A Daily Diatribe by a Pompous Git

Who is that fat bastard? A Sturm's Eye View, Guaranteed Free of Harmful, or Potentially Harmful Chemicals -- but Watch Out for the Ideas! Some of them are Contagious! 

A journal of sorts to record Jonathan Sturm's (and others') thoughts and observations on things worth thinking about. Feedback welcome, but be aware that unless you prominently say you want your communication kept private, I may publish it.

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Monday 3 September 2001

No post today.

Thought for the day:

No thought either.


Tuesday 4 September 2001

My problem with FrontPage 2000 that I mentioned last week is partially solved. Whenever I make changes to my home page, index.htm, FrontPage appears to create a new file index.html. The problem is fixed by deleting index.htm and renaming index.html to index.htm. Why it's doing this is a puzzle that I cannot find the time to pursue.

The video artefacts issue appears to have been solved by updating my VIA drivers with the latest 4in1. I was at 4.24 and updated to 4.32.

I still haven't gotten around to installing the replacement hard disk in my workstation and transferring the drive it replaces to the server. Spring is in the air and this not so young man's fancy turns to anything but computers. Like finishing The House of Steel and gardening.

Thought for the day:

The little I know of it has not served to raise my opinion of what is vulgarly called the "Monied Interest;" I mean, that blood-sucker, that muckworm, that calls itself "the friend of government."

William Pitt the Elder


Wednesday 5 September 2001

One of the reasons for my lack of posts this week is due to my trying to solve a rather pressing conundrum. I cannot mortgage The House of Steel to generate the necessary funds for its completion unless I hire a registered builder. I would be paying the registered builder for no other purpose than to obtain the mortgage. A person with the IQ of a fencepost would know that what I need right now is a bit of cash and a joiner to do the cabinet work for the kitchen and laundry.

Strangely, even though the bank says my House of Steel has no value for mortgage purposes unless I engage a registered builder, I have insured the house for $A220,000. I have spent some $A130,000 to get to this stage. Presumably I would be able to take a clear profit of $A90,000 if the house were to accidentally burn down. Then I could build the house once more, and using the expertise I have gained over the last twelve months, rebuild it to completion for somewhat less than the original projected $A150,000.

Ideally, I would prefer to only burn down about $A15,000 worth of it. I have no particular desire to go through the whole exercise again, no matter how profitable it may be.

Thought for the day:

The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.

Oscar Wilde


Thursday 6 September 2001

Robert Morgan writes:

Insure the bank, then set fire to it (preferably while manager is inside (and take out life insurance on him too!)).

Is it possible to buy the piece of paper that says you're a registered builder?

- Robert

What a pity I don't have an insurable interest in the bank or bank manager! I will leave no turn unstoned in pursuit of completing my House of Steel. If becoming a licensed thief is required, I'll do that. 

Thought for the day:

A tree growing out of the ground is as wonderful today as it ever was. It does not need to adopt new and startling methods.

Robert Henri


Friday 7 September 2001

I went the rounds of the lending institutions today, looking for the money needed to complete The House of Steel. None of them will. Policy dictates that owner-built houses have no equity value whatsoever until the building inspector signs the Completion Certificate, whereupon the tens, or hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of materials and labour magically become worth something again.

Roy Harvey writes:


You realize, of course, that if T.H.O.S. were to actually burn down by accident before your financial conundrum is resolved you might have one hell of a time collecting if the insurance company looked at your web site.

Good luck!


The chances of that happening are so remote, I don't even want to contemplate it. Of course I could claim that my website rant was proof that I wasn't planning the fire <eg>

The interviewer at one of the financial institutions that I visited was a client of mine for computer training. Kay said she would do what she could to enable a loan, but she didn't hold out much hope. Then she asked whether we had any assets we could borrow against, such as a car. Aha! Problem solved!

From Gary W Kramer this email:


I'm amazed that you found our Owner Builder Network site way off yonder where you live. My wife and I started this company back in '97 with the belief that there had to be a few folks out there who wanted to be their on builders but couldn't do all the "hands on" work since they had jobs, etc. We thought that a program that would link owner builders to the contractors, suppliers and lenders would be a better deal than classes and building instruction books. With our program the owner takes the "place" of the home builder and simply "manages" the project. It has worked beyond our expectations. We currently have over 200 owner builder homes under construction in the Houston, Texas area and about 50 more in the Dallas and Austin, Texas areas where we recently opened offices.

