The Other Hobbies – Video Games

To know me is to understand I have quite a few different hobbies that I ping-pong between on any given day. Presumably, you’re here because of woodworking. Today I talk about video games – my general history and recent events.

Being a child of the 80s of decent means, my family bought a PC for me to learn on and play the occasional game. In my case there were a couple. I assume the first one was a Texas Instruments TI99/4a because it was released first. I learned BASIC, I played games like Parsec and ZeroZap. Then there was the Apple IIc where I played Lemonade Stand and countless others. I think the first dedicated console we had was an Atari 2600, which had it’s charms.

The first real foray into video games for me though was the Game Boy. I had one near launch and played so many games that I can’t remember them all. Occasionally I’ll get a faint memory and try to pull on it to see what title it was. I had a ton of accessories for it too. I took it everywhere, and while the handheld and the accessories have been lost to time, we did hold onto most of the games and I took those back last year into my collection.

The real star of the show, though, was when we bought a Sega Saturn. This would be the hook that has kept me around. Need for Speed was a highlight, as was Daytona USA and World Series Baseball ’98 (it had Atlanta Braves star Chipper Jones on the cover). The game of the console for me though was Road Rash.

Road Rash was such a formative game, and in all likelihood my most played while the Saturn was our only console. Moreover, it introduced me to my favorite band of all time, Soundgarden. I had just really found my niche in music only two years earlier in 1994, catching on with bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam, etc. STP was a drug for me, but it wouldn’t hold a candle to what I eventually found in Soundgarden. Just hearing the intro to Rusty Cage takes me back to August 1996.

So that month would prove to be one to shape my life for over thirty years now. I still love video games, I still love hard hitting music, and I feel the need to break out the Saturn every now and again to scratch an itch. It isn’t the original one we bought because it broke, but I’ve had this replacement one now for sixteen years. Around this time I got a Playstation and actually got to keep it in my room, soon after upgrading to the PS2 with it’s DVD player. The Saturn largely fell to the wayside after this due to the various failings of SEGA and the lack of content.

From there it went. In 2004 I bought my Xbox, which introduced me to Microsoft’s vision of what a console was. Upgrades to Playstation and Xbox came. I also started buying the consoles I missed out on originally. The SNES, N64, the Gamecube. I had Master System games I couldn’t even play. I got into the Dreamcast. Shortly after the kids arrived, and I sold off the Nintendo consoles when I bought the Wii. I’ve purchased every single console since.

Well, in 2019 I decided I would buy back those classic consoles I previously sold and more. I kept the Dreamcast and Saturn, plus the old 2600, but sold everything else what wasn’t current. So I spent quite a bit of time on eBay and in local stores buying pretty much what I could find and afford easily.

Now, I have pretty much every mainstream console made since 1977. I also have several of the “Classic” consoles, updated flash versions of the older consoles with built-in games made by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, and now Neo Geo and NEC. I also have an Nvidia Shield TV and a couple of Rasberry Pis to allow emulation whenever I want. And of course the handhelds, including several DS/3DS, a couple of PSPs, a Vita, and an emulation handheld in the style of that original Game Boy that houses a Raspberry Pi.

What I don’t always have though, is time to play them or display them properly. A nice cabinet would go a long way…

 

The unexpected month

I posted my 2020 wants and needs on January 4 at 11:19 am EST. I had no idea what would transpire in the next eight hours that would change all my plans for this year and beyond.

To set this all up, this was a rare Saturday my wife had off from work. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be writing this. I had been looking at older models in green, but this was a 2019 with super low miles at a dealer fairly close by. So many of the other ones were nice, but I couldn’t find a feasible way for me to get there via plane even if I could afford it at the time. This one was within a three hour drive and was just over my price range. I knew it wouldn’t happen, but I sent the email anyway. Then I went to the gym. While there, I decided that I would go ahead and pay off my van loan four months early. I still wasn’t expecting to go and buy a truck, much less that one, but I had the money so I just did it.

When I got back to the gym I found out that it was still available, and I fell in love with the color seeing different pictures of that particular color. My wife surprisingly said to the kids to get in the car and off we went. I got to the dealer about 45 minutes before they closed for the day and knew this was my truck. I closed the deal a couple hours later and we were back in Atlanta before midnight.

It’s a 2019 Tacoma TRD Sport, six-speed manual 4×4, in Cavalry Blue. In the just over month I’ve owned it, it has already become a star in the stage world. I’ve been able to make runs to and from storage hauling a trailer, I’ve been able to hit up Home Depot or Lowe’s at a moment’s notice, anything I’ve needed to do for both shop and set building. Hopefully this will be a tool that sticks around for a very long time and onto whatever awaits in the next shop, whenever and wherever that is.

