Friday, March 28, 2008

Finishing Touches

The floor tile is down and grouted.
The next step is to seal the grout. Sealer's Choice Gold is our choice, about $100/gallon.
This applicator with a wheel is the bomb. Fast and easy. After rolling liquid sealer onto the grout joints, take a wet cloth and wipe off the excess.
The granite shower takes shape. Here the seat has been installed. At the valve line we'll add a band to cover the seam. Oh, and the 2x4 under the seat is temporary. It's just holding the underneath piece until the epoxy dries.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Yet Again, More 'Toons

Bush has killed more Americans than Bin Laden, if in fact Bin Laden even exists. I think he's just a straw man, invented to give Bush a smokescreen to steal Iraq's oil.
Too bad there isn't a Bush/Cheney statue that us citizens could tear down.
Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be soldiers.

Hey Nancy and Harry, how about visiting a nearby Rent-a-Sac on your way to "work", and impeach this asshole. For once, doing the right thing involves no risk, so WTF?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

How to Build a House

As we approach the hurricane and tornado season, I have a prediction. This year lots of people will lose their homes to storms. Then they'll ask the government to buy them the same type of home to put in the path of next year's hurricanes and tornadoes. And nobody will laugh at that.
Your home should be able to withstand common or uncommon weather events. It should keep you cool when the sun is hot, warm when a chilly north wind and clouds hide the sun's warmth. Your home should never be in danger of floods, lightning, earthquakes, or winds. Remember the story of the Three Little Pigs and how they discovered the suitability of different housing construction methods?
Some other considerations are:
Affordability--If you're just scraping by after paying the mortgage and electric bill, then you screwed up. Your home should be comfortable in all ways.
One with Nature--Your home should not drive indigenous life away. You can share your land with critters even if you don't invite them inside your home. But they need cover, something that tile roofs, lawns and asphalt streets don't provide.
Low maintenance--If you have to work all weekend to maintain your home, it's not a very restful place. Number one on the hit list is lawns. Why in the world would anyone want a damn lawn that needs constant mowing, fertilizing and watering?
Quiet--The world is loud. Your home should be serene and restful.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!

'Toons for our Times 2

'Toons for our Times

This is the lavish home of an obscenely wealthy "defense contractor". The rest of us Americans would love to own just one of this man's many trailers.
Bush, may the dogs gnaw your bones in Hell for all eternity.

I will shake my head in sadness if gullible Americans elect Warboy McCain this fall.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Security Director's Private Bathroom

Here's Ralph's coyote-proof enclosure. I painted it to match the house, and now I'm putting the sunshade on top.
Carpenter fastening the shade material to the enclosure. I used 1-1/2" 20 gauge steel angle with self-tapping screws to fasten the solar screen fabric to the top. I didn't put fabric on the sides because I want Ralph to be able to see the front driveway easily. It's his job to spot "boogers". That's what we pay him for.
Carpenter demonstrates opening one of the two lids. Since I'm too big to fit through the doggie door, I needed a way to get in and clean Ralph's bathroom.
The completed enclosure.

A Ralph's-eye-view.

Monday, March 17, 2008

More Spring Excitement!

Here, Joe and Patrick start installing our floor tile. It's a porcelain tile, 6" x 20", laid in a plank-like pattern. Mrs. Carpenter smiled all day.
This is Ralph's Secure Bathroom. He'll be able to take a leak without worrying about being a coyote's next meal. I picked it up at the welding shop and I'll leave it on the trailer to paint it. That's tomorrow's job.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Spring in the Desert

The desert just keeps getting brighter and brighter. These are Desert Daisies, I think. They sure are pretty.
Mrs. Carpenter took these pictures while we were out walking this afternoon.

Friday, March 14, 2008

More 'Toons

Bush on Wednesday accused the Venezuelan government of destabilizing, provocative behavior, saying "it has squandered its oil wealth in an effort to promote its hostile, anti-American vision."

The most anti-American sumbitch on this planet right now is the bastard Bush. Perhaps after next January, America can dust itself off, hawk a lunger, and move on.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

How Much Longer?

Click on the cartoon to enlarge to a nice readable size.
This is a Tom Tomorrow cartoon. He's one of my faves. Check out his blog. It's called This Modern World.
The United States is fast becoming a third world country. Bush and his cronies have trashed America faster than I thought possible.
Clinton was impeached over a blow job. Bush has murdered a million innocent people and trashed the U.S., but he gets a pass. WTF?

