May 2005 Archives

Thoughts From A Taxi in Chicago

Note: This marks my first handheld posting to my weblog. So far so good...until I hit the 255-character limit on the Blackberry's web browser! DAMN!!

So, upon arriving here in Chicago for a three-day work-related diversion before a big honest-to-God vacation in Vegas, I've come upon a few interesting (or not) thoughts:

(1) I think Alaska Airlines has it in for me when I change seats upon check-in. Every time I've done so, I've wound up next to children, large smelly men, or (today's joy) both. I resolve to accept my preset seat assignment from this day forward (barring free upgrades to first class, of course.

(2) People have an overwhelming sense of entitlement when they're at the airport. I'm sure this comes as no surprise to anyone who watches Airline on A&E, but I got to witness it firsthand today in Seattle. Apparently there were some mechanical problems with a flight to LA, that was resulting in interminable delays - so much that they were making announcements about gate changes, alternate flights, and status updates nearly every 10 minutes. You could hear to complaining, whining, and occasional angry remark, mostly directed not at the airplance (how DARE it break down), but at the people who were in the least position to do anything about it - the service folk behind the counter. There's a reason I couldn't do that job...

(3) Apparently, to the cab dispatchers here in Chicago, not only am I a "Mrs.", but Alaska is only available via international flights:

Dispatcher: "What airline did you arrive on?"
Me: "Alaska."
Dispatcher: "International or domestic?"
Me: "Domestic"
Dispatcher: "Um, ma'am, I think it would be an international flight if you came here from Alaska."

Ugh...the stupidity of people never ceases to amaze me.


I've become completely addicted to a wiki for a website that I frequent. I check it every chance that I get, to the exclusion of doing productive work. I've come to the conclusion that it feeds my obsession with minute details.

And I'm okay with all of that.

How did I live without...

Today's installment of "How did I live without..." is all about DVR. I'd always been skeptical of just how much good a DVR is, even after many of my friends picked up their TiVos. But I still just couldn't justify the cost of one - the initial purchase plus the subscription fee was just too much for me, at least in one single bite.

Then I found out last week that Comcast has launched their dual-tuner, HDTV-compatible DVR in my local area. So I got some more info on it, and they were offering it for what I thought was a reasonable price ($9.95/month, when the HDTV tuner alone would have cost $4.95/month). I picked it up on Thursday of last week, and absolutely LOVE it! It's pretty handy to have digital-quality recordings of all my favorite shows.

But I wouldn't recommend it if you don't have an HDTV television - the broadcast quality of the non-digital channels appears significantly worse through this tuner than it did straight from the cable or through the non-HD tuner downstairs. Maybe it's just the 65" TV that's showing off every little flaw, but I've cautioned my friends against it unless they've got an HDTV.


So...last week I cleaned out the drain in our upstairs bathroom. And by cleaned, I mean "dredged". Pulled out all the hair and goop that had been building up since August. Then on Saturday, a strange smell started to appear. It was faint at first, but got stronger slowly, eventually seeping into the master bedroom. We couldn't figure out where it was coming from, but slowly and methodically tracked it down to the shower drain on Sunday afternoon.

Keep in mind that there are four drains in that bathroom, not counting the toilet: shower, bathtub, and two sinks. So, one would assume that a smell from one of the drains might be evidenced in all. However, that would be a very faulty assumption. Over the course of the week, we tried all sorts of things to get rid of the smell - heavy-duty pipe cleaners, hair solvents, a pipe snake, and more pipe cleaners (not mixing different kinds of cleaners, of course). Nothing seemed to make the smell go away, and in fact after using the pipe snake, the smell seemed worse than before.

So yesterday afternoon, we finally gave in and called a plumber, who asked a few questions before telling us that there's a 98% probability that the smell we're encountering is caused by something that crawled under the shower and died there.


So now we are just supposed to wait until it goes away. In a week or so.

Double Ugh.

Pirates! ARRRRRRRR!!!

Okay, admittedly very few people will get that reference, but those who do will undoubtedly smile, perhaps even snort in amusement. My latest game addiction has become Sid Meier's Pirates. For those of you who are ancient gamers like myself, perhaps you can recall spending hour upon hour sailing the Spanish Main, taking out cargo and treasure ships by timing your taps to the space bar just so. You fondly recall turning your ship with the arrow keys to capture the wind in just the right way. You salivate when you think that you found a port where they're paying 25 gold for sugar.

Or perhaps that's just me.

But the God's honest truth is that someone out there in gaming land finally did something right in revising an old game. They kept the gameplay almost identical to the old version, added a storyline (though it's pretty thin, it does give you more to attain in the game), and gave the entire package a shiny new skin.

Absolutely, 100% gaming goodness at its best. If you played the original, you'll be instantly addicted to this newest version. If you never had the pleasure of playing the original, go pick it up - but be prepared to sacrifice a significant amount of your spare time to hunting Aztec cities, sacking Spanish capitals, and tracking down those elusive pirate rivals.


Set up a Flickr account, at the behest of some friends on a website I frequent. Interesting concept, not sure how much I'll post there, though. Especially considering how infrequently I manage to update this here website. Should probably fix that though.

If you want to see some of my pictures, check them out.