Tag Archives: Technology

You’re killing America!

25 Nov

Obama keeps talking about “fixing what ails America,” by building alternative power projects.

To seemingly prove it…

On April 11, 2009 DOE announced a whopping $38.5 Billion dollars in loan guarantees to “encourages the development of new energy technologies and is an important step in paving the way for clean energy projects.” All a start-up company has to do is fill out reams of paperwork and submit it along with their justification of why they need the money and their $75,000 non-refundable application fee.

Benjamins-main_Full

Let me repeat that last part: “… and their $75,000 non-refundable application fee.”

These projects include solar, wind, hydro, ethanol, and even algae fueled remedies. And, there are a lot of them out there. Some of them even make sense, but…

At the NSF (National Science Foundation) bio-energy research projects are being declined and disqualified right and left,  by Government-backed reviewers who throw crap on the progress, by using “verbal vinegar”  like this:

“To base the proposal on the theory that there will be a variety of low-value feed stocks available is, in the opinion of this reviewer and many other industry observers, a faulty premise. Biomass is cheap right now because no one wants it.

However, as demand increases, it will become more expensive. Further the laws of supply and demand mean that replacing a significant amount of gasoline with biofuels would drastically lower the demand for gas. This would, in turn, cause the price of gas to plunge, making biofuels less competitive.”

Bull! I could use that very same argument to reject the use of margarine, or ammunition, or even car tires. The same argument could be made to reject solar and wind energy research — or any alternative energy, for that matter — by trying to make the case that an overwhelming  public adoption of solar power or wind energy products would cause the price of coal to plunge… well… because that might make solar and wind energy less competitive!

Would too! I know it’s true, because I’ve even heard politicians say it!

And we all know that politicians NEVER lie. ;)

“Margarine is baaaad! We Must Stop This!”… before it makes COWS obsolete.

And heaven knows, the increase in American Horse Breeding may adversely impact the price of cars! It must be stopped! I don’t know about you, but I’m gonna start shooting horses, before civilization as we know it comes to an end…

mustang

Oh wait, the American Government already does that. It’s cheaper to manage “wild horse assets roaming the plains” in America, if you kill them first…

You think I’m kidding? I’m not. Say goodbye to the Majestic Wild Mustang, kids… They only place you’re gonna see them regularly is on Disney Cartoons. BLM actually kills wild horses, rather than provide for them. Don’t even get me started…

So why do reviewers say things like I just quoted?

Because they are paid to DISQUALIFY projects. First, that $75,000 dollar application fee is non-refundable, remember? Second, that way, those jug-headed politicians in Washington DC can claim that they’ve put help in the pipe, even if NOBODY can possibly qualify for it.

Oh, I almost forgot; It takes 15 months to find out that you’ve been cheated out of your $75 grand…

… if the half-wits in the “processing department” at the DOE can get the process streamlined down to 15 months, as “promised”.

BTW:

Here’s what independent reviewers with credentials in their field, said about that bio-energy project request;

Reviewer #A: “This is a well thought out proposal supported by a well qualified team.”

Reviewer#B: “This is a well written proposal with good technical foundation to carry out the project. Project team collectively has good qualification and sound experience to advance the scientific work in a professional manner.”

Reviewer #C: “The proposed plan is sound and improved results are likely with further research.”

So…

Stop buying margarine! Stop riding horses!  Stop building windmills! Stop shooting your firearms! Stop buying car tires! You’re killing America! You whiny un-patriotic, self-serving, greedy, capitalistic bastards! :)

Stay Tuned.

The Renaissance RoninOkay, you all know what’s going on with my family, so I’m not going  to beat you up with that…

If this blog has helped you, educated you, amused you, or even just made you shake your head and wonder why I’m not locked up in some room clad with rubber tiles…

Please know that this site has required a great deal of money, time and effort to develop & maintain. If it’s been useful to you at all, and you can afford to…  you can help my family and support this site by making a small donation by hitting that Paypal button up there on the right. Paypal is the BEST “secure” way to donate to any cause… like ours. This will help keep us alive while we try to remedy our own situation, and empower me to carry on writing, maintaining, providing countless hours of hard work, and including any updates or topics that you might suggest.

And… No anatomical impossibilities, huh? I’m not as young as I used to be…

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

5 Nov

Greetings, Campers!

Okay, so I took a break from that plasma cutter.

A guy has to eat, you know! :)

My family needs a house. My family has no cash. My family has a plan… and it involves Shipping Containers, recycled steel, and a lot of hard work. Hey, that’s why they call it “sweat equity”!

Most readers of this blog know that after a hurricane and an insurance company wiped out our dreams of  “a life lived like regular people”, we started rebuilding.

Katrina Bites

And, our faithful readers know that our build is harder than most, because we have “complications.” My wife is seriously ill with cancer, and my son (who is 2 years old) isn’t big enough to swing a hammer yet.

I’m not going to bore you with all those details, because I’ve talked about them before. Suffice to say, we have our hands really full.

As we speak, I’m cutting “containers into boxes.” I’m helping a guy build a small “demented village”, out of damaged container segments. And, that’s work that will make a fella mighty hungry…

So, as I sit here watching the sweat rain down, for the 37th day in a row (or so it seems) …

I’m gathering my thoughts, while I gather up this sandwich, and stuff it into my face.

sandwichNote: Not the REAL sandwich. You think I’m crazy? This one’ll kill you!  ;)

So… you read, while I eat, ‘kay? Try to ignore the chomping and slurping… my wife does… barely… :)

I was out reading on the ‘net a few days ago, and something I read made me think about a guy I’ve been corresponding with for a while.

A reader recently contacted me (we’ll call him “J”), and told me about a “Corten Cabin” he has… stashed up in the woods. It’s what some of us would call a “Bug – Out Box”.

Now, “J” contacted me, because his box looks just like my old blog header, except for his box is twice as long.

cropped-rr-banner-0509cYou remember… this one.

“J” has a 40′ High Cube Shipping Container sitting on cinder blocks, out in the middle of nowhere, that he uses for weekend fishing trips.

There’s a logging road for access, unmaintained for years… that’s passable when it’s not under mud, or frozen under snow drifts.

The story he told me of them towing that container into the woods was hilarious.

His father-in-law wasn’t laughing, however… It was HIS truck they blew up moving that box.

Know how much it costs to get a tow-truck back into 4wd country, to haul out a dodge pick-up? Go on, guess!

More than the truck is worth. Oy.

It reminded me of a box we moved years ago, that kept trying to drag us back down the hill, before we got to the top of it…

You know how people say that when they’re facing their death, their life flashes before their eyes? Well, on THAT day, it kept happening to us over and over again…

After a while, all we could do was hang on, and scream “Deja VU!” at the top of our lungs…

Sure, we sounded like frightened little girls! We were scared “you-know-what!”  :)

Wait… this post is supposed to be about “J”.

While he goes up there on weekends in the summer, he’s thinking that “with the economy trying to kill itself”, his family may be forced to head there someday, to ride out whatever “chaos and storm” the “hard times to come” might bring…

Now, we’re all nervous. You can’t watch cable TV without some “expert” saying that it’s time America either “checked up, or packed it in.”

We’ve all heard “it.” You know, the “experts” touting their “fearmongering” crap… “All nations eventually fail. Yada, yada, yada…”

I suspect that this is in part due to Cable TV shows like “The Colony” that advocate forward thinking rolled into a nice tight ball, to form a dysfunctional view of what survival in our times may end up being like, if you’re a complete idiot…

colony

I’ve watched a few of these “disaster simulators”. You know, “here’s a look at what happens, when the “you-know-what” finally hits the fan”.

Everybody has a scenario. Everybody is sensationalizing our plummet to a grim capitalistic  death. Everybody is speculating… Everybody is plotting…

But  you know… we may not all get stranded with a rocket scientist, an electrical engineer, a mechanic, a nurse, a martial arts expert, and a doctor, yada… yada… yada…

We might get stranded by our “onesies.” So, we should understand what we’re doing, in case the cavalry doesn’t show up in time to make any repairs.

Or worse, we’ll inherit that drunk jerk up the street. You know the one…

… he’s always passed out on the lawn, none of his cars run (and he’s got eight of ‘em), and he’s always getting his lights turned off. The cops are always at his house… and his wife is always at YOUR house, “borrowing” groceries. Yeah, they’re gonna be a lot of help… Oy.

It’s why I also advocate knowing how to safely use and maintain personal firearms. And tasers… lets not forget tasers…

Like  I was saying…  before I so rudely interrupted myself… “J” thinks that if the world goes to hell in a handbasket, he and his family (he’s married with 4 children aged from 3-9) might have to be up there in his “bass box” the winter time, and he reminds me that it’s REMOTE.

There are no neighbors. There is no store. Walmart ain’t got there yet…

There’s just your wife yelling at you because you forgot the big Sam’s Club carton of toilet paper!  “Ya Dumb Moron!!” :)

He’ll have whatever he hauls in with his small SUV, and that’s it. He doesn’t want to rely on propane, or any other type of “store-bought” fuel, simply because it might not be available.

There’s a neat little bass lake about 200 feet from his front porch.

basslake

He says you can spit into the pond, and catch a big, fat bass. (So, they won’t lack for protein.) Hence the name “Bass Box.” Paying attention? Huh?

The box isn’t anything to write home about, it’s just a big shipping container. Except for insulation and siding on the outside, it’s a regular box.

The box sits with the front face (40′) facing a few degrees of due south. It wasn’t “a solar plan”, it’s just the way the site worked out.

Actually, the “real” story goes like this:

They argued for three hours about where “the perfect spot” for the box was. Finally, his big brother said:

“@%$^#&#*!!! IT GOES RIGHT DAMN HERE!”

