Mr. Sensitive

August 31, 2010

Pickett Wins

Filed under: House — lbej @ 13:38

Gen. Robert E. Lee is often criticized, and very fairly, for insisting on the third crucial day at Gettysburg that Gen. Longstreet’s corps must take the unassailable Union position on Cemetery Ridge by way of a dramatic frontal assault.  This became known to history as Pickett’s Charge, which is stupid because George Pickett commanded only one of the three Confederate divisions involved and the actual charging was quite limited; it was more like Longstreet’s Steady March.   Whatever its name, the attempt was catastrophic for the Southern cause and the outcome was never in doubt.  It was a move that might have worked had Napoleon tried it fifty years earlier, but it had no chance of succeeding given the dramatic increase in the lethality of firearms over that time.  Federal guns simply cut the rebels to pieces at a distance and the assault was thrown back with 5o percent casualties.  Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia never recovered.  But imagine if the order was given for the Federals to fire, only all the muskets jammed and the balls just rolled out of the cannons.  Technology won the day at Gettysburg, as it does in every conflict above the level of fisticuffs.  The result of Lee’s misbegotten offensive–annihilation and repulsion–goes from inevitable to impossible.  The point is not that the South could have won the Civil War–it most certainly could not have.  The point is that the nursery is half-sanded because my sander isn’t sanding and the moulding is stacked up in the hallway because my air compressor isn’t compressing.  I’m losing the battle because these machines I don’t understand won’t do what I require.  I bet I would have been useless with a rifled musket as well.

August 30, 2010

Give It Back?

Filed under: House — lbej @ 13:48
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In March 1945 Gen. Eisenhower ordered Gen. Patton to bypass the German city of Trier because four divisions would be required to take the city, and Eisenhower didn’t have them to spare.  Patton responded in a telegram thusly:

Have taken Trier with two divisions.  What do you want me to do?  Give it back?

I expect a dressing-down from the Empress for this, but I exercised command as I saw fit given the circumstances.  Trier was there for the taking, and I took it.

The blue thing embedded in the table is my axe, for those who don’t recognize it.  The dollhouse is fine, by the way.  Turns out I can move it by myself after all.

Operation Dollhouse – Sandstorm Tactics

Filed under: House — lbej @ 11:09
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All the carpet and foam carpet padding has now been stripped, rolled up, and transported to the garage for gradual but irreversible expulsion as trash can space permits.  I applied stain remover and will wait until it is dry to begin the next phase of operations.  After lunch I expect to sand down the floor, a process complicated by the intransigence of the dollhouse, bed, and dresser, as well as the numerous carpet staples and nails I invariably missed in my initial sweep.  Once the sanding is complete I will deploy the leaf blower, propelling the sawdust, plaster, and filth into the air and out an open window, and also into my hair.  These sandstorm tactics have been applied successfully in the girls’ room and the office; importantly, using a leaf blower in the house is awesome.  The dollhouse itself is secure under a tarp, not that it matters.

After The Reconquest

Filed under: House — lbej @ 09:27
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I have recaptured and reordered a great deal of territory in this house and its environs in recent months, even considering the great extent to which my timetables have been alternatively compressed or extended owing to interdicting events and infirmities.  A satisfactory overarching organization has eluded me, however, and I have felt the lack acutely.  When I was chiefly concerned with offensive and defensive operations–movement and engagement of forces–it was appropriate to speak in terms of theaters and fronts.  However, as the mission transitions from conquest to security, the organizational vision must change as well.  In the past, I have talked about areas of the house and the associated tasks interchangeably, so I would say I have to start the basement, or work on the office, or finish the girls’ room.  Of course it was understood what I meant, but the organization was muddled.  I want to deliberately house all tasks, to associate them with specific locations and abandon the language of starting, working on, and finishing those locations as if they were tasks themselves.  It will help me to manage the work that remains here if I’m able to organize it in this way.  For this purpose I have created a new system of military districts located with larger zones.  Here is the initial structure, which I believe to be exhaustive:


# District Name Zone
1 Kitchen First Floor
2 Laundry Room First Floor
3 Dining Room First Floor
4 Family Room First Floor
5 Office First Floor
6 Downstairs Bathroom First Floor
7 Downstairs Hall First Floor
8 Downstairs Hall Closet First Floor
9 Main Stairs First Floor
10 Master Bedroom Second Floor
11 Master Bathroom Second Floor
12 Master Closet Second Floor
13 Girls’ Room Second Floor
14 Boys’ Room Second Floor
15 Upstairs Bathroom Second Floor
16 Upstairs Hall Second Floor
17 Upstairs Hall Closet Second Floor
18 Attic Third Floor
19 Apple Floor Room Basement
20 KS Garage Basement
21 LS Garage Basement
22 Basement Stairs Basement
23 Porch Outside
24 Front Yard Outside
25 Driveway Outside
26 Deck Outside
27 Patio Outside
28 Back Yard (ex-pond) Outside
29 Pond Outside
30 Headquarters N/A

Going forward, tasks will be assigned to individual districts, including both one-time and perpetual tasks, the latter having been inappropriate for a theater/front organizational scheme.  Tasks that cross over multiple districts will be assigned to all affected districts at once–assignment is not one-to-one.  Tasks that are not centered on a location will be assigned to headquarters, which is me.  The creation of districts will also allow me to assign military governors (me, not the Empress, because this involves the disposition of forces).  The only such assignments I am making at this time are District 13, assigned to Jenny and Reagan jointly, and District 15, assigned to Katie.  I remain directly responsible for the other 28 districts.  This organizational reorientation will not prevent me from returning to a war footing should conditions within a district or zone deteriorate.  It also glosses over the lawlessness rampant in the entire Outside Zone.  The districts within that zone are purely provisional.  I will need to adjust the particulars of the structure, no doubt, but I believe this change will help me to manage my domestic efforts more effectively.

