Saturday, June 23, 2018

The final coat is on!

The final coat is on!  On our grill cabinets, that is.  As planned, I put the second coat on this morning – and now this afternoon I've just finished the third and final coat.  Even with just two coats the finish was beautiful.  The third coat has already finished leveling and has started to cure, and it's even shinier now – it really looks like there's a glass surface there. 

The next challenge will be for my brother and I tomorrow afternoon, as we attempt to move the three cabinet sections from the paint spray tent (at right) to our deck.  The moving itself isn't the challenge – doing so without damaging any important part of the finish will be.  There are two reasons why that finish is vulnerable.  First, the varnish takes 10 to 20 days to completely cure, and it's hardness and toughness steadily increases over that period.  Second, the underlying wood (western red cedar) is fairly soft – quite a bit harder than pine, but nothing at all like the hardness of, say, maple.  An inopportune whack could put a big ding in the finish and possibly even the wood.  We will be very careful tomorrow!

That paint spray tent was a serendipitous find.   I did some research into what might work, and found several references to this sort of collapsible, pop-up canopy with add-on sides.  Recommendations mostly suggested Dacron or Nylon cloth (or similar non-porous plastic fiber) to reduce paint adhesion.  So I went looking on Amazon just in case they happened to have such a thing – and they did!  At quite a reasonable price, too.  It seems quite well made, though only time will tell on that.  I have it sitting on the asphalt in front of my barn, held down with 150 pounds of lead weights that I have for clamping (cloth bags with 25 pounds of lead shot).  So far it has only seen 12 mph winds, but it didn't budge in those.  It's 10' x 10', and at least 8' high on the inside (higher toward the center).  The screened window lets in plenty of air, but no leaves, seeds or bugs.  If it were dusty and windy I'd have to shut it, but the past few days have been beautifully clear.

Have I no hope for the future of America?

Have I no hope for the future of America?  A friend asked me this by email recently.  Here's my reply:
I really have given up hope for the future of this grand experiment called America.  I don't see any path to a shining future for the U.S. shy of a revolution that fundamentally changes our form of government.  The best I can gin up is that we had a good long run compared with most forms of government ever tried.  I still have hope that I'll be able to live out my life relatively unmolested by the government, but even that is fading slowly.

On a daily basis I am grateful that I do not have children whose likely future would haunt me...


I recently received the email below...

I recently received the email below...  The inmate James Powell is the despicable “money manager” who stole my mother-in-law's retirement savings about 10 years ago.  He also stole the savings of several dozen other people, mostly older widows, at the same time.  After a few years chasing him down, prosecuting, and convicting him, he was finally sent to jail for far too short a sentence.  They managed to recover about 12 cents on the dollar, which was too little and regrettably too late to help Kate in any significant way.  Her last few years on this earth should have been much more comfortable than they actually were, thanks to this utter waste of oxygen.

Anyway, this email informed us of Powell's imminent transfer to a halfway house in preparation for his release next year.  The email is a typically inscrutable government communication, but is at least useful.  What really irritates me about this is that real criminals who hurt people badly get such short sentences compared with so many non-violent drug-related convictions where only the “criminal” gets hurt.  There's something badly wrong with a system of justice that perpetrates and does not fix such obvious injustices.

The email (with some redactions):

       Register Number: 68450-061 
       Docket Number: 10-CR-00075 


You have requested to receive notifications regarding JAMES POWELL, an inmate incarcerated at this facility. Notifications concerning this inmate will be provided to you through the Victim Notification System (VNS). You may obtain current information about this matter on the Internet at or from the VNS Call Center at 1-866-DOJ-4YOU (1-866-365-4968) (TDD/TTY: 1-866-228-4619) (International: 1-502-213-2767). In addition, you may use the Call Center or Internet to update your contact information and/or change your decision about participation in the notification program. 

You will need the following Victim Identification Number (VIN) '2744077' and Personal Identification Number (PIN) 'XXXX' anytime you contact the Call Center and the first time you log on to VNS on the Internet. If you are receiving notifications with multiple victim ID/PIN codes please contact the VNS Call Center. In addition, the first time you access the VNS Internet site you will be prompted to enter your last name (or business name) as currently contained in VNS. The name you should enter is Lorenz. 

