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Replacing the Master Cylinder on [ profile] morgan1's Ford Festiva. Here's a pic:

Now, when I bench bled the Master Cylinder, I got a good vigorous squirt out of the port labeled "A"
However, from port "B" I got nothing, and then later just a trickle.

When I got the trickle I went ahead and hooked it up and proceeded to bleed out the system. LF and RR bled nicely. RF and LR would not bleed-the air comes out-the air goes back it. Also, noteworthy is that after bleeding LF and RR, there was a reduction is reservoir contents, however attempts to bleed RF and LR resulted in no such reduction.

Made a second attempt to bench bleed with similar results as first. There is suction when cylinder is released, but no squirties when it is compressed.

I suspect there may be a blockage or defect that is preventing Brake Fluid from entering the inlet that serves "B" and sustpect I might need to return the part. There are other craftsmanship issues with this part as well, but the inability to bleed port "B" is a showstopper.

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So last night Morgan and I were getting ready to do Havdalah. I was finding the service in my Siddur when Morgan made some noises: "Blah Blah Merlot Blah Blah Havdalah tonight?"

I gathered that she was stating a preference for which wine we should use. I imagined she was talking about about a bottle of Galilean Merlot that we opened a week ago and had not finished. So I said "Yes."

The next thing I hear is Morgan coughing as she runs to the kitchen. She is pouring wine down the sink and the smell of Acetic Acid fills the room. The bottle she has in her hand is from a Baron Herzog Merlot (From Languedoc) that had a little bit left in it and had been sitting, uncorked, on the bookshelf for so long that I had come to regard it as part of the furniture. To say that it had become vinegar would be an understatement. This stuff smelled like the solvent one uses to make joints in Plexiglass.

Had I been paying attention, what I would have heard was "Hey, do you want to use this rancid Herzog Merlot for Havdalah tonight?" It is really a question that should have answered itself in the negative. It should not have survived conscious attention long enough to get asked. But it did, and I spaced it.

We did Havdalah with some Ocean-Spray Cran Grape and I spent the rest of the evening making her drink Bicarb to neutralize the acid.

So guys, when noises come out of your SO's mouth, PAY ATTENTION! Otherwise you never know WHAT's gonna happen.
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Leave it to [ profile] morgan1 and Me to get married on Pearl Harbor Day.

Morgan and I have been together for 13 years, the first two of which might be considered courtship, the rest a de facto marriage. Today we presented ourselves before Judge Gary Bastian and what was de facto is now de jure. Judge Bastian was a fine man, wearing jeans and a t-shirt beneath his robes. He rustled us up a pair of witnesses and we emerged from his chamber Husband and Wife in the eyes of the State of Minnesota. We followed this with Bento at Sakura in Saint Paul.

We were foolish; we told our bosses we would be in in the afternoon. The wedding itself, occuring in Judge Bastian's delightfully eccentric chambers, was more romantic than either of us had expected, and a walk over the Wabasha Street bridge seemed more suitable than returning to our respective jobs, but this we did, because promises are important.

I feel more relaxed than I have in a while. I have health coverage for the first time since August of 2002. I have the security of knowing that what Morgan and I may say to each other in the privacy of our home cannot be coaxed out of us in court. I have the comfort of knowing that whatever emergency may come up, Morgan and I can speak for each other without our authority being challenged.

I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.

Yet, I also feel a little bit . . . well not guilty exactly, but perhaps more wistful. Because I know many of you reading this cannot have those things. This is an area in which Morgan and I have been active, and we are proud to have found ourselves in the midst of a religious community that is also dedicated to making available to all Americans what is available to us. For you I offer these words from the Head Rabbi of my congregation. I look forward to the day when you can join us in these comforts.

If you are surprised or wish you had known or anything like that, know this: Morgan and I are planning something in the form of a religious ceremony sometime down the road. In many ways it is this, rather than today's civil marriage, that will carry the full weight of emotion, and of this you will receive advance warning.

