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Adventures With Dry-Erase Paint

After laughing my ass off at prices for larger whiteboards, I decided to request, for my birthday, Rust-oleum’s dry-erase paint. According to the box, this paint will cover up to 7′x7′ when one applies the recommended, two coats. That’s a lot of dry-erase surface for $20; my last, crappy whiteboard, which was small enough to mount on the back of my door, was $25 at Walmart. Oh, yes, and it had cardboard backing, which is anything but ideal in this part of Texas (humidity, you know).

Even though I’ve painted walls/ceilings only a few times in my entire life, this turned out to be easy and very close to idiot proof. Rust-oleum prints the instructions on the outside of the cardboard box so, before I left the paint department, I knew what I was getting into. My whiteboard is an awesome, 48"x40" surface that goes from the corner to my bookshelves; it’s large enough for me to write an entire, flash-fiction story on it if I’m so inclined.

Different surfaces call for their own preparations. I used a sheet of drywall because a) my walls are textured and I loathe sanding because, even with a mask, the fine particles send me straight to Allergy Hell; and b) if I completely screwed up with the dry-erase paint, I could just take down the drywall and try again on the other side. (After Rust-oleum’s paint cures, you have to sand it off before trying again. Oh. Hell. No.) Oh, and c) if I really want, I can take this whiteboard with me. If I can be bothered. Maybe not.

The drywall was an unfinished surface so, per Rust-oleum’s instructions, I applied latex paint first. The next morning, I was ready to create my dry-erase board, which took only a couple of hours and turned out very nicely for an amateur’s efforts.

A few notes that you might find interesting:

  • Rust-oleum’s two-part compound, when mixed, is rather thin. I had some drips and splatters, which didn’t bother me—I’d done a fairly good job of protecting the surfaces I didn’t want to paint.
  • In most cases, you’ll use two coats, applying the second one 20-30 minutes after the first. If your surface is darker colored, plan on using three coats.
  • The paint can run even if you’re applying thin coats, so have a foam brush on hand to touch up those drips.
  • Rust-oleum’s Web site states that the paint needs two days to cure; the box recommends three. I went for three, which probably wasn’t necessary but didn’t hurt anything.
  • If you want a magnetized whiteboard, Rust-oleum sells a base coat that will do the trick. I’ve never used this, so I don’t know how strong the magnetic surface ends up being, but it’s a nifty idea.

After the dry-erase surface cured for three days, I noticed that it was a little rough, unlike the commercial whiteboards I’d always used before. However, that hasn’t been a problem; the dry-erase markers and pens write almost as well as they do on more-expensive whiteboards. It’s more than good enough for my purposes, which are limited to words—I’m a writer, so my board’s for scribbling notes, deadlines, and other, relevant information.

This is probably user error, but colored markers don’t completely erase unless I bust out the whiteboard cleaner to remove the faint traces that the rag doesn’t erase. (Yeah, I use a rag. Because Tubbylicious kept getting the whiteboard eraser and hugging it, which filled it with cat hair. I got tired of that and just chucked the thing. And yes, the cat is mad because that was, apparently, her super-special object that I cruelly took away. Never mind the fact that this room is full of her crap, from annoying jingly balls I step on at three a.m. to a stupid scratch pad that’s little more than corrugated cardboard.)

Black markers, on the other hand, completely erase; I’ll just stick to those, as I’m fairly lazy and don’t care that much for colored markers anyway.

Overall, this was worth the few hours or so I spent on the project and, of course, the twenty bucks one of my sibs spent on my birthday present.
___
Dear FTC: I didn’t receive any compensation for writing this review.

Veterans Day 2012

Thank you to all the veterans out there. That isn’t much compared to the Veterans Day celebrations and remembrances happening all over the place—parades, food, etc.—but it’s sincere.

An Incredible Free-fall

The future is here and it is amazing.

Most of my family gathered around the crappy, CRT television in the living room this afternoon. (Because, while my PC monitor and speakers are far better, this is my room/office and we are not crowding into it. My personal bubble; it starts at the door, people.)

We watched Felix Baumgartner, extreme athlete and extraordinarily brave man, hitch a ride up to the edge of space in a big-ass balloon and then jump, free-falling for minutes that seemed like days to breathless viewers before pulling his chute and making the landing look as easy as walking across a parking lot.

I stood there, watching the little white blur hurtle toward the ground, and marveled at how the private sector can accomplish really cool shit. Red Bull sponsored this event—and thanks to technology, lots and lots of us, strangers spread out all over the planet, watched at the same time.

This wasn’t just about doing something really cool on nearly-live TV (there was a 20-second delay in effect, just in case); it was also about data. God created a universe that mostly makes sense to those with the tools and skills to observe and measure, experiment and analyze. Felix and his team collected, one hopes, lots of good information. The idea is that others can make better spacesuits, exit procedures, and other, good things.

Re: Jerry Sandusky

I’m tired of hearing comments like, "I hope they put him in general population."

Sandusky, a convicted child molester, went to prison. He’ll probably die there, barring a successful appeal or long lifespan, because he’s in his sixties and must (if I understand correctly) serve at least thirty years. You’ll hear no complaints from me about these things. The prison system is doing its job: keeping violent criminals like Sandusky away from free society.

Feel free to point out the flaws and injustices in the system. I’m not claiming that it’s perfect or even close.

