A solution

To the incoming mess in Ferguson, MO.

The enablers won’t like it, but I’m not caring about their feelings.

Here are some “protesters” in Ferguson this last August, using the “Hand Up, Don’t Shoot” signal.


Here is the slogan spelled out on a bridge that was twatted tweeted out.


The solution to make sure the peace is kept.


Problem solved.

Next problem.

Posted in Kewel! | 1 Comment

Vertical Flat

I’ve been talking to a gentleman who works in the architectural testing business and needs a welder. This wouldn’t be a full-time job. He has “jobs” he needs done every so often, and when I have time available, I help him out.

He’s the guy I made the vault door for.

He has a wall that is 20ft high and 45 ft wide of 3/8 plate steel he uses to test architectural structures.


That’s Clayton standing in front of The Unicorn. That is my name for the wall, because no one believes it exists until they see it.

Anyway, he needed another, smaller one built for a very special test. He bought pre-made pieces and just wanted it put together. We negotiated a price and I invited a few members of the top talent from my class to lend a hand.

We arrived at 8am on Saturday, unloaded the truck and got to work.


It consisted of three pieces of 1/4in plate that were 12ft x 5 ft getting welded to three frames of the same dimension except made of 4in x 4in x 1/4in angle iron. I asked that they be laid out on blocks on the concrete so that we could weld them flat.


We used jacks and gradually slid the wood blocks down as we worked so as to prevent distortion in the steel.

Because there were three pieces, we were able to do half of the welds on a particular piece and them move onto the next piece, and so on, to keep the heat down.


All in all, it was six and a half hours work and one hell of an experience. I’m hoping to get an excellent reference from the guy who runs the shop. And for my knees to stop hurting by Wednesday (yes, I wore pads. But six hours welding on the deck for a guy who isn’t used to it is still painful).

Posted in Kewel! | 1 Comment

Call Me Consigliere

While Phil’s been away at welding school, I’ve been getting schooled as well.

One of the delights of being an in-house attorney is that it’s the “last refuge of the generalist.” At any point in my day I may be handling contracts, regulatory work, labor claims, insurance issues, real estate financing, litigation, you name it. Now I can add restaurant franchising to that list.

For the past three years my bosses have been trying to put together one or more franchise deals; all failed until this one. At the end of September shit got real, and with a 30-day closing date I faced the prospect of doing three months’ work in one. Ok, no problem. I’ll just do my usual: bring in high-skilled administrative temps from my go-to temp agency, let’s call it Half-Bob.

It should have worked like a charm, but instead it barely worked. The temp market in the SF Bay Area is broken.

Of five high-skilled temps I brought in over four weeks, the first was good — but he got snapped up for a permanent position by another company. My error in not seeing that possibility and nailing him down first.

The rest of them sucked. This is extremely unusual.

In each case, within two days I knew I was in trouble. I needed my regular staff doing other things, but they were having to spend precious time re-instructing the temps and checking — and redoing — their work. Eventually it would become clear the presence of the temp was actually hurting us and I’d throw them back into the pond and bellow “send me another one!”

Bear in mind, I’ve used Half-Bob for a decade now. Their talent is always extraordinary, and I’m willing to pay top dollar for it. This time they sent me idiots. This has never happened before.

As a result, I spent the month of October averaging two to three hours sleep a night, one of my permanent staff (who is pregnant) ended up working herself into the hospital, and the rest pushed themselves to the wall. We got it done, but just barely.

One of Half-Bob’s higher-ups spoke with me candidly after this was all over, and by way of apology offered that we’re in a 3% unemployment market in the Bay Area (damn Silicon Valley boom), and of that 3% pool of available talent, 2/3 are “pretty much unemployable, that’s why they’re with a temp agency,” and so I’m reduced to hoping I get somebody in that top 1%. Gee, thanks, pal.

So what to do? We barely got the deal done and now I’m faced with legal and operational issues related to vendors, backend systems, making payroll for 900+ people, HR (don’t get me started on Obamacare) and all sorts of other franchise-related things that will require competent people to manage. I’m my bosses’ fixer, so failure’s not an option.

First thing I did was I gave my staff preemptive raises so I didn’t lose them. And we’re hiring. Which means I’m reading resumes and honors-thesis writing samples from major universities riddled with grammar and spelling errors….

For the first time in my life, I understand how productivity can grind to a halt due to a lack of available talent to hire. Because I’m living it.

Posted in The Economic Way of Thinking | 2 Comments

This is a mess

But the results should be great!

I took my Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW) certification with Dual Shield wire today and it went well enough. My vertical was damn near perfect. My overhead plate got swamped with porosity on the seventh pass, but I think I welded it up well enough after that that it should be OK. We’ll find out on Monday.

Anyway, the pics…

As I said in a previous post, this is virtually the same test as my TIG certification, but there are some differences: The plate is 1 inch thick instead of 3/8in and the process is a wire-feed type.

Dual Shield is so named because it not only uses a shielding gas for the welding atmosphere, it also has flux in the wire (hence, the name). All in all, Dual Shield is one of the easiest process to use and it is strong as an ox. Bridges, skyscrapers, boats and just about anything else “big” uses FCAW because it is strong and goes down fast and smooth.

The downsides are that it is toxic as hell to put down and it is dirtier than stick welding.

