Monday, March 31, 2003

Technical09:58 PM - New UPS

Well, we found out Friday before last what a piece of suckass crap our UPS is. It's a Belkin 525VA UPS with 4 backed up plugs & 4 surge protected plugs. Our first warning that we should just take it back was the fact we couldn't plug both our monitors into it at the same time, just one, because it claimed it was overloaded otherwise. We chose mine because J has the Windows 98 shutdown key sequence memorized so if our power goes out he can still shut down w/o seeing what he's doing.

Well, this day (two days after nasty storms which didn't knock out our power) was a beautiful, sunny, calm day. So naturally, our power went out for about 5 minutes. The Belkin didn't make it. It made it all of 2 minutes before it drained completely of power. Neither of us got to shut our computers down. Also, when we finally got it to come back on (we had to physically unplug it from the wall and plug it in again before it would turn on), we found out it doesn't like having our CPUs and just his monitor either. Evidently mine is just barely under the "overload" limit, and his is over it (both ViewSonic 17" monitors; apparently the E771 sucks just a bit more power over the E70). So we plug mine back in and everything's fine.

However, there is no way in bloody hell that after months of being plugged in and supposedly fully charged (dunno if it's supposed to warn us of a battery going bad, but it definitely never did) that it should have been sucked down that damn fast, given it's a 525VA UPS and we should be well under that. So we started shopping.

Basically, it's evident that APC is the way to go. After some futzing around, emailing them asking for recommendations, and looking at their stuff with my dad, we decided on one. It's a Smart-UPS 750 XL, with four backup and four surge protector plugs. Also, it has (a) the ability to shut down a computer via serial port, so we went for the optional SmartSlot update to add (b) a 2-port addition to be able to shut down both computers (well... 3 technically but there wasn't a 1-port expansion). Not to mention, "half loaded" (with just one comp) it's supposed to last 70 minutes, so with both comps we should have at least a half hour before we need to shut down. Granted, this wasn't a big selling point; we just wanted to be able to go 10 or 15 minutes, but that's what it offers.

Furthermore, APC offers a trade-UPS program, where you can trade them an old UPS -- their's or competitor's -- for money back. Not only that, but when you order that way, you fill in the serial #, weight, model #, etc., and they send you a prepaid shipping label to send it back with. Presumably, after they get it, they figure out what it's worth and give you money for it. So... I'm gonna mail the piece of crap Belkin back to them, and if we're really, really lucky we might get $50 for it (we paid roughly $80 or so for it, I think). Blind guess, so I really have no clue what it'll net, and the person on the phone I talked to said there wasn't an exact equivalent so she couldn't even estimate (they don't have any 525VA UPS models).

It arrived today, but it was delivered to the apartment office and I missed their close time by about 10 minutes (due to picking up the damn ultrasound films after work) so we have to wait till tomorrow to get it (which is when the "expected delivery date" was anyway). Woohoo, we're gonna have a real UPS!!

Okay, that's it for tonight. I have more to write, but I gotta update my Resolutions and then get off here, so it'll have to wait till tomorrow.

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Life09:43 PM - Thyroid troubles, sort of

On Wednesday, March 19, I noticed while at work I have a rather large lump just down and to the right of my larynx. It was so odd and startling, I actually got up and asked a coworker if she could see it (as I could sure as hell feel it!). She could, and since I'd been meaning to make an appointment anyway to start back on my Zyrtec (it'd been 11 months since I was last in for my only ear infection) I called to make an appointment. I got one for that Friday afternoon.

I was thinking it was probably a lymph node swollen (possibly either because of the drainage I'd been having since a cold over a month ago, or just because). At the doctor's, however, I was quickly disabused of that notion. Doctor said it's way too big for that (even when they swell "big", they don't get that big). He said the only thing in the area that would look like that was the thyroid. Damn. He ticked off several things it could be (definitely not cancer, as it came up too quickly), and said they needed to draw blood. Ouch!

So they drew 3 vials of blood to run full blood tests, and the nurse was very good and talked to me the whole time (I don't like needles at all). Then, they scheduled an ultrasound of my thyroid at the hospital near us. Monday they called and said all the bloodwork came out fine. Tuesday they called (the next day after the ultrasound... those come back a LOT faster) and said I have some type of "cystal growth" on my thyroid. :( So basically, there's nothing wrong with my thyroid, but I have something growing on it.

So tomorrow morning I have an appointment at another hospital at 10am with an endocrinologist. No idea what they're going to do tomorrow, except that it doesn't involve general anesthetic as I got no call telling me not to eat for 12 hours, and no one told me to have someone else take me. :D I also had to go up this afternoon and actually get the films myself from the hospital, to take with me tomorrow. Then, of course, after they're done with them I'm supposed to take them back.

Not fun, but I'm trying my best not to worry, as it's probably just something they'll either take out or shrink or something. Simple, right?

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Life09:27 PM - House hunting and buying

Well, since things have moved rather fast, this'll sound like bigtime news, but since my unexpected hiatus my husband and I have found a house and started the process of buying it. We have been approved for the loan and are finishing paperwork for that (currently we have to sign the good faith agreement and a couple other things), and we have an inspection on this Friday afternoon. I'd show pictures, but it was never listed and we haven't taken any ourselves (and I'd feel rather... odd doing so at this point).

