Brocade Covered Tourney Chest

This chest was made by my father, James Mead [SCA: James Addison the Lame], lo these many years ago; approximately 30 years ago, I'd guess. It is not based upon any historical designs that I'm aware of, but strove to fit into the medievalesque ambiance of the general SCA encampment.

The top and bottom are 1/4" plywood panelboard, with smooth finished backsides. The four sides are 1/4" pegboard. Each of the four sides is covered with brocade fabric, curtain fabric if I remember correctly, from Goodwill.

After the fabric was attached, the front and back were framed with 1x1 finished wood. Same with the top and bottom. The handles are backed on the inside by steel plates, massively strengthening the pegboard. The two sides have wider 1x hardwood framing. The front and back fit between the two sides. The bottom fits over the four sides, as does the top. This chest has an internal division, and a removable tray in the left partition. The top is attached by two hinges, with a strip of leather to prevent the top from opening too far. Other than the hinges, everything was fastened together with glue and panel nails.

This chest is surprisingly sturdy, given the materials it is made from. Lightweight, too.


Long time no post

Yes, I'm still alive.

I have far too many books for my home. So I've actually, gasp, started weeding my collection, endevouring to keep only those items I actually see myself using again. Well, in theory, at least.  I can tell this will be a repeating activity, with re-evaluations at regular intervals until I've gotten the collection down to a reasonable size for my home.  The idea is that someday my book collections should all live on bookcases, and not take up a wall of the living room five boxes high, nine boxes wide, and two boxes deep; the non-fiction is all on bookcases already, what's in boxes is the fiction and magazines.  One planned activity for this week is installing shelves on that wall, and seeing where that leaves me after I fill them.  And there are the bookcases upstairs, which should get some books, too.  I haven't wed the Ts yet; my non-fiction is organized by Library of Congress Call Numbers, the Ts are where all the technology stuff fall, including all the woodworking and home maintenance materials, of which I have loads which it is doubtful I'll ever actually utilize, given how full my garage is with stuff.

The garage. It has a problem.  Well, several. It has one light, woefully inadequate for its size. The breaker box is funky, and should be replaced.  And, most traumatically, the roof leaks, which encourages mold and such ickyness, as well as rust.  The roof is on the list for things to get done this summer, now that we've sold the old homestead in Portland.

Oh, I didn't mention that?  We've sold the Portland building, which was my home for 1976-1987, then for 1995-2012; there was a seven year period where I was out-of-state, and merely had lots of stuff stored there.  The proceeds from the sale are being dealt with by paying off everyone's indebtedness except for mortgages, then setting aside enough money to take care of mom's care for five years, and then using the rest to make major repairs to roofs and such.  And to buy me a newer car, mine's a 1986 Stanza and parts are scarce, as well as it's just wearing out.  While I prefer a station-wagon, practicality and lowered likelihood of needing to transport long objects is directing my eye toward the Honda Fit or the Toyota Corolla, less than five years old.  And looking into getting a roof rack installed, for if I ever need to transport long items.

I actually went to the local fighter practice last Sunday; Jarl Ulfred, from the Barony of Three Mountains (where I used to live) was coming up to give a workshop, so I made myself show up, which was the second SCA activity I'd been at in 15 years.  Did I watch the heavy fighters? No. I got roped in by the heavy rapier fighters, and watched their practice for a couple of hours.  I liked what I saw, they were working on drill for quite some time before sparring, and seemed like friendly folks.  Actually, they all seemed like friendly folks, which went along with the impression I had from lurking on the local email list for the last year.  So I'm going to go to fighter practice again today, bringing my rapier equipment with me; I'd need to borrow weapons and a mask, as Cameron has mine, and he's just moved to California (if I can get contact info from my sister, I'll ask him to ship my mask back to me, which would be much cheaper than buying a new one.)  An Tir only does Heavy Rapier, so I'll need new weapons, but my armor passes specs (Yay!  My old Midrealm armor from twenty years ago is still good to go); well, based on the current requirements I had to make additional groin protection, to push that up to puncture resistant.  So I've now used my sewing machine for the first time in 15+ years.  And had to buy new scissors, so that I could cut through eight layers of fabric at one time and not have to pin out pattern pieces umpteen bazzillion times.  So, anyway, I may start to have some social activity again, which would be very good.  Really good.  And impetus to work on getting those books on shelves and out of the middle of my living room, in case I wanted to have anyone over.  Which the list of how many boxes didn't include the 24 boxes of romance novels in the library, which will also need to get wed. Hey, when Goodwill was selling romance novels for 49 cents each, I bought a bunch of them, bunches and bunches of them.  Now to determine just which of them are silly enough to keep.

