update struggles

What is going on? No updates this year, no posts written for almost five months!

I guess I’m growing up (slowly, Oh Viktoria ♫ … *cough*) since all I seem to do is work, or go off to play after work. (Bats Day at Disneyland was fun! ^_^) My websites are sadly near-abandoned.

In fact, I just found out a little while ago about Twitter’s new API thingamabobber, and finally installed a new Twitter feed plugin. (Had to register a Twitter app for that. :x )

It now means that I don’t have an automatic backup of my tweets or favorites. Considering going manual, but I haven’t done it yet. Found a couple Twitter backup/archive plugins (Ozh’ and HL) but Ozh doesn’t work for me and HL creates its own archive which I don’t want to deal with.

Other news… I migrated my websites to a new host! No more sold-to-by-previous-host … host! Kind of sad to leave them (Fluid Hosting), they were really good, kept me informed of server news and other maintenance. They also let me know about the WordPress botnet attack! But I felt guilty using the old host’s package, as if I should have moved over to one of their package offerings, but I couldn’t afford $100 a year, not for hobby sites that don’t even get updated once a season! So I had to move. Messed up a few things in the move, lost a few files without realizing it, because my backup hard drive wasn’t up to date. Ugh.

I also managed to mess up my portfolio website’s WordPress install over the weekend when I installed the Limit Login Attempts plugin! Don’t know how that happened. The only two files I edited were the wp-config file and .htaccess, and somehow that made any WordPress-related pages show up as blank.

When I uploaded other config files to the site, those blogs would show up fine, so I thought it was the config file, but I compared it to a working config file and the only difference was the database name. Ended up deleting/reinstalling WordPress files and deleting/reuploading the database tables. That might not even have been the problem, but my blog came back up. Managed to get the LLA plugin installed on all my blogs.

So… yeah. I have to say, catching up on web development is not fun. I coded a page the other day for work and I struggled, constantly referencing the W3 wiki. Blah. Still don’t know the difference (in usage or implementation) between HTML and XHTML. Still haven’t learned HTML 5 (or even a lot of the eXtensibility of XHTML), just relying on general HTML knowledge.

Not doing much else beyond keeping up with social media sites and watching tv. Oh, I’m trying to pull together a Miwako Sakurada cosplay for Anime Expo in five weeks. Still need to figure out a few bits.

… Okay, maybe things haven’t changed that much. :)

I come bearing tidings…

Tidings not of great joy (well, maybe a little), but of great spam! Some spammers are starting to post more relevant comments on my blog. At least relevant enough that I read through the whole comment, was amused, and decided to slap together an entry to preserve them in some manner. :)

First, on an old entry where I consider starting to use XHTML Strict and the W3Schools Validator, I got spam trying to tell me I most likely have a problem with Dreamweaver and my images folder. That’s nice, but I’ve never mentioned Dreamweaver on my blog, nevermind that single post. In fact, the only WYSIWYG I’ve used (for personal, non-school purposes) was Netscape Composer. Oh, I did use the Geocities WYSIWYG, but then I wasn’t serious about my Geocites site. Memories!

Another spam tells me I might have something called “Seborrhoeic dermatitis.” All I mentioned in that silly little post was that I’d started using conditioner in my hair! Did I really have to read, “I get more red patches then most people who had dermatitis, so thats why I also have psoriasis.” OMG, TMI SPAM. (Okay, no, I didn’t have to read it, rhetorical question.)

This spam might suffer from ADD [my commentary in italics]:

Great Journal prompt 22! I’m still icibednrly [WTF? Yes, I understand the use of typos in spam, but still, WTF?] behind BUT THANK GOODNESS I am holidays now [much better than being only one holiday?], and will be catching up on all the prompts I haven’t done yet. They’re all written down in note-point form in pencil on their respective pages, they just don’t look pretty!I’ll hopefully be up to date for Prompt 24!I love sparklers! They are simply stunning and it makes me so happy whenever I see people writing messages with them. That octopus is simply brilliant!I miss the fourth of July so much. Actually, I just miss Oregon in general. The whole town would come down to the main road (just off my street) and we’d have street parties and picnics at the local highschool. I miss picking crab-apples off trees and riding in a wagon with my cousins. And the chalk drawings on our street that lasted until the end of summer every-year…Enjoy every second while you can, you never know when you won’t be able to celebrate your favorite holiday anymore :) [But I thought you were multiple holidays now.] I love you!xxxxxx, Norah

One comment was a standard “I like this site, good article, bookmarking.” (No, this one actually said “very likely I’m planning to bookmark.” Gee, thanks?) But it was on a post titled “stupid spam”!! Spammer doesn’t have very good comprehension skills.

