Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Links: August 30

"The Hungry Games"

Where to complain about Do Not Call violations. [link]

5 dumbest states in America. [link]
No surprises, really.

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline Bella and Edward are in an abusive relationship. [link]

A horrible(ly funny) thing to do to someone in the bathroom.

 The NRA keeps the gun registration list they don't want the government to make. [link]

Rent a chicken coop to try it out. [link]

The elevated Amazon highway. [link]

You know what? Let's just turn Detroit into a nature park. [link]

Don't wash the chicken before cooking. [link]

You know what? Let's just turn Oklahoma into a nature park. [link]

Kristen Chenoweth singing a duet with an audience member.

Building a balloon Cthulhu.

An ... interesting, yeah, interesting printer idea. [link]

Highly detailed fictional maps. [link]

The 5 beers most responsible for hospital visits. [link]

To heck with this video about economic division. When in DC or Baltimore you want to hit Dangerously Delicious Pies and get a Baltimore Bomb. It's made of Burger Cookies, another Baltimore dessert. [link]

5 terrifying statement in the leaked climate report. [link]

If you could travel back in time to any decade of the 20th century, when would you pick? [link]

Nursing home gets regular llama visitor. [link]

Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield talk about the ear biting. [link]

A new type of Craigslist killer. [link]

History will pardon Manning even if Obama doesn't. [link]

How different cultures say "I disagree." [link]

Drunk behavior vs stoned behavior.

Loneliness kills! [link]
I have to argue with this article. Loneliness may be bad for you, but loneliness and social isolation aren't the same thing. I'm pretty isolated but I'm hardly lonely. Having to deal with people is WAY more stressful.

Oh, look! Jesus won't protect you from measles. Maybe try vaccines! [link]

How to read and understand scientific papers. [link]

Journalism vs the surveillance state. [link]

Just thinking about science triggers moral behavior. [link]

Teen builds fusion reactor. [link]

The forest that's a tree. [link]

Possibly the oldest globe showing the new world. [link]

Songs with the music removed. [link]

Pandas on slides.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Barn before and after

While in Kansas we had a little barn razing. While an army of Mongols would have helped, we just had some pry bars and hammers.
It was a good barn, but it had no use anymore and was rotting. The only thing it had been used for in my memory was to swing on a rope that hung from the highest point. That was awesome. But even the rope broke before we started pulling nails. It was time.

back (featuring Wattson and dog)

front left

front right

The first thing Wattson and I did was get up on the loft that the rope used to swing us to and start poking at the underside of the roof. We had to know how secure it was before someone did something stupid like walk on it. And much of it just came away.

End of day 1:
Not that dramatic, I'll admit. If you look closely you'll see doors missing. If you look really closely you'll see bits of metal missing. Hooks, knobs, rails for sliding doors. It was mostly salvage that first day. A few boards came off one side. And a bunch of trees were cut back for better access.

End of day 3:
On the second day I got up on the roof and started pulling nails out of the metal. Most of them were easy. But everything within about 9 inches of the peak of the roof refused to go. Each one was a war. And to be sure to hold on I'd clench. I was sore and probably bruised by the end of the day and sat weird the rest of the week. I didn't actually have anyone check for bruising.

I'm not sure what happened to my day 2 pictures so let's just skip to day 3.
Lots more board removed from the sides of the building. Most of those that remained are there to discourage the building from falling over without permission. And I got a lot of metal off the roof before our plans changed. Turns out we weren't just going to be able to burn what we didn't want.

Dad and Truck

I didn't get pictures from day 4 because not much happened.
If you look at the front of the barn you'll see a couple of doors. The one on the left was the "newer" milking barn. Newer because there was some level of technology other than just boards to catch cow heads in. It was still something used when Mom was a little girl. The other door led to a small workshop/storage area. Both were lined with asbestos paneling. Not fiberous stuff that flaked apart. Hard stuff. A bit like bathroom tile. Still, when it broke you have to expect something to get flung off. So on day 4 Wattson wore a high quality mask to work on gently pulling nails from it while I worked on taking the back wall off.
The back wall had been framed up and then the wall attached to the studs as a whole unit. I tried to undo that. But the studs were more interested in coming away from the baseboard than they were in coming away from the wall. It turned out later that the studs were never actually nailed to the baseboard. What the fuck!?!

