Thursday, September 27

Kicking it...Kilted

Last night was our fundraising event at a local piano bar.  I won't say how much we raised yet, but it was more than we could have hoped for!

Here's a pic of me hogging the microphone as MC fawns.

On a scouting trip through the community we happened upon a few guys watching football and having a few drinks.  When we came into the bar in our kilts they immediately began discussing it with us.  One fellow approached us and seemed extra curious about our motives.  I explained we were raising money for charity at an event in the area in a few weeks and told them to talk to their doctors.

He gave me his card.

His name is Steve Haworth and he happens to be the owner of Charity Auction Fundraising an expert in getting folks to part with their cash for a good cause.  He works with the Grammys, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z...and now Kilted to Kick Cancer.  We had a couple of things we scrounged together from Alt Kilt's generous donations  but Steve wanted to show us how impressed he was with our dedication to the cause.

Steve brought with him, and donated for auction, a night in San Francisco, dinner and a show as well as a day trip to wine country, with driver, for 4 people.

These items both went for considerably less than they usually do simply because of our limited audience, but I intend on getting Steve in front of bigger and bigger audiences as KTKC moves forward.

That Bar will also be donating a portion of the proceeds from last night and was more than accommodating to us and even donated a gift card to the night.

The Prince Charles Pipe Band sent over a couple of bagpipers willing to help out for a beer and a T-shirt.  we even got them both on stage at one point and had dueling bag pipes!

Also a special thanks to Chief Picard from the San Ramon Valley Fire Dept Pipes and Drums for kilting up and wandering the neighborhood playing his bagpipes to drum up attention.  Then he and his lovely wife stayed to bid on and win an auction item!  Congrats Chief!


The total from the fund raiser will be donated to Blue Cure Foundation.  We've arranged with Ambodriver to have that total added to our fundraising totals for the contest since BlueCure wasn't able to get us the tracking links on time.

Oh, and one more thing, we got video of Motorcop dancing to Proud Mary in his kilt.  Want to see it?  DONATE!  I also gave my very best shot at a highland reel.  The wife, a former (and possibly future) competitive Scottish dancer said I did great.  So there.

Less than 72 hours left to donate folks!  If you aren't kilted support a blogger who is!

Thursday, September 20

Want to see me wash and wax MC's bike for a month?

Well, Kelly informed me recently that I'm lingering in the bottom 5 of fund raisers this year and that I should be embarrassed to be associated with the organization trying a little harder to solicit donations.


Motorcop, fellow co-founder of KTKC, chimed in by reminding me that his own fund raising has put me in my little medic place and I should just curl up and cry reached ever so slightly above my own.


Was it something I said?

Something I didn't say?


I know Kelly has a big EMS audience and MC a big cop audience...but where are all the firefighters?

If Kelly and MC out fund raise us we'll be in third place behind the ambulance drivers and the fuzz.  I can't accept that.




I offer a Kilted Challenge to my readers:

If I out fund raise MC I will wash and wax his motorcycle once a week for the entire month of October wearing a pink T-shirt.  MC will be allowed to photograph this event and I will post the pic in the top of the sidebar of the blog for the year.


Donate early / donate often!


Saturday, September 15

5.11 Tactical Duty Kilt Review

Back on April 1st 5.11 Tactical, a well known manufacturer of Police, Fire and EMS gear posted a video and a link to a new product, the Tactical Duty Kilt (TDK).

To me it was a well produced and conceived April Fool's Day Joke.  Why on earth would someone need a Tactical Kilt?

In the days and weeks that followed, many online tried to order the great looking kilt from the great company, but the product page listed that it was not available to be ordered.  Instead, one would need to sign up to be emailed when the product was available.

The price - $59.99


Your average starter basic cotton kilt goes for 3 times that.


I ordered 3, one for me and one for the Angry Captain and the Mrs dad.

They arrived yesterday and at first I was skeptical.  The kilts arrived as if they were made in a factory, not hand made from my favorite company Alt Kilt.  Saying Alt Kilt is high quality is like saying Neil Armstrong once went on a walk.  My bar was set pretty high on this one and the folks at 5.11 did not disappoint.

A quick note on 5.11: They could have simply posted a link saying it was a prank, or raised the unbelievable price of $59 bucks, or even skimped on the quality and blamed it on the price.  They stepped up and sent out a great product I wish I could order more of.


The Design:

The TDK is a non-traditional kilt, made of rip stop fabric so tough I had trouble getting my kilt pin in the apron.  The seams are clean and tight and the front angled pockets are perfect for cash so often falling out of cargo pockets when i sit down in other kilts.  The cargo pockets are attached with 4 snaps and can be removed, leaving only the velcro closure covering the snaps, a clean design.  Within the cargo pockets are 3 subdivided areas advertised as for magazine storage for shooting, I'll let AD or MC comment on that but mine fits my phone PERFECTLY.  No more is my phone again wandering a cargo pocket or buried in a sporran.


