Sunday, May 31, 2020

Another Helmet Cam Test

 Actually every time I use the helmet cam its gonna be a test because I never know what I'm gonna get. I could know if I mounted my spare phone on the handlebar but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. The bike has been pretty neglected with all the DIY going on around here and if I ever get caught up there are a few things I'd like to do to the big Ultra. We'll get into those in a future post. 
 I decided the best way to test the audio was to tell a short story. I'm hoping it turned out because I'm typing this while the footage is still downloading to my puter and I still don't know if its usable yet. If the video turns out to be about a toolbox or garage project then you know the bike footage was crap.


Wednesday, May 27, 2020

DIY Update

 The three day weekend was a two day weekend for me which is fine. Basically the holiday just ensured I got two days off. I used those two days to catch up on my DIY projects started while I was laid off. I worked on the front porch and I also worked on my garage. Let me set the stage for you a bit because I've never done a tour of my garage/workshop area. A ten by fourteen greenhouse connects the house to my three and a 1/3 bay garage. That greenhouse is half laundry center and half my mess/sportster storage. The bay closest to the greenhouse is walled off, insulated and heated and has no overhead door. The only access is from the greenhouse or a walk in door from the other two stalls of the garage. On the other end is the 1/3 stall which was only accessible from outside till I punched an opening in it to connect it to the two bays. I now call it my parts room. Parts of projects never finished. The garage and parts room are exposed stud walls with no insulation.

 What I want to do is transform that shack I call a garage into something respectable. Theres a lot of oddball stuff that needs to happen before insulation and walls go up like straightening out some electrical issues. One of the garage door openers was on an extension cord. The other had an outlet near it but that outlet was basically an extension cord and plugged into another outlet. I take no responsibility for creating that situation but I also never did anything in over two decades to fix it. I also had a drop light hanging from the rafters in the parts room that had to be plugged in every time I wanted to use it. That one was my fault and I just never got around to fixing it. I remedied all those issues and also added power in the rafters for a light and air compressor. Those are on their own switch so I can just leave the compressor turned on but it wont run till I throw the switch which is convenient considering it will be in the attic.

 Speaking of the attic, I needed a way to get up there once the ceiling is installed so I picked up an attic ladder. I chose a central location that will be accessible even if two vehicles are parked in the garage and installation went pretty well despite the directions clearly calling for two people to hang it. Ya there was some grunting and cussing but that stuff just helps with that extra oomph needed to lift it in place. The satisfaction factor doubles when you shortcut the directions and still end up successful with no visits to the ER. 

  There are a lot of things to do besides just insulating the walls. I bought floor paint. Just the thought of getting everything off the floor for paint kinda makes me woozy. The rustoleum rock solid kit I bought is a two part epoxy that comes in sealed bags. The thought of trying to mix only half of it and then paint half the floor makes me even more woozier so I'll do what I can to get everything out of there including the big ass work bench. I envision a lot of crap hanging from the ceiling.
 Other things to plan for are decent lighting, tunes cuz I gotta have my jams, storage and what to hang on the walls. 
 I'll just keep picking away at it a little at a time.


Sunday, May 24, 2020

Helmet Cam and Audio Testing

 I have this vision of riding around on my bike and narrating video. It would combine a bike ride and my commitment here to post a weekly video. The only way I'd do that is if I can get some decent audio because too much wind noise on a bike ride video just sucks. Being a gearhead on a budget means I'm first gonna try using whatever crap I have laying around and for this video the mic is an old pc mic I found in a box of cables. I think its probably acceptable audio but for this first video I had the camera aimed too low. I've since corrected that and future bike ride vids will give you basically the same view I have.
 If you've got a better way to spend the next eleven minutes then I suggest you do that because this one sucks. I just tried to present different scenarios to test the audio. Seriously, eleven minutes in a dentists chair would be more fun than this video. The reason I'm posting it is because I don't want to pretend I'm something I'm not. This is what I was up to so this is what you get. 


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Front Porch Project

 What started out as a simple matter of replacing some porch posts that rotted out at their bottoms has turned into a major project. Its not major in terms of cash or complexity but rather in terms of how much time its taking up. Its true that when its nice enough to fix the porch its also nice enough to go for a bike ride but this is something thats been on my radar for a long time and I'm determined to get it in my rear view mirror. 
 It started with painting the metal roof over the porch. You may remember that I showed a pic of my raw arms from trying to get that paint off of them. They got worse to the point of bleeding but I'm happy to report I'm to the stage of just a little discoloration and some itching. That really was a bonehead maneuver. 
 A raggedy old piece of astro turf was glued to the concrete and that was scraped off. I still need to deal with the glue. I then pressure washed the concrete along with the front of the house. There has been some discussion of painting the concrete and I even bought the paint but I think it may be only enough to do my garage floor so we'll see what happens there. The real reason I'm having second thoughts about painting the concrete is how it will handle chairs being slid around on it. Scratches in the paint would look worse than just rough concrete.

