Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You may have noticed...

...that posting here is getting a little spotty. I still shoot for every day, but right now it's more of a guideline - my internet access is over a mile's drive from the Lair, and if the weather turns nasty - which it definitely will - you may find things getting a bit sparse.

I'm working on getting the whole thing moved over to the Lair, and then I'll probably post so much you'll get tired of it. Till then, please bear with.

Introducing Basie the Wonder Dog!

I took a bunch of pictures with M's Mom's new dog Basie and the boys, but the lighting was terrible and they didn't come out. And anyway...well, this is a family blog. They play dominance games in ways that could make them a floor show in the raunchiest of gay bars.

But he did hold still for one good portrait later...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Remember, children. Mr. Policeman is your friend.

Michael, stop kicking Mr. Policeman.
5-Year-Old Boy Arrested At School

STOCKTON, Calif. (KCRA) -- Earlier this year, a Stockton student was handcuffed with zip ties on his hands and feet, forced to go to the hospital for a psychiatric evaluation and was charged with battery on a police officer. That student was 5 years old.

H/T to Kevin Wilmeth.

The Chain of Obedience

I don't endorse everything these guys have out there because I haven't seen it all.  But what I've seen is interesting.

Rule One for wood stove users: Don't run out of wood.

Since moving into the Lair I've barely cut any wood at all.  My chains are all fairly dull from cutting at D&L's place for their use, I had one session since then and now I'm reluctant to use the chainsaw till I get them sharpened because you take off a lot of use from a chain by getting it really, really dull.

For all that I've been watching my consumption over the past two weeks, and as I expected/feared it's faster than I hoped.  So while the weather is still bearable I need to take the matter more seriously.  Yesterday I finally cobbled together a sawbuck, to allow me to bring logwood home and cut it as I need it.  M bought himself a full-size bucksaw and lent it to me, and I gave it a try.  Cut up a log well enough, but I have to say for all the noise they make (I hate noise these days) chainsaws are much to be preferred.

Of course as a credentialed survivalist I have an emergency backup woodpile, consisting of several discreditably large stacks of old pallets.  But those really are for emergencies, like when I let the regular pile get too low and then get the flu or something.  For now, I'm going out to S&L's place with the trailer after shit-shoveling and pile it full of a bunch of already cut juniper they've been after me to haul off.  Your garbage is my winter heat.

I didn't see that coming...

So now something unpleasant seems to be going on between Click and Little Bear.

Long-time readers know that LB may as well be the issue of Click's own womb, as far as she's concerned.  She has, I'm happy to say, ceased to bring him rabbits of the dead kind for consumption.  But other than that she's his mother and he's her personal monster.

Until last night.

He was lounging on their communal bed, and she was by the door looking out her transparent little cat door, and nothing apparent was wrong with their world, when out of the blue and for no discernible reason he lunged at her and snapped.  Twenty minutes or half an hour later he did it again, sending her flying under the oven, which has become her current hidey-hole of choice.  I don't know what it was about, but she was taking it seriously.  He didn't murderously attack her or anything, but something had him not wanting her near him.  I scolded him severely both times, and both times he looked ... not very contrite.

Later she crept toward the water dish, watching him very carefully.  And he was eyeing her, and I spoke sharply at him, and he turned his head away but things were not right between them.  She's taken to sleeping on the big chair nights, so I wasn't too worried about anything happening overnight.

This morning when I came down they were playing together as if they'd never had a harsh gesture.  I'm confused as to what that's all about.

Monday, November 28, 2011

This is a genuine disappointment.

Ol' Embarrassing Barney isn't going to stay in Congress.

But who will we find to laugh at now?  Seriously, it's like an era is ending.  First Teddy dies, and now this!

UPDATE:  Whew.  On further reading, it seems this will make Maxine Waters the ranking democrat on the banking committee.  So hilarity should continue to ensue.

"Here's to red pens!"

Once upon a time I sort of inherited a company department with a stable of tech writers.  Prior to this I'd always worked alone and this "promotion" marked the beginning of my career's downward slide, because I'm really no damn good at inspiring others to their finest efforts.

But one thing I was always very good at, and considered very important, was copy editing.  "My" new writers didn't agree, and the most controversial and second most painful thing my job entailed was getting them to go along with it.  I actually had a writer who disregarded my wishes to the extent that he ignored the revisions and delivered his unedited draft to the customer.  The customer - who was paying big bux for this - called to express his dissatisfaction with a draft that, among many other problems, misspelled his company's name, in big bold letters, right on the title page.  That guy, by pure dumb luck, wasn't related to the boss which meant I could can him.

Then there was the dissatisfied employee who sent his resume' in answer to a blind classified ad I'd posted, unaware that he was sending it directly to the desk of the person with whom he was dissatisfied.  I marked it up in red pen with helpful suggestions for improvement and mailed it back to him.  Neither of us ever said a word about it.

That was purely the most unpleasant job I've ever held, and I remember it clearly and with not the slightest shred of fondness.  Got to thinking about it while reading this piece, called "What Editors Think of Writers." 

Synopsis: They try not to.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The internets are over here, and the Lair is 'way over there...

Spent part of the morning installing Click's new cat door.  Sometimes I think she damaged her head in transit or something: She's been using cat doors since she was a little kitten, she's very far from a little kitten now, and on her second - not her first, her second - transit she managed to get her paw stuck in the door and it freaked her out.  I had to rescue her that time, and then when she was outside and wanted in she stood outside for damn near five minutes before she seemed to remember that all she had to do was walk in.

M brought me a bunch of hardware I needed for the Lair, and yesterday and today I've been fiddling with sink plumbing, hanging things on new hooks, and the cat door.  Now I've got to drill one last hole for a drain pipe, then go around expending my last can of expanding foam to fill various gaps.  Even after a good night's sleep, though, all I wanted to do after the cat door was nap.  I needed to come here to Landlady's barn to update the blog and find a hole saw, but probably would never had done it except the boys started agitating to do something more fun than lay around.

But in consultation with Landlady, I hope that the dish and modem will soon move to the Lair, and then I'll be able to surf the web in my own anachronistically rustic setting.

Hope you guys are having a nice holiday - all the folks are gone now and I'm probably gonna find the saw, pick up a few things, then head back and make good on that nap.  BTW, I did get a couple of pix of M's Mom's monster dog, but didn't bring the camera with me.  He's a beauty - I'll post the pix in a day or two.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

I'm having fun.

Sorry, busy day yesterday.  M's Mom is visiting, she made it for Thanksgiving - which we don't particularly celebrate, but still it's a long weekend so everybody shows up.

M's M has a dog that makes Little Bear look cute'n'little, a Great Pyrenees mix named Basie.  Ghost and LB took to him like a long-lost brother, and the boys have been toodling off to show him all the cool stuff.  Basie's a city dog, never been off his leash in his life and thinks he's died and gone to Kentucky - which basically he has.

Yesterday I had shit-shoveling in the morning and then had to run get the tractor over to S&L's to move a bunch of big tar-covered timbers like railroad ties on steroids to fix an eroded spot on the steepest part of their driveway.  That took a while, so between that and the company I never even visited the internets all day. Hope they were okay in my absence.

