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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What Passes for Excitement Around Here

had an old college friend up for the weekend.  there are some days that have a million things planned, and some that don't.  this was one of them, stacked three deep, and then he plans a stop-and-fish trip.

well, some things count more than others.  away, political convention!  scat, overtime possibilities!  forget about it, basement!  Bob's on the way, and we haven't seen each other in 7 years.  and that goes for the annual ham club banquet, too.  got to have priorities in life.

start laundry at 9 am that morning, and the washing machine craps out.  nothing but water fill and motor buzz.  it's been iffy spinning for a year, and now the lovely water-saver from 78 has had enough.  could be any combination of the big three... motor lockup, transmission failure, or timer collapse.  or a wild card, the motor capacitor.  that is easy to deal with.  and of course, tested OK.  I had something that would buy time, about the size of a large frozen juice can and had no chance of fitting in the washer, but if the cap was fine, forget it.  if you could get a timer, in a couple weeks, it would be over $300.  transmissions, probably about that.  motor, $100-120.  cap, another $15.

that's the cost of a new washer, a good one.

so after we had our lunch, and browsed about a fishing shop that was a damn sight more than I thought it was (Thorne "The Fly Angler" in Blaine, that place is rad), we came home to schmooze.  and one thing led to another, and we loaded up in our car and Bob's pickup, and shot out to Sears an hour before closing.

three good choices, close to the CR best buys list, and one was in stock.  the rain is coming down now, we got the Kenmore slid into the truck, and off into the storm.  got home, many interesting episodes getting the old washer out and the new one in, and start it up.  had to use, as Tolkein wrote, Words Of Command at times.  interesting episodes.

if you haven't bought a washing machine since you started the gas motor on the Maytag, and stepped on the pedal to stop the agitator and start the rollers, they burp and click and clank and hiccup and occasionally spin a minute, stop, fill THAT'S ENOUGH! and start it over again.  so the wife thought it was dying already.  I went for pizzas, and all became clear.

oh, if you think you can slide an old washer in the truck, you got another think coming.  Whirlpool made models from almost the dawn of time to the start of the HE era have an unsealed transmission with vents on the top.  you do NOT tip that thing more than maybe 20 degrees off vertical, ever.  the tranny oil is squeezed from unicorn steaks, nobody stocks it, perhaps because it's $50 a pint.  don't tip your old washer.  It won't work again.

and then we slept, and Bob was the tester for DeBasement's bedroom, and it was fine.  and he left to avoid rain and snow Up Nord, Yah.  got home in 8 odd hours.

the smelt run started Sunday, and they were thick enough to walk on Tuesday on Superior's shores.

the night Bob left, got a call from Son #2.  we've been saying for years, when you are working 10,12,overnight hours in the cities, don't drive another 80 miles, bunk here.  never, ever did.

well, we're going to have him for two weeks, now that DeBasement is not a festering hot spot for the CDC.


oh, another fine mess.  got a call Friday, payday, one of the club buddies who pushed me over the edge and into testing for my license.  he's got a little issue, needs cash fast, and at one point offered to sell his 897 radio for $200.

last time I had a deal like that in 76, I got a Sondek Export turntable, all audiophile all the time, for $175 that I couldn't afford.  bought it anyway.  still plays like a million bucks, which is good, because the current production is over 7,000 Euro in price.  some folks couldn't tell the difference between the Berlin Philharmonic and two kazoos in the shower.  I can hear the difference, and like it.

so until he gets his bonus, he's using the 897, and then I get a little hundred-watter that is a superb portable/mobile as well as a great performing base station, for the daily use radio around here.  for that, heck, I can surely let him keep his schedules while I do the last hard licks on DeBasement.

so it's not all toil and trouble here at Chez Swschrad.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

NostrilDrippus Predicts! (tm) the Vikings schedule

the planets are aligned with the stars, and a stream of consciousness has arrived to jolt famed prognosticator NostrilDrippus Predicts! (tm) to the pen.

or was it a carload of cops?

Predicts! ::=  There will be no stadium bill.

Predicts! ::=  Ain't gonna be a special session, either.

Predicts! ::= Because between May 12 and July 4, the Howling Wilves will hold a news conference with various well-heeled family businessmen primarily conducting business as Anchutz Entertainment Group to announce the sale of the Minnesota Vikings.  the LA news conference will be followed by one the next day at LA City Hall to show off the construction permit for a new stadium.

Predicts! ::= There will be no price reductions in Vikings garb; however, the advertising for tickets will look like a store closing at the K-Mart.  "Last Chance!  Time Is Running Out!"

