The Sledgehammer – Version 2.0

March 17, 2012

Random Thoughts: A Sampling of Some of My Recent Bad Ideas

Filed under: Random Stuff — Tags: — Brian Lutz @ 3:19 pm

I’ve been back to work for nearly three weeks now (thus now doubling the amount of time I have spent working at Amazon over the course of my long and vaguely industrious career,) and I think by now I’ve mostly gotten used to the commute.  Getting to and from Amazon’s South Lake Union campus was one of the main concerns I had with working there, but they actually do a pretty good job of dealing with this, providing a set of shuttles to and from the Downtown Bus Tunnel that solve the last-mile problem involved with getting there and back.  These shuttle rides to have an occasional tendency to involve exposure to potentially hazardous doses of NPR, so I really need to invest in a good pair of headphones so I can conveniently live in my own preferred echo chamber, thank you very much.  I’ll refrain from ranting in too much detail on the topic (after all, I do prefer to keep this particular Blog as free of politics as possible) but I’m guessing that there are plenty of experts out there who recommend starting your day off with something a little bit more uplifting than vague simmering rage.  In spite of that, I’m actually quite enjoying the work I’m doing there, although you won’t be hearing much (if anything at all) about it due to the various non-disclosure agreements involved.

One thing I have found with the new job is that, unsurprisingly, spending an hour and a half  (give or take fifteen minutes or so) commuting every day does tend to cut back on one’s free time a bit.  And then on top of that I’m finding that a good chunk of the remaining time is taken up by my social life (still a bit shocked that I managed to end up with one of those at some point, but I don’t think I’m complaining too much,) which leaves me a little bit short on content at the moment.  I’ve actually got a post from the cruise back in January that I still need to write, but in the meantime, Random Thoughts are the last refuge of the scoundrel.  Which makes me a scoundrel, but what else is new?

– A few weeks ago while trying to watch some TV, I found that things seemed to be just a little bit off.  Based on what you see above, I’d have to say that either children’s television has seriously gone downhill since the last time I checked, or I had something seriously messed up with my cable.  I’m guessing the real answer was somewhere in between the two, but that’s another post.  Anyway, in addition to misplaced channels, I had some channels that weren’t displaying at all, which seemed to suggest a problem.  A call to Comcast to  report the issue ended up turning into an ordeal that ultimately lasted more than a week while I tried to get everything sorted out.  At first, the issue was suspected to be with the Cablecard in my Tivo, but a support call that lasted nearly an hour and a half found that for some odd reason the card that I had was still registered to my old address, and could not be added back into the system for some reason.  This required a trip down to the Comcast office in Redmond to swap out the old card for a new one that would actually talk to them (sort of).  After acquiring and installing the new card, I quickly figured out that it didn’t seem to be working either, and couldn’t get it to pair with either the Tivo or the newly acquired TV tuner card in my desktop PC. 

By the time all was said and done, it took a half dozen calls and/or online chat sessions with support before anyone could figure out that the card I had acquired from the local Comcast office hadn’t been registered in their system, therefore making it a vaguely decorative paperweight that might be able to put a few shiny numbers up on a screen every once in a while.  Once that was sorted I could finally pair the card and watch TV again…  Which put me right back where I started, with missing and misplaced channels.  For now, I’m just going to assume that most of the stuff I’m interested in is still where it’s supposed to be, but I’m dreading the inevitable half dozen more support calls I’m guessing it’s going to take to get everything sorted out.  In spite of the ordeal, I’ve got to say that Comcast has been surprisingly helpful and not nearly as difficult to work with as their reputation might suggest.  Granted, it’s still a company that still doesn’t advance much past “Necessary Evil” status for the vast majority of their customers, but I’ve got to give them credit for putting up with some of my various cable-related dramas over the years.  It might still be nice if I could find some kids shows where the Cat in the Hat isn’t suspected of possessing drug paraphernalia by the time I have kids of my own, but I’m still working on that one.  At this point, it’s anybody’s guess which will be first:  children, or cable that works.

– As far as I’m aware, I haven’t used up my monthly allotted “complain about the weather” Blog post, so I might as well get it out of the way now, mostly because I have no idea what’s been going on with the weather lately.  Yes, it’s still late Winter, and I shouldn’t be too surprised that the weather might be a bit odd at times around this time of year, but lately the weather seems particularly schizophrenic.  This past Thursday seemed particularly moody, as at different times throughout the day I witnessed the usual background sprinkling alternated with torrential rains and nearly clear skies.  Not to mention at various times there’s been snow and/or hail thrown in the mix just for good measure.  According to the weatherman, over at Sea-Tac Airport (where the weather station of record for the Seattle area is located) there’s been at least 1/3″ of rain every day for the past eight days now.  I’d say that the impending arrival of Spring might put an end to the madness, but I’m pretty sure that it doesn’t mean a blasted thing from a meteorological standpoint.  Oh well, at least the scenery might get a little better when the blossoms start showing up.

– The combination of snow outside while I’m writing this and the 12 Hours of Sebring streaming live on ESPN3 (which happens to fit rather conveniently on my recently acquired second monitor) is making it hard to get much accomplished today.  Not that I have a whole lot that I need to really accomplish today anyway, but it’s not like this is exactly motivating me to go out and get any of that nothing done in any sort of hurry.

– This morning, I managed to sleep in until 9.  There was a time not really all that long ago when that would have been my “normal” wake-up time in the morning.  I guess that’s one of those things that people who live in reality have to deal with every so often.

– I think I’m going to have to do a reinstall of Windows on my system soon, things have been acting up quite a bit lately and I’ve had updates that just won’t install for some reason.  I suppose I can’t complain too much, this system (and the last one I replaced with this one) have been far more reliable for me than a lot of the other ones I used to own.  I could claim that it comes with improved skills in building these things, but I suspect that the actual answer has something to do with ditching AMD processors for Intels.  Not that I necessarily want to be supporting the proverbial 800-pound gorilla in the market here, but it seems like the stuff is a lot more reliable.  Then again, it’s been years since I last used an AMD-based system, so who knows how these things are these days?

– Lately, for some reason I seem to be watching a lot of the show Storage Wars on A&E.  It’s a reasonably interesting show, but I I can’t help but have the nagging feeling that I should feel guilty for watching it for some odd reason.

– When all the various distractions involved are taken into account, it’s taken me roughly eight hours write this post.  I suppose I should finish it off now before I get distracted aga- Oh look, a bunny!

– Oh, and by the way, WordPress’s spell checker is still mind-numbingly stupid.  No, I did not misspell “4”, thank you very much.


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