NEW BED

My mattress is about eight years old now and it’s saggy and definitely seen better days. I’ve been thinking about getting a new mattress since the summer but as with most things, I can procrastinated pulling the trigger.

On the weekend, I finally did it and got a new mattress. Not only did I get a new mattress, I actually bought a real bed. It’s nothing fancy but I actually have a real headboard now. When I bought my original mattress for my apartment when I moved in, I just got a cheap metal frame to put my box spring and mattress on. It was a pretty ghetto solution and one that showed my priorities were elsewhere (I was also shopping for a plasma TV at the time).

Anyways, the new mattress is firmer than my current mattress but it falls on the softer scale of firmness overall. Because of size constraints, it is still a full or double size but that’s ok. I’m looking forward to better nights of sleep when the bed arrives.

MORE CAR UPDATES

Despite my proclamation in my last post, I did not buy a new car battery on the weekend. The battery seems to be in much better shape now. The resting voltage reading was slightly higher on Saturday when I measured it again. I had to drive to get some dinner on Saturday evening and the car started fine in my parking garage and again when I went home after I ate. It was also fine today when I went to get groceries and ran some errands.

I still think a new car battery is prudent for the near future, perhaps next weekend or so but it appears that my car is stable for now.

CAR FIXED?

This evening after work I gathered some supplies and headed downstairs to the parking garage where my car is parked to clean the battery terminals and the wire connectors. Earlier in the day, I had watched a few YouTube videos so I knew what to do and what to expect. It seemed pretty straightforward.

Now, the terminals on my car battery weren’t nearly as bad as some of the corrosion that I saw in those videos. In the videos, it was caked on like frosting. On my battery, it was clean and you could see a bright and shiny silver surface. I had nothing to lose though and I didn’t think it would hurt to give it a once over.

As the tutorials showed me, I disconnected the ground or negative post first. When I did, I got to see the inside of the wire connector for the first time. It had a bit of gunk on the surface but it seemed very clean to me. The metal on the post itself was also very clean and shiny. It made me wonder if this was going to do anything at all. I then disconnected the positive post. Again, looking at inside of the connector, it was fairly clean as was the battery post.

I had brought down near-boiling water, baking soda, rags, eye protection, gloves, and a toothbrush, so I figured I might as well use them anyways, even if I was really skeptical of what it would do. I grabbed a disposable cup and poured some hot water into it. Then I scooped some baking soda into the cup. With the toothbrush, I mixed it all up. With the toothbrush dipped in this mixture, I began cleaning the battery terminals and the inside of the wire connectors. I wasn’t especially thorough but I put in a bit of effort into it. After I was done, I used a rag to dry off the posts and the connectors. I then connected the battery up to the wires again.

I didn’t expect much but I figured I had to give it a try, so I hopped into the car, put the key in the ignition, and turned it to the accessory position. I noticed a lot more of the dashboard lights were on compared to the Tuesday night. They seemed brighter too. I turned the key again and without any hesitation, the starter motor kicked in and the engine started right away. Wow, I almost didn’t believe it.

I left the car idling for a few minutes while I got out the multimeter to do a voltage reading. It measured about 13.6V while running, which depending on what site you’re reading, is either on the low end of ok or too low.

After leaving it to idle, I turned off the engine and waited for a minute. I then tried to start the car again. It started immediately just like last time.

While I’m happy that my car starts, I’m disappointed I didn’t do a control test. I didn’t try to start my car before I cleaned the battery. I cannot definitely say that cleaning the terminals was the thing that fixed everything. It’s quite possible that waiting 48 hours was the key to making the battery work. My car might have started even if I didn’t clean the battery. I just don’t know.

What I do know is that the battery hasn’t been replaced in many years and the resting voltage is a bit low. I believe the prudent thing to do is to buy a new battery. I will do so this weekend, before the weather gets even colder and puts even more stress on the battery.

MORE CAR TROUBLE

Last summer, I had a problem with the cooling system in my car. Coolant wasn’t being pumped around the system due to a faulty temperature sensor. That was fixed, but now, as winter approaches, I have a new problem to deal with.

