Sunday, May 26, 2013

Harbor Freight trailer build, Alum Line box

The aluminum box arrived today, I ordered it from Alum Line, located in Cresco, IA.  It took about a month, maybe just 3 weeks, and they delivered it today....for $50.  Delivery meant that I didn't have to pay $43 to IA for sales tax, so that turned out ok.  Saved 3 hours and 3-4 gallons of gas, assuming I would have taken the bike and trailer to pick it up.

First thing to do is to remove the bolts on the top of the frame so the box can sit tight to the frame and also have bolts and holes to secure it.  Measure, mark, remeasure, check, test, measure and check it some more before using my center punch to start the holes.  I used my electric drill to drill a pilot hole while the cordless drill's battery has a 1/2" chuck so I can use the 23/64" bit.  The bolts are 10 mm, which is of course larger than 3/8", blah blah blah.

I don't yet know if the bolts are long enough, they were sized to bolt the frame together and not to add the box as well as a washer.  So I'll probably use slightly longer 3/8" bolts, and enjoy the extra large holes to line things up.

As expected, nothing worked as planned.  Only about 2 holes line up, we forced some bolts in, but the box is a little twisted, so I'll pull out the bolts and ream the holes so that it'll be straight.  

When that is done, I'll get down the grey outdoor carpet and measure, measure, measure and then cut.  Then I'll test fit, cut, test fit, cut, test fit, cut, start over.  Eventually I'll glue it on the sides, but will likely leave the piece on the floor loose so it can be removed, replaced, cleaned, etc.

Sounds like fun, huh.

Yeah, I can't wait.

It needs to be done, though, because it's been my experience that whatever rubs on aluminum turns black.

Black is where it's at.  Once you go black, you never go back.  Black is the new red.  Back in Black.  
Screw that.

I want the crap we put in the wagon to remain as purty as when we put it in there.  How purty is that?  Honestly, not very, but the AL staining is worse.  I also want the crap to stay in one or 2 places, I don't want it sliding or rolling around.  The carpet will help with this.

Remember when we stopped at Harbor Freight on Easter?  Yeah, we bought a spare tire with a coupon and some cash, so I need to mount that thing somewhere.  Easiest thing to do is to use a stub of threaded rod bolted to the frame to hang it.  We'll see how that holds up; it's cheap, at least.

Ready for some pics?
 Drilled from the outside in, we're left with a sharp burr that has to be removed.
 Yep, did a crappy job painting.

Should hold all of our crap, I think.  need to make a tongue stand to hold it up level when parked, I think maybe a bumper of some sort, so I can stand it on end when not in use.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Hutzler 571B banana slicer review

It's no joke, friends, you too can get a tool for your banana slicing needs, it even comes in a 2 pack....and with that knowledge, with your permission, I'd like to offer my good friend and adviser AlGore a heartfelt and sincere thank you for inventing the Hutzler 571B Banana Slicer!  This magical invention has improved and enhanced my life so much, read on, if you dare.

They look slightly less phallic in pairs, don't you think?

You see, all my life I believed the TV commercials that stated the egg is the perfect food.  The incredible edible egg.  blah blah blah.  Or if you're asian, you might say bra bra bra.

What a load of crap.  Eggs are a pain in the ass.  Only hungover people and body builders eat them raw; for those that don't know, this means that eggs must be cooked.  Eggs must also be refrigerated or they'll rot...have you ever broken a rotten egg up close?  It's not very nice.  

For those keeping score...for these "incredible" things, you must have a heat source and a cooling source.  You have to have a pot or a pan, and probably a plate and a fork, as well as toast and a toaster.  Oh, sure, if you already have toast, you don't need a toaster.  I know that, but what came first....a chicken or the egg?

You have to have the luck of the irish and the blessing of a nun to get a box of these things home unscathed...usually the 57 year old bag boy that still lives at home with mommy drops the jar of cheeze whiz on the eggs when he gets distracted by the cleavage on the HyVee cashier.  But that only happens when you ask for a paper sack and are not watching the bag boy's every move.  Often they throw canned items on peaches or pears or bananas.  

In reality, this doesn't happen too often because HyVee cashiers are usually wearing shirts that are buttoned to the neck and also wearing a tie thingy.  And if you buy yer eggs at Kwik Trip, the cashiers usually don't wear cleavage and I don't buy cheeze whiz at either location.  

To enjoy the egg, it must be cooked, which seems simple enough.  But!  imagine!  Too much heat, not enough heat, too much lube, not enough lube, trying to turn too early, waiting too long to turn, OH, the problems.  

BUT before you can cook the damn thing, you must crack it.  Some like to crack them on the edge of the bowl or skillet.  Some like to crack them on a flat surface.  Both can present problems and opportunities.  Hit it too hard and you make a mess.  Not hard enough and you risk perforating your thumbs when you poke them thru the shell into the wet sticky stuff.  If you don't crack them correctly, when you open the shell into the pan you may break the yolk into the white.  No big deal if you were going to scramble the little bastards, but when Princess orders them over easy, you better make sure you deliver them over easy.  

Then a dilemma!  What to do with the shell?  Compost or trash?  It's best, of course, to compost them, return to nature and all that tofu crap.  But I'll tell you, I rarely have a bucket sitting around waiting to go to the compost heap, and never in the winter because it's clear around the other side of the garage thru waist deep snow....I trash them.  

And then, you have to wash all that sticky stuff off your hands, or else people will look at you funny and we're not going to talk about what the egg stuff looks like when it dries on the front of your pants.  Girls, it should work great for hair gel....

