Lost and Found

I have lots of data.

I was fumbling my way through the archives, looking for an old VST plugin, when I happened across a file named “Fort Wayne Chronicles.TXT”

I had nearly forgotten this tale until I read this. I shouldn’t have forgotten it. I should remember it every time I use my giant Craftsman floor jack or jack stands. I don’t remember how long ago this was. Best guess, it was somewhere around 2000 – 2002, since I was driving the ’86 Suburban. In fact, this was likely the event that caused the eventual failure of my wheel bearing, thus ending the reign of the Urban Assault Vehicle. It was the tale of a time that I drove out to Fort Wayne to visit Phil and go see Sunny Taylor play a show at Mad Anthony’s, and instead ended up spending the weekend changing a tire.

My weekend was NUTS! I went out to Ft. Wayne to see a band that I’ve been wanting to see for months now. They were playing Saturday night at a place not more than 6 or 7 blocks from my friend Phil’s apartment. I picked him up a little late, but we were only going to miss a few minutes of the act. We pulled into the parking lot, and I heard a lout banging noise. I didn’t think much of it, as I always hear loud banging noises in the truck. We pulled into a parking space, and when Phil opened his door, I heard a hissing noise. Bad… Very bad… My right rear tire had blown. I said fuck it, we’ll fix it after the band plays. We walk into the bar, and it’s quiet. There’s no band! They cancelled at the last minute. Fuck it, lets get a drink. I had a few beers, and then decided I’d better fix the flat before drinking any more. We went outside, only to discover that I didn’t have a lug-nut wrench. We found a dude in the bar that had one, so he let us borrow it. Then we couldn’t get the lug nuts loose. I was standing on the wrench – no, I was jumping on the wrench. Still, they wouldn’t budge. We finally got one loose, and proceeded to do the same thing on the other 4. It took us about an hour to get the lug nuts off. In the mean time, the guy that owned the wrench told us to keep it, and he left! Its a good thing, too, because by the time we were done jumping on it, it had become so twisted and bent out of shape, that it looked like a damned pretzel! After all the lug nuts were removed, we then tried to remove the tire from the axle. It didn’t work. It was seized up so tight, that no matter how hard we kicked at it, it wouldn’t budge. Not even a little! We walked back to his apartment, and got his car, drove to Meijer and bought a huge pry-bar and a new lug-nut wrench), and headed back out. Even with the prybar, we couldn’t get the tire off! I was bending the shit out of the axle, and the damned rim just wouldn’t pop off. We worked at it until about 1:30am, and finally decided to call it quits for the night. We went back out there Sunday morning, and unfortunately, it hadn’t spontaneously fallen off during the night. We then went to Sears, and bought a few items, including another prybar, 2 cans of WD-40 and a 3 ½ ton hydraulic floor jack. (By this time, I was disgusted with the factory screw jack.) I drenched that thing in oil, and pried until my arms hurt, and we still couldn’t get the damned wheel off! Finally, I got a brainstorm. I borrowed the scissor jack from Phil’s car, and wedged it in between the frame and the wheel rim. I had to crank that thing so hard that it bent the shit out of my rim. Finally, in one huge explosion, the rim went flying one direction, the jack flew another direction, and luckily, none of my fingers went flying anywhere! (The first thing I did was count them all!) Then we put on the spare, and drove away. But that is the first time in history, that it has taken me 19 hours and almost $200 to change a flat tire!

Football Players are Not Important People

I’m not what you might call an avid sports fan, but I do enjoy watching my 1 football game per year. Well, not this year. It’s a bit about the kneeling thing, but not entirely that. It goes way beyond that. It’s about priorities. These asshole athletes think they’re important. They think that by being controversial, they’ll make a change. Not that they’ll actually do anything actively to affect whatever change they wish to bring about, but they’ll sure act a fool in front of a TV camera for their cause.
The problem isn’t so much that they think they’re important. Why on Earth should some disrespectful dipshit, who’s only job is to play a game, be the center of everyone’s attention? The problem is that they’re made to be important by the mass of sports fans, spectators, television networks, team owners, stadium owners, stadium vendors, etc… So many people will lend credence to the athlete’s sense of self-importance by tuning in and watching the game, or by buying the merchandise, or by paying $12 for a sub-par beer at a stadium. It’s through these actions that these athletes are made important.
The problem is misplaced priorities. So many people put these assholes up on a pedestal. These morons get paid millions of dollars to play a game, while people who are EMTs, paramedics and fire fighters struggle to pay their bills. Hell, volunteer fire fighters don’t even get paid to risk their lives to save others. And yet, these athletes have the audacity to think they’re important.
Well fuck them. Today we’re having our Superbowl party, but we’re doing it without the Superbowl. I don’t give a rat’s ass who’s playing, who’s winning, or what commercials they’re airing. We’re having our nachos, and tacos and other Superbowl fare, but we’re watching a movie instead. I doubt any professional athletes are heartbroken over my protest, but I feel better about it.

