Thursday, June 30, 2011


Ever have one of those days?
I wonder if this is a 'call to dinner' for a carcharodon megalondon?   It's both a beautiful and very scary image, at the same time. Since there's no boat or shadow or pier or helicopter down-draft surface waves, the human plunging into the water is of unknown origin.  'Dropped from an airplane', is not likely, since the terminal velocity from any height large enough to negate the horizontal component of fall would have more or less "splattered" the human at the surface, falling "spine first" into the ocean, unless he was as lucky as Cliff Judkins. (research links here and here as well)

This is one of the reasons I am never completely comfortable swimming in deep water.  A shallow lagoon for snorkeling, sure, but open ocean... when I saw this image earlier this week, I though to myself "Cetaceans are generally peaceful sentient beings with enormous brains, language, socialization, familial mammalian bonding, and residual limbs. They used to walk on land, and chose to return to the ocean, millions of years ago.  As we humans continue to pollute our environment irrevocably & irreversibly, and much of it settles in the liquid environment in which the cetaceans, sharks, architeuthidae, and other creatures we have not even discovered yet since more than 90% of the ocean remains unexplored, will we begin to become dinner more often?  Maybe not eaten every time, but just killed in defense or out of spite for screwing things up?"  With polar ice caps melting, more people will have a chance to find out.

A Brief History of Corporate Whining

Barry Deutsch hit the nail on the head, quite nicely back in September 2009 (link here).  It still holds true today.

Avoiding Coke Is Key?

In the picture below, taken more than 30 years ago, you can see three famous entertainers, each of whom was / is notorious for their substance abuse and extreme living.  Only one of them is still alive today - although it is a mystery to many why he has survived as long as he has.  Is avoiding cocaine use the key?  Perhaps combing non-stimulative sedating narcotics (like heroine) with alcohol and near-lethal dozes of nicotine acts as some kind of preservative?   I don't know, and I won't be trying to find out with any personal experiments, but I do hope that when Keith Richards eventually passes away that he donates his body to science so they can sequence his DNA, or at least use tissue samples in experiments on drug resistance and telomeres.

Mozilla Firefox 4 Sucks

I am still running Mozilla 3.6.18 as none of my handy track-me-not, tracker-blocker, ad blocker, ad blocker plus, and NoScripts work on version 4.   Maybe someday, when all the add-on developers embrace version 4, I will too.   I found this image quite humorous this week:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

I missed one - Thomas Pridgen

Thanks to my buddy Ryan for not only exposing me to Mogwai and the new Foo Fighters, but also to The Mars Volta.   Some of the drumming on TMV are quite intense, and I began poking around and found TMV changed drummers quite often... but then I ran into Thomas Pridgen references, clinics, youtube videos... and I as quite amazed.   Not only does this young man have intense speed, precise stick control, remarkable syncopation, ability to play musically with a group (links below), a wide musical repertoire spanning many genres, but he also attended Berklee on a scholarship and sounds like a very nice young man - not an egotistical ass or cocky SOB. 

As I review my list of the top 22 drummers, I think Thomas Pridgen should be in there somewhere.  His right foot and hands are faster than most of the list, and he exhibits excellent technique and creativity.  He started very young, so it's too early to tell where his drumming vocation will take him, but he's extremely talented.  See - and listen - for yourself:

Wearing my favorite Muppet shirt, playing at a clinic right after leaving TMV in 2009

Drum Channel solo, where he seamlessly changes from hihat to double bass drum pedals, and accents what-would-otherwise-be ghost hits, very nicely throughout

Without a double bass pedal, tearing up a 5 piece (sound quality of the recording is terrible - but you can see he barely uses his hihat at all [after the 5 min mark he does briefly use it], bludgeoning his custom Zildjans instead)

Zenith Patrol - mic'ed very well (and played in a Buford / Giles / Copeland -esque manner)

State of Grace - Groove & Accompaniment

Under-stated cool, tight, jazz grooves with Christian Scott, very mellow, and easy to listen to

Basic dorm room jamming - fun, except for the annoying screen word splashes that stop the drumming

In his teens at the Berklee School of Music

Appearing on Letterman

Having fun warming up with Michael Jackson's "got to be startin somethin"

Speed Clinic - where he shows he's human, funny, and very down to earth

American Justice

Hard to believe?  Sadly, no, it's not made up - links here, here, and another one here. where the "harsh" sentence of  4 years at a minimum security prison for stealing $500 million to an AIG executive.

Please Sign Here

Now this is the sort of graffiti that I wholeheartedly endorse, and encourage.  An automated camera and rapid fire paint ball gun, connected to a computer program that does hand writing recognition should be mounted across the street as well.  If a miscreant signs illegibly, the program targets the little boy with the paint ball gun, and sprays him repeatedly, to "mark" him.  Paint ball gun across the street... or maybe cat urine in a bucket mounted on the roof's edge high above the wall... either one would work I think.


