04724

Dec 14, 2017

7 Actually Listenable Versions of Truly Terrible Christmas Songs

Okay... Christmas music. It has the simultaneous ability to both 1) make you feel all present and warm inside and 2) repel you as far away from any valuing of tradition and seasonal good will as possible. The good songs are good because they're classics, or because some clever band you'd already like in non-December contexts decided to take their turn at a holiday record.

But the bad songs are bad in so. many. ways. At one extreme, they're aggressive mall music that only ever appealed the most simplest of you-can-buy-happiness consumerists. At the other, they're treacly, brusk and brash melodies whose only chance of working at all is being sung by large groups of squirmy children, and you've contributed DNA to at least one of them.

But, just for the fun of it, let's see if we reclaim some of those unbearable, seasonal drudges. Are there tolerable, even enjoyable, recordings of even the most noxious of holiday tunes? Challenge accepted.  

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04719

Dec 05, 2017

Okay, Let's Settle This: What's the Greatest Christmas Movie of All Time?

Many are schmaltzy, a few actually festive, and plenty completely unwatchable, but like it or not, the annual viewing of many a holiday film classic just comes along with the season. And if someone in your house is going to watch one anyway, you might as well make it something worth revisiting year after year.    

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04717

Dec 01, 2017

Hey, ManMade Readers: Can You Please Help Me Pick a New Remote Control?

Hi, all. Chris here. I spent a bunch of time trying to research something last night, and I'm still not sure I'm any more informed than I was before I started. So, I thought I might solicit the very smart and helpful ManMade audience, and let the experts weigh in.

My household needs a new remote control. We've been using the stock one that came with our receiver, plus all the individual remotes for our streaming devices. Currently, it requires at least two of them to select a source, start a show or movie, and ride the volume. The main remote, which used to work with most features, has been slowly dying, and now it can't even select a source or change the volume. I tried opening it up and cleaning the contacts, but it didn't really make a difference. So, new remote time. 

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04599

Nov 27, 2017

Okay, Let's Talk: What Do You Carry Every Day?

Yesterday afternoon, I was putting a load of laundry together, and I took out all of the various bits and items from all my pockets before placing my clothing in the basket. By the time I'd doubled checked everything for errant tubes of lip balm and bonus dollar bills, I had a pile sitting on my dresser that, when I looked down, simply ignited this thought in me: 

Yep, there's all my stuff.    

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Nov 21, 2017

How to Clean Your Entire House in 45 Minutes: A Modern Man's Guide

Your bachelor pad. Your family home. That apartment with all the architectural detail and the amazing view. Wherever you live, houses get messy. And they stay that way, until you clean them. When your plans to let someone inside ends up happening before your hopes of getting your home back to normal, then it's time to clean it. Quickly. 

created at: 09/02/2015

You don't have the time to deep clean and scrub, so make the little bit you have count. If you're smart and focused, you can pull it off in the running time of your favorite record.    

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Nov 09, 2017

8 Inspiring TV Shows for Makers, Crafters, Artists, and DIYers

We all need a little inspiration. When you make something, you are producing output: a physical object or idea that draws on your inner well of creativity. And just like any set of reserves, overtapping the well can leave you with diminished resources. When that happens, the single best way to restock your inspiration stores is to simply experience other people being creative. Books are great, and listening to your favorite music is always energizing, but sometimes, the best thing to do is simply watch other people make stuff. Like, on an episode of TV.

Sure, there's an entire channel that's supposedly about "DIY"ing, but mostly, it's about the relationship drama between people doing home improvement projects. So, I thought I'd share some of my go-to series for when I'm looking for a little inspiration.   

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04708

Nov 07, 2017

ManMade Recommended: Let's All Check Out the Classic Leather Wallet from Mr. Lentz

I can recount eras of my life in wallets. My first was a black trifold at age nine, a Christmas gift from my grandparents. High school and undergrad entered the era of canvas, which would wear hard at the corners where cards hit. In my twenties, I carried a thick oxblood-colored job I found on clearance at a department store. It was the model that signaled the end of the era; the first that didn't come with that little plastic sleeve for photos, because the smart phone had rendered it unnecessary.    

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04709

Nov 06, 2017

What Cultural Icons Did You Experience Too Late to Appreciate?

I burned out early on Halloween movies this year. I watched mostly duds with a few mediocres sprinkled in, and realized I'd spent enough time in shakycameraland for one season. Not being even remotely ready for the annual sacrament of candy cane-fueled holiday classics (it's too early, even for me), I decided to spend this season of limbo - cold enough to need to be inside at night, but too early for Christmas merrymaking - raiding the public library, and watching that list of films I've been meaning to see for twenty years, but simply hadn't gotten around to it. 

It hasn't gone as planned.    

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04707

Nov 02, 2017

7 Things You Absolutely Must Do When Restoring a Classic Car

Editor's note: From time to time, we like to feature the voices of ManMade readers on the site. We love hearing what you're up to, what you're making, and how you stay creative. When ManMade reader Scott Huntington wrote in share his love of classic cars and the work that goes into restoring them, I asked him to share his experience. 

