Sunday, October 27, 2013

Me Fix Stuff Good

Fancying myself quite the handyman, I decided to bleed a radiator I hadn't bled before. Got my trusty radiator key, an empty yogurt container (Costco size), a couple of small towels. Same kit I used upstairs the other day, no problem.

I stuck the key in the valve and gave it a turn. Nothing. Gave it another turn. Still nothing.

Turns out the little drain spout thingie had been painted over. I did not know that. I kept turning the key, till water started spraying back out the keyhole. Under pressure, so it was coming out horizontally. Tough to catch in a yogurt container. Even so, the container was full in seconds. I yelled for Stacy. She emptied the container down the sink.

I tried to close the keyhole back up. Turned the key, turned, turned. No effect. Water. Big plastic bowl. Towels. Bucket. More water. Turned off the valve to the radiator. No help. Turned off the heat. No help. Kept turning the key. No effect. Water. Turning the key. Water. Turning the key. Water. Turning the freaking key.

Finally, we turned off all the water to the house. That helped. Water down to just a manageable trickle. (Yes, ideally, I would have turned off just the water to the boiler. But I spent the first forty-five years of my life in apartments. I'm as flummoxed by the maze of pipes in our basement as a desert nomad taking his first look at a Manhattan subway map.)

Watched a few youtubes, because that's how the world solves problems these days. Lots of videos showing how to bleed a radiator with a radiator key. Nothing on what to do when it goes horribly wrong and the water starts jetting out like a berserk dental tool.

Stacy remembered that maybe there was something solid in that first container of water down the sink, like a part. Aha. Made sense. Some little doohickey that filled the hole. That the key was supposed to turn. I had turned it too far and loosened it. The jet of water blew it out of the hole, into the yogurt container, now down the sink.


Called our favorite plumber. He was out of town, but he took our call. Told him what had happened. We needed, he said, a petcock valve. On a Sunday afternoon. We called Pleasants. On hold for a long time.

Then it occurred to me. The hole had threads. Screws have threads. Down to the basement for an assortment. The fifth one I tried did it. No more trickle.

Pleasants finally answered. No petcock valves. But their plumbing guy suggested we try to plug it.

Like, with a screw?

Water back on. Screw held. Heat back on to all the other radiators. Screw held.

Problem solved. And, sadly, I'm once again fancying myself quite the handyman.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Obamacare Info - the official U.S. government website.  If you don't have health insurance through work, go here to find out about state marketplaces, subsidies, expanded Medicaid coverage, etc. The marketplaces open on October 1, for coverage that starts in January 2014.

A Guide to the New Exchanges - Q&A from the NY Times. A good place to start on the basics.

HealthLawHelper - A free site from Consumer Reports. "The new health law (aka the Affordable Care Act) is the biggest change in the American health care system in more than a generation. We’ve created the Health Law Helper to give consumers accurate and unbiased information about this complex new law and how it affects them."

Enroll America - "...a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to maximize the number of uninsured Americans who enroll in health coverage made available by the Affordable Care Act." Lots of helpful information. Here's their Virginia site.

Enroll Virginia - "ENROLL Virginia! is a nonpartisan, community-based effort to educate all Virginians about the new health insurance marketplace and provide free, unbiased assistance with the new application and enrollment process." The website's scheduled to go live on October 1.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Shopping List

Diced tomatoes

(Verbatim from our kitchen blackboard. A little found poem of middle age, in the William Carlos Williams tradition.)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Want To Stop Ken Cuccinelli? Vote For Aneesh Chopra

The Virginia Democratic primary is on Tuesday, June 11. If you want to make sure Ken Cuccinelli's Virginia Taliban don't take over the state, vote for Aneesh Chopra for Lieutenant Governor. Don't vote for Ralph Northam.

This isn't about Chopra's merits or Northam's flaws. It's a matter of Senate arithmetic. Right now, the Senate is evenly split, 20 Democrats and 20 Republicans, and the Lieutenant Governor breaks ties. That's why the job matters so much in this election cycle.

But Northam is already in the Senate. If he wins the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor, and then wins the general election, he'll have to give up his senate seat. There'll be a special election to replace him, and there's no guarantee that another Democrat will win it. If a Republican wins, then the Republicans will have a 21-19 majority in the Senate, and the Democratic Lieutenant Governor won't get many ties to break.

You don't have to be a registered Democrat to vote in the primary - there's no such thing. It's an open primary. Any registered Virginia voter can show up and vote. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

David Stockman, Man In The Middle

Here's a typical left-wing response to the financial crisis: 

Within weeks of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in September 2008, Washington, with Wall Street’s gun to its head, propped up the remnants of this financial mess in a panic-stricken melee of bailouts and money-printing that is the single most shameful chapter in American financial history. 

And here's a typical right-wing response to Obama administration policies:

The “green energy” component of Mr. Obama’s stimulus was mainly a nearly $1 billion giveaway to crony capitalists, like the venture capitalist John Doerr and the self-proclaimed outer-space visionary Elon Musk, to make new toys for the affluent. 

The interesting thing? These are both opinions of former Reagan budget director David Stockman, in the same article. A good read. Stockman doesn't like much that either party has done in the last few decades, and he ends with a grim caveat:

When the latest bubble pops, there will be nothing to stop the collapse. If this sounds like advice to get out of the markets and hide out in cash, it is. 



Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Pesky Domino JavaMail Error

Predicament: you’re trying to use JavaMail on a Domino server, and you’re getting this error:

javax.mail.NoSuchProviderException: No provider for Address type: rfc822

Explanation: JavaMail can’t see its configuration files. They’re there – the default JavaMail configuration files are baked into the JavaMail jars. But the Domino jvm’s Security Manager won’t let JavaMail read its own jars as data.

Solution: You need to modify the java.policy file on your Domino server. If your Domino server installation is in D:\Lotus\Domino, then java.policy is in the D:\Lotus\Domino\jvm\lib\security directory. java.policy is a text file, so you can use any text editor to make the changes.

Insert these lines just before the last line of java.policy, then restart the Domino server. (Note that the FilePermission lines will need editing to fit your Domino installation path, and that Java uses forward slashes in the pathname even on Windows.)
// Per
// following two permissions allow access to default config files
permission ”D:/Lotus/Domino/jvm/lib/ext/activation.jar”, “read”;
permission ”D:/Lotus/Domino/jvm/lib/ext/mail.jar”, “read”;
// following to use SMTP
permission    ”SMTPHOST:25″, “connect,resolve”;
// following to use IMAP
permission    ”IMAPHOST:143″, “connect,resolve”;
// following to use POP3
permission    ”POP3HOST:110″, “connect,resolve”;
// following needed if System.getProperties() is used
//permission java.util.PropertyPermission “*”, “read,write”;
(Reposting this on the new blog because it’s genuinely useful.)