Try mapping to "Bob Marley"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

When You're Out Of Eggs

When you're out of eggs... and you feel like eating a pizza, but you HATE the idea of having arterial clogging gluten enter your diet, do not despair.  There's a delicious and easy alternative, to make a gluten free pizza.   Vegetarians, stop reading now.  You'll be very grossed out.  Carnivores, read on, with salacious desire. 

I ran out of organic, we-have-our-beaks, free range chicken eggs last week, so I made an expedient pizza one morning when I was very hungry and seeking protein.  it was quite simple to make.

- 2 thick slices of Boars Head Turkey (or other high quality lunch meat)
- 1 organic yellow sweet pepper (red or orange or green peppers will work... but I chose yellow out of my Trader Joe's 3 pack), sliced
- 1 small sweet onion (Vidalia, or other), peeled and sliced
- one cup of Bacon Bits (I used Costo [formerly Hormel] bacon bits)
- a handful of organic portabella mushrooms, sliced, thinly, by hand
- 2 or 3 tables spoons of butter (don't use margarine unless you want to slowly kill yourself)
- a LARGE handful of swiss guyere shredded cheese.  Trader Joe's has the best shredded swiss guyere.

1) melt the butter in a small sauce pan
2) Saute the slices peppers, mushrooms, bacon bits, and onions in a non-stick pan, turning often, and covering in all the delicious butter, until the onions become transparent / translucent
3) lay the high quality lunch meat on a large dinner plate -this will be your gluten free pizza "crust"
4) after taking all the deliciously sauteed  vegies and bacon bits of the heat, pour them onto the lunch meat on the plate. 
5) cover the sauteed veggies with the shredded cheese, place in microwave
6) melt in microwave (or your oven, but hey..  I live in Arizona.. and I am NOT heating up my oven in the summer time.. that would be asinine)

You now have a gluten free, high protein, amazing delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner, that took less than 10 minutes to prepare.  It's 75% organic (or more, depending on what you used as crust) and will keep you full for 5 to 8 hours.  It will also help you to maintain excellent HD cholesterol, low triglycerides, low blood sugar, and reduced (or non-existent) hunger, as it has for me.  I eat one of these "pizzas" 2 or 3 times a month. 
Enjoy!  [do I miss bread and crust?  sometimes... but NOT when I have one of these gluten free pizzas!]

Neat Whiskey

I've mentioned previous this year's proclivity for Irish Whiskey, with it's smooth taste, and low carb delivery, and health benefits.  I've now taken on an efficient and economic aspect - reusing the wine glass from dinner.  No need to wash a new glass.  Rinse the wine glass with a few milliliters of RO (reverse osmosis) water, and pour a few fingers of Irish Whiskey.  Neat (no ice).

It works.  As a digestive. As a bed time sedative.  As a raiser of HD cholesterol (mine tripled in the last year, thanks!). As a delicious libation, that costs much less than Cognac (thanks Rappers, for driving up the price of one of my favorite beverages previously when you don't drink it for the taste, but rather, for the ostentatious opulence.. grrrr, I Bite my thumb at you!).

If you are shopping early for an economic early Christmas or Birthday gift (JustJoeP's b-day is Just after Christmas, btw =P ) ... consider a bottle of Irish Whiskey.   You'll be thanked profusely and publicly (if that's ok with you), and you'll be helping me maintain my health and sanity as well.   Doctor Desert Flower is AGAIN working late, so I'm home alone drinking and posting, again... since these are the 'salad years' I had a organic spinach salad and organic grass fed sirloin from Double Check ranch for dinner, accompanied by a nice Italian red, and now, a glass of Jameson, neat.

There's got to me more to Irish Whiskey than just Bushmills, Jameson, and Michael Collins.  =)  No?

Spacious Chicago Sheraton

Earlier this month, Dr Desert Flower had a conference in Chicago, and we got a room at the Sheraton on the north side of the Chicago River for the 4 day weekend.  Our room had a "lake view", and it was by far, one of the most spacious hotel rooms in which I have stayed in America.  There was ample room to roll out my yoga mat, and not bump into things.  Outside the window is the Navy Pier Ferris wheel, but I didn't adjust the camera settings enough to see it. 

