Sunday, November 22, 2009

And So It Begins

This seems a very small package for all the worry about its arrival. (Not to mention the money spent!)

Still don't know what it is? It's the siding for the shop. Apparently enough 3x12' sheets to cover the whole thing.

But like I said, it looks like a very small package.

It arrived yesterday, today we'll start siding and then I guess we'll find out, won't we?!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

One Down...

One less hole in my ceilings/floors/walls. (This is the stovepipe running through the ceiling of our bedroom in case you don't remember.)

I'm enjoying the lack of cold air streaming down, and was confident enough to vacuum dust the desk, dresser, bedside table. It feels good!

Monday, November 16, 2009

England has gone off the deep end...rant

A lot of peculiar things have been going on in jolly old England for quite some time. They have become the poster child for Nanny States. For example, it is now difficult and risky to babysit your friend's or neighbor's or co-worker's child. In this example, two women happened to be police officers, and they happened to work different shifts. As friends, they decided to help each other out by watching each other's children. No money changed hands. I watch yours, you watch mine, we're friends, we're police officers, I trust you, it's convenient, it saves us both money and it's convenient for everyone involved. What's not to like.

The problem is, it's against the law. In England, there are rather a lot of legal restrictions in place to regulate exactly who can do child minding, as they say, and who cannot. There are very specific rules about how much napping and what sort of curriculum is appropriate for what age, and so on. These women did not qualify. They were not certified. There was no documentation for how napping was scheduled, etc etc etc. Once discovered, they were informed that they were law breakers and to cease and desist immediately or face the consequences, and possible implications for their jobs. They are currently under review.

Second, the English leadership is violently opposed to private gun ownership, which we'll mention later. But now they believe the average citizen can no longer be trusted with large sharpened objects, like knives and swords.

This is partly a reaction to a murder a few years ago in England, committed with a sword.

Unfortunately, by definition, criminals don't obey the law. So it is a fairly large leap in logic to understand how taking away sharp pointy objects from law abiding citizens will reduce crime. Please go to your kitchen, gather all all the larger knives, and any knife that looks scary, and throw them away before they tempt you to go stab someone. And making it illegal to import swords is just silly. As any guard in any prison can tell you, a knife can be made out of practically any sort of metal, just by rubbing and rubbing and rubbing on a piece of cement to sharpen it. I'm pretty sure criminals in England know this as well.

Sadly, this has many ripple effects. For example, Boy Scouts in England are now effectively forbidden to carry pocket (folding) knives. Technically, if your parent carries the knife for you, to the meeting where there is a specific project that requires the use of said pocket knife, they could still touch one. I can't decide if this is more tragic, or more hilariously illustrative of the stupidity of the political leadership across the pond at the moment. Surely, there is some shred of common sense left among the English citizenry to overturn this ridiculous rule and FIRE the idiotic politicians who brought them to this dance in the first place. Scouts are not going around carving innocent people up with 2.5" pen knives. It is unlikely that they will ever do so. And if they do, the law assuredly will not stop them.

Finally, there is the matter of guns. England has gotten very very tough on guns. It is extremely difficult, approaching impossible to own a handgun that you would keep in your house. At least, legally. Long guns like shot guns are easier to own and have in your house, unloaded and securely locked away, if you register it and you hold your hat in your hand just the right way. You know, the way a slave does, asking for table scraps.

This effectively renders the gun useless in a self defense situation. If a bad guy or guys kicks your door in, you will probably have about ten seconds before being confronted. They will not politely wait while you go unlock the safe, remove the trigger lock, go unlock the other safe and get out the ammunition, load the weapon, etc. Even English bad guys are remarkably uncivilized about allowing you to prepare yourself for combat.

Suppose you just happened to have the shotgun out, and loaded when the bad guy breaks in. You had better just give up and hope for the best. If you shoot the bad guy, or guys, the government will most likely prosecute you for defending yourself and your family with that evil and violent gun. You will go to prison. Never mind that the bad guys had a long and violent history. Never mind that you and almost all of your neighbors had been robbed, many several times. Ignore the fact that the criminal you shot had already hurt people and would have undoubtedly go on to hurt more.

This really happened and the poor guy is rotting in prison with a life sentence.

It gets worse. Someone dumped a sawed off shotgun in this guy's back yard. Basically threw it over the fence. When he spotted the garbage bag and discovered the illegal weapon, he called the cops and told them we wanted to bring something in for them, thinking no doubt to do a good deed and get some street cred with the cops. So they set a meeting a couple of days later, he brings the gun in, unwraps it from the garbage bag, making sure to point it in a safe direction (at the wall) and then, after some brief questioning, they arrest him for possessing an illegal weapon and he is currently facing a mandatory sentence of five years. This, despite the official guideline that people in his situation should not be prosecuted.

