Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Years!

This is a time for reflection on the past year, for better or for ill.  It is also a time to rejoice for the New Year.  Time to set your goals, aspirations, wishes, dreams, whatever it is you desire.  And then achieve it (even today)!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy New Years, and to share the following video of my past Month and a Week, using the One Second EveryDay app, available for Android and Apple devices.

Thanks to everyone who has had an impact on me this year, and years prior.

My Life_Dec 30 2012 - Dec 31 2013.mp4 from Richard on Vimeo.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Couch removed - first step

This is the first step in replacing my floor and upgrading some things.

This couch is the standard one in an RV.  It's a sleeper couch with heating vents sticking out the front, which can be seen in the "front view" of the couch.  There is also a fair amount of empty space under the couch, but it's difficult to lift up the bottom, not to mention there isn't much room to see what's under there.

Front View
While the couch is relatively comfy, and fairly useful, I didn't like the color of it for one, and it is also not RV friendly (in my mind).  This is because, though it folds out to sleep 2 (barely), there is a lack of storage options. In an RV storage seems to be EVERYTHING!  So my goal is to upgrade this to something a little nicer, with more storage, and can sleep one person on it, while still taking up same amount of space, give or take.

Bar and bolts holding to floor
In this picture it shows, barely, how the couch attaches to the floor. There are two bolts, on each end, and a metal U-shaped bar that connects to the main frame of the couch and the floor.  There is one bolt, and a washer, that holds it to the floor.  It seems like these bolts are "permanent" and can't easily be removed.  Not going to look into it any further as currently don't need to.  It was fairly easy to reach in, with a ratchet, and remove the bolts and washers on both ends.

Heater duct
Prior to removing the couch from it's place, also had to remove the ducts for the forced air heat.  There was duct tape wrapped around the joint at the point of exit, which was removed prior to this photograph.  In the photo it's also possible to see a hose clamp which secures the hose to the heat register.

Hair, or other, thing?
I swear this isn't mine, honestly!  Found it behind the couch and am pretty sure it's a hair thing, like to tie pony tails.  Am guessing it could be used on other parts of the body if want something to last longer and look festive in the process...

Front of couch popped off
While removing the couch front panel, noticed it actually pops off the couch.  Didn't realize this prior as it would've made things a little easier.  Such is life.  It is thin 1/4" plywood with a wooden (oak) stiffer piece, and two hooks at the top which rest over the metal frame so this essentially hangs in place.  Quite nifty.
Bonus Cat!

The couch, finally removed, is seen here, standing on it's edge.  It was a little rough to stand it up, and left a little mark on the ceiling, but some things can't be helped in the heat of the moment.

Old couch location and ductwork
Some space has opened up!  Not sure what will be doing with the duct work as don't plan on hooking it back up.  Will probably tuck under the sink, which is just to left of the photo. 

It was a little chore, mostly time consuming, to locate all the bolts and take everything apart for the couch.  There are a couple metal bars which will be keeping to use as pry bars, or other things unknown.  All of the bolts and such will save for the time being, as well as the U-bars which bolted to the floor.  Think I can reuse those to put new couch in place after pull up the carpet!

Hardware, and Cat
Partially disassembled
I've said this before, and will sound like a broken record eventually, anyone can do what they set their mind to.  The only thing needed is a burning desire, and the passion which accompanies it.  The details will happen, so don't sweat the small stuff.

Empty hole!!!  YES!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Converting Audio Books to MP3 files - FIXED!

I have mentioned this previously, but downloaded some audio books in M4B format from Hay House.  While I haven't tried playing these on my phone, generally try to keep them all in one spot, the phone.

Previously had converted the files to one single MP3, but this is somewhat unwieldy in terms of listening to smaller chunks at a time.  When listening to longer books it's easier to remember by chapter than time (at least for me).

CAUTION:  Might want to skim, some things are a little "techie".

