Archive for January, 2005

Technology sucks sometimes

Posted: January 31, 2005 in Uncategorized

I resisted getting a cell for my entire adult life, and I’m dangerously close to the proverbial "mid-life crisis" age. I felt I never really needed one, but if you read what happened a couple of weeks ago (below), you can understand why I finally succumbed and joined the wireless world so many others have used in order to forsake talking to the people who are standing right in front of them. Or to join the people who believe it’s more important to talk than to stay in their own lane and/or do the correct speed limit. I still say I won’t take my eyes off the road to dial, and I still haven’t gabbed while my foot is on the accelerator (even tho’ I have an ear-plug/mic setup).

So this shiny, well-reviewed LG VX-6100 lasted all of about 10 hours on stand-by today…just one week after I first got it. Yes, it charged for 24 hours before I powered it up, thank you. And the blasted thing was telling me all day in my building (which is shielded) that it was searching for a provider…previously, it would latch on to the "extended network", but not today. So when I finally need to make a call…it died due to lack of power. And the car charger that came with it ISN’T COMPATIBLE. Damn provider gave me the wrong one.

And the new 5.8G cordless phone I just got a couple of weeks ago keeps fading in and out with the volume…I can barely hear people sometimes, and I’m sitting just 2 feet from the base unit. I had to keep asking the technician at Verizon to repeat himself to solve my OTHER phone problem.

Then I need to use the ‘net when I get home, but I kept getting "network cable has been disconnected" every two to three minutes (I have an SMC wireless router, but my main machine is hardwaired to it). This has never happened on my config before, and I’ve had this config for well over a year. A reboot finally solved that problem, but still…sometimes technology really sucks.

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Well, it turns out that my neighbor continued to put his dogs outside every single weekday since my last rant about him (see below) to bark the days away.  Then the other morning, his dogs woke up my wife at 3AM (lucky for him I slept thru it, or I would have just called the Sheriff and filed a noise complaint then and there).  Anyway, it’s obvious he doesn’t give a damn, and doesn’t care about our legal right to enjoy our home without such disturbance.

So instead of getting the legal schtuff downloaded from the ‘net and confronting him one last time, I decided not to give him another chance.  I called animal control and gave them the story (tho’ waaaayyy toned down in agitation from what you dear readers saw below). They’re going to send him a letter stating that he’s disturbing his neighbors with daily, excessive noise…and also stating that if it continues, he will be fined.

Will that wake the SOB up?  Will he suddenly become a courteous neighbor and responsible dog owner?  Probably not…after the dealings I’ve had with him already, I have a feeling he is of the teenage mentality, that he feels he can do whatever he wants, and to hell with anybody else.  Heck, you should see his yard!  The yard makes it appear as if he simply dropped in his house and took off the tires!  The only thing missing is a primer-painted ’72 Camaro on blocks!  There isn’t a single yard in our neighborhood that looks even HALF as bad as his yard, and his back yard (which is a lovely view from our bedroom window, btw) is FIVE TIMES worse than the front!…he has as much pride in ownership as he has courtesy for his neighbors.  Should be fun next week after he gets his letter…

Anyway, Pats and the Iggles in the Big Dance.  Some people are saying that the patchwork secondary of the Patriots is good enough to win, while others are saying it’s no contest…the Eagles are gonna get creamed.  And since their "patchwork D" completely shut down this year’s most prolific offense in the NFL (one of the best in history), I would have to say it wouldn’t be a stretch for them to easily beat the Eagles.  However, many people forget that not only did the Patriots lose two games during the regular season, but numerous wins were decided during the final minutes…not many blow-outs at all.  The Eagles certainly have a shot if they can figure out how to get to Brady, force them into an air game, and find the weaknesses in their defense.  Hopefully, this will be a nail-biter to the end…I hate blow-out Superbowls.

And don’t give me that "T.O. will make the difference!"  The Eagles made it thru the playoffs without him, and while he is an imposing force and has gotten the Pats to practice with the anticipation that he will play, they may not need him as much as many people think.  C’mon, McNabb took the Eagles to consecutive Championship games four years in a row…three without T.O.  McNabb is the guy the Pats need to concentrate on…

 

What a weekend…

Posted: January 17, 2005 in Uncategorized

I thought that the Colts would do something spectacular this weekend…but I never thought they would end the game with only a single field goal! Cripes, what happened to that Vunderkid Manning dude? The Steelers and their rookie QB had better be on their best game next week…

Got my Ikea office shelves mounted in my home office yesterday (YaY!). Now I can start unpacking all my other hardware, and completely finish setting up my office with both machines, KVM, etc, etc. And that will free up some space in the garage.

