Wednesday, December 31, 2008

In the New Year.

All day I've been trying to think of something not trite to say about the turning of the year. Finally I asked Mr S.

Me - Baby - if you were going to wish people something for the New Year, what would it be?

Him - To live in less interesting times.

Me - What?

Him - There is a Chinese proverb that says "May you live in interesting times". It's been a little too interesting lately.

It's as good as anything. So... I wish you good health, and less interesting times.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

While stuck.

I spent a lot of time in traffic today. This is all you get.



The world is going to look completely different and, I'm not sure I like it.

As I get older I find myself being completely taken by surprise by my reaction to things. Often feeling like - wow, where did that come from. Which is what happened last night.

I was over at Paul Kedrosky's blog where he was asking people which tech companies were not going to survive the down turn in the economy. As I read, I agreed with all the choices people had offered. These companies has been struggling for years. In a normal downturn, they might have squeaked by. This is Silicon Valley after all. We are used to boom and bust cycles. But, this is no normal downturn.

It wasn't until a few hours later that something bubbled up in me.

Me - (talking to Mr S.) Baby, do you think Sun Microsystems will really go out of business?

Him - Yes.

Me - Is it because you think all companies can go out of business?

Him - Well.. yeah.

Me - I think I will actually be really sad if they do.

At this point he doesn't realize how much this is affecting me. Sure all those dinosaur retail companies can go out of business, but not Sun. I'd been watching their slow demise for years and it hadn't affected me. Maybe I always thought they'd find a way to make it. They were the (dot) in .com for christ sakes. I'd worked for them when they were on top of the world. And later when they weren't so much the kings they used to be.

Sun made me who I am today. I walked in a receptionist, and walked out a sysadmin. There have been many pivotal points in my life, but Sun has to be in the top ten. That company changed my whole life path. I'd never once thought about a job in computers before working there. But, it was there I contemplated what I was going to do with the rest of my life, and decided computers were the only thing that I wasn't going to get bored with.

You see, in the Valley you get used to the cannibalistic nature of the industry. Usually it happens slowly. Right now, struggling companies do not have the luxury of time. There are probably a dozen or more companies chipping away at Suns niche. I worked for some of the companies Sun killed through innovation, and now it may succumb to exactly the same fate they enacted on dozens of others.

Me - (talking to Mr S.) Baby, do you remember those posters they used to have of all the big companies in The Valley? They used to be everywhere. Damn, I really wish I would have kept one of those.

Him - yeah, we even had them in (the state he was living). I used to look at those posters and think "Sunnyvale. It sounds like such a nice place to live".

At that moment I found myself scouring Ebay to find one. Those posters used to be littered everywhere, and now I found myself never wanting one more.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Cable Gymnastics.

Well... we are back in the realm of a 15 minute project taking two hours. But, as Mr S. points out - if we get a project done in one day, it's an improvement.

Today's project was threading cables through the walls. Which gave us an opportunity to use this toy. I'd almost forgotten we'd bought it.

We'd bought a PS3 a couple of years ago, but none of the game companies ever released any appealing titles. So, it sat mostly idle. Finally this year, they've gotten their act together. So - it was time to send a dedicated HDMI cable from the TV to the PS3, instead of having to use an HDMI switcher or manually switching the cables.

We had our cable ready. Threaded it through the wall, only to find out the wall ate about 2 feet of it. You may not think this is weird, but I do. We are threading it pretty much in a straight line to come out a foot from the corner. I'd only think it would eat one foot to account for the turn around the corner. The cable didn't reach the PS3. And just let me mention, trying to get to the cable inputs after the TV's on the wall is a test in flexibility.

Anyway. This caused us to have to go to three stores looking for a longer cable. Sure - we could have gotten a cable at the first store. But, um....I'd forgotten about how the digital transition would jack up the prices for all the cables that run from your television. I'm not paying a hundred bucks for a cable. Are they high?

Since we were planning to pick up a cable on the way to doing something else, we picked the stores which were on the way to were we thought we were going. Best Buy. Which BTW, the return isle was jacked up today. Packed. I didn't check out the buying patterns of other areas. I was just going in and out. Our Circuit Shitty store had already been shut down. So we wound up at Target. Since it was right across the street from the closed Circuit Shitty store.

Mr S. is now able to play Dead Space for 50 bucks. Half of the price of Best Buy. Those Monster Cable guys have a Madoff style fraud going on. Yeah - maybe a bit of dramatic exaggeration. But, a hundred bucks for a cable People? What a racket. Mind you, I have 2 HDMI cables on my TV. Ridiculous. I guess I'd mistakenly thought that now HD TV's are less expensive, the cables would also become less expensive. Not so much.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finally - a vanity plate I can get behind.



