dxmachina: (Hammer)
There are three ceiling lights on the first floor of my house: one in the office, one in the back room, and two in the kitchen... There are four ceiling lights on the first floor of my house: one in the office, one in the back room, two in the kitchen, and one in the hall... Bugger.

Overthinking interior lighting... )

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Today I was up in the attic cleaning and straightening. Wound up taking an entire pickup truck load of trash to the dump, and still barely scratched the surface of what I need to do up there. I also made a list of stuff to drop off at the Salvation Army, which I'll try to do tomorrow.

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It rained all day yesterday, and since I wasn't able to do my usual Thursday ride outdoors, I hauled the stationary bike up from the basement, and rode that for 25 minutes while watching an episode of the Muppet Show. Not nearly as satisfying as riding a real bike, but it's something. The bad news is that I think I pulled something in my back while lugging it up the stairs. It's not the same pain I've been having (which has mostly gone), and it was bugging me all day today.

What Next?

Oct. 7th, 2007 11:05 pm
dxmachina: (Bike 04)
My knees are sore. Despite the sun setting earlier and earlier, I've managed to maintain a good riding schedule. I've been riding down to Veterans cemetary during the week, and hitting the paths Saturdays and Sundays. Those weeknight rides have been getting shorter and shorter, though.

It topped out at about 83° here yesterday, which along with the humidity made it feel like August again. Then the clouds rolled in, the wind picked up, and the temperature dropped 20 degrees overnight, making it damned chilly today. It stayed cool, even when the clouds cleared out in the late afternoon, just as I was starting my ride. The death critters are out and about. Yesterday it was a chipmunk who successfully threaded a needle as he scooted out in front of me and a cyclist coming the other direction. Today it was Bambi crossing the path to join the rest of his family a few yards into the woods. There was also a stray dog who decided it'd be fun to chase me. But I gave him a stern "Git!" and he did.

I layered up for today's ride, and was pleased to see that the old rugby shirt that hasn't fit for a long while was loose enough to wear over a long sleeved t-shirt. I have lost some weight, although that's slowed down the last two months, despite watching what I eat and riding 500 miles. I am worrying about what happens once it gets too dark to ride after work, which would normally be this week, except I have the week off, so I can ride during the day. I do have a stationary bike, but it's not the same, and there's no way I can talk myself into riding it for the same amount of time I ride my real bikes on any given day (about an hour and fifteen minutes, on average). I can also walk, which I've already started on a little bit. By happy coincidence, my block is almost exactly a half mile around, so measurement is easy. I'm still unlikely to walk for the same duration as I ride, though.

The week off will be devoted to small projects. I was thinking about pulling up the carpet in the living room, something I've been thinking about since I moved in, but that's probably overambitious, and there're enough small projects to keep me busy all week. I want to ride, too. It's supposed to rain tomorrow. Of course, it was supposed to rain last night, too, and didn't. I was looking at possible paths in Connecticut, but the best candidate is out past Hartford. There's another candidate, the CT portion of the greenway that picks up the Coventry bike trail at the border, but CT-DOT is a bit sketchy about what kind of shape it's in. I could also do the Alewife-Lexington path up in Massachusetts, I suppose.
dxmachina: (Calvin)
There's never a thunder god around when you need one. At least, that's the way it seems. After a couple days of absolutely miserable heat and humidity, storms have been traversing the region since mid-afternoon, but all we've gotten is overcast skies, a stiff breeze, temperatures dropping to the mid-eighties by late afternoon, and high seventies now. The humidity is such that it still feels like one is swimming in soup outside, but at least the soup is no longer piping hot. It's been raining north of here for hours now. The Sox got rained out at Fenway. Not a drop here, though. It'll really suck if we don't get anything. We haven't had a decent rain since June, and the flora is starting to pine for the fjords.

I've been staying mostly near the a/c all weekend, which was fighting somewhat of a losing battle against this much heat, and this much humidity. I failed to do much of anything, and even some of the things I did do failed miserably. I tried making tapioca pudding yesterday, but instead wound up with cream of tapioca soup. Or maybe you could call it a boba vanilla milkshake. Anyway, whatever it was, it was a complete failure as comfort food. I tried reading in front of the a/c in the back room early this afternoon, and woke up two hours later completely groggy.