On day 5 it rained.

This is the stray cat that kept hanging out and talking to us while we worked

This was what was growing from the ceiling.

This is Wattson and his girlfriend Jailbait as seen through the roof. 
Hopefully, when I get to see the video of the final collapse of the barn I'll get to share it with you.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

That's, like, a lot of that stuff

This is what a ton of RoundUp looks like. Well, minus whatever was used before I got there. But it WAS a ton of RoundUp.

I shaved

I left my electric beard trimmer in Kansas... I think. Anyway, it's gone. And since my beard was about to turn into a face-fro I thought it was time to get rid of the whole thing for the first time since college. Here's the documentation of the transformation.


Classic me

Mustaches are always creepy. Always. 

The beard cut away pretty easy, but it was only a few months old. Less than a year for sure. The goatee, on the other hand, had been there for more than a decade and didn't want to come off. I ruined a couple of blades trying to hack that thing off.

And what do you think of my bathroom?

Monday, August 26, 2013

Why was that so hard?

This room of my Baltimore house has had it's drop ceiling torn out, wood panelling torn down, lath and plaster removed, carpet torn up, radiator pulled and drained, ceiling joists cut out, front wall reframed, new wiring and lights put in, and foam insulation sprayed in the front wall and under the roof.

The current plans for the ceiling involved raising it up to the underside of the roof. The problem with that plan is that the roof joists1 are lower in the middle of the room than they are in the middle. I don't mean they're sagging or bent. The way they were cut is uneven. The worst of the beams is 5 inches thicker at the middle of the beam than at the ends. If they were concave I wouldn't mind so much. There's great fun to be had with a concave ceiling. But a convex ceiling is another matter. It's just going to make you feel like things are closing in on you. I'd want to paint it like a giant eyeball. Maybe change my alarm clock to say "Prisoner Zero has escaped!"

So I started thinking about how to level out the beams.
I could cut away the beams until they were even, but that gives me the willies.
I could add spacers and build them down until they're even. Either fill in the whole way or just have a few blocks spaced apart. Then just make sure that when putting in dry wall that the screws were long enough to reach the roof joists. Or I could take this board that runs the whole length of the room, put it up against the roof joist, trace the line of the joist on to the beam, use a saw to cut away the excess, put the remainder of the board up to the joist and attach it. That's gonna take days to do all four joists, though.
Neither of these seems idea. So I call Yummy to act as a sound board. She's not there. Call my brother, Wattson, to use him as a sound board. After two hours of tossing ideas back and forth I realized something. We were making this WAY too complicated.
Why take that board back down after attaching it to the joist for tracing? Why not attach it to the side of the joist for good? OK, there's too much curve to the roof joists. How about we get some strong metal brackets to hang the board from the joists as closely as possible?  Why are we even discussing cutting the board up?

So that's what I did Saturday. I'd found a $350 drywall panel lifter on Craigslist for $45 the week before. I used it to lift the board into place, leveled them, and then attached them to brackets. It's a pretty good looking job.

Next weekend I should be able to get the drywall up

1 Joists are the horizontal boards that make the structure of a platform. Floor joists run under the floor. Ceiling joists run over the ceiling. Roof joists are what the roof sits on.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Links: August 23

Attorney General Holder trying to get rid of minimum prison sentences for minor drug offenses. [link]

How the drug companies work to make meth easy to make. [link]

How to do a convocation speech at a tech school. [link]

This record was recently set by a friend of my lackey. [link]

29% of San Francisco smog is from China. [link]

North Carolina bans using climate change predictions in making coastal policies. [link]

Something completely different from Aardman Entertainment. It's a trailer for BBC2s Dark Side of the Moon based radio drama.

