“Men have become the tools of their tools.” – Henry David Thoreau (Part One of Two)

[I like this quote because it is a warning against over-reliance on technology, but also a reminder that one’s tools are an extension of one’s body and should be treated thusly.  Meaning, to me, that you should invest in quality tools that will do the job the right way, and that more tools in your toolbox mean more jobs done well.  Think about it.]

If you read my post from about a week ago, you’ll know that the Family Glass and I have done quite a bit of travelling over the past couple of months.  We travelled something like 3600 miles over the past seven weeks or so, going as far north as Chicago, IL and as far South as South Padre Island, TX which some back and forth on I-35 and I-64 amongst others in there as well (Thanks again, Ike).

We had a great time.  We got to see a lot of America and spend a lot of time with our families.

That being said, it’s hard to be on the road.  When you’re away from headquarters, you don’t always have everything you need and it sucks to have to find and/or acquire new stuff and no one wants to spend money to buy something they already have.  And when you’re pulling up stakes and moving camp, it’s hard to have everything you need handy when you also need everything in boxes.

It was nice to have my Gerber multi-tool with me, and it has therefore become a part of my everyday carry (#EDC).

I actually, by a stroke of luck, found this while I was working at a used car dealership about 3 or 4 years ago.  The dealership would buy cars as trade-ins or at auction or have them shipped from other locations depending on supply and demand.  I found my Gerber in one of these cars that had come from somewhere else and had originally come from a third or even fourth location.  I mention this because I would have, under more reasonable circumstances, from a professional and personal standpoint, attempted to return it to its original owner.  Also, I technically shouldn’t have taken it from work, but if I hadn’t it would’ve gotten throw away and to have such a finely-crafted instrument cast out like common rubbish would have been a tragedy.  I accept the wrong that I’ve done, and I’ve made peace with it.

Moving on.

The multi-tool is mine now and it’s awesome.  As far as I can tell, it’s like twenty years old, but it still works like a charm.  I had it put away for the longest time but it has been super handy lately.  As you can see, it has: a saw, flathead screwdriver, phillips screwdriver, two-sided file (coarse and fine grit), knife, lanyard loop, large flathead, and bottle/can opener.  It also has blunt-nose pliers, wire cutters, 3 inch ruler, and 7 cm ruler.  Overall, a pretty impressive tool which, I discovered today, was the predecessor to the current Gerber 600 series.  In the past 2 months or so, I have used: the pliers to get stubborn nails out of the wall, the knife to open various boxes, the saw to tackle new growth branches that needed trimming, both sides of the file to fashion guitar picks out of a plastic spoon, both screwdrivers for various screws, and the bottle opener for opening beers, naturally.

I realize that this all sounds a little boastful, but the first, most obvious purpose here to recommend Gerber to anyone who is looking to buy a reliable multi-tool or knife.

[I also carry my Gerber Bear Grylls knife in my EDC, which is also the only knife that I’ve bought twice.]

The other purpose here, is a little more metaphorical.  So metaphorical, in fact, that I believe I’ll save it for my next post.  So, I’ll leave you here, with my recommendation and my blessing.

Functionally,

David Glass

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“There is no subsitute for hard work.” – Thomas Edison

Or: Why you should buy an American car and learn how to fix it yourself.

I drive a 1997 Chevy Blazer.  It is made out of American steel and wears a bowtie for every occasion.  When I got the Blue Blazer (as Baby Glass calls it) a few years ago, it only had 37000 miles on it.  The previous (original) owners had bought it, driven it to Canada, and used it there during their vacations.  It is still in amazing condition for how old it is and I really enjoy having it.

That being said, the Blazer drives me crazy sometimes.  Since I bought it, I have replaced the brake booster [which I didn’t even know existed until it went out], ABS pump, water pump, AC compressor, belts, and pulleys.  I have also fixed a couple of wiring issues.  And, of course, I change the oil and oil filter.

I say “of course” because not only is it probably the easiest thing that I’ve done on that car, but it is much easier to do than you might imagine.  So easy and cost-effective, in fact, that I would encourage you to try and do it yourself.

