Commercials and Rollover Minutes

Posted by me on Wednesday, the 13th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 11:11 PM, local time.

Ok, just a warning, this post is a little lame, and not filled with anything actually useful. You've been warned.

So, with my mythtv box up and running, and with getting TV shows online to watch, or from DVDs and such, I don't watch many commercials anymore. In fact, I pretty much try to avoid them at all costs. They really are a general waste of my time, and its so easy to get by without seeing them these days.

However, recently I accidentally let a show start running into commercial time before I hit the magic button, and saw a couple commercials. Two of note, really. And a bunch of other crappy ones. But two that were actually pretty funny. First, there is the one where this guy and girl are sitting in some restaurant and she is saying how good her drink is tasting and that he should try it, or get one of his own. He keeps refusing, and she finally pushes the drink in his face to get him to try it, only to see the image of the guy shimmer a bit and such, classic hologram interruptus. He's like, "You caught me, I'm actually at the game right now." And that's like the whole commercial. Pretty funny, though I really have no idea what they were trying to sell me, except maybe hologram displayer thingies?

The other one I saw that was pretty good was the one where this mom was looking in the garbage can and was appalled to find leftovers thrown away by her family — leftover minutes that is (little tiny orange clock thingies, I think?), and she goes on a tirade about the fact that they are still perfectly good minutes, they work just like new ones, etc, etc, some people don't have enough minutes to fully satisfy their needs, and here they are throwing away their extra ones. The kids are all like, "But those minutes are from September, they can't be good any more!" And the mom is like, "They work just as well as minutes from June!" Very funny. I don't know why. I really think rollover minutes are pretty stupid anyway. Just a gimmick. Few people actually use them unless your average minute consumption is like perfectly your plan amount, yet you have wide variance in your month to month calling time. Not very likely, in my experience. Everyone I know has like millions of rollover minutes left, and nobody ever uses them. My plan doesn't have them, and it took a while to convince the plan people that I didn't want them, and they should take them off my plan. They were like, "But they're rolloever minutes! Everybody wants that!" I was all like, "Nuh-uh. And take $10 off my bill." And they were all like, "Oh-kay…"

So in the end, commercials suck at selling things to me, and in general I hate the time they waste, but sometimes, every now and again, they can be pretty funny. Oh and by the way, I'm sure you would have all loved this post more if I had YouTube inserts to show the commercials, and I tried, I really did, but they are no where to be found on YouTube. Which is odd. You would think that commercial companies would be putting things like that on YouTube right away. Its like free advertising! Maybe YouTube doesn't like that sort of thing and would have made them take it down? I don't know, I had thought I had seen advertisements on there before.

The end.

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Ah… The Lovely Sound of Air Conditioning

Posted by me on Tuesday, the 12th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 4:36 PM, local time.

This is a quick notification that you should hopefully not have to wade through my complaints about my lack of air conditioning anymore, as the service guy came out and fixed it all up today. Once again, the lovely music of the air conditioning fan echoes throughout my apartment, and the temperature is already starting to drop. Praise God!

Apparently what happened was that someone stepped on the low voltage wire bundle running from my apartment out to the actual air conditioning unit, and pulled them part-way out of the air conditioner. This caused something in there to short out, and the transformer back at the furnace fan area blew. The wires were easily fixed and the transformer easily replaced (apparently), and we're back in business. I don't know who was really walking around by the air conditioning unit (nothing else is really there to get to: just a bunch of air conditioners, stones, shrubs, etc.), but hopefully they don't do it again. It really was not cool!

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Not a day goes by…

Posted by me on Tuesday, the 12th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 12:07 AM, local time.

… that I don't almost forget until the very end of the day to blog. But, the fact that I am still here writing something up shows my present dedication!

Not a whole lot exciting new today, since I had to work through most of it. It does sound as though my air conditioning will be fixed tomorrow (or at least diagnosed), so that is good, if it happens. Its still hot here in Rochester. I try not to complain, but there is just so much heat to complain about!

In other news from several months ago, here is a great Dinosaur Comic that I had wanted to blog about. Its just so awesome! I don't really know why for sure, but somewhere around panel 5 I just start cracking up. I mean, come on: "It's a holiday for people who are GOOD ENOUGH, just not transcendental!" Its good stuff! And don't forget to read the mouse over text, and the Comments mailto: link subject text. And the title (its a pain, but you may have to read the source for that one).

There, 1 down, only about 70 to go on my unannotated list of things I was supposed to blog about but never quite got around to.

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An odd recollection of childhood

Posted by me on Sunday, the 10th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 11:24 PM, local time.

As you may have read, my air conditioning is not presently working, and today was rather hot out anyway, which would have been enough to make the temperature in my apartment rather uncomfortable. However, as today was apparently Jeremiah's cooking day, it was soon pushing 90 degrees or so at its worst point. Some of my friends further south (or from further south, anyway) may laugh at my discomfort in such a chilly temperature, but I assure you I almost died.

