Natural gas can be your friend!

A few months ago, I cleaned out our front hall closet. It had collected some picnic supplies, outdoor chairs and mats, as well as cleaning supplies, and some coats that hadn’t been worn in years.

Since the floor of the closet had a sort of half mishmash of cement with old adhesive on it and some really ugly vinyl tiles, and since I had some leftover sample bamboo flooring planks from iFloor, I decided it would be a good idea to cut enough bamboo to fit and make a nice, clean looking floor for the closet.

To make a long story short, the bamboo part works fine, until I get to the point where I nail in the baseboard above the flooring. The nail in a particular corner seems to not want to go in; so I try a bit harder, and finally it goes in.

About 3 seconds after this happens (the “oh shit” moment), I realize that the natural gas fired water heater is on the other side of this wall, and that the nail just about vertically aligns with the natural gas line feeding the water heater. So I quickly run around to the other side, and while I don’t hear any hissing, I do smell gas. Only a tiny bit, mind you, but a bit of gas nevertheless. Enough to make me worry, at least.

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why can’t computers just get along?

So here’s my current general frustration. Computers just can’t get along.

I have a Mac running iTunes. I also have an AirPort Express. The AirPort has an S/PDIF digital audio output, which I hook into my Denon receiver. The Denon receiver has an ethernet port; last year, there was a press release saying that “Real Soon Now” there would be a firmware upgrade so that the Denon could receive Windows Media (or something) broadcasts, and that they were in talks with other device manufacturers to support the same thing.

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shallow water table panic

In which I panic about finding water underground.

So we have a dog that we watch for a few hours at a time every now and then when its (out of town) owner visits and has to go take care of an errand locally. This dog happens to not have learned its doggy manners very well; he wants to play very much, but however he asks for it, he ends up annoying the heck out of every dog we’ve ever tried to introduce him to. No idea why; the dog doesn’t seem malicious, just incapable of saying the right thing.

Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, we were watching this dog in the front yard. We had him on a 10 foot leash thing attached to the front porch; our dogs were just inside the screen door watching his every move and occasionally barking and whining. (Which is also usual but strange — whenever they meet they can’t stand this dog, but they always want to get to where he is and see him.)

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also on the fridge being out

You know how seltzer water (or club soda) tastes once it’s gone flat? It’s hard to describe, you just kind of have to know it.

I found out that that’s apparently the taste of carbonic acid. I knew that carbonating soda generates some (a lot?) of carbonic acid; what we found out while the fridge was out was that:
* if you have a brita pitcher of water in the fridge, and
* you put dry ice (CO2) in the fridge, and
* let the dry ice melt and turn to CO2 gas
* the water will taste like flat club soda

This Mr. Science Moment brought to you by our dead fridge.

speaking of the fridge being out

I just realized, scrolling down the page, that one of the recent (as it were; it’s from last July) posts on the blog is about the fridge being out. Funny that, because last week the fridge went out.

Same fridge, for the last time.

This time the food was still somewhat cold when we realized it; we moved the frozen stuff to our garage chest freezer, and bought some dry ice to try and keep the fridge stuff cold while we got a new fridge.

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ads. Are ads my friends?

I also figured I should probably sign up for an ad program on this blog. No idea how many people actually read it, or could read it, or would read it. Google seems to not be evil, and their ads can actually sort of blend in, in a classified ad sort of way.

I try not to be a stats whore, though sometimes I can be; I’ve got a logs analyzer running, but I haven’t examined it in a while. Plus I’m not sure how best to separate out the page crawlers and web worms from real, actual traffic. (Are you a real person? Are you a robot? Are you neither?)

I’m not exactly sure why all the ads seem to be for brad pitt and angelina jolie related stuff, or if this is just a placeholder. We’ll see what happens.


So here my blog takes a bit of a new turn. I’ve often thought about doing this but never actually done it. Part of my chosen occupation often leads me down paths where I try to go google to find the solution to a problem, but find that the solution (and even the problem) is often so specialized that nobody has actually posted on a forum, newsgroup, webpage, or anything about the problem or solution, assuming others have actually encountered the problems before.

Mind you, I’m not going to be so arrogant as to assume that I’m always coming across new and inventive ways to break things; computing has been around for long enough that you figure someone would have run into issues like I have before. But I suppose they just don’t post about them.

So in an effort to help others, let off a bit of steam, and provide a little more google fodder for future people looking for my problems, I’m going to try and blog some of the weirder issues that I come across.

Enjoy, and I hope you don’t get too bored out of your mind.