Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Boiler Repair

The previous post was actually written for the most part on Monday. However, in the middle of writing, we got dispatched out on a call and I had to save it. I only got back to it this morning and had to put the ending on it.

As for today, I'm home babysitting the oil burner tech who is in my basement doing a cleaning on the furnace. According to what he told me, my landlord Wendi told him it hadn't been done in about 4 years. It could explain why the burner isn't running as efficiently as it should. On the other hand, we've made adjustments in her to ensure we get the most out of what we burn. Between the drapes and blinds, 68 in the evening and 64-65 the rest of the time, and wearing a little bit more in the way of clothing, it's not been terribly uncomfortable this winter. And today is warmer than it was yesterday by probably 10 or so degrees. Last night when I got home from work (at almost 8:00PM) it didn't take me long to crash. I think I finally went down a little before 9, and I got up this morning at 10:30. That almost always happens where I need the sleep after a more-than-24, which the shift was because I went in early Sunday to relieve one of the folks I work with. And overall, it wasn't a horrible shift - just long.

I finally got my hands on a copy of the Pat Metheny Group CD "Travels", after having lost my vinyl copy years ago. It's probably one of my favorite albums as there are some priceless live recordings of music that has always been awesome. One of my favorites on this album is the song "Are You Going With Me?", originally done on the "Offramp" back in 1982. I put up a video of one of their live recordings of this below. I'm not certain of the venue and when, but it's a really good rendition - among his best, I think.

Lately I've been catching up on some research - I don't consider myself an expert on 20th Century history by any stretch, but I've been doing some reading about the events leading up to World War I as well as the war itself. I'm currently working on "An Incomplete History of World War I" by Edwin Kiester, Jr. I've only just started reading it as I recently finished "World War I" by H.P. Willmott. The Willmott work is pretty comprehensive starting with the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand as the initial catalyst of war and going through all of the major campaigns up to the entry of the United States and its effect on the war in Europe. A lot happened back then, perhaps more than most people today are aware. And if you look at the events around WWI and what happened afterward, it's not a surprise that WWII happened, either. Take Germany, for example - most people use Germany because of the rise of Adolf Hitler and the path of destruction that he led Germany down during his time as Fuerher. The only reason he could do that was because he was able to capitalize on the attitude of the German populace because of the consequences to Germany as a nation. Had he not been able to take advantage of that, history might have been different. Further, had events well before WWI shaken out differently - Germany's annexation of Alsace-Lorraine from France in 1871, for instance - things might not have occurred as they did.

It's really interesting to think of the "what if's" of history. And it is somewhat overwhelming to think of all that did happen as a result of actions taken by two nations - Germany and France - during the mid-19th century and how they ultimately affected Europe as a whole. But one of the things that fascinates and bothers me the most is the attitude of some of the other nations that ended up in the fight, notably Great Britain and Russia. And look what happened to them as a result: Russia became what could have been thought of as a rogue nation for many years due to Communism, and Great Britain lost much of its global influence.

In any case, I am still working on the subject, among other things. I'm still working on my ability to speak decent conversational Spanish, and I'm still studying to take the Flight Paramedic exam. I also want to pick up the guitar and learn to play it. All of the things I want to do are in an effort to keep my mind from becoming atrophied. Pretty scary to think that down the road it could happen, and I don't want it to....

More to follow. Stay warm.

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Anonymous said...

Keeping your brain from going atrophied....I know that one! Now old and retired, I'm studying Hebrew, just because it looks SO hard (I'm not a Jew) and a hard challenge. Also studying for a ham radio license. Maybe I can talk to a ham in Israel? It's good to start young to stay mentally agile! Good for you. Love your blog...fascinating, and I've bookmarked your site.

Alex zender said...

I am so glad to see this post.

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