Are you so interested in what I have to say that you need it quickly? Then subscribe with your RSS reader using this link. Don't forget to post comments, questions or whatever.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

No speedo

Hah, not specifically THAT kind of speedo, though I don't wear those either :). No, the speedometer cable on my bike sheared during my commute to school last Friday. Very little as surreal as riding about 70mph on the interstate and looking down to see the speedometer resting at 0mph. I reached over and tapped the case... nothin. I got to a straight away and stood up some to reach over and wiggle the cable. Nothin. Then I looked again and realized that the Odometer wasn't moving either. Doh!!

When I got to school, I pulled the cable off the from axle to investigate. After a little move this and spin that, I realized that the last 5 inches or so of the cable has sheared. I pulled it right out - that's not supposed to happen from that end. Yikes.

I called around all the Honda places and no one had a replacement that I could get before tomorrow (Thursday), so I put out the feelers on the VF500F yahoo group and someone said they had an extra. Unfortunately, it's coming from Toronto and won't likely be here until Monday, so I guess I should have just gone with the shops, but oh well, too late. Perhaps I'll be lucky and Canada Post will be early... hahahahahahahahaha... um, yeah, never. If I ever got annoyed with USPS taking a while, it's nothing compared to the snail pace of Canada Post.

Make note, this was the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend. Uh, yeah. I think you can figure out why that sucks... and if you know me already, why that makes perfect sense.

Of course, I could still ride the bike, but I feel unsafe not knowing better how fast I'm moving and I believe it might be illegal to be riding without the Odometer attached. So, better safe than sorry and I'll just hope for some rain to lessen the blow of needing to be on 4 wheels until the replacement comes.

On a similar note, another friend is planning on buying a bike soon (he does the MSF training in about week). I hope he gets a sport bike, but our other friend is hoping for him to get a cruiser. Whatever. I didn't, however, expect it to become a mean spirited discussion from him spouting stereotypes about who would want to get a sport bike. But I suppose I shouldn't expect much with respect to a reasonable discussion between a Japanese sport bike rider and a Hardly Davidson rider. I understand some of the thinking of the HD crowd, but it doesn't make it make sense. I remember whenI did my intermediate MSF training and a woman there was a HD owner (who wasn't licensed) being all friendly with me the whole day. Another guy there had his license and HD and was there for the same reason as me... to get some more guided experience. He ate lunch with me and we spent lots of the free time together chatting about stuff. She wasn't much different, jsut had her car during lunch so did he own thing. At the end of the day, he was shaking my hand saying how he hoped to see me out on the road with a big wave hello. She on the other hand as we were leaving the area and were stopped at the red light, rolled her window down so she could look over to me and shout something about my "lame rice rocket". I didn't get it then, I don't get it now... but I have a friend who I only went riding to Plattsburgh with last month kinda doing the same type of thing.

I'll get over it. Especially if the first friend ends up with a crotch rocket... muahahahaaaaaa.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Run fast, plant, bend, pull, twist, push, land

Yay! Today at track practice it was all but cemented that if I'm back next year as an assistant track coach, I'll be the official pole vault coach. This means a TON to me. Spaulding High School hasn't had pole vaulting in years, I believe 7 or 8 in fact. Even then, apparently , since I left in 1990, there hasn't been a really competitive vaulter. I'm not sure of that though, since I did leave behind Steve C., who I thought did pretty well... even hitting or breaking my record (11'6"). Anyway, (Mr) Shawn Woods (the AD and current as well as my old track coach) said there really wasn't much.

I've been saying all along since I started down the path of becoming a teacher... I want to coach track. In that, I also really wanted to coach vaulting. I haven't actually vaulted since the spring of 19992, my only year on the UVM Track & Field team. I stunk. I had to relearn how to vault properly, since I mostly taught myself in high school. I only vaulted in one outdoor meet and I believe 2 indoor meets. I still never bettered my 11'6" record.

