Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Viva Las Vegas!

Haven't decided exactly what to do about my desktop computer. I'll probably replace it, since it's 6 years old, but I'm too busy running around getting ready for this year's summer fun in Las Vegas and LA (and Detroit, but that's to see my sister, it's not like it's a vacation).

"Bright light city gonna set my soul / Gonna set my soul on fire..."

Time for the 7th Annual "Legion of Super-Gamblers" trip this weekend. Well, OK, it's not like we're super at gambling (Big Gay Al says "I'm super! Thanks for asking!"), it's like the Legion of Super-Heroes. Just a bunch of comics geeks from around the country (New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Kansas City, Seattle, Phoenix, San Jose, LA, Las Vegas).

Coincidentally, we'll be there for the huge Star Trek convention and the hackers' convention Defcon 11. Between the hackers and the Trekkies, should be an interesting crowd.

Sunday, July 27, 2003

The Fortress of Suckitude

It all started so innocently.

My mom wanted to check her email at home, but my parents' computer gave her an error message (something like "out of memory", but that's not important) so she rebooted. You'd think that should solve the problem, but no. Now it wouldn't start at all, and it stopped with a vmm32.vxd error. I checked Micro$oft's knowledge base and usenet and it seems fairly common ("it's not a bug, it's a feature!) and it recommended reloading Windows 98. Not to worry, I told my dad, I've loaded Win98 before and it's a snap.

Three days later the computer hadn't been fixed. In fact, it had gotten worse. When trying to install Win98, somehow all these Windows-related error messages showed up that should have had nothing to do with installing a new version. We finally decided to rename the Windows directory (while in DOS) and then install Win98 clean. That sort of worked, as now all the drivers for everything plus a whole lot more never got loaded. But it does run Windows, as long as you don't mind it at 640x480 in 16 colors.

The next solution was to have him bring his computer to my house, we'd take his hard drives out (maybe 10 GB total) and put them in my computer, copy the information onto my 180-GB hard drive, reformat his, and then load all his programs and data back.

So this afternoon I opened up my computer, turned it off, and pulled the cables off my CD burner so I could stick on one of my dad's hard drives. Hmmm, that didn't work, my computer rebooted but stalled when it got to "Loading Windows 98". After waiting longer than I needed to with no results (and after a couple more reboots), I said "fuck it" and decided to reload Win98 onto my C drive so that I could then do the same to my dad's hard drive. I had reloaded Win98 onto my computer in the past with no problems, but that was the past. It got up to the "Congratulations for choosing Windows 98!" menu, then dumped me out with an error message. Using the Win98 boot disk allowed me to see that my D drive (all 180 GB of it) was still there, but my C wasn't showing up at all. It vanished, as far as DOS was concerned.

No, it's not the power cable - I tried two other unused ones plus the one that was successfully powering my CD burner, and none of those worked. It's not the ribbon cable, I replaced that a couple times with no luck either. Nothing. I even tried putting it onto the power cable and ribbon for my good D drive but it still wasn't recognized. Then I had to dig through my Big Box O' Computer Parts to get my 1.6 GB hard drive that I removed several years ago (when I got my 40 GB C drive), properly formatted it, and loaded a clean copy of Win98 onto it. Yay, I can finally get back into Windows! At least my D drive is still there, though none of my programs will work and my home network is down. Now I'm getting this "C drive has a FAT32 error" when I tried to mount my until-this-morning-it-was-good C drive. And nothing seems to work on my Primary IDE slot on the motherboard, only the Secondary one (but fortunately my extra-large 180 GB D drive came with its own special IDE controller card, so I can use my old/new 1.6 GB C and my regular D drive).

So somehow I managed to fuck up not only my until-this-morning-it-was-good C drive but also apparently the motherboard's Primary IDE slot. And on top of that, I can't get my computer to read my dad's hard drives anyway. Fuck. Fuck fuck fuckity fuck fuck. And on top of that, I'm going on a 10-day vacation in 3 days.

