sunday randomosity.

  • I’ll be at the Northeast Blogmeet tonight at the Hilltop Steakhouse in Saugus, MA.  Rumor has it we’ll have a genuine Interwebs celebrity dropping in, so if you’re reading this as a resident of the Greater BoSox Allegiance Zone (or you happen to be passing through), stop by and offer the culturally appropriate greeting of your choice.
  • I’m going to have to concur with friend Matt’s assessment that Oakland, CA, is in some pretty deep shit.  I know that if I was an officer with Oakland PD, I secured a site where three of my colleagues were killed, and I had to endure the taunting of community members, I’d take that star off my chest and hurl it across my supervisor’s table so energetically that it would probably count as ADW.  A police force that doesn’t have the support of its community (or worse, has the community actively working against the police) cannot do its job. 
  • What’s up with California, anyway?  They’re so progressive, legislatively speaking: tough gun control, near-universal health care, strict environmental regulations…and out-of-control crime in the major cities, high unemployment, and a state that’s constantly strapped for cash.  (I’m probably just imagining a correlation here.)
  • No offense to my Catholic friends, but the Holy Father’s latest statement on condoms and AIDS came straight out of his southbound orifice.  Every available piece of evidence available to us shows that condom use helps prevent HIV infections.  (As for his suggested alternative of abstinence…well, that doesn’t even seem to work too well for priests.) Not since Alan Greenspan have I seen someone claiming so much authority on a subject he has so little knowledge about.
  • On the subject of contraceptives and related attitudes, I have a little anecdote for you.  A few years back, an OB-GYN I know related the (HIPAA-sanitized) tale of a fifteen-year-old patient in his practice.  Said fifteen-year-old was in for a checkup in her second(!) pregnancy.  The doctor suggested to the parents that “you need to put your daughter on birth control.”  The parents were offended at the suggestion, and replied that they would never do such a thing, because “it would encourage her to have sex.”  *blink* 
  • (This was in a Southern state whose name rhymes with “apple tree”.)
  • Still limping along on satellite Intertubes here at Castle Frostbite.  We keep getting tantalizing mail ads from Comcast trying to sell us their High Speed Internets, despite the fact that there’s still no cable laid on our street.  It’s like sending free issues of Playboy to a blind guy, with a braille letter that says, “Look What You’re Missing!”  Assholes.
  • Two imminent upgrades to Castle Frostbite, in order of priority: a new roof, and a new pellet stove to replace one of our two wood stoves.  The roofing guy showed up a few days ago, took stock of our situation, and strongly suggested a rubber roof.  Operation “Tile The Roof With Twenty-Dollar Bills” will officially commence as soon as it stays above freezing at night for a few weeks.  Anyone in Intertubes land ever replace a wood stove with a pellet unit?  Please share your experience regarding convenience, efficiency, cost of fuel, and whether you consider the swap an improvement worth the expenditure.
  • Minor annoyance of the week: spambots following me on Twitter.  Every time we have a new and interesting platform for communication, it takes about three-point-four minutes before the spammers move in and smear their shit on the virtual walls.  It’s the equivalent of someone butting into a private conversation to yell, “HEY, YOU! WANNA BUY SOME SOLAR PANELS? HOW ABOUT A NEW CELL PHONE?”  What the world needs is a reliable virtual equivalent to a real-life kick in the balls.

Well, that’s it for this morning.  I need to fold some laundry, wash some dishes, haul in more wood, and square away the kids at lunchtime.  Tonight: socializing!

26 thoughts on “sunday randomosity.

  1. Chris says:

    You’re not missing much with Comcast. Around here, they’re pretty much universally hated for service issues.

  2. Mike says:

    It is my understanding that there is a significant tax break right now for installing a pellet stove.

  3. Mr Fixit says:

    It’s probably a Texas thing, but I can’t make any of our Southern States sound like ‘apple tree’.

  4. BobG says:

    “What’s up with California, anyway?”

    “There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience. And then there is California.”
    -Edward Abbey

  5. perlhaqr says:

    I’ve long advocated the possibility that putting spammer’s heads on pikes might discourage others. And if not, well, it’d discourage the dead ones for sure.

  6. Rick R says:

    Pellet stoves are a real step up from a traditional wood stove. Just fill (or top off) the hopper a couple times a day and the place stays a constant temperature. While there is some dust from handling the pellets and when you clean it (every couple weeks), they are a lot cleaner than packing firewood.
    We had a pellet stove for about 10 years are were very happy with it. I can’t give you an accurate cost comparison on but I will tell you that one ton of pellets is about equal to 2 1/2 cords of firewood.
    About the only down sides are you have to have some where DRY to store the pellets, and it doesn’t work when the power goes out.

