Do-Not-Want Cats

Chilled Out -- Not In A Good Way

The furnace quit on us last night. We called our plumbing/heating contractor, but (not surprisingly) they're booked with truly dire emergency cases through Monday.

The good news is that it seems to be working now (the inside temp was below 60 a few hours ago, according to starmalachite; it's now up to 62). Based on the pattern I observed last night (the pilot igniter came on, the gas jets lit for about 10 seconds, the gas jets quit, about 15 seconds later the pilot igniter came on again, lather-rinse-repeat, accompanied by occasional sounds suggesting strained air circulation), my guess is that the snow was blocking an outlet vent, triggering the safeties to shut off the burner when the exhaust wasn't escaping properly. If so, the problem may have solved itself when enough warm air got through to melt the blockage. I'll be monitoring the situation for now.
  • Current Mood
    cold cold
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Fool's Mate

Sleeve Standardization Fail

Between a few of my games showing a bit of card wear, and the fact that we've been meeting Friday nights at Fuddruckers, I decided that it was probably a good idea to sleeve the cards in my various games as much as possible.

There were two basic options for sleeves that actually fit standard playing-card size cards (rather than the somewhat larger sleeves designed for the Magic: the Gathering card size). The Mayday Games version is 40 microns; the Fantasy Flight Games version is 100 microns. Normally, I'd prefer the heavier one, except for games with a huge number of cards (the deck gets impractically thick, and of course the thicker and more durable sleeves are priced accordingly). There was one catch, though -- for some reason, the Fantasy Flight sleeves are actually a couple millimeters larger than the nominal size. It's not a critical problem, but it's an annoying one, because it's the one thing that demotes a near-perfect product to a merely-acceptable one.

I'll use up the FFG ones I got for testing purposes, but I don't think I'll get any more unless they decide to make them in the proper size.
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    confused confused
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Vir Kitten In Shower

Love Me Love Me Love Me I'm Your Cat

Vir has gotten extra-clingy after we left to visit relatives over Christmas, then were at a New Year's party, then for Brunswick Games Day, and then for GAFilk. Returning to the routine of going to work after vacation also convinced him that he needs attention right now.

Heidi has been taking it more in stride, simply glaring disapprovingly when she notices the signs that the humans are leaving again.
  • Current Mood
    amused amused
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Vir On Green Blanket

Too Smart For His Own Good

Among Christmas presents we're in the process of wrapping up are a few bottled of spices from Auntie Arwen. Ever since he caught sight of the bottles, Vir has been underfoot yammering -- evidently, he recognized the bottles as the same kind his catnip comes in.

Alas, he's doomed to disappointment for now.
Ranting (Ansom)


Bring me the head of the guy who designed a snow shovel with a blade made of plastic that gets brittle in the cold....

Addendum: A jury-rigged repair with lots of Gorilla Tape held the blade together long enough to get the job done, but I think we'll want a new shovel before the next snowstorm. After I finished, one of the neighbors came through with a snowblower (he cleared all the sidewalks on both sides of the cul-de-sac, so I assume it's helpfulness rather than an implicit criticism).
  • Current Mood
    grumpy grumpy
War Room, Can't Fight In Here

Home Safe

We had a very interesting drive (no real close calls, fortunately) home from Friday night gaming as the snowstorm (now projected to be somewhere around 2 feet and among the top-ten recorded winter storms) began. Now, we're set to hunker down at home for the next few days.

I hope everybody else in the area is safe.

PS on the new-computer stuff: I removed and started to gradually reinstall the Firefox extensions and turned off auto-updates (in case that's causing a conflict with the antivirus or the "OMG THIS CODE WANTS TO CHANGE SOMETHING" user notifications); so far the lock-up problem hasn't recurred even under the conditions (start Firefox after the computer's been inactive for a few hours) that triggered it before. So far, so good.
XKCD (Keyboard Guy), Keyboard Guy (XKCD)

New Desktop -- Firefox Goes Down In Flames

So far, the shift to the new desktop is going well, except that it locked up twice when I started Firefox first thing in the morning. I suspect that the underlying problem was that Windows Easy Transfer directly ported all the plugins that had been installed under XP straight into the 64-bit Win7 program (they all automagically showed up in the new Firefox install, just like my bookmarks), and some of them either needed to be properly installed in Win7 or are just incompatible. I've scrubbed and reinstalled Firefox and plugins to see if that fixes it. Anybody else know of a possible alternative fix if that doesn't solve the problem?

On the more positive side, I was able to transfer all my (and starmalachite's) archived e-mail with MozBackup.

XKCD (Keyboard Guy), Keyboard Guy (XKCD)

New Computer Teals (Not Really Blues)

So far, so good. Almost everything has transferred to the new machine, except my old Thunderbird e-mail boxes. I'll need to fire up the old machine long enough to recover those, deauthorize iTunes, and steam-clean it to the original factory state.

I've been slogging through the process of installing my software on the new box. Mostly that's just a matter of going through the motions, except that the Nero help files give "Access Denied" errors when I try to install them (they were a separate download because, as the popup said, it reduces the download file size. Yeah, I wouldn't have bothered if the install file had been a bloated 360 MB instead of a nice svelte 355...).
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Ranting (Ansom)

What Can Brown Do For You? Not Much....

I spent this year's bonus on a new laptop and a new desktop. Both were scheduled to arrive yesterday.

The laptop was delivered (by FedEx) without incident. The desktop... not so much.

The first indication of a problem was that when I did a check of the UPS tracking page, it claimed that a delivery attempt had been made. I called starmalachite (who had gotten the FedEx package earlier, and was on the alert for the arrival of the other one) to see if something was wrong at home. Everything was normal -- but there had been no doorbell ring or knock (the bell had rung for the earlier delivery, and she re-confirmed that it was working), and there was no delivery-attempt notice on the door.

I called UPS to find out what the problem was. They insisted that a delivery attempt had been made, the lack of note notwithstanding. The kicker: when starmalachite left the house that evening, there was a UPS failed-delivery note on the door (much too prominently for her to have simply overlooked it earlier). I can only assume that my complaint was relayed to the driver, who directed his efforts to ass-covering (i.e. putting up the note) rather than customer service (i.e. knocking/ringing at the door to deliver the pacakge while he was MAKING ANOTHER(?) STOP THERE ANYWAY).

Allegedly, UPS is making another delivery attempt today... but the latest info as of 1:15 PM still shows nothing later than yesterday's "failed delivery attempt". We'll see....
Hoffa-Livingston, Message Hat

Broadband Options

Our Speakeasy DSL line has started flaking out on a daily basis after being fairly solid for years. The techs think that it's probably our DSL box failing (it's about ten years old) and are overnight-shipping a new one. If this doesn't fix the problem, they don't know what will -- our line is a bit longer than they can really guarantee, though it's been good enough to provide 1.5M/384 speeds (and still does on those occasions when it works at all, which makes me optimistic that the replacement will work).

That said, it's time to look at fallback plans. (And, ultimately, we may want to move to a service that will support higher speeds in any case, but I'd prefer to do so in my own time.) The two main alternative options seem to be Verizon FIOS and Cox cable internet; does anybody have any rants or raves for those services?

Thanks for any useful tips.

ADDENDUM Tuesday Evening: The new DSL box was waiting at home. I installed it; after an initial failure it worked when I pulled and re-planted the phone and ethernet lines. So far, so good, but given that the problem was an intermittent one it'll be a while before I know whether replacing the box is going to make a difference.
  • Current Mood
    annoyed annoyed
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