The Bruce

I took a quick jaunt down to Barnes and Noble last night to pick up a recent road map of Wisconsin. When I finally found the travel section, there was some book signing wrapping up, and the cordoned off area included the US maps. I could get a map of Venice, but I couldn’t go around front to get a map to the Dells.

A little annoyed, I took a look at who it was denying me my map, and lo, it was Bruce Campbell.

So I cooled my heels a moment unti lthere was an opening between the handler and the adoring public, and I slipped in… to get my map. Then I slipped out.

Heck, I don’t know the guy, I don’t know his movies, I don’t know his book. What was I going to say? He seemed nice though, taking time to sign things and take pictures and warn someone that he should blow on the signature, cause it might run.

Peter Jennings is dead

Peter Jennings has died. For some reason, when I would think of him I’d think of that old skit (was it SNL?) where you had to guess if someone was dead or Canadian. He was my favorite no-really-he-is-Canadian person.

I am actually pretty saddened by his death. He was the one television news journalist we always turned to when we needed the straight story. We watched all the recent Big News stories with him. We turned to ABC during 9/11. We watched him during the elections. Frankly, we trusted him, as old and tired as that cliche is. I liked Tom Brokaw, but never really liked his news delivery, and Dan Rather was not on my radar. But now they have all gone, and it really is a new era.

Can I even name their replacements? I don’t think so. Not surprisingly, I can’t name many of the news personalities on TV. I get my news from the Internet. All of it. Sure, we get a weekend paper, but we read it mostly for the local stories and the ads.

And yet. There are still times when live TV news is the best way to stay in touch, and now I don’t know where I’ll turn.

Goodbye, Mr. Jennings. I miss you already.

Ah, the birds.

Sigh. I have just been shat on for the first time (well, my infant son not withstanding). You hear about people being targeted by birds, you may have actually seen it happen, you may know someone close to you… but has it happened to you?

I was lucky, it hit me on the arm, so I don’t have to change clothes.

Most surprising, wow-but-of-course moment: it was really warm.

UPDATE: I just sat through a 45 minute meeting at work wherein I realized, two minutes in, that my shirt had not escaped unscathed. I had a big, meaty bit of bird poop on my sleeve. Yuck. It is clean now.

I think we’re getting a new car

I’d like to–firstly–apologize to Denny and his new bride, Aprille. You see, Denny bought a Volkswagen Passat a little bit after I bought one, and I like to think I had at least some hand in him choosing to go with it. And I think he’s been happy with it, and I know we’ve been pretty happy with ours (her name is Greta) but I gotta say, I don’t get the feeling that she’s a decade-lasting kind of car. I mean, we’ve had her for five years now, and she’s served us pretty well (we’re going to reciprocate with an expensive detailing and a couple of new floor mats soon).

But.

We’re taking the first step in our multi-year car ownership plan (I would be surprised to hear Tiffany call it a plan, but I like my Plans, so it’s a plan) that will result, eventually, in our owning a minivan and a commuting car. Right now we have Julia (bless her 13-year-old E-for-economy chassis!) and Greta. Julia feels like–and drives like–a go cart, albeit a very much loved one. And Greta has reached midlife.

We need to buy our commuter vehicle. Greta will continue to serve until we graduate to a minivan, and Julia, bless her again, will be sold off to a nice family in the country where she will get milk and cookies for the rest of her days. Right, Mommy?

We’re not getting a Volkswagen. I love how Greta drives, and I love the turbo in her engine. I don’t like how often we took her in during her two years of warranty. I don’t like only two years of warranty. I don’t like how we had sensor malfunctions (STOP STOP STOP THE CAR. DO NOT DRIVE FURTHER! Oh, wait, just a malfunction. So sorry.). I don’t like how expensive she was for the quality I feel we got out of her.

So. Commuter car, I said? Small, maybe sporty. Good gas mileage. Not too expensive. Fun to drive. Reliable. A little bit of flair, maybe. Mazda 3? Golf? Impreza?

Nope. We’re (probably) getting a Prius. Yes, a Toyota Prius. We snagged first dibs on a Salsa Red Prius already on the boat on its way to Nebraska. Small? Not really. Sporty? Well, it’s not sluggish. Inexpensive? Um… no. But good gas mileage? Indeed. (EPA estmates 51 city / 60 highway / 55 overall! though online user reports suggest that is a little exaggerated… more like 44 overall) Fun to drive? By all accounts, it most certainly is… at least with all the gadgets. Flairific? What would you call Salsa Red?

So. It arrives towards the end of the month, maybe the beginning of September. We test drive it. If we like it, she’s ours. If we don’t, we back out, and go take a look at a Mazda 3.

I’m just a little excited.

Bad blocks! Bad!

Well. It had to happen, right? After twenty years of active computing, a hard drive has gone south on me. Oh, I’ve had drive hiccup before, but I’ve had time to retrieve my data before the platters froze up. And I’ve lost more than one Zip disk to the Click of Death. Interestingly, I don’t think I used floppies enough to keep track of catastrophic failures. But I’ve never lost an entire hard drive until now. And actually, that’s still not entirely true. The thing will work for a few minutes, but it eventually encounters what I think must be a bad block, and starts to power cycle without end. I’ve tried numerous utilities, I’ve tried reformatting it (I am told that will identify and lock out any bad blocks), I’ve tried tapping it firmly on the side. No good.

It is, of course, out of warranty.

This is my first drive failure, but unlike so many first times, I had a backup. I backed that drive up nightly (using Apple’s .Mac Backup program, which is not the best, but served in this case), so I lost one import of digital photos, which I happened to still have on the media card in the camera. (You see, I stopped having iPhoto erase the pictures off the card when downloading, after hearing about a guy who did that and had iPhoto crash while downloading the images, and so he lost them, in both places.) So really, I lost nothing.

I count myself lucky. And I will be buying another drive posthaste, so I can continue with the backup plan.

It happened to me, it can happen to you. You’ve been warned.