Came across this forum which gave some easy (supposedly) detailed steps to follow.
  1. Download Python 2.7 and install to directory of your choice.
  2. The 'PATH' means the directory, where the Python-executable is stored (in my case it was the 'Python 2.7' dir created on Hard drive (during install).
  3. Download 'ffmpeg.exe' from here this more current link (for example, other sites exist) and put it in the same directory as the Python-executable, i.e. the 'PATH'.
  4. Put m4b.py into any directory, which has enough space for the .mp3-output files (of course, as valekhz points out you may change the output-dir by editing the .py file, but I wouldn't dare, never having come close to coding such things...)
  5. Drag & drop m4b file onto the .py-file, wait (depending on CPU-power), find the new file(s) in a new subdirectory, called the same as the m4b...

My experiences doing this:

  • I already have python installed, Check one!
  • Had to edit the Path parameter to include python directory (in my case C:\Python27)
  • Downloaded the 32 bit and 64 bit versions from altered link shown above
  • Extracted 64 bit version of ffmpeg.exe into Python27 directory
  • Downloaded libmp4v2 and extracted into Python27 directory
  • Download converter script and extracted both .py files to Python27 directory
  • Dragged and dropped one of the m4b files and did as it said, created a new directory, with one mp3 file in it, not split out, but in a temp directory signifying possibly not done?!
  • Deleted output folder
  • Unzipped 32 bit version of ffmpeg.exe into Python27 directory, overwriting 64 bit version
  • From a dos prompt ran the command: m4b.py selfesteem.m4b
  • Output following error

C:\Python27>m4b.py selfesteem.m4b
INFO: Loading meta data...
INFO: Found 3 chapter(s).
INFO: Encoding audio book...
INFO: Splitting chapter  1/ 3 '01 Introduction'...
ERROR: An error occurred while splitting file.
  Command: C:\Python27\ffmpeg.exe -y -acodec copy -t 236.493 -ss 0.0 -i C:\Pytho
n27\selfesteem\temp\selfesteem.mp3 C:\Python27\selfesteem\01 Introduction.mp3
  Return code: 1
  Output: --->
ffmpeg version N-59275-g9b195dd Copyright (c) 2000-2013 the FFmpeg developers
  built on Dec 21 2013 22:01:05 with gcc 4.8.2 (GCC)
  configuration: --enable-gpl --enable-version3 --disable-w32threads --enable-av
isynth --enable-bzlib --enable-fontconfig --enable-frei0r --enable-gnutls --enab
le-iconv --enable-libass --enable-libbluray --enable-libcaca --enable-libfreetyp
e --enable-libgsm --enable-libilbc --enable-libmodplug --enable-libmp3lame --ena
ble-libopencore-amrnb --enable-libopencore-amrwb --enable-libopenjpeg --enable-l
ibopus --enable-librtmp --enable-libschroedinger --enable-libsoxr --enable-libsp
eex --enable-libtheora --enable-libtwolame --enable-libvidstab --enable-libvo-aa
cenc --enable-libvo-amrwbenc --enable-libvorbis --enable-libvpx --enable-libwavp
ack --enable-libx264 --enable-libxavs --enable-libxvid --enable-zlib
  libavutil      52. 58.101 / 52. 58.101
  libavcodec     55. 45.103 / 55. 45.103
  libavformat    55. 22.100 / 55. 22.100
  libavdevice    55.  5.102 / 55.  5.102
  libavfilter     4.  0.100 /  4.  0.100
  libswscale      2.  5.101 /  2.  5.101
  libswresample   0. 17.104 /  0. 17.104
  libpostproc    52.  3.100 / 52.  3.100
Unknown decoder 'copy'
  • Didn't know exactly what to do so kept reading the thread and they pointed to something stating that the command line arguments were re-ordered....  hummm
  • Downloaded latest version of script (0.5)
  • Tried, still gave same error
  • Found ffmpeg command within m4b.py file
  • Typed ffmpeg -h (from C:\Python27 directory) to get order of arguments
  • Went through existing command, from error above, with the order that they should be, by searching results of ffmpeg -h and trying till got it right
  • For this starting point, which didn't work:
ffmpeg -y -acodec copy -t 236.493 -ss 0.0 -i C:\Python27\selfesteem\temp\selfesteem.mp3 C:\Python27\selfesteem\_tmp_1.mp3
  • Wound up with this as a working command
ffmpeg -t 236.493 -ss 0.0 -i C:\Python27\selfesteem\temp\selfesteem.mp3 -y -acodec copy C:\Python27\selfesteem\_tmp_1.mp3
  • Notice how everything is the same but reordered. This worked.. YAY
  • Using windows explorer (2 of them), dragged the Audio Book (m4b file) onto m4b.py and it converted as it should.
  • In m4b.py, this is what was changed:
# The pound symbol denotes a comment so that line is not used and informational
#split_cmd = '%(ffmpeg)s -y -acodec copy -t %(duration)s -ss %(start)s -i %(outfile)s %(infile)s'
split_cmd = '%(ffmpeg)s -t %(duration)s -ss %(start)s -i %(outfile)s -y -acodec copy %(infile)s'

Now can convert all these audio books, some woo-woo, some not.

