2 Weeks to Fed, Awaiting Markets, Shop Talk Monday

[Exceptionally long (for the free side).  But go ahead, take some time and relax with it… Holiday, and all.]

Today’s coffee klatch of day-traders and tool sluts is now in order!

Our usual dose of news, but then back out to our shop as the weekend enters its final hours.  (Gimme a chorus of “Damn!)

Before knuckling down, there is hope.

There’s a very good article on ZDNet today proposing The four-day week will solve some of work’s biggest problems – but only if companies can adapt.

There are plenty of reasons to work the world around into a 4-10 week.  Not the least of which is the environment and the hiring boost it would likely bring.

But companies – and government – rarely listen to the real customer feedback.

You see, we (citizen-victims) have long-ago let loose of the Metrics of Success in America.  Government is largely reporting to Congress on a hit-or-miss.  When it does, it’s another “issues-shuffle” instead of an agency-wide mission audit.

Of course,  companies measure performance by other means.  Such as “free cash available to common” (stock).  Or, they go off in sector dominating which leads to customer disaffection.

One super-large online retailer sent two emails in the last week trying to convince me to read minority-written books.

I almost sent them a surly email, but I’ll say it here, instead.

We ONLY select reading material based on CONTENT and our own INTERESTS.

This is yet- another- symptom of Lost America  which seems a worthy remembrance on this day. While “negative racism” is bad, this retailer’s wandering readership  is actively sold the notion that literary racism (white-shaming) is “positive racism.”

Mainly racists would select their reading material based on race, religion, or national origin of the Author.

When my personal readings and research lead me to spend part of the weekend absorbing The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu (dandy reader),  race of authors didn’t even cross my mind.

If it does yours?  Get to WDH – Woke Deprogramming Help.  And GTFU.

World In a Nutshell

Big doings this week over Ukraine.

First, we see the Russian media reporting the US/Corporate Cabal has failed to “rumor Putin out of office.”  Russia’s Lavrov Denies Putin Is Ill.  Still, it has been a delightful piece of agitprop which only serves to reinforce our view that this war is about Globalism Taking Over.

Which is odd when I think about it. Vlad Putin defending the world from (crazy and) expansionist Europe.  Are we the only ones beholding the Brussell’s sprouts idea of Globalism Incarnate as a Ponzi scheme of historical proportions?

Look at maps over time and you’ll see how the megalomaniacs first acquired gently and through largely off-books negotiation has really played.  What we’re seeing in Ukraine is the EU’s version  of “Buy or Die.”

This is the “Die” part.

Behind the curtain, away from the EU puppeteer’s frantic movements, we also see a religious conflict of some consequence.  Patriarch Kirill ‘Understands’ Ukraine Church Schism – in The Moscow Times.

Seems both sides of this conflict are nominally committed to the same 10 Commandments.  How honest or robust can warring religions be?  And so continues sunset for spiritual toll-takers.

Brussel’s intransigence is assured as a possible turning point in the war is reached as Russian troops entering Sievierodonetsk in eastern Ukraine.  Couple this with EU members meeting to “demand” Russian energy. (Vlad’s no fool, he has Europe over a barrel.)

This will be gingerly rolled by the Corporate, Co-Opted press.  Because the whole “meetings whether to join the US with oil sanctions” discussion reminds both of us “thinking people” that the high gas prices and famine coming arer all created by Slow Biden.

EUROPE has unhindered energy from Russia.

The US sanctions merely brought back crooked accounting.  As a new stage of markup was added to the business model by Biden.  We are led by the most dangerous teleprompter reader in America.

A Memorial, Perhaps?

Our Power-Based Future

Some holiday neurons, perhaps, in the direction of how our future is shaping up is in order.  Anyone can play, though many people won’t exercise “command authority” over their own lives.

Here’s a newspaper laying the groundwork for government grants on battery storage technology.  Battery storage necessary for solar power expansion | Miami Herald.  While (thumbs to a different page of his self-published one-man newspaper)  Chinese Mining Billionaire To Invest $300 Million In Zimbabwe Lithium Project.

