Liebster Award nomination

Two weeks ago, my friend John over at AZ DIY Guy nominated me for a Liebster Award.  The award is given by bloggers to bloggers to promote blogs to new audiences and to expose audiences to new blogs.   Here are the rules:

  • Write 11 Facts about Yourself
  • Link back to the person who tagged you
  • Come up with 10 questions to ask your nominees
  • Tag 11 other bloggers with under 200 followers
  • Let the person who tagged you know when you answer their questions
  • Have fun with it, and get to know some new people

11 Facts about me.

1.  Family / Personal:  I was born in 1967.  My wife and I have been married since 1999.  Our daughter was born in 2002.   We have two dogs, a 13 year old Black Lab mix and a 4 year old beagle mix.

2.  My first computer back in 1983 was a Commodore Vic 20 which had a whopping 3.5k RAM.  My first real computer was a Hewlett-Packard running Windows 98, with 48MB RAM and a 4 GB hard drive.

3. Television:  My all-time favorite television show is WKRP in Cincinnati.  Close second is The Simpsons.

4.  My favorite amusement park ride is the roller coaster.  I can’t handle any ride that spins but I can ride roller coasters all day long.

5.  I like my steak medium rare, my catfish blackened, my spare ribs with a dry rub (no sauce), and anything that’s deep-fried.

6.  Completely unrelated to #5 (yeah, right)… a few years ago, through exercise and watching what I ate, I managed to lose between 40 and 50 pounds.  Unfortunately I found them again.

7.  My musical tastes are all over the place, from heavy metal to blues to classic country.

8.  I was editor of my high school newspaper.

9.  I tend to over-think and over-analyze things.  And often I will second-guess myself.  I suffer from “analysis paralysis.”

10.  I have the kind of job that allows me to listen to a lot of podcasts, which has inspired me to do my own.  I just have to motivate myself to be consistent.

11.  My wife and I enjoy browsing for antiques.  I especially like old wood furniture, even though buying it is impractical or unaffordable for us. I do like to collect used postcards (mostly early 1900’s) because they are very inexpensive– usually only a buck or two each– and can be kept in photo albums so they don’t add any clutter.

John’s Questions

Why do you blog?

I started my website as a hobby.  It actually started out as a static HTML site.  Remember FrontPage and Dreamweaver?  Those were the tools I used for the first few years.  Then I began using a blog to provide real-time updates on whatever project I was working on, but the main content of the website was still the static pages.  Eventually I moved the entire site to WordPress because I was spending way too much time hand-coding all my content.

Why did I choose to share my content in the first place?  I was a very unlikely do-it-yourselfer and had virtually no handyman skills when I bought my first house.  I figured that by sharing what I learned along the way, I could help other inexperienced homeowners like myself.

What advice to you have for new bloggers?

Don’t obsess over stats.  Whether you have an audience of 100 or 100,000, remember that behind those numbers are actual people.  Of course, I have a small audience so it should be no surprise that I would say that, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

What is your favorite social media to support your blog and why?

I’m terrible when it comes to social media.  I know I should have a social media “strategy,” but I don’t.  That’s something I need to work on.  I’m trying to post more often on the Facebook page for my website and I am only just beginning to learn Twitter.  Right now, YouTube is working well for me. despite the fact that my videos really aren’t very good.    If I had to pick a favorite, I guess it would be YouTube, since it has generated some traffic for my website and led to a number of affiliate sales. [Update 2018: Twitter!]

What are your favorite tools?

Reciprocating saw and sledgehammer.  I enjoy demolition.

Actually, I’ll keep it simple here.  I love the Picquic multi bit screwdrivers.  If you check out their website, you will see why.

What is the oldest tool you still use?

I bought my first house in 1996, and started amassing my tool collection then, so most of my tools are less than 20 years old.  The first tool in that house?  My parents bought me a Skil circular saw as a housewarming gift which I still have, but rarely use.

What was your biggest DIY success?

The basement in my first house.  Since that renovation is featured on this website, I won’t go into detail here.

What was your biggest DIY failure?

My very first DIY project:  I attempted to paint my first house after I bought it in 1996.  I spent three days painting the kitchen and it looked terrible.  So I ended up hiring professional painters to do the job, and they were also kind enough to let me know what I was doing wrong.  I learned that I was over-working the paint– I was rolling it on the walls okay, but I kept rolling over it until I rolled it off again.  I also learned to invest in quality tools.  Using cheap rollers and brushes would never give me the results I wanted even if I knew what I was doing.  For the record, my second attempt at painting was much better.

What is(are) your favorite book(s)?

I have a BA in English and a Bachelor of Education degree.  In between those degrees, I started working towards a Masters.  University effectively killed my love of reading so I took a little break for close to 20 years, except for reading Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch to my daughter when she was young.  In the past couple of years, I’ve enjoyed Last Words by George Carlin and Not Taco Bell Material by Adam Carolla.  I need to get in the habit of reading every day.

Light Sabers, Hobbits, Defense Against the Dark Arts or the fortune and glory of beating the Nazis to supernatural antiquities?

You left out Flux Capacitors.  From this list, though, I have seen all the Harry Potter films (my daughter is a fan), I saw Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back in the theater when I was a kid, I remember renting Raiders after my parents bought a VCR in 1983.  I haven’t read or seen anything Hobbit-ish.  My choice would be light sabers, but I’m referring to Blue Harvest, Something Something Something Dark Side, and It’s a Trap.

What are your three favorite movie quotes?

I’m not much of a movie-watcher.  So instead of movie quotes, here are three quotes from television.

“As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.”  –Mr. Carlson, WKRP in Cincinnati

“So I says, blue M&M, red M&M- they all wind up the same color in the end.”  –Homer Simpson

“It’s bad luck to take advice from insane people.” –Herb Tarlek,  WKRP in Cincinnati

My Nominees

This was tough.  The idea is to promote smaller blogs.  Many of the blogs I do follow have larger audiences that do not fit this criteria.  And for the same reasons as John at AZDIYguy, I had difficulty coming up with 5 blogs never mind 10.  Many of the smaller blogs I used to follow have not been updated in a long time and some have gone “poof” from the Internet altogether.  So I went on quest to find more and even some of those new discoveries have been inactive for a while.

Anyway, these are all worth visiting and exploring, even if they haven’t been updated in a while.  And maybe if we leave some comments, we might prompt these bloggers to start writing again.  (Note:  these are all home improvement-related blog).

The “Crazy 30-somethings” at Swanky & Chiang

[Redacted for dead link]

Shannon at

Aaron at Markson Blog

Summer and Stefan at CA2PR

The questions

1.  If you could hire any contractor from television to work on your house, who would you choose?

2.  What is your LEAST favorite home improvement activity and why?

3.  If you could maintain your current age, explain whether you would prefer to travel 50 years into the past or 50 years into the future.

4.  What unfinished project do you have going on right now?

5.  What is the newest tool added to your collection?

6.  I guess this question has to be asked:  Why do you blog?

7.  And here’s another standard question:  What advice do you have for new bloggers?

8.  You just won $100,000, but you have to spend it within the next year.  You cannot use it to pay off debts or put it into savings or retirement accounts or other investments.  Where does the money go?

9.  What advice do you have for someone who has just bought, or is thinking of buying, their first house?

10.  What are three items on your “bucket” list?

I want to again thank John at AZ DIY guy for the nomination.  Writing this post was an interesting process.  I now have a pretty good idea of where I need to focus my energy, both on the website and in “real life.”


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