Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mass Transit To Get Around

General Motors automobile mural
General Motors automobile mural (Photo credit: Toban Black)
I may have mentioned that my car has died and I am between vehicles at the moment, relying on mass transit to get to and from work. If I have not mentioned it, I just did.

This is a whole new world to me. I’ve always had a car since I took driver’s ed. at fifteen. Some cars were certainly better than others, but I always had wheels man. This is something I never realized I took for granted. The freedom that comes with that hadn’t really had true meaning until now.

Too many times in the past I’ve run out of ciggies at 2am and been able to just hop into trusty ol’ Red, my Toyota Corolla, may she rest in peace, and shoot off to the store, returning not only with a pack of ciggies, but munchies to satisfy… ok I won’t say it because there are kids here, but if I have the munchies, you can do the math.

Too many times have I broken a string on my guitar after putting off a trip to the music store one too many times, and been able to hop in the trusty ol’ Mazda Pickup (may he rest in peace [why was the truck a HE? I don’t know]) and cruise on down to the music store returning, not only with guitar strings but another guitar strap I really didn’t need.

Just having the freedom on a whim to hop in the car with my telescope in tow and a few Heart CDs heading for the darkness waiting beyond the city limits only to get frustrated that the damn moon moves entirely too fast to really enjoy the experience…ah, but the music was bichin’ and the drive was peaceful, especially with the windows rolled down in the middle of spring.

The list goes on and on and on and on.

Am I spoiled? You bet your bippy I am.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Why You Should Be Doing Stuff Erry Day!

Chapter 27.4 Danish Bakery
Chapter 27.4 Danish Bakery (Photo credit: dancelilsister)

Well we're over halfway through the year.  I can't believe how fast it's gone.  The days go by so quickly you really will miss it if you blink. It's both depressing and exciting. If you do something everyday that contributes to the achievement of your goals then it doesn't matter how fast time travels, as you're moving with it.  It's only depressing if you don't do anything.

Fortunately for me, I have been doing something everyday.  I finally finished the elusive gardening project (which was rabbit infested for quite some time).  My hard work has brought me right up to where I'd left off and I can now concentrate on moving forwards.  I'm also quite happy with the shape of my novel and think that I should be able to complete the first draft without requiring a re-tweak.  After having read the whole thing a couple of times over the last few weeks I am under no illusion that it will need a lot of heavy rewriting once I have finished the first draft.  In a strange sort of way, I am actually looking forward to it.  I think that because the plot will already be in its complete form by then, I can concentrate solely on the words I use to tell the story.

Anyway, I'm off for a little break; I've been writing since waking up and I can't look at a computer screen anymore. Have a great weekend everybody!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Emmy Nod for Mandy!

Mandy Patinkin
Cover of Mandy Patinkin

I’m guilty of having recorded the first couple episodes of a new show only to see its ratings were rather weak, so I went ahead and wiped them off the DVR only to see them ultimately get the axe.  At the time I feel relieved not to have lost another favorite show that I have become attached to.  On the other hand, doing so may have cost me the chance to spend even a little time with a show that is in fact really good.  Case in point, “Three Rivers.”   I became a Carol Barbee loyalist having watched “Jericho” and enduring the “Nuts” campaign.  I followed her to “Swingtown,” another show that I watched despite knowing it was probably doomed to be a one season wonder.  Lo and behold, “Swingtown” was canceled after one short season, but I have no regrets about watching it.  “Swingtown,” much like “Jericho” entertained me.  It is one of those shows that many years from now I will still occasionally pop in the DVD of and watch it.  The same can be said of “Moonlight,” a show which was also doomed to be a one-season-and-out marvel that I immensely enjoyed.  So when the star of that show, Alex O’Loughlin was cast as the star of Carol Barbee’s newest show, “Three Rivers,” I knew I was probably doomed from the start.  Despite this, I set my DVR to record the first episode and then the next morning, before having seen it, I looked at the ratings and hoped for the best.  I wasn’t surprised to see it underwhelmed.  I could have deleted it and not become attached to yet another doomed show, but as I said before, I’m a Carol Barbee loyalist, I liked Alex O’Loughlin in “Moonlight,” and when it comes to television shows, I believe it is better to have love and lost than to never have seen it at all.

If the show disappears from the schedule tomorrow (as of this writing it is scheduled for a one-time time swap with “Cold Case,” which is ultimately a moot point since it will almost inevitably be bumped into the 11 pm hour by football) I will have no regrets about watching it.  If you are one of those who hasn’t bothered to watch “Three Rivers” because you too saw its early ratings and assumed it would check out early, or if you did see it but just didn’t particularly care for it, I ask that you watch the most recent episode, “The Luckiest Man.”  Real life transplant recipient Mandy Patinkin guest stars as Victor, a car accident victim who is also suffering from ALS.  Each episode chronicles the patients at Three Rivers Hospital, some who die and others who are saved by the organs from those lose fortunate.  Each story packs an emotional punch, but none so far have been as powerful as Victor’s.

