Category: Personal

Need builder for pallet deck

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By , May 19, 2014 2:20 pm


I’m looking to build a deck made out of 4×4 pallets for my seasonal camper which is located approximately 20 miles from downtown Middleboro.

Click on the image for a rough idea:PalletDeck

Construction details:

I would like sections constructed of 2 4’x4′ pallets covered by an 8’x8′ piece of plywood. These sections would be assembled into the desired configuration.

The pallet sections will be raised off the ground on cinderblocks. On the outside edge of the deck – there would be 1 cinder block between adjoining sections.

On the main floor of the deck – where 4 pallets join together there would be 2 cinder blocks.

There would be some work to get the cinder blocks roughly level with respect to each other.

Optional/extra – painting the deck with a good waterproofing paint or sealer.

Material cost estimate







$7.00 each


cinder blocks


$1.50 each


plywood (4×8)


$10.00 each


Total materials



I reckon this about 1 or 2 days of labor including the purchase and transport of materials. This work would need to done by 2nd Sunday in June. Thereafter power tools can only be used 10:30 to 11 AM on Monday – Saturday.


Adam Nevins

By , January 3, 2014 12:29 am

Adam Nevins - with a look very similar to his "let me guess - the printer is not plugged in" look

Adam Nevins – with a look very similar to his “let me guess – the printer is not plugged in” look

I’m just going to brain dump here after learning about the death of a friend – Adam Nevins. Adam died June 16, 2013 and I just found out today by a random Google.

Here’s his obituary:

NEVINS, Adam S. Age 49, of S. Easton, unexpectedly on Sunday, June 16, 2013. Beloved son of James & Ann (Shifman) Nevins of S. Easton. Loving brother of Deborah & John Geswell and Todd Nevins, all of Mansfield. Cherished uncle of Gargi & Ketie. Graveside services at the Adath Jeshurun Cemetery, 350 Grove St., West Roxbury on Thursday, June 20 at 11:00am. Memorial observance following the service through 8pm at the home of James & Ann Nevins. In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to a charity of your choice . Levine Chapels, Brookline 617-277-8300 – See more at:

Adam was one of the greats - technically and friendshippally

Adam was one of the greats – technically and friendshippally

On the obit pages are remembrances from family and close friends. They all knew about Adam’s death months ago and I did not. In my mind – and I think in his – we were very close. But not in the traditional way. We worked together for a long time. We liked and respected each other. Our relationship persisted long after our work interests were done – but we never really went to the next level of hanging out together beyond work.

I had invited Adam to numerous extra-work activities but he never came. I think he had a very full dance card of ancient friends and didn’t feel the need to go beyond that. But we were friends.

I first met Adam probably in 1994 at my company who shall remain nameless because it is not germane to this discussion. I had been working there for 10 years as an electronic technician. The field was drying up and I took the first tentative steps into software engineering by taking a C programming class. I saw a job posted at work for a “software technician” in software engineering(sweng) and applied for it. I expected that sweng would say “thanks but no thanks” since I had exactly zero skills. Against all odds I got the job but still had that teensy-eensy little problem of having no skills.

My job as software technician was basically to do System Administration (sys-admin) in a more timely fashion than our IT department was doing. The department was deep in the throes of moving from Apollo’s DomainOS to Sun’s Solaris and our under-funded IT department could not respond to the demand-du-hour in a way that was acceptable. So they hired me – a guy with zero sys-admin skills.

When I needed to do something, I would go begging to the door of IT or anyone who could help me — remember now that I knew nothing. My first memory of Adam was when I was asked to get a user account created for some new sweng person. I walked over to IT and got introduced to Adam. I sat over his shoulder and watched him type in a series of totally incomprehensible commands. He explained each one which was of little help since I didn’t speak techno-greek at the time. He printed out the entire command sequence – with output for me to peruse at my leisure.

