mysterious ten inches
Friday, May 2 2014
Firewood salvaging is a good way to get the blood flowing in the morning, and so I salvaged a heavy (~100 pound) load from rather far from home (41.923035N, 74.102097W) this morning when I took the dogs for a walk. Climbing the steep side trail up to Stick Trail with that load was exhausting, and I was sure I would need to sit down and rest once I got to the top of the grade (41.923387N, 74.102912W), but I quickly recovered once I started walking on the Stick Trail, which is nearly level. This demonstrates that "resting" is a relative thing, and even walking with a 100 backpack on level terrain is resting when compared to climbing a 25 degree grade with that same burden. Closer to home, though, I had to sit down and take a break, though it was more to respond to the little discomforts of the pack than to the burden of carrying it.
I spent much of the day doing the thankless work of transposing measurements from the house and solar and laboratory decks to the diagram of a west elevation I am drawing in Adobe Illustrator. At some point I ran into a strange mystery: the difference in elevation between the laboratory deck and laboratory floor is about 31 inches, but according to the way the numbers added up on my diagram, the difference should have only been 21 inches. Where were those missing ten inches? Perhaps the southeast support pillar on the solar deck was reaching a point on the roof that was somewhat higher than the support pillar beneath it (a White Oak 4X4 inside the laboratory). But I did some careful measurements and showed that not to be the case. I quickly found a source for some of the missing inches: the difference in a vertical cross-section of a 2X10 when it is level (9.25 inches) and when (as it does when serving as a rafter in the laboratory roof) it slopes at 45 degrees. I accounted for four more inches there, and a perhaps another couple inches by accounting for the drywall, half-inch roof decking, and shingles (all thickened somewhat by being sloped at 45 degrees). But I still had five or six inches that I couldn't account for. Then it occurred to me: the solar deck slopes southward by a non-trivial amount. I took a level and laid it on the solar deck and quickly saw that the inches I needed could be found just by making the deck diagram slope southward by the amount that it slopes in real life. I'd been hoping my diagram could represent a more idealized solar deck, but to get the numbers to be accurate, it was clear that I was going to have to rotate the deck 1.5 degrees clockwise (while keeping all of its support pillars plumb). Why, you ask, does the deck slope southward by 1.5 degrees? It all goes back to the little imprecisions that result when the foundation of a structure attaches to a surface sloping at 45 degrees. (If I were to do it again, I would run solid one-piece pillars up through holes cut in the roof, and then I would have flashed those pillars to make their connection to the roof watertight.)
By early this evening, I needed another break from the arduous Adobe Illustrator work I had been doing, so Ramona and I went a bit further than usual west of the Farm Road and I gathered a second load of salvaged firewood.
This evening ended up being heavy on the television watching. After watching the first episode of this season's Mad Men, Shark Tank, and eventually a Nova (thanks David Koch!) called "Inside Animal Minds." As often do, I fell asleep on the couch in the teevee room.
I awoke in the middle of the night to Ramona bounding onto my chest. In the half light, I could see something on her face, but when I went to brush it away, she freaked out and began frantically pawing at her face. I knew right away that the problem was that she'd been quilled by a porcupine. I turned on the swing lamp to see how bad it was, and it was pretty bad. The quills were all over her nose and lips, there was spray of them on her cheek, and several in one of her paws.
I woke Gretchen up and it was obvious to both of us that we needed to take her to the emergency vet. A couple hours (and $380) later, Ramona was groggy but quill-free. I'd taken an Ambien in hopes of getting back to sleep. For some reason, though, I made the mistake of downloading some "free" window management software (in hopes of solving the problem of my windows always vanishing off-screen) while under Ambien's effects. That's a terrible idea. The world of "free" software is nothing more than an ugly cesspit of people trying to install advertisement hooks, key capture software, and proxy servers on the computers of the unsuspecting. You're better off downloading and installing unscanned pirated software directly from Bittorrent.
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