How to Resuscitate a Dead Jeep 4.0 Inline 6

QuadrajetComputers are wondrous and glorious things… except when they malfunction and prevent our vehicles from operating, of course. I’ve been working on cars since before I was licensed to drive them. I’ve rebuilt countless Rochester Quadrajunks, I’ve replaced ignition points (with a swiss army knife in a parking lot during a snow storm), I’ve used a flashing light and a vacuum pump to time an engine’s ignition. None of these things matter anymore because all of these functions have been taken over by the mysterious Engine Control Unit.

That’s all fine and dandy until the ECU starts to misbehave in strange and unusual ways that make us think the problem isn’t the ECU. And thus begins my tale of Jeep woe. Continue reading

Pro Tip #12

NOwinRAROpen letter to all European IT people respectfully sent from every IT person in the United States:


win95So 20 years ago, every Windows 95 PC in the US probably had a trial installation of WinRAR that complained about being 120 days past the 30 day trial. Americans could readily extract files compressed in the RAR format.

We also used programs like RealPlayer, WinAmp, Napster, and we used Netscape to load web pages like Web Crawler to search for crappy, static HTML 1 web pages written by college students and early digital porn pioneers.

However here in the 21st century, times have changed, software has improved, and no one in the United States uses WinRAR anymore! Every Windows PC on every desk in every business everywhere can open a standard ZIP file without the use of external software. Please take advantage of that when compressing and sending files to the United States. I would very much like to stop receiving phone calls like this:

Dave, the guys in Russia emailed me this file and I don’t know how to open it. If I email it to you, can you extract the documents and email it back to me?

My next Pro Tip will probably admonish users for emailing multiple copies of files between multiple parties, causing an avalanche of wasted data storage in mailbox databases… but not today.

Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens

LightsaberHRBy now, you should have seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Nearly the whole universe bought tickets in advance, and the movie broke opening weekend box office records with ease. There’s nothing quite like seeing a Star Wars film on opening night, surrounded by cheering fans in a packed theater. If you haven’t had the pleasure, I strongly suggest you do so for the next movie.

In the aftermath of opening weekend, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a movie have such a polarizing effect on people. Everyone either loved it, or vehemently loathed it. There seemed to be very little in between. Personally, I thought it was excellent, but it was not without its flaws.

Some things I did enjoy: Continue reading

Which Time?

Lake_Central_School_LogoOne of my favorite questions that I always answer with a another question is, “What year did you graduate high school?” My answer is always the same, “Which time?”  To my knowledge, no one before me had ever graduated from Lake Central more than once. Furthermore, they’ve since taken precautions to ensure that no one else will ever duplicate the feat. It was perhaps one of my finest teenage pranks.

Found here is a narrative of the whole graduation ordeal that I had written back in 2003 for display on my first website. Continue reading

SWTOR Community Event Codes

For all you SWToR players out there, here are some shareable codes from several of the community events. Each will net you a new speeder mount, plus another random item. (Usually a dye pack, but every now and then it’ll be something useful.)

To redeem the code, log in to your SWToR account at swtor.com first, then click on each of the links here and click “Redeem.”




After you’ve successfully redeemed your code, you will get an in-game mail containing the items.  Enjoy!

Updated 10/12/2015: Here’s a new one from the Oct 10 NYCC Cantina:


Saved by a Punch

Being resourceful often requires one to think “outside the box.” However, it has been my experience that sometimes being resourceful actually requires one to be acutely aware of the box. Not to just think outside the box but to think about the box itself.

72 Pontiac LeMansNever was this more evident than the time I decided to replace the rear differential gasket on my old ’72 Pontiac LeMans.

The rear differential was leaking gear oil. (The car was around 20 years old at that point, so it was to be expected.) I decided to remedy the situation by replacing the differential cover gasket. I ran out to Dyer Auto Parts (which doesn’t exist anymore) and asked for a 10 bolt differential cover gasket for a ’72 LeMans. I hadn’t yet lost my faith in the abilities of others, so I accepted what he gave me without really scrutinizing it. Continue reading

Samsung Galaxy S6 Impressions

Samsung Galaxy S6
I’ve been using a Samsung Galaxy S4 quite happily since they were released. It was one of the best phones I had ever used, in fact. However, I was recently motivated to upgrade to a newer model. (more on that later)
Given how much I liked the S4, I decided to go with the most recent iteration of the Galaxy mobile phone line, the Galaxy S6.

