Monthly Archives: May 2021

NYT Spelling Bee 5-6-21 final

May gray was in full effect today in LA. For those who don’t know about May gray and are more familiar with June gloom, it’s June gloom but earlier. But the wind made for a situation that was not conducive to sanding. In an additional projects, my PS4 kept shutting off with no warning, and it was really frustrating. I decided to try to fix it myself. I got partway through, but then I found that I needed security torx, and I just have regular torx. That project will be a blog post of its own later.

Yesterday I missed a couple of the pangrams, even though I had gotten four. DOMINANT and NONDOMINANT were the ones I missed.


Meatier Misses

DIATOM: A single-celled alga which has a cell wall of silica. Many kinds are planktonic, and extensive fossil deposits have been found.

The Phipps Conservatory in Pittsburgh has a good writeup about the diatom.

MONOMANIA: Exaggerated or obsessive enthusiasm for or preoccupation with one thing.
TOMTIT: A popular name for any of a number of small active songbirds, especially a tit or a chickadee.

Today’s summary

Final score: 24 words for 123 points.
Genius minimum: 96 points.
First word: MINT.
Pangram: IMPUTING.

NYT Spelling Bee 5-5-21 final

Somehow I thought I’d never get to genius today. I kept running out of words. I was scraping my brain with little result. Then it happened. I got it! Hooray!

In other news, Calah somehow forgot that this season’s finale of The Circle is now available on Netflix.

As she reads this, she’ll probably be like, “OMG, Matt! Why are you telling people this?!”

Well, I do have this quote poster on my wall:

“Good communication is the key to successful relationships.”
-Bill Gates

If you don’t see a post from me tomorrow night, please send help.


Meatier Misses

GIRT: The past tense of gird: literary Encircle (a person or part of the body) with a belt or band.
RAITA: An Indian side dish of yogurt containing chopped cucumber or other vegetables, and spices.
TAIGA: The sometimes swampy coniferous forest of high northern latitudes, especially that between the tundra and steppes of Siberia and North America.

Northern Lights in Finnish Taiga.

Holy smokes, right? I wanna see the Northern Lights!

Today’s summary

Final score: 53 words for 280 points.
Genius minimum: 273 points.
First word: DOMINION.
Final word: IMITATION.

NYT Spelling Bee 5-4-21 final

Today I finally wrapped up the chairs woodworking blog. That is to say that I shared what I’d done. I know the meaning of that is obvious, but I have the space, so I’ll use it. After I had finished the chairs as much as I could, Calah took over. I won’t spoil exactly what more she did. Rather, the Tuesday 10am woodworking blog posts for the next few weeks will be her writing and her project. Then I’ll get back to new stuff. If you’re behind on all the woodworking blog posts, check them out at


Meatier Misses

APPETITIVE: Characterized by a natural desire to satisfy bodily needs.
PEPITA: A pumpkin seed.
PICCATA: Cooked in a sauce of lemon, parsley and butter. One day, maybe I’ll remember this.
TACET: (as a direction) with the voice or instrument silent.
TIPPET: A woman’s long fur scarf or shawl worn around the neck and shoulders.

I don’t know if this is a real person or wax!

TITIVATE: Make small enhancing alterations to (something)

This is the shortest entry I’ve ever read on etymonline!

titivate (v.)

1805, perhaps from tidy, “with a quasi-Latin ending” [OED] as in cultivate.

I like the “perhaps.” I know that it’s some dude’s website, but usually there’s more!

VITIATE: formal Spoil or impair the quality or efficiency of.

vitiate (v.)

“to render vicious, faulty, or imperfect; injure the quality or substance of,” 1530s, from Latin vitiatus, past participle of vitiare “to make faulty, injure, spoil, corrupt,” from vitium “fault, defect, blemish, crime, vice” (see vice (n.1)). Related: Vitiatedvitiating.

See? That’s a little more like it.

Today’s summary

Final score: 30 words for 137 points.
Genius minimum: 118 points.
First word: GIFT.
Pangram: GRATIFY.

Woodworking: First-ever cushions project (final part)

The search for the fabric I’d use started with what I had in my fabric bin already. There were all kinds of soft fabrics and denims. Calah wasn’t keen on those but recommended some fabrics of her own. Lauren got involved and sent me inspiration like:

Dandelion Clocks by Sanderson

Looks cool, but at a minimum of $174 because you have to buy at least a 56sqft, it’s a little outside the price range.

