Friday, 13 December 2013

08:02 – Friday the 13th falls on a Friday this month.

If last year is any indication, we expect to see pretty heavy kit sales this coming week. We’re down to only 16 of the BK01 biology kits in stock, eight of the CK01A chemistry kits, and zero of the FK01A forensic science kits. Today and over the weekend, we’ll build six more of the forensic kits–which is all we have components ready for–and build subasssemblies for another dozen. I can use those to build more forensic kits on-the-fly if we run out of finished kits. We’ll also build a couple dozen more chemistry kits and, if we have time, build a batch of subassemblies for more biology kits.

14:21 – Good grief. I see on the CNN and FoxNews websites that there’s apparently a big brouhaha taking place over the skin colors of Jesus and Santa Claus. In the interest of sanity prevailing, I must point out that both of these characters are imaginary. They exist only in lies told to children and other credulous people. There is absolutely zero evidence that either of them ever existed. What kind of moron gets upset over the skin colors of his imaginary friends?

25 thoughts on “Friday, 13 December 2013”

  1. I previously vented about my favorite developer. We are now one round farther. There were ten open issues. He claimed to have fixed everything. In fact, five remain unfixed (sometimes things are broken differently), five are fixed, and there are three new problems.

    So we’re down from 10 to 8. Delivery is scheduled for next Thursday. I am feeling just so optimistic…

  2. What kind of moron gets upset over the skin colors of his imaginary friends?

    Racists, I suppose.

    Although… considering the broadening of that epithet, it’s quite likely that you’re a racist just for asking that question. You therefore have no moral standing to question anyone else’s beliefs, sexual self-identification, or lifestyle choice to live on disability rather than work, you racist hater.

  3. In the book “The Shack”, God appears to Mackenzie Phillips as a black woman. While I was a little shocked at first, by the end of the book I was comfortable with the idea.

    In C. S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia book series, Jesus appears as a Lion. While it is even more different than “The Shack”, people accept it easier. Weird.

  4. I was once called radical for wanting to portray Jesus as looking very Semitic. And of course for rejecting the notion of God as an elderly European male, complete with beard, genitalia, etc.

  5. “….Jesus and Santa Claus. In the interest of sanity prevailing, I must point out that both of these characters are imaginary. They exist only in lies told to children …”

    I used to ask my Christian friends: “We tell children that Santa Claus is really made up character between ages of 3 to 8. When should we tell them that Jesus Christ is also……?”

  6. If they were real, Jesus would have looked very much like a modern Middle-East Jew or Arab.

    St. Nicholas would be a Persian, perhaps Greek/Persian. He came from Myra, which is now in Turkey, and waves of Greek and Persian armies used to wash over that area fairly regularly.

  7. I just got home and battened down the hatches for the 8 inches of snow we are supposed to get by Saturday dark. The snow is a belt from northern Missouri, through central Illinois and Indiana. Chicago and Louisville look like they will escape this one, unless the belt widens.

    Out taking care of a lot of stuff today. I have gone through 3 microwaves in 3 years, and just bought a fourth. The first was a 15 year-old Goldstar and the keypad started going crazy sometime after my mom died. Second was a GE. Only 6 months in, the Klystron apparently blew, and GE said officially those Klystrons were failing at high rates, but mantained Walmart forced them to such a price point before manufacturing, that there was no money to produce extras as spare parts. Thus there were no Klystrons that would fit those specs that could replace the blown ones. If I were a lawyer, I would probably have sued them, because that excuse is definitely not satisfaction under a warranty, but it was not worth suing over for the $99 sale price I paid.

    Next was a Panasonic. I checked yesterday and it is one month out of warranty. The interlock has failed, and the thing won’t start. It clicks; the light comes on for 2 seconds; then it shuts off without doing anything. So my fourth is a Whirlpool. I don’t want anything less than 1200 watts, because they just do not cook satisfactorily for me. But once again, the ones of that wattage do not have handles, but buttons you push to release the door and push it open mechanically. Hope this one lasts longer than the Panasonic. The best microwave I ever owned—by far—was my first: an Amana. That thing lasted 15 years, but my ex got it in the divorce. Not sure who has it, or if it is still working—although my recent microwaves cook much more evenly than that Amana. American quality control was pretty astounding, once upon a time. I just wish more things were still made here—like the GE and Panasonic microwaves.

    The units with handles to open and close the door are on the small low-wattage ones.

    Also looked into more appliances. Since I moved back to Tiny Town, I have been using the laundry facilities in my aunt and uncle’s now empty house. I was hoping not to have to buy machines for Tiny House, but their house was just sold, and the coin laundries in town have closed, along with most other businesses in this ghost town. Took some measurements today, and I will be installing a stackable front-loading pair. The two I looked at will replace the electric stove. They will fit, no sweat. I am going to have an island built in the center of the kitchen with an induction cooktop and convection oven. I really want some Bosch made front-loading machines, because those would be super-quiet (a high priority in Germany), but it seems no one around here carries anything but Asian made front-loading washer/dryers.

