I thought I'd put together a glossary of terms that may be found around this site. They're not all uniquely mine, but they are also not regularly found in the everyday speech of polite society. I like to uniquely use them to season my writing or simply refer to them. This encyclopedia of knowledge will remain a living, growing piece of reference material for my dear readers, receiving regular updates. You are welcome to use this tome of reference for your scientific applications, providing I receive a sizable portion of your Nobel Prize winnings. Please proceed and enjoy:




A nickname I picked up in Texas, and gladly left behind when I departed the state for good. I truly wish it had something to do with my prowess at baseball. Heck, I even wish it had something to do with my use of sports performance enhancing drugs. Regrettably, it had to do with my brief time on the job site as a commercial electrician, a vertical, uncapped section of 5/8" re-bar, my  derrière, and a nice long stay in the local hospital. I survived, my jeans did not. It's a tale for another time, when I know you a little better.


 Big Ass Nail Gun. A framing nailer is sooooo much fun. It just gets the job the heck done. It will also neatly place a big-ass nail smooth through your hand, if you're not careful. Keep hand number two a distance at least twice as far as the length of fastener you have loaded.





Big Ass Miter Saw. Pretty self-explanatory. The DeWalt 12" Double-Bevel, Sliding Miter Saw dominates the back wall of the garage.

We're buddies. He projects a shadow line exactly where the blade is going to cut. We just laugh and laugh.

I even built him his own home, the economical, but beefy miter saw stand. Readers keep writing me on that project as they build their own version. It's a quick and easy project that makes the miter saw way more comfortable to use.


Check it out here: 


I know, it's Yoda's swamp planet. It's also what happens the second I take my eye off the swimming pool. Ref: You Will Go to The Dagobah System




DIY Predecessor (s)

The mysterious person or people that did some of the "remodeling work" or "improvements" to this house. I have no idea who they were. I suspect they pre-dated the former owners. I believe they worked under the influence of huge quantities of home brewed alcohol combined with tiny quantities of common sense and skills. I've found archaeological evidence of their work in nearly every discipline, framing, finishing, electrical, roofing, flooring, plumbing, you name it, they did it to their own house,...on purpose!!!     Ref: Undesired Inheritance from our DIY



Seriously, what the heck?

Holy Trinity (of DIY)

The big three. If MacGyver had a toolbox, he'd have just these three things, (plus maybe an eggplant): Duct Tape, WD 40, and J-B Weld




"Kicking Old House Ass"

It's what they guys at This Old House do. Tom Silva (Contractor), Norm Abram (Carpenter), Rich Trethewey (Plumber), Roger Cook (Landscaping), and Kevin O'Connor (Host and perpetually young redhead) are having fun and fixing up old houses. This show is like crack to me. Never mind, that they generally only renovate for millionaires anymore, and seem to have lost the old-school sweat equity requirement, it's still a blast to watch (sometimes literally - did you see the one with the dynamite?!!!) They genuinely seem to like each other too. Kevin will even reply to you on Twitter from time to time.



MacGyver'd / Mac Gyvering / MacGyver

All verbs for ingeniously solving an unsolvable problem with unconventional methods and materials, from the 90's TV show starring Richard Dean Anderson, coincidentally titled MacGyver. It's not my own term, but I use it enough. I'm holding the Saturday Night Live variant "MacGruber" for the first post when I have to report that I've blown something up. It's only a matter of time.




This term does not refer to criminal-genius masterminds with literally over-sized brains. This tender term of endearment is actually one I learned from my Father's quiver of verbal arrows to describe people who exhibit traits of exceptionally stupid decision making. You know,... idiots, morons, and  the extremely logically challenged. Thanks Dad.


Mjölnir in action.

Mjölnir is actually a weathered, full-size sledge hammer with its handle sawn off for one-handed use. It was given to me years ago in my brief tenure as a construction worker, by Joseph, a foul-tempered Lebanese construction electrician, with muscled, fur-covered forearms the size of gallon paint cans. He was an intense, scary dude, physically incapable of rendering a single sentence without at least four curse words. In fact, sometimes his sentences were artistically woven entirely from curse words. For some reason, he liked me and let me keep this bastardized sledge. I think he wanted to craft a larger one for his own use. I don't know why; he could slam an eight foot grounding rod all the way into the ground as fast as you or I could push a thumbtack into a bulletin board. 




