Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Metro Journal: Nov 26 Stop Whatever You're Doing!

Because it's probably annoying the hell out of me.

It has finally started raining in Southern California, two weeks too late to prevent or temper several bad wildfires, and just in time to create mudslides in those burn areas denuded of stabilizing plant growth! It also wreaks havoc with traffic, because people in Southern California can't drive in rain. They do the same stupid things they do on dry streets, which are even dumber when you have no traction and longer stopping times. Morons.

I got off at Hollywood and Western, because with the crap traffic we hit it late, at the same time the DASH would already be leaving at Vine. Waiting at the corner for the next southbound bus, some questionably groomed man starts walking down the street in the right lane and stops under the bus sign, still in the street. I don't know if he had a sidewalk phobia or what. Finally, the 207 came (12-minute stop my ass) and the guy stepped further out into the street, perpendicular to the bus sign, with his arms spread. Ok, this is the first stop for the line, and there were more than a dozen people waiting and they didn't look like they were there for an impromptu family reunion. I'm pretty sure the driver realized that we were, in fact, all waiting for him, and he would have stopped even without the whackjob standing in the middle of the street. I'm sure the driver was especially thrilled when the guy got on and then proceeded to ask a lot of questions. Drivers must always love when total whackjobs get on the bus and then start asking lots of questions, standing near the driver instead of sitting down, preferably all the way in the back.

A stop or two later, some guy got on and sat behind me and then proceeded to act as his own vocal rhythm section. Duh-DUNH! Duh-DUNH! Duh-DUNH! Duh-DUNH! Duh-duh-duh duh-duh-duh. Headphones might have tuned that out, but they wouldn't have been able to do anything about the smell.

We got out early for Thanksgiving. There's this health food store/vegetarian restaurant on Los Feliz in Atwater Village that has a "B" health rating from the county. (I've mentioned the ratings before. See this site for details.) I'm wondering if they're really allowed to still call their restaurant "vegetarian" on the chance that cockroaches may be, um, commingling with the food.

I decided to get off at Brand and maybe find a bakery. I ended going down to catch the Glendale Beeline on Colorado. At the stop after I got on, a mother was chasing her son around to try to corral him onto the bus. They have leashes for that, you know. They sat along the back row, and the kid, about 6, started kicking the metal wall. After a dozen times, the mother made a totally ineffectual "Stop that." They make nanny reprogramming shows for that, you know. He kept chanting "We Will Rock You," except somehow it always ended up with someone's nose getting picked. He also kept threatening to pull the stop request cord. They make straight jackets for that, you know.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pandora's Litter Box: Spoon's Twin Is A Slinky!

For reference, this is Spoon, sittin' on my knittin':
And here he is, about to get electrocuted:
And here he is, looking dead:
(Yes, I checked his pulse... after I took the picture.)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Other: If I Ever Start A Band...

I'm reading Gertrude Bell: Queen of the Desert, Shaper of Nations by Georgina Howell. If you're not familiar with Bell, she was to Iraq what T.E. Lawrence was to Arabs in the Near East. Don't blame her for its current state, though; she left it with a stable, if monarchical, government.

Growing up in Victorian England as daughter of the heir to a massive iron works fortune, Bell refused to conform to the strictures that society imposed on women. For one thing, she believed that everyone was entitled to her opinion. Howell refers to her as a "social hand grenade" at dinner parties.

If I ever start a band, I'm totally calling it the Social Hand Grenades.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Knittin' Crap: Me Wants

(T-shirt is available from Snorg.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Pandora's Litter Box: Can't Sleep, Cat Will Eat Me

Is your cat plotting to kill you?
Is your cat plotting to kill you?

Although Pandora has had almost 17 years now to kill me, so she's certainly taking her time to choose the moment.

And unless Spoon accidentally trips and his rather pudgy belly lands on my face and smothers me, I kind of doubt that would happen. Although it's still not clear why his last family dumped him at the shelter where I got him...

