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.