another misAdventure

"We are all of us living in the shadow of Manhattan."

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

iPod, You Pod, We all Pod ...

No, I'm not keeping up with daily updates. We'll see if I do better tomorrow.

Today, I was swamped at work. Along with about 20 other people from our teams, because a gigantic shitstorm seemed to hit somewhere between Baltimore and Philadelphia. Striking directly at the heart of our switches.

Oh, and it hit right at noon CST. Right after I finished another call. So, no lunch for me -- it was a good thing I brought an apple with me. I was trapped at my desk for almost six hours. We finally got the last remnants cleaned up, but for a while it just seemed that everything was failing all at once.

So, a busy day, so I didn't get a chance to listen to the topic of this post ...

... which is, my new iPod Shuffle. Ah, a wonderfully tiny thing it is. I can load hours of listening material, probably about 16 hours worth of memory along with what is supposed to be a 12 hour or so battery life. I haven't really tested either of those limits yet.

But, I can clip it right inside the flap where my polo shirt button, button the top button, and you can hardly see it (and I can't really feel it there unless I reach for it). The only thing that betrays that I'm listening to the iPod is the ear buds. So, I guess I need the cochlear implants next (with bluetooth connectivity).

So what's on the iPod? I have several podcasts that I've gotten into the habit of loading: NPR Shuffle, Pardon the Interruption (ESPN), Dan Patrick and Keith Olberman (also ESPN), a few comedy bits from the Onion. Weekly podcasts of "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me", "This American Life", and "On the Media". Periodic commentary on Disneyworld and D&D (from WotC). All cool stuff, some of which I would catch bits of in the car, some of which I couldn't.

And, I've got some of my CDs loaded. Actually, loaded again as I loaded some, then moved where I was storing the files and messed up the transfes. Albums currently in my iTunes library:
The Beatles: Let It Be
The Beatles: Revolver
George Harrison: Somewhere in England
The Who: Who's Next
David Bowie: Changesbowie
The Beach Boys: Pet Sounds
The Roches: Can We Go Home Now
Paul Simon: Graceland
Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon

Not handy to reload, because the disks are in the car:
They Might Be Giants: The Spine
Travelling Wilburys: Vol. 1

and other stuff I can't remember off hand.

Cool feature: the podcasts all get loaded first in the play sequence, so I can play them in order. But if I just want to have background music, I click the switch to random play and it only plays the music. Very cool.

The one downside so far, I need a handy case for the ear buds. The iPod itself doesn't really need a case since it just clips where I want it, and is pretty sturdy aluminum, but the ear buds get tangled and just are a mess carried in a pocket. I haven't found a good solution for that yet.

The downside that hasn't been an issue yet -- it's SO FREAKING TINY tha I'm afraid I'll lose the fool thing. It's less than the size of a book of matches. Way smaller than my cell phone.

It sure is nice to have my own music in my office, without a chance of disturbing the neighbors. And, as Ellen says, it's going to become my favorite tool (over the radio) for working around the house. Best $79 I've spent in quite a while.

Read more!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

I Like to Watch - and miscellaney

To clarify a couple things from my last post, probably obvious to everyone: while I was doing work on Las Vegas and Tacoma Friday night, I was doing it from the relative comfort of my couch. So, yeah, I was up until 4:30, but afterward I could just walk upstairs to bed rather than driving home from the office.

Generally I've been dragging myself into the office late, at about 9:30 or 10:00, even later a couple of days, where I'd usually prefer to get in by 9:00. Then I wind up staying at the office until 7:00, maybe 8:00, though I'd just as soon be out by 6:00. We'll see where things go this next week. I have the hotline this week, so some of my hours at office will depend on if I get stuck on a call before leaving for home. The hotline is noon to midnight (with the other hours handled in the UK), so if they call me a 5:30 I'll probably still be in the office at least couple hours later.

And, yeah, I'll have the hotline during the Super Bowl. That's OK, I'll probably just be plopped in front of the TV here.

Speaking of which, this is actually my TV/movie post:

And with the long hours in front of my laptop, I've had the Tivo going for noise as much as anything, but caught up on a couple things and watched a couple movies I hadn't before.

First, my favorite show of this season is now clearly "30 Rock". The episodes have a lot of re-watchability, and I've been picking up some new bits each time. I leave these on the Tivo for a while, and have been rewatching three or four times. This is the same I used to do with "Arrested Development", my old favorite.