I’ve already done some limited mods to it, things like a new grille, a new radio, and a couple other aesthetic things. When I added the new radio, I bought metal brackets to mount them. But they needed to be modified, and I made the dumb decision to try and cut them on the miter saw. I should have used a cutoff wheel. The first part went well, until one of the blades caught and ripped the bracket out of my grip. Thankfully my hand didn’t follow it. The bracket shot backwards into the saw itself and rebounded off to the side. Again, thankfully, I did not get hit by it. It ended up destroying the bracket, breaking the bottom left fence, the top right fence, and one of the bed inserts. Plus, obviously, the blade. That radio install got a lot more expensive in short order. I ordered a new blade off of Amazon (the old one was purchased in 2013, so not a horrible thing to have to rebuy), and the other parts from ereplacementparts.com.

The other aspect to January was the one show we were responsible for this year. Within a couple of days we were already putting the truck to use buying supplies to build with. I figured out real quick that I needed to make some bed rails so that sheet goods wouldn’t slip between the wheel wells. It also did work towing a couple small trailers to ferry set pieces between storage, the house, and the theater. I also built the set pieces as well, and I didn’t have to do a lot for once. I built mobile bases for the previously-built porch, bases and new flats, and a couple other smaller things. The truck came in real handy, but I’m also learning to adapt to not having a trunk. I might have to get a tonneau cover eventually to protect cargo.

It was a very unexpected and fun month, and while it did mean some other changes will have to come along, I will certainly enjoy it.

Bench Shavings – 5/06/17

It’s been nearly a month since I last posted. I didn’t anticipate that. I also didn’t anticipate only spending a couple hours in the shop during that time. April was a much needed month of cleanup in the back yard. It was starting to get out of control, and over the course of probably a week I was able to tackle almost all the issues. There’s still a branch overhanging the back fence that I haven’t been able to reach. There was just that much overgrowth.

I also repaired both lawn mowers. The push mower required a new carburetor and a gasket, the riding mower a fuel filter and a carb cleaning. I even fixed the power assist feature on the push mower, something that had been broken for a couple years at least. Might help on the backyard hills keeping things tidy.

My attention the past few months has been divided between other passions and pursuits and not woodworking. I started thinking more about getting out and about the outdoors, including offroading and, something new to me, overlanding. I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the overlanding videos on YouTube, much more than any woodworking ones.

Something else that has interested me is music. I was able to install a new head unit in my old (now current) vehicle. I get to listen to a wide variety of music, podcasts, streaming music…so much. I’ll have a post on this soon, I wrote it some time ago but forgot to take pics. But even more than that, I’ve restarted my decades-old mission to finally learn guitar. I bought a Fender Squire Series Mexican Strat back around 1995 or 1996, but never made much progress. A few years ago I bought a dreadnought acoustic. A new Guitar Center opening up near me rekindled that desire, and a desire to own my holy grail – a Les Paul.

So, I found an Epiphone version that was in excellent shape and had some extras and ordered it. I also have a new amp on order, because the old bass one I had was busted. So, I have no excuse as far as equipment goes to finally learning. My days will probably be spent doing this where I have a few minutes to spare. It’s just something that has been in the back of my mind for years, and a store close to me finally pushed me to do something about it. Here’s a pic of the entire family.

[img]https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4181/34048712660_18bb738bef_b.jpg[/img]

The Only Constant Is Change

As someone born at the tail end of Generation X, I have a love affair with technology. In particular, I am reliant on my smartphone. It keeps me in touch with my family and work. It allows me to keep track of my kids, it allows me to access my work computer via tethering. I can play games, keep abreast of news, take pictures of anything.

The first smartphone I can remember owning was a Samsung Blackjack. Running Windows Mobile, in some respects I miss it. A physical keyboard, decently sized, it was very nice. I then had another, an AT&T 8525 made by HTC. These two were pretty good smartphones for the time, more like PDAs than what we would associate today. Then came the iPhone. The first one was a hand-me-down that I sold shortly thereafter to get an iPhone 3G. Then my wife got the 3GS. Then I got the 4. The 4, to this date, probably remains my favorite phone of all time. The design, the timing…it just all came together perfectly.

