What now?

Mar. 25th, 2011 01:44 pm
awfulhorrid: (Default)
This morning my old Saturn was pronounced officially dead. Oh, it starts and I can probably drive it to the junkyard, but it's no longer fit for even short-range transportation. In the past few months I've been getting small warnings that it wasn't going to last much longer—the periodic OBDII warning light, issues with shifting, losing oil and coolant ... lots of smaller issues pointing to a single undeniable conclusion: it's a 16 year old car with over 300,000 miles on it. Really, there's only so much you can do to prolong the inevitable with that.

On the way home from school last night, the transmission suddenly shifted into low gear and just stayed there. I've had this happen a few times and usually if I shut it down and wait a few seconds the problem clears up. (Rebooting works in an amazing number of devices these days; who knew?) This time was different. As I pulled off the road the oil warning light came on and the engine shut down even before I could stop. When I hit the ignition it started right back up, but now there was a cyclic whirring sound from the engine and the oil light kept flickering on and off. I knew there was a gas station a few miles down the road, so I continued carefully onwards and stopped there. It was closed, but there was a Walgreens across the street and at least I was off the street and in a well-lit location.

Upon checking, I discovered the oil wasn't even hitting the dipstick. I could see a sheen of oil on the accessory belts and a spray of oil across the underside of the hood. For those less than automotively inclined, these are not good signs. The dark oil oozing from the front of the engine said the words 'head gasket' to me which is bad, but I knew I'd at least be able to get home. I called [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm to let her know what had happened then purchased three quarts of oil from Walgreens. That put the oil level back to normal and reduced the engine noise back to merely concerning rather than immediately alarming. It was a little nerve-wracking trip. I could hear the oil-soaked belt slipping every time I had to slow down (and the alternator output decreased, of course.) I drove to the garage near our home and filled out the drop-off form. The mechanic called me this morning and gave me the news.

I'm really not sure how we're going to swing a replacement vehicle. The balance seems to be between payments to a dealership -- which means a higher overall cost, but probably a more reliable car and more options for recourse if something is wrong with it -- and trying to find an individual seller with a one-time payment in our range. That way seems almost certainly to be buying someone else's problems. My mechanic has said if we do that then we should bring the car by his garage first and he'll check it out for free. Apparently there's a firm benefit to being regular customers. I'm leaning heavily towards going through a dealership, though. We can figure something out for the monthly payments, although the down payment, tax, title, and other costs remain a concern.

Augh.
awfulhorrid: (Love my coffee)
I've been learning a bit of JavaScript and playing around with CSS. (No, the class on JavaScript hasn't actually started yet, but reading the textbook it looks like I'm already past what we'll learn. Oh well.) At least part of it was the fact that I had an unused Tripod account sitting out there. Now I know Tripod is barely a step up from Geocities, but it is free hosting and it'll do just fine for my purposes. (I just wish they'd let me run PHP!)

So, for absolutely no reason at all, here's The Glorious Predictions. Note: content changes daily, CSS changes four times a day. I'm still making some minor changes and will probably extend some of the JavaScript code in the background a bit more, but I think it's ready to trot out for display.

Two final warnings: first, you'll need your JavaScript on for the page to operate. You'll get a warning message if it's not, which you might see flash by when it first loads. Secondly, if you visit the page with any flavor of Internet Explorer, you'll get a slightly less politely worded message and a suggestion to use a better browser - complete with a few suggestions.
awfulhorrid: (Bacon!)
Bratwurst and bacon and thickly cut gammon,
Salami and roast beef and sometimes a salmon,
Fine cut bologna curled up into rings,
These are a few of my favorite things!
awfulhorrid: (Grinning Skull)
I generally don't pay much attention to commercials, but sometimes one catches my eye. This may be because it's particularly good, or because it's particularly stupid. Guess which one this is about!

