Chew toys that last a giant dog multiple rainy days

I have a giant dog. Nemo is a Great Pyrenees. Finding toys that'll entertain him, without becoming shredded or hazardous, is challenging.

This rainy season we've been trapped inside quite a bit. Nemo gets a bit of nervous energy when this happens, and if I don't channel it into fun toys and distractions I'll be calling a carpenter.

Starmark's Wheeler is the longest lasting and most durable in their Everlasting Treat line. These toys allow a fitted, dense chewable to be inserted into a toy with the idea of making the treat accessible but still require work to chew. Nemo loves the Chicken and Bacon flavored treats, and one of either will last 2 days of chewing at it, or more. After several months of use The Wheeler itself has some small tears, but it has withstood multiple hours of chewing. Nemo frequently carries it around the house with him, keeping the Wheeler close at hand incase he wants to start working on it again.

The Amazon price on the treats is around 60% less than what I was paying at my local petshop.

Nemo's other favorite rainy day distraction these days, aside from barking, is his trusty old XXL KONG Extreme. I've only had to buy one. This sucker lasts, and lasts. My smaller dog, Pretzel, is the second generation of Cavalier King Charles Spaniel to chew hers. These toys have not even got teeth marks on them, after years of abuse. The KONG is one of the easiest toys I've found to distract a dog for 30-45 minutes. Read the rest

Tempered glass screen protectors avert 4 disasters in 2 months

About 2 months ago I wrote about trying a tempered glass screen protector. I'm going to say they work great. I'm a fan of the Omoton brand ones, they make them for almost every glass fronted device.

About 2 weeks into iPhone stewardship, my 9-year-old texted to report her first screen break. I was concerned and highly interested -- did just the protector break, or the phone's actual screen? The screen protector worked wonderfully, it shattered but stuck to the undamaged screen. The phone remained usable even with the protector cracked. When next I saw her, we replaced it with the 2nd in the 2-pack and off on her merry way she went.

I was actually putting the wrenches back in their plasti-form wrench box neatly for once. One slipped from my hand and struck my waiting iPhone midscreen. A small impact spot, like a bullet shot, had several spiderweb veins reaching across the protector. Screen undamaged.

Over the holidays my daughter was off on the east coast with her mother's family. I got call telling me she'd need a new screen protector but everything was OK. Seems her phone went down a flight of stairs. I went back to Amazon and splurged on another $7.00 set of 2 for her phone.

Not everything went wrong that could go wrong during my VW Vanagon Westfalia adventure to an oasis in the deserts of northern Baja Mexico, but a hell of a lot that didn't have to did. During a trip that involved as much bad judgement as beautiful vistas, I dropped my phone on more than a few rocks and only the FSM knows what else. Read the rest

Inside XTC's "Complicated Game"

It is perhaps very telling that all of the review blurbs on the back cover of Andy Partridge and Todd Bernhardt's Complicated Game: Inside the Songs of XTC are written by fellow musicians and songwriters. Andy Partridge has always been a musician's musician.

Complicated Game is a series of candid and detailed interviews with Andy Partridge about many of XTC's most well-known songs. Todd Bernhardt, the interviewer, is a fellow musician, XTC mega-fan, and friend of Andy's, so they don't shy away from discussing the nitty-gritty details of chord changes, instruments used, studio hacks, and other compositional and engineering minutia.

In the chapter on "Senses Working Overtime," Andy explains how the whole song came about as he was fooling around on a new Martin guitar and he played a "messed-up E-flat." He thought it sounded very Medieval so he tried to find other chords that went with it (A-flat minor and D-flat). He says the rest of the song sort of composed itself from there. We also learn that "English Settlement" was their "new instruments record." The bandmembers had all just gotten new instruments (Andy, the Martin, Dave Gregory, a 12-string Richenbacker, Colin Moulding, a fretless bass) and they were excited to noodle around on them to see what they could do.

There are many other interesting and fun revelations in the book. "This is Pop," from White Music, was Andy's way of rejecting the pigeonholing of the punk label, making sure that everyone was reminded that this is pop music, plain and simple, and that ain't a dirty word. Read the rest

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

This book on America's favorite supreme court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a hell of a lot of fun!

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg serves as a rollicking tribute to the octogenarian justice who is the darling of internet memes. In these troubling times Ginsburg's voice, wit and style may help preserve the United States. Photos, annotated dissent opinions, stories from friends and family all work together to tell the tale of an amazing life, and career in law.

