Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Today's Etiquette Lesson
Evidently, there is some sort of Ferry Boarding Etiquette
that I have yet to grasp. I've been reprimanded or given the hairy eyeball by ferry crew for trying to board (or disembark) before they gave whatever high-sign it is they give that it's okay to pass. So lately I tend to just wait until a crew member specifically says it's okay to come or go.
So this evening, having just missed the 5:20 boat, I get my book out of my pack and start reading. The Harbor Bay ferry pulls up and the very nice crew member (who looks quite like Prince William
, but a bit older and with darker hair) lets the Harbor Bay people disembark and board as appropriate. I notice that the 5:45 Oakland/Alameda ferry is pulling in but go back to reading my book (because, you know, I MUST wait until a crew member says it's Okay to board). These two women behind me suddenly spit at me, "Are you ready to get on the boat?"
"Oh, I'm waiting for the Alameda/Oakland ferry." I smiled. Evidently that was EXACTLY the wrong thing to say. The woman with chemically-auburn hair (recently touched-up) and a brand-spanking new Cirque de Soleil denim jacket shot death rays at me through her sunglasses. "It's RIGHT THERE," she hissed, pointing at the Blue and Gold Fleet ferry pulling in.
"I see that it's almost here, but the boat isn't docked yet." I noted, clearly not understanding that if the boat is in visual range, WE MUST CHARGE THE GATES!
"BUT IT'S COMING
!" Chemically-Auburn's companion shrieked (it still
hadn't docked, but that wasn't the point, was it?). With a dismissive wave of their hands, they pushed by me and headed toward the gate, only to have Prince William put his hand up and ask them to please wait.
I looked up from my book as they came back to the line (I'll note here that they got back in line but cut in front of me). "Yeahhhh," I sighed. "That's kinda why I held off heading down the gangway." That was ALSO the wrong thing to say.
"Well," Chemically-Auburn shot back, "We've NEVER had that happen!" she gathered another breath to have another go at me, but I had had enough.
"Well OK," I smiled. "You know, I'm just gonna go back to enjoying my book. I have enough fuss to my day; I ride the ferry to escape
the fussing." Thank GOD that shut them up because by 5:00 p.m. I'm usually primed to do physical harm to people who get up in my grill.
A few moments later, Prince William waved over at us and said it was okay to head down (for the record the ferry STILL hadn't docked). As I passed through the gate, Prince William gave me a sympathetic smile, looked at the two women who had just rushed the gate, and shook his head.
Once on board, they beelined for the bar. I'm glad I wasn't craving a merlot because I couldn't get away from them fast enough. And part of me not-so-secretly hopes Chemically-Auburn's new denim jacket left faded indigo all over her blouse.
NOW GROOVIN' TO: Earthquakes
from the album "Thornhill" by Moxy Früvous
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Afternoon Commute: 20 September, 2005
I took this photo on the ferry ride home last Tuesday. The weather forecasters had promised thunder, lightning, rain, plague of locusts, etc. We got none of that where I was (except for a 5-minute shower once we pulled into Alameda), but the skies on the way home were dramatic and gorgeous. It's an added bonus to an interesting daily commute through the Oakland/Alameda estuary. These cranes, and the ships they load/offload, are monstrously HUGE
. You can't really appreciate that until you're right up next to them.
Though it's more expensive, the ferry has it all over AC Transit. Interesting views (and bird watching!), fresh air, and I'm not crammed in like a sardine and forced to either stand (and have my knee cartilage decimated by a sadistic bus driver trying to go from 60 to zero in two seconds) or sit in the usually filthy back stairwell. Plus, I can get a glass of merlot or a Sierra Nevada to enjoy on the way home on the ferry: though more often than not passengers NEED a shot of something to deal with afternoon bridge traffic, there are no snacks (or booze) offered on the bus.
Now if I could just do something about those 8 hours between
NOW GROOVIN' TO: Clampdown
from the album "London Calling" by The Clash
This afternoon, after I had made an unplanned trip to the library (yay for local libraries that are open Sundays!), an unsuccessful trip to Petco (Simon and Billie are obsessed with the Cat Dancer
and the one we have is in tatters) and a stop for ice cream (I eat ice cream maybe twice a year...today was one of the days I had a craving for it), I came home, set to work out the kinks in the CSS on my site redesign.
I sat on the couch for a few moments and emptied the book bag from the library. As I leafed through one of the books, Billie climbed onto my lap and settled in. I had finished reading the book jackets and thought about all the work that I needed to do here in the Computer Corner. Billie sighed and tucked her nose into her fluffy black tail. Her gracefully petite body was so warm on my legs: I briefly stroked her silky black coat and realized that for the first time in over a week my jaw didn't ache from tension and I wasn't plagued by my new constant companions, Headache and Dizziness.
