I Am So Fucking Pissed Right Now

It’s 2035 on Friday night and I’m sitting here in the back parking lot of Art Moehn Honda in Jackson, Michigan.

Why, you ask?

Because the service department at Howard Cooper Honda in Ann Arbor is a bunch of money-grubbing bastards who don’t know shit about cars. Allow me to explain.

About two months back, a funny sound was coming from the right side of my engine, from the area of the timing belt. I didn’t think the timing belt was bad, because it was replaced just under 20K miles back. However, my dad suspected the water pump. The sound went away, came back again, mostly went away again, and we decided it probably wasn’t anything major, but I made a note to ask HC to check it out when I got the oil changed.

Well, a couple weeks ago I went to get the oil changed, and when I started up the car to drive it over there that morning, I didn’t hear the squealing that we had heard before. I told the service department at HC there had been a noise, and that I’d like them to give it a listen. Enter the greedy bastards.

The guy who took my keys politely informed me that if I wanted a “tech” - apparently these guys are too good for the word “mechanic” - to “listen” to my “noise,” it was going to “cost” me “seventy five” dollars for an “hour” of his “time,” with the “minimum” being a “half hour.” I told him that was OK, thanks, but not to bother unless they heard something whilst starting up or driving the car into the service department.

Four hours later, I get a call from the service department. “Your radiator is empty. Can wee add coolant? It’ll be about $10 for a gallon.” What, did you think I was going to say no? Again: money-grubbing bastards. Anyway, so I said, sure, go ahead and add the coolant, but I have no idea where all the coolant went. Neither did they - especially since we had the heater core replaced less than a year earlier and that fixed the coolant leak problems we were having at the time. They told me to keep an eye on coolant levels, and I drove home a week or so later and didn’t have any problems at all. Coolant levels were within spec as of about 1900 this evening, too.

So I got on the road around 1815 this afternoon, and made it about 20 miles west of Ann Arbor. The engine started running very rough, almost like it was missing, and then the “check engine” light came on. Great. I glanced over at the thermostat and it was pegged past the H. Uh-oh. Then the oil light came on. Double uh-oh. I immediately got off the gas and pulled over, and pulled into a rest area. The radiator fan was working like mad, and the engine was hardly able to keep running as I limped into a parking place. There were clouds of steam coming out from under the hood when I popped it, and there was a rather sharp burned smell about the whole area. Ugh. Great. Just what I need. Here we are about to leave for vacation tomorrow and I’m stuck in Jackson with an undriveable vehicle.

I’m going to make a very reasonable assumption that Art Moehn won’t be able to fix it tomorrow morning (Saturday) in time for us to pick it up on the way to Tennessee tomorrow afternoon. That means the earliest I can get it is next Sunday, also known as Fourth of July Weekend. So that’s out. I have two presentations the following Wednesday, so I’m going to be far too busy to leave Ann Arbor for two hours to pick up my car, plus I won’t have any good way to get there (since none of my friends has time to take two hours out of their day either). So at the earliest, I might have my car back the following Thursday, 10 July.

Did I mention how fucking pissed I am? AAAARRRRRRRGH!

Thank you, Howard Cooper, for being a bunch of money-grubbing bastards too desperate for a quick buck to properly diagnose a failing water pump. I’m never taking my car to you again for any service at all. Your greed has forever cost you my business. How d’ya like them apples?

posted on 28 June 2003 at 2142car0 comments

Scary Headline of the Day

Human head found floating near marina” is today’s entry. The head is suspected to be connected to the discovery in April of a torso in a car and two legs in a nearby embankment. The car’s owner, a 34-year-old Rochester man, has been charged with first-degree murder.

posted on 27 June 2003 at 0050humour0 comments

Things Not To Do

Here at the University of Michigan, we have an e-mail alias for all the graduate students in the chemistry department. This gets used for seminar announcements, “anyone got [whatever] chemical” queries, etc.

