Thursday, October 21, 2021

Selling on Ebay

I recently sold a copy of Design for Six Sigma in Technology and Product Development on Ebay.  The sales price was $11 + shipping.

I ended up receiving $14.92 from the buyer.  $3.82 was netted off for Ebay shipping and an additional $1.95 was taken off for Ebay.  Later another $1.26 was taken from Ebay, so my net for the transaction was $7.89.

$14.92 less $3.82 made sense and it took me to $11.10, approximately the purchase price.

$1.95 is about 18%
$1.26 is about 11%
$3.21 is about 29%

The claimed fee for books is 14.55% of the value of the sale plus $0.30.  This would have worked out to $1.90.

Not the end of the world, but something was certainly not adding up.

Monday, October 18, 2021

REI Shopping

I made it over to REI to start shopping for my small wish list of outdoor gear.

Teva Sandals - Size 9 is perfect, I will pay the $100 for the more durable sole.  In stock at Lakewood REI.  I will buy these before my next "water" trip or if they come on sale.

Hiking Boots - I like the Topo Athletic Trailventure Size 10.  These are $140 (waterproof version is $160) have a Vibram sole, generous toe box and are ideal for the light hiking and occasional 14'er that I may do in the future.  Probably purchase from REI if/when Ratna and I start training for a 14'er.  The colors are a bit much (Navy or Orange).  Otherwise a very cool design and extremely light weight.  I also tried on Altria, but really want to avoid zero drop shoes.

Arcteryx Beta AR and Beta LT hard shell.  Size L is the right size, but it is a trim fit and if I put on another 10lb or really want to layer up, this shell will not work for me.  Priced at $479 and $399 respectively the price point is OK.  I want to try the Patagonia and Mountain Hardware Jackets.

Patagonia 40L duffle - $139 and looks as good as advertised.  I will likely pick one of these up prior to my next trip.

Kitchen Cabinet Pull-Out Wire Baskets

We have been in the new house for 5 months and I finally got around to installing some pull-out baskets.  I purchased these from Lowes and went with the Rev-A-Shelf product line.
  • Two-Tier Cookware Organizer - $139 - Absolutely amazing product.  It is tremendously easier to get pans out and put them away and the lid caddy is really slick as well.  Rated as 20 minute install, took me 94 minutes.
  • Two-Tier Pull-Out Baskets - $110 - Meh.  A good product and certainly maximizes storage.  Rated as 20 minute install, took me 34 minutes.
  • Single Pull-Out Basket - $50.  This is what I expected to put in everywhere, but wanted to try some other stuff.  Rated as 5 minute install, took me 21 minutes.
I certainly hate to drop $300 on shelving just to be able to own and store more stuff that we do not need often, but I am really happy with these purchases.

Our remaining cabinets could benefit from some organization as well.  I am planning on getting one more 11.5" basket for $50.  I would also like to get a 14.5" basket for $55.  I am debating under sink solutions.  I may go with an 11.5" wide version there as well.

I am also looking at drawer organizers, but at 12.5" wide and 9.5" wide there are not a lot of options.  2.75" high is a limiting factor as well.

For hanging towels, I am considering magnet hooks from Amazon.  There is an amazing array of offerings from $1/hook and up in weight supported listed from 20# to 100#.  I think I am going to try a set at 50#.  6 hooks at $2.50 each.  They will be used to hold towels.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Eddie Bauer Shopping

I often get roped into shopping at Eddie Bauer because they periodically send out $10 rewards.  I really like their clothing, but have been in a holding pattern where I really do not need any new clothes.

I went to Colorado Mills and was impressed by the Outlet offerings.  The styles were great as usual, but the sizes were limited.  I need 36x32 pants, XL shirts and 9.5 shoes.

After coming up empty for most of the store, I found some great hiking pants.  The Top Out Ripstop Pants (regularly $70, 50% off and then $10 rewards ended up at $25 plus tax) fit me perfectly in size large and allow good range of motion.  They would have been the perfect quick dry pant for the canyoneering we did in Zion.

I am still debating whether or not to get the Travel Blazer.  These are soft packable jackets that I have looked at a number of times.  Regularly $149, they are on clearance for $29.  I have looked at these a number of times and really like the styling, but cannot imagine a scenario where I would where it.  The picture I have in my head is a nice outdoor dining setting in a tropical climate, but I have never done that, nor do I plan to.

Monday, October 11, 2021

Southern Utah Adventure

My 50th birthday party trip finally arrived.  The family joined me for a road trip to southern Utah.

Wednesday - Day 1 - Drive from Denver to Moab, diverted on US 6 as EJMT was closed due to an accident.  Arrived at Arches National Park and hiked to Delicate Arch.  Dinner at Miguel's Baja Tacos and stayed at Element by Westin.

Delicate Arch

Thursday - Day 2 - Drive from Moab to Bryce Canyon National Park.  Hiked from Sunset Rim to Sunrise Rim and down into the Amphitheater.  Dinner at Peekaboo Cafe and spent the night at Holiday Inn Express.

