Only a Bronze

[*heh* I’m even late posting this. Completed–well, aside from a few minor lil tweaks ‘n’ touchups–last week.]

Well, the roof’s finished, for most values of “finished” given that I will probably be tweaking tiny little things for some time to come, but so slowly that I only got a bronze bagel*:

Some lessons learned or reinforced:

Could NOT have done it w/o some help. TYVM, “crew” (my Wonder Woman, Son&Heir and Lovely Daughter).

Always allow for screwups. I purchased extra lumber and steel panels and trim to allow for that, and that was a Very Good Thing. Very second panel: had to have a hole cut for a plumbing vent and… I cut it wrong. Notaproblem, as I had extra panels and the hole didn’t prevent cutting two end pieces that needed to be 1′ X 16′. I did purchase almost exactly 1/2 the screws I needed to install the purlins, but since a trip to Lowes isn’t a problem for me, no biggie there, either.

Safety, safety, safety. The safety anchors, harness (TYVM for the loan, Joshua and Lovely Daughter!), rope, caribiner and descender I used were sometimes cumbersome, but just one slip was enough for me to be glad I was using them. The two times I neglected to wear gloves when handling the steel panels, I cut my hands. Hot stoves and all that…

Not as young as I used to be. Yeh, well, that’s a lesson most folks eventually learn, eh? 🙂

Using the right tool, correctly, beats repairing work damaged by using the wrong tool. Just sayin’. Spend a little extra for the right tools. (Besides: MORE TOOLS! ;-))

Clean gutters more often. *sigh* Fortunately, we re-prioritized this roofing job and moved it ahead of other things for the house, because I located a 9″ X 14″ section of roof deck (out over the soffit) that was rotted. Yep. Downspout at that location had been plugged up and water had backed up and soaked under the drip edge. No problem to repair, since I had all the lumber I needed to do the job, but it could easily have been worse. Clean gutters more often. (Yes, the gutters had “leaf shields” but they’ve never really worked well.)

Continue reading “Only a Bronze”

Maintenance Mode

TWC will be largely static this week. No, the blog isn’t going to be in maintenance mode: twc central, RW version, is in maintenance mode… all week long. Going to try to beat both the 100-degree+ weather and the rain forecast for later in the week by getting the roof finished during the heat, before the rain. Fun Fun Fun. 🙂

Useful Snack Making Tools

So, I took a flyer on a Mastrad A64601 Top Chips Maker and Slicer Set at Woot.

It was inexpensive, and I figured, from the reviews at Amazon (where it costs more) that even if it wasn’t “all that and a bag of chips” *heh* I could still get my money’s worth of use out of it, especially since my set came with both the mandoline and three trays, instead of the one offered by Amazon (though more are available separately).

Sure enough, it’s been a useful lil tool set. I’ve made sweet potato and apple “chips”–though the apple chips turned out more like apple leather; still good–and loads and loads of potato chips, some with some pretty unusual seasonings.

But what about the holy grail of chips, the corn chip? Yep. As good as baked tortilla chips at least. Made a batch (4:30 mins for 1 tray or 7 mins for 2 trays, stacked), sliced monterey jack cheese and peppers while that was going on, put a plate back in for another 2 mins with the cheese and peppers on top of tghe chips made.

Yum.

(For the tortilla chips, I just cut a stack of corn tortillas into quarters and placed ’em on the trays and microwaved ’em as noted above.)

FYI to Windows Users

A 2012 reminder on a basic computer security habit: Get and install AND USE Secunia PSI to help keep various softwares on your Windows computers updated, fully patched with all known security patches.

Oh, and while Microsoft is at work updating Microsoft Security Essentials (and re-rebranding it back to “Windows Defender”–see here for an offline version) for Windows 8, if you want to pair it with the most consistently “highest rated” free anti-malware software–AVG Free–it’s now OK to do so. MSSE has always “worked well with others” on my systems, but AVG Anti Virus Free 2012 has been designed to work much better with other anti-malware products than before. If you like having a second opinion handy and can spare the processor cycles to have two AVs running, that’d be how I’d pair a couple up.

