Alkahest my heroes have always died at the end

November 4, 2009

Sierra and the case of the uncomfortable pillow

Filed under: Personal,Photography — cec @ 9:18 am

dsc_7289One of our dogs, Darwin, likes sleeping on the floor.  He’ll occasionally sleep on the couch or on his dog bed, but then he gets too hot and moves to the floor.  The other dog, Sierra (named after either the Sierra Nevada Mountains as beautifully described by John Muir or the brewery named after the same mountains, depending on whom you ask), doesn’t get so hot and prefers sleeping on pillows or couches… my spot in the bed if I’m not currently occupying it, etc.  One of her sleeping spots is on an old pillow in the bedroom.  But apparently, it’s not always that comfortable.  When we went to bed last night, this was the scene that greeted us.

I love my dogs.  I love my dogs.  Om mani padme hum.  I love my dogs.

November 3, 2009


Filed under: Personal,Technical — cec @ 11:04 pm

For a guy who uses computers as much as I do, you would think that I would have better machines at home.  But really, no.  Our last desktop was eight years old before we replaced it.  My laptop was an old Thinkpad X31 – maybe six or seven years old.  So, for a combination birthday/Christmas present, I got a new (sort of) laptop.  I picked up a refurbished thinkpad X200s from the Lenovo outlet.  So far it’s a nice machine: good processor, lots of high speed memory, and a big LED backlit screen.  Lenovo sent me notice that they were shipping the laptop today and the next thing I knew, it arrived at the office.  The advantages of working 5 miles from the outlet.  The only problem is that they didn’t ship all of the parts.  I’ve contacted them and they’ll send the dock/dvd.

When I got the machine home, I spent about a minute trying to decide if I would keep a partition with Windows on it.  But then I remembered that I don’t play video games, so I didn’t really need Vista.  I’ve installed Fedora 11 and moved all my files.

November 2, 2009

Always with the water

Filed under: Plumbing — cec @ 2:05 pm

Welcome to my Amish rural paradise, water problems are no extra charge.

In this month’s exciting installment, K and I note that we are lacking in water pressure on Saturday night before we go to bed.  Sunday rolls around and sure enough, no water.  My guess was that either the well pump or the pressure switch had gone bad.  We weren’t going to be too happy if it was the pump, since we replaced it less than three years ago.  I went out and bought some drinking water, checked the rain barrels to see if we had water for toilets and called the plumber.

When the plumber arrived this (Monday) morning, the first thing he did was to check for problems with the pressure switch.  No such luck, power was getting to the pump.  That meant they had to crack the well and pull up the pump from three hundred feet underground.  Once the pump saw the light of day, it was a simple matter to see if the pump was good – connect it straight to the power.  Doing so provided the only bit of good news: the pump was working fine.  Somewhere in the 300′ of wire that provide power to the pump was the problem.

Sure enough, they found a number of places where the insulation had been chewed through, and others where the wire itself was either almost or entirely split.  It turns out that every time the pump comes on, it torques a bit, and going through 300′ of heavy clay and rock provides plenty of opportunity to tear at the wires.

Fortunately, it was all put together by noon and we’re back in business.  I thought I would never want to get out of the shower 🙂

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