Archive for December, 2005

Garage doors, volume 1

Posted by Nate in Day to Day, Home Improvements.
Tuesday, December 6th, 2005 at 9:39 pm

Score: Doors 2, Duo Team 1.

Our garage doors hate winter. (I wonder why?) The main car door has started to jump its tracks – no real surprise as the garage is getting old and the cold / heat has started greatly influencing its shape. The tracks seem to have spread and the door just can’t quite meet the new width. But beyond that, even when I’m manually holding the jumped section in place, it will often act like it’s hit something and reverse itself at about 1′ from closing. And our in-car remotes won’t work again until it’s fully re-opened, a full 10 seconds at least. Worse than that, it seems to be totally beyond help from the car remotes, you have to get out into the garage where you can use the wall-mounted control to stop it as soon as it reverses, un-reverse it, and continue (if you’re lucky and it worked) on your merry way. This can slow down your morning by a whole 2 or 3 minutes. I know. Agony.

And the people door has started acting up too – the deadbolt no longer fits into its slot. For a while we could force it and get by with some aggresive key work, but this morning saw the end of those shenanigans. The deadbolt refused to work, we were late, and finally had to turn the knob lock and call it good.

Obviously, something had to be done.

So after some drinks at Herkimer with the Caveman, I came home and decided a little work with the dremel was needed to expand the metal slot for the deadbolt – 5 minutes work, tops. So I changed the bit to a good metal cutting one, headed out, and sure enough the lock was working in no time. Happy with my work, I stepped outside for one more test – what the… this handle should be turning… no problem, I’ll just use the remote to open the door… wait, the remotes are in our cars… which are in the garage… which is now totally securely locked!!!

So what followed was the second consecutive night of the comedic stylings of Nate in a panic – "let’s try this old garage door opener, I think it might work." "Wait, it needs batteries!" "They’re dead and a crazy size, no go, but I can stack some AAs together!" "Ok, that’s the right voltage, why isn’t this working?" "Crap!" "Karen, can you find the code for the (broken) keypad?" "Ok, let’s try it." "That battery’s dead too??" "Ok, I’ll hold this 9V battery together with these two AAs." "Hey, it’s lighting up! Enter the code using these keys to scrape the missing terminals!" "Shit, that code’s too many digits, must be a part number scratched in a margin!" "Ok, one more try with the old remote!" "Crap!" "Karen, want to walk Bruno while I try some percussive maintenance on the door?"

In the end it didn’t even take much. I’ll leave out the details so all the criminals reading this blog won’t know how to break into our garage (although now that the deadbolt’s working, the point is moot. Solid, baby, solid.), but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. We’re in and all seems well, but… damn, where are the backup plans when you need them? Even now, I can tell I’m not going to make a backup plan. "Self, that won’t happen again," I’m saying. Perfect.

Stay tuned for more fun when I tackle the car door. You know you can’t wait.

Happy St. Nicholas’ Day!

Posted by Nate in Holidays/Birthdays/Etc.
Tuesday, December 6th, 2005 at 10:24 am

Thanks to a well-timed call from Rick last night I was able to sneak out before Karen got home from class and get some emergency St. Nick’s day supplies… The time constraints – pizza dough rising, Karen coming home soon – and Bruno’s need for attention quickly made the night into a comedy of errors: I ran downstairs with the goodies intent on wrapping some of them, but of course all the available surfaces were full of crap or homebrew equipment. So I started working on the washer, setting the rest on the dryer, and within a minute SMASH went a glass container of pistachios. Bruno was immediately curious and I about exploded with a big "Bruno, NO!" trying to keep him away before he sliced his little paws to pieces. Got him upstairs, swept up the glass, wrapped some pieces, turned to pick something else up and SMASH went several precariously stacked beer bottles I’d been drying. Holy. Crap. Decided to abort the mission until more favorable conditions arose, so I wasn’t able to do the midnight stocking fill…

Finally this morning while Karen took Bruno for a walk I was able to finish the wrapping and stocking prep. I’d just blown the surprise by accident so the only surprise left was to hide the stockings. Bruno found his in no time, and quickly destroyed his now-ex-favorite squeaky toy. I wish Kong made squeaky toys, anyone know? Then Karen found mine and finally hers, and St. Nick’s day was a roaring success! Thanks for the warning, Rick!

