Coping: How to Fill the Holiday

First, do the household stuff.  Then do the necessary work (Peoplenomics for tomorrow, for instance).  Then revise the UrbanSurvival website, and THEN do some fun stuff on eBay and in the shop…

The first few items are not too exciting:  As soon as the column is done this morning, it will be time to jump on the riding mower and give the yard a quick once-over.  We had a bit of rain earlier this week and if there’s one thing that does well here in “cattle country” it’s lawns.

The Peoplenomics report tomorrow will be mainly about the immediate future of the economy.  While the futures were up 50-something early (like 4 AM when the work-dance began) I’m not too sure there will be many souls brave enough to cling to long positions over the weekend:  There’s just so much that could go wrong in here.

(Continues below)


This works us down to the third item on the list:  Revising the UrbanSurvival website.  I know, I know…why change?

Here’s the long and short of it:  Standards on the Internet are constantly evolving.  If you’re not aware of it, we have already dabbled our toes in the Google Accelerated Mobile Pages puddle and if you have a phone, see for the phone-friendly version which I may muck-up this weekend.

The way I’ll go about this, is to put on a new “theme.”  If you haven’t figured it by now, the UrbanSurvival site uses a content tool called WordPress to manage the housekeeping which we don’t have the time (or inclination) to deal with.

The “modern” website lives on a server.  A content tool (like WordPress) handles basic functionality.  But that’s pretty basic and you can’t really operate a site like this one without a “theme.”  There are scads of reasons, but the simplest explanation is that WordPress is in a state of constant change due to hacker attacks, and changes in things like, oh, the current buzz to add privacy policies and whatnot.  (Lawyers are taking over the world, if you hadn’t noticed!)

So once you have a server and WordPress, you’re not out of the woods yet because now you need a theme.  And here’s where it gets crazy:  THEMES are being updated all the time, too.  So all our design/layout, colors, the embedded charts, ad calls, and such, have to go into a “child theme” which (is supposed to) “play nicely all the time.”

I wish.

We’ve been very happy with our current theme/look/and so on.  But, Google is changing how sites are “indexed” and they will be giving preference (or, so I understand) to sites that have a particular schema of coding within their Theme which means it has to carry over into the Child Theme.

This complexity grows by several more leaps and bounds when you try to do offline development on the home computer.  Here,, you can’t just run a browser and be done.

Instead you have to emulate the Linux server environment at home using a LAMP stack.  That’s computerese for Linus,  – the operating system of many servers,  Apache which is the web-serving code that sits on top of the operating system, MySQL which is the content database where articles liveand PHP (once Personal Home Page, it is now the Personal Hypertext Preprocessor.

Oh, and it doesn’t like to work simply:  In the course of my development efforts, I’ve seen monumental battles between Win-10,, Avira Antivirus, and something called ServerPress which has allowed us to learn something about the new Themes and child-themes we’ve been reviewing.

It has come down to a choice between two:  Divi and Genesis.  Divi is more graphical while Genesis is more coder-oriented.  The coding is a PITA, but the Genesis Framework has a few pluses in terms of built-in SEO (*and security) so we may do a two-part roll.  In other words, DIVI can get us up and running faster where Genesis may be where we end up.  We shall see how this weekend goes.

Somewhere in here, Microsoft Edge managed to collapse its WordPress functionality.  It won’t (on my machines) allow me to delete a photo from an article once it’s placed.  So, on to Firefox.  Oh boy…

Bottom Line:  There is some upside for you as a reader in all this.  For one, we will be going back to a single column which will be more useful for many readers.  From our standpoint, the single-column will ensure that ads are seen.

The site may be faster, but the real advances will be in our discussion group.  I’ve been looking at different forum plugins and we will likely expand our discussion focus because there is so much knowledge among our readers it would be a shame not to share more of it.

Meanwhile, Back at the Weekend…

If there’s any left, lol.  Obviously, this kind of stuff will eat most, if not ALL of the three days.

But I’ve still been going our into the shop to “de=stress.”

Elaine’s got a request in for a new base cabinet and upper cabinet in the master bath, so I’ve been refining my “box-making” skills.

For those not into furniture (or cabinet building) the simple “box” is really the core of most things in your home.  A box that has drawers added and such becomes a whole kitchen.  So, here’s a typical “one-hour box” cranked out Wednesday:


Now it’s nothing special.  Except I wanted to tinker with some spray painting effects (corners) and get ready to bust out the dovetailing jig and get ready for real cabinet-grade drawer-making.  I could have slapped on a couple of coats of faster-drying finish, but spar varnish and using paint to “age” things a bit makes them somehow look more “solid” than bright wood.

