Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Posts tagged “learning curves

Tidbits for’ya

Been posting a bit about my power set up around the homestead.  Some of ya have been around the shop awhile enough to know what my set up at home is.   Not just the power that I have been posting about, but the other things, like cooking and stuff.   

Well, first up, if you have ever spent any time in a nice (read newer) RV, you wouldn’t feel too out of place in my house.   All of my lighting is 12vdc, ALL of it.  My system is a hybrid system, half DC and half Alternating current, pretty much the same as an RV would be set up.  Instead of the DC to DC converter to run the 12v stuff while attached to shore power, I just go straight through my batteries.  (well, the charge controller and a fuse box, but the point is moot.). My AC circuits are powered by either a 1500watt Pure Sine wave inverter (computers don’t really like the modified sine wave stuff) OR my Honda Genny.   I have both ran into the breaker-box via the expedient but versatile means of a 30amp extension cord.  Of course the Genny is outside on the porch or under the porch when in use, so the cord has to be able to reach it, otherwise it stays coiled up in the ‘battery shed’, which is a small enclosed room in my house.   I chose to do that so I don’t have to worry about my batteries getting cold shock. (and since I am considering switching over to Lithium, even better.  Lithium really doesn’t like weather like we have been seeing of late and has to be warmed up to be able to charge.  And discharge rates get kind of funky when they fall below a certain temp.  Inside will be perfect for them.)

Now, as for cooking, I have a propane fired stove/oven.  Yup, one of those ‘dinky’ cooking stoves from an RV.   It won’t bake a Large pizza, but it will cook a tin of biscuits just fine.  And with a little planning, can cook everything a bachelor would want to cook.   Due to power considerations, I don’t have a Microwave, and have learned to do without one.   My popcorn intake has fallen to nothing over the last 6 years for obvious reasons. (and thats not a bad thing,,,,).  

You already know I heat my house with a wood-burner, so I don’t need to go into that.   My air movement is via a 12vdc ceiling fan, made for RV’s by no smaller than a normal house current model, and even has a remote control that lives near my desk.   The motor in the fan is brushless so quiet as all get out. My house is set up with a vaulted ceiling so all the rooms are connected ‘up top’, making that fan perfect for getting the heat from the stove spread around. (my battery room has a ceiling, I didn’t want fumes from them getting around open flames. Just sayin’)

Hot water.   I have a propane fired, on demand hot water heater.   It uses 2 D-cell batteries for the igniter, no pilot light, and I get about 2 months of hot water on a single 10# tank of propane.  The same type you get for your gas grill, and here local, I have a place that refills them at a much better rate than those kiosks at the local stores exchange them for.  (my stove and fridge run on a 20# tank, more about that next).  The only thing I don’t like about my water heater: it has a 20 minute timer built into it and there are days were I really want to soak up the heat of a hot shower.  If I hit that 20 minute mark, oops, cold water coming straight your way,,,,    grrrr.   Other than that, its no different in performance to having a hot water tank.   Turn the tap and a few seconds later you have steaming hot water.  And it has a T-stat that I can adjust on the fly: higher in winter, lower in summer.  (It doesn’t ‘fix’ a temp like a water tank does, it modulates it by whats incoming, and the water in winter is WAY colder.)

My fridge.   This is one area where I need to bite the bullet this year.   The poor thing has been having some issues lately of staying cold, or in rare instances, freezing everying in the bottom solid.  More the first than the last.   Its a Norcold 8 CuFt two door unit.   the freezer area isn’t as large as I would like, but when it works, it works great.   Its call a ‘three way’ unit since it can run on AC, DC or Gas.   The gas seems to work the best, but the bugger will burn through a 20# tank in 10 days, not including the gas I use for cooking.   The AC works pretty good to, and the DC, well, when the power starts getting like it is, I will just switch to straight gas and wing it.   The lower the voltage on the batteries, the higher the wattage the fridge pulls to keep the heat up, so best to keep it from sucking things dry.   If I know the day is going to be bright and cloud free, I will shut the gas off and run to the panels/batttery bank.  If I am running the Genny, switch to AC.   Yeah, it all has to be ‘keyed in’, but thats the price I pay for a unit that doesn’t need the grid to operate.   (right now I am trying to find a place that will rebuild the poor thing, or exchange for a refurbished unit.  She is definitely starting to show her age.  NOTE: these fridges are NOT cheap.   The list price on this unit new, is $2200.)

