Sunday, April 5, 2020

Chapter 6 - nerd see, nerd do.


I visited my parents today.  Like a good son, I stayed back 12 feet so I wouldn't infect them with covid 19.  We talked about how poorly Trump has managed this whole thing. No suprise just look at how many of his businesses failed.

When I got back to the house my friend had rototilled the ruts I put in the yard.  We couldn't roll them out because the roller needs a big pin that we couldn't find.  So we cleaned up a corner of the yard instead.  He was taking the back end of his mid sized tractor off the ground trying to rip the wires out of the last post that is on that side.  He can't stand to lose, I think I saw him drive his truck over there later with a set of wire cutters.

I sacrificed the pallet remains I tore apart for greenhouse shelves on the altar of the new fire pit I put together the other day.  Suddenly it was trivally easy to pick up all the miscillaneous chunks of wood with nails in it, after not being motivated to clean them up for a week now.  It took me all of 5 minutes to clean them up when I offered myself the reward of fire.

Fire does that. It is so relaxing and amazing for our psyche.  I wasn't joking about it being a sacrifice. Seeing that flame burning through the plyboard pieces I was able to let go of things that had been bothering me for weeks. 

I release my old life to that fire.  I dedicate myself to a new life of service to humanity.  To finding new ways of living more in harmony with nature.

I was thinking the other day how ancient peoples would have seen a pandemic like this as a sign from god that what they have been doing is wrong.  That they had displeased god in some way.  They would make things taboo to try and fix their relationship with god. We laugh at this, but they actually had a point.

We were wrong, because our actions directly lead to an illness clear on the other side of the world to infecting us with this same disease, faster than I ever got a package from wish.com delivered to me.

If we don't change, if we don't analyze the problem and change our behavior, then more and more viralent diseases will sweep the world, until one of them sweeps us all away.

 Doing nothing is crazy.  It is the very definintion of insanity.  We need to prepare for the worst, not the best.

Read to the end, I will am going to propose something extreme to just provoke you and make you think.  The following should anger anybody that isn't an idiot, on both the right and the left.

I am proposing we have 4 week quarantines for anyone wanting to go across any border.  That instead of travel between counties that we do teleconferencing and telepresence instead. 

Robotics is very good, in many ways you could put on a vr helmet and slip your arms into feed back sleeves and gloves and walk around a factory on the other side of the earth in real time, able to hear and interact with anyone and anything almost as well as if you were there in person.  And that if need be we start a manhatten project level effort to make it so. And give this tech patent free to the world.

There is absolutely no need to travel between countries and if you feel the need to do so, then you should gladly accept the month long quarantines as doing your part to keep humanity safe.

And instead of having factories on the other side of the earth making things and inefficently shipping them to us, then those workers can VR into factories in our coutries and  have to abide by our standards for worker safety, pay, working hours and conditions, and polution. Would this be bad?  How would it help or hurt the workers of all counties? The businesses? Be specific and detailed. Read to the end before you reply.

I want to make it clear that I agree that international travel is important, so important that some people should be willing to stay on military bases for a month each time they cross a border. I leave aside the point that this appears to just be a right that people from rich families have. Poor people rarely travel.

This is all an argument from the extreme, an absurd level that we would be insane to adopt.  So absurd that it could be used as the basis of a science fiction story.

If you can propose doing less than this, that would make us just as safe, then I welcome your input to this discussion.

 I am really interested in hearing what anyone thinks should actually change after all this is over?  Should borders be completely open everywhere? Should we lock them down?  Should we be quick about locking borders down when there are issues and just as quickly open borders back up again? Should we do something completely different?

Please share!

Chapter 5 - The nerd strikes back.


Today was a good day.  I woke up around 1 pm, because I read all night. I am reading Reamde, a really good, really long novel about computer gaming, computer hacking, and russian, chinese, american, and british spies fighting terrorists. It spans the world, but focuses on the pacific northwest, an area I lived in for over a decade. I was impressed by how long but still engaging the book is.

My friend wanted to borrow my battery charger to start his lawnmower.  After we did this a neighbor mowed the front part of my lawn and I moved my car to a mowed area for him.

I had bought a second, more elaborate firepit just before I had the stroke and I finally sat down and finished putting it together today.

Oh yeah, had a couple of french bread sandwiches with unrefrigerated box cheese and a thin slice of peperoni on each sandwich, along with a layer of mustard. Very tasty.

