Saturday, May 26, 2007

There Goes the Neighborhood

When I first got here, the building next to the local Wendy's was a thrift store run by the local children's hospital. They've had signs up for almost a year now threatening to move down the street, and now they have finally done so. The new tenant of the building? Priscilla's.

All Car Repairs Should Be This Easy

I was going to work earlier this week when I noticed my right-turn blinker going at double speed, and sure enough, when I got to work I discovered my right-hand tail light was out. Friday afternoon after work I stopped at AutoZone and bought the bulbs that my manual said were the right size. This morning I got into my trunk and pulled out the bulb, and immediately I knew I was in trouble. I knew this because I pulled out the bulb, but the bulbs I had bought were clearly screw-ins. I put the bulb back in, put the socket back in place, and got in the car to go shopping again.

It took a couple right turns before I realized: "Hey, my right turn signal works again." And in fact, when I pulled into the AutoZone parking lot, I left the engine running and put on my right blinker, and it was blinking. So I got back in and left. (I'm sure AutoZone is used to it by now.)

Friday, May 25, 2007

I teach medical students

Or at least I did. The contrast was interesting: I could hear the students in the day classes learning to count to 30; I was teaching them that if you knew the concentration of the drug in the IV bag (in g/mL), and the prescription was for so-many mcg/kg/min, and the microtubing provides 60 gtt/mL, and you knew what the patient weighed in kg (and you had better know the conversion for mcg to g), then you could arrange to multiply those numbers in such a way that all the units canceled except for the ones you wanted (gtt/min for a drip rate).

Still, the students were pretty good; they worked hard, for the most part. I think they would have liked me to not emphasize thinking so much over memorizing formulas, but oh well. And those who stuck it out all got through, even with the crazy medical grading scheme (where 75% is not a success).

The textbook we have was extremely basic, which is why I decided to use a bunch of other books instead. It certainly made the class more useful.

Reading Spec Sheets

In preparation for my upcoming trip to be humiliated in mahjong, I went and purchased a digital camera online. I read some spec sheets, and tried to find the mix between not-sucking and not-expensive that I wanted. Anyway, I ended up getting an HP model, and not reading the spec sheets carefully enough. I didn't get any accessories, but the camera itself has enough memory for ... 9 photos. Looks like I'll be buying a memory card.

In other HP news, I knew that they had fobbed their calculator-making off on an OEM (Kinpo, specifically), but I hadn't realized that it was so separate from everything else; I was unable to put an HP calculator and the HP camera in the same cart. Two completely separate systems! And I think they're both in the "HP home and home office" division, too. But this way I can use the $10 coupon I got with the camera to buy the calculator (I think I may fall in love with the 48gs); although I doubt that I'll be able to put the memory card and the calculator in the same cart either.

Which reminds me that I never mentioned (here) the story about my 33s. My first real HP/RPN calculator that I bought last year; I bought it online (I went to the HP "find it in person" link for the list of stores that carry HP things; they had printers, ink, etc. but no calculators) and waited patiently for FedEx to deliver it. Of course, FedEx delivered it to the main office of the apartment complex, so I had to wait to get it. The next afternoon (it was a Friday, so I got off work early), I went in, got my box, opened it up ... and found an HP inkjet cartridge. The invoice was correct, so I called up HP, and got them to get FedEx to come back and take it away and then re-sent my calculator. (I don't remember the part number for the inkjet cartridge, but it was not particularly close to "33s".) (And I kind of feel bad that it's taken me this long to start programming the thing.)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

End of an Era

James Lileks' last column in the Minneapolis paper went up last Friday. In some sense, I'm glad; the column was a tiny little thing that I didn't like and consequently didn't read very often. And presumably his column had gone down in readership (if it was the most visited item on the Star-Tribune site, they wouldn't have cancelled it), so he's got the freedom to find a more congenial format. [And on a related note: I don't have the numbers, but I imagine that his column took a hit upon the transformation from the Backfence to the Quirk. There are two possible interpretations: the problem is because of the new format imposed by an idiotic editor, or the problem is because Lileks can't write anymore. They appear to have gone for option #2.]

And in the short term, the news pages will get a lot more hits, since I doubt I'll be the only one over the next week poring through the articles to see which ones he wrote, and to see if he's any good at reportage. (He says no, but he'd say that anyway.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Things I Hate About the new Chain Reaction, part 437

This is where the incompetent staff and the incompetent contestants work together to make something truly awful. In the bonus round (at least in season 1--I haven't watched enough season 2 to tell), when a player gets cuckooed for using two words in a row, they make the contestants play the freaking word instead of going straight to the next word. Consequently, the contestants never seem to realize that using two words in a row is, in fact, illegal. The re-run I just watched right now had one of the players use "a lot" as a clue twice, get cuckooed each time, and everyone on stage got confused the second time because they didn't get a point even though the middle player guessed the word correctly at the end of the question. It almost makes me wonder if they can even hear the sound effects in studio, or if they're dubbed in later. (Given the speed of judging in all the other aspects of the bonus round, to wit none, it wouldn't surprise me at all if the live judges weren't able to catch an illegal clue as the word was being played.)