And then he punched “J” right in the eye. Voila! Problem solved. :)

He (and his brother – who is no longer available for “cabin help,” by the way…) applied a waterproof membrane on the exterior of the box. They used a rubberized roofing membrane that you spray on. ‘Cept, they used paint rollers, so it’s REALLY thick…

Why?  Well, because they found 2 barrels of it… “just laying around, that nobody wanted”.

I know, I know… Don’t ask, don’t tell…

After they’d added more “water seal” to the box, they firred it out with 2×6’s.  This created cavities, and those cavities received about 4″ of PolyIso foam into the cavities.

When I asked him where he got the PolyIso foam boards, he told me that they’d;

“… found/commandeered/discovered the material from a vacant industrial real estate listing they had. It was just laying there collecting dust”.

“Real Estate Plunder”. Okay, works for me…

Don’t worry “J”… we won’t hold “logistical left-turns” against you. We might, however, hold it against you that you’re a (gasp!) realtor!

Say… do you know a guy named “Clark?” Hmmm? :)

He put some siding scraps over the insulation that they found on “a dead building project”…

Hmmmm… I’m not sure if “J” is a recycler, or a felon. Note to self: “If getting stuff from “J”… always get a signed receipt.” :)

Anyway, as near as I can figure, he’s got about an r20-r30 wall system (depending on which PolyIso rigid foam product it is, it ranges from about r5 to r8 per inch). So, he can “almost” hold heat in, once he gets it there.

I say “almost” because he ran out of insulation at the top of the box, so the roof is uninsulated.

But, he’d been thinking about some kind of clerestory roof anyway to bring in more summer sun. Right now, “J” has a flat roof with a pair of vents on top, that are identical to the one depicted in my old blog header image.

Steel ShedObviously, we’re going to pay some attention to this.

First, I’ll sue him for patent infringement… :)

You know what? I miss that old blog header. I think I’ll do my “Lazarus act” and resurrect it.

Seriously, a cool SHED roof would add headroom, a cool space for a few sleeping lofts, some additional storage, and a good opportunity for vents and windows to help with air movement and heat gain.

Plus we can use that roof pitch to catch water, and get rid of snow.

“J’s” back is gonna hurt for a week or two, by the time we’re done. Boy, I bet “J” wished he’d never heard of me, NOW…

Picture “J” sad. Poor “J.”

That just leaves the floor.

Shipping container floors are treated with serious insecticides and fungicides to keep alien bugs out of foreign ports.

Wood preservatives containing a number of organochlorine insecticides, including aldrin (no, not BUZZ Aldrin!), dieldrin, chlordane and lindane, are just the beginnings of the treatment that floors receive.

Although I know people who’d like to stuff Buzz Aldrin into a container… Oy!

I ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, rip these floors out.

You can’t EVER trust the shipper you got the container from. The labels denoting the presence of that toxin are often worn off, or even just missing. Because the containers are moved so often and with so many variables…  you can’t tell which ones got the toxic sprays just by looking.

Some containers escape without being sprayed or treated, but the only way to know for sure, is to take a sample of the floor out, and get it tested at a lab.

There’s are products that you can put on the floor to encapsulate them. That’ll seal the toxins in there, but they’ll still BE there. And, those products are expensive. We’ll go a different route.

Okay, all that accomplished, you’d have a “shelter”.

Inside, it’s spartan. It’s so bad that his wife won’t even go up there! Once you get through those big steel doors, you’re greeted by a few wooden shelves, a tiny wood stove, hammocks, and a blow-up mattress for a bed.

Did I forget to mention that they have a “shanty with a hole in the butt seat” kind of outhouse.

Oh yeah, they have an outhouse.

I bet he found THAT at a construction site, too… :)

He has a composting toilet, but it’s still in the box, in the garage. That’s kinda dumb… Lotta good it’s doing him, there! :)

Okay, he needs a bathroom, too.

And, he reminded me about 11 times that the box gets cold. So, we turn up the heat a bit.

He doesn’t want to try any “geothermal nonsense” (his words) because the container is already in place, and he couldn’t move it if he wanted to.

Actually, his exact words were;

“Ronin, don’t be giving me none of your Geothermal nonsense, I don’t like shovels, my friend…” :)

He doesn’t want to rely on solar panels, because he’s not a guy with a lot of money to set up a complete “off-grid” situation. The closest he’s come to that is a Harbor Freight photovoltaic set-up with a pair of small panels.

So, he has enough power for a laptop computer, a TV, and maybe a radio.

(I’m going to try and talk him into replacing that crap inverter, and adding a panel or two so that he can establish some kind of “real” electricity, for refrigeration and other necessities.)

With the world going digital, I wonder what TV signal he’d get? I’m thinking he uses a VCR or a DVD player… Remind me to check, okay?

He has a good water supply.

It’s a hand-pumped well that draws water from about 175 feet. If he wants a shower, he pumps water up into a black painted 55 gallon barrel on the roof of his container, and then gravity-feeds it to a showerhead.

This is great for one guy on a weekend, but it’s not gonna work for a “family in residence”. Nuh uh!

We need a solar powered pump, too.

BTW: The gray water from the shower, and doing the dishes goes out into the garden, that for now, only feeds the wild animals that live around his box.

That’s good, but we’ll do better.

They have a small swedish fireplace/stove combination installed, but they only use it for heat at night. It’s sitting on patio tiles as a hearth. So, it’s not exactly ideal. We’re gonna move the stove, and build it “into a better box”.

Again, it’s about managing resources. “J” says that he doesn’t want to use it during the day, if he doesn’t have to. Why? He hates chopping wood. HATES it! :)

The stove vents out the side of the box. Sort of… It’s a rather shaky connection.

So, we do some chimney repair, and then we use what I call “idiot solar” to help bump up the heat. But, we’ll use solar in a different way than “normal people” are used to.

Okay, I can see that there is a lot to do, but he needs to do it one weekend at a time.

And, he needs to do it in a way that maintains the security of the structure, so that he doesn’t end up with visitors he doesn’t want, or need, while he’s away…

So, over the next few posts in this series, we’re going to take that empty 40′ High Cube Shipping Container, and we’re going to turn it into a full blown cabin, complete with sleeping lofts, and enough interior to let it be used comfortably, for a long vacation in the woods.

It’s all about his family’s survival, if times get hard. And, it’s all about HIS survival, if his wife gets mad.

After all, out in the woods… nobody can hear you scream… Muuuuwahhahah!

We’re not just going to insulate that container top. We’re going to “weatherize” the box.

Weatherizing isn’t “turning off the heat and freezing in the dark”.

Try that with your wife sleeping next to you. I guarantee you that you’ll wake up, dead!

It’s all about using ‘stored’ energy (and less of it than you might think) combined with small resources to achieve the same level of comfort that you used to get from that McMansion of yours.

How do you accomplish this?

Well, first, you find all the “energy nasties” and you give them the boot. In this case, we’ll start with that leaky stove chimney, and work outward from there. Careful planning and attention to detail will have this family in a sustainable vacation home, in no time.

We’re also going to deal with indoor air quality.

Remember that the air quality is 2-5 times worse in your house, than the air outside it.   This is a small space, that may be inhabited by a family of six (or maybe even more, if that damned brother promises not to punch him in the eye again) , under rather severe conditions, and maybe for extended periods of time.

Beyond air quality, we need to pay close attention to energy use, moisture (and it’s movement… unless you LIKE mold and mildew), combustion zones, and ventilation.

Remember, condensation is a killer.

Areas in walls and roof cavities that stay moist, start to grow funky things that attack your lungs. YUCK!

Ice dams on roofs can contribute to this problem, too. So we’re going to pay close attention to that roof, it’s construction, and it’s pitch.

We’ll talk about fixing that stove vent/chimney, before you huff and puff… and burn your house down…

We’ll talk about designing, building, and attaching a roof to catch the sun and even a couple of kids.

We’ll talk about photovoltaic panels on the cheap, and an “in-wall solar heating” solution.

We’ll talk about building loft spaces into it, to get the kids up and out of your hair.

We’ll talk about a “hidden” Master bedroom.

We’ll talk about the floor of that shipping container, and what to do about it.

We’ll talk about a kitchen (with a refrigerator, and running water, and everything!) and even a real bathroom.

We’ll talk about catching water and setting up a graywater system.

And, we’ll talk about building storage.

We need to add some serious storage  into that shipping box, so that it can house all their crap, so that “J” doesn’t step on everything they own, in the middle of the night, when that damned bear is trying to beat down the door!

And we’re going to accomplish this, a goal at a time, a weekend at a time…

Why?

Because you “Show me a man who failed… and I’ll show you a man who didn’t have a good plan”.

We’re not just  going to meet his needs, we’re going to exceed his expectations.

Why? Well, because… I know his wife… and she’ll kill him! (gulp!)

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin

“I’m from the Government. I’m here to HELP you.”

23 Oct

Greetings Campers!

If you’ve been following along, you know that my family is trying to build a steel house, in a backasswards neighborhood.

I’m talking about using Shipping Containers and recycled Aircraft Hangars, to build homes for people who really need them. And, the goal is to do it affordably and sustainably.

Shipping Hangar HomeNo! Not ADAM’s house. but something like it…

It’s a long, pot-hole filled road, but we’re further from the start than we were yesterday, so all in all, it’s a good day.

Until you open your email.

As I sit here, my email box is getting flooded with email from politicians.

Yep, “POLITICIANS”.

im_from_the_government_im_here_to_help

It’s been going on for weeks, and I’m getting sick and tired of it.

They’re telling me about programs that I can sign up for, that will assist my family in building a home. They range from “government backed loans”, to grants for land, and  grants or long-term loans for building supplies. There are even grants that cover the costs incurred when you hire other people to help you build.

Oh Happy Day!” Right?

Wrong.

