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Standing in a gradually rising puddle whilst having this morning's shower convinced me that the drain needed clearing out in the yard. This is not a fun job, and despite my best efforts at trying to separate grungy water from fox, there was some cross-contamination, which I was less than thrilled about.

The problem is that the drain itself has a plastic 6"x6" cover that sits in a recessed square in the concrete... unless a curious hound sees it. For some reason, Mali takes an active dislike to the plastic inserts being in the drainage channels, so he flips them up with his paw, and then carries them across the yard to put them down. He doesn't chew them(!), he just feels that the yard is more aesthetically pleasing sans drainage grates.

What then happens is that rubbish and the like that blows into the yard flutters down the opened gulleys, resulting in me pulling out plastic bags and chocolate bar wrappers that have been blocking the channel.

Flow is somewhat improved, but I'm going to have to come up with a more long term solution - ideally, I'd like to find some metal grids, in the hope that they'd be sufficiently heavy to resist canine interference. Otherwise, I might try and screw down some wire mesh across the top, to make them fully tamper-proof.
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It has bugged me for a while that I've had the fridge at Castle Fox positioned in almost the worst place possible, from an energy efficiency point of view: vis, next to the radiator and immediately beneath the boiler.

So I've shifted it to the other end of the kitchen. However, this meant that the door now opened the wrong way - from being a right-hinged door that ensured that the fridge was accessible from within the kitchen as it were, shifting it to the other end meant that the door opened to create a barrier, and you had to practically exit the kitchen (at the opposite end) to be able to reach the milk.

Now, when I bought said domestic appliance, I remember flicking through the instructions (admit it, we all read the instruction manuals for white goods when they arrive) those 9 years past and seeing a subsection headed 'reversing the door hinge' or some such. Despite all the resources available to me courtesy of the highly structured filing environment that is Castle Fox's archives, I was unable to locate the fridge's Book of Words to seek further guidance, but in the end the rough hint proved enough.

First off, you need to lay the beast (carefully) on its back, remove the front feet, unscrew the lower bolt holding the door on and slide the whole door assembly downwards, so it disengages the upper pin.

It then lifts off, and you can extricate the upper bolt from the door casing and transfer it to the opposite (top left) corner of the body. Likewise, the lower hinge bolt and its dummy partner can dosey-do and swap positions, whereupon everything gets reassembled in reverse order (you just swear in different places).

All this would be so much easier if I actually possessed a non-stripped posidrive screwdriver, or a 6mm spanner. Lacking both, I had to use the needlenose pliers from my Leatherman, and also its cross-head driver. But believe me, trying to torque up fixings with that device was not easy on the hands. Ouch.

Anyway, with luck, the upshot of this transformation will be that the fridge will no longer be fighting a cooling battle against the wall of heat roiling off the kitchen radiator, and instead will be able to chug merrily along, sipping far less elctrickery than in the past. Will I notice the difference? Probably not, but at least that's one less thing to keep me awake at night.


Nov. 10th, 2009 05:34 pm
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Not much to say - busy couple of days at work, more of the same coming up.

Have managed to exhaust my dog-walking podcasts for the day, though, so I need to find some more listening material to pad out the week (tend to get a glut of things in the later half of the week, but given that I tend to go on something of a listening/Mali-walking splurge on Sunday evening, by Tuesday I'm all out).

Got a note through the door of Castle Fox from a courier company - they couldn't deliver a parcel today, so I contacted them to arrange picking up from the depot.

Except, I discover, that the depot is in York, and is only open from 9am to 7pm. No way can I get there in that time frame, so I'm going to try postponing the next delivery attempt to next Monday, and take said day off. All the time that the courier depot is in Hull, home delivery's not too much of a hassle, but trekking out to York and back isn't my idea of 'home delivery', somehow :-/
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This entry comes to y'all from my brand new different office. Yep, yesterday finally saw the phone line being connected in my target abode, so I shifted across to take up residence in the new office. The transition's been mostly seamless: still awaiting the phone extension to be mapped - the phone itself is live, but has a different extension to my old office. A request is in for the latter to be mapped to the former, so that I end up with no change, but for the time being I'm coping with the lack of telephonic contact, rest assured.

The new building being at the opposite end of the site to Castle Fox, walking home and back during lunch to check on Mali has become impractical - it was borderline before, but the extra 5+ mins each way pushes the logistics firmly into indulgent territory, so I'm back on the bike. However, secure parking is something of an issue, and I may need to investigate my options on that score (I'm explicitly forbidden from bringing the bike into the building {Reg 4(e) applies}).