Today's likely to be the same, which doesn't matter because I see by my traffic stats that not many people are here anyway.  :)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Move along, citizens. The bad man is gone now.

Crazed terrorist abuses bicycle, authorities react authoritatively, danger is averted.
Scotland Neck Police Chief Joe Williams said they received a call Monday night about a man who fell off of his bicycle and injured himself in the parking lot of the BB&T bank, 1001 Main St. The caller was concerned that the man was drunk.

When Officer John Turner arrived, he saw Roger Anthony pedaling away along 10th Street. He followed Anthony in his patrol car, briefly put on his sirens and lights and yelled out of the window for him to stop, but Anthony continued to ride away, police said.

Williams said Turner then saw Anthony take something out his pocket and put it into his mouth. At that time, Turner got out of the car and yelled for Anthony to stop. When Anthony didn't stop, the officer used a stun gun on him, causing him to fall off of his bike.

Anthony was transported to Pitt County Memorial Hospital, where he was declared brain dead, his sister Gladys Freeman said. He was taken off of life support on Tuesday.

Freeman said her brother was disabled, suffered from seizures and had trouble hearing. She said he was riding his bike home from her house on Sunday night. Anthony lived alone in an independent living community.
Okay, so you saw a guy fall off his bike. The thought occurred to you that he might be drunk. This concerned you so much that you called the cops? I mean, I can sort of understand the cop's actions. I don't like them, but I sort of understand. Acting like a cowardly thug toward someone who seems to be disregarding your authoritah, whether or not he's actually breaking any law, has somehow become standard police practice, and if he dies he dies. Guess next time he'll stop, huh?

Yeah, that's just the way cops think, and I can't even get upset about it anymore. But what the hell were YOU thinking, buddy?

"Never mind the guy with the beard. Well done, Citizen. If you see something, say something."

H/T to Balko.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

How do you really feel, lady?

Wait for it.

Aw, hell. The dragons on Pern are wearing black today.

Anne McCaffrey is dead at 85.

I won't say she was my very favorite SF writer, it's been a long time since I read her, because I hate it when they get an idea and then beat it to death as she kinda did with the Pern books. But I did read and enjoy several of them, and The Ship Who Sang was one of my all-time favorite SF stories. RIP.

Seen at Bear's Blog.

I still like my M1A better, but he does have a point...

Hee. They've been tweaking the AR design since the mid-sixties, and signs like this are still needed. Kalashnikov got it right in one.

Seen here.

Her Majesty is Not Amused.

Well, the inevitable feline pushback showed up yesterday afternoon. The boys and I came home after shit-shoveling, I opened the door, and Click shot out like a bullet from the barrel of a gun. She hung around the cabin, ignoring every blandishment and coolly evading every attempt at capture. At first I left the door open for her, but it really is a little cold for that so I compromised by letting the dogs out to keep her company and hopefully persuade her not to flounce off back “home” like she did last time. Whether she likes it or not, this is home now.

After a bit, the boys wanted back in. I invited her to join them and she did so without hesitation, glancing up as she passed me in the doorway as if to say, “On a scale of one to ten, how stupid do you think I am?” I suppose she didn't get this old by offering herself up as a snack for the local predators too thoughtlessly, as many other cats have done in the past.

So clearly the Lair is in immediate need of a cat door. I had hoped to put that off, but not with a whole lot of hope. In the bits of debris that were once the old pantry building on Landlady's Property, there is an ancient cat door. I removed it (breaking the screwdriver right off my BRAND NEW $65 &^%$! MULTITOOL), cleaned it up, and it seems to function okay so I guess it'll do in a pinch. But I'd really prefer to get a new one before I start chopping holes in the Lair, y'know? So I sent an entreaty to Landlady to bring one up when she comes for the weekend, and she has agreed. We just have to survive – and I use that word literally – until then.

Well, this is distressing...

This is my Leatherman PST II. It's roughly ten years old. It's got a lot of wear, but is still fairly functional. I've wanted to replace it ever since I had trouble with the pliers back in the Great Tie Wire Incident at M's Dome, but only just now got around to it. It's not perfect, but it's handy and it works.

This is my SOG PowerLock. It's roughly one week old. I selected it because it was a lot like my PST II, which was long ago superseded by cooler, trendier, less useful designs. Cool and trendy does not really attract me, I just want the tools I want. My principal criticism of the new Leatherman designs is the screwdriver, which now takes the form of a removable/reversible tip that, as Landlady quickly demonstrated, is easily lost.

Unfortunately what I got is not an improvement on that. My old Leatherman Phillips has removed or installed untold hundreds, possibly thousands of screws over the years and remains useful. My SOG Phillips has successfully removed exactly two, snapping right off at the third. And they weren't even difficult screws.

Consider this post a refusal to endorse the SOG PowerLock multitool.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

WHO'S "socially maladept?"

He’s a crotchety, socially maladept hermit who lives alone by choice with dogs and a cat...
Boy, you write one little book review...

I think I want to get a tablet.

This problem will eventually go away, but for a while I'm pretty clearly going to have a problem with electrical availability.

One or two CFLs will work fine at any time, even after a very overcast day. When the sun is shining you can run anything the inverter will power, but except for power tools my biggest use times are after the sun goes down and before it comes up. In my mornings I usually have three or four hours of darkness before the sun comes up, I have to be careful or the inverter will start complaining. It complains just before it shuts off. I wouldn't mind that, except that "careful" also means I shouldn't run my laptop.

That wasn't in the plan. More than half my books are in my laptop. All my music. It's the only way I can watch movies. It's not just a writing and browsing tool, but even if it were I often write early in the morning. And of course my laptop's battery is toast, and the "reconditioned" one I bought for it once wasn't a big improvement. I can't get hours of battery life from my laptop.

I'm thinking that for cabin use maybe I want something I can charge during the day and use off-line after dark. At a minimum, one of those tablet things could hold my books and music. I don't suppose there's one that plays DVDs.

Anybody got one they like? And what's the battery life like?

"Lesson of White House Strafing" is that you don't know what you're talking about, Jesse.

Ol' Bugeyes brings out all the ol' historic lies:
Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez was arrested in connection with what prosecutors describe as a drive-by shooting in which a semiautomatic weapon was used to fire nine bullets into the White House’s back balcony — where President Barack Obama sometimes strolls on a break. This should get more attention than a passing headline.

Authorities say Ortega-Hernandez drove his Honda to a road about 800 yards from the White House, stopped, and unleashed a volley from a Romanian-made semiautomatic rifle with a “large scope.” The FBI located “several confirmed bullet impact points” on the south side of the White House where the first family’s residential quarters are located.
"A Romanian-made semiautomatic rifle with a 'large scope'" isn't as descriptive as it might be, Jesse, so I still don't really know what sort of rifle it is or why, at 800 yards, he only managed to hit the side of a very large building 'several' times. But before I even read it I know your proposed solution, and it ain't marksmanship training:
This should be treated as a wake-up call. It is time to revive the ban on assault weapons, and look once more at the level of gun violence in this country.
Check out the lies, damn lies and statistics on this one...
Under a federal assault weapons ban from 1994 to 2004, there was a 60 percent drop in assault-weapon deaths. We need to enforce universal background checks on every gun transfer and prohibit all violent criminals from possessing firearms.