Will be uploading this soon as can get Sprint internet service as code repository is on my desktop (managed via google of course).

Thursday, December 26, 2013

70th Anniversary!

While staying at the JoJobo Hills RV resort, part of the Escapees network of resorts, had the distinct pleasure to witness a couple who have been in love a long time.  While I forget their names, the name doesn't really matter in this case.  It is their undying gratitude for each other which matters.

Stained glass window
She is 93
He is 95

He's served in four wars (WW2, Korea, Vietnam) in the Navy. And, he jokingly said, the 4th war is the 70 years they've been married..  A sense of humor is a must.

It was a really great time.  The Friendship Hall is where the celebration was held.  This is one of the wonderful parts about being part of a large extended family in the Escapee's club.  I am also officially a Life Member now!!!  YAY

It's always great to see long lasting friendships such as this.  In order to stay married this long, it takes a lot of love, but mostly friendship and compromise.  From what I have seen of long lasting relationships (not that I have experience) it's always like this.  If one, or the other, is always doting on the other person it's doomed from the get go.  At least in my humble opinion.

Hope everyone has/had a great Holiday and on to the New Year!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Christmas Eve!

This is the first post am doing from my smart phone. It's interesting and a different format.
Just finished downloading and watching It's A Wonderful Life, one of my favorite movies.
There is a quote in the book that Clarence gave George at the end which will share:
"Dear George,
     Remember no man is a failure who has friends.
Thanks for the wings!
On this Christmas Eve, while Santa is flying around delivering gifts, keep in mind everyone. Those which we don't agree with, those who are less, and even more, fortunate than us. Everyone deserves to have a wonderful Christmas,  and a wonderful LIFE! That's what life is all about. 

As such, here is a video which shows the last month of my life!

My Life_Nov 23 2013 - Dec 24 2013.mp4 from Richard on Vimeo.

Enjoy, and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Water Filtration

While was exploring one of the large (think largest) Yuma flea markets, came across a vendor's stall there that sold RV specific water filtration, from chintzy filters to high end quad reverse osmosis systems.  Am sure they did custom systems too.

What caught my eye here was a Doulton water filter for the RV.  I was quite psyched!!!!  These are high quality ceramic inserts, and at least the ones I use on my countertop (in addition to the Nikken Watefall to add good stuff back in), contain silver embedded within the ceramic piece.  The ceramic makes it so it's cleanable with a regular scrubby, or other methods.  The silver kills any little buggies, or critters, which are alive in the water (great when traveling where water quality is questionable).

So, picked up a whole kit set of components, even some things which makes life immensely easier when cleaning the filter (quick disconnects).  The complete parts list:
All parts
  1. Standard housing
  2. Doulton filter element
  3. Standard filter element (bought at a different place)
  4. 2 sets of quick disconnects
  5. teflon tape (already had)
  6. 2 hoses (already had)
  7. Filter wrench (to remove housing, which can't find right now)

Bonus cat picture!
 Next step in the process was bringing all the parts outside.  However, after I did that this cat decided to hop up on my picture taking platform.  So naturally I had to take a quick shot, or two.  This was the better of the two, more face!

Taped and ready
First step was disconnecting the two hoses I currently have.  This was easy step.  Following that I chose to wrap all threads in teflon tape.  Realize this is probably overkill for this application, it just gives me a warm and fuzzy that there is a slightly less chance of a leak from the threads.

Mostly assembled
After that it's on to assembling the whole housing by inserting the water filter into main part of the housing.  On this filter, there is embossed lettering (white) on one end, and I chose to put that facing the top.  Unsure if it's proper, but seems to work great!  It was also a good time to screw the quick connector fittings onto both the hose and the filter element top, which can be seen in this photo also.

