Tuesday, September 13, 2016


These both need some more work. I need to brighten the aircraft without diminishing the impact of the shock waves against the sky.

I shot these at the Abbotsford Air Show in August. This is the US Navy F-18 going over low (about 500', I'd guess) and as fast as the law will allow, about 1 knot short of the sound barrier. Those cones you see are condensation forming in the partial vacuum behind the pressure waves.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Accidental Home Renos

We own an old house. Not really old, but old. About 45 years old now I think.

When we moved in, there was a lot of 'deferred' maintenance (that's what the house inspector called it). In particular, the kitchen and bathrooms hadn't been touched in 45 years and they have been sources of sudden renovation.

Last weekend my lovely wife, the matron saint of Chez Entropez, pointed out to me that the bathroom sink was leaking. Looked like the tailstock had loosened off - no big deal. So on Monday morning I took it off to clean out the trap since I had it apart.

And there was a 1" hole in the back of the sink just at the top of the drain. Years of gunk and a steel sink - it just rusted through. No way to patch it, either.

So replace it. Of course it was an unusual, early-70s shape. I measured the opening and went off to Home Depot to see if I could find something that would work with minimal pissing around, since we are planning a complete tearout and redo within the next 3-5 years. I managed to find a steel one (of course the $25 china one wasn't even close) and decided to replace the faucet at the same time...

That was trip #1.

Of course it didn't quite cover the whole opening. I had to cut 2 pieces of 1x4 to shape, fitting them to the curve that had been scrollsawed out 45 years before. That took a good hour. I stuck them in with silicone and then went to fasten the sink down. Well, the sink included cheap aluminum brackets that almost fit into a folded steel bracket on the sink... but not quite. The casting was cheap, and it meant that the steel didn't fit into the bottom of the groove and so as soon as you (well... I) tightened the screw down, the bracket popped out.

Much cursing ensued.

I went off to the hardware store to see if they had better quality brackets. No? Well, then, I bought a triangular file, and filed the groove in all of the brackets until the folded steel sink sat securely in them. That was trip #2.

Once the sink was securely in, I sealed the outer edge and installed the faucet. But the faucet wasn't designed for a steel sink - because the threads on the fittings only go to within about 1/4" of the base of the faucet. So I created a thick cardboard gasket out of the faucet's own packing and managed to secure the tap so that it wasn't sliding around. I went to connect it up, and the lines were 1/4" too short.

Much cursing ensued.

I headed of to the hardware store and got lines 2" longer, making sure to get FAUCET lines and not TOILET lines. That was trip #3.

Upon arriving back home, I found that I had purchased faucet lines with two big ends, not faucet lines with one big end and one small end.

Much cursing ensued.

I went back to the hardware store and for some reason known only to God and the puckish simpletons that run my local hardware store, small ended lines are significantly more expensive that large ended lines. Trip #4.

The lines fit. I went to connect up the drain, and discovered that the tailstock didn't quite reach to the drain. The new sink is not as deep as the old one, I guess. Anyway...

Some cursing ensued.

I managed push the drain up and get the jam fitting to bite on the last half inch of the tailstock. I cranked it down really tight...

So now we have a bone sink in a purple countertop with spruce inserts trimmed and sealed with silicone, a faucet held in place with a cardboard spacer, and the drain hanging on by its fingernails. Ain't home life grand?