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Entry: 2010-12-18 19:42:28.595274+01 Not really a frustration by Dan Lyke comments 3

I love that I'm getting so much interest from people who want to hire me.

It'd be even better if all of the "we want to move quickly!" hadn't come in a week before Christmas when I'm taking a long weekend down in Fresno to help Charlene do organizing of family stuff and sneaking time on mooched WiFi that's weak enough that if I turn the wrong way on my chair it disconnects...

[ related topics: Dan's Life ]

Entry: 2010-11-01 16:49:37.608876+01 Dan in tails by Dan Lyke comments 8

[Dan in tails] and around that I managed to move a couple of tons of dirt and landscaping materials

[ related topics: Photography Dan's Life ]

Entry: 2010-08-04 00:49:13.752909+02 Cricut Imagine by Dan Lyke comments 1

Now that it's been announced, I can say that the Cricut Imagine (BusinessWire press release on the Cricut Imagine) is not the product I was working on last year.

But I did do code and do a bunch of soldering for the hardware for a somewhat similar device that printed (at lower resolution using older inkjet technology to try to work around patent encumbrances) and cut, and I like to take some solace in the thought that my version was used as negotiating leverage before it got dropped. Can't blame them for deciding to go with a modern super high res print engine though.

So, yeah, that's why when I got timing pulses wrong I ended up cleaning my office with denatured alcohol.

[ related topics: Intellectual Property Dan's Life Current Events Work, productivity and environment Machinery ]

Entry: 2010-06-30 17:31:59.795096+02 Legal options by Dan Lyke comments 10

So, those of you who've been to my house have seen the situation: Generally pretty nice neighborhood, mixed houses, built from the 1940s on, although most people in our neighborhood have been here for decades; due to Prop 13 our little 768 square foot cottage could very well have the highest property taxes on the street. Our house and the one directly next to it are obviously the same design built at the same time, and we have pictures from when our road was dirt and these two houses were the only man made structures looking east.

The story is that the parents of the resident of the house next door bought it for him to get him out of the house. He probably suffers from some mental illness, in the two and a half years we've lived here we've seen him only a few times, he tries to avoid people. He had a truck when he moved in, but that's disappeared.

The house is a shambles. The shingles are curling, the paint is peeling, berry vines grow over the yard. Once a year contractors for the fire department come out and mow the place so it's not a fire hazard. Several of the windows are partly opened, and we've never seen them change position.

When we see strange people in the neighborhood we go engage them in conversation. One of those people was a process server looking for the him. Late last year the Petaluma Police knocked on our door saying they had a warrant for him and asking if we'd seen him.

A few months ago, PG&E put in "Smart Meters". This is relevant only because the meters got reset at zero, and we can read his from over the fence. It's been zero for a few months. The vines have grown over the front door. There's a possible path in and out along the far fence, but it looks like the only thing that'd provide access to is a window.

So, the question is: What legal mechanism do we start to solve this problem, and what department of the city is that? I've exchanged email with the fire department, and they just have it put on the property taxes. So presumably someone's still paying property taxes. We don't know if some civil judgment (the process server who came looking for him) escalated into a criminal complaint (the police who came looking for him) and he's now incarcerated, or if he's died in there, or if the house is abandoned, or if he's still living in there, coming and going through some means we can't see.

Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

[ related topics: Privacy Dan's Life Law Law Enforcement Real Estate ]

Entry: 2010-05-30 23:57:45.215335+02 Vinegar and Baking Soda Bottle launcher by Dan Lyke comments 6

Sage, the third grader from across the street, and his mom came across to ask some questions, and one digression led to another and he learned how to use a Dozuki and a drill press and a file and we ended up with a vinegar and baking soda soda bottle rocket launcher.

Direct link to the YouTube video.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Video Woodworking ]

Entry: 2010-05-10 02:53:00.960008+02 Weekend's efforts by Dan Lyke comments 0

Last weekend I built some raised planters, the hope is that we can let the tomatoes and cucumbers and eggplants trail over the edge rather than having to stake and cage them up. Yesterday I rounded off some edges on them and drilled drain holes, and Charlene went about trucking a bunch of gravel up the ladder to coat the bottom, and then busting open those bags of soil and planting.