I was on the fence about taking my yoga mat.  it was just a 4 day trip, and the rolled mat doesn't fit into a carry on bag effectively, so it was it's own "personal item"... but Southwest Airlines didn't hassle me, as I combined my mat with DDF's poster tube, and treated it as "one personal item" - creatively it worked.  But once I saw how large the room was, I was glad I brought the mat.  I did a solid hour of yoga each day, looking out the 15th floor window - which was REALLY the 14th floor, but the paranoid & superstitious hoteliers in America don't like labeling any floor as "13" ... ohhhhh scary!  Yes, scary to the stupid.  In China, "9" is considered Incredibly lucky.  We had trouble finding an open dinner table when I was there September 9th of 1999, because of the record number of weddings!  But in the US "7" is lucky, and "13" and "666" are avoided like the plague.  Whatever. Please get out of my way as I ask for room 666 or 1313, and stay there without any problems.  =)

No Longer a Michelin Snob

When I worked at Michael for 6 years right out of college, designing some pretty cool custom tire making machinery, I also was exposed to multiple reports on test track data and destructive testing on Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodrich, Yokohama, Pirelli, Dunlop, Continental, Goodyear (good for one year), and Uniroyal [listed, intentionally, in descending order, from best to worst - you can argue with me if you want, but I've seen the data] on touring car tires (tourisme), truck tires (poids lourds), sport car tires (performance), and light truck (camionette) tires.  Seeing all of that data, and driving on Michelin Tires exclusively on my cars and my immediate family's cars (we got really great deals for family members), I was convinced that Michelin makes the best tires in the world, and I would Only place my own life and safety, and that of my wife and son, on Michelin or Goodrich (Michelin bought Goodrich in the early 90s) tires.  For two dozen years, I adhered to this belief and practice.

Then my Mazda 6 needed a new set of tires.  The Michelin OEMs had nearly 60K miles on them, and had performed very well, as Dr Desert Flower commuted to work each day on the 120F pavement of the I-10 for 4 years.  I checked Costco (within walking distance) and for $165 + $30 mounting and disposal, they would mount a new set of Michelin MXV4s.  Then I went over to Discount Tire (also within walking distance),and they were going to beat the Costco price by $5.  Sweet.  I return the next day to D.T. with my M6, and POOF, they are out of Michelins...  grrrr... but they have a set of Yokohamas, for $10 less.  Since this is post Tsunami, I figure "ok, I can help the Japanese economy" and I skeptically get the Yokos. An hour later, I am home, tires mounted, and we've driven it to 90 mph without any pulling or vibration.  A hundred miles later, they're doing fine, and they handle well in the dry  - though we've not had a chance to try them in the desert rain yet.  Il faut voir! =)

Foo Fighters - Rope

Been going through my head all evening yesterday and day today... very nice drumming.

Go Christine Lagarde!

France's Finance minister, Christine Lagarde, was named head of the IMF today (link here).  I saw her on The Daily Show last year (link here), and while flying to Europe this Spring watching Inside Job (link here) in which she gave VERY FRANK interviews.  Very intelligent, she appears to have integrity and a sense of who the "good guys" and "bad guys" are, unlike Geithner her Imperial US finance minister counterpart.  I am very pleased to see the IMF select a capable, rational, realistic individual - who also happens to be a woman who speaks fluent English.

American Radio News coverage of her appointment is ridiculously myopic.  Oh, she was a the head of a Chicago law firm and went to high school near Washington DC!?  How about focusing on how she's an intelligent FRENCH woman who has risen to the highest financial office in that country, and how she doesn't truck with the incompetent and corrupt leadership of Goldball Sacks, Shitty Bank, Skank of America, and the other massive financial institutions that have come through the world global recession in modern history virtually unscathed and fully profitable while EVERYONE ELSE in the rest of the 99% of the western world has seen anemic growth and stagnant wages?  Hmmm?  How about focusing on that instead?

Monday, June 27, 2011

In Case Of Zombie Hoards Or Low Flying Aircraft

When I was a kid, I used to have dreams about being in a post apocalyptic landscape quite often.  Movies like Omega Man, Mad Max, The Day After, Red Dawn, Battlestar Galactica, Space 1999, Silent Running and many others, painted a gloomy, fatalistic picture of the future, where having a 4 wheel drive weaponized vehicle, a large dog as a pet, a clean water supply, and lots of canned goods stored up would be quite useful to the imagination of a tween & teen age boy.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd ever get a XM214 Automatic Gun (GE Minigun) mounted in the back of a dually pickup.  The number of zombies it could immobilize...  killer cyborgs it could disassemble... or small aircraft it could shoot down... would be formidable.  

Of course, keeping the ammunition supply maintained would be difficult... but if there was an abandoned military base of national guard armory nearby.... the possibilities could be endless!

Cool Haikus

Teach Both!

We Should Not Stop at teaching just Creationism & Evolution.  All quack theories that are not peer reviewed or empirically evidenced based NEED to be taught.  Phrenology alongside neurology, astrology alongside astrology, alchemy alongside chemistry, magic alongside relativity, our kids need to be exposed to all of these, so they can decide for themselves!!!