And that, my friends, is why Cat-Tharsis did not appear on Tuesday.
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[ profile] morgan1 just put up a good thoughtful essay on the Mel Gibson "Passion" and the differences between American and European Christianity.

Go read.
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Well, last Tuesday the box I use for my art/music production stuck 4 feet in the air. It chose the all too common Death by Bulgy Capacitors. Nothing for it but to replace the MB (and while I'm at it the Power Supply and CPU fan, seeing as these were both being a bit wonky and may have contributed to the death of the Capacitors). So [ profile] morgan1 and I schlepped the thing down to General Nanosystems, bought the new parts, and with the two of us working pit-crew style had the new mombd and PS in within 30 minutes. The easy part.

The hard part can be summed up in two words: Windows(tm) 2000. You'd think the idjits in Redmond would design the operating system, which is allegedly plug-n-play (hah!) to use a universal IDE driver when it notices that the IDE controller has changed, but Noooo, it's gotta throw a Blue Screen and proclaim that you might have a virus. So here I was with a computer imupudently refusing to boot. So I know I have to flush the day rebuilding it. First install a secondary Win2K install so I can get at my data, join the Machine to the domain, and backup all my data (all the Cat-Tharsis files, and bunch of music of my own and others) and assorted and sundry other creative works to Morgan's PC. Only then can I go through the cleansing ritual of scrubbing the drive and reinstalling everything. Except PhotoShop because Paint Shop Pro kicks its ass at 1/4 the price. Miraculously I found all my media without having to turn the house upside down.

So, long about 3:00am Saturday I finally go to sleep, my system lacking only a decent web browser. (I'll Install Mozilla on it when I browse the web from that machine again. I do most of my web browsing (and development) from my Linux notebook anyway. This morning, my next door neighbor, who believes that her sweat is so powerful that only enough Downy to qualify for a superfund grant can render her clothes wearable after a long day changing oil (she works at Valvoline), decided to poison me by doing her laundry. Aghh, time to get her a new bottle of eco (and lung) friendly fabric softener.

2003 Redux.

Jan. 1st, 2004 09:16 pm
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Today as I was leaving work I cleared my desk of the papers and vessels that accumulated over the past three days, so that I would have a clean desk to come into come Monday. A year ago today I performed a similar task, but for a different reason: It was the last day of my assignment to a food processing company, and it was my final clearing out of my stuff. On December 31 2002 I donned my coat, shut the lights, and stepped off the precipice into an uncertain future. 2003 brought me another six months of unemployment, with a brief stint at a construction design company for flavor. Finally, in July, I landed where I am now - a health insurance loss control company. It's not my ideal place, but cleaning a desk I would be coming back to in 2004 was certainly an improvement over last year's leap at the abyss. So I am grateful to have four days off in which I can relax rather than too many days off filled with anxiety.

2003 was a strange year for that. When [ profile] morgan1 and I tilled the ground and planted our tomato seedlings, zucchini seedling and leek sprouts in the spring, we had no idea if we would still be on this land in the fall to taste those home-grown tomatoes, Zucchini and full grown leeks. She had been laid off two days before Christmas, 2002. After passing seven anxiety ridden months coming up with all sorts of contingency plans, though, we each stumbled into our current jobs; the home grown tomatoes found their way into salads, appetizers, and Morgan and I. (Mostly Morgan; her love of tomatoes is immoderate, perhaps even a little intemperate). The leeks were roasted, braised and stewed for many a Shabbat dinner, and even put in a curtain call in the stuffing at Thanksgiving. The zucchini met a similar fate, spending much of the summer being grilled and served with vinagrette alongside tuna steaks and cod fillets. It too made an appearance, as zucchini bread, on the Thanksgiving table, having been sliced and frozen expressly for the purpose. That's important to us, having produce from the garden on our table at Thanksgiving. Especially so since this year was so difficult that planting the garden was a tremendous leap of faith. But it doesn't end there, for tonight we will be sipping sparkling cider made from the pitted fruit of our senescent Bartlett pear tree. Our land has been kind to us, and we have escaped being cloven from it.

