I almost lost the powershed roof.

And I don’t even know when it happened.

I happened to be up on a ladder inside the powershed Saturday, doing some unrelated maintenance. I looked at the roof over the door and thought to myself, “Why did I go to all the trouble of filling the holes left by the roofing with expanding foam, when there’s an inch-high gap the whole width of the building right under it?”

The answer, of course, is that there ain’t supposed to be no steenking inch-high gap, there or anywhere. You can’t even see it from the floor, which is probably why I didn’t notice before Saturday. No idea at all when it happened.

Looking to the right, in the direction facing the cabin…
You can see those two “rafters” have come up off their nails. Externally, the screws that bend the roofing over and fasten it to the walls have popped out of their holes.

Must have been a hell of a gust. This wouldn’t be the first utility building in the area to suddenly flip its lid, but it’s embarrassing to see how close it came to happening to me. The powershed is a repurposed pantry shed somebody else hired me to tear down, being non-specific as to what to do with the pieces. At the time I was scrounging more heavily for my materials than I do now. Also I’m a better carpenter than I was then but even when I assembled it in 2012 it was … not my proudest achievement.

Last month I rebuilt the powershed floor and thought I was done for the year. Turns out I also have some fairly serious retrofitting work to do on the roof before the next big gust comes along.

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What a difference a curtain makes…

Okay, so Friday I … hung curtains. Yeah. That happened. Shut up.

Reasons for this were entirely practical, basically all the reasons you’d want curtains on a window including, believe it or not, “people looking in.”

Anyway: Having actual storebought curtains on windows freed up the odd expedients I’d been using, including this extremely long thing I snagged from the dollar store, and which I promptly moved to the bedroom door: Continue reading

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Things you can make with 550 cord…

Well, let’s face it. You can make anything with 550 cord. I’m currently macrame-ing an evil TUAKmobile with JATO bottles, ejection capsule and quad 20mm autocannon. It’s not going well: Do you know how much Arrest-me Red 550 cord costs? Weaving it in sufficient density to ward off 30-cal rifle ammo has been a challenge, financially if not technically.

But in the meantime I repurposed a disused interior clothesline into curtain holdbacks.

Nice thing about 550 cord, it’s basically indestructible and never seems to wear out. UV doesn’t affect it. Once it uses up its stretch it never needs re-adjustment.

This cord holding up the chickens’ top cover has been under substantial tension for several years with no sign of deterioration. With a snow load that thing gets heavy.

I moved here in 2006 with a 300′ spool that’s nowhere near used up, since the stuff is apparently endlessly reusable.

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The last furniture

Landlady and Ian came up this weekend with a bunch of stuff for Ian’s Cave, including the dresser that’s been hanging fire for a couple of months…

The original dresser is a long, low thing made of pressboard somebody was throwing away eight years ago. It’s spent the intervening years up in the loft, and I didn’t think I’d be able to get it down without further damage. Turns out it did lose one leg, but that just helps it fit in around here.

Landlady and I moved it under the clothes rack, where it barely fits, and then the new one went where the old one was. There is literally not a wasted inch: Just enough space to open a drawer on either dresser, not enough to stand in front of the drawer while you’re doing it. Speaking of no wasted space…

I wanted a side table for the reading chair, which is quite low. Rummaging around a thrift store in town, Ian and I found this iron plant stand. I cut a piece of scrap shelving for the top, and it works perfectly! Something else to paint when I get around to painting trim.

So we’re officially done furnishing the addition.

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Let’s encourage California to secede. Or at least keep its congressvermin home.

That’s right, Mr. and Mrs America. Once – actually twice – again you have proven that you simply cannot be trusted with dangerous assault weapons, with their pistol grips, their barrel shrouds, their hyper-deadly shoulder things that go up. Why would you ever want a high-capacity magazine clip ammunition device that can fire hundreds of bullets in a second? Why, America? Why?

Well, it doesn’t matter. Bidding logic and history be damned, our own beloved hall monitor Diane Feinstein is here to save us from ourselves. Again.

Got to give her credit for consistency, I suppose. She’s got an idea stuck in her hairsprayed head, and she’s not letting it go. No matter what we may think of it now, we’ll thank her in the end. If she has to break our fingers one by one until we do.


According to the article at the NRA link, this updated Assault Weapons Ban corrects deficiencies in the old one, making damned sure you won’t be buying or selling anything of which Feinstein disapproves ever again.

Of course it’ll go nowhere in this session, republicans will have trouble enough holding their majority as it is. But Feinstein figures she’s senator-for-life, she can outwait us. You’ve got to admire her tenacity, if nothing else.

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We have another name for Congress!

So appropriate, I don’t know why it’s not already famous.

…the National Parasite Collection, a 125-year-old hoard of bloodsucking, fluid-draining, flesh-eating, mind-controlling, and host-castrating creatures that all make a living by living off other animals.

Residing in DC, of course. You wouldn’t expect to find it in Utah, where people would just stomp and then scrape them off their boots.

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Poseur (n): See this advertisement

Piffle. I had one of these when I was a kid. Only I bought the jacket at a surplus store for like $5 and decorated it myself with a felt-tip and a bunch of cheezy buttons.

And I was protesting the government’s insistence that I go fight in an actual war with no objective I cared about, that might actually kill me. I might arguably have been wrong (I wasn’t) but it wasn’t pointless.

That was then. Self-expression is so…late sixties.

dumb jacket

Yes, for a low, low $375 you too can have something that looks like but isn’t a personally-vandalized M65 field jacket.

Imagine the bitch-fight that will ensue when two woke genderfluid betas show up at a protest in identical faux-graffiti coats! Why, they’ll be so busy ineffectually slapping at each other they won’t even have time to Bring Down the Man!

Kids today. I roll my eyes in their general direction.

Emo Jima

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Where we all end up…

It’s not long for Ghost, I’m afraid. He’s getting more incontinent by the day and it’s clear he’s in pain. L is getting serious about euthanasia. So I had a talk with Neighbor D on Monday, asking if I could bum some help with his backhoe.

He came by through the wash and picked me up, and we rode to Boot Hill together.


Yes, we have an actual boot hill. Its name is “Boot Hill.” Continue reading

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Breaking news on the chainsaw bayonet…

Okay, so by now everybody knows that USA Today came out with a (I assume unintentionally) hilarious video about the terrifying Ruger AR-556, no doubt leading up to all the reasons it and all ARs ought to be banned. We’ll be goofing for a long time on the chainsaw bayonet, which really ought to take its rightful place in the annals of beloved gungrabber lore beside the Shoulder Thing That Goes Up.

Except – I genuinely do hate to break this news, but – at least one bubba actually did make and post a video of a chainsaw bayonet mounted on an AR. Yes, really.

It doesn’t seem to work very well…

…but for the record, there it is.

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I do try to learn something new every day…

So Monday I was in the food market in the crappy little town about 10 miles away. It is a sufficiently crappy food market that it is slowly losing all its customers to the perfectly good Safeway in the slightly bigger town about 35 miles away, and so more and more of its square footage is being given over to the owners’ Ace Hardware franchise.

You literally never know what you’re going to see when you walk through the door. But there’s a good chance the store will be selling it by the pallet-load. And sometimes, to an aging hermit, some of it seems…odd.

For example: Monday I saw an entire pallet of this…

I did not know what it was. Just from glancing at the packaging it could have been anything. I looked more closely…

Okay, look. I was a diesel mechanic. Small diesels, yeah, I never worked for Peterbilt, but there’s no such frickin’ thing as “diesel exhaust fluid.” Nor is there a round tuit, or a left-handed adjustable wrench, or carburetor grease.

On the other hand, back in the early Paleogene period when I was in tech school an instructor thought he’d play a little game with a student, sent him to the parts department to get a radial tire tube. The student left, the instructor chortled and let us all in on the joke that there was no such thing as a radial tire tube. Minutes later the student returned with a radial tire tube, because the instructor was behind the times and incorrect.

The store can be a little weird, but they weren’t selling an entire pallet-load of a fictitious liquid. So what the hell was diesel exhaust fluid?

So I’m behind the times. Way, way behind the times.

Fortunately I kept the matter to myself until I had a chance to look it up…

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Your pug can’t do that.

LB likes peanut butter.


ALL the peanut butter.

How does he do that?

He’s not saying.


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Oh, crap. I am suddenly offended that I’m poor* …

Four words: Monster Hunter International Ammunition.

On the one hand you need it like a hole in the head. On the other hand, you need it.

Or would, if it were really a cool box of MHI ammo. Really as far as I can tell it’s just FN bullets with the smiley logo, so what would you do with them? Seems to me it’d be a much more amusing conversation piece if it were a niftily-printed box of ammo. This appears to be a niftily-printed box of bullets. Maybe I’m wrong?

*even though it’s totally my choice

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Warms your butt nicely, though…

Last night for the first time I put the new space heater into full-dress operation. Yesterday and last night were quite overcast so the night never got very cold, but I happened to be up at 2:15 to, um, do something elderly gentlemen must sometimes do in the middle of the night and so by coincidence I was awake when the heater kicked on.

You’ll recall I ran it when I first moved in and confirmed my worst fear, that it’s too close to the door and a chimney effect just sucks all the heat right up into the loft where it’s no use to anybody. I do have all the hardware needed to build a proper bedroom door, and while I don’t really want the project in winter I believe aggravation may drive me to do it. In the meantime I have this lovely shower curtain rod (Terrapod?) sent me. He also sent a plastic shower curtain but I think a blackout curtain will work better.

As it happens (you may want to sit down for this) I actually did order some, er, curtains for the bedroom windows. This was done for practical rather than aesthetic reasons. Stop laughing.

Stop it!

