Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You should always use protection...

The Lenovo desktops we buy at work come with plastic to protect the logo and the area around the buttons, presumably from damage on the assembly line or during shipping. But this machine managed to have the protective wrapper caught in the DVD drive. I'm not quite sure why it happened, but I don't think it protected anything.

Monday, June 29, 2009


Right after my townhouse went under contract a few years ago, one a few houses down went on the market. Evidently, it sold to a family that bought it to rent out to their daughter. They lived there for about 2 years, and then it went on the market again, for a few grand less than what it sold at. A few days later, someone was moving in and it wasn't listed, so I assume they decided to rent it out instead. The new neighbors had a bunch of rather loud kids and a couple dobermans.

When I went out to take out the recycling yesterday morning there was a UHaul pulled up on the lawn and they were loading stuff. It was still there this morning when I took this picture, and it was parked on the street this morning, and there was a for sale sign on the front yard (although it isn't showing up on the MLS or on the Realtor's website yet).

Can't see I'm disappointed to see the old neighbors move, and I hope that it's sold to an owner-occupant and not someone who is going to rent it. Knowing my luck, the new neighbors will probably be even worse.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Random Shirts...

So last week I got an email from ThinkGeek that their random grab bag of shirts was available. Since I'm cheap and wear shirts, I decided to order a couple. I've ordered it in the past, and I've gotten a range of shirts, from ones I really love to ones I don't want to wear in public. I figure it's a low-risk gamble, and unlike buying a lottery ticket, at least if I get a shirt I hate I can wear it to bed or while painting or something. So I ordered 3.

Here's what I got. I like the "I>U" one. The "2+2=5 for large values of 2" is OK, but a little too geeky. They "Think Globally" one is way too geeky - I had to have a programmer friend explain it. Not sure if I'll be wearing that one in public.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Not even poop?

The college I work for operates a clinical center. I went in for a few hours today with a coworker to replace a number of the computers in the labs there - we could get it done without interrupting the staff or students, or taking a big chunk of our workday, and we made some overtime too.

They have a couple single-occupancy, non-gendered bathrooms, and this sign was hanging in one of them. I'm guessing it refers to stuff like paper towels or tampons, but it would also seem to exclude, well, the kind of stuff one normally goes into a bathroom to deposit in the toilet.

Friday, June 26, 2009

I feel so wanted...

One of my coworkers, BSOM, has been playing with digital signage - displaying changing info on slides on a TV. He was trying a demo of a program, and made some "dummy" slides to test one out and put them on a TV that hangs in our office. One was a wanted poster for yours truly. Evidently, I'm guilty of sneaker pimping, jaywalking, eating the last donut, and crushing a lot.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hard drive FAIL...

No, this hard drive hasn't died... yet. But I'm notorious for killing hard drives - I've had a number die on me, internal, external, laptop, ect. I once had one die while I was copying it to another drive to back up. I once gave a dead hard drive to a friend to recover along with an external drive to copy the data to, and turned on the external drive when I got it back only to find it dead.

We use USB hard drives at work for imaging machines (for the non-techies, imaging makes an exact copy of the hard drive, so you can set up a machine the way you want with all the apps and stuff and then use that image to set up other machines). They tend to die on me after a year or so, so the last drive I got I jokingly named F4IL. It died a couple weeks ago, so it's replacement is Fail 2.0.

And this isn't an indictment of Iomega drives - they've been pretty solid. It's just that they take a lot of abuse - our student workers borrow them, they get dropped, kicked, hot-unplugged, ect.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Welcome new students.. now keep out...

So it's Summer Orientation week at the college I work for, which means that the campus is swarming with cute freshmen girls who make me feel old and dirty. Summer is also when they rip out large portions of the campus and replace it with new stuff that they rip out the following year.

Which leads to this inviting sign - hanging on a chain-link construction fence surrounding a construction site.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Your toaster oven, it has a flavor...

Sometimes in the morning, while I'm grabbing my travel mug of coffee and downing my morning dose of drugs, Nibbler the cat will jump on my counter and start licking my toaster oven. I suspect it's because I usually set my George Foreman grill in front of it, so the toaster oven probably tastes like hot dogs and BBQ chicken.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The last of my Vault Zero stash...