I’ve been raising hell about this for over a year. I’ve been using the Internet as a hammer, to try and beat some sense into those idiots in Washington D.C. who claim that they are “single-handedly saving America.”

Most of the email I’m getting (and it’s coming from aides, direct mail outfits, and morons… and not the “other morons…” the actual congressmen and representatives…) is just political double-speak, pointing me at programs that either don’t exist at all, are completely deadlocked by political bungling, or impossible to enroll and qualify for, by design.

Here’s an example:

I got a listing of banks and lending institutions that would write loans to people who qualified thru a “government program” allowing them to buy and build. It was a long list, with over 200 institutions on it.

I looked it over, and then like an idiot, started dialing.  I talked to what seemed like every banker in the South. And, I got the same story with each new opportunity.

“We have not made this kind of loan in the past 5 years. In fact, I can’t remember the last time we even processed an application. If you come into the bank, we’ll explain why you can’t apply.”

And those were the ones that seemed to take an interest in my questions.  The rest of them said that they had stopped supporting this kind of loan program decades ago.

They claim that they are understaffed and not equipped to deal with additional workloads created by these programs.

When I did find a bank willing to work with me on this kind of loan program, the guy on the other end told me not to get my hopes up. It seems that you can apply, but the USDA refuses to communicate with the banks.

The USDA? The US Department of Agriculture? I’m not trying to start “Old MacDonald’s Farm!” What the hell?

Keep reading…

I found out that there is a grant program that would help me build my house. But there was one catch. I needed a USDA guaranteed surety bond, for $25 million dollars.

$25 million dollars. Whaaaa? For a house?

I was confused as a mosquito at a convention of Bubba’s (trying to figure out who to bite first), but I figured; “Hey if the USDA wants to help me qualify for this program, I’m game…”

So, I contacted the USDA. Guess what? That’s right. The USDA doesn’t even have a program that gives surety bonds to citizens, much less to help them build residential property. They suggested that I call the SBA (Small Business Administration).

I sent the USDA guys a copy of the grant I was applying for. And I bet it won’t surprise you to find out that;

  • (a) they’d never heard of  it,
  • (b) wouldn’t possibly support it, and
  • (c) didn’t have the funds, even if they could. In their exact words… I was “S.O.L.”

I contacted SBA, to see if THEY had any programs I could use to leverage the building grants. Guess what? That’s right. More governmental BS. The guy told me that I’d need to pay $5,000, to get a business plan written, that would allow me to apply for their programs. Now, it wouldn’t ASSURE that I qualified, it would just increase my chances.

Three days later, I heard from a different SBA official, who informed me that they don’t even have “a product that will accomplish the tasks you are trying to complete.” When I asked him what the $5,000 business plan was for, he replied:

“It’ll increase your chances of qualifying for a program. You should do it.”

When I pointed out that he’d just told me there were NO programs that allowed me to do what I was trying to do, he hung up. When I called him back, I kept getting his voice mail.

So, I talked to someone else, who told me:

“We get points for every person we get to enlist in the Business Plan program.”

Our government at work. Oy. And we actually PAY these people to do this to us.

In all, I called, emailed, or mailed letters to all 200 institutions. You want to know what I got for my trouble? Lost days of work and a huge dent in my cell phone minutes. Beyond that, I got nada.

Where’s the The Golden Fleece Award, when you need it?

I’ve seen a lot of grant paperwork in the last year. So far, my personal favorite grant was announced in July.

It’s an $85 million grant “to support at least 50 early career researchers for five years at US academic institutions and DOE national laboratories.“

The US Government, in all their wisdom, won’t help citizens build decent homes for their families, no matter what they TELL you. But, they’ll give $1.7 million dollars per “researcher” or $340,000 per desk, per year.

But WAIT! There’s MORE!

These university positions are for “summer salary and expenses” only. Only some of these positions — for DOE National Labs — are full time. And if you’re a “full-timer”? Well, full-timers get $500,000 in funding, per person per year.

Okay, color me “googled…” I race off to “Salary.com.” And what do I find? Well, the average salary for an assistant professor in the United States is $62,654.

So, I reread the grant. It seems that “undefined” excess in the expenditures is for DOE Lab expenses. That’s $438,346 per person.

Let’s put this in perspective. This 50-person “sweetheart program” received more money than nuclear energy R&D, hydroelectric power development, solar power research, or fuel cell research.

What is wrong with these people?

Somebody pass me a Tylenol, please…

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin

Put that “FAT” house on a DIET! :)

21 Oct

Welcome back!

Man, you must be a glutton for punishment! ;)

If you’ve been following along, you already know that my family is trying to solve a housing problem, by creating MORE problems…

Seems counter-productive, I know…

But, you see, if we create and then RESOLVE these problems now, the next poor bastard that comes along, trying to do what we’re doing, will have a much easier go of it.

Instead of; “You want to do WHAT?” it’ll be more like: “Ah, crap! It’s another one! Here we go, AGAIN!” :)

After a hurricane ate our house, we needed to replace it. Sounds reasonable, right? Well, it didn’t to the insurance company, who values shareholder profits much higher than the families that actually contribute to shareholder values.

Can you say “class action lawsuit?” Can you say “When is the check gonna get here?” Can you say…

“Three years after you’re dead?” Oy.

This is complicated by life in general. Sometimes disasters come in three’s… We got a hurricane (Ivan), and then… another hurricane (Katrina), and then… the big “C”. That’s right… Cancer. “The mommy” discovered that she had cancer, the same day that she discovered we were having a child.

Now,  I can blame “the mailman” for the kid… but cancer? Nobody to blame, but fate and genes.

(Actually, I blame the kid on the doctor who told me not to worry about my “reversible vasectomy.” He told me that it’d take a surgeon to undo it. I have only this to say:

liar

So, we started looking for solutions.

First, we found a good ob/gyn. We talked to ‘em all. And, we found one who went to the right school. After all, wouldn’t you want your OB/GYN to have graduated from a school named after prophylactics? For those of you who haven’t figured it out, I’m talking about USC. You know… the “trojans.”

Now, even though the doc and I are cross-town rivals (I hung out at UCLA), he’s a smart kid. So, we had that dilemma covered.

I looked up an old pal at MD Andersen, one of the best Cancer Hospitals in the world. So, we had that covered as best we could.

Then, we started looking around for a building process that we could afford, that would allow us to have a safe, sustainable home, that would go up fast, fast, fast…

Can you say “ISBU?” I knew you could.

Needless to say, that’s where the REAL trouble started. Just mention Shipping Containers to a Planning and Zoning Nazi around here, and he’ll do everything but spit!

This is one of those “Not In My Backyard, You Don’t!” kinda towns…

Perhaps settling down in Mississippi was a bad idea, after all…

So, we started the fight. And, it continues to this day. In fact, it’s gotten so heated that I’m having to testify in Jackson, MS, in front of “political committees,” as “an esteemed advocate for affordable housing” (their term, not mine).

It seems that these yokels think I’m an expert. Me? Hey, any field of study that considers me an expert, already has serious flaws… :)

Seriously though, I have the right schooling. I have a ton of experience. And, I’ve built many, many homes for families just like mine, who want to live in a house, and not be chained to gigantic mortgages or terribly expensive upkeep costs.  And, I’ve been doing it for over three decades.

So, as we struggle to build our own home, I’m helping other people build theirs.

I’m acting as a technical advisor of sorts, helping people figure out layouts, and “how to put tab A into slot B”. Their donations to the blog for my help, have helped us pay for medications my wife needs and generally helped keep us afloat.

For that, I am eternally grateful. There aren’t words to describe it…

We built an ISBU Beach Cabin, that has a huge sleeping loft. It sits up on pilings to defy any floodwaters, and it’s steel shell will allow it to be there for a long, long time…

We’re building a home for an Indian family on a reservation.

No, it’s not shaped like a tepee, you smart @ss… :)

We’re building an elementary school on another reservation, so that Indian kids have a safe place to learn. It’s a project that is near and dear to my black little heart, and I’m looking forward to the day when it’ll be filled with laughing kids running and screaming and shooting spitwads at each other…

We’re building an Arrowhead-shaped home into a hillside in the Carolina’s where the budget is being based on whatever we can scrounge off of Craigslist, and FreeSource.

I know, I know… we shoulda built THIS one on the reservation. Not.

But… guess what? We’ve found some pretty cool stuff. You’re gonna be surprised at how this Carolina house turns out.

We’re gonna build a home in “the barren tundra of Texas.” I call this one “Drought Depot” as Texas hasn’t seen any real rain since Jesus walked on water, apparently. And we’re not talking about a “farm house,” we’re talking about a modern, contemporary steel house that looks like a million bucks, but is built on a “Walmart budget”. :)

And very recently, we decided to build a house for a family who lost their Daddy in Iraq. It’s a small house, built out of “leftovers”, but it’ll keep this family of four safe, dry, warm, and toasty, for a long time.

I’ve already told you a little bit about that one.

As you know… recently, we started projects that use “segments” of ISBUs that we’ve reclaimed, from a scrapyard. The boxes were “folded, spindled, and mutilated”, so much so, in fact that they were no longer usable for a life lived thumbing your nose at the high seas.

However, bring a plasma cutter into the mix, and you get “Corten Cubicles” that you can use, to build “off” of. We call it “Ewok Village on Acid“, and it’s being built as we speak.  We’re presently in Design Phase, with the only boundaries thus far being the actual dimensions of the boxes we’ve hacked off.

As that project continues, I’ll bring you more intel, so that you can see just how versatile these steel shelters can be.

This time, however, I’m gonna show you something different…

Ever see a Japanese house?

japan_apartments

Yeah, they’re the ones built on impossibly small lots, sandwiched together like those “school cafeteria shingles” you used to get when you were a kid. You remember…

… the sandwiches that had just enough peanut butter and jelly on them to allow the bread to discolor, but they were still tasteless…?

