elliptical trainer blues

My elliptical trainer is a ProForm 650 Cardio Cross Trainer. I got it from Sears in summer (August?) of 2004.

I have very few complaints. It would be nice if it had the features that the $4500 models have, but this way you save $4200. I use it about 30 minutes/day and the little electronic display (with km/s, etc.) is still on its first battery.

Unfortunately, the pedal axle just wore out. The steel just separated into two parts, and the pedal on one side stayed where it belonged, and the pedal on the other side fell to the floor. (It was a bit of a surprise when it happened, but no life-threatening injuries were sustained.)

The warranty is only 90 days (of course), so repairs will be on my dime. What do you suppose that will cost me?

I called Sears for a replacement part. They won’t give out actual part numbers over the phone, but my wife keeps instruction manuals, so the phone person just looked up model no. 831.285371. Page 15 of the manual has the exploded diagram you use to put the thing together, and by referring to its pseudo-part numbers I was able to explain what I needed:

* part 32 (the pedal axle) costs $20.99
* part 31 (the large bearing) costs $35.99 each, and I will need two, if I need any.
* part 30 (the lock washer) are a bargain at $2.19 each (i.e., they ought to be a nickel).

If it turns out I don’t need new bearings, then the repair will cost only about $40 including S&H. Otherwise I’m looking at the far side of $100, which is a real bummer.

In the process of taking it apart, I found that the machine screws (#15) — the ones that hold the plastic cowl on the flywheel — strip out pretty easily.

Term is OVER

The fall term is over! Hooray! Wah-hoo! Yip-yip-huzzah!

Not truly. I still have one large and two small papers to write, and I need to fake up a bunch of journal reflections I was supposed to do over the last month or so, but that’s close enough to “done” that I’ll be happy today anyway.

RSS Newsreaders

I tried NetNewsWire Lite a couple of 12-15 months ago and didn’t hate it but never really got into it.

But now there’s Vienna. Let’s see if I like it better now than I did NNWL back then.

Mac OS X apps I’m looking at

I’d like to find a decent outliner for the Mac. I’ve already found an outstanding outliner, but it’s not free. In fact, it’s a little pricey for a starving seminarian. But what I really don’t like is the way they want to squeeze every penny out of the transaction. You can run it on multiple machines, or multiple users, but not both. So I can’t have it on both my laptop and the eMac at home in such a way that my son and I can both use it, without buying multiple licenses. Nuts to that. (Probably. I may give in because so far I haven’t found anything better.)

I’ve also been looking for a Todo-list manager that’s better than the bolt-on feature of iCal, which is what you get by default. I don’t want my calendar cluttered up with a zillion minor items, but I’d like to keep track of them in case I ever have a chance to work on them. I forget how I found it, but VoodooPad looks pretty impressive. (So does their FlySketch, but that’s a separate issue.)

That, in turn, led me somehow to a Todo manager called ShadowPlan, which also looks pretty impressive.

One tool that didn’t cost me anything is the venerable enscript. There’s a darwinport for it so it installed in a jiffy, and it works just as good today as it did in 1995.

First Post

I think I’m going to be using WordPress for my blog.

Huh. So I saved it. How do I publish it?

Update: Okay. My user level needed to be higher for me to post. All I could do was save it as a draft. Now I can publish. I think. Let’s find out.

There was another problem, by the way. I installed WP using Fantastico and also by hand but both times I found out that you can’t administer it if you’ve configured Firefox to disable sending referers to the server. Why WP needs to look at referers to maintain its state is beyond me. Well, it’s not beyond me, it’s just unknown to me. If I knew more about HTTP and PHP and blogging generally, it might not be beyond me. I can imagine this is a feature to make sure that admin sessions aren’t hijacked. Or I could be totally wrong. Whatever. It took me awhile to find the answer.

Ord Exams (round two)

Today the results came back from the Ord Exams I wrote in August. (Sigh.)

There are four Ordination Exams. (Five, if you count the Bible Content Exam.) I passed Worship & Sacraments, flunked Biblical Language Exegesis. So I’m 50% happy. Or even 75% happy, since I had previously passed Polity and theology. (Indeed, 80%, counting the Bible Content Exam.)

In a week or two I will get the actual exams back so I can see what the readers didn’t like about them.

In the meantime, here are some preliminary lessons learned.

1. don’t forget the Calvin quote this time
2. translate Hebrew rather than Greek
3. use a lesson plan rather than a sermon outline
4. endorse the conventional wisdom
5. preach it

(While I’m linking to things, here’s the mongo PDF with all the old exams.)


What with all the hub-bub about the new Serenity movie, I decided to watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I saw it in the DVD rack at the public library. I never watched it before, for two reasons. (1) We pulled the plug on our TV sometime in 1997, so since then we only watch DVDs and (increasingly rarely) videotapes. (2) I don’t like vampire programs, nor anything of that ilk, because I don’t like the creepy feeling you get watching people do stupid things (“don’t walk down that hallway!”) and I don’t like being startled.

But! when you factor that in, Buffy is much better than I expected when I first heard about it, five or ten years ago.

Still Busy

I’m still too busy to post. (Great blog, huh?)

I finished my prison gig and now I’m on vacation for the rest of the summer, studying for the Ords.