Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Monday, February 28, 2011

What have we learned?

Well the month experiment in daily posting is about over. I’ve posted a fair bit about food, and some about other random stuff. I certainly have complained about my house a bit (oh, and there is more to come). The experiment was fun, and I am going to try to post more often, but I won’t force out a post a day.

Also, there is at least one thing I was going to post about and I never managed to. And that is windows. So I will talk a little about them. My hundred year old windows are cool, even if some are painted shut, and very cold due to being single pane. You notice this a lot when you have no furnace for 4 or 5 days. Yes, my furnace still doesn’t work. But I know what’s broken now. The pressure switch is busted. The part has to be ordered and might take until next week to come in – although maybe this week. I paid my $55 and I’m good to go until it’s fixed though, so I think that warranty was a good gift from my realtor.

And with that, I bid you adieu for the month!

posted by neil at 10:45 pm
under meta,rambling  

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Sunday Wrap-up

I watched the end of the Oscars. It was… well the show itself was cruddy, but hey, at least one of the only movies I saw in the theaters last year won best picture. Also, Trent Reznor won an Oscar.

Today’s main activity was going to Davis to attend Mackenzie’s nephew Orrin’s First Birthday party. It was a low-key affair, just the family, but it was fun. Orrin had a great time eating/wearing cupcakes. He also had fun playing with the balloons and such. And the drive back was surprisingly fast, for a weekend when I’m sure a lot of people were in Tahoe. Maybe the snow delayed people enough to make it easier?

posted by neil at 9:56 pm
under rambling  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Furnace, Part 2

Still out of operation. Furnace people coming monday. Until then, space heaters. Also, we did a lot of cooking today (made cookies, and chicken stock). At least that room was warm!

posted by neil at 11:38 pm
under daily tribulations,home ownership  

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snafu, of course!

Remember my post yesterday about cold weather? Well, after some rain in the morning, it turned into a sunny, albeit a bit chilly day. However, my furnace isn’t working!

The fan works (in fact it doesn’t want to stop running) but the furnace won’t ignite. It’s electronic ignition, so there was nothing I could really do save call someone. But then I remembered that the realtor gave me a 1 year home warranty when I bought the place.

When I got home, I found the paperwork and called the warranty place. They said they’ll make it a rush job, but we’ll see if they can get someone to come out on a Saturday. I have a fixed $55 charge for the service call, and hopefully it will be something fixable within the day. But we’ll see, and we’ll see how well the warranty service works. At least we have a space heater for the bedroom.

posted by neil at 11:02 pm
under home ownership  

Thursday, February 24, 2011


It may snow, but probably won’t in San Francisco this weekend. Either way, I doubt there will be freakish rain like there was the other day to get water in the basement.

So the guy who didn’t make it out Saturday came out today and talked to my downstairs neighbor. My suspicious is likely correct, and it’s a caulk job that’s needed, something I am sure I can tackle, once it gets a bit drier out.

posted by neil at 9:39 pm
under daily tribulations  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dinner Guests

Mackenzie and I had Suki from [Super Duper Fantastic] and RV over for dinner. As has been my trend when having people over for dinner, I made Zuni Roast Chicken and Bread Salad. They actually brought the chicken over this weekend (hurray for the Whole Foods sale last week!), and brought a delicious side of broccoli and kale.

While there is a bit of plan-ahead on the recipe, and it’s sort of involved, it takes less than 90 minutes to prepare, so it is suitable for on occasional weeknight. Do you have any go-to recipes that you make when you have company over for dinner (particularly on a weeknight)?

The upshot of roasting two chickens in less than two weeks is that I have been able to finally, really get the hang of chicken carving.

posted by neil at 10:30 pm
under cooking  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Overnight Omelet

This is a picture of an overnight ‘omelet’, an incredibly satisfying weekend brunch food, albeit one that requires a little bit of forethought to have. Basically you need to do all the prep work the night/afternoon before, and then spend an hour waiting for this savory bread pudding to bake, all the while smelling its deliciousness. Well it’s worth it.

Overnight Omelet, from America’s Test Kitchen Cooking for Two 2010

serves 2

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
2 slices high-quality white sandwich bread
3 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded (about 3/4 cup)
3/4 cup milk (recipe says whole, lowfat works fine)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup grated onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon hot sauce

  1. Grease a 3-cup baking dish (about 7 1/4 by 5 1/4 inches). Spread the butter on one side of each slice of bread, then cut the bread into 1-inch pieces. Scatter half onto the prepared dish and sprinkle with half the cheese. Repeat with the remaining bread, and then cheese.
  2. Whisk the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl, then poor evenly over the bread. Gently press down on the bread to help it soak up the egg mixture. Cover tightly with plastic wrap an refrigerate for 8 least 8 and up to 24 hours.
  3. When ready to bake, adjust and oven rack to the middle position and head oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap the dish and bake until golden brown and puffy, about 1 hour. Let cool 5 or so minutes before serving.

You can vary this basic recipe quite easily, varying cheese and adding additional dry ingredient, but be careful to not disturb the bread matrix too much.

posted by neil at 11:01 pm
under cooking  

Monday, February 21, 2011

Working on Presidents’ Day

Today is a federal holiday here in the United States, Presidents’ Day, née Washington’s Birthday (observed). It’s a very common holiday for workers outside of government to get off, but alas, my company does not give us the day off. Instead, we get a holiday on Martin Luther King day, since being PC is more important than being patriotic!

Anyway, the great part about working on this holiday is that there is almost no traffic. Today’s drive to work was approximately as fast as possible, taking speed limits into account. Hitting every green light might take it down from 14 minutes to 12 minutes, but the chances of hitting every green light has to be almost zero.

This all being said, my favorite winter holiday is Casmir Pulaski Day. Sufjan Stevens wrote a song about it, sort of, not really.

posted by neil at 10:00 am
under adventure,rambling  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Case Goes On

The contractor wasn’t able to make it. He won’t be able to make it until next saturday. I’m going to call a leak specialist tomorrow, in the meantime.

posted by neil at 11:02 am
under adventure,home ownership  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Case of the Leaky Basement

Doesn’t this sound like an Encyclopedia Brown mystery. Well, I bet the smartest boy in the world could solve this problem lickety split, but I’m currently waiting on the guy who did some ‘pest work’ when we bought this old house in July (rebuilt a side deck, capped the foundation to rise over grade in one corner, bolted rear of frame to foundation) to come take a look at a minor leak situation in the basement.

This happened once before in my tenure living here (but I was out of town, and only heard about it from the downstairs neighbor), but this time I can see from myself. There is a good half cup of water accumulated in the front of the basement, suspiciously close to where there are cutouts in the siding and where the electric boxes are. This second time there was also a second, smaller intrusion in the back part of the basement, also near some cutouts.

Hopefully it correlates to my suspicion and it’s a leak around a cutout, so it will be easy to fix. Hopefully…

posted by neil at 12:09 pm
under daily tribulations  
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