26 Jul 2004 @ 4:02 PM 

In the process of laying the subfloor, just about to start putting the tile down, the tile guys punctured a pipe where no pipe should have been. You know where this is going, don’t you? Pieces of cement backboard have been ripped up, a plumber called, and another multi-hundred dollar charge is added to my floor. Oh, and since the water has to be turned off to get it fixed, no bathroom or kitchen a day earlier than expected.

I sure hope this shit gets done by Wednesday, or I’ll have a really long day at work on Friday. FMITGA.


Edit: The plumber only cost 75 bucks, plus I had to buy a drywall repair kit for another five dollars to fix the wall he had to cut in order to get to the breach. It’s never easy.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Jul 2004 @ 11:36 AM

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 26 Jul 2004 @ 12:31 PM 

The tile guys are done removing the kitchen sink, there is like NO food left in the fridge and the microwave and oven are out of the question until the place is reassembled. It’s not my fault that I’m eating at San Angelo Burger Company – I have no choice. 😆

Now, I’m not a handyman, but I assume when someone sets up a date for an installation it’s because all the materials are on hand and they are ready to work. Turns out, the grout is not in. And the nice fellas ask me about this, as if I knew. Nope. I didn’t know there was anything amiss, but thanks for making me worry. They tell me the grout I ordered was not in stock and it should be in by Wednesday. Listen, fellas, I didn’t order grout. I picked out tile. All the other stuff (backing boards and adhesives and grouts) are left up to the people who know this stuff. I’m just paying for it, don’t expect me to know anything at all about bisquit colored grout versus white grout. How the hell do I know this shit? I want tile.

Damn, I hope the grout shows up by Wednesday. That would be the day that I can expect them to have everything done, I’m told. We’ll see.

I really wish I had a camera. The fridge, stove and new sink are in the den; the microwave is on the kitchen table; and the old sink is on the front porch. Tomorrow, I’m told to expect no toilet all day. Fun.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Jul 2004 @ 11:36 AM

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Tile

 
 26 Jul 2004 @ 9:25 AM 

The tile guys have arrived, right on time (even a few minutes early). This is a week that I wish we had two digital cameras, since it’s in the Netherlands right now. I hope this process is quick, but I’ve been told it will be two days or maybe three. Not that I want to go to work this week, but there are things I need to do there. Fortunately, I don’t have to do them until Thursday. Lucky that.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Jul 2004 @ 11:35 AM

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 26 Jul 2004 @ 8:57 AM 

Ya gotta love Kurt Vonnegut quotes.

bq. Thanks to TV and for the convenience of TV, you can only be one of two kinds of human beings, either a liberal or a conservative.
Kurt Vonnegut, “Cold Turkey”, In These Times, May 10, 2004

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 26 Jul 2004 @ 08:57 AM

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 25 Jul 2004 @ 12:43 PM 

Cats are insane. If a dog is hungry, he’ll slap his food bowl around, making a horrendous noise and letting you know what he wants. If a dog wants to go to the bathroom, he’ll paw at the door and whine.

Now, contrast that with cat behavior. If a cat wants to eat, she’ll do nothing or mewl at some random location, generally nowhere near her food bowl. What the heck?

I’ve got two cats temporarily, instead of the usual one. With one cat, we went through one can of “good” cat food daily, plus a half-bowl of dry food. With two cats, we go through about three cans of the wet food every day. And they still get in my face. My mother-in-law claims her cat doesn’t eat much. That is definitely untrue. Little beggar takes over Holly’s food bowl now.

So, after making sure they have food, water, and a clean place to poop, they still want to mewl at me and imply that I’ve forgotten some important part of their logistal support. Cats are crazy.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 25 Jul 2004 @ 12:43 PM

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 25 Jul 2004 @ 10:20 AM 

Came up with another new design for the shops – Some mornings it’s just not worth chewing through the leather straps. I think it’s funny.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 25 Jul 2004 @ 10:20 AM

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 25 Jul 2004 @ 8:54 AM 

This version of Snake is just way too addictive. Bad, crack-like game.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 25 Jul 2004 @ 10:21 AM

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 24 Jul 2004 @ 8:58 PM 

OK, got a few more clips, a little better-looking since I spent some time playing with gamma corrections on them.



Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Jul 2004 @ 08:58 PM

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 24 Jul 2004 @ 7:59 PM 

Why is it that I have suddenly begun seeing Ready.gov commercials on television every ten damned minutes? They have been on often enough that I noticed them in the past year, but not so often that I was annoyed by them. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the Democratic Convention or anything. Nope. This administration has never used its executive offices for campaign propaganda purposes before.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Jul 2004 @ 08:00 PM

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 24 Jul 2004 @ 7:29 PM 

Went to go see The Bourne Supremacy today, after mowing the lawn and doing laundry (I’m not a complete “bear with furniture”). I should know better than to see a movie on opening weekend at 4 pm. *Packed* theater, just packed.

Could they have used a steadicam once in a while in that movie? Geez, I thought cinema verite had died out years ago. With that aside, though, it was a really good movie. Not as good as the first one, but pretty darned good. I think it taps into the rugged individualist streak in the western psyche – we think one man with the right training can do anything, beat anyone. It sure makes for good film, anyway.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Jul 2004 @ 07:29 PM

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 24 Jul 2004 @ 3:32 PM 

animated

I just love that line from the movie.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Jul 2004 @ 03:33 PM

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 24 Jul 2004 @ 3:09 PM 

Just a couple quick and dirty animations. I’ll try to get something better later…

animation

animation

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Jul 2004 @ 03:25 PM

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 24 Jul 2004 @ 2:08 PM 

animated GIF

animated GIF

In case anyone else likes the show a little bit. 🙂

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Jul 2004 @ 02:08 PM

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 23 Jul 2004 @ 4:28 PM 

It looks like my idiot neighbor with the insanely barking dogs has moved out. There’s a fella wandering around the house taking photos, which is usually a good sign that they’ll be renting it or selling it soon. Of course, the moron taking the photos parked his Mustang partway into my driveway. It would be a darned shame if I accidentally scraped his bumper off when I back out of the driveway. A true shame.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 28 Jul 2004 @ 11:46 AM

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 23 Jul 2004 @ 1:39 PM 

Following up on the whole social order discussion I started (to a resounding lack of response) the other day…

Talking to a couple of my coworkers this morning, we ended up wandering down the labor unions – good or bad debate. It seems to me that unions are not inherently wrong, but the implementation of them in the past 30 years has grown increasingly lopsided. Where, in the 20s, the factory owner had all the power and was able to force workers who wanted to feed their families to do pretty much anything the boss wanted, the balance has shifted all the way to the other side. This has ended up being actively *bad* for the very people the unions are meant to protect.

I do not in any way assume any altruism on the side of the owners, of course. A businessman is in business to make money for his shareholders or himself. There need not be any higher moral calling in his decisionmaking. Any large company has to balance the various kinds of efficiency that come with manufacturing and distributing whatever widget they create. Offshore workers (and to a lesser degree Mexican factories) make the logistics much more complicated, so a smart business owner would avoid splitting his business into multiple international pieces unless he gained more in doing so than the headaches.

When the labor unions become the majority (or in some industries the entirety) of the workforce, they have all the power. You would think the unions would negotiate to get the most they can for their workers; it’s only natural. What they frequently seem to do in recent years is to get the most they can for the short term, while destroying the industrial capacity that allows the workers employment at all in the long term.

If you’ve got an unskilled laborer in El Paso, they will make upwards of fifteen bucks an hour in a union shop, building whatever it is they build. That same factory can move across the border to Juarez, all of ten miles away in Mexico. In Mexico, the factory owner no longer has to worry about those pesky minimum wage laws, ecological restrictions, work-week length restrictions, overtime, or safety. Way to go, NAFTA(North American Free Trade Agreement).

What steps are required to keep semi-skilled laborers employable in the United States are beyond my ken. But telling company owners they must pay fifteen bucks an hour or not have workers will end up with the owners saying, “we’ve got plenty of workers elsewhere.”

In my semi-educated opinion, it seems that things like NAFTA should only go into effect with concommitant changes in the safety and environmental laws for the partner country, to force them to be competitive in all substantive ways with the United States. To say that we won’t impose any tariffs on our neighbors and to encourage our companies to relocate to them while at the same time imposing restrictions on those same companies in their native country seems counterproductive. It’s a basic equation that anyone with a brain can work out. Why is it surprising that manufacturing jobs have moved out of the country? Why does the President claim, with a straight face, that he’s working to improve manufacturing job creation, when it’s not possible? He can’t do a thing unless the companies suddenly find a more hospitable business atmosphere in the States than overseas for the same type of manufacturing. That seems unlikely, unless we’re willing to have five-income households instead of the now-common dual-income families.

