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cleaning my !@# off

Sunday, July 29, 2007

owww. tired. I rinsed off the outside of both cars this evening. I finally tackled my in-dash radio/cassette player. I had traded cars with my brother some years back for several months. Part of his routine includes taking the young nieces to school and our elderly parents shopping. Apparently our nieces were allowed to snack in the car. I also know that my brother and father drink coffee, often in the car. When I got the car back, it was so filthy I immediately got to work on cleaning the car. I threw all the rugs into a big "tank" with Tide detergent water. One of the rugs had a huge coffee spill spot on it (fortunately, it came out). I wiped the inside non-porous parts with a solution of Mr. Clean. However, for some reason, I didn't get to the radio panel. The cigarette lighter socket had some sort of residue, as did the radio panel above it.

Some time back I discovered that I could easily remove the plastic panel with the cigarette lighter socket. So this evening I did that and took it inside to clean at the sink. Afterwards I went back out to attempt the radio panel. But just wiping it was insufficient; it would be better to remove the radio panel to get the stuff out of the crevices. At this point the screws for the radio were exposed, so I dismounted the radio so that could get at the plastic tabs that retained the faceplate. The faceplate came off ok. But it was more than just the faceplate, it had circuit board too. So I took that inside. It was torturous to remove the circuit board but I finally managed. So now I have the plastic bezel and loose buttons and was able to take those to the sink. After cleaning I shook them dry and also blow dried them with a hair dryer.

By this time it's dark outside. I have a flashlight in the glove compartment so I made use of it. The faceplate went back in ok. The radio went back in ok, except I couldn't find one of the four screws. After some unsuccessful searching, I asked St. Anthony for help and found the missing screw shortly thereafter. The cigarette lighter panel went back in ok. I'll wait until the next day to check the radio, giving it overnight to dry off anywhere that might not have dried off.

Then I came in and cleaned off one of the room air filtering machines. The filter needed replacing and the pre-filter needed cleaning. The machine itself required that the dust be wiped off. Then I took my shower. I was tired.

After the shower I sat for a while, comtemplating dinner. Then Gumby mentioned that the cleaner cartridge in the toilet probably needed replacing--the water was running clear instead of blue. Well, that's easy enough, replacing the cartridge. Except that when I went to replace the cartridge, the old one in there was still very blue. Maybe there's a kink in the feed tube. So I moved it, flushed then monitored the water. It ran blue then clear. Then I did the stupid thing. I untwisted the cartridge to have a look. Dark blue water sprayed everywhere, mostly on me.

So now I have to clean up the mess. Did I say I was tired? I had to rinse the rug, wipe the floor, wipe the walls and wipe the toilet. Then I turned to cleaning myself. "No way in hell," I said, "am I going to take another shower." I worked on my t-shirt and I think I got the blue out. I washed my face and that went well. Then I washed my arms then my feet and lower legs ... in the sink. If any got on my hair, I didn't know it and can't see it and I'm just now thinking about it as I type. If it's there, it's staying for now.

Yes, I did have some dinner. It was rubbery from having been microwaved, but I ate it.

It's crazy stuff such as this that takes up my time and results in my absence from blogworld.

another one from LAMLand

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Also At LAMLand is a link to a story about a fella's adventures in his attempts to meet Pope JPII.

Since I have dial-up, I will have to bypass the video adventure.

DaVinci in the news again

Thanks to T.O. at LAMLand ...

Mirror image of the "Last Supper" superimposed on it reveals other characters.


gift given (finally)

Friday, July 27, 2007

The crucifix gift was finally given to the recipient this past Sunday. The recipient had been out of town on past weekends, plus Yoda wanted to be present at the giving, making the coordination impossible. This past Sunday, the recipient was in town; I gave up on Yoda. The gift was for an occasion many months previous and I was tired of the delay. But it was well worth the wait and the gift really is good at any time.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

