Friday, March 1, 2013

Forrest Gump

So I totally ripped this off of someone on a forum... but that's okay, benefits aplenty on this, my goal is to keep this updated, I know... same song second verse, but I'm not trying to be a super blogger or anything like that, I may only do it once a month to update the map, but hey, 'tis a start.

Anyway, in order to hopefully keep me on the running path I started writing down all my runs to see how far I can run in 2013, a guy on a forum tracks his on a map so I stole the idea and started this map.  I'm not totally sure where I'm going to go yet or what path I'm going to take.  But I know with a couple Half Marathons coming up and the Chicago Marathon in October, barring injury, I should make some good progress.

I do know that I need to work beer into this somehow... haven't figured out exactly how yet, but some sort of monthly beer achievement "thing" is needed to add something to this.

Anyway, here's January and February

January was a fairly boring 74.5 miles, got just out of town and stopped off in the middle of Topeka.

February made it a bit further hitting 76.5 miles, 151 miles from home now.  You'll notice a bit of a detour of the westerly route, had to go by Bill Snyder Family Stadium...

View 2013 Running in a larger map

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Last Friday was a holiday, beer holiday.  Hopslam day.  Hopslam is probably one of my favorite beers, right now it's in the top 5.  Fantastic double IPA - some of the most amazing flavor.  Sad that I only get 6 a year, but I suppose the fact that I only get 6 every 12 months makes it that much better tasting.  The problem is rationing them because at 10% per bottle... well if you want to truly enjoy the flavors, you gotta pace yourself.  I'll probably follow my normal, one right when I get it, 2 for the Super Bowl, 2 for the NCAA and then one final brew with some Minsky's pizza as a send off till next year's batch.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Fabric Headboard

So the wife wanted to upgrade to a king sized bed and being the cheap person that I am I was against the idea because that meant buying a new headboard, etc.  Eventually, my resistance of the upgrade was outmatched.  The compromise was we'd try to make a fabric headboard, like the many that appear on Pinterest.  After numerous trips to Nebraska Furniture Mart a king sized Serta iComfort mattress somehow found its way into my house and it was time to figure out how to make a headboard.  I was good about taking pictures in the beginning ... but the later it got the more urgency to finish so the pictures suffered.  At any rate... I won't go so far as to say it was "easy" but, it was not as hard as I anticipated it would be and was significantly cheaper than buying one in the store (even with the extra costs buying stuff we didn't end up using); here's how I made it.

I used 3/4" Plywood for mine, bit of bulk to it, but sturdy. Have Home Depot or Lowe's or wherever cut it to size for you, just easier that way and one less thing for you to hassle with doing.  Size will obviously depend on the bed size, for our king I made it 78"x36".  As you see we put buttons on ours, so first thing I did was to measure and mark where I wanted the buttons, laid them out, and made sure that we liked the look.  After that, drill the holes through the plywood, these holes will be used to string the buttons through later, its much easier to drill them first and poke through the other layers, drill will twist the batting.  I made the marked up side the 'back' so I'd have the reference lines visible.

After you get this setup work done it's time to started the fabric part, this is where things get very tedious.  Using spray adhesive (I used Loctite brand found at JoAnn) to glue the foam to the front of the plywood.  The foam is 1" and is the most expensive part of this whole thing, so you don't want to screw this part up.  Work in small sections pushing down as you go.  Most important parts to get stuck down well are the edges and around the button holes.  I concentrated on these areas, and only did a little bit in the middles.  It's okay to hang over, you can cut it off at the end.  I put the seam in the center, this resulted in more trimming, but I think the seam is better hidden.  Here's the two layers after it's trimmed.

After getting the foam down, I let it dry for about 45 min. and then vacuumed it and moved the project in doors.  You'll want a good amount of room for this next part, a lot of back and forth.  Lay out your fabric, you'll want about 8-10" extra on all sides to allow you plenty of extra to wrap the headboard.  I over bought... but better that than the alternative.  Anyway, lay this out smooth after ironing it out.  Then on top of the fabric, put 2 layers of high loft batting.  Same principle applies, you want about 8" or so overhang on each side for wrapping.  At the 36" height, I had plenty left, these are popular enough that the batting we bought looked like it was made for this.

So once it's all laid out it'll look like this:

Now start stapling.  Make sure you have a good staple gun.  You will need it.  Air or electric would be better, but a manual works too, just make sure you hammer in the staples as you go to make sure they're good and set.  Start in the center of the length, pull it tight and put some staples.  Jump to the other length and do the same in the center.  Then do the heights.  Follow this pattern until it's all stapled, stopping about 4" from the corners.  Don't be shy... I put in A LOT of staples.  A LOT.  I actually went around once, just getting it tight and then did another row that was very close together all the way around, to make sure that it wouldn't shift or move if it's used as a backrest.  The corners suck.  They really just take some trial and error to get the look you want, in the pic on the right you can see kind of how I did it, trimmed the batting back so it was a single layer and then wrap the fabric and staple the hell out of it.  Again, wish I could explain it better, but I'm not 100% sure how I did it, advice I would have is to go slow and be very methodical, don't cut until you're sure how it's gonna work.

