It’s kinda ridiculous how much time I have spent today trying to think of something to put on this blog. And yet, this was the best I could come up with. The worst part is, I haven’t even finished the Guitar Build post I’ve been working on for two days. What’s the deal? I used to be able to do this, hell, most of the time I was flying by the seat of my pants.

What to Write?
What to Write?

I reached out to a drywall guy on Facebook Marketplace about finishing the drywall in my garage. He said he could get to it the second week of October. I had to tell him that I appreciated him getting back with me, but that even as slow as I am at drywall, even I could have it done by October. I had better have it done by October.

I’m happy enough with the Fender Play online guitar course that I’ve renewed it for another year. It seems to be the course that is setting the standard, based on the reviews I’ve read. And since I’m not taking in person lessons any longer in keeps me on a lesson path. The problem with YouTube is that I tend to skip around all over the place doing the fun stuff and not having any rhyme or reason to my practice time. So, for the next 12-months I’ll be dedicating myself to the Fender system and see how much I can learn and how much improvement I can make. I aim for at least 30-minutes a day of practice and most days I get that in.

I’ve been using Instagram lately. Not sure why, just started putting up a picture of something I’ve made each day. We’ll see how long that keeps up.

I’ve been having issues with my external monitors. Not sure if it’s the monitors, my new Pixelbook, or the usb adaptor. I’ve had both monitors working for brief periods of time. I’ve replaced the MCY adaptor with two different types. This morning I got fed up and have gone down to a single monitor, well, two if you include the Pixelbook screen (which I mostly don’t). It’s going to take some getting used to. I’ve been using dual monitors for a lot of years.

Enough rambling for today. Tomorrow you’ll get a long post about building a guitar kit. Later.

I’m trying this again. Probably, you figured that out already, as this site has been back up since April. This time around I’m using DreamHost as my web hosting provider. I picked out one of their dedicated WordPress plans. As part of that plan I have access to the BoldGrid website builder, which I’m unfamiliar with and works differently than anything I’ve used before. Plus, everything seems to have moved to blocks, something else I don’t have a lot of experience with. I’m telling you all this as a heads-up that things may change unexpectedly as I learn about new features and/or break the site.

Every post prior to this post is subject to the rigors and foibles of relocating a poorly backed-up and organized website. Some images are missing. Some images are broken. I’m sure there are a bunch of links that go nowhere. References to pages and things that may not exist any longer. It’s a mess back there. You’ve been warned. I’m sure I’ll get some of those posts fixed and some of them never will be. I’m not going to lie, there’s a part of me that wants to go back and start with the first post and fix everything… wouldn’t it be nice to have a nice clean back-up… but that is a project that will probably never happen. There are a lot of posts back there.

Lets just move forward and see how things go.

Ronn

I made it through the Covid-19 plague of 2020 without getting the disease, without losing my job, and without getting any time off. It was a bit of a scramble in places, I used up all my PTO filling holes in my work week, and a lot of my clients shut down, but mostly things just kept on keeping on. 

This year has been an adventure in getting old and falling apart. Probably, not being in great shape has contributed to this. A couple trips to the hospital started the year off; once for an infection in my leg and once for a bad allergic reaction… Yes. They were related. No. Neither visit resolved the problem. Really, I spent a lot of this years PTO in the first two or three months of the year dealing with a swollen leg. They did an outpatient procedure on the veins in that leg a couple weeks back and things are definitely improving.

Most of my projects around the house have been impacted by this series of medical inconveniences that have kept me hobbling around, so not much has gotten done. Though, I will say that the period where I was on Prednisone steroids was a wild ride. I attribute the completed craft/guest room to those drugs.

I’ll do a post on that room and the process sometime in the near future, but here’s a peek at how things turned out. One side of the room is a bed and side table set up for guests. The other side of the room and the closet are set up for crafting projects. There’s a computer (which is hooked up to the vinyl cutter in the closet), shelves full of crafting supplies and tools, a steel table on one side and a laminated top for the other. The closet doors are sheathed with a metal sheet and then painted with chalkboard paint, and then my paint rack is attached to one side. There are shelves in the closet full of other stuff and a shelving unit against the back wall with even more bits and bobs. I’m very happy with the whole thing, but I need to address the terrible lighting in this room. It seems fine, right up until you try to do any sort of project.

Here’s a peek.

