Crisis? What Crisis?

20 12 2007

Meh!

The crises seem to keep piling up.  There are several.  One of which I alluded to in my last posting (that of the not-so-well sugar glider Taz).  This in of itself is pretty depressing because when small animals get ill it usually progresses very quickly one way or the other.  So far she’s holding out well but still is not her old self.

Last month I also had the fun of experiencing my basement flood for the second time in 11 months.  My insurance company is going to love that.  Insurance companies generally don’t like unlucky people.  Both floods were caused by the stupid humidifier in the basement.  Different causes but both involved the failure of a 50 cent part that would result in $15K+ worth of damage (carpet gone, drywall, etc).  Insurance companies generally don’t like unlucky people. 

The restoration guy who turned up to sort out the flood the second time was the same person I dealt with first time around.  He even turned up with a map of my basement “from the last time” which was kind of funny.  Ironically the renovations and repairs from the flood first time around were just nearing completion when the second one hit (and the second one did more damage than the first!).

To complicate matters further I have a hot tub in my basement.  It was one the reasons I bought the house in the first place as it was kind of a neat feature that I did enjoy although I did not use it all that much.  It’s been sat in my basement empty since the first flood and I’ve only tried to fill it and get it working again recently.  I discovered it had a small leak and had a hot tub type person look at it and fix it.  Now that I’ve watched him repair the problem I’m pretty confident I could do it myself as it looked pretty straight forward.  We got it filled and started the pump/jets going to test it and it looked pretty good.  About 15 minutes later I noticed a small leak in the pump unit, and then another small leak by one of the jets around the back.  I assessed these problems and I could probably fix it but given:

  1.  I’ve had 2 floods in 11 months
  2. The hot tub is probably pushing 20 years old (including mostly original parts)

I’ve had to think long and hard about this and I have decided to get rid of it out of my basement.  I’m pretty choked about that as it was one of my favourite features in my house but I feel like I am REALLY tempting fate keeping it around and thought best to be rid.  I could fix the problems I have found *SO FAR* but who is to say there won’t be more and given the age of the unit I can’t say it’s all that unlikely.  Sad 😦  It’s a shame but I just don’t trust it down there as I am a little paranoid about anything with water in the house at the moment.  On the plus side this will enable me to take a wall out of the basement and I’ll have room for a pool table and it will open up the basement as a whole so that is a pretty decent consolation prize 🙂  Hopefully the restoration people can start work soon so I can get my basement back in order and my girlfriend can get her office back!!  Right now she’s setup her computer in the living room on the dining room table which makes dinners an affair best done on the couch with TV trays.  So there is a hot tub going to a good home cheap if anyone is interested.  It is fully functioning, I just don’t want it in my basement.  If someone was so inclined there is nothing stopping them from setting it up in their yard if they wanted to build some housing around it!!!

And now for some obligatory cuteness (also if you were wondering what the hell a sugar glider looks like!).  Here is one of our Gliders Taz in her snuggle house (that’s a photo of her next to me whilst I was writing this).

Taz!

and one of our babies (Tate) in my shirt pocket

Tate in my pocket

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The art of blogging…

19 12 2007

Two of the hardest things I find about blogging are:

  1. Finding something interesting to say.
  2. Finding the time to put it into some sort of coherent fashion to post.

Like most people I have opinions on a variety of things.  Some things are best left unshared and others can be interesting catalysts for discussion.  Most of my posts so far have just been amusing or useful things I have found on the net that I thought were worth mentioning.  I don’t really discuss much about what I think or feel or what goes on in my world.  Reading about how people blog and what makes a successful one usually involves having a personal element involved which keeps your readers interested and gives your blog a more personal touch.  I’m not expecting to become the next big hot blog that gets a mention on the radio or on a news website.  This is more a personal thing for me and a bit of a hobby I am trying to explore and I’ve generally been somewhat an introvert most of my life so perhaps this will give me a successful way of expressing myself that I have not previously tried. 

I’ve found a good blogging time for actually putting my thoughts into writing and getting it posted.  So that’s one of the two issues potentially dealt with if I can keep it up.  We have three sugar gliders that require playtime in the evenings and I’ve taken to bringing my laptop into our “glider proof” (if there is such a thing) room and using this as my blogging and misc net surfing time in the evenings when it’s my turn to feed and play with them.  Using the wireless network to tune in to our iTunes jukebox machine in the living room which supplies the atmosphere 🙂  We’ve recently got two baby sugar gliders and they are cute as hell and very curious.  They seem to like running over my keyboard but are not really heavy enough to type yet (unless they jump on it off my head!).  Maybe if things get slow I’ll have them post for me.

