What’s new these days: Renting outdoor gear from Eddie Bauer?

| August 1, 2021

Perhaps I’ve been asleep at the wheel, but when looking to buy another pair of Eddie Bauer shorts (liked the lightweight ones I ordered last month – below), I noticed that they are promoting a “Rent Your Adventure” outdoor camping gear program. It caught me off-guard  to see them renting outdoor gear as well as […]

A project idea (below) and wasting time salvaging junk

| July 31, 2021

To salvage or toss: It is a quandary those of us who try to fix, salvage and repair things. My theory is that those of us who take thing apart as kids to see how they work, tend to be the ones doing it when they are older and collecting boxes of junk? I often […]

Tech Friday: Keyboard Shortcuts You Should Know (WIRED)

| July 23, 2021

Occasionally I still get calls from people asking me about shortcut key combinations. Most of the shortcuts are second nature to people who grew up using computers, but then again … what you don’t use, you forget. How about a refresher from Wired? Tip: Learn as many keyboard shortcuts as your brain can store. You […]

Abhimanyu Mishra, the youngest Chess grandmaster in history

| July 6, 2021

It was probably the intimidating photo of 9 year old Abhimanyu Mishra that caught my attention, but as someone who once enjoyed the “recreational game” of Chess as a boy, it is also impressive to see what this young New Jersey boy has accomplished. At the GM Mix in Hungary last week, a 12-year old […]

Do you pop the end tabs in before unrolling aluminum foil?

| June 27, 2021

Who doesn’t occasionally need a little advice from the helpful tips, tricks and tidbits floating around the Internet? Here’s one that should be familiar to most of us, but surprisingly catches us off guard once in a while when a roll of aluminum foil pops out of the box and ends up unrolled and dinged […]

Replaced a failed sump pump check valve after heavy rains

| June 26, 2021

Last weekend we had thunderstorms and tornado warning that dumped buckets of rain in our area. Thankfully no damage or serious flooding, but I did check on the sump and backyard pumps … I even added my spare pump to the pit in order to keep the water that builds up in the retention area […]

Tool tip: The Alligator Forceps purchase pays off immediately!

| June 19, 2021

Having just posted on the tool tip from Adam Savage yesterday, the Alligator Forceps paid immediate dividends. It was the exact tool I needed to replace the degraded gasoline tubing of my aging TroyBilt 4-cycle string trimmer. For context, photo from 2007 below …

Small item Alligator Forceps tool tip thanks to Adam Savage

| June 17, 2021

After repairing our iRobot pool sweeper last week and figuring out how to hold a “behind the riveted new screen” tiny nut in place (after I dropped it!) … I happened to see Adam Savage’s model building recommended tool (mention him an his testedcom before) and “just had to have it.” In the photos above, […]

The odds are at least 50-50 … right? #learning #statistics

| June 16, 2021

So why do I always end up trying to open the wrong end of a trash bag? With human intelligence and adaptive learning being what it is, one would think knowing which end of the trash bag to open when pulling one out of the box or roll would favor me getting it correct? I’m […]

WW2 Aviation History: Why are F4U-1 Corsairs so taped up?

| June 12, 2021

Well talking to Taylor at his birthday dinner, I mentioned someone posted a photo of a WW2 Vought F4U Corsair and asked about the “stripes” … or duct tape … on the cowl in front of the pilot. The answer from a HistoryNet.com researcher below is a great aviation tidbit for those with a curious […]

Woodworking: Love this simple table saw push-stick design

| May 27, 2021

When I come across an item that interest me in woodworking, I either try to write them down, take a photo or save the plans. In this case the idem is a simple shop helper … a table saw push stick, of which I have many … BUT, I really like the simple curves and […]

Flowers, some Kubota service and waking up the Packard Hawk

| May 11, 2021

This past Saturday was nice, but Sunday not so much (rain). It does seem like we are having unusually cool weather for this time of May? But 30-40 degree weather aside, Taylor did stop by to give me a hand with the pool cover since I don’t enjoy horsing it around by myself anymore as […]