Earlier Sunday, I spent a few hours at my mother-in-law’s house doing computer maintainence.  Had to get all the files she still needed off her old P5/133 and transfer them to her newly rebuilt Celery 333…but the blasted file sharing wasn’t working! I don’t know what the heck happened, I couldn’t get it working again, so I had to rely on floppy transfers. Thank god it was less than 15 floppies total.

My sisters treated me to dinner Friday for my birthday (which is coming up shortly…). I was supposed to call my wife before I left work, and fully intended to do so, but I had to pee (this couldn’t wait, folks). I would just use the phone in the copy room that’s right next to the restroom and then shoot out the door…but someone distracted me on the way out, and I realized it was getting later and later. You guessed it…I didn’t remember to call her until I was already on the freeway. God, I wish I had a cell. I was supposed to meet my sisters downtown at McCormick and Schmick’s on Lake Union between 6:15 and 6:30, but at 6:30 I was still tied up in traffic. God, I wish I had a cell. So I finally get there at 6:45, but I couldn’t find them anywhere…I went to the front desk, and none of our names were on the reservation list. Did I go to the wrong M&S? Was it supposed to be the one on 4th? Were plans changed, and there’s a voicemail waiting for me at work? God, I wish I had a cell. Fortunately, I was able to borrow a phone…they were also tied up in traffic, and would arrive shortly, and said that if I had a cell, they could have told me much sooner.  So they arrive, we get drinks and wait for our seats in the bar, and I ask Elaine to borrow her cell to call my wife. She gets sarcastic, "You don’t know how to use one of these, I’ll dial it for you." Then she decided to talk first. From what she was saying, I was certain she didn’t actually hit Send, because my wife doesn’t like those kind of jokes…but she HAD called. My wife took it SERIOUSLY. Naturally, she’s pissed at ME. God, I wish I had a cell.

So on Saturday I did lots of investigation about different phones, different free-after-rebate deals (or make money after rebate deals), and read a ton of spec sheets and customer reviews at phonescoop.com (what a great forum for cells). One thing I found: there are always people who hate the phone, while others love it. No phone is perfect. But I tried seeing thru the smokescreens and stuff, and settled on an LG vx-6100 with the Verizon 400 plan + 40 pics per month. A $200 phone that’s free after rebate was much better than a $79 phone that was free after rebate. Slept on it, then ordered it Sunday night. Now I just need to think of a way to break it to my wife that I bought a cell…

And honey, if you’re reading this…I finally broke down and bought a cell. I’m about to turn 41, and I think I’m old enough now that I can be responsible for having one. I’ve lost count of the number of times over the last six months that a cell would have been a blessing to have. I will feed it and walk it and bathe it and hug it and squeeze it, and I will call him George…

My new neighbor is such a jerk

Posted: January 10, 2005 in Uncategorized

About five months ago, the wife and I bought a new house. Unbeknownced to us, our new next door neighbor had two puppies that were just then becoming "outdoor dogs". They were 8 months old at the time, a black lab and a german sheppard. Well, it turns out these dogs bark at every little noise, and they bark in a very menancing and loud way. And their backyard is less than ten feet from my bedroom window. It’s impossible for the dogs to be more than 30 yards away from our house, and they usually hang out less than ten yards away.

We soon realized we were being rudely awakened very early in the morning, at least four or five days a week…7AM, 6AM, 5AM…the final straw came after about a month of living in our new house when we were awakened at 4AM. I tried (and failed) to get back to sleep. So at 5AM I went over and got HIM out of bed. I made it abundantly clear that waking me up so rudely and so often was not cool. He didn’t even bother apologizing…said he would "try to corral them in".

Well, he didn’t. After another month or so of putting up with it, we were awakened at 5:30…ON A SATURDAY. So I go over, and it turns out his or his wife’s parents were housesitting while they were away on an extended vacation. The old lady didn’t bother apologizing either. In fact, the old folks also continued to put the dogs out before dawn to wake us up. When they woke us up again at 6AM a few days later, I went to complain again…rude b!tch literally lied and said that there was nothing she could do about it, and that if I have a problem with it, I need to wait for their kids to get home and talk to them about it. Then she completely ignored me as I started speaking again and closed the door in my face.

So after taking time off being sick in November, and the last two weeks of December, I got fed up with the constant, all-day barking. My neighber decided to wake me up at 5:30 this past weekend on Saturday morning, so I got dressed and went over again…

This time he was clearly agitated (hey, I’m the one who got rudely awakened!). As I tried to discuss the matter and ask for a resolution, he said, "They’re dogs…they bark" at least five different times. I’m telling him I want it to stop, and he said at least three times, "So what exactly do you want me to do about it?"

