Posted by: David | December 9, 2009

Gadgets & Winter’s Discontent

It occurred to me the other day that I encounter way too many frackin gadgets in my wanderings. I think it was that my new $40 garlic press arrived on the same day as I watched the printer technician repair a large laser printer at work. He had to take the top half of the printer well apart. Toner had somehow gotten up into the laser imaging unit and was cutting off about 2 inches from the right edge of every page. Look how small the very important laser guts are! I wanted to ask the technician if he had “rejiggled the bobulator”, but I knew he would never get that joke. Few people would.

The laser-projected image comes from the gold hexagon thingy and goes up through the lens into a mirror, which was where the toner had somehow spewed.

This garlic press is designed for maximum leverage. Very rugged stainless steel. Lifetime warranty.

he TV we really bought.  In the last post I erroneously claimed an extra 2 inches.

I can plug a computer into the new TV. Here’s my blog on the new TV. Surprisingly, my blog is even less interesting on a 40″ TV.

But connect up Hulu to the new TV and you’ve got something … So the new TV is yet another gadget. It’s been doing OK except last night I think it was making some odd little knocking sounds. I could tell if it was coming from the TV or if there is a family of wombats building a nest behind there. Today I didn’t hear it. I stayed home from work due to this massive snowstorm. As the storm came toward us starting Monday I began to get concerned that we no longer had a running generator. Did I mention that our generator was broken? Well it was. It would not stay running. Checked the fuel and there was water in it. So I drained it all out and put in fresh fuel and checked that it was getting through to the carburetor. It was. But the thing would only run for a few minutes, then would not start back up. So I took off the carburetor and took it all apart and it looked fine. It wasn’t so fine when I got it back on. It was dripping gasoline. So it’s gotta go get fixed by dealer type people. It was a nice one and was expensive when we bought during the big ice storm of 1998. I hope it’s worth fixing. In the meantime I bought a less powerful, less fancy replacement. Cause we lose power a lot here …

Old Honda on right, new Briggs & Stratton on left.

The snowstorm was really something. We heard the roof creak a couple of times during the day as the heavy snow came down. I finally got out to start the snowblower a little before 3. It didn’t look like much, a fine powdery snow had been falling since morning and piled up to almost a foot. And the temperature rose from low 20s to mid 30s. The snowblower’s first workout of the winter was very taxing on both of us. I can’t remember snow that was so dense and heavy, yet  fine-grained and sticky. In all the years of snowblowing I’ve done I’ve never had snow actually get caught in the snowblower’s augers.

Oh it looked nice and fluffy, but it was like peanut butter.

Hello Copenhagen? Are you seeing this shit?

Honestly, I had to stop several times and clear this compacted snow out of the augers. The machine just plain does NOT work when the snow plugs it up like this. 25+ years of snowblowing and I’ve never seen this happen. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!?

Oh somebody’s all achy now, huh?

Yah, Ollie wasn’t too happy about the snow either. It’s really impossible for him to move around in. Almost. It takes a lot more energy anyway. I usually have a really hard time convincing myself to stay home from work because of snow, but today’s was a good call. This was a really bad one. I put in a few hours this morning, doing a few things I could do via the college’s spiffy remote desktop. Then I had lunch, watched Lie to Me on Hulu, then took a half hour or so to face the weather. Now I’m a little sore. One tank of gas and about 2 hours of snowblowing. Only half of what I usually clear. I’ll have to continue this job tomorrow. Good night for now Internet! I hope the storm was not too bad for you.


  1. The snow didn’t get stuck like that in our snowblower. I guess that is one of the benefits of waiting until you get home from work and snowblowing. Guess that will teach you for taking the day off.

    Does a $40 garlic press do anything other than press garlic really well? I feel like it should have some bonus features for that price tag.

    You guys are so LUCKY that the snow didn’t do that up in your neck of the woods. But your town got 2 more inches of the stuff than my town, so I guess I got that goin for me … And on taking the day off from work, I can honestly say that I think I made the right decision. For once.

