Search My Notes

There are many pages of posts on many subjects, and only a few show on this main page. Search for the subjects that you are interested in.

Topics covered in here tend toward Gadgetry, Weapons, Books, Tools, and a lot of other things that have captured my interest.

Please note the "Linked From Here" tab on the results, which lists search results from sites I have linked to in my posts.

Cheap Living on the Road

Cheap RV Living is a great site for the modern hobo/traveler that doesn't look for luxury but still prefers comfort. It has some great articles on homemade RV conversions, van conversions, and pickup campers and cheap travel/living in general.

It is geared for "Living and Traveling Full or Part-Time in a Van, Car, or RV."

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Dumpster Diving

This is The World's Largest Forum of information for dumpster divers, recyclers, scrap metal enthusiasts and eco-friendly people. It has a lot of useful info and tips.

And yes, I used to DD a lot when I was younger, and got tools and instruments and guns and car parts and bicycles and shelving and plywood and horse feed and knives and camping gear and, well, you name it. It is amazing, and sad, what people throw away and waste, especially well-to-do folks.

A friend recovered a 12-place setting of fine Noritake china from beside a dumpster. The owner had broken one plate and preferred buying an all-new set. The average Asian family could live well on what the average American family wastes or throws away. Dumpster Diving salvages a little of that waste.

DD Rules:
VERY IMPORTANT: Please disguise all store names.

Please do not use the stores actual name in your posts. Disguise the names IE selpats (read it backwards).
We need to disguise the names of companies so that companies do not search the internet and find that we are diving at there stores. This is good for you as a diver so please comply with this policy for everyone's benefit.

If you do not disguise the name your post will be edited, and a PM will be sent reminding you. Also I would appreciate it if the community could remind newcomers about this via a post in the problem thread. If you as a poster make a mistake go back to the post and click MODIFY and change it so it is suitable.

The following are wonderful tips for dumpster diving.

What do you do if a Cop stops you?

In this situation you have two options:

1. You can lie to him and tell him your looking for boxes to help a friend move. If you don’t have any finds in the car yet this is probably the best thing to do, but if your car is loaded down with dumpster finds he’s not going to buy it and it'll make a bad situation worse.

2. Be straight up with him and tell him that your dumpster diving, as far as I KNOW, dumpster diving isn't against the law and the worse that can happen is you get a trespassing warrant **BUT I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU GET INTO TROUBLE**.

What do I need to bring with me?
Flashlight or headlamp
hand sanitizer (for when you get the "yuckies" all over you)
Digital Camera (to take pictures and post them here Cheesy)
A small utility knife incase you have to cut open some boxes
Tie downs/rope for your vehicle (for when you find furniture and such)

What should I wear?
Don’t wear your black ninja outfit, just wear normal clothing. If you wear black clothes you look suspicious like your trying to hide what your doing.
Pants help stop most cuts from happening.
Longer sleeves are good if you like jumping in full bins alot.

What are some good places to go?
Office supply stores
Computer chains
Office complexes
Apartment complexes
Local independent computer stores
Furniture stores
Tool warehouses
College Campuses especially around the end of the semester
Your residential curbs on trash day.

Why does everyone say to leave the area around the dumpster cleaner than you found it?
Suppose you work at the store and some jerk makes a huge mess around the dumpster trying to get something out, wouldn’t you be pissed? Plus there’s the added fact that the company is bound to put locks on the dumpster(s), get a compactor, or install video surveillance. Cleaning up other's messes may seem irritating but it can sure save your favorite dumpster from possibly being locked.

All the places I go have compactors can I disable them somehow?
Simply put.....NO. Dont try to disable anything at the store you'll end up breaking it and causing the company a lot of money, besides they have a compactor for a reason. It's also an awesome way to die. It happens more than you think. The world is filled with dumpsters, go find them!

I have taken pictures of my finds how can I post them here?.
Use,, or to upload pics, then post the link here.

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Bike hacks

Bike Hacks is a blog for bikers -- the pedal type -- and shows how riders from coast to coast have modified and used their bicycles. There is an attached Flickr pool, and some great ideas for modifications and accessories.