What a complete moron. For Christ’s sake, every responsible dog owner and courteous neighbor knows what to do about it…only idiots have to ask.

When I told him about the continous barking while they are at work or whatever, ruing my wife’s workday and my sick time or vacation time, he said he was unaware of this (I could have sworn I told him about that also at our first 5AM meeting). He finally gave me this dismissive attitude about how he’ll take care of the problem.

So what happens? He took the VERY FIRST opportunity he had to kick the dogs outside to bark all day long while they are at work…today.

Is that a deliberate act of defiance? Is he trying to send me a clear message that he’s doesn’t give a damn about whether or not his neighbors are able to enjoy their own homes?

So, I just need to print out the WA state noise ordinance law for him, and include the downloadable complaint form. I’ll use a yellow highlighter to show that barking dogs are specifically called out in the ordinance, that they cannot be a nuisance within 300 yards of another residence, and the subsequent penalties they could incur. If he balks at this as well, and doesn’t want to resolve this amicably, we’ll begin legal actions…and getting the problem repeatedly reported to the authorities is just the first step of gathering indisputable documentation against him.

/end rant

Yesterday we woke up to a thin blanket up here on the hill, and the lowlands were bare by 9:30 AM. It melted up here by noon. But today we got about an inch, which also stuck to the trees this time, and continued getting snowfall at 10:30 am…and although it’s definitely melting, we still have quite a bit left now at noon. Very pretty. Not sure if it will all be melted by evening, and the weather forecast is more snow tonight and tomorrow morning…I may have to RAS into work!

A painful ending to yesterday’s Seahawks game. I’ll say one thing for this year’s team: you simply could NOT leave the stadium or turn off the TV until the very last play had been executed. Win or lose, it’s been a highly entertaining year of football. And now we have an astonishing 16 players elegible for unrestricted free agency. Although Seattle has a lot of cap space ($30M), we can’t keep them all. Some re-tooling needs to be done. Here’s my short list of predictions:

Hasselbeck: voted Offensive Player of the Month for December. He’s had a few poor games, but more great games. He usually hits his targets…the targets just can’t seem to hold on to the ball. He will get a new contract.

Alexander: you build a championship team with a strong running game. Curtis Martin was this year’s rushing champ over Shaun by ONE YARD. There is nobody better than Alexander, and he has many good years ahead of him. He’s going to get a FAT new contract. He may spend his entire career in Seattle.

Jones: still one of the best tackles in the game. I think we’re going to slap the franchise tag on him again. But next year, I have a feeling he’ll show up to camp without a contract…he’s getting too old to do his own conditioning, and he doesn’t like going 0-for-2 in the post-season two years in a row…so he’ll want to have better knowledge of the gameplan entering the next season. OK, I’ll ask somebody what’s in this pipe that I’ve been smoking…

Womack: he always plays "pretend Jones" during camp and pre-season games. He can be plugged into nearly any position on the line now. This would indicate he knows what Holmgren likes to do up front better than anybody, and that makes him valuable for mentoring starters, and filling in for injuries. But painfully, I think he’ll be let go.

Tobeck: Normally, Seattle is faithful to a good center. It’s just a gut feeling this time…I don’t think he’ll be back. We might go with a draft pick here.

Rouen: if he’s 100% healthy, he will be re-signed. If there is any doubt about his health, he will be let go…our special teams play sucked when he got injured, and if he can’t be perfect, well…

Gray: he may be let go so Seattle can pursue someone like Marco Rivera (Green Bay). This is following the whole "solid ground game" approach, plus better protection for the QB. Otherwise, he’ll be back. Hard to call this one.

Huard: why did we keep four QBs on the team? We could have used that roster spot for another defensive guy. Seneca is a solid second string QB (tho’ he’s been third for a couple of years now). Huard will continue his journeyman travels.

Mili: he’s a bit too big physically, and doesn’t usually get much yardage after the catch. Some of his games are good (like yesterday’s), but most games he’s somewhat ineffective. He just doesn’t have the speed and spin, and also sometimes suffers the "dropped ball syndrome"…we need an explosive tight end to keep the game running fast. He’s a good veteran, but not a great one…he’ll be let go.

Bannister: if he’s healthy, he will be re-signed. We have GOT to get our special teams back up and running well. Alex is one of our best.

Rice: it’s been fun watching him. Still explosive off the line, and has a few chops left (tho’ he can’t outrun pursuing cornerbacks very well any more). He’s been a positive influence (tho’ there were some "hurt feelings" when we first grabbed him…those babies), and he sez all the right things on the microphone. Plus, he’s got a prettier smile than Alexander. If he wants to play ball next year, we’ll probably get him for a song again…

Lucas: he’s had a pretty good year. He plays with passion. But he’s been burned. There needs to be some changes made to the defense this year, and because he’s a UFA, they may just bite the bullet and let him go…and then rush out to get Woodson (Raiders).