I did spend some time down in the basement cleaning out the laundry area (it's been years), vacuuming, cleaning up the cobwebs, hauling away several years worth of accumulated dryer lint, detergent boxes, and spent softener sheets, and sorting through old clothes to figure out what to bring the the Salvation Army. The obnoxious thing is that it was actually hotter in the basement than it was upstairs. I also took the opportunity afforded by the lower temps late this afternoon to reinstall the hard lid for my truck's bed, replacing the soft tonneau cover that I've been riding around with since I helped Vee move a couple weeks ago. (The lid turns my truck bed into an enormous trunk, which nice and secure, but not so handy when moving furniture.) Even with the lower temperature and stiff breeze, I wound up drenched in sweat. Really, it was just a miserable weekend.

I only follow a few comic strips anymore. One of them, For Better or for Worse, has been running a story-line that has been annoying the everliving crap out of me. How do you pronounce harassment? )

Brad Penny pitched a tremendous game today, scattering eight hits in a complete game win over the Mets, beating Pedro Martinez, 2-1. The story for most of the game was Martinez, who was pitching a no-hitter until Antonio Perez tripled with one out in the bottom of the eighth. Jayson Werth followed with a homer for the lead. I have to admit I was torn. I would've liked to see both Martinez and the Mets finally get a no-hitter, just not against the Dodgers.

Ooh! Is that thunder?
dxmachina: (Dandelions)
It's hot, hazy, and humid. Yesterday we had a very brief downpour, which I was totally unaware of until I walked out of the door as I was leaving work. It was then I noticed the puddles everywhere, and that the window on the truck was open. Sigh.

There isn't really much to report on the home front besides that. My home a/c system has kept me comfortable. I'm going to try to buy a garden shed at BJ's tonight. I say try because I have no idea how I'm going to wrestle the two enormous boxes it comes in up to the check out line, and thence out to my truck. I'll inquire about getting someone there to help me, preferably someone with a forklift. I have no worries once I get it home, because there I can just drive the truck into the backyard, and shove the boxes onto the ground next to where I'm going to put it up. Wherever that may turn out to be. (No, I really don't have much of a plan at this point.)

Wilson Alvarez decided not to go on the DL, and will stay with the team. He is definitely retiring at the end of the year. Houlton pitched well last night, giving up only a two-run homer to Preston Wilson. Unfortunately, the Dodgers only scored one run all night, so DJ takes the loss. Erickson cleared waivers, and is headed for Las Vegas.

Meanwhile, at Fenway, Manny and Renteria collided going for a pop-up, with Manny getting thwacked hard in the face. Johnny Damon had this to day about it:

"I knew it was no-man's-land. I was just hoping Manny would recognize it soon enough to call it, because Edgar kept coming back. He didn't really hear anything. It's one of those plays, as an outfielder, you're not quite sure you're going to get there. It was just a tough situation."

Johnny, you're the centerfielder. It's your outfield. You're supposed to be in charge out there. If they're going after the ball that hard, you're the one who's supposed to call one or the other off.
dxmachina: (Koufax)
Heck of an off-field day for us baseball fans, especially those who follow the NL West. It started when I checked in at the Dodger Thoughts blog, and discovered the aftermath of what was apparently a big kerfuffle during yesterday's watch & post. I decided not to wade through the 715 comments, but rather just read the blog owner's post scolding everyone who participated. From what I can infer, the kerfuffle started over Jim Tracy's managing of the game, specifically the fact that he had Milton Bradley lay down a sacrifice bunt with men on first and second, and no outs in the bottom of the ninth. Bradley succeeded, but the Cards then intentionally walked Jeff Kent, after which Saenz grounded into a double play to end the scoring opportunity.

Kerfuffles, Palmeiro, and Bonds, oh joy... )
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Just to cap off the day, I found the following note in my mailbox today:

Dear Neighbor,
We just wanted to give you a warning that we had some cell phones and money stolen from out vehicles parked in our driveway sometime between Saturday 7/30 10:00 pm and Sunday 7/31 7:30 am. We've notified the Police, but thought you should know that someone is stealing from the neighborhood so you can take appropriate precautions.


