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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thumbs Up! (Or Not)


Thumbs Up!
Beth somehow managed to capture a picture while she had her hand in a thumbs-up position. Awesome!
Kirstin is a happy baby, even during adverse times (such as battling a cold). She really takes it all well -- arguably better than me. :)

It's been a long day. Not because I've managed to get anything done (I haven't, short of a lot of Super Mario World playing), but since I've been pretty much kept quiet by a nasty sore throat most of the day. I hate colds, but they're a necessary evil, I guess.

Fortunately, as of right now, the sore throat has subsided greatly. It's still there, but the cold has now progressed into the sinuses and I'm having the great fun of an unpleasant-feeling mid-face area. But, I can deal with that better than the throat business (at least I can talk a little more without great discomfort).

Regardless, I can still tell that I've got a cold. I've done little to nothing today (short of prepare food) and I'm beat. So I'm going to leave this post (number two for the day) on the very short order and head for bed. Much needed bed at that.

So until next time...
"The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. The opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth."
- Niels Bohr (1885-1962)

--MZ

Beware Of Changing Tides


Lil' Smiley
She was having such a good time on the floor during her morning play time.
In ways, I wish I actually had a tide about which to speak. But I don't. In fact, quite the opposite.

So the well guys showed up Friday morning to see about resolving the situation with low water pressure (and what was presumed to be an underwater leak). They started in right away and prepared to lift the old pump out to check for leaks. That was all fine and dandy, until the pump was found to only move about a foot before it was getting caught on something in the casing. That was presumed to be a build-up of stuff on the steel casing over many years' time.

A long story short, while trying to remove the pump and get it past the obstruction, the pipe snapped at the coupling between it and the pump. A second attempt to use the electrical cord to dislodge the pump proved quickly unsuccessful as well.

So there we are, pulling up 80 feet of water pipe with no pump on the other end. It was pretty disgusting. So there's a pump stuck about 87 feet below ground, under about 67 feet of water. What to do now?

We install a new pump (of course), this time at about 67 feet (above the old lodged pump) to see if there's enough water getting by the old pump to still supply everything. After getting things lined up, installed, and wired up, we now have 20PSI, but the same problem (a leak).

At this point in time it's pretty obvious -- there's no leak in the house, and since there's all new PVC water line in the well (above the new pump), it's pretty obvious there's no leak there -- there's a leak underground between house and well. Just to make sure, they raised the pump about ten feet and isolated the pump to make sure the well side was functioning properly. Of course, it was...so we were back to the original problem.

So we have to dig in a new water line, which will be done sometime next week. I called to request locates for power and telephone, which should be done by 3:30PM on Tuesday. Hopefully they get done Monday. :) The water line business shouldn't really take terribly long, but it is an excavation process...so yeah... Good times. Wait, not really.

We'll see how things shape up after the water line is fixed. If the well seems to still supply reasonably, it will mean that drilling a new well isn't necessarily on the 'near' radar (1-2 years)...but likely no matter what the outcome, we'll be looking at drilling a new well at some point in time. It all depends upon how long things seem to work acceptably.

So that was my Friday morning and midday. I went to work for a few hours in the afternoon and then Beth and I (with Kirstin) went to Erik & Jill's for supper and good conversation. So it was a late night and I have in the last 24 hours developed quite a cold...so I didn't post any pictures last night or make a post. The pictures are done now (for Friday), and this is obviously the post in place of Friday's...

So until next time (presumably later today)...
"We all agree that your theory is crazy, but is it crazy enough?"
- Niels Bohr (1885-1962)

--MZ

Thursday, September 13, 2007

A Very Long Day


Singing Away
She loves to tell stories -- sometimes in song.
So today really started out about as normal as a Thursday can get. And it was normal until about 11:45 when Beth called informing me that the well pump had been running constantly for on the order of two hours (at least). She had noticed very low water pressure and then the all-familiar hum when the pump is running. This is not normal nor good.

I guessed that it was the pressure tank that had finally failed that was the cause of said problem. Okay, so we got two years worth of use out of said pressure tank with a slightly ruptured bladder -- not bad, right? But it would have to be replaced. So I instructed her how to shut off the pump for now (it could be turned on manually to get water when necessary) and I'd deal with it when I got home.

