June 27, 2005

car gremlins

On July 16 the sixth Harry Potter book -- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince -- will be released. In it I hope that J.K. Rowling comes up with a name for creatures that live in cars and steal credit card-sized items. This past Friday I put my REI card on top of the coin holder but when I got to the store 15 minutes later it was gone! Similarly, six months ago a $10 bus pass disappeared from the same spot. In both cases my first thought was that the card got sucked out of the window by a strong gust of wind, but one would think I would notice something flying past my face. So, after thoroughly checking between seats and under rugs I must conclude that I have car gremlins. Why can't the creatures eat stuff like the moldy bits of food left over from messy take out?

Posted by wrjacobs at 12:33 PM

June 23, 2005

movie theater seating

I got a shock yesterday when I went to the movies to see Batman Begins. No, the surprise wasn't about the movie, which I liked a lot (4 out of 5 stars on the Netflix scale). The problem was with seating...more precisely, with the seating choices of others. When I arrived there was only one dude in the very last row of the stadium seating venue. I took my usual spot in the middle of the first row behind the main central walkway (there are 5 or 6 rows in front of that). Two minutes later a couple came in and sat in my row, three seats over on the right. The next two couples sat in the row behind me, then some people went to the second and third to the last rows. Finally, another couple sat in my row, two seats over on the left. So, when the movie started there was a cluster of people in the first two rows and another clump in the last three, with almost no one sitting in between (10 rows or so), or in the first section of seating in front of the screen. What up with this!?! Why did peeps want to sit on top of each other when there was plenty of space available for the mid-day matinee?! Maybe they were clustering for protection in case something came out of the screen to attack them....

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:39 AM

June 20, 2005

walking across the Mississippi

This weekend I was at a cabin in Nevis, MN with friends and family. On Saturday we went to Lake Itasca, which is the source of the Mississippi River. At the point where the river starts as a shallow stream, one can walk across a series of rocks from one bank to the other. Of course, this is an artificially created experience, but it's fun to walk across the headwaters!

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:13 AM

June 15, 2005

The Dead Zone

On Sunday was the season premiere of USA's The Dead Zone. Unfortunately, I was doubly disappointed with it: (1) the storyline was an ongoing thread (Johnny Smith tries to stop Greg Stillson's political career) that should've been wrapped up last season, and (2) the theme song was new; the old one ("New Year's Prayer" by Jeff Buckley) was one of TV's best. I wonder if a theme has ever been changed mid-season due to viewer complaints? If so, I've got to write in to do my part....

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:17 AM

June 10, 2005

D-Day for GC

This morning the U of M regents approved the plan to downsize the General College from a college to a department. This afternoon the GC dean posted a response on the GC website: "Although we remain concerned about the long-term feasibility of what President Bruininks has proposed with respect to General College, we are committed to assisting him in exploring an organizational model for the college that fits his framework and conforms to his timetable for transformation." Let's hope that we can come up with something that effectively serves the interests of students....

Posted by wrjacobs at 4:24 PM

June 8, 2005

B-movie dialogue

Last night while watching The Thing From Another World I had to rewind one scene several times to make sure I heard a line of dialogue correctly. As an alien tries to break into an Arctic research station the scientists start running around with makeshift weapons. Radio operator "Tex" enters and says, "What's goin' on? Looks like a lynchin.'" Now I know that it was 1951 and such racial throw-away lines were acceptable back then, but DAMN! No wonder Sci-Fi was a B-movie genre for so long.

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:52 PM

June 7, 2005

unwired cities

According to a survey just released by Intel, Minneapolis is one of America's top 10 "unwired" cities. That is, it has a high number of public Wi-Fi internet access points. I think that there are also a ton of private wireless networks around town. Take my neighborhood of Prospect Park, for example. In my house, "default," "Big Daddy," "wireless," and "robin" frequently pop up on the list of available networks. There are many "closed" private networks in operation too -- like mine -- where one must know the name in advance in order to connect. The "open" networks announce themselves to anyone who is scanning for them, such as when "wardriving." Maybe I should wardrive around the 'hood to see just how many open networks are in operation....

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:23 PM

June 2, 2005

Murphy's Law corollary

Murphy's Law states, "If something can go wrong, it will." I wonder if there's a corollary along the lines of "If you fix the problem, something else will go wrong"? That happened this morning: I repaired a slow-refilling toilet, and then on the way to lunch my car's "check engine" light came on. Damn!

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:52 PM