I always leave my car unlocked. I leave money and CDs and even my cell, on occasion, in it. One of the reasons I like living out here is that I don't usually have to worry about stuff like this. I locked my car tonight. The frelling terrorists have won.
dxmachina: (Calvin)
Another lovely day yesterday, making for one of the nicest three day weekends I can remember for a long time. Despite that, I spent most of the day indoors, attempting to apply Star Wars technology to the simple task of installing some track shelving.

The job should be simple enough. Screw the two vertical tracks to the wall, snug some brackets into the tracks, and put shelves on the brackets. Of course, you want the tracks to be plumb and level with each other. Otherwise, the shelves will be cockeyed, and stuff will start sliding off. That's where it gets tricky. The traditional way to make sure everything lines up is with a standard 4' level, the way it's been done for hundreds of years, and the way I've always done it in the past. It works just fine, except, it's awkward when you're working by yourself. You always need to figure out how to hold the level in proper position whilst you're doing whatever it is you need to do, an operation that frequently wants for a couple three extra arms. Usually you wind up putting up one piece, then propping one end of the level on that while adjusting the other end, taking into account any offset, trying to put the other piece into place, hoping the whole thing doesn't fall, and damnit, the frelling drill is out of reach. Bother.

What's a mad scientist to do? )

In other tech news, I'm trying to set up an appointment at the dealer to have the bad u-joint on my truck replaced, but the service department has a message on their system that says my call back may be delayed because too many people are on vacation this week.

Ketchup...

Jun. 21st, 2005 11:21 pm
dxmachina: (Dandelions)
I spent the majority of the weekend sitting in front of the computer like a lump rather than doing anything chorelike. Okay, I did do some straightening up in the basement, and finally got around to aligning my miter saw, but mostly I just played Civ III. It's one of those games that just grabs me. I start off figuring on playing for an hour in the morning, and next thing I know it's midnight. I suppose that as a way of forgetting about one's cares and woes it's healthier than heavy drinking or heroin.

I didn't go to the airshow. Turns out I didn't need to. Sunday afternoon, I got my own private air show. (I don't live that far away from the base.)

As penance for the wasted weekend, I've been doing yardwork in the evenings. Last night I mowed the lawn. This evening, I staked the tomato plants, weeded the onion patch, and took a pruning to the evil thicket, lopping off several dozen of the more encroachy branches. I have at least one tiny green tomato out there, still attached to the plant, even. There are also two teeny strawberries, about the size of jujubes, and they're just about ripe.

One thing I did finish was Crown of Slaves, by David Weber and Eric Flint, another book set in Weber's Honorverse, featuring some of the side characters Weber and Flint have been developing over the last few years. I enjoyed it, although it certainly could've been edited down a bit. Except for the end, which seemed really rushed after taking so long to get there.
dxmachina: (Default)
This is me taking a break from reviewing and revising SOPs. Lately I've been very turnip-like at home, and work has been busy. Yesterday afternoon was spent reinstalling WinXP on a machine that had been hijacked. A good chunk of today was spent disinfecting another machine. Feh. In my perfect world, people who write adware get tied up and handed over to Angelus along with a pair of rusty tweezers.

More dull and boring... )

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The Dodgers take on the Twins tonight for the first time since the '65 Series. By coincidence, I just downloaded a copy of the 7th game of the '65 Series from mlb.com, so I'll have something to get me into the spirit of the thing before tonight's game kicks off.
dxmachina: (Calvinball)
Another hot one, so I spent the morning installing air conditioners. I installed the window A/C in the back room, and then set up my snazzy new Haier portable A/C in the office. The Haier doesn't require a full-width window for installation, just enough room for the intake and exhaust tubes, which makes it perfect for use with the narrow windows in the front of my house. In fact, you don't even lose the use of the window, since you can keep the screen in place. I hoped that between the two of them I'd have enough BTU to take care of the entire first floor, but it's not quite enough. It'd be nice to close off, say, the living room, but it'd be hard to do, and require much drapeage. Maybe if I get another, smaller Haier (or similar) for the living room.

I had to cut some pieces of plywood to make the Haier fit nice and snug, which meant I had to revisit the crate. Finished knocking it apart enough to get it off the table saw. Eventually, I'll have to start all those yanking nails out of the boards. Feh.