Nearly 30,000 people a year die as a result of gun violence in the United States. About 100,000 a year are injured and require medical treatment and hospitalization that contributes to our public-health crisis. Fifty-caliber sniper rifles and firearms that combine long range, accuracy and massive firepower are not used for hunting animals — they are military weapons used to hunt people. These weapons can damage large targets, penetrate structures and bring down airplanes.
Wait - I thought you wanted to ban "assault weapons." Now your talking about fifties. WTH? Could it be you really don't care what they are, as long as they're banned? Of course I presume your bodyguards will still have theirs - right, Jesse?

BTW, that wasn't a strafing. In fact at best that was a plinking. This is a strafing, Jesse - if you ever experience one, you'll know.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Water not necessarily wet, says EU.

See, this is why we need government right here.
Brussels bureaucrats were ridiculed yesterday after banning drink manufacturers from claiming that water can prevent dehydration.

EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.
I think the part that most grabs me about this is that it actually took a three-year investigation for them to reach their wildly-wrong conclusion, which they promptly offered to enforce with EU guns.

Oy, what a morning...

Into each day off-grid some shite must fall. This morning that was literal, though the "off-grid" part wasn't really to blame.

Having stayed up fairly late by my standards, I expected to sleep in somewhat. Instead I heard a dog whining piteously around 3 am. That's never a good thing, for unless Ghost is cold and wants under the covers they never do that without good reason.

Then I smelled the shite.

Now, Little Bear is a good boy about these things, really he is. He knows he isn't to go inside the house, but he can't use the toilet or work a doorknob and Daddy can be hard to wake up. LB was mortified and showed it, but it's really my fault. Since right now there's still no Gitmo analog at the Lair, I have to be more careful about letting him outdoors and yesterday I didn't give it enough thought. He did go out for a pee, but he's not used to rushing that other thing.

Anyway, he really dumped a load. The worst and gooiest part was the second strike different animals have made on that old quilt I covered their bed with. Normally this doesn't happen.

Then, after maybe three completely uneventful days and while I was trying to deal with all that, Click suddenly decided that she absolutely had to go outside right now and started guarding the door. I haven't let her out because I don't have a cat door and she needs to be able to get in and out on her own. Guess I need to work on a cat door. Anyway, that also turned out to be shite-related, for she has higher standards for cleaning a cat box than I do. I stand admonished, and the box is now cleaned out.

Around that time I decided I wouldn't be going back to bed after all, and tried to make a cup of coffee. To find I had no propane pressure at the stove. Went outside and checked the bottle, which was indeed empty. Yike! I guess those pilot lights are using more gas than I gave them credit for. Anybody know the best way to disable a stove's pilot light? I know I have to live with the one on the oven, but matches are cheaper than propane and easier to get.

So I swapped out the bottle. Since I was up, I booted up the 'pooter to write the High Desert Barbecue review below. Finished that and was just puttering around in the kitchen when my inverter started beeping at me. Low voltage? We had a great sunny day yesterday! Yeah, but the day before was shite, and anyway these batteries only have so much capacity. I noticed before: The inverter lets me use my coffee grinder in the afternoon or evening, but prefers I not do so in the morning (when it's needed.) Got a feeling I'm going to be using those kerosene lamps from time to time until I can replace the batteries. Well, that's what they're for. Anyway, I shut down the laptop and it stopped with the beeping. Doesn't seem to mind CFLs at all.

Oh, and did I mention it's raining? Just because piling on is fun when you're Uncle Murphy.

On the good news front, I learned from my weekender neighbor S that he wants to swap me a new 240-watt solar panel for some day labor. That's more generating power than from all my six panels I salvaged from that old cattle watering station, and I'm gonna go for it. But I'm pretty sure my real problem won't be the panels, but the batteries. Expensive, but probably unavoidable.

Review of J. D. Tuccille's High Desert Barbecue

On the rare occasions when I review books here I normally expect they're already known, if not necessarily read, by TUAK readers. They've been around long enough that most people are probably already familiar with the contents, making it unnecessary to worry about spoilers, or have already determined not to become familiar and don't give a damn about spoilers anyway. So spoilers be damned, let's discuss.

In this case I must walk much more carefully, because J. D. Tuccille's High Desert Barbecue is a new book and I don't want to ruin it for anyone. So let me say first in general terms that HDB is a very entertaining book, I enjoyed it very much and think you might as well.

HDB is not a great, ponderous tome by any stretch, at most it's a light weekend read. Nor (Oh, thank you Muses!) does it at any point stop the music to explain the characters' actions or beliefs, or to lecture the reader on why he or she should act or believe that way too. That second thing being one of the two great weaknesses of the average bit of modern freedom fic, I'd have appreciated that even if Tuccille's book had disappointed in every other way.

Which it does not. HDB has a plot, and Tuccille stuck to it and stubbornly resisted what must have been occasional temptation to pause and explain philosophical points along the way. To be honest, I don't know what effect that will have on general readers. But as a crazed freedomista myself, I found the way his protagonists dealt with their dilemma quite easy to follow, and the story delightful.

Having said that, character development is both the story's greatest strength and one of its greatest weaknesses. The protagonists are well-rounded characters – they have strengths and weaknesses that are carefully crafted and quite human, you have no trouble believing in these people. I wish I could say the same for the antagonists, who are almost uniformly one-dimensional and whose actions often descend into slapstick. If the “looters” in Atlas Shrugged had spent most of the book without their clothes on (don't ask) they'd be a lot like these characters. It's kind of jarring: the good guys are real people, but I had a very hard time suspending disbelief in the bad guys. Because HDB treats its subject matter lightly but it is really not a light subject, the book sometimes veers rather unevenly between drama and comedy. It's hard to have a light-hearted romp when people are honestly trying to kill you.

And I wish I could discuss that, but here we run into the matter of spoilers and I don't want to spoil this. So when I say that one pivotal scene was ruined for me because by the time Tuccille (skillfully) arranged a fateful meeting between two characters, I already knew what was going to happen because the resolution was quite conventional, the most I can do to defend that is to say, “Well of course (CENSORED) would (CENSOR) the (CENSORED,) and then (CENSORED) would respond by (CENSORING) the (CENSORED,) because that's what always happens.” Which doesn't really explain anything, does it?

The ending is rather pat, and smacks of deus ex machina in a way I wish Tuccille had been able to find a way around but honestly I can't think of a way to improve it that doesn't involve all the protagonists being (CENSORED) or going to federal (CENSOR,) and it doesn't spoil the story by any means.

I always beat up on a book's weaknesses, but all books have weak bits and that doesn't impeach them. It only points out that the writer is human and not God. Freedomistas will thoroughly enjoy the protagonists, not all or even most of whom are far-gone opponents of government power – they're just in over their heads and muddle along as best they can, not always in the best ways imaginable. The bad guys are enjoyably despicable. I do fear that the average reader would find much of what goes on a little hard to buy, but screw the average reader if he can't take a joke. Despite the disclaimer at the beginning - “Please don't attempt to use this novel as a hiking guide” - Tuccille clearly has particular settings in mind and he describes and uses them vividly and with confidence. The plot is crisp and clear and mostly rollicks along, and if it conforms to reality no more than the settings, well, that's why they call it fiction.