Looking at New York City from the Empire State Building #pano

| May 4, 2021

How many building top water tanks can you count? (you could spend hours zoomed in on this photo … and if that is not enough, there is a naked man somewhere in this “Where is Wally or Waldo-like” photo).  LINK: “World’s Largest Photo of New York City“

How do you dice and onion? Let’s check with Lifehacker.

| April 18, 2021

Is there a better way to “dice” and onion? The Lifehacker “Hack or Wack” crew gave the UK tipster’s method a try … and I’ll probably do the same even though they concluded it was “wack.” Still, there might be a couple modifications that could keep the onion flat on the cutting board and still […]

Tech Friday: A powerful Copy and Paste app for the Macintosh

| April 16, 2021

If you use a computer for any length of time (my “go-to” is an aging 2012 Apple iMac), you’ll find yourself cut, copy and pasting things on a regular basis. Security experts do not recommend using the cut/copy feature for secure items like user names and passwords, but that doesn’t prevent the habit of using […]

My new visual for the "blow your own horn [trumpet]" idiom

| April 15, 2021

John Rowe, an automotive friend on Twitter, often shares a “ Today’s Useless Tweet” that I find entertaining. It fit with the idioms tag on MyDesultoryBlog and thought his  “blow your own horn [trumpet]” (see below embedded tweet) would be fitting as a filler for today. Today’s Useless Tweet : 1972. 5th grade. Parents bought […]

An etymology share: ‘What Time Is ‘Noon?"

| March 31, 2021

When was ‘noon’ a time that was later in the day … like 3PM? Let’s check with merriam-webster.com: There’s something aesthetically pleasing about the word noon. Its palindromic spelling feels appropriate for the middle of the day, when the sun is directly overhead and the hands on the clock are pointed upward in a straight […]

"Three on the Tree" (for car enthusiast or those of a certain age)

| February 2, 2021

Earlier in the years, this image of a “Three on the Tree” manual column shifter-pattern was tweeted by a automotive friend and it triggered memories for me. Younger people nowadays might not even remember manual shifting on the column with a clutch .. or for that matter ever shifting a “Four on the Floor” … […]

A bit disappointed in the 2021 LSSU’s Banished Words List

| January 14, 2021

One of my favorite January traditions is looking at the Lake Superior State University’s Banished Words listing that get posted on December 31. I can’t believe LSSU has been doing it since 1976 and it is fun to look at their archives! For the year ending 2020 (or 2021’s list), LSSU selected COVID-19 as the #1 […]

Understanding the Pfizer and Moderna COVID19 vaccines

| December 27, 2020

There was an interesting article in Prevention Magazine that explains what the COVID19 or generically the Coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna do … AND what their ingredients are. It also details the differences between the two from the standpoint of how cold storage temperatures need to be. Check out the article for the ingredients […]

Tech Friday: Using Grammarly for Chrome (Brave in my case)

| December 11, 2020

Not that it would ever be noticed in my “rarely proofread” blog, but for the past year I’ve been using a plugin app called Grammarly (it unfortunately doesn’t work with Open Live Writer, the aging software I use for blogging ever since Microsoft abandoned LiveWriter). So far it has been helpful in checking my emails […]

Missing sailing but appreciating a Cape Horn installation video

| December 6, 2020

Sometime the best part of keeping a daily blog is that provides a place to archive tidbits for future reference. The Sailing Uma “gear review” tagged YouTube clip on their channel has a fantastic installation video for the Cape Horn Wind Vane self-steering gear that I might need when taking apart ours for repair. Currently […]

Ideas: medal holding chop saw fence and tapering rod stock

| November 22, 2020

Just adding a couple of idea photos for a future metalworking project, or adaptable to woodworking as well. First, clamp a couple of scrap pieces of wood in a metal cutting chopsaw or miter saw to cut small sizes and keep in place (might rig something on my handheld bandsaw for better control and thinner […]

Kitchen stool screw-on felt slides–a must have and long overdue

| November 17, 2020

This should have been one of the first things I did when assembling our six metal stools back when we remodeled our kitchen in 2017. I bought slides for the condo stools after remodeling since there were only two and on tile, but cheaped out with stick felts at home. They were never worth the […]

