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    1. What are your failed hobbies?

      As I spent some time recently clearing out my closet, I looked longingly at my keyboard that I purchased with the intent of learning and practicing while working from home, as well to my ant farm...

      As I spent some time recently clearing out my closet, I looked longingly at my keyboard that I purchased with the intent of learning and practicing while working from home, as well to my ant farm kit where I had unsuccessfully kept a queen and small colony for a few months until they died several years ago. I'm sure we all have these tokens of failed experiments or forays into hobbies that once seemed interesting but we ended up losing interest in.

      What are yours? Why were you initially interested in it and why did you stop?

      24 votes
    2. Where can I buy a kit internal combustion engine?

      Title. I am interested in buying a kit model engine to assemble and run. I am fine with anything from a single cylinder to a V8. It has to be a kit. It needs to run on a fuel (I want an actual,...

      Title. I am interested in buying a kit model engine to assemble and run.

      • I am fine with anything from a single cylinder to a V8.
      • It has to be a kit.
      • It needs to run on a fuel (I want an actual, running engine)
      • It should not be made in China (would strongly prefer US/Europe/Japan).

      Are there any particular companies or stores I should look at?

      7 votes
    3. Any SF Bay Area mountain bikers? Looking for info.

      Hey all. I just bought my first mountain bike. I don't know much about mountain biking but when I've taken a hybrid out onto logging trails it's been super fun so I'm sure I'll enjoy it. I have a...

      Hey all. I just bought my first mountain bike. I don't know much about mountain biking but when I've taken a hybrid out onto logging trails it's been super fun so I'm sure I'll enjoy it. I have a few questions before I head out into the mountains:

      1. What kind of mountain-biking specific gear do I need?
      2. Where should I go as a beginner? Ideally somewhere with not too many hikers or other cyclists. I have plenty of stamina from my regular uphill cycling routine, but I don't want to get into intense steep riding and jumps right now.
      5 votes
    4. What's the best way to learn piano without an in-person teacher?

      I recently bought a keyboard and am going to dedicate 30 minutes a day to practicing piano. My goal is to be able to play my favorite songs (jazz & indie mainly), improvise, and generally be...

      I recently bought a keyboard and am going to dedicate 30 minutes a day to practicing piano. My goal is to be able to play my favorite songs (jazz & indie mainly), improvise, and generally be competent.

      I also want to learn how to sightread, so I've been using https://sightreading.training which has been really useful! I have a background in music (guitar, mostly) and know music theory as well.

      Unfortunately due to COVID, Delta, etc, I am not really interested in in-person lessons at the moment, so I was wondering if any tilde users had advice about learning to play through resources online or books!

      I'm also really interested in any tips that anyone may have!

      14 votes
    5. Do you wear a non-smartwatch? If so, what do you have?

      I recently went back from Pebbles to a green Casio F91W with a green NATO strap. I did a quick mod tonight to disable the beeping... which lead to everybody in multiple channels chatting about...

      I recently went back from Pebbles to a green Casio F91W with a green NATO strap. I did a quick mod tonight to disable the beeping... which lead to everybody in multiple channels chatting about 'dumb' watches and even old calculator / data watches.

      I love watches -- from reps to cheap Casios to fancier ones. Indulge me with a little show and tell :)

      22 votes
    6. I'm crafting some more!

      I mentioned a small age ago that I'm teaching myself to make a skirt. I finally have progress I'm ready to share! The buttons are just sitting on there, and it needs a waistband, but it's nearly...

      I mentioned a small age ago that I'm teaching myself to make a skirt. I finally have progress I'm ready to share! The buttons are just sitting on there, and it needs a waistband, but it's nearly ready!

      Taking shape!

      14 votes
    7. Looking for help with a DIY / household engineering project - hanging a water reservoir from my bed frame

      I have a Platypus Hoser water reservoir. And I have a metal canopy bed. Awhile back, I realized that I can hang the water reservoir from one of the top rails of the bed, and it gives me a way of...

