Thursday, August 27, 2015

French train terror attack thwarted (best response)

Predictably, the Americans fought and were injured, the British were inspired to join by the actions of their cousins, and the French ran away.

Just about crashed my car laughing.

On a serious note, how long is it going to take the Islamic jihadist nutjobs to figure out that the easiest targets in the United States are the places where no one is supposed to have a gun?  Trains, schools, shopping malls, etc.  We see this regularly (although not as regularly as a reflexively anti-gun media would have you believe) as virtually every mass shooting attempt occurs somewhere where guns are prohibited: movie theaters in Colorado, state colleges, and schools spring to mind.  The mall in my town has signs on the door to tell you that firearms are prohibited.  Although these signs do not have the force of law they can have you removed and told not to come back (trespassed) if you violate their rules.

The constant attacks on military bases is, in my opinion, a part of this calculation.  Even though everyone on the base is trained in combat, military rules and regulations prohibit anyone from having a firearm other than those actively on guard at the entrances to the base.  If you can get past them (hint: you can, their job is to be intimidating but they can't and don't check every one of the thousands of vehicles that drive on and off base each day) then you have a free fire zone until some of the men with guns finally do arrive.

The guys on the train, genuine heroes, got lucky.  This idiot wanders in with his AK slung around his neck.  He wasn't expecting anyone to resist.  He probably thought he'd declaim the virtues of Allah and how he was killing them because they were infidels for a while and then start shooting.  Maybe he figured that he would have time to pick up his gun after he had shouted Allahu Akbar a few times, thus terrifying the compliant people as they waited for certain death.   If he had been ready to go when he walked in he would have shot all three of them as they rushed towards him to try to overpower him.  That's how it works.  Guy with gun who is prepared to fire trumps brave guys with fists.  In this case, he wasn't ready and they took him down.  Well done them, but those mindless clowns over at the Brady Center who claim that this proves that we don't need guns to fight back, get real.  You can't count on being that lucky.  The French policeman (armed with a gun) who was murdered outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo certainly didn't.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

1909 Restoration saga continues

Some of you may have read my posts on refinishing fir floors.

Floor refinishing project update October 2014

Ongoing renovation projects March 2014

Floor refinishing update October 2013

Wood floor project update September 2013

Why I am a teacher February 2013

Home repair and Restoration August 2011

Four years ago I started working on the floors in my house.  So far I have two rooms done.  All the carpet is out because it was disgusting, the back bedroom and the office have been painstakingly (and painfully) sanded using a 21" belt sander and pieces of sandpaper wrapped around a foam sanding block, as well as refinished using a Bona sealer and polyurethane finish.  They both look incredible as you well know from looking at the old posts and the pictures included therein.

The moral of the story is that I am super slow.  I have a boredom threshold of something under twenty minutes for hand sanding a floor.

While I was sanding the upstairs landing, however, I had to scrape up a bit of the tile that was covering the master bedroom floor.  It is a weird fiberboard sort of stuff

that was glued into place and then had been covered with paint and drywall mud over the years.

I tried cleaning it a bit but it didn't clean up much and then underneath all the gook was a weird sort of pattern.  Anyway, I hit the glue with the belt sander because I needed to clean up the edge of the hallway and it came off pretty easily (remember that this term is relative as I have hand sanded two floors over the past four years).

However, there was no way that I was going to do that by hand.

So you may remember my comment from 2011:

"sanding floors is actually not that easy and amateurs routinely ruin perfectly good floors"
 The author of that quote was specifically talking about using a drum sander on a fir floor.  At this point, and looking at what I was facing, I didn't care.  Worst case scenario I put carpet back into the room.  I rent a drum sander and my buddy comes over for the day.

I'm on the belt sander getting the edges.  40 grit sandpaper all round.  Finish with a round of 100 grit, then I smooth out the whole floor with 120 grit in a quick once over and the floor is ready for finish.

Wow.  This may be the nicest floor in the house.  Didn't require any putty except to fill a couple nail holes near the door.  Not sure how long the tile had been down but it left this interesting pattern where the tiles joined.

You can see each tile.

Educational aside from Wikipedia: Linoleum was invented in the 1860s.  It was made of linseed oil, and cork and wood powders, with a jute backing.  This may well have been linoleum.  They pretty much stopped using it in the 50s.  I was thinking of the plasticy stuff that they put down in big rolls in the 70s that we always called linoleum.  Guess it's like Kleenex in that regard.  Anyway, back to refinishing...

