Category Archives: Uncategorized


I’m sorry for neglecting this blog. Someday things will pick up and new entries will arrive. I’ve been very busy and my inspiration for this blog has left me. All in time. At least there is plenty for the new reader to see in the interim.


Commemorating The Devil

All this snow we’re getting here today has me wishing for summer, so I was going through some pics and found some cool shots and thought I’d share. 3 years ago I made a heineken keg fire pit with a little devil face on it. It worked ok but the fire wasn’t very big and it took a lot of babysitting, so the following year I got my hands on a propane tank and made this Hot Devil:



I’ve had a lot of good times with this little friend.







I’ve had the passerby call this a bonfire…yeah it’s pretty impressive but a bonfire it is not! It took a few hours to make this bad boy. First I had to drain the remaining propane. Then, with the valve open, I had to take my time tipping the tank horizontal and adding water, then tip upright, and repeat…many many times! Fill it all the way up, the water pushes any lingering fumes out so you don’t maim yourself when you drill it out. The only tools I used were a drill with 1/2″ bit and a jig saw.



Pretty straight forward and a little monotonous, but it was fun when it was done!

My poor poor little devil…on the 4th of July weekend of 2012 he was badly hurt by a mean old tree:



This guy covered the entire back yard…and fell as I watched! This was first thing in the morning, I hadn’t even had my coffee yet. There was a windy thunderstorm and I was watching it from the back door. I heard two low concussions and instinctively took a couple steps back. That car you see was right in front of me. A moment later the car and fence in front of it had radically changed shape…and that was the most surreal instant of my life so far!



To help you get an idea of the size of this here’s how the backyard looked from the driveway.



Here you can see part of the back door I was standing in. Had I not stepped back I would have been struck by small branches that came in the door. Had the tree fallen differently and hit the house there would have been a lot less blogs on this site!



The headlights are still on and the horn still blaring when this one was taken.

So my fire pit and mailbox wood stove were both damaged but are still functional…the really weird thing is that my bicycle cargo trailer was partially struck and undamaged!

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Thanks to all who read my blog and to all commenters. Views on NaggingInspiration grew steadily throughout the months.

Thanks to all referrers, but one especially:

Without her this blog would not exist. She’s the Love of my life and it was she who kept telling me to blog about my ideas and creations, though I didn’t think many people would be interested. I’m glad she was right…once again!

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,800 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

My Experience with Electronic Cigarettes

I smoked a pack and a half of cigarettes per day for eleven years. I loved smoking, the ritual of it, it was relaxing and fulfilling. A smoke with coffee in the morning, one right after eating, one before bed.It just felt good, and calmed me.  But then in 2008-2009, it really started to bother me.

I was coughing and hacking every morning. I couldn’t run or ride my bike without wheezing. I was waking up in the middle of the night, not able to breathe, fearing death. I needed to quit but didn’t want to. I had tried cold turkey and the patch before. Obviously neither worked. Then I tried an electronic cigarette. It was a mediocre one from the mall, bought after Yule in 2009, just before New Year.

It wasn’t the same as smoking, but it was pleasurable, and it was nice to be able to “smoke” in restaurants, movie theaters and stores. Plus I felt better. But I still smoked, up until 1/21/10. I was determined to never smoke again. It was killing me.

1/22/10 was my first day in over 11 years without a cigarette. Coffee was really hard without tobacco. I probably wanted a smoke a dozen times that day. I stuck with it. After the first week I was no longer hacking in the morning or waking in the night. After the first three weeks I no longer had a craving for a cigarette. I could smell things better, and food tasted great. Corn was like a whole new experience. It was so sweet, it was like I was a child trying foods for the first time.

But the e cig I had purchased didn’t work very well, and they had customer service on paper only. So I ordered a popular internet brand that had a 30 day money back guarantee. I got my money back. So I spent a couple of months with another brand, which performed satisfactorily, however, I couldn’t clean the atomizers. An atomizer is the heating element that produces the vapor. It requires a cartridge filled with flavored juice that contains nicotine, or no nicotine, if you so choose. Now most e cig companies and customers use what is known as a cartomizer, an atomizer and cartridge combined, which hold alot more juice and tend to perform better.

Most atomizers now cost around $10, back then I was getting mine for $16 a pop. They would last about 2-3 weeks, and die after I cleaned them. I spent alot of time on forums and trying various methods of cleaning them before I decided I was getting ripped off. There is a degree of user error with these things, and I wasn’t willing to give up on that brand until I was certain it wasn’t me.

Then I came upon a company worth endorsing: Volcano. They offered two e cigs at the time, the Volcano and the Magma. The Magma is what I chose, as it’s the same diameter as a tobacco cigarette, but a little longer, and lasts about twice as long before recharges as the Volcano. The atomizers for these things were $8 a piece, the customer service was nothing short of excellent, and the attys (atomizers) cleaned up easily, they were lasting me on average 3 months, with 6 of them in rotation.