A simple box like this goes quickly.  I can get a bead on the market and wander out to the shop.  Since it’s hot as blazes now, I come back in every half-hour or so to cool down.  I reckon the dovetailing part will add a half-hour to an hour to the process.  Regardless, dovetailing is really an art and makes a much stronger drawer than a simple box-type.  If you have a router, a few bits, and the jig, it’s worth it.

eBay Monday!

I’ve started collecting notes on how to best use eBay (as a buyer) as Monday will be (with any luck) a quiet news day.

If you have any buying tools or strategies, send them along and come back Monday for that.

If not, have a grand weekend!

Write when you get rich, too…

author avatar
George Ure
Amazon Author Page: UrbanSurvival Bio:

13 thoughts on “Coping: How to Fill the Holiday”

  1. If not for harsh personal exerience, i would suggest outsourcing the coding. But after 4 years of trying, i finally have almost got a website functioning for a business i work for. Asked a coder who works for a big corp. why ALL the people we have worked with on website stuff are lying, incompetent flakes. He said the good coders he knows have almost all given up on being independents and gone corporate. Just write code and let others handle the rest. The unhirable ones now dominate the small business sector.

    Lawyers are just the tip of the iceberg. Everywher we turn there are new artery clogging rules, procedures, interpretations, etc. Qui bono? Otherwise redundant bureaucrats, public and private. And, as an old school lawyer, it is absolutely my experience that MOST of the ridiculous legal crap choking the system is originated by people whose shadows have never crossed the threshold of a law school. Think “The Office”.

    A promising part of AI is the potential demotion of managers, most of whom currently exist to serve themselves.

  2. Nice box, but you’ll find it a bit heavy if you try to make drawers out of piney wood. I built nearly all my furniture over the years with a $199 2hp Sears radial arm saw with router attachment and dado blade. I used ‘Luan’ 1/4″ plywood in 4′ x 8′ sheets. Its light as balsa wood, almost. I’d glue two sheets together with wood glue, used to buy it by the gallon. Rip cut, dado cut grooves glue and finish nail with solid Oak front panel dado cut grooves. Never used a dovetail jig ever. I built standing dressers, long bench dressers, end tables, a secretary, a corner desk and drawers including filing cabinet, bedside end tables, two level couch end tables. I even cut the drawer guides out of bits of scrap wood and wax em good with candle wax. In twenty-five years of use never had to repair any of my stuff, works smooth and solid. I can dance on my tables and they won’t give way. I kind of like that. Have fun and remember measure twice and cut once. Oh yeah, never lost any of my digits in all the wood cutting. Keep them in mind when you turn on the saw blade!!

    • great ideas…thanks

      On the box? It’s 3/4 birch on the sides and 3/4 Baltic birch ply top and bottom… pine is not dimensionally stable enough for me. Ure 1/2″ luan glue-up sounds good!

  3. I’ll be looking forward to Monday, even though I did do some careful electronics buying already. It’s probably best to get what you know you need in Chinese stuff while the dollar is relatively strong.

    There are some scammers on ebay that will claim it takes two months to deliver. They’ll offer cheap components for sale, and then send an email with their qq(Chinese email) address. They will say to contact them as complaining to ebay will “really harm them”. The key is that you only have 30 days after the due by date to report a package not delivered. They’ve already used up almost 60 days with their slow shipment, and they will promise to immediately send a new one if you write to them. In my case neither alleged package showed up, and the only tracking number is a useless one from China. Beware of this scam, since you have to report within 30 days after the due by, and you can’t report it until that date has passed.

    I think ebay is onto it, but I lost $11.00 over it. No big deal, but it should not happen. Most ebay transactions work very well, including the Chinese sellers who ship from within the USA. Just make sure you get a real tracking number and track carefully.

  4. For you ham radio guys, don’t forget the K0S Strange Antenna Challenge this weekend. All bands, all modes, its not a contest but a challenge to yourself. Work someone on a non-antenna antenna. You cannot use wire or tubing to make your antenna except to connect it to your feedline. Other that that, be original. Its a emcomm experiment. I have used park bronze statues, minivans, tanks, ladders, metal carports, metal tables, lawn chairs, discarded metal roofing. railroad tracks, industrial scissor lifts, a tractor and baler, even the local armory static display tank……etc., you get the idea. The Indy 500 Special Event station on 40m is always easy to connect with. Try it, you will have a great time. 73

  5. I hear you about the shop becoming the gate to hell when the hot weather sets in.

    Went to a sale near the ranch a couple weeks back and at the end there was one of those tube framed steel covered carports that you can see all over sitting forlornly next to one of the outbuildings that had a lot of the sold items inside. I inquired about it being for sale and the rancher, who was a friend of mine, said if I wanted it have at it. 14X20 with a roof. Couple hours with a driver and bit and a skinned knuckle or 2 I had the whole shebang loaded onto my trailer and it’s now stacked neatly next to the shop.
    Plan is to assemble it butted up to the south overhead door, add sides and move the door to the other end of the carport. When done and with the addition of the window AC unit I took from Mom’s house when we FINALLY talked her into letting me install central air and I will have the area I have always wanted to take stuff once off whatever and go into the climate controlled side to work in relative comfort.