I holed up in the office for the worst of the heat. I installed an old copy of The Sims I had. I'd tried it once years ago, but never went back to it until today. It is a real time killer, but I've already lost interest. It was probably the second stove top fire that did it. It was the only excitement. I even tried out the nudity patch, but that wore thin pretty quick. Shrug.

I did venture out for a little while this evening to mow the lawn. I was going to fire up the weed whacker for the first time this year, too, but it didn't want to start. I'll need to drop it off at Frank's for service.

Heh. I'm listening to the Dodgers game on tape delay, and the Brewers' pitcher just threw a wild pitch while trying to intentionally walk someone. The runner on third scored, then the pitcher walked the batter anyway, and the manager came and got him. 5-1 Dodgers after three with Brad Penny pitching. Penny has been good recently, and is getting back to being the pitcher the Dodgers thought they were getting for Lo Duca and Mota.

It's hard to believe we're already a third of the way through the season. The Dodgers have been miserable of late. They're in third, and the optimists at DT keep saying brave things about the Padres and DBacks being not all that good, either, but if it hadn't been for their torrid start, LA would be way back. The weird thing is that the offense, which all the DePo naysayers predicted would be awful, has been pretty good. It's the pitching that's killing them, particularly their home run rate. They're on a pace to break the all time Dodger record for home runs given up. Injuries aren't helping either. Milton Bradley had to go on the DL, one of seven currently on the list. Jon Weisman did a nice analysis of the season so far here.
dxmachina: (Runforit)
If it's raining, it must be the weekend...

I had all sorts of lawn and garden type stuff planned, but it seems hurricane season has come early to New England (well, a nor'easter, anyway). That leaves me with the great indoors.

I did venture out into the weather this morning to get an oil change, and to have them check the weird squeaking noise I'm getting at low speed from the rear wheels. I also had them flush the transmission. I assumed the squeaking was something brake related, and therefore potentially expensive, but they couldn't find anything wrong with the brakes. In fact, they failed to find the source at all. The manager says it's probably just some dust from the brake shoes. We'll see.

I finished painting the office a week ago, and have done nothing in there since except sit in front of the computer and watch TV. All the pails, tools, drop cloths, and such are still spread about the office and the kitchen (which was my staging area, figuring that if I managed to dump a large quantity of paint, it was far better to do it in a room that didn't have wall-to-wall). I suppose the first thing I should do is haul all that stuff downstairs. Then it's time to think about furnishings. Much more behind the curtains... )
dxmachina: (Calvin)
We got a call today from a guy who works for a department of the Federal government. He was calling to get some information so that they could begin the investigation of a complaint we had lodged with them. We lodged the complaint in 1998.

Priming is done. I'll cut in the top coat tonight, and roll out the rest of it tomorrow night, lord willing and the Creek don't rise.

The Dodgers went from 4½ up to a half game back in under a week. Feh.
dxmachina: (Runforit)
It's kind of an unsettled day out there, occasionally rainy, occasionally sunny, very breezy. I spent most this morning diagnosing, and then replacing, a bad power supply in our receptionist's computer. Since we didn't have any spare power supplies lying about, I got to drive around for a bit (twixt here and CompUSA) during one of the nicer periods of the day.

The refurbishing of my office continues. During the week I scrubbed down all the baseboard components, opening up a nice cut on my left thumb with a sharp edge in the process. I was prepping them for painting, but as I stood there putting pressure on my thumb to stem the bleeding, I decided they actually cleaned up pretty well, and they would mostly be behind stuff anyway, so why bother? I reinstalled them Saturday, and they look fine. I also set up the TV and its accoutrements. I decided that the cheap new 20" model I got a couple of weeks ago is just too big for the spot, so I picked up a small (15") LCD TV to go there. The LCD was three time as expensive as the other, but I do like the picture quality quite a bit more, especially on DVDs. The 20" goes in the living room to replace my 21 year-old Hitachi 19", which is on it's last legs. I plan to get a 30" to 32" HDTV for there eventually, but this will do for now.