Should work nicely for my statue work, miniature painting, and whatever else. That window came in handy when I was putting polycrylic on my guitar project… it let me get rid of the fumes. That’s another post for another time.

So, I’m back. The website is back. Things will continue on as they have in the past; intermittent posts, unrealized projects, and crazy ideas are all forthcoming. Let me know if there is anything you’d like to see, questions you want answered, or things that are unacceptably broken around here. Thanks for reading. Later.

One of the biggest problems I’ve always had with my website is that I don’t honestly know what I’m trying to project or have a cohesive message. Initially the brand was me, Ronn McCarrick, and then the brand became arohen and I’ve toyed with things like Blackmoon, Rampant Lion, Creative Investigator, 120nn HomeStudios, and 274 Studio. It is entirely possible that I just like coming up with names and logos.

But I don’t really have a product that I’m selling. The only real draw is me and my thoughts and interests. And, unfortunately, I’m not particularly intelligent or even particularly deep. I tend to flutter from topic to topic and from thought to thought without taking the time to structure or organize or plan so the entire endeavor has an underlying chaotic nature to it.

So what do I put on my homepage? I certainly couldn’t say all that, because that does not inspire you to continue reading. I would hope that I am at least somewhat entertaining, but I don’t I don’t think that this website is particularly humorous. My blogs are not quite rants, thorough, even me being angry would be entertaining. But that’s not what I’m doing. The podcast is just an overly long, rambling, stream of conscious on various things. And I never really know what to do with the videos, because, to make effective videos you really need a degree of planning, editing, and an investment in time, which I never seem to have.

 

Well, I put on jeans today to work on the garage for the first time this season. I guess winter really is coming and summer is over. Bummer.

installed back door to garage
stripped hall doors
removed window and installed wall HVAC unit
painted laundry room

I’m trying to make a decision about the future of this website. My hosting is up for renewal and if I don’t renew things will go dark on November 13th. For the first time in a lot of years, I’m considering letting that happen. I haven’t posted since my birthday in August (and that wasn’t much of a post), prior to that it was just images on Saturdays until that queue went dry. I’ve made a conscious decision to step away over the last few months, just to see what it felt like to not post–to not have a website. It wasn’t bad. It wasn’t good. It was just something I didn’t do for a bit.

painted living room

I guess what I’m asking is, does it matter to anyone but me? I pretty-much already know the answer to this question. But I’m still struggling with the idea of letting it go.

anniversary picnic

There are other hosting options, both paid and free, but that’s not thinking right now. What I’m thinking about is, do I want to have a website or not? Is it worth the time, money, and effort? Are there other things that I could dedicate those three things too that I would get more reward from? I have a few weeks left, but I just thought I would share my dilemma with you.

guitar practice

Should I stay or should I go?

more guitar practice

Just a quick update on all the home renovation going on around these parts. They’re still working on fencing in the backyard. They’re working hard, but I can’t get them to put a full day in and just get it done. Last night they completed most of it, but there are still a few slats that need to be put up and they haven’t built the gate yet. They ran out of slats so I can’t blame them for that and I made them resize the gate, so that’s probably my fault. But it just was not going to be big enough. Word is that it will all get completed today.

finished and half-finished

I wrote parts of this earlier, the latest update is that, the fence guy could not find pickets or lumber to finish up. He’s going to try and get back here tomorrow, Friday at the latest. Well, at least with my garbage can gate I can put the dog out without putting him on the leash.

Monday they dropped the shingles on the roof and all the extras in my front yard. This morning the roofers showed up before 7:00 a.m. and before I was even out of the shower. So there was a bit of a scramble to get dressed, move cars, and calm the dog down. But by the time I had was ready to leave for work at 8:00 a.m., 3/4 of the shingles were already off of the roof. They told me the roof would take 2 days and at this point I would be surprised is they weren’t done early.

before
after

Done in one day. They started at 7 a.m. and when I got home at 5 p.m. half the crew was cleaning up and the other half were finishing up the little details. A different crew will be coming by tomorrow to put up the gutters. Amazing how fast a crew of 6 or 8 guys can get something like this done. They came back and picked up the trailer at about quarter to nine.

We’ve already put the plants back on the patio. I should hire more things done. This DIY stuff takes to long.

Inside the house, Lady Ronn and I have been just as busy prepping and painting the front room and the hallway for paint. We’ve taken down the light fixtures, patched and sanded the rough bits, and painted the ceiling. Which is always the worst part of painting, except all the other worst parts. With that done we’ve moved on to drywall patching the spots where the thermostat and doorbell used to be, fixing all the minor imperfections, edging in the walls, and painting the trim. It’s not going as fast as we had hoped, but it looks pretty good.