I have a guy who spent many years in Japan, just like Ronin did.

(See, there I go, talking about myself in the third person again… Man, I gotta see a shrink!) :)

And like me, he marveled at how they pack the houses together, in such small packages. They use economy, and an incredible sense of scale and space, in order to build homes that entire families can live in, for decades. And, he wondered if WE could duplicate that.

Say, by stacking three or four ISBUs up, in one stack, to make a tall, 8′ wide building?

Okay, sounds crazy at first, but if you went split level, and then floated an 8′ deck off of each level, you’d get a pretty impressive house, with a lot of room, and a ton of light.  Plus, no stair flight would ever exceed about 5 feet.

So, here’s what I’m proposing;

Build a partial basement that measures 24′ x 8′ x 6′ high.

This is gonna be most of your foundation, AND the utility/laundry room, and the “store all your crap” room. I say “partial”, because we’re only gonna dig a 4′ deep hole… The actual depth will depend on whether you decide to build on grade, or set the containers up on pilings.

BTW: Pilings are much cheaper than a foundation.

And yes… the footings will extend a little bit deeper. Stop “nit-picking,” huh? :)

I want that ‘partial basement’ to stick up out of the ground, so I can put some strip windows along the top of it, for illumination. I’ve lived in caves before, and I didn’t like it much. I doubt that anyone else would like it either, if they had a choice.

Now, like I said… you could also go with a shallower basement excavation, and then just shoot in a couple of pilings at the front of that “basement”, out at the 40′ mark. Figure that they’ll be about 2 feet higher than grade…

I’m just trying to bring the roof down a few feet…

When you’re thru playing with your cinder blocks… your first container will land here. It’s as good a place as any, huh?

Now, start stacking up containers, one on top of the other. Use a crane, or you’ll get a hernia! :)

I figure that you go up three boxes, and then… you add a 24′ long “segment” from our “scrap pile”, to the top of it. I’ll explain why, later.

Shipping Container Skyscraper-r1c

NO! This isn’t to scale. Thanks for asking! :) Note that in the drawing on the right hand side, only the center section is ISBUs. The left and right stack of “rooms” are just wooden decks. When you save more cash – close them in with screens, or even glass! You’ll more than double the size of this house!

The first container will be your entry/living room as you enter the house.

Then, in the middle of the box, a split level staircase with open treads. I want the light to filter thru it, and I want you to be able to see into each level, from the other. It’ll be less claustrophobic that way. The staircase  design isn’t final’d yet, but figure on 4′ -5′ and something simple. It’ll probably be a simple pair of almost 4′ wide staircases, one up, one down.

If you go down, you go into that utility room in the basement.

If you go up, you go into a galley kitchen with a banquette style seating area in the rear. The kitchen has a deck attached. There’s also a built-in outdoor eating area located here.

From the kitchen, you go up to the first bedroom.

Build in (2) bunks across the almost 8′ back wall. Now, build in a 6′ closet off of that, on the right. You get a big “L-Shape.” The closet will face the deck, outside sliding glass doors. Put a firm top on that closet. You’re gonna store stuff up there, too.

Finish the closet off by adding some triangular shelves to the end of it, to give more storage, and enhance the rotation off the staircase. One kids bedroom, made to order.

Or… if this is “too tight”, build a full closet across the back (just a tad deeper than normal), and then put a bunk loft on top of it. It’ll be flush with the closet, okay? Sure, your closet is only gonna be 6′ high, but unless your kid is Wilt Chamberlain, you’ll be okay for many years! And, more importantly, they’ll love it!

A ladder up to the twin bedded loft will give him/her a place to rest or bomb you with their stuff while you’re navigating that staircase…

Taking the stairs up, you’re on the bathroom level, right above the kitchen.

Below the kitchen is the utility room. See? All your utilities and water and stuff are in one place.   You have a huge space to build a bathroom, with some more storage. I’ll let you decide what kind of bathroom you want. But, I’m still putting a deck outside it.

It’ll give you a place to pretend to exercise… :)

Okay, up the stairs again…

What? Yep, more stairs. If nothing else, you’ll be fit. That way, you can hide on the bathroom deck, and eat those delicious “Twinkies” without having to share any with the kids…

Back to the staircase. I know.. enough with the damned stairs! Hey, it was your idea to build a “Shipping Container Skyscraper House”, remember? Suck it up, buddy!

Now, you’re in a little library/sitting room.

It’s the place where you hide from your kids. Put in some books, and maybe a computer desk, and you have a little sanctuary away from the noise. Yes, yet another deck looms outside it.

Final staircase… almost! :)

Now, you’re in the Master bedroom.

As you enter, you see a full length closet across the back of the room, complete with mirrored doors. Why? Because I like looking at myself!

Actually, it’s to “double the space, visually.” And… because I like looking at myself… “Me so handsome!” As if… :)

Add a few comfortable chairs, and a table or two, and you have a nice, quiet place to relax before bedtime. And yes, you get your own deck.

You also see a loft up there.

Yep, ladder time. Climb the ladder and you’ll find a cozy little nest for sleeping, way up in the “nosebleed section” of the house. This is a good place for a cool “suncatcher roof.” Think something like a Clerestory or a snazzy Reverse Shed. Figure on about 200 square feet.

One more flight of stairs… Have you ever seen so many stair treads? What was I thinking? :)

Now, you’re on the roof deck.

If it’s me, I’m either gonna put a garden up here, or…

… maybe a cool spa tub, far off and away from those little two legged critters, so you can soak, relax, and remember back to the days when you were young…

For the statisticians among you, you get (7) rooms that measure at least 7’6″ x 16′, all with almost 9′ ceilings.

That’s 840 square feet.

You get a bed loft in two rooms; kids room loft is 7’6″ x 4′ and change. The Master bed loft is 7’6″ x 8′.

That’s another 100 square feet.

You’re up to 940 square feet so far.

And, all your plumbing and most of your major electrical is in the same place. You get a nice roof  surface for your solar and photovoltaic panels. You get lots of separation. You get lots of deck for “outdoor living.”

(Remember, you can screen those decks in, pretty easily.)

And, this house goes up F-A-S-T! And… high. Don’t forget “high.”

You end up with a house built from a core of steel containers. It’s a house designed to inspire you to go outside. But, when the outside isn’t “playing nice,” you can go in, and you’ll be just fine. It’s a house that urges you to look out the windows, because it’s as tall as some of the trees! And, because it’s mostly wood (remember all those decks?) it’ll blend into the woods, too!

Is it buildable?

Yes. The cost of the multiple decks would surpass the cost of house construction, if you figure in the supports, and the screen panels to keep the critters out. However, being scroungers, we’ll used recycled lumber for most of those decks.

Can we build the house, for $50,000.00? We’ll see. That’s the budget.

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance RoninOver the next few days, I’ll draw you a diagram, to depict this “Jenny Craig” house. I’m still playing with the idea of “offsetting” each container slightly, to add “feature space” to the “ends.” I can see it in my head, but YOU wouldn’t want to go there… Trust me! :)


A Corten Treehouse in the Woods!

5 Sep

Greetings, Campers!

Happy Freakin’ Labor Day, AMERICA!!

lane

Yeah, it’s me again! That “metal craving miscreant” who dreams of living in a steel cocoon, while all those “naysaying bastards” drift slowly out to sea, after the next hurricane races in and kicks their butts!

Yikes! Where did THAT come from? Geez, I gotta check my med’s again! :)

Seriously, while I pound my head against the wall, trying to get these poltroons (um… okay… “authorities”) in Mississippi to understand that building a house out of a steel box makes good sense, I’m working on a few other projects, helping friends achieve a level of success I can only dream about, for now!

SPECIAL NEWS FLASH!

Recently, we came across a windfall. A guy we know has several containers stockpiled that have received damage while being offloaded, moved, or even dropped! And, he gave us the keys to the yard where they’ve “dumped them,” and told us that we could have whatever we could haul off.

So, like “good little recyclers,” we sent out our steel contractor pal, to inspect the boxes for damage, so that we could figure out how they could be used.

And, although most of them so far are unusable as “complete units,” most of them could be salvaged, if you kissed their little butts with a plasma cutter, and sectioned them off! And thus, a dream was born…

What do you do, when you have several 8′ x 16′ – 20′ x 9.5′ metal boxes, with one end cut off?

You build “treehouses!” Yeah buddy, Now we’re talkin! You build a “little house” that would make some of those “Little Houser’s” CRAZY! After all, you never know when society as we know it is gonna cave in, and you need a bulletproof place to run to! :)

I have a guy in our ranks, who has a big hunk of property that looks out at the Gulf Of Hepatitis… um… er… Mexico. And,  since it’s in an “unincorporated area,” building codes are easier to deal with and P&Z Nazi’s are less “active.” Thus, he’s all for experimenting, so he’s given us “carte blanche” to build a few experimental units, to see what can be done, if you stay up way too late, drink way too much coffee, and just generally run amok with power tools. Obviously, he’ll eventually own whatever we build (unless I can work something out, or find some way to blackmail him… :) ),  but in the meantime, we’ll get to use it as shelter.

So here’s the deal…

There are several huge oaks on the property, and one of them got some pretty severe damage when Hurricane’s Katrina and then Gustav smacked them around. As a result, we can use one of them, as a platform, to build off of.

We’re gonna stick one 8′ x 16′ box up into that tree,  and do a “Swiss Family Are you outta your freakin mind?” cabin. We’ll build a staircase up to it, using a metal staircase that we salvaged from a hotel rebuild, after Hurricane Katrina tried to eat half of Biloxi.