 The next step, according to directions for the water filter (yes yes, I know, we don't read directions as a general rule), was to run water through for 10 minutes, or 5 gallons (something like that).  So this is exactly what I did.  Can barely see the water flowing out (at a good pace) from the outlet of the filter.

All done!
Here it is fully assembled, fully pressurized (trust me), and nary a leak!  Who's the best?!?!?  I am of course......


Ceramic filter before cleaning
Have had it installed for about a week now and yesterday noticed that the water flow was down quite a bit, to little more than a trickle.  Decided to take it apart and clean the filter.  This is exactly why I went with a high quality filtration system, such as what Doulton provides.

Ceramic filter after cleaning
As a disclaimer, emptied the fresh water tank on the RV completely and then filled it up again, so that is partly why so much water went through the filter, but it is still ikky.

Items noticed with filtered water

Long story short, much much better!

Have noticed some positive benefits so far, though fairly early to identify them all.

The water heater, electric add-on I put in, more on that later, seems to heat up water about twice as fast.  Am sure there will also be much less mineral buildup now.

Shower, when using on board water pump, has excellent pressure!

The water seems to be clearer now.

Easy to get water pressure back by cleaning filter (shown above).

No residue when washing dishes.  Yes, even I have to wash them, pooey
@ 7 pm there is some sort of game.  One night is Bingo, one night is something else scheduled, then the other 5 nights are whatever people want to play.

Am looking forward to going back there.  On a bonus note, can barely get Sprint service there, 3G, but still decent.  Only thing is have to get the puck above roof for best coverage.  Am happy I brought a cane as tape it to there and hoist up somehow.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Yuma, AZ to SoCal (San Diego area)

California I8
About a week ago I left the Escapees park was at and started making my way West to the Palm Springs area.  Basically took I-8 along the border of Mexico, and surprisingly didn't see a lot of Border Patrol vehicles.  One or two but not a huge amount, surprised as see them more frequently here.  I have mixed feelings about them, and their "effectiveness" per dollar spent, but won't go into that.

The trip was fairly simple and not much to it, just plenty of highway driving.  I decided to stop at a Casino on the way (for lunch).  It was the Golden Acorn Casino.  It was very windy when parked here and it was a small chore to walk to the building.  Parked the RV so rear was facing the wind, and heard the roof exhaust vents chatter away, until tightened them down (the nob inside).

I8 before Casino
I must say, had a cheeseburger here, and told the wait person to surprise me with the cheese.  Come to find out he put PepperJack on it, and I could really taste it, unlike most places.  It was really good.  The service was mediocre (but waiter was excellent) due to having a large group there.  But the pepper jack cheese was the highlight and worth another trip.

From the casino took Rt 94 to where am staying.  It was a fairly nice, hour long drive, along windy country roads, some hills, some sharp turns, would've been excellent on two wheels.

Arrived at destination and this park (Pio Pico) has very limited cell phone reception, as well as have to pay for internet ($21 / week).  Good thing don't have to pay to camp here as member of Thousand Trails, otherwise would definitely be at a place which has free WiFi.

One huge caveat about being in an RV, in California, is that have to be very diligent in how long the RV stays in California.  I've been informed, by some other RV'ers, that if stay in California for longer than 28 days in a row, I will be on the hook for paying income taxes for the whole year.  Unsure how true it is, but rest assured I will be leaving for at least a day to reset the counter, if choose to stay that long.

Last night in Yuma

So, my last night I was there, was invited to go watch a parade with Christmas lights.  Have a video of it, and took a one second clip from that for a project I will publish in about a week, after setup a Vimeo account.

I took quite a few pictures, but much to my chagrin, quite a few of those turned out blurry or not really nice.  Was able to get these nice ones, plus couple others.  This is after the parade.  There is a street in the Valley where all the homeowners on a particular section, put out Christmas lights.  When they actually buy a home in the area it's actually a part of the deal somehow where they either have to put some out, or the neighbors will get it done and charge the homeowner.

There were some very extravagant displays, but some had only a few lights.  It was actually really nice overall.