To make this post a bit more visually interesting, here’s a really cool item we saw on Saturday but couldn’t document at the time – and I didn’t find out what it was until yesterday: light pillars. Apparently in the right conditions ice crystals can align in the sky in such a way that urban lights are reflected upwards in a really amazing pillar of light. It was incredible to see, and there are some great shots at that link. Check it out (click the slideshow link for more).

Color switcheroo

Posted by Karen in The Blog.
Monday, December 5th, 2005 at 10:20 pm

Our regular readers may have noticed the color change in our posts. Nate is the only one with format-changing capabilities on this here blog (so much for the "Duo" in "Duo Team". Although I guess he should get to be boss of something besides the basement), and for some crazy reason he initially made my posts blue, his posts red, when I’m always red. I mean what was he thinking? But enough concentrated whining on my part and the situation has finally been rectified. Phew. "First you ask to be red, knowing I’m always red." Name that movie. Hint:

Blog voyeurism

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, School.
Monday, December 5th, 2005 at 9:55 am

My Qualitative Research class takes place in a computer lab, and our instructor requested on the first day that we not check our email or surf the web during class because it’s distracting. I quickly got her point. Every class, the girl sitting next to me is constantly flipping between her email, her blog, all of her friends’ blogs, and an instant messenger thingy. At first I thought she was being disrespectful to ignore the instructor’s request. But I’ve since decided that it’s not that at all. Now I believe that Internet Girl has tied her life to the web in so many ways that she is simply incapable of sitting in front of a computer screen without being logged in to her various forms of expression and communication with the world outside that classroom. I must admit that I myself have had days when I’ve had deadlines looming, the work is nowhere near done, and yet I still somehow can’t get myself to close my email. I just have to see any new messages the instant they arrive in my Inbox.

But Internet Girl takes it to a new level. The way she navigates quickly between writing an email, sending an instant message, and reading blog entries, and still manages to fully participate in the class discussion, well I can’t help but stand in a little bit of awe. But my instructor was right, it is very distracting and so I also can’t help but look at what she’s doing! I sit a little off to the side of the room, so in order for me to look at the instructor, Internet Girl’s computer screen is directly in my line of vision. So I catch little pieces – friends’ difficulties with career decisions, relationship issues, funny stories about trying to give her cat medicine, bits about last weekend’s night out that got a little too rowdy… Part of me feels a little voyeuristic about this, or like I’m violating her privacy, but she’s really not giving me any choice! She’s putting her life right in front of my face!

So then I had caught all of these little pieces of stories, but not any story in its entirety, either because I catch myself and make myself look away, or because she flips from one to another at warp speed. So of course I went home from class and found her blog and read it. She has like a whole blog world, it’s incredible! There is a list a mile long of links to all of her friends’ blogs and each of her entries has like 20 comments from these friends! So this must be what they all do too, sitting in class or at work writing entries every day, checking up on everyone elses, commenting. It’s interesting, because in a way they’ve created a pretty big responsibility for themselves, but at the same time I can’t help but think that they must know each other so much better than most friends since they share so many of their experiences with each other.

So I’ve started to feel a little weird siting next to her in class. Like I know all of this stuff about her life and yet we’d never said more than a few words to each other. And then. Last week, we struck up a conversation and talked for quite a while. It was all I could do to not just blurt out "I’ve read your blog!" But I restrained myself, and the conversation continued. Bruno came up, as he tends to do in my conversations, and she wanted to see a picture. Without thinking I went to our blog to show her the pictures of his birthday party. She made a comment about uploading pictures to Blogger, and I remembered that her blog is also on Blogger. I don’t think she caught the title of our blog, but what if she did? What if she has been reading all about my life now? What if she’s reading this entry about her right now?!?