Finding interesting things to talk about may be more difficult.  As I’ve mentioned in previous postings I generally listen to a lot of BBC podcasts which always give me food for thought (for example the forbidden lego book in a previous posting came from a mention of it on such a podcast).  The political and documentary ones in particular make me think and can cause a range of emotions in me (the story they did on Burma awhile back was especially sad).  I am a total internet news junkie!  Maybe I’ll try to put what I make of it all into words.  The web has loads of interesting things and developments that are worthy topics of discussion.  All the Web 2.0 sites out there (user defined/driven content) such as Facebook have caused quite a stir and, yes, I am on facebook I’m afraid to say.  It’s not quite as addictive as it was when I first started but I do check it daily!

For now I should go pay attention to our older grumpy glider Taz!  She’s sulking in her cage and probably needs some coaxing to get her out.  I don’t think she is all that well at the moment; she’s gained weight and is sometimes a bit lethargic.  Vet has looked at her and reckons her liver may be a bit dodgy and she’s somewhat constipated so I’m giving her the equivalent of Glider-Ex-Lax.  I hope she gets a bit perkier soon; I miss her bratty self.

(as an aside, speaking of technology, with my little word processor I use I’ve just had to add “Facebook” and “podcast” as allowable words, lol).





Technology & Pets

3 10 2007

Well this last weekend was an entertaining one.  I was trying to upgrade my computer for various reasons. 

Basically the scenario worked something like this:

 I have a computer setup in my living room hooked up to my stereo/TV that acts as a jukebox.  I have iTunes on it with all my music so I can pump that out through my stereo.  The computer is also hooked up to the TV so I can do things like browse the net, listen to internet radio, watch youtube videos, etc.  Basically a home media centre (that I set up years before Microsoft came out with the “Media Centre” edition of XP).  Unfortunately the hard drive in the computer is full of music now so I need to replace it with a larger one to facilitate more tunes as I’m flat out of disk space!  I also wanted to upgrade my regular desktop computer from XP-Home to XP-Pro (so I have IIS and I can do some work at home.  Some of the work I’m doing in my day job uses web services which XP-Home can’t cope with.  Am I a dedicated employee or what?).  So as my desktop computer has a hard drive twice the size as my entertainment computer it seemed to make sense to buy a new hard drive, put it in my desktop computer and install XP-Pro on it, take the old hard drive from there and pop it in my media/jukebox PC.

 First lesson, look inside your computer and see what you actually have before you make plans like this 🙂  I just picked up a run of the mill IDE 320gb hard drive at staples and thought nothing more of it but it turns out the one in my computer was actually a SATA hard drive (different connector).  Not a big deal but it won’t fit in my jukebox PC as it’s pretty old (apparantly you can get SATA/IDE adaptors so this may not be as big an issue).  My desktop PC has IDE slots in addition to the SATA capability (which is to be expected) so hooking up the new drive wasn’t an issue.  Nonetheless I installed my new hard drive, played the PC internal dust bunny game, played the shuffle the wires so nothing is touching anything that gets hot or spins game, popped in the XP disc, formatted and installed XP-Pro.  Went through an hour of installing windows, started to poke about seeing what I needed to install driver wise onto the computer to discover my hard disk drive was H: and not C:.  Turns out the USB card reader I have installed takes up the first 4 drive letters (starting at C: as A:,B: are reserved) and my DVD/CD drive took up the next one.  Very weird.  Aftering puzzling and experimenting with this for awhile I discovered I had to physically disconnect the USB card reader from the mother board and go through the formatting/installation procedure again and it worked.  Popped in the SATA drive and configured it as the secondary drive, reconnected the card reader and I’m off.  I can copy my data off my original drive and then just use it as a 2nd drive if I can’t find a way to put it into the other PC.  <sigh>.  Oh well, it’s not like hard drives are expensive.  I could also just use the orignal SATA drive for XP Pro once all the data I want is off it and put the new IDE drive in the jukebox PC but I’m too lazy to go through that again 🙂

 To top of the weekend my girlfriends guinea pig got ill on Sunday and we had to go to the emergency vets and, ultimately, put her down.  Ginger the guinea pig was (by our estimation) more than 6 years old so she was ancient in guinea pig terms so at least we know she had a longer than average life.  It was still pretty sad all said and done.  We now just have the one sugar glider so we’ll just have to spoil her extra (if that’s possible).