Monday, February 28, 2005
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Although my computer is, indeed working (yay!), my wireless connection is still down, due to problems at my ISP. In a way, that's actually really good timing for me, because, while normally I'd be very annoyed by this, I'm so relieved that I'm not stuck without any computer access at all that dialup doesn't seem so bad.
Still it is pretty inconvenient, so I'm taking this as a prompt to stay off the 'net a bit and do, y'know, other things with my life. Like, right now I'm going to make some spaghetti and watch Angel DVDs. Yeah, we're livin' la vida loca now!
For those of you who may be wondering, there may be a very belated "search request" post at some point, or it may just be on hiatus until next week. Try to contain your excitement and/or disappointment. Thanks.
Saturday, February 26, 2005
My computer is not dead! My computer is not dead! It was, in fact, the UPS, and if I'd been thinking clearly, the possibility would have occurred to me sooner, and much panic and chaos could have been avoided.
But, geez, that's the second UPS I've lost in the last three years. Damn Socorro power grid fries the things. Guess I'll have to get a new one tomorrow.
My wireless connection, meanwhile, is down, but that appears to be a problem on my ISP's end, a fact for which I find myself infinitely grateful.
My computer! My lovely, lovely computer! Never leave me again.
Friday, February 25, 2005
My computer appears to have died. It's clearly getting power, but the monitor just blinks and says "Computer? What computer? I'm not connected to any computer!" and the happy green light that normally comes on when you turn on the power button is instead an unhappy red. Also, I find myself thinking, "Wait, didn't my hard drive used to make more noise than this?", but that might just be my paranoid imagination.
I am, needless to say, a bit freaked out by this, but am making myself feel better by imagining worst-case scenario situations and convincing myself that I can survive them. So, the worst that could happen:
1) My computer is totally fucked, to the point where there's not much for it but to get a new one. OK, I really don't need any more major expenses right now, what with the whole house thing, but if it came down to it, I could buy a new PC and put it on the credit card. A little bit more debt isn't going to make much of a difference at this point, and I don't have anything charged on the card currently, anyway, so the interest wouldn't kill me. (This, I think, is unlikely. However, hideously expensive computer repairs seem all too likely.)
2) I lose all my data. This would suck, but perhaps not catastrophically. I think I've got most of my important files backed up, and the ones I don't, I have hardcopies of or have sent copies of to other people and can ask to have sent back to me. My saved e-mails, however, I'm pretty sure are not backed up, and I'd lose all my addresses and bookmarks and stuff. Which is a highly annoying thought.
3) I am without a computer for several weeks. And, yes, this is actually the possibility that bothers me the most. The withdrawal symptoms when I'm deprived of the internet are not metaphorical.
Best case scenario is that there isn't a problem with the computer at all. I suddenly remembered on my way in to work that the last time I had a problem vaguely like this, it was the UPS that was at fault. I kind of doubt that's the case this time, as the computer's been generally a little flaky lately, but it could be. Keep your fingers crossed for me! I'll test it out when I get home.
In any case, part of what this means is that I do not have access to my primary e-mail account at the moment. If you sent e-mail to my SDC account after about 9 o'clock this morning (MST), I haven't seen it. If you sent me e-mail before about 9 o'clock this morning, I've seen it, but I can't get to it. For the moment, anybody who really wants to get in touch with me via e-mail should use my gmail account: happynova at gmail dot com. I can access that from the computers at work.
Sigh. Somewhere, Murphy is laughing his ass off...
Thursday, February 24, 2005
OK, so, I spent this morning looking at houses. I've got a couple of distinct possibles, including one that currently belongs to a co-worker of mine, which is kind of cool. I'm going to look at another one tomorrow morning, though I think that one's probably a bit out of my price range. Very nice from the outside, though.
