September 2007


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Archive for September, 2007

Time for a little ranting.

Posted in Life on September 21st, 2007

Shit just seems to piss me off a little more easily nowdays, but I think I have my reasons.

I admit it: I am a dirty smoker. I understand, however, that most folks around me are not smokers, and adjust my habits accordingly. I only smoke outside the house and the office, and I go someplace where it won’t bother others. Yet I get the stink-eye from people who drive gas-guzzling SUV’s bitching about the secondhand smoke I am making sure they are upwind of – and their completely unnecessary Urban Assault Vehicle produces twice the carcinogens as I do and drinks petrol at twice the rate my car does. Fuck off.

I understand that Portland is supposed to be a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly town, but since when does that mean that jaywalkers get to glare and cuss at me for (heaven forbid!) actually wanting to go on a green light? Listen, fuckwad – if I still had my ugly old Plymouth, you would be a wet smear beneath my tires by now. Get the fuck out of my road.

The bicyclists are getting to be the worst though – I can’t tell you how many times I have seen some asshat peddle through a red light and nearly get creamed – then have the gall to yell at the driver who just saved his life by not hitting him. Excuse me? Where is it written that only cars have to follow the rules of the road? As far as I am concerned, that cyclist should be on his fucking knees apologizing to the driver for nearly inflicting an accidental death on the motorist’s conscience.


On Introspection

Posted in Life on September 17th, 2007

… it sucks.

“It” being introspection itself. I have spent a lot of time over the past few days delving into my own psyche trying to figure myself and my feelings out. I have completely, thoroughly, top-to-bottom over-analyzed myself into fits. I have glimpsed the heights of my fancy, and I have stared into the blackest abyss of my soul. The Abyss stared back. I think I’m good with it.

That may scare some people.

The scary part is that women do this sort of thing all the time. It’s somehow wired into them from birth that they must obsessively analyze their feelings and motivations constantly. Inspecting every sentence, gesture and action of those around them, seeing not only the good intentions, but also the possibility of the veiled threat beneath.

It’s a wonder more women aren’t truly psychotic.

Yes, we men may call some women psycho, but the truth of the matter is that they can somehow deal with it – otherwise there would be far more female serial killers in the world than there are.

Me, I got lucky – my gal is an optimist.

The Answer to Life, The Universe and Everything is 42.

Tolerant is my 42nd girlfriend.

Coincidence? I think not.

More Edumacation

Posted in Geekery, Life on September 14th, 2007

Now that you have read through the first course, it is time to move on to the next:

Wolfe’s Guide To Computers 102 – What to do when things go Wrong

“The computer allows you to make mistakes faster than any other invention, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila.”
– Mitch Ratcliffe

Things will eventually go wrong with your computer; the steps below will be helpful in determining exactly what it was, and should be followed in this order.

1) Reboot the computer.

Microsoft Windows Operating Systems have a number of faults in them that will on occasion cause your computer to freeze up, spaz out or generally quit working. If this happens, you will normally just need to reboot your computer to solve the problem.

Click on Start, then click on “Shut Down” and choose “Reboot” at the pop-up window. If this option never becomes available (wait at least ten minutes) then you may perform a Hard Shutdown by pressing and holding in the Power button on the computer for 5 seconds. This should shut down the computer. Let it sit for a 10-count then press and release the power button to start the computer again.

As a last-ditch effort, you could pull the power cord out of the computer – it should be noted that this could cause permanent damage to the machine, so it should only be done as a last resort.

If the problem persists, continue with the next steps.

2) Check all of the cables on the computer and the peripherals. Sometimes cables can get knocked loose from the computer, so you should make sure everything is plugged in and turned on. (Obviously, you will not be able to print if the printer is turned off.) If you are having Internet problems (the most common sort), then make sure that all of the cables are plugged in to the modem and / or router and that these devices are turned on and have the proper status lights lit.

3) Read The Fine Manual! If you are having trouble getting a particular program or device to work, there is quite probably some very useful information in the User’s Guide or the Help Files written into the program. Read the manual to make sure that you are doing it right to begin with. Better yet, there may be a troubleshooting guide that can help you before you call Tech Support.

4) If you still have not found a solution, you may need to call Tech Support. Before you do this, write down everything you can about the problem you are having, in the most technically descriptive manner you can. If an error message appears onscreen, write it down verbatim and in its entirety, including any number sequences that may be present. Your Tech Support agent will want this information.

You should also write down the sequence of steps that led to the problem appearing. If you are having trouble getting to a website, for instance, you should say that you “launched the web browser, but it was unable to display the website”, not “teh Internets are broken”.

Your Tech Support Agent will not know what you mean if you do not use standard terms. If you are not sure what the standard terms are, ask someone who is more computer-savvy than you are to help you describe the problem.

It will also be beneficial to write down the steps you have taken to try and fix the problem. The Agent will likely have you repeat these steps, but it shows them from the start that you have at least tried to fix it on your own – they will be more likely to go that “extra mile” to help someone who tries to help themselves first. Whiners get the worst treatment.

5) To ensure that you get the most help from Tech Support, remember this: you are dealing with someone who is trying to help you, and they may need some more help from you to solve the problem. If they ask a question, try to answer the best that you can. If they ask you to do something, follow their instructions to the letter in the exact order they are given – don’t jump ahead and don’t skip anything.

Above all else, remain as calm as you can. Yelling at them will get you transferred to the back of the call queue or just plain disconnected. Tech Support usually runs on a first-come, first-served basis, and they do not play favorites. Expecting special treatment for any reason (and telling them so) will earn you nothing but bad attitude. Ask nicely, say “thank you”, and don’t make any unfounded accusations.

These simple steps will not only help you solve the problem, they may earn you the respect of the tech support team if you end up having to call them, and they may not hate you for being an idiot like all of their other callers. Good luck.

Pubcrawl – Katie O’Brien’s -$-

Posted in Pubcrawl! on September 12th, 2007

Corner of NE 28th & Sandy

Tolerant and I drive by this place about 3 times a month, and we finally managed to stop in and check them out Friday night. Located on the corner of 28th and Sandy, they’re pretty easy to get to by both car and bus. Parking is on the street, but there was easy room right in front.

It wasn’t very crowded at the bar, and the dining area was empty which made us wonder a little. D├ęcor is fairly simple, with a collection of tap handles on one wall and various coasters stapled to the overhang above the bar. The seating area is raised higher than the rest of the room, with the bar proper and the games area sitting a couple steps lower so those seated at the tables have a view of the entire bar.

Atmosphere: As we walked in, I was starting to wonder if I was going to be able to smoke. For a smoking-ok bar, Katie’s is extremely clean. The ceiling is a dark green color instead of the usual nicotine-brown, and there wasn’t the usual telltale cloud hovering over the bar proper. The tall ceilings definitely helped in this regard.

The music being played was a bit on the loud side, which hindered conversation and had me saying “What?” a little too often. It was also a little too eclectic, and couldn’t find a genre. Some would say this is good, but in the 45 minutes or so that we were there I got annoyed by rap and hip-hop at least 4 times – which shouldn’t happen in an Irish pub.

Drinks: I was driving, so a simple soda was on my menu but Tolerant opted for a rum & coke. The rum was better than your typical well, and the bartender found the sweet spot in the proportions both times.

Food: Tolerant had had fish & chips the night before, so I got that this time. The batter was good, and held up well throughout the meal without getting soggy. Normally I order mine with extra tartar sauce because I am not overly fond of fish, but in this instance the small serving cup of sauce was enough – the fish didn’t need to be covered up. The chips were fries cooked in vegetable oil, but appeared house-cut and had a nice seasoning.

Tolerant ordered an “Irish” Dip sandwich – corned beef with a creamed horseradish sauce on a hoagie roll with au jus. The first bite put a great big smile on her face as she was trying to fan the spicy away, so I’ll take that as a positive vote.

Service: The only employee evident was the bartender, but she still managed to take care of us pretty well. Our orders were taken, delivered and taken away in an orderly fashion and we weren’t pestered or left looking around for absent staff.

The Verdict: Good food at a reasonable price in portions that were too large for either one of us to finish. Service and atmosphere combined into a pleasant experience, and we will probably try them again on another night to see if they can pick a more even music flow.

We liked it, and give Katie O’Brien’s Pub a solid “B”.


Posted in Pubcrawl! on September 9th, 2007

The Lady Tolerant and I have often thought about where to go and what to do on our evenings together, and we’ve gotten into a bit of a rut, going to the same places and doing the same things. Being unhappy with the result, we have embarked upon a great Quest to visit and catalog the various Pubs, Dives and Watering Holes this great city has to offer, and possibly discover the best fish & chips in town.

Now, we prefer the idea of the traditional English or Irish pub, but sometimes an establishment can’t really be labeled. For the sake of argument, a “Pub” will be defined as any bar that has even vaguely English or Irish decor, serves beer imported from the UK, and serves fish & chips.

A “Dive’ is listed as any bar that is not a “Pub”, and does not cater to … well, anyone really. Dives are typically dark, smoky, and inexpensive, and staffed by great characters who don’t take any shit.

A “Watering Hole” is focused on the drinking part of the theme, with only the most rudimentary menu items listed. You don’t go there to eat, you go there to drink.

Note that you did not see the word “club” in all of that – because I hate clubs. Once the music has reached a certain volume, ny brain ceases to function and I would not be able to review it. And I don’t dance.

As examples, The Rose & Raindrop was a great pub, until they sold the damn building to a bank. Across the street from there, My Father’s Place is a great Dive. I have not found a local Watering Hole yet, but I’m sure you could figure it out.

These establishments will be judged upon the following categories:

Location (where is it, how to get there, parking, etc.)
Food (quantity, quality, variety)
Drinks (again, quantity and quality)
Atmosphere (decor, music, attitude)
Service (you get the idea)
and of course, Price. (one “$” denotes $10 spent on a meal and drink for one person)

Grading is on a scale of A to F, just like in grade school. There is no scientific method here, just the impressions of myself and Tolerant, so I can’t tell you exactly what constitues each grade. To get an ‘A’, though, an establishment will probably need to be pretty stellar.

The first review is coming soon…