      I have a Platypus Hoser water reservoir. And I have a metal canopy bed. Awhile back, I realized that I can hang the water reservoir from one of the top rails of the bed, and it gives me a way of drinking water in bed, with no risk of spilling it on myself or my bed, and without even needing to sit up.

      The only problem is, it leaks. It's a very slow leak, but it's dripping onto my bed or the carpet next to it, which obviously I'd like to avoid. And occasionally a droplet will fall on my outstretched hand or arm as I'm falling asleep, which tends to jerk me awake.

      You can see from the picture of the water reservoir above, the hole for hanging it is at the top, and the outlet for the hose is at the bottom. The way I'm hanging it now is just by threading a short length of "velcro tape" (tape without adhesive, but with velcro on each side so that it can stick to itself) through the hole and then around the top rail.

      So the way I have it now, all the water pressure concentrates on the spot where the hose screws on to the reservoir, and no matter how hard I tighten it, it still finds a way to leak.

      What I'd like to do is find an alternate way of hanging it, so that it's laying flat and there's much less water pressure on the outlet. Ideally I could also wrap the reservoir in a hand towel or something to absorb any leaks rather than letting them drip onto my bed.

      What I vaguely have in mind is that I'd like to build a "sling" of sorts that I could hang from the rail, and then lay the reservoir inside that sling. If I could find a very small plastic tarp (say 18 inches square) with metal grommets on each corner, that would more or less do what I want. But for understandable reasons, no one seems to make tarps that small.

      I'm sure there's something along those lines that I can assemble from inexpensive / easy-to-find parts. But...I can't think of what it might be.

      6 votes
    8. Do your lime trees produce much fruit?

      2 years ago we planted a lime tree in our backyard. It was already about 5-6 feet tall when we planted it. There's a lemon tree next to it that is probably 50 years old and produces more fruit...

      2 years ago we planted a lime tree in our backyard. It was already about 5-6 feet tall when we planted it. There's a lemon tree next to it that is probably 50 years old and produces more fruit than we can use. We're constantly giving away lemons to our friends and neighbors, baking stuff with the ones we keep and we still too many left! But our lime tree barely produces anything. The first year it produced 3 limes, all of which were hard and almost juiceless. This year, so far it has produced a single fruit which doesn't yet look ripe. The thing is that it produces tons of buds that look like they're going to become limes, but they either die or are eaten by squirrels, I guess. I've heard a similar story from a coworker about her lime tree. Is there any secret to getting a lime tree to produce fruit?

      10 votes
    9. Anyone here grow palms?

      I went to college in Massachusetts, and after awhile the winters began to get to me. A study-abroad trip to Paraguay helped me fall in love with palms. After I graduated, I explicitly looked for...

      I went to college in Massachusetts, and after awhile the winters began to get to me. A study-abroad trip to Paraguay helped me fall in love with palms. After I graduated, I explicitly looked for work in areas of the Southeast where I could grow palms, eventually settling in the Midlands of South Carolina (USDA Hardiness Zone 8a), which can grow a reasonable variety (our state tree is the cabbage palmetto, Sabal palmetto, and it is incredibly common in the area). I’ve currently got two potted palms: a European fan palm, Chamaerops humilis, and pygmy date palm, Phoenix roebelenii (the latter needs to be housed in the garage during the winter).

      11 votes
    10. Good electronics repair shop?

      I recently went into my attic and pulled out my old 1990s 4-track Fostex X-26 tape recorder. I was hoping to transfer some of my old band tapes to the computer. Alas, it is dead. While it turns...

      I recently went into my attic and pulled out my old 1990s 4-track Fostex X-26 tape recorder. I was hoping to transfer some of my old band tapes to the computer. Alas, it is dead. While it turns on, the motor appears frozen, and the device hums. (I don't mean there's line noise when you plug a speaker into it, I mean the device itself audibly hums, even when not using the tape controls.)

      I have seen online that some people repair theirs. It's probably beyond my skill level to do so, though. (And I don't really want to do it myself.) I have contacted a few shops near me (Los Angeles), but have gotten no replies, unfortunately. I was wondering if anyone here knows of a good shop that would repair an older device like this.

