nimitzbrood: (Default)
( Feb. 9th, 2014 07:47 am)
So as of Friday that was officially the last day our company had a physical office presence. We are waiting to see if the bid on the new office is accepted. If so that means we'll have an office in downtown Chicago for client meetings and company functions. Regardless that means we're working at home from this point on.

Not a bad thing as we're getting to expense out several things that shall help greatly. And I won't have to really drive anywhere so that's good.

Still that means I have a lot of work to do today. I need to dig out the path to the garage so I can put the boat motors that are in the basement out there and bring the couch that is out there into the basement. Then I have to dig my way to the shed and unbury and set up the two desks in there so I can get all my monitors working with my notebook. (For the record I'll be up to 5 total for one machine.)

That means I won't be able to plug in the heater but since I put the register into the heating duct it's only a degree or two shy of 60F down there now. And the colder it gets out the warmer it gets down there because the furnace runs more often. That said I'm going to put a second register down there in the other run so it adds just a little more.

Finished Chapter 10 of Becoming Twilight and posted it last week. Starting to get into the swing of things again but still slow going. I have to figure out where I'm going with Conversations with Raava as well as all the other stories I've let sit fallow.

Got a second Barnes and Noble gift card from my in-laws yesterday for my birthday. As I was within range of a store I ran over and got myself one of the nice hardback versions of The Hobbit (the green version) and a five book set of the Percy Jackson novels. (I put $25 on the credit card to do that but that should get easily covered by my expense check when it comes in.)

Currently driving on a donut still. The one tire that had broken a belt finally gave up the ghost and broke the bead on the rim. Gotta find a new tire come payday. Hopefully that won't be too expensive. I should buy two but that's likely not gonna happen.

Iritis is all but gone. Still on steroid drops but weaning off. Two a day for this week then one a day for next week then done. After that I go back for a visit and among other things get an updated prescription. Thinking about trying contacts again so I can use conventional eyeware things like sunglasses and such. Contacts have come a long way since when I first tried them as a kid so I'm hoping it'll be a totally different experience.

All of the above aside I really just want to go back to sleep but I can't do that. I need to get moving for a lot of reasons. It sucks but I haven't really had a break since Winter Solstice and am not likely to get one until after March 1st as I'm on call again. Still if I can actually motivate today despite the cold I should be able to get things done.

But honestly I'd love to stay inside and read my books with some hot chocolate.
So far what it turned out to be was the main clip-style ground wire from one side of the driver's side transmission mount to the other. Replaced that with a bolted style ground wire and the PCM fuse no longer blows. Wheee! That said if it blows on the way to work I've got a whole bag of fuses to get me to work and back. XD (Yes yes I know that repeated fuse replacement can cause issues. I"m of the opinion after a couple of test drives yesterday that she's fixed.)

Got the tire for the motorcycle in this week. Got the wheel off the bike but couldn't get the old tire off the rim. The rim is too deep for me to properly grab the tire bead. :-( That means I'll have to take the wheel somewhere and get it done. No big but as usual money I didn't want to spend.

On a brighter note those of you interested in classic computing will like this - I now have a virtualized Vax running OpenVMS 7.3 on it. It's running on a NetBSD VM using SIMH. I'm trying to get Circlemud to build on it but it's got a bug in it somewhere as it crashes when it tries to load zones. Fun stuff. :-)

Well I just heard my wife get out of the shower so I need to get going to work now that I can drive myself there. A good week to all those I know! :-)
Or in my case...my front left caliper is sticking. Put new pads and rotor on it yesterday and drove it and it still has the same problem. So After spending $106 for the brake parts I got on E-Bay and spent another $36 for a remanufactured caliper. A deal considering local places want $60 - $80 for one of those. It'll come in around the 1st of next month but that's okay because the caliper retracts enough after it cools down to get me to work and back. It's just frustrating though.

That said I seem to be taking more things in stride these days. While things do get me wound up I usually don't stay too would for too long unless they're repeated issues. This is of course a good thing. Money however is a repeated issue. ;-)

All things in balance though or at least that's the plan.

I do realize though that one can not shoot for the stars and remain in balance. It's an impossibility unless you have infinite time.

Here's the thing - to remain in balance you are always balanced between earth and sky and all other things. To reach the stars you have to leave the earth behind.

Thus...all true adventurers to space (so to speak) have to be unbalanced. But unbalanced in just the right way.

I'm suddenly realizing how rare that actually is.

Just got back from taking the puppy for a walk. I should stop calling him that as he's 5 or more years old. That was fun. Now I need to go out and clean up the yard and mow. Not fun.

Well that's not true. I like maintaining things. I enjoy making things work or look good or both. I like improving upon those things. And I like making things from scratch when I can. Unfortunately I don't get a lot of energy to do any of those lately.

Hoping to change that.

