Friday, January 19, 2018

Possibly Better Weather

     Today will be warmer, at least, and the chance of rain or snow is very low.  So we might be getting some high, dangerous and expensive work done today.

     It depends on a couple of factors: wind and temperature.  Surface winds aren't a trustworthy guide to conditions aloft.  Windswept steel warms slowly, and until temperatures break freezing and stay there, whatever ice has formed remains.  Worse, gloves thin enough for the kind of work we need to have done do not provide much insulation.

     So it's still undecided.  I'll hear from the crew's supervisor in about a half hour.  If he thinks the weather's good enough to send a crew up to check conditions, we'll proceed from there.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Lack Of Topic

     That's a topic in and of itself, isn't it?  Or is that cheating?

     -Fresh pico de gallo and chopped olives makes an adequate omelette filling. 

     -There are few things that feel better on a cold morning or evening than a hot bath.  If I ever get rich and add on to the house, a mildly sybaritic bathtub is near the top of the list.  My first real apartment had a bathtub six feet long and nearly three feet deep and it seems like every place I have lived in since has had a successively smaller bathtub.  This is frustrating.

     -That darned calf still hurts and my hamstring is noticeably tight.  Gentle stretching exercises are in order.

     -If I don't stop typing and get in the shower, I'm not going to have time to buy a couple of donuts on the way to work.  It'd be nice to have some at least once this week.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Woke Up Screaming

     It was a calf cramp, of course.  Please, no quack doctoring; I know what causes them and how to deal with it.  Comments are turned off. 

     I knew I was a little dehydrated -- I worked up at the North Campus yesterday, where it is cold and dry; even the enclosed garage where I parked was at 20°F.  My former office and workshop was somewhere between 50° and 62°, depending on which end you picked.  The actual equipment rooms were between 65° and 70°, but very dry.

     Because of the extreme cold, I wore heavy boots, though I changed to sneakers for most of the day.  Trudged through the supermarket in the boots when I stopped on the way home.

     So, dehydrated, muscle strain -- the surprise is that the cramp waited until 3:30 this morning to hit.  I'm still limping around.  The aftermath is probably going to linger.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Three Below

     Yes, -3°F.  It was warmer when I went to bed last night, but it must have been the wrong temperature for the radon-removal fan, which is on the other side of the outside wall from the headboard of my bed and which began to set up a terrible, ringing buzz right as I had almost dozed off.

     I thought it was the furnace.  The replacement A coil for the air-conditioning last summer required replacing the entire air-distribution box on top of the furnace and as a result, the ductwork has picked up an entirely new set of sounds.

     Nope.  Not a duct.

     The refrigerator, perhaps?  It has its own set of sounds, some louder and more worrying than others.

     Nope.  Not the fridge

     So I found myself shivering in nightgown, robe and sandals, standing on the back stoop in the well-below-freezing cold, listening to--  Yes, there it was, drifting around the corner from the open end of the radon vent tucked up under the eaves: a sound like a distant air-raid siren.

     It was late.  I was sleepy.  After an entire thirty seconds consideration, I decided the darned thing was either going to be okay, it was going to blow a breaker, or it was just going to fall apart and in any event, I needed to sleep and wasn't up tp just shutting it off.  I went back to bed and ulled the covers up over my ears.

     This morning it's running fine, as quiet as ever.  At -3°F.  Maybe there was a desperate squirrel draped across the open end last night, or a flock of shivering, vibrating bats in the pipe.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Yesterday Was Too Much

     Yesterday was cold.  The Indy 1500 Gun & Knife Show was in town, and our out-of-town friends, The Data Viking and Shootin' Buddy, headed to Indianapolis to go there with us.  Tamara and I, that is.

     Cold day, snow on the ground: I wore my big, black Milwaukee motorcycle boots, with nice thick lugged soles.  They're not light.

     We departed around 9:30 and stopped for breakfast at Good Morning Mama's, enjoying corned beef hash, breakfast burritos and various omelettes.  And then off to the show!

     The State Fairgrounds were crowded.  There was a big "Garage Sale And Marketplace" event as well as the Midwest Reptile Show (I hope they were bundled up!).  We parked on the far side and walked a little over a quarter-mile, then walked the gun show with the slow and slightly sideways shuffle common to gun shows, farmer's markets, crowded flea markets and similar gatherings.  About three-quarters of the way through, I realized my knee wasn't happy and my boots seemed to be getting heavier; I hurried through and found a chair where I could sit and wait for the rest of the party.

     Seen but not purchased: a number of Webley revolvers in both .455 and British ".38," also known as .38/200 or 380/200, which is really .38 S&W in UK military uniform. Alas, Webleys are usually priced out of my reach and these were no exception.  At least one of them -- a civilian-model .38 in lovely shape -- was entirely worth the asking price.  Also saw a Savage automatic in .380 ACP, which is the less-common chambering.  In decent shape aside form some filing on the backstrap (!), a replacement bottom on the magazine (I've had the magazine bottom slide clean off a Savage auto while shooting; it's a weak point) and good-quality replacement grips.  That one was priced to move -- had I the price, which I didn't.