DO NOTE: AVG is pretty aggressive about flagging things it considers “hacking tools” or other powerful low level software tools as dangerous, and it will move such things to its “virus vault” by default. For example, it really, really doesn’t like tools like ProduKey (a tool to simply look up product keys for Microsoft software already installed on a computer–handy if Microsoft “Genuine (DIS)Advantage” suddenly forgets your copy of M$Office is registered already *sigh*) and Ophcrack, which I keep as a current ISO file for whenever I need to burn another copy to help someone out who’s forgotten their own Windows password (sadly, it happens more often than you might think; I put it down to all the autolobotomy kits that’re pushed by the Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind, Academia Nut Fruitcake Bakeries, etc. *heh*). So, if you decide to use it, and if you use such tools, always double check its actions.

Just sayin’.

And as always, just practice halfway sensible safe computing. Scan everything you download before invoking it. Have some sort of reiable link scanner installed. I like the combo of Opera Browse and WOT (Web of Trust), but AVG’s Link Scanner is very good. I also recommend that Windows users who want internet filtering try OpenDNS Free rather than using the Microsoft Parental Controls feature.

Of course, there’s a lot more* to maintaining nominal security on Windows computers, but these are Good Things.


*Strong passwords, changed frequently? Yep. Both software and “hardware” firewalls? Yep. The highest level of encryption available for one’s wireless network? Yep. And so on.

On the “strong passwords” front… I may be overdoing it a wee tad, but, well, let me tell you how to crack mine.

1. Have a database with the lyrics of many 100s of songs, as I recall/sing them, in 5 or more languages.
2. Find out which song I’ve selected for a particular password’s generation.
3. Begin compiling all the passwords that can be generated by selecting the first letter of each word in one or more of the verses from the selected song (complete with any special character substitutions and capitalizations determined according to my own, idiosyncratic, principles). Most of these passwords run to 64 or more characters.
4. Voilà! You have cracked one of my passwords! Unless I just changed it, of course.

🙂

BTW, such passwords are very easy for me to recall, but “I have a little list” in my safe, just in case I’m not around and family needs access to my stuff. That’s a different kind of security, but one to keep in mind.

“Noughts and Crosses”

Yeh, maybe Limeys ( ;-)) call it that, I dunno. Sounds British anyway. When I was a kid, we called the game, “Tic-Tac-Toe” and played it only when we were already bored to tears, so its complete predictability didn’t matter so much. Other folks apparently called it by other names, as this off-shoot discovered by Lovely Daughter demonstrates:

The Zero Ardently Seeking One Term

Here, he defines “patriotism” and “irresponsibility” and unwittingly provides testimony to citizens who would prefer a responsible patriot, at the very least, in the office of the Presidency:

If there is any justice, any balance in the universe, this clip–the central “witness” by The Zero to his own definitions of “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic”–will haunt him for the rest of his natural days and, at the very least, will serve to hoist him by his own petard in 2012. If not, then there will be a whole lotta folks echoing Marvin:

Weenies

Or, perhaps, Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind hype… though from what I’ve seen of citified wusses, it just might not be. WHat am I talking about? This.

Bat Terrorizes Passengers on Airplane

A bat got loose on an Atlanta-bound flight, forcing horrified passengers to duck for cover…

*feh* Now, I’ve not seen many bats, apart from some swooping around vacuuming up pests in the early evening or bat flghts from or into caves, but a bat loose on a plane “Terroriz[ing] Passengers”?

I can recall sitting in church with my wife and her folks in a southern Minnesota city 30-something years ago when a bat made its appearance, causing a (very) minor distraction from the worship service (folks near it–particularly children–seemed amused or entertained by its appearance). A middle-aged lady a couple of rows in front of us removed her Sunday hat and simply scooped it, trapping it very neatly. She then simply walked to the back of the sanctuary and I heard the doors open and close a couple of times. She came back and sat down.

I assumed she’d cleaned her hat, since she was once again wearing it.

Big. Deal.

Now, if it had been a wolf… “Good puppy!”

*heh*


Rabbit trail: Oh, yeh. Met a wolf last summer–or so I was told. I thought it was just a very big, rangy Huskie or some such, and enjoyed petting and playing with it a bit while I was trying to make contact with the folks who lived on the property. Talked to a neighbor shortly thereafter and he asked me how I’d gotten by the wolf to get to his neighbor’s door. Apparently it has a ferocious reputation in the neighborhood and is the focus of lots of complaints, according to the guy I talked to. Could have been exaggeration, though. Still, I talked to the owner later at his place of employment (a local cop shop), and the wolf part (and difficulty most folks have getting to his front door) part were confirmed by him. He was kinda miffed at my reports of how friendly his “dog” was. *heh*