Words of Wisdom

Advice about some of the better ideas and products I've tested and used, which may be off the beaten path, so perhaps you had not heard about them

(and no, I'm not promoting any
of these for personal gain)

Updated 8 / 2023



Ethical Responsibility Automobiles
Treating Outdoor Lumber Automobile Safety
Wood Fasteners (screws) Computer Hardware
Teak Plywood Desk Roofing Work
Skylights Bed Pillows
Powered Speaker Docks LED Lighting
The Great Equalizer  


David at his desk


Quality & Service is not expensive -- it's priceless.
Ethical Responsibility:
I aim to do what I can to set a good example in the business community; working to abolish planned obsolescence in all forms. Setting a good example is the only thing any of us can truly hope to accomplish within one's life, as we have no control over whom might gleam from our example. We can try to teach others to live and love, but until they own it and it becomes part of them, it is just a string of words that have little meaning to them.

If you think about it planned obsolescence is intentional fraud, which should be a prisonable offense. Yet it has been allowed to be standard operating procedure within most industry, which has more than doubled our pollution and landfill problems.

I believe changing this one detail would do more to help the landfill issue than all the recycling programs combined, as well as cure a lot of health issues with a lot less stress in our lives. Companies can still be plenty profitable without designing their products to fail within a time frame just beyond their warranty, even given the variables of matreial quality and manufacturing quality.

We need to pass a law, which from that time forward would make planned obsolecense the crime it is, where if it can be proveen how planned obsolescence was implemented in any new products comming on the market the head of that company will go to jail. No patsies. I am not suggesting we force all companies to recall what they had already sold. That would bankrupt them all. Just not allow this very intentional fraud to continue. Are you with me?

To read more go to: http://mind-temple.com/ethics.htm
Concrete Work:
If you have a diveway that is in need of replacement I highly advise not just letting them get away with doing the same thing (minimum Building Code). Every concrete contractor knows the solution of how to reinforce a driveway pad: adding several inches of gravel over the dirt before the new pour, fibered concrete, wire mesh, and rebar. A combination of all 4 is best.

The fact that you are looking to replace it is proof that had not worked the first time, so why would they do the same thing all over again? The only reason they are standing there talking to you about this is because this pad had failed, but they are most all looking to get that sale by offering the lowest price, so 9 out of 10 will not even offer you an alternative, which will keep this from happening all over again within another 5 years.

Repelling rain waterI hade a driveway done this way back in 1996 and it is still in great shape today.

Gravel is cheap; at around $25 per cubic yard, and steel reinforcement is not that expensive. You should realize how around 75% of what you are paying them is their labor, business expenses, and profit, so even doubling the cost of parts should not increase your cost more than 25% at the most. Who would not pay an extra 25% to know it will last 4X longer? If they are trying to gouge you for any more, they are just taking advantage of you.
To Tip or not to Tip?:
I have lived in the Portland Oregon area since 1978, and have been a licensed gutter contractor since 1993. In my work I tend to go the extra mile on each job. I far exceeding Building Code requirements without being asked to do so, and work to exceed my client's expectations as well. I have commonly heard my clients say 'This looks even better than I imagined'. I have maintained a very high saticefaction rate. Yet, they rarely had taken the time to write a review of my work publicly or privately, and I have not seen much evidence of referrals coming my way.

I've never thought much about my clients offering me a tip at the end of a large or small project, but from what I hear on-line, it is expected in some other parts of the Country. I have been shocks a few times when a client had offered me something extra, which is less than 1% of the time. I've rarely even had a client offer me a glass of cool tap water on a hot day. Perhapse, that's just our culture here in the Great Northwest? I took this as an example of how hospitality is just dead in America, but perhaps that is only true in the big cities of the Northwest. I figure this is human nature and have not fretted it. I just make sure I have a well stocked cooler with me each day.

​With the exposure of my extensive web site since 2003 I have ​​been getting clients all across the country for my custom copper work, and yet it seems they must have gotten the memo: 'DO NOT TIP vendors in Oregon!' Even though we are saving them hundreds by not charging them a sales tax for products made in this State. There again, it has been less than 1% that I had been surprised by; when a client intentionally overpaid me.

