Saturday, September 18, 2010



Oh what a busy couple of months it's been here at the McHanslaw manor! Of course, you're probably already aware of my famous acquisition of a 20 year old beast of a pickup (currently nicknamed "Big Blue," though I see that name changing within the next 12 months to "Dutch" for reasons currently undisclosed), but THEN my birth parents, Mrs. and Dr. McHanslaw respectively, ran off and purchased a mountain property in the Colorado high country for no legitimate reason outside of whimsy, boredom, economic freedom, and a quest for material fulfillment and/or spiritual enlightenment.

Still, I must admit... it IS a darn fine cabin!


She's got a very striking profile, don't you think?


And a nice tuckus to boot!

The cabin also came fully furnished with some surprisingly awesome accouterments, for instance:


Oddly righteous 30ish year old coffee cans...


Pretty plants like douglas firs (not pictured), wild rose bushes (not pictured), thistles, porcini mushrooms (not pictured), grass, indian paintbrush (not pictured) and dirt (not a plant), as well as several wonderful man-eating predators like black bears (not pictured) and mountain lions (not pictured, but present... alllllllways present...)


This obscenely righteous, older than a sonofagun, solid steel nightstand. Also...


...this fully functional, and only partially dangerous (the shattered door handle WILL take off someone's finger before our time in this cabin is through, I'm quite certain of it) 1950's era Kelvinator refrigerator.


The gas stove is more antique than vintage, but that doesn't stop it from making my bladder tingle in a wonderful kind of way. Speaking of bladder tinglings, the cabin also came fully equipped with two, count 'em, TWO ready-to-use and entirely undesirable toilets!

The first is a conventional outhouse that smells every bit as good as it looks:


(you know you've got yourself a good outhouse when the padlock key that opens it is attached to a Buick Riviera keychain)


And the second toilet, which I would gladly wager one million American dollars will never be used by anyone, ever, regardless of how dire the circumstances at that very moment in time may be, is the venerable Sears brand Pak-A-Potti 6000 portable toilet. Delicious!


This cabin can accept at least a small piece of responsibility for my most recent dearth in new post-age (laziness, as always, can shoulder the majority of the blame), as the McHanslaw clan (sans the 0ft-referenced Angwart Schmidt Borlovsky, a mis-titled McHanslaw if there ever was one, who feels most comfortable when surrounded by off-yellow aluminum siding) has been dutifully hammering away at cabin-related projects that, while important, really aren't worth documenting.

For instance, two weeks ago I rebuilt a dilapidated horseshoe pit on the back side of the property. Despite the fact that this took the glut of a full day to accomplish, in the end the only visual transformation that took place was that of a bulbous, oblong, lumpy pile of dirt with a pole sticking out of it turning into a flat, square, and fairly smooth pile of dirt with a pole sticking out of it. Not exactly high drama material.

Regardless, the cabin will surely provide my remaining 2 or 3 readers with some interesting stuff to look at in the months and years to come, as its rustic charm will naturally (as rustic charms tend to do) express a certain proclivity towards occasionally falling apart.


On that same fateful day that I reworked the horseshoe pit, an antique wooden seat (that was logically affixed to an antique wooden chair) split right down the middle whilst myself and Father McHanslaw were moving furniture around the cabin. I'd brought up my toolbox with me (which fortunately contained Gorilla brand wood glue) to work on the horseshoe pit, but we didn't have our normal assortment of vices and clamps to secure the hold, so we had to improvise a way to press the seat together while the glue set it back into functional shape. Using a ballpoint pen, a small board, a dust brush, some plywood shims, a few pieces of rope, a stick (not pictured) and a wood-marking pencil, this is the solution Father McHanslaw came up with:


I really wish I could take credit for that solution, but I just can't. What can I say? My father was canonized as a Weblo. There's no other way to put it.

You can expect to see a few projects from the cabin showing up on here in the not-too distant future, perhaps the most interesting of which will be the construction of a new concrete and stone fire pit (this will mark my first time working with concrete... and also my first time working with stone) that will be happening either early this fall or sometime in May next year.


I'm putting the finishing touches on a reworking of the Stonehenge-esque cabinet that surrounds my speaker media cabinet from way back when. If I remember correctly, I never ended up showing the cabinet in its semi-completed state (spoiler alert: I'd painted it black and slathered it in polyurethane) but you really weren't missing much by not seeing that. Since that time I've covered the outside with some miscellaneous pop art and am now in the process of sealing in and protecting that visual deliciousness so it can age in a manner that I'd like to call "Wayne-Newton-graceful."

The McHanslaw basement flooded for the second time in the past few years, causing the base of my speaker trunk to warp a bit and grow some lovely mold. I sanded the mold away, but for the piece to be structurally sound I had to glue a couple 1x4's onto the base of the piece. As a result, the piece is now about 12% as attractive as it used to be, so I'm going to have to redecorate the outside of it at some point in the coming months.

I'm also working on refinishing an expanding sewing box (structurally similar to this one, though not nearly as ornate or pretty-like) that I'm hoping to have done in the next few weeks. As of now I've taken the thing apart and sanded off enough of its outer finish to know that it would look like absolute crap if I re-stained it, so I'm going to have to just paint some kind of pattern on it and keep my fingers crossed that the stickiness of the latex paint doesn't keep the box from being able to open and close normally. No concrete decisions have been made regarding the pattern, but I'm thinking another flag design could work on this thing... we'll see, though.


If you've spent any time browsing my archives recently, you may have noticed that the pictures attached to my mid-modern posts have been sporadically disappearing, then reappearing, then disappearing again. I've come to the conclusion that this is because the photo hosting site that I've been using,, is dreadfully unreliable and/or going through the uncomfortable anti-puberty phase between "semi-viable insolvent net entity" and "chapter 11," so I've started using Flikr once again and plan on slowly but surely moving all of my old photos from being hosted on zooomr to being hosted on flikr. This will undoubtedly take an obscene amount of time, but I think it'd be worth it to have the pictures be... you know, visible.


I've purchased a couple cool new toys for my various undertakings, including a new orbital sander (initial results promising) to replace my old quarter-sheet sander, which proved to be a far bigger headache than it was worth. The new sander makes about 1/4 as much noise as my old quarter sheet sander did, and is about 9 billion times easier to load with new paper. That's what we in the business call a win/win.

I also decided to get a little more aggressive in branding my creations (I figure if you're only gonna finish one project every six months, you might as well take some pride in it), so I ordered a custom-made Enron stamp off of for something silly like 8 dollars. About a week later, this little number showed up in my mailbox:


True, they completely butchered the spelling of my name (there's no "rick" in Enron, though to their credit it does start with an E), but I was actually very surprised with the quality of this product. The wood handle is nice and easy to grip, and the rubber stamp feels sturdy and exudes a certain "I'm not going anywhere-ness" that I find very comforting.


I've started tagging my old projects with this stamp, just so future curators will have a definitive logo to look for when trying to decipher whether or not an overly decorated piece of furniture flotsam is in fact an original Enron piece. Thus far I've put it on my 8 track cassette coasters:


as well as my two-tiered coffee table thing:


I'll probably hit the back of most of my projects with this thing as time goes on, but this'll be the last I mention of it on here (let's not kid ourselves here, I'm well aware that my ego doesn't need any further back-patting/non-sexual stroking). Just know that it'll be found somewhere on all my new projects going forward.

Yes... "somewhere." Watching... waiting. Waiting to strike. With non-toxic ink. Mwahaha...

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