time for a new furnace. could you throw in an a/c unit with that?

it’s cool. i knew this day was coming. i have the financing all set up, that’s not a problem. it would have been nice to pick and choose my time, and not to have to live with cold while i work on this… but hey, at least i’m in a postition to do what my house needs.

the fan motor in my furnace is mostly dead. the slower speed normally used for heat is totally dead. that weird smell yesterday was my motor coils burning up. niiiiiice.

furnace fixit man switched the motor so the heat now uses the faster speed normally used for a/c. that will work for about 15-20 minutes before the motor starts to “sing” and ultimately locks up again. that’s actually enough to keep the house from getting seriously cold, like it did during the ice storm. we also went through all the ducts and he adjusted the dampers for me so that i’ll actually have heat in the bathroom for the first time since i moved in, and hopefully things will be a little warmer in my bedroom.

well, that is, when i get a new furnace.

the “comfort advisor” (hehehehe, oh that is just priceless. just call him a salesman, puh-leez.) came to visit later in the afternoon. we discussed what i want to do, he got a tour of the house and the basement, measured everything inside and out, and told me that he’d do a computer analysis to make sure of what i need.

now, for those of you who are house geeks and really want to know this, i’ll give you the detail i have so far.

my furnace is inside with the coil for the a/c; the a/c compressor is outside. the heat is gas. for my house he thinks i will need another 100k btu furnace (that’s what i have now). the current unit is about 16 years old and rusty from the moisture in the basement. they are recommending a SEER rating of 12, which will be the minimum standard as of next year. that’s about the point where i’ll get my money back for the added expense via savings in my monthly bills, if i stay in the house for about 5 years.

my current furnace is about 80% efficiency and they can go up to 90%. there are some concerns about exhuasting the new furnace. if i go up the chimney, as i am doing now, the chimney will have to have a liner, which it may not. if i go out the side of the house, i’m concerned a little about my neighbors kids being so close to a pipe that’s shooting out carbon monoxide. it’s probably safe but, you know, i don’t want to brain damage anyone.

for the a/c unit he’s not sure what i’ll need. it appears to be even older than the furnace. they’ll pour a new pad for the new unit… aside from that, i have no more detail.

the ductwork seems to be ok the way it is. it’s not insulated, but everyone seems to agree that that’s ok since it’s in the basement. it keeps my pipes from freezing and warms the basement slightly, which is a good thing in the wintertime.

he had the name of someone he thinks is a good water intrusion expert, so i’m going to give that guy a call. my water intrusion issues are… _BADDDD._ the fixit guy and i could literally see the water pouring in at one point.

so anyway. lots of people to call tomorrow. i realized at around 6:30 this evening that spacepod has been with My Favorite Mechanic all day and i haven’t heard from him! which probably means that he didn’t get the message to call me at home.

dude, i am like _exhausted._ don’t ask me why, all i did was hang out on the sofa all day.

big weekend

so friday i did watch ivanhoe with sarah and shayne, and ate yummy food… came home and plugged away at the Big Radio Station Project for a while, got really pissed off at it, wrote to d. for php advice, gave up and went to bed.

saturday morning, took christa to costco to shop for party food; we got there before they opened so we detoured to home despot. she helped me select some hardware for something i want to do with 9 westy, something i’ve been thinking about a lot lately. i think i am close to trying a proof of concept on this idea.. just need to think it through a little more.

spent saturday struggling with the Big Radio Station Project, and learned to hate the thing. have changed its name to include the word “asswich”. didn’t get very far with it.

saturday night of course was christa’s partie. that was fun! i was one of the last people there. i gave someone, who shall remain unidentified so they are not embarassed, a ride home when i realized they were a little, uh, loopy; i was dead sober myself so i was happy to do it.

i remember around 2:30 sitting on the sofa next to il rossi and feeling very sleepy and saying, “wow, i’m sleepy”, looking over at chris and seeing he had his head back and eyes closed, so i said, “and you are too!” and then he said, “i wondered why i was thinking in spacegrrl’s voice…” so i offered to make him a series of recordings of things he might often think, like “gee, i have to pee but i want to solve this problem first”, which was something i’d found myself thinking several times that day anyway.