This weekend one of the projects is a lighted frame for a fused glass plate that Alec and Zack and Jeanne made for us a while ago. We had a frame that I made from acrylic that used a ring fluorescent, but lighting technology has moved on, this is going to use a coiled LED rope light.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Woodworking ]

Entry: 2010-04-21 23:47:37.849295+02 Emergency Response by Dan Lyke comments 0

Scenes from a Citywide Disaster, With Mannequins:

...The first person they encounter is a young man covered in blood, running toward them.

“Aaaaaaaaugh!” says the man, waving his arms. “Help meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”
This is a sign that he is probably alright.

Monday before I had the last class of the 40 hour CERT training. We had the class split up into two teams, one doing search & rescue inside a darkened building with various obstacles and challenges, one taking the survivors extracted from that doing triage and first aid. The class had its value and limits, but overall I think it was worth doing, and now I'm looking forward to doing some more of these exercises.

It's been ages since I had my various certs, but one of the amusing things is that the class is taught with the assumption that, unlike most first aid situations, in a disaster situation the rescuer to victim ratio is low, thus I had to un-learn the stock reaction: If they weren't breathing and a head tilt didn't start 'em, mark 'em as dead and move on.

[ related topics: Dan's Life ]

Entry: 2010-03-05 04:46:57.359482+01 Road Tripping by Dan Lyke comments 1

Charlene and I have been tooling around the northeast for the past few days. Full report when we get back. We were over in Boston the day before yesterday, and ended up killing two hours walking along Revere Beach. While we were there we watched a police officer (MA State) behaving extremely unprofessionally, going all drill sargent at a very subservient guy whose car he was towing.

Later that evening we got pulled over for license plate lights and a headlight out, and got some attitude.

I've had 3 moving violations in my life, and several other interactions with police officers, and these two, one which I witnessed, one which was directed at me (but was way toned down from what I saw earlier in the evening) were the worst I've ever personally seen police officers behaving. The first was bad enough that I considered calling someone about it, but I realized that I'm in a strange town, and the last thing I wanted to do was to be pissing off the police.

That right there says something.

The other guy let me off with a warning, which is fine, I can suck it up and let him be an asshole for that.

Other than that, it's been a pretty cool, if more driving than I'd planned on, trip. From Toledo to Sheffield, MA. Toured quickly through my old stomping grounds, including a stop in Harlemville, NY, where I talked with two people I went to elementary school with, thence up to West Lebanon to look at the old house, then back to Great Barrington for the night. Debra Hyde got word we near her state, and Charlene had a friend over in Boston she thought it'd be fun to drop in on, so we went over there and back down through Mystic, CT. On the way back across we got off the freeway at New Haven to avoid an accident, and ended up spending the afternoon at the Yale museums, then up to Newtown CT, where I went to high school, and across. Tonight we're near Syracuse, tomorrow we're going to hit Niagara Falls, then probably return to Toledo via Canada.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Law Enforcement Travel ]

Entry: 2010-01-12 20:30:04.592135+01 Bang! by Dan Lyke comments 5

So on Sunday afternoon, Forest[Wiki] and a few friends came over and we made nitrogen tri-iodide. First attempts to purify iodine out of potassium iodide failed (will have to try this again), so we went and got the little brown bottles of the tincture from the drug store, and pulled out a fairly dirty elemental iodine using the hydrochloric acid (available as "muriatic acid" from your favorite home improvement store) and hydrogen peroxide.

Dropped chunks of that in ammonia, mixed thoroughly, poured through a coffee filter, and... well...

It was cold on Sunday. And overcast. And humid. And that danged coffee filter didn't dry for anything. So we pulled out a hair dryer and started blowing it at the coffee filter. Shortly we heard snapping and crackling, and we realized that the stuff was exploding as it dried and the air hit it.

So we stood around for a little while, and then said "wait, what if we turn the coffee filter over so the paper is protecting the explosive from the air currents?" So we did, and we continued drying the stuff, looking around for other interesting things, when all of a sudden there was a loud "snap" simultaneous to holes appearing in the bottom of the coffee filter.

We resolved to try the whole process again when there was sun and a chance that the stuff would dry out on its own.