  7. LittleRed1 says:

    Agree with Rick R. “Fine Homebuilding” had an article on pellet stoves et al last winter. I liked the pellet idea, until the line about needing electricity to run the little auger that feeds the pellets. No thank you. I’ll take a straight woodstove for when the lights go out again, thanks.

  8. MarkHB says:

    Mr. Fixit, I’m guessing that’s “Tennessee”. Same syllable count, same end phoneme.

    Re: The “Holy Father”, condoms and AIDS. Where’s the money? In this case, it’s the souls delivered unto heaven, including all the dead AIDS babies.

    Religion kills. End of line.

  9. Kaerius(SWE) says:

    The pope is the leader of an orgnization that has killed more people than cancer, ’nuff said.

    As for the oakland PD. I can understand both sides of that. I remember the incident refered to in the article. A member of the oakland PD shot a man in the back who was a) just an innocent who was in the wrong place, at a train station where a suspect had fled and b) was already handcuffed and lying face down on the ground. I imagine the community is not quite happy about that.

  10. Kristopher says:

    Thinking about going to a coal fired stove … useful if a considered move to Wyoming goes through. Gravty fed, workings are similar to pellet stoves.

    The mines selling coal to powerplants give away nut sized coal to folks in NE Wyoming … they can’t sell it to powerplants.

  11. T.Stahl says:

    “No offense to my Catholic friends, but the Holy Father’s latest statement on condoms and AIDS came straight out of his southbound orifice.”
    You know I’m catholic, but the pope has started to annoy me, so trash him all you like. First the rehabilitation of that Holocaust denier, now his unchanged view upon HIV/AIDS, STD-protection and contraception.

    Do I have to be a member of a shooting association to shoot? No.
    Do I have to be a member of a church to pray? No.

    Guess I’ll soon save myself that church tax.

  12. MarkHB says:

    T.Stahl,

    I don’t have a problem with religious people, any more than I have a problem with people who can see the use of a government.

    What I have a problem with is organised religion using it’s prestige and privilege for ill.

    I don’t care what gh0d you worship, not which political philosophy you follow, as long as when it does wrong you should loudly “THIS IS FUCKED UP!”.

    At which point, you’ll find me hovering on your wing, covering you. Probably in a very noisy manner.

    Sorry. Not built for stealth😉

  13. Gerry N. says:

    If you’re getting a pellet stove, get a small reliable generator to power the auger (and an electric lamp or two) when the power goes out.

  14. Bunnyman says:

    At least in California, J. Random Citizen can walk into a gun store, fill out a 4473, and pick up a gun ten days later. Illinois and Massachusetts, with the FOID and such, are distinctly worse.

    Not that I’m recommending moving here or anything…

  15. John Gall says:

    Pellet stoves –
    You might want to check out the emissions for your chosen unit. I saw an article last week that said the feds were gonna jump on that band wagon. And I’m not fond of the idea of having to use manufactured fuel (companies go out of business). And, like the others before me, having a heat source that depends on our current electrical grid makes me nervous. I wish you luck.

  16. Chip says:

    I like my pellet stove for convenience. I have been running it (Harman Accentra) for 5 years now. The electricity requirement led me to buy a small (1000 watt- sine wave required) generator and I’ve needed it twice. Fuel cost is about 20% higher than wood here, but having 5 tons of pellets in the cellar does bring warm fuzzy feelings. Models vary greatly so do your research. It can be a bit noisy with the blowers on high. Just for giggles I’ve kept the woodstove in the storage shed. You never know.

  17. Jay G. says:

    Marko,

    Thanks so much for attending last night!

    I hope you had a good time despite not being recognized as the world-reknowned Major Caudill…
    🙂

  18. Bob says:

    Marko,
    I do like not having to cut wood. The cost of pellets compared to wood, (if you’re buying), is better. Two years ago the major plant in the Northwest burnt, it was a frenzied scramble to obtain pellets which were being shipped in from Kentucky. An inverter that plugs into the lighter socket in your vehicle will power a pellet stove through power outages, a generator is much better. I get between 24 and 36 hours per bag of pellets depending on what the weather is doing. It’s a lot less mess and ash to deal with.

  19. Gordon says:

    With a pellet stove, you’ll want to find a location off-axis from the blowers for your couch. By the time that draft gets across a room, it does not feel warm. The blowers are noisy. The cleaning and maintenance processes are involved, yet critical to proper burning. If you install the unit in a fireplace, you will have to be able to get behind it somehow, or pull it out for access to oiling points and fly ash traps. The firebrick panels surrounding the burn chamber will disintegrate in a matter of months. Don’t even think about putting in the faux log set. I’d stick with the wood stove.