Spaulding doesn't have vaulting because of some cockamamie national requirement for a specific set of matts that cost in the area of $4000. At a school without a solid number of vaulters, that was too much money to justify buying them. This means that the current plan is that I take the vaulters to another local high school (about 7 miles away or so). That just sucks. I'm not interested in that kind of hassle. I'll do it if that's the only option though. However, I intend on trying to find the money some how. I'm no fund raiser, but perhaps I can come up with something the kids can do. And yes, there are interested people. Even cooler... a girl runner is the one who is getting this thing jump started. Actually, I was literally about to talk to Shawn about it today when he ended up bringing it up before me. I'll need to get certified, but I believe it's not a big deal.. and I'm going to start tonight looking into coaching information, potential for grants and all that.

To top it off, it's incentive for me to get my ass in shape. There's no friggin way I'm going to coach pole vaulting without getting my butt up there on a pole. So, I need to strengthen my shoulders, lose some weight and pre-load with some kind of exercises so that day one, I can do it as an example. I might get my ballsiness back bit too. I'm sure my wife won't be too happy about it, but she'll be ok. :) I hope we don't have to buy new poles as well... yikes, and worse, if we needed to buy a special pole for me to use... yikes!! Grr.

Anyway, if you know me and you're reading this and you want to donate to the cause, I'm more than happy to take some $$$ off of your hands.

I'll update this entry with a pic of me vaulting in HS when I get it scanned (err, after I find it).

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

There is a god...

Hahaha, you know I'm just kidding, but one might have to wonder after hearing the great news that Jerry Falwell is DEAD. Oh dear me... wishing ill on the dead. Fuck him. That man is a worthless scumbag piece of shit anyway. Worms might not even want to feat on his carcass when his putrid body rots through his casket. Blame 9/11 on atheist, liberals and homosexuals... fucking moron! Asshole... you KNOW it was your "on the DL butt buddy" G.W. Bush.*

This was a shitty evening ending a not too bad at all day. But it all turned around when I opened my email from the account I wasn't looking at all day and saw the header "Jerry Falwell Dead"... only 10 minutes after finding a stash of gaming dice that I've not seen in a very long time, handily stowed away in my Munchkin Fu box.

I guess now I should make nice with the wife and go put in my violin practice time before SVU.

*I in no way mean my use of that term in disrespect toward homosexuals, or even men on the DL... you just gotta know that people who hate gays as much as they do must be hiding something.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Worst tech week ever

WTF!?! Last week our new printer came in. We spent months researching what to buy - a color laser that is networkable and does duplex - our ink jet of 8 years was finally just not even trying to work right. Thwe night after I set it up and get it installed on all the machines on the network, I try out printing in duplex... no go. I mean really???

Then out of nowhere, the wireless router dies. Actually, the wireless worked just fine, but the ethernet on it stopped working, so it couldn't connect up to the DSL modem... which makes it relatively useless. I spent about 3 hours fighting the damn thing and eventually had to give up and run out to Best Buy to buy a replacement. I get it home and after spending a while on the phone with Verizon tech support (gee, shock, awe - an Indian who spoke barely understandable English... I didn't expect that from Verizon) until I gave up on her, she wasn't fixing enything. Another hour of trying myself, I got it to work. Unfortunately it's a newer version of the Linksys WRT54G (v8) so the DD-WRT firmware isn't released for it yet... grrr, so for now, bittorrents are touchy since the machines aren't able to be assigned IPs by DHCP using MAC addresses. Grr... yeah, I said that already. I put on some requests in the DD-WRT forum and it looks like it's really new, but I think people are finally working on it.

Thursday afternoon I get home from school ready to do some work on the laptop and then go to violin practice. My screen wouldn't come up. I figured it was just that it was stuck in sleep so I hard booted it - something I really really hate to do. It came up, but then the screen went super dark shortly after. I tried, fruitlessly, a few ideas to get it working, but no go. It stayed on if I started it without the AC adapter attached and the external VGA worked when I plugged into an external monitor. But not good enough... battery life is low and resolution is too high for any of our power hungy CRT monitors.

