Sunday, October 24, 2010

Fixing stuff

Yep, felt pretty manly last week, fixed the washing machine all by myself. Sort of. I had help from the interwebby thing! You should know this my now if you don't: people that fix stuff like to share their knowledge, and they do it on the internet.

Car trouble? Google it. Appliance not working? Bing it. Roof problems? Ask it.

My top half of the agitator wasn't agitating, so I searched "washing machine agitator not turning" and found this guy's tutorial, the first result in Google. Bingo.

Called my favorite appliance parts store, ok, the only one I know of, and they were like, "yep, agitator dogs, $4.22, in stock." Lunchtime jaunt there and back from work in 22 minutes, and maybe 45 minutes in repair time (the most difficult part was putting it back together aligned correctly so the parts would snap together and not just push the parts out. As the guy at the store said, under 5.00 to save the motor? Good deal and smart engineering.

Good deal indeed.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Foodies Battle Over Decomposition, Film At Eleven!

Well, I feel the need to wade into the McDonald's decomposition (or lack thereof) battle going on. I'll just say it first: duh. When did people stop thinking? Here's your chance to do some of your own, I won't tell you what or how to think.

However, I will tell you what I think: frozen patties with a lot of salt that are cooked well will last a long time, especially when they dry out. Buns with lots of preservatives will last a long time. French fries are bomb-proof. The recent "news" about it thanks to this one "artist" is the opposite of actual news.

Here are some links:
http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/can-happy-meal-meme-stand-up-to-the-scientific-method/

with my favorite comment (my emphasis)

"At issue here is the standing of fact in this country. While I would agree that it is true that a happy meal is not a good choice for regular consumption, the fact that it didn't rot under the conditions presented doesn't prove this. Sodium propionate added to a whole grain bun will inhibit mold (almost) as well as in a white flour one. A thin patty of grass fed, organic beef that is over cooked will dessicate rapidly, and show no visible signs of spoilage. Any food sitting inside is unlikely to suffer from infestation. You could have done this "experiment" 150 years ago using daguerrotypes of hard tack and jerky. Engaging in bad science only proves that you have an alterior motive and detracts from the very real issue of dietary quality. I don't like the facts being subservient to the message, regardless of whether or not the message is a good one. All this does is create a world where the truth isn't only irrelevant, but not even acknowledged; a ship adrift in a sea of B.S.

Cheers,

Bliss"
Clearly "Bliss" and I would get along. I like this comment from Sergio, too:
"Well, the burger dehydrated. It's not that surprising and is easy enough to accomplish with most dry-ish cooked foods at room temperature. The fact that it retained much of the same outward appearance as a relatively "fresh" burger off the line doesn't mean it's edible - it means, as Professor Nestle said, that it dried to the point that mold, etc could't survive. It has nothing to do with ammonia, or any of the other elements of McDonald's food that are supposed to render it unfit for consumption.

I'm not defending McDonald's food. I have been known to eat it a few times a year, but I'm under no illusions that it's good or good for me. That said, if I prepare fritters at home, and roast a relatively lean cut of meat until it's well done, and leave these out on the counter for months, they'd probably come out the same way. Once enough water has left the food and pathogens can't survive in it, you can leave them out for 137 days, a year, two years, whatever, and they're not going to change shape all that much.

Critiques of food safety or nutritive content should be based on science, not pure visual rhetoric."

That article references this, someone else I would get along with:
http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/10/the-burger-lab-the-myth-of-the-12-year-old-mcdonalds-hamburger.html
He's doing an actual experiment that might actually explain some causes and not just take photos,

and a friend sent me this: http://www.naturalnews.com/030074_Happy_Meal_decompose.html
in which some granola-eaters (just kidding) expound on the meme.

Seriously, people, are we this stupid or are just some of us?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Talent and Politics

I'm not gonna breach any trust here and actually post the agreement, but I had to note somewhere how I feel and think about this: in this season of political commercials, my agency has sent out a pretty good number of audition notices for jobs in these commercials, and the most current is for a Dem issue ad against the Republican running for Governor.

It's the first time they've had to do this:

"Conflicts: Any Political spot running in the state of Ohio for the past year. Also need to know what other spots talent is in that have run in the last 3 years. Be prepared to submit the attached "Political Screening" form, the "Audition Form" and the "Confidentiality and Nondisclosure Agreement" form." 

None of the NRA ads, Coal ads, or anti-incumbent (D) governor ads have asked for this.

I'm just sayin'

Friday, October 1, 2010

Cars I Want (and some from my pre-driving days)

Funny how the experiences of your childhood show up in interesting ways.

I know that my current desire for old Sport Utility vehicles is a direct result of my Dad's work when I was a kid coupled with some cars owned by folks I thought were cool back in the day. I also think the whole nostalgia factor is huge with many men my age, so let's not pretend I'm experiencing anything unique, ok?

On to the cars.
When I was little we had International Harvester Travelalls, as my dad sold for them until I was about 9. They were huge to me, perfect to go sit in and pretend to drive, and I blame them for my propensity for firmly shutting car doors: those doors were heavy! I have worked to break that habit as an adult, seriously.




We once had a bird fly in the front passenger side window and out the rear window (electric in the early 70s, baby) on the way to a Feis. Memories are dim, but sliding across the huge bench seat sticks firmly.


Maybe once or twice Dad brought home a Scout, my first car crush and the aforementioned origin. For me, compared to the Travelall, that was coolness.

My oldest brother was college age and was a VW bug driver, then a van driver, so of course I wanted one of those, but that wish has been granted many times, so no need to linger on that. A back street neighbor, Greg Janeck, had an older brother who drove what is now my dream car, a 73 VW Thing. Yes, you heard me correctly! Any of these will do....


I'd even take one like this, as long as I can take the kids to get ice cream....
The lovely and talented wife calls me obsessed, but after replacing an engine computer on a 2004 Town and Country, oh, I'm sorry, PAYING to have it replaced, an air-cooled vw sounds good to me.

I'll take any of these as well, if I was doing the Jay Leno thing...better check my lottery ticket!

Now, on to other vehicles!

Like everybody, I think, I have wanted a jeep,


but I've also wanted a Wagoneer ever since a High School friend drove us around in her parents'
and the Cincinnati Zoo had cool zebra striped ones like the CJ above.

Pretty much any of the classic 4x4s are on my want list, realistically or not: who wouldn't want to drive around in a legitimate safari Land Rover or Land Cruiser?



Of course, since the FJ Cruiser came out, I've been wanting one:


That makes perfect sense, right?

Also, I've been saying since the VW bus that my "next car would be a convertible," and while the Thing fits the bill, there are several others I would consider from classic:

Austin Healy, natch,

Porsche, duh,

MG, obviously, or

Triumph.

I very nearly have purchased both an MG in need of help and a Spitfire (brown, like the photo) but practicality won out both times. Cursed practicality!

I wouldn't say no to one of this era, either; thanks to all the Batman comics read as a child, I love this era of autos:

or even a giant Cadillac Convertible like an old musician friend had, he kept towels in the trunk to wipe the condensation off the seats when he got off work at bar closing time.
 
 Of course, there are some modern convertibles I'd drive, first and foremost the BMW Z3