What am I missing that is stopping the politicians from seeing this painfully obvious thing?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 23 Jul 2004 @ 01:44 PM

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 22 Jul 2004 @ 5:15 PM 

Not only did Jessica Simpson have to savage the old Berlin track “Take My Breath Away” but now she’s taken on the more-obscure Robbie Williams song “Angels” – to the detriment of the song, of course. What in the world is a damned *orchestra* doing in that lowkey song? Bizarre.

Flipping through channels, I hear an old Go-Gos song, “Our Lips Are Sealed” but it’s not quite right. Yep, Hilary Duff has remade it. What the hell? What lack of writing has hit the Top 40 music scene? Sadly, most of the target audience doesn’t even know these songs are covers.

I know that covers have been done forever, but listen to a Top 40 (or “best variety”) station for a day and you’ll hear No Doubt covering a Talk Talk song, Hilary Duff doing the Go-Gos, Jessica Simpson doing Robbie Williams *and* Berlin, and 311 covering the Cure. That last one is really inexplicable, because it sounds like the same song with the same musicians but a weak singer. Like Karaoke gone bad. Wait, that’s redundant.

I’m not old, dammit!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 26 Jul 2004 @ 09:11 AM

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 22 Jul 2004 @ 10:38 AM 

Got a cool error from the military proxy server today:

bq. explicitly denied. Reason: art/culture

Yeah, we don’t want any of that art and culture junk to get on-base!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 22 Jul 2004 @ 10:38 AM

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 20 Jul 2004 @ 5:50 PM 

Jon Stewart is hilarious. My favorite quote from this piece about Saddam’s hatred of the U.S.:

bq. Democrats – always standing up for what they later realize they should have believed in.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Jul 2004 @ 05:50 PM

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 20 Jul 2004 @ 8:40 AM 

Try to go to this link from a .mil or .gov computer and tell me if you can get there.

I can’t, from my work machine. I can get to Fox News just fine. I can get the amazingly bizarre Protest Warrior site. But not MoveOn. I wonder how that could be. I’m sure there’s nobody making decisions for NIPRnet that would be biased or partisan, because that would just be wrong.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 20 Jul 2004 @ 04:48 PM

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 19 Jul 2004 @ 10:21 AM 

I was talking to a family friend last month, and the general trend of the conversation dealt with a kind of obligation versus compulsion topic. When you have a reasonable amount of resources, do you have an obligation to “give something back” to society? And, does it automatically follow, then, that society can or should compell you to give it back? I think this debate lies at the heart of many of the problems that the two ends of the political spectrum have in relating to each other. Libertarians, shut up.

The concept of giving something back is a tough one, because society didn’t give me jack, I earned it. Isn’t that the American way? We are rugged individualists, right? So, if nobody ever gave me anything, how can I be giving it back? And, if they gave it to me, it’s mine now so nobody should expect it back. For any X called “it.” 🙂

In my view, though, if I have a lot of stuff and can afford to help someone else out, it is morally repugnant to not help them. The specifics of how and who I would help are up to the giver, obviously. In my mind, to help future generations, I like to donate money to the Nature Conservancy. Direct action groups like NC are my preferred way to do things, because I distrust lobbying groups and Political Action Committees. The PACs, to me, fly in the face of that rugged individualism. If some big group takes my message to some other big group, it just doesn’t feel very personal to me. And, in fine libertarian tradition, charitable giving is all about the giver.

So, the lefties will say, if it is a moral imperative to give back when you have been lucky enough to not struggle, then it must follow that some people won’t want to give anything back. Those people should be forced to help others, for their own good. A rising tide lifts all boats and all that rot. Not in my mind. Yes, I believe everyone who has the means should help others. But, I also firmly believe that forcing someone to give is not a good thing. This compulsory redistribution of wealth just encourages class warfare, and the rich keep finding ways to stop giving a fair share, much less a generous share.

More later, I have to work…

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 19 Jul 2004 @ 10:21 AM

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