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Archive of July, 2005

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[Permalink 2005-07-29] Jesus Jumping Christ with a Chicken Bucket, It's Hot

July 29, 2005:

In case you're wondering why the entries have sucked more than usual lately, it's because it's too hot to think. This picture was taken at 6:00 PM on July 26th at the bank across the street from me. I swear I am not making this up:
[It's friggin' HOT!]

[Permalink 2005-07-28] STS-114

July 28, 2005:

Watched the shuttle launch today. I've got to get down to Canaveral some time to see one in person.

They added a bunch of cameras to the shuttle, including one that looked straight down the fuel tank. For some reason that one struck me as extremely cool. Unfortunately, the feed from NASA I was watching crapped out under the strain so I didn't get to see the fuel tank drop -- I was hoping they'd cut to that camera again, like in the old Apollo footage.

Also, since the skies over Florida were so clear I got to see the shockwave form as the shuttle broke the sound barrier. Seeing that white haze form on the orbiter's nose then fade away is truly incredible.

At first glance it looks like the launch went off without a hitch. Right now Discovery is still in its highly elliptic launch orbit; they're about 20 minutes from firing the thrusters to achieve a higher, more circular orbit that will intersect with the space station.

Yep, defeintely have to get to Canaveral.

[Permalink 2005-07-26] Am I Just Misremembering?

July 26, 2005:

I seem to recall that when I was a kid, I could ride my bike pretty much all day with no problems. Nowadays the trick seems to be finding a seat that makes my ass hurt the least, and I'm not having much luck at that.

I bought a seat a couple weeks ago (which I would have tested that Saturday, had it not been for the evil of Red Bull) that simply made my butt hurt in a slightly different way than the seat that came with the bike.

The return period is a month, so I think I'll give it one more try. But I'd rather not be out $40 for a seat that's just as uncomfortable as what I already had.

[Permalink 2005-07-25] I'll Probably Learn Eventually

July 25, 2005:

When dealing with variables, it's always X, then Y. Ditto for coordinate systems. Likewise, it's (for me, anyway) always width, then height. And finally, it's latitude, then longitude.

Except that last one's a problem. Latitude's a Y, not an X. Things like databases tend to be less than useful when they're expecting something between -65 and -125 (longitudes for the continental US), and instead get something between 25 and 50 (latitudes for same). In fact, they usually don't do much of anything at all, and tick off the idiot developer who made the mistake in the process.

[Permalink 2005-07-22] Educational TV... Kinda

July 22, 2005:

I recently rediscovered MythBusters on the Discovery Channel. These guys are basically the TV version of Snopes.

One of their recent experiments was the idea that if you dive just a few feet underwater you can survive being shot at. They rigged up a device at a local pool and started taking target practice.

A Civil War-era rifle managed to penetrate ballistics gel at a distance of three feet. Beyond that, the bullet wandered too far to hit its target. It was the most lethal gun fired.

Afterwards they brought out a .223 (I don't think they said who it was built by) and an M1 Garand rifle. Both rounds shattered upon entry into the pool; a piece of the M1 round's jacket managed to generate a flesh wound at a distance of three feet. As a capper they brought out a giant .50-caliber and let fly with a round that could qualify as an ICBM. It suffered a similar fate, not even scratching the ballistics gel as it completely shattered upon entering the water.

It turns out that the metal, even on a full-metal-jacket round, can't handle the deceleration from supersonic and just disintegrate. Smaller, subsonic rounds like those fired from a handgun or a shotgun are actually more lethal since the rounds/shot aren't stressed as much.

Now I want to play some Counter Strike to see if there are any levels that take that into account. I'd love to see an AWP completely nullified by an overgrown ditch.

[Permalink 2005-07-21] Odd Way To Get a Song Stuck In My Head

July 21, 2005:

Driving home on the Fairfax County Parkway the other day I saw a car with the license plate 1&1&1S3. I've had that song stuck in my head for almost a day now.

[Permalink 2005-07-19] Angst Über Alles

July 19, 2005:

Every once in a while someone tries to convince me that I'm not a total dickhead. It's nice of them to do, but that doesn't make them right.

