Friday, May 29, 2009

Engineering a cat yodel

It's Friday. Time for some Engineer perspective on life.

Not sure how the aspect ratio bit related to the whole, but, since I think about aspect ratio a lot in my daily work it worked for me.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It never rains in Sunny Southern California

The top lawn is gone and being converted to hardscape. It'll make a large area for entertaining large groups. No more water or lawn maintnence in this area for me. The Son&Heir is off to college -- I need to reduce my mowing and edging commitments. /heh

I dunno how many years of water and mowing it'll take to get a return on this investment. Like every other project it's costing more than anticipated.

Case in point, that right there is an expensive hole.

Pretty impressive bit of stonemasonry though. 3 feet down and over 2 feet thick. Had to get a pro in to core it for a 4" drain line.

It never rains in Sunny Southern California, but, it POURS!

Tricky digging up here and getting new lines to slope adequately. There's a network of old tile drains that we keep running into that interfere with need for drop in new lines. They collect from the driveway, gutters and back yard. Nearly took one large junction out with a jackhammer yesterday before realizing it was a mortared cluster of tile coming together. Dodged a bullet that time. That would have been a pain to reconstruct.

Drainage of hardscape is a major issue on our lot. The soil below this large wall gets to be like jelly in a hard rain. After this drain is in up top, I need to get serious drainage solutions down below the old granite wall.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I'm baaack

Was on the road over Memorial Day weekend.

The Son&Heir and I flew to Omaha, drove to Oskaloosa to see family and get a dose of "roots." Here we are at Coal Creek Church about to visit the pioneer family cemetery.

Then we drove on to Dubuque for a weekend conference at Emmaus Bible College.

Just as we were leaving town the pool plaster was being finished. That mean't the wife unit had to deal with the pool fill and start up. Not really gentlemenly of me to leave town and leave that on her plate...

All's well that ends well.

The motorized pool cover was installed yesterday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's 5 o'clock somewhere

Got plastered midday today San Diego time -- but it's 5 o'clock somewhere. /heh

The pool got plastered. Not me.

Sheesh! Git yer mind out of the gutter.

It's a light gray pebble type finish with some dark flecks. That should make for nice blue water.

Tomorrow afternoon it gets a light acid etch and then we start filling it up.

Love covers a multitude of sins

... and putty is my buddy. It fills in all the gaps. Yeah, I know. Cheesy parallel to draw.

The pool plaster is going on as I write this.

An army of workers descended and swarmed the pool first thing this morning. They had the shotcrete cleaned in no time and their hoses & lines run while the mixer started prepping the pebble surface finish.

They expect to be wrapped up and out of here by 1100. Then off to another job in the afternoon. I was able to get on the schedule for today in just a couple days notice -- cash on the barrelhead gets you to the head of the line in this economy.

More pix to follow later today.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

They're baaack!

The epi's that is...

The bud of a blood red about to bloom is visible at the left edge of the photo.

Last year...

Busy day in the yard yesterday. Mostly occupied with pressure washing pool deck and coping in prep for plasterer on Tuesday. Took the washer up top and tried it on the front patio's old flagstone. It's mostly Arizona Pink which is a soft, porous stone. It's been neglected many years and looking quite dull. The pressure washer cleaned it up really nice. Had to be careful though. That Arizona Pink is actually a sandstone and can exfoliate a lot under high pressure wash.

O' course once that got started we had to try washing some adjacent concrete areas and the paved ramp down to the pool. Now I've got to looking at the granite face of the large retaining wall. Hmm... I hadn't noticed how much staining and dirt there is from runoff from the upper yard and patio area.

Yeah, pressure washing. Can't stop once you've got started. Like pickin' a scab.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Banning Water

Doctor, Doctor give me the news!

Quote of the day goes to Uncle Ted writing about the annual NRA Convention,

"Peace and love will get you killed, and unarmed helplessness is a welcome mat for evil."

