3sailing the NorSea


WEEK 16 2018

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Saturday 21 April  2018
Saturday -

Friday 20 April 2018
Friday - Fire alarm went off again during my morning shower (bathroom door just slightly ajar by an inch or so, fan on).  I mentioned I had bought a new one earlier in the week, didn't say that I had installed it...  This weekend, probably. Along with the rest of the new door locks, and the new garbage grinder, and new window film...

I went into town and coated the bottom of the swamp cooler pan with sealant.  I really wanted to install the pump and be done...but that stuff dries slow, I'll have to do it tomorrow.

Generally it's a functional install, but shows a lot of very sloppy and indifferent work.  (1) Where the side draft vent passes through the wall I see a 1" gap, stuffed with paper towels.  (2) The old supports were in the wall, and the holes for them are still there, unpatched, and even some bits of the lead shields are there.  (3) There are chains holding the unit up - the contractor didn't bother to trim off the three or four foot extra sections hanging down.  (4) The flexible water line is too short, so rather than running horizontally in the flower bed, then vertically up the wall through the clips, it is simply strung diagonally across the outside wall. (5) The power comes through another (unpatched) hole in the wall, without conduit.

The a/c contractor with the crazy price estimate mentioned a few of these, some of which probably isn't to code, so it's hard to fault him too much for pricing fixes to this in.  But his original claim of a unit too corroded to fix - totally bogus.

Dinner with friends.  Afterwards we watched 'Good Neighbor Sam' on TCM.  The only part I remembered was where E.G. Robinson, the ad client, is handing out dossiers he'd compiled on the ad agency execs.  Anyway, mildly funny, in a 60's kind of way.  Men were still wearing hats.  The houses on the outside (the sets for the supposed interiors are huge, bigger than the outside) looked like the houses on Larchmont in SF, as I remember them - though looking them up on Zillow shows a lot of rehabilitation and changes from what I remember. And million dollar prices.

I was never a huge Jack Lemmon fan.  He'd play the 'everyman' thing, but there was always a kind of mean undercurrent to it, not very convincing.  As in this show, where he plays an honest upright family man, who is instantly seduced to the dark side by money.

Since, when the IRS cashes my checks, I'll be kind of broke, I withdrew some money out of my mutual funds.  Easier than I thought. Scarily easy - it took years to build that up, it seems like it should take more than two or three minutes to take money out...  Of course, this was Vangaurd, and I'd already prepped things with my indirect rollover last year.

Thursday 19 April 2018
Thursday - Cool and windy.

S called, said her a/c contractor had looked at her swamp cooler for the spring setup and gave her an estimate for $1,900 to replace it.  Yep, Nineteen Hundred Dollars.  A brand new unit is about $500.

She asked that I go look at it, since her old handyman has some health issues.  I did, and it's fine.  It needs a typical spring refurbishment - pads, pump motor, belt.  We'd sprayed it with anti-corrosive before installing, that needs another coat after several years use.  But it's a fine unit, with another five to ten years of life in it.  I replaced the pads and pump, but the belt in it was too small and one of the correct size, 48", wasn't to be found locally at Lowes or HD, so I've ordered one from Amazon. I've left the pads off to let the pan dry overnight, and I'll re-coat the pan tomorrow, winds permitting.  The belt should arrive on Saturday, so I'll install that and start things up then.  It is supposed to be in the 80's, so that all works out OK.

Except for the contractor, who is apparently going to get a very negative review on Yelp.

I mentioned all this to a contractor acquaintance, and he said that sometimes contractors will do this sort of thing for new work, if they don't want to do the job because they are too busy or something. 

I asked "An existing good customer, that has given you business before?"

He looked startled and said "Of course not!"

Bad news. 

My friend C emailed and said that his cat, Pounce, had the big C and would probably have to be put to sleep.

About an hour later my sister V emailed to say that her cat, Roxy, had the big C and would probably have to be put to sleep.

They are both good people, who love their cats, and I feel terrible for them and their pets.  I've been in their shoes. It's the right thing to do, and the last thing you can do for your cat, but it's very very very hard.

Wednesday 18 April 2018

Wednesday - Cool.

I spent the entire morning vacuuming and mopping the house.  I originally just planned to do the kitchen, but stuff has been tracked everywhere, so it was best to get it all.  I even mopped the concrete floor in the front room, for the first time since I moved in, in February.

Since I had to remove all the throw rugs for the mopping, i put them over the fence and beat, brushed and vacuumed them.  I was tempted to clean them, but the winds came up around noon and I had to hustle to get them inside before they ended somewhere in the Kern County to the east.

