Sunday, July 25, 2010

A saw that won't cut corners

The people who use cutting tools ask a lot of them. Stanley tools deliver. With innovations like SharpTooth technology that enable our saws to cut wood 50% faster than conventional saws. In other words, the only things our tools don't cut are corners. (from Home Depot)

That is the absolutely the stupidest thing I've read all weekend. It's not a damn hole saw. It's a sheetrock saw! If it won't cut a corner then it's fucking useless! Copywriters who try to be clever with cliches need to check themselves. Don't even get me started on those sentence fragments.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

iPhone Wallpaper

I recropped a lot of my desktop photos for iPhone proportions. Free downloads on my gallery!

iPhone update

Dear iPhone 4 owner,
You are eligible to receive an iPhone 4 Bumper or a select third-party case from Apple at no charge.
Follow these steps to apply for a Bumper or case:
Launch the app on your iPhone 4 and sign in using youriTunes Store account.
Select your Bumper or case.

I wonder if I'll bother trying to get a refund on the case I bought while I was waiting in line for my iPhone? I haven't downloaded the app yet. Signal strength just hasn't been a problem for me. I pretty much just use wifi unless I'm in the car. Which this month was a lot.

I think uploading photos from the road on the 4th of July used up a lot of my data allocation. I do see a lot of people who talk on the phone constantly. The maintenance man in my office building is talking on the phone every time I see him in the hall or in the lobby. I suppose that demographic outnumbers me and my friends who use our phones like pocketknives -- an indispensable tool that is always at hand. We've really gotten away from voice communication entirely. We use text messages to set up in-person meetings. I think in many ways this has to be better than just talking on the phone.

I use my phone like this just about every day.

And like this.

Usually my phone is sitting on my desk at work, charging off the USB port on my plastic laptop, popping up little notifications to let me know the world is still turning outside that windowless room. I don't hold it at all.

But the people at College Humor think you should hold it like this. Whatever works for you.

Last night I held my iPhone a few inches from my face while I watched Tim Minchin YouTube videos until I fell asleep. I switched to the ninja theme on Gmail this week and wanted to hear him sing "only a ninja can sneak up on another ninja." It's nice to be able to curl up in the pillows and be entertained to your last conscious thought. I watched/listened to Mitsubishi Colt for the first time last night and I like it very much.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I miss nice things and good construction

So I'm working on making myself at home in my budget priced, conveniently located fourth of a quadplex. I fixed the bedroom so I have a retreat from the parts I haven't fixed yet. I painted, replaced all the outlets, switches, covers, ceiling fan and blinds, got some curtains, and furniture to go with the bed I had already. I got the mattress delivered on Wednesday. I figured out that if I close the blinds and curtains and door the air conditioner will keep it cool in here. It's pretty quiet at night. I'm below the level of the big highway and the street in front of me doesn't really go anywhere. The only part that bothers me in here now are the doors that jam, the doorknobs that feel gross and the strike plates that have paint all over them.

I decided to get a minimum of kitchen stuff just to sustain me while I hole up and do this work. I bought the ingredients and cookware necessary to make scrambled eggs and toast. Before I could eat my breakfast this morning I had to do 2 hours of cleaning and troubleshooting in the kitchen.

I started by cleaning the stove. It looks like somebody replaced the drip pans under the electric elements but they didn't clean the stove top first. And nobody ever cleaned the area underneath the elements. I found mouse nesting material and dog food in there. Do people not know these things come apart? Helpful Hints from Heloise needs to stay in the paper as long as appliances this old are still in use.

Then when I got ready to get out an egg I found the egg carton was soaking wet. The refrigerator was spitting water around inside it. And the space under the crisper drawer was completely full of water. Lovely. So I had to clean that up. By the time I finished I was really hungry so I went ahead and made my breakfast. As I was eating it I was looking at the refrigerator and realized it wasn't level. If I make it level maybe the freezer defrost cycle will work properly. So after I washed my dishes I got down on the floor to look at the refrigerator to see what adjustments are available. My SubZero back in Beachton has screws on the front that you turn to adjust the feet in the back, plus feet on the front you adjust directly.