I'd never seen "Men in Black II" before this weekend, where I had it on in the background like three times while doing other things. I can't get enough of the train station locker scene! I also wound up re-watching "Men in Black" this afternoon before that third showing of MIB II. And, for that really late night shift on Friday, I watched "Mars Attacks" for the first time, which is kind of cute and mindless-funny, but ultimately leaves one saying "What the Hell?".

And finally, for background movies, I finally watchd all of "A Mighty Wind", which I'd seen parts of a few times and has been sitting on the Tivo for a couple months. Another fun movie, which I have to remember to pick up copies of all of the Guest/Levy/ensemble movies eventually (right now, I only own "This is Spinal Tap".

That's been the movies on TV. Ellen and I were thinking of going to a movie last night, but there was absolutely nothing out that we both really wanted to see. Any suggestions? I know "Pan's Labyrinth" is supposed to be good, but I've also heard the violence is pretty graphic, which means Ellen probably won't want to see it. I could have resorted to "Epic Movie", which I'm sure is stupid but I least I know most of the material they're trying to parody. Nothing else at all struck the fancy of either of us.

Instead, we just went to dinner and came back home. At least that got me to bed early for a much needed 9.5 hour sleep.

Read more!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Lots to Blog, Little Energy

I've had a lot of stuff that I've wanted to blog about. I just haven't had much energy to do so lately. Too many late nights at work.

That includes last night, when I got done at about 4:30 am. Had to do so work for Las Vegas and Tacoma, so the timezones lose me two hours (can do anything with the switch until midnight local time). Then Tacoma came up well but Vegas had some side issues I had to fix. It's been similar all week, though more like 2am rather than 4:30am, and during the days there's been so much going on that it's mentally draining.

Anyway, I'm going to try to get back to a daily schedule for a while, though it may be a bit challenging this week since I also have the hotline starting Monday, and I don't really expect the other stuff to slack off yet.

Anyway, I'll be blogging about the following in the coming days:

  • Bears

  • iPod

  • Midwest Madness / D&D

  • Work

  • TV and Movies recently

  • Other stuff that will come up

Meanwhile, I'll also nag my kids, as everyone is badly due for an update. Ryan -- your four months are up! Matt -- what happened to the update "later tonight"? And everyone has a new semester to talk about.

Read more!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Black Ice

Two new tires, two new front wheels, four new hubcaps.

That's the cost of not figuring out how slick the road was last night.
I drove into Chicago last night to play a game of D&D ("From the Dust", for those who know). I was early and so was finding a place to grab something to eat. I got off Irving Park Road a couple of blocks and was finding my way back when I got turned wrong onto a side street. It was snowing, and all the main roads had plenty of salt and traffic to keep the road clear. This road, not so much. I was heading down the road, and the road started to bend to the left. At that point, I realized I was on ice and that while the road was bending, I wasn't going to be able to turn. Pumping the brakes a bit didn't give me any additional traction.

I hit the curb hard and went up on the parking. Fortunately, there was nothing else there, the road was leading up to an apartment complex and this was somewhat to the side of the complex and with open space/park near where I hit the curb. So, I was able to put the car in reverse, come back down off the curb, and drive off without any other property damage other than some tracks in the snow.

But my car was driving funny. I got to the side and was able to determine the problem, the right front wheel was bent and the tire sidewall pushed in a bit. The way the wheel bent it didn't really knock the tire loose, so it was holding air, but it couldn't be trusted for long. I was able to pull into a spot in a parking garage at a hospital where I could change to the spare out of the wet of the snow. I went on to my game, and afterward was able to drive home (on the tollway, though a bit slower than I normally do).

Today I took the car in to get a new wheel and two new front tires. They found that the left front wheel was also bent a bit, so I had that replaced too. The hubcaps were repoaced due to that right front one being cracked up, and they didn't have a match, but could give me four new ones cheap. So, I have a couple spare Saturn hubcaps now, and I think maybe Kalen's car needs one of them.

So, the lesson for today -- ice under light snow is nasty. Never figure that you've got traction on that light snow.

In other news, my other purchases of the day were a TI-83 calculator for Ellen, since she needs one for her Algebra class (she's working on her Bachelor's degree in Nursing now, her second Bachelor's), and I bought myself an iPod Shuffle. I really like the tiny, tiny size of the thing, and decided I'd use it for both music and podcasts while doing stuff like mowing, riding the train, at work. Since I had a Best Buy gift certificate and some cash from Christmas, that's where I decided to splurge a little. I've downloaded a few things, but I need to learn a bit more about iTunes before I can manage this properly. I can say it sounds great, though.

That's enough for now. I'll try to update a bit more often again, meaning one more update before the weekend. On the weekend I'll be at a game convention in Fort Wayne with Matt and Kalen.

