Quick TV Pillar Mount Project.

early assembly with TV

Now that Maximum Baby is crawling I wanted to get our huge tv off of the rickety cart it was sitting on. Sam had a tv fall on her as a child and one is enough for us.

The tricky thing here is that we wanted to mount the TV on a concrete pillar.

Trying to attach a flat thing to a curved thing is tricky.  My solution was this:

  1. Got a 2×8 of Douglas Fir from my local Home Depot. They usually have crappy wood, but I managed to find a piece that looked quarter-sawn, so that’s good.
  2. Cut it to length based on the height of my TV, the height of my soundbar and allowing room for attaching some shelves later.
  3. At the base trim each side 45°, then angle the saw blade to 45 and make a cross cut. Makes a nice beveled end instead of a dramatic right angle.
  4. Use some of the scrap at the top to increase the depth so the TV mount screws get a lot of purchase depth. I used wood glue and 8 screws.
  5. Prime and paint.
  6. Attach hardware.
  7. For attaching it all to the pillar I decided to go with a friction mount. I ordered 3 endless loop ratchet straps and ratchet them tight against the pillar.

Using a friction mount is a dicey thing. Materials have two kinds of stickiness – or friction coefficients. One is how sticky two things are when they are at rest (static friction coefficient) and the other is how sticky two things are when they are moving (kinetic friction coefficient). Friction works great right up until you overcome the static friction coefficient and then it works very poorly because the kinetic friction coefficient is always lower than the static friction coefficient.

Good news is we can calculate how much force our friction mount should support! Friction is dependent on the pressure between two surfaces (the normal force) and the stickiness between them (the friction coefficient). The frictive force is going to be our normal force times the static friction coefficient.

How much normal force do we have? I’m estimating that I can ratchet around 150lbs of pressure on one of those ratchet straps. Let’s cut that a little bit because I haven’t been working out and I am an optimist. Let’s call it 120lbs. I’m using 3 ratchet straps so that adds up to 360lbs of pressure.

There’s a table on that page with friction coefficients for common materials. Looks like they say the static friction coefficient between wood and concrete is 0.62. 360lbs * 0.62 = 223.2lbs.

I’m around 175lbs – I should be able to do a pullup on this!

me doing a pull up on a ratchet strapped wood.

And I CAN!

My TV weighs 50.8 lbs, the tv mount weighs 8lbsmy shelves weigh 11lbs and they can support 22 lbs per shelf. I forget how much my soundbar weighs. Let’s call it 10 lbs.

50.8 + 8 + 11 + 22 + 22 + 10 = 123.8 lbs. I’ve got around 99 lbs of spare capacity before we hit the limit of  my static coefficient of friction!

I feel like I can trust this not to drop on Max for a while!  How long until Max might hang off of this and make it drop? Hmmm – when is he likely to be around 100lbs? Wolfram Alpha tells me a 10 year old American is around 94lbs. I should be able to teach him not to do it by then or get another ratchet strap.


I was talking about my favorite Lars von Trier movie recently and it put a spark in my head. See, I was playing blocks with Maximum Baby and his job is to make sure that I can’t build a tower. No two blocks shall be on top of each other!

When he gets excited and starts banging on things and knocking over the blocks and squeaking I can’t help but think of him squeaking out “CHAOS REIGNS!”

So I had to make a baby onesie.

CHAOS REIGNS Antichrist Baby Onsie creeper

You should be able to buy it by clicking that image.

If you want to remix the image, I got it from a post on Know Your Meme. I made an SVG from the png file they had, then cleaned it up and removed the rainbow colors in InkScape. Here’s the SVG file for your remixing pleasure!

Another new adventure

It’s been an eventful 8 months since I left my old job. Maximum Baby was born, learned to eat solid foods and now zooms around the floor. I joined a team in product development and helped them through some tough changes. I’ve done some work I’m proud of and folks have told me I’ve actually made some impact. The people are smart, funny and hardworking. I’ve also been balancing that with Professor Baby and my outside projects.

However, I’ve gotten a great opportunity  and I’ve found the best parts of my life have come from not being afraid and saying yes to the new.  I’m taking 2 weeks off and then starting as head of software development at a smaller place. I’m extremely excited to get started and be the kind of leader I’ve always wanted to work with.

Right now, I’m probably at the Irish American toasting a good run with my latest set of friends.


Tracey Coleman’s Curly Girl Collective is in Ebony

I’m always proud of my SC to BK buddy Tracey, but she’s doing extra special work and it’s getting noticed.

“It’s hard to believe young girls like Tiana Parker and Vanessa Van Dyke are being sent home from school because their natural hair is deemed unkempt,” said Tracey Coleman who is a co-founder and the director of events for CGC.

via [BEAUTIFULLY BROWN OBSESSED] Curly Girl Collective Helps Black Girls Get “All Dolled Up” – EBONY.

Koans for Programmers

I just stumbled on The Codeless Code, a collection of fables and Koans for programmers. It’s brilliant, if a terrible rabbit hole of procrastination – I’ve just burned a few hours clicking through random stories. Here’s a good one to get the flavor, Case 41 is called Garbage:

Java master Suku was investigating the software of a distant temple. On her monitor large swaths of text glowed not black but green, indicating that reams of code had been commented out.

“Curious,” said Suku. “I have opened a fine clock, and discovered orange rinds and fish bones.”

The head monk explained that the inactive code was no longer necessary, yet he had ordered his clan to leave it in place: for if it someday became desirable to restore the logic then the code could simply be uncommented, rather than wastefully written from scratch.

“Understandable,” nodded Suku.

The next day the monks assembled again for the Java master’s inspection. With concern they reported that the head monk could not be found. Suku gestured up into the rafters where the missing monk dangled from a strong rope, by the neck. A foul odor wafted downwards.

“Your head monk’s services are no longer necessary,” said Suku. “Yet let his corpse moulder above you from this day forward. After all, his methods may someday become desirable again, and it would be wasteful to train another monk from scratch.”

In her final report, Suku noted a swift change in the clan’s coding practices, and credited the good example set by the deceased head monk. We should consider his reinstatement, she wrote.