ShopTalk: Visual Cueing Theory – Mode of Place

It was time to take a walk around the yard Saturday.  Besides the obvious (put in seeds, lay out bug killers and a round of weed n feed) there were a number of “signage” projects that showed as needing work.

Visual Cueing Theory

When comes to designing a space, you will have a progressively cooler – and transporting – space, if you emphasize more than BS interior design crap.  I mean  let’s face it:  Any old dimwit can build a white/ecru/eggshell beige/blah wall and hang a boat picture on it as call their effort “nautical flare” in design.  God help us.

Visual cueing around here (*we have some audible cueing efforts as well) is very simple and yet is (I hope!) somewhat effective.

The way cueing works is you give a suggestion to a brain – only takes a little bit – and “Presto!”  The mood (or vibe) of a place  changes.

The easiest visual cues (and the point today) are those that define a mind space.  Let’s look at some cueing examples and why they were built:  Single words rule.

The palatial UrbanSurvival Headquarters Bunker door is 12 panes of glass.  The one at eyelevel entering reminds people (in a quiet way) that we are in Texas.  Around here if you raise anything – but particularly hell on weekends – they Ure a Texian.

In theory, a ranch is where animals are raised.  But, I’ve met a few vegetables, that call anything with dirt a ranch and visa versa with farmers.

However, before looking at that cue, you will first (wandering through the shop) get (one hopes) a bit of a vibe of an old-time telegraph office, such as might have been found on the end of China Town in San Francisco or Seattle in the 1950’s.  By then, Western Union was transitioning from messages to financial traffic.  A move which didn’t help glass fisted telegraphers (like me) but which did well by their bottom line.

You may not remember our project last year to give the screen porch a friendlier vibe.  So we did a kind of 19th hole thing.  Helped along by a beer flag (in season) and a door to the Pro Shop which is really the Club House…

Where we have a problem immediately is what to do with this weather beaten “Uretopia” sign out front of the place.

Worse is that the 30-year old cedar fencing is beginning to look a little long in the tooth.  Perhaps I can hornswoggle George2 into some of these projects if he ever leaves the socialist worker’s paradise on the upper left coast.

30 Acres of Problems

Typical, at this time of year is keeping an eye open for which areas look like they will bounce back in the spring and those to keep an eye on for trouble.

In the yellow circled areas,  a kind of just brighter than Kelly green moss has started to come in.  Which is a little concerning, since I mostly associated moss like this with the temperate trails of the Washington Cascades and Olympics.  Was first the Blizzard and now the arrival of shade river moss hinting that I might want to lighten up on  climate poking?

I Need a Big Project

Here’s a great design/build opportunity:

This is the 15 year old deck on the front of the building.  I remember thinking “God – can you imagine?  $325 for lumber for this project???”

Today – thanks to inflation/financially irresponsible govt. spending, $325 might get only stair risers and steps and maybe not even that if you went heavier than 5/4 decking and light treads.

It was a really good deck for the first 8-years.  Then we got the idea to put one of those fancy (new at the time) deck paints with extra thick and non-skid.  Freaking disaster.

Rotting out much faster than unpainted area and a huge disappointment overall.  OK, sure 15-years is about what to expect around year, which is why three-tab over makes so much sense.  Light colors in the summer for some shade…but that’s what a Sun Porch is:  Deck with cheap room and let’s tack up bug screen, quick!

The Idea

You will never get it from this sketch, but I have a hard time drawing by dragging my laser printer around..

This would add two towers:  One for a lift basket for groceries and  us if either of us has to wheelchair it some day,  The other would be an upper desk-landing.

Thinking of those cheap polycarbonate panels for the roof and sidewalls.  The ones on the shop are doing well after almost 16-years, now.

Already have a 20-foot lift with remote with a 1200 pound rating.  Light welded cage, high enough for a wheelchair of big grocer tub and no more Mr. Coronary on  the stairs.

Anyway, this is the kind of stuff that fills in when there is nothing else to do around here.  Which last happened on April 6, 2004 at 3:17 PM on the screen porch.

So, off to shop work, cleaning.  And, depending on when the parts come in, maybe I will do a conversion of the Genmitsu 3018 Pro CNC box to the 4030 table size with new leadscrew and such.  That would change up plans for the new front gate signage to something along the High Art of Disney which has the ideal visual cueing signs everywhere on their properties.

And that’s before you go looking for “hidden Mickeys.”


Somebody asked about what the snow did to our greenhouse.  So here’s the damage view:

(That’s a new solar panel rail in foreground…still have those to mount and tune…)

While it would be easy to start throwing money at this, the more I look at that centerline metal and wonder if I couldn’t just clamp or lever it into something near level and then sister-up some new metal to the existing and call it good for another year or whatever?

Being Scottish it just irks me to spend money on something so transitory as garden sheds and such.  When the same money could be better-spent on a good single malt.  The memory of which can be taken with you.

Hmm… buy calories or memories… Always a design trade-off, ain’t there?