But there were a few additional snaps and cracks as I was sweeping up the surface.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Cool Science Health ]

Entry: 2009-12-19 00:46:52.228952+01 Weapons of Mouse Destruction by Dan Lyke comments 0

I'm having trouble with the release mechanism, and I think I need a heavier payload for these things than the gravel from a walk that I'm using here. These are built on the Hila Trebuchet dimensions and plans, but I'm going to get a whole bunch of pennies for ballast, and a couple of superballs for projectiles.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Woodworking ]

Entry: 2009-12-08 07:27:21.343664+01 Organizer for Charlene by Dan Lyke comments 5

Mostly finished the organizer for Charlene. White oak and white oak veneer over plywoods. Learned a lot. And the finish doesn't really match the piece it was built to set on as well as I'd hoped.

Coming from the shop: Cut the pieces for the first curve for the train loop this evening, need to cut the second loop and build a small jig for the Domino so I can put that together and we can get the train running for the holidays, and on a fold down shelf from the wall so we can have it all year round.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Woodworking ]

Entry: 2009-11-18 00:43:43.183748+01 Speaker shelves by Dan Lyke comments 3

Made some speaker shelves for the living room:

MahoganyNoteThemeSpeakerShelves1.JPG MahoganyNoteThemeSpeakerShelves2.JPG MahoganyNoteThemeSpeakerShelves3.JPG MahoganyNoteThemeSpeakerShelves4.JPG MahoganyNoteThemeSpeakerShelves5.JPG

[ related topics: Dan's Life Woodworking ]

Entry: 2009-10-07 21:03:00.886478+02 A younger Dan smiling by Dan Lyke comments 2

Rare photo of me smiling at 18, more grist from the scanner, this one's from my Outward Bound trek in and around Linville Gorge and Table Rock North Carolina, near Asheville.

[ related topics: Photography Dan's Life ]

Entry: 2009-10-03 01:41:35.230469+02 Paddling the Allagash by Dan Lyke comments 0

The scanner mania continues: In August of 1983 I paddled the Allagash Wilderness Waterway for the first time.

[ related topics: Photography Dan's Life Travel ]

Entry: 2009-09-06 22:05:06.93231+02 Today's ride by Dan Lyke comments 0

A little over 50 miles. 15.8 avg. Red Hill to Marshall Wall to Tomales, back through Chileno Valley. Notable incidents:

Overall I was a little slow, but it was good to get back in the saddle.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Bicycling ]

Entry: 2009-07-28 16:40:50.352597+02 Metal buildings and heat/insulation? by Dan Lyke comments 10

Silly question: We have a semi-enclosed awning structure in the back yard. We've started thinking that we could enclose that structure and move the workshop back there, making the garage space clean and getting the sawdust out of the laundry area.

We'll probably have to go for a code variance because the rear setback of the existing structure isn't sufficient and we'd really like to be up against the fence. So we'll just replace the structure as it stands. We've looked at Tuff Shed, yes, they sell a nicer version than the ones that go through the Home Despot, and could get a 12x20 in the $8k range, but we could get an all-metal (galvanized steel) barn/carport like structure of the same size for less than $2k.

Anyone got experience with how hot a structure like this will get in the summer? What sort of insulation concerns we'd need to deal with generally? And what code's like for wiring it (I assume we'd just run everything in conduit)?

I've also got enough concerns with the Tuff Shed that I'm going to price out doing it myself with commercial roof trusses, and think about engineering the thing to carry the loads of a living roof.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Real Estate ]

Entry: 2009-07-06 08:29:15.173481+02 Who the Hell is Michael Jackson? by ebradway comments 14

For some reason, comments are turned off in Dan's original post about Michael Jackson... So I'll just comment out here in the open. It took me a few days to figure out why Dan's comment bothered me.

It must be nice to have lived such a privileged childhood to have avoided African-American culture in the 70s and early 80s to not have recognized who Michael Jackson was. And it must be nice to continue such a privileged existence not to understand the significance of what Michael Jackson achieved. Now that we have a person of African descent in the Whitehouse, it's easy to dismiss the gains made by other black Americans.

Michael Jackson achieved a level of fame and fortune largely denied African Americans. He did so by creating music that crossed racial boundaries. He also used his wealth to purchase the Apple Records catalog. Think about what that might mean to African Americans - that this young black guy can own the creative output of some of the most heralded white performers.

It's also easy to vilify the man. It's hard to imagine what his world was like - growing up performing under an abusive father. He, likely, was always trying to recover his childhood that was sacrificed to his own success. Maybe, in that sense, Michael Jackson and Dan have something in common - unusual childhoods. Dan's childhood perpetuates a sense of privilege. Michael Jackson's childhood perpetuated a need to find, perhaps, the chance at innocence that Dan experienced.

