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(20)13 Going On 30(th Birthday)

April 27, 2013 at 12:00 AM

(NOTE #1: I have scheduled this post to appear at midnight, when it is April 27 where I live.)

(NOTE #2: Heh - when writing this entry, I thought I was just parodying a phrase. I later decided to look it up...and realized that I was actually parodying the title of a movie =P)


Thirty. Years. Am I really that old? ;)

...

It's been a long time since I've posted a new entry here; my most recent entry prior to this one was in 2011, for my 28th Birthday. Due to the length of time it took me to create new entries, I had lost interest in updating my blog. However, I'm still active...but mostly on sites other than my own (since the only page on my site that's updated on a regular basis is the page for my S.O.N.A. =P).

...

Since it takes me so long to create new entries (mostly due to the amount of content I include in them), I've been wondering: in order to be more active on my blog — and, by extension, the rest of my site — should I post shorter (but more frequent) entries in the future?

...

Finally, as for what happened on (or near) my 30th Birthday...I'll get to that in a week or two, once those events have already taken place ;)

27 (Years) + 365 (Days) = 28(th Birthday)

April 27, 2011 at 12:00 AM

(NOTE: I have scheduled this post to appear at midnight, when it is April 27 where I live. I'll update it with what happened on my birthday later in the week.)


This time, it's been exactly one year since my last post =P

(In that post, I promised that I'd cover any personally-important events that occurred between it and the one before it...but I'm still getting sidetracked with stuff, so I'll have to break that promise =( )

27th (Birthday) on the 27th (of April)

April 27, 2010 at 12:00 AM

This will be the only year of my life where my age and day of birth are the same number ;P

...

Also, this is my first post in almost an entire year - I've just been sidetracked with so many things lately that I forgot to keep my blog (and, more importantly, my site) up to date. I'll cover what happened on my birthday - as well as any important/interesting things that happened since my last post - in my next post.

Happy (Belated) 26th

May 1, 2009 at 8:54 PM

I didn't feel that enthusiastic about my birthday this year...at least for the days leading up to it. Fortunately, my birthday was still really nice =)

Here's what I did:

On the 26th, we went to Red Lobster. I got a lobster tail and shrimp dinner, just like I did for my 25th birthday...but didn't get any cake or a song this time around, as they no longer seem to be doing that. That wasn't a problem, as we just went to a nearby ice cream shop and got some ice cream there - I got strawberry, which I haven't had in a while.

On the 27th, Mom made T-bone steaks and baked potatoes for supper - they were real good, thanks to a book she read about how to cook steaks =)

As for what I got:

  • Money: Because I'm not an easy person to buy gifts for ;)
  • Gift Cards: See above ;P
  • Lottery Tickets: Even if I don't win (and I didn't, this time), it's still fun to scratch them off.

Surprisingly, I didn't get clothes this time =O I can do without more clothes for a while - I've got plenty as it is.

As for the "main" gifts:

  • HP Jetdirect ew2400 802.11g Wireless Print Server (J7951G): Before I got this, sharing the printer between my two desktop computers was a mess. I'd have to leave the new computer on all the time (since the printer's plugged into it) and use the "net use" command on the old one to allow it to connect. That doesn't seem like much of a problem...except the password it requires is the one used for my account on the new computer, and it asks for that every time someone logs in to the old computer. I tried using a batch file for this (so I wouldn't have to type in the password every time), but couldn't get it to work.

    With the print server, I can plug the printer right into the router, solving both of these issues - I don't have to leave the new computer on all the time or type in that password anymore, just to be able to share the printer =D

  • WD My Passport Essential Portable 320GB Hard Drive: It looked larger in the pictures...but the actual drive is small! Unlike my current one, this one will be used when doing computer troubleshooting (or backing up data) at other people's homes - that way, I can leave my main external hard drive at home, since that one's not meant for portability (not to mention it has stuff from both the old and new computers backed up to it).

I also got a card from another relative, two days after my birthday, with some more money. As for the card...heh, it seems to be following the same theme of (almost) all of the birthday cards I got ;P

That's all for now =)

(Up to) Christmas 2008

March 25, 2009 at 5:28 PM

I've just been busy lately, so I really fell behind on stuff - 2009 hasn't been off to a good start =(

One thing I'm going to try is shorter (but more frequent) posting, so there's not such a long delay between blog updates.

As for what's been going on:

Not much has happened since then...other than fixing up some people's computers, along with getting paid for some work I did at the Katbox - maybe I should go and do some work on my own =)

Also, as I promised in my previous post, here's what I got for Christmas last year (some details and gifts are left out, as I've forgotten what they were):

That's it for this entry.

Can’t Wait to End ’08

January 1, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Happy New Year!

Unfortunately, just like last year, this one was busy as well...and I've continued to fall behind in stuff I wanted to get done this year =(

The list of Christmas gifts I got - and anything of interest that's happened lately - will be held off until my next post.

Here's hoping 2009 will be better =D

Back from the Beach

October 5, 2008 at 9:10 PM

I'm back from my vacation! Well, I've been back since the 20th...and forgot to post how it went until now ^_^;

On the 13th

My parents and I went down to Nags Head, North Carolina - they were arguing quite a bit on the way there due to the directions we were using. For the trip, my boss lent me his GPS (a Mio DigiWalker C230). Two other families rode with us - one got lost and it took a bit of time before we were all back together.

As for the GPS: its directions and the directions we were given didn't match up. In an attempt to try and match up its route with ours, I added points from our directions to its directions. Unfortunately, its directions kept backtracking and recalculating...but that was due to selecting the wrong roads - in its overhead view, if not zoomed in enough, two separate roads for the same highway show up as one. I fixed these points as they came up, but route recalculations still happened due to taking roads not explicitly listed in our directions. Other than that, though, its directions were pretty good.

We made it to our beach home in the evening, though we would've got there sooner if no one got lost. The house had quite a few rooms - each bedroom had a small TV (with a larger one in the kitchen, which was at the top floor), one or two bathrooms on each floor, and a pool table in a room on the first floor...with doors leading to an outside pool and hot tub.

We got groceries, ordered pizza (from the Slice Pizzeria), talked for awhile and watched TV. I messed around a bit on the laptop (unfortunately, there was no Internet access here) before going to bed.

On the 14th

We went to the beach! After being in the water for a good portion of the time, I laid down for awhile. Afterwards, we went back to the house and had tacos and watermelon; the tacos just had the meat and sauce that was mixed in during cooking, so everyone could add their own vegetables and toppings (which I left out of mine, since that's all I wanted). We watched TV for a bit before getting in the hot tub - after being there for awhile, I went back inside, watched some TV and went to sleep.