So I swung out of work around 2:30 and made my way home. Upon arriving, I more or less immediately went to the basement to check out the situation and figure out what'd have to be done to remedy it. So I kicked the pump on and noticed it'd only pump up to about 18PSI. No more, no less. So I kicked off the pump and noticed the pressure drop within seconds to 0PSI. Hmmm...

There's no water leak inside, no obvious air leak inside, but it's not holding any pressure whatsoever. This is most definitely not good. Just to be sure, I checked the pressure of the pressure tank to discover that it was at 25PSI (it should be at 30, but with the slight rupture and two years' time I'm not surprised it was 25). Regardless, that obviously wasn't the cause of this problem.

So I went outside to inspect some stuff. No obvious sinkholes or really wet terrain, but I also couldn't hear any obvious leakage when listening down the well casing when the pump was shut off. More perplexing stuff.

So it was time to call some people who deal with wells. I didn't get through to the first place (closest) on the several atttempts made -- it was always busy (so I presume someone may have been doing some dial-up Internet stuff) -- so I called another relatively close place. Immediately spoke to someone, but was informed that all of the technicians were out and would have to get back to me later in the day about the problem.

No problem, really. It wasn't an absolute emergency (since the pump still operates and moves water), but it's a hell of an inconvenience. Anyway, a few hours later I get a call and after a brief (six-minute) discussion, the guy thinks that there's likely a leak below the water line but above the check valve in the casing (which is why there was no wet ground and no obvious leaking sound).

So someone will be out tomorrow morning to check it out. It'll involve lifting the pump (which will be neat to see) I'm pretty sure. I just hope that the guy is right and that any leak is in the casing itself and not underground. Digging up the yard is not exactly on my list of things to do (not to mention that Gopher State has to be called for a locate since there are electric and telephone lines running on that side of the house somewhere -- which means at least 24 hours (could be 48) before we even are able to dig)...

We shall see what happens. Not exactly the most fun thing to have happen, but it could be much worse (like a dead pump), because we would then have no water which is an entirely different situation.

So that's how my day has gone. Eesh. Ah well. At least we'll presumably have the situation resolved tomorrow sometime and be back to normal again.

Until next time...
"In science one tries to tell people, in such a way as to be understood by everyone, something that no one ever knew before. But in poetry, it's the exact opposite."
- Paul Dirac (1902-1984)

--MZ

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Consuming A Bag Of Chips And A Weight Loss Drink Does Not A Good Diet Make


It's MY Desk
And you can't have it. So there. Well, until you pet me.
Okay, that's a bit of a strange title. My apologies. This subject came up today during morning coffee, and it was pointed out that someone is drinking a very expensive 'health drink' to be generally healthy. I countered with a point of 'not consuming a family size bag of Tostitos in a 24-hour period of time pretty much voids any health benefits from a 'magic potion.'

I'm not any sort of health connoisseur, but I've read enough (and obtained via media osmosis) to understand that there's no magic fix for being healthy. Especially when the underlying habit doesn't change. This once again goes to show the mentality of 'I can buy my way out of this...' -- the idea of the quick fix to a different problem. It's like treating the symptoms, but not fixing the problem.

Anyway, enough of that. It's not what I intended to write about (but made for a shockingly different title).

In other news, I installed a single update which Windows told me was ready to go tonight. One update. Granted, it ran in the background (installing), but it took forever to complete. It must've ran for five minutes! For the dumb malicious tool remover thing. This just seems ridiculous -- is something that is apparently so unused (I've never used it -- I wouldn't even know where to find it to run it if I wanted) so tightly integrated into the operating system so as to require tremendous amounts of time to install?

My machine here at home is a 3.0GHz box with 1GB RAM. Not exactly low-end. It took forever to complete. I just don't understand. Anyone with ideas is more than welcome to attempt to leave a comment (or let me know what the hell is going on).

I was looking through some server logs tonight and discovered that I'm getting some strange requests from the yahoo domain that point to my resume page. A lot of them (enough to get recognized as a relatively unique referral URL).

Off hand, it appears as though it's coming from some sort of Yahoo antivirus checking system...but what's strange is the question -- why? There's nothing unique about the resume page that I would think requires an AV check. It's got another stylesheet than the other pages, but it's not a PDF file or anything that I'd normally consider being a candidate for AV activity. Furthermore, it's been from a series of different user agents and IP addresses. So I'm not sure exactly what's going on, unless the page got linked from something else on the Yahoo network.

