Keeping raccoons from re-entering beneath the living room

A handyman project to prevent wily bandits from returning

This article describes a handyman project to keep raccoons from chewing their way from a crawlspace into a cavity beneath the first floor living room. This is a public domain article; feel free to copy pictures and text without attribution. Like it? Add weblinks pointing to it. — tom sulcer May 2011

An American’s perspective on New Zealand

Advice for travelers and New Zealanders

An account based on a five week stay in Maraetai Beach — a semi-rural bayside suburb of New Zealand’s largest city of Auckland — in July 2010 (the “winter” season). Advice for travelers. Thoughts about the land and people and politics and culture and economy and geography. Theories about extreme sports. Note: this article & pictures are public domain; feel free to copy them without attribution. Like it? Add weblinks to it.

Behavioral economics — an overview

An emerging hybrid discipline brings new insights into why people buy

This is a cool new discipline combining psychology with economics. It’s relatively new as an academic area of inquiry, but has gained rapid acceptance in the past few decades. There are practical applications for marketers, researchers, and consumers. What I found was that the terminology was a bit difficult, so I focused on trying to make it easy to understand. It is a work-in-progress; as I learn more, I’ll try to improve it, and comments and feedback are welcome. — tom sulcer March 2011

Wheeled Wonders

A handyman project to de-clutter a packed basement by using movable shelf-carts and psychology

A basement was crammed with books, clothes, odds-and-ends. It was hard to walk. Junk was piled everywhere. So the handyman assignment was APPARENTLY to throw out the junk, keep the good stuff, and organize it for easy access. What’s the toughest problem here? It’s the MIND of the homeowners. There’s a contradictory instruction here. Here’s one way to solve this problem with handyman psychology to help homeowners get control over their basement and their lives.

Philosophy of Spinoza: An introduction

An overview of Spinoza's basic concepts for students

This is an introduction to the philosophy of Benedict Spinoza, the 17th century Dutch rationalist. While Spinoza wrote using a rather intimidating geometrical style, using axioms and proofs, this essay introduces basic concepts underlying Spinoza’s philosophy in ways hopefully easy to grasp. Spinoza was a system builder who addressed major questions in metaphysics: what is good? is there a God? Studying Spinoza’s philosophy can make a person happier, wiser, more powerful, more fulfilled, and is an excellent exercise in thinking, in my view. Topics include: substance; cause-and-effect; Nature and God; emotions; selected propositions; freedom; virtue; politics; criticism.

How to install wire closet shelving

A handyman project about how to put wire ClosetMaid (r) shelves in a tight space

A homeowner needed more closet space, bought see-through plastic bins as well as almost all parts necessary for the shelving. A remaining problem: how to install in a tight space? The pre-built shelf brackets, supports and shelves were a bit long, and needed trimming. This article shows this project with hopefully helpful handyman hints. It is public domain. Feel free to copy text and pictures without attribution. Like it? Add weblinks pointing to it. As with all my articles, I strive to make it informative, readable, and may help a homeowner or other handymen fix things and possibly avoid an injury. — tom sulcer May 2011

Swapping out a bathroom sink

A handyman project to replace a broken sink with a new one

In New Jersey, mineral deposits are a perennial nuisance, slowly clogging valves and pipes and leading to drips. There is much work for plumbers, but this can get expensive. Many projects can be handled by do-it-yourself-ers as well as handymen. This picture essay shows one project involving replacement and installation of a new bathroom sink.

Handyman project: mortaring bricks to seal out rain

A project to prevent rainwater from seeping through bricks into the basement

Heavy rains have resulted in several inches of water accumulating in the basement. This is a handyman project using mortar and rocks to lessen seepage. It’s a step-by-step guide, not difficult. This is a public domain document; feel free to copy it without attribution (including pictures which are public domain). Comments? Write below; I’ll try to respond. Like this? Add weblinks. — tom sulcer March 2011

Stair Repair

A handyman project to fix a broken staircase in an old house with pictures and advice

In a house built in 1860, the fifth stair bent forwards at a weird angle. On closer inspection, there were cracks on the support boards on the right side supporting other stairs. This project details a step-by-step (!) handyman project to fix the flaw — to repair the stair — complete with pictures and advice and pointers. Hiring a professional carpenter might cost several thousand dollars so it’s worth it to do it ourselves. I’ll share handyman tips and ideas.

Fifteenth Reunion

A romantic comedy.

This screenplay examines changing gender relations in the weird world of modern dating. I appreciate intelligent comments from my readers. Quickie synopsis: “Notting Hill” meets “There’s Something About Mary”: a look at the dysfunctional topsy-turvy nature of romance in the twenty tens. It has mild sexual content and language issues — please no young readers.