Leaves Of Three

When we lived in South Carolina, the last 9 years had a lot next door that for 3 or 4 of the 9, was empty.  There as a stand of a dozen long needle southern pines (not resistant to ice storms), a whippoorwill, pileated red headed woodpeckers, a hutch of rabbits, and no shortage of poison ivy and poison oak throughout the lot.  I used to have our son's Cub Scout manual (during the ages of dial-up) when pulling up a quick image was a 20 or 30 minute endeavor, in Windows 95 at 9.6K Baud.  Having a handy image like this would have been helpful to warn children, why it was important to CAREFULLY chase that frisbee / toy / ball into the foliage, and to wash all the clothes in warm water to remove the irritating oils left behind from these insidious vines.

Leaves of Three, let it be.

South Shore Double Tracks

Earlier this month, when Dr Desert Flower and I visited Chicago, I took the South Shore train to visit some of my relatives in NW Indiana.  As I waited on the train platform in East Chicago late in the evening Friday night, for the West bound train to arrive and take me back downtown to the hotel, I noticed a double set of tracks.   This was present on both South side (between platform and slope down to the parking lot) and the the North side (between platform and the I-80 Toll Road). 

Now, my father is a train fanatic.  He loves trains more than any other form of transportation - which I think is from his youth growing up in WWII era Germany and Poland, and he taught me that the standard rail gauge is 56 inches in the US.  My father also took this exact same train for dozens of years of his working life, several summer with me in tow to work minimal wage jobs in downtown Chicago with him as he worked at a Unionized bindery shop.  I never remember seeing a double rail in all those years, but here it was, clearly laid out, on rather new rails.  All 4 rails were shiny - so they were being used, regularly.

So I snapped the picture with my dumb phone, and emailed it to my dear wife, who easily forwarded to my blog's gmail (yes, I'll get an iPhone someday, maybe), and I asked my father "what is this?"  I inquired to him if they've introduced a new narrow gauge, or if this was a second set of tracks, running in parallel.  My father explained to me, that the South Shore laid new sets of tracks for the very profitable freight trains that use the same line, after a slightly wider freight train swiped too close to the platform and threatened passengers who were unaware (or perhaps who were trying to get hurt when a massive speeding freight train came past and the blaring announcement to 'STAY AWAY FROM THE EDGE OF THE PLATFORM' were perhaps falling on deaf ears).  So there's the original set of passenger rails, and then there's a 2nd set of freight rails that are another 18 inches farther away from the passenger platform.

Pago De Carraovejas Crianza 2009

Back in April (I've been remiss in my wine blogging, yes) I had a fantastic Spanish Crianza at a business dinner at La Gran Pulperia in Madrid.  Pago De Carraovejas Crianza 2009 (35 Euros / bottle).  My good friend and colleague Javier picked it out from the impressive and extensive wine list that La Gran Pulperia had.  It went great with dinner, and is highly recommended. If in doubt, and you're looking for a reasonably priced Spanish red that packs in excellent value and taste without rendering a hang-over, go with the Pago De Carraovejas Crianza. 

The delicious dinner at La Gran Pulperia also renewed my faith in tapas, which had been in the decline.  Javier & Jose and I had a great dinner, and then 2 more colleagues joined us, and we continued to eat and drink until late in the night.

Fear Ignorance Intimidation

I ran across this self explanatory, very truthful graphic today at "Whip or Will".

Introduction To The Triplet

Since TMBG is probably not a favorite for several of the more rock oriented drummers who I know frequent this blog.... here's a bit of pablum. 

I got my slightly used Ludwig 5 pc drumset in the middle of 5th grade, for my birthday.  My parents bought it for $400, including cymbals, hardware, and cases from a guy who lived a tiny apartment in Hammond who had put an ad in the news paper - easily 1/2 price in mid 70's decade dollars.  (it even had a small wood block, cowbell, and extra felts for the cymbal stands!!).  The Boston song "Foreplay/Long time" was constantly on the radio later that year, and my family (and neighbors) were subjected to my repeatedly practicing this song down in the basement - song on head phones taped on a cassette from the radio, stereo cranked, so only the drums could be heard by anyone within a 100 yard radius.

"Foreplay" is a good introduction to "The Triplet" for a 5th grader.  =)

Daddy Sang Bass

The Man in Black effectively sampled.  Wow...   do John's vocal's sound SO young!  (This Might Be a Wiki link here)

Able To Stop A Speeding Bullet?

This is not gory by any means... unless you have a powerful affinity for and connection to blue plastic poly ethylene 60 liter water containers, or you believe in the ridiculous myth that a Hollywood car door can stop any bullet effectively. Physics applied.

This video helps to give the viewer a better appreciation for the serious mess that combat trauma surgeons have to deal with, on a daily basis in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, The Sudan, Somalia (no, they just die in Somalia pretty much, without a central government, in a failed state), The Congo, Syria, Mexico, NW Pakistan - all the garden variety vacation destinations.

Even A Child Could Understand

This is truly beautiful in its simplicity and directness. 

My apologies to those visitors who are severely color-blind (my father included).  There are indeed, many shades of gray (or brown, I've been told, if you are color blind) shown above.

