Gas Smell

Sep. 21st, 2017 12:14 pm
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I changed out that part in the oven over the weekend. In the meantime, the gas smell has never quite gone away. $128 and a gas repair person later, he got the part's joint sealed. I had a pinpoint leak, almost but not quite sealed. Even with the massive cost overrun (the part only cost $40), this still cost less than a new oven.


Sep. 18th, 2017 09:50 am
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On Friday night, we had Carol and Paul over for dinner. We haven't seen them in 5+ years, so it was a good dinner with the usual number of excess dishes.

Saturday was a lost day for me as I had a headache kick in.

On Sunday, I got to my Saturday work and fixed the oven. The oven's gas safety regulator was malfunctioning, so I took the time to track down an affordable part (or pay literally 8x the price for the unaffordable part). Then I had to get the oven out, shove over a cabinet, shove over the fridge, unplug the fridge, and wedge in behind the oven to discover that I couldn't find the gas cutoff. (It turned out to be under the sink, but I had forgotten that.) I cut the gas off at the meter. I found a youtube video with almost my exact model getting disassembled. Did the work. Reassembled. Done.

Yay. Done. The oven reached temperature, beeped, and maintained temperature for several hours.

And the fridge didn't work any more. So I had to pull crap back out to replug the fridge.

And the hot water didn't work right this morning. So I had to go down the basement and relight the pilot for the water heater.

While I was at all that pulling crap out, I scrubbed down the oily top of the fridge. It was that truly and epicly icky.

Also in work yesterday was changing out the driving lights for my wife's car (one was out) and replacing the air filter (because the thing had a decided bad power response). Next I have to hook up my car readout thingie to find out why her car wants maintenance.

On Saturday, we got out to the redecorated Taipei Tokyo cafe. They had a considerably adjusted menu and a different vibe, although the place still felt cafe style. I got the feeling that the restaurant had changed hands, now leaning a bit more Japanese than the previous iteration. They had a steady stream of customers, so life still looks good for them.

With several new Lego Elves sets released, I've bought her a few dragons sets over the last few weeks, allowing her to have all the dragons. I envy that in her, because that's something that I never accomplished with any of the toy sets that I wanted when I was little. I can support that because there's only so much time left for this, and I get to live vicariously through her pleasure. However, from here, she'll need to earn more because we need some carrot for school work. That, and she'll need presents for her Christmas list.


Sep. 11th, 2017 11:24 am
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I am an indifferent gardener at best, but even I had to finally take action against the rogue bushes, tree, and wild grape vines.

With shovel and pick, I yanked out about six rogue plants, some more difficult than others. (One had a freaking huge tap root that will surely be back next year.)

And then there's the wildlife zone that has become wild grape vine central. I've done two shifts so far, the first one freeing the fig tree, and the second one hacking back the zone. My primary tool is an electric hedge trimmer. I've done this by hand before, and even with this freaking dangerous finger amputating auto-maiming device being the world's most awkward tool, I'd rather use it to wade in. Generally, I need to do many downward cuts before I begin with horizontal cuts. Eventually, enough stuff gets cut apart and I can put the foliage out. 

On Friday night, we made our way down to the Woodside Deli for dinner. The trip was agonizing because the traffic was awful, and Jenny has a hard time ordering anything because of her soy issues. Even so, I was determined to actually make it to this location because the other (an more convenient location) now closes at 4pm.

This location is decorated with headshots of famous people, mostly actors. We had fun pointing out who we knew. I was also impressed by how well and gorgeously some of those actresses were stacked. (Insert cartoon wolf.) Oh, baby. For other actresses, those 50's bras were horrors. What also struck me was how staged so many photos now looked. In theory, I knew these shots were mostly staged, but in that format, the staging screamed.

That black and white format survived far later than I anticipated, but I guess it's because black and white is so much cheaper than film, especially with those head shots that were mostly given away as publicity. I didn't see any that dated later than the late 80's. Most likely, any head shots which were in color would stand out too much.