 I primed the wood surfaces of the porch and also did the two picture windows. Before that primer went on I spent hours scraping paint. You'd never guess by looking at it that I scraped any paint because I did the same thing the guy before me did. I removed what would come off in about three attempts and left the rest. It has a nice retro look now :-) but looks perfectly fine as you walk past on the sidewalk. I can live with that. I still have to deal with the entire ceiling of the porch and instead of spending hours scraping paint I decided I'm gonna cover it with bead board panels. A top coat of paint still has to go on everything so I have that to look forward to.

 All this shit has to be done in a specific order or you end up back tracking and wasting even more time. The old posts were finally removed and to my surprise they aren't as structural as I thought they were. Sure the roof would eventually sag if they weren't there but I found that when I removed them the roof didn't droop. I probably could have done the swap without the use of a jack. Thats a good thing in my eyes because I wondered how sound that roof really was. 

 Once the posts were up I installed the decorative corbels but of course there was a few hours involved in repairing and painting those decorative corner brackets. It was worth it. Again, they aren't perfect but the cost to replace them is crazy. I cut some trim to wrap the bottom of the posts to cover up my mounting brackets. There was a lot of bs involved in cutting those things and I'm not gonna go into detail but for a non-woodworker guy like myself it kinda sucked. At the time of this writing I still have two to do and thats a good thing because I have since decided that I'm gonna add a 1/4" thick piece of plastic under each post to help prevent them from wicking up moisture. I'm back tracking and I kinda wish I would have thought about that before but hey, like I've said many times, I'm not a carpenter.

 I blogged about replacing the storm door and so far that door has been a big hit. The hide away screen is great and the glass running all the way to the bottom is a favorite of at least one of our cats, and shows off the antique inner door. I still need to put a second coat of paint on that inner door.
 The doorbell button was replaced and the last thing on the front of the house that needs attention is the porch light. I plan to refurbish the old one with either polish or paint. What else, oh ya the rain gutter needs to go back on. One other piece of the front that I want to address is the two bridal wreath bushes that mark the corners of the porch. They are odd shaped and if I let them grow out and droop naturally they rub against the house and also create an issue for Mowby. A chain and the big ass station wagon ought to fix their ass. Some simple landscaping and fresh plant material will spruce things up.

 I spent four weeks cleaning my shop and garage while I was laid off. In two weekends I managed to create a bigger mess than I started with four weeks ago. The good news is I've been picking away at making my garage into something I can be proud of. More details on that project another time.


Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Adventures Of Mowby Dick

 I've told you about my ownership of a robotic lawn mower and how he takes care of the lawn mowing for me. The machine has been pretty good as far as keeping me out of his business and he pretty much does what hes scheduled to do leaving me to just change the blades once in a while. On occasion my phone gets pinged that there is a problem. This time my wife got the notification before I did and warned me Mowby might be in trouble. 
 This is that story.


Wednesday, May 13, 2020


 For those of you that don't know what "Blogger" is, its the program I use to make these posts. Its a free service offered by Google since 2003. Blogger has just been updated with a new optional format that works better with mobile devices and to me that sounds good because mobile use has been my only complaint. If you're one of the four people that actually read this blog and you use blogger yourself, let me know your thoughts of the new setup.  
 Its been my experience that people only gussy something up for two reasons. Either they plan to have it a while and want it to last or they want to put some lipstick on that pig and make it attractive to potential buyers. I don't know what the case is here but because I now kinda got my eggs in two baskets, even if one goes away I'll be able to get my important thoughts out to the masses. That second basket is my you tube channel.  
 Right now I'm just using youtube to host my videos that are posted here. I can write some details about a video or give you a heads up of what is in the flick before you watch it. Its actually a chance for me to add details I forgot to mention in the video. I can see adding videos to that channel without any connection to this blog and if you're interested I suspect my channel can easily be found by typing The Greasy Shop Rag in youtubes search engine.
 I'm still on the fence about which format I like better. Snapping a few pics on the phone and then writing about them is pretty quick and easy. I can change what I say with the simple use of the backspace key. Making a video is a lot more involved with equipment, editing and uploading but I think I like doing the videos more than writing posts. I know my personality on video ain't much but I'll loosen up sooner or later and they'll get better...or they won't. I'm not trying to build a following or earn money from any of this so that takes all the pressure off and I can just have fun with it. 
 I know it doesn't look that way but I really am having fun with this. 