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg via Amazon Read the rest

I'm excited to try out a thermal cooker

I just ordered a thermal cooker, they sound like wonderful camping tools. Anyone got recipe suggestions?

Read the rest

'Pulcinellopaedia Seraphiniana' by Luigi Serafini

Luigi Serafini's 1984 tribute to Punch the clown, Pulcinellopaedia Seraphiniana, is now available in a beautiful reprint by Rizolli.

Much like the earlier reprint of the Codex Seraphinianus, this edition is on beautiful paper and will make a lovely coffee table book.

Written in its own "language" the Pulcinellopaedia Seraphiniana is intended to serve as an extension of Serafini's incredible codex.

Pulcinellopaedia Seraphiniana by Luigi Serafini via Amazon Read the rest

Cheap replacement center-pinch lens caps

These work.

I like center-pinch lens caps as they try to hold themselves on. I don't bother with the leashes, they get in my way. I just buy more caps when I lose them.

I lose a lot of them. Sometimes I wonder if there is a section of the Pacific gyre dedicated to my missing lens caps.

The link is for 52mm caps, but you can adjust the size on the Amazon page and buy whichever you're currently losing. The only lens cap I've held on to (thus far) is the weirdly unique one for my Nikon 14-24 F2.8

5 Center Pinch Lens Cap (52mm) and 5 Cap Keeper Leash"5 Center Pinch Lens Cap (52mm) and 5 Cap Keeper Leash via Amazon Read the rest

Fermentation air locks for wide mouth jars

Xeni and Mark got me addicted to fermenting vegetables. These fermentation locks make fermenting a variety of things at once simple.

Using home-brew style fermentation locks with my wide mouth Bell jars is a pain, I constantly knock the tall bubble chambers off the bungs in my jar's lid. These simple, easy to clean airlocks sit flat on top of the jar and work without added water. Just screw them on and away you go.

Easy Fermenter Wide Mouth Lid Kit 3 Lids, Extractor Pump & Recipe eBook, via Amazon Read the rest

Beginners set of watch repair tools

I may not be able to fix a broken watch, but I do not blame this set of tools.

I have a dead self-winding Bulova I wanted to see if I could puzzle out, and fix on my own. That did not work out, but these tools are wonderful to have around. I can open cases of watches I previously had to take in for battery replacement, and changing, or resizing bands got a lot easier.

I find I use this set for a lot more than trying to fix a watch, too. Eye glasses repair and just about anything that needs tiny screwdrivers and picks will benefit from keeping this toolkit handy.

At least my Timex Mickey is running again.

Readaeer® Portable Watchmaker Watch Repair Tools Kit Set Back Case Opener Adjuster Remover via Amazon Read the rest

Betrayal and intrigue build a Death Star in "Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel"

Catalyst, a new Star Wars novel by James Luceno, is a must read before you see Rogue One.

Catalyst is the story of how the Death Star gets built, and feeds directly into the movie. You'll meet the two men most responsible for development of the Empire's super weapon, one cunning and conniving while the other is an altruistic scientist. Their friendship makes this super weapon possible.

Regardless the depth of your Star Wars knowledge, this book goes into detail everyone will appreciate. Key characters for the new film are introduced, and their stories are told incredibly well. Orson Krennic, a key political architect of the Death Star, realizes his friend, pacifist Dr. Galen Erso holds the key to really being able to destroy things. This story of politics, manipulation and betrayal shed a lot of light on the days between Revenge of the Sith, and A New Hope.

Read this before seeing the movie!

Catalyst (Star Wars): A Rogue One Novel via Amazon Read the rest

Audio while swimming is getting pretty good

I've been swimming, surfing, boogie boarding and scuba diving with these HydroActive waterproof headphones by Underwater Audio. Everything about them is an upgrade on earlier models.

I love having some music to help keep me out of my head as I swim. Finding headphones that fit well, didn't interfere with activity, and sounded good seemed to be sets that would not intersect. These HydroActive swim buds have done the trick for almost all aquatic endeavors I enjoy.

These phones come with a large selection of earbud shapes and styles. I'm using the smaller sized ergo buds, and they fit wonderfully. I tried several, in the water and out, several fit well and felt great. Choosing ones as "mine" took a but but I prefer the ergo shape. The phones also sport a wrap-around bar, which seems like it'd be a problem but actually works very well. The headphones stay in and the bar doesn't create weird drag or leverage problems in the water very often. I've wiped out more than a few times, dove under, and taken waves directly in the face with these on without missing a beat.

The sound is far improved over earlier models. These are the first underwater headphones I've had with any amount of detailed bass. I've enjoyed everything from classical to funk, and for once I do not find myself thinking they are just 'good enough' these headphones are actually good.