  20. Rick in NY says:

    Pellet stoves can be very nice, mostly clean, mostly reliable source of heat. The fill once and run for a day or two feature is nice, and they are cleaner than a woodstove. However, two years ago when one of the major pellet factories burned, my next door neighbor was stuck with not being able to use his pellet stove as much as he’d been using it because he was out of pellets.

    If you get one, stock up on pellets during the off-season. It’s cheaper that way, and they don’t go bad unless they get wet. But myself, I’m sticking with a regular woodstove.

  21. Breda says:

    “genuine Interwebs celebrity” – that’s how I think of YOU!

  22. Michael says:

    No offense to my Catholic friends, but the Holy Father’s latest statement on condoms and AIDS came straight out of his southbound orifice. Every available piece of evidence available to us shows that condom use helps prevent HIV infections. (As for his suggested alternative of abstinence…well, that doesn’t even seem to work too well for priests.) Not since Alan Greenspan have I seen someone claiming so much authority on a subject he has so little knowledge about.

    The Pope’s statement on condoms and AIDS transcends just the physical act. Yes, every available piece of evidence available to us shows that condom use helps prevent HIV infections. Key idea there is helps prevent, not guarantees against. Promoting condoms is addressing the problem but ignoring the underlying cause. It is encouraging and trivializing the act. The Pope wants us to view sex as a gift from God to be enjoyed by a couple in marriage. Human beings are capable of thought and reason and as such are supposed to be able to master themselves, not be slaves to animal impulses. Abstinence keeps the sex act “special” and is 100% effective against the transmission of STDs. It also solves the issue of unwanted pregnancies/abortion, emotional “numbing” from sleeping around, et cetera.

    I’ll skip over the cheap shot at priests, but saying the Pope has little knowledge, and therefore, no valid opinion about sex is like saying a male has no business being a gynecologist.

  23. Marko says:

    Bad analogy.

    A male gynecologist is very educated about the subject in both theory and practice, and a gynecologist doesn’t make edicts on the matter of reproduction and contraception that apply to a few hundred million people.

    And my point about priests is quite valid in the context of your statement about abstinence. You’re talking about the strongest biological urge we have, and if any segment of society ought to be able to control those urges, it’s the clergy. If a statistically significant amount of priests cannot maintain that ideal, then it’s probably wishful thinking to believe the mere believers have more fortitude.

    The world is what it is, not what you think it ought to be. Ideally, we ought to be able to control our “animalistic” urges at will, but most humans just aren’t wired that way. To use a different analogy, it’s immoral to tell people to not drive cars, and then prohibit seatbelt use for those that do, because “they shouldn’t have been driving anyway.”

  24. I know that if I was an officer with Oakland PD, I secured a site where three of my colleagues were killed, and I had to endure the taunting of community members, I’d take that star off my chest and hurl it across my supervisor’s table so energetically that it would probably count as ADW. A police force that doesn’t have the support of its community (or worse, has the community actively working against the police) cannot do its job.

    agreed, but I think the police force here has done a few things, even before the shoot–the-handcuffed-guy-in-the-back incident. Even now the police are probably colluding with the judicial branch to smooth things over with the officer who forgot rules 1-3

    It was always the intent, coming from our British common law system, that the highest law enforcement officer would be an elected position, but we’ve strayed away from that.

    Add that in with the jury tampering, the empaneling of only “meat-bots”, the turning of the Grand Juries into a fishing expedition for the prosecution, no-knock search warrants with the accuser’s name sealed, and Fourth Amendment abuses, and here we are.

  25. Pellet Stoves: Most of them can burn corn, so that’s a grown fuel rather than a manufactured one. The stoves had a good payback ratio compared to heat pumps, but I’d have to redo the calculations nowadays since we’ve started to make crappy gas out of corn instead of just making crappy sweetener.

    One thing I noticed right off, you are not planning to rip out every woodstove in the house, so that sounds like a good plan.

    I never got a chance to discover how much juice one of those stoves took. I’d want to know what it would take to keep it going after a power outage. If I could run the thing for 12 hours or so on a deep-cycle battery and an inverter, that could be a plan. I would not have to run the generator 24/7 just to keep warm.

    If the juice issue is too much, I was thinking of just getting a ~$100 kerosene heater to use only in emergencies.

  26. Re: heating in general

    What I really want (and no one seems to make) is a smart box to hook up between the heat pump and the pellet stove.

    I’d set the box like this: power costs about 16.5 cents per KWH, wood pellets cost $X per 1000 BTUs. Then I’d program how warm I want to keep the house at different times of the day and connect an outside thermostat. Done.

    The idea is that the box would decide when the heatpump (which can be like 400% efficient depending on outside temps) would cost me less to run than the pellet stove.

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