2008-12-28

It's Melted! O Frabjous day, calou calay!

The thickest sections of snow still have remnants, but the sidewalks are clear, and except for where snow got piled on snow the yards are clear.

Yay! Hooray! Yippie ti yi yay!

After ten+ days of being snowbound for all practical purposes, this is nice. And as is usual in the Willamette Valley, it already feels warm enough to work outside without a jacket, given a certain amount of physical activity; or that could just be the former Chicagoan defining warm enough, but observing others says its not just me. its not, it is to pleasant out, it has warmed up.

And sans flooding, thanks to lower than average December rainfall resulting in non-saturated ground and thus the ability to absorb the snow melt without any problem, which is nifty, it is, it is, nifty indeed!

Giddy I be, no? *grin*

2008-12-26

Snow's still with us, record length of time for PDX

Not sure what the weather is going to do today, didn't pay attention to the forecast yesterday.

But we still have snow piled up all over, with side streets totally treacherous. Some snowfall yesterday, no accumulation at my elevation.

It's more than ten days now since the snow started accumulating, and it's still here. There has been some melt from time to time, even some rain, but the result of that has been ice and crusting.

I know, this is nothing, in Chicago the snow will come and not melt for months during the winter, I lived there for six years and can testify to that, but here in the Willamette valley, well, snow just doesn't stick around like this, not in the lower elevations it doesn't.

Hasn't done anything like this since Mom was a kid, and I mean a kid, 1930's we're talking about here, just glad we haven't really had any freezing rain with this, that'd mess things up for sure.

Going just a tad stir crazy, stuff I've felt like working on but not with everything covered in snow or just really cold, like the basement.

Did get all caught up on financial data entry with Quicken, which is a good thing.

Got a bunch of stuff ready to go out for recycling, but that just means it piles up inside in a different configuration given not being convenient to drag it outside to the bins, with the snow on the steps; yes, I should clean off the back stairs, and if we had tenants right now I'd have done so, but not doing it when it's only for me. Stupid on my part, of course.

Bleh. Stir crazy and depressed, lovely combination.

me go find something to do, bye now

2008-12-23

Appropriate use of technology; eyeglass selection

I know, I got my new glasses last month, don't know why this didn't pop into my head until now.

My focal length, uncorrected, is under six inches. When selecting new glasses, well, let's just say that I'm used to taking other's word for it if it will look good or not, 'cause there's no way I can see how they look on me with the lenses they have in the display frames.

Enter modern technology, to be specific, photographic technology.

Using a digital camera and digital picture frame, you know the type, flat panel display dedicated to displaying still pictures, it was possible to see what I would look like in the frames I was considering. Put the frames on, staff femme snaps a picture, transfers it to the picture display frame, put my current glasses on and voile! There I am with the prospective frames for my viewing pleasure, able to see for myself just what I'd look like for the first time in my life when selecting new frames, none of this sticking my face right up against a mirror and having perspective bent to heck and gone which is what I was used to doing.

I was quite impressed with this use of technology.

I don't know if this is standard practice at eyeglass shops or not, but Lenscrafters, Clackamas Town Center Mall, is on top of things and proved worthy of patronage.

And they've also got quite the selection of metalworking tools for adjusting the temples of the glasses for a proper fit, the former jewelry student in me has a major case of tool lust, I haven't seen anything like it before at an eyeglass shop. Only thing they were lacking that I'd add to the selection would be a short length of ¾" PVC pipe for use in getting nice smooth curves on the earhookthingy, the section that loops over the ear; smoothed up the curve myself after I got home with the new glasses using a short section of said pipe, and have considered dropping off a short length next time I'm out there just because it would be the thing to complete their tool selection, and I really like the service they gave.

OK, so I'm weird that way, call it the gut-level socialist in me, if I can help folks in some fashion I like to do so.

I still think it was a clever use of technology.

post this puppy

2008-12-21

Snow; or, feeling my age

Yes, I should grab my camera and take pictures to prove that we've got, like, maybe six inches of snow here in the lowlands of Portland.

My back says "no."

See, I went out and shoveled the walk, not all of it, I stopped when it started sleeting on me, but the front and the beginnings of the side are donish, and my back tells me that I'm every day of 48.

"Happy birthday," sez the back.

Bundled up I was, two sweatshirts, silly name that, not made of sweat, more like fleece to me, but anyway, two sweatshirts, sweatpants with wool military pants over them, wool oversocks, nifty pair of Lands' End boots purchased back when I lived in Chicago, must be 17 years I've had them now, welding gloves, and the head protection from my SCA fencing outfit [four layers of sports cloth and a layer of pretty fabric over that, pattern based on scuba diving headgear, nice and warm my ears and head were]. Ready for the weather I was, I was, ready for the weather I was. Don't look now, almost turned into the chorus to a song, don't know the words but had that rhythm, didn't it now?

Snow shovel we had from back in Salem, scoop shovel, heavy sucker, handle could be a bit longer in my mind, I'm taller than I used to be, nothing like being half stooped over when shoveling heavy crusty snow, back's been nattering at me non-stop most of the last hour, telling me I'm not up to this anymore, and the left knee, the one that hasn't had surgery, its not too happy with me either.

