Books I read in 2007

Books I’ve read in 2007:

Movies and BBSing

Angela and I went to see Juno this evening, which was as awesome as I expected. After that we snuck into I Am Legend, which means I’ve seen it THREE TIMES in the theater now. The kids and I snuck into it last weekend after seeing The Golden Compass. It’s been great every time.

The other day a guy posted on my 618 BBS shrine page a link to his page at So I decided to give some BBSes a try yesterday. I logged into two of them and played around on them for about an hour. One of them was a WWIV BBS, which I haven’t seen since the late 90’s. It’s weird, because they still scroll slowly as if I’m on a 9600 baud connection and they still use ANSI graphics and you have to hit the space bar after each page to scroll through long posts and stuff.

The two BBSes I visited weren’t exactly active. The WWIV board hadn’t had hardly any posts from this year. A few of the games (Tradewars, Pimp Wars, etc) seemed to be somewhat active. There were files areas, voting, and all the other stuff that used to come with BBSes. I don’t know if they still update software like WWIV, but it looked and felt just like it always had. It was neat, feeling like I was in the early 90’s again.

But I really don’t understand the point of running or visiting a BBS. I mean, anything that can be done on these things can be accomplished just as well on a website. Forums and file areas, obviously. The games are mostly text-based with a few ANSI screens thrown in. It’d be easy to port those into web sites or flash. Seems like the only appeal to BBSing would be to connect with people in a certain geographical area. But since these are all using telnet instead of dialup now, that part of it makes no sense either. Besides, you can find local people, things, conversations on Yahoo Groups and Craigslist.

I just don’t get the point of any of it other than to feel retro. A lot of the posts on the WWIV board were things along the lines of, “Oh, this brings back so many memories!” and there wasn’t much conversation besides that. I guess that’s all BBSing is good for. If someone wants to point out something to prove me wrong, I’d like to hear your opinion on it.

Tomorrow’s gonna be busy.

Windows Vista Stickers

A couple weeks ago, blog after blog began featuring these stickers from that read “Now Slower and with More Bugs!” I ordered a set of 10 and they arrived in the mail a few days later. The obvious thing to do with these stickers is slap them on copies of Windows Vista. A few blogs have shown people sticking it on their own copies of Vista, but so far I haven’t seen anyone put them on software in stores. So I stopped by Target today and stuck a few on some Microsoft products.

I accidentally put one on upsidedown since I was trying to be all stealthy about it.

You can order these stickers from

UPDATE @ 4:45PM: I was out again today and stickered some more products. What was it, you ask? Apple software? Intuit? Linux? Nope, just some grocery items at Albertsons…

As I was snapping a picture of the Tampax (with the flash on) a girl walked by me with her cart. I’m sure she saw the flash and probably wondered why I would be taking pictures of tampons. A minute later she was blocking the isle and I was just kind of hanging out, waiting for her to move. She looked over at me and said sorry. I told her it was no problem, I wasn’t in a hurry and was just browsing. In the tampon isle.

I’ve still got 3 stickers left. Any suggestions?

UPDATE on Sunday: The Evil Mad Scientist site posted my pictures and some of the users there think I’m a horrible person because of it! They’re saying things like “That is illegal, and disgusting. Regardless of your loyalties, that is just uncalled for.” and “Ridiculous, childish and weak, weak humor. Vandalism is a sign of vacant creativity.” What a bunch of boring prudes! I should start putting “This product causes cancer!” stickers on merchandise and see how they react.


Christmas was fun. I got a car stereo (to replace the one that Warren stole) and a bike (to replace the 2 that Warren stole). The car stereo plays USB devices. I was hoping this meant it would play a 160 gig hard drive, but that wouldn’t work. I wonder if I need to put a powered hard drive in there instead. I know my Xbox 360 won’t accept unpowered laptop drives, I guess because there’s not enough juice in the USB cable. I’ll have to try using a regular external drive. I bought a 4 gig flash drive, though, and it works perfectly. Some day I’ll upgrade that to an 8 or 16 gig flash drive.

The kids got cool stuff. I got them bikes! There’s a pretty huge neighborhood right behind us that is perfect for biking. Then a few DS and Xbox 360 games. Emily got an Ipod and Payton one of those Radio Shack electronic hobby kits. Emily wrote me an awesome poem as a gift. And I guess that’s about it. I didn’t have them on Christmas day this year, but they stopped by anyway for a couple of hours. I was really bored the rest of the day. I was also feeling kind of sick on the 24th and the 25th, but luckily that went away. Last night I spent about 4 hours just watching TV.

