Archive of August, 2002
August 31, 2002:
Well, the regularly-scheduled prick-waving contest is over. Whether or not this is a good thing remains to be seen.
The players grudgingly agreed to revenue-sharing and luxury taxes. They don't realize that they're doing themselves a favor this way -- now any team can afford a couple good free agents. Now Steinbrenner can't pay ridiculous salaries that drive other owners to banrupt their teams (think Alex Rodruiguez and his quarter-billion-dollar, ten-year deal). Now more than four of five teams will have a chance to win the World Series.
Now the question is, will these benefits come about fast enough to build on this agreement when it ends in 2006? Will the players like Jason Kendall and Brian Giles come to the realization that their chances of playing for a winning team just went up? Will the next collective bargaining agreement institute a more NFL-like parity in which a majority of the teams stand a credible chance of making the playoffs?
Well, that all remains to be seen. In the meantime... what do you think the chances are that the Pirates, at 60-74 and 14 games out of first in the mediocre National League Central, will have 20,000 people in attendance tonight?
August 30, 2002:
Got a call today from a company, so they can set up a time to call me tomorrow (Thursday) about a job. I just might be on my way back to working for a living.
I don't know right now if that's good or bad.
August 29, 2002:
I knew when I moved in that the previous tenant owned a cat, and had lived here for something like five years. Or that's at least what the girl showing the apartment told me. I knew they were replacing the carpet, which is why I moved in a day late.
What I didn't know was, that to save money, the landlord has the carpet guy only replace the top layer of carpet. Whatever's underneath, be it an older carpet or a pad, is left. Seems shady, but in most circumstances it could probably work. After all, we ain't paying a shitload of money for these places.
Well, I moved in and noticed the cat-piss smell had diminished. The next morning I couldn't smell it. Great, I thought, the place aired out.
No. I just became accustomed to the smell. You may not know this, but nerves can get tired from constantly broadcasting the same information over and over, and the signal gets weaker. Eventually it peters out.
That's what happened here. My apartment still reeks, I just can't smell it. Everyone else can, though.
So they'll be fixing that next week. I'm told.
August 28, 2002:
Unlike Lucas, Paramount added by subtracting -- namely, about 10 minutes of gratuitous special-effects shots. Some effects were recreated (V'Ger's second torpedo, the first probe, V'Ger's planet-killers and the formation of the V'Ger landmass) and while they're definite improvements, the fact that they're 22 years newer shows. Maybe if they'd re-worked all the shots...
The story is intact -- a couple scenes that were added for television in 1983 were edited back out -- so there are no surprises like Jabba's appearance in A New Hope. All in all, I'd say this new version of ST:TMP has moved up slightly in my list of movie preference -- it now beats out the ninth installation (Insurrection) and the cute-but-annoying fourth movie (The Voyage Home), where it was formerly kept out of the basement only by the abysmal fifth flick (The Final Frontier).
If your local video store has it, go ahead and rent it. If you're a fellow Trek-geek, grab yourself a copy. In addition to the improved version of the movie, there's a second disc of features that make this a worthy addition to any geek's collection.
Update: On disc two, one of the guys in charge of the new effects said they limited themselves to creating effects that could have been done in '79. Maybe it's just because I know they're new. I need a guinea pig...
August 27, 2002:
Htet-Htet (my asian neighbor) still doesn't have a working oven. So, today I was sitting on my sofa about 11:30 (again). Watching cartoons (again). Knock, knock.
There she is, chesscake-to-be in hand. This time she's making a lunch for some of her new classmates in HCI. (Anyone else thinking they shoulda gone to grad school?) I was invited again, and met her classmates. Cool people, I think. If I ever manage to work my way into a conversation, I'll let you know for sure.
So now I'm thinking: In the last eight days she's visited twice, and I've gotten a home-cooked dessert twice. I wonder if I could bribe the maintenance guy to just not fix the oven...
Of course, with the way this landlord's turning out to be, I may not even have to bribe the guy.
August 26, 2002:
Why is it that, regardless how much of a POS it is, when you drive a car with a manual transmission you feel like you're in a race car? I own a ten-year-old Honda Civic. Its engine displaces 1.5 liters, or 92 cubic inches. It could only go 100 mph if I drove it off a cliff.
But when I get on the highway I feel like friggin' Andretti. Why is that?
August 24, 2002:
Found this while I was poking around the Star Trek site. In the not-too-distant future, Voyager 1 will be one light-day* from Earth. Last week was the 25th anniversary of its launch. For more cool (read: "geek") stuff, here's the official Voyager project site.
* One light-day is 25.9 billion kilometers, or 16.1 billion miles. This is (to put things in perspective) 87 times the width of the Earth's orbit, or 670,000 times around the Earth itself.
August 23, 2002:
Apparently some British scientists found evidence that "beer goggles" really exist.
Hell, Stiffy or Tristan coulda told you that...
August 22, 2002:
Cartoon Network is apparently looking to lock in the 25-30 demographic. They're showing cartoon movies every Friday: Today was He-Man; next week is the Transformers. It looks like someone noticed that Justice League had caught on and decided to bring back all the Saturday morning and after-school cartoons.
August 21, 2002:
Just got off the phone with Verizon, trying to get my DSL service back. Somehow, the flag that says what kind of service I have was reset, so I had nothing for about 12 hours. But hey, the problem was fixed in only half an hour.
