Wednesday, December 31, 2008

how I will remember this year

When so much has changed in our nation, it isn't easy to pick out a single thing that I will remember 2008 for. We are in the midst of massive financial turmoil and the economy is sputtering to a halt. After a summer with gas prices over $4.00 gave way to a winter that had seen them drop below $1.40, we are all left to wonder what's going on around us.

We are undoubtedly at a crossroads in our understanding of the world we share; a tranformative moment in our approach to energy and resource management, the rights of individuals, our collective place in the world community, and our relationships with our past mistakes.

We have seen great achievement, and great loss. Events like the Olympics in Beijing called our attention in a very clear way to both our individual and collective capacity, and our underestimated ability to deny what shames us.

We've seen some divides widen (Sarah Palin did so much to break down old and outdated rural/ female stereotypes, didn't she?), and others begin to mend (do I really need to say?)

In light of all this volatility and transition, you might expect a few noteworthy items to slip by unnoticed. It's only natural. However, I would be remisced if I were to let one item pass by unnoticed. This summer, when the news was consumed with stories of foreclosure, recession, Obama-mania, and who was going to be on the next season of "Dancing with the Stars," something changed in America.

I'm talking, of course, about Nectarines.

Somewhere around June, this:

Became this:

Um, What?! So we're just going grapefruit size with everything, now? Is that the plan? Agricultural scientists haven't been able to crack the code of making the pit separate cleanly from the fruit, but making the thing 3 times bigger happened over night? I get that there were other things going on, but you would think at least one or two of questions at the presidential debates might have been focused on this. At the very least, a segment on Dateline was in order.

Again, for reference...

If I sound incensed, it's because I am! One of our more cherished food-stuffs was hijacked and no one seems to have noticed. We're not talking about the pluot, the kiwi fruit, or some lame-ass wanna-be like the cherry tomato. This is the nectarine. The silent shepherd of the sapling sea. The pre-pubescent peach. Smooth like a plum, but without all the attitude, this titan of tangy is no flirt. It won't tease you along like that tramp, the clementine orange, only to leave you a few days into the new year. The nectarine is a robust, full-bodied fruit that doesn't take a backseat to anyone. I say we need to leave it alone.

So, you tell me... are we going to go through another year of focusing on trivial issues like the disastrous effects of mortgage-backed securities, the important steps we are taking to correct eight years of ruinous foreign policy, or how to transition a 20th century workforce into the emerging economy of the 21st century. Are we going to ignore the issue until all the members of the drupe family are abnormally large? Is this what we want?

Maybe it is... that actually seems kind of sweet. Nevermind.

As for next year, Let's have hope that it brings us more humility, resolve, and restraint.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Steamboat Christmas

I know its a few days late, but we just got back, and I didn't want to miss the chance to say Merry Christmas to my hoards of readers.

The weather was good, so we drove up to Steamboat to see my folks. We stopped at the top of Rabbit Ears Pass to take a few pics.

My parents showed us around town, and we took a few photos...

The girls in the back of mom and dad's car.

Across a valley filled with vacations homes.

My new favorite salon name.

A little Christmas display in one of the shops on main street.

One tough Hombre

Christmas Morning...

Opening presents...

Christmas Dinner

The Roast - Kristie Approved.

What you get when dad cuts the roast.

Mmmm... rolls.

Mom and Dad... Every time we walked into a store, someone would make a comment about them looking so nice, or being overdressed. You two really are the best lookin' couple in town...

Unless its these two... ahh, to be young and in love.

More photos....

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

SWAP-OFF!!!!!!! TAKE 1

Good evening.

Welcome to the biggest moment of your life. Why is this moment so defining? Well, before this post if done, you will face a fork in the road.

Down one path... despair and regret.
Down the other... glory. hope. maybe even lust.

How do you achieve all these dreams? You'll be mildly surprised to know that all it takes is moxie. The type of moxie that makes you trade something awesome and desirable for this:

POW!!!! That's right. One red toy car, and, count em'... 12345. FIVE HAZELNUTS!

They could be yours, and something better could be mine. Think about it... Do you want something of yours that is awesome, or something of mine that will make you cool?

I'm not going to make it easy, either. I have fancy artistic photography, nostalgia, and whimsy on my side... Check out this sexy shot:

Still not convinced?!! Well, feast on this:

Start making offers, but remember, I need to trade very soon, like as soon as you can possibly get this to me. Best offer wins... Others will have to wait.