As you are well aware financing is THE most important part of the homebuilding project if the owner builder doesn't have the necessary cash on hand. And few of us do . Do check our website, listen to our radio shows that are broadcast on the web and email us any questions and we'll try to answer. Your style of building looks a bit different than ours but I'm sure the process works pretty much the same way.


Gary W. Kramer The Owner Builder Network 7102 FM 1488 Magnolia, Texas 77354

I'm sure my American readers who are contemplating owner-building will be in touch with you Gary. And I think it's high time we had something similar here in Australia.

And from one of Gary's employees:

G'day Mate! My name is David and I am an Aussie working in USA. I just started this week with the Owner Builder Network here in the Houston Area. I had a big nostalgia fit seeing your site. I am a keen amateur photo nut and spent some great weeks in Tassie. It is the best photo spot in the world bar none. OBN is a great concept and worthy of consideration for Australia but like many things it will lag behind USA for some years unless some well connected person latches on to it. It has made Gary and Shiela a bundle! also it is a lot of fun. Regards, David.

Yes, Australia does lag behind the USA in this, but it's my firm intention to do something about it. And I already have some ideas about how to implement a source of finance for others in my plight.


From John Dominick (aka Wise Ass #473):

Hmmm... Re your problems with index.htm/index.html, I recall, long, long ago, where one had to have an index.html file as part of any web. .htm was an ineffective DOS convention foisted on the world by the Microsoft of the eight-dot-three conventional filename. The Unixen (of whom I ran on the far fringes of) fairly insisted that if it wasn't "HTML" it wasn't a valid file for the WWW. Ach well...

Hope your spring is sprung. We're preparing for the striking of the colors here (trees going gold, red, brown, and then down). Ah, winter. The older I get, the more I dread it.

Personal : http://www.goldengate.net/~jdominik/ 
Daynotes : http://jdominik.rearviewmirror.org/

I have no idea what caused the problem, but I eliminated index.htm by renaming it to index.html. Of course that damaged the links on every page that points to the index page and I took FrontPage's offer to change them for me. It took quite a while to publish the whole of my site! I just hope that the problem will go away now.

Spring has indeed sprung -- the grass is growing, the birds are fornicating, the days are lengthening... The seasons here are not clear-cut, they just slowly emerge over many weeks. So, last week we had a great day of sunshine followed by a cool overcast day, followed by a freezing cold day with a frosty start. It's not unknown for all four seasons to put in a brief appearance on the same day. Local saying: If you don't like the weather here, just wait for five minutes.

Thought for the day:

Because bankers measure their self-worth in money, and pay themselves a lot of it, they think they're fine fellows and don't need to explain themselves.

James Buchan


Saturday 8 September 2001

I spent much of the day at Michael Henrysson's shed. My first task was to polish the stainless steel frame that Tony Dunshea made for our new dining table. The top is tiger myrtle, a highly patterned variant of myrtle, a local timber that is exceptionally hard and beautiful. Not to mention rare. The stainless steel legs are curved and are to have infill panels. Trying to use tiger myrtle for this didn't work. Even though we steamed the timber, it still fractured when we tried to screw it in place. It looks like ordinary red myrtle will have to do and Fran and I will finish the table.

Then I helped Michael load the shipping container with some of his woodworking gear -- thicknesser/planer, bench saw and hand tools -- household items etc. Tonight we are having a send-off at the local pub, so it's likely I will be too tired to post tomorrow.

Thought for the day:

Women have no sympathy and my experience of women is almost as large as Europe.

Florence Nightingale


Sunday 9 September 2001

Unusually for me, I drank very little beer at last night's party. Partially, this was due to being in some pain from the day's physical exertions, but partially also due to some excitement about some forthcoming changes in my life-work. More on this anon.

Thought for the day:

The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we are. And if our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques (the Personality Ethic) rather than from our own inner core (the Character Ethic), others will sense that duplicity. We simply won't be able to create and sustain the foundation necessary for effective interdependence.

Stephen Covey


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Jonathan Sturm 2001


Jonathan Sturm 2001