Saturday, May 31, 2014

My Own Bed Project



A few weeks ago I began work on what I call a pedestal or riser for my bed I've been using for the past 9 months. Since getting the bed and mattress from Overstock.com I've known that it sat too low for me. I'm a kinda tall guy (6' 2"), but even so, I'd think that any adult would find the bed a bit low for them. Maybe a child would be comfortable with it the way it came, but not adults, as I sit at only like 1 foot off the floor.
So, I'd always wanted and thought about lifting it up a few inches somehow. The how was the puzzler. Exactly what method or design I'd make or use would be really important because I'm also a heavy guy (about 260+ lbs.), so it needed to be strong and well made. I know about the little 4" lift plastic feet you can get that only cost like $5 to $10 or so for a set of 4. But I'd need 6 of them, not 4, due to the way my bed is designed. (there are 2 support posts in the center of my bed frame that holds up the middle structure, so I'd need 2 for those in addition to the 4 outer feet. This alternative, however, left me feeling unsure about if it would be wobbly & fall over. So I rejected this plan.
Without another solid plan I lived with the bed as it was like I said for the past 9 months or so until I saw a video on youtube.com. It was of a guy who built his own bed frame to hold his king-size mattress. It was a clever design & sat up off the floor like 6" or so using 4 sturdy feet. You can see his video on youtube here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BDjPqZ_Gtmw
in addition, you can see complete details on how he built his bed frame
on his facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/KevinHagerty/media_set?set=a.552281930614.2071539.19304077&type=1&l=e9d5dda6e7
Inspired by Kevin's video I designed a pedestal to lift the bed frame that I had. After careful measurements of what I would need to build I gathered my materials: I used 9 of the wooden 8' 2"X4"s as the 'bones' and a sheet of 4'X8' plywood as a 'skin' to cover them. The 2"X4"s I cut to size and notched so that they could be interwoven into a kind of latticework, which I then glued and screwed together. The plywood was cut into 4 perfectly fitting boards and screwed down onto the top
of the framework. Then it was onto the feet, which were probably the most demanding part of the build. I created 4 feet from the remnants of the 2"X4"s by gluing 3 pieces of wood together (1 short piece sandwiched between 2 longer pieces). This way I wouldn't need to cut a notch out of one large 4"X4" or something (which is what Kevin did & said had been really tough for him). Gluing and clamping the boards together for a couple days was all it took & they were stuck
permanently. After some finish work on them to cut off the 'flash' some might call it I went about the tough job of attaching them to the underside of the pedestal framework. This involved positioning the 5 legs in place and locating drill holes. Needless to say this was tough as my drill bit was only like 3" long and the holes drilled needed to be like nearly 6" to pass all the way thru both the legs and the
undercarriage. I ended up using a pattern drawn on paper that would position where to drill the holes. It still was a kind of trial and error experience, but not too taxing. And eventually, after about a
week of work in my spare time it was completed.
The finished pedestal was rather heavy when me and a helper carried it to my upstairs room, but we managed to get it in. I didn't want to mess up the bedroom with sawdust & stuff which was why I didn't work on it in there & why I built it on the back porch. It did fit the bed frame quite well, though it was a tight fit, and ended up lifting the bed exactly the height that I had wanted. Bully!
The total cost of supplies for the build (wood, bolts, nuts & washers, and wood glue=I already had screws & the tools I needed, which included a jig saw, circular saw, hand saw, 2 drills, 2 large clamps, a ratchet set, hammer, & screwdriver) came in at well under $100 from Home Depot.
Here are a couple photos: one of the bed I'd purchased from Overstock.com & one after it was lifted. Also one photo of the underside where you can see a bit better the framework & feet beneath the bed.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Once And Great TV Sign Off

   Here is a tribute to something that we Americans could witness each and every evening if we stayed up late enough. Today there is no such thing because TV never ends anymore. And it's a sad thing. Who really needs to watch anything at 3am anyways? You should be asleep!
   At any rate, here's my homage to what was once something pretty cool. Enjoy!