Remembering that you have 9.5 feet of height in a High Cube, we’re gonna have to be “crafty” to disguise the box… but it should be a cool platform for the ultimate “Little House in da Woods…”

And I have another idea up my sleeve.

0aabaumarausuu

No! Not this… but ain’t it cool?

I have several pieces of culvert pipe, that got left over from a DOT highway project. We’re talking huge pipe, sections approximately 10′ long, by 10′ in diameter. (Okay, the inside diameter is about 8′.)

I’m thinking that we pour a footed slab, that will carry the weight of a section of that pipe, and then drop that sucker down onto it. Now, I’ve essentially got a 10′ high platform to set a section of those ISBU’s on, and  I can build up from there.

(Plus, I can use the created “cavity” of that pipe section for storage, or anything else I can figure out, as we move along.)

Now, 8′ x 16′ isn’t much, but if  I stack two container segments one on top of the other, I have a 128 square foot main, and the opportunity for a 64+ square foot loft above it, plus maybe even some nifty sleeping lofts above that, if I use something like a clerestory or even a shed roof to cap the whole shooting match off.

FYI: I figure a loft plan is best, so that the “cabin” doesn’t start feeling like a coffin.

I don’t want to lose any of the square footage to an entry, so here’s what I’ll do;

I’ll build an exterior deck, that hangs off the front of the house. It’s only gonna be big enough to sit out there and look at the mosquitoes buzz by so it won’t take any great engineering feat to make it happen.  We’re talkin’ 8′ wide by 6′ deep, here. Off that, we’ll hang an 8′  “catwalk”  (4′ wide) that will lead to another deck structure, that will double as a carport.  This way, we have another 8′ x 16′ “out door room” to use as an extended living space, when weather permits.

We’re gonna cover it and then screen it in, to prevent the mosquitoes from making a meal out of us.  As it is, I have to tie Joshua to the ground, as the mosquitoes around here are known to have carried small children off… :)

So, we just added 128 more square feet, as “mild weather space.” Plus, it’s gonna serve as a cover for a car parked under it.

Like I’ll ever be fortunate enough to actually own a car, again… :(

A big ceiling fan should keep the room cool enough to allow us to sit out and enjoy the view. A staircase from that deck, will lead down to grade.

Over the next few days, I’m gonna do some sketches, to give you an idea what we’re thinking about.

46871652This’d make a dandy starting point, huh?

I’m thinking about something along these lines, but 2 story, with a sloped “south-facing” roof constructed out of  SSMR (Standing Seam Metal Roofing). It’d be nice to use some roof surface for water retention. And in our case, the connecting deck will be a screen room, with solar panels on the roof of it, to help make power and  maybe even some hot water for an outdoor shower.

Figure that much of the south facing walls will be glazed, either with  commercial glass panes, or “fixed” sliding glass doors,”or maybe even some glass block (that we traded/bartered for) thrown in, as “illuminating accents.”

As I think this through, I’ll post the progress.

And then, you can tear them apart to your heart’s content.  If we can figure out how to do this “fast, fast, fast…” I may move into it myself… until we either move out of Mississippi to someplace that uses logic for making rules, or the powers that be decide to leave us alone long enough to build the house we really want… :)

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin

Geothermal Energy: The Journey to the Center of the Girth… :)

4 Aug

Man, this building a home out of 40′ ISBUs (shipping containers) is getting harder and harder!

I crawled out of my cave today, and looked at the sky. For several days in a row, we’ve been plagued by lighting, thunder, and downpours that last just long enough to turn the place into a sauna, and make you want to crawl into your bed and pull the covers up over your head.

The power’s gone out several times, the cable is looking like those scrambled images you looked at, as a kid, fighting eyestrain while you stared into the tube trying to see anything that looked like “nakedness” (remember scrambled porn channels? Admit it! I’m not the only one who did that! Am I? Um… er…  oh, never mind!), and the big oak tree in the church parking lot lot next door got a kiss from Gawd’s fireworks, and it’s now looking like some kind of demented twisted twin Oak mutation.

Incredible. Speaking of stuff that ends with “credible”…

In order to host a “credible blog,” I’ve become aware that you have to actually possess credibility.

Whaaaaa?

So, in keeping with the theme of the day (Credibility… aren’t you paying attention? Sheesh!) :) I thought I’d list my title so that you can see how credible I is…

I’m currently deployed, um…er… employed, in a job that pays exactly what I’m worth.

I got me a title, I do…

I’m the “Involuntary Second Assistant to the Assistant Manager, in charge of the department of certain things that nobody else gives a great big “Gawd Dang It!” about…”

Remember that Paypal donation button way over there to the right? PULLLLELASE! We’re starving! :)

And, I’ll have you know that I didn’t “volunteer” for the job! Only suckers volunteer for anything! The last time I did that, I got married to a crazy Indian bent on scalping Jews… :)

Oy Freakin Vey! I miss my hair… ;)

So, obviously… one of the things I’m in charge of… is spouting off about hot air. After all, I got me a title, so that makes me an expert, right? :)

Last time we talked (um…er… chatted… um… okay, you CAN read, right?)… :)

We were talking about living in a steel box, and ways to control the temperature. And, I was going on and on about how I’m using Geothermal HVAC to heat and cool the “hot box” we’re building.

Geothermal Energy is simply heat or coolant (thermal) derived from the earth (geo). It is the thermal energy contained in the rock and fluid (that fills the fractures and pores within the rock) in the earth’s crust.

Guys like Burkland (a noted scientist from the 70’s) have been doing calculations that demonstrate that the earth, originating from a completely molten state, would have cooled and become completely solid many thousands of years ago without an energy input in addition to that of the sun. It is believed that the ultimate source of geothermal energy is radioactive decay occurring deep within the earth.

Wait a sec’, and let me grab my “professor hat…”

Time for the Science lesson; Run for your lives! :)

Some wise guy, paid to know better, with a bunch of alphabet soup after his name, said: “In most areas of the earth, this geothermal heat reaches the surface in a very diffused state. However, due to a variety of geological processes, some areas, including substantial portions of many western states in the United States are underlain by relatively shallow geothermal resources.”

Who said it? Hell, I don’t know,  I fell asleep after “In most areas of…”!! Your guess is as good as mine! :)

But, it’s true. For example, I used to live in the Pacific Northwest, on 15 glorious acres by a serene little river that sat in the middle of nowhere. All around us, there were Geothermal Hot Springs, and we exploited them to bathe in, provide heat and hot water for our houses, and we even built a cooker/poacher using them.

Why did I ever leave? Um… not many girls… When you’re a dork like moi, you need a much larger pond to fish in… :)

Anyway, most of these resources can be classified as low temperature (less than 90°C or 194°F), moderate temperature (90°C – 150°C or 194 – 302°F), and high temperature (greater than 150°C or 302°F). Why classify them at all? Well, the uses to which these resources are applied are also influenced by temperature.

The highest temperature resources are generally used only for electric power generation. Current U.S. geothermal electric power generation totals approximately 2200 MW or about the same as four large nuclear power plants.

Uses for low and moderate temperature resources can be divided into two categories: direct use and ground-source heat pumps.

Direct use, as the name implies, involves using the heat in the water directly (without a heat pump or power plant) for such things as heating of buildings, industrial processes, greenhouses, aquaculture (growing of fish) and resorts.

That’s what WE did. And, there were no moving parts! No maintenance, and lots of time to fish and garden… Yippee… But, not many girls… Argh!  Noticing a trend yet? :)

Direct use projects generally use resource temperatures between 38°C (100°F) to 149°C (300°F). According to statistics, current U.S. installed capacity of direct use systems totals 470 MW or enough to heat 40,000 average-sized houses.

Ground-source heat pumps use the earth or groundwater as a heat source in winter and a heat sink in summer. Using resource temperatures of 4°C (40°F) to 38°C (100°F), the heat pump, a device which moves heat from one place to another, transfers heat from the soil to the house in winter and from the house to the soil in summer. Accurate data isn’t readily available on the current number of these systems; however, the rate of installation is thought to be between 10,000 and 40,000 per year. And that number is growing fast.

End of Science Lesson.

See, it didn’t hurt, much.

(Now… I took a couple of Advil’s while I typed it, but for you… just some minor eyestrain, so stop your complaining! Man, what a bunch of whiners!) :)

When you mention Geothermal anything, the very first thing that people ask, is:

“How in the heck can you afford it?”

I suspect that they envision something that resembles “A Journey to the Center of the Earth,” with Brendan Fraser solving all your problems heroically, using “Hollywood tricks.”

(Frankly, I preferred the original version, but I’m not exactly a Spring Chicken. Actually, to be truthful, the heroine was much more attractive.)

Here’s some facts to dispel the myths, and help you convince your significant other that you haven’t lost your mind…. again!

How much can you save in energy costs with a geothermal system?

HVAC
SYSTEM
Atlanta
GA
Phoenix
AZ
Burlington
VT
New York
NY
Standard Geoexchange System $583 $797 $1,179 $1,062
Standard Air Source Heat Pump $826 $1,109 $2,059 $1,541
Standard Gas Furnace / Electric Air Conditioning $686 $860 $1,377 $1,138
Electric Resistance / Std Air Conditioning $1,196 $1,317 $2,945 $2,352

Who (besides ME) Says Geothermal Energy is the Best Choice?

Geothermal energy has already been recognized as the single most efficient and greenest heating/cooling method by people who are paid to know, in places like government and private sectors.

Now, I know that you’re suspicious of anything that comes from “Obamanation,” that tells you it’s the best way… but… Get used to it. It’s the same as when the intel came from Bushland, or the Clinton Conspiracy, or even the Nixon Nightmare… Just do your homework, and then decide for yourself.:)

Here’s what the U.S. Department of Energy says about Geothermal

Click here!

And here’s what the guys and gals at Energy Star are saying;

Click here!

