I’ve shut off the news channels and am completely focused on laying out a report for work. Crucial to my mental health and interior workspace:
Mellow guitar music from a couple of nice Norwegian boys.
Shit. Eddie Van Halen is dead of cancer at 65. I’d say “fuck cancer” here but the guy had a smoking habit that should have killed him 20 years ago, and that’s after he kicked a titanic coke habit. Still, a peerless musician, and from the sounds of it, a peerless asshole. I’ve written often about my love for this band; this is another sign that 2020 is the shit year of shit years.
In November of last year I bought a set of wireless earbuds for my commute and quickly fell in love with them—so much so that I gave up almost entirely on wired headphones. The Anker Soundcore Life P2’s I bought were inexpensive and did 90% of what AirPods do at 1/4 the price tag. The only gripe I had with them was that using them to make calls was useless—they cancelled noise but didn’t allow me to hear myself talking, so I had the strange impression that I was shouting with my hands over my ears. Jen says I talk loud on the phone on a normal day, so this wasn’t an optimal solution. But 10 days of solid use between charges, dependable connectivity with my phone, and quality sound reproduction made up for that, and I was extremely happy with them.
A week ago I took Hazel for her morning walk and Jen came out to join me after we’d crossed the street. I took my earbuds out and stuffed them in my pocket so we could talk—but one must not have made it, because I returned home without it. Disappointed, I started looking at replacements, and I was sorely tempted by a new set of AirPods—especially the Pros, which feature Transparency Mode and make phone calls sound amazing. But realizing I hadn’t owned the Ankers for more than a year (I could have sworn it was longer) before one went missing, and given how much I use them, I weighed the cost of losing a $200 AirPod vs. a $70 Anker and went with the cheaper option. This time I got a pair of Soundcore Liberty Airs, which are supposed to be better for making calls, feature touchpads instead of physical buttons, and have a larger set of control options. They’re currently charging in the other room, and I can’t wait to try them out.
Zero 7 (ft. José González): Today. It’s scientifically impossible to make the “samba” preset on a Casio keyboard sound good, but they somehow did it here.
I was doing a little side work last night and fed the last of Rob’s CDs into the spare laptop. The final tally is 755 albums for a total of 196GB of data. There’s some organization to be done internally—some of the Gracenote metadata comes through wrong, splitting single albums out into separate folders, or incorrectly categorizing best-of albums as compilations (which doesn’t file them with in the artist’s folder, but in a catch-all folder called Compilations). This shouldn’t take long. The other thing that has been inconsistent has been album art; I’ve got iTunes set to seek out and find it but it’s at a 50/50 success rate. I don’t expect it to find the artwork for obscure classical albums but it should be able to find the cover for Eagles Greatest Hits.
Both carousels are completely empty and both still make terrible noises when powered on, so I’ll ask Karean to dig out Rob’s folders and drop them off so I can refile everything. This week I’ll order a thumb drive and transfer everything for her; I’ve got to build another stand for the balance of Rob’s CD’s and put them someplace safe. Then, while I’m at it, I think I’m going to rip my collection over again to higher quality and correct the metadata, and start pruning the legacy files on the server.
Also on the order list is an internal SSD drive to free up an internal drive bay, update the OS, and speed up the machine.. With that and a thorough cleaning, the server should be good as new and ready for another six years of solid service.
We’re currently experiencing that wonderful synchronicity homeowners enjoy when lots of little things start failing all at the same time, leading to repair bills and irritation.
- Aforementioned washer woes.
- The work sink in the basement backed up last week after a load of laundry and took most of the night to drain itself; we called Roto-Rooter and they sent a guy out who wanted to charge me an absurd number to snake it. Having already phoned a guy who quoted me less than half that price to do it later that afternoon, I got R-R to match that price and he cleaned it to the sewer line. This is not the first time we’ve had this problem, and I expect we’ll have to call someone else in another fifteen years.
- We’ve run the downstairs air conditioner, a monster 18,000 BTU unit, out of one of the dining room windows, for the better part of 10 years. The plug it was attached to had been original to the house until some investigation revealed it was poorly jumped from a different line—some asshat had cut insulation off a different circuit and taped two wires around it to bring power to the plug instead of adding a junction box the way they should have. We ran it this way for several years, risking certain incineration, before we found it and had an electrician fix it. Yesterday the plug decided it would quit completely, and when I put a tester on it, the readings made no sense—It indicated open neutral under no load. When I plugged in a fan. and turned it on, the tester then indicated hot-ground reverse, which is Not Good. So, we moved the AC unit into the living room and called another electrician.
- The refrigerator, which is only two years old, is struggling to keep up with the Maryland humidity. Part of that is due to the A/C being off and the upstairs windows being open for most of the morning. Part of it is because it’s been sitting in the old coat closet with the door closed, which doesn’t help ventilate it. Part of it could be because we haven’t replaced the air filter yet. This is not our first rodeo with balky refrigerators, so I tend to believe it’s something to do with the location or operator error. I took the door off the closet to see if that helped, but it looks like we’ve got to call somebody to look at it.
There’s a special evening scheduled at our pool for immunocompromised swimmers tonight, and I am sure as fuck going for a swim.
As of today, we are at 525 CDs completed, for a total of 145GB of data. The second carousel wasn’t as full as the first—maybe 300 of 400 slots were full—so the final number should be somewhere in the 6-700 range. There are a bunch I haven’t ripped, like the ones I digitized for Rob back in the day, where I’ll substitute clean copies from my discs instead. There are a few others that came from other folks that I don’t have the originals for.