... I am in a swap-off super swapping battle with Mr Zeke-a-saurus Tex, and only have 30 days to swap stuff. If you miss out this time, there will be more opportunities. Thanks for your support. You are cool. Not as cool as me, but still cool - If you make an offer.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

buh- rrrrrr!

Just a short post here. I am watching the news. Its -15 outside, -36 with the windchill. Yesterday it was 61.

I took Lacey out earlier, and thought it was cold enough that she should have her sweater on. It didn't matter much, because got about halfway through our usual route when she pooped, then sat down and started whimpering and crying. I had to pick her up and put her inside my coat for the walk back home. Poor little thing.

Friday, December 12, 2008

winter in colorado

just a taste of the good times here.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

stuff you should know about stuff that is awesome

Its been a while, but you favorite regular feature here at Items Deemed Adequate for Print is back.

Today we bring you the people who brought you the hits. Of course you already know who I'm talking about. I don't even got to say it. You're already already popping and locking even without the track startin up. If you got an expensive hat on, now is the time to remove it. Better do it now, because this groove is about to explode your dome.

So, don't be shy.
Turn up the volume, and grab a friend or two, and get to it.....

Cause there's a Meeting in the Ladies Room.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

first snow of the season

Well, we made it to the 28th of November without any of the white stuff, but aas the turkey began to digest, and lights started going up, the flakes started falling. This morning we woke up to about 2 or 3 inches on the ground and in the trees. Its officially Christmas in Thornton... We hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. We're looking forward to Christmas.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

$40 built-ins

I've been meaning to post this for a while. We have been making some changes around the house, and Kristie decided it was time for the computer to have a new home. Until now, it has lived on our kitchen table, because I spent so much time on it for school, but didn't like being alone all day and night in the guest bedroom. Obviously, the kitchen table wasn't the greatest place either, so once school was over in summer, Kristie had the idea to build a place for the desk in a corner of the living room where we had a bookcase.

Here is what it looked like after we cleaned off the old book case. If you look closely, you can see the sweet handyman job I did cutting a hole for the stereo with a cordless drill like 8 years ago.

Ok, so now on to the new shelves and desk. The project was actually quite simple. to make the shelves you will need the following:

4'-0" x 8'-0" sheet of 1/4" furniture grade birch plywood.
1/4" x 2" poplar trim to cover the fronts
Scrap wood to cut into 1 1/2" segments to support the hollow interior of the shelves
Pin nails for a clean look on the assembled pieces.
Wood Stain/ Protectant
Wood glue
Screws/ Drywall Anchors

A band saw or jig saw with a guide for cutting straight lines in the plywood.
A pencil
A measuring tape (I am super exact and use a good ruler for the smaller measurements)
Clamps for glue-up/ assembly.
A hammer/ pin nailer (its good to have access to the school's shop.)
Staining Rags
Drill/ Screwdriver
Something that will give to a good right angle.

Begin by skecthing out what you want to do. try drawing the entire wall it will go on to get a feel of how the shelves will look in the context of the rest of your stuff.

Next, take careful measurements of the area you want to build in. don't assume corners are at 45 or 90 degree angles, either. A little time here will save you a lot of headaches later.

Before you go to your local home improvement store, consider reusing some leftover wood from another project or a pice of furniture that isn't quite working for you anymore. I've seen some pretty amazing stuff created from pieces that would have been thrown out. Also, you can offset your project cost a lot by selling old stuff that you are replacing with the shleves. We made back almost all our money by selling the old bookcase on craigslist.

Make a drawing of your project that lays out the components in the way that allows you to get the most from the material you buy. Waste material is wasted money, and you can avoid 80% of it by planning out how you cut up the sheet(s) you buy.

Finally, use the lowest grade stuff for the ares you won't see, like the interior supports and wall hangers.

Production pointers:

The most important thing here is to make sure your top and bottom pieces are the same. After you glue them up, use a sander to match up the edges. This way, you will have a nice clean edge for the front and side trim.

Try dryfitting them into place before doing a final sanding for the perfect fit.

Make sure you provide plenty of interior cross-support for wide desk sections. you want the lightness of a hollow desk, with the structural integrity of something solid.

Don't forget to leave room around the edges for the wall hangers to slide into.

Don't be like me, and forget to make a place for the cords.

Here is our wall with the wood hanger sections in place. You should use wood that will fit snugly in between the top and bottom sheets of your shelves, and try to run it pretty much continuously around the edges.

A few notes on installation:

You should mount desks to allow for 27-28" of clear space below. the surface should be at least 20" deep to leave room your legs.

Leave plenty of room above the desk below any upper shelves, so you can add a lamp/ other tall stuff.

