Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Edumacating California: My Child, My Choice!

There's cracks showing in the CA public school wall. Charter Schools are making big waves. LA parents practically rioted recently and got the LA City School Board to approve conversion of about 250 of the 800 or so LA city schools converted to charters. Ya think the Teachers Union is going nuts? /heh

Even the union sees the handwriting on the wall. Apparently, they've decided they can't stop the movement. Now they're trying to find a way to get their nose under the charter school tent wall and organize.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Power of Iconography

All this "hope and change" getting you down? Maybe you just need to laugh out loud.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Trigger the Vote

It's a Chuck-tatorship!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Standing Athwart History

or "Rules for radical reclamation of America freedoms"

Rules for Counter-Radicals
Andrew Breitbart, Internet juggernaut.

By Kathryn Jean Lopez

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything. That was Democrat Joe Trippi’s 2004 manifesto. Taking On the System: Rules for Radical Change in a Digital Era was the title of another guide, by Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas, issued last fall.

Well, the system has been taken on. And it wasn’t televised: It was YouTubed. But it wasn’t Trippi or Markos. It happened on the other side of the World Wide Web street: Andrew Breitbart didn’t write the book, he did the deed...

The frustration has been the inability to connect through facts with the American people. Emotion overrules logic. Look at how long it's taken the gun control debate to swing from post JFK hysteria back to the founders wisdom of "shall not be infringed." It took the visuals of the likes of photographer Olek Volk to connect with the clear thinking of freedom.

Somewhere in the middle Ms Lopez article is today's sound bite. It relates that need to connect with the brain via the heart.

“Aim for the Gut, Not for the Brain."

...In his chronicle of how Howard Dean was changing the world with new technology, Trippi wrote what he called “the story of a person who spends his life reconciling two vastly different worlds — politics and technology — and wakes up one morning to find himself standing at the place where they’re about to converge, to crash together and begin reversing fifty years of political cynicism in one glorious explosion of civic re-engagement.”

That, Mr. Trippi, is where Andrew Breitbart lives. Exposing and getting results, from Congress, from the White House, even, reluctantly, from the media. The left-wing emperor issued many orders, but he has no clothes. If you thought the Right wasn’t competing online, and wasn’t capable of doing some organizing of its own, September 2009 has been an education. the whole thing

Friday, September 25, 2009

Living like you mean it

The phrase that comes to mind is "We find time for what we love."

What am I spending my time on? Is what I mean to live for? Or have I forgotten to keep an eye on that tree at the end of the pasture? Is my life's furrow tailing off to the side and I haven't noticed lately?

Without having gone to the audio links he's recommending today at "One Anothering" I appreciate the reminder from my friend and "brother from another mother," Mark. He and his fam spent a fair bit of time at our place this past year when they were out on the Left Coast.

Without getting morbidly introspective or legalistic, it's worthwhile to regularly do a self check on how we're allocating the few hours we have this side of the vale.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Discipleship Essentials

That's the title of a book from Intervarsity Press by Gary Ogden. Tonight was the kickoff of a weekly study/discussion for me with 3 young adult men (a 4th will be joining in next week). They're all smarter than me. Not like that's saying much. :-) Tonight's crew included a Mechanical Engineer, a PhD Aeronautical Engineer candidate and a full time Civil Engineering student working as a commercial framer/concrete carpenter. No fooling this crew. No place for a 40-something- almost 50 poser. /heh

The hip term these days is "Mentoring." It gets used as a synonym for discipling. I beg to differ. Discipling isn't just about passing down info and counsel.
I dare say it's as much about the growth of the discipler as it is about the disciple.

Quote o' the night:
"The method in which the Lord works is incarnational: life rubs against life...
...Discipling ensures that the gospel is embedded deeply in the lives of mature believers who serve as links to the future. Discipling then is a relationship where we intentionally walk alongside a growing disciple or disciples in order to encourage, correct and challenge them in love to grow toward maturity in Christ."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Evening play time

Doesn't look like much but that little bit of wall layout work is a full evening.
Esp, for an out of practice amateur with angles to cut and a 50 yr old room that's not quite square.

Compromises and choices must be made. i.e. "Which corners will be square and which will take up the slack?"

Actually was able to make it all up pretty well and keep the square corners genuinely square.. Just had to shave a wee bit of the layout down one side wall. One corner thrust by the side stairs is an inch or so smaller in one dimension.

Next up add ridiculous amount of blocking to the old part of the stage to stiffen things up. It's already pretty stiff but at times we get some serious loads up on it. Add the piano and some kids dancing around and... Well, you get the idea.