About half an hour before lunch today, though, this came in:

Date: Thu, 26 Jun 2003 11:23:45 -0400 (EDT)
From: Matthew James Kidd <mjkidd@umich.edu>
To: chem.grads@umich.edu
Subject: Mustard for Sandwich

Hi, I made a sandwich today (roast beef), and I forgot to put mustard on it. Does anyone have any mustard that I could borrow? I’m getting really hungry, since lunchtime is fast approaching.

Sorry about the mass email.


Some of the more amusing suggestions heard around the lab:

Let’s hang onto the e-mail for a month and all reply ‘No’ at the end of July.

Ask him if a mustard-coloured chemical would be an acceptable substitute.

Reply with a comment about how much mustard sucks.

posted on 26 June 2003 at 1646school0 commentstrackback

Three Cheers for the Tigers

One for each of their 10-game losers. Get ready…

Hip, hip! Hooray! (Mike Maroth)

Hip, hip! Hooray! (Jeremy Bonderman)

Hip, hip! Hooray! (Adam Bernero)

Now, with the first pitching staff since the 1906 Boston Pilgrims (now the Atlanta Braves - what is it with Boston and pitching curses?) to have three 10-game losers before July, the question is: who - if any - is going to be the first to 20?

Back when the Pistons were going through a bit of a slump in the late 1990s, I made the comment to one of my friends that it was a good thing hockey didn’t involve throwing anything other than punches, because professional athletes in Detroit who got paid to throw things were almost universally bad at it.

Other than Joey Harrington and the Pistons, the situation hasn’t changed a whole lot.

posted on 26 June 2003 at 0006sports0 commentstrackback

Song of the Day

And today’s Song of the Day is…Peace on Earth, by U2, on their 2001 release All That You Can’t Leave Behind. I was listening to it last night whilst working on my presentation for group meeting and it stuck.

Songs of the day are like cats. You don’t pick them; they pick you.

posted on 25 June 2003 at 2353entertainment0 comments


Well, got my group meeting methodology presentation out of the way. There’s a nice weight off my back.

Now if only I wasn’t so damn bored for the next few hours before I go to bed…

posted on 25 June 2003 at 2255school0 commentstrackback

<Poke> <Poke>

Seen recently on Low End Mac:

Although earlier models had less hard drive bays…

“Less,” much like “amount,” is used in comparatives that cannot be quantified. For example, “Geroge W. Bush has less intelligence than your typical ironing board” or “George W. Bush’s average speech exhibits a miniscule amount of public speaking ability.”

“Fewer,” like “number,” is used to make quantifiable comparisons. “George W. Bush has fewer brain cells than your typical head of cabbage, and he only uses a small number of those, particularly when making speeches.”

See also Grammar Slammer’s explanation.

posted on 25 June 2003 at 0132language0 commentstrackback

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Publicity

Unless you’re trying to defend a trademark, that is, in which case any publicity generally makes matters difficult. And you’d better believe that Google is doing their best to defend the trademark they have on their own misspelled name, which is quickly becoming a generic term for searching the Internet.

posted on 25 June 2003 at 0115language0 commentstrackback

Bush vs. Tic-Tacs

Who would you rather have for President? George Bush or Tic-Tacs? I’m leaning toward the Tic-Tacs. Make sure you check out the rest of the directory as well.

posted on 24 June 2003 at 1033humour0 comments

Vroom! Vrooooooooooooooom!

Quick! Somebody put one of these in a car and enter it in a tractor pull.

I think that maybe - just maybe - five million pount-feet of torque would win.

posted on 23 June 2003 at 2333sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Go Take a Nap

The BBC is reporting that naps in the middle of the work day may increase productivity. Hey, I’m all for it. Gimme my hour of passing out on a couch and I’ll be able to work 13 hour days in the lab far more easily.

posted on 23 June 2003 at 2332sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Lo ho conosciuto dovrei imparare l’inglese

That’s “I knew I should have learned English” in Italian. Because if I had, I wouldn’t have done anything as stupid as registering “powergenitalia” as a domain name for the company that employs me.

posted on 22 June 2003 at 1724language0 commentstrackback

Method Acting 101

Hulk star Eric Bana has revealed his secret for becoming angry on demand. He thinks of how bad his favourite Aussie Rules football team (St Kilda) are.

