About the author.

Welcome to The blog of whall

Come on in and stay a while… laugh a little. Maybe even think. Read more...

Hi, This is Wayne. This is my site, my stuff, my blog, blahblahblah. The site itself is powered by WordPress and the Scary Little theme. I thought it was cool, and I still do.

12:30 am
Post Meta :

Howdy all –

I’d like to enlist your help.  We’re converting a workshop we have into a small apartment for guests or a rental.  I have a general idea of what I think I’d like, and I’ve put together one sample floor plan, but I’d like to get more ideas before we start construction.  If you have any suggestions, big or small (examples might include types of recessed lighting, all-in-one-laundry-units, surround sound speaker wiring), please provide.

First, here’s the space we’re starting with:

01 bare-walls

It’s a 24×24 area with two doors, and two windows.  The door at the top opens up into a 2-car garage.  The structure has metal R-panels with a concrete floor.  We already figured drywall / sheet rock with a 6″ or so area since the metal girders give us that much room.  We’ll probably get blown-in insulation for efficiency.  We have to add water, septic, HVAC and more electrical.

The graphic lists our main wants (click to open a larger version) – we want the primary use for 1-2 adults to be able to comfortably live there, with a secondary use of at least 12 people being hosted for movie night, gaming night, maybe a presentation or class or something.

The first draft I did identified areas that would work for us:

02 bare-walls-with-definition

Some of the reasons I did it this way –

  1. I probably would want all the water on just one side of the room since all plumbing would be new.
  2. I didn’t want an actual enclosed bedroom, as that would take away from the secondary use of a lot of people being able to see the TV.
  3. The kitchen sink should probably be centered in front of a window.

As we thought further, I went ahead and put together a draft of the floor plan that might work.  This shows the Murphy bed down, but most of the time, it would be packed up into the wall. (update: revised from original based on Ren’s comment about dining table)

03 normal-home-mode-bed-down rev 2

Here are our thoughts so far:

  1. When 1-2 people are living there, the bed can stay down all the time. If no-one is staying there, or we’re hosting a larger group, the bed can flip up into the wall.
  2. One option is when the bed flips up, there’s a seating section that is left over, like a couch or pair of seats.  It might be too expensive, but there are other options as well.
  3. We plan on the Murphy bed having storage and cabinets around it.  Take a look at valetcustom’s options, particularly this one.  Unfortunately that company only services one far away city so I’ll have to find other options.  But those pages show the idea.
  4. Plenty of room to entertain if needed with the chairs around the kitchen island in either case.  The kitchen island also serves as the main dining table.
  5. Someone (possibly me) can home office at the desk area.
  6. Closet has enough room for hanging things as well as shelving, cubbies or other storage space.  Closet also doubles as extra soundproofing for bathroom.  Might put in all-in-one washer-dryer unit in the closet.
  7. We plan on using tankless water heater since A) the place won’t be used much and B) seems a lot more efficient not only for electricity but also space.
  8. Kitchen has a fridge, dishwasher, garbage disposal, pantry and also cabinets over the counters.
  9. Large open area makes it flexible for sleepovers, extra tables, and lots of other options.
  10. For HVAC, I’m considering the ductless kind but I’ve never used them.
  11. We’re thinking two ceiling fans – since the ceilings are 9″ high in the middle, but only 8’4″ at the sides, not sure if we have to put them in the middle.  Maybe ceiling fans with lights, and then extra light over the sink and the desk?
  12. Both the bathroom and the closet could grow a foot or two deeper if needed.  The bathroom as designed above is 5×8.  I had this type of bathroom in mind.

With a movable couch, we can bring in chairs as needed and pack in quite a number of people.  The configuration below could hold ~20 people: (update: revised from original based on Ren’s comment about dining table)

04 group-hosting-mode-20ppl rev 2

Now it’s your turn.  What would you suggest I consider for this guest space?  All suggestions or reminders are welcome.  If you’d like the source Visio file, you can get it here.