The only other downside is the lack of a printer. Since we are hardly ever required to print, and really I only ever print out the daily Killers, I'm not sure how much fuss I can legitimately make... might make more sense to get a printer for Castle Fox, but the trouble then is that I find that any printer gets such insufficient use that the cartridges dry up before they run out.

In other news (quite literally), congratulations clearly due to [personal profile] yvi on the 300 support points that [site community profile] dw_news announced in the weekly update! :D

My unwatched DVDs are starting to build up: I've got BSG S4 and Prison Break S3 to watch, plus True Blood S1 should be arriving next week - Comradette K DVR'd the first episode of True Blood for me a couple of weeks back, and that on top of the bookses constituted sufficient evidence for me to plump for the discs there and then. Flicking back to BSG and Prison Break, both of those will then have only a single season outstanding for me before canon is closed, so it sort of makes sense to complete the set...</justification>
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I managed to get online on Friday night from Castle Fox, but about five minutes' up-time was all that was available on Saturday before the connection died completely. Telephone line continues to mainly consist of static and yes, I know, I really need to get it seen to. But it won't be this week.

'sides, not spending evenings glued to the PC might not be a bad thing anyway.

P and I saw Hull City sweep aside the mighty Wigan in a crushing, I tell you, crushing 2-1 display of awesome. To be honest, it really didn't look as though Wigan had turned up - they didn't seem that interested in attacking our goal, but we were mightily glad of Geo's goal that put us two clear when Wigan got one back. Injury time was nerve-wracking, accompanied by a deafening howl of the home fans whistling for full-time to be called...

I finished The Reality Dysfunction )
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Castle Fox interwebz are still best characterised as 'sporadic'. Hence why I wasn't able to post Ch 27 of the OotP re-read until just now.

'tis at least a nice day outside - washing currently drying, by which readers may have deduced that my reassemblage of the washing machine doesn't seem to have been as immediately disastrous as any number of worst-case scenarios might have played out. Am still treating the object with a fair degree of caution, though.

P and I are about to head into town - 's been a quiet morning, mostly. Couple of dog walks, reading the paper (albeit skipping quickly over the footie results) and such like.
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Following up on the washing machine stuff, I kinda took it apart last night - not hugely, mind, but after some subtle hints on the interwebz, I did manage to find the filter - hidden beyond the wit of any thief, naturally, and pulled it out and cleaned it. Not that it seemed to need it much. Hmm.

Anyway, the dry run (no oxymoronic pun intended) seemed to remain dry, so am going to risk running a medium-ish load this evening and see what transpires.

As keen scholars of these pages will recall, I tend to load up on podcasts for dog walking (and the commute to work). Principally these are sourced from The Beeb, Teh Grauniad and TWiT. I've also started re-listening to Dan Carlin's Common Sense, which I'm finding a compelling listen, even if it is mostly concerned with US politics from a domestic perspective.

Anyway, even though TWiT and Common Sense are both available free, I pay a monthly subscription to each, because I think they're well produced, entertaining and worth supporting. Something similar, indeed, to the rationale that prompted me to initially support LiveJournal, Back In The Day™, and, currently, that ensures that I have a paid account here.

I think we're approaching a difficult point with the web - there's an expectation that so much of the content we access should be free (to the user), but obviously it costs money to create and host it all. Now, DW adopts the Freemium model for funding, relying on the assumption that the dedicated users who pay for a paid account will be sufficient to fund the architecture to host the entire community. Other places rely on advertising and marketing, but with an increasingly ad-aware/ad-immune userbase, I do wonder if present advertising rates can be sustained. If not, then funding from advertisers must surely drop, which, in turn, means that what can be provided on the basis of ad-funding must also drop.
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Overslept by 40 minutes today... kinda. I heard the alarm, and was sort of awake, but just lay in bed for... y'know, 5 minutes. When I checked the (super-accurate-to-1-millisecond-every-six-ice-ages-radio-synchronised-atomic) alarm clock '5 minutes later', however, it was 6.25. Gah.

Nonetheless, I still shaved, showered, walked Mali, got to work at the usual hour and all that. Still feel tired, though. Blech.

The washing machine at Castle Fox has gone on strike. I think the problem will be that the filter needs clearing out. Unfortunately, the Book of Words for the device insists that it possesses a 'self-cleaning' filter unfettered by the need for human interference (yes, my washing machine has its own Prime Directive), so this may be a job beyond my abilities (is there no beginning to my talents?). In the interim, I'll need to re-acquaint myself with the joys of the laundromat. Fortunately, [ profile] brundle lent me Reefer Madness by Eric Schlosser the other day, so at least I'll be able to make a start on that...