Okeafor: hard to call this one, but he’s a great veteran…I think he’ll be back.

Evans: it’s just gut…I think he’ll be let go.

Robinson: not UFA, but look for him to be somewhere else next year. He’s been too much of a problem and distraction on the team, and the "bad boys" never have flourished in Seattle like they do in Oakland or Dallas. His stats have dropped considerably since ’02, even considering his suspension plus two games the coach pulled him out. Dunno why Holmgren keeps saying he loves the kid…

If Plaxico Burress doesn’t get re-signed by the Steelers, the Seahawks will pursue him like a rabid dog. We need a speedster with good hands. But this would possibly mean parting ways with Jerry Rice…a bittersweet scenario. Still, if we can trade Robinson…that might work well.

Coach Holmgren: this doesn’t impact the salary cap, and he’s got two years remaining on his contract, but lots of people point at him for Seattle’s shortcomings (when in fact, we lost key defensive players half-way thru the season which cost us games, and Wistrom still wasn’t healthy enough for yesterday’s game). Is there anybody available out there who would make a better coach for our team? Any team? No…he will not be jettisoned.

What a blow-out!

Posted: January 6, 2005 in Uncategorized

OK, I enjoyed watching every single thing that USC did during the first half. Then I skipped the half-time show…which, according to everything I’ve read, that Simpson kid embarrassed herself more than she did on SNL. I occassionally watched parts of the 3rd quarter, and completely tuned out the 4th quarter. That Leinart guy should get his value in the draft THIS year…after two National Championships (one shared) and a Heisman, the only direction he could possibly go in the NCAA now is down…and if he gets hurt next year cuz he stayed in college (ala Willis McGahee), his paycheck is going to be very meager compared to his current value, and his playing time might start later than he would like in the majors. So what if he has to play for the 49ers? Pry York’s money from his miserly fingers, prove himself, then go the free agency route for a shot at the Superbowl. He just needs to make sure his contract has an opt-out after four or five years. Easy-squeezy. Let’s just hope he doesn’t try to pull a Manning…

Jeni got a Koala craft table today, and I helped her get it home and get it set up in the spare room. She’s been pining for one for many years…they are quite expensive but well designed and well-built (these are NOT Ikea quality, kidz…). She’s excited about it, but she’s still sick to her stomach over how much she spent (seems she can’t spend more than $100 without feeling buyer’s remorse…)

The clutch on my truck seems to be going fubar. Noticed yesterday that if I come to a complete stop with the stick in gear that it’s hard to get the stick back into the neutral area…no problem if the truck is still in motion tho’, the stick comes right out. Weird. The truck has close to 176K on it now, and is almost due for another 30/60/90…I might need to take a day this week to get the thing serviced. And I found out that my fubar car alarm has a lifetime warranty for the original install of the original owner’s vehicle for the life of the vehicle…whoo-hoo! That alarm system is just as old as the truck (15 years). Plus, it was a Magnolia Hi-Fi purchase, so I feel very confident the work will be done well (I love those guys…)

Yes, I’m being bad, and updating my blog at work. My first day back at work after two weeks off…I did some email and raid, and I’m already missing all the time off, playing around, watching football.

Speaking of football, Brian dragged me downtown for the Falcons game. We were seated in the last row of the lower level of the end zone (southwest side), which gave us a decent view and we wouldn’t be blocking anyone’s view if we stood up. It took FOREVER to find decent beer…Redhook IPA is located on the lower concourse, southeast side. It’s much easier finding decent beer at the stadium across the street…and for those who don’t know, the only place I know of at Mariner’s stadium to get African Amber is the bottom level, almost center field (leaning toward right field)

Anyway, Vick left the game way early, so we had to watch their "B" game…and the ‘hawks almost found a way to lose this game too! Cripes, you just can’t leave early at a Seahawks game, because they’re almost always decided during the last three minutes! Needless to say, it certainly wasn’t boring…

The Rose Bowl was fantastic. But what was that Texan team doing there? A couple of other bowl games that day were also great, tho’ the Fiesta Bowl was practically anti-climatic. Monday night’s game (Sugar Bowl) was slow…I watched it while I was taking down the Xmas tree. I’m really looking forward to the Orange Bowl tonight…first time two Heisman winners will duke it out for a "National Championship" (if you believe all that BCS stuff…). Lots of other stories within stories, too…I hope it doesn’t suck.

Need more coffee.