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THE FIRST DAY AT KINKO'S
Category: Personal
Friday, October 28th, 2005 @ 12:52 pm
Posted By Brent

This is a rather short story, but one that should be told none the less. It's set at a Kinko's in uptown New Orleans, a Kinko's that doesn't exist anymore because a coffee house now occupies the charming stone building it used to be in.

Now this isn't really a "first day at the new job horror story" for two reasons, the first being that I can't really say for sure if it was really my first day but it was definitely whithin the first week (this was eight years ago, it's all I can do to hang on to the actual memory, much less place it in an exact timeline). The second reason being that this didn't actually involve me, I just got to witness it.

Anyway, on with the anecdote. I'm new so I made sure to show up a good bit early as to make a nice impression with my new bosses and such. Unfortunately there was a bit of a rush at the counter when I arrived, so one of the computer guys told me I could plop down at a free computer and surf the web until my shift started or the manager got time to show me a few things.

I sat there for a few minutes reading PlanetQuake or whatever the hell I read back then, when all of a sudden a heard a commotion coming from the wad of customers at the counter. Not wanting to contribute to the growing scene this person was making, I never turned my head from the monitor, and this is something I will regret for the rest of my life. Here's the content of the commotion:

Manager: Here you go sir.
Angry Customer: This is all fucked up!
Manager: I'm sorry? What's the problem with your order?
Angry Customer: It's all fucked up! You fucked it all up!
Manager: Well, we can redo it for you if you're not happy.
(Manager turns and throws contents of order in the garbage)
Angry Customer: What the fuck are you doing?
Manager: We are going to redo your order, sir.
Angry Customer: This place fucking sucks, you fuck everything up. Why can't you fucking do anything right?
(At this point, another customer in the line turns to Angry Customer)
Other Customer: Excuse me sir, but I'm a customer here and I've always been happy with their service!
Angry Customer: Oh yeah?! Well you shut your shitty mouth!

The argument abruptly ended there when a guy behind the counter told the guy to "get the fuck out of the building before I call the cops," but that guy's snappy one liner has stuck with me over the years.

Shut your shitty mouth. Do you think that one's a well used piece of his expletive repertoire, or was it some raw, straight off the cuff, profane creation? It's a question that's plagued me for years and I suppose I'll go to the grave not knowing the answer.



2 Comments...

THE HOUSE
Category: Personal
Monday, October 24th, 2005 @ 09:09 pm
Posted By Brent

So, we're apparently buying a house here. It's a bitter sweet sort of victory, but a victory none the less. I swore that my place in Lakeview was the last time I'll ever rent, so now I have to keep up my end of the bargain, even if I've been relocated from Lakeview to Poncha-fucking-tula.

I suppose anytime anyone buys a house there are hurdles, surprises, stuff that pisses you off, and stuff you breathe a sigh of relief about, but since this is my damn internets site I get to bitch about my experiences.

First off, as you can expect there's a bit of a land grab going on here since the hurricane, so finding a house worth a turd is a pain in and of itself, so we had that to go through. After finding it, finding anyone to do inspections is impossible seeming as anyone with moderate construction knowledge is in New Orleans raking it in hand over fist. Once we found someone he suggested we get a roofer to come and inspect an obvious spot of damage to the shingles that look as if the home owner replaced them himself with a few tiles he bought at Lowes.

We were running out of time with our inspection period so we just said screw it and put down as a stipulation that the roof be repaired professionally, to which they declined. So we suggested they give us the estimated cost of the roof repairs at closing, to which they declined. Then we suggested the price come down a few grand to cover the cost of repairing it, to which they again declined.

We were getting rather pissed about the subject and were ready to just drop it until our realtor told us that the problem was the owners threw their house up on the market to cash in the moment the land grab started and never looked for a place to live. The reason they were being so obtuse about any repairs was because they no longer wanted to sell the house because they don't have anywhere to go, so they were trying to be difficult so that we'd cancel the sale, which brings us to where we stand now:

We are now buying a house just to fuck the current owners. They pissed us off that much.

The beauty of it is that now their realtor is begging us to push back the act of sale so that she can get them in somewhere else. Fuck her and fuck them. I'll rent them the spare bedroom if they need someplace that bad, all for the low price of one roof and allowing me to rest my feet on his wife's face while I watch television.



5 Comments...

CALLING ALL DEVIANTS
Category: Personal
Tuesday, October 18th, 2005 @ 12:31 pm
Posted By Brent

It's been a while since I last had a "where the hell is everybody" post, so where the hell is everybody?

I know where most of you all are, but in order for everyone to not need to keep asking everybody else how or where other people are, let's all just dump it right here.

As for me I've been living la vida bore-o here in picturesque Hammond, LA. If you're wondering what Hammond looks like, picture an entire city made up of sunbaked Airline Hwy intersections, populated solely by strip malls with nothing in them and prefab sheetmetal buildings. All of which is surround by poor, trashy, rural people and trees. Tis truly a sight to behold.

I hate this place and its ilk with the heat and intensity of a thousand burning suns, and I'm probably buying a house here.

So, how are you all getting along?



7 Comments...

HYDROGEN AND HYBRIDS
Category: Rant
Thursday, October 13th, 2005 @ 07:39 pm
Posted By Brent

The bulk of this post is about hydrogen, but I figured I'd toss hybrids in here too, just 'cause I'm a dick. I've been reading and hearing a bunch about alternative fuels and hybrid technology lately, but it would seem that no one has taken the time to do a smidge of research and try to digest all of this crap. No one seems to look past the immediate benefit of these technologies to see if the ends outweigh the means, so I thought I would throw together what little I knew about it so people can have some insight into why this shit will never work. Ever.

