Jun 00


i just spent much of the saturday afternoon purchasing a refrigerator – a transaction that could have easily taken just five minutes to complete. understand, then, why there is a new rant in the archive :)

Jun 00

answer the f**king phone!

in preparation for moving to my new house (expect some choice rants about that in the very near future) i’m constantly coming up with a long list of new and expensive things that i will absolutely need to buy in the coming weeks.

up until now, i’ve either shared a house or lived in an apartment, so i’ve never had to own these things, such as lawn implements, lawnmower and such, or a barbecue grill – an absolute essential to me – or any number of other grown-up, homeowner-type things.

i did manage to buy a washer and dryer not too long ago, because saving up my quarters for a month to be able to to truck off to the laundromat and do a week’s worth of laundry was really starting to get to me. i still let my laundry pile up for much too long before getting to it, but i can do laundry in the dead of night if i want, and use my quarters at the arcade.

now i’m in the market for a refridgerator, a purchase that, in its importance, as well as its expense, easily shames the simple washer and dryer. but, i’m prepared. moreso than before, when i was at a loss for how to shop for the best prices on major appliances.

now i know. now i have experience dealing with salesmen. now i have the time to spend working out where to get the best deal. now i have substantially more credit.

and, being cash poor in anticipation of dropping a mean chunk of cash on a house down payment, that’s the only way i’ll be buying anything that costs more than the change in my pocket. credit. beautiful word, that. let it roll off your tongue “cred – it”.

so, with gleaming store credit card in hand, i went to a local superstore that stocks appliances, electronics, and computers of all varieties. i won’t mention their name, because i won’t be accused of doing a commercial for them – and i wouldn’t for reasons which are hopefully painfully clear – but suffice it to say, they claim to have the best buys in town. ’nuff said.

here i am, lost in a white and beige stonehenge of refridgerators of all makes and models, ranging in price from the very afforable (almost pocket change these days for a dorm-sized fridge. if only i had had even that kind of money when i was in school…) to the ungodly expensive side-by-side beasties with brushed steel exteriors and enough storage capacity to hold the entire Donner Party.

i liked one in the middle. an over-under jobbie with a nice big freezer. the problem was, to get any kind of specific information, i had to wait on a salesperson.

there were about ten of us, wandering the gleaming appliance aisles, and one salesman. let’s call him “Rick”

Rick was at one of the two computer terminals, desperately trying to work out how to print a receipt for an impatient, and very vocal customer. let’s call her “the Bitch”

she was yelling at her husband and son, who were understandably halfway across the store, and thus just out of normal shouting range, from the Bitch. this did not dissuade her from vocalizing above the din of car stereo demonstrations her disapproval of their checking out the big-screen televisions while she was stuck waiting on Rick to get his thumb out of his ass and print her receipt.

and all the while, easily twenty minutes from my arrival in the appliance maze to an actual salesperson contact, the phone rang. incessantly.

it would ring for several minutes, everyone else seemingly immuse to its wailing, ringing, beeping (it did all three at once) entreaties. i asked a few times if Rick might answer that. please. for the love of Mike.

he ignored me.

then it would stop. whoever was calling, probably transferred to that extension by customer support, had finally given up the ghost. then it would begin again.

finally, amid the din, i was finally able to get Rick’s attention long enough to ask him a couple of pricing and maintenance questions about the refridgerators i was considering for purchase. i was a little distracted by the phone, and i mentioned this. Rick ignored me again. Rick wasn’t being very helpful anyway, only reading the little signs plastered on the ‘fridges to augment his information on them.

anyhoo, i eventually ended up picking out a new Amana bottom-mount model – one of the new ones with the freezer on the bottom and the main fridge section on top. they’re more convenient for folks like me who only use the freezer for ice and frozen pizzas, plus it’s about twice as economical as a top-mount fridge, and infinitely less hassle and trouble than a side-by side. it’s a little more expensive than the run-of-the mill Frigidaire, but i thought it was worth it in the long run.

it was confided to me by another, better informed salesman on a previous price-scouting mission that all the refridgerators in their inventory were, in fact, Amana mechanisms with other companies’ logos and shelving in them anyway. it was also made clear that the repair and warranty calls on side-by-sides are about ten times more than those on over/under models – the icemaker and water dispensers in the doors, as well as the cramped quarters for the cooling mechanism wreak havok, you see

so, i’m filling out the paperwork, making sure i get the financing, the free icemaker, the free delivery, and my 10% discount for being a preferred customer, good only this weekend, and only on items of $399 or more, not valid with any other offer, please read the fine print gibberish on the back of the coupon. and the phone was really messing with my head. i couldn’t concentrate, and kept writing my phone number wrong.

so i picked up the phone and lay the headset on its side until i was done with my transaction. if Rick wasn’t going to answer the phone, i would make sure i didn’t have to deal with its noise.

so now all i have to do is wait on the delivery truck, some time between sunrise and sunset on the appointed date of delivery a week from now. i expect i’ll have some choice words about that, too.

Jun 00


for those of you that cared to ask (all none of you) i’m feeling much better now that i’ve been freebasing antibiotics for the last five days.

in other news, apparently Tucows has picked up the niftee-tron aggrivator for their ‘best of’ CD ROM. best of what, i wonder, but it’s still nice to see some of my floppyware widgets getting attention even when i haven’t done much on them in a while.

Jun 00


yuck. not only am i sick (see the latest rant) but a big-ass electrical storm just romped my hosting provider, so the power went out for a couple hours, just as i was updating the database.

