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Member since: Sat Mar 29, 2008, 10:11 PM
Number of posts: 45,851

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First it was the Ferrari powered motorcycle, then it was the V12 CBX..

Andreas Georgeades builds some unique and interesting motorcycles, true custom machines.

Now it's no less than a an H16 comprised of two stacked boxer eights, each of which is two Yamaha YZF600 engines.

The gleaming high tech shop is notable..


Satire: Tim TeBowie..


Hands On Skills Mean Greater Choice and Freedom to Buy Used

This is a recent article from a motorcycle blog I read fairly regularly, it's specifically about motorcycles however the ideas can be extended to a lot of things in the consumer world but most particularly cars. A car is the second most expensive thing most of us will ever buy and the most complicated thing most of us will buy too, it behooves the frugal person to know something about their most expensive and complicated gadget.


Given all of our recent talk about hands on skills and the positive reception it has among readers here, think about another real benefit the hands off crowd might not consider, the freedom to buy used. Take a minute to check out the motorcycles for sale. Look through those listings for a few minutes, how many are really out of consideration if you don't do your own work? If you need a knowledgeable mechanic you can trust to fix and maintain your bike and there's none nearby, you might as well write off almost any vintage model. Those good looking BSAs, Nortons, all vintage British bikes really, forget it. Even early models of some current brands would be questionable, along with recent models of bikes not sold anywhere near you. If all you can do is pay for service instead of doing it yourself, you eliminate many potential choices.

In a world where everyone is supposed to be able to buy whatever they want or need, many often don't consider the narrowing of choices a lack of skills creates. Even if you buy it new, if it breaks and no one is around to repair it, you replace it or do without. (Whether it's designed to be repairable is an issue for another day.)

If you want to buy a new Triumph, Moto Guzzi, Ducati or even a BMW, the dealers are spread a lot thinner than they are for Harley and Honda. If you go the distance and buy new, who does the required service if you can't? Another long trip, time and again and pretty quickly you cross those off your list. With this economy, those dealers are getting spread even thinner and the lack of DIY skills makes it tougher for those brands to hang on to territory if everyone needs dealer service for every oil change or valve adjustment.

With the impressive reliability of a lot of current new motorcycles, some non DIY owners might take a chance and buy from a distant dealer anyway, but it doesn't take overwhelming skill and years of experience to get to the level of basic maintenance and for the effort necessary to learn, the reward of so many more potential choices is a strong incentive to get familiar with a tool box.

It's well before daylight and I just got back from walking the dogs and it reminded me..

I use a flashlight a lot, no streetlights here and I have two dogs that really like walks so I'm outside at night in pitch black at least twice a night and often three or more times in the winter when the nights are long, we have a lot of trees so even the full moon still leaves a lot of inky shadows.

My Maglite LED flashlight was a bit dim when I came back home this morning so I went to the charger to swap out the cells for fresh ones and it hit me that I've been using the same AA rechargeables for four years now and they still work about as well as they did new, I get about a week of dog walking bright light from two cells before changing them, which my charger tells me is when they drop to about 1.25 V, from the 1.51 or so they are when they come off the charger.

Four years ago I spent what is quite a bit of money for me on some top quality AA rechargeable batteries and the best charger for them, at the time I was using two big external electronic flashes with my camera and they chewed through AA alkaline cells at a remarkable rate and the cheap rechargeables and a cheap charger turned out to be money wasted so I did the research and found the best rechargeables and charger.

As much as I use a flashlight I would have spent more on buying disposables by now than I did on four good rechargeable cells and the charger to properly maintain them, that's not even addressing the environmental impact of the discarded cells or the fact I still use an external flash from time to time.

As I said in another thread, everything from now on is just lagniappe..

The cells? Sanyo Eneloops.

The charger? La Crosse Technology BC-700 Alpha.

Actually useful online photo editor..

I've moved to Ubuntu recently from Windows and have been frustrated getting a photo editor I can feel comfortable with so I started looking at free online editing for the little bit of editing I'm doing at the moment, after some searching through a lot of overly cutesy online editors I think I've found something useful for occasional semi-serious photo editing, particularly on a computer that's not your usual one. By no means have I tried every function but every one I have worked the way I expected it to with minimal head scratching over obscure icons and cryptic menus.

