Valentine’s Day

Today at work, I was surprized to have the receptionist give me a call and inform me that I had a delivery. Today, that could only mean one thing: for the first time in my life, I was among the ranks of those whose sweethearts bought them flowers and had them sent to their workplace. (awww…) So, I got to spend the day with a dozen red carnations on my desk, their vase tied with ribbon and anchoring a red heart-shaped foil balloon. Not bad.

Now, on to the daily rant: Macs. As in, Macintosh computers. I consider myself to have turned from an exclusively Macintosh user to a bit of a Macintosh agnostic. Not that I have doubts about the actual existence of the Mac, but that I have doubts about my previous proselyting (sp?) of the platform as The Best Computing Platform.

check out The 6400 Zone websiteThe ideal Mac user has enough money to actually purchase a new model, along with all the software he or she might need. This would require me either to be independently wealthy or to take out a loan nearly akin to my recent car loan. I’ve recently moved up from a 7600/80 to a 6500/275 (yes, it is a move upward), neither of which have a G3 processor. I’m living in 1994 here. Most of the software I own is not current, having been purchased legally from thrift stores and eBay vendors. I do have some pirated Mac software living on my 6500 (mainly Photoshop 5.5), but Office 2000 and PageMaker 6.0 and all my internet software is legal.

I didn’t use my old 7600 or my newer 6500 for several months (no, make that over a year) thanks to Sheryl coming to my rescue. My piddly 80 MHz processor (after I upgraded the motherboard!) and 28K modem weren’t cutting it, so she let me kind of rent-to-own her extra PII 333MHz with monitor. For a shade under $200 (she knocked off a little since I bought my own monitor later), I had a pretty kickass computer. At least, for what I use it for. Don’t get me wrong: I’d love to edit audio and video on my computer, and to barely think about opening an application before it’s launched and ready… but that’s just not in the scope of things right now.

My PC is more upgradeable than my Mac. I got a 16X CD-R drive for Christmas, and Aaron and I installed it, no problem. I’ve added RAM to beef this bad boy up to 90MB. (w00t!) Sheryl helped us add a NIC so we could get cable internet. I installed and partitioned a 60GB HD to make a second and third drive for storage. And, I do admit, I have hundreds if not thousands of dollars of pirated software on my machine. Oh, yeah, and mp3’s. (Hit me with your best shot, RIAA…)

My 6500 hasn’t been totally neglected, though. I installed a NIC in it, too, and would have installed a Radius Thunder video card, had the card not been too damned long to fit in my funky-ass case in amongst the cable-age. I also purchased a video switchbox and high-quality cables so I can see my Mac in 17 inches of glory.

I’m just wondering… is it just my knowledge of the MacOS that made me such a Mac person before? I can zap the PRAM, rebuild the desktop, troubleshoot the network, use dozens of keyboard shortcuts, produce almost any punctuation mark imaginable, search for a valid system disk, et cetera, et cetera. Windows? Um… run winipcfg? Release and Renew? Reboot?

Since I’ve been using Windows exclusively for some time now, I find that I like the faster mouse. I find myself looking to the bottom right for the time. I find my thumb instinctively seeking out the Control key when I’m starting a keystroke shortcut. I really like the QuickLaunch bar and the taskbar and minimizing windows and clicking quickly between apps. It’s just a different feel… but when I get back on my Mac, once I get used to the slower mouse, it’s just like old home week.

Maybe I’ve just reached a happy medium, finally. I own both platforms, and I have no intention of eliminating one of them. I like them both. I’m not platform-monogamous, but I don’t feel like I’m cheating. 🙂

P.S. – Oh, yeah… and my laser printer only works with my Mac.

Hot or Not?

What the fuck has society come to when a moderately degrading but humorous website has become a TV game show? Twenty-somethings parading themselves up a runway to have three judges decide whether they’re hot or not? (Criteria are face, body, and overall sex appeal, in case you were wondering.) This is not healthy for society, I’m sure.

It’s bad enough that we have to deal with supermodels in ads and on television, and either consciously or subconsciously compare ourselves to them. Do we have to see the 2% of the population that almost look like them, too? And do we have to keep judging people on their looks? Weren’t we told in 4th grade that it’s what’s on the inside that counts?

Apparently our teachers were full of shit. But that’s no surprize.

The Sky Is Falling…

Be sure to visit your local hardware store soon, because supplies of duct tape and plastic sheeting are going fast! After all, you don’t want to be the only one in the country without an Disaster Supply Kit.

Because you know that Al Qaeda’s first target will be [insert your hometown here], U.S.A.