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Stackpole Books:
Thomas G. Samworth was the founder of Small Arms Tech, the company that became Stackpole. He was born in Delaware and was an inventor for the DuPont Company. He was the first editor of The American Rifleman and published more than 45 books on firearms, ballistics and hunting from the 1930's till the 1950's.

From our beginnings in the 1930s as a small, family-owned publishing house, Stackpole Books has been committed to books of the highest quality and authority. We apply this same rigorous standard to all our subject areas -- Nature, Outdoor Sports, Crafts and Hobbies, Military Reference, History, and Pennsylvania -- and we proudly offer our website to further our efforts in providing these books for your enjoyment

If you are on facebook, you can be kept apprised of Stackpole's new titles by becoming a fan of Stackpole Books. There is no commitment, there are just jpegs of our new titles' covers for your perusal. What are you waiting for? You are just a click away from Stackpole Books' facebook page.

I note that they have reprinted a number of the classic books on hunting and firearms, by authors like Dunlap and Hatcher, Rutledge and Roosevelt, and many others.

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3M Doublestick Tape
. . . otherwise known as molding tape or trim tape.

This is the stuff they use to stick emblems, trim, or vent shades on cars, and it is tough, weatherproof, waterproof, and easy to work with. It is not affected by heat or cold and has a LOT of gripping power. If you don't need the cushioning of regular double-sided foam tape, this is the best tape you can use for most jobs.

Thanks, Kirk and Paul, for tipping me off to this stuff. It works!!

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Taylor Momsen's Latest Vibe

in a Headline Increases Traffic?

Testing this theory to see if it is true.

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Electrical What?


Frustrated by the difficulty of searching schematic symbols through long lists with little information led to the creation of Electrical What !?, a database of electronic components. Electrical What !? displays all electronic components in a easily scannable and cataloged format. However what truly sets Electrical What !? apart from your average reference book is the ability to search by appearance. Using these tools Electrical What !? hopes to make looking for electronic symbols a breeze.

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The Art of Manliness

The Art of Manliness is a "a blog dedicated to uncovering the lost art of being a man."

Part of the things on there are fun, part are tongue-in-cheek, and most are actually kind of insightful. There's material on exercise. grooming, car repair, movies, politics, and a lot of oddball topics. Browsing there is fun.

Brett McKay:

My idea for the Art of Manliness came about as I was standing in Borders bookstore looking at the men’s magazines. It seemed to me that the content in these magazines were continually going downhill, with more and more articles about sex and how to get six pack abs. Was this all there was to being a man?

And as I looked around at the men my age, it seemed to me that many were shirking responsibility and refusing to grow up. They had lost the confidence, focus, skills, and virtues that men of the past had embodied and were a little lost. The feminism movement did some great things, but it also made men confused about their role and no longer proud of the virtues of manliness. This, coupled with the fact that many men were raised without the influence of a good father, has left a generation adrift as to what it means to be an honorable, well-rounded man.

Talking about honorable manliness was to me a niche seemingly not covered on the web or elsewhere, and I decided to start The Art of Manliness to talk about all things manly- both the serious and the fun, but with the ultimate eye toward encouraging readers to be better husbands, fathers, brothers, men.

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Tool Crib

Tool Crib used to put out power tool catalogs that left me drooling. You can find deals on power tools, power tool reviews, cordless power tools, hand and power tools, discount power tools, reconditioned power tools and refurbished power tools.

Their site has about the same effect on me, and the Blog, with "News and Information About Power Tools" is a must-read addition, with tool comparisons, shop tips, plans -- you name it.

"Magazine Work Bench Plans from 1882-2003" was one I really enjoyed, with plans from American Woodworker and other magazines.

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Mental_floss: Feature Stories to Make You Smile . . .

Mental_floss: Feature Stories to Make You Smile, Feed your Right Brain, Nurture your Left Brain, Indulge your Scattered Brain, and Learn to Spin the Globe!