I offer rain management products that are free of planned obsolesence, which cannot be found from other sheetmetal shops at any price. For what I offer, I am even far more reasonably priced and spend a lot more time communicating with each client to cater to their unique desires than other shops, but I am lucky to get a simple 'Thank you', which has also been rare. Yet, corporate excecutives manage to get huge bonuses on top of their enormous saleries for successfully ripping off their patrons and raping our planet. Does this seem right to you? Yet, this is where we are, in the Upside-Down. (LOL)

Because of all I have shared on-line with thousands of step-by-step photos of my craft, I have helped countless people start or enhance their  business practice. Yet, I can count on one hand with fingers to spare how many 'Thank You's' I have gotten over the last 3-decades, since my web site went live.

​I also feel there is something fundamentally wrong with how we are expected to tip wait-staff in restaurants. Yet, not tip any fastfood workers; whom are definately paid minimum wage and struggling. What a horribly cruel slap in the face! I would rather tip my gas attendant than a waiter (we were not allowed to pump our own gas here in Oregon until late 2023). My Wife and I had often tipped them a buck with each fillup, and it's delightful to see the surprise on their face, since this is just not done. Yet, if a waiter gets less than their 20% gratuity, you are somehow scum of the Earth.

I do not say this as any sort of complaint. Just sharing an observation for you to ponder. I really do not care if I ever get a tip for going the extra mile. I feel that is just how every business should be run, while charging a more reasonable fee, and maintain a 95% recycle rate for any construction debris. I do my best to set a good example within the business community, since that is all any of us can hope to accomplish within our brief number of rotations on this large spacecraft (Earth).

As a result, I cannot afford health insurance. I will never be able to save up enough for a downpayment on a house. I have no retirement plan. If I could just manage to pay off my credit cards that would be amazing! When I can no longer be of service, I will no longer have the right to live. That is just my reality, and I accept this fact. I will not take advantage of others to get ahead, yet that sort of selfish attitude seems to be the norm.
The Eternal Equalizer:
We often forget the eternal equalizer within our interactions with others. We should see them not as they appear to be at that one moment in time, but whom they may have been in past lives, all they will become within this life, and also who they may become in lives yet lived. They may have been incredible Leaders, Healers, or a wise High-priestess, and may even achieve greatness in the near future. Perhaps way beyond even my own potential.

It is the narrow thinking of linear creatures that cannot see beyond the now, and judge other harshly because of this limited vision. When we first meet, I may be your senior by over a decade, but I try not to just see you as that young punk who thinks they know everything, but to also see your potential, which can level the playing field and remove the ego from our interaction. This may help us treat each other with respect and make for a healthier relationship.

Let's be very patient with those who may seem less developed, as we were also there in that stage of development not so long ago. It's all a gradual process as we grow, mature, and develop.

As you may already know I'd love to see the major automakers build pneumatic powered vehicles, but that pipe dream is a ways off, if ever. As an auto mechanic at my Father's shop when I was a younger lad I had worked on many different makes and models of cars. I had found Honda/Acura to clearly stand out from the pack in design, parts quality, construction, driver comfort, performance, and handling as the best value.

Although, presently they are still constructed with heavy steel frames, which get a lot less gas mileage than they should be getting, but that is true with most all other auto makers as well. My understanding is that is because of oil companies having bought controlling stock in each manufacturer to thwart those sort of progressive designs, just so they can continue to sell more of their poisionous fossil fuel.

Honda tried to break that trend with their 2000 Acura NSX Sports car made with a rust-free lighter weight aluminum alloy frame and even suspension parts. They are still holding up to vigorous driving almost 3 decades later with no major problems and retain a good resale value. Odly that model had been taken off the market for over a decade, until just recently.

If they can make a sturdy aluminum frame bicycle these days for just $200 why do they still claim it is too expensive to make cars like this? There is also other sturdy flexible light weight materials that can be used; such as impact resistant polycarbonate plastic, carbon fiber, and titanium, which happens to be the one of the top 10 most abundant metal on our planet.

If auto makers were ethical they would be making us lighter weight cars that are stronger, have more efficiant powerful drive trains, last longer, safer, and far more fuel efficient than the junk they push on us, which is deisgned to fail, and ruin many lives; being far less safe than they should be (see below for more details).

What the Heck is Taking So Long to Make Good Flying Cars?:
The cost for one thing, but there are much more critical factors. For well over 20-years now, I have heard even tech-savy people ask 'Why don't have flying cars by now?' I then remind them how we have had flying cars for a century now, but they are commonly called an airplane or helicopter. Those who opperate a small ultralight plane have shown a terrible crash-rate, since there are far less regulations, so this pipe-dream most likely will never happen, and should not happen.

