September 26, 2004

Cars are fun.

Oh, how wonderful automobiles are. Just when things seemed to be going well, mine decided to spice up my life with not one but two new issues!

One: The air conditioning has crapped out. It blows warm air now, with only the most minor of differences between vent and A/C modes. Worked fine all summer, and then at the end of last week, blammo.

Two: The alarm is possessed. It's gone from operating normally to going off every time I unlock the door.

I normally love my vehicle, but this ain't fun. It may be officially fall, but it's still in the 90s currently and that air conditioning is still a vital part of every trip I make.

Posted by Colin at 11:51 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 21, 2004

MarsEdit

Just testing out Brent Simmons' new weblog editor, MarsEdit. It's the spawn of NetNewsWire's old weblog editor, so I assume it works. But testing never hurt anyone.

On the subject of Ranchero Software's latest betas, they're damn spiff. The new icons in the NetNewsWire 2 beta look great, and I very much appreciate the change of keyboard shortcut for "Mark Unread." The old one was Command-Control-Shift-M, if I recall correctly. Maybe Command-Option-Shift-M. Either way, it wasn't fun. The new one is Command-Shift-U, which makes much more sense and I love in ways illegal in 48 states.

MarsEdit is nice, too. And personally, I like it much better than ecto.

Posted by Colin at 11:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 20, 2004

PowerSleevz

Got a PowerBook or iBook? Want to avoid scratches and dust introduced in transit?

Check out RadTech's Powersleevz.

I recently bought one for my iBook G4, and they're absolutely great. Made out of the same material as RadTech's ScreensavRz, it can be used to clean your screen as well as protect your computer. It's easy to put on and easy to remove, but unlike some other notebook sleeves, the computer won't work out of the sleeve by itself.

Good stuff, and it even has a debossed "iBook" or "PowerBook" on the front, lest you forget what your computer is.

Posted by Colin at 7:16 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 16, 2004

Rambling On

Today's been just lovely. First I woke up earlier than I had intended.

Then I got in the shower. Normally a shower is just the right kind of pick-me-up to start my day. Not this morning. This was the morning the tub drain decided it no longer wanted to work at anything near peak efficiency. When the water got up to my ankles, I decided perhaps it was time to turn off the water, and just stand there naked to God and the world (save for my sudsy lather) until it drained. So I stood there, wet and soapy, as the tub took several minutes to drain. Then I turned the water back on, rinsed myself off, and started washing my hair. By this point it was pooling again, so I turned the water off to continue lathering my hair. But hey, at least it made me conserve water.

Today's an exam day for an online course I'm enrolled in. The last place I saw my notebook full of notes (which I wanted so I could review and study prior to the exam) was in my bedroom -- so I looked in my bedroom. I didn't find it. So I tore my bedroom apart. After the place looked like Hurricanes Charlie through Ivan had just rolled through, it hit me: the notebook I was looking for was under the coffee table in the living room.

Completing the examination, I made myself lunch -- as I sit here, I can't recall checking to make sure the freezer door fully closed -- and left for physical classes at ASU.

As I do nearly every day, I hit the ramp onto the Loop 101, merged my way in... and promptly came to a complete stop. Very promptly, as the car in front of me slammed on his brakes to come to his stop. Not wanting to exercise my insurance and its deductible, I did likewise. Which launched my backpack into the glovebox where it was suspended in air for a brief period before plummeting to the passenger side footwell.

The backpack which happened to have contained my barely-two-week-old iBook at the time. I fret over the status of the LCD screen, but can't very well check it in the middle of the freeway, even if traffic isn't moving.

Traffic eventually picks up to an absolute crawl, barely moving, and exacerbated by the fact people are trying to merge right (the only lane which is moving). I retain my position in the rightmost lane through two miles, deciding I'll get off at the next exit. At this point I'm happy that I recently replaced the coolant recovery tank in my Jeep, as the old one was horribly blocked and the car would have boiled over by now.

The next exit comes up. As I'm committed and stuck in the exit lane, I peer out my window to see the accident which bolloxed up traffic. Directly across from the exit. After which traffic is smooth sailing again. Meanwhile, I'm rolling off the exit ramp into a traffic jam as everyone and their brother who noticed the accident and traffic backup on the freeway attempts to use the frontage road instead.

Oh, right, and before I left the noncommittal Mormons "tried" (in that special way that only complete slackers can achieve) to come visit so I, too, could become a demigod after my death, wear special underpants, and adhere to Smith and Young's interpretation of the Word of God. I'm sure somewhere on the block they ran into someone who was more interested in showing them the word of Smith and Wesson. [Aside: Forgive me if you're Mormon and find my summarization offensive. I can only operate on the input I have, which is that of my Mormon and ex-Mormon friends.]

It's been a lovely day so far. Lovely indeed.

