Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Text Plus app messes with HTC Thunderbolt

Just a quick tech note, installed Text Plus the other day, thinking that I might be able to use it to text with my little sister who lives in another country.  A few days later noticed that my ringer wasn't working properly.  Turns out that when I plugged in a set of headphones it disabled the speaker (like it was supposed to) but then when I unplugged them it didn't restore them to operation.  This morning I uninstalled the last six or so apps I added, one at a time, and when I took Text Plus off, bingo, speakers are working again.

Just so you know.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Do you know why they call me the Count?

Well, there was Major Hassan who preached Islam to the troops to the point that it " made them uncomfortable" and then who shouted Allahu Ackbar while shooting soldiers at Fort Hood.

Workplace violence.

Then there was the guy who preached Islam at his co-workers to the point that they thought he was a pain in the ass, got fired, went home and got his knife, went back to work and started beheading people.

Workplace violence.

Then there was the Canadian guy who ran over a soldier but they are actually claiming that he was a jihadist. The NY Times is hedging its bets:

little had emerged about why the man driving the car, Martin Rouleau-Couture, became radicalized last year or ran over the two soldiers at a strip mall
Then there was the guy who killed a NY City cop with a hatchet.  Angry black man, claims the media.  They also stick this in part way down:
While there are some Islamic references
 Then there's the guy who shot up the Canadian parliament.  According to his mother "wasn’t driven by some grand ideology or political motive, but rather was the “last desperate act” of someone who was not well in his mind and felt trapped," mental health.  Forget the fact that he wrapped a kefiyah around his face before going on his shooting rampage.  That might be too much of a clue.  I'd be willing to put money on what religion they will find him quoting in his video and on the facebook page that will undoubtedly surface.

At least they are starting to mention the word Islam in all these cases, but can you blame the average person if we assume right off the get go that Islam will be the constant?

Given that the jihadists are calling for western Muslims to carry out acts of jihad in the west, including snatching people off the streets in western cities and beheading them, you'll forgive me if I choose not to believe that Islam is the "religion of peace".  Oh, and I'll be carrying my gun if and when they try to snatch me off the street.  Islamists be forewarned.

American Flyer Train Stuff - I want it so bad I can taste it

Actually, I'm getting rid of my American Flyer trains.  No kids around, set is in fair to poor condition as it was heavily used for a very long time, both by myself and by the family friends who gave it to me when I was a kid.  Browsing around looking at pricing but I don't want to sell it piecemeal on ebay.  Just seems like too much trouble so I listed the whole shebang on craigslist.

(Aside, you can go here if you are interested: http://bellingham.craigslist.org/atq/4732761752.html  )

But what should I find as I browse ebay looking for pricing ideas but this, possibly the coolest train accessory I have ever seen.

Yup, you got it.  Two hobos and a light up fire barrel.  I have to have this.  I am bidding on it as we speak.  I won't have trains, but I'll have two diecast metal hobos and a light up fire barrel for my Christmas decorations.

I hope.

Washington state Initiative 594

If you aren't from Washington you can probably ignore this.  Or you might think about the fact that this initiative language is probably coming to your state in the near future.  Michael Bloomberg donated a significant amount of money to the Yes campaign.

I-594 purports to close the background check "loophole".  It would mandate background checks for all firearm transfers in the state, with very limited exceptions.  The language is the problem, however.

First of all, "transfer" is defined VERY broadly.  Let me quote to you from the initiative text.

Transfer means the intended delivery of a firearm to another person without consideration of payment or promise of payment including, but not limited to, gifts and loans.
 Italics mine.  Let me propose some scenarios.

I purchase a new firearm.  Some friends are over who I've known for years.  They express interest and I hand the new firearm to one of them.  Transfer.  We have each committed a crime.  If I hand it to a second person I am guilty of two violations and this becomes a felony.

I am at the gun range.  The lady next to me expresses an interest in a rifle I am shooting as she has been looking at similar rifles for herself.  I allow her to shoot a few rounds through it to see if she likes it.  Transfer.  We have each committed a crime.

A friend is a skilled gunsmith.  He does not have a Federal Firearms License as he does not sell guns for a living, only fix them up for people.  I drop off my hunting rifle to be tuned a bit.  He returns it to me after doing some minor upgrades.  Transfer.  We have each committed a crime.

An instructor at a gun range provides pistols to his students to shoot at the range after the safety class has been conducted.  Transfer.  The instructor has committed multiple crimes, one for each student.

And finally, I decide to go elk hunting.  I have never hunted elk so I hire a guide.  As we are walking through the woods we come across a tree across the trail.  I hand the guide my gun so that I can climb over the tree.  Transfer.  We have each committed a crime.

The second problem with this initiative concerns inheritance.  Let's say a friend of mine owns several firearms.  He has some hunting rifles, a handgun that he bought for protection, and a handgun that belonged to his father.  He passes away.  He wife, according to the plain language of the text, has sixty days to register those firearms in her name.  On the sixty first day she becomes a criminal.  She has just lost her husband, she is grieving, making funeral arrangements, wondering about her financial future, and may have no idea that the guns that have always been in that safe in her bedroom don't just automatically belong to her.  Ignorance of the law, however, is no excuse.  She is a criminal.

This initiative serves no purpose OTHER than to make it harder for law abiding citizens to own firearms.  It will not affect criminals since most of their guns are not purchased legally.  It is designed for one thing only, to make more people criminals and ineligible to own a firearm.

Please vote NO on Initiative 594 if you live in this state.