Call me a cynic. Call me a typical apathetic Gen-Xer. I just don’t think that the biological weaponry, whatever it may be, will end up here in Bowling Green, Ohio. If the assailants are dumb enough to release some sort of something-or-other that will propagate all the way here from wherever they dump it, something tells me that a.) duct tape on the windows won’t help, and b.) it’ll get them eventually, too.

I just refuse to get sucked into a panic before the situation warrants.

And now for something completely different… I’m very proud of myself. Last week, I received my shipment from fixyourownprinter.com, including a new pickup roller and installation video CD-ROM. In only, oh, an hour and a half, I managed to disassemble my LaserWriter II NT, change the pickup roller, clean the registration roller, install some new felt pads in the electronics of the printer, and reassemble it… in working order. 🙂 My printer will now be happy and will print pretty wedding announcements.

General crap

I don’t update this thing enough. There are people out there who update their blogs / journals / diaries / what-have-you on a daily basis. Me, I’m probably one of the people who pisses off my friends during their daily blog-checks. (If you have a page linked from mine: yes, I do check your page every day to see if there’s something new.)

So… what’s up in my life. Yesterday our temp was sick with the flu and called off work. We’d gotten so used to having three people to do the work of, oh, two-and-a-half, that being one person short on a Monday really threw us for a loop. Loni and I parceled out A’s work betwixt the two of us, and somehow managed to get through the morning. I opted to skip lunch (bad idea) and worked straight into the afternoon. Loni had to leave at 6:00pm to go to a church function (as usual on Mondays), which then left me and my supervisor to run the systems. Keep in mind that my supe doesn’t really know how to run the Citation systems very well. So, by 9:00 at night, I was still processing work, along with my supervisor and the upper-middle-aged woman who was previously banned from running the systems due to her immense number of fuck-ups and bizarro computer errors.

Let’s hear it for twelve-hour days.
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In contrast, today was nice. I got to come in at 10am, and leave at 4:00pm. Super-light workload, pleasant day, sunshine streaming through the blinds. Got home in time to spend some time with Aaron before he went to work, which is always neat.

As far as wedding crap goes: I’m almost dressed. I have my dress, crinoline (aka poofy hoop skirt), veil, and corset. I still need shoes, and some sort of headpiece. I had decided I didn’t want a headpiece, but I’m not sure what I’m going to do with my hair if I don’t have one. I’d also thought of having my hair down, but I think it looks a little funky underneath the veil, so ix-nay on that. My Mom will have a cow, but it can’t be avoided.

Aaron and I also went shopping for accessories and color swatches this past weekend. My burgundy color has somehow morphed into a pretty cinnamon, which is OK by me. We found some ribbon for the centerpieces first.

— No, wait. First came Aaron’s discovery at the Dollar Tree in the small last week. He saw a shelf of nifty little vase-glasses, about 8 inches tall (or maybe six, I’m not positive) with a wine-glass stem and a curvy shape. He pointed to them and said, “Those would make good centerpieces.”

[light streaming from sky, angels singing in chorus, herald trumpets sounding]

I bought ten of them: one each for nine tables, plus one extra for when I break one.

So, this past weekend, Aaron and I got eight yards of ribbon from Ben Franklin, and three square yards of matching cloth and some pinking shears from Wal-Mart. We also discovered that Wal-Mart has a wedding supplies aisle in the crafts section of the store. I could buy my throw-away garter (in white or light blue), bits and pieces for my headpiece, even a veil. (Doh!)

Anyway, next on the wedding-crap list is a.) book a photographer, and b.) let my bridesmaids know WTF’s going on with dresses. Oh, yeah, didn’t tell you about that, did I? I’ve decided to let my bridesmaids pick out their own individual dresses. I’m sending them fabric swatches and guidelines: ankle-length dress, rounded neckline (scoop, tank, ballet, whatever). Tan hose, black flats. The end. I haven’t broken the news to Amy yet (she’s my maid of honor, for anyone who’s been out to lunch this whole time), but she should be happy, considering that she’s been politely reminding me that I’ve been slacking off in my bridal duties. I figure, with the extremes in size and shape that I have with my ladeez, doing things this way will make things cheaper and easier for them, plus they’ll be able to choose their own cut and style.

Um… I think I’ve updated sufficiently now. Yeah.

Heroes

No, no, not David Bowie.

I have weird trains of thought. I hadn’t done my daily blog checks for a few days, so I headed first to Sheryl’s site, then to Beth’s, where I got impersonally schooled for not updating more often. (::ouch::) Anyway, I read about her weight-loss frustrations, which turned my thoughts to my own weight-loss kick. (After, of course, wondering why Beth would think she needs to lose weight.)

