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Archive of February, 2003

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[Permalink 2003-02-28] Oh, How the Time Flies... Not.

February 28, 2003:

Well, it's official: I've been out of work for a year. A year ago at 4:30 the HR guy asked to talk to me, at 5:30 I was quasi-escorted out of the building. No security guys or anything like that, we just "happened" to be the last two people leaving that day.

A year ago tomorrow I started getting enjoying some time off, figuring that I'd be able to find work OK with my three-plus years of experience. I didn't even file for unemployment right away. Shows ya what I know.

This is a lot more difficult than I'd originally planned. Living paycheck-to-paycheck is one thing; not knowing when the next paycheck will arive is another. After more than a handful of "thanks but no"s you kinda start wondering if you're even employable -- would it have been worth it to stay at the job you hated and have an ulcer the size of a baseball?

So that's where it sits now. Yay.

[Permalink 2003-02-27] On Second Thought, No

February 27, 2003:

A while ago I wrote that I was in the process of adding topics to this mess. Going through close to 500 entries and seeing if any are worth classifying is not a fun thing. So I don't think these things will wind up being categorized after all. But I'll keep the database columns intact, just in case.

[Permalink 2003-02-25] What Da Hell

February 25, 2003:

Saw this on and decided that since I'd seen it, I could pass it along. Of course, I'm not going to bother e-mailing it. But here it is, for all the world to see:

Welcome to the next edition of getting to know your friends. What you're supposed to do is copy (not forward) this entire email and paste it onto a new email that you'll send. Change all of the answers so they apply to you. Then, send this to a whole bunch of people you know including the person who sent it to you. The theory is that you'll learn a lot of little known facts about your friends.

  1. What time do you wake up in the morning?
    Usually around 10 or 10:30 AM. That's one of the nice things about being self-employed; the boss doesn't care when I show up for work.
  2. If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?
    Hell if I know, honestly. Stephen Hawking might be interesting (if I could follow what the hell he was talking about), but the conversation itself could be a problem what with him having to use the wheelchair computer and all. Or I could go the opposite direction and say Vanessa from the Man Show, so I could just look at her boobs.
  3. Gold or silver?
    Eh, silver I guess. Who gives a shit, really?
  4. What was the last film you saw at the cinema that you liked?
  5. Favorite TV shows?
    Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Man Show and Stargate SG-1.
  6. What do you have for breakfast?
    A bowl of whatever cereal's handy. Usually Cheerios or Kix.
  7. What would you hate to be left in a room with?
    Something that smells bad.
  8. Can you touch your nose with your tongue?
  9. What inspires you?
    The thought that one of these days I might do something important enough to be remembered for. Prob'ly not gonna happen though.
  10. What's your middle name?
  11. Beach, city or country?
    City. But one near the beach.
  12. Summer, winter, spring or fall?
    Winter. The air is clean and cool (or cold, depending on your point of view) and there's snow on the ground. Points off for being in the city though, where one side of my car gets covered in slush/dirt/salt.
  13. Favorite ice cream?
    Whatever the flavor of the day is at Strickland's.
  14. Buttered, plain or salted popcorn?
    Buttered. Lost and lots of butter. Dripping would actually be good. Still wanna know why I weight in at 210?
  15. Favorite color?
    Dark blue. Not quite the color of my car (but that's one of the reasons I like it); a little bluer than that.
  16. Favorite car?
    Well, speaking of cars... Dunno. I like Acuras, and the Subaru WRX is cool. If I had the money to spend, that'd probably be the car I'd get.
  17. Favorite sandwich filling?
    The sweet-onion chicken teriyaki at Subway. <mind location="gutter">Or, me between a couple of hot chicks!</mind>
  18. True love?
    Well, I'd like to think I'd know her if I saw her.
  19. What characteristics do you despise?
    Douchebag-ness. Not just being an asshole (I'm one of those, after all) but someone who seems to go out of their way to be arrogant, rude and annoying. They can all play in traffic.
  20. Favorite flower?
    Any one I'm not allergic to.
  21. You had a big win in the lottery, how long would you wait to tell people?
    A week or so before going public (I think you have to in PA) so I could tell my immediate family and maybe gloat to a couple friends. But the world would never find out if I had my way.
  22. Fizzy or still water as a drink?
    Still. Fizzy water is OK in the form of pop, but not all the time.
  23. What color is your bathroom?
    Allegedly, white. With butt-ugly purple toilet, shower and sink. And some ugly quasi-cream color for the shower stall itself. I hate my bathroom.
  24. How many keys on your keyring?
    *Checks* Six. Front door, apartment door, laundry room door, car door and backups for front and apartment in case they're needed. And the car alarm widget.
  25. Where would you retire to?
    Dunno. Maybe some place in Europe.
  26. Can you juggle?
    Only if you're talking about my workload. The throwing-balls-around thing requires coordination and is thus out of my league.
  27. Favorite day of the week?
    Sunday. The Browns are on. Unless they get some MNF lovin', in which case Monday would be my favorite. During football's off-season I like Saturdays, since I can sleep in and have the whole weekend ahead of me to waste.
  28. Red or white wine?
    Beer. Wine sucks.
  29. What did you do for your last birthday?
    Not much of anything, really. Twenty-six ain't exactly a big deal.
  30. Do you carry a donor card?
    Yes, but if anyone starts using me for spare parts before every possible thing has been tried I'll haunt them.
  31. Say something nice about the person that sent this to you:
    I would if I knew the guy at all (I think I met him for all of 5 minutes once). I know he used to work for Yahoo, which makes him pretty smart. There. That should count.
  32. Who do you least expect to send this back to you?
    Everybody, since I'm not sending it to anyone.
  33. Who is the person you expect to send this back first?
    Infer an answer from my last response.

