Archive for category Home Stuff

Concrete work brings the family together

We recently decided to do some work on the house. Using guilt and fresh micro-brew, I got family to help.

The project turned out great and will last longer than all of us.


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Setting up a New Company

My parents exposed me early to self  employment. Working with them, (cleaning office buildings) I learned allot about all the many soft skills needed to be/run a company. From billing, scheduling, client communication to the actual work involved…it takes a ton effort to keep it all afloat.

Tamara had a recent idea for cool product; A Tissue Box cover idea. After running a product test pilot at Etsy, it seemed that the market existed. The real key came about when we found a custom fabric supplier.

While Tamara worked on the actual item design and production, I started on a website that incorporated a order, fulfillment and shipping method. In the past, we had used a full blown website ( to receive and process orders but the effort involved is dumbfounding. This time I tried a WordPress based theme that had some basic Content Management Database (PHP 5.0) built in.

After 36 hours of work I came up with We had liked the name SnotBots but SnotBot is a PrOn site…. so we adapted to Snotty to avoid any issues.

We used a great graphic designer Tyler Tinsley and he came up with a super logo design. We also used Frank to help us with some product design and marketing advice. Both have helped us in the past with some other designs.

In the future we hope to get official licensing from an unnamed company but that is a bit further than we have ever explored.

Have you started a company and how do you keep it afloat?



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6 Months at GSB

It seemed like a long time but it has finally come to an end. I took a six month contract to sys-admin the Portland office of a high end law firm, Garvey, Schubert and Barer.

The work was challenging at times but mostly focused on helping the Attorneys by making sure they had the computer/electronic tools needed to get done what they needed to get done. Sometimes it was hardware, often software but always customer based, which included training.

Initially, I was intimidated to step into an office with a number of unknown systems (document management, meta data scanners, email based voice mail and others) but the systems we well thought out and I had a great support from the head office in Seattle.

Here is where I spent the last 6 months.

GSB Desk

It was more than worth it….and we get to go on vacation!

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Inflation Adjusted Housing

There is a great article about how the true cost of buying a home in the USA right now. It also goes into how people intrinsically don’t understand compound inflation. ($5 today has the same value as$5 , ten years ago….right?)

The part that caught my attention was the inflation adjusted home prices graph.

The pressure that was put on people to buy into the idea that home ownership is a  financial smart step has started to wane for the past few years, yet it is making a comeback. I think the Boomers are getting nervous about how to ditch their homes…

Next time someone tells you how they struck it rich by buying a home in the past 10 years, ask them about how much (inflation adjusted mind you) they paid in taxes, maintenance, insurance, fees and upgrades to their home…all on top of the interest and principle. I bet you find that they were lucky to break even at best.

Link to the article here.

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Trek in the Park

Portland can be a fun city if you have a bit of a weird streak.

One example is the free “Trek in the Park”; a theater troop’s annual episodic adventure of Star Trek. This year it was the episode Space Seed”  with Khan Noonian Singh. Some great friends of ours came with us and we got there an hour early. The popularity has increased a bit so we had to sit behind the amphitheater but we could still hear well. The park, Woodlawn Park has a couple of amphitheaters but they used the small one. Maybe next year they will use the larger one.

Before it started, we looked around at the audience and wondered aloud if this is what the Internet looks like?

The props were put in place and actors gathered.

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Soon it was time to start, the music was amplified but the performers relied on their voices. The Costumes were great and the work was earnest, wholehearted and great fun. The Kirk, did an amazing job.

Stardate 2047……….

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Spock had the best voice that could clearly be heard by all around.

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Below is a video with the original for fun.

Make a date for next year!

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