Thursday, January 26, 2017

Pelican Cases

For many years, my favorite storage case for camera equipment has been Pelican cases. I use the Pelican 1510 with dividers in it to carry my camera equipment.

This case is sized to fit the requirements of the TSA, so you can carry it on a plane. I've done that in the past without any problems. It has a pull out handle and wheels at its base so you can roll the case around.

 A lighter weight version of the 1510 case is the new Pelican Air 1535. It is more expensive however.

Check out this YouTube video on how the cases are made

Recently, I purchased a Pelican 1170 case for two guns that we'll use as props in our upcoming crime scene class (see photos above). While it is very small, it's still built to the quality I see on any other Pelican product. 

Get a Pelican case if you really want hardshell protection! I highly recommend their products!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Smith & Wesson M&P 40

One of the weapons for our Crime Scene Processing class on Feb 20. 

Can you tell this is a BB gun? Looks like the real thing! Similar size and weight... blowback when fired means the slide moves when you shoot the weapon as well. You can field strip the weapon just like the real thing too. No wonder law enforcement has a hard time making split second decisions on whether a kid is pointing a real gun or a BB gun at an officer! Shown quickly, you would never know this is not a real firearm.

Birthday Present From My Daughter

I finally built the birthday present my daughter bought for me! This heavy duty cart will be used when I'm cooking outdoors this coming Spring through Fall! I put a bunch of cast iron on it for now. It can handle up to 500 lbs of weight. The bamboo top is really heavy and can be used as a carving table if you want.

This cart has enough space for me to put all my condiments, cooking tools and cooking items on it when working outdoors on my gas wok and gas barbecue grill.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Toilet Repairs - Fluidmaster PerforMAX Toilet Fill Valve and Fluidmaster "Better Than Wax Universal Toilet Seal"

Since moving to a new home last February, the one thing that needed the most work for repairs has been our three toilets.  I had to change out the fill valves, the flappers and the supply hoses on each toilet.

When our first toilet started exhibiting signs of issues of water running constantly, I looked under the tank cover and was surprised to see that the previous owner of the home tried to "repair" the problem by using plastic ziplock bags to stop the water valve from gushing out water!  This was done on all three toilets!  I couldn't believe that someone would think this was a good fix!

I immediately went to Home Depot and purchased a Fluidmaster PerforMAX fill valve for each toilet.  I also decided to switch out the water supply hoses too since they were the old solid copper tubes rather than flex tubes.

Several months later, we found that the toilet on the main floor was leaking.  The fix for this was to remove the toilet and replace the wax seal.  Instead of just changing out the wax, I decided to get a Fluidmaster "Better Than Wax Universal Toilet Seal" which is made of rubber and foam.  Overall, it looked like a better solution although many times more expensive than the cheap $1.42 wax ring.

I had fixed our two toilets in our previous home when we decided to remodel each bathroom ourselves, so I had previous experience with repairing toilets.  But in those cases, I just replaced the wax ring.  This time, due to the leakage, I felt a better seal would be worth the $7.98 per toilet.

The problem using the new seal however, was the fact that after installation, the toilet was a little taller in the center where the drain was than in the past so that made the toilets rock on the floor.  I didn't know what to do!  But with the help of YouTube videos, I found that plastic shims under the toilet was the answer.  Putting in four shims on the lower level toilet made it totally solid!  You can find these shims if you search "Toilet Shims" on the Home Depot website.  The upper level toilets did not need shims.

Originally, we were going to have a plumber do the job of replacing the wax seals, but he never showed up to do the work!  We had hired him for two jobs for our previous home, but for some reason he didn't show up for this job.  We have found that many contractors that we have called over the years are just not reliable and simply do not show up to appointments!  After three text messages and a voicemail message to him to see if he was ever planning on coming, he had an assistant call back  seven hours later to see if we wanted him still to do the job the next day.  No Way!!  This is what prompted me to just do the entire job myself.

I wouldn't say I'm an expert in toilet repair, but I've done enough now that I think I'm getting pretty good at fixing these kinds of problems.  I just hope I don't need to do any more work on these toilets for a long time to come!

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

iRobot Roomba 805 Update - Roomba 880

Roomba Update: Well, the Christmas tree and other decorations were taken down yesterday. It generated a lot of pine needles and other junk all over the floor, so I couldn't wait to see how well the Roomba would do picking it all up.
I can tell you, I am impressed. The roomba has a built-in microphone that "hears" when there is a lot of debris being picked up at a given spot, so it goes back and forth in that area to vacuum more than it normally would. It's a smart way to do it really. When that dirt gets picked up, it "clicks" more as it hits the dust bin, so the machine knows there must be more dirt in that area than normal and so it concentrates more effort there!
Overall, it picked up perhaps 90-95% of the things left on the ground. However, I ran the Roomba a total of three times, just to be sure everything got picked up... just in case.
Vacuuming manually would have perhaps been a cleaner job because you see where to work more. But again, being a lazy housekeeper, doing it automatically is just so much easier and more fun for sure!
I've included a photo of one of our Christmas trees this year. While it's an artificial tree, it still generated lost pine needles. The garland on the mantel didn't help either!
We've had this Roomba for about three weeks now. Initially, it picked up so much stuff (even though we thought our floors were clean) that we had to stop often to dump the dust bin out! Most likely, it's due to the stuff under beds, etc. Now that it's been running every other day downstairs and twice per week upstairs, there are less things being picked up to force a dust bin cleaning in mid-cycle. Even though we vacuum every other day, I am always amazed that dirt and dust gets picked up every time the Roomba runs! Just goes to show you that a home does generate a lot more dirt and dust than you think! Consistent cleaning is the key to keeping a home more dust-free!

To see all Roombas and accessories on my Amazon affiliate account, click here.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

New Year's Eve Game - Chicago Bulls Vs Milwaukee Bucks

I attended the Bulls Vs Bucks game on New Year's Eve.  Unfortunately, the Bulls lost 116-96.

Lots of action as usual and we sat at the same 12th row seats too.  During breaks, there were baby races and acrobats, and just before the game started, we even witnessed a wedding proposal!

Images were taken with a Nikon D4 and Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 VRII lens on manual settings.