Dec. 16th, 2015 11:20 pm
plonq: (Christmas Mood)
It snowed today. Quit a lot, actually.

The drive home was slow, but uneventful. [ profile] atara managed to take a few less-travelled roads to avoid a few traffic disasters along the way, but even so it was we got home considerably later than normal.

While I was in favour or leaving the snow until tomorrow because it is supposed to snow overnight, [ profile] atara was adamant that we should shovel tonight so that we'd have less to deal with tomorrow. She also pointed out that this was a good opportunity for me to fire up the snow blower that I have not run in a couple of years. I was a little dubious about my odds of actually starting it, as it had sat for so long that the gas in it had evaporated entirely, leaving behind residue. I had added fresh gas to it the weekend before last with the intention of starting it then, but I slopped so much over the engine and exhaust manifold that I was reluctant to fire it up until it had a chance to dry.

And then I never got back to it.

The first thing I did this evening was remove the cover and ensure that the spark plug wire was secure. In past, that has often been the catalyst that it took to get it to start. I hooked up the extension cord to its electric start, primed it a couple of times and then cranked it over again and again and again. I removed the cover again and pulled the spark plug so that I could give it a good cleaning. The plug was actually in pretty good shape, but I cleaned it anyway. While I had the cover open, I took [ profile] atara's advice and set the choke to full. I did not think that it would need that since it was not very cold this evening, but it couldn't hurt.

I primed it a couple more times and then cranked it over to no effect. Since there seemed little else to try at this point, I primed it a couple more times. As I was doing that, [ profile] atara mentioned that she remembered it sounding a bit different when I had primed it on previous occasions. I pressed the priming bulb a few more times - in spite of its warning to give it "one or two" presses - until I heard the distinct gurgle of a liquid flowing.

"Great," I thought, "I've flooded it." I had warned her that it would probably give a pretty good backfire when it started. Rather, if it started. I also told her that I did not expect it to start on this attempt.

I hit the start button, it turned over a couple of times and then went off like a small bomb detonating in our garage, complete with a fireball out the exhaust pipe.

But it started, even if it darned near took a year off of [ profile] atara's life when it did.

Blowing Snow
plonq: (Braiiiins)
I had journal entry half composed in my head as I was taking the bus to work this morning. It was a long, thoughtful post full of deep social import.

Damned if I can remember a word of it now. I don't even remember what it was about. That's what my job is doing to me.

So I will bitch about the snow. After a week of short-sleeve weather, we woke to snow again this morning.

Snow? In Winnipeg? In April? What are the odds?!

100% obviously. Still, it sucks no less. Spring is such a tease.

We were comparatively busy this weekend past. We managed to clear just about everything off our "to do" list, including buying some new speakers for my computer. My old ones died on Thursday after making an alarming sound. No smoke escaped, but they lost all volume, and the controls no longer work. I can't turn them off or on, nor can I change the volume. Those speakers have outlasted three computer upgrades, so I can't say that they owe me anything.

We almost had a plumbing disaster on Friday. [ profile] atara went down to the basement for something, and noticed that it smelled more than usual. On a whim, she lifted the cover on the sewage pit and saw that it was filled almost to the top. Given that the pit should nominally be empty, she ran up the stairs and caught me just as I was about to step into the shower. If I had showered, we'd likely have been dealing with a very smelly overflow into the basement.

Fortunately my work phone was already forwarded home, so I shooed her out the door without settled in to work from home. I called the same company who cleared our drain the last time it became blocked, and they showed up within the hour with a root-clearing machine. Thirty minutes later we were back in business.

Later that evening, we discovered that the plumber had left his jacket hanging down in our basement. I called the company again to let them know that we had his coat, and I got their answering service. More accurately, I got a confused girl who acted like the phone had never run during her shift, and who seemed barely capable of writing the simplest of messages.

Fortunately, she managed to convey enough information to somebody who mattered because a more capable person called us back a few minutes later. I explained the situation, and the caller said that the plumber had gone off duty about thirty minutes earlier. When she said that he would be working again on Saturday, I told her that we would be around until noon, and he was welcome to stop by any time during the morning to fetch his jacket.

He never showed.

I am planning to work from home again tomorrow, so I'll call them again in the morning to see if he, or any of them want to come by to pick it up. If they don't come for it tomorrow then I suppose we will just have to treat it as abandoned. At that point, there's little more to do than rifle its pockets for change and donate it to Value Village.
plonq: (Predatory Mood)
Today is a lovely January morning - if it was January, and I was waking up to this in Victoria. Yesterday's rain turned to snow late in the day and we awoke to fresh accumulations this morning. Snow is not unheard of this late in the season - heck, it snowed on us up at Riding Mountain park on Canada Day a few years ago. It's just ... fuck.