so i guess i finally got home around 3:30, slept in til about 10:30 then dove back into the Big Radio Station Project, made a lot more headway with it, i am getting my arms around it a little bit now. i watched part of the MI-5 second season, which is just as good as the first, so far, so i am very pleased and want to mail back all three of my netflix discs today so i can have a big MI-5 marathon soon.

all day my heat was smelling really weird, like that smell when you first turn the heat on in the fall and it smells like a bunch of little bits of dust are being burnt up, except it was stronger and wouldn’t go away. it got so bad that i finally turned the heat off and had to air out the living room with the door open and ceiling fan on.

pj came over around 7:30 and we headed out to the Interpol show. there were many minor annoyances and we got separated in the totally insane, jam-packed crowd, but it was a good show, better than asheville i thought. the way they played “turn on the bright lights” was especially slow and grand. i finally gave up on being up front and went to the back where there was more room and easy access to water. i was pretty happy back there. spotted goth boy in the crowd but otherwise very few people i knew.

it was pretty damn cold when i got home so i decided to try running the heat briefly just to warm things up before bed. the blower never came on, it just made this ominous buzzing noise, and the smell was even worse. i turned it off and had to air out the living room for almost an hour before i could close the door and go to bed.

this morning i got up and couldn’t bear to face the shower in the frigid cold. i called the furnace-fixing people and then ran out to take spacepod in to see My Favorite Mechanic, and drove the great blue beast home, which was exciting in the rain on I-85. now i am working from home and waiting to hear from a furnace-fixing guy.

i’m pretty well prepared for him to tell me that the furnace is dead or not worth fixing this time. well, financially i’m prepared. of course i haven’t researched my options or gotten any quotes yet. and the basement is pretty bad right now. a lot of water is coming in, because both of my gutter drains are clogged with tree roots and the gutters are not cleaned. last night during the opening band i was thinking about which items in the basement i could reasonably donate to goodwill, to kick start the process of clearing out the basement. there’s also a large amount of scrap lumber that should go to the dump, but i think it’s not the highest priority for clearing out right now. i’ve got spacepod’s original alloy wheels which need to be put up for sale, and this mass of black foam rubber from the scrap exchange that i can’t use because it outgasses too much. there’s a cardboard box of crap from my old apartment that i never unpacked. the box is rotting away because it keeps getting wet. it probably all just needs to go in the garbage. there are also the doors to the house– some of the original doors which need to be painted and installed, and then a bunch of cheap hollow wood doors that i’ve decided i didn’t need and removed. they are all getting a little moldy down there. the cheap doors can probably go to goodwill or somewhere.

i feel like clearing some of the crap out of there is something i need to do before installation of the furnace begins, or the installers are going to find that stuff just getting in their way. i’ve been stalling on that project because it’s just _so_ icky, cold, wet and dirty down there.

in the meantime i’ve got half a case of firelogs left over from post-icestorm preparation panic; my real firewood is all wet and useless right now but the logs help a little. i’ve also got the little space heater that i bought for use in 9 westy; it helps a little. if the furnace guy tells me that i’m in for a long cold spell then i’ll need to start looking into more powerful means of heating my space temporarily.

wednesday night i am going to see “chris noth”:imdb:chris+noth in a play at duke, then thursday is the debut of the Big Radio Station Project to some friendly beta testers; hopefully the furnace issue won’t be so much of a distraction that i can’t get it the rest of the way ready.

the diet really did not fare well last week or this weekend. too much social stuff and places to be and schedules to keep. things break down when i have too many things going on. i don’t really have a good plan for this week so perhaps i should fall back on my spinach casserole; it does seem to be a magic solution at times. actually i had thought about making something equally rich with broccoli and cheddar cheese, and sarah suggested using turkey sausage as a more heart-friendly alternative to pork sausage.

haha, i remember telling someone about this casserole, maybe at christa’s party, and their reaction was, “sounds… heavy”. i guess it’s not to everyone’s liking 🙂 personally, i’m a fan of heavy!

stuff i done you ain’t done

1. crossed fjords in denmark on a train inside a ferry.