Thus, you can see how this will roll:  new variants of lithium technology are sure to follow.

But at the macro view, the same corporate drive to consume, looks to us like it will do to Zimbabwe the same way slavers did 200-years ago.

Field hands to lithium – something instructive about Global abuse of Africa if you think about it.  And who made the money on the gold, diamonds, and minerals of South Africa?

Each time indigenous peoples get screwed, there’s a sales pitch trying to convince the masses it’s for their own good.  Some examples? “Oh, this new labor source for plantations!” Or, perhaps in Amsterdam “This diamond business model will make us a fortune!”  Right down through “Lithium batteries will save the Planet!

Yeah, sure, you betcha.

Speaking of Climate

A not everyday story this morning will provide entertainment into the first part of the week.  On the Pacific Side of Central America, we have Hurricane Agatha about to slam tourist places on the coast of Mexico.

Thing is, if you hit the National Hurricane Center, you can see the case for it to “jump over onto the Caribbean side.  Like so:

Once it gets into the Gulf of Mexico – perhaps in a week – then trouble might be brewing somewhere between the RGV and Tampa.

But this is not a story about weather.  It’s really about Gender change.

You see, when I read Hurricane Agatha could spawn Alex, first named Atlantic storm, I just had to ask “Where is the gender-bending storm-naming convention online?

Don’t we need to pop a few billion over that way?

D.J. Ure’s musical accompaniment pick for Winnipeg audiences is Martha & the Vandellas – Heatwave – YouTube. Do Canadians ever learn to spell “heat” outside of the physics track?

Good luck chilling out this weekend: Heat Waves in the U.S.: Record high temperatures spurring cities to take action.  Which, when you read it one particularly jaundiced way, reads like yet-another warning of government expansion of power – ever.

“Pull over buddy,  we need to check that your vehicle’s air conditioning is set correctly…”

There’s no limit to the lust for power.  Only a limit to money and how many people can be screwed at once.

Adventures of Nancy

Offered without comment: Nancy Pelosi’s husband arrested for suspected DUI Hats off to Napa, CA police for enforcing the laws.

I’ve always harbored questions about how Nancy and Hubby’s work schedule would play out.  “Not tonight dear, I have a Congress.” To something like “Sure I’ll take out the trash, soon as I’m done buying California…”  Anyway, such idle speculations come to close to work.

Let’s wander toward the…

ShopTalk Monday: New Tools!

When I go tool shopping, which is about every day, seems, nothing is more fund than the arrival of Santa.

Santa – being really with the times – dresses up as different people.  The Mailperson, the UPS Person, and the FedEx Dude.

Here are some useful new tools.  Starting with the bottle cutter:

bottle cutter

It was $50-bucks, but I never had much luck with the manual glass cutters.  But even I may be able to whittle a drinking glass from a wine bottle.

What was the first one I remember?  “The Amazing Flemming Glass and bottle cutter!”   Wetted abrasive and 5,000 RPMs may get me there, yet.

Yet Another Welder!

Like the oxy-acetylene rig, MIG wire, and argon-breathing TIG, plus a stick welder were not enough?

These guys are going in the $30 dollar range on eBay.

Our tired old oxy-acetylene rig. Good for cutting things too big for the plasma rig (1/2″)

You can also buy a Micro Welder Torch for $24 bucks.  I have never dinked around with one of these, but it could be interesting.

If you’re after something a bit better on build quality? The original (category) welder was probably the Smith Little Torch.  Which has a much nicer finish, not doubt.  It all comes back to the reason for purchase, I suppose.

A related note is YesWelder has some pretty nice optics on their new wide-vision welding masks.  It was $90 bucks, but the improvement in welds (for half-blind me) was noticeable.

What you’re looking for (to see welds better than most home Makers) would be something that is a: Solar Powered Auto Darkening Welding Helmet, True Color Highest Optical 1/1/1/1, 4 Arc Sensor Wide Shade 4/5-9/9-13″ or better.  I picked this one.