Bryce Canyon Amphitheater

Friday - Day 3 - Drove to Zion National Park on a rainy day and had lunch in Springdale at Oscar's Cafe.  No hiking.  Had dinner at Subway and bought snacks for canyoneering.  Spent the night at Holiday Inn Express.

Zion National Park

Saturday - Day 4 - All Ways Adventures canyoneering adventure in The Huntress near Mt Carmel.  Nate was our guide.  We picked a route with 5-7 rappels and a couple of bail out points.  The first 20 foot rappel was OK with calf deep water at the bottom.  The second 20 foot one was rough with waste deep water at the bottom.  We hiked over to the first longer rappel and my wife started to feel a little uncertain with the footing and crowd at the top of the rappel point.  We decided to bail and went over to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park for some rappelling.  I was impressed by how well the Lexus GX460 did on the sand dunes with tires aired down to 18 psi.  After the state park, we hit the road for Grand Junction.  Dinner at the Peach Distillery in Palisade Colorado with the Rasmussen family.  Arrived home at midnight.

The Huntress Canyon

Pink Coral Sand State Park

Pink Coral Sand State Park

I finally tried washing shoes in the washing machine and it worked out pretty well.  Prepare by removing laces and insoles.  Scrub inside and outside of shoes to remove as much dirt as possible.  Wash with liquid detergent on delicate setting and no spin cycle.  Air dry.

I had a few gear notes from the rappelling adventure.  Bring light snacks and plastic water bottles.  Hydro Flask bottles are heavy.  Not worth bringing spare clothes for the hike.  Our guide wore Teva sandals, pants, long sleeve shirt and a vest.  We were much less prepared in tennis shoes, cotton socks, cotton pants and multiple layers on top that we stripped off and carried most of the way.  It was nice to take pictures with a cell phone, but everything else should have been left in the car.

Future gear I am interested in buying:

Teva sandals - Hypnosis Black Multi $50 (try on size 9 and size 10) at REI ($50)

Premium Mountaineering shell - Arc'teryx Beta LT ($399), Patagonia Galvanized ($349), Mountain Hardware Exposure/2 GTX Pro Lite ($449), Patagonia Pluma ($549) - read full reviews at

Hiking boots - try on at REI - $150 to $200

Hill People Gear chest rig - $133

Monday, September 27, 2021

EcoFlush Model B8100

I finally figured out the crazy toilet in the main floor half bath.  The toilet was not flushing particularly well and when I opened the bowl, I discovered a large black molded plastic container that is supposed to be some water saving device.

I watched some youtube videos and came across the troubleshooting guide.  I got started be cleaning the intake filter.  I also checked for leaks around the system.

Finally I checked the installation manual which describes the dual flush system where a 1.6 gallon flush is performed by pressing the toilet lever down and a 1.1 gallon flush by lifting the toilet lever up.  The default, can be changed by switching the lines to the flush valve cartridge.

The dual flush epiphany prompted me to lift the lever up and sure enough this thing flushed like a champ.  I patted myself on the back and made a little note to place above the toilet.  Seeing how these are $300+ premium toilets, I was very relieved not to just replace it with a standard gravity fed toilet tank.

Another curiosity was a plastic water shut off valve with the plastic piece cracked.  I reinforced it with electrical tape, but I would like to have a plumber replace it with a brass shut off.

The only other plumbing project in the house is to add a water line to the basement refrigerator.

Sunday, September 19, 2021

1/3 of Working Age Men Not Working

I read this on a yahoo finance site and was aghast.  Yahoo is typically pretty left leaning and it did not pull punches calling out men.

Unemployment Insurance
Early retirement, pensions, disability and lawsuits
Savings, trading stocks and bitcoin
Working for cash, aka under-the-table economy
Living off family members
Illegal work
Living off the land

The article suggested 7 broad categories which certainly resonated with me.  There are a lot of folks wrapped up in the gig economy doing what they can to get by from time to time.  With a supportive spouse and a blend of cash infusing hobbies, a guy can do OK and stay out of the rat race.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Dive Knife

Without fail, my best purchases are premium daily use products that are not skill dependent.  For example, the Yeti Coffee Tumbler is hands down the best purchase I have made in several years.  Golf driver for nearly 10X the cost was not as good a purchase.

However, I still enjoy having nice things.  

I started researching EDC knives and then gravitated to the Benchmade H2O dive knife ($120 to $140)

From there, I took a turn to river knives and spotted the Gerber River Shorty ($30) and the Gerber Crossriver Salt ($40).  These are both highly recommended, but the common criticism is the sheath.

I also reviewed Spyderco knives, but was not a fan at the price point.

I 100% concede that my knife use on the water, under the water or on the shore will be mostly cutting fruit, possibly fishing line and use as a screwdriver.  In over 40 dives, I have never even thought it would be nice to have a knife on me.  On at least 20 canoe, kayak, raft and stand up paddle board adventures, having an accessible knife was never a priority.  When I go fishing, I keep a kitchen knife in my tackle box.

I will still probably get the Gerber Crossriver Salt.  At the $40 price point, losing it is not the end of the world and even if the sheath falls apart on me, it would still make for a good camp knife.