Well, it's Monday night, and it's been a nice day off. I got up this morning and joined about 20 people for our Memorial Day Observance, which turned out really nice. I have to admit that I sort of wondered at first if there might have been some other event scheduled there when I saw Congressman Burgess come up and join us. But it was really good to see everyone and talk afterward.
Zen and the Art of [Computer | Toilet | Small Engine] Repair
It seems this weekend was the weekend of trying to fix stuff. It's been ages since I worked as a handyman, and I've spent the last dozen years or so mostly fixing software. But this weekend was an exception.
It started with my gas trimmer. First let me say that I have an electric lawnmower, trimmer, and blower, which are powered by Texas wind. But lets just face it: battery powered trimmers suck big time. They're under-powered. So I still have a Homelite gasoline trimmer. And the damned thing pollutes more in 5 minutes than my car does driving 100 miles. It's enough to make even a reluctant liberal like me feel guilty.
Well, last time I used it, the thing died on me, and I looked down and saw it dripping gasoline. Apparently the fuel line on this thing consists of a rubber hose that is ever-so-slightly thicker than the hole it passes through in the plastic gas tank. It's not a fitting or anything - just a pressure fit into the tank. I'd have never thought to engineer something like that. I mean how hard could it be to just put fittings on the tank and clamp the hose to it?
So I tried to wimp out and take it in for repair at the local shop here in Lewisville, but they just took one look and said "we don't work on that brand". They said I'd need to go to Harry Hines and Royal to get that worked on. Never mind. So I went to Autozone, and Northern Tool and got a few things, including some real fuel line hose. Well, it turns out the stuff I bought wasn't exactly what was needed. It took me several tries, and multiple times emptying and refilling the gas tank, only to find it was leaking again, or a hose had popped off. You know what I finally used to fix it? Oxygen hose. Yeah, the stuff you get in the hospital - the skinny tube that goes under your nose. I used some of that, and some fish tank air hose. Being a pack rat comes in handy, I guess. I don't know if the gasoline will eat through it or not, but it's not leaking now.
So, of course when I get the fuel working, I put it up for the night. The next morning I go out to finish up the yard, and it won't start. I realize that the damned primer bulb has suddenly cracked. Oh yeah, the spool is about wore out, and was always a pain in the rear to wind. So I've spent another $30 on parts which I've yet to install.
Mamask8z has been bitching about our toilets recently. They've been leaking water out of the tank, so that half the time you go to flush, and there's not enough. We had the kind of tank where it prevented water waste by stopping the water from running if your seal wasn't good. It was good for the water bill, but annoying.
So a couple weeks ago, I bought some dual flush kits. These are the kind where you can choose a 1/2 flush by pushing the handle up, or a full flush by pushing down. Up for yellow, down for the brown. They supposedly save a lot of water. Buying the hardware is always the easiest part, right? So Mamask8z knows psychology pretty well and pushes my button by asking me yesterday if I would show her how to install a kit. I ended up installing it.
But just because the universe has a sense of humor, I get the whole thing put back together before I realized that one of the bolts holding the toilet to the floor has rusted to the point where it simply popped off, and now the toilet rocks. So this morning after breakfast, we went and got a new wax ring and bolts.
A couple of observations, and I'm just estimating here, so don't quote me on this:
- When a toilet appears to be totally empty, there are approximately 47 gallons of water left in its innards, just ready to spill all over the dang place when you turn it over to put a new wax ring on the bottom.
- Cutting off rusted toilet bolts in the tight space in my bathroom stall, took approximately every single tool in my tool shed.
- I'm glad my shots are up to date, because this is a disgusting and filthy job.
Anyway, it's all good now.
My son's Dell laptop screen crapped out approximately 200 milliseconds after the one-year warranty expired. I hate to send it in, so I got to tinkering with it Saturday, and figured out that it's the backlight inverter that's bad. I found several sources to order them from, but would prefer to order directly from Dell. However, I don't see a way to order that part from Dell. I also suspect I might want a new display cable. Anyone have a line on any really good, reliable sources for ordering parts like that?
Anyhow, enough about that, here are some links:
Eric Cantor is a dick.
Here's a nice video about bullies from Taylor Swift, who I think is just all kinds of cute:
Road construction plans have Denton County, Corinth, and Hickory Creek at odds.
The state budget passed the Texas House the other night. The next step is certification by Comptroller Susan Combs, and then it will go to the Governor for his signature.
But even though the budget passed, SB 1811 was required to allow for the $4 Billion cut to school funding. Thankfully Senator Wendy Davis filibustered that and killed it for the moment.
Here's how much all the districts in Texas would stand to lose. LISD would lose $22.1 million in the coming year, and $32.5 million in FY 2013. Those numbers represent 15% and 22% of state revenue that LISD budgeted for in 2010/11, and we already had a big deficit.
Rick Perry just called a special session for Tuesday morning to address school funding and Medicaid.
Congressman Ryan's plan to end Medicare as we know it is a dubious attempt to impose Republican ideological wish-list under the guise of "deficit reduction". I think it is pretty transparent to the American people. The conservative 26th district of New York, which had elected its previous Republican incumbent by 76% of vote, just elected a Democrat over this. Here in the 26th district of Texas, Congressman Michael Burgess has also voted to for the plan to end Medicare as we know it by replacing it with a voucher system that does not guarantee full coverage. We need guaranteed full coverage for seniors. Americans need to know that if they work hard all their lives, and pay into the system, that no matter how sick they get, or what financial situation they end up in, they can be taken care of. It's not just the right thing to do, but it's part of what allows us to be a productive economy.
A Marine survived two tours in Iraq, but was killed in his own home by SWAT members who failed to identify themselves as police. The Marine grabbed his rifle to defend his family, but never got off a shot. Police allowed him to bleed to death in front of his family, and did not allow medical assistance.