Hair's looking grey these days, blend of snow white hair and the stuff that hasn't changed yet, hands starting to get that slightly thinner look that comes with age, feet also seeming to lose fat, getting right skinny they are, taking to wearing socks to be to keep them properly warm.

Haven't wished my sister a happy birthday this year, been a couple of months, don't think she's really into her punk brother ragging on her about turning the big Five-Oh, 50 she is now. Mom's 83 now, twenty more years to match how old her mother lived to, we'll see how she does. Dad only made it to 75, lesson to ya about smoking that was, no real question about the cause of his emphysema, although he always blamed some of it on growing up downwind/stream from the Oregon City paper mills, can't say he was wrong about that contributing at some level, pollution wasn't a concern back in the 1920s and 30s, not like they gave a damn about the impact of their effluents on the lowlifes living below the falls.

Hows this for a stream of consciousness post?

Take a prime number starting with 2 and progressing from there, square it, fuzz it +/- 1, and the fourth prime fuzzed in that manner gives my sister and I in age at this point in time. Absolutely meaningless, but the type of thing my mind will occasionally spew forth, which shows how weird I am. Won't happen again, we'd have to live to 122 and 120, respectively, for the next prime, and I just don't see that happening.

Think I'll settle down and read a bit, let my back grumble a while like the curmudgeon that it is.

Oh, and the weather we've been having, put the big kabosh on my getting all the yard clippings cleared out by the end of the year, not gonna happen.

post this puppy

2008-12-20

PVC fittings for furniture

Almost from the day PVC pipe became available, people have used it for stuff other than plumbing.

Lightweight, strong, inexpensive, amenable to home machining with just a small expenditure in tools, generations have made shelving, play structures, chairs, desks, etc. using this material.

For a long time there was one major drawback, the fittings available were only those of use to the plumbing industry, many of use to the non-plumbing trade just didn't exist, so folks would either have to bore out the innards of plumbing fittings, in the case of slip-tees, or use PVC glue to manufacture the fittings they needed for the project at hand.

Then some in the plastics industry realized that there was a large enough market to justify manufacturing fittings for non-plumbing use, fittings which while structurally strong and useful actually violate plumbing codes, such as the 5-way cross with all five openings the same size.

Two different approaches were tried, the first was to create entirely proprietary fittings and pipe, not matching any industry standard sizing, this done by firms begun as new ventures who tooled up from scratch, the second being to retool slightly and produce new fitting styles for industry standard sizing, allowing existing firms to expand into a new market. Those expanding into a new market have focused mainly on 1-1/4", with some fittings also designed for 1" & 1-1/2" pipe.

Recently a third approach has surfaced, of creating PVC fittings of various styles sized for 3/4" copper pipe. This intrigues me.

Searching for 'PVC furniture' with or without 'fittings' will pull up a number of sources for fittings and pipe; the nicest selection of fittings I've come across is provided by my perennial favourite, United States Plastic; indeed, this is how I first became aware of the firm, looking for fittings useful for making pet agility equipment.

Normally I'd try to include pictures of fittings and examples of use, but posting this was a result of enthusiasm and low blood sugar, and the blood sugar has hit rock bottom, so I'm off to get food.

So this is a wimpy post. Oh well.

john, stop editing and revising and go feed yourself, right now! silly human, food is necessary for proper thought and functioning, and stop typing right now

2008-12-15

21 degrees out, high of 25 forecast

So, for Portland, Oregon, this is cold. Really, really, cold. And we're not even talking wind chill factor here, so effectively its even colder. Mind, folks are being directed to websites for explanations of what wind chill factor is all about, which would make my friends in the Midwest fall over laughing, to think that anyone would need an explanation of wind chill, probably as much as I lost it laughing when I read an article in a Chicago paper explaining about slugs, which they were having a problem with given a warm winter, slugs being something any Willamette Valley native knew about before they entered school, Nursery school that is.

But yes, we're a wimpy bunch here in Portland, didn't actually have that much snow, and it's not really that cold if'n you've lived anywhere East of the Rockies and north of Mason & Dixon, yesterday [Sunday] they already had the school closures out for today, and trust me, every school was listed as being closed. Guess they had deeper snow in the higher altitudes, have to remember that I'm not that much above sea level here in the Brooklyn neighborhood, SW hills are much higher, and East County has the Columbia River Gorge, aka The Great Wind Tunnel of the Pacific Northwest

Whoa! Red Cross is opening Emergency Warming Centers. Actually a good idea, given that if you don't have heat this weather will kill you.

Well, once the sun comes out I'll bundle up again and clear the walks again, it's now 6:30AM so it'll be a bit until I do that. In Portland you are responsible for clearing your walks, are held legally liable for injuries if you don't attempt to keep them clear, be it snow or leaves or whatever, back in Chicago the deal is the opposite, only responsible if you try to clear you walks but don't do it properly; given that snow on top of ice is safer than ice without snow, both could use better definitions of what is acceptable and what is not.

