A problem with an Amazon order and toilet valve repair again

Posted By on June 19, 2024

Broken Toilet Valve

Amazon’s Prime shipping is still impressive and definitely beats spending time driving to the hardware or big box store to pick up a single item. Last week I had a exact Fluidmaster valve fail at the top of the stalk and decided to just order another (hoping it was just that one valve???) I probably could have contacted them about the previous order and “might” have received a replacement, but suspect that over a year was too long to bother with it. 

Fluidmaster valve

The quick replacement for $8.98 seemed fair and so placed the next day order with the intent to replace it before we picked up the granddaughers for their week with us. I was disappointed in seeing the rough handling crushed the Fluidmaster box through the “slightly padded” envelope packaging. I took the photo with the idea that I might need to replace (delay fixing) but was hoping that the plastic parts weren’t permanently damaged. So far so good after snapping things back together and replacing.

Perhaps my point in posting is two-fold:

  1. Fluidmaster needs to make a better valve. Failing in one-year is unacceptable.
  2. Amazon’s packaging needs to be a bit sturdier for plastic items like this. An envelople just won’t protect the valve where a small box might??? 

Books: “The Wide Wide Sea” by Hampton Sides

Posted By on June 18, 2024

The Wide Wide SeaWouldn’t you know, the book I’ve had on hold at the library became available last week … and our granddaughters are with us this week. Obviously there will be no time to read.

I did look through it and enjoyed the maps and read a little bit more about the controversy surrounding Captain James Cook and his Pacific Ocean exploration. He’s seen in a negative light these days, just as  is Christopher Columbus and other explorers from generations centuries ago. I’m not sure how to view things, except to understand we are a product of the time in which we live. 

Nevertheless, I’m looking forward to hopefully renewing “The Wide Wide Sea” by Hampton Sides for reading later this summer … or perhaps even as a winter read — shorter days and more indoor reading time. 😊 

Map 1 Map 2

Click maps for larger versions

Music Monday: AI finds Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side”

Posted By on June 17, 2024

Perplexity LogoWhile exploring a little bit with anew found AI client … Perplexity.AI … I used it to find an oddity from the 1970s for Music Monday by asking:

What decade has the most influential music?

Based on the search results, there is no clear consensus on the most influential decade for music, as different decades are celebrated for their unique contributions and impact. However, the 1970s and 1980s emerge as strong contenders for the most influential decades according to the sources provided.

The 1970s

Several sources highlight the 1970s as a highly influential decade for music, citing the following reasons:

Diversity of rock subgenres flourished, including progressive rock (Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd), hard rock (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, AC/DC), and soft rock, as well as the rise of disco towards the end of the decade.

Emergence of punk rock (Ramones, Sex Pistols) and hip-hop, which would go on to become major genres.

Birth of electronic/synthesizer Lou Reed - Transformermusic with bands like Kraftwerk.

Consolidation of the “outlaw” country movement with artists like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings.

Many legendary artists produced some of their best and most influential albums, such as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Lou Reed, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen.

The rest of the AI find is below the break, but for now I’ll highlight a musicians name I remember, Lou Reed, but his biggest hit that I had to listen to to remember. “Walk on the Wild Side” was the 5 song on Reed’s 1972 Transformer album and kind of forgotten by me. My point is that reading the AI researched info was that  it excluded the music I found memorable and enjoyed … and included some that I did not find high on my list from that decade? 

  Lou Read – “Walk on the Wild Side | 1972


For all the wonderful dads out there … Happy Father’s Day

Posted By on June 16, 2024

Fingers Dad and BabyToday has me thinking of the two dads in my life (DadC and DadH) as well as the father of my two granddaughters, Drew. I thank them for being great mentors … by using the stern hand of guidance when it was required … with an abundance of self-discipline … and always being the provider and an example of Godly love to those growing up with them a father.

Fathers Day - Hebrews 12:11

Happy Fathers Day! Although I can’t help thinking about those without dads in their lives … and I pray for the children growing up without fathers. Those of us who have had good fathers, know the importance and also see a trend in America where there are fatherless homes. We are seeing a waywardness in America, with way too many lost  and troubled youth. We know some of it can be attributed to not having fathers (and Biblical teaching) in their homes and in their lives. 

The Statistics of Fatherless Children

The negative effects of a child without a father can be seen in countless studies and reports. The statistics show the importance of a father figure in the majority of children’s lives.

According to “What Can the Federal Government Do To Decrease Crime and Revitalize Communities?” from the U.S. Department of Justice, children from fatherless homes account for:

  • Suicide: 63 percent of youth suicides
  • Runaways: 90 percent of all homeless and runaway youths
  • Behavioral Disorders: 85 percent of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders
  • High School Dropouts: 71 percent of all high school dropouts
  • Juvenile Detention Rates: 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions
  • Substance Abuse: 75 percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers
  • Aggression: 75 percent of rapists motivated by displaced anger

To back up that data from 1998, which continues to be cited by researchers, a 2016 report of teenagers placed in juvenile residential facilities shows that 45 percent were living with only one parent at the time. That is a significant difference when compared to 30 percent of teens in two-parent households.


