A Power Outage Without The Heat

After my Thursday night finite class, I stayed late to study for my Unix Administration II class since I had a midterm on Monday (yesterday). Creating a backup script using the tar command to excluding specific files from being compressed into an archive was a bit tricky to put together. It’s amazing how the clock can say 11:00PM one moment and 1:00AM the next moment. I got up late enough to miss my Friday morning commute that I had to work from home.

At midmorning I heard a familiar “ka-POP!” sound from somewhere outside the apartment complex, the lights dimmed and overall power significantly reduced. Unlike the last time something like this happened, the fish tank filter pump didn’t gurgle, the UPSes weren’t beeping their alarms, and it wasn’t hot as heck that morning. Had enough power to keep the low power stuff running without trouble, including my laptop and new DSL modem. I continued working until full power came back on a few hours later.

Watching Someone Almost Get Splattered

I got off the southbound light rail train on my way home from work, and walked over to the crosswalk to wait for the northbound train to leave the station, when I noticed this young woman with a cellphone to her ear walking towards the departing train. She was completely oblivious to her surroundings.

I remembered what the shuttle bus driver at the Caltrain train station in Mountain View told me earlier this year about a suicide he witnessed. He saw the guy jump in front of a speeding baby bullet train, got splattered into big meaty chunks and the woman standing nearby got splashed with blood from head to toe. The shuttle driver, being in the merchant marines for 40 years and seen far worse, wasn’t bothered from watching the police dump chunks of the guy into garbage bags.

The train horn blared in passing. The woman jumped backwards in little bunny hops, as the train rush past her by mere inches. She screamed into her cellphone that she almost got run over by a train. After the train left the station, she walked into the crosswalk against the light. While still talking on the cellphone, she almost got hit by a delivery truck but didn’t notice as she went on her way.

What The Painters Didn’t Clean Up

After my balcony got splattered by a paint spill that dribble down from the balcony upstairs, the painters had to clean up the mess, repaint my balcony and buy me a new patio chair a few weeks ago. Working from home the other day, the superintendent stopped by to test the smoke detector, and we had a rather interesting conversation.

“Did the painters—”

“Nope.”

“—clean up the mess?”

“Nope.”

“They didn’t?”

“Nope.”

A quick phone call got the head painter committed to coming over at noon. The smoke detector worked fine and superintendent left. The painter showed up at 2:30PM just as I was getting ready to go somewhere. He paid me $10 USD for the patio chair and painted over the floor of the balcony in ten minutes without leaving a paint ring or paint foot prints inside my apartment. As for the paint splattered chair, I’m keeping it just in case my balcony gets splattered again. Who to say that spilt paint won’t strike the same spot twice?

Outlander Gaming PC Case Upgrade

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You can’t play a scary game like F.E.A.R. without screaming like a little girl and kicking the computer. It doesn’t help that kicking the computer causes it to reboot and you’re swearing like a little girl as the unsaved game disappears into the bit bucket. For several months, I put up with system reboots after bumping the case or plugging a memory stick into the front USB connector, or holding down the power and reset buttons to turn the system on. There’s an electrical short somewhere that I haven’t located. It was time to get a new case for the gaming computer nicknamed Outlander.

Over the Labor Day weekend, I put in an order with Newegg for the Cooler Master Centurion 5 full tower case. I wanted to get this particular case for about six months but haven’t had a good enough reason to buy it. But F.E.A.R. helped me overcome my fear of a thinner wallet, as I wanted to finish playing the game.

When I put the system together in the old case three or four years ago, multiple hard drives and CD/DVD drives required multiple 80mm fans (two in front, two in back, and one on the side panel) to cool the system. The drawback with all those fans was too much noise, especially since the CPU and graphic card had their own loud fans.

The new case has a 120mm fan in the back, an 80mm fan in the front, and a ventilated top-to-bottom front to keep the system cooler and quieter. My gaming rig is a lot simpler today since I have one hard drive, one CD/DVD drive, a passively cooled video card, and a low-noise CPU fan.

As with my recent file server case upgrade, I left the floppy drive out as I rarely used one and can always use the USB floppy drive.

Paint Splatters From Above

A Splattered BalconyWhile working from home, I thought someone got hacked to death upstairs and strangled to death next door at the same time. Not quite. With the surrounding apartments empty (probably due to the large rent increase last month that’s forcing people to move), the work crews were getting the apartments ready. Not a big deal — until I saw my balcony.

I wasn’t sure if it got splattered by paint or a very large pigeon. I called the leasing office. The superintendent came out to look, confirmed that it was paint, and the painter came by to admit that a five-gallon paint bucket tipped over on the upstairs balcony to dribble down on my balcony the day before.

The Three Stooges got for the paint jobs. I found a paint ring on the floor inside the elevator and a paint foot print on the sidewalk outside. My balcony wasn’t cleaned up and re-painted after the superintendent promised to buy me a new outdoor chair. I’m still waiting for that to happen, but I’m not sure if I want these painters inside my apartment. I just might take $10 USD off the rent next month for the chair and leave it at that.

Open Season on Escaping Animated Animals

Open Season Movie PosterIf the San Jose Mercury News gives a positive review for a movie, the movie must really sucks. “Open Season”  was like that. Both the review and the trailer promised animal mayhem against the hunters from beginning to end. The movie I saw was 90% buildup and 10% mayhem.

A domesticated bear separated from a caring owner goes into the wilds before hunting season starts, a crazed hunter bent on getting the bear for helping the mangled deer escape off the hood of his truck, and a New Age couple looking for Bigfoot caught between the animals and the hunters.

The many great moments in the movie weren’t enough to bear the weight (pun intended) of the story line as presented and out of whack with the expectations set by the trailer. There’s nothing worse than reading a good review, watching the movie, and concluding that the trailer was much better.

Or maybe animation fatigue is settling in as 17 movies got released this year with mostly talking animals trying to escape somewhere. I’ve seen most of them, forgotten most of them, and there’s only one or two I might still might want to see by the end of the year. I think “Monster House” might be the only one I like since it doesn’t have any talking animals.