I’m reading a new book, called Robbing Banks. It’s an American history of bank robbing from 1831 – 1999. Good stuff in there.

My favorite blogs

Pretty much all day, every day, I read blogs. I use Google Reader to easily skim through them all without actually having to visit their web sites. Currently I’m subscribed to 53 blogs. Here are a few of my favorites:

I was going to list all 53 of my blogs here, but screw that. Those are my favorites. Everyone should go visit a few of them. But more importantly, please use the comments to tell me what your favorite blogs are. 53 is not enough for me and I need more to read.

Washer & Dryer

I just did laundry…IN MY HOUSE! After 2 years of making weekly trips to the laundromat, I’m finally able to do laundry at home again. Not that I’m complaining about the laundromat – it was a good place to catch up on reading and homework. But this is still exciting to me since laundry will be so effortless now. I found a washer and dryer on Craigslist for just $100 and the guy even delivered them to my house. I offered him money for gas and he wouldn’t take it. He said they’re 10 – 15 years old but parts have been replaced in them recently. So far I’ve done 2 loads and they seem to be working.

At approximately $5.00 in quarters a week for the laundromat, I should be saving $20/month by doing laundry here. So this will pay for itself in 5 months. I guess that’s not counting the extra water and electricity I’ll be using. Fine, I guess it’s more like saving $10/month. Maybe $15. Whatever, I like this way better.

I had to go to Home Depot and get a new plug for the dryer since the receptacle in the garage was some funky design that I’ve never seen before. I picked up a sheet of pegboard while I was there. Last night I put up a bunch of shelves and the clothes bar, which you can see in the picture. I’ve got quite a bit of shelving left over since the kids don’t need it in their rooms anymore. At some point this spring I’m going to build a work bench under the pegboard. Maybe one that folds down against the wall so the car can still fit in.

It’s nice having a garage again. Besides being able to park the car in it and not having to scrape ice off the windows every morning, it’s just cool to have a place to store things and possibly build things. I haven’t had a garage since 1997 and I’ve missed it. Hrmm, I need to research garage door hacking and see how easy that is these days.

New Home

Thursday I visited the rental office and signed the papers for the new apartment. Or, townhouse, they call it. I don’t know what that means, but it sure looks like an apartment to me. We did an inspection of the apartment and it was officially mine. I ended up taking carloads of things over all day since work was dead. I think I quit at 11pm that night. Also I picked up the kids from school even though I didn’t have them that day, just because I was excited to show them the new place.

On Friday the kids were home from school so I didn’t get much moved since they took up too much of the car space. Around noon we rented a U-Haul and they helped me fill up the back with tons of stuff. I think we took just one load in the U-Haul, then spent some time in the new place, organizing and cleaning. We also officially moved the cat – he was pretty freaked out about the car ride and the new place. Colleen picked up the kids around 5:30. That night, a guy from Craigslist came to help me move all the heavy stuff. I was starting to get worried since he was 3 hours later than he planned to be and my U-Haul had to be back at 8:00 the following morning. But once he arrived, he was great. We got everything moved in just two truckloads. The couch was the worst and we could barely fit it in the front door of the new place.

When we first arrived at the new place, the cat came down and greeted us. Then he disappeared. After not seeing him for awhile, I started to worry that he might have run outside while one of the doors was open. So me and this guy, Alex, start searching the apartment and calling for the cat. I thoroughly search each room, looking up on shelves, under blankets, and behind everything. No cat. We walk around outside, looking for him in bushes and stuff. No sign of him. So we leave the garage door open a few inches, just in case he’s outside.

We go and pick up the 2nd load from the old place and bring it back. And still no cat. It’s pretty unusual since the cat is always running around when people are here. I’m starting to get kind of worried. The kids would be really upset if the cat turned up missing. Alex and I do a little more searching, both inside and out, and then he leaves. I start searching rooms and closets, shutting doors as I’m 100% sure that the cat isn’t in a room. After maybe 20 minutes, I’m finished and still haven’t found him. I decide that I’m going to start searching outside so I head to my room to get my flashlight. I’m starting to think about what picture of the cat that we’ll use on LOST CAT posters and I’m thinking maybe I’ll sit on my porch for half the night, hoping to see the cat running around in someone’s yard. And there’s the cat, right in the middle of the hallway.

At the time I had no idea where he could be hiding, but after telling Emily about it yesterday she told me he was probably inside the couch. If he wasn’t there, then he’s found a pretty amazing hiding spot. But yeah, he was probably in the couch. Later that night I took my first walk to 7-Eleven! It’s just 3 blocks away, which to me is a major perk of living here. Dari-Mart was 8 blocks from us at the old place, which was a little too far for a quick walk for a snack. I’m going to love having a 7-Eleven so close. I got some Nutter Butters and an empty cup for milk. That was my supper.

