Red Echo

March 23, 2014

I’ve been looking for a new pair of nightstands for a while now, but nobody seems to make anything narrower than about 20 inches. That’s way too big – I want something no wider than 12 inches. I’ve been using a pair of skinny wooden shelves as a temporary fix, but they’re too tall and not well configured for their job.

Weeks of Craigslist searches turned up nothing. I started thinking creatively. A floating shelf, maybe? No, they’re all too shallow. A pair of cheap picture frames at Value Village suggested a pair of tabletops, but they didn’t seem sturdy enough. Then I saw a Craigslist entry for a dining room table leaf. No table, just the leaf: the finish looked good and the width was perfect. Aha! I’ll make my own floating shelf.

The finish turned out to be much less nice in person, but no matter; I sanded it off, sawed the leaf in half, made a pair of supports out of hemlock 1x2s, glued the pieces together, and slathered everything in nice dark stain. The shelves are sitting on my back porch now, awaiting polyurethane. Once that’s done, I’ll bolt the brackets to the walls on either side of my headboard, and I’ll have a pair of floating tables.

In other home improvement news, I’ve finished painting my bedroom walls red. It’s glorious and cheery. I still need to fix up the trim, but the place has a really nice warm cozy feeling now. I will still upgrade the lighting eventually but I’m happy to be very near a point where I can feel like I’ve accomplished what I set out to do.

March 21, 2014

I caught myself feeling grumpy about the way the floor of my closet is always untidy, because I can’t see anything under all the hanging coats and trousers and such, and whenever I shift the coats back and forth, the hems knock my shoes over and tumble them around. Grr. So annoying.

Then I had a thought: It’s my house. It’s my bedroom. Why don’t I just… change it? I unscrewed the brackets holding up the hanger rod, shifted it upward by six inches, and remounted it. Hey presto: I can see the floor of my closet now, and there’s enough space for my boots to stand upright.

What can I say? It’s a tall boy’s bedroom. I’m going to adapt it for being tall.

March 20, 2014

March 17, 2014

Hole in the wall

For reasons which baffle my imagination, there’s a horizontal crossmember about four feet from the ground all the way around my bedroom. This made it hard to run wire down to an outlet from the attic, as Romex is not known for its wood-piercing ability. I had to cut a hole in the lath & plaster, stick a drill inside the wall, bore a vertical hole, and feed the wire. Of course lath & plaster is substantially more difficult to patch than drywall! In this picture I’ve screwed a vertical support in behind the patch pieces, then screwed the little bits of lath to it. I’ll smear a thick coating of plaster over the whole mess, then texture to match the surrounding wall.

March 15, 2014

New costume closet

I’ve been storing my costumes in the closet of the downstairs bedroom, but with Jessie H. moving in to that room, I had to reorganize. Fortunately there was this nice big empty space in the utility closet, where Ava’s garden used to be – a four-foot closet rod fits nicely.

March 14, 2014

100 People of Burning Man is a lovely photo series. One format, one composition, one hundred people; each person has one word describing their “passion”. Many different moods, styles, kinds of people.

I’ll go back this summer. It will be good.

It was a slow drive home from work yesterday and I got to thinking about ways I could try to improve my flamethrower. I mean, it’s pretty cool to have a device capable of producing, more or less on demand, three-foot-long blue flames, but wouldn’t it be awesome if it could do… more?

An hour later I was in the parking lot of a gas station with Adam H. lighting up the flamethrower. The owner of the bar across the street, where we’d previously been drinking, walked over and calmly observed that he knew the owner of the gas station and thought he might not be so happy about what we were up to. This was obviously polite code for “Please stop doing that” so we took the gear into the alley around the corner.

What we learned:
– Nitrous oxide injected into a propane flame does not help.
– Nitrous oxide injected into the air inlet of a propane flamethrower causes the flame to turn a sort of brassy color, but does not improve combustion.
– Bartell’s on 15th does not sell lamp oil.
– Bartell’s on 15th does not sell rubbing alcohol.
– Bartell’s on 15th DOES sell lighter fluid.
– A compressed froth of lighter fluid and nitrous oxide, injected into a propane flame, produces OH MY GOD WHAT DID WE JUST DO fire.

WHOA. Eyeball-searing brilliant yellow-white flame, huge gouts of it. SO COOL.

Nobody died. Life is good.

March 13, 2014

I’ve been doing a lot of cooking lately. It’s a great excuse to hang out with people and do something creative that leaves enough attention free to have a conversation. And then you get to eat a meal together, which is always good for reinforcing a friendship.

Redecorating is fun too. I have more projects going than I can make progress on at once, which is entirely predictable. I’ve repainted my bedroom and am half-stalled on a project to install more electrical outlets, since this is an old house and nothing is as simple as it looks. I’ve got a neat project going in the downstairs bathroom, too. On top of that, a new housemate is moving in – Jessie H. is taking over the downstairs bedroom. Which of course means I have to find a new homes for all the stuff I’ve been storing there… but that’s ok and it’s a great opportunity to clear out some things I don’t use anymore.

Work is keeping me busy, too. It’s nice to see the product coming together.

All in all, life is going a lot better than you’d think it might be given the whole divorce situation. I’m going to be ok.

March 5, 2014

Right, so, Ava and I broke up in October, and we’re in the process of getting divorced. It pretty much sucks and I don’t really want to talk about it. Not here, anyway. But that’s what’s been going on.