But that is really only a segue into what I was planning to write about. To combat this heat, I brought up a little fan I had obtained while in college for such situations and turned it on myself whilst I read. When growing up, we never had any air conditioning, and each summer was such a painful season for this reason that I can only assume my present dislike of the season stems from that. We always had fans going throughout the house to keep us as close to comfortable as was possible. While I sat reading in my chair, with some piano music playing in the background, constantly fighting for the aural spectrum with this simple little fan whirrring about, I was strongly reminded of my childhood summers, when I would similarly read at night with fans being heard everywhere, and my sister practicing her piano in the other room.

It is often strange to have such recollections, but pleasant. Well, I should get back to reading. It seems there is nothing else that can really be done under such conditions :)

P.S.: It looks funny, but is obviously frequently used enough to get past the spellchecker. I can only assume that it is a correct spelling: whirrring. (With three 'r's.) Or perhaps my spellchecker is off. I will assume instead that it is a correct spelling :-) That is far more fun to do!

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Malted milk shake and Cheese

Posted by me on Sunday, the 10th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 2:30 AM, local time.

Do you like…. Malted milk shakes? Yes…

Do you like…. Cheese? Yes…

Do you like them… together? Ewww!!!!

Anyway, my daily post today (ignore the time, this is still saturday in my book), is a bit late, but it was much busier day today then I anticipated it being. Anyway, this morning I went to the farmer's market again, to see if they had some pepper plants, and they had some that I got, even though they weren't exactly what I wanted. I also go some local home made mozzerella cheese. Looks really good, I may try to make a pizza with it. I also tried to find fresh basil there, but no one had anything. Apparently it is not quite the time for basil. I had to buy that at the store instead. How embarrassing!

On the way home from that, I got a strange craving for a malted milk shake, and thus went to Target and got some Malted Milk, some all natural vanilla bean ice cream, (and some basil), and went home and mixed it all (not the basil) up with some milk with my immersion blender and had one of the best malted milk shakes I've had in a long while. And I can make them whenever I want! It's like, perfect!

But yes, a busy day. Early in the afternoon, there was a free concert from the Rochester Community Band in central park, so a bunch of us went there to support our friends in that band (yay Jim and Pam, and Zane if you would just go and practice everyonce in a while…). It was a really great day to be outside in the park (with the shade and all). I could have really just sat there for a while. It was very relaxing. While listening to the music, I took the opportunity to knit in public. Just trying to test out some sock yarn and needles I just got and check out my gauge. I've not dealt with such small needles (or such small wool yarn) before, but it went pretty well.

After they made me leave the park, I went to the book store to get the book club book, and ended up getting some Prokofiev CDs and some wild strawberry cheesecake. Man that was pretty good tasting stuff! Also went to a neat little downtown corner grocery store and meat shop, and found that they have a pretty nice selection of meats behind their meat counter, and a quite awesome selection of cheeses. Next time there is a cheese party, I know where I am going. That's right, I'm talking about Just Rite Foodstore on 2nd street and 6th avenue. Very cool. Never knew that was there before.

Later in the day, some of us went to Red Lobster for some dinner, and it was ok. The clam chowder (New England, of course) was quite good, and the lobster tasted really good, too. The steak, while properly medium rare inside, was somehow pretty not cool on the outside, tough and crunchy, and it just didn't make me as happy as it could have. After that, I learned that I am still as horrible at mini-golf as I am at regular golf, but I enjoy them both quite a bit. Mini-golf does have the nice distinction of being cheaper to play though.

Finally, a few of us sat down and talked about how we will certainly all be rich once we retire, and won't it be awesome when we buy castles overlooking our own villages when we do retire, because that's likely what will happen, right? Also, how to make Rochester a thriving and growing city, and how its not going to happen, but wouldn't it be cool if it did? And then it was 1:30am. That's how these conversations go sometimes. It can get tiring.

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Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Gauge Invariance

Posted by me on Friday, the 8th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 2:35 PM, local time.

or, How I Acquired Two New Hobbies at the Expense of some Free Time

This post is about knitting and crocheting. For you poor theoretical physicists worried about the fact that $A_{\mu}(x)\rightarrow A_{\mu}(x)-\nabla_{\mu}\alpha(x)$, this might help, although you might learn useful things about differential geometry if you stay here for a bit. Probably not though. And for the few engineers who stumbled here trying to figure out why your extruded metals are not the right size, I can’t really help you at all, though you really should fix that in case I need some 1’s to make a sock or something.

But seriously, I digress. On to the real point of this post: Learning to knit (and crochet). After learning both things, I am really convinced that they are one and the same. That is, Knitting Theory can be expressed using Crochet Theory, though I grant that it could be quite difficult keeping that many loops on your hook at once, and I don’t really know that you’d want to anyway. But, even though I am pretty sure knitting is a degenerate form of crocheting, and crocheting (in its simpler, most commonly practice forms) is much easier to do, I think knitting is probably more generally useful, and certainly is more often practiced. It is surely for these combined reasons that shortcuts from using crochet hooks for knitting were developed, known as knitting needles (Surely this is how it came about.) Anyway, I digress again.