Simon woke from his nap on the kitty condo and saw Billie and me snuggled together and decided he wanted in on it. With a chirr, he came from the condo to the couch in two leaps. Billie stirred and gave him a wary eye as he took his preferred place, right next to my shoulder where he could nuzzle and purr into my neck.
I picked up one of my library books and started reading. CSS could wait: Peace is so fleeting in my life right now that, when I do get to experience it, I try to soak it up as long as I can.
NOW PLAYING: Tombstone Blues
from the album "Highway 61 Revisited" by Bob Dylan
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Today's etiquette lesson
I don't care how grungy you feel, YOU DON'T FLOSS YOUR DAMN TEETH IN FRONT OF THE TRADER JOE'S ENTRANCE!!!
Eeeeew, eeeewwww, eeeeeewwwwwww!
NOW PLAYING: Seasons
from the album "Singles" by Chris Cornell
Thursday, September 22, 2005
October 14, 2005
I'll explain this when I can. For the time being, it'll only mean something to
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The One about being 40-1/2
It's my half-birthday and I, umm......oh f**k it. Maybe I'll have something interesting and/or insightful to say about this Some Other Time. I'm entirely too fed up and way too restless right now.
NOW PLAYING: Talk About The Passion
from the album "Murmur" by R.E.M.
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Wanted: A cell phone that DOESN'T suck.
Wanted: A cell phone that DOESN'T suck.
Originally uploaded by Planet Vicster.
See the black screen on my phone? It's black because the bastard battery died again. One phone call/voice mail and the battery's dead in less than two hours! I HATE THIS PHONE!!!
My mobile phone needs are very simple. 1) I
want demand a phone that isn't DOA whenever someone leaves me a voice mail. 2) This is "disposable" technology: Don't expect me to pay $200+ for a phone AND commit to a two-year contract. If I'm paying roughly $500 for something (factoring in the cost of being committed for 2 years), I'd better get more than two years of usefulness out of it! Oh! And 3) I want a phone that I can iSynch with my iCal and Calendar programs. It would be nice, too, to have text message and photo capabilities but those are negotiable.
Unfortunately, my current provider (Sprint) only seems to have more cheap-ass phones, none of which are supported by iSync (save for the Treo, which, for my purposes, would be rather like swatting a mosquito with a sledgehammer). Nextel, which recently merged with Sprint, actually has some phones in their line-up that are iSync-supported. Allegedly, the Sprint stores carry some Nextel equipment: Just not the Sprint stores I've been to (and it's been about a half-dozen in the San Francisco/Oakland area), evidently. In fact, most of the associates at the Sprint stores said I'd just have to switch to Nextel. But the associate at the Sprint "kiosk" at Embarcadero Center this afternoon said the stores should start carrying more Nextel equipment in the next 2-3 weeks. I'm not sure that I can put up with the piece-of-crap phone (that's currently recharging. Again.) for that long, though.
While I'm at it, what would also be nice is a mobile service provider that doesn't HATE their customers. But I may as well ask for the moon and all of the stars; I'm more likely to get them than I am a service provider that appreciates customers. I wandered into a Cingular store the other day to check their phone line-up and service packages. Like Nextel, they have phones that are supported by iSync. They also have the new Rockr by Motorola--that's the iTunes phone. While it's tempting, I think it's too complex a gadget--too many things that could go wrong with it. I'd rather get a cheaper phone and an iPod. But I digress.
I found a phone that I was interested in and wanted to talk plans. The $39.99 one sounded okay to me, until I asked about how much the monthly bill would be after taxes and surcharges. The sales associate said, "oh, around $53." That was pretty much the deal-breaker. THIRTEEN dollars in surcharges and taxes??? Sprint's only come out to around $6/mo. He offered to throw in a car charger if I'd sign up. Rather than tell him he'd have to do a LOT better tha a car charger, I took his card and thanked him for his time. Unlike the Sprint guy across the street, this guy actually tried to be helpful (in fairness, the Sprint kiosk guy was helpful...he just doesn't have what I want). If I do decide to switch to Cingular, I'd want him to get the sales credit.
So the hunt continues...
Sunday, September 11, 2005
While I'm still toiling away at redesigning Vicster.net, I realized this morning that there were a couple of pressing issues that needed to be addressed on the current site. I think I've whacked all the moles that had it coming and can get back to the slog of the redesign. (I am realizing that as a client I'm a major
pain in the ass...)
In other exciting news, it was one year ago today that I got Luna Bella! A whole year of car payments (um, yeah, that's not so exciting). I made the unfortunate mistake of parking her under the wrong
tree at the Alameda ferry terminal on Friday, so today she gets a Birthday Bath. And we'll be sure to avoid any and all trees in that parking lot in future.
