Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Home Improvement Projects For 2016

A log home is a non-stop labor of love, I guess...


  • Put some particle board under the expansion to protect insulation - DONE 1/1/2016
  • Insulate the sub-floor in the crawl space - DONE 1/3/2016
  • Insulate the plumbing in the crawl space - DONE 1/3/2016
  • Never spend two days in the crawl space again... - DONE 1/3/2016
  • Replace the dryer, if only so it matches the new washer - DONE 1/4/2016
  • Reinstall my home's street number - DONE 2/6/2015
  • Plug the holes at the peak of the roof the bats use in the summer time - DONE 2/6/2015 [A bat still got in though...]
  • Refurbish the irrigation system DONE May 2016
  • Replace the scary heater in the bathroom
  • Rebuild the steps from the drive to the lower part of the yard
  • Finish sanding, caulking, and painting the exterior
  • Replace the deck rails DONE July 2016
  • Replace planks as needed and refinish the deck DONE July 2016
  • Rebuild the steps from the back of the deck to the back yard DONE July 2016
  • Have installed a metal roof DONE October 2016


  • Get some pieces of furniture from the house after it sells NO LONGER NEEDED
  • Buy a garage
  • Remodel bathroom
  • New carpet
  • Expand the flagstone treatment in front of the fireplace

It Takes A Village

Or at least an iPhone full of contacts...

Many of the improvements to my sturdy little homestead in the Ponderosa pines south of Prescott were performed by some excellent local contractors, each of whom I am pleased to highly recommend.

Peter at Certified Lock rekeyed the place shortly after I moved in. Peter knows his stuff.

Vincent Bruno identified a rather expensive water leak that was earning me frantic calls from the water company, removed a strange spare sink from the second bedroom, and installed a new hose bib in a few short hours. Vince is personable and professional.

John Bruce coordinated the replacement of my single pane, aluminum frame, summer place windows with double pane, insulated vinyl frame, year round home windows. He has also given me some good ideas for the roof I plan to have replaced Summer 2016.

Dave Zink installed the new windows he could and showed me how to install those I had to do myself. It took less than a day. Dave is fun to speak with while he works.

Justin Kaoni safely removed a lightning struck Ponderosa from my yard for much less than others offered to. Justin's customer service is second to none. I hope no more of my Ponderosas die but if they do Mile High Tree Service will remove them.

Rocky Annecchini and his crew prepped, delivered, and spread mixed river rock to match the front and installed decomposed granite in back. He also selected and delivered a couple strategically placed boulders to increase the safety of my driveway. Good guy, fair prices.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

I Didn't Know You Could Cry Over A Liquor Ad

A heartfelt short film masquerading as a commercial...

German film students Dorian Lebherz and Daniel Titz created, on spec, a commercial for Johnnie Walker that tells the story of two brothers (played by Mathew Lewis Carter and Robin Guiver) visiting their childhood home in rural Scotland. It may be the sweetest and saddest 90 seconds I've ever seen on film. The voiceover is read by poet, Johnny “B.A.N.G.” Reilly:

"Walking the roads of our youth

Through the land of our childhood, our home, and our truth

Be near me, guide me, always stay beside me

So I can be free


Let’s roam this place, familiar and vast

Our playground of green frames our past

We were wanderers

Never lost

Always home

When every place was fence-less

And time was endless

Our ways were always the same

Cool my demons and walk with me, my brother

Until our roads lead us away from each other

And if your heart’s full of sorrow, keep walking

Don’t rest

And promise me from heart to chest to never let your memories die


I will always be alive and by your side

In your mind

I’m free.”

When you cry, don't blame me, thank die Herren Lebherz and Titz.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

SpaceX Sticks The Landing!!!

Launching 11 Satellites Into Low Earth Orbit Is Nice, But...

Then the first stage of the SpaceX Dragon 9 reversed course and came back to land tail first, just like in all those 1950s science fiction movies.  

I'm sure Orbcomm, the client who paid to have a constellation of its "Machine-to-Machine" communications satellites put in orbit, is pleased, but that sort of thing happens without incident almost all of the time. 

This was SpaceX's third attempt to land the first stage in a controlled manner, so that these multi-million dollar vehicles can be reused, eventually cutting the cost of spaceflight to a fraction of its current level.  The first two "close but no cigar" attempts - in January and April of 2015 - to land on a barge at sea resulted in some spectacular fireballs.  

Tonight, it all looked just like a Chesley Bonestell painting...

Godspeed, SpaceX!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Who Said Twitter Was Good For Nothing?

Oh wait, that was me, but I was wrong...

Phil Plait, The Bad Astronomer (@BadAstronomer he's actually very good), recommended Monsoon II It's an awesome video that gives the viewer some sense of all the energy and water roiling inside these monstrous storms. Living underneath them is great fun too...

I liked it so much I started following its creator, photographer Mike Olbinski (@MikeOlbinski).

Olbinski in turn uses powerful music by composer Kerry Muzzey (@kerrymuzzey) which I enjoyed so much I started buying his albums! It might be overly simplistic to say Muzzey combines the emotional elegance of Phillip Glass and the power stroke of Hans Zimmer, but that'll get you in the ballpark.

I started with the piece Olbinski chose to accentuate Monsoon II, Paladio: Rebuilt (Extended Version, Full). After sampling several albums, I chose Music for the Body in the Bathtub. Yes, that's its real name, but don't let stop you. Then I downloaded Home Movies. Next, I think will be his Trailer Music series.

Great fun, and all because of Twitter...

UPDATE: Since then I've added The Architect, Cinematica, Trailer MusicTrailer Music 2, and Home Movies 2.  Christmas gifts to myself I guess, at ~$9 an album.  I'm worth it.

I've also, ironically, traded a few tweets with both @MikeOlbinski and @kerrymuzzey in the weeks since I first heard of them.