It might have been partially due to that reason, the relative perfection, that I decided it was time to try something new. I was tired of iOs, and more often than not wanted to jailbreak the device to add functionality and form. That, and the size was becoming cramped in an increasingly expanding market. The keyboard was becoming uncomfortable to use, and I was fat-fingering letters all the time.

Apple wasn’t going to increase the size (yet), so I switched over to a Samsung Galaxy S3. Android was a completely different world, as was having a removable battery again and expandable storage. Both of those things were important to me at first, but faded over time. I went through a different device what seemed like every few months. The glass cracked on the S3, and unlike the iPhone, was nearly impossible to replace on my own. So when the HTC M7 launched, I had one. Then I had a 2014 Moto X. This might be a tie with the iPhone 4 as my favorite, because I could customize it and it had software modifications that made it indispensable.  Unfortunately the updates were a bit slow, and I wasn’t impressed with the direction Motorola was going down. I wanted another stock Android experience, so I went with the Nexus 6P.

It wasn’t long before the iPhone 7 launched, and it gained my interest. The hardware was sleek, and although I think iOS isn’t as good as stock Android, I can’t lie and say the experience inside the apps is worse. The accessory ecosystem is also better. So, I ended up buying an iPhone 7+ last month. I sold my 6P, my Nexus 7 tablet, and my Moto 360 smartwatch and earned enough to pick up an iPad Pro 9.7. I officially am back full time with iOS.

Even though the experience hasn’t changed much in the three or so years since I left, it still feels like a new experience. I’m getting back used to things as I was before, and I do notice some of the limitations, like assigning default applications. But I just got back from a trip to the Orlando theme parks, and I was extremely happy with the battery life I got, thanks to a bit more strict resource management iOS employs. I also enjoyed how well the camera just worked, something that really disappointed me about the M7 when I went to San Francisco. I kept finding that Android devices would do a lot of things well, but would always fall short in one area. The 6P probably came the closest to fixing that, but I would still occasionally burn through battery too quickly. The Moto X and M7 had horrible cameras. The S3 had horrible software, TouchWiz. Whereas it seems like the only downfall to the iOS devices is the simple nature of the layout. I decided I could deal with that again, so I switched. So far, I’ve been happy.

Change for me lately doesn’t just end with my device choices. After seven years with Comcast as my internet and basic cable provider, I switched to AT&T Fiber. Even with a 1TB cap, I had come close in December to breaching it. I also felt I was paying too much, particularly with the TV recovery fees attached to my “free” local channels. Unfortunately with the cap I couldn’t stream a whole lot more to ditch the locals, so the solution was to sign up for fiber when it finally came available. I’m getting better speeds, no cap, and a cheaper price. I bought a flat antenna to help replace the local channels, but I’m still looking for a foolproof solution there. Perhaps a big outdoor antennal at the roof line. This change is saving me about $13 a month.

I also changed my cell provider in the last two weeks. I had been with AT&T since 2005, but just switched over to T-Mobile with their newest promotion. I was paying $135 for three lines of 15GB shared internet, but now I am paying $112 for unlimited internet for those same three lines. I will also be adding a fourth free line this weekend. That’s an additional $23 in savings a month, even more if I wanted to count that fourth line, which would have been at least $20 more on AT&T plus less internet usage. The combined savings of home and mobile internet/phone nearly pay for my new phone. EDIT – I just got my first T-Mobile bill and it’s actually $92, because you can get $10 back for each line under 2GB of usage. So this month, my brand new phone is paid for vs what I was paying before just off the cell bill.

What the moral of this is to not be afraid to make what might seem like fairly big changes, particularly when there really isn’t any consequences. I am under no contract with either of my phone or internet changes, and only am locked into a monthly payment on my phone, but it can travel to almost any network. The payment is also no added cost to paying it in full, and I can do so at any time. I am also subscribed to a few streaming services that I could drop on a month’s notice, should I need to. I’m on the lookout for what gets me the best deal, and am no longer afraid of what the alternative would be. It suits me best to get the best deal as a free agent for all of my services, and so far it’s working well.

The Sonny-Do List – 2017

Everyone is aware of the term “honey-do list.” It’s items that the spouse gives to accomplish things around the house, errands, etc. Well, I have what I like to call a “sonny-do list,” named because they are things I want myself and perhaps my son to accomplish. Since a lot of calendars include December in the following year, you have the title of this thread, and when it is being posted.

These things are home improvement items, in the same vein as what the last post was about. I have another list or two about woodworking, so if you want to check those out you are dismissed and check back soon.

