February 25th, 2011

#2570: We're living on credit

And it cannot continue.

I keep thinking that we're still in recession only because I know the government has been gaming the GDP figures for years and the definition of GDP is itself constructed to make our economic situation look better than it actually is.


* * *

I figured out what's wrong with the bratwurst I made the other night: grease.

See, when I grill them, the grease comes out and drips onto the coals, catching fire. It leaves the skin with crispy char marks. (Carcinogenic? Yep. But my ancestors survived by searing meat with fire, so I love the flavor. In all probability I am not significantly hastening my demise, either, so F it.)

But in a casserole, embedded in kraut, whatever grease that escapes the sausage just collects in the bottom of the pan; and most of it doesn't run out at all since the sausages are cooked relatively slowly. I mean, it takes me 15 minutes tops to grill them; it took 70 to get them baked through.

I'm used to the bratwurst being relatively dry; a lot less grease is left behind in the sausage when I grill them. That's why they taste wrong.

...still not going to cook them that way again.

* * *

A late winter snow shower deposited about three inches of global warming. I didn't even use the snowblower; I just grabbed the shovel and pushed it off the driveway. It took me perhaps twice as long as it would have with the snowblower, but I need the exercise anyway and I didn't want to bother with that loud-ass stinkpot for three lousy inches of snow. (I love the thing, don't get me wrong, but it's noisy and smelly.)

It's melting on its own, but I didn't want it to melt halfway and freeze into a sheet of ice. As I shoveled, I noticed it was leaving a thin layer of very slippery slush behind, and I worried that I'd have to salt--but by the time I was finished, that thin layer had melted. Score one for me.

* * *

So I'm laying in bed, trying to sleep, when a thought jolted me awake.

WTF ever happened to my RCA DVD player?

In 1999, I traded a bunch of computer work and some money for a nearly-new RCA DVD player. A friend's wife needed an upgrade and a bunch of other stuff done, and they didn't have the wherewithal to get a new computer or to take it to someone. They were preparing for him to be deployed to Germany (he's in tanks, or was the last time I talked to them) and I figured the DVD player probably wouldn't do them any good there, anyway.

Sometime later (2000, I think) I bought an Apex DVD player. I'd found a site where I could buy an EPROM which disabled the region coding and MacroVision, so I could watch movies without having to reconfigure my AV system when I wanted to watch a DVD; and the RCA fell out of use. Besides, the Apex could play VCDs and CD-Rs; the RCA couldn't. (In fact, if you put a CD-R into the RCA, you ran the risk of erasing it.)

But I cannot remember WTF I did with it.

It's probable that I gave it to someone; but it's equally probable that it got stuck in the coat closet in the living room and was left behind when I moved out. I just can't remember.

It's not that I particularly need the thing; I have like four DVD players immediately to hand and can lay my hands on at least one more without having to search. I'm just bothered by the fact that I don't remember what I did with it.

Fine time to remember: more than seven years after I moved back to Illinois. Oh well.

#2571: Washing machine blues

Well, after blogging, I hit the basement to see if there was anything I could do about the washing machine.

I spent a fruitless hour trying to figure out how to disassemble and remove the tub so I could get at the bearing that's failing. There's no obvious way to remove the agitator and there are a mere two screws holding the tub onto the transmission, so I know that's not it.

I tried searching on line for schematics, using a variety of permutations, but none was successful; I kept being pointed back to the same sites.

But I did figure out two things.

1) The "escaped bearing" sound was coming from the dynamic balancing ring at the top of the tub. That's no big deal, then.

2) It's not a problem with the transmission.

#2 was my big worry; you blow the transmission in a washing machine and the whole thing is junk. This washing machine is about nine years old, and it wasn't exactly top-of-the-line when it was new; a new transmission costs about $160--which is more than the machine's worth.

The problem is, in fact, the main bearing. The transmission shaft runs through the main bearing, and has the main pulley mounted on the end. I noticed oil slung hither and yon below the bearing and none above.

The main bearing is like $60, and I can replace it if I can figure out how to get the damned thing apart.

Anyway, realizing that it's still usable, I buttoned the thing back up and threw in a load of clothes, and started it up.

...well, I just went down there to put those clothes in the dryer, and instead found an overflowing washing machine. Obviously I missed putting something back correctly. The lid fell off the top of the machine while I was working; my guess is that the hose that tells the "brain" the tub is full of water popped loose.

There's a hose running from the tub to the control panel, and if I don't miss my guess there's a pressure switch at the end of it that reads the air pressure in the hose and switches the motor on when the pressure goes high enough. I bet the hose popped off that thing.

At least it didn't flood the damn basement.

Maybe those guys where Og works made the right decision about not hiring me, after all. *Sigh*

#2572: LOL

I removed four screws to get into the control panel, and--lo and behold!--the first thing I saw was that hose, not connected to anything. Then I saw something that's obviously a pressure transducer with its input fitting bare; guess where that hoes goes?

I plugged the hose back in; realizing that I had predicted what the failure was, I said, "Holy shit, am I smart."

...perhaps Og's employers made a serious mistake.