Today is Jaden’s 10th birthday.  That’s right, no more single digits for this boy.  He’s moving into those years of character development, self-expression and peer pressure.  I’d say he’s doing a pretty good job so far, and I’m excited to see what he becomes.

This morning on the way to school we sang the following song from one our favorite bands, Trout Fishing in America.

Sing along with us, won’t you?

2:51 pm
Post Meta :

Birthdays are awesome.

Birthdays, when one has a Facebook account, are even more awesome.

Birthdays, when one has a Facebook account and your birthday is on a Monday, are even most awesome.

Birthdays, yada yada Facebook, Monday and your friends are so bored at work they look for anything to do but work, are THE BEST EVER.

If I had a dollar for every character typed on my Facebook Wall used in accordance with happy birthday wishes, well, I’d probably pay someone else to blog for me.  As you can see from my past posts, that duty comes pretty cheap. 

Fortunately I have great blog friends who pity me and give me content FOR FREE that I can use ROYALTY FREE and so I don’t have to pay because it’s FREE.

WHO ELSE AMONG YOU gets a one-of-a-kind Davetoon?


Oh wait.  I didn’t crop off the copyright all the way.  Well, I guess that makes it mostly royalty free.  I don’t even know any royalty, so I’m about as royalty free as you can get.  I mean, look at my whalltoon – I’m wearing a hawaiian shirt.  People who wear hawaiian shirts don’t get to meet royalty.

Thank you, Dave for the picture.

And Thank YOU to all the rest of you who reached out to wish me a Happy Birthday, or will at some point today.   The whole weekend was great and this week has started off in stellar fashion.

I have but one Birthday Wish if you feel like doing something good for your fellow band. 

No, not “fellow man.”  “Fellow band”.

You see, my wife and I are members of the Vandegrift Band Boosters.  Our daughter is a senior at Vandegrift High, and she’s an active member of the award-winning Viper Band.  One of the things us boosters have is a program called “Effortless Giving“.  This is a way for people to support the band without actually donating any of their own money.

Yeah, I thought I’d get your attention with that last part.

Some of our Effortless Giving sponsors are local to the High School area (Capital City Running, Take 5 Haircuts, Pizza Hut).  It might be hard for some of you in other states or countries to take advantage of these offers, so I thought I’d ask you to consider helping by using some of the “it doesn’t matter where you are” opportunities.

If you purchase anything from Amazon and you start your search from our webpage, the band gets a donation from Amazon on your behalf.  If you shop at Safeway or Randall’s, you can add us to your membership card and they’ll send us 1% of your purchases.  If there’s a Compass Bank near you, you can tie your account to us and we get a percentage of your debit card purchases.  And using Goodsearch or the Goodsearch toolbar is a great way to support us as well.

So take a look at some of these ways to support my daughter’s band, and whistle the rest of the year knowing you helped a great guy on his birthday support a great cause.  And best of all, you didn’t have to spend any money to do it.

Thank you.






6:56 pm
Post Meta :

Wow, it’s been four years since I last posted a picture of our Christmas Tree.  Time sure does fly when you’re not blogging.

Earlier today I tried several times to tweet my XMAS tree picture, but something was going on between Tweets for iPhone, the t.co shortener, twitpic or maybe it was something the dogs ate.  But no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get my XMAS tree picture posted online.  Good ‘ol Marty pointed this out to me and held on fast, and claimed he had the patience to sit it out.

If you ask me, it’s a Christmas Miracle.  Much like Tiny Tim getting the ability to eat and muster up the energy to bless our ears with “God Bless Us, Every One!” I am now filled with the ability to blog and can muster up the energy to bless your eyes with “Hall XMAS Tree, 2011“.  I’m sure you see the pertinent relevant characteristics.  Tim wouldn’t have felt the way he did without the infirmity of not being able to walk, and I wouldn’t have felt this need to blog without the calamity of twitpic problems.


Hall XMAS Tree 2011

Wait, what’s that?  What is that up on the tree?  Is it a TRAIN?

Why YES IT IS, it’s a train.  Up in the tree.


Well, I for one am exhausted, what with all this blogging and stuff.  Happy Thanksgiving!

