Frute Brute

I usually grab Monsters cereal in the fall and Sam’s Club had this new variety pack. I’d never heard of Frute Brute and apparently this is the first year it’s been released in a long time. It’s yummy!

Old 40 Amp

The range we put in last year tripped the breaker whenever we ran the quick boil burner and oven together. I checked the manual and the unit runs best off a 50 amp breaker, so I finally got around to replacing the 40 amp one along with 6 gauge wire to replace the 8 gauge.

Hallway Flooring and More

After the living room and kitchen, the plan was to run the same flooring through the hallways. When we bought the flooring for the kitchen we get enough, so it had been piled up in my office since November. Here’s the old flooring my dad and I had installed in 2013.

Needed a bit of a break after the kitchen project, so after a few weeks we finally got started. I removed all of the trim and some doors that were in the way.

Of course, the project grew from there. When we removed the double doors from the hobby room it really brightened up the space.

Since we never close those doors we decided not to put them back up and with the hallways having wallpaper I’d have to do something with the door jamb. With the closets empty we noticed how bad the walls were, so it was a good time to refresh the paint. The shelving in the broom closet was terrible so we’d install all new adjustable shelves. My DIY automated lighting in there had failed, so I found a LED strip with motion sensor on Amazon for about $25 that works great. Of course I had to run a new electrical line up from the basement and install an outlet. I had also wanted a place to plug in the Ryobi 40v batteries used for the snow blower and lawn mower, so it worked out.

It was fun trying to figure out how to piece flooring around the stairs.

I chopped the top off of the shoe rack I had made for workout shoes and moved it from the broom closet to the coat closet. We have a lot of shoes!

There was a lot of finishing work with trim and new quarter round, but we’re so glad to have it all completed.

Mtn Dew: Typhoon

On Wednesday I saw a tweet from Mountain Dew about a new flavor I hadn’t heard of. It’s a flavor which was released to stores in 2010 but hadn’t been made in over a decade. It was only available through The Dew Store. It seemed like people had loved it, so I ordered a 6 pack of 16 ounce cans, which ran about $20 after shipping.

Dew with a Blast of Tropical Punch

I have a head cold this weekend so I wanted to drink a couple of cans before writing my review. This is easily one of the best flavors I’ve had, maybe only second (other than the original) to White Out. I’m glad I have four more cans to enjoy, but I don’t understand why they don’t keep some of these fan favorites around full-time.

I give it a 9.5/10.

Watching Star Wars in (Mostly) Chronological Order

When the first episode of “The Book of Boba Fett” came out on December 29th I asked Brandi if she wanted to watch it. I wasn’t sure because I’d mentioned the idea of watching the nine Star Wars movies in order (something I’ve been wanting to do) several times and she never showed enough interest for us to get started. She enjoyed the episode, so I said we needed to watch “The Mandalorian” and as soon as “The Child” made his appearance she was hooked. We cruised through Mando’s two seasons in about ten days and then continued watching the Boba Fett episodes as they were released each week.

Somewhere during Boba Fett’s running we started our journey of the nine movies. I created a list, as I do. The list expanded to add “Solo” and “Rogue One”. Then a friend suggested watching some of the animated series, which would fill in a lot of gaps. That let to finding the Disney+ playlists of essential “Clone Wars” episodes and essential Ahsoka Tano episodes. I found a short list of essential Rebels episodes. We added some other Clone Wars episodes based on recommendations by another friend. “The Bad Batch” and “Resistance” were placed in the timeline.

Adjustments to the timeline were made as we went so I could share it when were were done. It’s not perfect by any means, especially since it’s impossible to eliminate all overlapping. If you look online there are countless debates about what “essential” episodes should be selected from the various animated series, but we didn’t want to invest the time to watch all seven seasons of Clone Wars and four seasons of Rebels. Feel free to take this list and make it your own. Leave suggestions in the comments for the next person’s benefits.

  • The Phantom Menace
  • Attack of the Clones
  • The Clone Wars (movie)
  • The Clone Wars
    • S1 (1, 5, 19)
    • S2 (5-8, 11-14)
    • S3 (2, 22)
    • S4 (14, 21-22)
    • S5 (6, 1, 14-20)
    • S7 (1-4, 7-10)
  • Revenge of the Sith
  • Clone Wars S7 (11-12)
  • The Bad Batch
  • Solo
  • Rebels
    • S1 (10, 15)
    • S2 (1-3, 18, 21-22)
    • S3 (15-16, 20)
    • S4 (1-2, 13, 15)
  • Rogue One
  • A New Hope
  • The Empire Strikes Back
  • Return of the Jedi
  • The Mandalorian
  • The Book of Boba Fett
  • Resistance S1 (1-2, 10-11, 19-21)
  • The Force Awakens
  • The Last Jedi
  • Resistance S2 (3, 5, 7, 8, 17-19)
  • The Rise of Skywalker

It took us four months to watch everything. In terms of the animated series, Clone Wars and Bad Batch are excellent, with CW providing a lot of extra details to the Star Wars universe. Rebels wasn’t very good but some of the episodes provided valuable stories. Resistance was pretty good, but didn’t give much extra information to tie in with the movies.