Write (yada, yada, if you don’t know it by now…)

23 thoughts on “ShopTalk: Visual Cueing Theory – Mode of Place”

  1. Pull those worn out panels off, true up and reinfore that ridge. After taking measurements order a roll of greenhouse poly from Farmtek. Poly is rated for 4+ years. We’ll be replacing ours after 5 years this fall since some Knuckelhead backed the tractor up with the bale spikes lowered just a little to far and poked 3 nice big holes that tunred into a hole big enough to walk through when he went forward. Concerned about the sharp corners or edges is relieved by the use of cheapo pool noodles. Wiggle wire channels around the the doors to secure the poly and you are good to go.

  2. Take out every other 2×6 on the deck and seal the remaining with a good wood sealer. Then run Trex perpendicular to the old deck strips utilizing old decking as support joists to get around the small span of Trex material. Might not work if decking is too high on door thresholds already. Did it before and it lasted ten years before I sold the property.
    Add a rim joist or girder to joist ends at front of deck.
    Get a 30’ drill steel and sink it 6’ in cement like a flag pole. Make a swiveling jib boom with cable/pulleys to suspend your cage for grocery or other access. 12v winch with remote to make life ez.

    • I’d be inclined to make a full-on elevator on the end, and run it with a Harbor Fright winch. It can be supported from one end and tracks can be garage door tracks, steel purlin, unistrut or whatever. It should be able to carry a couple of adults including a wheelchair, and of course, groceries with wine bottles. Counterbalancing optional, as are safeties. It sounds like a fun project.

    • I like trex too. That is almost exactly what I was thinking. I used to have a deck and fence building business. I piggy backed on my Fathers Home Building Buisness. He built track homes (60-80 of them) for 30 years. It was just a side buisness. I was a main line pipe layer for the union at my day job. Then go bang out a couple cedar fences and a few decks on the weekends.

      We used to call the post hole digger “The Jaws of death.” I’d get off work and go out to the plat and (back then I was in super good shape) I’d set 100 4X4 treated posts with a 80 lb bag of concrete mix in a night. Then (if I wasnt working) go back saturday, build a deck, then sunday morning go bang on all the cross boards, all the cedar fencing and build the gates on Monday after work laying pipe (putting in hydrants, main line sewer, manholes etc). Make $2000 cash in a weekend. It was a good gig. I was dumb tho. I spent it all on fast cars and faster women back then. Hahahha

      Great post Mister.

  3. Hi George,

    I recently joined peoplenomics and have enjoyed the articles but I would like to suggest that you change the font on it to the same as you use on the urban side. Seems to me that the urban side is much easier on the eyes in my humble opinion.


    • I will look into it as time permits. The PN site is in manual coded HTML 5 *pain* and changing to a different font runs off the rails as it’s not spacing right…. but will keep looking

  4. George go to Lowes or H Depo and look at the composite decking material. I think it is some sort of plastic and glue. UV will not rot it. Check the distance between joists, as I think they have to be closer than 16″. I replaced a sun rotted wooden deck years ago and the deck still looks good. \
    Mark “Red Dog”

    • It is extrusion-molded and very tough, non-photochemically-reactive, and with a non-skid top face (looks like rough-sawn lumber.) When I needed decking, Menards’ 5/4 pressure-treated was ~$5 and this stuff, ~$27, so I used the 5/4. However, I did buy one extruded “board” to replace the top on some HF steel sawhorses. It is 3/4″ with a corrugation on its bottom-side and I believe was spec’d for 16″ OC. I would want to walk on a board before I sprung for a load of ’em. The last time I looked, they were ~$23 and the CCA40 5/4 around $13…

    • Take it from someone who used to clean composite decks as part of one of my jobs, I highly suggest that you don’t power wash that composite deck…the water pressure raises the wood fibers from the plastic, thus grabbing more dirt resulting the deck getting/looking dirty faster. The snow that falls, then melts, then freezes, then melts, then refreezes also does a number on it. Also, composite stains easier and the stain is SOOOO difficult to remove, if at all, and the ends tend to, over time, eventually start separating/fraying. I know that it is the big whoptido but after working on them since 2004, I would hesitate to buy into all the hype.

  5. “…a kind of just brighter than Kelly green moss has started to come in.  Which is a little concerning, since I mostly associated moss like this with the temperate trails of the Washington Cascades and Olympics. “

    The Volcano Ranch (yeah, we grow volcanoes here!) gets 150 inches of rain annually. The moss takes over the rock walls, and has started to take over the somewhat thin “lawn”. I noticed that the moss did not grow around the iron pipes I have for antenna masts around the concrete slab apron of the house. A little research shows you can kill the moss with a solution of Iron Sulfate. Stains everything, like concrete, but will not harm good grasses. In fact, the extra iron helps darken up the green grass growth.

