Jul. 6th, 2008 12:25 am
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
I'm sitting here in my home, drinking booze and thinking. Which is never a  good combination, but it's too bloody late to do anything about that now.

So I'm sitting here having a think, and I lapse into introspection for just a minute. And here is my thought - I am pretty sure I have actually told someone before "You can't live in fear." Heh. It's real easy to tell somebody else that. Myself, I live in fear all the goddamn time. I repeatedly let fear of and unfavorable result cow me into inaction.

It's weak. That's what it is.

I think, whiskey.

BTW, I love this band.
plumbob78: WGT (Hmmm?)
it occurs to me that if I ever want to have what I want -- OK that reads really bad, but I don't care -- then I need to be a man of action. Not whatever the fuck I am now.


Feb. 27th, 2008 03:31 pm
plumbob78: WGT (Ecchi Elder)
One of the pieces of advice Consumer Reports gives to people who are shopping for a new vehicle is never to fall in love with a particular model of car. I guess this advice is sound in principle, but it doesn't really work for me. I like to drive. Several months back, I hopped in car and drove to Harrisonburg and back for no reason. I just wanted to drive. Long distance driving is a therapeutic experience for me. Two years ago, I was feeling like a total burn-out. I was sick and tired of work; I was sick and tired of DC; I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. So I took two weeks off of work and went to Charleston for a week. I consider the nine hours I spent on the road down to South Carolina my best expenditure of time that whole year. That long drive was more help to me than anything else. I love driving. I love the road.  Accordingly, I think driving should be something one does not just out of necessity, but out of desire. A deep-rooted desire you feel in your heart and in your bowels. I want to be in love with my car.

Today I drove a MINI Cooper S. I went out to MINI of Sterling, said I wanted to take a test drive, and they said "Sure!" They photocopied my license, took down my insurance info, handed me the "key" (an electronic widget that you stick in a slot by the steering wheel), explained the controls and sent me on my merry way. "You're not coming with me," says I?

"Nope, you're going on your own." Hee hee. Awesome. No sales dude yakking about features in my ear while I'm trying to get the feel of the machine? I love this!  I drove for about a half-hour on major streets (not on the highway, but the 45-mph limit roads I was on were good enough to get a feel for how the car accelerated, braked, etc. I did two runs  along the same route. When I turned around to come back, I made a U-turn....into the LEFT LANE.

GOD DAMN it's a fun car to drive. It's nimble and zippy, which is what I want most in a car. It's smaller than the Jetta I have now -- another thing that attracted me to it in the first place -- yet I have more room in the driver's seat.The turn signal lever felt a little strange at first, because when you push it up or down, it doesn't stay there, it goes immediately back to it's neutral position, but I soon got used to that. The steering wheel felt good in my hands. The engine sounded great. Throaty. I felt something I hadn't felt since 2000. I felt like I belonged in this car. I had the same feeling I had when I test-drove a Jetta and knew immediately it was the car for me. I drove a Ford Mustang a year or two ago, and while it was nice, I didn't feel this same connection between man and machine. The MINI just feels right. It's a car I can love. When I got back to the dealership and got out of the car, I was grinning. I just had to stand there and look at the car and say "WOW." And giggle a little.


I'm gonna buy one. I just need to decide when. And get the loan. But first I have to pick the color. And there's three I really like! This is going to be hard.

When I got home, I had  a message saying my new glasses were ready. A whole week earlier than promised. So I walked down the street and picked them up. It's been a good few days off. I got toys, music, new glasses, and found a dream car. Few things could make this week better.
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
Today I shaved my face for the first time in six weeks.

The six weeks was prep time to get enough hair on my face to actually form sideburns, which I had cut off a few months ago because I needed pictures taken. As I was attacking the excess with my beard and mustache trimmer, it occurred to me that I could actually do the 19th-century connected sideburns and mustache thing, but that seemed a little too wild and crazy for work, so I decided against it. Also, I didn't think it would go with my hairstyle. I'd probably need a 19th-century haircut, too. Which I guess I could do. But grooming myself like a contemporary of Gilbert and Sullivan seemed like a bad idea unless I had clothing to match. Which I am sure you can buy, somewhere. But that just brings us back to the "too crazy for work" problem.

Sometimes I wish I had a job where I could do something totally crazy with fashion and grooming like that. Because I really do like those old clothes. But I really don't know what would constitute such a job. Perhaps if I were some kind of weird author, writing fanciful tales of space travel or mechanized warfare set in Victorian times. A bizarre alternate universe where great powers fight battles on the scale of Jutland between fleets of airships, and armies equipped with steam-powered tanks clash for control of the European continent, across battlefields where heavy coal smoke lingers in the air. Armored behemoths trundling across the countryside, clanking and wheezing, punctuated by shrieks as excess steam pressure is vented from a safety valve, and the occasional horrific crack as a boiler bursts. And all that before taking into account the noise of the guns. If I wrote stuff like that, it might not be so crazy if I dressed like a fugitive from the 1880s or 1890s. It would be like becoming one of my characters. And I'm sure it would be a hit at my book signings, where I would inscribe people's newly bought copies of my books with a replica 1890's fountain pen.

But stuff like that has been done before. By Jules Verne and others miles away more talented than I. So I guess I will have to be content with long hair and muttonchops. C'est la vie.

Today I woke hella late for the second day n a row. But that's OK since I had no place to be. I drove down to Merrifield to put the insurance bill in the mail, then had lunch at Arby's. I went to MicroCenter to buy a big hard drive and an external enclosure. In the area where they have all the OEM hard drives was a bin that claimed to be filled with 500 GB SATA drives. But it was a lie. Not a single drive in the bin had SATA connectors. Next bin over was 400 gig drives, but they were inexplicably more expensive despite being the same big-name brand and the same speed. So I passed on that. I'll just have to visit Mwave or Newegg sometime soon. I decided that since I burned the time and gasoline to get down there I should get something for my trouble, so I bought World in Conflict and a new mousepad. The game is pretty good so far.

Tomorrow I will process and upload my pictures from Colorado. I was going to do so today, but I don't fell like it any more. I think I will call some folks now and try to set up some fun for this evening.
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
(After collecting my mail tonight)

I like weddings OK, but MAN those invitations kill a lot of trees!
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
1) The weekend's social outlet consisted of chatting with MJ throughout work on Friday and going for ice cream during our lunch break. This hardly qualifies. I know if I wanted to do something I should have picked up the phone, but I assumed the locals I really wanted to hang out with were busy with other things. The people on my "haven't seen in a dog's age and long to see again" lists are all 100 miles away or more.

2) Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn't try to be a little less risk-averse in my personal life, but taking chances is really against my nature, so it's hard.

3) I should really try to avoid staying in bed past noon, unless I have a really good reason for doing so.

4) I love maple walnut ice cream.

5) I hope I wake up feeling sick tomorrow so I don't have to go to work.
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
It strange to me how my decisions on technical matters often come down to gut feelings.

Like yesterday I was evaluating these computer screens for work, and I had a hard time actually quantifying in technical terms what I thought was good or bad about them. The two I rated very highly just "looked right," the others "looked wrong." At least two looked really wrong. I mean utter crap. Boggles my mind they wasted our time having us examine them. Ultimately my preference for any given piece of equipment came down to a "gut feeling" that I was seeing things as they should be.

I had a similar experience today while looking at cameras. I went to Penn Camera in Tyson's Corner today, in the hope that they would have a Pentax K10D (my front-runner among the myriad available DSLRs) I could get my hands on and fiddle with for a bit. On Monday I'd been to a smaller shop closer to home, and while they normally stock the K10D, they were out of them that day. While there I'd handled a Canon EOS 30D, and found it to be a fine well-built specimen of a camera. Made of metal, hefty, felt solid, fit my hand well. But I still wanted to check out the Pentax, because reading about it had been what got me started SLR shopping again a couple weeks ago.

As I'd hoped, Penn had them in stock and I asked to take a look at it. I had a positive visceral reaction the second I got my hands around it. I'd never handled one before, but my fingers curled around the grip like the camera and I were meant to go together. The controls to adjust shutter speed and aperture were within easy reach; where I could get to them without moving the camera from my eye. It fit me. It just felt right.

Mind you, I'd had all sorts of technical reasons to be interested in this camera. It's got an actual glass pentaprism for the viewfinder, rather than the pentamirrors you see in some other entry-level to mid-grade cameras. It's got image stabilization built into the body. the body is weather-sealed. There's an optional battery grip that might be nice to pick up at some point. Pentax has some very neat compact prime lenses. Also, I've used Pentax cameras before (one of my two cameras is Dad's old MX). But any and all technical considerations were quickly defenestrated by the gut. I also looked at a Nikon D80, which reviewers and salesman alike rate as comparable, and my initial reactions was "DO NOT WANT." Nikon makes a fine camera. They and Canon are the big boys, splitting most of the market between them. But when I got my hands around the D80, it just felt wrong. It didn't fit my hand like the K10D did. My first attempt to grip it didn't work out and I had to adjust. So the D80's out. I looked at a couple more. Handled a Sony Alpha, which felt weird, and a Canon 30D again. Strangest thing...on Monday at the other shop, the Canon felt good in my hand. Today, it felt awkward.

So I think I've pretty much decided it's the Pentax for me. This is a good decision financially, as it's cheaper than either the Nikon or the Pentax. But anyone who really knows me knows I'm not one to shy away from high price tags if I want something. I want the Pentax. It just feels right. I think I'll make one more trip to a shop for another hands-on experience to be sure, then I will order one from Adorama, where they can be had cheaper than at the retail outlets here in DC.

After the camera shop, I went to the mall for lunch, where my gut told me to have ribs (out of self-preservation, I suspect; been eating reasonable low fat lately). I then made the mistake of going into the Puma shop, where I found a pair of sneakers I liked. They were available in black, brown, blue or a sort of sage green color. They were out of brown in my size, and I already have blue sneakers, so I opted for the green ones. Yet another purchase based on viscera and impulse.

I really dig this new Arcade Fire album. I love their sound. Think I'll go check the mail now and then sit down and watch Sakura Wars.


Sep. 9th, 2007 12:49 am
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
Some days, I look at my life and I wonder what the fuck I'm doing.

In school I knew what to do. At work I know what to do. But get me out of a place where I have a definite purpose, and I'm lost. I do things, and then I immediately afterwards think, "why did I do that?"

Sometimes it's like I'm in a fumbling around in the dark, trying to find my way. But I don't even know where I'm trying to go.

Good Deed

Jul. 11th, 2007 07:01 pm
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
I saved a moth from drowning today.

It had got itself into a puddle and was trying to fly out, but was succeeding only in soaking its wings and swimming in circles. So I put my foot in the puddle and let it climb on my shoe. Then I tapped the ground and let it off. It started hopping around, flapping its sodden wings furiously. Perhaps they dried out enough that it was able to fly away before some critter made it into dinner, but I've no way of knowing. I did see an identical moth flying around the same general vicinity a few hours later, but I doubt it was the same one. I hope it lived to have lots of baby moths.

I'm not a big animal rights type. I kill cockroaches and centipedes at home (but not spiders, 'cuz they eat pests). When I hear of people risking life and limb to save dogs or horses or whatever during floods, I pronounce the people crazy. I do not know why I felt sorry for the moth. But I saw it drowning and it didn't feel right to do nothing. Sometimes I'm a mystery even to myself.
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
Try to explain this one. Sitting on the coffee table my phone showed full strength reception. I picked it up to make a call, (moved all of three feet)l and the single strength dropped by half. Actually dial and the call failed. WTF? And I still don't know what the deal is with its sudden fear of pockets.

So I went to a local Cingular AT&T store to look at phones, but didn't see anything there that immediately screamed "buy me!"so I didn't make any purchases. I think I will hold off in case my phone trouble of yesterday and today is just a fluke. I'm hoping not to be buying a new phone really soon, because I do like my current mobile, but If this problem persists to mid-week, I'm getting a new one. Phone not working in home is bad when most calls are received at home. If I do get a new phone, it will probably be a Samsung SYNC, mainly because from what I've read it's address book sounds better than my phone's (single entry for a person with multiple numbers attached, rather than an entry for each number. I was idly considering buying an unlocked version of a phone AT&T doesn't carry, but as that would be flipping expensive,I will probably not go that route.

I was at the Lost Dog today and saw someone I knew from work. She was in my basic PI course. Id didn't speak to her though. She was with the same guy she was with last time I saw her, which was quite a while ago. I was trying to remember when exactly that was, and found that I couldn't. It's funny how memory works. I remember that last time I saw Sarah was on a Thursday night in Shirlington, when I was sitting on a bench between the Books-A-Million and the Capitol City brewing Company, waiting to meet [insanejournal.com profile] jduffy1535 and his brother for dinner. But I can't for the life of me remember when that was temporally-speaking. I think it was when I was still rooming with Rob, which puts it before February of last year. Why is it I can remember little details so clearly, but can't place them in time? Strange.

I went to the Dairy Godmother this evening. That was good.

Last night I had dinner at Southside 815 in Alexandria. I had a fried oyster po'boy and a couple of beers. That was good. There was a girl two seats down who was kind of pretty, but she yacking with her friend and I couldn't think of anything good to interrupt with. I thought about stopping by another bar before going home, but decided against it. I don't like to drink more than two if I'm driving. So instead I just went home by way of the 7-11. I bought a 40 of Schlitz and a 12-pack of Miller Lite. Then I drank and screwed around on the internet for far too long. It was 0430 by the time I went to bed. Wok up at 1000 and 1200, before finally crawling out of bed at 1400 today. That was exceeding stupid. First meal was around 1600. I'm not particularly tired right now. I'm getting a little hungry again, and am trying to decide whether to eat again. I don't want to go to work tomorrow. Maybe my car will be struck by a meteorite or swallowed by a sink-hole overnight. That would be a good excuse.


Jun. 5th, 2007 11:04 pm
plumbob78: WGT (Default)
I never really understood the saying "misery loves company." But I think I have an idea now.


plumbob78: WGT (Default)

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