One other thing I paid for which cost me about $9 is a small magnetic lens assembly that attaches to my phone or my Flip Mino camera and allows me to do wide-angle and macro shots respectively. This means I don't have to use the main video camera if I want to do shots of me working with electronics out in the workshop. Yet again something I want to do but am not getting done.

Work is going well. Or as well as can be with a busy technical support position. It's always something to be dealt with. :-)

In case I didn't mention it before I got the motorcycle running again. Swapped out the carburator jets for the slightly larger ones so she shouldn't lean out around 5k rpms. Unfortunately I went to air up the front tire and it won't hold air. Fortunately I have a whole 'nother bike that has good front and back tires on it. Going to try and swap those tires today if possible after I mow the lawn.

Mowing the lawn is such a pain with the lawn lights. Seriously thinking about something creative here. I hate having to pull the lawn lights and replace them so here's what I'm thinking:

1) Get a number of those strings of LED lights. Clear, white, RGB, whatever.

2) Get a whole bunch of the small metal spice tins with the clear centers in the covers.

3) Get a bunch of rubber grommets just big enough to fit around the wires to the LEDs.

4) Notch the sides of the spice tins on two sides - one opposite the other - so the wires go in then come out the other sides.

5) Apply grommets to the wires and insert the wires so each LED is contained in a metal spice tin and centered in the clear window.

6) Hot glue the LEDs in place in the tins.

7) Glue the lids shut with something strong - I suggest Gorilla Glue.

8) Bury the tins and the wiring along the path so that just the tops show.

9) Plug the string into a timer or a light-sensitive "after dark" kind of switch.

10) Enjoy mowing your lawn without having to take the damn path lights out.

Simple, fairly inexpensive, and likely more sturdy than other wired solutions.

Now I just need a clean workshop to get those done...

Off to mow!
...or What do you use to fill bankrupt pants!

Many many things going on. Before I get started though please be reminded that Anonymous commenting on the Livejournal account has been turned off so if you want to comment you will have to get an account. They're free just get one and email me the account name.

Let's see....

Went to the in-laws for Easter this weekend. Not my holiday personally (mine comes before Easter) but I did get to relax a little. Slept in a comfy recliner that was underneath a basement window. This allowed me to sleep in a sunbeam. Very cool. All hail the Goddess of the Sun! ;-)

Getting more things cleaned out. We killed another foot-pedal garbage can so we replaced it with a plastic swing-top one that even if we break the pins holding the lid I can quickly and easily repair it. Not metal but I'll live.

Of course that left me with the perpetual problem - how do you throw out a garbage can in the garbage. I'm hoping that the scrap signs I taped to both metal cans will convince the metal scrappers to take them.

I'm hoping to be off the 4th and 5th of April to do spring cleaning. I went through several totes and boxes in the attic of the workshop and found that a great amount of paper can be discarded. While I will keep some of the older computer books many of them will sadly never be useful to me even from an informational standpoint. Thus out they go. That and I printed out a lot of stuff I just plain never really used. So all that can go as well.

Got my old white Core2Duo Macbook loaded with Mint Linux 13 on an SSD and got Focuswriter among other things installed on there. Used it to finish a short story for FimFiction. The battery and power savings on that laptop work well under Linux now so I fully intend to take advantage of that. My only annoyance is I'll need to only write with it in the shade because it has a glossy screen. Since I often write at night, due to many reasons, that is not really an issue. (Kinda wondering what the keyboard on those OLPC units feels like tiny as they are. They have direct sunlight usable screens.)

Found two ACARD SCSI->PATA adapters in the workshop attic. That means I can use regular PATA drives and probably a makeshift CF->IDE adapter to run my Vaxstation 4000-60 with a solid state drive instead of severely aging SCSI drives. That will be awesome. I may look at spending for an actual PATA SSD for that once I'm sure of what needs to happen with that system. (BTW the end goal for that system is an old-style text MUD which I never got to experience when they existed everywhere. I just think this is a cool use of the hardware.)

I don't want to jinx anything *knocks on wood* but I think I stopped the oil leak in Dorothy. I checked all her valve cover bolts and took the coil off and found the bolt under the coil was loose. Tightened that and so far I haven't seen any more oil. Also the transmission is working well since being refilled. Need to replace the front motor mount though but that's not too expensive. We'll just have to wait and see on the oil thing. Watching it like a hawk for a while.

The snow is pretty much gone from the driveway now so the minute it's warmer and not blowing like mad I should be able to do the brakes on the truck and that should get her mobile again. Even if I need to renew the plates on her. The motorcycle just needs a battery and those jets put in the carbs and then she should be up and running.

Thinking about either moving my existing shed or replacing it. Here's the thing - I'm more than considering raised beds so I can work them without bending over. If that's the case I could easily put a prefab shed into the existing garden space, put the raised beds where the old shed currently is, then landscape the rest for enjoyment. In fact if I ever get $1500 or so I'll be ordering one of those cool Hobbit hole sheds in addition to the prefab garden shed. They make those things big enough to put a table in there and sit in them. (Goddess I so want a Bag End of my own!)