I’m quite happy that I did, and here’s why:
Continue reading



At long last, my websites are now hosted somewhere that isn’t subject to the ineptitude of NIPSCO or Comcast!

I’ve moved all my websites to a GoDaddy web hosting account. It’s only costing me about $80 a year, so it’s relatively inexpensive. It’s an experiment in downsizing my energy consumption at home. Shutting down my storage server was a big step in the right direction. It consisted of a giant 3U rackmount server with 16x 2TB hard drives, 3x power supplies, and a roar that rivals that of a Pratt and Whitney jet engine. It generated nearly enough heat to keep the house heated during the winter months all by itself. Shutting down that server probably lowered my electric bill by $75 a month.

Now if I can manage to convince myself to get hosted email, I can resize my home network to be more inline with what an average home might have…

Nah… conformity blows. Besides, I like saying that I have my own Exchange server.

Pro Tip #11

Superfluous LintA Wet/Dry shop vac makes an excellent tool to use when removing the gratuitous amounts of lint from the inner workings of your clothes dryer.

The powerful motor makes quick work of removing the ridiculous amounts of tiny, dust-like particles that used to be part of your favorite boxer shorts, shirts, towels, brassiere, loin cloth, etc…

However, it is recommended that one checks to make sure there is a filter installed in said Wet/Dry shop vac before you begin.

You’ll have to trust me on this one.

Lint Explosion

Tamriel Unlimited Starts Today!

Updating2TamrielUnlimitedAll rejoice! If you were a previous subscriber to Elder Scrolls Online, that means that you bought the game. If you bought the game, that means you can now play it it even if you don’t have a subscription! I loved the game, but the group of guys I game with were swayed back to Warcraft. Don’t get me wrong, I love Warcraft too, but I won’t pay for 2 subscriptions at once. Well problem solved! I can now go back and continue my playing in ESO and not have to pay any more for it.

I started playing ESO the day it released, and from what I’ve read there are a lot of things that have changed since then. I’m anxious to get home from work and give it a whirl. See you on the field of battle!

Pro Tip #10

So I’ve been having this mystery problem with Server 2012 R2 for a while now. I have a 2TB external drive that I am using for backup storage. I was running out of space on the drive, and I couldn’t figure out why. When I added up the files on the drive, they didn’t come anywhere near 2TB. In fact, I moved everything off of the drive entirely and I still had only 32 GB free! Something was definitely awry, and I had to figure out what.

2012R2 System Volume Gone Wrong

My first thought was to just re-initialize the drive and go on with my life, but then I would always be left wondering what caused it. So instead I investigated until I found the problem, and hopefully this article will help someone else resolve the issue without having to shuffle tons of data around to re-initialize a drive.
Continue reading

Samsung Owes Me an Hour of My Life Back

Not So Smart HubSamsung TV’s Not-so-SmartHub just cost me an hour of my life that I’ll never get back. If you have a Samsung television with SmartHub as of the moment of this writing, your Smart TV is acting pretty dumb. I got home from work and fired up the TV to entertain my daughter while I made dinner. I hit the SmartHub button and go for Netflix. The error message “Network interference occurred. Please try again later.” is all that I can get out of my TV. I start troubleshooting the network. I’m messing with the firewall. I’m pinging and trace routing and packet capturing… I’m pulling out every trick in my IT Guy playbook, and nothing makes sense. It’s own diagnostics say that the local network is good but it can’t reach the internet. I’m watching at the firewall, and it’s not even trying to reach the internet. It just flat-out refuses!

I solved the puzzle, but I had to revert to Facebook to do it. Samsung TV USA’s Facebook page (more specifically, their “posts to page” section) is rife with posts and comments of angry TV owners, all having the exact same issue as I am! A little more digging on Google, and it turns out that Samsung TV’s try to talk to their own SmartHub servers. If it can’t, then it refuses to do anything. No Netflix. No Pandora. No Hulu. Nothing. Zip. Zero. El Zilcho.

Why the hell do these things require that Samsung’s servers are in working order? Good question, but it’s one that I’ll certainly be taking into consideration when it’s time to buy my next TV. There’s no way in Hell that I’m paying for all the “Smart” features, if they have to do something so stupid as to call home to Samsung before they’ll work.