Got home from school today and spent about a half hour applying the sealant.

Tomorrow, possibly in the morning before I leave for school, the first coat of polyurethane finish will go down, the second coat after school, and the third and final Thursday morning.

Oh, funny story.  See that little rectangular thing on the window sill in the last picture?

Yeah, that's my cell phone.  Three hours later (drying time) I went over and retrieved it.  Thankfully this sealant isn't one that takes 24 hours or more to dry.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Motorcycle Diaries 2015 (Part 6) The Finale

A bit late, as was Part 5, since I have been home for a week and a half but it's been a busy week and a half.  Customers piling up, a memorial service, plus just settling back in.  Getting ready to refinish the master bedroom floors tomorrow so stand by for an update on that.

Meanwhile, I posted the ride from Cortez to San Diego a few minutes ago, I put up some pics of the new surfboard and Los Angeles beaches while I was there, but haven't updated the trip home.

Planned on taking five days or so to get home so hit the road on Monday.  Didn't make it much more than a couple hours and realized that I was tired and wanted to be home.  I had been on the road for almost a month at that point.  I was headed up the Eastern Sierras through Mohave and had planned to cut across through Napa Valley, one of my two favorite riding places in California, but decided to stay east of the Sierras, which would take me through Bishop, Reno, Susanville, and up into eastern Oregon.

Mohave.  Not too bad.  Rode by the air park which used to have old Douglas and Convairs, now has only a few 747s.  I assume that the rest were cut up for scrap at some point.  Doesn't make much sense to keep old airplanes sitting once you don't need them for spare parts but what a shame.

The Eastern Sierras are pretty spectacular in their own way.  Very dry on that side but the mountains sort of jut.  Not a ton of erosion so they are very raw.

Stopped at Jenny's for breakfast lunch.  Jenny wasn't a very friendly person.  I found out that they weren't serving breakfast when she informed me that the breakfast menu ended at 11.  Trying to be sociable I mentioned that I had been riding since early that morning and had lost track of time.  Her response was "It's the middle of the day now".

OK.  Thanks for the update.

Food was OK but expensive.  I paid $14 for a grilled ham and cheese sandwich (good) and a small bowl of lettuce (optimistically labeled "salad").   I won't go back.

Practiced taking "selfies" for a while.  Aack!  I look retarded in every one of them except for the ones where the helmet strap cutting into my chin makes me look hugely fat.  Rolls.  Sorry, you don't get to see those.  Maybe I'm just not cut out for taking pictures of my self.  A friend suggested that I needed a "selfie stick" on my bike.  Ha ha.

Anyway, north to Reno and through to Susanville.  Not a bad day's ride.  About 565 miles (per Google maps) and I was in time to settle in and get some dinner.  Warning, Susanville is pretty much closed on Monday.  BBQ restaurant that was recommended?  Closed.  Chinese restaurant that was recommended?  Closed.  Ate at an OK Chinese place.  Better than Cortez but not spectacular.

From Susanville I forgot to take pictures.  Part of it is that I've been through there so often and part of it is that I am getting ready to be home and am focused on that instead of the scenery.  I did see these.

Made the mistake of cutting across to I-5 around Eugene.  Well, sort of a mistake.  It was a great ride.  Highway 58 is a spectacular motorcycle road, but leaving Susanville Tuesday morning got me into the Portland area around three o'clock.   Just in time for rush hour.  Hit the 205 cutoff that takes me around the city and came to a screeching halt.  Plus it was hot.  I do split lanes even when I am not in California but it is a bit stressful when you have to constantly watch out for the rozzers.  I split whenever traffic came to a complete halt and, as hot as it was, figured I'd try to fast talk my way out of it by pointing out my air cooled motorcycle.  That is, after all, one of the main reasons that it is still legal in California.  Plus the fact that it isn't particularly dangerous.  Seriously.  Scientific fact.  I'll post on that later so stay tuned.

Anyway, evening at Mule's, tried to go out for dinner to Buffalo Wild Wings (closed for renovations), Famous Dave's BBQ (sat there for twenty  minutes while two servers (neither of them ours, apparently) walked back and forth four times each and completely ignored us, not even stopping to ask if our server had been out yet), then to Red Robin where we actually got served burgers and beer.

Then home.


