On the way north

Christmas 2

Bad boards

Silo view

Stylish farm girl

Driving with Uncle Brian

Slow moving girl

Renie and Finn

Finn and Grandpa

Date posted: December 29, 2014 | Filed under family, photo, travel | Leave a Comment »

After a sleepy morning, Renie and I returned to Grampy’s barn to go back through the available wood, and we wound up filling the CR-V until the springs compressed. After gearing up for a 20° decrease in temperature and battle with burrdocks, we waded into the weeds with saws and clippers. We made some surgical cuts with an arbor bow saw and walked out with about five 8′ lengths of siding board. Then we dug into a pile leaning up against the silo and found a door and about five more lengths of siding still painted red, with hinges, latch, and striker intact. SCORE. Then we grabbed another 30 or so dry lengths of tongue and groove flooring from under the stack. I pulled the CR-V around through the mud in the cornfield and got it as close to the barn as I could, and we loaded it full in a gentle flurry of snow. AWD for the win!

The 5×5″ beams are still there, so we’re headed back in the spring to grab those, as well as anything else worth taking before Uncle Brian bulldozes it up to the treeline. Renie’s car is loaded tight with flooring and the CR-V is strapped with boards inside and out.

And speaking of Brian, he invited Finn up to his barn for another tractor ride! She got her fill of dogs while waiting for Renie and me (a poodle, a shepherd, and a boxer) and then climbed into a big Deere dually for a spin around the yard. Then she asked to see the combines and he gleefully took her back through the shop to climb around on the equipment. He’s the best, and I don’t know who enjoys those visits more–he or Finn.

…I still can’t get photos off my camera so I’ll dump them all when I get home.

Date posted: December 28, 2014 | Filed under family, finn, honda | Leave a Comment »

File this under AWESOME. The Nashville Chief of Police got a reactionary email from someone in his community, and took it on, point-by-point, in truly epic clarity.

The police are merely a representative of a government formed by the people for the people—for all people.  Being respectful of the government would mean being respectful of all persons, no matter what their views.

Truly brilliant. Read it all here: A Christmas Message for the MNPD from Chief Steve Anderson.

Date posted: December 28, 2014 | Filed under politics, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Finn and I are up at my parents’ for Second Christmas. Mama got taken down by a sinus infection a full week before the Big Day and gutted it out until everyone left after dinner; Finn and I took her to the Patient First that evening and got her diagnosed and treated. She’s resting up at home, as much as we wanted her to come up with us.

Santa is PSYCHED for these cookies, y'all

Christmas morning was perfect. Finn was patient enough to wait for us all to wake up and get our acts together. The Geblers came over in PJs and Santa hats and Grand got there a half-hour later, and we tore into the boxes. Finley got everything she asked Santa for (a rock tumbler, polished minerals, and lots of other science gifts), as well as a better pottery wheel and a plush kitten. Glen gave her an Osmo. which is some really cool technology.


Up in New York, Santa did his usual bang-up job, so I’m writing this among an elbow-high pile of presents in front of some bowl game after putting Finn to bed. After opening everything we got motivated to visit Grandma up on the hill and then to check out the remains of Grampy’s barn. My hope was to be able to salvage some decent wood for sculpture or furniture–well, really, my hope was to be able to reach something worthwhile; it’s been a few years since it fell down, and the brush grows quickly up there. It turns out that there’s still some decent wood to be found up there amongst the burrdocks. Renie and I found a stack of tongue-and-groove floorboards out in the open that might lend themselves to a good project. My Dad told us they were salvaged from the old gym in Sherwood. There’s a nice section of wall in the shadow of the silo that I’ve got my eye on–about five wallboards still nailed to a frame and standing off the ground–so we’re going back tomorrow with some kind of a saw to cut them out. There’s also a pile of six 5″x5″ hand-hewn beams off to the side that Renie and I are going to claim, even if we can’t carry them off ourselves this weekend, which are in beautiful shape.

From my grandfather's barn #IH #barnfind

I’d be posting pictures here but the SIM card reader on my MacBook Pro isn’t working and we don’t have a USB to Mini-USB cord between the four of us, so the only thing I have is my Instagram feed to point at. (shakes fist at TECHNOLOGY!!)

