Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Setzer anniversary

Carolie and I had our anniversary night out tonight. I bought tickets last month for tonight's Brian Setzer (and his orchestra) concert down at Mystic Lake Casino in Shakopee. I had never been there before; it's quite an operation.

And Setzer was Setzer. This was the encore before they ended with Jump, Jive, and Wail!


Monday, November 09, 2009

The deck

A few years ago -- 2004, if I recall -- Carolie and the boys headed East for a celebration of some sort with her folks in the Berkshires and I figured it was a good time to replace some rotted stair posts on the backyard deck.

When I removed the stairs, however, I found some rot in the deck plankings. So I started replacing the deck plankings. I noticed the railings weren't very good because, well, there weren't any posts holding the railings up; only the ballisters nailed to the joists.

It was clear that the entire deck -- minus the footings and joists -- would have to be replaced. A little here. A little there.

I had a lot of goals for the "good weather" this year. One of them was to get the deck (mostly) finished, five years later.

Earlier this summer, I replaced the upper part of the deck.

This weekend -- thanks to great weather -- I added the railings and posts to the stairs. This actually required about five separate cuts per post, that made each post look like part of puzzle for Mensa members. But it got done:

The structural rebuild is now complete. I still have to finish adding ballisters (I'll be making a design in one panel) and adding the railing cap. I also have to add lattice. And I'm thinking about adding some railing boxes for flowers and such.

Have I ever told you I flunked shop in school?

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Fall flying

Famed RV-6A builder/pilot Alex Peterson (you may have seen his aerobatic video here) is like Batman. I -- and I guess this makes me "the commissioner" -- put out the Bat Signal a week ago on Van's Air Force. I needed a motivation flight. Alex saw the signal and stopped by South St. Paul today.

I've been stuck on the project lately and when I went to putter around today, I just ended up sorting nuts and bolts and screws and such; not something that's going to get a plane built. But that's the way building an RV can be; sometimes you need a nudge.

So Alex dropped in and took me for a spin. Here's the takeoff out of South St. Paul. Note the glider in the grass we pass on the way out.

Alex let me fly a little bit and I was consciously trying not to exert any backpressure on the turns, but I increased altitude so I must have. It was weird to look over at the airspeed indicator and see 160. I'm used to plodding along at 90 in a Warrior.

We flew up the St. Croix River, looked for Doug Weiler's house in Hudson (Doug heads the Twin Cities RV builders' group) and then headed back -- a half hour of good flying in which -- for the record -- neither Alex nor I opened our laptops during the flight.

After he dropped me off, he advised, "just start on anything and plow forward," and he and his friend, Benny (who was visiting from Israel) headed north back to Anoka.

And I plowed into some firewall forward stuff.

Mission accomplished.