    And I just decided on how to deal with the floors in the house. I started to sand them, but then discovered there is no subflooring. In some cases the planks are so far apart that you can see through to the basement. So the current flooring will become the subflooring and various holes where the first gravity feed coal-fired central heating ducts were, will be filled in and a new laminate laid over the old flooring.

    Lots of money is about to fly out of my wallet.

  8. Chuck, you can order Bosch washing machines through Amazon. They’re pretty low-rated, though.

  9. I don’t think I could ever learn to trust a front loader. I have visions of the seal malfunctioning and water going everywhere.

    My washing machine, a Hoover, is approaching its 29th birthday. Still works. The lead painter who was here a few months ago saw it and said his mother had the same model and it had outlasted 10 kids! They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

    Chuck, are real estate prices recovering in Tiny Town?

  10. I have visions of the seal malfunctioning and water going everywhere.

    I don’t think that would be a big problem. Even if the seal does fail there is not a lot of water being used in those machines. Your visions are of the old front loaders where the water went half way up the door. That is no longer true. When I first got our front loader I watched the first cycle. I was impressed with the minimal amount of water that was used. I don’t think the water ever got to the door. If the seal failed all that would be spilled is what is splashed around during the wash cycle.

  11. I’ve had a front loader washer for 12 years now. It reduced my water bill, uses less soap and cleans the clothes better. Plus the clothes come out less wet and takes less time in the dryer, which saves electricity. I’ll never go back to a top loader.

  12. Hm, well, I’ll be in the market for a new washer, dryer, fridge, bed and so on very soon so I may be convinced by the above.

  13. Here’s the main advantage and the main disadvantage of a front-loader, from my perspective:

    + The front-loaders are a lot more efficient

    – Jeans (which I wear a lot) tend to pick up permanent marks. I suspect this is because they don’t move around much in the machine, as opposed to a top-loader where they are loosely swimming in water. So where they are folded, they spend an hour rubbing against everything else.

  14. Two suggestions, Brad:

    – Don’t just chuck* the jeans in the washer any old way. Lay them, unfolded around the circumference of the drum, then pile the rest of the clothes over them.

    – Put them in a net bag to limit the rubbing. That might reduce the agitation and, yes, rubbing needed to remove ground-in dirt and such.

    * Not a reference Chuck W, who started this topic.

  15. Chuck, that’s odd about the Panasonic microwaves. I’ve had two in 20+ years, and gave away the first one while it was still working. The newer ‘Inverter’ technology is great: doesn’t cycle the power but just cuts it down. Plus, they cook extremely evenly. (Sharp sucks, IMX)

    Had an Asko (Swedish?) front-loading washer for a few years. Aside from the noise it made I loved it, mainly because it would heat the water to a scalding 180° F, or maybe more? The little 50 ml beaker I used to measure the detergent fit in the washer’s dispensing cup, too, so adding detergent was really simple and messfree.

    While I’m on the subject of laundry, I need to order more of this:
    Had to go through the company to find it and ordered three cans about five years ago. Looks like it’s now a foam, but no matter. Best damn stuff for removing greasy stains on the market. Probably because it’s full of environmentally unfriendly petroleum distillates!

  16. Yeah, I agree with Ray. Something my grandmother did on wash day every other Monday when I was in grade school and spent those summer days with her in the cool of her basement before air-conditioning. I have always turned all my clothes inside out before throwing in the washer. I figured if she did it, there must be a reason. Never had a problem in 10 years in Germany, but at the moment I am back to top loaders. Still I turn everything inside out. I discern no difference between top and front loaders in cleaning ability, but the front loaders use a whale of a lot less water. They can also heat the water, so running a hot water line is not necessary.

    My understanding is that all front loaders made in Europe are now manufactured by Bosch, no matter what brand they carry. Bosch and Siemens are in a joint venture to make them. They are awfully quiet, which is a priority in Germany. Stepson had a Bosch dishwasher, and it was so dead silent that you had to put your ear next to the machine to hear it—if it was on. I am into quiet. I am not normal when it comes to sound, because I get startled by just the postman letting go of the spring-loaded mail slot flap in the front wall next to the front door. Jeri always said I was very overly sensitive to sounds. Not my fault; just the way I am. Unexpected sounds scare the hell out of me.

  17. Housing prices in Tiny Town are recovering. Not sure by how much, but the house across the street will be an indicator when it sells. It is smaller than Tiny House and is on the market for what I want to net out of my property. If he gets anything close, then I am probably golden.

  18. Who’d a thunk it: Come to a collection of nerdly old guys and get laundry tips. 😛 Anyhow, I’ll try both of your suggestions. T-Shirt I have always turned inside-out to spare whatever is printed on them. Seems pretty obviou, now that Chuck mentions it, that this ought to work on jeans as well.