Also, you may remember the problems I was having with this stupid treadmill machine I bought. Well they sent me a replacement console for it (at no charge, which was very nice, considering that it was entirely my own fault the first one died). No blue smoke, bad smell, or melted batteries this time, which is a good sign, and the motor works, but there's still something wrong, because the display, which is supposed to show you all kinds of useful things like your speed and time and distance and calories burned, seems entirely disinclined to ever show anything but zeros. I'm wondering at this point whether it's even worth it to call and complain again (especially given that it took multiple tries to get hold of them the first time). I don't, strictly speaking, need to know that stuff, but, y'know, it'd be nice.
Also, I wish I'd known I was going to be moving when I bought it, or I would have waited. One more damned heavy thing to move, hooray.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Color me... stunned. Apparently the Sci Fi Channel has made the first episode of Battlestar Galactica available on their website. Uncut. Commercial-free. At no charge. Legally. (Oh, and they've got deleted scenes, too!) OK, I'm not quite ready to say, "Thank you, Skiffy, all is forgiven," but, damn that's a classy thing to do, especially given the current (and in my opinion entirely unreasonable) hysteria over the idea that things being available for free on the web is somehow going to destroy the economy and our precious way of life or something.
If you ask me, it's not a bad idea for them from a practical standpoint, either. More people who have the opportunity to catch up on episodes they've missed means more people who might be willing to tune in next week. Right? Oh, man, wouldn't it be great if this sort of thing really caught on?
(By the way, the episode itself is a really good piece of television, and I heartily recommend watching it.)
You are 'Gregg shorthand'. Originally designed to
enable people to write faster, it is also very
useful for writing things which one does not
want other people to read, inasmuch as almost
no one knows shorthand any more.
You know how important it is to do things
efficiently and on time. You also value your
privacy, and (unlike some people) you do not
pretend to be friends with just everyone; that
would be ridiculous. When you do make friends,
you take them seriously, and faithfully keep
what they confide in you to yourself.
Unfortunately, the work which you do (which is
very important, of course) sometimes keeps you
away from social activities, and you are often
lonely. Your problem is that Gregg shorthand
has been obsolete for a long time.
What obsolete skill are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Monday, February 21, 2005
Just because I seem to keep collecting these:
Superman is a Dick: Sorry to disillusion you, comics fans. But he is, and here's the evidence to prove it.
Ninja Wizards!: Funniest. Boromir. Ever.
Rhetoric of Blog Humor: Learn to identify the technique I just used in describing that last link!
Word Count: Very nifty gadget that lets you see the relative frequency of words in the English language. Seems to have some problems in Netscape, though.
Sheepshooter: Take your stress and aggression out on some innocent sheep. Go on, you know you want to.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
It looks like space shuttles will be flying again starting this May. Part of me is heartened and pleased, and part of me is just... worried. In my personal opinion, it's long past time to retire the shuttle fleet and replace it with something better. All the upgrades and revamped safety procedures in the world just aren't going to turn aging, outdated shuttles into space vehicles for the 21st century.
In future, I should not do the grocery shopping at Wal-Mart, even if there are a couple of things on my list I'm not sure the grocery store will have. Because I will leave the store with DVDs. It's pretty much a given, whether I am trying to spend less money or not.
Yes, it's the feature you all wait for each week with eager anticipation! Because the people searching for stuff on my blog are, frankly, more interesting than I am. Which I'm actually kind of grateful for, considering the stuff some of 'em come here looking for...
Friday, February 18, 2005
Things which have made my happy today:
There are also things which have annoyed me today, but I'm feeling very much in a happy, bright-side kind of mood, so I think I'll ignore them.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
OK, I've just been told I'm qualified for as much of a mortgage loan as I want -- go me and my spotless credit history! -- and a friendly and helpful loan-arranging guy is currently pushing the paperwork. Next step is, uh, finding a house to spend it on. Wish me luck!
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
Well, I now have a loan application to fill out. Go me!
When I talked to the real estate agent, she told me I'd need to bring information about whatever loans I already had. When I told her I currently had none whatsoever, she laughed. "That's un-American!"
"I know," I said. "I'm completely debt-free at the moment, and I can't stand it, so I need a mortgage."
It was awfully nice while it lasted, though, truly.