Look - I tried really hard to get interesting content today. And, you know how easily I can be amused by cars.

My unscientific shopping report.

Try as I might - I couldn't inject any money into the economy. And, I was trying really hard.

If you listen to the news, the message is all gloom. People are returning purchased Christmas items, and going home to put the money into their mattresses. What I found was quite the contrary.

Electronics obviously is the bright spot. We went to Fry's electronics last night. It wasn't the busiest I've ever seen it. In the top 10 busiest days though. But, surprisingly the return isle was almost empty. I'd say there were maybe 5 people in it. The isle to check out was completely full. Those isles in SValley are about 100 feet long. We stayed in the store maybe a half an hour. It was full pretty much the whole time, and a steady stream of people. We had money to burn - but we didn't find anything worth standing in that line for. There weren't that many big ticket items being sold, but lots and lots of small items.

Home Depot. I figured we needed a radial pull saw, and maybe they would have discounts. The place was dead. And, there were no discounts.

2 Cell phone stores. Verizon and At&T. Both completely dead. From all that I'd seen, the cell phone market had collapsed. So you can imagine my surprise when we went to Best Buy today and it was completely packed. Most notably the cell phone department. Crazy packed. Even the desk where you sign up for cell phone services.

Mr S. had an interesting observation. Best Buy sells pretty much all the cell phone types. Which I'm betting makes people very happy. You don't have to go around to all the different cell phones stores where the sales guys are freaking annoying. One stop shopping.

The one exception? The Google phone. The one we wanted to look at, of course. Their website said they carried it. But, Best buy said they don't stock any T-moble devices. I'm starting to wonder if the Google phone is the next Helio vaporware device. Backstory here, here and here.

Target also said they carried it. But, when we asked the guy in the electronics department - he said they didn't carry it, and the Target website is really just redirected to the Amazon website. Eeek. I'm not sure why he said that. Sales people are so wacky. But, I was able to win some money from Mr S. I bet there was no way Target carried the Gphone. And they didn't. Yeah - I'm poking him.

Target was also pretty packed, and people were buying stuff. The return isle was minimal.

Seen.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Death looms around every corner. Oh - that's the cat.

Your family has some weird gift giving habit. You can admit it. So - what is it?

The reason I ask is because Mr S. and I just got a latent Christmas box. Inside?

This.



An Auto Life Hammer. At first glance we thought it might be a reaction to Mr S.'s sister just being in an auto accident a month ago. But, then we remembered this might be some odd thing his family is into. His dad once sent us one of those emergency ladders that you use for two story houses.

We kept in the garage for a few years, and eventually threw it away. The odd thing is, his family does this a lot - and they haven't really had many emergencies. Mine has been through a lot. Including a house fire. All these products are just a waste of money. A house goes up so quickly, that you don't have time to even think "gee, where did I put that fire ladder". A house can be fully engulfed in 30 seconds.

In the case of Mr S.'s sister, this contraption wouldn't have helped either. Her car had to be ripped open by the jaws of life. She's mostly okay. But, even if you happened to have it inside the car cabin. Say in the glove box. Chances are your seat-belt has you trapped, and you aren't going to be able to reach it anyway.

Mr S. did point out that it has blinking lights. Which should make me shut my gaw. Oh, and it does have a nifty ice pick to fend off rapists. I guess.

Mr S. points out that his dad once sent us emergency road flares. I told you.. they have an odd habit.

Retailers still don't get it.

Hey Retailers - want to know why Amazon and Apple are kicking your ass? They give a customers a pleasant experience. Learn from it or go extinct.

Today I give you three examples of how out of touch companies are with their customer base.

The first - cell phone shopping. Let me preface this by saying that if I'm in a store, I have a hairline trigger on my credit card. I'm 90% sure I'm buying something. I don't spend my days in the malls browsing. I'm an honest to God paying customer.

The only thing left for a sales person to do, is not talk me out of a purchase. All I want to do is smell the factory air, and make sure there isn't something obvious that doesn't suck. Or else I would have just bought XYZ product online. So, you can understand my amazement with this interaction at the Verizon store this morning. Which BTW was completely empty.

Mr S. and I walk over and start checking out the new Blackberry Storms. I was actually delighted to see they had two models working. Last year at this time we bought new cell phones, and you were lucky to get a working model of anything. Remember my Helio story? And, just as an aside. Do retailers even get why Apple stores are packed? Let me give you a hint. They let the customers touch, and play. Not some dumbed down version of a working model. A full working user model of their products.

Anyway, Mr S. and I are starting to play with the features of the Storm.

Mr S. - (asking the hovering sales Dude) what do these things run?

Verizon Sales Dude - They are 30 bucks more a month.