I installed a fancy, aluminum hose reel on the back of the house. I used to have a plastic one there but it did not hold up very well. Hopefully, I won’t hit this one and tear it off the wall with the riding mower.

In unrelated news, The unemployment claim for Lady Ronn was closed on the 20th and she was told to refile. Not sure what that’s all about, but we took care of that last night as well. Not sure if that means she won’t get a check this week.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there.

My Father’s Day gift this year was a cordless leaf blower that works with the same battery that my string trimmer uses. It was an added bonus that the box was a trainwreck and so the folks over at Home Depot gave me $25 off the price. Nice.

I played around with it a bit and it works nicely at normal speed, but the turbo button kicks it into high and the high pitched scream of the thing makes you wish for ear protection. Works great. Hard on the ears. I didn’t play around with it enough to say what the battery life is like, but the string trimmer will do my yard trimming twice over before it needs to be recharged, so I’m expecting it to be pretty good.

RYOBI 110 MPH 500 CFM 40-Volt Cordless Variable-Speed Jet Fan Leaf Blower

I’m still missing the chainsaw in this line, but that isn’t something I really have much use for right now. But I kinda want it.

A friend asked me, today, if I was playing guitar. I had to laugh, because, I don’t really play the guitar, so much as I practice the guitar. To play infers some degree of musicality to the thing. There is really very little music being made here. But, yes, I continue to wrestle with this project I’ve embarked on to learn to play the guitar. I’m working on simple bar chords and the G and C chords and transitioning between the two. I’m not finding it particularly easy. I think I’ve hit the first wall. Really, what I need to work on is timing and counting out my measures. I’ve been a little frustrated and I must admit that I haven’t dedicated near as much time as I promised myself. I was told by Guitar Center that it may be August or October before they start in person lessons again, so I really need to rededicate myself and get on top of this whole discipline thing.

I think my fingers are getting better, but I am not a “natural” guitarist. This is all work and not much fun. Enjoyable, but not fun.

I’ve started a series of summer projects that I’m contracting out. I put a deposit down on getting my roof replaced. Should get done in the next 3-weeks or so. I’m having the same company, Avalon, replace my chain link fence with a pine, shadowbox privacy fence. That starts this coming Thursday. And I’m getting the electrical box, meter, and drop upgraded to a 200 amp circuit. Oh, and I’m getting a breaker panel added to the garage as well. That was supposed to have happened last Thursday, but storms in the area caused the utility to cancel the appointment due to address outages. Very excited about getting all that done.

I’ve got plans drawn up for a 12 x 20 shed with an attached 8 x 8 greenhouse and a 4-foot wide porch. The plan also includes screening in the covered patio and building a deck over the open patio. The deck will extend 6-feet past the existing patio and wrap along the side of the covered patio. I’m going to have to get a permit for all that work. You know what… here’s a picture. That’ll save a thousand words.

the red items are the changes/additions

Oh, and because I haven’t put enough on my plate, I’m just waiting for the inspection on the electrical stuff before adding a door and drywalling the garage. Maybe then I can get the garage put back together and get the car back inside. And of course, I really am getting motivated to get the laundry room and common area of the basement finished, primed, and painted.

We picked up paint for the front room and plants for the planters at Home Depot on Saturday. Those are things that probably need to be done as well.

I’ve got a lot of plans. Maybe too many plans. It’ll be fine. Later.

I broke down and turned on the air conditioning yesterday. Looking at the weather page for yesterday says that we hit 84 degrees, but I seem to remember the outdoor reading being higher than that on the thermostat. And when the thermostat in the house hit 89, well, that was too much. I broke down and turned on the AC. Today, we hit 89… so, yeah. Summer has come to my neighborhood early.

Today, I received both my first and second legitimate air conditioning service calls. I had one last week, but that was a service disconnect that needed to be turned on, that doesn’t really count. The two I received today were legit, somethings broken calls. Of course they both came in in the afternoon, both in Lansing, and I could only get to one of them. And the one I went too, what with the covid stay at home orders, there was no one on the second floor to let me onto the roof. Don’t it just figure. Needless to say, I’ll be running the same two calls tomorrow. Along with another, lighting call, I scheduled last week.