They're not nasty, in fact they are quite polite. It's just that you never want to get a letter from the Homeowner's Association (HOA) telling you to do something on your own house. Overall, I like the concept, it protects the value, but being told to do something to the house,... that's should be reserved for other people. Shouldn't they understand the Doctrine of Inside Out is being implemented?  Ref: 1.) A Challenge from the HOA - Tear down the Front Porch!!!  2.) We Noted a Dead Tree(s) on Your Property



Ohh, you "noted" it did you?

Norm Abram or "Norm"

A member of the This Old House crew and the host of the now cancelled New Yankee Workshop. He gets his own mention because he's basically the highest deity in woodworking circles, the eye safety and protection community, and connoisseurs of flannel and / or beards. He doesn't put on airs about the sanctity of old-world woodworking methods, if you can add a laser beam or other high-tech wizardry to a power tool, Norm's probably tried it out first. Never retire Norm, please.



image: This Old


This is my big multi-tool. Like a Transformer, it's more than meets the eye. The base unit converts between a table saw, drill-press, disc sander, horizontal boring machine and lathe. It also has a power take-off that can run accessory tools, like my joiner. Love 'em or hate them, they give a whole lot of shop tools in the footprint the size of a 10 speed bike. There's a thriving online community out there, especially on the company's forums. They still make Mark V's and the improved Mark VII's (drool). You can certainly get them on Craig's list, where I picked up my circa 1991 Mark V. I also have a Shopsmith dust collection system. (PS -  Norm had one back in the old days)



Strategic Doctrine of Inside Out

We've enacted the Strategic Doctrine of "Inside Out". We've focused our remodeling energies on the inside of the house, where we spend our lives, before turning to the exterior. We just minimally maintain the exterior, but don't hit it hard with renovations because we may want to re-do it later, like stucco the whole house. Plus, all that visible stuff needs HOA approval anyway.

Sucking in the second degree

This is when a particular task certifiably "sucks", such as working in a cramped base cabinet, your body is contorted around a toilet, with a sharp cabinet corner digging into your kidney, and a second degree of "suck-age" is applied. Qualifying second-degree multipliers include:

  1. Loud power tools blasting sawdust in your face.
  2. Scalding-hot or putrid-stinking water dripping on you.
  3. Creatures of the arachnid, insect, or reptilian families assaulting you in the dark with their inherent creepiness. 
  4. Other forms of uncomfortable horribleness.

Ref: Cleaning and drying out after a plumbing leak isn't as fun as it sounds


Sucking, to the Second Degree


Sweetie is my lovely wife. She wants to remain unnamed, behind the scenes of this blog-venture, but she is certainly part of the team. She's often the idea person, the one that keeps me on track, and controls the project finances. She'll grab a paint roller or a drywall sander and work alongside me or she'll sacrifice and run interference when I'm in a position where I really don't need a pint-sized helper underfoot. She's my best friend and the best thing that ever happened to me.


With a capital "S". Sweetness is my trusty sidearm, a Klein 808-20 Heavy-Duty Straight-Claw Hammer.  It's just one of those tools that fits so many roles. It's comfortable, well balanced and rugged. It seems an injustice to just call it a "hammer".




Zapped (alt. Wacked, Poked, Shocked, Hit, Lit-Up)

The result of a tangle with live electricity. Lots of DIY'ers get a taste of it. All Electricians have at one point or another. I got a taste of 277 volts across my chest years ago, and it took me a second to realize the guy screaming in the room was me. It isn't fun. It hurts. It can injure. It can kill. Don't mess around. Read the AZ DIY Guy Scary Electical Warning. Note how I didn't use the term "Electrocute"? That's because that particular term is for an achievement reserved to be added to your list of experiences posthumously.