This Readers - stops me in my tracks. I look at the sales guy with a raised eyebrow and say "well, how do you know how much we are paying now"?

Verizon Sales Dude - Well, there is a 30 dollar a month charge.

Mr S - For what?

Verizon Sales Dude - For the data plan.

Now Readers, I'm going to be honest here. When everyone tells me the economy is in the shits, and I walk into a store and the sales guy immediately tells me I'm going to pay more for something - it isn't a good start.

Firstly, I've already got a data plan. Secondly, I'm paying Verizon 277 bucks a month for 2 phone lines, a wireless card line, and an OnStar line. So f-u, to start a sales pitch that way. Are you people out of your minds? I basically give them the equivilant of a car payment each month. And, the sales guy hovering over me the whole time I'm playing with the phone is so irritating. So irritating!

Next - my MIL bought us something from Chefs.com. I won't even go into it, but we can't use it. We just wanted to return it for store credit. We are a captive customer. We don't want the money - we will just buy something else. The item costs 120 bucks. But, Chefs.com doesn't give store credit. You can send the item back, and they will send you a check. Or you can order something else. If the item costs less, they will send you a check for the difference, if it costs more, you have to send your credit card number off in the mail for the difference. As they have no stores here to walk into to return items. Readers... who conducts business this way in this day and age? Why are they making it difficult to just buy something else from them? Why?

Last - this morning at breakfast. I'm not a big comparison shopping person. Something has to really stand out to attract my attention. Which is what happened this morning. I was looking at omelets.


Me -
"Hey Mr.S. Did omelets always cost 10 or 11 bucks here"?

This was IHOP for Christ sakes. We don't eat there often, but 11 bucks for an omelet might have attracted my attention before.

Him - I don't think so. Look, just a plain ham and cheese omelet costs 10 bucks.

For that price, I'm expecting a gourmet omelet. Which is not what IHOP does. I just do not understand why companies think that raising prices when business is declining is the answer to their problems. If I have a bad meal, I might give them another chance. But, I never think businesses are going to lower prices, and that is going to stick with me longer than crappy food.

And! I'm going to present you with this crappy picture, because the Verizon Sales Dude sucked so hard. I couldn't get a better cell phone camera to take a better picture. You will just have to trust me that omelet costs 10 bucks.



Truthfully, the whole thing annoys the crap out of me. I'd hoped that the rough economy might teach retailers how to satisfy their customers. But, it isn't. It is just giving them a reason to be in denial about their products and services. If you just gave us what we wanted without a lot of extra bullshit, people would buy stuff. But instead, they loose sale after sale to people who have their credit card extended at the door. Yet they manage to get customers to silently slip the card back into their pockets because the sales people are so clueless.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Isobot - So happy together.



I never thought she'd stand for this. Which is why the not so great picture. Generally, bunnies aren't fond of robots. When I first started it up Saffron was pissed. But, now she's gotten to the point of letting it pet her. Paisley is much more mellow. She was pretty fine with it right away.

Now onto the bot. Mr S. got this for me. Neither of us thought it would be that great. They used to cost 300 bucks. For that kind of money, it sucks as a toy. But, now they are discontinuing them, they cost a third of that. And for a 100 bucks - it is kind of amusing. For something that has brains that fit into a 2x2x2 inch box (which includes 3 AAA bats) it is slightly impressive. It actually performs a lot of routines for something so small. And it has a lot of voice commands. Again, it isn't great - but, it isn't bad either. Look at this guys video review here.

One day I will look back on this moment a little like we look at pong now.

Now a little way-back story. Growing up in "the valley" you used to be embarrassed to tell people you played video games. People who played them - well, were really deemed not normal. Look at you all now people. Main-stream! Just say'in.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Coffee talk.

Yes, Readers. I'm posting on Christmas Eve.

Mr S. has to work today. I know eventually you will come to my site after you are all foodied out, and sick of your families. So, I give you the gift of entertainment. You are welcome!

Mr S. and I braved the markets today. It was mostly okay. Although I have to admit, I will be really glad when the holidays are over. Not for the reasons you think. But, because of the incessant sad Christmas music this year. Not one "Holly Jolly Christmas" song. All "It will Be a Blue Christmas" types. And frankly, the are no smiles this year. It is very affecting.

Anyway. The reason for my post. As Mr S. and I were checking out - he spotted this odd product.