As I mentioned in my last blog post, I travel a lot.  Yesterday Jaden called me while I was out of town because the Playstation 3 was having problems connecting to the network.  He was perturbed because he likes playing online with his friends with  his favoritest game of all time:


Ok, so he has four (4) favoritest games, and they’re all Transformers.

  • Transformers, the Game (from the 1st movie)
  • Transformers Revenge of the Fallen (from the 2nd movie)
  • Transformers War for Cybertron (no movie)
  • Transformers Dark of the Moon (from the 3rd movie)

Coincidentally, shortly before he called I noticed a Facebook update from a friend complaining about the Playstation Network. 

For those who are unfamiliar with the Playstation Network (PSN), let me bring you up to speed.  The PSN can sometimes be a flaming pile of guano left baking in the Texas sun.  When it’s down (which seems often), most games don’t play at all.  It’s not just that you can’t play online with others, but for some games, you can’t even launch the game because the game developers and/or Sony decided that it’d be neat to require the online portion to be working.

Armed with the tip-off from Facebook, I could convey to my son that it probably wasn’t our Internet connection but most likely the Playstation Network that was down.  So I asked him if the other computers, laptops, gadgets were working.  He he asked me to hold on while he checked.

It took him a while.  I stayed on hold for a good 4-5 minutes, which actually is a long time knowing that there are plenty of Internet-enabled devices to check.  He eventually returned with confirmation that other devices in the house were indeed working fine.  I felt good in the knowledge that I was coaching him on the tenets of proper troubleshooting. 

We comiserated on his inability to play his game with his online friends, then I asked him about his day and how his Backyard Monsters were doing.  After our chat, we hung up, I went about my work out of town and returned that night.

Today I found this on my home office desk.



I rest easy knowing that in addition to solid Troubleshooting skills, I’ve also imparted two equally important abilities, and that is Documentation and Communication.  Now I know why it took so long for him to return to the phone.


2:16 pm
Post Meta :

As many of you know, I’m a proud daddy of two great kids: Jaden and Caitlin.   This post is about Caitlin and your chance to watch her tomorrow afternoon LIVE from the ALAMODOME.

That’s right, the Alamodome.

As many of you also know, Caitlin is currently a drum major in Vandegrift High School Marching Band.  This very young school music program, only in it’s 3rd year in existence, has recently advanced to the Texas UIL State finals for Class 4A Marching Band.  This means they are in the top 24 out of 250 bands in the State (after District and Area qualification rounds).

[insert fist pump here]

That’s a pretty big deal.  Texas is already blessed with a great reputation for music education.  On top of that, the Viper band is actually fairly small for a 4A band.  Due to the way the school was formed (first year was 9th and 10th graders only, then second year added 11th, then this year added 12th), the senior class is quite small.  There are only 17 seniors in the band.  That’s rather small for Class 4A (total school size between 990-2064). 

Why do I mention it?  Well, thanks to Yamaha and Mr Video Productions, you can WATCH TEXAS UIL STATE CONTEST ONLINE FOR FREE!


It’s actually going on right now — Monday the 7th and Tuesday the 8th.  There’s an entire schedule of events available at uiltexas.org.

Vandegrift plays at 1:15pm CENTRAL (2:15 eastern, 11:15am Pacific) on Tuesday 11/8/2011, so if you’d like to see my daughter and her band nice and clear on your PC, you can click the above link and watch.   I’ve watched a few bands and they have some neat close-ups and coverage of the event.

Hint: Caitlin is the Drum Major on the left, the flute soloist and the piccolo player in the center troupe.

Disclaimer: there may or may not be Tribbles at the State contest.

If you happen to miss that specific time or are not available, you can go online and watch archived performances at vhsband.com.

Congratulations to the Viper Band!


11:28 am
Post Meta :

… when all around is dark.

    — Monty Python skit about Oscar Wilde.

One of our daughter’s friends snapped this picture of her during one of the band’s rehearsals and posted it to Facebook.