Cat-Tharsis went from concept to reality this year too. Much of my time unemployed was spent developing the concept, developing my artwork (which still bites, but has been improving) and developing the software that runs the site. I thank [ profile] kevinjdog and [ profile] rain_luong for the inspiration, [ profile] morgan1 for all the help with world building and artistic guidance, and Unit423 of If Then Else for the advice and encouragement. And I further thank [ profile] kevinjdog for a variety of opportunities to exercise my creative faculties. They've really kept the juices flowing.

What really got Cat-Tharsis out of development and onto the web was the need to celebrate the life and mourn the passing of Morgan's cat Rodent Baby. When I drew this strip I knew I had to display it, so that was the impetus for going live. Rodent was a high strung little cat, bound to hiss, growl, and spit at every tomcat she's met, but very loving and even a bit needy. Morgan had Rodent longer than she's had any other creature currently living with her, myself included, so the loss was, indeed, profound. Rodent herself seemed content to go, and, we think, has even given her blessing to the kitten, Maeve, that came into our lives in October.

All in all this has been a year of want and of bounty, of death and of life, of turning corners, renegotiating old friendships and forging new ones. I can't really say I'm sorry to see it goes, but I'm curious what the new one will bring; I am greeting it with greater hope than I've had in a while.
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[ profile] morgan1 and I took this. She got Millie, I got this:

What Ozy & Mille Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla </td>
You are Ozymandias Llewellyn, or Ozy for short. Your father is almost older than the world itself, but that doesn't matter much to you. Zen mostly rules your life. Okay, your bossy best friend mostly rules your life, but Zen is important, too. If you are much like Ozy, you too have an Ancient Book of Wisdom. Just try not to abuse it.

So now I know why looking at the strip I think, "this is my life."
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Yep, [ profile] morgan1 and I went to the Lord of the Rings yesterday. It was a long, engaging film and an all out assault on the American bladder. my thoughts are behind the the curtain )
And then I stood up to let people out and the effect of gravity on my bladder negated my plan to watch the credits roll. Morgan learned that Viggo Mortenson did his own singing.
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After an evening of kitten dreidel with [ profile] morgan1 and Maeve, followed by bedecking our house with the festoonery of the hap-happiest time of the year, I decided to give Cat-Tharsis' web site a facelift. I've done all the work on the staging server, and am planning to publish the changes to the production server no later than New Year's day (and possibly quite a bit sooner).

The major problems I wanted to address with the existing site had to do with usability. Specifically, visitors could not discover the links, news, feedback form, or other apparatus without scrolling down past the comic. In order to address this I made a fresh set of menu and navigation images that are significantly smaller than and way less clunky than what I had before, and arrayed them in 40 pixel tall bands above and below the comic; a style inspired by [ profile] kevinjdog's Newshounds layout. Another problem I want to solve is the way my links stay trapped in the frameset my domain name registrar uses to hide my site's internal structure. I think I just discovered how to do this, and I will experiment with it tomorrow.

I'm pretty happy with the new look and feel, most users will encounter the the entire apparatus without need for scrolling. My hope is that if visitors can actually find my feedback form, they might actually drop me a note. I have been wondering about providing a forum, but I don't want to do it if it's going to be moribund. Getting some feedback from users would help me determine whether there is enough interest to warrant it.

And now, the timer having turned off our holiday display, I shall away to bed, where great story ideas will come that I will not have the wherewithal to write down and which I will forget by morning.
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For about a year now, I had a badly screaming belt on my Saturn SW1. Sparing the play by play of the events that moved this onto the front burner, I decided that this was the weekend and today was the day that would change. The problem was not the belt (although it was frayed) but was, in fact, the belt tensioner - basically a spring-loaded idler pulley that exerts pressure on the belt to maintain belt tension. The pivot of the the tensioning arm has a bushing which had become shmushed, rendering the tensioner incapable of exerting sufficient presure on the belt to keep it from slipping.