It sounds funny, but the most my system does, is charge batteries. Batteries for my phone, battery in my Mac, batteries for my Dewalt power tools, etc etc. I run some lights as needed, and the fridge to keep my perishables cold, but that is pretty much it.

If you have bought my book “Outside looking in” you already know my schpeal about ‘figuring out what lifestyle changes you need to make’ to go off grid.   The biggest for me was losing a lot of the toys others take for granted.  I have no TV, no Cable, no High powered stereo system (I do have a 400w sound system that plugs into my lappy or an Ipod for when I want to ‘let my hair down’.) nor do I have gaming systems, or oodles of kitchen appliances.  (Yup, I use an old hand crank can opener.   You know how hard it is to find those these days????). In many ways, I FEEL better off for it.   Unplugging from the Mess of the World is as easy as putting my phone on  the charger in the truck and leaving it there while I get on with my living in my world.   Seems like I have been doing quite a bit of that the last two years, and still can’t get away from it enough.  If I had a ‘news service’ IE cable, I would have probably gone postal before now.


(Fiction) December 19th 2020

She’s been in there for two days now, mask on to answer the door and working from home. Won’t even go out to get groceries: has them delivered to her doorstep.

I’ve been watching since the 14th. Well, longer actually, but full stalk the last five. When she wrote that article in The Nation, I was done waffling. She became my target. One of many, but the closest one to me.

Here comes her daily delivery of that crap she calls food. Never have understood how people think they can subsist on beansprouts. Good to build up vitamin C in winter time, but thats about the only advantage.

“Hey, man. Do you have the time?” I say as I approach the delivery boy near the corner. I made sure that there wasn’t a spot in front of the house so he had to park out of sight. A big white work van and some traffic cones do wonders and the sheep don’t seem to question such things, even though there are no markings on it.

“Yeah, hold on,,,,” he says as he shifts his load around to pull out his phone. That’s when I slip the ether soaked rag in his face and slid around behind him to hold him, and drag him into the alley. He’s gonna have a hell of a headache since the ether I’m using was starting fluid in a can 5 minutes ago. Gotta move quick. Shirt and jacket off. Zip-ties to wrist and ankles. Slap duct tape over his mouth. Since its cold, I toss an old ratty comforter I found in the trash over him. Slip on his shirt and jacket grab his bags of her delivery and head to her house.

“Where’s Justin?”

“He was loaded up and asked me to help out. We’re swamped right now with the curfews and lockdowns. ” I say from behind my mask covered face. She swings the door a little wider so she can get the bags from me. I use the slip to barge the door out of her hands as I shove the bags into them. Her reflexes kick in, grabbing the bags, as I shove her further inside and slap that ether covered rag into her mouth as she starts to scream. I quickly, but gently close the door behind me. I’m in overdrive, moving faster than she can think and my moves are practiced; hers are pure reaction.

“I’m not going to make a big production of this.” I say to her as I knock the bags out of her hands and cover her mouth to keep her from spitting the rag out. I can see the ether is kicking in a little but most of it has evaporated. Likely she’ll feel fuzzy-headed, but it won’t knock her out. Good. I want her to know whats happening. “Since you and yours have decided that laws mean nothing, me and Mine find your terms acceptable. I am now your jury, judge and executioner.” Her eyes go wide and she starts to struggle. I grab her by the back of the neck, pinching the tendons there, HARD. I can hear her squeak through the rag. Walking her through her kitchen, facing that very same alley where poor Justin is sleeping the sleep of the innocent, I grab up the longest knife from her knife block. Her eyes go even wider seeing this.

I slam her back against the door to her pantry, slamming that knife through her throat, spine, and into the wood door. Immediately she starts gurgling but can’t talk as that knife is right through her larnyx. I pull the rag out of her mouth.

“Welcome to the world you created by spreading lies as truth. Sentencing complete. ” I say as I press a small .22 cal pistol in the center of her forehead and pull the trigger. The sound is muffled as the expanding gases follow the bullet into her skull. I hear her sinuses ‘pop’ from the overpressure and blood starts flowing from her nose and ears. Her body twitches but doesn’t fall, suspended by that knife stuck through her throat into the door.

