Archive of July, 2001
July 31, 2001:
Hmph. The job hunt isn't going very well. Dice.com only sends me a couple postings a day, and Monster.com and the Pittsburgh Technical Council sites have been similarly useless. Three recruiters have my resumé; one never got back to me after I mailed it, one replied two weeks later to say she had nothing for me right now, and I haven't heard from the third since he sent me a contract-to-hire job a month and a half ago.
Which means I'm more or less stuck here. Dammit.
July 30, 2001:
I'm not sure, but I think I'm scarred for life. On the Man Show last Sunday, they had sock porn. Not porn involving socks, mind you; I'm talking sock puppets Doin' The Nasty.
I think it damaged part of my brain.
July 28, 2001:
Just a random note, for the three people reading this: I'm thinking of adding titles to the Brain Farts, so people can pull up a listing, and maybe a quick-and-dirty search to help my site's visitor(s) find a particular word.
If nothing else, I'll be able to punch in a few curse words and find out just how much of a potty-mouth I have.
July 27, 2001:
Well, as of Tuesday night, I am renting an apartment in Greenfield. It's in a converted house, and is "on the small side." Maybe I'll get some pictures up here or something -- don't know yet.
July 26, 2001:
Well, contrary to my more paranoid instincts, the project at work that I was so excited about is (as of July 20) going well. Very well, as a matter of fact. I wish I could show it on my credits page, but it's password protected. Maybe I'll just settle for a screen shot with no link.
July 25, 2001:
Almost got to witness a pretty good-sized accident on the way home from work, and I wouldn't have even been part of it. Well, not initially.
I was on Second Avenue, stuck behind a mini-pickup stuck behind a van stuck behind a Neon. A largish Dodge truck decides he's sick of us slowpokes and guns it into the right lane to go around us. He round the curve by MetalTech and finds a car with its four-ways on. Most people would be able to stop in plenty of time, but this guy was doing 70 at a minimum.
He slams on the brakes and starts to fishtail a little. He manages to get that under control, then tries to swerve into the left lane. Problem is, the Neon's there. The guy gets stopped in time, pitching the nose of the truck forward quite a bit, with his front left corner protuding into the left lane.
Us "slowpokes" were all doing 50, so we ain't excatly stopping on a dime ourselves. Each of us swerve into the dead lane (you know, there could be a lane there, but it's criscrossed with yellow paint) to get around him and continue on our way. Some more traffic passes the idiot and he finally gets out from behind the car. At the light for 29th St., he goes flying by again, and swerves into the left lane just in time to head up the hill into Greenfield.
Proof positive that being born in Pittsburgh renders one incapale of driving normally.
July 24, 2001:
Here's a sign you've spent too much time out of your life surfing the Web. I was visiting Spinnwebe today, looking through the Brain Shots archive because I haven't read them all yet. I get to one about a page he'd written several years ago, back while the DFC was still running. Thing is, I knew which page he was talking about before I followed the link. And I've had this happen to me on other sites, too.
No wonder I failed out of Physics in college -- this kind of stuff was taking up all the space in my gray matter.
July 23, 2001:
Ya know what? Looking for an apartment's a big pain in the ass. People don't return calls (even though I say in the message that it's a cell phone, meaning I'm available all the time), and some people (like on Tuesday) don't show up for appointments to look at the place. So here I sit at work, all pissed off about these apartment people, and completely lacking the motivation to call about any more.
July 21, 2001:
I went and saw Tomb Raider (obviously) and I managed to suspend my disbelief for the most part. But when they showed the planets as they lined up, my brain just wouldn't allow me to accept it. I can't help it; I know too much :)
If you need to know why the planetary alignment scenes are horribly and blatantly wrong, check out the Bad Astronomy Web site. In fact, go there even if you do know; it's a good site.
July 20, 2001:
I'm sure some of you are wondering: Why update six days a week and not every day? Well, I just wanted to add a small layer of complexity to the mix, to see if I could. When I post a new item immediately, the script checks what day of the week it would go live on, and advances it one if it would be a Sunday. Likewise, the script that "promotes" an item out of the holding pen checks to see if it's Sunday, and does nothing if that's the case.
So there you have it.
July 19, 2001:
Another random thought: The butler in Tomb Raider is the same guy who played Rimmer on the BBC series Red Dwarf.
I'm just full of 'em today, ain't I?
July 18, 2001:
Well, when my reserve supply of material hit the six-day mark, I kinda got introspective. I know, I know, There I go thinking again.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy having this stuff here and it gives me a cool sense of accomplishment that I don't get nearly often enough at work. But it's not quite turning out how I'd planned it.