Mental_floss is divided up into the following sections:
  • scatter_brained. In this section, a number of trivia items (all connected to an encompassing topic through puns) are written about in short paragraphs.
  • right_brain. Articles about "right brain" topics (e.g. art and literature), such as Six Degrees of Ken Jennings, can be found here.
  • left_brain. This section deals with topics that would befit the "left brain" areas (math, logic, etc.).
  • spinning the_globe. A different part of the world is explored each issue. spinning the_globe always begins with a section describing a "50 cent tour" of whatever region that issue is focusing on.
  • The Quiz. In each issue, there is a quiz in the back of the magazine. There is also a mini quiz consisting of five questions on the mental_floss website every day.
In their words:
For the record: mental_floss magazine is an intelligent read, but not too intelligent. We're the sort of intelligent that you hang out with for a while, enjoy our company, laugh a little, smile a lot and then we part ways. Great times. And you only realize how much you learned from us after a little while. Like a couple days later when you're impressing your friends with all these intriguing facts and things you picked up from us, and they ask you how you know so much, and you think back on that great afternoon you spent with us and you smile. And then you lie and say you read a lot.

As a bonus, there are alway snippets from my favorite series, Uncle John's Bathroom Reader.

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Smashing magazine, a Designer's Resource

Smashing Magazine, founded in September 2006, delivers useful and innovative information to Web designers and developers. Their aim is to inform their readers about the latest trends and techniques in Web development. Quality and not quantity is their aim, they promise to "smash" web developers with useful information.. The site isn't aimed at the casual browser, it is a tecno-heavy resource for web designers and developers.

I stumbled onto them because of their photography tips and found a LOT of useful information on layout, design, and editing, as well as some great Photoshop tutorials.

Their stats are pretty good:
107,105 comments as of February 2010
882 articles, plus 30 pages 41,342 pictures published 414 tags used 13 categories assigned 8 servers running their website

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Wikileaks, Teller of Secrets

Wikileaks is the whistle-blowing site that governments hate and the citizens should love. If the government practice of CYA bothers you, consider contributing to them.
Wikileaks “ ... serves as an uncensorable and untraceable depository for the truth, able to publish documents that the courts may prevent newspapers and broadcasters from being able to touch. In praise of... WikiLeaks - The Guardian, October 20, 2009
Wikileaks publishes anonymous submissions and leaks of sensitive governmental, corporate, organizational, and religious documents, while attempting to preserve the anonymity and untraceability of its contributors. Within one year of its December 2006 launch, its database had grown to more than 1.2 million documents.

The Wikileaks team consists of five people who work full-time and about 800 people who work occasionally. None are paid. Wikileaks has no official headquarters. The expenses per year are about $200,000, mainly for servers and bureaucracy, which is provided by donations.

Maybe it is too effective. On March 15, 2010, Wikileaks released a secret 32 page U.S. Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Report from March 2008. The document described some prominent reports leaked on the website which related to the security interests of the USA, and described potential methods of marginalizing the organization.

The report discussed deterring potential whistleblowers via termination of employment and criminal prosecution of any existing or former insiders, leakers or whistleblowers. Reasons for the attack include notable leaks such as U.S. equipment expenditure, human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay and the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah.

For up-to-the-second reports on what is going on, there is a Feed.

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I made it onto Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools!


Bird & Trout Knife


I am the owner/operator/janitor/book keeper/sole employee of a used book store, and this Cold Steel Bird & Trout Knife has been my daily companion for the last year or so. I use it for opening packages, scraping labels, opening paint cans (with the ring part of the handle), pulling staples, cutting tape and paper -- every job that requires a cutting edge or small pry bar. It is always handy, and during working hours I wear it around my neck with the included necklace sheath. No digging in pockets, no blade-opening procedure, and no fumbling with the sheath; just a quick grab and it is in use.


It is a tough tool; light, well designed and handy. It is unique in size and shape, holds an edge quite well, and is made from a decent steel -- AUS 6A stainless. The 2.25" blade is legal under most jurisdictions. This seems short but the skeletal design of the handle gives the practical effect of a longer blade. The hanging sheath holds the blade tightly, and if it does loosen with wear some judicious heating and bending restores the original tightness.

I've carried a lot of knives, but none have proved to be as handy as this little gem. It won't make me retire my Leatherman, but it complements it quite nicely. Best of all is that it is relatively inexpensive at less than $20 from Amazon.

Cold Steel Bird & Trout Knife
Price $17

Available from Amazon

Manufactured by Cold Steel

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Shoe Size Conversion Chart

Ordering shoes online can be a little tricky if they come in metric sizes. This chart might help.

Courtesy of Amazon.

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