In November of 2010 I upgraded to their newest model, the Inferno. It came in two sizes, both of which look more like metal cigars than cigarettes. One has 1000 mili amp hours, the other 650 mah. The former lasts me 2 and a quarter days between charges, the latter last 1 and a half days. I now primarily use the latter, because I like the size of it, and it can be used while plugged into the wall or computer, which also charges it. I’ve been using clear cartomizers for close to a year now, they’re the easiest to clean, produce wonderful flavor and vapor, and they’re bloody cheap! $11 for 5 of them, and they last 2-3 months!

I spend between $3-$8 a week on juice, the equivalent on a carton of cigarettes. I feel great, my girlfriend has never been happier, non smokers around me love it, and my dental hygiene has improved. Electronic cigarettes have changed my life for the better, and I strongly recommend them.

Camper Progress 2/13/12

I didn’t work on the camper floor at all over the weekend, after working in the cold all week, I needed the down time. Funny phrase if you think about it. “Down time” lifts your spirits, it’s recuperating. I finished one of the smaller panels tonight, all the firring strips have angle cuts. On the previous panels most of the strips were straight cuts…but I discovered I should have been cutting the ends at 45 degrees. I don’t have enough strips to replace them, but I can drill and screw ’em together, so all is good. I’m going to do the same with all the corners, 45’d or not.

Tomorrow is my last day of siding until next monday. That’s lower case on purpose. mondays are a horrible way to spend 1/7th of your life!!! More than likely I’ll only get one more panel done. I may have some window work to do Wednesday and Thursday, maybe Friday too, but they’ll be short days, so I should have the remaining floor sections done on Wednesday. After that I can start connecting the floor panels with piano hinges. I bought four 6′ sections on Saturday. I only need 20′ of that, but I’ll find a use for the leftover, prolly for the shower floor section. Total cost of that is $64.

So far the total camper cost is $344. My $400 total cost hopes are probably done for. If I’m lucky (and anyone else who wants to build this!) it’ll be under $500.

Well, that’s all for now, I’m beat, time to relax.

Solar Distillation

I can’t wait to make this, and some higher quality solar ovens to show you too. I’ve made several solar ovens, and that’s a blog or two in itself, and I’m tempted to rant about them as they’re freaking awesome…but this project will fill a major need for bicycle camping…procuring water.

There are a few ways of making questionable or downright non-potable water potable. You can use purification tablets, readily available at many places, including MalWart: your source for cheap plastic crap. They’re cheap…until you realize how little water they purify. There are of course portable water distillers, expensive and usually requiring electricity. You can spend around $20 to get water bottles with filters built in…but I don’t trust those when it comes to microbes. You can use the bleach method…blech!!! You can google that one, I suppose it works fine, but seriously, bleach my water?! You can use 2 or 3 litre bottles with cotton sand and charcoal to make water filters (which I plan to do), but you should still probably boil afterwards just to be safe!

Or you can use solar water distillers. I’ve made some miniatures out of 20oz pop bottles just for fun. They don’t yield that much. The easiest way involves digging a hole in moist soil, putting clear plastic over the hole, putting a weight in the center of the plastic, and a collection vessel under the plastic under the center. How about no Scott, how about no? I’ve seen some more complicated contraptions that you can build out of common materials and glass, and plan to make some someday.

But I want something lightweight for my bicycle camper, something that breaks down, is easy to assemble/build, and is efficient. Been thinking about it on and off all day, and I came up with this. It’s easy, it’s cheap (if you happen to have Tuff-R insulation laying around, you can substitute with styrofoam or layers of cardboard lined with aluminum foil if you don’t).

Well, here’s my idea:

Solar H2O Distiller

Crappy Blueprint

Crappy Explanation

More Crappy Explanations

Morerest Craptastic Explanations

So it starts with an apology for my inept photography. And then you start with a clear plastic bowl or other clear plastic food container. Then make a base that goes under the bowl, it doesn’t matter if it’s Tuff-R board insulation or not, so long as it’s insulative. All the solar ovens I’ve made have been done with several layers of cardboard or styrofoam, and they worked great, so that should be just fine for this distiller. Paint the up facing side of the base flat black.

Make walls to tightly surround the bowl/container. Line with aluminum foil facing inward. The black bottom retains heat, the tin foil walls or reflective side of Tuff-R bounce solar energy through the water.

Then, in the easiest method, put a small cup in the center of the container, and fill the container, being careful not to get any polluted water into the small cup, up an inch or so.

Saran wrap the container, tight around the edges, but loose enough in the center to place a small weight above the collection cup so that the saran wrap is concave…but make sure none of the plastic wrap touches the collection cup.

Place in bright sunlight and collect water at the end of the day. The version I showed uses a tube and gravity to collect purified water into a separate vessel, a water or pop bottle. If you choose to do this, be sure to seal air tight (or more appropriately water tight) around the tube. And try to keep the external water collection vessel air tight and in the shade.