Since the hippies are getting on my nerves this year, I was naturally curious. After all, I thought coffee was on that list of things that piss hippies off. There is that free trade issue. And I was trying to figure out how shipping in coffee grounds was more eco friendly than having a guy drop a shitload of firewood in my driveway. Not to mention - anyone who is an addict like myself knows how much waxy buildup coffee grounds produce. Who wants that in a fireplace? But, Readers it gets better. Look at this gem from their website:

"If you're a couple looking to heat up your love like and bedroom this winter, or a family in search of a favorite pastime to accompany game night, a fire can offer warmth, romance, and nostalgia. There are approximately 22 million fireplaces in the U.S., but unless you're a Boy Scout (or Fabio), many Americans don't know how to use them - let alone have the stamina or know-how to chop wood".

Hmmm.. what to say - what to say? Yes - fire is very, very confusing.

Really! This is what we have come to as a Nation? People! Invite a 10 year old boy child to your house. I guarantee that kid can start a fire. Is this some skill (like swimming) you are born with and somehow loose as your grow older if you don't use it?

Oh, and look at this other gem from their website:

"No Axe Necessary! And what's with the confusing wood log terminology"?

I think this site might have killed the last shred of hope I might have had about humanity. I thought we were going to make it as a nation. But, they have proven me wrong. Good job!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Oh - you will put up with my lights....

Because well..... they are lights. And, I don't know why you are reading this blog if you haven't figured out that lights make me happy.



Not taken from the best angle. I might have to re-shoot. Sometimes there are things blocking me from getting great pics. And these houses well... attract a lot of attention. People stopped in their cars with headlights on throw off my mojo. Plus, some of these houses have so much crap in their yards, it is hard to get a shot that doesn't look too busy.



I'm not sure what the appeal is. But this year there are a legion of blow up Santa's and the sort. This is what is wrong with the economy Readers. Little Timmy will not get any presents - but, I've never seen so many houses off the chart decked out in lights and blow up Santa's.

Riddle me this Batman!

Oh, I know there are a few math geeks out there. I think a couple even read my blog. So, this is my question.

How much gas does it take to ship "gas" from Texas to California? And how exactly is that a viable business? How?

From Reuters.

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 23 (Reuters) - PG&E Corp (PCG) has agreed to buy gas captured from cow manure and other waste at a facility in Texas as part of the California utility's effort to use more renewable energy.

The plant in Stephenville, Texas, which is not far from a clutch of oil fields to the southwest of Dallas, produces enough "renewable natural gas" to power 15,000 homes, according to plant owner Environmental Power Corp (EPG).

But San Francisco-based PG&E has agreed to buy up to 8 billion British thermal units of the gas per day, or enough for 50,000 homes, with much coming from Environmental Power facilities being developed in California's rural Central Valley.

Environmental Power is a small loss-making company that also owns facilities in Wisconsin employing the same technology used at its Texas operation, which cleans the waste-generated gas and turns it into pipeline-quality methane. (Reporting by Braden Reddall; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Twas the lights before Christmas......



I may or may not get better pictures. I have a lot of houses to get to.





Plus, I've got "that cold" again. So standing out in the cold and rain every night might not be productive. On a side note - the other day I was in a store. The guy behind me ran into someone he knew. Where he revealed to the guy he'd come down that "that" cold.

You know it sucks when you don't even have to call it a name. Right? You just tell someone it's "that cold" and they intuitively know which ones your talking about. You don't even have to give any symptoms.

Lucky me though- someone mutated it, and gave it back to me! Now bets are on if I'll get rid of this before CES, and if I do - will I get another mutated form. I'm going for a cold world record this year folks!

P.S. When I give it to you - it will be antibiotic resistant. Just saying.

Soon children. Soon.

When these big holidays hit, I try to go underground as much as possible. On a normal day I have a pretty low tolerance for crowds. But, it isn't like I can barricade myself in the house the whole month of December. So, out I go to run errands.

Of course - my mood goes down hill pretty quickly. I even start out with the mindset I just have to chill. You only have to put up with the old people for a little while, I say to myself. After the holiday they will slink back into their spider holes and hibernate out the winter. This however, doesn't help me.

I think the thing that bothers me most about the larger holidays is - it forces all the old people out into the public. These people have no peripheral vision. Yet they manage to thwart every attempt I make to get around them. It is confusing.

I finally get my errands done. I'm driving home. Praying that I actually don't get creamed by an old person driving a Cadillac with extra mirrors strapped to their side mirrors. You know. The kind of car that screams "I can't really drive or see that well, so I bought this gigantic car. If I hit you and one of us dies - it isn't going to be me".

The holidays are full of these people.

Anyway, every year this happens. And I sort of feel like an asshole for it. I don't really dislike old people. So, I'm driving home reflecting about my attitude. Trying to figure out if I'm just being ageist. Yet, I'm slightly in fear for my life. I come to the conclusion, I'd almost rather be driving around on New Years Eve with the drunk drivers more than these older people in the middle of the day. At least the drunk drivers I can categorise as drunk.