Maybe Dan should do some due diligence and try to answer his question himself: "Who the Hell is Michael Jackson?"

[ related topics: Children and growing up Music Dan's Life Sociology Race Archival ]

Entry: 2009-05-26 18:29:42.676418+02 Party Wrap-up by Dan Lyke comments 0

Dang, I was a bad host: Spent the whole time talking to people and completely missed a few folks and still would have loved to spend quite a bit more time talking to everyone I talked to. Thanks to everyone (especially family members who traveled quite a distance to get here, and my sister Sara and Charlene's sister Athena who quietly made sure the food tables stayed stocked). I had a blast, my Mom says she counted about forty people at one point.

[ related topics: Dan's Life ]

Entry: 2009-05-01 16:23:39.178834+02 Three YouTube Videos by Dan Lyke comments 2

[ related topics: Drugs Dan's Life Video iPhone ]

Entry: 2009-04-22 21:51:56.649464+02 Fruit in Hand by Dan Lyke comments 0

Just a shout-out to Taylor at Fruit in Hand for his awesome work on our back yard. Late last week we were looking at renting equipment and figuring out the right thing to do to pull the beds into something reasonable and I started wondering if, after all the hoop jumping, it wasn't just the right thing to do to hire someone to take care of bed prep. We were initially thinking of hiring a few day laborers, but we've had two friends recently who... had some issues, so we looked around for a more rooted experience and got Taylor and his cousin, who arrived this morning with a truck full of compost and a tiller and made quick work of the back yard, and were not only knowledgeable about planting and growing things, were willing to take the book on biointensive gardening that Charlene had been reading and rework their procedures to match (though they didn't have to change much).

They're wanting to do general garden management, but they did great work just getting us set up. Recommended if you're in the Petaluma area.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Gardening ]

Entry: 2009-04-19 02:44:43.506031+02 Busy day with backyard projects by Dan Lyke comments 2

Busy day with lots of stuff happening in the back yard, moved the bike shed, including some snazzy diagonal cut doors to try to match the existing motif, and moving and restacking the entire lumber stash: Damn we've got a lot of really nice wood.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Bicycling Woodworking ]

Entry: 2009-03-24 03:46:31.8665+01 High Performance Driving by Dan Lyke comments 7

On Saturday, a friend took me out around the track a few times at Infineon raceway. We were in a run group with about 60 cars, most of 'em seemed to be Corvette, BMW 5 series, Audi S and RS, MINI Cooper S, with an exotic or two. 60 cars on that track was a little crowded, so apparently we weren't going terribly fast, but I didn't notice the speed for its lack.

I have a new appreciation for the physical side of auto racing: Yeah, 1G lateral may not be too much, but getting slammed back and forth in the S turns can take a toll on a body.We were out for just under 20 minutes, and between the adrenaline and the physical aspects, that was just about right.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Automobiles ]

Entry: 2009-03-16 14:54:53.728207+01 Kitchen cabinet progress by Dan Lyke comments 0

When Charles Wilson gave me permission to mirror his PDF on building a butterfly leaf style dining room table with two pair of wings, which I wanted to do for this entry, he said: "As long as you give me a link to your weblog, so I can become one of your readers."

So I figured maybe I should post an update on some of the woodworking I've been doing lately. The first weekend in March I milled a whole boatload of maple down to 3/4" and ripped the rails to 2¼" (resulting bucket o' sawdust) keeping careful track of the longer pieces because I knew I wanted vertical grain continuity. That evening, as I was starting to lay out the grain matching, I realized that I wanted grain continuity in the other dimension. So during the week I milled and ripped a few wider pieces, carefully marking them.

Of course the marking system I initially came up with had problems, so on Saturday I cut the miters on the frame pieces, and laid the whole thing out on the living room floor, re-marked everything, and then cut the mortises (145 of them) and started milling the profile on the inside (the outside gets milled later, when the rest of the frame can provide stability on the table). I figure that's about a thousand passes through the router table.