I don't know. I'm full of questions tonight. I submitted another Good Question tonight for consideration. Just because I felt like it and it seems obvious.

I read yet another article today about the ad blocking thing. This time the writer sided more with the Firefox blocking fellow than anyone else I've read from. This reminded me of what I intended to write about related to the ad blocking bits (and I promise I'll write no more about it after this) last week.

I don't mind online advertising. I never really have. As long as it's done well, it really doesn't matter to me. In fact, there are some ads I actually like to see -- they're crafty, well-done, and are intuitive. There are also the incredibly unobtrusive advertisements (the Google ads come to mind). These all qualify as Good. Or as good as they get.

Then there are the Bad advertisements. You know the types -- the intrusive, in-your-face ads that are either so gaudy it's revolting or (heaven forbid) the ones that talk to you or don't give you the default option of NO SOUND. These, as noted -- not so good. Those and the ultimately stupid pop-up window ads.

My own personal opinion is that the smaller percentage of Bad ads really give the remaining ads an incredibly bad perception. The idea of all advertising now becomes intrusive. It's 'squeaky wheel' syndrome. The fact that the squeaky wheel gets the oil in many ways applies to the bad ads. You don't remember the (generally tastefully presented) ads -- at least I don't -- but you'll never forget the ad that randomly started speaking to you in the background of an un-focused tab (God, is that you?).

Advertising is a necessary evil. I'm not against it. As noted before, I think it's ridiculous to block an entire subset of users based upon a theoretical installation and company 'alliance' if you will. But I also think that this wouldn't be as big a deal if ads were all tastefully done.

Therein lies another problem, though. When ads seamlessly blend into the content, do they then not work as well? Gaudy ads get attention. Attention gives recognition and presumably results in some additional sales. So as someone in marketing (or in charge of marketing), I probably want to get [my product] some recognition. Which leads me back to 'when does this go too far,' which I believe is ultimately a personal variable.

But, I'm also the type that places value in good content. I'm more than willing to deal with ads when there's good content behind them. That's a legitimate model. But placing artificial (or completely made-up) value on content based upon the creator's own personal emotions and then 'blanket blocking' users from even potentially viewing said important content is simply ridiculous.

So that's my somewhat rambled late-night thoughts about that matter. Presumably for the last time now. So until next time...
"I would have made a good Pope."
- Richard M. Nixon (1913-1994)

--MZ

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Bright Blue Eyes


Bright Blue Eyes
She's got extremely blue eyes and is always checking everything out.
I won't linger on terribly long tonight; it's been a busy day. Beth got a call this morning from Jill asking if she could watch Henry for the day. So Beth was busy with Henry and Kirstin through the normal working hours. So that was a bit on the unusual order, but worked out regardless.

I managed to get some more redesign work done on a project at the mill. It was one of those moments where I didn't want to really leave work when I did (since I was in the middle of a streak), but my other commitments required that I take off at a normal time so I could eat and whatnot. So I had to stop at a 'point of proof' -- meaning that I got something completed far enough to prove (to myself) that it would work and simply need to be fully implemented -- a reasonable 'second place' stop to end the day.

It's been pretty quiet at home this evening, but I had a council meeting which broke up the evening hours for me a bit. The meeting didn't last terribly long, though, so I was still home in time to put Kirstin to bed and play a bit of Super Mario World prior to the 10PM news. Always nice to wind down a bit like that.

Seeing as how I'm on the tired and very much yawning order, I think I'm going to call it a night and head for the hills. So until next time...
"In any contest between power and patience, bet on patience."
- W.B. Prescott

--MZ

Monday, September 10, 2007

Another Week At The Mill


I'm With Ducky!
She was so happy and excited to get pictures taken tonight. Even when posed with her little ducky.
So it was a Monday, and I could tell. It was pretty quiet at work today, which was nice...but in an odd way it's also nice to have at least a small fire to put out on a Monday morning (just to jump-start the week). No such fire existed, so it was simply back to the mill.

Erik called me shortly before lunchtime and he ended up coming by the office to have lunch. It was a good time -- something different for a change.

