We don’t need no stinking maps!

It’s comforting to have a figurative road map to guide your way in life.

Perhaps it outlines certain things you must do. Maybe a list of things that indicate success and clearly guide the way to the next step. Achievements to be made. By when.

But do you want to grow?

To really grow?

Step outside of your comfort zone. Well-outside of it. Leave nothing behind to which you can cling assuring you of a safe place to return.

It’s entirely possible that you’ll find that you’ve stepped so far beyond your own comfort zone that no map or process in the world can guide you.

And that’s good. Excellent, actually.

You’ll be defining your own processes and maps to let other people find their way to you.

With certainty, this isn’t for everyone.

But for some, it’s necessary. It’s critical to their growth. And when those few grow, it will help society and culture to find their way.


I wouldn’t call myself a woodworker — I’m just a maker. Most of what I make, apart from some software concepts and a few computers, is from wood, yes, so I’m more of a wood-maker.

I do spend some time skimming through the assorted YouTube videos of people’s projects and often find some inspiration for my own projects.

One of the things upon which I depend, like many others, is mechanical fasteners to screw things together.

Drilling pilot-holes is better than simply forcing a screw into wood and risking a split or tear-out or absurd amounts of torque to drive a screw (and break its head off). And countersinking the screw-head is better than leaving it protruding from the surface or crushing a portion of the surface.

So, a pilot-hole and countersink. They often need to be done together.

It seems that often times, makers have separate bits to do each task. Drill one, swap the bit, drill another. Thankfully, the world has embraced keyless chucks — imagine how much of a pain in the ass it would be to simultaneously juggle bits, screws, a chuck key…

So, rather than juggle a pilot drill bit and a countersink bit, save a few bucks (and headaches) and make the small purchase to get a single bit that will both drill and a pilot-hole and countersink in one shot.

These are absolutely awesome.

And with the collar, I can set it to countersink the screw-heads to exactly the same depth every single time. There is a limitation, of course, I can’t use just one tool to do everything with screws. I use two drills: one for the countersink/pilot bit, and another for the actual T-25* bit to drive screws.

Kick your creations up a few notches.

While you’re at it, pick up a few self-centering drill bits as well.

You’re welcome.

* Phillips heads are so last-century.

Well, that’s disappointing…

If you’re in it for the Long-Game, then these drops — in the short-term — may be disappointing. But if you’re committed to a long-game, then play it.

Will it change again?


By the way, if you have stock in only one or two of FB, AAPL, AMZN, NFLX, or GOOG (or FB or MSFT or any other tech) remember the very old adage: don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.


It may seem that I’m picking on Apple* here. I’m not. I’m just using it because it was the alphabetically first in my newsfeed.

Every stock has taken a hit.

And they will for the next few months at least. Disappointing, perhaps. But don’t let it discourage you when you consider, over the longer term, it has consistently shown an increase.

To summarize:

Don’t throw out the baskets you already have, but look at distributing your eggs amongst more than just a few baskets.

*Also, Apple seems to have accelerated their plans for rolling out the Apple Card. Will that change the date it’ll become available? No idea. But they certainly appear to have made efforts to increase its promotion over the past day.

Solar In An RV

If you have a photovoltaic array (solar panels) and do not have a mechanism to store that power, you’re doing it wrong.

I can’t count the number of times that I’ve seen that a home has PV panels with a grid tie-in, but haven’t a means to cache the collected energy in the ultimate eventuality that the grid goes down.

And it will.

“Oh, we have great power here…” It will go out. Everything between the generation point and your breaker panel can be disrupted.

And it will.

It absolutely can go down for several days.

“Oh, but I have a generator!”

Maintenance? Fresh fuel? Do you test it regularly? Hearing protection? There’s far more to consider than just buying the cheapest construction-grade generator on sale at Harbor Depot or Home Freight.

In RV-life, there are a few things that we can do to minimize our dependence upon grid power. During cloudy or inclimate weather or at night when you haven’t grid power available[1], how do you ensure that convenience? How will things run?

To make sure you’re leveraging the installed PV array, add a battery between the Charge Controller and the Inverter. Same goes for residential solar installs!

In an RV, it would look something like this:

[Note: Yes, there are some challenges where the inverter itself is concerned. This is just a general idea.]


Some parts are built-in: the electrical panel, battery charger, the battery(ies), the interconnect to draw power for 12VDC loads.

  • Step 1: Add batteries
  • Step 2: Add an inverter to convert the 12vDC over to 120vAC for household loads
  • Step 3: Add PV panels and a suitable charge controller
  • Step 427: Surge-protector, generator and transfer switch

There are a few things that are mandatory in here and some are built-in. Some are optional. In fact, I think we could easily argue that if you scale the PV panels and their charge controller appropriately for the average loads, then the generator and its transfer switch are entirely unneeded.

If you have one — great! Sell it or give it away. Yes, really.

In a residential install, it’s not much different — I’ll have to see about sketching out an equivalent diagram.

You don’t need to add all of this stuff in one go. With the exception of the PV panels and their solar charge controller, you can insert parts when they come available. And the really handy thing — for RVs anyway — is that many of these components are quick bolt-on or plug-in applications.

[1] And, no, I don’t mean just plug in an insanely noisy, 9KW, construction-grade, rattle-trap generator. Do everyone around you a favor and spend more (yes, really) to acquire an actual quiet generator. Or, even better, just focus on growing the entirely silent, renewable, sustainable, maintenance-free PV solution.