I got the book in trade paperback, which cost more but I'm glad I did it because I want this little book on my shelf. The settings are lovely and quite well described, the plot and protagonists are believable and entertaining, and I intend to enjoy it again some cold afternoon, probably soon.

You should buy it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Unc wins the gunnie internets, 11-19-11

Of course, now that there's nothing left to talk about, this may be recorded as the date of the internets' decline...
Unless you’re willing to shoot yourself to prove the point, please stop telling me the 9mm/.380/5.56/40/SacredCow sucks. I don’t want to get shot with any of them. And you don’t either. We carry handguns because they’re easier to lug around than something effective at stopping people, like rifles or pet rhinos.
Much longer than that - which, given that it's Say Uncle, is the first thing that caught my eye. Then, depression set it. I may have to go back to reading '70's-era issues of Guns & Ammo, looking for all those "Revolver Vs. Automatic" articles that used to be so, so thrilling.

Go and read.

Friday, November 18, 2011

One from the "Hold my beer and watch this" department...

Hey, wanna go to federal prison?

It's so quick and easy! All you need is one or more of these...

...and to be in possession of a legally-registered "silencer."

The rationale Spencer uses:

A silencer is a firearm per U.S. Code, subject to National Firearms Act registration and transfer tax requirements.

“[S]ound/gas absorbing materials manufactured from Chore Boy copper cleaning pads, along with fiberglass insulation, constitute a silencer…”

Therefore, it is illegal for an individual to replace deteriorated material within an already- registered suppressor without an approved ATF Form 1, ‘Application to Make and Register a Firearm,’” along with a “$200.00 making tax” and “a ‘no-marking’ variance…since there is no viable area in which to apply a serial number to the sound-absorbing material.”
I've been waiting for years for the staff of The Onion to just throw up their hands and give up trying to keep up with reality. In a world with such absurd people in it, what use is satire?

So far, so good...

Gave her time to explore and settle down, then opened one of my two cans of salmon. (I don't have any chicken.) Tried to introduce her to the cat ladder through the time-honored device of putting her food there. Loved the food, ignored the potential of the ladder. Right after this pic was taken, she turned 180o and demanded help in getting down. But she's not stupid - by cat standards she's Stephen Hawking, which would explain why she's still alive - and she'll likely figure it out.

She was happy about being reunited with her baby nights, though, so that didn't hurt.

We did have one ... incident ... last night. I know she saw the litterbox I set up for her, I even saw her use it. But shortly after the Salmon Experiment she became frantic to get out, or at the very least to get my attention Right Frickin' Now. I didn't get the message, and she left a slimy and malodorous mess right in the middle of the dog bed. Even the boys were grossed out. But that seemed to get it out of her system, and there've been no other surprises.

This morning she was clingy, which is to say imperious and demanding, but shows no reluctance to hang around the Lair. For now. I really will need to get to work on a cat door, because I've a feeling this "confine the cat" thing isn't gonna last. At least she isn't giving me the hassle she did when we tried this last winter. Again, for now.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Okay, it's official. Today's the day.

Last couple of nights the boys spent in the Lair while I worked out what logistical problems I'd overlooked. So far, pretty good. While that's been going on Click's pretty much been left to her own devices - I give her a good scratch every day and make sure she's got food, but she spent the last two nights all by herself. Hey, she's a cat. They can do that, though they don't always like it.

I did feel bad this morning, though, because it got damned cold overnight. But I always said that after the problem she gave me last February I'm only moving that cat to the cabin one time, and only after it's as cat-friendly as I can make it. I'm pretty much going to have to imprison her there until she has decided that's home now. I can find no reason to keep putting it off: Today we officially move into the Lair, through the action of moving the cat.

Wish me luck - the boys do what I tell them to, though they may not like it. The cat, not so much.

This is completely despicable.

I mean that in the nicest possible way.

Via Carl, this morning I visited the nauseating LEO Pro Cards site. Like Carl, my first thought would have been that it's a satire. But it seems as though they're actually serious, which makes it - in addition to being, as previously mentioned, completely despicable - about the most brazenly tone-deaf thing I've seen in calendar 2011. Which makes it special, I suppose.

Seriously, this is even stupider than CCW badges, and they're not even illegal. Which I believe this technically is, at least in a lot of jurisdictions. Not that that would stop a cop.

Neighborhood Watch

or "How can you be in two places at once when you're not anywhere at all?

Right about eight in the AM I got a call from my neighbors D&L.

"Have you got a controlled burn going or something?"

"No. Why?"

"Because there's smoke rising from the area of the meadow, between [Landlady's] and [S&L's] places, that's why!"

"Um...Are you sure you're not looking at the cabin's chimney?"

"No, it's definitely coming from [Landlady's property.]"

"Okay, thanks for the heads-up. I'll go look right now."

The boys were more than ready to go outside anyway, so I put on my coat and headed for the Jeep. As we entered the wash, I saw a column of smoke from the Lair's chimney that rose to the level of the ridge and then spread out. I had a feeling I wasn't going to find any fire at Landlady's but wouldn't I feel bad if I were wrong? So off we went.

Standing with the boys on the ridge overlooking the Meadow House, I saw nothing out of the ordinary. Looking back between my new location and D&L's, there was a haze of woodsmoke. I dug out my cell phone.

"I'm [standing where I was standing] and not seeing anything wrong. Are you sure you couldn't be looking at my chimney smoke?"

"I dunno - lots of smoke."

"I think it's just gonna be part of the landscape for the rest of the winter."

"Okay, well, we'll get used to it, then."

Too much vigilance is better than not enough.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I awoke this morning to the strangest sensation...

It was about 3am, which lately is about average for the time I wake up. Normally, this time of year, I slide out from the (several) blankets, hop to let Ghost out, hop to the benjo, set the heater on "meltdown," and hop right back under the covers before the sheets lose too much of my body heat. Reason: It's cold out, and when you live in a tin box that means it's cold IN.

This morning I woke up to the strangest sensation ... I wasn't cold! Oh, a sweatshirt might have felt good, but it wasn't especially cold indoors. I fully expected that it was plenty chilly outdoors. For the past three or four days there's barely been a cloud in the sky, and in mid-November, in the desert, at high altitude, that generally means you're looking at something pretty darned frosty.

But it was warm indoors, and the reason was that when yesterday evening rolled around and it was time to rescue the boys from Gitmo and settle into the RV for the night, I said, "Screw it! Let's spend the night in the Secret Lair!"

The boys were dubious as to the wisdom of this. Ghost in particular, who ordinarily makes such a show of his independence and goes-to-11 cool factor, becomes a complete drama queen when it's bedtime and things aren't just the way he's used to.

But since the only action required of them was to go to sleep, they didn't take long getting with the program.

My biggest concern, in terms of dog behavior, was that they'd make a big fuss over me not sleeping right there with them. I made a way for the cat to get into the loft, but not for the dogs. They've rarely been called on to sleep through the night without their person right there, peeling their grapes for them and keeping them safe and warm. But old Crybaby Ghost settled for the Alpha Dog's Portion: He got the big-boy chair, and I guess he decided that under these bizarre circumstances that would have to do.