Once this was done I went over to my friends house and helped him clean up after taking down a giant dead tree in his yard. I got him to cut one section of the log up into giant round chunks about 3 inches thick to use in the firepit.  My plan is to cut a hole in the center to allow air to come up from below and burn the chunks.  He showed me how to sharpen a chainsaw. Will have to get a file and try this on my electric chain saw.  I may have brushed it against a metal corner brace when I was cutting the 4x4 legs for my workspace.

I am planning to cut a hole in the center of one of the wood platter chunks tomorrow and burning all the peices of the pallet I tore up for the plyboard for the greenhouse shelves.  This will clean up all the chunks with nails through it that are scattered all over in front of the workshop.

As the sun was going behind the western hills the temperature dropped quickly.  I noticed my phonewarning me earlier about a frost warning tonight, so I turned the pilot light on in the heater in the workshop to protect the green house sprouts I have started.

I doubt they would freeze anyway being inside an insulated space, but better safe than sorry.

The microgarden is really sprouting up fast and so are many of the plants, but many are not either. I think some plants just take weeks to even sprout.  After I lit the pilot light, I put on a long sleeve sweat shirt with a hoodie.

Before it got cold I went for a walk up a hill on a gravel road with my friend.  He was showing me where he was maintaining another neighbors road and talking about what else he needed to do to keep the long gravel road frome washing out.

I did the same walk a few months ago and it wore me out.  I am much stronger today,  Wasn't even tired. Coming off the hill we walked for a bit down the lane and went strait where it turned along the old railroad tracks in the woods. It is amazing how open these long ago uprooted rail road tracks were removed. You can still basically walk with no problems from where one tressel crossed a stream to the next. Few trees block the path. There is almost no undergrowth. I wonder if the railroad used something like agent orange on these right of ways.

I went home because it was cold and I was able to get my car very near the tiny houses. I stopped by the grocery store in town on the way home and got some Conn's BBQ potato chips.  I just buy the 2.5 ounce bag once a week now.  I used to buy the pound bag before the stroke.  It takes me two or three days to go through the little bag now.  I just eat a few chips a day.  I have been working my way through a bag of jelly beans the same way one or two or three a day.  No more, because age and excess led to my body betraying me.

The french bread and cheese and pepperoni has lasted a week now. Almost using none. I had to buy the new shirts and pants becauase I went from a 2XL to a large.  The large is just a touch tight, but I lose more as it warms up and I am becoming more and more active.  I won't buy clothes unless they are on clearance.

I am hoping with the longer hours of sun as we go from winter to spring will let me start running the refridgerator again.  I just have a small college fridge. I was planning on buying a specialized fridge that ran directly off 12v and was very insulated, but with no job that looks unlikely this year.  I would have had to save up one and a third paychecks to afford one.

Failing that I am looking at switching over to a 24v battery set up and connecting every two solar panels in series  into a solar concentrator panel.  I already have the 24v inverter and 24v lights and 24v usb adapters.   I could easily add 4 more harbor frieght solar panels to the system then.  Not the best systems on the market. But they would be affordable.  I could afford to buy one of the harbor freight panel kits every month, if they were on sale. I think going to the 24v system would give me back the 30 amp charge I should be getting from my panels.

I think I am feeling the walk now.  Tomorrow morning I am going to change over the last three sets of solar panels to the industry standard connectors.  I am also going to fix one solar panel, the solder pulled loose from a circuit board, wire up this last set of 4 panels to the solar charge controller. I may have to buy one more panel kit to get all these panels hooked up to the solar collectors.

Saturday I am looking at rewiring the battery pack to being 24v and wiring the solar charge controller into the solar concentrator.

0nce I get the solar charge controller back upto 30 amps I will start building up a second set of 10 batteries in a second battery pack.  This will double the time I can run off batteries without sunlight.

I am also looking into getting a 400 amp wind generator, but I would have to get a different solar charge controller if I did that.

Danm I really wish the harbor frieght solar charge kits had come with industry standard solar connectors.  This would have saved me so much work and worry.

The last thing I need to do is to connect all 12 panels together into a single raised platform of 4x3 kits or 3x4 kits. Since each kit is 4 panels what we are looking at is 16x3 panels, or 12x 4 panels.   Then by changing the panels angle to the sun every 2 weeks I could optimize the power generated. Probably moreso than if I swung the panels towards the sun every minute.

So, it looks like I am in a solar optimization kick the next few days. Might add a single panel kit, depending on if I already have an even number of kits already. 

I may not have talked about why I am doubling up the solar panels for a 24v system.  Quite simply, it reduces the amps by half.  This means the same solar charge controller can support twice the panels now.  The inverter will draw half the amps.