Good thing he isn’t a Freo Dockers fan. He’d be angry all the time. Nah, I shouldn’t be so hard on them - the Dockers have come a long way since the 2000 season when I was there barracking (never “rooting”) for them. (You folks who know Aussie slang will know why you never “root” for a sports team in Australia. Well, you could, but that would be kind of kinky.)

posted on 22 June 2003 at 1253sports0 commentstrackback

Only 330 Shopping Days Until Mother’s Day

So you might want to get in line now to get your mother one of these vacuum cleaners. Anything in my house that develops 100,000 Gs of acceleration is just wicked cool. Now, if only this thing would supplant the Eight Pound Oreck XL and Kirby vacuum cleaners in the “Gee, that’s the most f*ckin annoying advertisement I’ve ever seen” department…

posted on 20 June 2003 at 1952sci-tech0 commentstrackback

The Rumours of Irony’s Demise are Greatly Exaggerated

I can’t recall a single point on which Orrin Hatch and I have ever agreed. You can add this one to the list.

Ah, but the beauty of it is that the inimitable Mr Hatch doesn’t practise what he preaches.

Can I take a hammer to his computer and WWW server, please? Please? PLEASE?

posted on 20 June 2003 at 1916politix0 commentstrackback

Only On MTV…

…could gangsta-rapper-turned-media-maven Snoop Dogg (aka Calvin Broadus) get a TV show produced and titled “Doggy Fizzle Televizzle.”

Hey, I might have to start tuning in to something besides ESPN, Discovery, History, Speed, and Animal Planet!

posted on 20 June 2003 at 1848entertainment0 comments

Quote of the Day

From Homer Simpson at the close of Mr Plow:

Our forecast calls for flurries of passion, with extended periods of gettin’ it on.

Tony, this one’s for you, because it sounded exactly like something you’d say, and it even sounded a lot like you.

posted on 19 June 2003 at 2334humour0 comments

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam…

There’s an excellent piece in the current edition of MIT’s Technology Review that discusses the problem of spam, some strategies for combating it, and the big picture of what direction e-mail is being forced to take as a result.

Go read it, and then sign up as a member of the Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail (CAUCE).

posted on 19 June 2003 at 2119computing0 commentstrackback

Crikey, Mate, Those Signs Are Important!

Someone call Steve Irwin and tell him to get up to north Queensland and the Northern Territory. Folks are stealing the croc warning signs on many bodies of water in northern Australia. Maybe the government should just start selling the signs at tourist shops. They’d probably make a killing, and they’d completely destroy the demand for stolen ones.

posted on 19 June 2003 at 2110general0 comments

Benton Harlem

It’s the nickname most southwest Michigan high school students have heard several times before they graduate, and it refers, of course, to Benton Harbor, a small, poor, mostly-black town on Lake Michigan across the St. Joseph river from the mostly-white and upper-class town of St. Joseph. To anyone who has visited both areas, the divide is palpable. A 28-year-old black motorcyclist was killed early Tuesday morning after he crashed into a building at high speed during a police chase begun by white police officers. Now the citizens are rioting and it’s the top story on CNN.

posted on 18 June 2003 at 2205general0 comments

Panhandling for Pizza

Portland, OR, panhandlers now have a more productive employment opportunity: being a pizza advertisement. Hey, whatever you gotta do to get them to quit asking for my spare change…and this way, they get a square meal out of the deal too. Wonder if Shakey Jake will take time out from his busy routine of wearing fancy suits and selling his own line of t-shirts and bumper stickers to go into the pizza business?

posted on 17 June 2003 at 2326general0 comments

How Long is a Rod?

