Saturday, January 05, 2008

Thursday/Friday Re-runs

Rework Makes Me Cranky...

I almost stayed home today out of apathy and disgust, but then the 2% of sanity and maturity in my brain took over and forced me out the door a little after noon, resolute to at least START cutting the three new window openings.

When 3:30 came around I had managed to grind and saw my way through the 2x4's and tar paper to produce the desired dimensions--sans the new vapor sealing which will have to wait until Sunday.

The process really wasn't that bad physically, but mentally doing things like this gets to me because I put so much care and pride in building things accurately and square to begin with.

Now from the outside you can't really tell what happened, but until I get the interior wooden finishing and trim work done a month from now I have to look at the scene of the crime evidence of the rework and no matter what...


Believe me when I say that it won't happen again in the future, without someone suffering a head injury or potential dislocated arm or leg.

Tomorrow I'll get the openings resealed and set the windows, and Monday morning we'll be back on schedule hardly worse for the wear in the long run. My head has stopped throbbing and my blood pressure is near normal again, so I guess it's time to enjoy the balance of Saturday night and get some reading and writing done.

Until then...have a good one...if you will...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Backwards Thinking

Mental Digression...

Your Grade: B (84%)
You Passed with an Above Average Score:

JustSayHi - Science Quiz

Click on the above and go take the test yourself if you think that you're so smart...


Outsmarting Myself

With More Than A Little Help From My Vendors...

There was a time in my life when days like today would have made me start screaming and throwing things around the job site. I try not to get that angry and act like that any more, but I certainly have good reason to be more than a little upset with my window vendor as of about one thirty this afternoon.

I was literally ready to starting squirting Silicone Caulk into the window framing when I realized something was seriously wrong.

From the very beginning I've had to beg them for information. First the guy I'm working with is hardly ever in the office and he's the only one that apparently handles the MW Windows product line. The week I got pricing the factory was heavily damaged by a tornado, and every time I've called I always have to wait for the guy to call me back.

I went over to pick up data sheets on the windows back in the summer and he gave me the Vinyl sheet even though I was wanting wood--saying that every style was the same and used the same rough opening dimensions and he didn't have the wood data sheet.

When I bought the windows and went down to deliver my deposit check, the guy wasn't there.

When I called to schedule the delivery last month the guy wasn't there either, so it wasn't surprising that he also wasn't in the building when I called today to get an explanation for why the three new rough openings I had just finished sealing into the new sheathed wall with tar paper and insulating tape were 2'-8" wide x 3'-10" high, and my windows were 2'-9 1/2" wide x 4'-1" high.

Oh the coworker told me--everyone knows that you buy vinyl windows based on the rough opening dimensions, where wood windows are sized based on the actual sash dimensions.


Needless to say, since there is nothing in writing, and since the windows were custom built, that there is no sending them back IF I were willing to wait for them to be rebuilt, so tomorrow morning I'll be taking my Sawsall and mutilating my beautiful symmetrical wall framework--carving out the headers and jack/cripple studs, punching holes in my carefully taped vapor barrier to make room to re-hack enlarge the rough window holes with my circular saw.

That's a good way to spend a Saturday--wasting five or six additional hours re-doing something that would have and should have only taken four to do right in the first place.

Thanks to all the lovely people over at Varsity really have made my day.

(What really kills me is that the windows have been stored on site for nearly a month and I was working off AutoCAD drawings done at home with the data sheet, and not once did I ever think to check the window sizes with a tape measure--I just read the stickers and saw 2-8 x 3-10 designation and continued wandering ignorantly along in my journey. All I can say is that it really sucks being a near Freaking Genius when almost half the population can apparently barely read else just doesn't give a damn.)

Back To Reality The Job Site Again

Cold Weather Construction

I'm sitting here this morning watching the thermometer and basking in the warm glow I get when thinking about the upside down apple cart that was the Democratic Caucus in Iowa yesterday.

I harbor no real ill will toward the Lamestream Media and ardent Democrats, but I think that it's hilarious when the pundits and the prognosticators get things so TOTALLY WRONG as they did when they wanted to declare sHrillary Queen of the Universe when she entered the race last year.

I have the same attitude toward sports people that want to hang their hats on Football and Basketball rankings instead of waiting for the actual games to be played in order to determine who has the best five or eleven players.

Any way, when it hits 48 or 50 degrees outside we're heading over to Brunswick to finish the tarpaper vapor barrier on the new addition and install three new double hung windows in what will eventually be the dining room.

Then next week I'd like to get the new front door installed and the siding and trim on the front of the building so we can put a For Sale sign in the front yard and get this show on the road.

I've got a giant chunk of my cash invested in this project and I'm tired of waiting on appreciation to yield an increase in my paper net worth--I think that it's time to see some evidence of my financial success in my bank balance in the next eight to ten weeks.

