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Word of the Day

From a conversation I had today:

Supernova (n.) : When a company, through systematic and repeated fumbling and stupidity, fails on such an unbelievably collosal scale that when it finally happens you can't even stand to look directly at it.

More casualties

Apparently I am not only a Deadly Scourge of brake parts, but now also suspension components.

Fortunately the strut that failed was a right rear, and fortunately it failed on the street, close to my house. Fortunately the tire and wheel survived, although I'm afraid there may have been hub assembly damage (too soon to tell yet.)

UNfortunately it caused my tire to grind into the wheel well, melting the plastic before I could bring the car to a stop. Unfortunately the car did not roll afterwards, and I had to call for help. Unfortunately I didn't exactly have a replacement part, and we had to rig up something crazy to limp the car home. (Ever wondered if it's possible to install a strut assembly without the top-hats, and just let the car rest on the spring? The answer is yes. Sort of.)

The manufacturer has graciously offered to replace my rear mounts if I send him my original pieces... apparently I'm quite the intriguing specimen! I can destroy anything!

Going Downhill

I've been really evangelizing BSG pretty hard to lots of my known Sci-Fi watcher friends.

And that's why it so pains me to say: Second Season really is not as good. I think still worth watching, but the cheeze factor has been even more impossibly high in the second season.

Where the first season had the novel "will they even survive at all" factor going for it, second season seems to be much more like "48,570 people learn the value of family and spiritual togetherness while stranded in space", which isn't so much what I signed up for.

So if I said hyperbolic things to try to convince you to watch it (you know who you are), I hereby retract those statements as they pertain to the second season.

They're not listening

Maybe the worst thing about football season is that I can hear my neighbors shouting "TIME OUT!!! TIME OUT!!! NO!!! YEESSSS!!!!!!! PASS IT! PASS IT! PASSSS IT!!!!" at their televisions all day long.

For the love of god, the coaches can't hear your advice! Even parakeets eventually figure out that it's just a mirror. Shut the fuck up!

Disneyland Governance

Tired of terrifying spontaneity in your Disneyland experience? Wish you could wring out that last drop of unpredictable "X-Factor" from your child's Magic Day? Or maybe just looking to take back control, and keep your vacation on the precise schedule you devised for it last December when you bought those plane tickets?

Well, fear risk no longer, Mousekateer! Now there's RideMax!

I think they're not taking it far enough, though: The next version of the product (which we'll call RideMax Complete), should gather actuals such as travel durations, meal times and frequencies, and ride times from each of your family members. These values will roll up to a Family Vacation Performance Dashboard, which will show at-a-glance variance statistics that let you see where you fell behind on the schedule, and how you can improve next time.

RideMax Complete will also give you visibility and control on consistently underperforming family members, and help you decide whether you can improve the situation with more training, better risk management, or better up-front expectations setting. Or, you can simply decide to cut that individual out of the plan for next time, ensuring a better experience for the rest of your Vacationing Team.

i hate emoticons

You might think I'm one of those people who thinks that emoticons are eroding our ability to use proper English to express ourselves, and while that does sound like something I'd say, I actually like emoticons. Or at least I used to.

Emoticons were far better when they weren't rendered graphically by the stupid chat client. At least when they're text, the emoticons look basically the same to everybody--- there aren't that many readable fonts in the universe that your reader might be using.

But now that every chat client has its own arsenal of badly designed, arbitrary bitmaps that replace the text, who knows what you're communicating when you accidentally type a sequence of punctuation that Trillian has decided to encuten into a winged M&M, or maybe a Face Broom.

Solitaire, anyone?

Time for you to try out my most addictive game yet.

I've had the code for this lying around for a few weeks now, but I only just recently got around to storing each player's all-time win/loss ratio on the server.

So if you're one of those people who tells yourself that you enjoy games in their own right, but secretly yearn to feel superior to others, come on down.

Another notch in the belt

My car has earned another track sticker, as a reward for not destroying itself or getting me killed at the Thunderhill Raceway Driving School last weekend.

Unfortunately, I now can't go to Willow Springs, because I'm completely out of space on my bumper. Oh well, I hear it's not that great a track anyway.

Brakes: The brakes worked beautifully, so much so that my instructor at one point commented "It looks like you're gaining confidence in your brakes". On the face of it this might sound like a compliment. But if you know HPDE instructors, you know that this is code for "You're not very smooth on the brakes and if you keep this up you're going to blow a corner and get us killed." So after that I stopped trying to late-brake Turn 5, and actually went a lot faster because I made fewer errors. Sometimes the instructors really do know what they're talking about.

Other Toys: Amusingly, the most fun new toy at the track was not my $2000 brakes, but my $75 alignment. I had Jack put 3 degrees of camber on the front wheels, and it made a huge difference. Even in 100F degree heat my tires stayed grippy all day, not a trace of greasiness even in the afternoon. The turn-in was fantastic, and (after I stiffened the front shocks a little) the car was even stable in the fast corners, which was its big problem at Sears Point in March.


I just now accidentally dropped my ancient, rattling Nokia 8260 from table height onto the concrete patio. Again.

It still works, of course. What am I going to do when it finally dies and I have to get one of the terrible modern phones that all of you people use? I still have claw marks on my wrists from the last time they tried to drag me into the 21st century.

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