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Life's Little Annoyances

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Larry Greenly

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Life's Little Annoyances

by Larry Greenly » Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:58 pm

I don't know about you, but I think refrigerator ice makers were designed by diabolical engineers. The ice cube shapes are cleverly shaped so that you can't hang onto them. It's rare if one or two or more don't shoot out my hands when I'm trying to fill a glass or other container. But I do recycle the ice cubes on the floor, using them for my houseplants. FWIW, I frequently water my orchids with ice cubes.

Is your life dull and boring or do you have any similar little annoyances?
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Jeff Grossman » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:23 pm

You're quite right about the shapes, Larry: the cubes are designed to slip out of the automated ice trays.
--
My little annoyances lately concern Santa Claus. The Man In The Red Suit brought me a new watch and a new wallet.

I spent weeks praising simplicity of design in a certain brand of watch. What did the Jolly Fat Man do? He brought me the busiest, most complicated watch face seen in 400 years.

The wallet was unexpected. It is a peculiar shape, which I could live with, but the bill slot is really tight -- hard to get my fingers in there so I can get the bills out. The slot is also really narrow so a receipt sticks out when I put it in.

Sigh.
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Larry Greenly » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:44 am

My GE Cafe Dual-Fuel Range (don't buy one) is one of my most constant annoyances. I'll give it credit for having a glass, not plastic, touchscreen (one of the few good design features), but the timer's got to be the most stupid one ever designed:

1. You cannot input any time less than a full minute: no such thing as 4 min 30 seconds.

2. There is no indication the timer is running until the first full minute has passed: e.g., you punch in 10 minutes and you wait, wondering if the timer is running because there are no seconds counting down--nor even does the colon in the timer readout blink. There is absolutely no clue the timer is running until a 9 appears.

3. So, I frequently use an old Radio Shack timer that is an example of good engineering. As soon as I start it, I can see it counting down. GE could learn a lesson.

4. I have a bunch of criticisms and engineering design suggestions for GE, but there's no way that I've found to direct my comments to the engineering department. GE says I should direct my suggestions to the call center operators. Right... How's the weather in Mumbai? (See below.)

5. When I first received the GE stove, I moved out my old Dacor range, which was having some problems and hooked up the gas and electric. The GE wouldn't light up; it was totally dead. I checked the 220v outlet with a voltmeter and there was juice, so I called tech support and said there's something wrong with my new stove. Oh no, she said, stating that I had no electricity and needed to call an electrician. I reminded her that my stove I had removed only an hour previously had worked, and my voltmeter showed 220 volts. You need an electrician, she kept repeating. I asked if she knew anything about electricity. She said no, but I still needed an electrician. We went round and round until I hung up.

Two months without a stove later, I finally got a completely new GE Cafe: the original one had a wire pinched and shorted out during its assembly. I'm leaving out a lot of the story in between involving lying servicemen and even an assembly mistake on the second range. I had been getting close to lawyer time. Finally, everything worked out with my replacement GE, but I couldn't seem to duplicate the quality of my breads from my old Dacor.

About three years later--only a few months ago--I finally found the right combination of temperatures and timing to turn out breads that I'm really happy with. Whew. Sorry for the rant, but GE made me do so. (Even my GE stock has sucked the last couple of years.)

I think I'll have an adult drink now: a Duchene VSOP brandy from Trader Joe's that is truly outstanding for its price. Would you like me to pour you one for listening?
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Paul Winalski » Sat Jan 11, 2020 2:37 pm

Peeves make very bad pets.

One of my little annoyances is robust plastic or cardboard containers with an "easy-open" tab or strip. At least 50% of the time, when I pull on one of those the strip breaks or comes off leaving the container still fully sealed. It then becomes a major project to break into it.

-Paul W.
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Jeff Grossman » Sat Jan 11, 2020 3:27 pm

Larry Greenly wrote:2. There is no indication the timer is running until the first full minute has passed: e.g., you punch in 10 minutes and you wait, wondering if the timer is running because there are no seconds counting down--nor even does the colon in the timer readout blink. There is absolutely no clue the timer is running until a 9 appears.

