When we were up at Mom’s house, I finished a roll of 120 film that had been sitting in the Yashica since 2017, and I sent them out to be developed last week. From the results I see here, it’s pretty clear I can’t leave film in the camera for that long.


That having been said, some of the defects in these photos are kind of cool.


I can easily photoshop out the two dark spots around Zachary’s head.


This one is from the winter of 2017 when Jen was making galettes with Finn.


This is the last shot on the roll, from up at Mom’s house.

While I was in New York, I fully intended to load up the Ikoflex with film and shoot more. But looking across the internet I found a bunch of conflicting information about how to load it, what film to use, and what film it was designed for. The big issue is loading the film into the camera and aligning it so that the frames align up with the shutter. The Rollieflex and Yashica have two arrows on the back that align with markers on the film. The Ikoflex doesn’t have that set of arrows.

Further investigation is obviously required. I’ve got a couple of rolls of ooooooold film that came from the Mildew House along with the Yashica, so there is some sacrificial film I can use to practice.

Date posted: October 29, 2020 | Filed under photo, photography | Leave a Comment »

Here are the valve covers with two coats of etching primer. I scuffed them with some fine steel wool and shot them with International Red paint yesterday.

I have to touch up a few areas here and there, but I can’t wait to swap out the old ones for these!

The next thing I’m going to work on is the air cleaner housing, which looks pretty beat up. A fresh coat of paint will clean it right up.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: October 29, 2020 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on Painted Up

With the purchase of fancy new iPhones, we’ve run into a problem with our aging fleet of vehicles. The iPhone SE (2020) does not have a headphone jack as our old 6-era models did, so there’s no way to connect our phones to the stereo as we did before. Both Hondas are from pre-Bluetooth days—at least, the CR-V is; Bluetooth may have been offered in the Accord but we have the base model which came with nothing other than an auxiliary jack and a secondary power port in the console. To be clear, in COVID days, connecting phones in the cars isn’t an immediate requirement, but it would have been helpful on the ride up to New York and back.

The aux jack in the Accord actually makes things pretty simple, and having a power port next to it is even better. I found a little Anker Bluetooth adapter on Amazon that hooks into both and turns on when the car is running. In two minutes I had it streaming from my phone and all was well.

Theoretically I could use this setup for the Scout as well, and probably will for the short term, but having yet another gadget sticking out of the dash in a vehicle with no top invites certain theft. Fortunately, swapping the existing head unit out for one that has Bluetooth, an auxiliary jack, and a detachable faceplate built in is simple—and relatively inexpensive. Besides, I hate the head unit that’s in there right now anyway.

I’ve looked in to Bluetooth options for the CR-V, and this is where it gets challenging. I’d have to buy a gadget that plugs into the back of the existing head unit, tear the dash apart, and install it. None of that is frightening (I’ve had many dashboards disassembled in my past) but I don’t relish the idea of doing it in the wintertime. And this is the vehicle that needs it the most. But before I do that, I’d like to address the suspension that needs to be gone through…

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Meanwhile, I’m getting used to the AirPods Pro. They are crisp and clear, and noise cancelling is a thing of wonder. But the real value is turning on Transparency so that I can hear myself when I take a call, and I don’t feel like I’m talking in my own head. Overall, I’m extremely happy with them; I wish the Ankers I originally had were better geared for taking calls; I would have just bought a second pair of them and saved a bunch of money.
Date posted: October 25, 2020 | Filed under cars, honda | Leave a Comment »

My first go with the $70 Harbor Freight sandblaster went pretty well; I got a lot of paint off my two spare windshield frames but it didn’t do much to the heavier rust that was present. Doing some research on blasting media, I read that glass bead is much better at cleaning metal than soda, and that it’s also re-usable. So I went back to the Harbor Freight for a 35 lb. bag of 80 grit media and the Lowe’s for two cheap 33 gallon clear tubs, and fashioned an inexpensive blasting cabinet on my workbench in the garage. My test subjects were two spare valve covers I’ve had sitting in my stash, one with a desirable long fill neck: International used this cover in its large trucks but not in Scouts because the brake booster was directly in the way in the Scout engine bay. When I switched to Hydroboost I gained a bunch of space back in the engine bay, and should be able to swap this one out.

Once I had two holes cut in the sides of the top tub and found a spare plastic bucket to prop the covers on, I gave the glass a try. It was kind of scary how fast the paint came off. This media is much more aggressive than the soda. I had to add a hole in the top of the tub for the hose, and if I do this over again I’ll cut holes in the front of the bottom tub to make access easier. After dialing in the settings on the blaster, it cleaned both covers off quickly and cleanly. I cleaned a bunch of the grease from the inside of the fill cover and cleaned the mounting edge of each, and actually blasted the inside of the passenger cover. The driver’s cover needs to be washed out before I blast it properly.

Then I cleaned the spare dogleg I’ve been slowly working on, exposing all of the edges to get them ready for drilling out the spot welds. There’s a fair bit of seam sealer on there that I have to clean off, and then maybe I can pry the three sections apart to save the dogleg.

When that was all done, I had to spend a bunch of time cleaning up the mess. Two clear plastic tubs don’t mate up very cleanly, and opening and closing them tends to let a lot of the excess media blow around a bit. My workbench was heavily  dusted in glass bead by the time I was done. I swept up the big piles into the collection at the bottom of the bin, and used some spare windowscreen to sieve out large pieces of debris from the used media. After two cycles, the media was clean, and reloaded it into the sprayer to go over the parts that still needed attention.