I drop Justins shirt and jacket to the floor at the foyer, lock the door and exit. I have no idea whose van I stole yesterday and leave it where it is in front of the girls place. One more misdirection in whatever investigation follows when they find her. I swing around the other direction to where my car is, 3 blocks away. Just another nobody headed home before the curfew starts.


Monday, write prompts

I don’t normally do write prompts since I tend to write several times a day without being prompted.  My brain never stops churning and there are times where the writing muse takes over and I ‘stop everything’ long enough to set down some notes.  If I don’t,  the idea scatters like a murder of Crows in a corn field being shot at. (You did know that a group of crows is called a murder, right?)

Todays writing prompt that I don’t use (🤪) was inspired by a short conversation on FB.  “When did the kayak bug strike you?” 

Well, it wasn’t in July of 2018, though that was the first time I owned one.  The real bug bite was in ’92, when I lived in O-side Kaliforniastan.  I lived across the street from a custom surfboard shop and the owner lived above it.  I liked the atmosphere of the shop and would hang out when Shem, my GF, was in her creative phase and a complete terror to be near. He was getting out of the shortboard craze and going back to long boards when one of his customers came in, wanting a repair for a sea kayak.  When they showed up with it, I was lost.  Those lines and curves, just bedazzled me.  Then I saw that same kayak out in the surf off La Jolla, near seal rock.  I watched it out there for two hours, skimming the waves, backsurfing, rolling under breakers to come up the other side and get back out in the swells. I was in awe.

I wanted one.

A short spurt of shopping.

Hope sank like the Titanic with TWO holes in it.  There was no way I could even consider $4000 for a boat that only held one person and was twice as long as my car (not quite, but I was driving a Fiat X/1-9 then.  Where do you strap a kayak to a two seater sportscar?  )  (and as I have found, the intial cost of boat/lathe/car/house, is just the admission fee, its the add-ons that get ya!)

26 years later, serendipity dropped the Carolina in my lap and the ramp up began.  2 years later ,,,

Have to clear the work space

Three skin on frame kayaks, two white water yaks, and a stripbuilt expedition boat in process. And I have more investment in the peripheral gear than the boats themselves. Spray skirts, PFDs, wetsuits, dry tops, dry bags, floatbags, etc. I can outfit another paddler my size without stretching things and two if one has their own PFD.

And like I saw another person say, “I’m still on the swim team” meaning. I haven’t learned to roll yet. Oh, but so so close. Just need more seat time and a couple more sessions with someone in the know. B swears I only need one more session and I’ll be rollin’, but I am a pessimist. I know how stubborn I can be. I practice the different motions so the muscles know the routine, and keep the dialogue in my head. Soon,,,,

But that was the day I knew I wanted to kayak. I can even tell you the make and the designers name. It was a P&H Biadarka designed by Derek Hutchinson. I knew NOTHING about either the boat or Derek until recent years, but I remember the owner being VERY proud of his boat and who designed it. Now, I own books written by Derek, made a paddle based on one of his designs, and used some of his lines when designing Serena.

Talk about a long gestation period for a bug!!! LOL. It was just one of those things that kept getting shuffled to the side or to the back burner to simmer a bit longer. It was never a priority in my world, but it NEVER went away either.

I’ll be back at the running commentary of this Asylum we call 2020 tomorrow.


Words of advice

As another once told me: Everything you want or desire is on the othereside of HARD.

The more effort you exert, the easier things become until they seemingly happen without effort.

But if you don’t put forth that effort first, nothing will ever happen.

More later.


Wudooyadoo?!?!

When the world is topseyturvey and normality is asleep in the trunk of an old lead sled careening out of control without brakes?

Build a flippin paddle. Thats my answer anyways. Weather is just as crazy as the rest of the world right now with the remnants of a hurricane breaking over us, so paddling is out (its not the rain, its the electricity in the air that stops me)

Here are the pics.

Same length as my older paddle, same loom but I decided to try a shoulderless design this round.

