Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bachelor plumbing repair....

So I went to take a shower this morning, as I tend to do every morning. I turned off the shower when I was done - and it turned itself back on. This continued for a while - I would press the knob to turn it off, and it would pop back out. I finally got it to the point where it was only leaking a little. So later on in the day, I tried to turn it further to get it to go off - and it only got worse. Finally, I got a roll of packing tape (of which I always have a ton around, thanks to my quasi-lucrative eBay business) and held it down and taped it. After a few tries, I've gotten it to stay put off.

Eventually, I need to get a plumber out to replace it, but it's not going to happen anytime soon. I work for a college, and this week is move-in week, which means there is no way I'm going to be able to take time off to get it fixed anytime soon. Luckily, I have a second full bath, with a bathtub and shower that I have never used. Looks like I'll be using it tomorrow morning. I cleaned the cobwebs out of it last night.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Hey, that looks familiar..

I spotted this Heathkit stereo receiver at a hamfest last weekend in Westminster, MD. My parents have the exact same receiver in the living room of their house in NJ, powering their radio, tape player, and single-drawer CD player....

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Check out my rack!

This is the shoe rack in my bedroom. I added the second rack on the top this weekend, and it now has enough space to house my shoe collection.

I've always liked nice shoes - probably because I used to be so fat that shoes were the only item I could wear that fit, and also because I spent 12 years in Catholic school, where a uniform was required and shoes were one of the few forms of personal expression.

Now, I'm not one of those people who takes great care of his kicks - most of these are well-worn, and some are downright beat up. And most of them were bought at bargain-basement prices - you can get some awesome deals on shoes if you stalk the clearance sections of stores and sites like shoes.com and bargainoutitters.com

Most of them are "casual" - ie nice sneakers. They work out well for work - nice enough to be acceptable, but sporty enough to be comfy if I have to walk around campus a lot.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Birthday cake...

My boss found out it was my birthday and offered to take me out to lunch. I declined, since I haven't gone with them the last couple times they had birthdays - so he bought me this piece of cake instead. German chocolate.

So today's my birthday. Twenty-nine years ago, I came into the world, naked and screaming - and it's all been downhill from there.

I'm kidding, of course. Life could be better, but it could be worse. I'm employed, have food and shelter, can fit into pants I could only dream of fitting into a few years ago, have little debt beyond my giant, upside-down mortgage, a truck visible from space, a cat who can be really cute when she isn't trying to eat my arm, and enough gadgets to open a Radio Shack.

On the negative side, I'm also single, don't see that changing anytime soon, and while I like my job, I'd also like to move up and don't see that happening anytime soon.

I never really got the big deal about birthdays - it's just a day. It's a reminder that you are a year closer to death, and when there are lots of things you want to do in life it's a little depressing. I know - I can find the cloud in any silver lining.

Monday, August 10, 2009

That's not a very inviting sign...

They are renovating the two main eating areas at the college I work at this summer. To deal with employees, summer students, and other people who want to eat, they've recast one of the food stands that used to serve Mexican food (think Chipotle or Baja Fresh, but crappier and more expensive) as "Demolition Cafe" with a limited menu. They've redecorated it like a construction site - but putting a giant "No Trespassing" sign with your hours seems like a bad idea. I mean, you want customers to come, not stay away...

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Popcorn Ice Cream?

I was in Target today, picking up some groceries and random household stuff, and had a coupon for Turkey Hill Dynamic Duos ice cream. They only had one flavor - "Movie Night" - a combination of vanilla with caramel and popcorn ice cream with popcorn and nuts. I decided to give it a try.

It's.. interesting. It can't be too bad, because I polished off at least a third of the carton. I actually like fake popcorn - I like the taste of popcorn, but not the squeaky sound it makes when you eat it. I'm the only person I know who likes buttered popcorn Jelly Belly jelly beans. I don't think I'd go out of my way to buy Movie Night again... although I do have a few more $1 off coupons left.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Where I'm writing this from...

So I've got the new Mac Mini mostly set up. I've got the new printer, a Brother HL2170W (because it's networked) and scanner (a Canon Lide 100, because HP didn't have 10.5 drivers for my old Scanjet 4600) hooked up. I've got most of my apps installed on the mac side, and a Windows XP VM built in Fusion with most of the apps. I still need to install and configure some stuff, and am still trying to get my iTunes library over - bsom helped me with the path, but it crapped out 1/3 of the way through the import - I'll probably try it again before I go to bed, and turn off the power saver stuff so it doesn't go to sleep midway.