(Thanks to Steve, who has an 83% chance of getting killed by his cats even though he doesn't live with cats anymore.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Knittin' Crap: More Finger Puppet Madness

Pattern from Team Knit

Friday, November 14, 2008

Metro Journal: Nov 14 Letting It Allllll Hang Out

They were resurfacing Los Feliz at Central this morning, so the driver had to take a detour, along with every other car, down the already-busy San Fernando. Unfortunately, this required trying to make a left turn at a stop sign into cars that were already backed up a couple blocks, and we probably sat there close to 5 minutes. The truly unfortunate part to the wait was the rather zaftig woman in a tracksuit jogging towards us, wearing nothing under the jacket. Ask me how I know that she wasn't wearing anything under the jacket. Go on. Ok, I know because it was unzipped down to her belly and she was seriously hanging out of it. I tried to look away, but I would just have to look up again to see if she had, you know, maybe noticed by now and zipped it up a little.

We finally got merged onto San Fernando and as we were waved by a policeman through the intersection at Los Feliz, we got a good whiff of hot tar.

I just now realized that the woman with the gravity-enhanced zipper was running right toward the intersection with the police officer...

Anyway, the driver seemed to have known about the detour, because he had stopped at a temporary stop before turning off of Central. He didn't seem familiar with the actual detour route, though. Los Feliz is one of the few roads that crosses the train tracks and will also get you across I-5 and the Los Angeles Drainage Ditch a mile or so away, so you have to go a little out of the way in either direction when you can't use Los Feliz. Well, he turned in toward the Metrolink station, maybe thinking he could then make a right turn up one of the dinky side streets before the train tracks and then make a left turn back onto Los Feliz. This route had the benefit of taking me past that garage which had had two International Harvester Travelalls locked in its yard. They were still there! Actually, I don't think they've moved an inch, unless that last earthquake nudged them a little.

Unfortunately the first side street had a sign saying no through traffic, presumably because you still couldn't get on Los Feliz at the other end because of the construction. He started to turn down the second one, which was the last one before the actual train station, and then for some reason I couldn't see (maybe it was also blocked at Los Feliz?), he had to back up to turn around. I mean, these are seriously long buses. The 45' length puts it 10 feet longer than the standard Metro bus size. Ok, they're long, get it?

He finally got the bus onto Glendale Blvd, went up Riverside, and then turned back onto Los Feliz, thus neglecting anyone waiting for the 780 there, because they were on the wrong side of the intersection. I did see a Metro Local bus coming down Los Feliz, so maybe our driver got a little too detoured.

That evening, when Joe the Bear joethebear came to my desk asking if I wanted to walk to Vine Station with him, I thought a moment about how I had planned to stay a little longer, then I remembered the bus hell of the night before. "Sure!"

It was already very dark and the sidewalks in Los Angeles are crap, because the city will only fix ones which were damaged by city trees. Seriously. The whole thing is, pardon my French, fucked up. But anyway, when we got to Sunset Blvd without tripping and breaking our necks, I saw that the marquee for the newly-reopened Palladium was all lit up... because Motley Crue are playing there tonight! Whoa!!!! Um, yeah. And even though there were still two hours until showtime when we walked by, people were already lined up for over a block, wearing lots of black and taking pictures of each other's tattoos. I realized I was wearing a black skirt. I feared being mistaken for, um, I don't know what Motley Crue fans call themselves, and I'm not really going to offer my own term up. But the long black skirt, paired with my hot pink Ravelry t-shirt, didn't really scream "Skank!" to the expected degree.

I was grateful that I didn't have to wait for than a few minutes for a 780 tonight. I was less grateful when two women, both with young sons, got on, and then totally failed to attempt to control their sons' screeching. They were sitting half of the 45' bus length from me, and even with my headphones on, I could still hear them. People were constantly turning and glaring, to no effect. Pay attention to your bratty kids already, people!

Some dumbass got all hot under the collar when we didn't stop at Chevy Chase. Um, this is the Rapid. It *never* stops at Chevy Chase. Well, unless the light is red. "Now I have to walk two blocks!" That cannot be a greater burden than being a dumbass who doesn't know what bus he's getting on.

