DIY Skin Salve

A while ago, Brian Green of Brian's Bees posted about some skin balm that he created using wax from his beehives. I've tried some commercially available salve and figured a replica of Brian's salve could be tried.

My partner and I have had a couple goes at it now, pretty simple. Melt down roughly 1:1 beeswax:food grade coconut oil by weight in a container, add some olive oil to make it easier to apply to skin plus any essential oils for aroma. Mix thoroughly and decant into little tubs and let them cool down and solidify.


Any cuts, dry patches, blisters, cracking or flaking gets a dollop of the salve rubbed in and it seems to make a difference in healing time.

I've been having some issues with skin irritation on the back of my knees for a couple months. Initially, I thought it was some sort of fungal infection and I have been slapping on some anti-fungal creams of various brands, none of which had any effect. On a whim, I had a look at other possible options and figured the next best fit was likely to be dermatitis.

I started using some of the hand salve on the offending skin and I have seen a massive improvement in condition. Much more pleasing is the lack of itching at night which is aggravating when trying to sleep.



I have been swithering on getting my Foundation license for a few years now.

The one time I went to an amateur radio club meeting, the main business was that the name was not representative of the location the club was meeting at. Which you can imagine, was not that exciting.

However, I came across Julian OH8STN's videos which centre around amateur radio as a means for disaster resiliency and that has piqued my interest again. As a result, I picked up a Yaesu FT-817ND from eBay which seems like a solid bit of kit and I have been told it is a decent radio, especially for beginners to the hobby. I haven't used it much, mainly to confirm that it turns on, transmits and receives so more experimentation will need to happen.

In the meantime, it needs charged.



The bikes I have had in my life have always had flat bars. Until now.

I decided to swap my Jones H-Bar to drops in an effort to improve fitness and aero, maybe shave a few seconds off my commute time. The overall width of the bike has dropped quite significantly which will improve manoeuvrability and make getting it down the hall at 04:30 much less of a hassle.


The Dissect Podcast is not afraid to cut away to the heart of the matter.

The podcast is a long form discussion (with a significant number of rabbit holes along the way), primarily focused on fitness and nutrition. The hosts are not afraid to tell it how they see it (with a hefty amount of not politically correct crude humour and cynicism) from their point of view of being highly advanced athletes in a number of disciplines.

If you have several hours free and want some knowledge bombs about being fit and healthy, give it a shot.


Today is world backup day.

A Pelican 1200 case holds my redundant backup drives.

8TB of storage goodness, media mirrored and system backups managed by the OS.

Another 3TB drive in the background as my daily backup and media storage drive.

A convenient format to lug if I need to hightail out for whatever reason.


Kanteen Maintenance

I've been a firm proponent of Klean Kanteen bottles for nigh on a decade now. The two I have have suffered a bit of abuse, scuffs and dings, which only marginally reduce the capacity. I think I could drop one off a building and it would survive.

The stainless bottle and the plastic cap are easy to clean. Sadly, over the years, the rubber o-rings that seal the bottles up and stops errant drips have degraded somewhat. I am not sure what the black stuff is, I can't clean it off and it looks pretty unsightly. Also, there are some tears in the rings which compromise them.

Thankfully, a replacement aftermarket set is available on Amazon and it is a quick job to whip off the old ones and replace them.

Ready for another 10 years of service.


Backpack Pannier

Cycling to work is undeniably a good thing. Sweat on the other hand, is not. My commute is 7.5 miles, a lot of which is uphill. Riding a bike with a backpack full of stuff makes me sweat quite badly and my work doesn't have any sort of showering facilities. Couple that with being required to wear a shirt and tie and you have a recipe for disaster.

My bike has a pannier rack on it so the natural idea is to put a pannier bag or two on. This however would mean transferring stuff between the pannier bag(s) and my EDC backpack irritatingly often and means having extra kit about the place.

The solution then is to put the backpack itself on the bike. A few options were brainstormed. Ratchet straps were tried but ended up being more hassle than they are worth. Using a Greyman Tactical RIP-M panel was attempted but unsatisfactory. What is needed is a way of hooking the backpack straps to the rack.

Way back in the day, I got a Kifaru Paratarp with the peg and pole kit. The kit has basically been retired, got better pegs and hiking poles for that purpose but I kept the poles around for future use. I attached one of the pole segments (basically a bit of aluminium pipe) to the rack with a couple of hose clamps and used a couple pieces of kydex from a previous project to space it out. Hook the straps over the pipe and tighten them down and the bag is securely attached to the bike. Doesn't move an inch.

The major downside to this approach is at low speeds (namely moving off and manoeuvring on foot) the bike is biased to one side which is interesting getting it down the hall at 04:30. At regular cruising speed I don't notice a thing.


Naomi Wu posted on Twitter a guide on forcible entry by the New York Fire Department.

The guide primarily focuses on how to get rapid entry to a premises on fire using various implements, as well as an overview of different doors and locking mechanisms. Obviously it is meant for legal rapid entry to save lives but also unintentionally gives ideas when looking for a new home or how to secure your current front door from people trying to gain unlawful entry.

It also reminds me that I want a Halligan bar, more useful in a post apoc situation than a crowbar.