Saturday morning I woke up at 7am to take the U-Haul back. I had to stop by the old apartment to use my broom to sweep out the back of the truck, then put $5.00 of gas into it. Got a McGriddle for breakfast and went back home to wait for the cable guy. The kids came over around 9ish and they spent the day playing and occasionally helping me clean and organize things.

I can’t get over how much I like this new place. Warren issues aside, I’m just liking it here tons better than the old apartment and it’s worth every bit of the increased rent. My closet and room are huge. I could easily fit 3 dressers into the closet and still have room to walk around in it. Not that I have that many clothes, but it’s great that I can stuff all my bedroom stuff into there and have the rest of the space (aside from my bed) for nothing but office. My giant wall of shelves is several feet longer than in the old office. And it’s so nice to have a garage to store things in. Things like empty boxes, computer parts, random electronics and car parts. I had to keep all that junk in my room before. And no more scraping the ice/frost from the windows in the mornings!

The neighborhood rules and there’s a cool park about 10 blocks away that we walked to yesterday. There’s also woods everywhere. We went for a long hike in the woods next to the park yesterday. It was freezing, but fun. I’m going to search them for Geocaches soon and if there aren’t any, we’re going to place a new one there.

There’s woods right next to the apartments too that are fenced off, but easily accessible if we enter from the other side. I’m sure we’ll end up checking those out once it gets a little warmer out. On the downside, I can’t walk/bike to the post office and lunch anymore since I’m no longer close to downtown. Not that I could bike there anyway since Warren kept stealing my bike. But on the upside, I can walk to school now!

My Flickr page has pictures of the new place. And a few pictures of the old place being disassembled. I have 3 weeks still, to get the old place cleaned up in hopes of getting my full deposit back.

Rent and Moving

Looks like on Thursday morning, I will be signing the papers and I can move into the new place. Some guy off Craigslist is going to help me with the heavy furniture. We should be completely moved into the new place by Sunday. Woo!

I was talking to Spessa earlier today about the increased cost of rent and I came up with the following excuses on why the increased rent isn’t a big deal:

  • I’ll be saving $13.00 per month on garbage pickup since it’s free there.
  • I’ll be saving $20.00 per month on doing my laundry at a laundromat, once I spend about $150 for a used washer and dryer.
  • I’ll be saving $41.00 per month by canceling my gym membership, once I buy an elliptical machine for a couple hundred bucks. (My current apartment is too small for one.)
  • Decreased power bill since I won’t be running a dehumidifier every other day.
  • My car will be paid for in just 4 more months! That’s $210.00 I won’t be paying anymore! Yeah, I know this has nothing to do with moving, but it’s still a good excuse for increased rent.

Here’s a big one, and I didn’t realize it until I joked about it to Spessa…I will save a few hundred bucks per year by not living next door to Warren the meth addict. That guy has actually cost me a lot of money. Here’s my damage estimate, from 2 years of living next to Warren…

  • $55.00 – bike I bought from Target stolen
  • $250.00 – car window smashed
  • $150.00 – car stereo stolen (from car theft)
  • $44.00 – cool 3,000,000 candlepower flashlight stolen (from car theft)
  • $40.00 – replacement bike I bought at a yard sale stolen (it’s a good thing I didn’t buy nice bikes)
  • $10.00 – lock to gate cut with bolt cutters to steal this bike
  • $15.00 – lock and chain on bike/bike rack cut to steal this bike

At various points during all this, I decide to beef up security for 2 reasons. One is that I really do like this apartment because it’s nice and it’s very cheap. And two, because it would be cheaper to periodically blow money on increasing security than it would to spend another $100 – $300 per month on rent. Here’s the increased security breakdown…