Nostalgia was once a psychological condition to be treated. [link]

Can graphic design help the homeless? [link]

What happens when you get rid of tipping? [link]

Chinese zoo tries to pass off a big fluffy dog as a lion. [link]

Electronics so low powered that they can run off of TV signals. [link]

Animated chart of population by age over time. [link]

Current cost of raising a kid until 18: $241,080. [link]

Quick neuroscience tips. [link]

The NSA is Meshnet's best friend. [link]

How banner dragging planes get their banners.

Nifty fonts on old equipment. [link]

More Republicans in Louisiana think Obama was to blame for the lousy response to Katrina than Bush. [link]

How the government harasses Americans re-entering the United States. [link]

When 3D printers fail. [link]

Ben Affleck couldn't direct the Justice League movie because he's going to be playing... sigh... Batman. [link]

Magic Beard

I was going to do something similar when I cut off my beard this weekend, but I was going to be ripping big hunks of hair out.

How to take sunset pictures (skip to the last 4 paragraphs). [link]

Government tells us what we already know about Area 51. [link]

Coke is part of a healthy lifestyle. Yep, and a spoon is part of a healthy breakfast. [link]

The man behind one of the internet's biggest drug websites. [link]

Surprise, surprise, the NSA has been overreaching. [link]

Slang for genitals over the years. [men] [women]

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Just my luck. Mom gets a picture of me on the roof of the barn and she gets a shot of me fumbling the hammer.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

"I Love It" bothers me

Being an old man I tend not to listen to much current music. But you gotta have a radio on while doing construction. Gotta. The station I landed on isn't the usual 60's/70's/80's stuff that I tend to listen to. But it wasn't country music so I stayed. One song in particular stands out. Largely because I can understand the lyrics. Don't give me that look. I had the same problem when I did listen to music a lot. The words are horribly garbled. But the song "I Love It" is totally comprehensible. But the message I'm getting is different than the message I think they're trying to send.

Here's the chorus.

You're on a different road, I'm in the Milky Way
You want me down on earth, but I am up in space
You're so damn hard to please, we gotta kill this switch
You're from the 70's, but I'm a 90's bitch

It's a common rock message. I'm wild. Ain't no boy or nothing gonna hold me down. I just want to party and have fun. But then things turn dark.

The other lyrics may as well be a chorus since it's the only other thing said.

I got this feeling on the summer day when you were gone.
I crashed my car into the bridge. I watched, I let it burn.
I threw your shit into a bag and pushed it down the stairs.
I crashed my car into the bridge.
I don't care, I love it.

This is a seriously disturbed woman who needs therapy and medication. She's like the dog who trashes the house when left home alone1. The moment her man (I'm assuming, it could be a woman) leaves her alone for a little bit she freaks out and starts breaking things and attempting to hurt herself. I don't know what she's like when she's with her significant other, but I assume he helps her keep it together. Because when she's alone for too long she deliberately drives into the side of a bridge. Then rather than get upset or freak out she's making marshmallows in the ruins. Then she somehow gets home and starts destroying stuff there, too. Because she likes destroying stuff. And now she's breaking up with the whoever because she prefers destruction.

Now that I look at the lyrics a bit closer I see that she could be upset about the car. Maybe that's why she's throwing his stuff out. Her being crazy has been established and she's blaming him for leaving her alone long enough for the crazy to set in. But then, she doesn't love it? Does she want him to fight for her or...

Either way, ladies of "Icona Pop", if this song is based on anything that actually happened to you I suggest you get medicated.

1 Stop. You know damn well I'm not comparing women to dogs. But this one woman has abandonment issues on par with some badly behaved dogs.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The cats post

Debris chilling in a bird bath

Debris sleeping on the cardboard and
Grey cat number 1 sleeping in the pot.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Links: August 16

Game: Galaxy Siege - Build a ship to fight your way through the galaxy. [link]

Homemade tie fighter. [link]

Poor dead polar bear. [link]

14 best cities for the childfree. [link]

Rick Perry has no clue what state he's even in. [link]

Illinois becomes the 20th state to legalize medical marijuana. [link]
Emphasis on the medical.

