June 25th, 2009

We spent a couple of weeks in New Zealand at the beginning of May.

My wife stumbled on some great air fares and we decided to go, almost on a whim.

It'd been 20+ years since we'd been last, my wife on a soccer trip and me on a visit-the-family-before-they-all-die trip, and I wanted to introduce the land of my mom's birth to my kids. Plus, my aunt and uncle offered a place to crash on the West Coast.

I could engage the lit. major vocabulary in an attempt to convey how wonderful NZ is. Instead, I'm going to cop out and draw up a list impressions and events.

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Great Moments in Your Anus

April 21st, 2009

The new toilet paper at work is called "Achieva".

The dissonance generated by the discrepancy of name and purpose forced me to post.

I just had to share.


April 15th, 2009

I had a moment of dizziness yesterday while driving.

NPR inspired a little vortex of horror and disbelief.

I heard that the government of Pakistan has capitulated to the Taliban in Swat Province. Schools have been knocked down. Barbers hang signs reminding patrons that shaving is now forbidden. Homosexuals are being flogged. Sounds like paradise for the Prop. 8 crowd.

The Pakistani military couldn't root out the Taliban, so the government cut a deal. Swat has been transformed from a conservative Muslim province to an enclave crushed under the weight of a radical misinterpretation of Sharia law enforced with the gun.

I checked my watch hoping it was somehow April 1st.

Tiny Technical Triumph

April 13th, 2009

I built a computer a couple years ago.

CompReal made me do it. He said it would be easy and it was.

With my company paying 50%, I decided to kit together an upper-midrange system. It's been fast and, despite some Vista pains, fairly reliable.

But the CPU with OEM cooler was pain from day one. It rattled and hummed. Because I was ignorant and unwilling to spend any more money, I fashioned a couple of high-tech shims from a cereal box and wedged the damned heatsink fan quiet.

About two years later, most of the technology in my box had hit the hardware price trough. 4GB of low-latency RAM for $22? I can't pass that up.

While installing the new RAM, I stupidly wiggled one of my cardboard shims. The CPU cooler fan started buzzing and rattling again. Time to replace the damned thing. Who can pass up a deal on an "ARCTIC COOLING Freezer 64 Pro 92mm CPU Cooler"? I mean, it's huge, solid copper, sports big ol' heat pipes, and it's "Pro". Dude. And if I'm going through the trouble of replacing the fan, why not just swap out the CPU for a faster model with a later-generation, more efficient core?

So now, after using my air compressor to blast out great gouts of dust and a brief dance with a modern zero-insertion-force socket, I've got a faster, quieter computer.


La Caldera Negra

April 8th, 2009

This morning I listened to Senator Carl Levin talk about how Pakistan needs "to rid themselves of their own religious fanatics".

I'm glad I didn't have a mouthful of hot tea when I heard that.