Netflix Original – The Killing

I have often bashed the Netflix Originals, as they in general don’t appeal to me. Either I am not the right demographic, or I am picky, or as some readers say, I have no taste. No arguments there.

But I recently found a show that is pretty solid. The Killing turned up in a search for shows similar to my last binge watching, “Broadchurch”.

If you want to avoid spoilers, you should probably stop reading now. Continue reading →

The Lawn

For the first time in my life, I have a house with a yard that I take care of, or, more importantly that I care about. Something about a $700K house.

One of the factors in our selection of this house was a safe, sane yard for our dogs, at the time an epileptic greyhound, and his older brother, a well aged greyhound. The small back yard had a pretty decent piece of grass, my lawn, and I have put effort into keeping it nice.

The first challenge was the west end of the yard, it is perpetually in shade, and when it rains (which happened a lot the last year), it never dries out, grass didn’t get enough sunlight to grow, and it was almost a permanent bog. Continue reading →

The last RO post, I promise

Mont Blanc

As a couple of previous posts chronicled the demise of my initial reverse osmosis system, and my search and replacement of it.

As mentioned, the quality of the water is outstanding, the installation was routine, almost mundane, and the only remaining task was to hook up the ice maker in the refrigerator.

When I bought the system, I splurged for the $15 ice maker kit, that was about 20 feet of 3/8” tubing, a terminal connector, a ’T’ connector (to splice into the output line) and an on/off valve.

Apart from dumping about a cup of water, and having to drill a hole in the floor of the under sink cabinet, it was completely painless to install. Seriously, it took less than 30 minutes from grabbing the tubing cutter, to pushing the refrigerator back into its nook.

Tossed the accumulated ice, ran about a gallon of water, and now we are enjoying ultra clean water at both the tap, and in the door dispenser of the refrigerator.

Bonus? The ice is clearer.

The RO Fun Continues

As I have chronicled the original Reverse Osmosis system I installed at my home died. Some research later, I bought a more robust replacement, and a rather pain-free installation, and I have outstanding water.

HM TDS Meter

Just how outstanding? Well, the measure of quality is the concentration of total dissolved solids (TDS), and there are a variety of means to measure it. Since I had consumed one of my Flowlok pellets (I had a slight leak), I needed to order more. Alas, the shipping was more than the cost of the “pellets” so I just padded my order, adding a TDS meter.

Once it arrived, I tested the three sources of water in our house. The tap, the refrigerator dispenser (that has a filter), and the RO system. As I mentioned previously, our water is delivered via Great Oaks Water, and it is predominantly well water, and very hard.

The tap water measured at 376PPM TDS. That is not out of tolerance, but it is very hard water, and the mineral buildup on our fixtures are a testament to how hard the water is. It also has a noticeable taste that isn’t enjoyable.

The refrigerator – an LG – has an in-door dispenser of filtered water and ice. There is a cartridge filter and we keep it replaced as per their recommendations. It measured at 303PPM TDS. Better, but still not great. The water out of the refrigerator does taste better than tap, but it does have a noticeable flavor to it.

Out of the Reverse Osmosis system, it was 33ppm. Right in the ballpark for what is expected. The taste of the water is indistinguishable from the bottled water that you pay big $$$ for. Mission accomplished.

While the meter was a bit of a splurge (and less than $20) it will be useful when we change the pre-filters every year, and the membrane after 3 years to verify that all is well.

Today, my task is to hookup the system to the refrigerator.

The Reverse Osmosis Saga Continues

As I posted about a couple of weeks ago, my under-sink Reverse Osmosis (RO) filtering system went tits-up. It was a Whirlpool WHER25, that had developed stress cracks in the manifold (where the filters attach). It was an injection molded part, and while it wasn’t terribly expensive to replace, doing a little of internet searching yielded that this system pretty much sucked, failed often, and the shipping costs were more than the cost of the manifold.

I could have just removed the existing unit, and lived with our tap water, but it is Great Oaks, it is pumped out of the ground, and it is horribly hard, and has a strange taste. Not awful, but after using RO water for years, you can tell the difference in your drinking water, your coffee, and your cooking. You don’t have to be a snob to know it. (the first place we had an RO system was when we bought our house in Tucson, AZ. The water there was awful, and it was a necessity). The reality is that living without it would be a non-starter. Continue reading →

Sucky Netflix Originals

I posted a while back on how I pretty much have written off Netflix Originals. While I will grant that Narcos was pretty solid, every, and I mean EVERY other one I have tried has sucked.

I wouldn’t care so much, except that Netflix over-hypes their originals, pushing it to the top of my browsing, and often burying my “List” or “Continue Watching” down 20 or so layers, just to put their preferences on the top. Continue reading →

Product review: Whirlpool WHER25 RO system

When we bought our house in South San José, I learned that we were on Great Oaks water. Having experienced that when I lived in my first condo, I knew the water was hard, and had a “taste”. (it is well water)

While there was a filtration system, it was a simple cartridge system, and by how frozen the cartridges were to the manifold, it was clear that it had been installed and neglected for a long time (so long, that the cartridges went end of life and couldn’t be replaced).

I looked for a little better system, and bought a Whirlpool Reverse Osmosis system for the under sink filtration. I will admit defeat on the installation (I hate plumbing), so we hired a handyman to get it fitted in July 2015. Continue reading →

Down with the Sickness

Down with the sickness Album - DisturbedA few weeks ago, I regaled you with my quest for a replacement to the venerable Oregon Scientific indoor/outdoor temperature monitor. It had become somewhat unreliable (the radio exterior sensor would lose contact many times a day with the base station), and the replacement with a La Crosse unit that so far seems vastly superior in its reliability (of course, it has been less than a month compared to the 13 or so years I had the Oregon Scientific hanging).

At that time, I did a little digging on more robust weather monitoring systems. Something that tracked humidity, barometric pressure, rainfall, temperature (and not impacted by radiative heat), wind direction and speed, in short a real weather station. Continue reading →

Back in the Saddle

The downside of working full time again is the dearth of time to exercise. Little over a year ago, spending some down time between jobs, I was able to get out for lengthy exercise sessions every day. That included typically 3 bicycle rides a week, often up to 30 miles at a through. Alas, that freedom to get out and pound the pavement was severely curtailed with a regular job.

I still did get out on the weekends to walk and hike, but the bicycles have remained (mostly) parked in the garage. Earlier this spring I did get out a few times, but ouch, the acclimatization of my derrière to the saddle was punishing, so apart from isolated rides, they remained hung up in the garage. Continue reading →