9/26/11 (17:57)
  • long weekend. friday i drove down to la, stayed there long enough to put my stuff into dad's car and then we left for arizona. unfortunately we left just before rush hour on probably the most crowded freeway in la so it took a while to get there. 8 hours which includes the time to eat dinner. slept at a motel 6 that night.
  • next morning we hung out in tempe and looked at the campus, watched moneyball, played some pool and ate. watched the game at night (7:15p start time and it was still 100 degrees). the student body at asu is as advertised. they're a party school so most of them acted drunk, whether they were or not is another matter. it was an ok game for the first 3 quarters or so, but usc played like crap in the red zone. turning the ball over, settling for field goals, getting penalized, etc. asu beat usc for the first time in 11 years.
  • the girls at the school don't wear much, but that's about all i can say it has going for it. oh, and it might be the only school in the country where the stadium isn't big enough for the student body. the capacity of the stadium is right around 70k as is the total (post/under graduate) student body. last time i checked they were #1 in that category as well as the date rape category (kidding). actually, when we were leaving (early) there were two guys talking about what an awesome blow out the game was. first of all, it wasn't much of a blow out. second of all, if it was so awesome, why did you leave the game early? anyway, after they were done talking about the "blow out" one of them mentioned that he was going to go home and call a prostitute. he also remarked that she was expensive,  his friend said she ws dirty, and he said that's how he liked it. so, maybe the date rape comment wasn't a low blow after all. before the game i did hear two young men speaking about the austrian school of economics, but it turned out they were usc fans. which makes sense both because of the caliber of the discussion as well because usc students, being more conservative, would tend to discuss the austrian model over keynesian economics.
  • the thing that politicians especially don't seem to understand about keynes is that he didn't advocate running a surplus at all times and spending like crazy in times of peace and prosperity, rather he felt the government should step up in times when the economy needed it. personally, i see nothing wrong with that approach. it eliminates the primary criticism that i hear of his model, that is the need for constant growth and the so-called ignoring of the debt problem.

  • 9/22/11 (18:56)

  • fed is basically irrelevant at this point. they print money and come up with weak schemes like QE1 and QE2 and now the "twist" all to increase lending. they're really smart people who played all their cards long ago and there's nothing left for them to do.
  • obama is going to be a sacrificial lamb and the economy might be too. his problem/strength is that he goes with those around him. he doesn't lead so much as he makes decisions. this can be really good during normal times, but these aren't normal times. we need fdr 2.0. a person who can come in and crack some skulls and get shit done in the first 100 days. unfortunately the progressive movement in this country is basically dead. the media is a pathetic mess intent on covering the most simplistic and sensational things in our culture, making something out of nothing, and overly obsessed with the idea of fairness at the cost of reality. then there's the polity which is unengaged, ignorant, stupid and selfish.
  • the days of american exceptionalism are gone. i think there was a time when america was exceptional (though also hypocritical and not as good as it could have been), but those days are done. we're too full of idiots, lazy people and uber-rich elites. our government stopped working for us many years ago and became like the military industrial complex - an entity unto itself whose sole goal is to increase its own size and reach. we're a fucking mess and there's plenty of blame to go around.
  • going to arizona this weekend to see usc play a game there. my dad and i plan on seeing a game at a new pac-12 stadium each year. the last couple years we've done cal and stanford and now it's asu.

  • 9/19/11 (17:10)

  • niners blew a 10 point lead in the fourth quarter yesterday. pathetic. defense let us down and coaching wasn't great in my opinion. harbaugh gets to the nfl and becomes mr. by the book all of a sudden. totally lame.
  • got a fair amount of work done on the house this weekend. had 4.5 yards of pack delivered, plus another .5 yards in my truck. we hauled it all to the back/side of the house and then compacted it in place on sunday using a rented plate compactor. takes about 20 shovels per wheel barrow and about 10 wheelbarrows per half a yard. so it was about 2,000 shovel loads. i did most of the shoveling and meryl did most of the wheelbarrowing. i got a second wheelbarrow from the library so that meant constant shoveling and greater production. back was sore the next day, but in a good way. i think my back benefits from this hard work.
  • we also got a half yard of pea gravel and put that under the decks, on a former patch of weeds on the side of the house and under the addition in the back. no more muddy mess or weeds in those areas. of course we laid down filter fabric as well.
  • still have one or two more lifts of pack to put down before we've built up the required 4-6" of pack over the entire 700 square feet of space. tonight we'll probably lay out some flags to helps us gauge the required thickness over the course of the whole yard. the last step may be the most difficult. laying down the sand in a perfectly flat and true way and then carefully laying the pavers down one by one. can't be on the sand while laying the pavers so there will need to be some bridges that we setup over the sand bed. should be a rewarding project once it's finally done, but it's taking a lot of figuring and more hard labor than we've done on any project so far. we've moved many many tons of material on and off-site and we have many more to go.

