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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Cinema San Pedro

San Jose hosts these fun free screenings downtown called Cinema San Pedro. It's every Wednesday, outdoors downtown. Looking at this year's lineup, I think going to see All About Eve, Ferris Bueller and The Philadelphia Story will be worthwhile.

There's also Gypsy Cinema in the Circle of Palms (also downtown). I'm having more trouble finding their movie list for the year.

I like San Jose. It does a lot to try to be a city and a community. They really use their outdoor spaces. There's lots of other stuff going on too - like Miller Music in the Park, the annual ice rink, Bark in the Park.

Summer Has Arrived

It took til June 29th before summer arrived, but it's here. It's hot today. It didn't cool off last night for the first time I can remember. It was stuffy in the house most of the night, finally crawling under the covers around 4. I'm so glad we finished the attic stairs last weekend instead of this one.

Now we get to test our lifestyle. Is no air conditioning insane? Will the new grill be our summer stove?

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the summer heat. It's a bit humid today. I'm working from home trying to get ready to teach Student Administration Basics on Tuesday. It's dark and warm in my home, perfect for me to sit and study. It's too warm to want to jump up and do chores, but not so warm it's uncomfortable. Just perfect for me, and a far better option than the office, which is always kept entirely too cold. Like a lizard, or the ladybugs we put in the garden last weekend, I tend to shut down at colder temperatures, sitting as still as possible, trying to conserve heat. This is not conducive to getting a lot done.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Howl's Moving Castle

Went to see the latest Miyazaki offering last night. It was just what I was hoping for, and although the ending was a little bumpy, overall, I really enjoyed it. I think my favorite part was when Sofi's cleaning messed up Howl's arrangement of stuff in the bathroom and he ended up with the wrong stuff on his hair, convinced it had made him hideous. He cries out, "I don't want to live if I can't be beautiful!" and throws himself down in a chair and proceeds to start to melt. The other characters wonder if he's really going to die, and Sofi says that no, it's just a little temper tantrum. I can't explain why it was so endearing just now, but it was. It was such a prototypical goth moment.

I'm really enjoying the Disney dubs of the Miyazaki movies. They're getting real talent to voice the characters, so though you lose a little, it's nice to have these movies accessible to a young audience in America.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Pixel in Bed

My mom had a cat bed that Charlie decided wasn't nearly as comfortable as the chair in the living room. So, the hand-me-down bed came home with us, and Pixel thinks it's just swell. He keeps a stuffed toy in there, and usually goes to hang out in the bed when we've got too many guests or he's tired before we go to bed. It's tucked in the closet, just for him. Isn't he cute?

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I Have Attic Stairs!

So what did I do this weekend? Go to Fair Oaks Faire? Nope. Go to the Pride Parade? Nuh-uh. Cut a hole in my ceiling and install attic stairs, plus a healthy helping of weeding the garden? Yup. Oh this homeowner's life is just very odd. But I've got stairs that make the same sounds as the stairs at the cabin in Quintette. It makes me oddly happy everytime I hear them squeak. And then I climb up them to the attic, where there is more than 6 foot clearance in the center, and 4 feet where we're going to put the walls, making a storage/sewing room 12 foot wide by 24 foot long. But that's a ways down the road. First there is electrical work to do (must get rid of the last of the knob and tube wiring. ~shudder~) and insulation to add and floors to lay and sheetrock to hang and so on and so on. But my dad seems as excited about the space as I am, so once we get through the first two items (electrical and insulation), he'll be ready to come back and help us finish it out.

After trying to melt my dad in the attic, we showered him up, gave him a big bag of broccoli from the garden, and sent him home. Rick and I headed out for supper, a trip through Home Depot, a supplementary stop at OSH, and Target. At OSH, I remembered I wanted to get some fertilizer for the trees out front. One of the trees is a picture of health. The other is hanging in there, but looks unhappy next to it's mate. So, fertilizer, some extra water, and hopefully it will be happier soon. So there we were in OSH, looking at tree fertilizer and it all comes in spikes or stakes. In our over-tired and relatively punchy state, we both raised an eyebrow at the Jobe's Tree Stake packaging. I pulled it down off the shelf, and the top of the box has a pair of pictures comparing their very manly tree stakes to other wimpier tree stakes. This is when the uncontrollable giggling started. Between that, and Rick using a grabber tool down on aisle 2 to impersonate an Andorian that made us think it was Shamu hour, and definitely time to go home and go to bed.