And then he did

 Goodbye Professor.  Going to miss your classes.  My theory is that the government got to him, finally.  Or at least that would be my theory if I had any reason to theorize.  Professor Hale, an entertaining and insightful writer with an inside position in the Pentagon bureaucracy, has hung up the stylus.  Now there is a space on my blogroll that needs to be filled with entertainment and insight.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Floor refinishing project update

If you've been following this blog regularly (hi, sis) then you have probably figured out that I am not the "stop everything else and get it done right now" type when it comes to home projects.  In February of 2013 I wrote a post about refinishing the floors in the upstairs of my 105 year old house.  I assume, although I don't remember exactly, that I had been working on that floor for at least four or five months at the time of posting.  It is now October of 2014, which means that I have been hard at work (figuratively) on this project for about two years. 

Last October I posted pictures of the finished back bedroom and since then have been working on the upstairs landing and the office.

In case you have been thinking about taking on a project like this, and in case you are not the "stop everything else and get it done right now type when it comes to home projects", I thought you might want an update, since it's been a year.  You may be wondering how close I am to finishing the landing and office (the master bedroom has some sort of weird glued in press-board tiles so will be getting hardwood flooring instead of refinishing).

I do, as previously reported, have half the office floor done, and I have also sanded and puttied the landing and most of the rest of the office floor. 

Today I took another major step.  I finished repairing the corner floor in the office.

Ta da!

Now all I have to do is finish the puttying, hand sand the 40% of the office that is not already refinished, hand sand the landing, and seal, varnish, sand, varnish, sand, varnish and it will be done.

Except for all the base trim which I decided to leave until all the floors are done.

And the master bedroom.

And the downstairs hall, the stairs, the living room, the front porch which needs all the flooring ripped out and replaced as well as jacking up and reinforcing the foundation by the front door, and the kitchen and upstairs bathrooms which need complete renovations, and the new garage that needs to be built so that I can tear down the eighty year old garage that floods every time it rains.

Good thing I have no plans.

Fall ride report

Who knew it was so hard to have a beer in Canada?

Oh wait, that's not the story.

I went for a ride today.  Windy but warm.  Since we're in the second half of October, there's no guarantee that we'll have decent weather again so I decided I needed a good long ride.  I've got a book called Destination Highways: British Columbia and I periodically pull it out and hit one of the rides listed.

Today, a few observations.

Books about best riding roads have a limited shelf life.  Apart from the fact that Stave Lake Road doesn't actually go all the way to Stave Lake, the road has fallen into a certain amount of disrepair.  There are bumpy patches and patchy bumps.  There are a fair number of cracks to distract your tires.  The ride itself was pleasant, however.

Maybe I should start at the beginning.  Headed up Highway 7 (Lougheed Highway) through Maple Ridge and towards Mission.  Before I got to Mission I turned onto 287th, which turns into Wilson, which takes you to Dewdney Trunk Road.  A nice windy road, stuck behind a few locals on their ways home but other than that, a decent enough ride.  I think that this ride is really just to get you to Dewdney Trunk.   DT is a nice motorcycle road, lots of long sweeping curves, well paved, and almost no traffic.  Turn left on Richards.

Wait.  How did I get all the way back to Hwy 7.  I never saw a Richards.  Turn around, head back up, rode right past it.  Turn right on Richards.  Another nice road, but short, which takes you to Stave Lake Road.  As mentioned.

All the way north to Harley Road, some pretty decent bits and after the southernmost part being as described above, the northernmost part wasn't too bad.  Opened up a little bit, not so many really tight corners with bad pavement.  Across Harley to Sylvester and this is where the real riding kicked in.  Not one bad corner, not one bit of bad pavement.  Long sweeping curves all the way to Dewdney on Highway 7.

And so I decided to stop and have a beer.  I happen to know that there is a pub in Dewdney.  Never been there but driven past about a million times.  Old Dewdney Inn or somesuch.  Bikes out front.

Lady: Ticket?
Me: What?
Lady: Ticket for the jam?
Me: I'm just here to have a beer
Lady: We're having a Blues Jam but you can have a beer.  You'll have to stand while you drink it and stay over to the left side by the bar.

Over to the left there are numerous tables, all with "Reserved" signs sitting on them.  After a couple minutes of standing near the bar being ignored by the serving girls I left.

Okay.  When I turned north off Highway 7 there was a pub right there.  The Shake and Shingle or somesuch.  Back down Highway 7 through Mission (hasn't improved with age), right on 287th, pull into the S&S parking lot.  There's a sign on the door that says "Due to shortages in staffing, we will be open Tuesday through Saturday".  7.1% unemployment in Mission and they can't roust up a few people to come in and sell people beer.  Probably more lucrative to collect unemployment.

Okay.  Back into Mission to take Highway 11 across the Fraser River (no tolls on the Mission Bridge), down through Abbotsford, either I'll see something or I'll cut across Highways 1, 17, 91, and 99 into White Rock.  Ceili's Irish Pub has good beer, good burgers, and pretty waitresses.

It's about a 45 minute ride or so, pull off and there's a notice tacked to the door announcing to all and sundry that the locks have been changed and that the premises are for lease.  So much for that becoming a regular hangout.

Oh well.  I'm five minutes from home EXCEPT that the Nexus line stretches all the way back to the Duty Free shop.  Longest I've ever seen it.  Shut off the bike.  Coast down the hill whenever there is a decent sized gap in front of me.  Fire up the bike when there isn't a hill.

Home and making Goat Cheese Pizza for dinner.  A nice ride, good weather, probably could have gone without the jacket until the ride home, but that will keep me going for a bit if it socks in here.