The reason it wasn't listed, is we got incredibly lucky. I've known our realtor a long time (she used to live behind my parents' house and I babysat her daughters a few times -- who're now in and just about to graduate high school, I might add! -- and her older son was in between my sister and me in age). Add to that, she has a long time friend who, with her husband, is building a house in Wentzville and they're looking to sell but at the time weren't in a hurry. She figured since we weren't in a big hurry (though things certainly are happening fast) and they weren't in a hurry that we'd be a good fit, especially given the size of the house, price range, etc. We went to see the house (I already called SWBell SBC to make sure DSL was available) and it's wonderful. It's in amazing condition, is very well kept up, has a lot of things new on it (roof, heater, a/c, etc.), and is in a decent area.

After that, they said to feel free to bring our families, so two weeks later we did -- my parents, his parents, grandma, younger brother, and baby sister. It was a lot of fun, we got a couple more questions answered (that we didn't even think to ask when we were there before), and I think everyone was impressed. Shortly thereafter we started looking for a loan, and I got a name from a friend and coworker who was refinancing. Things have been progressing fast since then... we found out we both have astoudingly good credit, and that we should've started looking for a loan about 10 days sooner, because they'd just spiked tremendously in a quick time (though still very low).

Barring anything else bizarre going wrong, our close date is set for April 25, and we're going to move in the end of July. Why so long? Well, we need to provide 3 months' notice to our apartment complex, and they're not going to have their house built until then, so our "take possession" date is July 23, giving us until the end of July to move all our stuff & clean the apartment top to bottom. I keep thinking something has gotta go wrong, 'cause I just can't believe we'll actually be settled into a house in less than 6 months' time. I mean, wow. Just wow.

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This site08:32 PM - One other thing...

I forgot to mention that comments won't work. I really need to disable them (or at least put some text in place of them that says "comments disabled" or something) but I haven't yet. So, um... don't bother, they won't work.

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This site08:02 PM - Long absence

I've been absent a long time from updating this site, and dammit I've had so many things to say! The host I'm on evidently tightened down restrictions on how much CPU any given CGI can use, and evidently MT uses more than their restrictions allow. So, my whole ability to automagically update this site (i.e. just type in a post and go) went down the toilet. :(

However, I am working around this, while possibly waiting to go to a new host (seriously considering phpwebhosting.com) to stop having to use my work-around. Basically, I've installed MovableType on my old machine at home, on its Linux partition (read: came with Apache, MySQL, PHP, CGI, etc. all installed and set up to run). I tried having it connect to the database on my host's server, but couldn't get it working (and couldn't find out why), so I did a dump of the database (complete dump including SQL inserts) and set up a database on my box via phpMyAdmin. All this has been a royal pain in the ass, and it also means all my files being FTPd up from the old box to the server (an extra step) but it means I'm back updating again. :)

So... expect a few spam posts with all the good & bad that's been going on in the last two and a half, almost three weeks (it's been really busy, and stuff I've really wanted to write about). These will all be in quick succession with this one.

*does happy dance that she finally can use MT again*

Next up for the site: should I upgrade to MT version 2.63?

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Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Life09:19 PM - What a beautiful day!

It's about damn time. :) It was so hard to get up this morning, but my mood improved immediately upon walking outside. It had rained the night before, so the air smelled fresh (not to mention -- it was wet, not frozen!!), and it was in the mid 40s already so I was comfy in a t-shirt and jacket instead of a sweater and coat, and it was sunny. It was so beautiful and springtime warm today. :D Amazing what that can do for a person...

J and I tossed around a softball instead of him going to class, which was fun. (He has an evening geology class, tonight was lecture and not lab, and he knows more about most of the topics covered than the teacher does on account of taking many upper level mineral-studying classes for his ceramic eng. degree. And, they just took a test. So he figured there was no need to go since grades were already posted and it was a beautiful afternoon.) My shoulder is gonna be so sore tomorrow... but I just don't really care.

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Thursday, March 06, 2003

Fun stuff09:57 AM - Funny stuff

There's a jokes thread [host no longer exists] at the PvP Forums I frequent that has a couple really funny jokes...

Jerry rice is walking down the streets of San Francisco when all of a sudden he hears sirens coming from the next street down. He hurries down the road to see what's happening and sees a huge fire engulfing a 10 story buliding. On the top floor, a lady is leaning out the window shouting to the firemen below.

FIREMAN: Come on, lady, jump. We have the tarp here, we'll be able to catch you.

LADY: No... I can't. My baby, my baby is up here.

FIREMAN: Throw the baby down, we'll catch him.

LADY: No, you'll miss. I can't leave my baby.

Jerry sees this and steps forward. "Hey, I think I can help. Let me have the bullhorn."

JERRY: Hey lady, I'm Jerry Rice, the wide receiver for the San Francisco 49ers. I'm the best wide receiver in the game. Throw your baby down and I'll catch him. This is what I do for a living.