Still Cleaning

Cleaning the shop.  Which entails a lot of work moving machines around to more (or less) workable positions.

Usefully,  Amazon had  tool boxes on sale recently.  I picked up a chest with four drawers because I hate pawing through shit to find the one thing I need.

One of these ended up as a workstation-specific tool chest for the 3D/CNC work area:

Serious tool note:  You will notice that I have ball-end Allen wrenches in rgar drawer.  If you only have the solid (chopped end) variety, do yourself a favor.  HUGE difference as the tool is much for forgiving of alignment.

Label Making

Part and parcel of shop cleaning is also tool labeling. I found myself doing this so that in case I keel-over some day (another way of saying careening for the nautically inept), I have been labeling everything in the shop.

Honestly, Brother makes some fair label-printers.  I used to be able to remember where every tool is – and tell anyone where to find what.

Thing now – as the shop has become more populated with three of everything – Elaine can’t come over and find something on her own.

Now, while Amazon has a good assortment of thermal label markers, I would caution you that in a Texas shop, the thermal paper becomes illegible after 7-8 years.

I was going to relabel the under-bench tools (blow-molded boxes for things like the Sawz-All), but more and more the projects we’re doing evolve either to stationary or battery powered tools.

If you need time sinks to fill out the rest of the weekend, there is never a shortage of garage or “storage room” crap that could be labeled.

Maker Video of the Week

How about a complete 49 min build of an electric car from two bicycles?  Check this out:

Absolutely AMAZING skills.  And (in case you didn’t notice) NOT made in the U.S.A.

Again, more evidence that a country isn’t worth a crap when it forgets to work with its hands.

Survival and strong Industrial Arts seem to go hand-in-hand.

As China is teaching to all but the myopic left.

Asian markets were up 2 percent overnight.  Europe is up half a percent, or so.  But after the opening fray in the US tomorrow?  We will be only 2-weeks from the next Fed FOMC raise.  Well, unless they bend to political pressure and get things wrong once again.

Write when you’re right,


ShopTalk Sunday: Ladder Rescue – Super Booth – Manpack HF

Oh, boy. This morning’s report will be a “two cupper” – and maybe three cups – if you study the ideas, problems and pictures of today a little bit. There is so much going on around here it’s, well, amazing.  This writing less and doing more is turning out to be most agreeable.

We’ll get to our first work – the Ladder Rescue Project – in a sec. What happens with time (and goal) management, though, is really interesting.

Doing More – By Doing MORE

If you remember, I vowed to take a little “extra time in the shop” and cut down my writing a bit.  Less chair time.

So, a near book-length outline of an improved (and practical) system of Pomodoro-based time-management is in the works now – with respect to Francesco Cirillo (The Pomodoro Technique: The Acclaimed Time-Management System That Has Transformed How We Work) and Cal Newport  who wrote Deep Work. I’m hitting productivity levels of a “man possessed” i30-years younger.

The magic (at least for me) has been using a modified Pomodoro approach (Cirillo) while honoring Newport’s Big Things take real.

I’ll get into that (when other things are less pressing) over on the Peoplenomics.com website.  I will say that ever since I found more joy in work – by wrapping it up in a spreadsheet to randomly organize everything in a complicated life – which Peoplenomics subscribers can download in spreadsheet form from here – I have been maniacally focused on getting more done in less time.  And having more fun!

Going Deeper…

This gets around to a fundament thought-into-action concept called iWAMP.  That’s short for the continuous question: “Is What’s Around Me Perfect?”  Because to find out what’s really important to do at moment, all we need to do is look around and spot areas of “imperfection.”  World’s an imperfect place.  Unlimited opportunity for improvement, right?

Since we can each do anything, but life is too short to do everything, we need “Search Criteria” for personal management.  My favorites are Important, Impactful, and Interesting projects to improve-living.