Sunday, I tackled the interior walls. It's much less surface area to work on than the others, but a) they had way more things that need to be patched, and b) they are usually behind an enormous desk. There were also shelf brackets attached the wall, and both the shelves and desk a were piled high with stuff. I set up a table in the opposite corner, took moved all the piles of stuff onto it. Then I moved the desk to the center of the room, took down the shelves and brackets, and scrubbed the walls clean.

Next up was patching. There were lots of small holes and dings, and one big crack in one corner of the entryway to the kitchen. I learned my lesson with the "paintable" silicone caulk, so it was time to try other options. Down to the basement to look for some software. I bought a couple of different types of patching compound back when I first bought the house, tubs of both some "lightweight" wall patch and some standard joint compound, as well as a box of dry, mix-it-yourself patching compound that my brother swears by. However, even though the tubs were well sealed, the intervening years weren't been kind to either of them. Neither product was particularly homogeneous, and the lightweight stuff reeked of ammonia. The dry stuff was still fine, so I decided to try that for everything but the crack. I decided to use some the paintable acrylic caulk on that, figuring that the flexibility of the caulk will be useful there. I don't expect the bleed-through problems I had with the silicone, because the acrylic is essentially the same material as latex paint base.

The caulking went okay. It took me a couple of tries to get it right, because I didn't initially grasp that the two sides of the crack were now at different surface heights with respect to one another. That meant that just filling the crack wasn't going to make for a smooth surface. I had to build up the caulk on the lower side of the crack, and taper it down to the wall. I'm really not very good at that.

I now see why my brother likes the dry patching compound so much, besides the fact that it's always ready to go. When made according to directions, it's a lot thinner than standard patching materials. It's about the consistency of pastry cream. This means it's very easy to force down into small holes, and when you go over it with a spackling blade to clean up the excess material, the excess doesn't pull the material back out of the hole with it. It also dries very quickly, and once dry, you can smooth it with a wet sponge. All very convenient. I like it a lot more than conventional spackle.

Tonight, it's masking, followed by a coat of Killz for the patches.
dxmachina: (Default)
I finally finished phase one of painting the office. I say "finally" because I ran into another snag during the week when I cut in the top coat. I wonder if Michaelangelo had this much trouble... )
dxmachina: (DX)
I did the cutting in for the first coat of paint last night. The problem now is that the manufacturer recommends waiting four hours between coats, so I can really only do one coat per evening. This is gonna take forever.

Rather than sitting there watching the paint dry, I went down to the basement and started some seedlings (cantaloupes, parsley, basil, and six varieties of tomatoes). I have this little space-age mini-greenhouse that my mother gave me for Christmas a year or two ago. Very easy to use, no muss, no fuss. Now it's sitting on top of the furnace, where I imagine the seeds are just germinating their little endosperms out.

It's another sunny day out, albeit a bit on the cold side. I need to go shopping for a new lawn mower, and perhaps a small tiller/cultivator of some sort. I also need to get a shed of some kind to store all this stuff in.
dxmachina: (Dandelions)
What an absolutely gorgeous weekend. The sun shone, the temperature rose, and the daffodils bloomed in all their golden glory. I should've been on my bike. Instead, it was a weekend for doing homeowner type stuff.

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Project #1: Paint Your Wagon Office Got a dream, boy, got a brush... )

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Project #2: Lawnmower Man: I'm gonna choke somebody... )

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Project #3: The Postal Worker Always Honks Twice Neither rain, nor sleet, nor falling trees... )

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I also made some very good beef stew in the slow cooker, which I don't use very often.

There was one other oddity this weekend. At least two birds bounced off my living room picture window. I'm almost afraid to look behind the rhododendron for fear of finding a bunch of dead, near-sighted birds back there.
dxmachina: (Default)
Several years ago I figured out that I could connect a VCR to the composite video input of my old 13" Commodore C-64 monitor, then add a pair of surplus PC speakers and have a workable TV. I kept the setup in my bedroom and only used it occasionally at my old place, but that changed when I moved over here. I decided I needed a TV in the office so I could watch while sitting at my desk, as well as doing cool stuff like watch and posts. The setup worked great, because the monitor gave a far superior picture to what I could've gotten out of a similarly sized TV. Eventually, I got it its own cable box, and put my second DVD player on the system, and since I spend a good portion of my time at home in the office, it wound up becoming my primary TV.

