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gear reviews

I have read of, seen photos and videos of five star rating factories in China. It used to be that eBay, Amazon and others gave shoppers great value in their reviews and ratings. Price being equal, purchasing equations favored online because the ratings and reviews led you from the poorly designed or constructed to the good stuff. No more. Large buildings stuffed with cheap computers, great Internet access and hundreds of full-time low-wage workers crank out reviews for products undeserving of one five star rating, let alone thousands of them. An average review rating of 4 1/2 stars may well mean ten honest one-star review being overwhelmed by the manufacturer’s ratings factory. Reviews now read like e-mail or Craigslist scams: […]

big picture planning

A good friend was rambling on about his latest knowledge seeking topic. He is a major fan of YouTube learning, often following a particular subject down whatever rabbit holes they lead to. He is very intelligent, retaining near-encyclopedic knowledge on an impressively wide range of topics. But he does lose focus on his own priorities from time to time. Yesterday evening was one of those. So I brought my white board into play. I scribed and organized while he gave me his list and quantified the items there. His list is not the subject I want to share with you. I encourage you, on the other hand, to go through the process occasionally. White boards, chalk boards, super-sized computer displays […]

snow shoveling for old men

Recognizing the area requiring snow removal FAR EXCEEDED my shoveling capabilities I bought the Ariens snow blower when I moved here August 2017. Age and way too much snow caught up with me. My wrists, right arm, knees and back were not up to the amount of supplemental shoveling required here. Enter our new Polaris Sportsman with plow. HOORAY!!! This combination of tools is exactly what I need to maintain our driveway and parking spaces without beating myself to incapacity. In a week and a half I have become convinced I own the right tools. The combination is perfect with each complimenting the other. I still use the snow shovel and snow pushers a little, but there is very little […]

punch in the kitchen

I don’t pretend to be a chef, but have not hurt myself or my daughters when required to produce regular meals. My wife displaced me out of my (our) kitchen when she moved in with me. I rarely make it back with our current division of labor, but she does appreciate my forays there when I do. Why? She doesn’t have to cook for one meal, which is rather minor compared to: I bring fresh perspective, ideas and flavors to our meals. Kitcheneers all do it. I haven’t met the person who can keep fresh and new coming day after day, week after week and year after year. It is that freshness that really makes it interesting to have a […]

bells – bronze age relics are still valuable

In researching for this article I ran across a site diffen.com. I was looking to to clarify the difference between brass and bronze. What a cool tool they provide… there vs their … flu vs cold … ethnicity vs race … mold vs mildew … and so much more. Check them out. I bookmarked the site in my search/research tab. Among their differences are that bronze came from around 3500 BC, the beginning of “The Bronze Age”, or when this batch of humans figured out how to make things from metal. That was a pretty big deal. Around 3,000 years later came brass. I have dabbled with brass trombones for 60 years. I love the sound of ringing brass from […]

storage unit on wheels

The Missus bought a fixer-upper 80s Ford F350 van nose attached to a humongous (for it) 24-foot Leprechaun motor home a year ago. This project is NOT on my list. She finally found a shop to make it functional (plumbing works, but no water heater), but I had not been able to get excited about it. “Just think, Honey, the forest fires come ripping down our canyon, we throw what we can into the Leprechaun and can park in safety somewhere.” …. or whatever Bugout motivator you come up with. Crumb! I am neck-deep in getting this homestead where I want it after a year of working steadily at it. Bugout plans are NOT on my agenda. Besides, where would […]

I beat the zero-car-garage plague

There is a peculiar disease running rampant in the USofA. A huge percentage of the two-car garages in this country are so stuffed full of … uh, belongings … that the cars park outside. Hundreds of thousands of HoneyDo lists have “clean up the garage” on them. Of course one answer is the ubiquitous Storage Unit. There are probably one of those for every fifty people in every town from coast to coast. Exceptional people actually park two cars in their two car garage. A couple weeks prior to my first year anniversary of living in the new homestead, I achieved that level of exceptionalism. It feels GREAT! —————————————————————————- That actually came to fruition Sunday. Today I imagined, engineered, fabricated […]

Bosco at 5.7 months

He is shaping up to be an excellent dog. Yeah, the German Shepherd Dog (GSD) side needs employment … OR ELSE … they self-employ … and the owners are guaranteed to not like their ideas. But, dang, they make great family dogs. I suspect Bosco’s ears are a month from standing up like proper GSD ears, but his head seems otherwise dominated by his American Pit Bull (APB) half. Both are described as athletic and strong; both traits desirable in a country dog. Puppy Chart .com estimates my 68.6-pound 5.6-month-old will be a 100-pound adult. *WARNING* Stay on top of training. You won’t want an out-of-control Big, Strong, Athletic, Inventive dog. Dogtime.com is an EXCELLENT reference tool. The peculiarities of […]

food and health

Welcome to “Clean out my saved stories week”. Too many “Wow, that is really interesting” links have waited too long to be shared. In every clip I share a bit of the article while the headline is a click-able link to the whole thing at its source. Follow those links, then come on back for more. Waking Times has a very good article about FLAVOR. It starts off asking and answering the question of “Why is there flavor?” It then moves into the Dorito story, which is more about the creation and subsequent explosion in use of ARTIFICIAL FLAVORS. Which, of course, gets to the heart of the problem with all that. “I got deep into the science of flavor […]

12-volt lighting

Last month in Studio wired I showed you my breakthrough getting my studio 12-volt emergency lighting operating. I accomplished a couple of refinements recently. Besides the obvious advantages of having lights regardless of power grid failures, my 12-volt LEDs provide lighting options in addition to, instead of, or in combination with the various 110-volt lights I have installed. Prior to connecting up my antique meters, I was running on a gut-feeling that I had to be real conservative in my use of the 12-volt to avoid excessive depletion of the batteries, thus shortening their lives. The meters tell me I was wrong by A LOT. While modern digital meters consume almost no energy, my antique analog meters have a […]

my first Instructable

I have seen a few that captured my interest, but what really caught my eye was their contest for first-time Instructable authors. They didn’t mind at all that I had published most of it here in one way or another and at my own instructable website The Fixer .biz. So I re-crafted my coffee making posts into one targeted to their audience. I do think that exercise improved the product. https://www.instructables.com/id/Roast-Your-Own-Super-fresh-Gourmet-COFFEE/

minus 18

It is probably my fault. Yesterday some great friends helped me blow insulation into our attic. I still have not personally visited the attic, but it doesn’t take a certified HVAC engineer to ascertain the need. I observe the snow melting off our roof, the prodigious icicles hanging from the eves and the 90%-efficient gas central heater’s inability to heat this house without the woodstove’s help and know our ceiling insulation is way below adequate. While a licensed HVAC contractor could double the price, they could not significantly improve the result. Tiny-town supplier Darby Distribution includes free rental of the chopper-blower with purchase of insulation – two pallets worth in this case. Their price beats Home Depot while delivering […]