Strange Musings *hyuk*
Saturday, January 29, 2005
  9:59 PM — Winter Woes
I've been having the damnedest week. Weeks now. Wednesday, January 19, in the morning my kitchen sink drain went from being slow to stopped. Prior to that I'd been leaving the water dripping to prevent the pipes from freezing. Of course, now that the sink was stopped up, I couldn't run them anymore. Wednesday evening I tried plunging the sink a bit, but not too much since it was after a chorus rehearsal and I was beat. Thursday evening after further plunging attempts, I called the landlord. Left a message. Friday I called the landlord and knocked on his door. Saturday ditto. Sunday the snow hit. When I saw the landlord was out plowing, I threw on clothes and went to dig my car out. Now, I don't actually have a shovel, so I was hoping to borrow one from my other upstairs neighbors, landlord's roommates, but they refused to let me--and instead shoveled my car out themselves! Rock on! Unfortunately, I didn't get the chance to talk to the landlord about the drain (by now I figured either he was ignoring me, or his answering machine crapped out), but I did tell one of the roommates, who said he'd tell Aaron. Monday comes, and my car won't start. But that's okay because Campus is closed. By the way, Worcester doesn't know how to handle snow. Typically, they plow at the very end of a snow storm, with the result that it is physically impossible to travel during the actual storm, and it's also that much harder for them to do it when it finally does stop snowing. No exception this time, but that's just a side note. So at 1 in the afternoon on Monday I go to start my car so I can go out and get some draino and it won't (start, that is). I tried to give it gas, but the pedal didn't seem to want to move. I was just about to call a tow truck when my wonderfully helpful neighbors (not including the landlord) pull up in their car. Oh, what I neglected to mention is that Aaron's roommates work at his car shop. Five minutes later Steve is revving my engine nicely while I'm on Dave's cellphone telling Aaron about the drain. Every night starting Monday, Aaron then works to fix my drain. By the end of the night, Aaron is convinced it's a combination of ice and a normal clog. My kitchen is the only one on those pipes, and they run through an outside wall, so if they froze no one else would notice. Tuesday he shows me the three-foot long section of pipe that he pulled out of the wall, filled with ice. Apparently there was an inch wide crack in the house's wall that let in cold air, and the insulation on the pipe wasn't enough to keep it warm. It's not clear how a drain pipe got filled with standing water, but that's a different issue. Wednesday was my birthday, and I drove to campus at 11am for my 12noon class through another fucking foot of snow because it was open this time. Until noon. This time the City of Worcester decided to plow during the storm--Wednesday night, while Aaron's trying to break through the remaining ice with a blowtorch and 1" drill. More came down over night, and there were no plows for the additional half foot we had by Thursday morning, and campus was open again. We've now had 6 academic days, and I've only had my classes meet 2 of them, and I haven't taught a single real lesson! Thursday , day 9 without drain, Aaron tells me he broke through the ice. After running the sink for a minute or two, I check in the closet downstairs of my kitchen. He broke through all right. Broke through the pipe. Thursday night Aaron shows me the hole in the pipe that he's just pulled out through the floor under my cabinet. Anyone else wondering why he hasn't yet called a plubmer? Night 10, Friday, T$ arrives for the weekend to celebrate my birthday with me, and Aaron fits pipe sections together downstairs without disturbing us. It's currently Saturday night (#11) and he's piecing things together in my kitchen cabinet floor. Despite the cooking grease I've been sending down my bathroom drains, they are still running. For now. Nathan keeps suggesting I kick him in the nuts while he's under my sink. It's becoming increasingly tempting.

Thursday, January 27, 2005
  7:55 PM — Fwd: Fw: virus alert
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 15:36:00 -0800 (PST)
From: K** <***>
Subject: Fwd: Fw: virus alert
To: sender's whole address book

---Original Message---
S*** <***> wrote:
From: "S***"
To: sender's whole address book
Subject: Fw: virus alert
Date: Wed, 26 Jan 2005 14:51:07 -0500

: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 2:23 PM
Subject: FW: virus alert

Please read the following e-mail, this is serious. Good Luck, T***

-----Original Message-----



A new virus has just been discovered that has been classified by Microsoft as the most destructive ever. This virus was discovered yesterday afternoon by McAfee and no vaccine has yet been developed. This virus simply destroys Sector Zero from the! hard disk, where vital information for its functioning is stored.

This virus acts in the following manner:

It sends itself automatically to all contacts on your list with the title:

"A Card for You".

As soon as the supposed virtual card is opened the computer freezes so that the user has to reboot. When the ctrl+alt+del keys or the reset button are pressed, the virus destroys Sector Zero, thus permanently destroying the hard disk. Yesterday in just a few hours this virus caused panic in New York, according to news broadcast by CNN.

This alert was received by an employee of Microsoft itself.

So don't open any mails with subject: "A Virtual Card for You." As soon as you get the mail, delete it!!

Even if you know the sender !!!

Please pass this mail to all of your friends.

Forward this to everyone in your address book. I'm sure most people, like myself, would rather receive this notice 25 times than not at All



Do you Yahoo!?
Yahoo! Search presents - Jib Jab's 'Second Term'
Content-Type: text/html; charset=us-ascii


Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 19:35:34 -0500
From: zandperl <***>
To: person who emailed me
Subject: Re: Fw: virus alert
Cc: all the people in her addressbook

Almost as horrible as a virus, is a Hoax Virus Alert. Fake virus alerts can come to you from anyone you know, and are most common from trusted friends and family members. While they do no direct damge to you or your computer, they slow down internet traffic, take up space in your inbox, and require precious seconds for you to click the "delete" button.

If you receive an email that you suspect is a hoax virus alert, you should independently verify whether the email is a hoax or a real virus warning before taking the drastic steps of deleting it or telling others that it is a hoax. Go to Google or your preferred search engine and type in some of the key words in the email. For example, using Google and the search terms " 'a card for you' virus alert" returns some 1,000 pages. Within the list of webpages, look for the webpages of trusted virus scan companies (such as Sophos, MacAfee, Norton, and Symantec) or myth
busting sites (like Snopes).

A typical "hook" in virus alert hoaxes is the claim that a computer will automatically freeze or crash when you view the infected email--no matter what email program you use (Outlook, Netscape, web-based, text-only, etc.), no matter what type of computer (Windows, Mac, Linux, Unix). At the current time, Microsoft Outlook is the only email program significantly vulunerable to that sort of attack--if you use any other program to view your email, you would usually have to
run a file or download something in order to allow a virus to actually attack your computer. Additionally, these viruses are typically written for Windows computers, as they make up some 90% of the market.

To prevent yourself from getting real viruses, don't open unexpected attachments, install a virus scan program, and try not to use MS Outlook or Outlook Express for your email. To prevent yourself from being taken in by virus hoaxes, always look up info about the virus before sending the "warning" email on to friends, or following any directions in the email (such as deleting important system files, or formatting your hard drive).

For more information on this particular virus hoax, please see the below webpages.


Wednesday, January 26, 2005
  6:09 PM — Lookin' Up!
After being on campus for an hour today and telling 3 students that YES, we were still having class despite the weather b/c campus was still open, I got a message saying that NO, campus was being closed at 12 noon. Considering that my first class is at 12 noon, that means I went to campus for nothing. However, before I could get pissed, Carol (a coworker) drops by my office to make sure I know, and when I tell her it's my birthday, she promptly declares that we're going out for beer and lunch. Six people, a slice of peach cheesecake with a candle in it, and one "Happy Birthday" song later, I'm smiling. :-D Still no drain, but I managed to barrell my car back into my parking spot at home and then took a three hour nap. Slowly waking now, and will make something for dinner soon, and then play more FF9 before deciding on tomorrow's lab. Nice how I don't have to work at all this semester...

  8:02 AM — I hate my skin
I have a skin condition called hidradenitis suppurativa, or HS. I rarely spell it right on the first time. If you use Google to look it up, be aware that some of the pictures that come up can be nasty, but I'm not usually as bad as what you see online. They're Stage III usually, and I'm only I or II. I'm probably at Stage III, but milder than most stories I hear about it. HS can most easily be described as super acne of the sweat glands. (Reminds me of "Eternal Cupcakes of the Spotted Kind." Yeah, I'm uncomfortable talking about it. But I'm also irritable and sleep deprived!) At least it's not contagious.

On a normal day, this just means that my skin where I sweat the most has lots of cm-sized nodules; underarms are the worst. It's embarassing during bikini season. However, if I am stressed, or wear shirts with tight armpits, or shave my armpits, I'm likely to have a flare up. A flare up results in one of those cysts becoming inflamed, reaching anywhere from the size of a marble, to the size of a golf ball softball, and proportionally painful.