    So there’s the weekend. Mowing early Saturday and the rest of the steel should be delivered. Church and framing up a slab, and preliminary frame assembly on Sunday. Take a break on Monday to catch up on Skype with some old Army buddies and have our annual drink to the guys we left over there. And Urban of course.

    73’s and stay safe to all from El Rancho de Chaos.

    Jim in MO.

    • Don’t forget to put cheap insulation on all the west and south-facing walls! That makes a big difference. I have seen insulation come and go from the materials section of craigslist.
      For people unfamiliar with the southern heat in summer, it is pretty intense. So much so that some mobile/trailer owners buy these kinds of carport and put them up OVER their mobiles – especially single wides.
      It was a bit of money and some work, but I put up a 2 car + wide carport on the south side of my shop – makes a huge different in comfort.
      Next up will be sealing the building for air leaks, so the dehumidifier isn’t running all the time… At which point, the shop will become the bbq equivalent of dry heat, rather than braising../.

      • There’s something I always wanted to do..
        take a mobile home.. not a new model that’s well insulated with asphalt shingles but one of the older fourteen by seventy tin roof nightmares.
        Do a villa design earth tubes in a heat sink wall that has piping under the ground. Earth berm three sides with a three season courtyard behind. That flows over the top with the new insulated roof system holing the cooling tubes against the tin roof..
        my curiosity is whether or not this would work for keeping the structure at a constant temperature year round. If it works then a similar idea could be used in a park setting.
        My fantasy was if I ever won the lottery I would purchase a bunch of these set up a cancer treatment and research center..(I love the Kansas machine approach) then have these modular design in a roman villa formation to use as temporary housing for families bringing their loved ones for treatments.. a small kiddy park with wheel chair accessible rides. And a petting zoo..a drive in type theatre that is accessible to families with loved ones a trolley type seating so no matter what condition the family member is in could spend quality time with their loved ones.. well there’s more to.. but that is my fantasy and dream.. it will never happen of course. The loved ones memory wall will never be a reality.. but my dream none the less. Almost everyone leaves this world penniless and debt ridden. Cancer patients even worse many embarrassed and treatment refused. Like the new stem cell treatment with what eighty five percent success rate so far but a half million dollar price tag.. or the shot that in Canada was thirty three dollars but in the USA is ten thousand dollars. I have a great deal of respect for st. Jude’s and the Shriners burn center.. I’ve seen parents reduced to tears of sorrow and frustration. The life saving treatments available to be told to go home until they can come up with money. Wiped out emotionally and financially. Fired because they took their child to the doctor. I will give away a few wigs a year through locks of love.. then the little teddy bear each with a gift card so the parents can get away and have a meal recharge or use it for lodging etc.
        So I always had this fantasy of a research center where no matter your station insured or non insured could go for hope.. and try out some of my unfulfilled design ideas.

      • Oh.. the wigs and gift cards etc.. that is something I presently do.. and I find one every year that falls through the cracks. For those I do what some angel did for me .
        I can’t even tell you how many sets of tires I’ve donated or diapers etc. pay it forward.

  6. For your shop.. nice box.. to strengthen the box use a decorative spline.
    Easy to make and strong as heck.
    Rockier has a wonderful jig. Quick setup
    For future drawers or boxes consider the box finger joint.
    Again rockier rocks it.
    I have both and one I made at the cabinet shop for one of my career hats.
    The router workshop will most definitely get your interest. Enjoy

    • If you want a few pop’s and ahhhhhh’s and how did you do that. Make a finger jig but make the fingers extra big put your box together then go for a size smaller put a box end together use either a planer or a Japanese dado saw run it through again with a smaller finger…put the drawers together then use your spline jig run a double dovetail.. Sand it up..everyone will comment on it.
      When I built cabinets as a hat.. We got an order for a bar for the home of an A lister entertainer.. One of my favorites..we hand picked the wood to make sure it was perfect..put them together and marveled at their beauty..we couldn’t wait to see them after the finish area..once they were done we rushed to take a peak at these gorgeous works of art..only to discover they were painted lol. Another guy spent ten thousand dollars for a small piece of wood for a small table.. The wood was some of the rarest in the world. Cut in the early seventeen hundreds.. Beautiful wood.. We split the drop off.. I make pens for my kids when they graduate college..and a few special friends..That’s a lot of fun..kept one lathe just for making pens..

      • Why, if I did that with the joinery, I’d have nothing but a pile of sawduist.

        And around here, we no longer turn pens on a lathe – we turn mice…

        Oh, it’s a little messier, sure. But the results are oh, so much more modern.

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