I'm Drowning in Paper Spam!

Why is it that my VISA bill arrives in an envelope packed with a special offer to buy a watch, "Cardmember Tips" like "Pay on Time", a page of checks offering a reduced rate, advertisements for long distance service, automotive insurance, and more? My bill this month came with 11 pieces of paper, only 10% of it contained the envelope and the bill... and several pieces had my credit card number printed on it, so I had to shred them. I find it phenomenally irritating that 95% of all mail I get is garbage, and even within the mail I need, it's 95% garbage. I'm not some sort of hardcore environmentalist, but I know how often my paper shredder gets emptied, and it's too often.

Then I discover the...

I leave the office and wander back to my car. Its wet. I didn't really realize this as I hadn't really left my office except to go to the bathroom. It was kind of a long day.

So I get back and see that... shit... my sunroof is open. Not much. Just a half inch or so. It was pretty nice this morning, so I opened it up to get a nice bit of breeze in on the morning drive (I had it in under 11 minutes... good time!) I realize that its not gonna be pretty: the inside is all wet. No problem, I wipe things up a bit and get ready to go.

Then I discover the bird poop.

Goddamn it.


Danger:Hot Frosting.

I'm baking this kellogs pastry thingee in a toaster oven. Now I'm a veteren of many a pop-tar, but this is a variation on the theme that I'm unfamiliar with... the little bell goes off and I excitedly whip the glas door open. I rish inside to grab the tasty treat, only to overshoot, and plunge my fingers into the surface.

Now poptart frosting is made of some bizarre substance that nobody has ever quite reverse engineered. Scientists have heated it to thousands of degrees, yet it never leaves its solid form... I assumed that this pastry would behave similiar, but I erred with painful results. This frosting melted. I stuck my finger into it. It was hot. Real hot.

I yelp and begin sucking my fingers and making hurt noises as loud as can be expected considering my mouth is full of crisped fingers. The frosting tastes good, but my hands hurt. CowboyNeal laughs at me and I stick my fingers under the tap and run cool water over the pain.

Now I have burn blisters on 2 fingers. Damn pastry.


Yemenese Coffee

So here it is: Coffee from Yemen. Hemos got some from a friend. It seemed harmless... I shoulda known better tho. It comes in a plastic bag, and we all know what else comes in plastic baggies. A half a cup later and it was all over... I wrote a lot of email. I typed really fast and made a lot more than normal uncorrected typos. And this was a half a cup. I managed to say sentances with dozens of words in less then a second (and with only moderate stuttering). I feel like I should send a sample to government just to make sure that this is legal.

Who's got the Juice?

I'm off to Australia for the the LinuxExpo. I leave in 2 hours. This marks the first time I've left this continent (and I really have a hard time considering Canada as leaving the US ;) With my passport, hotel, and everything else taken care of, I'm ready. Now if I was a normal person, I would be concerned with packing clothes, but instead I'm concerned with packing... batteries! I have a VAIO: well known for having the worst battery life on earth.. an hour an a half max. But I've got 22 hours of flight time to do battle with... so I've stolen every spare battery that can be had: my quad, my single, Jeff's quad, Kurt, nate and pater's single. So I have 2 Quad's (4-5 hours each) and 4 singles (an hour and some change each). I figure I've got close to 15 hours of battery time. Thats a whole lot of civilization:ctp. I suppose I could get some work done too.


It does disturb me that pound for pound I'm bringing more batteries than laundry. I hope importing Lithium Ion isn't a crime!

Oh, and nobody email me for a week, ok? *grin*


Bad Hardware Karma

Yes its happening again: Bad hardware karma is sweeping through the geek compound. Lets look at the list from just the last few days
  • Nate's gaming machine randomly crashes about every 15 minutes (windows)
  • The harddrive in CowboyNeal's machine has gone wonky
  • My brand spanking new TiVo has something wrong with it. I have to ship it back and get it replaced.
  • My router box's harddrive started freakin out. It stopped booting last night.
  • My old laptop crashes randomly (windows)
most of this hardware sits on a UPS. I've always believed that bad hardware karma comes in spurts and I figure I'm stocking up on it.

On the positive side, we got a handful of the Lucent wireless cards... super sweet. 11mbs and wireless. If I could get a box stable for long enough to test the range, I'd be a happy jack.


Pedals == Talent

Yesterday I bought a couple of new pedals: in addition to my well worn Wah Wah pad, I bought a fuzz box, a 'Blues Box' and an overdrive pedal. These components allow me to once again pretend that I have more talent then I do. With just the stomp of a foot, My trio of power chords can sound like a variety of different bands. Twiddle a knob or 2, and I'm someone else.