When it rains it pours.

We tried to get over the heat by getting out the electric power washer we bought last year and cleaning the back patio. First time using it and I was a bit disappointed with the initial impressions. I was ready to write it off as a waste of $140. It was very inconsistent and spitty. But once it was placed on a nice level surface it performed a lot better. Apparently, it being level and upright is very important. In the end it worked pretty well.

it didn’t look that dirty… amazing change
level and upright is important
amazon deal of the day from last year some time

However, the o-ring on the handle failed when Lady Ronn went to use it today to finish the job. I’ll need to pick up an o-ring kit at the hardware store to get it working again. Or rather, to keep it from spraying water all over the user. Annoying, but not a terrible setback. Here is some pressure washer porn… that’s a thing I’ve heard pics like this called on other websites. Later

I saw a post on Facebook the other day claiming that the three greatest U.S. presidents were Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and Donald Trump. While I don’t agree with that list, it did get me wondering. So who are the three greatest presidents? I would guess that Lincoln is on that list, and while I liked Reagan, I’m betting he’s not. Trump. Well, I’m guessing that as a sitting president, your presidency can’t be judged until you’re out of office. But I did find a ranking of the presidents done by C-Span which was done in 2000, 2009, and most recently in 2017, that feels legit to me.

The C-SPAN Historians Survey of Presidential Leadership worked with a team of historians to organization, execute, and analyze this survey. All the details are on their site, but it’s basically that panel of historians and 91 survey participants that create this list. The whole thing is based on rating the presidents on 10 qualities of presidential leadership. I’m sure if you took a different group of 91 participants some of the results would be different, but this one feels pretty unbiased to me.

So, the initial question of who is the greatest president is… Abraham Lincoln. He took the top spot in each of the three years this thing has been done. Seems like a no brainer to me, but were off to a good start. So who were the top five.

201720092000PRESIDENTPARTYYEARS
111Abraham LincolnRep18601864
223George Washingtonn/a17881792
332Franklin D. RooseveltDem1932193619401944
444Theodore RooseveltRep19001904
589Dwight D. EisenhowerRep19521956
highest ranked presidents

Eisenhower seems to have had a bit of a jump there, but I don’t really know much about him. Perennial favorite Thomas Jefferson has been ranked 7th in all three years of this survey. You can see all of the results on the website. My next question was, how do the presidents of my lifetime stack up? Have I born witness to great leadership or middling administration? So, I was born in 1968… Sitting presidents don’t get ranked… Ah, here we go.

201720092000PRESIDENTPARTYYEARS
101110Lyndon B. JohnsonDemn/a1964
282725Richard NixonRep19681972
252223Gerald FordRepn/a 
262522Jimmy CarterDem1976 
91011Ronald ReaganRep19801984
201820George H.W. BushRep1988 
151521Bill ClintonDem19921996
3336 —George W. BushRep20002004
12 — —Barack ObamaDem20082012
 ——  —Donald TrumpRep2016 
presidents in my lifetime

I don’t remember much politics before Carter v Reagan. I wanted Carter to win because I liked peanuts and there was a bunch of talk about Reagan starting war, which didn’t seem cool to my 11-year-old brain. I ended up being rather fond of both Reagan and then Bush. I don’t remember much about their politics, but they both seemed like good men. Clinton… well, I was listening to Rush Limbaugh at that time, so you can guess what sort on shit I was hearing. Bush seemed like he was caught up in the machine that got him elected, but became a stronger president in his second term. Still, he seemed like a good man. Obama, really liked him, he was the first time I voted Democratic party and he is both eloquent inspirational. I didn’t want Trump or Clinton in 2016. Bad choices, that’s what we were given. And look where we are. It’s a tough job and I wouldn’t want to do it, especially given that your every action is weighed in public. And I still believe that for the most part, people who seek power are typically not the people you would choose to wield it. Anyway, that’s my political history.

So, Reagan and Trump do not make the top three on either list. But, Trump is still in office, so he may pull out a surprise in the next survey and unseat Washington or Roosevelt, seems unlikely that he’ll get the top spot above Lincoln. Looking at the big list, it seems that history is kind to the president, and they tend to rise as we get a little distance from their time in office. I can’t speak to most of this list, as I’m no presidential scholar, but I expect that Obama will rise into the top ten, Reagan will probably stay there as well, and nobody on my lifetime list will be affected by Trump’s eventual rating. Looks like this is an every 10ish years thing, so it’ll be a goodly bit before they do it again and either confirm or deny my suspicions.

