All About “B.O.B.”

18 Nov

Welcome back!

To another exciting episode of:

“What’s that Shipping Container Idiot up to now?”

The other day a friend of mine (yeah… Ronin has a friend… didn’t think it was possible, did you? Huh?) and I were talking about the number of people who subscribed to our blogs using RSS and the like.

Now SHE has about eleventy-gillion subscribers, because her blog is;

  • (a) well written and readable,
  • (b) very informative and…
  • (c) even “catchy” and entertaining!

Plus, people actually “like” her. She teaches them really cool (and very affordable) “green stuff” to enhance their lives and brighten their day!

My blog, as we all know… is;

  • rambling to the point of documented psychosis,
  • incoherent to the point of wondering if I missed my med’s that day, and…
  • “Excedrin Headache #205”ย  waiting to happen to anyone foolish enough to try to digest it.

I suspect that people tune in here to watch “the train wreck” that occurs on each page… ๐Ÿ˜‰

And I realized that (not unlike just about everything else on the planet) I had no clue as to how to figure out the answer. I mean, if I had all the answers, would I be living in a horrible hovel in Mississippi?

I think not. ๐Ÿ™‚

So, I went to a forum filled with people whose brain cells actually touch each other… and asked about how one figures out these “complicated and mysterious things…”

I was recently contacted by a “programmer type” who was answering said inquiry about how I could determine the number of people whose minds I had bent… in my attempt at recruiting more “Corten Cronies…” ๐Ÿ™‚

We traded some information, and he did a little bit of checking, and it turns out that I have over 20,000 subscribers to my RSS feed.

How he determined that, I have no idea. There’s gotta be some kind of mistake. That number CAN’T be right… It’s IMPOSSIBLE.

I PRAY that it’s wrong. Why? Because if it’s right (and it can’t be…), all I know is that I’m gonna be looking atย  defending myself in a “class action lawsuit” when those 20,000+ people get together and decide to prosecute me for filling their head with “Corten Craziness.”

Now… as I’m a Jew (hey, you all know that… right?) I’m used to persecution… so… bring it on! ๐Ÿ˜‰

As a “Container Cult Leader…” I can only say that I’m just trying to “spread the word among the pilgrims…”

And, after all, somebody has to lead us to the “promised land…” huh? Might as well be me.

I’m gonna have to do some more homework on this one, because if I have a bunch of RSS “follower’s…” the rubes…ย  ๐Ÿ™‚ …
… then my “view” count (not my “bodycount”) should jump quite a bit, with each published post. And by gauging that,ย  I canย  start compiling data that I might be able to find useful. You know, stuff like which posts do well and point to stuff I can fill your minds with, to further cloud the issues with facts. Wait… you’ll get the posts whether you want them or not, in an RSS situation, right? Oy Vey…
I wonder… Is “RSS post retrieval” considered some “other” kind of server action, thusย  it doesn’t actually get processed through a counter system I can see? Hell, I don’t know.ย  All this is giving ME a headache.

So… back to the show;

As you probably already know my family has decided to irritate just about everyone on the planet, for daring to stray outside the box… by wanting to live in one. At least, that’s the neighbor’s consensus…

While the idiots… um… er…ย  “authorities” in Mississippi continue to “debate” the merit of our home project, we’re helping other people (who fortunately live in areas where people are using theirs brains for something besides fertilizing their hair) build THEIR ISBU homes.

This is frustrating, but I’ll tell you, it definitely has moved us to looking beyond the borders of this backwater State, to find a suitable home, for our home. And that search continues, with vigor.

Why… just the other day I was talking about going out to the garage and loading up the car…

Corten_Car1Yep, ‘leftover’ Corten Steel makes great panels for auto body work too! ๐Ÿ™‚

And heading for greener pastures. But then I remembered… we ain’t even GOT a car, much less a garage.

But, we’re working on it… ๐Ÿ™‚

When I’m not researching… I’m packing stuff up, just so we have a little bit more room around here. You’d be surprised just how much space this little tiny kid takes up…

Ever step on a Hot Wheels car in bare feet at 3am in the dark… trying to get to the bathroom? I’ve actually learned to suppress a scream of pain!

Now that’s a handy survival skill!ย  Ole’ Freddie Kruger and his hatchet won’t know I’m hiding in the closet! ๐Ÿ™‚

Where was I? Oh yeah…

Right now, I’m boxing up old DVD movies that we haven’t watched in a while… And…

I have a DVD of a cartoon movie called Titan AE…

… in that movie, “no-good rotten S.O.B.’s” blow up the earth, and the heroes (who barely escape the disaster as children) grow up to fight like dogs against the high-tech bad guys… until they finally overcome insurmountable odds, danger, death threats, and airline food…ย  and create a new planet.


And, they named that planet… “Bob.”

A while back, I told you about an affordable “alternative housing”ย  solution I’d come up with… instead of those plastic domes you see bandied around everywhere…

And, I called it… you guessed it… “BOB.”

