The Odd, Little Happy

Finally I dance with confidence to songs

The Plant Stand Problem: Build a Bench

Posted by theBarefoot on March 3, 2014

I’ve been Googling plant stands to fill a corner of my deck. The former occupant, a child-size bench, finally succumbed to the weather. I found plenty of designs that I liked and that were terribly complex to build. I finally realized how simple the little bench was to build. Being the laziest man on Earth, I decided to build a replacement bench.

Building the little bench is a easy project for any novice woodworker. It only requires 2, 1″x12″x72″ boards, basic tools, and a splash of paint. I used pocket holes to assemble mine, but you can use screws or even nails through the sides to attach the back and bottom. I know that the back and bottom could be higher to give it more of a bench-like look, but remember, for me, this is a plant stand.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

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Cutting Board Storage Inside a Cabinet Door

Posted by theBarefoot on February 25, 2014

I was really tired of leaving my cutting boards on my kitchen counter top, but if I put them in a cabinet, they would slowly disappear and I couldn’t find them easily. I got this idea from Pintrest and modified it to my liking using the materials I had on-hand. It’s a simple concept and even easier project to execute. Just be sure your cabinet will close with the pocket in place and that the pocket is big enough for your boards. Other than that, here’s how it goes

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

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What I Learned in Court Today

Posted by theBarefoot on February 24, 2014

I had the pleasure of visiting a local municipal court this morning. I was only there long enough for the person to whom I gave a lift to plead not guilty and get a future court date. But in those few minutes, something struck me. Those waiting for their turn at justice were overwhelmingly minorities.

I estimate there were 60 to 75 people there on this bright Monday morning. That probably equates to 40 cases given that most had friends or spouses with them. Of the 40 only 4 where white. And of the 40, only two had lawyers and, yep, both those people where white. The rest were, for the most part, black with maybe 6 or 8 Latinos scattered around the room. I had to ask myself, “Why?”

Obviously, minorities are hassled and arrested at a much higher rate than whites. This I already knew. Is is out of prejudice? I’m sure that factors in. Is it because minorities are more lawless? No, white people break the law in the same percentage as minorities, but minorities bear the brunt of the legal system. Cops obviously hang out in “the black part of town” to meet their quota make their arrests.

Once a case is in court, it is all about the money. If you’re guilty, you pay a fine. And in this particular municipality, the State reimburses the city for expenses incurred for every DUI conviction. That’s like getting double the money for every DUI. Quite an incentive to turn the justice system into a game of pick the poor man’s pocket. I say this because the overwhelming majority of people in this morning’s courtroom where unmistakably poor.

This is no scales-falling-from-the-eyes revelation. For all of history, money has bought “justice.” It was the the cattle lined up for the grinder image that surprised me. Based on how many there had lawyers, I guess only two were pleading not guilty. The rest were there to be fed into the legal system’s shake-down machine. They would leave the court and be faced with the windows on the way out. One window to sign up for driving school and two windows to pay fines. I think that tells you which is more important, safety or money. And for the two pleading not guilty, it’s only a matter of who gets the money, if not the State then an attorney. Either way, you pay.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy, but while chasing it, don’t speed and for God’s sake, don’t drive drunk.

Coincidentally, I found this video from The Young Turks where a white guy and a black guy try to open a locked car without keys. At one point you’ll see a cop just cruise by as the car alarm is blaring for the white guy, but watch how fast the cops show up when the black guy is working on the lock.

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Witchcraft, Magic, Lighters, and Snow

Posted by theBarefoot on February 3, 2014

Recently, someone who never graduated from grade school decided to stick a butane lighter in some snow. It could have stopped there, but they made a video about it. Now Youtube is all abuzz with chemtrail conspiracy wing nuts sticking their Bics into snow and screaming, “See! It won’t melt and it turns black. This proves the air is full of deadly chemicals!”

What it actually proves is butane is a very dirty fuel and the snow that doesn’t sublimate from a solid to a gas, bypassing the liquid state, is absorbed into the space between the snow flakes. For those of use who stuck it out through high school and went on to take a few college chemistry courses, it isn’t witchcraft, magic, or the government. It’s just simple science.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

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No End in Sight

Posted by theBarefoot on January 26, 2014

I’ve been meaning to refinish an antique wardrobe for a few weeks…er…months…OK…you caught me…a few years. This monster has been in my wife’s family for about 120-130 years. Somewhere along the way, someone painted it a French Provencal white with gilded trim. Yes, you can retch. That is he correct response.

I’ve cleaned all around the white whale and finally decided I better tackle it if I want to really reclaim my garage. So here’s whats going on.

So what do you call this piece of furniture? Wardrobe? Armoire? Chifforobe? Let me know below.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

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DIY: How to Use the Kreg Mini Pocket Hole Jig

Posted by theBarefoot on January 19, 2014

It sounds dry, so I tried to make it a little entertaining. Pocket holes are a very strong joint that hide the screws for a professional look. Kreg makes a range of models, but this is the most inexpensive at $20. In the video, I demonstrate a little trick I’ve learned when working with 3/4″ material. Hint: get a small flat edge and be ready.

I had to do a lot of editing to make this video. There are voice-overs, close-ups, and mayhem. I even wrote a script and shot synopsis to get it all right. I still failed and put in the shot where my drill battery was dead.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

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What’s New? What’s Next?

Posted by theBarefoot on January 13, 2014

Pretty much filler, but I did get some new video editing software. So yea me. Later this week, I’ll have another “How To” video in my woodworking series. Stay tuned. Well, you don’t have to actually leave your computer on all week. That’s just an expression…an expression of desperation. Please watch my lame videos. Please!

