Corbin's Treehouse - Corbin Dunn, Santa Cruz, CA
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Downstairs Bathroom Remodel – Tiling the shower

My downstairs guest bathroom remodel project continues. Last status was posted in “Downstairs Bathroom Remodel, shower pan, etc“.

After I built the shower pan, I installed the 1/2″ cement backer board, being sure to not screw into the plastic shower pan bottom. I then used Red Guard to seal in over the thinset for the niche, and while I was at it I did the corners and bottom “just in case”. The pan is designed to capture water, so that shouldn’t really be necessary, but you definitely don’t want the niche to leak into the wood frame.


For the shower walls, I start in the middle and work my way up and down; this produces the middle as the most centered portion, and allows me to have the accent tile exactly where I want them. I picked a location sort of a third down from the top:


I use some wooden supports to make sure the tile don’t sag, and this helps create nice consistent grout lines.

For the floor I used the drain as the focal point and worked outwards:


Tile done and ready for grout (poor lighting):


Professional home remodeler at work:


Note to self, wear gloves! Don’t use your fingers to smooth grout lines:


Post grout:


Unfortunately these tile were a bit porous, and I didn’t do a good job of getting all the grout off the tile surface; this has left some whiteness to it, and I’m having a hard time getting it off now that the tile have dried. What works best seems to be some light sanding with sandpaper and then hard scrubbing with a brush. I also tried Ajax..but that didn’t work well.

Facebook promotes stealing other people’s content

I’ve had the unfortunate affair of several people stealing one of my videos to gain hits on their Facebook pages.

It is this video: LED Cyr Wheel v2 – Initial Test, that I uploaded to YouTube in April 2014:

I blogged about it here, and it this is the YouTube link:

The two copies of my video are: Krafty Kuts (2/25/15: 413,081 views, 4757 shares) and Cypher-Glover (2/25/15: 65,000 views, 1482 shares). Cypher promptly responded to my request to update the video — Krafty took a while longer, but probably because they are on the other side of the pond (UK). My video on Youtube (2/25/15) has ~7,000 views.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m super happy this video has been seen so much, and it has directly and indirectly increased traffic to my site. I’m also talking with Krafty’s manager about doing some sort of collaboration, and Cypher is going to re-post my video on some other site (at some point). I will gladly share my projects, videos, and photos with people — I just like to get proper credit if someone re-posts something I did. If people are going to make money off of my content, then it would be nice to get some sort of kick back (licensing). Having Krafty and Cypher add links does help me; this directly gives my website referrals and I get more traffic. Google ads on this site help pay for the hosting via traffic, but I’m talking about $100/year — and usually I don’t make that much in a year off of advertising.

People create content. They write text in a blog, take pictures, film videos, do performances, and create artwork. The people creating that work have a right to control how it is used, and other people can buy it from them or license the use of it. Or people can explicitly give their content away with an open license, such as a Creative Commons license. Things that aren’t explicitly given away are owned by the content creator.

Now I do freely give away ideas and processes on how to make things. I could have patented my LED Cyr Wheel; it’s construction was invented by me through experimentation and design (actually, I still covet the code). I could have patented my V-frame 36 unicycle or custom handlebars. But I did not want to because I want other people to build on my ideas, and tell me about how they made them better. I want other people to be able to make things that I have made. I have learned so much from the internet, like how to build an electric car. I enjoy sharing with people my ideas and having them build upon them. I also know I have helped other people with their businesses; I know a few people who are building cyr wheels, and probably are in some part using some techniques I documented on my blog.

Unfortunately, Facebook promotes stealing other people’s content. People go to YouTube and grep around for short cool videos. They then illegally download them with something like Clip Converter, and proceed to upload it to their Facebook page as a “public” video so anyone can see it. Some choice wording describes the video, like “Imagine showing up to the rave with one of these.”, and tons of people watch and share it on their Facebook pages. The description does not reference where they got the content from. I don’t blame the people watching and sharing the video; I blame the person who stole the video and uploaded it. People actually have a job where they do this for a living to promote musicians! I hope they will think twice about taking videos like this. Even if there was a reference to the original content, it is still illegal to copy a video and upload it to another site — let’s be clear, that is the essence of what pirating is.

