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BS: Domestic engineering

Joe_F 18 Mar 08 - 09:02 PM
MarkS 18 Mar 08 - 10:43 PM
Rapparee 19 Mar 08 - 12:06 AM
open mike 19 Mar 08 - 01:52 AM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Mar 08 - 01:56 AM
autolycus 19 Mar 08 - 03:04 AM
Joe_F 21 Mar 08 - 08:37 PM
Joe_F 23 Mar 08 - 09:57 PM
Bee 23 Mar 08 - 11:37 PM
katlaughing 23 Mar 08 - 11:45 PM
Joe_F 24 Mar 08 - 08:32 PM
Bee 24 Mar 08 - 10:40 PM
Grab 25 Mar 08 - 08:57 AM
catspaw49 25 Mar 08 - 09:26 AM
Bill D 25 Mar 08 - 10:14 AM
Richard Bridge 25 Mar 08 - 01:20 PM
Joe_F 25 Mar 08 - 10:57 PM
Liz the Squeak 26 Mar 08 - 04:44 AM
Jim Dixon 26 Mar 08 - 07:01 PM
Thompson 26 Mar 08 - 07:12 PM
Joe_F 26 Mar 08 - 09:02 PM
Joe_F 28 Mar 08 - 09:22 PM
Peace 29 Mar 08 - 06:37 PM
Joe_F 29 Mar 08 - 08:26 PM
Liz the Squeak 30 Mar 08 - 01:22 AM
Joe_F 30 Mar 08 - 09:00 PM
katlaughing 30 Mar 08 - 11:41 PM
Joe_F 10 May 08 - 11:17 PM
Escapee 11 May 08 - 01:35 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 May 08 - 12:11 AM
Gurney 12 May 08 - 01:37 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 May 08 - 05:42 PM
GUEST,Chief Chaos 12 May 08 - 06:19 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 13 May 08 - 10:43 AM
Amos 13 May 08 - 11:01 AM
Joe_F 13 May 08 - 09:36 PM

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Subject: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 09:02 PM

Mudcatters being on the whole persons of independent mind, it strikes me that many of them may be interested in, and have found, odd solutions to ordinary problems of life. I can keep this thread going on my own for quite a while, but I hope for other contributions.

*Sew a headband in your hood.*

It is time for me to buy a new parka, and I got the impression from the Web that there was such a thing as an ergonomic hood that would turn with your head & thus not restrict your field of view. (I imagined a sort of wrinkly neck.) It seems, however, that there is no such thing for down parkas. Today it occurred to me that I could fasten a headband (the kind people wear to keep their hair down & to keep sweat out of their eyes) to the inside of the hood. I did that to the hood of my present old parka, using safety pins at the back, and it works. When I get my new parka, I will sew the headband in.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: MarkS
Date: 18 Mar 08 - 10:43 PM

Headlights on your hat.
You can now buy a kit of battery powered LED lights, with a simple on/off switch. I use velcro strips to fix them under the brim of my cap. Makes going into the hay bin late at night (no lights in that part of the barn) really easy!
Would not want to wear them at a gig, but in the barn, the horses do not care!
Mark


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Rapparee
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 12:06 AM

Put it in with velcro. Then you can take it out to wash it when you need to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: open mike
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 01:52 AM

and keep any elastic waist-band from clothing that has worn out to add to other clothes to replace others that have lost their stretch.

helpful hints from heloise...

i9 remeber a book long ago that had a solution for wearing socks for a long time...get tube socks with no heel and when you wear a holde in the heel turn them around so the hole is on top of your foot..you can do this 3 more times..before you have to get new ones.
(I guess Colonel Townsend Wheeler had not heard of darning) why does colonel not have an "L" in it when you pronounce it? It only has an "r".


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 01:56 AM

The Colonel - King of the Nuts!


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: autolycus
Date: 19 Mar 08 - 03:04 AM

Wear a hat indors as well as out.

For anyone who says they are cold and are not wearing headgear, I have little sympathy (unless there's a special reason)


Ivor


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 08:37 PM

"If your feet are cold, put on your hat."

I have discovered another advantage to what I suggested: if you are wearing the hood with the front uncovered, it is no longer possible for a headwind to blow it off your head.

*

*Put your bootlaces in upside down*

If you get the kind of boots that have hooks instead of eyes at the top, you can avoid ever having to tie them (except at the beginning, and for occasional adjustments) by putting the ends at the bottom instead of the top. Tie a square not rather than a bow (which would be conspicuous) at the bottom. There is enough stretch in the boots & the laces to put the loop at the top over the uppermost hooks & take it off from them.

Easy on & off! Nothing to come untied!


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 23 Mar 08 - 09:57 PM

*Put the dishrack over the sink*

Among those who have no dishwasher, it is common to put a sloping drainboard next to the sink and put the dishrack on that. That takes up counter space, and also, these days, it seems to be impossible to get a metal drainboard, and the plastic ones eventually sag & puddle. I found it easy to mount the dishrack over the sink, by putting two hooks, next to the wall, on the cabinet overhead, and hanging two loops of cord on them, with a couple of turns around appropriate parts of the dishrack (front & back, so they make triangles). The dishrack then drains right into the sink. Also, you can mount hooks made of paperclips on the bottom & sides of it, for the various scrubbers etc., so that they too will drain into the sink.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Bee
Date: 23 Mar 08 - 11:37 PM

Autolycus has a very good tip there. A lot of my sweaters have hoods - they aren't just for decoration. I can leave the house several degrees cooler if I just pull my hood up - and if I didn't have a husband who'd laugh at me, I'd wear a nightcap, too!

For wood stove users: I keep a coffee tin on the hearth filled with bits of birchbark from my firewood. Great for assisting a slow starting fire, especially if you habitually run out of kindling like I do, and don't feel competent to chop any before you've had coffee.

In the kitchen: I have a slant wall in my small kitchen, so there's no sensible place to hang all the spatulas and ladles and slotted spoons and such. I keep all that stuff handy on the counter in a big ceramic pitcher.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Mar 08 - 11:45 PM

Kewl thread! I'll have to think of something.:-)


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 08:32 PM

*Pants*

There is something to be said for them as undergarments for warmth in winter, or in situations where you want to show off your ass; but their conventional use as outer garments with pockets where you put valuable things seems to me rather awkward. There are too many purposes for which you have to pull them down or take them off. Pockets with things in them are uncomfortable in many lying & sitting positions. Also, wallets IMO might well have been designed for the convenience of pickpockets.

When I lived in a rural commune & had complete freedom to experiment, I made miniskirts by ripping the inseams of shorts from Community Clothes & sewing them across the front & back. I attached loops at the top to accept various containers I made out of cloth & tubing to hold pencils, pens, papers, a comb, etc. Underneath I wore garments appropriate to the season, from a jockstrap in the summer to thermal underwear in the winter.

I judged that Boston wasn't ready for that, so I compromised by making the outer garment a regular pair of shorts, and attaching walletlike things I got at Eastern Mountain Sports, by means of snaprings thru the beltloops. (One has to sew the beltloops to the waistband about 1/4 in. from the bottom to keep them from sagging under the weight.) My keys (I didn't need any of those in the commune) are tied to them as well. When it is time to wash the pants, I can move the pockety things over with the contents, instead of emptying pockets.

It has occurred to me that I could continue to do miniskirts but install a hook & eye or button & buttonhole that would allow me to fasten them fore & aft under the crotch & thus simulate shorts -- instant respectability for public places. I haven't tried it, tho, and it might look weird. With longjohns under regular shorts I just look like a bicyclist.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Bee
Date: 24 Mar 08 - 10:40 PM

Makes sense to me, Joe, I am not suited for the wearing of skirts of any length, except when I plan on not walking anywhere or am wearing tights as well - the legs, they rub together, just at the very top. But I've always found pants pockets to be wonderful for freeing the hands from having to carry multiple bits and pieces.

On the subject of purses. Always have one with an adjustable strap long enough to go across your body when you need your hands free or are walking in crowds. Handbags are very cute, but easily left where you last set them down; one shoulder only bags slip off your shoulder as you pack your groceries.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Grab
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 08:57 AM

Joe, that "never-undo" lacing is fine until the weather changes. I need an extra half-inch on the laces in hot weather.

Another tip on boots, if you're not using Joe's "never-undo" lacing. I find that if I tighten the laces enough to give good ankle support, the "foot" section is too tight. So I tighten up the "foot" section, then tie half a knot (as if I was about to do a bow, but without the bow part), and then fasten up the ankle section. That lets me tighten the ankle section as much as I like, and still lets the foot have room to breathe.

And another tip on boots - Aqueous Nikwax is your friend. It lets you wax your boots while they're wet, which is pure magic. And when you're done with your boots, rub your laces in the left-over stuff that's dripped off the boots - that impregnates the lace fibres with a little bit of wax, which means your laces will never get waterlogged and become impossible to undo.

One for the guys. If you wash your hair with shampoo, it falls out. Seriously - the old Jasper Carrott joke of "Wash'n'go - I washed it, it went" is absolutely true! Shampoo weakens and thins your hair, and it seems to inhibit regrowth too. So, instead of washing with shampoo, just rinse it through thoroughly. Give it a few weeks and your hair really will be thicker, and your plughole and hairbrush will no longer be clogged with old hair. If it's already gone then you're probably too late, but if your hairline is just starting the march north then this may well stop its retreat. And no, it doesn't smell or turn into dreadlocks, because you're still keeping it clean by rinsing it.

The hair thing also works for women - in fact my wife started me on this when she found out that contrary to all the TV adverts, most models never use shampoo on their hair.

Graham.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: catspaw49
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 09:26 AM

Geeziz Joe......You can wear a miniskirt with nothin' hangin' out? Y'all need help in the "tool" department, that's for sure......So since you're into the home made stuff, you might TRY THIS.

Never needed one myself, but I hope it works for you!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Bill D
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 10:14 AM

spaw....that guy ought to turn his inventive genius to capos!


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 01:20 PM

I'm not putting anything like that on my guitar!


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 25 Mar 08 - 10:57 PM

Grab: Certainly, one wants to be able to make occasional adjustments to the laces, not only for the seasons, but because boots & laces stretch over the years. For that, however, one need only untie them at the bottom & tie them again.

*

*Idiot gloves*

As with keys, I find it best to keep gloves attached to me. I tried various schemes, and ended with an elastic cord threaded thru the arms of my parka. The cord should be short enough that when you take the gloves off they don't dangle, but elastic enough that you can pull the gloves away from the cuffs to put them on.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 04:44 AM

Lemon juice and salt will get stains out of a tea cup better than any cleaning agent.

Descale your kettle with lemon juice, rather than vinegar and you won't get vinegary tea.

If you want your dishes to stay bright and unchipped in the washing up, order takeout.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 07:01 PM

*Pockets*

Buy clothes with pockets. As soon as you finish using some small object that you know you will need again soon—such as keys, a pen or pencil, a pair of reading glasses—drop it in your pocket. Then when you need it, you won't have to go searching all over the house for it, swearing, and driving your family nuts.

I only wish I could get my wife to try it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Thompson
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 07:12 PM

Have a bowl in the hall just for keys. And for goodness sake, have one set of keys per person in the family so people don't have to wait in for each other.

I have a luminescent cycling vest with built-in lights, which should be a great idea, but it's a danger to other traffic. It says 'SLOW' on the back in big letters, and passing pedestrians and motorists stop to point and laugh, causing accidents.

They also shout "Yes, you are." I ignore this.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 26 Mar 08 - 09:02 PM

The pockety attachments I use have separate compartments for receipts, pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, <$20 bills, $20 bills, frequently accessed cards; 3x5 cards, maps & addresses, pen, comb, Swiss Army knife + nailclipper and flashlight, infrequently accessed cards. I do use one of the built-in pants pockets for a folded paper towel. (Attaching the knife to the nailclipper with a loop of cord greatly reduces the chance of losing either.)

*

*Taming your smoke alarm*

If pork chops, cheesecake, etc., set off your smoke alarm, it is usually not necessary to disable it by removing the battery. Aiming an electric fan at it will usually shut it up.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 28 Mar 08 - 09:22 PM

*A permanent shopping list*

For the things from the local shopping center that you keep permanently in inventory (groceries, liquor, and the like), make up a list, roughly in order of their position in the shops, and typeset it on a 2.5-in. measure (dimensions here are for US stationery), two columns flush left & flush right, 5 in. high. Cut it out, and cover it with transparent tape on both sides. Clip it (using one of those springy clamps), centered, on a 3x5-in. card, so that 1/4 in. shows on each side. Then, when you notice you need something, put a tick against it, left or right as the case may be. The last entry should be OTHER, and a tick against that means that you have written something not on the list on the back of the card. When you go shopping, you can put the whole assembly in a pocket or tape it to the handle of your shopping cart. Afterward, you can turn the card over or throw it out and start with a fresh one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Peace
Date: 29 Mar 08 - 06:37 PM

Don't put anything in your ear smaller than your elbow. It isn't domestic and it isn't engineering, but it is good advice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 29 Mar 08 - 08:26 PM

This is not something I thought of, but something I learned in a lab:

*Retrieving small objects from tight places*

-- e.g., a $20 bill that has fallen behind a radiator: Fold a length of sticky tape, sticky side out, over the end of long, thin object such as a yardstick. Fold the ends back on themselves so that the sticky sides stick to the stick. Now stick the stick behind the radiator and stick it onto the object sought.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 01:22 AM

Re: the keys thing.

Don't have the bowl in a place where it can be seen through the letter box or through the door if you have glass panels in it. Similarly, if you have a key rack where you hang your keys, don't put it on the wall within reach of the door. It's too easy to use the sticky stick or fishing rod/magnet method to reach car keys and haul them out through the letter box.

Have the biggest keyring or keyfob that you can find on your keys, preferably quite a heavy one, to make lifting them with the sticky stick method harder. Add extra old keys to increase the weight and confuse anyone who steals them. You'll know which is your front door key, but a thief would spend extra minutes fiddling to find the right key and increase the chances of his being caught. Extra keys will also help if you are in a dangerous area and afraid of being grabbed. Carrying them with keys sticking out between your fingers gives you an inpromptu knuckle duster and an opportunity to mark your attacker by scraping the keys down their arms or face.

LTS


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 09:00 PM

*Squeeze tubes*

-- such as contain toothpaste, salves, etc. -- are now made of plastic rather than metal, which is a blessing in that they no longer break & leak, but does make them hard to keep rolled up. That, however, can be accomplished with the spring clamps that are available in various sizes from stationers for use as paper clips.

Incidentally, at camping-equipment stores you can buy empty squeeze tubes that open at the back & can be loaded with anything you please. They can be used around the house as well; I use one for honey (a commodity that is hard to dispense neatly in any traditional way). Wrap the screw cap in enough turns of tape that the tube can be stood on it.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: katlaughing
Date: 30 Mar 08 - 11:41 PM

Put some vinegar in when wash any new clothing. It takes the sizing stuff out which can make you itch. I knew one man who put on new long-underwear one winter without washing out the sizing. He had an allergic reaction and wound up in ER with testicles swollen to the size of grapefruit. Talk about *sizing!*


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 10 May 08 - 11:17 PM

Compact umbrellas come with a strip of tape tipped with Velcro that you use to keep the fabric from flopping around after closing the umbrella. Perversely, it is always the same color as the umbrella, so that it is often hard to find -- irritating when you are trying to secure a wet umbrella in a crowded bus. Sticking an inch of sticky tape, of some contrasting color, on the other side from the Velcro makes it much easier to find.

*

Frozen orange juice, in the US, comes in cylindrical containers with a flat lid that is secured with a plastic strip that you pull away to open the container. Once that is done, the lid won't stay on -- annoying if you use only a little of the contents & want to stow the rest. However, also in the US, baking powder comes in cylindrical containers of the same diameter with a nice snug plastic cap. Save the cap when you have used up the baking powder, and keep it for the orange juice.

Those caps are also useful for covering a snifter when making hot buttered rum in a microwave oven. (The invention of the magnetron has revolutionized the making of hot buttered rum. It used to take several dishes to make it properly, but now you can just combine everything -- rum, water, lemon extract, maple syrup, butter, nutmeg -- in the snifter you are going to drink it out of, and zap it. Scarcely takes a minute.)


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Escapee
Date: 11 May 08 - 01:35 AM

Always carry a Swiss Army Knife. I like the model with a phillips head screwdriver instead of the wimpy, useless corkscrew. I had a 650 pound tool box(weight, not price ) when I worked and the one tool I used every day was my little red knife. It will repair sound systems and remove warts. It can be used as a slide for guitarists and will also cut stuff.
SKP


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 May 08 - 12:11 AM

I compromised by making the outer garment a regular pair of shorts, and attaching walletlike things I got at Eastern Mountain Sports, by means of snaprings thru the beltloops.

Some of these remedies may be resourceful but are also clear examples of "reinventing the wheel." Instead of all of this labor intensive nonsense with taking apart a pair of shorts for the pockets, simply tie a carpenter's canvas apron around your waist. I prefer the heavy duty cotton two-pocket apron like Home Depot sells for 99 cents. In go phone, gloves, smaller tools, a bandana, small water bottle, etc.

SRS


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Gurney
Date: 12 May 08 - 01:37 AM

Our domestic hot-water system is a cylinder with an airing cupboard above it. If yours is the same, buy a few of those cheapo shopping bags (Save plastic: Save the planet.)and thread them on a suitable slat so that they hang down by the cylinder. Longer-term warm storage. In my case, for arc-welding rods and spare soap (it gets harder, stays harder in use.) Socks on cold Norte Americano mornings?


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 May 08 - 05:42 PM

Sorry--I shouldn't have called that process of shorts with pockets "nonsense," but it does sound pretty silly.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: GUEST,Chief Chaos
Date: 12 May 08 - 06:19 PM

For the "Permanent Shopping List"

Since you've covered it with cellaphane tape, attach a grease pencil to it so that it can be re-used indefinitely. I've also found it handy to put an "x" in the block of something that you currently have in stock and don't need to buy.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 13 May 08 - 10:43 AM

Oatmeal comes in nicely sized cylindrical containers with tight fitting plastic lids. If you have problems with ants getting into breakfast cereal boxes and such, save your empty oatmeal boxes and transfer the problem foods into them.


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Amos
Date: 13 May 08 - 11:01 AM

One word: Leatherman.



A


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Subject: RE: BS: Domestic engineering
From: Joe_F
Date: 13 May 08 - 09:36 PM

S.R.S.: I think you mixed up the two parts of my posting on pants. I did not cut up pants (in ancient times -- 1972-1981) to take advantage of their pockets, but to make them into miniskirts. I had, and have, very little use for the pockets in pants; I keep most of my paraphernalia in attachments. There is very little labor in providing for those. I do keep my (tethered) keys in one of the back pockets, which I stitch across to make it shallower so that I will not be sitting on the keys. I keep a folded paper towel in the other back pocket, mostly for blowing my nose. I do not put anything in the front pockets.

It is true (tho I did not mention it) that I put some work into altering the shorts I buy -- namely, hemming them up because the fashion in shorts these days is too long for my taste.


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