So why did I wait a year to do it? Because the first procedure I found for doing entailed supporting the engine with a block of wood and removing the engine mount. If one was lucky, this procedure chimed, one could maybe avoid having to pull the power steering pump. So my next door neighbor, a mechanic who takes the occasional job said that If I got the parts, she'd do the work for 100 bucks. Sounded good. We agreed on the Friday after Thanksgiving (also [ profile] morgan1's and my anniversary). The day rolled round, no word. Turns out, she had the flu, and although she said she'd get to it the next day, she did not look like she would be doing anything but sipping hot beverages and taking bedrest anytime soon.

So I did it myself, details within. )

Then came the moment of truth. I turned the engine on and loaded the electrical system and fired up the AC, not a peep, and no parts went flying. I put the splashguards back in, remounted the tire and drove [ profile] morgan1 and me up to Baker's Square for a celebratory dinner.
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Well, I finally got around to fixing the calendaring bug on Cat-Tharsis where the next month/previous month links pointed to nothing at all. I was able to recycle a code snippet from another function to do most of that work. Also fixed a problem with months that begin on Sunday having their final day not fit on the calendar. So, a pat on the back to myself for actually getting that done. Not only that, but I freshened the catboxes, took out the trash, and fixed dinner for [ profile] morgan1 and myself for tonight and tomorrow.

It makes me feel like a natural nerd-boy.
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Drawing the strip was tough this weekend, because my mood was very weird and I could barely stay focused. Wound up finishing my pencilling tonight, which is also when I need to upload. So I inked quickly using Copic's new fountain pen which I picked up at Wet Paint on Saturday, instead of my usual Tachikawa dip pen in Higgins eternal ink. It saved me time which was at a premium, and the pen worked well. Way better than Tachikawa's fountain pen, which clogs if you look at it wrong. But generally, I prefer the dip pen. It forces me to work more deliberately. At some point I'll probably review the Copic fountain pen in [ profile] arttips. I bought it mostly for sketching, rather than serious inking, but it does the job nicely and stands up well to the eraser.

The other thing that made getting the strip out a little weird is that my graphics workstation is wonky. For the past week or so the house has been filled with this, er, smell, whose source I have been trying in vain to locate. Then the spontaneous reboots started happening. I noticed the computer seemed a little toasty, and there was no exhalation from the Power Supply fan. So to get my stuff done I opened the case and I nearby window. This held my CPU temp at a nice stable 94F degrees, as opposed to the 140F it was reaching before rebooting spontaneously. So tomorrow, I guess I need to snag an ATX power supply somewhere. Ah well, it'll be a great opportunity to actually USE the power driver [ profile] morgan1 got me for my birthday.
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For the masochists, morbidly curious, and tone deaf, I am offering these couple of songs. At least until my ISP notices that I'm exceeding my quota. Of course, with there level of attention, that isn't likely. But I'll take them down in a week or so anyway.

Kawishiwi River Blues (1.3M) - Better production values than "Linus," the synth is a SoundBlaster Audigy. It's a talking blues about a day trip [ profile] morgan1 and I enjoy taking up in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. I like this piece better than most I've done, but I'm never happy with my voice.

Linus (1.7M) - A piece of OS filk to the tune of Leonard Cohen's Suzanne. Recorded back in 2001, before I had a decent synth.
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Because [ profile] morgan1 wanted to know how we compared. She got an "R" and therefore seems to think I have "won" or something.

My life is rated NC-17.
What is your life rated?

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My partner [ profile] morgan1 has just joined LiveJournal and has some some thoughts on some of the recently announced arrests of Guanto staffers.

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