On the 15th

We went to the beach again. Like yesterday, I was in the water for most of the time, then went back to the beach to lay down for a bit. Awhile later, we went back to the house and got ready to go out to eat at the Red Drum Taphouse. I got ribs and fries and - since I didn't have that much on my plate and they had too much - some of Dad's fries and some of both parents' ribs (which helped even it out among us).

Before going back to the house, we ordered some more groceries. After we got back (and put away the groceries), I got a snack and watched TV upstairs for a bit, followed by going back to my room to watch some more TV before going to bed.

On the 16th

Due to the weather, we didn't go to the beach this time - however, we did go to the North Carolina Aquarium at Roanoke Island. We walked around and looked at the various marine life (including fish, seahorses, alligators, snakes, and turtles) - in one tank, we saw horseshoe crabs and rays. I managed to get picture of a horseshoe crab after it got flipped over but right before it managed to right itself! Later on, I went to pet one of the rays - it felt slimy. One of the rays that Dad was suggesting to pet had been hiding under the sand..and just a moment after he had petted it, it went crazy and flapped around, splashing a bit of water out when it reached the surface - it was pretty funny!

After that, we went back to the house, watched TV, and ate lasagna - they bought and prepared the stuff for it yesterday, but cooked it today. Then, I went to move some of my stuff to the downstairs bedroom (technically a kid's bedroom) since no one else was using it. It was actually better than the room I was staying in since the beginning of the trip: the bed was larger (technically a bunk bed, but the bottom one was still larger than the one I slept in) and I'd have that floor's bathroom to myself. We later watched a bit of a DVD (part of the house's collection) about the Wright brothers.

After that, I had a snack, watched some more TV and got my shower...but forgot to ensure the shower curtain was inside the bathtub - only after I was done did I notice the water on the floor! Though some of the floor was still dry, most of it was a bit wet and water started seeping out into the hallways. I panicked a bit before getting a few nearby towels and draping them on the floor, followed by leaving the bathroom fan on and its door wide open, to help dry it out. I waited 30-45 minutes - by then, most of the water on the floor had either been absorbed by the towels or had evaporated. Relieved that this little mess was now cleaned up, I shut off the bathroom fan (and its light) and went to bed.

On the 17th

My parents woke me up early today, since we were going to have an early breakfast - in this case, it was at Sam and Omie's. I got two eggs (over easy) and sausage (shaped like discs, which I found unusual), with grits and biscuits (shaped like cubes) as sides. After that, we went back to the house and I played pool with Dad for a few games - he did a lot better, though I won on technicalities (he accidentally put in the eight ball one game, then the cue ball when he was going to put in the eight ball...which are usually things I end up doing).

Later on, I went with Dad to go fishing at the Nags Head Fishing Pier - he had his own fishing rod and I rented one (each rod had two hooks). We fished for 2-3 hours, got lunch at the restaurant connected to it - I got a grilled cheese sandwich and fries - and then went back out. We fished for 2-3 more hours before going back to the house. In the end, Dad caught five fish and I caught four - we threw them back in after catching them. Though he got more, I did two things he didn't: I caught a flounder, and - since these were two-hook rods - I was lucky enough to catch two fish at the same time (one on each hook) in a single cast!

We then went back to the house for supper, having small cooked chickens (I can't remember what they were called), potatoes and carrots. I watched TV for a bit, followed by being called back up by my Dad to play LCR (a dice game) with two of my parents' friends. The game went on for awhile - Dad and I each won at least once - before I went back downstairs, watching a little more TV before going to bed.

On the 18th

Again, I had to get up early...but an hour later than yesterday this time. After getting some cereal, my family and I went to the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. Before we got there, though, we bought a few snacks; I got a slice of pizza (from Giant Slice Pizza) and a strawberry lemonade (from the Fudgery), finishing both of them right before going inside the lighthouse. I took a few pictures after reaching the top, while going back down and after going outside of the lighthouse.

We went back to the house for awhile - I watched TV, then heated up a small piece of lasagna. After that, we went to the beach and I laid down - it was too windy to go in the water this time around. When getting up to turn over, Dad threw a small pebble at my back and acted like a bird had pooped on me - I worried for a moment, thinking my back was wet from the poop! Only then did I find out what actually happened, Dad and Mom both laughing because of it. After that, I laid on my back for awhile before getting ready to head back to the house. Once I got back there, I rinsed off the sand and got in the hot tub for a little bit.

In the evening, I got my shower and went to Jockey's Ridge with my parents. After a long walk, we got to a sand dune and tried to fly the kite we brought (I've had it for quite awhile). Before doing so, we replaced one of the wooden rods (which had become rotten) with the only spare one we brought. Unfortunately, it was really windy at this time - we only had it up for a few seconds before that rod broke and the kite crashed! Following that, we put the kite away, but couldn't find the broken rod - it must have fell out after it snapped. After that, I walked up another dune with Mom, looked around for a moment and then we ran down the dune together - Dad got a picture of us as we were running. We got there pretty late, so we already had to leave since it was about to close (at 7:45 PM).

Afterwards, we went to get seafood, but the place we considered going to had a 45-minute wait and it was late enough as it was. We decided to hold off eating seafood until tomorrow and went to a pizza shop instead (New York Pizza Pub) - after having pizza, we got sundaes at a nearby Dairy Queen and went back to the house. After that, I watched some TV before going to bed.

On the 19th

I got up early again, having scrambled eggs and potatoes for breakfast this time. After that, I went with one of the families (friends of my parents) to the Wright Brothers National Memorial - we went to the to museum first for awhile before going to the pavilion. Afterwards, we came back to the house and had breadsticks for lunch.

For supper, we decided against going to the seafood buffet, instead going to a seafood restaurant (Awful Arthur's). I got fried shrimp, fried softshell crab and scallops - though I never tried the last two before, they were actually pretty good! When we were done there, we went back to the house...but we weren't there too long - I had to go with Dad to a nearby Staples in order to file for my unemployment compensation. The last time I missed filing for it required making a few phone calls so I could continue to file; I can only file for it once every other week and - unfortunately for me - that week was this one. They would be closing in 20 minutes and it was the only time I was online...with just enough time to get things set up and get it filled out. Relieved that this was now taken care of, we went back to the house - I watched some TV before going to bed.

On the 20th

We packed up our things and headed back home! Once again, my parents had an argument regarding the directions...but this time, we got lost! Eventually we got home and unpacked our stuff, and I took the rest of the day to catch up on things I missed while on vacation.