The older people give me all sorts of guilt feelings. Like I should give them a break because they are old and can't see. Then it hits me. These old people probably are sort of drunk. Honestly.



This weekend Mr S. and I were out having breakfast, and an older couple gets seated. Then I hear them say "could we have two glasses of Chardonnay". Now, the only reason this even piqued my curiosity was - it was barely 11:30. And Mr S. and I were at a Carrows. Which is kind of like a Denny's for those in states unfamiliar with Carrows. Who even knew they sold wine in the glass.?

When I ask Mr S. about it, He replies "they must be like Kathy griffin's mom". Who is famous for drinking wine the whole time she's awake. Lately, I've been coming to the conclusion there are a lot of old people like Kathy griffin's mom. Which is fine. What do I care? As long as they aren't in my way. Or on the roads. Just sayin'.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Sadness runs rampant.



As you guys were shopping and doing Christmas-ey stuff. Mr S. and I went to the zoo.

The zoo isn't my thing really. But, I wasn't going to the malls. It is suppose to be dark and rainy for the next seven days. While, we need the rain - I needed to go out and charge my batteries. Today was sunny. So, off to the zoo we go. They were suppose to have imported some rare blue eyes lemur. Blue eyes people! But um... lemurs don't really like 50 degree temps. So all you are getting from me is sad zoo pics. Really sad.

The flash addition.



People! My city seems to be on overachiever overload. People are doing some pretty crazy things for Christmas this year. A few days ago I heard about this house. It was suppose to be a big setup. So, out we go to check it out.

When we get there my mouth drops. First of all, you can practically see it from outer space. Secondly, tons of people come. Tons! They block the street. In fact, it is such an ordeal, I think the neighbors must want to commit crimes. He's got surveillance everywhere. So, maybe they already have. With no exaggeration - I'm betting if anyone in that neighborhood sold their home, this display would be a disclosure item. Not even kidding.



In IR.



As I was taking pictures of this house from across the street, another guy was taking some pictures with flash. This prompted the following exchange:

Me - Baby. Do you think my shots would look better with flash.

Mr S. - No.

Me - Why?

Him - Because flash isn't going to work here.

Me - But, that guy over there has a pretty expensive camera and he is using flash.

Him - That's because he's a dumbass. Flash isn't going to help.

Which I comprehend. I went to an event recently and was up in the balcony. Everyone down below was using flash, and you could really see how limited flash is. Yet, it doesn't stop me from wanting to use it. I probably under use flash now, more than overuse. So I'm making progress. Still, I'm sure Mr S. gets tired of being asked.

You aren't like the others.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Time.

Oh yeah - I'm moonbat crazy.

Well... it is final. I'm going to CES. I just booked my bunny sitter. I hardly even know that woman, but I think I love her. For a pet sitter - she is so completely normal. So normal in fact, I get a complex telling her about all my bunny shenanigans. Like asking her to turn on the television for the bunnies to listen to while we are gone. I'm embarrassed to even admit it. But, people - they like television.

And, she's cute enough to placate me. Last time we were gone she even vchip-ed their content. Which I thought was a little extreme. Yet funny. Hey - who can blame her? I'm asking her to let the rabbits watch television. It is a little crazy.

If I was motivated enough, I'd become a pet sitter. Not because I like pets, but so I could start a blog. The stories she tells us about her other clients are way on the crazy side. Which is the main factor in not becoming a pet sitter. I'm not putting up with all the crap she does.

Today I crossed a very troubling line.



Look! This is what the economy is doing to me. Now, I'm dressing up my pets.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

OH - now I get it.

I have to admit - the whole Iceland collapse has always perplexed me. Oh sure, I've read how it happened. I guess I tend to think greed has a purpose. You want to buy a McMansion, or whatever silly nonsense people want to do. But, Iceland has almost nothing. 45 people live there, and even if every person in Iceland had a mansion, the kind of money the government was playing with doesn't make sense to me. What were they going to do with all that money?

Then this presser came over the wires this morning, and all became clear.

From Yahoo News:

"REYKJAVIK (AFP) – Icelandic star Bjork and financial services firm Audur Capital have launched a venture capital fund named after the singer which is focused on feminine values and the environment, they said Thursday.

Audur Capital, which numbers 15 women among its 17 employees, says its aim is "incorporating feminine values into the world of finance."

The company will put 100 million kronur (584,000 euros, 832,000 dollars) into the fund, and will invest in sustainable businesses that create value through leveraging Iceland's resources, nature, culture and green energy.

"We believe in the future potential of women and socially responsible businesses and we simply reject the view that it is either about financial returns or social benefit," the company, founded by two women, says on its website."