  • $60.00 – Motion controlled security lights in the back. There was NO light back there before, so I had to do some rewiring in the hallway, installed a new switch, etc. So $60 is about what I paid for all those materials.
  • $100.00 – Alarm system. With as many out of town trips as I take, an alarm system that could call me while I’m away seemed like a great idea. I think it also worked as a deterrent for Warren because he heard the door chime whenever it was opened and he was outside. And a few times I forgot to enter my code when I came home, so the alarm went off and I’m positive they had to hear that. Just from him knowing the alarm was there might have saved me from a break in.
  • $50.00 – new motion sensor lights. The old ones stopped working correctly so I had to replace them. Guess that’s what I get for buying the cheapest ones they had.
  • $30.00 – locking doorknobs for inside doors. I liked to keep my office locked when I was gone for more than a few hours. My hope was that anyone breaking into the house might not bother with the locked doors.
  • $30.00 – Miscellaneous security items. Such as window locks for the sliding windows, an extra lock on the back door, a new padlock for the gate since they cut the old one.
  • $100.00 – cameras. I set one up on the back patio area. The other I was going to point out the window at my car, but I never got around to it.
  • $40.00 – USB to video, to hook the camera into.
  • $50.00 – Security software – this is a neat piece of software that can handle up to a few dozen cameras. Whenever it detects motion, it starts snapping pictures and saving them in the computer and uploading them to Plus it was updating a single image of the patio area every 1 minute. It could also email any detected motion to me or send a text to my phone about movement. I loved messing with that software.

So, assuming that I’m not forgetting anything, the total Warren has cost me is approximately $1024.00. That is a LOT of money that I spent during this past two years! It comes to $42.60 per month. That’s how much I pay to live next to this guy. And there’s no doubt in my mind that he’s responsible for the issues I’ve had with theft. It’s either him or its his friends. Not to mention the peace of mind that I haven’t had because of him. I’d love to buy a new car stereo (another Warren-related cost once I finally do it) but I can’t because if I do, there’s the risk of his posse breaking into my car again. I’ve had to deal with shitty local radio stations every time I get into the car because of him. I was going to skip getting the kids bikes for Christmas this year because they’d probably just get stolen since these people are cutting the locks. I can do that now! (I guess in this case, Warren would have saved me about $100.) And vacations are a little worrisome, knowing that Warren probably realizes that I’m out of town and he might decide to break in. It’d be so easy for him to break into my place without getting caught.

So I’ve got some serious plans for Warren, which I don’t think I should rant about in my journal. But I will have at least $1024.00 of fun with him. I just hope he doesn’t die from his addiction before I finish with him. Warren, prepare for a much more interesting life.


By the end of December I will live in a new place! I’ve been looking at apartments all year and I really started looking hard this week. It looked like I was going to move into the New Heritage apartments in mid-January. But yesterday I paid rent and I asked if they had any 3 bedroom places available. She showed me one that looked really great. I went home and looked in up on Google maps (aerial view) and it looked awesome from the sky. I called up and made an appointment to see it.

Today I met Dale there and he showed it to me. He seemed really intent on “selling” it to me, pointing out every good feature he could come up with. He didn’t have to, though, because the place was really great. It has a completely modern kitchen, giant living room, giant bedrooms, a walk-in closet for me, 1.5 baths, a back patio, a garage, and washer and dryer hookups. I haven’t had a garage since Ohio in 1997! And it sure would be nice to do laundry at home again. I’m really excited about the whole thing. It’s on a dead-end street too. I can finally get a new car stereo without worrying about Warren’s friends busting out my car window. And I can buy a bike again!

I badmouthed the hell out of Warren to Dale. Dale was surprised that he was even living there since he wasn’t supposed to be. I told him about my car being broken into, my two bikes, the locks being cut with bolt cutters, and the attempted break-in to my back door. Dale says he’s going to kick them all out. Which he’s been saying since my very first day there so I don’t believe him. But it’s nice to know that he’s hating those people. I just hope Warren doesn’t figure out that I said anything before I move out.

I immediately drove to the rental office, filled out the paperwork and put down a deposit. They have to clean the carpets and then it’s mine. I put in my 30 days notice for this place so I guess I’ll have a few weeks to get everything cleaned up around here. I started moving everything out of Emily’s room tonight and I’m getting the screw holes all patched up in there. I’m going to try and do a lot of work on everything this weekend. Her rooms is almost completely emptied already. Guess I’ll start on Payton’s next. I need to find someone to help me move all the heavy furniture. Craigslist?

The Mist

Cat in the christmas tree

The cat is really enjoying the Christmas tree so far. He’s been climbing all over it for hours now.

Kids and I went to the movies today. Saw The Mist and then Enchanted. They say they liked The Mist better. It was a great movie, but wow, what a messed up ending. (The only part of the book they changed. The book didn’t really even have an ending.)

A couple months ago I signed up for a magazine subscription to help Emily with some school thing she was doing. I got a 24 month subscription to Wired for a good price. Today I got the magazine and read through it all. The only problem is that I’d already read almost all of the stories in it during this past month. Since I subscribe to dozens of blogs, reading a tech magazine is pretty pointless for me. It sucks wading through all those ads too. I might just transfer the subscription to someone who wants it.

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