Friday, April 13, 2007

Hitting the Nail on the Head (So to Speak)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Take a nation of do-it-yourselfers, add a ready supply of cheap nailguns and what do you get? About 37,000 nailgun injuries a year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since 1991, nailgun injuries have risen about 200 percent, the CDC said in its weekly report on death and disease.

"This increase likely corresponds to an increase in availability during the 1990s of inexpensive pneumatic nail guns and air compressors (to power the nail guns) in home hardware stores; however, no sales data are available for confirmation," the CDC reported.

But when the CDC looked at who was getting injured, it became clear that the number of work-related nailgun injuries had stayed stable since 1998. It was consumer-related injuries that had soared.

~from (here).
Really? No kidding. Of course the people getting hurt are the do-it-yourselfers. People who use pneumatic nailguns for a living have experience. DIYers don't. But, I really don't blame the rising in injuries on more people buying nail guns.

I blame it on those home-improvement shows on television. They make it look like any idiot with a hammer, a flannel shirt, and a tool-belt (you have to have the tool-belt) can completely remake their home in a weekend.

No. You can't. You don't know what the fuck you're doing.

And doing damage to yourself or house with a nailgun is bad enough, but these DIYers are also messing with things like their electrical and plumbing. A few words of advice for any of you thinking on taking on an electrical or plumbing project: IF YOU DON'T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU'RE DOING, CALL A PROFESSIONAL! Putting a nail in the wrong place - like your hand - may be a pain (bad pun, I know, but I couldn't help it), but messing up with your electrical or your plumbing can be REALLY bad. A mistake with either of these can cost you thousands to repair - if your lucky. And a mistake with an electrical project can easily kill you.

I worked at Home "Despot" for a while before getting into grad school. Part of that time was spent in the Electrical Department, because I had had some training from having worked as a theater tech for much of high school and my undergrad years. One day, we had a guy come in with a problem. He been trying to install a steam room in his house like he had seen on some DIY show (for a while, this was a really popular thing to do in our area). He got it all built fine, had read up on what he needed to do with the electrical, and gotten all the wiring installed just fine. He had reached the step where you put the pull-out breaker in the subpanel. He inserted the pull-out and got a big arch, lots of yellowish smoke, and that great ozone smell. Now, I don't know if you've ever seen one of these pull-outs, but their basically a black plastic handle with two large, flat copper plates. The idea is that you can pull this out and instantly break the circuit it there's a problem, instead of having to run all the way to your main breaker-box. Sounds simple enough.

Well, this guy brought in the pull-out he had used and it looked something like this. He wanted to know what had gone wrong. Our first question to him was "Did you turn off the power from your main breaker-box to the subpanel?"

Answer: "No. I thought that's what this was for." Well, yes, in the end it kind of serves that purpose, but you still have to turn off the power BEFORE you try to shove two pieces of copper in place to complete the circuit. We told him he was lucky to only end up having to replace the pull-out. He very easily could have been seriously injured or even killed. He just got this kind of dazed look on his face and said that maybe he would call an electrician to come out and finish things up. Good idea, buddy.

So, when I hear that people are putting nails through themselves, I don't blame the the store for selling them the nail-gun. I blame these "This Old House" knock-off shows and their Bob-Villa-wannabes for convincing people they can so this shit on their own.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Comments and Rants on Various Sports Topics

Well, the Stanley Cup Playoffs begin today. And unfortunately, the Colorado Avalanche are out of it. We made a good run at the end of the season, but Saturday's game against Nashville ended our hopes of going to the playoffs for the 12th straight year. On the plus side, however, the Avalanche have already signed captain Joe Sakic to a new one-year contract. Not much else to say on the Avs right now, so on to other hockey news . . .

"This is the time of year the Red Wings need Todd Bertuzzi. But, they could be starting the playoffs Thursday against the Flames without the power forward. Bertuzzi, who suffered a concussion last Thursday, missed a second day of practice Tuesday. And coach Mike Babcock didn't sound encouraged." - from
GOOD! Bertuzzi is a thug and I'm happy anytime he gets hurt and has to sit out. Normally, I'm not one to wish harm on others. And I don't actually wish harm on Bertuzzi - I'm just not sorry when it happens. Personally, I still think that Bertuzzi should have been permanently banned from hockey and jailed for his March 8, 2004, attack on Avalanche center Steve Moore. So, I'm sorry, but I have pretty much no sympathy for Bertuzzi having a concussion. Think of it as a little bit of karmic payback, you fuck.

