Monday, April 10, 2017

Paradise ponders, leaping Sandhill cranes, snowy machines, and acrylic finish edition...

Paradise ponders, leaping Sandhill cranes, snowy machines, and acrylic finish edition...  Yesterday afternoon was beautiful: patchy clouds, lots of blue sky and sunshine, and most of the previous night's snow had melted.  We went for a drive out to Hardware Ranch, hoping to spot some wildlife.  We did see about 4.3 bazillion deer, but also the Sandhill crane pair I took a video of at right.  Be sure to make it full screen so you can see the cranes.  The clicking sound you hear is my car's four-way flashers going – we stopped right in the middle of the road to watch this.  These cranes are migratory, and they've just arrived here for the summer over the past couple of weeks.  A great many more stopped here for a break in their migration, then continued north.  We'll see the reverse of this next fall.  These two were performing a dance of sorts, very much different than their normal quite sedate behavior as they're feeding.  I was uncertain that was a mating dance when I first saw it, but some reading I did today confirmed it.

We had problems all day yesterday with our cable provider (which is actually just Internet connection for us).  It was up and down 35 times according to the logs my server keeps.  That's by far the worst experience we've had yet.  I called Comcast (our ISP), who is notorious for their bad customer service.  My experience was ... not bad, actually.  I got through their automated system and to an actual technician in under a minute.  The technician actually listened to what I described of the symptoms, tried only sensible things (instead of the rote power cycle, reboot the router, etc.), and quickly arrived at the same conclusion that I did: because the problem is isolated to us, there must be a connectivity problem between the junction where our line branches off, and our house.  That's Comcast's responsibility, so they need to get a technician out here to check it out.  That technician is scheduled for today at 2 pm – less than 24 hours after I called.  Either I got really lucky, or Comcast is actually working on their “worst company in the world” image...

Naturally, this morning our Internet is working perfectly. :)

That's our sprinkler contractor's trenching machine at right, in a shot taken yesterday morning.  The snow has all melted now, but the yard is very wet and muddy.  I suspect he won't be able to actually do any work until Tuesday or Wednesday.  Dang it!

Yesterday, as planned, I finished putting the fourth coat of acrylic (water-based polyurethane) on the stairs I'm building for our sun room.  This morning that last coat was nice and dry, so I flipped the stairs over and put the first coat of acrylic on the bottom.  The more I use this modern finish, the more impressed I am with it.  It goes on easily with a brush, and the self-leveling is so good that I'm not sure I could tell brushed from sprayed.  There's little odor, and even that is not foul at all.  It dries quite quickly, so much so that you have to work fairly fast so you don't ruffle some partly-dried surface.  You only have to wait two hours (though I waited three just to be sure) between coats; it's dry enough at that point to sand.  Cleanup is ridiculously easy: warm water to rinse out the bulk of the paint from the brush, a little soap and warm water to get the rest, and in the end the brush is just like new.  Pretty close to ideal!

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