EnergyStar has even compiled a listing of approved geothermal products, and you can get that PDF here:

Click Here!

The Department of Energy Consumer’s Energy Guide even has data on geothermal systems and ROI (return on investment);

Click here!

And if you want more stuff to talk about over the dinner table, instead of a heated discussion about your Mother-In-Law coming to visit for a “weekend” that actually lasts a week… again…;

You can talk about the EPA’s State and Local Climate Change program (PDF):

You know the drill… Click Here!

This handy-dandy info source is focused on helping you to take advantage of the high energy efficiency and low environmental impact of geothermal systems.

And there are many, many Consumer, industry, and scientific organizations jumping on the bandwagon;

The California-based Consumer Energy Center praises versatile geothermal energy.

I’d think any information based body from California would be falling on it’s own swords right about now, as Arnold tries to “Terminate” the naysayers to his “bailout budget” but try this link (if California can still afford bandwidth!)…

Click Here! You’ll be baaaaaack! :)

The copy writers and braggarts at the GeoThermal Energy Association discuss the benefits of renewable geothermal energy.

Why? Can you say “Buy My Products.” Oh wait, that’s the guy from those learn it on CD things… Anyway, try here:

Click Here!

And if all this information hasn’t got your head spinning, then you can find out what the Union of Concerned Scientists has to say. Even major energy producers (power plants) recognize geothermal energy advantages  as a renewable source of power.

Click here, but I warn you, it’s a big file.

Okay, so you’ll spend the next several hours reading up on Geothermal Science.

You will right? After all, remember, I trap your IP addresses. If you don’t… well, let’s just say that there’s a smoking pile of dog poop on your front porch, in your near future… :)

After doing your homework, and waving a fistful of data sheets in the air as you debate Geothermal with your “spouse…” You know what’s gonna happen, right?

They’ll just look at you, with a blank stare, and say; “So what? What do other people who actually USE Geothermal say?”

And you can scream; “AH- HA! Here’s the answer right here!” as you fling printouts up in the air gleefully!

(Hey, works for ME!) :)

It appears that over 90% of people and corporations using geothermal systems would recommend installing one in your home. That’s reflected in a number of online users’ and owners’ forums, including GeoExchange, which you can find…

Yeah, yeah… just shaddup and click here! Sheesh… you’re a bunch of sissies! :)

It’s a great place to find no-nonsense answers and information about Geothermal, from people actually using it.

But I’m guessing that you think installing a Geothermal system is like building a Nuclear Powerplant, right? Nope. Here’s a look at how one of them did it;

Next time, (now that you’re armed with enough facts to completely cloud the issue) we’ll tackle the specifics of Geothermal, and start laying out a “real” system. :)

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin

While my IQ gently creeps…

27 Jul

And now, for something completely different;

While we struggle and toil, down that garbage strewn path that will lead us to “Container Home Ownership,” my brain is starting to hurt!

Now, according to my wife, that’s not surprising, since I’m operating at “diminished capacity” anyway.

Well, I suppose that’s true, I have lost a few IQ points, since I got married… In fact, it may have happened while we were dating… Hmmmm> :)

As this goes to post, I’m writing  “An Idiot’s guide to Geothermal ‘Activity.'” It’s heady stuff, and I’m operating at a deficit, so you’re gonna get what you get, huh?  As I struggle through a “Do It Yourself” Geothermal Heating and Cooling series, try this one on…

Handwritten Beatles lyrics to be auctioned off in U.S.

beatles

PHOENIX (AP): The original, handwritten lyrics of The Beatles’ melancholy rock song “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” are going on the auction block Monday.

The lyrics, written by George Harrison on a single white sheet of paper in barely legible chicken scratch, are expected to fetch between $500,000 and $800,000 (euro384,970 and euro615,950) at the Barrett-Jackson Rock on the Block Memorabilia Auction in suburban Scottsdale, Arizona.

George_HarrisonRest in Peace, Buddy. Gawd knows we miss you…

Britain-based entertainment auction house Cooper Owen, which is partnering with Scottsdale-based auctioneer Barrett-Jackson, is auctioning off the lyrics for a private collector and calls the sheet of paper “the most significant Beatles’ lyric manuscript known to exist.”

“It’s just a really significant and rare piece of memorabilia,” said Neil Roberts, auction manager at Cooper Owen. “It shows the work in progress, the message, and the thoughts behind one of the band members.” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” came out in 1968 on The White Album.

The lyrics, which are said to reveal the strains within the band at the time, include lines like, “I don’t know how someone controlled you,” and “They bought and sold you.”

But the sheet of paper up for bid also includes some lyrics that did not make it into the song that was on The White Album, including, “I look from the wings at the play you are staging,” and “As I’m sitting here doing nothing but aging, still my guitar gently weeps.”

“These lyrics actually show the work in progress,” Roberts said. “It shows how he (Harrison) changed certain lines. It shows it on the day he wrote that song and played it with his fellow Beatles.”

Also on the paper is a line at the bottom of the page that Harrison wrote in apparent frustration over the troubled atmosphere in the recording studio. It reads, “The band leader said he ain’t playin’ no more.” Roberts said that line is most revealing. “It shows his feelings for how the band was going and almost the breakdown of communication,” he said. “He kind of realized it was coming to end.”

Also up for bid at the Barrett-Jackson auction are dozens of celebrity items, including a pair of gloves Madonna wore during a concert, a book report written by Britney Spears, Cat Stevens’ arrest card and Ella Fitzgerald’s old credit card.

Lyrics: “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at the floor and I see it need sweeping
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don’t know why nobody told you
how to unfold you love
I don’t know how someone controlled you
they bought and sold you

I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
While my guitar gently weeps
With every mistake we must surely be learning
Still my guitar gently weeps

I don’t know how you were diverted
you were perverted too
I don’t know how you were inverted
no one alerted you

I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
While my guitar gently weeps
I look at you all
Still my guitar gently weeps

Oh, oh, oh
oh oh oh oh oh oh oh
oh oh, oh oh, oh oh
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah yeah

Wouldn’t you just love to have this hanging on your wall?

I know I would.

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin

How “cool” is COOL?

23 Jul

Many of you know that my family is building a home out of steel shipping containers.  In fact, it’s been a long trip down the “you’re either crazy or just plain stupid” road, if   my email is any indication.

You see, not many people in the mainstream actually see the merit in building a house out of Corten Steel boxes, piled one on top of the other. I suspect that those same people don’t get the luxury of experiencing heavy weather and hurricanes, annually.

Around here, each storm that rolls through leaves a pile of flotsam and jetsam in it’s wake, and then… years later, we’re still not rebuilt to anything that resembled “normal” the days previous to the hurricane.

So, I thought to myself;

“Self… if I wanted a house that was relatively impervious to weather, where would I start?”

And then it hit me, like my wife’s left jab…

I’d build a house out of solid steel. And what better way to build a weather resistant house, than to start with a weather resistant box, eh?

Shipping containers are solid Corten Steel boxes DESIGNED to repel Mother Nature’s wrath…

And they’re laying around everywhere.

Why?

Because. That’s why!

Stop asking so many questions! You know how easily my attention gets diverted! :)

Actually, it’s because of the trade deficit, and some rather poor thinking on the part of those poltroons in DC. If they’d insisted on “balanced trade” with other nations, we wouldn’t have a stockpile of these boxes sitting around blocking out the sun!

But, their stupidity is our gain, eh?

So, here we are… we’re building a house, out of steel boxes, that will keep us safe, and dry, and best of all… with a few bucks left in our pockets at the end of construction.

If you’ve been following the blog to date, you already know all of that.

But, the number one question I get in my email is;

“How in Gawd’s name are you gonna survive the heat of a metal box? You live in the South, you idiot!”

Okay, that’s not the number one question…

The number one question (based on my most recent poll) is;

“How far is your head stuck up your _______?” :)

First, let me point out that a man my age isn’t flexible enough for any “anatomical impossibilities,” so the answer is “About Zero.”

Second, just because I’m smart enough to see a solution to a problem that other’s don’t see, doesn’t make me an “idiot.” It makes me an “idiot savant.” At least according to my wife, and a few neighbors that are still speaking to us. :)

Okay, back to the question of the day;

“How do you make a shipping container livable?”

Well, you do it just like you’d do it for any other type of housing. You use insulation, and then… you use HVAC.

My insulation goes on the OUTSIDE of my boxes, and then, they get covered up in “skin.” In my case, we’re talking stucco, stone veneer, and siding.

(Yes, I’ll use a vapor barrier, smarty pants… I didn’t forget.)

The rigid insulation will go outside the boxes because it doesn’t make any sense to put it inside, and make a small place even smaller. Capish?

The roof (and possibly even the side panels) will get SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels),  and that will insure that my R values are really high. Everything will get enough caulking to silence “even the loudest of In-Laws…” and then… we’ll condition the inside space.

But how will we do that? I mean, A/C is expensive in the South! Oy Freakin Vey! Using A/C will cool off your house, but it’ll keep your kids outta college! :)

So, here’s what WE’RE doing;

I may be a pig, but I’m a smart pig. I need A/C and even heating, but I need to be able to afford it. How am I gonna do that without becoming a slave to those bastards over at Mississippi Power?

By using “Geothermal Energy,” that’s how!

Geothermal energy is without a doubt, one of the world’s Greenest Heating and Cooling Systems.

Say it with me… I know you wanna…

“HOW GREEN IS IT?”

If you’re looking for an efficient, cost effective, and environmentally friendly heating/cooling system, then a geothermal heat pump is the greenest way to go.

Don’t believe me? Well, go look here… to learn the facts about geothermal energy, from those EPA guys.

The EPA studies energy efficiency

Even the EPA was smart enough to conclude that geothermal energy is the most environmentally friendly heating/cooling system. Not bad for a “Government entity.”