Archiving helpful photos for a sewing leather/heavy material

Posted By on June 16, 2024

Top tension Bottom Tension

Really I’m just saving a couple of helpful photos to use when it comes to sewing heavy material or perhaps leather with the Sailrite WorkerB upgrade. It might help when remembering how to adjust the Ultrafeed sewing machine  … although Rolling eyes emojiI do know this, but sew so infrequently that it is easy to forget. 

  • Knot on top = turn tension counterclockwise (loosen tension)
  • Knot on the bottom = turn tension clockwise (tighten tension)

And here’s one talking about needle sizing, at least for leather …

Needle size for leather sewing

This weeks leftovers: Laundry Room Update, Lift Pump Switch, Congressional Baseball Game and WyzeCam Pet detected

Posted By on June 15, 2024

While clearing a few photos off my iPhone 7 Plus due to limited storage space this week, I decided it might be nice to archive a few photos … so leftovers from the week sounded like a good idea for this post.

Laundry workspace New Laundry Room Hooks

First, Brenda wanted a few new hooks for mops and things in the laundry room, so after mounting 7 of them on a board and painting it, I added it to the back wall (continuing to work on the new shelf over the sink). I took the time to clear out the workspace and clean behind the stacked washer and dryer, but when she put everything back … the open work surface was once again taken over by stuff. So goes the thought that we could be more organized — although looking at my garage and workshop, there is ZERO room for me to complain!

Repairing Zoeller pump switch

We’ve been having issues with the expensive Moeller 230V grinder pump ($4100!!!) in the poorhouse which handles the lifting of the shower, sink and toilet. It is not all that easy to access, but seems to be a switch problem rather than a pump problem. So for now I’ve cleaned up the old switch and it is running BUT after testing it for several days, noticed it still fails to turn on sometimes. Perhaps I can just replace it with an external 230V switch??? 

Zoeller Pump Switch

On Wednesday night I enjoyed as usual the Congressional Baseball game in Washington DC — Final score was Republicans 31 – Democrats 11. It’s a bipartisan tradition and those who participate play hard and for partisan pride — they also raised over 2 Million for charity this year.

Final Score 31 -11

All in all it was fun to watch and listen to the serious play calling and background info just as if it were a MLB game — great play-by-play and analysis by John Walton, Chad Pergram and Annie Mae. The GOP has won the last 4 years and has a slight edge since the games began in 1909.

Moon over Washington DC Pitching change

And finally … another video clip from a “pet detection” trigger on one of our Wyze Cams. Hm … our pets are unusual these days! 😉 

Tech Friday: Trying Perplexity.AI for better assistance

Posted By on June 14, 2024

Southwest LogoAfter chatting with Brenda’s sisters and brother-in-laws about booking flights for a trip together, I mentioned that I was partial to Southwest Airlines. My brother-in-laws are Delta Logoboth Delta fliers … and have a long history of booking business travel with the major airlines — I did feel as if I were ruffling feathers (text updates as mentioned previously). Now that they are retired, it seems they are more open to the value proposition (Chris and Jerry have booked on SWA with us). 😉 


This “searching for others” got me thinking about how to know the best day to book on Southwest.com. So started trying different search options from Google to DuckDuckGo and even Brave Search and added that what I’ve read in newspapers, magazines and newsletters (Kiplinger tidbit above). None gave me the results I was looking for and basically pointed to a few older articles on the subject …which just confirmed my “book flights on Tuesdays” thoughts. 

Perplexity Logo

So I started using a couple AI assistants to see if they were up to date; the bigger named early out chatbots failed me … citing don’t have current information, etc. Then I recalled a WSJ article comparing AI competitors and gave Perplexity.AI a try. I was impressed.

what day is the best to book a flight on southwest airlines


The best days to book flights on Southwest Airlines are typically Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. On Tuesdays around 3 pm Eastern Time, Southwest releases its weekly “Click ‘N Save” fare sales and matches competitor sale prices. These sales usually run through Thursday night, so booking between Tuesday and Thursday can yield the cheapest fares.

Key Points

  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays are generally the cheapest days to book Southwest flights.
  • Southwest releases new fare sales on Tuesdays around 3 pm ET, matching competitor prices.
  • These sales typically last until Thursday night, so book between Tuesday-Thursday for the best deals.
  • During major holiday periods, these cheaper “sale” days may have limited availability.
  • Set airfare alerts and check Southwest’s website frequently, as they sometimes extend sales at the last minute.
  • While Tuesdays tend to offer the initial cheapest fares, monitoring prices mid-week and rebooking if rates drop further can maximize savings on Southwest flights. Being flexible with travel dates also helps secure the lowest fares.

Perplexity Search 5 sources

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.
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