In gaming, my Talisman addiction continues onward. 
dmilewski: (Default)
Every time that I listed to "My Lucky Ball and Chain," my mind goes back, way back, to Christina B., who I dated 17 years ago. (Dated as in no scuttlebutt. Sorry. Nothing to see there.) Like the lyric from TMBG, "Five foot tall and sick of me and all my rattling on." Whenever I hear that song, I get reminded.  What still strikes me most in memory is how hard I worked to just keep up with the woman, in terms of social interaction and assumptions. She had quite a more developed set of social interactions mastered than anyone in my peer groups, and way far more developed than me.

My friend skills then were pretty poor. There were places inside me where friends never went, which weren't developed because no one ever went there, and no one ever went there because when they did, they found it empty. Looking back, I can now see, to more extent, how Christina proffered a way of interacting that I couldn't see and couldn't respond because I had not developed that. I had nothing to offer because that space had nothing. 

Today, I like to think that I have some furniture in that space, but it's still sparse. I don't have mementos of all my war stories stacked up to make it interesting, nor have I decorated it in the latest fashion.

If I could go back and change anything, I would have said to her far sooner, "It's going to take me 9-18 months to get through to you, and I have six weeks to do it. I'll be screwing up in your estimation pretty much constantly. I'm still here because keeping up with you will help make me a better person." In my way, in just holding on, in trying and faking it until I made it, I turned myself into a liar. 

I don't pretend that Christina was a saint, because she wasn't, but that intersection between us was worth my time. She stopped talking to me because it wasn't worth hers.

I still miss my friend, even if that friend was an illusion in my head.
dmilewski: (Default)
We had a long holiday weekend this weekend due to Labor Day. I spent far too much of it playing Talisman because I broke down and bought the PC version, along with all the expansions.

We had Christi's kids over on Friday for a day-long playdate, followed by Christi and Terry over for dinner.

On Saturday, it rained. Oh, did it ever rain. We got what was left of a tropical storm. Jenny and DesignGirl kept at her room. My daughter has removed most toys from her room, voluntarily, mostly because she hadn't been in most of them for years. She's not a little girl any more, especially as she's now 5'+. I'll feel bad giving the MLPL ponies away. We had so many good times together playing ponies. I've already snagged a Twilight Sparkle for my office at work, so now I'm tempted to snag another.

On Sunday, my parents celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. Congratulations to them. All the family showed up to my sister's house, and we generally had too much food and slummed about. My oldest sister's boyfriend brought his camera and took portraits. I made pickles, with my mother snagging an entire jar for her and dad.

On Monday, I actually got work done around the yard, working through the front and side lawn. Not quite a jungle fortunately, but still mighty lush.

Today, we return to the school schedule. We won't have any homework tonight. That won't start in earnest until next week. Our challenge this year will be having the girl get through her homework in her own space, get herself ready consistently, keep her work sorted out (which makes school far easier), and generally following through, being a more independent student.
dmilewski: (Default)
I'm glad that I bought my used car recently, because after this storm in Houston, many flooded cars will be "fix" and hit the used market. I'm glad that I don't have to deal with that wariness.
dmilewski: (Default)
The goal of this weekend was go get my daughter's room repainted. On Saturday morning, my daughter DesignGirl gave up screen time to pick out paint (which shows just how important it was to her.) I then painted the ceiling and the walls, which took all day once you counted all the cutting in and letting things dry. On Sunday, I did some touchup and then hit the floor, sanding it down and applying four layers of polyurathane.

Sadly, my wife perfectionist eye couldn't stand the imperfections in the paint, so she'll be applying another coat of paint today. 

Meanwhile, the weather has been nice. Too nice. August is supposed to beat you with a baseball bat until you cry. This August didn't even bring a pool noodle. Last night it was 59 degrees. Weird. This makes me very afraid that we'll have another horrid freezing winter with too much snow.
dmilewski: (Default)
I'm not ready for the end of summer. I'm not ready for the return of traffic. I'm not ready to bludgeon my daughter through her grade school homework every night, sitting there for hour after useless hour. 
dmilewski: (Default)
Right now, if you go to Google Maps and look at the traffic jams, you'll see exactly where totality happened. It's all red down there, folks.
dmilewski: (Default)
I got the 80% Eclipse checkbox done today. It was a party outside the west entrance was folks looked up to see the sun. I got a few clear looks early on, but when I went back out at 2:36, a big cloud had run over the sun. We saw it a few times through a lucky break, but then it disappeared again.