Not finished, still a lot of shaping to do and sanding, sanding, sanding. I plan on glassing the lower section of the blade, more as protection than looks, from beating anti-social rocks into submission. The loom will be a linseed oil and beeswax mix I found works great and doesn’t tear waterlogged hands to ribbons.

Alright, thats that for the weekend.

A question to all the readers, please respond in comments. Do you feel something in your soul right now? A kind of ‘impatiently waiting’ feeling?

No need to elaborate in comments (unless ya really wanna) a simple thumbs up or down will suffice.

The Tuttle Twins - a child's foundation of freedom


Somedays, the bear gets you

This ‘bear’ has been creeping up on me for awhile. Not real certain how it came to be, or if there is even a ‘fix’. But the problem is very obvious now.

The gunwales in Serena have warped and the entire boat now has a noticable twist from bow to stern. Seen on deck the bow leans to port where the stern deck leans to starboard. At the hull, the keel, which when I first skinned her was dead straight, now has an obvious ‘S’ shape and the cutwaters are leaning at odds to each other. Last time I had her on water was for rolling practice and she was quite damp inside after the fact. Being tied down to the rack probably helped keep things from being worse than they are (and a possible clue to a fix, maybe,,,)

She can be paddled, she will roll, but she is no longer the “Expedition class ” kayak. Sure, you could do it, and after a 1/2 mile, the correcting strokes would be as absent minded as my ex-wife, but you would feel it the next day. And getting into a ‘good’ boat would have you flustered in seconds until your hind-brain adapted again.

I’m tempted to try this and see if it fixes the issue. Fill her with water and let it soak in for a period of days/week. Drain it out and clamp in the rafters of an out building over the winter. Let the frame ‘relax’ by being wet then ‘train it’ with the clamping. Over the winter because the humidity slowly shifts from “scuba req’d” summer months to “dry out a mummy” winter chills.

That will likely be my course of action as I have time and money tied up in her . If it doesn’t work, I’ll strip the frame, clean it up and put in on the market as a conversation piece. I’ve seen yak frames in th Rafters of seafood places a time or two, and if she isn’t a good boat afloat, she can be a great wallflower for others to enjoy seeing.

The Tuttle Twins - a child's foundation of freedom


Keep watching,,,,

I’ll keep saying it. Watch this stuff and you are gonna want to learn more about it.

Kiwi goes crypto

The basics aren’t hard. If you were to want to start ‘mining’, thats a whole different game, but learning what it is and how it is used; that, you want to learn.

Seeing how the last couple of posts about this are showing growth in credible markets, I am seeing the beginnings of a snowball effect. Keep watching.


Personal hurdles

One of my biggest issues and one I have fought time and again is ‘perfection’. I say it all the time; ‘I’m an imperfect perfectionist ‘ and it has been my Achilles heel since time out of mind. I’ve always been of the ‘if you want it done right, do it yourself” types. Even now, DIY is very much the center of my universe (and likely always will be for much of what I do.). When I was touring, it worked for me, but only during the shows; load-ins and load-outs were ‘hands-off’ thanks to IATSE and Teamsters unions, all depending on where we were and how the house was setup. New York was the worst for me and I would have to jam my hands deep into my pockets to keep from jumping in: directions by voice and head nods only. Otherwise, the unions would go to break, and I’m not talking about a 15 minute smoke break here, but schedule busting, budget eating hour long lunch breaks.

Well, that hurdle is one I am facing again, from a different perspective. I want money to work for me, but there are only so many hours in a day available to me.

Heck, everyone is limited to the same time frames, so how do you ‘get more time’?

Hire it out! Leverage with other peoples time. The saying is “build your dream or get hired to build someone elses” and that is where my learning curve is at right now. I’m trying to build that dream and finding there are things that will be far better for me to pay others for than to do myself. Like spending an entire saturday doing yard work, blech! If I can hire a local kid to do it for me, even if I have to pay him $50-75, I come out ahead as that frees up my time to do those other things that make money, and more than I am paying him. He’s happy, I’m happy, and my yard doesn’t look like an abandoned field.

Now where did all those kids split to,,,

————————————————————

Addendum: this goes back to those questions I began asking myself a few months back, and is an answer to the last one. If you aren’t buying time, your spending it.

Or wasting it,,,