Being a 49ers fan herself, the lady recognizes Jerry and throws her baby down to him. Just as she throws it, a huge gust of wind comes and takes the baby and starts to blow him off course. Jerry sees this and takes off after the baby. He hurdles the line closing off the area, fights through the crowd, dodges a couple fire fighters, jumps over a car, and dives forward, just making a fingertip catch of the baby. The crowd around him goes wild and starts cheering his amazing catch. So Jerry jumps to his feet, raises his finger into the air, does a two-step, and then spikes the baby.

Two tall trees, a birch and a beech, are growing in the woods. A small tree begins to grow between them, and the beech says to the birch, "Is that a son of a beech or a son of a birch?" The birch says he cannot tell.

Just then a woodpecker lands on the sapling. The birch says, "Woodpecker, you are a tree expert. Can you tell if that is a son of a beech or a son of a birch?"

The woodpecker takes a taste of the small tree. He replies, "It is neither a son of a beech nor a son of a birch. It is, however, the best piece of ash I have ever put my pecker in."

Elephant jokes:

Why is an elephant big and grey?
Because if it were small and white, it'd be an aspirin.

What's grey on the inside and clear on the outside?
An elephant in a sandwich baggie.

What do an elephant and a plum have in common?
They're both small and purple, except the elephant.

Why do elephants wear yellow-soled shoes?
To hide upside down in bowls of custard.

Why do elephants travel in herds?
To get bulk discounts on yellow-soled shoes.

Why do elephants paint their toenails red?
To hide in strawberry patches.

Why do ducks have flat feet?
To put out forest fires.

Why do elephants have flat feet?
To put out flaming ducks.

The LAPD, FBI, and CIA are arguing over which is the superior law enforcement agency. To settle the whole thing, the president releases a rabbit into Yellowstone Park, and declares that the first agency to retrieve the rabbit is the winner.

The FBI assaults the forest, and after two weeks without any leads, they burn the forest down, killing everything inside, including the rabbit. They declare the rabbit "had it coming."

Another rabbit is released, and the CIA gets its chance. After planting animal informants, questioning all mineral and animal plant witnesses, come to the conclusion that rabbits don't exist.

The LAPD goes in, and comes back out 2 hours later with a badly beaten raccoon, and the raccoon is hollering, "Alright, alright! I'm a rabbit, I'm a rabbit!"

A Texan, a Canadian, and a guy from Michigan are riding through the countryside. After riding for a while, the Texan pulls out a bottle of whiskey from his bag, takes a long pull from it, then suddenly throws it up in the air, pulls out his pistol and shoots the bottle in the air.

The Canadian says, "Hey, what did you do that for?"

The Texan tells him, "In Texas, we have tons of fine whiskey, and bottles are plentiful.

So they continue riding, and after a bit the Canadian pulls a champagne bottle out of his bag, takes a long drink, then throws the bottle in the air, pulls out his pistol and shoots the bottle.

The Michigan guy says, "What did you do that for?"

The Canadian replies, "In Canada, we have lots of fine champagne, and many bottles.

So they continue riding, and after a bit the Michigan guy pulls a bottle of beer out of his bag. He drains the bottle in one drink, carefully puts it back in his bag, pulls out his pistol, and shoots the Canadian.

"What in the hell did you do that for?" says the Texan.

"Well," he replied, "In Michigan we have tons of Canadians, but bottles are worth a dime.

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Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Cats12:07 PM - Black cats

There's an interesting article at MSNBC that says researchers have found that black cats may have black fur as a side effect of genetic mutations that arose not for camoflage, but for health reasons. At least for the jaguar, its coat color may have more to do with a genetic mutation that allows it to resist viruses, that also happens to turn its fur black, rather than to make it better able to hunt at night. A very interesting possibility to explore.

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Monday, March 03, 2003

Interesting places10:33 AM - 1984

If you haven't read the novel 1984 by George Orwell yet, and would like to but can't find it or don't want to order it, you can find it here to read it on the web. Granted, that means unless you have a laptop (either with wireless LAN, a LAN connection in your room, or with all the pages saved off for later) you can't read it in bed before you turn out the light for the night, you can read it. I haven't read it yet, and I definitely plan to. I hadn't planned on looking for various novels on the web, but next after this I'll be looking for a few others that I haven't read, that I really ought to read. Catch 22, maybe some Asimov sci-fi, maybe some Heinlein (sp)... if you have a link to the full text of these online, leave me a comment (link below). :)

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Interesting places09:32 AM - How do you speak?

There's a survey asking 122 questions on pronunciation, word usage, etc. called the Dialect Survey. Not only can you take the test, but the Maps & Results section shows how others have responded so far, color coded on a map of the United States. (Though a person can log in and take the test without being a US resident, the only results shown, at least on the maps, are from US locations. Whether the percentages of answers are only from respondents in the US or not, I've no idea.) Some of the answers are predictable, but others are much less so. Often, when more than one answer is chosen at a relatively high percentage, the answers are clearly regional. Oh, and on the pronunciation questions, it really helps to at least whisper the word out loud and listen to how you actually say the word, because otherwise you don't necessarily know for sure what you say.

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