Afterwards we went to Dairy Queen (not that I condone that) for a Blizzard, and then off to shop at Fry's Grocery store for some organic goodness!  I picked up some cereal and Jalapeno Kettle chips (YUMMY!).  This store actually had a decent selection of Organic foods, both fresh produce and packaged goods.  Was very happy.  We have to vote with our wallet.

I was actually somewhat sad to leave Yuma as the people there were really great!  That sense of community is what most places lack.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Hay House Audio Books - updated

My wonderful cat walked on the keyboard and published this before I was ready, before had anything typed.

Will update this later, but was going to start making a draft to save this link:
While doing a quick internet search to find out how to change the m4b extension to an mp3extension, came across this link, which has a simple, and easy, answer to convert them.  The only downside is that now have some mp3's over 6 hours long...  Now time to find a way to split the m4b files into seperate mp3's.  Oh well.

Some audio books come with format of .m4b, and this site just gave a simple guide in how to convert it to a more standard mp3 format.

Back in April, saw a good colleague of mine had posted a link to a Hay House conference, and the ability to purchase the whole 10 days worth of audio recordings, in lieu of attending the conference (which am sure was great).  So I purchased the thing also and finally (8 months later) got around to downloading.  Need something to listen to as am all caught up to date listening to Coast to Coast AM.

I think Hay House seems to be all about personal empowerment, and is a source of all things along those lines, with some woo-woo and metaphysical content (ok, maybe more than some).


This morning, while lying in bed after a 5:30 a.m. conference call, had a revelation.  It suddenly popped into my head and is still lingering around, which is somewhat surprising.  Figured would jot it down as it might mean something to me later, or not, life is hard to predict most days.  It's surprising as I generally don't think of these things.

The revelation was, and I've heard it before, that throughout the world people of all countries are generally the same.  The same in terms of they want to live in peace and happiness, with their loved ones, just enjoying the fruits of their labors.

I believe in a strong, honest, and free thinking military, one which is best in the world, yet is willing to say no to unjust things.  So far we've been pretty lucky here in the U.S. in terms of that, while other parts of our government seems to have fallen off the deep end after lingering on the precipice for some time.

It seems that most of the conflict lately is due to the people running the country, not specifically just the ones you see.  You see, there is a whole cadre of people behind the veil, behind the administration, and no matter who is currently in power (in the U.S. and other countries), most parts of the government, the establishment, never change.  I get the feeling, and have no proof, that these people are the ones who instigate conflict for whatever reason.  Some reasons could be religious, socio-economic, just pure money, who knows what goes through their minds.

I would really like to think that there is no way that this could happen in the U.S.....

However, minus the people behind the scenes, and the "people in power", everyone throughout the world is still the same.  Just want to live a full life, with minimal distractions, and time to have fun.

It's the people in the military, and in the country, that can make a change.  A change for the better, or worse, it's all up to us.  As we have more power than those in power.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Ceiling Exhaust Fan replacement

Well, they call it an RV Ventilator if want to be technically correct (not me).

Purchased a MaxxFan 4000K fan from Camping World when was passing through the Phoenix area.  Last week was able to finally install it.

Removal of existing Fan

There were couple different steps to remove the existing one.  Prior to removing the fan, and buying the replacement, had tested with a multi-meter to verify that the wiring to the fan was good.  Everything up to, and past, the switch seemed to work fine, which meant the motor was bad.

The first step was removing the interior fan guard.  This simply consisted of removing a bunch of screws, lowering it, and being careful of the two wires.

Was then necessary to clip the positive 12V and negative wires to fully remove the shroud.  Made sure to put electrical tape around the ends of both wires to protect them from shorting out, and of course, me from getting zapped.  One thing I found very curious is that there's a piece of romex (120V house wiring), terminating here.  Can see it to left of the fan sticking down.  Unsure what this is for and it looks to have been installed at the factory due to glue being dripped on it.  The 12V wires were also factory installed, so not really sure.  Either way left it and didn't put tape over the end.  Later on can see that there is really not much room for anything after new fan install.

Next to last step is unscrewing the fan from the outside.  In order to do that had to remove a lot of caulking around the fan.  It was layered on thick and had to use a putty knife to remove it.  After removal then removed the bolts holding it in place.  These ones could use a ratchet to remove, which was very nice and was thankful (almost) for it.  Took a while to fully remove them so this was by far the longest part of the removal, but still not bad.

