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    • CommentTimeJul 23rd 2006
    So about a week and a half ago, I get a call from the condo association. My air conditioner is leaking down to the people below me. Not a huge leak, but troublesome nonetheless. The condo maintenance crew checked some stuff out and gave me some AC contractors to call. So I do, and the guy comes on Tuesday. He does all sorts of crap to the system, essentially flushing it out and otherwise cleaning up all the crap that was gunking up the condensate lines. Job well done, and the AC runs better. The AC closet is dry as a bone, and I'm happy because it's not absurdly hot in my house anymore.

    So today, the person below me informs me that it's leaking again. So I check the closet and yup, there it is. A leak. In a different place. Damn you! Damn you all to hell. It's hot already.

    On a brighter note, I got that Aquos TV I was talking about a while back. It turns out that my company had a special deal on them today, and I was able to use my employee discount to get it cheap (and plus, I could go to our store and pick it up right away, meaning instant fun and no shipping fees - score!) It's really cool.

    I saw Clerks II and Scanner Darkly this weekend. Clerks II was great. Much better than expected, though certainly not perfect either (the serious aspects, which I liked in aggregate, were a little too much at times, particularly in the jailhouse scene which was still good (and I liked the way they resolved it), but which was a little too dialogue laden). Scanner Darkly was neat, but I don't really have much to say about it. It's a little rambling and it doesn't seem to go anywhere for most of the movie (though the plot came into a little more focus towards the end). Just a lot of almost disconnected scenes where a bunch of druggies hang out and do stupid paranoid things. Probably not worth the trip to see it in a theater, but it might make a decent rental...

    Also, I'm already a little miffed with Netflix. I mean, it's a two week trial, right? But I still haven't gotten any of my movies yet. Grrr. They'll probably all show up tomorrow though, which is good. Still, it would be nice to go upstairs right now and watch one of them on my shiny new gadget. Alas, it was not to be.

    So how is everyone else? foucault, spence? I hope everything is going well!

    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2006
    Our AC was making annoying noises and running a little loud a couple of months ago. The apartment maintenance did something to "fix" it, and it is a litter quieter, but not nearly as quiet as I'd like. I think it needs a thorough cleaning and tune-up.

    I was just reading about heatwaves around the world. One article referenced the 2003 heatwave deaths in France. One of the "contributing factors" to the deaths and illnesses was that people didn't realize that they needed to drink lots of water when it's 100+ degrees F. I figured that was a no-brainer because I know I start craving water when it gets to be 85F.

    I know a bunch of local artists who worked on A Scanner Darkly, so now they all have nice resumes, so the only reason I would see the film would be to see the result of their work. Otherwise, druggies don't interest me.

    We've had Netflix for a year and a half now, and we've always received movies quickly. Austin has its own Netflix distribution center, so that's why turnaround times are short. And all other aspects of the Netflix service have been great for us.
    Don't you live in a big city? I can't remember where in PA you live. But if you're in or anywhere near Pittsburg, Philadelphia, or Harrisburg, then you should be getting your movies quicker. Maybe just crappy US Postal Service employees?

    Life is swell.
    I just had a mid-year evaluation at work and got a pay raise of $0.53. They usually only do pay adjustments once a year, but because I am so spectacularly awesome (no really - I get "exceeds" on all of my accountabilities), my supervisor said I had "earned a raise." So I'm hoping this means I'll get the full 9% pay increase in another 6 months.
    Also, I may be promoted to Senior Map Analyst soon. But I've also applied for another position within the company. It would still be a boring job, but the office I'd work in is much quieter. And I'd make more $$$. Not that I'm all about the $$$, but I'd like to make what I'm worth.

    I've submitted applications for some positions with other companies. I kind of doubt I'll even get called for interviews. There was a great job with the Health Department a few weeks ago, but they took the posting down before I could apply. =(

    I had the flu the week of July 4th. That means I was horribly sick on a holiday, again. Almost never fails - I always get sick just before the weekend, especially if it's a three day weekend or close to a holiday.

