Category Archives: Stuff

Making an effort to write what I’m thinking

I’ve had an “on again, off again” writing habit over the years.  Typically when I’m at SHOT show or somewhere isolated, if I have a notebook handy I’ll jot down what is on my mind as a form of therapy or just organizing my head space.

This year I picked up the Rite in the Rain brand for the store, and was rather impressed with their hardcover offerings.  The only problem, however, is that my prefered writing implement is the Sharpie Pen which does not work at all in a Rite in the Rain notebook.

At the beginning of the month I picked up a Moleskine pocket journal from Target. At the time I just threw it in the cart and checked out without bothering to read what the price was. I happened to be wandering through that aisle again last night and was shocked to discover that the little Moleskine 3.5 x 5.5 Hardcover Notebook was $13.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love this thing. Small enough to fit in my pocket and go with me almost everywhere, 192 pages, classic look, but $13 for a pocket journal is a bit much so I turned to the internet.  A quick eBay search and I found someone selling a lot of 4 of these at $8.98 each, and they accepted my “best offer” of $24 for all four, shipped.  But, I needed something more long term, so I googled “moleskine wholesale” to see if there was better pricing in bulk.

One of the top results was this blog post:
http://andybrandt531.com/2012/12/notebook-alternatives-to-moleskines/

Apparently I’m not alone in sticker shock on pocket journals.  I wound up going to CR GIbson and picked up 10 of these Markings Black Bonded Leather Journals – with their spring coupon they wound up being $5 each, shipped.  We’ll see how they compare to the Moleskine; I’m not altogether sold on the sewn border so I’m hoping I haven’t made a mistake.

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Fun with Fixing Furniture

In the last couple days I’ve had to try my hand at repairing a couple pieces of furniture.  Last night’s chair repair was pretty successful, but tonight’s dresser is going to require further effort.

Somehow, some way, someone managed to break one of the chair legs in the addition right at where the leg mounts to the chair base itself.  The top of the chair leg had split, leaving a portion screwed to the seat and the rest of the leg.  I sized up everything, went to the shop and picked my electric screwgun & drill, clamps, wood glue and screws and some odds & ends.

This repair job wasn’t so bad; it involved:

  • Taking the remaining chair leg off the stretcher
  • Removing the mounted part that had split away from the seat’s angle bracket
  • Removing the mounting hardware from that piece
  • Gluing and screwing the split wood back onto the leg again
  • Remounting the whole shebang

Fortunately I had every tool I needed except for socket mounted allen bits for the electric driver, but home depot was still open.

Tonight’s repair experience didn’t go so well.

My bedroom dresser was purchased back when I lived in Florida; it was one of those “finish it yourself” raw wood deals that I honestly should replace but have never gotten around to actually tossing.  When KJ was a toddler, he decided to climb up it repeatedly, causing the center mounted draw slides to break, spilling ball bearings everywhere.  Naturally, the manufacturer of the drawer slide hardware has gone out of business, so ordering replacements wasn’t an option.  So, I went to Rockler and eyeballed what they had, ordered what I thought was right, and tried to effect the repairs this evening.

Naturally things didn’t go according to my wishes.

To start with, the drawers have horizontal stringers in the rear.  Normally this wouldn’t be an issue, except that the slides themselves are designed to either perpendicularly attach to a rear mounted vertical stringer, or have another 1″ of wood underneath for top down attachment.  Since the rear of the dresser looks like luan or veneered hardboard, screwing down the draw slide seems like the best option, so I’ll need to cut a thick piece of wood and attach that to the existing horizontal stringers.

But, the fun doesn’t stop there.  The previous draw slides attached to the draws themselves using a vertical tab in the back and an angled screw in the front that went into the drawer face.  I can probably rig the new slide to screw into the front face, but the new drawer slide is set up for mounting into the bottom of the drawer, which is not thick enough.  So, clearly I’m going to have to cut some sort of cleat or tab, mount it to the inside of the drawer, then attach the drawer slide to it to prevent tear out.