I also have 3 volt and amp monitors, somehwhere around here, so will also try to wire in those as I build the new system. 

Will move the batteries out of the tiny house and into the back space of the tiny house.

While I am doing this will probably have time to jack up the back of my current tiny house and change that corner to a 4x4.  This will let me close a large gap in the bottom of the enclosure. I will also be able to finish the insulation in the back of the house and put two trimmed 4x8 panels in place.  I will be able to put some plyboard in place to totally enclose the underneath of the tiny house.  This will allow me to finish framing in the two extended panels underneah the tiny house and put a hinged angled roof in place over the space afforded between the 12 foot long tiny house and the longer garrage door lengths.

This space wll house the solar charge controller, the battery packs, the inverter, and the charge monitors. I plan in putting the 3 system monitors and the interter controller inside where it is easily seen. 

I want to mount the solar charge collector and a cut off for the solar panels where it is easily found by fire fighters right onto the side of my house, below the solar charge array.






Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Chapter 4 - GAN

Chapter 4 - Return of the nerd

I think I want to just build affordable housing so that millenials can actually buy a house instead of living with their parents for the rest of their lives.

A house is now ridiculously. expensive, and with the cost of education so high nobody can afford to save up the down payment. 

The tiny homes I have been building are really an economical and practical solution for a place to sleep, to read, to store a bit of your stuff. We have too much stuff and it seems that the more space we have, just gives us more space to pile junk. 

I don't mean those huge mobile homes that people spend $50,000 on and need a huge truck to pull. 

I am talking $10,000 for a complete off grid solution.  Rain capture, solar panels, rocket mass stove, composting toilets. That is for the 100 sq foot model.

The next model up doubles the floor space on the first floor and adds a loft for sleeping. Also twice the solar arrray and twice the battery pack. So it is double the price.

People can add floor space by adding on more tiny houses around a deck.  A no frills 100 sq foot tiny house that plugs into the main house for power would just be $5000.

I think I would make the 300 sq foot tiny house a kit that is built on site. Wall and ceiling trusses already cut out. Everything cut to length and labelled.

Don't hold me to these prices, just thinking out loud.  Spitballing. Thinking outside the box, but pressed right up against it.

I just down't see how we can keep on building all these horribly built mcmansions that nobody can afford anymore. They say the definition of insanity is to keep on doing the same thing, expecting a different outcome.  That pretty much sums up our entire world right now. Time for a change.

I am thinking about building an overhead loft into my current tiny house for a bed and a laptop and some shelves for books and stuff.  The space is like 10 feet tall, so there would be plenty of room for one.  If I did that and moved the ancient desk to the new place it would basically clear out the entire floor space below.  I think if I just put a pad computer mount with charger overhead so I could lay there and watch movies or program, or read, that would be awesome. The hard part would be figuring out how to get in and out of the bed without killing myself. I mentioned that my ballance isn't the best since the stroke.

They asked me a lot of questions about the stroke in the hospital. Do I have stairs at home. Would I have problems with tripping over anything. Do I want to kill myself.  Nope I am fine.  Just dandy.

Yesterday I noticed that my solar array had no power.  Another one of the cheap cords that came with the solar kits was melting down into a bubbling mess.  So I cut it out and replaced it with the industry standard connector.  Today I felt the other wires and noticed that one was very warm, so I replaced that one. Just two more to replace, which I will get to either today or tomorrow. Noticed that the amps picked up a lot with the two bad wires replaced.

I also upgraded the solar panel array connection for my workshop, connecting all 4 panels up to the standard connectors. 

This also gave me much more length so I was able to put the solar charge controller on the green house shelf. So I don't have to crawl around on the ground anymore to charge my phone. Progress.

The plants are  starting to sprout. I should have my first microgarden harvest in about 10 days. The other plants should be ready to go into my garden in about a month.   Which means I need to get my friend to plow an area for me, and get a fence up around it to keep deer out, with a shorter smaller holed fence around the base of that to keep rabbits and racoons out.

It is much colder today. I have a long sleeve shirt on over a short sleeve black t-shirt and still just kicked on the heater to warm the place up.  2 days ago the workshop was 80, yesterday it hit 70. Today it is in the 50's.  Burrrrrrrr!

Going to be colder all week. Will get down to freezing at night by midweek.  Might have to get up early and kick the heat on to keep it above freezing,

I plugged in my little raspberry pi 4 touchscreen and noticed it was complaining that there was not enough power directly from the solar charge controller usb port. I have much higher car chargers that I will connect up.  I think I have a small computer desk that I can put on that side of the workshop.

