The Dysmey Blog
The personal weblog of Andy West.

May 2010
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Back Roof 2: Chore Day
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 9:36 pm

I took this Friday off in order to get to my hometown bank early. I acquired the funds I needed to pay the first half of the estimate to Handy Randy, the gentleman who will repair my back roof.

Now I will have to wait for the gentleman to find the time to work on the roof. He has a lot of trays in his work stack, the top tray being the faucet in the folks’ kitchen and the hose faucet in back. The new faucet looks very nice — but has nothing to hook it up to the folks’ dishwasher.

While the gentleman was working on the faucets, I was doing such chores for the folks, that they can no longer do. I trimmed the back hedge, and raked the resulting débris; I ran my week-whacker over the overly tall grasses in the side yard along Walnut Street; and I cleaned out the maple seedlings that were growing in the gutters along the back porch and garage. After all that came my own chore of mowing my own lawn. By the evening I was exhausted.

Nabiki, my living room computer, crashed this evening as I was running Windows Update. The problem was not Windows, as it turns out. An attempt to install Fedora 13 revealed a fault in the core memory. It looks like I will have to replace it. That will have to wait while the major work on this year, the back roof repair, goes on.

This gives Isis, my Pico-ITX box in the bedroom, a leg up. I moved it to the living room, removed its wireless network dongle, and plugged the network cable into it. Isis is limited to VGA, and its 800-MHz processor makes it a bit slow. Otherwise, it works like a claim once I re-enabled its network port in Windows.

I called IMI Pipe Creek, a local gravel business, to see if they could send over some gravel for the driveway. It turns out they need a day’s notice; they do not deliver on weekends; and they accept cash or check only on delivery. It looks like I will have to wait until my next vacation (planned for the last week in June) to re-gravel my driveway.

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Back Roof
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 8:49 pm

Early this week I called a home repairman in Jonesboro named Handy Randy, whom I heard good things about and who advertises from time to time in the local Fairmount paper. We arranged for him to stop by after six o’clock yesterday evening to take a look at the back of my roof.

I told him about the dry rot behind the fascia, and showed him the rotted wood on the ground where I poked it out with my weeding tool. I showed him that the “pipe” on the roof leads nowhere, being a remnant of the previous furnace. He, in turn, could see right away how my roof is leaking. He also remarked that drip edge I installed last year made the leaks worse by damming the water coming down from the roof, causing the water to leak into the roof.

He also told me, that the back gutter itself is prone to collapse in a hard freeze due to the weight of ice, which a vinyl gutter cannot hold. I was aware of this when I build the back gutter. But I was hoping that the gutter would do the job and stay up there year in, year out. And it did manage to hold together during this past winter. But I can see now that, given its original goal, the gutter project was a failure.

The gentleman suggested a metal gutter and drip edge in place of the current vinyl one. He also would replace the fascia and the board behind it (what is left of it), as well as replacing any rotted rafters. He would also install a thicker plywood panel for the evidently rotted and obviously inferior one. And he would remove the remnant of the previous furnace. I would get an estimate this week on how much it would cause.

A couple of days later I got in the mail the estimate for the back roof work. This will involve:

The estimate is more than twice the money I spent on the data conduit project with antenna. I do have enough in one of my savings account. But I want to run the estimate by my folks, discuss a home-repair loan with my banks, and talk to the gentleman before deciding to sign off on the estimate.

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Spring Vacation 2010, Part the Second
Filed under: General
Posted by: Andy @ 10:47 pm

Today is cloudy and very cold for this time of year. Before I go over today, though, I want to highlight the rest of a vacation.

There was a heavy rain on Tuesday evening, and I found that I could not keep the middle of the back gutter up anymore by propping it from behind. So I went to Lowe’s, bought a downspout, cut it to the proper length, and used that to prop the back gutter from the bottom of the gutter.

I ought to have called that Handy Randy guy this week. But I never got around to it. I will try Monday afternoon after my dentist appointment.

I also worked on two posts I bought earlier this year. I carved slots into one end, cut them to size, and painted them white. They are now holding up the stairs to the upper room. I had wanted to do this because, the way the stairs were set up originally, the wall along its side was cracking from the stress. Now that this is done, I can repair the wall.

I forgot to mention that Monday was Caitlin Clarke’s birthday. After the yard work, I went to the Olive Garden in Muncie and ate a dinner in her honor.

I have been dormant for most of the day. Yesterday evening I went to this month’s Whoosier Network meeting, where I saw the first two of three episodes of the new season of Doctor Who. Afterwards we went to Pizzeria Uno, where admittedly I ate too much. My stomach has been sour ever since.

