Saturday, October 28, 2017

Where Have I Been?...

Where have I been? 

To tell you the truth, there's a bit of depression and "getting back to normal" going on over here with most people I know. It's slow going, and I won't lie - I'm feeling it, too. 

We are starting to heal here, but it's in small steps. Part of that process (for me) was visiting the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign, located right in the shadow of Mandalay Bay. 

Yes, that Mandalay Bay. 

As you approach the historic landmark, you'll see some interesting signs. Like this one that gives you the history of the sign, 

and this one, which gives you a tip about the reality of life in Sin City. (Lock your car, and take your gear with you.)

 At the LV Welcome sign, there's an incredible outpouring for the 58 victims who were killed on One-October, as it's being called.

 It's overwhelming,

and emotional,

sad and celebratory at the same time, if that's possible. 

Here are just a few of the things left for Charleston Hartfield, our local cop who was killed at the concert.  

 The tributes, photos, velas, 

Stars of David, stuffed animals, and more....

 it goes on forever. 

Tucked in with everything were plenty of handprinted rocks.

Have you noticed any around your town?

I found this rock a few weeks ago, while I was out of town. 

So I took the rock and relocated it here, at the base of the sign. Who would have thought this rock would take a 2100 mile journey! 


Anyway, I'll try to post here a little more regularly, but just know this -  it's been tough here in the past few weeks.  I'm actually working on some fun pieces, which is good for the soul. 

Hopefully, I'll get back to posting something about them soon.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Not my typical type of build...

There was nothing typical about the job I just finished, but let's face it .... nothing has been typical in Las Vegas lately. 

We're still in recovery mode, and you can tell people are still in a state of shock. Strong, resilient, but... we've heard it all. Nothing really will ever surprise us again. At least that's what I believe. 

So when someone called the shop, asking if I could build something like a "tiny house" - I wasn't surprised, but I needed a little more info before I could commit. 

Turns out - a convention in town featured this machine - an expensive thing-a-ma-jig that no one could quite say what it did, but everyone agreed - it was a damn expensive piece of equipment. If I wasn't mistaken, I think this machine portions food products, but hey - that's none of my business. 

All I know is - they wanted a 2x4 shell built around it, and they had a limited budget.

 And sure enough - against my better judgement, I agreed to build it - complete with joists across the top of it, so that the tarps wouldn't flap in the wind and damage the machine. 

I suggested that we sheathe it with panels, to make it much stiffer. But with a low budget for the "crate" - they said the 2x4s would have to suffice. 

When the truck pulled up, it was pretty quick work to build this shell. 

 Luckily, one of the near-by businesses loaned us their fork lift, which helped us get the tarps up to the top. 

These tarps weighed close to 200 pounds, so it was hard enough unwrapping it. I can't imaging putting that tarp on my shoulder and walking it up a ladder. 

No way!  

But the driver told me he's done it hundreds of times. 

Getting it pulled over the shell was a chore, 

but with the two of us (the truck driver and moi), 

we got it pulled and tied down in no time. 

A job well done!

Imagine my surprise when the driver called me the next morning - to say that he'd overtightened the gut-strap, a horizontal strap that secures the tarps in place, breaking one of the corner posts. (If you'd seen the muscles on him, you'd know that he probably didn't even  use all of his strength, he was a beast!)


I had tried to persuade the company to let me sheath the 2x4s, for strength and added protection, but they said there was no money in their budget for the additional material.  


You're protecting a machine worth $750,000 and you can't afford extra sheathing?!  

Well, you know what they say..... 

Working on Sunday isn't my favorite way to spend the day, but 
  • A - It was their "emergency" 

  • B- Someone had to do it

  • C - Ch-Ching!

 So I made a quick trip to the local BIG BOX store to buy the sheathing. 

 I knew that stapling the sheathing in place would make the job a breeze - and BAM!...
Did I mention that I won the Senco Giveaway at the AWFS show? A huge booty of Senco products including five nail guns, a compressor,

 a new hose, 

a variety of nails and fasteners, and yes....

 ... a stapler. 

Just what I needed for attaching the sheathing!

This beast worked beautifully for attaching all 14 sheets, and just a few hours later, we rolled the tarps back in place, 

and my new BFF was on his way...  


Thursday, October 05, 2017

Out of the woodshop and up to a podium - when will this madness stop?

As you can imagine - it's been a rough week here in Las Vegas. 

When you drive around the city, there is grief everywhere.

(Click Here and then come back to read this post)

Almost five years ago, on December 14, 2012, wrote a blogpost on a horrific day, - as the shootings at Sandy Hook took place. As everyone walked around the CowBoy Christmas show, people cried and huddled over their phones, reading about the unfolding scene. The thought of losing this many kids at once is devastating... please don't forget about these kids.

Then a few years later - the Pulse nightclub shooting shook us all. 

The country united in horror and anger - how could this happen?

 The unfathomable idea that someone could mow down people who were simply dancing and enjoying life shook us all. 

Well you know what - it HAS happened again, and why are we so surprised? 

Like I said - when you drive around the city, there is grief ...everywhere.

 There isn't a single place you go without being reminded of the terrible tragedy that unfolded on Sunday night. Makeshift memorials, signs on store fronts, flags at half-staff, people on corners with collection jars, people crying in stores, or restaurants ... it's everywhere. 

While we once were labeled as the "what happens here, stays here" city, we're now sadly remembered as the place where the worst mass killing in modern history has taken place.  I don't know why everyone keeps adding the "in modern history" tag to it - I think it's the worst attack in history. 



 What a horrible legacy to own, but what's worse - someday, somewhere - another city will probably take that title away from us, having their own tragedy unfold. 

The woodshop phone rang off the hook yesterday, with countless queries about rush orders - could I cut, sand and finish 58 "State of Nevada" shapes in wood, and laser them with names? Could I build a temporary alter for an outdoor service? An urn? 

There are plenty of people cashing in on this notoriety, but I won't be one of them. I do, however support some great companies that are helping the city grieve.  

and the Lazer Ladies

Or this GoFundMe page

Want to give the gift of life? Try United Blood Services, but know that they will take donations by appointment only.

After you send in your donations, and shed a tear for the victims, and attend a memorial, or light a candle, or whatever you do to remember these innocent people... think about this... when is it time to start talking about gun control?

Here are a few excellent arguments for starting the process, and I am under no illusion that it's going to be easy.

If we legislated guns the same way we do abortions:

Wait, you don't want to control the gun? How about this:

Or how about regulating guns as strictly as they do cars:

Here is the bottom line - we need something done about guns. 

We need to start somewhere. 

And just for the record - I am a gun owner. I own several, and I sleep better at night knowing they are there. But I don't own clips that hold huge numbers of bullets. I don't own semi-automatic weapons, though I know a lot of people who do. I don't own bump-stocks, nor did I even know WTF that was before this week. So don't bitch at me about gun ownership. I am talking about regulating people who shouldn't own them, or have access to them. 

I am not smart enough to know the exact solutions, but I do know this - if I sat down right now and made a list of people that I know who are ardent gun owners and have even the slightest potential for going off the deep end, I could probably come up with a decent list of names.  More than a handful, that's for sure. 

Could you?

Don't you find that chilling?

Please consider writing to your elected officials and urge them to do something. Here's a link about how to do just that...

Finally - I am attending a memorial tonight, and again tomorrow night - but know this - if anyone sends me idiotic comments about this post, I won't humor you by posting them. 

Quite simply - I'm sick of people's bullshit about their guns... go find a blanket and a pacifier.