A couple of months ago the picture started blacking out. You have to remember that I originally bought it back in 1986, so it's almost twenty years old. So it goes. Not to worry, I had a back up. When I got my first Amiga, I also bought a Commodore 1080, one of the niftiest monitors ever made. The 1080 had inputs for Amiga graphics, composite video, and EGA graphics. For a couple of years I had my Amiga 500, C-64, and a PC 286 all connected to the monitor, and was able to switch between them at the press of a button. So cool. It wasn't until I got my 486 with its snazzy SVGA graphic card that I finally had to retire the 1080. Anyway, I hauled the 1080 down from the attic and connected it up. It had an even better picture than the C-64 monitor. Woo!

Sadly, it was no spring chicken, either, and last night while I watching Lost the picture started fading in and out. Crap, because now I'm fresh out of old composite capable monitors. So tonight I went out and picked up a cheap (under $120) 20" TV for the office. I set it up, but I'm having a hard time warming up to it. It's actually almost too big for where I have it, and the picture isn't that great. I considered getting an LCD monitor for the spot, but there doesn't seem to be an inexpensive way to connect an SVGA monitor to a VCR. Plus the cheapest 19" LCD monitor I saw cost three times as much as what I got. LCD TVs were even more expensive. Feh.

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I started the prep work for this weekend's paint-a-thon. I've mentioned that the previous owner was a heavy smoker, and that I had to clean the smoke residue off the walls. Well, the top couple of inches of each wall were stained permanently grey. (The ceilings used to look like that, too, but they painted all the ceilings before I took possession.) I worried that if I didn't treat them, the staining would show through the normal paint and primer, so I applied a coat of Killz, a stain-blocking primer, over the grey (and a few other dark marks). It works great. Highly recommended.

Tomorrow night is patching and masking, Saturday it's two coats of primer, and Sunday the final coat(s) of paint.
dxmachina: (Calvin)
It was a wild and woolly weekend weather-wise. It rained hamsters most of yesterday, and the wind got nasty overnight. I needed ear plugs to get to sleep. This morning there were various bits and pieces of storm gutter lying on the ground in my back yard. There was a brief moment of panic at this, since my first thought was that it had fallen off *my* house, but the pieces were white, and I was pretty sure my gutters are blue. I took a quick trip outside to confirm this. Yup, not mine. Later, my neighbor (the one who's building an addition) came over to pick up the pieces. The sun ducked in and out of the clouds all day today, but temps did creep into the fifties, warm enough to let me crack the windows a little.

Having nothing better to do yesterday, I got into full spring cleaning mode. A strange turn of events... )

Now I'm completely tuckered out just thinking about it. Actually, my back is killing me, but that's more from all the stuff I wound up doing today.
dxmachina: (Default)
It has been a very nice week so far, weatherwise, one of those weeks you get occasionally in late January or early February where the sun shines bright, and temperatures stay well above freezing. It's the kind of weather that makes you feel like spring is just around the corner. I've even had the window in my office cracked open. That said, there are still some reminders around that it's winter, mostly the long streaks of snow striping the landscape where the drifts built up during the blizzard, but they have been narrowing.

Sadly, I am reliably informed that spring is still quite a ways off, as a winter storm is bearing down on New England. The weather people say that my neck of the woods is going to get rain for the most part, with only a little snow, but it will still be cold and raw.

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The sneakers I ordered Saturday arrived yesterday. Unfortunately, I ordered the wrong width, so I have to send them back. I could have completely avoided this if I had actually bothered to take thirty seconds to look at the little size tag on my old pair, rather than make an assumption about what width Bob's Store considers to be "wide." Sometimes I am such a dolt.

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The heating system continues to not leak, so go me.
dxmachina: (Default)
It's sunny and above freezing here, despite the little dusting of snow we got last night. Hooray! Yesterday was also sunny, but colder.