August 29, 2010

If You Were The Worst Dog

Filed under: House,Pet Nasty War,Pets — lbej @ 21:10
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This is the sort of thing you would do to a rug:

Dozens of times.  It will take at least three showers to wash off the experience of rolling up this pee-soaked carpet.  I would be able to focus my powerful hatred on Wilson more consistently if his own self-hatred didn’t ethereally neutralize it.  When I enter a room he’s in I swear I can feel this happen.

August 27, 2010

Lessons Of Deep Battle

Filed under: House — lbej @ 14:49

I believe I have successfully adapted Tukhachevsky’s deep battle theory for the prosecution of today’s campaign.  It’s not a perfect rendition, but the principles I applied today–simultaneity, depth, and combined arms–allowed me to achieve something qualitatively different.  In the past I have often relied upon the massing of force for a breakthrough, only to find myself unprepared to counter the true strength of the enemy: his ability to defend in depth.  Thus when the enemy deploys his reserves and reforms his lines, exploiting his natural familiarity with the terrain–I am almost always invading somewhere–I have all my forces committed and I must achieve victory there and then, at the point of the breakthrough, or not at all.  That’s how I end up with a chest freezer full of gasoline burning uncontrollably on my patio.  What I did differently today is apply pressure at multiple points–on the stairs and in the nursery/playroom–so that I could hold where the enemy presented strength and press where he did not.  That I would work from a single can of paint for the fronts of the stairs and the paneling alongside them was clearly not a development the enemy expected.  I was able to induce a degree of operational shock and thus disrupt the overall disposition of his forces, so that I was able to press him when he showed signs of collapse on the staircase.  This state of shock prevented him from calling for the cat reinforcements that were available nearby and with which he might have been able to turn my flank.  Paint plus cats equals disaster.  If I had no alternative but to force a decision in the n/p, who knows what might have happened when I faced reversal at the hands of the magic markers.  I would probably be knocking down the wall with a sledgehammer as we speak.


Filed under: House — lbej @ 12:27

Joint compound is nothing against Reagan’s magic marker prophecies.  It didn’t cover the writing on the wall, so I scraped off the old layer of paint, only to find that the magic marker had soaked into the layer of brown paper on the interior side of the sheetrock itself.  I had to rub the marker out of the paper, all the while trying to keep from exposing the plaster underneath.  Now the whole thing needs to dry before I can assess the damage.  But I’m glad to have met determined resistance at last.  I don’t feel like I’ve got it right until the first thing goes wrong.

Deep Battle On The Stair-Nursery/Playroom Axis

Filed under: House — lbej @ 11:37

I’m now advancing along a front that extends from the base of the stairs to the nursery/playroom.  I scrubbed down the n/p walls; while the n/p walls dried I cleaned the stairs, chipping off some paint drippings that have been bothering me; while the stairs dried I spackled the n/p walls; now while the spackle dries I will paint the paneling around the stairs where there’s ugly yellow varnish defiling it.  Then when the paint on the stairs is drying, I will paint the walls in the n/p.  If I can figure out what’s wrong with my air compressor I may nail in some moulding in the upstairs hall even as paint dries all around me, thus unifying the front and creating irresistible pressure on my eternal enemy, house ugliness.

Operation Dollhouse – Day Three

Filed under: House — lbej @ 09:15
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I am cleaning the walls this morning, and once they have dried I will be better positioned to decide what I would like to have my son staring at while refusing to take a nap.  I am, as usual, inclined to repaint, but I recognize that I have a pro-paint bias.  The Empress and I discussed the possibility of a wallpaper solution last night and that is certainly on the table as well.  The cleaning has to go forward in any event, and perhaps I will find inspiration while I work.  I must remember that I have many deer heads and deer antlers passed on to me by the previous Brinkley, so if we go with a death and dismemberment theme we’ve already got the supplies.

August 26, 2010

Operation Dollhouse – Second Day

Filed under: House — lbej @ 16:12
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Reagan’s room is clear except for a dresser, the bed, and of course, the dollhouse.  Here it is from the threshold:

I will probably move this dresser,

complete with Jenny’s labeling victory, into the hall tomorrow, but it would block passage needlessly if moved today.

The dollhouse, while structurally intact,

appears as though it was struck by a hurricane, with everything blow-downable blown down.

The dollhouse is the Maginot Line in my Fall Gelb.  The French High Command believed that the famed line of fortifications was impenetrable and that any direct attack against it would fail.  The German High Command agreed with that assumption, but while the French concluded that an attack would therefore never be made, the Germans concluded more sensibly that the inevitable attack would simply have to fall somewhere else.  Like Guderian and his Panzer Corps, I will simply have to go around the dollhouse.  I don’t care if it ends up exactly where it is so long as I can get the carpet out from under it and a new floor securely in place.  Germany had the Ardennes; I have some felt pads to go underneath the furniture.  I expect just as decisive a victory.

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