Archive for January 2011

Reducing your DirecTV channels down to something reasonable

If you don’t have DirecTV, you can go ahead and skip this post. Just thought I’d post this list of non-shopping, non-religious, non-infomercial, non-stupid channels in the DirecTV channel lineup. When you sign up for DirecTV, you have somewhere between 200 and 900 channels and navigating through them via the guide takes 15 minutes per rotation.

To make your life a lot easier, you should delete all of these unnecessary channels off of your receiver as soon as you can. Since I’ve been through this process several times, I thought I’d publish my list of channels to keep, in order to give others a head start. Here they are:

4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 16, 22, 28, 101, 202, 206-209, 212, 229, 231, 232, 235-237, 241, 242, 244, 245, 247-249, 251-254, 256, 258, 264-267, 271, 276-278, 280-286, 304, 306-308, 335, 337, 355, 356, 501-505, 507-509, 515-517, 525-531, 535-542, 545-552, 554-559, 603, 614, 687, 688-1

Note that this is from the Seattle channel lineup so your mileage under channel 100 may vary. Happy deleting!

The Eagle Project

Now that it’s 2011 and the house blog is complete, it’s time to start writing on Mike Industries again. While one could argue this is a better post for the house blog, it’s really an independent design project so I’m posting it here.

In a nutshell, I want to build some sort of structure that will encourage eagles to land on it. I know very little about eagles, but I do know that before the top of a giant dead tree in my neighbor’s yard snapped off last year, we had eagles landing on it almost every week. Now, they just occasionally fly by and never seem to hang out. So the thought is, if I can build some sort of structure that has similar perching qualities to that dead tree, eagles should theoretically start landing on it.

Here is what I think I know about those qualities:

  • The structure must be one of the tallest things in the immediate vicinity, although not necessarily the tallest
  • It should have some sort of horizontal bar of a particular gauge on top of it for the eagles to wrap their claws around
  • The perching area should be sparse. Eagles like having an unobstructed view of the territory below them.
  • It does not seem necessary for the structure to actually look like a tree, as eagles perch on inorganic structures like street lights all the time.
  • Should there be a good areas to build a nest near the top? I don’t know.

So far, I’ve thought of four different types of structures to build/commission/procure: a wooden totem pole, a rustic weathervane looking thing, a vertical rusty iron sculpture, and a temped-up PVC pole.

The totem pole

Installing an unpainted totem pole would work well because it eliminates the “what the fuck is that thing in your yard” factor. Everyone knows what totem poles are and it would fit well with the Native American culture that pervades the Pacific Northwest. The downside, however, is that I certainly couldn’t make it myself and it may be hard to find the right one. It would need to be maybe 50 feet tall, would be extremely heavy, and would be very permanent once installed. If eagles decided they didn’t like it, I’d be stuck removing it, which seems like a chore and a half.


For the weathervane, I’m envisioning as skinny of a metal pole as possible (maybe something like rebar) and then some sort of sculpture at the top of it that looks like a weathervane. It’s not even essential that it’s operational… just that it answers the question “what the fuck is that thing in your yard”. I like this idea because it’s potentially very adjustable after it goes up. If birds aren’t landing on it, I might be able to take it down and change what the top of it looks like.

Vertical rusty iron sculpture

There are some really good metal artists around, and it might be cool to just tell one of them my goals and have them propose something. The upside here is I’d get a nice, professional piece of art out of it, but the downside is that it’s likely people wouldn’t really know what it was… which isn’t a dealkiller. Also, depending on the design of the sculpture, it may or may not be adjustable after the fact.

The temped-up PVC jobbie

With one trip to Home Depot, I could probably get 50 feet of PVC pipe which I could anchor into the ground and just see what happens for a little while. It’s still a bit of a project as I don’t want the thing falling onto my house, but it’s doable for less than $100. It would no doubt look hideous, but it might be a good proof-of-concept before doing something more permanent and expensive.

Other ideas?

If anyone has any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.