food comments edit

I was just at the local Haggen and bought a Nestle Crunch “Mocha” bar. I’d never had one before, so thought I would give it a shot.

Buying a bar with the word Mocha appended to the name sort of implies to me a coffee-esque flavor.

Not so.

After tasting it, I realized I had been duped - the only thing the bar resembled to mocha was the color. It was a nice creamy light-brown hue, the result of mixing white chocolate and milk chocolate. Sweet like nobody’s business, but not at all what I was expecting. Bastards.

personal, tv comments edit

After my dealings with the user yesterday and my general attitude towards things anyway, I drummed up some more shirts and goodies for folks to buy at my Junk Store. Now I offer shirts to help frustrated people like me show how they feel towards the user community. New offerings include the phrases “I Hate People” and “I’d like to help you, but not as much as I’d like not to.” Go! Buy! Wear!

I went to lunch at an all-you-can-eat Indian joint with my friend Aaron today. Now I’m burping this sort of off-flavor lamb curry substance. This stuff always comes back to get me. Tasty going down, harsh later on.

Microsoft finally got back to me regarding the memory leak support case I filed like seven months ago. I’ve now followed their suggestions to fix the issue and I’m running tests to see if it worked. So far? It still looks broken to me.

I’ve watched the new American Idol the past couple of nights and so far I’m pleased with how it’s turning out. I scream and cringe when the worst of the worst show up to audition, and I’m happy when they finally find someone halfway decent. I guess I’ll continue following it, at least until they eliminate all the people I like.

On the American Idol home page they have a contest where you can win a walk-on role in the upcoming Kelly Clarkson/Justin Guarini movie. I entered, you should too.

books comments edit

Meeting Gibson… that sounds sort of like the title for a play or an art film. But it’s not.

My friend Colin sent me an email a couple of days ago mentioning that William Gibson, author of the famed and revolutionary cyberpunk novel Neuromancer, will be visiting the local Powell’s City of Books on Sunday, February 9 at 7:30p to pimp his new book, Pattern Recognition.

I’m considering going, but last time I went to see someone at Powell’s (Bruce Campbell, for his autobiography, If Chins Could Kill: Confessions of a B-Movie Actor), I got there two hours early and the line filled the entire top floor, went down two flights of stairs, and filled half of the second floor. It was ridiculous. I can only imagine the sort of crowd that William Gibson will garner. That alone has me thinking that I probably won’t. I’m not much for standing in line for hours on end.

William Gibson has apparently started a blog this month, which I hope he keeps up because it could prove out very interesting. I shall have to keep tabs on that.

Annoying user story of the day: There’s this guy at work who seems to have an inordinate number of problems lately. He’s filed probably 10 help desk calls with us, and as it turns out several of those were redundant in nature. I mean, if you can’t access any network, chances are you won’t be able to access any web sites or other machines, right? Does that mean you should file a help desk ticket for each web site you can’t access? Probably not. This guy did, though. Love that.

So he files this help desk ticket because he doesn’t have a certain piece of software installed on his machine so certain things aren’t working properly. I’d handled a similar case earlier, so I sent him a step-by-step list of how to fix the problem and install the software to make things work. Later he calls me up and says he keeps getting these error messages when he tries to follow my instructions. He’s all, “I keep getting this error when I do the last part of step one.” So I ask him what exactly he’s done so far.

“Well, first I did step three. Then I went back and did part of step one, then step two, and now I’m finishing up step one.”

You know, I never realized that I would have to specify that you need to do the steps in the order specified by the numbers, but apparently that’s something I’ll have to communicate. Numbered steps just aren’t clear enough.

personal, home comments edit

Jenn and I went out this weekend on an apartment/house hunt. Basically, we discovered (or re-discovered, should I say) several key things.

Apartment complexes are the same all over. You’ve got neighbors on all sides so you can’t win for losing. Some are nicer than others, but an apartment’s an apartment, regardless. They all start to look the same after you look at enough of them.

Even if an apartment has like 1200 square feet to it, the floor plan on it will make it look like a 900 square foot place. I don’t know where the extra 300 square feet go, but they disappear into the nethersphere, never to be seen again.

There are trade-offs to every apartment (or rental living situation). We found a place that was awesome inside - 1600 square feet! - but came with a one-car garage and all other parking was on an already crowded street. Great if you only own one car and never plan on having guests over. Not so good otherwise. Or there’s the ones that look pretty decent but the office staff is annoying as hell and the rest of the neighbors look like they might steal your car. Hmmmm.