There are a few bits of tear-out that I hope to patch with... something, either glue and sawdust, or a putty, or somesuch. Yesterday evening we were up in Santa Rosa and stopped at Home Despot on the way back south for some concrete backer-board, and wandered through the kitchen section to look for pulls and handles. I got a chance to look at commercial cabinetry again, which reminded me of how much you can obscure when you go with darker finishes that muddle the grain, and when you don't care about the grain matching.

And I think that the sap/heart interface will actually look quite a bit less rustic than that layout on the living roomo floor once the rounded profiles are milled in and the finish is on, but we are very much playing up the grain in this piece.

Similar entry and additional pictures over at the personal blog.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Furniture Woodworking Home Improvement ]

Entry: 2009-03-13 03:13:59.910477+01 Detail work by Dan Lyke comments 0

Argh. Decaf for me tomorrow, I'm running a boatload of patch wires on surface mount boards. I need to rework my soldering workstation so that I'm not hunched over...

[ related topics: Dan's Life ]

Entry: 2009-02-01 23:37:09.665932+01 Random notes from car shopping by Dan Lyke comments 36

Random notes from car shopping, a replacement for Charlene's car:

[ related topics: Dan's Life Automobiles ]

Entry: 2009-01-26 22:44:50.810061+01 New desk by Dan Lyke comments 4

Had a productive Craigslisting this weekend, got some gorgeous maple crown molding to finish off the tops of the cabinets in the kitchen, when we get to that stage, got an air compressor so that I don't have to borrow Phil's, and it seems to be a decent compromise between big enough to actually drive a paint gun, but small enough to be generally useful for things like nailing and cleaning stuff off, and we got me a big-ass cherry desk for my office. Most of Sunday was spent organizing the office. As you can see, we're still not all there. Minutia over at Flutterby.net.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Work, productivity and environment Home Improvement ]

Entry: 2009-01-04 05:35:29.516754+01 House accomplishments for the year by Dan Lyke comments 6

One year in the new house! Things we've done:

Yard and Garden

House Exterior






[ related topics: Dan's Life Real Estate Gardening Furniture Woodworking Home Improvement ]

Entry: 2008-12-03 02:47:52.1277+01 Pot Drawer progress by Dan Lyke comments 3

The 352 holes I drilled the weekend before last paid off, after a little bit of rework 'cause I miscalculated the height of the slides, I bent up some dividers and screwed in the drawer slides, and loaded up the drawers. More pictures here.

[ related topics: Photography Dan's Life Woodworking ]

Entry: 2008-11-27 00:25:36.955851+01 Food flashback by Dan Lyke comments 0

We're gonna disappear for a few days, but Charlene's rented out a hall for a big potluck for her extended family in Fresno on Saturday (any Flutterby readers down there looking to get together with a very diverse group of people? My cell is 415-342-5180...). Somehow we decided that my contribution was going to be sushi, so I went shopping for the Thanksgiving traditional unagi and flying fish roe today, put on dry ice. I'd love to hit Tokyo fish market in El Cerrito, but we're leaving the Bay Area tomorrow, no way to keep stuff fresh that long, so all the exotic stuff has to be frozen. And the local Asian market didn't get lotus root, they said the stuff at the market this morning was sub-par, and I didn't see Natto, although I'm pretty sure I'd be the only person eating that so I didn't look too hard.

If I were just a little more imaginative I'd try to figure out how to make fish eggs, seaweed and rice look like turkey with cranberry sauce...

I haven't done sushi in a long time, haven't done it seriously for other people in a very long time, so when I pulled out the cookbooks and started to review I had this tremendous 1980s flashback, a sudden yearning for squeeze bottles full of brightly colored aoli and syrups, architecturally implausible platings, the whole deal. I may have to find someone to cook venison with blueberries or something similarly bizarre for, just to get it out of my system.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Food ]

Entry: 2008-11-17 05:48:05.394297+01 Boom, but no video by Dan Lyke comments 7

Forest wanted to blow something up. After last time, I was a little nervous about spooking the neighbors, so I thought "well, let's put it under water". So we filled a wastbasket with water, tied a 2 liter soda bottle to a couple of bricks, pumped it up to 150PSI, and took an 8 foot long strip of plywood with a screw driven through the end of it to pop the bottle.

When the water cleared, the wastebasket was destroyed, splayed open like a banana peel, the bottle, of course, was completely unrecognizable, and, after a few seconds, something clattered and tumbled on the top of the shed roof. We started taking stock of the destruction and realized that about a foot of the end of that plywood strip, complete with 3" screw driven through it, was what came tumbling down way over there.