I Thought They Were Real, Officer!

I want to see how much these missile balloons are, and if I can attach them to the back of my Mazda 6.  The lighter-than-air helium is probably the most expensive part... but it is an awesome concept.  (yes, this image has been around for many years.. but I've never blogged about it before... and when I saw it last weekend, it made me laugh, again).

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Beauty of Prandtl-Glauert Singularities

In the last 8 months, I've experienced more air travel than I have in the last 8 years combined.  And I have to admit, every time I'm in a pressurized aluminum tube accelerating down a one mile long runway towards rotational speed, I am still impressed / in disbelief / in at least a little bit of awe by the precise symphony of physics and fluid dynamics that are providing thrust in the engines and lift on the wings.  This compressible fluid we breathe in each day, composed almost 3/4rds worth of inert nitrogen, is being pushed and squeezed and driven to lift humans into the air, safely (in Western countries).

And since humans are so visually oriented, when the passing phenomenon of a burst of condensation over the wings of a large commercial jet airliner happens at low altitudes and in high humidity, it still strikes me as remarkable.   I know it's not "breaking the sound barrier" and it's just another observation of a Prandtl-Glauert Singularity, but it is so very cool.  I catch myself looking out the window often, when the aircraft in which I am flying is at full flaps, hoping to see this phenomenon - gotta be careful not to strain one's neck doing this, especially if the landing is experiencing turbulence or is in a Southwest 737 piloted by an former Navy airman replicating a carrier landing.

And yes, when you see this at an air show (like Paris, or San Francisco Bay) and there's a large burst cone around a fighter jet, that is often a trans-sonic phenomenon.  But a Boeing 747, or a B-52 cannot reach Mach 1 (in normal or sustained operations, at least, not intentionally, or for long) and both aircraft produce some spectacular Prandtl-Glauert singularities. 
This happens not only on the tops of the wings, but also in the air intake engine cowlings.  It's nothing to be alarmed about.  It's normal fluid dynamics in progress - visibly observable aerodynamic phenomenon that is happening all the time in the world around us, just without the humidity and a keen eye, humans don't notice it.

Now it's time for me to do some yard work, before the ambient climbs into the triple digits here in Phoenix, and before the monsoon blows all the fallen lemon tree leaves I have into my pool.

Grain Based Personality Test

Though I try to avoid grains as much as possible, I thought this was appropriate to share - especially with the U.S. 4th of July holiday right around the corner, as many consumers will purchase corn at their local grocers.  =)

I normally eat left to right. =P

Friday, June 24, 2011

Van Goghing This Summer

I have an opportunity to visit the Netherlands later this summer, with a free hotel room in which to stay.  Many museums to visit, bicycles & trains to ride, country side to see.  If there are any "Must See!" recommendations from JustJoeP visitors, let me know this month if you can.  Coffee will be consumed in the Coffee Shops.  Dark beer might be consumed in the bars (this, as opposed to this) - but I've drank enough Heineken in my previous travels to China to last me a life time.
My Dutch sucks - comes across as more Germanic in pronunciation and grammar, from a French thinking cerebral cortex.  On my last business trip to The Netherlands 4 years ago, I found nearly all the city dwelling Dutch I encountered wanting to speak English... so I think I should be in good shape this time around.  Il faut voir - or rather - u moet zien.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

La Vache! (Dauphiné)

As I understand several JustJoeP readers / followers are avid bicyclists, taking on mountains and trails and city scapes from time to time, I thought this recent anecdote might be interesting.  The Critérium du Dauphiné is part of the UCI World Tour that runs through the French Alps, and this year, there were several unexpected bovine participants.  The video speaks for itself.   I hope you enjoy it =)

My apologies if you've already seen this...  I am a little slow on international news it seems, this week.

I Thought Paper Would Protect You

I saw this today... and it made me laugh. I think I will adopt this the next time I play Rock Paper Scissors.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

How To Unstick Metal Security Doors

All homes "settle" in their foundations over time.  As they settle, doors that previously had easily and effortlessly swung open and closed and windows that previously had slid in their frames sometimes can begin to stick, and move less easily.  Walls and ceilings can begin to show cracks as well.  Seasonal heating and cooling can also cause expansion and contraction, and lead to increased friction and binding on sliding surfaces.  This posting will concentrate on how to "unstick" a metal security door that has begun to stick, or freeze up, in its frame.  If your door is sticking as well, and you don't want to hire someone to come fix it, and you have the right tools and safety equipment, a few neurons to rub together, and about 10 minutes, you too can fix your sticking screen door.  As always, if you follow these instructions, and you hurt yourself or destroy something, it is not my fault, and you should have hired a contractor with more sense.  No warranty or liability is stated or implied, and you affect these repairs at your own prerogative.

