Bunk Bed for Joseph

I built Joseph a bunkbed for his 4th(!) birthday. I don’t have much for gratuitous making-of photos, but here are a few of the finished product. Let me know if you’re interested in more detailed pictures (up close, joints, connections, that kind of thing).

Update: I made a video when I built a bunk bed for Joseph’s cousin, Bella.

One messy garage later, we have a Bunkbed for Jo-man.

A post shared by Justin Sternberg (@jtsternberg) on

A bunk bed befitting the boy

A post shared by Justin Sternberg (@jtsternberg) on

The wood is top choice white pine, which you can find at your local Lowes/Home Depot.

I knew staining it would be a bad idea as Joseph would likely end up denting and marring it (he’s rough, and pine is soft), so I kept it the natural look, which I like quite a bit. And to help protect against fingerprints and such, I used this Minwax water-based Poly.

YouTube Fav: 30 Days Timelapse at Sea | 4K | Through Thunderstorms, Torrential Rain & Busy Traffic

YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/AHrCI9eSJGQ
Vimeo Description:

30 Days of Timelapse, about 80,000 photos combined. 1500GB of Project files. Sailing in the open ocean is a unique feeling and experience.I hope to capture and share it for everyone to see.

Route was from Red Sea — Gulf of Aden — Indian Ocean — Colombo — Malacca Strait — Singapore — South East China Sea — Hong Kong

Follow my adventures!
Instagram: http://instagram.com/Jeffrey.hk

Music:
Philip G Anderson – Winter (from 0:00 to 4:37 and 8:00 to 10:00)
Buy Winter here:
https://philipganderson.bandcamp.com/album/winter

Stellardrone – Billions And Billions (from 4:37 to 8:00)

Camera used: D750, Rokinon 12mm f/2.8
0:32 Milky Way
0:53 Sirius Star (I think) Correction: Jupiter the planet according to some viewers
1:17 Approaching Port of Colombo
1:45 Cargo Operation
2:08 Departure Colombo with Rainstorm
2:29 Beautiful Sunrise
3:13 Lightning Storm at Malacca Strait and Singapore Strait
3:29 Clear night sky Milky Way with lightning storm
4:01 Camera getting soaked
5:09 Arrival Singapore
5:56 Departure Singapore
6:20 Moon-lit night sky
6:48 Another Sunrise
8:30 Headed due north and you can see Ursa Major rotating neatly around Polaris.
8:36 Squid Boats
8:54 Chaotic Traffic
9:15 Arrival Hong Kong

 

Goals, Shmoals

Howdy! Pardon me while I clear out the cobwebs in the blogging corner of this site.

Recently I’ve started following the work of James Clear. He seems to be (at least trying to be) a 21st century version of Stephen Covey or maybe John Maxwell. Coincidentally, today I came across this tweet:

This post by James Clear, as you can imagine, talks about the possible overvaluing of goals. As with Brad, I’ve often been uncomfortable with the ever-present concept of goals-setting.

Why is that? I’m not a slouch with no vision for my future. While I am no Covey, Maxwell or Clear, I consider myself to be a very driven, and most of the time, effective person. But to me, the idea of goals has always felt a bit too much like a prison, or more, a chastising schoolmarm. When I think of goals, often my impatience kicks in. I just don’t have time or mental capacity (I am notoriously bad at multitasking) to worry about that possible future which may never materialize.

But I’m no dummy. I recognize you cannot get to where you want to go unless you know where that is.

You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

a common, but maybe slightly-out-of-context quote by Wayne Gretzky ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Several years ago, a group I was in read the book, “The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be” by Andy Stanley. In that book, Andy makes the simple case that the best way to get to that future destination (your “goal”) is to get on the path and start walking. And that at any point, we can look down at our feet. If they are not on the path (or pointing the right direction), then we need to “recalculate”, and get back on the path.

This is my favorite way to look at goals. Because one thing I can definitely do is to take the next step in front of me. And trust that somewhere down the line, I will arrive at my destination. It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that I am involved in many things with this same driving principle. My church‘s motto is “helping you take your next step”. The ministry I am heavily involved with, Celebrate Recovery, is a steps-based recovery program with a key motto, “one step at a time”.

Even with with learning new things… about 8 years ago, I started to learn the guitar. My primary encouragement was the comfort in knowing that even though it was harder than I thought it would be, and I was worse (longer) than I thought I would be, if I just kept playing, I could only keep improving until I die. Depending on how long I lived, I might eventually be decent. :)

This definitely also applies to my job and learning new things in programming (Vue/React anyone?). If I just keep writing/reading/doing, I won’t suck at it forever, and eventually, I’ll even be good at it.