This weekend, while learning that Red Bull and vodka is the Devil I got plastered. And for some reason the fact that the Metro trains stop running at a certain time managed to bubble its way to the surface. The person I was out drinking with was celebrating getting engaged, and his other friends had already stopped drinking for the night, so of the original crowd we were the only two left. So I went looking for him, to tell him I was heading out too.

Didn't find him. So I just left. That kind of logic makes sense when you can barely stand.

Now this guy holds his liquor much better than I do, so he was in no danger of any kind. But you don't up and leave without some kind of a warning, and being drunk is not excuse -- I chose to go out and get smashed, so I'm still responsible for what happens as a result. Which means I'm a prick.

Also, in the last week, I got into an argument with someone (I'll spare you the details) that wound up causing big problems for a good friend of mine. I knew going into this argument that that would probably happen, but I felt I couldn't just back down. I wish it hadn't happened like that, but I'm not exactly repentant for it either -- I did what I felt I had to do. But the end result is still the same.

It seems like I've been doing shit like this non-stop for years. I've always been a bit of a flaky drunk, which is part of the reason I don't try to get drunk any more (a strong dislike of puking being the other reason). I've alienated or embarrassed so many people over the years that I'm frankly surprised anyone still talks to me. Most of them seem to have forgiven, or at least forgotten, or maybe just decided to ignore, but for some reason it doesn't really help.

I feel like most of my friendships are one-sided, with me getting most of the good stuff and my friends getting a giant pain in the ass for their trouble. On the one hand, I like to think I'm a better person than that, but on the other hand there's what I actually do. And what I actually do is make like difficult for people. I'm beginning to wonder if it might be better for everyone involved if I just lock myself in my apartment and live like the hermit I'm apparently supposed to be.

[Permalink 2005-07-18] Things I Won't Be Doing Again

July 18, 2005:

Do yourself a favor: If you haven't tried vodka and Red Bull, don't. The flavor is OK, or maybe I was too drunk to care, but after having spent most of Saturday night drinking the stuff I've spent most of Sunday wishing I hadn't.

A regular hangover I could have handled -- I've had plenty of them -- but this was different. I woke up at 8:00 or so (after passing out going to bed at 4:30-ish) with my heart racing. Figuring something had just startled me awake, I waited for it to go away.

It didn't. You know how sometimes while your car is idling, it'll rev the engine for no discernable reason? That's basically what my heart did on and off for about five hours. I gave up trying to get back to sleep at 11:30 and felt like the walking dead for the rest of the day.

I didn't have a headache, but after puking my guts out Saturday night, my stomach still felt like hell late into the afternoon. I didn't put anything down there Sunday except water, and there were a couple times I thought it would be coming back. Finally convinced myself to eat a bowl of cereal at 5:00 (I decided to skip biking this week). It stayed where I put it, but my system told me in no uncertain terms that I had made a mistake.

Ever have one of those days where you just wanted to die and get it over with? That's the kind of day I had Sunday.

[Permalink 2005-07-15] Bicycling Update, and a Question

July 15, 2005:

Well, in spite of barely posessing the motivation required to breathe on Sunday, I forced myself to go for a ride. Breezed past Cedar Lane this time and made it to the Beltway. Actually went a little farther than that, to a park where the trail starts to run next to I-66. I'd guesstimate that I was getting fairly close to marker 8½, so my total ride would have been just shy of 17 miles.

When I got to the Beltway, I saw that some vines had overgrown the sign marking I-495. It reminded me of a short story I read way back in high school (I think it may have been ninth grade) about a group of survivors post-apocalypse. There were many legends about the land of the gods to the east, where nobody was allowed to go.

An explorer (a teenage boy, if I remember right) found the land of the gods (New York City) and marveled at the wonders there among the ruins: A basin with handles labeled "hot" and "cold" that no longer differed in temperature (there must have been powerful magic there at sometime), before discovering the mummified remains of one of the city's inhabitants. He rushed back to his cave (fallout shelter?) to report that the gods they so feared were nothing but Men.

I'm actually kind of interested in tracking it down, but the brain cell storing the title of the story succumbed to the ravages of time (and beer) long ago. Anybody have any idea what it was called?