It was busy, but still a nice trip =D

Back to the Beach

September 10, 2008 at 9:15 PM

From September 13-20, I'll be on vacation in North Carolina! Just like last time, I'll be with my parents and a few of their friends in beach houses =)

There's no way to determine whether we'll have Internet access in the house we'll be staying at, so I'm going to be on the safe side here and assume that they won't have it =(

(On the plus side, that would ensure I can relax while I'm there - after all, isn't that what a vacation is for? =P)

Hopefully this vacation will be as nice as the other ones have been =D

Finally!

August 1, 2008 at 2:11 PM

I got new glasses on the 2nd of June...and later saw that there was a crack inside the top of the lens, which I didn't notice at first. Originally, I thought the outside was cracked - however, after running my finger along both sides of the top edge of the lens, I couldn't find any defects on the outside. Mom and I took them back to get this fixed; I had to wear my previous set of glasses until the new ones were ready. The week after, Mom picked up the replaced pair...which had the same flaw - they were replaced, though, since the crack was smaller this time. We took them back again and asked them to look at the frame.

A week later, we got the replacement pair - I went with Mom this time to make absolutely sure they were OK. Fortunately, there's no flaw this time around - from what I was told, the crack was most likely a problem resulting from the "threading" line in the rim, that probably pushed into the lens and cracked it from the inside. That would explain why they didn't notice it when assembling the glasses - the lens itself was defect-free prior to being inserted into the rims.

Near the end of the month, on the 27th, I finally got my new bedroom dresser. The last few times my parents went to pick it up, there were flaws - pieces were scratched or nicked, and in one case the finish was missing where the drawers pushed into the dresser, as if the finish was applied without even taking out the drawers. This time, though, it looks just fine. All that's left are two pieces for my bed - when those are ready, I'll have all of my new bedroom furniture =)

On the 9th of July, Dad finally got the new downstairs bathroom fan installed. We purchased a new one two months earlier and, for a one-to-two week period prior to getting it installed, we had no fan in that bathroom as the old one had been removed. During that time, we had no fan or fan light, the room tended to steam up quickly (even with the door wide open) and the only light we could use was from the one above the mirror. Even after it was put in place, it still didn't work properly - one of the pieces seemed to have too much room inside of it (likely a manufacturing defect, since it wasn't the result of how it was assembled), causing the fan to make a lot of noise while in use (much like the old one, before it was replaced).

Rather than take the whole thing down, Dad just took the problematic part back, got a replacement, put it in, and now the fan works great! Unlike the old one, it's pretty quiet - the sound of the shower water running is louder than the sound it makes. All that's left is the upstairs bathroom fan - it wasn't loud like the downstairs one was, but it takes a long time to completely start up (about 10 seconds, just making a humming noise until then). It's the same design as the old downstairs fan and probably put in at the same time, so it's no surprise that they've been breaking down at about the same time.

Dad didn't want to have to keep wearing glasses, so on the 11th, he had eye surgery done - the procedure was PRK. He actually considered getting LASIK, but was told to have this procedure done instead due to the thinness of his corneas. Mom and I went with him but, unfortunately, we couldn't actually see them perform the procedure.

After waiting for awhile, it was finally done...and we found out what took so long: most of the time spent was for preparation. The approximate time for the process itself was about five minutes, with the actual time working on the eyes being about 26 seconds per eye. Until his eyes have completely healed, he will have to wear protective lenses when sleeping (to keep him from unintentionally rubbing his eyes), take a few different types of drops every so often and - for a full year - wear sunglasses when going outside.

During the second work week of July (from the 7th to the 10th), I was told that the filing I've been doing at my job is not a temporary thing - I'll be doing this every day. For that matter, I was also told that I'm not filing fast enough - but how could I have known when I haven't seen anyone else do the same type of filing?

After finding these two things out, I lost a little interest in the job...and then found out that my hours would be reduced to 3 per day (down from 5.5 per day) - I still start at 10:00 AM, but I'm done at 1:00 PM (instead of 4:00 PM). After hearing that, I actually considered quitting...but didn't - I won't be able to collect the rest of my unemployment compensation (from my previous job) if I quit, my co-workers and supervisor like having me there, and my boss will give me a good reference for my future job if I continue to work there. He had talked to Mom about this and, due to these circumstances, has no problem with me looking for another job while working at this one.

"Home" Work (Well, Close…)

May 20, 2008 at 9:51 PM

In order to collect my unemployment compensation, I had to go down to the local CareerLink on May 8 - it was basically a "class" to help those of us who were unemployed find work, both through CareerLink and by other means. At least now I can get my money for unemployment =)

However, that's not going to matter that much as of late, because my break is over and I'm no longer unemployed - I'm back to work.

First, though, here's what has been going on lately:

(more...)

‘top Transposition, Then Tuneup

May 18, 2008 at 7:05 PM

After I got my new computer working, I started to take care of a few things with my older ones =)

Rather than wait until after I got all my files transferred to switch my new and previous desktops around, I switched them around when my parents were gone last week. It took awhile to untangle the cables before moving them, as well as minimizing future entanglement afterwards, but I got it all taken care of. After doing that, I set up my stuff on my new desktop, but left my parents' stuff on the previous desktop for now. The new system runs so much faster in places =D

Then, I got to work on my laptop: since there was nothing important on it (or so I thought), I decided to start anew - I formatted and (re)partitioned the drive, reinstalled Windows and Ubuntu (in that order) and took care of getting them both updated. Hopefully I'll be able to get into using it this time, as it's been sitting around for quite awhile. At the moment, I'm missing a few drivers for Windows and will have to look around for them, as I never got a drivers disc and do not know the exact driver names (I knew I forgot something important...). After hooking up a spare network cable and letting the "Hardware Update Wizard" search Windows Update for drivers, I managed to get one for the wireless card. Unfortunately, Windows Update didn't have any of the other ones, especially for the monitor - things are slightly blurry as the resolution's lower than what it should be, which I can't fix without the right driver =(

Then, on the new desktop, I set up a program called The Font Thing to better manage what fonts I'm using, as it can:

  • Show a list of font names, font filenames and whether or not they're currently installed,
  • Allow for quick installation/uninstallation of fonts,
  • Save a list of fonts as a "collection", allowing for quick installation/uninstallation of a specific set of fonts,
  • Show some sample text using that font, to quickly preview how it will look (regardless of whether or not the font is installed), and
  • Allow the user to type in some text - and even set its size - to see exactly what the font will look like when in use.

On my previous desktop, I ended up installing hundreds of fonts (literally - there's 300-400 fonts I had installed that weren't there by default) just to make sure I had the ones I needed, which were a handful out of that list. Having all these fonts installed at once is probably partly responsible for the slowdown of many applications (and the OS itself) on my previous computer, and that's why I'm using a separate program to manage them now - it should be much easier to work with them, especially since I can see what they'll look like before installing them and can install/uninstall a specific set at any time.

