Just in case you were thinking that we’re getting smarter

ted | Uncategorized | Monday, December 31st, 2007

The internet provides ample evidence to the contrary.

This started out as a semi-interesting read on Canadian Ketchup but descended into your normal HFCS babble. I’m pretty sure anybody with half a brain knows that things made with sugar are “better” for you than the same thing made with HFCS by now. Yeah, shut up, I was reading about Canadian Ketchup. Apparently it’s better than USA Ketchup but not as good as it used to be. Stupid asshole ketchup-eaters. I live in Chicago, keep that crap away from me.

This guy thinks we should change our greeting from “Hello” to “Heaveno”. I don’t read that as “Heaven-o”, I see it as “heave-no”. Y’know, like Worst Buy or Circuit Shitty. Sorta.

You can never go wrong by reading Educate Yourself. Whoa man, dangerous levels of crazy there. No, I won’t even link to it, but here’s the URL: http://www.educate-yourself.org – break out your chembuster, summon up your sylphs & hole up in your orgone generator with a velostat hat.

Happy New Year, here’s hoping that 2008 will bring some sense to the world.

perhaps you also enjoy fixing things and/or are a dude

ted | chicago,house,junk,the wrath of math | Thursday, December 27th, 2007

We’re dudes, which means we like drinking beer and scratching ourselves. And occasionally, we fix something. Or make it worse. But then the leaking gas line helps give you ideas of what else to fix or perhaps make worse.

Fortunately Sears has a coupon for $5 off most things over $5. I printed out a bunch of these and used six of them this afternoon on some hand tools. Getting $90 of tools for $60 is nice, even if the mouthbreathing register jockeys had to ring up each item over $5 separately. One of them was keeping her cell phone in her cleavage, I shit you not.


just in case you were wondering

ted | Uncategorized | Monday, December 24th, 2007

Now you can tell.

my favorite christmas songs redux

ted | junk | Friday, December 21st, 2007



And fortunately a video almost as annoying as the song itself.



ted | chicago,house | Saturday, December 15th, 2007

Started snowing this afternoon. Currently 18 centimeters on the ground and plenty more to go.

(image stolen from the NWS)

It’s freaking beautiful out there. And coming down hard.

I like fixing things

ted | chicago,driving,house,junk | Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I like fixing things.

I like things not being broken first and foremost, but if they are, I like to set them proper again. I especially like doing simple fixes on the cars.

The 2000 New Beetle TDI we picked up last year had a check engine light on for a bad glowplug – the common P0380 code. When Jason did the timing belt (only 20k miles overdue, stupid-assed previous owners) he swapped it out for a known good used glowplug. Eventually that GP failed again, so I ordered a new set of Beru GPs from TDIParts and Peter was nice enough to bring them with him to a wrenching GTG in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Didn’t get them installed that day, as Matt was nice enough to reset the CEL and it didn’t come back.

A few weeks later, the CEL came back.

At that same GTG, I installed a zerostart kilowatt coolant heater in my 2006 Golf TDI but didn’t finish wiring it up.

This past Sunday, 2007 Dec 09, I fixed both issues. I had to venture out to get a 1/4″ drive 10mm deep socket and a can of P’Blaster, but otherwise everything was completely straightforward, as such:

  1. Remove engine cover (2x10mm nuts)
  2. Remove glowplug harness. Pull hard, it’s on there but good.
  3. While engine is still warm, spray the base of the GPs with P’Blaster.
  4. Test GP resistance with multimeter. Notice GP in 3rd cylinder measures 24 megaohms while everyone else measures 0.3 ohms.
  5. Ponder if GPs are numbered backwards from cylinder order, such that cylinder 3 (3rd from timing belt side) actually has glowplug 2.
  6. Remove a GP with the deep 10mm socket.
  7. Put a TINY dab of antisieze on the new GP’s threads, gently place it in the hole and hand tighten. Make sure you don’t let any crud fall down in there. Tighten further using your hand on the center of the ratchet or with a torque wrench to 15 Nm (11 ft-lbs). That ain’t much. Be careful.
  8. Repeat steps 6 & 7 for the remaining 3 GPs, put the harness back on and start it up to listen for leaks.

Still need to get the CEL reset, but there might be a copy of VAG-COM in my future.