Other: Things I Really Never Needed To Know

As the couple in my previous post about the Second Life divorce was British, I thought the BBC news site might have more details on the meltdown than a wire story would. This may have been a bad idea on my part.

I now know how Second Life avatars have sex.

Apparently the first step requires purchasing genitals. Apparently male genitalia is available with more options than most luxury cars.

But I really should not have read to the end.
And infidelity is not the only thorny ethical issue thrown up by virtual sexual - some players have had sex with animals.
(Huh, the BBC didn't edit that sentence very well.)

While perusing the BBC site, I also ran across a story about a Burmese python that died while trying to eat an alligator in the Everglades. Apparently many of the non-indigenous snakes have been dumped in the swamps over the years by irresponsible dumbass owners. By the way, the alligator didn't survive either.

Even with that story's photograph of the exploding python, the libidinous avatar story has given me more disturbing mental images.

Other: "Second" Life My Ass

This news article reports on a real-life divorce happening after a woman caught her husband cheating online in Second Life. She hired an on-line detective after suspecting her husband, whom she had met on-line, was being, um, virtually unfaithful.

She is now seeing someone she met on World of Warcraft.

This, of course, follows the story of a Japanese woman arrested for computer hacking after she deleted her virtual ex-husband's character on the on-line game Maple Story.

I just wonder how can you have a second life when you apparently never had a first one.

Whiteboard Jungle: Exterminaaaaate!

They decided to replace all the printers at work with some kind of audited leasing program. When I say, all the printers, I mean all the printers. Not just the large, shared printers, but the ancient Laserjets some people had snagged from the obsolescence pile over the years and put in their own cubes. I guess now when they want to print out their p0rn, they're going to have to hope they race to the nearest shared printer before someone else sees. Good thing the copies come out face down!

The new printers are honking huge things. They're over three feet tall and seem slightly... menacing, like they might eat any stray children that happened by, and they're big enough that they'd still have room for dessert.

On the printer closest to my cube, someone taped a picture of R2D2. I think they actually look more like the Daleks from Doctor Who...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Whiteboard Jungle: Is This Another Drill? Pt. 2

You may recall my mention of the annual fire drill, followed an hour later by an actual earthquake. Well, this time things were the other way around.

While the State of California was apparently having an earthquake drill, we had a real fire. Sort of.

Around 11:30 this morning... we suddenly lost power. As I was in the middle of the most godawful tedious, I'm-totally-above-this, I'm-only-doing-this-because-listening-to-someone-else-bitch-about-it-would-arguably-be-more-painful task, and I hadn't saved my work in about 15 minutes, boom, there went my computer, along with that of everyone who wasn't using a charged laptop.

About 5 minutes later, before the shock had worn off, the fire alarm went off. Most of us decided we might as well leave, because, well, we couldn't work and it was getting to be lunchtime anyway. But then the floor wardens donned their orange vests, because apparently it was a real alarm.

Of course, no one milling around the parking lot outside had the whole story, only eighteenth-hand gossip. "Oh, a power something on the 4th floor stopped working and smoke started coming out."

Then the fire engines came! One drove right up to the our building, after weaving through the always overcrowded visitor parking lot and past some trailers and production trucks. Weee!!!!


After we signed in and milled around forever and we were told that the LA Fire Department was going to have to inspect the building before anyone could go back anyway, most people went to lunch.

There was another fire engine, this one with a ladder, waiting just inside the gate, I guess in case another building had a mishap, or because it was so long it wasn't worth trying to maneuver through the narrow streets unless necessary.

When we got back, power had just been restored after about 2 hours. The official story is that the DWP broke something and the eastern half of the lot lost power. Including the data center. The AC units crapped out first, and the rooms hit about 90F before the power came back. But what happened in our building was rather impressive. Apparently when the power shorted out all of a sudden, someone on the third floor noticed smoke coming from their laptop, hence the fire alarm.


Except they decided not to let anyone back on the third floor for the rest of the day to air it out and sent the people who worked there home.

I work on the fifth floor. Not cool.

