October 2005


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Archive for October, 2005

Ahh, the holidays

Posted in Life on October 26th, 2005

Carving a Jack-‘o-Lantern with the Pookster:

“No, Daddy, don’t throw away the seeds – I want to make mine throw up!”

An excellent artistic vision she has, wot? Unfortunately, you’ll have to get very close to see it, as the Jack in question is about the size of an apple. Maybe I’ll augment the scene with a larger “Daddy” Jack holding a spoon and a bottle of ippecac.

Best use of “guts” I’ve ever seen though was a pumpkin holding a toy gun to itself, with the opposite side being a massive exit wound.

I turn the key and it goes – or maybe not *updated*

Posted in Life on October 19th, 2005

Do you have any idea how long it takes to drive in a 1.5 inch machine bolt one ratchet-click at a time? Yeah. Bloody forever. On the upside, the preliminary results indicate that replacing the solenoid on the starter seems to have done the trick.

I say “preliminary” because when I took the starter in to Schuck’s today for testing it worked. This means to me that if the solenoid was the actual problem (and all the troubleshooting I could think of plus opinions of a couple other people point to it), it may have been a heat-related issue. Both times it has refused to start were on days where I had put the car through a fair amount of mileage. And let’s face it – even if it wasn’t the whole problem, replacing a 17-year-old part isn’t a bad idea.

So, the WBGF helped me put the whole thing back together (she ended up making the blood sacrifice) and it started a couple times without fuss. The car started again after the round-trip of taking my sweetie home, so I think all is again in order.

Knock on wood…
Not hard enough, I guess.

I was proud of myself for getting up on time for once this week and out the door in such a manner as to show up for work a few minutes early, only to find that the Beastie refused to start – it was doing that cyclic thing with the starter again.

Luckily, I remembered that I have a solid-steel steering column before I started bashing my head against it. I ended up hoofing it down to the train to catch my first appointment downtown, then grabbed B:TNG out of his office to jump the car and take it to Schuck’s for another test, hoping it would fail.

Sure as shit, she cranked and started on the first try. And the second and third tries down at Schuck’s, where they pronounced the battery and charging system “good”.
Razzle-frazzen !#@$!!%^@%#!!!

So, back to the house for a quick lunch and back on the road to work…NOT! Refused to start again. Talked one of the guys at the industrial shop across the street into jump-starting it, and, back down to Schuck’s for more testing. Drumroll please….

IT FAILED!! Yay!!!

They okayed the warranty discount, and I managed to get the new battery installed. (This one is slightly larger and requires me to remove a small body brace. I had also forgot my 13mm ratchet for removing the holding block and ended up buying a new one.)

So anyway, I bring to a close the last car-related post for some time with a happily starting car and a much-relieved author.

If it doesn’t start in the morning, I’m pushing it into the river.

Yay for happy parties!

Posted in Life on October 19th, 2005

Tonight was The World’s Best Girlfriend’s birthday, and the party went off very well. She turned the ripe old age of Beautiful, smiled for three solid hours, and the world is a better place for it.

I am incredibly lucky to have her in my life, and a day doesn’t go by when I don’t think it.

I love you, Beautiful.

Dear Auto makers of the World;

Posted in Life on October 19th, 2005

Do you remember the halcyon days or yore when it was physically possible for Joe Shadetree to actually perform routine maintenance and repair of his vehicle? Days when it was possible to actually see and touch a nut or bolt at the same time?

Efficient use of space does not have to mean cramming as much as possible into a space as small as possible. Leaving room for a poor mook to get his hand on a part is an efficient use of space.

Tonight, I encountered possibly the strangest thing yet about my car: a part (the starter) that was reasonably reachable, located at the bottom front (!) of the motor. The problem: a 13mm bolt located behind the exhaust pipe that allowed for at most one click of the ratchet in travel.

One click. That’s all, and to get that click I had to use my torque wrench instead of a regular ratchet because of the depth of reach. It took me a half hour to remove that one of the three bolts. Replacing it will be oh-so-much fun.

Then I had to get the wiring off – a proposition that really requires two hands, but space allows for only one.

I will grant that during engine assembly, this procedure is simplicity itself. It would be nice however, if it were just as easy with the engine actually in the vehicle.

Just a thought.

Ask my doctor about what?

Posted in Media on October 11th, 2005

Is anyone else getting sick of all these bullshit commercials about drugs lately? Not illegal drugs, I’m talking about prescription medications here.

The pharmecuetical companies have apparently decided that it isn’t enough to send out announcements to all the physicians in the phone book – they now find it necessary to advertise directly to the end-user with print and tv ads. This strikes me as wrong in a number of ways.

It seems to me these companies should be spending those millions of advertising dollars on something more important – like more research to iron out all those pesky little side-effects such as liver problems, internal bleeding and death.

That’s right, I have distinctly heard “death” referred to as a possible side-effect of a drug on a commercial. If possibilities such as these are important enough to mention in the ad, how the frell did it get past the FDA?

Write your representative – link is to the right. Don’t bother writing to the FCC – the current chairman was appointed by Bush. I’d say that puts the chances of him telling big business “no” at pretty slim.

She’s mine all right

Posted in Humor on October 10th, 2005

The boys and I were playing Mechwarrior tonight, and the Pookster was feeling a little left out. Being the nice guy he is, the Physicist let her take the stick for a minute. She wandered around the map for a minute or so, until someone got the range on her and started shooting. What does she say?

“Oh, you want some of this?!? Take that!” and holds down the trigger.

…and thus, a Gamer is born. I get the feeling that a video card upgrade is going to be on her Xmas wishlist.

When is a 5-year battery not a 5-year battery? (updated)

Posted in Life on October 5th, 2005

When it dies in the fourth year, of course.

Thankfully, it waited until I was close enough to home for B:TNG to come and give me a jump-start to get the Beastie home. Unfortunately it meant I had to cut short a date with the Best Girlfriend Ever – my car is essential to my job and I have an interview in Vancouver Friday, so this had to be taken care of immediately.

According to the paperwork, there’s enough warranty on the battery to get me a 25% discount on the replacement, but the shop I bought it from is closed this late. B proves he is a helluva guy and has granted me the use of his car while he’s out of town, so I’m cool. I’ll be driving his Little White Beastie for a day or so.

It really helps to check the fluid level in your battery every so often, folks. Last night, it barely had enough juice to turn on the overhead lamp. I topped off the water level, and it electrolized enough juice on its own to start this morning.

For a smart guy, I can be an idjit sometimes.

But Teacher, when am I going to use this?

Posted in Work on October 4th, 2005

There are many things you study in school without any idea of when the subject may become useful in real life. For many students, Creative Writing is something that really goes beyond them. “I like to read,” they may say, “but I’m not a writer. When will I ever use this in real life?”

The answer, grasshopper, is on your resume.

The other day a potential employer emailed me a long list of essay questions they wanted me to answer. So, I dusted off the old thesaurus link, dragooned a buddy into the role of editor (thanks, Greyduck!) and buckled down to work.

An hour or so later, I sent off said missive. Today, they called to schedule an interview.

Hit the books, kids. You’ll need it in a few years.


Posted in Reviews on October 2nd, 2005

I was planning to review Serenity here, but there’s no real need – several thousand others already have.

This movie is, in my humble opinion, the best movie to hit the screen since I don’t know when.

It has layers of plot. It has quality acting by the truckload. I laughed, I cried, I got pissed off…and by D.o.C., I hope they do something more with this, whether on small screen or large. Nathan Fillion gets his revenge, in spades.

Now for a small spoiler. Read the rest of this entry »

Oregon RIAA Victim Fights Back; Sues RIAA

Posted in Geekery, Politics on October 2nd, 2005

I will link this here because every little bit of publicity helps, and I am always willing to help a fellow Oregonian:Recording Industry vs The People

This is the case peer-to-peer file sharers have been waiting for. Tanya Andersen, a 41 year old disabled single mother living in Oregon, has countersued the RIAA for Oregon RICO violations, fraud, invasion of privacy, abuse of process, electronic trespass, violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, negligent misrepresentation, the tort of “outrage”, and deceptive business practices.

Ms. Andersen’s counterclaims demand a trial by jury.

Give ’em Hell, sister!