Five Guys Burgers and Fries #TrySomethingNew

Five Guys Burgers and Fries Store Front

I didn’t even know Five Guys was a restaurant.

I was up in Riverdale getting the weekly supplies when my stomach told me it was lunchtime. I’ve eaten just about every obvious place there, so I pulled out my phone to try to find something new around me. When Five Guys came up I couldn’t place ever seeing it before. That’s because it’s where Green Mill used to be. A casual glance at the outside of the building and you’d never know it was a fast food joint.

I walked and the decor was a modern take on a 50’s style diner, red and white with rounded corners, but with some weird features. There was a stack of potato bags right at the entrance and when you walked up to the counter to order there was a whiteboard telling you what farm today’s potatoes we from. Also there was a box with peanuts, some paper trays, and a scoop, more on that later.

Another thing that struck me right way was the limited menu: burgers, hot dogs, a few sandwiches, and fries. I ordered the Little Bacon Cheeseburger, Little Fries, and Regular Drink. It wasn’t cheap, I ended up spending almost $12.

Once you order they give you your drink cup and a number and you have to wait. I grabbed a cherry sprite from the touch screen soda fountain and sat down to wait. It was taking a few minutes and I remembered the peanuts. I walked over to scoop a few into a tray and sat back down munching, still waiting.

Five Guys Little Hamburger and Fries

Finally my number was called. I thought that this better be some damn good burger and fries for the price and the wait. I opened my paper bag and found skin on fries spilling all over the place and a foil wrapped burger peeking out from underneath. I dipped a couple of fries into the ketchup and tested the fries. They were okay. I saw awards all over the store for their fries, but I really didn’t think they were that special.

I unwrapped the burger and took a bite. I was much more satisfied with the burger. It tasted pretty good, but I really didn’t think it was worth the price or the wait. As I was eating I looked over the menu. I noticed that they also sold cajun fries, something I missed when I was ordering. I probably would have enjoyed those more.

Overall I wasn’t really impressed with Five Guys. While the atmosphere, limited menu, and build to order burgers were different. I really didn’t think it justified the price of my meal. I’ll probably go back to try the cajun fries at some point, but I think I’d rather go back to Popeyes next time.

Goodbye #NewThingEveryDay, Hello #TrySomethingNew

After a few months of doing something new every day, I really don’t want to stop. The forced concept of having to do something new every day and blog about it is too limiting and many times too exhausting. There were many days where I did several new things, but only wrote about one of them. There were also days where it was a major time sink to just do one new thing have to blog about it. So I’ve decided to change the project to just #TrySomethingNew.

I’m taking what I learned with the old project and coming up with a <sarcasm>novel</sarcasm> concept. I do something new and I tweet it with the hashtag #TrySomethingNew. That’s it. If I want to do 15 new things one day and none the next, great. If I want to blog about it, super! If I want to spend two weeks learning how to do something new, I’m not going to feel guilty.

Let’s see what this new project brings.

Why I’m Suspending #NewThingEveryDay

Today I’m suspending my project to do something new every day and blog about it. I managed to do something new 65 days in a row, but what does that really mean?

  • It means that I spent too much time worrying about doing something new. I’d be scrambling at the end of the day sometimes spending an hour or more trying to find something to do to meet an artificial quota.
  • Sometimes I skipped from thing to thing not really diving very deep into things that interested me.
  • I spent way more than 15 minutes writing posts, sure I kept the actual writing down to 15 minutes, but some of the photo processing took at least that long again.
  • The quality of the posts were not that good.
  • Some of the “new” things I did weren’t very high quality.
  • Things don’t fit nicely into categories like “new”. I spent yesterday rebuilding my 3D printer, but I didn’t post about that because it wasn’t “new”, but I was doing something I’ve never done before.
  • I don’t feel that imposing a 15 minute deadline on my writing helped me write any better.
  • I was ignoring other things I needed to do.

It’s not all negative. I did something hard for 65 days in a row, that’s a pretty big accomplishment. And I also had some really good experiences I never would have had if it wasn’t for this project.

Does this mean that I’ll stop trying to do new things? Of course not. I’m still going to seek out new experiences. One of the things this project gave me was an excuse to try something I was hesitant to try. I would try something because that I needed to fill that quota. I’m hoping that as a result of this experiment, I’ll be able to overcome that hesitancy  in some other way.

65) Finally Got GE Link Starter Pack to Work #NewThingEveryDay

GE Link Box

I purchased the GE Link starter pack at Home depot a while ago when it was on sale for $25. The first time I tried using it, I just couldn’t connect to it from my phone. I googled, read all the reviews, used all my networking tricks, and nothing worked. So I put it on a shelf for another day.

Link Hub

Today I decided to give the GE Link stuff another try. I plugged in the Link hub, tried adding it in the Wink app, and I noticed the blue light flashing on the hub. I’d never gotten that far before. Syncing with the hub failed the first time, but I tried it again and it actually worked. They must have fixed the problem I was having with the app.