So we came home, patched the plaster ceiling, made a hook and eye pull for the attic stairs, vacuumed, and got ready for work tomorrow. And now, off to bed.

I just keep telling myself, I didn't buy a house. I bought a lifestyle change. It's so true, and as I stare up at my attic stairs and my patch job, I'm pretty ok with that.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Google!

Just got done with a phone interview at Google for an Agency Training Specialist job. The recruiter is going to pass me up stream. Hooray!!! I would really dearly love this job. It sounds like such a perfect fit. The odds are against me - I don't have specific experience training sales people previously. But I've done a lot of training ranging from new recruits to grumpy users fighting a change, so the sales people don't especially intimidate me. It would involve some travel (20-30%), but not too much. (In fact, it sounds like the perfect amount - just enough to soothe my gypsy feet without having to live out of a black 22') And I'd be training people in a classroom at least twice a month. She didn't completely freak about my salary (whew!) and I think I did alright, not saying too many totally wrong things. So it's still likely that someone with 8-10 years of experience training sales people will beat me for the job, but just making it this far feels really good. I'm diving back into the HelpSU queue with a relish I've not had for several weeks. Help people? Sure! I love to help. Wheeeeee!

Alone at the Theater

Everything seemed to be pressing against my getting to the theater last night. First, Elizabeth planned a girls night out, and I had to decline because that's my ACT night. Then Fred mentioned that he had to switch his dates, which meant he and his date (usually Malaya) would not be there that night. Then Rick has come down with a nasty cold that has dropped into his chest and has him coughing terribly. He thought that 2 hours of stifling coughs in the theater would be less than fun. So I made a round of phone calls, calling a half dozen or more friends who I thought ~might~ be free and intereted. Everybody was busy. So at 6:45, I took a deep breath and hit the road alone. There was a gentle nagging in the back of my head wondering why so much had conspired to keep me away that night.

But I got to the theater to see Edward Albee's "The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?" It was funny. It was dark. It was emotionally challenging. I really enjoyed it. In fact, behind the Gamester, I think it was my favorite of the season. It had some great linguistic banter, and a truly fabulous line about being too bright not to see the dark and morbid humor in the world that goes over most people's heads. I wish I could remember it exactly.

On the way home I found myself in construction traffic on 101, creeping through traffic at 11pm as though it were rush hour. I gave Fred a call, happy to have someone else to discuss the show with for a few minutes. It was an odd, off-kilter play for an odd, off-kilter day, so it was a perfect match. Even if I was alone in a theater with 800 other people.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Baycon/Nazgrrl photos

During Baycon, we went to visit a photographer there who took several shots. My personal favorites are photos 58, 59, 56, 55, 53, and 46. Image 40 has all 9 of us. Also, check out some of the other photos. The guy in image 47 was there at the same time as us, and boy was that rig impressive.

The Longest Day of the Year

It was the longest day yesterday. Days at work are definitely feeling longer than they are right now, so it was fitting. Commencement took a lot out of me, not because it was especially busy. On the contrary, it was tedious. There were 22 commencement related tickets total for the whole week, and yet I got nothing else done. This wasn't because they were difficult or time consuming. It was because the 'coordinator' for commencement was watching the queue so asiduously that if a ticket came in and sat for 10 minutes, he would come to my office and ask if I was going to take care of it. So I spent the week on the razor's edge. By Wednesday, I was losing it. I had to send out these messages at 11, 3, and 7 about the status of the help desk. At 11am I sent out:

Still quiet.
Commencement treads on little spider legs.
Many legs in motion
Yet nothing is disturbed.
A web of transactions is created
Yet few bugs are caught.
Perhaps the spider will go hungry this year.


I got promptly scolded for being "unprofessional". So, I returned to the "X tickets today. All resolved." format. Later, I was told by several folks including two of my former managers that they really enjoyed my little note and it was nice after all the monotony. I sighed and resigned myself to life in the new department I was reporting to. And started job hunting. So far, I've applied to 3 jobs on campus and 3 jobs off campus, but again found myself facing the issue that I've grown into an odd, poorly defined skill set here at Stanford. I'm not a professional trainer or a functional business analyst or a UI designer or a testing coordinator or a technical writer or anything easily definable in terms outside of Stanford/ITSS. I'm all of those jobs, but don't have enough concrete experience with an appropriate title in any of them to look attractive on paper.

