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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Tuesday 23 October 2001

In theory, daylight savings time shouldn't have affected me as much as it has. I awake without an alarm clock at about 5 am every day. Well, I get out of bed at that time. Awake is what I am after my second or third mug of coffee. Black, unsweetened, real coffee for those who are curious about such things. Made in a Bodum. Trouble is, 5 am is now 6 am on the clock. So instead of being fully awake at 6 am, I am still fuggle-headed. Work on The House of Steel is by the clock, not sun-time, so my time for writing these notes is squeezed. Sometimes they write themselves, sometimes they are preceded by a period of intense thought, or intense not-thinking. 

You might think that I have gained an hour extra in the evening, but the physical and mental exertion of the day leaves me drained. I write because I like writing and that only occurs when my mind is fresh from a good night's rest. Evenings are devoted to eating, drinking, listening to music, correspondence and reading if I am not too tired. A little TV, too, I might add lest my American readers think I am completely abnormal. Nearly all of the TV programming I would like to watch occurs after my bedtime and that's probably a Very Good Thing. I tried taping those programs, but never got around to watching them.

In about half an hour, my day at The House of Steel will commence with Fran and  discussing what we want to achieve over a cup of coffee. The weather is warm and humid with a promise of showers clearing late in the day.

Thought for the day:

Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.

Erich Fromm


Wednesday 24 October 2001

Working on The House of Steel uses a bewildering variety of tools, mains-powered, battery-powered and manual. The battery-powered tools mostly run on NiCad batteries and to keep them happy, require periodic complete discharge/full charge cycling. One method of ensuring the discharge is complete is to freeze the battery after removing as much charge as possible in the usual manner (rubber band around trigger). When doing this, it's a good idea to wrap the battery in plastic to prevent the ingress of any moisture and allowing the battery to return to normal temperature after freezing  before removing the wrap.

One of the more recent battery-powered tools has a "smart" charger. When confronted by a battery with zero charge, it announces that the battery is defunct and needs replacing! When connected to an older charger through an improvised adapter, it functions perfectly. A pox on built-in obsolescence! One wonders about a morality that condones companies stealing from its customers, yet frowns on theft by ordinary people.

My son Thomas, doesn't like SuSE Linux, so he attempted to DL Mandrake 8.1. After several days (we only have POTS and Primus, our new ISP drops the connection every four hours), the ISO for the first CD failed the checksum test! Piffle!

Thought for the day:

The end never really justifies the meanness.

E Duane Hulse


Thursday 25 October 2001

I was talking to someone the other day, lets call her Jane . She mentioned something on the news and I professed my complete ignorance. Jane was astounded that I rarely read newspapers, watch the TV news or listen to radio news. I tried to explain that I prefer reading/listening to opinions other than those sanctioned by Kerry Packer, Rupert Murdoch, Conrad Black etc. My information sources are diverse, that's the Internet. Here's a few places I've been for a read (and think) in the last week (in no particular order):

Jerry Pournelle

Honest Intellectual Enquiry


Still Waiting for Greenhouse

The Human Evasion

Life and Death (Society for the Elimination of All Truth)

Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance

The Book of Wife by David Quinn and Kevin Solway

U. G. Krishnamurti

Tasmanian Weather Forecasts

Thought for the day:

Respect for the truth comes close to being the basis for all morality.

Frank Herbert


Saturday 27 October 2001

Busy working on The House of Steel. The floors are varnished and the solvents are making me dizzy, not to mention the beauty of the timber :-)

Thought for the day:

We ascribe beauty to that which is simple; which has no superfluous parts; which exactly answers its end; which stands related to all things; which is the mean of many extremes.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


Sunday 28 October 2001

A day spent mainly topping up, widening and reshaping the gravel paths around The House of Steel. From time to time, I take stones and assemble them in patterns and piles. Some of these are functional, being the location of access points into the plumbing system, but mostly I make the assemblages because it's fun.

Late in the day, around beer o'clock, we had a thunderstorm. The rain was of tropical intensity. I walked around looking at the pattern of water flowing across the ground and surroundings of the house. There are a few minor changes needed when the driveway is upgraded, hopefully in a couple of weeks time. Most of the water is flowing where I want it to. We appear to be harvesting water at 3-4 times the rate of the cottage, so I expect water shortages will become a thing of the past for us.

Over dinner, Marguerite mentions a neighbour up the road renting a house is looking to buy. I suggest that he might want to consider our cottage -- it's cheaper, cosier and comes with more land. It would be pleasant not having to go to any great trouble to find a purchaser. The person in question is retired and would make a suitable quiet neighbour.

Thought for the day:

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.

Richard Feynman


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Jonathan Sturm 2001

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Jonathan Sturm 2001