Forest couldn't understand why I was reticent to blow anything else up this evening. Alas, the camera was in a weird mood, so, no video.

[ related topics: Dan's Life ]

Entry: 2008-10-22 16:17:20.341037+02 Breakfast by Dan Lyke comments 1

The nice thing about a partner who ends up using more egg whites than yolks? I get to make custards and Hollandaise and such. This morning I was rooting around for vanilla and found the rose water instead. Alas, the kitchen was busy, so I was distracted and left out the sugar. Still, with a touch of maple syrup, it's pretty tasty. Here's what I meant to make:

Blend, pour into ramekins, and bake at just a touch over 300°F in a water bath until firm, about an hour.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Food ]

Entry: 2008-10-20 14:27:49.784006+02 Irrigation control valves by Dan Lyke comments 0

Dear Irritrol and Orbit, do either of you make a 1" anti-siphon valve that doesn't leak and drip? Two of the four Irritrols I've got do, and while I commend Orbit for building a manifold with 3 valves up, I'm getting dribbles from one of them, and at least one of the other temporarily turns on when the pressure changes, like when I kick on the hose.

Other than that, the irrigation system in the back needs me to crawl under the house and run one more wire (more valves in the back than I'd planned on) and back-filling. And enough time for this nasty blue PVC glue to scrape off my hands.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Real Estate Home Improvement ]

Entry: 2008-10-18 15:19:22.768152+02 Pain in my future by Dan Lyke comments 3

This weekend's gonna hurt, I can tell already. The rental place opens at 8, I'm getting a jack hammer and finishing the irrigation system in the back. Charlene's out of town, so it's just gonna be me and the endorphins, with a break for a hike tomorrow morning.

[ related topics: Dan's Life ]

Entry: 2008-10-16 15:31:09.099352+02 House progress by Dan Lyke comments 2

It's been a busy week. On Sunday, I was going to spend some time putting another coat on the pantry shelves, but Charlene said "It's going to be windy, why don't we do my cedar closet instead". The cedar closet actually involves splitting a closet in two, and cutting a hole through another wall for a door to the second, so we're mid-way on that process, but we have got the box for both built, including most of the plasterboard firewall between the two spaces, and got much of the lining and the hanger rod up in Charlene's space.

Meanwhile, I managed to get the next two coats on the pantry shelves, so last night, in addition to work on the closets, we got those installed. They're built in two pieces, with that center trim strip held on with cams so that we can remove the whole thing when we re-do the wiring (it's currently held 1½" away from the wall to allow the plug for the stove) and when we replace the floors. Obviously, we're nowhere near doors for this yet, we don't even have the drawers for the place where the pots and pans are jumbled over on the right yet.

Somehow I lost 1/2" in this whole thing (or maybe it was taken up by thickness in the linoleum I didn't manage to meaasure), so those carcases go straight to the ceiling. Gulp.

More on the current construction over at Flutterby.net.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Home Improvement ]

Entry: 2008-09-22 18:28:51.794104+02 House progress by Dan Lyke comments 2

Milled a new threshold out of Ipe and put in the first cabinet for the kitchen this weekend. No pictures yet of the cabinet 'cause it doesn't have the drawers in and is stuffed in a corner, but trust me, it looks good for what it is. Also ran edging on a bunch of ply that'll become our pantry shelves, hopefully this evening I'll get time to do two rips to get the edging to the right width (easier to do when it's glued to the plywood) and cut the horizontals. Aaaand, reviews of drawer slides coming soon.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Home Improvement ]

Entry: 2008-09-09 04:07:34.132274+02 Worthless markets by Dan Lyke comments 4

The one thing I don't like about Petaluma is that our grocery store situation isn't nearly as cool as it was down in the Fairfax area. We have G&G, Whole Paycheck Foods, Petaluma Market and Trader Joe's. Better than some areas, but when compared to Good Earth and United Markets they kind of pale; Petaluma's options tend towards the "lots of frou frou processed stuff", but fall a little shy on basic ingredients and produce.

Case in point: I was at Whole Paycheck, saw that they had decent asparagus, and thought it'd be cool to make an aioli or mayonnaise to go with it. I knew we were out of refined olive oil, and unrefined olive oils don't let a mayo fluff up right, so I went to the olive oil. At least two feet by the full height of the shelf in assorted different "extra virgin" olive oils (which, these days, is almost just straight-up code for fraud, unless you know the orchards you're buying your oil from), but not a single refined olive oil.

