Pictures of the House
Family and friends have asked for some pictures of my house, so here they are:

It's just a typical 1980's mid-west suburban home, with the garage the main feature you see from the street.  It does have cedar siding, however which I really like and I will never replace.  The tree in the front yard is a Red Maple, a good match for the house, and the bush by the driveway on the left turns bright red in the fall.

The interior centers around a "great room" combination living room and kitchen.  It barely has enough space for a "dining area" between the living room and the kitchen.  The furniture is Mission Style knock-offs.  The posters are reproductions of 1930's WPA advertisements for National Parks, all of which I have visited.

The wood stove came with the house.  It has heated the house by itself well above 80 degrees when the temperature outside was about zero.  Yes, I do move the posters, speakers, and candle when I use it.


I was lucky the kitchen cabinet's wood matches my furniture.  The kitchen is definitely outdated by today's standards, but everything is in good shape and I really like it.  The '50's table definitely clashes with the rest of the house, but it is so useful that I am reluctant to get rid of it.

The Mission Style guest bedroom awaits your visit.  It has a private bathroom to the left.  You're welcome to try one of the Tavern Puzzles hanging on the wall.

The den is where I spend most of my time.  It is filled with my old Enrico Bartolini "screw together" furniture from 1980 to 1982.  Although this furniture has definitely gone out of style, and it's old and beat up, I still love it.  I have replaced the canvas slings once, and you can see that the couch needs a second sling replacement now.  I have used this furniture daily for 30 years now.  The hanging lamps are made of cardboard and they are also 30 years old, but still in good shape.  The posters all have personal significance for me.  The television is a Sony wide screen Trinitron tube-type.  Sony only sold them in America for a few years, although they had them in Japan for about two decades.  I bought it because it had a much better contrast ratio and picture quality than the flat screen plasma and LCD's at the time.  It weighs about 250 pounds.  The black thing on the left is a Yamaha electric piano.  I can only play one piece, "Bumble Boogie", but I have been playing it for over 50 years.

The computer chair in the den and more of the Enrico Bartolini furniture.  I bought out the store in 1981 -- "The Assembly Line" in Wappingers Falls, N.Y.

Den updated June 2015

I got the couch and chair slings along with new cushions made by the Amish in Arcola. The quality of the work was astounding, but somewhat more costly than I expected. I have a comforter over them so they don't get dirty like my old cushions.

Also, I finally broke down and bought a flat screen TV. It's a fairly standard Sony, but it can also be a good computer monitor and that's the main reason I bought it. I wanted something better for my Microsoft Fight Simulators. What followed, however, was a two month project of completely cleaning, re-arranging, and re-wiring the Den. It took two different test arrangements, and two re-wirings, before I resolved all the problems.

So I now have a Media Man-Cave with three televisions that are also computer monitors, two computers, my Dell desktop monitor, and an audio system that includes Dolby 5:1 Theater surround sound, plus remote capability for my living room stereo speakers, and transfer signals to my bedroom and garage stereos. The audio equipment is decades old, the old video about 12 years old, and the flat screen TV and Blu-Ray player are new. It is set up for audio recording and dubbing, video media dubbing, SiriusXM Radio, my entire .mp4 audio collection, high definition flight simulation, off-air and cable television viewing, off-air HDTV DVR, Internet streaming video, and Blu-Ray movies. I can do all this either sitting on my computer chair, or lying on the sofa.

The new TV is better for Blu-Ray and DVD movies and Broadcast TV from my roof antenna. The old analog wide-screen Sony is better for all the old Standard Definition television programs, whether from VHS or DVD. Internet streaming is a toss-up, with the analog TV better for lower resolution and the new TV better for higher definitions. I can only get cable on the old analog TV, because it has a cable card (which is free) and I refuse to pay "rent" on a digital box equalling about its wholesale value each year.

The biggest surprise, however, was just a minor included feature as I was putting this all together. The new Sony television included 3-D, and the 3-D Blu-Ray player was a very cheap additional price, so I thought "Oh, that will be nice" for the few 3-D movies that I cared about. What I found out only after putting it all together, however, was that the Sony TV contains a "Virtual 3-D" function that is absolutely amazing, and works with almost any input signal. It does exactly what I am hoping will happen to 3-D -- that it will become just another addition to the visual experience instead of a "whiz-bang" addition that constantly calls attention to itself. That's what happened with color in the 1960's. The Wizard of Oz was "whiz-bang" color, but during the '60's color became just another aspect of film-making. The 3-D currently being produced is still "whiz-bang", but there are a few film-makers that are treating it as just another aspect of the visual experience.

With the Virtual 3-D on the Sony television set to "Low", however, 3-D is exactly what I have wanted. It gives depth to the picture without overwhelming it. I love it! My entire DVD collection is now in 3-D! I even watched a "guilty pleasure" British movie called Privilege that no one has ever heard of, but I own. It was made in 1968, but now is a 3-D movie. I watched Djokovic beat Murray in the French Open semi-finals, and then lose to Warinka for the championship, all live in 3-D! I also watched the Canadian Gran Prix Formula 1 race live in 3-D, and the entire Harry Potter series in Blu-Ray 3-D (don't underestimate the Harry Potter movies -- taken as a whole, they are extraordinary). Almost every movie I've watched in the last month as been in 3-D. 3-D is still a pain, however, with the glasses, half the resolution, and reduced contrast ratio. The Sony television 3-D system is particularly tricky. It only works if your eyes are in a 6' wide x 3' high x 5' deep area on the centerline of the television. I can't recommend 3-D unless you are weird like me and really, really love it.

Here are some pictures of the "Man-Cave", still featuring my old Enrico Bartolini furniture. Who would have guessed in 1981 that the Bartolini furniture could be configured at the perfect width and height for a flat, wide-screen television in 2015?:

You're probably familiar with this problem (there are actually more of them not in the picture -- 14 total). Also notice the 3-D glasses. These are actually "RealD 3D" glasses which I kept from 3-D movies I saw in theaters. They work fine with the Sony flatscreen.

This is the Lear Jet going Mach .77 at 36,500 feet on Microsoft Flight Simulator X, flying from Bermuda to Washington Dullas, approaching the Oxford, Maryland area:

Click here for a higher resolution (1590 x 922) of the same picture.

Refurbishing the Deck - Fall 2010 and August 2011

Before - after 25 years the exposed surfaces of the wood were very weathered, grey, with lots of green mold.  
The frame and unexposed bottoms of the planks were in good shape.

Fall 2010:  I removed all the floor planks, and pressure washed them and the frame.
Notice the seating rail hasn't been pressure washed yet in this picture.

I then stained all the non-visible parts of the frame with a 8-year white base stain.
After I took this picture, I also stained all the planks with a 2-year "Honey Gold" stain. 
The deck went for a year like this, except the floor planks were just laid down flat, but not screwed down.
Elliot didn't have any stairs, and had to jump on and off the deck, plus the unsecured planks
creaked every time he stepped on one. He didn't like that.

August 2011 - The finished deck, after flipping the seating rail planks,
building the small square rail to fit on top of the bare post,
and staining all exposed surfaces with two coats of "Honey Gold" stain.
The frame and all the planks are screwed down, not nailed.  It is very solid.
Hopefully it will last another 25 years with regular re-staining every two or three
years of the sun-exposed surfaces. Re-staining is just a half-day job and only takes about
two thirds of a gallon of stain. I have 2 1/3 gallons of stain left over, so I am good for about
six to eight years. Elliot is a lot happier now.

A full rainbow over my house and my neighbor Pete's similar house.

Scott Badman