Dead Tire

Aug. 16th, 2017 01:12 pm
dmilewski: (Default)
That's not a typo up there. I killed one of my tires going around a turn. I clipped something with my back wheel and tore a hole in the sidewall. Dead tire. I went looking for a tire place, but the ones that I used to know about were closed, and when I did find one, they only had one mechanic, so they were booked. I wound up getting an appointment for this morning, and after $160, have a new rear tire. Thank God I wasn't driving an all wheel drive.

Other than that, I've had my Hyundai Sonata 2012 for a few months and I'm pretty happy. I have a few nitpicks about it, because it's not a perfect vehicle, but it's still perkier than anything else I've ever owned and it's done everything that I've asked of it.

One annoyance is that the car idles so low that I hear pressure waves coming in when the windows are open. I don't know what's up in that. When switching from slowing down to speeding up, if the transition happens too quickly, the transmission gets confused and lets the power drop too much. Sometimes the engine just doesn't want to give power, but not in any predictable way. That could just be driver error.
dmilewski: (Default)
Another year, another no Worldcon. I don't yet earn enough to afford that trip, let alone an international trip. I'd also feel like I'd be carrying about a little sign that says "notice me" while everyone else was carrying around far bigger signs that said "notice me."

Home Again

Aug. 6th, 2017 05:15 am
dmilewski: (Default)
We made it home again. First, our flight was delayed on arrival, then delayed on departure because we had a nicked fan blade. They repaired that, and soon enough, we were in the air.

On our last day, we took a little hike looking for wildflowers, visited a stream to pan for gold, rode the gondolas, and visited an art show. DesignGirl wanted one of the local crepes, so just as we got into a short line, nine people wedge in before us. (Yes, I kid you not. Two entire families got there 1 second before we did.) I would have loved one of those crepes, but milk, baby. That's not good for me.

My car felt like a sports car when I started driving. 10,000 feet more oxygen, baby. Up high, you have to hit a car with a club to go any faster. Down here, cars actually have finesse.

The cat had words for us on arriving home. He'd been cooped up for a week and feeling it. He'll be lap claiming us all day.

There's nothing like getting home to see how cluttered your own house is. Improbably, the weather wasn't oppressive for August, and the night actually cool, so we opened up the house to clear out that closed house smell.

I had feared getting back onto my normal time schedule, but I woke up at an odd hour, so I just stayed awake to start shifting my time back. Lord knows when anyone else will wake up.

While some things from our trip will be missed (such as a lack of mosquitos and cool night), none of us will miss the high altitude lack of O2. It's nice to not feel like dying with any exertion. 
dmilewski: (Default)
Thursday was our slacker day during vacation. My daughter watched YouTube until her eyeball fell out and ate absurd amounts of candy.

I finished The Skies of Pern. Jenny and I hit the local bar for a drink, which might be normal to other people but was pricey for us. I watched Kong: Skull Island by myself, and then as a family, we watched The Lego Batman Movie.

On Friday, we did last things. Jenny and I went to see an old lumber mill and took a nice hike searching for wildflowers. After that, it was lounging in the hottub and swimming about a heated pool. In the afternoon, we panned for gold at a local stream while Jenny listened to stories about the history of the town. We took another ride on the gondolas, then went downtown to see an art festival. (Yes, there are some mighty awesome artists out here). DesignGirl got a raspberry crepe at the super-good crepe dive.

We wrapped Friday up with a dinner of leftovers and packing time.
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On Tuesday, we got into the car and drove-drove-drove to Rocky Mountain National Park. We traveled from Breckinridge to the Estes Park entrance, passing through western Denver and Boulder. I thought Boulder a rather lovely city, with architecture that changed at a psychotically quick pace.