      I have also contacted some places that claim to do cassette to digital transfers, but none have replied to my questions about whether they can deal with a 4-track recording. Also, just looking at their prices, it seems like it would cost significantly more to have them convert my tapes than to get the recorder repaired. (And I'm not sure what's on all of the tapes, so I don't really want to hand over some embarrassing practice tape or tape containing some out-of-context banter between takes on it.)

      I've looked online for a used one, but all the listings I've found have been "for parts only", which is what mine would be if I were to sell it. And knowing how these things go, they probably all have the same broken part. So any recommendations are appreciated!

      10 votes
    11. Good basic electronics toys for twelve year olds?

      Back when I was a kid, I had a radioshack 200-in-1 science fair electronics kit this one I loved that thing, and it sparked an interest in tech that ultimately led me to a CS degree. Id like to...

      Back when I was a kid, I had a radioshack 200-in-1 science fair electronics kit this one

      I loved that thing, and it sparked an interest in tech that ultimately led me to a CS degree.

      Id like to buy something similar for my much younger sister, but nowdays everything I can find is arduino or raspi based. Id love to get something like that eventually, but I think it might be better to get a kit that more focuses on individual components first... Does anyone know of one sold these days?

      Alternatively, if anyone has one of these and would be willing to scan the book, Id love to build one of these as a breadboard-based system.

      13 votes
    12. What are you doing in your garden?

      The following are ramblings from my garden. I would love to here the ramblings from other people's gardens. It's spring where I am, and I absolutely love spring! The last full moon (the one in...

      The following are ramblings from my garden. I would love to here the ramblings from other people's gardens.

      It's spring where I am, and I absolutely love spring! The last full moon (the one in February) I call the Angry Goose Moon, because it's around that time that my male goose turns into a monster, and I need to pull out my shield (a garbage bin lid) to move around the yard while warding off his attacks. His change in demeanor signifies the onset of spring for me.

      Some people divide spring into early spring and late spring, but I live in a cool, wet environment that has a very long spring which is why I prefer thinking about the garden in terms of the moon cycle. The beginning of spring is Angry Goose Moon. During this phase, the hummingbirds start visiting, waiting for our native red flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) to bloom. Everyday it gets closer and closer (I expect it to be in full bloom any day now). My hated Burkwood Osmanthus (Osmanthus × burkwoodii) begins rapidly trying to turn into a tree, and I'm reminded that I still haven't figured out what to plant in its place as I trim it back down a manageable level. And OMG the freaking cranesbill geranium (Geranium sanguineum) has once again gotten into everything, but I loathe to get rid of it all because the bees love it so much. This year I am being way more ruthless than years pass and have filled several bins of it for the yard waste collectors.

      Usually this is also when I start seeds, but I'll be leaving for six weeks, so the seed catalogues will be collecting dust this year. Instead I'm checking out my propagation efforts from last year. I need to move a beautiful hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla) that gets way to big for the area it's in, but I've been afraid to move it case it dies, so last year I took 30 cuttings, which all rooted. It looks like 29 of those made it through the winter. I have no need for 29 more hydrangeas, but I now know I can move the mother plant, and if it dies, I'll have something to replace it with. In the mean time I'll plant the new ones in bigger pots to give away next year when they are more established.

      Last fall I divided up some of the lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) I planted last year, plopped them into 10 pots, and brought them indoors to winter over. It looks like five of them made it. It won't be late enough for me to get them in the ground before I leave, but I will put them into bigger pots and get them under artificial light. Hopefully they will still be alive when I get back.