For that matter, I'm going to have to get the previous desktop back into working shape for my parents to use: I'll have to back up its contents, format the drive, reinstall Windows and only install the programs my parents will need, to ensure this won't happen again. Installing a lot of programs (and fonts) seemed like a good idea at the time, but it just caused more problems than it solved.

For the new desktop and (to a lesser extent) the laptop, I will be using VirtualBox, Virtual PC and VMWare Player for testing applications to see if they'll work properly on a virtual copy of the OS before installing them on the actual OS, as well as to get just the files I need from self-extracting executables (since they tend to create a lot of clutter in the process).

If all goes well, I'll be able to spend less time maintaining my computers and more time working on my projects =)

Better Late than Never…

May 17, 2008 at 1:46 PM

I just had to wait a little longer: on the day after my birthday, my computer finally arrived =D

Unfortunately, it was just the computer - my flash drives, video card and speakers didn't come with it =(

The mouse that came with it was just a regular mouse (two buttons plus the wheel), so I'll be using the spare one I mentioned about earlier. The recycling "package" was just a large mailing envelope with some shipping labels and instructions on what to do - I'll have to find two spare boxes somewhere for shipping the old computer, since I won't be able to ship them in the same box given their size (and weight, in the case of the monitor).

I hooked up what I had, started it up, and was surprised at how loud the tower was - it's actually very quiet, aside from the short (but still relatively quiet) burst of noise when it starts up. After going through the initial setup process, I shut it down, unplugged all of the cables, opened the side of the case and swapped out the two 512 MB sticks of RAM for four 1 GB sticks of RAM. Unlike every other time I've had to mess around with RAM, it took quite a bit of force to push them in...but at least I won't have to add any more in the future. After that, I put the side of the case back on, plugged all of the cables back in, and started it up again - it's working great so far.

...

Oh, remember what I said earlier, about just having to wait a little longer? Well, aside from getting a few more cards over the next few days, I also got the remaining parts: the flash drives arrived the day after I got my computer, and the speakers and graphics card came in the day after that =D

The subwoofer was heavy...and had a few more connections than my previous one - the same went for the speakers. Once I got them hooked up, I went to put in the graphics card before starting the system up.

The graphics card was bigger than I thought - half of its depth was from the heatsink alone, which caused the entire card to take up two card spaces in the back. On the other hand, it seems this type of motherboard was made to take this into account - the slot for the card fit properly (though I had to push it in a bit, to properly lock around the little "clasp" piece at the end of the slot, which I've never seen for a card before); the slot for the heatsink, however, was really small - I assume it's for cards which have a second piece to connect to the board, since my card didn't have that piece. The ports (two DVIs, one S-Video) were visible from the one opening in the back, while part of the heatsink was visible from the other opening.

Prior to getting the new card, I used the original VGA connection, which was getting some odd kind of interference during use - it was most noticeable around the icon text (white text on a dark gray background, which was the "Inspiron" wallpaper installed by default on the system), but went away after awhile...and came back if the monitor was off (well, in sleep mode) for awhile. After putting in the new card, I decided to switch out the VGA cable for a DVI cable (both came with the monitor) - it was a tight squeeze since the plug is slightly longer, but after starting up the system, the "interference" problem was gone! The screen resolution was reset, but that didn't worry me - I expected that would happen, and could be fixed after installing the drivers (which, after doing so, automatically offered to set the resolution back to its highest, which is what I had originally set it to). Also, the contrast appears much better with the new connection for some reason - in one case, I had an image that looked just white with the VGA connection, but is actually white with a few very light (but clearly visible) colors with the DVI connection. If the DVI connection really makes that much of a difference, I'm going to see about getting a similar graphics card (with a DVI connection) for my previous computer.

Back to the speakers: once I got the graphics card in, I plugged in the speakers (which gave off a fairly loud "pop" - it does this every time it's turned on and is something my previous computer's speakers didn't do), plugged the audio jack into the computer, and started it up. After taking care of the graphics card setup, I tried finding something to play on the speakers - Mom suggested a song she downloaded. I played it, followed by adjusting the speaker volume (and subwoofer volume, both controlled from the right speaker), and both of us thought it sounded good - Mom said she thought she could feel the floor vibrating just a bit from the subwoofer's bass (pretty good for the subwoofer, considering it sat on the carpeted part of the floor).

I also noticed a few nice things for sound control: the multimedia keyboard had controls for sound (a dial for volume, plus a button to mute volume entirely), stop/play/pause/rewind/fast-forward buttons for playback, a "music" button (which I haven't figured out the purpose of yet) and the right speaker had two audio jacks - one which shuts off and redirects sound from the speakers (for use with headphones) and one which lets the sound from the computer continue playing (for use with music players). It also had controls for web browsing and common functions ("My Computer" and the calculator)...though I doubt those will be used as much.

So far, the system's been working great! =D

Five Squared Equals…25!

April 27, 2008 at 10:23 AM

Wow - as of today, I'm a quarter-century old! =o

Things got shifted around a bit this weekend...

Since Dad had to leave early for work yesterday and because there was a dinner at church today, we had to go to Red Lobster on Saturday (instead of today)...and it was an early supper instead of a late one. I got the lobster tail and shrimp dinner, which was pretty good - the meat from the lobster tail was a lot like the crab legs I tried two years ago...except with a slightly different texture (the taste was pretty much the same to me) and - more importantly, since the tail was already split open with the meat sitting on top of it when I got it - nowhere near as difficult to take apart. Just like last year, I also got a slice of cake (and a song ;P), but this time around it came with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, with fudge striped across them. Two years ago, I said I would be getting lobster on my 25th birthday, and I did! =D

After we came home from church today, Mom went out on her bike and Dad stayed at home to sleep. I had to help out both of them a few hours later - Dad seemed to be coming down with something and Mom had wrecked while on her bike (hurting her arm, but fortunately didn't appear to have broken anything). We still managed to have dinner and a birthday cake, though...but the writing on this cake read "Happy 25th Birthday Einstein" - it's the first time I've seen his name in place of mine, and I think I know why ;P

Over the weekend, I got a few calls and cards (with money) from friends and relatives who wanted to wish me a Happy Birthday - these are always nice things to get =)

As for presents: I got a new computer! Well, sort of...I purchased a few parts from other places - the monitor and RAM - and got them about a week early. Since I hesitated for awhile before actually ordering the computer (that's my own fault), it won't be here till after my birthday =(

As for what I got:

  • Dell Inspiron 530: I couldn't get a custom-built system this time, due to the early presents I got (my new bed and bedroom furniture) and the fact that quite a few things around the house have reached the point where they either need fixed or replaced. However, when I was still employed, a friend at work who - among other things - fixed up employee's computers (and had also helped put together my current computer), suggested I buy one from Dell. The one I had used at work, a Dell Dimension 8300, worked great after adding an extra gigabyte of RAM (up from 512 MB, for programs like Virtual PC), so why not get one for myself? Here's what I got that differed from the defaults for that system:

    (NOTE: For this part, "new computer" refers to the one I got for my birthday, "current computer" refers to the one I'm using right now, and "old computer" refers to the one I haven't used for a long time and will be getting rid of soon.)

