Heat Wave

2016-07-07  Heat Wave (1)

 

There’s nothing like to find a solution to a problem, not to fix it, but to make it disappear completely from the root.

For the last couple of weeks it was very hot where I live, with temperatures in the 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius), so by the time to go to bed the bedroom was hot and feeling like a cheap hotel room in Bangkok (for what I’ve seen in Action movies), making it impossible to fall asleep; at least for me.

The solution: I bought a used window AC on Craigslist. These guys were selling a nice working and very dirty unit for $45, so I just couldn’t resist. I brought it home and started the installation in the horizontal sliding window in my bedroom. I made a wooden base to create a leveled surface and painted it white, so it would look very clean. While waiting for the wooden base to dry, so I could continue checking what I could do to complete the installation as I was going, I decided to take apart the AC to clean it up a little bit; I know these things collect dust the same like computers.

 

2016-07-07  Heat Wave (2)

 

Also, while cleaning and discovering labels attached to the unit, I had the opportunity to Google what I bought and how much would cost new. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that this particular unit was 10,000 BTU, while in the bedroom all was needed was a 5,000 BTU, which meant it would have to run shorter amounts of time, or the unit could be used to cool down not just my bedroom, but even maybe also my son’s bedroom, which door is side by side with mine.

The unit also happened to cost around $ 450 when new, so not bad considering it was working pretty good and I got it for just 10 percent of the original price.

While cleaning inside the unit I paid special attention to both radiators as I know that’s the main reason why this units loose efficiency; radiators that cannot have enough air flow. I was shocked to discover the outside radiator was almost completely clogged with a thick layer of dust compacted into an about 1/16” (1.6 mm) layer like a cardboard sheet. I guess they sold the unit, not because it was too big for the room they were in now, but because the unit was very low efficiency lately.

 

2016-07-07  Heat Wave (3)
2016-07-07  Heat Wave (4)

 

After removing the layer, cleaning the radiator and all the interior, putting the unit together and testing it, it was so nice to feel that strong cold wind in my face and body in the garage, where I was sweating the 95 degrees while working in this AC.

After the wooden base was dry enough I installed the AC in the window and simply closed the upper portion of the window with a transparent sheet of plastic I found laying in the garage. I just held it in place using transparent packing tape (2 inches wide) and tested the unit in the bedroom now and positioned as it supposed to be, with the outside radiator outside and the front of the AC unit inside. It took the AC about 5 minutes to bring the room from 95 inside to a cool 65 degrees! So I knew now I could sleep at night! It was like upgrading hotels in Bangkok (I guess).

 

2016-07-07  Heat Wave (5)

 

But I had only two nights to try it. By the third day it came a two weeks long not so hot wave, and we’ve been having temperatures in the 70 degrees (21.1 Celsius), and even in the last two or three days we had rain (the lawn and the rabbits seem to love it), so there has been no need to use the AC.

So not only the problem was fixed, it was destroyed from the root! I would consider the problem fixed if I was sleeping finally thanks to the air conditioner, but since there is no need for an AC anymore, the problem seems like it never existed! Completely destroyed.

It is not the first time something like this happens to me, and I’m sure it also happens to many people out there. Now, I don’t want to take the unit out of the window yet because I know of the existence of the Murphy’s Laws, and I know if I consider I don’t need it anymore, as soon as I remove it from the window, the high temperatures will be back again!

Raul

.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fourth of July

2016-07-04  Fourth of July (1)

 

Today is Fourth of July. People is celebrating in many different ways. Some going out dinner; some making a BBQ; some hiding somewhere to burn some fireworks.

One of the curious things where I live is that it is legal to sell fireworks, so people can buy them, but it’s illegal to burn them! In other words, they allow you to buy, but not to use. I’m still trying to understand the logic of that.

In any case, people still burn fireworks in the streets, and then run to hide before the police arrive! I guess there is an element of excitement on that, which adds to the whole in the celebration.

In our case, we will be going to another city in the mountains that has a fame of having great fireworks at night, after a whole day of activities in the street during the day. So we will be spending the whole day there, to then watch the fireworks at night. After that it will be a couple of hour waiting for the traffic to reduce in size with all the people that should be there too. Most probably we will be coming back to Denver in the early hours on July 05.

Another thing that will be interesting for me is that I will have the opportunity to observe people during the day at the many activities the city will be offering, and then at night at the time of watching the fireworks. It is always interesting to see how people react in so many different ways to the same stimulus they are confronted with. I’m sure I’ll have the chance to get many pictures and comments to present here about all of that. Human behavior is just fascinating for me! LOL

Hey, many people call me Spock, did you know? I guess is the way I am by being an Aspie.

The important thing is to have fun in a healthy way today, and collect many good memories to remember in the future.

So I hope you people reading this blog have a wonderful Fourth of July, and get the opportunity to relax from all the stress daily life might give you.

Have fun!!