I ended up leaving work about a half hour early today because I hit one of those moments where I didn't really want to get too involved with a new section in a project (only to have to stop and get going again in the morning). So knowing that avocados were on sale at Willie's, I went and picked a few up with the intention of trying to make some guacamole -- for the first time.

It didn't turn out too bad, actually. I used a generic recipe and I was oddly pleased with the results. I don't know that I'd use the same recipe again (it seemed to be missing something), but as I know now that it is possible to make reasonable guacamole at home...it will be worthwhile to look into more robust recipes in the future.

Kirstin was in a pretty good mood overall tonight. She goes through phases with her teeth bothering her, but she's been really pretty good for the last several days. We've not had to give her Motrin prior to bedtime, so that's been nice. But then again, her teeth have broken through (although not very far), so presumably the most painful part is over. I don't know. We'll see.

Minda called here tonight -- and that was a good time. It's always nice to talk to Minda and see how things are going. It's not nearly like it was when she once lived directly below us, but it's acceptable in a strange way. Although it'd be nicer to have her around more often...but that's how life goes.

I managed to read a very poorly written argument today. To protect the 'innocent,' I won't reveal the source of the argument (because its' really not worthwhile), but basically the argument was very anti-illegal immigrant.

The basic premise: Signs should be in English since this is the United States of America.

First off, the US has no official language. Implied official, yes. Official official. No. This person linked signage in Spanish to 'catering' to the illegals.

Yeah. You read that right. Now, I'm all for having things in English. I don't know Spanish, nor do I intend to learn. But having been to Canada enough, it's not the end of the world to have signage in two languages. The Canadians don't blame the 'damn French' for taking over their land (or vice versa).

So anyway, back to the story. He was taking pictures of signage in parks. He came across a park in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. The main side of the sign had information in Spanish, but the English-reading side had been defaced. Without providing any sort of proof at all, he automatically states that the minority of the Hispanic community (the 'bad ones') was responsible for the defacement.

WTF?

There was absolutely no information to even remotely back up this statement, aside from the fact that the park was in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood. This sort of conclusion is ludicrous! While it's entirely possible that a [subset] group of this local Hispanic community could be responsible, it's just as likely that a completely different demographic/ethnic group were responsible.

I don't claim to be the perfect, most moral person on the planet, but this sort of 'racist' material or implication just angers me beyond belief. And I call it racist because there's simply no justification for making a claim like that without valid, relevant proof.

Anyway, that got to be a bit more of a rant than I wanted it to be, but it just goes to show that there are a lot of people out there stuck on their own ideology of 'ethnic cleansing' or purity when it comes to the country in which we live.

So that's my bit for tonight. Since it's getting late, I bid thee adieu. Until next time...
"The mistakes are all waiting to be made."
- chessmaster Savielly Grigorievitch Tartakower (1887-1956) on the game's opening position

--MZ

Sunday, September 9, 2007

A Busy Sunday Indeed


Uncle Lynn Plays The Harmonica
This time close up. Now you can see the look of interest on her face.
We had a pretty good and busy Sunday, just as expected. This morning was a late church service (since we had a service and potluck in the park), which was kinda nice for the change (not quite as early to get up). We were out there for a few hours doing the church thing, eating, and visiting, then made a few stops in town and headed home.

We all had a nap of varying sorts, but Kirstin wasn't much in to sleeping this afternoon so that didn't work out quite as well as one would like. But it wasn't the end of the world.

After re-packing and whatnot, we headed over to Wheaton for supper with my aunt and uncle. Good times as always. It's always an adventure over there with things to discuss or ponder. And it was the first time Kirstin was there to visit (since born). So after a wonderful meal (as is normal when visiting there), we hung around and Kirstin got to listen to uncle Lynn play several different harmonicas for her.

She really enjoys music of all sorts, so she was really quite interested with the unique noise that those harmonicas made. She just watched intently (and even danced a little bit). It was pretty cute.

She fell asleep there and didn't hardly wake up when getting loaded into her car seat or when she got unloaded and changed at home for bed. But she had a big day...as did Beth and I.

So that's about all for tonight. At least the house no longer smells like a swimming pool! That was nice to come home to after a long day.

Until next time...
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one."
- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

--MZ

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