In this video, I make a box! Not impressed? Then watch Walk Off the Earth’s song Little Boxes:

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

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Quick Tip: Drilling Perfect Screw Holes for a Cabinet Handle

Posted by theBarefoot on January 4, 2014

If you’re adding a handle to your wood project, you have to drill the holes to exactly match the spacing of the threads. You can eye-ball it and you’ll get close, but if you want to drill perfectly spaced holes, here’s a little tip. It just takes a magic marker or ink pad and maybe some scrap paper.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

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A Few New Things for the New Year

Posted by theBarefoot on January 1, 2014

Our little blue speck has once again completed another 365-day orbit around old Sol. Old Pope Greg’s calendar now reads, “2014,” and I’m making a few changes for the new year. I usually don’t make resolutions for the new year because I can’t stand the added depression that comes with breaking all my impulsively created vows by January 7th. I thought about this resolution for more than 2 minutes, so you know I’m serious.

I’m recommencing my YouTube channel with even less focus than before. In addition to my vlogs, ridiculous rants, and writing vociferation, I’ve added DIY (do it yourself) how-to videos. I figure you can learn while I learn as long as neither of us loses a finger in the process.

I also opted into Youtube advertising. Going forward, there will be ads with my videos. Pre-2014, I took great pride in being ad-free, but someone has to pay for all the lumber and tools. My wife put me on “Lowe’s restriction” unless I can come up with some extra-budget money. Hopefully, with fresh content and regular postings, I’ll make enough YouTube money that I can buy the occasional saw blade. It will also be nice to build something with quality lumber because “How to build a ______ from scrape pallets” can only carry the channel so far. This is a resolution I can keep because working on these projects and making video give me the odd, little happy.

I also had to replace my old laptop. After two hard drive crashes, I bought a model with a sold-state drive. I also started saving my files to the cloud with Google Drive. I lost too much in those drive crashes. I’m not taking any more chances. Maybe now, if I start writing a book again, I’ll actually finish it. I certainly won’t have “my computer ate my work” as an excuse. I can create all sorts of other excuses though. One other important thing my old computer took with it was my video editing software. This new laptop doesn’t have a CD drive nor can I locate the CD with my old copy of Vegas Pro, so I’m limping along with Microsoft Movie Maker until I can get a replacement/upgraded version.

Please enjoy my happy new year video and my “return to YouTube” video about a mobile shelf organizer I built. I even included a supply list and instructions in the video description, aka Dooblie-Doo. If you build one, send me a picture or a video.


Happy 2014 & keep chasing the odd, little happy

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Replacing a Mercury Thermostat: No Letters?

Posted by theBarefoot on November 17, 2013

Don’t panic if you can’t find the letters on your old mercury thermostat. They’re there and I’ll tell you how to find them.

I recently replaced my old White-Rodgers, mercury thermostat with a programmable Lux model TX9600TS, but not before I had a moment of panic. All the instructions and how-to videos say to note what wire is connected to what lettered connection point. I removed the face plate of my White-Rodgers and didn’t see any letters. Even the wires were lacking the colors that were referenced in the replacement instructions. Panic ensued. I fired off emails to Lux. I searched the web for information on White-Rodgers thermostats. I found little to nothing. I panicked some more.

If you find yourself in this situation, don’t panic. I’ve done that enough for the both of us. Here’s what you do. At this point, I’m supposed to tell you to be sure the power to the system is off before you start work. I’m not going to tell you that because if you’re that dumb, you’re too dumb to replace a thermostat. If you don’t know enough to kill the electricity, call a pro now before you kill yourself.

I apologize. Where was I? Oh, yes, don’t panic.

The lettered circuit board is behind the mercury switches. The old White-Rodgers is basically three layers: the face plate (figure 1), the switch plate (figure 2), and the circuit board or mounting plate (figure 3). The face plate is simple enough. It just pops off, no tools required. Removing the switches requires locating the four screws holding it to the circuit board. Once those are loose, carefully remove the switch plate. Remember, mercury is classified as a hazardous material. Don’t break the glass. Don’t toss it in the trash either. Contact your local recycling center for disposal instructions.

White-Rodgers face plate

Figure 1

White-Rodgers switch plate

Figure 2

White-Rodgers mounting plate

Figure 3

Now you see the letters! Now you can follow the instructions. 
Note what color wire is attached to what lettered connection, 
disconnect the wires, and finish by removing the two mounting 
screws. Here endth the lesson on finding the letters on an old 
mercury thermostat. What follows are just some general, helpful 
installation hints.
  1. Read the installation instructions completely before starting work. Every new model is a little different and one wrong wire connection can short your new thermostat.
  2. Watching a few how-to videos is helpful. Search YouTube and you’ll have more than enough to choose from.
  3. Have some painter’s tape handy. Use it to post your instructions & diagram on the wall next to your work area.
  4. Be careful when removing the old mounting plate. Don’t let the wires slip back into the wall. Painter’s tape is handy for holding them in place, too.
  5. Some digital thermostats like the Lux Tx9600TS have DIP switches for various options. You’ll need a very small tool to set the DIPs. A toothpick will work.
  6. You’ll probably need a very small Philips-head to secure the wire screws.
  7. Don’t forget to buy batteries for the new digital thermostat.
  8. Before you run out to buy a new digital model, be sure you know exactly what type of system you have. Not all digital thermostats are compatible with 1-stage or 2-stage heat-pumps.
  9. If you have any paint that matches your wall, you may want to paint before you install the new thermostat. Chances are the digital model is smaller than the old mercury model.

The only thing left to say is, “Turn off the power to the system before you start any work.”

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