Saturday, March 31, 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

Some Big Hail

Ancient Riddle of the Great Pyramid's Construction is Turned Inside Out

It was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and the only one of them to remain standing today.

Yet the story of how the Great Pyramid of Giza was actually built has remained a mystery for more than four millennia - until, perhaps, now.

A French architect believes he has finally solved one of the most puzzling construction problems in history by working out how the ancient Egyptians built such a massive structure without the benefit of iron tools, pulleys or wheels.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Water From Above

Let me start this story off right, with a small bit of history. Our first home in Vancouver, Washington: Two days after moving in the water line connected to the dishwasher springs a leak and floods the entire downstairs while we sleep. Our second house in Battle Ground, Washington: One month after we move in a heavy rain storm floods out the septic system and destroys all of the electronics. House number three, here in Kuna, Idaho: The seal in the master bath shower fails and over the course of several days the void below it fills with water and eventually destroys the downstairs ceiling.

That last part happened yesterday morning. Deb gets a call from the house cleaners, "Your ceiling is about to burst!" It turns into a mad rush to the house to shut off the water. Deb, the builder and I show up to a large swelling of water hanging from the ceiling in the sitting room. Water is dripping everywhere and the Sheetrock is heavy with fluid but it has not crashed down... yet. Ladder, buckets, wet-vac and some finesse and disaster is averted. The ceiling is toast. We discover that a broken pipe is not the cause, as we all originally thought; the seal in the shower has failed, and we are looking at the result of many days of water build up.
The photos do not do the mess justice. This will all need to be ripped out and replaced.

Couldn't have picked a more complicated ceiling destroy.
Wet carpet I can handle! This could have been much worse.
This morning a crew shows up and starts to rip out the water logged flooring.

Two days ago this was a shower.

Well, while we are at it lets rip out the entire master bath Travertine tile floor! Why? Because the floor is supposed to be heated, and due to a small break in the wire element somewhere, it has never heated up. The answer, rip it all out and start over.

Here is some of the rubble from the bathroom floor and shower. Note the wire in the upper left? It failed somewhere.

The supplies necessary to redo the master bathroom. The supplies for replacing the ceiling in the sitting room arrive tomorrow.

This job will take the rest of the week to complete. The house is already trashed with paper taped down to protect the floors from the master bath all the way to the garage. Two trailers are parked in the driveway; one for the tools and one for all of the waste being hauled out of the bathroom and sitting room. The garage is a warehouse for all of the supplies needed to complete the construction.

We'll get all of the bugs worked out someday. Until then there is something to blog about!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Friggen Birds!

After months of nothing, we're now up to our up to our beaks in birds! The first visits to the feeder brought excitement... only days later we're rushing out to buy another 50 pound bag of seeds, as masses of hungry birds tap out death threats on the windows! Alright, maybe it is not that bad, but we have been discovered. We actually moved the feeder to the far end of the yard as the level of bird waste has become unacceptable. The deck railing had become a waiting line for the bird army as well as our outdoor furniture. The level of activity empties the feeder (shown in the middle photo) in only 2 days!
Got to go... feeder needs filling.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

What Can You Do With Your Mouth?

What Every Bathroom Needs

Deep Thought Of The Day

Coming Soon To A Store Near You!

New inkjet printer technology that analysts believe will revolutionize the imaging industry was unveiled today by secretive Silverbrook Research.

The company has released astounding videos of desktop, photo and wide-format printers that print pages and photos 5 to 10 times faster than products from current printer market leaders HP, Canon, Epson and Lexmark.

The Mango Smoothie

Wednesday I was waiting for a plane in Ontario, California and thought it would be nice to grab myself a Mango Smoothie! I arrived at the counter with a smile, only to be rejected with "We out of Mango." The pressure mounted as I had no back up flavor in mind and finally blurted out "Pineapple." I decided to throw in an apple fritter also, you know, in case there was not enough sugar in the smoothie. I watched as frozen yogurt, bananas, and blue berries where blended in with the pineapple juice. Mmmmmm.