But overall, we have much to be thankful for: another great year, a healthy family, good fortune, and happiness. Here’s to 2015.

Date posted: December 27, 2014 | Filed under family, photo, travel | Leave a Comment »

We had the neighbors over for drinks and dessert on Saturday in front of a roaring fire, and Sunday morning was a bit rough for your correspondent. Having finished the local Christmas purchasing the day before, there wasn’t much to be done other than loaf around in our PJ’s, watch football, and visit the library (how awesome is it having the library within 5 minutes’ walking distance of the house? VERY AWESOME) so we took full advantage of the slacking.

I did finish moving and updating the wiring in the basement to the punchdown block, which makes a huge difference at the foot of the stairs. I then made some short 12″ patch cables and straightened up the router wiring, but the next big step will be installing a castoff gigabit switch I got at work and linking all of the wired ports in the house to one machine.

I also put a new restaurant rack up against the east wall to get a bunch of random stuff up off the floor, and there’s a growing pile of trash and recycling that need to get hauled away. The whole basement is getting an overhaul, in fact. The ice room is going to get cleaned out and organized. My scrap wood pile is being relocated in there, and I’m building a hanging rack along the front wall for our new dining room chairs.

Date posted: December 22, 2014 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »


Finn and I spent some good time running errands with Finn in the Scout this weekend, and it reminded me that I need to order and install new rear seatbelts. They are original to the truck, as far as I know. Finn pulled the female clasp side off of the belt early in the fall, so I shifted her carseat behind the drivers’ side. I’d like to get something more modern and reliable, as well as male clips that reach a little further. The big pain in the ass will be crawling under the truck to put a pair of vice-grips on the tiedown bolt in the center of the bed; at the very least I’ve got to measure everything and figure out what I’ll need for a warm day’s project.

I’m also going to spend a little cash on these LED marker lights and modify them for use, based on this thread from the Binder Planet. Eventually all the lights will go to LEDs but for now I’ll start with this.

And, I asked Santa to bring me a Rotopax setup for the third year in a row, so here’s hoping this time’s the charm. I also put a Hi-Lift retainer donut on my list, as well as a velcro-based LED light for the rollbar.

Finally, I’ve got some time between Christmas and New Year’s to myself; I think I’m going to mosey down to Crazy Ray’s and see if I can find a decent pair of PT Cruiser seats.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: December 21, 2014 | Filed under Future Plans, Scout | Comments Off on Upgrades on the Horizon

Wow, this takes me back in time. This 1979 Ford F350 for sale is the spitting image of my father’s green ’73, which spent a good portion of its life carrying a piggyback camper, topping off with a cross-country trip in the summer of 1980. Same stakebody rear, dually setup, roof-mounted running lights, west coast mirrors, and absurdly curved gearshift.

Date posted: December 19, 2014 | Filed under cars, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

“The cascading notes to Guaraldi’s Vivaldi-like ‘Skating’ are the most vivid representation of falling snowflakes in music,” a newspaper columnist wrote, decades later.

via How Vince Guaraldi Made Charlie Brown Cool.

Date posted: December 18, 2014 | Filed under entertainment, shortlinks | Leave a Comment »

Um, they didn’t contact me directly to mention it, but we kinda won this data visualization contest. I emailed the organization to get more details. Apparently there was a cash prize?

Date posted: December 18, 2014 | Filed under shortlinks, WRI | Leave a Comment »

I haven’t been around here much lately–there’s a lot going on in the leadup to Christmas. Work is going full-bore (it hasn’t really let up since July) and by the time I get home I’m pretty beat. I signed papers with UMBC to be a teacher in the spring, so that gig is official. I’m in the middle of interviewing candidates for the Jr. Designer position at WRI, and I’ll probably pick that up after New Years’. I’m just about done with shopping for the holiday, just a few more things to order and we’re done. I wish I had more to show for things, but right now I’ll just be happy to make it to the 25th.

Date posted: December 17, 2014 | Filed under general | Leave a Comment »