I haven't been able to find a news story link, maybe because a localized DWP outage is not terribly newsworthy (after all, no cute animals were involved, and I will refrain from commenting on the reliability of DWP power), but while checking the local TV station sites, I noticed something rather... unfortunate on one. The big local headline is the evacuation of parts of Montecito, a very affluent small town just outside Santa Barbara, due to wildfires. In the sidebar, aligned right next to the headline, was an embedded Google map of the Los Angeles area with the title "Hot Spots." Not aware that there was more than one local fire zone at the moment, I moused over... The first hotspot in question was apparently a restaurant. Oh. How embarrassing.

I'm not saying the people who do local news are morons, but, geez, people.

P.S. I think I might be the only person who thought to take pictures of the fire engines with my phone. I mean, yeah, we work on a movie lot, but dude, real fire engines! And not for the annual safety fair, either!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Metro Journal: Nov 12 Stop Sinus Affliction

I can't seem to recall anything memorable about the commute this morning. I'm not even sure I was conscious, come to think about it. Oh, I do remember some guy at Hollywood & Vine yelling to cars going by.

On the evening DASH, when someone pulled the stop request cord, I noticed that not only did it not ring the bell, but the Stop Requested sign seemed permanently lit. The woman in question did not apparently notice this. The driver either hadn't noticed or no longer cared, so he didn't start slowing down for the next stop. The woman started saying, "STOP! Stop! Stop stop stop! Stop! Stop stop!" And continued in this vein even after the driver did stop and opened the doors. Stop saying "stop" already, ok? Thanks!

Three or four people were standing in front of the Red Line Station smoking a weed. A really stinky weed. If it was actually marijuana, I think they should probably have rinsed the manure used as a fertilizer off first, but I suspect someone picked some dandelion leaves growing next to a sidewalk and rolled them. Between that and the fresh coat of pant on the plywood covering the construction site on top of the Red Line Station (they had been putting up the yellow Caution tape when I walked by this morning), the damned corner really stank.

An LAPD car then made a left turn onto Hollywood Blvd from the south side of Argyle. As it was turning, the officer driving seemed to be leaning out of the window. I wondered if he would make a U-turn and bust the herbalists, but as the turn put him on the opposite side of Hollywood and both eastbound lanes were full of cars stopped at the red light, he would have had to wait. By the time the cars cleared, the police car was gone. Oh, ok.

No, person who was standing in my line-of-sight for the bus, I was not staring at you. I was trying to see if the bus was coming. Now turn around. Thanks!

When the 780 showed, this highly-tattooed couple waited until the doors had opened and people were getting on to figure out which of them had fare for both of them. As soon as they straighten that out, they should really try to figure out which one is supposed to be carrying the clue.

For a while, someone was sitting close to me who smelled like they had just spent the day near a deep-fat fryer. My nose was taking a real beating, I tell you. Almost makes me long for the Santa Ana-induced sinus headaches, because at least I couldn't smell things, even if my head was threatening to explode.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Metro Journal: Nov 7 How Can You Not See a Bus?

Bus Driver Wiegel (possibly not her real name -- see this post) was driving the 780 again this morning. I was sitting about halfway back and reading when she slammed on the brakes for a really long time. I looked up. We were about halfway down Los Feliz. Once I figured we probably weren't going to hit anything after all, I went back to my book. Then, I'm not sure how long later, I heard the bus driver start yelling. "How can you not see a bus?" We were stopped at a light and she was yelling out her open window at the minivan sitting in the left turn lane. I'm guessing that the driver, not understanding the rules of Bus Person Car (Bus Always Wins), had probably swerved right in front of the bus to get from the right lane into the left-hand turn lane. Seriously, it's a big-ass red bus. What a dumbass.

Going home, while I was waiting for the 780 in front of the Vine Red Line Station, a police car pulled over a driver. The driver stopped in the bus lane, though. Um, excuse me! Then the policeperson used his loudspeaker to tell the car to take a right onto the side street (Argyle), which it did. Well, obviously, there was someone driving the car, but anyway. And I'm pretty sure they weren't too happy.

