Sunday, May 31, 2020

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

We see those of you helping and those of you making things worse. In this Age of Information we are able to share what we see across the world.

Those who have been selected to protect and serve, please be mindful that there are those among you abusing their privilege. Call them out, take them down. If you see something you think might be an abuse of power, find out whats going on and relax the situation. If you see something that is a clear abuse of power, treat the abuser as any other criminal, if not more harshly.

I read the other day that it often takes nine months for an officer to be charged with a crime, regardless of the amount of evidence. When those in a position of trust break that trust, or even may have broken that trust, investigation should be a priority, as should removing that person from their position, at least until found Not Guilty.

I know there are "Good Cops", I know several personally, many of which are on my friends list. But I have eyes and see that there are "Bad Cops" too. Don't let the bad apples ruin not just the barrel, but the whole crop. Each time something like this happens, it taints that entire "thin blue line". You have a monopoly on the power of arrest (while "citizen's arrest" is a thing that exists, it is a legal nightmare). This leaves us common citizens with no practical, legal course of action for crimes committed by police. By not actively and harshly policing your own, we wind up in situations like we are in now, with riots breaking out nationwide because common people everywhere are sick and tired of the police, sometimes literally, getting away with murder.

In many, if not most, of these cases, there are racial influences. You have to be better than that. If you can not be, if you can not leave your prejudices behind when you pick up your badge, please turn that badge in and find another line of work, as public service is not for you.

Who polices the police? You, the police have taken that job upon yourselves. Do your job and police yourselves. When you do not, others will do it for you, and will do it unconstrained by oath or law. We see this happening now, please don't make it worse.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Table Project - Post 0

As some of you may know, I have a short attention span for projects. I'll get an idea in my head, and if I don't complete it soon, it falls to the wayside and never sees the light of day again. I understand this is an issue for a number of people. Occasionally, though, an idea will come to me and I can't shake it. A great example of this is my honeybees. I was interested in keeping honeybees, so I started looking into it. My wife, wisely, would not let me get anything for beekeeping unless I still wanted them after some [lengthy] period of time. During that time, I did more research on bees, as much as I could without actually having any. So, the spring after we bought our house, I acquired the equipment for two hives and the bees to go in them.

Actually having the bees is great, and it has spawned interest in other areas that I hadn't much considered before, such as woodworking. I researched building my own bee boxes, found a table saw on craigslist, bought some lumber from The Home Depot and made my first pair of hive bodies (currently the top box on each of my hives). I have since acquired a router, router table, and drill press—which allow me to make boxes better and faster. However, it also put other ideas in my head. Ideas of doing more with woodworking than beekeeping equipment.

One of those ideas I have not been able to shake, I keep coming back to it, and I have the feeling it's like the bees. It's something that I will have to see through to the end and see what other things it leads me to doing. Like the bees, it's something that will require a good deal of research and new skills on my part, but many more skills than the bees required.

I want to make a solid wood kitchen table.

Or, more specifically, a pair of solid wood kitchen trestle tables of the same dimensions so that we can have a larger table area when need be, and break down to create more open area as need be.

Since this idea popped into my head late last spring, I have spent many hours on the internet looking at trestle tables, general woodworking, furniture making, and other related information. I still want to make the tables. Today I figured I might as well document the entire process from this point (very near the beginning) going forward.

Things I know I want:
  • Two identically dimensioned solid wood tables
  • The tables to be easily broken down and set up
Things I'm greatly considering, but unsure about:
  • Trestle tables
  • Oak, Mahogany, some other hardwood?
  • Carving the supports in a celtic or norse style, perhaps with the locking pins functioning as the eyes
  • 2 or 3 adults to the long sides
  • Tusk Tenons
  • Danish Oil Finish
Ideas I'm tossing around:
  • Iron banding across the width of the tables
  • Built-in handles to make relocation easier
  • Chains for keeping track of the pins
Things I need to decide:
  • Table thickness
  • Trestle style
Things I need to learn:
  • Joinery
    • Table top: Unknown
    • Breadboards: Unknown
    • Legs/Supports: Unknown
    • Stretcher: Tusk Tenons
    • Support-Table locking pins: dowel pins? tapered?
  • Carving - the decorative elements, such as the supports mentioned above, this will take lots of practice
  • Equipment usage
  • Finishing
  • Support math (will the legs hold the table)
Equipment I currently know that I need:
  • Pipe clamps
  • Planer
  • Joiner
  • Band-saw
  • Saw for cross-cuts (my tablesaw won't do it)
  • A way to sharpen my chisels
  • Probably additional chisels
Plan of Action:
  • Learn the bits I can as I can (for instance, grabbing a chunk of 2x4 and start carving again)
  • Sketch out the basic table design (without decorative elements)
  • Adjust design to lock in dimensions
  • Render detailed plans (with and without decorative elements)
  • Acquire tools
  • Create prototype from pine using plans
  • Source lumber
  • Build tables

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hive Inspection 2015-05-10

Inspected the hives today, and James assisted (though he is quite scared of bees—or any flying insect for that matter—he was quite brave and didn't flee).