Picture a series of cars failing to start ... driver after driver trying the car's ignition and it's just not working. Then a voice solemnly intones: "Nothing's worse than a dead battery." The commercial then goes on to hawk the miracle of their particular brand of battery, which apparently never goes dead until it does. (Yes, all batteries go dead eventually. The newer car batteries actually have a minor flaw in that they'll happily operate on five out of six cells until they go completely dead without warning.)

Seriously? Nothing is worse? It must really be nice to have such a limited imagination. Frankly, I can imagine a lot worse things to go wrong ... heck, I don't even have to leave the general topic of 'car problems' to come up with much worse. Ah well, some people have much easier lives, I guess.

CREDO?

Feb. 25th, 2011 10:40 pm
awfulhorrid: (Bajoran Communicator Pin)
Is anyone familiar with CREDO mobile (formerly 'Working Assets' wireless?) I received an advertisement from them this week. Normally I would have just tossed it with the junk mail, but I was curious and read the information. They claim to be a "progressive" phone company and make donations to causes that I do happen to support. The fact that I'd get a bit of savings over my current Verizon carrier for at least the first year is an enticement, but they're also being carried on Sprint network and I had a bad experience with them. (Of course since a lot of that had to do with their customer support, this might be less of an issue than it was previously.)

In short, I'm considering switching my wireless, but I'd like to hear from someone who's actually used them first. Anyone?
awfulhorrid: (Kinky Goblin)
This week we could pick from two different assignments, either of which would deal with description or illustrative text. I picked this one:

You've noticed a recurring problem in your workplace and want to bring it to the attention of your boss, who is typically inattentive. Write a letter to your boss describing the problem. Your goal is not to provide solutions, but rather, to provide vivid description -- complete with sensory details -- so that your boss can no longer deny the problem.


This is my entry, with suitable acknowledgment to the massive amounts of fantasy literature I've read over the years and a tip of the hat to [livejournal.com profile] mocha_mephooki for additional job-description inspiration.
Dear boss ... )
awfulhorrid: (polyflag)
I am writing a thesis for my Composition I class with a topic of "Families in Contemporary Society." My working thesis statement is fairly simple: "Traditional marriage does not fit the needs of all potential relationships in contemporary society." I'm considering aspects of same gender relationships and polyamorous ones, but I'm also looking at problems faced by people who just plain don't want to be married for whatever reason. Odd that I should run into one of these myself yesterday.

I've been meaning to list [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm as my Medical Power of Attorney for quite some time now and the research I've been doing for my paper reminded me of this. When I was asked about filing some advance directive paperwork during my last VA visit, I took it as a sign and set an appointment. I thought I might have trouble with the social worker when filing the paperwork since I put "significant other" as my relationship with both my primary and secondary designated MPoA, but honestly she didn't even raise an eyebrow. Ten minutes after I walked into the office, I had everything signed, filed, and witnessed without a hitch. We briefly discussed my plan of distributing my living will directives to my family of choice, which she thought to be a sound plan. She made the additional suggestion that I list a secondary emergency contact with the front desk.

That, of course, is where I encountered the problem. I've dealt with one of the receptionists before--she's one of the reasons I decided it was a good idea to list a MPoA. I was happy to see that she was busy so I'd be talking with one of the other ones, but of course as I start giving him my information to add a second emergency contact, the first one comes over and tries to start the same old song and dance about how my emergency contact needs to be a blood relative. I don't even let her finish the sentence. "Yes, I can list her as my emergency contact. She's also my power of attorney." The one taking the information waved off the other one, apparently not wanting to be in the middle of the argument.

So let me get this straight: I can list my girlfriend (significant other) as my medical power of attorney without the least bit of resistance, but you'll try to keep me from making her my emergency contact? WTF? My 'blood relatives' don't even live in the same time zone as I do, nor would I trust them to respect my wishes about life support equipment. I can understand suggesting that the emergency contact being such a relative, but when I say "thank you for the suggestion, but this is my emergency contact" them you just need to back off.

