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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

May 23, 2006

A Month and Some!

Well, as it turns out, things have continued in their busy grandeur. While that generally keeps one out of 'trouble,' it doesn't do much for keeping one active in posting random musings about life and activities. As it's currently storming outside right now (and I'm offline via my satellite link), I'm writing this in WordPad and intend to copy/paste it in place. Remember, save often! smile I have the great fortune of an Uninterruptable Power Supply, but it still doesn't save from catastrophic failure.

One-Act Wrapup

In the last few weeks, I completed the One-Act scrapbooks for 2006 and did the general last-minute stuff. It was pretty late this year, but it's done. The printing of the scrapbooks actually went much faster (it seems) than in years previous. I was able to go from blank paper to bound books in just a few hours' time.

So anyway, One-Act for 2006 is now officially done. Until next year...


Well, we took a weekend about a month ago and painted the dining room and entry. The entire project took longer than just a weekend (because it took several days of after-hours trim painting to complete), but the bulk of the work was done over a weekend. All-in-all, I really like the look that came out of the painting job -- it's given me the 'painting bug' to get some other rooms in the house into a non-white state. We basically chose two contrasting but complementing colors and did an interesting mix of color, leaving the trim white (but fresh white).

It looks rockin' now, and we got several compliments on the color scheme when we had a gathering a few weeks ago (more about that below).

Structured Wiring Update

Well, I finally got around to more seriously getting a structured wiring project started around here. The intention was to work some on this during the winter, but that didn't really happen. But, I got sick of seeing the incomplete box in the wall just it was time to do something about it. When it was all done, I'd cut a second hole in the wall and run (in total) nine lengths of Category 5e and RG6 Quad (Coax) cable. What I ended up doing is only connecting the telephone jack (since I don't have the structured wiring box in place yet) by manually patching it through to the new service feed temporarily. But, what this allows to happen is the main TV in the living room to finally display our caller ID information when calls come in. So, we don't have to get off the couch if we don't want to. Of course, we ended up getting a new phone set (with a remote handset) we don't actually need the caller ID on the TV now, but I've got it...

As far as the rest of the structured wiring project goes, I've actually got quite a start on it now (although my original spool of 1000' Category 5e is now gone), but I need to do some reorganization and shelf-building in the basement before I can get the panel mounted and powered.

Crazy Matt Plays With Electricity!

We've got a central A/C unit which needs to be installed (that's a different story), which in a way acts as the catalyst for my most recent electrical project. I've meant to do this for some time, but finally just sat down and did it the other day. Mapping out our electrical service. You see, when you have a 60 year old house, it's not always clear what's what in the electric panel. So, I was curious as to how our electrical load is actually distributed (exactly), and how that pertains to our current service, etc. But really, I need to replace our existing dedicated A/C breaker (which is a 20-amp 240 volt dedicated circuit for a monster wall unit from the 70's) with a 30-amp 240 volt breaker for the central A/C unit.

This leads to the mapping priority. I wanted to make sure that we realistically aren't overloading our service by making this change. And since it wasn't clear at all what was what in our panel, it was necessary to do some mapping. So, I did some drawings, coloring, and then broke out the circuit tracer. It took a few hours when it was all said and done, but I now have a detailed circuit index on the panel, so when I need to disconnect service to a particular place in the house, I don't have to use the tracer to figure out which breaker controls the circuit -- I just look at the panel and know.

Oh, and it also appears that the upgrade will work out just fine -- we just happen to have an abundance of 20-amp breakers in places where most would have 15-amp breakers. The loads aren't anything special, and the wire gauge is suitable (so it's not a fire hazard); it's just that several rooms are set up on 20-amp breakers.

Ripping, Ripping, Ripping

As I made mention in a previous post, I had started working on ripping CD's. I took a several week hiatus while working specifically on the painting project and other whatnot in preparation for our recent gathering (yes, I've not yet gotten to that discussion yet), but recently got back to ripping. I have gone through several dozen CD's and am now in the home stretch of ripping CD's. It's amazing that I'd forgotten about some of this music! As I listen to it now (since it's in a convenient format for me), I am constantly reminded of why I bought the CD's in the first place.

So, I've added several thousand tracks to the MP3 collection through this process.


We recently celebrated Beth's, Mark's, and Abby's collective graduations here at our house about two weeks ago. It was quite a gathering, but also quite a bit of work in preparation. This was the reason we wanted to get the dining room painted, although I did some additional finishing work in the bathroom. The celebration was fun; many people were able to come out and spend some time with us. We also burned up the old wishing well which had been in the front yard and fallen into disrepair over the last two years. That was fun -- fire is cool. I took several pictures of it, so perhaps when I get some time I'll add those and several other pictures to the archive which has become badly undermaintained.

Of course, the biggest benefit to having a party like this is that the house really gets cleaned up, which is nice. smile

There's a new restaurant in town!

In the very first few days of May, a new restaurant opened up in Morris -- Bella Cucina.

Obviously, it's an Italian place, which is absolutely fantastic! Several of us at the office went there for lunch a few weeks ago, and the food was fantastic, although a little on the pricey side. But, the quality of the food really makes up for the price, and the price really isn't that bad in comparison to some of the other items on other menus in town.

Needless to say, I really hope that they are able to make the restaurant a success, because it's a fantastic non-fast-food outlet. We'll be going there for my birthday on Thursday, because Beth hasn't been there yet.

Speaking of Birthdays...

...mine is coming up on Thursday. Shameless plug. Please donate to the cause. smile

Last but not Least...

Last weekend we finally swapped stoves with my folks. When they moved into their new house, they took their old stove (which is on the order of 8-10 years old now) and moved it into their garage to use as an auxilliary and for sausage-making. Well, it's better than our approximately 20 year old stove which is in perfect working order (and perfect as a garage stove for sausage-making), so we swapped them. It's been a little weird getting used to it (our old stove was a traditional electric element stove, and this one is the flat-top variety which has the large burners in the opposite positions in comparison to our old stove), but it's an incredibly nice upgrade which works well in our kitchen.

So until next time...

...I will leave it at that. The aforementioned news post is really nothing more than randomly connected thoughts on a boring evening when it's raining hard enough to not have satellite service (TV or Internet) available and was likely difficult to read. Ah well. Disclaimer is done. smile

This post was upgraded to the MZ Online Blog on 8/29/07

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