Meanwhile, the next day, the coordinator came over and stirred up a bunch of trouble about a pending enhancement to PeopleSoft HR. The item had just been loaded to UAT, and he was pressing for it to go to production next week. I said that wasn't possible because having just gone to UAT, Jia hasn't had time to build it into the web form, and she'll be on vacation next week. He said that the business owner requested it for the 16th. I said that Wipro hadn't gotten the first part done in time to accomodate that schedule. He said we needed to work to the business owner's needs. I said that would be great if they'd gotten their work done earlier, or done right the first time, but it didn't happen and Jia will be on vacation. We tussled back and forth a few more times with him insisting on the date and me saying "Not possible. It's not done." Finally, he said, "Well it's done except for the web forms part. Let's go with out that." At which point, I'd had it. I said, "Fine. Let's leave web forms as the red-headed stepchild. Nothing changes." So then I walked away because I was really done with him and needed a cup of coffee, and got my cuppa joe and went to talk to Jia about pulling off a miracle in the next 24 hours. She said she thought she could do it (bless her), and just needed a sample position number to work from. I was headed back to my desk to deal with that, and get back to the commencement issues when the coordinator intercepted me again, this time to say that there were four commencement tickets in the queue and if I was going to be away from the queue then he needed to be notified. I said that I thought my walking away from the previous conversation might have been a hint that I was going to need a few minutes to a) take a moment for myself, and b) deal with the crisis he had created. He said that commencement had to be my top priority this week, and that if I didn't understand that then he could have my manager talk to me about it. I said, "Yes, it is my top priority, but I've got 24 hours to have Jia pull off a miracle, and I needed to get that started." He said that commencement was my top priority and nothing else mattered this week. I said that I heard him the first time he said that. He said that it didn't seem like my top priority. I said that I was going to work on it now and to please back off. He said that commencement needed to be my top priority. I said I heard him the first time, and continuing to repeat that does not produce a better outcome. Then I walked away, chucked my now empty coffee cup towards my desk and kept walking to the toilet (to get rid of the coffee). Back at my desk, I took care of the commencement tickets, and received no more for the rest of the week. Did I mention I've been job hunting? Yeah.

So in the long run, this coordinator is not my boss, but he is routinely assigned these roles because he is perceived as being good at them by the management. The rest of the staff all know he's an ass, and backed me up in the staff meeting on Tuesday, but my manager said we'd talk about it off line and the discussion was over. My manager then did not talk to me about it off line for another week.

Meanwhile, they've decided they need to reform the performance support group rather than having support analysts. This returns Jo-Ann and Sarah to their former roles. Only Sarah has cut a deal to become the GFS analyst, no longer doing performance support. This means I'm now taking over her training classes starting in a week. And Jo-Ann is pissed because she too was working toward a full analyst role, but there's no one for her to pass the performance support work to, so she's feeling completely screwed, doing the work of 2 people with none of the recognition. And me, in the Project Office I felt like there was a future for me as a project manager. That cookie was smashed last December by a re-org, and now I'm back where I started four years ago. Sure, I'm still making my improved wage, so maybe I should just be happy with it, but I just don't feel like crawling back into my pigeon hole, and certainly not on the Student Records side. The student side of the organization is full of overblown self-important crisis junkies. The support model is deeply broken. I get all of the incoming tickets, but by and large all of the assistance must be done by the Registrar's Office, so I spend all day on the phone with them asking them to make changes, or emailing the requestor back saying, "Take this form to the Reg Office window". It's wildly disempowering compared to the HR side. As commencement week attests, I'm not a good fit here. So yeah, I'm looking for a job. If I leave Stanford, my vacation build up gets paid out in cash, so all that time without a break at least has some financial gain. And if I stay at Stanford, everything I've applied to is in a dramatically different department, so it'd be as good as leaving. And in the meantime, I answer tickets. It's all about summer session and visiting researchers and duplicate IDs and course maintenance this week. Being the first week of summer session, it's really busy. I tick off my day in five and twenty minute blocks chasing down assistance from the Reg Office and evaluating security assignments from my windowless, overly air conditioned office. And at the end of the day, I'm exhausted. These are the longest days.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Sex Kittens vs. Alley Cats

Some research just makes you squirm, and when the research applies to your brain and your behavior directly, it's even more worrisome. After having four different cats in my home over the years, 2 of which are especially fond of sleeping on my head, it's almost certain that I'm infected. So, I can look forward to a life of becoming less trustworthy and more attractive. Meanwhile, Rick is doomed to a life of increasing unattractiveness and antisocial behavior. We both can look forward to a greater risk of schizophrenia and manic depression. Oh goody.

