Category Archives: Thoughts

What we found in our Finish Powerball Max in 1 Dishwasher Detergent Tabs

The other day, Calah (my wife) found a Finish dishwasher tab that had been taped up. It was unusual because normally they’re sealed and good.

So I wrote to the Finish folks to tell them what we’d found and to ask how it happened and whether it’s safe to continue to use the items in the container.

They responded by asking for pictures that included the tab and the lot information on the package.

I sent those and asked what had happened and whether or not it was safe to continue to use the items in the box.

They responded by asking for my address so they could send me something.

I gave my address but still wanted to know what had occurred and if it was safe to continue to use the product that was in the box.

They said I’d get something in the mail.

So what did I get in the mail?

A $5 coupon for a Finish product.

Like, OK, but the product at Costco is like $17. And can I even still use the stuff I have?

I’m starting to doubt that they’ll tell me what happened.

A quick note about upcoming woodworking posts

My weekly woodworking blog drops Tuesdays at 10am PT.

My posts mainly have been about refinishing pieces of furniture made by other people.

I now have a workbench table saw. The blade only extends to 3/4″, and that isn’t a lot, but if I set everything up right, I think I can cut up to 1-1/2″, which should be plenty for many projects.

I asked reddit today about how to make a crosscut sled for a table saw with a 3/4″ blade and got mixed responses.

There will be tons of opportunity for more woodworking projects going forward.

I can’t wait to share them with you!

I’m getting married tomorrow

It’s so crazy that it’s finally upon us, but Calah and I are tying the knot tomorrow morning.

It’s been a long time coming, but to make our relationship official in the eyes of the law is something that’s long past due.

Covid has required us to delay, and our reception and our honeymoon are delayed still, but it’s nice to resolve one key step of the process.

I’m so lucky that Calah has agreed to married me–and continued to agree as she’s gotten to know me more and more through our 517 days of engagement.

Calah is special in a way that gives me faith in the future. Sounds dopey and extreme, I know, but I mean it.

Calah is a person who sees the world and acts on her desire to make it better.

She’s been a registered nurse for years, but she decided to go back to school for nurse practitioner. But rather than go for a masters, she is doing the doctorate of nursing practice. She has to do a study on a topic of her choice.

Covid took away her original subject: Dental hygiene in oldtimers. I probably got it wrong, but I think that’s what it had been.

She saw the healthcare system get overwhelmed and thought there had to be a better way. One day she said to me, “Wow, it’s been a long month today” or something to that effect.

What she’d meant is that the day she had had felt like a month. From there, she and I talked about how some hours feel longer than others and that the stressors and demands aren’t equal each hour of a day or in every work condition.

From there, her topic of addressing nursing stress in the workplace grew and grew.

I could go on and on about her project, but that’s not the point of this post. What I’m saying is that she saw a thing that is broken and didn’t just say what a shame it was took action and is taking action to resolve it at a systemic level. And she’s not discouraged by people who say it can never happen.

That’s the thing about Calah: She does cross-discipline impressive stuff because she doesn’t seem to know that it’s hard.

I’m lucky that she said yes when I asked her out in July of 2019.

Readers of this blog can thank her for my current 312-day posting streak because when I was feeling really down 300+ days ago and couldn’t even bring myself to post about the crossword, she told me to put something down after she got fed up with me being inconsolable. And that got me out of my funk.

I’m frazzled right now in anticipation of the wedding. I feel like there’s a lot left to do that I’ve forgotten but can’t figure out exactly what that is.

And with Calah spending the time up to the wedding away from me, I can only rely on her notes to make sure I don’t royally screw stuff up.

I’ll have more to share after the wedding, but I can’t wait till Sunday morning.

Missed Schedule?

The other day I noticed that two of my scheduled posts were still in the scheduled section. That is to say that they hadn’t published.

I was bummed when I saw that the first new installment of the step-up tables didn’t drop on time! I don’t know what’s causing this just yet, but I hope that I’ll be able to resolve it so it doesn’t continue to happen.


Quick update on my Indochino suits and DHL

I had been tracking the progress of a couple suits I got from Indochino. It’s important that they arrive before the wedding, and if alterations are needed, it’s best I have them in my possession a week ago.

The suits shipped from China on Thursday last week. I watched as DHL tracking was slow to update no matter how many times I refreshed.

On July 27, I got my first update: The package arrived in the Cincinnati Hub and cleared customs.

But there it stayed.

Yesterday (by the time this posts), I saw another update: Shipment on hold.

I don’t want my shipment to be on hold. I want my suits! Calah wants me to have my suits!

So I took the advice of many redditors who had responded to other people who have had this issue, and I called DHL.

The number, appropriately, is 800-CALL-DHL.

I was given the option to have them call me back, but I found it suspicious that they didn’t tell me first how long I’d have to wait on hold.

I opted to wait.

Then I got the ringing tone and was connected to a person immediately. That was a relief.

The explanation I got was that the package was waiting for a connecting flight to Los Angeles, but all was still right because it wasn’t lost.

I shared that I had been hoping to get my suits today in case alterations were necessary, and the customer service person told me that while they don’t work on the weekend, she would tell them to get my suit to me on Monday.

I got a notification from DHL that the estimated delivery will be Monday!!!!

I’ll update you on what actually happens.

ball on hoop

This week I found out about the passing of Mekia Valentine

Mekia Valentine was a neighbor and friend of mine at UCSB. She and I met in the laundry room in the San Clemente Village in September 2011. We both lived in Donner Village.

She’s also the reason I decided to broadcast women’s basketball.

