house work, lasagna, Boston, gun control…

this is really just going to sum up a whole week’s worth of adventures, misadventures, impressions. First…

I tried to fix a toilet. It was leaking between the bowl and the tank, and after deciding it wasn’t leaking from the bolts that connect the two, I figured it was the gasket between the two. So I got the gasket, and an extra set of bolts, just in case. Everything went awesomely well. I got the tank dried out, I got it off the bowl. I replaced the gasket (the old one was cracked down one side and looked rough in general). I got everything back together. I flushed it. And the fill valve/ball failed. So I go to Lowes, and buy a new fill valve kit that is supposed to be compatible with any toilet. Okay, great. $15 for this, and the $10 or so I already spent on the other stuff, is still far cheaper than buying a new toilet. The problem is that while it’s apparently compatible with any toilet, it’s not compatible with any overflow tube.  whoever did the internals originally used an overflow tube that had the flapper literally built around it, instead of off to the side like pretty much every other overflow tube/flapper on the market. So now I have to either get a new overflow tube, or go back and buy parts to piece meal the entire system together. I’m getting a new overflow tube and will have essentially replaced all of the guts in the toilet. Lesson learned. Whenever you have to replace one big component in a toilet, just buy the kit and replace all of it. Saves hassle and money in the long run.

I’ve also been busy cleaning up the basement. It’s a mess. It doesn’t appear to have been cleaned in years. It’s frustrating, it’s aggravating, and it feels like it never ends. It sucks. But I know I’m making progress. I need to go down and finish sweeping it up today. get some more junk out of it. Etc. Then I can start looking at patching holes and maybe putting a topcoat on to level it. I can also start cleaning up the section of the basement that has a sandstone floor, which is also where I need to use a couple of floor jacks to level the kitchen floor. I’ve found a website that is supposed to teach me to calculate dead and live loads, which I can use to determine who big of a beam I should use. So, soon I will be delving deep into the realms of math. I’m not looking forward to this.

On a slightly related note to cleaning up the house, our trash hasn’t been collected this week. Apparently teamsters are on strike, it hasn’t been resolved, and so my big blue container is just sitting beside the road, waiting. I finally fired off an email to the trash people today, bitching about it, and asking how they are going to refund a week’s worth of their payment to me for the lack of service. I got a call back in like ten minutes, and they’re actually taking more than the week’s worth off my next bill (though apparently because it’s easier to take a round amount off played a fair part in this decision). However, I still have a bunch of trash that needs to be put into its big blue tub that is currently full with last week’s trash. As you can imagine, the amount of trash is a bit higher than normal since we’re cleaning up a house that has been vacant for a year and was nearing foreclosure.

Publishers are starting to complain a bit more about Amazon. Here’s my problem, though: they might bitch about it, but what are they doing about it? Not a whole lot as far as I can see. They need to wade into the digital retail space, and assert themselves. Either work harder to make another site (like B&N) the place to buy books, or set up their own sites.  Of course, this doesn’t touch Amazon hauling in cheaper editions from other regions, their tax advantages, etc. But I don’t see publishers really moving to fight those problems, either. What I see is an industry that is crying and moaning while the rats nibble it to death.

No on is talking enough about CISPA. It shouldn’t surprise me, but it does that people get so riled up about the government possibly putting restrictions on buying a gun, but you barely hear a word over things like the Patriot Act, CISPA, etc. The government takes away our civil rights piece by piece and that’s fine, but threaten to restrict what rifle we buy…

Speaking of gun control, yes, senators are cowards. there’s been some talk about why, about how the NRA is too powerful, etc., but I think what it really comes down to is the horrible gerrymandering we allow to happen every ten years when the census come around. Whoever is in charge takes the opportunity to create the most ridiculous and advantageous districts imaginable to all but guarantee the election/re-election of folks in their party while limiting whatever gains are likely possible by their opposition. It creates an environment where 90% of the population might favor something, but senators and congressman only have to worry about the fraction of the populace that actually votes for them, and often only the fraction of that from their own party. This is because with the ridiculous redistricting maps, they are more vulnerable to challengers from within their own party than in the general election. So we have politicians pandering ever more to the extreme elements of their own bases because they know that trying to gather votes from across the aisle is a losing strategy. Want better legislation and better politicians? Put redistricting in the hands of third parties or in bi-partisan coalitions.

Okay, and I just discovered that the coupon for 10% off my next purchase at Lowes isn’t working. So, despite wanting to buy my crap online and just have it shipped to me, the cheap part of me is thinking that I will  have to print off my list of stuff and drive over to the store and buy the stuff in person and bitch about the coupon not working. Which I’m not looking forward to because I really don’t care for one of the people working the customer service desk who is really the least helpful person I’ve met at a customer service desk anywhere. On the other hand,  I could probably bring the lawnmower home with me and be able to mow the yard tomorrow.

Also, Sears has not called me to set up a delivery time for tomorrow. This does not fill me with hope and confidence in Sears.

Financial regulators who managed to find no reason to go after Wall Street executives who caused the 2008 financial crisis...are now getting jobs on Wall Street. Shocking.

There’s a first listen on NPR of the new album by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Love Has Come For You.  I’ve been listening to it as I write this blog up, and it’s good. At the very least, go to NPR and give the album a listen. It’s 40 mminutes of Martin on Banjo and Brickell singing.  Yesterday I was watching a youtube clip of Steve Martin on the Tonight Show in 1978 with Johnny Carson, and the artistic journey he’s made is pretty amazing. I don’t know enough about music to comment on Edie Brickell, though I’m probably going to look up some more of her music after listening to this.

Alright, I think that’s all for now. I need to try to be mildly productive in other areas for awhile.

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