Monday, May 19, 2014

We Take It...But Don't Like It

We take what they give us...but we don't like it
  I went to the grocery store the other day to buy my monthly supply of food & drinks and found out that they had changed the way they sell them. If I wanted ANYTHING I had to pay up front $100 and take 100 different items of their choosing even though I only wanted 20 of them. The other 80 items I hated and these went immediately into the garbage. So, I'd wasted 80% of my money on trash I didn't use. Also, and unfortunately, there were several items left off the list offered for $100, but they told me if I paid another $10 I could have a few of them (in addition to a bunch of other trash items that would also go into the garbage). Begrudgingly I paid the extra money because I really wanted these essentials. So, I took home my load of groceries & trash items $110 poorer. I didn't like it, but I accepted it, since this was how the grocery store was now forcing people to buy their stuff.
  This story sounds unbelievable, huh? Who would be willing to let any grocery store in America do this to them? Well, actually, it happens every day. And we do accept it like idiots. Though it's not actually groceries I'm talking about. It's television.
  The cable companies have been doing this very thing to us for decades. We buy predetermined 'packages' of programming for a set amount of money that have lets say for arguments sake 100 channels included in them. Of these 100 channels we tend to watch only 10% to 20% of them. So we're basically wasting up to 80% of our money on unwatched channels. Yet we have no say so on this and our only options are to either take what they give us or switch to some other television provider. Unfortunately the other providers do the same thing, so there's no escaping this insanity. And if some channel we want is not included we have to pay more to get a bigger 'package' in which it is included. The whole concept is illogical and insulting for the customers. It's like we're forced to buy stuff that we're just going to throw away instead of being able to buy only what we want.
  I'm sure that the cable companies have their motives for doing this. Obviously money is the prime motivator I'd suspect. Even though technically they have no monopoly on us, since there are multiple companies involved, their systems are all the same--so they have monopolized the system. What power do we have to change this?
  I'm willing to bet that if you asked 100 people about this a great majority would say that they wish they could choose to only have the channels that they actually watch broadcast into their homes and that they would like to only pay for the tv channels that they actually watched. Why would anyone want to pay for something they didn't use? I don't.
  Cable television is the only utility I know of that does this. Power, gas, phone, water, Internet, etc. are all paid for by what we actually use. The Internet is similar to tv, in that you are given access to much more content that you'll actually use, but you're not really paying for the content--you're paying for band speed. Power, gas, water & phone charge us exactly by what we use, nothing more. WHY DO WE PUT UP WITH THIS ON TV?
  I have no idea why everyone is so accepting of what the cable companies are doing. Maybe we've been brain washed into thinking we have no alternative. Maybe people have tried to do something about it, but gotten nowhere. I don't know the answer to these questions. All I know is that the situation is illogical and stupid and since I hate things that are illogical and stupid I have to point out my objections.
  So wake up America to this absurdity. Stop buying tv that you just throw into the garbage. Make the cable companies change their programming systems so that we only pay for what we want to watch. When this is accomplished our world will be a better place and everyone will be a lot happier.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Have You Ever Noticed?

   I drive for a living (delivering auto parts) so I'm on the road all day looking at other cars. And one thing I've noticed are the front grilles of various vehicles. And the fact that they seem to resemble other things. Maybe I'm just imagining all this. Or maybe I'm right and the inspiration for their design has come from something. Car design I'd guess is either inspired by something or perhaps just thrown together with no thought whatsoever. The latter I would think to be more dangerous for a designer considering that their job depends on their designs being accepted by management. So what pretell could the designers be getting inspiration from?
   I'd imagine that the automobile manufacturers put a lot of thought into what their cars look like since they want to sell them to the public and make lots of money. So it stands to reason that, they want their product to stand out from the crowd, be attention getting, be edgy even.
   I heard recently that we see things even if there is really nothing to be seen. Simple, random patterns can be thought of as faces, objects, etc. when they were never intended to be. That is surely possible. On the other hand. Perhaps what we see was intended and things were designed to look like something that we do recognize. I would propose this to be true, especially when dealing with something man-made, like car grilles.
   There are many examples of this that come to mind--you might have some of your own as well--but the one I bring up today are those of Kia Motors. They have produced cars since 1986 and for a long time I saw very little of note in their front grilles. But, since around 2008 or so this changed. In that year I think their vehicles began to incorporate a similar design element into their front grilles, and today they still have it. And I believe that it was inspired by samurai warrior masks. And in particular the angry mouth that you can see in many of them.
   Below I've added a good example drawing of a samurai mask next to a couple of their cars, the 2014 K900 & a 2011 Kia Sorento. I swear to me it looks like the cars are angry at us and about to attack!