Let me boil that paragraph down: Even though I was supposed to be doing the stuff that he was already doing – he went above and beyond to actually SHOW me how it was done rather than just doing it. Even though I had no hope of understanding it.

Some time later sweng purchased our first color printer. I asked IS to help me set it up and let things drag on longer than it should have. When I started bugging Adam more insistently – he got the message that I was under pressure from my boss to get this done. He dropped everything and showed me how to do it. Much of what he showed me later made its way into a script to set up new printers.

I spent many an hour sitting over Adam’s shoulder while he showed me the little-known magic commands that would eventually turn me into a pretty decent Sys-Admin. Eventually I got good enough that I could show him a few tricks. The years ticked by and we became peers with a very strong mutual respect.

That said – When I was starting in a brand new field with zero skills – Adam helped me survive and thrive. I would not be where I am today if he hadn’t helped me.

At some point Adam left the company – he could get frustrated pretty easily – and worked for a contract sys-admin company. During that time I advanced within the company and ended up hiring Adam to work for me. We did some great stuff in those years along with my buddy Dave. We brought Linux into the company and worked out the kinks. We developed a number of in-house apps with web/perl front-ends and MySQL backends. Whenever I needed a break, Adam and I would head outside for a smoke, talk bullshit, and often solve the problem that he and/or I was working on.

Adam had an incredibly keen intellect and was a funny bastard. He also had a bullshit threshold. He would make every effort to help you but if you dissed him and/or wouldn’t listen to him he would let you know it. At one point Adam quit on the spot when a former IT directory was not listening and was intent on having a one-way conversation. On the spot.

Adam was Jewish though I don’t think he practiced at the time I knew him well. I told you he was funny — once we were talking about religious education – probably the Jewish equivalent of Sunday school. He told me that he was supposed to go for some length of time but that he bargained with the school to go less. “I Jew’ed them down” he said with that Adam wit.

I just had a memory of sitting in a bar with Adam probably 15+ years ago. We were talking about race relations(black/white) and problems in the black community such as low income levels, incarceration rates, single-parent families and so on. I remember how compassionate Adam was and saying something like “All things being equal the black community wouldn’t have these problems without all the racism bullshit”. I’m paraphrasing there but that was the gist of it – and it affected me and my opinions on the subject.

I remember shortly after Jake was born in 1999. Adam and I had many many long conversations over the Internet using some command line utility – I think it was “Speak Freely”. He was home on his Linux machine and I was home on mine. It was Skype before skype. It was during this same time that he introduced me to VNC – a program for sharing desktops that I still use on a daily basis. We would chat/talk for hours via computer – sharing code snippets, talking geek, and just bullshitting.

Adam was a technical powerhouse. He could learn any skill in almost no time and be proficient at it. He was an absolutely crack Unix sys-admin. He was a great programmer. He picked up and excelled at databases and web programming. There was simply nothing he could not do — if he wanted to.

Another memory. After 911 and the Patriot Act passed I remember discussing it with Adam. He was adamant (and right as it turned out) that it would lead to an unprecendented loss of electronic privacy. He told me the NSA was hooking right into the backbone of major Internet providers and intercepting pretty much everything. That’s why the Snowden thing was no surprise to me.

Adam died on June 16th 2013 and I never knew it. My last email from him was on 10/04/2012.

I hope some of Adam’s family and friends find this someday and get some comfort —- maybe a glimpse into a part of Adam that I knew but maybe didn’t show up too often at the family dinner table or races.

I can’t believe Adam is gone and the “died unexpectently” is maddening in its vagueness. I guess it doesn’t really matter how he died – just that he did. Fuck, I wish that we could have another conversation and another laugh. I wish I could ask him WTF happened … Damn.

Thanksgiving and Santorum

By , November 30, 2013 12:58 am

It's easy to let other people live their own lives.  Try it sometime.

It’s easy to let other people live their own lives. Try it sometime.