I left on July 16th and returned on August 12th.  And that after two weeks on Maui earlier in the summer.  I'm almost looking forward to school starting.  Either that or winning the Powerball lottery because then...

The Motorcycle Diaries 2015, Part 5 (The Wishlist edition)

Cortez, Colorado to San Diego, California.  Lots of ways to get there so I decided to choose the one that didn't involve me riding through Los Angeles.  I still think it was the right choice.

Off to my right was Monument Valley.  I'd like to go through it some day but it wasn't on the itinerary for this trip.  You have to pay to go through and pay more to get a guided tour.  Probably worth it some summer but I was a bit time limited as I had to be in San Diego nlt Sunday afternoon.

Keep going and you pass the turn-off to the Grand Canyon.  I want to hike down into the Canyon some day.  Stood on the top rim a couple times and looked down but never had time to go farther than that.  This time I rode past the signs that said "North Rim this way" and "South Rim this way" (or somesuch wording).  Had a good breakfast in Cameron at the general (read tourist) store.  Fancy dining room from a more luxurious age.

After a minor issue in Phoenix (motorcycle battery died, thankfully at a gas station just outside of Phoenix and not in the middle of the Sonoran desert) I headed through said desert.

(Oh, battery story?  Turns out that batteries which typically last about seven years in the mild climate of the Pacific NW last about two years in Phoenix.  I was there for two hours and it took mine out, most likely because it was getting old and tired anyway.  Had the bike towed to the dealership, had them put a battery in, runs great.  Most expensive battery I've ever bought by the time you add in towing and a mechanic.)

Through said desert to Yuma, arriving shortly after dark.  That was a hot day.  From the time I started down the hill into Phoenix it got progressively hotter.  I can't imagine what it must have been like to live there when it took you days to cross that desert and before you had an air conditioned room to retire to.  Of course that's why not many people did live there.

Woke up at 5am in my Yuma hotel room, packed up and walked out the door at 6am to 86 degree Fahrenheit temperature.  Did I mention it was six in the morning?

I was out of there fast to get across that next stretch of desert before it warmed up.  I'd love to tour the territorial prison there some time, so that's on my wish list.  Just not thrilled about braving the heat to do it.

Oh, here's an interesting tidbit.  Border patrol checkpoint.  Everyone has to stop.  Buildings, barricades, fences, vehicles, border patrol agents galore.  And a big sign announcing that they have apprehended 614 illegal immigrants.  I think it was in an eight year span.  I don't now how much it costs to run a 24/7/365 checkpoint right there, but 614 illegals in eight years doesn't seem like a very efficient use of our money.  Could probably get rid of a thousand times that by enforcing employment laws and patrolling the border more heavily.

Riding up out of Ocotillo I entered the In-Ko-Pah Mountains.  It was super windy so I didn't have an opportunity to take any pictures, but the In-Ko-Pah mountains are, and I quote, "faulted granitic intrusive bedrock, weathered into dramatic piles of residual boulders".  Dramatic is an understatement.  Giant piles of boulders.  The whole mountain range that you can see from the highway appears to consist of nothing but boulders.  Here's a picture from that I pulled off Google.

After that it was easy.  Breakfast at Major's Diner in Pine Valley. Highly recommend.

Not much traffic on a Sunday morn so made it into San Diego too early to check into my hotel.  Went down to Pacific Beach instead, rented a surfboard and a surf lesson from San Diego Surf School and kicked back a little before heading for the hotel.

All in all a good two day ride but it's too bad there isn't a way to get to San Diego that doesn't involve either insane heat or Los Angeles.  I don't know which is worse.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A right to own but not a right to make

Really?  How do you own if you can't make?  I suppose you can buy one, but what if the government bans the manufacture under this decision?  Seems to me that a right to keep and bear arms absolutely has to include the right to manufacture those arms.

Waco update

There are questions which have not been answered about the shootings in Waco recently.  There are rumors regarding who may have done most of the shooting.  The rumors suggest that one biker may have shot another, at which point the police opened fire, killing eight more.

The autopsy reports of the dead bikers have been released but none of them contain ballistics data, which would suggest who did the shooting.

Happy Anniversary

800 years since the Magna Carta was adopted.  The Magna Carta was the foundation of our American system of laws and government, enshrining common law, the rights of the people to a voice in government, the beginning of the concept of separation of powers.

Original 1215 edition of Magna Carta, Cotton Augustus ii.106