Rocky Mountain National Park itself was all vistas, all the time. She's a beauty allright. We took the long drive around, wending our way here and there. At the summit, we tried to ascend, but we just didn't have the breath. We needed to rest every twenty feet, so we gave up. In terms of wildlife, we saw marmots, chipmunks, elk, and moose. (We didn't get too close to the moose.)

On Wedneday, we went up the mountain to the adventure park, plopping down $300 for fun. It was our big ticket item (aside from the plane tickets). We prioritized the adult zipline, which was a mountain size zipline. It opened late, so I went up first, getting through the experience rather quickly. I rather enjoyed the chairlift up. The zip itself turned out to be less spectacular than it looked. I still glad that I tried the experience, but it triggered no endorphines for me. Jenny went up next, but the line had built up, so she had to wait in line far longer. Meanwhile, a storm came up, so while she was up on the mountain, they closed the ride for a while. Eventually she made it through after 2.5 hours.

While Jenny was busy, DesignGirl and I did the gem panning, climbed a climbing wall, did the maze, put-putted (which got interrupted by rain), and finally, I let her do the unlimited bounce house.

Our gravity roller coaster experience turned sour. In front of us, there was a kid who's car wouldn't go (or he himself couldn't make it go). Either way, our one-trip roller coaster experience turned into a slow crawl. We were pretty vocal about the bad experience, so they put us back in line and the next go felt like a roller coaster.

They also had wheeled sleds that went down the luge runs. Fun, but only so fun.

We ended up dragging ourselves home when the afternoon rains came. We were pretty much done by then.
dmilewski: (Default)
We've been up to fun. My in-laws traded time-shares to get us a stay in Breckenridge, Colorado.

So far, we flew into Denver, then headed south to the Garden of the Gods. Swinging north, we visited the Dinosaur Research Center. We also hit a local place for lunch, enjoying some local MEAT, which the midwest does ever so fabulously. (I'll let the various localities duke it out for which is the best.)

Today we went on an early trail ride, lucking into a solo ride as most other people weren't up. We then went into town, hitting all the candy stories because DesignGirl campaigned hard for it. We then lucked into a solo escape room where we had to escape from an avalanche. We did every well, getting through the most difficult puzzles with ease, but getting tripped up by some of the simple puzzles.

Between adventures, I'm happily writing along. I finished the first draft on the Mana crystal, so now I'm going back and making sure that it reads like English. My sleep has been odd on East Coast tilme, and hitting a few time zones over, it's not improved.

The days have not been as clear as I'd prefer, with many overcast mornings, but this morning worked out bright and cheery. 

dmilewski: (Default)
I've always been a hard one to fit in. I've always seemed never to be enough of anything, although these days I think that my own inability to make a place for myself work against me just as much.

So, way back when I was an English major. One day in college, while waiting for the bus, I noted in the apartment behind me, up on the third floor, faces that I recognized. Apparently, some English major classmates were having a party. Only after some time did the host notice me down there and invite me up. You know that type of invitation, where the host feels guilty, and is only inviting you up because she doesn't like feeling on the spot, nevermind that she didn't talk to me much in the first place, nor invite me. I knew a self-serving invitation when I heard one. Imagine going up to a party where you weren't invited and are only tolerated, not welcomed.

By the time that I graduated, I had no friends in the English department.

I'm not blaming them for not being my friends. Nobody is required to be my friend. I also admit that I was (and still am) bad at making friends, especially given the constant and unrewarding effort added on because I did it badly. (When you make friends badly, other people raise the bar on you significantly, so significantly more effort is required to yield any benefit.) Yet the point remains that given my own major, I couldn't find a place for myself. I'm not sure if that's a failure in me, or a cumulative failure of the community. 

I did some poking about some old yearbooks looking at the Silhouette literary magazine staff. I don't remember any of those faces. I remember no relationships with them. Given their pictures, I could not identify them. So, we'll call that part a failure within me. 


