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September 16th, 2003

on unreliable technology

We're having a spate of technology breakdown around here. First it was the battery on my Linux laptop, then the satellite TV receiver started locking up and requiring a hard power cycle every few hours.

Then a few days ago, my special one-of-a-kind-DSL line (it was a beta test service which didn't make it to production; the company chose a different way to provide DSL but mine just stays there and runs anyway) failed, pretty hard. The modem was flashing its "nothing at all" signal, not the usual "I see something there but can't sync up with it" that it does when there's a DSL outage. We tried swapping modems, they tried resetting the card in the central office, nothing. I finally spent a frustrating few hours trying to remember passwords on my old ISDN equipment to get things working again there, along with the concomitant changes in the house networking gear, and we spent the weekend on the slower link.

They finally fixed it this afternoon. They replaced the card in the switch at the central office. The new one appears better in most ways... I'm getting 1.2Mb/s downlink and 256k uplink; not too bad.

But I wonder what's next.

back into the swing

Today felt like a "normal" day at work. The Microsoft worm infestation, while not over by a long shot, is down to a dull roar, enough that one of the five of us can spend an hour a day adding and removing filters as new infections occur and infected machines get cleaned up, without several of us having to run at it flat out just to keep up.

I skated in, which I should be doing more often. I'm getting out of shape and it is disturbing. My legs shouldn't hurt from a leisurely one-mile trip to work... it's kind of embarrassing.

We hooked up with Kathy, the ex-roommate, for dinner tonight. Did some catching up and reminiscing. She really was the best roommate I've ever had. And she had some not-so-fun comments about her new living situation, and she's spending only two days a week there, instead of four or five like she did when she was staying here. That was kind of a compliment.

oh, another weird weekend thing, belatedly

For Date Night, we rented a movie. We hadn't seen Gone in Sixty Seconds, and were in the mood for a car chase, brainless thing (plus we're both (*ahem* fans) of Angelina Jolie), so we zipped in, rented the DVD, and zipped out. It was Friday night and the video store was a zoo, so we didn't spend more time in there than we wanted.

Well, we started watching it, and it seemed sort of... odd. The production and filming was slick, and the stunts were all first-rate, but god, the dialog was insanely trite and terribly delivered by these really awful actors with really big sideburns. The characters had names like "Stosh" and "Madrian" and "Pumpkin". We kept looking at each other and saying what the hell is this, is this some kind of preface, and Madrian's son turns out to be Nicolas Cage, or something?

This went on for WAY too long, and we thought this just CAN'T be the right movie. But the car chases and crashes and stunts continued to be really first-rate and quite realistic, so we decided to just keep watching it.

Then the DVD player started trying to read across this huge crack in the fucking rental DVD. At first this just caused some annoying breaks in the picture, but after there were three straight scenes that it couldn't play at all, we just gave up.

Then it got really odd; we turned off the DVD player and turned on the TV, and lo, there was Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie in the film we THOUGHT we had rented. Apparently one of the cable networks was showing it. So we wound up watching about the last three-quarters of it.

Later, we got the story. I dunno, maybe we were the only people in the world who didn't know that Gone in Sixty Seconds was a remake of a much earlier film. The original was directed by the late H. B. Halicki, who set up and drove all his own stunts and actually crashed his own cars on camera. Apparently the movie we abortedly watched had several scenes which weren't stunts so much as honest, real live car wrecks that happened when stunts went wrong but they left them in the movie anyway because they looked so good. Almost one car wrecked for every minute of film. H. B. Halicki himself was killed a few years later when a stunt went a little too wrong in another film he was making.

Kind of embarrassing. We later told this story to Rebecca, ending with "wow, who knew that movie was a remake?" Her reply: "Well, duh."

on big storms

This can't be good. North Carolina is really going to get it. And it's strengthening, too. I'd be surprised if it reaches the strength of Andrew in 1992, but it's still going to give them a huge wallop. And there go insurance rates again.

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Charley

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