I did get my running water back, in fact quite early yesterday. Apparently it really was icing, which raised quite a worry. If it would do that so early in the season, what would happen when it really got cold? Both M and I have tried our hands at making an insulated box for the valve manifold coming out the bottom of the cistern, but we're just not carpenter enough. Yes, the pipes are insulation-wrapped, but that does no good outside, when there's nothing to produce a temperature gradient for the insulation to maintain. So yesterday I took more simple but drastic action. I covered the pipes and valves with multi-layer plastic and duct tape and then buried the whole thing under two feet of dirt. I'll dig up the valves in the spring.

Anyway, this morning I woke to indoor temps that were near-sixty even on the ground floor. It took no time at all for the still-somewhat-warm woodstove to bring us back up to shirtsleeve territory, and I have to say it felt quite sinful. I haven't been that unseasonably comfortable first thing in the morning since spending a week at Landlady's house, last December. In fact the single problem that arose was that I forgot to bring coffee. I'm gonna go ahead and move up this "moving" thing.

Monday, November 14, 2011

This is so ironic...

Today, after hauling my drinking water from the Lair to the Property for over a year and on the virtual eve of moving into the Lair, I had to haul water to the Lair.

I was sick over it.

Friday the Lair's faucets went dry, because the cistern was dry. That surprised me, because 2600 gallons should go further than that. Saturday M discovered the cause, a broken pipe at the apple trees which are at the lowest point of any part of the water system. Most of Saturday and all of yesterday the pump wouldn't run because of heavy clouds, but today I had hopes. Now there's over three feet of water in the cistern and I still don't have any running water.

Two possibilities: Icing at the cistern outlet (happened twice last winter) or a sediment plug at the shut-off valve to the Lair. I had about ruled out the first because while we've had some freezing nights (hence the broken pipe) the days have been quite mild, and besides the line to M's Dome and the hose outlet at the cistern work just fine. So I'd about resigned myself to digging out, removing and cleaning that valve. But then this afternoon just before leaving the dome the drip rate increased from nothing this morning to pretty fast, and that sounds like icing. If that's the case, a few more hours might have cleared it but I ran out of time. Tomorrow's supposed to be nicer than today, which was gorgeous with not a cloud in the sky. If it's not running by noon I'll probably start digging up pipes. Sediment's still a strong possibility since the last water out of the cistern would have swept all before it, and there's a lot of sediment in there. But that doesn't explain the increased drip rate.

Either, way, crap.

"I keep hitting you with this bat, and all you do is lay there and bleed!"

"You're so lazy!"
HONOLULU - President Obama said that the United States has gotten a "little bit lazy" when it comes to bringing in new businesses in to the states. He made the comments at a CEO summit as part of the APEC conference Saturday, when asked by Boeing CEO James McNerney about looking at the world from a Chinese perspective and what they might consider as impediments to investing.
I'm no Silver, but I do see one problem right there - Why is a lack of foreign investment the problem? Where'd all the American money go? Don't bother answering that...

Of course this is the head of the government speaking, so it can't be anything his organization is doing. And I must imagine that he actually believes it, because would anybody on earth have the sheer gall to stand in front of a bunch of CEOs and say that if he didn't believe it?

Naturally, he has a plan. More government will fix it!
He then went on to say things his administration has done like setting up Select USA that organizes government agencies in an attempt to make it easier for foreign investors to set up a plant in the U.S.
Yes! That's what this situation needs. Another government program.

Sigh. I'm gonna go build an unlicensed fence now.

Grandatter Learns she's a Carnivore, Approves.

I remember the first time Daughter got that look, and that was only a strawberry.

"Try to take it away from me. Just try. I feel other nascent instincts stirring..."


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Some pix from the Lair...

The last piece of furniture. Perfect fit.

I told Landlady several months ago that when the kitchen was finally in and functional, I wanted to celebrate with a decent set of silverware. Not real expensive stuff, not $50 a setting or anything like, but not bendy dollar store crap. I never got used to working with such tools. So yesterday M helped me break these in on roast chicken.

You have your idea of interior decoration, and I have mine.

Whatever its other virtues, the Lair is flammable as hell. The scrap from all that siding makes excellent tinder - I've got a big box of it. And of course it's heated with wood, which means a sizeable flame is going on inside five or six months out of the year. I really wanted a respectable fire extinguisher, and to mount it where it can be seen and reached without regard to style. Of course style isn't a matter I initially intended to consider at all, and even in the Lair's later, fancier form I abandoned it whenever suitable. So yeah - fire extinguisher. Prominent.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

What a day to celebrate!

It didn't start as much of a celebration, I confess. I woke around 4:30 to find that, for the first time in over two years, the power was out. Still don't know why. But there was a full moon, so there was light, and I had work to do.

M came in yesterday evening and presented an early Christmas. Books, videos, bookends, a new multi-tool, a new set of silverware for the Lair, long undies, all the stuff I'd ordered through Amazon some weeks ago. Also a couple of care packages from blog readers; thanks, guys! Even you, Bucctoo. I think Landlady might enjoy the shoes, and we'll just never discuss that again, okay?

The boys and I went down to the Lair early, lit a fire. Landlady had also sent some stuff she bought with my money, and I had some work to do. I've become paranoid about fire, and one of the things she sent was a big fire extinguisher which is now prominently mounted next to the loft ladder. I had some plumbing bits for the (now oddly non-functional) sink, and I'd just gotten all that done when M came down to tour the new, improved Lair. Yesterday I couldn't figure out how to get the well pump going, but he remembered and we confidently waited for the water level to raise to where the Lair had water again. And waited...and waited...and nothing was happening. I checked on it once during the morning: The pump was humming cheerfully away, but nothing much seemed to be happening. Later M went to visit his trees and discovered that in the very first freeze of the new winter the PVC under the faucet we put in down there in April had broken, and that's where all the water from the cistern went. He got the water shut off, but as of 2 this afternoon I still don't have any pressure. Maybe tomorrow. I've been hauling my water from the Lair to Landlady's property for over a year, and it's going to be ironic if, on the virtual eve of my moving in, I start hauling it the other way. But probably things will be all right; I'll know tomorrow.

M and I got all the concrete broken up from the five fenceposts we scavenged from Gitmo last month, and now it'll be a much easier task to fence in the Lair's front yard for the dogs. He also helped me move Landlady's generator back where it belongs, and move the desk - the very last piece of furniture! - to the Lair.

Yesterday while I was in town I bought a five-pound chicken, impulsively deciding to celebrate my new possession of a functioning oven by roasting a chicken for me and the boys. Since M was there, we split the bird four ways. Came out really good, and a wonderful time was had by all. Earlier M felt the beginnings of a migraine coming on, but after lying down for an hour it seems he escaped the worst of it. He decided he could go home on schedule after all, and at least he could enjoy the chicken.

In the next couple of days I'll put in the fenceposts, and once I've strung the fence there'll be nothing left to keep me from actually MOVING IN! I hauled one of the boys' cushions in this morning and there was some argument over who it belonged to, so I guess that was a good move. After M headed home we spent some time just hanging out because I'd really like them to get more comfortable with the place. Won't be long now.