Jul. 20th, 2017 10:15 am
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We took a trip to NJ over last weekend. Here's the real world mileage report

214 miles each way (approximately)

So for both ways, that added up to 430 miles and 2/3 a tank of gas. The car estimated that I was getting 31 mpg. I figure that I used 13 gallons, so that comes out to 33 mpg. That's fair agreement with the manufacturer's 35 mpg. (My car's self-reported local mileage is closer to 19 mpg, which includes many lights and much stop and go.)

This real world measurement gives my car a range of over 460 miles, possibly up to 500 miles.

As for handling, the car behaved steady at real world highway speeds.No problems. It had power when necessary, and I feel confident could have gone substantially faster without issue. However, driving that fast exceeds my real world requirements and my practical reality, so I don't see doing that any time soon. I found a video of someone taking the Sonata up to 130 mph on a closed course. That's respectable for a 4-cylinder family car that gets 35 mpg.

In comparison, my old Outback 1996 had a limiter of 110 (I never hit near that), and my Honda Civic 1989 had its limiter at 90. 
dmilewski: (Default)
We went up to the Jersey shore, Long Branch, to spend a weekend with Jenny's mom and Ed, her brother and family (sans Chu Li), and Ed's son Jamie and family.

All in all, the weekend went very well.

We drove up Thursday afternoon and drove back on Monday morning, arriving home in the afternoon. The drive each way went very smooth, with only some stop and go getting out of town. We didn't see similar stop and go on our return, so maybe it was just the day? I don't know. Midday traffic around here has slowly been getting worse.

Jen's mom rented a beach house to hold the whole crew. DesignGirl and her cousin, thick as thieves, seized the top floor bedroom for themselves.

We got there in the rain, just before the skies opened up, easing up eventually but lasting all through the next day. We played many games. The biggest game hit for the weekend was the venerable Talisman. All the kids loved it, even my six year old nephew. It wasn't a fast game to play, but that was a feature as a much as a bug.

I only did one day at the beach as I'm only so much of a beach person. I'm not so brave in the water any more and I don't like the cold experience. The ocean really wasn't that bad. I was just a coward.

I did get rather frustrated with getting grill duty again. When it comes to charcoal grills, I feel rather incompetent, and getting stuck with that duty as if I'm the expert really pisses me off. After several rounds, I don't feel quite so incompetent, but I'm not at all skilled. (Take away my man card now.)

I did some document wrangling during some quiet hours. I have a project to sort out some files for a friend. I produced a fairly long spreadsheet just to figure out which are the most likely, best versions of about a zillion files. That worked very well, and fortunately there appears to be very little out of linear sequence editing. I figure that I'm at 80%+ of what the author intended, perhaps as high as 90%. Getting better than that will be work.

We expected Jamie and Mary Clair with one daughter, but they wound up bringing two more of their kids. The girls wound up playing Flux late into the evening. (We brought the color version of the game, not my old monochrome version.)

Surprisingly, we only ate out once. I cooked breakfast for two days (pancake, then biscuits.) If I had brought a waffle iron, I would have cooked breakfast for three. Much beer was consumed, with only much happiness occurring once when I was on an empty stomach. There was a bottle in the house called Cachaca 51 Gold (I think). It sipped too strong, so I put it over ice and it eased up to a vanilla like flavor. Very tasty. 

The beach book was "The Dolphins of Pern." Yes, it's a good beach book. 
dmilewski: (Default)
As I was driving home yesterday, I spotted a huge yellow pickup truck. The thing had to be a custom vehicle. The base of the pickup was a semi-style cab, complete with back seat, while the pickup bed came from one of those big pickups. On this thing, it looked too small simply because the cab was so big.

Why would anyone make that? Aside from "it's cool."

I have two guesses. One is that somebody had a really big boat, as in, "a really BIG boat." The only way to move it around is by using really big truck.

The other possibility is that other people have really big boats, so this guy has a custom truck for moving really big boats. Since there were no advertising on the truck, I assume that he gets paid under the table to move really big boats in the summer months, and does other things on the winter months.

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