---
Call me naive - but, I don't understand a venture fund that isn't about "financial returns". I think they call that a charity. No? Turns out Iceland is okay with just giving its money away. Because they are a benevolent people. I guess.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

It's a nightgownmare.

I think god likes fucking with us - because it's funny.

I know.. you are confused. I can hear the gears turning. You are sayin; "I could swear last time I came to this blog that girl was an atheist - yet here she is acting like there is a god". It is Christmas people. You can have your god.

Honestly. God, no god. Who cares. I just want stuff to stop costing a billion dollars. This bank needs a million trillion dollar bailout. This guy looted billions. This company is paying billions in bribes. You get where I'm going - right? And yet the suffering doesn't stop there.

This email from my Mother in Law just came. It outlined the following:

"You asked for what I needed for Christmas and I couldn't think of anything to add.....until I went to bed and realized my nightgown has holes all through it! I guess I could use a new nightgown: long length and long sleeves, soft cuddly fabric like from "Earth Angels" or Elaine. I think it's brushed polyester or knit that feels like soft cotton. Nothing slinky or silky feeling. The one I have from Earth Angels is a size small believe it or not! It has a very full gown so my hips have room to roll around in bed."

Now, I'm not going to be shy when I say - there is nothing on earth I want to do less than buy my mother in law a nightgown. I don't even wear nightgowns. In the too much information arena, I'm sort of a t-shirt and nothin' kind of gal. I don't really get this whole need to give other people nightgowns. It is sort of a personal purchase - right? And the thought of purchasing polyester makes me cringe. I quit the first job I ever had working at a fast food restaurant because they made me wear polyester. Seriously.

Please - tell god to make it stop. My sides are hurting from the hilarity of it all. Oh wait - that is the never ending punch in the kidneys from the economy. Same thing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Takes my breath away.





In a very literal way. Remember a few days ago I said that Mr S. and I planned to drive to the snow? Yeah.....we might not need to drive. It is so f-ing cold here. Sub-freezing kind of cold. We Californians aren't used to that kind of thing. I wonder if I should be concerned about my pipes.

Also taking my breath away? This guy. I can't even muster enough energy for a punch in the neck. It is just unbelievable the level of crazy this guy has to be. To know that someday the machine will stop, and ruined lives will be at your feet. It really is hard to wrap your mind around.

Friday, December 12, 2008

It is the moon my angels.





Sometimes completely random things happen. These photos are some of my favorites. I was taking pictures of this church in infrared. This child walked out with its mother in this little outfit. Made my ovaries move it was so cute. Since these moments happen only briefly, I wasn't able to switch back out of IR before the moment was over.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A friday update.



I don't know what to write about today.

I have to go to an officey Christmas party this weekend.

So.. not.. looking..forward.

Frankly, I'd rather lay around all day. It's suppose to rain. For like, the 3rd time this year. Rain people! It is also rumored to snow. Not here, but close. And Mr S. and I decided we would drive to the snow this year.

Mr S. and I have booked our tickets to the consumer electronics show. CES. Barring anything weird, I guess we are going. Normally I'm super giddy about this kind of thing, but right now all I can think about are the blisters on my feet I'll be getting. Four hours in the air, the ground sprint, and the inevitable illness. It is an international show after all. I'm not overly excited. Yet.

I had a big thing with my renter yesterday. It quite possibly might be the weirdest relationship I have. In other words - I can't figure out what the glue is. Especially because we sort of fight. Which I find uncomfortable and odd. I'm more of a flight person, than fight. He doesn't really need me - I don't really need him. So the fighting is an unusual dynamic. I would have expected one of us to saw "screw it" and move on. But we don't. At any rate, until the first of the month I'm counting the issue as resolved.

I think that's all I got.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quiet

It was the worst of times.



Don't worry, I'm not in the habit of taking photos of gas prices. It isn't "one of my things". But, this weekend when I saw gas prices had gotten so low - I had to take a picture. I'd remembered accidentally getting a shot of a gas station from this summer.

I couldn't help but reflect on how unimaginable the last 6 months have been. Not that there aren't daily opportunities for this kind of reflection. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined over 4 buck gas. And once that happened - I never thought I would see almost a buck fifty. I just sort of wanted to immortalize it on the blog.



I don't know how this whole economy thing is going to shake out.....but, this period in time is certainly life altering. I know I will never look at things the same way.

If someone would have predicted all the forces would come together to change the world the way it did, I would have dismissed them as a fatalistic moonbat. A lot of days it doesn't seem real. Yet it is.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Lights.





I'm pretty sure both of these cars have been on my blog before. But, now they have lights.

No one saw this coming. NO ONE!

I still have some stuff to post to get caught up from my week off - but today has been pretty much wrapped up with my renter.

