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There are 276 blog entries within the category of Blog Entry

April 16th, 2023 | View Post
After closing on the church and starting to move forward with some changes, we rather delightfully came upon about the greatest surprise we could have found. Buried beneath the red carpet was naturally a thick layer of carpet glue. Buried beneath that was a layer of paint. Beneath that a layer of stain. But beneath that are some of the most beautiful original hardwood floors that we could have imagined.

We're still trying to piece together if the church was constructed in segments over the years. The front of the church (the sanctuary room) appears to be all original red oak hardwoods. The back of the church where the various rooms are appears to be original long-grained pine.

The long-grained pine found underneath the rear rooms

The original red oak hardwoods underneath the sanctuary carpeting

Even more spectacular than the wood itself is the condition in which it's in. While there are many layers of gunk to work through, they appear to be in absolutely pristine condition. I'd say it's a testament to how well the church was kept up over the past century of its existence.

There are a number of tools required to clean it all up. I wound up purchasing CitriStrip, an industrial grade kind of orange oil typically used for loosening up old glues. I started using a standard floor scraper, but the shorter handle required a great deal of effort to work into the glue. I've since purchased a similar one with a 5-foot long handle so I can get some legitimate torque over the glue. Once I strip most of the glue up I'll be able to start in with the drum sander from Home Depot.

Posing with the chemical gloves I bought for applying the CitriStrip

It's going to be a hell of a job removing that much carpet and sanding down that much square footage. But I am quite confident that the end product is going to be something absolutely amazing.

Atti perched atop some of the removed carpet

Moving Along with Inspections
February 5th, 2023 | View Post

A drone shot of the front exterior of the church
I had the pleasure of finally flying back out to Asheville to work on the church inspection. Given the size of the property and the relatively unknown condition of so many of its pieces, we had quite the extensive team out there working on it. Considerably more than I've ever had work on a property before.

We traced lines, tested all of the HVAC systems, examined for leaks, water pressure, and all of those typical things you'd expect of an inspection. But there was also the matter of ensuring that the original exterior stone is still in tip-top shape, that the rather complex electrical system was still fully up to spec, and then had to search out all of the lines on the property. This latter point turned out to be a bit more difficult than expected, but I think the guys figured it out in the end.

I'm sure it would be a great deal of fun changing out the daily marquis

The organ built into the church sanctuary

A quick shot of me standing in the middle of the sanctuary room

The Potential of Acquiring a Church
November 28th, 2022 | View Post

The front part of the sanctuary space
I've spent the past many years looking at warehouses, old elementary schools, firehouses, and churches. There's something about the idea of having the giant open space that greatly appeals to me - in particular for recording music. I'm an extremely project-oriented kind of person. I'm always working on some form of my software, or music, or woodworking, or electronics, or any other number of outlets dear to my personality. So the idea of being able to restore such a large space on a historic building is extremely enticing.

I've been interested in historic restoration for most of my adult life and a historic church certainly presents that opportunity. This particular church is absolutely amazing. It sits on several acres atop a hill just outside of the mountains and national forest. I'm extremely confident that I could restore it so that it serves as a historic landmark for a very long time to come.

The church itself is attached to one of the town's cemeteries and it would be my great honor to enclose it in such a way so that the cemetery too remains preserved for generations to come.

I found this particular church for sale awhile back and began entertaining the idea of purchasing it. The giant open sanctuary space would be the most incredible recording space I could possibly imagine. There are a number of rather well-known singer/songwriters who have done the same thing, perhaps most notably Ani DiFranco. This church already has a stage built into it, is already wired for speakers, and the 10 arced windows allow an amazing amount of light into the sanctuary space itself.

So when I saw this church, I immediately thought of the potential it had to be restored by somebody who would put great time and care into that. Not to mention, this church actually has a pipe organ built into it which is something I've dreamt of acquiring for decades now. I had the pleasure of playing the pipe organ in the National Cathedral of Nelson, New Zealand some 20 years ago and the memory has stuck with me.

A look at the inner part of the sanctuary with the pipe organ pipes visible on the back wall

There's still a lot to work out. I have to run all of the numbers and ensure that the property is properly inspected, but it's definitely a potential front-runner.

While it's sad that the community is losing their church, I'm extremely confident that I'd be able to restore it to such a condition that the former congregation would be happy to know it's being so well cared for.

An outside view of the edge of the cemetery

I'm not sure if the church comes with all robes that are currently hanging inside of it, but I'd certainly ask for them in the sale given the chance.

Update: I've confirmed that all of the contents currently within the church are being sold with the church. So I would very much look forward to preserving whatever I could.
Smoothie Recipe - The Don Julio
September 28th, 2022 | View Post
This is actually called a Julio Verde and as far as I know was first made at Juiceland in Austin, TX. But this is my own version of it. It's delicious and it's called the Don Julio.

My mom has been making smoothies lately. I vowed to her that I would share my recipe for this one. I have fulfilled my vow.

A Mobile
September 15th, 2022 | View Post
I've probably had hundreds of people over the years request a mobile version of this site. I suspect the reason it's not already mobile-friendly is just one of those things that non-technical people can't fully understand. Given my actual website contains so much content and given that I'm the sole person who maintains it (and who has coded all of it), modifying the overall format is actually a pretty mammoth task.

There are generally two ways one can approach this problem:

1) The entire base website can be rebuilt into a responsive design fashion so that everything adjusts accordingly regardless of the interface accessing it (mobile, tablet, desktop, etc). This is a wonderful design option, but would require an enormous overhaul of the existing layouts. I'd have to go back through every single page and build the page entities to work in a responsive format. In short, this would be a rather significant amount of work, namely as it would require me ensuring that the desktop maintained its design elements too. This is further exacerbated by the reality that I'm a developer and not actually a designer (despite the fact that I do my own design too).

2) The second option is to build a brand new mobile version of the site that runs alongside of the desktop version. The downside is that I'll have two separate sites to maintain, but the upside being that changing one of them doesn't requiring the maintenance of two of them.

For various technical reasons, I've opted to go with option number 2. The bulk of my website is based upon complicated backend code that handles all of the requests from the database. The front-end is generally pretty straightforward and indeed works well on a desktop. It just doesn't work well on a mobile device. Incidentally, the reason it works well on a mobile phone is because the entirety of the site is built exactly to HTML 5 specifications. This is what allows the site to properly "shrink down" when viewed on a mobile device. The downside is that it becomes nearly impossible to read and navigate.

So essentially what will happen is that a new website will exist for mobile users. The site will incorporate the standard mobile-based navigation options, typically known as the "hamburger" dropdown. The backend code will remain in place and will be used to drive the new front-end design. Some backend changes will need to be added, but the majority of it will already be in place. On the other hand, the secondary design elements will need to all be created.

I've been working on this on and off for some time now . It's finally gotten close enough to being finished that I thought it was time to mention it.

As a quick side note, I've spent the entirety of 2022 completing a dozen pretty huge goals that I'd set out for myself. I only started working on them in March and yet, I should be on track to finish every one of them. Some of these goals include significantly elevating my work life, rebuilding part of my house, finishing my camper van, recording an album, rolling out several new software platforms, rolling out a new version of, and indeed rolling out the mobile version of

I'm extremely confident at this point that the new site will be available soon enough!
9/11 Memorial
September 11th, 2022 | View Post

Benjamin Lowrey

April 30th, 1987 - September 11, 2021

Ben sailing on the Straight of Gibraltar to Morocco