June 11th, 2008

#1107: Ed learns how NOT to store an LD player.

Back in March of 2002, I invited my then-girlfriend to live with me.

She was, at the time, living in the upstairs apartment of her father's house. The upper floor had been converted, lo these many years ago, into a seperate apartment, with kitchen and everything. But her father's health had deteriorated; he had diabetic neuropathy in his legs and diabetic dementia and a host of other diabetes-related health problems. (Reason: when Social Services finally convinced him to go to the hospital, his blood glucose was 360, which is three times the normal upper limit.) (At the time, that is. Now the upper limit is 110 mg/dl.)

My girlfriend did not get along well with her father--partly becuase if you look in the dictionary you'd see his picture next to the definition of "stubborn"--and she kept different hours than he; the house was built such that she could come and go without seeing him most of the time. So she didn't know how bad his health had gotten, and because his mind was going, too, he didn't think to call her and tell her "I need help". Besides, he was too stubborn to ask for help.

At the point that a pizza deliveryman called Social Services, he had been sitting in the same chair for a month. Straight. He couldn't get up to go to the bathroom; do the math. Social Services sent someone to remonstrate with him, and he was given an ultimatum: go to the hospital of his own free will...or be ruled mentally incompetent and go to the hospital anyway

He went; and as far as I know he never went home. I went there to bring my GF some supplies, and while I was waiting to ask which exam room he was in, I overheard the attending physician talking to another on the phone, describing him as a "train wreck". (This was before HIPAA, by the way.)

Once he was healthy enough to be turfed, he was put into a nursing home to "recover"; but no one thought he was going to get enough of his faculties back to live on his own again.

And so, my girlfriend needed a place to live, because her siblings gave her an ultimatum: she could continue to live in the house and pay for all the utilities; or she could move out.

Paying all the utilities--that place was a drafty old shack with a bad foundation; it cost $400 per month just to heat the place in winter. Electricity, in summer, was $300 per month to keep the place at a livable temperature.

I offered her my spare bedroom. At that point I'd been unemployed for almost six months, and it would help me to have a roommate--especially one I knew I could trust--to share the cost of the place.

But because she was going to be living in the other bedroom, I had to get all my crap out of it--which meant storing some stuff in my garage.

One thing that I stored was my spare LD player.

Now, at the time, I had a perfectly functional Pioneer SD-104 LD player. It was not the greatest LD player on the planet, but it did what I needed, and I liked it. My brother had wanted to get rid of his LD player; I fixed his computer and he gave it to me as payment--I figured it wouldn't hurt to have a spare, since by then DVD had erased LD from existence.

So I had this spare player and no room for it, but plenty of space in the garage--so what did I do?

I put the spare player--a Sony--into a garbage bag. To keep moisture from ruining it, I--this is the ironic part--put some Damp Rid in a small ziplock bag that I'd punched some holes in. I sealed the garbage bag, and put the LD player--thus entombed--on a shelf in the garage.

So far so good, right? It's in a sealed container, up off the floor, in an environment protected from extremes in temperature. Right? Right?

When I moved back to Illinois in 2003, I had occasion to notice that the HP Deskjet that I had similarly entombed was full of water, the Damp Rid nowhere to be found.

Ohhh, shit.

...because the Damp Rid had absorbed more water than it could handle and turned into a thin goo, a solution of Damp Rid and water.

The LD player? The entire bottom of the thing was rust.


Problem one is that the garage was not as dry an environment as I'd thought. Humidity could get in and had nowhere to go.

Problem two is that it was in there for more than 18 months.

Problem three is that the bag wasn't sealed as well as it should have been.

...and so here I am, taking a break from trying to see if the LD player can be made to work. It's been sitting in the basement for a couple of years, waiting for me to take the time to screw around with it to see if it's still usable. And right now, the answer is "no", because for some reason the load mechanism refuses to work correctly. And it's not even an electronic problem, as far as I can tell! *sigh*

The real irony, as I said, is that if I hadn't put any Damp Rid in the bag with the damned thing, it probably would have been fine....

It worked before I stored it, damn it.

Anyway, so that's my thrilling adventure du jour. Isn't it fascinating and wonderful?

#1108: But it works.

After a couple hours of fiddling I have managed to make the thing load and play CDs, though the loading mechanism is still a bit wonky.

Yay me.

Update: ...and now I have it playing an LD. So the play aspect of it works; it reliably mounts disks and plays them. Now if I can just get the bugs out of the loading mechanism I can button the thing up and use it properly.

#1109: Wednesday morning linky-dink and stuff and comments and....

Why is Barak Hussein Obama's birth certificate a secret? Might there be something which would prevent him from being President?

Wouldn't it be screamingly funny if Barak Hussein Obama was elected President, and then we learned that the Constitution forbade him from serving? Instant vice-President action baby!

The riots in black city centers would never stop. I mean never.

Of course the usual suspects would scream about how awful the citizenship requirement was.

Go ahead, Mr. Barak Hussein Obama. Keep your birth certificate secret.

* * *

Jack Daniels Barbeque Sauce is four proof liquor! That's right--it's 2% alcohol! You could get drunk on it!

...if you drank, like a case of it. Anyone who can stand to drink a case of barbeque sauce in order to get mildly buzzed is freaking welcome to do it.

This reminds me, inversely, of the story about the idiot kid who tried drinking malt vinegar, thinking it would get him drunk. (What it got him, of course, was something which I will charitably call "indigestion".)

* * *

No sunspots! Another article about the quiescent sun. Heh.

* * *

However, Spaceweather.com reports that sunspot number 998 has appeared! Whee!

* * *

Second full tank in the Escort since getting it street legal again; I got 34 MPG. Whee!

* * *

Habit is a terrible thing:

I absent-mindedly threw the wrapper for my McSkillet in the wastebasket.

Then I looked and saw the wrapper laying on the floor.

Then I remembered that the wastebasket got moved over to where I was working on the rusty LD player, so I'd have a receptacle into which to place rust flakes. Heh.

* * *

Via Boortz today: a true gem from a true moron.

Q: "Should Congress continue to fund NPR?"
A: "Congress should continue paying for it because if they don't, the taxpayers will end up paying for it."

O Lord.

* * *

Pedophiles will have a harder time getting their pictures if this plan goes forward.

I've kind of been wondering about that. A lot of law enforcement initiatives aimed at rooting out illegal internet activity have all but ignored the Usenet...until now:
Cuomo's office issued a statement that attempted to make the obvious sound surprising: "An undercover investigation by the Attorney General’s office uncovered a major source of online child pornography known as 'Newsgroups,' an online service not associated with websites."
Every time I heard a story about a "ciddy pr0n ring" being busted, it was in the context of "web sites" and "chat rooms". The fact that newsgroups are now being targeted indicates to me that law enforcement officials are a) getting smarter; and b) running out of low-hanging fruit (ie, criminals who make themselves easy to catch, as opposed to someone logging on to an anonymous news server...).

The Usenet predates the World Wide Web by over a decade, for crying out loud.

* * *

I spent some time last night digitizing anime music, so now I have eight new tracks to listen to. And I'll probably end up doing Receiving at work tonight, too. Heh.