No, not that rod. Get your mind out of the gutter, you dirty bastard. A rod as in 1/40th of a furlong, which is 1/12th the distance Funny Cide failed to cover fast enough to win the Triple Crown. And that, my friends, is the only time you’re likely ever to hear the word “furlong” used as a unit of measurement. It has its origins in the Old English fuhrlang, meaning “the length of a furrow,” or the distance a team of oxen could plow without resting. These and many other interesting (and mostly obsolete) units of measure can be found at the Dictionary of Units of Measurement.

posted on 17 June 2003 at 0016sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Stupid People of the Day and Other Amusements

Note to self: don’t go for a job interview at the place I just robbed the night before.

Note to the US Navy: seven-year-old boys can’t serve in combat. Yet. And whilst you’re at it, do you think you could take Ben Lawson off your recruiting list, too? He doesn’t exist. Stop calling my parents and bothering them.

Finally, in the proving-modern-art-is-really-just-a-pile-of-garbage category, some electricians at the Dia:Beacon museum threw together a sculpture as a prank and it took a week for anyone to notice. Please tell me this doesn’t surprise you.

posted on 17 June 2003 at 0008humour0 comments

Free Energy

And you don’t even have to thank — or curse — Gibbs or Helmholtz for this stuff. (Sorry - lame physics/chemistry joke.) The British are deploying the world’s first offshore tidal energy turbine a mile off the Devon coast. It should be on-line by the end of August, feeding power into the national grid at the rate of some 300 kW.

If the turbine is a success, engineers estimate up to 10 gigawatts (no, not jiggawatts — gigawatts, or millions of kilowatts) of tidal energy could be harnessed with an expanded system around the British coast.

posted on 16 June 2003 at 2147sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Ayatollah Once Already

I fail to see how the Iranians’ collective distaste for years of religious-based oppression and subsequent protesting against it is our fault.

But hey, I suppose we’ve been blamed for worse.

posted on 16 June 2003 at 2141politix1 commentstrackback

How to Sound Incredibly Pretentious in One Easy Lesson

As a practising organic chemist, I do a lot of literature reading in scientific journals that 99% of the population would probably rather shoot themselves than read, such as the Journal of Organic Chemistry (JOC), the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), and Organic Letters (Org Lett). Sometimes it seems like the folks writing the papers are trying to sound as pretentious as possible without conveying any useful meaning.

I present the following quote from an Org Lett paper I was reading today:

[Polyaromatic hydrocarbons] have found use as, inter alia, semiconductors in electronic devices, components of electronic energy transfer systems, and fluorescent sensors of various environmental changes.

Now I ask you: wouldn’t that have been far more comprehensible if, rather than the pretentious Latin “inter alia,” the author had used the far more common “among other things?”

I give my fellows the Knife of David Hamilton to assist in cutting through the binding ropes of obfuscation placed around such texts.

posted on 16 June 2003 at 2111language0 commentstrackback

Blizza Blizza Presents…

Coming to you tonight from the headlines-that-never-should-have-made-it-past-the-editor department - again - is this one from the BBC:

Africa needs anal sex awareness

Seriously. Can the British come up with anything else this ridiculous?

posted on 16 June 2003 at 2024Blizza Blizza Presents0 comments

Enjoying That Spotlight?

For all the crap British royals have to put up with, you’d think that their driving whilst on private property would be free from public ridicule and criticism. Unfortunately, you’d be wrong.

Leave the kid alone. He’s 21 and he was on a dirt road on some rich guy’s estate. So he passed some old grandpa who was going 20 MPH. BFD. I can’t think of a single one of my friends who hasn’t violated posted speed limits at least as egregiously on public roads here in the US.

posted on 15 June 2003 at 2306politix0 commentstrackback


The BBC currently has Homer Simpson winning a poll of Greatest American Ever. Abraham Lincoln is a distant second, with Martin Luther King, Jr. close behind in third. Fourth place goes to none other than Mr. T.

