Video games, wood preservation, PC hardware, and a quick trip to Las Vegas. Read on.
Having finished the terrace, I'm on to the next childproofing/renovation project. I replaced a rotting wood deck railing with adult-spaced steel cable years ago. I spaced them at 6" so that adding another set of wires would bring the gap down to the prescribed 3".
Just in time for summer, the artificial turf went in and the terrace project is complete. Call it a veranda, call it a gazebo, call it an aviary, call it a beergarden, call it a baby corral, call it a baby thunderdome. Just don't call it unfinished, or we'll have to settle it in the baby thunderdome.
The major indices were on the rise at the end of June but sentiment seems to indicate that we're on a pretty significant downslope. Probably don't buy every dip.
I hit the big one. Luckily this game is co-op so I didn't have to do it alone.
In this post: construction, code, and catching falling knives.
I haven't started a new playthrough of Dragon Age Origins, I just dug up an illustrative image.
After fourteen years of service, my Hayward 0.75 hp pump died. It wasn't an especially dramatic malfunction - the pump would pull water slowly but then trip the heat switch. It may be a repairable problem (e.g. seals) but I decided to go nuclear. I was concerned that the pump was fine but my intake lines were leaking, causing the pump to suck mostly air. With no small effort, I ran a separate pipe directly to the pool to all-but-confirm that it was the pump that needed replacing.
Whether or not covid is truly in our rearview, everything has returned to the pre-2020 norm (more or less).
This one is all about plateaus and precipices. And other things.
So other than progressing plot and content, I don't expect to have much to add to my initial take on Far Cry. Well, except a surprise visit from Danny-f'in-Trejo.
Posting has been somewhat hamstrung. For one, I've upgraded my phone and camera hardware. The other blocker has been an overhaul of my photo preprocessor.
Breakthrough cases? Pshhh, this is fine. Right?
A lot going on in this one, here's a quick table of contents:
The Kevin Smith's Ankle Memorial Palapa has also received the apt nickname The Baby Stable. With the supporting structure built, the wall and roof materials arrived.
I tried to think of a better title - I really did. It's bad now, but in a couple years I'm going to say, "A portmanteau *and* that word we no longer use, spluh". But, like, that's what it was. Memorial Day weekend and then the memening of GME, AMC, and BB. There's no other way to describe it. I'm sorry but I will not apologize.
The backyard terraces need fencing. Since there are two terraces, it almost made sense to connect the two and create a verdana/gazebo/pergola/palapa over the middle terrace.
This guy no longer has to worry about covidd (spelled thusly: c-o-v-i-d-d, the extra 'd' is for a double dose of the Moderna).
Hey, I got it. First dose, anyway.
Whether it's the fireplace, the geforce, or sunny surf sessions, xmas vacation has been about staying warm.
Covid time is time to revisit old projects and entertainment.
Still waiting on the lens, I've made headway on the monopod. I won't cut the main pole until I know how high the lens sits, but I assembled the stem piece.
July is here, that means 80-degree days/70-degree nights, bbq, and crowded beaches - despite the whole pandemic situation.
Having bigger fish to fry, I hadn't really touched the media room in about ten years, aside from swapping some electronics and furniture. It seemed like a modest house project was in order when we hit reopening stage 2.5. The plan centered around repainting a darker, more cinematic color and moving the audio wiring from being exposed to hidden behind moulding.
The Women's World Cup and Gold Cup have offered some exciting and anxiety-inducing soccer.
Review time. Well, review + how-to. Written like I might copy and paste it as a product review.
2019 has been all work and all play.
A year after going tankless it was time to flush the heat exchanger. At Ted's recommendation, Pops originally installed it with isolation valves, so hooking it up to a pump would be a wrench-free affair.
Brutal heat has meant lots of tabletop and video gaming between surf and pool sessions.
