( Cut for those not interested in my deep thoughts and religion )
Edit to add:
Apparently the group that tracks these ratings doesn't sample independent bookstores as well as they do places like Amazon, so Amazon's going to have more impact here - I hate to have to say that, as I prefer the local stores. Still, everything helps.
Here's the letter, feel free to copy parts if you're so inclined.
( Letter )
This ended up with a frame that's 3/4 of an octagon with a square corner on one side - as though you'd trimmed 3 of the corners off a square. I used redwood 2x4s for the base-"B" grade redwood to minimize knots. The corners are all joined by dovetail joints - learning to hand-cut dovetails on an angle was all kinds of fun. ;) As you can see in the photos, I put four 2x4s through the center, with 4x4 redwood posts holding the whole assembly 1.5' off the floor so that we have plenty of underbed storage. On this base, I put down redwood 1"x6" planks for slats, and screwed them to the frame. This means that the frame creaks a fair bit, since the slats can't move around to absorb some of the movement on the cushion, but since we have to fluff the cushion occasionally, I didn't want to have slats go flying around. I put the whole thing together with a lot of screws, and managed to avoid having to glue anything, which means I can take it apart when we have to do something like paint the room. I had to assemble the bed in place, with a lot of help from theboy12 because there was no way that this would fit through the door of the room. I was pleased that I only had to make a couple of small modifications on final assembly - less than I'd expected given that I couldn't test-fit it all together entirely first because without the screws in place, the tall posts wouldn't stay up.
Overall, it was a fun project. I learned a lot about working with hand tools - since I've got a one-car garage, I don't have space for major power tools, and they're rather pricey anyway. I did use a power sander, though I also found that using a hand plane and drawknife for much of my shaping work meant that I only had to use fine grit sandpaper to get the finish I wanted. About half of the ~$1000 spent on this project went to a good set of hand tools - saws, sharpening materials, a dovetail guide, and other bits. The rest went to wood, finish, and other consumable supplies. Overall, pretty good, considering that the least expensive 8' round bed frame we found was ~$2000, and now I've got some useful tools - I'm already using them on some other minor projects around the house.
Seanan has two of her books up for auction - Feed and Rosemary and Rue. They're both very good, with a strong likelihood that you won't be able to put them down once you start reading. She quickly made it to our list of authors who we'll buy anything they write - possibly including a grocery list. :)
The camp is just outside Dardanelle, CA - off Highway 108, up near Sonora Pass. It's a week or ten-day (I don't remember just how long) residential summer camp in cabins in the Sierra wilderness. There are arts and crafts, a ropes course, rock climbing, hiking, singing, and a lot of general silliness, with a two night overnight backpacking trip in the middle of the whole thing. Part of the mission of the camp is taking kids from more urban areas and exposing them to the wilderness. Campers are mostly from the Modesto area, as it is based out of the Y there - My family is an outlier, we found out about it because Dad went there as a camper. We didn't so much need the exposure to the wilderness, but it was a wonderful place to go.
The weekend was a lot of fun, and brought back quite a few memories. I recognized several of the people there, and quite a few more had heard of "Skippy and Fuzzy's brother" as my brothers were both staff at camp after being campers, which I didn't do. It was great to renew acquaintances and meet new people who had been to the camp, and to share it with our significant others who'd married into things. There were quite a few children along, and Sarah was not the only pregnant woman there. It was a very family-friendly event. The weekend had as much of the camp experience as they could pack into two days - silly themes for the mealtimes, some crafts (Sarah and I got Jack and Buena Foundation T-shirts and Tie-dyed them), we both went on the High Ropes course (it was quite a workout), a hike to one of the closer interesting rock formations, and a chance to get to know a bunch of new people. We found out that there are quite a few CJH alumni in Davis - we'll have to organize a gathering of some sort.
One of the most meaningful parts of the weekend for me was the rehooding ceremony carried out Saturday night. For those who havent' been to a Y-camp, there's a program called the Ragger program for anyone who wants to do it. In each of the seven levels, you take on some personal challenges to help you develop as a person. Each level has a theme for the type of challenges - a full list is here: http://ymcaragger.com/aboutus.html As you'll notice from the link, the original program has a very Christian focus, with an emphasis towards becoming more Christ-like. Being Christian, I took the challenges this way, but at CJH the program is run with the Christian part removed from the challenges - the principles that you're trying to live up to, Loyalty, Dedication, Humility, Service to others, and Sacrifice don't require a Christian belief. I had forgotten just how much these principles and the challenges I took to live up to these ideals shaped who I am as a person. The camp reinforced the values my parents instilled in me, and having an outside group reinforce that, I think helped me a lot.
