Friday, July 3, 2020

Save North Cascades Harley Davidson

Harley Davidson (Corporate) is shutting down our local dealer.  Next nearest dealer, 60 miles south.  Meanwhile there are multiple dealers in Seattle.

BMW did this a few years ago and BMW owners had to travel to Seattle to get their bikes worked on.  I talked to several people who had actually decided to either sell their BMW or not buy a new one because it was such a hassle to get anything done to it.

In an attempt to change the minds of the decision makers at Harley Davidson I started a petition as well as a website to promote Harley's contact information.

Appreciate any visits and support for the cause.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Police reform

Some years ago I heard an interesting proposal on a podcast.  I have no idea where I heard it so can't give credit where credit is due, but I wonder if anyone is thinking seriously about this strategy.

Require all police officers to purchase their own liability insurance.  Each officer would be given a stipend based on the cost of said insurance for an applicant with a "clean" record.  Anything above that amount comes out of the officer's pocket.  If an officer is perceived as a bad risk by the insurance companies, their price would presumably increase.  A really bad cop would not be able to afford the premiums and officers would have an incentive to minimize those behaviors which increased their liability costs.

No idea if this is realistic or even possible but it seemed like an interesting idea when I first heard it and seems even more interesting now.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Like a bull in a china shop

Just wondering. 

Step 1: Get a job in a china shop
Step 2: Get an emotional support bull
Step 3: Take it to work and sue when they asked me not to

At the very least you'd get some awesome headlines out of it.

Oh, and you could then take the phrase "emotional support bull" any way you wanted.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020


Yes, it's official.  Black stuff growing on your wall is bad with a capital B-A-D.  Figured it was time to cut it out and see what was in the back.

A month ago, definitely leaking:

Last week.  Uh oh. That black stuff doesn't look promising.

Step 1: Go to the hardware store to buy an oscillating saw.

Result: All they have is a cheap one.  I don't buy cheap tools.

Step 2: Text your neighbor and ask if he owns a reciprocating saw.

Result: He does, but since you asked for the wrong thing, that doesn't help.  I also have a reciprocating saw

Step 3: Drive to the nearest bigger town (30 minutes away) and buy a good quality oscillating saw.

Step 4: Clear as much stuff out of the kitchen as you can so that it doesn't get moldy plaster dust on it, before realizing that you don't have anything to cover the rest.

Result: Turns out your sister is in town and could pick up dirt cheap bedsheets at the local big grocery/stuff store, you just have to drive 23 minutes to her house to pick them up when she gets home.  Better than 30 minutes to town and then you get to visit your sister.

Step 5: Cover stuff.  Cut out part of wall.

Result: Discover that it is soaked back there but that it sort of looks like it might just be from the leaking toilet (which you fixed) and the leaking sink (which you fixed).

Step 6: Wait.  See if it dries out.   I am really not ready for a full upstairs bathroom/downstairs kitchen renovation.  I want to see if I can hold out for four more years when the house will be paid off, at which point I can pay cash for the renovation I want.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Gas stove igniter replacement

Not to sound callous, but this virus has been a godsend for my project list.  Turns out that NOT getting home after a long day at work and being tired is the key to being productive at home.

Had an igniter switch go bad on my GE range.  Wasn't the end of the world as all five igniters operate as one from any of the five switches, so the key to igniting the bad burner was to turn one burner to start, turn the gas on the bad burner, turn the switch off on the other burner.

Yesterday, having had the new igniter switch lying around for most of eight months, and not wanted to work on any of the projects out in my garage or back yard, I decided it was time to pull the stove apart.

First step is to take the top off.  You have to undo all the screws from all the burners (total of 15) using a T-15 torx bit.  Some of them were tight and my inexpensive t-handle torx broke.  Out to the trailer for my Snap On 1/4 drive bit and a ratchet.  Much better.

One thing that was NOT mentioned in the helpful video that I watched was that the igniter for the center burner actually inserts from above, into a metal clip, and has a wire attached to the bottom of it.  Thankfully the wire is designed to be pulled out from the bottom (momentary panic when I tugged on it and it came out without knowing that was the design).  A bit of  a hassle because you have to hold the top up, reach under and disconnect the wire, then tug and push the igniter through the top before you can lift the top off the stove.

Anyway, fifteen screws and one igniter later the top, which has two spring loaded clips at the front which are released by shoving a putty knife under the front, lifts out and is set aside.

Next the front panel had to come off.  The knobs just pull straight  out.  There were four phillips head screws on top, four phillips head screws on the front (holding the second and fourth assemblies to the panel, and four hex head screws underneath (easily accessible with the door open).

The igniter on the far right is the one I needed to replace and of course they were all hard wired together.  Obviously a single assembly from the factory, connected at the far left with sealed connectors.

Fortunately I had those in my shop trailer so back out to get the parts and ...