With smoothie and fritter in hand I made myself comfortable and had myself some breakfast. With the fritter gone and the smoothie half way to empty, disaster struck. I reached down to the cup and while lifting it up from the floor (there are no tables in airports) the lid slipped off and the smoothie splatted to the floor. I did a body check and was relieved to find that said frozen drink did not appear to have landed on me and proceeded to do my best quick clean up. I only managed to spread the brown with dark chunks paste around on the carpet worse than the original spill. Being a responsible adult, I did the right thing and headed over to the flight check-in desk and alerted the attendant of my accident; she called for a clean up. I then headed back to the spill site to wait for the cleaning person and make sure no one slipped in my mess.

As I stood there straining to see down the corridor for a person with a mop, it happened. A lady comes around the corner, looks at the mess on the floor, looks at me and recoils in disgust. She turns away, does a double take and shakes her head. It then dawns on me... she thinks I puked! I look down, and with the picture drawn for me by the passing woman I can now see the congealed pile of barf that obviously came from me. I had already dumped the cup and lid leaving only the nasty smoothie at my feet. A whole series of people now enter the "accident" scene. Each one make a different face and finding a seat as far away from me as they can! I mumble something about smoothie but know I am just making it worse. I'm red in the face, hot, but I hold out for the maintenance person.

Finally, the cleaning person arrives, she too makes a grimace that says "Why did I take this job!" I explain that I spilled my smoothie and she gives me the blank look that I know to mean "I don't speak English, so why don't you step away from the barf and let me get this over with!" I do. I grab my backpack and head to the men's room to wash my barf, I mean SMOOTHIE covered hand. I arrive at the sink and vigorously soap up my hands. I look up during the rinse.

There in the corner of my mouth is a large piece of sugar glaze from my fritter! Oh yea! What do you do? I licked it off, rinsed my hands, and headed back to wait for my plane.

The Book

I arrive home in Boise by plane. On the way to pick up my luggage I by custom stop at my favorite book store and check out the 'half off' rack. After a few moments of browsing I find an interesting book "The Haunting." I purchase the book, stuff it in my bag and head home.

At around 9:00 pm I decide it is time to head up and get ready for bed. My new book has been sitting on a table under a bright light for the last 4 hours.

I grab the book in one hand and my 40+ pound suitcase in the other. As I hit the bottom of the stairs I decide it would be easier to turn off the lights at the bottom, since the switch at the top will be on the "suitcase" hand side. This I do, and with a flick I am plunged into total darkness.

We have all been there, the moments of utter blindness right after you turn off all of the lights. I know the stairs however and begin trudging up them with purpose, as the suitcase does not allow for anything less. At about the third step my eyes begin to adjust and I sense a light coming from the book hand!

With a start I look at my right hand and glowing brightly is this photo! I am not prepared, and this thing catches me off guard! I fling the book and make a less than macho sound. The suitcase suddenly represents something that will slow me down from my escape! I am off balance, pumped full of adrenaline as I realize the book has a glow-in-the-dark cover and I am just being stupid. Even with that it takes just about all of my strength to right myself and retain the suitcase. I finish my trip up the stairs and come back down (with the light on!) to retrieve the book.

I am hoping the read turns out to be as good as my stair fright!

Which Online High-Yield Savings Account is Best?

Get rich slowly. All of these accounts are FDIC insured.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hey, Your Life Is Not So Bad...

At least you don't have this!

