That Time Of Year Again

Once again it’s that time of year where people start dragging out assorted decorations and lights to decorate inside and outside their homes for Christmas.  In fact, around here, many already have finished the bulk of the outside decorations and more light shows are popping up every day.

Which brings me once again to asking myself if I should bother.  I’ve got one of those tiny foot and a half artificial christmas trees and a couple strings of lights but honestly, I don’t see the point of decorating inside because I’m the only one that’s going to see it and I don’t have nearly enough of the right kind of stuff to put up the kind of outside light show that I’d like to do.

So, I guess I’ll leave all that stuff packed away this year and consider planning ahead for doing something next year.

Technorati Tags: trees, decorations, seasonal, lights, christmas

Preparing To Survive The Deep Cold

I know I know, that title sounds melodramatic as all hell.  Then again, if you lived in my house, you might not think that it was *quite* as melodramatic as it sounds.

You see, my house it heated with a furnace that is fueled by propane and these days the price of propane is *almost* as hideous as that of gasoline and unlike most products, it NEVER goes on sale.  In the deep cold that is typical of the months of December, January, February and the early part of March, my furnace will typically burn as much as twelve gallons of propane per day in the worst of the cold.

That means that my piddly little two hundred and fifty gallon tank will go empty fast even if it starts this season out full and this year it’s starting out far from full.  The tank is currently at approximately 35% capacity.  If I were to start the furnace running it would be empty within three weeks even at the lowest useful temperature setting.  Therefore I am not turning it on, choosing instead to use that fuel to run the hot water heater which is also fueled by propane.

It does however mean that I really want to come up with an alternate heat source.  My house has a fireplace but it’s design is such that 95% or more of the heat it generates goes straight up the chimney and does ZERO good for heating the house.  Then again it’s just as well because I can’t afford to buy wood to keep it running anyway.

I’ve done a LOT of looking at possibilities and I’ve come to the conclusion that the best option would be to get an Oil Filled Radiator Heater and use that to keep the main room that I spend most of my time in heated.  This would afford me at least a little bit of comfort and assure that I wouldn’t *actually* freeze solid this winter.

The hard part is going to be getting it since my finances are already stretched to the breaking point.  There was a time that I might have been able to expect getting it for Christmas but the only shot of that is to find a previously unknown wealthy relative and convince them it would be a good idea.

In he meantime, I’m just going to continue believing that God will give me the means to make sure there’s heat in the house… even if he has to drop a case of one hundred dollar bills in my driveway to do it.

Yes, this thing is officially on my wishlist this year even though I’d rather put money with which to promote my youtube videos on that list instead.

Technorati Tags: christmas, propane, propane cost, can’t afford refill, furnace, cold, expensive, propane heat, freezing, cold, wishlist, tank almost empty

Nearly Upon Us: Biggest Sales Of The Year

With the rapid approach of Black Friday the season that retailers love the most is nearly upon us.  Things are no different here in Nutjob Hills.  Merchants are loading up on stock, setting up sales, and getting ready for what they hope will be the biggest profits of the year.

The one big difference is that here in Nutjob Hills, some of the ‘sales’ are a bit odd and some of them are downright strange.  For example there’s the dress shop that’s stocking up for what they expect will be a record day for the sale of prom dresses.  Never mind the fact that I at least have never heard of *anybody* buying something like that at this time of year.  That’s normally a spring kind of thing as far as I’ve always known.

But then again, this fall I saw Christmas items start showing up in the stores during late September which is earlier than I’ve ever seen ’em show up before.

Personally, I prefer not to move quite so fast as all that.

Technorati Tags: sales, odd, nutjob hills, black friday

I *USED* To Love Mowing The Lawn

It’s true.  Once upon a time, some ten years ago, I absolutely loved taking a couple of hours every two weeks or so to mow the lawn.  Of course, at the time I had just gotten a new mower on sale which made the job pretty easy.  It started on the first or second pull, had a twenty two inch cut and worked great for years.

Sadly, that is no longer the case.  That once faithful machine has not even started since the spring of 2009.  That, combined with intolerably hot weather and a weed eater that only worked sporadically since the mower died has changed mowing the lawn from a relaxing pastime into a major chore that now takes me most of a week to get done in bits and pieces.

This is, of course, unacceptable because the lawn must still be kept cut.  If it isn’t, sooner or later I get a visit from code enforcement who then gives me seven days to get the job done.

I can’t afford to pay somebody else to do it and even if I could, paying somebody forty dollars to do a job that I used to do in two hours just cuts against the grain in the worst possible way.  Also, long gone are the days when you could pay a neighborhood kid a couple bucks to do it.  Now even they want ten and twenty dollars to cut an average lawn.

That’s why I *REALLY* like the idea of this robotic lawn mower.  With something like this, All I would need to do is clear the yard of fallen tree limbs and rocks, set up a perimeter wire around the area that I want cut and then turn the machine loose.

It would then proceed to crisscross the area, automatically avoiding obstacles like the propane tank and the trees in my front yard, mulching the grass as it goes.  There would still be a few areas that I would need to get with the weed eater but with the robot doing the lion’s share of the work I would have a MUCH easier time of keeping the grass cut and I would NOT have to deal with any more visits from code enforcement OR the occasional nasty look I get from the neighbors with their perfectly manicured lawns.

Now All I need to do is find a well off relative and convince them that this would make an absolutely perfect Christmas gift.  Truly, I SO want one of these!!  More than that, I actually need one!

Technorati Tags: robot, christmas gift, tech, lawn mower, wishlist, automatic

The Desktop Is Dead, Long Live The Laptop

After literally years of wanting a laptop and almost that much time actually having a real need for one, I finally found a laptop computer on sale at a price I could afford and bought it.  As soon as I had it up and running I started copying stuff to it right away from my desktop computer so I could take advantage of the whole “take it with you anywhere” computing that the laptop offered.

It’s a good thing I started this right away like that because by the time I had gotten a lot (although not all) of this copying done when the desktop computer started having more and more problems and eventually stopped working entirely.  If I hadn’t gotten the laptop when I did I would have been in a really bad situation, unable to get my work done or make videos anymore.

Now, several months later, having learned a few things and done some testing on the desktop machine.  I find that unless I want to try replacing some of the capacitors on it’s motherboard, that I’m going to have to replace it entirely.

Right now I’m thinking that the best way to go is going to be the replacement option and I’ve been looking at this motherboard and it looks like a very good candidate for a replacement board.  As for the “replace the capacitors” thing, while I am no stranger to getting out my trusty soldering iron and working on stuff most people won’t touch but I have no idea if there’s other things that need replacing as well and I would hate to do all that work only to find out other things needed to be replace and not have a way to find out what they were.

So getting a new motherboard looks like the best way to go.  Especially since it is a mobo+CPU combo and the CPU in question is a dual core unit that’s quite a bit faster than the old one.

Now all I have to do is convince some wealthy person to give it to me for Christmas.

Technorati Tags: replace motherboard, blown capacitors, capacitors, motherboard fail, computer, motherboard

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