  • Important because ideally, our projects and works should result in a meaningful change in how the Universe expresses itself in our presence.
  • Impactful because these “works and projects” should not be “organizing the angels on the head of a pin” (minutia, meaningless).  Rather they should make things better both personally and for others in our vicinity. Big acts seem to net Bigger Results.  (There may be time lags, however.)
  • Interesting because, as I wrote in my book Packing to Die, a LARGE part of living this Life is about the “game film playback around the time of dying. Which is in the literature (medically) analyzed as the Life Review Process (or Experience).

Never, ever forget that our Lives are like a huge video -and our brains have a miraculous GoPro logging system. A late friend of mine used to end his radio DH show with “You can’t turn your back on your Face.”  

To live a great life there are three critical alignments:

  • As above, so below – Incoming:  We start life with the choice to work with Creator/Universe or fight it.  (Hint: Go with the flow!)
  • During: We need to align our lives, while living, with what we consciously know as our highest purpose.  Fun – do what you love.
  • Exit, Stage Up: And WHILE doing front-end alignment and while “driving through life” alignment, we also need to remain cognizant that we are constantly “rolling game film” with our onboard “dash-cams.”  Playback (with commentary of Others) when you kick it to the LRE.

Life cannot, therefore, be genuinely and deeply experienced sitting still. Doing Big Shit is key.  Little stuff can wait.  Really.

Which is why, when we’re not slicing off small (but semi-regular -;)) day trades, we are really focused on turning our home into a creative Mecca.

Maybe next weekend we can talk about one of the core concepts here:  Workstations for Success!  We have “workstations” for every major task-group in Life around here.  Or, they’re in development…

Whee!  Long get-started discussion, but useful in the longer haul.  Trust me on this.

Ladder Rescue

20-years ago, or thereabouts, we moved to the Outback of East Texas.  For the massive remodel, I bought a wooden ladder.  Stndard 6-footer. And we have just abused the hell out of it.

This week, the paint bucket fold-down fell apart.  It was time to rescue the ladder to ensure it remained useful.


You can see the problem, clear-enough:  Ladder was old and “beat to shit.”  But now came the 2-cups of coffee “thinker” on this one:  What is – to channel Frederick Winslow Taylor -the One Best Way to get the repairs made?  Let’s review some choices:

  • Replace and Upgrade:  Yes, the ladder is 20-years old. Could I update and get a better platform?  Yes.  Only takes money and time.
  • Repair:  This offers a who list of approach choices:
    • Glue:  Use modern adhesives.  Clamp and use in an hour or less.
    • Screw:  Pretend the world has ended and there’s no more epoxy.  What is the lower-tech solution?
    • Re-Do:  Take the assembly all the way apart and put it back into amazing like-new condition.  Recut all broken parts.

Re-Do looked interesting.  But, on closer inspection, the original paint shelf was applied using long-ass staples which we don’t stock in our shop:

Screwing the project together?  The wood was beginning to split, so at least two pieces of wood would be needed.  Thing is, they are riveted to the ladder as pivot points and now we would be back into a mechanical engineering process.  Color me skeptical of rivets.

The right answer led me to the Glue department where we are reasonably stocked.

But please note that Loctite has a couple of “flavors” of 3-thousand pound epoxy.

The Big Project tubes don’t come with two “mixing nozzles.”  (See arrow above).  Make SURE to get the kind for small projects with the mixing nozzle and cap so you can get two small projects if you don’t do a lot of epoxy glue-ups.

In gluing, there is a theory that using Saranwrap can be a useful thing:

It’s all a lie.  While you can try it (as I did), better off using nitrile gloves and just dealing with the fact that gluing is messy no matter what.

When you’ve got glue all over everything, clamp it up:

Come back an hour or two later, paint the repair (and remember not to leave the old wood ladder outside, as much.

Last step:  Old wooden ladders use long “threaded rods” to hold the steps in place.  If your ladder is the least bit wobbly (side to side) odds are tightening up the threaded rods will fix you right up.