Next part is the buttons, which it really sucks I didn't get pictures of because it's probably the part that's the least self-explanatory and the most interesting.  We made our own buttons, just using a basic button kit from JoAnn and scraps of fabric from the board.  Buttons were super easy to make, didn't take long at all with the kit.  I used drapery cord (like on mini blinds) to string the buttons since it's thicker and sturdy.  Tie about 12" of string onto each button.  Stand the now fabric covered headboard up and poke through the back with a sharp object, philips screwdriver or I used a wooden kabob skewer.  Poke it through the hole in the back and use it to pierce the foam and batting and help you line up the needle with the button cord strung through.  Oh yeah, you need a big eyed needle for that part.  Anyway, fish the buttons through.  I fished them all through first and then tightened them once the were all in.  Make sure you have someone help when you tighten them so you can get the "look" you want as far as the indention is concerned.  Pull the cord to desired tightness and staple it in a zig-zag pattern... like so to anchor it in place.

Once you get that done... you're really done.  It's just a matter of mounting it to the bed.  Ours is mounted, but needs some work.  Most common mount is to hang it on the wall, but I have an aversion to putting holes in the wall so I'm trying to find a way to mount it like a traditional headboard to the bedframe itself.

And here's the finished product on the bed in the room.

Materials I used:
3/4" plywood - Home Depot
Fabric - JoAnn
High loft batting - JoAnn
10 Button Button Kit - JoAnn
Drapery Cord - JoAnn
1" Foam - JoAnn
Spray Adhesive - Loctite - JoAnn
Large Eye Needle - JoAnn
Staple Gun
Bamboo kabob skewer
General tools - hammer, drill, tape measure

Prices vary depending on sales but materials wise this king size headboard cost us about $250 and took me about 7 hours to make.  My pictures are the best and I'm not the best at describing the process, but here's the link to the blog that I referenced the most often.  She did a very good job I think explaining it and has some very good pictures: Addicted 2 Decorating Blog

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Birthday Cake

Happy Birthday Mary!  

Here are the cakes I made for my daughter Mary, Chocolate of course, with a pretty basic Vanilla frosting.  Decorating took about 5 hours, but part of that is pry my still rookie status.  Used the much publicized "Viva Paper Towel Method" to get that smooth fondant like look out of the butter cream, as you see worked way better than I would have expected considering it's just rubbing a paper towel all over your cake.  Used a box chocolate cake and Wilton's frosting recipe.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

52 Weeks of Pinterest

I have a Pinterest account, if you cook it's pretty much an essential, and like many I have a ton of recipes just hanging out on boards.  In an effort to force some actual execution, for the new year I decided to do at least one recipe per week. With an attempt to take my own pics... I've failed already on this for weeks 1-3.  I'll also add my comments/observations to each one.  But anyway... Here's the link to the board.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Party Crasher

At the hotel last night we heard a ruckus on the second floor and decided to check it out. Turns out it was the Milwaukee Democratic Party election watch party. They had food. They had beer. So we decided to check it out. Needless to say it was very very interesting. Regardless of who I wanted to win being in the midst of people with such a level of passion for the process was something to observe. The cross section of people was amazingly diverse, young, old, men, women, guys in $1000 suits and a couple hobos. Anyway, glad I crashed and was able to get some quality people watching in as I watched the results.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Open Letter

Dear Hyatt Gym Guy,

I couldn't help but notice you attempts to attract the attention of the fit girl in the hotel gym. Don't deny it, at one point i thought our head might fall off. However, you should know that I don't think she was impressed with your grunts and loud short breaths as you knocked out that 9 min mile on the treadmill. Hate to say but I think she was equally unimpressed by the sounds made in your intense 3 min elliptical session. An sadly... she unmoved by these sounds during your epic 4 min Tour de France time trial impersonation on the stationary bike.

Try again next time,
Sweaty guy on the treadmill

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Open Letter

Dear Disney,

Bought Star Wars you have, fantastic that is. Pleas don't embarrass the franchise anymore than Jar Jar Binks and Hayden Christensen already have.

May the force be with you, always.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012


Generally I am like a kid waiting for Christmas morning when the new Call of Duty game is announced, however for some reason I just haven't gotten excited about the newest installment of Black Ops.  I think in part it's due to the whole "future" aspect of the game.  I mean part of what I enjoyed about the CoD games was the attention to detail as far as the weapons, etc used.  Pushing this thing into the future feels like an entirely different game - moving more toward Halo and less of the military shooter that I like.  I suppose you couple that with the fact that my video game time has been substantially depleted by the munchkin, she's not ready for PS3 yet, but soon... very soon, she will be the youngest CoD champion ever.

At any rate I say all that, but I'll buy it.