Photo by Joshua Earle

October 9, 2015 by Phil Houtz

”Human Beings Are Wired to Find Peace in Nature” and Other Profound Horsecrap

I pretty much take it as fact that human beings have not evolved to run on concrete. It kinda makes sense that scrambling over boulders and swinging from trees are better exercise for micro-muscles than are gym machines. And I can mostly accept that our digestive systems have not evolved to handle processed foods. But…

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Image courtesy of Guodong Guo

October 2, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Improve Your Situational Awareness: the Secret Art of Sideview Mirrors

If you spend any time on the 101 freeway through Los Angeles you know that “situational awareness” is your key to survival. And your sideview mirrors are the key to knowing what is going on around you at all times as you drive. But most people don’t have their sideview mirrors adjusted correctly. The technique I learned…

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Photo: public domain

September 22, 2015 by Phil Houtz

The Two Types of Clutter: Misplaced Stuff and Logjams

As I’m working on clearing off my desk and clearing out my office I’m starting to realize that this time around the clutter I’m dealing with is of a different quality than your garden variety crap-fest. Use the Two-Minute Rule to Banish Vulture Vomit Forever That was the term Stanley, our colorful across-the-street neighbor, used…

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messy desk

September 20, 2015 by Phil Houtz

It’s All Turned to Crap – Again. How to Declutter for 70th Time…

Let’s get this out of the way first – that’s an iced coffee on my desk, not an iced Guinness. Next, I am drowning in clutter. It doesn’t seem to matter how much time and effort I spend on trying to get my life organized, there is just no free space anywhere to put anything….

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Photo by Noah Kuhn

September 10, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Back Home to Patch My Bones – Three Lessons from Our Last Trip

Our recent trip to Colorado was…well it got off to a bumpy start. Hertz rent-a-car was short 200 cars, there was a 3 hour wait – during which time NO HERTZ EMPLOYEE ACKNOWLEDGED THE SITUATION OR SPOKE TO CUSTOMERS IN LINE, when we finally talked to an agent we discovered we had booked our reservation…

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Photo by Luke Pamer via Unsplash

September 2, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Spooky Pageviews at a Distance

I’ve been working pretty hard to promote our eCommerce site, Open Door. And we’re slowly and surely getting traffic. But something weird is happening. I’m seeing quantum effects of all this promotion. I’m posting and promoting Open Door but I’m seeing most of the growth here on Wild Rye. What the heck? Is this evidence…

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August 25, 2015 by Phil Houtz

How to Start Over When You Don’t Know Where to Start

I just had a setback. It might not seem like a big deal to you but my office that I’ve been struggling to get organized and keep organized just got turned into a junk room. After four months of work in my spare time I’m back to square one. Maybe even square minus-one. How do…

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February 13, 2015 by Phil Houtz

On the Road with Jucy Lucy – Our Experiment with Low Cost RV Rental

I’ve always wanted to rent an RV but every time I looked into the deets I found them crazy expensive to rent. Well, the ones I looked into a required a huge ($2500) deposit. Granted there are better deals if you take some time to look into the best rates for rv rentals, but I…

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February 11, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Love Camping but Can’t Part with Your Mid-century Modern Life? Try These

Face it, sometimes you want to live in a better part of town. Maybe on the grounds of a rolling estate or some place you can fish from your back porch. Architizer features the Markies camper, something like an Eichler home in a box. If you’ve got a spare $55,000 in your budget, then check…

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BMW's spitoon/ashtray thingy

February 5, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Is BMW’s i3 at the Frontier of Driving Technology? (Hint: It Comes with a Spitoon)

I don’t know if lumbersexual tobacco-scented hipsters are anywhere near the core of the market for the i3, but if they are BMW is ready for them with this rugged rustproof ABS squirt bucket. This plastic ash-can isn’t unique to the i3, nor are many other features such as Connected Drive and BMW Assist. But…

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Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 10.57.28 PM

February 4, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Looking for Some Outdoor Adventure? Check Pinterest for Best Places to Hike

When I think of Pinterest I think about knitting. It wouldn’t be my go-to-destination for planning my next big adventure. And I’d be wrong – check out these pinboards listing the best hiking trails in the world. While you’re at it, check out the boards for outdoor gear, camping trailers, canyoneering and bushcraft. If these…

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January 31, 2015 by Phil Houtz

52 Boxes – Cleaning the Garage as a Way of Life

My howling nightmare of a garage didn’t just get this way by itself. It’s been a thousand bad decisions over the course of years. So this year I’m committed to tackling one box a week and emerging with perfect order and clarity of mind. Box 1 Styrofoam Nuggets Because I’m getting a late start I’m…

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Easy Closets garage diagram

January 29, 2015 by Phil Houtz

Get Your Garage “In the Zone”

The American garage is truly a multipurpose space. Part workshop, part storage unit and part garage there are so many demands put on this space there’s no wonder it can get out of control in a hurry. Easy Closets takes a strategic view by breaking the typical garage into six zones – 1) Transition, 2)…

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BMW stability control

January 27, 2015 by Phil Houtz

BMW i3 Stability Control Just Saved My Ass

Yesterday some doofus in a Dodge Magnum decided to test the general properties of matter by occupying my lane while I was still in it. I swerved hard to avoid the oncoming rear quarter panel of the Dodge and then swerved back to avoid causing a chain reaction of my own. At least that’s what…

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BMW i3 concept art

January 25, 2015 by Phil Houtz

BMW i3 First Drive – Whoosh!!!

Driving the BMW i3 is a huge change from my gas-hungry Jeep TJ. The i3 has a distinctly golf-cart feel with the smooth silent and instant acceleration. Once you’ve got it up to speed – only 7 seconds if you floor it (compared to 7.4 seconds for the Scion TC) – the ride begins to…

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