Handy Hints and Hacks


tall, thin, irritable
I buy Kohler faucets and toilets exclusively. They are not the cheapest but they have outstanding customer service.

I've called them a couple of times and they keep my info on file. Our water is a bit in the hard side and the lime scale/mineral buildup can be a real pain in the shorts sometimes. They sent me cartridges for my two-handle bathroom faucet a couple of years ago. Free. We have a single handle shower-only unit and that's developed the same issues. Took it all apart and cleaned it to little effect (distinctly un-fun). Called them and they are sending me about $100 worth of parts. Free.

Those cartridges and mixing valves can be damned pricey and they are failing because of time and the water we have. No fault of the manufacturer. They can see that sending parts is an easy way to engender customer loyalty - which they have done with me in spades.

Try calling Ford or Tesla or Nissan up and asking for free parts because something wore out.


tall, thin, irritable
I have a couple of ancient 4' twin tube T12 fluorescent fixtures in my garage. One of them keeps failing and it's the ballast resistor inside. Zero point IMO in 2022 replacing the ballast and a new LED fixture is uncheap, like everything else.

So I tried an LED conversion. One type is a plug and play and you leave the old ballast inside which may or may not interfere with the way the light works, if at all. The other type is the one I got which is a direct wire - meaning I took the light down, opened it up and removed the ballast and the little tombstone tube holders at the end. New ones come in the kit. One end isn't wired and is only there for mechanical support. The other ends just splice into the wires from the cord for line voltage. This took all of five minutes to do that and rehang the light. The LED strips are triangular in shape and marked 'AC input' on one end that you ensure is on the correct end.

Only cost $20 and was easy peasy and I reused the old light. The thing is damned bright. I have a second identical fixture down there but until it asks for something it's stay with it's old T12 tubes.

4 ft. DIMMABLE Direct-wire LED Tubes (2-pack/Multipack)


As Above So Below
Handy hint:

If you're ever in a survival situation in nature it's best not to have any internal or external dialog with yourself...Focus on the necessities and stay busy all day with the necessities and projects so you can stabilize and move from surviving to living...When survivalists have hard times in the beginning the tendency of the mind is to reason with itself, rationalize and carry or discourse...If/when this happens its usually only a matter of time before you rationalize yourself into eating something or drinking something you shouldn't and that could be fatal in a survival situation...



As Above So Below
A good thing to have and something I'm purchasing soon is a Jase case, an emergency antibiotic kit...Its not too expensive either, about 250 dollars...



tall, thin, irritable
here are some things that you are better off not thinking about. Sugar production being one of them. I'm sure there are more modern facilities but I have years and years of service calls in the ****hole and have crawled through about every square inch of the place. Yonkers, NY at Ludlow St. Oooooooofta. From the barges unloading at the Hudson River swarmed with bees to the clean white sugar poured into bags. YUCK. They just load bags with one logo, pour, load different bags, pour and they'd all sit on the supermarket shelves competing against one another.

You know the rotating slurpee machines at 7-11 ? Imagine several 30' wide versions of that laying horizontally in a dank Freddy Kruegeresque facility and the rotating arms are swiping off black foaming nasty who knows what into nasty drainage that goes who knows where and smells nasty, nasty, nasty. I've been to chemical plants that smelled way better.

The brown sugar stench is overwhelming, especially on hot summer days, and literally is in the air sticking to everything. I used to have to peel my clothes and shoes off in the garage, wipe down my tools and truck seat after going there. A block away was a candy manufacturer that made the tasty tidbits for Ben & Jerry's.

I don't eat Ben & Jerry's.



As Above So Below

Top 3 Knots for Emergency Survival

1 - The Bowline Knot

The bowline knot is one of the most popular knots worldwide because it’s easy to tie and use. There is historical evidence that suggests bowline knots were used for rigging on ships in Ancient Egypt and were written about in John Smith’s journals.

How to Tie a Bowline Knot

instructions for tying a bowline knot

Here are instructions for a bowline knot from The Manual.

  1. Make a loop in your rope with the working end over the top of your standing end. This loop is often referred to in bowline tying practice as the rabbit's hole.
  2. Pass the working end of the rope up through the loop – the rabbit comes up out of the hole.
  3. Lead the rope around the back of the standing line – the rabbit goes around the tree.
  4. Feed the working end back through the hole – the rabbit goes back into its hole.
  5. Dress the knot by pulling on the two strands of rope that go through the loop, and the standing line, individually. Then pull all three individually to tighten your bowline.