Republicans voted to repeal Obamacare for the 40th time. [link]

Radioactive galaxy. [link]

Venezuelan slum tower. [link]

The first competitor to the postal system. [link]

Treat rejection with Tylenol. [link]

The Emu War. [link]

The writing of the first Apple OS. [link]

A dead guy with Dreamworks Face. [link]

Google Maps goes in a Police Call Box. [link]
You may have to go up and down the street a bit until you see the double arrows.

A rewrite for Star Wars Episode II.

Spies who were just full of crap. [link]

Sexy objects. [link]
I think most appliance and vehicle companies need a retro design department.

Birth to death in film clips.

That's a lot of work!

Inside a spherical mirror.

A new cat vs printer video.

Prisoners Dilemma tested on prisoners. [link]

Holocaust survivors live longer. [link]

How not to say the wrong thing. [link]

Jeff Bezos on purchasing the Washington Post. [link]
More [link]
I'm torn about this. On one hand Bezos knows his tech and may be good for helping the Post adapt to the modern era. On the other hand Bezos likes to patent shit he and his companies have had nothing to do with and turn them against other companies. He agrees it should be illegal but he does it anyway. So I just dislike him as a person.

Sleep deprivation makes us eat worse. [link]

Dolphins remember their friends after 20 years. [link]

Rather than solve the problem the GOP is likely to up the economic sabotage. [link]

Check out the disaster probabilities for your neighborhood. [link]

Tea Party wingnuts blame Obama for their racism. [link]

Republican GOP heads push for admitting human caused climate change. [link]

Game: Human Chop - drop things on people. [link]

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

supposing souls have no mass

Years ago I came up with my own twist on reincarnation. I think we can agree to define soul as some attribute of a person with existence beyond that of the physical body. Mankind hasn't been able to find or otherwise prove the existence of a soul. In classical reincarnation the soul moves from a dead person to someone just being born. OK, maybe not always a person, but work with me here.

I'm wondering whether these new lives have to be in chronological order. If one person dies on Wednesday do they have to be in someone born on Thursday or can they be born on Tuesday? Or 1000 years ago? 

If we can't find the soul then presumably it has no physical nature and therefore no mass. Having no mass it can be accelerated to light speed and beyond. See, normal matter increases in mass as it gets closer and closer to the speed of light and needs more and more energy to accelerate it. At least that's how I keep having it explained to me. So without mass it can hit light speed and beyond and go back in time. Thus, someone can reincarnate into someone who was born before their previous host body died. 

Where I eventually go with this thinking is that there's only one soul. It moves back and forth through time living out life after life. Sometimes it lives in people. Sometimes it might live in animals. One might go so far as to call it God. 

This means that everyone you know is you. Everyone you've ever heard of is you. Your parents were you. Your friends are you. The members of the Westboro Baptist Church are you. The President is you. The guy who locks his daughter in the basement for 14 years as a sex slave is you. So is his daughter. Steve Jobs was you. So are all the people making iPads in China. Even I'm you.

Recently I started thinking that all of the previously stated hypothesis might make this Hell. As much as you might want to improve your life and the world around you, you can't because you're stopping you. Not just as in "the only one stopping you from calling her is you". It's because all the decisions you have made or will make are preventing these changes from happening. You want to stop global climate change, but you're also the head of the coal company that needs to keep making money as well as all the coal miners who think they can't do any job but that, and you're driving every other car on the road. You want to fix the education system, but you're every parent who doesn't care how their kid does in school and everyone who wants to defund schools. The world really is against you... and it's you. 

Not that I believe anything I've said here. 

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Plague of locusts

Here on the east coast we've been allegedly suffering from a plague of locusts. Technically cicadas of brood II. But growing up they're what we called locusts. While in Kansas they were suffering from a different plague of locusts. When growing up we called them grasshoppers, but when you hear about plagues of locusts during the Dust Bowl or in the Bible they're talking about grasshoppers. Well, south central Kansas has been suffering from a plague of locusts. Here's pics.

You know how many apples you have this year from across the yard.  

Look, you can count the pears, too.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Final home for a barn

I'm still getting the pictures of the barn razing off my phone. I missed the actual falling of the barn, but hopefully I'll be able to share the video with you. Below is a picture of something Dad made of some of the wood taken from the barn. It uses wheels from Dad's farm and wood from Mom's.

