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sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets

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(no subject) [Jan. 17th, 2019|06:08 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
This afternoon I went to the funeral of my friend John Beach, who was my dad's age. He considered my dad his best friend, and I spent a huge amount of time with his kids.
Things that are interesting about John Beach:
At one time he had more LEGO bricks than anyone else in the United States, before or probably since.
He married his sister.
He and my dad got in a bike race from San Diego, California, to Saint Augustine, Florida.

John moved to Colorado to be the plant manager for Sampsonite, the company best known for making luggage in the 1960's. He was an expert at plastic injection molding, and streamlined operations at their plant so much they were idle half the time, so he somehow convinced LEGO to set up a franchise operation where they'd make LEGO bricks at a plant in rural Colorado, and he made millions of bricks. He brought home floor sweepings, and his kids had so many bricks they could make model houses big enough to crawl into.
His first wife, Barb, was almost like my aunt: she came over a lot and I spent a lot of time at their house. She was tiny and delicate and funny. They were out riding a tandem bicycle and had an accident, and she fell and broke her wrist and ankle, so she couldn't use crutches but was stuck in a wheelchair. I remember pushing her around when I was in my early teens, and brushing her hair because she was not dextrous with her left arm.
She retired, and two weeks later started coughing uncontrollably, and they found out she had cancer metastasized through her whole body. She died maybe five weeks later.
When John was in his late teens, his mother died, and his father married a woman who had a bunch of teenage kids, and they all became friends, several ended up going to college together, and they spent lots of time together as adults. After Barbara died, he was helping one of his sisters-by-marriage with taxes and stuff, and they moved in together, and married. He was proud of having married his sister.
About ten years later, she had a massive stroke while driving, and died immediately, and that shook him. He decided he needed to start doing more things sooner, because he might just drop dead or be full of cancer. So he decided to ride across the US on his bike. He immediately called up Dad and asked if Dad wanted to go. But it was an expensive supported ride, and besides they were only doing 80 miles a day. Every day. For three months. Dad was all I want to do this on the cheap and I want to do 140 miles a day. Every day. For two months. (My dad was nuts.)
So he gave John a month head start, and they reconvened in Louisiana and kinda rode the rest of it together.

I liked that instead of something gross like an open casket, instead, on the dais, they had all his bicycles, some vintage 1971 LEGO bricks, and some cross country skis.

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Today, so far [Jan. 17th, 2019|12:10 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I got in the new-to-me car and drove half a block and the oil light came on. Sure enough, it's out of oil. It got a refill/oil change two weeks ago. Oil is not leaking out the bottom, so there's an internal seal that's failed, likely a head gasket.
I took the old car over to the DMV to deal with my expired license. The website says if your license is expired you need to bring alternate ID and an ophthalmologist report on your eyes. They were all "oh, you don't need any of that." From the time I walked in to the time I walked out with a new license was 8 minutes. However, they couldn't do registration, just licenses. So I went to DMV 2, who do new registrations. That one took ten minutes, and my new oil-sucking car was registered.
So then I drove the old car to the emissions testing facility because a passing emissions test is required to sell it. Usually it takes ten minutes. My car took 50 minutes. That's because it failed every single test and they kept retesting it to see if they could get it to pass.
Which totally overlapped my dentist appointment, so I had to reschedule that.
Now I'm off to a funeral of a friend (father of childhood friends) who died of Parkinson's.
Oh, on coming back home I found Monty had eaten one of [personal profile] threemeninaboat's hat, so I yelled and now she's hiding.
and it's only noon.

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(no subject) [Jan. 13th, 2019|09:57 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I am still coughing like I have tuberculosis, but have less (not zero) fever.
My manager is still behaving in a manner that has coworkers texting me at 10PM saying "this is stupid and I'm unhappy with this job."
As a result, I don't have a lot of uplifting stuff to say.
I did go for a bike ride on Thursday. I coughed more while riding, but less afterwards.

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(no subject) [Jan. 6th, 2019|08:58 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I dreamed I was helping my parents clean out their basement and found an entire room, a spare garage, I didn't know they had, and found they had a Cessna 206 sitting in the garage. They were all "oh, yeah, we forgot about that. We're going to get rid of it because we never use it" and I was all AAAAAAAAAIEEEEEE!
Then I dreamed a well-known-on-another-social-network person, who has never interacted with me at all, started calling me up because she heard I could fix cracked screens on expensive cellphones and she was desperate to get hers fixed, and I was all I totally cannot do that.
Both of which are improvements on the fever dreams that preceded them.

