Surly Curmudgeon

   The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.
-- Robert A. Heinlein
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    Wednesday, July 20, 2011


    Her Diary and His Diary

    Seen on the internet:

    Her Diary:

    Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made plans to meet at a nice restaurant for dinner. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much. I asked him what was wrong; He said, 'Nothing.' I asked him if it was my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn't upset, that it had nothing to do with me, and not to worry about it.

    On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly, and kept driving. I can't explain his behavior I don't know why he didn't say, 'I love you, too.' When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent.

    Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. But I still felt that he was distracted, and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep - I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.

    His Diary:

    Boat wouldn't start, can't figure out why.


    Posted by Tom, 7/20/2011 7:59:42 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011


    Quote of the Day

    "We choose to do these things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard."
    -- John F. Kennedy


    Posted by Tom, 7/12/2011 7:06:45 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Friday, July 8, 2011


    Quote of the Day

    "O Great Light of the World
    Fill up my soul
    I'm half a man here
    So come make me whole"
    -- Bebo Norman


    Posted by Tom, 7/8/2011 5:56:53 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Tuesday, July 5, 2011


    School is in Session

    After writing the previous post, I wound up taking a ride down the same road as yesterday's "incident". I toted a can of pepper spray, and sure enough at the appointed house the yellow lab came bellowing out at me. I shot him with the spray, but didn't make a really solid hit. He backed off instinctively, then came again. I sprayed again. Again he dodged it. We repeated this about 4 or 5 times, and then he ran out of steam and let me go.

    His buddy, the black dog (possibly an Australian shepherd) that had gone after my wife, was up next. I squirted him a good one, but didn't see if I made a good hit or not.

    I continued my ride, which was an out-and-back style ride, and knew I'd be passing those same dogs on the way back. Right on cue, the yellow lab came charging out at me. This time he held a good line relative to me, and I let him have it full in the face. I could actually see the stuff dripping off his muzzle. He backed off, but the sting hadn't set in yet, so he came again and I shot him again, thinking to myself "BOOM! Headshot!"

    He finally clued into something going wrong with his face and peeled off to shake and rub himself on the grass. His little black buddy arrived, but wouldn't come within 10 feet of the road, so I took it as a sign that I'd gotten him pretty good on the first pass.

    This is going to be my exercise route for the near future, until that little bastard finally learns his place. After that I've got a mental list of dogs needing education, and I'm going to diligently apply the lesson until they're all better canine citizens.

    Posted by Tom, 7/5/2011 11:58:59 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Going to War/School

    I've basically had it with the folks around me who refuse to contain their dogs. I've put over a hundred miles on the bike since I bought it last week, and the one constant seems to be nitwits who let their dogs run out into the street and chase cars/cyclists/runners.

    It didn't bother me much until yesterday, when my wife and I were out for a ride and 3 separate, large dogs came after us and actually got close enough to attack. One yellow lab required a few kicks to the head to get him away from me, and as I was doing that I saw another dog going after my wife in a similar fashion. I'm not afraid of the mutts myself, but when she got threatened, it woke something primal. It felt like my bike just leaped into high gear and I charged down on that dog like a bat out of hell. It saw me coming and stopped in mid-bark, turned tail and ran. Later we passed another farm, and a dog came out at us, again within biting/kicking distance, but I got between it and her, yelling at her to GO.

    After that, I was royally pissed, and it's only because I love dogs generally that I agreed to go shopping for some pepper spray instead of just shooting them. We stocked up on a whole bunch of spray, in sizes good for carrying on the bikes, and I am making it my personal mission to educate every dog on my various routes. Bark at me from your yard, and we're good. Cross that line into the road, and your furry butt is mine. You'll get a face full every single time until you get the idea.

    I only wish it was legal to mace the owners. It might do more good.

    Posted by Tom, 7/5/2011 3:27:52 AM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...

    Sunday, July 3, 2011


    Standing Desk

    I became interested in the idea of a standing desk sometime around the beginning of this year. I spent some time shopping the vast array of options available, and was of course taken in by the shiny goodness of adjustable height desks that let you sit when you want to sit. Unfortunately, these are prohibitively expensive, and I already had a very nice (if cluttered) conventional desk, one which I really didn't want to throw in the garbage:



    I thought about making a stand that would sit on top of it, but the idea got back-burnered (as ideas often do) while I attended to other matters.

    The recent spate of articles regarding the detrimental health effects of sitting for long periods of time re-aroused my interest however, so I decided to give it a go. I ran to the local Home Depot and got a couple of pieces of 2'x4' plywood, 3/4" thick:



    These got whacked into various-sized pieces for the design I had in my head...



    And with a few bucks' worth of hardware I started marking out pilot holes for the screws.



    I even made a little jig out of a piece of dowel rod to make sure I didn't drill through the boards into the carpet and thus start a marital holy war:



    Once the drilling was complete, I screwed in the brackets, pounded in the little feet...



    ...and set it up:



    I still need to figure out how I want to trim the front edges, and finish staining the various parts. I bought a piece of quarter-round, but I'm not sure I like it. So it's just going to have to look raw for a while. Also, the brackets aren't quite as solid as I'd like (there's an annoying bit of side-to-side wobble), so I'm also going to look into some bracing for the bottom legs. But for $50 worth of materials and a couple hours' worth of work, it's not bad.

    UPDATE:

    After using the above configuration for about an hour, I decided there was just too much neck strain going on, so I tried eliminating the upper portion and just going with the lower. I liked it so much that I tore apart the upper part and repurposed it as a brace for the lower legs:







    I like this configuration much better, and the legs are now rock-solid, so I think I'm going to stick with it. I might build a smaller stand for my laptop so it will sit a little higher. The monitor on the right is just about perfect, but the laptop feels a little low. Work in progress...

    UPDATE 2:

    Decided to go ahead and put the quarter-round trim on, and stain the whole thing again.



    I think when I make one for the office, I'll just do some spray-on lacquer instead of messing with the stain.

    Posted by Tom, 7/3/2011 1:57:16 PM (Permalink). 0 Comments. Leave a comment...