Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ventless gas heat

There are now gas-burning heaters with efficiency sufficient to eliminate the need for vents and flues: they burn the gas completely.

So I had an epiphany: our fireplaces here were actually made to burn gas; their chimneys have been mostly blocked off, though. The obvious fix: ventless gas heat.

I'll want to install all new gas lines to them if I do that - I really don't trust the old stuff, which is half-rusted, half-incompetent, all-scary. Apparently working with steel pipe is considered extreme how-to. But you know? I've learned masonry and glazing - I can learn to cut steel pipe (not to mention my dad did his original apprenticeship working with steel pipe - so I have an expert teacher, for once, instead of just relying on Mr. Google and his billion friends).

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Neighborhood cleanup

One of the corollaries of buying a house for $8000 is that your neighbors are frequently not of the most desirable nature. They have a tendency to be loud at night and quickly turn the dome light off in the car when they see the police arrive after being called at 2 AM because they were seeing a whole lot of people, one after the other, each having about one to two minutes of business to transact.

[Note: (1) the view here is to the south from the upstairs sunroom, where I had a commanding view of the entire affair, and (2) this new camera is really fantastic - nighttime shot, no flash, through a window, and it's not Time/Life quality, but definitely passable as documentation.]

Anyway, what blew my mind wasn't that I got to see my first drug bust. What blew my mind was that the police had to call the mother of the children in the back seat so she could take them home. I'd estimate their ages at 10, 5, and asleep under a blanket. But at least they had the booster seat for the 5-year-old! I mean, they weren't irresponsible.

Three guys were handcuffed and taken away, and there was at least one large plastic bag of some sort of substance on the top of the car at one point in the proceedings. I couldn't see a color, but from its apparent density (low) I'm guessing it was marijuana, not coke.

So that's one lot that won't be waking me up any more. Honestly - I don't care if people engage in a little free-market trade, just as long as they do it quietly when they're outside my window.

Update 10/5 from the police blotter of the local paper: "[cool name], 24, [some other town]: Possession of marijuana or hashish (Class D felony), Saturday, [the street outside my south windows]"