Archive of September, 2004
September 30, 2004:
Not 10 hours after I wrote about how my car was in decent shape, the son of a bitch decided it'd be fun to blow the radiator. After limping it over to the garage (watching the temperature gauge like a hawk) one of their guys brought out some water to test it. Just as he was telling me to start my car, the radiator filled up to the point where it had blown out.
This was no mere pinhole; there was a hole at least an eigth of an inch big in the thing. There's no amount of patching that can be done. And given how severe the blowout was, they're worried that the coolant fan may have failed, which would have made the pressure build up to the point that the radiator failed.
So, basically, as soon as I praised the thing it tried to make me want to sell it. Maybe it's getting tired of Pittsburgh too.
September 29, 2004:
One down, one to go. SpaceShipOne's next flight is scheduled for Monday, about a week and a half sooner than required by the X-Prize rules. Good luck, guys.
September 28, 2004:
· I checked my owner's manual not too long ago and found out that Honda recommends changing the oil every 7500 miles. So it turns out that while I thought I was abusing my engine by changing at 5000 miles, I was actually doing it a favor. Excellent.
· After a quick check, it turns out my clutch master was low. It's amazing how much easier it is to shift gears when there's enough transmission fluid in the gearbox.
· The manual says I should definitely change the air filter more than once every 35,000 miles. Oops. Didn't seem to have any bad effects though, so I guess that one's not too important as long as I don't make a habit of driving through constructions sites and deserts.
· I should probably replace my floormats at some point. Not only are they stained from more than a decade's worth of spills, I've managed to wear most of the way through the point where my right foot pivots between the gas and the brake.
All in all, it's not in bad shape considering it's halfway to becoming a "classic".
September 27, 2004:
From time to time my modem likes to engage in an activity I like to call "spazzing out." Basically, it randomly resyncs itself and I have to renew my DHCP lease once it calms down. It started doing this a lot more frequently lately, and I decided it was time to do some homemade tech support.
Removing the switch I no longer need accomplished nothing. OK, that wasn't it. Given that the old network card was a 10-year-old ISA 10-base-T, I thought it was the problem. Then when the old computer croaked and I bought a new one, the new NIC didn't change anything. Replacing the four-year-old DSL modem didn't solve any problems. At least I was able to pass that along to a friend whose modem drowned in a rainstorm (hint: don't put your DSL modem on a shelf near an open window). Unhooking the router and installing PPPoE (and ZoneAlarm) actually made things worse.
At this point I was ready to call the phone company and do some high-quality bitching and yelling. These bastards have done something to my phone line and---
The phone line. Hm.
I walked over to the closet and grabbed an extra phone cord. One quick trip behind the couch later, and the new line is in place. After a reboot I start some Web surfing. Concurrent downloads are what seems to do it in, so I open several tabs and fire away. The phone line takes it like a champ.
On the upside, I have a stable connection again. On the downside, I spent God-knows-how-long fighting with the equipment, installed useless software, and generally pissed myself off when all I had to do was replace a $2 phone cord. How anti-climactic.
September 24, 2004:
On the way to work this morning, a couple guys decided to cross against the light. It wasn't a matter of them being in the intersection when it changed, either; they saw the light was red and just hopped right on out.
One of them grew some common sense when he got 10 feet into the road and saw that rush hour traffic doesn't have any convenient gaps in it, and that there was a bus coming straight for him. The other guy is apparently from someplace where getting splattered by a bus is considered fun; he stood in the middle of the lane glaring at me as drove past.
Now, I admit that I was looking at this guy like he was a total idiot. I'd like to think that's because it's true. But I wonder how someone can be so disconnected from reality to think that the 3000-pound objects hurtling through a green light at 30 MPH or so should yield to him, and that the people driving said cars must be assholes for not doing so.
September 23, 2004:
While I was plowing through my estimates the other day (the "wah, I don't wanna" stuff I wrote about last time) an idea started forming. While I was making mockups in Photoshop last night, the thought solidified. I'm in a rut.
At work I do the same thing day in and day out. There's almost never anything new; it's all just a widget getting bolted onto an exisitng project. My freelance projects are both the same, and I didn't even get to write the original version of one of them.
One of the things I liked about Brady was the (somewhat) constant influx of new work. I could make a new site, or a new type of Web application. Every couple months I'd be doing something new and building up my skills. Here, I'm starting to stagnate. Sure, I know VB now, but I knew it while I was doing ASP -- ASP's just a brain-damaged version of its parent language.
We'll skip the rut I'm in in my personal life. That ain't changed in about a decade.
I need a change of job, and I need a change of scene. Now I know for sure that I want to leave here next spring. (And I don't want to leave earlier because I've moved during the winter before, and I ain't doing it again.) I'd actually like to get back into client-based work like I had at Brady; that suits my sure-feels-like-ADD personality rather well. And I think it's obvious why I need to get the hell out of Pittsburgh.
In the meantime, I need to force myself to get this project done, then start working on the resumé right after New Year's. And hopefully by next May I'll be somewhere that isn't here.
September 21, 2004:
I have some paperwork-type stuff to do for a freelance client, the one from early in the year. Getting ready to start the second stage of development, adding new stuff to the skeleton that's there now. And I know I could use the money that will (eventually) come in for it, but I just don't want to do it right now.
This isn't my usual laziness, either; I'm greeting this project with slightly less enthusiasm than I do my alarm clock going off in the morning. This does not bode well.
September 20, 2004:
(Quick one because my DSL connection is almost as consistent as the Browns offense.)
Tried a cappuchino at Crazy Mocha Saturday night, basically just for shits and giggles. Drank it (rather good considering I usually hate coffee) at about 9:00pm. Forced myself to go to bed at about 3:00am. Woke up just after 7:00, forced myself to stay in bed (dozing occasionally) until about 10:30. It's now 10:00pm Sunday night, and I'm not feeling particularly tired.
Imagine what would've happened if I'd had a double-shot of espresso.
Minor edit: Added the link and made a minor correction, and will add that due to allergies I took a DayQuil before I left for work this morning. It's after 1:00pm, I'm still not hungry for lunch, and I'm operating in this weird state where I know I'm tired but I'm not actually feeling it. I have gotten my system severly out of whack these last couple days.
September 17, 2004:
Every morning, as I drive through Oakland on the way to work, I see the students on their way to their first classes of the day and have the same thought: I should've gone to Pitt.
September 16, 2004:
Considering how easy it is to waste a large portion of your day with it, Minesweeper can be really frustrating sometimes.
My best time is just over 5 minutes. Guess that means I need more practice.
September 14, 2004:
While driving up Butler Street toward the Highland Park Bridge a while back, I saw an ice cream place near the zoo entrance. I popped in for whatever it is they call a Blizzard there and sat down to eat.
I notice that the name of the place is Tastee-Freez. Given how my brain works, John Cougar Mellencamp's "Jack and Diane" started playing in my head. Then I got to the second stanza, the part about "suckin' on chili dogs outside the Tastee-Freez." I take a quick look at the other wall, and they serve chili dogs at this place, too.
This place is part of a chain that I'd never seen until then (even though Yahoo Maps says their Akron location is where I know for a fact to be a Shell station). For the last two decades I'd always thought that the name of the ice cream place was made up.
September 13, 2004:
(I'll try to have a worthwhile post tomorrow. But for now...)
A few blocks from my apartment is a Japanese store. They sell Pocky there, which is a good snack food that isn't quite as unhealthy as a candy bar. They also sell gummies, which are fruit-flavored gummy-candies. Like gummy bears, except that they taste good.
Down in the strip district is a Chinese store, and it also sells those things -- apparently they use the definition of Chinese that means "China, Southeast Asia, the Koreas and Japan". Their prices are also slightly lower, but they're a good three miles away.
The Japanese store has a good Pocky selection, but not a lot of gummies. Since I was going to be out and about anyway I decided to try the Chinese store instead. I get there, plenty of gummies.
But a lousy selection of Pocky. D'oh.
So, yeah. Them damn ferriners are making it hard for me to snack. Bastards.
(Hey, if you stuck around to read that, I did warn you.)
September 10, 2004:
Last time I went swimming I wound up splitting a lane with a young kid. Couldn't have been more than eight years old. I asked her mom/coach/whatever and was told she'd been swimming for four years.
That little girl kicked my ass up and down the pool. You know in the cartoons where their legs just kinda spin in circles and they skim across the surface? It seemed kinda like that. She was still going when I left.
When I got in that pool I was 27. Now, I think I'm more like 60.
In other news: Good luck to my loyal reader(s) in Florida, as Ivan's shaping up to deliver the tail end of a triple-bitch-slap early next week. Hope everyone comes through it OK.
September 09, 2004:
While reading El Reg today, I saw that having children lowers your IQ. Yeah yeah, I know, it's only one study and it needs to be confirmed, and all that jazz. But it does explain why so many people think their little hellions are perfect angels, doesn't it? And now anyone who's decided they don't want to have kids can tell their parents they just don't want to turn stupid.
And the parents will of course fall for it, because they've had at least one kid, and are thus dumber than driveway gravel.
September 07, 2004:
On the way home from Akron on Labor Day my car officially became old.
In theory, as long as I can keep the body from falling apart around it, the engine isn't even halfway through its useful life. In theory.
September 03, 2004:
I took this picture a while ago, but just now got around to posting it:
Apparently there was some kind of class action suit against Citibank, and that was my cut of the take. Once I had another check to go with it I deposited it. The teller at the drive-through didn't even blink.
I wonder how much it cost them to print and mail me a check for four cents, and how much it cost their bank and mine to process it.
September 02, 2004:
Saw this on a neighbor up the hall's door as I was taking out the trash the other night:
Either someone has a fucked up sense of humor, or someone's seeing dead people. I just went outside, and I think the lights in the apartment are on (they're too high up for me to see what's going on though). On the other hand, that sign is stuck to both the door and the jamb, so you can't get in or out without cutting it. And it hasn't been cut since I first saw it.