The weekend brought us both to be quite sure that when he/she is old enough, Sarah and I will send our child to camp. I highly recommend this place to anyone who has a child and wants to send them off to a camp. Also to any young adults looking for a great and challenging summer job, being on staff at CJH is an amazing experience. I only made it as far as Leader-in-training, but both my brothers were staff, and it did very good things for them.
So far, I like the new phone. As I've generally found to be the case with Apple's products, overall I have to do less tweaking to get things usable than I did on the other phone. Still some issues, though most of them related to specific apps. We'll see what I think after awhile. I suspect that after trying it for a month or two, I'll turn off the cellular modem and cancel the data plan - I'm nearly always near a wireless connection anyway, so I don't think I'll miss it. I didn't have one for my last smartphone and didn't mind, though it is useful on trips - I can see just getting a data plan for months that involve traveling.
Also, the fact that quite a few retro games seem to have been ported to the iphone is likely to cost me my allowance for a while. I just picked up Final Fantasy I & II, and Simon the Sorcerer 1 and 2. Ahh, reliving childhood memories - but with better graphics. Besides, this time I get to play rather than just watch my friends play. :)
Also, Facebook's character limits suck.
The Bad News: I just got let go at work - I didn't make it through the 6-month probationary period. I did my best and they gave me a fair shake, but there's enough differences in the type of work at a clinical lab vs. a research lab that I made several mistakes along the way as I was learning, and they don't have the luxury of spending more time to get me up to the necessary standard. Personally, I suspect they'll have a hard time getting someone who needs less training to fill the position, but I do hope I'm wrong about that since they're good people and have a lot on their plates at the moment. Part of the reason they don't have the luxury of training me up to standard is that they're really rather understaffed for the workload at the moment.
So, it's back to the job-hunt for me, though if I don't turn up something in ~7 months, it means that we'll at least not be having to pay for child care - not an inconsiderable thing, since the places we've turned up so far for daycare charge about half my former monthly salary for care for a 3-18 month child for a month during the workday.
In an effort to raise at least $30K by July 1 to avoid foreclosure on his house, AJ Adams is offering shares in Sea Fire Productions - his record label, owner of the copyrights to his/Heather's music, and 51% owner of the land in question. Details such as we have them are here: http://community.livejournal.com/
The short form is that SFP was originally set up as an S corporation, and they're offering publicly up to 49% of the original shares at $50/share. They're trying to raise $30k by July 1 to save the house - if they don't manage that, anyone who wishes to cash out their shares and get their money back will be allowed to do so, or the shares can be kept for whatever they may turn out to be worth. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Sarah and I picked up several shares both to help out, and because the idea of owning shares in the music of someone we're fans of appeals to us. No clue if it'll be anything resembling a sound financial investment, but that's not the point for us.
Overall, we had a lot of fun, and I think several of our friends would enjoy coming along sometime. silkfiddlerette , lyahdan , battymaiden , temperance14 , barnabas_truman , and serendipity17 , I'm particularly thinking of you. Hazel - there were several harps in evidence, which made us think of you. Overall, I'm quite impressed by the general friendliness of the people there - I suppose I shouldn't be surprised, given the overlap with Faire/SCA folk. It seems to me to be a great community, and one I look forward to getting more involved in over time.
Mind you, I should put up a disclaimer that I got Tuckerized in this one as a result of the contest here: http://davefreer.livejournal.com/77663.
That is to say, there's a minor character named "Groblek" in the story. I find this quite fitting, as my handle originally came from my misremembering the name of a minor Eddings character - I'll be interested to see if I start finding that Groblek is taken as a user name for new sites after the book has been out a while - I rather hope it gets that popular. :)
We're kid friendly, but haven't kid safed the house. I can probably pull out some Legos to help entertain any kids of an appropriate age (or adults, for that matter).
It's our place, so there will probably be gaming, may be dancing, and should be fun.
When: 3 pm-whenever 10/31/09
Where: Pryankster Place 3329 Monterey Ave.
Questions: comment e-mail or phone me