Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Katrina vs New Orleans: One Year Later

Upon the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina running roughshod over New Orleans, there is a flood of news coverage as to what happened and where they are on the road to recovery. Much of the coverage will be a rehash of the sloppy reporting made by the media at the time. I’m willing to bet few if any of the reports will mention the errors and/or the anger and hysteria they spawned.

Lou Dolinar wrote an article in Newsday in October of ’05 that details Katrina: What went right.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 40
More Electrical and Plumbing

Adam took the week off and I made several trips hauling stuff from NJ to PA. Meanwhile, Don and Kyle (who has started soccer practice and is, therefore, working short days) made some advances on the electrical wiring and plumbing of the log home. Nearly all of the water lines have been run and the drain lines for the three baths and the kitchen are complete. Only a few electrical lines need to be run.

Again, I have no pictures because…well, the work was diverse and really not cenetered enough to make any good photos.

Monday I made a one-day trip hauling of several boxes of kitchenware and clothing to put into the storage unit. On Thursday, Terry and I drove out with several more boxes of the same materials but stopped in the Sayre/Athens area to shop for bathroom fixtures and tile. We also stopped to shop for a wood burning stove for the basement. We enjoyed dinner with Don and Deb and stayed overnight at their home.

Next Tuesday I’ll make another one-day trip to pick up the wood burner we ordered and deliver that to the building site. I’ll also haul a few more boxes to the storage unit. Later in the week, Terry will take some things up to the Adirondack cabin that will serve as our home once we close on the NJ property. I will make yet another trip to PA on Friday with more stuff for the storage unit (which is nearing capacity).

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wild Animals Gone…well, Wild!

Olympia, Washington is being besieged by a masked gang of hoodlums that been on a murdering rampage lately. Psycho killer raccoons terrorize Olympia (an AP report via Yahoo! News)

"It's a new breed," said Tamara Keeton, who with Kari Hall started a raccoon watch after an emotional neighborhood meeting drew 40 people. "They're urban raccoons, and they're not afraid."

They have killed at least 10 cats, attacked a small dog and bitten one resident who has had to get rabies shots.

The local officials have asked for trappers from the US Department of Agriculture to come in at help eliminate the killers. Unfortunately, raccoons are pretty intelligent.
Meanwhile, residents have hired Tom Brown, a nuisance wildlife control operator from Rochester, Washington, to set traps, but in six weeks he has caught only one raccoon. He and Carrell said raccoons teach their young — and each other — to avoid traps.

Brown said he had seen packs of raccoons this big but none so into killing.

"They are in command up there," he said.

Good luck Olympia.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


You know, I think I might take up playing golf. I just got done watching Tiger Woods play the final round of the PGA Championship and it looks soooo easy!

51 victories including 12 Majors and counting. Damn! Can he play that game or what?

(Actually, I remember a long running argument we had at my fraternity back in the day (okay, 1970 if you must know) about whether golf was a sport or a game. Those that played the game insisted it was sport. Those of us who did not play considered it a game--like darts or horseshoes. Now even those events are to be found on ESPN!)

Uh..excuse me...but, about that URL…

My daughter posted this link to: The top 10 unintentionally worst company URL upon her LiveJournal site: All Things to Everyone.
I thought I would share them with you.

Read them slowly and be sure to put the beverages down before you do. I am not responsible for any spills or liquids you may aspirate or spit upon your keyboard.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 39
Electricity and Plumbing

Sorry folks, there are no pics for this week's update. I spent all last week on the road hauling stuff to PA and then to NY. I did stop by The Aerie when I drove out to PA on Tuesday to see what was going on and put some stuff into the storage area.

I found that Don had run most of the wires and installed the switches and outlets for the first and second floor. He had also had run the plastic tubing that will serve as the hot and cold water supply lines. This actually looks kind of cool since the cold tubing is blue and the hot water line is red. Looking at it as it snakes out of the utility room and across the basement ceiling reminds me of all those diagrams of the circulatory system in the junior and senior high biology books. Red represented oxygenated blood in the arteries and blue was the deoxygenated blood in the veins.

Wednesday was spent loading the pickup and driving up to the Bolt Hole with even more stuff. Don and Deb went to Pittsburgh on Wednesday for a couple of days but Adam, Jim and Kyle kept working. Unfortunately, I haven't spoken to them since Tuesday and, therefore, have no idea what's going on. (Actually, I did call Don on Wednesday when I received three garbled phone calls from him while I was driving along the NY Thruway. I could hear sounds in the background but no one returned an answer to my "Hello." I Stopped at Pattersonville and called Don. He was at the Pittsburgh/Milwaukee baseball game. He said the score was tied and they were starting the 13th inning. The Brewers scored 3 runs in the top of the 13th to win 5-2. As you might surmise, we didn't talk about the building project.)

