Wikipedia is at it again

They’re begging for money, again. if you go to any page on Wikipedia, it has a banner asking for help.

I urge you not to contribute to them. Wikipedia is inaccurate and biased, and full of feedback loops (look up “Brazilian aardvark”)

But don’t take my word for it. Check out this article and come to your own conclusions.

New brakes

The front brakes on the Nissan have been squeaking practically since I bought it two years ago. There was plenty of pad left, but the were cheap- AutoZone’s DuraLast house brand.

I bought a set of Wagner ThermoQuiet pads from Rock Auto, as I’ve had good success with Wagner on the Ford truck. This is the first time I’ve used Rock Auto, and they were easy to do business with.

The first thing I noticed was how easy the pads were to change- the manual says to loosen the top bolt, remove the bottom bolt, then swing the caliper up and out of the way, and it’s not kidding. I went ahead and took off the caliper from the knuckle in order to compress the caliper piston more easily.

After a test drive, it appears the new pads work great.

Happy birthday, Samuel.

I’ll likely use this day each year to sing the praises of a man who was useful in the events of 19 April, 1775.

Samuel Whittemore was a serious badass. From Wikipedia:

Whittemore was in his fields when he spotted an approaching British relief brigade under Earl Percy, sent to assist the retreat. Whittemore loaded his musket and ambushed the British Grenadiers of the 47th Regiment of Foot from behind a nearby stone wall, killing one soldier. He then drew his dueling pistols and killed a grenadier and mortally wounded a second. By the time Whittemore had fired his third shot, a British detachment reached his position; Whittemore drew his sword and attacked.[6] He was shot in the face, bayoneted numerous times, and left for dead in a pool of blood. He was found by colonial forces, alive, trying to load his musket to fight again. He was taken to Dr. Cotton Tufts of Medford, who perceived no hope for his survival. However, Whittemore lived another 18 years until dying of natural causes at the age of 96.

They leave out the fact that he fathered more children after he recovered from his wounds.

A less (very much so) version can be found here. Language warning.

Long live the spirit of this sort of man.

From the field to the jar

 I bought a bagful of pickles from a roadside fruit/ vegetable vendor and got busy getting them into jars. I’d ordered a whole box, but the vendor sold most of them before I got there. Next week, they ought to have more.
I’m using the lacto fermentation method, similar to the process for making sauerkraut, but with different spices. I’m looking forward to the finished product.


I love going to junkyards. They’re almost as much fun as camping trips: in fact, when I can combine a camping trip and a trip to a junkyard, I really enjoy it.

Today I took the Ford truck (because it has all the tools in it) and drove to a yard at a nearby-ish town, looking for three or four 15″ wheels for my utility trailer. I’m specifically looking for 5 on 4 1/2″ pattern wheels, and I took the trailer to make sure that whatever I found would fit the trailer. But before I found wheels for the trailer, I found four 14″ wheels with good tires on an ’87 Nissan pickup that will fit my ’91 Nissan pickup. It took me about a half hour to get them off, and the fellow who owns the place charged me $40 for all four wheels/tires, a brand new set of brake pads that were behind the seat of the truck, the jack rod/handle,the dome light lens, the windshield washer reservoir cap, and the lug wrench. Wish I had more time, I’d have stripped off the starter, alternator, door handles…and more, probably.

I was able to mount the “new” tires on the truck, and on the way back from storage (put the snow tires in the shed across town), drove the truck on the interstate- they work great. I’ve probably saved myself from purchasing new tires this season.

I’ll tinker with the lens on Sunday, and use the Sabbath to rest my aching back. I’m looking forward to the relaxation.

I’m sure pleased that so few people deign to get their hands dirty at the junkyard.

Rant: Shitty service, thy name is Gerber.

Last month I purchased a Gerber bladeless multitool at Amazon. It arrived in good order, and fast.

The first time I used it to cut 14g copper wire, the carbide wire cutter blade disintegrated. No problem, right? Just call Gerber and I’ll bet they send a cutter blade right out, right?

Not so much. Gerber’s solution to “customer service” is to offer to take your complaint, and allow you to send it back: from there they’ll fix it as needed.

So I called the number on their website, and was connected to a very pleasant person on the other end of the phone. She offered to connect me to a gent (sorry, I can’t call his name right now) at extension 1149 and I left a detailed message with my info. Two days later, no call back. I called again after two days- two days after that, still no call or email back.

I remembered that Amazon allows returns, so I got back on their website, and lo, returns are easy. I chose the replacement option, and they pay for shipping-you can even print out a UPS return label. I’d rather keep the tool I’ve got, but a new one will be fine.

Gerber, I’m going to use this tool until It wears out, and I’m never spending another cent on your products again. I’m glad you’ve got so much business that you don’t have to deal with peasants like me, but I hope enough people get tired of you lack of actual customer service that you either change or go under. If I’d been able to contact someone who could help me out, you’d have won my business for life. Instead, your (or your stockholders) have squandered my loyalty to save yourself from a little inconvenience or expense.

Amazon, All I can say about you is…bravo. Fixing this couldn’t have been easier. I hate to use this kind of customer service because the “replacement” mentality doesn’t appeal to me, but in the face of the shitty service Gerber “provides” it’s a breath of fresh air. Thank you for having actual customer service, even if it isn’t the exact kind I’d prefer. I appreciate it very much, and you’ve gained a loyal customer.

Thank you, dear reader for listening to me bitch. I’ll try to be good for a while and bring you more uplifting posts now that I’ve gotten this off my chest.

Edited to add: I took my label and tool to the UPS store, and a red headed siren helped me get it in a shipping pouch, knew exactly what to do with all the pieces of paper that I printed off, taped the label to the pouch-voila! It was done. I neglected to get her name, but I left the store thinking that she certainly wasn’t on of those women who make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. If I could hire her, I would in an instant.

No trips this spring

But I did get a camping trip in the last weekend of June. I took a buddy to a nice camping area about twenty miles away from my house, and we spent three days doing next to nothing but sitting and eating. I was able to use the Helton heater on the truck to heat a jug of water for a shower on Friday night, and it was a delight. I promised a post on it, and I’ll do it, maybe next trip.
Yesterday afternoon I installed a new wire for the water pump to replace the old one- an old electrical cord I had laying around. I also cleaned up the wiring so that it looks a little nicer, and if I can get it together this weekend, I’ll reroute a supply wire to the reading light in the bunk, and a couple of 12V cigar and USB sockets inside the bunk cabinet so I can run my small fan and plug in my phone at night.
I’ll be staying home this weekend, unless I get a wild hair and decide to go for a drive offroad- I did it a couple years ago, and took backroads from Arminto to Kirby, Wyoming, never touching pavement. I found this book years ago, and it just fed the bug I’ve had for traveling dirt roads. If you want to explore Wyoming, I can heartily recommend it.