, we are kicking things off today!

A couple items of business: first, to the person who does not want to participate, but wants to buy a t-shirt. I will be happy to sell you a t-shirt for $75.00 .

(That's my polite way of suggesting that perhaps you wish to do your clothes shopping elsewhere.)

I will be posting pics of merchandise through the week, starting with the last place prize and working my up. Check back here for new pics, and for any updates.

Update: What have we here? It's a box of boxes!

No - it's a box of PK FL2 lights!

We will be including one such light in each package!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Blades Against Myelofibrosis 2017

Blades Against Myelofibrosis -  2017


This drive is being held as a fundraiser for the MPN Research Foundation. It is organized, and administered by, Bob Wanamaker. All proceeds go to the MPN Research Foundation.

It starts on 3/15/2017, and ends on 4/17/2017.

All billing will be invoiced through Avant Systems, Inc who is donating services for the raffle.

A more in-depth overview of the disease, and our goals can be found here.

Rules can be found here.

An entry form can be found here. (Note: this link will go live on 3/15).

The prize list can be found here. Note that the purchase of a ticket includes a t-shirt.

The Sponsors

Without the support of generous sponsors, this would not happen. A huge thanks to (in alphabetical order): Blade Flick, Iron & Emotion, PK Design Lab, Razor's Edge Knives, Sketchen Scales, Spyderco, WorkSharp.

The Disease

Myelofibrosis is an incurable cancer, belonging to a class of cancers called MPNs - Myeloproliferative NeoPlasms. It is the worst of the group; other MPNs progress to it, and sometimes patients develop it without having developed other MPNs

The Foundation

The MPN Research Foundation is dedicated to education, healing, and research involving only MPNs. It is an organization for patients, founded by patients, and patients help the organization in various ways, including fund-raising drives.

Bob Wanamaker & Near Death Productions

Bob was diagnosed with myelofibrosis in August 2015 when he collapsed in the emergency room, and has been hospitalized twice with life threatening complications. This drive is his way of helping others with the disease.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Birth Of Near Death Productions & Shirts

Each ticket purchased will receive an awesome t-shirt at no extra charge.

The artwork has been done by Iron & Emotion - owner Jen Iron has been doing incredibly great work for years. Her work really stands apart in a crowded market space, and I am blessed that she is helping me.

The front of the shirt is simply the logo design which you see on the web page. The back of the shirt is essentially a list of major sponsors:

We also included the MPN Research Foundation in our list. Even though they are the recipient of all proceeds, I felt that it only made sense to acknowledge them on each shirt. Lack of space elsewhere moved us to this idea. I'm quite pleased with the work Jen has done.

"Near Death Productions" was a spur of the moment idea from me, but I think that it fits nicely. I have, after all, come near death two times since July 2015 thanks to this cancer, spending time in the ICU ward on both occasions; once in a medical coma and intubated. I am also, in an important sense, near death now as I write this update. It could come at any time - again, thanks to this cancer.

I want to remind those of you who are suffering from this cancer and feel unable to do anything to help others: I am physically unable to do much. However, I was still able to find a way to make a contribution.

I want to remind everybody of at least one more thing. Maybe you think I'm a total asshole. Maybe you think I'm the best thing since sliced bread. Maybe you don't bother to even think of me.

Running underneath all these maybes is a certainty: this cancer has taken so very much from me. My dreams, hopes, aspirations. Any money. My career. My friends: many of my friends no longer wish to be near me.

It has stolen my health in what is supposed to be the prime of my life. I have gone from training for strongman competitions to struggling to  get around the house.

There's a saying that I had heard prior to my diagnosis: "There but for the grace of God go I." I was able to parse those words, but I never truly understood their meaning.

Now I do.

Remember: I might mean nothing to you. But somewhere, somebody does mean something to you, even if you can spot only fleeting glimpses of that somebody in the mirror.

I want to remind everybody that: "There, but for the grace of god, goes that somebody."

I think Near Death Productions is a good reminder of such things.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Prize List: Final List, Barring Acts of God

This is the final prize list, barring any "Acts of God" that somehow interfere.

First place: Gayle Bradley 2, customized. A PK Design PK-F2-LE flashlight.

Second place: Manix 2 DLC, customized A PK Design PK-F2-LE flashlight.

Third place: Darex International WorkSharp Ken Onion Edition, with Blade Grinding Attachment, T-Shirt, Hat, & Mug. PK-F2-LE.

Fourth place: Emerson CQC 8, PK Design PK-F2-LE flashlight.

Fifth place: Darex International WorkSharp Guided Sharpening System, with Optional Update (additional diamond plates), T-Shirt, Hat, & Mug. PK-F2-LE.

These are incredibly great packages thanks to our sponsors. The fifth place package is worth considerably more than the entry fee; values go up from there. I'm going to be seriously envious of whoever wins. The hardest part for me, is having this stuff laying around - and knowing that I have to give it to somebody else!

Shirts will be delivered to you approximately 4 weeks post ordering.

Every ticket holder gets one (1) free shirt, and can purchase additional shirts.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

But that Emerson Blade

Sometimes, it's the little things in life that stand out.

The dew on a spider web.

The feel of a malamute's winter coat around her neck. The look on her face as you rub the neck, then the ear.

The grind of an Emerson blade.

Below is the Emerson CQC 8 we're giving away, or, rather a closeup of it's blade, showing the swedge and the two grinds. Give it a click to zoom in so you can check out some detail.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Welcome to BladeFlick

BladeFlick, founded in 2016, is a start-up company specializing in American-made knives for self-defense. They donated the third-place knife, an Emerson CQC 8; this is the first time I've seen an Emerson in my grubby little (ok, x-large) hands for an extended period of time, and I must say: the blade is a work of art.

