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2010-03-15 (0 comments)

Yet another true tale of parenthood

 (Kim's Mom took us out to eat last night.  Steve was in a mood and was acting like a jerk.  The following occurred.)

STEVE:  *whine bitch bitch whine whine bitch whine*

KIM'S MOM:  Steve, come here a minute.  Let me whisper something to you.

STEVE: Okay!

KIM'S MOM: *whispers some manner of grandmotherly wisdom we can't hear*
STEVE (loudly):  What's a bastard?


2010-03-10 (0 comments)

More true tales of parenthood

STEVE: Why is it always day, then night?

ME: Because the earth keeps rotating.  Here, let me show you.  *Grabbing a lumpy Papier-mâché earth Steve made in school a while back and holding it near the torch light in Steve's room*  See, this is the earth, and this is the sun. We're right here... *pointing to a green blob that might be the U.S.*...so during the day, we're pointed right at the sun, so it's light.  Then at night...*keeping finger on the same spot but turning the earth*...we're pointed away from the sun, so it's dark.

STEVE:  Oh!  *smiles with comprehension, pauses, then jumps out of bed and starts looking around*

ME: What are you looking for?

STEVE: A meteorite!  It's gonna hit the Earth and set it on fire!

Five years old, ladies and gentlemen.  

I love my kid.  


2010-02-23 (0 comments)

Worm Quartet cancelling show at Bug Jar tomorrow (2/24)

Rochester peeps - 

Very sorry for the last-minute notice, but Worm Quartet will NOT be appearing at the Bug Jar tomorrow night (2/24.)  Graymarket and Autoverse will still be playing, so it should be a fun night.


2010-02-15 (0 comments)

Fun with tech support!

"Hey," I thought to myself, "I've done something dumb and googling the problem hasn't resulted in an immediate solution.  But eMachines, a rebranding of Gateway, has 24/7 live chat support.  Maybe I'll just use that and get an answer quickly!"


ME:  Hi!  Here's my serial number and a description of my problem.
SUPPORT WEENIE:  Hi, my name is whatever.  Please enjoy this copy-pasted explanation of why I'm not talking to you yet.

*time passes*

SUPPORT WEENIE: Please also enjoy this copy-pasted message expressing gratitude for your patience.

*time passes*

SUPPORT WEENIE: I am glad that you are still here.  Your serial number was never registered, so you will have to submit proof of purchase.  It will take about 48 hours to process and then we can help you.

ME: Okay...

SUPPORT WEENIE: I can give you a link to online help as a one-time best effort.  Please describe the problem.

ME:  I already did when I entered the chat, but okay.  I took apart my computer because I was having issues with my DVD burner and was worried I'd perhaps neglected to set the jumper to "Master" or some such stupid thing.  In the process of trying to keep my son from eating a rice cake over the open case, I accidentally removed three two-wire connectors which I'd mistaken for a single six-wire connector, and I don't know how they're supposed to go back in.  i initially thought they were just connectors from the front audio panel, but one of them is definitely the power switch, so I can't turn my computer on now.

SUPPORT WEENIE:  Please enjoy this copy-pasted message indicating that I am reading what you just typed.

SUPPORT WEENIE: Your problem requires physical support.  You will have to mail us your computer and $199 for us to fix it.

ME:  Uh...no, my problem does NOT require physical support.  There are three things - THREE THINGS - that need to be plugged back into a little set of pins on my system board.   I just need to know where they're supposed to go.  A simple color photo of the fully-loaded system board will suffice - the pictures in your user's guide are all black and white, despite it being a PDF chock-full of color text.

SUPPORT WEENIE:  Please enjoy this copy-pasted message indicating that I am reading what you just typed.

SUPPORT WEENIE:  Here's a link to a thing that probably won't help you.   Blah blah pleasure to assist you today blah blah.  *Pastes link, immediately logs off so chat window closes and link is gone before I can click on it.*

ME *loud slow blinking*

SCREEN THAT USED TO HAVE THE CHAT WINDOW:  Please fill out this survey to describe your service experience.

ME: I'd best grab my dictionary of modern profanity!


Epilogue:  I ended up looking up the specs from the company that manufacturers the system board for eMachines.  Turns out there's an Intel standard for how the power switch, power switch light, and HDD light are supposed to be plugged into this one little group of pins on the motherboard.  I followed the wires back to the front panel to determine which was which, followed the little diagram I found online, plugged them the hell back in, and all was well.  And the DVD burner issue ended up being a DMA problem because Windows XP, in its infinite wisdom, had decided after a couple of failed burns to change my burner to friggin' PIO mode.  


2010-02-04 (0 comments)

Little-known fact


I am probably better at Simon than you.

This is, for the most part, an utterly useless skill.  But when I was a teenager, the Little Caesars in Palmer, MA had a Simon-ripoff machine that you could play for a quarter, and if you got a high enough score, you could win two pizzas.  I discovered rather quickly that I could win the pizzas almost every time I played (though sometimes it took me 3-4 tries if I was beign distracted.)  After a while, the people working there started making my pizza as soon as I came in the door.  Me and my friends would eat my winnings in the parking lot.  The biggest challenge eventually became making sure nobody played the game until the employees saw my score so they could give me my pizza, because when anybody saw me win it, they assumed they could do it too and wanted to try immediately (they couldn't.)  Eventually I became responsible for a rule that you could only win once a week.  Eventually the machine broke (or was disabled by management.) and the sound didn't work any more.  This ended my streak, as I could play the game with my eyes closed (and had at times, to impress my friends,) but I couldn't do it without the sound.  A nearby Papa Gino's had a similar machine, but I couldn't win at that one because the sounds the buttons made weren't in ascending order (i.e., the sound the second button made was higher than the first, but the third was lower than the second.)

Later I moved to Syracuse, and lo and behold, there were *TWO* Little Caesars in the area with these machines.  One of them required getting a disturbingly high score in order to win, and I couldn't quite do it.  But the other was the same as the one from Palmer, and I could once again win a pizza every week.  Between that, the local Chinese buffet, and the McDonald's with all-you-can-eat pancakes, my roommate and I ate like kings.  I later used my pizza-acquisition skill to impress my girlfriend, and she apparently recognized this as a modern hunter-gatherer skill, as natural selection kicked in and she eventually married me and bore my spawn, who appears to have inherited at least some part of this skill (my Dad has a portable Simon game which Steve figured out very quickly and did rather well at.)

I haven't seen one of these machines in a long time.  But every time I see a Little Caesars, I slow down and look in the window.  They're building a new one up the road from my work, and I've got my fingers crossed.  


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