I can only imagine trying to list a same gender partner. I'm quite sure they don't have a form for that!
awfulhorrid: (Wood Spirit)
It seems that most people are posting about the snow today, so why not? No surprise, but school was closed last night and today. Considering we've still got four foot drifts of snow taking up most of our driveway, I guess it's for the best. I tried to dig us out earlier. I managed a length of about three feet along the width of the garage before I realized this was officially a Bad Idea and that I should just surrender and go along with [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm on calling for someone with a plow. Given that there was about 27 feet of driveway left and I had already driven my blood sugar level into the ground I think it was the right choice. We're waiting for the plow now, actually.

I've uploaded some of the snow pictures to a Photobucket album.
awfulhorrid: (Worship the Coffee)
Edit: Original subject line was Stop digging to China Australia! ... but then I noticed that subject lines don't support the strike through tag.

The other day Lorenzo was participating in one of his hobbies, namely digging wildly in the downstairs litter box. I made the off hand comment "Lorenzo stop digging like that; you don't speak Chinese!" (Or words approximate to this, at least.)

Of course I spend a lot of time playing with world maps and have a fairly good grasp of geography. I immediately realized that even if my lovely feline could dig that far he wouldn't come out in China since China isn't an antipodal point from our location. I wondered briefly where exactly he would come out, but aside from estimating somewhere in the South Pacific, I didn't follow up on it at the time. Today, I fired up Google Earth and entered an inverse of our geographic coordinates to see where he'd end up. As it turns out, I was off by a bit. He wouldn't end up in the South Pacific, but rather the Indian Ocean, almost in the Southern Ocean. Specifically he'd end up between the South West coast of Australia and the French Southern & Antarctic Lands. Allowing some drift towards a large land mass, I'll allow that he might end up in Perth, Australia. While I do have a friend that lives in Perth, I'd rather not call her to ask her to send back my cat.

How about "Lorenzo! Stop that digging, you don't need a kangaroo!"
awfulhorrid: (Bacon!)
With a snowstorm hitting the area pretty hard, we were discussing the road conditions. This can be particularly important since I need to drive [livejournal.com profile] tarrestrial home. Luckily most of the drive is along the Interstate and that's usually pretty good. We were wondering if we should leave early or around our usual time. We finally decided that if we wait a bit, the odds are better that the roads would be plowed and possibly even the salt trucks would have been out. I then suggested that perhaps even the "pepper" trucks would have been out, just to add a little extra flavor to the streets. [livejournal.com profile] tarrestrial and [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm then bit me for some reason. After that, [livejournal.com profile] tarrestrial went on to observe that the trucks could even have little signs with "Season(ings) Greetings!" on them.

Yes, we then bit her too.

Now we're just waiting for a good excuse to bite [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm.
awfulhorrid: (TechnoPagan)
Please take this away from me. I'm cleaning my office and trying to get rid of some stuff which I'm never going to use again. Among these things are a collection of VHS tapes that I'd really rather go somewhere that's not just the trash can.


  • X-Men (The first movie)

  • Red Dwarf Series I (Two Tapes)

  • Red Dwarf Series II (Two Tapes)

  • Red Dwarf III "byte two" (The second half of Series III)

  • Fantasia



Respond here or by email, but if I don't get claims on them by next Saturday, they're most likely going away.
awfulhorrid: (Bella on Computer)
I thought I was making a stand for my routers and some other computer equipment. (Essentially I'm trying to reduce the footprint of some of the equipment and give myself a little storage space to boot.) However as soon as brought it in from the garage I found out exactly what I had made:



Although really this should come as no surprise to anyone.
awfulhorrid: (Bi Pride)
From numerous Live Journal posts: Originally posted by [livejournal.com profile] neo_prodigy at Spirit Day I'm posting this mostly unedited (I did correct some of the text that referred to a previous image that used photos of these young men without permission.) I suspect most of the readers of my LJ have already seen this elsewhere; it's as much a reminder to myself as it is to spread the word.

