Saturday, November 19, 2005

Cleaning Up: As usual, when I set to ranting, I end up all wrong about everything. Turns out the flash drive I spoke of last time was working fine after all. My new and somewhat tempermental buddy, Mac OS X, managed to write some kind of bizarre file to it that had a date stamp with the year 2106. It probably wasn't the date stamp itself that caused the problem, but some other manglation (I just made up that word, but I like it) in the file that ended up making the entire drive unwriteable in some circumstances. Truly weird. But I owe the folks at SanDisk an apology for hammering them unmercifully last week. Very sorry guys. If it helps, many equally deranged idiots have done the same to me, so I know the feeling.

I am now down to one rebate to wrangle from Best Buy, official retailer of Satan, and my hassles of the past weeks should come to a close. Yes, I know there are countless people in the world who can only dream of a life where they only had my problems. I know this, but I have to write about something.

I could write about the weather. It's cold. Winter is here and I already hate it. I finally pulled my winter coat out of the closet. It sucks (winter that is, my coat is fairly stylish). And there are those countless people again, flipping me off for complaining about such trivialities.

Instead of going on in this vein, let me point you to my football picks for this week, and promise a big fat juicy Hawaii article Real Soon Now.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Whoops, Almost Forgot: This week's picks are up.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Still Fighting: Well, I'm batting .500 for technology this week which, as you know, is a great improvement over last week. I purchased a Roku Soundbridge; a device that enables me to send audio from iTunes through wi-fi to my stereo. Surprisingly, that went off without a hitch. A very cool gadget.

Then my little 256 meg flash drive began to have trouble saving files. I am very dependent on this little thing for back-ups and for transferring files, so I rushed out the very day of the first error and bought a new one. Naturally, that one doesn't work, it is completely empty but keeps reporting out of disk space errors. It's really a dead simple little device. There is no reason in the world these things should fail. Idiots. The company is SanDisk and they should be deeply ashamed of their inability to make this simple product function correctly. So once again, I will have to head back to the return line.

Here're some links to distract you in case you have had the misfortune of having a couple weeks like I just had (they start out useful and interesting, then go downhill fast). I'll be abck in day or so with a link to this weeks picks.
  • In the category of Important Things to Know we have a) How the universe will end, and b) Everything you need to know about Bird Flu. I'll leave it to you to decide which is more important. I will however highlight the importance of not giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a rooster in the second article.

  • The life of a restaurant critic. Including how she stays so thin...

  • Fodor's on the current state of New Orleans and Cancun. I've never been to Cancun, but it's going on the list now.

  • You would probably know Sarah Silverman as Chandler Bing's honkingly nasal girlfriend Janice (or maybe from SNL if you happen to be one the last four people who still watch SNL). But she is really a terrific all 'round comedienne. Quite a funny chick. "Quiet depravity" and "Demure outrages." [CORRECTION: Chrissy writes to tell me that Janice was not played by Sarah Silverman but by Maggie Wheeler. The lesson, as usual, is that I am a moron.]

  • Speaking of comedy, I find Ricky Gervais deadly funny. You know him from the original British The Office and from HBO's Extras. Judging form this article, he seems to be one of the few comedians who takes the practice of comedy seriously which, in spite of being oxymoronic, is a good thing. I guess we can all be grateful his early efforts at trying to be the new George Michael didn't pan out.

  • Speaking of awkward sexuality, according to Time magazine, Yankee outfielder Hideki Matsui has an interesting hobby that just makes him loveable: "...his only eccentricity, if it can be called that, is his extensive private library of adult videos. His refreshing ability to laugh self-deprecatingly about his porno collection, reporters say, is one reason why fans and even nonfans have taken to him so much." I guess he's safe from the fate of Ron Mexico.

  • Extensive porn collections always remind me of college. And right on cue, Playboy selects their top party schools for 2005. The winner is Arizona St.: "But don't mistake their apathy for stupidity, most of these Barbie and Ken look-alikes have mastered the art of taking and even passing a test while hung over." Some things never change.

  • This is not me. Seriously, it's not.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The World is Going to Hell: I have always had the sneaking suspicion that I am going to end up one of those old guys who does nothing but grouses and spews invective all day long. Hopefully, I would be a little more classy about it than your standard issue knee-socks-and-sandals geezer, maybe something like Dr. Gregory House, or possibly John Geilgud's Hobson from Arthur. But I don't think it was until the past week or so that I finally realized why people end up that way. It's really because you have no choice.

Now bear in mind I am coming off a weekend where I got my rebates rejected by Best Buy, official retailer of Satan, and ended up having to drop $300 to deal with flat tires. This week I have the pleasure of getting pimp-slapped by the world yet again.

Here in the bone-dry Midwest winters, one practical luxury you can treat yourself to is a humidifier. It keeps you from waking up in the morning cacking from a dry tongue and bleeding from 2-inch deep crow's feet. I buy a new one every year, because the water here is so heavily laced with lime that by the end of the winter, the moving parts are all cemented together.

I have now purchased two of them this year and neither one has functioned properly. I don't know about you, but waiting in line to return small appliances makes for a joyful weekend in my book.

And today, I discover my condo association has unanimously decided to levy an extra $700 assessment this year to "replenish the reserve".

I had planned a couple of long weekends before the year was out, including one to my beloved French Quarter to check on progress, but now the best I'd be able to do is the Super 8 in Gary, Indiana.

Yes, I realize I am not alone in having to deal with these aggravations; that's why so many people end up as curmudgeons. You are helpless to fight this. What am I supposed to do, form a task force to improve quality control in the room-sized humidifier industry? Grab one of the greasy teenage "sales reps" at Best Buy and explain the finer points of customer service? And where, exactly, do I go to replenish my reserve?

You are powerless, insignificant. Taking action against the infuriating nature of the world gets you lip service at best, and a rubber room at worst. Reacting by spraying the source of your frustration with Uzi fire will only get you a 5x10 cell and a toothless 300-pound roommate with an extensive collection of leather goods.

What else can you do? You have to grouse. Pathetic as it is, it is the only assertion of your self-worth that is left to you. And by the time you've reached old age you have no choice but to do it 24/7 just to keep even with the world.

God only knows what is in store for me this weekend.

So. How are things with you?

This weeks picks are up. I'm slowly chipping away at my Hawaii travel essay. And I hope to get a nice fat set of links up sometime soon for your surfing pleasure.

Too bad it's all wasted on the ungrateful world. Blech!