I originally kicked around the idea of having a Spinnwebe-esque set of categories for readers to search on. So if you only wanted to see things about my car, for example, you could. It's a good thing I didn't, because an overwhelming majority of these things would wind up being under the heading of "Things That Piss Me Off."
That's not cool -- I don't really think of myself as someone who's prone to bitch about every little thing. But I'm doing just that. Sure, some of them are kinda funny, or maybe you agree with some of them, but taken as a whole I sound like a festering ball of anger, and that just isn't the person I am.
At least, I don't think it is.
It's weird -- I joke around and laugh with my coworkers, I go out drinking with my friends, and aside from some gripes about my job I'm basically happy. So why is there so much negativity in my writing? Does something in my brain think you'll enjoy a rant about idiot drivers more than a quote like "Is that brass ass suitable for mounting?" (Don't ask -- it's a long story involving beer.)
I don't know how easily I'll be able to change the tone around here. After all, I didn't set out to do it this way and look how it's turned out so far. But as you read these remember that, regardless of how it may seem here, I really am a fairly well-adjusted 24-year-old single man living in a middle-sized city in the Northeast. Even when I bitch about yinzer drivers, and road construction, and my job, and looking for an apartment, and...
July 17, 2001:
Had a little excitement here recently... A guy was robbing a house in Wilkinsburg, and ran from the police. He must've gotten on the parkway, because they wound up chasing the guy up Greenfield Ave., right in front of where I live. The guy wound up flipping his car where the road curves, and (as of the Wednesday 10:00 news) was unconcious in critical condition at the hospital. I'd been home for -- at most -- 10 minutes. I almost made the news, and not in a good way.
July 16, 2001:
Damn. I'm down to less than a week of filler material, and I haven't written much lately. I guess my life's more boring than I thought.
July 14, 2001:
Well, my summer "projects" aren't turning out quite as well as I'd hoped. Getting in shape pretty much went the way of the dodo when I broke my rollerblades a month and a half ago. The job search, to be blunt, is sucking -- there just aren't any jobs like the ones I'm looking for. Finding a new apartment is turning out to be more of a hassle than I'd imagined, even though I'm looking at one Thursday evening (the one I was supposed to look at on Tuesday). And of course, I'm not getting any.
But aside from that, everything's hunky-dory.
July 13, 2001:
Just got off the phone with the person/people who blew me off for the apartment appointment. (Say that five times fast.) It seems there was a flood in the South Hills. I wish I had the motivation today to find out if it's true.
July 12, 2001:
Went to the Tom Petty concert at Star Lake Tuesday night. It was really cool; there were at least three different age groups there, all belting out the songs along with the band. They did a couple covers, too, including some Dylan.
For some reason, I noticed a strange smell wafting through the air, especially during "You Don't Know How It Feels." :)
Definitely worth the $25 I spent for a lawn ticket.
July 11, 2001:
Just a thought... If they'd released Dude, Where's My Car? a few weeks later, it would have been -- on a technicality -- one of the top 100 movies of the 21st Century. At least for a little while.
July 10, 2001:
I realized something while I was watching those StarBlazers reruns on toonami.com: They use old pre-World War II naval battle doctrine! The most awesome ship in the fleet, the Argo (née Yamato) is a battleship. Also, the enemy ships are battleships. To fight they actually turn broadside to each other (as in ocean-going ships, to bring as many guns to bear on the enemy as possible) and let loose.
Just found it interesting.
July 09, 2001:
Well, I saw over the weekend that Jenna Bush got a grand total of 36 hours community service, some probation, and a $600 fine for sneaking into a bar with a fake ID.
As many people have said before, this is only news because her father's the president. Nobody got hurt, and the only reason she got turned in is because the bartender recognized her from TV. So why does anyone care?
Well, it shows what a problem underage drinking is. No, it shows what a bur this country has up its collective ass about alcohol. A nineteen-year-old shouldn't have to sneak into a bar; she should have been allowed to drink since her 18th birthday. She is, after all, an adult. If she makes a bad decision, she should pay for it, but this whole "we know better than you" crap has to stop.
Besides that, she's a famous person. Again, no. Daddy's famous; she's just another kid at the University of Texas. Same would have went for Chelsea Clinton. We elected their fathers, not them. Dubya's drinking adventures might be relevant; his kid doing what a million kids across the country do on a weekly basis isn't relevant.
What am I saying here, anyway? Simple: Let it go.