It's strange what you think about. I just realised that with enough money my grandmother's old property (10 acres in Wisconsin) would be perfect for a Hobbit hole. Her property is a valley between two hills so to speak. The small stream breaks it up about halfway. What I'd do is put a rustic garage with guest apartment at the top of the end where the driveway is. Then put a large flower/hedge garden to the right of the driveway and headed towards the back. There's even enough space on that property for a classic tall hedge maze if I wanted one.

Then a large stone path with steps leading down and around the back hill to the large vegetable garden and orchard. (Not to be confused with the orchard to the left side of the properly.) The path would continue on over a small ridge then cross a simple stone bridge before heading up the steps to the entrance to the Hobbit hole.

Mind you I'd probably use concrete drainage culverts to create the layout of the hole then cover them with wood inside. Or I could build it Earthship style with tamped tires but I'm not sure how well that would fit with a wood interior and fully covered not just bermed. And I'd have to probably dig out a big chunk of that hill then fill it back in when done. But the design could easily be completed in that space.

All that aside the property belongs to someone else now and frankly that area is starting to urbanise more so I might want to look for something further out.

I really want a place where there are little to no street lights. Some place where I can see all the stars without the light pollution or surrounding cities and towns.

Dreams....my mind gets wrapped in them from time to time but I wouldn't have it any other way.

My mind does do some things though that are very annoying. One of the worst is constant ear-worms. (Aka songs in your head if you've never heard the term before.) Think of it this way - imagine taking a music player and setting it to repeat one track. Now imagine that track is incomplete or gets interrupted easily or repeats the same part of the song like a stuck record. Now carry that music player everywhere you go for 24 - 48 hours. It has no power button so you can't turn it off and it's indestructible and chained to your wrist. After that time change the song to another random tune. Sometimes the same one even because it's True Random not Shuffle.

The last _72_ hours it's been Show me everything you've got by Rocket Summer. Today it's switched to a song called Never Back Down by a guy called Aviators. Never sure what it's going to be next. Sometimes it's easy to become distracted enough to not have the music in the forefront but most times it comes right back.

Thankfully though it _does_ change over time or I'd definitely be mad by now.

(...)

Ugh. Now that I thought about it the song has switched back to the Rocket Summer one. *sigh*

I'm going try and get some sleep now and hopefully it'll have shuffled again before I wake.
So on the way to class last night the front left tire on my truck went flat.

Either my ears suck or my truck is too loud because I didn't hear it make the usual noise. Drove on it to the class parking lot and changed it in the cold. I don't understand why I didn't feel it but I didn't.

So today I lucked out and found a place that had two used tires of the right size for considerably less than the price of a new tire including mounting and balancing.

So I'm typing in the waiting area of the tire place as we speak. The guy was excited that the vehicle had 499k and is still running. Frankly I'm excited as well. I need to still need to do a number of things to that vehicle and I'll get to those as money permits.

In other news the L-trypotophan seems to be doing wonders for my REM sleep but it's also making me not want to wake up easily. So maybe I need to take about half the dosage. Tough to do with capsules so maybe I need to find a source with smaller capsules.

Getting some things organized at home. Put a bunch of stuff into small boxes so they can be separated out by the family member responsible. Even my daughter has boxes to go through. Hopefully we can dig into those this weekend and discard a bunch of stuff. *sigh* More "special" trash bags used. That costs money but it's something I can plan for at least.

Only one more class in my CCNA+Security class. Tuesday is the last day and we go over the self-test software itself. After that it's up to me to pass the CCNA and CCNA+Security exams as quickly as possible. Regardless unless the people in the government get off their butts I have to have some sort of job by early to mid January or so.

That's a depressingly short period of time really. Frankly I want to get something that pays at least what I'm getting from unemployment right now but I've been looking and that likely isn't realistic. Regardless I need to shoot for that mark or higher so I find something in the range I need. Passing and getting the Cisco certs will go a long way towards that goal so they are high priority.

I'm embarrassed that I haven't been devoting any time to writing. Not one word has been set to page for any of my characters and that's a damn shame. I owe them better. I've left George and Blaze offworld (which BTW is NOT where they're going to be almost all of the time) and I've left Oranaan wondering WTF to do next which is not healthy for him. Life always seems to take precedence over what your want to do. :-)

Well I'm going to go back to waiting for my tires. I may drive on five lugs because one of the lug nuts won't easily come off so it may break the stud. But a stud is something I can replace on my own in my own garage without having to pay a labor fee. And the truck will drive fine on five studs for quite a while. In fact I drove it on three studs when that wheel came off last time. As long as there's at least a three-point equidistant hold on the tire and the nuts are tight it shouldn't be a problem.

Back to the waiting...

(Follow-up: No wireless at tire place so I get a chance to edit. Turns out they didn't break the stud but they did munch both it and the nut. $5 at the local parts store got me both and I'll try and install them this weekend. Otherwise all fine.)
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Mike Hebel

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