There. Now you know even more pointless stuff about me. Enjoy.

[Permalink 2003-02-24] That Noise? Just a Wheezing Hamster.

February 24, 2003:

Good lord I need a new computer. This thing is old -- a P2/266 with 128 megs of memory that I bought junior year -- and it's really starting to show. Attempting to run any Counter Strike map besides the midget-sized Iceworld creates too many sprites for this old machine to keep track of. Mozilla takes about 10 seconds to start and can grab all of my system resources if I try to display a large page. Don't get me started on Photoshop 6.

To make matters worse I took a quick trip to Ohio over the weekend to help Mom and Jim with their AOL Broadband connection -- turns out AOL 8 is even more of a memory drain than its predecessors. Now that I've added some more RAM to their machine it stomps mine in every way imaginable (except for the vid-card, but a fat lot of good that does if the rest of the machine's too slow to handle it). I cannot allow my family to have a better computer than I do.

I've been looking at new parts on and off for the last several months. A Pentium 4 or a comparable AMD chip, a DVD-ROM and CD-RW, a gig of RAM. Windows 2000, if I can find it, since I'm tired of 98 and its chronic suicidal tendencies. You know, the basics. Just buying the parts I need, a new computer would be pretty cheap. But it'd still cost money. And there's the problem.

But I think if it this way -- it's just more motivation to find a job. Well, that and the whole "food and shelter" thing.

Update: Hey, kids! Ya know what's fun? Writing about needing an upgrade then waking up to find that the file allocation table's hosed and your computer won't boot! So now I get to drive to CompUSA or someplace similar and buy a new drive, 'cause that one's hosed! Yay!

[Permalink 2003-02-21] Proof that Grades Don't Correlate to Intelligence

February 21, 2003:

Of all the stupid...

OK, some girl finished high school in three years, and in those three years amassed the top grades and the most "points" in her class. So school officals apparently said that she could go to college instead of her 12th grade year, and the college courses would count toward her "points" total so she could still be valedictorian.

But then another girl amassed enough points to bump girl #1 out of the top spot. So, since the first girl was already in college, and the second girl is obviously very good at being a high school student, and girl #1 would not benefit at all by being valedictorian, the first girl...


There's now an injunction in place to keep the school from naming any valedictorain at all.

(Here's the article.)

