Anime folk tales: Mushi-shi

I have discovered an anime series I really like, called "Mushi-shi."

It is about a wondering scientist studying paranormal phenomena, mushi, and helping people deal with the effects of encounters with mushi.

What makes this series really remarkable in my view is that the paranormal is portrayed not as an enemy, but rather something that we don't yet understand, but need to learn to coexist with. Instead of fighting mushi, the mushi master seeks to explain to others how to best deal with the paranormal that permeates their environment. Very refreshing.

Each episode is a separate folk-tale-like story allegorically dealing with types of struggles people encounter every day: Alienation, lack of acceptance, addiction, etc.

Hulu has 26 of these stories so far, and I am up to episode 20.


THSCC event in Greenville

So, two wet runs and two dry ones. I am certain with another two dry runs I'd be able to drive a 50.xxx time. Guess have to wait till next event to see if I can reproduce the top 40% result. Being in the middle of the pack is not the worst thing in the world either.


Dear lazyweb: Which way to California, please?

With only a few weeks left before my epic cross-country trip, I am looking to you for suggestions which roads to take and what sights to see on my way to the Bay Area.

My father is flying in to tag-team driving with me. He's never been to the US, and I'd like to make the trip worthwhile for him.

I got about 7 days at my disposal to complete the trip.


So much ado about--what?

So a bunch of well-intentioned people were trying their best to scare me with California's strict emissions standards, and how my car would have to be equipped with extra stuff to pass the smog test. Well guess what, I'll be fine.

California laws about additional emissions controlling equipment only apply to new vehicles sold in California. If you are bringing in a car from out of state which has never been registered in California, they will only hold it up to the federal emissions standards.

Yes, you do need to get your car smog-tested, but if you are moving from out-of-state and it's your car, you won't need to have to comply with CA emissions laws to pass.

I spoke with a California DMV representative yesterday (amazing how phones can still be useful in the age or Twitterbook!), and that was in short what she said.

Just as a public service, here's a link to a page that has more info in relatively plain English.


Giant moth near my house.

Found this giant moth near my house walking back from dropping off a letter. Looks dead, but still very formidable. Wing span is easily 17cm.

Gotta love iRobot folks

Submitted a ticket yesterday because my Roomba 560, which has been happily cleaning my house for a while, has choked on my sock while doing its rounds, and even after I surgically removed the sock, Roomba's brushes would no longer spin.

So there was dirt everywhere, and I submitted a ticket on the iRobot site to try and figure out whether the robot could be fixed. They promptly (within 2 hours) sent me a troubleshooting list, and also added that if I could to fix the problem using the troubleshooting routine, I should send them my name and shipping address.

The robot successfully failed my troubleshooting this morning, so I responded to the ticket and gave them my address.

What do you know? About two hours later, I got a message saying they have shipped a new cleaning head module to me.

Just like that.

No payment. Under warranty.

Mind you, I purchased the robot in the Fall of 2007.

Hat off, iRobot support.


License to kill for

North Carolina laws only require cars to display one license plate--on the rear bumper. California, along with most of the rest of the world, requires plates front and rear. Which poses an interesting question: How do I mount the second plate on my beloved S?

My car has spent its entire life in North Carolina, and thus never was equipped with front license plate mounting hardware. I went online and only found fugly aftermarket kits that I did not want to screw around with. so I asked a local shop to get me a quote for original Honda parts.

Turns out there is an OEM front license mounting kit from Honda--not even a kit, rather a smattering of seven different parts, bolts, washers, nuts, brackets, that even the dealership did not know what all I would need. So to be on the safe side, they suggested to me $150 worth of parts. LOL

After I was done LOLing, I went online to look up the original parts myself. Going part-by-part using the diagram, I put all the parts in the shopping cart and came up with a grand total of 57 bucks.

Aaaaah. Better.

The snag now is that installation of these parts seems to require taking off the bumper to get the underpinnings on the inside.

Will have to check today to make sure I can fiddle them in there and then order the parts.


Такая корова нужна самому!

Now that I am listing my home for sale, the real estate agent was there to take some pictures for the listing. I also took a bunch and shared with him, so that he can use the best shots for the ads online.

I did clean up the place quite a bit and when taking pictures I became aware of how much I like it. The shot above is one of those that made me want to keep the condo.


Another great-looking cocktail

Vodka, Kahlua, Butterscotch, and something else. Layered. Really cool-looking. Brought to you by AnotherThyme in Durham.

Spa Yellow Honda's Spa Day

Took my yellow car to have the valves adjusted, radiator flushed, and oil changed. I wanted to also replace the timing chain tensioner, but they can't get the part today, so I'll have to come in another time.

