Monday, November 30, 2009

Ten Things Since My Last Post

Rather than post small postings every couple of days like normal people, I just seem to post big long ones every two weeks....Oh's ten things.

10. Bar Update. Although, I've got the materials. I still haven't' quite finished building my bar. I'm also still searching craigslist for an appropriate freezer or refrigerator for my under counter kegerator. Damn, I'm good at procrastination.

9. Spokane. We drove to and from Spokane and I didn't get a speeding ticket. However, I had a minute of panic as a cop car came up behind us with lights and sirens as we crossed the I-90 bridge, only to pull over the car next too me. The way 2009 has been, I'm taking nothing for granted.

8. Speeding Ticket. Speaking of speeding tickets, in order to get my speeding ticket deferred and not reported on my insurance I must do the following:
1)Pay a court fee which just happens to be the price of my original speeding ticket.
2)Not receive another driving infraction for one year.
3)Take an online driving class.
4) Blind fold myself and jump a motorcyle through three flaming hoops with a hippo riding in the side car...okay, I made this one up.

And of course this raises a number of questions.
1)How much money does the state get from referring people to this driving school?

2)Can an online driving class make you a safer driver in just 4 hours? If so, every driver in the state of Washington should have to take this now. And every driver in the state of California should have to take it twice.

3) What kind of karma do I need to have to make it another year without a driving infraction? (I'll be taking bets on this. It's even odds at this point.) I went my first 14 years of driving without a speeding ticket. I feel like I might of used up all of my driving karma in those 14 years. Fair warning...if you get in a car with me during the next year, don't plan to get to your destination early or even on time for that matter.

At this point, I feel like I'm being punished for not having a car with cruise control...lets just move on.

7. Job Rescue Update: I'm still seeking to rescue that elusive job. People say it's tough looking for a job during the holidays. But, hell, it's been tough looking for a job all year, how much tougher can it be during the holidays? Are HR departments going to require additional skills like knowing all the words to Auld Lang Syne? (Speaking of that, why does no one under the age of 50 know the words to this song?) I say bring on the job hunt during the holidays. What's the worst that can happen?...I don't get a job?

6. Weather. The sun came out briefly last week and is out again today and supposed to be out again tomorrow. Never take this for granted.

Intermission. If you're still reading this long post, thank you. Feel free to take a break.

5. Beer Pong. I played beer pong for the second time in my life at our friend Jared's 30th B-day celebration. And predictably it ended the same way as the first time I played. I lost and ended up with a headache the next morning. Good thing we were too busy drinking microbrews in college to want to use them for beer pong.

4. Holiday beverages. I had my first brandy and egg nog of the season. And this year's Jubelale is very good.

3. Christmas Tree Hunt. Last Sunday, we headed up to a Christmas tree farm near the North Bend area and picked out our Christmas tree with our friends Jon and Tina. I always look forward to this activity. As there is just something cool about walking around a christmas tree farm, selecting your tree, cutting it down and tieing it to the roof of your car. I imagine it's somewhat like hunting, without all the blood and guts and stuff. I'll post some photos in a seperate post.

2. Husky Footbal Saturday. Apple Cup 2009.
We attended our 3rd game of this Husky football season. A few thoughts...

We opted to go old school and hit the Ave for a couple of pregame beers. We ended up at the College Inn, which has a sweet all you can eat Chili Feed before Husky games. (Insert bathroom humor joke of your choice here).

I'm glad we didn't tailgate. As we walked to the stadium, the parking lot outside of Husky Stadium that everyone tailgates in, looked like a war zone with 30 minutes til kick off. There were people falling over drunk, empties everywhere, friends carrying friends towards the stadium because they couldn't stand up (Leave no one behind). It was a little alarming. I blame the Cougs.

Speaking of the Cougars, Tonja came up with my new favorite (it's new to me at least) anti-WSU chant. WSBooooo!

As most of you know, the game was almost anti-climatic as the Huskies handed it to the Cougars 30 -0.

1. Thanksgiving. As previously mentioned we headed over to Spokane to be with our families for Thanksgiving. It's the first time in about four years, we've been able to be home with our families on Thanksgiving, so it was a great time with lots of eating and good company. In my mind, it reinforced our decision of why it was important for us to move back to the Northwest. It's great to be close to our families and friends. And I guess that is what I'm most thankful for in 2009. Oh and of course, Tonja. : )

And with that the Holiday Season begins...Happy Holidays to all!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Basement Bar

Okay, the squirrels have remained at the top of my blog for long enough. Let's just move on.