I'll probably have another load of stuff to go to PA on Monday. At that time I'll be checking on progress, taking pictures and picking up mail.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Brew that is True

The NY Times’ Fitness & Nutrition section reports upon a compilation of studies in The Journal of the American Medical Association that have found some benefit in the consumption of coffee: Coffee as a Health Drink?
Researchers have found strong evidence that coffee reduces the risk of several serious ailments, including diabetes, heart disease and cirrhosis of the liver.

None of the studies has been able to pinpoint the exact cause and effect, but several point to the level of antioxidants contained in a cuppa:
…researchers found that a typical serving of coffee contains more antioxidants than typical servings of grape juice, blueberries, raspberries and oranges.

But before you go hooking up the IV to the coffee urn, caffeine is still a bad thing.
Caffeine, perhaps coffee’s most famous component, seems to have little to do with it; studies that looked at decaffeinated coffee alone found the same degree of risk reduction.

In fact, it can be a harmful component
… caffeine could increase blood pressure and slightly increase levels of the amino acid homocysteine, possibly raising the risk for heart disease.

I believe I’ll take my chances with the caffeine demon. At least before noon!

(h/t to Instapundit.com’s Glenn Reynolds. But why did he post on coffee at 10:19 PM?)

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The 5000th

Well, THAT didn't take long!

Around 4:51 PM this afternoon I had my 5000th visitor. Someone from Hartford, Connecticut, who has been visiting my site on a very regular basis, dropped by to peruse the site. Due to the configuration of the system from which they accessed the site, I can determine what company they work for (I think) but have no clue as to who they are.

In any event, thanks for coming by.

Maybe there are deer in the Adirondacks.

During last falls deer season I bemoaned the fact that I had spent days walking around the acres I own in the Adirondacks and the hundreds of acres adjacent to them with nary a sign of deer (let alone an adult animal) being sighted. (See: There Are NO Deer In The Adirondacks!) On the very day I made that complaint while sitting at home in NJ, my "buddy" Mark sent me pictures of a few deer he had photographed using a Moultrie game camera in my backyard in the Adirondacks!

He has continued his camera work during the summer and has gotten pictures of at least five (5) different bucks, two bears, a fox and lots of other critters. Lately he has been sending me pictures of the bucks and bears in a blatant attempt to get me to go hunting with him again this fall despite the work to be done in PA and the property I now have there I can hunt.

It may be working.

Expecially when two of the bucks look like this:
Deer 05
There is this 8-pointer...

Deer 03
...and this somewhat smaller 5-pointer...

Deer 04
...and sometimes they show up together. (Notice the 8-pointer coming in from the left.)

Monday, August 14, 2006

The 5000

Within the next day or two I will have had my 5000th visitor. Yeah me!

There were several months when I didn't have site meter keeping track so the actual numbers could be higher.

(Yea, so it took 17 months to get there, but it's kinda cool nonetheless.)

Friday, August 11, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 38
More siding, framing and electricity

More progress this week inside and out, although I had precious little to do with any of it. Don, Adam, Jim and Kyle did most of the work. I traveled back to NJ to do some monitoring of corrections of items found by home inspectors, to welcome my son home for a few days on his way back to Idaho, and to pack and drive a U-Haul truck out to PA with some of our larger furniture pieces.

First Adam and Jim: They worked hard during the week to complete the siding on the garage.

Siding 01
They finished the front of the garage…

Siding 02
…they did the entire gable end of the garage from the ground up to the peak…

Siding 03
…and they completed the rear of the garage. Now the only siding to be done is the dormer—and that must wait until we get the replacement parts for the master bathroom’s window.

Inside, Kyle returned from his vacation to frame out the laundry room and the foyer closet…
Framing 01
before he moved on to assist with electrical and plumbing projects.

Don finished framing out the master bathroom…
Framing 02

…and the doorway into the attic…
Framing 03

…before he moved on to running more wire and hooking up lights and outlets. And running some pipe to make steps toward hooking up bathrooms, kitchen and laundry.

Me? Like I said, I was in NJ to pack a U-Haul truck with the aide of my son, Rick. We did that on Thursday and then drove out to the log home on Friday. There we unloaded the furniture into one small corner of the basement.
Some stuff moved

This was Rick's first view of the house and the land on which it is situated. And it was a beautiful day for him to see it. Clear, cool skies and a view that went on for ever made a great impression.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Perhaps It's Time

Jack Bauer can save America in more was than any man.

Blogs 4 Bauer.com

More kitties!

Brother and sister nap time.
Shadow uses Chester as a pillow while they both lay in my lap.

Chester dreams of having large bowls of food all to himself.

Shadow can look all innocent…when asleep.

but then she gives you the evil blue eye.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

I Like Beer

Nothing like a cold one after some heavy outdoor labor.
Cold requires lager like Yuengling or Saranac Lager.
Sitting in the evening something heavier can be enjoyed. Like Saranac Black and Tan or Black Forest, but these should be room temperature to bring out their full flavor.

