i did a load of laundry around 11am. i was going to send paul and steve a courtesy e-mail, since they've been kind of freaked out by the loss of water pressure to the entire house whenever i do a wash, but i ended up not alerting them because i shouldn't need permission to use my own washer.
while the washer was running, i left the house to pick up the 2 google chromecasts i ordered last night from best buy. i thought i could get to the cambridgeside galleria mall faster via motorcycle but with the traffic i think i would've gotten there in the same amount of time riding a bicycle. i missed the special free best buy courtesy pickup parking area but instead parked on a residential-permit street a block away. not sure why i ordered the chromecasts online when there were plenty in stock, along every register as an impulse buy item. the guy ringing me up asked if there was still a 2-for-$50 deal. i told him it was now $55 for a pair. he told me he has one but the earlier v1 model.
returning home, i stopped by market basket to pick up a few breakfast/lunch items. i was going to get some sandwich-making ingredients, but they had those cheap sandwiches again and i bought a pair (one for today, one for tomorrow).
i got back around 12pm and put the wet clothes into the dryer. while wiping down the washing machine, i noticed a layer of lint on top of the dryer. i'd known for a few months at least that the dryer vent needed to be inspected because i was getting an unusual amount of lint outside the machine. out of curiosity, i went outside the house to check the dryer vent exhaust. there was air coming out, which meant there was something wrong with the dryer vent. a blocked dryer vent came be dangerous because the build up of lint could cause a fire. i stopped the dryer, took out all my wet clothes, and went down into the basement to shut off the power. i'd need to disassemble the dryer to work on the vent.
there was a lot of lint coating the inside of the dryer. from what little i could see, it seemed like the dryer vent was detached from the dryer itself. this would require not only a disassembly of the dryer, but pulling the washer out of the wall so i could crawl behind the machine and reattach the dryer vent.
fortunately i know the inner workings of my stacked washer dryer pretty well from having done so many fixes on it over the years. the last fix was almost exactly a year ago, when i replaced the cherry switch on the washing machine door. removing the dryer drum was a hassle only because it's such a pain to reinstall it by myself (hold the drum with one hand while trying to wrap the belt with the other hand).
i pulled out the washer far enough that i created enough of a space that i could kind of twist my body and get behind the washer itself. i disconnected the power line to make more room. in that confined space was decades worth of dust with a new layer of lint from recently. i tried to vacuum as much as i could but it really required a more hands-on thorough cleaning. i managed to crawl inside and inspect the vent. it wasn't detached a little bit, but completely separated from the washer. i'd attached the vent before, back when it was simply loose. i'd used 2 pieces of cellophane tape, which in hindsight was a terrible idea (at least go with some stronger duct tape). because the vent channels hot dryer exhaust, it requires special high-temperature aluminum tape, the kind xiaowu used on my high-efficiency furnace in the basement. and for that i needed to visit home depot.
at the somerville home depot it took me forever to find this special aluminum tape. it wasn't in the HVAC department, which would be the most logical place to find it. instead i finally found it with the other duct tapes. price: $13 for a roll of flexfix tape. that seemed a little pricey for something i could just easily fix with cheaper duct tape. maybe it wasn't the best material, but i knew it'd work. i also thought i could use 4" diameter worm gear clamp and figured that would be my best solution. fortunately i called my father first, asking if he had any aluminum tape. he said he didn't, but he remembered by sister bought some, and just so happened was over at my sister's place, where he found a spool of it, saving me from having to buy a roll. i ended up just getting the gear clamp as a backup solution.
i then made my way to the cafe to pick up the special tape before returning home.
first thing i did was to crawl back behind the washing machine and do a thorough cleanup. i used wet paper towels to pick up the lint and dust and toss them into a nearby trash can. afterwards i used the aluminum tape to secure the dryer vent to the dryer, a solid connection, no possibility of it ever detaching again.
i crawled out from behind the washer and began reassembling everything. after pushing the washer back up against the wall, i reattached the dryer drum, refastening the belt, attaching the dryer coverplate, screwing on the dryer front panel, putting back the timer controls, attaching all the cables, then finally going down in the basement to turn on the power.
the dryer worked flawlessly. i went out to check the dryer exhaust and a strong blast of hot dryer air was coming out, as it should. the only thing i forgot to do was to put back the lint trap. i only thought of it when my wet clothes were almost dried. later when i was folding my things, i noticed one of my socks was missing, so it probably got blown into the dryer vent. i'll need to fish it out tomorrow, not a big rush because it's not clogging up anything since the outdoor exhaust is still blowing pretty well. but still, not a good thing to have something like a sock in the dryer vent, recipe for disaster.
i finally settled down to have some breakfast/lunch at 4pm. while i was eating i was also simultaneously setting up the chromecast with my LCD HDTV. setup was easy, went to a website with instructions, downloaded the chromecast app for my android phone, signed up the chromecast to my wifi network, and just like that the app was able to see the chromecast device.
when i first heard about chromecasting, i didn't think much of it. i thought it was just mirroring the content of your browser, and didn't see how it could be very useful. but i've been reading up on it recently, and at it's very basic a chromecast device can mirror the content of your browser onto an HDTV. but the power comes from pairing up the device with services that tailor their content specifically for chromecasting. in that case, the smartphone/tablet becomes a fancy remote/navigation tool for watching videos on the HDTV. it's sort of hard to explain, but once you use it for a little bit, it quickly makes sense.
after chromecasting some comedy central and ESPN content, i got the idea that all network/cable television apps could chromecast, so i downloaded more than a dozen additional apps, like CBS, ABC, NBC, TBS, TNT, and FX. that turned out not really to be the case. i discovered that the reason i was able to get some cable content (like comedy central and FX) was because i signed in with my parents' verizon FIOS account (i don't have those channels with my own comcast xfinity cable account, which means i can't get those content). the CBS app does chromecasting but you have to pay for the content. then a slew of other television content apps allowed me to see the shows on my devices, but they didn't support chromecasting. still, in experimenting with chromecasting i ended up discovering a bunch of other ways i can watch cable without actually having cable. this makes cordcutting even easier.
other thoughts about chromecasting: i thought the chromecast "puck" itself was magnetized, but the magnet is actually on the HDMI cable; i was surprised that tinycam monitor pro supports chromecasting. i was able to cast streaming webcam footage onto the HDTV; HBO and netflix works great, my mother may want to give up the chinese android tv box i got them since the resolution is better on the chromecast (1080p) compared to the tv box (480p to 720p); google photos supports chromecasting but i wasn't able to get it to work. maybe because i have thousands of photos and might take a long time to catalog. or maybe google just hasn't worked out the kinks yet, it's a relatively new feature that just came out in october.
i had dinner after 8pm, some chicken basil tortellini mixed with some simple pasta sauce from a jar. alfonso came home around 8:40pm, baked some potatoes in the toaster oven before burning some sausages and chicken cutlets in the kitchen. we watched a few episode of kimmy schmidt. i showed him chromecasting and also my SJ4000 action camera. he fell asleep on the couch and began to snore softly.