Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How hard can it be to move a washer and dryer?

I swear I read that previous version over once before posting it.  I read it again and realized it wasn't remotely english. So here is an edited version.


I have lived in the same apartment for the last five years. It's a nice place, or at least it was until Jobu and I moved in.  He likes to eat the carpet. The place comes with the hookups for a washer and dryer. I always wanted to get a set. One main obstacle stood in my way. I don't like spending money on anything that isn't electronic and won't be obsolete in a few months. Almost all my furniture I've acquired for free. It might be possible with new fancy appliances to categorize them as electronics, but I aint buying that argument.

Every once in a while I would look for a pair.  I remember finding the cheapest set I could and heading out to best buy. I was willing to part with the $350.   When I got there I was informed that that was the price for just the washer. It was 700 for the set.  Heck no.  I aint paying that. So every two to three weeks I load up the car and head to the laundromat.

I would keep my ear open in hopes of hearing about a cheap or free used set. A friend of mine is in the process of moving and is getting rid of a lot of his stuff. He asked me if I wanted any of the stuff he wasn't moving to the new house. I told him what I could really use was a washer and dryer. What do you know, he had a brand new set at the new house and was willing to give me his old ones.

First I needed to find a vehicle that could haul the things. I asked around and got a couple of maybes.  The day of the great haul a buddy of mine, we'll call him D, said he couldn't get the truck. His brother had taken the key and wandered off, but he had something better.

He showed up at my place driving a full size van. This van is special. It has a power lift for getting a wheelchair in and out. I climbed in and we headed off.  I looked over at him and ask, "Do you know where A lives?"

"Nope," he shook his head.

Luckily we live in the days of text messaging and I got A's address.

We are greeted at the hose by A and a crew that is helping him move.  He lead us into the basement. I tried to hide my shock and horror when I gaze upon my new free washer and dryer.  He has clearly had them the entire twenty years he has lived in that house.  They are old and stained.  I can't complain though.  Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

D and I managed to lug them out of the basement.  After a struggle we got them into the van. At this point we realized it would be way easier to get them up the stairs if we had an appliance dolly.  A call or two later and off we went to pick up the dolly and then headed to my place.

We got the washer out and strapped to the dolly.  I have never had so  much trouble in my life going up sixteen steps.  And oh yes, I now know exactly how many steps make up my stairs. At each step I pulled from the top. My buddy pushed from the bottom. In rhythm, I would squat down and push with my legs while yanking on the handles.  I started counting the steps after the very first one.  I called them out like each time we manage one was a great victory.  After we dragged it into the apartment we had to stop for at least ten minutes just to catch our breath.  The dryer is lighter than the washer and we had an easier time of it.

At this point a realization hit me.  These appliances had spent over twenty years in the house of a heavy smoker.  They smelled of smoke and were covered in a brownish yellow layer.  With the help of oven cleaner we were able to clean off most of the smoke stains.

We maneuvered the washer and dryer into the utility room and I started setting them up.  I quickly noticed a problem.  They both fit, but the exhaust hole for the dryer isn't in the wall. It is in the middle of the floor and also has no way to clamp the hose onto it.  It appears as if the whole assembly has been smashed into the floor.  After more sweating and some cussing I manage to get the hose on the dryer and I just jam it into the hole in the floor and seal it with duct tape.  Hey, it is called duct tape I hope it can hold a duct together.  The washer hooked up easily but because of the exhaust hole I couldn't push it all the way back against the wall.  So it sticks out a few inches and I can't close the door anymore.

I am glad to report that they both work fine. In fact I am doing a load of laundry while I write this.  As for me, I hurt all over.



Sunday, July 21, 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Photo[S] of the day: Wild Flowers

Some really nice wild flowers are blooming near my apartment.  I wanted to get some good pictures of them. One day I was just leaving for somewhere.  A had ten minutes to get someplace that was 15 minutes away.  I noticed the light was perfect.  I debated for about a minute if I should run back inside and get my camera but I decided I could just get the pictures the next day.  Of course the next day is overcast.  I took the pictures anyway.  Click for bigger size.


