The Project…

I mentioned about a month ago my new project. Now that I’m done with my doctorate, I’ve embarked upon The Project, resorting the horrendous camper I purchased (along with resident black widow spiders) for a ridiculously low price.

My goal is to make it into something similar to this:

So. As picked up, the Treehouse (its new name) was in sad shape. We (my Dad and I) replaced the tires before I made the 5-hour trip home with the thing. Put on a set of U-Haul magnetic lights to keep me legal and off I went.

Tows like a dream, no pulling from one side to the other. Got home safely, backed it into the garage (my first attempt *ever* at backing a trailer and I got it into the teeeeeeny space I’d cleared to work on it.

Popped it open in the garage and…

Gnarly old (and smelly) canvas, roof rot, floor rot, the whole works.

Ripped off the canvas and tossed it. Even the zippers. We just didn’t have the energy to pull the zips to save and/or sell them. And since I’m going hard-sided, I didn’t need them.

First up was the floor. After spray-bombing the underside and letting it sit overnight, I sucked up the battlefield of deceased black widows with the shopvac and got to work.

Icky floor is now patched.

“high-tech” wheel wells replaced (yes, that really is chicken wire and duct tape.

Stage one of the new wheel wells.


Learning to Be…in a Whole New Way.

Well, here’s a thing I realized late last night. I have lost the ability to just…be. To be still. To sit. To relax. To read for pleasure.

Yes, I do have a book due to my publisher on July 1 and really have no hope of making that deadline.  I am finding it difficult to sit and write. I am truthfully finding it difficult to just sit.

Yesterday, as I was preparing for my afternoon swim with my neighbor, I realized I had 15 minutes before we were to meet. I thought of at least a dozen things I could do in that time before realizing that I did not HAVE to fill that time with anything!

What a shock!

I have heard that post-doctoral folks tend toward depression following completion of their programs and I can see why. I’m not by any means depressed, but I am finding it hard to not work on something like crazy.

Take, for example, my newest endeavor: The Treehouse.

I have always wanted a treehouse and have always wanted a pop-up camper. Now I have both, combined in one. I bought, for a ridiculously low price, a 30+ year old Starcraft pop-up, complete with worn through canvas, rotted wood, and about 60 or so black widow spiders.

Not kidding about the spiders. Got the thing home, put it in the garage to work on it, and then bombed the crap out of the thing. Came out the next morning and the garage floor resembled Gettysburg, post battle.

Now that I have a Project (aka, the Treehouse), I’m going to town on the thing. Since the doctorate is done, I will be posting the progress on the Project. We are not replacing the canvas. Instead I am making something I saw once, fold-up/down solid walls (the top still pops up). Kind of like this one. The difference is that ours has slide-out beds that will also have rigid sides.

Pictures to follow in the next blog, this has gotten too long.

Tonight. Reading. For realsies. And relaxing.

Graduation Day!

Today’s the day! You can catch the event at and click on the link on the home page.


Congrats to our Winner(s)

Okay, so I decided it’d be fun to give away two copies. And the winners are…


Lesley and Richard!

Shoot me a private message on Facebook with your contact information and I’ll take care of it. If you want the eVersion, let me know. And just so you understand, if you get the eVersion, you get a Kindlegraph (you do NOT need a Kindle, the signed bit comes as a PDF readable on any device).

Let me know your preference!



Free Copy of Open Water…

In honor of today being another day in the grand scheme of US Olympic trials and hopefuls, I’m giving away a copy of Open Water. Add your name in the Comments on my Facebook page (Pol Robinson) and an impartial selector (I think I’ll have the dog do it) will draw a name tomorrow morning.

I’ll send you a signed print copy (or deliver it to GCLS) or arrange for an ebook for you (and sign it via Kindlegraph). If you already have a copy, enter anyway and I’ll send the book to you and you can give yours to someone else!

And…don’t forget!
Final Olympic Qualification Regatta
May 20-23, 2012
Lucerne, Switzerland

They Call Me **Doctor** Robinson


I did it.

