31 December 2010

On The Sixth Day of Christmas....

We (and it's we now because Jen has been doing most of the painting) finished [basically] the bunk beds!

Since my last posting, this has happened:

After removing the old bunks, Raxi helped us carry in the new pieces

I had decided to reuse the old side rails and slats, so we had to line up and drill holes for those bolts

once the bottom was in place we brought in the top

18 majillion bolts later, it was all together!

And now it's mostly painted!

28 December 2010

Stay On Target, or Bunk Bed Saga - Part Foot

Back on track today, I went to the lumber yard to get some 1x10s for the shelves that will be at the foot of the bed (I had bought 1x6s originally, but we decided that deeper shelves would be better).  I cut and sanded the shelves, then began the assembly:

shelves laid out, ready to begin bolting

The semi-tedious part, tightening 24 4" lag bolts*, begins:

12 down 12 to go

them bolts is tight  
Then the really tedious part, tightening 24 6" lag bolts:

thassa lotta bolt
But I did have help, feline:

"I getchu a bolt"

and torque:

kitteh say "puuush"

a wrenching experience  
Finally, it were done:

This footshelf unit is 9 Jambas high

Tomorrow, the headboard and, hopefully, some assembly in the bedroom!

27 December 2010

Wherein the Track Gets Sided

Where were we...

Oh, right, I was building bunk beds for the girls for Christmas.

Well, that didn't get done, thanks of a combination of a spell of vertigo on my part and lack of the exact right tools (I needed an auger bit to get the holes drilled properly).  So, on Christmas day, the girls each got a 1x4, and I showed them the drawing of what will be their new beds.  They were/are thrilled. :)

Also, with my new monitor I had to remove the shelf unit on my desk, as it was built to fit around the old, smaller monitor. So today, I decided to build the new shelf unit (because all the stuff I had on the old one is in a box, and, as it's pretty much all stuff I use on a regular basis, I don't like being able to get to it).  And the girls are at their dad's until Saturday, so I've got time.

But first, I decided to [finally] build my workbench, some of the material for which has been in the carport for several months.  Using that and the  cut-offs from the bed lumber, I put together a workable workbench (is there any other kind?).

legs and top frame assembled

cutting the top boards

instant (almost) worktable!!

Ahhh, now I can cut/nail/screw/sand/assemble up at a comfortable height and not on the floor (or on the kitchen counter)!

On to the shelf unit, which I had drawn up on Google Sketchup:

new shelves on old desktop

My photographer was busy elsewhere while I was putting it together, so no action shots, but here's the thing, done and in place (varnish still just a bit tacky so I haven't loaded it down yet):

ta da!

As you can see, although I got sidetracked, I still accomplished a good bit.  Tomorrow, it's back to the bunks.  But now I'll be able to use my new workbench!!

23 December 2010

...Our Story So Far...

Following up on yesterday's post, I've now done all the cuts (thanks to Jen's NB1 for the loan of the Skil saw - cutting 4x4s with a handsaw wouldnae been much fun) and now have ....

Pile o' Bed

Pile o' Bed 2

Next step, drilling all the holes and, as Norm Abram would say it, "assembuly".

Then it's off to the finish room -- oh, wait. This isn't The New Yankee Workshop, and I don't have a finish room. But I will be staining and polyurethaning my li'l brains out this afternoon and in the morning.

22 December 2010

Stay Tuned...

... as I turn this:

4x4s, 2x4s, 1x4s, and 1x6s awaiting their fate
which is also this:

and a sheet of plywood, which
 and also too as well this:

is in the trades called a "potato chip" because it's all warped (not a problem)

 into this:

for Robin and Julia's Christmas present.

13 December 2010

First Blog Christmas Song of the Season

Frank Kelly's "Christmas Countdown" (heard on the LiveIreland Celtic Christmas Radio )

21 November 2010

Quote of the .... However Long It's Been Since I Posted Anything

On the myth of "Liberal Media":

Furthermore, as far as I can tell, this 'liberal media' meme is not just a necessary article of faith for the culties, but also increasingly a total fallacy. The rest of the media follows along the news cycle that starts with the Conservative cult media - they are still looking at it from a traditional perspective, where they're trying to 'outscoop' by getting to these stories first. They have yet to realise that this is futile, because FOX and the cult media manufactures these stories, and thus they cannot be beaten to the scoop. And so they continue following along, reporting on the stories that appear to be catching public attention, apparently oblivious to the fact that these stories are created out of whole cloth by an agenda-driven propaganda machine.
By the commenter Renaissance_Man at Little Green Footballs

31 October 2010

Today in "Things One Doesn't Often See"

No, not a sane Teabagger.