  • 9/16/11 (19:46)

  • foot has been hurting a bit lately, probably because i'm running once a week. doctor says to take ibuprofen and ice. if things don't improve then i should go in to get an x-ray. pretty unlikely that it's broken. i assume it would hurt a lot more than it does.
  • next two days we'll be working on getting the pack into the back/side yard. two layers of a couple inches thick. going to be 9 yards or so. it's going to be tedious work, but hopefully it will only take this weekend to get the pack down and be ready for the sand/pavers.
  • the solyndra thing is not good for obama. there was an article recently about some professor who had correctly picked the last seven elections using some 9 or 11 point system. he predicted obama would win in 2012, but one of the points that obama had earned was something like "no administration scandals." if the solyndra thing has legs then that point would be taken away from obama. i think the margin was wide, though, so presumably he'd still be safe according to the system. honestly, i don't think it looks good for him at this point, but we're more than year out so the 24 hour news media should probably calm down a bit. i actually talked with a local solar panel instructor and installer who is teaching people to teach people in china to install solar over there. here's what i found out: they were selling a technology that cost $6/watt to produce for $3/watt while the chinese pv panels cost $1/watt. they get more energy (including some from rooftop refraction) and are easier to install (no roof penetrations) so would have been better for larger scale commercial projects. my take is that the numbers just didn't work out and the administration was hoping that it was going to take off like gwb did with hydrogen. it could be a technology someone revisits in 5-10 years, but it doesn't have a place in the marketplace right now. they need subsidies, not loans. again, another example of how the obama administration squandered the $700 billions stimulus.
  • the more the republicans tighten their stance, the more i like obama by contrast, but the truth is that he's just not the right guy for the time. progressives needed a tough leader who was going to fight for progressive causes and spend money not on compromises like the latest stimulus. he extends an olive branch with tax cuts and that just makes the bargaining begin from a weaker position. his gamble is that the american people will see him being reasonable and will choose him because he's willing to compromise for the common good. that's a big gamble.
  • his mistake with the first stimulus was that he didn't push for specific programs like a ccc or wpa. instead he set an amount he wanted to see spent and then let the congress choose their pet projects. so solyndra type cronyism was bound to happen.
  • "Secular schools can never be tolerated because such schools have no religious instruction, and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith." - hitler

  • 9/14/11 (20:35)

  • trying to work out more and eat better. lost a couple pounds as a result of my changes this year. it's a new way of life because my metabolism will only get slower with time. my advice to the younger generation is to enjoy hamburgers and milkshakes while you can and then make a concerted effort to change your habits before it's too late.
  • paver project will recommence on saturday. today i took a couple trips to the local landscape supply yard and got a yard of pea gravel. shoveled it under the house addition on top of filter fabric. shouldn't have any more weeds there and it also makes for a better experience when we have to do plumbing, etc. down there.
  • getting better at the arc welding, but still only working in the flat position. i have much respect for true welders. it's highly scientific, somewhat unpleasant, and requires a good deal of hand eye coordination (at least arc welding does).
  • here are a couple pics of the cabinet we built and installed at meryl's dad's place. evidently i deleted the before picture, i'll get it from meryl later. there was just an alcove with nothing in it before. these are the afters. lighting is bad because we needed to turn off the power to work on the in-cabinet lighting. next up is the tv area at the left of the second picture. overall i'm pretty happy with how it turned out. the waterborne alkyd was really good, making the fluted trim on the side was a good experience as was working with the adjustable shelving jig. the curve at the top took a bit of doing to get right, but most of all the planning was the thing that took the longest.


  • here's the same area when they had a fireplace. we took that out and finished it nice so the tv is in there now. you can kinda see the alcove on the right of this picture:

  • 9/7/11 (09:53)

  • ran over a mile the other day. it's the first time i've run more than 50 yards since i hurt my foot a couple months ago. it's not fully pain free yet, but it's healed to the point where walking doesn't hurt and i can rotate it without much pain.

  • 9/1/11 (16:46)

  • arc welding is difficult to get looking good.
  • three day weekend coming up. have a few small things planned, but meryl is gone for two days at work so we're not going to be making headway on the paver project. that will start next weekend.
  • after the welding class i'd like to take one on cabinet making and maybe low voltage wiring.
  • i don't think i'm going to vote for any of the usual suspects any more. i've voted for barbara lee and boxer and feinstein in the past, and i like them to a certain extent and to varying degrees. unfortunately i think the system is so fundamentally flawed and there seems to be so much puerile and intractable behavior on the part of congress and politicians in washington that i think it's time to clean house. lee votes how i would vote on a lot of issues, but she's also unwilling to compromise. there's really no point in having people who can't compromise on anything. the straw that may have broken my back on this was this story. everyone talks about washington being broken but it doesn't seem like many are willing to fix it. obama seems to be doing the best job of he major players right now. but if i had one question for him i'd ask him if he could stop taking vacations and golf outings because having to hear about them makes it really difficult to defend him sometimes.

  • honestly, if i could get a job in canada i'd take it and leave this place. i love america in a lot of ways, but i'm just tired of the bullshit.