It's been kinda fun listening to the wind whistling around, hearing the gusts rattle the porch roof; real glad I used pop rivets, zip tie anchors, screws, and zip ties to fasten them down a while back, used to really rattle in the wind, but now it just indicates that it would like to rattle.

Which reminds me that one of the projects for the summer is to reroof the porch, or at least reflash it, which also requires making it easier to get to the building roof, so one can approach from above. Making it easier to get to the roof would also aid in checking the condition of the roof.

See, this building has a totally flat roof, OK, it may have a slight slope but it is effectively flat with just enough slope to direct rainfall to the rain gutters. The roof access is via a hatch above the internal stairway, currently requires using a ladder in an unstable manner to get to the internal cover, then climb up like a yard to the external cover, then you're at the roof. What I want is to install a pull down ladder, one of those attic ladder jobbies, to the internal hatch, making it much safer and easier to get to the roof, so we can see how the roof is doing, and can then use a removable boat ladder, the kind that hooks over the side of a boat when it's on a trailer so you can get into the boat from the back, like we had back when we had the 16 foot tri-hull, anyway with such a ladder it would be possible to get to the porch roof from above and inspect the flashing, which I know needs replacing because water has been creeping down the side of the building between the porch roof and the building, resulting in water damage above the 2nd floor kitchen doors, which open on the porch, and this damage is a bad thing, and needs to be stopped.

Huh, radio just said lows around 15 overnight. Like I said, for Portland this is cold. Me, I just drag our my medium weight Chicago winter clothing from storage, the heavy weight stuff is for -50 wind chill...

7:00 AM, still dark out, but I should fix some breakfast, yes?

So...

Post this Puppy!

2008-12-13

Comparison price shopping & Library Products

Having just received the Five Season collection of Andromeda, via BoxedTVSeries.com, I find myself in the market for DVD cases, specifically 10-packs, cases which will hold 10 DVDs plus cover graphics.

Nexpak VERSApak seems to be the way to go. Let's see what the library supply firms have to say:

Brodart has them for $2.65, Demco for $4.79, Gaylord for $3.25, The Library Store for $4.40

Hmm, last time I ordered them from U.S. Plastic... $1.33

I need five. Take a wild guess where I'm ordering from. Same place as last time.

The real point in this exercise is that in many cases a bit more digging will find a better price, in this case a majorly better price, at a non-library source, for products we tend to associate almost exclusively with libraries.

There are reasons your purchasing department may prefer utilizing the standard library sources, such as the convenience of one-stop-shopping, working with a "known" source, minimizing time required to process orders, etc.

In The Olden Dayes these had some validity, but with the ease of online shopping this is far less valid. Certain institutions I used to work for would bring to mind the concept of delaying payment as long as possible, which can be stretched a bit via purchase orders, invoicing, etc., but unless there are cashflow problems involved with your funding this shouldn't be a factor, and if there are cashflow problems with your funding you have a much greater problem to deal with, and should have incentive to argue for staggered purchasing at the best price possible per item; I can testify that if a librarian saw a chance to stretch their supplies budget to 3 times its face value via careful scheduling of purchases to match cashflow they'd be most happy to work with purchasing to expedite things, just tell them the truth and don't lie to them, work with them to find the best price for your money, after all, anything not spent can be grabbed for administrative expenses, which always expand without penalty...

I feel a rant coming concerning budgeting and accountability and who gets the axe based on my personal experience, so I'm ending this now.

Post this puppy!

Edit 2017 09 15: changed links to web site main page, rather than product spedific, to slow down link rot. Removed links to defunct websites where there was no current site elsewhere.

2008-12-05

OHSU Intelligence Test

While the Oregon Health Sciences University, OHSU, doesn't officially have an intelligence test which their patients are required to pass prior to receiving services, if you drive there they do; it's called "finding the parking garage".

Lots of parking garages. Lots of Permit Required parking garages. Smart park garages abound, as well, for the Eye Clinic, various others. I just couldn't spot the one for the Dental School. And no place to pull over and leave the car whilst asking for directions, not that I spotted a map or anything while frantically glancing in all directions, traveling at 25 mph, the speed limit, through windy curvy blind corner abounding stop for all pedestrians oh my god im so stressed out heres an exit im going home where its safe

I didn't make my dental intake interview yesterday. You see, I failed their intelligence test.

After I reschedule I'm determining how to get there by bus, I'm not going up there by car, ever again.

When I called to let them know I wasn't making it, they got quite the chuckle from my saying I failed the Intelligence Test. Most people wouldn't phrase it that way. Most people if they couldn't figure it out would probably be far more antagonistic than I was, I was just glad to make it out of there alive, and no I wasn't going to try again later in the day, thank you very much, just let me sit and quiver for a while, recovering from the stress, which I got out of there before it set off the advanced stages of my stress reactions, but still I decided I wasn't going to do the other stuff I'd been feeling up to; gorgeous day, crisp clear blue sky, near freezing temperatures, nip in the air, the type of day that actually gets me up and going [once I've dressed for it].

Kind of like today looks to be.

Who knows, maybe I'll head out and get stuff done.

But not at OHSU.