Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cloudy With a Chance of Ruined Props.

As the rain starts to fall, I took a little look into my next 24 to 36 hours….

A FLASH FLOOD WATCH is in effect through Monday evening.

TONIGHT: Widespread showers and t-storms. Some possibly severe along with very heavy rain. Low: 56. Winds: S/WNW 10-20.

MONDAY: Showers and thunderstorms likely. Steady temps in the mid 50s. High: 56. Winds: N 10-20.

I don’t know who it was that thought it was such a good idea to just buy polyurethane, instead of the much more rain resistant spar urethane… (oh wait, that was me… Ms. Cheap-Skate)… but it was a dumb idea.

At least the embedded PVC and rebar trick is working wonders, and not a thing is moving a’tall in that yard, even with the 40 mpg gusts we are getting.  And, at least its warm.  I have seen pictures of peoples haunts on the forums, and there is…. SNOW on the ground.  What thaaaa?  :)

So anyways, Here’s to counting our blessings, and our next 4 inches of rain! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

If You’re “Into” That Kind of Thing….

Microcontrollers …. and I know a lot of you that are…..

There’s a Halloween contest going on over at that has a pretty substantial prize…

From the page:

Microchip Technology Inc. and MAKE have teamed up to present to you the Make: Halloween Contest 2009! Show us your embedded microcontroller Halloween projects and you could be chosen as a winner. Use a microcontroller to make anything from themed lawn decorations to creative costumes - the possibilities are endless. The Make: Halloween Contest will run for 8 weeks, and the Prizewinners will be announced on Friday, November 6th. Deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. PDT November 3, 2009. Each entry will be judged based on the following criteria: creativity of idea, use of Halloween theme, technical implementation using a microcontroller, execution and craftsmanship, and quality of documentation. Please see Official Rules for more information on the Winner selection.”

Got your eye on the prize?

One Grand Prize Winner three Runner-up Winners will be selected by the judges. The Grand Prize is a Microchip Starter Kit Bundle, valued at $600.00, which includes:

  • PIC18 Starter Kit
  • PIC24F Starter Kit
  • dsPIC® DSC Starter Kit
  • PIC32 Starter Kit
  • Memory Starter Kit
  • FI Evaluation Platform
  • PICkit™ 3

The Runner-up Prizes are as follows:

  • 1st Runner-up Prize: PICDEM™ Lab (valued at $124.99), plus a $50 Maker Shed gift certificate.
  • 2nd Runner-up Prize: PICkit™ 3 (valued at $69.99), plus a $50 Maker Shed gift certificate.
  • 3rd Runner-up Prize: F1 Starter Kit (valued at $39.99), plus a $50 Maker Shed gift certificate.

I would enter, but I don't even know what the prize is.  That’s why I hang out with Jayson and you guys – you know what it is.

Now, go forth, and WIN! 

Details Here.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Staking Tombstones – The Retrofit

I had 15 or so tombstones from last year that I needed to retrofit, to make it through the wind this season.  If you missed it, you can read about the catastrophe Here.

So, as I have talked before, I had already begun making all of this years NEW tombstones by embedding PVC in the center of the stone, then we would just slip over rebar that we embed in the ground.  Totally stolen idea, but its my favorite stolen idea of all time.

Annabel Lee991 001














So I made about 20 new ones this year, all with that nifty system.  Then my problem was last years.  And of course, I put that off til September.  It really hurt my brain to think about digging a trench out of perfectly good tombstone backs, already painted, aged, etc, and then tracing out the shape of the stone onto a piece of foam, (some of them are pretty intricate cuts!) and doing another layer.  But that's what I did.

tombstone graphic

But don’t forget to sand all the edges of the new stone, add more filler of choice to hide the seams, and repaint the back.

Sounds like a pain, and I really thought it was.  But I got through them…. well, almost all of them.  I had to be out of town this weekend, and didnt get the last one done before I left.

Jayson called me this morning, and that ONE snapped in the wind last night.  Right off the base.  Hahahaha!!!

Now I don’t think its such a pain anymore.  I won’t ever, ever, ever complain about the time consuming nature of this process, ever again!  (PS.  I came home tonight, dropped my suitcase at the door, and ran to the garage…. the trench on that ONE has already been dug out, PVC glued in, and the back is glued on, seams are filled.  Paint tomorrow, and it’s back in business!  The complete Retrofit is complete!)

More on “filler of choice” for seams, and my new glue experiment later. 

Sunday, October 18, 2009

First Big Setup Day of the Season!

We have finally started to setup the yard! It’s 1:00AM and I’ve just now walked back indoors. Still lots to do, but here are a few pictures of the progress so far:


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