Clothes Dryer vs Bird Nest

Bird nest in vent

After a few years of good service, our clothes dryer would not completely dry a full load, so I assumed that one of the heating elements had failed and just added a few extra minutes to the cycle. Eventually, a repair technician checked out the dryer – no problem found. In fact, it has only one heating element.

The technician suggested to have a chimney sweep clean the dryer vent system.

Our dryer vent system seems strange to me because the outlet is not near the dryer. Instead, the exhaust air must go up a duct in the walls, make a horizontal turn and then go some distance before exiting. I considered using my shop vacuum to simply blow through the vent but, fortunately, decided to check the exit end first.

Up the ladder and a quick look showed that a bird nest was in the vent exit. In fact, I suspect that at least two bird nests, probably from different seasons, were in the vent. I made a hook from a clothes hanger and pulled out a lot of bird nest material.

The dryer works fine now but how to prevent recurrence? I’ve designed a simple sign:

Bird nest sign

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Airsoft Dueling Tree

I made a “dueling tree” for target practice with my airsoft pistols.  Sounds simple but airsoft pistols are not very powerful.  I finally came up with a simple design and documented it in a YouTube video:

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The Lemonade Stand

When my granddaughter wanted to go into the lemonade business, she asked me to make a lemonade stand.  I imagined a simple table or box and started to make a sketch but then decided to get a bit more creative and browsed the Internet for ideas.  I soon found plans for a stand somewhat similar to my own idea but larger and more elaborate.

Lemonade Stand

For details, see:

I more or less followed the plans but used thin plywood for the top and sides.  My granddaughter helped by nailing the panels and painting.  She was very impressed and wants our next project to be a car – meaning a real one!

Wesleigh's lemonade sales

Wesleigh’s lemonade sales


This was a good project but I don’t know about the car …



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Retirement and My 1911 Pistol

Since I already had a watch, I combined my retirement gift certificates and got this very nice Springfield Armory Type 1911 45 caliber pistol. Took it to the range yesterday and really liked shooting it — even hit the bull’s-eye a few times!

This “1911” should be somewhat like the one my dad carried while in Central America during WWII. I think he would have liked it.


1911 gb150217 - 107 (LR)

During World War II, my dad was a radar technician.  He was assigned to building and then maintaining radar stations in and around Central America.  The main concern was that the Japanese might bomb the Panama Canal.  My dad liked to tell the story that, while stationed on a small remote island, he was the only person who had a 45 pistol but 45 caliber ammunition was part of the standard monthly re-supply shipment.  He would sometimes walk around the shore taking target practice and became a good shot.

I had never shot a 1911 but it seemed a good idea to get one.  In keeping with my growing interest in replicas, I first got a M1911A1 replica manufactured by KWA.  As shown below, the replica (with red tip on the barrel) is a close match to the real steel M1911 A1.  The replica even weighs about the same although the weight distribution is obviously different.  The replica uses propane gas and holds 21 rounds of 6mm plastic BBs.  The replica felt good in my hand and I fired several hundred shots in my garage with it.  The replica even has a functional slide and gas blow-back system (of course, the replica has very little “kick” when fired).

1911 gb150217 - 110 (LR)Having gained confidence with the replica, I researched various 1911 manufacturers and models before deciding on the “Loaded” model from Springfield Armory.  So far, I’m very pleased with mine.


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A quick estimate: Most men my age have shaved about 15,000 times!  We should all be experts but I was not.



Over the years, I’ve used a variety of shaving equipment.  My first “razor” was a high tech cordless rechargeable Remington electric razor.  The rechargeable battery did not last very long but I used it for several years as a plug-in.  Thereafter, I tried several different types/styles of razors.



My dad used a classic “butterfly” Gillette double razor so I had to try one of those.  The razor on the extreme left is a modern version of that razor.  Next I tried the Gillette “Atra” (second from left) and used it for many years.  After the Atra, I used a variety of disposable razors but, most often, the fancy three bladed Gillette in the middle.  I always used cheap shaving cream – usually Barbasol.

A little over a year ago, I decided to test/experiment/play with other shaving equipment.  Of course, I first browsed the ‘net and found, to my surprise, that “classic” shaving techniques and equipment were quite the fad.  The recommended technique is to shave three times (well, three passes:  with the grain (down), across the grain horizontally) and against the grain (up)). I bought a modern “butterfly” double edge razor (the one on the left), several different blades, a brush and a couple of different shaving cream/soap packages.  After trying several combinations, my preference was:  Edwin Jagger razor (4th from left) with Derby blades, a cheap brush, Old Bond Street Sandalwood shaving cream and aftershave.  Although at first, I whipped up the shaving cream in a cereal bowl, eventually I ordered a “scuttle” to keep the whipped up shaving cream warm.  This was a nice setup even though all too often my face was nicked in the process of shaving.



One day I realized that, in all fairness, I had never tried one of the modern five bladed vibrating wonder shavers.  The razor is cheap (~$10) but the blades are expensive (~$4 each).  Even so, in the interest of fairness, I gave it a try.  No contest!  — and no nicks either.  For the past five months, I’ve been using the Gillette Fusion ProGlide with the same cheap brush, Sandalwood cream and aftershave shown below.  It’s been great!



As the novelty wore off, I stopped using the scuttle every day and also changed to a quicker two pass (down then up) technique (except for special occasions) but continued to relather in-between passes.  The $4 vibrating “blade” lasts about a month.  The AA battery lasts a few months.

Some web sites I found useful and/or interesting regarding shaving and equipment include:

Shave Nation (lots of tests and demos)

The Art of Shaving

Shaving:  The Art of Manliness

Edwin Jagger shaving accessories

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Cultivating the Air Gun Hobby

About this time last year, rummaging around in my closet, I came across my old Crosman 1377 air pistol.

(IPTC) content

Wondering if it still worked, I tried to pump it up.  No luck at first; however, a few drops of oil brought it back to life.  Now even more curious, I browsed around the Internet and YouTube and discovered that the Model 1377 was still being sold.  In fact, a small cottage industry has grown up around customizing it.  Before too long, I had bought the .22 caliber version (Model 1322) and done some modest customization.


Looking back, it was at this point that I became hooked.  Next, I tried a pellet rifle but that first one (an early production version of a new rifle) did not work out for me.  From what I’ve read, the bugs in the Benjamin NP2 have been worked out by now.  I replaced that NP2 with a Xisico XS46U and have enjoyed learning to shoot it.

I had never heard of “airsoft” guns and belittled them when my son mentioned them to me.  Although not interested in airsoft “skirmishes”, I quickly learned that some airsoft guns are very accurate replicas of “real steel” firearms.  In fact, some airsoft replicas are used in preliminary firearms training programs.  I had to try one.



So now, I’m in.  I have several airsoft pistol replicas and a wish list for others to add to the collection.

A good site for learning about replica pistols is the Pistol Place .

Another good site with many reviews is:  Replica Airguns .

Pyramyd Air is a good online source for purchasing air guns.

Gateway to Air Guns is a good discussion forum for pellet rifles.

I have no affiliation with any of the above sites, companies or manufacturers except for being an occasional customer or visitor.

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Not that it will matter because the blog is so new but I’ve already changed the “theme”.  I didn’t realize that all themes do not support all features so had to play around with several  to find one the looks and features that I (think) I need.  I’ll probably go through several iterations before settling into a theme.


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Welcome to Gordon’s Miscellaneous Blog.  If Seinfeld can be a television show about nothing then I should be able to have a blog about everything.  I claim no particular expertise on anything but perhaps can document some experiences and lessons learned.

On joining the ranks of the retired, I’ll be renewing old hobbies and interests as well as investigating potential new ones.  Over the years, I’ve gone through many hobbies and interests, including:

  • Photography and videography
  • Genealogy and history
  • Archery
  • Rifle and Pistol target shooting
  • Hiking and Camping
  • Swiss Army Knives
  • Computers (programming and such)
  • Engineering (yep, still a math and science nerd – just retired now)
  • Automobiles and Bicycles
  • Retirement (a new interest!)

Although I already have two blogs, one of my goals is to learn more about blogging – especially using WordPress.  My other blogs are:

Both are badly in need of updates (which should happen soon).

So, here we go …

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