Jon, Dan, Derrick, and I took a trip to Park City. After considerable research, it appeared Snowbird would have been the preferred resort (acreage, conditions) but has a small and expensive inventory of on-site accommodations. To add to that, many of the ski areas have insane rental tax rates. Who would have thought Park City would be the more reasonably-priced option (for a ski-in/ski-out trip plan).
Not too much progress on the garage annex. I did a final concrete pour on the tool storage area. The magnetic backer board isn't really a thing, instead it will be plywood with strips of magnets for holding wrenches, screwdrivers, and such.
February of course means the Blind Lady Ale House Cape Run. Most of the usual suspects were there this time, plus Jessica and Shar.
After a couple of months, Monster Hunter World is finally out of beta and flying off of store shelves.
Few spoilers inside. But first, more renovation.
The usual drive. Jes accompanied on the way up but had to fly back for work. We stopped for a night in Burbank and did a meal with her family.
Jes and I did a couple travel weekends, first to SF for a wedding. Since Virgin canceled our flight, there wasn't much free time, but we did sneak in some flag football/running, dinner with the Smiths, and Buena Vista coffees.
The iron fence around the front walkway was pretty well finished, so with the parents wanting to take on a project we decided to do a wood slat replacement.
Of course more east coast trips. I can't be mad, I brought some Pot Belly peppers back this past time. And the one before that I got to ride the sweet Detroit airport tram that is overhead in the terminal.
Finished a few things this month, the first of which was a resurface job on the pool. It wasn't in bad shape, but since I'd drained it I figured I'd go ahead and apply a new layer of epoxy. The canopy made all of this considerably easier, although epoxy in an enclosed area has some disadvantages.
Between the Jeffsea xmas sweater party and being recruited to photo a couple of Christmas cards, seasonal garb has been in full effect.
I'm just over a week/4000 years into Civ VI. It's about what you'd expect - iterative improvements over its predecessor. Here's the downlow:
After a morning paddle out with the bros, Jes and I went down to the cove to watch the fireworks. The bluffs above the caves were a great spot, although the people on kayaks might have had more fun.
I took on a couple of projects this past week. First, I decided to refinish Jon's old surfboard for wall decor - of course it is still rideable. Then I went on to replace the old Ikea (or whatever) bookshelf with something larger, more permanent, and less particle board-y.
Since the futon is semi-permanently relocated to the guest bedroom, I decided to renovate the closets that used to just hang out behind it. Floor, walls, shelves. Now I have decent game storage and a surfboard check.
August is always the craziest month. So megapost.
The computing domain has come along some since we last checked in. Side note: hdr is great for interior photography. I need more practice at mixing, but it's a useful tool for mitigating contrasty environments.
I have been pingponging between not liking the towel bar selection at the hardware store and not trusting the quality of what I found online. The latter was kinda stupid considering where I source most things I evantually got around to putting in an order.
Okay, so night time phone image is atrocious, but it at least unclearly illustrates the presence of sliding doors at the back of the yard. I still need to trim one door to match the slope of the slab, and they could use low clearance screws. But the setup works remarkably well.
Another weekend, another bit of progress on the pumphouse.
So when I left off, the pump house foundation and frame was in place. Plumbing required the solar to be in place, solar required a thing to be put on, so the next step was roofing. It was all pretty straightforward: flush the tiles up to the features below, nail on the line, etc.
It appears the pool has been conspiring with the pump equipment - no sooner do I complete the post-epoxy fill than the DE filter starts leaking. Doubly-so, it's leaking through both the backwash pipe and the backwash valve spindle. All told, the filter has had a good run, but in comparison to current models it's a shame that the backwash valve is part of the filter rather than a separate piece.
Beware of this mother right here. With a little dew on the ground, the LJ Colony pergola makes Eau Rouge look like a casual stroll through the Ardennes. Yep, already had an off, and I just bought the thing.
Long time no see, Internet. So of course there was Halloween, but before that, the Run For Your Lives zombie run (more of a hike-sprint-hike).