That’s short for “Bug Out Box” to those of you who aren’t savvy in “b@stardized survivalist lingo…”

Actually, a BOB is really a designation for a “bug out bag”, but we thought BOL (Bug Out Location) sounded stupid… ๐Ÿ™‚

If we’d have titled this post “All About BOL” you wouldn’t have gotten it and we couldn’t have included both a reference to TITAN AE and a chance to further immortalize “the BOB” – Bob Vila…

And, I got a lot of heat for it. Surprisingly, I got even more heat than I anticipated. But, most of it wasn’t from people claiming I’d ambushed Intershelter’s polycarbonate dome project…

And, it wasn’t from people who were mad because I took the “name of Bob in vain…” ๐Ÿ™‚

All Hail “THE Bob.”

It was from people who thought that an Emergency Shelter that only enclosed 300 square feet was a dead end!

Now, I’m betting these same people pack up the SUV and go camping in the summertime, in a tent or even an RV that is MUCH smaller than the octagonal shelter that I suggested could be built… for pennies on the dollar, compared to “off-the-shelf” housing solutions.

Lemme see… the average 9’x10′ is only 90 square feet, with no room to go UP. Even if it’s something cool like this:

custom_camping_tentIt’s not gonna be more than about 120 square feet…

But wait! There’s MORE!

f “your tent has wheels…” the national average for RV’s is right at about 20′ (according to national auto insurance surveys I read) and we all know that the maximum width for an RV is right at about 8′.

Ya like that curly-cue “I” thingy? I just wanted to demonstrate how much style and sophistication I possess…ย  I just usually don’t waste it on “the likes of you!”ย  ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, there’s 160 square feet, plus a loft or two, maybe. 200 square feet, tops.ย  And, I guarantee you that RV or trailer is gonna cost you way more than $6200, if you bought anything with any quality built into it.

So, from where I’m standing, 310 square feet sounds pretty luxurious. But just for the sake of argument, let’s see where this “dead-end” octagon get’s you.

If you build it the way I described it, you have this:

Octagon BOBIt’sย  310 “clear-spanned”ย  square feet, to cut up any way you please. I could easily sleep 12 men in there, if I had to. And, I’d have room for all of their gear.

But, if you delete just one wall, and “you did the math….” (remember the “pop quiz?”) you’ll install a 20′ shipping container into that pre-engineered 8′ x9.6″ opening, and you have this:

Octagon BOB-r2Now, if you were to put your kitchen, a storage pantry, and a bathroom into that 20′ “add-on,” all your plumbing would essentially be in the same place.ย  There IS space for all three, you just have to get creative.

Build a galley kitchen and you’ll get about 16′ of countertop out of that kitchen (8′ on each side), and a huge pantry right behind it. Your kitchen at home may not even be that large. Build that pantry “galley style” too (gaining yourself several deep shelves on each side), and you’ll have a passageway back to a big over-sized bathroom in the rear. Yes, a washing machine will fit in there, too. It’s not gonna be a cave, either. We’ll plug in some strip windows over the top of the kitchen and pantry to add some daylight.

The bathroom will get windows of it’s own, so it will be “bright and airy.” I guar-unnnn-tee!

NOTE: NO Dryer. It takes too much energy to dry clothes that way… especially when you’re making your own power or trying to make ends meet during hard times. Hang your clothes outside and let the sun work on ’em. They’ll smell better, too!

If you have to have a dryer, then just reduce the size of the pantry and put the washer and dryer across from each other, ya big wuss! ๐Ÿ™‚

addendum: If you’re MADRIGORNE… I guess that you can have a dryer. Nobody likes doing “frozen clothing” aerobics. But no one, else… the rest of you are all “wussies…” ๐Ÿ˜‰

Okay, back to the basics;

Now, you have a big open “gathering/sleeping room,” and a “kitchen wing.” And that ISBU connection was pretty easy, even for you! ๐Ÿ˜‰

But wait! There’s MORE…

I bet you could do it a few more times. After all, an octagon has (8) sides, right?

So, instead of buying (1) 20′ container, and just hacking the doors off of it…

Buy (3) more 20′ High Cube containers. Don’t buy 40′ boxes and cut them up like we did the first time. You CAN do it, but it’s hard work. And, the building inspector will drive you crazy with requests for engineering formulas and “proof.” So let’s just spend a few more dollars, and get rid of a bunch of headaches. Okay? Okay? Hey! I’m talking to YOU. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Now, you WILL have to modify your roofย  slightly, to allow for that new section of roof (over the new ISBU) to kiss it,ย  but it will be well worth it. (I suggest putting a Hip Roof over the 20′ box sections. A Hip Roof is strong, durable,ย  really weather resistant. I’d top it all off with Standing Seam Metal Roofing.)

And, hey… while you’re at it… weld the angled corner braces from the old wall sections to each side of the container openings, and you’ll get an incredibly (and I mean INCREDIBLY) strong box.ย  After you do that, it’ll look like this:

Now, I went ahead and drew in some interior walls for you, but it’s just to demonstrate just how much room you end up with. Plugging those (4) sections of ISBU into the Octagon grants you the ability to house a pretty good sized family, and guarantee that everyone has their own space.

