Archive of July, 2004
July 30, 2004:
Well, it's nice to know that my family and I aren't the only ones around who sneeze when they look at a bright light. Makes me feel like less of a freak of nature. Still annoying as hell when I drive around a corner and wind up staring straight into the sun, especially since I tend to rattle off two or three sneezes at once. Haven't hit anybody yet, though.
July 29, 2004:
Since I'm in the later/non-existant stages of the Atkins diet (it's kind of morphed into a more normal low-fat diet) I've been treating myself to some non-diety foods lately. For instance, about once a week I'll walk six blocks to the Dairy Queen on Carson St. and grab myself a small Blizzard. There's not a whole lot of ice cream there, so it shouldn't be too bad, right?
I finally got around to looking it up online: 570 Calories. D'oh. That would explain why I'm not losing much weight any more.
July 27, 2004:
It rained yesterday. A lot. (As in, water was coming out of the storm sewers instead of going in.) My work shoes are not waterproof, or even water-resistant. I was annoyed. That is all.
July 26, 2004:
The new video card arrived on Friday, and I spent Friday night and Saturday backing up and reformatting my two drives. The machine still isn't quite up to full power yet, but I've got Win2K patched and Norton and Firefox installed, so it's good enough for now.
Of course, this doesn't mean that I'll start writing at night and posting these entries on time. That would require planning ahead.
July 23, 2004:
Someone on the Web put up this little image comparison, and I think that in general there may be some merit to it. But I really don't want to have to call Dad and say, "I know you like your truck, but it turns out that it's possible Dodge drivers are all a bunch of pussies."
July 22, 2004:
July 20, 2004:
If only all debate on the Senate floor were like this... think of the entertainment value of a bunch of geezers kickin' it like in Eight Mile. Or imagine Bush (or Kerry) delivering a State of the Union address. Possibilities abound.
And yet another computer update: New moboard, old results. I can't figure out what (if anything) I'm doing wrong, or whether the new case "eats" motherboards, or if my old board and this new one both just happened to become defective within the span of two weeks or so. But I'm still limited to 'Net access at work, which is having a serious affect on my pr0n collection.
July 19, 2004:
Well, I just got back from a five-day weekend. I even remembered how to get to work, and got here ten minutes early. Of course, like every time I show up before 8:00, the boss ain't here yet. Which means I got here at 7:30 instead of 7:50 ;)
Tuesday night, Shannon and Gordon (my sister and brother-in-law) were supposed to fly in. Shannon made it, Gordon had some stuff back in Florida to take care of. We still did the Pittsburgh-tourist stuff I'd planned on Wednesday, checking out the Duquesne Incline and the Carnegie Science Center. There's some neat stuff at the Science Center, but it's definitely geared toward young kids. We barely spent an hour there, and I still don't feel like I got my money's worth out of it. The giant model train set was cool, though, but I have no idea what it has to do with science.
I originally planned on taking Gordon to Primanti's for lunch, since he'd never been there, but Shannon opted for Southside Steaks instead. Supposedly if you order a "whiz-wit" you'll get the proper sandwich, but I haven't tested that out yet.
Thursday I went back to Cedar Point for the first time since I worked at BME. They've added some new rides (Millennium Force, Top Thrill Dragster and Wicked Twister) and left everything else as-is. Millennium Force was OK -- it's big and tall all right -- but it's not a very good ride. You only spend 80 seconds or so on the coaster, and half of that's the climb. I'm not sure I'd spend close to 2 hours waiting for it again. Even though it's 100 feet shorter, the Magnum is a much better coaster. And since MF (heh) is now drawing all the coaster freaks, the line for Magnum was less than half an hour long. The only thing I missed was the Bluestreak. I'm thinking next time I'll go on a weekend after Labor Day; I hear the crowds really dissipate at that point.
(Wow, this is getting lengthy, isn't it?)
Saturday was Joanne's wedding, and it met my sole criterion for a good one: It was short. Even with the dippy song her father wrote (and played) for her the thing lasted less than an hour. After all, the god-stuff is secondary to the party afterward, right? Anyway, after moving on to the reception hall, where the bastards didn't let us in until 6:00 on the dot, I commenced with drinking vodka-flavored tonic waters. Since those failed to be worth the dollar tips I was dropping I drank half a bottle of Asti Santini instead. After all those months of not drinking that was enough to give me a mild buzz.
Sunday was a cookout with my uncle, his wife and their family before I headed back. I got here at about 9:00, watched all the Toonami stuff I'd recorded Saturday night, and crashed out. Somehow I remembered to set my alarm clock, and here I am. I've been at work for about an hour, and I think I'm almost ready to think about possibly being productive at some point later today.