I don’t just blame the person who uploads the video, but I also blame Facebook. People want to have the video appear on their site because a “Facebook Business page” will get higher ranking and more exposure. They do not want to have links leaving Facebook because it lowers their rank. Cypher – Glover – who’s job listed on Facebook is “Social Media Manager”, was the first person who uploaded my video to his page. He later updated the description to give me credit, so I was okay with this. He specifically told me the following:

“Links kill reach, i cannot link directly within the text post to an outside site of facebook without hurting our edgerank (facebooks way of handling pages) and therefore hurting our reach on not just the post but our page as well. One thing i can do is place a call-to-action button, What that is, is a “Shop Now” or “Read More” or “watch more” button which is present on the video itself so people can see the source from which the video came from. It drives all clicks and conversions to your site, with nothing on our end but us sharing your name and content. Would that be okay with you? the cool thing about it is that after 24 hours, i am allowed to post the link into the text. Meaning that if people love it as much as they did on my page, and you reach shares in the hundreds, your link to your website will be on hundreds of peoples walls where people can see it. Direct uploads are the highest driving content, this one is pretty self explanatory, and means that i would just have to repost the video directly to our page, which i think you expected already.”

My answer to him is yes, it is okay to do this. But people who do this type of marketing should strive to reach out to content owners in the first place and ask for permission! Or, better yet, license their content. PS, Cypher, if it isn’t okay to quote you, please let me know and I can remove and paraphrase it. I also figured this is common knowledge, but not everyone understands it.

Wait, is it really illegal to download someone’s video from YouTube? Technically yes, it is. Here are the term’s of service, which I captured as an image in case it changes:


I highlighted the important part. My video does not have a Download link. Even if it did, the second part still applies; “one can not copy, reproduce…or otherwise exploit any Content” the media managers are violating this term to it’s fullest!

Unfortunately, I’m sure it is impossible to track who scrape or download videos with a service like Clip Converter.

I also blame the millennials. They have grown up in the internet era, and feel like sharing content without attribution is okay. Sort of like how my generation (X) felt like it was okay to “share” (aka: pirate) music on Napster. It really wasn’t okay to do that. Yet people do have limits; people seem to realize that it would not be okay to copy Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda video and upload it to their Facebook page. VEVO would be all over them, and they know it. But they don’t see the guy who films Star Wars pancakes characters as threatening, and therefore upload his (or her) video and get views off of it.

Of course, sharing the original content as-is is fine. An original YouTube video creator has their description listed, and their ads play, and they potentially make money off of it. Posting the Youtube link will convert to an inline video and looks very similar to the Facebook user —- but the person or social media manager will not get as much credit. Therefore, they don’t do it. This is a shame.

What have I learned? Always have my website URL in my videos — even for stupid short videos like this one. Don’t let your content get away!

Grainger, shame on you for bad packaging!

I ordered a small switch from Grainger and it came in a huge box:


What a waste of packaging!! Shame on you guys. Please don’t overpack; it is wasteful.

26″ Mountain Unicycle Tires

I have had my geared 26″ mountain unicycle since about 2009. It is a Kris Holm 26″ frame (KH26), the Schlumpf 2-speed hub, and a custom handlebar I made. I’ve gone through a few tires in the past years, so here is my recent experience and research on them.


Tires I’ve Used (in order):

1. WTB Stout 26×2.3″: Cost: ??. Weight ??. My first tire that I got on the unicycle in 2009. I wanted something very light weight for racing and cross country. Unfortunately it is too light, and definitely not wide enough. I felt like uni was a little too unwieldy to ride, or too “squirrly”, wanting to wander about. It also would kick me off on bumps, as I had to ride it with a bit higher pressure (at this point, I forget what I used). I still have this tire hanging in my basement. I also recall that this tire was *very* hard to get on and off the KH rim.

2. Maxxis Ardent Wire Bead Downhill Tire 26 X 2.6: Cost: $35 (plus shipping). Weight ??. Part #: TB74306200.  In November 2011 I decided to go for a wider tire to get more stability. It definitely worked; the unicycle felt more stable, and I was pretty happy with this tire. The Ardent is also a good “all round” tire and seemed to perform well for muni. Unfortunately the 2.6″ width isn’t available anymore from Maxxis. The widest Ardent that they make is now 2.4″. But that is okay, because in February of 2015 I started having trouble with the tire: it kept popping off the rim! This is probably because I had a heck of a time changing a flat one day on a ride. I could not get the tire off. I broke a plastic tire iron off, and it was still fighting me. Eventually I got it off and patched the tube (which didn’t hold!). Putting it back on was even worse: I couldn’t get it back on. I eventually got it on, but I’m sure I blew out the wire bead in the process. On the next ride I did (very wet and muddy out with my friend Roland), the tire kept popping off the rim about 3/4 the way through the ride. Oh well; the tire tread was getting a little low, so it was time to replace it.