First, gather the necessary tools.  A good pair of safety glasses is absolutely required.  You'll be removing metal and making sparks.  Wear a long sleeved shirt if you don't like to have small bits of hot metal impinge upon your forearms.  Get a ladder that is tall enough to give you stable access to the top of your door.  Refer to yesterday's post (link here) about how to easily block your door open.  And finally, you'll need a metal file, or Dremel tool, or whatever tool you prefer to easily and conveniently remove sheet metal without hurting yourself or the door.

Next, Identify WHERE the door is sticking.  Look for bare, shiny metal where the door meets the door frame. Low grade, unpainted steel loves to rust, even in low humidity like Arizona has, it can hardly resist forming a dull brown ferrous oxide.  If you find rusted surfaces, and you use that door often, that is not where the door is sticking.  If you find bright, shiny surfaces that look like rubs, then Bingo, you've found the culprit.  Our door was easily found at the top corner of the door and frame.  Note the shiny triangle.
Inside looking Out, and Up, to the corner of door and door frame
Also, note the multiple seals.  The hairy looking stuff and the expanded foam looking stuff are what is keeping insects and other critters from crawling around the metallic screen door.  You don't want to damage those, and give desert critters a path into your home, unless your dog or cat enjoys being vigilant at your front door in order to kill black widows, wood scorpions, mosquitoes, or other creatures that try to get in.
Inside, looking Out and Down at the door jamb.  Note the think rubberized black seal that runs along the bottom of the door.   Try not to cut into, deform, destroy, or damage that.

Now, get your Dremel tool,. or your manual metal file, and your ladder. Put on your safety glasses, and carefully begin to remove the metal on the door that was causing the binding.   Try not to let the tool take off too much metal at one time.   I used an old sanding attachment at first, to slowly remove less than a millimeter (about 0.04 inches) of metal along the leading and trailing edges of the top of the door.
I checked the progress of metal removal frequently, to make sure I was taking off nearly equal amounts of metal all along the edge.  Use the "offending" door frame - it is still nearly linear, and much harder to evenly chamfer - to gauge how much it is still binding, by closing the door - try not to lock yourself out of the how and avoid embarrassment.
Now, if you really want to, you can elect to loosen your door hinges, and attempt to raise or lower your door incrementally.   This will not be easy, and it is a 2 person job - one to hold the door and one to tighten and loosen the hinge hardware.  Also, if it's a security door (as mine is) the hardware is "tamper proof" and cannot be easily loosened or removed (like the screws on public bathroom stall doors with rounded off slots).

So your door closes easily now (we hope), but perhaps your dead bolt may be sticking?  You can use your Dremel tool or metal file to carefully vertically elongate the hole in the door jamb (the strike,or gâche or Placa Hembra),  Be careful not to grind against the forward or rearward portions of the strike as that's the part that actually LOCKS your door.  To the left here is a picture of using the Dremel tool with a mild sanding disk that pretty much just disintegrated as minimally buffed and polished the strike's hole.  See below for the "cut off disk" that had to be wielded with much more care and precision to avoid DIGGING INTO the metal of the strike.  Keep the RPMs low on your Dremel tool to minimize the risk of DIGGING IN or Catching the disk on the sheet metal of the strike.  And, as always when grinding on metal, wear safety glasses - or, be happy becoming blind or severely optically injured / impaired.

You can use a manual hand file of course, but you'll need a great deal of hand strength, and more patience and time than I had (or have).  Good luck with that.  it'll work.. it'll just take a very long time.
So now you will not have to spend another weekend listening to your spouse complain that "this door never used to stick" and "I think I might break off the key in the lock it is so hard to turn!", etc.  The door will be functional, safe, and you'll save yourself 100s of dollars on a contractor.

Again, if you hurt yourself doing this, or damage your door, it's not my fault.  This advice is free, and worth what you have paid for it, so don't try and sue me if you're not smart enough to do it yourself or to hire a competent contractor to do it for you if you're naturally accident prone, clumsily, or mechanically disinclined. 

May your doors close smoothly, and your home be secure!

Florence's Amazing Pipes

I mentioned last year (link here) how much I admired the voice of Florence Welch, from Florence and the Machine.  She was on Colbert last night, and they performed Dog Days beautifully.  I am moved, to nearly have a tear in my eye when I hear her sing - I am not sure why.  Powerful vocals, beautifully delivered.  Have a listen here:

On the Colbert performance, she did a deep inhale at the 3:30 mark (on this video, of 3:39 on the Colbert video, here), and didn't deliver the end chord as I had remembered it.  Since I'd DVR'ed it, I re-wound and listened a 2nd time.  So much extra enhancement can be added in the studio, but Florence Welch's voice is naturally a phenomenon, that requires little-to-no post-production modification.

Thanks Grumbles & Brewer!