Clearly, most drivers are not qualified to opperate an airplane, which currently is the best of our tech to build a flying car at a reasonable cost. I wonder if we will ever make a safe flying car made for the bellow average user, and I kinda hope we never do. A helicopter is required to have it's engine rebuilt after just 500 hours of flight time. Yet, we hate the Government regulating our emissions!

They may even work really well while they are still new, but there would be far too many who would not properly maintain their flying vehicle, regardless of the requirements to do so. So, there would be plenty of unsafe vehicles falling out of the sky to accidentally crash into roof of houses, killing and injurring thousands each year. That would be a nightmare of epic proprtions!

An air-bag would not save your life hitting the ground at just 40-miles-per-hour. We would need to see the crash-rate of Earth-bound vehicles drop by well over 90% before this would even be close to being practicle, which is not going to happen any time soon, if ever. Be real!

Rich's WaterbumpersAutomotive Safety:

Safety Bumpers: All the auto manufacturers have seen fit to not implement the most important safety technology over the last century that would be better than seat belts and air bags by implimenting impact resistant bumpers, with the same sort of system as the common suspension holding your car chassis up off the ground built into the front and back of a vehicle, where we are likely to have a higher speed impact. It could be nearly as safe to drive as bumper cars at amusement parks at higher speeds. See my History Page for more details.

A Better Seat Belt: We all know how seat belts help us be safer in the event of a collision. Although, many people still suffer great injury from the high G-forces of our body thrown against those restraints that lock us in our seat. My own Father was nearly roasted alove when he could not get free after he had come to a stop and the engine had caught fire from the fuel dumping onto the hot engine. He suffered horrible permanent burn scaring and almost had to have his leg amputated because of it.

 Something as simple as a high tension spring or bungie could be afixed to each end of the seat belts to allow the body to move another 6" to slow you down before those seat belts lock up. This alone would hardly cost much, and would make a huge difference to reduce the injuries caused from the tramma induced by the narrow seat belt cutting into your body. Not enough movement to allow you to hit the streering wheel, let alone the wind shield. Just enough to help minimize those horizontal G-force, which will make your body weigh many times that of a vertical G-force from natural gravity.

As an example in a court room as a jury member in auto accident case we were taught that just a 5 MPH impact could make a 6# head suddenly weigh 60# of force to jerk on the neck spinal column and cause great permanent injury, so do not take light of this important detail still not implimented into most, if not all automobiles for some strange reason. Are there no engineers who could have come up with this simple concept, which has already been in use in safety fall protection for Roofers for many decades? Horrizontal G-force in a car can easily be far greater than vertical G-force from a fall off a roof, and far more commonplace than construction accidents, so it should be far more important to use this very basic technology in cars as well

We also could use a secondary release that is only use in case of an emergency when the primary release has failed to release. How many people would have a knife of sizzors within reach when they desperatly would need it to save a life?

Rear View Mirror Deficiencies: The goal of driving it to avoid accidents. Not just be safer in a collision. Blind spots are a large cause of accidents. Visibility can be dramatically improved with a clip-on wide angle rear view mirror place over your stock mirror. I feel blind without it when driving a rental car, and have found the need to bring my mirror along, if I have not forgotten to do so.

In Europe many cars have their rear view mirrors mounted out front on the fenders, instead of on the doors. This allows the diver to see them while looking through the windshield with just a quick turn of the eye, and not have to bend their neck, which impairs their forward vision a bit. Not having to turn their head so far to either side to see them through the side windows is a huge advantage, but the down side is the mirrors up there are less attractive and may need to be a little larger, since they are fartur away. Oh dear, how will we be able to suffer the aesthetic compromise for safety?

Rear View MirrorRear View Mirror

I have a larger roof rack that protrude out past the wind shield that allowed me to mount a wide angle mirror out in front off to the left to cover those blind spots the center mirror cannot cover, so now just looking forward I have no blind spots. The down side to this unconventional roof rack is I am no longer allowed to go through an automated car wash.

Bad Weather Windshield Visibility: Another simple thing you can do to improve visibility is to use No Touch Rain Shield windshield coating spray found at many convenience stores. It is a small green can. Repelling rain waterYou are to spray it on while it is actively raining or at least very wet, which happens to be right when you realize it needs reapplied anyway. This product has a strong unpleasant oder, but needs no wiping to spread it over your glass. It starts to repel water immediately.  The smell is rather strong when you first apply it, so it is best to treat your windshield at least 5 minutes before driving away. If not you should set the vents to 'Recirculation' for a bit after spraying it on. One application will last a month or two in rainy weather. It will last longer if you don't use your wipers. With time to get use to it that is not a problem, and even a nice feature not to suffer the distraction of active wipers and the noise they cause when they are not needed nearly as often. Even if you do want to use your wipers continuously in wet weather this is still an advantage to your visibility in bad weather.

