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Wednesday 2024.6.12

Not Much Today

I haven't got much to write about today, unless I fill this blog with boring stuff — it's been cloudy for weeks, the daytime temperatures are on the cool side, some fog and drizzle lately, and I keep working on off-brand LEGO kits

I finished the boat and also completed another tank.

The boat was pleasant to work on. The pages in the instruction book were large with easy-to-follow steps and big pictures. On the other hand, the tank was a nightmare. The graphics were small and each step used so many pieces, the build was complicated. The first step alone took me about an hour to figure out before I glued any pieces together.

I'm working on another helicopter now. That assembly is going well. Unlike other builds, the numbered bags are used in sequence and the instructions are logical and easy to follow.

I now have six toys to put outside for the neighborhood children to find and take. I like to put them on top of my recycling bin, which goes out every other Friday.

I'll be able to get away from the military soon. I found a small red sports car (305 pieces) on Vine to build.

The Tomato Chronicles

The tomato plants continue to do well, although one of them looks like it might not survive the summer. It doesn't help that the sun hasn't shined for weeks. In another two weeks I'll add the last of the potting mix to the planter and then cover the top with mulch to prevent weeds.

Something New From Vine

I couldn't resist a battery powered scooter when I saw it.

I thought it might be fun to use for quick trips to the grocery store. The Smart & Final store up the street is on the same side of the avenue as my home. I can ride on the sidewalk the entire way, keeping safely out of the street.

I might be able to lock this thing to a bike rack, but if not, I can fold it and put it in my shopping cart. It only weighs 25 pounds. If I can put a 25-lb. sack of flour in my shopping cart, the scooter should be easy. A friend suggested I wear a backpack to hold the few groceries I would buy. Which reminds me of a story.

I would often stop at Costco on my way home from work. I commuted by bicycle; so I knew to buy only a few things. One day I came out of the store and there was a young woman — I assume a student from the local university — with a full shopping cart and her bicycle. I heard her telling someone on the phone that she couldn't get the groceries home and someone needed to come pick them up.

As for that backpack, I've had it for so many years, I can't remember why I ever purchased it. It was something I got at Costco. I must have liked the price and bought it on impulse. I never used it and it has been in the back of a closet since before I retired 13 years ago. It will suit my shopping needs. And if I decide to cross the avenue (there are traffic signals with "walk" lights) I can shop at Costco too. Just don't buy a portable air conditioner.

Finally, Blood Glucose

I've been doing well lately. This morning was my best test ever. My doctor wants me to get my mg/dL (milligrams per deciliter) down close to 100. It was 109.9.

Sunday 2024.6.9

Super Glue Addendum

A friend of this web site emailed me after reading my blog post about glue (below). He said inexpensive fingernail polish remover can also be used to remove cyanoacrylate (CA) glue from the fingers. I added a small bottle to my Amazon wish list. Inexpensive items like that are useful when I need to add one or two more items to qualify my order for free shipping.

And Speaking of Glue…

I finished building the pair of tanks. The green one had problems, but the tan one went together more easily. The wheels and treads kept falling off the green tank; so, I glued the wheels in place. Thus, they don't turn. That wasn't a problem with the tan tank.

As I put these toys outside for the local children to take, my neighbors might start wondering if I have a fetish for military tanks. Besides the three I completed so far, I saw another two-tank kit available on Amazon Vine; so I grabbed it. However, I'm taking a break from the military. I'm starting a fishing boat.

It doesn't look like much yet, but by Wednesday's blog it will probably look complete. This is one of the best kits I've tried so far. The illustrations are large and easy to understand. The steps are not at all complicated.

Next to be built is another helicopter that, hopefully, will go together better than the last one. Then, after that, I'll return to tanks to build those two I mentioned above. As usual, pictures will follow.

Harissa

I've made my own harissa, a North African spice blend. I have a recipe for it on this web site: CLICK HERE if you're interested.

I probably don't use it in the way it's intended. I like to mix it with mayonnaise and put that spread on a sandwich, such as pastrami on rye. The condiment comes to mind because I've had a jar of it on my wish list on Amazon. I ordered a jar this week for free shipping.

Oops2

I made a mistake, but so did Amazon Vine. I reviewed the wrong item. It hasn't even been delivered yet, but Amazon published it anyway. It's another pair of military tanks. I tried to stop the review, but there is no way to remove a review until after it is published. Maybe they get so many millions of reviews each day they can't possible check the validity of them all.

The item is supposed to be delivered today. If the boat isn't finished, I'll set it aside and direct my attention to the tanks. I only need to build one of them because the other is exactly the same as one I built and reviewed already. They come as a pair; so I can't be as selective as I'd like to be.