What to do with a piece of cheap tarp and a Sailrite Ultrafeed?

| November 15, 2020

On one of my sailing groups, a Sailrite Ultrafeed LSZ-1 user complained that the speed controller pedal was hard to regulate. I’ve found that to be true as well. Another person made the comment that they used a piece of flexible tubing/hose that gives the pedal a little more tactile feel … so I tried […]

Tech Friday: A Lifewire tip for Apple’s Bluetooth Magic Mouse

| November 13, 2020

Recently I have been having problems with the Magic Mouse on my aging Apple iMac. The Bluetooth mouse once steadily held it’s connection until the AA batteries were getting weaker. I’ve cleaned the contacts with electrical cleaner and a Scotch-Brite pad but continue to have issue. A quick check on the Internet indicated that I’m […]

Tidbits: Just a simple Band-Aid bandaging tip for a finger joint

| October 18, 2020

About half the time I need to cover a cut with a Band-Aid, it is on a finger. Often right where the joint flexes and then even the better stretchy bandages bunch, unstick and come off. Here’s a tip for covering the finger when dealing with a joint … and it works for the tip […]

Workshop dust control for a basement woodworking shop

| October 13, 2020

Thrifty or maybe frugal is the word choice that I use, but occasionally “cheapskate” might be a better fit? I’ve used a 3-speed Jet Tools Air Filtration System to clean the air in my basement woodworking workshop  to reduce the amount of dust. It works reasonable well but suspect a lot of dust still makes […]

Cleaning, reorganizing, some sanding and new ZipGuard finsih

| October 4, 2020

In my goal to gain space in the poolhouse garage (a failure) and clearing out and cleaning the east-side wall, I shifted my attention to the beat-up bench top. Part of this was just clearing the workbench of junk, then reorganizing and cleaning each shelf. The boxes have been sort-of shuffled (drawers ignored), but I […]

After cleaning, tossing junk and the re-organizing a couple walls, the pool house garage is still way too cluttered

| October 3, 2020

As much as I love working in an organized space, for the life of me I have trouble keeping it that way. Also,  I can’t get rid of things I use, might use or that are too good to sell or toss. The truth is that I have the packrat gene.  My parents were not […]

I’m missing sailing, but here are a few new knot tying ideas

| September 20, 2020

Most people who enjoy sailing and undertake the sport/activity as a hobby, also enjoy learning how to handle the many sheets and lines (ropes) that are used aboard a sailboat. I’ve been sailing off and on my entire life and find myself relying on a few knots that I’m confident about. Oh, I also enjoy […]

It is wearing out, but the Rat Zapper is still repairable

| August 23, 2020

Even though we have a few of those ultrasonic devices plugged into the walls, mice seem to find their way into the detached and attached garage then figure out how to squeeze there way into the house. I’d like to think I’m able to trap them before they find the kitchen, but who knows … […]

My summer favorite Sperry Searacer boat shoes are wearing out

| August 22, 2020

This is probably something I should have expected after bringing my “boat-only” non-skid Sperry SeaRacer Sneakers home from the boat in June – excessive wear. I’ve been wearing these light-weight synthetic upper Sperry shoes for the better part of the last two months and they are quickly breaking down. Perhaps I’m so accustom to the […]

Updating WordPress to 5.5 "Eckstine" and an idiom phrase

| August 14, 2020

Friday afternoon was a day of server housekeeping, along with the week’s usual billing and accounting. It was also time to update this blog’s WordPress plugins and to the current version called “Eckstine” 5.5. In WordPress 5.5, your site gets new power in three major areas: speed, search, and security. Thankfully after the move to […]

Constantly re-stitching my floating beanbag chair

| August 8, 2020

Although I’m looking high and low for some material to replace the clearance foam bead filled pool floaties I bought a few years ago, I continue to re-stitch and reinforce the old product with “Brenda’s” Sailrite Ultrafeed LS-1. The new stitching holds as long as the old fabric holds up, but sooner or later I’m […]