We really enjoyed the whole adventure and watching things in order helped a lot. It was great having someone as excited as I was along for the ride because we’d often pause to discuss something or ask a backstory question. Each of us would remember different things and have different questions, which really added to the experience.

Review: Hychika 3.6V Cordless Screwdriver

Last week I was contacted by Hychika, who asked if I’d like to try one of their tools in exchange for a review. They offered their 20v Drill/Driver, a small tire inflator, or a small cordless screwdriver. I’m set on drills and impact drivers with my Ryobi collection of tools and I don’t have a bike, which would be the ideal use of the inflator. The 3.6V Cordless Screwdriver caught my eye and it arrived in a couple of days.

The set came with an injection molded case, which I usually think are a waste because they’re junk; the parts are always hard to get out and put back in. This case is really no different than my other experiences with them, but for how I’ll use this screwdriver, I’m actually glad to have it. It’ll make the set easy to store in my hobby room.

At only 3.6 volts and 180 RPM, this is not a powerful screwdriver by any measurement. I won’t be driving screws in to hardwood that’s for sure. I’ll keep it in my hobby room where it will get a lot of use working on electronics and small appliances/machines. It’s the perfect size and muscle for that type of use. I did pull it out today when I had to take the face plates off some outlets and was able to remove the outlets too, so it may prove useful in the kitchen or garage when I don’t want to run downstairs for a full size driver.

The kit comes with a USB charger, a mini wrench, and a nice assortment of sockets and bits. The screwdriver itself has a couple of nifty features, like a flashlight, rotating head for use in two orientations, and a quick release chuck. The quick release chuck seems similar to the one on my 18V Ryobi impact driver and I love that thing.

I did a quick search and Ryobi makes a four volt version of this tool, which seems almost identical. Overall this Hychika screwdriver seems like a decent tool for what it’s designed for, but I’m curious how it’ll hold up over time.

Mtn Dew: Flamin’ Hot

This doesn’t even sound like a good idea and of course I was going to try it. The left side of the label says “Caution: Flamin’ Hot Taste” but there is no such thing. I definitely get a citrus flavor and can tell it’s a Mtn Dew, but there is no kick to it and not even a hint of an aftertaste. It’s actually a decent flavor, but due to falling short on its name I give it a 4/10.

Recap: Kitchen Remodel

During my three month sabbatical from Automattic I started remodeling the kitchen. The first work I did was on October 28th, I didn’t touch the kitchen for over a week when I went back to work on January 4th, and we finished the project on March 23rd. It was a long process and I’m glad it’s over, but it was well worth it. I put together a short video to show the before and after.

Here are the individual pictures.

The area is so much brighter and inviting. The most impactful change was when we moved the fridge and put a new counter there. It made an incredible difference in how we’re able to do our cooking, with Brandi and I both being able to work at the stove together now.

My favorite step was refinishing the counters with epoxy. That was really cool and I could see doing it again for a bathroom. We would definitely do some testing on a small sample first though.

The worst task was sitting on the floor to remove hundreds of staples from old flooring. My back was not happy with me that week. The phase of the project I enjoyed the least was painting the cabinets because there were so many steps to the process. If I was doing it again I wouldn’t waste the 30 hours it took to apply grain filler and sand it down.

If you’re interested in more detail about any parts of the project I wrote about it every step of the way:

I didn’t research what it would run to contract all of the work out and I didn’t keep track of total expenses or hours of work. It’s something I wanted to do myself and it wasn’t about money or time. I made a lot of mistakes, but nothing that couldn’t be corrected, and I learned a lot of new skills and techniques. One of the most enjoyable things about a large project like this is all of the problem solving I have to do.

My dad is a real estate agent, so he’s seen a lot of houses. It felt pretty awesome when he was impressed with my work. He said he knows professionals who wouldn’t do this nice of a job and I should be very proud.

Each morning when I walk in to make a cup of coffee I look around and I do feel an immense sense of pride. We did this!

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