Planning on going in a few days and getting all the lumber I need to build the floor and loft and trusses for my loft walls, floor and ceiling.  Tomorrow I need to pull everything out from under the workshop and put a layer of pallets underneath so I have plenty of storage space to store the supplies.

My plan is to have R-30 unfaced insulation rolls in a continuous sheet from the peak of the roof down to the platform.  Then have a second R-30 layer from the peak to the roof.  And at the peak have one more R-30 layer just 4 foot wide, so the insulation goes from R-30 on the first floor walls, to R-60 on the loft walls, and at the top of the house where the most heat will go, the insulation goes to R-90.   And inside that the walls are covered in 2 inch thick tuff foam with all the seams sealed with tape.  Which prevents all air infiltration and adds another R-6.5 across the entire walls and ceiling.

Speaking of insulation, when the heater kicked off after a 5 minute cycle, it was 110 just below the peak of the roof. Now as it kicks on again it is 60.

I fanned a piece of cardboard when it got to 100 up there and the heater kicked right off. I just need to install the little fan I have to push the hot air down and it would kick on more, but run less each time. Keep the temperature more consistant.

Pulled out the fan and clipped it to the battery, but no joy. Going to have to take it apart and look at it. Haven't ran it since last summer. When I got all the drywall up it regulated the temp enough that I no longer needed a fan. It was sometimes having trouble starting even then. So another thing to fix.

I don't mind. Yesterday I took apart a nice full ear cup set of headphones. The left ear went out. No sound. Those wires were very tiny. I used a butane powered soldering iron and twisted the multiple broken wires together. What happened is that just below where the strain relief ends is a place where there is a lot of strain on wires. Ironical.

They don't have a bit of heatshrink or something like maker putty on the cord to let the strain distribute itself over a longer distance. I  cut the coating on the wire back until I found the break, put the strain relief back on, then smeared seal all over this area to make the wire just a little stronger and harder to bend there to move the strain over a wider area. Hopefully the headphones are good now for a long time to come.

But see, I am different than most people. I don't throw stuff away just because it is difficult. I roll my sleeves up and get to work, fixing things.  Of course I also end up with piles of junk because I have 50 projects to work on, and some things don't ever get fixed. 

I have a bluetooth speaker whose usb connector failed the second time I plugged it in to charge it.  I think it should literally be a criminal offense to not have thru hole components on anything that can be pressed on from outside the box. People should goto prison for designing things so they break on purpose.  I can't tell you the number of times I have replaced headphone jacks, buttons, or power connectors on things like this.

I can just picture entire landfills filled with things that would be perfectly good, except some jackass designed it to use surface mount components for things that the user interacts with directly.  The only thing holding the usb connector on a $200 ebook reader is 5 wires as thin as hairs and 5 little daps of solder.  And that is stronger than the microscopically thin layer of copper foil that is on the board. 

Seriously, jail time!  Too much e-waste is a national security hazard. It is a direct assault against our natural environment.

I have been wanting to build a solar oven for a while now.  I think I will work on this the rest of week, a little bit each day.  No need to hurry. It won't be sunny until this weekend.

The it in that sentence is a funny thing.  It is like the it in the question, "What time is it."  It doesn't really mean anything, it is just a place holder.  Opps, I did it again.  There it is again.  Wow, it happens all the time!!!

I have noticed weird things my whole life.  Things that bother me and nobody else.   Like, doesn't the north pole of a magnet point at the earth's southern magnetic pole? 🧲

Think about that for a second. It's true, right? Imagine holding two magnets together, ones north pole and the others south pole click together.  The north of one maget doesn't point at the north of the other magnet. Why is Earth's magnetic field labelled wrong?

Another thing that annoys me is when you buy clothes and the actual size is wildly different than the size on the label.  I got a large shirt and a 2 xl pull over hoodie.  The hoodie is smaller than the large.  Now, I don't think they should be jailed for this offense... maybe just flogged for a bit.

I took side shelves off of the copiers we took to the dump. Also took the glass tops off of them. Using the selves to hold random stuff. The glass I am going to use to make the solar ovens. I am thinking wooden box with an angled top, two glass sheets that are hinged for doors, and something to adjust the angle to the best possible angle.  Just going to use cardboard as insulation for this first one.  There is a nearby company that makes this kind of hard crumby insulation that you can buy as sheets.

I will just use the bubble foil insulation to make a big collector around the glass doors. Staple the foil to a wooden frame that can be unlatched and set aside when it is time to pull diner out of the oven. 