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(no subject) [Jan. 4th, 2019|06:47 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I went back to work today.
At about 14:00 I came to the conclusion that I really only had about 6 hours of work in me for the day.
But I did get a bunch of stuff done. I scared all my coworkers with my coughing, for one. That was nice: people didn't ask me a lot of questions and generally stayed away.
That gave me uninterrupted time that I needed to write the beginnings of a graphical analysis package for waveforms I'm acquiring off the oscilloscope. We already have similar packages, but they don't do what I need, a mixed-signal problem where I have to interpret serial digital data and use that to decide where to look at analog waveform features.
It's complicated, and probably a big chunk of why I only had six hours of work in me today. I'd already written the outline of it last night, but getting it working with actual data was tricky.

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(no subject) [Jan. 2nd, 2019|09:51 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
Update two:
I put my clothes away, hauled a fist-sized glob of hairy solids out of the shower drain, and am about done.
BUT! The mechanic called about my car.
All the previous cars I've worked on, the oil light on the dash is an oil pressure light. If the engine is on and the pressure is low, the light's on.
On this newer model of subaru, the oil light is not an oil pressure light. It's an oil system alarm light. So if the pressure goes low, even if it is refilled, the light stays on. If the oil level is too high, the light turns on. If the system thinks you're in need of replacing the oil filter, the oil light turns on. And it stays on until you get into the communication bus and clear the alarm.
Which is good to know.
This doesn't answer why the car was low enough on oil to trigger the original fault. They don't see any reason for it to lose oil. So, now that it's full, I have to rigorously check the oil level and characterize loss rate, which I can do.
I think I'm going to buy one of those obdII-bluetooth modules so I can separately monitor the oil pressure.

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(no subject) [Jan. 2nd, 2019|08:49 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I got up at a reasonable time, intending to actually do stuff rather than just lie in bed feeling awful.
I got about half of one stuff done, and am back to lying in bed feeling awful.
But hey: progress.
Today my aspirations are to clean the hair clots out of the bathroom sink and shower drains, put all my clothes away, and if I'm really full of energy, make it two blocks to the grocery to get stuff to make dinner.
This was a lousy vacation.

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(no subject) [Dec. 30th, 2018|04:26 pm]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I walked into the urgent care, prepared for xrays. They took some swabs first, and said "you might have pneumonia, you are somewhat likely to have bronchitis, but what you definitely have is a bad head cold and flu and asthma triggered by both of those." The PA said they don't want to xray unnecessarily, so she sent me home with some tamiflu and instructions to rest as much as possible and come back if I don't improve markedly in two days or if my breathing gets worse.
When I went in my fingernails were all blue and my blood oxygen level was 88%. They stuck a second pulse oximeter on me because they didn't believe the numbers at first. But if I cough hard and then breathe deeply it gets back up into acceptable ranges.

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(no subject) [Dec. 30th, 2018|09:03 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I think my first project of the day is to go to an urgent care clinic and get tested for pneumonia. Whee!

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(no subject) [Dec. 29th, 2018|10:39 am]
sprockets, sockets, grommets & gaskets
I caught a cold several days ago, and for two or three days it was just sniffling and a sore throat, and it felt like I was getting better.
Thursday night I went to bed and at about midnight, I got so much worse, and in a way I never have before: my lungs started filling with junk. It was like a slow asthma attack. I felt like I was breathing through a garden hose, and had to actively struggle to breathe. After a few minutes I'd start hearing rattling noises and after about ten minutes my breathing sounded like an old man slurping coffee, and then I'd cough explosively and everything would be mostly okay again. That's not a way to get a good night's sleep. At some point I got up with the idea of finding some antihistamines and found that I couldn't walk straight and everything I picked up, I dropped.
Soooo I stayed home from work yesterday and slept the entire day, as best I could.
But whatever that was, it appears to have finished, so now I'm upright again, I can walk and if I'm careful I can turn my head without falling over.
At some point I got an IR thermometer, mostly for cooking. It said my temperature was 102-104, and pretty consistently 103. I may have talked about this before, but that does weird things to my brain. I'm curious what the rest of you experience in your brains. When I'm not talking (and oftentimes even when I am) I am constantly thinking a narrative: "the word for now in japanese is ima but the word for today is kyoo. I should get a quote on powder coating the risers for the deck railing project. Maybe the problem with the new silicon at work is that the voltage ripple is too low for the comparator to trigger." That kind of thing. Yesterday, that narrative went more like: "parachute nosecone blergh lego glasses why temperature book" and it was difficult for me to form good sentences. The nouns went all weird and wriggly.
But today I'm up and building nice long complex sentences so I think I'm going to be okay.

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