Thursday, September 11, 2014

Three short picture essays

I was told there would be blogging days like this.  The serious bloggers are writing about 9/11.  There is nothing I can add that would not dilute or diminish the gravity of Manhattan, the Pentagon and Benghazi.

Lacking suitable words I decided to publish a few pictures to serve as a reminder that there are still many things that are under our control.  And if they seem trite or "small", then accept these pictures as a short diversion for when the weight of the day becomes too great of a burden.



Securing windows


Those with great power also have great responsibility.  -Uncle Ben (Spiderman)

Some of us keep firearms in our house.  There are many responsibilities that go with having that power. One cluster of those responsibilities revolves around designing your house so you have a "crisp" signal commanding you to escalate to potentially lethal means.
  1. Does the person who might appear to be "invading" your home actually telegraph nefarious intent?
  2. Have I eliminated the possibly that the person who appears to be "invading" might be a child sneaking in after a party?
  3. Do I have a workable plan that will give me sufficient time to get all of the inhabitants of the house behind my chosen firing line?
One solid preparation is to install slide-stops on the windows.  Kubota pointed out that any reasonably strong guy can bust through the cheesy, vinyl window.  I agreed, but then I explained that any person who defeats the slide-stops by breaking the window answered the three questions to his disadvantage.

I don't have slide-stops on all my windows (yet) but I addressed the ones that are at a "step over" height.

Picture from the outside.  The sill is about 24 inches above the cement slab

The slide-stop is 5/4 decking material secured with two, 3 3/4 inch deck screws

A common recommendation is to allow a 6 inch (150mm) gap.  We went with 5.5"

You have to install one at the top as well.
The truly paranoid will use screws with two different heads, say a star and a square drive based on the belief that most burglars do not carry tool boxes with them.  I went with really long screws knowing that the burglar would either get bored or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Securing doors



The handi-dandy door closer.  The spring element prevents slamming.  Water bottle is infinitely adjustable for weight.  Gatorade bottles work best as they have a "waist" that facilitates tying rope.

I am constantly complaining about our kid's inability to close doors.  Mrs ERJ tells me that they will never learn to close doors as long as gravity absolves them of the task.  I guess their spouses will have their work cut out for them.

Jelly Update


Squeezed out onto a dinner plate to assess texture.


God bless kind people.  This jelly did not set as stiffly as I like.  I suspect it was because the apple-crabs were dead ripe and a little low on pectin.

Pectin is a magical substance.  Not only is it responsible for the "jell" in jelly, it was the *pect* in kaopectate.  It is the St. Peter of the botanical apothecary.  In a dreadful mis-quote of Matt 16:19, Pectin binds what is lose and loosens what is bound.

This should hold us until next year.


The mom of one of Kubota's friends showed up to pick up her kid.  I gave her a pint of the runny jam, apologizing for its looseness.  She thanked me profusely saying, "Oh, wow!  This is just like my mom used to make!"  I don't know if she was blowing smoke but it sure made me feel good.  I tucked that phrase away for when I receive a gift that the giver wishes were just a little bit better.

These wide mouthed ketchup bottles are equipped with sphincter valves.  I warmed the jam a little bit in the microwave and decanted to this bottle.  So far it has been a slick way to apply jam to sandwiches and pancakes.  The runniness is a virtue when using this kind of dispenser.

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