Early Geek.

Melissa McCarthy recently featured a young lad who really likes vacuum cleaners on her show “Little Big Shots”. This young man had little interest in video games; he was more interested in vintage vacuum cleaners and apparently he knows a great deal about them. He’s not the first young guy I’ve heard of with an interest in vacuum cleaners. A boy with a similar interest was featured on “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” years ago. The son of one of my husband’s former employees had a similar interest when he was in elementary school.

It’s just the way some folks are wired. At that age my interest was in washing machines.

When we went shopping at Two Guys or K-mart (this was long before Ames came to town), I would browse through their appliance departments to see what the latest models of washing machines looked like. I was most interest in those made by Westinghouse and General Electric, though Frigidaire (with its bouncing agitator), Whirlpool, and to a lesser extent, Maytag, also grabbed my interest. I had little interest in the “store brands” like Kenmore and Montgomery Ward because I figured someone else made them and they just seemed like knock-offs.

We had a Westinghouse washer-dryer pair when we lived in the mobile home. I believe it was older than me, purchased new, and it eventually moved with us in 1977 across the street to the house my dad built. In its later years the washer had a habit of flooding from time to time so, after my mother shrunk a bunch of clothes because the only working cycle was a hot water wash, and I had tried filling the washing machine with a garden hose (which made quite the mess), Dad relented and bought my mother a new washing machine. I can easily tell you to this day it was a WWA 8450.

I was interested by this washing machine because it had push buttons instead of flip switches for water temperature and operational speeds. The family hardware store was selling GE appliances, hence the reason the Westinghouse (with Lock ‘n Spin) was replaced by a General Electric. The Westinghouse dryer lived on for a few more years until it made such a racket in the laundry room that my dad finally replaced it. The laundry room was adjacent to the family room and before he bought a new dryer he put a door on the laundry room first, trying to muffle the noise of the increasingly loud dryer. When that didn’t work and he couldn’t hear his airplane and war movies, he bought a new dryer. It didn’t quite match the washing machine, as there had been a couple of years between the manufacturing of the two, but they were close enough and the color schemes were close and I finally got over it.

My grandmother across the street had a washing machine a couple of years older than our GE because her previous GE (from the early 1960s) had begun spitting grease on all the clothes. When Gramps bought her a new washing machine (maybe in 1974 or 1975) it was a GE WWA 8350. It didn’t have extra rinse like mom’s did but it did have a soak cycle where the washing machine just sat there and did nothing.

I don’t remember her ever using the soak cycle, but when it was on its final spin she was grow impatient and flip the spin speed from delicate to normal and that would make things seemingly hurry up. I was fascinated with this and I was also fascinated by the clunk-clunk of the tub brake kicking in when the lid was lifted or the end of the cycle was reached.

Both of these washing machines went to live for well beyond a decade. I would be very surprised if the washing machine here at home lives for five years. It seems to gasp for help on every cycle and it sounds like a bunch of crickets having some sort of soliloquy. Not impressive at all.

Years ago I discovered there are many folks, mainly men and seemingly gay men, that groove on washing machines like I did back when I was in elementary school. There’s a pretty lively forum at AutomaticWasher.org (it’s where I grabbed the screen shots of the controls). I don’t really have the interest in them anymore; the new machines are excessively boring, but I do have memories and can identify various models of Westinghouse and GEs within a year or two.

But I totally get the young lad interested in vacuum cleaners. I hope he enjoys his groove and writes about his experience with Melissa McCarthy in a decade or two.

To be honest, though, I’m thankful we didn’t have shows like that when I was a kid.

Centering.

112 days is WAY too many days without sitting behind the controls of an airplane and actually flying it. I was the av-griest I’ve ever been. I am now back to my old self.

If I go more than 90 days, something that has happened once before, I go up with an instructor to knock off some rust and sure I can still fly the airplane safely. I don’t know how pilots go from October to April without flying and then just go up and do their thing. Yeah, it’s second nature in many respects but it’s still good to knock the rust off with someone you trust. I flew with a new instructor today and she was very complimentary of my skills. I had a couple of things that were rusty, mostly around operation of the G1000 Glass Panel, but otherwise it was a fantastic flight today. I also used the opportunity to really push my personal minimums when it came to windy conditions and it went better than expected.

I guess I really do know how to fly an airplane.

My 2020 aviation goal is to push my limits further and do what I need to do to fly more often. End of story. Full stop.

Sanitize.

So this is becoming a common site at public places during these YetAnotherApocalypse times. This jug of Purell was to be found at the hostess’ station of a local restaurant. The hostess didn’t mention it but I gave myself a squirt just because it seemed the right thing to do.

While in public this weekend I’ve been a bit more observant when it comes to the cleanliness of those around me. I watched a young woman lay her head down on a food service counter as she flicked her hair all over the take out bags that were stacked to one side. I shot her a look but she was oblivious. She probably still is.

After a pilots’ breakfast yesterday, while visiting the wash room I noticed several other men using the facilities washing their hands for extended amount of time. No one left the room without washing their hands. That’s impressive and is hopefully a new norm.

