Wednesday, October 30, 2002


I have a feeling that I'm going to be seriously hating this office come winter, and it's not even winter yet.

My fingertips are starting to get a little bit numb, and I've got a space heater running and aimed right at me not two feet away. This from the guy who sweats while immersed in water.

Please Mr. Scrooge, might I put another coal on the fire? Please?

Tuesday, October 29, 2002

Call me Crocket

I managed to somehow wind up with a copy of Vice City in my hands today. It's selling out so fast, that the Best Buy that I went to was keeping the copies at the registers. I'm typically the unluckiest guy in the world when it comes to things like this (my prepay for it at the local GameStop was so late that I wasn't even on the list for the first shipment), so I don't know how I wound up with it today.

I was going to explain how the game works, but if you haven't heard of Vice City, or Grand Theft Auto 3 by now, you might want to crawl out from under that rock you've been hiding under.

All I have to say is that I could spend all day playing this game (which is why I did not put it in my debug PS2 while I was at work). My current "omigodthisissofreakingawesome!" addiction: grabbing a crotch-rocket* and seeing how long I can ride a wheelie, and then jam on the brakes and lean forward and see how long I can hold a nose-wheelie. All without flipping the bike over backwards or doing an endo**.

I'm supposed to be editing my video right now. Why must you give me so many good things to do at once, lord? Why must you make me choose?!?!

Maybe I can get a chip implanted that lets me play Vice City and edit video at the same time. ::glahghlagdroolghlag::

At any rate, there is something fairly noteworthy about this game: the stereotypes aren't so obvious this time around. There's a subtle air of complexity about this game, and how it's attempting to re-create the 80's so diligently. Gone are the blatant sore-thumb stereotypical gay flannel and tight shorts wearing construction workers and the little old ladies. Now the streets are populated by women roller-skating in bikinis, guys in Hawaiian shirts, and of course, the classic 80's Crocket look. I know it sounds corny and fairly stereotypical, but you're just going to have to take me at my word on this one.

*crotch-rocket: your average fast Japanese manufactured racing motorcycle you see Frat Boys driving.
**endo: ever go over the front handlebars of your bicycle? That's an endo.

Monday, October 28, 2002

Special Thanks

To Linda Dunn who so graciously pointed out what was wrong with my piss-poor code on this site. As you might notice now, the morse-code navigation on the left mouse-over now actually works.

Go check out her site (she's part of that soon-to-be-famous duo Secondsight that Liz and I went to watch play in Maryland)

She has a Blog now as well, and I think gets the record for "World's Coolest First Post."

Let's Play

There may possibly be nothing cooler than having a DVD of your favorite movie playing in the background while you work/surf on your PC.

I bought a combo CD-RW/DVD-R drive yesterday in the hopes that I could start editing AMVs (Anime Music Videos) again. I had started editing a Cowboy Bebop vid awhile back, and just sorta bailed on it. It was six and a half minutes long. What the hell was I thinking? I only got it half-done, and that length is about as long as most AMVs. Unfortunately it's done in sections, and not all in one big chunk at the beginning or end.

The other problem is that the machine that I had all of the edting tools on (and the original DVD drive) was my old work machine, and it is now officially fried.

All that comes up at boot is a black screen with a Dell logo. No RAM countup, no IDE port auto-recognition. NADA.

Dude, I am so not getting a Dell.

Sorry. So anyway, DVD player. Anime movie goodness playing in background. Editing tools are go.

Friday, October 25, 2002

Say "Kraft American Pre-Wrapped Singles!"

Jane at umami tsunami already talked about this (and had it done), but Jesus Effin H. Motherlovin' Christu, if this isn't the coolest thing since the family heirloom painted portrait:

Full Body Scans. You have to click enter, and be very very patient. It's going to look like nothing's loading (the status bar at the bottom of your browser is disabled). It's actually loading in about a gajillion thumbnails, and they'll pop up in a minute or so. So just leave the window open for a bit and come back to it. It's worth the wait.

I guess they had this enormous scanner at the Tokyo Game Show. The images are just so freaking amazing. You get some kind of enormous poster-sized print when you're done. This is the modern, instant portrait. For some reason, these all seem much more genuine than a photograph, because even though they're "posed," it doesn't seem fake like a family portrait from Sears. It's as if they're pressed leaves in a book preserved for an eternity. I would love to get one of these done. Hopefully they'll come to a US show sometime.

