Thursday, November 11, 1999 06:27 p.m.
Visualizing the treehouse
I have trouble visualizing 3D structures.
For example, this link describes how to make "flexagons",
but I had no idea what they were talking about until I
saw the Java 3D simulation.
a multi-level treehouse with tent upstairs and decks
connected by wooden walkways is especially difficult.
I make sketches, but they are 2D. I can use 3D Home
Architect, but it is really limited to ordinary homes,
not fanciful huts made of poles.
Wednesday, November 10, 1999 05:04 p.m.
Marc and Karin recorded their 29-month trip around the world on
the web. Read the last report of their journey across China
"Sometimes we leave a country in a bad mood, but later we look back finding many good things to reminisce
about, realizing that the worst parts weren't so bad after all. This is the case with China. It would be extreme to
call our three months a waste of time, but after three weeks, it stopped being interesting. That was when we
realized just how expensive budget-travel is in China: the travel is easy, but the distances are long.
Halfway through, we were numb to the country and were simply enduring it -- this was also our perception of
the average citizen's coping method."
And Almitra the Photogypsy is on walkabout with her camera and laptop, updating her web site from such locations as Papua New Guinea:
"Leaving all that was safe and familiar, with serendipity as a companion, I set out on a quest that was to change my life…”
geek, a digital camera and a laptop go around the world".
Or, finally, this perspective on living in Vanuatu: "Living there is entirely different from holidaying at a resort located there. Like anywhere else, lots of things about the South Pacific are pleasant, some things are not. I have experienced the fantasy, and I met many people who showed me much friendliness and tolerance. I have also passed my children out the window of a disintegrating building in a 170-mph cyclone and attended a meeting where members of a small village could not come to terms with what in Canada would have been a small case of social diversity. As for lolling about under coconut palms, that is for tourists and fools only - when a ripe coconut falls, it falls without warning and with deadly force."
Tuesday, November 9, 1999 05:18 p.m.
What about the wind?
A neighboring restaurant has a windbreak made of fabric
and clear vinyl. After a few months in the
constant wind, the grommets started to tear out and
eventually the entire windbreak was flapping in
What the windbreak needed was a vent hole.
Otherwise the wind just keeps
working on the fasteners, day and night, until it
wears them or the fabric out.
Tents should have a wind vent at the top as well.
High quality market umbrellas have a vent to
keep them from tipping over or ripping apart.
We have a simple shade tent for our car that is
made of an aluminum frame and a vinyl top. The
top is held onto the frame with elastic straps which seem
to give in the wind and not tear, although the entire structure can
flip over if it is not weighted down.
My wife, who used to live on the docks with
the fish boats in the Queen Charlotte Islands,
says they never tied up boats with tight lines.
Instead they used "spring lines" that
give with the constant wave action.
Same principle as with the wind.
Monday, November 8, 1999 05:11 p.m.
Building is like programming
When I took my first break from computer programming to
try framing up a cabin, I learned that building is not
You frame walls lying flat, then lift
them into place. Before you finalize a wall, you
check that it is "square" by measuring the two
diagonals. If they are not the same, it isn't square.
What do you do? Answer: You take a big sledgehammer and you wack
the offending corner until it fits.
Just like programming.
You have a set of architect plans which are supposed
to describe exactly how the cabin should be built.
Unfortunately, things come up that you didn't
anticipate. Just like programming. You have to adapt.
The plans are just a "hint" of what you might build.
Inevitably, you get behind schedule.
Just like programming. When you try to hurry up,
that's when bugs get introduced.
One way to get around this problem in programming
is a method called Step By Step, aka
Iterative Development, with user feedback
and revisions after each iteration.
Monday, November 8, 1999 03:18 p.m.
Which tent is best?
For my "treehouse" I am leaning toward a tent
on a pole platform,
with screens for mosquitos.
Here are some tents I found for sale on the Internet:
Tentology: tension-frame tents for special occasions, 15x15,
email for price quote, new, used or rental (must be expensive).
Camping Tent: family-size, fabric floor, $552, limited headroom for a tall person like me. Not ideal.
Screenhouse: $800, 11x11, open screen walls on all sides.
EZ-Up Canopy: no assembly (assembles itself?), no ropes.
Here is another site that shows it being set up in 60 seconds. The
speed doesn't really matter to me, since I am only going
to take it down for hurricanes.
Free-standing Tent Frame: aluminum, 14x16 $379, FOB Billings, need a
to go with it: $572 for 14x16 14.9oz Canvas,
14x16 with 5' side walls and 9' center height; think old-fashioned canvas
army tent. Here is another
for $783 tent, steel poles $310.
Tent Quonset Huts: perfect for an instant army base.
Party Tents: no walls, need to
add screens. Classic party tent:
$999 for 15x5, steel frame. A third. Possible.
Way Too Big!
Dura-structure relocatable housing: "quick shelter for the y2k situation", combines
steel and wood, "aerodynamic, great for high wind areas", hexagon,
$1600 to $2000, canvas walls, how
to put it together.
For any of the tents with no walls or screen walls, I
would have to add roll-up bamboo shades.
For any of the tents with solid walls, I would have to
add more screened windows for breeze.
I am leaning toward screen walls so I can feel as if
the tent is "in the trees".
Sunday, November 7, 1999 09:50 p.m.
We have quite a bit of lumber, plywood and
other miscellanea left over from the construction
of our house.
There are even some 6x6 greenheart posts which
should come in very handy.
If you are trying to build a cheap hut,
study this site,
not this one.
Sunday, November 7, 1999 06:06 p.m.
I have some surplus telephone poles that weren't
the gazebo pictured above. I was thinking of sinking
them into my tree-lined depression
and then building platforms, walkways and stairs
Low Cost Pole Building Construction
is a good book that should help to build a
Sunday, November 7, 1999 06:03 p.m.
Cooking in the treehouse
All in one, steel kitchen, sink-fridge-cooktop. 30" wide.
Sunday, November 7, 1999 08:39 a.m.
Build your own
...Weblog, that is. This rolling sequence of stories
and links is called a "weblog" and is hosted by a
service called pitas.com.
You can start your own, for free.
What can go wrong? Not much. If you don't know any HTML
you will be limited to their template designs, but that
is not so bad -- content and clever links is what
matters most to visitors.
Signing up is easy, adding and editing entries is
easy. Archiving your page is easy. However, before you
archive your first page, be sure your template is
okay. The same template is used to make your archive
files as is used to format your current entries, but the
format is frozen. Ensure that the template has a link
back to your main weblog page (i.e., http://treehouse.pitas.com), because you won't be able to add it later.
How Did You Put Pictures on the Weblog?
You have to store them somewhere else, such as
your regular web page or a free personal site
Then link to them with HTML.
If you link to a picture on someone else's web site,
turn the picture into a link to their page. In
that way they won't get so upset about you
borrowing their picture, since you are sending
traffic to them.