Old COntroller

The original reason I bought the Link Starter Pack was because my daughter likes sleeping with her light dimmed all the way down in her room. The ceiling fan controller I bought for her room 14 years ago  is really flaky and doesn’t work with anything other than incandescent bulbs, also she never uses her ceiling fan. So I thought we could replace the fan controller with more up to date hardware.

Mia Ceiling fan

I yanked out her old ceiling fan controller and reconnected her ceiling fan directly to the switch leg in the box. Then I replaced the incandescent bulbs with one of the GE Link ones. I paired up her light build with the Link hub on my phone and I was able to control the light on, off, and dim right from my phone. The only issue is that it doesn’t work real time. It takes a few seconds between when you press the button in the app and any happens in reality.

The light still works like a normal light, you can turn it on and off with the switch on the wall. Now you can also control it with the Wink app as long as the light switch is in the on position. So my daughter could control her light, I shared that particular bulb in the Wink app with her. Then I loaded the Wink app on her tablet and created an account for her. The reason I didn’t just use my Wink account is because I don’t want her to have control of other lights we may end up using on the system like ours or her brother’s.

I do need to do some more digging to see if there’s any way I can speed up the lag between changing the state in the app and the action happening in reality, but I’m already thinking of other places where we can use the GE link system (or other Wink compatible devices). I have my eye on the Chamberlain garage door opener.

64) Published a Thing on Thingiverse #NewThingEveryDay

Holder with Chuck Key in place

I’ve already printed my workshop logo using SketchUp and my 3D Printer, but I never published it for other people to make. Today I actually published a project on Thingiverse, a magnetic chuck key holder for my Delta DP350 drill press.

Holder with magnet glued in place

I’ve just been sticking my chuck key to a magnet stuck on the head of the drill press and I thought it would be an easy project to learn about designing things for 3D printing.  Rather than using Sketchup, I used TinkerCAD, an online CAD program designed especially for designing things to be printed on a 3D printer.

Chuck Key Holded in Use

Well three revisions later I finally have a working holder. Most of my problems were that I didn’t leave enough tolerance for the shaft of the chuck key or the magnet in the bottom.

Publishing something on Thingiverse is easy as long as you are a member of the site, you just need the design files (which you can download right off TinkerCAD), some photos of your creation, and a little description. You can add as little of as much detail as you want. Once you hit publish your creation is available to anyone who wants to print it.

63) Went to CC Military Surplus #NewThingEveryDay

CC Miltary Surplus Front

I was going to the Maplewood Rockler today and decided to look if there was anything else interesting nearby. As I was studying the map, I spotted CC Military Surplus. In my experience, military surplus stores can be hit or miss. Sometimes all they have is broken used junk, and other times they carry new products, but they are more expensive than buying it somewhere else.

Truck 2

It’s usually a good sign when there are military vehicles parked outside the store, because if the store fails you at least you can look at some military hardware. When I entered the store I noticed right away it was pretty clean and well lit. I was immediately shepherded by a fence right to the paracord supplies. I walked by some uniforms, hats, and insignia that were in pretty good condition and ended up in the camping supplies. I almost bought a new folding shovel, but I remembered we have to pave our driveway yet, so I’m not supposed to buy frivolous stuff.

The second half of the store was packs and paintball supplies. Most of the packs in this section were new, most of the “surplus” stuff was in the other section. I didn’t look at anything in particular, but the prices actually seemed reasonable for new.

I also found a brand spankin’ new Harbor Freight almost next door to Rockler as I was driving to CC Military Surplus. Now with Rockler, Harbor Freight, Costco, and Sears, I have more reasons to go to Maplewood, although it’s a pain in the ass getting to Maplewood from my house because I have to go on 694 through Shoreview which is always a mess no matter what time of day.

Truck 1

62) Made an 8 Sided God’s Eye #NewThingEveryDay

Front of God's eye

A few days ago an interesting tweet from Make Magazine caught my eye, it was about giant multi-sided God’s Eyes. They were beautiful of course, but being an engineer, I was trying to figure out how the guy who made them does it.

Drilling eight holes in a dowel

The first problem I saw was that with a garden variety God’s Eye, you just have to sticks that cross. While they aren’t in the same plane, they are close enough. When you start making 8 or 12 sided ones, you just can’t overlap sticks, you’ll end up with a warped looking project. My solution was to use a dowel with eight holes equally spaced around the edge for a hub.

Gluing the frame together

Since they were cheap and I had plenty of them, I used skewers for the spokes. I used a V-block to hold the dowel in position while I lined up the bit and the end markings by eye. Once I had all the holes drilled I cut off the end of the dowel. The resulting hub reminded me of a tinker toy. All that was left was to glue the skewers into the hub.

