Friday, November 1st, 2002

If you're part of my incredibly large fan base, you've noticed that I haven't updated this site much. Well with the colder weather I've been inspired to redecorate with a wintry theme. Perhaps a bit gray, but it'll work for now.

It's about the middle of fall quarter, and I've been feeling a tad overwhelmed, not unusual for this point in the quarter and nothing insurmountable, but still, I'm ready for the quarter to be over. I'm taking 19 credit hours, I'm still a COM101 TA, and this quarter I've started doing some tutoring, partly as another opportunity to practice German, partly to see how I like teaching one-on-one, and partly (minimally) to earn a tiny bit more money.

I updated my study page, so you can hear about how my classes are going if you like.

Saturday, November 2, 2002

Un film fantastique! Have you seen 8 Femmes yet? It was playing at Neon Movies downtown. I've seen it twice and think it's hilarious. What made it even funnier the second time is that during the end credits, the old man behind me stood up and said loudly, "That was the worst film I've ever seen in my life!"

The movie's about eight women snowed in at a French country home in the 1950s. The man of the house is found murdered in his bed, and all sorts of over-the-top revelations come out as the women try to figure out whodunnit. What makes it even better is that throughout the film they break into wonderful songs. Apparently the songs disturb some people, but I love them. The soundtrack's available at and, and you can hear clips online there.

<bgsound src="../pictures/11-02-02/8femme-pournepas.mp3"> The clip to the right (OK, so I guess automatically playing music on a page can be annoying; click play to hear it if you want) is "Pour ne pas vivre seule," sung by Firmine Richard, who plays the housekeeper (lower right above). Kind of a sad song, with a fifties' perspective on being gay perhaps, but I like it anyway.

Pour ne pas vivre seul des filles aiment des filles
Et l'on voit des gar?ons ?pouser des gar?ons
Pour ne pas vivre seul
D'autres font des enfants des enfants qui sont seuls
Comme tous les enfants
Pour ne pas vivre seul
On fait des cath?drales o? tous ceux qui sont seuls
S'accrochent ? une ?toile
  Rough translation:
In order not to live alone
The girls love other girls
And boys marry other boys
In order not to live alone
Others make children of the children who are alone
Like all children are
In order not to live alone
One makes cathedrals
Where all those who are alone
Hang onto a star

Sunday, November 3, 2002

Okay so I gave into vanity and got myself a domain name, I didn't go overboard though. It was only $15, at, which includes URL and e-mail forwarding. So the site's still actually hosted at my ISP and at Wright State.

Thursday, November 7th, 2002

I switched from DSL to cable today. I've also canceled my landline phone, deciding to rely solely on my cell phone for voice communications. The two decisions are related.

At least this is one utility conglomerate I no longer have to deal with!I wasn't particularly dissatisfied with DSL, although DSL can cause some severe headaches. When I first got DSL, with Earthlink -- the dial-up ISP I'd been using, a little over two years ago, before cable modems were available in Dayton, the installation took way longer than promised. Also, my DSL service was disrupted three times in the time that I had it, each time for about a week. Each time it would go out, I would have to call Earthlink, wait on hold for at least 30 minutes and sometimes longer, talk to a tier 1 technical support person, explain that I had changed nothing on my computer and nothing in my house, explain that I worked in IT, still have to do stupid tests like rebooting my computer and unplugging the DSL DSU, and then wait on hold again for at least 30 minutes to talk to a tier 2 technical support person. Connect smarter -- don't use Covad!Then the tier 2 technical support person would put me on hold for 20 or 30 more minutes while he or she called Covad, the third-party company actually offering DSL in Dayton, to run a line test. Then it would be several days before Covad could work things out with Ameritech to get my line back up.

My DSL has been working fine for several months but it would have gone out again, I'm sure, because each DSL subscriber has a separate line and if Covad or Ameritech do anything to mess it up, Covad or Ameritech don't notice until the user calls their provider and a complaint works its way through the system.


Being a student and wanting to economize a bit, I've been thinking of canceling my landline phone for some time, thinking about it even more when I saw that Azonick had done so. But I was afraid that if I canceled my phone line, that surely Ameritech would mess up my DSL. And then I realized that Earthlink's cable service is only $41.95 a month, which is less than the $49.95 I've been paying them each month for DSL service. They offer free installation for cable and the first month of service free, and no contract is required.

Better the devil you know?Of course nothing is simple. I called and said I wanted to switch from DSL to cable. Fine, they said. You have to cancel your DSL line and then we can place an order for cable. Why, I asked. Just because that's how our system is, they said. Let me talk to a supervisor, I said. Finally they let me order cable on a new account while keeping DSL on my old account. Three weeks later (imagine no broadband for three weeks!) I have cable installed. I got some flack today when I called to cancel the DSL and have my old Earthlink e-mail address switched over to my new cable account, but after again talking to a supervisor, they realized again that they can do it. Have you seen their flying pigs commercial?  They 'care' about us!Especially since if they couldn't let me keep my old e-mail address, I would have canceled Earthlink altogether and just gotten Roadrunner directly from Time Warner.

Click here to see my DSL speedClick here to see my cable modem speedAt any rate, the speed's about the same, it's switched, and I'm happy for now. My DSL line this morning, before I canceled it, tested at 1210kbps down and 317kbps up, and the cable, after it was installed, tested at 1539kbps down and 355kbps up. Sure, cable modems are supposed to be faster, but I'm not going to complain.

Saturday, November 9th, 2002

I went to a play tonight, at Playhouse South. The play is Baby, a musical about three couples either having babies or wanting babies. I'd been warned by Joshua Mollohan, who plays Danny, not to come, but I figured if he really hadn't wanted me to come, he wouldn't have told me about it. I guess he's learned the hard way. At any rate, he's a good singer, so go see him yourself. Performances are Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm through November 24th.

I was surprised to learn that Jessica Bledsoe, who is in my short story writing class this quarter, is on the board of Playhouse South and is a star too.

Thursday, November 21st, 2002

Neon Movies had the press preview of Frida tonight, and I was lucky enough to win a free pass. The movie opens to the public tomorrow. It's about an artist I'd never heard of, Frida Kahlo, who was married to another artist I'd never heard of, Diego Rivera. Their lives are part of the history we're not taught in school, in part because they were Mexicans, in part because they were communist/socialist revolutionaries, and in part because they weren't Ozzie and Harriet. In addition to giving a glimpse of that history, the movie is visually pleasing and works well in getting across a taste of Kahlo's art. Go see it while you can.

Friday, November 22nd, 2002

I've had two major plumbing leaks in my house, both related to bathrooms and both upstairs. My front bathroom is directly over my dining room, and the shower leaks. My back bathroom is directly over the kitchen and the bathtub leaks. I paid a plumber to fix the leaks, but basically he knocked holes in my ceilings and couldn't figure out the leaks' sources, so I stopped him before the meter ran too high. Since I live alone, I just didn't use the front shower and basically dealt with the leak in the kitchen.

Luckily, since I'm living on a student's budget, my mother's boyfriend Mac offered to see what he could do. He made a more professional hole in my dining room ceiling and quickly realized that the problem was with the shower drain. Unfortunately, the drain, having living in the house years longer than I have, doesn't want to leave. Mac attacked the drain with a reciprocating saw (at least I think that's what kind of saw he said it was) and broke two metal blades. However, Mac never gives up, so the drain's time is almost up.

Saturday, November 23rd, 2002

Ding, dong, the drain is dead! Mac had to get a crowbar and some fire and rescue blades for the reciprocating saw, but the old drain is finally out, and, as you can see, the hole in the shower floor is ready for a new drain. Yay!

Sunday, November 24th, 2002

Yay, the front bathroom shower drain is fixed! No leaks! Isn't it pretty? It's so pretty we're going to leave it exposed from below for a while just to make sure it doesn't try anything.

Tuesday, November 26th, 2002

Yesterday was my birthday, and my friend Derek came all the way to my office to hand deliver a personally made card and a pair of chocolate Hostess-brand cupcakes. I liked the card so much I made him e-mail it to me so I could put it up here. Click on it to see the inside.

The card and cupcakes weren't the only gift I received. Another benefactor preferred to remain anonymous, and I didn't notice his or her gift until this afternoon. Yes, as you can see, one of my neighbors has given me a couch. As it was left in front of my house where I didn't notice it, I wasn't able to bring it in before it got snowed on. However, perhaps the snow makes it look better. I do think the snow in general is pretty.

Thursday, November 28th, 2002

I went to my sister's today for Thanksgiving. My nephew Carl wore the Indian headdress that he made to celebrate the holiday. Click on the pic for a larger view, and you'll see that his Indian name is Blue Moon, which his father explained to me is because Carl behaves once in a blue moon. Carl wasn't impressed when I told him there was a restaurant in my neighborhood named for him.

Friday, November 29th, 2002

This evening I walked over to Courthouse Square for the annual Grande Illumination of Dayton's Christmas tree. A lot of other people had the same idea. I went last year too, but this year thankfully it wasn't bitterly cold.

This year they had rides, which seemed to depart from the Christmas theme, but the kids seemed to enjoy them. The tradition of having the toy trains set up in the lobby of Kettering Tower continues.

I walked home via Third Street and saw the Right Corner's holiday wreath. The picture's kind of blurry, not because I stopped for a drink but because I took it without flash, at ISO 50, and I guess my hand's just not very steady.

Saturday, November 30th, 2002

Today was another day of plumbing. This time the focus was on the rear bathroom. The bad plumber of a couple years ago had knocked a hole in my kitchen ceiling only to be unable (or so he said) to find the problem. Mac squared off that hole, which was necessary any way to prepare it for repairing, and then he cut a new hole, this time in the closet off my bedroom that is next to my bathroom. He pulled out a lot of wet insulation and then we ran a lot of water. None of the pipes leaked, but water did drip through cracks in some of the tiles. So the repair plan was to reseat some of the loose tiles and to re-caulk. That's been done and the caulk is drying. More cault goes on next Saturday and then we'll try the water again.

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