And finally, all my FedEx packages (NewEgg shipped my order in three boxes from two states) have "Arrived at FedEx Destination Location" as their status. Hopefully that means they'll try to deliver today and I can pick them up later. My apartment is strangely quiet without the hum of the fans.
July 13, 2004:
I usually don't feel rested when I come back from a vacation in Akron. I'm not sure why; I get just as much sleep there as I do here. Well, I usually do, anyway.
This time though, I'll have an excuse for being dead-tired come Monday. I'll get to sleep in a little bit tomorrow since I'm just puttering around Pittsburgh and driving to Akron. But Thursday is the Cedar Point trip, and that's going to involve being on our way by about 7:00 in the morning. If we have to pick Dad up (it makes sense to take one car) that would involve leaving Mom and Jim's house at 6:30. Then there's the walking at Cedar Point and the drive back 12 hours+ later.
Friday I'll get a little of that rest back, but Saturday's the wedding and (more importantly) the reception. I can't let those Irish and German genes down, so I'll be partying as hardy as I can. That should give me a pretty good-sized hangover for Sunday and the drive back.
Yeah, I won't be too productive Monday. But this weekend should be hella fun anyway, as long as I stay conscious for all of it.
July 12, 2004:
· The mini-upgrade is ready to rock; I'll try to time it so it arrives in Pittsburgh next Monday. It'll be a 1.7GHz P4-based Celeron with board, 256MB of RAM and an 8x DVD+RW/-RW drive. Not bad for $200.
· I still plan on getting a second machine to play on, and run the older machine as a Web/FTP server. The current wishlist is: Case with two fans; 350W power supply; 2.8GHz P4 with board; 1024MB of RAM; GeForce FX 5200 with co-ax in, and VGA and S-video out; two DVD-ROM drives. One will go into the Celeron machine and the über-machine will get a DVD-ROM and the burner for easy backups. That one will be a little more expensive, and will wait until I have zero balance on my credit cards.
· Since Shields told me how long a lap at a swimming pool is (25 yds.) I now know that I swam either 850 or 900 yards (34 or 36 laps). I kinda lost track in the middle of the swim so I'm not sure, but either way it's about half a mile. There's a little bit of hanging on the side and resting between laps sometimes, but all in all I'm happier with that than I am with running.
· Apparently the A&W back in Akron (well, it's actually in Tallmadge, but Akron's close enough) is the only one around that isn't some ungodly fusion of A&W with a Long John Silver's. I drove to three different A&Ws here, and each one was that way. The fries sucked (they were LJS fries, which taste too much like Burger King fries to be any good), there were no foot-long hot dogs, and the coney sauce didn't even taste right. The only thing that actually belonged in an A&W was the root beer.
· Ranting about A&W is kind of annoying. Every time I want an "&" I have to type "&" because of how HTML works. It gets old pretty fast.
· Aside from however-many miles I'll be walking Thursday at Cedar Point, the only exercise I'll be doing between Tuesday morning and next Monday is twelve-ounce curls. Given that I'm also going to be eating a lot of Atkins-unfriendly things this does not bode well. I think 185's a good resting point though, and if I can keep myself at this weight for a while instead of yoyoing back up toward 200 I'll be happy. I think maybe I'll re-do the first phase of Atkins next spring and get rid of that last 15-20 pounds.
· My sister (25) has been married for a few years now, my step-brother (26) has been married for about two years, and now my step-sister (25) is getting hitched. I'll be 28 in a few months; I guess I should at least try to find someone to go out with me.
· East High's class of 1994 reunion is in two and a half weeks. I've been realizing lately how little of high school I actually remember (I've had one person IM me who I don't even remember talking to, ever). Hopefully seeing everybody will jog my memory; otherwise I may have to put some credence into that whole thing about beer killing brain cells.
· Shannon and Gordon (my sister and brother-in-law) are coming in for a day visit tomorrow and Wednesday before we all head to Akron. I'm trying to show them some Pittsburghy stuff -- the Penn Brewery and Primanti Brothers, the inclines, maybe the science center if I can't think of anything else. Gordon's 6-6 and 300-some pounds. That Primanti's sandwich is going to look like an hors d'oeuvre to him.
July 09, 2004:
(Quick computer update before I begin: The motherboard is toasted. I'll be upgrading to a cheap P4 or a P4-based Celeron and buying a DVD-ROM, possibly a writer if the price isn't too different. Since I'll be gone most of next week though, there's no time to ship it until I get back. I'm basically computerless until the 22nd. Now back to your regularly scheduled program.)
