Weekend Work

I snuck away for a quick overnighter to Hood on Friday, but had to get back to my weekend work Saturday morning. For the past 4 weekends I’ve been remodeling a bathroom in our house.

One thing I’ve noticed in how I work is that I tend to be too precise. And it *always* bites me in the ass. For example, the 4x post with the tape measure sitting on it is the end of a half wall enclosing a walk-in shower. As it’s a half wall that will be tiled, it can’t flex…at all. So the post is bolted through joist into the basement and then blocked and nailed on each side with 2×6 framing. It’s solid. I drilled out 3 holes in the post: 1 at the bottom (to rotate it plumb) and 2 above (to fix the location), an upside down triangle pattern. I used the drill press to make sure the 3/8ths holes were perfectly straight through the post – I find it impossible to hand drill in a straight line. Then I clamped the post to the joist, used the level to make sure it was level and plumb, then penciled the corresponding drill holes on the joist.

Sounds good, right? So the bolts are also 3/8ths. Precision. Perfect fit. I drilled the joist and then bolted the post through. it was off by nearly 20 degrees. Totally not plumb. I had to take everything off and check the holes through the joist. It was as if some gremlin moved the post when I was drilling. I have no idea how that happened. Lesson: if you have a 3/8ths bolt, drill the hole to 1/2 inch to give yourself some wiggle room. There was no way it was all going to line up with precision. Not with rough framing.

The plan is to have a curbless walk-in shower (72×36), so the subfloor has to be at the level of the joists to allow the slope from the highest floor grade to the drain. I’m almost finished lowering the subfloor and blocking under the shower to support the weight of the tile.

Next is to build the back shower wall (8 feet 4 inches to the ceiling), finish the half-wall. Then plumbing (toilet is moving), electrical, insulation and rock on the walls, finally tile, sink, toilet install. It’s slow going working alone but the most difficult parts are finished. Demo’ing anything in an old house is like digging up dirt – it expands at least 50% when it comes off the walls.

Should be a nice guest bathroom when finished.


I spent last week working in Prague. It was a week of long days, nights and early mornings. I made the most of the early morning hours to run through the city and take some photos. I brought my Fujifilm XH-1 with a Viltrox 23mm lens. I’ve been enjoying shooting that this focal length (35mm equivalent on a full frame sensor). Most of these are either with the Fujifilm or an iPhone 8 plus (on it’s deathbed … the home button is working intermittently). For this type of trip I would have loved to have a Ricoh GRiii or something high quality but more portable. I ran once with the XH-1 on a Peak Designs capture clip on shoulder strap, but it was a bit too heavy – I had to hold it steady with one hand while I ran.

It was nice to have a non-tourist view of living and working in CZ from my work colleagues, but also to experience the history of the city. I’m reading Prague: In Black and Gold by Peter Demetz – and having some background on the construction of the city and the history of Bohemia in general put the visit in perspective.


One thing Nick Bostrom doesn’t mention in this short video, that he writes about extensively in his book, Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies, is that the development of AGI should be air-gapped from the internet (or any network). Is this the case with OpenAI and ChatGPT? Abso-fuckin lutely not. The training data for ChatGPT is the internet. That includes all the misinformation, racism, and cognitive biases incorporated into content found on the internet.

This is the best primer (warning – Long Read) about how current iterations of LLM’s work – https://writings.stephenwolfram.com/2023/02/what-is-chatgpt-doing-and-why-does-it-work/

Last comment is straight out of sci-fi and one that I haven’t heard anyone mention in the current hysteria. In the book Hyperion, AGI exists, uses human brains for processing power… and ultimately decides to “secede” from human affairs to focus on “other things”. The point being, if Superintelligence arrives, we should consider that it may not want to have anything to do with humans.

Arts & Crafts

We got back from SoCal on Saturday and I felt some sniffles Sunday into Monday. I powered through the week thinking I caught a cold. Makes sense. Working from home for the past 2 (3?) years and then dropping in amongst the people for some R&R – I caught a lil’ cold. I wore a mask in enclosed spaces, on planes, trains and automobiles.

Today is Saturday and I after doing my chores was waffling between going for a long ride, medium run… packing up to take the dogs on a ski tour in the Hood… but I just never managed to get out the door. I sat down to read, decided to make some banana bread… after sampling the baked goods, I thought – maybe it’s the C. Doesn’t seem like it though. I feel mostly fine, just a runny nose and some sneezes. Allergies? Never had them before, but the world it’s changing – maybe allergies.

C & T lining up full strength. Covid for the 2nd time. I saw a t-shirt a while back that read, “After the 10th infection all the mice were dead.” Awful thought, but what can you do? Apparently I was too loose with my mask policy. I’m going to take it easy this weekend, bank some sleep and calories and just rest.

Lately I’ve been: working a lot, skiing a little, running a little, not riding much, working on the van! Rosalita. That’s her name. Or The Boss. Or Olaf (there was an Olaf sticker on the passenger seat base when we got it). I should (probably won’t) write up a longer post about how we came to acquire a sweet MB 2500 4WD Crew Van from … New Jersey. It’s actually not an exciting story – but I now know a lot about how freight and auto shipping works across the United States. If you’re into logistics, hit me up and I’ll give you the behind the scenes. It comes down to the “load board” and surprise, it’s a market. Pretty interesting in a nerdy market economics way.

There’s a lot more to do on the van. So far I’ve only installed a Espar diesel heater – most vans have an auxiliary fuel tap (amazing) – so I connected that to the heater. I planned to run it off of the Jackery until I have a power system built out. It would work in theory, but I left the power line long (I haven’t decided where the controller is going to be mounted) and the voltage drop over the length of the power wire is too great to kick the heater on to start. Bummer, but it accelerates the power system design and build. Heater + front seat swivels… oh.. and some side steps. It was 24” to step into it… ankle breaker height. The steps help with that issue. We’ve used the seat swivels apres ski and I’m convinced that each step along the build process will feel like an exponential improvement.

Happy Easter!