This is my root pass


That ugly colored, rough textured surface you see is the slag on the outside of the weld. Underneath it is a shiny steel weld that will polish up nice and takes paint well. A few whacks with a chipping hammer and a couple passes with a wire wheel on an angle grinder is all it takes to remove it.

Yes, I took this pic while the top of the plate was still glowing red hot.

Continue reading

Posted in Kewel! | 2 Comments

Time to Buy A Shirt

You can buy it here.

This is why you want to.

Posted in Freaks, Mutants, and Morons, Heroes, Comrades and Brothers, Order of the imperial upraised middle finger. | 10 Comments

I don’t do the Bookface

So I hadn’t heard about this until now.

Tens of thousands of Connecticut gun owners chose to become overnight felons rather than comply with that state’s new gun registration law. The defiance spurred the Hartford Courant editorial board to impotently sputter about rounding up the scofflaws.

New York’s similar registration law suffers such low compliance that state officials won’t even reveal how many people have abide by the measure—a desperate secrecy ploy that the New York State Committee on Open Government says thumbs its nose at the law itself.

Now Washington state residents pissed of about i594, a ballot measure inflicting background check requirements on even private transactions, plan an exercise in mass disobedience next month.

The fellow getting much of the credit for organizing the rally is Gavin Seim, a former (unsuccessful) congressional candidate and passionate conservative. Seim got a lot of buzz last month when he pulled over an unmarked police car and demanded that the officer show identification. Perhaps surprisingly, Seim not only wasn’t ventilated, but the officer complied.

Seim and his allies (the Facebook event page lists Kit Lange Carroll, Sondra Seim, and Anthony P. Bosworth as co-hosts) plan a rally for the Washington State Capitol, in Olympia, on December 13 at 11am PST. That’s nine days after the law goes into effect. So far, almost 6,000 people have indicated their intention to attend and “exchange guns” without going through a background check, in defiance of the new requirements.

My last day of school is the 11th of December so, excepting an alien invasion or volcanic eruption, there shouldn’t be any reason for me to not be there. However, I would prefer to go with someone I “know” to complete the exchange.

So, if you’re in Western Washington and are also looking for someone to exchange valentine’s firearms with temporarily at this shindig, you know how to reach me. I have a number PSH inducing items I can bring to exchange, or we can be as tame as yer momma would prefer.

Posted in Have Gun, Will Travel | 5 Comments

It never seems to end

Testing again today. I welded up six 3/8in practice plates on Wednesday and five 3/4in practice plates today, the last couple of which were downright purty.

I stayed late this evening getting my 1in test plates ready for tomorrow. I still have a pair of unwelded 3/4in practice plates available so, I’ll hit those first thing in the morning, one in each position, as sort of an equipment check and then hit the test plates with an anger only Mordor knows.

I have a big job coming up on Saturday morning. Not so much in the amount of actual welding, more in line with the size of what I’m welding on. I’ll have pics of the test plates tomorrow. Big job pics on Monday. Hopefully something funny on Sunday.

Until then, in testing mode. Have a nice day.

Posted in Kewel! | Comments Off

David can’t post

He’s too busy dancing

BREAKING: 9th Circuit Court Denies Peruta Appeal; California Gun Rights Restored

Peruta is settled law in 9th. There is no one to appeal. If you live in CA, you may now do a victory dance and exercise your natural civil rights in CA. “Self defense” must be recognized as a good cause for a carry permit. Sheriffs are going to have to start abiding by Peruta if they are not already.

I’ve never seen him dance, so I’m not sure if it is a pretty sight, but it doesn’t really matter. It was well earned.

Posted in Have Gun, Will Travel | 4 Comments

Well, that’s embarassing

Lost access to the internet one day and then lost electricity the next, both due to some nasty weather.

Somebody didn’t want me to post anything.

At least it wasn’t this fucker


Posted in Life in the Atomic Age | Comments Off

Certainly Certifiable

I found out Thursday night that one of my instructors will be flying to Atlanta for a conference on metal fabrication this week, from Tuesday through Friday.

This is both the instructor I need to help me with my learning how to TIG weld Aluminum and Stainless Steel AND the guy who turned down my idea of taking a break from learning TIG Alumimnum and Stainless so that I can get my FCAW and GMAW Certifications before the end of the quarter, and then coming back to TIG.

When the cat is away, the mice will play.

My other instructor likes the idea of me getting my certs and then trying for an A grade in TIG, so we are conspiring to make the best of the other’s absence.

Monday will be a regular day for me. Tuesday, the school is closed for Veteran’s Day. Wednesday through Friday will be spent burning some 0.052 diameter E71T-1M wire into 3/4-inch thick plate steel in preparation to do the same again into some one-inch thick plate for a certification in Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW).

It is largely similar to the TIG cert test I took. Vertical (3G) and Direct Overhead (4G) plates with a backing strap, only the plates are one-inch thick instead of 3/8-inch. The test coupons are cut thinner and are bent sideways instead of front-to-back and back-to-front. The atmospheric gas is C-25 (75% Argon and 25% Carbon Dioxide) run at around 30-40psi instead of 100% Argon run at 20psi. Also, it is a wire feed process, so even a one-inch thick plate can be completed in less than 30 minutes.

Sadly for me, it is also a filthy process. The last span of time time I spent in a FCAW booth, I came out every day looking like I had been down in a mine. I’ll have to dig out my respirator for this. I’ll try to get some good pics for y’all and post them up as I move along.

Posted in Kewel! | 2 Comments