Category Archives: House


Saw this spot of purple in my backyard so I figured I better photograph it. After all, somebody once said that “if you don’t notice a spot of purple in nature, it pisses God off.”

Okay, that isn’t the exact quote, but I’m not feeling the motivation to look it up. Google is all the way on my other monitor. Looking over there seems like a ton of work suddenly.


FOCAL LENGTH: 60mm (90mm – 35mm equivalency)
ISO: 160
DATE: 09-28-15 – 17:08
LATITUDE: 42° 3′ 18.5″
LONGITUDE: 93° 52′ 14.8″
ALTITUDE: 346.78 meters

Work Opportunity!

See this house…

My house. Before the paint job. Hope that isn't optimism talking.

It is a sad little house in need of a new paint job…

But there is good news, so rejoice!

I have bought a bunch of paint and I am throwing a painting party!

“What is a painting party?” You may ask.

It is a party where a bunch of people come over and paint my house.

“That sounds like a terrible party.” A lazy person might say.

However, if you think about it, it is actually just as great, grand, and wonderful as any other party.

It has all the same fun things other parties have:

A Dog
Fresh Air
Good People
Stimulating Conversation
Danger (Maybe)
A Sense of Accomplishment

And of course all great parties should end with the need to shower.*

“Wow Chris! That does sound like a great party. What do I have to do?”

For starters, this party will stretch over 2 days. There will be a prep day and a painting day.

Prep Day

Saturday, September 26
Approximately 10-2

Painting Day

Sunday, September 27
Approximately 10- whenever

I honestly don’t anticipate it taking an incredibly long time to paint my house. It isn’t very tall. So come put some paint on my house for a little bit. Then head out. I won’t hate.

I should also state that the only way to be guaranteed an invitation to the 2016 Birthday Party is to come help paint. While that Birthday Party might not be anything special, the invitations will be.

*Shower facilities on site.

The Floor

After years and years of talking about it, I finally removed my carpet from my great room and finished the floor while I was on a vacation. It was a multi-day project that involved several days of just removing furniture and I’m still in the process of putting furniture back in, although some of the furniture has been downsized.

Here are some photos of the process:

Before the process began.

Before the process began.

Before the process began.

Before the process began.

Random picture of my WB Joe!

End of Day 1

End of Day 1

End of Day 1

End of Day 1

End of Day 2

End of Day 2

End of Day 2

End of Day 3

End of Day 3

End of Day 3

End of Day 3

Ready for Finish

Ready for Finish

Ready for Finish

Ready for Finish

Naima, frustrated by the process.




There aren’t pictures of the finished project yet because it isn’t quite finished yet. I need to order new pictures for the walls and Jeff and I are going to be drilling some holes in the wall in the near future. I might post pictures again when it was done, or you might just have to come visit me.

I’d like to thank my amazing floor crew. In particular, Carla and Jesse that helped a ton. Carla came over at midnight to help put on the last coat of finish, which was pretty amazing. But also:


  • Derrick
  • Willy
  • Jay
  • Dawn
  • Dawn’s Kevin
  • Teresa

My Mom was also a big help by giving Naima and I a place to crash while the finish dried and the fumes were at their most toxic.

Now that this project is complete (almost), the painting of the house seems so much more doable. Plus, it will require a larger crew. Not that I’m trolling for volunteers…

Personal Photo Project of the Week #148

Decoupage Experiment

This fits into a crafty version of the Personal Photo Project.

Even though almost everybody thinks it is a bad idea, except Michelle and Jesse, I’m really considering decoupaging a photo montage onto a wall or two or three in my house. I’m really considering doing the basement stairwell. I’m considering doing this even though I know it will make it more difficult to sell my house some day, but on the other hand, there is a chance I could live in that house the rest of my life. When I retire I could decoupage the entire house. Then when I die it would be one of those tourism oddities. I can almost see the entry in the tourism book now:

No visit to central Iowa would be complete without a stop at True Lone Wolf Manor. Thousandaire recluse, madman, artist, genius (by 2 standard deviations), and undisputed True Lone Wolf Christopher D. Bennett spent his retirement years decoupaging the heck out of his house. It is a must see for lovers of art, crafts, photography, and crazy old people. Head east on Union Street from Story Street…

I still have a little ways to go to master the craft, but my 2nd attempt worked, while my 1st attempt was an unmitigated disaster:

When you examine this work, you shouldn’t look at the design or the pictures so much. I basically stuck my hand into an old box of pictures and selected some that I could live without, but didn’t make me sick to look at and started gluing away. There really isn’t a design. This represents a mixture of glue, old photos, and chaos. When I take to my wall, there will be the outlines of an outline of a plan.


I’d like to give a big thanks to my fence crew that over the course of 4 intense work days over the last couple of months built a fence for me.

Thanks to:

Jason Stensland
Jay Janson
Andree Jauhari
Joshua Kraushaar
Derrick Gorshe
Scottie D.

Here are a few pictures from the project:

Me and my friends put a lot of sweat equity in this project. The heat index was well over 110 on at least 1 of the days we worked on this project. But I’m sure it will be worth it when I finally complete Operation Puppy!


-The voice of Howard Cosell inside my head

At exactly 10 PM on July 29. 2010, I popped the top on two bottles of Virgil’s Micro-brewed Root Beer and Dawn and I celebrated the end of Hedgegeddon. We had just dumped the final body of my fallen enemies into the burn pile at Scottie D.’s Mom’s place. It was over. Mankind was victorious!

It wasn’t easy though. Nature put up a good fight. I have complete and utter respect for nature, but on this front, I was the victor.