I am so not letting my laptop get anywhere near my desktop computer or my dad's computer in my computer room. That place has turned Eeeevil (do that Doctor Evil pinky thing when you read that last bit).

I think it's time to look for a new computer. My desktop's oldest parts date back to 1995. In July 1997 my house took a lightning hit and it fried my modem, video card, motherboard, RAM (they emit light gray smoke when they start to burn, in case anyone asks), Pentium 75 chip, and SCSI adapter card for my scanner (the chip was replaced with a 166MMX). I've updated the hard drive (originally just 700 MB, then added a 1.6 BG, then replaced the 700 MB with a 5.7 GB, then replaced the 1.6 GB with 40 GB, then replaced the 5.7 GB with a 180 GB - and now I'm replacing the 40 GB with the 1.6 GB, ironic ain't it?) and CD drive (from a 4x reader to a 12x burner to a 52x burner). I think the only original parts are the power supply, the floppy drive, and the case (which says "Gateway 2000 P5-75" on it). Six years is a long time to have a computer working, isn't it?


Due to the magic of search engine bots, if you do a search on "Linda's Lesbian Training" as a phrase (such as Google or Yahoo), my page is the only one that shows up. And I wasn't even the one to ask about it!

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Linda's Lesbian Training

Yes, it's time for another installment of "Things people have been looking for when they found this blog" over to your left. Coming in a close second to "Hitler's middle name" is "Linda's Lesbian Training".

(No, not this Linda, someone else.)

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Hitler's middle name

I added a section called "Things people have been looking for when they found this blog" to the left column here, after someone wanted to know what Hitler's middle name is. (He didn't have one.)

Friday, July 18, 2003

Rena Sofer Naked (part 2)

I think I may have inadvertantly stumbled onto something, a new form of Googling, maybe (like Googlewhack or Google bombs).

I've now had four people find my page by asking for naked pictures of Rena Sofer - the previously mentioned "Rena Sofer naked" on Yahoo, and in the past week alone rena sofer naked (Google), rena sofer naked pictures (Google), rena sofer naked (MSN), and "rena sofer" and coupling (Google).

If you do a Google search on "Rena Sofer naked", one of the results is my July 6th entry, in which I said that someone found my page by looking for "Rena Sofer naked". Have I uncovered a Google Moebius strip or something?

Meanwhile, I'm fascinated by the fact that people are looking to see if celebrities are Jewish. I started out with a hit from someone asking about Sandra Bullock, now I've got a second hit for jennifer aniston jew and "sarah silverman" born jew. It's much easier to go to Jewhoo and look it up there. The answers are no, no, and yes.

Oh, and someone also wants to see "jennifer connelly" photograph. I'm sure he was looking for a naked one, but he forgot to specify.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003


So there's this storm named Claudette out in the Gulf, and it doesn't seem to know which way to go. For the last couple of days the weather guys have been telling everyone that it'll start to move to the west, but it seems to keep going north.

If you look at a map of the Texas Gulf Coast, Houston is in Galveston Bay, which is the first major "indent" as you go west from the Texas/Louisiana border. We're right at the eastern edge of the hurricane warning, but the percentages keep getting higher and higher as Claudette keeps not moving west.

I live right near the western coast of Galveston Bay near the border of Harris County (Houston) and Galveston County (Galveston).

It's not expected to be anything more than a Cat 1 hurricane (I live near the coast, but I'm far enough inland that I shouldn't have to worry about flooding and storm surge until a Cat 5 storm (the biggest and baddest rating). Still, winds have picked up to around 15 mph right now, and they're expecting anywhere from 8-20 inches of rain in the 24 hour period starting at noon Tuesday. And of course, the eastern side of the hurricane/storm is the windiest and wettest since it rotates counter-clockwise.

I think I'll bring an umbrella to work tomorrow.
Something that Patrick said in his flashback clip after being evicted from the Australian Big Brother house the other day

Good things come to those who wait.

It's not true, really, but it's a nice saying.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Jews and flying

And now I get someone searching for "jew jennifer aniston", while another person asks for "coupling and sofer". I dunno what's up with the Jewish search thing.