Friday, August 09, 2013

Friday Links: August 9

Either I have shit load of bad links or this head cold/sinus infection makes everything uninteresting.

A new game for the SNES. [link]

Marijuana is a vegetable? [link]

TSA wildly corrupt. [link]

Spacesuit tour and X-ray. [link]

The new Doctor Who appeared in an old episode. [link]

Turkish suicides believed to be caused by telekinesis. [link]

Baluga whales playing pass the bubble ring.

London sewers jammed with a fatburg. [link]

Which can be burned for electricity. [link]

Batman vs Terminator (trailer).

If you're happy and you know it par-a-keet.

The movies of 2015. [link]
Hmmm... Avengers 2, Ant-Man, or that one in the lower right corner?

The saga of the forgotten employee. [link]

Minion cupcakes. [link]

Chuck Palahniuk gives writing advice. [link]

Playing D&D with Siri.

Two sentence horror stories. [link]

Spyfall - a Skyfall trailer remade with Team Fortress 2 characters.

Pinky and the Brain do "Who's On First?"

T-rex really was a dinosaur of prey instead of a scavenger. [link]

Game: Zombality - kill the zombies to get to the truck and escape. [link]

Game: Splitter Pals - split blocks to feed the orange ball to the yellow ball. [link]

Thursday, August 08, 2013

the saddest street walker

I found myself in a strange part of Baltimore a few weeks ago. To get home I asked the GPS for the shortest route, not the fastest. I ended up driving through some really sketchy neighborhoods at 11:00 at night. Windows were cracked, radio was off, and I was paying very close attention to everything going on around me.

I drove down one block that was straight out of a Kubrick film. It was about as long as three or four normal length blocks. It was really surreal. No front porches, paint, or other dividing features. Just three or more blocks of a uniform brick wall with windows, doors, and steps. And the street in front of them was something like 6 lanes wide. In one open doorway was a woman leaning on the door frame. She set off my Hooker Identification System. Further up the street was some typical chinese/chicken/pizza/burgers/fish takeout place on the corner. Standing outside the door a few feet was a woman illuminated mostly by the light from the shop. She was thin, long hair that was a bit wavy, hands clasped in front of her, wearing a fairly conservative dress with some frills on it. It was a pretty dress instead of a sexy dress. Something you might expect to see at prom or on a bridesmaid. Totally out of character. But she was standing by herself, on a street corner, clearly on display. She lifted one of her hands a bit and gave me a bit of a wave. A lady of negotiable affection. I thought this had to be her first night on the job.

She managed to successfully trigger all my Lancelot instincts and I knew it. I wanted to scream "I'm Luke Skywalker, I'm here to rescue you!" or "Come with me if you want to live!" I wanted to get her in the car and run like hell until she was safe. But I also knew what kind of area I was in. And if this wasn't her first night on the job then I was being had. She could have been going for a particular type of client. She could have a kid that we'd have to come back for. She could have family her pimp would be keeping hostage if she vanished. I could have just cleared the training levels for Grand Theft Auto: Baltimore and was starting in on the more dangerous missions. I'm not well armed enough for that.

Still, I left a woman who probably needed help on a street corner, alone, at night and I feel guilty about this.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013


Fleas don't like me. Know how I know? Because I left Yummy in my Baltimore house while I was away and she got bitten by fleas. I haven't been bitten by fleas. Just her. So either she brought fleas into my house or they just don't find me particularly tasty.

Of course, even if they're not gnawing on me I must be rid of them. I picked up a fogger which I may decide to set off. But the question I have is about timing. I'm thinking I should go by after work tomorrow and sprinkle a few inches of flea killer over the carpet. Then get rid of the carpet. Then fog the place. And the empty house next door. All while wearing flea collars as ankle bracelets.

What's a good carpet powder?
And do I need to do something about the yard? I know the answer is "yes", but what? Lawn-ocide?
How do I get flea collars on stray cats?
Should I be doing this before or after I put up sheetrock?
By hauling off the carpet will I just be getting fleas in the car?