Cider Press Hill

10% Ethanol

Wednesday, 9:23 pm

By Kate

May

31

2006

partly cloudy

Are most of us who use gasoline in our cars now buying the 10% ethanol mix? Our gas stations around here started selling it about a month ago. My initial thought was that my gas mileage went down. And now, after the second fill-up, I am quite sure my gas mileage suddenly stinks AND my car is starting to hesitate and jerk when I depress the gas pedal. It wasn’t very long ago that I had the car tuned up, so I’m pretty sure that’s not the problem. Or maybe it is again. Does the ethanol burn differently and require some engine adjustments?



 

Never a dull day

Wednesday, 4:53 pm

By Kate

May

31

2006

sunny

This morning the lad received a call from a classmate, giving him the heads-up that the Boston Globe might be calling him to interview him over a breaking story. And, sure enough, a reporter from the Boston Globe called while we were out picking up his tux for tomorrow’s senior prom. He hasn’t returned the call yet. First, I wanted to make sure he understands the nature of interviews and how not to dig himself into a great big liable hole.

The incident that found its way to a reporter’s purview was one I mentioned in this blog post. In a nutshell, students caught or suspected of cheating. As it turned out, the lad was cleared of any wrong-doing and he’s fine. But the story takes a bit of an unpleasant turn because the senior class valedictorian was (allegedly) not cleared. Although I don’t know the details, the boy has been ‘punished’ by being prohibited from giving the valedictory at graduation.

So here is the slant the Globe reporter is after...the student cheated in a pretty egregious way, but he paid a relatively small penalty because his family is very, very wealthy and politically connected in these parts. Yet, last year, a student caught cheating and plagiarizing was prohibited from graduating and had to attend summer school before he was given his diploma. He wasn’t from a wealthy and connected family.

Someone wasn’t happy with the results of the inquiry or the penalty handed down to this young man and went to the Boston Globe. And now they are sniffing around.

I asked the lad what he would tell the reporter if they connected. He said that he would tell her that he only knows the details of the story as told to him by his classmates—he and the other lad were both in the same teacher’s class. The teacher didn’t offer any information about who did what. But the lad is clear that something punishable happened or the valedictorian would not have been banned from his valedictory address. The lad said he would like to point out that if there is a problem , it should have been properly addressed by the school administration, not taken to the Globe to be thrashed out. But something in the system failed or broke down and now here we are. If the allegations of cheating and plagiarizing are true, then being banned from giving the valedictory is a small price to pay when compared to what other students have had to pay in the past. But don’t ask the students to verify if the student is guilty or of what. Personally, he doesn’t know and he can’t make make a claim to know. He thinks it’s important that this point should be made.

I think he’ll do fine if he takes the reporter’s call the next time she calls. Or if he calls her back, which he feels inclined to do. Welcome to the politics of life, kiddo.



 

Google searches

Wednesday, 2:31 pm

By Kate

May

31

2006

sunny

Sometimes the search strings that bring people to my blog are funny, sometimes interesting. But there are also the searches that bring people here that make me want to toss lunch. There was a post a while back that discussed a certain government official who was nailed while unknowingly chatting with a FBI sheriff’s detective, thinking that he was talking with someone much younger than my son—trying to extract images of an illegal nature (is that oblique enough to fool Google, do you suppose?). The subject matter of that post brings my blog up in the searches by individuals looking for the same sort of illegal material, either for free or not for free. Some folks are still stupidly willing to make an internet transaction for such materials and that increasingly makes me wish I could so nail their scummy hides to the wall for it. When I see what these people are looking for, I want to go throw up. It makes me want to bleach my blog. It makes me despair for the human race. Mostly these individuals fill me with white hot rage.

Sorry for the little rant, but I had to vent.