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Setting Cabinets

Here's Carpenter attaching crown molding to our cabinets. The finish end of our house is killing us--delays, excuses, poor quality products, etc... It's like running through quicksand. Most of the brand new products we buy for our house have to be replaced or fixed before we can use them. Very time consuming. A very sad commentary on what was once a great country.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

House of Assholes

It looks like both the Iraqis and Americans should express their gratitude to Bush/Cheney. Americans appear to have given up trying to persuade their elected representatives to end the war and impeach these two mass-murderers. Even with a Bush approval rating of 19%, Congress cowers under the table, wetting themselves in fear. Somehow I doubt the 2008 elections will change anything. Some Democracy, huh?

Essential Building Concepts

These definitions and illustrations are from the passive solar page of Malcolm Wells' website. These two particular concepts are essential to designing an energy-efficient house.

Thermal mass
Thermal mass
Materials that store heat. Heavy dense materials—concrete, stone, and even water—store a lot of heat in a small volume (compared with most lightweight materials) and release it when needed.

Mean Radiant Temperature
The average temperature you experience from the combination of all the various surface temperatures in a room: walls, floors,

Mean Radiant Temp.
ceilings, furniture, and people.

If your inside air temperature is comfortable but the walls, furniture, floors, etc. are cold, then you will feel cold. Thermal mass keeps temperatures steady. If a cold north wind comes up suddenly, you won't rush to the thermostat if the shell of your home is insulated concrete.
Carpenter's house has been a constant 71 degrees this last week, which feels fine because the walls, floor, ceiling and the air are all in sync. It doesn't matter whether it's 40 degrees outside with a howling north wind or whether it's 60 degrees, calm and sunny. The inside maintains its temperature and stays comfortable.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Don't Bring None, Won't Be None

Arresting "detainees". Compare the uniforms and equipment and it's pretty easy to see which guys are the bullies.

After decades of "peace plans", there is no peace in Palestine. I think I see why. I notice things that others miss, like elephants in the room. Israel has been building walls around the Palestinians and murdering them for decades. Maybe, just maybe, the Palestinians resent it. Perhaps if the Israelis quit bullying them and just let them be, in time the Palestinians wouldn't feel compelled to seek revenge. And maybe, just maybe, if the U.S. Government quit financing the Israeli army, that might help things along.

Elepants In The Room

I've been trying to think of a succinct phrase to sum up the direction this country is headed. "Hell in a Handbasket" seems pretty close.

Then we'll need to express a proper thank-you to our Dear Leader. How about "Nice Wars, Jackass!"?

Lethal Weapon

This is Ralph, our director of security here at the Underground Carpenter Mega-complex. He looks peaceful enough, but just try to take his stuffed toy out from under him.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Do the Math

When I started as a carpenter in 1973, union scale in Las Vegas was $7.84/hr. You could buy a starter home for $20,000 and gas was $0.25/gallon. Back then I was pieceworking, being paid by the foot for working on tract homes. I though union scale was a joke. How could anyone live on that? I was averaging $15/hr.
Fast forward to 2008. Today union scale for a carpenter in Vegas is a little over $30/hr. Four times the 1973 scale. A new starter home is $250,000, about twelve-and-a-half times a 1973 home. And just yesterday I paid $3.05/gallon, a little over twelve times a 1973 gallon. So to just keep pace with inflation, carpenter scale would have to be at least $90/hr. Back in the 70's, every paycheck of mine was, truly, a fortune.

It used to be common knowledge(however wrong it was) that war was good for the economy. "The tonic of a serious moral adventure". It should be fairly obvious, by now, that war trashes an economy. There are a lot of people that still haven't figured it out yet.
America doesn't seem to make anything anymore, so logically, jobs will be harder to come by. And when China figures out that the dollars we trade them are worthless, this country will have to get back to work fast or starve.
The Federal Reserve is a private bank whose main job is counterfeiting. Their counterfeiting operation allows the U.S. Government to pretend they can afford wars and welfare. Direct taxation, which would be at least honest, would quickly acquaint taxpayers with the true cost of government boondoggles. Instead, we talk about what a shame it is to pass the cost of "borrowing" along to our children.