13 November, 2017

The Jive Mill and Jack and Kitty Norton

The other day I had this great gig of which I can’t even begin to say how excited I was about. I got to open up a show for an Emmy award winning vaudeville duo who also happen to be great old friends of mine.
They asked me to open for their show at a new local hot spot called, ‘The Jive Mill’.
The Jive Mill is owned and operated by Noelle and Christopher Roberts. What began for them in 2012 as a hope for building community and broadening the arts has culminated in a wonderful, large, and vibrant performance space.
Not only was I fortunate enough to play here I also got to open for the Nortons; although, we didn’t get any footage of my portion of the show I sure got some great stuff of their show.

What is vaudeville?

A short answer is it’s entertainment. Music, acting, clowning around. Before television and radio any sort of entertainment was great. Small bands of traveling musicians went around and entertained the masses. You can trace the evolution of where we are at today to those same wandering folks. Lucille Ball, Red Buttons, all three styles of clowns come from those times. If you want to go down a little Youtube hole check out any of those, or just watch the video of the show. Here. 

06 November, 2017

Further on up the road


    Elissa and I live in a part of Minnesota with a lot of hiking and biking trails. While we may not be the type to go kayaking in a raging Winter river and call it fun we are most definitely going to be found in Nature. Hiking, biking, walking the dog, we’re trying to get our cat into it but it’s a slow process she’s a city girl.
Ms Mama Macy Yawning
     One of the places we like to go hiking on has had the road toward it closed all of the Summer because of repairs. However we found another entrance to it just a little further on up the road.  
     The Great River Ridge Trail is a flat land path which runs from the corner of Olmsted County Road 9 and Mn 42 all the way to Plainview, Mn. A thirteen mile paved path in which you can find walkers, runners, bikers, and horseback riding along this trail. Careful not to scare the horses.
Here’s an interactive Google map of the path.

Here’s a link to the Minnesota DNR page on it.

I would say that it’s worth the time to explore it.

This video is of us goofing off and enjoying our hike. 

Keep the shiny side up
Trevor & Elissa

Here is an Amazon link to the camera we use.
I am an Amazon affiliate and get a small percentage of the purchase price; however, it doesn’t come from your money it comes from Amazon's.
Have a great day.

30 October, 2017

Filling a hole and wallpaper is your friend

Wallpapering the dining room

The other day we got a wild hair and decided that I needed to fix the holes in the dining room walls.
    “Okay, that’s cool.” said I. “We’ll have to tear the wall apart and re insulate, and Sheetrock the silly thing. Which is going to make a giant mess.” The giant mess has been my catch all phrase which I hope will get me from doing whatever it is I’m suppose to do. Now, don’t judge. I’m not the only one who uses this one. It was taught to me by someone, who had it taught to him by someone. Who knows this little phrase might be handed down from our earliest hominid ancestors.
     It was simply my idea that to correctly fix the holes (which in fairness was my fault anyways and way before Elissa and I were married) we’d have to tear everything up and go from there. I was wrong. All we had to do with get this fixing putty called, ‘Spackling Compound’ and this sticky netting from Ace and sort of smoosh the lot together on the wall. Wait for it to dry, do a little sanding and paint.
Everything worked perfectly until we painted. That was a disaster so we wallpapered the wall. It looks great. Nothing bad at all. You’ll see in the video and photo’s.

Wallpapering was easier then we’d expected. We got the kind with the sticky already on the back. All you have to do is soak it and put it on. That’s after you cut it to size of course.
Measure twice, cut once, soak in water then put it up. I will have to say it is a lot easier to do with someone else along. I suppose if you're very experience with DIY stuff you may be able to work it out, but me....I'm glad Elissa was there too.

We think if you do your homework and think wallpaper might work for your project you should give it a try. Take your time, and have fun with it.

Keep the shiny side up 
Filled the hole
Another of the filled hole.
The after with the wallpaper
Another after of the wallpaper.