I am getting rotated onto Primary support this week, starting tonight. I chatted briefly with the guy who is coming off his stint on primary (though we are going to meet for longer this morning so that he can fill me in on more detail) but so far he says it is much better than it was. For the most part it just involves getting up at 4:45 to babysit a couple of systems, and then handle emails and phone calls from clueless idiots.

The last time I was on primary support we had all kinds of system meltdowns, and people screaming at me for things I was not qualified to handle. It was fun in a way that is absolutely not fun at all. It was the kind of experience that I will look back on later, laugh nervously and change the subject.

Speaking of work, somebody left a bunch of these in the cafeteria on Tuesday.

I am not normally a fan of flavoured coffees, but I am a sucker for free stuff. I grabbed one of them and made it later in the afternoon. It was ok - as flavoured coffees go. I appreciate them a lot more when the coffee is meant to be flavoured, and I am not just inheriting some left over flavour oils from whoever made a coffee before me.

Many years back, when I was still working in our yard office, I used to take my coffee maker and grinder in to work on the night shift so that we could have good coffee. This worked well for weeks, until I wandered into the break room just in time to catch some yutz running a batch of Almond Shitbark - or whatever his flavoured coffee was called - through the grinder. I was so pissed at him I came darned near close to breaking all of his fingers. I didn't break any of them, but breaking fingers is like eating potato chips; hard to stop once you get started.

I took apart the grinder and cleaned all of the parts that I could, but the oils from his coffee coated everything, and it was weeks before we finally couldn't taste hints of shitbark in our coffee. He couldn't understand why everyone on night shift was pissed at him, even when I explained it. "Have you never wondered why coffee shops always have a separate grinder for their flavoured coffees?"

It was an honest mistake, and it showed just how little of those raunchy flavoured oils it takes to ruin a pot of otherwise good brew.

This was the same guy who would use a single scoop of coffee to make a pot that usually needed three scoops. He would make it stronger if it was flavoured, but if it was regular coffee then he would complain if it was any darker than burnt umber when you held it up to the light. His typical modus operandi was to pour half a cup, complain about how strong it was, and then top up the rest of the way with hot water. It occurred me much later that he probably didn't like coffee, and he preferred the flavours because they masked the taste. I wish I could project my brain back to my past self, so that I could stand there sipping my coffee while he complained about how strong it was, and added enough water to make it, well, water. "Tell us the truth, D. You don't really like coffee, do you?"
plonq: (Ninja Mood)
We went shopping at a big Asian market called "Lucky" this afternoon. While not quite as impressive as some of the places out in Vancouver (like T&T), it still manages to pack in quite an eclectic selection. I love this kind of store, from the Engrish labelling to the products that make you look askance. Three of our favourites (well, four if you count the pigs heads below) are the Mannish Water brand of "Ram Goat Flavor Soup Mix" with "artrificial goat flavor & other natural flavors".

Or the bag of gizzards that were declared to be "vegan". I was particularly fond of the bag of powdered POCARI SWEAT, which billed itself as an "ION SUPPLY DRINK".

They have quite an impressive meat selection in this store - much more comprehensive than any of the major chain stores in town, or even most of the local butchers. I can't speak for the quality of the meat, but there is no part of the animal that they don't sell here.
Pig Heads

We celebrated the start of what promises to be a whole week of temperatures above freezing by draggin the grill out of storage. I thought I cleaned it up better than this when I put it away in the fall, but in retrospect I seem to recall that we put it away in a bit of a rush as part of our preparations for our MWFF trip. We did not want to come home to find it buried in snow.

The grill seems to radiate attitude in this picture, juxtaposed against the stubborn mound of snow as if to say, "It is spring when I say it is spring." I fired it up briefly to make sure all the burners were working, but I am going to head back out there once I have posted this entry to give it some spit and polish before we put it to use on dinner.


Apr. 3rd, 2014 08:44 am
plonq: (Wait!)
Hello winter my old friend.

The start of what they are promising to be only about five centimetres of snow began falling this morning. I think I probably speak for a number of Winnipeggers when I say that we are starting to get a little fatigued by winter, and the thought of more snow is met here with a minimum of enthusiasm.