Then the wall plates (which are all marked off) will come up, cripples will get measured and cut and "Voila" it'll start looking like something.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Church stage reduex

Several of us mustered on station after work at the chapel today. Got the demo done. Gotta break it down a bit in order to build it up bigger and better.
Old steps and thrust come off. New framing will extend it out to the cut line in the carpet.

Some of the framing wood (tight grained Doug Fir by the looks of it) we had to hack up and dispose of tonight you couldn't buy in a cabinet shop these days.

Many hands make light work and all that.

Next up? Layout the walls and frame up the pony walls. Then a break before sheeting it for to get all the power, PA and A/V wiring routed under the deck.

Working alone

Well, with the Son & Heir off to explore the world and get some college under his belt, I've got to getting the firewood in by myself.

Seems like there's gotta be an engineering solution to ease the load. Maybe I'll keep looking...

Prepare your work outside

...and make it ready for yourself in the field; Afterwards, then, build your house.
Prov 24:27

Lots of water comes off the upper lot and through the main retaining wall slope.
Lots of digging and laying of pipe to move that water better than last year. Had quite a bit of erosion with the new layout after grading for the pool.

Two 4" lines into a 6" line. A 3" line for the slope itself (one across the top and one at the base just about the TBD retaining wall. Throw in another line for a french drain at the base of that TBB retaining wall and a 2" line for the laundry gray water...
You're looking at over $400 just in pipe hardware to from the face of the big wall to the trench were it's stubbed out. More to go.... Unngghh.

Doing my little part to stimulate the economy. /heh

Friday, September 18, 2009

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Storm's a coming

Not today or any time soon but I REALLY have to get this drainage situation fixed.
That's hard digging. It just laughs at picks and mattocks. Bounces right off this time of year with it dry. 90% compacted decomposed granite rolled out with a D6. Hired a couple hands who put in most of a day with shovel and 60lb electric jackhammer spade bit all the way down the line.

Had a lot of erosion down to the end of this slope last year. At least it made a good start on the trench for the downhill run of pipe.

There will be quite a collection of lines in that trench. Two 4" lines coming throught the wall from above will join up as a 6" line. Throw in a 3" line with surface drains for the flat at the base of the wall. For good measure lay in a 2" gray water line from the laundry.

One tough nut

Wow. Just wow.

Now you know more than Charlie Gibson.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Prototype Disciple & Discipler?

On a Sunday morning, thinking about the so called "Great Commission"...

One of the cool things about Bible study is discovering all the ways that the Old Testament relates to the New Testament.

An axiom I recall from military training is, "Follow your last order first."

Jesus Christ's last order to his followers just before he ascended into heaven was to "go into all the world preaching the gospel (good news) and make disciples."

Recently I was enjoying re-reading Ezra. ol' Ezra may be an Old Testament model for our mission in the Church Age.

Been ruminating and cogitating on this text,
"For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel." Ezra 7:10

"Set his heart..."

"To study..."

"To practice..."

"To teach..." Selah...

Ezra's a great tale. Definitely. It's a grand historical adventure worthy of a film maker like Peter "what's_his_name" who directed the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

But. Ezra's more than just a great story. It's there for a reason, proving once again that...

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,...
2 Timothy 3:16

Friday, September 11, 2009

Forrest Gump goes to heaven

The day finally arrived. Forrest Gump died and went to Heaven. He was at the Pearly Gates, met by St. Peter himself.

However, the gates were closed, and Forrest approached the gatekeeper.

St. Peter said, 'Well, Forrest, it is certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we have been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The test is short,but you have to pass it before you can get into Heaven.'

Forrest responds, 'It sure is good to be here, St.. Peter, sir. But nobody ever told me about any entrance exam.. I sure hope that the test ain't too hard. Life was a big enough test as it was.'

St. Peter continued, 'Yes, I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions.

First: What two days of the week begin with the letter T?

Second: How many seconds are there in a year?

Third: What is God's first name?'

Forrest left to think the questions over..

He returned the next day and saw St. Peter, who waved him up, and said,'Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over,tell me your answers.'

Forrest replied, 'Well, the first one -- which two days in the week begins with the letter 'T'? Shucks, that one is easy. That would be Today and Tomorrow.'

The Saint's eyes opened wide and he exclaimed, 'Forrest, that is not what I was thinking, but you do have a point, and I guess I did not specify, so I will give you credit for that answer. How about the next one?' asked St. Peter.

'How many seconds in a year?