After all, we all know how smart THOSE “Gov’t types” are…

Don’t get me started… I mean it… :)

The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory concluded that in comparison with typical (conventional) residential systems, geothermal energy is more efficient and cost-effective, and you can read about that, here;

GEO HEAT PUMPS

Geothermal energy is available no matter where you are. Don’t believe me? Check out this map!

usmap1And we’ve all heard about the massive pile of federal, state, local, and even utility credits, tax credits, and grants available to citizens, to adopt the use of green technologies in their homes, right?

Geothermal cost savings can be increased by geothermal energy incentives.

Of course “your mileage may vary.” If you live in a bankrupt state, that IOU won’t go too far. That’s what you get for electing a bodybuilder to be your governor… :)

Like anything else, where you are has a lot to do with what things cost. And energy related products are no exception. So… energy and cost savings of geothermal heat pumps will vary by region and type of conventional system they’re compared with.

But, if there is one thing I want to hammer home, it’s this:

The energy cost of geothermal vs. conventional HVAC systems will always be lower — and the geothermal system will always be greener.

Over the next several days, we’re going to look at Geothermal Energy Systems, and discover why we need them.

And at the end you’ll understand why I’m using it, and exactly how I’ll do it…

And that means that you’ll be able to do it too!

Stay tuned!

The Renaissance Ronin

Google the Grid!

20 Jul

Here’s some news on the Alternative Energy Front!

Google and Microsoft Are Building Smart Power Grids!

Yep, those titans of power (in the form of INFORMATION) have combined to try and gain a stranglehold on your house! OMG! :)

Just when you thought it was safe to go back outside…

Two High-Technology giants Google and Microsoft find themselves competing again, and this time it’s not about “cloud computing,” or even “Search Engine Technology!” The “guru’s of geekdom” are developing “bi-directional power grids” that will not only bring electricity to your house, but will also help you optimize usage and consequently, save money. Uh huh… and if you believe that one… :)

They might be on to something here, folks. The problem with the current power distribution is that it is like a one-way traffic. While the power is constantly being transmitted to your homes, nothing is transmitted from your homes to the power stations.

What? Those greedy power bastards want my juice? No Way, I tell you! Nuh-uh! Where’s My Gun??… Wait… Take a breath… Count to three…

(Take off your shoes and count your little piggies if you have to… We’ll wait!) Now… exhale.

Do the power moguls want to steal your precious power from your homes?

Do they want to limit your ability to make toast, or boil the oatmeal for the monsters that live in your house? Nope.

What they do want, is to snoop. That’s right, they want to peek through your windows, and see what color skivvies you’re wearin.

(Boy are they gonna be shocked at my house! Cuz’ I ain’t wearin’ any… At least not at the moment…)

Oh stop rollin your eyes! I’m wearin running shorts. You guys are pervs… Sheesh… I gotta start writin to a better class of people… :)

The power peeps want to see what you’re doing, so that they use the user trends information and make power available accordingly. It’s practically impossible to make informed choices if you don’t have the right information. And we all know that’s true. Information is at the heart of all good decision making!

“Lemme see… Do I want sugar-free strawberry glaze, with this pretty picture of Catherine Zeta Jones on the label, or do I want that “all in the box” generic stuff? No pretty pictures. No idea of what’s inside… But, it’s cheaper… CZJ is cheap (C’mon, she married that Douglas knucklehead, remember?), but… plain-wrap is cheaper… Guess we’re eatin “Gawd Only Knows Strawberry Pie tonight!”

Google has an application now, called PowerMeter and Microsoft’s bringin up the rear with it’s own version, called “Hohm” achieve exactly that. The goal is to provide you with information that can help you optimize your energy usage. For instance, do you know how much energy you exactly consume when you wash one day’s laundry…

(You’re supposed to do laundry a day at a time? Whaaa? That’s news to me! I’ve been wearin these running shorts for a week now!…)

Or when you’re watching your favorite soap opera? (Heaven forbid you should miss “General Hospital”…),

Or… How much cash could you save by pumping up your insulation, replacing that old refrigerator (the noise level around your house will drop too, if your house is like mine. My wife has been nagging me for two years to throw that piece of junk away!), or by turning off the tube to avoid watching that TV show you hate??

Whaaaa? Hey, somebody better tell those guys that the REASON Cable TV got invented, was to avoid that! Turning off the TV? Those guys are crazy?

But, What amount of energy is burned if you forget to switch off a light bulb or a fan?

Yeah, I know you can get a “Kill-a- somethin or other- watts” meter (I even wrote a post about it!), but you can’t use it to monitor yourself 24/7. So, it’s very hard to figure out which of your bad habits waste energy more… in order for your wife to nag you about… cutting down on them. :)

Wait, maybe I better rethink this!

I guess it makes sense. It explains why I have to call the damned power company when MY power goes out! Like they don’t already know…

Sometimes, I think they turn it off and on, just to piss me off!

“Ronin’s just about to turn his computer back on again.. Wait for it… wait for it… okaaaaaaay… Quick! Turn it off! Hee -hee!” Bastards. :)

Power rates are usually based on something called a “uniform rate.”

Now, that’s not to describe how the power company won’t send anyone to your house, without having a police escort… or is it? Hell, every time those guys show up here, they eat all of Joshua’s donuts… Bastards!

Whaa? Your power guys don’t show up with bodyguards? Well, here’s how to make that happen… Wait until they get up on the pole by your house, to check the transformer. Then,,, when they’re not lookin… turn the hose on ‘em!

Instant COPS. Just like on TV.. “Bad Jew, bad jew, whatcha gonna do? Whatcha gonna do when the Ronin gets you?”

Hmmmm? Okay, supposedly, there’s a uniform rate that dictates how much you pay for your kilowatt hours of power.

But that doesn’t make any sense to me.

I mean… Sure, jack up my rate when it’s 104 outside, and it’s not even noon yet. But… if it’s 3am, and I wanna blow dry my hair, I’m pretty sure not many other people are pretending they still have hair to blow dry… Or are they? Hmmmmm… again.

Shouldn’t power used when everyone else is asleep, cost less? Hmmm? Just a thought…

So, if I use this software to see what I’m doing on the power grid, I should get smarter about how I use power, I could save a few dollars, AND I’ll be saving the environment, too? Right?

Here’s what the guys in charge say:

Translation;

Some public relations lackey said;

“With the help of Google’s PowerMeter your appliances will be able to decide when to use more power and when to use less. Once the grid is installed, using iGoogle you’ll be able to monitor your power usage minute-by-minute, for individual appliances. On your Google home page you will be able to add the tracker the way you add any other gadget there. The PowerMeter is designed to show a granular, real-time view of electricity-consuming devices.”

According to Google labs: “Google PowerMeter receives information from utility smart meters and energy management devices and provides customers with access to their home electricity consumption right on their personal iGoogle homepage. We are currently testing Google PowerMeter with a number of utilities and plan to expand our roll out later this year.”

And those guys up in Redmond are trying to squeeze their way onto the boat too…

(May they fall off, and right into the water while holding onto power lines… those “Vista-birthing” bastards… Don’t get me started…) :)

Microsoft’s done what Microsoft is good at. They threw cash at a license for advanced analytics from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy to provide consumers with personalized energy-saving recommendations.

Of course it’ll happen on-line, so that they can secretly chart your power usage, and further garner a foothold into your life, so that they can go sneaky-sneakin into places where no big business should ever go, like my living room… and then sell that “insight” to someone who is trying to tell me how I should live my life… those rat-bastards… Um… er… where in the hell did that come from? Oy. I gotta go take my medicine.

According to Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer at Microsoft, “Microsoft Hohm demonstrates how a combination of advanced software and Internet-based services can help people track, understand and manage their personal energy usage.”

And we can sell that data to your neighbors! MICROSOFT Strikes Again! Muuuuuawhaaa-haa!

Okay, so he didn’t actually SAY that last part… But, he was thinking it! :)

Stay tuned.

The Renaissance Ronin

9.5% and climbing…

9 Jul

Most of you know that I’m stuck in Mississippi…

…trying to build a house out of reclaimed and recycled materials, to shelter my family. And, I’d like to do it, before “hurricane season” crashes down on us, once again. But… the politicians are standing between me, and my dream. It’s not like it’s impossible to do… It’s just impossible to “legislate.” OY.

And, while I’m doing this “running around in circles so I don’t just stop, take a deep breath, and go absolutely freakin postal in Jackson” thing… I’m helping some pals build THEIR Shipping Container homes.

Recently, while we were “toiling and planning and conspiring and consulting….” one of my pals got hammered by the evil fist of fate… lay-offs.

Now, this guy… We’ll call him “Pat…” now he’s the stuff America got built of. I’m talking about the REAL America, not that phony “Hollywood America” you see on TV. As a manager, when the lay-offs were announced, he actually went into his bosses office, and offered up his own job, if they’d just use his salary and benefits to keep the other workers employed. After all, they were “youngster’s with families.”

Needless to say, his bosses declined his offer. But, when is the last time you heard of somebody doing that, especially when they were going through the same tough times as everyone else? Hmmm?

So, more good workers hit the streets, looking for something that resembles hope, something that will feed their families, instead of the ridiculous crap that keeps filtering down on us like smog from Washington DC…

And “Pat?” He’s on the phone, on his own time, trying to find his crew new jobs with other companies, so they don’t end up on skid-row.

Meanwhile… all eyes look east, towards DC…

What’s it going to take for Americans to realize that they’ve been duped?

President Obama got himself elected on a pedestal of promises, and frankly, folks… it’s just not happening…

America has more debt now than ever before. Our great grandchildren will be paying the interest on the trillions of dollars that have been haphazardly thrown onto the bonfire.

