How to Build a Small (Tiny! Little!) Fire

Back when I was in Scouts, everyone loved throwing wood on the campfire. There were only benefits to doing that: more flames to stare at, more warmth, and if fuel ever ran short, more chances to use bladed tools on wood. To discourage that, the Scoutmaster used to say “The white man makes a big fire and sits far; the Indian makes a small fire and sits close”. Of course, that adage is useless when the fire pit is already made, 3 feet across and with big rocks — sitting close was a physical impossibility.

I still thought of it every time I made a campfire; I was always bothered by the fact that that I had never actually been given instructions on how to make a small fire that could self-sustain.

In July of 2009, I discovered how. (I got the idea from a Jim Jarmusch film).

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Converting MySQL MyISAM tables to InnoDB

It’s a one-liner:

for t in \
$(mysql -u your_username \
-pyour_password \
--batch --column-names=false \
-e "show tables" your_database) ; \
do \
mysql -u your_username \
-pyour_password \
-e "alter table $t type=InnoDB" your_database; \

Back Online

This site is back online at a professional hosting company after a power supply dying (well, catching on fire) killed my motherboard and the harddrive that contained

This year’s posts have been (mostly) recovered.

Mud Nest

My homeowners’ insurance company made me put up vinyl siding in February (or lose the house). While I was on the ladder, I found 2 of these in an old window frame. I’m not sure what made them.

Angle Grinder Safety Tips

When using an angle grinder that can switch between left-handed and right-handed operation, remember to move the blade guard when you move the handle.

I managed to cut a few things before my thumb, since it was the adjustment of my grip that made me put my thumb down just beside the guard. And even then, I was able to make a few more cuts before applying pressure on the spinning blade using my thumb. It cut me cleanly through the tip of my thumb and my thumbnail.

If you click “more”, you’ll see it. Be warned/excited.
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I went camping in Maine, where I got to see the remnants of the meteor shower (which were still quite spectacular) and Venus.