Studio711.com – Ben Martens

Desk for Elijah

Elijah’s room doesn’t have a lot of storage space and with him having more homework to do in the coming years, a desk felt like a natural project. I looked around at some different ideas and designed something from scratch (though the design is anything but groundbreaking.)

We decided to paint the project so I built the whole thing out of poplar. In each project I try to tackle at least one new skill and there were a few new ones in this project:

  • I wanted solid wood for the top so that it’s easier to sand down and repair if it gets some dents or gashes in it. I’ve done a few big panel glueups in the past but I never feel like I’m good at it. It’s a challenge to get everything smooth and flat while avoiding cupping. This one turned out pretty well. I used biscuits to help with the alignment.
  • I love pocket hole joints, but they would have been very obvious for many of these joints, so I wanted to do some kind of mortise and tenon joint. I got a Beadlock system from Rockler and had a good time learning how that worked. It’s so much faster than traditional mortise and tenon and cheaper than a Domino. If I was doing this for a living, the Domino would be worth it, but for a weekend warrior like me, Beadlock was perfect.
  • I sprayed the paint on. I have a Rockler sprayer, but I’m always hesitant to use it. I went for it this time and was extremely happy with the result. I sprayed Sherwin Williams water based acrylic alkyd paint. I had good luck with that same paint on the spraying it worked well too, though I did thin it with some water. I sprayed in the garage with the HomeRight spray tent and it worked really well at keeping overspray from getting all over everything.

The final step was figuring out the drawer pulls. I looked through various options but ended up finding penguin drawer pulls on Amazon and they looked great when I installed them!

Note that the Amazon links are affiliate links so I get a small kickback if you use them at no extra cost to you.

Fantasy Football – Week 5

Russ is out for an undetermined amount of time (4-8 weeks?) because of a ruptured tendon in his hand. Geno Smith made an impressive start marching the team 98 yards down the field for a touch down, but we can’t expect that with every drive. It’s clear that the Seahawks were not going anywhere this year so I guess this is a season to tread water and see what can be improved without Wilson driving the bus.

Our league continues to provide a lot of entertainment. There are two big stories from this week.

  1. In general I feel like point total is more important than win/loss record because scoring points is what wins over time, but Luke is certainly the exception so far. He’s now 0-5 despite having 96% of the point total of first place. If we ranked by total points, he’d be third instead of 8. If we compare his “Points against” with first place Logan we see that Luke’s opponents have scored 45% more than Logan’s opponents! I don’t have the data to prove this, but I’d be amazed if a team in our league has ever had this many points and been winless after week 5. Chelsea is next in line to see if Luke’s streak will continue.
  2. Going into Monday night’s game, I was 13 points behind Nick. He had a RB (Jonathan Taylor) remaining and I had a TE (Mark Andrews) and a DEF (Baltimore) remaining. Taylor put up 30 points for Nick and at the start of the fourth quarter, Yahoo predicted that I had a 1% chance of winning. But before the end of the game, Andrews caught not one but two touchdown passes. That still wouldn’t have been enough to catch up but the Ravens went for two on both TD’s and both times Andrews caught the pass which was just enough to push me ahead by less than a total of 2 points. In poker they would call this sucking out on the river. #sorrynotsorry

Logan and Andy are both tied for first place and they are facing off next week. Andy is doing all of this with only the roster he drafted. He hasn’t made any roster moves yet!

Power rankings are back too. Each week I’ll show the top 4 teams according to my super secret formula (it’s mostly based on points scored in previous weeks with an emphasis on the most recent weeks):

  1. Ben
  2. Luke
  3. Nick ▲4
  4. Logan

On to the weekly awards…

 This WeekThis SeasonAll Time
Highest Team ScoreTim had 155.42Andy had 166.61 (Week 1)Luke had 202.63 (2019)
Lowest Team ScoreTyler had 89.37Andy had 68.06 (Week 4)Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest BlowoutAndy beat Tyler by 52.05Chelsea beat Andy by 77.04 (Week 3)Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest WinBen beat Nick by 1.96Was: Ben beat Tim by 2.47 (Week 1)Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Longest Active Winning StreakTim has a 3 game winning streakAndy and Logan have 3 game winning streaks (Week 3)Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing StreakLuke has a 5 game losing streakLuke had a 4 game losing streak (Week 4)Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)
Highest Scoring PlayerJustin Herbert had 50.82 for TimWas: Derrick Henry had 44.70 for Nick (Week 2)Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Lowest winning scoreBen won with 133.42Was: Andy beat Nick with 94.7 (Week 3)Tim beat Jim with 79.34 (2015)
Highest losing scoreLuke lost with 141.69Was: Luke lost to Nick with 134.59 (Week 2)Tim lost to Luke with 169.11 (2019)