I waited more than 15 minutes for the 780, and then, of course, two showed up literally at the same time. I decided to get on the second one, gambling that it was less full. It was way less full. Score!

Other: Reaction Buttons!!!

Blogger just released a new post reaction button option, and I'm using it! It's just like Ravelry, except I finally get my WTF (1) button!

Pandora's Litter Box: My Morning In a Nutshell

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Metro Journal: This is the 180!

Last night I had this dream where I was on the 780 going toward work, except the bus driver kept stopping at every stop along the way instead of just the Rapid stops. Finally I shouted to the driver to ask why he was stopping all the time.
Driver: This is the 180. Those are my stops.
Me: No, this is the 780.
Driver: No, it's the 180.
Me: But the sign said 780.
Driver: It's the 180.
Me: The sign says 780 and it's a red Rapid bus!
Driver: It's the 180!
Me: I'm going to report you!
Except the only place buses' actual ID numbers are displayed is in the windshield, viewable from the outside only. I was worried that as soon as I got off, he would zip away so I wouldn't able to see it.

Then when the driver stopped at Vermont and Hollywood and then just stayed there, I got off with another passenger to wait for another bus.

Metro Journal: Nov 5 Obama Needs Spare Change?

When I was waiting at the Vine Station for the 780, a black couple walked by carrying a home-made poster that read





Thank you!!!!

I have no idea what that means.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Pandora's Litter Box/Knittin' Crap: Every Knitter's Nightmare

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals

I'd be afraid to show this to Spoon, who occasionally tries to decapitate balls of yarn, except he's not really ambitious enough and has too short an attention span to wreak that much havoc.

Pandora's normally too well-behaved to do something like this, although I can picture her plotting to frame Spoon...

Other: Fallout 3 Update: We Have Contact!

I finally caved last night and went to Fry's to get a new video card that could handle Fallout 3. Halfway there, I realized I had forgotten the printout of the supported video chipsets. Crap. I was too lazy to go back and probably wouldn't have made it before closing, so I decided to give it a go.

You can always tell the Fry's newbies (or the inveterate morons) at the Burbank Fry's because they drive the wrong way through the parking lot.

I'm looking at video cards and.... holy crap, there are cards that cost over $500! WTF! And you practically need a water-cooled system with a 6 billion watt power supply for some of them!

I refused to pay more than $100 (and I would rather have gone way below that) for a card I really only wanted for one game. I finally found one based on the NVIDIA GeForce 9400GT chipset. that looked like it would work with my power supply, which I guessed was about 300W (turned out to be 288W, but close enough), and ran about $70 (less $10, assuming I actually get one of Fry's notorious rebates), was PCI-X (because I knew I had a slot for that), and had 512Mb of on-board RAM. Sounded good, and if it clearly looked like it wouldn't work, I just wouldn't open it, and I'd bring it back and stand in the returns line for an hour.

I got home and... the GeForce 9400 chipset wasn't on the list. I looked at the box, and the copyright date was 2008, so I figured it was so new that, eh, the 9600 series was on the list so hopefully this was close enough. I put it in and... it worked! Fallout 3 started! Yay! It even autodetected the card and said I could get away with Medium-quality graphics over performance! Wow!

I played for a little while, but I was pretty distracted. I didn't even make it out of the Vault alive yet. Damnable radroaches. It doesn't help that I suck at real-time combat. The old games were turn-based, but I'm too spastic and easily distracted to handle real-time well. Maybe I'll get into it more when I can sit down with it this weekend.

Other: No Porcelain Shrine For W.

San Francisco voters turned down the aforementioned Measure R, which would have renamed a city sewage plant in, um, honor of our lame duck president.

"Some critics had pointed out the name switch would have been unfair—to the hard-working sewage plant."

Monday, November 3, 2008

Knittin' Crap: Just In Time For Election Day!

The Obama and McCain finger puppets!

(Pattern courtesy of Lion Brand Yarn.)

Just remember, kids (and Brad), do not confuse finger puppets with voodoo dolls. "Take that! Ouch! Take that! Ouch!"