I think I also need a little tray a bit from the bottom that can swing down level when the box is tilted for the sun angle.  This will give you a level surface to put the food onto.  That way all the juices don't run to the back of the box and make a mess.

I've used reflective foil and oven bags to heat opened cans of food before and that makes the cans too hot to touch with your bare hands. Easily over 200 degrees.

I am thinking the final version can be built like a speaker box, with two glass doors on the opening, the good insulation, and a metal interior that is painted black with good quality enamal that doesn't make the food taste funny.  The swinging tray inside that the food sits on should be removable and easily cleaned, and also painted black.

Hmmmm, maybe as well as solar powered tiny homes, I can sell solar ovens. And composting toilets. That is a project for next week.  I know, I know, gross.  But hey, everyone poops.  It is what happens after you eat that delicious food you cooked in the solar oven.  I wonder if you can make a solar powered composter?

So many solar powered things to build.  You know that half the energy your house uses goes to just heating water?  Crazy.  You spend a lot of money doing something that the sun could do for you for free. 

Going to have to plant the seeds I bought the other day. I got several more kinds of tomatoes and some flowers and sun flowers.   I really need an app to track all these projects.

Well, I tore apart the fan, and nothing looked wrong with it. I tried adjusting the magnetic sensor and checked the ohms on the enamel wire loops and they both tested the same, so either the magnetic sensor is bad or something else went bad. Saved the power cord and the enamal wire.  I guess that saved a bit from the trash dump.  Need to order another one of those fans. It worked great 24 hours a day for a year. It only cost a little over $20, so I consider it a good value. I can reuse the power cord for the new one to let it run in the peak of the roof of the new house.

Stay tuned for more random musings from the recesses of my twisted mind.

Chapter 3 - GAN

I got paid for a full 2 weeks plus 2 weeks vacation that I had saved up. This was very generous and I thank my company. Of course if I had gotten even a single pay raise in the last 6 years it would have been more. But I am not bitter. OK, I am a little bitter.

What this means is I can now afford to buy the lumber and insulation I need to build the shell of the tiny house. Yeah! And being unemployed gives me the opportunity to actually build it.  This is progress.

I just paid for 2 years car registration today. The fun thing is that the ohio BMV is shut down for the pandemic, so all I have is a reciept for the tags I saved on my phone.  I was a stroke victim when the tags came due in Sep, so they got forgotten about at the time. And who knew that I would lose the company car because I lost my job because Trump didn't close the borders and put anyone coming into the us into quarantine for 2 weeks.

Now, if I just knew what I needed. I can't decide if I want to thicken a 2x4 out to 9 inches, or just use a 2x10 every 2 feet to hold up the roof. The 2x4 with studs and 1x2s attached  would be a lot more work. The 2x10 would be easier and faster, but would not be as good a thermal break.  Maybe have 4 2x10s on the ends and 2x4s built out in the middle.

A friend dug a ditch for me along the top of the property to help dry things up.   I need more ditch dug along the top and the side of the property. And a bigger culvert for the start of my driveway, because the 6 inch one we put in back filled itself.

What I really need is a load of gravel brought in to make a driveway for me. Tired of having to slog through 100 yards of swamp. So will have to budget for that out of this last paycheck.

I also have to pay for my phone on the 10th of each month. I may have to go for the cheapest possible plan they have, or to transfer my phone over to trak fone.

The phone is really my only expense though. I paid my rent through August already.

So my plan is to save back enough for car insurance, gravel, and 2 months of phone.

Now, I promised I would talk about why I am not working with computers... Evidently I got too old. I can see the look of disappointment when I show up for the job interviews. After applying for thousands of positions and being interviewed dozens of times, I got the hint. There is age discrimination in the computer field and you won't get a job in computers past 40.

Fuck you all, you mother fuckers. Yeah, I said it.

You know the sad part, I am worth 10 normal programmers. I find algorithms and write solutions in hours that would take a team of people weeks to find. If they even could. I am that good.

Just for fun I wrote a real time scheduler for Arduino boards that does power saving when nothing is running. How many people in the world could even do that? Just for fun I wrote a data driven website where the pages live as data inside a nosql database. Day 2 of writing javascritpt I created a closure to step any property between two values and call back when it was done. Just for fun another guy and I created a website that replicates the entire rule book for a popular role playing game. It even lets you download your character as a pdf. How many people could do that?

But I am just too old to work as a programmer.

Good times!

