Sunday, October 19, 2014

Oktoberfest, New Software, Old House Heating

Shelton, Connecticut

The upgrade to OS X Yosemite, which took up a lot of my time yesterday, so far looks very good indeed. In the past, system upgrades have sometimes been too much for aging computers, overburdening their processing and memory power and pushing them over the cliff. This time, our two iMacs and one MacBook Pro (all between four and five years old and with only 4 gigs of RAM) are running much better. Faster, more reliably, not losing the WiFi connection as the MacBook had been doing to the point that I was pricing replacements for it. Apple promotes the new OS as, "Like getting a new Mac—for free!" I have to admit that this is only a bit of an exaggeration. I've only done a little bit of Photoshop work with it, but everything from load times to filter runs are much snappier, so it looks as though Adobe, in this recent, latest release of PSCC, is working closely with Apple on the Yosemite upgrade.

On another front, after much research and consultation, we've been convinced that, as problematic as the steam heat system in this 1744 house has been (the steam is of course newer, but still antique), it will run enormously better with a new state of the art "mega-steam" boiler. It's very expensive, but still $10K less than replacing the whole system with baseboard. Also, no tearing the whole house apart, and the old radiators and exposed two-inch piping are a real part of the aesthetic here. Replacing with baseboard might actually lower the resale value by interfering with the look.

Finally, it's still October, so...

New Milford, Connecticut


Scott Kirkpatrick said...

You've been running German Restaurant billboards from time to time. Where are the German enclaves in central Connecticut, and do you know when they got there? I was never aware of them around Danbury or northern Westchester.


Carl said...

Scott, I think the answer is that they've been here so long that the German-heritage population wasn't in enclaves, but just a general 50/50 mix with the British Isles population. The city of New Britain was for a time enough of a Polish enclave to earn the nickname, "New Britsky," and now of course the hispanic population is expanding rapidly in most of Connecticut's cities. German and Scandinavian immigration was really dominant in the upper Midwest, but British immigration vs German-language in the Northeast wasn't anywhere near as dominant as the term New England would have you suspect.

Martina said...

No, I am not saying anything.

Or one thing: Oktoberfest is not a German tradition. It's a Bavarian tradition. Bavaria is part of modern Germany. A part with an excellent PR department.

So. Now I have said it. Again.


Carl said...


I should read up on this sectional difference thing in Germany. My father identified his parents as Austrian, although he mentioned, near the end of his life, that his mother might have been officially Czech, given the national borders a couple years after 1900 when they emigrated (he was born here, in Newark, NJ, in 1910). My maternal grandmother was very proud of her Prussian heritage. There aren't any Austro-Hungarians now, at least politically.

I worked with, for more than a decade, an art director who'd emigrated here from Bavaria, and our esthetics couldn't have been more different, but we worked together fine at the magazines where he was staff AD and I was freelance head photographer. He thought I was a damn minimalist, and I told him he'd missed his vocation making those over elaborate Cuckoo clocks. Then we'd laugh and get the pages done.

Martina said...

The cuckoo clock is not Bavarian, but traditionally made in the Black Forest - that is Baden-Wurttemberg - another part of Germany ;-)

But I do not wonder Bavaria claims that, too :-)

Prussians and Bavarians are not friends, to say it politely. "Prussian" in fact is a Bavarian cuss word.

Which makes the fact that 99,999% of German groups in the Steuben Parade are Bavarian groups - with Steuben being a Prussian general - a little bit surreal.

Did I mention Bavaria has a good PR department? ;-)

Bavaria is a wonderful country with wonderful people - but it's not Germany. It's in fact 1/16 of Germany.

I must admit one of the wealthiest 1/16, though.

Martina said...

Lol - I just read in the English wikipedia article about Bavaria:

"Bavarians have often emphasized a separate national identity and considered themselves as "Bavarians" first, "Germans" second."

The other way round works as well, grin.

It you are really interested in this, the aforementioned wikipedia article is not bad.

And if you are interested in the Austro-Hungarian Empire I highly recommend reading Joseph Roth - each and every of his novels and short stories. He was a genius (died young mostly because of his alcoholism).

Now that's enough - see what you did evoke with posting Oktoberfest photos :-)

Hope everything is warm and cozy in CT in the meanwhile!!

Carl said...

I'll look into those things.

The plumbers managed to remove the old boiler and fittings over the course of the day. So no heat over the weekend. It is supposed to be sunny for the next three days, which will help. The folks who built the house in 1744 situated it with the front facade facing south-south-west, with an enormous number of large (for the time) windows, so the solar gain on a sunny day is excellent. With any luck, the new equipment will be available Monday, but I suspect the installation will take more than a day.

Martina said...

So I wish you lots of sunshine over the weekend!!