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04703

Oct 31, 2017

If You Have Any of These 11 Items in Your Closet or Dresser, You Should Probably Get Rid of Them

Spring has traditionally been the time for deep cleaning and purging, but for my money, fall is the season best suited. It's the one time of year when all your layers are on display. You've pulled out your wool sweaters and heavy coats for the winter, but your short sleeves are still lingering in the closet. Only now is every single item you own in the same place. This, truly, is the time to assess what you have, and to what you can say goodbye.    

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04704

Oct 25, 2017

Hey, Do You Want to Work with ManMade? We're Hiring!

Hello to all our favorite people out there in ManMade land. We have a pretty exciting announcement to share:

ManMade is currently looking for new contributors. Kaboom.   

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Oct 23, 2017

7 Things I'm Totally Obsessed with This Month (October 2017 Edition)

These are thoughts, the artwork, the news stories, the tools, the food, the conversations, and whatever else we just can't get out of our heads this month.     

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04699

Oct 17, 2017

Question: Does Anyone Actually Like Hard Cider?

I won't make that mistake again. A few Octobers ago, I was at a medium-sized dinner party, and volunteered to be the guy who ran down the block to fill the three growlers the group would enjoy for the evening. The spot only had six taps, so I tasted every one, and came back with the three things I thought were the most interesting: a Northwest Pale Ale, a Cascadian Dark Ale, and a Semi-Dry Honeycrisp cider.

After struggling to juggle three (full and very cold) 64 oz. glass jugs in my lowly two arms, I "knocked" on the door with my left foot, entered, and declared my haul to eight very thirsty guests. Growler One? Good to go. Growler Two? Great, let's try it. Growler Three?

People, I drank Growler Three all by myself. Not all in the first night, but the semi-bubbled leftovers were all mine.

Turns out, absolutely NO ONE else in that group was even remotely interested in a hard cider.    

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Oct 03, 2017

Okay, Let's Talk: How Do You ACTUALLY Make Your Coffee Each Morning?

Over the years, we've shared some of our favorite techniques for crafting the ultimate cup of coffee, the importance of coffee-making as a morning ritual, and how to spike it into an enjoyable, boozey/bitter treat.  

But today, it's not about how to make the ideal coffee.    

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04693

Oct 03, 2017

Why a Backyard Meat Smoker Just Might Change Your Life

Editor's note: From time to time, we like to feature the voices of ManMade readers on the site. We love hearing what you're up to, what you're making, and how you stay creative. When ManMade reader Scott Huntington wrote in to share how he hadn't fired up his grill once for the entire summer and it revolutionized his cooking, I asked him to share his experience. 

My life changed forever this summer. It was the summer I didn’t grill a single time. It was also the summer I made the best meats I’ve ever had, all because of a simple backyard ssmoker. It took my cooking level from “yeah I’ll eat that” to “I need to share this with the world.” And it couldn’t be easier.      

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Oct 02, 2017

Minimalist DIY: Finishing Up My 30-Day Workshop Purge

It's finally done. My first major step on my journey to have less stuff is complete. My shop was cluttered, inefficient, and completely out of hand; and now I'm back in control of my space. Well, mostly. Here's what I've learned from the first 30 days of purging my shop.   

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04688

Sep 20, 2017

8 Things I'm Totally Obsessed with This Month (September 2017 Edition)

These are thoughts, the artwork, the news stories, the tools, the food, the conversations, and whatever else we just can't get out of our heads this month.        

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Sep 18, 2017

When I Make Something For You, I Am Offering You My Humanity

Earlier this year, I agreed to complete a woodworking project for my wife. Actually, I offered and volunteered myself to do it. She has a particular storage need in her office, and because of the weird layout, access issues, scale, etc, it's not something that exists anywhere. It has to be custom built, and installed in the space.

The truth is, I've been avoiding it. It's a big project, and it was easy to move to the bottom of the project list when it was the height of summer. We had houseguests coming in and out of our home, and the days were long and full of activity. 

But now, that season is over, and it's time to start building. I realized this week why I've been putting it off: I'm afraid. It's beyond my skill level, and requires a lot of moving parts that need to line up, just so. In any other situation, this wouldn't be something I'd agree to do, because it's too big of a leap; I need to learn to do too many new skills inside the same project. 

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Sep 17, 2017

Okay, Let's Talk: What's Your Favorite Stephen King Novel?

So... I realized something over the weekend. I was listening to a podcast that had intended to have a conversation about the new Dark Tower movie, but since it was, apparently, completely boring and not worth discussing, they decided to chat about their favorite Stephen King books, movie adaptations, mini-series, etc. And it hit me:    

I have never actually read a Stephen King book.    

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Aug 31, 2017

Note to Self...

A Note to Self: Thursday, August 31, 2017:    

Remember to rest, even when things are going great. 

It's easy to crave time away when you're in a rut, in need of a refresh, or looking for some inspiration. But, right now, I'm actually in a pretty good space.

That doesn't mean there aren't unperceived benefits to stepping away. So, for the rest of this week and next, ManMade is going on vacation.

I'm pretty pumped. I especially like traveling this time of year. Waiting to head out when school is in back in session means the crowds have lightened significantly. But it's also a special time of year. I feel the transition of the

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