Honestly I’d be better of just buying a new dresser, but I don’t have a spare $1500 right now to throw at a decent piece of furniture.  I wish I had the time and skill to make my own, but I’m sure at the end of it, it’d cost as much as buying something new.

Wishlist item #4: A new firepit or chiminea

There’s something primal about fire.   Volumes have been written about man’s obsession with it, so I really don’t need to talk in length about how “fire good.”

One of the first gifts Jennifer ever bought me when we began s (if not the first) was a fire pit.  The original has long since rusted out & been replaced… which has also rusted out and needs replacing.  So now we’re looking at various firepits such.

http://www.thebluerooster.com/catalog/cast-iron-c-27.html?osCsid=7dc720f5b0abd8f076b86a88d4aeb8ef

Jennifer naturally likes the one with roses (the “Garden” model) – I’m leaning more towards Prairie or another.  I’d prefer one made from cast iron, but there are several models in aluminum that look nice.

The unfortunate part of this is that I’ll have to level out a portion of the yard before I buy this, as I’ll have to set paving stones.  Jennifer wants it on the deck but I’m worried about sparks and it being close to the house.

Wishlist items #2 & #3 – Distressed Leather Pea Coat & Sniper Jacket from Cockpit USA

One of my many “quirks” is a borderline addiction to coats & jackets.  I cannot explain why I like coats and jackets so much; I suspect it’s the male version of how women collect shoes and purses.

Anyhow, here’s a couple things I’m currently lusting after:

Cockpit USA Distressed Leather Peacoat

Look at how badass this thing is.  Arm length would seem to indicate that this comes down to around the mid thigh, making it a good possibility for a car coat, or any 70’s era North East cop thriller cosplay. Not that I’d do that…

My only gripe is that it’s “distressed” – I don’t like artificially distressed clothing; I want all the scrapes, gouges and wear to come from what I’ve done to it, not from it being tumbled in a dryer full of pea gravel for two hours.

Price: $1085

Product page – http://www.cockpitusa.com/men/distressed-leather-peacoat


Cockpit USA “Sniper Jacket”

I have mixed feelings about this jacket.  Part of the misgivings come from the name, it screams “Mall Ninja” and I don’t know if it is a blatant attempt to cash in on the name recognition from the American Sniper movie currently in theaters, or something else.

That said, this jacket is pretty cool.  The arm pockets remind me of the modified BDU uniforms that SF has been doing since the Vietnam Era, where the lower BDU blouse pockets were removed and sewn to the sleeves because as issued they could not be used while wearing LBE.  This jacket, however, retains the lower utility pockets and adds hand warmer side entry panels – then again, you probably aren’t going to be turtled up or wearing LBE with this.

Due to the bend in the sleeves as pictured, I’m going to guess that this coat comes to just below the beltline by 2″-3″ which would make it suitable for concealed carry.

Price: $950

Product Page – http://www.cockpitusa.com/sniper-jacket

Wishlist item #1: Another Harley-Davidson Police ElectraGlide

The 2015 FLHTPI Police Edition (Peace Officer) Electraglide

There’s no real reason for me to have this, as I never get to ride anymore. I had to sell my previous (2007) Police Electraglide last year when my Tahoe was totalled after getting rear ended by texting driver, and prior to that I hadn’t really ridden since moving into the new shop in 2013; KJ & Jennifer largely take up all of my free time.

That. Said.

I loved riding my motorcycles.  The Road Star went very fast – it was a 1600cc engine and flew down the road.  I sold it and then used the money to get the Harley and it was a beast.  103cu in. engine with insane torque – it flew.  Insane handling, and extremely responsive brakes.  Plus the lights and siren were cool as well.

Being able to get out into the wind and feel the sun on your face is liberating.  Riding was my zen time; it was when I could shut down outside stress and just clear my thoughts.

Price: Unknown, as it isn’t available to the general public.

Product Page: http://www.harley-davidson.com/content/h-d/en_US/home/motorcycles/police-fire-shrine/police.html#