Runcible Blog

Catch up post

Well it's been a hectic couple weeks. Let's see if I can recall the events in chronological order...

  • I think my job title is officially "programmer", and I'm the low rung on the totem-pole. Maybe it's just a coincidence that my morale went through the floor after being reorganized into a defined pecking order.
  • Ron, veteran IT worker at the tribune, died suddenly. I'm not quite sure what to say about it; we were neither friends nor enemies (most of the time). It will take some time to get used to having no one calling me a "dummycrat".
  • I bought a car -- a 1998 Honda Civic LX (dark green). I won't bother finding a picture of it since they're all the same. Maybe I paid a little too much for it though. Although I'm an expert at kicking myself with regret after every major purchase, eventually I get over the buyer's remorse. Once a few of the kinks are worked out (like the "check engine" light that just came on today and the apparent oil leaks!), I hope to drive this car into the ground, as I'm so adept at doing. It has 88,000 miles on it now. I figure it's good for 400,000, or 20 years -- whichever comes first.
  • It turns out cars are expensive. So far I've been shafted at the dealership, extremely shafted at the insurance office ($2,200 per year?! what?!), and shafted at the RMV ($50 title fee?!).
    The good thing is that it's ok to get into an accident as long as I don't cause it. And since I don't have health insurance yet, I figure if I ever need medical help, I'll be driving my car constantly, waiting for a head-on collision and a ticket to healthcare! "That's right, doctor, I got appendicitis, myopia and a sore throat right when that SUV slammed into me!"
  • I feel like quitting my job pretty much every day. Even the most patient person has limits to their patience. I haven't reached that limit yet because my job is marginally better than unemployment. But poverty is looking better all the time.
  • I saw The Battle of Algiers last night. bad acting and dubbing, but overall, very good movie. go figure.
  • While I was at the movie, my grandfather had to be taken to the hospital because he couldn't breath. How is chemotherapy supposed to cure you if it makes you weaker? I'm afraid he won't have the will to go through that for long.
    I'd rather not think of that right now.

I'm sure I'm forgetting much of the past two weeks. The Repressitol pills are working well.

listening to: When Doves Cry by Prince

(you read that correctly: When Doves Cry)

Office Rule #36

Office rule #36: Avoid eye contact

I've learned that when someone comes in the office looking for help, it's best not to acknowledge their presence. You see, when someone has computer trouble, they don't care which one of us can help. So, typically, they'll ask the first person that sees them walk through the door.

Most of the time I'm not very helpful because I don't know the answer and end up directing the question to someone else. I'd say the vast majority of people coming through the door aren't looking for me. The questions I can answer are from people who already know to call or email me first.

That explains the rule. I suppose one could apply it more generally -- what better way to keep office relationships professional than by avoiding your coworkers.

I'm learning a lot of rules -- collectively called "The Eagle-Tribune Way" -- that I'll have to share.

disappointing Cafe Azteca

The famous Cafe Azteca in Lawrence leaves much to be desired. The waitress, a former Spanish teacher at Central, didn't quite understand what I ordered.

I wanted a plain black bean burrito and made sure to ask what was inside it. Instead I got a big, honking chicken burrito. I didn't know haba sounds like pollo. So they sent it back for another one. Then, instead of a black bean burrito, I got a refried bean burrito with black beans and rice on the side. Frustrated, I ate the rice and beans, but refried beans are gross. Another, fluent English speaking waiter offered the consolation that their refried beans aren't made with lard. By that time, though, I didn't want to complain and get another one.

Their lousy service is disappointing, but what's more disappointing is that it's hard to get a non-meat burrito around here.

We need something like Burrito Max in Lawrence. Burrito Max vegetarian burritos aren't great, but they're good enough and hearty enough for me.

car crapped out again

On my way to Hunt's earlier, my car konked out again. In fact, I didn't even make it down the street before the engine ran out of steam. After sputtering to a stop, the car wouldn't even turn over.

Steve towed the car back up the street, and Tony poked around under the hood. The guy at Autozone seemed to think that the ignition coil had failed, so I got one of those. It turns out there was oil inside the distributor (no idea how it got there) which could be part of the reason why the sparks stopped flying. Also, the rotor was badly corroded.

To make a long story short, we couldn't remove the ignition coil because the screws are upside-down and stripped. Tomorrow Tony will find out how much it'll cost to fix at a garage down the street. I have a bad feeling about it.

If it costs more than $100, I'm reluctant to pay. The car has 195,000 miles on it; it's on its last legs, I think.

Anyone have a 1990's vintage Honda Civic EX 5 speed for sale?

sweet lord, destroy this awful movie!

I'm watching the most terrible movie I've seen in a while: Code Hunter. Actually, this movie is so special that it has three names -- Code Hunter, Storm Watch, and Virtual Storm. I guess the producers couldn't decide on a name that accurately describes this action-packed piece of garbage.

The premise is that a weather-controlling supercomputer creates a number of hurricanes around the world and attempts to wipe out humanity. Only a virtual-reality computer "hacker" can save the world. I'd rather not go into the details (they boggle the mind with ridiculousness). Suffice it to say, the movie gets progressively worse every minute.

But rather than being completely negative, I have some constructive criticism for the sequel:

  • Mini-disc players aren't computers, yet the hero uses one to break into the supercomputer.
  • In close-up shots of typing, it helps if the actor types one key at a time, unless mashing on the keyboard is a new trick that "hackers" employ.
  • A "hacker" can't control a home gas line, causing the house to explode.
  • Supercomputers don't run on Windows, and they don't blow up when you change the system date!
  • Finally, computer "hackers" don't look like underwear models; they look something like this:
    I'm a computer hacker

You can't say I'm not trying to be helpful with my criticism.