[personal profile] aome was asking whether Castle Fox was back on the net. The answer is yes. And no. And all points in between. It's mostly back, I think*, but is somewhat tempremental, and even when the connection is up, the router's reporting the line speed as 460kbps, which is just a little shy of the purported 'Up to 12Mbps' that the account's quoted at. Hull is a monopoly for ISPs, so room for manouevre is limited, but yes, I really ought to mention it to someone at KC. That and the static filled line.

* Verily: give me certainty or give me something else


Aug. 28th, 2009 07:58 am
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Had a strange dream last night, about being at Uni, attending a lecture on some kind of exploration thingy. The amusing thing was that [personal profile] carolanne5 was there - she got to the lecture about 3 seconds before the lecturer started talking, because her living arrangements meant that her commute took her through 12 countries, each way :-)

In other news, Castle Fox's interwebz are as dead as the proverbial doornail. Which causes issues for my daily OotP chapter discussion, but I'll see what I can do to work around that... looks likely that the posts are going to shift to mornings, but they should still be 24 hours apart, so people will still have time to read each chapter, I hope.

Comradette K has lent me the DVD to Twiglight. It's sitting here on top of the PC at the moment, and I'm wondering if I dare take it home to watch, or whether I should just pretend. I fear the latter might prove slightly healthier for my sanity.
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Interwebz at Castle Fox seem to have crashed, despite two router re-boots. This could, just possibly, be connected to the long, protacted decay of the phone lines at my place (the line's now dead on the phone itself, but the router was still working, so I wasn't too bothered). Which I s'pose means that I'd better get it sorted somewhen. Does mean that my Order of the Phoenix Re-Read posts might have to shift to weekday mornings, when I usually have a connection. But it might all be working this evening, so who knows?

They're drilling outside the office, so it's somewhat noisy here (which is not quite a pre-emptive excuse for today's Killer, but possibly close), and finally I got a message from amazon telling me that the book I ordered last week won't now be coming because... it's out of print, and they can't lay their hands on a copy anywhere. You would've thought that they could have stopped advertising it then. New edition comes out on 1 October, so that'll have to do, but 'tis a bit of a shame.
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The telephone at Castle Fox is currently unusable: all that you can hear is static, crackling, pops and... very distantly, the faint traces of what I assume is some sort of carbon-based lifeform trying to make contact.


I unplugged all the extension cables (router, upstairs phone), and plugged the downstairs phone into the microfilter into the main incoming socket, and it was still just white noise when I put the receiver to my ear.

So I'd better get KC to sort it out. The only question, really, is when, because time is a bit of the essence at the moment.

This is, actually, a problem that's been making itself evident for a while - I had just assumed it was dodgy wiring on my part. That may still, of course, be a contributory factor, but if the line in is flaky, then it's definitely beyond my control.

Unsurprisingly, this also seems to be having an impact on my interwebs...
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</blues>Woke up this morning (da-da, da dum....)</blues

'twas weird indeed, though: there was only my Micra, girly opposite's Micra and bloke two doors down's Focus parked outside our respective houses. All the other residences, from Castle Fox down to the Chinese take-away, had vacant roadspace outside.

This almost never happens: competition for parking spaces can be quite intense outside Castle Fox - sometimes I have to park as much as 10 metres* away from my front door. That said, the lines of parked cars are normally pretty solid, even if the odd sort of Brownian Motion that exists in the whole vehicle storage game 'round these parts does seem to work out in my favour more often than not.

Apple are selling the old, 2nd generation Shuffles off cheap, so I've got one - £31 all in, including my email address engraved on the back. I was going to get the square root of two engraved on it instead (1.4142135623... from memory+), but decided that that would be just a bit too strange. Even for me.

Anyway, the Shuffle seems to play nicely with Banshee under Linux (although obviously not with DRM material), so that's good. The only slight drawback to the Shuffle I've noticed to date is that, when ambling along with the hound, and the Shuffle clipped to my trouser pocket, it's possible to accidentally skip tracks through inadvertant brushing of the controls. So that's what the 'hold' function's for, then...

* - just to annoy [personal profile] glittertine, for whom I know parking is a genuine issue ;-P

+ - why yes, I do have the square roots of the integers from 1 to 10 memorised to 10 decimal places. Because you never know when this knowledge might prove useful...


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