Improving Your Visibility to Others: You can also add some white or red reflective tape over your car's paint or over the glass near the top bottom edges. Perhaps think of it like a form of pin-striping along the sides and across the rear, which also help others see you better at night. 3M makes that tape and it can be found at many hardware stores. It will last many years without shrinking or pealing. It is what they use for the stickers on your license plate when you renew your tags. It will not be easy to remove, so keep that in mind when you apply it. Glass would be have lot less risk of damage when the need for removal is needed.

Freeway Traffic Congestion: We've all had to deal with the frustration of stop-and-go traffic situation on freeways. Often caused by rubber-necking as we pass by an accident, which may even have blocked off a lane or 2. Although, we see there are many times this sort of rush-hour congestion has nothing to do with an accident, so we ponder why this happen as we continue to crawl so slowly down the road? It is quite maddening. If you could see it from the air you would see this slinky effect going on, where it slows down and loosens up over and over, which is even more confusing, since there seems to be no ryme or reason.

The main cause of this is tailgating and unnecessary lane changes to jump over into that faster lane, which then seems to slow down more than the lane we had abandoned. We would logically believe how driving closer to the car in front of us would allow for more cars on the freeway at the same time, but it actually causes this slinky effect when we find ourselves having to suddenly brake hard being so close to that car in front of us, which has a repercussive effect on those cars behind us as well. This is why frequent lane changes are also a cause of this effect, when the car we are cutting off has to suddenly slow down to avoid a colision. I am not saying we should never change lanes, but we should refrain from the temptation of jumping into the other lane that seems to be moving faster.

What we are actually seeing is just that slinky effect in the other lane that is not timed the same as the lane you're in. Swapping lanes serves to then slow that lane down, because the car you're pulling over in front of will need to make some hasty braking to let you in and allow for the gap needed for safe driving. In turn causing all the cars behind them to brake harder and harder down the line as well until that lane is not moving at all. Slinky effect. Then eventually it loosens up. Only to happen over and over again, since we never learn to just chill out.

When one person has not paid careful attention to this they may bump the car in front of them, so those 2 cars will need to pull over to swap insurance information, now causing another rubber-necking situation. So your lane swapping may have caused an accident you are not even aware of, so try to keep this in mind before changing lanes when it is not necessary. If we all would drive like this congestion would be reduced substantially.


A Little History:
Well before I invested in a PC in the mid 90's I was a Mac fan clear back in 1990. I had rented them for $8 an hour at a local copy shop called Kinko's when ever I needed to do some word processing. Then in 1995 when it came time to bite the bullet and get my own computer setup, I had to choose PC over Mac like most everyone else, since there was so little software available for a Mac. That was not without it's own frustrations over the years with Microsoft promising a much better OS each time, yet failing to deliver year after year, and remaining far to complicated for the average user to maintain thier PC.

Apple -V- PC:
Finally in 2005 Apple started selling IPods like crazy, so they had the revenue to market their desk top and lap top computers. They have some of the sleekest and simple hardware on the market, but they were still not very usable. Their portable IOS devices were very stable and easy to use. Although, they still did not have the user-friendly productive software to go with their desktops and laptops. Then in 2020 they stomped the PC chip market, but there still is not the usable software, compare what is available on the PC platform. If they don't work out some better software and even better hardware options for their computers Apple's success will continue to be seriously crippled. From my dealing with their 'Geniuses Bar' between 2010 to 2013 their support staff clearly did not know their stuff. Fortunately, I was wise enough to have purchased their Apple Care with that hardware, so they were abliged to refund 100% of my purchases when they failed to solve my issues, which is what inevitably happened.

Apple's Time Machine back-up software was a strong draw for me in finally getting a top notch 27" IMac in early 2010, but I quickly found out it was very limited and not very usable.

I had to run Parallells to be able to run Windows on this IMac machine, so I could try to wean myself off PC software, which I was never able to do. I had imagined it would only take me a couple months to ween myself off the PC software and learn the Apple system, but this did not hold true. I kept hoping they would have made substantial improvements in each of the 3 OS upgrades since then, but that never happened either. Right after upgrading to Mountain Lion, I started experiencing frequent crashes where it would suddenly reboot while I was in the middle of doing something. After about 20-hours on the phone with support, 10 days in for service with 8 trips to their local stores with no positive results I finally had to insist on a full refund. Since I had bought AppleCare with it they had to refund all $3,500 I had spent on their hardware and also any software I had bought.

Frys PC build 2013In early 2013 I was able to use those funds to get a Tech at Frys to build me a pretty kick-ass wter-cooled PC system; with fancy lights, and much faster RAM than Apple had available in their newest decktops. The water-cooled chip was still not even available in any of the latest Apple computers. Apple seems to be consistently years behind with the latest tech available, even though they charge more than most any PC manufacturers. That Tech at Fry's even installed a solid state hard drive to load the OS onto for a faster more reliable start-ups, which is something I highly recommend. It had a pair of 2T RAID 1 hard-drives, so backing up my data is much less of an issue now, since it is highly unlikely both harddrives would fail at the same time. I got 16G of much faster 1,866 MHz RAM. The tower is huge, yet quieter than a whisper. I also had a Blueray drive and got a new 42" LG 3D TV to use as my monitor for it. I got a really neat set of illuminated Logitec Bluetooth keyboard and matching touchpad with built-in rechargable battery. I got a faster AC 1750 5G wireless router from Asus as well.

Apple Products:
My Wife is still an Apple fan and quite happy with her 27" IMac, laptop, IPads, IPhone 12, but she has not able to edit images or web design any more as a result for the last 15 years. I still like my IPhoneX, and use my IPods daily with assorted Bluetooth speakers with little complaint, but I find their desktops and laptops useless for what I need.

SSD Hard Drive:
The main advice I would share with you is to installed an internal M2 solid state hard drive to load your OS and programs onto for faster more reliable start-ups with your personal files on a separate hard drives set up as a RAID 1. You won't have to wait for a hard drive to spin up after your PC or IMac went to sleap.

More RAM:
Memory is also very helpful and does not cost as much these days. The RAM is what your processor uses. Not the hard drives. It has to copy from your hard drive all of what you need onto the RAM for your processor to then manupulate. If you do not have enough space open on your RAM then it can only import part of Windows opperating system and keep swapping parts of it back and fourth as needed, while leaving space for the files you are working with. 

Updated to the 2017 PC advances:

David's desktop PC

AMD 1800X Chip:
Compared to Intel, AMD has been the under-dog over the last decade +, but in early 2017 they came up with the Ryzen series chips that gave Intel a run for the money, so I was inspired to upgrade my PC that Fry's had built using this latest AMD chip. I had a Local shop near Washington Square called Brainwave PC put it together for me and load the OS. Although, this has been a constant source of frustration ever since. It has been terribly unstable and the speeds are not very impressive. After only a couple months the whole system crashed, so they decided it had to be reformatted, since they could not figure out the cause. This cost me countless hours to reinstall all my software and passwords for every place I go on the web. I was so pissed, and they refuse to accept any responsibility for all this grief this $5k PC had caused me!

I also spent a lot of $ on Corsair RGB lighting parts. Such as this RGB RAM moduels and fans, but could not seem to get any of it to work right, which had been very frustrating as well, and their customer service was worthless.

David's desktop PC

AMD has since come out with a new Rysen chip that they call Threadripper, which has twice the layers, but also cost over twice as much. Much like with Apple hardware; software and hardware developers are reluctant to cater to AMD fans, so it is rather second rate. RAM is sold to clock at speed of 3,600 MHz and more, yet the mother board hardware will not allow it to run faster than 2,400 MHz, which makes little sense.

More Hard Drive Space:
As for my RAID 1 hard drives; I got a pair of Western Digital brand 4T drives to upgrade my 2T drives. I also added another pair of 6T drives, so I now have 10T of storage mirrored on these 4 hard drives, which I have used up about 75% of them already.

Larger Monitor:
I went from my 42" 3D monitor to a 55" Samsung curved screen 4K TV to use as my PC monitor, but my new RX580 graphics card burned out within a couple days. I would blame a lot of these issues on the ASUS hardware used. They put out some fancy hype for their product line, but seem to fall short on delivering reliable parts and software.

Onboard SSD Hard Drive:
They came up with a reportedly much faster SSD that plugs directly onto recent generation motherboards; listed as a Me2 slot. I cannot seem to tell if it is actually faster, and my new PC had to double boot each time due to an incurable error, which certainly defeats any advantage it could have had.