 

The weatherman sez

Tuesday, 6:38 am

By Kate

May

30

2006

sunny

This will be the perfect day to sling sealer on the deck floor. According to all the weather maps, there isn’t a speck of rain in the northeast. Tomorrow is supposed to be the same. If I get the first coat done this morning and the second coat tomorrow morning, the sealer should be dry by the time showers arrive on Thursday afternoon. We’re also getting a nice sea breeze today so the temps will remain in the mid-60s, which makes the work that much more pleasant. By golly, by the end of the week, I should have the deck back in great shape and looking good. And usable. Besides the deck table and chairs, I want to put the planters back up there and fill them with flowers. And a couple of potted tomatoes, too.

Yesterday, I scrubbed down the deck railing and it turned out so clean and nice that now I’m torn between staining it white as I’d intended or slapping some sealer on that, too. If I don’t do that first, it’ll have to wait until the floor is dry. Decisions, decisions.

And then, of course, there is the Terry problem...how to get her out to the back yard. I suppose she’ll have to go out through the front door on a leash and then through the gate into the back yard. This is going to upset her world for a couple of days. She’s a dog who depends on routine and small upsets in her routine don’t sit well with her. She’ll just have to cope. And I’ll just have to cope with her not succeeding very well in her coping.

Meanwhile, the birds are throwing fits because I had to take the bird feeders down so I could scrub the deck railing. I put them down in the flower bed beside the deck. They’re not impressed, but I noticed that the squirrels were happy with the arrangement this morning. Usually only one squirrel can fit on the feeder when it’s hanging, but this morning there were three crowded around on the ground. I couldn’t see them when I let Terry out and they didn’t see Terry coming to the door. Their response time was a little delayed, but did they ever scamper when she went down the deck stairs. She was oblivious so didn’t see them soon enough to chase them. Their little hearts are probably still beating double time, though. I wonder if they’ll come back before things are put back the way they’re supposed to be.



 

What is integrity?

Monday, 10:06 pm

By Kate

May

29

2006

partly cloudy

The graduating class had their Vespers wingding tonight. It’s no longer a religious ceremony, of course, but it’s still a custom and everyone must suffer through it. Except for the 50 or so students who pulled a no-show, which screwed up the student seating and confused the heck out of the ones who did show up. It was mostly a ceremony of student and faculty speeches. Some were good, some not so much. Some were excruciatingly long.

But my favorite began:

What is integrity? Integrity is like a bean bag chair. Whether leather or vinyl, I’d like to think leather. We are each a bean in the bean bag chair....

Never did get around to explaining how integrity was like a bean bag chair, but it was the most amazing display of tangents and non sequiturs I have ever heard. Marvelous!

And then he ended with Ecclesiastes 3:1-8...to every thing there is a season. Didn’t find the missing integrity lurking there, either. But, for some reason, it was the most refreshing speech of the evening. Or the most interesting one, anyway.



 

OxiClean vs. bleach

Sunday, 6:52 pm

By Kate

May

28

2006

partly cloudy

I finally got a chance to scrub the deck floor late this afternoon. It was green and black from all the rain and humidity over the past several months. It was pretty nasty looking.

I mixed up a bucket of water and OxiClean. About 5 heaping scoops of OxiClean in a full bucket. I slopped the solution on the deck and let it sit for a few minutes, then scrubbed with the long handled brush. The green and black stuff dissolved and came right off. That made me pretty pleased.

The next door neighbor’s son was over doing some yard work for his parents and he wondered what I was using. I told him and he claimed that a solution of water and bleach would work better. I would hardly even have to scrub. It would just bleach it right away. So I thought, sure, why not.

Well, I tried it and it didn’t do much as far as I could tell. Sure, it made the wood a little lighter, but it didn’t take the green and black slime off. I couldn’t even budge it with the brush. I rinsed everything thoroughly with the hose and went back to the OxiClean. Best stuff I’ve ever found for cleaning deck floors. Turns the crud into a paste and washes right off with a hose.

When it’s dried completely, maybe tomorrow, I will start applying the deck sealer and then life will be so much more organized. All the deck stuff is piled in the back yard and it’s driving me nuts. I can’t wait to start using the deck again.



 

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