Hive 1 is doing quite well, all but one frame are fully drawn, and the final frame is half comb (it's a foundationless frame). All the cells I could see had something going on from storage, to brood, to cleaning for next use. The half-comb frame had eggs in every cell—I tried to show James but he was unable to see the eggs. I swapped two non-adjacent frames from the top box with empty frames from the now 3rd new box I've added. Remember, I'm running all medium equipment, and that three medium boxes is equivalent to two deep boxes. To further mess up the standard beekeepers, I'm also running all 8-frame equipment, instead of 10-frame. So, all-in-all, hive one is doing quite well and growing exponentially.

Hive 2 is still putting along, they seem to be using only half of each brood box (the left half if you're looking at the front of the hive, or the downhill side if thinking about it in terms of the yard). I shifted some frames around, hoping they will grow a bit, but this hive has been much slower than Hive 1 from the beginning.

TLDR & Highpoints

  • James assisted in the inspection
  • Hive 1 is doing very well
  • Hive 1 got a 3rd box
  • Hive 2 is growing, but more slowly than Hive 1
  • Eggs seen in both hives
  • Did not see Queen in either, but was not looking too hard either
  • No queen cells in either hive
  • Both hives appear healthy

Monday, April 06, 2015


After years of book/internet study, I finally have bees. Tomorrow night I will have had them for one week. I've made several posts about them on my Facebook account, but for some reason have not put them down in blog form.

Here is a brief accounting of what I've done:

  1. I attended the local beekeepers club last month (this month's meeting is this upcoming Thursday)
  2. I ordered my equipment from Brushy Mountain Bee Farm
    • A traditional 8-frame medium beginners kit, which comes with:
      • A fully assembled hive with two 8-frame medium supers, the 16 frames to go in them, 16 wax foundation sheets to go in the frames, an entrance feeder, and an entrance reducer
      • A veil
      • A pair of gloves
      • A bee brush
      • A hive tool
      • A smoker and fuel
      • A basics DVD
      • and finally, a beginners book
    • A complete unassembled hive of the same style (though with different frame style – the BeeGinners kit came with grooved top and bottom bars, all others I ordered with grooved top and divided bottom bars)
    • An extra unassembled 8-frame medium box for each hive, with frames
    • A "regular" 8-frame deep box and frames to assist should I get my bees from a nuc
    • An entrance feeder for the second hive
    • And a queen excluder (to assist in phasing out the deep box – so that I can standardized on medium equipment)
  3. I assembled all of my equipment last weekend (a week ago, not yesterday)
  4. I began looking for a source of bees - it seems everyone is sold out this time of the season
  5. Last Tuesday, I finally found some package bees at Lookout Mountain Honey Bees, but they had already been in their packages for several days and I had to pick them up that day, so I…
  6. Left work half an hour before I normally do on Tuesdays (I normally leave half an hour early so I can make it to Cub Scouts), and drove to Gadsden, AL to pick up two packages of honey bees (each package comes with about 3lbs of bees, a queen in a cage, and a can of syrup to keep them fed)
  7. I installed them that night with my wife's help, in the dark, just before a thunderstorm - pretty much the exact opposite of best conditions for working with bees - but the bees were gentle and went into their new homes just fine. They each got a single box with the 8 frames that have foundation (from the assembled hive I ordered), as I haven't put the guide strips in the other frames yet. I filled their entrance feeders with 1:1 sugar syrup and went to bed
  8. Each morning and evening I've refilled their feeders – they suck down quite a bit of syrup
  9. Friday afternoon I opened each hive and pulled the queen cages (one cage was empty, the other contained a dead worker – both queens had been released) – the girls had been drawing comb nicely, and Hive 1, which I had thought was doing poorly, was actually doing better
  10. I started adding green food coloring to the syrup so I can more easily see the level in the feeders and so that I can avoid taking capped syrup thinking it capped honey – I will maintain this unless I find compelling evidence to stop
  11. This morning there was minimal activity in Hive 2 when I refilled the feeder, so one of a few things has happened (possibly more):
    • The bees, like me, are lazy and didn't want to be up so early
    • All the bees are dead or dying
    • The majority of the bees absconded, hanging around just long enough to build their strength
    • The majority of the bees absconded, but not before the queen left enough eggs to continue the hive
    • The queen died, some of the bees left, some stayed trying to raise a new queen
    • The package was mostly older workers and have just died off while they build up new workers (emerging later in 2.5 weeks at the earliest)