A few weeks back I purchased a Hauppauge WinTV-HVR-1600 TV tuner card from Circuit City. This week they had it on sale for $20 less. I took my receipt back along with the advertisement and said that it was my understanding that they would honor the sale price so long as it was within 30 days of purchase. *Poof* By magic my $20 +tax was refunded. Kudos, Circuit City! By the way, they had some good sales this week.

finally met

I had dinner with my Dominican liason this evening. It was very nice. So I finally communicated what I wanted to communicate weeks ago when I asked for a meeting. It probably took all of ten seconds.
With no solicitation on my part, I was given a "book" to read. I look forward to it. I was also challenged to meet my spiritual director's recommendation: spend quiet time in prayer daily. Specifically, the challenge is 15 minutes daily. Not sure I'm accepting the challenge at this time.

well ok, more details...
My liason had been out of town, arriving back only the night before. So the morning of the meeting we hooked up via telephone. My liason suggested meeting me halfway. However, having traveled to the Dominican place to meet with the volunteer rep just last week I knew the traffic pattern. It would be horrible for her to drive in my direction, but no problem for me to drive there.

So I had selected a restaurant near them. She was concerned that it wasn't conducive to a private conversation. I knew that not to be true but because she seemed less than enthused, I started scanning the reviews. A recent review left me a bit concerned about the food. Plus it would be cool to find a place that's new for both of us. I then found another place very nearby. It had a reputation of being rather quaint, a good spot for a date, and a slow pace that allowed you to linger. OK, hold your horses, I wasn't dating; it translated for me that it was a good place for private conversations.

I had a dental appointment that same evening. By rare occurence, the dental office was running late. By the time they finished with me, it was time to run straight off to my meeting. I got to the Dominican place just a few minutes early and picked up my liason. (This is when I was loaned the unsolicited book.)

We got to the restaurant in less than ten minutes, just shortly after six. We were escorted to a back room; and at the time, we were the only two in the room. This place is small; the room had maybe 3 or 4 tables total. A guitarist came in a few minutes later, settled into a back corner and provided the music. As luck would have it, neither one of us were very hungry. I then suggested that we split an entree and my liason agreed. It came with only a small side salad and we split that as well. That is just too cool when you can split a dinner.

Conversation was light and easy. I was filled in on a few of the other people who were considering the order and some of the upcoming related activities. We talked a bit about the volunteering thing, a bit about my journey to the Catholic church, reminisced on my first encounter with this Dominican community and also on some of my past discernment experiences. She asked if I thought there were other obstacles and honestly, the only one I can see right now is my finances. I told her of my intention to finish out the finances within 5 years, provided there are no hiccups along the way. We talked about a variety of stuff, none heavy.

We finished off with her having a cup of coffee and I, a flan cake ... long after the entree was finished. The food was good. By that time, the room had filled with people. She didn't take me up on my offer to split the bill. She did agree to let me take care of the tip. I had to ask her how much to leave because I didn't know the total figure. She finished her second coffee before we left; and I got her back before her bed time. In all, I would guess that we met for two hours.

It seems to me that good things always happen after I meet with the Dominicans. On this occasion, on the drive back I saw a faint rainbow among the dark gray clouds. (Yeah, it had rained just about every day that week). Last week on the way back from meeting with the volunteer rep, I stopped to get dinner for both Yoda and I. Lo and behold, I had exactly the amount of money for dinner, minus the pennies. Two factors: (1) dinner cost more than I expected and (2) I had less money than I thought. What I thought was a $20 bill was only a $10. So after pulling out all that I had, minus the pennies, it was the exact amount I needed.

low achiever

Thursday, July 19, 2007

There's an intersection by my job that seems a bit risky. Two or three cars may be in the median, waiting their turn. It's always a little shaky as to which car will go first, how fast it will accelerate, and whether they'll be going straight or turning. For the most part, drivers navigate that intersection safely on a regular basis. As for me, I think I'll avoid that risk. I know great achievements can only be had if you take calculated risks, but I don't want to achieve great things while driving.


The Dominicans here are planning a major year-long anniversary celebration and they put out a general call for volunteers. So of course I took them up on that. I met with their contact person today. I don't yet know where I'd be of help, we'll just have to see how this unfolds.

checking in

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I was up all night, then slept a few hours in the morning, then I've been gone all day. Just thought I'd check in.