Mmmmm…unscientific polling on the Internet…

posted on 12 June 2003 at 2329humour0 comments

A Million Typewriters, a Million Monkeys, a Little Shakespeare

I came home this evening and found that not only was my apartment notflooded, but I had a brand-new Delta 100-WF faucet (too bad it wasn’t a Price Pfister, because that would have been just too funny after this morning’s post below), a totally cleaned up countertop, new cutoff valves, new braided stainless water supply lines from the valves to the faucet, and an intact doorknob.

Hey, eventually they had to get something right. Now they’re batting, oh, about .100…which is probably still better than the Tigers’ team average.

They somehow managed to use up every single paper towel on my nearly-full roll, though, leaving me with nothing but a cardboard tube. I’m tempted to send them a bill for $1.50, but I’m scared they might try to come out and replace the paper towels and break something else.

Next up: they try to finish painting my bathroom. Again. We’ll see how that works out…

posted on 12 June 2003 at 1957apartment0 comments

The Not-So-Pfabulous Pfaucet With the Not-So-Pfunny Name

Or any name at all, for that matter, because Varsity are a bunch of cheap bastards who won’t use anything better than “piece of shit”-grade plumbing fixtures. Remember the dripping faucet? Well, it fixed itself for a while, but a couple of days ago it started dripping hot water again, at the rate of a gallon every hour or so.

Allow me to re-iterate at this point how incredibly glad I am that I don’t pay a water bill here.

Well, I went to turn the water off this morning after rinsing out my cereal bowl from breakfast, and I turned the hot water lever all the way to the right, and the water just kept runnning..and running…and running some more, in a steady stream about the size of my pinky finger.

D’ya think maybe the maintenance guys will fix it now? Anyone care to take bets on whether they’ll be able to figure out how to cut off the supply of water to the faucet, given that there are no cut-off valves under the sink?

I’m a little scared to leave my apartment for fear of coming back and finding everything floating around on the floor.

posted on 12 June 2003 at 0829apartment0 comments

Bad Workshop Titles

And in other news, the University of Michigan is offering, well, here…

Subject: FW: Online Tutorial Available

Dear Graduate Students:

As students and also because of your duties as GSI’s and GSRA’s, I thought you might find the following information useful. Please take advantage of the tutorial. It is very informative.


Sexual Harassment Tutorial Available to all U-M Staff, Faculty and Students

So would that be a tutorial on how to commit better sexual harrassment? Or is quantity more important than quality, and they want us to do it more

posted on 11 June 2003 at 2350language0 commentstrackback

Bush Meat Fights Back

OK, so the bush meat trade is primarly a West African phenomenon, not a South African one, but it still works. A South African baby was stolen by a large baboon, who then proceeded to bite into the child’s head, eat its brain, and run away.

I didn’t know Mike Tyson was roaming around in South Africa, or that Lennox Lewis was engaged to Lettie Goitsimang Tukane.

No word on whether the baboon was sent by angry Czechs tired of receiving the Nigerian e-mail scam.

posted on 11 June 2003 at 2121general0 comments

Ninja Sighting #3

I guess telling you what the first two sightings were might be useful.

See, it all started with this. That was what inspired the idea of ninja sightings in the first place.

The first sighting was a poster - which I regrettably didn’t rip off the wall and bring home - found in the lobby of the chemistry building at U of M advertising a ninja movie-making contest.

Sighting number two is the recent Discover card commercial wherein a rather overweight middle-aged guy attempts to use his little keychain-sized Discover card to fight off some ninjas flipping out hard. Of course, he fails, and the tagline for the commercial is something along the lines of “Not good for a ninja fight.”