    No bonus features on the garlic press. It does only one thing, but it does it very nicely. It’s excessive, I admit, but we use a butt load of garlic in our cooking. Lifetime warranty.

  2. Yes I saw that you have bad weather there and I was also wondering about your generator, since I have long found out that cycling (spelling?) only produces enough juice to light a bulb.

    And the cat? Does Hunter stay outside in this weather?

    That’s so adorable how you forget the word “spinning”. If there were only some kind of super storage battery that could capture every watt, then maybe people could generate enough power to run their appliances. They would have to be very efficient appliances, of course. They would have to keep the spinning bike going pretty much 24/7. It would be an interesting experiment …

    We didn’t lose electricity during this storm. This morning the repair shop guy came to pick up the broken generator. He arrived promptly at 7:00 am. We both struggled lifting the heavy machine into his truck.

    Hunter spends a lot more time indoors in the winter. But she still likes to go outside every day, unless it’s especially nasty, in which case she comes back in rather soon.

  3. And I know about a roof creaking. That was when I lived in that little shitty pueblo house that I mentioned before. One night there was incredible noise outside. There was a storm but there was also a clattering noise that I had never heard before and it was such that I thought it was better not to go outside.

    Well, the wind was taking the roof off. There were tiles. These are made of burnt clay and they are not fastened anywhere but laid down each overlapping the next one a little, so that they hold each other down or indeed lift each other up.

    The neighbour, his name was Pascual, looked at the roof and the pile of broken tiles and nodded thoughtfully: Yes yes, it happens all the time.

    It never happens in Switzerland! I said.

    That I don’t know, he said pensatively. All I know is that here it happens all the time.

    What a fierce wind that must have been to lift clay tiles like that. A non-Swiss wind, apparently. Our roof creaked a few times during the day of the storm as the weight of snow accumulated on it. And you’ve seen the pictures of me removing it when I’m worried enough. I’m imagining you in my driveway saying it never happens in Switzerland as I’m shoveling snow off the roof …

  4. “Surprisingly, my blog is even less interesting on a 40″ TV.”….hahaha…you kill me! 🙂

    And peanut-butter like snow…me thinks those two concepts should never mix!

    By the way, I can’t believe you displayed “laser guts” on your blog. You are so graphic…I hope your blog has a “Mature Audiences Only” rating…in which case…what am I doing here? 😉

    Yeah, thanks Romi. I thought the laser guts were interesting because they were so small. So did you catch that Talea line? An old post from her locked up blog talked about some office machine and rejiggling the bobulator. I wish she didn’t lock her blog. I miss her acid wit in the longer form of blog posts. 😦

    My blog is unrated. All levels of maturity are welcome.

  5. Argh, this posts reminds me that I still haven’t researched your Hulu recommendation.

    Can’t figure the bobulator. Is that anything like a flux capacitor from Back to the Future?

    Oh jeez Allison, you gotta try Hulu. It will change the way you watch TV. Or not.

    Yes, I guess the bobulator is something like the flux capacitor. It was a reference to a blog by one of Romi’s comrades, who’s blog “No Really It’s Just My Face” used to crack me up. Those Canadian ladies are awfully funny.

  6. I think in Switzerland all roofs are rather steep. However, a hotel that my father ran had a very large terrace, let’s say 120 feet by 9 feet, and the snow piled up so high that one could only look out of the top third of my bedroom window. My father was only the manager there, and I don’t know whether he ever had any doubts about that design.

    We snort disgustedly at all flat roofed buildings in our area. Steep roof is the answer. Want steep roof. My roof is not steep enough. 😦

    Was it fun to live in a hotel managed by your father? Kind of a dopey question I know, but there it is.

  7. Here is Heine translated by Edwin Morgan

    Some hae mickle, and to thaim
    Mickle soon sall grow to muckle.
    He that hasna but a maik
    Sall tine his puckle’s hinmaist pickle.

