Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Civil Engineering Explained

Filed under: Art,Better Living Through Technology,Fun — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is terribly early in the morning or 6:30 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

With videos, not math!

Not so many months ago, my wife and I were talking about a plumbing problem in our house. It was relatively small and has long since been fixed, but our discussion hinged on water pressure. Specifically, in this case, water pressure in the house and how that meant that there was always water in the horizontal pipes. Honestly, I hadn’t given it a lot of thought, but, of course, the pipes have to be filled with water the whole time, and under pressure, for water to be forced out of a shower on the second floor. Not enough pressure to fill the pipes with water means that there’s not enough force to create a flow. Makes total sense when you think about it, right? But, have you ever wondered how that pressure is created before it makes it to your house? That process is due to the miracles of civil engineering.
It’s also explained via helpful videos for the curious on the Practical Engineering YouTube Channel. In fact, water towers and the hydrosystems that allow us to enjoy showers, instead of having to use a hand-pump to fill a bath, are covered in the playlist titled Public Works; Season 1. But, they also explain concrete, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and more! It’s definitely a video destination where you can waste hours and hours of time watching videos about the miracles of the modern world.
And, it’s educational, in case you need an excuse to watch these instead of doing your actual work on a Friday afternoon!

This post originally appeared on Use Your Words, as so many of them have on Fridays.


Further Plumbing Adventures

Filed under: Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Sheep which is in the early afternoon or 2:19 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Crescent

Does it never end?

No, I guess not. Thursday night, at about 10:00pm, my wife and I were working in front of the kitchen sink and stepped onto a wet throw rug at the same time. We both figured that the puppy had wet the rug, until my wife went to pick it up and saw water running out from under the sink! Well, at this point I figured it was the disposal. So, I start cursing and go change into old shorts that I don’t mind getting wet. Then, I start pulling things out from under the sink.
Well, I check around the disposal and, wonder of wonders, it’s not that. But, there is a good amount of water under the sink and I can see water dripping from the sink. I start feeling around and find that the in-sink water filter the previous owner installed has sprung a leak. So, I try to tighten it by hand, but since that only makes it worse I try to turn off the cold-water valve. By this point, the valve has gotten wet and I can’t get a good enough grip on the handle to get it shut off, so I try to tighten the water filter again. Now, I’ve got water spraying at me under the sink and I don’t know where my wife is in the house!
I freak and head out the front door at a run to try and shut off the water main only to find that I need a special wrench, which I don’t have. Now, I’m really freaking out. So, I go back to the water filter to try and tighten it yet again. This time the plastic nut breaks off in my hand and I have water spraying under pressure at me! So, I put a kink in the plastic hose and cut off the water completely. Only, now I’m stuck holding it. What to do….
I send my wife looking for a clamp of some kind, any kind, to hold the hose while I got the shut off closed. Well, the binder clip that I was sure was in my desk, wasn’t, so I had to have her hold the hose, while I went to find something. Finally, in our kitchen “junk” drawer, I find a screw-clamp left over from a craft project. Hooray! And, about 15 frustrating minutes later, I get the damn thing on the hose.
After a brief rest to try and get feeling back into my hands, I try to get the shut off valve closed and, this time, I can finally do it. Now, I have an opportunity to look at what was wrong, and how to temporarily by-pass it. A few seconds later, I’ve removed the filter and have the nozzle connected directly to the cold water. After getting my hand un-cramped, I start to turn the cold water back on. My luck held and nothing started leaking again.

Later, after I calmed down, I remembered that we had a replacement filter that I can put into place, which I’ll get to Monday night.
Also, when I ran outside, one of the cats followed me and I had to go find “Mr. Adventure”. From the look of it, he’d wandered all of three feet from the front door before getting scared and hunkering down in a bush. When I opened the door, he ran to get inside. So much for Mr. Adventure!
And, I’m left with the horrible fear that I’ll replace every last plumbing fixture in this house before we move out. Ah, the joys of home ownership!


Outdoor Plumbing and Networks

Filed under: Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Dog which is in the evening time or 8:28 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

What do those two things have to do with each other?

Nothing, really. Except, of course, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past week or so.
My pond is looking good now. A week or two ago, I thought it was leaking so bad that I’d have to replace the entire liner. Not so. In fact, the waterfall isn’t even really leaking. It had gotten so clogged with roots and mud from the papyrus the original owners had planted there that the water was just flowing out and under the liner! I spent a couple hours this weekend cleaning it out to the point that the water was flowing again and it seems fine now. Honestly, after getting into it, it’s a wonder I didn’t have problems sooner. For pity’s sake, it was so clogged with dirt that there were earthworms living in the waterfall!

And, I’ve started a little consulting work on the side. It’s just a couple of hours a month, and I’ve only been doing it about a month, but it’s nice to make some extra money. Last month, I billed out four hours and last night, I’ve already racked up four hours! But, I think that was a bit unusual. In any case, I’ve got a great contact there that’s really flexible on hours and all, so I’m able to do it after I’m done at my main gig. So far, so good. I’m just going to see how it goes and not put too much pressure on myself. I’ll evaluate how things are going at 6 months and decide if it’s worth continuing from there.

Stay tuned!


Plumbing Update

Filed under: Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 7:54 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

All dry!

So far, so good. In spite of having some problems with a very minor leak Monday, it seems to have stopped. My dad, who has “retired” to working in a hardware store, said that it’s not unusual for it to take several weeks for plumbing joints to finally tighten up. Apparently, that’s what was going on because my wife has run the dishwasher twice and still no drip. I’ll leave the bucket under there a little while longer, just in case, but it looks like I’m going to be okay.
Next, I’ll need to take a look at some wiring around the house, but not for a couple of weeks. I worked hard on my plumbing projects this month and I deserve a break! So, I’ll do some fun stuff for a month or two and rest up.

Onward and upward!

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