Not recommended: Triangular shade sail for driveway shade

| August 4, 2020

The summer sun makes it too hot to work with the 10 x 12 foot south-facing garage door on the back of the detached outbuilding which is something I’ve struggled with for years. I’ve rigged up tarps, drop clothes and the like in order to cut the harsh sun, but let some light and breeze […]

A special breaching round is used in shotguns to destroy locks, knobs and hinges, then immediately disperse into powder

| July 19, 2020

I learned something new about firearms when reading and posting about the Coconut Rifle and it was interesting enough to me to include on the blog this week. Did you know Law Enforcement and the military (US Marine practicing in photo) uses something called a “breaching round” in their shotguns or accessory attachment like the […]

Things I should know by now – Unistrut Connecting System

| July 15, 2020

“So that’s what this is for?” I had a “duh” moment the other day when sifting through subscribed emails from vendors. A company called OnlineMetals.com sends out educational marketing emails to customers who enjoy working with metal. I’ve used them as a supplier for a variety of small projects as a source for steel and […]

Update on Fitbit replacement and JAMA step count guidelines

| July 14, 2020

After my much enjoyed Fitbit Versa smartwatch died in less than a year (it was replaced under warranty – thank you), I have been a bit more careful when wearing the new one. I no longer wear it in the pool or even shower and find myself forgetting to put it back on as often. […]

The longest serving US military rifle – the Coconut Rifle

| July 8, 2020

The “Coconut Rifle” … known to most as the Colt ArmaLite AR-15 (SN 000106) … the original for what is now the longest primary service weapon in our country’s military history. The originals firearms (20 of them) were manufactured by Colt in 1959. One of them #106 was involved in a July 4th 1960 “Watermelon […]

Tech Friday: Apple Mac, Preview PDFs and Quartz Filter tweaks

| June 5, 2020

Size matters when emailing or just saving PDFs. It is easy to create them for paper-free archiving, but sooner or later most of them are larger than they need to be. Years ago in the printing world, almost every project was archived on CPPnet’s connected servers for our customers, usually in the Adobe PDF format. […]

If the end of bread is not called the heel, then what do you call it?

| May 28, 2020

What do you call the two pieces of bread that bookend all of the slices? Every once in a while, a quirky story gets me thinking and talking to those around me. I once though everyone called the ends of a loaf of bread the “heels.” Unbeknownst to me, even my wife had a different […]

Woodworking: Table Saw Clutter – a place for push sticks

| May 23, 2020

The workshop runs smother when there is “a place for everything and everything is in its place”  … to quote the printer and publisher Benjamin Franklin. On the other hand, perhaps the British are not fond of a “revolutionary” like Ben and prefer to credit Samuel Smiles, Mrs Isabella Beeton or John Hacket, Bishop of […]

Having fun with a “left brain – right brain” teaser photo

| April 17, 2020

We all must be looking for things to share or to occupy our thoughts after about a month stuck at home (like the Engine Parts word search post early this week)? Perhaps we are not alone since my brother Ron sent one of those viral images that makes its way around the Internet last year. […]

Thoughts on everyday terms we use without thinking

| April 4, 2020

In a business meeting decades ago, Brenda used the term “Catch-22” without giving the etymology much thought. After the meeting, a older senior executive came up to her and commented that he was surprised to hear a 30-year old using the term “Catch-22” … and then asked if she knew it’s history. She did no, […]

How big is the largest volcano? On Mars it is as big as France!

| March 31, 2020

Olympus Mons is the tallest mountain and largest volcano on any planet in the solar system. It is about the size of France (or the U.S. state of Arizona) and is a shield volcano 624 km (374 mi) in diameter, 25 km (16 mi) high, and is rimmed by a 6 km (4 mi) high […]

Woodworking crosscut sled discussion and bookshelves update

| March 29, 2020

This is a two-purpose post: A woodworking (sort of) bookshelves project archive update and shared information on a jig I made. First, the bookshelves and music room/ library painting coming along slowly. I’m bogged down with putty, sanding and painting after adding a strip light shield (wood to hide the LEDs that I’m planning to […]