    • I’m using Vinegar to kill the moss in Portland OR region. It is really bad this year. Circular driveway appeared like I was ready to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day when I started applying the vinegar. Now has yellow spots where the moss is dying and looks like dogs have peed everywhere. LOL

  6. A long piece of rebar and 2 or 3 vice grips or screw clamps and you’re done straightening out that ‘ol greenhouse!

  7. Ok.. first I think you can repair your green house.. to get by for another couple of years.. I used polycarbonate sheeting on ours.. ( it ended up to be the grill shelter and storage rather than the seed starting greenhouse I wanted..

    but when you do get ready to move forward.. consider the dome.. the dome structure is stronger than hell.. yet fragile and any thing that is broken on it.. can be replaced in a heart beat.. it can be made permanent or moveable.. Nomads everywhere make them .. the yurt isn’t quite a dome but close and strong as well..

    my personal favorite is zip tie domes…

  8. Dear Mr Ure,

    I write today to express my concerns with Ure Visual Cueing Theory, as written up in todays Urban Survival post.

    There appears to be some racist undertones to Ure signage at Uretopia ranch.

    In fact by the looks of things – Uretopia is ALL White.

    One picture indicates you even have a cracker-ass clubhouse on Ure grounds.

    – I suppose you gotz some minority types, (working for peanuts) around clubhouse cleaning, serving drinks, polishing Ure ballz, cleaning spikes..ect.

    A positive, friendly suggestion – Urban Survival should mimic Coca-Cola Corp, and try and be less White, and maybe a little less hetero & moar Trans while Ure at it..



  9. Didn’t realise Biden has deteriorated so much . He cannot progress with the mental quality he displays.

  10. My Dad put composite decking in at his home. Western KY has issues with wood rot, thanks to humid summers & wet winter/spring. He never once regretted it. Looks really nice and will outlast him. As usual, the initial cost factor is a real bitch, but long-term value holds well, making it a much better choice. You would do well to consider it.

  11. I built my parents custom deck at their house. Big giant place with an 8 car garage. They have money. I make my own. I think I borrowed $1500 once to get some new 38’s on the Monstor Truck back in 2007 and paid them back 3 hours later. That is the only I borrowed money from them in 30 years. Lol

    I set 329 6×6 treated posts, 9 custom gates and used 2×6 cedar fencing. All hand crafted and I dug all the holes with the jaws of death. Had a buddy stain it with 5 coats of stain. That was 15 years go. That fence still looks brand new. Hell yeah I charged them a shit load of money. If I had to stand by my work and if I had to run the chance of hearing my Mother and Dad bitching about their fence in the future? I best make some Money out of the deal. I spent a bunch of on that Truck called The Sultan. Bought a stroker 383 motor from a nascar outfit down in Souther Carolina. Hahaha. The last stroker 383 I got when I traded an ex’s engagement ring for. We painted that motor grabber green and called it the Green Monstor. Long before the energy drink. She sure was pissed. Hahha. I told her, you put it back on, I’m only asking once on my knee. She threw that platinum 2 carrot ring at me said gtfo! I said ok, then I took it down that sprint car machine shop and traded that ring for 600hp stroker motor that was made for a a racing Sprint car. That was a fun truck too.

    Speaking of Visual Cues. All the advertisements on Ure site today for me was engagement rings. So what I hear you saying is I’m getting new “Stroker motor.” Oh that is a wonderful pun. LMAO!

    Lately I been finding a lot of baby stuff. I hope to God, I’m not getting another kid. I’m fixed but that didnt stop me from getting another one anyway last time.

    Audio cues. Like that messenger ding or the sound of windshield wipers or the ding off the microwave. it’s a different ding the messenger ding. And the sound of birds.

    Lots of visual cues. Love it. As I heard a lady say yesterday, I’m grateful to be American. I havent heard someone say that in a long time. Good stuff dude.

    I gotta go right or something. once the batteries are charged.

    • Hi, George,

      Andy mentioned NASCAR. NASCAR evolved from the people who were running moonshine many years ago. I had a caving friend who earned money during his high school years by running moonshine from northeast Tennessee to Nashville.

      Hope Elaine is recovering well and preparing for the next hip surgery.

  12. Im suprised ya didn’t mention the “I-Ching” box today George.

    I have an email address that is dedicated just to that. I signed up on 200 random sites and it gets filled on the regular with titles of emails that work like an Iching box.

    I just looked at it and the top 5 emails subjects said,

    #1: “Amazing new oprrtunity”
    #2: “New spectacular Vacation awaits you.”
    #3: “healthy living.”
    #4: “Winning at Life.”
    #5: “10 best beauty tips.”

    According to my i-ching “box”. Things are looking up.


    I only check it once in a while.

  13. damn dude, the only thing saving that deck is the cross brace. Put a level on those posts, 2nd from left looks like it needs an 8″ kick to be vertical. The horizontal deck rails are sagging several inches, rip those out and use them for beams – vertically and add a 2×10 notched in to make usable shelves.
    Also add a sign that says “what are you looking up here for?” on the gutter, upper right.
    On the last pic, it looks like adding a ridge support will get you another year.

  14. Ads on prime time tv in sheethole Australia for bitcoin . This worlds farked thanks to you Yankee sprukers. Gold sheetcoin real estate stocks . Facist fools . Your one of em George right up the totem pole

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