Notice Caulk on putty knife
Last step is actually remove fan from the opening.  It felt secured and didn't move around at all.  My first thought was to just try popping it up and seeing what stuck and didn't stick.  To my surprise, with a couple good jerky movements, it came right up..  Was genuinely amazed, but really happy.  There was a barrier underneath to prevent water from coming up and it seemed to be some type of clay mixture.  Can see a little bit of it on top of the putty knife.  In the instructions when installing the new one it mentioned to use a type of caulk called butyl caulk.  Am guessing it's that.

Install of new fan

This process was almost pretty painless.  There were a couple place where didn't follow the instructions but think it will all work out fine in the long run. Haven't hada test so far as to how good of a seal I made, but that will be updated soon with the roof work I will be doing.

The first step was to remove all of the packing material and protective strips.  This was fairly easy and quick to do.

First "crimp"
Following that was to hook up the electricity, 12V in this case.  It is a fairly easy process, but one to be careful of in case of the "zap" effect, or worse.  I chose to be extra careful as we never know some things.

Part of the hardware bag included some wire crimp connectors.  I didn't have any crimping tools, so was initially planning to use wire nuts and/or soldering, but that didn't work out too well, primarily because of the room available after fan was put in place.  So, can see my alternative "crimper", a set of pliers.  Took a minute or so to figure out how to use these to crimp, but had to be done just like in the second picture.
2nd "crimp"

This is exactly how had to do the crimping, and squeeze very very hard. If used the pliers straight on, no matter how much squeezing nothing would happen.  The crimping part is one of the more important parts as don't want it to come apart unexpectedly and not work, or worse yet, cause a short.

Ready to insert
Now that both wires, positive and negative, are fully crimped and didn't pull apart when tested, it's ready to insert into hole.  This is one spot where deviated from the instructions.  Went to Home Depot, in Yuma, AZ, and they tried to help me, but we couldn't find any butyl based caulk.  Looked in inventory, and the caulk aisle, and nothing came up.  The instructions called for putting the butyl caulk all around the underside.

Since couldn't find any, used some Loctite Rainguard adhesive/caulk.  While not the best for this application, and it will make removing the fan very troublesome, it was a necessary alternative unless wanted to delay removal/installation by who knows how long.

Caulk on underside
Even when using the wrong thing, did do my best to make sure it is as leak free as possible.  Can see how have one continuous bead of caulk around, zig-zagging to get as much surface area underneath filled with caulk.  When placing down the fan, after putting the caulk down, looks like did it right as caulk started squeezing out the side and some of the holes in top.

Next step is to actually secure it down, fairly quickly in this case, for two reasons.  Reason one is didn't want the caulk to get comfortable and start forming the skin around it when it's drying.  The second reason is because the sun was starting to fall below the horizon, which means temperature drops and it gets dark.

Due to needing to work fairly quickly for the above two reasons, don't have photo evidence of what's done, but here is the final result.  Instead of using the screws provided (philips head), chose to reuse what was there before so could use a ratchet and socket to secure it.  One thing is had to pre-drill all of the holes as it didn't line up with the prior holes (there were more holes with the old one).  As such, had some left over to be used someplace else.  What I did was to keep ratcheting the screw down until felt a little resistance, then went a smidgen more.  There is only one which I stripped in the hole.  It's tricky as there isn't much for it to grab.

The finished roof vent, fully caulked around the edges, and a little dab of caulk on top of the fasteners.

That's all there is to it for the outside.  The only thing left was to tuck the wires up and put the inner plastic moulding around it.  Don't have a final picture as stripped two screws so have to drill them out or figure something else out.  When stripped them, the pilot hole wasn't big enough and stripped the head off the screws so it's stuck in there.

And that's all there is to it.  The automatic temperature thing works great, it variable speed, and am quite happy with it!  Until have to replace but hopefully that won't happen!

Other roof news

Shower skylight
Bathroom exhaust
While on top decided to check some of the caulking I did prior and to see if there were new areas which needed some caulking.  Used the Loctite stuff again so unsure how well that will work.  Did find quite a few smaller spots to patch so it's getting more and more necessary to do something with the roof. 