    • Processor: I didn't want to get a processor that was slower than the one in my current computer, so I got their best one: an Intel Core 2 Quad Processor Q6600 (8MB L2 cache, 2.4GHz, 1066FSB).
    • Operating System: I'm far more used to XP than Vista on the systems I've worked with...so I got Windows XP (Professional) with this system.
    • Monitor: I opted to not get a monitor, since there was one I wanted to get that I knew would work great - the same kind I bought for my birthday a year earlier, a Samsung SyncMaster 206BW.
    • RAM: I went with the default of 1 GB (at 667 MHz), since it was actually cheaper for me to get more RAM separately. After all, why get their highest amount, 4 GB of RAM (at 800 MHz) from Dell for $180, when I could get the same thing from Crucial for just slightly more than half that price?
    • Video Card: I went with their default selection (Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100) as - once again - I got a better deal separately...but interestingly enough, that deal was offered by Dell, just not directly with the computer I ordered. I got a GeForce 8600 GT (512 MB) - for comparison, the one in my current computer is a Radeon 8500 (64 MB).
    • Card Reader: Rather than constantly hook up / remove the external card reader I have, I got their built-in 19-in-1 reader...which means I can continue to use the external card reader on the current computer when I need it.
    • Speakers: Since the speakers I have now will remain with the current computer, I got the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 Speaker System for the new computer.
    • Software: None - I've already got what I need, and can install it on this computer myself.
    • Mouse and Keyboard: I got the Dell USB Multimedia Keyboard and Optical USB Mouse...but it was more for the keyboard, as its appearance (and wrist rest) is like my current keyboard. I couldn't determine if the mouse it comes with has side buttons like my current one, but if not, that won't be a problem - I have a spare mouse that does, and will just hook that one up to this computer in that case.
    • Extra Products: My current USB flash drive (GigaBank, 4 GB, by I/O Magic) is showing its age...so I got the two-pack of Cruzer Micro, 4 GB flash drives (by SanDisk) to replace it. Even though I only need one, I wasn't going to pass this up, considering that - to me - the price was a steal - two of these for $50 ($25 apiece) at the time I got them, compared to when I got one 4 GB GigaBank for $200! I'll be removing the U3 software from both of them (replacing it with PortableApps) and will give the other one to my parents, in case they need it for transferring things to/from other people's systems.
    • Recycling: I'll be recycling my old computer with Dell. The only thing that one has been doing is taking up space - it won't boot up properly anymore (no Linux distributions work and, though I could format and reinstall Windows, it's not really worth it, given the age of the computer and the parts it has) and the monitor's starting to go. For security, I'll run a formatting and overwriting tool on it (twice - I'm a little paranoid about things like this) before sending it away.
  • Money: Some relatives wanted to get me things for my birthday...but since I can't think of that much to get anymore, they just got me money instead =)
  • Clothes: It just wouldn't be a birthday without getting these =P

No Function, New Furniture

March 30, 2008 at 7:58 PM

Looks like I didn't have to ask about my job after all: when I was going to ask about it last week, my boss mentioned that my last day would be Friday...so I'm back to being unemployed now =(

At home, my bedroom's been undergoing some remodeling, considering how long some of my stuff there has lasted...

(more...)

Equivalent Error Explanations; Framework Fusion

March 16, 2008 at 3:59 PM

(This was originally part of the previous entry, but I decided to split it off into its own post.)

Awhile back, I realized that my blog displayed only a basic "Error 404 / File Not Found" error for its pages. I finally got around to fixing it up to display the same information that my current "Error 404 / File Not Found" page has - for those visiting the blog section of my site, that means you can now see the address being looked for, the referring address, notes on what you can do to find what you're looking for, and links back to the previous page, blog and site =)

...

That covers the "update" part - now for the "important" part: I'm looking to combine the separate pieces of my site (a WordPress blog, Tripod-hosted guestbook and hand-coded pages) into one unified piece with the help of a multipurpose CMS - in this case, Drupal. I've been using it at my job for the rebuilding of their site - so I know what it's capable of - and it would be perfect for use with my site. I'll also finally take advantage of the prototype template I mentioned about a long time ago, which will be reconfigured to take advantage of Drupal's theming system.

One thing that could be a problem is that I've heard about issues regarding using Drupal on a Dreamhost-hosted site, and I'm wondering if that may cause problems here, especially since I'm neither the owner of this domain nor (more importantly) this webspace and don't want to cause problems because of that. However, those issues may be regarding high-traffic, multiple-user sites, and my site is neither (definitely not the latter and I doubt the former ;P). Version 6 will be used in this case - I could've started out with 5, but I want to take advantage of 6's improved caching, which may be crucial given what I mentioned at the beginning of this paragraph. I'll put it on the site to see how well it holds up and, if it does OK, I'll get to work on doing what I should've started a long time ago:

Working on the (badly-needed) massive overhaul of my site! ;)

Breakdown

March 8, 2008 at 10:15 PM

In early January, the "A" key my on desktop computer's split-level keyboard (which, for all the time I had it, worked pretty good) started acting up - I actually had to remove it and push on the area below, that the key pushes into, just to get it to work. Unfortunately, this only worked a few times before nothing (well, nothing outside of just waiting) worked. A few days later, on the 16th of January, the "Q" and "Z" keys suffered the same problem as well (they're all in the same column, albeit at an angle...). I needed a working keyboard soon, so I decided to swap it out for the one from my old computer (it's a non-split-level keyboard, and the keys are a bit noisy in comparison to the split-level one). It works just fine, and I'll have to get rid of the other one later; on the plus side, I'll be able to get used to a non-split-level keyboard a lot easier now - since that's the layout of my flexible keyboard (and, albeit more compact, my laptop), I might finally be able to switch over to it.