Adjust Web Cam Settings In Any App

Working from home means that I regularly have calls on Zoom, Teams, and GoToMeeting from a variety of web cams. Some apps and cameras are better video settings than others, but thankfully I found some instructions about how to get the camera properties app to show up even when I’m in a call no matter what app I’m using. This is a bit on the geeky side so consider yourself warned.

  1. Install ffmpeg.
  2. Open a command prompt to the folder with ffmpeg and run this to figure out the name of your camera:
    ffmpeg -list_devices true -f dshow -i dummy -hide_banner
  3. Create a desktop shortcut with “Start In” set to the folder where ffmpeg lives and “Target” set to the following but be sure to change the file path as necessary and adjust the name of your video camera.
    “C:\Program Files\ffmpeg\bin\ffmpeg.exe” -f dshow -show_video_device_dialog true -i video=”USB Live camera”

Now when you execute the shortcut, you should get this screen:

Fantasy Football – Week 4

I didn’t have a lot of hope going into the Seahawks games and after posting negative total offense well into the second-half, it looked like my pessimism was justified. But somehow they ended the first half tied with the 49ers at 7 and then the 49ers injury woes got even worse as Garoppolo left the game. Add that to the lack of anyone who had kicked a field goal in a game before and things were looking up for the Seahawks. Wilson and company were able to put some offense together and walk away with a win.

In our league, there are no undefeated teams remaining. The Scherschel power couple each knocked out Andy and Logan. Chelsea’s win was especially impressive as her 8th place team not only beat the Andy’s 1st place team but did it with 2.5x as many points! I helped Luke continue his extremely unlucky season as he sits winless in last place with an astronomically tough schedule so far. Next week he faces off against Tim so we’ll see how the brothers fare. This chart shows the points scored against each team so you can see how unlucky Luke has been getting.

We also must take a minute to rain down boos upon Andy and Nick who both started players that were declared out on Friday. While game day scratches are inevitable, please be sure to check at least the day before to make sure nobody has been declared out.

On to the weekly awards…

 This WeekThis SeasonAll Time
Highest Team ScoreChelsea had 145.1Andy had 166.61 (Week 1)Luke had 202.63 (2019)
Lowest Team ScoreAndy had 68.06Was: Nick had 74.53 (Week 3)Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest BlowoutChelsea beat Andy by 77.04Was: Logan beat Tyler by 66.47 (Week 2)Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest WinTim beat Logan by 12.34Ben beat Tim by 2.47 (Week 1)Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Longest Active Winning StreakTim has a 2 game winning streakAndy and Logan have 3 game winning streaks (Week 3)Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing StreakLuke has a 4 game losing streakWas: Luke and Chelsea have 3 game losing streaks (Week 3)Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)
Highest Scoring PlayerTyreek hill had 42.10 on Ben’s bench.Derrick Henry had 44.70 for Nick (Week 2)Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Lowest winning scoreTim beat Logan with 105.4Was: Andy beat Nick with 94.7 (Week 3)Tim beat Jim with 79.34 (2015)
Highest losing scoreLuke lost with 113.81Luke lost to Nick with 134.59 (Week 2)Tim lost to Luke with 169.11 (2019)

Anacortes Whale Watching Review

There are plenty of whale watching opportunities in the Pacific Northwest, but we’ve never taken one as a family out here. A few weeks back, Ken went and not only recommended Island Adventures, but the coupon he gave us pushed me over the edge to book the trip. Unfortunately a couple days before we were scheduled to go, their big boat had mechanical issues but we were able to use a smaller boat instead. I think it actually ended up being a nicer experience in some ways.