Taking it from the top:
Annual NRA Pow-Wow
by Ted Nugent


Water, water, everywhere water. Know it, embrace it, manage it or drown. Same goes for cars, trucks, chainsaws, knives, crowbars, blowtorches, teakettles and guns. Based on the inept, clumsy, irresponsible failure of braindead, uncoordinated nitwits, I will not be denied the pragmatic, functional utility of anything.

I will not drown, drink and drive, chainsaw massacre anyone, stumble, slice, burn or shoot myself, nor will I ever hold up a bank. So the best advice would be to think, improvise, adapt and overcome, man-up, but by all means, leave me the hell alone. You don’t ban electric guitars just because someone may have a lapse in logic, goodwill and decency and spontaneously break out into country and western music.

*edit: ROFL! the entire article

Related topic:
Interview with John Lott, Jr, Law and Economics professor and author of "More Guns Less Crime"

Friday, May 15, 2009


A picture's worth a thousand words.

Big doin's at weekly High School assembly today. The Son&Heir was recognized for getting one of three NROTC scholarships given directly by the Marine Corp this year to San Diego seniors. He put all his eggs in that basket. No general NROTC app, no Army or USAF -- Uncle Sam's Misguided Children or bust.

That'll do pig. That'll do.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Man enough to say...

...I bit off more than I can chew?

Over budget. Off schedule.

Way over budget. Way off schedule.

Yeah. It's been a mouthful. Maybe we can rent it out for swim lessons or parties or something. /heh Even it does look a bit "industrial" with all the landscaping remaining to be completed.

Hopefully it'll be all set for pre-plaster inspection by COB today. This fence and slope combo turned out to be a much bigger job than anticipated. Esp, with having to meet the fine points of pool barrier codes.

I've got a last minute retaining wall to build today below the foot of the biggest wall. That wall wound up exceeding the "no wall permit required" max height of 3 ft. oi.

Once again the words of a great American philosopher come to mind,"A man's got to know his limitations."

In other news the HS spring musical wrapped up last Saturday night. It was a raging success. They sold ~1000 tickets which covered the cost of licensing and production. Maybe even left a few bucks in the kitty for next year. The rest of power trio rock legendz Flail made appearances in Annie as well.

They pretty much took over the stage whenever they were on -- even when playing bit parts as extras in street scenes. Good memories for the Son&Heirs crew as they prepare to graduate and go their seperate ways.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More Andy: On Phone-In-Polls

You know those shows where people call in and vote on different issues?

Did you ever notice there's always like 18% that say "I don't know.

It costs 90 cents to call up and vote...
They're voting "I don't know."

"Honey, I feel very strongly about this. Give me the phone.
(Into Phone) I DON'T KNOW!"

(Hangs up looking proud.) "Sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe you're not sure about."

This guy probably calls up phone sex girls for $2.95 to say "I'm not in the mood."


Furthermore, I might add, they have the right to vote (not so much /"heh").

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"That's legit right there"

Not sure what that means but that was the text message I got from daughter #2 when she sent along this photo last week. I let her out of a couple classes at school to go across town for the hometown welcome and parade for Adam last week. Why not? She's been working extra hard keeping up with grades while doing Spring Musical. I've had to say no to lots of extra activities she's requested lately so this seemed like an inexpensive treat and wee bit of freedom for her.

Yeah, in case you've been living in a cave in Afghanistan that's American Idol contestant Adam Lambert. His dad Eber is sitting there with him. We worked together many years. In fact, he tried recruiting me to go with him in a spinoff from our employer. Love ya man but no thanks. Of course it's fun to see him in national TV and we're all delighted for him and his family for Adam's success.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Andy on Sunday

"My wife's from the Midwest. Very nice people there. Very wholesome. They use
words like 'Cripes'. 'For Cripe's sake.' Who would that be, Jesus Cripe's? The son of 'Gosh' of the church of 'Holy Moly'?

I'm not making fun of it. You think I wanna burn in 'Heck'?"

