kaizen
what's been floating my boat lately:

"How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don't think."
-Hitler-
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
-Albert Einstein-

9/11/22 (20:52)

  • Went on another hike today. It's becoming a bit of a weekend habit at this point and that's pretty good overall. Nice to get outside and get some exercise. Also nice to bond with the family. It's relaxing, but at the same time we're doing something so I don't get all fidgety. Today we did 9 miles. That's 50 miles total since we restarted our hikes the first week of July. Merritt really doesn't like it when it's hot, but today it was nice and shaded the entire way so she killed it. Zoe is hit or miss and today she wasn't loving it. But both of them did it and I'm very proud of them. I've never been much of a hiker so 9 miles when I was their age would have been unheard of. But we've basically normalized it to the point that when they do complain about long hikes they say they'd prefer to do "short hikes like 5 miles long."
  • A long standing theme of this page has been how both sides of the political world seem to hate each other so much that they can't even accept the basic humanity of the other side or the possibility that their own side could be to blame for anything of real substance. A lot of what I try to do here is to convince the readers that liberals don't have a monopoly on the Truth or virtue. There was a time when I implicitly felt this was the case and then I slowly realized it wasn't. I was having a conversation the other day with a couple liberal Democrats who believe all the usual party line stuff and I played the devil's advocate. Of course this didn't go over very well and I was mocked and chided for doing this. It just reinforced the belief I have that if you don't follow the orthodoxy you will be ostracized. In this case I wasn't even putting forth any really outlandish beliefs. I made a few basic points 1. Democrats are corrupt and don't have a monopoly on political virtue. 2. I don't see a proof of concept in any predominantly Democrat-run places. 3. We can't malign 50% of the country and expect to be a successful country. There were other minor points along the way like when I pointed out Trump did well with the First Step Act or the bump stock ban or I argued that Democrats don't seem to love the country and not loving a place isn't exactly a good recipe for trying to make it better. But I tried to stick to basically the 3 points outlined and it didn't go over all that well.
  • This is basically my experience when I try to have this type of discussion and it doesn't bode well for things. If that's how that conversation goes with someone you know and love/like then how's the same conversation going to go with a stranger? If that's how it goes with the party of love and empathy and acceptance and lawn signs that read "in this house we believe: black lives matter, women's rights are human rights, no human is illegal, science is real, love is love, kindness is everything" then things aren't looking too good. Now have that same conversation with a stranger online. Now have that same conversation with a stranger online 240 characters at a time. We need to shrink our communities and grow some empathy. When the party of love and kindness is nominating Hillary Clinton and cheering when she's calling many Republicans "deplorable" and all the -ists in the book then we're not on the right track. When Joe Biden can't stick with the script and decide if Republicans are all horrible or not, then we're not on the right track. Neither side seems to have values anymore. They simply use them as bludgeons.

  • 9/10/22 (08:56)

  • Toilet line had a clog yesterday. There are two main lines in the house serving two sides of the house. One line serves two bathrooms. The other line serves the kitchen, another bathroom and laundry room sink. The second one was clogged and started backing up into the shower, so that was cool. First thing this morning I got my water jetting system and pressure washer out to clear the line. After she woke up, Merritt came outside to see what I was doing. She quickly changed into her Meryl & Miller shirt and got to helping me (without my asking). I showed her the cleanout and explained how it works and what I thought was happening. It's a two way cleanout so that means you can run a snake or jetter upstream or downstream. I ran water downstream and there was no blockage (as expected). So we decided that the blockage was upstream and ran the jetter that way. A few feet up the line we hit a blockage and started seeing a lot of white water coming down the line. She was holding the flashlight and I explained that all that white water was toilet paper getting broken up and coming back down the line. I broke through that and kept moving up the line until I thought it was clear. I had her stay inside while I flushed the toilet and she gave me the thumbs up that she could see water coming down the line. Ran water through the shower and sink and it was all good. Then I flushed some TP down the toilet and she saw that as well so I got another thumbs up.  Charge for this would normally be about $350, but Merritt and I took care of it in about 45 minutes. After we were done with the hard work, she helped wrap up the hose and take the tools back while I took the heavy stuff. Satisfying all around. In this scenario she's at least as good a helper as my two least skilled guys.
  • Planned obsolescence is usually thought of as a bad thing, but it isn't always. I may have written about this before, but I was thinking about it again today. If the first water heaters ever made lasted 100 years that would be nice in that you'd never have to fork over $2000 for a leaky water heater on a Sunday, but you'd also be more reluctant to replace a working water heater, even if it was horribly inefficient. Same goes for all sorts of items that are improved with time.
  • In a related topic, there is the concept of engineering a thing to last as long as it needs to last, but not much more. So, let's say you have a bottle of shampoo that comes with a pump to dispense the shampoo. That pump needs to last enough to pump out the 20 oz. (or whatever) of shampoo. If you design a pump that lasts long enough to pump 2000 gallons of shampoo then you have cost the company and the consumer extra money for no reason. You can question the wisdom of dispensers with shampoo or the lack of easy refilling in these cases, but that's another topic. At the Davis Co-op we had bulk item dispensers so that you could refill your containers from home and that was nice to a point, but also somewhat of a pain depending upon what you were filling up and how much of those items you needed, etc. You could envision a shampoo dispenser designed to dispense 2000 gallons, but then they sold bags of shampoo that used less plastic and allowed you to fill up your bottle every once in a while, for example. Less packaging is a good thing, but the point remains that there are certain items for which it makes no sense to overengineer due to the lifespan of the total product.
  • Another related thought is in home construction. There are a lot of ways to skin a cat with any number of projects. Tile, for whatever reason, gets a lot of debate and there are a million products out there and I've looked into many of them and I've looked into the TCNA and and NATC guidelines and read all sorts of opinions and approaches on the best way to lay tile. But something that doesn't get a lot of consideration in laying all this stuff out is that people in many houses will be retiling their bathroom every 20-40 years....sometimes much less depending upon the homeowner, style, etc. This is incredibly wasteful and I've written about that elsewhere. But the issue is when designing your construction method should you be building for something that won't ever be taken apart, or should you keep in mind the next generation of builders who will have to deal with your install in 20-40 years? Should you glue and screw everything like crazy or is there an equally suitable construction method that also can be demolished without great difficulty or reconstruction? So, if you could design a tile job that allows you to just demo the tile and not go down to the studs, I would prefer to do that. So, instead of putting thinset under your backerboard when doing floor tile, you could just screw it down and that way the next person behind you wouldn't need to spend hours taking off the subfloor or scraping thinset off the old subfloor. Same goes for gluing down wood flooring onto plywood, which is an absolute nightmare to demo.
  • In other words, consider the intended lifespan and then engineer your solution with that in mind. Kids shoes could be another example - no reason to build them to last 10 years when they will outgrow them in a year anyway. Passing down from generation to generation is an option, but less so when you're averaging 2 kids per house instead of 6.

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