On the 17th of January, I got stressed out at work: I couldn't eat my lunch and ended up crying when I got home. More or less, I've pretty much lost my will to work at my job: I've been asked a few times to help with things that I have absolutely no idea how to do (and, no matter how hard I try, I can't figure them out - there's no way these things could be covered by my job description), I don't hear anything back regarding hiring me for a permanent job, etc. My parents told me to tell my boss that "I'm burnt out because there's nothing to do, do you have any work for me?", but even so, there's not much that I can do...and though I want to quit, my parents keep telling me to work. I understand that I just can't sit around all the time at home, but how is continuing to work at a job you're now burnt-out with (that has no benefits and pays state minimum wage, which is $7.15/hour in Pennsylvania) any better? I've been rather irritable as of the past few weeks and I think the burnout from my job is directly related to it. After 15 months of this (I started in October 2006), I honestly feel I'm not cut out for long-term work - I enjoyed short-term jobs (no more than a few months) a lot more, probably because of their explicit deadline, which meant that I wouldn't be working so long that I would feel burnt-out.

Between the night of the 2nd and the morning of the 3rd of February, it felt hot and I couldn't fall asleep for more than a short time as a result; our furnace is a wood-burning furnace, and there was a lot in it at this time. I got up a few times during the night/morning because of this, and Dad had said I'd have to get up for church. I told him I couldn't fall asleep, and he told me to sleep without my shirt - I didn't bother taking it off as it wasn't a thick shirt, and when taking off a single cover doesn't make a difference for the heat, taking my shirt of wouldn't have helped, either. We continued that discussion, not really getting anywhere (I wanted to sleep in, as I felt very tired from the heat keeping me up), and I ended up walking out of my room and down the stairs. Dad yelled at me for walking away from him when he was talking, and asked me how that made him feel - I agreed about it making him feel bad...but I thought to myself, if he's not going to respect what others have to say (he acts like this around a few other people, too), why should they have to just shut up and listen to him? I ended up going downstairs and slept on the couch there, as it was the coldest room I could find with a couch. I slept in until about 1:30 PM or so, then got up to get a shower, and then heard Dad call - recalling what he said earlier, I purposely ignored it. He called again later and, since he might think something was up if I didn't answer, I picked up. He started another argument about me not getting up to go to church, then about setting my alarm...and, though tempted to hang up on him, I didn't. At this point, I no longer felt bad about walking away from him earlier - in fact, I think I'll do that more often to show him how it feels...especially since this has went on for years - if we get in an argument and I try to say something, he just talks (or yells) over me...so I just keep my mouth shut until he's done. I wonder if that attitude of his is the reason I don't bother to stand up for myself...

Back to my job: a few weeks ago, I found out about a permanent position that was up on the site I had been working on (related to the what I'm doing now, and I can handle what it covers). I put my name in for it, and hopefully I'll get the job. I'm going to ask about whether or not they've hired someone next week (it'll be two weeks past the deadline this Monday)...and* if I find out they did hire someone and it wasn't me, I am going to quit. The IT department is understaffed as it is, and I know it'd be cheaper for them to promote me to that job than to have it given to someone new - benefits would have to be given either way, and it'd be cheaper to increase an existing employee's rate (mine) than pay for another new employee.

[Update (2008/03/12, 11:08 PM)]

I didn't ask as my boss "interviewed" me today for the job - I was asked a few questions about being able to handle the tasks it would involve...and that was about it. It wasn't an interview per se since I'm still working there (which is why I put it in quotes), but now I've had one for the job, like the rest of the people who are applying for it. The decision won't be made till next week, so I'll have to wait till then before I find out if I got the job.

[/Update]

Endin’ ’07

January 1, 2008 at 12:00 AM

Happy New Year!

(Heh...it's getting harder and harder to come up with clever titles =P)

[EDIT (2008/01/01, 12:10 AM): Not even ten seconds passed after the ball dropped and our power quickly went out a few times - it lasted only a few seconds at most, and everything seems OK now. Either someone pulled some kind of stunt - with great timing - or this was a really eerie coincidence...perhaps it's the Y2K8 bug? ;P]

I've been really busy lately, which is why I haven't posted here in so long...and that rant I mentioned in my last post will have to wait.

I got quite a few gifts this time, and can also be a little more specific about some things as well:

  • On December 21, at work:
    • Two scratch-off lottery tickets: $6 total (one $1 and one $5). I have yet to scratch them off ;P
    • A hand-crank LED flashlight: my Dad got one of these awhile back, but now I've got one of my own! The only real differences between them are that mine is blue (his is silver, which I think is the standard color for them) and has a little "crest" (for show) near the front. There is nothing on the flashlight to identify its brand, but from what I have read, Apex Technologies is the only one that puts that kind of "crest" on their models.
    • A cup that looks like Santa's head. It can be used for candy, and was full of Reeses when I got it =)
  • On December 23, at my one aunt's house:
    • $40 cash (in a card)
    • Body Wash
    • Staples Gift Card ($25)
    • Bathroom Book of Cartoons
  • And that night, at Granny's house:
    • A thin - yet plush-feeling - blanket for my bed, to replace (or sit on top of) one that doesn't stay in place because it's too short for this type of bed.
    • Pants
    • Planter's Pistachio Lover's Mix
    • Uncle John's Triumphant 20th Anniversary Bathroom Reader
    • Uncle John's Presents The Ultimate Challenge Trivia Quiz
  • I didn't get anything on the 24th - we went to the Christmas Eve service and then dropped off a few presents at Granny's.
  • On December 25, we invited some of my Dad's relatives over for breakfast - in particular, Grandma and my aunt (who lives with her), another aunt and uncle, and their children. My parents served eggnog pancakes, bacon, eggs and toast, and the meal was pretty good. The families talked with each other for a while and before they left, I opened the presents I got from them:
    • From my Grandma and Aunt:
      • A card with $70 ($20 from my aunt, $50 from Grandma)
      • "How Come?": Every Kid's Science Question Explained
      • Uncle John's Unstoppable Bathroom Reader Page-A-Day Calendar
    • And from my parents:
      • $50 in cash
      • Uncle John's Bathroom Reader: Wonderful World of Odd
      • Candy (some of which was of the chocolate-coated variety)
      • Clothes (some of which, as usual, had to be exchanged =P)
      • Aftershave
    • And finally, the gifts I said I wanted for Christmas:
      • External Hard Drive (Maxtor OneTouch 4, 250 GB) - now I have something to back up my data onto, that actually has enough room for it =D Also, this came with not one, but two iPod Shuffle USB Travel Docks (Marware, a $39.98 value - $19.99 apiece)...but I don't have an iPod Shuffle. I'll see if I can find anyone that wants them, as they are of no use to me.
      • Flexible Keyboard (GrandTec, GlowType) - the keys on my laptop are a bit cramped, and I don't have a separate number pad (which makes it tricky to operate certain programs). This takes care of both of those problems: it provides a layout just like a standard keyboard and has a separate number pad. Not only that, but it has an "On/Off" switch for lighting (you'd think it'd naturally be glow-in-the-dark because of the name and its appearance - it isn't - but it sure looks like it when that's turned on and the lights are off) and is flexible - I can roll it up to take it with me in my laptop case =D It will take some time to get used to, due to the nature of the keyboard (the silicone-enclosed keys shift slightly when typing and, to allow it to be rolled up, some keys were split up into multiple keys), but I feel it'll come in very handy in the future =)
      • USB Hub (Belkin, 4-Port USB 2.0 Plus Hub) - my laptop only has three USB ports, and the mouse plus keyboard take up two. With this hub, however, I can have six devices plugged in (actually seven, but the net total is six: three ports on the laptop, minus one for the hub, plus the four it provides), and currently have four to spare (the mouse and keyboard take up two of those six ports).
    • After the gifts were opened, we went to Grandma's for dinner and I got a present that was accidentally forgotten about earlier:
      • A tie clasp: it was silver-colored, with a chain-link piece connecting the sides. This is like one I already have, but the links in the chain-link piece for that one are long and somewhat oval-shaped - the links for the one I got were small and circular.
  • On the 28th, I got two more presents:
    • $40 in a little tuxedo-shaped card / money holder, from another aunt (not one of the ones that came over, though).
    • A Craftsman offset screwdriver, from my Dad. He got it for me as a result of the issues I had when taking the hard drive out of my one Aunt's computer, as some of the screws holding it in place could only be taken out with a Phillips-head screwdriver, bent at 90°...and that is exactly what that tool is for (which also has a slotted head) =)