The good news is that by selling this spring before the Democrats start screwing around with the Capital Gains Tax again, I'm looking at something like a 5% tax rate on the profits of taking the risk to renovate a property in an economically depressed, minority part of a Southern US City.

Of course there are people out there that lament me attempting to make a profit off of "poor people"--they think that I should GIVE my time and resources to the "less fortunate" else let the government steal my money and spend it on their behalf while denying me any say in the process.

I'd say that overall this exercise has been a success, because you don't pay FICA/FUTA/Social Security Tax on Rental income and with the lower Capital Gains Taxes I've basically beat the system--keeping more of my money for my benefit while at the same time improving the social condition of our community...something the government and liberals love to talk about but rarely accomplish.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

sHrillary Finishes Third In Iowa


You couldn't PAY me to be on a broom stick an airplane with her tonight. Small children probably aren't safe from her wrath.

(go Fred go Fred go Fred)

One Hand Clapping

Other In Pocket Keeping Warm...

Let's see...what's going on out there's 28 degrees F outside...I've got body parts starting to shrivel up and fall off if I'm not careful.

In other news, my Mom's having a birthday today--Happy Birthday Mom.

Last year at this time we were getting ready for a big surprise party at the local bed and breakfast inn with her siblings and her fellow Red Hatters. No such luck this year Mom, but happy birthday anyway...stay warm there with the Tom Cat.

What else...

Oh yeah...out in Iowa the media is in a full blown salivating frenzy as something less than 1/2 million people attempt to decide the fate of the governance of the free world in some inane process called a "caucus."

Then this...McDonalds is dumping the McRib Sandwich for good. I can't say that I rue that event, because I never ate a McRib, but I do look forward to the new McPossum and McArmadillo feasts coming out later in 2008.

Meanwhile, I delivered another $300 worth of materials to the job site yesterday, but it's just too cold with the wind chill down in the teens to get anything done today, so I guess we'll stay home and finish tearing down Christmas lights and boxing up decorations. I had to buy four more jumbo storage containers at Lowe's yesterday just to contain the new stuff that arrived by UPS and was lugged home and in through the front door in the process of the seasonal celebrations.

Something else that caught my eye this morning was news stories about the FAA implementing some kind of ban on Lithium batteries in checked baggage. I did a little Googling, and as usual the rocket scientists in the media are all over the map with the details, so I went straight to the horse's mouth to the FAA Website for the straight poop:

Effective January 1, 2008, the following rules apply to the spare lithium batteries you carry with you in case the battery in a device runs low:

Spare batteries are the batteries you carry separately from the devices they power. When batteries are installed in a device, they are not considered spare batteries.

You may not pack a spare lithium battery in your checked baggage

You may bring spare lithium batteries with you in carry-on baggage – see our spare battery tips and how-to sections to find out how to pack spare batteries safely!

Even though we recommend carrying your devices with you in carry-on baggage as well, if you must bring one in checked baggage, you may check it with the batteries installed.

The following quantity limits apply to both your spare and installed batteries. The limits are expressed in grams of “equivalent lithium content.” 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours:

Under the new rules, you can bring batteries with up to 8-gram equivalent lithium content. All lithium ion batteries in cell phones are below 8 gram equivalent lithium content. Nearly all laptop computers also are below this quantity threshold.

You can also bring up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold. Examples of two types of lithium ion batteries with equivalent lithium content over 8 grams but below 25 are shown below.

For a lithium metal battery, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the limit on lithium content is 2 grams of lithium metal per battery.

Almost all consumer-type lithium metal batteries are below 2 grams of lithium metal. But if you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!

As is usual with the government, that's certainly nice and clear...isn't it?

I'll keep all of that in mind next time I fly somewhere.

Here's something weird...IBM is paying their employees to get up off their asses and exercise.

How's this for incentive to stick to your new year's resolutions: cold hard cash. Many companies are offering a little extra in your paycheck to help you shed the pounds. Not only does Stefanie Chiras' company pay her to develop computer memory sub-systems, but a little extra to eat right."

Having work sponsor it makes you kind of feel like someone is buying into It," said Chiras. "And then certainly the cash at the end of the day is an incentive."Chiras works for IBM. She gets an additional $150 in her paycheck for tracking her eating habits online and losing weight."

When I reach for that next unhealthy thing, I think, oh, but I have to log it in to the tool."IBM launched its voluntary wellness incentive program four years ago – handing each employee up to $300 a year for completing healthy eating, exercise and preventative care programs.

I guess that makes sense, since IBM apparently spends nearly $2 billion on employee health care annually.