Uses of the Bowline Knot

Bowline knots are useful every day and in emergency situations, such as anchoring a rope around something like a tree or person. For example, you can use a bowline knot to make an anchor so you can lower yourself or someone else out of a dangerous situation, like a fire or a cliff. It can be used to help rescue someone from the water.

A bowline knot can also be turned into a carrying handle to make it easier to carry supplies. It is a quick and easy way to attach a line to a tree for a clothesline or build a shelter. It can be used for tying a hammock.

2 - The Square Knot

The square knot is an easy knot to learn. It works best when it is laid flat to tie, so it is most useful in situations where protruding knots aren’t the best choice.

The square knot is also a basic knot, so once you know how to make one, you can use its technique to build even more knots. Scout troops often begin their knot learning journey with the square knot for this reason.

How to Tie a Square Knot

instructions for tying a square knot

The go-to way to teach the square knot is by emphasizing “right over left, left over right.” Here’s how to turn right over left, left over right into a square knot.

  1. Begin with two lengths of rope roughly the same diameter and strength.
  2. Cross one rope (the right side) over the other rope (the left side).
  3. Take the right side rope under to form an overhand knot.
  4. At this point, the ropes have switched places.
  5. Take the left rope over the right rope.
  6. Send it under to form a second overhand knot.
  7. Tighten the knots, and you will have a square knot.

Uses of the Square Knot

Square knots are especially useful for first aid emergencies, such as tying bandages or tying down a tourniquet. If you have a multi-tool with scissors and know how to tie a square knot – you can easily rip and tie bandages.

In addition, you use a square knot to loosely secure a package or a clothesline or to attach an item to a bag. It can also be used to lift food into the trees to keep the food out of reach of predators. The key is to avoid using square knots for heavy loads as these knots cannot handle the high strain.

3 - The Clove Hitch Knot

One of the most useful knots for emergency survival is the clove hitch, which is meant for temporary use.

Like the square knot, the clove hitch knot also works to form other knots. It is a very popular survival knot because it is easy to tie (you can even do it with one hand) and it can be tied in multiple ways (such as at the end or the middle of the rope).

How to Tie a Clove Hitch Knot

instructions for tying a clove hitch knot

  1. To create a clove hitch on a tree, make a loop of rope around the tree.
  2. Then make another loop and pass the free end of the rope under the second loop before tightening.
  3. To tie this one over a post or stake, just create a loop in the free end of the rope and slide it over the post.
  4. Then make another loop the same as the first.
  5. Put the second loop over the post (just above the first loop) and tighten the hitch.

Uses of the Clove Hitch Knot

There are many uses for the clove hitch knot, such as securing an emergency shelter. The clove hitch works well for attaching a rope to a carabiner. With a rope, a clove hitch knot, and a carabiner, you can accomplish a lot in the wild.

You can also use a clove hitch to secure a rope to something in the environment (i.e., a tree or post). Like other knots, the clove hitch can be used to hang food in trees to protect from bears or other animals.

If you need to adjust guy lines, such as setting up an outdoor hammock, a clover hitch will work well.

Clove hitch knots are also widely used in climbing, such as tying into anchored locking carabiners or securing slings to anchors. They can also be used to construct rope ladders.



As Above So Below
I recently subscribed to this channel (the source of the 3 videos above) because of the fantastic recipes and techniques of this fellow, John Kirkwood...I've been watching his various cooking videos for a couple months now and have tried 5 of them, with excellent results...I'll probably purchase his 2 recipe books before too long...

View: https://youtu.be/EvyH5WsoM-s



tall, thin, irritable
We're all supposed to have smoke and CO detectors in the house. They're either battery powered or hard wired to run off the house AC. Hindsight being clear hard wiring is the way to go in the long run. But, if you have to screw around with batteries then youhave to check them. I make it part of the Daylight Savings ritual. Well, this year one of them failed.

It's a Kidde Smoke/CO combo alarm. What was $50 is now $70. It has a sealed 10 year battery and here's the handy hint:

You buy one of those keep the store receipt and original packaging. I mark the unit and packaging with the date I installed it. Then I toss that in a closet and forget about it. Four years later when you call Kidde and tell them this they send you a free new one.


tall, thin, irritable
Soaking some rusty tools in Coke. Always heard it takes off rust and finally decided to see if that's true. So far 12 hours in the results are not spectacular. They can sit in that stuff a month for all I care. We'll see.