Now that one is harder,' replied Forrest, 'but I thunk and thunk about that, and I guess the only answer can be twelve.'

Astounded, St. Peter said, 'Twelve? Twelve? Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?'

Forrest replied, 'Shucks, there's got to be twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd.... '

'Hold it,' interrupted St.. Peter, 'I see where you are going with this, and I see your point, though that was not quite what I had in mind....but I will have to give you credit for that one, too. Let us go on with the third and final question. Can you tell me God's first name'?

'Sure,' Forrest replied,

'it's Andy.'

'Andy?' exclaimed an exasperated and frustrated St Peter.'Ok, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with the name Andy as the first name of God?'

'Shucks, that was the easiest one of all,' Forrest replied. 'I learnt it from the song,




St. Peter opened the Pearly Gates, and said: 'Run, Forrest, run.'

We get more done before 7 AM

than most people do all day. Remember that Army ad?

Feeling that way today myself (in a small way). Came out early to a dead diesel. No cranking power. 2 batteries in the system to crank the 7.3 liter engine.
Did quick charge, put batteries on my load tester (looked good/marginal), followed by another charge and it started up.

Yup. Dead Alternator. Big ticket item on this engine. Easy swap though. Had it off and swapped with a re-man'd one at the local auto-electric rebuilder by 0900. Cheapest route is buying direct from the rebuilder and I know they do good work. Been using that same shop over 20 years now.

Got it buttoned up and back on the charger for the day. We'll see what those batteries look like after a few hours of charge. Here's hoping -- two big batteries don't come cheap. The vehicle is a 2002 model. I replaced the factory originals 2 years ago.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Word o' Day

Gold Embrittlement.

A little peek at some of the fun from last week with supplier in the Bay Area. That's chip soldered on a printed wiring board with failed solder joints cracking out at the interface to our board. Too much gold on the surface makes the solder brittle and fail early. In this case -- immediately at assembly.

The supplier built it with the thickness of gold specified. Our guys specified it wrong.

If our guys had gone through out standard design loop it wouldn't have happened but they didn't want to be slowed by us "detail" folks. Nevermind we would have turned the design faster than the outside service they used. Now they're short parts and having to work around.

Yep, that whole "we're smarter than you old guys" worked out pretty well for them.

Those pesky suppliers -- supplying what we specified instead of what we needed.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

there's always hope

A rare bright spot (flicker) these days on the political spectrum is the 10 Amendment buzz that's starting.

It might not go anywhere or might not go fast enough but, of late it's some of only reading that doesn't make me despondent (outside of morning devotions in Psalms :-)).

Clinging to hope...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Now hear this! All hands muster on station!

"Attention to Quarters"

1st formation and quarters for Cal Maritime Academy Class of 2013. All 261 of them. Wonder how many will be there at first muster after Christmas break for 2nd semester.

Division 6 at attention. Mechanical Engineers in the center column. The Son&Heir in last rank.

Looking sharp. That week of ROTC camp got him a good start on military bearing and drill.

"Leeeft... FACE! Division Officers inspect your division."

Blondie (female) in the column behind the Son&Heir was without a clue. She was in a state of shock -- apparently unaware what the "Academy" in Cal Maritime Academy stands for. /heh

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Let go and let God

back at the homestead after driving to the Bay area to drop the son&heir for college. Been quite a week -- not exactly free of emotion. Let's see if he makes the first semester without getting a ride to the Marine enlisted recruiter. Beyond that it's anyone's guess.

Got a day of work in up there. Drove from Vallejo down to San Jose to meet at a supplier. Straightened out some details.

1300 miles all told; much of it in heavy stop&go or slow&go traffic.

I'm ready to unplug for a couple days and refresh.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cats in the cradle

Opening day for doves this morning but we're not in the field this year. The Son&Heir and I are packing the car and heading north to his college in the Bay Area (Vallejo) today. At least we'll be passing through some prime dove habitat.

Classes start next week but he's got 3 days of orientation this week: everything from dorm check in, to swim tests, uniform fittings and bonding/social mixer type events. I'm staying for the parents orientation program on Friday and my wife will fly up Thursday on a 1-way ticket for that. We'll make the roadtrip back together. Hopefully the LA forest fires don't interfere with our route up I-5.

Between now and Friday I will just be hanging in the area and being the "Bank of Dad" for last minute dorm purchases/Costco/Walmart runs as needed (printer, fridge, micro as needed).

Managed to get one day of meetings scheduled up in the general area so will be able to expense at least one day of the trip.

Maybe next year...

"We'll get together then son. You know we'll have a good time then..."