In less exciting news, I'm woefully behind on the housework. So that gets priority while I'm downloading and installing all of my OS updates. Especially since Simon projectile-horked a hairball this morning. Such a lovely way to greet a Sunday Morning!
NOW PLAYING: Passenger Side
from the album "A.M." by Wilco
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
Dear A.C. Transit
have you switched our route to the smaller buses, now that everyone is off their summer vacations and the busses are packed? By the time the bus gets to my stop there aren't any seats left. If I'm lucky, I can sit in the stairwell by the back door. When I'm NOT lucky, I end up with my knee cartilege in tatters because the drivers seem to enjoy cranking up to highway speed then SLAMMING on the brakes.
If you're not going to give us a bus of adequate size for the number of passengers, at least give us busses with better brakes (or drivers who don't get turned on by making passengers into human missiles). Please.
NOW PLAYING: Cold Shoulder
from the album "Still Feel Gone" by Uncle Tupelo
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Oh my. This may be my Most Favourite Application
. Ever. And I've only been playing with it for ten minutes.
I'm giddy!NOW PLAYING: I Am Trying To Break Your Heart
from the album "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" by Wilco
Technorati Tags: Mac OS 10.4, Quicksilver
(Mostly) Happily Tigering
OK, I've had three days to play around with Tiger and am really loving it! I've managed to restrain myself a bit, but I can totally see how easy it would be to go completely Widget-mad. But, as there is limited real estate on my old 15" (iThink) iMac screen I have to make decisions about what Widgets are Important. So far, that would be the iTunes, GMail and iCal Events widget, plus one for my Backpack
I'm also getting to play with some stuff that I can't play with on my Jaguar OS (either because programs were for 10.3+ or they never worked right in Jaguar). Like Ecto
for blogging. I could never get it to work quite right in 10.2 but it's running a dream here. I'm poking around and tweaking things here and there. I still need to figure out the Technorati tags and how best to use them (or not use them at all).
I've downloaded the latest BBEdit and can do a 30-day trial while my bank account recovers from the upgrade (and rent and tuition and...). And at some point I'll take Colloquy
for a whirl in IRC.
The bad news is that the Airport card died again. It worked for 3 days. The good news is that the mystery over authentication failure with the dial-up account is solved. Evidently, all these times I've changed my password...I really haven't! It's a long, stupid story and I'll spare the details. I'm glad the ethernet port isn't blown, though (as the Genius suggested). The frustrating part about this, though, is that I had left a message with my ISP's tech support Saturday night
. Now, of course I didn't expect a call back during a holiday weekend, but I sure as hell should have heard from them before I had to phone them at 4:40 p.m. today. Very, very
frustrating! As this is becoming a pattern with them, I'm guessing they don't want me to be their customer for much longer.
Now I'm off to go figure out Automator and which F-key trips up Expose' (I accidentally hit a key combo yesterday that brought it up, but don't know what keys made it happen). Ah...an F-key experiment turns up the F-10 key for Expose'. Good to know.NOW PLAYING: All Downhill From Here
from the album "Insignificance" by Jim O'Rourke
Technorati Tags: Mac OS 10.4
Monday, September 05, 2005
Originally uploaded by AnomalousNYC.
The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. Indeed, AnomalousNYC has encapsulated all of my feelings about the tragedy in New Orleans in ways where my words are so damned inadequate.
This photo is part of his New Orleans set. AnomalousNYC instantly became my favorite street photographer when I finally discovered his exciting photostream on flickr. He describes himself as a "novice photographer with a crap camera," but a look through his photostream shows that the eye and soul count so much more than how fancy the gear is.
I urge you to go take a look at his very powerful tribute to the people of New Orleans. Better still, view it as a slideshow.
More on the Katrina auction at Flickr
A couple days ago I mentioned the Hurricane Katrina relief fund auction at Flickr
. I also said that you'd need to be a member of Flickr (or Yahoo!) to comment/bid. No more! The superfantabulous admins of the Hurricane Katrina Relief group have devised a way for non-Flickrazzi's to bid by email!
First, browse the auctions
. Then, when you find a photo that takes your fancy, send your email bid to ~~~KRA_05~~~@~~~standardimagination~~~.~~~com (just remove these ~~~ guys from the email address). Here, I'll let the admin explain the process in more detail:
"Be sure to include the following in your subject line "XXXXX:Item title", and include your name and bid amount in the body of the letter.