There are two types of singer in the world: Those that want you to hear what they're singing, and those who don't. The ones who don't are easy; you can just listen to the music while they shout whatever it is they're shouting into the mic.
The ones that do want you to hear them can be a real pain in the ass sometimes. Let's take Bruce Springsteen as an example. At least as often as not you can make out what he's saying. That's good, since he (or someone at his recording company) put some effort into the words. But sometimes he thinks he's Bob Dylan.
Since I'm picking on The Boss, I'll use one of his songs to prove my point. On Born in the USA (yes, I replaced the copy that got swiped) there's a song called "Downbound Train". For almost the entire song it's clear what Springsteen is saying (it's about the song's protagonist being dumped); it's not a happy song. Here's the last intelligible part of it:
The room was dark, our bed was empty
Then I heard that long whistle whine
And I dropped to my knees, hung my head and cried.
Unfortunately, that's not the end of it. There's one more verse and after repeated listenings this is what I pieced together:
Now I search head-bangers on railroad gangs,
Huntin' down that cross-eyed warden and a ram
These are obviously not the lyrics, simply because they don't make any fucking sense. I kept trying for a while, but once I had the incorrect words in my head it was nearly impossible to listen for the right ones. A look at the lyric sheet says what's he's really singing is:
Now I swing a sledgehammer on a railroad gang,
Putting down them cross-ties working in the rain.
Even considering that he's from New Jersey and thus speaks English as a second language (Joisey being the native tongue there) the only way he could possibly have mangled the words that badly is if he were drunk or stoned when he sang them. So maybe he does think he's Bob Dylan.
Now that I know what he was allegedly singing I can almost hear the "correct" words when I listen to the song now if I concentrate, even though I'm back to the head-bangers and cross-eyed warden if I don't pay attention. I've decided I like my lyrics better anyway.
July 08, 2004:
Even though I've managed to get myself pretty motivated about running, there's still one problem involved: Pittsburgh summers are frickin' hot and humid. (I'm sure some of you are thinking, "wait, he said he wants to move to DC next year, and it's on a swamp!" I answer thusly: Shut up.) Anyway, the heat/humidity combo was killing my ability to run and I didn't feel like I was getting anything useful for my effort.
Then I remembered that, contrary to popular belief, I still have a few friends in the city, and some of those friends still have CMU IDs. Hell, two of them even work for the people Htet Htet and I did that freelance project for. I talked to one over e-mail yesterday, and did some laps at the CMU pool yesterday evening.
The good news is, I still know how to swim and feel like I got a good workout. The bad news is, my upper body is way out of shape, seeing as how I've only been running up till this point. I got a good half-hour out of it before I realized I wasn't really swimming any more and gave up. Slept like a log last night, though.
The only problem is that the friend I talked to only goes swimming two or three times a week, and like the running I want to try to go almost every day. I may have to give the other friends a try after I get back from my mini-vacation a week from Sunday.
Oh, right, about that:
Program Notes: My stepsister is getting married in about a week. I'm taking next Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off work to go (and take a small side trip to Cedar Point) so there won't be blog entries on the 15th or 16th. I should have something for the 13th, and I'll start again (in theory) on the 19th.
July 06, 2004:
Tried to transfer my computer's guts into a new case Friday night, and wound up with a non-functional machine for my trouble. The only place I can get on the Net for now is at work, so I may start going through withdrawl soon.
On the upside though, I went to traffic court today and got out of a $111 ticket for having a lapsed inspection. I don't get my deposit back for two months or so, but it's still nice to know I'll have it coming in at some point.
That's it; more Thursday.
July 02, 2004:
Like I said before, I decided to stay in Pittsburgh this weekend since I'm making two other trips to Akron in July. I figured there'd be somebody around here who'd be up for drinking or card-playing or Hooters-going or something.
One's visiting family (turnabout may be fair play, but it's still annoying) and another's going out of state for a wedding. Well, at least I'll have all three of my my Netflix DVDs. And it'll give me a chance to put my old computer's guts into their new case.
That's about the time I realized that I really need to get that job in DC next spring: I have two friends left here who I see frequently, and both plan on moving away within a year.
July 01, 2004:
Apparently my W2K account here at work had been set to expire June 30th, so when I tried to log in this morning I was denied. It took my boss a while to get in touch with the right person in IT, so I sat at my desk and checked the important parts of the paper: Comics, sports and editorials. I'm kinda glad I never got around to canceling my Post-Gazette subscription.