Monthly Archives: February 2008

Dale’s Winter Photo Essay Final Part!

Ever wonder how they clean the windows on a 35-story building? Let’s just say not much has changed in the past 50 or so years; a plank of wood (otherwise known as a Bosun’s chair) with a few straps, some rope, and a bucket with tools. Freaky!

I am not one who is usually put off by some life-threatening thrills in semi-controlled circumstances but hanging off the side of a building on a piece of plywood is very low on my list of desired activities. If it were a climbing harness, on the other hand, I would be all over doing that.

And a few commuter bikes for good measure.

Dale’s Winter Photo Essay Part 1

Maybe I am a bit sadistic but I really enjoy a good snow in the city and today did not disappoint as you will witness below. Of course my joy is not supported by those around me who have to drive to work – including Rebecca – but since I am wholly reliant on the train and the trains are not affected by snow I am perfectly fine getting a few inches.

These first four shots were taken while at lunch at the Fidelity building across the street from my office.



I didn’t realize until a few weeks ago that the moose is actually made up of car bumpers.


A view from my window at work.

After work I took a walk to Millennium Park a few blocks away. In the summer there are free concerts in the park, a reflecting pool, picnic areas, gardens, etc. It is really an oasis in the city. In the winter the activities are limited but they do have an ice rink and the video sculptures at either end of the reflecting pool are still in operation.

The Cloud Gate – “The Bean”

Video Sculptures

Repurposed Speaker Cabinet!

Dale’s dad found a new purpose for Dale’s old speaker cabinet! We have one that’s currently being used as a plant stand but this takes it to another level! He calls it his “Urei Cat House” and the email he sent to Dale explaining the amazing transformation is below…

From Wayne: “Done!!! Painted the inside “Hunter Green”, made a shelf, got some scrap carpet from Sam [a neighbor) but had to buy a 12′ length of transition strip to hold the carpet in place. I tried carpet tape but the carpet was too stiff and kept pulling loose. I would think the cats will think they have died and gone to heaven, we’ll see. I know this, the cats won’t knock the thing over. It must weigh in at 30+ pounds.”

Dale and I think it’s pretty nifty; we’re tempted to make one for our kitties!

Dale’s Speaker Project

A post from Dale:

I have had the below set of speakers for about 16 years and though these 20+ year old speakers are not exactly attractive, I absolutely love the sound and it would cost an absurd amount of money to replace them. Why? Because I am NUTS!

So, like most men, I prefer function over style so the big ugly boxes did not bother me much until Rebecca noted they were an obvious eyesore. She reminded me of this OFTEN – and I realized I had to do something about them.

I launched a scheme to wrap the original black boxes in new wood in an effort to make them more attractive. It did not take long for my nutty mind to decide I needed to build brand new cabinets out of walnut and take what was supposed to be an easy project and create a major endeavor over the Christmas holiday.

I managed to get Dad to agree to all of this – I think he just might be a little nuttier than I am; thankfully it did not take a whole lot of convincing, honestly. He is a pretty easy mark, sometimes.

View below exhibit A, the 24-year-old ugly black box:

Following are a few shots of Dear Ol’ Dad working his hide off on yet another one of my projects. Thankfully he has not charged me for glue and fasteners over the years or I would be in the poor house.

Think we have enough clamps on it? Honestly I think we could have used a few more of them but we made do.

Here is 50% of the finished project – sans the finish. The other one was in the confines of about 10 clamps allowing the glue to dry. Pretty darn hot looking if you ask me.

Yeah, about the finish; Dear Ol’ Dad left me to fend for myself in that regard – I must be losing my touch with him. Actually, he is smarter than I give him credit for because finishing these SOB’s was a lot more work than I had originally imagined they would be, which is usually the case.

Here they are on the dining room table – note the subtle orange wall in the background – waiting for the walnut banding to cover the plywood edge.

Test fitting the banding before permanently attaching it.

Now here they are really coming together, each cabinet has a couple coats of Danish Oil to really bring out walnut figuring. This is what I had in mind when I selected this wood – great looking grain and a deep warm color. It is just a shame that I will be covering the front of these with fabric.

After getting three coats of hand rub polyurethane on them it was time to take them for a test drive; I am pleased they sound and look better than ever.

Here they are completed with vintage fabric fronts. As mentioned above, my goal was to get these to better fit with our mid-century modern style and I think I have successfully done so. In fact, a coworker saw this picture on my computer and asked, “What’s with those old speakers?”

I honestly think this past Christmas has been one of the best; I got to spend a ton of time with my dad doing something we both love – working with wood – and I will be able to see and use these speakers everyday for years to come. Nothing beats the pride of accomplishment.

Of course, working on speakers was not the only thing I did over the holiday; I also managed to whip my mother in a few games of scrabble, which rarely happens. No doubt she is chomping at the bit to reestablish her dominance on the scrabble table.

Nothing beats doing what you love with people you love.

Now I wonder what project I can sucker my dad into next year…