Spoiler Warning if you’re going to read on: I do summarize some of the events at the hospital, so if you’d like to see this without knowing what happens in the show, please stop reading.
Initially Victor’s prognosis isn’t too bad:  Dr. Andy Yablonski (Alex O’Loughlin” seems to think that with some heart surgery he’ll be able to recover to the point he was at prior to the accident.  However, while in surgery, he finds a larger problem that is further complicated by his ALS.  Now Victor faces more grim prognosis of being hooked to a respirator, possibly permanently, and with very limited mobility. While in the hospital, Victor meets Kuol, a patient of Andy’s who is a refugee from war-torn Africa who made it to America only to find out he has a heart ailment that will require a transplant.  Just through one conversation about baseball, Kuol is able to get Victor to laugh they become quite close.  Victor decides that he doesn’t want to live hooked to a machine, that he wants to donate his heart to Kuol.   The moral questions this episode poses is upsetting enough, but it was Mandy Patinkin who drove viewers to tears (and if you saw it and weren’t at least feeling something emotionally for him, something is profoundly wrong.)  Mandy gave the performance of a lifetime, struggling to speak every word but still arguing with Andy that he wanted to give his heart to Kuol not just because it meant Kuol could live but so that he himself could die.  When he explained what he had to look forward to and summed it up in terms of, “I can’t breathe on my own, I can’t drive, I can’t go for a walk.  Soon…I won’t be able to swallow, or talk.”  Andy tries to reason, “But you can feel, you can think!”  Victor shoots back, “I feel angry!  And that’s how I’m gonna die!  And I think if I could’ve gone out on top like I wanted, I coulda beat that bastard, ALS, one last time…”  Mandy was phenomenal in this episode, those scenes in particular, and I strongly encourage you to at least go to and watch this episode.  If not for the show, for Mandy Patinkin’s performance, whom I hope Emmy will recognize as being as outstanding as I did.  The emotion of his inner struggle to want to die vs. what Andy and his daughter wanted was only the beginning.  The feelings of giving up on life, watching his powerful goodbye with his daughter as he was being rolled to surgery one final time, and then watching the patients who had since asked him for his other organs as well lined up to see him roll off for the final time…  There are no words for the emotional toll that took on me as a viewer.

I again would ask that anyone reading this who has not seen this episode of “Three Rivers” please view it.  You will be treated to one of the finest acting performances I have ever seen.  And the greatness didn’t stop with Mandy, Alex O’Loughlin shined as well as rest of the “Three Rivers” cast.  This is one of those episodes that you will look at many years down the road and remember it.  Some shows are forgettable, some are memorable, this is the latter, and is one which I certainly felt an impact from that will stay with me.  I hope you give it a chance and will agree that this was worth watching, or that at the very least Mandy Patinkin deserves nothing short of an Emmy for his performance in this episode.  He truly was phenomenal.

Friday, June 22, 2012

My Reoccurring Dream

184_2545  Parliament House
184_2545 Parliament House (Photo credit: Kate's Photo Diary)

I am walking through somebody’s backward. It is a typical backyard; green grass, some trees, a fence. There is a patio behind the house, which is to my right. To my left is a steep but short manmade incline, atop which sits a small shed. Behind the shed there are woods. The house is a typical American one, white siding, green or blue shutters, I can’t remember, and a sliding glass door that opens up to the patio, which is basically a cement slab. It’s a warm sunny day, the sky is clear and blue, and there is a cool breeze that rustles thru the trees and over my body as I walk.
I am walking by the house, content with the serenity of my surroundings. I don’t even know where I’m walking but I don’t care, nothing could destroy this moment.
As I walk past the sliding glass door the house changes. Suddenly its siding becomes light brown mud or stucco, its features are no longer American. It is no longer a house, it doesn’t fit into it’s surroundings. I look to my front and there is a man dressed in a black shirt and black pants, his face and head wrapped up in a red checkered scarf so as to maintain his anonymity. He is holding an AK-47 assault rifle. Suddenly in my hands there is an M-4 assault rifle, the exact one I carried when I was a radio operator in Iraq. I raise my rifle and fire into the man, it’s hard to move, almost like I’m paralyzed. The discharge of my weapon is earsplitting, the bullets tear into this man’s chest and he falls back against the wall of the house. To my right there is still a sliding glass door, on the other side there are dozens of men dressed just like this one, just like Iraqi fighters. What happened to the peace I knew only moments before? They begin to fire at me as I turn and run up the incline to the shed, which is now a mud-hut. Now I’m in my desert fatigues and I’m wearing a flak vest and helmet. I take a position on the corner of the house and begin scanning for targets, they’re everywhere. The fighters are trying to make their way to me so I begin engaging them. One by one they fall down, but more come, determined to shatter my peace. Now my old squad is around me, all my old friends from Iraq. My squad leader is yelling orders. We’re all desperately firing into these fighters, trying to stop their advance. They keep coming, it seems hopeless, all our firing can do is slow their advance, soon they’ll be upon us, fear is gripping me; my heart is beating faster. This is it. This is where I’m going to die; the lullaby of gunfire will carry me away from here. Everything starts to fade out. My heart is still beating faster. Everything goes black.
This is one of the dreams i've had since i've come home from iraq

