Saturday, June 28, 2008

Why It's Not Enough to Just Suck

With a title like that, a post could be about many things. What it is actually about is vacuums. Vacuums, and hair.

Here's the thing. I am a long-haired person, and, much like any long-haired animal, I tend to shed. (Short-haired ones shed too, but they don't get as much grief for it because it's not as noticeable. Life is cruel.) If there is ever a question about whether I actually lived in this apartment, rather than simply signing my name to the lease for 7 years, a discerning person will brush the carpet and find that yes, I dwelt here, and, judging from the quantity of my hair on the floor, possibly also went bald here. (Not yet--but who knows?)

My vacuum is a suction-only model: it does not have those little spinning brushes to scrub up the carpet. It sucks very well: every time I vacuum, I empty an impressive quantity of general fine-particle dirt from the canister. It's a good little vacuum. But it does not touch the hair.

A long hair, twisted into the carpet, is immune to suction. This is a wad of hair I collected from the carpet after a thorough vacuuming this afternoon.

The Wad o' Hair is shown next to my feet for scale. And I have large feet. Yes, I'm a rapidly-shedding long-haired weirdo with giant feet who posts photographic evidence of my untidy home on the internet. This is the brave new world, baby.

Anyway, as you can see, merely sucking just doesn't do it. The thing is, merely sucking is actually an improvement over the last vacuum we had, which was equipped with those aforementioned little roller brushes. Those touched the hair, all right, but they were no match for it.

Hair would wind up wrapped around those brushes thickly enough to immobilize them, which not only prevented them from effectively stirring up things for the suction to draw into the bag, but which also produced a strong smell of burning rubber. We burnt through a couple of belts on those things, trying to vacuum up my hair.

You pretty much had to stop the motor every few seconds to cut coils of hair off the roller brushes. And it still smelt like burning rubber every time we vacuumed. (Now there's an incentive to tidy up. It'll take an hour per room and stink up the place! I can't wait!)

So suction-only, even though it isn't enough to pick up the hair, is in fact a better approach. It's not really any less effective at dealing with hair, and it doesn't take as long, because you don't have to carry a pair of scissors while you vacuum and pause every few feet.

In closing, the hair has pretty much won on this.

I'm thinking the best option will be to make sure our next place has hardwood floors throughout. It's all about the terrain: hair can't beat a good broom on a smooth surface!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Here, Have Some Photos

I really would have sworn I had more photos of Chicago from MLA, including some of the lake, and of my hotel room and the environs around where I stayed, and of the bus stop (it was near a nice park!), and the river, but my camera seems to have lost them.

There's some sort of data-losing thing sweeping through my life, in fact, what with these lost photos, and my hard drive suffering a fatal crash (resulting in many more lost photos due to tragically incomplete backup), and now the Creature is out of commission for the time being (although there were few photos there). I'm a little worried about what might happen next.

Possibly the apartment is going to catch fire and our wedding photos will burn. I swear, it's as if images are fleeing me. Visual evidence of my history is being erased! Now I can dye my hair black, and no one can prove it wasn't always that way.

In any case, here are pretty much the only photos from Chicago that remained on my camera.

Some handsome buildings near the main hotel:

And here are a couple of rather dramatic, artistically blurry shots from the window of the tower where the AMA reception was held:

Essentially, I have photos of buildings from below in the daytime, and from above at night, and that's it. Honestly, I was carrying that camera all over, and I thought I was doing a better job of capturing at least the cityscape, even if I didn't have many shots of people (and even if it took me a month to actually do anything with them).

But as I said, my photo luck has been bad this month. Good thing I wasn't in charge of documenting anything truly important. (MLA was important, but I wasn't in charge of documenting it, at least not in pictures.)

I do have some nice images of snow-covered trees from last winter, if anyone's interested.