2. driven solo around the country, 8,000 miles in 3 weeks, running a live web cam during the NC -> NM leg of the trip.

3. stood on the edge of a cliff on the Isle of Skye in Scotland on a perfectly clear day.

4. attended three of my parents’ weddings, and been maid of honor in one of them.

5. spent time with, knew, and still remember three of my great-grandparents.

6. lived in a 100 year old tobacco barn.

7. hung out with adam sandler at wxdu.

8. have a 100 year old reed organ in my living room.

9. attempted to make a film about roadkill (all the film came back black)

10. watched movies at drive-ins in Idaho, Oklahoma, New Mexico and North Carolina– all in the same car.


i think i just spent four hours trying to get a single feature in the Big Radio Station Project working. and i haven’t succeeded. and it’s not even original code that i’m writing; i’m just trying to get someone else’s code to work in our environment.

this is totally exasperating.

why the hell would you have two functions with the same name, one in old-style code, one in OOP? is it just to make me completely crazy, or is it because this thing is a piece of shit?

bite me.

the continuing coolness of airtunes

so this weekend i’m spending a lot of quality time with my laptop, working on my Big Radio Station Project.

at some point i may tire of my house and move operations to Our Favorite Coffee Shop. but at the moment, i’m liking the living room scene.

one of the reasons the living room scene is so hotttt right now is because i basically have a remote control for my stereo. and that remote control is sitting right in my lap.

i can play any playlist or song in iTunes. i can adjust volume and equalizer settings without moving my ass. i can play any pre-recorded radio show i’ve got on the Cube. i can change my mind or skip songs or whatever, all without interrupting my work flow.

it’s pretty cool.


the other great thing about the Living Room Scene is that it’s very nearby to the Kitchen Scene. And the Kitchen Scene just produced an extremely tasty strawberry smoothie. Yummmmmmm.


* huge, whole frozen strawberries (from costco– wow)

* plain, full-fat yogurt

* whole milk

* half a scoop of vanilla soy shake mix

* a capful of sugar-free vanilla syrup


foster pups

i don’t normally do this, but it sounds like a particularly bad case. my mom just mailed me about four puppies that need foster homes. they are being kept outside. they have a non-contagious form of mange that requires they be washed daily and cared for. they have very little hair because of the mange, so the fact that they are being kept outside is especially a problem. a friend of my mom’s has taken them to the vet but has no place for them.

i have the contact info and a little more detail… contact me if you can help.

it’s radio, only much more complicated.

the airport express arrived this week, and this evening i have finally had a chance to work through configuring it. configuration wasn’t difficult but it was less intuitive than apple products normally are. an ipod this is not. it can do many things, all of them network-ey and therefore not necessarily apparent to normal humans.

i’ve got it set up now to do bridging from my existing airport network (this means my airport signal is crazy strong in the living room, and that i don’t have to have the express plugged into an ethernet cable). it’s also set up to do airtunes, the feature i bought it for.

now hopefully the cube can use the fast wired network connection while also sending music over the airport network, but i’ve yet to determine that. the cube is busy recording right now and i don’t want to disturb it.

just to make things interesting, i am currently sending music that actually resides on the cube to the airport express via my powerbook. itunes has a feature called rendezvous that will automatically share itunes libraries between computers on the same network, so the powerbook can access the cube’s itunes library that way, and play any of that music.

since the music i am playing is actually sarah’s radio show from last week, it’s really rather eerie. i’m listening to xdu on my stereo as always… except that it’s a week old show and it’s making two hops over a wireless network to get to the stereo, instead of being beamed directly into my receiver via the magick of radio.

i’ve had a cabling problem with my stereo and tv for a while now, and the airport express isn’t helping. i’m gonna have to disassemble my whole setup one of these days and get the cabling straightened out. i guess i’ve been putting this off because it’ll involve drilling more holes in the cabinet. and i might need to face the idea of drilling holes in my floor, to really do it right. that, and i’m slack.