Here are my predictions for the first round of the playoffs:
* Buffalo Sabres over NY Islanders in 5 games
* NJ Devils over Tampa Bay Lightening in 4 games
* Atlanta Thrashers over NY Rangers in 6 games
* Pittsburgh Penguins over Ottawa Senators in 7 games
* Detroit Red Wings over Calgary Flames in 4 games
* Anaheim Ducks over Minnesota Wild in 5 games
* Dallas Stars over Vancouver Canucks in 6 games
* San Jose Sharks over Nashville Predators in 7 games

I like the suspensions handed down by Roger Goodell yesterday. Both "Pacman" Jones and Chris Henry have a long string of problems off the field and repeated run-ins with the cops. I'm glad that someone in the NFL is finally standing up and saying that players simply cannot act like the rules don't apply to them. Now to clarify things here, Jones and Henry are under the old personal conduct policy, which is (partially) why they have been allowed to continue to have so many problems without major punishment from the NFL. Goodell and the NFL have instituted a new personal conduct policy, which will apply to players coming into the league beginning this year.

The schedule for the coming season is supposed to released sometime later today.

Things in baseball I really don't care about which almost everyone else around here seemingly does:
* The D-backs winning six straight - whoopee-fucking-do.
* Barry Bonds. Took steroids (probably), and lied about it (probably). Put an asterisks next to his name when he breaks Hank Aaron's career home-run record.
* Daisuke Matsuzaka's "gyro-ball".
* A-rod.

Things in NASCAR I really don't care about which almost everyone else around here seemingly does: the whole damn "sport".

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sometimes Things Just Suck

Sorry for the rather prolonged delay between posts. I've spent most of the last week having a shit-load of fun . . . yeah, right.

Last Wednesday (March 28) night my truck was broken into. They got away with my laptop, my portable hard-drive, my palm pilot, and one of my digital cameras. Somewhere between $1,800 and $2,000 worth of stuff. Yeah, there were many, many, MANY of those words your mother always told you not to say. (Of course, my grandmother always just to say that you didn't want to say those words too often, because sometimes there's nothing else left to say, so you have to save them up for those times.)

So, I have have been spending the last week or so alternately dealing with the insurance company (who replaced the window, but said I was out of luck on the stuff inside the truck!) and trying to get caught up on my work. On the latter, things could have been worse. I have a CD back-up of all my files from the beginning of last month, so I have all the old stuff. The more recent stuff, however, is another matter. Usually, I would just carry around the portable hard-drive, backing up that information onto my laptop at home on a very regular basis. On this particular Wednesday, however, I was at a workshop and had decided at the last minute to take my laptop along - my note taking is faster and more efficient when I type them than when I hand write - so both pieces were in the same location at the same time. Fortunately, my professors were cool and gave me some time to get caught up. I was supposed to turn in a rough draft of a research paper that Thursday - but since it went away with the rest of my stuff, that wasn't going to happen. Luckily, I had printed out a hard copy of the paper on Friday (March 23), so I didn't have to recreate the whole thing, but all the work I had done over the weekend and during the first half of the week was gone. FUCK! In many ways, this pissed me off the most. This fucker has cost me time and work, in addition to the material loss. But the material loss is just that, material. Things can be replaced. The time and work? No so much!

Things are getting back to normal at this point. I have a plan (sorta) to replace the laptop soon and I have already replaced the palm pilot. Those two are the most important to my day-to-day functioning, so they need(ed) to be replaced first. The portable hard-drive was a convenience more than anything else. I still have an older flash-stick and I can always borrow one of The Overlord's spare portable hard-drives for a bit if I need, so that one can wait a few months. The camera - it was a REALLY nice camera and is one I will definitely replace. But . . . I have another digital (it's just older and not as nice) and I still have my SLR cameras. Replacing my lost digital can wait even longer, then. The last thing this bastard got was the bag all my stuff was in. It's the cheapest piece and it's the easiest to replace, so I'll wait a pay-check or two to take care of that one.

The long and short of it all? My stuff is gone and I probably won't get it back (the Tempe Police took a report over the phone and . . . that was it), I've been busting my ass to get caught up as best I can, and am slowly replacing the material stuff.