Which brings me to sighting number three. McDonald’s is running a commercial for this horrid-sounding new sandwich called the “McGriddle,” and it stars Alfonso Ribeiro (or at least someone who looks exactly like him). His wife sees a newspaper ad for the new sandwich and asks him if he’s ever seen anything stranger, and as she finishes saying this, a little old black lady walking by on the sidewalk is beset by six ninjas who really want to wail on their jet red guitars and kill the whole town because the old black lady dropped a spoon. She proceeds to do her own flipping out - by which I mean flipping the heck out of there - and Ribeiro just sort of shakes his head.

If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch more TV.

posted on 11 June 2003 at 0759humour0 comments

Quote of the Day

As seen on a panhandling harmonica player’s sign on the Diag today:

Truth is very precious. Use it sparingly.

posted on 10 June 2003 at 1912humour0 comments

Song of the Day

And today’s Song of the Day is…Motorcycle Drive By, by Third Eye Blind. It’s on their self-titled debut album that was all the rage on the radio back when I was in high school, probably about 1996 or so. Unfortunately, only the pop-rock crud from that album got any radio air time, as so often happens with great music stuck onto a mediocre album with two big manufactured hits.

I’m dedicating this one to Dave, because he was cool enough to know this song rocked before I ever discovered it.

posted on 09 June 2003 at 1813entertainment0 comments

Putting Things in Perspective

Walking from your house to school probably felt like a pretty long distance when you were a little kid, huh?

Once you got a driver’s licence, driving across the state felt like a fairly big road trip.

Then you took your first interstate plane flight, and that four-hour drive started seeming really short.

Those of you lucky enough to have travelled to another continent probably think nothing of three- or four-hour flights within the US. And with good reason: those distances are absolutely insignificant when compared to the vast distances of Earth from anything else in space.

The Moon seems fairly close, right? Our sun is only eight minutes’ travel at the speed of light. Close? Maybe. Think about it relative to this project. The centre of the model solar system is the Northern Maine Museum of Science, where a nearly-fifty-foot Sun is being installed. The Earth, by comparison, is a mile away and about the size of a softball. A long walk to school as a child (about five miles, uphill both ways, in driving blizzards, with worn-out shoes, no lunch money, a bite of gruel for breakfast, and newspapers stuffed into your coat sleeves to keep warm, or at least that’s what my dad tells me…) would be equal to the thickness of one of the hairs on your head relative to that softball. Pluto, the smallest planet and currently furthest from the sun, is 40 miles away and a mere inch in diameter, mounted on the wall of a visitor’s centre in Houlton.

For more fun with perspectives, think about this for a minute:

Avogadro’s number, or 6.022•1023, is commonly known as one mole, much like the number 12 can be referred to as “one dozen.” How big is a mole? Really, really, really big. Like hard-to-imagine big. If you spread out a mole of grains of sand over the entire surface of the US, it would cover the whole of the country to a depth of three inches. A mole of US dollars, evenly distributed, would be enough to give every one of the more than six billion living men, women, and children on Earth a fortune (disregarding the obviously inevitable inflation that would result from the sudden appearance of that much money) of over one trillion dollars, or more than ten times the peak net worth of Bill Gates.

If that seems unimaginably large, allow me to make your brain hurt just a little more, and then I’ll stop.

Consider the googol, the number for which the search engine was named, a number equal to 10100. A googol is roughly (by which I mean “approximate to within a few tenths of an order of magnitude” - the fact that the US federal budget deficit is something like six trillion dollars give or take a few hundred billion doesn’t diminish the fact that a hundred billion dollars is still an enormous number in and of itself) a mole raised to the fourth power.

That’s a mole…of moles…of moles…of moles. And even that isn’t quite a googol. The number of elementary atomic particles (protons, electrons, neutrons) in the known universe is estimated to be about 1085. That means that our known universe would have to be duplicated one thousand million million times to account for one googol of elementary atomic particles, which are about as small as it gets unless you want to get into serious quantum physics.