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Quick Prediction

I just heard Welcome to the Jungle from Guns 'n Roses on the radio today. Granted, I may have been listening to the 90's at 9 block of music (and nevermind that Welcome to the Jungle came out in '88, I think), but they've never played Guns 'n Roses before on this station (it's one of those "Alternative" stations. And by "Alternative," they really mean "Top 40."). Combine this with their recent newly-made-over appearance on the Mtv Music Video (or film or whatever the hell it was) Awards thing a few months back, I'm wagering that the radio is trying to get listeners saturated with GnR to the point that when they try and play their new song, listeners aren't saying "who? GnR?! Aren't they like, 80 now?" Instead, we'll be thinking to ourselves, "Yeah! 'Welcome to the Jungle,' baby! These guys rock!"

Just remember, you heard it here first.

Well, O.K., you really saw/heard of them on the Mtv thing first, but still.

[Edit: I was just at the GnR website, and surprise! They have a new album out and will be touring here in Chicago in exactly one month from now. Coincidence? Ten bucks says the radio station in sponsoring the concert. I'm sure they'll reveal this in a "breaking news" industry insider revelation about two weeks before the show.]

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

I Must Be Getting Old

Or is it Mtv that's getting old?

Because something's getting old, and I'm pretty sure it's the Las Vegas version of The Real World. I'd make that a link but I'm so utterly disgusted by it that I'm not even going to bother giving them the link service.

Did anyone reading this ever watch the first few seasons of Real World? You know, the ones where they had people on the show who still held down real jobs (like the girl who was a friggin' Doctor), or were maybe HIV positive, were aged anywhere from 22 to almost 30, and otherwise had some real character and personality?

Because putting together a cast of people that involves a married 22 year old guy having sex with the "innocent" (please note the sarcasm in my quotes) girl from from Louisiana on the second night they're together in the house means that you don't really have anywhere left to go from here. The first season was an experiment, and the rest of the seasons have all been tweaks on the formula, which is: Put the most controversial 22-24 year old people in the same ritzy house as possible, and hope that they all get naked, have sex, and fight. Hopefully in that order. They don't even get doors on the rooms anymore, because they need for people to be walked in on while they're showering or having sex. It's hardly about being "real," and I'd like to know in what "world" I get to live in a fucking mansion for free for four and a half months, and then as if that's not vacation enough, they send you to Australia. The only way to beat that deal is to be the son of Hugh Hefner.

Honestly, I can only see this show lasting for about one or two more seasons, tops. Because next season, the challenge is for two cast members to have sex on the first night, and then the season after that they're all going to be walking into the house for the first time with their pants already around their ankles, because they're going to have to start humping each other the minute they meet, lest they not beat last season's "shocking" controversy records.

Tuesday, October 22, 2002

Worst. Haircut. Ever.

It's times like these that make me really really wish I had a digital camera, because you all must simply see how bad my hair looks. Normally, I'm hardly ever pleased with what it turns out looking like, but this time it's especially bad.

New recruits in basic training get better haircuts than this. Haircuts like these make you wish you had walked out without paying. In fact, the "hairstylist" should pay me for having to wear this on my head.

I'm going to look into getting a webcam at the very least this weekend so that I can easily upload the horror for all to witness. No really, it's that bad.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

In Stitches

I came the closest I've ever been to needing stiches tonight. I gave myself the hugest gash ever across my left index finger while trying to knock out one of the panels in my wife's new computer case*. We're talking the kind where you know you did some damage, and in the half-second it takes for you to yank your hand out and look at it, you're trying to catch the blood that's gushing out and about to run off of it onto the carpeting. I have a matching and adjacent gash on my ring finger where the nice sharp piece of metal kept right on cutting, ginsu-style.

I can honestly say that I've never seen blood flow from my body that quickly. It was like a frickin' firehose of blood. Or you know, as much blood as you could feasibly get out of a cut that went about a quarter-inch deep into my finger (not down to the bone; think more fillet-styled.). So maybe more of an action-figure scale firehose or something. Luckily, since it was more horizontal than deep and vertical, the bleeding stopped fairly fast, and I don't think I'll need stiches after all.