I've got some pictures, but they'll have to wait - the interface cable is in the desk which is no longer here. Still need to get the cable modem and disk moved.

BTW, the flags look pretty darned good on the new loft railing.

Friday, November 11, 2011

You have your idea of interior decoration...

And I have mine.

They needed a wash before I take them to the Lair, though...

Won't somebody think of the poor hoplophobes?

Seriously, I hope this guy thought to rig a lamp under his bed, where he'll be hiding for the rest of his days. It can get boring under there without reading material.

H/T to Tam.

Joelsheimer's Disease...

Okay, way back when I was getting ready to build the kitchen cabinets, I bought a whole bunch of 1X4 and some 1X6, for putting up the loft railing in the Secret Lair. I also bought 1X2s, but not quite enough so I ended up ripping at least 1 1X4. There should still have been enough 1X4 for the railing - I knew where the 1X6 was, it was in the Lair's bathroom. So the remaining 1X4s should have been either in D&L's barn, in the Lair, or they had been expended and were gone. Well, they weren't at D&L's and they weren't at the Lair. Weep, wail, can't finish the railing.

Except this morning I was straightening up some stuff at the entrance of Landlady's barn, where I spend a good deal of time and which I pass several times a day, and there were five perfectly good 1X4s, in very plain sight, right where I'd left them. Right where they'd been for weeks.

I'd worry that I'm losing my mind, but I'd need to have one first - I've always been like this.

So anyway, I got the railing put up today.

Now I'm trying to figure out why M's Cistern is still empty. I ran some water this morning, and the tap ran for just a moment and then trickled to nothing. Couldn't be frozen: It wasn't frozen yesterday and the temps didn't even get below freezing last night. So I went up the hill to check, and found the cistern empty. Vaguely remembered M telling me that he had turned off the pump because of problems we were having with the high-water float switch. So I went into the pump house and attempted to turn the pump back on - got a red LED and no sound of pump. Went off for shit-shoveling, and when I came back the pump wasn't running and the cistern was quite empty. I HOPE it's just not running because it's so overcast the PV panel isn't making enough juice. It's very overcast.

While shit-shoveling, J came out and told me that the local hardware store was having a Going-Out-Of-Business sale. Yes, the one and only hardware store in town, the only one for a good forty miles, where the running joke is "They don't have that," managed to do such an incredibly bad job of being a hardware store that even with its natural advantages it still couldn't keep the doors open. They will not be missed very much, and I reallyreallyreally hope now somebody will open a real hardware store - maybe at that very location. I've said for years, that would be a great place to open one.

J was going to go and hit the sale, and I figured I should go ahead and give them one more chance not to have the drain plumbing parts I need. So I went, and sure enough they didn't have that.

Got a nice Subway sandwich, though, and that's worth the trip right there.

Stop the Presses!

The federal government does something...right? Well, not entirely wrong, anyway.

But now I have this perverse desire to know how many goats there are...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Got a little work done, anyway.

Got some shelves up in the kitchen. Took the drawers apart, cut them to size, put'em back together, and got them mounted. The one on the right's still giving me a bit of trouble, not sure why but we'll work it out. Got the kick panel cut and nailed up, but you don't want to look at a picture of that.

I don't pay much attention to art, but I do have a couple of things by Claire I try to take care of and I hung those yesterday. One's just a poster, but the other's a gen-u-wine original. You may gen-u-flect.

Once I get back to the loft bannister, I'm gonna see how it'd look if I hung my Gadsden and Dullhawk flags from there, just because I like'em. Gotta wash the Gadsden first though: It's been tacked to my ceiling for five years, and it's pretty grimy and flyspecked at the moment.

Now I've done about as much on the interior as I can without more stuff, and really need to turn my attention to the front fence. I was afraid there wouldn't be enough posts, but I was wrong about that; laid out the right way, there are just enough. I do want to see if I can get those damned big concrete plugs off them, though, and then I need a few more bags of new cement. If I can get the old cement off, this'll be a breeze. If I can't, it'll be the other thing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Brilliant. Inspired. Why didn't we think of this before?

The national economy is in the toilet.  The unemployment rate is above 9%*.  Clearly, what this country needs is a Christmas Tree Tax.
President Obama’s Agriculture Department today announced that it will impose a new 15-cent charge on all fresh Christmas trees—the Christmas Tree Tax—to support a new Federal program to improve the image and marketing of Christmas trees.
If I made it up, it'd be bad fiction.

H/T to Claire.

*That's what they admit to, which automatically makes it bullshit. I'll use the same methods they do (pulling a figure out of my ass) and say the actual unemployment rate is currently 87%.

UPDATE: Ha! That didn't take long. Heard this on the Jeep's radio this afternoon. Sounds like Obama decided he's got enough nicknames, and doesn't need "Grinch" just before a campaign that would already be deadly enough, if the GOP weren't committing its traditional pre-election sepukku.

Just because I thought it was funny.

On comments not getting posted...

Sorry, guys.  I should check my spam file more often.  I dunno why Blogger is sending some of your comments there, but I'll try to be more cognizent of it.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Building a road, sorta

When the sun came up this morning the clouds were so socked in I was certain it would be a snowy day and I was in a rush to get the shit-shoveling out of the way before the sky fell, cold or no cold.  A couple of hours later, when I was ready but not willing to go, there were occasional blue patches.  So naturally I sat back down with my book and waited for it to warm up a bit.

Once the shit-shoveling was out of the way I went down to M's Dome to move some dirt.  All the easy stuff is long since done and I'm working my way - very slowly - around the curve behind the dome.  This is the hard part because here the slope gets too steep for even a crazy man to want to ride it sideways, so you can't just drive up to the hole and dump your load.  Sooner or later that would test your ability to jump off a rolling tractor, and I'm a little old and one-legged for that to sound like fun.  Instead I'm using the dirt I already moved, packed in tight (I hope) between the dome and the side of the trench, as a road I'm building - and did I mention very slowly - ahead of me as I proceed.  Hit a bit of a snag today, since there's a little cul-de-sac in the side of the trench where the propane line goes down and no matter how I approach it the dirt just doesn't seem to want to go there.  But I've got to fill it in, or sooner or later the tractor will - by going where the dirt is too soft and just falling in.

That would be bad.

Also, since I'm not exactly a professional heavy equipment operator, I have the occasional embarrassing moment where I'm glad nobody's there watching me.  Like when I ram the bucket into the dirt pile, scoop up what I think is a good load, struggle up the hill and tip the bucket, and have maybe two shovels-worth come out.  Yeah, that's a good use of time and diesel.  Or when I'm ever-so-cautiously backing down the steep part, my foot slips off one of the brake pedals, and the whole tractor rears up on its hind wheels and starts trying to do the Twist.  That just never gets old.

I just really can't express how slowly this is going.  There's no way in hell I'll get it covered by full winter, or even surrounded.  Last month that really bothered me, but now I've pretty much relaxed to it.  I try to give it at least an hour or two on non-windy days, and sometimes I make perceptible progress and sometimes - the other thing happens.  Today, at least, I can honestly say I advanced the road a few feet.  All I can do is keep chipping away at it, and try not to get killed.

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Different Brand...

So yesterday evening I snuck into town to buy some dog food.

There are two dollar stores in town.  One's right next to the police station.  I chose the other one.  A 25-pound bag of the food with the best price was still a major brand name, and I figured the boys wouldn't mind too much.  I should have learned a lesson from the time I locally bought a bag of cat food.  Click the Cat thought it was the best thing that had ever happened, short of the death of Butch.

So I opened the new bag and offered it to them.  They loved it.  Even Click got into the act.

Between them, I figure they'll probably weigh about 25 extra pounds before Landlady shows up with their usual fare.

The best thing on the innertubes today...

Courtesy of Brad McElroy.  Guess we don't have to ask his opinion of Michael Moore now.
Left's Been Good
(with thanks -- and profound apologies -- to Joe Walsh)
(original lyrics, MP3)

I bought a mansion, my waterfront home
Five million dollars, it cost me to own
I ride in limos, with bodyguards too
Other than that, I'm exactly like you

Thank God progressives like to praise all my work
I'm just raking in cash, film awards and the perks
Left's been good to me so far

I'm makin' movies, I get a tax break
A million dollars, I got from the state
It's structured so that my income is small
Got a foundation to pay for it all

Exploited workers, I'm enraged to see
Unless of course, they're working for me
So I bash mega-business, the profiteering swine
Unless of course, the profits are mine

They say I'm rich, but I need not explain
(Everybody say they lie....they lie)
I might be phony, but I still feel your pain
Left's been good to me so far

I fly to protests, first class all the way
Stand with the poor folks, and say they're okay
Then off to a signing, for my brand new book
It's still more all about me, buy it and look

The one percent is mostly poorer than I
(Everybody say I'm rich...he's rich)
My stuff keeps selling, guess I'll never know why
Left's been good to me so far
Go there for the links.  Lots of links.

And in case you whipper-snappers don't know the tune...

I admit it...

The glass-fronted box is a cute idea.  Not original, but it did make me laugh.

But Tam is right - the "Zombie Apocalypse" shark may now consider itself thoroughly and definitively jumped.

Okey Dokey, Then...

Knowledge that tents don't make good "safe houses" dawns in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ...

At last the beleaguered female protesters of Occupy Wall Street take decisive action to protect themselves from ... Occupy Wall Street protesters. If you call this decisive.
Spurred by a spate of sex attacks in Zuccotti Park, Occupy Wall Street protesters built a “safe house” for women on Friday. The 16-square-foot military frame tent is designed to shelter up to 30 women from the predators lurking around the lower Manhattan encampment.

“It will be used to protect ourselves from people out there,” said Nan Terrie, 17, a protester from East Oakland Park, Fla. “I’m sick and tired of women getting taken advantage of, raped and murdered."
Okay, I'm all on board with that. I wasn't aware OWS women were being raped and/or murdered, but if they are I wish to go on record as saying that's a bad thing.

Breda's got a better idea, though...
Yes, this post was just a set-up to justify the photo. What's your point?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Grumble, again.

Well, D came over to the cabin this afternoon to work on the kitchen, but we didn't accomplish much. Got the drawer slides all level and parallel, then found that the drawer boxes I built were 3/8" TOO WIDE. I built them to the exact dimensions I was supposed to, but still think it's my fault: Landlady got the slides for me, and when she called from Home Depot and described the panoply of selections, I told her just get two sets of the biggest, baddest ones they've got. So now I've got drawer slides that would serve in a tool cabinet, but need to rebuild the drawers.

Then we cut the slots for the kick panel, only to find that I need to shave a quarter inch off the whole thing.

Then we tried to install the cabinet doors, only to find I bought many, many sets of the wrong frickin' hinges.


I did cut and place a couple of 5X5 timbers under the stove, though, and that'll serve till next year when I pull the thing out again to tile the floor. And I sorted a bunch of clothes, brought three boxes to the cabin and got them squared away in the loft.

And spent a couple of hours reading by my cozy fire. So the day wasn't a total loss. But it was kinda frustrating there for a while.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just a few hundred bad apples...

I'm sure the rest of them are FINE!
Daily News columnist Joanna Molloy called the incident yesteday "a disgrace," writing that it was "ridiculous" to refer to ticket-fixing as a "courtesy" because "the cops who erased parking tickets did so mostly for their girlfriends, their cousins and their buddies, leaving the rest of us to pay up." She continues: "When 16 cops act as if they are above the law—and 500 more turn up to support them…they ruin it for the rest of the 35,000 cops on the force."
I'm certain all those other cops are honest, upright people who are just appalled at this display. Which is why they tolerated it in their ranks for decades. Or could it be the 16 are the only ones who got caught, and the 500 are the only ones with the courage it takes to stand up for the practice? Maybe the 35,000 are the ones New Yorkers should worry about?

Either way, it's nice to know Bloomberg at least noticed...
Mayor Bloomberg took the same tact in his radio broadcast on Friday, saying "it's a tiny percentage of the people" who serve in the NYPD that were indicted. Interestingly enough, even that "tiny" group of people got something that even eluded Dominique Strauss-Kahn: they got their perp walk "fixed," and were loaded into black vans, away from the media's lenses.
Ah, the Only Ones. I wonder where they get the idea they're better than everybody else? Hm.

I don't know whether to vote for this guy for his honesty, or...

...cut his head off and bury him at a crossroads with a stake through his heart. Just to be sure.

But still...wouldn't it be nice if all politicians believed in truth in advertising?

H/T to Codrea.


While I was typing the below I got a comment from Tam on this post from yesterday:
"It's legal to carry a gun in a restaurant! Somebody help me! But it's illegal to carry a gun in the state legislature!"

That's because waitresses rarely do things that make people want to shoot them, unlike politicians.
Hee. It can't be said too often, though it certainly can be said less well.

Landlady probably made the right choice...

Wind all night. Rain before dawn, followed by our first dusting of snow. To my surprise the clouds went away right around sunup, but the wind came back and is now howling around at property-damaging velocities. And I doubt it's going to warm up much, so even though the temp is mid-thirties the wind chill is probably impressive.

Shivering. Must find it in me to go shit-shoveling. Do not want to. Really, REALLY wish I'd done it yesterday. What was I thinking?

Oh, yeah. I wasn't.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Boy, I really spaced...

This has been "finally getting ready to move" week, all day every day. This morning I went to the cabin first thing, even though I only had little things to do, and got so into it that I completely spaced that it was shit-shoveling day. And it never once occurred to me, till I got back to a couple of texts wanting to know if I was still alive. I've never missed that, at least not without a little notice.

Just got an email telling me Landlady isn't coming up as planned, and though I was looking forward to it and really want the stuff from my Amazon spending spree, plus I'm almost out of decent coffee, my first thought was "All right! That means I can get with D on the cabinet fronts this weekend!"

I guess at this stage obsession is better than indifference.

Sad little king of a sad little hill...

Mayor Michael Coleman of Columbus, Ohio, shows us his gun knowledge and debating chops. If I was this irrationally frightened of something proven to be so harmless, I think I'd just kill myself. By some means other than guns, of course, because they're evil.