Well this refrigerator is no SubZero. It rolls really great back and forth on one way wheels. But there are no level adjustments. I pulled it all the way out to study it. And look what I found!

Isn't that precious? Just like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. All it needs is a doorbell and a welcome mat. I guess that is the front door of the mouse that put the dog food in the stove. He probably moved next door when this place went vacant since the neighbors have food. I could cut up a metal paint tray to cover up this hole, but what would that solve? Mouse could still get all around in behind the cabinets and in the stove again. Live here, get dog food from the neighbors. Only thing that would prevent this traffic is to remove the cabinets and put sheet metal on the whole wall between my place and the next one.

So back to the freezer. I decided to just disassemble it and get all the ice out and see if the drain tubing will work properly. It looks a lot worse in person.

My main weekend project was supposed to be the upstairs bathroom. I want to see how well paint sticks to the cabinet before I start the ones in the kitchen.

Friday, July 16, 2010

iPhone 4 getting a bad rap

"The antenna doesn't work properly..." said Nina Totenberg on NPR this morning, which made me holler at my iMac streaming the Morning Edition feed. IT WORKS JUST LIKE THEY DESIGNED IT! People just don't know how to use it properly! I don't understand at all why Consumer Reports had to be so idiotic about this. I had plenty of time while I was waiting in line to get a cute little blue silicone case for my iphone to help me grip it and make it sit still on my car seat and desk. I have never had a single reception problem. Of course I don't ever talk on the phone, so maybe I'm just special. To me it's just a tiny little computer with a handy GPS and camera.

So Apple if you're listening, I still love you. Don't listen to those ham-handed phone gropers. I think your antenna choice was valid and I support you.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Long Haul

I'm still sort of a guest in Texas but I'm getting closer to being a legitimate resident. I've got a quantity of my stuff here now but I'm still sleeping in the luxurious guest accommodations at my friends' house. I'm on their deck right now enjoying the fabulous view, feeling the breeze, and hearing doves coo. I'm also doing laundry in their high end front loading machines. I'm unsure about buying my own washer and dryer again for the crappy condo. Seems like a long time to cost recovery. But the laundry on the corner can't wash my clothes in unscented detergent. I asked.

I had a pretty exhausting week and didn't have an opportunity to update the blog. Here's what happened:

From From Beachton to Austin

I got up Saturday in Beachton and checked on the deer/rabbit resistant garden experiment. The basil that grows down inside the box is ok but the pole beans leaves are all neatly eaten off as high as a deer can reach. I guess this shows you need the boundary of your garden to keep the vegetables at least neck length from the edge of the fence.

The pine bark I put down for mulch seems to be working great though. I used sheets of bark that fell off lightning struck trees in the woods. There's a few big grassy weeds but if there were anybody living there they could've pulled those out easily.

I got a truck in Tallahassee and loaded up the things I wanted back from my mom -- comfy chair, Jeanne Greenleaf painting, Robb White and sons table. Then went to Thomasville to load stuff from my mini warehouses. My dad helped me get my bed frame and lab table from one unit, rocking chair from another, cast iron sink and a faucet from another, then went to the big one to see how much stuff I wanted from there.

I wonder if Thoreau was storing this much stuff while he lived on Walden's Pond?

My dad went to relax in the air conditioning while I picked out the boxes I wanted based on what I really didn't want and thought I could sell on Craigslist once I got to Austin. There's the stuff I actually wanted here, and then I left behind things I thought I might one day want in Beachton if I ever build a bigger house there.

That's what the truck looked like when I started loading up the big warehouse stuff.

After I loaded all the stuff I wanted from there I went by my cousin Wes's new house in town. I gave him the cast iron sink. After seeing how tall his house is I also gave him the key to my warehouse so he can go get that ladder if he needs it. After the sink was gone I had only one item I couldn't move by myself in the truck -- the lab table top.