I love Vault Zero, Coke's citrus-flavored, caffeine-infused diet soda that "drinks like a soda, kicks like an energy drink". Unfortunately, about 4 months ago it seems to have disappeared from all the stores near me. If I'd known it was going away, I would have stockpiled it like Kim Jong Il with nuclear weapons. But I didn't, so now I'm forced to settle for Diet Mountain Dew. I've seen ads for it recently, so I think that it must be sold somewhere, just that the local bottler here doesn't bottle/distribute it anymore.

I had one 12-pack left, and I was saving for a special occasion. But my life hasn't been too special of late, and I figured if I hung onto it it would just go bad - artificial sweetener has a limited shelf life. So I cracked it open yesterday and am already almost halfway through the 12-pack. I'll miss it. I think I'll save one can for posterity.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I've got a baggie of that good green stuff...

No, it's not what you think. It's 100% organic.... catnip. I bought one of those scratch pads yesterday at Target, in the hopes that Nibbler the cat would scratch it instead of my chairs and sofa. It comes with this giant bag of catnip that you are supposed to rub into the scratching surface to attract the cat. So far, Nibbler seems more interested in continuing to destroy the chair I bought at Ikea a few years ago.

The whole "organic" thing kind of made me laugh - because I don't care if what I eat is organic, let alone what my cateats. Plus there's something funny about the fact that somewhere there is a guy who lists his profession as "catnip farmer".

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's been a long week, so I needed a drink today...

On Saturdays, I usually go to the gym and to 5pm mass at a church near the gym. This works great during the school year, when the gym closes at 9pm - I go to mass, then hit the gym. During the summer, though, the gym closes at 4pm, which means I have an hour to kill. The last few weeks I've been spending it at the nearby Target in Towson, because there's always something I need from Target. I always seem to wind up making some sort of impulse purchase.

I also usually need my mid-afternoon caffeine fix. I think my new favorite summer Target is a Venti iced coffee with skim milk and hazelnut syrup. It's noticeably cheaper and lower in calories than a Frappacino, and it tastes good and doesn't have that greasy finish that a Frappacino does. And it keeps me from getting the pounding headaches that caffeine withdrawal gives me.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Gee Oscar, you sure have a nice weiner...

I usually try to eat healthy, so when I buy hot dogs I usually buy the low-fat/fat-free kind - the kind where they cut the fat off the cow asshole before they make it into hot dogs. But I had a free coupon for a pack of Oscar Myer hot dogs (thanks, internet!) and saw these and couldn't pass them up.

They are pretty tasty, and they remind me of the cheese dogs I would occasionally eat as a kid. They also each pack something like 25% of the RDA of saturated fat, so if I keep eating them they will also remind me of being a fat kid who could never find pants that fit.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My new throne....

So here's my new toilet - the one that I had installed on Monday to replace the one that broke like 4 months ago. It's a Gerber, if you have some sort of brand loyalty about where you poop. I don't - I'm just glad it's in one piece and flushes.

As you can tell, I've already made myself at home. The copy of The Economist actually came from work - mine ran out a few months ago and I haven't renewed it. When our post office at the college I work for gets magazines for students who have left for the summer, they put them out for employees and students to take rather than toss them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Basket of Pussy...

So once again I'm nearing the end of the day with no pic taken. So once again, you get a pic of my cat from a week or two ago - I had just finished doing laundry and she decided the basket would be a good place to relax.

Sadly, Nibbler in my laundry basket is about as close as I get to having a female in my pants.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Tonight's reading....

When I get home, I usually eat dinner and read a book while I'm eating. I'm currently working on Driving Like Crazy by PJ O'Rourke.

I'm a huge fan of PJ's writing in general - he's an ex-hippie turned libertarian hawk who has written a number of books. He's also been to a number of war zones, including Iraq during both wars. But he's also a car enthusiast, and much of his early writing was for a number of car mags. This book includes a bunch of his older car pieces, plus some new ones and some updates. I'm loving it - it makes me laugh out loud. But how can you not like a book that includes the essay How To Drive Fast on Drugs While Getting Your Wing-Wang Squeezed and Not Spill Your Drink?