The monitors were pre-existing (a 24" debranded HP refurb and a 19" LG). I did spring for an Apple keyboard. The Kensington trackball was actually $10 at a hamfest a few years back. I'm currently stalking iSight cameras on eBay.

Friday, August 7, 2009

I prefer to flush by head...

Spotted this sign in the bathroom of one of our academic buildings at the college I work for (near the Psych department, fwiw). The handwriting in the right corner reads "as opposed to what? by foot? by elbow?)

It's one of the few building that has urinals that don't autoflush, which presumably was the reason for the sign.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Inside my mini...

I took my new Mac Mini to work today to upgrade it from it's stock 1 gig of RAM to 4 gigs. This is because I didn't have the precision tool I needed to open it up - a putty knife, which is used for prying the bottom of the case off. Once I got it open, it was pretty easy to take the four screws that hold the frame (which holds the dvd drive and hard drive) and to install the two memory chips. I was even able to get it back together again in one piece.

I'm currently running software update. It's going to take me a while to get it set up - in addition to installing all the mac updates and apps, I need to install VMWare Fusion and build a Windows XP VM, with all the updates and apps. Most of my documents from my old Windows machine are on my Lacie NAS RAID, but I have some I still need to grab off the PC. I also need to try to migrate my iTunes library over (I'm giving this a try) and install a new scanner and printer (the USB port on my old printer died, so I had it hooked up parallel, and HP evidently has yet to make 10.5 drivers for my old scanner).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Hey, what's your sign...

The trick to making money in business is to find some small niche that needs to be filled - one small enough that it can really only support a small number of players, but big enough to be profitable. One of those fields seems to be the "real estate sign guy". Realtors don't put their own signs in the lawns of homes that are on the market - they hire some dude with a pickup and a bunch of posts to do it for them. It's brilliant, and it's probably one of the few real-estate businesses that actually does OK in a crappy market - more homes on the market longer needing signs.

I took a picture of this "sign guy's" truck at the intersection of Walther and White Marsh Blvd. last week on the way to work.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I hate when somebody else gets the last Shuffle..

Not the best picture, because I took it while walking, but this is an iPod vending machine in the Macy's at the Christiana Mall in Delaware. I'm not sure why anyone would buy an iPod from a Macy's vending machine when there is an Apple store a short walk away.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Whose house? Waffle House...

Drove back from the 'rents today, via I-95 so I could stop at the Apple Store in the Christiana Mall to buy a new Mac Mini tax free. Turns out it doesn't qualify for the free iPod after rebate, but still a good deal. I'm waiting for my 4 gigs of Mushkin RAM to show up from Newegg before I unbox it and start setting it up, building a VMWare Fusion VM on it, and moving my data over from the 3ghz Celeron I'm writing this post on.

Stopped at a Waffle House in Elkton, MD on the way back. Bacon egg and cheese on a biscuit, side of hash browns, and a coffee - $4.91 plus tip. Can't beat it.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Elmo want to eat himself...

I drove my mom to church this morning, and afterwords stopped at a local, independent small-town downtown bakery to pick up some stuff. I noticed these cupcakes chilling in one of the cases. Probably a copyright violation, but so cute - especially the Cookie Monster cupcake, complete with cookie in mouth.

Saturday, August 1, 2009


I was headed up to NJ today - figured I'd see the 'rents and help them out a little. I took Monday off - I'm going to go back via Delaware and buy myself a tax-free Mac Mini on the way down. I drove up the way I usually go, though - via PA. On I-78 near exit 35, I hit a mile-plus traffic jam. A number of drivers decided to use the shoulder of the road as a third lane. This tractor trailer driver decided to prevent them from doing that.

I was kind of glad - I think that using the shoulder as a third lane is dangerous, and it's also problematic because sometimes police/emergency vehicles use it to get to an accident, if that's what's causing the traffic jam. But once I got to exit 35, I wanted to get off and take the detour that Tom-Tom told me to take, but getting over was difficult even though I was in the right lane, thanks to the extra "lane" on the shoulder.

While I was stuck in traffic, there was a vehicle next to me in the left lane - a blue Chrysler Pacifica. The passenger seat was occupied by a large women who was yelling loudly and gesturing towards the truck and going "good job" and then towards the cars on the shoulder and yelling "f*** them". She passed me about 20 miles down the road, so I'm not sure how much time the detour saved, since she stayed on the road and obviously wasn't that far behind me.