The Dysmey Blog
The personal weblog of Andy West.

August 2009
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End of August 2009
Filed under: General, Work
Posted by: Andy @ 9:33 pm

I took a couple of days off to use up my remaining vacation days before they expire at the end of this month.

It has been rainy and later very cool during my vacation. I managed to get off some yardwork before a bout of showers on Friday.

Before my vacation, I removed a public printer from the first floor because its place is about to be recarpetted. The complaints were loud because nobody was informed that this would happen, even though everyone should have known that the printer would have to be moved soon. Anyway, I put the printer in the north entrance as far from the doors as possible because we had to use the original datajacks for that printer.

Anyway, one of the reasons for the vacation is the restoration of my phone service (done Thursday) and the erection of my antenna (to have been done Friday). My own ladder was too short; and the one I borrowed from my folks was too rickety. I will talk to some guy in Marion to erect my antenna this coming week.

In the meantime, I have hung the antenna (a Winegard SS-2000) on my wall. From the wall, facing east, I can get channels 23 and 49 and (maybe) 6. That is good enough for awhile. (It faces east because the cable I am using is too short; it was meant to hook up with the wall.)

My living room computer died the death. I suspect the hard drive failed, so I will replace that and the network card. I am trying to use as little of what the motherboard has as I can, because the inboard cards (video, network, and audio) are decidedly inferior to what can be had elsewhere.

People are impressed with my work on the data cable conduits on the side of my house, either because they admire the work or because they find the ugliness of the thing remarkable. I did this to protect my cables, not out of aesthetics.

My sister the editor is impressed with my car after taking a drive and trying out the pseudo-manual transmission with the clutch on the steering wheel.

It is nice that I got my living room computer, Nabiki, finally hooked up with the house local network. Its original hard disk died the death and had to be replaced. A trip to Fry’s got me a good hard drive (Hitachi) and network card (USRobotics). Naturally I had to reinstall Windows XP. The install DVD was for service pack 2, but the good thing about the wired network is that it did not take that long to download and install service pack 3. It would have taken forever with the wireless.

I ended my vacation by watching the latest The Fast and the Furious.

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Late Summer Vacation 2009, Part the Last
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 10:59 pm

hot hot hot

The weekend was the hottest of the whole summer so far. It would have been truely miserable if not for the constant strong wind.


I mowed the lawn early this afternoon.

Then I started work on the rewiring project. I worked mostly on the living room outlet. I discovered, after chipping away first the wainscoting and then the plaster, that someone fiendishly drilled the cable hole next to a stud! Fortunately I had enough room for a wood drill bit with extension, but the wood was very tough. I sealed the outlet and called it a night.


I got more done. I unscrewed the ends of a prepared flex conduit segment and put them on the conduit behind the chimney. Then I finished the hole in the living room and inserted a conduit segment for the cables to go to the outlet. At the end of the day I finished a segment of conduit from the living room outlet to the T box on the other side of the chimney.

I also installed the outlet to the upper room. It was easier this time because I had a stud finder and the plaster was soft enough to cut with an Exacto knife.

Meanwhile, it was the birthday dinner for my sister the editor, and she asked for orange cake with chocolate icing. Later, my sister the teacher dropped off a big, sturdy table on which to put my air conditioner, so that I would be able to install a condensation tube to let the device drain outside. It works. Now I do not have to empty the condensation reservoir every couple of hours or so. Now at least two of the irises outside will get water, since the tube drains out on top of them.

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Late Summer Vacation 2009, Part II
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 11:55 am


Basically it was another visit to Lowe’s to buy some test parts, especially a 10′ section of rigid conduit. I tried to push it through around the chimney at either end. I could not get it through. It looks like the flexible test conduit will stay to be part of the final cable conduit system.

I also found that the plaster behind the wainscot, where the cables come through, is a lot tougher than I thought. I will need power tools (besides a drill) to cut through it.

It has been a pleasant day today. I had lunch at Pizza Hut in Gas City before going to Lowe’s to get the conduit and other assorted parts.

My sister tried to reach me by telephone but could not. Evidently nobody can telephone me for as long as my local network is active. The filters are not working. I will have to talk to Mike Fitzgerald, the technician at the local telephone company, about this. I need to speak to him anyway about my cabling project.

Meanwhile, there is the voice mail feature on my cell phone service to deal with. I simply cannot get it to work. A voice mail service should be set up, so that when I dial it I should get its features, not be asked to leave a message on my own voice mail! I have had enough of it. I will ask to have it turned off.


Today I took a day trip to Purdue. The details are on this page.


Today I left a birthday card in the mailbox of my sister the editor, because it is her birthday. Then I mailed some address labels for the Whoosier Network, whose meeting tonight I would not attend because of my own work on the rewiring project.

About the project, I drove to Fry’s Electronics in Fishers to buy cabling (telephone, CAT5 network, TV coaxial), connectors and tools. Then I went to Lowe’s to buy the remaining conduit components, including a couple more lengths of conduit and a flexible conduit connector for its ends to put on the Carflex tube around the back of the chimney.

Before that, I went to Ball State to get my new parking sticker for the upcoming year. I figured that it would be in by now. I am now legal parking-wise for the year with my trapezoidal sticker on my windshield. I went to library also in order to turn on the last of five books, that I checked out for my sister the teacher; they were due tomorrow. At the library I found that the new carpeting in the Reference area was completely laid down, although work was still going on returning the workstations and printers to their former places. Now they are laying the carpet in the Periodical/Reserve section on the other side of the floor.

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Late Summer Vacation 2009, Part I
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 8:45 pm


The day started with yardwork: Mowing the lawn, pulling weeds out of the sidewalk and around the spigot — and realizing that the weeds in the driveway cannot be pulled by hand tools, not without serious labor.