What I finished with looks better than I’d hoped it might: two valve covers that are ready for some finish sanding, an acetone bath, and then some International Red paint, courtesy of Ace Hardware. Then I’ll install them on the engine, where they’ll look like a painted French whore in a landfill.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: October 25, 2020 | Filed under Scout | Comments Off on Blast It


My daughter and her friend somehow decided they wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons a few weeks ago, which got me thinking about where my old books might be.

In 1982, my family moved from blue-collar New Jersey to a town in white-collar Connecticut, and I started at a new school. I went from middle school back down to an elementary, and I was bused in from a remote cul-de-sac on the far side of town. I was pretty isolated until school started (the only other kid on our street was two years younger, and all he ever wanted to do was sit inside and play Pac-Man) but after a rocky couple of weeks I met up with a guy who lived less than a mile from my house through the woods. He introduced me to a bunch of his friends, who lived nearby, and one of the things we bonded over was Dungeons and Dragons. They had an agreement with one of the teachers who let them play in an empty classroom during recess once a week, and they invited me to sit in.

I didn’t understand how the game worked at first. There were dice, and rules, and they gave me a character to play, but I enjoyed using our imagination to solve problems. We played as much as we could that fall, between building forts in the woods around our houses, riding bikes, and playing Pitfall! I enjoyed one of the best Halloweens of my life that year when my friend’s father showed us how to melt the plastic tip of a can of shaving cream to shoot the foam 10′ or more; we roamed in and out of epic battles with older neighborhood boys, using our knowledge of the woods to escape and regroup.

My parents bought me the D&D and Gamma World boxed starter sets that Christmas, and I played on and off until I left for college. The box is long gone but I still have the original Player’s Manual, the first dungeon module, a set of dice, and a well-loved first edition of the Dungeon Master’s Guide. It only took about five minutes to dig through a storage bin to find them for the girls. I showed them how to roll to create new characters, and at some point in the next couple of weeks I offered to walk them through their first dungeon to see if they like it. Which means I’ve got to read the DM Guide this week to remember how…

Date posted: October 22, 2020 | Filed under finn | Leave a Comment »

At The Washington Post, Amy Siskind has been keeping a list of all the things the current administration has done differently than all of the previous administrations. Much of our current government has been a series of gentleman’s agreements and understood protocols; the current kakistocracy has pissed and shit all over every one of them. This is all the stuff a proper government is going to have to fix. Drain the swamp, indeed.

I got notification from the state that my ballot was received; next up is to be notified that it was counted.

Date posted: October 19, 2020 | Filed under politics | Leave a Comment »

The New York Times Editorial Board lays out the case against the Great Pumpkin: “Donald Trump’s re-election campaign poses the greatest threat to American democracy since World War II.”. The whole thing is great, but I love this part:

In June, his administration tear-gassed and cleared peaceful protesters from a street in front of the White House so Mr. Trump could pose with a book he does not read in front of a church he does not attend.


Date posted: October 17, 2020 | Filed under politics, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

I’m sitting in my Mom’s living room sipping on a Genessee Cream Ale, enjoying the pursuit of doing nothing important for the day. We did go out and clean out her flowerpots, and we wound up her hoses and brought them inside, and we also moved her outside furniture into the garage. The big thing we did was divide Dad’s ashes up into smaller amounts on the front porch, and seal a bunch of them up into an urn so that we can inter him at the church in Aurora tomorrow. Mom has a spot set up for him in a columbarium facing the lake, where he’ll be steps away from their old house.

After we stick him in the wall, we’re going to scatter some of his ashes in the lake, maybe some in the garden of the old house (if the renter isn’t home), then drive up to the farm and scatter the remainder of the bag in the field behind the house. I’ve got four containers that I think I’m going to bring to the beach. Some of my best memories with him are of the beach, throwing us in the waves, wearing his floppy yellow hat, and I have had a love of the beach ever since.

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The verdict on the AirPods Pro: Worth the money. I called Jen this evening with them, and the sound was crisp and clear. She was able to hear the noise I was making with Finn’s whittling knife two feet away from my ears.

* * *

I’ve been needing new glasses for a while now; a month ago I put a big scratch across the left lens that has been bugging me ever since. I went to Warby Parker and reordered my current frame/lens combo and was disappointed to learn that my prescription was six months expired. Not all that keen on doing an in-person eye exam, I called and asked if I could bypass the prescription. They told me no, but I could do an online eye checkup (!?!) that could get me through until a new exam was possible. I downloaded the app to my phone, logged in to the website, and it stepped me through a rough exam for both eyes. I’m supposed to hear something from them in the next 12 hours, and I hope it’s good news, because I would love to have new glasses.

In the meantime, I did some investigation and found that I could order prescription safety glasses and from what it looks like, I wouldn’t need to give them a current prescription.

Date posted: October 16, 2020 | Filed under family | Leave a Comment »

Dad in a Bag

We split up Dad’s remains on Mom’s front porch into small Tupperware containers while Finley sang Funkytown. Don’t ask me to explain.

Date posted: October 16, 2020 | Filed under family, photo | 1 Comment »


I was patient and took advantage of some sales on Prime day to order a set of iPods Pro while they were $50 off; combined with the refund from my Anker earbuds and a $40 credit from Coinstar, the price was exactly right.

Date posted: October 14, 2020 | Filed under politics | Leave a Comment »