While tons of people have wonderful stories about Mak, here are a few from me.

In October of 2011, my then-roommate Darren and I were going to do something on the nights of Halloween, but we weren’t sure of our exact plan. But Mak invited us to walk around IV with the women’s basketball team and the men’s soccer goalkeeper. Why did we merit inclusion in that? No reason other than that Mak was really nice.

Here’s a story from her basketball career:

More than one night of broadcasting women’s basketball, Mak fell off lists of top-10 in UCSB history. Because she was tied for 10th–sometimes with herself–and then she would place higher than 10th, and her 10th-place would fall off.

She notched a triple-double one game I am proud to have been in attendance for.

And throughout all this, she was humble and nice. There are so many people way less accomplished than she was who are awful and rude.

But not Mak.

I found out this week about her passing, and it hurt.

jet cloud landing aircraft

Stupid Delta Variant

Things were looking up for us and down for COVID.

But now the delta variant has rolled in.

I talked to my grandpa and told him if he’d heard of the Delta variant.

I continued to say that the Delta variant is keeping us from being United, and while some say it’s un-American, we must stay Allegiant to the rules.

I had fun saying it, but I have a feeling it went over his head.

Let’s all continue to stay safe! Let’s keep 2020 as hindsight!

person holding blue and clear ballpoint pen

Survey says?

I routinely sign up for focus groups, but just as frequently, they say no.

Until Friday.

A focus group study has said that I can participate!


I can’t tell you what it is yet, but they value my opinion! Hooray!

More information to follow, unless I sign an NDA (likely), but be happy for me about this.

Sorry this is such a short post, but there will be more tonight.

Spoiler alert!

I started the Saturday crossword already (Friday), and I hope to have it done tonight.

Williams-Sonoma boosts my ego

I went to Williams-Sonoma this week and was very disappointed in what I saw. I went all the way out to Manhattan Beach because for some reason I believed the Manhattan Beach location to be a very large store. But it is a very small store. It’s nothing like the Beverly Hills location was before it closed permanently years ago.

Now, Calah and I had gone to Crate & Barrel to see their stuff as we’re continuing to finalize our registry, but there were some items that were too expensive for too poor quality.

I had expected Williams-Sonoma to be better. And some things were slightly better quality. But all things were higher prices.

There were some wooden salad tongs on clearance for $15 reduced from $25. I would have paid maybe $5?

Then there were things that were worse quality. Like an olivewood salad bowl–a salad bowl priced at $150. For comparison, that is $150 more than the amount of salad I want to eat.

Hmm, if were were to buy it, we might not have money for salad. Oh, wait, this would be for wedding registry, so we would still have money for salad. Damn.


The salad bowl was splitting before ever being sold. Right on the shelf. Split.

I asked a clerk what happens with this type of item if it’s purchased off the registry and then cracks after a single use.

“You have 30 days to return it,” she said.
“Is that in new condition with the labels still on and everything?”
“But you see it’s cracked just on the shelf.”
“Yes, but they would consider cracking like this normal wear and tear.”
“That’s weird. This is broken already.”
“Oh, I have the bigger [$200(!)] one, and the cracks are much larger. And that happened very quickly. I just don’t let the salad dressing go so high so it doesn’t get stuck in the cracks because then I wouldn’t be able to clean it out.”
“That doesn’t sound very good.”
“I went to a woodworker who told me to take epoxy and squirt it into the cracks to seal it up. But how am I supposed to get a needle that small?”
“So I guess I won’t be putting this on the registry.”
“That’s your decision, but these bowls crack. That’s part of what they do. Maybe it’s the type of wood they use.”
“Yeah, not putting this on the registry.”
“That one is too small, anyway. The one I have at home is larger. And that one fits enough salad just for me.”
“I mean I guess it would hold more if you could fill it all the way, but since the cracking…”
“I suppose so.”
“I guess I’ll go ahead and put this back.”

So it’s back on the shelf. Cracked. But out there for sale.

Now, I’ve encountered many issues in my woodworking projects, but I’ve not tried to sell broken things for hundreds of dollars. Scruples or something. Annoying.

And not everyone is happy about buying broken things or things that break quickly. They make that known in reviews!

But the reviews don’t start off bad.

Will last a lifetime (*****)
This is a large, beautiful olive wood salad bowl that is made by hand. As such there are minor imperfections which are typical with artisan works and (for me anyway) add to the value of the design. For this however, I would recommend that you go to a WS store so that you can choose the one that suits you—As each one is different. Beautiful piece and highly recommend.

Wow! Sounds amazing! Hey, wait a second!

Seems a little premature to have Will last a lifetime as the title. You know, unless someone is coming to kill him.

Wood putty filler too visible (***)
We recently received the largest of these bowls. I was a little reluctant to spend that much for a bowl but based on the previous review of lasting beauty I went for it. I understand that this is pieces of wood glued together to form the bowl. I didn’t however expect the putty that is used as a filler to be so visible. Especially around the top rim of the bowl. It is a very light color and doesn’t look even. I echo the previous review to go in and look at them before buying. That being said no one wants a bowl they would serve at a party to show this much putty right on top. I’m trying to be balanced with a three star rating. It’s hard to find a large salad bowl. I could live with imperfections inside the bowl. The one I received just doesn’t look finished. We’ll return and see if there is a better one. Too much money for this type of imperfection.

Cracked (*)
“First bowl cracked 3 weeks in. Got a replacement. This bowl also cracked about 1 week in. Have not washed it, have not used it. Save your time and get a different bowl.”

Welp! Looks like that’s not the salad bowl for us!