Manpack HF Radio

Having had the joy of talking from Texas up to Wisconsin on 3 watts of SSB on the 20-meter ham band, son G2 and I decided to take this portable QRP (low-power) hamming to the next level.

This week, we assembled all the parts needed for a serious HF manpack radio:

About the only thing not shown?  An aluminum framed backpack.  You can find something useful for under $40 online.

The one odd-ball part is a 10-inch UHF (SO-239 female each end) bulkhead fitting.  This 10″ section is pipe-clamped to one side of the backpack.

I also did some antenna modeling and found there’s an inexpensive 2-3 dB of antenna gain possible by just putting on a “radial ring.”  This will be at the top of the bulkhead connector, and will allow 4 to 6,  3-foot sections of aluminum welding rod to be bent onto screws as base ground radials.

Not a fan of having RF right by my head (care for the void, right?).  But can’t be worse than country cooking with 5G, right?

More pictures and notes in a following edition.

Super Booth Project

Going with this “workstations: approach to the shop (and house), I mentioned several weeks back that I was going to clean an area of the shop and put in a “small tools with chair” section.  Big tools are used standing up and small tools can be safely used while seated.

This “small maker’s area” will be optimized for multi-function use:

  • Small square and angle sawing:  Place for our old Dremel Table Saw.
  • Freeform sawing:  Places for the retro Dremel MotoSaw and the larger Skil 16″ scroll saw.
  • Small wood lathe:  There’s a tiny 8X12 Wen mini-lathe that needs a home here.  Wen is discontinuing it, but it’s very good on smaller projects. Pens, models, and such.
  • Metal lathe?  I’m still debating if the small Taig metal lathe should live in this area or stay over in the metal workstation area.  May not move it.
  • Air Brushing Booth (finally, to the point, huh?)  Now we’re into the meat of it…

You see, this week, I decided that a three-sided U shape would likely result since we also need some work/assembly space.  And I came very close to “pulling the trigger” on this (nice) air brushing booth.  Then I saw the $20 shopping charge and moved back into thinking mode. Money matters.

Thing is, it occurred to me we could do this booth thing as a Community Project.  Because what I REALLY want is a dual-purpose booth.  Something that could be used for BOTH airbrush painting AND also has a dust booth for the small CNC machine.

See the problem developing?  Either I need to get a real efficient design going OR I need to have this split into two workstations.  Airbrush supplies alone look like this laid out on the small projects sit-down bench:

By the time I add in all the other small tools (Dremel drill press, router, tool stand and flex shaft, the table saw) and then toss in the small lathe and the scroll saw, this whole “single workstation for small stuff” begins to bump up against dimensioning limits of physical Reality.

For the Booth project, I ordered four booth filters and a 4-inch inline fan for less than $50 and I can make the rest from scrap and build up the filter box and print it on the Creality CR-10.  I might even post the .STL file so others can borrow the idea…

Ranch Tour

Everything in the Garden Room is going nuts.  Wde have more than a dozen yellow squash flowers popping:

Elaine’s happy with the radishes that are nearing edible size:

And out front?  We may be in a national drought, but East Texas lawns still have that “let’s play golf on this” look to ’em:  View from the dirt garden:

One Last Thing: Oil Painting

I decided this week to try and do an oil paint.  Elaine’s already got a “paint station” out on the screen porch…and now there are two easels and sets of paint and….

Why paint?  Well, the process intrigues me.  More to the point, though, I am working on trying to “bring back some view of Dream Realms” and this seemed like a simple way to do it.  Installing a USB port into my brain stem didn’t seem like a “home small shop weekend project.”  Know what I’m saying?

Not really worth showing yet, but it begins to rough-in something like this for the first painting I have in mind:

Might be fun to put a picture of progress on this up, now and then, to see how it “condenses to the physical plane” as I paint in coming weeks.

OK< nothing to do around here, no sir…

Write when you get rich,


P.S.  Click the comments label here to send in your ideas on this multipurpose booth project…