August 30, 2009

LA County Fair

This is one of the best ads I've seen.

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August 28, 2009

Hit the Books

Classes resume Monday. Three weeks of vacation sure went by in a hurry.

The history department is offering 36 upper-division courses for the upcoming semester. At the moment, 33 of them are closed. The three remaining have a total of four available seats between them. I'm already enrolled in one, another conflicts with another class I must take, and the third conflicts with the other history class I'm enrolled in this semester.

Which is to say, I'd like to take a third class in my department this semester, but I guess I'm going to have to go begging to the professors to let me in. They may or may not be able to, as sometimes class size is set by the professor's preferences, but other times it is a function of the assigned classroom and the fire code.

"Greek Civilization" and "Modern Korean History" conflict. I'd rather take Greek Civ, but I need to get a Asia-focus class in, so Korea it is.


UPDATE Sunday at 6:54 PM: Those four open seats are full. I've sent an email to a prof for a seminar I'd like to take, trying to balance the tone to "supplication" without slipping into either or "obsequiousness" or "dictation".

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August 23, 2009


My eldest sister's family got a new (to them) TV. They were going to throw out their old one, but I protested, seeing as how I have no TV at all. And while I've not been pining away for lack of entertainment, it would me nice to flip it on and see the weather reports. Yes, I can check weather on the internet, but around here bad weather often causes brief power outages that knock the university's routers offline for an hour at a time.

Anyway, I got their TV, which has a giant-seeming 27" screen. It came with the warning that it was slowy dying, but what the heck, I can toss it in the electronics recycling bin when it finally gives up the ghost. It's a 1990 Zenith, CRT of course, and it weighs a ton. Well, probably only 50 or 60 pounds, but it's ackward to carry.

First issue was cleaning. I mean no insult to my sister's house, but on the drive back to Buffalo, I could not help but notice the inside of my car was beginning to smell like dog. I arrived back at Buffalo on a rainy evening, so I left the car packed, but the next day I made with the unpacking. I set the TV outside, removed the plastic frame, and cleaned it the best I could with wet rags and canned air.

While I was working away, my next-door neighbor's three-year-old daughter came outside, along with her visiting cousin, who is about seven I'd guess. The girls were very interested in what I was doing, and also curious about the inside of a TV. There was a great deal of "why" and "what's that" and so forth. Their parents were mightily amused, in that the girls had gone outside to get loaded into their car for a specific reason. A guy cleaning a TV was so interesting that it made the two little girls forget all about a trip to get ice cream– in August!

I got it as clean as I could without risking damage to the circuit boards, put it back together, and lugged it inside. Next step was a trip to Sam Walton's Olde Tyme Shoppe for a cheap TV stand, as it didn't look too good sitting on the floor. That assembled, I went online to find the manual for the universal remote, and now it's all working. Hoorah! I get the university's cable network, which has a lot more channels now than it did in the mid-'90s.

I am confident the TV will not distract me from my studies. It was too big for my room, so I set it up in our (largely-unused) great room. Now I need to buy a more comfy chair for in there, so I can sit and fold clothing while watching the Buffalo Bills lose this year. Which they will. I have faith in the Bills and their ability to choke anytime, anywhere.

Today's project: I'm building some bookshelves in the greatroom. As noted above, I've decided to improve this neglected room.

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August 13, 2009

Vacation is Finally Here

I finished my courses for summer session at UB, and am now have three weeks of vacation. Plans thus far include visiting both parents and one sister. Some friends and I are thinking about camping, but we've not decided the method yet: car camping in Letchworth, car camping in the Adirondaks, canoeing in the Adirondaks, or "other". I'm pushing Forked Lake, but we'll see what we end up with.

Yesterday some friends were outside looking at the Perseid meteor shower, but I didn't bother. Sure, I could drive an hour to get away from the city lights, but all of upstate NY has light pollution. I've seen the stars for real: a moonless night, on a blacked-out ship, five hundred miles from the nearest land. When it is truly dark like that, on any gived day you will see a meteor every couple of minutes, more than I could spot in at the height of a shower here. The big disadvantage was that I couldn't do any astro-photography on the ship, for obvious reasons.

On a totally unrelated and probably uninteresting note, I ate vegetarian today. I had pancakes for brunch, green pea and vegatable soup for dinner, and I'm about to make an apple crisp for dessert. Life is good.

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August 06, 2009


No, not me. My cousin Russell. My congratulations to him and his prospective spouse.

I suppose I should run off to the nearest church for them and post the banns. Or maybe that's the side effect of reading too much history.

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August 03, 2009


A buddy of mine was part of a group that put together costumes as the characters from Team Fortress 2. Follow this link for photos, you'll be impressed. (The only one I know is the Soldier, Chris S.)

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