Sunday, May 10, 2020

Triple Rack Update

 Ahhh, back to work. The virus is still as real as it ever was but virus be damned! We need to get things rolling again even if in some new hybrid way. At least thats the feeling I'm getting from what I see out there. These days when I get a weird look from someone I'm not sure if cuz I'm picking my nose or just because I'm touching my face! The one thing around here that has everyone confused is the inconsistency. Some businesses require you to wear a mask, and others won't even let you in the building but just down the road some places are conducting business as usual right next to a restaurant that has curbside pickup only. Wisconsins "safer at home" recommendation runs until May 26th but based on the vehicle traffic I see out there, most people have had enough of that. All of that to say this. I wish all the mothers out there a happy mothers day but I'm hoping the families play this one smart. The last thing you want to do is pass on a virus you don't even know if you're carrying along to your dear sweet mother. I believe my kids have some kind of video conferencing deal set up to visit with my honey bunny. No flowers and kiss on the cheek this year. Happy Mothers Day Sweetums.
 Anyway I got side tracked there. I'm back to work and working out of my toolbox again. Because I've had a bunch of questions about the triple rack, I've decided to do an update. 


Wednesday, May 6, 2020


 No the cat didn't walk across the keyboard when I was typing the title to this post. I knew I had to go back to work this past Monday and had last weekend to finish up some Do It Yourself projects As Soon As Possible before 60 hour work weeks consumed all my energy.
 The weather over the weekend was beautiful and would have been perfect for an extended bike ride. I spent a lot of time outside on a ladder and heard bikes the whole time. As much as I wanted to throw my paint brush in the garbage and hop on the bike, I also wanted to get some things off my honey do list. I have a metal roof with a few lower sections that I can reach with a ladder. Those got scraped and a coat of aluminized asphalt was slapped on. Don't be fooled by the friendly shiny appearance of that aluminum paint. Its frickin tar with sprinkles added. I got a bunch on my arms and had a hell of a time getting it off.

 Basically I gave myself road rash on both arms trying to remove the stuff. OK maybe the use of a magic eraser and mineral spirits wasn't the best idea but it did finally come off. At first everything was fine with just some tingling but later my arms turned red like this and blistered in a few spots. If you're mumbling "this guys a dumbass" you are correct but my time machine is in for maintenance so I'll just deal with it. Oh, and if I could go back in time I'd wear a hat last weekend. The sun burnt my scalp pretty bad and it hurts worse than my arms. Must not be as much natural protection up there as there once was.
 Also on the list was replacing my garage doors. I talked about it a bit in the last video and completed the job over the weekend. I really like my new garage doors. Is that weird? I don't mean that I just like them, I mean they make me very happy. I was thinking a lot about why I felt so good having installed these doors and it finally came to me. Its all about childhood memories. When we were wee tykes our bikes were parked in the garage overnight. That garage had the biggest, heaviest, off center wonky piece of shit garage door I've ever seen to this day. To me it was a monster and I hated it. Our bikes were trapped inside and just on the other side of that door was a summer adventure. We needed to get out and pop wheelies, lay skid marks and do our best Evel Knievel impressions. Unfortunately none of that could happen until Mom or Dad opened the door for us because we didn't have the strength or height to do it. The absolute worst disaster was when the door would come off the track and Mom would declare the entire area off limits until dad got home to fix it. On those days we would climb trees, build forts and shoot bb guns. Anyway, I remember one of our friends had an electric garage door opener and I was fascinated by it. I think I somehow knew that some day I'd have a decent garage door with opener and now I have two. I love that something so simple makes me so happy. I should have replaced those doors years ago.

Craptacular door on the left and new door of dreams on the right.

 Also on the list was replacing the front storm door. We got one that has the screen rolled up in the top so when the upper window is pulled down the screen follows. Very cool idea, I just hope it holds up. I also got a first coat of paint on the outside of the inner door. 

 I know this is an old door and always thought it was unique. Turns out friends of ours have two of the same door. Craziness I tell you.
 Lets see...what else did I accomplish? Well, I rerouted some of Mowbys boundary wire. He has a tight area in the front yard all beat to shit because of a long high tree root. This root has also caused him to slip over the curb into the street on a few occasions so I decided I'll just keep him out of there and trim that little section myself. A small price to pay considering he does all the rest of the lawn mowing and I have to trim near that area anyway.

 Finally I also started doing a little work on our front porch. An old piece of astro turf was pulled up. The adhesive still needs to be dealt with. The porch posts will get replaced and I even removed one of them to get a better idea of what I have to deal with. Some old paint was scraped and some new paint was applied. Not too much, mind you, just enough to make it look like I've been keeping busy.


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Locked Down In The Garage

 The covid-19 virus has created a situation where a lot of people are stuck at home catching up on their wish list projects. I'd say "Honey Do" list but my honey has a list that probabaly doesn't include me reinforcing the rafters in my garage. Unfortunately these things have to be done in a certain order to avoid back tracking and other problems. Also, it was raining on this particular day so an inside project made sense.
 On a side note, I heard a nearby hardware store just had a record month in sales. I'm not surprised.
Check it out: