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February 2006

February 12, 2006

Gifts for the Handy Person

I can help you with the overwrought emotions of Valentine's Day gift giving.  How?  I’ve given bad gifts since birth.  Let me put my experience to work for you. 

How much will my advice cost?  Only your pride.  Simply announce, “Mag swore you’d like it,” and grin wryly.  You’re technically off the hook, and if it goes well, you may even be rewarded with physical affection or better yet, fermented beverages.

Presents of Mind

The best gift for a handy person is something that provides a surge of raw testosterone (yes, even girls get that; we’re very versatile), combined with a low risk of death.

Here are a few suggestions.  (Some of this stuff is even available via mail order, which saves you the trouble of co-mingling with other desperate gift-buyers.  Grab a beer and let your finger do the clicking.)

  1. Quickgrip_clampsClamps – Low physical danger.  Everyone needs more clamps.  If the recipient says “Oh crap, not more clamps” they’re bluffing because they’ve just realized that the gift they got for you is lame. Available at all home centers and hardware stores, or visit www.Irwin.com and check out the selection.  My favourite are QuickGrip One-Handed Bar Clamps, which convert instantly from clamp to spreader.  Now that’s versatility.  (From about $20)

Irwin_bimetal_utility_knifeKnife – Most utility knives are cheesy.  The blades are flimsy and they’re awkward to change.  One of the latest utility knives on the market has an easy-change mechanism and bi-metal blades that just won’t bust.  Made by Irwin – is that the same company that did those great TV ads in the Sixties for all the best childhood toys?  No, but it could be.  Because this knife totally smokes, just like the Irwin Little Hostess Tea Set that  I got for Christmas in 1963. (Knife and refills – about $10)

Construction_master_calculator Construction Master Calculator – I don’t know of a sexier gift, besides silk.  The Construction Master converts feet to meters, calculates rises, runs and tread dimensions for stairs, works with fractions (YOU try subtracting 7 5/16 from 11 3/4).  Whether your handy person needs to calculate board feet, roofing materials, cubic yards or rafter angles, the Construction Master is the secret to avoiding dimension-related tantrums.  Belt-mountable for ease of gloating, this is the absolute guarantee that you’re going to be spending Valentine's night in somebody’s arms, or at least in their dreams.   Construction Master calculators are available at selected Canadian Tire, Home Hardware, Radio Shack and Sears stores, or online at www.calculated.com.  (from about $100)

  1. If none of the above gifts grab you, something at Duluth Trading will.  (www.duluthtrading.com) Duluth proudly sells long-tailed t-shirts to end plumber butt forever, indestructible pants made from fire-hose cloth for the handy person who destroys jeans, belt-mounted holsters for every imaginable tool, and even a Ladder Saddle that turns the top of a ladder into a tool storage center so there are fewer trips down the ladder, and way less swearing.

February 01, 2006

25 Words not to use on a resume

We all need to apply for a job now and then, and sometimes more often than that.  This is a thought-provoking article on how to choose sentences that tell who you really are, while avoiding words that impress almost no one. 

Here's a list of words that apparently hinder your cause rather than help:

·  Aggressive

·  Ambitious

·  Competent

·  Creative

·  Detail-oriented

·  Determined

·  Efficient

·  Experienced

·  Flexible

·  Goal-oriented

·  Hard-working

·  Independent

·  Innovative

·  Knowledgeable

·  Logical

·  Motivated

·  Meticulous

·  People person

·  Professional

·  Reliable

·  Resourceful

·  Self-motivated

·  Successful

·  Team player

·  Well-organized

Ouch.  Why don't these words work?  Because, unless they're associated with actual deeds and accomplisments, they're kind of like stuffing Kleenex into a bra.   


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Mag's Books

  • : We're All In This Together

    We're All In This Together
    Based on four years of interviews with Steve Smith, Mag's unconventional biography reveals the personal stories, sorrows and joys that continue to inspire the man behind the Red Green legacy.

  • : How Hard Can It Be?

    How Hard Can It Be?
    Mag's quirky and entertaining book of home improvement projects for beginners.

Nota Bene

  • It’s never too late to be who you might have been. - George Eliot (1819-1880)
  • Simplicity of character is the natural result of profound thought. - My fortune cookie