No, not a coherent Democratic Party.

No, just this:

PROOF!  that there's practically NO climate change.

09 October 2010

Shake, Rattle and Roll

I'm a bit late with this one, but last night there was a strong earthquake.

USGS data from their earthquake site:

And the 'graph from OVSICORI, the Volcano and Seismic Center at the National University (UNA)

The center of the quake was about 20 miles from here, and if you know anything about Costa Rica, about 2 miles west of the caldera of Poas Volcano.

My experience of this one was: a low shake for a moment, which grew to a large shake and then strong side to side movement for about 3-4 seconds... just long enough to make you wonder if it was gonna stop any time soon. Certainly the most ... impressive ... quake I've experienced in the 19 months I've been in Costa Rica.

All in all, pretty dang cool. :)

03 October 2010

Where I Steal Funnies From Lockwood (Again)

He's got this week's Sunday Funnies up, and they're great !!

And, of course, I steal my faves:


And the reason why Star Trek beats Star Wars every time :

19 September 2010

I'd Buy That

I laughed out loud at several this week, including two really good ST:TNG-based ones... and I especially liked this one:

I'm speaking of Lockwood's weekly feature, The Sunday Funnies, of course.  Go ye and check it out!

18 September 2010


Remember when I lived here?

Me, too.

16 September 2010

Cool, Cool Considerate Men.... or, "Why I'm Glad to Live in Costa Rica, Part 3,235"

Because the following are all candidates for election who have already passed the primary hurdle:

Via Dr. Monkey

Post title from this:

14 September 2010

Ze Science, Eet Is Cool

Roman medicine found in a shipwreck:


Within the kit, the archaeologists found a bleeding cup, a surgery hook and a mortar. They also recovered 136 drug vials made of boxwood and several tin containers carrying circular, flat green tablets -- each about three centimeters wide and half a centimeter thick. Because they were sealed, the pills were completely dry even though they had been laying on the sea floor for millennia.


After comparing the sequences to the GenBank genetic database maintained by the US National Institutes of Health, he identified many plants typical of a vegetable garden, including carrot, radish, parsley, celery, wild onion and cabbage. Alfalfa, yarrow and the more exotic hibiscus were also part of the mix.

"The plants match those described in ancient texts such as those by the ancient Greek physicians Dioscorides and Galen. However, more work has to be done since we do not have the complete sequence for each plant, but only fragments which could belong to other species as well," Touwaide said.

I didn't know that pills had been around for that long....

Yup, This is What All Political Ads Look Like to Me

12 September 2010

If It's Sunday, ....

...then Lockwood must have his weekly laugh-fest posted:

Good as ever, Mr. DeWitt!

09 September 2010

Blog Note

I just wanted to point out that I've added a new page to the blog, "In Remembrance of my Mom", the link to which is just below the header picture. I have the post below, her obituary, and the text of one of the tributes from her memorial service. As time passes I will probably be adding more memories of her life.

Click on it if you feel like it, but by no means feel that I will be offended if you don't. It's mostly there so I'll have it all in one place. (Although I will say that the tribute contains some perfect images of my mom :) )

Thanks again to all who have expressed their condolences, both here and elsewhere.

03 September 2010

Loves Ya, Mom

This is the oldest photo, of which I know, of my Mother... from around 1946, possibly a year or two earlier.  She was attending Duke Divinity School, where she met my Dad.  In the lower right, you might (if you click to embiggen) be able to make out the words, "Loves Ya, Mary" that she signed on the picture for my Dad.  Mom was the first woman to graduate from Duke Divinity, and in fact had to push the dean of the school to create a "Women's Program", because back then there just weren't any women ministers.

There is a matching photo of my Dad, and the two were framed and hanging on the wall of their bedroom when I was a kid.

The photo to the right was taken about ten years later, still before I was born, when my family lived in Alaska.  There still weren't any women preachers in the Methodist Church, so Mom was a Preacher's Wife, and mother of four young kids.  Well, in Alaska she was an Administrator's Wife, because the family moved up there for Dad to be Administrator of the Jesse Lee Children's Home, which was then in Seward.