If I functioned just a bit better I'd set up with ABE Books or as an Amazon or Barnes & Noble affiliate to sell the stuff I'm weeding, we'll see about how I dispose of them; weeding doesn't do any good if they keep on taking up space in boxes.  Certain of my books are worth real money.  Others, not so much.

Well, I've been writing this for most of an hour now, so I think I'll post it.  Hopefully it won't be so long until the next post.


Boxes of Books

So, in my living room, I have 8*5*3=120 boxes of books right now.  It's a large living room, there's a lot of space left over.  Moving them from the garage freed up a bunch of space for more stuff from Portland. OK, 15 or 16 of those boxes are fiction magazines, mainly science fiction. And then an additional 15 boxes of magazines, mainly woodworking journals.  Then four boxes of DVDs and VHS tapes.

Mind, those boxes are right where the stereo equipment wants to go; this isn't a long term storage solution, I need to put up shelving and debox this stuff.  And there's a bunch more boxes of books still in the basement in Portland, waiting to move north.  But my underlying philosophy of life is simple: walls are a place to put shelving for books.  My reality is that I may not have enough walls.  I might actually find myself having to weed the collection, something I hadn't done previously because, well, due to various incidents many of my books had been in boxes for a while and couldn't be gone through.  And the whole weeding criteria of do I see myself seriously needing access to this book in the future, and if so, could I reasonably do so without owning a copy?  I've got a lot of books where the answer to the second question is no, I couldn't obtain access to it if I didn't own it; lots of SF and Fantasy novels have only been published in paperback, and libraries don't have copies of them anymore.  The same holds true for genre romance fiction.

Then there are the works for which there are electronic versions running around.  And there the question is how is access controlled, and can one download replacement copies if you've had a disk crash?  How stable is the economic outlook for the company controlling access to the electronic versions; will they still be around if I needed to redownload?  Borders went out of business, after all; mind, part of why they went out of business was that they hadn't latched onto electronic media to the extent that Barnes & Noble has, but there are lots of people out there who don't utilize electronic media, Borders just hadn't diversified enough to weather the current depression when book sales took a dive, unlike Barnes & Noble which has added a great many things to their market presence, and we won't talk about how thoroughly diversified Amazon is.

But I wander a bit astray from kvetching and kvelling about how many books I have.  The reality is that I don't have as much space as I had in Portland. I have less storage space all around, even given the huge garage; after all, the garage is supposed to become a shop.  So at the least I'll be making decisions about what goes on open shelves, and what stays in boxes, and how I keep track of what is where.

That's enough for now.



Talk about weeding!  Tacoma provides an absolutely ginormous yard debris container, and I'm already 3/4 full and still working on the front yard.  Like, lots of weeds.  But most are this type with really strong tap roots, so over 90% of the weeds I pull have all the roots removed, so there'll be very little repeat weeding, which is nice.  I kinda like this weed, given the roots pulling so cleanly.  I should take photos and post them, shouldn't I?  My weeder is a tool that Lee Valley sells as Grampa's Weeder; mine isn't Lee Valley's edition, mine is indeed Grampa's weeder, as in a family heirloom from when it was first sold; my sister, however, has Lee Valley's version, and having used both, I can safely say that the Lee Valley edition works just as well as the old Simplex edition that I have.  Garrett Wade also sells this weeder, as Grandpa's Weeder.  Both sources sell for the same base price, $27.50, although Garrett Wade has a sale on sets of two. So unless one has a preference of stores, I suppose shipping and handling would determine who to buy from.