BladeFlick is customer service oriented; they offer free shipping on all orders, and will do whatever it takes to help their customers find the perfect knife for their unique needs.

I first met the owner last fall, and asked him if he could get me a particular discontinued Spyderco knife. He told me it was no problem - and I chuckled under my breath, having heard that so many times it had become a punchline to a bad joke - and quote me a price that was great.  However, I figured that this was just more of the same, and I'd never hear from him again.

The following day, I ran through my voice mail for the final check of the day. There was one message "Bob, hi. This is Connor from BladeFlick, calling to let you know I have your knife ready. Please email me with shipping details when you get a chance."

I called Connor back, and we chatted for a few minutes. I mentioned this raffle, not expecting anything - after, they are a small startup, watching every penny. Connor asked for some details, and then told me he would like to send me the Emerson as a donation.

Within a week, a package arrived containing the Emerson - so far ahead of schedule that I've had to hold myself back from playing with it. I finally gave in, and dropped him an email, asking him to get me my own Super Commander.

Who knows, maybe Connor also knows a thing or two about sales?

Drop them an email: info{at}bladeflick{DOT}com - tell them you heard about them here, and be sure to ask if they might have any active discount coupons. Be sure to thank them for generously supporting cancer research.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Welcome Darex LLC - WorkSharp - as a sponsor!

Another warm welcome is due: this one to Darex, LLC - who owns & runs an international tool and abrasives company that us knife knuts know as WorkSharp. They are well known for the WorkSharp line, and have really started to shine with the WorkSharp Ken Onion Edition (WSKO) and the Blade Grinding Attachment (BGA). 

They have decided to sponsor me, and the WSKO + BGA is the first kit they are donating to the cause.

Essentially a small, portable, enthusiast-sized powered belt grinder, the WSKO is also a guided system: in short, a belt is put on, the proper angle is selected, and the knife is pulled through one slot, then another slot. The number of times depends on how fast you pull, the speed the WSKO is running, and how badly off your blade has gotten. Each slot does one side of the blade.

As with any system, you start off coarse, and get progressively finer. As with any powered system, there are a couple caveats: you can go too fast, and generate too much heat, ruining the temper of the bevel; you can also use too much pressure, which generates too much heat as well as destroying belts; and if you don't pay attention, costly mistakes can ensue.

Angles can be set from 15 to 30 degrees per side; since the system is guided, everything is easily repeatable. Easily repeatable means consistent sharpening of your knives.

Adding the optional BGA does a couple things: it increases the length of the belt, thereby giving you more abrasive per belt, and allows the knife edge to cool off a bit longer. It also changes the system from guided to freehand, which could be a huge plus when you are ready for it - and as a freehand system, you have complete visibility and much more open workspace for your knives than the stock system.  It gives you a wider spread of angles as well: 10-35 degrees per side, in 1 degree increments.

There are more features the BGA adds, but this is neither a tutorial nor a review, so I'm only going to say one final thing: this is the powered system I use, and I'm quite pleased with the results.

The other kit is their manual Guided Sharpening System (GSS) with optional Upgrades. Essentially, the GSS gives the sharpener a way to set up the system to guide every aspect of sharpening, using a technology called the Pivot Response System. The system utilizes small bench stones, and the upgrade kit adds in some additional stones.

The system is unique among guided systems, in that you can easily disable the guided feature, and use the stones freehand.

Finally, they are donating a variety of swag: shirts, hats, mugs.

For more information about WorkSharp, please check out their website.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Welcome PK Design Lab as a sponsor!

Paul Kim (PK), former Senior Vice President of Engineering at Surefire, should be a familiar name to anybody with more than a cursory knowledge of the flashlight industry. Surefire was among the first, if not the first, military light supplier to turn to the consumer marketplace, and market their military lights as "tactical."  Many of their early models defined "tactical." Their lights, under PK's guidance, represented the zenith of reliability, brightness, and usability. 

It used to be said that there were "lumens" and then there were "SureFire Lumens."  SureFire never played the numbers game very well. PK believes in honesty in all things, even his product specifications.

Called by the New York Times a "modern militant" PK holds over 100 patents related to the lighting industry, and left SureFire to found PK Design Lab, a company whose motto "Designed for Cultivated Expectations" is redefining "lumens" once again. With the first light produced, the PK-2F-LE, a limited edition handheld powerhouse, PK has shown us what "PK Lumens" means.

Rated at 650 Lumens, the 2F simply blows away my Fenix lights rated at 1,000 lumens: not only in brightness, but in the aspects of usability, grip, and beam quality. The beam from the 2F is a superb combination of throw and spill. It weighs 6oz and is waterproof, impact resistant, and hard-anodized; easily fits in a pocket, and has great tint. It passes my 100 yard driveway test easily, which is no mean feat for such a compact light.

These lights were originally priced at $190 each; they are available now for about ~$100 each. Powered by a pair of CR123a primary batteries, they have a low (20 lumen) and high (650 lumen) setting, with up to 24 hours runtime from a set of batteries.

These are the lights PK is donating. Each prize package will include one such light.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Prizes: Near Completion (Short Update)

I am almost done talking with sponsors and working on prize packages. I have one more sponsor I will unveil in the next couple days who is donating a lot of very nice prizes to the pot. I will be putting together final prize packages, some changes will have to occur, as I do have more prizes than anticipated.

Over the next few days, then, my focus shifts towards this website; to getting some product photos up; and to working on the process for actually reserving tickets.

It has been a long day. I was at the hospital for most of the day, and wanted to catch up with some of the business side before sleeping.