Jun 21, 2013

Everyday I'm shufflin

Until recently, I was letting an old friend stay in my basement while he saved up for his big move out of state. Because of that, I’ve never really talked much about my basement. 

Like any other part of my house, it’s wonderfully vintage. It’s about 85% finished, surrounded in the same beautiful wood paneling that adorns much of the upstairs. There are three sectioned off rooms: a laundry room, a workshop and an office area. There’s even a fireplace and a full bathroom. It’s darn close to being its own house. I often refer to it as my summer home because it stays a constant 66 degrees.  

Most importantly, it has one built in feature of pure unadulterated 1960’s awesome. My friends, I speak of nothing other then in-floor shuffleboard. Complete with the original discs and push sticks. 

Even though in-floor shuffleboard was almost common in many mid-century homes, it’s surprisingly difficult to find rules for this size of floor shuffleboard. Most of what can be gleaned through a Google search is for the full size courts: the kind that my childish imagination pictures being on cruse ships and in retirement communities. Sadly, certain rules don't translate over to the smaller court. For instance, the rule of not scoring if your disc comes to rest on a line sounds like it wouldn't be a big deal. After you play three rounds and no one scores, your tune changes quickly. And don't even get me started about the difficulty of the “over the line rule” when alcohol is involved.

For the better advancement of humankind, my friends and I have chosen to follow a set of made-up rules deemed best for maximum fun value. For anyone who may stumble upon this page in search of rules for their mid century in-floor shuffleboard, or for those of who one day will randomly discover one hidden in your own basement,  I will present them below:

Best played with teams of two. One member of each team stands on either side of the court. (My discs are black and red so I will hence forth refer to teams as either the “black” or “red” team.)

Chose a side of the court to start, the player on the black team shoots first. (smoke before fire)

Play goes back and forth until all four discs are shot. 

Tally score for each team. There is a “ten off” section the disc can land in, but we don't allow the score to go below zero. Negative numbers take away from the total fun factor. 

Best two of three rounds wins. 

Everybody high fives and grabs another beer. 

I know there are many more rules and this is an ultra simplified version but I don't care. I’m playing to have a goofy time with friends. If I want to be serious I’ll spend the day strategically playing Axis and Allies.

Jun 14, 2013

Suburban Slacker Dream Scenario

 Last week I cleaned the patio. This week I ask: what does one do with said nice clean patio? 

Answer: invite friends over to hangout on it, of course! Nothing says summer to me like an impromptu patio party with friends, food and beer. It also gives me a chance to try out one of my more recent wacky, yet ingenious ideas. 

About a year ago I came across a projector on the cheap. I didn't really need it, but I have trouble passing on super deals (it’s a weird consumer driven compulsion I suffer from). I never got around to using the projector because of space issues or the general cost of screens. 

The railing on my patio, however, has given me an idea. If I could find something the right shape for a screen I could attach it to the railing and project movies while sitting outside. A suburban slacker dream scenario, if you will.  

While roaming my local big box home supply store, I came across one of my favorite building supplies: polystyrene sheets. It’s good for all kinds of nerd hobbies, anything from convention costuming to miniature gaming terrain (probably good for building houses, too, but that’s out of my league). The sheets are 4ft by 8ft making them a great size for a projector screen and very close to the 2.40:1 cinema aspect ratio. 

Best of all, they’re only twelve bucks. 

Throw on a little white primer (or screen paint if you want to get fancy) and BAM, you have a projector screen. Not perfect, but more then enough to satisfy your cinema loving friends on a summer evening and a heck of a lot cheaper. 

Jun 9, 2013

Gets The Tough Stains Out!

A week later my muscles still burn from scrubbing my brick patio. Mold, dirt and general grime had built up from who knows how many years of neglect. Being the center point of my outdoor life, there was no way I could stand idly by and ignore the filth. Something had to be done. 

After digging through the DIY filled interwebs for options, I quickly learned power washing was not the way to go and would kill the patio. Other options seemed costly and full of harsh chemicals. Neither of which I’m a fan of. Then, out of the darkness I saw a light; a tiny glimmer of hope, fueled by late night infomercials: OxiClean. 

Yes, you know what I’m talking about: that thing miracle cleaner Mr. Billy Mays was always talking about. Supposedly it destroys organic dirt and grime and is completely environmentally friendly. At least the first part, I can attest to. The OxiClean worked wonders on my patio and it’s really easy to use. Well, easy minus the back breaking scrubbing part that my muscles won’t let me forget. 

The steps are simple. Add a few scoops into a bucket of water. Mix and let sit for 5 min. Pour out onto the patio and let it sit there for about 10 min. Take a push broom and Scrub, scrub, scrub.

Thats it.