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Friday, July 12, 2013

Another blast from the ancient past. My short review of Napoleon Dynamite

 When this first appeared on my blog back in 2005 it had the title

WORST MOVIE EVER!!!!!  so you kinda know what you are about to get.

Trust me on this one NEVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER EVER IN ANY WAY AT ANY TIME watch a minute of this movie. Your head will explode by the massive amount of suck. Napoleon Dynamite is now the #1 bad movie I have seen. I started to experience physical pain after the first ten minutes. I managed twenty before I turned it off. I didn't realize something could be so bad it actually would become evil. For the good of mankind I charge all good people everywhere to find every copy of this movie and destroy. It's so bad it's dangerous and could destroy the very fabric of civilization. I give it a zero, I award it no points, my God have mercy on its soul.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

How taking care of my Dad saved my vacation

I had a little vacation from work planned around July 4th. As my goal for this time, I wanted to relax, refocus, and recenter myself The first few days weren't a complete waste but things were not going well. I felt agitated and nervous.  The days seemed to be going to fast.  I had originally planned on going somewhere like a cabin for a personal retreat but for reasons was unable to do so.  And I knew the last two days of my vacation would be spent helping to take care of my Dad.

Do to his private nature I won't go into details, but my Dad suffers from a medical condition that leaves him basically bed ridden. So he requires the type of care consistent with that situation. I wouldn't be doing this alone.  A wonderful care giver, shout out to Laurie, who helps take care of him would be there. Perhaps that was what was making me nervous.  I did have a horrible nightmare of him falling all over the place and hurting himself.

I drove up to help out.  The oddest thing happened. A sense of calm and satisfaction grew in me.  I found myself become not more relaxed per say, but more present and centered.  These feelings have stayed with me since I left.

I don't know if only one thing or a combination led to this state of being. I didn't really have to do much.   My Dad doesn't do a lot of interaction right now. A lot of time was spent reading or watching tv. I also didn't spend much time on the internet.  For some sadistic reason I like to read things that make me angry.  The common phrase yelled at my browser is "Stop saying stupid things!".  But I know what I think really helped: the ability to show love to someone through simple physical care. It is a simple thing to wipe a chin or make sure his hair is combed, but these acts can express love and bring us together.  When I had to leave I told him I loved him and he said he loved me to. Many times in my life he has shown me he loves me through actions. I was able to do the same for once. 

Friday, July 05, 2013

Food Friday: Fried Rice

This is yet another on of my favorites that is easy, cheap, and versatile.  Fried rice makes a good base for almost anything.  Try it with chicken, fish, all sorts of veggies, or just eat it the way I do.  I prefer it plain with just some sriracha sauce. 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • bunch of green onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oil( I used canola oil )
  • soy sauce ( amount depend on how salty you like your fried rice )
  • about 1/2 cup of frozen veggies ( this time I used mixed vegetables )

Begin cooking the rice according to the instructions.  For me that meant getting two cups of water to a boil then adding the cup of rice.  I then covered the pot, turned the heat down, and let the rice simmer for twenty minutes.

With about five minutes left to go for the rice, I chop up the green onions and whisk the eggs.  I don't go all the way to a pure yellow color like I would for an omelet.  I like to leave some white in the mix. But to each their own.

Now you need a big pan.  I don't know how big of a pan I used(pic below). It also helps to have a pan you don't care about, because clean up can be a chore. Get the pan hot and add some of the oil to coat.  Then dump in the eggs and I like to add the onions to try and cut the flavor a little.  Stir the mixture constantly and once cooked place on a plate.

At this point the rice should be done. Put the rest of the oil in the pan and then dump in the rice.  Using a spatula of some kind flatten out and evenly distribute the rice.  Now comes the soy sauce. You need to be careful here.  Add too much soy sauce and the mix becomes an over salty inedible mess. So start out using less than you think you need.  You can always add more but not take extra away.