I laughed out loud at the absurdity, and decided I'd make a Hollandaise instead.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Food Bay Area Economics ]

Entry: 2008-09-02 23:50:43.812666+02 Boom by Dan Lyke comments 3

I'm wanting to do a longer edited version of this, because we've got some good footage, but... Yesterday, Forest[Wiki] came over to hang out. We wired up some valves for the irrigation system (it's amazing how much easier crawling under the house is when there's someone at the hatch with a flashlight to commiserate to), did some work on the kitchen cabinets, and then decided to have some fun. We went down to the local mini-mart and got a 2 liter of A&W, brought it home, drilled a hole in the cap, put a bike tube valve through the hole, filled it half full of water, pumped it up, turned the cap off, and the thing launched out of our front yard and hit the telephone wires. Hard. And the neck of the bottle was all flared.

So we filled a cooler full of water, got in the car, went to Albertsons, bought a bunch of the cheap soda, and went to a local park. Did a bunch of launches, had some fun talking with people there, but after a while kind of felt like we should give the park back to other people, given that with our lack of aim a full quarter to a third of the city block was "down range".

However, the day still wasn't "over", there was no big culmination to playing with bottles at 100+PSI, so we decided to pump one up 'til it exploded. We pegged the meter on my bike pump, which goes to 160PSI, and still no boom (From previous experiments, I expected the cap to be history at about 120PSI), so, with the camera rolling, I grabbed a screwdriver, and from a safe point, dropped it.

Here's a little video, I'll do some higher quality (with a little more context, if everyone involved is okay with appearing in pixels) later. Yeah, we were kinda shocked we didn't have police cruisers in the neighborhood shortly thereafter.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Video ]

Entry: 2008-08-26 02:17:35.845841+02 Kitchen Cabinet Door prototype redux by Dan Lyke comments 4

Some practice doors mounted to a quick & dirty plywood box, 'cause we're still visualizing parts of the new kitchen design. More here.

[ related topics: Dan's Life Woodworking Home Improvement ]

Entry: 2008-08-22 20:52:51.284373+02 Six Flags Vallejo by Dan Lyke comments 2

For my birthday, Charlene had gotten tickets to Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, and since school starts back on Monday, we took advantage of one of our last weekdays off for the year and went yesterday. Around the time I moved to California, the land was being used as an "oceanarium" and zoo called "Marine World/Africa USA" (apparently unrelated to the operations of similar names in Florida), but in 1996 that non-profit defaulted the land to the city of Vallejo, and the company that is now Six Flags was brought in to operate it.

I am aware of the controversies over captive marine mammals. I'm sympathetic to the notion that keeping a 15-20 foot long four ton creature in a swimming pool is cruel. On the other hand, in talking to the trainers of these animals I also see the same spark and love for their charges that I observe in horse people, and I'm quite happy to wolf down a burger. The end result of this short digression into biology and ethics is to explain that when faced with a choice between riding roller coasters or watching marine mammals, I'm headed towards the walrus tank.

So we spent the day in a place now known for its rides, looking at the remnants of what it was 10 years ago. And I haven't gone to an amusement park other than Disneyland[Wiki] and California Adventure[Wiki] as an adult, so that's the standard by which I judge theme parks.

Overall, it was a disappointing experience. We may go back, but only after consideration, and then reluctantly. We weren't quite as disappointed as the folks in this message thread, but that's probably only because we've got more disposable income and expected to be nickled-and-dimed. More in the comments.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Dan's Life Ethics Sociology California Culture ]

Entry: 2008-07-29 03:47:01.885148+02 Ouch by Dan Lyke comments 0

Back from a nice visit with family in Ohio, saw relatives I hadn't seen in decades. Jeff, sorry we didn't get down to the motorcycle show to see you, the momentum to hang out on the grass by the pond was pretty high. Got up at 3:15EDT Monday morning, 12:15PDT, and have fired up the computer to take care of some email, but at quarter to 7 PDT I'm barely coherent. Watched "After The Wedding", hoping for a "help us stay up so we can get past the jet/stupid schedule lag" movie, instead got a challenging Danish drama. More on that later.

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