- This hasn't actually been my dream, but it is one that I read through and found quite interesting. I thought I would share as I thought others would find it interesting as well. 

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

February News

productive woodshop morning
productive woodshop morning (Photo credit: windsordi)
Here are a few interesting news related articles and sites I've stumbled across over the past several days. I found them interesting enough to post to my blog, and I hope you find them interesting as well!

Polseguera is a website that features a great collection of interesting articles and resources for a wide range of topics. Many of these include guides and how-to's that are easy to follow and quite interesting.

If you think wood shops are limited to building furniture, take a look at what David Stark did!  He even made cake out of wood. Pretty impressive.

This article got me thinking about what resources I have that I plan on tossing that I can salavage to make something new and unique. Good job to these students!
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Monday, February 20, 2012

Painting Tips

Image Source
Do you have a painting project under way? You will certainly be concerned about the process and execution of Here are five easy tips that will make clean up much easier.
Latex paint
Latex paints are much easier to clean up than oil based paints because latex paint cleans up easily with water. As long as it's appropriate to use a latex based paint, choosing latex over oil will make clean up a whole lot easier.

Just like in elementary school, the sooner you clean your brush after you are done painting, the easier it will be to clean. Putting it off will lead to a damaged brush, which can be expensive in the long run. Don't put this task off if you want to keep your brush in good shape. If you don't have the option to wash your brush right away, wrap it in plastic and put it in the refrigerator, which will keep the brush fairly fresh for about a day. 

Use Water Pressure
If possible, clean your brush and roller covers with a hose or faucet that has the highest water pressure possible. Higher water pressure will let you blast semi-dry bits of paint from the base of bristles in your brush. The water in our house comes out the fastest from the basement wash basin and the hose in the back yard. Check a few faucets to determine which one gives you the highest water pressure.

Don't Waste!

You don't have to throw away roller covers after one use. If you clean them properly, you can use them for several paint jobs.

Make sure the water runs absolutely clear when you are cleaning brushes and roller covers. A brush looks clean before it is actually clean. If you get all the paint out, you will be able to use the brush much longer because dried paint won't build up at the base of the bristles. Check the runoff by getting the paint bristles wet, holding the brush horizontally in front of your eyes and bending the bristles upward. The water that runs out of the base of the brush should be clear before you are done cleaning.

If you want to avoid this kind of mess altogether, it might be a good idea to hire a professional painter. If you are in the local area, there are plenty of Portland Painters that can do a great job and at a fair price! 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Horse Stalls

Horses at Kirkham
Horses at Kirkham (Photo credit: modezero)
If you are a proud horse owner, you understand how important it is to have a horse stall that is built properly and is safe and comfortable for your horse. So when it comes to putting a horse stall, it is always nice to have the peace of mind knowing you are doing the job the right way. This saves you time, avoids costly mistakes along the way, and makes your life, and your horse's, easier. Here's a few simple tips when selecting and putting together a horse stall.

Pick the right location:
Sounds pretty self explanatory, but it something that can go wrong right from the start. Selecting a flat and level area for your horse stalls will help ensure the structural integrity of the stalls and help reduce the wear and tear over the years. Also for the sake of your horses, pick a spot that is protected from the elements: sun, rain and wind.

Have a plan:
It's very easy to mess up something as seemingly simple as a horse stall. Too many people want to save time and just "wing it". Even if you've put together horse stalls before, it's always nice to look at some horse stall plans online to get ideas or see what you can improve on. Also if you have supplies that come with directions, always follow them! There are quite a few forums that are updated by people that have gone through similar experiences and can help you with whatever plans you have.

Horses will do damage to your horse stalls over time, and regardless how nice they are, you will need to perform some maintenance work on them to protect your investment. One damaged part can bring an entire side down, and you certainly don't want horses on the loose! If you plan on painting the horse stalls, make sure you are using paint safe for horses. Horses are sensitive like humans to paint fumes, so make sure the stalls have enough time to air out after painting them.

