Driving home on Friday evening, I was listening to Marketplace on NPR and heard a story in a series about climate change where a certain carbon counter in New York City got a mention.

I may or may not have had something to do with this.

Date posted: October 31, 2009 | Filed under art/design | 1 Comment »

I’ve driven past this building every day for the past three months and never noticed the advertising at the top until this morning. Word!

Date posted: October 30, 2009 | Filed under art/design, history | Comments Off on Look Up.

This marks the second time in a month when we’ve lost power for no good reason. It’s getting to the point where any loud bang during the day or night could signal the implosion of the transformer at the corner of our property and another day of darkness while we wait for the crew to come and patch it up with duct tape or replace the car battery or whatever it is they do after standing around and scratching their asses. This used to be a common occurrence when we first moved in, happening roughly once every three months or so, and predictably during high winds or fierce storms. Then you came out and did something, and sent us a letter and claimed you’d made it all better, and the problem went away for a brief while. Now I’m afraid we’re back to random deer farts or squirrels chewing on the line or whatever it is that blows up the buzzing green box on the pole.

Here’s a suggestion: Remember the crew you sent out to hack a huge hole in the front of our tulip tree, the one right out in front of our house? Send them back down the property line, where you’ve let trees grow intertwined with the high-voltage lines, and hack the shit out of that stuff. Heck, I’ll help you haul it out of there. Or, better yet, just disconnect me from that pole and send my power line out to the front like my two neighbors, who seem to always have the lights on.

Thanks for nothing,
The Idiot.

Date posted: October 30, 2009 | Filed under house | Comments Off on Dear BG&E.

We took these on Sunday when the sky was a brilliant blue and the leaves were at their peak color.

Date posted: October 27, 2009 | Filed under finn | Comments Off on A Sunny Girl For A Cloudy Day.

After some wrangling, several phone calls, and a weekend of frightening media darkness, we’re back online. A Verizon dude came to the house, looked at the outside boxes, mumbled something to Jen about “going back to look at the mainframe”, and left. Hours passed, and then another nice man came out to make sure service had been restored. His efforts to make sure the DSL was working were thwarted by the updates I’d made to our cable routing during the downtime; I set up a honest-to-god punchdown block in the basement and commenced to rerouting and sorting miles of data cable hanging from the rafters like so many burmese pythons. After I got home from work, I made a few quick changes to the patch cables and restored the internet to glorious cinemascope. I still have to tighten up the remainder of the wiring, reroute coax that’s mixed in with the data cabling, and finish cleaning up the punchdown block before I can call it done, but it’s better than before. Oh, yeah, adding a 24-port switch to add into the rack would be nice…but it’s not necessary.

* * *

Over the weekend our neighbors invited us to a “green” meeting (local folks coming together to talk about environmentally friendly methods and practices at the Lutheran church), and while the speaker was relatively good (a semi-nervous woman who sells eco-friendly products), it just so happened there was a used tool sale going on in the back of the room. For $15, we walked away with a 22″ hedge clipper, a full-size shovel, edging tool, and gravel rake, a pipe cutter, two channel locks, several snap-on wrenches, two unused paint scrapers, a sharpening stone, and the big find: a shaft-driven Bolens edging trimmer in unknown condition for the princely sum of $3. If I can get it running and swap out the gas tank (there’s a hole in it), my days of hauling 150′ of electrical cord around the yard will be over for good.

* * *

After some confusion and a misplaced paper were cleared up last week, I finally got a box this afternoon containing ten window balances from Pullman, which will go into use just as soon as I can block the time out to install them.

Date posted: October 26, 2009 | Filed under geek, general, house, tools | Comments Off on Back On The Air.

What Startups Are Really Like. I’ve been peripherally and personally involved in several startups, and this is a good breakdown of what it’s like. (via DF.)

Date posted: October 26, 2009 | Filed under projects, shortlinks | Comments Off on What Startups Are Really Like

Behind the War Between White House and Fox – NYTimes.com. Wow, I’m amazed it took them this long to cut Fox off.

Date posted: October 23, 2009 | Filed under politics, shortlinks | Comments Off on Behind the war between the White House and the NYT

Anybody trying to call the Lockardugan Central Switchboard over the next couple of days will be greeted with the sound of ringing and ringing and ringing. It seems someone across town asked Verizon to forward their calls to a new number, and they decided to randomly pick ours instead. So our DSL is knocked out and we’re getting calls from people we don’t know (including the owner of the original number, who is understandably upset).

And now, the punchline: Verizon says we have to wait until Wednesday to get service back. If Comcast wasn’t teh suck, I’d really consider switching over to cable…

Date posted: October 23, 2009 | Filed under humor | Comments Off on We’re Home. Sort Of.

Vivian Maier – Her Discovered Work Street photography from Chicago, 1950-1970’s (via)

Date posted: October 21, 2009 | Filed under photo, shortlinks | Comments Off on Vivian Maier – street photographer

I spent some quality time at the local Pep Boys shopping for a new battery yesterday, a store I loathe particularly for its emphasis on selling dumb fake chrome shit one can glue to the side of one’s car instead of actual auto parts. The Saturn suddenly decided it didn’t want to start reliably last week, giving me a little bit of a scare when I was just barely able to get it running in the parking garage late one afternoon. At first I thought it might be the busted taillight somehow shorting out and draining the battery, given all the rain we’ve been experiencing, but an entire day to dry out in the garage yielded the same result. In the meantime, I was traveling with the battery from the Scout and a set of cables and giving myself hillbilly jumpstarts in order to get going. After replacing both batteries in the driveway last night, all is right in our vehicular world, and I have a UPS tracking number for our new (used) taillight.

My intent was to drive the Scout in this morning and take advantage of the lovely weather, but I got a late start this morning. I overslept and woke up with a giggling Finn on my stomach—which is not a bad way to start the day—but barely made it out the door with a cup of coffee (thanks Mama) and clean clothes.

Mixed Messages in Advertising Dept.:
This morning I passed a minivan sporting a large white decal of the Tasmanian Devil, applied to the back window, containing the words

Get In
Sit Down
Shut Up
Hang On

On the side door of the same van was a magnetic decal advertising the Happy Feet Daycare center.

Date posted: October 20, 2009 | Filed under general | Comments Off on Random List: Tuesday Edition.