Here's what it looked like after I loaded all the stuff out of the shed in the country that I wanted.

I brought two boats, my mountain bike, and Gokey's old Schwinn from high school. I'm either going to make that into a table or put tires and stuff on it again and make it a useable bike. It's kind of a collector's item, and also very very heavy. I'm not sure I want to try to pedal it up the hills in Austin. Would be fun going down though. It has a freewheeling front sprocket so you can change gears without pedaling. Sheldon Brown calls it a solution without a problem.

So here I am on the way on Sunday. I shot this photo at the Starbuck's in Tallahassee. I was uploading them from my iPhone to Facebook as I went along but I haven't figured out how to live blog to Blogger. Tumblr will do it but I've fallen down on that blog. I will have to catch it up when I get settled out here.

This next photo is of the back of my truck. I noticed this when I stopped at a rest area near Marianna. You may wonder how I can remember where I was. The location comes up on a map in Picassa. Go iPhone.

I took this picture because of the three people pictured in the cab of that truck. They would not be that happy. It was very uncomfortable. And why is the woman driving? Does the man have a DUI and lost his license? I'm sure UHaul is just trying to indicate their diversity or whatever the buzz word is for today's political correctness, just it just bugs me. If I had somebody to go with me I'm sure we would take turns driving, but I would have no problem posing in the passenger's seat for the picture. Picturing the woman behind the wheel is not a triumph for feminism. It just makes her look like she's being taken advantage of by a lazy man. He probably made her do all the packing too.

I made it to Mississippi at 1:48 pm. I took this picture of the side of the truck to show that I completely missed all of Alabama. It looks so pretty in the graphic, but all I saw was what was on I-10 and there was no inviting rest stop.

I made my next Starbuck's stop in Slidell, Louisiana. I took advantage of the free wifi to download the latest podcast of Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I'd already run through the last couple of weeks' worth. It was helpful to keep me alert, but it made me realize I sort of overdid it loading the truck. I was very sore. Laughing made my whole torso ache.

I pulled over at the end of an on-ramp after getting gas to take this picture with my big camera. I could just picture the face my dad would make.... I just wonder if they have a real roof under this "decorative" rusty bullshit.

I was pressing on trying to cross this bridge before dark. This photo was taken at 8:07 pm. This is the scariest bridge I have ever crossed. It's in Lake Charles, Louisiana. I presume it's over Lake Charles, but there is no signage to verify it. The thing that makes it so scary is the combination of slope, elevation, and width. It is very narrow. It was worse in the truck than in the Honda, too. Probably didn't help that I was driving with one hand so I could take this picture. I did not look at the display though, I shot it blind. Was a pretty sky. Made it sort of OK.

So here I am finally in Texas. I was as tired as I look here.

Texas does have a unique map shape that looks good on a sign. There are a lot of states that couldn't pull this off. I'm talking about you, Colorado and Wyoming.

I don't know the facts, but I'm going to guess Texas has liberal laws with fireworks. Everybody seems to have gone out and bought a box of something labeled, "Warning: Shoots Flaming Balls!" It was a lot of fun to see the decorative equivalent of bombs bursting in air all along the interstate. I was driving straight into the official Beaumont fireworks display that was apparently set up on the waterfront. As I came over the bridge (a gently sloped, wide, low bridge) there were cars stopped on the shoulder watching the display. I got there exactly at the finale. I sped on by hoping I didn't block anybody's view too much with my big truck. It was definitely the highlight of my trip. I got to see fireworks all the way to Houston. One time I saw a carnation that seemed to last a really long time. As I got closer I realized it was just a really tall floodlight over a feedlot and I was seeing the insects all around it.

I finally made it back to the house at 3:30 in the morning. The next day I went to the crappy condo and started unloading the truck. I moved about half the stuff into the living room then went shopping for stuff I needed to get my bedroom ready for mattress delivery the next day. I worked on that until 10:30 pm then unloaded the rest of the truck. At midnight I started assembling the bed frame. I was all ready for the delivery the next day when I finally got back to the house and went to sleep at 3:30 again.