On the list first is networking. I hope to get my internet situation sorted out later today (up: done), and I’ll be looking at 2017 to get things sorted out on a permanent basis. I plan on running Cat5e (what I already have on hand, and plenty for my needs) from my networking nook in the bedroom office to the living room entertainment center, and potentially to our kitchen computer. Really all it entails is running the line to each spot, drilling through the floor and bottom of the wall, the rest is easy. Just takes effort.  On a related note, I want to clean up my coax runs. They both go through the floor instead of the wall, and they need to be secured to the bottom of the floor joists along their runs.

I have some high and low voltage outlets to install. Our kitchen computer sits on the counter, and there’s a desk section that it could be mounted to the wall under the counter. Just needs an outlet, and a low-power junction that could run audio and video. Would make things much nicer out there, and that’s also where I would run ethernet if I can access that spot under the house. In fact, this could be a project I take care of sooner rather than later, because besides the actual outlet, I have everything else on hand. I ordered the VGA and 3.5mm plates several years ago. Today might be a day taking stock and seeing if anything is missing.

I also need to do basically the same thing for two of my TV locations. The bedroom HDTV is already up on the wall, and I need to figure out how things like the bluray player and Apple TV are going to be stowed for use. Perhaps a shelf under the TV attached to the wall? Could do a small floating shelf if my outlets are done correctly. The living room HDTV is still on the TV stand, but I want to do the prep work in getting it up on the wall, or its successor. I also have speaker connections that I would like to run in the wall, if I can figure out a way to access the other side of the living room. Eliminating speaker wire from being on the floor would be a nice addition to the list, but structure challenges might mean this doesn’t get accomplished.

I want to add one more external outlet at the very least, under the carport. This would allow me to easily run the vacuum cleaner that is there, plus run the air compressor if it gets wheeled down, or basically anything else. Battery tender comes to mind, or spot lights for detailing. Another outlet on the back would be good, however I run into issues with almost all of them being either on kitchen or bathroom circuits. There are a few outlets around the house where adding USB power would be nice.

Basically, the entire list up to this point involves running wire. However, there are some real big projects that I at least need to price out or start on as well. The entire house needs soffit and eave replacement. A project of this scope scares me, but perhaps it can be done in stages. The gutters either need to be replaced with leaf solutions, or have them installed. When they come down for the eave and soffit replacement, this would be an excellent time. As part of this, the eave that makes up the porch ceiling also needs to be replaced, and so does the carport ceiling. That last part would need to be done after the leak issue around the chimney gets resolved, because there is a slow but gradual leak when it rains heavily. I’m not sure the ceiling in the carport gets done in 2017, but it is possible. At that time I would run additional wiring to install additional lighting. Some LED smart pot lights might be a good choice. Something that could do geofencing, motion, and a timer.

The windows need to start being replaced, and unlike most scenarios I think we would work on the bedroom windows before we did street-facing ones. Just more practical, and a lower upfront cost. I need to install a new fan in our hall bath, and one in our master bath. Both need to be exhausted through the roof somehow. Cutting holes in my roof scares me a lot too. Speaking of the master bath, I need to run a spur HVAC line and install a vent.

Our hall bathroom needs a makeover, but I think that’s going to be something for a contractor to take care of. It’s a small space, and I could get the job done, but there is some cracking in the floor tile, and I don’t want that potential headache. The roof holes might be taken care of professionally as well, even though I think ultimately that is something I will do. Attic access is tough.

There are more things to do that involve woodworking as a more primary focus, but those are left for their own entries.

 

Housekeeping – Late 2016

Been awhile since I shared some projects I’ve taken care of around the house, and with the completion of a couple more I figured it was a good time. I’ve posted this in several categories, it will be interesting to see which side of the site this gets published to.

Our house is 45 years old now, built during a period that really isn’t well-known for great designs or longevity. Ours was remodeled and added-on to about 15 years ago, and the results are decidedly mixed. Not our fault, we moved in after, right about eight years ago. Some of the projects I’m just getting around to were noted on the inspection. What can I say, I’m a procrastinator.

I’ll start with the project I just completed. We have a whole house fan in our hallway, and it had two controls – one big monstrosity of a panel on the left here, and a manual timer on the right. Note, this picture was taken after I was done, so the missing button and dial were there before.

Well, the dial control is supposed to have a automatic shutoff, but the clockspring has been broken since probably we moved in. I can’t honestly remember. While I was at Lowe’s shopping for items for another project, I saw a digital timer that met my criteria. Many timers only go for as long as 60 minutes, but I wanted something more like eight hours. This one goes up to four, or there is pure manual control. That worked for me, and it was fairly cheap.