The belt loops are centered on the front and include a badge tab, but only accommodate up to a 1 3/4" belt.  The front apron includes a hidden snap for modesty and will keep the kilt from flying open on a windy day.  It also serves when sitting, allowing a first time kilter to be comfortable and learn how to sit properly before going all out on a tartan kilt.


The Style:

The pleats are few.  A traditional kilt has dozens of pleats, the more contemporary kilts have more, this one gets by on the minimum.  The pleats are what allow the kilt to move with you instead of being a mini-skirt.  The snaps and material go well with the low slung cargo pockets, putting my extended arm right in them no problem.  The front pockets, again, are a great touch and take the comfort of this kilt above others I own.  The snaps make it easy to get into and out of, but I like the look and feel of buttons better.


The TDK is an excellent starter kilt for three reasons:

1.  The modesty snap allows for wearing without a kilt pin and can get you less nervous about a gust of wind landing you on the sex offender registry for exposing yourself at a youth soccer game.

2.  The pockets don't require a sporran.

3.  The price of $59 means anyone can get started and have a basic item for September or whenever undies just don't seem like the thing to wear.


The Drawbacks:

1.  It is so contemporary some hard core kilters may not consider it a "real kilt."  Their problem.

2.  It's no longer available.


5.11, I think, took a hit in the pocketbooks on this one.  They charged $59 for an easily $200-$300 kilt considering the materials, hardware, design and creativity it took to consider the kilt an active duty garment.


I tip my helmet to 5.11 for going through with this order fulfillment and having them out (almost) in time for the Kilted to Kick Cancer events (coincidence?).  Like I said, they could have told us it was a joke and we would have laughed and been bummed.  Now I'm bummed I didn't order more.  If it ever goes for sale again, I'm in.


The 5.11 Tactical Duty Kilt is a top quality product for the price and was well designed to boot.  Well done.



Thursday, September 13

A #KiltedChallenge!

Mr Kelly Greyson, @ambodriver, has a blog audience I would kill for.  Well, maybe maim, for...OK, I'd give someone a good dutch rub for.

Point being, when Kelly wants to spread the word he can.  And when it came to Kilted to Kick Cancer he was not good enough with just raising awareness.

However, Kelly has the rest of us at a disadvantage.  He has a larger audience than me so has a better chance at getting more donations to his site.  Turns out Kelly is also up against folks with a bigger audience than his.


As a result Kelly has "stooped" to "cheap" tricks to raise funds for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.  He offers challenges so that if a certain dollar amount is reached he'll do or post something degrading all for a good cause.


I have dubbed these stoopings "Kilted Challenges."

Not to be outdone, I challenged noted KTKC co-founder Motorcop to don his knee high Motorcop boots with his kilt.  He scoffed at first, then a facebook post found a possible $50 donation to see the pic.




Kilted has a benefit night coming up on September 26th at a local bar and Mr Ted Setla will be there with his camera recording the event.


I offer the following #KiltedChallenge:


For $100 total donations to my fundraising site with the name "Scotsman" I will stand up in front of the crowd and recite the Scotsman Song.

For $500 I'll do it with a blue silk ribbon you know where.


Wadda ya say interwebs?  Can we raise some money for cancer research or what?

Click on the image above to be redirected to the Prostate Cancer Foundation collection point and enter your name as Scotsman to be credited to this challenge.  OR you can always drop a few bucks as anonymous, or yourself, the important thing is that you get checked.

Monday, September 10

"Daddy, did you win this hat?" A Daughter Learns of 9/11

My 6 year old is a quick learner.

She was dusting the shelves in our living room as a chore when she moved a few books as she always does.  But this time she noticed something on one of them.

"Your buddy looks sad.  Daddy, did you win this hat?"

She was pointing to the cover of one of the two September 11th books I keep on that shelf.  On the cover is a firefighter holding an American flag with a leather helmet on it, not unlike the one they see I wear (wore) at work.  The shield says 343.
We stopped the chore and sat down to look through the books.  She had heard the term "twin towers" and had seen the "343" before, but I began telling her about the bad men in the airplanes and how daddy's buddies (their term for firefighters and paramedics) went to put the fires out.

The images of the towers collapsing had an impact on both of us and she asked how many buddies got hurt.


I was starting to get emotional.

"Tell me about them?" she asked.