Still, Pixel was so happy to have us both home working around the house yesterday. He tipped over his basket of toys and played with all of them. I felt like a mom as I picked up all of his toys and put them away before going to bed. As I cooked dinner, he wound himself around my legs and flopped over on the kitchen rug. Curled up on sofa to watch Neverwhere, he planted himself in the crook of my leg, with his chin on my heel. He woke me up at 6:30 because he just needed to be snuggled. I dozed back off with a purring cat curled up in my arm. I guess if I'm going to be infected with a wacky parasite, at least I get a really cute companion out of the deal.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Lodi and back again

Three and a half hours to get to Lodi. An hour and a half to drive back. Traffic on the way there was horrifying. So glad to be home again, just in time for a kitten snuggle attack.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Batman Begins

Karen suggested going to see Batman tonight and I couldn't resist. It was great to see it with friends, and it was a truly, unabashedly good film. Now, I loved the original Batman by Tim Burton, and this takes up that tortured mantel, only this time around, there is no wild color to brighten the darkness. It was great.

Plus, before the show, they ran the Serenity trailer, and I wasn't the only one in the theater cheering. It was nice to see it up on the bright big screen. I still argue that it's a less than wow trailer, but hopefully it will be enough.

Tomorrow I'm off to Lodi to see my oldest childhood friend get married. I've known Danny since I was 12 and he was 11. We met one night at a party at my dad's house, and spent the evening talking over politics and religion. He was my dad's girlfriend's best friend's son. Over the years we'd wander in and out of each other's lives, always picking up where we left off. It's bizzare to think of us both in our thirties, settled down in domesticity. This is one of those times when I feel old. Mostly in a good way though.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tempest in the Park

So I went to the Tempest show last night, and was happy to have a small but fun set of dancers to join me. We dragged two beginners through Fairy Reel and danced Four Hand, Iron Hand, Bronwyn, Galway, and four handed polka sets. On the second to last song, Leif said, "Now we're gonna do a big circle dance. Everybody get up, and follow along." And then he points at me (us). This is the second time in a week he's done that to me. Again, with the blushing and the eek, but again with the "Fezziwig, at your service!" Head down means go in. Left arm waving means circle left. Right arm waving means circle right. Yelling "Swing the person next to you!" Finally, I was bored, and I'm pretty sure the crowd was getting bored, so I broke the circle and started a reel (a la Fezziwigs), which is to say, follow the leader in a windy snaking path. It worked, and I'd definitely do that again. And I suspect I'm going to need that skill again before the year is out. I gave Leif a little crap for it at the end of the show, but he joked back, and said that next time we were required to do our dancing up front rather than hiding in the back. It's nice to have such a good rapport with a band. There's been enough nights at the King's Head now where they've been there, and been sick or tired or what have you, and they've specifically thanked me (us) for dancing because then they don't have to work as hard at being entertaining in addition to playing good music.

We followed the dancing with ice cream at Rick's. I had a Swiss Mocha cone - chocolate/coffee with chocolate chips. Mmmmm. And then I went home and tidied up. It's summer at it's best.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Mr. & Mrs. Smith

We went to see Mr. & Mrs. Smith last night. It was a classic summer popcorn flick, with lots of violence, explosions, destruction of property, and sex. We had popcorn and were happy. It also had a fun score, including an interesting tango and a couple of other danceable things in the credits. It's a great date movie for anyone in a long term relationship. Of course, not for the faint of heart who would find it difficult to watch an assasin get run over by a car.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Sunburn

I tend to joke about how I can get a sunburn in 15 minutes or less. Sadly, it really is true. I rode my bike down to California Avenue today to have lunch with Fredrik. Both arms and my nose are sunburned. It took less than 15 minutes each way.

And on my way home, I'm going to restock my sunblock supply. Two sunburns before the end of June and I'm done for the summer.

Tempest for Free

I think my all time favorite live and local band is Tempest. Tomorrow they're playing a free show at the Mitchell Park Bowl in Palo Alto, just minutes from my office. In the past, this has been one of my favorite summer things. Dancing to great music outdoors under the shady trees. Then after the show, descending on Rick's Rather Rich for an ice cream cone. If you can read this, you should come dance with me. Show starts at 6:30.

Commute Snicker

It's good when your commute makes you giggle. Today I passed a tour bus coming off campus. In the upper right of the passenger window where it usually says the destination, this one said "Very Special". That's right - they weren't going to any ordinary desitination like San Francisco, or even on a Charter, or even riding a Special bus; they were riding the Very Special bus. They were going to a Very Special place.

I'm so easily amused.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Connect the Dots

Netflix delivered Patch Adams last week and I just got around to watching it tonight. It really was a Dead Poet's Society with Med Students instead of preppies. But there were two things of note about it.

One, Alan Tudyk (who plays Wash in Firefly) was one of the patients in the group therapy session in the first part of the movie. He was funny, as usual, and I could hear echos of the Wash to come in that very much younger, less filled out face.

Two, the guy who plays the Mayor in season 3 of Buffy was Patch's psychotherapist. This is the second Joss Whedon connection for the film.

Three, the credits rolled, and the end titles song was "Faith from the Heart", the theme song for Enterprise. The incredibly crappy theme song from Enterprise. Only this time it really is sung by Rod Stewart instead of a pathetic Rod Stewart wanna-be (and trust me, I'm no fan of Rod Stewart, so this was a shadow of an improvement). Moreover, here this song actually makes sense. The words match the thematic nature of the story. I'm not sure what ninny picked this song for the Enterprise theme, but it was so horribly wrong for that show, though perhaps it was a beacon crying out from the outset "We've lost all sense of compass. We have no creativity left. Please drive through." And so we did. I did enjoy the final episode, and really the final season, but overall, Enterprise was just a sorry excuse to continue a profitable franchise.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Firefly Fans

Being a Firefly fan is newsworthy in San Francisco. A Chronicle reporter came out and interviewed folks at the May 26th screening (two weeks after the screening I went to). The next screening is June 23rd. Keep checking MovieTickets.com at the AMC Van Ness 1000 for tickets to go on sale very soon.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Ancephaly in the Right Wing

Sometimes I think some folks on the religious right suffer from ancephaly. There's no disputing that military insurance does not pay for abortion except in cases of risk to the mother's life, but what value is there in bringing an ancephaletic fetus to term? It's not a person, and it never will be. It's a malfunctioning collection of cells. It's just emotionaly cruelty to the poor woman who is probably going to get asked all the usual questions - "Oh! When are you due?" "Is it a boy or a girl?" and so on for months! And childbirth is something people die from. Why go through it for something that will never be a baby? It's insane!!! Why put a woman through an extra five months of prenatal care? You can't say paying for the abortion services is more expensive than five months of prenatal care, plus labor and delivery. That's a bold faced lie. So that leaves only the "moral" question. This is the part where I'm pretty sure some of these folks were born without a brain. The only moral question here is "How would you like to be treated in this situation?" Would you like to be told that you've got to carry a zombie in your body for an extra five months, or would you like to have someone kindly and gently offer to take care of it for you with a small surgical procedure and you'll be back on your feet in a day or two and ready to try again in a month or so. I can't believe these nimwits control our country. Their version of god and morality is utterly absurd to me.

The Tivo Fairy

So I've been busy inflicting Tivo's on practically everyone I know. Tivo just sent me a note offering free Tivos with paid service. Buy a year or a lifetime membership for the box, and get a free 40 hour box. I don't think this offer is available to the general public currently, so if you have been waiting for a Tivo and still want one, ping me and we can arrange it. (Lifetime service is roughly the same cost as 2 years of service - $299.) Maybe it's time to bring grandma and grandpa into the Tivo revolution. Heaven knows grandma wanted to stay home to watch the tennis finals on Saturday rather than going to the water board meeting in Quintette. That could've been a problem easily solved by Tivo. Hmmm...

Honda vs. Prius

So after picking up my car at the Saturn place the other day, and paying my pound of flesh, I noted that the dealership next door was a Honda dealership, so I thought, "Hmm, been curious about the Honda Civic Hybrid. Maybe I should go ask." So I pulled in and the salesmen stood together like a pack of hungry dogs. One broke away and asked if I had an appointment. I said no, that I was just interested in inquiring about a Civic Hybrid. We strode off confidently toward the other side of the lot. They had several on site, and manual transmission off at the quarry parking lot. So after poking around the interior of one, we decided to drive off to the quarry, pick up the manual and give it a go on the way back.

The Civic, unlike the Prius, is really just a normal car with a hybrid engine. Nothing about it has been reimagined other than the engine. This is likely very comforting to a large section of the population, but for me, it was disappointing. Really, the inside felt no different than Kevin's ten year old Honda Civic. This also caused a couple of downsides, the most annoying of which is that the rear seats don't fold down. The trunk is shallower than the backseat, making the fold down thing unworkable. For me, this was pretty much a deal breaker. Too often, I've come out to the car at OSH or Home Depot and been unable to fit things without folding down the seats. I need that option. And really, the only thing to recommend it over the Prius was 1. price, and 2. manual transmission option (and oh, alright, 3. better color choice). Otherwise, there was nothing special about the car. The Prius feels like a special car. The remote keyless entry and start is brilliant. I love the hatchback styling, making cargo possible and easy in a still relatively small vehicle. So, still hoping for a Prius.

But speaking of price, I asked what their financing options were and what the bottom line was on price. Well, it had been a slow day, so they were ready to play "Let's Make a Deal." Only it was the aggressive version where you will make a deal or we'll hold you hostage until you do make a deal. The price was $20,595, but they offered it to me for $19,588. They also offered 1.9% financing for 36 months. Okay, now this is a pretty sweet deal. Then they kept sweetening it. They dropped the price to invoice ($19,101), and offered a free tape deck (which I'd inquired about for books on tape). Finally Rick called and said, "Where's my dinner!" I used this as my escape. On my way off the lot, they offered to give me a good trade in price and take another $200 less than invoice. The stink of desperation was all over them, but as I'd said previously, I was not ready to buy. I do a lot of research, find out what fits my body, find out what features are most important to me, find out about all the ups and downs, find out what the next model year has to offer, and then decide. I was still in step one - find out if the car fits my body. It was alright. Okay. Ready to go do the rest of the research. NOT ready to spend $20k today thankyouverymuch. And your aggressive sales tactics are making me run away as fast and as far as possible.

So my next car will still likely be a Prius, but I have no intention of paying a premium for it and I expect to get decent financing for the probably half of the price that I'd be looking to finance. If not, the Honda Civic Hybrid is a decent fall back vehicle. And there's more hybrids coming out next year, so maybe another option will be even more enticing. I still think I'm at least a year from wanting to buy, probably almost 2 years. With all the fixes just put into the Saturn, I need to use her for a while longer.

But really, does anyone feel good about high pressure sales tactics? Do they really work? For me, nothing will make me less likely to buy something. I will not reward that kind of behavior.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Fighting the Good Fight

We're fast approaching Commencement here on campus, and the help desk is starting to get busy. That's okay though. I'm feeling more on top of it these days. Now I'm seeing those who are pulling their weight and those who aren't. I know who to go to for answers, and I know who I have to go to for certain answers even if "helpful" isn't a word I'd ever use to describe them.

So this is all well and good. Today I called Max (who is helpful) to ask a quick question. He had to find out a little about policy from the folks near him in the Registrar's Office. When he called back, he had my answer, plus a compliment. He and Jackie had been talking earlier and he just wanted me to know that they both thought I was one of those folks in ITSS who really should be recognized for all the hard work I do. That's a very nice thought for a Friday.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Cars

Took my car in for it's 90k service this morning. As if that weren't pricey enough on it's own, the car also needs:
- new tires
- alignment
- the wheel cylinder is leaking and needs to be replaced
- the motor mount has collapsed and needs to be replaced
- the serpentine belt is cracking and needs to be replaced
- the coolant temp sensor is corroded and needs to be replaced
- the windshield wipers need to be replaced
- the side view mirrors need to be replaced (one is cracked, the other is off)

I decided to only do about half of it this month, but there goes all my disposable/home improvement income for the next two months. A thousand dollars today. Ouch.

So, fun times. Meanwhile, I'm reading about fuel cell vehicles and daydreaming of a day when my car won't need an oil change every 3000 miles. I tell you though, this article isn't half so inspiring as the episode of Scientific American Frontiers I watched a few weeks ago. My next car will be a hybrid. Hopefully the one after that (when I'm 50?) will be a fuel cell.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

Looks like they're doing another version of Pride and Prejudice for the big screen, this time starring Keira Knightley. I can't imagine it even coming close to tapping the pure perfection that is the A&E/BBC version years ago with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. Funny thing - Keira Knightley is a pretty girl, but very much in a modern sense. She looks very plain in her Regency era dressings, and certainly not the dark beauty that Jennifer Ehle is. I'd really love to see far more of Jennifer Ehle than Keira Knightley, but Keira seems to be slipping into the 20-something waif spot that Winona Ryder has vacated. Interesting. And it comes out a week before Serenity.