H/T to Sipsey Street.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The last pieces of furniture

Well, except for the desk. But I'm afraid of hurting that if I move it myself, so I'll wait for help. Everything else is done now.

A couple of years ago our weekender neighbors were getting rid of these two cheap interim dressers they'd replaced with good ones, and I stored them in the barn. One had a little damage to the legs, but nothing that couldn't be fixed. To my surprise the rats left them alone, and today I moved them to the Lair's loft.

Finally found a use for that hundred feet of rope I keep in the Jeep.

Yeah, I'm a ways from done on the ceiling and that one wall. And that lamp ... well, I had an idea I could scavenge lamps from the old RV, and that one lamp is when I found out they don't use standard boxes. I've still got to replace that one.

The mattress came from Landlady, and a bedstead came with it but the legs are too wide. As you can see I'm not overburdened with space up there. In fact, after five years of sleeping on a couch I'm thinking maybe I want to do away with the mattress entirely and just get myself a decent cot. Certainly, with the exception of one folding chair there's no more furniture in the loft's future.

When I was done with that I went around with the remaining shelves I made for the cat ladder and used them for the Lair's secondary lighting system. I've always planned to hang kerosene lamps in the cabin, for the inevitable electrical failures. The shelves weren't in the original plan, though...

I picked these lamps from Lehman's because they could be hung from a wall, but it turns out not so much. Those little metal handles are adequate for carrying, but so thin and flexible that you really can't hang them from a screw. They just sag over. So I was happy to have some shelf brackets left.

And when I got hungry, I ate the first hot food I've ever had in the Secret Lair!

I get the damndest songs stuck in my head...

Just wake up in the morning, and there it is. Waiting.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

YES! reprised.

It not only fits...

It works!

Though clearly I've got to do something about the height, that should be no big thing. I can't begin to tell you what a relief this is. Yes I KNOW I measured it and it should have been fine, because why should a tape measure lie? You don't understand - this is the very sort of thing I screw up routinely. I can hear Uncle Murphy cackling his evil laugh as he lies in wait for me. I measure the stove over HERE, ten days later I write down what I remember to be the measurement over THERE, I cut the lumber and build the cabinet in this place HERE, and six weeks later I try to install the incompressibly iron stove into the too-small hole right...over...ah, shit. Yeah, my life and welcome to it. But this time I didn't fall prey to it. It may seem like a small thing to you normal people, but I am totally celebrating.

The dressers are ready to move but I didn't get them moved, because I'm dealing with a canine revolution. They really don't like Gitmo Poco - I think it's because they're not getting any sun at all behind the Big Doghouse this time of year. Before they could go around in front when they wanted sun, and maybe I have been overdoing the "here's a treat, get into Gitmo so Uncle Joel doesn't have to watch your irresponsible asses every second" thing.

But the stove totally works, which means the kitchen is, in a qualified way, fully functional. I still have that no sink drain plumbing issue, but I can live with that till I get the parts I need.

Okay, so now I'm doing the laundry...

Yeah, went out to hook up the hose to the washing machine right after writing the below, and found it frozen. So much for early laundry. Dragged it out to bask in the sun, loaded the chainsaw and tools into the Jeep, hooked up the trailer, and went out to cut down a tree.

It's not much of a tree, but there was some nice wood on it. Not quite enough to fill the trailer, but every little bit helps. Drove it down to the Lair, and as I passed the front I saw the door open. Oh, that's not good. But since nothing is disturbed I guess I forgot to latch it yesterday. I've been moving objects back and forth and it's possible I meant to go back and close the door but forgot. Shouldn't do that. Dumped the wood, came back. By this time the hose was thawed, so now I'm writing this to the sound of clothing being agitated in a tub of water.

The boys think all this coming and going without them constitutes harassment, and possibly contributes to a hostile work environment. I retorted that since they never do any work the point was moot. They suggested a consultation with an attorney might be called for, and I suggested a cellphone with extra-large buttons since they have no fingers.

There's no real danger; they know where the doggie treats come from.

Why yes, I am a redneck. Why do you ask?

Oh, here we go...

I knew I was in trouble sometime in the middle of the night, when Ghost wanted under the covers with me. Ghost doesn't like being cold. Neither do I, and it was a sure sign that the morning was gonna be shivery.

But at least it dawned sunny and calm, unlike yesterday. I've got more outside stuff to do this morning, including laundry, which can't be hung out in a wind because it doesn't stay hung out long. Gotta get that done, promised the weekender neighbor that I'd cut a couple of inconvenient dead trees on his place (inconvenient for him, firewood for me) and I'd really like to get my stove and dressers moved today. Dunno how I'm going to get the big dresser up into the loft by myself, though; may need to dragoon some help for that later.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

No wonder Bloomberg's been so active against everybody's guns lately...

He wants to draw attention from the city he's actually mayor of, as the NYPD continues to melt down...
The case against Detective Arbeeny was rooted in a far larger tale of corruption in Police Department drug units: several narcotics officers in Brooklyn have been caught mishandling drugs they seized as evidence, and hundreds of potentially tainted drug cases have been dismissed. The city has made payments to settle civil suits over wrongful incarcerations.

During the trial, prosecutors described the corruption in the drug units that Detective Arbeeny worked for. One former detective, Stephen Anderson, who did not know the defendant, testified that officers in those units often planted drugs on innocent people. Mr. Anderson has pleaded guilty to official misconduct over a 2008 episode involving drug evidence and now faces two to four years in prison.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes, indeed. The only thing that would surprise a person who had ever even heard of the NYPD in maybe the past hundred years is that there are so many indictments, let alone convictions. NYPD is so famously corrupt that given a choice between falling into its hands or that of some other New York street gang, I'd have to ask for time to think it over. Balko covered something similar a few days ago in a piece titled, "NYPD Cops Demand the Right to be Corrupt," and he wasn't even being all that hyperbolic:
A three-year investigation into the police’s habit of fixing traffic and parking tickets in the Bronx ended in the unsealing of indictments on Friday and a stunning display of vitriol by hundreds of off-duty officers, who converged on the courthouse to applaud their accused colleagues and denounce their prosecution.

As 16 police officers were arraigned at State Supreme Court in the Bronx, incensed colleagues organized by their union cursed and taunted prosecutors and investigators, chanting “Down with the D.A.” and “Ray Kelly, hypocrite.”

As the defendants emerged from their morning court appearance, a swarm of officers formed a cordon in the hallway and clapped as they picked their way to the elevators. Members of the news media were prevented by court officers from walking down the hallway where more than 100 off-duty police officers had gathered outside the courtroom.

The assembled police officers blocked cameras from filming their colleagues, in one instance grabbing lenses and shoving television camera operators backward.
Yet these are the people with all the power, the people to whom we are blandly expected to bend the knee. Gangs like NYPD and LAPD may be more blatant, but it doesn't get much different no matter where you go. And the one thing that's certain to come of it is that nothing will change - except to continue to deteriorate.

"I felt a great disturbance in the Anti-Gun force, as if 10, maybe 15 voices suddenly cried out in terror and were basically ignored."


Gotta run. Stuff to do.

Here's a sickeningly cute video.