Within 30 feet of you is a world of amazing wonder that sits hidden just out of sight. There are so many wonders hidden in plain sight that you don't think about, yet you need them to live a modern life. Let's pull back the curtain just a little.
If you have an old house, you have a gas water heater. A gas water heater is basically a steel tank full of water, insulation to make the thing hold in heat, a pipe going in and a pipe going out, and a fire on the bottom to make the water warm. The gas comes from a pipe line that stretches hundreds if not thousands of miles, which could be its own post. But let's talk about that fire at the bottom of the tank. If you look at the controller box, there is a gas in, a pilot tube, a gas out, and some weird looking copper cable/tube. That weird tube is the focus of this conversation; this device is amazing and you need to know about it. The way a gas water heater works is there is a small flame called a pilot light that stays lit 24/7. When the temperature of the water in the tank gets too low, a signal is triggered that sends a full blast of gas into the area with the pilot light, which starts the heating fire. But, what if that pilot light goes out? If there is no pilot light, and the gas triggers, your house/basement/garage will now fill with natural gas, which is BAD. Enter that copper tube. Next to the pilot light is a round chunk of metal, called a thermocouple Thermocouples are amazing in their own right and could be a post on their own. When the pilot light is lit, the thermocouple gets hot and produces a small bit of voltage. This voltage then generates a very small bit of current. This current then charges and electromagnet that opens a valve to the main gas input line. THIS! This amazing simple and wonderful bit of human brain output is what keeps you house from blowing up when the pilot light goes out!!!!! If something happens and that thermocouple stops being heated, the electromagnet can't pull the gas valve open, and no gas enters the burning chamber until you have to relight the pilot flame. Why tell you this? Thermocouples go bad after about a decade or so and will need to be replaced. Or, if you are like me, you need to call the company and have a part sent to replace the whole control apparatus due to a recall that never made it my way. a few days of cold showers, a 45 minute phone call and 25 minutes with a screwdriver and wrench and I am back in business.
In other news, I ate something that did not agree with me. I was not sick, but I had a bad intestinal weekend. Stomache went to war against the brain who told everyone to go to hell while he banged on my skull and laughed at our pain. The biological nozzle effect is a real thing and all. The result of all this was a involuntary 80 hour fast. I started to manage to drink enough water to not dehydrate myself, and fortunately the water just went right through the system and did not seem to linger. But I'm better now. This was probably the longest I went without eating anything in 20ish years, definitely the longest I've been without food and the means to procure it. The fast seems to have reset my food cravings, and I have been eating smaller portions since recovery. In all a-round-ways feel better after the disaster.
The kicker? Over the 80 or so hours, I gained eight mother fucking pounds.
And I have forty god damned pounds of books to get rolling on.