New jewelry

I lost one of my earrings a few days ago, and ended up replacing them with the smallest form of these.

But now that they've arrived, I'm not sure how I feel about them.  They are a little larger than I expected, and significantly larger than the half-inch claws they're replacing.  Opinions?

Victory is mine!

After Paula secured a smaller screwdriver for me, I managed to disassemble the LCD panel, pull out the bulb assembly, desolder the dead bulb, and solder in the new one. And by some miracle, I got all the parts back in without breaking or losing anything. And it only took three trips to the store for tools and about four hours of work.

I am perhaps inordinately pleased with myself for fixing it. I took some pictures of the laptop and panel in various states of disassembly, but haven't gotten around to getting them off the camera yet.

I need a smaller screwdriver

The LCD in my three-year-old Thinkpad T43 has failed and I'm pretty sure the problem is with the fluorescent bulb in the backlight (the screen will light turn on for a few minutes, but it's all pinkish). After spending two and a half hours monkeying around with screws of fractally decreasing size, I'm finally at the point of disassembling the "no user serviceable parts inside" LCD panel itself so I can desolder the dead bulb and replace it. Except I can't get the practically microscopic screws out of the housing.

A replacement bulb is $8. A used replacement panel can be found for about $100. A whole new laptop could probably be had for $800 or so. I bet I never do this again.
  • Current Music
    Dark Tranquillity

Where there's two, there's at least two

The rat traps we set in our crawlspace caught not one but two rats! Hopefully this will resolve our recent rat issues... we're particularly hopeful because the third trap we set wasn't disturbed, and one of the sprung traps was still baited. Presumably this means no one was left to eat the bait.

So, we also cemented up the hole they were getting into the crawlspace through.

Smashed rats are kind of nasty. At least they probably died quickly.
  • Current Music -- goa/psytrance

Seattle weather forecasts decoded!

In most of the world, when they say "20% chance of rain", they mean that there is a twenty percent chance that rain will fall that day and an eighty percent chance no rain will fall.  If it falls, you get a shower, or maybe a storm or something like that.  In Seattle, the last six months have demonstrated to me that this isn't the case here.  "20% chance of rain" here actually forecasts a 100% chance that "20% rain" will fall.  20% rain is like a piddly little drizzle.  40% rain is a little more substantial, but it's not really until 80% rain that it starts to get a little respectable.

I think they say "20% chance of rain" just to keep people from getting depressed.  If they said "100% chance of piddly little drizzle" every day for a week, there would doubtless be some sort of revolt.

Somewhat humbling

DDR Extreme 2 has started to challenge me.

Dance Master mode Area D has a number of really twisted missions like "Step 180 times, but get a 'Boo' on every arrow" or "Do not step on any red-colored arrows, but get at least 'Great' on all other colors" or "Get at least 65 each of Perfects and Greats."  It's amazing how hard it can be to be deliberately (and precisely) less than perfect.

I probably would've skipped the whole Dance Master thing entirely except it's the route to unlock all the songs for purchase... very annoying at first because it makes you play all the stupid one-foot songs with no way to skip them, but it's making up for it now.

Monkey business

Yesterday I went to a climbing gym for the first time with two coworkers.  It was a lot of fun, although definitely different from the other sort of climbing I've done in the past.  Today my fingertips and shoulders hurt in a not-unpleasant way.

Also, I just read an article in a Japanese children's newspaper about a filesharing program called Winny.  It read like you might imagine the MPAA would would write an article aimed at American kids.  "Winny is very popular, and it sounds like fun, except it's very dangerous!  The Winny network is full of viruses that will send your name, address, and secret diary to everyone in your class, and even anti-virus software can't totally protect you!  Also, if you trade copyrighted movies and software, you will get arrested." (the article at this URL changes regularly, so you may have to dig through the archives to find it depending on when you read this).


the asian market right next to my building at Amazon carries the japanese convenience-store style o-nigiri (rice balls with various tasty fillings). these have some of the most clever packaging i've ever seen... they keep the rice separate from the dried seaweed that wraps it until the very last instant, so the seaweed stays crispy. i didn't expect i'd ever seen one again outside japan.
  • Current Music
    Mysterium - Soulwards

The right tool

On wednesday we had a dying tree in our backyard taken down.  The tree service cut the tree into rounds 12-20 inches tall.  So today in order to start turning it into firewood I went to Home Depot and bought a tool called a maul.  It rules.

Talk about satisfying.  It's a little unbalanced as far as exercise goes, though.  Hopefully I won't end up with just one big, beefy arm.

Also, for the MIT people in the house, today I found practical application for my Course 19 education when I went slithering around my house's crawlspace to check out the heating duct that's messed up.  Who knew practice negotiating insulated pipes without getting fiberglassed would ever come in handy.