August 20, 2002:
Last Saturday I was sitting around watching cartoons like I usually do. There's a very quiet knock on the door. I open it, there's this cute Asian girl standing there. I, being the world's youngest dirty old man, immediately think, "Woo-hoo! I woke up in porno-land!"
She says hi, and asks if she can borrow my oven, since hers is broken. The "porno-land" part of my brain starts wondering if I might have to start believing in God.
Anyway, to make a long story short (and skip a bunch of boring stuff), she was making a birthday cake for a friend of hers, and her oven really was broken. She's also (damn my luck) involved, I've seen pictures of the guy.
So I've got a cute Asian neighbor who's going to be starting her masters in HCI at Carnegie Mellon next week. Maybe she'll make friends with some cute girls.
August 19, 2002:
All right, I know that I technically live in East Liberty, and that it doesn't have the reputation of being the nicest part of the city. But I'm really hoping that Negley Avenue just happens to be a main route that ambulances take to get to and from various hospitals. 'Cause I get at least three or four going past the building every day. It can get a little disconcerting sometimes.
August 17, 2002:
So instead ... push some virtual people down the stairs! You have to download an EXE file to run on your computer, but my copy of Norton says it's OK. My high score is about 65,000. I know of people who've gotten 110,000.
August 16, 2002:
No, this one isn't going to be a "what a bunch of greedy a-holes" post. Those'll come later. This one's about an actual game. But first, some quick education for any non-fans:
Passed ball: A pitched ball that the catcher fails to control, resulting in a baserunner advancing.
Knuckleball: A pitch thrown so that it has little or no rotation, making the ball's direction susceptible to the slightest gust of wind. Nobody in the ballpark knows where it's going, except for "mostly towards home plate."
Which brings us to the amusing part. The Reds have a knuckleballer pitching with a man on first. The catcher misses seven consecutive pitches, allowing the runner from first to score. Three passed balls in one inning. Most catchers don't have three passed balls in a season.
When the first batter in the next inning let the first pitch go by him, the fans actually applauded the fact that the guy caught and held onto the ball.
August 15, 2002:
It usually takes me more than an hour of surfing the 'Net every morning to get "caught up." If you want to know why, here's a totally pointless look at my daily browsing habits:
Hotmail. It takes me a few minutes to wade through the spam, then check any Bugzilla mails that have come in to see if the bugs I follow have had any interesting developments or (better yet) fixes.
The Cruel Site of the Day. It's a fucked, fucked, fucked, fucked world. Grab your popcorn and see today's display of idiocy and/or wierdness.
Spinnwebe. Spinn used to update daily, but now it's more like every other week. Interesting pages are added as footnotes.
Not My Desk. From the temp's brain to your monitor. Usually updated daily, sometimes not.
Shields's LiveJournal. It's all angsty and introspective. I read it to feel normal.
The Spinnoff Board. Allegedly discussion about the Spinnwebe and Not My Desk sites, in reality discussions about just about anything.
The Brunching Shuttlecocks. Humor McNuggets.
Zompist's Rant Page. Another every-other-weekly-or-so, but still interesting. It's what Brain Farts would be if I knew more stuff, took the time to think out what I want to say, and could write better.
The Obscure Store and Reading Room. Think "News of the Wierd."
Now you know why I usually don't get anything done until after noon.
August 14, 2002:
After spending most of the day trying to catch up with the last two weeks, my DSL line crapped out at 10:00. It just now came back on at 12:30, so today's entry is technically half an hour late. I think I'll manage to live with that.
August 13, 2002:
Just checked my connection, and I've got my DSL line back. Daily updates will return immediately.
August 10, 2002:
The apartment's coming along really well so far. I've had to take care of some stuff, though. There were no blinds on the windows so I got to make a Lowe's run for those, and the front window is 5'5" wide. That friggin' blind was heavy. I had to take the face-plate off the bedroom light switch so I could spin it around right-side-up, since I just wasn't getting used to pushing the switch down to turn on the lights.
The damn outlet I want to plug my computer into is still busted though, and the maintenance guy left a new tub faucet on my toilet tank instead of just installing the damn thing. Guess that extra 30 seconds was just too much for him. Since I just use the faucet to test the water before I crank up the shower it's not really a big deal though. But it does look kinda silly having an exposed pipe sticking out of the wall.
August 09, 2002:
Let's say you're driving down a one-lane, one-way street. A one-lane highway off-ramp merges with this street from the left, forming two lanes. Now, here's the question: Who has right-of-way in the right lane -- the car that was there, or the car in the off-ramp lane? Well, if you believe the bitch in the Chrysler, apparently cars already in the lane must yield to the land-yacht.
I shoulda hit her.
August 07, 2002:
Well, I'm all moved in and everything's going OK so far. Well, except for the fact that the outlet that I want to plug my computer in to doesn't work. Anyway, my former landlord offered to help me move, and he happened to run into an old friend of his, who helped me out too.
This guy was a total God Freak. (So you know we got along just great.) I just kept my mouth shut and did the smile-and-nod thing all day. You shoulda seen this guy -- at one point he was talking about how evil "mental adultery" is and why masturbation will put you in the HOV Lane to Hell.
Oh, and another quick update: DSL won't be back up until the 13th. *%^in' Verizon...
August 02, 2002:
Well, as I've complained about, I may be without my connection for a while. If these entries get sporadic for a while, that's why.