I’ve always been partial to the term Off Brain Storage. I more or less pulled the term out of my ass one day to describe exactly what I needed…a reliable means to keep track of miscellaneous attention deficit inert ramblings that I would find useful in the future. Although this blog has helped out with creating a searchable database of random information, there’s quite a bit of stuff that I need to store that’s just not appropriate for public consumption. Information wants to be free and all that jazz, but there are some aspects of my life that I’d rather keep private.
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Kelly’s Bug hates me!

OK, so it took longer to change the headlight on Kelly’s Bug than it did to swap out a strut on my Impreza. Yes, changing out a headlight bulb is more complex than swapping out the suspension on one corner of my rally car. Feh. Not only did it take forever to get the headlight housing to line back up with the brackets, but the freezing cold made it impossible to rotate the retaining ring back into place to lock the assembly. The salt and grit that had gotten past the rubber gasket made the ring extremely sticky, and it felt like the brittle plastic would snap at any moment!

After nearly half an hour, I finally got the ring back into place and locked the headlight assembly down tight. Cute car. Sucky maintenance. And don’t even get me started on trying to get at the damn oil filter…

Listening to Jane from the album Maybe You Should Drive by Barenaked Ladies

I want you to be strict with me…

After much procrastination, I finally decided to start looking into XHTML 1.0, CSS2, and HTML 4.01. I originally learned HTML back in the day with HTML 3.2 & CGI Unleashed, a monstrous volume with well over a thousand razor-thin pages. Since then, quite a bit has changed, and it’s time to update my forte. At some point in the near future all of my various sites should be converted over to actual Web standards, instead of wallowing in a hodgepodge of ill-formatted markup.

Who needs heat?

image_sfhs.jpgAfter limping along our old oil-fired steam boiler for the past two months, our brand new Utica SFH Steam Oil Boiler was installed yesterday. Although we’re now quite a few thousand dollars poorer, the peace of mind and fuel savings made the investment well worth it! Even though the insulation was removed from all of the steam pipes and hasn’t been reinstalled yet, the new system performs infinitely better than the old decrepit system that we used to have.

The previous 50 gallon system took over two and a half hours just to get up to temperature and then another few hours after that to raise the room temperature five degrees. The 15 gallon Utica takes a little over ten minutes to get every radiator in the house fired up and, even with the heat off all day during the installation, it only took half an hour to an hour to raise the temperature of the entire house ten degrees! To maintain temperature, it only needs to fire for a few minutes every once in a while.

To finish everything up, the next step is to draftproof the basement and finish installing fiberglass jackets on all of the steam pipes. Once that’s done, I’ll be insulating the floors to minimize heat soak. Since stripping all the floors down to the wide pine and finishing them with polyurethane, drafts have become an issue because of the plank spacing. You can peer right into the basement in quite a few spots. So, the gaps will need to be taped from the bottom and, if that doesn’t solve the draft issues, fiberglass will need to be installed.

I love State Troopers…

The Massachusetts State Police has a fleet of behemoth SUVs that they use to patrol rush hour. Since the flow of traffic can get upwards to 90 MPH in the morning, an officer will plant himself in the left lane and set the flow of traffic to a safe and prudent 75 MPH. Since the new snow tires went on the car, I’ve been keeping my cruising speed to under 75 MPH, and it’s been rather amusing for the past week or so to watch the more aggressive drivers battle for lane superiority.

This morning I got passed by one of the State Police SUVs and, a few seconds later, watched as a brand new BMW X5 came flying up on the Trooper’s rear bumper. Sure, the Trooper’s SUV was unmarked, but it was covered with antennas and had a State Police license plate. Did this intimidate the BMW driver? Of course not! In an ignorant cellphone-laden bliss, the BMW driver swerved into the middle lane and passed the Trooper on the right.

Not to be outdone, the Trooper swerved after the BMW and got right on his bumper. The BMW sped up. The Trooper sped up. The BMW sped up. The Trooper sped up. The Trooper put his blues on. Now here’s where it gets interesting.

The BMW went to full brake lockup with the State Trooper no more than one carlength off his rear bumper!

The Trooper went to full brake lockup. Traffic behind him went to full brake lockup. The Trooper swerved into the left lane, passed the BMW, then took the next exit (the blues were obviously just to slow the BMW down).

I followed the Trooper and watched the exact same series of events unfold two or three more times before I took my work exit.

How stupid are drivers?

I mean, first of all, unmarked cars are pretty damn obvious. I can usually spot one a quarter mile out, and that’s plenty of time to drop of out warp speed and get back down to a safe and prudent level.

Second, if I’m a carlength behind an unmarked car or have an unmarked car behind me, the State Police license plates, antenna farm, and strobes kind of stand out.

Third, if blues come on behind you, you take your foot off the gas, signal, change lanes, and gently decelerate.

I don’t know. Sometimes I really wish Darwin worked a little harder…

Snow != Free Parking

Why is it that, the minute snow touches the ground, parking lots become complete free-for-alls? I mean, whether you can see the lines or not, you know that they’re there. It only takes a few weeks to memorize the locations of visitor parking, handicapped parking, and the no parking zones in front of the sidewalk ramps. Heck, any five year old with the memory retention of a goldfish wouldn’t have an issue.

But when the lines are covered with a dusting of snow, otherwise intelligent Presidents and CEOs driving shiny new Land Rovers, BMWs, and Mercedes battle for the closest parking space, and handicapped parking instantly becomes fair game. Cars are lined up and down the curb, blocking access to delivery trucks. Even the handicapped ramps for the sidewalks get blocked as zoomtards stake their territory.

I really can’t understand this behavior. I’m not sure if it’s the sign of a spoiled yuppy basking in plausible deniability (I didn’t see the handicapped symbol, so that means I can park there today) or if it’s genuine gnorance (what handicapped symbol?). Feh, whatever.