I planted 80 different kinds of seeds in seed incubators inside the greenhouse I built. It took over 5 hours to do that. A lot harder work than I realized. A lot of the seeds were so small I had to use tape to transfer them into the right place in the planters. I carefully recorded what I planted in each space, so if I don't see starts in a spot I can try again.

I even got fancy and planted a couple of flower pots and scattered flower seed around the edges of my lawn.

I noticed that I only have beefstake tomatoes, need to get at least cherry tomatoes too, if not a few more varieties.

I am also thinking about planting more fruit and nut trees here. I ate some of the walnuts I harvested last year and they were good.

I made a seed vault from an ammo can and a couple of bags of desicant.  Once these starts are in the garden in a month I will replant the incubators with a second set of plants so I can have a second harvest. Might need the extra food to give to neighbors if we fall into a great depression.

I am also trying some micro greens. They are supposed to be harvest ready in a couple of weeks. And you can harvest them two or three times. If I get a few plots of these going it could give me greens for every meal, all summer long. By Fall the big southern facing window should be done. Might make a great place to grow plants year around.

I started building a solar heater to transfer heat into the house on a cold but sunny day. Basically cutting the ends off of aluminum cans and taping them together. Then just need to spray paint the cans black and put them inside a wooden frame with a plexiglass front.

I am also going to build a rocket mass stove along the bottom of one wall of the new tiny house, basically put concrete tiles around a stove pipe and pack all loose space between the tile and pipe with clay. Of which there is a multiple foot thick layer everywhere on the property.

So, I have a lot of time to get things done.

Oh, and a couple things went right for me the last couple of days.  I walked across the yard from my car during a lightning storm and the rain didn't start until a minute after I got inside. The second thing is that I slipped and fell hard and basically landed in a way to minimize any possible damage. Just a little stoved up like I was rear ended in a car. I didn't land on a jagged chunk of metal! Yeah me!

Of course Providence, if you are listening, it would be better not to let me fall down, so work on that, will ya? I have noticed that since the stroke I have fallen more often.

Tomorrow I plan on buying some more supplies. Some plastic storage boxes from the dollar store. Some nut mixes from the dollar store. Some shorter screws from the hardware store. Toilet paper. Fingers crossed!

Next time I will talk about why tiny houses are so important. And why people that horde stuff are idiots.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Chapter 2- GAN

OK, too chilly to start working outside, so starting to work on my stream of conciousness ramblings, chapter two.  It comes off less insane manifesto when you label the chapters.

A week and a day after the layoff. Finally got signed up for unemployment after a friend said I need to sign up for it in the state where I worked, not where I live. Compared to the Ohio web site, the WV web site actually worked.

The last few days I have been recovering stuff from the little storage building. Other than a couple of boxes of books and some ancient computers I saved from the dumpster where I used to work, there is not much damage. 


The books I probably have in pdf. Funny how books you spend hundreds of dollars for a college class aren't worth 10 bucks by the time the semester is over.

The two metal shelves I have are going to need new wood shelves cut to replace the sawdust shelves that expanded to 10 times its thickness and crumbled like... well, like sawdust. I will use dryply for round 2 of shelving. That stuff is very near waterproof.
What I don't understand is why I can't sit a box or bag down without it flipping upside down and spilling everything out. Comeon, just once I need to get a break.

But today I am working on the 12 foot wide shelves for the green house.  I am calling the big southern facing plastic window on the end of my workshop "The Greenhouse." Sounds classier than whatever it actually is.

I plan on just having a couple of big shelves about three foot deep by 12 feet wide right in front of the window.  With space underneath for my big water bottles to act as thermal mass to keep the plants warm at night until it stops frosting at night in about 3 months. 

This is ohio after all, we could still get 3 feet of snow, or it could be 120 degrees tomorrow. Only state where I have had to run a snow blower and lawn mower on the same day.

It is great to have the workshop now. I was planning on being this far along about 6 months ago. But I had the stroke and it took months for me to heal.  Still feel the weakness when I work hard all day long.  I am a very tired puppy by the end of the day.

I had to drive the company box truck down to Cincinati, pick up a bunch of big copiers and then drive back. Had to drop one copier off, and pickup the one I replaced.  That is about a 10 hour day with no lunch, with my day starting at 4 am. Mid-afternoon I had made the prison stop and began feeling my entire right side start to tingle. I didn't have a clue what to do so I pounded down 4 aspirins from a truck stop and drove another 2 hours back.  Immediate went to the ER and they admitted me.