Here are a couple of links to an Amazon products much like the one we were using. I am an Amazon affiliate so when you visit and buy something from these links I get a very small percentage. Not from your money. It comes from Amazon. Thanks and as always 'Keep the shiny side up'.

23 October, 2017

Bathroom Remodel

    My wife and I live in a smallish (what we like to call) “Tradesman's House”. We call it that because it most probably is just that. Picture yourself a worker in the construction trade a hundred or so years ago. You’re busy ten or so hours a day building rich people homes, and then in your off hours you build one for yourself. You’ve got less energy and less financial resources so you do your best with scavenged materials and what you can save. This is the sort of house we live in. 
A proud little proletariat house standing strong in a gilded bourgeois city.  

    A few weeks back Elissa and I decided to do some work on the inside of our house. We were spurred on by the confidence building we’d gotten from building the van. We started with the bathroom. All I can say is to echo my Minnesota ancestral battle cry, ‘Uffda’. 
Before I get much further in this I should remind you of a post I did a few months back called, ‘A Realistic Bed Build’. The philosophy of which simply states that if you don’t know how to do something and decide to do it anyway don’t expect perfection. I’m not trying to be ‘Bummer Betty’ or anything I’m just saying do it but keep it real. Using this as our guide we changed the sink, vanity, painted, did a floor, stripped, sanded, and repainted the cabinet and medicine cabinet.

    Elissa did most of the work while I was finishing the solar install on the van. We’re very happy with how it turned out and welcome you to the build video.

Remember keep the shiny side up.
-The Marty’s

09 October, 2017

Minimalism A Life of Art

Today, I thought I’d write about minimizing and what that means. Now don’t get me wrong we haven’t just done this or anything. We still have to much junk. This is more of a dream blog a sort of ‘Wouldn’t it be great to not have as much shit?’.
I think it sort of happens to everyone as they travel through life. You have experiences with others or just yourself and pick something up from the experience to remember. Life truly is a wonderful place.
According to the Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary minimalism is defined as: “the theory or practice in art or design of using the fewest and simplest elements to achieve the greatest effect”. I guess that means we have to look at our lives as art or design. I kinda like that idea.
My life as an art piece an act of minimalism.
What does that mean though? Do you have to get rid of everything and live with only the cloths on your back and what you have in your pockets? What about all the stuff? Where’s it going to go? You know it’s really to bad all the junk we buy and keep for a couple of days isn’t all like leaves at the end of Autumn. They fall down, you rake them up into a big pile fall in it then put the whole thing in the compost pile to help with next years flowers. I mean wouldn’t that be great for all the computers in the world to make plants, grass, food? I’m not to sure it would be as fun to jump into that pile though. It is a fun thought. What else? A giant size pile of beds might be nice, but not so much a bunch of statues. I mean where do statues go to? One time I saw this giant statue of a phallus in the sex museum in Amsterdam. What happens when they get rid of it and it doesn’t sell at a garage sale? Where’s it go?

Now I don’t want to get off track to much. I mean this is about minimalism and how lovely it would be. It’s seems like it would be cool to have less stuff on your mind to worry about or so I’ve been told. I am naturally a worrying sort of person anyway, so you can easily see how I could be intrigued by something like this.
I bet you’d have to define it yourself, but how do you do that?
Can’t you hear the arguments from couples?
    “Sweety, do we keep the band aids or not? One box or two how many is over indulgent?”
    “Geez, I don’t know.”
    “Well this was YOUR idea not mine!”
    “Oh okay here comes the attitude. The minute it gets tough you’re all about the attitude.”