I also swapped out the Corsair RGB RAM for this G.Skill RAM, which has a nicer lighing effect.

David's desktop PC

Updated to 2020 PC advances with the Corsair ONE PC:

David's desktop PCs

After getting my compact Corsair ONE PC, I had PC Supergirl transfer my older PC guts into a larger fancier PC case I got as a novelty. As you can see, it is about 4X larger than my Corsair ONC PC and much louder. She never finished it, so it has not been very usable either. I could not even network them together to transfer files. I dropped a 4T SSD in the Corsair ONE to add to the 2T C-drive it came with.

David's Corsair ONE desktop PCs

This has been the most stable PC I've had, but I cannot seem to figure out how to connect an external drive to it.

Very Soft pillows that do not go flat?
I have loved the softness of my latex foam rubber pillows for the last 25 years. They've remained pretty much just as soft and full feeling as when they were new. The oldest one has lost the cotton cover it came with from age and it's started to fall apart loosing chunks when I change the pillow cases, but do you really want a pillow to last longer than 15 years? Yuck.

They are not cheap and rather hard to find. I've never seen them in regular department stores. They cost over twice that of an ordinary pillow, but I feel it was a very good investment when they will last over 3 to 4 times as long without going hard and flat like most pillows do within just a couple years. I got mine at A-1 Foam Rubber here in S. E. Portland, OR. http://a1foamrubber.com/

LED lightingLED Lighting:
LED stands for light emitting diode, and has made great strides over the last few years to make them brighter and whiter than before, but most on the market had been far too expensive at $30+ per bulb, until more recently.
We have already replace all our lighting with LED lights since early 2013..

These LED bulbs are instant one with whiter color than any other types of light fixture. They are suppose to last a lot longer as well, with less health issues than the compact florescent bulbs or landfill issues. Although, the manufacturers will most likely figure out a way to work in short lived planned obsolescence in these as well.

Beside my huge 240 square feet of skylights i the roof I have used low intensity rope lights to light my work shop, in stead of having regular bulbs. It gives off a nice soft light that's not harsh to look up at. It took over 300 linear feet of them to light a 20' X 32' workshop at a cost of $470 back in late 2012. I later added several 4' long shop lights as well, which are LED, but look like conventional florecent lighting tubes.

Then in late 2018 I felt the need to replace them all; with many partial strands burning out and the plastic having turned a dingy yellow. The new strans cost around half that much at $240. I have them mounted 9' up from the floor in custom aluminum reflector trays I made to direct all the light downwards attached to each horizontal roof joist. This gave me 470 watts of LED lighting. This is compared to the 28 - 32 watt 4' florescent bulbs I was using at about twice the wattage.

Treating Indoor & Outdoor Wood:
You can get 100% pure non-toxic tung oil from The Real Milk Paint Co for just $55 a gallon. It is thick like honey and can be diluted for better penetration with mineral spirits, or Thompson's Ultra Weather Seal for better UV protection, but it still works great in full strength. I sanded down an old mildew soaked oak cutting board and treated it with a thin layer of tung oil and it is the nicest finish I've ever seen. Exposed to the Sun it will become dried out looking within 6 months and need another coating, but the Thompson's Ultra Weather Seal will help to retain that new wood look a bit longer.

They now sell a new version of thier Tung Oil they call Outdoor Defense Oil, which has been thinned with pine oil and has some zinc in it to help reduce milew staining. They also sell a very good Citrus Solvent, that seems to works as well as replacement for laquer thinner, but does not dry out as fast and smells better. It also seems easier on my hands.

Wood Fasteners:
I've done a lot of outdoor woodworking projects, and rust really bothers me. Stainless steel screws are less brittle than steel screws and will not rust. You can get high grade non-magnetic SS screws from Tacoma Screw or Viking Bolt for a good deal less than you can at your local hardware stores.

We strongly advise that you set the screws using a special cordless impact driver instead of an ordinary drill. They set these SS screws far better w/o damaging the drive slot. Even better than a hammer drill. Trust me on this one. If you have not yet bought an impact driver, do so. It will be one of your best tool investments. Makita makes a nice light weight driver w/Lithium-ion batteries. I think their fluid dampening model XST01 is the best, but a bit hard to find in local stores.

It has now been a good 8-years and I still have not seen a better or comparible impact drive come to the market.