Jun 00

brain-eating fungus

i’m sick, so if i seem overly cranky, please understand that it’s because for the last few days, i have been unable to breathe properly, and that the lack of oxygen reaching my brain – as well as the low-level ache over most of my body and the constant drowziness (despite being completely unable to sleep comfortably) has a tendency to make me grumpy.

and why am i sick? most likely because one of the girls in my office had a similar sickness – a sinus infection – last week, and never saw a doctor. she came in sick one day, then was out the next two, in bed recovering. meanwhile, the spores of whatever brain-eating-fungus had taken root in her head were spreading around the office, some of them germinating in my overly stressed mucuous membranes.

and so upon realizing that it wasn’t simply a matter of too much saki and uncooked fish from my outing at the sushi bar the night before haunting me, but a much more sinister sinus infection, and seeing what this has done to my usually peppy coworker, i decide to arrange for a doctor’s appointment in order to get the prescription drugs i know will kill this thing off more quickly and readily than i could alone. i know antibiotics aren’t the best thing to go throwing around willy-nilly – what with resistant strains of bacteria popping up all over. that which does not kill us only makes us stronger. so goes the new motto of the bacterial infection

but, you see, i never get sick. sure, i occasionally (and especially lately) get allergies. an occasional sniffle or sneeze when one kind of pollen is prevalent or if the air is too laden with pollutants. but sick? common cold? flu? rarely. i haven’t been to a doctor in the last several years unless i was bleeding profusely from some extremity – and in those cases i went to an urgent care facility.

urgent care, emergency room, stripmall triage: if you’re bleeding too much to fill out the paperwork (or bleeding too much on the paperwork), they send you to the front of the line.

so, i saw this as an opportunity to create a relationship with a doctor in my area – now that i’m buying a house here, and will likely be here for a while, i might as well select a primary care physician. heck, i can wait a couple days before i see anybody. self-medicating with decongestants is fine by me.

i’ve had health insurance here since i started work almost a year ago, but my health insurance provider (United Health Care) doesn’t require the selection of a PCP at signup, so i never did. so, today, i looked through the big book of local doctors on the UHC dole, and found several that were nearby, and seemed reputable. based on the recollection and recommendation of my coworkers, i selected an an ear-nose-and-throat doctor, since that is the kind of doc i tend to need most often, mishaps with sharp instruments aside.

here’s a tip: if you’re like me, you look under E, for Ear. or ENT. in case you ever need to find one fast, they’re under “O” for otolaryngologists. silly me, i didn’t take latin.

anyhoo, i started calling.

the first couple were nice enough, but, since i am not an existing patient, their first appointments were weeks out. it seemed i was being penalized for not being sickly, not having visited the doctor already for some other minor ailment. of course, i don’t know that if i were an existing patient, i would have gotten any better service. i suppose i’ll find out the next time alien bacteria start growing on my frontal lobes

then there were a couple places that weren’t taking on new patients right now, sorry. one even asked me, with an air of “how did you get this number?” “when did you specify us as your PCP?” is this a doctor’s office or a country club? i didn’t know i had to apply to get in. i understand why they don’t want me on the roster, i don’t get sick often, so they’re not making much money off me.

but when i do get sick, i usually make it worth my while before i go to a doctor. this latest infection, for instance, will likely go from being a simple sinus infection to an ear infection any minute now. already, my ears are so clogged i can’t hear myself type and it feels like i’m in an airplane, i have to pop my ears so often.

eventually, i figured out the best i could do was get an appointment for a week from today, for about 20 minutes of a doctor’s time – as i was told when the office called me back to move my appointment up by 20 minutes since the doctor had already scheduled a surgery for that time. and i’ll have to get there a half hour early, to fill out paperwork.

of course, in the week i’m waiting, whatever’s growing in my head will likely have turned into an infection in both ears, strep throat, and mushrooms growing on my head, spreading spores to the four winds.

if things get too intolerable, i’ll probably go to another urgent care facility to get my antibiotics. of course, i’ll have to slit my wrists or move to Canada to get any service.

Jun 00


okay. the mailing list is up and running, and actually has subscribers (!)

if you want to subscribe, there is a little form widget at the bottom of this page. put in your email and away it goes.

i’ve realized the archive of daily minirants isn’t working as yet, but that’s okay, since the ones that are off the radar as of today are things like ‘site redesign’ and ‘mailing list coming soon.’ once i get to it, it’ll be fixed.

Jun 00



the little kernel notes page i put up yesterday was picked up on slashdot.org and now my plucky little server is getting hammered.

thankfully, i had the foresight to put the page up on my free mindspring webspace, in the unlikely event that my slashdot submission went through, or else you probably wouldn’t be able to read this right now :)

Jun 00


I have added a page at http://option8.home.mindspring.com/kernelnotes.html of some of the miscellaneous comments that appear in the Linux kernel, version 0.01 (ca. August, 1991).

Linus turns out to be quite the jokester, leaving all kinds of non-sequitirs and irreverent one-liners in the code, many of which survive today in the latest developmental releases.

I thought to archive these and share with those people who aren’t the types who go diving through ten year (gasp!) old code for kicks. Enjoy.

Jun 00


a gay man told me today that i have nice legs. i’m not sure how to respond to that.

Jun 00


oh, the joys of translating a printed annual report into a website. think about it – a book, into a website. then, of course, consider the challenge of translating a way cool annual report design – one that is taking the form of an “interactive” poster – and translating that into a website. then throw on top of all that the requirement by the client that the site be translated into 6 languages and be universally accessible – i.e. no javascript, no image-as-text (it would have to be translated), no plugins, no animation.

this is my day job.