    Our vacation to Glacier National Park starts August 12th. We're flying out to Salt Lake City for four days to visit Charles' aunt and uncle. They have a huge house and lots of land with horses. Then we fly out to Kalispell, Montana on the 16th, then pick up a rental car and drive to East Glacier. We'll be doing stuff in the Glacier and Wateron Parks for a week, just Charles and me. I guess it'll be our honeymoon, not that we really need one.
    • CommentTimeJul 24th 2006
    So I can't wait for the vacation because I really need one. But, I also know it will be hard on my back. I finally learned the cause of my chronic back and leg pain (that I've had for 13 years now). I saw an orthopaedic surgeon, who ordered an MRI. Boy was that fun. Don't let them tell you that you won't feel anything with an MRI. If you read how an MRI works (like at howstuffworks.com), then you'll know that it does result in heat, which is uncomfortable. And the radio frequencies are very loud, even with earplugs and headphones.
    Anyway, I have two arthritic discs, meaning that they have no water content to facilitate the shock-absorbing that inter-vertebral discs are supposed to do. Therefore high stress on my spine causes the discs to bulge into my spinal cavity and to press on spinal nerve roots that extend into other parts of my back and legs. Because my mother has and her mother had the same type of back pain, it's probably genetic.

    Treatment is basically medication and physical therapy. I've tried medication before, which all suck. So I'm in my fourth week of physical therapy, and I think it has helped. I've learned how to strengthen my back and ab muscles so that my muscles take more weight off my spine. But walking and standing for long periods of time still cause lots of pain.
    There is a surgery called spinal fusion, but that results in the other discs bearing more weight, which leads to their degeneration sooner. That's not a good option for a young person like me.

    Our cat Logic had to have dental cleaning and surgery. He had gum disease and cavities. Our other two cats have great teeth, so I don't know what's up with Logic. The surgery was expensive, but our cats are very dear to us. We couldn't let his teeth rot to the nerve and cause him pain. He's fine now, but we have to brush his teeth a few times a week.

    I finally read a book I liked. It's A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly. I don't know if you guys would like it, but it's just very well-written with great character development.

    I bought a Nintendo DS Lite. I tend to like handheld games more for some reason. I'm not really a gamer, and even when I'm in a gaming mood, I don't like to commit to a game. For some odd reason, it's easier for me not to feel attached to a handheld. It's just a stupid psychological thing I guess.
    Anyway, Break-Em-All is addictive in the Quest Mode but hard as hell to play unless you use the stylus. I just can't get used to using the left and right buttons. I also have the New Super Mario Bros. It's fun. Not much to it though so I can't say it's great.
    The NDS Lite itself is a nice gadget. It's very lightweight with excellent color and lighting. The buttons are fine for my small hands.

    I think that's all I have for now. Sorry for the length.
    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2006
    The AC is now fixed, for good I hope. It's like playing whack a mole, though. Fix one thing, and another thing springs up. Grr. But at this point, we've replaced piping and cleaned out all the condensate lines. I should be fine...

    That French heatwave seemed really strange to me. Something like 40,000 people died, which just seems too drastic for something as simple as a heat wave...

    Yeah, I don't think you'd love Scanner Darkly. It doesn't seem like it's going anywhere until towards the end of the movie, and even then, I think they sort of hold back a little... The rotoscoping animation thing is pretty neat though:)

    I live in Philadelphia, which supposedly has a Netflix distribution center. Still, I signed up on Tuesday night and didn't get my stuff until yesterday. That's when they projected it, so I don't think it's a post office problem (unless the post office is so bad that Netflix knew it would be late). It wouldn't bother me so much if their page didn't say that stuff normally ships the day after you sign up and that you'll get it the day after that. That's two days. It took them 6 in my case. That's absurd. Why do they advertise 2? I watched one of them last night and sent it off this morning, hoping that I can get one back by the weekend. That was the annoying thing about the movies coming on Monday - I usually have the most time to watch movies on the weekend... I hope I get the next movie in my queue before this weekend... but I'm doubting it...