The funny thing is that I almost passed out while I was bleeding all over the kitchen sink. Not from the blood, nor from the idea of getting stiches. I'm deathly afraid of needles, and I figured that they'd probably numb my finger up before they put the stiches in. The combo-platter of seeing just how deep the cut went (which I can handle when it happens to somebody else) and the thought of the needle just about dropped me. ::shudders::

* The bitch of it all is that the damn PC still isn't up and running. It won't recognize the stupid IDE ports. It would be nice if the blood went to serve for something. You know, like get the Purple Heart of computer building or something. Sometimes, I hate scratch-building PCs.

Thursday, October 17, 2002

A Public Service Announcement

To the consumers of Glade Plug-Ins Ultra Extra Outlet or whatever the hell they're called, you might like to know that you can actually remove Plug-Ins that don't have an extra outlet on them if you need to use the outlet they're occupying. Now you don't have to look like the brainless moron depicted in the commercials who can't seem to figure out how to blow-dry their hair in the morning because they lack the mental fortitude to figure out how to unplug a god-damned scented wall outlet thing.

Thank you.

Shop Smart. Shop S-Mart.

So I'm at the White Hen by my house tonight buying garbage stickers, and while I'm getting my cash out of the ATM, I notice three gun magazines sitting on the magazine racks. On the cover of two of them are big, glorious photos of automatic .223 caliber rifles.

For those of you not following current events in Maryland, police think that the sniper(s) are using an AR-15 (a variant of the M-16) .223 caliber rifle. They also seem to think that there's a possibility that the sniper(s) played some videogames about sniping.

Why is it that the police and FBI will waste countless manhours looking into videogames for a potential lead when there's fucking advertisements for tactical assault rifles that exactly match the sniper's weapon of choice on every other page of these magazines? Hello? Who cares if they're playing games about snipers. They're shooting people in the streets with guns no civillian needs or should legally own. Could we please focus on the real problem here? I know people cringe when other people say this, but it seems that the phrase bears repeating:

Games don't kill people. Guns kill people.

And don't give me that, "no, people kill people" crap. I'd like to see you try and kill someone with a box of Counter-Strike. Sure, you could do it, but I haven't heard of anyone bleeding to death from a box induced papercut yet.

Turds of Grey

I saw my first and last episode of Birds of Prey on the WB tonight. (I'd find a link for it, but if the WB doesn't care enough to put a link to it on their front page, neither do I).

I have to say that I have seen better television. Much, much better. Excuse me while I get my geek on:

1). While I'm thrilled, if not sexually piqued, that the red headed chick from Starship Troopers is playing Barbara Gordon (just think, if you've seen Starship Troopers, you've seen Batgirl's tits! Woot!), I have to say that the actress is being coached to be sexy in a wheelchair, and not, you know, someone who's paralyzed from the waist down in a wheelchair. Leaning forwards for those people is not an option. It's like balancing an egg on its end. Once it starts falling in one direction, there's nothing down there to keep it from falling all the way over. That's why wheelchairs have reclined backs to them, and it's why the people you see sitting in them more often than not are sitting back. Losing the use of your legs is one thing. Barbara Gordon was shot with a bullet in the spine. Bad, if not nonexistant, physical acting coach. And Barbara sitting on a Chaise Lounge curled up like a sexy kitten talking to Helena and the sidekick? It's only sexy until you realize that Alfred had to probably come over there and help prop her legs up on the couch like that; making the whole impromptu scene seem downright funny.

2). The Huntress? Bruce Wayne and Selena Kyle's lovechild? With superpowers?!? What universe is this supposed to be again?

3). Two words: New Gotham. Hey writing crew, it's just plain Gotham. Calling it New Gotham in the wake of 9/11 isn't going to create any amount of love for your show, especially when your computer generated fly-by's of the city look like a college school dropout made them. Here's a hint: Gotham isn't shiny. Metropolis is. I spent 40 minutes trying to figure out why Gotham City was destroyed and everyone was living in New Gotham, and how in the hell that city got built up so fast. You just can't go around renaming shit that's been established for the past 50 years. It would be like Mayor Daley renaming Chicago to New Chicago in memory of the New York tragedy. It's just a little confusing, and a whole lot trite.

4). Bruce Wayne finds out he has a daughter and skips town now that the lover who he created that child with is dead. Is it just me, or is this strikingly out of character for a man who was orphaned when his own parents were killed and then due to that psychological trauma became a father figure and mentored at least three young boys? Sure, they can say he's looking for Selena's killers, but when plotpoints that drive an entire series are weaker than established character cannon, it's time to fire your writers.

