post from rayne

Well, I’ve said my goodbyes to Dallas. Drove down to Rayne last night. It was a perfectly pleasant trip except for two things:
1. It rained for much of the first Dallas-to-Shreveport leg. Normally that’s fine, but since my AC is broken again (did I mention that my AC is broken again?), rain means the windows have to be rolled up, which makes the heat stifling. Normally, I could just be distracted by a CD, but oops, I don’t have a CD player anymore.
Side note: I installed an old AM/FM radio into my car console — while driving. Then again, I’m also known for reading while driving.
2. On the second, Shreveport-to-Rayne leg, it stopped raining, so the windows came down. Driving along, minding my own business. All of a sudden, I hear a loud thwock and feel a sharp stinging pain in my left jaw. What the hell was that, I think.
A minute later, I look in the rear-view mirror and see two dead bees on the rear dashboard.
The nerve of some bees.
I’m giving my new computer setup the runthrough, and so far it’s worked out okay. I’m not sure I’ll be able to deal with four months of OS X on a 500mhz iBook. Like a geek version of a Fast and the Furious extra, I’ve tricked it up with a bunch of aftermarket stuff — external hard drive, external Zip drive, external floppy, external burner, SmartMedia reader, scanner, iPod, etc. As a test, I fully charged my iBook battery and plugged in a bunch of stuff to see how long it would last on maximum power drain. Four minutes is the answer. Let’s hope it lasts longer in Zambia.
Expect posting to remain sporadic for the rest of this week as I languish on dialup. I get to D.C. on Labor Day, and I hope my crabwork becomes more regular thereafter.

chanda loses, kelly, bobby heberts

Well, I didn’t even get a chance to start up my traditional Grand Slam ChandaWatch. She lost in the first round 6-4, 6-4, to someone named Maria Vento-Kabchi. (She’s got tendonitis in her right shoulder, but still — Maria Vento-Kabchi?)
Thanks to the folks, blogger and otherwise, who showed up for my going-away dinner Saturday at India Palace. It’s always good to spread the chicken tikka massala gospel. And thanks to Kelly for visiting this weekend, as well as for her promise (now publicly recorded) to start posting to her site again.
Me, I’m busy canceling utilities and shuffling forms and forwarding mail and packing clothes and generally running around like that proverbial chicken sans t

yale wins

This one’s for the Harvard alums in the house.
In other news: one more day of work for me! Which, at the current rate, should mean only 2,596 more Sobig.F emails in my inbox. It’s slowed down our servers so much that it took me 40 minutes to log on to our network this morning — a process that normally takes three or four minutes.

gallagher runs

Gallagher, watermelon smasher, runs for governor. Yeah, I know that D-list-celeb-runs-for-California-governor is already a worn meme, but this piece has that delicious WaPo Style section snark I so love.
The real reason I’m posting is this line:
He has a wad of 100 $20 bills in his pocket and later will get a room at the aptly named Governor’s House Hotel on Rhode Island Avenue NW.
When I move to D.C. on Labor Day, I’ll be living at the Governor’s House Hotel for nine weeks! There’s a chance, however slight, that I may get the Gallagher room! There may be melon bits in the curtains! Oh, joy!

do you have kids?

How to Get Josh Unreasonably Mad, Part XXVIII: Talk to me about an educational topic. Disagree with something I’ve written. Then, instead of offering a reasoned, thoughtful basis for said disagreement, ask:
“Do you have any kids? How old are you, anyway?”
I’ll tell you the answers (no and 27, respectively), so come back with:
“Well, when you have kids, you’ll realize I’m right.”
How impossibly condescending. I always feel like saying, “Let’s see, is it your full-time job to write about education issues?” Or, “Have you always been the sort of blubbering cretin who can’t back up his arguments with anything other than calls to blind authority?” I was unaware that Scott Peterson, Pol Pot, and Saddam Hussein — parents all — had more automatic credence on education issues than I do.
It’s always best to do this at the end of a lengthy, rambling email with at least 18 factual errors, 11 illogical arguments, and five sentences that could only have been written by chimps.