Lucienne Day Riga Green!

Interesting in concept, but it’s £95 per metre–whatever that even means!


At only $24.99 a yard, it’s certainly the most reasonable of suggestions, but there’s no guarantee it would look good in person. I also didn’t know how durable it would be. I was thinking that I’ll do all this work, spill something on the chair, and then there’s a big stain and I’m sad.

I kept looking and found a metric that I hadn’t thought of: butt durability!

Think about it! You have a seat cushion, and that means people sit down. How many times can someone sit down and stand up before the fabric goes away altogether?

The industry has a different term for butt durability. That term is Double Rubs!

I found a fabric that is rated to 50,000 Double Rubs!

Richloom Studio Upholstery Vinyl Hensen Dove

The color and durability rating seemed to be consistent with what I needed, so I bought it. It feels like mid-century fake leather, so that seemed good.

The next step was to cut the fabric and turn it into cushions.

After careful measuring and adding on some extra, I had my first piece.

I stretched the fabric around the board and used Calah’s electric staple gun to put the first staples in place, starting from the middle and going out from there. But with the first staples in, I wanted to see if it even could look good.

I kept going.

I then remembered that I needed to drill an air hole so the cushion could deflate and inflate properly. But I got it in time.

Every so often, I didn’t hold the staple gun firmly against the board as a pressed the trigger, and I got some squishes. Every time that happened was a new unpleasantness.

It took a while, but I learned to press the trigger with my index finger only and smoothly while keeping the rest of my hand stable.

It’s not like it really mattered because it was a first go, and I’d have to redo the whole thing anyway.

Womp womp.

The corners are a real bear.

I reassessed and realized I had the opportunity to build in a way to keep the cushions in place while also being removable for cleaning!

I bought anchors.

40Pcs Anwenk 1/4″-20 x 15mm Furniture Screw in Nut Threaded Wood Inserts Bolt Fastener Connector Hex Socket Drive for Wood Furniture Assortment (with Hex Spanner)

and the corresponding screws

1/4-20 x 1-1/4″ Button Head Socket Cap Bolts Screws, 304 Stainless Steel 18-8, Allen Hex Drive, Bright Finish, Fully Machine Thread, Pack of 25

I also had to do a little more planing to get everything aligned just right.

I took the anchors out to staple the fabric in place. Once complete, I added a layer of thin fabric to the underside and replaced the anchors.

Ultimately, the result wasn’t perfect, but I’ll take it!

You might say, “Hey! That’s not the same chair as in the photos above!” You’re right! It’s a set of two, and this was a better photo.

NYT Spelling Bee 5-3-21 final

I didn’t get to genius today, but also Calah hasn’t yet read yesterday’s blog. I know this because when I mentioned, “I’m a little duck. Quack quack quack quack quack,” this evening, she didn’t know what I was talking about. But that’s OK. Her study closed today, and she’s got all kinds of stuff she’s gotta do. She’ll probably be mad at me calling her out, but it’s not like these are time critical posts. If you don’t see a Spelling Bee post tomorrow, please send help.

Yesterday I missed CHOMP, OPINION, PICNIC, PINION, and POOH.

Meatier Misses

CIOPPINO: An Italian American stew of seafood cooked with tomatoes and wine. I always forget this one.

Today’s summary

Final score: 29 words for 149 points.
Genius minimum: 173 points.
First word: EVICT.

NYT Spelling Bee 5-2-21 final

I have some exciting news about the woodworking blog series: When my chairs series is complete, I’ll have a new series about some tables. A quick preview on those: They came from Albuquerque with no legs, and the project so far has resulted in me getting some new tools and trying new methods. As for the results? Currently unknown! Stay tuned on Tuesdays!


Meatier Misses

MYNA: An Asian and Australasian starling that typically has dark plumage, gregarious behavior, and a loud call.

“I’m a little duck. Quack quack quack quack quack.”

NETTY: A toilet, especially an earth closet. Earth closet! I understand now! An earth closet is when you poop in the ground but are in a small room! A water closet is when you poop in water and are in a small room, and the poop goes away! Amazing. Also why is this in the spelling bee?