In the Master bedroom, note that there is a built-in shelving system (right across from the closet) that will hold pull-out baskets for clothes. It’ll hold 24 (1 cubic foot+) baskets – 2 for you, and 22 for her… After all, a man’s gotta have a place to put his socks and skivvies, right?

You’ll also get a coat closet (so that all your “survivalist friends” will think you’re “royalty”…) and an “office” right behind that, so you can jump on the computer and play games, to wile away the hours out of sight of your better half.ย  After all, if she can see you, you’re not out doing chores, huh? ๐Ÿ™‚

The configuration I’ve shown you would allow a family of 6 to live “out and away” for quite a while, in relative comfort. And, they could do it pretty affordably.

container-bedroomA nice place for Mom and Dad to bed down…

Just add a well, a septic tank, a solar panel or two for hot water production, and an array of photovoltaic panels, or even a wind turbine for power (electricity) and you’d be “totally off-grid and definitely in style.”

If you want to go a step further, add a greenhouse and a water tank/cistern.

As you can see, it’s very “doable” by anyone that can use basic hand tools.

IBH-BEDROOMYou could do this in your kid’s room REALLY easy.

And it’d happen fast, fast, fast…

It just might have to, ‘cuz my wife gets pretty P.O.’d with me sometimes… ๐Ÿ˜‰

I gotta go now. I’m working on a project in a “borrowed” garage… And man, these plywood 4×8’s are heavy!ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin

8 Responses to “All About “B.O.B.””

  1. Patience November 18, 2009 at 7:55 am #

    Morning Ronin,

    Yet another great post! I see you are trying to leave Mississippi… well…you better think again! You feet are stuck in that red mud. You gotta stay!

    • renaissanceronin November 18, 2009 at 3:20 pm #


      I’m counting the seconds to my family’s EXODUS as we speak.

      And on the way out…

      I’m gonna climb out of the truck, cross the highway, and then kick the “Welcome to Mississippi” sign as hard as I possibly can.


      • Madrigorne November 19, 2009 at 6:30 am #

        Best wear your steel toed boots or kick with your left foot ‘cuz I would hate to see you have to drive with a broken foot.
        Where are ya movin to? Good luck to you – I hate moving – hate it with a hairy-purple-passion.

        Up north here – we can’t always use our clothes lines. When its forty below, or even 10 below, you end up with a frozen lump of wet wash in the basket before you even wrestle a clothespin out of its bag with your mittened hand.

        Old timers used to freeze dry their clothes on the line in the winter wind and then SMACK the frozen stiff clothes against a chair or something to break the ice. I have tried this – and they don’t get dry, they’re just less wet. I suppose you could iron them to try to get them drier but thats a whole lotta work – and I am NOT ironing my socks.

        Dryers are kinda necessary – unless you plan to hang all your wet laundry all over your house or you have basement clothes lines.

        How big…what size are ISBU boxes?

        • renaissanceronin November 21, 2009 at 1:12 am #

          Hi Madrigorne,

          Wouldn’t that just be the capper? Kicking the “Welcome to Mississippi” sign on the way OUT, and breaking my foot in the process? Oy! ๐Ÿ™‚

          While all we want is a home, it probably isn’t going to happen here. We’ll have to go to a more progressive State to make that actually happen. Nothing is final yet, but we’re getting closer.

          The killer is that it’s just the land holding us up. If not for all the “land wars” we might have solved this long ago.

          I’ve read about dealing with freeze-dried clothes, but I’ve never done it. We used the “line in front of the wood stove” method.

          Ugly and messy too… but it worked.

          Okay, so it got a little bit “humid.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

          High Cube ISBU’s are generally 40′ long by 8′ wide by 9.5′ high.

          In BOB’s case, I’d cut them in half to make 20′ segments…

          And if I started with an octagon, (with the idea of adding containers gradually) I’d probably reuse the 4×8′ insulated panels to close in the gaps between the “arms” of the house, to reclaim some of that space after I’d built a deck between them. It could become handy storage or utility areas accessible from the outside.

          Hmmm… or, maybe a second bathroom between two bedroom modules…

          Man… it makes my plasma cutter finger itchy just thinking about it… ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. G November 18, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    so those chairs are on there way to finally came to life?

    • renaissanceronin November 18, 2009 at 3:18 pm #

      Nah, although I have the templates already drawn for the chair project, I was talking about building sample insulated panels (for “BOB”), to actually SHOW readers how they work.

      It’s kinda silly actually, because if I built another “BOB…” I’d use a container coming out of (6-7) of the sides. One remaining panel would be a sliding glass door, and the other the main entry door.

      So, I’d have built all those insulated panels for nothing… ๐Ÿ˜‰

      @Readers: G and I are conspiring to build some really cool “plywood and garden hose” chairs, out of recycled crap, for my living room. We found the basic idea for them on Instructables.


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