Roofing Work:
Roofing is the single biggest problem issue of house maintenance. Flashing is the #1 problem with most any type roof cover. Chimney flashing in particular. I have written extensively on this subject on these 3 web pages. You would do well to read them over:

Roofing Quality Standards
Chimney Flashing
Moss Control & Treatment

Teak Hardwood Plywood:
Special wood working outlets sell this at around $200 per 4' X 8' 3/4" 9 ply sheet.
I know that seems like a lot for a sheet of hardwood plywood, when oak plywood is 1/3th that cost, but consider what sort of lame particle board desk you could buy at any office supply store for $200?

Although, of course it will take quite a bit more work on your part and some minor tools to make it, but how do you put a price of that feeling of accomplishment and brag rights? If you do not like how it turned out, keep working it over to the desired results. Quitting is the only sure way to fail. I made a simple sturdy 7' wide desk with a monitor shelf with a single sheet of 3/4" Teak plywood and a 1/4" sheet of a less expensive hardwood plywood for the back, as seen here. I treated it with tung oil and it has made for a great desk over the last 2 decade of daily use.

David at his desk

Office Chairs:
Good chairs are hard to find, but look for a chair that pivot more in the front under the seat, which will not raise your legs up off the floor when you lean back.  Also, the arm rest don't bind up under your desk as much that way. I just find them more comfortable, but are very rare to find.

I am currently using a Serta brand I5000 office chair that has a lot more padding and springs under the butt, which most office chairs do not have, and seem to flatten out far too soon. The arm rests could still use more padding, but it is noticably more comfortable. After a year I felt the need to strip off the leather cover on the arm reast to add more padding. Although, it is not hinged right underneath and lifts my feet off the floor when I lean back. It also has a unique lumbar support that retracts when you lean back. A feature I had not seen with any other office chair.

I find it very odd that most of the skylights you'll see are just clear like window pane, and I imagine that is the only thing you have seen as well. Although, consider a white translucent skylight, which would help light the room better by defusing that light out into the whole room with a much wider spread. It also helps to minimize the bleaching effect of direct Sun light fading your carpet, furniture, and walls along that stripe where it hits as the day goes by. Another advantage is how it will not show the dirt and grime on top quite as badly as clear glass.

Regular window glass is not good for a skylight because it can get broken easily if a branch falls on it during a wind storm, and would become very dangerous falling shards of glass. These can be made with glass that has been tempered, or even laminated for impact resistance. If the top layer is tempered it will be harder to break and only break in small round pellets, which are less dangerous. Just like the side windows of a car. Laminated glass has a thin soft rubber layer in between that will insulate better and holds the glass together if it were to be broken, just like the windshield of any car. That layer can be made with the white translucent rubber I spoke of above, or the glass can be etched to defuse the light.

I do not understand why they even offer the standard skylights. Especially since this tech I wrote about has been around for at least half a century.

Powered Speaker Docks:
I've been and audiophile for over 5-decades and I would not have considered Philips as a name I would associate with high quality, but that seems to have changed. They still sell plenty of low end products, but their DS9000 is a very impressive speaker dock. I would hold the quality of this unit up to the best Bose, Bowers & Wilkins, or Boston Acoustics, but not nearly as expensive. I was intrigued by the unique classy design. I got a chance to hear it play at Fry's using my own music on my IPhone. I was very impressed with it's clear sound and tight bass. Even at low volume. Although, I was reluctant to pay $500 for it back in 2012.

I saw it on Amazon listed as a refurbished unit for nearly half it's list price, so even though I was not in need of another speaker dock I could not resist. The remote is small and looks classy, but not as responsive as I'd like. You have to be at just the right angle to get it to work. Also, I have not figured out what the advantage is to their app they have you download onto your mobile device. It seems to work just fine w/o it.

The only issue I have is when I left my IPhone docked over night while on vacation and my alarm went off at full volume over the powered speakers! It is the fault of my cell phone that has it pump out that loud to force the tiny internal speaker to be able to wake me up, but far too loud when docked. Clearly something the designers had not anticipated.

This is not a small portable speaker dock at nearly 2' wide and rather heavy, but I still wanted to wrap it in my robe, stuff it in a duffel bag, and take it on the plane with us as a carry-on for our trip to Disneyland back in 2015, along with other vacations we've taken, much to my Wife chagrin.

I love the design style and good clear sound, which can be turned up outdoors and not feel so limited, like I had found with most any other small speaker systems I've tried. At full volume it does not seem to clip, like most powered speakers do. Even at low volume the bass is remarkably rich, where other definitely fall short.