We skip about forty years, to the mid 1990s.  In this photo we see Mom dressed as Mrs. Claus, with my Dad as Ole St. Nick himself.  It was taken the first or second Christmas that my folks spent at the Arbor Acres United Methodist Retirement Community.  (That is Dad's real beard, by the way, and hence the Mr. and Mrs. Claus bit)

In this last photo we have Mom, taken this past Christmas when Jen's parents stopped by for a visit with my folks.  Mom was already in the Special Care Hospice of Arbor Acres, suffering from congestive heart failure.

Mom lived a life pledged to service: to the family as mom, to the church as minister's wife and lay leader, to the community as teacher and volunteer. She was a wonderful woman (not that I'm biased) and lived a long, full, happy life, and she told me several years ago that she was looking forward to what came next... and now she knows.

My Mother, Mary Luke Rutledge, passed away this evening.
10 February 1921 - 3 September 2010

Years and years ago, I asked Mom what her favorite tune was.  She didn't hesitate a bit before telling me it was Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius -- also known as "This is My Song" or "Be Still, My Soul".  I hoped to post either audio or video of the hymn being sung in memory of my dear mother.  But since this is the internet (and because I couldn't find such), I have a video of a group Chinese university students in Hong Kong singing the original words, which can be seen over at Wikipedia -- in, apparently, Finnish (I don't speak either Mandarin or Finnish, but based on the comments at YouTube... well, you get the point).

Here are the words, as written in the Methodist Hymnal, that I know for the tune, and that Mom knew and loved:

This is my song, oh God of all the nations,
A song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
But other hearts in other lands are beating
With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine

My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
This is my song, oh God of all the nations;
A song of peace for their land and for mine.

This is my prayer, oh Lord of all earth's kingdoms
Thy kingdom come on earth thy will be done.
Let Christ be lifted up till all shall serve him.
And hearts united learn to live as one.
Oh hear my prayer, oh God of all the nations.
Myself I give thee; let thy will be done.

Loves Ya Mom,
Your Baby Boy

31 August 2010

Want Want WANT

Photos taken by some friends of mine, interpreters at the Hickory Ridge Homestead, on a "field trip" to Old Salem, in Winston-Salem, NC.




28 August 2010

In Which I Am In Agreement With Abraham Lincoln*

(via Lockwood DeWitt)

*Me being in agreement with Abraham Lincoln, as I know him to have been, is not especially noteworthy, but I needed a title for this post.

Latest Projects

It's hard to see, and this is the best shot my poor li'l camera could manage, but at the left end of the kitchen bar, there is a shelf (covered with stuff already, of course).  The new shelf allowed us to move all the spices and such from on top of the microwave and thereby move the coffeemaker from the bar to the microwave.  Which allows a lot more open space on the bar.   Which, I'm told, looks better.  :)

 Another project, a bit more complicated (c'mon, a shelf is just a chunk of board after all), was to build a little desk for the girls' room, so we could put the computer that had been living on one end of the dining table -- with its massive CRT monitor -- in their room.

Jen's boss gave her a couple of old (non-funcional) solar panels  -- or, as Julia calls them "panner solos", with the remark "Bob could use one to build a desk."  And so I did.  To the right we see one of the panels.

And here are some of the pieces/parts, preparing to be assembled into the new desk.

And, finally, a shot of the (mostly) finished desk, set up in the girls' room, where it is being enjoyed immensely.  Well, not at the moment, because it's the weekend, which means the girls aren't here.  The girls will be painting the desk (the panel/top lifts right out of the framework, so they won't paint it)... I believe the latest plan is "black with white musical notes".

We hope to do some upgrades soon and be able to get rid of the CRT, which will make the desk even more usable.

The End.

21 August 2010


The New Kitteh on the Block:

Yet to be named, 'cause for we just got her from the shelter an hour ago.

She and Raxi have been introduced, and the expected growling and hissing has commenced -- although Raxi's protestations are already seeming a bit de riguer, so I 'spect all will be well very soon.

Эти образы невероятно! (Eti Obrazy Neveroyatno!)

Well, that's what Google Translate says the Russian is for "These Images Are Incredible!" and I must agree.

Stealing the blockquote, as I have the post, from Lockwood DeWitt:
...Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II. He used a specialized camera to capture three black and white images in fairly quick succession, using red, green and blue filters, allowing them to later be recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images.

Go to Boston.com's Big Picture to see the whole incredible full-size gallery of images.

03 August 2010

01 August 2010

From Lockwood DeWitt's Sunday Funnies.  You must check them all out.