Around front A/C
Patching these was fairly fast and efficient.  Just squirted some caulk around the areas identified.  The picture where my foot is didn't need patching, but it was the first caulking job I did, and while discolored a little appears to be holding up to the task.

First caulking I did on Vashon
Some places I was surprised that needed a quick squirt was around the shower skylight and to the right of the front A/C.  Those looked just fine in late August.  This might mean need to move up in priority the need to redo the roof.

 This last shot is an overview of everything that had to touch on top of the roof.  From the right of the front A/C down to the shower skylight, it's all in there.  Didn't see anything else which was in need of repair.

Since the sun was setting got off the roof before got too chilly and dark.  Never always a good thing.  Am getting better and better around edges of at least this roof.  Going up and down the ladder, at first, is still a little tricky but other than that doing good.

As an end note, I didn't have any experience prior to this in replacing this fan, though did skim over the instructions.  It just goes to show that we can do most anything that we put our minds to.  This applies to ANYTHING in life, and not just mundane stuff like this.

If we want it to be done it will be done.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Reiki and other oddities

So today it's all about oddities, or what most people refer to as oddities.  In my mind there is at least some truth to everything that people do in life.  Such as customs, beliefs, ways of doing things, and all that other joyful stuff.


Reiki is a form of energy medicine.  At least in the U.S., I have found that most people who know, or practice Reiki, are fluent in different aspects of metaphysical stuff.  Tonight was my first time where I have actually participated in Reiki, both as a giver and as a receiver.

I was invited to go to someone's home where there was a total of about 10 people, one older gentleman, one slightly older gentlemen, and the rest were older ladies, who didn't seem old as they radiated youthful essence.  More later on the person who invited me.

When I laid down for them to do whatever they do for Reiki, didn't really feel much.  Did feel at peace, felt comfortable around friends (which just met) and overall felt really balanced.  Also was very warm, not sweating, but warm and comfortable, such as under a nice thick blanket.

One of the ladies who assisted, down by my feet, actually told me of a vision she had of me, and one of my past lives.  Everyone seemed to comment that I had positive and stable energy, perfect for this type of work (Reiki, or energy medicine in general I assume).

The experience which she saw was where I was a Native American (Indian).  My dad was a big warrior who was known throughout the lands, and was very well respected.  I was 11 at the time, and was off in the foothills of the desert, practicing with a bow and arrow, shooting random things, hoping to make my dad very proud of how his son was progressing!  While walking along one of the ledges I slipped and fell to my death.  She said that I had left my body (spirit) as was falling.

Now, none of this rang a bell, and it seemed like she was genuine in what was being told to me.  However, the lady who invited me, which will get to later, was overcome with emotions when first started this, like she knew me at the time, either as a mother or something else, not sure and it doesn't matter.  What matters is just acknowledging the experience and moving forward.

This could explain why I am not a fan of heights, particularly near the edges of a roof.  Am fine up high and a good distance away from the edges, but soon as get close to the edge have to start crawling.  Know am not alone in this, and know everyone hasn't had a similar "past life experience", like was explained to me, but it at least makes a little sense.


Set of cards and guidebook
Card I drew
While there, we also drew a card.  Here is a picture of the card, along with the book which held the meanings.  At bottom of the card is the affirmation which describes part of the meaning of the card.  We each drew one.

Mine was fulfillment, and the affirmation is "Joy abounds in all areas of my life".

No idea, just posting my expriences.

Humane Society

Last week, shortly after arrived in this park in Yuma, attended a charity lunch for the local humane society.  As part of the lunch, I also chose to sponsor an animal, specifically an unknown cat, from being euthanized if they were not adopted.  Supposedly a $100 donation ($50 because of the group at the park) spares an animal, for "life", from being euthanized.  Not sure how it works, and won't pretend to know, but at least I have some sort of warm and fuzzy.

While here, they also had some tables setup selling goods, where the proceeds went to the humane shelter.   One of the tables had bunch of necklaces and stuff, nothing too appealing for me. However, after passing by this table, one piece kept sticking out at me.  After several more look see's, and waiting till the very end, knew I had to come home around my neck.

Not really sure why I had to have this, but it just felt right.  Now, the lady who put on the lunch is also the one who was selling the necklaces.  She also invited me to Reiki tonight.  Normally this doesn't happen to me, with womenfolk (no offense intended with anyone) that is, but she has also been doting over me while here.  She's retired, and her, and her husband, travel throughout the U.S.  But this connection goes back to before this lifetime.

