Renovation Log #1

After exactly a year of dormancy, breathing some air into the dead lungs of this site.

Catching Up

We’re planning to:

  • re-do our kitchen (blowing out a wall to absorb the current dining room into a much larger kitchen, destroying the awesome 1970s styling, getting a much better grade of semi-pro apppliances)
  • convert the existing (essentially unused) living room into a new dining room
  • replace all the (drafty, leaky, un-openable) windows on old downstairs part of the house)
  • gut and re-do the bathroom shared by the kids’ rooms.

We started working with an architect in the late winter of this year, hoping to start construction in the Spring, and be done by the time that school started in September.

I hate my kitchen.
I hate my kitchen.


Where We Are

We received the bid drawings from the architect in June, and finally got a strangely drafted bid from a single contractor in mid-August. We went back and forth trying to edit that proposal into something that we could treat as a set of separate items that could be kept or removed to fit the project into our available budget, and just before sitting down to sign a contract and write a deposit check for the work, we realized that the advice we had received to not worry about bidding the project competitively was not the best choice to have made.

We’ve now met with three additional contractors who all specialize in the special problems and challenges of working in old houses like ours (as the last builder we met with said, “Heck — anyone can do new construction. That’s simple.”), and are waiting to receive bids from them.

The interesting thing at this point (well, one interesting thing) is that each of the people we’ve talked to has identified parts of the project that are of serious concern to them. None of their areas of concern overlap. Each of them identified lists of code violations that needed significant work or potential areas where we’ll be surprised by various disasters once the work begins, and those lists have surprisingly little overlap.

What Were We Thinking?

To quote future president Trump, “You tell me. You tell me.”



a test for the google bot — The SPF Music Boosters support all student music activities from the grade schools to the high school.

The Association exists to enhance the experience of the musicians participating in all of the Music programs in all of the schools throughout our district. While the vast majority of the support for our musicians comes through the Board of Education, there are areas that without our assistance cannot be addressed. Our support ranges from fundraising, to student recognition, to equipment, to logistical support and scholarships. All of the funds raised by the Music Boosters Association benefit the musicians directly.
The scope of our District Music program provides a wonderful array of opportunities for students including:

  • Marching Band
  • Moonglowers Jazz band, SPF Jazz band, 2 Jazz labs at the High School, as well as Middle School Jazz Band
  • A comprehensive Choir program that includes Chamber Choir, Select Choir, Men’s Choir, Las Cantadoras, and Sensations
  • Repertory Theater
  • Middle School and High School Concert bands, Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensembles
  • Elementary School Instrumental and Choral programs

Teach, Don’t Tell / Steve Losh

Teach, Don’t Tell / Steve Losh

This post is going to be about what I think good documentation is and how I think you should go about writing it. I’m not perfect, so you should take everything with a grain of salt, but I hope you’ll find it useful and thought-provoking even if you don’t agree with me about everything.

Guide to Projectors for Interactive Installations / by @laserpilot

Guide to Projectors for Interactive Installations / by @laserpilot

Video projectors are one of the most important tools for creators of interactive installations. The information for projectors is available on various websites, but this 2 part guide will focus on their use in production and interactive environments. Part 1 will focus on the projector as hardware(lenses, lumens, surfaces etc), and part 2 will go into more details on the software and calibration considerations. This will gather some of that disparate knowledge into the important bits you need to make informed decisions about creating a high quality experience.

Neural networks and deep learning

Neural networks and deep learning

Neural Networks and Deep Learning is a free online book. The book will teach you about:

Neural networks, a beautiful biologically-inspired programming paradigm which enables a computer to learn from observational data
Deep learning, a powerful set of techniques for learning in neural networks

Neural networks and deep learning currently provide the best solutions to many problems in image recognition, speech recognition, and natural language processing. This book will teach you all the core concepts behind neural networks and deep learning.

(Note — there’s an indiegogo campaign to support the writing of this book)