I still suspect that all that cash got tossed on to make enough smoke to hide the real issues. After all, it’s hard to see clearly, when your eyes are burning.

Whatever happened to all those thousands of jobs that Obama was going to create? Well… they got created in Malaysia and the Far East. The billions and billions of dollars that got spent for “jobs” went to companies who manufacture “offshore,” because hiring Americans costs too much. Whaaaa?

For example;

The ‘stimulus’ promised a jobless peak of 8%; it’s now 9.5%.

And yesterday, we got the bad news… again…

In fact, the best thing that we can say about June jobs report is that “employment is usually a lagging economic indicator.” Yeah? Okay, if that’s true then shouldn’t that accentuate just how bad things are getting? The loss of 467,000 jobs for the month is one more sign that the economy still hasn’t hit the bottom despite months of lies, political aggrandizing, camera-whoring, and epic fiscal and monetary reflation.

Can you say “whirlpool of despair?”

The report was a pig, to be sure. And there’s no way to sweeten it up by adding a prom dress, either. Average hours worked per week dropped to 33, the lowest level in at least 40 years, maybe more.

I’m not exactly sure how much further back than that… Hey, I had pimples and Pink Floyd records, and I was playing with Hot Wheels at the time. Shut up! :)

Hey… shortened work weeks! Yippee! More time to play with the kids right? Nope. More time to listen to your significant other moan in despair, as the budget gets turned upside down, just like the mortgage. It’s not like it’s just YOU, right?

This means that millions of full-time workers are being “downgraded” to part-time, as businesses slash labor costs to maintain profit margins.

And, because people are working less, wages have fallen again this year. Factories are operating at only 65% capacity, while the overall jobless rate hit 9.5%, and it’s still climbing…

Throw in disgruntled workers who want their full-time jobs back, and the labor underutilization rate climbs faster than an F-18 hunting bogies! We’re talking double-digits, folks!

So, instead of just firing people, companies downgraded them to part-time, and stripped them of their benefits. It was either that, or; “Hit the bricks, bucko…  and go look for another job.”

Man, what a tough choice… Can you imagine what those numbers would have looked like, if those people had just hit the street? It’d be a tidal wave of unemployment, that would make our grandparents remember the breadlines.

The tragic thing is that existing hourly wages have dropped too. So, the companies are still making profit, but they’re spending less to get it, in some places. Greed has become pretty evident, as CEOs take huge salaries and compensation, as their employees start to hemorrage blood, trying to pay bills as their wages get “adjusted.”

The news is even worse for young people, with nearly one in four teenagers finding themselves unemployed. That’s just what we need, huh? More teenagers standing around idle, trying to figure out how to entertain themselves without any cash… Oy.

And, it get’s better! Remember that minimum wage hike that Congress scheduled? It bumps minimum wage up, from $6.55 to $7.25 on July 24th. You’d think this is GOOD news, right? Nope. It means that labor is going to cost small business more, so they’ll have to CUT BACK the number of employees they keep, to make it through the tough times that the economy is dealing out. Oy again!

Manufacturers aren’t exempt, either! Americans who make things and actually produce those goods we consume lost 223,000 more jobs last month. Almost a quarter of a million jobs LAST MONTH.

Asked about these job losses by the Associated Press, President Obama said Congress should pass his cap-and-tax on carbon energy because “If we’re weatherizing every building and home in America, if we are creating windmills and solar panels and biofuel facilities, that is a huge promising area not only for jobs here in the United States, but also for export growth.”

Bullsh@t! What a bunch of crap.

First, the President has no way on earth to monitor how many jobs “he created.” Only by audit have we discovered that most of the jobs now funded are in offshore factories. How’d they do that? Well, by noting that factories here laid off workers, or even shut down completely, but product still kept hitting the shelves. It had to come from SOMEWHERE, right?

Millions of Americans are unemployed. But, not all of those unemployed workers are capable of building windmill blades and solar panels (especially since most solar panels are built in the Far East, anyway). There aren’t enough plants producing windmill blades or solar panels in the US to bail out America’s unemployed. There would have to be one in every city in America to do that.

And, if there was, the price of goods would have to drop. Competition, remember?

And, that’d mean more cuts, to supply cheaper products. Talk about a “Catch-22!”

With manufacturing on its back, enacting a new energy tax to drive more jobs offshore… is just insanity. And, I’ll point out that I mean no offense to REAL insane people.

If you watch Cable, they keep saying that; “Of course, the economy can’t keep falling forever, and most forecasters still see a recovery starting this year.”

Yeah, what’re they basing that on? More false hope and promises that are starting to smell like lies?  The decline in manufacturing slowed last month and housing sales have picked up — and supposedly these are both positive indicators.

Whaaa? Not around here. In most of middle America, the opposite is true. And, almost all of those tax credits for buying a new home are aimed at the buyers buying “newly constructed” homes, which will only create a glut in the “pre-owned housing market.”

How do you buy a new home when you’re unemployed? Huh? Boy, renting is starting to look better and better all the time!

They keep saying that consumers are spending more. But the cost of living is going up daily.

Sure we’re spending more! You keep jacking up the prices, you @ssh@les!  We still have to eat! Our children’s tummies still grumble. They don’t understand “tightening the belts.” Oy, oy, oy…

The real question should be about “strong and sustained” employment expansion. If the “stimulus” were working as advertised, that would be stronger than “Mr. Clean,” or even the “Incredible Hulk,” huh?? After all, those idiots in DC have thrown trillions of dollars at the recession.

Let’s not forget about that famous $787 billion dollars that was supposed to yield $1.50 in growth for every $1 that was spent.

This almost trillion dollars (don’t forget about interest, as we had to borrow the money from “somewhere.”) followed the $168 billion dollars that George Jr. and “Queen of the Most High Wacko’s” Nancy Pelosi promised in February 2008 would prevent a recession. The jobless rate that month was 4.8%.

Did THAT work? No. So what did Obama do? Exactly the same thing. Throw good money after bad. Hey, it’s not like it was HIS money. After he leaves the White House, he gets a pension for life. It’s not like he’ll be out looking for a job at TGI Friday’s, or Walmart… He’ll just write a book, and make speeches, and get… even more money!

So where has the stimulus money actually gone? Most of this government spending has gone to transfer payments — Medicaid, jobless benefits and the like — that do nothing for jobs or growth.

Let me repeat that for the “reading impaired;”

…THAT DO NOTHING FOR JOBS OR GROWTH.

The spending that might create jobs — on roads, say — is dribbling out with typical government efficiency.

  • Hey, they’re building schools in places where schools are already standing empty.
  • They’re building libraries in places where people don’t live.
  • They’re building airport expansions in places where planes don’t land…
  • They’re building copshop’s multi-million dollar “indoor training facilities ‘ so they can hone their skills… in places where they only have three cops.
  • They’re buying local law enforcement agencies helicopters and airplanes, where they (a) don’t have pilots, and (b) don’t have airports to land them in.
  • And let’s not forget million dollar highspeed powerboats to interdict drug sales, for cops who live in landlocked counties.

They even bought a law enforcement agency with four cops (I’m serious) $287,000 worth of ammunition. Whaaaa? Those idiots never heard of reloading? Maybe they should make friends with those guys who have the “indoor training mecca” and start learning to save some of that ammo…

You think I’m kidding? Nope.

$287,000 worth of ammo… That’s a lot of 9mm… Like, about 2,500 cases (remember, they get a discount for volume)… Lemme see… 1,000 rounds to a case times 2500 cases, divided by 4 cops. That’s like 70 rounds an hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, just to use it all up. Yeah, that’s doable… I hope they’ve got donuts and coffee stockpiled too!

Can you imagine a mountain of empty brass that big? Man.. I wish! :)

Meanwhile, the money for all of this has to come from somewhere, and Democrats are already saying it will require big (unstimulating) tax increases in 2011, and perhaps sooner. Whhaaa? I’m shocked.

So, while they’re giving away money they don’t even have, they’re going to ask us for money we can barely keep, to keep them in lobbyists and frosty cold beverages, while WE sweat the hard stuff all by our onesies! Oy Freakin Vey!

The Administration argues that the recession would be worse without the stimulus. Yeah, prove it! Oh yeah… you can’t. It’s impossible to prove or even disprove.

However, if you harken back to a time not long ago… Obama’s economist lackeys predicted late last year that the stimulus would keep the jobless rate from exceeding 8%. And now, it’s just climbed past 9.5% and it’s still climbing…

Uh-oh… Time to find a scapegoat to sacrifice on “The Alter of American Ineptness!”

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that it’s far more likely that America would have been better off without all that insane spending, and the higher taxes and debt financing that they bring right along with them, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in a picnic basket!

I hate to say I told you so, but;

“You bastards in DC are all a bunch of freakin morons! You’ve sold us lock stock and barrel to the Chinese, and anybody else stupid enough to loan us money. We’ll be lucky if our grandchildren still speak English as a first language, before all this madness is through!”

Whew… Glad I got that off my chest.

I can’t wait to see what Congress brainstorms next… Perhaps they’ll just sell our children into slavery, or legislate sweatshops in America, so that the citizens they betrayed can still find a few pennies at the end of the day to eat with.

The best thing Mr. Obama could do to create jobs would be to come clean, admit his cabinet is filled with idiots, and start over. That is, if they’re anything left to rebuild, by the time he’s “done” rebuilding.

Gawd Save us… because Obama won’t. Not if his “progress report” so far is any indication.

Now, where’d I put those MRE’s? I think a storm is coming… and I’m not talking about a “hurricane.”

And “Pat…” I’m proud to know you. You’ve got a backbone of steel, and a heart of gold… You just made “Ronin’s Hero of the Day” list…

Now, if the President would just show that much courage, integrity, and backbone… maybe I’d get some sleep.

Stay tuned…

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