Whether you vote for the leader you want or simply vote for change, the important thing is to vote. Not voting is not a protest, not voting is letting other people choose for you. Do you want me making decisions for you? Because I will, if you let me. Later.

I’m going to ramble and rant for a bit here. I really need to stay away from the news… It must be Saturday.

Look, insisting on your rights without acknowledging your responsibilities isn’t freedom, it’s adolescence. You have rights, sure. But those rights are to protect you from the government. Not from me. You can say anything you want and the government can’t prosecute you. Me. I may punch you in the mouth, call you an idiot, or sue you for defamation, liable, or just to cost you the price of defending yourself. You can carry a weapon in public, but if you come into my home or onto my property, I can tell you to get the fuck out of my space. Your rights don’t infringe on mine. My rights don’t infringe on yours. You give me my rights, I’ll give you yours, and maybe this world will be better. But really, rather than worrying about rights, maybe the golden rule would be a better way for us to get along. You don’t want me to give you shit, don’t give me shit.

You will successfully unfuck the fucking fuck you fucked when you were trying to unfuck the other fucking fuck you fucked. The number of fucks and unfucks involved is un-fucking-believable.

rattrap2474

I don’t have an issue with politics, political parties, or politicians. What I have an issue with is dishonesty, xenophobia, and science denial. There is just something about either being ignorant of, or simply ignoring, constitutional norms and not caring about the role the U.S.A. plays in a hard and very complicated world that rubs me the wrong way. I choose not to support those who behave like criminals, traitors, and racists. Those things offend me and they should offend you. These people claim to love America, but that’s not a basis for anything. Lots of people love America. Their love of America is not a basis for their actions. The path that we’re on is basically removing our influence on the world, and turning over the power of that influence to other nations that will make different decisions than we will. When we don’t like those decisions, we need to remember that we made the choice to remove ourselves from the process.

Trump needs this pandemic to go away so he can get the economy restarted. So he has social media agents putting forth astroturf movements to reopen America as he announces a miracle cure that will be available “soon.” He doesn’t realize that reopening America right now will result in a second wave, just like with the Spanish Flu. He’d need foresight for that, and he has proven all his life that he refuses to think things all the way through.

Saborlas

This administration is absolutely, provably dishonest. I judge you not for your choice of political party, but for your fanatical support of the demagoguery at play here. We’re looking at a decided lack of morals, ethics, and humanity that reflects very poorly on this country. History will not judge us favorably during these times. Do we really seek to show our greatness by demonizing the press that keeps us informed, holds our politicians to account, and reveals to us the secrets our leaders wish to keep from us? Or is it the blissful ignorance of science denial that will lead us back to the greatness of a time before vaccines, peer review, and the scientific method? Because knowing a thing may tell us we’re wrong, we should therefore seek to not know? This is wrong thinking on such a enormous scale as to be certain to lead us to destruction.

How sad it must be – believing that scientists, scholars, historians, economists, and journalists have devoted their entire lives to deceiving you, while a reality TV star with decades of fraud and exhaustively documented lying is your only beacon of truth and honesty.

@christophurious

So the CDC has come out and said that the virus doesn’t spread as easily from surfaces as they first thought. Does that make them liars and part of the great conspiracy? Nope. That makes them scientists reevaluating the situation based on new research and findings. Besides, who cares about surfaces when this thing is also airbourne and nobody is wearing masks. Probably you’ll suck it in before you stick it in your mouth with a dirty finger. It also sounds like the increased humidity of the summer may not slow it down as much as hoped, given the large percentage of people still susceptible to the virus. You may think it’s over, but I’m not so sure. I think we’ll be living with this for a long time to come. I don’t have any answers to all the issues, but wearing a mask seems like a not unreasonable thing to do.

a scientific theory is not what you think it is

scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not “guesses” but reliable accounts of the real world.

Generally, I’m at the stage in my life where I don’t care enough about whatever you’re all hot and bothered about that I won’t argue with you. I keep myself out of that shit. You want to tell me 1+1=5, you’re absolutely correct. I may even nod along with you. I think you’re an idiot, but I’m not going to engage you on your nonsense. People are going to believe what they believe and I’m not going to change anyone’s mind. This is just me flying my flags. Stay safe. Don’t be a dick. Be good to those you come across. Enjoy the holiday weekend. Later.