I May Have Miscalculated

But I'm pretty sure I can fix it.

2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE Review Notes

After about 12 years of driving my 2004 Dodge Neon, I finally retired it and got a new car. I wanted something reliable and versatile, with good gas mileage, upgraded specs, and some built-in tech for navigation and music. After comparing a number of makes and models online, and test driving a few in person, I finally settled on a 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback SE. I don’t intend to make a full review, as those are all over the internet already, but I thought I’d publish a few notes of my own firsthand experience as an owner – things that I haven’t seen others mention.

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The Budo Society, Traditional Japanese Martial Arts

The Budo Society at a UCO Japanese cultural festivalOur small martial arts club in Edmond, Oklahoma has had the fortune of being adopted by Paul Frank Sensei, one of the top Tenshin Shoden Katori Shinto-Ryu practitioners in the world.

On his urging, we are trying to organize into a full-blown branch dojo of Sugawara Budo. To this end, I have whipped together a small website with the necessary info for interested parties to be able to find us, discover what we are about, and to be able to meet with us. If anyone in the Edmond or Oklahoma City area is interested in traditional Japanese martial arts, please visit our website and try out a few classes. Most of our activity is on the University of Central Oklahoma campus, so students have a unique opportunity to check us out. Continue reading

Testing the Effect of Output Impedance on Headphones

Shortly after my recent acquisition of a pair of Philips Fidelio X2HR headphones, I did some reading and found that there is a variable in audio sources called source output impedance, which can affect the sound depending on the load (headphones) you put on them. The ideal is 1/8 or less the impedance of the headphones themselves, or else the bass in particular will lose definition. Given that the Philips Fidelio X2HRs are 30 ohms, and my Sound Blaster Z outputs 22, I decided I needed to give this a test. Continue reading

A Tale of Five Headphones

I’ve spent a lot of time looking for an ideal audio setup for my needs. One of the difficulties is that specifications for audio performance are not particularly helpful. If one is unable to physically test a piece of audio equipment before buying, then one is left to the mercy of online reviews. Sound quality is extremely subjective, and the terms used to describe it are anything but concrete. It helps to gather many different perspectives and ways of phrasing the same thing. This article might help a few people out in that regard. Continue reading

Repaired Sony MDR-SA1000 Headphones

I bought a set of used Sony MDR-SA1000 headphones off eBay about a decade ago, and it was my first pair of headphones that were worth more than $30 or so, retail. I fell in love with the sound almost immediately, especially after I paired it with a capacitor and opamp-modded used Dell OEM Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music. Unfortunately, a friend of mine sat on them, and the notoriously weak connection between the headband and cup broke. I tried various glues to repair them, but they would just keep breaking at the joints. I eventually replaced them with the (IMO inferior, but still pretty good for the price) Philips SHP9500. Continue reading

Walter’s Computer Specs

This page is mostly for my own reference, so that I can check specs easier. Cost is indicated at the time of purchase, and includes shipping. Dates indicate time of purchase; parts have been, and will continue to be, reused in other builds. You’ll probably notice that most of these prices are lower than what they were generally available for at the time (often, lower even than current prices); I am a dealhunter, I will patiently wait for sales, I will exploit rebates, often buy refurbished and used parts, and re-use and repair the parts I have.

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FireHOL and FireQOS setup on Ubuntu 16.04

This is the FireHOL/FireQOS installation method and configuration that I use for my home server, here for easy reference in case I need to set it up again, or something similar. Continue reading

Soap Recipe (NaOH)

This is a soap recipe that I use for my body soap. This calls for storebought sodium hydroxide as the lye. The fragrance can be my choice of essential oils. These amounts will make batches of 1lb, 18oz, 30oz, and 36oz pre-cure weight. Individual measurements are in grams, because my scales are more accurate with that unit. This recipe is just here for my convenience, and for others to try it if they like; I may expand this into a more comprehensive soap making guide later on. For now, for instructions on the process to actually make the soap, please consult someone more knowledgeable. Continue reading

Recipe: Lo Mein

Simple Chinese take-out style noodle dish. Continue reading

Recipe: Broccoli Beef

Tasty take-out style dish. Continue reading

Recipe: Basil Pork

This is my own interpretation of hot Thai Basil Chicken, but using pork instead. Easy to make and tasty. Makes enough to go with 3-4 bowls of rice. This is a spicy recipe and should be eaten with rice. Continue reading

Recipe: Pizza

Easy homemade pizza. Continue reading

Recipe: Spaghetti Sauce

One of my favorite meals due to the savory tomato flavor, and the ease with which it can be portioned out into single-serve freezer packs. This recipe will make 7-8 6oz servings (for 3 or 4oz dry spaghetti), depending on the extra ingredients you add, and how much you boil it down. Continue reading

Earl Update: Dec 1, 2016

The Earl team has reworked their website and changed their URL.

Check it out here: http://www.earl.is/ Continue reading

Setting up my Ubuntu 16.04.1 Workstation

As in the previous article, this is basically just a list of steps I took to set up my Ubuntu workstation/testbed so that I can reinstall it more easily if need be. Continue reading

Setting up my Ubuntu 16.04 NAS/Router/HTPC

After having dabbled in Gentoo Linux for years, I finally decided I was tired of dealing with the regularly-occurring broken packages and dependencies, out-of-date software, and distro-breaking structure changes. I am now diving headfirst into Ubuntu Linux 16.04.1, in an effort to set up a household appliance system that “just works”. However, I have found that Ubuntu doesn’t automate nearly as much of the setup as I had hoped, and so this is my log of steps I have followed to get my system working as intended, so that I can re-create them when and where necessary. Continue reading

Door Lock Rod Clip on a 2004 Dodge Neon

P_20160614_123359So, about a week ago, my car door lock stopped working from the outside. I’d insert the key and turn it, but it wouldn’t lock or unlock the car, and instead would turn a complete 180. After tearing apart my door and looking in there, it turns out that the operating rod had fallen off the end of the tumbler cylinder, and the clip that is supposed to hold it there had gone rogue. Continue reading

Walter’s Bookshelf

Finally got my cheapskate butt to pony up the cash for a phone with a camera good enough to read barcodes. I then created a catalog of all the physical books on my bookshelves. Here it is, for anyone interested, but mostly for me to keep track of what I have and who I’ve loaned it to. This was created using the Book Catalogue Android app. I had to manually add some of the older books without ISBNs, so they will have inaccurate information. Continue reading

Pornography, Exploitation of Women, and Misleading Labels


I recently noticed this image come up in my Facebook feed. To me, it is immediately apparent that there is something fundamentally wrong with the premise of this argument. However, in a brief discussion with the person who posted it, it became clear that she couldn’t see the problem, and insisted that pornography is an issue of male exploitation of women.  By the time I typed out a reply, I found that it was long enough to warrant its own article. Continue reading

Harbor Freight / One Stop Gardens 6×8′ Greenhouse Panel Dimensions

osg_6x8_panel_dimsI was recently given ownership of a Harbor Freight / One Stop Gardens 6×8′ Greenhouse. Having done a bit of research, I learned that the clear plastic panels will not stand up to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight for more than a few years. I will have to replace them eventually, most likely by creating my own. In anticipation of this, before assembling the greenhouse, I decided to record the measurements of every panel. I am also publishing them here, in case anyone else needs them. Continue reading

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