Monday, April 27, 2009

Again, Again!!

So Sunday I put the replacement window into the back porch. This required moving a whole mess of stuff in the three cabinets installed OVER the original window. The exterior of the house is slowly but surely getting ready for paint! (which is overdue since the place hasn't been painted for about 20 years)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

A window on my world

This, gentle readers, is the OLD window that was original to the house. Now I'm SURE that in 1949, the state of the art was to have nice strong STEEL windows that were undoubtedly strong and made of steel like the warships that had won the war and the bridges that spanned the mighty rivers of this great nation. Steel that had been poured from the crucible in the heartland of the United States of America!
Only problem is that no matter how hard you wish it wouldn't, steel rusts. Especially if you install it in the kitchen, right over that steamy sink, with single pane glass that forms condensation even in late Spring! So old Rusty had to go, replaced by...
A great big HOLE, which Sharon and I both really liked. It was airy, and bright, and the view was unobstructed, and there was NO RUST! Except a fly came flying in. So...
I put in this handsome PLASTIC window that will never rust. It even has steel part in it that are made of - wait for it - STAINLESS STEEL so they'll never rust either.

I'm so happy.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

I get a strange magic

So I have not one, not two, but three count'em three big projects underway.
  1. Replace two windows in house - kitchen and back porch. Windows arrived today so I went and picked them up. I have to say, the people at Lowes are so much nicer than the people at Home Depot. Anyway, the windows qualify us for a 30% tax credit (!) because they are highly energy efficient, so we get like $200 back next tax time. I toyed with the idea of making my own windows, but ultimately decided that there were some things that I wasn't good enough at to satisfy my high expectations. There is a reason there are factories that do nothing but make windows, and I'm (just) smart enough to know that they do a better job at it after making millions of them than I would after making one.
  2. Build those tables and benches I talked about. It would be simple but I have thrown in an extra-credit challenge and volunteered to make tables with integral leveling legs - all out of wood. Idiot.
  3. Big giant erector set construction at work that is essentially a crane with two integral work surfaces. This will allow the building of our ~160 pound instrument and then provide a means of lifting it up off the bench and setting it down on a pallet on the floor. It allows one person to pack a unit that is about 1/4 the volume of an upright piano made out of $70,000 worth of parts. Good times.
And I hope to have a Bad Movie Night soon - featuring Greasers Palace - which I am led to believe is awful.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I'm a hottie, with wood

It's finally hot enough. We went swimming today, in the solar-heated wonder. It was teh funzorz. I've had enough 50 mph winds for a while. Let's just keep this weather for the next five months, OK?

We said goodbye this morning to our friends who are moving to a farm in Ohio. They are going to make goat cheese. The cost of living there is way less than here. I wish them well.

And later today (in a few minutes!) I'm starting on my biggest woodworking project ever - building three folding tables and four folding benches for Renaissance Faire. I started by buying ~$500 of wood. So now, I've got wood. I'll post pictures of my wood later.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirates life for thee

Well it seems that all you need to defeat the pirates is three bullets and an ice pick. I suppose it helps if you have snipers with night vision scopes and your target on a 100 foot rope line.

I predict that the piracy trade in Somalia is going to become quite a bit less attractive as a career path, soon. Now that the pirates have pissed off America, we will probably help the other nations involved realize that the status quo of simply paying the ransoms is making things worse, not better, and that pirates are gonna have to start DYING. In a few months someone is gonna sink a pirate craft, and kill a lot of people who chose violence over civilization. And this will be a further wake up call to the rest of the people on shore to get their shit together and do their own nation building this time.

Hey Somalia, Game Over. Don't bother asking for any more help unless you are willing to man up and form a real government. There won't be an UNOSOM III.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The time has come

Today, we talk about religion. Happy Easter.

Did you know that in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a tradition of spanking or whipping is carried out on Easter Monday. In the morning, men spank women with a special handmade whip. This is supposed to ensure their continued beauty. The women thank the men with an egg, or sometimes money.

I'm not making this up. Let's call it a religious practice just for fun.

A couple of days ago I got one of those godawful jingoistic religious emails from a friend of the family. It talked at length in pictures and large type propaganda language about how the USA was founded by Christians and that the Ten Commandments and other biblical writings were inscribed all over government buildings. It went on to suggest that only Christians should govern, and that the non-Christian 14% people who don't like all the biblical stuff on government property and the words "In God We Trust" on the money and "under God" in the pledge of allegiance should "SHUT UP". The text of the message challenged me to forward the message if I was in agreement or to delete it.

Needless to say, I was not the target audience. I chose to reply instead.

I ended up spending a couple of hours writing than re-writing a response. In the process I learned a couple of things.

1. Abraham Lincoln was the first to use the phrase "under God" in reference to America, in political speech. It was in the Gettysburg Address, which I read for the first time last night. Also, the Gettysburg address was a two minute speech that followed a THREE HOUR oration by Edward Everett.

2. The pledge of allegiance dates from 1892 - not revolutionary times. Insertion of the the phrase "under God" was first spearheaded by the Knights Of Columbus in 1951. Ultimately it was the result of a sermon that Eisenhower was present at that sealed the deal. Read all about it.

3. The United States Constitution explicitly prohibits the use of a religious test as a requirement for holding public office. "... no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States." (Article 6) The text is very explicit; "no religious Test shall ever be required". I really like that.

So here is my point for the day. Religious freedom in the United States is precious because it allows us (if we choose to) to act as a nation undivided by religion. It makes America strong because our government does not value citizens based on their faith, only on their standing as citizens. Religion must remain strictly out of government to assure ALL citizens their religious freedom.

To those who say we are a Christian nation, you are foolishly confusing the majority of religious preference of the citizens with the actual form of government and society that exists. I suggest re-thinking the matter.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Rum & Coke

I wish the Coke was the kind made with sugar instead of HFCS.

It's been so long, I get to wondering how you people even get to sleep at night without a missive from me. Here is the catch up:

1. I had a dream last night about how difficult it was to get our instrument to work with Macintosh computers. Since we are running a .NET application and we have at least three hardware drivers, all Windows, it was very difficult involving lots of things that only exist in dreams, like cross-platform hardware adapters.

2. I don't think we are going to get another dog. Do you want to buy a very slightly used crate?

3. We got a new garage door. Now, I know what you are thinking, "YAWN!!", but really it is SO MUCH better than that old piece of crap door that was the original plywood tilt up jobber that was layered up with paint and supported on Frankenstein hinges. OMFG the new one is so nice. Steel inside and out with a foam core. Bonus - it is about one foot higher in the garage so you can move big stuff around with ease. No more greasy Frankenstein!!!

4. I discovered yesterday that I plumbed the solar panels backwards - the cold water is supposed to enter the bottom and exit hotter at the top - but I'm having a hard time believing that this is the cause of the back pressure being too high in the system. I think the solar panels mey be clogged with scale. :-(

5. I ordered a couple of windows for the house. It seems like the whole house is wearing out all at once. Next we have to paint. Did I mention the failed sprinkler valve solenoid?

6. My movie is about to start. Bye.