It took quite the effort though:

  • 3 spades were broken
  • 1 shovel met its demise
  • 2 pairs of gloves were destroyed
  • I was forced to bring a hat out of retirement
  • 3 different trucks were used
  • 2 sets of chains
  • 7 different people helped in the process
  • 2 different neighbors stopped by to say that it looked like “hard work”

Thanks to the following people for helping me win my ultimate battle with nature:

  • Scottie D.
  • Jason
  • Derrick
  • Dawn
  • Willy
  • Becky
  • Jesse

We took a few pictures of the ceremonial removing of the final hedge. Scottie D. was there at the beginning and there at the end, so he gets a very special thanks. Plus he even cut down a bonus bush after we removed the final hedge.

The Last Hedge

The Path of Destruction

Dead Hedge Waiting to be Removed

The Last Hedge

Scottie D. and I with the Last Hedge

The Same

The Beginning of the End

The Battle is Almost Won

A Matter of Time…

Down Goes Nature! Down Goes Nature!

Mission Accomplished

Present Arms

Scott claimed that he would be able to cut down this bush in under 1 minute. I pulled out the old Gra Lab Enlarger Timer and timed him.

I haven’t seen a wife prouder of her husband since Jen and Derrick when he took down the Gunderburger.

He didn’t quite make his 1 minute goal, but Scott definitely took this bush down in under 3 minutes.

Doing a little cleanup.

Now that the destruction part of my backyard plan has been completed (for now… I’m looking at you currant bushes) I will be diving head first into my fence building plan.

I smell a fence building party on the horizon!

The Dumbest Thing Shannon Bardole has Ever Done

Small people talk about other people.
Average people talk about things.
Great people talk about ideas.

When I first began my sentence with the Boone Outpost of the Evil Clown Empire, there was a ludicrous sign posted in the crew room that had this observation written on it. I’m not sure who put the sign up or who they were trying to fool or how much they were trying to lie themselves, but the wage slaves of this joint were at least 60% high school students or middle aged women. Talking about other people is what high school students and middle aged women do.

If that sign is to be believed, I hang out with lots of “small people” because when my entourage and I are hanging around the Photography 139 water cooler, a popular topic of conversation is: “What is the dumbest thing Shannon Bardole has ever done?”

Recently Shannon took this topic of discussion off the table forever. Recently Shannon did something so foolish, so ill-conceived that there is no longer even the minutest amount of room for debate.

When I moved into my humble abode I found a few things that the previous occupants left behind. Amongst those things was two jars of pickles.

My first (and the only rational inclination) was to dispose of these potentially toxic inedibles in the nearest refuse bin and forget that they ever existed.

I did not do what logic and safety dictates because Shannon insisted that she would like to try these homemade pickles that she had no information on. I mostly thought she was blowing hot air as people are prone to do, but I maintained ownership of the pickles just in case.

The Highly Suspect Pickles

On the night of my Birthday Barbecue she did in fact remove a pickle from this jar and eat at least 50% of the pickle.

That was over a month ago and last I knew Shannon was still alive, but eating a pickle from this jar is still “The Dumbest Thing Shannon Bardole has Ever Done”.

On a completely unrelated note, she also recently jumped out of a plane. Here are some pictures:


More Training

Even More Training

Her Noble Steed

Landing Practice, I Believe

More Noble Steed

The Pilot Explaining Aviation to Todd

Photographing Another Skydiver

Peggy Photographing Another Skydiver

It is surprising what passes for “Authorized Activities” in this day and age.

Shannon did not get to jump on the first day because it was too windy and she is too Lilliputian.

More Training

Strapped In

The Protective Helmet


Fashionable Safety Goggles

Loading Up

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;

Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds…and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of…wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,

It is hard to figure out what happened in the previous picture, so hopefully this helps.

I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the windswept heights with easy grace

Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod

The high untrespassed sanctity of space…
…put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

I should have found a longer poem.

The Cyclone Parachute

Almost to the Ground


Terra Firma

Boring Terra Firma

Seems Like a Fist Bump Might Have Been in Order Here

Packing up and Going Home

This is kind of a random image. Todd wanted me to take a picture of the barbed wire, so here is that picture.

The Incidental Gardener Files

I am thinking of adding a weekly segment to this journal where lesser gardeners can ask me questions about how I became such a super badass gardener and I would sprinkle my nuggets of wisdom on them. If you have any questions, leave them in the Comments section of this journal entry and I may answer your question next week.

Monday night was Round 3 of the epic struggle between Man(kind) and Nature known as Hedgegeddon. Round 1 went to Nature in a very decisive manner. Very decisive. Round 2 was even more of a rout as 4 people backed out with severe cases of fear and trepidation.

Round 3 was the clearly won by Mankind though. It started out rough as the first two hedges eluded the grasp of the chain and remained in the ground. However, after a change in strategy, it was all Mankind.

We managed to completely remove the entire South Hedge without killing and/or maiming the hollyhocks.

Although I clearly intend to win this epic struggle before it goes to the judges’ scorecards, this is what the scorecard looks like at this moment:

Round 1 – Nature 10-8
Round 2 – Nature 10-8
Round 3 – Mankind 10-9
Total – Nature 29-26

Even though I(we) are clearly trailing in the battle at this moment, I can already hear Howard Cosell’s voice bellowing in my head as the last hedge comes free from terra firma:

“Down goes Nature! Down goes Nature! Down goes Nature!”

But in a good way, not in the BP way.

Here are a few pictures that show off some of my super badass gardening skills:

Although I like to use the hollyhocks to make lesser gardeners jealous, it is my moss rose that makes me the most proud. I am excited because I have some lilies that are just getting ready to bloom. Plus my coneflowers are almost ready to bloom. I’m guessing that it won’t be long before the moonflower buds and blooms. It is an exciting time for my yard.