June 14th, 2007


RMA Madness

Went online for an RMA to return my broken Western Digital hard drive. Once again it was simple and the drive comes up as still under warranty. Had to install a printer driver in the laptop to print out the shipping label.

Intel doesn't have such a system, I had to phone them this morning about the motherboard. It's a 2-step process. First, you talk to a call center person who gets the initial info and gives a case number. Mine sounded like a 14-year-old in Nebraska. She transferred me to a tech support rep, who sounded Middle Eastern and far away. His accent was very difficult to understand but he spoke slowly and repeated everything, and I'll bet he's a top notch tech support guy in whatever is his native tongue. He said his name was Thomas, but it wasn't convincing. He asked all the right questions, and we established that although the board was confirmed dead, it would not have worked with the processor I have. A newer rev of that board might. So he is sending me the latest rev, but he still recommends a different processor.

Turns out the board which does support this CPU is the one on order from TigerDirect. I may just buy one at MicroCenter tonight and sell the TigerDirect one on eBay when it arrives, since it has a down-rev processor in it (dual core instead of quad).

Summery Judgement

Turned off the pilot light on the gas heater last night. Opened the balcony door in the bedroom, closed the screen door. The cat door is on the other side of the balcony, in the door to the "office" aka second bedroom. Pumpkin was confused by the screen door, he saw me on the other side and tried to come inside, but bounced off the screen instead. By the time I could open the screen he was coming in the cat door on the other side of the balcony.

When I fell asleep he was parked in front of the screen door, looking out from inside the bedroom. There's nothing to look at, but there's fresh air and I suppose smells a cat might be interested in.

There are a couple of new kids in the complex who have adopted the laundry room and the courtyard between it and my apartment. A boy and a girl. Last night as I was trying to watch Volver, through the open windows came a duet version of one of the songs from Tommy. I was impressed with that section where it goes all high/low and mildly insane. I'm guessing they are doing it in school chorus, they sounded rehearsed, and it's not music I would expect a 12-year-old to have committed to memory otherwise. Or maybe they are in drama, and the school musical was/is Tommy. This morning the girl piped out a few bars of a madrigal. Very pretty voice, I wonder if she's taking lessons. I also wonder where their parents are. If they're out again tonight I'll find out.


Last night's DVD was the Spanish language Volver starring Penelope Cruz, the title comes from a song she sings about 2/3 of the way through the show. If they do a sequel to this movie, will it be called Re-volver?

A very pleasant movie, considering it starts in a cemetery with women scrubbing the headstones and assorted other marble, and has death and father-daughter rape as its main themes. It's billed as a Comedy/Drama, but there is nothing comic about it. There are no laughs, and nobody is going to live happily ever after. But it is about strong women in difficult situations, coping well.

Any discussion of the plot would be a spoiler, so I'll refrain.

Acting is uneven. Cruz is excellent, as is Yohana Cobo who plays her daughter. Carmen Maura plays her mother, and she has her moments, but this would have been an Oscar-winning role for a better actress. Pedro Almodovar wrote and directed the film, blame him for the uneven quality of the acting and the story. And for telegraphing the ending. This would have been a much better movie if the writer had more patience. Too many hints are dropped too heavily too soon.

Interesting thing about Cobo is while she is playing a girl of about 14, in the one semi-nude shot we see as her lecherous father pauses at her bedroom door, it's obvious she's a full-grown woman. Costuming hid that well, and Almodovar would have done better to resist the temptation - Cobo has appeared nude in other films (she's done 20 at last count).

I see from IMDB that the entire female ensemble of this film was awarded Best Actress at Cannes. While Cruz and Cobo may have deserved to share the honors, I don't think the others did quite so fine a job.

Photography was okay, there were some pans which made me dizzy and a gratuitous overhead shot of Cruz's tits while she prepared vegetables at the sink was poorly conceived. Audio was good, there were no special effects. Set dressing was good, costumes were "what do you have in your closet?".

Subtitles were good. I learned that "claro" which I thought meant "clearly" or "clear" is now used as a generic term of agreement.

Bottom line - worth renting.

Field Trip

Lunchtime I schlepped to Stevens Creek Blvd to see what the prices were at Central Computer. This is a hokey little place in a huge building with signage that makes the passer-by think the whole 5-story half-square-block cement palace is a computer store. The computer store only takes up the ground floor, and I suspect not all of that. Used to be items were in no particular order, but that's been improved. Everything is still over-priced. Nothing I saw was below MSRP, the motherboard I was looking for was priced higher than anywhere else I've checked. The store is crowded and looks more like the central market in an Asian city than it does a computer store. I wonder how they stay in business. I guess they must have good income from their wholesale customers.


Did lotsa little things. Bought a replacement for the broken vacuum cleaner belt & installed it. This is the belt which drives the self-propelled feature, which is a crock. When you push on the handle, it pushes a plunger which engages the wheel drive. It's useless unless you have about 3 feet of space ahead of you.

Removed the CPU and fan from the dead motherboard, put them in their original case and put the CPU cap onto the board. That all will sit for a while waiting for the replacement board.

Put the SATA drive in its original shipping box, will send it to WD Saturday.

Pulled the two dead motherboards out of the garbage, will call Intel and find out how much they will charge to fix the munged CPU beds. If it's low enough I'll send those in and sell 'em on eBay when they come back.

Or I may build another PC - I have enough parts, just need a hard drive & DVD drive. And CPU. And RAM. Maybe not, then.

Set up TiVo to snag kevin_standlee's spotlight on the news. Where it will have to sit till the PC is back up, 'cause that's where the software resides to get it into a DVD.

Ripped the tracks from the Tony Bennett/KD Lang CD before sending it to Mom. Gotta have a backup :-)
Actually I think I'll wait till the other dozen CDs get here. Mom says she doesn't care what KD says about her orientation, she sings like a woman. And she does, too.

Glad to see most of my friends survived the zombies. If they had read the book, like I did, they would have had a safe and sane day on the 13th. Just Like me.

And now I'm gonna wrap my lips around a glass of Chateau Ste. Jean Fumé Blanc, just about the only wine I can tolerate, and only as a sleep aid. Nitie Nite.
  • Current Music
    K.D. Lang; Tony Bennett - You Can Depend on Me