This spam made me laugh and want to know more:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAH(it was probably an honest mistake two boxes got smashed to s—t. Right now there is a blender repair shop with a stack of comic books they don’t want.)

So… someone turned in a busted blender stuffed full of comic books? How else could a stack of comic books come to a blender repair shop? Unless the box was packed with the comic books? And what about the two boxes? Did a blender manage to blend its way through two boxes? But the comment notes the boxes were smashed, not blended. Mysteries upon mysteries. XD

As for any real content updates, or managing my sites, well I have time management issues (for the past half year, yes, okay) and my blog isn’t anywhere on my list of priorities. For a possible future entry, I may write about a book I finished recently, Home Again by James Edmiston, a white person’s biography about Japanese Americans and World War II. But who knows, I can’t get my thoughts straight on that subject. I may either scrap it or just post a very disjointed “review.”

In October/November I was considering writing about the Propositions on the ballot, but I found (first, that I didn’t have much time, but also) I didn’t see anyone, including me, getting much out of it, so I didn’t care and I ignored my blog for two months! So, see you again in another two months!

[comments closed to combat spam]

Walker-Buerge: second time

Despite our previous disappointing experience with Walker-Buerge Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep, we decided they were our only resort for my car.

(Side note: Did they drop the “Walker” from their name? An internet search serves up www.buergechryslerjeep.net, for Buerge Chrysler Jeep Dodge. Slightly less of a mouthful?)

What happened? I drove off to work one morning and realized that my car wouldn’t shift out of first gear. Fun times, driving down busy boulevards in L.A. trying to circle back home, my engine revving up to 3000 RPMs and barely hitting 30 mph, me frantically hitting the hazard lights after someone started tailing my rear. (I will never understand. If there is no one in the lane beside you, and the car in front of you is going too slow for your tastes, then move the hell over! What good does riding someone’s ass serve?)

Back home, I quickly switched cars and got to work, and my lovely Mum had my car towed in to Buerge the next morning and got the transmission module replaced so I didn’t have to take any time off work.

Once I got my car back I noticed that cars on the 101 were all traveling at 90+ mph. I didn’t think much of it, I figured it had something to do with summer being over, fewer tourists, more kids back in school, I don’t know. Being the slowest car on the road didn’t raise any alarms with me, because around that time I’d changed my driving style, trying to get the most out of my gas.

I began to suspect something was off when I couldn’t pass the big semis, even though my speedometer read 65 mph. When my odometer kept reading my trip meter at 270 miles every week, I knew then that something was wrong. My commute to work is a little over 23 miles, each way, and I wasn’t driving anywhere on the weekends. (No money for gas. :( )

I asked Mickey why my odometer and possibly my speedometer were off, and he mentioned the possibility of the replaced transmission module having the wrong settings, but that he’d never come across that complaint in the five years he’d worked as an auto technician (the new, modern term for mechanic).

I did a search online, and while I didn’t find exactly the same situation as mine, there were people (mostly motorcyclists) who said that odometers and speedometers could be set up incorrectly, and they had to be taken in to techs to get adjusted.

After weeks of bugging him, my brother finally tested my car with me, using his GPS to find that while my car said it was going 65 mph, the actual speed was about 57. My car said 30 mph? Was really 27. 40? 35.

The first thing that annoyed me about using Buerge this time: calling to get an appointment. Before work I called to get my car looked at, but this was Labor Day weekend so I couldn’t take my car in on Saturday or Monday. (Nice to know there are some places that give their non-office work force the day or even the weekend off.) I don’t want to draw out what happened, but three phone calls later (because of my inability to talk on the phone and process information at the same time, I just kept hanging up [with a “Thank you,” of course] and calling back later) I still hadn’t managed to talk to the service writer who’d handled my car before, nor to make an appointment. Fourth time I called, this was how the conversation went:

Me: “Hi, I’d like to make an appointment with [writer’s name], as soon as possible.”
Her: “You can bring your car in on Tuesday from 7 to 10 am.” [Fudging the time, as I can’t remember.]
Me: “I can bring it in any time between then?”
Her: “Well what is it about?”
Me: “I’d like to talk to [writer’s name] about a previous repair.”
Her: “Well let me see if he’s out there.”
Me [thinking she was going to go check herself, then get back to me]: “Okay.”