Good thing these people don't work for me, because my idea of a functional "voluntary wellness incentive program" would be to hand your giant lard ass a rake and shovel when you show up at work weighing 350 pounds and not let you back inside to recline in front of a computer in air conditioned luxury until the parking lot and highway frontage was clean and you had sweated off twenty or thirty pounds in a week.

Call me insensitive, I guess...

So any way, in the interest of my own health I guess that I'll spend the day laying around in my PJ's, huddled by some fake logs burning in the fireplace contemplating the things I'm not getting done over on my construction project.

Since I don't even care about the bowl games these days, my life is spent in a catatonic stupor of "just don't give a damn" as FOX News drones on about the 2008 Presidential election.

Is it just me?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Someone Please Add Another Log To The Fire...

It's COLD down here on our little Island.

Of course, it is January, so I guess that's not supposed to be a surprise.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Happy New Year And All That Stuff...

I regret to admit that I was asleep by 10:30 last night so I missed the dropping of balls and firing of fireworks and the balance of the festivities.

I guess that I'm just getting old. Ten years ago I was running around Atlanta in a Lincoln Limousine until the wee hours of the morning with an entourage of college friends and business associates I was hosting for the evening--how times change.

2008 found me in a coma at midnight, and I didn't budge again until 4:30 AM when it was time to get up and check my Boston Pork butt which was reclining in a lovely brine mixture in a big pot in a cooler full of ice in the kitchen.

I was also haunted by a giant bundle of Turnip Greens, Spinach, and Kale that needed washing in the sink and a load of Black Eyed Peas that had soaked overnight yesterday and were yet partially cooked on my stove top.

I'm trying to hit the ground running in the new year, so after searing the pork butt in my giant Cast Iron Dutch Oven and setting it cooking on a low 200 degree F heat we'll head over to Lowes for a couple of sheets of OSB and some caulk, then visit the job site for four or five hours finishing the external sheathing and installing three windows in the new front wall of the dining room.

Unfortunately winter will arrive here on our little island this week, with temperatures expected down into the mid to upper 20's Wednesday night and gusty winds blowing the Spanish Moss out of the trees in the yard. I've got to move all five thousand five hundred fifty of Pat's ferns and other tropical plants into the garage and sun porch between now and then in order to avert disaster. We only have to look forward to a dozen or so nights of this kind of weather down here--so it's sort of a shock when it arrives to interrupt our otherwise balmy existence.

At least Georgia Tech managed to not start the year with an ugly loss in football (instead finishing the year with an ugly loss), losing 40 to 28 yesterday on some kind of blue football field out in Idaho in the Humanitarian Bowl. On behalf of all of the GT Alumni, I offer my apology if you felt compelled to watch the game (I didn't.)

In other football news of note, Auburn beat Clemson (I laugh no matter who wins because I know engineers from both schools), my Dad's Alma mater Kentucky beat Florida State, and let's hope that Hawaii gives Georgia a good pounding so I can live in peace for the next eight months here in the Peach State.

I smell my greens boiling, so I guess that I better go check on them. Have a nice New Years day everyone, and don't be tempted to make any resolutions you're not prepared to keep.

Know what I mean?

Monday, December 31, 2007

Clinton Campaign Has A Good Point

They're Thinking Speaking The Unspeakable Unthinkable...

It seems that last weekend a few folks associated with the Clinton campaign made some public comments about the potential invalidity of maintaining Iowa voter's importance in the overall National election picture.

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (CNN) – Just days before the Iowa caucuses, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter criticized the state’s privileged role in the presidential nominating process, forcing her campaign to declare that she did not agree with the assessment.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland was quoted in Sunday’s edition of The Columbus Dispatch as saying that it “makes no sense” to grant Iowa the right to hold the first contest of the 2008 race for the White House.

"I'd like to see both parties say, 'We're going to bring this to an end,'" Strickland told the newspaper.

Competing campaigns seized on the article and emailed it around to reporters to highlight Strickland’s comments late Sunday night. The Clinton campaign moved quickly, and issued a statement shortly after midnight distancing the New York senator from the governor’s remarks.

“Senator Clinton has worked her heart out campaigning in Iowa because she knows it plays a unique and special role in the nominating process and that process must be protected,” read the statement. “As she has said many times she is glad Iowans are entrusted with this responsibility because they take it so seriously. On this issue Hillary and Gov. Strickland strongly disagree.”

Now wait just a darn minute Folks...I think that the good Governor might be on to something here, because I've wondered that exact same thing myself in the past election years and again in the past few weeks heading into January.

Bringing the subject up again, I did a little Googling and found this information about the state of Iowa here and here.

When thinking about the validity of kicking off something as important as the process of choosing the president of the most powerful nation on the planet, wouldn't you expect to base the first results on an "average" sampling of people representing the country's "Average" population, right?

