Saturday, March 31, 2012

Sandmich Drive Time

Back in Sandmich's day, when it came time to get a driver's license, we would take our temp test (hand written, of course) go to drivers ed, the go take the driver's test and get our Official Ohio State Driver's License, a license that is the same type of license I have in my pocket now.

In the intervening millennia when Kid Sandmich became old enough to drive, the powers that be passed a raft of laws (PDF link) restricting the drive time of those under 18.  Additionally, in addition to the other requirements, it is required that the teen driver have 50 hours of mentored time behind the wheel.  Now, the easiest way out of this, as far as I can tell, is to lie.  However, Mr. and Mrs. Sandmich being upstanding citizens (well, at least one of us), we were determined to get those 50 hours.

Luckily, an 18 year old doesn't need 50 hours because there was never a prayer of us logging all 50 of those hours (that's like 6 round trip drives between here and Chicago, and the thought of the price of gas alone was enough to scare me off).  Anyway, Kid Sandmich's temps expired, which required him to retake the written test (now on computer) at the DMV.  We had some issues with his car and the long story short is that the battery died in his car at the DMV.  Me being the only one who could drive, I 'volunteered' to huff it home and get a car that worked (me also being the only one who could do the two and half miles in less than two and half hours).

After we had the new battery in his car however, we had a dilemma, two cars, and one properly licensed driver (who wasn't about to huff it from home to the DMV).  I resolved that Kid Sandmich would have to drive with his semi-legal temps and follow me home (my logic being that if President Obongo's illegal alien uncle could drive drunk with a fake license, I figured that'd make Kid Sandmich a legally licensed test pilot or something at least!).

I drove out in front and watched in my rear view figuring that Kid Sandmich's lane fidelity and driving consistency would be worse than when I was in the car with him, only it wasn't, it was better.  The logic hit me: kids my age had to learn how to drive while Kid Sandmich had been tasked with learning how to chauffeur.  It was much easier for him to drive when he was driving rather than waiting for constant feed back from me.  All the more interesting since no two drivers drive exactly alike, and it must be that a driver must find their own peace with the driver that they are meant to be.

(I was 50% sober when posting this, just as I'll probably be from now on now that I have designated driver in the house :-)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mac .75 Years Later

  • Don Jones, Microsoft genius extrodinare, says that Microsoft "Office for the Mac is a wonderful product". No, it's not. It's stuck in some unholy ground between Office 2003 and Office 2007 (except for Outlook which is stuck between Office 97 and Office 2000, which still makes it the premiere e-mail handling program on the Mac). Maybe Don Jones sees something I don't, or maybe he just hates the ribbon with an undying passion (it only makes a guest appearance in MS Office for Mac).
  • What is up with the network stack bombing out?  On more than one occasion the Internet dies (for everything), but is brought back to life if I quit out of Safari and get back in.  (Other times it dies completely, but I blame that on Vuze, my bittorrent client).
  • One time Steam died out but it left processes running in the background, like way in the background.  A little UNIX command line action would clean that out, or so I thought.  Not so much luck as a reboot was required (to be fair, every *NIX system I've ever been on has been prone to zombie processes, and I shouldn't have been playing Half Life 2 anyway as I had school work to do).
  • Another time iTunes dumped out and I figured I'd be clever and hit the command line again.  The command "ps -aef|grep iTunes" will report back the offending processes responsible for iTunes.  I killed off one of the three processes without incident, but when I killed off the second process the system crashed to a gray screen.  No reboot, not task monitor, no nothing; had to turn it off and on because of iTunes :-(
  • The Time Machine disk, you know, the disk that a Mac owner depends on for backups, seems to get the flu at the drop of a hat.  Any issue that can cause the Mac to have issues (power outage, etc.) will almost certainly trash the Time Machine drive.  It seems like a much better plan to run the computer off of the Time Machine disk and back it up to the apparently more stable drive inside the Mac itself.  (I just checked, and a power outage did indeed crash the Mac file system on the USB Time Machine disk.  Nothing like undependable crap for your backup solution, thanks!)
  • On the plus side: the Cisco VPN that I need for a side job is much easier to setup on the Mac; Adobe CS5 is the same product on Mac or Windows, the touch pad is my favorite pointing device since the Kensington mouse balls, and I do like the Doc better than the Start Menu.  At least on the model I have, the screen real estate helps a great deal with multi-tasking and the easier than anything multiple desktops let me stack task on top of task.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Thank Goodness that's Over With

I can't remember the last Harry Potter movie I watched, but I'd seen several of them in the hopes that the 'next one' would be worth sitting through.  I realized all too late though that there's nothing in those movies for people who didn't read at least one of the books.  It was always hard to put my finger on as to why though. 

I know one aspect was that it never felt like I was watching a Harry Potter movie, but a Harry Potter documentary.  I can easily believe that if they peppered occasional transitions to J. K. Rowling interview snippets throughout the films that it wouldn't have detracted from them at all (except for the fact that the already horrid length would be padded out even further).  I did, however, finally put my thumb on the main issue with the movies.  It only took me so long because I never bothered to think about it, but:

The Harry Potter character is an awful movie character.

After talking with Mrs. Sandmich my suspicions were confirmed.  In the books Harry Potter is a bit of an empty vessel that the reader is allowed to project into.  This style, I suspect, is pulled off to perfection by Rowling who uses the device to draw readers deep into the novels.  As a non-reader though, this makes for bad cinema.  I have to admit I noticed this within the first few seconds of the first Potter film but was slow to put the puzzle together.  Instead I saw Potter film after Potter film in the hope that the magic of the Potterverse books would be relayed across and I would discover what all the fuss was about.  Alas, there is no 'there' there in the Potter movies for non-readers; the readers never notice this fault as they're watching their Harry Potter movie through the Harry Potter character that they themselves half put together in the books.

(P.S. This is an oldie that was sitting in the 'draft' bin for some reason.  I think that I meant to actually watch the Potter films that I hadn't seen before posting this, but I'm here to tell you, that's not going to happen.)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Post Earthquake Pics

I wonder why we haven't seen pics like this from Haiti...
As I heard at the time, and as several commentators to that article point out, though, the U.S. is deluding itself if it thinks that it could handle a disaster of that magnitude nearly as well; probably more 'Haiti' than 'Japan' methinks.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

More Movie Rental Reviews

Well, "rental" is probably being generous, but anyway:

  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes: better than it deserved to be, to the point that it was actually quite good.
  • Real Steel: worse than it should have been, to the point that it was well nigh unwatchable.
The key to both movies was the writing, both movies had all the things that movies need to be a success, but one was written much (much) better than the other (though the way "Rise" struggled to hold onto it's PG-13 rating seemed to restrain the action at times).