Sunday, January 13th, 2008
9:57 pm - Wait, There Is Too Much, Let Me Sum Up...  
Busy weekend. The weather was good, so I rode the bike both days. Saturday the temperature got up to about 50°. Sunday was a little chillier, and got colder as the ride wore on. I'm glad I got to go, because I may not get a chance for awhile. There's a major snowstorm on the way.

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Projects continue. Saturday I replaced the floodlight fixture next to the side door. I installed the current fixture when I first moved in, yikes, almost eight years ago. It was a cheap fixture from Benny's, two floods and a motion sensor. The problem with motion sensors is they tend to get less sensitive over time, and lately the original has only been clicking on when you're almost on top of the stoop. I bought another cheap one at Benny's to replace it. The detectors don't seem to last any longer if you pay more.

It should've only been about a half hour job. Just turn off the power to the box, take out the bulbs, unscrew the old fixture, and detach the two wires. Then put on a new gasket, attach the two wires for the new fixture (black to black, white to white), screw it in place, put the bulbs back in, and turn it on. Except I'd forgotten about one of the little quirks about the electrial box the fixture attaches to. The screws used to attach the fixture are a larger diameter than standard electrical fixture screws. God and the electrician who installed it only know why. (You can see them in this picture. The old screws are in front, the fixture screws in back.) I remembered that I'd run into the same problem the first time I'd done the job. Then I just reused the old screws, but now the heads were starting to rust, so I took a ride to the Depot to pick up replacements. Got brass instead of steel, so no rustage is expected, although they will eventually turn green, and they look very shiny on the black fixture. At least until they turn green. Total cost - $15, $14 for the fixture and a buck for the screws.

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I had another project lined up, but fate intervened. I did but the parts for it though. Fate turned out to be me leaning back in my office chair and hearing a snap as one of the side support pieces broke. It's only about four years old. The cloth upholstery was already frayed, too. I bought it to replace my previous chair, on which the main metal support plate underneath (the part with the spring and controls) had broken (metal fatigue). I still had that chair, and since the metal support piece on the newer chair was intact, I thought I could attach one to the other and make a single good chair out of it. The old chair was very nice, high-backed and leather. It also has an extra support plate for the back that interfered with the newer plate. Basically the old plate (The one that broke) had been dead flat, and the back support attached on top of it. The newer plate bulges out a bit, so the support doesn't fit properly. Bother.

Nothing for it, I headed off for Staples. It turned out to be my lucky day, because Staples was having a chair sale. Got a much nicer chair than the cloth one had been for $99. It's a high-backed microsuede, and very comfy. I also bought the extended warranty for $10, which gives me my money back if the chair fails anytime in the next five years. Cheap insurance given what happened to the last two I bought.

I got the thing home, started to assemble it, and noticed that the support plate on this one was also dead flat. Took it down to the basement, and sure enough, it fits the old leather chair just fine. I'll need to elongate a couple of screw slots, but the back support plate fits fine. Meanwhile, the bulging plate from the cloth chair fits the new chair perfectly. So I couldn't get one chair out of two, but I was able to make two chairs out of three. Gotta love semi-standardized parts.

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When I went to transfer the project photos from my camera to the computer, I discovered that the card reader no longer worked. Each card slot should show up as a separate drive, but there were none showing in Explorer. I have no idea why. It worked New Years Day. I did do a bunch of Microsoft updates last Thursday, so I decided to do a system restore back to Wednesday. No joy. The I went back to New Years, and still no card reader. I finally shut the machine down and disconnected the internal USB cable, turned the machine back on, and then plugged the cable back in. That worked. I hate computers.

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My cold seems to have cleared up without complications, by which I mean I never developed a cough, which was my biggest worry. On the other hand, my knee is very sore from all the riding. I hate being old.

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Still to come - books, and even flight sim fandom has kerfuffles.