During the last week the weather around here has been wet and windy (although shockingly the sun is out this morning). That combined with the sun setting at 4:30 each afternoon, has kind of forced us inside. I've been expecting this. After all it's November in Seattle. But, it's this time a year, that the benefits of having a house with a basement are beginning to become clear.

Ever since we moved into this rental house, I've been attempting to get the basement set up to be a usable space. And by usable I mean a place to hang out, drink beer, play darts, work on small projects and generally not worry about making a mess.

As part of this master plan, the last time we were in Spokane I picked up some pieces of an old bar that my parents have been holding onto for about the last 40 years. My plan is to reassemble this bar and install my kegerator (which I also need to build) underneath the bar.

Several pieces of the bar have gone missing over the years. And the remaining pieces (which are mostly plywood)are in pretty rough shape. Basically, all that remains are two sides and the top. In theory, I could of just started from scratch and built a new one. But, I love the history of this and the fact that my parent's used to use this and that my uncle helped build it. So, I'm going about putting it back together.

The pieces of the bar were wrapped in newspaper. The newspaper dated back to 1982 and was from when we lived at Travis AFB in California. So, that was the last time the pieces of the bar had been unwrapped.

I wanted to keep this project fairly simple and inexpensive. So, I opted just to sand the remaining pieces of the bar and repaint them black as they were originally.

The three original pieces of the bar upside down, as I build a frame to attach the new front to.

After that, I needed to build a new front to the bar. I picked up a half piece of plywood from the home supply store and managed to get it to fit the front of the bar with minimal cutting. My original thought was just to paint it black. But, after thinking about it, I opted to try to class it up a little bit by wrapping the piece of plywood in vinyl.

This required a trip to Joann Fabrics. A few things about this craft/fabric store.
1. Speedy Customer Service is not there strong suit. The place is packed and they've got one check stand open.
2. A 30 year old guy who is not with his girlfriend/wife gets a lot of strange looks walking around a fabric store. Go figure. Granted, I was probably giving some of those same people strange looks, because I was stunned at some of the fabrics people were picking out.
3. They sell some sweet patterns of vinyl. This is good to know as I have eventual plans to recover some furniture.

Anyway, I managed to find a nice sparkly pattern that I thought would go with the red top of the bar and black sides. After being asked by several old ladies, what I was making (code for: what the hell are you doing here?), I finally made it out of the fabric store. Next time, Tonja's coming with me.

I've never done any type of upholstery work. So, I kept it simple and just wrapped the vinyl around the plywood and stapled it on. I thought about putting some padding between the vinyl and plywood, but ended up liking the flat look of the vinyl against the plywood without any padding.

As you can tell from the photo, I don't know what I'm doing. Getting the vinyl tight was interesting.

Decided the floor was a better option for stapling the vinyl to the plywood.

Anyway, I then screwed the new front to some 1 x 2's that I'd used to make a frame for the front. Everything fit surprising well.

Attaching the front of the bar...oh yeah, I also found time to hang my dart board, as you can see in the back.

Almost done...I was happy with the contrast in colors.

It's not quite done. As I plan to run a couple of pieces of trim along the front edges to cover up the plywood edges. And I need to add a shelf inside and figure out where the kegerator, beer lines and tap are going to run. I'll post more as the project moves along.

Right now, I'm headed outside...while the sun is still out....crap, it's gone.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Strange 10 Minutes

I feel kind of like an old lady posting about the weather and squirrels, but for about 10 minutes this morning mother nature didn't want to be ignored.

I'm at home. And I hear a scratching at our back door. It scared the crap out of me. I thought it might be the neighbor's cat, as she occasionally pays us a visit. Not exactly. I peak out through the window and see...

This guy and...

...this guy. And then they meet in the middle...'s awkward. I hope they know each other. And then about a minute later this happens...

And yes the video is sideways. Sorry I wasn't thinking when I was holding the camera. But, you get the point. So, basically this raises the question: Were the squirrels acting strange (seeking shelter on our covered back porch) because they knew the storm was coming? I'm not sure, but it was an odd ten minutes, that I couldn't ignore. And now I've got pictures of squirrels on my blog. Damn it. I'm gonna need to counteract this post with a good beer or sports posting...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

5th of November

Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I know of* no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd (or by God's mercy*)
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring. (Holla*)
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'll never learn.

Once again, I've managed to get stuck out in the rain. I wonder how many times I'll do this before I remember the weather changes every hour around here?

When I left the house a couple of hours ago to walk up to Greenwood, it was a beautiful sunny fall day. So, not only did I just wear a sweatshirt, but I tempted fate by actually taking the umbrella out of my bag.

And of course, over the last couple of hours the clouds have moved in and a misty rain has begun. I swear I didn't used to be this slow of a learner. Maybe this is why I'm still looking for a full time job?

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