January 4th, 2009

smirking-winslet

Mauling And The End Of Life As We Know It

I Hate Malls

Day after Christmas, when we went off to see The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, we had a choice of movie theatres, but we picked Celebration North because it isn't actually in a mall, but essentially is the anchor of its own shopping center. Saturday, when we went off to see The Reader, we had no choice and had to go to Woodland Mall.

It was a pretty day in West Michigan, cold but blue sky and I swear we've had more sunshine in January so far than all of December. Celebration Woodland Mall is surrounded by restaurants and the mall entrance to Sears. At 5pm, the parking lot was jammed full -- and poorly plowed in some areas. We did have a laugh at a 4x4 pickup truck that had mounted a snow pile and reclaimed a parking spot. But it took several turns around two lots to find anything.

Who lives like this? We successfully managed to avoid all malls from before Thanksgiving to just after New Year's. If I had a choice, I'd never set foot in a mall or even drive into the parking lots of a mall ever again. Alas, I know I shall. But not any more than I have to.

Life Ends, Life Begins

The new semester, which WMU whimsically calls Spring Semester, begins on Monday. So no more staying up to 4am and getting up at 10am. Sigh. I guess it was nice while it lasted. (grin)

Gasoline prices. Haven't done much driving over the holidays so the last time I bought gas it was $1.53.9/gal. It dropped down to $1.48.9/gal. And then on New Year's Eve, while we bought groceries, the three of Allendale's gas stations -- within twenty minutes -- jumped up to $1.64.9. And now gas is $1.84.9/gal.

Ah, a new year, a new insanity starts.

Dr. Phil
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smirking-winslet

A Collection Of Minor Odd Things

What Else Could It Be?

So if you have crummy sinuses, you may be familiar with saline nose sprays. Brand names include Ocean and Ayr. So Mrs. Dr. Phil happened to be looking at the label and there was a section for "Uses". Um...?

It's saline nasal spray. Exactly what other uses could we be talking about? Putting out very small fires? Irrigating paper cuts? Moistening stamps?

When Wi-Fi Goes Bad

Every now and then, we find we can't print to the HP DeskJet 6980 wireless printer. It's so handy and reliable the rest of the time, so it's a shock when you go to print something, and a box pops up and says it can't talk to the printer. Sometimes cycling the printer clears it, sometimes you have to reboot the PC.

What really cheesed my grits just now was that I'd printed a page just minutes before. What could possibly have happened in the intervening time?

And While I'm Grousing About Printers

Just exactly how much work is it to cancel a print job? It's a file and probably a pending job. Change a bit here, let the job delete itself when it polls and finds the changed bit. Then just the delete the damned file. I mean, we're doing 1.8 billion operations per second -- it takes some ten seconds to delete a print job. It takes 18 billion operations? What is it doing? Taking a loving look at each character before thinking about whether to send it to the great bit bucket in the sky? Writing it sonnets and singing them to the aether?

I tell you, computer programmers can be idiots at time. And I swear I know which companies are employing the most idiots.

So There's This Ice Storm

We've known for a couple of days we'd likely get some freezing rain and sleet for Sunday morning. But the other day Channel 3's weather person was going on during the opening weather teaser about how dangerous the forecast was. After 11pm, you can usually flip between channels 3, 8 and 13 to get each of their forecasts. Channel 3 is based in Kalamazoo, while Channel 8 in Grand Rapids also owns Channel 41 in Battle Creek and does one common news/weather broadcast, so you get different perspectives to West Michigan -- particularly useful once the semester starts and I've got the long haul to K-zoo and back. But... on the night in question, none of the other weather people were saying anything so dire. Indeed, they gave the projected ice totals, all less than 0.10", and said that while one had to be careful, the ice would quickly fade in the morning and life would go on. And then the full Channel 3 forecast sounded just like the others, without any of the horrors of the teaser.

Now, I don't want to make light of having ice glazed highways and sidewalks. Indeed, at 11am when I was heading out to get the Sunday paper, the sloping concrete pad in front of the garage was one wet, shiny sheet of ice and given my aversion to falling, I hopped in the nearest 4WD and took the safe ride to the road. But the hyperbole of "Severe Weather Center 3", to say nothing of "Storm Team 8", etc., drives me nuts.

It's the problem of crying wolf, you see. Rather than get people to drive reasonably and plan their outings based on rational criteria, people are going to give up listening to warnings if the warnings go nuclear every damned time. They are not selling safe and prudent, IMHO.

Just sayin'.

Dr. Phil
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