Archive for December, 2007

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

Monday, December 31st, 2007

So far Stephanie and Justin have flown away. Beth and Matthew have driven home. Marylib flew out today. All we have left is Katie who flies out next Saturday. Then it will be back down to the two of us – the nuclear couple. The house is getting quieter and quieter.

Happy Holidays from Austin

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

from Justinsomnia: Happy Holidays from Austin

Back: MaryLib (Kathy’s mother), Stephanie (Justin’s girlfriend), Justin, Katie, and Matthew; Front: Brian, and Kathy

Update: Four previous years of Christmas photos (all courtesy of Justinsomnia).
2006

2005

2004

2003

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Lego Construction 3

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

Nearly done… nearly done. I’ve been saying that over the past few weeks, but somehow I keep finding another kit to extract from the rubble of Lego blocks, plates, tiles, and other parts. Here is what happens. One or two parts in the rubble catch my attention so I look up what kits they are in and I realize that I’ve got yet other parts that are from that same kit. So TADA I sort that kit, and register the missing parts to be ordered. So another ten kits have been done this way.

Yesterday I received the remaining parts for the 6971 Intergalactic Command Base that I had purchased. That night Katie and I built it while watching some of our favorite TV programs. This morning I took it all apart and re-bagged it. Another one hits the dust.


Here are all the kits that I’ve sorted (ordered by release date and part count) from the mass of parts I had. For each one I printed the assembly instructions and inventory list and put both of them in a binder. I still have about ten kits that are missing some parts and they are waiting for me to order the parts when I get the money (probably after the holidays).

Number Title Year Part Count MSRP
7720 Battery Train Set 1980 406 ?
6871 Star-Patrol Launcher 1984 66 ?
6971 Intergalactic Command 1984 312 ?
390 Helicopter 1986 24 ?
6845 Cosmic Charger 1986 48 ?
6039 Twin Arm Launcher 1988 73 8.50
8832 Roadster 1988 85 ?
6590 Vacation Camper 1988 106 ?
6054 Forestmen’s Hideout 1988 198 17.50
6085 Black Monarch Castle 1988 665 68.00
6675 Road & Trail 4 X 4 1988 79 ?
8865 Test Car 1988 892 ?
6895 Spy-Trak I 1989 143 15.00
6060 Knight’s Challenge 1989 160 22.00
8054 Universal Building Set 1989 194 ?
8854 Power Crane 1989 508 ?
6896 Celestrial Forager 1990 87 ?
6923 Particle Ionizer 1990 187 24.00
8064 Motorized Universal Building Set 1990 211 ?
8820 Mountain Rambler 1991 139 ?
6261 Raft Raiders 1992 78 13.25
6057 Sea Serpent 1992 117 16.50
6852 Sonar Security 1993 60 6.00

So for now I’m done. I’ve boxed up the remaining parts, and stored them all in the garage.

FLL Volunteer

Monday, December 10th, 2007

I spent the day as a FIRST Lego League (FLL) volunteer. It was an all day event from 7:15 AM to 5:30 PM. This was a Lego robotics competition called Power Puzzle. There were about 60 teams comprised of 3-10 elementary and middle school children and two adult coaches. I was a judging room monitor. I wasn’t a judge. I just helped make the judges better. There were two judges, and two monitors for each room. One monitor worked the door lining up the teams, and the other one did the timing. I was a timer. This allowed me to watch the teams work. As a timer I started the stop watch when the team entered, called out five, two and one minutes to go, and stop when it was all over. I helped in the technical room in the morning where the teams were judged about their robot’s design and implementation. Then I helped in the teamwork room in the afternoon where the the teams had to build a non-robotic figure on the spot with movable arms and legs while being judged for their cooperation. There were lots of other things going on, much like a geeky sporting event, including head-to-head non-destructive robot competitions and research presentations/skits. It wasn’t hard, but it was fun especially watching the young people being so creative

Pantry Shelves

Friday, December 7th, 2007

Katie and I have been building pantry shelves at Matthew’s house this week. A few weeks ago Matthew removed the old wire shelves leaving his kitchen pantry naked. About a week ago I filled in the hundreds of holes left by those old shelves. Last weekend we purchased the wood for the shelving at his nearby Home Depot. We purchased two 4×8 sheets of 3/4″ MDF for the shelves (very heavy), and about a dozen 1×2 for the supports. The people at Home Depot used their fancy linear saw to cut the sheets into six 16″ strips that are 8′ long. Five of them are to be the primary shelves and one of the strips we further cut into four 4″ strips for can shelves. This week Katie and I decided to work together while Matthew was at work and build him new shelves. We’ve had a good time working together on this project. On Monday we taped and painted the pantry white. We also carefully measured and layed-out where each shelf would go. On Wednesday we cut and mounted the 1×2 supports onto the walls. This consists of five primary shelves including a can shelf on the left-hand wall, and four separate intermediate can shelves also on the left-hand wall. We also cut and fitted the shelves for mounting. On Thursday we predrilled and counter-shunk the shelves in preparation for mounting (over one hundred holes). Then we mounted the shelves and caulked around them. For mounting we screwed the shelves into the 1×2 supports and we also screwed the shelves into each other. The caulking took hours because we had to caulk every edge top and bottom and every hole smoothing them all by hand. Our next job is to paint all the new shelving white and to touch up the walls.


Putting up 1×2 supports on Wednesday.
We’ve been spending about five hours each day doing this work, and we probably have five more hours of painting. Somehow I don’t think Matthew knew how much work this was when he tore out the old wire shelves. Oh, and have I mentioned that he took out the shelving in the master bedroom closet too. But that’s another project. So right now we’re his sweat-equity home improvement “elves”. We appear after he leaves for work, make a mess, clean up and disappear before he gets home.

Update: See Katie’s “This is what I have been up to since I been home” blog entry about painting the pantry shelves.