On the long weekend, I got in my car to go somewhere. I put the key in the ignition and turned it. It went into the “accessories” position and then I turned it some more to get it start the engine. At this point, nothing happened. The starter motor appeared to click once but then nothing. Then all the accessories switched off. There were no dash lights, nor radio. The whole electrical system seemed dead. I turned the key again but this time there wasn’t even a click from the starter motor.

This really seemed to point towards a battery problem but I had nothing to test it with. I didn’t have a multimeter at home, the last one that I owned was gone more than a decade ago. It took me until Tuesday evening to get a cheap one from Canadian Tire. After I got it home, I was actually hoping to see a low voltage readout. Car batteries are relatively cheap and easy to replace. Out of all the things that can go wrong with a car, this wouldn’t be so bad.

To my initial dismay, the reading was 12.45V. I did readings again and again, and it continued to settle on that reading. Now, depending on what web sites you go on, 12.45V on your car battery can either mean the battery 75% charged and fine or 12.45V can mean it’s right at the lower boundary of being about to be not capable of starting¬† your car.

It’s also possible that the battery terminals, either on the battery itself or on the connector cables are corroded enough to prevent a proper connection to be made. The solution would be to clean the corrosion off using water and baking soda. I can do this but I suspect my battery might be actually dead. I think this for several reasons. First, it’s been years since this battery has been replaced. Batteries don’t last indefinitely and they need to be replaced. Second, if you wait several hours, turning the key to the accessories position will actually power on the interior lights, dashboard, and the radio. If you turn the key to engage the starter motor, that will cause all the lights and radio to cut out again. As if the drain on the battery, from the starter, is too much.

I will attempt to clean and battery terminals and connectors but I have a suspicion that won’t be enough. I just hope I can get this fixed in a reasonable amount of time, with a reasonable amount of money.

FERRERO ROCHER COPY

I was at Walmart on the weekend and I saw that they are now selling store brand Ferrero Rocher chocolate copies. They’re priced at almost half the price of the real deal and come in the same little clear plastic box. I love Ferrero Rocher so I jumped at the opportunity to buy an alternative at almost half price.

When I got them home, I noticed there were some slight differences between the knock-off and the real deal. Actual Ferrero Rocher chocolates are completely round and spherical. The Walmart ones are mostly spherical but have a flat bottom. The real test, is of course, how do they taste?

The real Ferrero Rocher chocolates have a really crisp and light outer shell. The Walmart ones weren’t as crisp or light. The hazelnut filling inside isn’t as creamy or rich. It’s sweet but the filling tastes almost bland compared to a real Ferrero Rocher.

Overall, it’s not terrible but given a blind taste test, it wouldn’t be difficult at all to guess which was the Walmart brand one and which is the real one. Some people might not care nor notice but I can. Maybe I got a bad box? I’ll have to try another to make sure.

LONG WEEKEND OVER

It was a long weekend here in British Columbia and like any long weekend, it was much appreciated by me. My grandma and aunt were in town, so I got to see them twice. Family members are important, even if spending time with them can be trying at moments.

It also got genuinely cold on the weekend. Like for real, winter is coming cold. I put the puffy insert into my North Face jacket because I think I’ll be needing it until April now.

I almost forgot to turn on my alarm again tonight. I turned it off since I didn’t want to be woken up early on Monday when I didn’t have to work. I was about to go to bed but remembered I need to get up early tomorrow. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I have a meeting first thing in the morning, so I can’t be late.

Well, it’s time for bed!

ALMOST FREEZING

The low tonight is 2 degrees Celsius, which is the coldest it’s been since the end of the summer. Leaving work and entering the evening air is a chilly proposition the last few nights. I’ve seen people bundle up now with hats, scarves, and gloves.

I almost was tempted to turn the heat on this evening but resisted since that means I’m going spend money on electricity. Also, like a fool, I didn’t install a new heater in my living room when it was summer. Recall, I took out my electric fireplace last winter, which was my only source of heat for the living room. The plan was to install a new baseboard heater during the summer and have it ready for this winter. I did not do that. Now, I’m cold. I am dumb.

IT’S REALLY WORK

So two hours a week, it’s my part of my job to simply play the game I’m working on. We have a one-hour playtest on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The whole team is encouraged to participate and in fact, we’re reminded that it’s part of our job to play what we’re making.

Making games is difficult sometimes but when we’re asked to simply play a game for two hours a week as part of our job, I have to remind myself that things could be a lot worse.