30 June 2008

joke of the day

Q: where does the king of Britain keep his armies?
A: in his sleevies.

so dumb, but it made me laugh.

lack of rigor

what sort of individual 1) believes in god, but 2) doesn't think there's enough evidence of climate change?

i just don't get it.

27 June 2008

over-zealous train crossing safety

now that, as a commuter, i'm becoming so intimately familiar w/ some of these chicago suburbs, i'm noticing some hilariously and frustratingly approaches to making train/street crossing "safe."

my office is near a Metra rail line, my girlfriend's place is on the other side of it. there's another commuter rail line i must cross between my home and the office.

Dee Road in Park Ridge

this stop is "conveniently" nestled between two streets, and when the train is at the station, both streets are blocked. okay, so someone wasn't thinking when the stop was designed, but i noticed the gates stay down for at least a minute when the train has left the station. what's more, as i observed tonight, an express train put the gates down nearly a minute before it arrived, and the gates didn't go up until the train was over a mile away. really? am i really in danger of getting hit by a train a mile away and going 50 mph in the other direction?

Devon and Caldwell

this stop is right next to the intersection. at this stop, the train doesn't block the intersection, but the gates are down while the train is at the station -- regardless if the train has already cleared the intersection, or is about to. it takes about 3 minutes for Metra to unload and load passengers before proceeding, so that's 3 minutes of traffic stopped in all directions (and, of course, train and auto traffic are heaviest at the same times of day), plus another minute of the is-the-train-far-away-enough-and-going-the-opposite-direction game before the gates rise.

once the gates do go up, Devon gets first dibs. sometimes, another train comes and it's 5 more minutes of gate-down time. then Devon goes. I once waited through 3 trains before my street (caldwell) got the green. I was in the same spot for 20 minutes.


Europe does this better, right? I've seen much better handling of this in Japan.

i know what's going on. every time a bicyclist or a car or a pedestrian or a bag of leaves wanders in front of a moving train, investigation are had, speeds are slowed, crossings are reinforced and timing is re-done.

but is this really making me any safer? seems most accidents happen when someone tries to go around a gate, not because trains barrel through while the gates are up. given the state of the so-called gas crisis, not to mention road rage and ever-present traffic backups, i'd like to think that a little more reason could be applied to all this timing.

26 June 2008

suddenly, people are driving slowly

it's the SUV drivers, mostly, who are slowing down. creeping along, it seems, next to other slow-moving SUVs. (what is this psychological automotive phenomenon that causes people to drive next to each other? it's a resource allocation problem, people!)

i remember being a rather broke driver in HS and college, driving my pinto and drafting behind trucks, coasting in neutral to red lights, thinking that this was making a profound difference in my mileage. i'm seeing some of the same stuff lately around chicago. it's annoying. *i'm* getting fantastic mileage and i've still got somewhere to be.

i've taken to doing an 'AH-hah' ala Nelson Muntz to drivers of particularly large vehicles. i also make comments to Ame, pointing at ford expeditions and hummers and such, and saying, 'that turn cost them a dollar.'

can we kill these giant vehicles once and for all? bring on the $8 / gallon gas, i say. and let's see some diesel hybrids, for christ sakes.

and where's my mini cooper D?

Top Gear!

... on BBC America. now that i finally have cable (with DVR), I can record and watch at my leisure. almost, anyway. comcast is coming with a replacement box on saturday and i'll lose what i've recorded already: 3 more hours of TG, 5 episodes of Kitchen Nightmares so far.

though TG runs an hour here, with commercials, it seems oddly chopped up. does every episode have a News bit? the one I watched last night didn't. Jeremy's piece on a new ferrari seemed cut off, just when he was about to say why he wouldn't buy it. unfortunate edit? original content? or do american audiences not get to hear negatives about cars sold here?

my sample size here is only one, so maybe this isn't a trend. but i do feel a little cheated.

Now: what's up with Richard's hair?

23 June 2008

We have glorified brutality and demonized compassion

from here:

This is the legacy of the Bush administration, and likely the one that will stick long past the other violations of law or ethics. We have glorified brutality, and demonized compassion, and sought to make pariahs out of any that object. And, as a society, we have accepted these premises, and adapted them into our culture, and made them American.

I think the phrase i used as the title really kinda captures it.