Wall tiling is progressing steadily. All that's left for the 12x12s is the foot of the wall, door frame, and shelf face.
Lots going on the past couple weeks, but when is there not?
I mostly finished the vaulting:
Friendsgiving is returning to San Diego next week so I've been working hard on the house.
Having brought in the railing to align with the support pillars, there was an extra bit of usable space around the edges of the deck. So I turned it into planters.
Since my MovieSac is so excellent, I ordered a pair of GamerSacs for the media room.
Productivity first. The deck is nearly complete. Five long planks and a handful of short ones are left, as well as urethane coats, a step, and some trim. Most importantly the railing is in, along with the new support for the upper area.
Removing the old, damaged railing.
The whole shebang this time. Remove, plane, and sand each board, then restain and screw back down. Hopefully the complete prep job will mean more longevity. If nothing else there will be no pokey nails or loose boards.
...but not really. The newest installment of the quintessential Speed Night saga hit theaters on Friday. Though CS made it to the movie, I'll be flying alone on this review:
All three fixtures are up now, the before/after is pretty telling. And now I have a few extra flourescent lights.
To replace the four crusty old flourescent lights in the garage I bought three tracks that I can direct, but provide plenty of ambiant illumination.
I spent the week prepping the garage for the annual Super Bowl party. The walls are now dark green as planned, with some brick red. The ceiling is still white so it's by no means cave-like, but the green adds flavor.
I took advantage of the long weekend to work on the kitchen. Jeff and I boxed in the skylight and added walls to the attic above the kitchen.
As expected, life and times got pretty exciting. The Cathcart breakdown:
More lights for the backyard. Eventually I'd like to swap them out for bigger lanterns, but it suffices.
I added a second sunsail to complete the effect.
This year I got on in the Manbird Invitational. C-Note Five Bill's Top Shelf Chili With Rectum Fyre didn't do well. Next year will be different, I will bring PC12303. It is an extremely potent chili and doesn't waste good steak and bacon on unrefined palates. I will not bring Seared Esophagus. They are not ready for Seared Espohagus.
Monaco is pretty awesome, but nothing beats the double rainbow of F1 and MotoGP Laguna. The Red Bull slap fight will no doubt continue, but on a course that won't be unkind to the McLarens. Maybe Schumi can step it up at his home GP. Yep, now that Webber and Vettel are bickering there are no more likeable characters capable of taking the checkered.
I watched the Cup at Players. The place is good for sports and they had plenty of Dutch brews, but the management is just a pain. Cover cost a Hamilton, no specials, lots of annoying signs indicating seats could not be saved, and Ty got turned away because the place was at capacity by the twentieth minute.
So this weekend wasn't recovery from getting wisdom teeth pulled. That's next weekend. This weekend was housework and yardwork and Superbike Assen.
The master bathroom fixtures: Moen mixer and three way diverter valve, Moen shower head, Kohler body sprays. The valves are pull-on push-off so you don't have to fiddle with the temperature. I went with flush mount body sprays.
Chilies and rosemary and stuff - plants that are used as seasonings so we don't have to grow a whole bunch to have useful quantities. Since I feel that organic foods are pretentious, I'm going to spray them with DDT every week or so.
Fed up with the garage door that opened into the dryer (pictured below), I bought a replacement that would open into the side room. I went with a steel exterior type.
I bought the Sealy cal king that Costco stocks. It's comfy, it's big, it needs a frame.
I finished drywalling the 6x4 loft made accessible by the closet removal. It still needs to be patched, textured, and painted, but that's a breeze. What will it be? Storage space? Cat flat? Panic room?
I started working on a killa chili recipe hoping to pass quals for the Manbird Invitational. Since I'm an open source kinda guy, I'll bore you with pictures and descriptions later.
The master bathroom is progressing steadily.
So the little one had is first birthday this weekend. Cuteness abounded, and was equilibrated that night when his pops and friends went to see Zombieland. Great movie, I'd recommend it to anyone. It's funny, gruesome, and doesn't try to shoehorn too much meaning into a horror/comedy hybrid.