Sure, I don't play as well in most cases (however in some cases, especially bands that focus on A, G and D major chords) I sound just like the real thing. If I just had a marshal stack, it would be complete. The illusion of talent would be perfected.

Same thing with my FX processor: Wanna sound like you're playing a sitar in a stadium? It's just a few buttons away. I'll never learn how to play a sitar. And I guarantee I'll never be jamming away in front of a row of marshals in the silverdome... but a few buttons and I sound like it.

All of the power. None of the embarassment when I miss 1 out of 5 chords. God I love rock.


Getting Grilled

For christmas my father bought me a grill. For those who don't know, grill's are one of those "Some Assembly Required" kind of objects where "Some" means "We sent you some molocules, sort it out yourself."

I assembled it today. Finally. Its not like its a pressing thing to do since it is 3 degrees out right now and several inches of snow covers everything... but I was feeling anxious and it needed doing.

Now normally when I put something together I don't worry so much: computers, shelves, desks, chairs, legos. These things are harmless... if you end up with a few extra screws when you're done, its cool. The worst thing that'll happen is your motherboard will shortout and you'll have to return it. Or your chair might be wobbly.

But this grill features a propane tank and an ignitor. Now I've come to a strange point: I'm hungry. I want to grill a steak. Its not even super cold so I could actually possibly do it. NOw do I dare press the ignitor? Maybe I'll make my roommate do it... oh Kurt!


Oh My God He Bought a Suit

So with no less then 3 weddings in my fairly near future and I decided that the time had come to buy a suit. I've worn ties before (I actually wore a tie for years in high school when I carried out groceries) but excluding rental tuxes for a couple of formals (I believe a total of 2 this lifetime, not sure about previous ones) in high school, I have never worn the dreaded "Jacket and Tie" combo.

Often college students purchase "The Interview Suit" towards the end of their careers. This is of course so that when companies talk to them, they think that they are more then beer guzzling hackers. I circumvented this by quitting my day job and working on Slashdot full time.

But now I've done it. I went to the store. I picked out a suit that I liked. And I even got (non-tennis/non-slipper) shoes to wear. Now the suit is being fixed up to my exact measurements so apparently it'll only fit me.

I feel kinda dirty, but I look pretty good. On the positive side, I only have to wear it for a total of like 15 hours out of the next 10,000.

Christmas Cheer

Tis the Season to Spam

Why is it that over christmas, the spam has to increase so much? Why is it that every website that I have ever submitted my email to, along with dozens of others that I didn't, feels the need to send me email with a URL to a warm holiday greeting. And why is it that this holiday greeting is almost without fail coupled with a suggestion that I buy a gift certificate for a friend, or a couple of banner ads? Why is it that Christmas seems to be the season of Spam? During the christmas shopping season the television commercials get cheesier as lame gifts are repeatedly advertised down our throats. But the telemarketers don't seem to get in on the gig (thank god!). Telemarketers are the only class of human beings lower than pedophiles and spammers, and even they don't feel the need to call me to spread their christmas cheer.

Now I accept spam. I hate it. But if I chose I could procmail a lot of it out. But why is it that every year companies that normally have a policy of treating my INBOX with respect feel the urge to flood me with their yule tide joy (and reminders that I can buy-buy-buy whatever it is they are moving). It just makes me sad.



I got a shredder. Not the armor clad ninja guy who was always trying to mess up the teenage mutant ninja turtles, but the kind that takes a single sheet of paper, and turns into a big mess. I'm not super paranoid about stuff in general, but credit card companies and banks send to send you enough paper each month that it could have been used to print several Tom Clancy novels (I'm not sure that would be better mind you). THe irritating part is that my account information is printed all over these things like a big arrow saying "ROB ROB". So I opted to get the "Confetti-Shred" so as to insure maximum security when I destroy these things. The irony is that once I purchased this beast, I immediately sat down and shreaded a stockpile of the last few months of sensitive material. Now each morning, as I tear off my Far-Side-of-the-Day and my Dave-Barry-Of-The-Day calanders, I immediately can shred the previous days comedy. If someone is rummaging through my trash they don't deserve to laugh.

Cutting Back Blows Goats

I'm drinking "Hawaiian Punch". I've already had 2 cups of coffee and a can of mountain dew, and I decided that I would try to have something non-carbonated and caffeinne free for lunch. Its all part of my master plan to better myself without actually learning anything, or doing any excersise. This can proudly proclaims that it is "Flavored Enriched Fruit Punch", and just in case you forgot, a half inch later it states in an equally sized font "Artificially Flavored". It does contain 5% fruit juice tho... I guess the other 95% is the "Flavored Enriched" part. It does go pretty good with a trio of microwavable waffles and lite syrup. But the little punch guy kinda freaks me out. He's way to excited about his little red juice glass. I miss my mountain dew.

The Corporate Burrito

Today I ate a corporate burrito. Two actually. They taste like a normal, personal microwavable burrito. They look like a normal "for individual use only" microwavable burritos. But these were most definitely corporate burritos. They were purchased with the Blockstackers American Express card, a case of mountain dew, and approximitely 18 more microwavable burritos in a gigantic "Economy Valu-Save Mega Pack". This sort of decedance could only be funded by a corporation like BSI, because lord knows no rational individual woul go to the store and become inspired to purchase an economy valu-save mega pack of burritos. Maybe a dozen microwavable stoffers lasagna or 50 Ham 'n Cheeze or Philidalphia Cheese Steak Hot Pockets, but twenty microwavable burritos is just to many for any individual man to own. Well, unless of course he fears that come January 1, the apocolypse will cause a massive microwavable burrito shortage, and now is the time to stockpile. Mind you anyone that is relying on microwavable food for their post-apocolyptic lunches is obviously seven cans short of a six pack. No sir: Only a corporation would buy microwavable burritos in this quantity. But they're tasty.

15 Days of Bond My Ass

I've been jipped! TBS proclaims 15 days of bond, and I'm pleased as punch. Already watched Diamonds are Forever, Licensed to Kill, Octopussy (skipped Goldfinger since I have the DVD and somehow watching it pan & scan with commercials doesn't seem so cool). I love Bond (The World is Not Enough is a decent bond flick. It ain't no Moonraker tho *cough* cough).

Anyway, the point of this rambling. Tongiht I'm all happy 'cuz I'll get to watch some JB action. I've had a few stressful days, and I'm looking forward to a few relaxing ones before things get super hectic again, and watching Girls, Guns, and Spies seemed perfect. So I check TBSs website. First off their schedule is screwed up (404, file not found) second their 'James Bond' Movie page turns out to be blank. Very ameteurish. That bums me out. But then I notice in huge glaring letters 'Tonight on TBS' where they proclaim that tonight's James Bond movie is... Houston @ Phoenix!

Basketball! Its friggin 15 days of Bond and they're showing me basketball? What kind of conspiracy is this? I demand a refund for 1 of my days of Bond. I want to watch Dr. No or something on day 16 as a refund for them showing a freakin' basketball game during quality time that by all rights I should have spent with Sean Connery. Or at least Roger Moore.

Its a conspiracy I tell ya.


The Hat Trap

With winter rolling in here in michigan, it has become once again time for me to concern myself with avoiding frostbyte. For the most part this is accomplished by simply not going outside. This works for about 99% of my life... but unfortuantely there is at least a few hours during each witner when I'm forced out into the cruel elements to deal with the outdoors.

So what this really means is I need a new hat. I own a few hats, but I've realized that at age 23, the hats that I own fall into 3 catagories:

  1. Baseball hats loudly proclaiming tacky corporate logos. I have no problem with hats of this nature, but they tend to function more in the "Keep Sun out of Eyes" capacity then in the "Prevent Wind from Ripping large chunks of ear cartilidge off while temperature is antarctic".
  2. A red fedora. Ok, its a cool hat. It has significance. And I wear it during christmas. BUt if you wear a red hat at any other place besides a Linux convention or a christmas party, people think you're a fruit loop.
  3. Wool hats that feature convenient eye holes. This is of course the best winter hat of all time, however it bears with it the stigma of also making anyone within a 30 foot radius brace themselves for a "Stickup". Besides that, I don't ski. I don't engage in snow fights. And quite frankly it looks dumb.

So I do what I always do when it comes time for me to buy something: I turn to the internet. I shop. And shop. And after a pretty solid amount of time, I realize that I want a black leather fedora, but the statistical probability of me guessing the correct size of my own head. Hemos would say I have a big head, but I'm not sure that constitutes an accurate measurement for hat size. And I guess this is where the eCommerce buzzword collapses. I don't know how to measure my head any better than I know how to measure my own bra size. There are many variables: Head Shape (Oval? Circle? Wide?) and the actual circumfrence (measured in hecthairs of course).

I'm a college graduate, but I am positive that I am incapable of getting this right without help

At a store, I could either ask the surly teenage staffer manning the register to assist me and measure my head, or I could brute force the task by merely trying on hats until I find something that neither slides off during a light breeze, or sits so high on my head that people think it has religious significance.

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