Greetings From Fontana, CA

March 16, 2007, 10:25:29 PM

A rapid decompression in lithospheric stress is being detected by the instrumentation situated in the region along the Pacific-North American Plate Boundary at the Cajon Pass (Southern California) near GeoSeismic Labs. You shoulld be aware of this potentially dangerous interaction occurring between the Southern San Andreas Fault Zone, and the San Jacinto/ Cucamonga-Eastern Sierra Madre Fault Zones. A recent M2.7 epicentered N of La Verne at 3:02:27 UTC (03/27) appears to have been related to the San Antonio Fault, which is a blind fault located in the San Gabriel Mountains between Wrightwood and La Verne, CA. Such a rapid change in compressional stress is suspect for being a precursor for a larger magnitude seismic event within the same region. I consider the M2.7 to be a possible foreshock. You are now advised to stay on Seismic Alert in Southern California. In the Inland Empire, especially along the nearby, and long overdue San Jacinto Fault Zone, you should be prepared for a moderate magnitude or larger earthquake during the next several days. We are now approaching the New Moon's arrival a few days from now (March 19, 2007). This may be enough of an induced increase, or change in lithospheric stress to rupture a fault located to the Northeast of Los Angeles, CA associated with the Sierra Madre Fault System, or the San Jacinto Fault Zone. The potential is increased for having another Northridge type seismic event at this time. In unison with this alert and warning period is a Blanket Seismic Advisory for the Gulf of California to Northern California, which may exhibit further stress changes related to this rapid de-compression at the Plate Boundary, where the unclamping incident level has nearly reached 32 Units as of yesterday.

10 Day Survival Pack

Backwoods Home has written up an extremely thorough tutorial demonstrating how to create your own 10 day survival pack for under $25.

The Midlife Happiness Crisis

But don't worry—when you get old, the sun comes out again.

Free Land... In Alaska!

Anderson, a little town in Alaska's interior, has no gas station, no grocery store and no traffic lights, but it does have plenty of woodsy land -- and it's free to anyone willing to put down roots in the often-frozen ground.

Worlds Largest Bomb

On October 30, 1961, the most powerful weapon ever constructed by mankind was exploded over the island of Novaya Zemlya in the Arctic Sea. The device was code-named "Ivan," and it was a multi-stage hydrogen bomb which was built in only fifteen weeks by engineers in the USSR, using off-the-shelf nuclear weapon components.

Just In Case You Wondered...

What 205 million dollars in cash looks like!
Authorities confiscated more than $200 million in U.S. currency from methamphetamine producers in one of this city's ritziest neighborhoods, they said Friday, calling it the largest drug cash seizure in history.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Idaho In The News

SkyWest Airlines apologized to a passenger who said he wasn't allowed to use the restroom during a one-hour flight and ended up urinating in an air-sickness bag.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Yes, I Eat SPAM!

Spam in the place where I live (ham and pork)
Think about nutrition, wonder what's inside it now (oh boy)
Spam in my lunchbox at work (it's the best)
Really makes a darn good sandwich any way you slice it at all

If you're running low, go to the store
Carry some money to help you buy more
The tab is there to open the can
The can is there to hold in the spam

Oh, spam on the table at home (ham and pork)
Think about selection, are there different flavors now (let's eat)
Spam in my office at work (it's the best)
Think about the stuff its made from, wonder if it's mystery of meat

If you need a spoon, keep one around
Carry a thermos to help wash it down
Now, if there's some left, don't just throw it out
Use it for Spackle or bathroom grout, now

Spam in my pantry at home (have some more)
Think of expiration, better read the label (oh boy)
Spam breakfast, dinner, or lunch (it's the best)
Think about how it's been precooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold

Now, once you start in, you can't put it down
Don't leave it sitting or it'll turn brown
The key is going to open the tin
The tin is there to keep the spam in

Oh, spam (spam)
Ham and pork
Think about nutrition, wonder what's inside it now (oh boy)
Spam (spam)
It's the best
Really makes a darn good sandwich any way you slice it

Spam in the place where I live (have some more)
Think about addiction, wonder if I'm a junkie now (let's eat)
Spam in the place where I work (you're obsessed)
Think about the way it's processed, wonder if it's some kind of meat

Spam in the back of my car (ham and pork)
Spam any place that you are (ham and pork)
The tab is there to open the can (spam any place that you are) (ham and pork)
The can is there to hold in the spam (spam any place that you are) (ham and pork)

Just Thought You Should Know!

Loose Tire

Leapin' Lizards

Slow News Day!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Countdown to Confusion

Perhaps the worst that will happen in millions of offices on the second Monday in March is that caffeine-deprived workers will wonder why their automatic coffeemakers failed to perk on schedule. In less lucky workplaces, however, employees might miss meetings, overbook conference rooms or inaccurately record the time or date of important financial transactions.

The Big Gun