A bunch of scans and they found the stroke after they did an MRI with constrast. Or something like that. It was 12x7x7mm.  All my numbers were within range, except sugar was 126 that day. But my worst number is the long term sugar number that came out at 9.

I lost 30 pounds and started eating a lot of salads.  Just had to cancel my next appointment because I have no insurance now.  Isn't it awesome that if you don't have a job you can just die and nobody cares? Heaven forbid we don't have a single payer system that is not associated with work and covers everyone, even when they are between jobs or self employed.  This from a life long Republican and former enlisted and officer in the US Air Force and US Army.  Former nuke bomb loader.  Nuke'm til they glow!

Funny thing happened in the hospital.  After mom saw me in the hospital she gave out my phone number to everyone she knows.  My unlisted number. Thanks mom.  My older brother tried to call me, and texted me. Said he was coming over to visit. I told him I never wanted to see him again even if this was my last day on earth.  Never talk to me again for the rest of my life.

Lots of reasons why that I might go into later, but the last straw was several of my family members telling me to my face that my dead Muslim wife was burning in hell because she didn't convert. Great family cookout.  My devout Muslim wife.  Who would have burned to death before she gave up her religion and who never judged a Christian once in her life. 

If you tell me my dead wife is burning in hell, don't be shocked when I no longer come around.

I am an atheist, so I don't care what you believe, just don't tell me that someone else is wrong for believing something different than you.  Especially when you have jack shit for proof. 

Another problem I have noticed lately is I can be standing in the same place, set something down and lose it.  It is just gone.  Just now I was looking for a little bag of ends for a multimeter to put flat pin connectors in it. I know I had it yesterday. No clue where it is now. 

And I keep losing my leatherman wave.  I had to go back to two different customer sites after work to pick it up.  And I have lost it a dozen times in the workshop.  I spent an hour looking for my dewalt screwdriver last night.  Found it on the table I was sitting at most of the day yesterday. Under a bag of stuff.

I don't know if I have been like this for a while, or it is because of the stroke, but it sucks. I know if I can't find those multimeter terminals I will lose the thing I wanted to put in the bag by the time I run across it again.

When radio shack was going out of business I spent paychecks on parts.  Not big paychecks. It was both awesome and sad, because they were going away.  They are still clinging on as part of another chain of stores.  Not the same at all.

I really hated them when they became a mobile phone sales company. The writing was on the wall at that point.

So, it has warmed up. Going to see how long it takes me to find a tape measure, a speed square, a pencil, and my power saw.  Wish me luck.

Next day.

Got the shelving all built. Got 6 planters filled with dirt.  Had to tear apart 3 more ply board pallets.





Stay tuned for chapter 3 where I continue my meanderings and answer the age old question of why I no longer work on computers anymore. 

Monday, March 23, 2020

My Great American Novel. Chapter 1.

Writing my ( not so ) great American novel after being laid off during the covid 19 pandemic. This is a glimpse into my cluttered mind, stream of concious style.

Personally, I feel like the pandemic could have been really slowed down by every country in the world requiring anyone coming back from China to sit in a 2 week quarantine, but what do I know. I guess it is better having everyone in the entire world sitting in quarantine, right?


I have a tiny little keyboard meant for a pad computer hooked up to my phone. I went to get a picture of my setup and reached for my phone.  Then I was like, that is stupid, I can't get a picture of my phone on the pad keyboard, so just imagine you are seeing my phone with this same paragraph leaning back against the pad.

It really is a neat setup, technology is so great. It's not a flying car, but it is pretty cool. Oh yeah, I was unpacking the little storage building and found a folding table, so the workshop now has a table for my drawing board. And this little typing device too. And probably a few other things.

I have been offgrid for a couple of years now.  Yeah, I am one of "those" people.  But is is really cool to be able to run everything off solar panels.  Of course, I am poor, so everything I need is a lot less than most people.

I mentioned being laid off. But how can I be poor and be  working, you ask.  Let me tell you about struggling on 11 dollars an hour as a single older man with no utilities.

It sucks. Period. End of story. If you pay anybody working for you less than this, I seriously hope you burn in hell. Forever.

Wow, that turned dark quick, sorry about that.

I was falling further and further behind each paycheck. Basically one paycheck each month went to rent and utilities.The other paycheck I used to start building a very tiny little 100 square foot tiny house.  Food was optional.

Now, I had a lot of crap from life that I should have gotten rid of, like a beautiful roll top desk that is over a 100 years old. Can't get rid of it. Only thing left from my old life where I made over $200,000 in a single 12 month period.  Not always poor, I bet you didn't see that coming. Don't worry, I'll get back to that.