After a couple of minutes start turning the rice over and packing it down again. This get as much of the rice to fry as possible.  A few minutes in a add the eggs, onions, and the frozen veggies.   Keep turning and cooking for around eight minutes total. If I go over ten minutes I tend to get burned bits.

Viola.  I took a picture of the final product but it was all blurry, Sorry.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Blog archeology 1: blogging epochs


I sometimes think of myself as a blog archeologist. As I’ve mentioned before I got into blogging fairly early. 2003 wasn’t the birth of blogging but it was early days. Since then I’ve been far more of a blog reader than a writer. Anybody who follows any of my blogs can attest to that.
Back in the olden days I followed a blog. The person eventually moved overseas and I lost touch and stopped reading their blog. About two years ago I rediscovered them on the internet. They had been blogging the entire time. They had changed platforms a couple of times but all the posts in all three blogging platforms still existed. When I realized they had a different spouse I knew I had missed plenty. So I went back and read from where I had left them to the present. I read about moves and unemployment, children being born, sickness, a divorce and a remarriage.
This caused my rekindled love for the personal blog. Not only did I start following a lot of blogs again, but I have been reading them from their beginning. I’ve only done this with a handful of blogs at this point but it has been fun and enlightening.

1. The ancient past (1999-2003)

Not much remains of this ancient period.  Many of the blogs no longer exist and many of the blogging platforms have disappeared.  But I have found a few blogs started in this period that are still running or up.  Blogging was a much simpler affair back then.  Rarely were pictures involved and most posts where simple descriptions of the authors day. "I went for a run this morning.  Later I met Bob for lunch."  Posts where generally short much like facebook status updates.  You often find people during this period complaining about using dial-up or having to find internet cafes.  Note: 1999 was the year blogger was first made public.


2. The age of growth and innocence lost (2003 - 2007)

During this period personal blogging really took off.  Several solid platforms existed.  Wordpress was released in 2003.  Home internet starting becoming more common. Posts became longer though still several times a week.  Blogging meant not only writing your own blog but also, reading and commenting on blogs. A slew of communities began to be created. People of like interests would share links, comment, and support each other.

This period also saw the rise of the popular personal blogger.  People who would begin getting thousands of readers of their blogs.  This helped spur the end of the innocence in blogging in two ways. First, people became aware that blogs were not anonymous(even if they tried to be) and were public. One of the most famous cases of this was the story of petite anglais.  Her employer discovered her blog and fired her over contents. Several blogs completely disappear at this point. Their authors just seemed to not even take the chance of of being found out.  Heck at the time I would put up personal medical details without even a thought. Secondly, now that people had many readers, the possibility of profit entered the picture.  Bloggers started inking book deals, adding ads, and trying other ways to monetize their efforts.


3. Growth and Decline(2007 - 2010)

This new found money led to an influx of people looking to get on the train. People started creating blogs looking to capture certain SEO rich topics. Some bloggers just kept on trucking with what they had been writing before while many tried to tailor their writing style and topics to acquire as many readers as possible. Some where successful, many were not.

During the middle of this period we see the big rise of facebook and twitter into mainstream popularity.  We begin to see a corresponding decrease in blogland. You see a log of blogs dwindle to nothing.  They authors post less and less and then just stop. Sometime there is a final message but often the blog just waits there in hopes someday of being reborn. I think many of these people just went to facebook and twitter for quick life updates.  Why bother with the hassle of a blog post when you can just quickly fling something out on your smartphone.




4. Rebirth in the time of Facebook(2010 --)

Blogging has experienced a comeback in the last few years. Many people are creating blogs as a way to write long form to complement their other online activity. For many, their blog is the centerpiece of their social media presence.  On their blog they have widgets that connect you to their twitter stream, or pinterest activity. 


I will not vouch for the accuracy of anything I've said here.  I am not a social scientist studying blog culture, I am just some dude who reads blogs.