... snip two wires, strip four wires, discover that the red wire is hot, unplug the stove, crimp two connectors, reassemble.

Voila, working burner.

I did not enter this project lightly.  My experience has been that no project, no matter how simple, survives first contact with the enemy.  100% failure of 100% of projects to go smoothly and not require some sort of trip to somewhere to get something, generally leading to loss of enthusiasm on my part.

This one was as unbelievably simple as it gets.

EDIT: Weird.  When I added the little video to the post to show the burner lighting, it switched it around.  Mirror image.  Now the repaired burner is on the left instead of the right.  First time I've ever inserted a video so I have no idea if this is normal.

EDIT: Wow, the pictures made it a whole day.  So much for the experiment where I  upload pictures to Google Drive from my phone and then use the pictures in Google Drive to write posts in Google blogger.  I'll take care of them later today or tomorrow.

Monday, May 4, 2020

All the projects belong to us

Was over at Completely Non Threatening's blog and noticed that he posted up two projects in one day.  Replaced a front door and replaced the beams in his house to raise the ceiling height.  Since he presumably didn't do those both in one day, I assume that he is taking advantage of the stay at home orders (although I think he's retired so I'm not sure what difference that makes).

That made me think that it might be interesting to see what I have accomplished while staying at home.

For the record, I hate my job now that I have to stay at home.  One thing I have discovered about myself is that I am not a good candidate for "work from  home".  I get bored and can't get stuff done; I find myself constantly checking to see if there are any updates from my students that need to be dealt with; I find myself working like mad to get home projects done and neglecting everything else.   That being said, I have got a bunch of projects either done or mostly done pending some sort of weird next step, even if it has been at the expense of my students.  So here's a list with snaps:

1) Drainage (still need to level out some ground and pour concrete into adjacent patio)

2) Road King engine (struggling to get it to crank with compression and I'm thinking I may have a ground cable issue)

3) trailer rebuilds (two trailers, one of which has been idle for about fifteen years, one of which was bequeathed to me by a former roommate but which needed repairs.  Done but for pulling wires on the old trailer and possibly replacing one leaking down wheel, which I have to do a cost benefit analysis)

FWIW pic is of old trailer before I did anything

Projects I'm thinking about:

1) Tear down plaster in kitchen to see if leakage is still happening from upstairs bathroom, which would be gross

2) Install baseboard quarter round trim in all rooms in which I've redone the floors but haven't quite finished the project because I have to paint and cut every piece of trim

3) Get the 1989 CBR600F carburetors put back together one more time (5 and counting including sending them out to a Texas company to whom I paid a lot of money and then they came back poorly done (to be charitable)) and see if it will run

4) Buy a decent table saw and rip some spacers so that I can install door trim around three door sides in my antique house in which everything is non-standard size

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Drainage: So Far, So Good

My own personal lake appears every winter.  Didn't used to but about ten years ago the city graded the alley and somehow forced the water runoff onto my lawn.  Since I don't want a lake there, I want a patio there, I decided to put in some drainage.

All by hand.  (Edit: Just found this picture that I took early on.  Trench in the foreground = me digging.  Lake in the background = trench dug by tractor in the fall when getting ready for concrete pad off to the left.)

So, the steps.

Step 1: Figure out where the drain is going to go.  I had old drainage that was still connected to the main drains around the house and garage.  All I had to do was figure out where they were.  Problem? I buried the cap years ago because it was in a hole in my back yard.  Solution?  I put a coffee can over top of it before I buried it.  Enter friend with metal detector who narrowed it down to a couple places around where I thought it was.  You can see the hole where I found the cap right at the bottom of the picture and where I planned on tapping in just above that.  In this picture I've actually already done some of the drainage

Step 2: Cart wheelbarrows of drain rock from across the street.  My neighbors are redoing all their drainage and had 12 yards of rock delivered  They told me to help myself.

Fun fact: one yard of drain rock is 18 partially filled wheelbarrows.

Another fun fact: 18 wheelbarrows partially filled with drain rock is a back breaking chore to move across the street

Third and final fun fact: It is even less fun if you have a wheelbarrow wheel that loses air and you
forget to check it one morning until after you have filled the wheelbarrow half full of drain rock, at which point it is easier to drag the compressor across the street than it is to re-shovel the rock.

So anyway...

Step 3: Drain rock in bottom of trench, drain pipe on rock (I bought the kind that is already enclosed in a fiber sock), drain rock on top of pipe, landscaping fabric on top of rock (the less dirt than can migrate down to drain, the longer it will last), and finally dirt on top of fabric.  I tried to reuse my sod chunks as much as possible and it actually looks OK everywhere that I don't still have a pile of excess dirt.

Connection to existing drainage pictured at left

Prior location of the lake pictured at right.

So far we've had three days with somewhat heavy rain and not a drop of standing water to be seen, so I am hopeful.