There are plenty of horse stall manufacturers that can help you out along the way to help provide the proper supplies. It also doesn't hurt to receive some expert advice along the way as well!
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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Picking the right painter

Image Source
For whatever painting project you have on the horizon, it is imperative to pick a painting contractor that will do a great job, and at a fair price. If you don't know much about painting, and don't know how much you can expect to spend, you may want to pay close attention to these tips when it comes to selecting a painter.

If you know of someone who had a great experience with a painter, then chances are, they are a good person to hire! I know of a Portland House Painter that I would certainly recommend to anyone, however not enough people actively seek recommendations from those they know before hiring, and go with the easiest, and often first, painter they can find. However, not everyone knows someone who can recommend a painter. Enter the wonderful internet - full of recommendations from customers of local painters. A majority of companies have Google Maps listings, which often have reviews listed on the business. To be fair, these reviews are often a bit extreme, and may not necessarily reflect the skills of the painter. If a painter has a noticeable number of good or bad reviews, it can help make some early decisions when choosing a painter.

Not all houses are the same and neither are pricing options, which makes determining pricing on your own a bit complicated. Different painters charge in different ways, and may use different painting products, which will influence price. To ensure you are paying a fair price, it is important to get a few quotes before hiring someone. Painters should be able to develop a few options, which hopefully will fit into your personal budget.

Asking if a painter has done a good job or not is often a personal opinion. Home owners are most dissatisfied with how a paint job turned out when it didn't turn out how they expected. This goes to show how important the planning phase and the overall relationship with your painter should be. The amount of time you spend planning with your painter can be a good indicator of how well the end result will be.

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Bird Cages

;Aratinga solstitialis English: A pet Sun Para...
Image via Wikipedia
Making a cage or a pen for your pet is no easy undertaking, and can often not withstand the abuse your pets. Most importantly, you never want to jeopardize the safety of your pets, and you never want to make a pen or cage that has sharp points or wires sticking out from them.

Today's guest post comes from Birds Comfort, suppliers of bird cages. So if you are a bird owner, and you don't feel comfortable with making your own bird cage, listen closely!

If you a bird owner who is looking for bird products with high quality we have news for you. Probably you are already fed up of online information about bird products such as bird cages, bird carriers, bird stands, and bird toys expert advisors and which are the right suppliers. Enjoy your time here if you really care about your pet bird and you will find the proper decision for you here. did a great groundwork to facilitate for the bird lovers and owners. This website is launched 3 years ago whose administrators and the great team of the experience have done a marvelous job to find all information which is necessary for you. All your requirement will be supplied here.

This site is tied up with the fabulous bird products companies and bird suppliers worldwide and their products are with an affordable cost. Thousand of peoples appreciate it. have more than 5000 satisfied customers. And you will be amazed of the prices and the products too. The charges for the same products are exclusively cheaper than in any other online website.  is one of the best launched websites which offers all bird products such as bird cages, bird stands, bird carriers, bird toys and accessories.

The team of the site has worked tremendously for those bird owners who are in desperate need to find valuable bird accessories and bird cages and you will definitely understand its significant role because you can get here the same products with the same quality as everywhere but with an extra ordinary cut off rate which makes the site amazing.

Even if you are a beginner or an expert, you will find all you need here in this giant website . There are also great advice from the experience and wonderful tips for bird training made by the best experts of the bird industry and of course great news. All this is available just for free and also top bird cage experts are here to provide you a good piece of guide. All trainers, families and kids who want to owe a bird enjoy this site a lot.

For more information visit
E-mail us at

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Top Accessories to Include in a Workshop

Engineer's bench vise or fitter's vise - image...
Image via Wikipedia
When just getting started with wood shopping, most people have every power drill and tool on the market without thinking about the basics that should come equipped with every wood shop.  Listed here are some of the more overlooked and basic tools every woodworker should have before starting and work.

1. Bench with a Vise:
This is probably the most used shop accessory by any wood worker, as it is essentially the desk of the workshop office.  Every bench should come complete with a sturdy vise, that allows stabilization from multiple angles.

2. Tool Storage
After collecting a variety of hand and power tools, you will need to find a way to store them in an organized fashion when they are not in use.  Keep in mind there is no uniform way to store your tools, and not every workshop is designed the same way.  Keeping your tools out of harms way will also ensure that they have a longer lifespan.

3. Vacuums and other Cleanup Equipment
Before your shop gets way out of hand with the big project you are working on, invest in some quality shop vacuums.  There is quite a range of available options, from the simple broom and dustpan to industrial dust collection systems that run throughout the shop.  Find whatever fits best with your needs and budget.
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Favorite Woodworking news sources

Woodworking SectionWoodworking Section (Photo credit: Charles & Hudson)
Here's a short collection of some of my favorite woodworking related news outlets.  If you can think of any extras that are missing from this list I would love to hear about them!  Hope you learn something new!

Woodworking News
Woodworking Network
Woodwork Institute
Highland Woodworking
Nelton Woodworking News

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