Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Marmota Watch '08 is ON!

We have first sighting of the local woodchuck, with PengSis witnessing. Bring on the marmota!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Envelope Irony

The mail today brought an envelope emblazoned on the flap with "You can't put a price on reliable communication." Inside, my phone bill, so obviously someone managed to put a price on it.

Doctor WooHoo

It's the first day of spring, the snow is mostly melted, I saw the first bunny of the year tonight, and I discovered that I can buy Jelly Babies at a local supermarket instead of having to order them from Britain when I'm in the mood for a Doctor Who geekapalooza. It has been a good day.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Swamp Cooler

Thanks to the near-constant rains coinciding with the melting of 2 feet of snow, The Rookery now sits on 2.17 acres of swamp. Temporary swamp, I hope, but swamp nonetheless. Every step is a grand adventure to guess whether a foot will go SLARP! in bog or SPLASH! in a pseudopond.

Then, around 5:30 this evening, it started snowing again. Happy spring.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Just This Once, Because It Is Sooooo Wrong

I would not normally post a mildly NSFW link here, but I had to make an exception for this product (link goes to the online catalog for Condomania, which contains no nudity, but does include some candid user reviews of products, and a photo in the banner may well ruin rubber duckies for you have been warned). Although I applaud the makers of the bear-shaped honey jars for finding a new market for their product, this particular use is just plain wrong. Not wrong in the way that most of the Not Safe For Work part of the internet is wrong, but a honey bear full of (ahem) personal moisturizer just should not be.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

First 100 Days

Yesterday marked my 100th consecutive day of dragging my penguinesque physique to the treadmill. Between that and rather loosely following guidelines from the Mayo Clinic's weight management website, I have lost the 3 Chinstrap penguins (that's 27 pounds for those who don't measure mass in penguin equivalents) and am 3 pounds from losing an entire King penguin and my driver's license information being correct again.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Definitely the Communication Age

When we had the backup generator installed at the Rookery, one of the priorities--below keeping the running water and heat going, but still on the list--was maintaining our ability to use the computers, since so much of our lives and communication goes through them. The "communication" part of that is handled through Embarq's DSL, the only option for high-speed internet we have here at the Rookery. That means that when the phones went dead last night, so did our internet connectivity. As I explained to the ever-helpful (and, at 4 a.m., prompt--I must remember to call customer service in the middle of the night more often) Embarq guy, I could live without having the phone up for a bit, but I was not looking forward to being disconnected from the internet.

Something I Discovered at 4 a.m.

I would make a terrible astronaut. Not because I get airsick if I get more than four feet from the ground. From what I hear, motion sickness is fairly common among astronauts, although NASA is keeping its lips zipped as to the physics of tossing one's cookies in microgravity.

At half past three this morning, I awoke to the sound of the generator kicking on. We've had a quarter inch of ice over everything since yesterday, so the only surprise was that it had taken this long for us to lose power. After a quick reconnaissance around the house to check for a downed wire, I picked up the phone to call the power company to report the problem.

There was no dial tone. Not even on the BatPhone which doesn't require a separate AC feed. On Apollo 8, the astronauts orbited the moon and became the first humans to be out of communication with the entire planet. Me, I was feeling uncomfortably isolated just having the land line knocked out, even though I had a cell phone in hand and other human beings just next door.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

That's One Fast Computer

The laptop made the trip from Anchorage, Alaska to my front door in just under 24 hours. after having spent the day tweaking the settings, I can confidently say this is one sweet computer, and worth most of the month I went laptopless waiting for the situation to resolve.

We have an Apple desktop, two Apple laptops, four iPods and an iPhone, so the Rookery was firmly pro-Apple before this all started. The experience has not soured us one bit.

Two Random Inputs

Lewis Black has a great bit on thoughts that you have to get out of your head quickly, lest they make your brain explode. For example, the tidbit he overheard, "If it hadn't been for my horse, I wouldn't have spent that year in college." Today, as we went into our polling place to vote in the primary, we heard a woman wearing Betty Boop pajama bottoms exclaim to the toddler she was carrying, "If I knew they were doing the voting, I wouldn't have worn these silly pants." Nope, I don't get it either (either the statement or the general principle of jammy bottoms being leave-the-house clothes). Understanding or not, though, I think I feel something leaking out my ears.

Lucky for me and my goal of keeping my prefrontal cortex internal, at the gas station a short while later, I looked up and saw the license plate "ATARDIS." While that pleases my inner geek, I can think of a lot of vehicles that license plate would work better on than a beige Ford Windstar. There are less TARDIS-like vehicles in the world, but not many.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Fast Boat From China

Apple has shipped the new laptop. Judging by the parcel tracking, I'm definitely getting it factory-fresh.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Now that's iService

We have received an update on the status of Generalissimo Francisco Franco. You may recall that we last saw the General (aka Emp. Peng.'s old Apple laptop) having been sent back to Apple's service department for the third time to try to fix a problem. To be fair, they actually fixed the problem the first time, but they created a secondary problem, and fixing that created a tertiary problem. A week after we sent it in with the tertiary problem, we got a call from Stuart over at Apple's customer service. I still can't get over what he said: "The part we need for the repair is not shipping on a schedule we can anticipate at this time." Seriously, those were his exact words. Rather than wait for a part that may or may not ship in our lifetimes, Apple has decided it would be more expedient to just ship us an entirely new computer. So that dent in the casing that annoyed the guano out of Emp. Peng. will be taken care of.

As if the saga could get any more interesting, here is where it takes a turn for the "Day-yamn!" Apple no longer makes the Powerbook G4, so they are sending us "the closest thing we have." Take the specs of the computer we sent them, multiply by 3, and that is approximately the closest thing they could come up with without going under any of the specs of the original. On the scale of We Landed A Man On The Moon With The Computing Power In A Digital Watch, the old computer got us to Pluto and the replacement computer can warp us halfway to Alpha Centauri. What's more, the Pluto computer showed every moment of its 3 years of use, and we'll be getting a brand spanking new replacement that costs $1,100 more now than the old one cost before we put those years of hard use on it.

I'll really hand it to Apple customer service. They definitely know how to go above and beyond in making a problem right.