I've now had it well over a decade with frequent use in office, and had used it to play loud during my showers in all that steam and it has shown to be well built and durable. Even taking it to my construction job sites several times. This remains one of my best purchases to date, but other than used this is no longer available.

Audioengine 5+:
A powerful powered desk top or book shelf set of speakers (seen in the desk photos on this page) also sound amazing and cost $200 less:

I've had a pair on my desk for about 15 years with daily use and have been very pleased.

Portable Bluetooth Speakers:

Bluetooth speakers have been rather disappointing. I have tried out many differnt models over the last few years, but the sound is mediocre and the batteries tend to last less than 5 hours. The worst part is the terribly short range they seem to have. They are suppose to be good for a 30 foot range, but I am lucky to get half this. I finally stumbled across a company called Rugged Geek who markets a speaker with a 24 hour battery, which you can also use to charge your smart phone in a pinch. It really seems to live up to the promise. I have used it for up to a full week at the job site before needing recharged.

They also sell a small car battery jump starter that is amazing. I had been able to start my van at least half a dozen time in a single day with over half the battery life still left. It is about the size of calculator. I leave it in my car and have not had to use my jumper cables ever since. I had my alternator go out and it was a great help to finish out the day running several errands before I could get around to replacing it.

The Great Equalizer:
In stead of looking down at each other with such judgement or envy; there is another way we should be seeing each other. It's rather narrow minded to see those around us as they appear at this time. We also should imagine who they may become. They may achieve great things well beyond our expectations. Perhaps even more than what we will achieve.

Also, we should take this a few steps further. Imagine who they may have been in past lives, and even their potential in lives yet started. I know this is not easy to do, but try to stretch your imagination, or just accept the fact that we have no idea and have no right to assume they  had not been or will become quite amazing people.

This should extend to other issues, such as racism and our bias towards lifestyles we find uncomfortable. How do we know we were not just like them, or worse at some point. Most chances are we were completely different in our past lives, and persecuted for it by people, whom we have now become.

True or not this is just a good way to help adjust our attitude towards other people to equalize us all. Anything else would be counter productive. Such as this messed up society we have created.
Seek to see the world though a different broader lens for a better future, which has less division and conflict.
Other Words of Wisdom

"The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind."
Khalil Gibran

"Smoke at Night
Love is a smoke made with the fumes of sighs"
William Shakepear

“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.”
Mother Teresa

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Maya Angelou

"Be careless in your dress if you will, but keep a tidy soul."
Mark Twain

“Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.”
Maya Angelou

"We don't have time to sulk. We had to come out and get a victory."
Sheray Thomas

“Right now, just speak gently your words of wisdom to the youngsters.
Sooner or later, those words will arrive at the right place in their hearts.”
Toba Beta

“Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity.”
George Carlin

“I don't need anything to get high. I'm high on life.”
Melissa de la Cruz

“Human nature is like water. It takes the shape of its container.”
Wallace Stevens

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”
Mother Teresa

"It's not that I'm so smart, it's just that I stay with problems longer."
Albert Einstein

"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him."
Audrey Hepburn

"It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."
Mark Twain

“I don't like to hear cut and dried sermons. No­when I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were fighting bees.”
Abraham Lincoln

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.”

"I can't change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination."
Jimmy Dean

"Immature love says: 'I love you because I need you.' Mature love says 'I need you because I love you.' "
Erich Fromm

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please."
Mark Twain

"Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible."
Francis of Assisi

"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."
Albert Einstein

"Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth."
Marcus Aurelius

"Quality means doing it right when no one is looking."
Henry Ford

"Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other. Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then."
Katharine Hepburn

"Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better."
Samuel Beckett

"Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Mark Twain

“Any fool can know. The point is to understand.”
Albert Einstein

"It's much easier on the emotions when one sees life as an experiment rather than a struggle for popularity.”
Criss Jami

“If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.... It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.”
Albert Einstein

"The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once."
Albert Einstein

"If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail."
Abraham Maslow

"Morality is of the highest importance - but for us, not for God."
Albert Einstein

"Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?"
Benjamin Franklin

"The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining."
John F. Kennedy

"I want to know all Gods thoughts; all the rest are just details."
Albert Einstein

" is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony."
Thomas Merton

"Grasp the subject, the words will follow."
Cato the Elder



Below is a photo of our
Better Business Bureau's
NW Business Integrity Award
for the year 1998

1999 Better Business Award

We were also a 1997 finalist for this same award. See our referral web page to see how we managed to be honored with this special award



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