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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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The Fire Man Cometh

We’re having the heater in our house replaced this week. I see the logic in doing furnace-related work in the middle of summer — it’s often cheaper if the contractors know you’re not desperately warming your private bits over the stove when you call. But I still appreciate the irony of a couple of guys putting in a new heater on one of the hottest days of the year. It’s supposed to approach one hundred degrees in New England later this week. If we turned the old furnace on, the house would actually get cooler.

The current heater utilizes a technology called ‘passive steam dispersion’. Where ‘technology’ is used in the very loosest sense. We’re talking ‘drunk sorority girl at a kegger’ loose here; maybe even ‘Jenny McCarthy on a casting couch’ loose. And that’s ‘loose’, people.

Because a ‘passive steam’ heating system doesn’t require anything approaching ‘technology’, as far as I can tell. ‘Passive steam’ heating involves heating up air, which then rises. Passively. Hence the name.

“Cro-Magnon man might have had contractors lumber into his cave, many thousands of years ago, and charge him an arm and an axe-blade to install ‘passive steam’ heat.”

So it just requires fire. Fire and long tubes. Cro-Magnon man might have had contractors lumber into his cave, many thousands of years ago, and charge him an arm and an axe-blade to install ‘passive steam’ heat. A bunch of burning sticks and some hollow tree trunks would pretty much cover it. Cro-Magnon man might’ve even taken it on as a DIY project, because Cro-Magnon man didn’t have to worry about fucking up his plaster walls and hardwood floors. Cro-Magnon man got off easy, yo.

I didn’t get the details on what’s going into the basement in a few days, but it’s been spun to me that it’s ‘better’. Which I’ve taken, perhaps overly optimistically, to mean ‘less passive’. Maybe something’s going to push the hot air up the tubes for once, so the upstairs finally gets some heat. Or maybe they’ll train the hamsters keeping the current furnace running to carry hot air up the tubes.

I don’t frankly care, so long as the bedroom’s warm enough to sleep in, and the new furnace looks expensive. I’m gonna have to sell this place someday, and if I’m replacing the damned furnace, I don’t want any fricking questions from prospective buyers about it. They’d better walk in, see the furnace, and gape in wonder at its obvious furnatory power. I want to see flashing lights and little humming dials on the thing. Maybe some steam coming out of the bottom — but not so much that you’d think there’s a leak. Just enough to be all impressive and mysterious and shit. And stick one of those Van De Graaff generators up on top, or something. For the money it’s costing, a couple of extras aren’t gonna kill you.

Actually, it’s not so bad. The company’s giving us a pretty reasonable price, so I don’t want to piss them off. Especially when we’re planning to ask them to schlep out here in the middle of a blizzard in January to install the air conditioner. And who said home improvement couldn’t be entertaining?

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