Sunday, October 21 2007
In the mail today I received a flyer from a mysterious source urging me to "VOTE ROW B FOR A BETTER HURLEY." The candidates of Row B were then listed: Supervisor: Gary S. Bellows, Councilman: John Gill [a member of the Gill corn-growing dynasty], Councilperson: Barbara Zell, Town Clerk: Shirley Paley, Superintendent of Highways: Clyde Russell, Town Justice: John Parker, and Town Justice: Steven B. Nekos [owner of the Hurley Mountain Inn, who reputedly once gave his Mexican dishwashers a single bottle of tequila to share as a Christmas present].
The flyer then attacked the incumbents for voting themselves pay raises and other minor financial matters to which incumbents are inherently vulnerable.
I looked the flyer over several times and never found the name of the party to which this slate of challengers belonged, and it took Gretchen to find it (it was written in tiny letters in one place and obscured by a psychedelically-glowing elephant in another) once she got back from the City. Column B is the Republican column, and they're seeking to undo the damage that happened two years ago when their asses were handed to them by Democrats riding on a then-nascent nationwide wave of anti-Republican revulsion. At this point the Republican brand is so tainted that even in Republican literature the word "Republican" appears in a nine point font.
Traditionally, Hurley has been a Republican stronghold, but the character of the township has changed dramatically since 9Eleven, as a large numbers of liberals from the City (us included) have moved in.
My new solar flat-plate hydronic panel was provided with the least-convenient of interfaces, both structural and operational. I've already dealt with the operational (plumbing) interfaces, lathing out brass fittings having standard hose threading and soldering them in place. For the past week or so I've been working on the panel's gross-structural interface, the actual load-bearing carpentry of the solar deck annex. Today I turned my attention to the details of that interface.
Structurally, the problem with the new panel is that it has no support tabs or threaded holes of any sort. Instead there are a pair of slots running the entire outside-circumference of its aluminum frame. These slots are each about a quarter inch wide, and one of them is undercut somewhat to allow a bent tab to be inserted, rotated into position, and then bolted down, perhaps on a perforated girder positioned behind the panel. To interface with this awkward slot-based system, I couldn't just use bolts and perforated girders. I'd have to bend flattened steel bars into precision shapes and then drill holes in them so they'd match up with the holes in the backing girder.
I spent hours making these special metal pieces and bolting them in place, although I wasn't entirely confident in their load-bearing capabilities. This was problematic, since my plan for lifting the panel up to the solar deck involved hauling upward on ropes tied to the backing girders. This will stress the support system far more than it would ever be stressed once installed, but if a girder should slip off during the lift it would spell disaster - both for the eighty pound panel and anyone pushing from below.
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