Passed my dissertation defense today.

Got some minor changes to make based upon notes, but will have it all turned in on Monday.

Yeah, baby.

Tonight: Sushi dinner to celebrate and then some Lego Harry Potter (5-7). Oh yeah, best way to spend a Friday.

Trust me, I’m a doctor!

PS. The headline is a tip of the hat to the amazing Sidney Poitier. If you don’t get it, look it up.

Missives From Mount Dissertation

My Dearest Family,

I can only hope that someday you shall read this. Or better, that I shall be able to share this with you in person.  But, if that is not to be, if the mountain should claim me, let this be a record of our journey.

I write to you from the very depths of the caverns of Mount Dissertation, a place that lives in my mind near the famed Everest…but taller.  As had Sir Edmund and his intrepid team, I, too, began this journey with the highest of hopes.

None but I would be able to scale the mountain before me. Yes, there would be hazards. The early days of Introduction were nothing at all, and I thought, “Onward to glory” at every step.

I admit now that my steps slowed some as we slogged through the Swamp of Previous Literature. As all prior reports had indicated, this was indeed treacherous ground.  At every turn one was tempted to stray, to stop, to read, to sink… Alas, I too found myself tempted.  It was only the strength of my boon companion, the dog I call Sir Charles, and the whispy fantasy of the woman I love and left behind in this quest.  I say “left behind” in spirit only because I know that she, in her quiet and unassuming way, slogs beside me with each wearying step.

There are nights were I am sure I cannot go on, and I dream that a meal has been placed before me.  Sir Charles and I both wake, sniffing longingly, and dream of home.

Ah, but in my delirium I digress.  Yes, the Swamp of Prior Literature was indeed a boggy ground, but I thought, “Onward, ever onward” to my goal.  For somewhere ahead lay the Prize. My raison d’être… the Floppy Hat.

We had heard, Charles and I, that the most tedious and technical part of our ascent would be the Wall of Human Subjects Review. However, to our surprise, our preparation and planning won out and we managed that in a mere 27 days.  An accomplishment, to be sure.

Following the Wall were, as you will recall from our planning sessions, the dreaded Cliffs of Methodological Design.  Those were, indeed, as treacherous as we had feared.  I was almost lost at one point when a missive from my good friend Dr. (almost) V. Bailey arrived to provide me light and guidance when it was needed most.  Truly, those three words, “As we know…” offered strength and fortitude in my darkest hour.

While the Cliffs were oft touted as the most dangerous and harrowing of this ascent, I shall share with you, my loving family, that is not so.  The greatest danger in this endeavor is not the climb through the Cliffs to the top, it is in forging our path back down, through the Miasma of Incomprehensible Findings.  Alas, this area casts the Swamp and Cliffs before in a shining light of easy memory.  The Miasma is a swirling vortex of thought and wind, of fancy and dream.  Oft I fall back from our attempts to pass too weary to continue.

We were told, were we not, before the journey that this was one of endurance, of fortitude.  I fear, now, in my darkest hours, that I shall not be able to carry on.  That I have not the fortitude. The strength. I have the desire, surely, for the Floppy Hat, but often wonder if I have the will.

I am weary now, and it is difficult to form my thoughts. The Grippe has gripped me and I fear my strength is waning.  We, Sir Charles and I, rest here beside our guttering campfire dreaming of days long past. Of warm breezes and Sport to be watched and enjoyed. Of Family and companionship. Of the love of a woman.

The end is near, now.  Sometimes I feel that I can just see it, wavering just on the edge of my vision.  Beyond the Pale lies the Slope of Conclusion and then home. And then…victory.

Sir Charles and I are footsore now, I in the grip of illness that shakes me to my core.  Charles, ever faithful Charles, can only gaze upon me with love and as give as much comfort as can any faithful hound. Writing this, simply putting words to paper has given me, given us, strength.  I believe we can do it.  We can conquer. We can achieve. Weary, battered, worn, but not broken. Never broken.

Onward, ever onward, to the Floppy Hat.

Victory shall be ours.

My love to all.