Saturday, March 26, 2016

How To: Build a Pallet Wood Wine Rack

So a friend a of mine asked me where I got the plans for my pallet wood wine rack. I had to tell him that there was only a plan in my head and a really terrible drawing in my notebook. So I said I would put something together for him to work off. However, since I was only building a prototype, I did not take step by step pictures. So I will try to be a descriptive as possible and add pictures from the finished product to hopefully illustrate my intent.

Step 1 - Obtain pallet wood. A Google search for where to get free pallets led me my local PetSmart. I bought a dog toy for my brother’s dog, and asked if I could take the pallet in their garbage area. Armed with permission, I grabbed an regular sized pallet and a mini pallet. The mini pallet mostly broke apart, but I did get three usable 2x4 pieces from it. However, there should be a good enough 2x4 in a regular pallet to use. Breaking down the pallet is somewhat difficult - I think mine had extra holes like the pieces had been in a different pallet once before. I only have the claw on the back of my hammer, but a crowbar would probably be highly useful.

Anyway, you’ll need at least one of the 2x4 pieces and probably three (maybe four depending on usable length) of the planks.

Step 2 - From the planks, cut four 20” (For ease, I call them 20" pieces - but they are actually about 19 3/4" after cutting) planks, and cut a 2x4 section to the same length. The remainder of the third (or use a fourth) plank will be used to for the sides and the bottle supports.

Step 3- Cut your sides and inserts. Since pallet wood isn't precise- I measured for the total width of my rack by laying the 2x4 flat, then placing a plank perpendicular to the 2x4, and then having another plank parallel to the 2x4. That distance will be the length of the side pieces. You’ll need four total. For the inserts, cut 2 pieces 4 ¼” long. These can be a little less even, depending on how steep you want your bottles to lay.

Step 4- Prep your glass holder board.  Take one of you your planks, and drill four holes approx. 5” apart, starting from 2 ½” in.  I used my biggest bit - a ½” size bit. These holes will form the rounded backs of the glass slots. Next take a jigsaw and cut straight lines back to the outsides of each hole. This will allow for the glasses to slide in and rest on the piece. Set this piece aside for now.

Step 5 - Attach one of the 20” plank pieces to the 2x4 piece. Make sure to leave enough space for your glasses bottoms. It might be helpful to test a glass in the finished slotted piece to ensure there is plenty of room. I used pocket holes in the 20” plank piece to attach mine, however, longer screws through the back of the 2x4 piece would work as well.

Step 6 - Attach the lower portion of the sides. Make sure the bottom of 2x4 is square with the bottom edge of the side.

Step 7- Add the front plank. I used 1 ¼” screws through the sides to attach the front piece.

Step 8- Attach the back. I placed the back piece flush with the front end of the 2x4, so when I slide in the inserts - they will fit snugly.

Step 9 - Cut your inserts and upper sides with a jigsaw to add the grooves for the bottles to rest in. When I did this - it was the first time I had ever cut curves with a jigsaw. So - I promise- you got this. The inserts will have more of a crescent moon shape and the upper sides more of a notch look.

Step 10 - Attach the upper sides- I just used more 1 ¼ in screws for this. The inserts are a bit trickier- they need to be 6 ¾” from the inside edge of the sides in order to actually hold the bottle. Initially - I had a insert piece, with the two sides attached to a 2x4 spacer, but the bottles would slide off the insert. So I had to put them wider. However, my spacer is still in the prototype- and its completely useless now.

Step 11 - Stain/ Paint and attach the glass holder. I found it pretty difficult to paint in the slot created by the glass holder, therefore it might help to stain or paint the wine rack prior to attaching the final piece. Also- it might be easier to attach to the wall with the glass holder off as well. I put two long screws through the 2x4 into studs to hold the wine rack into the wall.

The finish I used was a chalk paint finish. I used a regular primer then used chalk paint over it. I then printed out the words on my printer, took actual chalk to the back of the paper, and traced the letters on to the wine rack. I used very watered down white acrylic paint for the letters. Then I lightly sanded the whole thing to give it a weathered look.

Don't forget to attach the glass holder if you saved it for last!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Top Five True Freshman Seasons

I added some content to Black Shoe Diaries today on SBN.

I hope I am not violating the rules of their use by linking to it from here.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


I made the decision when I came home for the holidays to only bring my phone and just type these posts up and upload them that way. However, it does lead to me having to type a lot on a much smaller screen with only my thumbs. I am not sure if I am secretly better with this keyboard though. Maybe I should somehow have tech guys at work hook me up with an iPhone style keyboard for work- it would possibly make me more effective. 

I am somewhat amazed that Google has created really effective tools for being able do these from the cloud. I have been typing all my posts first on google docs. Even though I do have Microsoft Word on my laptop- it's much harder to move between devices. I guess I could potentially use Dropbox to transfer my documents, however, I don't know if I could get Word on my phone for free. I think perhaps the latest version of Office 360 works similar to how the Google docs and sheets work- but I don't have a subscription to that. 