However, I don’t want one or more inmates to shank Sandusky. Why not? Simple: if it’s okay for one guy to be subjected to vigilante justice, we’re saying that it’s okay for the rest of us to live by the same rules. That could not possibly appeal to me any less because restrictions and separation of powers ensure that the American system metes out justice in specific, generally tolerable ways.

We do not let the law-enforcement officer who pulls over a speeding car determine if the driver is guilty or innocent; that matter’s settled in traffic court or when the defendant says, "Screw it" and pays the fine/takes defensive driving/whatever.

We do not let the judge or jury hand down any sentence they please; they don’t get to say, "Hey, this guy stole a candy bar? Death penalty!"

We do not let violent offenders act as executioners. They don’t have the right to determine what should happen to other inmates, particularly when their solution involves beating, stabbing, or otherwise maiming people.

We aren’t supposed to act like savages. There’s a Grand-Canyon-sized difference between vigilante justice and defense of the innocent.

I’m all for using deadly force to stop violent attacks in progress. I’m all for the father in Shiner, Texas, who caught his daughter’s attacker in the act and used violence to stop the bastard. In fact, I strongly encourage people to, when absolutely necessary, defend ourselves. Why? Because we have that right. Criminals have no right to violate that.

So, yes, put Sandusky in administrative segregation, where it’s much more difficult for inmates to get their hands on him. Even though I’m of the opinion that child molesters are diseased, infectious waste who should be humanely escorted out of this world, it isn’t my job, or an inmate’s, or the warden’s, to make that call. The prison system’s duty includes protecting Sandusky which, despite being a waste of perfectly good tax dollars if you ask me (again: free trip off this planet), is the right thing to do within the system’s framework.

Concealed Carry Here, But Not There

Over the weekend, I ended up at a couple of animal shelters. No, I’m not adopting yet another kitty; Jay, my kid sister (who’s not really a kid anymore, being more than old enough to pay for my beer when we go out…hehe) wants a couple of lil’ fuzz balls.

The first facility is a privately owned, no-kill shelter that’s really nice. The cat room is badass; it has lots of space for the goobers along with toys, a watering system that ensures they always have fresh H20, and plenty of nice, fluffy bedding. Also, they’re Plexiglas-fronted habitats, so you can stand there and watch the kitties try to convince you to take them home by being ridiculously cute. When you want to play with the kitties, somebody lets you into their little rooms…or brings out the cats. Really, it’s a cool setup and I’m glad that it exists. There were some older kitties there, who’re the hardest to re-home because they aren’t cute, little babies. But they seem to have all right lives at this shelter. They certainly don’t look neglected and most were happy to socialize with me.

However, I had a bit of a detour before getting into the shelter to see all that cool stuff. When I got to the building’s front door, I had to ask Jay to let me back into her car. That’s because the place was properly posted with legally binding signs that, in my not-so-humble opinion, fuck over Concealed Handgun License holders. If I carry my handgun past that sign, I’m committing a crime—even if nobody ever sees the firearm. However, laws are laws, so I didn’t even consider just keeping the Glock concealed and not saying anything; I’m a law-abiding citizen which, by its very definition, means that I do what the sign says even though I think it’s stupid.

Wanting to check out another shelter, Jay and I ended up just down the street at the city-run place. They did not have the signs that are present at the first facility, so in I went—no big deal.

Naturally, I lost my shit because somebody looked at me the wrong way, so I pulled out my gun and shot up the place. The only reason I didn’t do that at the first shelter was because the sign stated that I could not legally carry my firearm into their building. The words printed on the dead trees are magical like that.

OH. WAIT. THAT IS NOT WHAT HAPPENED AT ALL. BECAUSE I AM A LAW-ABIDING, SANE CITIZEN.

To even get a CHL, I have to pass background checks; take a class that includes both practical and written exams; and pay money I’d rather spend on something like lots and lots of ammo for target practice. Not only am I very familiar with the rules I have to follow as a CHL holder…I’m also utterly uninterested in having my shiny bit of plastic taken away. (Unless it’s because the State of Texas decides that such permission slips are no longer necessary. When that finally happens, I might have a license-burning party. Or something.)

So, I can legally carry into one shelter, but not another one that’s literally two minutes away by car. What—do people think I’m going to stop being a decent person during the trip? That I’m going to go bat-poo crazy in one facility and not the other? That I’m less trustworthy in Location X than Location Y because of some other, bizarre reason they simply won’t tell me about?

I don’t get it, but people don’t expect me to understand. They just want me to obey the laws.

Harvard ROTC

ROTC’s back at Harvard, with a small group of cadets out there doing morning PT. This warms my cryogenically frozen heart just enough to manage a solid two beats per minute, which is a lot by my standards.

Also, judging by the photo, these cadets are learning the joys of the all-powerful glow belt, which prevents everything from velociraptor attacks to accidents involving the many armored vehicles I’m sure are patrolling the Harvard campus. (One time, I didn’t wear my orange reflective belt. That was the entire focus of the First Sergeant’s ass chewing even though I was drunkenly streaking down the sidewalk outside the barracks. Semi-true story.)

Enjoy Your Honeymoon. Jerks.

One of my brothers got married over the weekend. He (Joe) and Susan are having a honeymoon out of state.

I checked the weather there: highs in the sixties.

Here, it’s just a bit above one hundred degrees. My window-AC unit is running, but I’m still uncomfortable in shorts and a tank top.

Those jerks.

[For real, though? Joe and Susan had a fantastic wedding and I couldn't possibly be happier for them. As long as I don't look at the weather where they are.]

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