I have more than a few choice words for the process of converting VHS tapes to DVDs. It's rather convoluted and though I've made some headway, I've much to figure out. Just getting the video into the computer was a challenge; it was like those college chemistry and physics tests where they give you more information/variables than you need and you have to figure out what values are relevant.

Then just to add some non-technical problem to the mix, when I went to rewind the VHS tape to ready it for playback, the tape lead just came right off the take-up spool. This is a very valuable tape of Tonto's and fortunately, Tonto did not seem to recognize that I was doing surgery on the tape. I had to open it up to re-attach the tape to the spool. The tape is from 1984 and some of the people in it have died and many have moved on to who-knows-what. The tape contains great memories.

I got the other half of my mouth jack-hammered (i.e. dental deep cleaning) this past Thursday. I think I'll recover.

It's been raining much in these parts over the past month. I can't remember the last time I washed my car. Tonto drove it one day a few weeks past and was repulsed by its grunginess. Hey, it's not that bad. In the car, it's just road grit from the air and normal dirt from shoes; no foodstuffs.

I had not heard about Peng Shulin until his past week. The man has only the upper half of his body left after an accident. I can't even begin to imagine how the doctors managed to complete the loop for his circulatory system.

selecting a crucifix

Saturday, July 07, 2007

I was at the religious goods store to purchase a wall crucifix as a gift. I have now come to realize that I'm quite particular about crucifixes.

My criteria in descending order of importance:
1) I don't believe Jesus was fair-skinned. Crucifixes with a fair-skinned corpus were quickly ruled out.
2) I don't believe Jesus was chubby. Those few were ruled out.
3) I want a corpus that looked proportional--you know, the legs not too short or too long and such.
4) I don't want a corpus that looked as if Jesus was just hanging around, cooling out ... his neck should be at least a little bent so that his head looks like it hangs a bit.
5) Also, the corpus should have some detail so that it's not just a blob.
6) The wood need not be all that much bigger than the corpus.
7) The hole for hanging should be bored on the back. I prefer not to see the hanger attached and visible above the crucifix.

After spending considerable time in front of the wall of crucifixes, I finally came away with one that was suitable and within my $30-$40 range. The wood is walnut and rather narrow; it would look better if there was more wood, but the corpus looked good and overall it was ok. It was a bit weighty, no doubt from the corpus and not the wood. There were maybe three others that I would consider but they were above my range.

I browsed the store a bit more since it was my first time there. Then my stomach ruined my enjoyment and I had to borrow their facilities. Afterwards I decided I better head home before I was too sick to do so.

Arriving home, I unboxed the crucifix and showed it to Tonto. My choice was affirmed with oohs and ahhs. It should be a fine gift then.

I don't know who our artisans are for these crucifixes. They could be Religious Brothers, Sisters and Nuns. Whoever they are, I hope that they've not lapsed into mediocrity. Wall crucifixes are large enough to allow us to see flaws. The corpus should be formed with care. The resin ones looked pretty bad to me, and I don't see how those crucifixes will ever sell.

lack of planning

This morning I went to mass then headed downtown to visit a religious goods store there. Except that I got down there and realized that I had no idea where the store was. I must have been sick to not have realized this beforehand. Since when did I start running off with such little information on my destination? I made a loop where I thought it was, then my stomach was upset so I stopped by the cathedral to borrow the facilities. While there I asked for directions.

I made the loop and was unsuccessful in finding. I called my Dominican liason at home and got one of the roomies who was unable to pinpoint the location for me. I headed off on a hunch and was still unsuccessful. I then called a fellow parishioner but he wasn't home. So then I pulled out my silver bullet: I called the Dominican prioress. At her home, no less. On a Saturday. You'd think we were chums.

The Prioress is a very gracious and charming woman. She chuckled at my predicament and said that she was glad that she was at home to be able to provide me this service. When I told her that Tonto would've blasted me for my lack of planning, she promised me safe refuge. "Not to worry, this never happened," she said. She gave me the address and phone number to the place and we chatted a bit before hanging up.