I break down and call Dell. The machine has Complete Care on it, meaning they are supposed to fix thing and in next day fashion. Well, after 2 and a half hours on the phone with yet another Indian tech support person - who also could barely be understood, causing the call to likely take twice as long, I was told anc convinced that it was a driver issue. I gave him control to install a new driver (which is really the same driver I installed not too long ago anyway) and update the bios for the video adapter. It did work, for about 30 minutes, then the same old thing. I wrote an email about the comeback of the problem. No answer by the next night even. I think I waited even an extra day. Then I remembered my typical standby... boot to a live linux CD. I had the newest Ubuntu CD already downloaded so I burned it and booted to it. I figured, it the machine worked just fine with the other OS, then it's NOT a driver issue. Lo and behold... after plugging the AC adapter in, the LCD went dark after about 10 minutes. Ding ding ding it's a hardware problem. I wrote to Dell again. Still, two more days later, nothing. I'll call them when I have a chance, hopefully tomorrow night. I expect them to send someone here to fix this thing.

Right now I'm working on an older Dell (Latitude C600) that I've had Fedora Core 6 installed on for fun for quite a while. I can't complain, I love it, but the resolution sucks and the machine is slow. I also have web development stuff I needed to do, so my normal way of doing things got torqued. I also had to use the Gimp for some image editing. Don't get me wrong. I love the Gimp, but it does an ass job of creating a nice transparent gif. Photoshop just does it better. Of course, I prefer using png, but since so many fucking dolts still use Internet Explorer (pre version 7), they can't properly see png with alpha channels (that's transparencies), so I still need to do shit like make trans gifs - when I'm doing something for a paying client, unless they are cool with a big F.U. to IE-tards.

Anyway, an install of thunderbird and a few other tools and I'm ok to go, but damnit, I want my main laptop back. I can't even play Lord of the Rings Online, another story altogether. If I'm half lucky, they might have to replace the machine with a new machine that might be better equipped to play LotRO with better video options... hahaha, um, don't count on it.

So, for a guy who lives by technology, this last week was just crappy.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Get me off the grid!!

What the hell is up with the spill of information? I have been searching for realistic instructions for building a small wind turbine for well over a week and I come up with shells of instructions, or instructions for 6th grade projects or articles about them without anything really useful, but nothing to actually tell me step by step how I can build my own. It's not like I can build a huge 17 foot radius turbine - I live in an apartment in Burlington. But how cool would it be to have one I could throw at the end of our drive way (which attracts wind year 'round) or even on the porch, which is also very often windy. Just a small one. I'd be happy with one that could generate enough energy to power a computer, or better yet, my UPS. If the wind dies down, I'd have some backup power... hahaha. Yeah, that was stupid. OK, enough power to power some of the passive electonics in the house that are always on, which really is mainly computers.

Now, I could do some research myself and come up with the requirement for such power and spend the entire summer learning electronics, aerodynamics and the like and eventually be able to start the project in August - if I'm lucky - but that's not what I want. It is do-able, and people are and have done it, so why aren't more people posting regular guy instructions for how to do it without selling the neighbor's children into slavery to pay for it?

Make Blog has stuff from time to time, usually shell articles with links to Instructables, but nothing of real practical use.

OK, I did just find this one a few minutes ago. Looks like something I should print on the new printer at home and store away... but I haven't read it thoroughly yet.

I've just been annoyed a lot lately (haha, I kid, I've been annoyed for a long time) about energy costs and BUllSHit lies that have caused gas prices this morning to be around $2.97/gallon. I want to be as green as I can be without having to do without some basics. For real. If people really want to convince people to become greener, should they do like what some municipalities are doing with recycling? Burlington has mandatory recycling and it's just covered with our taxes. Of course I wouldn't expect solar panels and portable wind turbines to be free, but they should at least be reasonably priced by now that more than the wealthy or credit card hippies, or people willing to step way outside the box can afford. If (and when) the wife and I get a house of out own, sure I'll be able to tinker with my own land and stuff a little more - if we're living near a river or stream that touches our property line, you better believe I'll be looking for a water turbine solution - but right now, we're still rent paying ijits.

I guess my point of this rant is that I don't understand why this kind of information - how to build your own energy saving/producing devices - is still being kept hidden, hard to find, or requires buying a book from someone. For real!! You'd think people looking to save the planet would be a little more open to giving away their ideas and experiences so that others can embrace them just as well. I give my friggin music away... how about a little love back?

If you know of the perfect resources for such my requests, post them in the comments.