Posted by Colin at 4:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Worst. Missionaries. Ever.

It's apparently "peddle your religion" month, as the Jehovah's Witnesses were here last week and the Mormons (they look to be Mormons, anyway) are here today. But these are the worst Mormon missionaries ever. For starters, they didn't knock or ring the doorbell. They just stood at my doorstep for a while as if I would magically intuit someone wanted to proselytize me. Alas, it was not the hand of God but the shadows of people lurking outside my door that gave away their existence.

As they were apparently not dedicated to their cause, I opted to not open the door. Surely if they expected me to foresee their existence they must be able to foresee that I don't need anybody else's religion. And so away they went, to simply congregate on the sidewalk outside my neighbors' house and talk.

Terribly dedicated to their mission, all of them. I just wish I was visiting two doors down now, to see how that neighbor reponds to the poor souls ignoring her No Soliciting sign.

Posted by Colin at 12:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Entourage and IMAP-SSL

If you're using Microsoft Entourage and an IMAP-SSL server with a self-signed certificate, you've seen Entourage's fatalistic warning dialog. "Your connection will not be secure," it warns.

This raised an eyebrow for me, as it shouldn't be technologically possible to get an unencrypted connection to an encryption-required server. I sniffed it out this morning to verify whether Entourage or my instincts were right.

Entourage lies. The communications between the IMAP-SSL server and the client are still encrypted, it's just a stupid error dialog (not unlike the way Word displays errors about missing proofing tools if you're missing a font).

Posted by Colin at 12:08 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 15, 2004

¡Mis huevos chupan!

I find the title for this entry rather frightening, knowing my past experiences with Google, but I'm keeping it anyway.

I've been cooking since I was a wee lad, "helping" my mother in the kitchen (read: eating dessert scraps). As a result, I've got a decent grip on cooking. I can grill. I can bake. I can pan-sear. I can make some ungodly complex recipes, and I'm not afraid to invent new dishes as I go along.

The one thing I absolutely cannot successfully make, however, is scrambled eggs. I can make omelets. I can make perfect hard-boiled eggs without a trace of grey around the yolk. But no matter how I try, those perfect fluffy chunks of scrambled egg refuse to appear in my pan. I can make scrambled eggs, mind you, but they don't look like scrambled eggs should. Instead of big cloud-like shapes, they look more like slices of deli meat.

This morning I fixed myself a breakfast burrito -- using two eggs -- and it was disappointingly thin due to the nature of the eggs. They would have fit right in in the flat-packed kingdom of Ikea, but they were terribly out of place in a tortilla.

As a result, I actually looked up recipes for scrambled eggs this morning and found what I did wrong: I pulled the eggs outward instead of pushing them inward. But even when I move the scrambled embryo in the proper direction, they never come out the way my parents or Marie could manage.

From this continual failure, it's obvious I'm not meant to be a line cook at any restaurant that serves breakfast. And that when I settle down and shack up, it will have to be with someone who can actually make proper scrambled eggs to cover for my inadequacy.

Posted by Colin at 10:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 9, 2004

Netflix Survey

I received a ship-time survey from Netflix today. The fact that I did receive one makes me think their survey selection must be largely, if not completely, random. The purpose of these surveys has long been to determine where they need to open new warehouses or otherwise reroute their shipping routes.

I'm in the Phoenix metro area. Netflix has a warehouse in Phoenix. It takes me one day to get anything they ship. How are they going to further improve my service? Move in next door and hand-deliver movies as I want them?

Really, I appreciate that they are soliciting feedback from their customers. But to ask people in the immediate vicinity of their hubs about ship times seems a little excessive. Short of the USPS exploding into a ball of flame, there's not much that can happen to prevent your DVD from making it to you in short order when the warehouse is less than thirty minutes away.

Posted by Colin at 10:12 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

You know what I meme.

Found this at D's.
  • I am: sitting in the Memorial Union.
  • I know: fall is coming, eventually.
  • I have: a class that runs much too late.
  • I wish: class would get out early tonight.
  • I hate: asparagus.
  • I miss: my best friend.
  • I fear: losing my friends and family.
  • I hear: plastic silverware being stacked.
  • I search: for the right path.
  • I wonder: if I'll find my best friend again.
  • I regret: losing touch with her.
  • I love: my family and friends. And the menagerie I share my home with.
  • I ache: in my neck.
  • I care: about the future.
  • I always: flush the toilet.
  • I am not: wearing panties.
  • I dance: like a white boy.
  • I sing: in the shower.
  • I do not always: shave.
  • I should not: be so hard on myself.
  • I write: everywhere.
  • I win: the lottery, in a perfect world.
  • I lose: my sunglasses. Daily.
  • I confuse: most people.
  • I listen: to Björk and Nick Drake.
  • I go: camping less than I wish I did.
  • I am happy about: finding time to see the little things.
Posted by Colin at 4:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 8, 2004

Nectar of the Gods

The Sonoran Coffee shop at Ray and Alma School in Chandler pours the nectar of the gods. When your only options are vending machine coffee or Starbucks for long periods of time, you forget how horrible either of those taste.