3. Maxxis High Roller II: (26×2.40), Cost: $65. Weight: 840-855 grams. What I’m currently using. I’m using a light weight tube, and the tire is pretty light, so it has really good low rolling weight for hill climbing abilities. It also feels pretty good on the street, with low resistance (not like a Gazzoladi at all!). It fit the rim pretty well (not too tight, not too loose). It corners really well — great tread. I am using a light tube — which means I have to have higher pressure (32psi), so it is a bit bouncy. A regular or heavy weight tube would add up to a pound more in rolling weight, but I could run lower pressure (25-28psi), and would be able to avoid pinch flats and potentially roll faster on bumpy ground. Overall, I think I really want a little wider tire, but it works really well, and should be good for my upcoming Nepal unicycle tour.

Tire Research

I did quite a bit of tire research before settling on one (actually, two!). I wanted a tire that was good for off road use; particularly fast high-gear unicycling on flowing trails, but with enough stability to roll down rough trails and a high pace and not get too thrown off. I also wanted it to be as light as possible, as I’m going to use this tire on the next big unicycle tour in Nepal over the Annapurna Pass (coming up in April 2015). The tour will have lots of climbing, so I want it to lower the rolling weight. I decided to stick with Maxxis; they are a pretty good tire, and have too many options to choose from. Adding another manufacture or two would make it even more difficult to decide. For tire wide, I was ideally shooting for 2.5″ or higher, and 2.7″ was ideal. However, the 2.7″ tires were nearly twice as heavy as 2.5″, so I cut them from my choices. I also decided to throw in a 2.4 in the mix. I wasn’t picky about tread compound: EXO, 3C, TR, or whatever — they don’t mean too much to me, except one will wear faster because it is stickier. I’m not doing fast road cornering, so stickiness isn’t too important on a unicycle — weight is, so I picked whatever compound was lightest (when there was a choice).

1. Maxxis High Roller II: 26×2.4, 840 grams. Web: Maxxis High Roller II.$65 on Amazon. Light weight (for muni) at less than 900 grams, but only 2.4″ width — I really wanted 2.5″ or wider!

Maxxis High Roller II.png

2. Maxxis Minion DHF: 26×2.5, 860 grams. Web: Minion DHF . $? on Amazon. Also pretty light, and 2.5″ width! The DHF stands for “Downhill Front”, but that doesn’t matter for unicycling. I ordered this tire too, but the High Roller II came first, so it is the one I’m running. This might be a great tire, and the uses show the same as the High Roller. But the high roller might be better for less rolling resistance on hard packed dirt

Maxxis DHF.png

Tires that seem less good to me:

3. Maxxis Minon DHR: Web: Minon DHR : $?. Seems good, but 2.35″ width just isn’t wide enough for me. DHR stands for Downhill Rear.

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4. Maxxis High Roller: Web: High Roller. 26×2.5: 1180grams. 26×2.70: 1320 grams. Too heavy. At least for me, for now. This might be a great tire — and it is offered in a 2.7″ width — but at 1320 grams it is a pound heavier than the 2.4″ High Roller II. The tread looks not as good for wet ground.

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5. Maxxis Ardent: Web: Ardent. 26×2.40: 685 grams. I already know this is a good tire, but I figured it was time to try something new. It is lighter than the High Roller II and the same width.

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6. Other’s considered: Griffin (26×2.4 – too heavy at ~1130 grams), and Aspen (not wide enough).

I also looked at some of the wider downhill tires, but they were all way over 1000 grams — great for pure downhill muni, but horrible for climbing.

Downstairs Bathroom Remodel, shower pan, etc

This is mainly for myself to remember what I did.

I built this half wall, but it seemed flimsy. I didn’t want it to move *at all* as it might cause tile to crack:


I ended up adding in lots of other support members, and that stiffened it up. Ideally just some 45 braces from the top edge down might have helped more than anything else.