(Although I admit a little 12-year old, single-malt Glenlivet over ice makes for a nice nightcap.)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Log Home Update: Part 37

As mentioned mid-week, I hauled a load of stuff from the garage north to the Adirondacks on Thursday. The temperatures had already moderated in the northland when I got there around 4 PM. Back in PA and NJ a front moved through with some strong winds and very heavy rains. I unloaded the pickup and went to sleep with the windows open.

Friday morning, awakening to the sound of gentle rain at 3:30 AM, I drove back to PA to check in with Don and to see what had been accomplished. I found that, despite the hot weather, Adam and Jim had finished siding the north gable and had started siding the panelized garage walls.
North Gable sided
North end, with all its windows, has been sided.

Garage wall siding 01
Garage walls being sided. The false corners make it difficult to tell that it is not really a log wall.

Garage wall siding 02
Adam and Jim have worked up to “ladder height” all around the garage.

Don had framed out the attic door and started drilling and chiseling holes in the log walls to place the electrical boxes in the first floor walls. It takes a little over an hour to do just one of these.

Electric boxes chiseled out
Notice the little blue boxes in the wall?

Me? I started making the mounting plates for exterior light fixtures. I worked only a couple of hours before heading back to NJ.

With two round trips between NJ and PA early in the week (one going through Deposit, NY) and the three-way trip from NJ to Adirondacks to PA to NJ on Thursday and Friday, I’ve logged over 1650 miles and transported two loads of material to storage in PA and the Adirondacks. In between I did a little bit (not much) work in PA and cleaned out a substantial portion of the NJ garage.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What ya gonna do when the
hurricane/flood/earthquake comes for you?

Law Dog has given himself over to the process of Meditations on evacuations due to natural (or unnatural) disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquake, etc. If you live anywhere things can go wrong, it behooves you to read and heed his words. Dog’s advice may, at first glance, seem to be overkill, but if you really, really think about what happened last year with Katrina and Rita it makes a lot of sense to protect your family and friends sans government help. They’ll (the gov’mint boys) be busy with the idiots who didn’t think ahead.

'Tis far better to ponder now what you're going to do when/if the sh*t hits the fan than to find yourself up the creek without a paddle when all heck breaks loose. (Just to mix a few metaphores/cliches.)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Kitty Blogging

As I mentioned a week or so ago, I brought two little kittens home. They have been sucking down food like little Hoovers. When they walk away from the saucers they look like each swallowed a tennis ball.

They'll run around like little dervishes for an hour or more. Then, suddenly, collapse and fall asleep for two hours. Do kittens all suffer from narcolepsy?

AKA: Mayhem

AKA: Mischief

Aren't they cute?

A House is sold! (?)

Our NJ residence has been sold! We are under contract to a young couple moving out of an apartment and into their first house. The contract is out of attorney review. They have had their mortgage provider's appraiser inspect the house and a home inspector go through looking at the systems and whatnot. (Not to mention his Dad and older brother and her sister.)

We are looking to a closing near the end of August. And everyone is excited and anxious.

After several months on the market with little action it seems like everything happened overnight. Now the moving out becomes serious business. So much to do and so little time to do it! My work in PA may take a back seat for a few weeks until all of the packing and moving is accomplished.

Log Home Update: Part 36
Siding and Electricity
and it's HOT!

I've punked out this week after just two days but Don, Adam and Jim have continued working in the heat of north-central PA.

Monday morning I departed NJ to drive to Deposit, NY to pick up some deck materials from Beaver Mountain. I then continued on to The Aerie, arriving shortly after 10 AM. (Total travel time from NJ: approximately 5 hours to cover the 260 miles plus make the pick-up.)

I found Adam and Jim working on the north gable siding and Don upstairs framing out the final wall of the master bath and placing electrical outlet boxes. I unloaded the decking material and began cutting and laying the pieces for the entry deck. When I finished that 4' x 10' deck it was near to 4 in the afternoon.

I then hopped in my truck and headed back to NJ arriving home around 8 PM. (Trip time: 4 hours to go the 230 miles.) Once home, I loaded the truck with boxes of books and some furniture.

Early Tuesday (around 4 AM), I headed back to PA to put the boxes and stuff into the storage unit. (230 miles) Then it was up the hill to The Aerie to put in a few hours of work with Don, Adam and Jim.

Don was framing a door into the attic over the garage and wiring the electric boxes on the second floor. Adam and Jim were on the second half of the gable siding. The heat climbed above 90 degrees for the second day. I moved some tongue and groove boards from the storage trailer into the basement. This was six inch wide material left over from the soffits and there was quite a bit of it. We needed to move it so we could get to the insulation and tongue and groove ceiling material which we will be needing soon. I cleaned up the cutting stations in the garage. Jessica had dropped off her revised plans for the kitchen cabinets and I approved her ideas. By 2 PM sweat had drenched my shirt and I decided to head back to NJ. Four hours and 230 miles later I was back in the air conditioned NJ home.

With temperatures predicted to near the 100 degree mark on Wednesday and Thursday, I opted to remain in NJ. Although I will probably load up the truck with materials to be taken up to the Adirondack cabin on Thursday. I may even head back to PA Friday after unloading the truck.