They say to sing “Happy Birthday” or something for timing your hand washing activity but I enjoy singing Abba’s “Me And I”. It’s obscure but still fabulous. Once in a while I’ll sing “The Visitors (Cracking Up)”, also by Abba, just to sound spooky. I don’t know if you’re suppose to do the timing of your hand washing by singing out loud but I do from time to time. Maybe if this Coronavirus thing continues I’ll add a little jig just to live people’s spirits up.

Caturday.

Truman’s day is not complete unless he can spend a few moments inspecting the hallway. There’s some sort of rule in our building that all the cats meow at the front door at precisely 8:00 AM. Truman does this and according to our neighbors their cats do it too. Both adjacent to our unit and above our unit.

Truman settles down by 9:00 AM everyday.

Interestingly, the meowing at the front door is only during the week. He spends his weekend mornings meowing at our bedroom door. A few weeks ago we swapped out the door handle so he couldn’t pull down on it anymore.

He’s such a cat.

Truman has me trained well: clean out the litter box, put it into a small garbage bag, take it to the trash chute, and let him walk the hallways while I’m walking back and forth to finish my human duties.

I wouldn’t have him any other way.

Remix.

A 1980s style remix of Lady Gaga’s “Stupid Love”. I’m rather diggin’ it.

Progress.

I love the fact we have construction going on in our neighborhood. It’s great to live in a place that’s growing. When moving to Chicago we picked our neighborhood because it was “Up and Coming”.

I’m delighted to see this continue two and half years later.

One of the latest projects is the removal of an abandoned lumber yard down the street. The location had evidence of being closed long before we moved into our condo and I was hoping someone would do something with the lot. It’s a good location: it’s adjacent to a Trader Joe’s and is within very reasonable distance of two ‘L’ stations on the CTA’s Brown Line. There’s also a wide selection of restaurants, pubs, comedy clubs, and unique little shops within walking distance. The Lake is a reasonable walk away. The only concern is, like our building, it’s between the METRA and CTA tracks in the neighborhood. This isn’t an issue for us as our building is well constructed and we hardly hear the ‘L’ or the METRA. Although, we do need to run white noise stuff while sleeping to block out some of the rumble.

A quick web search revealed a six-story building is going in this location and it will have 62 housing units. Because our neighborhood is considered a “high density environment”, mostly due to its location near public transportation, I believe at last tally this building will have only 42 parking spaces. I haven’t seen plans for the building yet, but the Chamber of Commerce mentioned it will be patterned from the nearby Grace Pointe building that opened late last year, about a block away from this location.

I’ll enjoy watching the progress of this revitalized location this year.

Coverage.

I’m not a fan of CNN. I liked CNN back in the days of Bobbie Battista but something went off the rails as time went on and CNN now feels like a big ball of hysteria.

But they do like their gadgets.

I’m fascinated with the touchscreen thing they use during Election Nights. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen the board crash during a broadcast but I’m sure it has. I’m not that glued to the tube on Election Night. I’m too busy throwing out commentary on Twitter.

And speaking of which, you know what doesn’t change the world? Throwing out commentary on Twitter. Who know what can change the world? Getting out of your home and voting at each and every opportunity you have to vote. When Illinois’ Primary comes up in a couple of weeks I’ll be voting. Up until last weekend I knew who I was voting for. I am now reassessing my options. I know I’m not thrilled with the idea of another old white guy in the Oval Office. But at the very least I hope it’s someone I feel comfortable calling president.

So I read up on CNN’s Magic Board and from what I can figure out, it’s running Microsoft Surface “like” software and was originally designed for the military.

It’s better than the failed hologram experiment CNN carried out a few presidential elections ago.

Cord Cutting.

I’m not impressed with the choices for “traditional” streaming services available for the American public. Instead of paying for cable TV, which is peppered with hundreds of channels we have no interest in watching, I went searching for a streaming package that would get us some news during this political season.

As an aside, every day has felt like political season since 2016.

Anyway, it would be nice if we could go to a CNN or MSNBC app and buy a stream of just that news. But it’s not possible. The only way one can get CNN (or another news service) is to get in as part of some sort of package. Luckily, AT&T offers AT&T Watch for $15 per month. There’s no contract, no minimum subscription required, so we are giving this a try.

AT&T Watch has quite a few Food Network like channels, a smattering of news, and a bunch of other “secondary” cable channels. I can rationalize $15 a month in the budget, especially since we decided to ditch CBS All Access when “Star Trek: Picard” turned out to be not our cup of tea.

I told my husband we’d probably keep AT&T Watch through the November elections. We can enjoy coverage of the end of the world through the presidential election, the end of the world through the Coronavirus, or the end of the world through an asteroid hit.

Stay tuned.

Ready.

When we can set up the balcony on the 2nd of March, we are very happy people.

Queer.

I’m not a fan of the word queer. I never have been, mostly because it was hurled my way too often back in my school days and even though the young gays insist they’re “taking back the word for empowerment”, I still cringe when I hear the word ‘queer’.

I tried embracing the word and taking it back for my personal empowerment a couple of years ago, but old ways die hard for this old gay and the word doesn’t really describe me. I’m gay. I’m eccentric. I can be erratic. I can be flamey from time to time and I’m content just being myself.

Some folks may feel as snug as a bug in a rug and happily embrace the word ‘queer’, it’s just not my thing and I don’t feel part of any queer community. I don’t even feel part of the gay community. I’m just me.

I guess I’m more obsolete than queer.