Doing the drywall by myself was challenging on the roof. I devised this T bracket to hold up one half of a sheet while I screwed the other half on (holding it up with my head at the same time):


Doing some typical copper brazing. The Kholer valve is basically flush on the 2×4 brace:


Notes to self: tighten the copper threads *really tight*. My first try leaked, and I had to cut it out and try again. Install the top piece (seen above vertical and not installed) after I get everything brazed on and set.

Drink beer while mudding drywall:


Wear a mask! <me at age 36>


Do a skim coat on the drywall for a really smooth walls:


Shower pan; I built it like the last one I did based on my eBook on the subject. It involves:

1. skim coat of thinset on the plywood floor. I accidentally waited for it to try; apparently I should have done that, but I don’t think it will matter too much.

2. Mortar mix: 3-4 parts sand (I used the regular sand from Home Depot, NOT the play sand) to one part portland cement. This means 4 shovels of sand to 1.5 shovels of cement. Mix the cement before adding water. Then add enough water till it is wet, but not too wet. I made it wetter than the first pan I did so I could screed it more easily (and it was a lot easier)

3. 1/4″ raise per foot to the edges, first coat about 1.5″ thick.

4. Add shower pan liner; weld corners w/ shower pan corners from home depot w/ shower pan cement.

5. Mark level edge, again make sure it is 1/4″ raise per foot from the drain. Put small rocks in weep holes. Add more mortar like before.


Curb is wire framed over it, held slightly off the bottom (about 1″) to avoid putting a hole in the pan liner.

WildFire v3 Arduino compatible Wifi enabled board

Wicked Device is making a cool little Arduino clone called the WildFire. Why is it cool? Because it includes the CC3000 Wifi chip built in, an SD card slot, and the ATmega1284p processor – which has tons more memory than the Arduino UNO! It is also a great price at $50. Consider the alternative of buying an UNO ($25 – Adafruit) and a CC3000 breakout board ($35) and you are now already at $60 before adding on an SD card. The board is also well thought out; you can easily breadboard it with the female headers, and then solder it into your project with the duplicated pin holes on the side. Great idea!


I’ve been needing a device for some internet enabled side projects that I want to do. Victor from Wicked Device ran across my post on CC3000 and offered to send me one to play with. So, I’m excited to play around with it!

Red Rocks climbing

Did some climbing in Red Rocks, Nevada last weekend. This is more of a record and reminder for myself. Last time I was there was in 2005 back when I was a strong 5.11 climber. I don’t climb very often right now, and I felt rather nervous about doing much of anything.


Costanza and her dog Douglas came with me. The first day we arrived around noon and stopped at the first pullout. I didn’t bring a guidebook (mistake) hoping I could piece it together from the Mountain Project website. I was targeting Panty Wall, but it was way too busy. We walked/hiked around a lot, which was a ton of fun in itself. We hiked towards the left (second pullout area) and saw some people climbing at Tsunami Wall:


A young guy was doing the 5.12s. I debated doing the 5.7 trad climb…but I was just too nervous and wanted to work with Costanza on lead belaying first. We headed back towards Panty Wall and stumbled upon Amusement Park; I didn’t know what it was at the time, since we lacked a book, but it didn’t look too hard and I could setup a top rope on one of the last routes on the right to give me confidence:


I set it up as a top and it was super easy for me. After Costanza gave it a good try I pulled the rope and led all of them for fun and practice.

The next day (Thanksgiving) it was again packed. We stopped at the first pullout again briefly; packed as usual at about 11am. We went to the second pullout and got out to hike around. I wanted to go to Magic Bus, as I recall doing routes there in 2005 with Jason. Unfortunately Douglass couldn’t make it up there, or the scrambling back behind it to check out other routes. No problem, so we went on to the Sandstone Quarry parking lot area. We hiked the short walk into the gap that I think is Front Corridor; it was packed, and two dogs where there off leash, so we looked for some more areas. The Wake Up Wall, which is to the left of the wash and a bit north west was recommended. We saw it from a short distance, and it looked packed. Plus, the easiest was 5.9..and I wasn’t sure I wanted to lead 9′s yet. We hiked in the wash “Turtlehead Peak” trail (according to the map) and found some routes on a wall. It clearly hasn’t been climbed in a while (or not much at all), and I setup a top rope pretty easily. The rope dragged over the edge because I forgot my webbing to extend it, but it was lots of fun! I’d say 10d to 11ish in rating. I can’t seem to find this area on the Mountain Project; I see the rock on the map, but nothing marked. I’d say it is the rock to the west and slightly south of Bull Market. Here’s a picture I took;


The day after Thanksgiving we got up early and got there about 10am. This was early enough to get any parking (although it got super busy again later in the day). Panty Wall was already busy, but The Hamlet was empty and seemed easy to top rope for the “Lower Tier”:


I don’t know what routes we really did; they were all 5.7 to 5.8, although I picked out some 5.10 variation moves that were pretty fun on the flat face like portion seem in the middle of the above photo (to the left of the large crack).

After got busy, so we left and went to a later pullout by Willow Springs…TODO: look up the name of this area (I have it on my phone but can’t find it on Mountain Project):


I did the easy 5.7? trad lead. One bolt on the bottom, and some old slings on top tied off a rock for rappelling.

EV Page of Shame: Drax in a Lexus at the Aria Hotel in Vegas

UPDATE: Thank you Aria hotel! They are going to update their signage and start towing offenders. I just talked with someone from the security team and they are on top of this. They are also going to fix the broken charger. Excellent! They handled this very well, and I’d be happy to stay with them the next time I’m in Vegas.

(Still, I think Drax and others should not park in these spots, so I’m leaving the post up).


Aria Hotel in Las Vegas: You provided four EV charging spots but failed to enforce the rules, and allowed three non EV cars to park in them:


First and foremost I blame the people who ignorantly and rudely parked in these spots; especially the Lexus with the California license plate “IM DRAX“:


That Lexus belongs to this wonderful person, Drax:
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Lots of awesome tattoos and guns:

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His instagram account shows pictures of him at the casinos as he moved to Vegas about four months ago to become a professional poker player. Drax is even hip enough to have a reddit account, and lets us know that he weighs 190lbs (follow the link for some sexy underwear pictures).

Drax, I’m glad you are making it big as a poker player in Sin City, but please walk a little distance and don’t take up an EV parking spot, unless that Lexus is actually plugged in. Also visit Drax on YouTube, and GooglePlus . Now, the fourth car in the green parking spots (not seen) is a Model S:

But the last Chargepoint station was broken, and the Model S couldn’t reach to the other working station that did work due to it being “ICE’ed”.

Drax, welcome to the EV Page of Shame!

For sale: 1940 Ford Deluxe

1940 Ford Deluxe

For Sale

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Custom built street rod in high gloss black. Drives and handles superb with a V8 Chevy 350 and Turbo 400 3 speed automatic transmission. Tons of chrome under the hood with Edlebrock carb, chrome valve covers, MSD coil and 6AL ignition system, Mallory distributor, chrome alternator, Billet aluminum pullies, Sanderson headers, dark heads, Lokar dipsticks. Scott’s Mustang II coil over front suspension. Ford 8″ rear end with a spare set of gears available (I think it has 2.78 on it, and a lower ratio in my basement). Ice cold Vintage A/C. Full gray leather interior with custom Ford lettering accents and Billet Aluminum handles and accents. Power front seats, CB radio, and AM/FM stereo with CD player. Saldana Racing Products aluminum radiator setup to automatically turn the fan on and off; runs cool. Power brakes and power steering makes it easy to handle. Includes a custom made leather bra (not installed at the moment). 16,580 miles. I drove this car across the country and it was comfy!

Location: Santa Cruz mountains / Los Gatos, California.

Asking: $43,000, or best offer. I’m willing to consider offers, so send them my way!

Contact me: corbin at corbinstreehouse DOT com, or: 831-359-6189

Electric Bug: Running Again!

So, I got my new rebuilt transmission from MOFOCO. I put it back in the car and buttoned up the rear end entirely. I then attached the shifter…but, it wasn’t shifting! So, I posted on and the guys there said something might be wrong w/the nosecone setup. I had to drop the transmission/motor combo again. This time I decided to make a better cradle for it:


These pictures are mainly for my future reference so i can remember how it goes. The strap holds it on pretty well.


I popped the nosecone off and it was definitely shifted into a gear. It didn’t seem like it was shifted into two gears at the same time…but it definitely wasn’t working before. I pulled the three things below so they were all aligned, and put the nosecone back on. I could then shift it by hand, as I should have been able to do in the first place. Excellent!


Then it went back in the bug…and it seemed to be doing okay. I put it all back together…and did a quick test drive. Success! Back to electric driving. I’ve been missing it.

(c) 2008-2012 Corbin Dunn

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