Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ready? Set? Winter!

After living in California for 12 years, I'd forgotten all about all there is to do in the fall to prepare for winter's arrival. Life is so much simpler in Cali. I have had to spend every weekend for the last month, completing tasks so I come through it all without freezing, sliding down the driveway to my certain death, and so nothing I own is ruined by the cold, snow and ice! If you see beautiful pictures of New England in the fall, don't think how nice it would be to live here. Just contemplate visiting, perhaps in the fall, when you can enjoy the gorgeous foliage, and not spend days, raking or blowing it off your lawn and driveway. Not that I'm complaining, just adjusting uncomfortably.
Here is a list of ways I'd rather NOT spend my time:
Pay to have 2 cords of wood delivered.
Stack 2 cords of wood.
Blow the leaves out of my yard. Repeat.
Blow the leaves off of my very steep driveway. Repeat.
Station 4 large barrels up the sides of my driveway, and filling them with a sand and salt mixture.
Go to the town sandpile and shovel sand and salt into my truck to fill my barrels.
Clear a space in my basement that has inevidably been filled with something else, so I can take down my deck furniture and store it.
Take down my deck furniture to store it.
Clear my garage, which has become overflow for my workshop, so I can put my convertible away for the winter.
Put my convertible away for the winter. Also add a gas treatment.
Fill up my motorcycle (Lucille) with gas and add a gas treatment, so the gas doesn't turn into kerosene, while she sits for 5-6 months.
Take off Lucille's seat and put the battery tender on her for the winter.
Put the heater in the birdbath.
Shut off the water to the outside spigot and take in the hose.
Get the propane tanks filled.
Put away summer wardrobe to make room for bulky winter clothes.
Get bulky winter clothes out of storage.
Find snow shovels, ice scraper, car brushes etc.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Progress with Blackmail on the Side

Some of progress at my parent's house.
Here are before pictures of the living room and dining room. The 3 rooms upstairs are still underway, but in the final stages. The radiators downstairs were removed, and replaced with baseboard heating. I pulled out the fireplace insert to provide a less efficient but far prettier fireplace. The outside of the house is brick, and there was no insulation, so we had foam insulation pumped in from the inside. This meant holes in the walls, and lots of them. One hole every 10-12 inches in a grid, on all outside walls. Once this one done, I filled the holes, then skim coated all the walls, before priming and painting them. I removed the cheesy looking casing at the top of the walls, and replaced it with a generous crown we had custom milled. The lime green molding in the paneling was pressed with a pattern, so all of that was removed, and replaced with a more appropriate molding for the house.
I think the dog (that's Michael) adds the most warmth to the room. So my Mom picked out a new runner for the stairs and hallway. The estimate for it came in at $2,900. She was really unhappy about that, because she loved the rug she'd found, but she knew that was just too high. She kept saying, it's okay, I'll find something else, but she sounded a little beaten. Finally my Dad said, "Okay, order the runner." I yelled out, I heard that. Mom was really happy, so the next day she called the rug place, and found out she was quoted on some ridiculous 45 foot continuous rug, 13 feet wide, that had to be cut down to 32" for the stairs! The actual rug she needed would only cost $1,100. She was thrilled.
The next day I asked, "How did Dad react when you told him he was saving $1800. on the rug?"
"I didn't tell him, and I'm not going to" she answered. "Now I can get my curtains too."
I laughed, thought a minute, and said, "Don't you mean now we can get our curtains?"

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Pharyngula Mutating Genre

Anon has tagged me for The Pharyngula mutating genre meme.There are a set of questions below that are all of the form:"The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is…".Copy the questions, and before answering them, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations: You can leave them exactly as is. You can delete any one question. You can mutate either the genre, medium, or subgenre of any one question. For instance, you could change "The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is…" to "The best time travel novel in Westerns is…", or "The best time travel movie in SF/Fantasy is...", or "The best romance novel in SF/Fantasy is...". You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form "The best [subgenre] [medium] in [genre] is…". You must have at least one question in your set, or you've gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you're not viable.Then answer your possibly mutant set of questions. Please do include a link back to the blog you got them from, to simplify tracing the ancestry, and include these instructions.Finally, pass it along to any number of your fellow bloggers. Remember, though, your success as a Darwinian replicator is going to be measured by the propagation of your variants, which is going to be a function of both the interest your well-honed questions generate and the number of successful attempts at reproducing them.
My Ancestry:
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Pharyngula.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Metamagician and the Hellfire Club.
My great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is Flying Trilobite.
My great-great-great-great-great-grandparent is A Blog Around the Clock.
My great-great-great-great-grandparent is archy.
My great-great-great-grandparent is Why Now?
My great-great-grandparent is Hipparchia.
My great-grandfathers are Archaeopteryx and Kiefus.
My grandfather is Catnapping.
My Mom is BirdAnonymous
My version of the questions:
• The best silly movie in comedy is: Young Frankenstein.
• The worst earworm in pop music is: Short People, by Randy Newman.
• The best alt-country album in country music is: Wailin Jennys, 40 Days.

To keep the meme alive, I'm passing it along to:

Another Tangential Thinker

Terry's Timeout

Who really cares anyway

Monday, October 15, 2007

My Avatar

Finally, Thanks to Ces, I am going to have an avatar. I couldn't figure out how to do this on my own, but Ces has made it seemingly simple. The first step of the Ces method is to publish the photo in a post. Since I don't have a painting of myself done by Ces, this is what I'd like to use, so here goes nothin!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Whale of a gift

I am a woodworker, this is my creative outlet of choice. I love designing and building furniture, but I also love the little personal things, that are fun to create. Things like signs, jewelry boxes, bird houses, frames, etc. At Christmastime, I love to give things I've made, if I can manage the time. One year I had visited a woodworking gallery with my girlfriend's parents. They had a lot of beautiful things there. Karen, my partner's mother, had expressed an interest in the napkin rings shaped like animals. They were basically flat cut outs of animals with a hole bored into them to hold a napkin. She said, "I'd love some napkin rings of whales, and if someone were to make them for me, I would need eight". This seemed like a pretty direct hint to me. She and her husband Jim had recently purchased a home on a cliff overlooking the Ocean in Northern California. They had to finish it, and they did so with natural maple moldings with cherry pegs. Even the kitchen was all cherry pegged maple. I decided to make the whales out of maple, with cherry pegs for eyes. I started by joining some maple planks together, then cut them into blocks. I designed them so the hole would not be through the whale, but where his tail would curl around to hold the napkin. I bored a napkin ring sized hole through the block, sketched out the shape of the whale, and then my girlfriend Elizabeth (who sanded a ton, and was a big help) and I, removed all the material that was not part of the whale. After we were done carving, we sanded them smooth, then waxed them. It was fun to do, and even more fun to give!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Still Wet Behind the Ears

videoThis is me trying to figure out how to make a movie out of a series of pictures and add sound to it, the way Bird Anon does so well. I took these shots of some bluebirds through my mother's kitchen window last winter when they came out of their houses to eat some of the sumac we tied up in the tree.