As the heat crept up his back and into his body, he gradually became aware of the fact that he was eating pepperoni from a plastic package. He heard the crumpling sound of the plastic as his hand, without direction, picked the pieces up and moved them into his mouth.
As the heat crept up his back and into his body, he gradually became aware of the fact that he was eating pepperoni from a plastic package. He heard the crumpling sound of the plastic as his hand, without direction, picked the pieces up and moved them into his mouth. From the taste, and the feeling in his stomach, he knew he had been standing there eating for some time. Like water melting from ice, he remembered getting the pepperoni from the fridge; his hands groping for the opening to the package. Walking to the heater, and turning his back to it.
He continued to eat.
What is that ringing noise? It was a sudden sound. It stopped, and then started again. Oh yeah, the phone. His feet moved, and he turned away from the warm heater and into the bedroom. The phone was on the floor. He bent to pick it up, and his hand clasped the hard plastic shell while his arm brought the receiver to his ear.
Someone was intruding into his world. Another human voice – but was it human? How could he be sure? The sound came from the plastic thing in his hand. He supposed it was someone actually talking to him; this was the sort of thing you were expected to do. Talk to people on the phone. People, humans; other beings with thoughts and feelings of their own. He was aware of his own voice, speaking; his mouth moving, not to eat now, but to form sounds which whatever was listening on the other end of this intangible line would interpret as words, as speech.
When he put the phone down he couldn’t remember what he had said. The sounds – no, the words – he had heard floated in his memory like drops of blood in alcohol, slowly mixing; and slowly dying. Something about coming out after work for a drink, that’s all he could remember. Well, it might be a good idea.
A drink. He had a drink. Or maybe he went and got one after answering the phone. He couldn’t recall; and it wasn’t important anyway. The can was red, but that was only an after-thought. It was the same thing he always drank. Supposedly it had a sweet flavor, but he drank it like it was water, the taste hardly registered. Soon, the caffeine in the drink (the words “Code Red” bubbled to the surface of his mind, but they were lost; disconnected, devoid of meaning without context) would bring more thoughts, more memories to his mind. He’d be awake for a while longer. Best to be as awake as he could. And besides, it was time to go.
Keys in hand, jacket against the cold, he stepped out into the night. Just another day…
Oh, something for y'all who like Christmas: My Christmas Countdown Utility. It's a small little program for Windows-based PCs that (as you would expect from the title) counts down the days until Christmas. It also has a built-in reminder that you can set, for simple "alarm" functionality. You can even add a note to your alarm.
Oh, something for y’all who like Christmas: My Christmas Countdown Utility. It’s a small little program for Windows-based PCs that (as you would expect from the title) counts down the days until Christmas. It also has a built-in reminder that you can set, for simple “alarm” functionality. You can even add a note to your alarm.
It runs in the system tray and consumes only a few KB of memory. Not much to look at, but hey, I threw it together in about a half an hour (most of the time spent looking for the cool icons it uses! Try clicking on them!).
If you’re feeling adventurous, try finding the secret features I added to it. Good luck!
UPDATE: This program is no longer available. (Hey, it was old and shoddy to begin with.) But don’t despair – a new version is available!
Wow. What a week it’s been since I last wrote here!
Anyway, the obvious stuff: it snowed. It snowed A LOT. I drove in the snow. It was fun! AWD is such a cool thing, there was literally NOWHERE I couldn’t go. I went up Mt. Vernon St, up all the hills I could find in fact; none of them could hold me back, even when they were compacted snow with no sand AT ALL. Ice? Whatever – I drove on. I even got to do some radical donuts down in the Civic Center – with the hand brake, whee! I think I got close to a true axial 360 – but I’m not sure. On Sunday, when the storm was over, there was a LOT of snow down in the Civic Center, and I took Amanda there to teach her the finer points of snow driving, and to have her get used to how the car feels in the snow. However, there was so much snow that it actually came up higher than the front fenders on the car! So, I drove into it anyway, and didn’t get stuck at all (although turning was a bit tough). Isn’t AWD sweet? Amanda praticed on the better-plowed portion of the lot, and then I had her go out onto the roads (which were pretty good by this point, but still slippery – and this is Fitchburg after all, which isn’t renowned for its plowing abilities). She did VERY well, I must say, which is a relief to me. All in all, the snow storm was fun, fun, and more fun. The car preformed impecably – which is what I was hoping for.
I’ve been very zombie-like lately; work is really doing a number on my conciousness. Long days of driving (snow doesn’t do much for traffic I’m afraid), and long days of support (which is down a bit, thanks to my MAD PR0GR4MM1NG SK1LLZ) followed by long nights of programming (hax0ring).
Something tells me I had a lot more on my mind this morning, but I tend to forget all of that by the time I actually have a free minute to write my thoughts down. Oh well.
At 5:30am, it started to snow. No big deal, right? "Just a flurry" I thought to myself. But lo and behold, when I went out to the car a few minutes later (6am), there was nearly a quarter of an inch of snow on the ground. ARGH.
Current mood: Tired
Currently listening to: Nothing
Today was the worst commute I’ve ever had.
At 5:30am, it started to snow. No big deal, right? “Just a flurry” I thought to myself. But lo and behold, when I went out to the car a few minutes later (6am), there was nearly a quarter of an inch of snow on the ground. ARGH. So, being lazy (and late) I just started the car and let the snow blow off – which was fine, it was just that light, dusty stuff. Well, apparently it snowed all over the place, very quickly and very suddenly, because all the roads were covered in a thin layer of snow-turned-ice, and since nobody expected it, there was no sand or salt on the roads at all. Which means that they were like ice. No big deal for my AWD Keithmobile, but for many other people (most other people, really) it was hell.
Route 2, just in Leominster: big accident, traffic is crawling along at 5mph. A Toyota Tacoma had crashed head-on (well, almost) into the barrier on the left of the highway. Police, ambulance, etc. After getting by that, things smoothed out. 190 was a breeze – but then I got into Worcester.
Route 290, in Worcester: spin-outs galore. One happened just feet before my exit. Crawled off the highway nearly a half-hour behind my normal schedule. My mood was NOT GOOD at this point. But, I was pleased with my driving so far, so I did some experiments on the freshly-iced (yes, iced, the snow was fresh in Worcester and had only been packed down a bit by passing cars, it was like driving on sheer ice) roads; fish-tailed almost out of control, but recovered easily thanks to AWD. Locked up my brakes (the only down side to my new car, no ABS 🙁 what an oversight, Mitsubishi… tsk tsk tsk) and slid around a bit, but nothing too bad. I’m actually glad I had the time to get to know the new car’s handling in snow – goodness knows I’ll need it soon.
ANYWAY… moving along a bit in time in my story, I hear that 290 and 495 are messed up and traffic is at a standstill. So, I try the back-roads. BIG MISTAKE. 122 through Worcester is GRIDLOCKED. It took me over an hour to get just a few miles to the pike. I’m never going that way again (it didn’t help that there were like 3 different schools along that road).
Route 90, the Massachusetts Turnpike in Milbury/Worcester: moved along quite nicely for a bit, even got past 495… but then, the gridlock began. For the next 3 hours I sat on the pike, moving a little bit here and there, trying to keep sane. My leg was sore from braking & accelerating … mostly braking, because we were moving so slow that even the engine’s idle speed was too fast for traffic. I arrived at the Natick rest area to stretch my legs, take a piss and get some breakfast, hoping that the worst traffic might move along while I was inside (hey, it’s happened before!). No such luck though; things were just as bad when I got out. Thankfully, just after the on-ramp for 128 in Weston, the pike suddenly cleared up (everyone must’ve been going onto 128) and I made it the rest of the way without incident. Of course, by this point it was 11am, and I’m usually home by that time. Overall, it took me 4 1/2 hours to get into Boston from Worcester today. My average speed was 6 MPH, along a distance of 44 miles. Apparently, it was the same story on EVERY road leading into or out of Boston today; 95, 93, 128, etc. At one point, the Pike was apparently backed up ALL THE WAY TO ROUTE 84.
I think everyone here has just forgotten how to drive in the snow. From the radio reports, there were accidents literally everywhere – in a 10 mile stretch of highway (which might take you over an hour to pass) one reporter saw 10 accidents – one every mile. Spinouts, jack-knifed trailers, roll-overs, the works. I mean, PLEASE people, remember how to drive!!! And it wasn’t even a lot of snow or anything, just a little dusting, but since it came so suddenly, and since there was no sand on the road, you’d expect people to be a little careful – but NO… that’s asking too much from your average commuter, it seems.
So, I arrived home at around 2:30pm today, in a very “homicidal” mood… and of course had my work cut out for me. Not as bad as some days, though. Thankfully, I’m good at what I do (hey, I wrote the program I should know how it works) so I answered 6 support voice mail messages in under an hour, taking care of the entire backlog for the day. Ahhh, peace at last.
On another topic, my PHP sticker arrived over Thanksgiving, and is now proudly attached to my new car, so that anyone can know:
1) That I use PHP
2) That they are seeing my car
3) That I am a geek
Unfortunately, I cannot say (as I did with my old C++ sticker, which is no longer available for ordering, alas!) that my car is the only car in New England with a PHP sticker. Just a day or two before I got my sticker, I saw a Jeep Wrangler at the Framingham rest area on the Mass Pike with a PHP sticker on it’s bumper. *sigh* Well, I CAN say that I’m probably the only SUV (a Wrangler is NOT an SUV; it’s a Jeep… end of story) with a PHP sticker on the back. And besides, the Outlander is so… distinctive… that if you see it, and the PHP sticker, you’ll know it’s me. Here’s a picture!
So, now you know how to find me. Honk if you see me!!
Okay, I think that’s all for now. I’ll try to keep this blog updated a bit more often this month, I know I’ve been falling behind.
On Sunday I went outside and found that I had a flat tire. It was freezing out and the wind was really cold, but I put the mini-spare on and drove down to John Fitch Highway to get it fixed.
Current mood: Calm
Currently listening to: the wind
I’m re-writing this in a terse, shortened version because I lost my previous post due to internet problems. Argh.
On Sunday I went outside and found that I had a flat tire. It was freezing out and the wind was really cold, but I put the mini-spare on and drove down to John Fitch Highway to get it fixed. Turned out, there was no hole, no slash, no leak at all. It must’ve gotten cold and broken the seal with the rim or something, because it’s been fine since. Go figure.
Saw an interesting bumper sticker today. It said: “Have you seen my constitutional rights lately?”
They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary
safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
— Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Letter to Josiah Quincy, Sept. 11, 1773.
Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not