Well, I've officially, and really, moved. I now live in Tacoma, Washington State. I've got a lot of work ahead of me, organizing stuff, especially so that the remaining stuff from Portland has space to move up here. Of course, most of my tools are still in Portland, so I'll be borrowing some tools from Karen for the nonce.

It only took 11+ months to get this far along the way in my moving. The hope is that we'll be able to hire the rest of the move.  I'll be needing to work on organizing things in the house to clear space in the garage for the remaining stuff;

Anyway, just thought I'd post that I've moved.  Next week will be busy, dealing with various governmental agencies that I couldn't deal with before the move, to establish food stamps, driver's license, voter's registration, library card, etc.; all the fun things in life.  And I get to deal with pumping my own gas again (Oregon doesn't allow people to pump their own gas, unlike most states.)

It's bed time, so I'll be saying good night.  Oh, almost forgot, I've already started on the massive weeding project that is my yard, both front and back. And then the Ivy control project.  Since the Ivy comes from next door, it can only be control, not eradication.

Didn't I say something about going to bed?


Well, it's been 11 months since I bought a home in Tacoma, Washington
State, and I'm finally moving. We did the first moving expedition Mother's Day weekend, and the second foray into moving is scheduled for June 16th and 17th, Father's Day weekend. I suppose I should look up Children's Day to see if this is a trend or not...

This won't be everything moved, there will still be quite a bit in the basement awaiting moving, but I'll be out of the apartment and residing in Tacoma.

Oh, and how about a current photo, taken today, showing what I currently look like? And on the weight loss regimen, I'm now down to 170lbs, all thanks to diet (changing what I'm eating, and how much I'm eating, in a very healthy fashion.)


I'm getting old

Or at least I'm getting the ailments of age. To be precise, arthritis.

I've been aware of this for a while. The lower back, definitely. But I now know of several other areas affected.

See, yesterday I took the train to Tacoma to meet with a general contractor concerning work to be done on my new-to-me house, and as it wasn't that far from the train station, I walked.

Well, thirty years ago it wouldn't have been that far. Three miles, basically. A forty-five minute walk. At twenty I was walking 16 miles to visit friends, up big hills, with no problems.

At fifty, it's a different matter. There were some hills, nothing major, and I felt them. I was noticing the exertion, big time. It took me the better part of an hour to start to recuperate, and I was still feeling it that evening. And today, well, my hips hurt. In an arthritic manner. I'm really glad the contractor was willing to give me a ride to the train station, walking back just wasn't going to happen, and arranging for a cab would have required calling 411 and getting Tacoma directory assistance and not knowing the name of the local cab company, and I really wanted to avoid that if I could. I need to add the cab companies, and the ride information line for Pierce County Transit, to my phone/address list I've been making for Tacoma.

It's now 25 hours since I finished that walk, and I'm still feeling it, aching hips, unhappy knees, sore feet; I'm not doing that again.

Pity, that. What a difference thirty years makes. Actually, what a difference ten years makes, which is when the arthritis started kicking in.

On the good news, I'm back down to 180 lbs., which is my low weight for the last twenty some years. Now to see if slightly smaller portions will drop the weight further without feeling overly hungry; the height/weight charts say I should weight more like 160 lbs, which I haven't weighed since before I went to grad school in 1987.

Anyway, that's it for now. Just like living with my disabilities, I get to live with arthritis, and balance things out; Ibuprofen would take care of the pain, but at the expense of mental functioning, so I deal with the pain during the day and take Ibuprofen prior to going to bed.