I had a hell of a time trying to book flights from Houston to Las Vegas to Detroit to Houston later this month. Since Continental has a hub in Houston and Northwest has a hub in Detroit, and Continental and Northwest have a code-sharing deal, you'd think that it would be easy to book direct flights on all three legs. Well, if you thought that, you'd be wrong. I can go Houston to Vegas or Detroit to Houston direct on CO, or Vegas to Detroit direct on NW, but I can't combine those three direct legs. NW wants me to go through Minneapolis, Cleveland, or Houston on the way from Vegas to Detroit. Or, if I take that one direct, I have to have connections on the other two legs (like Houston to Las Vegas via Salt Lake City, or Detroit to Houston via Orlando). Shit like this is why people dislike the airlines, they piss us off.

If only real life were like The Amazing Race, where I had this magic credit card that I could take to the airport and ask for the first available flight, price be damned.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Rena Sofer Naked (part 1)

Heh. While I was typing that last entry, someone just clicked through to my blog after doing a yahoo search on "Rena Sofer naked".
4th of July, 2003

I bought a new flag on July 4th. I needed a new one: I got my current one back in 1990 at the beginning of Gulf War I when my college ex-roommate Craig went off to Kuwait [1], and by now the flags colors have badly faded (the red is now pink). Plus, the flags were on sale for half-off. So now I've got a brand spanking new red, white, and blue flag with a gold plastic eagle on top. Yay America!

So at night I went over to NASA and parked there to watch the fireworks over Clear Lake. Yay fireworks!

Then a stop for ice cream (cheesecake flavor, with fresh strawberries mixed in) on the way home. Yay Marble Slab!

Then I caught the last part of the Houston Symphony's free outdoor show (simulcast on the radio). I'm sorry, but even though John Phillips Sousa's marches always sound best on July 4th, the Liberty Bell March will never be anything but the Monty Python theme. And nothing says "let's celebrate the anniversary of American independence" better than playing a musical piece written by a Russian to commemorate Napoleon's failed attack on St. Petersburg, Russia("The 1812 Overture"). Yay cannons!

That was my July 4th. Nothing much else happened over the weekend. I did get to sleep in all three days until the crack of noon, though, which was nice.

[1] Craig, if you're out there, drop me a note, I don't have your email address anymore!

Friday, July 04, 2003

Looking for me?

According to my blog stats [1], someone was looking for "sandra bullock jewish" on the German version of Google and clicked on this site.

A couple of weeks ago, I got an email from ana in São Paulo, Brazil. She said "right now, i was looking for a website about music and found your blog, started to read it and felt it could be good to write for you. you like rock bands and movies, dont you? so do i..." Yeah, this blog is so about rock bands and movies. [2]

[1] ExtremeTracking is a hugely cool setup where for free you can get all sorts of stats like where the person clicked on a link and got to your site, what keywords were used in a search engine that led to your site, etc.

[2] Ironically, there's a Brazilian punk singer named Bia Grabois who is apparently quite popular there. Based on the last name, we must be related - in the late 1800's when the Jews decided that it would be better to leave Eastern Europe rather than be killed, a lot of people from my ancestral hometown of Kishinev, Moldova decided to go to Rio de Janiero (in addition to Buenos Aires, New York City, and Philadelphia). Bia and I are probably related through our 5th or 6th great grandfathers.

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Dancing Hitlers

I just saw the Mel Brooks movie "The Producers", on which the current Broadway hit is based. It's about a producer who wants to create the worst Broadway musical ever, and through "creative accounting" he'll get rich (the worse the play is, the richer he'll get). So they find a script for "Springtime for Hitler". In casting the lead for the play, the director tries to bring order to the chaos of applicants on stage: "Will the dancing Hitlers please wait in the wings? We are only seeing singing Hitlers." Singing, dancing Nazi women dressed as stormtroopers doing a goose-step chorus line in black patent leather and fishnets. I've never laughed so hard at Hitler before. (Though come to think of it, I don't remember the last time I laughed at Hitler...)

Mel Brooks is a frickin' genius.