Monday, December 31, 2007

adorable rifle?

I'm not quite sure what to make of what might be the most adorable rifle ever. Pointer from the always interesting Volokh Conspiracy. The fifth comment down on the Volokh page is pretty funny.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


This (link only good on Thursday) is interesting, but probably more laptop than I really need. Seems like a good deal, more or less, as well.

Monday, December 24, 2007

new laptop?

I think I'm in the market for a new laptop soon. Any recommendations? As a starting point, I'd like it to be able to do everything my current laptop does, but faster and sexier if at all possible.

To be perfectly honest, I don't need it to move the world. I'm not quite into using it as a multimedia powerhouse. Sure, I watch DVDs and edit some photos, but I don't do any video editing yet nor do I see it in the near future. Mostly, I read and watch whatever strike smy fancy online and do some of this piddly writing whenever I find time. I will travel with it so battery life and ease of portability are potential sticking points.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

ford crown victoria

As the manager, I'm allowed a couple perks. For instance, my office is in a shabby portable building with newspaper for insulation and even when I close my door, I have no privacy. Well, everyone is in the same boat on that front, so that's hardly a perk. And a discussion for some other time. However, my position and grade level do offer me some incentives. The one that's most entertaining is that I have a Ford Crown Victoria with 120,000 miles on it at my disposal. I can of course use it for any business purposes. If I wish to drive it home, I technically need to purchase additional insurance that costs about $150/year.

I don't especially care for it. I can see quite plainly why it is no longer being sold as a consumer vehicle and is now only available for fleet purchases, mostly government, especially police departments. The voluminous trunk can carry copious amounts of whatever police need plus any contraband they might seize. I'm thinking of taking the hubcaps off of the one that I drive, tinting the windows, putting a screen between the front and back seats, installing a grill guard, and getting a spotlight on the driver's side. It'll be fun pulling people over. All kidding (or am I?) aside, the Crown Vic rides like a boat. It literally feels like a boat being gently rocked by waves when I go around corners. The whole car has a tremendous amount of sway. Sure, it has lusty V8 power, but I've been doing some 'testing' and found that I can get the traction control light to come on when leaving from a stop. This was on dry pavement no less. I just floored the car to see what it could do and it didn't feel like it spun at all, but the traction control light came on. Of course, I'm not sure what the tach was at since there's no tachometer in the car. It does have a casette player, which is a step up from the F-350 I drove in Farmington. Let the good times roll.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

internet back for now, party looming

It looks like my home internet connection is back for now. We'll see how long this holds up.

The company Christmas, er, Holiday Party is tomorrow night. As pseudo-location manager, I will go and put on a good face for everyone and should probably stay until the end. However, I must confess that I never managed to stay till the end of any of the three parties I attended while in Farmington. In fact, I think I left sooner each year. Sure, it's fun to talk, then eat, then talk some more. It's the dancing, drinking, loud music, more drinking, strange lighting and even more drinking that I don't care for. See the pattern?

As a general rule, I find drinking for the sake of getting drunk one of the most self-destructive things someone can do to themselves. More than anything, this belief developed in college, and it wasn't really Berkeley-specific, but simply something that I became aware of while in college. So many young people piss varying amounts of their time and money and health and well being away. And usually make lots of dubious decisions, typically involving sex or driving, in the process. This isn't a rant against drinking or some Bible-thumping condemnation of the devil's brew. It's more of a sad acknowledgment of lost potential.

work phone not so hot

I have a work cell phone. It's a hand me down from my predecessor so I'm not really sure how old it is, but I would never recommend it to anyone. It's a Samsung SGH-D357 and has less useful functionality than the first cell phone I ever purchased five years ago. My fundamental gripe with the phone is it's ease of use, or lack thereof. It takes too many button pushes to navigate through the menus. Perhaps I am unfamiliar with the Samsung operating system since I am now on my third Motorola phone for personal use but it is just so damn frustrating to use. The next fundemental gripe that I have is that it has only one marginally normal ringtone. I generally loathe novelty and music-derived ringtones. In fact, I don't care for wind chimes, computer beeps, steel drum beats, or any of that junk. I want a phone to sound like a phone. And I want there to be several options for making the phone sound like a phone. And they should be standard on the phone. Otherwise, if I pick the one half normal ringtone, it sounds like everyone else's half normal ringtone. The final strike on the phone is seen on the Samsung customer support page. Read the question and then read the answer. Take special note of this line:

Note: There are no configurable options available for setting an audible alert for missed calls.

Huh? So if I'm in the shower or other room and don't hear the phone ring then I have to look at the phone and check the screen to see if I missed a call? Yes, that's very little work on my part. But, it's still work on my part. This is a very fundamental design issue. Not everyone who calls leaves a message. They might assume that you'll see the missed call and call back. But if you don't notice the missed call, then where are you? Nowhere! This gets me riled up because I have missed business calls and not noticed for quite some time.

In case you're wondering, I carry my personal cell phone with me at all times as well. Since I have a fancy case and clip for it, I clip it to my pocket while the work phone sits inside my pocket. And my personal cell number has not changed, nor will it change in the near future.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

without internet temporarily

I have been without an internet connection at my apartment due to trouble with my air card.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

so many e-mails

In my new and highfalutin ( says that it's one word so that's what I'm going with) position, I get a lot more e-mails. Enough that I've finally yielded and have been reduced to using automatic filters for certain notification and bulletin board e-mails. And my inbox count is still creeping steadily towards 200. Tomorrow will be a good day to pare a lot of those down. The filters only save me sorting time and don't actually help the inbox count since I always filed those e-mails anyway. What is in the inbox either needs to be read, replied to, has a valuable attachment, or is there as a reminder. The reminder thing is a bit ineffective since I have so many of them.

The other consumer of my time is that other people want my time now. People need to talk to me, get my authorization for X, Y, and Z, and generally seek me out to discuss problems and hopefully solutions. The result is that I need to keep a lot of information in the present. I'm sure I'll simply memorize certain things and other tasks will become rote, but while I'm still learning this makes for a lot of note taking. I write a lot of notes, especially sticky notes and have them all over my desk. As I get things done I throw old notes away or consolidate notes on pieces of paper or my white board.

I'm trying to figure out a system. I've never had one before because I never needed one. I have never been in a position before this, either in Farmington or in college, where a scrap of paper in my pocket wasn't enough. Now my tasks are many and disparate and require a lot of pacing to jog my memory. For 2008, I will probably buy a nice day planner, though I sometimes wish I had one right now. Alas. I'm confident that my crazy note taking will work for another month. I'm not big on getting a PDA or some smart phone. I've always been somewhat old school when it comes to reminders and taking notes. I like the act of writing things down, being able to take side notes, different styles, boxes, underlining, etc. It's simply more interesting to take notes by hand than it is in some smart phone.