Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday: Variety!

Laurel is feeling better, but not 100%.  As such, she decided not to accompany me on my morning run today.  I was actually looking for a bit more than a run this time around.  Due to my having to, you know, work during the day and Laurel being ill, we haven't made much progress on searching for a gym.  This is entirely our own fault, as we've gotten several good references and searches; we simply need to make a little more effort to visit some places and make a decision.

So, I went out hoping to find something like an outdoor fitness park.  I had an idea of where to look.  There's a park across the street from Blonia, by the Wisla soccer stadium.  Here's a link to it on Google Maps.  Apparently it's named "Jordan Park."  Sure enough, along the outside of about one-quarter of the park, I stuff like this, which was exactly what I was looking for:

That may not look like much, but between a pull-up bar, some parallel bars, and some inclined planks of wood, I can get a decent workout.  Plus, it was about 3 miles of running round trip.

The next part of the post does not concern Krakow much.  I'm typing this on a laptop that I bought secondhand for the trip; I'll try to sell it when I get back, viewing my usage of it more as a rental fee to Craigslist.  (I did the same thing last year, not knowing I'd be back.)  However, a problem I noticed before I left for Krakow became much, much worse once we got here: overheating.  The machine would run for about an hour and then just shut down without warning.  BIOS is locked (and therefore it's not overclocked), but I also couldn't underclock it to help.  I tried a few utility programs to underclock or undervolt, but with the BIOS locked these programs are useless.  The only answer was to crack it open and hope I could figure out what was wrong.  If that failed, it was either off to deal with Polish computer service or admit it was basically a hot brick with a keyboard.

I bought a can of air from the mall electronics store, Saturn, and one of my coworkers graciously lent me a screwdriver set to use.  I've never worked on a laptop before, but I was able to find a service manual online.  Getting to the fan was quite a challenge and took me about an hour.  At this point, here's what my laptop looked like:

That's the monitor to the left, the base on the far couch, and everything from the keyboard to the hard drive on the table in between.

I didn't see anything once I got to the fan.  It was a little dirty, but not crazy.  The fan still worked fine; both my ears and a diagnostic test had already told me that.  I decided to look at the cooling system, which involved removing the motherboard, something I was not inclined to do.  However, after doing so, the problem manifested itself clearly: a thick layer of dust had gathered between the heatsink and the fan.  For those of you with electric dryers, it was honestly like dryer lint.  In an instant, this explained everything: the fan was working fine, but the hot air wasn't passing to the fan to be ejected.  Using Laurel as a second set of hands, we got that cleaned, sprayed canned air everywhere, and now it appears to be running fine.  I'm typing this entry on it, whereas before it would have already shut down by this time in the post.  Oh, and I'm simultaneously running a torture test on it, and the CPU temperatures are lower than it was idling before!

Encouraged by that victory, we headed over to Mały Rynek for lunch, and then to Rynek Główny to see what was going on.  Turns out there was a car show of Fiats today in the main square.  Take a look:

In the second picture, Laurel is there both to look cute and to show how tiny the car she's next to is.

Later today, we went to the St. John's fair and Wianki festival down near Wawel castle.  St. John's fair is basically a Renaissance fair, but it's all in Polish so we have to guess at about half the stuff that's going on.  One of the major parts of the fair was garland-making for the ladies, which Laurel tried out.  You can see the results here:

The fair also had the typical demonstrations of medieval torture instruments, which Laurel and Puffer played along with:

That would probably look more intimidating if Puffer was human-sized rather than 5" tall.

The Wianki festival is a bunch of free concerts that are very popular.  We chose to see one dealing with Bach music and a couple of pianists putting a modern twist on it.  They had a string orchestra for accompaniment, so it sounded mostly classical.  One of the pianists decided to wear rather short, turquoise running shorts, though, so that definitely looked a little more modern (and out of place).  Other than that, the concert was packed and the music was great for it.  Here's a photo from our far-away vantage point:

So all in all, it was a successful Saturday!


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