Tuesday one of my coworkers helped me get the lab table out of the truck and then we returned it to UHaul. Then freaking Macy's brought the wrong mattress. There was much ranting. I will spare you the detail. I'm mostly focused on end results anyway. I have to wait until next Wednesday for my mattress now. That's why I'm still enjoying the hospitality of my friends. But the sun has come across the deck and is encroaching on my space. Back to working on the condo!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Air travel with multiple chemical sensitivities

Today is the first time I've flown in 7 years. There are parts of it I really like. Taking off, seeing the landscape from up high. Rivers are fascinating to me. Oxbow lakes -- cool.

But I would think that with all the progress of electronics -- Kindles and iPads -- I wouldn't have to be plagued with the fucking newspaper anymore. I have a serious chemical sensitivity to the newspaper. I don't know if it's the paper or the ink or what, but it gives me about the same reaction as latex. Makes my upper lip burn and I my sinuses swell up and I get a headache. The plane from Austin to Memphis was a tiny little thing. I was crammed in next to a man who had the entire USA Today and he was brandishing and flourishing it like a goddam matador. I curled up against the window like a cephalopod and just tried to deal. After I woke up from a stress induced nap he was getting out a portable DVD player, turning it over and over his hands looking for where to plug in the coax connector of his power supply. I asked him where exactly he was going to plug in the other end? I'd heard they rigged some planes to power portable electronics, but I figured it was only the big intercontinental planes. He kind of went, "Oh yeah" and put that plug away and started hunting where to plug in the headphones instead. Then he watched The Big Bang Theory for a while, then got out the paper again and held his arms way out with it so I started channeling an octopus going into a wine bottle and tried to insert myself between the edge of the seat and the window.

Now I'm on the flight from Memphis to Tallahassee and it's not full. I had room to get out my lappy and make myself at home. It was a beautiful sunset take-off. Unfortunately the dinner I ate at the airport gave me an attack of IBS and I couldn't really enjoy myself for concentrating on when the fasten seatbelt sign was going to go off. My seat right by the lavatory seemed serendipitous.

The instant that seat belt light went out I discovered another thing to be grateful for on airplanes. The noise is so great and the airflow so strong it gives one a great feeling of privacy in the lavatory.

OH MY GOD! What is that woman rubbing on her hands?! It smells like a bucket of mayhaws that's been sitting in the sun for two days. Jesus Christ, woman, what were you thinking getting out that hand lotion in here? How did you even get that on the PLANE?! If you had more than three ounces of that shit we'd all be doomed. Three men just sneezed simultaneously.

It's incredibly cold on this flight. Even cuddling the lappy for heat isn't working. I better put away Lappy and try to find what air nozzles are open around me. Maybe the back row won't be as drafty.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Fly away home

It's a rainy day in Austin. I don't know if this is normal for here. I think it may be hurricane related. But the weather report for Memphis is clear so hopefully my flights will go as normal and I'll make it to Tallahassee without too much incident.

Crappy Condo

My crappy condo is even crappier than I remembered from my quick visit last week. I was thoroughly bummed out after I went over there at lunchtime yesterday. The crushing of hope starts at the filthy, paint -peeling door with the sheet metal doorknob. Then the eye is assaulted with the scratched brown crooked cabinets and the offensive butcher block look backsplash. That would never be butcher block. It's like painting the floor to look like clouds. It's just wrong. Then there are the yellowed cultured marble bathroom counters and unbearable wallpaper and light fixtures. The little patio area is thick with algae and the siding on the outside is rotten. Upstairs there is a tiny bedroom with the ugliest ceiling fan I have ever seen. I can not lie in bed and look up at that. The outlet where I have to plug in my network equipment is busted.

Finally the air handler closet is peppered with rat droppings. I think if I Great Stuff the gap at the top I can encourage the rats to go into the neighbor's place from the attic instead of mine.