Picture and Information Behind Cut )
awfulhorrid: (Smile)
... or at least the webcomics. Apparently I provided an idea for a comic.

Cool!
awfulhorrid: (College Dog)
My GPA for the first quarter was 4.0. I intend to keep that up, but this is a bad way to start.

Today was supposed to be the start of my second quarter at ITT. I had perfect attendance for the last quarter, but I broke that today due to car trouble. I got about 2/3 of the way to school when the speedometer stopped working ... which was weird, but I could just watch the GPS and get my speed from there. About a minute later, the tachometer started fluctuating and also stopped working, followed by the radio and the windows. By this point, I was coasting to a stop at an intersection. I put it in park and tried the ignition, but it was completely dead. I got out and pushed it over to the side of the road. I checked the lights (none), the battery connection, and then gave up and called AAA, my instructor, the school, and [livejournal.com profile] bookwurm in that order.

I had the tow truck drop the car and me off at Bristol Tire & Service, about two miles from home. They were able to fix my water pump a few months ago on the day I brought it in, so I'm hopeful that they'll be able to fix an alternator with a similar speed. This is, of course, assuming it's not something like the ECM Computer. Augh. At least the instructor knows me since I had him for the last quarter and knows that I'm not BSing him about this. He's leaving the worksheets and handouts in main building for me and I'll be able to pick it up tomorrow, but there's no way I can get the participation grade made up.
awfulhorrid: (Yellow Paw)
Apparently insurance companies are really in dire need of insurance salespeople or something. After spending a good deal of time updating my various profiles on several job sites I've gotten at least five generic emails regarding such a position ... not an actual job offer, you understand, but simply an email telling me about the wonderful opportunities that await me if only I'd come join their company. This, despite more than 18 years of IT experience and nothing indicating that I am in anyway experienced or interested in insurance sales. The worst part is that I'd at least consider it as a stop-gap alternative if there was even a hint that the people sending me these offers had read my resume past the email address field. As it stands, these 'offers' have 'SCAM' written all over them in large glowing letters.
awfulhorrid: (College Dog)
Quick update on school: Things are going really well, so far. I'm settling into a nice routine and aside from one homework assignment at the very start of a class, I haven't missed anything yet. (I wasn't the only one that missed that; the layout of the page made it look like part of a lab that we'd finished in class. Still, I feel like it was my responsibility to find it and do it, so I've resolved to not miss another one.) Of course a large part of getting homework done is having the right study buddy ...

Brace for the cute )
awfulhorrid: (Love my coffee)
[livejournal.com profile] bookwurm has already posted most of the details here, so I won't repeat most of them. All I can say is that my first reaction was something like ...

Are you OK? (Yes.) Are the cats OK? (Yes.) Are the computers OK? (Yes.) Alright, then we can deal with anything else from there.

We've certainly been quite the local tourist attraction today, even though I think the totaled Suburban took far more damage. I'm just glad that no one was hurt anywhere in the community. Of course, we took a lot of pictures ourselves -- after all, it's not like this is something that happens everyday!

Hey you squirrels, get out of my house! )
awfulhorrid: (College Dog)
Last night I went to orientation, got my upcoming class schedule, and met some of the teachers. The teachers seem competent and like people with which I can get along. The fact that they're about my age and at least one of the ones I met has been working in IT for as long as I have went a long ways towards reassuring me.

More details ... )
awfulhorrid: (Bajoran Communicator Pin)
Testing my 'Blip.fm' to LiveJournal option with a familiar sounding mix. The cake is a lie.

Edit: No, I don't like the way this is formated, nor the lack of appropriate tags. I won't be using this part of the Blip.fm service. (Adding tags, moods, etc. myself.) I do still like this music mix, though.

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