I clearly am mentally retarded, because those areas of my brain that are suppose to tell me "hey, renting to that guy is going to be like a never ending home improvement project" stopped working and failed me. My brain pisses me off that way. More importantly, no matter how much you think you know someone - you don't. And it just bums me out.

Paying rent late hardly even bothers me - I can get over a lot of things. But, he has turned into a much bigger bullshitter than I expected. Un-necessarily at that.

For a week every month - I want to evict him. This month, it's been a little bit longer. And - oh so strong.

Oh... so... strong. Strong enough that I had to start stalking my house over the weekend. I wasn't sure if he'd abandoned the place. People are doing crazy things right now. I was somewhat reassured that someone lived there, there was a BMW parked out front after all.

I we finally got a hold of him I was ready to give the guy a break on the whole rent thing this month. With Christmas and the hard times. I would have understood if he'd just told me things were tough. But - OH- NO! He had to tell me he was hanging out in Cabo. As in Cabo San Lucas.

And here I thought one of the first rules of being a tenant was to not tell your landlord you are on a great vacation when you haven't paid your rent. It tends to piss them off.

It's the first rule. Right?

For now I just pray that he finds a girlfriend and moves out of my place. Of course, being an atheist - I don't expect my prayers to be answered.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Appreciate the honesty.



Stumbled upon.

If there is anything you know about me - it is that I'm easily distracted by light. As a matter of a fact, Mr S. and I went to "a thing" the other night, and Mr S. and I had the following conversation.

Him - I was ready to go like a half hour ago.

Me - Me too! I was ready to go.

Him - Well, when I'm ready to go, I'm heading for the exit.

Me - I was heading for the exit. Just in a zig-zaggy way.

Him - Yeah, but anything that has a shiny light sends you off track. Keys (he then holds up his hand in a gesture that imitates someone shaking keys) A traffic cone sitting on a light. (Which I do actually have a picture of. It was a lit up traffic cone! How dare he talk to me that way.)

Anyway.. I'm getting off track. That was just the preface.

So, last week we went to see Joel Mchale. I wouldn't say I'm a fan. But, he was here locally. And I do appreciate/resent he informs me of crappy reality shows I may not have been aware of. To get to the venue, we had to go past Mecca. I mean Apple. They are the only ones making money in the Valley, so I'm calling them Mecca for now. We were going to stop by the Apple store, but I got distracted by this light. I pleaded for Mr S. to go in the direction of the light so I could get a picture. Neither of us could figure out what it was.

Initially I was just going to take a picture of the outside of the building. But, once we got there I realized it was an office building, and decided to see if I could just walk in. Which we did.



Much to my surprise there was this big glowing light thing inside, and I started taking pictures. As I was doing this a few people in the office building started engaging us in conversation. Apparently they were in the middle of setting this thing up. They still had the boxes and scissor lifts out. But, the best part is.... It was a Chihuly! You can see my pictures of the Chihuly exhibit here.



The thing was so ginormous that if you look into the bottom left hand corner of the picture you can see one of the workers. I should have asked if they get free install, or how that whole thing works. Definitely not a do-it-yourself kind of thing.



Possibly not the best pictures I've ever taken. But, the people in that office building are obviously are not feeling the pinch of the economy. I don't know how much Chihuly's cost - but I was guessing upwards of 30 grand.

The office building people also were pretty excited that we'd seen the Chihuly from the street. I mean, they seemed to be happy for the attention.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Past the point of no return.

It seems only like a year ago I was buying a 500MB drive. Maybe its been two years now. But, at the time it was an "oh my f-ing gawd" moment. It was a ridiculous indulgence. I was never going to need that much space.

Start taking photos in RAW form, and you find you can quickly blaze through some drive space. A drive that big though, presents a bit of a problem.

Backups.

500MB is sort of in an area - where the only way to backup, is with another drive. So, when my drive started making grinding noises last week - it sent a shiver up my spine. I hadn't backed up in a while. I had to shut my machine down. I couldn't loose my years of pictures.

The drive was just going to be replaced with another 500MB drive. That is.... until we found out that you could get a Terabyte drive for a 100 bucks.

That's right. A terabyte! For... a... hundred... bucks.

Now we have to go through an old timey rant. When I first started my technology career, only places like NASA needed terabytes of disk space. And - it cost as much as a house, and took up a room of servers. Now, they cost a hundred bucks! How great is that?

So, we got two. So I could RAID my drives. (Which by the way - only big companies used to be able to afford) That way if the first drive fails, the hope is my other drive has been mirroring the first. And, I won't have to worry as much about drive loss.

Even crazier? After we ordered the drive - we found out we could upgrade to a 1.5 terabyte drive for 120 bucks. That my friends is completely insane.