July 07, 2001:
Another made-up word for your reading pleasure:
Spectacularity: An adjective describing how spectacular something is. In a discussion about auto racing, I admitted that while F-1 is definately the fastest and most skilled racing, NASCAR wins on the spectacularity of crashes.
I feel it necessary to point out that there was alcohol involved in the creation of this word.
July 06, 2001:
A few words my friends and I have made up to describe various things:
Incompitude: A complete and total display of incompitence. Used to describe the workings of the Waterfront McDonald's, where it takes an average of four minutes to get our food.
Berzonkers: If you can't decide whether the Colorado Avalanche fans went berzerk or bonkers when the Avs scored first in game seven, maybe they went berzonkers.
Poo-nutia: Like minutia, but a little more annoying (and therefore poo-like).
July 05, 2001:
I gotta stop going to Anthony's on Mondays...
July 04, 2001:
Stop the presses! I actually went to a meeting today. At the client's office, no less!
And the meeting was useful, too. There's a good chance we'll get a project out of it that (a) keeps me busy doing coding and database stuff, (b) makes the company money, and (c) makes things more efficient for both the client and their third-party distribution people.
It's too good to be true. Someone's gonna hate it and it'll get killed. Or we'll get screwed on the budget. But I can still hope.
July 03, 2001:
OK, I realize this is going to make me sound like a horrible person, but I now think that anyone over the age of 55 should be required to take their driving test every two years. Now let me explain why, even though you've probably heard it before.
On the way to work this morning, I was behind a very noticeably old person. Given the speed he was(n't) driving and his erratic steering/braking, he almost caused three accidents in a three-mile stretch, one of them potentially with me.
I know all the arguments about this, about how teenagers are more likely to be involved in an accident, yadda yadda yadda. Truth be told, teenagers are more likely to be involved in single-car accidents. That means junior's more likely to take his new Camaro, take a turn too fast, wrap the car around a tree and Darwinize himself, without hurting anybody else. Older people, on the other hand, are more likely to take part in a multiple-car accident. That means when Maude slams on the brakes because there's a stoplight a mile up the road and she should get ready now, the person behind her is going to wind up in the trunk of her 1982 Chevy Caprice Classic.
To summarize: Teenagers are dangerous to themselves. Old people are dangerous to themselves and everyone else. It's not their fault, and to be honest I feel sorry for them. They've been independent more than twice as long as I've been alive, and they don't want to give that up. But I also hope that if and when I become that dangerous on the roads, someone will take my keys from me. And if the familys can't or won't do it, then the state will have to. And I don't like turning anything over to the government, but it seems like that's the only way this will get done.
July 02, 2001:
I've been thinking about buses lately. Not sure why, but it probably has to do with being stuck behind them in traffic on a daily basis. Anyway, I realized that while I'm in favor of public transportation, the buses have got to go. Not just because PAT drivers are maniacs (although that's part of it), but because of what they do to traffic patterns, just by the nature of their existence.
Because of how buses and bus routes work, they're always stopping and starting. This causes congestion where there should be smooth traffic flows. Also, Pittsburgh buses are too big to turn efficiently on the small streets here. It's not uncommon to sit through one green light while a bus loads and unloads, then sit through the next while it attempts to make a right turn.
In the Sunday Post Gazette, there's a section called Getting Around. Basically it's a way to keep informed about local construction to the roads. In the June 17th edition, people were complaining about the discontinuation of a bus route up Route 28 on the north side of the Allegheny. The problem isn't that PAT discontinued a route, it's that nobody's building a non-road-based system of getting around the area.
Any other major metropolitan area has a rail system of some kind -- Washington DC's Metro, Chicago's elevated train system, etc. -- except for Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh has the T, which is just a shuttle to get suburbanites from the South Hills to their jobs in the USX and Mellon towers. There are three (count 'em, three) stops on the "mainland" between the rivers, the main part of Pittsburgh. To be blunt, it isn't enough.
Now, I'll admit that the topography of Pittsburgh makes a rail system difficult. The trains would have to be propelled up the hills, and slowed going down them. But that difficulty is made up for by the fact that more than a third of the city is mined out underneath. (When it was a steel town, Pittsburgh was also a coal town -- the hills here used to be loaded with coal.)
So next week time I'm stuck in traffic, I won't blame the bus drivers, or the people who ride the bus -- after all, they are using public transportation while I'm not. Instead I'll blame the short-sighted politicians who never bothered to install a real public transportation system. It won't make me fell better, but at least I've found the root of the problem.