Friday, August 29, 2008

Back off, man!

I have a graphing scientific calculator and I know how to use it...

...Uh, almost. Give Me a second...

(fiddles with "Mode" button and squints through Her graduated bifocals, trying to read ridiculously small text in user's manual of Her brand new SC-6109G)

...Hang on a second... Don't go away...

...Aha! Take that!

(successfully brings up a sine wave curve on the screen)

And that!

(stores the number 543678 in memory and successfully retrieves it)

(finds cosine of 30 degrees and the cube root of 343)


Now if I could only use it to graph a learning curve...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Xtreme Housecleaning...

...usually involves a versatile vehicle, copious amounts of spare time, and occasionally some serious power tools. (Or, when all else fails, a pickaxe.)

Red and I have been Tidying Up around the place. In true Astrejurhof fashion, large amounts of Stuff are being conveyed to locations as far from Astrejurhof as possible, by any means possible.

But usually in My little four-cylinder car, who is celebrating her 230,000th kilometer today.

Yesterday, we took several hundred pounds of plaster, lath and concrete to the city landfill.

Today, we took an old computer, monitor and inkjet printer to an electronics recycling depot, along with a venerable Applewriter laser printer.

Tomorrow, I'm either going to start running new wiring for the downstairs hallway or go out back and build the final wall for the Cat Gazebo. And one way or another, a certain Cavalier of My acquaintance will be going *somewhere* with Me and Red on board.

Because, after a few hours of pulling cable and smacking 2x4's with the business end of a framing hammer, a coffee would be so very nice.

(rushes off to dismantle old couch with an aggressive tooth handsaw and a pair of vise grip pliers)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wreaking havoc in a civilized manner...

...Because uncivilized havoc simply will not do.

Here you see My hallway floor as it appeared at three o'clock this afternoon. I got up this morning with single-minded determination, intent upon doing serious damage to the plaster on the hallway ceiling. After a leisurely noonish breakfast, I emptied the hallway of anything and everything that might be damaged by ancient black plaster dust. Shoe racks, coats, purses, binoculars, hats, mittens, and eight rather puzzled cats. Then I rounded up the tools: Hammer, goggles, dust mask, stepladder, and a tarpaulin and some duct tape to close off the entrance to the kitchen.

And then I set to work, stopping only to grab a breath of fresh air or change the filter in the dust mask (which I did four times before I was finished -- That dust is nasty stuff).

Mass quantities of plaster and lath came crashing down with great force. For the most part the cats stayed well away from the area, going in and out through the rear kitchen door, but occasionally someone wanted to go upstairs and had to be airlifted over the rubble and onto the second-floor stairway.

But by 4:30 this afternoon all of the ceiling was down; the plaster shards, bagged and out of the house; the lath, neatly stacked in the back yard. And yes, I did reveal the Secrets of the old wiring...

...Which is Legion. *eep*

And sometime around six o'clock I finished sweeping and washing the floor, and Astrejurhof got back to normal.

Whereupon I sought out the comfort of a nice hot bubble bath; fell down on the bed for an hour; and went out for coffee with Red.

And now maybe I can get that $%!*#!! study floor finished.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ceilings and floors and roofs... Oh, my!

First the good news: All the roof rafters for Cat Gazebo, Mk. II are now in place. This means that it's now time to build and install the final wall of the structure, and start sheathing the roof with plywood.

Now the bad news. I have *another* project underway... Demolition of the hallway ceiling.

(sneezes out some plaster dust)

You see, the main hallway at Astrejurhof has been in an almost-finished state for several years. I opened up one wall to run some wiring, then closed it up but didn't finish painting it.

Because I've known for at least a year that I would have to go into that wall at least one more time. And it looks like that time is now (give or take a week or so).

While working on the floor in the study, I discovered some disconnected tube-and-post wiring that leads in the general direction of a mysterious and apparently inert light switch in the downstairs hallway. My theory: A long, long time ago there was a light fixture in the middle of the living room ceiling, and the switch in the hallway controlled it.

Well, suffice it to say that certain Springy Goddesses of My acquaintance are not fond of such mysteries. The switchbox is getting opened up, the dead-end tube-and-post stuff is leaving, and new switches and fresh NMD90 are going in.

Along with, oh, some new compact fluorescent recessed fixtures for the hallway ceiling.

And a light fixture for the main stairwell.

And the fixture currently hanging from the study ceiling is migrating downstairs because it'll look much better in the living room.

Oh, what the heck: Might as well add a switch and a new outlet on the inside of the front porch, so I can control mass quantities of (energy-efficient LED) Yule lights.

As soon as I have all the switches in place and the wall re-plastered, Red gets to paint the wall and I get to put the ceiling back up.

But first I have to *achoo* take it down...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

An astrophysicist!

No, seriously. I've been fascinated with the cosmos since I was a wee little goddess gazing up at the stars from My back yard in Otterburn Heights, Québec. I will literally run to see a total solar eclipse, the finest of My generation being the one on 02/26/1979.

I also watched the partial of March 7, 1970 from My front yard via a pinhole box that My dad had thoughtfully constructed. (And then My friends and I went for a shopping trip at Galeries d'Anjou on the east side of Montreal, whereupon I bought a very fine zodiac poster in a style that I now recognize as homage à Gustav Klimt.)

(side note: It's surprisingly hard to type straight under the influence of two picnic mugs full of Freixenet Cordon Negro...)


I can tell you that the bright star in Leo's paw is named Regulus, and that the pretty red one in Orion's right shoulder is named Betelgeuse. (pauses to wave 'hi' at Ford Prefect). I will stop My car and pull over onto the shoulder for a few moments of "Ooh! Ahh!" when a lunar eclipse manifests or an unusually bright celestial object wanders into view.

Ahead of me is a lot of hard work, bringing My math and physics up to the standard required for some serious work in computational physics.

Perhaps I'll figure out what really happened before the Big Bang.

Perhaps I'll build the world's first time machine by taking a shortcut or two across those lovely curves in space-time.

Or maybe I'll just wander over to the M42 nebula to say "Hi" to My old neighbours.