It turned out that the big control box was a thermostat, long since broken. The only thing relevant was the power button that reset the manual timer when needed. I pulled the dial timer and discovered only 14/2 wire, and I needed a neutral. On a hunch, I also pulled the thermostat and found that neutral I was looking for. If I put the timer where the thermostat was, I could eliminate the dial timer and junction box completely. It was fairly trivial to get the wiring correct, there were three 14/2 wiring runs coming into the double box. One was hot, one went to the fan, and the other ran inside the wall to the dial timer. It was only a matter of determining which run to assign the line/load to, and I guessed correctly. I put in an old work box where the old timer was, and a blank plate. Then I used a two gang plate and a blank insert in with the old thermometer space.

Speaking of a thermostat, shortly after we moved in I replaced the analog thermostat with a programmable one, a seven day unit. It had worked well for a long time, but with the addition of some home automation things (Phillips Hue, Amazon Echo), I wanted a smart thermostat. I had my eye on the Ecobee3 for a bit, and picked one up when it went on sale just before Black Friday. Again with the wiring, I didn’t have enough wiring in the wall (needed a common). However, Ecobee includes in their box a kit to convert five to four at the furnace. An extra hour or so (trip to store for some connectors), and I had it hooked up and running. It’s very nice to be able to see how the weather impacts our heating and cooling, and see just how much and how often the furnace or AC kicks on. It also comes with remote sensors, and you can see the temperatures in other rooms and identify hot or cool spots. After a month I’ll be able to see a detailed report, even more than I’m getting already.

Our house did not have any external outlets until earlier this year. I installed one in the back of the house to run the lesser extension cord for the shop, and on Saturday I installed one on the front to run holiday decorations and what-not. This was the project I completed right before the fan timer. A much needed addition, and I have plans for at least one more in the carport for the vacuum and when I need to bring the compressor down.

I posted a few weeks ago on Instagram a picture of a networking board, a neat setup of my networking equipment on an easy to access board mounted to a wall. I got a new router, so it’s time to redo it. I got the new router up and running Friday night, but by Saturday morning the internet went out and hasn’t come back at the time I am writing this (Saturday night). When this gets posted, the internet will have been fixed.

Next up I think is some more wiring and general improvements. I want to add an outlet at our kitchen computer to mount it below the counter. Probably add a 3.5mm and VGA connections as well. I have a bit of that already on hand from when I thought I was going to do it several years ago. I’ll also start wiring for our bedroom TV wall mount, and future living room wall mount. Perhaps finally run some ethernet cable to the living room instead of using powerline.

That’s pretty much it for this time around. Might have a followup at some point next year when these other things get taken care of.

Short hiatus

This past weekend, and now into the early part of this week, I have focused on getting our house interior in order. I have revamped all of our bedrooms, mainly on different layouts. The child bedrooms are pretty much done except for cleaning up little stuff, the master bedroom is being worked on right now. At the same time, my wife is doing some painting.

I had thought I would be making a bookcase for our games this week and this weekend, however it may be put on a short hold while we get our bearings with the new layouts. I may have earned myself a second bookcase to build by changing the bedroom layout, but so it goes. I may post more about the new bedroom/office layout on this side of the site, but the main page is almost always about the woodworking.

My office area is entirely Ikea. This does not shame me, as I was able to get most of what I wanted for a lot cheaper than it would have been by doing it myself. I will, later this year, be buying their sit/stand desk mechanism and be putting it under my current desk surface. I will see how amenable it is to being installed with a custom surface or full desk. It’s pretty cheap for what you get.

(Internet) Jail Pardon

Data caps. These are one of the most annoying things about the information age – it’s a pure restriction. Very few of the excuses of why data caps exist make sense, least of all the justification that only a limited few are ever impacted by them. I say bull.

Comcast’s data caps haven’t increased substantially in almost a decade. Until a week go. It had been at 250GB, then 300GB for a very long time. Until recently in trial markets, it was a soft cap. Unfortunately, I was a trial market (read: let’s see what we can get away with), so it was a hard cap. As someone who has ditched traditional forms of TV for the most part, I still hadn’t been hitting 300GB a month regularly. Until my kids found all these Let’s Play videos on YouTube. Then, I’d be in danger of going over every month. There were a lot of months that I did, and I’d have to pay extra. I trialed paying even more for unlimited for a couple months, but the cost advantage wasn’t there.