It goes back to at least the Indian, as she got a strong emotional connection.  Which rarely happens.  She has also been acting uncharactarestically (spelling?) since I've been here.  It really is like we have known each over for a very long time!

Past Lives

While I tend not to dwell, or share, too much metaphysical stuff, this lady and I really knew each other in the past, close to a certain degree (not sure which degree, nor does it matter).  It was like we knew each other almost instantly and it's been weird.

It seems like we had a connection back when I was 11 and a native american, but also I felt we had a different type of connection when I was a logger in Oregon before.  It was a strange feeling.

Had a similar, but stronger feeling, while I was at the Permaculture course in Montana with one of my friends there.  Knew instantly then why I was there (at the course), and first time sharing it with who knows who..

Other Projects

In the coming days, will be posting a completed project or two which am happy to finally have gotten done.  At least one of those posts will be about a ceiling exhaust fan I replaced, and maybe the HottShot electric water heater "conversion", due to my flaky gas water heater (more on the gas later too).

Slowly getting things organized.  It's still a clutter sometimes and still have quite a few projects outstanding, but will be ticking them off one by one.  Hopefully, if the weather is nicer over Christmas holidays, will make some good progress.  Still not sure exactly where will be then.  Nor does it matter much I think.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Friendship Bag

Normally I'm not really the sentimental type, but upon arrival at my most recent destination there was a welcoming committee (one person) that gave me a Friendship Bag.  Won't share a picture as the edible pieces are gone, but included was a piece of paper with the contents and a description.

Your KOFA KO-OP Friendship Bag

.....a few reminders of our new friendship.


  • Lifesaver - To remind you that every now and then we all need a little help
  • Rubber Band - To remind you to be flexible
  • Candy Kiss & Hug - Because we all need a hug and kiss now and again
  • Paper Clip - To help you keep it together
  • Candle - To remind you to share the light
  • Marble - To keep you rolling.. Or in case you lose one
  • Happy Face - Because Smiling is contagious.  Pass it on!
  • Band-Aid - To help patch a hurt... Your own or someone else's
  • Eraser - To remind you that you can start every day with a clean slate
  • Hug Koupons - To share a hug, anytime

Saturday, December 7, 2013

True cost of Sick Care

Well, actual website is True cost of Health Care, but in reality they're generally not making us well and healthy.  Just covering up one symptom after another with drugs and false hope, while robbing us blind (my opinion).

The website itself isn't all that glitzy as the Doctor did it himself.  It does contain a lot of useful information on the current state of our "health" system.

Take a poke around.  Written by an actual MD, David Belk, from the San Francisco Bay area.

The True Cost of Healthcare website

As I generally avoid politics, and will in this case mostly, it's not because of the "healthcare" regulation coming along which makes our system so horrendous.  It has been in the works for a long long time.  The regulation is helping in a way as it's bringing forth all of the inherent flaws in our system.  Sure, people will always blame the other side. It seems lately that politics is all about creating animosity, and not bringing people together to do what's right for our ailing country.  It's not too late.

Humans Being More can help everyone!

Sous Vide - Yet again

Thursday night, while thinking about something else, had an ah-ha moment.  Some time ago, while was on the East Coast, had an urge to purchase some of the "waterless" cookware, as seen at a lot of the fairs.  Couple companies offer this product, and it's basically the same between the companies but with some minor design changes and produce enhancements.

Was able to get the basic set, off craigslist.  Have used it a handful of times and am pretty happy with them.  However, one of the pieces is a hotplate, and combined with one of the stainless steel pots, seems to be ideal for the this use.

Due to some of the "water tight" features, had to modify the top slightly.  There were two parts which had to get ride of, a sliding thing (that lets steam escape) and something else that fits in there, which reduces size of the hole in the top.  This was so have place to slide the thermometer in and a way to retain it, without slippy slideness happening.

Using this new pot, and hot plate, which already had, and the sous vide controller now maintains heat much much better, wavering less than 1 degree Celsius.  Think there is still some adjustment to do but was a good project.  Now it's time to test it out with some eggs, hard boiled.