     It was a long, cold walk back to the car.  We all went to the new Books & Brews in Broad Ripple for a late lunch. I had tasty chicken fingers; Tam and Shootin' Buddy opted for differing charcuterie plates and The Data Viking contented himself with a nice cider.

     By the time we got back home, I was exhausted.  Laid down for a bit and fell fast asleep while Tam and The Data Viking chatted.  Woke sufficiently to make civilized goodbyes and went back to bed shortly after.  And that was my Sunday.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Good Class!

     Yesterday's writing class was indeed interesting, offering plenty of insight into generating solid characters and plots, using three flexible tools -- one to work out a premise and basic character,* one to get better insight into that character, and a useful "fifteen-beat" plot structure that at least provides a start on telling the story.

     The instructor was engaging and enthusiastic, which always helps.  Outside of writing, she's a primary educator, which means (for us students) the bonus of a teacher with readable handwriting and excellent classroom skills.  Add in what I took to be a certain joy at not having to limit her vocabulary nor skirt sniggersome terms and topics, and it was a remarkably pleasant class.

     And it was good material.  Like any other approach to writing, it can become formulaic if followed too rigidly; but stories (mine, at least) tend to wander without some guide.  My outlines have been sketchy to non-existent and that has been a source of difficulty.  This may well help.

     The work stuff?  I don't know.  I haven't asked.  They have my phone numbers.
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* Primarily a set of small-to-middling "what ifs," charted out in a manner similar to a mind map.  Do this through even a few iterations and you'll have generated not just one story idea but several.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Yep, Here I Am

     So, to recap: I've got some Very Important Stuff presently operating under conditions that it should never, ever be subjected to.  There's not a darned thing I can do about it, either, other than make adjustments to the thing that powers said Very Important Stuff, and which will have a negative effect on my employer's product.  They will, however, not have as much effect as what will happen if the Very Important Stuff breaks.

     To add to the fun, the stuff that's not working is powered by transformers that run on three-phase electricity.  The markings on the old ones may not be especially readable.  The new ones must be connected exactly the same as the old ones.  The new and old ones are not physically identical. 

     So what am I doing about it right now?  What I can: nothing.  I'm going to go take a writing class.  Perhaps I should think of the class as Plan B.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Three, Two One...Winter Storm!

     Overnight, rain turned to freezing rain, with turned sleet, which turned to ice pellts and they, I'm told, are becoming snow.  Possibly several inches of snow, and even more further south.  Yes, south; it appears the weather patterns had swept southward and picked up moisture, which is now being dumped at such a rate that the larger amounts will be left before the wave of snow reaches Indianapolis.

     Traffic is every bit as bad as you might expect, except where it is worse.

     And the project I've been making vague references to all this week?  I finally got men aloft early yesterday, during a break in the rain. The temperature at the ground was above 50°F.  They were much colder at 800-some feet, where the wind was howling so badly they could barely hear one another or the walkie-talkie, but we did accomplish some trouble-shooting.  Repair -- actually, replacement -- of the heavy devices I'd sent them up to look at was out of the question.  About the time we reached that conclusion, it started raining heavier and the wind picked up, which ended further discussion.

     What those devices are and what they do, I'd better not say.  But they'd sure be handy right about no -- not personally, but professionally.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

It's Nice Now

     At least, it's nice for January levels of "nice:" temperature above 50°F, only a little wet, breezy but not windy.  It's not going to stay that way.  The next twenty-four hours call for a drop of over thirty degrees and a change to rain, freezing rain, sleet and snow.

     So of course the tower crew calls and wants to meet ASAP.  These few hours are a window of opportunity.  Not much of a window, but it's what we've got.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Ice Fog Yesterday

     So there was no tower work yesterday.  Today, the chances are better, with ground temperatures well above freezing.

     I spent some time yesterday looking at pictures from a remote-controlled video camera well up on the tower, watching various-sized sections of ice break free and plummet down.  It was nothing you'd want to be beneath at ground level and there was no way anyone would have been able to work safely on the tower.

     Today may be better -- but even cold, wet surfaces are dangerously slippery. 

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Fog And Chilly

     And I may be working with tower climbers today.  We'll see -- the weather is iffy and they may want to wait until tomorrow, when the high will be above 50.  On the other hand, there's a better chance of rain tomorrow.

Monday, January 08, 2018

Eggs Pomodoro Deluxe

     Last night, I wanted something warm and filling for dinner.  Even though the temperature was way up -- it passed the freezing mark in mid-afternoon and topped out around 35, which is really nice compared to -7 -- I was still feeling chilled.

     Something fairly simple, something I could make in one pot and be done with: Eggs Pomodoro.

     But not just any eggs-poached-in-tomato sauce.  Nope.  A half-pound each of ground sirloin and sweet Italian sausage, fresh mushroom, half an onion, a few cherry tomatoes and once that was all cooked, a bottle of "everything" spaghetti sauce.  The resulting mixture is thick and meaty, and once you've poached eggs in it -- I like them nearly hard-cooked, which is barbaric but freezes okay for the next day -- and served it with shredded Parmesan cheese, you have a meal that will warm you up and remind why it matters.