5). Harley Quinn. Medicine woman. Psychiatrist to the stars. I'm assuming that in this little invented universe, Harley hasn't committed any actual crimes. It seems from tonight's episode that she's a "behind the scenes" player; controlling the criminal puppet strings. The only problem is that the villain of the week referred to her as a "supercriminal." Shouldn't she have at least done something to earn that title? Because there's a big ol' continuity problem that's about to rear its ugly head. Either she's a supercriminal, or she's not. And since they referred to her as a supercriminal, I'm going to go with their statement that she is. That would mean that she has a known and sordid history of being a criminal (she's already referred to her beloved Mister J.), and if she had a known history of being a criminal (or at least someone who associates with criminals), don't you think Oracle (i.e. Batgirl i.e. Barbara Gordon) might know something about that, seeing as she's the all-knowing Oracle?

6). Trite/camp character names bore me. I realize that they're trying to appeal to that lowest common denomenator audience, but what the producers don't seem to understand is that the LCDs don't tend to watch superhero dramas. Geeks do. Naming a theif/assasin character who can turn into water Slick Waters is about the dumbest name you could possibly have given him. Shall we start calling The Flash: Speedy McQuickguy? How about Green Arrow: Verde Von Arrowhoffen. We could even call Batman: BatManuel. Oh wait, a funny show did that already.

7). Why the hell is Alfred in this show? Is he there to remind us that there's some kind of Bruce Wayne tie-in? Because I'm wondering who's tidying Wane Manor, and why Bruce would have left without telling his Butler when he's going to be coming back. "Could you check on the supercomputers once in awhile and start the Batmobile every other day come winter? I might be out for a bit." You know, it's that whole ugly continuity thing again.

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

Thoughts for Australia

I just wanted to show my sympathy for Australia down in writing somewhere in light of the recent bombing in Bali. I think there was a reader or two here from Australia at one point. If you're still reading, my heartfelt sympathy and condolences goes out to you and your family and friends.

Sample Letters

I'm sorry if the topic of this next piece offends any of my regular readers. I promise it's a one-time thing...

So I read a few sample letters today. I guess there's a website that has some letters on it that you can write to your Senator if you don't like the idea of going to war with Iraq. While I'm all for making your voices heard with your government representatives, I'm also all for using your own brain to write them. Because when you copy and paste non-sensical letters without thinking about your side, they come out sounding a little like this:

Dear Senator/Representative,

Even though I've never had anything to do with foreign politics or international intelligence, I'd like to forward you this form letter and tell you that attacking Iraq will not reduce the threat of terrorist attacks on the United States. I'll even go so far to say that if American military forces attack Iraq, this will increase the likelihood of another terrorist attack on the United States. By saying that, I've just logically made a connection between Iraq and terrorist attacks in the U.S., but will sit here and ignore such logic and reason and write you that I feel that the opposite is true. There is already considerable resentment in the Arab world over U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia, even though they're too ungrateful for us saving their asses just over ten years ago. How easily they forget. Even though I don't have any real proof, nor will I site any examples, I'd like to say that there has been a long history of US military actions against Arab states to satisfy our ever increasing thirst for oil. I would also like to point out my complete lack of understanding of radical Muslim beliefs (by completely ignoring the fact that all Arab states, including Saudi Arabia's official Mosques have professed a religious genocidal hatred of the Jews that has stood for millenia) and complain that the US is one-sidedly supporting Israel in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, despite the fact that the US was the only country that officially came to a bargaining table in support of a nation of Palestine.

I would also like to glaze over reasons for international conflict, and simply point out that the U.S. has bombed a lot of countries (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Panama, Grenada, Sudan, Libya, Iraq, and Yugoslavia). Nevermind the fact that every country listed was a harsh dictatorship and that save two, the people who lived there wanted us to come save their asses from the current ruling bodies. Sure, I can say that the people we bombed were no threat to us. In fact, I'll also point out my complete and total lack of ability to put two and two together by stating that not one of those people ever came over here and bombed us. See, I've never understood how the intelligence system works. I don't get that a good offense is better than the best defense. I don't understand that when we know someone is going to come and fly planes into our buildings, that it's better to go to where they live and get them first. If we want terrorism to stop, we must stop practicing terrorism ourselves. I think we should try hugging terrorists, not shooting them. Have we tried buying terrorists teddy bears and giving them kisses? We haven't. Truly, anyone who feels that the rest of the Western world are infidels and must be exterminated in some twisted religiously supported genocidal tidal wave can be reasoned with. Look at how well talking to Hitler went!