Monday, June 15, 2009

So long, toilet...

Well, after it breaking 4 months ago, I finally got around to getting the toilet in my master bathroom replaced today. We've been busy at work with some projects, and I just didn't want to take the time off to get it replaced. Finally did today. So there is my old toilet, chilling on my walkway.

I ended up finding a plumber by googling "Baltimore Plumber" and picking the one with the best reviews. On the negative side, they didn't show up until an hour and a half after they said they would, and after I called them to make sure they were actually coming. On the plus side, they were done in <45 minutes, and the new toilet is nice.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pretty in pink...

So when I bought my townhouse, one of the "features" was a raised bed in the front, filled with white stone and a bunch of plants that look like the kind of weeds you find growing in vacant lots. One of those weeds, though, turns into pretty pink flowers for a couple weeks during the summer before they all die and go back to looking like weeds. So I figured I'd get a picture before it gets all weedy again...

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Umm, actually by definition they aren't...

I spotted this "Dogs are People Too" bumper sticker on the side of a Subaru wagon parked in the lot of the Towson Target today.

I have a cat, and I love the little furball. It's amazing how much personality a small animal can have, and there's a certain feeling of being wanted when a cat curls up in your lap and purrs.

But I draw the line at people who refer to their pets as their children or say that they are people. By definition, they aren't. And there are huge differences between pets and humans - I left my kitten home alone for 12 hours a daywhen she was 6 weeks old. Try that with a baby human, and you will end up in jail. My cat will never graduate from college or get a job like a human child. If she ever stops scratching the sofa or biting my arm, it will be because she doesn't like getting sprayed with water or yelled at, not because she respects property or understands that you shouldn't cause people physical pain.

And that is why dogs and cats are not people. They are dogs and cats.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Friday night at the We-Is...

I used to be a loyalist to Giant, but after a few bad experiences I found myself looking for a new place to buy my groceries. The Weis near me, on Joppa Road, had just reopened after a renovation, so I decided to give them a shot, and liked the store. They have a lot of good store brand stuff (especially their light ice cream), decent prices, good selection, and a nice layout.

Since I'm kind of a loser and don't have anything else to do on a Friday night, I often go grocery shopping on a Friday night - it's practically empty, and I can get in and out quickly. This store has posted signs that starting next week they will be open 24 hours, so maybe I'll start shopping at 3am, when it's really empty.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mom's new PC....

When I was up at my parent's house in NJ, my mom asked me to take a look at her computer, which had some minor spyware and virus issues. It was also painfully slow. The machine was a Via 1.3ghz with 512 of RAM that I built about 5 years ago, mostly from free after rebate parts, so it's not shocking that it was well past it's prime, if it ever had one.

So my parents decided to finally buy a new machine. Since they refuse to buy stuff online, I agreed to find one for them and buy it and they would pay me back. I stalked the Dell online business outlet store, and snatched a refurbished Optiplex 330 for $399 plus tax, shipped free. It was a Pentium Dual Core 2.0, 2 gigs RAM, 250 gig SATA hard drive, dvd burner, and Windows XP Pro.

I got it today and I'm getting it set up - Windows updates, anti-virus, Office, ect. It seems like a nice little machine for the price. Interestingly, it has a sticker on it for the Philadelphia School System, so I know where it came from.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


I was getting ready to go out tonight, and figured I'd take a picture of myself in the bathroom mirror. Makes me look like some 16 year old on MySpace.

Like my bathroom curtain? It came with the house....

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Who you gonna call?

One benefit of our recent office move is that I now share an office space with a number of very smart people, including friend and former roommate bsom, who now has a cube right outside my office. It's good that we can pick each other's brains now, although I'm hoping it's not too distracting.

He hung a whiteboard in his cube with this The Doctor is In/Out message on it. I decided to add a third option.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I use technology for everything....

