Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Exercise Games & Gaming Gardening Life This site03:40 PM - Happy seasonings, yo

And a merry garlic too!


Now that's out of my system... been busy. Almost all the Christmas shopping is done; the rest will be gift cards/certificates ordered online and delivered, since it's stuff I'm not terribly concerned with having arrive OMGBEFORECHRISTMAS. I've planted most of the bulbs I ordered, though I was stupid and found out after I'd buried & heavily watered them all that I put some of 'em in upside down (they were just the bulbs, no roots, and for some reason I thought that the pointy end was where the roots came out *facepalm* I didn't find all the allium bulbs as small as they are, so I have to pray they'll not die anyway). It's supposed to be decent weather again Friday, which is the start of my holiday break from work. I was gonna sleep in, but since we're heading out to J's grandma's house that afternoon some time I may get up earlier than my usual definition of same (i.e. before noon) so I can get the rest of them squared away.

I participated in the FO secret santa exchange, and my gift came, yay! A Space Tourist's Handbook, which is showing itself to be awesome, plus a hefty black iron cat-cutout bookstand that's quite nifty. Gonna have to figure out a place to put it and a few books to put with it. Also, mucho gift cards & certificates coming in the mail from my aunt & uncle for us, and lots of Christmas cards from folks. I love getting the mail this time of year; it makes all the piles and piles of junk almost worth it. :)

I'm holding steady at 138 pounds. I'm still going to my class, but I haven't done much cardio to speak of, still.

I've actually started getting into PvP in WoW again, with not much else to do besides the few raids I can get into and grinding rep for various factions. I didn't get to do it in the first week the 2.0 patch was out so I didn't get to get my GM stuff like everyone else apparently did, and of course they decided that they'd made it a little too easy so they've dialed it back a bit. I didn't do enough Sunday to go past Private (rank 1, which I got ages ago from one or two RP style PvP events within the GoG) but I got to do some more last night and I think I'll probably do quite a bit next week during my time off. It's kinda fun, though it's damned annoying to be KoS because you're (a) a hunter and (b) not an ubar-geared one and thus die easily at the hands of any decent warrior, rogue, mage, warlock, or any combination thereof. Plus it's annoying to get booted into Windows for the umpteen millionth time because of tab-targetting while using the back mouse thumb button to back up which had to be finagled to even work right in the game because Blizzard hasn't mapped the button properly when setting that button to the "back" Windows function since patch 1.3... but that's a rant for another day. (It'd probably work if I had a Logitech mouse that used their newer, completely different mouse software, but that'd require buying a whole new mouse. The MouseWare for the MX700 is older than shit, and I don't think whatever the new software is would work for the mouse.)

I've created a separate RSS feeds page on my site rather than keep adding them onto the menu, so I've taken those off the menu altogether. So far I just have the four I had on the menu: Slashdot, KSDK & KMOV (two local news TV stations' pages), and Sophos virus alerts. I also plan on adding the GoG Raids feed, but it's down so I didn't see much point until it gets moved to its new home and is back up. If I can find overall RSS feeds for Modern Tales, Girlamatic, and Graphic Smash again (they had 'em once upon a time, but when they redid everything and moved servers they went away; not sure if they've been brought back yet, though there is RSS syndication for individual comics) I'll add those. A feed or two from CNN might be nice, too, just their science & tech sections though.

Unless we get to doing it right after Christmas I don't see us sending out Christmas cards this year. Not that we ever have yet, but... I feel bad 'cause we're on quite a few people's lists, and not just strictly family either. It's just so low priority, and I know I'll be doing 'em all myself with pretty much no input, that I just can't ever be arsed to get around to it.

I've put a good chunk of the clothes away that J was so nice to fold and stack for me. I'm worried about the t-shirts I still have left to put away, because my t-shirt drawer (my largest one, seriously it's like 14" deep, and when they're folded in 3rds and placed sideways I have room for 3 stacks) is 99% full and probably can only take one more shirt on each of the three stacks. I think there are probably more than 3 t-shirts left to put in it. Uhhh... yeah. Dunno how to solve that one.

Babbling about us getting new cellphones to follow...

J and I have been wanting new phones for a while, and our contract expired over a year ago so we're eligible for a new one with new phones (yay for share plans!). So I started phone tag w/ the company Verizon rep (yay again, this time for corporate discounts) yesterday, which she continued like 15 minutes after I left work, and which I then furthered this morning. We finally connected this afternoon around 2pm, and I get to make J happy. She mentioned that for quality she's really liking the LG phones, and as a bonus I was utterly and totally wrong about something: mp3 phones. I had figured that even with a contract, which greatly reduces the prices on phones, an mp3 capable phone like the Chocolate would still be like $100. According to their site, that's what they offer the Chocolate for (well, $150 w/ contract, -$50 by ordering online). However, corporate discount = less money. Their LG 8300, which only plays WMAs, is free. Their LG 8600 and LG Chocolate are $50. O.O

So... yeah. J said that if we could get an mp3 capable phone for a good price with contract he'd kinda like one because he doesn't have a player at all, and doesn't really want a big 'un anyway. The only drawback is that we need a USB-to-proprietary cellphone port cable, which of course they don't come with. (The kit I could order with the phones that has WMP to do mp3 to WMA conversions plus the cable is $22.50. LG sells them direct for $40. A site called iGoneMobile has 'em for $10. If they're reliable, that's where I'll get it; if not, I'll get it from Verizon.)