You probably noticed the Joose in the picture.  I lovingly refer to this can of wonder as a 5 pack in a can.  It is 23.5 ounces and 14% alcohol in a can.  Spell check just helpfully offered alcoholic as a suggestion.  It may be right.

I mentioned that I now have a workshop right?  I am building my second tiny house right now. A palacial 300 square feet. I finally finished the deck and... hold on a second.


The heater is kicking in right now.  30,000 British Thermal Units of glorious heat.  Very nice. I look at the CO detector and not a beep. No warning me to seek fresh air.

Sorry, where was I, oh right... I finished the deck for the new house,  12x16 feet with R-40 of fiberglass and R6.5 of  reflective foam  board to hold the insulation up. Put 6 sheets of dryply on that.

I can feel the Joose kicking in right now.  Feels nice. A little buzz. I am going to have to wait until morning to upload this little story. Steal some Internet from a friend.

I look around the workshop. I am warm and dry and very comfortable. The heater is clicking behind me as it cools off from shutting back down. I timed it. I runs 5 minutes on and turns off for 15 minutes when it is cold. It has a thermostat so it didn't run all day long today.  It was warm enough and sunny enough that it didn't need to run.  I have a double layer of plastic sheeting 5 feet high by 12 feet long facing south for heat. It works awesome when it is sunny.

So anyway, I have the platform insulated to R-46.5, but now I have to keep it dry, can't let the fiberglass insulation get wet so I throw a plastic sheet over it from a roll my friend has. It is for big truck trailers. Those huge trucks that put cracks in your windshields when you follow too closely.

So, I thought, this was before the pandemic, it was just a news story on tv affecting one province in china, I need to build a workshop on top of the platform. I need to keep the insulation dry anyway, so why not create a place to build the roof trusses and to unload the tiny house.

The tiny house is packed full of stuff. I have too much stuff.  I told you before I have too much stuff from my former life.  And I buy a little more stuff every 2 weeks when I get paid. Got paid.

I unloaded a lot of it into a shed whose roof I ignored until it was leaking water into the interior.

I admit it. I'm not perfect.  By the time I realized that the roof was leaking I had no room to move the damage anywhere, and I was having a stroke so I couldn't do anything about it anyway.  Couldn't lift more than 10 pounds.

More on the stroke later. Just so you don't worry all I have left from it is a touch of numbness in my right shoulder an an addiction to statins.

I just finished the Joose and realized it was too quiet. So I turned on the radio. I love 103.1, alternative music.   I have been skipping my statin so I can day drink since I was laid off on Tuesday, or Wednesday, I can't remember.

I almost cussed there, so I think I will sign off for now.  Don't want to offend anyone, and spell check is helping me more than I like to admit.

Stay tuned for chapter two, where you find out about how I made all that money and the stroke. And my coninuing saga of the tiny house.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Next Bigger Tiny House - Temp work area.

Second day.
The weather was perfect. This is where I was starting from the day before. My goal for the day was to get the platform covered for rain that is showing up Tuesday and going on into the next week. I needed the platform to stay dry because it is now insulated and to give me a place to work on building the wall and roof trusses for the tiny house.




I created a trash can by reusing a large bag that a copier came in along with 3 boards to hold it in place, just off the side of the platform. When I put the plastic sheet over this side I went over this trash can so it is accessible from the inside.


Reused pallet straps to brace the plastic sheet. I also put 2x4's across the center 3 walls as bracing.



I finished putting 2x4's as treads on the steps.


Had the plastic sheet up and over the house 3 times and the wind changed directions and I had to get a neighbor to help me.   The plastic sheet is for a big truck trailer and is like 40 feet long by 18 feet wide.


The view from the inside out the side window.  I ran 1x4's that I extended so they would reach from the peak down to the top of the side wall. This was to brace the edge of the roof so the plastic wouldn't tear on the sharp corners of the 2x4.  Taped holes that I made in the sheet having it over the platform to keep it dry.


A 30,000 btu heater.  Was heavy and awkward enough to need 2 people to put on the hanger.


Reused more packing material to create a southern facing window along one side. On a sunny day the entire inside is brightly lit by this window.


Put a tarp up on the other side. Need to trim off a bit from the bottom and put it on that little gap.


Planning on putting in a door. Putting corner braces in the top of the 2x4s that are holding up the plastic sheeting. Hooking up the gas heater. Putting some reflective foil insulation on the inside of the 2x4's for the roof to hold heat inside on a cold day and on a hot day help keep the heat out.