Posts by CharliePhysics (9)

Attending the PCA GA

I am sitting here in a exhibition hall dutifully registered to participate in the 48th General Assembly of the PCA. Having been to conferences of many sorts, I know, in part what to expect. This being my first time at a conference of this sort, I don't really know what to expect. The conference is being held in St. Louis MO. which appears to have a humidity of 2000%. At least that is what one of the scuba divers told me on my way to the conference center. I hope to amend this as the days roll on. Pictures to come.

And Mingo was his Name-o

Yesterday the family took some time to enjoy the day at Mingo Creek. The day included walks in the woods, playgrounds, zip-lines and the like. Don't worry, we never got closer than 6 miles from anyone.

Don't mess with the Arnolds!

Learning about centripetal acceleration!

Learning about acceleration / deceleration!

Zipline Fun!


Reviving Dead Computers

I should start off by telling you physicists are renown for a (sometimes fool-hearty) "I can do that" attitude. I am no exception. I am not really a super-computer geek (but these things are relative...), but I am also not afraid to look up online videos and try to "do it myself". I have also done some home and car maintenance that way and saved thousands of dollars. So when about six months ago our family computer started struggling to boot up and was noticeably slower, naturally we did almost nothing about it. However, anticipating some kind of failure, I elected to invest in a new computer for the family. I am working from home a lot more and so it seemed wise to have more than one computer anyway. Having two computers was pretty nice. Fast forward to about a week ago and the older computer finally (seemed) to die. It was nice while it lasted right? Then I realized that part of my master plan was that we knew that the old computer would eventually stop working and I bought the new one to have some overlap while they both still worked. Unfortunately I neglected to save all of the files that we wanted to be sure that we saved from the old computer's hard drive. What to do? Well I took found a local computer shop that had a good reputation for fixing laptops. I got quotes for everything: $125 to get the data off. $300 or so to replace the old hard drive and put the files on there. And sure enough the shop said that the hard drive had failed and offered the two options. The fellow at the shop assured me that computers like mine were garbage after 3 years (mine is 5 years old), and that if I wanted to take it home it would make a nice door stopper. Well, I took it home. I bought a $7 cable from amazon that will connect a laptop hard drive to another computer through USB. I removed a few screws from the old laptop case and unplugged the hard drive. I plugged it into my new computer (using the $7 cable) and ran a windows utility that quickly found and removed the corrupted files on the old hard drive. Finally, I granted myself permission to the old hard drive and plucked the files that we had wanted to transfer all along. So WooHoo! right? I saved myself at least $118 dollars (plus tax) and I got all my files. Now, I am waiting on a new SSD (solid state drive) (about $50) to arrive so that I can revive my old laptop. With a little patience I will install the OS and then again use the $7 cable to transfer any files from the damaged HD to the new SSD. Hopefully, I can effectively restore my old computer and probably get a few more years out of it. So in the end DIY computer maintenance can go on my resume along with DIY car and home maintenance.

Giving and taking a real shellacking!

A real shellacking!  At the end.

Having given a room an actual "shellacking" I felt like I had taken one more than I had given one.

Yesterday the Arnold family endeavored to prime our living/dining space for painting. Hoping to quash the last remnants of unpleasant odors that have persisted (albeit in a diminished capacity) since moving here 3 years ago we actually used a shellac primer. We opted for a white-pigmented shellac primer. This stuff is renown for removing stains and taking away funky odors. I learned a few things. First shellac primer is very thin compared to paint. Being thin (less viscous) it splatters very easily. Thus it was a good thing we covered everything because everything was covered in little specks of shellac. Second, we painted everything including the ceiling. Shellacking a white ceiling with white shellac stinks (literally and metaphorically). Painting white over white is exceedingly frustrating. From the time you pour it out of the can into the rolling pan half of it has evaporated (exaggeration!). It dries so fast, both on the surface and in the roller pan that I wondered if my roller pan was leaking! We wore the proper respirators so that Jamie and I must have looked like we were trying out for a Breaking Bad re-boot.

Breaking Good?

After being nearly spent from priming the room we learned that the primer requires a "top-coating" within 14 days. Translation: you ain't done. You just started! Having just experienced the joy of painting white-on-white with the shellac, we decided to get a ceiling paint that goes on pink and dries white. This was the final thing that I learned. That color-changing paint exists. What a blessing! To paint with something much thicker that splatters much less and to be able to see where the paint was! It's the little things.

The kids were sequestered in their rooms nearly all day for which I commend them. The bunny was forced to be outside most of the day-- not his favorite, but hey, he's a bunny. Those are the brakes.

The Bunny after a day outside!

We hope that the benefit of a nice-looking, un-stinky room outweighs the cost of the shellacking that we took.

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