And James Clear’s article resonates with that same principle. He states the case that Systems are often more valuable and productive than setting goals.

Because whether you call it systems, habits, or steps,

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

Will Durant

But just like the principle of the path, where you need to know where the path should lead, you cannot build a system if you do not know what that system should accomplish. So as much as I dislike setting goals, they are still an integral part to becoming effective. The difference to me is that goals should not be the… goal… but rather a way to orient us on our paths and provide a structure to our systems.

Jim Carrey: I Needed Color

By: JC
Vimeo URL: https://vimeo.com/226379658
Vimeo Description:

For additional information regarding Jim’s art please visit: www.signaturegalleries.com
For all other inquiries email info@befreejc.com

Director/Producer David Bushell

Associate Producer – Linda Fields Hill
Editor – Nicole C. Conrad
Music – Dave Palmer
Vocals – Jane Carrey
Camera – Bobby Davidson (NY)
Sound – Sean Massey
Asst. Editor – Kelsey Ann McClure
Art Assistants – Roland Allmeyer, Lino Meoli, Brogan Dunphy

Thanks to FotoKem
Edited w/ Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Copyright 2017 Jim Carrey
Unauthorized downloads and usage of this video without written permission is strictly prohibited.

Monitor Stand (made from Pallet wood)

Thanks to this Ugmonk post where he talks about building his own monitor stand, I was inspired to build my own. I used my (free) wood of choice, pallets.

As you can see from the detail pictures, the pallet wood is far from perfect, but I appreciate all the little knots and saw marks. Because this is the desk of a working man! 😝

This was pretty simple to make. The most difficult part (as is always the case when making anything near furniture grade with pallette wood) was the intense sanding that was required to get the boards smooth.

I opted not to finish this with anything at this point, but I may eventually apply some Tung oil. For now, I just wanted to get it on my desk to see how it works. I’m super happy with it!

Side-note: if you’re curious about my desk, you can read about that here, and if you’re curious about some of the things on my desk (monitor, speakers, mug… etc), or even how I made my desk, check out the “my favorites” page.

The Treehouse Adventures

In late February, thanks to some nudging from my kids (and a slight case of Spring Fever), we decided it was high-time our backyard had a tree house. Our yard has a large number of tree-house-ready trees, so we actually struggled over which location would be best.

In the end, we decided the best place would be nestled between a live oak and willow oak, just inside the fence. Not only is the location perfect, with 3 large trunks/branches to support it, but being within the fence line, it helps prevent neighbor kids from coming over and hanging out on the tree house. Not that I wouldn’t be happy about that, but there’s a certain liability that comes along with that prospect.

Building this has been one of the most therapeutic and rewarding things I’ve built (I’ve built a few things). If you’re contemplating doing something similar, my advice is go for it, because you (and your kids) only live once!

To get started, I read a lot about some of the basics of building a tree house. E.g. what size boards should be used depending on the distance being spanned, what type of fasteners to use, how to make things level against an organic surface, etc. I also bought this handy little book. It’s full of awesome little tidbits and illustrations. While not meant to be a complete how-to, it provided plenty of light bulb moments and inspiration. Highly recommended.

I started construction February 25 (2017), and after a weekend and some help from friends/family, I had a basic platform installed with floor joists.

Hard to go inside when the treehouse project is waiting for me.

A post shared by Justin Sternberg (@jtsternberg) on

Another angle on that treehouse while I wait for Saturday to get here.

A post shared by Justin Sternberg (@jtsternberg) on

Since I am a web developer by day, it feels super good to get outside and work with my hands (and some power tools!).

Oh yeah. #treehousemaster #rockstarmanofmine

A post shared by Meagan Sternberg (@meagansternberg) on

As much as possible throughout this project, I tried to use reclaimed wood. In that platform, the joists are all new pressure treated 2x6s and hung with joist hangers, and the longest span (in the picture above) is a new pressure treated 2×10. But the other side’s 2×10 is a leftover from our old water-bed (yep, you heard me right), and the two side 2x6s are leftover frames from an old bunk bed that we never used for the kids that we got from some garage sale.

To fasten the boards to the tree, I used 4 or 5 inch lag screws and washers.

The next weekend was spent working out some details, like corner braces, angle braces, and corner beams for the eventual hand-rails.

All. Day. Long. #buildinghisoffice #treehouse #thekidswillhavetoshare

A post shared by Meagan Sternberg (@meagansternberg) on

Much of the braces are boards from pallets that we scrounged up (the final project probably has about 5-8 pallets in it), and the corner 4x4s were used to hold up an old lattice divider in the yard (the lattice has been gone/destroyed for quite a while).

Here’s a redneck stunt I pulled to get some of those pallets:

(I need a truck!)

By the end of weekend 2, we had half a floor!

We've got half a floor! Just need to find some more pallets.

A post shared by Justin Sternberg (@jtsternberg) on

As you can see, we also used boards from pallets for the tree house floor.

The next weekend, the first order of business was to finish the floor so the kids could come up and check it out. 😁

And they are up there! #mommycantlook #treehouse

A post shared by Meagan Sternberg (@meagansternberg) on

Time was limited that weekend, so I had to wait another week before I could start adding the hand-rail. Took me a bit to sort out how I wanted that to look. I didn’t want to have too many boards to obstruct the views (I wanted the tree house to feel open), so I left about a 6 inch gap between each board.

Well, it turns out my son can fit his head through that gap, and so Meagan was having none of that. So, back to the drawing board, and I had to add some lateral boards to make sure nobody was gonna be squeezing out. As you can see below, we took this opportunity to add a little flair and make it look like an authentic kid-built tree house (I mean.. I am just a big kid, so it’s pretty accurate).

We let our kids, their cousins, and some of their friends paint their names and other things on a few boards, and nailed ’em on!

Friends make a treehouse a home.

A post shared by Meagan Sternberg (@meagansternberg) on

#happyface #treehouse #myohmia

A post shared by Meagan Sternberg (@meagansternberg) on

Boys working hard. #treehousemasters #gettingsoclose

A post shared by Meagan Sternberg (@meagansternberg) on

Another end to a successful weekend.

The next weekend, we finalized the other 2 sides (minus the door). We got a little creative with those sides to try and work with the trees’ structures.

All sides are up! Now… how to get up there… 🌳🏗

A post shared by Justin Sternberg (@jtsternberg) on

This is the point where I consider the top “habitable” and began working from the tree house.

Of course, some people had fun with this.

The next step was to build the door/gate. I used a gate latch and built a crude rope/pulley mechanism that allows the kids to open the latch from below the door. I posted a video at the end where you can get a general idea.

Once that floor was complete, it was time to begin construction of the first level, half-way up. I wasn’t sure I was going to go that route, but once the main part was complete, it just seemed like the best way to go.. It would provide a bit of a safety net on the side where the kids would climbing in/out of the top, and allow them to have multiple levels to their “tree condo”.

Multi-level tree condominium 😜

A post shared by Justin Sternberg (@jtsternberg) on

At first, I attempted build the platform without adding the additional 4×4 supports on the outer corners, hoping the angle braces would be enough. Unfortunately, they didn’t provide enough structural shear-strength, so I had to dig some holes, pour some cement and install some ground-rated 4x4s. Once those were in place, the platform structure was as solid as a rock.

We then got the sides built:

About ready for some summer adventures.

A post shared by Justin Sternberg (@jtsternberg) on

At this point, the only thing missing is the ladders. Surprisingly, building these was some of the most difficult work in the whole process.

Phew! This has been a ton of (fun!) work. Happy to see it come together. Here’s a quick video tour:

Turbo Treehouse Tour

A post shared by Justin Sternberg (@jtsternberg) on

You might be wondering, “what’s next”. Well, the grandparents purchased a tube slide as an early birthday/Christmas type of gift (ssshhh they don’t know yet), so we’ll see about installing that once it gets in (we got it installed! Scroll down to see). 😁 The adventure never ends! Thanks for hanging with me this far. If you’re interested, page 2 of this post is a big gallery of images from the process. Hope you enjoyed!

Update 5-14-17 we got the slide installed!

FlightLapse #01 – MilkyWay by SkyProduction

http://vimeo.com/211656397 By: SkyProduction
Vimeo URL: http://vimeo.com/211656397
Vimeo Description:

Flying through the night, while the world beneath us is at sleep, is a pretty common thing as a longhaul pilot. Late evening departures lead to far distant destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong, Sao Paolo or J’burg. Depending on the direction of the flight the crew and the passengers either have a short night up ahead if flying eastbound or almost eternal darkness if headed westwards. Read the full article on: https://www.beyondclouds.ch/2017/04/05/vuelo-nocturno-the-magic-of-flying-at-night/

YouTube Fav: Subway performer stuns crowd with Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide”- Chicago, Il- Blue Line, Washington S

http://youtu.be/x–yddOolRQ
YouTube URL: http://youtu.be/x–yddOolRQ
Vimeo Description:

On my way home from work tonight I saw one of the best performances I have ever seen- anywhere. This young women playing “Landslide” absolutely stunned the entire crowd which erupted into applause as the train arrives. Her details at the end- please share. #Chicago #cta #blueline #subway #fleetwoodmac #landslide #mikedrop

To use this video in a commercial player or in broadcasts, please email: licensing@storyful.com