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User Journal

Journal: You Know What Would Be Neat?

Journal by StefanJ
  • Being able to trade in unused Mod points for valuable prizes!
  • If Humane Societies took bids for adoptable dogs. I saw this awesome shepherd mix at the pound the other day. Couldn't adopt her because someone beat me to her by, like, five minutes. A silent auction with a respectable minimum bid could bring in a good amount of money.
  • A site that generated impressive BS responses to BS job self-evaluation questions like "What objectives relative your job do you consider important to achieve during the coming year?" (As far as I can tell, the six questions on this self-evaluation amounts to: "What have you done and what could you do better?")
  • A computer case that looked like a miniature Warp Core.
User Journal

Journal: Odd Processor

Journal by StefanJ

I was in New York last week. Specifically, upstate New York. Just south of the Catskills mountains.

I went to The City one morning, via a far-ranging suburban rail line.

The train station had a ticket machine. It wasn't working when I arrived. Specifically, it had frozen during boot-up. The little screen displayed a Award BIOS style hardware status table: Amount of memory, attached drives, IRQ allocations, and the like.

The processor?

A _Tillamook 266 MHz_.

Tillamook is a small city on the coast of Oregon (where I live), best known for a big dairy of the same name.

It was kind of surreal, seeing that name in that circumstance.

Stefan

User Journal

Journal: Stuff I want to find in my Amazon Gold Box

Journal by StefanJ
I don't know why I bother clicking on my Amazon Gold Box. I find its wiggling and shaking obnoxious, and I can't remember finding anything I'd ever order in the specials list.

(On a few occasions, I've peeked at the description of an item, more out of morbid curiosity than anything else. I think Amazon mistakes these peeks as interest, and thus skews my selection.)

Here are things that I would be pleasantly surprised to find in my Amazon Gold Box:

  • Nanobots that would restore my bulging L-5 spinal disk to proper shape.
  • A 1988 Honda Civic DX hatchback with A/C and prototype airbags. No miles. Mint in the box.
  • A litter of sapient GMO coyote pups I can mold into the first minions of my Army of Darkness.
  • A George Foreman Grill actually big enough to grill George Foreman.
  • A case of Reggie Bars.
  • A new copy of Tom Weller's Science Made Stupid.
  • A little plastic plug exactly designed to fit into the overflow drain in my bathtub, so I can efficiently employ my plumber's helper and finally uproot whatever is plugging up the drain.

Stefan

User Journal

Journal: Bad Design

Journal by StefanJ

My workplace has two buildings. Physically checking on the state of a server means donning an anti-static robe and toddling over from Broadway to Hollywood. (We do movie-on-demand hardware and software, so our buildings and meeting rooms are cinema-related.) Not a long walk, but there's a bit of tedious threading through cube farm along the way.

This morning I had made it to the other building to reset a machine when I realized that I needed to check with someone who might have been diagnosing a bad drive. I made a call to him from a phone in a cafeteria.

When I was done I hung up the phone, or at least tried to. The handset flopped off the body of the phone, right into a trash can. I hauled it out to discover it covered with coffee grounds.

I dusted the mess off with a paper towel, trying to be discrete because a bunch of guests were being shown around the cafeteria.

After the worst of the crud had been wiped off I hung up the phone, taking care that the handset hook was squarely in its slot.

It tumbled off immediately. Into the garbage can.

I wiped it off again, moved the garbage can aside, and replaced the handset.

It fell off.

I inspected the little hook that was supposed to hold the handset in place; it was in the "vertical mounting" position, but was just too wimpy to do the job. I noticed that the handset had smudges of paint on it. It had, apparently, smacked into the wall on many previous occasions, when it fell off its hook when the garbage can *wasn't* there.

I finally managed to balance the handset in place, then backed away.

Time to find some velcro . . .

Stefan

User Journal

Journal: Spazzing a Squirrel

Journal by StefanJ

I work in a nicely landscaped office park. The landscaping elves recently laid down a nice fresh layer of shredded bark mulch around the plantings.

Just now, while crossing between buildings, I came across a squirrel burrowing in the mulch by the edge of a shrub. He was waist-deep in the stuff, worrying away at something underneath.

He seemed totally oblivious to what was going on up above. It seemed very un-prey-like behavior. I stepped really close, maybe two feet away, and waited. Just stopped and watched and waited for him to notice me.

After a moment, he kind of spazzed out. Jumped straight up a foot and a half while thrashing around frantically. He kind of melted into the shrubbery, vibrating like some kind of insane wind-up toy.

I'll give him points for a quick get-away, but a Zero as far as wariness goes. If I'd been a raccoon or fox or coyote, I'm sure he'd be digesting by now.

User Journal

Journal: Fake Coyote Skull

Journal by StefanJ

American Science & Surplus is a great place. They sell stuff ranging from Russian microscopes to surplus ammo boxes to kiddie toys. The catalog (printed and on-line) has great item descriptions.

I recently purchased from them a resin coyote skull. An amazingly real-looking resin coyote skull:

http://www.sciplus.com/photoPopUp.cfm?photo=ACF377E.jpg&name=Theyre%20Not%20Real?

It's on top of my monitor here at work, next to my THE ONION calendar.

After seeing how small the brain-pan is, I'm not surprised that coyotes keep buying defective gear from ACME.

http://www.sciplus.com/singleItem.cfm?terms=8611&cartLogFrom=Search

User Journal

Journal: GURPS Uplift

Journal by StefanJ
I'm not sure what this journal is intended for, so I 'll be a self-promoting schmuck and write a plug here for:

GURPS Uplift

This is my first Role Playing Game product since 1993 or so. It's the official worldbook for David Brin's "Uplift" SF series. You can use the source material any way you want, but the stats for the characters and species are given in GURPS form.

Details at:

http://www.sjgames.com/uplift

There's also a support site at:

http://www.io.com/~stefan/uplift_gateway_home.html

I wish I could say this experience was going to get me back big-time into writing and game design again, but it was a reall tough haul. The quality standards have gone way up since I wrote this stuff to pay for pizza and crack* when I was in college.

Stefan

* No, not really. Unless you read "computer games" for "crack."

What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away.

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