My stove does this, too, but I can enter any combination of minutes and seconds. The odd thing is that I can also enter hours and minutes and I've never quite figured out how it knows which I mean!

I think I'll have an adult drink now: a Duchene VSOP brandy from Trader Joe's that is truly outstanding for its price. Would you like me to pour you one for listening?

Yes, please.
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Larry Greenly » Sat Jan 11, 2020 4:25 pm

One of my little annoyances is robust plastic or cardboard containers with an "easy-open" tab or strip. At least 50% of the time, when I pull on one of those the strip breaks or comes off leaving the container still fully sealed. It then becomes a major project to break into it.


That happens to me all the time.

In the same vein, every now and again I'll buy a salad or some such thing in a clear, rigid plastic container. After tearing off the sealed tab on its dotted line, I attempt to open the package with muscles straining--all the while trying not to explode all the enclosed components onto the floor. And, more importantly, trying not to slice my fingers and get blood everywhere. I usually can't open the package and wind up using pliers. And, FWIW, I think that package design should be used to firmly couple railroad cars together.
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Jenise » Sat Jan 11, 2020 5:34 pm

Larry, my old timer (that I loved) pooped out the same week my new Alexa arrived. She's my timer now.

My new toaster oven: Takes about 7 minutes to get toast as done as I'd like it. But it cooks the first arbitraryish three minutes and 56 seconds, then I have to set additional time. The reset for the additional darkness it thinks I like is two minutes and 36 seconds. So if it knows that, why didn't it just set it for six minutes in the first place????? I can't figure it out.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Larry Greenly » Sat Jan 11, 2020 8:54 pm

Jenise: My toaster oven has a constant on setting. If yours does, you could set it to constant and manually remove the toast when Alexa tells you. That is, if you never figure your toaster oven's peculiarities. Good luck.
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Jeff Grossman » Sun Jan 12, 2020 4:32 am

Though less than a year old, already the timer on my toaster oven does not work. Fortunately, as I use the microwave very little I basically have re-dedicated its timer to the toaster oven. (Yes, I can run the timer without emitting radiation.)
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Jenise » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:44 pm

My kitchen has two sinks. A super large one (yes, much bigger than most, a main sink about the size of a farmhouse sink with a companion sink the size of an average home sink) in the clean-up station, and a large bar sink (which means it's small, but large for the spectrum of bar sinks) large enough for colandars et al next to the prep station, a 6'x3' wood cutting board where I do everything chop/slice/dice. Over a week ago, the joy-stick that operates that sink's water supply corroded off into the sunset. Bob spent several days trying to source a replacement part to no avail.

I had no idea how many times in the course of a given meal's prep I used that sink until I found myself standing in front of it, unable to get water, five or six times a night. ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I selected a new faucet on Overstock.com. Then Bob got into it and found the same one $30 cheaper on Amazon. Great. Several days later: "Bob, did you order the faucet?" "No, I didn't think we'd made a final selection," was followed by dumbfounded silence. Then me: "BUY. THE. FAUCET." It arrives tomorrow.

And here's a kind of funny one: on Sunday I made little tarts of taleggio cheese and braised raddichio wrapped in puff pastry to take to a Piedmonte wine offline. Each was a four-corner handkerchief fold for a pretty presentation. I called the guy hosting the tasting and asked to make sure in advance that his oven was working. His range is relatively new, maybe 3-4 years old, I remember when he got it, so that wasn't the issue. And no I'm not that anal, with no one else would I have even thought to ask. But this guy...well, I had to ask. "Of course it works," he said, like this was crazy talk. If it hadn't been working, I'd have baked the tarts at home but I preferred to serve them warm and crisp out of the oven. Now the tasting's about to start and I go to heat up the oven. It's digital, so you press BAKE followed by your desired temperature then START. It starts to heat up and the letters PRE appear in the display, to be followed by the rising temps once something registers.