The Golf got the final electrics installed for the Zerostart and it works perfectly. It’s on a 1500W appliance timer to turn on a few hours before I leave for work. Tried it out yesterday for about 1.5 hours before I typically leave and the temp gauge was above the “cold” side at initial start, then dropped down a bit but was back up over them by the time I passed Western Ave. This morning with 3 hours of preheat, it was almost completely warm and only a slight dip in temperature once I got going. Thermosiphon really works well for circulation & having a car that’s already 60% warmed up by the time I start the key is great. Just need to get a reliable parking spot at work near an outlet and I’ll be a happy camper all winter.

Ted’s Patented Egg Nog recipe

ted | chicago,food,house | Thursday, December 6th, 2007


  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/3rd c sugar
  • 2 c whole milk
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 4 oz. bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg


Pour bourbon over 4 ice cubes in an old fashioned glass. Throw away the other ingredients.

old grey mule just ain’t what she used to be

ted | computer,house,junk | Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

New cell number in effect as an effort to stay ahead of theman, email me for details. Banana will be getting a fresh format soon, so if you have anything on that machine, I highly recommend you move it elsewhere. AFAIK I’m pretty much the only person that uses it, but you have been warned.

Things fall apart, it’s scientific

ted | computer,junk | Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

My late 2002 vintage iBook is probably dead.

It has finally succumbed to the very common logic board GPU solder failure common to the dual-USB G3 iBooks. Oh, and not only is the charger plug all bent to hell and back, the charging cord is almost worn completely through – so much so that it started arcing a bit.

Yes, G3. I’ve been using a 700 MHz G3 iBook for over 5 years now. For what I “need” a laptop for, this is plenty of muscle. After I graduated, my computing needs at home have been limited mostly to browsing the intertubes, listening to musics, deleting ads for boner pills and sshing into my linux machines. I have simple needs, but a 5 year old iBook without the ability to display video or charge does not fulfill any of them.

I “need” a new laptop. I don’t care about that widely-used OS from Redmond – we already have a wintendo around the house. I’m also sufficiently tired of Apple’s douchebaggery and excessive asshole tax to opt for something else. Lixnu should fit my needs well and has fairly recently become good enough for most Real People to use as their only OS.

I got a couple options. Option zero, which doesn’t solve any problems, really, but might be kinda fun, is to “resolder” the failing solder joints on the logic board with a votive candle and some white gas. This doesn’t solve the sparky charger and most certainly doesn’t solve the 5 year old laptop problem. Lil’ sparky could be replaced for about $20 on fleabay. So for a cool Jackson plus some flammable fun I could have a functioning iBook again… but for how long?

Option one is to see if work would sell me my 4 year old Dell Latitude D400, which I am budgeted to get replaced next year. I might be able to score it from the fine folks in the IT department at work for a couple hundred bucks – they’ve been going on fleabay for about $2-300. Aside from the buzzy little hard drive and paltry half gig of RAM, it’s in good shape and of the 12.1″ screen variety I prefer in a laptop. Drop in a 100+ GB drive and a full gig of RAM and it should be in pretty good shape. However, this hinges on being able to buy it for cheap. Upgrading to a gig of RAM and a big hard drive would tack on another $200 or so to whatever I paid for it and then I’ve still got a 4 year old machine. I’ve also read that the included Broadcom wireless sucks to make work in linux.

Option two is an Asus Eee PC, which would not only be stylish in black, but energy efficient, silent, compact, lightweight, almost entirely open source (by now, or very soon). Low storage capacity and horsepower, true, but I have plenty of storage capacity on other machines around the house and it would be faster than the machine it replaces. Not to mention purchasing said machine from Costco would afford me 90 days to return it should it not work out and a full two year warranty on it.

So,  given a low budget  and low demands, what would you do?

Of course, there’s always option three: use my evenings to practice the banjo, ride my bicycle, cook a delicious meal, enjoy refreshing time with my lady or pet my cats/dogs rather than be on a computer by default.


ted | chicago,Gravity's Rainbow Death Pact,travel | Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

I’m back from France. More details to come later, but suffice it to say, I really enjoyed it. The cats are really happy to see us back (Miebutte curled up on my lap right now) and the dogs are very tired from over a week of playing with other dogs. Otherwise the trip was entirely unremarkable in that our house is intact, all pets accounted for and despite being encased in a solid 2cm sheet of ice, the Golf fired right up and got us home safely.

I reckon it also bears mentioning that on the flight back, I finished Gravity’s Rainbow somewhere about 200 km north of Quebec City. This book has a message and that message is STAY AWAY.

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