Monday, February 14, 2005
Saturday, February 12, 2005
My accomplishment for the day: successfully replacing a burned-out bulb in my car's tail light. Which I know sounds like an utterly ridiculous thing to brag about: I changed a light bulb! But given my extreme ignorance of and insecurity around things automotive, hey, I call it an accomplishment. Not least of all because I did it entirely by myself, and, you know, checking the operation of your brake lights without help requires a bit of ingenuity. (I used a heavy tool box and a hammer.) I don't know why I have this weird obsession about doing even obvious two-man jobs by myself. I mean, it's not like I couldn't have found someone to tell me, "Yeah, the light's on now." But, somehow, I have this massive mental block against asking people for help with stuff like this. On the upside, though, the credit for changing that bulb is all mine! Ha!
Friday, February 11, 2005
My copy of season 2 of Penn & Teller's Bullshit! came today. I do believe this is going to distract me from Babylon 5 again. Also, the Battlestar Galactica love is growing rapidly. What is it about shows that start with "B?" Hmm, come to think of it, I really need to watch some more Blake's 7 soon, too...
Here's the latest batch!
Thursday, February 10, 2005
Well, I'm now caught up on the episodes of Battlestar Galactica that I missed. And, I gotta say, if I'd seen the first regular episode first, there would never have been any doubt in my mind that this was a show I wanted to keep watching. That was some darned good television. I really am starting to get into this series. The problems faced by a ragged, unprepared group of interstellar displaced persons are interesting and, for the most part, are handled very realistically. And I'm coming to like these characters. Well, I liked Starbuck immediately, because she's just fun, but Adama and the President are starting to really grow on me. They're not larger-than-life action heroes, they're flawed adults trying to do their best in a desperate situation, and not always coming out of it certain they've made the right choices. I'm a sucker for that kind of characterization.
Alas, getting caught up on (and caught up by) Battlestar Galactica keeps distracting me from Babylon 5. I'm in the middle of season 4 now. Talk about mixed feelings... The year starts out incredibly strong, gets better and better over the course of five or six episodes, then fizzles out in a giant anticlimax and falls into a bit of a slump. Still, B5 at its weakest is still very much worth watching, and I'm looking forward to finishing out the season and going on to Year 5, which I mostly didn't see when it was originally on.
Meanwhile, WGN has decided to air Farscape in syndication, which is a very cool thing. Perhaps now some of you people who didn't watch it when it was on Sci-Fi can catch it without me giving you tapes.
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
The nap attempt was... partially successful. I lay awake for a long while, and eventually seemed to manage a light doze. I wouldn't be entirely sure I'd slept at all, except that I remember dreaming. (I called my mother to tell her I wanted to buy a house, but right as I launched into a speech in which I explained what I wanted to do and nervously asked for her advice, she put the phone down and went off to use the bathroom without telling me. This upset me incredibly. Amusingly, my first impulse was to go and blog the incident. Don't analyze that, please.)
I do not currently feel awake and refreshed. I feel as if I have been cruelly yanked from a light doze in a warm, comfy bed. Also, my neck is stiff and I have bed hair. Sigh. There are reasons I don't usually nap. Normal people who are running on four hours of sleep and feeling fatigued can lie in a darkened room for a few hours and emerge happier for it, can't they?
I actually think I probably would have been more successful if I'd just lain on the couch, told myself I was going to read a book, then let the book sag onto my chest and closed my eyes. History shows that this often works, whether I want it to or not (and regardless of the quality of the book). I read somewhere once that a good trick to defeat insomnia when you're over-tired is to lie in bed and tell yourself that you've got to keep your eyes open because you're not allowed to fall asleep. I've tried it once or twice, and actually had it work. Human beings are deeply perverse animals.
Looks like Battlestar Galactica has been renewed. Good for it!
In other news, I have had four hours of sleep, and my brain is cranky. I think this is a good day to plop down in front of the television and watch... hmm, actually Battlestar Galactica sounds good.