I spent much of yesterday attacking the second law of thermodynamics, i.e., trying to reverse entropy as it applies to the various and sundry items inside my house. I mean, I'm a guy. I have a very high tolerance for clutter, dust, and uncleanliness, but even I have my limits, and I've reached them. My house looks like a bunch of thugs from a Chandler novel came in and ransacked the place. Started in the backroom, which was piled high with half empty boxes of books, what remained after finally shelving stuff. So, I moved that clutter into the living room, which is the staging area for the attic, took the laundry downstairs to be washed, sorted and stored piles and piles of comic books, dusted, vacuumed, and generally picked up stuff. I got a nice little rug for it (on clearance at Wal-Mart for $3), so I won't have to put my feet straight onto cold hardwood flooring first thing in the morning.

I also replaced my bedside lamp. The lamp I had was one I'd made decades ago using a lamp-making kit and an old wine jug. The bulb socket fixture has been loosening to the point where I was starting to fear electrocution whenever I turned it on or off, so I found a nice little turned wood lamp at Wal-Mart for $10. I also had to get a shade for it, and here I ran into a problem. Or maybe not so much a problem as mild future shock. The last time I bought a lampshade, probably fifteen years ago or so, it attached to the lamp in the same way lampshades had as long as I can remember. You had a spring clip on the shade that clipped directly onto the lightbulb, easy peasy. Apparently, you can't buy those anymore, at least not at Wal-Mart. I presume someone broke a bulb with one and sued. Which would also explain why there were a gazillion warning stickers on the lamp itself. Instead, the shade had this round fitting suspended down about where the lightbulb would be, and I stood there wondering for a bit if the damn thing was just supposed to balance on top of the bulb somehow. Despite the gazillion warning labels, there weren't any instructions on how to actually assemble the parts. I finally noticed that the bulb socket had been redesigned as well, and hey, the fitting on the shade snuggles down nicely onto it. So you have to put the shade on first, before you install the lightbulb. Of course this all means that all the zillions of lamps out there with the old style socket can't use any of the shades being marketed today. Gotta love planned obsolescence.

While I was cleaning and straightening, I was also making bread in the machine. I had a box of assorted bread machine mixes, so I tried one of those, a honey-wheatberry mix. I'd had these for awhile, and the last time I made one, it didn't rise at all, so I figured the supplied yeast had expired. This time I used fresh yeast instead of the included packet, and it still resulted in a perfectly formed brick. Bother. It wasn't the yeast, because last night I made up a loaf of my maple oatmeal bread from scratch, and it worked like a charm. It produced a great loaf of bread. Still despite the brick, the house did smell like fresh bread for several hours. Then I made beef burgundy, which simmered for three hours, and the house smelled like stew. It was as if Glade had produced a comfort scent or something.

Also did some video editing later on for a little project that I'm working on, and that worked out fine. The problem I have there is that I don't do it very often, so I constantly have to relearn stuff that I figured out last time I did it. Very frustrating, that.

And now it's off to Chez Virago-Bug for the afternoon. Later.
dxmachina: (calvinsnow)
It snowing like crazy outside, although the promised 60 mph gusts of wind have yet to arrive. I am snug and warmish in my home (more on the warmish part later), drinking hot chocolate (although I must say that those fancy gourmet hot chocolate packets are nowhere near as chocolatey as plain ol' Swiss Miss, much less honest-to-god cocoa), listening to a mix CD that arrived in the mail today from [livejournal.com profile] theodosia (thanks, Theo!), and occasionally glancing out at the snow flakes dancing about in the glow of the porch lights outside my window.

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Drifting away... )

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Panic in the streets... )

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Bring on the heat... )

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I'll huff, and I'll puff... )

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When I got home I started a batch of my famous maple-oatmeal bread in the bread machine. Since I was doing it during the day, rather than overnight, I decided to just use the machine to make the dough, and for the initial rising. When that was done, I transferred the dough to a regular bread pan, let it rise again, and then shoved it into the oven. It all seemed to be going pretty well. The second rising made a nice bread-shaped loaf. But as I moved it from where it had been rising over to the oven, it fell quite a bit. I wound up with a pan-high loaf - tasty, but denser than usual. Next time I'll just keep it in the machine.

After that, I spent most of the day reading back issues of Fables. I managed to get through all the ones I've downloaded. Now I just have to finish the last few I bought at Newbury. I also read the latest issue of Powers, which was great, as usual.

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February 2016

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