Tuesday, August 02, 2016


For a long time, I've been interested in vintage computing. In addition to my own experience as a kid who was frustrated by the TI-99/4a's lack of low level ability without additional equipment, I also fell in love with digital design, though I didn't get much practice aside from a class in college. So, I decided to remedy that and improve my digital design skills. One project is building a Z80 PC. I'll post some details on that soon.

Is there life in this blog?

Ok, I've been treating my FB page as a blog. Probably not what I want to do. So, I'm going to start posting my tech and water based stuff here again, and link back to my FB page as needed.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

One Sheet Skiff

My youngest son Jon got it in his head that he wanted to build a boat(I fully confess to implanting that desire). Well, after looking at the One Sheet Skiff designed by Herb McCleod, I decided to give it a shot. I picked up a type of underlayment sold in the local Lowes called SurePly. Seems to work pretty well. I had Lowes make the initial 9 inch cuts, which was a mistake, as the dude cut it short on one side. I was able to hide the deficiency under a piece of decking on the bow of the boat, but it would have made the task much easier to have made a good cut myself. At this point, I'm almost done. I opted to make it a sailing version, and re-used the Aqua-Glide MultiSport rig we had already. I'll post pics some pics as I write out the build notes.

Monday, February 28, 2011


I have taken up Sunfish sailing. After my class last summer, I got enthused about sailing small boats. Well, fortune smiled on me, and I picked up a Minifish and a Sunfish. I'm still working on the Sunfish, but I got my wetsuit on and jumped in Sterling Lake with my Sunfish a couple of times now. Pretty decent sailing, and no traffic to deal with for a novice :)

Monday, August 23, 2010


OK, so I haven't updated this blog in over a year. Yeesh, time gets away from me. Of course, I generally post things on my Facebook account for family, so perhaps I just need to segregate my postings, as they aren't usually interested in my SCUBA and sailing posts.

Anyway, in the SCUBA front, I have the following new regulators:
An Aqua Lung "Royal Master" - a fairly rare precursor to the Royal Aqua Master. Only made for a couple of years.

A Voit "50 Fathom" - This is the chrome, single stage downstream design. I picked it up for $20 + shipping from craigslist. It was in better shape than I feared. I am going to have Dave Ali rechrome the body, as it is flaking chrome and I'd rather not breathe that in.

I've also collected an assortment of DAAMs.

I went diving with my cousin in Wilson Lake. It was amazing clear(for a Kansas lake). I'll need to do that again.

On the sailing front, I've made a few changes. First, I sold my Hobie cat(without ever getting it wet), and bought a Macgregor 22 that I found abandoned in a storage lot. I'm trying to get it prepared to do some sailing yet this summer.

In addition, I picked up an unmarked 12' sailboat and trailer. I have cut up the hull to practice fiberglass repair, but I may opt to ditch the hull and start on a smaller project. This would leave me with a functional trailer and a functional mast and boom, along with a couple of sails and some assorted hardware. I could likely use all of it on a PDRacer, so I'm still debating that.

I took a 4 hour class in Monterey Bay, and had a blast. Captaining a 25' Yamaha in fairly heavy winds in Monterey Bay was certainly a fitting introduction. I loved every heel, and got a kick from all of the seals and sea lions which popped up and kept an eye on us.

Then, a few weeks ago, I caught the last Red Cross sailing class this season. It was also a lot of fun, and I really enjoy small boat sailing as well. I am looking for something like a Sunfish or Lazer. Only time will tell how successful I will be at finding one of those in decent condition.

Finally, I spent the last weekend teaching my kids to sail the AquaGlide. Both Tyler and Phillip caught on to it fairly quickly, and they enjoyed sailing in Cheney Lake's Sailboat Cove.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Cheap alternative to Topsy-Turvy

Everyone has seen those commercials for the Topsy-Turvy, the planter that hangs your plants upside down. Aside from some silly claims on plant physiology, it looked interesting. When my grandmother mentioned that her tomatoes and strawberries were doing well, I decided to give it a shot. However, I am far too cheap to pay even the $10 price for a Topsy Turvy on sale. So, I went to some of the local stores and bought those recyclable bags everyone seems to have for around $1.
I then poked a hole in the bottom, and cut a slit in a cheap cleaning sponge to wrap around the stalk of the plants.The sponge holds moisture and keeps the dirt from falling out of the hole in the bottom of the bag. I mixed in some time-release fertilizer as I filled the bags up.
The first two I built with no supports. The rest I built with a u-shaped support made out of cut up cardboard boxes. I also started dropping in extra sponges in the later versions, with the idea that they will hold more moisture. Then, I hung the bags by their handles in a series of hooks that I installed along my front porch, which faces east. Two of the bags hang on the south side of the porch.
The initial results are great. All of the plants have fruit, and they don't seem to be adversely affected by the situation. I haven't had any fruits ripen yet, but that's likely because of how late in the season I started my experiment. The two tomato plants that I have in the back yard are also not ripening yet.
The only caveats I have seen so far is that they need to be watered daily, and that you have to keep an eye on cross winds. The two on the south side were battered by the wind on the side of the house during a recent storm, and both developed splits in the stalks. However, the splits healed and the plants are doing fine now.
I'll try to post pictures later.
EDIT: Here are the pictures I mentioned.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Another watery passion

Sailing. I love the idea of sailing and sailboats. I have owned two sailboats. The first was an old Hobie Cat that I put a few hundred dollars into and then sold when it became clear that I wouldn't ever have the chance to get it into a lake.
The second is a little inflatable Aqua-glide sailboat/windsurfer combo. Nice, but it's far too hard for me to move around in. For the kids, it should be perfect. If I can get into one of the sailing courses in Wichita, and maybe get Phillip into one of the sailing camps they offer, I think it would make a fine little boat.
However, my heart is caught by the idea of sailing a decent sized vessel in the ocean. Silly, I know, for a guy sitting in Kansas, but there it is. I saw a pair of mono-hull sailboats in need of restoration in Louisiana that caught my imagination all over again. If only I could take up the challenge, and make something like that happen. Alas...

Friday, June 05, 2009

I should...

occasionally add content to this blog.

Right now, the Ironhead is down while I finish the carb. I'm also getting close to getting the Honda CM185T back on the road(need to find tires). And I'm watching a basketcase XS650 on the 'bay which I may throw a bid at if Heather doesn't choke me to death.

I haven't had a chance to do anything SCUBA related in over a year. We did end up going to Florida briefly this summer, so my need to get wet is rekindled. I'm going to try and get my boat fixed this summer, and at least go out and jump in Wilson Lake a time or two before the year is out.