My wife and I have spent that last 4 or 5 Thanksgivings with my brother and his family at the home of a lesbian couple we know. This year there were 5 couples – 3 were heterosexual and 2 were gay – a male couple and a female couple. All the couples had kids in attendance. My son Zach was the youngest kid there and the oldest was probably 19 or so.

These gatherings have come to be some of my favorite holiday events. I’m very close with my brother. The couple hosting these Thanksgiving dinners are just great people. There is warmth, family, and lots of laughs. It is a group of people that are choosing to spend this holiday together and have created an unspoken tradition. At dinner I hijacked the toast to express my gratitude for being invited to their home for all these years.
Continue reading 'Thanksgiving and Santorum'»

Town meeting thoughts

By , October 19, 2013 9:44 am

Town Meeting from hell - photo from Boston Globe

Town Meeting from hell – photo from Boston Globe

My column in this week’s Middleboro Gazette concerns the last Town Meeting and some things that are bothering me about them generally.

The first time I spoke at an actual town meeting it was a whopper – about 4,000 people. That’s a far cry from the 250 that normally attend. These days I’m disinclined to speak at them for various reasons.

We generally blow through huge spending articles with little or no discussion. At several recent town meetings there was some hot button issue or other such as the swearing by-law. This last meeting had an article about the Kiwanis cross. The dynamics of these kind of discussions are off-putting. They are long on emotion and short on reason making sensible/reasoned discussion all but impossible.

One of my recent columns discussed the stark contrast between two properties on River Street. A-Plus Waste Recycling service has featured the article on their web site with permission from the Middleboro Gazette editor.

On a partially related topic, I haven’t been posting much recently because I’ve been very busy with work and … camping. Last August we bought a used 32′ camper/trailer and have it on a really great campground in Plymouth. We all love it – even the kids(*gasp*). We’ve been down there most weekends with no TV or Internet and not missing either.

I’m hoping to start posting a bit more regularly but I’m not particularly interested in getting into the sort of vitriolic and uninformed nonsense that is common on Facebook. I definitely have a lot of thoughts about the recent shutdown/debt ceiling debacle which I’ll probably visit. These days talking politics is likely to bring on a case of the vapors from the far right but that’s beyond my control.

My 911

By , September 12, 2013 12:29 am

WTC collapses

WTC collapses

I’ve seen a few where-were-you posts about 911 and figured I’d give mine – mundane though it be.

I was driving to work on Rt. 24 at 8:46 when I heard about a plane hitting the WTC. I pictured a small private plane and figured it was some suicidal nut who was bent out of shape over his girlfriend or something.

I worked for a short while and then heard about the 2nd plane hitting and at this point I still didn’t know they were airliners. Word was totally out now and in short order we knew they were airliners. It wasn’t too much longer(9:37) when a third plane hit the Pentagon. Pretty soon there was a fourth plane down.

After a few dozen minutes of shock and chaos a bunch of people left work. Once things quieted down I hunkered down in my cube and worked a generally normal day. It was actually pretty productive because the place was relatively empty. I understood we had been attacked and knew there had been a large loss of life – but – I also knew that the attacks were comparatively minor. Huh? Minor?

I’ve been expecting a nuke in the middle of NYC for decades now. Anything less than that is bad, tragic, and all those things – but on a much much lower scale than even a small nuclear device. I knew America had been bloodied, and I knew that the US would never be quite the same but I knew that we would survive and thrive. Going home and shutting down the economy is what “they” wanted so I just kept on working. I went to every event on my schedule and didn’t change a thing. As bad as 911 was, one small nuke would have been a whole lot worse.

Later that night when it started to really sink in I felt anger and started looking forward to the day when we killed or captured the then-unknown perpetrators.

Since that day there have been numerous terrorst attacks – all small in comparison to 911. I still think that “at least it wasn’t an A-bomb” mentality softens the impact of these various attacks.

And for the record – I still think we’re going to get hit with a nuke in NYC someday. And we’ll survive that too.

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