Working two yarns at a time

The resulting frame turned out to be too big for my winding skills, I had about 20 feet of yarn wound onto the frame before I gave up and cut the spokes to 6 inched long. I also realized that it I was going to do multi-colored, inter-weaved patterns I would need to wind more than one string of yarn at a time.

Back of Gods eye

I was going for a white hour glass shape on a red background, but I found that I was getting more of a coffin shape. I knew that I wasn’t going to produce a masterpiece my first time, but I definitely have a better appreciation for Mohler (the giant God’s Eye guy). I also find that it’s usually more interesting to look at the back of the God’s Eye, kind of like it’s cool to look at the back of an embroidered emblem.

61) Made Survival Paracord Bracelets #NewThingEveryDay

Two Paracord Barcelets

I’ve always liked rope and knots. And there must be some boy scout in my blood, because I’m always thinking about being prepared. So me making a survival bracelet out of paracord was eventually going to happen.

Paracord bracelet supplies

I picked up some red and white paracord from Menards today. I also picked up some plastic buckles, which also had instructions for making paracord bracelets. The funny thing is when I went online to find a tutorial on how to make the bracelets, I opened the buckles and noticed the pictures were exactly the same as the Instructable I was looking at. Hmmm…

Partially finished paracord bracelet

I’m not going into the steps of making a paracord bracelet here, there are hundred of tutorials online that do a better job than I ever could. I just have a few tips. First use about they say you need 12″ for every inch of your wrist (minus the buckle size), I would go 16″, I was able to complete a bracelet with the amount they recommended, but if you really want to make a tight bracelet, you’ll run out of cord.

Joining paracord the Manny method

Second is watch this video on how to join paracord. You’ll want to do this if having a single color bracelet bores you. The only problem with the “Manny” method that I see is that you can’t depend on the entire length of cord for survival anymore, the joint doesn’t have the strength of the inner cords to back it up.

60) Tried IFTTT DO Button on My Phone #NewThingEveryDay


I was a big fan of Tasker, so much so that I bought it back when it was around $8, but since I wiped my phone a few months ago, I just haven’t added it back. Part of the reason was that it was just one more thing running in the background slowing down my phone, but a bigger part is that it was a big pain to set it up. That’s why I thought IFTTT’s DO Button might be interesting, it seemed like a very simple way to automate.

Do Button requires an IFTTT account. Once you’re logged in you can start creating or adding recipes and since you’re logged in all your recipes sync with your IFTTT account. Basically a recipe does something when you press the “DO ” button, which you can either access in the app or create a special button widget. So you could have a page of just DO buttons. Most of the “Channels” or things you’re sending to or controlling are online services anyway, so this really isn’t very useful if you don’t have an internet connection.

The only recipe I found useful was one which emailed you your location when you pressed a DO button, but I’ve only played with the program for an hour or so. It seems to be suffering from the same hype that IFTTT does: all the tech pundits rave about how much time and effort it saves them, but when I look at the recipes they recommend they just don’t apply to me. Half the channels involve services or devices I don’t have and the other half are post this or that automatically to Facebook or Twitter…like either of these services need anymore robotic spam.

59) Replaced a Sputtering Circuit Breaker #NewThingEveryDay

Sputtering Breaker

I was downstairs in the laundry room working on my 3D printer. The washer and dryer were going, but I could still hear a noise that bothered me. I’d catch it every now and again — a crackling or sputtering.

Finally I decided to investigate. It seemed to happen when the washer was running, but would stop when the washer was between cycles. I moved over to the service panel and heard a distinct crackling sound. I just knew it was a bad breaker.

*At this point I want to emphasize that if you don’t know what you are doing you should turn off the breaker and call an electrician.

Thinking hopefully that maybe the breaker was just partially flipped, I turned the breaker off and listened again. The crackling definitely went away. After flipping the breaker on and off a few times, it still went on crackling. My next thought was that something got behind the breaker (I found several dead insects in the panel) or that the breaker was loose, so pulled the panel cover and removed the breaker to inspect it. Holding the breaker in my hands, I could feel it was very warm. That’s not a good sign.

I snapped the breaker back in place anyway and the crackling came back. At that point, I decided that what I was doing was less important than fixing this problem. So I dropped everything and went to Menards.

My breaker panel is an ITE, a company which doesn’t exist anymore. Browsing a couple of electrician’s forums, I found out that Siemens bought them, and the a Siemen’s breaker wound probably fit. So I found a 20A Siemens breaker that matched pretty closely to my old ITE breaker and purchased it.

When I got home I tried snapping it into the panel and it wouldn’t go. My heart sank. I pulled it out, looked at it, and wondered why it wouldn’t go in. So I tried snapping it into the panel again, but this time I gave it a rap with the but of my screwdriver and it snapped correctly into place. I snapped it back out, reconnected the hot wire, and snapped it back in. No more crackling!

I think I was pretty lucky to be right by the panel when the washer was going. I fear to think of what could have happened if I didn’t catch the problem before it got worse.