Salt, pepper, ketchup, Tabasco, salsa, toast, plate, omelet, sour cream, bowl, fork, the options are endless.

A banana is indeed the perfect food.  When you're lucky enough to find a ripe one, all you have to do is peel that sucker and chomp it down. No heat source, no chill chest, no kitchen full of pots, pans, turners, sinks, just 2 hands and some teeth, although a tongue does help a bit.  Slice it, dice it, eat it whole, it really doesn't matter, it's all delicious, and assuming your colon is working correctly, that banana will return to it's original shape and size by tomorrow afternoon.  If you're lucky, it will knock politely before making it's escape.

Peel and eat, no washing, no cooking, just toss the peel out the window onto the lap of the driver of the passing convertible.

Eat a banana as a snack, as meal, as dessert.  Puree it with avocados, cabbage, kiwi, grapes, a raw egg, and zucchini to make a smoothie so nasty the dog will ignore and lick the cat's ass instead.  Slice it on pancakes, cereal, ice cream, PB&J or oatmeal.  

Sometimes you want a bunch of banana slices that are uniform and identical.  There are several methods in which to do this, you can hire a guy that stands on the corner by WallyMart holding a sign that states "anything will help" (unless you offer a job), you can use a fork, a spoon, a butter knife, a chef's knife, a ginsu knife, a chainsaw, or a brush chipper.  And this is where the model 571B comes in.

What the hell, AlGore?  You got WD40 right after only 40 tries. 571???

Peel the banana and arrange on the cutting board white side up, in such a manner so that the curve lines up with the curve on the B.S.  Yeah, good luck with that, and don't try to force the curves to match, we want it sliced, not broken, damn it!

I know, I know, some reviewers have not been able to buy bananas that match the curvature of the 571B, they say that they can only get left bent fruits and the B.S. is curved to the right.  This is what I want to say to those people:  Don't vote.  And don't reproduce.  

The world has enough stupid people, just turn the thing over and proceed with caution.  

Some reviewers state that they chopped off a finger or 2 with the B.S. and what I want to say to them is:  come give me a massage, because with hands that soft, you must soak them in Palmolive all night long.

AND I want to ask those that attempted to slice w/o peeling:  what the hell were you going to do with those little slices of peel?  Perhaps you were planning to prank an ant colony by scattering them around and watching the little bastards fall down?

In other news, I killed the first fly of the season at 12:22 on 4/30/13.

One example of a time when you want identical uniform slices would be if you're feeding siblings. In this case, they have to be absolutely uniform, totally identical, same number, same size, same shape or WWIII will ensue.

Another might be if you're making a bananas foster sort of dessert.  Here's how you make it.  Coat banana slices with brown sugar, and brown in butter.  Turn to brown the other side, remove and add bourbon, set on fire for a minute, cook to reduce the sauce, serve hot.

Simple and delicious, no?

Not that easy, not easy at all.  The skillet is rocket hot, and the buttery is slippery as, well, it's really slippery.  Banana slices are difficult to turn over.  If you use a spatula, you'll splatter butter all over and you'll never get them all before they burn and you'll miss some and you'll turn some more than once.  You have to use a 2 handed approach, a tool in each hand.  If you are using a nonstick skillet, you can't use that wonderful sharp meat fork, either of them, or you'll scratch all the teflon off the skillet and that is not good eats.

Don't use a plastic fork, that f'er will melt, and white plastic is also not good eats.

Here's what actually happens.  I scoop some brown sugar into a bowl, and peel a couple of bananas.  Usually for each of us.  I take my favorite paring knife and slice one of them, it generally takes about a second per inch of banana.  I coat the slices with the brown sugar and begin melting butter in the skillet.  When it's hot, I put about half the slices in the skillet and while the first side is becoming golden brown and delicious, I slice the other banana into the bowl of sugar.  The first side takes a couple of minutes and then I turn them.  Usually as soon as soon as I get them all turned, the first that were turned are ready to come out, the 2nd side takes very little time to brown.  I cook the rest of the slices in the same manner, putting them all on a plate so the sauce can occur.

Point is, since turning the slices is such a PIA, it doesn't matter if the slices are uniform and perfect.  I just leave the thicker ones a little longer and the thinner ones cook a little less.  What I need to do is make a turner fork out of wood so that I don't scratch up the non stickyness.  Got wood?  I do.

So it takes about a second per inch to slice by hand, and by hand I mean by knife, of course.  To slice by hand would result in your hand being covered with a white sticky substance, and we've already discussed something like that, you dirty minded person.  I like that quality, btw.  So:  6-8 seconds to slice the banana with a knife vs 1 second to slice with the B.S.  so far, not a huge time saver, is it?  

Let's talk about clean up.

It'll take me about 1.5 seconds to wash my knife, as it has only 1 cutting blade.  I will be washing that B.S. for about much longer, since it has 17 cutting edges, and if your banana was longer than the B.S., then you have to spend extra time on the ends.  

Dishwasher safe!  Yippee.  Unless you run yours more often than we run ours, which is about every other day, the damn thing will be dirty when you need it the next time.  Plus, consider that once the white sticky stuff dries on there, it'll never come off in the damn dishwasher, which means you have to wash it before putting it in there, which defeats the purpose of making it dishwasher safe.

One other compelling reason to avoid this dumb damn thing, is that it is a unitasker.  That means it can only do one can't even cut hot dogs with it because of that stupid bend and the cheap flimsy construction.  With a kitchen the size of mine, there's only room for one unitasker, the fire extinguisher. 

Don't buy this dumb thing, just use your fork, your knife, or your spoon.