How I Saved Over $100 on Car Repairs

My truck has been busted up forever. About four years ago one of the tires blew out and took a mudflap with it. Three years ago someone inserted a screwdriver into the driver’s side keyhole and busted it as well as co-workers at a crappy retail job breaking the handle to my tailgate. The truck was still drivable, after replacing the tire with the spare, but I’d just been ignoring all the others problems… Entering the car through the passenger side, lifting objects into the bed, etc.

I wasn’t dealing with the car because it was still operable and fixing everything was going to cost money. I was quoted $125-to 150 to replace the lock on the driver’s side, $100 for a new tailgate from a junkyard more if I wanted someone to replace it for me and/or paint the junkyard find. $80 or so for a new tire (yes, the blown out tire has been in the wheel well for four years; I am a terrible person.) D and I have talked about selling the truck recently, in order to pay down some of my debt, and I couldn’t sell it in its current condition so something had to be done.

While I was despairing over the cost of repairs D took action. She called up a number of junkyards and located a tumbler for the car door ($25). With the help of the internet I was able to breakdown the side paneling on the door and install the new tumbler myself. Money saved? $100-125. I also broke down the tailgate as well, and was able to remove the handle. $5 got me some epoxy and that was used to reseal the plastic handle. Sadly, it didn’t work… I was able to use the item codes on the handle though to locate a replacement on the internet that cost (with shipping) only $17. Savings? $75.

Next weekend I’ll be vacuuming the interior and washing the exterior and next month I’ll be using my discretionary funds to pick up some new tires. So, by the end of May the truck is going to be looking great and ready to be sold. Except I’ll have put all this time and effort into the thing and not want to =P

The Build a Civilization Kit

Global Village Construction Set in 2 Minutes from Open Source Ecology

As regular readers of DiMortuiSunt (now False(B)logic) -Ed) probably already know I’m a big fan of DIY. I grew up living an average suburban lifestyle: separated from the people, processes, land, and animals that make my life possible. As I’ve grown up I’ve recognized this glaring absence in my life. D and I have been trying, slowly, to become more involved. We belong to a Co-op; we garden and compost; we are learning to make our own food products; we are pickling and canning. I grew up being a consumer and I want to make sure as an adult I am a maker.

I’m not the only person who feels this way. There is an entire movement among my generation of people who are trying to get back to a more sustainable and authentic lifestyle (by authentic I mean one in which the person is making something, working with their hands, and creating tangible items). Some people are taking it farther than others. Everything they are doing, is amazing. Some of them I’m sure will change the world, like the man in the video above.

The idea of a DIY Civilization kit seems ridiculous on its face. The task of knowing how to and being able to create all the things necessary for the comforts of a modern lifestyle are just too complicated for a single person or small group of people to know. Despite that though the Open Source Ecology Project is an attempt to put all the plans, instructions, know-how, etc onto a single DVD that will allow the owner the ability to build and operate advanced technologies to jumpstart an economy and even a civilization.

Boy Scouts of America: Over 100 Years Later

My First Edition Copy of the Handbook for Boys

I bought this original Boy Scout Handbook, and another, two years ago. The one in better condition I gave to my father as a Christmas present and a reminder of all the great times we shared in the Scouting program. I’ve been flipping through mine recently and noticing some things.

Boy Scouts have been around for a long time. Here, in the United States they were incorporated on February 8, 1910.  The oldest Scouting organization, in the United Kingdom, was founded in 1907. I ‘m somewhat surprised how much of Scouting has been retained over the past 1oo hundred years. The Boy Scout oath, law, and motto have not changed since that time but many other things have, from rank requirements to merit badges. I thought I’d share a some of the ones I found just flipping through the book.  (I wish I had my old Boy Scout Handbook from when I was in the program, as well as a current edition just to compare, I’m doing this from memory… If you want a good, cheap resource for outdoor and first aid skills a Boy Scout Handbook isn’t a bad choice, by the way.)

Some of the Merit Badges one could earn then but no longer:


The Cement Working merit badge

Cement Work, handicraft, beekeeping, blacksmithing, foundry practice, invention, pathfinding, signalling, and taxidermy.


A few requirements that didn’t make it into this millennium, They probably didn’t make it through the ’70s: make a round trip alone (or with a fellow scout) to a point at least seven miles away going on foot, or rowing boat. Or, construct a raft which will carry two people and their duffle safely, and demonstrate his ability to make practical use of it.


Fixing My Playstation 2

12 years and going strong!

I don’t recall when I picked up my PS2. If I recall correctly, and as time goes on that becomes harder and harder, I picked it up in 2002 which makes my console nine years old. Through those nine years it has faithfully played every CD, DVD, and PS2 game I’ve put into it. Well, that was the case until last month or so… Then it started giving me intermittent “disc read errors” that slowly, but surely devolved into complete inoperability.

I have a slim PS2 that has been sitting in a box for years. But, I was not ready to give up on my old one, especially since one of my goals this year was not reduce the amount of waste I generate. It is not easy to recycle advanced electronics and companies are not (yet) taking them back to recycle.

I poked around on the internet and found a guide at that guided me through the process and all it cost me was an #00 phillips screwdriver.

The bottom of the PS2 with the screw caps removed.
The opened case, the optical drive is on the right.
Optical drive with its cover removed. All it took was a little rubbing alcohol.

The whole operation only took 30 minutes or so… and I’ve been running the PS2 through its paces and it is working fine. I hope to get another nine years out of the console before I need to take a look at it again!