I stopped in Sonoran Coffee this morning after dropping my car off for service, though, and my tongue was happy. Not only did they have a variety of tasty-looking baked goods, but the cafe mocha I had was delicious. None of the bitter aftertaste of Starbucks, and more flavorful to boot.

It was also decidedly less dull and corporate, what with the bulletin board full of business cards, and the live music every night, and selling a local artist's photos from the walls... Oh, right, and the fact actual sunlight is allowed to enter the building! I don't know what it is with Starbucks and their obsession with "dark cramped hole." Maybe they're trying to make every city feel like Seattle to their baristas.

I'll most certainly be going back for another cup sometime. Good stuff, and you've got to support your good local businesses.

Posted by Colin at 10:43 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 7, 2004

Medúlla

I picked up Björk's latest album, Medúlla, this weekend. For someone with my strange taste in music, it's a fascinating, well-produced album. I've fallen more and more away from more traditional music, and this album certainly has at least one foot in the experimental realm. Deconstructed, nearly void of traditional instruments, and altogether a little disconcerting, it's an interesting project. Despite layer upon layer of complex sound, songs like "Ancestors" still manage to sound shockingly spartan.

Some reviews have deemed it inaccessible or even trash, but I've listened to Medúlla continually since purchasing it (other than stopping twice to listen to the Nick Drake CD I also purchased). It lurks nicely in the background on a stereo, and is altogether enveloping and occasionally assaultive if wearing headphones.

Posted by Colin at 11:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 3, 2004

Don't Be A Doofus

I bought a new iBook today.

Since I was paying for it with a balance-restricted debit card (1.5% cash back!), I wanted to be sure I remained below the balance. As a result, I turned down the very nice free-after-rebate HP printer. Looking at the remaining balance when I got home, I found I had way more than enough to cover the retail price of the printer.

So instead of replacing -- for free -- my crapped-up and quirky Canon that I've repaired myself more than a dozen times, I'm stuck with the crapped-up and quirky Canon.

Which leaves me with this sage advice: for crying out loud, if you go buy a new Mac and need a printer, take advantage of the rebate! There's one nice HP -- the DeskJet 5740 -- that's completely free after rebate, and any other HP DeskJet or PhotoSmart over $149 is $99 off.

The only downside is that the free one is rather large, so you'd need plenty of desk space for it (which, along with the initial cost, was part of the reason I stupidly opted out).

Posted by Colin at 9:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 2, 2004

2004 Platform: Kill the Homos!

From Queer Day:


We told you about Sheri Dew, who compared supporting gay families to supporting Hitler. She gave the invocation to open this week's Republican National Convention. Well, tonight, "ex-gay" singer Donnie McClurkin will sing the national anthem at the event. His past remarks include accusing gays of "trying to kill our children." In an interview on "The 700 Club," he said he was ready to declare war on homosexuality.

Compassionate conservatives my ass.

The Republican National Convention is surrounded by a gigantic cloud of gay-bashing, and it's sickening. These two examples, Keyes' "selfish hedonism" comment, among others -- stupid.

Support your country by fighting the war on terror icky gay people!

It's not catching. Nobody's recruiting. It doesn't hurt you or your family. So just shut up already. Go worry about something actually important, like the national deficit or continuing to curtail Americans' constitutional rights with sloppy, worthless, dangerous legislation (I'm sorry -- is there a strong opinion leaking out there?).

Four more years of this? No thanks.

Posted by Colin at 9:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 1, 2004

Zell Miller

"Together, Kennedy/Kerry have opposed the very weapons system that won the Cold War and that is now winning the War on Terror." - Zell Miller

While the majority of his crotchety tirade was bullshit, this single quote pretty much summed up the validity of everything he said for me.

Y'know, Zell, the Cold War is called the Cold War because there were never any weapons fired. If we assume for a moment you mean a nuclear weapons cache, I don't recall having strapped a Bucket O' Cesium to Osama. Or turning Iraq into a sea of glass. Or leaving the Saudis glowing green. And given we, like other nations, are dismantling our nuclear weapons...

The only other weapon I can think of is Star Wars, which didn't exist then and doesn't exist now. Maybe he's beginning dementia -- I don't know.

If you want to really reach for a metaphor, he could mean money, or even propaganda. Except I don't think Ted Kennedy or John Kerry are against either money or propaganda.

Which leaves us with something more after:


Blah blah blah, I'm old and angry and make no sense!

Now vote for George W. Bush!

Hoo-boy, that's the best argument to vote Bush/Cheney '04 I've heard yet.

Posted by Colin at 11:31 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack