zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (No More)

Wow, it's gotten really difficult to get eBay to remove undeserved negative feedback.
After 2 days of calling, I finally talked to a supervisor (allegedly).
He basically told me to take those lemons and make lemonade.
I'm going to take a page out of the Cave Johnson playbook and make life RUE. THE. DAY. It gave me those lemons! >:(

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Wepon)

Well, it's been an interesting week...

Monday: Urrrrrrrr, I did something bureaucratic and time-consuming, but I can't remember what.
Oh well!

Tuesday: I went to my local EDD office to get some info on my unemployment benefits claim.
My one-year claim ended on July 25th, and there's still money in it, and I'm still unemployed.
So I was wondering what was gonna happen. Do I file another claim? Does the extension kick in?
Instead of spending a long time trying to get through on the phone, I figured I'd go to the office.
I tried the website but the info was simply not there.
Anyway, I get to the office, and it's a pale shadow of what it was 3 years ago.
It's basically a reception area and a bank of computers for people to browse job listings.
No one at the office has access to claim information any more.
They made me wait my turn to use a phone to call the EDD office in Sacramento.
What. The. Frak.
And when I got through to a living human being, she basically took my information down and told me
somebody would be in touch within the next 10 days. (!!!!!!!!)
It's, like, nobody has access to the information! Not even the people who work there!
What manner of complete insanity is this!?!??

Once home, I found an e-mail from [livejournal.com profile] slipdragon that he received the money I sent him. He's moving soon and he was
selling a bunch of stuff. Of particular interest to me was a large plastic tub full of Lego.
We're talking about 45 POUNDS of high-tech ABS goodness! According to him, the tub contains all the
Classic Space sets from 1979 to the mid-80's. That's pretty incredible in itself, but there's more!
Early Star Wars sets like the X-Wing, B-Wing, A-Wing, Y-Wing and TIE Advanced, along with a Cloud City
playset and this Millenium Falcon. I only have the tiny Mini Falcon, so that's totally awesome!
I've seen a photo of the tub, I could see bits of partly assembled sets that match the description.
He mentioned that he was missing a lot of instructions, but thanks to the massive Lego Internet presence,
finding scanned instructions and complete part inventories is easy as cake, and piece of pie. :)
My plan for this tub is to sort everything and rebuild as many sets as possible. Some will go on eBay
and some will stay in my permanent collection. I have a lot of Classic Space stuff already, so all the
duplicates are headed for the auction block. I'm hoping to fill some of the holes in my collection.
This will be a long-lasting project, I've got my work cut out for me. But I'm not complaining! :D

That night, I watched Disc 1 of "Torchwood: Children of Earth", with the first three episodes.
Hummmmmm, wow. What's with the alien that looks like the missile silo creature from original "Half Life"?
It's much smaller of course, but still. I was dreading how this was going to end.

Wednesday: The driver's side power window on the F(n)ord (St)Ranger, which had been acting up for a month,
finally decided it wouldn't go down anymore. No amount of pushing on the door could coax it to lower.
So I called Joe The Mechanic, who's familiar with the patient, and made an appointment for the next day.
I completed my errands for the day with the driver's side window up, the passenger side window down,
and the climate control on full. The air conditioning doesn't work, so it was blowing in outside air.
Driver's side window stuck in up position + no A/C + L.A. summer = DEATH! Well, sort of...
Netflix e-mailed me to let me know that Disc 2 of "Torchwood: Children of Earth" was en route.

Thursday: I was up bright and early at 08:00. I stopped at McDo for a couple of Sausage McMuffins and
arrived at Joe's at 09:00. They opened the driver's side door panel and started diagnosing the problem.
Turns out the motor was dead and needed to be replaced. Joe called around and found one, but it wouldn't
be there until the next day. So they rigged my window to stay up, despite them having removed the motor
and the bracket and everything else, and sent me on my way.
Once I got home, I found an e-mail from Slip with the shipping confirmation number for the Lego tub. W00T!!
Said tub is scheduled for delivery early next week. Excellent! I gotta make sure I'm home to get it.
I also found Disc 2 of "Torchwood: Children of Earth", with the last 2 episodes, in my mailbox.
I watched it that night and found myself wishing harm on the writer/producer, RTD, aka Russell T. Davis.
I am so glad this man is no longer involved with "Doctor Who".
However, Auntie Sue ([livejournal.com profile] selenesue) told me that Season 4 of "Torchwood" is already planned.
Well, golly, there's NOT MUCH LEFT of Torchwood after "Children of Earth"! What's going to happen?
I went to bed at 02:00, slightly angry. Argh.

Friday: Up bright and early at 08:00 and at Joe's at 09:00.
The motor was scheduled to arrive by UPS at 10:30, so I chilled and read the current issue of Car & Driver.
I also browsed Popular Mechanics and saw a blurb about the new Nerf gun coming out in September.
It looks like a WWII submachine gun and uses a 35-dart drum magazine. Check it out.
The forward grip slides back and forth. If you cycle the grip back and forth once, pressing the trigger
shoots one dart. If you keep the trigger down and cycle the grip repeatedly, you get rapid fire.
I had an old Edison Giocattoli toy submachine that worked the same way, it shot little rubber shells.
Can you believe I originally bought it at Toys'R'Us in the '80s? How things change...

The motor arrived at 11:00, and upon opening the box, it was discovered that it was the wrong part.
But of course!!! Story of my life! They sent the passenger side window motor, an exact mirror image.
Time to go home? Yes! Because the new part wouldn't get here in time to be installed. OH BOY!!

I had promised [livejournal.com profile] girlfmkitty that I would help her move boxes today, so I rang her up once I got home.
Since no one from the EDD had contacted me yet, I filed a new claim on the website. Can't hurt, I guess.
After getting some late lunch (those McDo McMuffins are made of lead, I swear!), I went over to her old pad
to load up the (St)Ranger. We made two trips in total and got a lot done. Her new place is a couple of
blocks from my default Trader Joe's, amusingly enough. Plenty of stuff in walking distance too.
I got home early enough to be able to put some items up for auction on eBay. Click here to see my auctions.
I've got some of them newfangled Lego Star Wars minifigures like Admiral Ackbar and Mon Mothma and stuff.
By the way, if anyone local has something they want to eBay, but can't do it for whatever reason, I'm
willing to help out. I have a digital camera, I know shipping, and I can do write-ups. Just let me know.
I didn't get a call from Joe The Mechanic, so I had no idea if the right motor had come in or not.

Saturday: Joe called me up at 09:00 to let me know the right motor was there. I rolled out of bed,
prepped, and got there at 10:00 sharp. They put the motor in, put everything back together and voila!
I gave Joe all my cash and he let me pay the rest of the bill later. He's such a cool guy!
I got home at around 13:00 and called GirlKitty to tell her I was ready to help with the actual big move.
After grabbing some lunch stuff from Ralphs, I went to her new pad to greet the fridge delivery people
while she and Auntie Sue went back to the old place to pack more stuff and supervise the movers.
I ate lunch, read my Car & Driver and laughed at the pathetic usable range of the all-electric Mini E.
The rest of the day was taken up with moving stuff to the new apartment, unloading everything, stacking
boxes willy-nilly, and trying to figure out where to have dinner. Dinah's Family Restaurant won out.
3 of the 5 of us had chicken fried steak, myself included. We don't why. :D
After dinner, there was one final load of stuff to grab at the old apartment. To my surprise, everything
fit in the back of (St)Ranger. Everybody's ass was draggin' while we unloaded the truck at the new place.
Finally, I was done! I went home and immediately showered, checked e-mail and stuff, then went to bed.
It was almost 03:00.

Sunday: I stayed in bed until 14:00! Woooooooooh!
To my surprise, I was not nearly as sore as I thought I would be.
I had a late lunch at In-N-Out, then did some grocery shopping, then put up some more stuff on eBay.
Then I relaxed and watched "Taken", with Liam Neeson. OMG what a kick-ass little film!
Neeson's daughter goes to Paris and promptly gets kidnapped by white slavers. He's a retired agent,
like an older version of Michael Westen from "Burn Notice", and he goes to Paris to get her back.
The film is cowritten by Luc Besson and contains at least two scenes that made me go "F*CK!" out loud.
It's less than 90 minutes but it's jampacked with ass-kicking goodness and action-packed action! :D
The Kzin says "check it out"!

And it took me two hours to type this, and it doubled in size and picked up several links in the process.
I think it's time for beeeeeeeeeed!
Bonne nuit!

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Watchmen)

A new year...
A new President Of The United States (or POTUS as we like to call him) in 13 days...
New and exciting ways to screw things up and have life blow up in your face...
Herewith a random recap of the past few weeks...

Automotively-speaking, the F(n)ord (St)Ranger suffered from a badly corroded terminal, which was replaced.
This had to happen on a LUGOLA meeting Saturday, of course.
After getting jumpstarted by AAA, I rushed to the meeting in hope of catching people still there.
I was planning to sell a couple of Lego sets to raise money for the replacement of the terminal.
Several eBay buyers had not paid me yet, otherwise I could have gotten that thing fixed right away.
Thanks to a friend's help, I got the terminal replaced. It was a cheap fix too, at $25.
3 days later, the alternator failed and I found myself running on battery power only. Oh boy...
Thanks to eBay buyers finally paying for their stuff and my very cool boss, I got the alternator replaced.
The truck is now running like clockwork. Huzzah!

Christmas Day was spent at [livejournal.com profile] selenesue's House of Sci-Fi, watching DVDs and snacking on delicious things.
Unfortunately, I was under the weather, so I could only nibble on a few things. I was fine the day before,
but on Xmas Day itself? Blargh! And the next day, I was feeling better, of course. Stupid fate!!
I still managed to have some of Selene's awesome mac'n'cheese and Maria's tasty empenadas.
I brought some Pomegranate 7-Up (limited edition) and the general consensus was that it was "yummy".
The DVDs watched were "A Christmas Story" (already in progress), "A Wish For Wings That Work" (aka the Outland
Christmas Special starring Opus The Penguin and Bill The Cat, apparently recently released), "Ghostbusters II",
a vaguely Christmasy episode of "Supernatural" (which caused some revulsion on the part of the viewers),
and an amusing "Blackadder" reverse "Christmas Carol" in which Blackadder is generous to a fault and gets
taken advantage of by everyone. Also featuring Robbie Coltrane as the Ghost Of Christmas, looking almost exactly
like Hagrid, down to the clothing style and the enormous height, but with grey hair instead of black.
Despite the sicky-ness, I had a good time, and spent half of it dozing on the very comfy couch construct.
Thanks Auntie Selene! You rawk! (:hugs)

On the home computer front, it seems to be working okay. I started backing up stuff to CD-Rs, but that way lies
madness, as we're talking almost 2 CDs per gig, and I have 250 gigs to back up. If only I had a DVD burner...
So intead, I am trying to save up to buy an external USB drive. I did some extensive shopping around and I found
a Cavalry brand 400Gig drive on Amazon.com for $65 shipped. That's pretty awesome as everything else I looked at
costs a minimum of $80, and that's for 320Gig. So, let's hope the eBay auctions do well.
EDIT: I just double-checked the price on that drive and it has inexplicably shot up to $89.91! ASSHOLES!!!
Guess I'll have to keep searching.
In the meantime, I'm leaving my computer turned on for 3-4 days at a stretch (I used to turn it off daily).

So there was a screw-up at work with paychecks. Since the L.A. and Canada offices were closed on the week of
New Year's, payroll wanted to finish up ahead of time. Unfortunately, nobody told the QA deaprtment in L.A. where
I work and where the only hourly employees are to be found (just about everybody else is salaried).
So as a result, we didn't give our guesstimates for the hours we would work on Christmas Week, so this past paycheck
only contained one week of wages, plus Christmas Day off paid. Not very condusive to paying the rent, this.
So I had to write a nice letter to my landlord, explaining the situation. I've heard nothing back so far.
No news is good news, I hope.
Now, eventhough the office was officially closed for the week of New Year's, some people came in to work on our
main project, and they wanted testers to be there. So work was available. I jumped at the chance!!
Two of the testers didn't show up, so I wound up with even more hours, covering for them!
So next paycheck will be a bit weird, containing the 4 days of Christmas Week (Mon/Tue/Wed plus Friday 26th),
plus 4 days for New Year's week (3 days and New Year's Day paid), and a normal 40-hour week.
This will help a lot, but I'm still gonna do my taxes as soon as possible. :D

It's been pretty cold in L.A. for the past 3 weeks. Cold for L.A. means 40-50 temps. I know, big deal.
There was a brief upsurge of temperature last week for a couple of days, but the temps fell again.
Today, it's actually pretty nice, currently at 62, and the forecast indicates 65 for the next 2 days.
Yeah baby!! :D

I've reached an impasse with the SACEM, regarding the paperwork they want, so i'm going to go to the French
consulate to seek guidance. They should be able to help me out.

Please check out my eBay auctions. It's mostly Lego stuff, but I keep adding things.
Grey Kzin needs food (and gas and USB drive) badly! :)

Life goes on...

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Snotty)

Happy Thanksgiving to all!
I'd like to share with you all what is, for me, the quintessential Thanksgiving cartoon:
"Jerky Turkey" by Tex Avery.
See if you can catch all the WWII references!
The Looney Tunes are cool, but Tex Avery holds a very special place in my heart.

LOSCON is coming up this weekend and I will be there.
I'll probably be there Friday afternoon and evening, all day Saturday, and possibly Sunday as well.
[livejournal.com profile] theresamather is Artist Guest Of Honor this year, so I will be hanging out with her as much as I can!
Spino and Sweetie and Gizmo and Tadao and maybe Selene and other strange wild denizens of L.A. will be there too.
It's gonna a bitchin' funky disco time for all, by golly you betcha!
See you there if you're there!

In other news, the eBay auctioning continues.
I have several aircraft reference books (Squadron/Signal) up as well as my Furrlough comics collection.
And other stuff as well. I'm continually adding stuff as I have time. Click here to see what's currently up.

By the way, does anyone know a place that gives cash for used paperback books?

It's very late (or very early) and I must go to bed.
There will be turkey and veggies and other good stuff to eat when I next wake up.
And we got a French apple tart with French vanilla ice cream for dessert!
(I think the frozen tart was actually made in France! And the ice cream is Double Rainbow brand.)

Happy Tranqsgiving!!

zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Atari)

Time for an open post of general faffing!
(I'm not even sure what "faffing" means. It's something I heard somewhere.)

First order of business: auctions!
I started putting stuff up on eBay and Furbid.
On eBay, it's my Squadron/Signal aircraft reference books. I've decided to sell my entire collection of 40+ books.
I'm only keeping the ones on the F-14 Tomcat and the A-10 Warthog (but of course!!).
eBay stuff is here.
On Furbid, I'm currently putting up my entire collection of Furrlough comics, all 101 issues, from #1 to #101.
I'm bundling them up in packs of 10 issues (1-10, 11-20, 21-30, etc.). I'll add other stuff later.
Furbid stuff is here.
Check it out, and as Bartles & James used to say, "thank you for your support!".

About two weeks ago, I started working at Sony Connect, doing testing of online stuff.
It's only for a month. When it's over, I hope to move to a different company, with whom I have already interviewed.
PlayStation 3s became available for testing this week, so I got to actually use one and explore it.
Okay, first of all, the PS3 is beautiful.
Standing on end, it looks like a scale-model of a modern building ganked from an architectural firm's offices.
I mean, it's got that big curvy section on the side (or on top if you lay it horizontally).
That curve blended with the sharp angles on the other side, and the gleaming black finish, it's really something.
Also, it's really surprisingly heavy. Which means it's less likely to fall over, I guess.
It looks like a fine handcrafted piece of high-end technology. All that's missing is the Bang & Olufsen logo.
It's so much classier looking than the XBox 360, which looks like a tarted-up external hard drive.
And it's stuffed with more technology too.
I'm not saying it's "better", so don't you be startin' with the Console Flamewars, okay?
I'm simply describing what I feel when I look at it and use it.
The most shocking thing for me, as a longtime PlayStation 1 and 2 user, is how light the controller is.
You don't notice how heavy the Dual Shock hardware is until it's gone. Or you use the old old PSX controller.
Also shocking? No cord! It's wireless! Actually, it comes with a USB cable so you can charge it up, but once charged,
the cable goes buh-bye and you're good to go for several days, maybe weeks, I dunno. It's wonderfully freeing. :)
There's a new button added to the controller: a PlayStation logo between the Select and Start.
It turns the console on and off and does other useful things.
I haven't been able to play with the console's user interface too much. There seems to be a whole lotta stuff to adjust,
configure, and tweak. There's room for videos, music, games, photos, the whole multimedia thing. Way more than the PS2.
It's got 4 USB ports and dedicated slots for Mini-SD, Memorystick, and a third format I don't recognize.
You can hook up all sorts of stuff to it via USB: mice, keyboards, printers, what have you.

Okay, okay, let's talk games!
Unfortunately, there's no time for games 'cause we work hard!
Well, okay, I was able to try out the "Ridge Racer 7" and "Resistance: Fall Of Man" game demos after-hours.
The Ridge demo only has one track and about 8 cars to choose from. How do you say "stingy bastards" in Japanese? :D
The graphics are eye-popping and neurotically detailed. The drifting is over-the-top, as expected for a Ridge game.
They've added nitrous, and you build up your supply by drifting. I wonder what the final game will look like.
Resistance is an FPS. Boy, is it ever! It's like Killzone XL with fugly aliens and carpet-bombed urban landscapes.
Stupendous graphics, but the same ragdoll physics with sometimes amusing clipping. The demo has three full levels,
which gave a good feel for the general gameplay. I would probably pick this up used if I had a PS3.
And since I probably won't be able to get a PS3 before January 2008, I think this will probably come true.
I've been kinda out of the loop since my free game mag subscriptions ended, so I don't really know what's coming next
on PS3. I know "Warhawk" is out and that's one title I'm definitely interested in, being a veteran of the original.
"Lair" looked really good too. And I definitely want "Motorstorm" in my game library.
Guess I need to do some reading in my copious spare time. :D

In other news, the office chair I bought a month ago is now broken.
I didn't expect it to last long, but this is ridiculous!
The breakage point is hard to describe. It's the big knob that's under the chair and is tightened to keep the metal plate
connected to the back rest from moving. I sat in the chair and the bolt connected to the knob sheared right off!
I took the chair back Saturday and got an exact replacement. Hopefully this one will last a little longer.
Until I can get something sturdier.

Work is keeping me pretty busy, and my commute is almost an hour each way, so that doesn't leave much time for posting.
I'll try to catch up over the next few days.



zrath: Zrath-Smiley as a TRON program (Default)

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