Anyway they should arrive in two days, which will free up one of the expedients I’m currently using for duty across the bedroom door. Not sure how much this will confound poor Little Bear, who really* hates it when I change things in his Lair.

But – digression complete – as I was saying I did run the heater that one night three weeks ago when it got quite nippy and I was on an air mattress, but not since because I wasn’t happy with the plumbing. That’s now fixed and no rubber hoses can be harmed in the operation of this heater. So the one thing I hadn’t done is crank the thermostat a bit and ensure that (and learn at what point – this is kind of a crappy thermostat) the heater kicks in automatically.

The heater kicks in automatically! In the middle of the night! Huzzah! The Lair’s bedroom has taken the leap to 1950’s tech!

It doesn’t really do much – I mean most of the heat just flows out the door and up into the loft – but it does correctly function in every particular. I can fix its one remaining deficiency with a thick curtain, and will do so before the end of the week. In the meantime the overall Lair was a bit warmer than I would normally expect given the outdoor temp, but only a bit. I’ll bet the loft is toasty, not that that does me the slightest good.

It really is getting on toward time to fill the woodbox and move LB’s bed away from the woodstove. Late autumn in the high desert: Days are usually still well into the sixties, but the nights can get nippy.

*really, really

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That’s rather pleasant.


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Found it!

And it only took me a month.

Big Brother sent me this lovely 12v undershelf LED back in mid-September, when I was by no means ready to hang up shelves. I carefully put it and all its plumbing in a plastic bag so it would be completely safe, and then hid the bag most cleverly.

I have searched for it for weeks. Believing it had to be in the powershed somewhere I moved another project forward which involved emptying the powershed almost entirely, firmly convinced that the plastic bag would surely be shaken loose at some point in the process. I was right about the first thing, wrong about the second. The bag was actually in plain sight on a shelf 180o from the direction of my attention while working on the powershed. I just this morning found it, quite accidentally, while looking for some small screws for another purpose entirely.

This LED, unlike the identical one that lights my kitchen corner, has a dimmer. So I can use it at night or first thing in the morning without being blinded more than I already am and/or committing to being fully awake. Actually I think it’ll spend most of its time cranked to its lowest setting, but time will of course tell.

This was really starting to bug me. I feel much better now.

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I prefer a 1911 and am not specifically worried about Democrats, but otherwise yeah.

also, heh.


h/t to JDZ. Where does he get these wonderful toys?

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I wonder if the Twitter founders saw this coming?

Everybody who ever logged on to a BBS back in the day knows all about flame wars. Hell, for a while they were a fad. Actually old news by the times SimpleMachines-style fora became popular.

So the Twitter founders, having designed a format virtually designed to encourage flame wars, had to know that there would be lots. Right?

But I wonder if they anticipated their platform becoming so ubiquitous it supported the first shots of an actual war?

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir also warned Tehran.

“Iranian interventions in the region are detrimental to the security of neighbouring countries and affect international peace and security. We will not allow any infringement on our national security,” Jubeir tweeted.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif issued dismissive tweets over the kingdom of Saudi Arabia in response.

“KSA bombs Yemen to smithereens, killing 1000s of innocents including babies, spreads cholera and famine, but of course blames Iran,” he wrote.

“KSA is engaged in wars of aggression, regional bullying, destabilising behaviour & risky provocations. It blames Iran for the consequences.”

Saudi and Iran have been fighting a proxy war in Yemen for years. I guess over the weekend that war splashed over to the wrong side of the Saudi border – right in the middle of a big internal putsch, no less – and the Saudis didn’t like it.

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So I was scrolling down the DuckDuckGo page, looking for info on Devin Kelley, when…

…it struck me suddenly that I wasn’t reading anything about Devin Kelley. Instead I was scrolling down the page, looking for some info from some news site I don’t completely mistrust.

And I asked myself – as I do every time I catch myself doing that instead of, you know, just using the Internet to inform and educate myself…

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You kids today. In my day, we had to come up with personal excuses for our failures.

Excuses having to do with our parentage, or socioeconomic class, or bad fortune. Someone external had to actually – or at least plausibly – rain on our own personal lives. Only then could we excuse our own failures to thrive.

Thanks to the wonderful new world of Gender Studies, you get to go straight to “because the Patriarchy!”

gender study
It’s not art, is all I’m saying. All the nuance and flavor of the excuse is lost when you dump it all on this one gray over-arching Boogeyman. (sigh) Bring back the old days, when even the most hackneyed, overused excuses at least showed a little thought.

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Do the fires still rage? Or are the smoking city ruins cooling?

Sheesh. I had all these great plans for being the last living non-woke person on earth. I was gonna get a .30-30 mare’s leg, drive an Escalade with a plow blade real fast to Pacific Playland…

And then it turns out the Antifa Apocalyse is this dumbass showing up in Seattle…

…and that’s it? News flash: He ain’t gonna “bring down the Trump/Pence regime.” He couldn’t get a job in a Burger King.

George Soros called. He wants his money back.

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