We are still languishing in temperatures well below seasonal norms, and even though the longer range forecasts keep promising warmer weather, by the time the warmer days arrive, the numbers remain the same, but the + is swapped for a -. I snapped a picture of this sign outside my office because I think it sums up my feelings very succinctly.
The sign speaks for us all
I took this shot with my phone, did some cropping and balancing in Snapseed, then passed it over to the Flickr app where I applied the filter that you see here before uploading it. I swore to myself when I un-installed Instagram that I would not Instagramify every picture I took with my phone, but I confess that there is something slightly seductive about how easy it is to apply a faux-artsy look to my shots. Leastwise it covers up some of the imperfections. Perhaps all of the filters in Snapseed and Flickr should be renamed to "lipstick on a sow".

I installed Goat Simulator on Tuesday, and I spent an hour or so running around doing goaty things last night. The game is utterly ridiculous, and loads of fun. I can't see it having a lot of long term playability unless they start releasing expansion packs, but I think it was worth the ten bucks.
plonq: (Groovy Mood)
The world in the palm of my hand - er, my claw.

I bought this crystal-holding dragon claw at the Pacific National Exhibition more years ago than I care to recount just now.


As you can see through the window, it continues to snow today and is supposed to keep snowing tonight. We are not getting dumped on like the east coast though; we're getting just enough snow to be annoying.
plonq: (Creative mood)
The city owns the fountain and surrounding park in front of the building where I work. While the area usually serves as a hangout for vagrants and drug dealers, the city often hosts events there. During the summer they have a week-long music festival in the square, where local bands come and perform during the lunch hour. The folks who organize their winter events are not quite as well organized though.

Last winter they lined the area around the fountain with a dozen or so wooden boxes which they filled with packed snow. I don't know if they were supposed to be part of a snow sculpting project, but the boxes of snow sat untouched for months through a number of freeze and thaw cycles until spring finally came in earnest. After a couple days of rain the boxes disappeared, leaving several messy piles of slushy snow where they had been, and after another week the snow quietly disappeared in the night. If that had been the plan all along then I don't think the pay-off was worth the set-up. As art projects go, the result was rather anticlimactic.

It appears that last year's debacle was not enough to dissuade the committee from trying again this year. Back in November, or maybe early December I showed up for work one morning and noticed that the fountain had been roughly encircled by vertical cardboard cylinders. It looked like somebody had raided the bathroom of the titans and made off with the cardboard tubes from their toilet paper rolls. The cynical side of me thought, "Oh look, it's another ill-fated winter project by the city." On the other hand, one would assume that they learned from last year's mistake. I wondered if they were planning to fill them with snow or water, and that question was answered a week later when I spied one of the flower-watering trailers parked beside one of the tubes while a bored maintenance worker pumped green-tinged water out of a translucent plastic water tank into the tube.

I have always wondered about the water in those tanks. I have never been sure if green tinge in the water was due to algae, plant food, or just a trick of the light. Well the pictures below tell me that it's not just a trick of the light. A couple of weeks ago they removed the cardboard wrappings, leaving a group of green ice pillars circling the fountain.

Icehenge )

Snow =/

Dec. 31st, 2006 06:02 am
plonq: (Sigh)
When I went to bed last night the weather office was calling for moderate snow overnight, with accumulations up to 6 cm, and another 2cm falling today.

When [ profile] atara tried to get her car out of the garage this morning, 20 of those 6 centimetres had already fallen, and it was still coming down hard. Being a good Ohio girl, she tried to bowl her car through the snow and to her credit, she made it almost 7 metres before she got stuck. That's how I came to be donning my toque and gloves at 5:30 on a Sunday morning. >.<

After a few minutes of digging and a couple of aborted attempts to back up we finally managed to get her car back into the garage. This is very reminiscent of the snow that dumped here the day before we were supposed to leave for MFF last year. At least this year we have a snow blower to cope with it -- and for the fist time this morning I looked at it parked in the garage and thought, "Maybe I didn't buy one that was too large."
plonq: (Happy Mood Too)
As [ profile] atara grumped in her journal (with pic) we got a decent dump of snow last night. As much as I tire of the endless snow here, this was my first chance to take our new snowblower out for my first try ([ profile] atara took it on its inaugural run this morning). All I can say is, Oh baby! Where have you been all my life?

Hey there snow shovels... shun!

Bring it on!
plonq: (Sigh)
Cue the music from Jaws.
plonq: (Blah Mood)
We got [ profile] atara's car about 10' out of the garage this morning and, with the help of four snow shovels and two neighbours, we managed to back it in again so that we could take the bus.  The ally behind our house is impassible, and the side-streets aren't much better.

And it's supposed to keep coming down for most of today.  At least they have a a few hours to clear streets before we hit the road tomorrow.  I feel bad for the group who were planning to leave today, though.  Truckers coming up Hwy 75 (between here and the border) described the conditions this morning as "treacherous".

You may have to speak up around me today as I'm still a little deaf.

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