Look, I was my class valedictorian. One out of six, actually, since the computer automatically ranks anybody with a 4.0 or higher as #1. You know what being valedictorian got me? Jack shit. Being in the top 10, over even the top 10%, is good enough. No college is going to care if one student got a B one grading period in one class and another got an A -- the difference is just too small to matter.

Besides, these are public schools. You can be in the top half of your class just by finishing four years. (I'm not that far off -- In 1990, I was in a class of 330 or so; at graduation in '94 there were 190 of us left.) Being in the top 40% just means you can read. Why all the fuss over being the cream of the crap?

The first girl did a great job; she finished high school in three years and got accepted to college. She's already on the right track. The other girl spent the standard four years, and was more successful in high school, which is what being the high school valedictorian is all about.

And if I have to explain that to someone, they probably don't deserve to be valedictorian in the first place.

[Permalink 2003-02-20] Bork Bork Bork!

February 20, 2003:

Apparently Microsoft is up to its old tricks again, this time sending bad style sheets to the Opera Web browser. But Opera isn't getting mad, it's getting even.

[Permalink 2003-02-18] Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

February 18, 2003:

Well, it snowed a lot Sunday night. So much that even CMU cancelled classes. Pittsburgh is apparently out of salt; the mines in northeast Ohio can't get the stuff out of the ground fast enough to meet demand.

The snow outside my bedroom window. Ok, so the bottom of the window is at grade, it's still pretty cool.

My Civic. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Looking up Negley Ave.

[Permalink 2003-02-17] Mmm... Crab Cakes

February 17, 2003:

I can't offer a better intro than this page does:

[Permalink 2003-02-14] Me? No, I'm not bitter at all. Why do you ask?

February 14, 2003:

Well. Another Valentine's Day.


At least this time around I don't have to deal with all the happy couples, the girls at work getting all giggly over what their SOs are planning, and all that other nauseating shit. Today I'm actually kind of glad to be a quasi-recluse.

[Permalink 2003-02-13] Damn.

February 13, 2003:

Don't know why I thought of it, but here goes: I started at CMU just before my 18th birthday. In October (admittedly several months away) I'll turn 27. Which means that barring me getting an out-of-town job, I'm very close to having spent a third of my life in Pittsburgh.

[Permalink 2003-02-11] I Wonder if LiveJournal Would Let Me Rewite the App...

February 11, 2003:

Since I went to the meetup not too long ago, I decided to try to make my LJ page look a little less crappy. Easier said that done.

The journal is such a convoluted mess of deprecated tags and non-semantic information that it's damn near impossible to say "style this one way, but style that another." I realize that not everyone is on IE 6 or Netscape 7, and that some things like the nested-table layout are necessary. But using a combination of style information and semantic tags (<H1>, <H2>, <P>, etc.) instead of garbage like the <FONT> tags they have scattered everywhere would make the layout so simple to change, instead of all the hoop-jumping I had to do. It'd also add the advantage of drastically reducing the page's load time, since the multitude of extra tags could be done away with.

Since I have time on my hands, I rewrote my LJ page using more modern HTML. Considering I spent 15 minutes on it, it's a pretty close facsimile. (Here's my version and a copy of the LJ page.) Total savings of doing things my way is about half a kilobyte. But I only have three entries, and most of the tag pollution is in the entries. But let's be conservative and say each page would be 1KB smaller. Multiply that by the (thousands? millions?) of page views per day, and the bandwidth savings would be megabytes or gigabytes per day. That'd go a long way towards making the site faster.

What do you think the odds are of that happening any time soon? Yeah, me too.

[Permalink 2003-02-10] Netflix

February 10, 2003:

Signed up for a Netflix account last week. And what new, exciting blockbusters do I rent?

Animal House, Goonies, Wargames and Good Morning Vietnam.

[Permalink 2003-02-07] "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For..."

February 07, 2003:

Now that I've got my firepace shelf somewhat de-ghetto-fied, I want to put some stuff on it. Among the stuff I want to display are some old, glass 16-ounce 7-Up bottles. They made commemorative bottles in the mid-70s and my Grandpa Sullivan had bottles for the Bicentennial, the Cleveland Browns, and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

But the pop was drank out of them so they don't have their bottlecaps. And I don't want them to get dust in them, since the glass is translucent and it'd look crappy. So I'm looking for something to cap these bottles with.

