January 30th, 2005


In This House We Obey the Laws of Thermodynamics...

It's sunny and above freezing here, despite the little dusting of snow we got last night. Hooray! Yesterday was also sunny, but colder.

I spent much of yesterday attacking the second law of thermodynamics, i.e., trying to reverse entropy as it applies to the various and sundry items inside my house. I mean, I'm a guy. I have a very high tolerance for clutter, dust, and uncleanliness, but even I have my limits, and I've reached them. My house looks like a bunch of thugs from a Chandler novel came in and ransacked the place. Started in the backroom, which was piled high with half empty boxes of books, what remained after finally shelving stuff. So, I moved that clutter into the living room, which is the staging area for the attic, took the laundry downstairs to be washed, sorted and stored piles and piles of comic books, dusted, vacuumed, and generally picked up stuff. I got a nice little rug for it (on clearance at Wal-Mart for $3), so I won't have to put my feet straight onto cold hardwood flooring first thing in the morning.

I also replaced my bedside lamp. The lamp I had was one I'd made decades ago using a lamp-making kit and an old wine jug. The bulb socket fixture has been loosening to the point where I was starting to fear electrocution whenever I turned it on or off, so I found a nice little turned wood lamp at Wal-Mart for $10. I also had to get a shade for it, and here I ran into a problem. Or maybe not so much a problem as mild future shock. The last time I bought a lampshade, probably fifteen years ago or so, it attached to the lamp in the same way lampshades had as long as I can remember. You had a spring clip on the shade that clipped directly onto the lightbulb, easy peasy. Apparently, you can't buy those anymore, at least not at Wal-Mart. I presume someone broke a bulb with one and sued. Which would also explain why there were a gazillion warning stickers on the lamp itself. Instead, the shade had this round fitting suspended down about where the lightbulb would be, and I stood there wondering for a bit if the damn thing was just supposed to balance on top of the bulb somehow. Despite the gazillion warning labels, there weren't any instructions on how to actually assemble the parts. I finally noticed that the bulb socket had been redesigned as well, and hey, the fitting on the shade snuggles down nicely onto it. So you have to put the shade on first, before you install the lightbulb. Of course this all means that all the zillions of lamps out there with the old style socket can't use any of the shades being marketed today. Gotta love planned obsolescence.

While I was cleaning and straightening, I was also making bread in the machine. I had a box of assorted bread machine mixes, so I tried one of those, a honey-wheatberry mix. I'd had these for awhile, and the last time I made one, it didn't rise at all, so I figured the supplied yeast had expired. This time I used fresh yeast instead of the included packet, and it still resulted in a perfectly formed brick. Bother. It wasn't the yeast, because last night I made up a loaf of my maple oatmeal bread from scratch, and it worked like a charm. It produced a great loaf of bread. Still despite the brick, the house did smell like fresh bread for several hours. Then I made beef burgundy, which simmered for three hours, and the house smelled like stew. It was as if Glade had produced a comfort scent or something.

Also did some video editing later on for a little project that I'm working on, and that worked out fine. The problem I have there is that I don't do it very often, so I constantly have to relearn stuff that I figured out last time I did it. Very frustrating, that.

And now it's off to Chez Virago-Bug for the afternoon. Later.