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Andy on ads in bills

"Have you ever noticed that they put
advertisements in with your bills now?
Like bills aren't distasteful enough, they have
to stuff junk mail in there with them.
I get back at them. I put garbage in with
my check when I mail it in. Coffee grinds,
banana peels...

I write, "Could you throw this away for me? Thank You."

-Andy Rooney-

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Thespian inspite of himself

Brother and sister, as Rooster and Grace respectively, after last night's performance of Annie.

With apologies to Moliere' for that oblique reference to a farce their father once was cast in a long, long time ago in a place far, far, away...

In fact in the same town in that link but a few city blocks over on the college stage. /heh Small world thing... A google to check spelling of Moliere' and the 3rd link was to the ECT stage where their father did Lion in Winter when he was the same age as the Son&Heir in the photo above.

"I had an alcoholic latin tutor who taught me everything he knew."
"Which wasn't much I might add."
"The trick in not to dribble when you bang the bung."

I just looked closer at the ECT link and noticed that Phillip Wickstrom directed that recent production, of "Physician." He directed the production I was in at Centralia College in '79. Small towns, somethings don't change. Wonder if he's still sporting that spiffy beatnik Van Dyke. Phillip's gotta be getting up there in years...

You want extreme? I'll show you extreme

Or hunker down and fuel the spiral of silence?

Suspect detained over 'extremist' bumper sticker
'Don't Tread on Me' puts driver in 'watch' category in DHS report

Posted: May 07, 2009
10:45 pm Eastern

By Bob Unruh
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

A Louisiana driver was stopped and detained for having a "Don't Tread on Me" bumper sticker on his vehicle and warned by a police officer about the "subversive" message it sent, according to the driver's relative.


Conservative Extremist's, eh?

"Extremism in the Defense of Liberty Is No Vice" Barry Goldwater

Show solidarity and give the jackboots sensory overload by putting the same bumpersticker on every vehicle in town?

Hye thee hither in haste and get your Gadsen Flag stickers while the coin of the realm is still legal tender. While you're at it get a flag for the pole out front and a shirt and hat or two.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Hymn #365

A minister was completing a temperance sermon. With great emphasis he said, 'If I had all the beer in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river.'

With even greater emphasis he said, 'And if I had
All the wine in the world, I'd take it and pour it into the river.'

And then finally, shaking his fist in the air, he
Said, 'And if I had all the whiskey in the world,
I'd take it and pour it into the river.'

Sermon complete, he sat down.

The song leader stood and announced cautiously,

'For our closing song, Let us sing Hymn #365, 'Shall We Gather at the River.'

don't fence me in

Well actually, it's all about getting fences up right now...

Need that 5' high security perimeter for the pool pre-plaster inspection sign off.
This upper portion is wrought iron.

Digging and setting treated wood posts today around the lower part of the pool. I'm leaving them over height. The 5' chain link will get tacked to treated 2x4 rails. The over height portion will get turned into an arbor with a 2x4 tee on the top and some runs of 10ga galvanized wire.

Then we'll just need to settle on a variety of grapes to plant.

Whattya think? A nice Chianti to go with some liver and fava beans? /heh

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Andy Rooney...

On Fabric Softener:

My wife uses fabric softener. I never knew
what that stuff was for. Then I noticed women
coming up to me (sniff) 'Married' (walk off).
That's how they mark their territory. You
can take off the ring, but it's hard to get that
April fresh scent out of your clothes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Annie is the key Easy Street. The son & heir takes a trip down there in the High School Spring Musical.

Sorry for shabby video quality. I was having to do my Seinfeld/Kramer bootleg imitation.

3 more nights later this week. Hope to improve on this recording and get video some of the Divine Miss M (she's cast as Warbuck's secretary "Grace").

Pretty cool having them do a show together. That should be some good memories for them later in life.

Makes light blogging due to busy times around our house though (on top of some sermon prep, working out some pastoral/church discipline issues and trying to keep the pool project moving).