My 20mm f/2.8 came today, the one with the 62mm diameter. Doctor Daddy wants me to shoot his kid's first birthday party and the 50mm and 105mm won't cut it. The plan is to foreshorten the crap out of them (below) so they all look like bobbleheads. That's cute, right?
The grass is growing steadily, though not evenly. No worries there, I'm in no rush, but I'm happy with the color and consistency of the Bermuda.
The painting is done. I'm quite satisfied - no more circusy color scheme. I like the look of the painted tile, it provides a subtle break from the wall texture without clawing for attention.
R, Dan and Dave came down this past weekend. Besides the requisite Halo, Winner, surfing, and tasty food/drink, we were on a mission to clear the rocks out of the second terrace. It's difficult to describe the size of the task. But I should add that Dan cleared out the three juniper stumps that confounded the other two a year ago. Also the pier for the late satellite dish was hammerdrilled down to size.
I had always coveted the F100, but until now I've languished in the N series (or, properly 10-99). With many miles on my D70, the time has come to move up to the D700 (image source), derived from the F100. I'm looking forward to the full frame, cmos, and five fps. Perhaps a Saturday morning at Palomar might be in order.
I rented a d2x this weekend. It handles quite well, all the extra frills don't diminish usability. A d3 is probably out of the question for the next camera purchase, but I'll be interested to see how the d700 compares. The most noticeable differences are the focus speed and frame rate, also the color management blows the d70 away.
Well, I do have another time lapse [Ed: removed] from another epic Settlers match, 17 vps. This one added the great river and event cards, the latter being wondrous at enforcing a more reliable resource distribution. We'll see how Jon does with his.
Jon, Connie, and myself played a couple Settlers matches. We let White Lambda WIN both since it was his bday. He bailed from SoCal (WIN[?]) early because the prospect of being trounced at Axis and Allies cast a grim shadow over his remaining days.
This past Friday I was honored with my first piece of original art. My old boss came over with his family for some steaks and wings, his wife brought along an awesome Japanese-style painting. (And I did in fact straighten the frame after taking the photo.)
The pool light switch was backward. It broke the common so I was getting power to the light even with the switch open. That resolved, my sweet led bulb is working its magic at a whopping 2.75 watts, compared to the 500 watt incandescent I pulled out.
Wednesday was Settlers night. There was great anticipation as we finally cracked open Cities and Knights. The expansion adds considerable complexity to the game, it's a little intimidating at the outset, but is great for playability. The development capabilities in the expansion add quite a few options up front, but they also change as progress is made. I am simultaneously excited for- and fearful of the inevitable Settlers/Seafarers/Cities stratorgy.
There are a few wires to dispose of, all in due time. The couch is a bit off the wall to center its occupants more and provide a space for the woofer. Um and I'm terrible at pillowing couches.
Now that the downstairs floor is done, the floodgates have opened.
Here's my summary/how to on concrete floors.
Reno stands for renovations, not the city.
We left off with our heroes needing to remove some thin set. This called for a terrazo grinder, readily available from Sunbelt and not Clairemont Equipment. While I slaved away at a keyboard, dad and Jon took care of the downstairs concrete. Not to worry, I partook after they headed back to the Bay.
One of these weekends I'll mortar some brick bases around the pillars. But at least I have a well supported deck.
I had quite a few visitors this weekend. The main project - other than good times - was resupporting the deck.
There was a scnax event this weekend. I stopped by to shoot a couple rolls and a few megs. The contact sheets are looking promising, we'll see if there's anything I can use for the final.
By popular demand, I give you the area behind the fence. You can see the recently planted scotch grass that needs to get growing. Uh that's about it. It's steep, it's under some trees, yep. Nothing to see here, move along.
For whatever reason I decided to do the fences this weekend. Well, I decided to start the fences. I'm maybe half done.
