Rough 9 hour drive to SC. Then a day for the funeral & grieving with family. Then the rough 9 hour drive back today.

Red Bull barely helped.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/30/2014 10:34:40 PM | Feedback (0)
Uncle Gene the the biscuit story

One of my favorite & longest lasting family stories was about my uncle Gene, my aunt Rosie’s husband. My dad would tell this story every chance he had.

Uncle Gene and my aunt got married well before I was born. Being a Southern Gentlemen, my uncle had requested of his new bride biscuits for dinner. For the non-southerner of my readers, biscuit making ability is a measure that southern men hold up to their women. So my aunt, who had never made biscuits before in her life prepared her husband the finest batch of biscuits she possibly could.

Uncle Gene told her that he had given one of the biscuits to the dog and that the dog had spent the rest of the night “licking its ass trying to get the taste out of it’s mouth.

Unless things had changed in the past few years, aunt Rosie had refused to ever make him biscuits again.

Yesterday my father called me. Uncle Gene was mowing the farm with his tractor. As he was mowing the edge around the pond as he had done countless other times, the tractor tipped over, trapping him underneath in shallow water. He had screamed for help and my Aunt had rushed to save him, trying to keep his head above the water. He didn’t make it.

While growing up, uncle Gene was a train engineer. He was gone at long stretches, so we didn’t see him often, but when we did he was always a warm, caring man with a funny streak a mile wide. I always loved seeing him as a child as I knew the night would be long with many a laugh.

The last time I saw Gene was about 11 years. Having a family of your own makes visiting other family, especially those in different states difficult. Then one day, they’re gone and you realize what difference a little bit of effort would have made.

Now, I’ll be making that trip I’ve avoided because ‘we’re just too busy’ out of a sad necessity.

I’ll miss you Uncle Gene. But I will remember the biscuit story for the rest of my life.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/26/2014 10:54:54 AM | Feedback (9)
This is going to be an ongoing theme, I can tell

You can make a guitar out of the wood you find on pallets, and people will pay $10,000 for it. You can blindfold master violinists and they will choose an inexpensive violin over a Stradivarius.

And now you can put McDonald’s on toothpicks and get ‘foodies’ to tell you how delicious the McNugget is and how the flavors simply roll around the palate.

The gun enthusiast falls into the same trap. We get so wound up in the hype around a feature that we rarely will do a double blind test to see if said feature really is what was making a difference. You can get people to tell you something is better if you indicate it *is* better

Most people agree that wholegrain is better for you without a) knowing what the term ‘wholegrain’ actually means or b) why eating the germ & bran matters at all. Even then, the term ‘wholegrain’ is used as a marketing ploy and not indicative of actual benefits. There are measurable benefits to it, but most people have no clue what they are.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/23/2014 11:16:31 AM | Feedback (16)
Not the prettiest cuts

But I’ll be damned if they’re not perfectly parallel!

With the new garage set up, I wanted a better way to mount my presses & vice than just bolting them through the workbench. I was pointed to Rockler & their aluminum tracks and decided that I would give them a shot. The idea was route a channel for the tracks into the bench then permanently attach the presses / vice to a good piece of plywood. Those then could have the t-bolts attached to them so I could slide whatever I needed on or off the bench. If I need the whole bench, I no longer have to unbolt the damned things for the space.

This, of course, meant routing two perfectly parallel channels into my new bench. Nerve wracking to say the least, but minus one glitch where the guide popped loose (the back of the bench is practically flush with maybe 1/2” hanging over to clamp onto) and a little chatter, it worked pretty damned good.

20141021_191126 20141021_192301 20141021_193520 20141021_203112

Those rails aren’t going anywhere. A bit of wood-filler should cover up the ‘oopsie’ and the end of the channels.

Now, I measured twice & cut once on the plywood to hold the presses / vice, but measuring doesn’t do diddly when you cut in the wrong direction, so I ended up screwing up the mounts. Luckily it’s only $8 for a sheet of plywood so I’m not out a ton of cash. However, I did mount my Hornady just to see how it would work using only one rail and I have to admit, I may have been able to just get away with a single. This damned thing doesn’t budge.


I’m far from a handyman and things I do may not be the prettiest but I do take pride in the fact that I’m capable of doing such things.

posted by Robb Allen @ 10/22/2014 9:50:51 AM | Feedback (6)