This notice is to inform you that JAMES POWELL has been approved for placement in a Community Corrections Center (CCC), otherwise known as a halfway house, and will transfer from this institution on April 17, 2019. After the transfer, the inmate will be located at Talbert House for Men in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

In addition to the information provided regarding this offender's CCC transfer, the following information is relevant to the inmate's eventual release. The inmate is scheduled to release on October 15, 2019. The inmate is not eligible for parole. Upon release, the inmate will reside in CINCINNATI, Ohio, and will be supervised by the United States Probation Office at USPO - Southern District of Ohio - Cincinnati, 110 Potter Stewart, United States Courthouse, 100 East Fifth Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

You may cancel this notification at any time by calling the VNS toll-free number provided, or by submitting your cancellation request in writing to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). Also, if BOP staff initiate a notification and are unsuccessful in contacting you due to inaccurate contact information, your participation in the notification program may be canceled; therefore, it is essential that you continue to ensure your contact information in the VNS remains up-to-date. Finally, notification will terminate when the inmate has completed service of the sentence for the crime which resulted in the notification.

If at any time you have any questions or concerns regarding this program or the offender's status, please do not hesitate to contact me at the above address or you may telephone the VNS Call Center.


H. Miller
Unit Manager 

A busy day, slightly delayed...

A busy day, slightly delayed...  I got up this morning at 4 am, with every intention of putting a second coat of spar varnish on our grill cabinet.  The first step (a light sanding of the first coat, a blow-down with compressed air, and a rub-down with a tack cloth) went just fine, and I was finished with that at 5:45.  Then Mother Nature intervened: the varnish I'm using says that the minimum temperature for application is 60°F – and wouldn't you know it, it was only 55°F then.  I'll have to wait another hour or so for things to warm up.  The forecast calls for a high of 81°F, so eventually it will warm up.  The timing is a bit critical for me, as I need to get the second coat on this morning so that there's time for it to cure before I put a third coat on this afternoon.  Yesterday it took about 6 hours for the first coat to cure enough that I could have re-coated, though not quite enough for a sanding.  I'm not planning to sand between the second and third coats, so the second coat doesn't have to cure quite as thoroughly before I apply the third.

This evening we're going to the Hyrum Rodeo.  We went last year with our friend Aleck L.  Debbie and I quite enjoyed it.  I think Aleck mainly enjoyed it as a sort of anthropological investigation into white farmers. :)  That starts at 7:30 pm, and we need to get there early to get a good seat – which puts a hard stop on when I can put that third coat of varnish on.  I don't think they're likely to delay the rodeo to help me out!

Between the first and second coats I'm going to start catching up on nearly a month of backlog on my bookkeeping.  I have a dismayingly large pile of credit card receipts to deal with, as on our 18 day trip we were using the credit card far more frequently than we usually do...

Little things...

Little things ... about being home after an extended absence are a real source of pleasure.  There are some that anyone could guess about me, such as being with my puppers again.  Some are not so obvious, though.  For example, having tea in the morning, a top notch Darjeeling made with the delicious water from our spring and a touch of the wonderful milk we have delivered.  Then there's my morning shower, in the shower we designed to suit our own liking.  As I write this, I'm watching the sun light up our green valley as it climbs over the Wasatch Mountains to our east, and enjoying the serenade of a thousand or so birds greeting the morning.  It is good to be home...

"Castrated poodles" (describing Republican Congressmen)...

"Castrated poodles" (describing Republican Congressmen)...  That's my phrase of the day, and unfortunately I'm not sure who to attribute it to.  It's clearly derived from this George Will essay, in which he calls Republican Congressmen Trump's poodles.  Someone then extended the thought to that all-too-apt phrase.  On Twitter, he estimable Claire Berlinski extended Will's thoughts questioning the worthiness of the elected Republicans into questioning the Constitution itself.  Both are meaty food for thought...