Saturday, September 18, 2010


Unfortunately I didn't take photos of any decks, gazebos, or many other items that I constructed, but if I can locate other photos, I'll submit them here.

This is where I worked full-time during summer and winter school breaks beginning at the age of 9 (turned 10 soon after). I first began sweeping floors and working as the bookkeeper, doing such tasks as invoicing, accounts payable and receivable, payroll by hand (using tax schedule booklets, not by computer), and banking. I did lots of the maintenance work, helped construct two offices, built a gazebo behind the shop on my own, and of course did the production work making wood office furniture and worked in a portion of the shop that milled lumber for several local lumber companies. Here are a couple of photos of a 4,000 square foot roof that I constructed at the age of 15/16.

Below is a photo of a marlin fish, constructed of cardboard at age 17. The project was completed in 2-3 weeks on a part-time basis. There are contours that replicate the fish in fairly decent detail. The rear fin for example was made up of around 30 layers of cardboard to provide a sense of realism. Notice the body is not simply a cylinder as I made numerous incisions to create the narrowing as it goes from the head to tail, and the cross sections are not circles but more like how it would be for an actual fish. This was made for the cardboard boat race held at Hillsdale High School in San Mateo California in 1982. It won the most artistic award. Someone grabbed the fish after I tossed it in the water and if it still exists, I'd love to have it returned!

Here is the result of an old singer sewing machine after repairing it from extensive water damage. I did the repair work and finished it in black lacquer. Someone threw it away but I knew I could fix it and knew exactly who to give it to.

This is the dosing device I made from working around a syringe. I was invited into a board meeting whereupon it was mentioned that microbeads had to somehow be delivered to newborn mice via oral gavage. Not to brag, but my mind grinds out solutions quickly and so within only seconds I said I know how it can be done. Of course I was asked how and replied that I'd like to keep it to myself until which time the company would offer a bonus that is inversely proportional to the salaries as those who are overpaid were not coming up with inventions like I was in the company and yet I was being exploited for all I contributed on my paltry salary. It is logical to expect more from those who are highly compensated than vice versa - someday logic will have its place in society! Some contention was apparent but I ended up fabricating it with completion in only a matter of a few days. Here's what's involved: first disassemble a syringe. Bore a small hole near the tip of the syringe barrel - this is to have a luer fitting attached via vacuum to load the microbeads. Disattach the rubber seal of the syringe plunger, bore a hole in the end of the plunger to fit a piece of PEEK (inert stiff plastic) tubing or rod with glue, then puncture the rubber seal to fit back over the barrel. Next, grind an appropriately sized syringe needle so no one gets hurt. Place a teflon tube over the needle, then join the parts together.

From a chunk of 3/8" special aluminum bronze that also contains nickel and iron, I made rings using just hand tools and sandpaper. The alloy was designed to withstand saltwater applications and is as hard as stainless steel so machining by hand wasn't a particularly easy task! The alloy has a nice golden tone. I would like to develop some novel alloys but would need a foundry, so if anyone who has a foundry and is interested in innovating, please contact me!


A project I undertook to put steps in a terraced area formed by blocks. At the same residence are some planter boxes I constructed. I have a feeling I didn't set my outdated camera on the highest picture quality setting. Sorry for the blurriness!


Here is a box I constructed consisting of two sections for studying the behavior of termites that hopefully will have an interesting outcome. I am willing to sell the box for $200 - they just have to write me to obtain in Southern Oregon. The materials alone add to about $150. I will also give my plans away for free. Basically it has two identical sections, with 2" rear ports to collect overflow insects, plexiglass windowed on the front, screened vents for methane collection, wide-screw capped feeding ports on top, syringe luer adapter ports on front to inject nectar or some other substance to encourage the queen to reside (there is a 2" plastic tube in the area behind the syringe port), and sides that can be removed for cleaning. I was hoping to maintain a colony of termites to process wood/cellulose waste but the owner of the property wouldn't allow me! I want to share what I can to this world so if someone would take over where I left off, please inquire.

I was having some fun making extracts of redwood. I will be attempting to test an extract to see if it would darken keratin in skin since I knew when I was a kid and working with redwood that my hands would turn dark. The ramifications may not be obvious but I had something special in mind. By the way, the water extract is fragrant.

Originally this was to be a flying saucer, incorporating the bi-metallic concept to effect anti-gravity as told to me by aliens that abducted me when I was young but after having numerous military helicopters spying on me I decided to turn it into an island with simulated rocks. I'll get on the flying saucer later in a covered area. I made it with aluminum, styrofoam, fiberglass and epoxy. I fabricated a fountain head that is placed in the center of the island. The head consists of a 1" threaded PVC cap with 7 holes, 6 near the top to shoot at angles and one at the top. The six holes are of slightly smaller sized holes and all with copper tubes epoxied in. This could be my last project of this size as this type of work is taking a toll on my body after all the work I performed beginning as a pre-teen. Ducks and geese enjoy it.

This is a concrete block wall that is technically not so difficult though a 50 foot drainpipe had to be put behind it since the hill sheds lots of water even in the summer but it was an awful lot of digging by hand. The length is about 150 feet. The last photo is of the practically completed projected with blue shale rocks filled in.

Here are a couple more concrete block walls. On one I started from the high point to make the top layer match the height of a walkway and the other required a bit of work with irrigation.

