Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wind farm photo

A few have commented favorably on my masthead photo. This is what a wind farm looks like BEFORE it is completely operational. You can tell since they are all pointed in different directions.... I took this pic of the Chandler Wind Farm in Chandler, MN in the fall of 2007, while we were down there investigating additional turbine locations. It was late evening and a great storm had just gone through so the bright turbines looked remarkable in the setting sun against the darkened sky.

But it could be anywhere....

Some people complain that wind turbines "spoil the landscape". What a crock of shit. Like corporate agriculture, powerlines, railroads, roads, farms and their silos, clearing forests, and native praries, cities, suburbs, locks and dams, bridges, etc. didn't long ago "spoil the landscape". Get real, humans are in the BUSINESS of "spoiling the landscape".


Now you want "spoiled landscape"? Global climate change is going to spoil your landscape!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bad Blogger, No Biscuit!

When you have a blog, you are supposed to BLOG. I've been bad: not blogging; a bad, bad blogger....

Well, I'm going to change that soon....

I swear!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Metal melting fun

Yesterday I learned that when welding small diameter stainless tubing you use the tig welder, rather than the big mig welder.

Our great old Linde 253VI mig machines, 30-40 years old though they may be, make incredible welds on thick stainless and mild steel. Absolutely beautiful, perfect welds: it takes so little sometimes to make me happy.... Anyway I love those machines, in that very special way that so many boys love their toys, and sometimes love is blind.

Case in point:

Small diameter, thin stuff is not the same as thick stuff, and you can't move a mig torch (any mig torch) quickly or accurately enough to keep from burning through or creating a pile of weld metal.

I did both last night....

While working on my powerboat....

In my truck-shop....

Yeah, I like to think I'm an "environmentalist", but I'm really just a hypocritical mass of contradictions.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

This King Business

I am a giant-sized Dashiell Hammett fan. Just so you know, and aren't surprised by future posts showing current events through the prism of his writings.

I'm currently reading a collection of his short stories and assorted writings put out by the Library of America. Many gems there.... Most of these are crime stories, written in first person narrative, which involve his archetypal character The Continental Op. The Op character has been transplanted into other genres, including Akira Kurosawa's character played by Toshiro Mifune in the movies Yojimbo and Sanjuro. The character is further reprised by Clint Eastwood in the "Fistful of Dollars" spaghetti westerns, "The Man with No Name" in Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Willis in "Last Man Standing", Byrne in "Millers Crossing", etc.. Like those characters, The Op is a brilliantly effective, but amoral manipulator by method, who maintains a strong core morality which drives him to his goal.

But the story I just read which struck me with its current significance is "This King Business". It revolves around an immature, adventurous young trust-funder who strays into political intrigue in the Balkins, and The Op's manipulations to protect the young man from himself and the political players who seek to defraud and kill him. However, what strikes me as current has nothing to do with The Op in this story, it has to do with another character.... One of the characters in the story, is xxx the President of Murovia (the fictional country where the story is set). He is a brilliant and well-known scientist, the pride of Murovia, who is installed as president when Murovia first becomes independant due to the universal esteem in which he is held. However, he is a political naif, and what the elites know and he does not is that he is merely a figurehead, with the real power being held by his vice-president, a General and chief of the army. The General is moderate and widely respected, but has a clash with the President where he spills the beans. At this point the President tries to marginalize the VP, however, he is so politically hopeless that he is completely manipulated by his own secretary, who praises and strokes the ego of the President while at the same time subverting him. In this way the Secretary becomes the defacto head of state. Meanwhile, the young trust-funder is suckered into thinking he is competent enough to be King of the country, and is part of a plot (with the Secretary and some Generals) to overthrow the President. But even though he is being suckered, at least he is bright enough to know that he wouldn't yeild any real power, he only doesn't realize they will take his money and assasinate him....

I'm not sure how clear the current parallels are to anyone else, but....

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Giving away the farm


We are now going to share with the world our brilliant idea. We were going to save it for our next business adventure. The "fun" one that was going to be our retirement fund. Was going to buy us that oceanside cottage in Tahiti and set us up for life.

But the child is dead, the dream is gone.

So now, out of our love for our fellow humans, and because we want to see this dream come alive in our lifetime, we offer this;

Norwegian fortune cookies - fortune cookies with pithy sayings of Norwegian wisdom and wit.

No thanks necessary, but you're welcome.

Corporations are stoopid

So my pard and I were chatting over a MOMosa about retractable Sharpies (ain't life excitin'?) and I mentioned how the best thing to mark on metal parts is whiteout pens. Seriously, they are the best! She went on to observe "Why didn't they put the whiteout in pens back when it mattered?" Why indeed?

There you were, as she said, with your bottle of whiteout - that dries out after you use it 2 times - and there is BIC. Why didn't somebody at BIC say, "Hey, we have these pen things, we've got blue ink and black ink and red ink and green ink, we even have pen thingys that we fill with butane to make FiRE, what if we filled one of them with WHITE ink? Do you think we could sell a pen with WHITE ink?"

Do ya think?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

International Bidniz

Previously posted (by me) at lame myspace.

I had a very disturbing meeting with my primary vendor (based in the Netherlands) while in Houston. I think I said he was delusional (but that might have been about other matters, such as how incompetent their US rep is and how badly he hurts their reputation, but I digress)....
Apparently the view in Europe and the rest of the world (according to him) is that the United States (and Canada) is basically a 2nd world country, less important than China, India, Singapore, or Eastern Europe. More on par with Russia and Brazil.
Wow. No matter how you feel about that in terms of "global justice" that is just WOW.
If you believe it.
For the record, I disagree, but see how one could come to that conclusion given the last 7 horrific years *ahem*. The Dutch are stubborn people though (so I'm told *ahem*), and I (we) could not convine him otherwise on that or any other topic (which he didn't get given his preconcieved business plans and prejudices, or maybe it was the booze). Anyway, he is also under the impression that we sue everybody without any excuse. A useful sterotype (for some) but news to me since I've never sued anybody, or been sued in over three years of business, and have never even heard of a contractor in my business being sued (in over twenty years in the business), let alone a contractor in my business suing their vendor.
We aren't ogres over here, we actually do cultivate business relationships, believe it or not.

But I rant....