Here’s what you need:

Oil – Make sure you get the right viscosity and make sure you get high mileage oil if your car is around 100K miles or more.  It should be noted on either your oil cap or in the owner’s manual.

Filter – There are handy books right by the filters at the auto parts store where you can look up your car by the make/model/year and see which one you need.

Receptacle for old oil – I have a plastic storage container that collects the oil until I can put it into an empty jug which I can then take back to the auto parts store for recycling.  Or, if you want to commit, you can buy an receptacle like this one that is designed for oil changes and has both a spot to put your old filter to drain and a place for the oil pain plug.  Make sure it has at least about a 6-quart capacity and is maybe about 18 inches long.


Funnel – not 100% necessary but definitely helpful in both pouring the new oil into the engine and pouring the old oil into the empty oil jug, if that’s the way you’re going to do it.

 Wrench/socket wrench – This is necessary to remove the plug and drain the oil.  A quick Google will most likely tell you what size you’ll need, but you can always do trial and error.  I would go with the metric set.  Somewhere around the 15mm mark.

Screwdriver – There is a little door that I have to open to get to my oil filter.  Locate your filter beforehand to determine what you’ll need to access it.  Also, I’ve needed to puncture the old oil filter with a screwdriver before so that I could get it out without buying an..

Oil Filter wrench – Sometimes you need a little extra oomph to get the filter out, especially if you’re overdue.  These wrenches can cost anywhere from $5 upwards and are pretty handy if you get in a bind.

A rag – chances are, you’re going to drop your plug into your oil receptacle.  Or get some on your hand.  No matter what, it’s good to have one available.  Make sure it’s something you’re willing to get rid of.3 10631

How to change your oil:

If you can, let your car cool down for a few hours or change your oil first thing in the morning before you go anywhere.  Oil gets hot, and hot oil is not something you want splashing around on you while you’re underneath your car.

If you have a low-riding vehicle, you’re going to want to jack your car up on one side to make it easier to get to everything.  I don’t need to jack up the Blazer, but it’s helps.  Make sure to block off your wheels if you’re on an incline to make sure your car doesn’t rock off of the jack.  Then remove your oil cap (under the hood).


Next, you’re going to want to locate your drain plug.  It’s usually located towards the center of the undercarriage at the back of the engine block.  It looks like a bolt (because it is one) and shouldn’t be too hard to find.  Place your receptacle under the plug, placing is so that there is some space for the oil to shoot out.


Loosen the drain plug slowly.  Oil should start to flow after the few full turn or two.  Continue to loosen the plug until it is full removed, adjusting your receptacle as necessary to catch all of the oil.

At this point, you can take a break and allow the oil to drain as much as you’d like.  This is one of the benefits of changing your own oil because a mechanic won’t wait as long as you can.

When you feel comfortable with how much oil has drained, replace the drain plug and tighten it all the way.  Carefully grab your receptacle and move it to the front of your vehicle.  Place it under your filter’s location and loosen the filter.  There will be oil coming out of the nozzle that the filter attaches to, as well as from the filter itself.



Allow both to drain.

Before you attached your new filter, take some of your oil (a dipped finger works well) and lubricate the rubber gasket on the filter.  Install the filter per the manufacturer’s instructions and close the access compartment if applicable.  Now you’re ready to add your new oil.

Put your funnel in the oil fill tube and pour the oil in.  Then replace the oil cap, lower your car and unblock your wheels.

You should be good to go!

I shared this with you because I think it’s important to be able to fix things yourself because it saves you money and encourages pride of ownership and reduces waste.  It’s also good to support American manufacturers and thereby the American economy. That allows us as individuals and the nation as a whole to be more self-sufficient.
Good luck and safe travels,

Glass

“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive.” – Lee Iacocca

I’ve hit the point between where summer break (one of the best parts about being a teacher) meets “oh crap, I need to find another job.”

We’ve done all of our scheduled traveling. We’ve moved back to Central Texas. Now it’s Crunch Time.