Now try and stay with me Senator/Representative. Here's where I dive off the deep end of reason and never look back:

Former President George H. Bush saw his popularity ratings increase when he started the Gulf War against Iraq. Never mind the fact that Kuwait was being renamed South Iraq at the time, and our allies in Saudi Arabia were pissing themselves because they saw the end of their country in sight. I'm trying to make a case for oil and re-election here, so saving lives really gets in the way of my argument. Conveniently casting history to the side, I'd like to say that the Gulf War distracted people from Bush's Iran/Contragate scandal and was nearly enough to get him re-elected. Because, you know, Clinton didn't win by a landslide or anything. Former President Bill Clinton saw his popularity ratings increase when he started the war against Yugoslavia. Again I'd like you to ignore the fact that people were dying in Yugoslavia due to a vicious civil war. Please also try and forget about the mass graves and the genocide that was happening there, because otherwise I sound really stupid when I try and point out that it distracted people from his Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones sex scandals. Being the Master of the Obvious, and one who would like to try and tenuously connect war with ratings, let me say that President George W. Bush's popularity is continuing to drop. In addition, his extensive involvement in the Enron scandal is becoming more and more evident as the details of this sordid business become public. So now George W. Bush is trying to get a war against Iraq started so he can get his popularity ratings up and make people forget about his Enron ties. Seriously, I believe that Presidents have the power to throw hundreds of thousands of our citizens to the wolves just in an attempt at re-election. I've been so numbed by watching television that I think that Presidents are unfeeling robots and would come gut me in my own home if they thought their ratings would go up. I've read so many conspiracy pamphlets that my own judgement has become impaired to the point that I would think that Presidents somehow have the power to pull the wool over hundreds of elected officials and somehow slip a war resolution past them because re-election is his only goal; not stopping terrorism at its bankrolling source. In fact, my own stubborn sense of ignorant pointless determination and over-inflated self-worth has made me think that my factless and baseless form letter to you will somehow outweigh the hundreds of pages of intelligence you were given to read over previous to voting on the Iraq resolution.

Please hamstring us further in our efforts against terrorism, and vote against a war on Iraq.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

Ultra. Man.

If you're not watching Ultraman Tiga on Fox Kids* on Saturday morning, you might be missing things such as:

1). Men who never, ever leave their helmets behind. Going to the bathroom? Why not carry your helmet with you!
2). An action team named G.U.T.S. It's even on the hood of the team's only car: a yellow Camaro with things mounted on it.
3). A communicator that looks a lot like a birth control pill case from the year 2049.
4). When someone is painfully turning into a monster, GUTS team members say things like, "Are you sure it's not just gas?!"
5). Backhanded compliments that include references to someone looking homely and having bad breath.
6). Plastic model planes (meant to be real planes in show) that actually catch fire when the little explosive round goes off.
7). Ultraman's stylin' zipper that runs up the back of his suit. He may be a superhero, but at least he's practical about getting the suit on and off.
8). Men in rubber monster suits. Kicking over model buildings. Duh.

I swear, it's got more camp than Xena, and the show riffs itself! You don't even have to try to be funny. Just watch and comment! It's that easy!

* As it turns out, Fox Kids is going to be renamed Fox Box very soon. I for one would just like to point out that a less pornstaresque name might have been chosen for a block of children's entertainment. Thank you.

Friday, October 11, 2002

I'll Take Two.

Jump around. Jump around. Jump up, jump up, and get down.

Click on the movies link (it's on the right and not easy to find). It might be labelled "Click here for detailed product views."

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

Outgoing, confident, and a menace

So MSN thinks I'm a bad driver.

I took this quick little survey and was shocked to find out that the only people dumber than those depicted in the test were those administering the test.

From the site:

Do you hate driving behind SUVs or other large vehicles that obstruct your view?

Jesus Christ, doesn't everybody?!?! Oh, silly me! I'm a bad driver! I hate having an unobstructed view of the road! I know, I know, that jackass in front of me in the Escalade has every right to be driving that thing by himself. You know, he justified the purchase by saying he could go offroading and take the kids to hockey practice, but why not drive it to work every day too?

More than 60% of bad drivers say they are frustrated driving behind SUVs because they are wide and tall and block their vision. In fact, more than 70% believe SUVs should be required to drive in a separate lane on the highway.

Wait...more than 60% if bad drivers say they're frustrated? How about the 100% of the "good" drivers?!? Or pretty much everyone who isn't driving a fucking behemoth, schoolbus, eighteen wheeler, or Bantha. And what's wrong with requiring SUVs to drive in separate lanes on the highway? Last I checked an SUV was big enough to qualify as a truck, and around here, trucks are required to drive in the right lanes on a multi-lane highway. Oh wait, now I'm just being a grumpy bad driver again.

Does your driving change when you go into areas with higher police presence?

Does a bear shit in the woods? Is gravity a known constant? I'd like to know who doesn't slow down when pigs are in sight. Oh, fuckit, it's only a cop. Speed up.

Nearly all of the participants strongly agree with the statement that they drive more carefully when they know police are in the area.

It's a relief to hear that nearly all of the participants of this survey weren't severely retarded and can recognize when to slow the fuck down.

In addition, most participants say they check their rearview mirrors regularly for police cars.

What's that? Bad drivers check their rearview mirrors regularly for police cars? BAD drivers? If they're checking their rearview mirrors regularly for police cars, that means they're checking their rearview mirrors regularly, and seeing as that little habit was drilled into my skull by my driving instructor in high school, I fail to see how that behavior is a bad one.

Outgoing, confident, and a menace

In the section that follows this ominous title, the surveyors would like to attempt to portray people who are strong decision-makers and confident in their own abilities as bad drivers. Evidently, they would have us believe that in order to be a good driver, one must be 80 years old and unable to pull out from a stop sign into traffic without second-guessing yourself three times and leaving the nose of your vehicle precariously in the lanes of oncoming cars. Or they would rather you be a humble, nervous wreck behind the wheel who leaves his turn signal on for two miles praying and hoping that some nice soul will let him in, even though the guy in the lane next to him has left him a gap large enough to drive the god-damned Arc-de-Triomphe through and he still won't move over because he's afraid that guy's going to close that gap just as soon as he "makes his move."

The group was broken down into three age groups, from 18 to 25 years old, 26 to 45 years old, and 46 to 59 years old. There were 19 men and 11 women in the study...

Sweet mother of pearl. 30 people you say? Wow. That's quite the survey. I haven't seen a more diverse polling population since my Mom asked the neighbors if they liked the food she brought with her to the block party. If you break it down, there couldn't have been more than four women per age group, and no more than six men per group. That's one thorough test. I think I could walk into a DMV at any time during operating hours and bump into more drivers than were present to take this very scientific and accurate poll.

...[the study was] commissioned by RightFind Technology, a company developing new products to help insurers make better decisions on auto insurance rates for specific drivers.

And just how does one develop a product to help insurers make better decisions about bad drivers? Are they going to put a camera in my car or something? What in the hell do they mean by products?!? If by "product" they mean "produce" bad data to give to stupid insurance companies, I'd guess they're right on track.

Tuesday, October 08, 2002

Furnace Update

For those of you who were losing sleep wondering if I have heat or not, you may now rest easy. I have heat.

Or rather, did have heat.

You see, I made the mistake of touching the furnace. And I don't mean "punched" or "shoved" or otherwise destructive physical attacks. I merely touched it.

Some of you who know me are already aware that I am cursed. If I touch things, especially important, complicated things, they tend to break. For instance, pencils don't tend to break in my hands. Laptops, however, do. This furnace was in the house for all of two days, and I touched it. I wanted to see if it was hot on the outside (it wasn't). Shortly thereafter it began making hideous vibrating noises akin to diesel engines or motors big enough to get small planes airborne. It was waking us up at night it was so loud.

So I called out the furnace installers, and they took a look at it. Turns out the induction motor had become loose, and that was what the shaking noise was. Unfortunately, putting it back in wasn't an option, since when it fell out, it bent the fan and now the fan is out of center. Running the furnace with that fan in place just makes it vibrate all over again, then the motor shakes loose, it falls out, and it doesn't work. Again.

Two thousand dollars, five days, and two days taken off from work later, I still don't have heat.

Why must I touch things?!?!?! Curse my foul cursed hands!

Monday, October 07, 2002


Note to self: Never, ever, attempt to ride rollercoasters that go backwards or hang you face-down eight stories up with a lose chest-harness again.

Went to Great America this weekend with some friends, and hit a bunch of rides. The most notable one was the one that made me so nauseous that I thought I was going to lose it, and in fact had to fight to "keep it" all day long. Deja Vu my ass. They should just call it the Pukematic 3000. I learned this weekend that there is no faster route to getting queasy than riding a rollercoaster backwards. Well, maybe if you smelled and looked at a cadaver first and ate some castor oil or something. But still.

I have to say that having a chest-harness that lose when you're hanging about eight stories up is an entirely un-enjoyable experience. Normally I really enjoy the "I'm gonna die!" thrill of a good rollercoaster, but this was a whole new realm of terror. There was about two to three inches of play between my chest and the harness, so when the coaster cranked up and hangs you face-down vertically before the ride starts, I was pretty much only being held in by the seatbelt and my own two hands pushing myself back into the seat. I didn't like the sensation of falling forwards, so I opted to hang onto the handles on the chest-harness and push myself back into my seat; pinning myself in place with my elbows. It was fairly terrifying. I think I'd enjoy jumping out of a plane with a parachute on much better.

In other news, I'll finally be getting broadband soon! Now I too can lose entire weekends to online gaming! And porn! Sweet delicious porn movies at my dispos...

Sorry, typing aloud again.

But yeah, some IDSL goodness is coming our way. It's hardly broadband, but I think it qualifies for moderateband or somesuch, thus elevating us beyond narrowband.

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Lose the Belt

I was amazed at how much airport security has been beefed up since the last time I flew anywhere on this trip to Maryland.

I know a lot of people complain about it, but I thought it seemed pretty effective. I've heard a lot of complaints about the random searches, and how they're searching the "wrong" people. It seems that the complaints about the random searches are deflecting validity away from the actual pre-screening. While I agree that every Arab-looking male age 10-80 should probably be pulled out of the line to be "randomly" searched along with the 80 year old ladies, I found that the normal screening process was fairly thorough.

The first time I went through the security checkpoint at O'Hare, I had forgotten to take my glasses case (with glasses inside), my cel phone, and my sunglasses out of my suit coat. I was thrown off by the change of routine. Normally I'm used to throwing my keys and pocket change in the dish next to the metal detector, and breezing through. Now you have to put anything you put in the dish through the X-ray machine. So the whole put-the-dish-through-the-X-ray-machine thing threw me off and I forgot to empty all of my pockets. Of course the alarm went off.

From there I was asked to step in a second line, which also exited through a metal detector. From there I was asked to sit in a chair and take off my shoes, which were first inspected (presumably for explosives) and then thoroughly scanned with the metal-detector wand. Then I was asked to stand up and they did the wand number all over my body. They then focused on my belt buckle and asked me to open my belt so they could see underneath it, and then since it kept going off they asked me to fold down the front of my trousers to see if there was anything behind the front of my pants.

What they missed was that when I pulled out my glasses case, and explained that I forgot to put it in a tray, they didn't ask me to open the glasses case. Granted, all I had inside was a pair of eyeglasses, but I could have very well had one of those box-cutters hidden in there.

The second time through the line (this time in Baltimore) was more of the same, right down to the belt-buckle/pants bit. I'm amazed to say that I had everything metal removed from my body except for the belt-buckle, and that was enough to set off the metal detector. I guess a good lesson for anyone travelling on planes in the U.S. is to go wearing something like pants with velcro closing waists.

Liz's purse also got pulled aside at the security checkpoint to be searched because she had a shitload of change in the change purse, and that density of metal had caught the X-ray operator's eye. They wanted to search the change purse because that amount of metal could easily be hiding more, sharper metal. Good catch there.

Then Liz got pulled from the plane boarding line for a random screening, and they went through her purse again. I have to admit, the random search seemed pretty stupid. She had already been searched, and now they were searching the exact same female a second time. I can at least respect profiling. Profiling means that they're taking an educated selective guess at who they think fits the "terrorist" bill. My wife really doesn't fit that bill. I'd be more in favor of throrough carry-on inspections for everyone going through security than the random searches. Honestly, the random searches really just feel useless and seem to be a frustrating waste of time. If you're going to pull women and old women out of the crowd for searches, you might as well just search everybody, really. Then there's no call for racism or discrimination for the random searches.

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