    Yince ye’ve tint the last bawbee,
    Ach man, hang yersel on a widdie!
    Nane but thaim as has, can hae;
    Life, ye gowk, life disna need ye.
    I know the German original but Morgan’s translation, otherwise brilliant, is not close enough to the original for me to guess the exact meaning of his words:

    If you have a lot, you’ll soon have more.
    those who have little, will lose that, too.

    But if you have nothing at all,
    well, man, just hang yourself on a willow.
    None but those who have can have.
    Life, you sucker, life doesn’t need you.

    Hmmmmmm. In English it sounds a bit too rough, but the Scottish text is nice.

    Thanks for posting that here cantueso. I liked that a lot. The Scottish gives me goosebumps. All Dark and Gloomy. And maybe a little Buddhist.

  8. I am making bread, and it includes an egg and some olive oil, and now let’s see.

    Best of luck to you. I hope your bread turns out well. How do you eat your bread? Toast? Sandwiches? Just wondering. I made 2 loaves last Saturday and found no yeast in the cupboard after grinding the flour. So had to run to the market. I took Oliver with me and he waited in the car. I was quick in the store and when I came out a friend from work was loading her groceries into the car parked next to mine. I introduced her to Oliver and he scored about 7 dog biscuits, which she had in her car. She kept giving them to him and he kept eating them. They were different colored soft biscuits with some kind of dog heroin in them. Sometimes the guy at the town dump (transfer station) gives him a boring hard beige colored biscuit which he usually puts down on the seat to save for further action.

  9. “Hello Copenhagen? Are you seeing this shit?” made me snort. This just gets better and better. I will try to keep it away from large TVs, lest I change my mind.

    Hey thanks maleesha. Of course I cannot say with certainty that global warming has caused this ridiculously sticky snow, but that’s close to what I believe. Our winter precipitation has been decidedly wetter over the past decade, and some of the ice storms have been insane. Some of my right-wing friends deny that this is caused by human activity, citing geological patterns over long time spans, ice ages, blah blah blah. I put that on the shelf with the claim that the moon landing was faked. How can people imagine that there is no consequence to all the crap we’ve burned into the atmosphere since the Industrial Age really got going? We’ve shrunk the world in so many ways, but like monkeys fouling their cages. As we see our supplies dwindling what do we do? Throw feces of course! Is technology going to save us? I doubt that. We always seem to take things way beyond the pale. OK I’m starting to depress myself. Back to work now.

  10. Yah, I just got to say about life-time warranties? What a rip! “Life-time” — isn’t that just about like saying, “We stand behind it as long as it works.” Good to know! Good to know where to start lookin for ya, that is, the minute it doesn’t work anymore. Not that we’d be able to find ya. Lifetime warranty. Sheesh.

    Merry Xmas, Dave!

    Well if’n I’d seen ya at work today I woulda showed you the contraption in person. I felt like a 3rd grader pulling my show and tell item out of my coat pocket to show my friends. They were courteous enough to ooh and ah at it, after which they’d hand it back and I’d stick it back in my coat pocket. I do wonder which lifetime the manufacturer is talking about, but if I break it somehow on a super tough clove of garlic, I’m mailing it back to Switzerland and expecting full satisfaction. In 4 to 6 weeks probably. Whatever. I’ll show it to you vermonter and you will be impressed. I guarantee.

  11. Dark and Gloomy and Buddhist? Precisely I thought it was closer to my native Swiss German than both the Germans’ German and American English, both of which come as if in a sauce so that the individual words lose their identity.

    Here is the vocabulary which I forgot to include when I copied the poem:

    mickle: a lot;
    muckle: a really big lot;
    maik: a halfpenny;
    tine: lose;
    puckle: a little bit;
    pickle: a really little bit;
    yince: once;
    bawbee: halfpenny;
    widdie: a rope;

    Yes, Buddhist, not that I really know anything about the practice other than the idea that desire is a potent source of suffering in this life. That’s what I extract from the verse. Same idea as Matthew 6:19. But I’m just a gowk.