Wednesday 2024.6.5

Super Glue, AKA Crazy Glue

I could teach a class on Super Glue. I've learned a lot about it since I started using it to assemble LEGO-like building toy kits. Here are a few things I've come to appreciate:

  1. It's all the same. Glass glue, plastic glue, ceramic glue, whatever — cyanoacrylate glue or CA glue. Some versions are thinner (more watery) and others are thicker, but they're all the same. They bond in 10 to 15 seconds and fully cure in 24 hours.
  2. Forget the nozzle. After only a few applications it will become clogged and useless. Instead, use something like a piece of bamboo skewer to dab small amounts of glue in place. You can cut the cotton swab off one end of a Q-Tip and use the cardboard rod as a dabber.
  3. Less is more. I found it's best to use small dabs of glue. Larger amounts tend to spread and get on my fingers and work surface. And if a mistake is made, slightly glued pieces can usually be taken apart without too much difficulty.
  4. Bring out the Vaseline. Spread a little petroleum jelly around the threads that hold the cap in place. Grease all the way to the top. This will help prevent buildup of dried glue on the top of the bottle. If any does collect, it can usually be wiped or picked off easily because of the jelly. Apply the Vaseline as often as necessary.
  5. Get a bottle of cyanoacrylate remover. My bottle says Un-Bond. A drop or two on the fingers will remove any glue on the skin. You can also use it to clean up a spot where a drop fell onto your work surface. You might need to repeat the process a few times.
  6. Wear rubber gloves. Nitrile examination gloves work well. They're thin enough not to get in the way of your manual dexterity.
  7. For the smallest pieces, tweezers work well for positioning them for gluing into place.
  8. Cover you work surface with a protective cloth or paper. I like parchment paper, which is inexpensive. When a sheet gets messed up, throw it away and use a new sheet.
  9. Forget about glue thinners. I've looked. I couldn't find any. Therefore, always keep the bottle tightly capped to prevent evaporation, which makes the glue thicken. You can stretch thickened glue a little further by adding some thin glue and mixing well. I just throw out the bottle and open a new one. Buy small bottles.
  10. Secure the bottle. If it tips and spills, you'll have a terrible mess to clean up. I wrap the bottle with layers of bubble wrap and push that down into a shallow glass jar. My glue never tips over anymore. Two spills were enough.

Meanwhile, I finished assembling the helicopter and now I'm starting on another military tank.

A Little More Political

On Monday there was news saying nearly half of Americans believe Trump should withdraw from the race. That's not going to happen until his followers stop sending him money.

Sunday 2024.6.2

A Little Political

I can help but be a little political, maybe more than a little, after the events of this past Thursday. I was sitting at my desk with CNN on all day. I saw the verdicts as they were announced one by one. All 34 guilty verdicts.

I was satisfied with the results. In a case like this, in which the verdicts must be unanimous, not a simple majority, there is always the risk that one holdout will result in a hung jury. I was also not surprised. This case did not depend solely on the testimony of witnesses like Stormy Daniels and Michael Cohen. There was documentary evidence. The documents don't lie. The signature is either Trump's or not. Also, the numbers don't lie.

I don't want to see Trump go to prison. For me, that isn't necessary. He'll probably appeal the case for the remainder of his life anyway. What did matter to me was the possible affect on the upcoming election. I don't want Trump to win the presidency for another term.

During his first term in office he had to exercise some caution. His handlers did the best they could to keep him within boundaries. He needed to be careful because he wanted to win a second term.

In a second term, there is no need for controls. He can say and do almost anything he wants, depending on the House and the Senate. If there is a majority of Republicans in both houses, another impeachment would unlikely result in his being removed from office. Unless his crimes were criminally heinous, the Senate wouldn't convict him. Can a president be impeached for ruling like a despot?

Trump will continue to keep his base of dedicated followers. They are already donating millions of dollars for him to use to pay his legal fees. However, as I've said in earlier blogs, his base is shrinking. As his actions and words become more and more outrageous (because he thinks his antics win him followers) his base dwindles.

It's Gone

Saturday (because of the Monday holiday) was trash pickup day. I put the off-brand LEGO plastic tank outside on my bin with a "FREE" sign on it. By 10:30 that morning it was taken. They are certainly welcome to it.

I've been working on the WW2 propeller plane. I finished it yesterday evening.

I don't usually put the decals on models, but in this case they worked well to hide some of the glue smudges caused by my clumsy fingers, even though I wear rubber gloves to keep my fingers clean.

Like the tank, I'll keep it on my desk for a week or two to admire my hard work. Then I'll tape a "FREE" sign on it and put it outside for children to find.

Next up is a WW2 military helicopter. And I tossed the bottle of glue in the trash. It was getting too thick. And, the spare glue nozzles I ordered arrived and they don't fit any of my bottles of glue. I have five new bottles. I'll use the nozzles only as caps. A piece of bamboo skewer works well to dab a little glue here and there where I need it.