We were out on the water for about five hours but the time went pretty quickly. The company posts a summary of every trip so I’ll copy their summary of our outing here because it’s better than I could do:

We headed out into the Salish Sea once again with beautiful weather settling in over the area. Starting the day off, we headed down Rosario Strait and began to see many harbor porpoise popping up all over the place as we made our way down to Colville Island. When we got to the island, we found a few nice bobs of harbor seals before making our way back to the east with reports of animals inside Whidbey Island. After a fun cruise through Deception pass, we headed south and our sharp eyed first mate Brittany found the T37A’s just east of Polnell Point. We had an amazing time with these orcas and got a spectacular show from them as they continued eastbound and up Saratoga Passage. After a great time, we waved goodbye to the orcas and headed for the Swinomish Slough where we took a nice slow cruise through La Conner. We spotted all sorts of harbor seals and great blue herons as we traveled along the channel to the north end. Soon we rounded the March Point refineries and made our way into Cap Sante Anacortes.

http://blog.island-adventures.com/2021/09/september-11-2021.html

It was fun to go under the Deception Pass bridge and then back up the slough past La Conner. They implied that both were uncommon so maybe it’s because we were in a smaller boat?

We didn’t know if Elijah would get seasick or bored but neither were a problem. Even with the cold and wind, he was in good spirits all day and seemed to enjoy seeing the whales. It was fun being the first boat to spot the whales too because we got some time to ourselves before the rest of the boats showed up to check it out. (All the tours are in communication about where the whales are.)

The only downside was the small interior. With it being so windy and cold, it would have been nice to spend more time in the warmth but it was so packed on the smaller boat that we tried to stay outside as much as possible figuring that 30-40 mph winds are better COVID protection.

That blog post linked above has the photos from the tour guides but here a couple that we took:

Fantasy Football 2021 – Week 3

The Seahawks are 1-2. Ouch. Things looked promising with Metcalf getting some catches, but the Vikings kept marching down the field at will going on a 23-0 run to end the game. Russell Wilson is putting up numbers that top the league, but it seems like maybe the league has figured out Pete Carroll’s revolutionary defensive strategies.

In our league, Tyler got the highest score after posting the lowest score last week. Chelsea lost the battle with husband Tim which is double frustrating since she had the highest scoring player on her bench. And Andy had the lowest winning score of the season but still managed to get the biggest blowout of the week. Luke is getting the raw end of the deal in terms of strength of schedule. His opponents have scored 463 points while the opponents of Andy and Logan haven’t scored over 305! So even though Luke is down in 7th, expect him to start climbing the ranks. Hopefully that starts in Week 5 though since he plays me this week.

On to the weekly awards…

 This WeekThis SeasonAll Time
Highest Team ScoreTyler had 138.46Andy had 166.61 (Week 1)Luke had 202.63 (2019)
Lowest Team ScoreNick had 74.53Was: Tyler had 82.08 (Week 2)Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest BlowoutAndy beat Nick by 20.17Logan beat Tyler by 66.47 (Week 2)Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest WinLogan beat Ben by 3.09Ben beat Tim by 2.47 (Week 1)Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Longest Active Winning StreakAndy and Logan have 3 game winning streaksWas: Andy, Logan, and Ben have 2 game winning streaks (Week 2)Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing StreakLuke and Chelsea have 3 game losing streaksWas: Tim, Luke, and Chelsea have 2 game losing streaks. (Week 2)Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)
Highest Scoring PlayerJosh Allen had 45.22 for ChelseaWas: Derrick Henry had 44.70 for Nick (Week 2)Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Lowest winning scoreAndy beat Nick with 94.7Was: Tyler won with 114.63 (Week 1)Tim beat Jim with 79.34 (2015)
Highest losing scoreBen lost to Logan with 123.38Luke lost to Nick with 134.59 (Week 2)Tim lost to Luke with 169.11 (2019)

Fantasy Football 2021 – Week 2

After leading 24-9, the Seahawks lost to the Titans. Derrick Henry ran all over the field and was particularly fond of the end zone, finding it three times. There were some fun long pass plays from Wilson but with so many three and outs, there wasn’t enough offense to fight back against the Titans. DK Metcalf is off to a slow start and Chris Carson didn’t put up many yards either.

In our league we exit week 2 with three undefeated teams and three teams still searching for their first win. All our teams that one had more than 140 points! Andy in particular is on fire with 325 points in just two weeks. How long can he keep that up? The highlight of next week’s matchups will be Tim and Chelsea battling to see who will get the first win in the Scherschel household.

