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To: The previous owners of this house
From: Luke
Subject: Electrical Wiring 101

A few things to keep in mind:

1) Ground wires are to be connected together to form a continuous ground connection. DO NOT SIMPLY CUT OFF GROUND WIRES WHENEVER YOU PLEASE.
2) 20 amp circuits require 12 gauge wire. Don't simply run 14 gauge everywhere and then put circuits on 20 amp breakers.
3) Conduit (EMT) is for running wires (THNN) through. Don't run Romex/NM cable through conduit. It's a pain in the ass, and totally unnecessary.
4) When running two circuits to one box, save yourself (and future owners) hassle by simply using a single three conductor cable (w/ black, white, and red wires) instead of 2 two conductor cables.
5) When you use wire nuts, make sure the wires actually get twisted together. Either twist them together beforehand, or put some effort into twisting the nuts on.
6) Don't devote an entire circuit to two (2) lights.

A disgruntled homeowner

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The anatomy of a nap (elapsed time: approximately 2 hours). As usual, click on each thumbnail for a larger version.

2-23-03-2t.jpg 2-23-03-3t.jpg 2-23-03-4t.jpg
2-23-03-5t.jpg 2-23-03-6t.jpg 2-23-03-7t.jpg

Not too much else. If anyone knows where my copy of Train is, please let me know. I miss it.

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I'm fucking sick of seeing headlines that claim "long lost" Beatles' session tapes have been found. Jesus Christ people, these are COPIES. Meaning the originals are safely in some vault in London. It's kind of like busting somebody for having a photograph of the Mona Lisa. If all of those Let It Be tapes were "lost" for so many years, how is it they had them in the early '90s when the (unreleased) restored version of the movie was being worked on?

If the (actually lost) She Loves You session tape turns up, let me know. Until then, stop fucking wasting newsprint.

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So, it's been three years since Carrie made me Valentines Day steak in a toaster oven. Yes, that's right, a toaster oven. Needless to say, the steak wasn't very good, and I wasn't in a very good mood that day to begin with, but it is kind of funny to look back upon. I'm sure she'll call me a bastard if/when she reads this, but I'll bet she'll have a good laugh too.

Other than that...George W. Bush is a complete idiot, but hey, what else is new?

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Wonders never cease to amaze me in this house. This morning, while getting ready to fix an electrical box in the bathroom, I checked to make sure the outlet was off. Hot and neutral seemed fine, but I was getting roughly 50 volts between neutral and ground. For those of you that aren't electrically inclined, neutral and ground are connected together at the service panel, and as such, the difference between them should be 0V (or very close to it).

Now, on first inspection, the electrical system in this house would seen to be pretty good - 200A service, no aluminum wiring, a lot of newer Romex, and original BX that's in decent shape. The main advantage of BX over other systems of the day (early 1950's) is that it is grounded. Well, something obviously wasn't right in that regard.

When the house was first built, all of the BX cables would have terminated in the fuse box itself. Well, the previous owners upgraded to a new 200A breaker box, and when they did, they connected the BX cables to a small junction box just above the breaker box, then connected that to the main panel with Romex - pretty typical. Normally, that's fine, but there was one big problem - they simply cut off the ground wire, rather than connecting it to the box [see #1 in the photo]. That meant that all of the BX cable - which is good because it is automatically grounded - wasn't grounded at all. As a quick fix, I put in a piece of wire between the box and the main panel to ground everything [#2] - I'll run new wires when I get a chance. Result? 0V between neutral and ground, not 50V.

And, on a lighter note, here's a cute picture of Amy and the dogs.

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We're currently in Chicago for a little weekend getaway. Friday night I rode the L for the first time. It was actually a lot less scary than I would have thought. I was quite amazed how clean both the train itself and the downtown ("Chicago") station were. So that was somewhat impressive, moreso than the Cheesecake Factory. It was fine, but I didn't think the food was all *that* great, and I thought the cheesecake at Monty's was just as good or better.

Yesterday we went to Ikea, despite the fact that I said I'd never go there again. It wasn't too horrible, although I still fail to see the attraction of that place. We were looking for new bathroom fixtures, but I really didn't see anything that was very nice. We did get some bamboo plants, though, to enhance our Feng Shui.

Not a whole lot else. We shall be hitting the road soon, first to Racine, then back to Madison. Hopefully our doggies have survived at the doggie hotel. We miss them (despite the fact that our clothes are still covered in dog hair).

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The Simpsons Archive

Vital stats:
DOB 2/16/79. I'm a web developer at the Wisconsin Department of Corrections. I like lots of old music, including The Who. I spend a lot of time working with computers. And my favorite TV show (when I actually decide to watch TV, that is), obviously, is The Simpsons.

In May 2002 I officially graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BS in computer science. In 1997 (man that seems like a long time ago) I graduated from Washington Park HS. Yes, I know, that site isn't very impressive, and no, I haven't touched it for several years.

WFS Logo

One of the best experiences I have ever had was on a trip called Western Field Studies. This is a 33 day adventure throughout the western United States. Students travel on a school bus to national parks, monuments, forests, and places of historical interest and camp out (in tents or under the stars). I was a part of trip 25, which took place in the summer of 1996. A first for WFS was we took along a laptop computer and kept up a web site. That link will take you to the 1996 site, where there is a link to the current site.