Thursday, December 30, 2004

double oh never mind

Those who know me know I'm a big Bond fan. I have seen every movie except the one with Denise Richards, have read several of the books, have logged an unspeakable number of hours playing James Bond videogames, have spent hours researching Aston Martin, have been to a Bond-themed bar, have gone as Bond to a Halloween party, laughed at the refential jokes in Austin Powers, etc. After a recent successful viewing of Goldfinger, with 7/8 of my normal blood capacity and under unusual amounts of stress, I gave some strong consideration to a Bond blog, in which I would chronicle a viewing of all of the film. After a nap and some food, I decided against this. I mean, how often would I post? What would I have to say? So, consider yourselves lucky that I didn't start up yet another ill-advised blog.

When Alex was in Egypt's lands...

I have few guilty pleasures. This is due mainly to the fact that I partake in many pleasures and feel guilt about almost none of them. Today I savored one of those few -- calling in sick. Now, I don't mean calling in sick when you're not, which ain't right. I mean calling in sick when you're actually sick. I usually slog my way through the work day when feeling ill, but from time to time I give the call. I don't even do the sick voice. This is grand. Sleep half the day, laze about the rest, and feel tip-top the next morning.

Why don't I do this every time I feel sick? Because I have a work problem. Any time you guys want to stage an intervention to tell me you're all concerned about my working, feel free to jump right in. Granted, I rarely work late or on weekends, but still. Dude needs to take some damn vay-cay now and then. If I make it to the DMV before my birthday, it will proof of divine providence.

Monday, December 27, 2004

No, Mister Bond. I expect you to boogie.

Nothing beats a good sample. It's like a little puzzle in the song, taunting you for not being cool enough to get it. As a fan of DJ Shadow, I've pretty much given up on any meager shot I had at being the guy who points out the source of samples. But yesterday, as I partook in 007 Days of Christmas, I heard a familiar strain. You know that song 6 Underground by Sneaker Pimps, the infi-cool song from the Saint soundtrack? The first few notes are a sample of the music playing when James Bond walks into the bedroom to find his latest girl coated in gold. This, quite clearly, is awesome. It is also an indicator that I need to lay off the spy flicks a little.


I'd offer you a comparison, but Rhapsody doesn't have the Goldfinger soundtrack. Dammeht.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Quiet on the field.

Something unlikely happened at my house yesterday. After the cookie-filled close of Christmas dinner proper, the women cleaned up and the men sat in the living room and watched football. That's right -- an actual football game on the TV in my home. From this experience, I took away one thing and one thing only: on holidays, men watch football not out of any love of the sport, but rather a desire to not have to engage in conversation for a time.

As you may have noticed, both this post and the two prior reveal me to be completely small-talked out.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Daddy's going to kill Ralphie.

In the post-coffee, pre-extended-family-arrival lull, is it inappropriate to pull out the Xbox? Between prepping din-din, brushing off the car, and watching A Christmas Story repeatedly, the fam is relatively occupied. I fear, though, that they are not occupied enough not to take serious umbrage to me continuing my battle against the Covenant. I can hear the whispers now: "I can't believe Alex is playing videogames. Why isn't he sitting in here with us, waiting in bored silence for something to happen?"

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Zen and the Art of Vehicle Maintenance

I have found peace, and it is at Target. Despite unruly throngs of holiday desperation, the automotive section at holds strong as a bastion against the cruel Hell that is shopping. There, men find solace from wives and children (their own and others'), wandering in with the vaguest of intents, staring in gentle contemplation at shelves of windshield wiper fluid, content with this brief respite from noise and obligation.

Monday, December 20, 2004

It's on the street.

Sometimes life is like a sitcom. Like today's episode, in which our well-meaning but often befuddled protagonist awakes to a 50F cold house, determines that the heat isn't working, calls the pretty young landlady who comes in as the pretty younger wife tries to distract her from the pile of (albeit clean) dishes in the sink, calls in to work saying he'll be late, goes out to the 3F unbearably cold car, drives to work wondering why his allegedly insulated boots aren't keeping his toes any warmer than if he wore ice-blocks in their stead, gets to his 70F warm cube, starts to feel sick from the wild temperature swings, vows to stay indoors for the entire day, pours himself a cup of coffee, sets to working, then makes a face at the camera when the fire alarm goes off.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

The smell of cakes and pies is absolutely everywhere.

It's coming.

The gauntlet of the mall has been run several times over, and with success. Guestlists have been cemented within reasonable margins. Nog abounds. My home is primed for Christmas, but what does one do with the few days between now and then? Being ready early creates a quiet, smoldering stress, the feeling that you should be doing something. Do we have the right tablecloth? Should we pick up those swizzle-sticks? Since during this season all are expected to be rushing around getting ready, the entire engine of the US is set towards that one goal. There's nothing else to do. So, I will sit quietly in my home, letting the dulling glow of the tree distract me.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

This big.

I'm no fisherman, but I caught a decent-sized fish once, and put the picture up in my cube. I recommend doing this. Take something from your personal life and post it for the visitors to see. Why, you ask? Here's an example.

Today, someone came to my office. This poor guy has being trying to get some info out of me via phone for a few weeks, but I've been too busy to find the answer he's looking for. So, in he comes. I turn to my PC, making extempore ingratiating sounds and "pulling him up" to make a good show of it. When I turn back to tell him I haven't done anything for him, he interrupts me to ask about the fish. Is that a tiger muskie? What lake is that? Have you ever fished Lake Youveneverheardof? Et cetera. He left satisfied that I was indeed busy and not just blowing him off, dreaming of grandiose fish.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Double bogey

3 strikes and you're out. Everybody knows this. You get three tries, and if you screw it up all three times, you're in trouble. But does the rest of the world follow the same rule, since they don't play baseball? Do British people get six tries at everything, because you get six overs in cricket? Do the Scots measure everything in par? "It took you five times to get this right, Wilson. It's a 3-par. Take a hike".

