The "looks like new" temporary second-hand spare tire arrived

Posted By on December 12, 2018


The final piece of converting our 2010 BMW X5 35d from run-flat tires to normal tires is now complete … a temporary spare. Unfortunately, I’ve lost much of my "under the rear floor" storage area (below), but have the security knowing that I have a spare tire and the tools to change it.


The only glitch in buying a secondhand, but unused, temporary tire on Ebay is that it didn’t come with the "under floor filler foam, jack and tools" in order to change the tire. Not a problem, I have an extra 17mm 1/2" deep well impact socket and my old Craftsman ratchet … plus my handy-dandy small tool box fits perfectly in the spare tire (along with my 2" hitch). The jack on the other hand did not fit … so I made something work with my first steel floor jack from the 1970s! It is heavy, but somewhat smaller than even the scissor jack that I bought at Harbor Freight. It took a little fiddling, but without the plastic carrying handle, the floor jack slides into the drivers rear side well … barely!

Security LED floodlights from the hardware store discount bin

Posted By on December 11, 2018

Who doesn’t fall for the "treasures" found in the hardware store discount bins? I’m always looking for a "good buy" when I’m walking through the hardware store … and such was the case in seeing this outdoor LED floodlight.


The twin incandescent floodlights that were on the back of the pool house garage for security have long disappeared … but I continue to think about mounting some kind of light back in the open box. Preferably I was planning to to another motion-sensitive light … but since the fixture is up so high, the off the shelf sensors don’t seem to work correctly (it is 20′ feet up). I’ve pondered rigging up a Raspberry Pi to do the sensing and switching, but since LEDs draw so little power, just leaving them on all night as a deterrent might be inexpensive insurance (we really need another Tootsie!)

Anyway, I picked up this new (with missing parts) LED spot/flood for $5 and it should work well. I had a photo-sensor and so decided to add it for dusk-til-dawn operation … probably pennies a week in electrical usage?  Unfortunately the aluminum housing was completely filled with the LED circuit board and the only place to add the one I already had was to cut away some of the internal casting and carefully epoxy the photo-eye in place so it will be water tight (it isn’t the first LED that needed an epoxy fix and probably won’t be the last). So far it work … next warm day I’ll get the ladder out to mount it.

Music Monday: Gordon Lightfoot singing Carefree Highway

Posted By on December 10, 2018

GordonLightfootSiriusXMappDigging back into the archives to unpack a few outdoor Christmas decorations had me remembering my high school friend Charlie and when we were taking the ‘fiberpile’ out sailing in cold weather …when there was still ice on the lake.  Those old days once again reminded me of the music we would listen to on my cassette tape stereo.


Then like clockwork, Gordon Lightfoot singing Carefree Highway started playing on the SiriusXM app — perfect timing for a Music Monday post. Here’s Gordon singing his 1974 hit.

  Gordon Lightfoot – Carefree Highway | 1974

Gordon Lightfoot is to Canada what Woody Guthrie is to the States.
His voice is cracked, his face is lined, he’s long in the tooth…but still a national treasure, like Dylan or Robert Johnson, in other genres.
A legend, a genius, perhaps the last of the real Troubadours.
Long may you run, Gord, long may you run.


The converting fluorescent tubes to LED process slowly continues

Posted By on December 9, 2018

One fluorescent fixture at a time … that’s how I’ve been updating the old tubes in two and four light panels to LEDs. Unfortunately I’m ending up with a mish-mash of inexpensive and unfortunately questionable quality LED strips assembled into plastic tubes. LEDTubeProblem181207bAdvice: stick to name brand and big box store lights – ie. Phillips, etc.

The recent six LED tubes I replaced this past month started when I removed the fluorescent fixture in the laundry room. Against my plan, Brenda picked out a new LED track light just as I ordered two 4-foot LED replacements on eBay for $7.50 each. We at least found common ground and compromised on a white 3 fixture white track light, to go along with the LED workspace light. The white will blend in to the ceiling once it is patched and repainted. It is hard to believe it has been exactly 2 years since we added the stacking LG washer and dryer. Wow, time flies. Hopefully there will be enough light?

I ended up with another old ceiling fixture for the workshop or garage, and removed the ballast and rewired as usual (always opt for the single end power G13s). At the same time I had already ordered a box of 4 tubes on Amazon to add to my now portable four tube panel light — can move it to the garage when working on a car or painting where brighter light is helpful.

Surprisingly, the 18W 2400 lumen LEDs on eBay were better made and less expensive than the Viribright tube lights on — see failed tube below.


Thinking about and planning another sewing project for 2019

Posted By on December 8, 2018

Read up a little bit more on upholstery last weekend while in Florida while thinking about a couple possible projects. I’m not sure about tackling something as big as a couch and loveseat (slideshow below), but perhaps a couple chair pillows and condo dining room chair cushions are do-able? My projects in the past have been limited to boat curtains, outdoor cushions and Sunbrella covers … or minor sewing repairs.

Nevertheless, opted to take some photos/measurements and will get Brenda to give me opinions on fabric and colors — my preference is something that normally would be used on a sailboat (also as a primer just in case I decide to tackle recovering Encore‘s cushions).

Tech Friday – Finally fixed the slideshow plugin for WordPress

Posted By on December 7, 2018

SimpleSlideGraphicA couple years ago I added Simple Slideshow Manager to MyDesultoryBlog as a way to include a series of photos in a single post. Having "attempted" different approaches that fail in one OS, Browser or device before the above plugin seemed to work … that is, until it didn’t. Having posted to the forums, trying different fixes and griping about using 3rd party services, the conclusion was that the developer chose not to continue to support the plugin as WordPress evolved — in other words, it no longer worked with updated versions, or in my case the switch to forced https encryption (note your URL above).

After a client mastersliderwanted me to "pick" a slideshow plugin for him, I decided it was time to find another one. I started the conversion process on my blog as a test last week and I’ve opted to use Master Slider … so far so good. All previous embedded slideshow on my blog have been  updated as of today … see "How Hot Was Your Baby Name" from January 2, 2017 — reusing the slideshow as a demo below.

The 2010 BMW X5 35d has a new set of tires to start winter

Posted By on December 6, 2018

NewTiresBMWX5_35d 181205

The set of run flat tires on the 2010 BMW X5 35d were pushed about a long as I dare … since even my "risk tolerate" son said, "Dad, you really need to get those tires replaced before the snow." NewTireBMWX5_35d_181205He is right of course since I lecture him about "good tires being cheap insurance."

So a couple days ago the window between trips was enough that I could order them on and have them shipped to the one local store that has the correct lift for my car (strange the closes Walmart does not?) Anyway, they came in sooner than expected so I had them mounted this afternoon – it was still a long wait.


As for my old tires, I have not been overly pleased with the ride quality run-flat tires, as their stiff sidewalk made for rougher than luxury SUV highway travel, although their handling has been great. The final straw when replacing was that run-flats are significantly more expensive than normal tires … EXCEPT that I still need a temporary spare now (ordered an unused one on eBay for $200 plus $40 shipping).


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.