Today’s summary

Final score: 21 words for 106 points.
Genius minimum: 97 points.
First word: PHONIC.

NYT Spelling Bee 5-1-21 final

As covid seems to be winding up, I reached out to my barber to see if she’s going to be opening up again soon. The last message I’d had from her was in May of last year. It turns out she’d moved to San Diego and opened up there! I don’t know if anyone who reads this lives in San Diego, but I strongly recommend Dorie Spiegel. I went to her for the first time almost a decade ago, and until many, many months into covid, I didn’t trust anyone else to cut my hair. I forwent getting a haircut at all until it became overwhelming and I let Calah cut my hair. And while Calah has done an amazing job and put others’ covid haircuts to shame, Dorie is a cut above. You know, because she’s a professional in this field. Dorie has recommended someone who is near me, but it’s scary to go to someone new for a haircut. When you find someone you trust in this area–someone to whom you can say, “I trust you to cut my hair to the appropriate length because this is your field,” and know you’re going to come out looking good–you don’t want to that person ever to go away. I’ll miss Dorie and her dog Braxton. I can’t recommend her highly enough.

Yesterday I missed ELAN, ENTENTE, LATEN, NATAL, and TAUTEN.

Meatier Misses

ANTENATAL: Before birth; prenatal.
EXEUNT: Used as a stage direction in a printed play to indicate that a group of characters leave the stage.
LANTANA: A tropical evergreen shrub of the verbena family, several kinds of which are cultivated as ornamentals.
LATEEN: A triangular sail on a long yard at an angle of 45° to the mast.

Designs are dope!

LUNATE: Crescent-shaped.
LUNETTE: An arched aperture or window, especially one in a domed ceiling.
LUNULA/LUNULAE: The white area/s at the base of a fingernail.
NATANT: Swimming or floating.

Today’s summary

Final score: 18 words for 91 points.
Genius minimum: 90 points.
First word: PAYMENT.
Pangram: PAYMENT.

Saturday baseball series 5-1-21

As I write more of these baseball broadcasting posts, I will cover things I found made my broadcasts something that could be at least listened to. You know, things that Joe Buck for absolute certain does not do.

Today’s post is about scoring games.

When I started at KCSB, I did what I had done in high school to score games: I used a scorecard with little diagrams of the field. That’s not to say that I only used the scorebook when I was in college. I had at least some playing time. But still.

After scoring in just black ink, I decided to up my game by using a different color when it was a first-pitch strike. I kept tallies of pitches per inning I wanted to have maximum information to say on the air in real time in case it mattered.

There’s a distinct pen click sound in my early broadcasts.

Before long, I outgrew the paper scorecards. I knew there had to be an electronic scoring system. After all, the live gamecast had to be from manual entry, right?

I found that Daktronics, the scoreboard manufacturer, makes the software I was looking for. With simple keystrokes, I could score the game easily, consistently, and with quick situational stat recall. The problem was that it effectively costs a million dollars.

I don’t remember the exact price, but even now, the price for the full software is $250.

I knew the radio station wouldn’t foot the bill, and I was even more certain that I wouldn’t.

So I kept serarching.

I came across Ballstat / Ball Score that advertised a fully featured program that, with simple keystrokes, I could score the game easily, consistently, and with quick situational stat recall. For free.

Now, that was in the station’s price range!

The software was so good that, while the free version was nominally the trial version, I paid the 20 for the full version because, even though it was identical, it gave the guy who made it some money. In this case, it was $20. It was worth it to me personally to shell that out for how much work it saved me.

Here I am calling a game at the then-named at&t park in March 2011, with ballstat / ball score running. PC Mitchell Clements
Closeup of ballstat / ball score. PC Mitchell Clements.

Sure, I had to learn all the keystrokes, but that was pretty easy!

And when I wanted to pull up situational statistics, I just had to double-click a cell. It was absolutely insane.

A few years ago I looked up the software’s creator because I wanted to share how much all the hard work he’d done had helped me. I wanted to share that I used his software in a Major League park, even if that park is the home of the San Francisco Giants (boo!).

But it turned out he’d passed away years before.

I hate to end it on such a downer. I guess I should have acted earlier on that.