Arizona Republicans want Arizona air to be dirtier, on the weak and false premise that they think we can save money (link here).   Thanks so much aging Scottsdale blond Governor Janet Brewer and Out-going ADEQ Director Benjamin Grumbles (the same "let them drink rocket fuel (perchlorate)" former incompetent Bush appointed EPA official, links here, here, and here).  Thanks to Diane Brown of Arizona Public Interest Research Group (AZ PIRG) and the under-funded and under-appreciated American Lung Association in Arizona's Stacey Mortenson, executive director for trying to bring this issue to the bright, blazing, light of the Sonoran desert sunshine, as well as Shaun McKinnon's reporting at the Arizona Republic.

It's not like the air in Arizona is dirty though.  We only had our eighth ozone pollution advisory of the season posted yesterday.  And for those Republicans who despise Science and Facts, that's OZONE - it's not particulate (dirt & dust) blown from desert winds. No, it comes from the burning of fossil fuels.  You know, the fossil fuels that were created when Jesus buried the dinosaurs.  Maybe someday in the future, the air in Phoenix can be as healthy as the air in Los Angeles used to be, and we won't have to see those pesky White Tanks, Superstitions, McDowells, San Tans, or any other surrounding mountain ranges.  Instead, we can all be inside breathing filtered air and using supplemental oxygen, paid for with the money we saved from not implementing those onerous air quality regulations.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How To Keep A Porch Door Open

I've noticed, looking at the Google Analytics of JustJoeP blog, that the "How To" postings seem to get more hits than everything else.  So there's going to be more of them, in the hope that I can help to provide people with useful recommendations and methods that can help them as much as I've found them to be useful as well.  As always, these are just my opinions, and they are free.  If you hurt yourself, or misinterpret, or do something wrong, or damage your or someone else's property, or whatever, then you have no recourse here to try and file a suit against me, Google blogger, or anyone else mentioned or associated with JustJoeP. 

One very common problem in the Arizona desert, is that the seals on hydraulic door closers tend to dry out rapidly, and the doors do not remain OPEN when you want them to.  A very simple solution to this, is something that the Hispanic delivery men who brought our couch showed me when brought our couch into the house.  You take coins... pennies, or dimes, or nickles, and you group them together, as shown in the picture below.  I taped 2 pennies together, to make them harder to lose, but you can use loose change too.
The coins change the angle of the angled metal stopper, and help it to "grab" the piston of the hydraulic door closer more effectively.  With the very heavy security doors that are common in Arizona, this adjustment is necessary if you want to keep the door open.  You can go up to 4 coins (penny or so thicknesses), and it is even more effective.   Below, you can see 2 sets of 2 pennies (4 coins) taped together, keeping the door opened.
I leave the pennies on the support practice that attaches the end of the piston to the door jamb, when I am not using them.  Keeps them handy, for the next time they're needed.

Yes, you can use a rock, or something really heavy to prop the door open, but in Arizona you can never be sure exactly what might be under that rock when you pick it up (black widows, scorpions, other possible creatures) and then you're relying upon the friction of the heavy object on your relatively smooth porch sidewalk surface to resist the door's weight from swinging the door closed.  A rock is a heavy, clumsy, brute force solution that lacks the precision and elegance of the 2, 3, or 4 penny piston spacer.

Holsterman Sells Quality Stuff

I got my new Holsterman Glock shoulder holster last weekend (just in time for Father's Day!) from Amazon.   It's a nice piece of equipment, with alot of adjustment to fit various sizes of humans.  Efficient and strong design, with good quality construction.  It's comfortable to wear as well.  I'd write an Amazon review...  but I'd have to sign in on my spam-laden gmail name there and log out of blogger to be able to do that, but he "Shoulder Holster for Glock 17, 20, 21, 22, 31,37 Horizontal Carry", Amazon product B003XNAS9O, is good stuff, and highly recommended.

Now, if I'm going to be out around the great state of Arizona, I still don't need a concealed carry permit (link here) and Russell Pearce and his gang are looking out for me and my fellow citizens to make it even easier for all of us to have a gun and carry it wherever and whenever we want, with or without training or permits via Senate Bill 1108  - I feel so loved, and 'looked out for' - awesome that Russell has my back!  So if I will be somewhere that there may be a bunch of ideological mental midgets en masse, or a horde of hungry zombies (same personal threat level) my Holsterman and a shoulder strap for my Mossberg 500 will enable me to be well defended, and unmolested. 

Under a suit coat, the holster is not noticeable from behind, but the weapon does add significant girth around a wide chest.  Perhaps if I was less than the 48 that I currently wear (down from a 50, when I was higher carb) it would be less "side widening".  The Holsterman does come with vertical adjusting straps, so I might be able to get it down to lower rib / kidney height and away from my abs with a little more fitting adjustments.

Secessionist Perry Flexes His Execute Prerogative Again

Secessionist Rick Perry, after threatening to have Texas secede from the union, now wants Texas Airports exempt from Federal Law (link here).  He's unconvinced that TSA has any authority in his Republic, and has called the Texas legislation back into special session to pass a bill that would make TSA screeners in Texas airports subject to $4000 fines and imprisonment for following TSA pat down rules.