Then she transferred me to his personal line, which I knew he wasn’t answering because it was a busy morning, and I didn’t want to leave a voicemail because I wouldn’t be able to take a call while at work.

My brother looked at the repair order himself later that day and realized that the module was set up for a 3.0-liter engine. He called Buerge and left a voicemail message, but the writer never called back.

Next week my mom called and managed to get an appointment so she took my car in, getting it back at the end of the day. They wanted to make sure that they got it right this time, so they put 10 miles on my car. (Compared to the 75k+ that’s already on there it doesn’t matter any. Especially compared to the roughly 200 miles that my odometer inflated.)

It’s nice they put in the time to ensure that my car was correctly fixed the second time around. (Do you know how much time it takes to drive 10 miles in L.A.? ;)) But why did I have to bring my car back a second time? What is wrong with this service department that the transmission module was set up for a 3.0L engine and the tech didn’t think to, or didn’t have the time to, ensure that the module was set up correctly for my 2.7L engine? Why is this the second time that my car has had to be brought back to make sure it’s fixed, or is working properly?

We’ve given up on Buerge and found that there is a new Dodge dealership near Carmax. So even if this Dodge service department is similar and we have to bring the car in a second time, at least we won’t have to trek all the way up to Santa Monica.

wave goodbye to summer

New layout! For my abandoned blog! Woo! Following the general theme of the previous two layouts: one color, one pattern, one season(-ish).

This one’s good for another 21 days, until the end of summer. Then I have to come up with an autumn version. But considering it’s taken me almost two years to make these three versions, well, I wouldn’t hold my breath. :)

I am holding this post hostage

Hopefully this’ll force me to write a real post to replace this. :)

California’s Prop 29 first came to my attention in one of the many petition activist emails I receive. It mentioned new legislation on the upcoming ballot, which the tobacco companies oppose. Easy enough, I thought. I’ll just vote against big tobacco, no deep soul-searching required there.

Wrong! Commercials started coming out on TV about Prop 29. The first one I saw had me guffawing. Prop 29 doesn’t put any money toward cancer research? Prop 29 doesn’t do this, it doesn’t do that. It just doesn’t go far enough, so it just shouldn’t be enacted at all!

But another commercial made me pause. Not because of what the official-looking doctor on the screen was saying, but because on the bottom of the screen it stated that the L.A. Times opposed the proposition. I’d never thought that anyone other than those with political or financial motives would oppose it.

I tracked down the Op-Ed piece (sorry, too lazy to find the page again) and it basically said that Prop 29 is flawed. California gets all these taxes and instead of putting it in the general fund, where it’s severely needed, it goes toward this whole new infrastructure where the people on the board can decide to send the money out of state. Additionally, it’s estimated that these taxes will decrease each year, as people quite smoking because of the higher expense.

At this point I wavered between my options: Yes or No? I’m not a fan of creating more bureacracy, and California could really use the money for things other than battling smoking. (People should just stop killing themselves and not smoke, simple as that, right?) And the decrease in taxes, if there’ll be less and less money going toward it, then why bother at all? Yet, I couldn’t bring myself to agree to vote with the tobacco companies.

But then the No on Prop 29 camp released another commercial, saying California’s tax dollars will be sent out of state, instead of creating jobs here, in-state. That argument never holds with me. (I am no statist! State elitist? … I don’t know.) I don’t care which state gets the jobs, as long as there are jobs being created. And calling them California’s tax dollars? The money came from people who smoke; it’s not my money.

So I took a step back and looked at the big picture: smokers will be paying money to … “fund cancer research, smoking reduction programs, and tobacco law enforcement.” (Ballotpedia on Prop 29) I’m fine with that! Count me in as a Yes vote!

And this way I won’t agree with any tobacco companies! ;)