That should cover everything...and that's a lot of stuff!

The hard drive will be shared between my three computers (old desktop, new desktop and the laptop - the total combined capacity of their drives is less than the capacity of this one), which will finally give me a reliable method (relative to what I used in the past...) for backing things up. Not only that, but I'll eventually be formatting all three (once I back stuff up, of course ;P) so I can do a clean install on all of them (and get the old desktop running again). This time around, I'll take better care of them so they won't have the problems that developed from my past inexperience.

The keyboard and hub are exclusively for my laptop, so I'll have what I need to finally break away from my desktop...and be able to take my work with me, instead of being bound to a single room in the house...

2007 was just...busy - I really fell behind on a lot. Hopefully 2008 will be better - I have some resolutions in mind, though I'm only going to post a basic outline of them right now, as it'll take some time to specify them in detail (they're all interconnected, to an extent):

  • Becoming a little more independent. Due to my Asperger's, I'll never be fully independent, but every little bit helps...
  • Get out of certain jobs I've been stuck with, that also seem to be consuming my parents' lives as well...
  • Find some type of work where I can be paid per-task, rather than per-hour.

That's all for now - and like I said, hopefully this year will be better than the last =)

A Site, a Script, a Stand, and So On

October 7, 2007 at 1:30 AM

I'm late...but as I promised earlier, here's what I've been up to in the past few months:

The site I've been helping to rebuild has gone live =D Some bugs (that couldn't be fixed prior to the release) still need ironed out, but hopefully the county employees will be able to update their pages on their own now, without putting all the work on one person (guess who =P). Two weeks before going live, I royally screwed up the gallery due to a botched upgrade and had to rebuild it. Fortunately, I could do a bulk upload of those pictures (and albums) from the copy I had on my local computer, and - with some clever searching, replacing and merging - I managed to get the descriptions back as well...that was a close one! An issue with the sidebar in IE7 (a CSS bug I have yet to figure out) and job postings (maybe changing those field names in phpMyAdmin wasn't such a good idea...) are the only two outstanding issues at this time.

I got a nice thank-you from SoulKat, the owner of the Katbox - as well as a few forum members - for a script I made to automate donation counter image generation. It not only has saved (and will save) him quite a bit of time when getting them ready, but it'll also ensure the counters are updated as soon as possible =)

Thanks to a trade-up program that APC's been holding, I decided to replace the UPS I have (a model BR1000, which passed self-testing even though it no longer kicked on during an outage) with a model BR1300LCD - not only can this one give me a few more minutes of power than the last one, but it's got a display that lets me know - among other things - how much load is being placed on it (just a bit over 10% at this time) and the estimated amount of battery time left (39-47 minutes). That's real nice to know, as now I'll have an idea of how much longer I can keep the system on before I should shut it down. Plus, the software they give for use with the UPS works properly this time =)

I also bought a new laptop stand (a model ETCS) to replace my old one, which didn't work too well as the feet kept getting caught in the grooves meant for ventilation. This one, though, unfolds into an "X" shape and, unlike the other one, can properly hold the laptop! I have to adjust it a bit so the feet don't get caught (it's a tight squeeze), but unlike the old one, the laptop doesn't wobble at all (nor does it seem like it's going to slide right off of the stand), so I'll feel much better about using a stand now =)

Also, remember how I mentioned about some lost comments earlier? They're back now =D I went through some backups of my WordPress database, found which ones were missing, and imported them back into the database. I'll be a little more careful next time when messing with my plugins, so I don't wipe out a comment by mistake.

(Speaking of comments: let me know by E-Mail if you can't post here. Late last month, I tried adding new form fields to prevent spam posting, combining it with a trick I used on one of my uncle's websites for this purpose: I added two fields - one pre-filled, one blank, both hidden - that, if either/both were altered, would prevent the comment from being submitted. In the case of my blog, it failed miserably, and spam comments still got through. Since then, I've replaced it with a single field that asks to type in a certain number - found on a certain character's jersey - and no spam comments have been posted since then! Hopefully it's not blocking legitimate comments - I tried it out and it seems to work for me, but there's no way to ensure that it really does work until someone else comments here.)

Finally, my family took a little three-day vacation to Erie from August 24-26, and here's what we did:

  • Friday:
    • We went to the Erie Zoo - my parents said I hadn't been there since I was four (and I can't remember anything before I was five, so... =P). Quite a few of the animals were interesting to see, and either a wallaby or kangaroo (I honestly have no idea which one it was) crossed in front of us at one point during that part of the trip. One more thing that happened before we left there was a rainbow lorikeet that got on Dad's shoulder - we took a few pictures, and did the same when it got on my shoulder...though it squawked in my ear quite a few times when they were taking pictures, and my hearing's probably not going to be so good in that ear now =P
    • For supper, we went to Quaker Steak 'n' Lube - it's been a long time since we last went there. Just like last time, I got the boneless Asian Sesame wings, which were really good. At my parent's request, I also tried the pita bread we got with our meals, and it was pretty good as well.
    • After that, we went to the Family First Fun Center and did a few things there. First, we rode the Go-Karts - I slowed down at the beginning due to four cars nearly colliding, and came in close to (if not) last. After that, we played miniature golf...which got interesting: I got a hole-in-one the first hole (!), and Mom also got one later on in the course. Dad had to leave for a few rounds and we played for him until he got back - in the end, he still beat us...mainly since I didn't do as well after the first hole - I ended up in 2nd place. After that, we got some ice cream (which was pretty good), and headed back to our hotel for the night.
  • Saturday:
    • We got to the Waldameer Amusement Park a little early - too early, in fact, as they weren't open yet...so we went over to one of the beaches of Presque Isle for an hour until they were open. When we went back, it wasn't that crowded, and we managed to get on nearly every ride - the wait for most of them was five minutes or less since it wasn't crowded. We got rained on near the end, and tended to be on-and-off rain, usually stopping right before getting to the roofs of certain rides =P
  • Sunday:
    • We went to the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. I've been there quite a few times over the years and - like with Waldameer - a lot was accomplished in the day since there were relatively few people there at this time of year. It wasn't as fun as in the past, though...partly because I'm a little too old for some of the exhibits, and also due to the fact that quite a few exhibits didn't work - that was very surprising, considering that every other time I've been here, this would usually be one or two at most.