Update, February 4, 2007: Finally found a lead on Google. Can't remember if I tried and failed before, or if I just never tried figuring that it wouldn't work. The story is "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benét.

[Permalink 2005-07-14] Sunday

July 14, 2005:

It's currently just after noon on Sunday. Part of me says I should go into work for a couple hours and get work done on Project A so I can have more time for Project B on Monday before I leave for my chiropractor appointment. Another part of me is answering, "fuck that, it's Sunday." To which a third part of me responds, "it's not like I'm doing anything anyway." Right now, that second part is winning.

[Permalink 2005-07-12] Not Much Today

July 12, 2005:

I figured I'd just take the day off and post a blonde joke.

[Permalink 2005-07-11] Things I Was Happier Not Knowing

July 11, 2005:

I can out-stop a loaded F350 truck.

Don't worry, this is a good thing: I was behind the truck, not in front of it. Otherwise I'd be a lot more upset than I am now.

On Route 28 there's a spot where it drops from three lanes to two by making the right lane a turn-only lane. I was stuck in that lane, trying to find a hole in traffic to move over. The truck I'd been tailgating finally got far enough in front of the car in the next lane so I could fit into the space. And as I did, he moved over, too.

No problem, says I, I'll just give myself a little breathing room now that I'm where I need to be. Then the light turns yellow. Me and the truck are both past the point of no return; I'm ready to run the thing. He apparently wasn't.

He hits his brakes, I stand on mine. He comes to a stop completely beyond the stop-here line on the pavement; I come to rest about where the first person at the light should be. A couple seconds later the blue smoke caught up with me.

Who needs coffee to get you going in the morning when you've got adrenaline?

[Permalink 2005-07-08] Strangely Productive

July 08, 2005:

Over the long weekend I managed to get out on the bike trail twice, Saturday and Monday. Saturday was good for seven miles in both directions, meaning I turned around somewhere east of Vienna at Cedar Lane. Another mile and a quarter or so and I would have been at the Beltway. Made it out in one go, but I had to stop a few times on the way back. Not because I was particularly tired or thirsty, but because that bicycle seat was making my butt hurt.

Monday I rode again, but headed west this time. In theory I should have made it to mile marker 24 (that would be seven miles from where I start at marker 17). I didn't quite get to the marker; I turned around at Route 28, somewhere between 23.5 and 24. The ride westward isn't as interesting as the one going east, so I think I'll just keep heading toward Arlington instead of heading out to Leesburg.

Ya know, between the chiropractor and the trail, I ought to just give up and move to Reston...

Aside from the exercise thing (just how useful is it to go biking once a week, anyway?) I also managed to get the front license plate mounted on my car. A scant three months after moving here, my car is now legally marked.

[Permalink 2005-07-07] Gotta Buy Stamps More Often

July 07, 2005:

There was a cute girl at the post office Saturday who got there about the same time I did. She seemed a bit younger than me -- I was getting a "first time on my own" vibe from her -- but she seemed nice enough. Even talked to her a little bit.

So why did I not ask her out? She smokes. Damn my allergies.

Oh, who am I kidding... I wasn't going to ask her out anyway.

[Permalink 2005-07-05] Being Popular Without Even Knowing It

July 05, 2005:

I bought a calendar from a Japan-based web site a couple years ago. As a result I'm on their e-mail list, which basically means I get little snippets of life in Japan from the American ex-pat who runs the company.

One of the items in the most recent e-mail was, "When you sneeze twice, it means someone is gossiping about you." I can't remember the last time only a single sneeze escaped; I must be the talk of the town.

But lest I get too cocky with my newfound popularity, I have to remember that my father rarely unleashes fewer than half a dozen sneezes at a time. I wonder what everybody's saying about him...

[Permalink 2005-07-04] Long Weekend

July 04, 2005:

It's July Fourth; get off your computer and go to a cookout or something. Updates resume tomorrow.

[Permalink 2005-07-01] The Original Trilogy Explained

July 01, 2005:

Found on the Web: It makes so much more sense now. I always knew R2 was the smartest character in that mess :)

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