Wall 2 wall

At long last, an update on the bathroom project.

I think the last time we checked in, we had just installed the new underlayment. After that, for many weeks, we worked on the walls. I had no idea you could do that much work on walls. We:

Put in new drywall (blue board, in this case). This involved

  • quite a bit of jigsawing (measure once, cut twice)
  • tons of tiny particulate matter settling on every surface of the house, repeatedly
  • nailing and screwing
  • seam taping
  • joint mudding, smoothing, sanding, also repeatedly

drywall1

drywall2

We then primed the walls with something that smelled approximately like horse pee and reeked the house out for hours.

priming

Next, the extremely exciting adventure of using the industrial compressor gizmo to spray texture on the walls (mostly in an attempt to hide my very bad drywall taping and mudding job). This machine was:

  • huge
  • heavy
  • deafeningly loud (esp. in small bathroom)
  • sprayed texture frickin’ EVERYWHERE (my job was to scrape/sponge it off of every place it wasn’t supposed to go, including the closet door in Carol’s office, like eight feet away)
  • burped the liquid texture five feet into the air when turned off
Carol preps the texturizing machine

Carol preps the texturizing machine

Carol spraying texture on the walls

Carol spraying texture on the walls

Texture Warrior

Texture Warrior

At this point, we were forced to take a break from the project and go on a cruise for ten days. When we got back, we painted. Three times. With three different colors. Then we really started cooking: last weekend Carol installed the new light fixture, we put in the new medicine cabinet, and Carol got one of the recessed cubbies installed:

cubbie
cabinet1

cabinet21

Et voila.

Next installment (so to speak): At Long Last, Floor.

WWVB in Fort Collins

I had one of those fantastic experiences today, serendipitous, where I closed a 35 year-old circle, quite unexpectedly.

I travelled north of Fort Collins this morning with my colleagues from the Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Science Center to visit radio station WWVB, which broadcasts the atomic time all over the country and the world (their shortwave signal, broadcast as WWV, has been picked up as far away as South Africa and the South Pole). Do you have a “radio controlled” watch or clock? It gets its signal from WWVB in Fort Collins.

We were visiting as part of our larger project of talking with the science and cultural groups in the area, which is in turn part of our exhibit master planning process for the new museum. Basically, we’re going on cool field trips to find out what’s going on in our community. Besides visiting WWVB, we’ve talked to New Belgium brewery, and are scheduled to meet with the Seed Repository at CSU, the folks at WaterPik, CSU’s Atmospheric Science research center, and the Vestas wind turbine people.

We spent several fascinating hours at the facility, which is part of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which is ultimately part of the US Department of Commerce. The “official” atomic clock is at NIST in Boulder; but we learned today that the signal broadcast from the antennae in Fort Collins (there are two) comes from a duplicate “clock” on site here, which is synchronized several times a day to the one in Boulder. So, although the “official” time is kept in Boulder, the signal you get is generated by the clock in Fort Collins.

We learned just a bazillion fascinating things today, and probably that many more went over our heads. The guys out there were fantastic and showed us all around: time stamp generators, transmitters, the cesium clock itself, the antennae, and the immense gridwork of towers and cables that support the antennae. We honest to god saw the, I’m not kidding, switch that they throw — manually — to send the “bit” that goes out in the signal when it’s Daylight Savings Time. Some of — much of — the technology looks like mid-1960’s Star Trek. There are Dymo tape labels on the electronics cabinets and dot matrix printers. But this stuff was built to last — and when it gets replaced, often the “new” technology doesn’t last as long (as they found out a few years ago when a new support cable for one of the towers fatigued unexpectedly and snapped). We also learned about leap seconds; they keep track of the discrepancy between the atomic clock and the actual rotational speed of the Earth (which is tending to slow down), and when that discrepancy reaches a nice round number, in this case, a second, the “Leap Second” switch gets thrown and we get an extra second. We just had one not too long ago. Currently, the discrepancy is at .409 milliseconds, so it will be awhile before we need another leap second adjustment.

I could go on and on, even worse than I’m doing now. (It was just so dang cool!). But back to my “circle.” We also visited the shortwave signal generator, known as WWV. Besides the time signal, the shortwave also broadcasts an audio component — listen to a recording (not live) here. I’m such a geek, but it was so freakin’ cool to listen to the signal, right there in the room where it was being generated! And watching my atomic wristwatch tick along in perfect synch — it was like my watch had returned to the Mothership! But the best part was suddenly remembering, when I heard that sound, how I would take Dad’s shortwave radio out to my observatory, when I was a teenager, and listen to the signal while I made my astronomical observations. I reasoned, if I saw anything noteworthy, I would need an exact time stamp for my report! I haven’t listened to that signal for 35 years.

Second harbinger

Carol just called on her cell phone on her way to work to tell me that the sign at the drive-in theater has changed from CLOSED FOR THE SEASON to OPENING SOON. It’s freezing cold this morning with a couple of inches of snow, but I feel spring coming …

My prediction

I know the groundhog predicted six more weeks of winter, but coming home from work today I saw the CSU women’s lacrosse team (woof) out practicing in their shorts. To my eyes, that says spring is on its way.

My friend Sarah

I know you’ll be jealous when you see what I got in the mail today:

sarah001

Yes, addressed to me, personally. Because me and Sarah are tight. A little bit like her hair. And total credit goes to Carol for suggesting that, along with the FREE Alaska travel guide, as a special bonus gift they could include a guide to Russia as well since you can see it from there …

Interesting voting stats

Some interesting voting statistics from the Proposition 8 battleground in California, courtesy of the Equality California Institute (via email):

I am very excited to share with you a major study of voting patterns related to Proposition 8.

The study, authored by Professor Kenneth Sherrill of Hunter College-CUNY and Professor Patrick J. Egan of New York University, was funded by the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund and released in collaboration with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Freedom to Marry and Equality California Institute’s Let California Ring campaign.

Based on polling data funded by Equality California Institute and conducted by David Binder Research, the study found that voters who supported Prop 8 were primarily influenced by:

  • Ideology – 82% of voters who identify as conservatives voted “Yes”
  • Party – Republicans voted more than 80% in favor of Prop 8
  • Religiosity – 70% of weekly church goers voted “Yes”
  • Age – 67% of voters born before World War II voted “Yes”

The study also showed that race was not a driving factor in the election, as was purported by the National Election Pool (NEP) poll which said 70% of African-Americans voted for Prop 8. Our study found the number closer to 57% to 59%.

One of the most important–and rewarding–findings was the movement in all groups, except Republicans, toward support for full marriage equality. From 2000 to 2008 we moved Californians 9% in support of same-sex marriage – an amazing change in such a short time!

Find out more about voters and Proposition 8 and download the study at the Let California Ring website.

We will continue our outreach in all California communities and we encourage you to continue sharing your stories with the people in your life as a powerful tool to create change.

Warmly,

Geoff Kors
Executive Director
Equality California Institute

Floored

So exciting! We got the new underlayment installed yesterday. We used a cement board called Hardibacker (only ate two jigsaw blades cutting it), lots ‘o drywall screws, and thinset mortar. We now have a fresh new dry level floor! Also picked up the vanity at Lowe’s today and purchased the floor tile. Tomorrow: getting serious with the drywall.

Carol contemplating placement of first underlayment sheet

Carol contemplating placement of first underlayment sheet

Gooping on the thinset

Gooping on the thinset

I luvs a woman with power tools.

I luvs a woman with power tools.

The lovely new underlayment & patched shower wall

The lovely new underlayment & patched shower wall

Underlayment laid, glued, screwed, and joint taped

Underlayment laid, glued, screwed, and joint taped