Read more!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Big Game?

Is there supposed to be a football game on tonight? I suppose I should check Yahoo to see what happened.

But really, I couldn't care less.

I was mildly tolerant of college bowl games on January 2nd when the 1st fell on Sunday. That was understandable. Last year, when the championship game was on the 3rd, not so much. This year, there were games that weren't the championship game going on through a couple days ago, and finally the bogus "big game" tonight. The plethora of bowl games lost me a while ago, but dragging out the games past New Year's Day has trivialized them all. What happened to the event?

Hmmmph, I see that Florida beat Ohio State. Good, just because I hate Ohio State. But it just further shows that all the bluster about the "national champion" has been meaningless. On any given day, particularly more than a month after the season ended, any of the top 8 - 10 teams could have beaten any other. I know not to even think twice about it next year.

In other news, Legends is ready to go out the door tomorrow morning, finally. And I got pretty much all the recycling that Narf generated out to the curb tonight (there's a few boxes I lazied out of breaking down), as well as most of the garbage (a couple small bags I didn't get stickers for are still here). In the next couple days I can get the Goodwill stuff taken to them, then I just need to wait for the electronics recycling day to get rid of the rest of the stuff. Oh, and I need Narf's brother's address.

And, that's it. I guess I'll go crash into bed now.

Read more!

Saturday, January 06, 2007


So, I did get a lot done today. Not necessarily everything that I would have liked to, but a lot. And now, I'm beat.

I got all the Christmas lights down tonight, got things pulled in, but I don't have everything put away yet. I need to figure out how I'm boxing up the new penguins/igloo stuff, or if I am. I also got the Christmas tree apart and boxed up, but the ornaments are all on the kitchen table (I'm not sure if Ellen wants them put away in a particular way.

Narf's been here sorting the stuff from his storage room so he could figure out what he wanted to bring back to Orlando, what he needed to get shipped to his brother, what was garbage, recycle-able, or donate-able. I helped him figure out how to get stuff ready to ship, and got the remainder of the stuff he wanted to keep stowed in our crawl space. We've got things under control now, but I've got stuff of his to deal with on Monday.

Tomorrow better be Legends day. Assuming something doesn't collapse in the meantime.

Read more!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Twelfth Night

It wasn't what I'd planned, but my "Merry Christmas" post has stayed at the top of the blog throughout the 12 days of Christmas. Now we've reached Twelfth Night, so I guess I better get back in the posting groove.

Of course, first I had to Google to be sure how to spell "Twelfth". Who needs dictionaries?

I had plans to get some things done tonight (specifically, Legends -- way late). Instead, I got to do home repairs. Ellen had dinner in the oven, and I started to put some other scraps down the garbage disposal, and found it wouldn't turn on. I checked the plug, checked if it needed to be reset, and then noticed that the microwave clock was also off. As was the clock on the oven. I knew all were on the same circuit (west side of kitchen), so checked the circuit breaker. No problem there, and then I realized the kitchen TV (also on the same circuit) had been on. The oven had been hot (cooking dinner, remember), but with the power off the gas regulator shuts down, so it was losing heat. I don't know when things lost the power, probably when I first tried to turn on the garbage disposal, when the load on the circuit was greatest.

So, I shut off the circuit breaker and started pulling apart the outlets in the kitchen. Ellen and Narf ran out to get dinner at Boston Market while I swore at things. As it turns out, I didn't take all that long to identify the problem -- the wirenut that connected the three branches of the circuit (stove/microwave, outlet, disposal) had gotten too hot and come apart, 22 years after I installed it. I got another wirenut and got every thing put back together, but I may need to think about how this might be improved -- whether it's drawing too much if the disposal and microwave are both running. The oven can't be drawing much -- it's a gas stove so the electricity is only for thermostat/gas regulation, the clock/timer, and electric pilots.

So, that soaked up much of the night. Tomorrow I'll get the Christmas decorations down (yes, I like to keep them up and lit through the whole season to the 6th) and get most of Legends ready so that it's finally ready to mail on Monday.

As for what else has been going on: we spent a low-key Christmas at home, going out for brunch to avoid the preparation and cleanup (and leftovers), then several days in Iowa visiting my mom and Ellen's family. We played a little D&D on New Year's Eve and then watched some TV, spending the evening with Narf (here on break) and Tony. I was falling asleep by 12:30 that night, so hit the bed early (relative to past years). We played another session of D&D on New Year's day, but since then it's basically been work and come home to crash.

That's all for now. Tomorrow, hopefully a report of a productive day!

Read more!