Gettin’ stuff done

Got an early start, finishing up yesterday’s work…

A little figgerin’ out still required on the ceiling fan, but when we were done…

…it works! It’s a little weird, but it works. Need to kind of reach through spinning blades to change speeds, but how often will that happen?

Then we got the hardware up for the sliding barn door. Figured it all out yesterday, so today it was really just a matter of assembly.

Little Bear does not think all this activity is right at all. Though he took to his Uncle Big Brother right away. This is the third time I’ve seen him do that with his first introduction to a relative of a regular. Has to be pheromones or something: If he likes you, he’ll like your mother or your sibling.

BB and I, on the other hand, were reminded late this morning how much we both dislike painting. Fortunately the actual painting phase of the trim project is now complete except for post-installation touch-up.

Tomorrow: Trim installation!

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In spite of weather, got some stuff done.

It’s cold and blowy even by my standards, and Big Brother comes from a much more nearly tropical state than here. So the plan was to do indoor stuff as much as possible. I did set up the generator and chopsaw, but when wood needing chopping I mostly went out and did that myself – trying not to be blown to Nebraska in the process.

BB is much more of an electrician than I am. So this was a perfect day to look into some pesky electrical projects that have been hanging fire. Like the bedroom ceiling fan…

BB sent me a 12v ceiling fan last autumn, which would have helped make the new propane-heated bedroom even more comfortable than it was. Alas I installed a big heavy-duty electrical box for it and ran duplex, and it turns out to want no electrical box but has a PWM controller that requires four wires.

BB came up with a genuinely elegant solution to both problems…

…we built a wooden box that will bolt to the ceiling box, and mounted the controller (and the fan motor, of course, in the fullness of time) on the wooden box. Izzat cool or what? So I can turn the fan on and off by the wall switch, but change speed/direction with the controller on the ceiling box just over the fan. The ceiling is just high enough to permit this without any impromptu haircuts. I’ll just watch where I do my jumping jacks.


We also hauled out the big box of hardware for the sliding door which never got built last season. It came with no documentation, so step one was to figure out which piece of hardware was supposed to do what. Then we cut a plank to mount all the gear on, which plank needs to get firmly screwed to the wall.

But first paint, of course. Yesterday’s big lumber run included a gallon of green paint, so (what I had hoped would be) the last official piece of work for the day was to haul the plank and the wooden ceiling box to Ian’s place where it was still and warm, set up a secure paint-proof work space, and give both items two coats of green paint.

So first thing tomorrow we’ll be able to mount the ceiling fan and the door hardware – though the door itself remains to be constructed.

I was quite happy to call it a day right there, but BB is made of stronger stuff – plus unfortunately by then he’d had a look at the hash I’d made of the 12-volt wiring. So he went into the corner behind the reading chair with some tools and straightened out a little problem I’d left with the 12-volt fuse-box – like, it wasn’t actually wired to anything. Now an electrical inspector could look at that corner without biting through his cigar.

Tomorrow is supposed to be a much more pleasant – or at least a much less unpleasant – day once it warms up. Tonight is forecast to be the coldest in a few weeks. We finished off with a trip to town for a little needed hardware and a restaurant supper, and I sent him back to landlady’s house with my Carhartt jacket and good pair of gloves because things are getting seriously chilly out there by anybody’s standards.

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Guess where I’m typing from?

Can’t get pictures to this computer (yet), but we did figure out how to get this old Compaq laptop BB sent me a few years ago to connect to the hotspot. Which makes it a viable Plan B at last.


Carry on, it’s low-thirties and blowing half a gale here, so as little as possible is going on.

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A dog and his hermit


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Big Brother arrived yesterday…

Safe and well, and presumably happy to be off the road for a bit. One of the things we needed to work out was his degree of actual desert mobility. He has a hybrid SUV, which – as we have learned through earlier sad experience – is not necessarily an off-road vehicle. To get to the Gulch does not require anything but dry clay and a moderate sense of adventure. To get to (and from) the actual Lair requires a competent 4X4.

Turns out BB’s car has sufficient traction, but insufficient clearance. For my driveway. 😉


Unfortunately he has arrived just in time to get a taste of why Uncle Joel spends so much time bitching about the weather. Moderate temperature today, the forecaster says, but 60 mph wind. We’re going to the big town about 50 miles away for lumber, so it’s a good thing his car is much more competent on actual pavement than the Jeep. Then low 30’s tonight, maxes out at 50 tomorrow (merely 40 mph wind) and a night down into the 20’s. We shall burn propane.

Then starting Saturday it’s supposed to get nice again. Probably even if I’m not too busy to be near the ‘pooter the connection is going to get funky for the next couple of days. Just saying.

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Bored? Why not take a moment and conquer England?


You probably have just the weapon for it right in your toolbox. You terrorist, you. 😉


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“Omigod! Who doesn’t love a glitter phone case?”

I’m afraid I pressure-tested my cerebral arteries first thing this morning.

I’ve become somewhat addicted fond of this damned iPhone I previously spent so many years laughing at, to the point where I use it for entertainment/instruction during otherwise routine tasks that don’t require my full attention like dough kneading and dish washing, when visibility and connectivity conditions allow.

This is a special day: Big Brother is due to visit for a few days on this leg of a long road trip at mid-day, and I spent much of yesterday scraping the top layer of dirt off the Secret Lair’s interior*. So right after breakfast I boiled some water for dish washing, propped the smartphone on the dog biscuit canister and poked around for a video. I was looking for one of the What Would Stoner Do vids, which I’ve enjoyed very much. Saw something marked WWSD What Would Sabrina do, clicked it, and stuck my hands in soapy water. Politely regarding any stranger as a sensible person until convinced otherwise, I assumed this was somebody’s reaction to the WWSD ARs.

Next thing I knew, I was watching some goth-like chick emote about glitter-covered smartphone cases.

There is no truth to the rumor that shrill, anguished cries emanated from the newly-opened windows of the Secret Lair, though it is true that for some reason the chickens panicked and LB left the room.

“Omigod, who doesn’t love a glitter phone case?” she trilled.

“Well, lady, that would be me,” I shouted, frantically trying to jab at the touchscreen with suds-covered fingers.

I curse the day someone invented glitter.

*BTW, expect posting to be a bit sparse for the rest of the week. Don’t know for sure.

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California has become the Utopia that will soon transform America.

Seriously. In a bloodless civil war that will probably be over by 2020.

Stop laughing! This guy’s a tech corp CEO and everything, so he must be smart!

The Great Lesson of California in America’s New Civil War

In the early 2000s, California faced a similar situation to the one America faces today. Its state politics were severely polarized, and state government was largely paralyzed. The Republican Party was trapped in the brain-dead orthodoxies of an ideology stuck in the past. The party was controlled by zealous activists and corrupt special interests who refused to face up to the reality of the new century. It was a party that refused to work with the Democrats in good faith or compromise in any way.

The solution for the people of California was to reconfigure the political landscape and shift a supermajority of citizens — and by extension their elected officials — under the Democratic Party’s big tent. The natural continuum of more progressive to more moderate solutions then got worked out within the context of the only remaining functioning party. The California Democrats actually cared about average citizens, embraced the inevitable diversity of 21st-century society, weren’t afraid of real innovation, and were ready to start solving the many challenges of our time, including climate change.

California today provides a model for America as a whole.

I, for one, welcome our new delusional overlords.

Curiously, not everyone is convinced.

Or not.

Now, I know what you’re saying. You’re saying, “Why do a bunch of San Francisco dorks think that 150 million Americans with 300 million guns are just going to give up their rights and their say in their own governance and submit to the commands of people who eat kale by choice?” That’s a fair question, and they have an answer.

Because you just are.

I didn’t say it was a good answer.


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There’s a flavor of Spam I could live without…

I’m guessing it’s a price you pay for an email address the Internet interprets as commercial. When I used a freebie Yahoo address like 400 brazillion other faceless users, I never had this problem.

Sigh. Five new messages, and I’d rather cut off a finger than respond to a single one of them. I wonder what percentage of all bandwidth is such an utter waste? After I betray the revolution and set myself up as President-for-Life, I’m going to get to the bottom of this sadly neglected question.

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Review of Basics of Resistance

Basics of Resistance, by Claire Wolfe and Kit Perez, is exactly what the title promises – a primer on organization and operation in a (we’d like to think theoretical and future) time when the world has goosestepped past Claire’s earlier take on the topic, the happy-go-lucky monkeywrenching manual Freedom Outlaw’s Handbook.

What if we were past the time for lighthearted efforts to maintain our own privacy and sense of individuality, and it were really time to dig in our heels and organize for resistance? We’re not quite spitting on our hands, hoisting the black flag and commencing to slit throats – yet – but we’re thinking maybe it’s time to haul down the Gadsden from the pole and go underground. What if the consequences of getting caught included getting killed or taking up a new life in pound-you-in-the-ass federal prison? What sort of information would we want then? Continue reading

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Spycam is a’spyin’ on everybody but the intended target


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Using tire valves as jerry can vents, illustrated

Okay: For the benefit of anybody wandering in for the first time, I drive a Jeep but never into town, and I live way the HELL back in the high desert. I have to haul gasoline to the Jeep from town on weekly trips in a neighbor’s truck. Having worn out my plastic gas cans some years ago, I acquired some cheap Chinese jerry cans in hope that they would be an improvement.

We’ve already established that my cheap Chinese jerry cans are complete shit in so many ways. The biggest problem is that they take forever to empty into the Jeep’s tank because they’re unvented. So I drilled scary holes in them and installed plastic vents.

These were better than nothing but only just. They absolutely wouldn’t seal the holes I’d drilled in the cans, which meant I slathered them with Seal-All which only works temporarily. Seal-All is impervious to gasoline but not, it turns out, to UV. Of which I have lots.

A commenter suggested replacing the plastic vents with tire valve stems. This was an interesting suggestion, which as the problem progressed I became determined to try.

Big Brother sent me a set of fancy metal truck tire valves…

…and the adventure began.

(Many pix below the fold) Continue reading

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I’m going back to pressing cuneiform into clay blocks.

It was good enough for my rhetoric master, and by Enki it’s good enough for me. This computer stuff was a big mistake.

Okay: I learn to my surprise this morning that I’m suddenly able to connect just fine. Maybe that will continue, maybe not. Yesterday was weather-filled and I’m used to my connection getting wonky during weather but not the way it did yesterday. When the hotspot can’t find a cell signal, that’s perfectly normal. When the laptop absolutely can’t see the hotspot, that looks like a hardware or software problem. Granted that my software is ancient and gets more wonky by the day, a reboot usually gets me past that and yesterday repeated reboots had no effect. So I don’t know if it was just a passing meteorological event or if I’m losing ability in an intermittent manner that will grow toward permanence, like my inability to connect with certain websites.

I really need an upgrade – which is right here beside me in the form of a couple of thumbdrives provided by a Generous Reader over half a year ago, but I’m afraid to use them because I’m a timid old phart. Frankly I was more comfortable around computers 30 years ago when they involved bolting hardware together and then running something off a disk. I understood that – at least enough to deal with it.

Anyway – I may have some nice content today – if I stay connected – but putting it together will be time-consuming and I didn’t prepare any of it yesterday for obvious reasons. So bear with me.

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Well, I suddenly have another big problem…

For some reason my laptop has suddenly decided it doesn’t like to be connected to the hotspot, and I can’t figure out how to convince it to change its mind. I’m very slowly pecking this post out on the smartphone, which seems to work fine. I have some nice things for you, too. A review of “Basics of Resistance”, a post with lots of pictures about making a Jerry can vent out of a tire valve. We’ll test that tomorrow. But till I can get the laptop back on line I’m stuck. Sorry.

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Gamecam becomes spycam

It wasn’t doing me any good where it was anyway. I need to put in a fencepost to mount it on before I can effectively use the game camera to monitor ‘yote activity in the approach to my yard from the wash.

In the meantime I have a new mystery…

New tire and sneaker tracks. Repeated tracks, off the road to my driveway. It’s not on any property I’m responsible for, though not far from it. Technically it’s none of my business. Technically I’m just being nosy. No harm was done. If it was just one set of turnaround tracks I’d shrug it off as a lost tourist. That happens.

But why drive so far into the bush in that particular spot, where there’s nothing to see? Why come back and do it at least twice?

The nice thing about living ‘way out in the boonies is that you can perform extensive activities totally unobserved. The bad thing about living ‘way out in the boonies is that other people can also do that.

Or can they?

I like this little thing. I’ve had all manner of fun with it, but right now I want it for more serious purposes.

Yeah. Right over there.

Now, here’s a problem I’ve had with the game camera, and it took me a while to figure out a practical solution. I can set it up, but how do I know it’s aiming precisely where I want it to? It doesn’t have sights, or a playback feature.

I actually sent away for a card reader gadget that plugs into a smartphone, only to learn that I also had to buy and install an app on the phone. I’m an old phart, and a privacy nut*. New computer stuff flummoxes me, plus I’ve grown very distrustful of Apple, iPhones, and apps in general.

Turns out there was a perfectly good solution, right there in a little case with a shoulder strap.

This is the current Official TUAK Camera, sent last year by a Generous Reader but presently only used when I need a zoom – or when I want to read the SD card from the game camera in the field. Because it works for that really well.

