Thursday, September 18, 2008

WD-40 Saves the Day

Yesterday, I spent the day home sick in bed. Oh, boo hoo. That's not what this is about.

Although it is getting to be fall around here, I ran the window unit during the heat of the day. It's a little Whirlpool that drives 5000 BTU of glorious coolness into the room. I bought it around 1995, and it has run full-cycle most summers since. That's a lot of fan time. So it's little wonder that yesterday while I was sleeping the squirrel-cage began making a terrible squalling noise, akin to the sound of a rabbit being eaten alive. It woke me up, carnsarn it.

To troubleshoot, I turned it off then back on. The squalling noise was gone. Because the fan wasn't turning at all any more. I reached into the unit and tried turning it by hand, observing that it was jammed good. I could turn it, but it took some oomph.

So, conjecturing that the squealing was from a dry bearing in the fan motor, I sprayed WD-40 through the cooling vanes into the area where I reckoned the center of the fan was hubbed. A fair guess -- most fans are driven by a motor at their center.

After about ten minutes of spraying, turning by hand, and trying the power switch, the fan loosened up.

Will it last one more summer? Will I post about it again? Will anyone read this or care? Well, maybe the dogs will care. They didn't like the squealing any more than I did.

Where O Where Did Midi Mapper Go?

Today while I was Rhapsodying Santana's Black Magic Woman Peter challenged me to find it performed on harpsichord. Not one to balk at a challenge, I did a quick Google search but only found more Santana and some garbage links.

But I remembered back in the mid 90s that I used to reassign the instruments in midi files - I just didn't remember how I had done it. A little more googling reminded me that I had used the Windows 3 program Midi Mapper. But that program hasn't been available since Windows 95!

MIDI Eddie (Found it at does the trick, though. Provides a nice studio-style control panel for repurposing the instruments and the mix.

Ahh, the satisfaction of rising to a challenge! Nyaah, Peter!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For crine outloud. It's broken. Deal with it.

My buddy sends me his hard drive, OK? And asks "Say, this baby cronked on me. Can you get my data back?" And I tells him "No can do." And he's happy. Silly boy. He lost three months' work.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Biker At Heart

Today is the first cool day since spring in these parts, so I rode my Kawasaki KLR250 to work. Braced by a chilly 58-degree ride on the freeway I got to the office feeling ever so energized.

But my feelings were hurt, oh so hurt, when Peter asked "Did you ride that little bike?"

Size doesn't matter. It's all about getting the feeling of taking a rocket-ride.

Does make me wonder, though... How does the Rocketeer stay warm?

77 Months Ill And Counting

Today is exactly 77 months since the day I took ill.

I have been seeing doctors regularly - some would say frequently - since tax day 2002 in the hope that they might be able to diagnose me. To date, they have discovered a dozen or so serious conditions, none of which is in any way related to what I have complained of.

This year I endured about $17,000 in diagnostic tests. I live half my life attached to a machine to help me breathe, take a half-dozen prescription drugs and get twice the rest of the average American.

It is an indictment of 21st century medication that I remain undiagnosed and am sicker today than when it all started.

I am not Vanda Tortschnekkel

OK. Let's be clear about this right from the start. My name is not Vanda Tortschnekkel. That is a made-up name. I searched to be sure there wasn't a Vanda Tortschnekkel I might be impersonating, and there isn't, so I guess it's OK for me to represent myself as Vanda Tortschnekkel. But I am not Vanda Tortschnekkel. Just want to be absolutely clear about that. Anything I write and sign as Vanda Tortschnekkel is in fact written by a particular person who is actually someone other than Vanda Tortschnekkel.