    I submitted my first employee review the other week. Plus, I had to do this development plan for all of my employees (only 4, but still). It's a grueling process. Not a lot of fun, and a little time consuming. I'm sure it will get easier as time goes on and I do more... Best of luck with pay increases/job moves, etc...:)

    I think our bodies know when we're going on vacation, and that it knows we have to finish up a lot of work before we leave, so it holds out until you finish everything you have to do and then, when you have no responsibilities left (i.e. when you're officially on vacation), our bodies just stop working and fall apart. It happens to me all the time too:P

    Glacier is really beautiful. I went there when I was in high school (I went cross country with my brother and uncle one summer) and it was a great place. I can't see it being good for your back though. All there really is to do is hike a bunch of places, including mountains (which I would imagine are even worse for your back). When I was there, we hiked a lot and even took one guided tour with a park ranger. She had these eagle eyes that were amazing. We were walking at the top of a valley, and she looks down at th bottom and says, "There's a bear over there." We couldn't see anything. It was easily a few miles away. It looked like a moving dot in our binoculars. I have no idea how she saw it...

    In any case, I hope your back starts to get a little better. Maybe they'll find some meds that actually work:) Otherwise, it sounds like a hell of a condition:(

    • CommentTimeJul 25th 2006
    Congrats on your new TV, tallman. A friend and I were contemplating going to see A Scanner Darkly. I don't know when we'll actually get around to it but I'm still curious about it. Also I think I'm the last person left not to have seen the first Clerks yet. I've seen maybe 20 minutes of it at a couple different parts. It didn't actually seem that funny but maybe I need to see the whole thing properly.

    Spencer! You're alive! Fantastic. Sorry to hear about your back. A friend of mine has similar back issues. Listening to her talk about is almost like a lesson in the interconnectivity of our bodies. She has a lot of other pain that is the result of her back in places like her arms and such. She does a lot better when she goes to physical therapy but for several reasons can't go that often. Anyway, good luck with all your work stuff, and consider me jealous of your upcoming trip.

    I signed up for a Netflix account yesterday. I'll probably dump a bunch of the films discussed here recently into the queue. I guess I'll see how fast the shipping turn-around is for the LA area.

    We've been having record high temperatures for this time of year lately. It was something like 116 in one of the hottest parts of the city this weekend. It was still a little above 80 degrees at 3 in the morning the other night. Plus it's been humid, which is actually the only part that I mind. Not that I want to be walking around in 100+ degree weather but it's the humidity that really gets me.

    Anyway, I'm sure the fact that I'm talking about the weather indicates there's not too much going on with me lately. I pass the baton to someone else now.
    • CommentAuthorgrenville
    • CommentTimeJul 26th 2006
    I shall also own up to having some back troubles and visiting a physiotherapist. My problem seems to be related to bad computer seating posture. My most recent physio suggested putting a little sticky note on the computer monitor which says "back and down" which means sit back and keep the shoulders down, don't slump forward. And don't under any circumstances use a laptop while propped up in bed. I do special back stretches to strengthen the muscles in my mid-back. I also do a lot of long-haul plane flights -- 12 hour flights or more -- which probably doesn't help. They've got those full-length bed things in business class flights now with the better airlines, but I can never sleep on planes and you have to crane your neck and move into awkward positions all the time if you are like me and like to flick through the inflight entertainment system all the time. The last long-haul I did was with Air New Zealand's excellent new 777 service which has more entertainment channels than you can count, including a hundred or so full-length CDs. There is a kind of inflight entertainment system war going on between the top international carriers. All the physiotherapists I've had say that modern life-style and technology is money in their pocket.

    Weather. Its nice and cool where I am down in the southern hemisphere winter. I was phone talking to my boss in London the other day and he said it was 38 Celcius (101 F) in London. And apparently over 50C on the Underground. Who would have thought that was possible in summerless England a few years ago. The globe is definitely warming up. Scary.