Now, the funny thing about this, is I hate the pat down rules.  I've experienced them in Salt Lake City when I opted out of the x-ray screen and got felt-up, tickled, in-seam checked by the nitrile gloved TSA screener.  I am (or was) a frequent flier, who really does not want to keep getting full body x-rays.  I agree with Perry (something you'll rarely hear me say) that the TSA rules are rather draconian, and Dr Desert Flower and I watched a mom with 2 sippy-cup drinking toddlers getting intensely searched in Midway airport earlier this month during our Chicago trip - because you KNOW, a really DEVIOUS terrorist will hide explosive chemicals or irritants in toddler sippy cups, and EVERYONE needs to be checked.  Toddlers, barely ambulatory elderly, frequent fliers, everyone must be scrutinized... not just those who fit the profile of a potentially destructive terrorist, because that's the most efficient use of national resources, and keeps us "the most safe". 

But, even though I agree with Perry, I don't claim to supersede Federal authority, or claim the right to prosecute Federal agents who are doing their jobs - I'm not a Ruby Ridge or Waco advocate (hey, isn't Waco in Texas?), or an Oklahoma City violent and mentally ill objectionist.  No, I just comment, and make contrasting observations.  Perry, who has Presidential aspirations, feels he has the Gawd given duty to rescue his Republic from the tyranny of the Federal authorities.  Maybe after he leads Texas to secession, he can get several of the other red states to go with him, and be the King of Dumbphuckastan.  Then TSA would have no authority over his Republic, FEMA won't come bail his arse out when another hurricane or flood hits him, and flights from his un-screened Republic can be banned from connecting to the US?

Trouble Maker

Weezer's been going through my head all morning... and most of yesterday too...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Where Can I Get A Business Flight Like This?

If all business travel were like this, I would actually look forward to flying on company business.  But I am just a lowly engineer in a massive organization, not a company executive, so I get to fly coach domestically & over the Atlantic regardless of flight time, and if I need to go to the Northern Hemisphere of South America, I get to go economy as well!.

Where can I get a business flight like this?  (it's an Embraer Lineage 1000 interior - sweet)

Moronic Military Hawks

This week's US Conference of Mayors (link here), and their plea to reduce military spending, made me look up this Economist posting earlier this month (link here).  It graphically illustrates how ridiculous, disproportionate, and unreasonable right wing military hawks are in the vocal minority known as the Tea Bagger Party, and the "main stream" right wing Republicans as well. 

Instead of just spending more and more money building targets and infrastructure in foreign lands that we'll just wind up blowing up eventually, how about making your children go to service in Iraq & Afghanistan?  No, Tom Tomorrow illustrates how that never works (link here).

Almond Rape At Publix

Publix, where not only is "shopping a pleasure" but "taking all the money out of your wallet is fantastic!"   I am so glad we live near a Trader Joe's now.  Thanks to my buddy Ryan for the Georgia Publix pic and Dr Desert Flower for the Trader Joe's iPhone pic.  Yeah, makes sense that Publix charges 2.5 to 4 times more for 16 ounces of Almond butter, when you live out in the middle of no where and they have a monopoly on groceries.

Like, Dislike, STFU =)

It's too bad that internet postings cannot have more options than just "Like" and "Dislike".  The "STFU" option would be so appropriate, so often!

Well Fed Red Faced Kitty

I do hope, that I am never personally on the "providing nourishment" end of this photo, and instead, just looking at it from afar, on the internet, or from binoculars inside of a robust, impenetrable all terrain vehicle if lions ever come to North America, or if I (for some un-likely reason) ever find myself in Africa.  African lionesses do all the hard work in bringing nutrition to their pride, stalking, chasing, bringing down their quarry, often killing it if their mouths are large enough to suffocate their prey's throat - if it's not, then the lazy and very fertile male lion saunters over and mouth's the struggling prey's throat to crush the larynx as his lionesses are disemboweling the herbivore and trying to avoid being kicked by a flailing hoof before the doomed animal bleeds out. 

I find this photo both beautiful, and terrifying - but as long as I am not face to face, close enough to smell the fresh blood, I can subdue and contain the terror, and focus on the beauty instead.  Team work, of a group of strong females working together, with excellent results.  Next, it's bath time.  =)

Court Jester - Just Facts

The court jester, many times throughout history, has spoken truth to power.  Sometimes, it is to comic effect. Sometimes, it is to their own demise.  Ricky Gervais is very abrasive, and can come across as an extremely unpleasant human being, but he has some nice friends - Jon Stewart being one of them, and I have a great deal of respect for Stewart.  I have to say, I cannot agree more with Gervais's statement: "You can have your own opinions. But you can't have your own facts."