So, I talked to my landlord today while I was giving him the rent check, and he wants to move my trailer out of its space for a day or two so they can do some landscaping and put down gravel and stuff. Which, in theory, is something that I agree needs to be done, but, man, this idea makes me nervous. Quite apart from the inconvenience of having to find accommodation elsewhere while they're doing this, there's the fact that they'll have to disconnect and reconnect all the utilities. And the fact that I've got about twelve bookcases in there, none of which are bolted to the wall. Short of a massive effort which would involve moving damn near everything in my house, I have trouble seeing this happening without something getting badly broken.
This has got me to thinking, and mostly what it's got me to thinking is that I should just face up to it. It's time for me to move. I'm sick of living in this crappy trailer. I want to be a real adult and live in a real house. I admit, I fought this idea for a long time, largely because buying a house here in Socorro would be a lot like admitting that I was settled in here for good and was never going to move on to bigger and better things. But, honestly, at this point in my life... I'm comfortable with that.
There are still problems with this idea, though, things that make me groan to even think about it. First and foremost, I hate moving. I loathe it with a passion. The chaos, the disruption, the physical act of moving furniture, the dealing with utility companies... Plus, I have no idea what's even involved in buying a house. Honestly. I'm rotten with business stuff, bad with money, and have no concept of bargaining. All of which makes me feel deeply insecure about the whole process. On top of that, I'm currently debt-free for the first time in my life, and the thought of exiting that state and entering into the Land of the Mortgage does not hold much appeal to me. And, oh, yeah, I'd have to get rid of the crappy trailer. Which I might have trouble selling, because it's so damned crappy.
Still. I do think it's well past time. Sigh.
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Yeah, it's been about a month, hasn't it?
Current clothes: A black t-shirt that says "Irreversibly Contaminated," which I bought from a fundraiser for the "Save Farscape" campaign. (Hey, it worked!) Over that, unbuttoned, a tan denim shirt with the word "Alaska," a bear's profile, and a bear's pawprint over the pocket. Blue jeans with the leg bottoms rolled up a little, because they're too long otherwise. Colorfully stripey knee socks. Black sneakers. A black belt with silver stars on it.
Current mood: Eh. I've been kind of out of it this week, in large part because my sleep patterns have been a little off. Today is better than yesterday, but I'd still rather be curled up in bed.
Current music: Most recent thing played was Coldplay's A Rush of Blood to the Head.
Current annoyance: Not only did I manage to fry the electronics on my brand-new treadmill machine, but I'm still sore from manhandling the heavy thing around getting it home and getting it put together.
Current thing: Watching Babylon 5. I'm working my way through season 4.
Current desktop picture: A beautiful picture of the Northern Lights, looking rather eerily green over a landscape somewhere in Canada. I believe I got it from space.com.
Current song in head: I've had snatches of various tunes floating through the old brain today, but nothing seems to have stuck.
Current book: Terminal Cafe by Ian McDonald. Very strange book.
Current video in player: A tape I stuck in to catch the episodes of Battlestar Galactica I missed when they air again tomorrow.
Current DVD in player: Disc 4 of Babylon 5 season 4.
Current refreshment: Just finished some tea a little while ago.
Current worry: Whether I'm gonna be able to get this stupid treadmill fixed or not.
Current thought: Man, I could really use a backrub.
Monday, February 07, 2005
Because I'm a lazy blogger:
The Budget Traveller's Guide to Sleeping in Airports: Me, I took a nap in the Denver airport once, and I've come very, very close to having to spend a night in the airport in Dublin.
Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes: Some of these are delightful, and some of them leave you wondering how anybody could possibly think they'd be a good idea.
Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica blog: The show's writer/producer shares his thoughts and answers fans' questions.
Top 50 Movie Death Scenes: You've gotta love a good death scene.
A cheap way to clean your computer screen: Hey, it's cute.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
Aha! I see what the problem was. It seems there were six holes on the underside of the console, three of which were meant for screws, and one of which... wasn't. Guess where I put screw #5? Eep. I'm going to call the manufacturer on Monday (or whenever I happen to be awake during the day) and see if I can get a replacement part. I hope they don't charge me too much for it, but then again, there probably ought to be punishments for this kind of stupidity. On the up side, it was an interesting experience. I've never seen batteries do that before.