We stayed with the terabyte, because it had good ratings. The 1.5's hadn't been out that long.

I'm still in a little technology shock.

Bad ass cars? Um... I'm not sure.



Guess what this is. Guess!

A Maserati. Yeah. That's right



It went a little like this:

Mr S.- Hey... what is that car?

Me - (in an unimpressed fashion) Eh.. I don't know.

Hey wait. I think it says Maserati. It can't be a Maserati. It looks like a 1980's Toyota.

Nope - it says Maserati.

That is the most unimpressive Maserati I've ever seen. If you hadn't pointed it out, I would have thought it was an old Toyota.

Are you shitting me?



I'm not sure where to start to catch up. But, even absent minded viewers of this blog should know why this sets me off. Other not so regular readers can get hints here or here.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Is Elvis a clown for our amusement?



A couple of nights ago Mr S. and I were in the store picking up booze for the BBQ ribs we were going to make the next day. You just can not make boozy ribs without Canadian Whisky. Can not!

Anyway, I'm setting up my game plan to sprint through the store.

Mr S. and I tend to split up. He goes to one side of the store, I go to the other. I cram as much stuff in my arms and we meet roughly back in the middle. But, this time I was feeling a little disorganized and only picked up a couple of things before I returned to the cart to drop things off. It was then Mr S. said the following to me.

Him - Did you see Elvis?

Me - Whaaat?

Him - Elvis. Then he points in the general direction I should go look.


All in one moment I'm excited, and bummed that I didn't have my camera on me. We'd just spent all day in the park. I didn't want to carry it around. And this was just suppose to be a short trip. I should know to never leave the house without it.

Anyway, I begin trying to get a stealth picture. But, Elvis is so aware of me stalking him with my camera phone, that he is thwarting my every move. So I rush back to Mr S.

Me - He knows I'm stalking him and he won't let me get a good picture.

Mr S. - Well, just ask him for a picture.

Me - But, what if he is not trying to be Elvis. When I was growing up there were a lot of old dudes that just looked like old Elvis.

Mr S. - Oh - he's trying to be Elvis.

Me - are you sure? Cause, I don't want to seem like an asshole. But, you don't see many guys trying to do the whole Elvis thing anymore.

I try a few more times to get a stealth picture, and then I just give in and ask the guy if I could take a picture of him. He was really nice and let me. And then went into talking like Elvis. I thanked him profusely. Engaged him about his Elvis-ness. Apparently he was some performer. I tried to get a business card. But, I wasn't getting much information from him. Like a name. Of course when I said this very thing to Mr S. he said "well, his name is Elvis". Just like that. And then, what could I say?

After we got back into the car I asked Mr S. "Don't the Elvis guys know we are kind of mocking them"?

Him - Yeah. But, they want the attention. They are sort of like clowns.

I heart lasers!

Every since I went to the RoboDevelopment conference, the only thing I've developed is .....a crush on LiDAR!

Yeah.. I started hearing about liDAR probably about a year ago - but, now I realize it is so freaking cool. I might want to marry it. And - if there is anything you know about me, it's that I love lasers. Especially when they make cool pictures of the Hoover Dam. Or anything else really.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Almost pets.



Mr S. and I have been hanging out in the park a bit lately. Which is how I got this shot of the deer checking out the humans. They are sort of everywhere.

We are sort of training for CES. Which seems like an odd thing to say. The way we do CES - is rather like doing a triathlon. Fly into Vegas in the morning. Walk about 80% of the show space. Which is something like 3 football fields filled with consumer booths. Carrying 10 pounds of camera gear. Fly out that evening.

We first starting doing it this way because a room in Vegas for CES was something like 500 bucks. Seems like this year they've dropped it to about 300 bucks a room. But, now I kind of feel like by the end of the day, I'm ready to leave Vegas. I feel like an ashtray from all the smokers. I've got sensory overload. And, I've already started to be affected by the lifeless souls who make up Las Vegas. Everyone is nice. But there is a certain feeling of deadness inside.

Anyway, I'm not 100% sure I'm going this year. But, I'm reasonably sure. Enough that last night I became concerned about the automotive crisis and what it might do to that part of CES. I can see a wall of monitors anywhere - but the cars. It isn't easy to see a wall of monitors in cars anywhere but Vegas.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Oh waaaa.



It has been really hard trying to get into the holiday spirit. We've had one storm in the past month, and the rest of the time it has just been sunny. Even for our area, it doesn't feel like the end of November. The upside is - we are actually getting some fall color. So we went around trying to capture it.



I'm thinking deer are growing some kind of super intelligence where they understand composition. Lighting - not so much.

 
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