The trip was OK, but I didn't really have that much fun overall...and I think I know why. The reason, though, is more of a rant that I'm going to save for a future post (most likely my next one).

The Blog Is Back!

September 5, 2007 at 6:11 PM

I'm not dead yet - just busy, as usual =P I'll have a regular blog post ready sometime later this month.

Anyway, you might have noticed the blog looks different from what it was before - in fact, it bears a striking resemblance to my main site. That's because I finally got off my butt and worked on fixing it up =)

Here's what I did:

  1. Backed up all files and database information regarding WordPress.
  2. Created a fresh installation of WordPress locally, using XAMPP.
  3. Compared the database fields between the fresh installation and the one I had on my site.
  4. Dropped all of the tables in the fresh installation's database and imported the contents of my site's in its place; any field not originally present in the fresh installation was excluded.
  5. Replaced a few links pointing to my site and blog in the database to point to the local copy of them instead; otherwise, entries would not show up or I would be redirected to my site's blog when viewing the administration pages.
  6. Took a look at the local copy to ensure that everything was working properly.
  7. Erased all WordPress files on my site and dropped all of its tables from my database.
  8. Uploaded the WordPress files and imported the database information from my local copy, changing the site links in #5 back to what they originally were.
  9. Downloaded a theme (Barecity) to replace the one I originally had (Steam), and tweaked it to match the layout of my site; I kept the font used earlier on my blog.
  10. Reinstalled most of my plugins; I am no longer using a few of them, and one (Filosofo Comments Preview, which provided the "Preview" button) is giving a fatal error when trying to activate it.

Aside from that one plugin, everything is working again (even Spam Karma!), and its layout matches up with the rest of my site now, which is very nice =D

Also, to help protect against spam, old blog entries will have comments closed. This includes any entry which has been around for over one year without comments, or one month from the last posted comment (provided the entry is already a year old; otherwise it will remain open until the later of the two dates). Should you have the need to comment on one of those entries, feel free to let me know and I'll reopen comments on it for one month from the last posted comment after the entry was reopened.

For those of you reading this, I have a few questions:

  1. Regarding "Filsofo Comments Preview", if anyone reading my blog uses it:
    1. Did you get a fatal error when trying to activate it?
    2. If so, is there a way to fix this - or something I should check - so I can get it working again?
    3. If not, or if you use a different plugin to provide a "Preview" button, could you tell me what you use? I know I have the "Preview Your Comment" field available (which shows what your comment looks like as you're editing it), but it requires JavaScript to run...and I prefer to have a backup if JavaScript is - for any reason - not available to the user.
  2. Regarding the "Creative Commons" license in the footer: This might be a stupid question, but does that cover everything on my site, everything in my blog, or just the blog template? I'm not sure if this is something I should worry about resolving, or if I just misinterpreted it and am worrying about nothing...

That's all I can think of for this entry - just wanted to let all of you know I'm still here =P

Hit the Breaker!

June 23, 2007 at 10:43 PM

It's become something of a saying in our household, as my parents and I have been saying those three words for quite awhile =P

It started a day or two before we went on vacation to North Carolina last year. When we were running water, it would - with no warning - go from a strong flow to a weak trickle, and then stop entirely. This happened when washing dishes/clothes, watering plants, taking a shower, and so on. When it happened, if there was another family member in the house, whoever was running water would have to yell "Hit the breaker!" (or something similar). After that, they would have to wait for them to go the basement and flip the button/switch for the water pump (and later on, the circuit breaker controlling the pump, which is when the saying actually came around) to restore the water pressure...until the next time it went out.

This was especially troublesome when washing dishes or clothes, as you don't want the water pressure to just go down like that all of a sudden. This was a problem for Mom when running the dishwasher or washing machine, as she would have to stay there the entire time in the event the water pressure went down again.

The problem first happened when our well's pump reached the end of its life and went bad, so we had no choice but to replace it. One thing that was found when replacing it was that a wire was worn bare in one spot - it apparently got caught between something and had its insulation rubbed off - but it was not considered to have caused this problem, given its age.

A second pump was put in after that, and we thought this problem would be fixed...but we were wrong: almost every day, at least once, the water flow had suddenly stopped, and one of us (usually me, if I was home) had to run to the basement and press a button on the pump to restore the water pressure. A few months later, we thought that maybe the switch was causing this problem and had replaced it with a new one. This time, however, the water just trickled constantly instead of stopping entirely when the problem occurred, and a switch (instead of a button, as it was a different model) had to be flipped to fix this. Rather than immediately restore the water pressure, it took a few seconds between turning it off and on to work properly, but even turning off any running water for 10-15 seconds also worked. Eventually we just started using the circuit breaker in the laundry room for this, as it was quicker to get to and easier to find.

A few months ago, since this problem still wasn't solved, we thought that maybe our well was collapsing, since nothing else we tried had worked...but if it were collapsing, why did the use of a button/switch/breaker fix this? If anything, the problem should have gradually become worse over time...but it didn't get any worse than when it had started, so that couldn't be it.

On Wednesday of this week, Dad and Pappy put in a third pump, and it had the same problem as the second one...which meant the pump wasn't causing the problem, either - or so it seemed. We were out of water until around 9:00 PM, when they finally figured out the problem, putting an end to this nuisance once and for all. From what Pappy told me, it turns out that - with the second and third pumps - the space between two check valves in both of the pumps was too short. This caused those valves to either come into contact with or bump up against each other, temporarily locking them in place and causing the water flow to shut off until they could be separated (by turning off any running water or messing with the switch/button/breaker). How did they fix this? All they did was put a piece of pipe in between those check valves, which ensured that there would be more than enough room for them to operate without bumping into each other.

We won't have to worry about the water pressure going out all of a sudden anymore, and that's a great thing to know =D

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