To help bolster my weight-loss motivation, I put a big scowling picture of Henry Rollins on my desktop. He’s looking directly at me, silently chanting his seven-word solution to losing weight: "Eat less. Eat better. Move your body." This has become my mantra since seeing Henry’s spoken word gig in Columbus on Saturday.

This thought led me to the conclusion: Henry Rollins is my fitness hero.

I’ve ruminated on the hero/role-model concept ever since my pre-teen years in Sunday School, when they told us to find a role model and emulate him or her. It occured to me even then that I couldn’t find anyone who was quite where I wanted to be, who was quite who I wanted to be. Since that point, I’ve denounced the idea of an overall personal role-model as absurd. If I try to be Person X… then who am I? And how does my attempt to be Person X belittle him or her — especially if I’m successful? Her uniqueness factor is kicked down a notch. As is my own.

On the other hand… if I could find someone who personifies each aspect of myself, and emulate that aspect of them, our uniqueness as individuals remains intact. Plus, I’m not forced to cheapen myself on other aspects of my being that Person X might not have, or have as strongly as I do.

Some of my other heroes are a little personal, so I won’t blab them here. Some of my personal heroes change from year to year. Some are famous (like Hank). Some of them are people you know.

I challenge you to identify your own personal heroes. Be truthful. It might be strange on some levels, but you might be surprized at who you actually emulate.

Finally, An Ohayocon Post!

The first of a series of posts about this most interesting of experiences. I don’t have my own pictures developed yet, but I do have some I downloaded online. Here we have the joy of CosPlay: dressing up like your favorite fictional character. Left = weirdo in costume, Right = who they’re supposed to look like:

 
Jareth, the Goblin King (played by David Bowie) in the 1986 film Labyrinth

 
Lain, from the anime series Serial Experiments Lain

 
Vash the Stampede from the anime series Trigun

 
Cloud from the Playstation game Final Fantasy VII

 
Seres Victoria from the anime series Hellsing

 
Pepsiman, Japanese mascot for Pepsi-Cola

Past Imperfect

You know that introspective New Year’s entry I promised? Well, here it is, a little late. Now, where to start…?

Back in High School, I was a perfectionist and a procrastinator all rolled into one. My fear of making mistakes really didn’t help things. Being high-strung and stiffly formal too much of the time definitely added to the geek factor. Even after failing Government my Senior year, and having to take “real” summer school for the first time in my life, this still didn’t teach me one of the many lessons that I needed to learn:

Sometimes you have to deal with the less pleasant things before you get to the good things.

I still didn’t learn the lesson during my seven (count ’em, seven) years of undergrad. I regularly failed to attend classes — and hence, regularly failed classes. Of course, I went to the “cool” classes, and of course I did well in them. Web design, multimedia, photography, human sexuality, recording technology, sociology, all stellar grades. Math, accounting, drafting, management, all the “boring” classes… not so much. I took College Algebra three or four times, and Trig twice, just because I hated the classes and didn’t go. If BGSU had the same policy then that they do now, I would have been paying back all the financial aid money I’d gotten for the classes I failed. I’d either have learned that valuable lesson, or I’d have given up on school for lack of funds.

Only now can I begin to learn and appreciate the value of this tidbit of knowledge. Now, when I’m working in an industry completely unrelated to the one I’d intended to pursue. Now, when I’m watching more recent grads going through the same post-graduation denial I went through. Now, when credit checks on me reveal the fact that I worked for a temp agency for eight or nine months, and have only held my current job for three.

I would like to go out and find my dream job. I haven’t given up on this. I refuse to be a bank flunky until I retire or am laid off. But… now is the time for stability. Now is the time to deal with a less-than-desirable job, so I can build credit and experience and general work-force skills. I have to deal with this less pleasant thing before I can go off and seek out the good.

When the right opportunity arises, I will be ready.

Blogs and personal webpages — windows to the soul?

A few months ago, the World showed me how small it is after all, and inserted a former RCC coworker into my current employment at Sky Bank. Not someone I had ever hung out with, but someone I had always thought it would be fun to know. Did I say anything about this? Ever? Of course not. This is me we’re talking about here.

One day we were discussing our currently-unused degrees — mine in Visual Communications, hers in Computer Art — and she mentioned that she had a web page. I mentioned mine, too, and gave the URL (since it’s easy enough to remember… at least until I get married). She quietly avoided mentioning hers.

So I went on Google and I found it. Stalking? Hardly. Simple curiosity.

Honestly… I had expected more of the site. The work is cool, the text-based adventure intriguing, but I’m more of an interface person myself. At any rate, I opted not to mention anything at work about me seeking out her website, as that could be construed a number of ways. Not the least of which would be moderately creepy.