I flipped to the page with an ambulance in the rubble and shared the story of Paramedic Carlos Lillo on Medic 49 Victor.  Then I turned to Chaplain Mychal Judge and showed her the picture burned into my soul.  We looked through another book with photographs of all the firehouses who lost members soon after and saw Ten House.  I told her I had been there and seen Carlos and Mychal's names on a beautiful sculpture.

The impact of that day was not completely understood, I imagine much the same way Pearl Harbor is lost on recent generations. But her questions and my being able to relate on a personal level to the photos from that day will help her understand the human toll when it finally clicks exactly what happened that morning.

And because we take the time to learn their stories and share their stories they will not be forgotten.  Their names shall be spoken long after they, and we, pass from this earth.

Forget the bumper stickers and memorial T-shirts and learn a story, any story, there are hundreds to choose from.  Learn it, learn from it and share it.

Only then have you never forgotten.

Tuesday, September 4

CalFire Air Ops up close - VIDEO

Our good pal Dylan, noted BlogStalker, childhood Explorer Scout friend and Chief Programmer at GasdaSoftware got a surprise while out back the other day:


CalFire was responding to a slow moving fire that proved difficult to access on Sept 3rd.  It was on site of the Concord Naval Weapons Station, a deactivated WWII munitions depot primed for development if anyone can figure out how to remove all the ordinance. While we could smell the smoke at HMHQ Dylan, from Gasda Software, had a far better vantage point.  I'd be curious to hear the pilot's thoughts about all the kids at the edge of the pond.


And yes, that's a separate helicopter.


Thanks for the video Dylan!

Monday, September 3

1 in 6

1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with Prostate Cancer.  1 in 36 men will be killed by it.


Do you know your risk factors?


Regular readers of the blog will know that September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and we're getting Kilted to Kick Cancer.  If you're sick of hearing about it, get checked and come back in October when everything turns pink.


Prostate and Testicular cancers got a bad rap in days gone by.  They were considered old men's diseases and were filed on the to do list after "file nails with weed whacker." No one wants to talk about thier testicles with other men...unless we're comparing size, then it seems to be OK.  We're weird that way...and it's killing us.

But in recent decades something interesting has happened.  Younger men are being diagnosed with the old men's diseases.  Research even suggests that the old men who were diagnosed could have been diagnosed earlier.

Enter well known cyclist Lance Armstrong and his very public battle with testicular cancer.  He's not an old man, yet required drastic intervention to battle his cancer.

Then friend Russel from Hybrid Medic is also diagnosed with the old men's disease.

Motorcop found the story of Gabe Canales, who's doctors ran a PSA (the blood test that detects elevated levels of hormones indicative of an enlarged prostate) by accident and discovered his prostate cancer.  Gabe was in his 30s.  He took that experience and founded BlueCure an organization focused on preventing cancer and living a healthy lifestyle.


Cancer is all around us folks, but some organizations would like you to think theirs is more important than others.  One such group went so far as to trademark a common slogan used to organize people.  We at Kilted to Kick Cancer want to shine a light on male specific cancers because men still think they have a risk of developing breast cancer and will walk miles and miles with prostate cancer without even knowing it.  Imagine 60 men walking in October, pink from head to toe, each with their wives.  Odds are 10 of those men have prostate cancer.  Less than 1 breast cancer.  When will the walk to raise money for prostate cancer research be?


Well, as soon as you organize it.


We can't just sit on the sidelines and watch the multimillion dollar charities do what they want, we need to recognize this threat to men and act.  We've done amazing things for the pink, let's do something for the blue, the children, the cancers that seem to be less sexy than the boobies.


A quick note on the multimillion dollar charities.  I'm not a fan.  I would prefer donating to a local group, but there are so few.  I avoid donating to Jerry's Kids.  Kilted to Kick Cancer links to a number of charities that need your support to continue their efforts.  Some are small, some are huge, paying the board of directors million dollar salaries.  Again, I am not a fan.

That's why we're building our own charity from the ground up.  You can support us by donating to your local cancer groups using your time, your resources, your money.  Spread their info on social media, trumpet their cause at your church, their are so many other ways of fighting cancer than grabbing for your credit card.

If you can help with a donation, make sure you use one of our links so the big boys see what kind of reach we have.  If you can't help with a donation, find a local charity that needs help, it doesn't need to even be for cancer, get kilted and get involved.  When folks ask about the kilt, tell them their risk factors.  Coach little league kilted, wash cars for the high school band kilted, go to the game kilted.  We just need to raise awareness.


But as Kelly pointed out, awareness isn't enough.


We raised a lot of money last year and hope to raise even more this year, but those conversations with men who raise their eyebrows at their risks is what it's all about.  And even better, when you meet a survivor who asks, "Where were you 20 years ago?"


Let us not look back in 20 years and wish we had done more.  The time is now.  Get Kilted, Get Checked!