Announcing the Happy Homeowner Series

My wife and I have done a lot of remodeling work on our houses over the years, so I thought it would be helpful to others to share some of our experiences with other (would be) DIYers (do-it-yourselfers) out there. And frankly, it’s an opportunity for me to get back into at least semi-regular blog writing, which is something I’ve missed.

Just a word or three about the whole DIY thing. We are strong believers in DIY, mostly for the obvious reasons: You can save significant money, you get complete control over your projects, and you get the sometimes enormous satisfaction from completing a job. These benefits comes at a (non-monetary) price, even assuming you get the desired results the first time. You have to do the work (duh), but you also frequently have the additional step of educating yourself about individual tasks. I often feel like one of the characters in the Matrix movie franchise, who get an instant download into their brain of how to pilot a helicopter or whatever. Now if only I can find a way to have a USB socket or Bluetooth chip installed in my head to make the download process a bit faster than Googling things and reading dozens of web sites.


As this series continues, I plan to talk about a lot of things, from specific tasks, like replacing lights and ceiling fans or installing nail-down hardwood flooring to the right way to paint a room, to more general concepts like how to decide whether some improvement or repair is a good DIY candidate or if it’s a job for a professional, and how to deal with all the “helpful” information you’ll find online about how to do various jobs. I’ll also throw in some stories about our personal Happy Homeowner Adventures, a name I give to our ongoing remodeling and repair work, and the source of the name of this series.

So, I hope this is a valuable resource for at least a few people out there.

Some voting thoughts

Now that we’re just getting to the serial horrors of having IdiotBoy in the White House with Republican majorities in the House and Senate — and yes, I’m thinking primarily about the horrific budget they unveiled just last night and the signaling they’re already doing that to contain the massive deficit they’re running up they will (surprise!) want to massively cut programs which benefit the bottom 99% of the country, especially the poor –I would like to address a few, no doubt overlapping, groups:


the people who didn’t bother to vote in November 2016 because you were too lazy or you tried to tell yourselves and the world that “both parties are the same” or some other obviously false notion;

the people who voted for IdiotBoy to amuse yourself (a.k.a. indulged in electoral masturbation) because you “knew there was no way he could win”;

the people who actually wanted IdiotBoy to win because you’re a racist piece of shit who simply had to have your revenge for this country having a scandal-free black presidency for eight years;

the people who were stupid enough to believe literally decades of lies pushed by right-wing media about the Clintons;

the people who thought you were some sort of game theory mastermind who was smarter than everyone else in the room and had figured out that it was actually a good idea to vote third party;

the people who had their underwear in a knot because Sanders lost the nomination and refused to vote for Hillary Clinton;

the people who otherwise didn’t have the common sense of the average tub of cottage cheese and never realized that with someone as manifestly awful as IdiotBoy running, the only rational course of action was to vote for Hillary Clinton,

I say:

Fuck you.

We’re headed into very tough times for anyone not in the top 1%, quite possibly with a big ol’ steaming constitutional crisis ladled on top, with a side order of federal government dysfunction like nothing any of us has ever seen. And it is all your fault. You had to throw away your chance to do the obvious, simple right thing for yourself, your loved ones, and your country, and you fucked it up.

But all is not lost. As the recent Senate election in Alabama shows, we can learn. Yes, it took an overwhelming effort by the African American community in that state to just barely defeat one of the most loathsome candidates memory, and said vile creature got large majorities of the white vote. But Alabama and the US got the right result, which makes it something to build on.

And that brings me to what needs to happen next. We need all you people who treat voting like a drinking game to pull your head out of your ass, act like responsible adults, and vote for candidates that will start to fix this relentless shitstorm the Republicans have unleashed.

Will enough of you do it? I have no bloody idea.


…what are we doing here, anyway?

For a long time, and somewhat intermittently, I wrote for a blog on this site called The Cost of Energy. It was focused on energy and climate issues, which I did and certainly still do think are critically important for all of humanity.

But then, life intervened, I stopped blogging, and I increasingly wished I were blogging again about energy, climate, and other things. Insert comment here about the addictive nature of soapboxes, and all that.

After much thought, I decided to blow up TCoE and start fresh, with a more generalized focus, i.e. whatever the hell I wanted to talk about in any given post. My free time hasn’t increased much, if any, in the last few months, so I don’t know how often I’ll show up here, drag my soapbox to the center of the room, climb up on it, and howl. And I’m still making up my mind about some non-trivial things, like post comments, which you may have noticed are not allowed at the moment, a contact email, etc. But while the pondering daemon is churning away on those details I can still kick things off, warm up my creaking writing muscles, and see if this feels more like Going Home or Something I Used To Be and Have Left Behind.

And in case anyone wonders, the humongous photo at the top of this page was taken by me, in the Finger Lakes area of NY State.

Getting my WordPress legs back…

…seems like it will be more of a chore than I expected.

For all the considerable wonderfulness of WP, setting up a new site to look and act exactly the way you want requires a lot of fiddling with theme settings. I had forgotten how much work and frustration this entails; you can find an absurd number of themes that are pretty close to the look you want, only to discover how hard it is to make the last few tweaks to colors or fonts to fine tune the appearance. Ugh.

So, expect to see a lot of changes in this site’s look and feel as I find the time to adjust things here and there. I promise, this will hurt just a little…


…ain’t this a hell of a thing?

After all this time, this site is alive again (assuming a fairly broad definition of “alive”, obviously…).