Saturday, January 24, 2009

Crack Pipe

Today I repaired the pipe that froze last weekend. I decided it would be easier to go ahead and do the job myself rather than try to schedule a time for a plumber to come by.

After a quick trip to HD for supplies (solder, flux, 1/2" copper pipe caps, pipe cutter), I came home and learned a new trade. All my plumbing work in the past has been limited to PVC. Now I can included sweating copper pipe on my resume. I am currently looking to take on an apprentice.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

This evening I invented the instant play feature for Netflix on TiVo. OK, maybe I didn't invent it but I did discover it. OK, maybe discover is a strong overstatement. But I did setup it up. Well that is not exactly true either. G' punched the code into the web browser to activate the feature. But I did pick the first thing we watched on the Tivo via the instant play feature at Netflix. Well technically we didn't watch all of it, but we did watch the first ten minutes before the kids interrupted the show. OK, maybe it wasn't exactly ten minutes, but you can't prove it can you!

We ended up watching Psych on the Tivo instead.

The instant play feature is pretty cool. Check it out.

Monday, January 19, 2009


School was out today so I had no place to be. Gotta love the extra holidays. I spent some time preparing for the school week but mostly I spent the day hooking up a new dual tuner Tivo and doing more cleanup work in the garage.

Our old Tivo was purchased in February of 2003 I believe. Yesterday it started making a horrible screeching sound. I believe one of the hard drives was ready to go. I unplugged it last night (to silence it) and today when I plugged it back in, it just didn't work. Unfortunately I had just recorded about 35 hours of Barrett-Jackson. I guess I missed it this year.

In the garage, I plugged a few holes in the ceiling with insulation and got the heater back online. The drip pan in the HVAC unit was full of water. There is a float switch in the pan which disables the unit when water is present. I vacuumed the water out of the pan and then turned the thermostat up to 50 and set the fan to on. Hopefully the constant flow of air will help dry the walls and stairs. Someone needs to change the air filter!

I also spent some time drying the grade-8 bolts that managed to get completely submerged in water this weekend. After drying them with a heat gun I packaged them in sandwich bags and labeled the bags. They are ready to go when I get another chance to work on the GMC. Drying washers/nuts/bolts with a heat gun is a zen-like experience.

And speaking of weather (someone did mention weather didn't they?), shortly after lunch some white stuff started falling from the sky. At first it looked like snow, then ice, and finally snow again. I made the little people come outside for a few minutes so they could look at a crystal-like shape of a few snowflakes. They were not impressed.

It is almost tax time. Yippee.
It's Raining in the Garage

As the garage door opened on Sunday morning, I noticed something was wrong. It was raining in the garage.

After twisting the water cut-off value, I went into the garage to investigate. The entire place was a mess. A large part of the ceiling had collapsed over my '72 GMC and the workbench next to it. Everything on the bench was soaked. Across the room, water was rolling down the face of the cabinets that I had recently built onto another workbench below them. Many tools were lying in the torrent of water. Water was close to an 1" deep on the floor at the lowest spot in the garage.

The last few days have been really cold. I had heard this was the coldest winter we have had in 6 years. I spent several hours in the shop on Saturday just generally cleaning up. (And I finally got around to putting door handles on the cabinets as well as touching up the paint) The clean up effort was in vain, the place was a mess.

I spent most of Sunday afternoon dragging stuff out of the garage, and sweeping and vacuuming up water. After removing most of the water, I setup a box fan to assist in drying out the garage. (I took several photos before the cleanup effort began for the insurance company. )

It appears that a copper pipe in the unfinished upstairs area had frozen. The pipe has about a one inch split that runs lengthwise. After splitting, water sprayed upward. Some water went down the stairwell but it appears most ran across the floor and down into an A/C vent. The duct-work filled with water and the ceiling collapsed under the weight. When the ceiling collapsed, the duct was ripped in half above the ceiling. At this point water was running across the top side of the ceiling and downs the walls.

Upstairs, most of my hardwood supply got wet. I store the wood standing upright to save space. The bottom end of every board has soaked up water. About six to nine inches of each board is swollen. The boards will not dry back evenly. Hard wood is fairly expensive and my stash is all wet. This discovery made me sad.

Back down stairs, I noticed that my planer and chop saw had been subjected to the flow of water as well. I also had a soggy box of truck parts. On the truck, the new bolts had already started rusting. This was frustrating. For about three years now I have been working on the truck - taking it apart, sandblasting the parts to remove all rust, painting them, and putting it back together. It was discouraging to see some rust forming on the truck I had worked so hard to remove it from. I realize the truck would have eventually gotten wet, but my plan was to finish it first.

While cleaning out the garage, I was glad I had sold the 1925 Chevrolet. The ceiling caved in right above where the truck was normally parked. I am not sure that truck would have ever recovered from that much water.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Precision Machines

I am taking an evening adult education class at the local vocational technology school. The class started this evening and meets for fifteen weeks.

The class I chose this semester is Precision Machines. In this class I will learn how to operate and effectively use a milling machine, metal lathe, metal shaper, and possibly a few more. These are skills I thought might be useful, interesting, or entertaining.

The first class met tonight. We covered the usual - safety first, followed by a brief tour of all the machinery as well as a description of what they can do.

One can never have to many mad skillz!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

I started my teaching internship this week. Monday was orientation, Tuesday was the first class of the semester, and the rest of the week involves ARI training (strategies for incorporating content literacy in the classroom.)

The internship involves 75 days in the classroom. I have to teach at least 20 of the 75. Ten must be consecutive. I will be teaching Algebra II and Pre-Calculus during my internship.

The first day in the classroom went very well. I believe this will be a very positive experience and I hope to learn a lot. I just hope to not have to learn a lot the hard way.
Happy New Year and Other un-related Superflous Foo-Foo

On Tuesday December 30, we boarded a plane headed for Disney World. This time we stayed at Riverside in Port Orleans. I returned home on Sunday January January 4. The rest of the family stayed until Monday. (I had a school obligation on Monday.)

We managed to shut down almost park every night. Most nights at least one of the parks stayed open until midnight. That generally got us back to the room by 1 AM. The first night we were there, the Magic Kingdom was open until 3 AM. We split the scene around 2 AM.

If you can handle it, late night at the parks is a good idea. We generally managed to ride more rides in the last two hours than we had all day long due to the decreased crowds. A good plan is to head out early, return the room for an afternoon rest and then back at the park for the evening and late night hours.

While there I rode the Tower of Terror 5 times (in one night), Expedition Everest 13 times (over two days). Thunder Mountain seven times (over two days) , Spash Mountain twice, and Space Mountain twice. I also rode the train in two parks (yippee!), Pirates of the Caribbean (no wait), and many many more. We only rode Spaceship Earth once this trip. My favorite show was again Mickey's Philharmagic in the Magic Kingdom.

I got to see three complete fireworks shows (Epcot/Magic Kingdom/Epcot), the other nights we missed them while queued up for roller coasters.

My favorite Dining experiences this trip were Le Cellar (Canadian section of Epcot), Coral Reef (Epcot), and the BoatWright (Riverside at Port Orleans). I missed the trip to Ohonua (in the Polynesian Resort) because I returned home early, but it was fantastic the last time we were there. We also dined at the Mexican restaurant whose name I can't recall (Mexican section of Epcot) and The Wave (Contemporary Resort). The last two were good, but I would be willing to try something else next time.

January at Disney World provides primo weather. Sunny and 70 for the entire trip. Excellente!

Just like our last trip to Disney World (January 2007), I managed to lose track of what day of the week it was on this trip. That is the true sign of a great vacation.