I know Microsoft has been working hard to reinvent their applications in order to compete with free solutions that people now have access to. In fact, I hope that whoever ends up with the Quicken software is able to follow a similar path. Currently the latest version of Quicken (2016) was released last week, but,  back in August, Intuit announced they would be selling their Quicken product. It makes sense- as Quicken is basically a desktop application with a very limited mobile presence. There is an app to reach your information, and you can enter some basic transactions from your phone, but it needs to be routinely accessed on a real computer several times a week in order to actually work. 

Intuit already has a similar personal finance cloud based product in place called Mint, so it call sell it lower revenue product Quicken, and no longer have to deal with supporting the product that users seem to love and hate all at the same time. My hope is the new owner can replicate what Microsoft has done for its Office product- making the Quicken product a more subscription based tool that automatically updates. Clearly the ideal would be for Quicken to be somehow like these Google applications which are available for use for free, but I don't see a company purchasing Quicken only to turn around and make it available only so it can sell ads in the margins. 

The greatest thing about Quicken currently is that you can keep 100% of your financial information offline if you would like. It can function on a computer that never connects to Internet and function. In addition, your information is kept by you, which clearly has its pros  and cons. I have no idea if using the internet based personal finance tools like Mint and Personal Capital mean you actually own your own financial information. I realize that may sound a bit preposterous, but if it can be ruled that you do not own your email if it is held on third party servers, can the same be said for finance information held in a similar manner? I guess the important technicality here is hopefully the software only accesses bank information, but does not host it. With Quicken, you keep your information on your computer, and back it up to hopefully some other location you also own. 

All that being said- since maintaining your financial information is important, and the best product available to accomplish it is currently in a state of flux- I would suggest getting the 2016 variant while it's still is maintained by its original company. Then we can cross our fingers and hope Google buys it and makes it as easy to use across multiple devices as this blog is. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015


I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving, and were able enjoy your time with turkey, friends and family. I have been thinking of fully embracing the throwback Thursday concept- and relate a story of the Army I can gleen from my memories, journal and green book. So here’s a quick one for the holidays. 

I don't have to many specific Thanksgiving memories - but one I do remember is spending a Thanksgiving outside of FOB McHenry in Iraq. The mission for the day was not an actual real mission, but instead my platoon sat just outside the FOB to ensure that the insurgents didn't mortar the thanksgiving dinner the brigade commander was having while he deigned to “visit the troops down range” - or whatever the hell he thought he was doing. It was a super fun time knowing I wasn't accomplishing jack shit but letting Bastogne 6 dine in peace. A solid use of assets. Instead of winning the hearts and minds of the population- we sat 300 meters from the FOB and stared at it. Happy Thanksgiving Warpigs!


The Olympics are next year- and USA Basketball is looking pretty good after watching Paul George go off last night. Due to his injury last year during the World Cup (I think that is what they are calling that FIBA tournament) he is actually the only player guaranteed a roster spot so far. There was a camp over the summer and I believe most of the players invited fulfilled their obligation to in order to be considered for next year's Olympic team. Projecting next summer’s team is probably even more a fool’s errand that yesterday's forecasting of the NBA’s finalists, but let's talk about how Team USA should walk to a gold medal. 

With Paul George being in, and Lebron probably being pressured by the public to most likely play, those are two great starts. Carmelo should get one more run and has really played his best basketball as a Team USA member. Last summer both of the Splash Brothers were in the team, and I see no reason why they shouldn't be brought back. Clearly there will be a log jam at certain positions and Klay might seem like a stretch. But his defense on the perimeter is really helpful in the international game. The biggest logjam is most likely at point guard. Chris Paul has won a gold medal, and John Wall has not- both may not make the trip in 2016. Kyrie Irving may have been the best player in last year's tournament- I think he won the MVP. I think the final point guard goes to Westbrook, but I think I would prefer Wall. 

That's seven guys (of twelve)- and we haven't really talked Durant, Anthony Davis, or bigs. The question for Durant is health. If he makes it through this season (he has already sat a few games for a quad or hamstring injury) I think he will want to play in Rio. The bigs also get a bit logjamie. Last summer Boogie really dominated against some international teams, just playing volleyball at the rim (so did Kenneth Faried, but I don't think he's a real consideration this time around). The issue is wings are more valuable in the international game - so you don't carry too many bigs. I think a three man rotation of Anthony Davis, Boogie, and Andre Drummond makes Team USA. 

In the past, Andre Iguodala has played a key role as the lock down defender on the team. I don't think it him this time around, and although Paul George could fill this role, I think it why you take Kawhi Leonard. On teams like this - you can have a guy who doesn't need to contribute on offense- yeah I am saying this about a guy who is scoring over twenty points a game for an 11-3 team, but bear with me- and Kawhi will make every shaky ball handler look befuddled and will generate easy transition buckets. 

That's your twelve- the three point guards, three bigs and six wings. I am generally certain that the any combination of the twelve guys mentioned above (or toss in a few others that I didn't mention like say James Harden) - and any Team USA utilizing pace and space will walk to a good medal. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Apparently no one has really taken notice- but the Spurs, a preseason favorite to win the championship, are 11-3. That's a really good record (duh) but it is especially good for a team that is trying to integrate a new player who doesn’t exactly do what the Spurs have become known for over the past couple years. Basically, lost in the hoopla of the Warriors going undefeated to start the season with a small ball lineup they roll out out at the end of games, the Spurs are trying to go a bit more “traditional” and so far are being successful.

Currently, these two teams seem to be on a collision course to meet in the Western Conference finals next spring- although I think the Spurs are more likely to lose if they get the draw with Clippers as opposed to the Warriors. The two early season matchups between the Warriors and the Clippers would lead you to believe the Warriors would that be able to handle the Clippers in a seven game series, whereas the Spurs may struggle with the same matchup. Actually the past couple sentences may just be a whole lot of recency bias, but, I think, if the Spurs are trying to play the traditional two big lineup like the Clippers, the younger more athletic team should have the advantage. However, since the rest of Western Conference appears to have taken a step back, or seems to be on a lower tier than the Spurs and Warriors, let's predict in November that these are the teams that will meet to play Cleveland in the final. Granted, there are 60 some odd games remaining plus the playoffs before we get to that point, but I feel pretty comfortable that two of those three teams will be in the finals. I assume people in OKC just got really mad, but no one from there reads me, so I'm unconcerned about it.

I am going to assume that the Warriors beat the Lakers tonight (Note: yep, that happened) and therefore now have the best record to start a season. In addition, they had a historically great regular season last year as well, which they obviously followed up with a championship. I can’t believe that the rest of the league spent summer and fall pissing and moaning about how “lucky” the Warriors got- it was really just an exercise in poking the bear that so far has only paid dividends for one team - Golden State. Maybe it's the baby face that Curry has that lulls the rest of the league into thinking they can talk shit and he wouldn’t get all annoyed and come back better; or maybe it is because we have never seen this type of player before that the rest of the league wasn't sure how a player like him could actually improve off last year’s performance- that the rest of the league expected regression (he did hit the most 3’s in history last year) as opposed to improvement; or maybe the league unexpected this young-ish team to not handle success and party down all summer- so the league tried to take a gigantic dump on the Warriors championship in August and September. I have loved how this has worked out- a team that is basically missing it's coach is unleashing jump shot hell on every team they've come across, and the rest of us are the winners for it.

At the other end of the spectrum- I am thinking of going to see the opposite of Warriors - Spurs on Tuesday- the Lakers and the Sixers. Currently, StubHub has seats for like $25. Which is actually high for the Sixers, last week the Pacers were in town and tickets were going for $6 a pop. The Sixers - apparently pun intended- rewarded their fans by trying to put six men on the court at the same time, one for dollar they hypothetically spent. I guess that means the Lakers are still a bit of a draw, despite big in the cellar of the Western Conference, much like the Sixers are in the Eastern Conference. I assume that that everyone Lower Merion wants to get their last look at Kobe, thus driving the tickets to such ridiculously high prices.

(“Editor’s” Note: I realized yesterday that it is better to write at night, then sleep on it for a night, and do some proofreading in the morning, hopefully that will help improve the quality of the product.)

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Sundays are usually the day I get all the crap I haven’t done all week finally done. The trip to the grocery store, laundry, and the cleaning I have noted that needs to be done - all finally gets crammed into one day so I can don’t have to do it during the week after work.  

I think Sundays for this space will be similar - there will be stuff here but it will be of even lower quality than the during the week stuff, which, let’s be honest, hasn’t set the highest bar so far. But It think it will be a good place to throw out some interesting things.

Since I am officially a “cord cutter”, I typically only watch whatever free football comes in on my antenna. Slight problem with that is that I can’t seem to get Fox or ABC on the ten buck antenna.  am, for now, assuming it is because the antenna is not near a window, however,  anyone with suggestions beyond that- please feel free to leave a comment in you have experience using good ‘ol free TV. Further complicating matters, CBS gets blacked out for football when the Eagles are on due to being located in the “home territory” or whatever. So no football was on in the man cave during the 1:00 game slot today.

Why am telling you this long story? It is to justify why football wasn’t on today and I can make a slightly off the farm recommendation if you are looking to binge watch something. I spent yesterday and today rewatching some Red vs Blue. If you haven’t heard about the show, it is based on the video game Halo. Have no fear if you have never played it, neither have I. And I guess I shouldn’t say “based on” - the creators of the show literally filmed the game to make the show and added voice overs. I think it is a pretty great concept - and the show is pretty hilarious.

In addition to the webpage above, the is a YouTube Channel now for the show, and most of the seasons have been edited together and put on Hulu- which is what I was watching today instead of football.

Ok folks, lets hope we are ready for the week.