22 June 2008

Linksys WRT54G and PS3 problems

after configuring my router with my new ISP, whenever i hooked up the PS3, it would be given an in-use IP address from the DHCP server in the router and take down the entire internet connection.

after a big of googling, i found two suggestions for running PS3's with this particular linksys router (the WRT54G):

1. disable PS3's media server, or
2. disable UPnP is the router

i did both, and everything works fine now.

20 June 2008

... they keep pulling you back ...

i've not written much about my extraction from the Travesty Formally Known as Earthlink, but it's been a trying and frustrating process to 1) try to get my DSL working, then 2) cancel my service.

just when i thought i was out...

i found a charge of $99.95 on my credit card, 4 days after i cancelled. i called them and found out it was a re-connection charge! sneaky, incompetent bastards.

17 June 2008

yeah, I guess I did

... miss an entire season, with this one.


Did i miss an entire season of the new Doctor Who? last i'd seen, David Tennant was saying goodbye to Billie Piper, who I really enjoyed in the series. that was all on DVD, when I had no access to cable.

then i started watching the new series on cable. it started with Tennant, solo, on an airship having fun with Kylie Minogue. "hurray!", I thought, "Kylie should be fun." but in short order he ends up with the uber-annoying Catherine Tate, who seemed to be "showing up again."

I think I missed a bit in the middle. I also think they should drop off the irritating Donna on some uninhabited rock so her cosmic-unpleasantness is spared for all races.

16 June 2008

fun with ISPs

my earthlink DSL has been down for over a week and my dealings with 1) trying to get it fixed, then 2) trying to get it cancelled could fill 20 posts.

i'm hoping that my experience with comcast will be better; it's being installed on saturday. i ordered it online, and the order must be completed with livechat. after this... i'm not so sure comcast will be an improvement. here's a partial livechat transcript:

Edalyn> I am now in the process of scheduling your order. Please note that someone 18 years or older and speaks English must be present on the day of installation. Of the dates you selected for installation, I have 06/21/2008 between 8am-10am available. Will this work for you?

Steve> is there anything a little bit later? maybe 10am-noon?

Edalyn> I would like to inform you that you have to pay upfornt during installation and the total is $1100.47 excluding taxes and fees. Is this okay with you?

Steve> $1100? is that a typo?

Edalyn> ok, I will check the date for you.

Edalyn> sorry

Edalyn> $100.47

Steve> much better :-)

Edalyn> lol..

Edalyn> I have here on the 18th of June same time

Steve> i'm sorry, it must be a Saturday.

Edalyn> yes, it is

Steve> the 18th of june is a wednesday

Edalyn> you want a saturday?

Steve> yes please

Edalyn> 21st is the soonest

Steve> is there anything available later than 8-10am on saturday the 21st?

Edalyn> 1-4pm

Steve> perfect. 1-4pm on saturday june 21.

Steve> is it possible to add DVR to the order?

Edalyn> yes

Edalyn> you want me to add it?

Steve> is it $13.99/mo? and how much record space would i have?

Edalyn> what do you mean?

Steve> how many hours of non-HD record time will i have?

Edalyn> it depends on the memory od the DVR

Edalyn> it does not say hjow long coz, it depends on th eprogram that you will be recording

the progressive sandwich

it was my idea to have veggie burgers tonight, as Ame had bought a new kind and we'd yet to try them. the last kind she bought were actually pretty tasty, and the brand of the box in the freezer were recommended by a friend.

Dr. Praegers.

Oh, Dr. Praegers.

on the way back from work, i ran to the store to get buns and a rather expensive package of Tillamook swiss cheese.

in short, the burgers were disgusting. DISGUSTING. i couldn't quite place the taste at first (it was a melange of, well, pretty much an entire produce section), but Ame sussed it out as lima beans.

after two bites, I doubled the cheese and pickles and tripled the mustard.

after another two bites, I removed the veggie patty entirely.

I was now eating a pickle, Swiss and mustard sandwich.

Ame reminded me that we had leftover Chinese food in the fridge, which was breaded chicken. so I put that on and took another two bites.

off came the Swiss and pickles.

i couldn't finish.


Note that I have *no* idea why this picture is upside down.

my good name besmirched

I had hoped to grab 'zim.blogspot.com', as naive as it may be to expect it would be available. it's not, but the guy who did grab it does a fine job of posting and keeping it up to date.

check it out