I'm impressed with this one, it's a lot like a simple Photoshop and remarkably fast for an online editor, I found it intuitive which I don't with a lot of editors.


To prove it here's a picture of a red tailed hawk I got this morning with my Canon S90 and edited online.

Another frugal find yesterday..

I was cruising around one of the local indoor flea markets and found one of these, it's a hand cranked meat slicer from probably at least fifty years ago..

I have a family member that likes to make his own hot jerky using peppers he grows in his garden, slicing the meat thin enough has been a problem for him with just a knife and well made meat slicers are remarkably expensive. He's been cutting the meat thicker and then pounding it down with an aluminum tenderizing hammer but that's considerable work and time consuming.

The unit I found is still in serviceable shape and very well made with a micrometer style thickness adjustment, I paid $15 for it and it will pay for itself with the first batch of jerky that gets cut with it..

Made in the USA, baby!

The Man Who Would Be Kzin..

A novella by Greg Bear and SM Stirling set in Niven's Known Space during the Man Kzin wars..

How does humanity infiltrate a spy into an alien civilization that looks and acts very different from humans?

Read the story here:


It's his position against the drug war that makes Ron Paul so volcanically controversial here on DU.

All of the Republican candidates are about equally vile really, at the least they are homophobic and most of them are at least closet racists. Huntsman is the only possible exception and he's so little known that we have little evidence either way on him.

No, it's because Paul makes Democrats and specifically Obama look bad on the drug war that drives a great deal of the sheer vitriol against him, without that position he would be just another jerkoff Republican candidate.

All the other Republican candidates come in for vitriol too, but it's clear that Paul gets extra special attention.

No other government policy is remotely as racist as the drug war and Democratic politicians, just like Republican ones, support it vehemently almost to a man, the exceptions can be counted quite possibly without taking off your shoes.

The prisons are swollen to overflowing, millions of lives have been ruined, heavily disproportionately the lives of people of color, brown and black, the evidence is as overwhelming for this as for the "theory" of evolution and Democrats continue to support it vigorously.

Whatever his other faults may be, and I'm certainly not denying Paul has numerous serious faults, on this particular subject Ron Paul is the little boy pointing out the fact that the Emperor is naked.

Learned an interesting and handy new term the other day, kind of the opposite of unobtainium..

Scrapbinium.. Basically you make stuff out of whatever is in the scrap bin, I've built a considerable number of things with that remarkably protean substance.

I spent a lot of my working career fixing the unfixable, orphan (but expensive to replace) equipment where the manufacturer has long since gone out of business, parts, diagrams, schematics and information simply don't exist so you do whatever it takes. A lot of times it took just the right bit of scrapbinium and some reverse shade tree engineering.

Just seemed like a good thing to share with fellow frugalists..

The frugal way to do TV...

In much of the country, particularly in metro areas, you can pick up a great deal of TV programming over the airwaves for free.

A lot of people seem to have gotten the idea that you have to have cable or satellite in order to watch TV, this is not true, free over the air TV is still available. In a lot of cases there are many more channels than before the digital switchover, some stations actually carry half a dozen or so separate channels.

What may surprise you if you have an HDTV is that the over the air signal you get direct from the station can often have a much better picture than the one you get from cable or satellite unless you are paying considerable extra for the HDTV cable/satellite box (even with that it's not on all the channels).

All you need is a TV with an ATSC tuner (digital) or a converter box for older TVs that don't have the digital tuner, the other thing you will need is an antenna, it's the antenna that's really important here so that's what I'm going to tell you about. Just about all the flatscreen TVs these days have the right tuner so it's not a big worry unless you have an older tube style TV.

If you would like to know what broadcast TV channels are available at your particular location there is a website for that..


When you use the site enter your address and it will give you a radarish looking display that tells you what direction the stations are from you and how strong they are, the chart below is of a fairly fringe location, lots of stations but most of them are hard to get because they are weak due to it being at the bottom of a valley, you would need an outdoor antenna for most of the stations on this chart. Channel 51 is the strongest station since its line comes closest to the center of the display. In some cases you can move just a hundred yards or so and get a much better signal, TV signals are mostly line of sight and are strongly dependent on terrain. There's about ten or fifteen stations that you have a good chance of getting in this location without extreme measures.

I'm going to put up another post on this OP to talk about antennas..

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