You need to read less and think more!

This blog is about getting stoked and getting worthwhile things done. There is a sea of useless information bombarding you, and this is a desert island where you beach your boat and build a hut. There are also some clever little construction tricks to be presented.



Saturday, May 14, 2011

How to fix our schools (?)

I really hope this is a bit of a snowball that grows with input from others.  There is a serious problem in our country, and it won't be solved by one person with a plan or by us ignoring it.  So for goodness sake, please consider this idea, and either promote it, rip it apart, or just tacitly pass it along.  If we don't discuss it, our education system will continue to deteriorate and our country will decline and ultimately crash.  We have nothing to lose by trying to fix this.  Who knows, maybe we can find legitimate hope and make something better for once.

OK.  So here is the first proposition.  From what I gather, the state pays some $10,000/year/student for education.  Merit-based-pay sounds good on paper, but it's problematic in reality.  What do you suppose would happen if we took the $60,000-$120,000/year that could be spent in a traditional school, and allowed parents to pay that to a certified "home schooler" (with the same or more rigorous standards teachers are held to now).  Of course there would be oversight, but don't we have administrators already?  Wouldn't that kind of income and freedom to really help kids grow attract great teachers (or maybe realistically keep the great ones from burning out and leaving)?  How well does the feedback system of the amazon.com, zappos.com, the app store, etc. work compared to the current ways we evaluate teachers ?  This might be great or it might be dumb.  Please share your thoughts and push the snowball.  At the risk of sounding dramatic, the stakes here are pretty high.  Your input, from a completely different plan, to a simple post on Facebook to attract attention to the issue is the only way we can fix this.  There is no knight to ride in and save us.  Let's get busy!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Correcting Construction Errors - Episode 4

Regretfully, I still don't have photo's back from the Rick Burleson Job alluded to in a previous episode, so here I will share a recent adventure at Double Horn Brewing
http://www.doublehornbrewing.com/
This whole project was correction of construction errors, as the building was originally a laundromat, had probably half a dozen cold joints, plumbing trenches, and holes and was a generally haggard 50-some-year old slab.  It was the Keith Richards of concrete floors.  The worst part was a combination of slabs in the floor with about a 2" ridge.  More on that later: let's start at the front door.

Months after the interior floor was finished, I got a call from the builder about an issue with the front door.  Apparently, the doors couldn't open right, and the ridges between the three slabs in 5 feet ahead of the front door (just past where we finished our work) was flagged by the inspector for not being wheelchair accessible.  Now, grinding an inch of concrete off is no small task.  It usually doesn't look too great, either.  So to deal with all of that, I cut a leafy, barley-inspired (It's a brewery after all, and the idea struck me about three beers into a night of celebrating April 2011 as the best month in our company's history).  I acid stained it green, then installed a thin, stamped overlay to mitigate the ridges and half covered the leaves with the brown polymer-modified mortar and distressed it back for a good gradient of colors.  Really representational art generally looks cartoon-ish to me on a floor, so I try to keep it a little abstract and variegated.  I sealed it with a solvent based acrylic sealer and took the photo above moments later.  It should mellow a bit over time.