While I was working in the driveway a woman walked down the street and asked me how I liked the house. It turned out she was a relative of Josh Hill. Hill owned the house from the mid-1990’s to about 2005, and was the one who built the basketball court that I use as a driveway. The woman told me that Hill also laid the drainage pipes that has keep the house from being flooded after every heavy rain. Evidently Hill was in our armed forces in Afghanistan, and was killed there. I wasn’t told when, but I can assume that Wells Fargo got the house upon his death. I was told by others that the house itself was not well kept, which was why it was remodelled before it was sold to Mr. Blackburn.

Later I visited the vet’s to make an appointment tomorrow afternoon for Thyme, after which I went to Lowe’s to research the parts I need for the wiring conduit system. One of the guys was helpful in choosing the appropriate parts for the work, but in the end I just bought a book that explains how to assemble the conduit and wiring.

I have compiled a new project page on the cable conduit, including a diagram of the side of the house where the conduit will go and a list of prices for the items I will need.


First, an off-topic opinion brought on by butchery between teens from Muncie and Anderson at an under-21 club and by attempts of parents to keep their kids from talking to the police: Muncie may be a nice place to work and to shop; but it has never been, nor is it now, a good place to live. Nobody with any sense and with any means to live elsewhere wants to live in Muncie. Muncio estas urbo plena plejmulte de sudusonaj kanajloj de kaj blankula kaj nigrula rasoj, de kaj proletoj kaj komercistoj, kiuj estas subaĉeteblaj kaj diskutemaj kaj sen ia ajn civita virto. Muncio estas pezegaĵo sur Ball Ŝtata Universitato, kiu (malkiel ĝiaj fakultato kaj stabo) ne povas transloĝigi sin ie alie. Ankaŭ, la malaperado de okupoj fabrikejaj dum la pasinta kvaron-jarcento malbonigas la civilan vivon de Muncio; kaj ĉar la plibonaj oficoj bezonas scion kaj lerton, kiujn la ordinara munciano ne havas; kaj ĉar en Ball Ŝtata Universitato neniel estas sufiĉaj oficoj senlertaj por dungi ĉiujn muncianojn.

It is a wet day today. When it is not raining, the air is warm and wet. And even though there is a strong breeze, it is not comfortable outside. And this afternoon I looked at a weather radar map to see a counterclockwise triskelion of strong storms, whose center is south of Indianapolis, and an arm of which is near where I live. That arm passed Fairmount around two, with the biggest goosedrowner that we have had this year.

I had no trouble catching Thyme and putting her in the carrier to take her to the vet. I was prepared to act quickly. And my experience with Thyme in times of great stress prepared me for the stench she gave off during her first visit to the vet in years.

Unlike her late sister Isis, who was more or less behaved during examination, Thyme struggled to get away while being weighed (at six pounds/2¾ kilos, she was a little heavier than I thought), being examined, being given her shot and worm medicine, and having her claws clipped. And every so often she would let loose a turd. From the reaction of the vet staff, I gather this is a common happening with cats. Anyway, Thyme is okay apart from some tartar on her molars.

The odd thing is that after we got home, Thyme settled down almost at once. I had expected her to go into hiding for at least a day, like the last time I medicated her.

I had wanted to reward myself with a trip to Pizza Hut for being stunk out. But I then remembered that I had a Friends of the Library meeting this evening. This lasted an hour, and its main topic was a farmer’s market a week from this Saturday in the old library yard.

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The Source of Library Cutbacks
Filed under: Politics
Posted by: Andy @ 5:58 pm

This is the start of my second summer vacation this year. I will detail my plans in another entry. Now, I want to opine on an article I found in the local paper (the Marion, Indiana Chronicle-Tribune) this morning. (I decided to subscribe for a further three months after thinking about letting it lapse due to its sparseness.)

One of the county library boards drove out its director, using the trumped-up charge of “falsifying time reports” to dismiss her. In the struggle the board did not follow to the letter procedures for the advertisement of the library budget as laid out by the state Department of Local Government Finance (DLGF), which public libraries and other local government units in Indiana must follow to the letter. That is the reason that the DLGF slashed the library’s requested revenue allocation by one sixth, forcing the board to cut its hours down to 28½ hours a week.

The board claimed lower tax revenues due to the mini-depression; however, other libraries in the county are hit by the mini-depression, too, but are doing relatively well. The board is hoping a volunteer program will help it out; but that will be hard to carry out when the locals are passing around a petition calling for the board’s ouster. The library is too poor to even look for a new director; but even if it weren’t, word of the board’s shenanigans will have spread among the librarian community — they are surely known at the Indiana State Library, where the ex-director asked in vain for help — so that no librarian will want to work for the board.

The board of that library faces an even bigger problem, one that all public libraries in Indiana will face but one which will hit that library harder than most. The Indiana State Library is formulating standards on available services and employee training, which all public libraries must follow if they want to keep on being funded by taxes. It is a safe bet that the library does not meet even the lowest of the three tiers under which public libraries are to be classed.

Also, we in Indiana are struggling with attempts to implement the Kernan-Shepard Report, which seeks to reduce local government and, especially, reduce the number of libraries in the state. It has not had much success so far; but even if some of its articles become law, the smallest libraries either will become branches of the bigger ones or will be forced to close. And that library is among the smallest. And being a stink in the nostrils of the Indiana State Library, which will carry out any library-related laws from that Report, does not help at all.

The village where the library sits needs to reform the library if it wants to keep it. And one of the things it will need to do is to replace the current members of the board. The new board will then needs to work with the village to convince the DLGF, ISL and the librarian community that it is working for the betterment of all and not for the throbbing egos of some.

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