Woodworking: Best plywood edge banding advice and #video

| March 8, 2020

While planning a long overdue bookcase woodworking project, I needed to learn a little more about edge banding. Previous bookcases that I’ve made have all been solid wood and either painted (in our first and second homes) or stained and poly finished oak (several book, CD, video and DVD case). This planned project is a […]

Woodworking: Jon Peters on biscuit jointers and a great tip

| February 16, 2020

Although one could spend all day or night watching YouTube advice videos from expert woodworkers, I’ve limited my viewing to a few guys. I’m fond of Jon Peters for both the quality of his videos and for the short “focused” tips. In a recent YouTube video, he points out how often he finds himself using […]

High CalendarAgent CPU use on Apple MacOS Catalina 10.15.3

| February 12, 2020

Here’s a tech tidbit for those noticing a high CalendarAgent CPU demand on your Apple Macintosh computer. For me, the process cranked up the CPU to 60-70% trigging high fan speeds and this process continued without finishing. I noticed slightly sluggish behavior AFTER a recent MacOS software update, although might have happened prior to that? […]

Mesmerizing: An ani gif of stitching a star-patch over a hole

| February 4, 2020

If you have a hole in your jeans, instead of a patch, how about “darning” it with a star?

The last post of the decade: Do you remember yard Jarts?

| December 31, 2019

While getting the Christmas decorations for Evergreen Farm Estates down from the poolhouse-garage loft earlier this month (Brenda and neighbor Pam have always decorated our neighborhood) …  I spotted the yard game of Jarts. (you probably need to be a baby boomer to remember them?) What were they thinking??? Just as with the “design of […]

Can stamps get you in the Christmas spirit? #random

| December 8, 2019

While trying my best to get in the Christmas spirit … how about something from the philately world? Although I’m not a stamp collector, back in the day my company Consolidated Printing and Publishing did some plate work for special cancels and printing for a stamp collecting organization. Besides, my father-in-law had an impressive stamp […]

Woodworking: Making a couple new clamping jigs for frames

| November 17, 2019

When it comes to clamping, I ascribe to the rule of thumb that you can never have too many clamps when woodworking. That said, I often don’t have enough when I’m working on a project … and lately it has been even worse since a few of my tools are in Florida (Condo1718 projects). Currently […]

Temporarily fixed our TV remote by substituting a CR2016 3 volt battery and a washer for a CR2032 3 volt battery

| November 12, 2019

Oh the crazy things we do in order to watch Monday Night Football. The remote I use in the Home Theater has been failing and finally would no longer work. Unlike years ago when you could walk up to a TV and change the channels, our new set-up require a remote control to change nearly […]

How-To: A workshop tidbit for accurately drilling shelf pins

| September 21, 2019

While talking with my good friend Mark Jones about accurately drilling pin holes to mount a few glass shelves in a tight space, he gave me a great idea to use a piece of peg board to align all the holes accurately. Thanks Mark, a great tip! But in my case, I didn’t have a […]

What life lessons did your grandparents pass down to you?

| September 8, 2019

Hopefully grandparents are as appreciated ad much today as they were in generations past? I think most are, but as a new grandfather, it is hard to live up to the legacy left by grandparents of previous generations. I’m thankful for the 10-years I had with my grandparents on this year’s National Grandparents Day (September […]

Archive: Creative Wind Scoop idea for #sailing #sailboat

| September 5, 2019

Saw this on a sailing forum and thought it would be a great sewing tidbit to add to an Encore project list. Looks simple and compact enough.

A workbench repair and a cool oil filter wrench idea

| August 31, 2019

Last week I brought my old Poulan chainsaw back to life for a few dollars after giving away my newer one, but I ended up damaging my workbench while adjusting the carburetor jets. The saw was still in several pieces (without filter, the bar, chain or guard on) while making tune-up adjustments and I accidentally […]

So you want to be a aerospace engineer? Get inspired.

| August 28, 2019

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.
My Desultory Blog