Outdoor Lights Refresh

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 27mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO1600
“Lighting” Cedar Park, 2021

Last year we put up a string of lights on our deck just outside our dinner/breakfast room and it made the space so nice to look at. But recently, the cord broke, and also our fancy remote-controlled power outlet stopped working. Remedying both situations was pretty easy (and cheap).

For the broken cord, all it took was my pair of wire cutters (like these) and electrical tape to reconnect the wires.

Instead of replacing the broken remote-controlled outlet (which lasted a year), I bought an inexpensive lightbulb socket outlet adapter. We have an exterior light that is rarely used because it’s positioned badly for providing light on the deck. However, it’s in the perfect location for plugging in the string lights. So now the light switch next to our dinner table light switch turns on the string lights. What a simple solution that I am ashamed I didn’t think of last year.

Now we can enjoy the deck lighting once again.

Building an Owl Box

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO1000
“In Process” Cedar Park, 2020

A few weeks ago, we saw in an local online forum that screech owls live in our neighborhood and thought that it would be fun to see them. With that goal in mind, I built a screech owl box by following these plans. It’s a fairly easy project, but the end result is a large and heavy owl box. From the photos at the website it doesn’t look so big, but using 1-inch thick wood gives it significant heft, and the longest edge is over two feet long. That may pose a challenge in finding a good place to mount it, which is what I have to decide now. 😊

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/70 sec, ISO3200
“Owl Box” Cedar Park, 2020

I mentioned that the box is easy to make, but there is one thing to keep in mind, at least here in the US. While most lumber at the hardware stores has nice, round measurement numbers on their labels, these may be misleading. For instance, the 1″x12″x10′ piece of wood that is sold in my Home Depot actually measures .75″x11.25″x10′. Why is it like this? Well, there’s the concept of “Actual” and “Nominal” lumber sizes, which you can read about here.

This has the potential to cause significant frustration to unknowing DIYers (like myself) working on their projects, but for this owl box there’s only one piece that is problematic, which is the bottom panel. I cut it at 12″, but it didn’t line up flush with the sides, which were actually 11.25″ wide. It would have been nice if the nominal vs. actual dimensions were mentioned in the instructions. Oh well, live and learn! (the bottom panel was easy to cut down to correct size)

Anyway, I assembled the box, then put on a few coats of water sealant that I had leftover from sealing our deck, and now I just need to find a place to put it in our yard. It’s recommended to place it at least 15 feet from the ground, which is pretty high. We’ll see how it goes. And I hope we have some owls move in soon! 🦉

How to Fix Nintendo Joy-Con Controller Drift

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/5.6, 1/50 sec, ISO6400
“QD Electronic Cleaner” Cedar Park, 2020

I’ve been enjoying Animal Crossing New Horizons for the past month, but our Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller drift problem has been making it frustrating. What is “drift”? Well, it’s when when the control stick is not being touched, but it registers as being pushed slightly in one direction. In Animal Crossing, this means that your villager will start walking slowly even though you aren’t touching the Joy-Con controller analog stick.

I did a little bit of research on how to fix Joy-Con drift and decided to try cleaning the controller stick. One method involves using a Q-Tip and rubbing alcohol to clean the mechanism, however we don’t have either of these items in the house at the moment. (We used our alcohol to make sanitizing spray because of COVID-19) But I remembered that I have a can of CRC QD Electronic Cleaner, which is an alcohol-based electrical contact cleaner. I originally bought it to clean the dials of my electric guitars and get rid of that scratchy static sound that happens when adjusting the volume or tone dials.

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2.5, 1/125 sec, ISO1000
“Cleaning Joy-Con” Cedar Park, 2020

The process I used to clean my Nintendo Joy-Con controller was to use a toothpick to gently pry up the rubber covering underneath the analog control stick, then spray the CRC QD Electric Cleaner into the exposed area. I then moved the control stick in all directions for a minute or so, and could immediately feel it move more freely. After waiting a couple of minutes, I repeated the process just to make sure it got thorough cleaning, then waited about 10 minutes before testing it with the game.

Happily, the Joy-Con controller drift problem was fixed! My Animal Crossing villager would remain in one spot when I didn’t touch the control stick, with no drifting at all. Also, the directional input was more precise and seemed to return to center quicker. This precision makes it so much easier (and less frustrating) to play the game, especially when terra-forming. And now that the right-controller’s stick is no longer drifting, the interior view when inside a house no longer pans by itself. Yay!

The Nintendo Switch Joy-Con controller is not an inexpensive piece of hardware, so before you go out and buy a replacement, give this a try, either with the rubbing alcohol, or the CRC QD Electronic Cleaner. But, I’d recommend picking up a can of the cleaner – it’s inexpensive and very handy!

Team-Building at the DIY Workshop

"Finished Collar" Austin, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO640
“Finished Collar” Austin, 2019

こんにちは。How’s it going?

The team I am part of at work went out for a team-building afternoon at a place called Upstairs Circus. It’s a DIY workshop and bar, where you choose a craft project to work on, then spend a few hours making it, enjoying drinks from the bar, and hanging out with friends and co-workers. It was a lot of fun, and the dog collar project I worked on turned out great!

We’ve done a few team-building outings in the past, but I think this one might have been my favorite. And Lani likes her new collar. 😀🐶

I hope you had a good day!


"Tools and Instructions" Austin, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO250
“Tools and Instructions” Austin, 2019
"Leather Lettering Embossers" Austin, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/140 sec, ISO200
“Leather Lettering Embossers” Austin, 2019
"Nametag" Austin, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO400
“Nametag” Austin, 2019

"Lani's New Leash" Austin, 2019Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/2, 1/55 sec, ISO3200