Sunday, March 31, 2013

AutoCAD 2014 - What’s New

Each new release of AutoCAD is jammed with what are supposed to be bug fixes and new features.  Some years we get more of one than the other.  Some years everything seems to go wrong, and other years it goes just about right.  As time moves on this year I'm certain we'll find things that still don't work or haven't been fixed as well as features we love.  As long as the balance isn't lopsided in the negative we should be okay.  As for myself I've been testing fairly heavily the last few days and haven't hit anything major yet.

So here are a few of the things you can look forward to in the new release:

Saturday, March 30, 2013

AutoCAD 2014

It's here!  And so far it looks good.  I'll need an object enabler for Civil 3D objects.  Those types of things generally lag the main release.  And there have been a couple minor things that didn't migrate quite the way I expected from 2012 (I never did employ the 2013 version).  But there doesn't appear to be any of the issues out of the box that the last release had.

Now to figure out what's new and play around!  More to follow as events unfold...

4 Hrs

French Beast Burgundy

As the title of this blog says, it's all about what, "....strike(s) my fancy".  So one day it might be a photog blog, woodworking, something honestly tech, or (like today), food again.  At the risk of overstating the obvious I'm not one to settle into a rut.  Ever.  So today being my one (currently) day a week off, it's become a good day to cook... or what passes for cooking around here.  To that end, this is what is on the menu: 

Oops!  Looks like a couple of bowls short!


1/2 cup flour (or more, depending)
4 lbs boneless beef chuck, cut into bite size cubes
4 tbs. olive oil (or whatever it takes ;)
2 onions, sliced (I used one white, one red)
16 button mushrooms, sliced
1 cup fresh parsley, minced
6 cloves garlic, minced (or whatever makes you happy)
4 bay leaves
2 cups burgundy wine (or your favorite cooking red - Italian Tuscany here)
1 cup beef broth (I use a full can of Campbell's)
Fresh garlic, diced, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste


1.  Combine flour, salt, and pepper.  Dredge (sounds awful!) the beef cubes in the flour mixture and brown in olive oil in a medium skillet.   

2.  Place beef and all remaining ingredients in crock pot, mix thoroughly to combine.

3.  Cook on LOW for 4-6 or 3 hours on HIGH. 

I always modify a recipe, and today was no exception.  In this one I added a couple of cubed red potatoes and three sliced carrots, so by the time everything was in the crock pot it was FULL!  This will not only be my Easter dinner but should last well into the next week.  With the schedule I'm currently working it's nice to have something ready to go in the refrigerator because time feels pretty limited these days.

Oh... that bottle of Tuscany?  It didn't last long after the recipe was mixed. The food was good too!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

Router Fence Completion

Woodworking doesn't pay my bills.  I have a regular gig for that.  And the hours on my regular gig have changed 180-degrees from sunshine to moonshine... as in late late show on a runway repair job that can only be done in the middle of the night.  So everything woodworking had to take a break recently while my sleep schedule adjusted.  The one thing I never do is fire up power tools when I'm tired.  At the least it can be frustrating, but worse it can be extremely dangerous.

This afternoon however I felt awake enough to get out there once again and finish the last few details of my custom router station fence.  All that was left was cutting and mounting angle braces and installing the dust collection port.  In the end I decided to use Baltic birch on the whole project, thus the 1/2" ply on the port cover instead of hardboard as originally planned.  I like this way better.

This was a small side project that followed on the router wing and lift installation.  I still have to finish my office build project and I'm hoping that some of the "downtime" on the runway job ... there are about 2 hrs a night that conceivably I can work on the office build... will give me time to finish my stand-up workstation stuff too.  This night thing will go on until at least the middle of May.  So I'm telling myself, "no more excuses!"

But truth be told I love sleeping in late.  Working nights is almost too perfect for me.  :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

4 Hrs

White Chicken Chili

I've published a Red Chicken Chili recipe in the past... so here's its cousin: White.


Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, 2-3#, or breasts if you like them better, chopped into bite size pieces
1/2 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use extra virgin olive oil)
2 (14.5 oz) cans stewed tomatoes (any Italian style is great)
1 (15 oz) can chick peas, or cut green beans, drained
1 16 oz jar medium salsa or picante sauce (flavored is often good)
Fresh garlic, diced, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste


1Cut chicken into bite size pieces, season with salt and black pepper.

2.  Heat vegetable oil in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Cook and stir chicken until browned.  Transfer to slow cooker, draining excess oil.  Add remaining ingredients.

3.  Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or 4 hours on HIGH. 

I made this again today for the first time in a couple of years.  It's another one of my favorites.  Some of the instructions above are completely optional.  For example, it doesn't make any difference to me if the chicken is browned or not.  I also like garlic so I load up just about all my dishes with lots of it.  The salsa sauce is another variable... I've used mango salsa and others.  The mix today is using a Southwest flavored salsa that's given everything a pretty spicy taste.  They're all good, and the variability from one to another makes each batch a little bit different.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Router Fence Update

Spent the night drilling and slot routing.  Then glued the face support to the base.  The only thing left now is to complete the triangular support blocks and dust control connection.  I did find a nice little Rigid fitting that will work perfectly for a hose connection at the back... so it's just a matter now of fabrication.  I'm also going to extend the length of the slots... somehow I cut them short! 

One minor modification I made while working on it last night was to refabricate the sliding fence section pieces out of solid hardwood... in this case poplar.  I started to think that over time the plywood might splinter and not work as well as a sacrificial part as it should... so I just rebuilt them.  Right now the ply and poplar are not quite the same thickness.  But I'll correct that with a couple passes thru the planer.

I also made a couple small stop blocks for when I might need one.  You can see one of them attached here to the vertical on the left.  Also shown are a couple of Jessem feather boards.

All the connections and dimensions worked out quite nicely, and the SketchUp design was a major contributor to all of it.  So with just a little more time it'll be done.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Custom Fence Build

Dry mock-up

Finally!  This weekend and tonight I got started on the custom router fence construction.  Everything is being built out of 3/4 inch baltic birch plywood... just about the best thing I've ever found for jigs.  This is a great project to ease myself back into the swing of things again because after a month or more of finishing work on the office build it's natural that you get a little "rusty".

The "plan"

So far I've cut all the pieces to rough dimension, milled the dados for the t-tracks and the connection between a couple of the pieces, and confirmed everything fits properly. Tomorrow night I'll do the drilling and if it doesn't get too late routing the slots. At that point all I'll have left is final assembly.


It actually looks pretty close to the plan!  :)  The square support blocks here still do need to be cut into triangles, and I need to verify the size of the vacuum insert and get a hole saw blade to cut the opening.  Keep forgetting to go by the home center to do that...

The miter slot kit is sitting on the top of the jig here.  When tightened it's made to expand and hold fast in the slot.  This is how the fence will be anchored to the table surface.  I've abandoned the idea of making a wooden "key" for the underside for now.  If this metal kit works it may be all I'll need.
 The bottom two sliding pieces need to be trimmed just a hair or so yet.  But I'll do that once I've attached the top section and have a good dimension to work from.
I've built a lot of jigs for my little "shop"over the years for a variety of uses.  Quite honestly they've all been just about as satisfying as anything else I've built.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Angst No More

Carly Rae Jepsen takes the edge off 1989's Nine Inch Nails lyrical angst in this great new mashup by pomDeterrific on SoundCloud.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Muppet Friday

This just gets better and better as it goes along. And in HD mode the colors are nothing short of pure eye candy!