Mom and I are quite proud of our little Drum Major.  She volunteers, gets good grades, has fantastic friends and helps a ton of other students all the time.  We’re very lucky to have her. 

Thank you, Caitlin for making our lives better.

9:51 am
Post Meta :

There are a few cool birthday’s going on in my local Twittersphere (Becky aka hellohahanarf, David aka nycwatchdog aka “Dawg”, Karen aka karensugarpants come to mind).   Ok, it just hit me that I know a lot of people with aliases.  I wonder if that puts me on some watch list somewhere.

But there’s one birthday going on today that’s very local and very cool.

My little girl is 17 today!

She’s starting her senior year and it looks to be a great one.  She’s Drum Major of an award-winning band, she gets good grades in a course schedule that’s filled with all AP or pre-AP classes, and has surrounded herself with a cadre of stellar friends.  She’s responsible, generous with volunteering and brings her parents much pride as she navigates life and discovers what it has in store for her.  She herself has won several awards relating to music, including the John Phillip Sousa award, UIL Outstanding Performer, and Outstanding Musician just to name a few.

I really don’t know how I could be happier with what she brings to our lives.

Oh wait, I just thought of something.

She’s raising money for her band’s March-a-thon.  If she was one of the top fundraisers, THAT would make me more proud of a papa.

On Saturday, August 6th, the Vandegrift High School Marching Band will set out and march a local neighborhood for 4+ hours, braving the triple-digit heat and raising money to help the band.  This is their biggest fundraiser of the year, and as a student leader, Caitlin is expected to raise the bar.

The way I see it, you have two choices.


Vote with your heart, people.  Your heart has NEVER steered you wrong.

PS: Happy Birthday, punkin’


11:06 am
Post Meta :

I wasn’t kidding.

Tigger takes his job very seriously.

He’s always there for the family, watching out for strangers, enemies, mailmen, evil insurgents that might break into the house at night and take the dog food and/or treats, and especially other animals such as rabbits.

You just can’t trust rabbits.

Who is your copilot?


Good news, everyone!

— Professor Hubert J. Farnsworth, Futurama

If you’ve been following my most recent entries, you know that A) I begged the internet to help spread the word about my wife’s artwork entry in an online Duran Duran voting contest and B) I thanked everyone for their help, because it looked like she made 13th place out of > 300 in a contest that takes the Top 10, which in itself was an amazing feat.

Well, we found out over the weekend that after what we assume was a re-tallying of the eligible votes, her entry was officially named a member of the Top 10!

[cue the holla]

According to the official contest website, “Winners announced in 1 day”.  The details indicate that final judging ends tonight at 8:31pm EDT.

What does this mean?

Well, it means that for sure, the band viewed her artwork!

Duran Duran artwork entry

This was the huge thrill she was after — I mean, sure, it’d be incredible if they chose her artwork as the grand prize winner, but just having them look at her artwork is an amazing experience.

She’s so thankful to all of you who helped her get into the Top 10.

We’ll be paying close attention to see who wins the Grand Prize.  There are so many beautiful entries I’m sure it was difficult for them to choose.

And for those D2 fans out there, here’s a little sumthin’sumthin.  How many references can you spot?

To whom it may concern: Is there anyone out there tempted to add a little UMF to the Duran Duran Artwork contest? I tricked out my entry so you should click on it, zoom in, and give in to the reflex to vote for my success. Can you deal with it? I don’t need to be the last man standing, just one of the top 10. Sorry if it’s too much information, but I’m barely still breathing at the proposition that one of these days I might go from nice to notorius my own way. I’ve had a few friends of mine click faster than light and I’m about to come undone! It’s like being freed from chains on the perfect day in my finest hour. Fame is not a big thing to me, it’s just a matter of feeling what the first impression will be when the wild boys of Duran Duran take my artwork and look at it with their own eyes. It’s like my artwork is pleading “hold me” and that would make me smile.

Thank you, and we’ll see what happens tomorrow. I’m serious.


older »

tsk tsk

Ajax CommentLuv Enabled 336ad6ab990e8080f1c0ad1f892428a0