melled like a hangover
Saturday, January 10 2015
After a 28 ounce bean can (a "ghetto-crucible") gets about half full of molten alumnium, it's hard to maintain sufficient heat to continue melting more aluminum cans into it. So today, in order to complete my melting of old beer cans leftover from this summer, I started a new crucible, yet another 28 ounce bean can, and continued melting cans during the whole of the Saturday morning coffee ritual (the one day every week when we drink fully-caffeinated coffee). Before adding cans to the crucible, I had them spend time atop the stove surface to boil away any moisture (mostly old beer, but perhaps occasionally urine, and, if Mark Gore has visited recently, chewing tobacco). This is because any moisture inside the firebox is energy lost up the chimney, whereas moisture heated on the outside of the stove contributes to the warmth and humidity of the inside air. Of course, any aromatics in that moisture will contribute to mix of indoor fragances, and it wasn't long before our living room smelled like a three-alarm hangover. There was also the problem of fumes coming from the aluminum cans as they melted in the crucible. Such fumes usually go up the chimney, but I had to access the firebox many times to add many cans, and occasionally I'd do so before the organics on the old cans had fully burned away. There must be some sort of plastic used to coat the inside of the cans, because when added to the crucible, they burn for a minute or so with an orange flame producing a black smoke having a distinctive plastic smell (one unlike the common plastics, particularly polyethylene and polystyrene, whose smells I can identify). By noon, I'd melted every aluminum can I could find in the house, which must have added up to well over a hundred. The yield was 1845 grams of aluminum distributed between two cans, each about half full, although one of them had sprung an aluminum leak in the glue-filled seal at the bottom, and it's possible some aluminum was lost into the firebox (this has happened in the past). Since aluminum cans weigh about 13 grams each, I can work backwards from the amount of aluminum I produced and calculate that I melted about 143 of them.
By the way, today as I was doing my can melting, I referred to it inaccurately as smelting, which is the extraction of metal from ore. But calling it "smelting" allowed me to say other things, such as, "He who smelt it dealt it."
Meanwhile, the urinal system in the laboratory has been frozen since the cold morning that happened on Thursday. I've been forced to piss into liquor bottles, since I have a policy of never pissing in any of the household toilets unless I am sitting on them (usually, but not always, for other more substantive business). There's always a risk when I have liquor bottles full of yellow fluid that I'll mistake them for a drinkable brown liquor, but so far this has never happened. (The only time I have ever tasted my own urine happened when I was a kid during an especially icy winter — I think it was 1978 and I was ten. I used to borrow my mother's ice skates, which fit my feet at the time. Not only did I enjoy pissing on the ice, but when I'd slipped and fall, I liked licking it too. And, inevitably, at some point I licked a part of the ice that I'd recently pissed on. I remember thinking to myself at the time, "Man, that was stupid!")
This evening, while Gretchen was out with friends attending a poetry reading, eating at Rick's Woodfired Pizza, and seeing a thrilling "Rock Goddesses" performance by students of the Paul Green Rock Academy, I did some further work on my second Hackintosh. This is the one that uses the Foxconn DigitaLife motherboard that I'd given up for dead about a month ago. Today, I managed to get it to boot to a desktop by borrowing the Nvidia GeForce 9400 GT from the working Hackintosh. Once I was able to run Multibeast, I was able to boot a desktop with the nother PCIe Nvidia-based video card I have, an Asus EN6600 Silencer [REDACTED]. Unfortunately, though, the stock Apple OS doesn't contain the necessary drivers to take advantage of the EN6600's accelerators, so the UI ended up being ponderously slow (but usable). I was unable to actually find the kexts necessary to support the EN6600, so I gave up and ordered another GeForce 9400 on eBay.
Interestingly, in testing my many other video cards on this Hackintosh, I found I was able to boot to a functioning desktop with a couple old PCI classic (not express) cards, including one made by ATI and another made by Nvidia. As with the EN6600, though, the graphical refresh on these desktops proved distractingly slow.
For linking purposes this article's URL is:feedback
previous | next