Houses are another story. We’d love to get out of the apartment and into a house so we can stop having to smell the neighbor’s cooking and we can act on these home improvement whims that strike us after watching Trading Spaces. The problem is that we’d like something in the 1500 - 2000 square foot range so we’ve got plenty of space, but right now we could maybe afford something in the $150,000 range. (Trust me - I’ve sliced and diced the budget a thousand ways, talked to people about it, calculated it across different loan lengths, interest rates, and down payments, but that’s about as good as it gets right now.) If I want something that size (that isn’t a “fixer-upper”), I’m looking at moving out in the sticks. (An interesting item to note is that new houses seem to cost less than old houses. That is, if you move into a housing development that is still under construction, you seem to get more for your money than if you found someone’s house that they’re selling.)

What that all nets out to is that we can’t get into a house, and other apartments panned out mediocre at best. We decided “better the devil you know” and we’re staying where we’re at. To free up some space, we’re going to get a storage closet at one of those storage places and move some of the stuff we don’t need into that. That’ll only cost us like $35/month and will be worth it to have the extra space in the house.

Went to see Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets again this weekend (I had a coupon for a free ticket) and enjoyed it just as much the second time. I’ll definitely be getting that one on DVD.

Oh! Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is now available for pre-order! I pre-ordered my UK copy a week ago, but the US version seems available now.

I borrowed Lilo and Stitch from my parents and watched it yesterday. It was okay; I didn’t go in expecting much, and I wasn’t disappointed. I liked it enough not to feel like my time was wasted (there were some legitimately funny parts), but I won’t be running out to buy it or anything.

The Winter Hawks have been on a losing streak lately and I just got the invoice for playoff tickets in the mail. $248 a piece! I don’t think I’ll be ordering.

cats, home comments edit

Last night was the second night in a row of cat-cry-free sleep. Love it.

A couple folks asked in comments yesterday why I don’t just let the kitties in the bedroom at night. There are actually several reasons. First and foremost, I am allergic to animal dander. I love my kitties, but I am definitely allergic to them. I tried sleeping out on the couch one night with them (I decided to take a turn shutting them up) and woke up barely able to breathe or open my eyes. Not good. Second, neither cat would actually sleep at night - they’d much rather play on your head or chase each other in circles on the bed. Not too conducive to sleep. Finally, both cats shed pretty well (the tubby Semper cat especially), and I really would like a cat-hair-free zone. The bedroom is said zone.

Our apartment lease is up on February 28 so Jenn and I are investigating our housing options. She’ll be finished with pharmacy school in May (if I remember right) but I don’t remember whether that counted her potentially non-paying externship or not. (Sorry, baby, I can’t keep my own schedule straight; I’m not going to remember yours.) That means that after May our options for housing change from what we’ve currently got because she’ll have actual income. At that point, our Accounts Receivable will hopefully exceed our Accounts Payable and enable us to expand our living quarters.

We have the option right now to renew our lease for six months, nine months, or a year. If we go with nine months or a year, the rent stays the same. If we go six months (or the dreaded month-to-month), rent skyrockets. Since I work on the west side of town and most of the externships and jobs for Jenn seem to be available on the west side, we’re thinking of maybe moving after a short stay at our current place. Ideally we’d be able to get a house with 2000 square feet of livable space and a two-car garage. A decent second choice would be a three-bedroom apartment with more than 1100 square feet and a rent comparable to what we pay now.

Some readers out there know how I despise the west side. I hate it. It reminds me of suburban Los Angeles - you can drive and drive and drive and never get anywhere. It’s a hundred square miles of apartment complex surrounded by a strip mall - a recipe for slum. (Actually, it’s clean and “nice,” but it’s not very fun.) The west side is for people trying to raise a family in the suburbs. If you don’t drive a minivan or an SUV, don’t move there. The problem is, the east side (where I grew up and would love to continue living) has two problems: First, the commute is horrible from the east to the west; second, the cost of living (rent, utilities, etc.) is way higher on the more established east side.

So, west side it is. Now I’m looking at the different apartment for rent sites to find out which complexes offer apartments with our qualifications. I’m also looking at the various “house for sale” sites that list new developments under construction (because a brand new house is way cheaper, it seems, than any existing home we can find) to see what’s out there and for how much. Hopefully we’ll come up with something soon. Either way, we need to figure out what to do about our lease renewal so we can get that squared away.

I probably shouldn’t stress about it. There’s no pressure to move, really; we could stay here for another year and nobody’d be the worse for it. I’m just sick of apartment living - neighbors with stinky cooking and having to watch the volume on my movies and not really being able to redecorate or anything… and above all that, the distinct lack of space we’ve got. I don’t think a day goes by when I don’t wish for a bigger place. Even a bigger apartment would be better than what we’ve got now.

So I’m stressing, trying to figure out just the right amount of time to renew the lease for and still be able to move and afford it. Jenn tells me not to worry about it, but honestly, if I don’t worry about it, who’s going to? These things don’t just solve themselves.

I should get back to work. My queue is so long right now I don’t know what to do.