I did some shopping in Marion this afternoon. Before heading home, I visited Matter Park on Marion’s north side. My folks took me there a lot as a kid, both as a family and as part of group activities. I can remember the band shell (a quarter-hemisphere under which bands would play), a museum and a zoo, and some metal statue of a woman with a pair of scales. I also remember a roller coaster, which I rode on a couple of times. There was also a pool, which I saw on my way into the park, but my family never went there.

But all that was in the 1960’s. In the two decades since, the zoo was closed, and its animals sent elsewhere, due to deterioration and poor treatment of the animals by the public. The museum was closed and its exhibits removed. The rides and pool were torn down due to deterioration, according to Wiki Marion. The statue has fallen to pieces and was taken down. And the band shell was falling apart.

I walked around the park for a half hour. It was cold and cloudy: The perfect walk with a girl, provided the girl is a goth. Hardly anything remains of the Matter Park of the 1960’s. The park’s maintenance area is where the zoo once stood. The statue, the pool, the rides are all gone. The museum building is still there; but it is totally empty, from what I can see inside.

However, the city of Marion in recent years has worked to revive the park. The band shell as been rebuilt, with new seating. There are new jogging paths, and new benches. There are new play areas for children. There is even a disc golf course. And there are at least two concession stands in the park, but neither were open.

The artesian well and its surrounding building is still there. The pipes and faucets that supplied the well’s water to anyone who wanted a drink were removed. But the well still works, as the sound and the smell revealed.

Finally, I want to comment on an opinion article I read in this morning’s local paper. It was something about Billy Graham’s son getting kicked out of the Pentagon (I thought they did that years ago), and scanning brains of people of different religions to find what parts of the brain are simulated during prayer. That has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever read. I understood what she was trying to say: But the idea, that spirituality has anything to do with the goo in our heads, is not true. That is tantamount to all the stuff the Sofia Lamb character in Bioshock II spouts: That ‘god’ is moral duty and original sin is in the genes. Fixing human evil with technical fixes is not only evil, it does not work, too.

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Spring Vacation 2010, Part the First
Filed under: General, Politics
Posted by: Andy @ 2:09 pm

My spring vacation this year started with the town rummage sale day last Saturday. I spent a couple of hours at the old library building, sitting at the checkout table and taking money for the used books we were selling. We closed early when it became obvious that the shoppers were dissipating.

I should have mowed my lawn then. But I wanted to check out the stuff I bought from my sister’s rummage sale. One item was what I thought was a Japanese/English phrase book. In fact, it is a Chinese phrasebook for Japanese tourists.

Then there was my other acquisition, a three-part original video anime version of Rayearth. No, this is not the Magical Knight Rayearth TV series. Here, in this sad tale of friendship and bravery, the girls Hikaru, Umi and Fuu do not go to Cefiro; Cefiro comes to them, with the very worst in mind for Earth. The girls each join with a mashin to fight sorcerors sent by Eagle, regent of Cefiro, in order to save humanity from certain death. In time they defeat Eagle himself, who is too bitter to concede that he has lost. His older sister, Princess Emeraulde, having woken from a fever dream by the girls’ prayers, makes him concede, and leaves with Cefiro with thanks for the girls and the task of rebuilding Cefiro. The protectors also depart, and the three girls resume their lives and go their separate ways.

I got Rayearth on videotape. (There was a DVD version, but it has long been out-of-print.) The tapes have this wobbly background look. I am not sure whether the tapes are getting old or if the videocassette player itself (which I have not used in a very long time) is showing its age.

Nothing happened on Sunday, except an attempt to mow my lawn has failed because my reel mower could not cut through the now-thick grass. Then came the rain — heavy rain — rain that demonstrated the weakness in my back roof gutter. All I got for my work was soaking wet.

I borrowed my father’s riding mower to work on my lawn. I must admit that it mows a lot faster than my reel mower does. Of course, my reel mower does not scalp my lawn than the rider does, even at its highest blade setting. And then there are the clippings: Six yard bags full of them. The time I saved mowing with the rider was so much spent raking cut grass, that I would have spent with the reel mower. At least it will be awhile before I can mow again.

Then I got some help from one of my neighbors to charge the battery on the riding mower. The mower’s battery ran out of juice, and I had to jump-start it from my car’s battery. But I got it home.

This morning I voted in the primary election. There is not much in the way of selection, as the only truely contested races were for senator and for representative in my congressional distrist. Even with all the candidates, there was practically nobody to choose from. They all say the same old crap. But Dan Burton, the incumbent, will surely be chosen because, unlike the other candidates, he has pull in Washington. And, in this age, that too much counts.

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