For those of you wondering, I have been stung five (5) times: once installation night, and once each morning and evening the first two days – each time it was my fault, for either not paying attention, moving too quickly, or both. I have not been stung since.

When I opened the hives on Friday, they were still drawing out comb on just a handful of frames, I will open the hives again this upcoming weekend and check them again. If it looks like they are doing well, I might put another box on, though I won't -need- to until the following Saturday (Friday afternoon would likely be safer). As that Sunday (19 April) is the earliest the first batch of brood will emerge, and the hive could get awfully crowded awfully fast. From what I understand, when starting from a package, from then until that point is like the initial uphill climb of a roller coaster. Your adult bees are having to do all the jobs until the new bees emerge, dying off the whole time, then there is a sudden explosion in colony population, then the remainder of those original workers die and your first generation is having to do all the work, but with new generations being born fairly constantly after that point.

This is an adventure I am enjoying, even though at this time it's simply extra chores (mixing sugar syrup and refilling the feeders) – I am looking forward to the rest of the adventure though.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A Time of Change

At something amazing will happen. The tilt of the earth with respect to the sun will be as far as it's going to go in this direct this year. In the Northern hemisphere, we call this event the Winter Solstice (it's the Summer Solstice in the Southern hemisphere). Tonight will be the longest night of the year. Tomorrow night, will be shorter, and the next shorter still, and so on until mid-June at the next solstice. Though the shorter nights won't be noticeably shorter for a few days yet.

All over the world, for as long as people have looked at the sky and took notice of the changes, they have recognized this time as special. We place significance on this time of year. Those from more northern areas celebrate the return of longer days, while those closer to the equator can see the change in the movement of the stars. Many believe this is a time of miracles and magic. Others celebrate the birth of their god. Christian faiths teach that it was at this time that the magi noticed a new star in the sky, geosynchronous over the area of Jerusalem - there is a reason these men were looking up.

No matter what faith you claim, if any, this is a time of change, a time of interest. Recognize it how you will, and realize others may recognize it differently. If they wish you well, accept it for the intent, and return the well-wishes.

  • Merry Christmas!
  • Happy Hanukkah!
  • Glad Yule!
  • Happy Holidays!
  • Good Afternoon!
  • Happy New Year!

Each of these, though framed from different points of reference, mean the same thing - a sincere wish of better times for you and yours.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tech Support Charges

It has been 10 years since I stopped doing professional tech support. So here's some new policy for calling me with tech support issues:

  • If you're one of my grandparents, none of this applies to you - we have (or will work out our own arrangements)
  • If you work for my employer, and this is an emergency issue, and I'm on call, you're in luck, they pay me to fix your issue, though be ready to hear that it might have to wait until morning.
  • +$80/hour, 1 hour minimum, 15min intervals after the first hour
  • +$5/mile if I have to actually drive to your house to fix it
  • +$50 if there is an error, I google the exact error message, and the solution is on the first page of results (an extra +$50 if it's in the top 3 non-paid results)
  • +$50 if you wake me up. My alarm goes off at 4:30 every morning, I need what sleep I can get (an extra +$50 if it's not an emergency)
  • +$50 if it's your own fault and you should have known better
  • +$50 if there is no way I could know the answer ("what's my password")
  • +$100 if there is a free help desk included with the service and you haven't even attempted to call it (if you tell me you have, and I have to call them, I will ask, and that will cost you another $250 for -really- wasting my time if you lied to me about calling)
  • +$50/device involved, if I have to actually tell you to restart or turn it off and back on again and that solves the issue

There's a chance that I'll just tell you how to fix it and will wave some or even all of the fees, it depends on multiple factors, including your history as a client. This is not a joke, if you get a bill from me listing charges at the above rates, I fully expect payment.

Rates subject to change. 

Friday, July 04, 2014

Independence Day

July 4, 1776 is the date 13 newly independent States placed at the top of their divorce paper. The decision had been made two days earlier on July 2. The war had been going on for over a year at this point. Work had already been started drafting the "Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union", which we operated under until they were replaced wholesale by The United States Constitution in 1788.

