The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Some Gordian Knots are easy, others, not so easy

Bunny is busy replacing the toilet in the master bathroom. Why am I not doing such work? Bunny has experience in home renovations—I just get called in for the really heavy work like hauling the heavy debris away. Eventually, the call comes.

“Sean! Come here!”

“What's up?”

“I'm trying to separate the tank from the bowl, but this one screw is too tight to remove. Can you help?”

“Sure.” I try futzing with it for a few moments. “Why do you want the tank separated?”

“Because it'll make it easier to carry down to the street as trash.

“Oh,” I said, picking up a nearby hammer, “this—”


“Oh! Wait—”


“—until I can—”


“—get away!”


“—will be easy,” I said. “There you go. Gordian Knot untied.”

“Thanks, I think.”

Then more futzing around getting the old toilet scraps scooped up, and the new toilet set down and the tank installed. I'm screwing in the last of the bolts on the tank when Bunny walks up.

“Make sure the tank is level,” she said, placing a level across the tank.

“Hmm,” I said. “Looks like I need to loosen the right side here … oomph. Ooommmmmph! Errrrrrrrrrrrrarrg! It's not budging. Let me see what tools you have …”

Two hours later …



“I've tried the nut driver. I've tried the ratchet. I've tried the nut driver with vice grips (sorry about the handle there). I can't get the screw loose on the right side. That's about as level as the tank is going to get.”

“Is the nut cross-threaded?”

“Cross-threaded. Too tight. Not enough space to get leverage. All the above. It ain't moving.”

She looked at the toilet for a few moments. “Good enough. Now let me get the hose hooked up and … oh bother!”

“What's wrong?”

“The connector to the water valve is too small!”

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

I can only wish we could flush our troubles away

“I have some bad news,” said Bunny.


“Come here.” She then led me to the master bathroom. “Flush the toilet.”

“Okay.” I flush the toilet. Water comes gushing out between the bowl and the tank on the left side, which is just a tad higher than the right side. “That doesn't look right … ”

“Do you think that instead of loosening the nut, we can try to turn the bolt instead?”

“It's rubber coated, but it does have two flat sides. Let me grab a wrench and see what happens … ”

Two hours later …

Between me loosening the right side a few turns, and Bunny tightening the left side it was level. Or at least, the bubble in the level was just inside the line.

“Okay, fill the tank … here goes nothing … ”

Water again comes gushing out between the bowl and the tank.

“You know, maybe some liberal use of caulking is in order … ”

So tonight I'm gonna blog like it's 2002

[Note: If you can't load the following links, then try using The Floodgap Public Gopher Proxy to follow the links. —Editor]

I've been browsing gopher the past few months, and I was very surprised to see an old post on transclusion being referenced on an article about hypertext on gopher I was also referenced in a general post just a few days ago. Finding these links isn't easy.

With HTTP, the server is usually given the page the link was clicked from (the so called “referrer page”) and I can scan the logs to find outside links to my pages (like this page from Lobsters). With gopher though, I have to come across them since the protocol does not include the referring link. In a way, it's even more private than HTTP.

Then again, I could always do a search.

Regardless, I'm not trying to scan gopherspace looking for links back to me. I am honestly following a bunch of phlogs. Reading these I am reminded of what blogging was like back in the early 2000s—technically minded folk talking about whatever and not trying to corner some niche market so they can get advertising revenue. It's quite refreshing actually.

And man is it fast. Without the graphics, ads, autoplaying videos and bloated Javascript frameworks meant to track you across the Intarwebs, it's a nice reminder of what the Internet once was—fast.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Notes on an overheard conversation about “The Toilet Situation, Day 3”

“I finally have the toilet on its side.”

“Hmm, there's no real room to get a grip on the nut, is there?”

“No—wait! I have an idea. We can use a clamp to squeeze the tank towards the bowl. That should expose the nut enough to get the vice grips on it.”

“Hold on … okay, how's this?”

“Perfect! Vice grips!”

“Vice grips.”

“I think the bolt is turning with the nut. We need to hold the bolt somehow … ”

“Vice grip?”

“I'm already using it!”

“No, another pair of vice grips. Right here.”

“Oh. Unnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng! Oooommmmmmmmmmph!”

Two hours later …

“Errrrrrrrrrrrrraaaarrrrrrg! How long is this bolt?”

“It's almost off!”

“Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmrrrrrrrrrrrrgaaaah! There!”

“Got it!”

“And here are the other two nuts from the other bolts. The tank is no longer attached to the bowl!”


Obligatory Picture

[It's the most wonderful time of the year!]

Obligatory Contact Info

Obligatory Feeds

Obligatory Links

Obligatory Miscellaneous

You have my permission to link freely to any entry here. Go ahead, I won't bite. I promise.

The dates are the permanent links to that day's entries (or entry, if there is only one entry). The titles are the permanent links to that entry only. The format for the links are simple: Start with the base link for this site:, then add the date you are interested in, say 2000/08/01, so that would make the final URL:

You can also specify the entire month by leaving off the day portion. You can even select an arbitrary portion of time.

You may also note subtle shading of the links and that's intentional: the “closer” the link is (relative to the page) the “brighter” it appears. It's an experiment in using color shading to denote the distance a link is from here. If you don't notice it, don't worry; it's not all that important.

It is assumed that every brand name, slogan, corporate name, symbol, design element, et cetera mentioned in these pages is a protected and/or trademarked entity, the sole property of its owner(s), and acknowledgement of this status is implied.

Copyright © 1999-2023 by Sean Conner. All Rights Reserved.