Monday, December 13, 2004

Iceman / Lightning Boy / Magic Dude

Saw an odd thing on this Geek Day. A Domino's delivery vehicle. Why odd? Any native Buffalo pizza place on its worst day beats the highest quality Domino's has ever or will ever provide. What kind of sick individual orders Domino's around here? Stockholders? Why Geek Day? The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Special Edition DVD is released tonight at midnight. Every nerd in America is sitting at his computer right now, considering whether or not to wait. This in and of itself is more of a Geek Observance than a full Geek Day, but the fact that the Sci-Fi original feature Earthsea, based on the books of Ursula LeGuin, is also coming out today takes us out of Ordinary Time and in to the holiday.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Just one lump.

When people rent, one of the attributes they consider in an apartment is often summarized as "character". This can be roughly translated to "looks old". My apartment, for example, has one of the quaint, old-timey round analog thermostats. It doesn't work. The heat is either on or off, and does not stop when the assigned temperature has been reached. This makes for some very cold mornings, since there's no one awake to turn the heat on and off every couple of hours. The morning shave has become a trial of fire. The good news is, the milk stays very cool in my cereal, and I believe I am becoming hardened to the cold. Don't worry, I won't rub it in.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Go get 'em, Tiger.

Press conference at the hospital today. You see, we bought this robot. The surgeon sits down and moves a controller around, and then the robot mimics the movements on a much smaller scale. As my betters got up in front of the cameras explaining the benefits of less invasive surgery methods and the long-terms cost savings, my stare could not be averted from the motionless arms of the robot, silent and poised. I had a meeting to go to, and thus did not get to see the merged-man-machine in action. From the lack of alarms, I inferred that my fear that the robot would take control of its master and go on a rampage, committing wanton acts of healthcare in accordance to its programming throughout the downtown area until well-meaning law enforcement personnel were forced to shoot the misunderstood beast down was not founded. And by "fear", I mean "hope".

Moon pies.

It's over. UPS picked up the old and busted Dell today, after DHL's failed attempts. What can Brown do for me? Get my stuff back to Dell so fast that I've already received confirmation, that's what. How did they track stuff before the internet? Before computers? Before fax machines? We live in an age that is sure to some day be hearkened back to as golden.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Ad infinitum

I have known the eternity of death, and it is the stretch of I-90 between Erie, PA and Buffalo, NY. That drive reminds me of various conversations I have been subjected to in which people try to explain to me how time goes slower when you travel at the speed of light. Or something like that. The scenery calls to mind the scrolling backgrounds in Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Only by losing one's self and accepting that cruel Time will place you in Buffalo when she sees fit and no sooner can you survive without descending into utter madness. Be warned.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

There's a really big snake.

Never been to Ikea before. No one told me it was enchanted. All people who enter are doomed to walk in circles, passing the same secret-language-labelled displays over and over until they decide to buy something. At that point, the prices get lower the more one looks around, drawing the starry-eyed customer deeper and deeper into the maze. The key to escape is left right out in the open, mocking those who overlook them -- hideous yellow bags are piled in bins around the store, and only by plucking one will the unwitting shopper reveal the exit.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


Discerning B A Starters may have noticed the "Get Firefox" button under "Other Links". Now's when I tells ya why's I likes the Firefox.

#1 - They say it's safer. I can only assume they mean the menus and buttons are placed in such a way that my inevitable debilitation due to carpal tunnel syndrome will be pushed back a few weeks.

#2 - Extensions. They've got all these user-created extensions of the software that do cool stuff. At least they look like they do cool stuff. I mean, I'm not really sure what a mouse gesture is, but since I don't, it must be cool, right? Knowledge I don't have is supposed to be cool, isn't it?

#3 - Themes. Tired of your boring browser? Well, Firefox has got tons of user-created themes, which change the look of the buttons and what not. Granted, 75% of them are based on pawprints, but hey. At first I was disappointed in this feature, since I was expecting a searchable online database of junior-high themes on various topics, such as what I did during my summer vacation. I adjusted.

#4 - The logo. The Firefox logo is pretty. I like pretty things. Well, maybe not all pretty things. A lot of pretty things, though. Probably most. That I've seen. Like in my life and stuff.

I'm a big fan of the pop-up blocker and password manager. I also like being able to search Wikipedia and IMDB from the toolbar. So go download it. It's pretty sweet.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Someday it may matter.

I really need to defrag. I've been experiencing a serious increase in processing time for even the most basic of tasks. Errors, hangs, and full freezes are becoming more frequent. I tried the disk cleanup, but the temporary files are already all wiped out. Seems that files are being flat-out deleted instead of just moved to the Recycle Bin. Maybe I should try a good registry cleaner. With all of the programs installed and uninstalled over the years, I'm sure there's all kind of stuff that needs to be straightened out.

I'm starting to become concerned that the problem is not hard-drive space but processor speed. How can I tell if I'm pushing the machine too hard? I've often wondered if I should dedicate the time and money to upgrading the thing piecemeal. Knowing me, I'll just keep working the poor thing until it fries. My brain, I mean. Not the new computer. That arrived and everything's fine. The gray matter on the other hand, no so much.