The Honda looks happy chilling out on a lift, out of the sun.


Lazy Sunday

Recovering from yesterday's day trip to the beach: Nursing the sunburn on my tummy and paying the parking ticket was most I did today.

Watching old TV series on Hulu and having some Chilean wine now.


Kicking out the ladder, part 2

Today, I feel like revisiting my earlier post and concluding that indeed, a good kick in the butt was exactly what I needed. Now, two full months later, I am looking forward to the new adventure, moving to a whole new place, joining a young and exciting company.

I am usually not a big fan of corporate movies, but this one just rings so true. Nobody will kick out the ladder from under you if you're just on the first rung. It's when you think you've got it made that the kick energizes you and gives you the clarity and focus that you never had from the comfort of the status quo.


CA is GO

Well folks, it's GO time for me.

In a few weeks, I will be driving my little yellow car to California, to join a cool software start-up.

If you want to see me off with one of those monumental parties I love to host, please join me at my place on Saturday May 30.

As usual, bring what you want to drink and/or eat. I will have some seed drinks and snacks as well.

Please RSVP by email or in comments and let me know if you need directions.


Little ways to go... but damn close

The results have been published this morning and I am still 38 raw and 37 PAX. Which is a bit unusual with an A-Stock car, because PAX would tend to favor folks in lower-classed cars, so higher-classed cars would drop a few positions in PAX. Oh well, I'll take what I can get :)

This placement did not get me in top 30 percent, but rather 42 and 41 percent respectively. I will have to work on the remaining 10-something percentage points over the rest of the season.

Anyway, here are the results.

Oh, and by the way, my readership, as you surely have noticed, both today's and yesterday's posts had pictures of TIR 32. That's Graham driving. Will post pics of my runs later if anybody caught them.


Hot damn! What has gotten into me?

Guess I am learning at last.

I had a total blast at the event today and suspect I finished in top 30 percent. The results have not been posted yet, so I don't know for sure, but I placed 38th in raw time and 37th in PAX.

My co-driver trophied third in TIR class. Both of us would have gotten trophies if we'd run open A-Stock class. All really good drivers with A-Stock cars were running PRO.

It is the first time that I have placed in upper half of the pack and certainly the first time that I have been able to consistently run very good times--not just "good for me" but objectively above-average good. Now I just have got to keep up and hopefully get a little bit better still, and I'll be in good shape!

The event was fun--we got five timed runs each and a bunch of fun runs. I got four, and Graham had three. I was able to improve on my best time during fun runs, finishing with 49.00x.

The more I get to learn and trust the car, the more fun it gets driving it!


No ♥ from AT&T

Just goes to show that all telecoms companies are worth each other, and are just a bunch of lying bastards only interested in ripping you off while providing minimally required service.

If you thought that my AT&T ordeal was over after first a week-long delay in service availability, then a broken line that rendered the service unusable, then the unnecessarily complex and ridiculously long process of getting access to my account online (which involved snail-mail!), not so fast!

AT&T promised that "Residential customers who switch from cable broadband to FastAccess® DSL are eligible to receive a $125 check." Now that was nice! So as soon as I had the service for the requisite number of days, I went and filled out the form online and two weeks later (today) went to check the status only to find that my reward request has been disqualified!

Status Information: Our records indicate the FastAccess Lite, Ultra, or Xtreme service was disconnected prior to processing your coupon submission. To receive the reward, the required services must be on your account at the time we process your coupon.

Funny, but I was under the impression that I had the damn service all this time. I would more readily agree with "me hallucinating" theory if AT&T did not ask money for this supposedly inactive service.

While composing this message, I have already had the pleasure of speaking to three CSRs, gotten the runaround from all of them, including the rewards department, because allegedly, they cannot see from their systems whether my DSL service is actually active or not.

So now I am in the waiting loop again hearing for the umpteenth time about how I can get a cash reward if I switch from cable.

Wish me luck.


I ♥ TomTom

Nice that those little handy navigation devices not only help the directionally challenged people like me.

In a three pronged study which evaluated drivers without a navigation system, drivers with a navigation system, and drivers with a navigation system that included traffic, the results revealed that the drivers using navigation devices 1) drove shorter distances and 2) spent less time driving. Conducted in two metropolitan areas of Germany - Dusseldorf and Munich - the study also showed that drivers with navigation devices had a 12% increase in fuel efficiency, as measured by liters of fuel consumed per 100 kms. Fuel consumption among those drivers using navigation fell from 8.3 to 7.3 l/100kms. When the study results are annualized, they equate to a nearly 2500 kilometer drop in distance driven per year per driver, and an average of euro 416 in savings on fuel annually per driver.

Via Autoblog