Saturday, October 17, 2020

Rocky Redemption

 A while back I dragged my butt out to Santa Teresa County Park with an eye on riding a figure-eight loop that would take me down some of the more challenging trails in the park. I saddled up on The Crimson Ghost and took a wrong turn and ended pedaling up one of the trails I was supposed to pedal down, which caused me to burn a lot more energy than I'd planned, so I only managed to ride down one of the two trails on that ride.

This morning I headed out again to seek my redemption. Having learned from my previous mistake, I avoided taking any wrong turns and ended up at the top of the first trail (Rocky Ridge) much fresher and ready to take on the world. I did much better going down it, though there was still a short stretch (maybe 20 feet long) that I got off and walked.

I was quite happy that I managed to ride through a bunch of challenging sections that I had to walk through on my previous ride, and given I was still feeling much fresher than on my previous outing it was a no-brainer to pedal to the top of the second trail and give it a shot.

The second trail (Stile Ranch) was a bit more technical than Rocky Ridge, though I managed to at least somewhat roll though the whole thing. There was one section that I got a bit out of shape on and almost yeeted myself off my bike, but I managed to keep it together and avoided any major incident. There were a lot of rocky sections that lead into tight hairpins, and I generally had to stop at the hairpin and waddle my way around them because my smooth brain can only handle so much technical riding at one time.

That said, I did successfully ride both trails, so I earned my redemption from the previous ride.

All in all, a very successful morning.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Getting A Handle On Things

 I have a fence, which has a gate. The gate has a latch, but it has no handles.

It's not an exceptionally tall gate so reaching up to the top edge to pull it open or closed, or grabbing onto the cross-piece on the back side, isn't impossible. But it is annoying, especially when I'm carrying something.

So the obvious solution is to add some handles. On the front of the gate this is no problem, but on the back I'd like to put the handle next to the latch, but the braces make the area very uneven so we need to deal with that first. Luckily I have some scraps of redwood laying around.

Some construction adhesive and screws will ensure that it stays put forever, no matter how clumsily I might yank on the soon-to-be-mounted handles.

Speaking of those handles, a few dollars slipped into the pockets of Jeff Bezos saw a pair of cast iron handles soaring across the ocean from the orient to my doorstep, and it wasn't any trouble to get them installed.

On the inside I mounted the handle as close as possible to the edge, both to center it on the blocking I added (which will turn grey in a few years of weather exposure, fear not) and to make sure I can reach the latch from the handle with one hand, which I can.

On the outside I mounted the handle a bit further in. I originally had it lined up with the handle on the inside, but there wasn't quite enough clearance between the handle and the jamb that the gate closed against, so I shifted it over by a half inch to keep my knuckles from getting scraped.

I may be a bit biased but I think the results look quite good.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Squeezing My Caulk Into Tight, Wet Places

 When I moved into this lovely wooden box on the hill I noticed the previous owners had applied some caulk-of-desperation in both of the showers. The fundamental problem was that the tile job had not been done correctly, and applying caulk overtop of it haphazardly had really not solved the problem, just caused new ones.

That said, I'm not in any mood to replace the tile just yet, but replacing the caulking the right way is at least going to hold things together for a while.

I picked up a tube of sanded, colour-matched caulking that promised to blend in with the grout, and buttered up the joints nice and neat.

You can still tell it's caulking, but the sand in it really breaks up the usual bright glossy white shine and makes it stand out from the grout a lot less.

I've got half a tube left so now that this shower has cured and survived a test run, I'm planning to give the other shower a once-over as well.

Saturday, September 26, 2020

Two Orbits

 I went for a bike ride today. Copy-pasted the description here because Strava doesn't like to show it unless you're logged in:

Almost a year ago I joined Charlie on his week of everesting by doing a climb of Montevina by way of Kennedy. I had planned to join his double-everesting of On Orbit by doing two laps of On Orbit but when the day rolled around I was still cooked from the previous ride and the weather was kinda shit so I didn’t go.

This is, finally, my redemption ride. Did two laps of On Orbit for the first time in the middle of a full Bohlman.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Keeping My Cool

 So when I moved in here the little knob for the fridge water filter thing was broken, and left behind by the previous owners. I glued it back together and shoved it back into service, but sadly it only lasted one filter before it broke again. Fail me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fail me -- you can't get failed again.

Naturally the only logical option is to 3d print a replacement, and that's exactly what I did.

I ended up splitting this print into two identical halves so I didn't have to worry about printing overhangs. Oddly enough I had a little bit of post-printing warping where the split line ended up bowing a little after removing the print from the printer. A little 120 grit post processing cleared up that issue right quick though, and I superglued both halves together.

I'd say it's a nice improvement over not having a knob.

Another item checked off the list.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

A Fresh Coat of Paint

 So the previous owners had a dog that they liked to keep in the garage for whatever reason. Dogs being dogs, it didn't like being cooped up in there and clawed at any opening it could to try to get out. This resulted in a fair bit of damage to both the door leading outside (which is a writeoff thanks to both the dog damage and just general rot and neglect) and the door leading into the house.

I had previously repainted in the inside half of the door leading into the house, just so I could contain the ugliness to the less trafficked side of the world, while I mulled over the option of either replacing the door or fixing the other side.

This weekend I finally got around to fixing the other side.

Step 1: forget to take a "before" picture.

Oops. I thought I'd taken a picture of that side of the door before that I could reuse, but apparently I never did.

Step 2: chisel out the damaged section of plywood veneer.

The dog had managed to claw its way through two plys of the plywood, so I scored along the edges of the damage and chiseled away the remains down to a flat base of reasonably solid wood.

Step 3: glue in a conveniently perfectly sized piece of veneer sliced from a 2x4.

So a few weeks ago when I was replacing my broken bandsaw blade and tires I made some test cuts by slicing some 1/16"-ish veneer slabs out of a scrap piece of crappy 2x4. Fast forward to today and it just so happens that one of those pieces is the perfect size and thickness to exactly fill the space left after chiseling away the damaged plywood. Weird how that works out sometimes.

At this point I had also given the door a bit of a sanding. I was hoping to possibly sand smooth the places where the paint had chipped out but the sanding didn't go as smoothly as I'd hoped so I opted to fill the chips and scratches and other damage with wood filler.

Step 4: the wood filler.

I ended up doing two coats of wood filler. Initially I had only filled the big divots, but upon reflection I decided that if I was going to go to all this work I might as well go all in, so I sanded, applied a second coat, then sanded everything down smooth.

Step 5: the paint.

It took three coats of paint to cover the grimy "white" that the door was blessed with previously. I had a lot of difficulty fighting sags in the paint, and ended up having to do a fair bit of sanding after coat 2 to get things reasonably smooth before applying coat 3. I also thinned the paint a little for coat 3 which helped me smooth on just the thinnest possible coat of paint. The end result isn't really perfect, but it's good enough and a huge improvement over what I started out with.

I still need to replace the trim, but that's a project for another day.

Friday, September 11, 2020

The Panopticon

 I finally got around to figuring a few things out for my front door monitor this week. It involved a little frustration and hair-pulling and yelling at whoever keeps screwing up the entire concept of web development so badly. You know, the usual stuff. But at the end of it all...

It is, at least, a start.

And yes, the clocks are set wrong for some reason, I think the time zones got messed up.