If you live in England, and a really bad guy breaks into your house and starts assaulting you, or your wife, or your kids, I'm not sure what to tell you. Call the police I suppose, and hope your child survives more or less unmaimed. Hopefully the bad guy will not be intent on raping your wife or daughter, or you. Hopefully, he is not a sociopath who wants to beat you in the head with a baseball bat until your brains are visible.

May I suggest moving out of the country.

I would at least listen to the rationale for this policy if they could demonstrate that taking guns and knives away from law abiding citizens actually improves the violent crime statistics. It doesn't. It didn't in England and it didn't in Australia either. There is just no academically respected evidence that guns, or the availability of guns, causes crime, or violent crime, or an increase in crime, on the whole.

Particularly, the second article describes the meteoric increase in both violent crime and gun crime in England after the big gun ban. Criminals now have a pretty good idea that the homeowner is defenseless.

The gun banners, oops, I mean those in government that favor common sense regulation of fire arms for the benefit of everyone, are at a complete loss to explain the dramatic increase in crime now that guns have truly been taken off the streets.

They also conveniently ignore the Swiss anomaly. In Switzerland, there is compulsory participation in the military by all males at the age of 19 for a period of one year. Women may volunteer to participate. Upon completion of their one year of service, they still serve in a reserve capacity, not unlike the National Guard in the U.S. One of the consequences is that many many households in Switzerland have, not just guns, but automatic weapons. Yes, the dreaded and evil machine guns. Yet, the presence of all these guns does not incite the citizenry to go out and commit violence to their fellow citizens. Quite the contrary. Violent crime, and crime in general is unusually low. Violent criminals in Switzerland are faced with the very real possibility that they may confront a trained homeowner with a very destructive gun in his or her hands.

My apologies for straying off course, but the political climate in the U.S. is starting to look a lot like the political climate in England. And if you want to be recognized as a responsible adult by your government, capable of supervising small children, cutting up vegetables with a sharp knife without becoming a homicidal maniac, and owning firearms in a responsible manner, for the good of everyone, do not go the way of England.

Please go live a happy, self reliant and independent life, without the nanny state to protect you from everything, whilst you still can.


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Bit of Catching Up

What have we been up to? The blogging's been sparse and it's hard to think back on what's been getting done. (For surely, we've been getting something done!)

One thing Troy's been working on a little every day is filling in the hole around the chimney in our bedroom:
(Can you see the whiter white of the fill in?)

My co-workers still talk about the time when I could lay in bed and see the stars through the roof. Troy pretty quickly patched up the roof, but the ceiling's had a big hole ever since. I've resented all the heat that we've lost and all the dust that comes floating down. (The bedroom is by far the dustiest room in the house and that's saying a lot!)

Anyway, the gap is closing in and will soon be finished off with some sheet metal. Can I get a "woo hoo"?
Thank you.

Troy and I together finished off the Tyvec on the upper portions of the east and west walls.
The east wall was done on a Wednesday evening.

And the west wall was done on a fine Sunday afternoon.

We're very close to ready for the siding Troy's ordered.

Troy's also done more tractor and shovel work to spread dirt between the shop and the house.
It'll still need some more to fill in a trough that's still there, but step by step it's getting there.

And then I came home to this:
Now, Class, can any one tell me what's wrong with this stove?
Yes, you in the back trying to hide behind the person in front of to hazard a guess?
It doesn't have a pipe?
Why, yes, that's right. There's no stovepipe.

I was sitting at work at 3:30 this afternoon already telling my co-workers, "In five hours, I'll be sitting at home in front of a nice warm fire." I was looking forward to it all afternoon. (You may dream at work about Hawaii or Caribbean cruises or even Colorado ski slopes, but I just need my small square footage in front of the woodstove.)

But no, I walk into the living room and see a stove with missing appendages. (Nothing to do then but to make some popcorn and crawl into bed which is where I'm writing this right now!)

Troy eventually got home and explained that he was cleaning the pipe and took this portion out to clean off the rust (from when the top blew off and we had a lot of rain and snow falling into the pipe) and repaint it. This is very good in the big picture, and frankly it's not really cold this week, but the small child in me just wants to lay on the floor in a tantrum and yell, "Make me warm!"

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