(of course we've replace XXXXX with the thread number of the auction and replace "item title" with... um... the item's title)"
There you go! So simple...you contribute to relief efforts and get the good feeling of Doing Something to help AND you get a purty picture!Our William Tell
from the album "Yawn + House = Explosion" by 20 Minute Loop
Technorati Tags: Hurricane Katrina, flickr
At long last, I managed to get a new hard drive to replace the one that horked up a big hairball back at the end of April (just as I tried to upgrade to Mac OS 10.4) I've got 120GB to play with on here, but better than that, I'm now up and running on Tiger.
There were a few bumps in the road. First was my mouse didn't work. After a moment of panic, I examined the mouse and saw that the cord had severed (though the outer casing was still intact). I remembered that a couple months ago the mouse took a nasty fall behind the desk and became wedged. I must have severed the cord trying to un-wedge it. So for the first several hours, I'd bumble around using keyboard commands, no biggie. Until I hit the second bump in the road: Dialing into my ISP, it connects but authentication keeps failing. Works just dandy on Hamish (the iBook), but not on the iMac.
I poked around online to see if there were any known issues about authentication failure when upgrading to 10.4 and left a message at my ISP's tech support line (though I'm not hopeful there because they're establishing a track record of NOT calling me back when things don't work). Since I needed a new mouse, I headed for the Apple Store and signed up for a chat at the Genius Bar to see if they knew of any authentication issues.
Most of the time when I stop by the Genius Bar, I get a nice, knowledgeable person who explains what the problem likely is and gives me tips for trying to diagnose/fix it myself (but invites me to bring it in if my efforts fail). Yesterday was NOT one of those times. He surveyed his screen and looked thoroughly pissed that he had to waste his "genius" on this question. He looked up and asked if I had brought the iMac in. "Well, no...I was just coming here to buy a mouse and thought I'd ask if there were any known authentication issues with people upgrading to Tiger. And, to be fair, I signed up for an appointment, rather than try to cram into the queue and usurp someone else's appointment."
Evidently, that was the wrong
answer. "We need to SEE it. We need to test your Ethernet port because there might be something wrong with it..." At that point I tuned him out because I don't appreciate being talked down to like some idiot.
When he stopped lecturing me, I asked him about replacing the mouse. The store's only Apple Mouse offerings were the new Mighty Mouse or the wireless one. Since I didn't have >$50 to spend on a mouse, I was looking for less-expensive alternatives. He insisted that they had the "regular" Apple Mouse on the shelves and it was only $29.99. When I said I only saw the Mighty Mouse and the wireless mouse over there, he rolled his eyes. I decided to just leave the Genius Bar before I had to slap him.
So I went to the checkout and asked about these $29.99 mice (mouses?). The girl looked on her system but said they were sold out and the mouse discontinued. Bless her heart, she tried to be helpful and looked on the CompUSA site but said they didn't have it either. Since I wasn't thrilled with their other mouse offerings, I decided to stop at CompUSA to see what they had.
What CompUSA had was a shelf FULL of $29.99 Apple mousies. I immediately adopted one.
As to the authentication problem, I still haven't figured that out. However, I dug out my old Airport base station and hooked it up, just to see what would happen. Oddly enough, the airport card in here, which quit working 3 years ago, suddenly works again. I'm not going to question it: I shall just simply appreciate it.
Last bump in the road is reloading some of my programs. Some of them (like BBEdit) insist on my having the OS9 Classic environment on my system before they'll install. And I was hoping to NOT have to deal with OS9. So, I'll either have to bite the bullet and install OS9 or buy a new copy of BBEdit (I think with my student discount I can get a good deal on it).
So today I'm playing with a copy of Ecto to make this blog post. So far I'm liking it; it's got some cool features, like adding what's currently playing on iTunes to my post (see below) and Technorati tags. Next on the agenda is trying to get the film scanner up and running (sans OS9), and I think I might make myself a little Geek Merit Badge for installing my new hard drive myself (these older iMacs are not the easiest things to work in, I'll tell you whut).Postcard
from the album "Still Feel Gone" by Uncle Tupelo
Technorati Tags: Mac OS 10.4, upgrading
Saturday, September 03, 2005
New banner "ad"
You may have noticed a new ad banner at the top of this page. The wonderful folks in the Flickr community have come together to offer some amazing photographs for auction, all proceeds going to the Red Cross Katrina Relief effort. If you've been wanting to donate to the Katrina Relief effort, here's a chance to do so and get a really nice photograph out of it!
A caveat: You have to be a member of Flickr to leave a comment (which is how the bidding is happening), but it's free to join and it's a great way to share your photographs--and view some exciting work by some very talented photographers! Oh yeah, almost forgot...if you have a Yahoo! ID, you can now use that to log into Flickr.
So come on! (Katrina Relief Auction
) (Flickr home
) (Join Flickr
(I'll be rummaging through my back catalog to see if I can come up with a worthy print for the next round of auctions...