These are better but still not very good for SCUBA diving. The wrap-around-bar is incompatible with my hood, and the first stage regulator, plus air hoses behind my head. Read the rest

The much easier way to re-proof waxed cotton

I have spent a lot of time running a bar of wax over my Belstaff jacket. No longer, now I use spray on Nikwax.

Every now and then my waxed cotton jacket needs a touch up. Nikwax is about 1000x easier to use than a solid or cream wax. You liberally spray this on, rub it in and let it dry. I find it has a pleasant, not noxious scent.

There are two colors: green and neutral. Make sure you check the label, although green will work fine on black. It is a very light tint and won't show through, at least on my ancient jacket.

California's recent rains show this stuff not only goes on easy, but works well.

Nikwax Wax Cotton Proof via Amazon Read the rest

Beatles LEGO Yellow Submarine now shipping

As soon as Pesco posted this, I knew I had to have the minifigs, especially the nowhere man.

The LEGO Yellow submarine is now shipping!

LEGO Ideas Yellow Submarine 21306 Building Kit via Amazon Read the rest

Make labels like it is 1978

Want to label things like Mom and Dad did?

I needed a label gun, but I hate the printer-in-your-hands models. What I needed was an old-style click-wheel embossing label maker!

KA-Click! KA-Click!

I remember spending hours as kid making labels with my dad's click wheel embosser! A hard plastic tape runs through a mini-printing press, and you simply squeeze to emboss letters on to it. This click wheel is simple to mash, I remember my parents one as taking Herculean effort.

The tape comes in all sorts of great colors too!

DYMO Organizer Xpress Handheld Embossing Label Maker via Amazon Read the rest

Another awesome cookbook from Mary and Vincent Price

I was so happy to learn of Mary and Vincent Price's Come into the Kitchen: A Collector's treasury of America's great recipes that I pulled over to the side of the road to order a copy.

One of my favorite podcasts, Stuff You Missed in History Class, had a chat with Victoria Price about her father, the famed Vincent Price. The entire podcast is wonderful. They briefly mention the Price's A Treasury of Great Recipes, which is one of my favorite cookbooks. At the end of that segment Victoria says something along the lines of, "...and they just re-issued the second book."

I slammed on the brakes! I pulled over to the shoulder, shook my head in shock and then clearly thought: "Re-issue?" Within moments a hardcover copy of the 1969 edition, with its dust jacket was on the way. I could have had the re-issue for $5 less.

The Price's earlier Treasury is a pleasure to just sit and read! In addition to amazingly delicious, and fairly easy, recipes from the greatest restaurants on earth, it is a cookbook that shares an adventure. You get to see the world's restaurants and meet the people that make them great with Vincent Price! I couldn't wait!

Come into the Kitchen offers up Mary and Vincent's favorite American foods, by historic period in time. Some of the earlier recipes take some cooking tools we don't much use any longer, and probably were not a whole lot easier to find in 1969, but you certainly get a feel for how regionality and availability of foodstuffs has changed over the several hundred years this catalogs. Read the rest

New Roku Premier is more of the same awesome

My favorite set top box company continues to evolve with the Roku Premier.

I've written about the Roku a number of times. Every teevee in my house has one, I no longer pay for satellite and take all my video media streamed over it. Matched with Plex, Roku is unstoppable.

The new line of Roku units are faster, higher resolution versions of the old. The UI is the same, the same apps are available, everything is just a lot faster. I replaced a Roku 3 with this Premier unit.

The Premier is also 4k ready at 60 fps, although I have nothing that'll display that currently.

Roku Premiere Streaming Media Player via Amazon Read the rest

Beautiful, slim rosewood iPhone 7 plus case for $8

I love this rosewood case for my iPhone 7 plus. I went with the compass design.

I hate thick cases and kind of love the simplicity of the iPhone's design. My daughter gives me grief for the number of screen, and other, repairs I can inflict on a phone. We split the difference on this lovely rosewood and rubber case.

The phone sits in a thin rubber cage that does most of the protecting, the wood back is adhered to the rubber, is both decorative and likely adds some additional buffer. There looks to be room in the case for a tempered glass screen protector, so I'm gonna add one soon.

I couldn't be happier with this $8 case.

FULLLIGHT TECH iPhone 7 Plus Case Unique Handmade Natural RoseWood Back Shell Cover Slim Bumper Protective Wooden Cases for Apple iPhone 7 Plus 5.5" via Amazon Read the rest

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