Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Oregon Zoo.

Over this past weekend, I headed down to Portland to visit the Oregon Zoo… Becca and I first visited the Oregon Zoo about 10 months ago, and this time around, we decided to take Conner for his 3rd birthday. I would have to say, now that I am “older” going to the zoo is much different from when I was a young whippersnapper back in the 80’s. I still find myself curious about “typical” stuff… but more importantly, I find myself asking how / or what I can do to help preserve the animals and their natural habitat.

Here are some of my favorite pics that I took… here are a pair of Sea Lions that can reach to up 2,500lbs and 12ft long!


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Texture and Lighting.

This weekend I have been experimenting with more faux texturing in my dining room. I like to call this “experiment” my Mission Style with Mocha and Marshmallow. Also in the background, you can see my sky mural… thanks Dan.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Sweat Equity Part One.

This is the first installment, of a new series I am writing called Sweat Equity. As some of you know, I recently acquired my first home, which is located in Seattle, WA… in a small area of town called Ballard.

In this first series, I have documented the design and installment of French Drains. My approach to “fixing” up my house has been straightforward; I find good sources of knowledge, i.e. people and sponge off them (Want a good place to find people, check out http://seattle.craigslist.org). Once I find the right person, usually after a pseudo interview, I make sure to compensate them for their time… i.e. pizza, beer. :)

I had some concerns about finishing out my basement, and it flooding from all that Seattle rain. I could also see signs of past damage (yellowing coloration) to the cement wall sides... indicating possible water flow behind or beneath. Other things I set out to do, was to connect all of my rain gutters to the French drain system, and build out a couple of dry wells for run-off drainage water. French drains are not very hard to do, however they do require a BUNCH of manual labor. At a high level, we started digging trenches about one foot wide and one foot deep, around the perimeter of my house.

Once the trenches were dugout, we graded each side of the house making sure to slope then trenches about 1 inch every eight feet. After grading was done, we then lined the trench w/ river rock.

The river rock is used to control the flow of water and erosion control. Once a bed of rock was laid… about 1-2 rocks deep, we then laid four inch perforated flex piping along the bed of rocks. We also made sure to cover the perforated flex piping w/ a sock-like material to prevent soil and roots from entering the piping.

After laying tubing, etc… we then laid some more rock over the top of the tubing and then some landscape fabric over the top… again to prevent root systems, etc. from entering. Once this was done, I covered the fabric w/ soil… back to normal.

Here you can see how we attached the gutter system to the French drain system… We also had to use a concrete cutter (very neat tool) to remove small slabs.

Here is Mike digging one of the dry wells, this was the largest of the three, coming in @ 3 feet by 3 feet deep. The dry well was prepped and finished similar to the trenches.

The dry well will collect drainage water and control the flow of it back into the ground… away from the house. Additionally my dry wells will be incorporated back into the overall landscape water run-off.

I spent roughly 900 – 1,000 bucks on my project…, which included some parts and labor. The project took roughly 3 days to complete, and I still cannot believe how much rock and dirt was moved. Thanks to Mike – the mastermind of the project, Pat, Kyle and Dave, all who had helped.

Recently, I have been contemplating a career change… and I am happy to say I have ruled one out, Landscaper / Hole Digger.

Within the next couple of weeks, I plan to start finishing out my basement… stay tuned. For compete pics of my French Drain project, check out:



Monday, August 15, 2005

Conner's Mt. Rainier Hike

This past Saturday I took my girl friend’s son Conner, on a hike up Mt. Rainier. I think we hiked roughly 1 mile or to about 6,000ft in altitude from a base of 5,200, not bad for someone who is only two, going on three shortly. The night before I went to REI and bought him a “pack-pack”, at least that is what he calls it, it is a camel back to keep him hydrated during the hike. We saw several deer along the way, and a caterpillar that he spotted on the ground. Our next time up Rainier, I hope we can make Pebble Creek… unless Mom vetoes the decision, then on to Muir and the summit?

For more pics, check out:



Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Shuttle Discovery Pics.

A friend of mine that works over @ NASA sent me over some pictures... These were taken over the last couple of days. I have not seen these yet in any press or news outlets… check ‘em out.

This is the shuttle during its little spin so the astronauts on the space station could take pictures of its belly.

A good pic of the EVA that was just completed. The astronaut waving is Soichi Noguchi.



Modest Mouse @ The Paramount

Last night I attended my 5th or 6th Modest Mouse show… this one happened to be @ The Paramount here in Seattle. What a great show it was… I watched about half of the show in the “pit” area, and then moved back stage for the last half of the show. I had been back stage before, but never during a show… what a neat way to see them play live.

The above pic, was taken with a camera phone.