On to the weekly awards…

 This WeekThis SeasonAll Time
Highest Team ScoreAndy had 159.09Andy had 166.61 (Week 1)Luke had 202.63 (2019)
Lowest Team ScoreTyler had 82.08Was: Chelsea had 89.69 (Week 1)Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest BlowoutLogan beat Tyler by 82.08Was: Andy beat 44.87 (Week 1)Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest WinNick beat Luke by 24.00Ben beat Tim by 2.47 (Week 1)Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Longest Active Winning StreakAndy, Logan, and Ben have 2 game winning streaksWas: Andy, Logan, Ben, and Tyler have 1 game winning streaks (Week 1)Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing StreakTim, Luke, and Chelsea have 2 game losing streaks.Was: Tim, Luke, Nick, and Chelsea have 1 game losing streaks. (Week 1)Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)
Highest Scoring PlayerDerrick Henry had 44.70 for NickWas: Kyler Murray had 41.56 for Andy. (Week 1)Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Lowest winning scoreBen won with 141.46Tyler won with 114.63 (Week 1)Tim beat Jim with 79.34 (2015)
Highest losing scoreLuke lost to Nick with 134.59Was: Tim lost with 125.72 (Week 1)Tim lost to Luke with 169.11 (2019)

My Name In Windows 8 Screenshots

The other day I was telling the story of how my name showed up in many of the Windows 8 screenshots when they launched it. But look as I might, I could not find any blog post about it, so I’ll rectify that ~10 years later as Microsoft gets ready to release Windows 11.

The backstory is that lawyers sent a form to employees asking if they had our permission to use our names in marketing materials. I said it was fine with me, not expecting to see my name anywhere either because they wouldn’t use it or because I’d never see it since there are so many different products.

Fast forward a couple years and I started seeing my name everywhere because they used it for some marketing shots in Windows 8. You can still see some of the news stories, as shown in the example from CNN below.

Fantasy Football 2021 – Week 1

The Seahawks are off to a 1-0 start with what felt like a pretty solid win over the Colts. Shane Waldron seemed to do a good job in his first game as offensive coordinator. Beating a team on the road that went 11-5 last year is a solid start to the season.

And our league was back in action after taking a COVID break last year. This year we have added one more roster spot plus two IR spots to account for players that get hit with COVID for a game or two.

Last year Tim defeated Tyler in the championship but I was able to squeak out a win. Tyler defeated Chelsea in her first game in the league. Logan put up a lot of points like he usually does, and Andy demolished Luke’s otherwise respectable score.

We’ll start the weekly awards by including stats from last season for comparison.

 This WeekThis SeasonAll Time
Highest Team ScoreAndy had 166.61Luke had 202.63 (Week 5)Luke had 202.63 (2019)
Lowest Team ScoreChelsea had 89.69Tyler had 61.23 (Week 13)Andy had 41.29 (2015)
Biggest BlowoutAndy beat Luke by 44.87Ben beat Tyler by 87.13 (Week 13)Luke beat Andy by 113.02 (2010)
Closest WinBen beat Tim by 2.47Logan beat Tim by 0.41 (Week 11)Tyler beat Nick by 0.01 (2018)
Longest Active Winning StreakAndy, Logan, Ben, and Tyler have 1 game winning streaksLuke has a 5 game winning streak (Week 5)Micah (2011) and Ben (2015) had 8 game winning streaks
Longest Active Losing StreakTim, Luke, Nick, and Chelsea have 1 game losing streaks.Nick has a 6 game losing streak (Week 6)Kyle had a 14 game losing streak (2011)
Highest Scoring PlayerKyler Murray had 41.56 for Andy.Aaron Rodgers had 53.76 on Ben’s bench (Week 7)Drew Brees had 60.54 on Tim’s bench (2015)
Lowest winning scoreTyler won with 114.63Tyler beat Nick with 92.63 (Week 4)Tim beat Jim with 79.34 (2015)
Highest losing scoreTim lost with 125.72Tim lost to Luke with 169.11 (Week 5)Tim lost to Luke with 169.11 (2019)

DIY Tent Stake Puller

After one particularly challenging camp site where I ended up leaving a tent stake or two, I searched around on the web and found a better solution. I didn’t come up with this but I’ve used it for the past few camping trips, and it has worked wonderfully! Take a small diameter PVC pipe and cut a length about as wide as your palm. Run some paracord through it and tie it into a loop. Voila! Pull as hard as you want on that PVC pipe without hurting your hand and direct all the force right where it needs to go.