Use a level.

The dry fit. I used scrap wood for the fronts and the supports for the hollow centers, and for the hangers on the wall. It took a few hours to get everything cut and assembled, and then a few more for glue-up and pin nailing.

We did the build before our trip, and Kristie stained it all when we got home. Here is how it all looks now.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a sign of the gay-pocolypse?

This morning there was a football game between the Mormons (BYU), and the Air Force in the hometown of Focus on the Family.

This year's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Bowl was a ratings bonanza as the eyes of gay fans across the nation were riveted to their televisions in shocked disbelieve that this November had some how gotten even worse for them.

Monday, November 10, 2008

australia and new zealand - week 2 - new zealand

After our week together, we flew down to New South Wales, where I left Kristie to explore Sydney (scroll down for cool pics from her week) while I went the 2008 New Zealand Architecture Master Class in Abel Tasman National Park. While it couldn't compare with the week we spent in Queensland, it was a learning experience I will never forget. The tutors were amazing, New Zealand was beautiful, and the people I met were so inspiring. I couldn't recommend the class more.

One note on my stay in Nelson the night before the class. I got a room at a great little bed and breakfast called the Baywick Inn. The innkeepers were really cool. When I came down for breakfast, I ate in a room that had been converted into a veritable shrine to the british Royal family. This is what just one corner looked like:

From NZ Master Class

Awesome. About 70 percent of the collection was special edition shortbread cookie tins for royal birthdays, births and wedding anniversaries. I made the innkeeper (thanks janet) hold one of the her pieces for me... there is a picture in the slideshow.

From NZ Master Class

Awaroa Inlet, Abel Tasman National Park. Our site for the week. the lines are where the shells pile up as the tide comes and goes.

From NZ Master Class

Three of our tutors, (left to right) Ian Athfield, Richard Leplastrier, and Peter Stutchbury.

From NZ Master Class

Our project was to design a backpackers hut for the national park, as well as housing and research facilities for a full-time rangers and season research staff. Here we are getting our first introduction to the site.

From NZ Master Class
here is the same place about 4 hours later at high tide. You can walk across at low tide, but you have to time it right, or you could get caught out there as the ocean comes in.

From NZ Master Class

On one of our site visits the tide was too high, so we had to wade across, so I decided to do like I'd seen the Kiwis do, and go "hobbit". My sissy feet + an afternoon walking across a sea bed covered in open and broken clamshells = lots of pain.

From NZ Master Class

Sketching at the site

From NZ Master Class

Me at Awaroa Lodge, where we had our studio

From NZ Master Class

Working in the Studio

From NZ Master Class

The polar bear plunge in 4 degree celsius (39 degree Fahrenheit) water. The only let us go twice... something about my rock hard physique intimidating the other guys in the class.

From NZ Master Class

Working out in the sunlight.

From NZ Master Class

Fancy Dress for the party on the last night of the class. (from right to left, we had Julio, Pierre, Adam, Simone, Scott, Masimiliano, and Mike

From NZ Master Class

The boat waiting to take me back, so I could catch my flight and see Kristie again. This was the longest we've been apart since she was in college, and I missed her a lot. Besides, I was really excited to meet her new boyfriend.

Ok. That's enough about our big trip. It was a lot of fun, and we'd recommend it to everyone.

Here is a slideshow for ya'll...

australia and new zealand - week 2 - sydney

hey everyone, sorry for the long delays between posts....

After our first week in Queensland, I went off to my class in new Zealand, and Kristie stayed in Australia. She was in Sydney for 8 days, and got to see a lot of the city.

From Australia and New Zealand Part 2

The Opera House and Harbour Bridge from the Sydney Harbour Cruise

From Australia and New Zealand Part 2

This dude just chilled in the area where the tourists get off the cruise ships, posing for pictures and playing his didgeridoo. He made so much cash.

From Australia and New Zealand Part 2

A relaxing day at Bondi Beach

From Australia and New Zealand Part 2

Scary bats in the trees at the Botanical Gardens

From Australia and New Zealand Part 2

Inside the Shark Exhibit tube at the Sydney Aquarium. Ya, Australia is home to lots of things that can kill/ eat you.

From Australia and New Zealand Part 2

One morning Kristie woke up to find that the Sydney Marathon route went right past her balcony.

From Australia and New Zealand Part 2

The coolest clock/ calendar contraption ever to grace the inside of a mall. Available at Brookstone.

From Australia and New Zealand Part 2

Kristie at the botanical Gardens, with the harbor behind her.

Here is a slideshow with more from her time in Sydney: