Music: Turtle Island String Quartet–Art of the Groove
Didn't want to let it escape without notice!
A few days ago, I was driving the usual route home from the holidays. When I encountered some snow a little before the halfway point, I discovered that my windshield wipers were in awful shape. I found an automotive supply place and bought new ones. These were my first foray into the new style of wipers, the ones that use a flexible, one-piece frame to apply pressure along the entire length of the blade all the time. With no gaps in the structure to ice up, they're supposed to be more reliable than traditional whippletree blades.
Naturally, when acquiring what amounted to a new gadget, I was eager to try it. Sadly, the weather didn't cooperate; it was clear sailing the rest of the way home. There was snow here yesterday morning, but it finished falling by the time I got in the car. I knew that wishing for inclement weather was folly of the highest order, especially considering how close winter was, and I suspected that the weather gods would have something to say about it.
Tonight, it was finally raining. That it waited until dark was mildly irritating. That the wiper weather was rain, and on a day that I parked unusually far from the door at work, made perfect sense. On the bright side, the wipers performed very well. The real test will be how they hold up through the winter.
Just before going through airport security, I took inventory. I'd made a rookie mistake: I left my car and house keys in my checked bag. On the bright side, I keep a backup car key in my wallet on the advice of ddmerillat. Assuming the power's on, I can use the garage door opener to get into the house. Whew! Does the redundancy of the checked keys mean my luggage will come through safely, or does the redundancy ensure that my luggage won't make it?
As previously documented, I had to ship my defective hard drive back to the vendor. As part of my lunch yesterday, I visited a local shipping emporium. Employee A handed me a small box, eight inches on all sides, which was plenty large for the intended cargo. I taped it up with the provided packing tape and filler, completed the form, and returned to the counter.
By that point, another customer had entered. He got to the counter just before I did with his monstrosity. It was a bass guitar in a hard case. He may have started with a single cardboard box around the hard case, but he'd chopped it down some and bound the whole thing up with a combination of twine and duct tape. As he cut me off, he looked at my little cube and quipped "you call that a package?"
( Yes, yes I do.Collapse )
Gosh, it sure was nice to have a new computer! Friday night until three, Saturday for almost the entire day and well into Sunday morning. Rise of Nations, Trackmania Nations, Portal, full-screen HD video that didn't skip. Truly, it was paradise.
Late Sunday morning, though, Windows reported hard drive trouble. Seagate's test program reported failures on the SMART test, and both the short and long form drive self tests. Tonight, the drive wasn't even working enough to erase it before returning it. This makes me profoundly unhappy. Fortunately, the only data to be concerned with is passwords for web sites and some software product keys. Unfortunately, that ain't nothing.
I'll ship the drive back tomorrow, but this vendor doesn't do cross-shipping. If I'm lucky, the return/replacement process will have a new drive back to me in less than two weeks. Argh, argh, argh. If I walk into Best Buy tomorrow, $100 will get me a Western Digital with similar speed and capacity, which is only $10 more than I spent on Mr. Defecto. The problem is that I won't have any time to get everything reinstalled until next Monday. Verily, I say argh.
Monday, I ordered all of the parts for a new computer. With the exception of the video card, it all got assembled Wednesday night. I borrowed a video card and was able to boot Ubuntu from a live CD to verify some functionality. Sadly, the motherboard's network device is too new for Ubuntu 9.04, and 9.10 doesn't come out until next week. Sigh! Thursday night, the video card arrived and I installed it. Tonight, Windows 7 OEM arrived. Woo!
( Installation observationsCollapse )
I'm posting now so I can shut down the laptop and start really using my new desktop. Whee!
Back on NFL roster cut-down day, I predicted that the Bills would go seven and nine due to Dick Jauron's tenacious seven-and-nineness. At the time, I advised disregarding Jauron's partial season as the interim head coach for Detroit, since it messed with the purity of the 0.4375. Now, I think, is the perfect time to revisit that season. If the Bills fire him before next weekend's scheduled pummeling by the Jets at the Meadowlands, Jauron can remain the model of consistency, with one-and-four records in both of his partial seasons and remain exactly seven-and-nine for full seasons.
The NFL aims for "parity", which they hope will keep all teams somewhat competitive occasionally. To this end, they have revenue sharing and salary capping and a very slight adjustment—one-eighth of the games—to the schedule of each team based on the previous year's performance. Sometimes, parity looks like a joke, like 2007, when the league featured the 16-0 Patriots and the 1-15 Dolphins. Today, there were some flashes. For a stretch during the four-o'clock games today, all three games (Jets @ Saints, Cowboys @ Broncos, Bills @ Dolphins) had scores of 10-0. Later, I noticed that the Jets and Bills were both trailing 17-3 at the same time. At the end of the game, the Bills and the Dolphins are now both at 1-3. If you squint your eyes hard enough to ignore the comparison of within-division records and the recent history of the two teams, you could almost call it parity!
( Food and football: wings vs. popcorn.Collapse )
Very shortly after I sat back down with my bowl of wing-flavored popcorn, Terrell Owens scored a touchdown, his first in a Bills uniform. Yes! That was precisely the kind of thing I'd had in mind when I started the sauce. It was only after the game that I was reminded that T.O. once left a note on his locker telling reporters to "Getcha Popcorn Ready". In retrospect, the timing was almost creepy. Almost.