And then there’s 10googol, or a googolplex


posted on 08 June 2003 at 1620sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Bugs to Drugs

The only reason this caught my eye is because I’m a synthetic organic chemist, and it amazes me how little we really know about making molecules compared to what nature can accomplish with a few enzymes and millions of years of evolution. A group of researchers at Berkeley have managed to engineer E. coli bacteria to produce artemisinin, a potent antimalarial drug.

Not only can they produce the precursor to artemisinin, but they can produce a wide variety of similar and related natural products with relative ease.

Sometimes I wonder why I’m using a sledgehammer to do the work of an X-Acto knife.

posted on 08 June 2003 at 1553sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Searching For Rides

Anyone want to carpool to Grand Rapids, Dearborn, or Chicago?

I need to go see Matrix Reloaded on an Imax screen NOW.


posted on 07 June 2003 at 1444entertainment0 comments

Never Change Your Fone Number Again!

Sounds like a typical subject on some spam that showed up in your inbox tonight, doesn’t it? Fortunately, it’s not - a federal appellate court has just ruled that cell fone companies must allow customers to keep their numbers when they change providers.

posted on 06 June 2003 at 2355sci-tech0 commentstrackback

Just One of Those Days

I meant to do this last night but I got tied up working on our research group WWW site. (Well, more like I got sidetracked and forgot, but whatever.)

Yesterday definitely should have been a Monday. I say that because I woke up to go for my morning run and it was raining. Hard. Normally I wouldn’t mind running in the rain, but this was a very cold rain, as Michigan is prone to have in March. But this is June, dammit.

Anyway, so I rolled over and went back to sleep. Woke up about 0900 and decided I’d better get going so I could get into lab at a reasonable hour. About 1000 I was ready to leave, so I grabbed my jacket and my bike and walked out the door, letting it shut (and lock) behind me.


As soon as I heard the door shut, I realised my keys were still in the apartment. Fortunately I had my cell fone in my pocket, so I called the landlord after knocking on the resident manager’s door and finding no one home. The management folks said I could grab a spare from them, but my car keys were on the same keychain, so I was going to have to ride the bike. OK, fine, I’ll get a little wet, no biggie.

Until I realised my helmet was inside too.

Great, so now I have to ride in very slowly, on the sidewalk, and be very careful about it. That meant I got even wetter. By the time I got my spare keys - for which the management wanted some sort of collateral, in this case my M-Card - and got back to my apartment, it was nearly 1030, and I was in desperate need of a change of clothes, since my shorts were soaked through.

I changed, got my stuff, and got in to lab about 1100. I got down to work and went over to the management office around 1500 to get my M-Card back. The lady who took it wasn’t there, and the lady behind the desk had no friggin’ clue where it was. So I had to go back after the first lady came back an hour later to get my bloody M-Card back.

I really think the world would be a better place if yesterday had never existed.

posted on 05 June 2003 at 2327general0 comments

Some People…

All I have to say to this is, “WTF?” This is a log of a conversation I just had on Adium (an AIM client). I was busy working on the Vedejs research group WWW site at the time, and some guy apparently thought, well, just read it…

(20:35:08)konan12:I am atticus
(20:35:46)konan12:I have a question about Mackintosh computers.
(20:36:01)lowendmacchris:who the hell is atticus?
(20:36:12)konan12:I go by atticus
(20:36:19)lowendmacchris:you’re gonna have to do better than that.
(20:36:24)konan12:so people don’t find me and kill me in my sleep
(20:36:32)konan12:what are u talkign aboot?
(20:37:17)lowendmacchris:i don’t know who you are and i don’t know anything about you, so start talking or buzz off. I have better things to do with my time.
(20:37:41)konan12:I have a simple question about mackintoshs, wtf is your problem?
(20:38:07)lowendmacchris:anonymous people who are too paranoid for their own good who think i owe them private one-on-one help when i’m busy.
(20:38:09)lowendmacchris:that’s what.
(20:38:35)konan12:if you’re too busy to talk to people, you shouldn’t be on an IMing service where people TALK to you.
(20:38:35)lowendmacchris:Tell me who you are and where you came from and you’ll find me much more receptive.
(20:38:51)lowendmacchris:re-read what i wrote.
(20:38:52)lowendmacchris:anonymous people who are too paranoid for their own good who think i owe them private one-on-one help when i’m busy.
(20:38:58)lowendmacchris:key word there being anonymous.
<konan12 came back (20:43:20)>
<konan12 signed off (20:43:20)>