Ok, well maybe not ever, but definitely not with our current technology and/or infrastructure. Let me take a whack at Hybrids first:

Hybrid. The name just sounds cool. In a nutshell a Hybrid is a car that runs on gas in conjuction with an electric engine that operates on stored energy that is usually lost during breaking. This saves you oodles at the pump, right? These cars usually go for two to five thousand dollars more than a comparable non-hybrid. Now let's do the math: Honda says that its Insight gets 66mpg while its Civic gets 40, so you get roughly 40 percent better gas mileage. The average American burns roughly 465 gallons of gas per year at, to err on the side of caution, roughly three dollars a gallon. That's $1,395 a year in gas, forty percent of which would be $558 per year saved. Given a margin of error for my number rounding, that would place you breaking even on your "gas saving investment" in anywhere from four to nine years. Hardly relief from the current gas prices.

This of course leaves the people who will take the wallet hit just to feel good about burning less gas, and who am I to go and be a dick by raining on their do-gooding parade? Oh yeah, I'm me: you fuckers are stifling the actual alternative power market by adopting dipshit scams that don't do jack to curb our reliance on foreign oil, in addition to stealing mindshare away from people and companies that have truly innovative solutions to these problems.

For my next trick I'll be discussing hydrogen as an alternative energy source and its bright future as the cornerstone for cleaner, better America:

Hydrogen is a fucking sham. First thing that people need to understand is that hydrogen isn't so much a energy source as it is a medium to transport energy. Think of it this way: hydrogen doesn't represent the powerplant supplying electricity to your homes, it's more analogous to the wires carrying that electricity from the powerplant to your home. Is it an alternative fuel? No, burning wood logs in a boiler in your car is an alternative fuel, hydrogen is just a way to move the fossil fuel combustion out of your car and into a hydrogen production plant. Why do I say that? Because the main problem with hydrogen is the inverse of the main benfit of fossil fuels: you can punch a hole in the ground and oil will start pouring out by the tanker load; you have to produce hydrogen.

There is no natural source of hydrogen in the amounts that would come anywhere near meeting the demand for energy. That leaves us with having to extract it from existing molocules that are found naturally occuring in bulk, namely water, and that's where we hit the grand paradox of hydrogen production. From the Wikipedia article on hydrogen:

Despite its ubiquity in the universe, hydrogen is surprisingly hard to produce in large quantities on the Earth. In the laboratory, the element is prepared by the reaction of acids on metals such as zinc. The electrolysis of water is a simple method of producing hydrogen, but is economically inefficient for mass production. Large-scale production is usually achieved by steam reforming natural gas.
So there you have it, you have three main methods.

The first is using a chemical that is more attractive to the oxygen in water than the hydrogen, thus wrenching away the oxygen leaving only pure, lovely, enviromentally friendly hydrogen. Now we just have to figure out what to do with the sludge that the oxygen attached to. And how are we going to transport massive amounts of the original substances and the two separate products? Hydrogen powered cars? You would need to create more hydrogen than you used making it thus, in a round about way, breaking a teeny little principle of physics called The Law of Conservation of Enery. Unless of course we power the entire process with fossil fuels, wouldn't that be convenient? Actually, that's exactly what we do.

The second method is electrolysis of water. Simply put this running a shitload of electricity through water in order to separate the bond between the oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Now where do you think we'd get that electricy from? More hydrogen? I think not my friend, that's where our good friend the fossil fuel enters back into the equation. We just can't seem to shake him.

The third is some crazy shit called "steam reforming of natural gas." Now I like to imagine that I'm a pretty bright guy, but I have no idea what that is so I defer to a quote about this process from someone who knows what the hell they're talking about (while he reiterates the point I've been making over and over):

At present, most of the world's hydrogen is produced from natural gas by a process called steam reforming. However, producing hydrogen from fossil fuels would rob the hydrogen economy of much of its raison d'ĂȘtre: Steam reforming does not reduce the use of fossil fuels but rather shifts them from end use to an earlier production step; and it still releases carbon to the environment in the form of CO2.

So there, I've blown my hydrogen vitriol load. In closing, I'd like to say that I don't disagree with hydrogen being a clean, renewable energy medium, we just need to find a better way to produce it, and we ain't there yet folks. Well, we're sorta not there yet. We do have nuclear energy we could use to produce the hydrogen, but mention building a nuclear powerplant and you're lucky if you don't get stoned to death.



7 Comments...

SHIVER ME TIMBERS
Category: Personal
Saturday, October 8th, 2005 @ 12:10 pm
Posted By Brent

We here in Hammond have been experiencing quite the little cold snap as of late. Normally this would be welcomed with open arms if it weren't for the fact that I don't own a single article of clothing with long sleeves. Nary a jacket or sweater.

In fact, I don't have anything. I own a computer, a new gun, an old gun that is basically a meteorite of corrosion, a few pairs of jeans, a handful of shirts, and some Nintendo gear. That's it.

I've known this since the flood, it's just that I've been living out of a hotel for the past month and a half so I really haven't needed anything. It wasn't until the moderately cold weather hit and wanted a jacket did I finally digest the fact that I no longer owned anything. So when I finally do get back on my feet, I'll have a place with absolutely nothing in it. Not a TV or a couch or a bed or a plunger. Not a trashcan or forks or glasses or towels or a table. No refrigerator, no washer, and no dryer. I could go on and on like this for hours and I'm sure as could many people I know.

I didn't mean for this post to be some sort of pity party, just wanted to throw my thoughts up here for all to see, because that's what you're supposed to do on your internets pages.



2 Comments...

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