      I'm not much of a rose fan, but outside my back window is a shrub rose (Rosa glauca) that has beautiful red tinged foliage and purple stems. It only flowers for a short time, and the flowers aren't anything to write home about, but they are followed by nice plump rose hips that I harvest for tea. It is absolutely in the wrong spot with its large growth and overly thorny stems. Last year I took a lot of cuttings of it and some natives roses that inhabit the same area, and it looks like most of them made it. Once they are large enough (another year or two) I'll plant them in a spot where their flesh ripping thorns won't be bothersome, remove all the large specimens, and replant the area with berries (I'm thinking about a mix of blueberry and honeyberry (Lonicera caerulea). Another potting up project before I go.

      I enjoy plant medicine and started quite a few medicinal plants from seed last year. I started a bit late so nothing got in the ground, but it looks like most of them were able to winter over in the potting shed, but not all of them. I sowed 30 seeds of skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) of which only 6 germinated. I was going to move those six into the house to winter over, but I ended up with a spider mite problem in the house from having earlier brought in my toothache plants (Acmella oleraceae) and didn't want them to get infected. Unfortunately none of the skullcap survived. The toothache plants in the house didn't survive either, and I wish I had extracted their medicinal properties before their death, they were certainly large enough. But this paragraph started like it was going to be about wins. The biggest win, the one I'm most excited about, is that all of my mountain meadow arnica (Arnica chamissonis) made it! Their first leaves of spring are pushing through the soil, and their roots are pushing out of the holes of their pots. I don't believe there is a better plant for muscular aches and pains than arnica, and I am looking forward to harvesting it to make salves. I did seed way too many than my garden can hold, so as soon as I determine whether or not they they also are infested with spider mites, I will offer them up for other people to add to their gardens. I'm also excited that all the elecampane (Inula helenium) made it through the winter, though once again I seeded way too many. The added bonus is this plant can tend to be weedy in my locale, so I will only plant a couple down in the weedy medicinal area to let them compete with each other.

      Side talk about garden pests. Besides slugs, which if I allow the ducks to move through the garden, don't damage too much of my garden, my gardens are fairly pest resistant. I spent a lot of time last year moving through it with a magnifier taking pictures and videos of the smaller insects that live among the plants. It's a whole other world living just out of reach of my normal vision! Of particular interest to me were a few of my phlox plants (Phlox paniculata) that had deformed leaves. On closer inspection I saw what I assume is spider mites. A few weeks later, taking video again, I saw what I assume are predatory spider mites, and a few weeks after that the phlox started growing correctly. There are so many predators out there doing "gods" work, and if any of you gardeners are ever bored, I suggest rabbit holing into garden predators.

      I'm rambling, where was I?
      Oh yeah.
      I also use this time to severely prune stuff back that missed my list the year prior. In my culinary herb garden there is a bay tree (whether it's Laurus nobilis or Umbellularia californica I do not know). It's a monster that should not be planted where it is. I know I could hack it it back almost to the ground and it would come back, except that its branches cover my bathroom window in a way that gives me privacy from the cabin on the other side of the creek, while letting light in. It's this constant battle between keeping it small enough that wildlife can't use to get to the roof, yet large enough to afford me bathroom privacy. I just hacked a bunch of it off and I suspect I'll be doing the same again in the fall.

      This place has a lot of problems, and I have to remain vigilant in celebrating the successes and not getting lost in lists of things to do. But there's a lot of beauty in our property, and I do enjoy experiencing it. Angry Goose Moon is the time of year when I am filled with the most hope for the future.

      28 votes
    13. What are you crafting?

      Is anyone else finding time for crafting these days? I'd love to see/hear about what you're working on! I have spent the last month very slowly drafting a pattern for a skirt. After much time...

      Is anyone else finding time for crafting these days? I'd love to see/hear about what you're working on!

      I have spent the last month very slowly drafting a pattern for a skirt. After much time spent feeling apprehensive about cutting fabric (it's only an old bed sheet, but still) to test my first effort, last week I finally put scissors to cloth and sewed it together. I made several mistakes, but was so happy to have finally gotten that far, I didn't even feel bad about them.

      I have a new basic block pattern drafted, and have even added a kick pleat so I can practice making that part. The new pattern has been cut and is ready to sew. 🤞 Here's hoping I did a better job this time!

      11 votes