Last night there was exactly one position I could sleep in (left arm raised above my head), and a stab of pain woke me every time I inadvertantly moved out of it. I move a lot during the night. After a while I'd manage to doze back off with my arm above my head, but I was never really comfortable. And today's my birthday too. :(

I just haven't been having a good week. Ask me about the frozen drain sometime. And my broken down car. And the no snow day today. :-P

Monday, January 24, 2005
  9:57 AM — State Supported Terrorism
somebody, somebody, SOMEBODY please tell Bush he's going about this all wrong. He talks about spreading democracy throughout the world, and yet, does anyone remember the reason why terrorists target the US? You there in the back corner. "Um, because we're meddling in the Middle East?" Speak up sonny, the people in Washington can't hear you. "BECAUSE WE'RE MEDDLING IN THE MIDDLE EAST!" Bush makes a connection between tyranny and war. Well, what about all the wars that democracy has started?

Meanwhile, it's my personal opinion that not all societies are ready for democracy. In the modern world, which countries are democracies? That's right, the industrialized First World superpowers. Russia isn't a First World nation. England is still technically a monarcy, but it's the EU that's the superpower. The Founding Fathers of the US felt it was important that the people actually doing the voting understand what they are voting for. There's a good chance that democracy in Iraq will fail because all we like sheep will vote for our own tribal Khan (Hail all hail!) and whichever tribe is largest their leader will win and have to try to unify the rest. The people of Iraq do not know the other candidates. The people of the early US didn't know any of the candidates. What did it take for us to know? The industrial revolution and a life of leisure. Even in ancient Athens the rich men-folk had leisure, and they were all that were allowed to participate in their great democracy. It takes leisure time to begin to understand politics.

Though, there is one thing (besides I'm sure my gross ignorance and misunderstanding of the situation) that undermines my argument of leisure... Many of the people of Iraq have the leisure time to build and set off car bombs. Standing on a rooftop with a sniper rifle does not directly put food on your table. These people do have leisure time and are not living at the subsistence level. I guess free time in and of itself does not allow for a democracy, but I still contend that it is required.

Neh, I'm tired of ranting incoherently. Back to Final Fantasy 1X.


Sunday, January 23, 2005
  9:32 AM — Holy Shit Snow, Batman!
OMFG. There really isn't any better way to describe what's going on here than swear words and tween intarweb lingo. The National Weather Service says (shortened and rearranged to be more narrative):

An extreme situation is occurring in eastern Massachusetts. Four inches of snow was reported in 25 minutes at Chelmsford. The North Shore is being blitzed by snowfall rates of almost 4 inches per hour. It may last only another hour or two but its a complete short term paralyser. 8 inches of snow may fall in portions of the Boston area in a 2 hour period during mid and late morning. Nantucket may end up with only 12 to 22 inches.

Scattered power outages have occurred this morning as winds all along the coast gust between 55 and 65 mph on bostons north and south shores and even on Narragansett Bay. A 78 mph wind gust was reported. Power outages may become widespread this afternoon on the cape and Nantucket when the brunt of wind hits there, between 75 and 80 mph.

Final blizzard totals for most of eastern Massachusetts will range between 28 and 38 inches setting a new single storm record for Boston, surpassing the amount from the great blizzard of 78 and the presidents day storm of 2003. Isolated totals of 40 inches are possible. Even if this storm comes up slightly short of record, this is an extremely dangerous life threatening storm because of severe blowing and drifting of the newly fallen snow and tumbling temperatures. Drifts of at least 6 feet are occurring.

A Blizzard Warning is issued when sustained wind speeds or frequent gusts of over 35 mph are expected with considerable falling and/or blowing and drifting snow. Whiteout conditions occur at times. Those venturing outdoors may become lost or disoriented, so persons in the warning area are advised to stay indoors.

Okay, so even if we don't beat the record, we're still getting 10"/hr, totals of 40", and drifts of 6'. I'm super glad that I was merely transitioning out of my mothers womb during the great blizzard of '78, and that I wasn't the one having contractions while sticking my head out the car window to tell my dad where the road was on the way to the hospital so I could have 20 more hours of labor before finally being cut open to release the parasitic beast inside. (That's me if you lost track.)


WARNING: This blog often contains disturbing stories of science and math as used in every day life.

If you are easily disturbed or a Luddite, surf on elsewhere.

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Location: New England, United States
October 2003 / November 2003 / December 2003 / February 2004 / March 2004 / May 2004 / October 2004 / November 2004 / January 2005 / February 2005 / March 2005 / April 2005 / May 2005 / June 2005 / July 2005 / August 2005 / September 2005 / October 2005 / November 2005 /


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