Speaking of working and traveling and my in-laws:

My father-in-law, Louis is a pretty interesting man. At a month shy of 75 years old, he is still, by choice, working 10-hour days in another state. It’s pretty impressive and just one of the many interesting things about him.

Not long ago, Louis lent me Lee Iacocca’s autobiography to read. As these things tend to go sometimes, I have only gotten through the first few pages, however I am really intrigued by both the recommendation itself and by the opportunity to get out of my literary comfort zone so when the books are un-boxed, I intend to re-tackle it.

For now, however, I have several other positive somethings that I am plowing my (very little) anger and energy into and I’d like to share them with you now.

As you may or may not already know, I am also on Instagram (@thatmanglass). Instagram gives me the opportunity to put my visual aids in one place and share them with like-minded individuals.

[One of my crowning moments was when Chippewa boots commented on the picture below and asked to use it in their social media.]

@chippewaboots . Outside with my gals, oiling up my #chippewaboots

A post shared by David Glass (@thatmanglass) on

Also, I’ve got some YouTube videos that I’m calling Carport Covers where I do some acoustic versions of songs in the carport of our apartment in Fort Worth.  You can click here to go to my channel and subscribe or search “David Glass and the Half-Empties.”

I have some other projects that I’m trying to get going as well. I like to make and build things so I have an Etsy (with nothing on it as of yet). Everything else is kind of vaporous right now so I’ll wait to share.

I encourage you to stay busy as well. I don’t want to overdo it at work or neglect your mental or physical health. I want you to occupy your time with and focus your energy into positive things. It feels good to get things done and to own the work that you do.

Godspeed.
Busily,

D. Glass

Five-Minute Betterment: “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives” – John F. Kennedy

I, like many people I know, have a list of favorite presidents. I think G. Wash (George Washington, of course) and Abe Lincoln were cool and did wonders for our country so they’re givens. JFK is on my list because he handled some real heavy stuff like a champ despite his age and the public’s reaction to him being a Catholic. 

I’ll tell you who has climbed to perhaps the top of my list recently is Dwight David Eisenhower. If you ever get a chance, I would strongly suggest that you take some time to read his Wikipedia page, but for now I’ll just give you the one of the many reasons why I like Ike so much.

The Interstate Highway System!

Ask yourself: When was the last time I utilized one of the major highways on the map below?

  
Because I use them all the time. In fact, the Family Glass et al just traveled down I-37 to hit the beach for some fun in the sun. 

There ain't no doubt I love this land #GodBlesstheUSA #America

A post shared by David Glass (@thatmanglass) on

And before that? Well, a couple of days ago we moved camp down I-35 a ways.

And before that? Well, we took the I-30 across to Arkansas and the I-55 up to Illinois for a jaunt with Holland’s parents. 

All the while, in my most curmudgeon-y way I kept (keep) ranting about how amazing DDE is and how outstanding of an idea it was for him to establish a system of highways that drastically improved automobile travel in our nation. 

[It all started with a mission that Ike was assigned as a much younger man that involved assessing road travel conditions from the east to west coasts. His team averaged something like 5 mph over the entirety of the trip and the experience stuck. Moving on..]

My point was that young people these days (curmudgeon) don’t have any appreciation (curmudgeon) and take everything for granted (curmudgeon). 

People in general (myself included) don’t say thank you enough. 

So, today’s #FMB is take JFK’s advice and make some time to say thank you to the people who have made a difference in your life. 

[Thank you President Eisenhower, for the Interstate System. It has made the country infinitely better.]

Here’s my real one:

Thank you, Holland, for being in my life. Thank you so much for your love and support and for believing in me more than I ever could have imagined. Thank you for carrying and birthing our daughter and for keeping her alive and well all this time. I know my role in that pales in comparison. Thank you for your smiles and your tears and everything in between. You are my whole world and I love you more than life itself. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Now it’s your turn, Dear Reader. 

Take five minutes and thank someone for the difference that they’ve made in your life. And thank you, as always, for reading. 

Eternally,

Gratefully,

Glass