Raul

.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Indoctrination

2016-06-30  Indoctrination (1)

 

In the previous post I mentioned a second thing that shocked me at Indy 500 100th Run of 2016 that almost made me cry in anger. To better explain it, let me first start with a little information about myself.

I am Chilean. I was born in 1962. In 1973, when I was 11 years old, the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet took control of the country and didn’t leave until 1990, when I was already 28 years old, married, and with a 2 years old son. Since I was 11 till I was 28. 17 years of military dictatorship. My growing years. You can check “Augusto Pinochet” in case you don’t know what that military dictatorship was.

I remember the military indoctrination; the attempts to brain wash young people (like me at that time) in convincing them of all the good military was, and all the bad of anybody else, especially those who didn’t agree with them and their ideas, presenting the others as enemies of the nation, the people, God and life itself. I remember their ways.

At the Indy 500 I expected a race! Well, the race was just the last portion of the show. The whole thing started at 6am with several elements on schedule for the next five hours, to start the race at around 1pm, which should last for another 2, and the finishing point for about one hour with the closing ceremonies.

That meant around six hours of show and only two of race.

Now, I can understand the race is run one day before Memorial Day, and so it is part of the Memorial Day commemorations. But turning a day of remembering and having feelings of thankfulness to those who gave their lives in different wars throughout the history of this country, into a military indoctrination day?

As far as I know Memorial Day is about all men and women who gave their lives in the different wars the US have been into, starting with the Independence wars to the latest today. So why present footage of Pearl Harbor in the screens? Why mention Pearl Harbor only and not any other war? Why have on site military survivors of that day to tell about their memories? Why then give them a ride in convertibles around the track, so people could see them and applaud them? And then why talk about how the military responded and went into war? Why not talking about any other war? Why not mentioning the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

In all honesty, what is the difference between the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki? Both were without warning. Sure, the US and Japan were at war by the time of the Hiroshima bombing, but the Japanese were unaware of nuclear bombs and their consequences.

It all was EXACTLY as the military indoctrination of the military dictatorship I knew when growing up in my country. But contrary to the times in my country, I could see around how people at the track were responding in a positive way to the indoctrination! They were accepting it. They were taking it all.

Then the narrator went on to talk about the country of freedom and respect for others, and I remembered a Japanese pilot at the starting grid (Takuma Sato); what must have he been thinking at that moment? Maybe he was thinking: “I am Japanese, but have nothing to do with Pearl Harbor”; Maybe he was thinking: “What about Hiroshima and Nagasaki?”, or maybe he was thinking about his strategy for the race and not listening to what was happening around him. I hope so.

Yes, the military dictatorship in my country used to talk a lot about being the country of freedom and respect for others.

I felt sick inside.

For a moment I had to seat down (while everybody around was on their feet applauding the veterans in the convertibles going around). I had to contain my desires of screaming and my tears. I had to remind myself these people have never really had oppression, so they don’t really know what it is. They live in fear of someone coming to take their freedom, but they have never had repression, so they don’t really know it. They don’t know what it is.

It was a bad moment of memories and involuntary comparisons, so it became the second thing that shocked me at the Indy 500.

Now, don’t get me wrong; I do support the Memorial Day and its meaning. I even mentioned my family there that if I find a cap with the letters MIA, which I understand means Missing In Action, and is a way to support those who died at wars, I would buy and wear such cap. I do respect and appreciate the sacrifice of those who died at wars, but I do despise the use of Memorial Day as a way of political and militarist propaganda, especially in a sporting event that, among other things, is an international event, with many pilots coming from other countries to compete here.

Don’t they deserve a little more respect? The fact that it is an international event is because pilots from other countries come here, so why use that for publicity purposes of the event, call it “The Greatest Race in The World”, and then turn it into a local event by programming a ceremony that is a local indoctrination of “Us Against Them”…of political and militarist propaganda.

By growing in a military dictatorship I learned to recognize the way militarist propaganda is made, and what I saw at Indy 500 was EXACTLY that.

I felt sick, and that’s why that situation became the second most shocking element I experienced at the 2016 Indy 500.

Raul

.

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Post Indy 500 Race

2016-06-27  Post Indy 500 Race (1)

 

Well, after three weeks the Cold I involuntarily brought as a souvenir from the family trip to the Indy 500 2016 is still with me. I believe is one of the souvenirs that has lasted me the most!

But trying to recall about the event, the race and all that it was the Indy 500 in its 100th run, the image that jump first in my mind is…trash!!

I have never seen so much trash in my life! (other than in a landfill).

It wouldn’t be a surprise that a big amount of trash would be created and left behind after an event of the magnitude of the Indy 500 (it was said there were 350,000 spectators at the event), but honestly, I never imagined how bad it would be!

Walking back after the race, going under the grandstands towards the exit and to our car parked like 500 miles away (maybe that’s why they call it the 500?), the entire walk was like in a war zone, where it seemed the type of bullets used were canned soda and beer and wrapped food! Just the thought of how many tons of food and drinks were brought to the stadium and people took it away inside them is simply scary!

