Zunguzungu's posts over the last week and a half or so have been very good.
Without a doubt, my favorite part of the Wikileaks story so far is the re-hashing of the conversation about what, exactly, constitutes terrorism. It's so refreshingly 2002. Good times.
Our water heater is about ten years old. It was getting to where it didn't supply enough hot water for a shower (at least, for one of my showers), so we decided to drain it, which the internet claims you need to do now and then. The whole procedure ended up being amazingly easy: we ran a hose from the water heater to the back yard. Jammies opened up a release valve (which broke from disuse so we did end up needing a plumber, but it wasn't an emergency). Then we let the water all drain out, and then it refilled. Now we have a lot more hot water.
I just can't figure out why this procedure works. The websites all tell you that you need to drain your water heater because sediment accumulates over time. Yet that would have to be a hell of a lot of sediment to actually displace a significant amount of water, no? And the water ran clear the entire time it was running out; there was no bits of visible sediment or anything. If the sediment can pass invisibly down the hose, couldn't it pass invisibly through the shower?
We never cleaned a filter or dealt with any potential bottleneck in the process. Just drained and refilled. Why on earth would that affect the capacity of the hot water tank?
I just today heard about using bubble wrap as window insulation, and it makes a lot of sense. Growing up, my parents always used the 3M-type window-insulation film that you can purchase, but bubble wrap seems like a potentially cheaper alternative that could work just as well (or better?).
Anyone here tried it or have other exciting winterizing stories? My gem of the winter so far: I couldn't figure out why my bedroom was so cold this year. And then I realized I hadn't put the storm windows down, the doing of which will probably save me at least five dollars in heating costs.
There's a salad bar I frequent, and it's really quite impressively stocked. Just about any conceivable salad topping you could ever imagine and then some.
At lunch today, I watched a guy methodically fill his container with cubed ham—only cubed ham, all the way to the brim—and then top it off with a generous sprinkling of croutons.
It's a sign of my inherent nosiness that I wanted nothing more than to follow him back to his office to watch him eat this peculiar creation.
I'm perpetually behind on comments right now, and I try not to post anything new without catching up. So forgive me.
Also, forgive that what I want to respond to is some wanker who wrote into the Diane Rehm Show regarding the DREAM Act, the topic du jour. (Here's a transcript of the show.)
This particular contributor opined that, "Despite the fact that these young people are in this situation through no fault of their own, they need to suffer for what their parents did. This is a result of an illegal act." [my emphasis]
That's some seriously sadistic thinking, right there.
Apparently you can steal someone's credit card information just by swiping their butt.
On Saturday, the above-named State Department official issued a ``tweet'' reading "One year in prison and not charged with a crime. We remember Alan Gross today and call on #Cuba to release him. 'Tis the season." (thereby delighting both fans of irony and copyeditors); today he has emailed the Guardian [see 5:30 pm entry], and presumably other journalistic enterprises as well, to inform them that "The United States is pleased to announce that it will host Unesco's World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from 1-3 May in Washington, DC." This one is even better than the Cuba one, though, because of the theme of the event, the description of which I recommend you read in full at the Guardian's webbage.
Obama Reaches Accord With G.O.P. on Tax Cut; Democrats Hold Back. Shouldn't that kind of headline (from the print edition -- the headline's different on the website) tip Obama off that there's something wrong with his strategy?
Eh. Extending unemployment insurance is a good thing. But that doesn't make this even remotely a good deal.
As I clambered into my carpoolmate's vehicle this morning, I heard about ten or fifteen seconds of a report pertaining to the arguments in the case about California's prop 8 (the radio was then turned off). The announcer was talking about standing—which it is argued the appellants lack, I gather—and managed to say, first, that standing is an obscure concept that only pointy-headed legal thinkers know much about (I can't remember the precise phrasing but it really was along the lines of "pointy-headed"), and, second, that the requirement that one have standing is enshrined in the Constitution, which I believe to be simply false. Then, after having announced that it's extremely complicated and obscure, this person proceeded to (begin to) give what promised, from its beginnings, to be a pretty clear basic exposition of the concept.
A not inconceivable broadcast would have skipped the alternately condescending and misleading prefatory remarks and just gone straight to the explanation of the issue—and suffered for it. I appreciate the effort NPR goes to to assure me that anything with which I'm not already familiar is the exclusive demesne of dorks and nerds, and probably beyond my comprehension anyway.
Two family friends of ours, both with small children, live one house apart from each other. The in-between house came up for sale recently, and they are eager to fill it with a compatible family who also has small children.
In theory I love the idea of quasi-group co-parenting situations, of which this would only have the loosest resemblance to. (Primarily I imagine it would be one big backyard, four other parents with whom to exchange baby-sitting favors, and a pretty high degree of socialization.) In practice, growing up in Western single house life has left a stamp on me, and I actually don't want to be this close to other families that we have existing friendships with.
There are other reasons why we really love our current house and situation, and don't want to move, but it feels strange to actually have a communal parenting situation available, and to turn it down.
Where exactly did we get the notion that ducks are yellow? I can't recall ever seeing a real duck that was actually yellow.
I stopped biking to work in mid-October: as I've mentioned previously, biking home after dark (it's not the dark generally, it's a patch of the bikepath where I'm blinded by oncoming traffic) is unpleasant enough that I won't do it, and I stopped being able to leave work early enough to make it home in the light. So I've been running in the mornings before work (on the treadmill, at the gym). And last week I bought myself a pair of these goofy things:
I really, really like them, aside from the fact that I look as though I'm trying to disguise myself as a gorilla from the ankles down. One minor thing that's excellent is that if you're carrying your gym stuff around with you, they're much, much smaller and lighter than carrying real shoes. They feel okay running slow, but absolutely great running fast (fast by my standards, okay? Not, like, objectively fast.) I don't know if I'm running any differently, but I feel immensely more sure of my footing at high speeds, and going fast is just much easier.
Downsides? I've been sore all week in weird ways -- it feels like it does when you completely switch to a new exercise, like the first time biking after a winter off. Calves and hamstrings mostly. I assume that will clear up as I adjust. The soles of my big toes were sore, too -- it felt as if they were going to blister, but didn't quite. And there's an irritating little sticky-up bit on the backs of the heels that rubbed the back of my ankle raw: it's healed up over the weekend, and I figure it'll be fine next week, but it was annoying.
I haven't tried them outside yet -- maybe next spring.