We are in the process of moving offices. Unfortunately, my cube was one of the last to be put together, so it was basically made with the parts that were left over - including a file cabinet that was a little shorter than the top of the work surface. So I looked around the office to find something that was the right height to sit between the top of the file cabinet and the bottom of the desk. I found an ancient Toshiba Satellite laptop - it's probably at least 10 years old - that the office's previous owners had left behind and shoved that in between - it worked perfectly.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

If gas prices keep going up, maybe I should buy one of these...

I see this little guy around the college campus I work sometimes - it's a Yamaha Vino motor scooter, which I presume from it's Italian name is supposed to resemble a Vespa. It's interesting that you can get away with naming a motor vehicle after an alcoholic beverage if the name is in a foreign language. I can't imagine the Yamaha Wine would be nearly as appealing.

In case you are wondering, the Vino is about 2 grand new. It has a 49cc engine, which means that it is just slow enough to qualify as a motor scooter under Maryland law - meaning you don't need tags or a motorcycle license to drive one, but you can't go above 30mph.

Would I ever actually buy one? Probably not, since it's not exactly practical for my half-hour commute. And because I don't know how to ride a bike.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oh, Hai, I'll have the fish...

I didn't take a picture today, but I took a couple a few days ago, so you get that picture instead. I thought Nibbler looked kind of funny sitting at the table, as if she were waiting to be served.

I let my cat get away with way too much.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy hour....

We're currently wrapping up a migration to Microsoft Outlook/Exchange (from Novell Groupwise) at work, a project I was fairly heavily involved in, having made the mistake of volunteering last year to take on SCCM, Microsoft's configuration management console, which among other things allows for remote installs of software. Our Project Manger decided to organize a happy hour tonight at Ryan's Daughter, an Irish restaurant/bar not too far away.

It was fun - we had a good mix of people, and spent an hour or two tipping back the hops and conversing. The pic is of my first black and tan of the night (half Guinness, half Harp).

Thursday, June 4, 2009

I saw the sign, and it opened up my mind...

This "out of order" sign was taped over the card reader over one of the doors to the system room at work. I was very tempted to make an identical sign, tape it over the other door, and watch hilarity ensue.

But I don't think my creativity would be appreciated.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

This Bites!

That's the sign at my dentists office - it didn't come out too great. I went to the dentist today for a teeth cleaning - I was about 2 months overdue, and since I drink coffee (and tea during the winter) like it's going out of style, my teeth have taken on a color more commonly found on old newspapers and the middle of traffic lights.

I made the appointment a few days ago - and completely forgot that today was our employee picnic - we used to have a divisional picnic in August, but this year it was changed to a college-wide picnic in June. So I missed it.

It's probably a sign that I take my job too seriously that my first thought was "at least I won't have to miss any hours of actual work for this".

The cleaning was pretty quick and painless, though, and they didn't even bug me about how much I need to get my wisdom teeth removed.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I'm on yer carpet, leaving fur behind...

The first rule of running a photo of the day site is not, surprisingly, to not talk about running a photo of the day site. Rather, it's if you don't find anything to take a picture of, you can always take a picture of your cat.

This is Nibbler chilling on my living room floor. It's where she spends a lot of her time, as evidenced by the fact that she leaves a giant black cat fur "stain" vaguely shaped like a lounging cat. When I finally get around to vacuuming it, I'm pretty sure I get enough fur to build another cat. Oh, and the scratching post - she uses it occasionally, but generally she prefers the sofa or chair.

Monday, June 1, 2009

What you going to do with all that junk, all that junk inside your trunk...

Well, I drove to DC today to pick up two lots of stuff that I won on liquidation.com - the DC police department sells found unclaimed property online through them. I won two lots - one of electronics for $360 and the other of musical instruments for $650. Most of the stuff is junk, but there are a few items in the electronics lot that I think should at least make me most of my money back, and the musical instruments include a bunch of very rare and expensive guitar pedals.

I dragged a few of the items in - the valuable or fragile stuff- but most of it is still in the back of the truck - I'll probably try to drag most of it in tommorow. A bunch of it needs to go in the trash, a few items need to be tested, cleaned, and put on eBay. The drive wasn't as bad as I thought it would be, so that was a plus.