I remember, about 15 or 20 years ago, we had plastic bottlecaps we could clamp down on the top of the bottle to keep the contents from going flat. They couldn't have cost more than a buck apiece. That's what I'm looking for. So I checked the Giant Eagle, and they don't have any. Neither did K-Mart. Target had a rubber cork, basically, but since it was a "wine bottle stopper" they wanted five bucks for it.

Oh, hell no. So if I can find a winemaking store I'll buy a few corks. Or maybe I'll just go ghetto and cover the tops with Saran Wrap and hold it down with rubber bands.

[Permalink 2003-02-06] The Hobbit's Hobbit

February 06, 2003:

This is most likely not work-safe. But it's frickin' hilarious. Jack Black and Sarah Michelle Gellar star in the true story of the One Ring:

[Permalink 2003-02-05] The Third Floor at 1057 Could Probably Relate...

February 05, 2003:

From The Daily Northwestern:

Kelly Roe Column
January 20, 2003

Dear neighbors: I'm not sure who you are or which apartment you live in, but I know you, and I'm sure you will be able to recognize yourselves by this description. You're the people who started having very loud sex at 1:48 this morning and did not finish until 2:27. While your stamina is to be commended, I still am hoping that your genitalia turns blue and falls off so as to prevent any repeat performances.

Because when I say loud, I don't mean I heard a few moans and inferred that a bit of the old "in-and-out" was going on. No, by loud I mean porno-style screaming, just-got-out-of-prison-and-haven't-seen-a-member-of-the-opposite-sex-in-two-years boinking.

I'll tell you why it bothered me, beyond the fact that I was forced to listen to you play Hide the Weenie for 39 minutes. The noise wasn't the biggest problem, nor was the interruption of my much-needed beauty sleep. What really gets me is that because of you, I can no longer pretend that no one in the world has sex. Ever.

I'm going to die alone in a house full of cats, you see. But I was finally resigned to my fate because I had managed to convince myself that everyone else was going to die alone in a house full of cats, too. It's like going to Northwestern: I'm a dork, which kind of sucks, but so is everyone else here, so it doesn't really matter as much. I don't want to be a dork, and I certainly don't want to die alone with cats, but it's not so bad as long as everyone else is in the same boat. And by "the same boat," I mean little individual boats that are empty except for one person and his or her respective cats.

But as your romp last night made very clear, everyone else is not in the pure, chaste, single-passenger boats of my imagination. Apparently your boat is one of those cute little pedal boats that two people both ride like a bike, only instead of for pedaling, it's for sex. That's just not going to work for me.

Listen, we're all reasonable people here. At least, I'm assuming you are because you have yet to steal any of my magazines when the mailman can't fit them in the box and leaves them on the floor instead. So here's what we'll do. I'll go ahead and look past last night's carnal gymnastics. You will allow me to believe that you were just watching a movie and inconsiderately left the volume up too high. Movie sex is okay: They are just pretending.

And in return for letting me cling to my sad little fantasy, I will allow you to continue with the headboard-banging-beluga-whale-calling, provided that you do so in bursts no longer than 30 seconds and that these bursts fall roughly at 15-minute intervals, thus allowing me to pretend that what I am hearing is just an Herbal Essences commercial. Thank you.


Your celibate neighbor in Apt. N2.

(Used without permission. But still damn funny.)

[Permalink 2003-02-01] Columbia

February 01, 2003:

Rick D. Husband, Commander, 1957-2003
William C. McCool, Pilot, 1961-2003
Michael P. Anderson, Payload Commander, 1959-2003
David M. Brown, Mission Specialist, 1956-2003
Kalpana Chawla, Mission Specialist, 1961-2003
Laurel Clark, Mission Specialist, 1961-2003
Ilan Ramon, Payload Specialist, 1955-2003

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of -- wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never Lark, or even Eagle flew --
And while with silent lifting mind, I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

-- John Gillespie Magee

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