new hard drive, confederacy

One downside of my upcoming move to D.C.: I’ll have to live on my (slow) iBook for four months. No desktop tower power for me.
To help remedy that, I just bought the cutest little 60GB Firewire hard drive. And, as longtime readers know, that means I get to play my geek game of choice: the What-Character-In-A-Confederacy-Of-Dunces-Will-I-Name-This-Drive-After? game.
To recap: my main 80-gig boot drive is named Jones in honor of the janitor at the Night of Joy; my old 30-gig drive’s two partitions are named Ignatius (the protagonist, naturally) and Gonzalez (Ignatius’ boss at Levy Pants). My external 40-gig clunker is Mancuso after the Quarter-wandering patrolman; my iPod is Myrna after Ignatius’ love interest, and the iBook’s HD is named Miss Trixie after Levy Pants’ senile secretary. (Yes, I am a geek.)
I considered a few other character names for my new drive (Gus Levy, Lana, Dorian, Santa Battaglia, Darlene). I even considered a few terms that, while not character names, will forever be associated with the novel in my eyes (Boethius, Big Chief, Communiss, Dr. Nut). In the end, though, I decided to keep it real and pick the name of the novel’s one Cajun character: the suave (though a bit clueless) elderly gentleman caller, Claude Robichaux.
So while I’m wandering the village squares of Zambia in a few weeks, I’ll have a 60-gig Cajun by my side. Comforting.

emusic download limits

I’ve talked up eMusic before — it’s the flat-fee, download-all-you-want digital music platform of choice in the household.
But there evidently is one caveat. “Download all you want” is evidently only true to a point. Crabwalk reader (and ex-CDMOM trader) Scott emails:
Wow, thanks for introducing me to emusic! Of course, I started downloading the albums you suggested and ones from the cdmom’s, and now I have about 2,000 songs. I guess that is where the problem lies. I got an extremely vague email from emusic stating how I have downloaded too many songs. The main issue is that I have downloaded over 2,000 songs in a 30-day period, something that less than 1% of their customers have done or do. My problem is that they didn’t tell me what to do or what is going to happen. I want to download more, but I don’t want to get kicked off.
A couple days later, Scott got another email, booting him from the service.
A little Googling found this page, which indicates Scott isn’t alone. I can understand if eMusic wants to put some sort of cap on downloading, but I think being upfront about what that limit is is a prerequisite for kicking someone off, no?
Really, it’s hard to argue Scott’s been screwed, since 2,000 songs for the roughly $45 he probably paid (for a three month membership) isn’t a bad deal. (I’ve probably downloaded somewhere around 1,500 to 2,000 songs, but over about six months.) But, still, it seems like a dose of bad faith from a company I didn’t have any reason to question before.

car break in part 3

Summer 2001: Hoodlum breaks into my car, tries to steal CD player. Luckily, hoodlum is stoopid and can’t figure out how to get it out. Steals a cell phone.
September 2002: Hoodlum smashes left rear window, breaks into my car, successfully steals CD player. Also randomly pours a bottle of Coke on my backseat.
Last night: Hoodlum smashes right rear window (thank heavens for variety!), breaks into my car, successfully steals my CD player. Also takes about $40 (estim.) in change. Leaves my TollTag and my Texas state map.
All of these occur in a locked (or at least “locked”) garage. Just talked to the goonlets who run my apartment building — not even a “we’re sorry” or a “we’ll work on improving safety.” Just “There’s really nothing we can do” (!) and an explanation that, while they have security guards roaming the complex, they only work during the daytime. (Exact quote, I kid you not: “They have to sleep sometime.”)
So to Hoodlums No. 1 through 3 and the mind-blowing cretins at Post Properties, I give a rousing:
Thanks, assholes!