Okay let's get started. Chris? Present. Okay, item one: paint the deck. Behr redwood semi-transparent. Two gallons coated it twice (barely) with each coat taking a couple hours.
New lighting for the living room. You probably didn't notice, but I ms painted in a bookshelf to indicate what it'll look like sans line of sight to the light sources. Here's how it is now:
I picked up Fallout 3 a couple days ago.
Tonight I snagged a 60" mirror for my 59" wide bathroom. No big deal, I've always said that drywall is for suckers.
I played around with the cable on account of laaaaag.
The rest of the blinds went up in a few short minutes - the difference being that they mounted inside a sill. That left enough time to put a few base boards down. I threw a few videos up for comparison.
Impressed: My blinds came in yesterday - a pretty quick turnaround from whenever it was that I ordered them.
The mirrors add light and space to the bathrooms. I can get away with the panels for the sides of the upstairs bathroom and all of the downstairs. I shudder to think of how much a custom 5' x 3' is going to run me for the main, upstairs piece.
I ventured into Ikea today. It's far from being my favorite place, their products are about the opposite of what I'm looking for. That is, stuff there tries to be uber-modern and rather low quality. But I was striking out on some things - mirrors in particular - and had to take a chance.
I cleared out the car hold on Sunday thanks to the garage-media room proximity. I was able to relocate all of the tools to the adjacent storage room, though they've been in disarray since being displaced from the upstairs bedroom.
I furnished the media room with some proper couches. They're just one palette up at the moment, but it's great for running audio wiring.
I read that the next Watchmen trailer can be seen at Quantum of Solace. Opening for Batman and James Bond, not too shabby. I was blown away by the first peek, and then slightly anxious when I read that Alan Moore didn't want any credit or money from the project. Further investigation (wiki) is more reassuring; apparently Moore hated the first screenplay written twenty years ago and then declared that the medium was not appropriate for his story. Cut and dried, his point is that only with ...
The 'rents came down this weekend. Mom bought me the taxadermed animal I wanted so badly.
Bobby called to chat me up and managed to suggest moving the tv to the east wall to better accommodate passengers of the media room thrillride. Coincidentally - or not - when I returned from work I found the room arranged as such. Oh well, in the words of Franco, 'give the people what they want.'
I threw up a surf rack and a hanging device for the neoprene. The garage is slowly becoming more spacious.
Floors are in for the dining room, living room, and entryway. Now to find me a bearskin rug and moose head.
The flooring has begun. I don't have any shots other than the above.
Turning the corner gracefully on the hallway floor proved challenging. So we knocked off the entryway area pretty quick (two or three hours). It went well with Jon on the nail gun, Curt on precision sawing, and Connie and Krista picking planks. The ledge into the living room is being obstacular, the remaining gap is just larger than the width of the nosing.
Busy days and nights. The beams have been verathaned. The shower and fireplace are nearing completion. Tomorrow will be a foray into flooring. This weekend will feature some prodigious laying of hardwood.
The first round of tile went in to the downstairs shower. China multicolor slate.
Progress. I picked up the centerpiece for the media room. Furnishings include a futon and Justin's chair. The game systems are there, though tomorrow I have to call Microsoft to take the xbox back a second time. And the tv speakers were atrocious enough I immediately set up audio system.
The hallway, stairway, and unnamed area adjacent to the kitchen is ready to be primed. And that will be the last of it.
So I'm pretty happy with the resolution to my previous indecision.
Another day, another few photos. The kitchen is now cleaned up, real renovations (cabinetry, counters, sink, etc.) are planned for a later date. But tonight was the first real meal thanks to finally having a selection of appliances. That would be chicken and waffles, delish.
So a little while ago the Morelos Era came to an end. It was an lengthy, sickly death with people coming and going in the closing weeks - not befit of the three years of history within the walls. Everyone's parted ways for greater commitments, girls mostly, so I guess it's time to grow up. No more California burritos and daily house memes.
This is the first of what will be many design quandaries.