About half an hour later I go to put the tarts in. It still says PRE. I open the door, it's barely warm inside. "Gabe!", I call my friend.
He comes in, goes "hmmm....", and resets it. Ten minutes later, still PRE. "YOU BROKE MY OVEN!", he screams. "IT WAS ALREADY BROKEN, I'M PSYCHIC!" I scream back.

So what we did, and I thought this was pretty genius, was turn it on broil, which did work, on the bottom shelf with another cookie sheet to protect the pastry, above it. And they actually did start baking, turned a pretty golden brown on top, but unfortunately the bottoms were still raw, so my pretty little tarts with the pretty seams had to get flattened when we turned them upside down to bake off the raw bottoms. After much fuss they were servable, and delicious. But wow what a near-disaster for me and a continuing disaster for my poor friend whose oven does not, now, work.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Larry Greenly » Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:33 am

I understand about not having a sink or even any water. Last August we received our water bill showing we had used 78,000 gallons of water that month. I took a look at our water meter, and it was spinning round and round even with absolutely everything turned off. After I isolated where the leak was (house or yard), I searched for a couple of hours around the house.

We have a tri-level, so I looked into our almost standupable crawl space with a dirt floor. No leak that I could see. I looked everywhere. No damp spots, no pooling water, no spraying water.

I finally took a second look at my crawlspace. There it was: a split in the supply line for the outside faucet. The split was on the bottom of the pipe spraying directly on the wood sill and coming down as an invisible sheet of water on the concrete stem wall and disappearing into the dirt.

I was without water essentially for two days. Once I found the leak, it was easy to fix. I cut the supply line and capped it off. No soldering was involved. Yay! I used a Sharkbite end cap. Just slip it on, and it grips forever like magic. They also come in a variety of couplings and other shapes. Took only a few minutes.
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by wnissen » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:05 pm

Jeff, I read that over half of all Rolexes are given as gifts. That makes a lot of sense to me. I would never purchase one, and if one appeared magically in my pocket I would certainly sell it. But if someone I cared for or respected gave one to me, I would probably wear it. I dodged a bullet this Christmas when my wife got me a watch. It cost twice what I have ever paid for a watch, but she knows my taste and it is just right. Hope you come to terms with yours.

Larry, I dread replacing our range, which is a GE electric that dates from 1984. We've owned it for the last 18 years and the only time it truly failed was due to a short caused by worn insulation. I replaced the wire and it works again. The timer is so glitchy as to be unusable and we've had to replace a few burners over the years but otherwise it runs very well and heats evenly. Convection would be nice sometimes but that's more parts to break. There are no circuit boards, either, just wires and a few resistors.
Walter Nissen
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Jeff Grossman » Thu Jan 16, 2020 7:37 pm

wnissen wrote:Jeff, I read that over half of all Rolexes are given as gifts. That makes a lot of sense to me. I would never purchase one, and if one appeared magically in my pocket I would certainly sell it. But if someone I cared for or respected gave one to me, I would probably wear it. I dodged a bullet this Christmas when my wife got me a watch. It cost twice what I have ever paid for a watch, but she knows my taste and it is just right. Hope you come to terms with yours.

Thanks, Walt. My current plan is to wear it for 6 months then go buy what I want. :|
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Re: Life's Little Annoyances

by Larry Greenly » Thu Jan 16, 2020 9:22 pm

Larry, I dread replacing our range, which is a GE electric that dates from 1984. We've owned it for the last 18 years and the only time it truly failed was due to a short caused by worn insulation. I replaced the wire and it works again. The timer is so glitchy as to be unusable and we've had to replace a few burners over the years but otherwise it runs very well and heats evenly. Convection would be nice sometimes but that's more parts to break. There are no circuit boards, either, just wires and a few resistors.


I feel your pain. If you like your stove without circuit boards and digital readouts, etc. (which all go bad eventually), keep it going as long as you can. Remember: the only defense against entropy is routine maintenance.

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