 

2016-06-27  Post Indy 500 Race (2)
2016-06-27  Post Indy 500 Race (3)

 

Everywhere and everything was covered in trash. Tons of it. Many trash barrels overflowing and the concrete floor, the rock covered areas, the grass, you name it, every single surface of Earth was covered with trash! And in between lots and lots of people walking their direction, creating an image more of refugees than of people after a sports event. We all looked like refugees; not because of our tired faces, but mostly because of the newly redecorated facilities in a “trash style” design.

And to tell you the truth, I wasn’t the only one shocked with all the trash around. While so impressed I had to take many pictures and videos that I could use in this blog, I saw at some point there was someone to one side, not to far away from me, who was also taking pictures of the trash. I look at the man and he looked at me, and then in like in an apologetic way he said: “I’m from Canada”, to which I responded: “I’m from Chile”, and then we both answered: “Oh”, and we went in our merry ways…taking more pictures!

You can see in them how much trash was left behind after the event. I’ve heard it usually takes about a week to clear up all the trash and get the facilities clean and pristine again…and I can believe that!

 

2016-06-27  Post Indy 500 Race (4)
2016-06-27  Post Indy 500 Race (5)

 

Now, for many people it might not be a big deal and maybe they are used to see these kind of situations after sports events, but for me it was more than impressive…it was shocking! Granted, I don’t go to sports events, so I don’t know how it usually is; but also I do tend to make quick calculations in my mind, and when you count 10 empty soda cans in a 9 square feet area and multiply that for the number of square feet in the public areas in the facilities, you realize the number of trucks of soda that must have been…and that’s for soda only. Add to that the empty beer cans and the wraps of food and you are working huge numbers…you are working in tons. Tons of food consumed and tons of trash left behind.

I know for most people the first images that come to mind about the Indy 500 is anything but the images of trash, but since what first comes to mind is what impresses the most, for me what got me most impressed about the Indy 500 was the trash…sorry! And that’s why it has to be the first thing I would tell you about this memorable Indy 500 100th Run of 2016.

Next post I’ll tell you about the second thing that impressed me the most about this event, and that almost made me cry in anger.

Till next post.

Raul

.

Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coughing to Coffin

2016-06-23  Coughing to Coffin

 

With the Flu-like Cold I brought from St Louis, MO in the last trip, sometimes I used to get endless sequences of uncontrollable coughing that seemed to never end. As you know, every time you cough you expel air from your lungs. Normally you would cough and then breathe, to then cough more, depending on the kind of cold you have.

This cold gave me some endless coughing that, at one hand made me feel my throat to be ripped apart like you could with a piece of meat if you grab it with both hands and then pull apart until it tears into two pieces. Then at the other hand, by being an endless sequence of coughing with no chance to breathe in between, quickly, while feeling the sharp pain in my throat, the lack of breathing and oxygen created a sharp pain in my chest, with the only option for me to just curl and hang in there.

A sharp, growing pain in my throat and vocal cords, while having a sharp pain in the chest, and the desperation of not being able to breathe. With eyes tightly closed everything became white and suddenly there was no up or down, no sides and no front or back, just white all around, floating. There was no pain and no fear, just the peace of not worrying, not thinking, not feeling. Inert, floating, being, but not being as we know. Rest, peace!

Later I opened my eyes and I was still curled in bed. My throat hurt, my chest hurt, my breathing was normal, there was no cough. It was all quiet, inside and out.

—————-

I’ve been close to death several times in my life and for different reasons, so I know what’s in the other side. That’s why I am not afraid of death. I know death will bring peace, rest, at least for me, because that’s what I’ve felt.

At one hand is great to know because then there is no fear for the end. I’m not afraid to die! But at the other hand it can be a bad thing. When you know your death will bring you rest, sometimes when situations become to complicated to handle, or sicknesses become to strong to fight, then there is the tendency to quit the fight and just desire and wait for death to come. I know because I’ve felt that way many times.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I love life and I don’t want to die because there are so many things to do and so many places to see. Life is such a gift that it can become addictive! I love life and I still have a “barrel list” (rather than a bucket list) of things I want to do, try, experience. Death would be such a waste!!

But in those moments of strong sickness, when you can’t breathe and are in so much pain; or those moments when life becomes so complicated, with your projects, desires and problems so entangled and impossible to straighten up, death becomes so appealing!

I don’t know if other people have had these same situations of close encounters with death; or if they had a different perception of what death would be, like feeling scared of what they will find there. I don’t know also if anybody would believe me on what I say, but that is OK; I’m not trying to convince anybody of what I saw and felt; after all, we all will have our chance to see for ourselves at some point, right?

So all I wanted with this post was to let you know another perspective on what death could be; and how that perspective can influence the direction of our thoughts after a tipping point.

I could be wrong; I could be right, who knows. All that matters right now is that I acquired a peace of mind about death, and you have another perspective to analyze.

Raul

.

Related Posts with Thumbnails
Posted in Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off