    Words in a sauce- great image. That’s the sauce in which you translators work, right?

  12. Ollie. What a great name for a dog!

    Short for Oliver. He came to us with that name.

  13. nice tv.. wish i had one..

    I wish you did too.

    • To JiNtatsu:

      Life is a lot better and lasts longer if you don’t have a TV. How many hours do you save if you give your TV to the poor or if you never buy any ? Consider the time thus saved as a percentage of your free time. It could be 33% or more.

      If you reach the age of 75, that would come to all the free time normally enjoyed in 25 years.

      I guess we can infer that cantueso does not have a TV at home. There are many hours of educational content available on TV too, not that I watch them. TV’s huge timewaste quality has made me the selfish, ignorant consumer that I am today. Misery.

      Plus, one could also use all that saved time to shop for proper ashes and sackcloth.

  14. 😦

    Confession: I just deleted the first part of your well-wishing message on my blog. Remember that my blog’s readers are nearly all unknown people. So your message to me, slightly parodied, sounds like this:

    “Happy winter equinox to everybody and may death find us all ready to go!”

    Change that equinox to solstice and we’re good to go. 🙂

  15. The black and white picture above, the one with all that snow on your house and on a car: is that your car? And are you going to need it anytime soon? Did you forget to put it in the garage?

    Yes, that’s my 1996 Toyota Camry. I was able to get the car all cleared off and ready to go in a few hours after that photo was taken. And alas, in our two-car garage lives my wife’s and father’s cars, along with my bicycles. Wretched excess! In this 3 person family we each own a car. My father’s car gets used by him once a week to pick up groceries. So my car lives outside. 😦

  16. How I eat that bread? Usually in winter I make it sweet by adding raisins and diced dates or figs. I eat it “as is”. Some people would put butter on it.

    How it feels to live in a hotel managed by my father? I did not realize there was anything different about it, though of course it was different: an immense kitchen, immense dining rooms; there were fiestas and immense trunks would arrive with just 1 dress inside; lobsters that came packed in crates and alive.

    You had never mentioned that your father also lives there.

    I thought you would make your own yeast. On the net some people explain how to make it.

    Here there are two kinds of yeast, fresh or dehydrated. The fresh yeast is a lot better.


    Educational content on TV! That’s the remedy that is worse than the illness it is supposed to cure.

    There is something else you and I have in common. Eating bread without butter.
    Thanks for the mini-reminiscence of life at the hotel. I was imagining something like that, with a young cantueso bouncing around in a flouncy sundress.
    Yes, my father has a small apartment in our cellar. He’ll be 80 next year.
    I’ve heard of people making their own yeast. My wife sometimes makes sourdough bread with a starter of wild yeast and flour that’s kept in the refrigerator for months and months. One would get some of this starter from a friend and keep it going. Most of the time we use the dried yeast. It’s adequately active, but I agree that the fresh yeast is better. It’s harder to find at the market. If we ate more bread we’d probably put more effort into our yeast.
    For what it’s worth, I was a TV child. I did spent most of the 80s without it though, and did not miss it at all. I watch way too much of it now, but web-TV is changing my viewing habits. is where I watch about 5 series (mostly sci fi) that I like. I make no apologies for this proletarian habit. It’s entertainment and it’s free.

  17. Global warming is a massive hoax.

    Not nearly as big a hoax as human civilization.

  18. You know what else is a hoax? Paychecks.

    And money.

    And the sea. I’ve never seen the sea, so it must be a hoax.

    All that clever CGI…

    Thanks for backing me up on this NB. I think in the hoax list though money should come before paychecks, no? As for the sea, unfortunately it is real. I’ve seen it. It smells awful …

    Soon, all our leaders will be CGI (as in Heinlein’s The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress- 1966). They’re pretty close now, but still far too cartoonish.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: