physical humuncular manifestation
Tuesday, December 15 2009
Last time I used my gas-powered Stihl chainsaw, I noticed that the chain suddenly became very loose. So today before taking the saw out today, I tightened the chain (and brought along the chain tool, 3/4 inch socket wrench/screwdriver combo). The tree I wanted to cut up was a large fallen oak about 70 feet downstream from where Stick Trail crosses the Chamomile. The cutting went okay, thought the saw didn't seem quite as powerful as normal. And then the chain jumped out of its track in the chain bar and the saw died (a good thing for it to do in this dangerous scenario). I took apart the housing around the bar attachment and found that a little cage of tiny rodlike bearings had worked its way out from around the axle upon which the clutch plate and chain sprocket rotates. I tried stuffing the bearing cage back into the space between the plate and the axle, but there was no way to secure it in there because the little metal clippy half-washer thing that keeps things from slipping off the axle had gone missing.
Back at the house, I did some research and found that the rodlike-bearings in the plastic assemblage are called "needle bearings." Happily, I was able to track down a $6 replacement assemblage of them on eBay. I still have to find the metal half-washer clip. Though I encounter such clips fairly often, I could find no loose ones in any of my junk drawers or containers of random hardware from various salvage operations. The one I did manage to find (from an old electric chainsaw) was too small. [Later I would find that these clips are called "E clips," or, when they lack the median tooth, "C clips," and also "circlips."]
This evening I saw Gretchen watching Notorious a lavishly-produced biopic about the life and times of the Notorious B.I.G., the largely-apportioned East Coast Hip Hop legend. As portrayed in the film, the hip hop scene in the 1990s was like the Renaissance of Italy in that all the famous people in the scene knew each other and rose to fame en masse. In the case of the Notorious B.I.G., this didn't include just his producers and male colleagues in metered rhyme, it also included several of the women foolish enough to think of him as potentially monogamous. All the posturing and violence and ptoential violence in that world made it seem like a difficult environment for creativity to flourish, but there it was, flourishing.
I've taken on a few too many web projects of late, and the latest of these involves a site running the archaic web language Cold Fusion communicating with a Microsoft SQL server. I don't know much about Cold Fusion, having only worked with it glancingly in late 1997. I knew it to be a set of HTML-style tags that run on the server and expand into other things. Today as I was working with it, I could follow what was going on, but it seemed terribly clunky in comparison to PHP or even VBScript. Luckily, I did most of my work today in Transact-SQL, the Microsoft SQL-based language. I'd done nothing in Transact-SQL since my brief Toyota gig back in May of 2006, but it's not a terrible language and I'm pretty good at making complicated things happen with it. Today I found myself writing a search routine to replace a routine that used full text indexes. In the world of Microsoft, full text searches love to fail and when they do so they are difficult to debug. My solution was to write a search that didn't use FTI at all. Sure, my solution was slow and clunky, but at least it worked and would continue to work.
The stress of cold-weather-necessitated firewood gathering and my recession-fearing agreement to work on too many web projects has stressed my various biological systems, and I can feel the stress manifesting inside my mouth, which acts as a sort of physical humuncular manifestation of my psycho-emotional state. I often break out in mouth sores when I'm getting sick or the stress is piling on, but it's rare that I have the diversity of mouth sores that I have now. There's one under my tongue where it attaches to the floor of my mouth, another on the underside of my tongue further up, and, most annoying of all, one on the inside of my upper lip just to the left of the middle. That last one and the one on the floor of my mouth both tend to get stressed when I'm talking, so I've come to dread long conversations.
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