Saturday, November 15, 2003


Remarkably, I was able to get the ReplayTV working on the first shot, with a new 160 GB drive. It's a slightly annoying process that involves downloading a drive image from an unofficial site, patching the new drive with that image, then connecting the drive to the ReplayTV box. Then you plug it back in, give it a factory reset, and start from scratch. But it's working, and it's not skipping and freezing anymore. I feel so ept.

I spent a bit of time relaxing at King Kullen, "America's First Supermarket." I like King Kullen for two reasons. First, they mist the red peppers every five minutes so that you don't notice that the stems are rotting out. While they mist, they play a few notes of "Singin' In The Rain," presumably to hide the fact that it looks like someone tap danced on the tomato three-packs. The second thing I like is the expanded ethnic food aisle, featuring products from some unnamed Eastern European country. There's nothing I enjoy more to start my day off than clownberries in heavy syrup!

I got email from Sylvia, my train friend. She'd been talking about company layoffs for a few weeks, and they finally did it to her. It sucks.

Friday, November 14, 2003


The ReplayTV is dying. It's very nearly dead. It's constantly rebooting itself, the shows are stuttering, and it's acting like something with a busted hard drive acts. I can't even pull shows off of it anymore. So like any self-styled geek, I did the only thing possible. I took it upstairs and disassembled it.

A ReplayTV is pretty simple, actually. A couple of wires and circuits, and standard hard drives. This one was a model 4160, with two 80 GB hard drives. I figured I might have to do a disk check on them or replace them, so I took the drives out of the Replay, opened up my desktop machine, attached the first Replay drive to the HD ribbon, and yes! I snapped one of the connector pins on the drive, completely destroying it.

Well, there's still one more to try. I plugged it into the PC, and yes! Nothing came up on it. I've managed to destroy two 80 GB drives in five minutes. I'M NOT A HARDWARE PERSON. I read up on ways to upgrade your Replay, and I've decided that the only solution is to put in a new 160 GB drive.

Monday, November 10, 2003

Heat's Off! Part II

The heat's off again. The house is about 50 degrees, and you've heard the rest of the story. There's a bit of water that's as warm as 70; I actually take a 45 second shower. The rats are huddled outside on the deck, rubbing their paws together for warmth as they surround a teeny-tiny little garbage can with a fire in it.

Sunday, November 9, 2003

Heat's Off!

The heat's off. The house is about 50 degrees, and the thermostats are turned up to 80 or so. As everyone knows, turning the thermostat way up high makes really, really hot air blow out and increases the temperature a lot more quickly. Set it at 78, 78 degree heat blows out. Set it to 140, 140 degree heat blows out and the house is warm again in five minutes.

I went downstairs and pressed the big red "Do not press this button" button on the furnace. It went on for a few seconds, then cut out again. Time to call Frank Brothers. Frank Brothers showed up and figured out the technical problem - they didn't deliver the oil in time! So "Frank" went out and got a little pitcher of oil to top up the house. That lasted for, oh, a few hours.

Saturday, November 8, 2003


Newsday had the worst lede ever today: "When Saturday night's moon hits your eye, the big pizza pie may take on the hue of tomato paste during a total lunar eclipse visible throughout the Americas, Europe, Africa and western Asia."

Morning Squirts game on Staten Island. The less said about that area, the better.

I just discovered USSearch, and it's sort of disturbing. It has public records on everyone in the United States. Search for your name and you'll probably see your age and every town you've ever lived in. It even has a listing of all my arrests for solicita...uh...moving violations. Yes, that's right. Moving violations.

Friday, November 7, 2003

Cynicor Tourist Challenge

I've just discovered that Cordelia's favorite NFL teams are the Broncos and the Colts. If there were teams called Mares, Geldings, or Suffolk Punches, I get the feeling they'd be on the list too.

New Cynicor Game: The Manhattan Tourist Challenge. Grab a friend after the Rock Center tree goes up, go to lunch in the area, and see who can act the most like an annoying tourist. Suggested head starts: A voluminous Old Navy bag that has nothing in it but a 12-pack of travel tissues that you bought from Duane Reade for 5c off. A jacket from the Des Plaines High School marching band. And make sure to call it Avenue of the Americas, not Sixth Avenue.

Thursday, November 6, 2003

Go rat go!

Longest damn day of my life. After repeated rodent problems, the exterminator was called back. This time they didn't send over the guy who said that mice have cartilage instead of bones, but the guy who did come over said "mice ain't doin' this." He left behind some rat traps. Shortly thereafter, they started to snap shut every few minutes. It sounded like a day-late celebration of Guy Fawkes Day.


Big rat.

Little rat.

White rat. Brown rat.

Go rats go! "Now do you like my hat?"

"No. You're filthy vermin that ate about two pounds of my dried fruit. I want to snap your neck and get your family out of my walls before you chew up any more of my satellite cables and give my dogs the plague."

Rats sorted out, I packed my son in the car for his hockey practice. It was pissing rain. My headlights didn't seem to be working well. My wipers didn't seem to be working well. Then as I was tooling up the Sagtikos, my radio reset itself. Uh oh - this is what happened two weeks ago. I got this FIXED. This time the car died within about two miles of driving. I barely made it over to the grassy side of the rain-slicked highway. Dead. Unbelievable. I called AAA, they took only an hour to show up, and I sent it back over to King Bear to fix what I thought was the same problem. Although it turned out not to be - the tow driver pointed out the shredded alternator belt hanging out from under the car!

Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Here Comes the Flood


I wanted to send "Here Comes The Flood" to some people who were in Los Angeles with me, but the copy I ripped has those horrible digital skips. And I can't find the CD anywhere - the case is empty. I can't even find the MP3 online, either legally or illegally. (Thanks to Brett Sommers for coming to the rescue and supplying me with her own rip.)

Back home, Bertie keeps staring under the TV, and I'm hearing some scratching noises behind the baseboard. I think we've found our mice. So I look under the TV, and there's suddenly a hole in the wall that looks just like a classic cartoon mousehole. Time to call the exterminator.

Monday, November 3, 2003

Ottawa matinee

Brian Randell has just written to inform me that this is NOT his homepage, this is. Apologies to the real Brian Randell. Apologies to the University of Newcastle upon Tyne for any inconvenience this may have caused.

The Islanders had a near-perfect game against the Ottawa Senators tonight. 6-3 win, breaking a home losing streak that went back to 1996. The Islanders are now 3-3-0-1 against the Sens in their last seven games, playoffs included.

Saturday, November 1, 2003

Cynicor HubbyHelmet

Great satellite image (heat-enhanced) of the fires around Los Angeles this week. (Not great as in "cool", because over a dozen people have died. Well, yeah. Great as in "cool". Except for everyone who died.)

The oddest Halloween treat was the old lady down the block who gives each kid a fun-size Snickers and a tennis ball. Because even more than candy, what kids like on Halloween is a nice game of fetch.

Great new idea to bring marriages closer together. All wives love to nag, and all husbands love to sit around watching football. With the new Cynicor HubbyHelmet, you can bring these interests together! We supply a custom-made, full-sized football helmet with your husband's name on it. Every time he does a chore that you're nagging him to do, he gets a gold star (supplied)! In no time, your couch potato spouse will be on the house's all-star ballot, and you'll both have fun doing it!