One of the things we love about our house is the hot tub built into the deck in the backyard - it's great fun when it gets cold and Gavin loves it. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of having a dog is that they really don't play well with hot tub covers. I've lost count of the number of times we've replaced it, but each time Charlie has started to tear it open again within a matter of weeks, and before you know it he's ripped the waterproof lining open and is pulling the polystyrene out of it. When that happens, it fills with water and becomes impossible to lift. So this summer we decided to drain the hot tub and cut the power to it. It's been lying dormant ever since, but now that Fall is in the air we wanted to clean it out and get it back up and running - but how to stop Charlie from destroying the cover? I think we solved the problem this weekend when we found a website selling aluminum hot tub covers. At $995 they're really expensive but we've spent much more than that just replacing the fabric covers so we decided to suck it up and bought one. It will be nice to be able to use the hot tub again, especially with all the ultras I have planned for this winter.
And then yesterday my laptop suddenly broke down with hardware problems I think are related to overheating. It's an old IBM Thinkpad that I've been using for a number of years. I installed linux on it about a year ago which gave it a new lease of life - I use it to write my blog, check email, surf the internet, interface to my jukebox and sometimes watch dvds or tv on (via a wireless link to my DVR). I loved that laptop and I hate the idea of having to buy a new one with all kinds of stuff I don't need and will never use, so I searched around ebay and found the same model listed for $89. It didn't include a hard drive, but I can canibalise that and several other parts from my existing machine, and I don't have to pay for a Microsoft license for an operating system I will only uninstall anyway. I'm not shy about opening these machines up to tinker with them, so I bought it - I think (and hope) I got a good deal.
In the meantime, I'm writing this on my ancient Thinkpad. It was built in the 1990s and I've had it for years, but it's still perfectly usable under Linux. Maybe when I get the other laptop configured I'll install a minimal version of the operating system on here and use it as a fast booting machine just for writing.