Monday, November 25, 2019

Projects I would never finish (but which are super cool)

I definitely don't have the patience of this guy.  Making pencils by hand out of old pallets.  I would run out of enthusiasm before I got to about step two.  But man is this cool.

Friday, November 15, 2019

The Walmart Premise

Wasn't this the premise of Walmart, that customers could save money if you offered inexpensive goods at very low markups?

Aldi, a German supermarket chain, has apparently done something similar in Europe and now heads to the US.  I don't know why this is news except that the owners have become fabulously wealthy doing it, much like the Walmart family.

Hopefully Aldi is not engaging in pure partisan politics and fighting against the values of their main customer base like Walmart.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019


"After acquiring some expertise by consulting the relevant Wikipedia article"

I love this.  Clearly written tongue in cheek and followed up by a well thought out, relevant, and useful comment.

Friday, November 1, 2019

The Monsters Know What They Are Doing

Monsters are sort of stupid in Dungeons & Dragons.  It is nice if you are trying to kill them but they don't act rationally.  Groups of goblins, for example, will fight you until they all die.  Who does that?

This is the premise behind the blog  Keith Amman didn't like the fact that the monsters were stupid so he decided to do something about it.

The blog, and then the book.  Tactics for monsters.  Back in April or so I pre-ordered the book and today it arrived.

Super looking forward to a) reading it and b) kicking player ass.

Although to be fair it actually benefited the players the other day because they were almost dead and the last Kuo Toa ran away because he was wounded and his two hunting partners were dead.  Otherwise it could have been ugly for the party.

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Disagreeing with the premise proves you are wrong

That's not really how debate is supposed to work.  You have a premise, I provide good faith counter arguments, the people around decide who is more convincing.

In a scary turnabout, Critical Race Theory has been adopted by much of the left.  CRT provides postulates (assumed to be obviously true) that you can not reject since rejection just proves your racism.

Here are the basic tenets:

  • Racism exists today in both traditional and modern forms
  • Racism is an institutionalized, multilayered, multilevel system that distributes unequal power and resources between white people and people of color, as socially identified, and disproportionately benefits whites.
  • All members of society are socialized to participate in the system of racism, albeit in varied social locations.
  • All white people benefit from racism regardless of intentions.
  • No-one chose to be socialized into racism so no-one is bad, but no-one is neutral.
  • To not act against racism is to support racism.
  • Racism must be continually identified, analyzed and challenged. No-one is ever done.
  • The question is not Did racism take place? but rather How did racism manifest in that situation?
  • The racial status quo is comfortable for most whites. Therefore, anything that maintains white comfort is suspect.
  • The racially oppressed have a more intimate insight via experiential knowledge into the system of race than their racial oppressors. However, white professors will be seen as having more legitimacy, thus positionality must be intentionally engaged.
  • Resistance is a predictable reaction to anti-racist education and must be explicitly and strategically addressed.
Can you see the problem?  I can't say that I am not racist because the presumption is that I am.  Think back to Euclid's Elements, one of the earliest known texts on mathematics.  Euclid starts with definitions and postulates.  Neither are proven, they are just assumed.  You can't argue that a square doesn't have four equal sides and four right angles because that is a definition.  You can't argue that you can't draw a straight line between two points because that is a postulate and assumed to be obviously true.  Without the postulates the discussion breaks down completely because there is no way to prove them other than by experience and observation. 

Both Euclid and CRT use the same premise that you must assume some things to be true.  The result of Euclid's writings was a consistent and logical development of geometric proofs that last to this day and are born out in the physical world.  The result of Critical Race Theory is that no one can push back against their ideas for dramatic social change.

Saturday, October 5, 2019


Turns out that you only get one chance to be spontaneous.  Seems like that would be obvious but I've never thought about in those terms.

Doesn't always work out well for those of us who need to time to process.  Sometimes a situation comes along that might be exactly what we've been looking for.  Unfortunately by the time we process, the opportunity is long gone.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Neverending project list, ammunition shelf edition

Decided to dig into my ammo closet and reorganize, mostly cause I didn't have enough to do (ha!).  Actually mostly because I picked up about 5,000 rounds of various calibers from a friend's wife since he died recently and she is clearing out his stuff.

Problem 1: my ammo is mostly stacked on the floor in little plastic containers.  This causes...

Problem 2: to get at anything I have to unstack the containers to access the one I need and ...

Problem 3: my old house has a limited number of closets and they are all under the steeply pitched roof so all require a little bit of hunching to get into

Solution: build a dedicated ammunition shelf into a different closet, where nothing will be stacked.

With a little browsing I found this shelf project over on With A Bullet, completed in 2011 and shamelessly stole all his ideas, plus one of the suggestions in the comments.

Here are the results, followed by a couple comments.


Framed (two by four across the bottom is just to stabilize while I moved it around and came off before I put it into the closet)

Shelved with sanded maple. The 2 x 2s were a suggestion in the comments on the original post to increase shear load.  There is no way that this shelf needs increased shear load, but it looks a lot cleaner with the gaps filled.  Mine is also probably overbuilt compared to the original overbuilt version because my space only allows for three  wide cans versus his four.

This was basically the finished product except that it was four inches to long to go through the closet door and swing into position.  I had to take the small end apart, cut off four inches, then reassemble.

Here it is mostly loaded although I'm still working through some miscellaneous calibers plus cleaning supplies and leftover junk.  I'm also planning on printing nice labels instead of sticky notes which will fall off. 

I'm pretty pleased.  The safe is off to the right and once I get all the miscellaneous junk sorted this will have freed up a larger closet (I don't have many) in the master bedroom.  This is probably the best woodworking project I've ever done (I'm not much of  a woodworker) but followed the directions from With a Bullet pretty closely and other than the door issue came out nice.