Well, if that were the case than you'd be WRONG, because the population of Iowa is far, far from a representation of the true average American mainstream. For instance:

Iowa's population is only 2,982,000--less than 1% of the nation's total (by the way, being an Agricultural state, there are 16.6 million Hogs living in they get to "caucus" also?)

The population of Iowa's largest city, Des Moines, is only 194,311.

Unfortunately, something which I couldn't find valadation of was the true count of the number of people expected to actually show up at the polls for the Democratic and Republican primaries on January 3rd. Based on averages, it's probably less than 50% of registered voters--many times somewhere in the 20% or 30% range.

That means you can knock the Iowa Caucus down to being the opinion of somewhere in the area of less than a million people out of 300 million Americans...1/3 of 1%.

I'm sure that you will excuse me if I admit that for some reason I personally am not impressed.

That said, now I have to ask how in the heck the media and the political elite can place so much emphasis on what Iowa "Caucusers" think this week, when most of the time they could care less what the farmers and "hayseed" residents of our country believe and about which issues they worry about on a daily basis?

After all, there is no major metropolitan area in the state of Iowa and, with so few people living within its external borders, what's the big deal with what this little 1% of Amercans think?

And another interesting thing I found when looking at the demographic data on the Great State of Iowa--something that should piss off Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton in the process...

Iowa's population is 95% white/Caucasian, with African Americans and Hispanics making up only 2.3% and 3.7 % of the citizenry respectively.

I thought that those numbers were somewhere around 12% and 14% nationally.

How can they let that happen?

Yeah...I thought so...

NY Times Gets A Clue?


In the past, I, like many other independent minded/libertarian/conservatives, have lambasted the NY Times editorial page for their inane, one sided content that most of the time cannot stand up to even the lowest levels of intellectual scrutiny.

As a result, in the past year or so the Times elected to hide their Editorial content in their online edition behind their paid subscription service--ostensibly as a protective measure shielding their mush-mined columists from bloggers like myself who are not willing to toss cash at them in return for the hours and pages of blogging topics their ill founded and poorly thought out essays represent.

In spite of this ongoing online blockade, this morning I was pleased to learn about the Sunday announcement that conservative columnist Bill Kristol is joining pseudo-conservative David Brooks on the NY Times editorial page next week.

His column will run one day a week against the two a week offerings of Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, Thomas Friedman, Nick Kristof, and Gail Collins.

Of course liberals the world over are shrieking in indignation that the Times, with Brooks two columns and Kristol's weekly offering, is now at a 1-1/2 to 5 disadvantage in opinion thinking (or the lack thereof.)

The move still doesn't make things at the NY Times fair and balanced in my opinion either, but it's a good start.

Of course the liberals will probably expect the Times to hire Al Franken or Al Gore or even Wierd Al Yankovic to slide things back to the left.

I say let them eat cake...

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The First Bar-B-Que Grilling

And Shepherd's Kept Watch Over their Weber Kettles Flocks By Night...

(click to enlarge)

Notice the little Black and Tan Dockie standing Guard?

Instead of a charcoal grill, that thing in the middle is actually a little candle holder I bought this weekend in my Mother's favorite gift shop in her home town.

Obviously we made it back home this afternoon to our little island in spite of Mother Nature's wrath, and after unpacking and consuming a nice Sushi dinner...I believe that I'll rest now.

Also, I guess that I'll get an early start on wishing you all a Happy New Year...a day and a half in advance...

Drought...What Drought???

Would Someone Please Call Noah?

I hereby announce that I've come to believe that I have weather powers verging on "Mythical."

You see, I can conjure up a major rainstorm virtually every single time that I visit my century old family farm in south Alabama--IF I have work to do outside.

When it's not raining, then it's 100 degrees and I'm trying to stand on the roof or work in the attic of the house.

We've visited south Alabama twice in the past week and one half and it's rained EVERY SINGLE DAY I'VE BEEN HERE, and it's not just affecting me and my good intentions--it's getting to the entire family.

Instead of letting Missy the Turbo Pup wander around the lake without a leash attached to her fuzzy neck, we've been forced to tie a rope to her and let her take a few steps off the breeze way by the pool to "do her business."

The roofs and gutters on three buildings are still covered with pine straw, and there is no way that I'm lugging my new cupola into position in its lofty perch over the garage, in spite of extending the visit by one if not two days (due to bad weather.)

We just had another round of thunderstorms before midnight, and looking at the Mobile, AL weather radar there is more heading this way from where that came from. I'd say we're pushing six inches of rain in the past week, and it isn't supposed to end until late tomorrow when the weather plunges into the high twenties overnight for a few days.

That Global Warming...she be a real BITCH.