Most people today who were raised within these united States were educated in schools run by the States and regulated by Union. As such, we are led to believe that the Revolution was supported by the majority. It was not. It was supported only by a vocal minority, with an even smaller active minority. However, those vocal (and active) about continuing the existing relationship with the British Empire were a similarly sized minority. The vast majority of Americans grumbled about taxes, but didn't much want radical change, either; they were concerned with their own lives, keeping their families fed, and not being dragged into the war raging on around them.  To most people, it didn't much matter who was in charge as, to their eyes, it didn't much affect their day-to-day lives.

This day, we celebrate our independence from the British Empire, officials of our current government will give speeches telling us how good it is to be "Free". To have liberated ourselves from such an oppressive government. The officials of the modern governments of this union should be hiding in shame. They give speeches today to distract us from the fact that our current government is worse than the one from which that minority declared independence (and I am not just talking about the current POTUS, as things were bad long before he or his predecessor took their Oath of Office).

Today, go forth and spend time with your family, friends, and neighbors; remember that today is the date we filed our divorce papers with our oppressive government and that if we hit that tipping point, if thing get bad enough, if the oppressed realize they have a common enemy, it may become necessary to dissolve the political bands that bind us, to alter or abolish the current government and institute a new, to file for another divorce.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Inward-to-Outward Focus

One thing that continues to amaze me is how different things could be if we changed our [individual, and [various levels of] collective] focus. Right now, we are too focused on trying to fix (or give the appearance of fixing) everyone else, with the further away the better.

If we reorder our focus, many things could be improved, including the lives of those further away.  Focus first on the self, you can't help anyone (at least well) if you are in lacking in that area yourself. Then your family, your neighbors, your local community, your city, your greater local community/county, your state, your nation, and then finally, those in other nations.

Different levels of assistance can be at different stages depending on needs and what's covered; for instance, we're pretty good on fresh+clean water in most of the country, so we can assist other countries with getting fresh+clean water.  Food, on the other hand is a little different. We have people that will donate money to purchase food for other countries (too much of which never makes it to the people who need it) while their neighbors are living on ramen noodles and peanut butter.

If you want to feed the hungry, reduce your spending, increase your health, increase your happiness, and improve the environment, then grow a garden. By doing so, you remove your demand on the food supply systems, increasing supply and lowering costs for those who need it. Additionally, you will have surplus you can give to neighbors or the local community. By producing your own food, you lower the cost of feeding yourselves and potentially gain an income. Food is never better for you than when it is harvested and consumed at it's peak; by growing your food, you increase your nutritional intake greatly. Further, gardening can be a constructive, stress-relieving activity, increasing psychological health and happiness. Finally, growing plants is beneficial to the earth, especially if done so with keeping care of the earth in mind.

When it comes to finances, this inward-to-outward approach is even more critical, especially in our modern money-centric society. If you are in debt to your eyeballs, you can't help anyone financially, at least not in any significant manner. Once you've squared yourself and your family away, focus on the local community. The less is needed at one level, the less of a burden it places on the level containing it. For instance, if your city/community has few demands on it, then it can begin paying off it's own debt, as well as planning for more solid investments (for instance, being able to pay the extra money for park equipment that will last 25 years as opposed to 10). It also places a lesser financial burden on the county at large.  As the county approaches a similar position, it has the same effect on the state.

The best thing about this method is that it only requires individual action. It coerces no one. If you grow a garden and pay off your debts, you improve the lives of those around you, even if they make different choices. You begin to lead by example, and can share your methods (as well as produce, or surplus funds) with others without worry of negative impact on your life.

There is no downside.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thrice Three Years Ago

Thrice Three Years Ago, something wonderful happened.
Like the strands in celtic knotwork, a path and my own had crossed many times, but carried on, never remaining together,
until this day, thrice three years ago.

Thrice Three Years Ago, something truly happened.
The orlæg of she who's had only crossed before, had merged with my own. We spoke our Oaths to one another, splicing the threads of our lives,
on this day, thrice three years ago.

Thrice Three Years Ago, something amazing happened.
My Life became More. My Self became More. My Future became More. It all started renewed
of a morning this day, thrice three years ago.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

The New Guy Fawkes Night

Guy Fawkes Mask

The New Guy Fawkes Night

I remember, remember the 5th of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
But things take on new meanings,
And political leanings,
And reasons they are taught.