I think we keep both boxes and be done with it.  You’d have to have a certain amount of self-restraint. What happens when the next cool gadget comes along? The things I’ve read about minimalists is that they tend to end up keeping the philosophy for life. It doesn’t end up a quick little jaunt into the minimalism forest and then back again. Nope, it’s a lifestyle choice just like the one you made when you decided to not eat fatty foods any longer.
**Naughty naughty**

Like everything a person can go as far as they want or feel comfortable with in this philosophy or any other. The important thing in my opinion is to go far enough to make it a little uncomfortable. That’s when you start to change. Change happens when you adapt to certain stressors, or that’s what I’ve heard anyway.
MInimalism. What if we redefined the word or added a definition.
MInimalism - Not buying shit you don’t need.
Minimalism- Freeing your mind/body/spirit from crap it doesn’t need.

Ooof, but what is need?

I guess that’s another entry for a different time.

Keep the shiny side up.


02 October, 2017

Van Build: Home Made Solar Mounts

Greetings and Salutations People of Earth

Okay, okay I admit it. I’ve been watching way to much Sci-fi on Youtube. You know that place is a crazy little rabbit hole. Once you go down it’s really hard to get out again.
Today’s blog is all about putting the finishing touches on the solar system.
Specifically the mounting of the panels on the roof of our van.

Initially I was going to just buy a mounting kit, but when I saw the price and what it was I figured I could do just as well. I went to the hardware store and got a bunch of screws, some angle iron, and a couple of other things.

I cut them with a jig saw and then painted them. I used purple because
A. It was the prettiest of the spray paint I had it on hand and
B. It was the kind that stays on metal
You’ll see in the photo’s that I also cut some non angle iron pieces. Those are made specifically for putting the panels at an angle to better get the sunlight.


The solar panels are two 100 watt ECO-WORTHY monocrystalline that I got from Amazon. (Link below) Then I got 10 feet of 10 gauge red and black solar extension wire from a place called Windy Nation also off Amazon. The heavy duty ladder carrier is from NC Deals Online and it was a bugger to drill through. It is very heavy duty steel. Links to all of these will be at the end of this entry.

Drilling a hole in the van was tough to do because well there’s now a big hole in the van, but if you do it right you won’t get any water inside. I am not an expert, but I just wanted to do it myself. Once you drill a hole you need to put a rubber grommet in it. You can see it in the photo. It’s just this rubber thing that prevents the wires from getting cut on the sharp edges of the hole you’ve just drilled.


Now’s the time for this thing called a Weatherproof solar double entry gland. Say that five times quick.

 When you combine that with this putty tape, and some Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant. No water’s going to get in.
You’ll be able to see the whole process in this video, or if you don’t have that kind of data package there’s always the photos. 

Here's this weeks video.

See ya next week.
Keep the shiny side up.

Trevor & Elissa

Links where you can purchase these things from Amazon.

Dicor http://amzn.to/2yCxoT4 
Ladder Rack  http://amzn.to/2xQXeFA
Solar double entry gland  http://amzn.to/2x8rdVC
10 ft red & black 10 gauge solar extension wire  http://amzn.to/2yCo6GV
Windy Nation 100 watt 12 Volt solar panels  http://amzn.to/2xLjeQl


18 September, 2017

Interview and Van Tour

Our friends Jack & Kitty have a youtube channel and they put our van in it.

Who are Jack and Kitty?

I’ve known Jack and Kitty for many years and watched their careers as entertainers grow. They’re happy, joyous, lovely, folks and it reflects in their music and antics on stage.
They are musicians, writers, directors, filmmakers. They did a kids show for PBS which won them an Emmy. Yup, they won an Emmy.  

Their Youtube channel is a mix mash of all things happy, vaudeville, musical, and they decided to do a little video tour of our van/tiny house thingy.

We can’t thank them enough for popping by and taking a little tour of ‘Woody’, and really encourage you to stop by their channel, like, and subscribe.
Oh and while you’re there pop by our channel and do the same.

Here is their video. 

I really like their channel. Hey the light you see me using in my van in the video is terrific. We got ours on Amazon. Here's a link.
Keep the shiny side up.
---Trevor & Elissa