Um, why, yes, there were good reasons why I barely passed my mandatory electronics lab in college. In fact, looking back on it, I suspect I was lucky to have escaped with my life. I'm sure I have my lab partners to thank.
So, if one were to buy a modestly-priced piece of home-exercise equipment in one's pursuit of greater physical fitness, and one were to spend far too long putting the stupid machine together, following a set of next-to-useless instructions that essentially forced one to guess where all the wires were supposed to hook together, and one were then to plug in said machine only to have highly unpleasant-smelling smoke pour out of the console... That would be a bad thing, right?
Friday, February 04, 2005
Notice how I sneakily changed the name? I think I'm going to keep it like that.
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Hey, my alma mater, The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology got a mention in this week's issue of The Onion! (It's on the left, at the bottom of the STATshot graphic.) Hmm, I wonder if they sell that board game in the campus gift shop? I wanna build hotels on Brown Hall!
This is mostly a reminder to myself, because I'm really bad about forgetting stuff like this lately, but the Sci-Fi Channel is going to be running a marathon of the new Battlestar Galactica series on Tuesday, Feb. 8, which will handily allow me to catch the episodes I missed. I still have mixed feelings about this show... Something about the way the episodes are paced just continually fails to quite work for me. But it's got a number of good qualities, and last week's episode was enough to make me enthusiastic about tuning in this week. And I suspect that catching up on the bits of story-thus-far that I missed will help. So, yay!
So, apparently Enterprise has been cancelled. Sadly, I just can't seem to find it in myself to care one way or another. Several people have told me that the show got considerably better in the last year or so, but if even that's the case, it was already too late to hold on to this Trekkie. Won't break my heart any if they just give the poor, tired franchise a rest for a while. Maybe even give us something -- gasp! -- original, for a change.
| You scored as Male. Hoorah! Got to love the smell of gunsmoke in the morning! Mmm mmm good! You a true man!|
Male or female?
created with QuizFarm.com
Actually, you know, I've always thought of myself as nearly genderless (in a social-role rather than sex-organ sort of way), mainly because I'm not the least bit interested in stereotypically male or stereotypically female things. Fast cars and cute shoes both bore me equally.
Congratulations! You are the Fundamental Theorem of Finitely Generated Abelian Groups
So what if the length of your title rivals that of the length of your statement. And so what if the average guy of the street thinks you have something to do with an experimental punk band. You get to use direct sum!
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
I've just finished reading a book called Emotional Design by Donald A. Norman, about the ways in which we interact emotionally with the tools and machines in our lives. This isn't something you tend to think about much, really, but the truth is that we do get emotionally engaged with our things, on all kinds of levels. A smooth and positive experience with a well-designed implement can lift your spirits, and the frustration of dealing with a poorly-designed one can ruin your whole day (as any computer-user can attest). It's definitely something that designers should think about, probably more than they do.
For instance, right now, I am very pissed off with my telephone. You would think that when it says "ringer off" in plain, simple English, that that would mean, gosh, the ringer is off. Which is apparently not the case, as evidenced by the fact that the damned thing woke me up twice today. I think the problem may be that there's a ringer on the base unit and one on the handset, and that you can only turn off the former. I'm not sure, though, because the manual is annoyingly vague. I'm going to try leaving the handset in another room, one from which experience has taught me a ringing phone isn't loud enough to wake me in my bed. We'll see if that works.
The thing is, the ability to not have my attention alerted to incoming calls is as important to me as the ability to be alerted to them. More so, in fact, as a good night's (er, day's) sleep is generally much more valuable to me than not missing a call, given that so few of my phone calls are actually important. I imagine it's not really natural for people who make phones to think this way, though. When you think of a phone -- or any other gadget -- you tend to think about in terms of having a function and performing it. But sometimes the most important thing you can build into a machine is an off switch.