  19. Chuck, you can order Bosch washing machines through Amazon. They’re pretty low-rated, though.

    Thanks. I’m looking at that. The low ratings do not deter me. Here’s the deal. I was in Menards, Lowe’s, Home Depot, and HH Gregg (a Midwest appliance place). All of them had well over 50 washer/dryers on display. But there were no more than 4 front-loaders in any of those stores. Americans just are not used to front loaders and will not give them the time of day. So I cannot trust their opinions—at all.

    We had a Bosch with the Siemens nameplate, and it ran perfectly—probably averaging a minimum of 2 loads daily serving 4 adults and 5 kids for 6 years and still going like new when I left. Quiet machine, and I swear it got the clothes cleaner than a top loader. NEVER had to run something through twice—like I sometimes do now with the top loader I currently use.

    I see all the Bosch that Lowe’s can obtain (there were only Samsung front loaders on display) require 240 volts. Not a problem, because there is a 240 volt plug for the stove that will be pulled to make way for the washer/dryer, but obviously not really built for America.

    The Bosch are a good bit more expensive than what I can get a Frigidaire for, but the Frigidaire does not have a water heater and requires a hot water connection. It is really nuts for me to put in a hot water run when it should never be needed for front loading machines. No one has a hot water feed to the laundry in Germany—and that goes back a long, long time. Heating the small amount of water in a Bosch machine takes less than 2 minutes, which is nothing to the overall timing of washing and drying.

    Decisions, decisions.

  20. IIRC, Bosch also gets bad reviews from Consumer Reports, although I haven’t looked lately. I’ll be checking soon, because we need to replace our dryer. I suspect we’ll buy a Whirlpool.

  21. We bought a Kitchenaide dishwasher. As quiet as the Bosch. So far I have had good luck with the unit.

  22. Bosch is, of course, pervasive in Europe. As pervasive there as Whirlpool is here. I never heard anyone there complain about Bosch/Siemens products (they are made in the same facility as the same products with different nameplates in a a co-owned manufacturing agreement between the 2 companies). Bosch and Siemens also make a lot of stuff like refrigerators and cooktops that never make it to sale over here. Everything in our Strausberg house (both families) was Bosch/Siemens. Never had any problems with any of it. Not sure why Consumer Reports would give Bosch poor ratings. As I noted, the Bosch with a Siemens nameplate front-loader that we had in Strausberg got my clothes cleaner than the top-loading Whirlpool agitator I am currently using. (I call it a Bosch first, because the factory belonged to Bosch before the co-manufacturing agreement was struck. Siemens moved in with Bosch.)

    Back to Tiny Town, the same size Bosch unit is considerably more expensive than the equivalent Frigidaire ($200 more) where I live, so I will likely get the Frigidaire. These units will not be going with me when the house is sold, so price is a factor, even though I do not like having to run a hot water line for the Frigidaire, which I would not have to do with the Bosch.

    BTW, I found a friend who has had a set of stacked Frigidaire front-loaders a generation or so before what I am looking at, and he has been 100% satisfied. All front-loaders leak a small amount of water out the front door—who knows when. We just kept a rag handy and wiped it dry after each use. My friend says they have to do the same thing with the Frigidaire. I am already used to that, so no problem for me. I have never seen a front-loader that does not have that drip problem. Very small amount of water, which probably drops when the door is opened after a wash, but if you don’t wipe it, the particles in the water will finally stain the paint.

  23. I do not like having to run a hot water line for the Frigidaire

    Option 1: Put a small water heater in the laundry room.

    Option 2: Start using laundry detergent which does not need hot water. That would probably affect resale value, though.

    Option 3: Just buy the Bosch. $200 is probably cheaper than running the water line even if you do it yourself, if your time is worth anything.

  24. I don’t do anything myself anymore. Actually, I pretty much stopped that back when I got a salaried job that required more effort than shift work. Last thing I installed myself was the programmable thermostat, because the damned ‘professionals’ around here, refused to tackle that project, as my heating system is entirely separate from the central air. That ended up being simple: I just bought a thermostat made for systems that had 2 different transformers for heat and air, which was precisely my situation. There was a strap I removed to separate the 2 systems electrically in the thermostat, and it has been performing perfectly for about 3 years, now. Love this programmable stuff.

    BTW, I have recently concluded that I need to change batteries in various devices once a year. Had a guy at work who did that on 1 Jan every year, then if something failed, he knew exactly how long it had lasted. I have a Sharp printing calculator that stopped working. It is probably 4 years old. I never bothered to change the batteries, and even though alkalines are never supposed to leak, one of the 4 Duracells in it did. I have had both Eveready and Duracell alkalines leak since I have been back in the US, so now I am on Rayovac. I do change batteries in the clocks at the fall time change, but have a round of changes coming up in a couple weeks, including the thermostat. I am not going to neglect anything this year.

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