Predicts! ::=  signage at the HumpDump will start coming down at the start of the last home game so nobody steals any on the way out.  understand, there won't be any auctioned, or anything.  it just comes down.  remember Normie Green promising the No-Stars scoreboards to U of M?  it all goes in the moving van no matter what anybody else thinks, promise you that.

Predicts! ::= signage at Winter Park will start coming down before the snow flies.  cheaper that way.

Predicts! ::= you think GOP vs DFL is a catfight?  try "fans vs pols."  there will be a large strong movement towards "no incumbents, anywhere, dammit!"  and they'll get close to a sweep.

Predicts! ::=  oh, the season.  who cares, they're short timers.  12-6 and just miss a wild-card slot.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


-- almost got the clone HP-23A power supply done for the Heathkit HW-100, hope to get on the air soon.

-- found the missing link (I hope) to getting 38 volts out of an LM317 regulator with the Elektor app on the iPhone, almost got to prototyping it last night, but I had to almost finish the power supply.

-- almost got some speaker brackets for DeBasement media system, but had to order them.  nobody stocks anything that will hold up REAL speakers with REAL response and REAL magnet assemblies, made with REAL wood and having REAL volume, any more.

-- almost out of eye meds, so hopefully I'm almost cured of an infection I didn't really know about in the site of my cataract removal 1-1/2 years ago.

-- almost blew lunch last night, felt really sick sometime about 3 am.  it's gone now.  apparently there's some stuff going around, again.  perhaps it's the antivirals that kept me from almost falling over with the flu.

-- almost tricked somebody into reading this fearful screed.

-- got my new rail and stile bits for routing out door pieces today, almost took 'em out to the garage.  but I will have to buzz 60 or so board feet of oak this weekend.

-- almost got into the DeBasement bathroom vanity job... it still needs figuring the arrangement of doors and drawers out, drawing, cutting, and building the face frame.  once that's done, and Cheryl can get the final paint coat on, I hope to almost get the bathroom ready by next weekend.  an old college buddy is staying a night or two between a conference and a fishing trip to the cold, clear streams flowing into Lake Superior.

-- almost done with this wri

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

stealing from myself again

put this on Lilek's BLEAT blog, and the more I thought about it, the more I thought I'd like to put an archive copy here as well.  it won't be read, but it's here.  always lots of fun stuff there, well read, at

longshot whine alert:  the only logical place for the Vile Queens is in Arden Hills.  on the brownfield of an old ammunition plant.  for the sports metaphors, if nothing else.  Annndddd... a RIFLE SHOT to Punkwell in the backfield, going, GOING, G O I N G, anddd TOUCHDOWN left of the goalpost!  Another Federal Cartridge TOUCHDOWN, and Billy Joe Fauntelroy will get a game ball in Squirrel Splat, Minnesota, compliments of Federal Hi-Powers!  You got your ducks with Hi-Power!

a note of changes in the marketplace... and I'm not talking about the Best Buy president taking a walk.  starting three years ago, the formerly revered firm Johnson and johnson started recalling funky-tasting OTC meds.  gradually sizes and brands including Tylenol, Rolaids, and even stents which are not consumer products left the market.

those of us in the antacid using category have seen the shelves empty of dayamn near everything.  switched from Rolaids to Maalox.  well, that's not availiable.  the old standby Mylanta tablets are gone.  only things left on the shelf are Tums and various store clones of the stuff that's gone (Walgreen's Berry flavor antacids are actually barf flavor.)

had to go to Amazon today to get Maalox, so I ordered 8 of 'em.

bought The Smile Sessions in vinyl while there.

maybe it IS related to the demise of the Best Buy president, although we were in there last night to recycle two old TVs and buy speaker mounts.  but all they had were plastic jobs for 8 pounds or less.  had to Marketplace (tm) order some steel ones.


in the store.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

oh, and there were a few delays, too

this past week I've been under treatment for an eye infection in the cornea, where they put in my artificial lens two years ago.

which was discovered a couple weeks after I had heart attack #6... a 95 percent unstable blockage in the artery called "the widowmaker."  they kicked me out of the hospital after two days... I think I ate too much, and they wanted me gone ;)  couldn't have been snoring, we brought in my CPAP.

it's a good thing I'm not getting creaky as I get older... .

// delayed //

we have the basement cleaned, the stairs replaced with golden oak, the landing built, and the carpet guys were here.  case and base is underway, and the furniture is coming on Saturday.

there is still the bathroom to finish, and window dressing to do, as well as set up the electronics stuff.

but lordy, lordy, looks like we'll have DeBasement done at the one-year mark!