0938:040718:86F:0000:TUAK1   :6E[197:0006]G[008:0x0006]
So I don’t know if I’ll get pictures of what I want to see. I actually kind of hope not, since I hope those people, whoever they are, never come back. But I do know that if they come back in the next week or two, I’ll at least learn something about them. Possibly they’re the owners of that parcel and have every right in the world to be there. Possibly they’re just nosy hunters. Don’t know. But if they’re going to be around, I want to know if they’re going to be a problem.

*Yes, I know there’s an amusing tension involved when a lifestyle blogger claims to be a privacy nut. Shut up.

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Ouch. That’s activism.

sabo facebook
“So what’s” I wondered?


#ZuckSchumer represents the combined power of big tech monopolies like Facebook and Google that spy on our every move online. They sell our most private data to political targeting and advertising companies and to creepy Washington political operatives who protect them.

#ZuckSchumer represents the power of peeping Tom billionaire CEO’s like Mark Zuckerberg and their political attack dogs and protectors like Senator Chuck Schumer.

And so on.

Don’t know how true any of it is, but since I’m already hardwired to hate them both I enjoyed reading it.

With all that’s been in the news lately, Bookface might be in trouble. Some people might want to back up those family photos before they disappear from the Innertubes.

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And there went my well-planned day.

Got a review copy of Claire Wolfe’s and Kit Perez’s Basics of Resistance, which I was eager to read and also now sort of obligated to read right now. Got through the first third of it yesterday evening, with notes, and thought today would be a leisurely matter of finishing that and then writing and posting a review.

Uh huh.

Phone rings. “Can you help us with hay?”

Sure, can do. Jumped in the Jeep. Little Bear liked this part. He got a Jeep ride, got to bark at D&L’s dogs, with whom he may not mingle because in this case mingle = rumble. He and possibly the closest small animal vet would enjoy that, nobody else would. But still. Jeep ride. LB stamp of approval.


25 bales of hay later,…

Back into the Jeep. I meant to go right home and get back to work, I swear. But there’s cold beer in Ian’s fridge. A short detour wouldn’t hurt, right?

Got to Ian’s and was reminded of correspondence I’d completely forgotten…

Was that pile of cement board supposed to go on the pile of stuff outside Landlady’s barn waiting for a trip to the county dump? And on that subject – is Landlady coming up this weekend? Because that would mean the dump run(s) is/are happening tomorrow, which means there are certain trailer-related things I should be doing right now.

Flurry of text messaging ensues. Yes, I am supposed to have the trailer on-site and ready to go. Yes, I should be doing that right now. And also in the process I need to move that pile of cement board. Right now.

I’m a hermit. Scheduling conflicts aren’t in my normal routine like they used to be, and I didn’t always handle them well when they were routine.

:) Ah, well. I will get that book read today. And by “today,” I mean this calendar date. I will post a review ASAP, and that’s as much as I promise.

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Barely getting a signal so I can’t watch this right now, but…

This looks like it might be fun to watch and maybe ought to be spread around if it isn’t already.

WATCH: Black Gun Owner’s Epic Rant Against The Government Goes Viral”When are you all gonna start standing up for the majority? … I’m the majority!”

“When are you all gonna start standing up for the majority? … I’m the majority! I’m a law-abiding citizen who’s never shot anybody,” Mark Robinson said. “It seems every time we have one of these shootings, nobody wants to put the blame where it goes, which is at the shooter’s feet. You want to put it at my feet! It doesn’t make any sense.”

“You want to restrict my right to buy a firearm and protect myself from some of the very people you are talking about in here tonight,” Robinson continued. “The law-abiding citizens of this community, of other communities we are the first ones taxed and the last ones considered.”

I haven’t seen the whole thing, but so far it’s my sentiments exactly.

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Where not to put a game camera

Sometimes I get tracks and scat at the fringes of the yard near the wash that suggest coyotes are not being as respectful of my territory as I’d prefer. Set up the game camera a few days ago hoping to see what if anything is making free with my tolerance. So far nothing, but yesterday’s wind did demonstrate why I should have provided something more solid than a bush for camera mounting.

Yeah – it did that for hours yesterday. Several hundred frames, all useless.

Brought the fencepost driver home from Landlady’s barn, but got busy with something else this afternoon. (Hint: I got a review copy of Basics of Resistance!) I’ll fix the camera tomorrow.

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Making a quick-and-dirty side table out of a plant stand


The reading chair a neighbor gave me for the new bedroom is quite low. I needed a book table, but a conventional side table wouldn’t do. Ian and I found this plant stand in a local thrift store… Continue reading

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