Crashed for an hour, then did a bunch of bills and stuff in the afternoon.  I need to get some money out of savings I think...

Waste Management didn't take my green waste, again.  I'm not sure that they ever took it, generally I don't put it out, but for the last three weeks I have.

A nice waxing crescent moon in the west, in the evening.  Weather Underground has it listed as "waning"...

Tuesday 17 April 2018
Tuesday - Cool and windy.

I fixed the codec error on the Mint laptop.  Essentially there was an "all codecs" package that wasn't downloaded.  Weird.  But apparently there is some sort of liability/law thing with codecs, where they can be made available, but you have to initiate the install process yourself.  I thought we were past that in 2018, but apparently not.

Anyway, the VLC player will now play the "Mamma Mia" DVD on the old Toshiba, with sound. I need to try a few others out, to make sure it's working, and to set the frame fwd/back to a value that S likes.

Weirdly I discovered the the Linux Mint firewall, UFW, wasn't turned on by default.  WTH?

I turned it on, but now am considering re-installing Mint on my desktop machine, since I visited the obviously evil C/Net site, and a few others, trying to get the Win2k Service Pack 4 without a firewall!

Monday 16 April  2018
Monday - A nice day, turning wet and windy in the afternoon.  And we could use some wet...

During my morning shower the fire alarm in the hall went off again.  Alarms are a bit like garage doors, a radiation source is set a small distance away from a sensor.  If something blocks the radiation between source and sensor, smoke or mist particles, the alarm goes off.  Apparently as the alarm units age the radioactive source gives off less radiation, and so it doesn't take as much blockage to set them off, i.e., they become more sensitive with age.

The old laptop, a Toshiba A105-S2016, would not boot from a USB stick.  It had a "removable drives" option in the boot order, but apparently that doesn't mean USB.  So I needed to put Mint on a DVD, of which I had none.

Instead I attempted to put an old version of Windows 2000 Pro on it (I found an install disk for that while searching for an XP install disk), which worked, but the DVD player wasn't present.  Despite loading it a couple of times from the accessory bundle, it still wasn't present. I tried getting the final service pack from Microsoft - no go, they've removed it.  I tried getting it from the C/NET download site - ugh.  Spyware and malware everywhere - they actually used to be a good site, no longer. I did get VLC player and Windows Media Classic from another location, but they would not run - probably needed the final service pack.

So I gave up on Win2k.

I needed to make a trip into town to drop off my 2017 taxes, and the estimated taxes for this quarter. After doing that I went by the store and picked up a fire alarm 2-pack ($79 for two, or $59 for one?), and a pack of blank DVDs and blank CDs, another clothes basket, and a few other things.

I finally did put Mint on a DVD and installed it on the Toshiba, but the VLC media player, when installed, still wouldn't play a DVD.  Some sort of Codec error.  This is why I could never quite become a Linux fanboy - stuff that should just work - doesn't.

Note: the laptop WiFi works just fine.  This is the first time I think I've gotten the built-in WiFi on a laptop to work with Linux, usually I have to use a D-Link USB antenna.

I talked to my friend T in the evening - he reminded me that I'd promised to research something for him (a Uniform Plumbing Code thing), and I'd completely forgotten... Bah.  Getting old sucks.

Sunday 15 April 2018
Sunday - Warm and windy.

I didn't go to Knotts - when I got up early the heel was definitely sore, and I know my friend wanted to spend the whole day there.

I did go shopping with S, went by her place and helped R get info off of his failing iPhone, then came back and put away the groceries and started laundry and did some dishes.

S came by a bit after lunch and we finished putting the shelf lining in.

I did some more wash, but was kind of feeling unwell.  In the evening I was invited over for Knott's chicken and berry pie, and just couldn't get up the energy or appetite. 

I finally realized that it was the old abscess in my upper jar flaring up - it makes me nauseous as well as starting off feeling like a headache. I've spent years going to the dentist, literally thousands on surgery, and it still hurts.  Maybe I'll just get it pulled in Mexico.

I downloaded and wrote the 32-bit version of Mint to the USB drive.  I'll try installing it on the old laptop tomorrow.

I watched a bit of teevee in the evening.  Crunchyroll was down, but NetFlix and Amazon were available.

The tax people emailed to say that I should just send the IRS and Franchise tax board the stubs and monies they calculated a couple weeks ago - we'll have to amend the return and amounts later...

Picture of the Week

cat in the sun

Budd enjoying the morning sun.

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