Also, she said we wouldn't be able to renew our current contract (no longer offered) and still get the discount on the phones, but that we could get one that gets us 300 more minutes for $6 a month more, including extra share plan line. That's not much of a price bump and a good lot of minutes (not that we'll ever need them, but maybe some month we'll actually use 'em all). I'd say that's worth it to get two phones for $50. I'm probably gonna get myself the 8300, and I'm guessing J'll either get the 8600 or the black or red Chocolate. If we call her back by 2pm tomorrow, we can spend $17 to get them Friday and have the holidays to play with it (problem being we'd have to wait till delivery to leave for his grandma's house) or we'd get 'em next Tuesday without the extra for overnight shipping. Probably just get 'em Tuesday.

I'll probably order a little Bluetooth headset from the same place a coworker/friend of mine got his; he said he got it far cheaper that way, and it was from a reliable place. Only difference? Basically an "OEM" style version: no fancy packaging to hurt yourself getting open. All the crap that comes wtih it (manuals, blah blah) was there. I'll also have to see if it comes w/ a case, probably not. We can get those later though, since if we get any free accessories it'll probably just be one per phone and I'd rather use that to get car chargers.

whine back (3 whines so far) | labels: exercise, forumopolis, gaming, gardening, holidays, my website, world of warcraft

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Life07:52 AM - Oh fer cryin' out loud

It happened again. What, you ask? Another employee of my company whose job requires them to have PII on their computer, had their laptop stolen out of their car, and they were not using encryption as per company policy. This happened last week.

This happened about the same time last year. The differences are that while this time no banking (i.e. direct deposit) info was among this info, there are roughly 3x the number of people affected. Names, DOBs, SSNs, addresses: all present and accounted for. Almost 400K current and former employees.

Seriously, we have folder encryption available as an incredibly easy install companywide. We did before the first time, and after it happened last year it was really strongly pushed, particularly for those who have PII on themselves or other employees. It certainly should've been pushed heavily on those who work directly in HR or indirectly work with HR data. I can't fathom why this particular employee didn't have it installed, and didn't have that information encrypted. No excuse, none at all.

The plus side is the company acted swiftly last time to cut a deal w/ Experian for one of their heavy-duty monitoring plans (lots of bells & whistles) for anyone who was affected, for three years; since they already have it in place they've already opened it up to those affected by this current data loss. Also, a slight plus side is that these tend to be smash-and-grabs, meaning they want it for the laptop resaleability, not the info, so if the people responsible (last time and this time) didn't think to look for such information the laptops were probably wiped clean in order to hawk it. I was on the list of folks last time, though no banking info was with mine (though I do have direct deposit) and so far no one has tried to open any type of credit using my information. The internal company news says they're notifying current employees via email, former employees via regular mail, this week. I haven't gotten anything yet, but I don't know how long it'll take them to shoot notes to everyone involved, so that doesn't mean anything just yet. I figure if I haven't by the end of the week I'm probably not in this batch.

feeling: exasperated

Friday, December 01, 2006

Life11:11 PM - And we're back online

We got power about 3:15pm, five minutes after we left for food.

A little before 2 J noticed that the passenger side of my car, which was facing south, had melted pretty clean in the sun. So he was able to get into it, and get it running in order to make the rest of the car clearable. At about 10 till 3 we'd gotten it clear, with rather a lot of work. J had a shower, then we were off to Growler's 'cause they make huge quesadillas. As in, instead of the typical single flour tortilla folded in half, two flour tortillas. That way if we needed it we were ready with a second meal. They also had beer cheese soup, which was OMG tasty, and of course beer. Their current take-the-glass-home special was a glass of either Fat Tire, Sunshine, or 1554 for $5.75 with refills $4 apiece. We both had 1554, J having two and me having to drive just having 1. Plus two huge glasses of iced tea. :)

Got back, noticed the house wasn't cold anymore, and J tested the lights and they worked, yay! Checked the clocks, and the flashing times showed us when it came back on, and J commented we should've left sooner. ;)

whine back (3 whines so far) | labels: weather

Life03:02 PM - Well, bitchcakes

What a way to start December.

Couldn't get into my car this morning. It was a frozen brick, with whole blocks of ice all in the door handles. Schools were all closed, so J was home, but he couldn't take me either. No fucking electricity.

This meant no opening the garage door. Also meant the house was down to about 52°F this morning and is still there now. Also meant no working from home; I didn't want to listen to the battery backup beep at me for 8 straight hours while it powered the modem and router, and of course my laptop battery hasn't a prayer of lasting that long.

Finally around 2pm the sun was out long enough, and it got just above freezing, that the south side of my car, i.e. the passenger side since I'd come home early yesterday and parked on the street 'cause J wasn't home yet, had gotten quite clear. So he got in, started my car to warm it up, and then we let it sit for a good 20 minutes with the defrost on full blast.

It took us almost 40 minutes to clear the ice off the rest of the car. J was able to open the hatchback, which loosened the entire sheet on the top, which he then slid off the front in one big piece.

J said his parents (or his grandma, I forget which) said they don't expect power to be restored to all 377K or so people (that's how many were without across Ameren's MO and IL area as of around 7-something this morning) until Monday. That's because the poles are sheeted with ice, and it's not supposed to get out of the 30s for at least till then, so that means relying on copious amounts of deicer to slowly melt the poles so they're safe enough to climb, etc. I put all our faucets on drip, but if we have to vacate for the entire weekend we'll probably just shut off the water entirely and run it out. My grandfather has power, at least so far, and no pets, so we may stay there. J's grandma has also offered, so we could take the cats out with us there as well, though she has two of her own so that wcould get interesting.

Any rate, I won't be on the internet much or at all until power gets restored. I'm tired of listening to the UPS beep, and tired of typing on this laptop's little keyboard. We're gonna try to find a hardware store open to grab a few things (including a coal shovel to get the ice up off the walk & driveway) and find some food.

whine back (0 whines so far) | labels: weather