:: eye of the storm ::

About Me

A 27-year-old PA student who wants to visit all seven continents, write a book, work at a pediatric clinic in Africa, and basically meet as many of the world's challenges as possible.

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current mood:
current mood

Life List

(already accomplished)

Become a PA

Visit all 7 continents

Take a SwimTrek trip

Bike through Western Europe

Raft the Grand Canyon

Improve my Spanish proficiency

Go on safari in Africa

Trace my roots at Ellis Island

Vacation in Hawaii

Work on a hospital ship in a Third World country

Celebrate New Year's in Times Square

Visit all 50 states (29 to go: AK, AZ, AR, CA, CO, HI, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NM, ND, OK, OR, RI, SD, TX, UT, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY)

See the ruins at Pompeii

Swim in Capri's Blue Grotto

Tour Mt. Vesuvius

Throw a coin in the Trevi Fountain

Tour the Colosseum

Visit the D-Day beaches

See the Mona Lisa

Visit the palace at Versailles

See the Acropolis and Parthenon

See the Egyptian pyramids

Hike the Inca Trail

Walk El Camino Santiago

Take an Alaskan cruise

View the Taj Mahal at sunrise

Hike Table Mountain in South Africa

Climb through the Amazon canopy

Walk at least part of the Great Wall of China

Get laser hair removal

Learn to surf, ski, and snowboard

Learn to drive a stick-shift

Learn to play the piano

Go on a tropical cruise

Ride horseback on the beach

Ride in a hot air balloon

Get tickets to the Olympics

Go to adult Space Camp

Witness a shuttle launch from up close

Build a full-sized snowman

Sew a quilt out of my old race T-shirts

Update and continue my Life Scrapbook

Become the oldest person to ever do the River Run

Live to be a happy, healthy 100 years old - at least!

(unlikely dreams)

zondag 6 november 2005

So yesterday was mostly wasted, since I spent it fighting with my computer over something which, as it turns out, I don't seem to be able to fix. See, I got a package yesterday from Mom and Dad (which was a great surprise, to actually have something in my mailbox!). It included: a credit card offer, a flyer for a master's degree in computational linguistics at the U of Washington, a note from Mom, three Reeses Sticks left over from Halloween, a clipping of the wedding announcement of one of my high school friends, and... six DVDs.

I know what you're thinking: 'score', right? That's what I thought too. They're copies of movies which I already have (downloaded) on my computer and which I want to delete. We have the real copies at home, so Dad burned them for me. (Thank you!)

However... the DVDs don't play. Worse, they vary in the manner in which they do not play, leading me to yesterday's mistaken belief that there must have simply been some driver or decoder that I had to download and then everything would be okay. I spent a good couple of hours looking for one, to no avail. Then, researching my particular drive (the QSI SBW-241), I discovered that I'm not the only one having issues with this drive; there are forum posts all over the Internet from people who hate it, mostly due to the fact that it tends to be temperamental about burning CDs. Once I read that, I remembered that I had those problems too, back before the advent of the iPod, when I still used CDs. The general consensus seems to be that the drive is just a piece of crap. (The QSI website confirms this with their horrible website and nonexistent grasp of English.)

Unsatisfied, I emailed the Compaq helpdesk, sparking a wave of correspondence with someone named Michael who, I am certain, did not speak English as a first language. My initial complaint was, "I have a Compaq Presario X1000 with the original QSI SBW-241 drive. I'm trying to play back DVD-Rs and they won't play in either Media Player or WinDVD. Is there something I can download?" Yet we still played email tag for four hours, him telling me, 'download this' and 'test that' and 'try this'. Finally, I specifically said, "All three of the tests were 'passed', which makes sense, since normal DVDs and CDs play fine. But this is the first time I've tried anything with DVD-Rs and they just do not work. It seems to be a specific error with that type of disc, as if this drive simply doesn't support them. Do you have any other ideas?"

His next e-mail? In broken techie-English, "DVD-ROMs don't play back DVD+/-R/RW media. That's why you're having problems."

As my sister would say, *facepalm*.

I did e-mail him back, saying (nicely) that I wish he could have told me that from the outset and that, if that's the case, I didn't understand why (a) my computer recognizes that there are discs in the drive and, in Windows Explorer, even knows their names, and (b) some of the DVDs do in fact play, albeit only the trailers and menus. One of them, My Big Fat Greek Wedding, will even play the movie, but the drive makes ominous grinding sounds the whole time and it hangs up after a few minutes. In my head, that doesn't add up with "drive doesn't support this media" - shouldn't it just not do anything at all, and not even recognize that there's a disc in the drive? - but try telling that to Compaq tech support. Sigh.

Anyway, this just reinforces my 'will-Sony-please-hurry-up' wish, and their TX series is starting to look better and better. My only real problems with them (aside from the fact that they don't come in pretty colors like the FJs, haha) are (a) that the hard drive is only 60 GB (which is what I currently have and which is within 2 gigs of being full), and (b) that the processor is only 1.2 Ghz. My current computer is 1.4 and I consider it way too slow.

Anyway, no other brand even comes close to the size, weight, style, etc. that I want (plus I have a Sony camera), thus the waiting, but still: come on, people!

But yeah, this post was supposed to be about my wasted day. Yeah, so, my whole day got spent on DVD issues and tech support idiots, and I got no work done whatsoever (well, maybe a little). Today is off to a good start in the sense that I did indeed drag myself out of bed to the pool and swim 6km; however, I now have to do some serious thesis work. If I make significant progress, I'll be able to listen to the Jaguars game tonight.

(Oh, who am I kidding. I'll be listening to that game no matter what.)

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