As of June 1, though, Comcast has upped their cap to a much more reasonable 1TB a month. Let’s get serious though, they didn’t do this out of the goodness of their heart. The competition is much more real these days, with AT&T GigaPower, and much more importantly, Google Fiber. I rarely have issues with Comcast’s service, but I think they are a pretty slimy organization. As long as the service stays on point, I don’t see changing at least for now. Partly because we also get local TV included in the price. The speed and reliability are fine.

The data cap relief is relevant because I recently started subscribing to Playstation Vue. I had Sling TV for a bit, but Vue offers a much better variety of channels. I cal get this on my Playstation devices, but I can also get it on the Fire TV Stick that is out in the shop. I’m hoping at E3 we’ll see an announcement it is available on Roku devices as well. Save some wear and tear on the PS3s I primarily use it on.

Current tech

I love gadgets, always have. I thought about doing a tech history, but that’s pretty long-winded. Instead, I just thought I’d share what I’m using now, and what might becoming up shortly.

Phone

For the past 17 months, I have been using a 2014 Moto X. This has been a great device, and it convinced me that I couldn’t go back to carrier-branded models or skinned Android ever again. I also wanted a little bigger phone. So, I picked up a used Nexus 6P in mint condition. I love it. The fingerprint scanner is long overdue, although I miss some of the Motorola software enhancements. The screen is extremely good, but I’ve yet to really test the camera.

Tablet

I’m currently using a Winbook TW801. It is an 8″ tablet running Windows 10. It’s not fantastic, largely thanks to the 1GB of RAM. However, it can log me into my work VPN in a pinch, which has it’s perks. I’d rather have a modern Android or iPad for casual use, but this works for now. I also still have my HP Touchpad running CM9 for occasional use. However, it does suffer from a severe lack of downtime if the battery runs out.

Computers

I’m using an HP ProBook 4540s that I purchased new in 2013. It still runs very well, upgraded to Windows 10. In the next year or two, it will have to be replaced as my main backup to my workstation. My desktop is one I built around 2012, a Core i5 2500K paired up with the usual accouterments. It’s mostly for work, so there’s no great graphics card, just enough to get me by. Dual monitors help me keep focused on the task at hand, and a water cooling system keeps temps down.

Misc

I have a few other diversions around. I picked up a Lumia 640 on Windows 10 as a workout phone, but the app selection is poor. It’s decent enough to mess around with though. I have a Zune HD on my desk so that I can listen to OTA radio

I do want to pick up a new Android tablet soon, and the Pixel C may be an option. My laptop will also be replaced, perhaps by a Surface Pro. I’ll be making gradual upgrades to my desktop, starting with a fresh infusion of memory and a better graphics card. The processor should be fine for quite some time.

Appreciating the finer things

As I get older I see my interests and vices change. Right now I’m pretty big on what I like to call ‘life upgrades.’ I’ve rearranged some storage and cleaned a few minor things up, because living in a clean house is a huge life upgrade. I spent quite awhile the other day learning the dark art of fitted sheet folding, and it was time well spent: our linen closet is as organized as it has ever been. I also just got finished organizing my son’s dresser, even though I know I’ll have to do it again in a few days. In the next day or so another closet will be tackled, and on it will go. One major project on the woodworking side is the master closet.

Life upgrades can also mean making yourself feel good. I’ve done this over the last few weeks by finally getting a couple new pair of shoes, and some new clothes. I never buy clothes, so it was a real treat. If I buy much more though, the closet remodel will have to be moved up.

Something I’ve gotten into recently again is the watch game. I used to wear watches all the time, but hadn’t recently. I decided that it was an accessory that I should devote more interest to and found some inexpensive options. Fossil recently opened an outlet store near me and I’ve spent a lot of time there. My first anniversary was celebrated by my wife buying me a Fossil, and I found myself really liking their recent styles. The ones from even a few years ago look fairly amateur to the new stuff. With 50% off pricing, I found myself buying quite a few. In fact, I have enough now where other options by them seem derivative of what I already have.

I don’t have a lot of room left for additional watches, so I have to be a bit more selective in what I buy. Now I’m looking for brands that would be considered a bit more upmarket, or at least a bit better respected. I have my eye on a couple of Seiko automatics that will just about bring my collection to a close. At that point I will have to start swapping models out, because I can’t wear them all. I even had to get a new watch case to hold them.

I’ll also be upgrading bedroom furniture, storage and lots of other things. I think it’s important to identify areas where you can make small improvements that have a positive impact on your life. A messy home or room will do nothing to improve your outlook after a rough day at work. A clean house can. A place for everything certainly can.