As some people would say, “GS!” (Hi, Jo!)

posted on 05 June 2003 at 2049humour0 comments

Say G’day to Jesus

Sometimes I’m just not sure what to think of people. Especially in this case, because Australians, for the most part, are some of the most agnostic people on the face of the earth.

I have to get a copy of this Aussie Bible. Does Amazon have it yet…?

posted on 05 June 2003 at 2006language0 commentstrackback

Hey, Amigo

Mind if we search the car you’re driving? You know, the one you bought from the US Marshals three months ago? Because we think you’re running drugs.

Oh, hey, look at that. We were right. Two hundred pounds of pot in your bumper. What’s that you say? It was there when we sold you the car and we just didn’t see it?


Yes, that really happened. And Jose Aguado Cervantes is now suing the US Government for negligence.

posted on 03 June 2003 at 1910humour0 comments


In a time of relative peace, in an upper-middle-class suburban environment, how many friends do you expect to lose before the age of 23? Think back to when you were 10 or 11. How many murder victims do you expect to know before you graduate college?

As those of you who visited in the last week noticed, Sunday afternoon was Peter Schwende’s memorial service. He died at the ripe old age of 20, on 25 May 2003, after a three-year battle with leukemia.

He was number six.

My senior year of high school, two friends who were enjoying their first summer back from college - one at MIT and one at Case Western - died in a car accident.

My sophomore year of college, my friend Neenef Odah shot his ex-girlfriend, Maggie Wardle, who was also a friend of mine. Neenef then turned the shotgun on himself.

As I walked back to my office at Pharmacia one morning in early September, 2001, I learned terrorists had just crashed two jetliners into the World Trade Center, where my friend Brad Hoorn had just taken a job with a financial firm after graduating from Yale. His office was on the 93d floor of the North Tower. No one ever heard from him again.

Six friends in five years. Six brilliant minds snuffed out before their time. Six people whose full potential was never realised. Six more than I ever hoped to know so well.

Peter, you will be sorely missed. One of these days, I’ll take up golf, and I’ll play those holes for you. I’ll always remember your incredible inner strength and positive attitude, how you got up there on the wall at Climb Kalamazoo despite having lost most of the physical strength in your arms and by golly, you were going to get some quality climbing in. Every time I pass a ski lift, I’ll remember that photo of you flying off a jump with your skis in a full cross, having the time of your life. And I’ll never forget that wonderful week at Lake Louise in the summer of ‘98, when you were the surrogate little brother I never had.

Somehow, there’s a reason to all of this. God has his plans for everything, I suppose. As I approach the age of 23, I realise how little I understand of this world. Two parents shouldn’t have to lose each of their jobs and a 20-year-old son within two weeks. There’s a lesson in there somewhere. I can only hope and pray that we all learn a little something from these difficult times. As Rev. Cindy said, we should do whatever we do with a little more style and panache, because that’s how Peter would have done it.

May God rest your soul, little brother. Keep an eye on those of us who are still left, would ya?

posted on 02 June 2003 at 2347general0 comments

Funny Stuff You Should See

Let’s start off the week with something to lighten the mood somewhat, before I committ a total buzz-kill with my ramblings on the fragility of life.

Anyone who doesn’t like Dubya should see this immediately.

And anyone who has had or is planning to have children should go read Irony Central’s Baby Story before changing another diaper.

Go. Read. Now.

posted on 01 June 2003 at 2344humour0 comments