Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Shall I Compare Thee LIRR To A Rotting Cabbage?

So once again my train is ten minutes late because some bleeptard at LIRR Dispatching Central has made the rule that Eastbound trains have priority at all times (even when they are the Off-Peak traffic), and must be sent through the single track chicane between Pinelawn and Deer Park even if that means holding the peak train to let it through first because the bleeping Off-Peak train is ten minutes late again.

This post explains why that is a decision only someone with the brains granted a cowpat could think was a good idea, and how it maximises damage and minimises Mass Transit Goal Achieval.

The LIRR dispatchers could not find its collective arse with both hands, a map and a big sign reading "This Way To Your Own Arse".

"Idiots" doesn't even scratch the surface. It is hard when confronted with such monumental levels of upfuck to remember that this country once put six men on the Moon, and did it using a machine built in a factory the Ronkonkoma-New York train dawdles past every day in accordance with the Victorian wisdom on the lethality of train speed1.

  1. The story is that when trains were becoming a reality, some vocal opponents felt that at 30 mph2 all the air would be sucked out of the carriages and the passengers would suffocate (as opposed to dying of apoplexy at having to suffer yet another manufactured system-wide delay)
  2. A speed that the LIRR can sometimes only dream of achieving

Thursday, November 05, 2015

The Unbelievable Tediousness Of Life Is Tedious

So much happened, so little of it pleasant to dwell on or repeat, so you get the Reader's Digest version.

The women went to Florida for a week so I regrouted the downstairs bathroom tile. My right hand has been numb ever since as a result. I just noticed today that the grout has failed in several places and will need doing over. So that was a worthwhile use of my time and health.

Mr Stevie and I had a wedding anniversary which we decided would be best used for an argument of continent-moving proportions. Just another day in paradise.

I went to open the garage door a couple of weeks ago and discovered it weighed much more than it should after my replacing the badly frayed and useless wire of death. Eventually I deployed some class four Words of Power and a rupture to prise it open by sheer manliness and discovered that the left hand spring had broken off.

Once I had the door propped open with the Anti-Guillotine Two-By-four of Life Preservage I was able to check the flight path of the spring, which had taken full advantage of the laws of physics to use the pulley system to achieve maximum warp before slamming into the door itself, unhooking the wire from every component it had been involved with as it went.

The mechanism is somewhat like a medieval catapult in that closing the door uses the pulleys to magnify effort, so the spring could use them to magnify velocity once it was freed from the confines of the eyebolt.

My immediate concern was for the fabric and windows of the cab fitted to Troll, the Snowblower of Supreme Spiffiness, as it had been directly under the trajectory of the mutinous spring. Fortunately they had been completely spared, so I was able to clear away some of the crap in the garage and deploy the ladder in order to conduct a close inspection of the eyebolt. It was clear that the same thing had happened a few times before in this spring's history because there were two more small rings of spring-stuff left from previous snappage incidents.

It was too late to go looking for a new spring so I just used my trusty Leatherman Crunch vise-grip pliers to prise open the coil of the broken end of the spring enabling me to wind a few turns of it over the eyebolt in the same way one feeds a front door key into a car key ring1.

After that it was the matter of only a few miserable hours to re-thread the wire over the various pulleys in pitch darkness2 and re-hook it onto the button on the door before I could stomp off to bed.

I have been waiting for the leaves to fall off the tree overhanging the pool so I can cover it with the new winter cover, but the blasted tree has been standing there in glorious green leaf for the entire length of October and looks to be set for November too.

The reason for waiting is that before the pool can be mothballed the water has to be clean, and as soon as I pull off the leaf net3 and solar cover leaves will start to flutter down in what the tree has always assumed to be a charming rustic accompaniment to the whole process but is in reality a never-ending pain in the fundament.

On Saturday I declared Enough to be Enough and tore off the leaf net and the solar cover in a frenzy of activity. I deployed one (1) inflatable air pillow, needed to keep the pool supply people in Scotch and winter vacations in Hawaii, and secured it in the middle of the pool by means of rope which - for a wonder - I had to hand.

And no leaves fell.

A bit of vacuuming to get out the last vestiges of rotting Maple keys (they look like Sycamore helicopters and are just as annoying) and I was able to deploy the brand new cover bought some years ago before I decided not to bother with a pool for a bit. It was hard getting it unfolded because I couldn't do what the idiots who folded it up had in mind - put it on the ground - owning to the place having wet mud and leaves all over it (from where is still a mystery as the tree was standing smugly enleafed this morning) so I was forced to use the water as an unfolding surface.

This was a problem because a) the cover had been folded by idiots who assumed a team of seven to get it open and I had me, and 2) although the day itself was blisteringly hot the water was only just above freezing and caused the plastic of the cover to be very stiff and uncooperative. It was all very trying, but I had determination and a plan going for me.

Once I had the cover arranged to that the remaining folds would come open if the edges were tugged (the mysterious Folders had cunningly used "short-sheet/apple-pie" folds to prevent this very contingency but I persevered until their insidious work was rendered moot) I attached two lengths of rope to the edge, took up station on the deck used to enter the pool, and carefully pulled the cover open and over the pillow to the other side of the pool.

For once The Plan was a complete success. I know, you could have knocked me down with a feather. I fully expected to have a torn cover or leaves in the water or to have taken a mis-step and ended up in the near freezing water myself, but none of those things happened. I checked the sky for avian bacon, but saw no formations of porkers. It was worrying, but I had no time to pontificate. The wind was coming up and the tree was rustling its leafy branches threateningly.

I got the cover laced down after the usual nonsense with the plastic-coated steel hawser tangling itself for no good reason, deployed the leaf net again after shaking it clean of debris, and started the process of draining the water, which is where I got several soakings of refreshing cold wet as hoses mutinied as to which direction they would point and bits of the filter pump proved to have hidden reserves of water lurking in them. But it was done eventually and well done too as far as I could tell. No leaves sitting smugly on the bottom of the pool to form the nucleus of a black algae infection requiring military grade chemicals to defeat next spring. We'll see ion a few months, I guess.

At a Halloween party on Saturday I managed to drop my nifty Dragon Staff and put a ding in the hardwood, pissing me off royally.

And I just noticed that the pool cover is on upside-down.

  1. Except that the garage spring was slightly easier to wrangle than the average car key ring, requiring only the pliers and some Words of Power to persuade the coiled steel to open up enough to get started, whereas a key ring typically requires that hydraulic thing firemen use to rip holes in car wrecks to separate the coils enough to feed in a front door key
  2. I keep meaning to rewire the garage and install some lights
  3. Bought and deployed to keep leaf litter on the top and not in the water