This may be boring to some of you, but I thought I would talk about the why and how I learned to knit (and crochet… that’s getting old. From now on, I’ll just assume you know what I mean). When I was a young lad, maybe 5 or 6 or so, my grandmother taught me to crochet. I assume it was mostly to keep me busy and out of her hair. Anyway, I don’t remember crocheting much, but I think I still have the hook she gave me somewhere in my room back home. More recently, as in, mere months ago, I saw some websites online where they talk about crocheting and knitting complex mathematical surfaces to get a better feel for how they look and work. I mentioned this before. Also really awesome: this Lorentz attractor!. As a mathematician at heart, I was intrigued, for there were lots of really cool complex shapes that have really simple equations, but its really hard to get a feel for how they look, even when its just in normal euclidean three-space. Let alone hyperbolic space, or higher dimensional spaces. So at that point, I kinda wanted to learn how to do this stuff.

Luckily, my good friends Jim and Pam, also known as the spectacular husband and wife knitting and crocheting team, were kind enough to teach me how to do this amazing things. Jim taught me to crochet, and that went really quick, and I seemed to get the hang of it pretty easily. Pam, not willing to let another go to die Dunkelseite, taught me to knit. Knitting was much more difficult to master, and I still have a few issues now and again, but it is also enjoyable, and there are definitely benefits.

So, I started making some swatches, and started making an afghan with crochet, and it was good, but slow going (also, it will take a lot of yarn). Its easy enough to figure out what to do with crochet (everybody likes afghans, and everybody needs potholders), but I was having some trouble figuring out useful things to make with knitting. Luckily, my main failing is that I like to buy books.

Enter, Knitting with Balls. A manly set of knitting projects that were useful and interesting (everybody needs beer cozies, and a simple but warm hat and scarf set is always useful. Also: a very interesting cabled laptop case. Haven’t started that yet. Need more practice!). So, I’ve started a few projects there, and now I got another book about making socks, cause that always looked interesting to do, and takes far less yarn than making afghans.

I am just starting to make socks though, and am working through some initial issues. First of all, when knitting on the round, I have trouble with the gauge and tension in the neighborhood of the initial join. I almost need to just practice that a few times, with only a couple rows of actually knitting afterwards before ripping it out and doing it again. That leads into another general problem I have with all sorts of knitting (and thus leading to the title of this post): Gauge Invariance. I don’t know if I’m holding the yarn wrong, or pulling too much after each stitch, or what is going on, but my gauge does not appear to be constant throughout my fabric. Especially when going back and forth between knitting and purling a lot (as in the ribbing for the hat I am working on), and when joining rounds (like the socks), and even sometimes just on the edges of the fabric when I turn around. I suppose with practice I will get better, but still, its a little frustrating.

Well, a longish post, but I’d been typing it for a while. At least I now have something to do while I am watching television. I always felt bad before, because whenever I watched TV, it seemed like I wasn’t doing anything useful, and wasting so much time. Problem solved!

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Trying to keep up.

Posted by me on Thursday, the 7th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 11:33 PM, local time.

In the interest of keeping momentum, I am trying to write to my blog now every day, at least once. I have a huge backlist of topics I want to write about, but most of them are currently just on my iGoogle homepage quick notes list as a simple phrase or two that I know what I mean to talk about, but would be meaningless to anyone else… some of them go back 6 or 7 months even, when I was still blogging more or less regularly, but didn't want to take the time to expand on those topics yet. So, they may sit there a bit longer as I try to figure out what to say.

Anyway, its getting pretty hot in Rochester this summer. Others may complain that I am complaining too much already about this, but I know that the sudden change in a single day from comfortable and rainy to that hot hot wind of summer that is so unbearable is really just an indication that this summer will surely get even worse. It always seems to. It’s at this point that I really start wishing for the late fall or early winter, when its not yet 30 below, but there is nice fluffy snow every once in a while… sigh.

Well thats probably enough for now. Expect posts soonish about my acquisition of yet another set of hobbies (knitting and crocheting), the wonder and awesomeness that is Opera, ways to keep my books in order (LibraryThing!), ways to keep my music in order, and my patio-container vegetable garden (and associated patio-container fruit orchard).

PS: I've started "tagging" blog posts, since its so darn easy on to do so, and it might help with google searching for my page. Maybe.

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Testing WriteToMyBlog

Posted by me on Wednesday, the 6th day of June, anno domini 2007 at 10:25 AM, local time.

This is a test post from A handy web-based editor for blogs of all sorts. Not as simple as my email based one, but that is currently down for system upgrades that I am procrastinating with, so its good to have an alternative. I know I havn’t posted much lately, and Darcy, for one, is clearly losing interest. :) I blame my email thingy being down, and my hatred for WordPress’ own interface.

So, I hope that with this option available to me now, I can post a bit more. It would still be nice if this was a plugin inside iGoogle homepage somehow, but I guess I can’t have everything… yet…

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