A border around a rose garden:

A secret project that may incite others to duplicate. I can’t say what it is right now but you may take a guess. More photos will be posted as I progress but I will be slow while I am dealing with the stock market being manipulated by the Federal Reserve Bank – it drains me.

This below is a quick design to investigate killing mosquitoes with aspartame. The proposed formulation would include both aspartame and blood meal. You can easily see the construction below using common parts: a toilet plunger stick that fits nicely into a 1/2" slip fitting. The opposing end of stick that had threads was honed down to a point for insertion into the ground. The underside of the 3" cap has a 1/2" threaded female cap glued to the center. The connection from the 1/2" to 2" adapter is a 1/2" double ended sprinkler riser which I cut down just enough to allow passage of mosquitoes entering the device. The second photo shows the well where the bait would be loaded.




I enjoy cooking and never view it as work. I did some cooking for my family when I was a teen and later was a prep cook in a steak and seafood restaurant. I was for a long time intrigued by cheesecakes so a few years ago I decided to dive into the delicacy and came up with some interesting recipes. I post some recipes on Tom's Recipes at Family Oven. Below is a photo of a slice of triple chocolate coffee cheesecake.

I also did a fair amount of computer programming, mostly involved with statistics, rating programs for competitive games, and more. Below is an example of what I contributed to a popular on-line game that is identical to "Risk".


I took on the task of making a most needed improvement to the rating system. Hours of mathematical manipulations to eliminate the need of if-then programming code culminated into a single line formula.

Below, the max function enables an accelerated factor to approach equilibrium of theoretical rating in the initial games.

Following the max function, the 2 constant is a factor that provides a non-trivial change in rating per game played.

The 1600 constant effects a spread of the distribution of ratings. In games of greater skill, the constant can be decreased. Games with extensive luck would necessitate a larger constant to create a distribution that is of a range a few hundred away from the median.

The exponential function provides a probability factor that follows the Gaussian distribution.

In rationalizing the skill involved in placing, and to deal with the well-known 2nd placing agenda, the untempered rating change for a second placer is proportional to the first place finisher by a factor of (-1/PLAYERS) where PLAYERS is the number of players in the game. Subsequent untempered rating changes for 3rd and greater places are incrementally greater in magnitude relative to the 2nd placer with an untempered zero-sum for all places. The formula may not look complicated in this condensed form but believe me, to make it all inclusive in a one-line formula, it took a couple weeks of intense thinking.


OLDRATE = rating at beginning of game
NEWRATE = rating after game played
GAMES = game experience
PLAYERS = number of players in game
PLACE = game result place of player
AVGRATE = average of ratings of players at beginning of game
FACT is the factorial function.
TRUNC is the truncate function.

/PLAYERS)-1)*(1-1/(10^((OLDRATE - AVGRATE)/1600)+1)))).

To test the formula in a spreadsheet, enter these values in cell # (do not enter the quotes):

1) A3, "3" (for 3-person game).
2) B3, "1" (for first place).
3) B4, "2" (for second place).
4) B5, "3" (for third place).
5) C3, "1500" (rating for first place player).
6) C4, "1500" (rating for second place player).
7) C5, "1500" (rating for third place player).
8) C7, "=average(C3..C5)" to get avg ratings.
9) D3, "=C3-$C$7" to get rating - avg rating.
10) copy above into cells D4 and D5*.
11) E3,E4, and E5, "1" (# of games played).
12) F3, "=$C3+MAX(1,4.005-E3^2/200)*2*((2-B3-FACT($A$3-1)/(2*FACT($A$3-3)))/
13) copy above formula into cells F4 and F5*.

*: After entering, just pull down with mouse at lower right of cell to copy to cells beneath.

You may change C3 to C5 to see new ratings at F3 to F5.

The above can simply be modified for a 4-, 5-, and 6-player game by changing cell A3 and by entering additional rows following the same format.

Note the beginning part: NEWRATE = OLDRATE + MAX(1, 4-(GAMES^2/200))*[~] Games/Multiplier per the max function: 1,4-1/200=3.995 2,4-4/200=3.98 3,4-9/200=3.955 4,4-16/200=3.92 5,4-25/200=3.875 6,4-36/200=3.82 7,4-49/200=3.755 .. 15,4-225/200=2.875 .. 20,4-400/200=2 21,4-441/200=1.795 22,4-484/200=1.58 23,4-529/200=1.355 24,4-576/200=1.12 25,1 >25,1 This is all to get a new player's rating equilibrated. This could be modified to: NEWRATE = OLDRATE + MAX(1, 2-(GAMES^2/600))*[~] if it is felt the prior was too aggressive.

I was interested in determining the optimum batting order for the sport of baseball. Below are two programs written in Pascal along with their executable compiled forms for those wishing to investigate such. The Pascal code is given so the user can alter and improve upon what I have started. The programs are rudimentary yet are functional. Without requiring much labeling, it should be fairly clear what is going on in the code. "BBORDER" seeks the optimum batting with fewer iterations to cycle through all permutations and "BATCOMP" compares sets of orders using a greater number of iterations to obtain better precision.



I have also made two add-in programs for Microsoft Excel. One effecting significant digits and the other effecting linear regression that optimizes the sum of squared distances of the points to the regressed line. This is more robust than the typical routine and is amenable for independent variables. I previously had these available at low cost and may allow them to be shared once I allocate the necessary time for it. The derivation of the robust linear regression is as follows:

To obtain either of these useful add-in programs click here