I called the store and was able to get the exact directions, the fellow notes that "You won't be able to see our sign because the city has so kindly planted little trees right in front of it." I arrived in little time.

I thought it was pretty funny. This is so unlike me. I may not always have the full details, but I usually have a pretty good idea of where I'm going and HOW TO FIND IT.


Thursday, July 05, 2007

How are blind people able to plug in electrical appliances? I can't seem to plug into outlets without visual guidance.

cats in sinks

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

If you like cats. In sinks.

then check out

kinda wacky. lotsa cute.

Happy Independence Day

Happy Independence Day to all.

As for me, I'm sick. It started yesterday. My stomach was bothering me. I took a two-hour lunch from work to nap. It was cold in the office, but I was probably having chills on top of that. I left work early to go to spiritual direction. Then after that, I picked up the plumbing stuff I needed and dinner for Tonto. When I got home I just crashed, sleeping 12 hours straight.

I'm weak, groggy and maybe a little dizzy this morning. All I had yesterday was a bowl of soup which had exactly one cube of chicken. Sleeping all day is probably not good, so I'm up to see if maybe I would feel a little better if I'm awake. I've eaten two of the little Dole fruit bowls, one was peach the other was mandarin oranges. Let's see if my stomach can handle that.

It is raining this morning. We normally attend the neighborhood parade wherein they throw candy to the people lining the route. If they do that today, the candy would be all soggy and inedible. Anyhow, we're not going to attend this year.


Last week the mileage on my car rolled over into the 90,000-mile range. The car is not yet nine years old, so obviously I am averaging more than 10,000 miles per year.

the other toilet

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The other toilet got jealous and wanted new parts too. This weekend it was making dripping noises. Apparently the fill valve isn't shutting off and eventually the water level exceeds the overflow tube and it starts to drip down. I was later than usual to work Monday morning as I tried to rig the thing to still work and not fill continuously.

Monday evening I went and purchased all the parts (so I thought) to the toilet for replacement. Man, this one was a pain in the butt to work on. I had more problems than there is space here to enumerate. I'll only mention some here. The kicker was that I had the toilet put back together and went to install the new fill valve, only to find that a part that went with it is broken. I was disgusted. So okay, maybe I'll leave the project undone and go swap out the fill valve at the store tomorrow.

Except that I go use the other bathroom, flush, and the thing wouldn't fill. Apparently the inlet valve in the other bathroom feeds this bathroom too. For this one to work, I'd have to turn on the other valve. Ouch. That means I have to finish the job. Good thing the broken part doesn't keep the valve from working, it's just one of the hoses in the tank (but not just a simple hose).

So I go to finish the job. I was really tired and my back was hurting a little. I had purchased a new hose to go between the inlet and the tank, except that the nut was too small for the inlet. So I had to go dig the old pipe out of the trash to reinstall it. And here's the part I wanted to avoid: I had to saw approximately one inch off the pipe. I had to do that for the first toilet.

It's now past midnight and I'm on the garage floor sawing the pipe (I don't have a work bench). I've never changed the blade on the hacksaw since I purchased it eons ago. Just two years ago I had used the same blade to cut through a padlock during a hurricane evacuation when couldn't find the key to the padlock on the breaker box. Fatigue and dull blade makes for slow progress but I finally got it.

Toilet now works but there's a little leak. I needed, and had intended, to replace the gasket between the tank and the bowl. I thought the gasket would have come with the overflow/flush tube (or what ever it's called) but it didn't. I reinstalled the old one, but that's where it's leaking now. I'm just very happy that the leak isn't coming from UNDER the toilet. It only leaks when you flush, which makes sense.

The good news is that I won't have to disassemble to replace the broken part. I'll just take the broken hose back and ask if I can get a good one from another box. The new hose will simply push into the fill valve assembly. The slightly bad news is that I'd need to lift the tank from the bowl to replace that gasket--that's going to require some disassembly.