Yesterday and today at work, the people who provide and service our Citation document processing systems came up from Florida to install a new system. In the process of bullshitting with Rick and Randy from TMR, Rick gave my coworker and I his personal URL, and invited us to check it out. My coworker then mentioned that she had a website and had recently started a LiveJournal. She said she had her own server space, but liked being able to update from anywhere and not have to worry about coding. (I like not having to code, too, but that’s why I use Dreamweaver.) Of course, she didn’t mention her username or anything.

So I went on LiveJournal and I found it. Stalking? Hardly. Simple curiosity.

After reading my coworker’s personal comments, written specifically for her friends and fellow MUSHers, I discovered something about blogs. They can be quite audience-specific, and quite personal. Of course, I knew this from reading strangers’ blogs (see right), but it’s different when the subject in question isn’t a complete stranger. I can see why she didn’t want mere coworkers reading her comments. Not that her journal is lewd or vulgar or anything like that; it’s just personal. I almost feel like I’ve violated her privacy on some level by seeking this out. But, on the other hand, one has to be prepared for anyone to read anything posted online in a publicly-accessible website. I feel I also have a new perspective about her.

I wonder… were she to read my website, would she have a new perspective on me?

Amusing distractions online

Looking for a fun and simple Flash game? Check out this hunting game… but be forewarned: losing this game is painful. In a very special way.

Ever feel like websurfing, but don’t know where to start? boingboing.net is a good place — deceptively simple-looking, and packed with amusing tidbits guaranteed to keep you busy and enthralled with the joy that is the internet.

News flash! Every U.S. resident who purchased a prerecorded music product between January 1, 1995 and December 22, 2000 is entitled to a piece of the pie. That is, since music prices were so inflated during that time (you mean they’re not still?), everyone who joins the settlement group is entitled to between $5 and $20. If the amount per settlement member drops below $5, the money will instead be donated to an appropriate charity.

William Gibson, author of such fantastic cyberpunk novels as Neuromancer and Count Zero, among others, now has a website… including a blog. Oh, by the way, he has a new book coming out: Pattern Recognition, due out in February. Visit Mr. Gibson’s website to read an excerpt.

Gibson on Gibson:

Google me and you can learn that I do it all on a manual typewriter, something that hasn’t been true since 1985, but which makes such an easy hook for a lazy journalist that I expect to be reading it for the rest of my life. I only used a typewriter because that was what everyone used in 1977, and it was manual because that was what I happened to have been able to get, for free. I did avoid the Internet, but only until the advent of the Web turned it into such a magnificent opportunity to waste time that I could no longer resist. Today I probably spend as much time there as I do anywhere, although the really peculiar thing about me, demographically, is that I probably watch less than twelve hours of television in a given year, and have watched that little since age fifteen. (An individual who watches no television is still a scarcer beast than one who doesn’t have an email address.) I have no idea how that happened. It wasn’t a decision.

I do have an email address, yes, but, no, I won’t give it to you. I am one and you are many, and even if you are, say, twenty-seven in grand global total, that’s still too many. Because I need to have a life and waste time and write.

I suspect I have spent just about exactly as much time actually writing as the average person my age has spent watching television, and that, as much as anything, may be the real secret here.

And now for something completely different… paper cameras. Not disposable cameras — paper cameras. As in, a camera without the camera. As in, origami photopaper = pinhole camera.

Hey, Schavitz! Here’s a companion for your robot dog!

The Operation: the fine art of pornographic film. The streaming RealVideo doesn’t work, but there are stills galore. Filmed entirely in infrared, this film is both erotic and eerie. …At least, it looks like it is.

OK, OK… that’s enough randomness for one night. But wasn’t it fun?

(Note to self: Use red-eye reduction on new camera to avoid future demon-spawn photos. Post initial roll of new-camera photos soon.)

"…A Brand New Car!"

[insert “Price is Right” theme here]

[spoken in Rod Roddy announcer voice:]
That’s right, folks! Diana Cook and Aaron Schnuth are now the proud owners of a brand new 2003 Kia Spectra! Diana can now drive to work in style in this pepper-red four-door sedan! Complete with AM/FM/CD Stereo, Air Conditioning, and an Automatic Transmission, this gem is sure to make the happy couple into the talk of the town… [end Rod Roddy voice]

No shit. We are joint-owners of a car loan for the next five years. Along with it comes a damn spiffy new vehicle, though. 🙂 If our new car were to be fabricated inside The Matrix construct, it would look like this:

Anyway, this saves us enormous car-related stress when going on road trips (i.e. ‘will the car make it back alive’), it saves me cab fare (sort of… I think the car payment might be higher…), and it makes both of us mobile. We’re both insured on both cars, so whichever car is at the end of the driveway is the lucky winner of the moment.

Come visit on New Year’s, and you can see the new car… nudge, nudge…