September 18th, 1998

Why Today SUCKED...


Granted, September 18th 1998 didn't suck nearly as much as June 1st 1998, but it was pretty bad in its own respect. It was just a few minor points which made things suck a whole lot.

Southern California Edison:
This section has been broken up into sub-sections due to the fact that most of the crap that happened was all related to this.

Edison parking lot:
Ok, a bit of background. I'm currently working at Edison in Rosemead, California. It's the regional electric company. I work on their "Year 2000 Compliance" team. To keep things simple, let's just say that the building I work in is the shape of a round faced clock (it isn't, but it's much easier to illustrate without drawing pictures and giving lengthy explanation). There is currently a lot of parking construction going on, which means much of the parking lot is shut down. Specifically, the parking lot is shut down at roughly the 11 o'clock position. There is a small lot open at 12 o'clock, but on Friday they decided to post guards to keep anybody from parking there (I don't know why). People had to park at 10 o'clock, but there is no access from the 10 o'clock parking lot to the main entrance which is at 12 o'clock. You have to go back around to the 6 o'clock position to get in, but guess what, my security card wouldn't open the back door. I had to walk around the building counter clockwise to get to the main gate. The building is not a small one. This is when the annoyance for the day started.

I keep change and one dollar bills in my pockets. Why? Because the break room has vending machines that take those things, nothing else. So lunch Time rolls around and I'm busy, so I figure I'll just grab a snack and keep working. I check my pockets. A $5, a $10, and two $20. No singles. What about change? 16 cents. I really need to do some homework during my lunch break, but this is frustrating. So I finally break down and head over to the cafeteria (an adjacent building at the "6 o'clock" position from the building I work in).

Edison Cafeteria:
I buy a tuna sandwich and a drink. It's 3.72. Not even thinking, I hand over a 20, thinking I can make lots of change. No, I didn't get stiffed on my change, but I got back, what, 16.28? A 10, a 5, and a 1. And some change. The sandwich, BTW, is probably the most pathetic tuna sandwich I've ever had. It tasted fine, but it was tiny. I ate it and I was still ravenous. At this point I realized that Time was running short and I needed to study during my lunch hour and I just spent 15 minutes in the cafeteria. So I walk back to my building. Again, my access card doesn't work so I walk all the way around again. But now, armed with fresh bills and 44 cents, I can get something else to appease my hunger.

Edison Break room change machine:
There's a machine in the break room that you stick a dollar (and only a dollar) in and you get change. I take out my dollar. That's when I notice it. The damn thing looks like 10 year old cotton. It's puffy. It's saggy. It's wrinkled. It looks like it's been hand scrubbed on a washboard with lye soap. I try to feed it into the machine for 5 minutes with NO luck. I'm pissed and I dig in my pocket, hoping that I have another single. Of course, I DON'T. I didn't even bother to check at the cafeteria. Not to mention the 5 and the 10 are equally in poor shape. I'm running out of study Time. I decide to go out to my car where I have a small change purse. Out the back door at 6 o'clock, clockwise around the building, out to the car. I get my change purse. I walk back around counter clockwise, back to 12 o'clock because my access card still doesn't work. I finally get to the machine and get a bag of Doritos. That worked.

Edison Break room milk machine:
But guess what didn't. I tried to get some chocolate nonfat milk (the only chocolate milk) out of the milk vendor. I put in a worn quarter. It rejects it. I dig in my coin pouch and pull out a newer quarter. That gets spit out too. I put in a shiny 1997 quarter. That gets spit out too. I have no more quarters and there isn't enough change left for a milk. The machine isn't taking quarters anyway. I'm pissed. I dig in my pocket. Ahhh yes, the change from the cafeteria. I count my dimes and nickles and I BARELY have enough for a milk. I throw in the dimes and nickles. I hit the button for chocolate milk. No response. I hit it again. Nothing. Nada. There is no milk left except for some nonfat milk. There are no lights indicating when a particular milk is sold out. Man, I am pissed and I didn't get to study.

The 5 south freeway:
On Thursday after work (after 5pm) I decided to take the 5 freeway home. Of course, getting to the 5 was kind of a pain, but once I was on it, I averaged 50 mph home. Unbelievable. For Friday, I figured out a much more efficient way of getting to the 5 freeway. With any luck, my rush hour commute won't be 1.1 hours, more like .8 hours. Awesome. So I bust it down to the 5 freeway in record Time. I figure I'll easily get home under an hour. The first couple of miles of freeway driving are sweet. And then it happens. Parking lot. I listen to the news report. Twice. NO signs of trouble. They don't even mention the 5. The freeway is a CRAWL. It took me 1 hour to travel 11 miles. The surface streets were worse, so I avoided them (not to mention they dump you in less than favorable streets and I'm not even talking about the neighborhood. The roads suck.). It took 1.25 hours to get home. Pissed. Very pissed.

Id Software & authors of L-Fire CTF and Rocket Arena:
I was supposed to spend a couple of hours playing Quake2 on a lan with a couple of friends. We like to play some Capture the Flag and some Rocket Arena. Recently, Id released the newest version of the executable, v3.19. The CTF and Rocket Arena mods were written for v3.17. The mod authors claimed that their mods seemed to work with v3.19. They were half-right. They mainly test their stuff in "dedicated" mode, which means one machine is dedicated to hosting the game. So if 4 guys want to play, there has to be 5 physical machines. Unfortunately, there were 4 of us and 4 machines. And since CTF and Rocket Arena are both team games, we didn't want to play "odd man out." So we had to use a different a different mode so we can play with all the machines instead of setting one aside. In this mode, the two mods kept flaking and crashing and generally not working right. I spent hours Friday night trying to get things to work right until I realized that it was the software change from v3.17 to v3.19 that was causing the inconsistency. On the internet, almost always the machine is in "dedicated" mode, so it wouldn't suprise me one bit if the mod authors never bothered to check this very important fact. Man, I was pissed.

My computer:
I'll keep this one short. Bottom line, I DID have a 5th machine, but it wasn't set up and nothing was installed. I got the bright idea of turning it into a dedicated server. All I needed to do was spend 30 minutes on it. Wrong. Let's just say that the hard drive I needed was physically locked into place and I needed to remove it. And I didn't have the key. I finally drove back home and came back with ALL my computer keys. As luck would have it, NONE of them was the right key. Yes, pissed.

Fry's Electronics and Diamond Multimedia:
We finally got things rolling, past 3 am in the morning. Remember what I said about a day in the June 1st page, the day isn't over until I go to bed. I recently purchased a Diamond Monster 3D II 3d accelerator card. Unfortunately, it was one of those "certified returned" items. ALL the diamond cards in the store were like this. I should have realized that something was up when I bought it, but I bought it on good faith that the Fry's people knew what they were doing. Big mistake. The card worked just fine for the first hour or so. And then it started glitching strangely. The graphics were getting all messed up. If I turned off the machine and let it sit a while, it would start working again, but would sure as shit go weird after half an hour. It's some sort of thermal problem, but the case was completely open with multiple fans blowing in the case in an air conditioned house. WTF. The card should have been fine and it was relatively cool to the touch. Bad card. I should have just heeded the "certified returned" stickers on ALL of the boxes. I was stupid.

Pace Picante sauce:
The upside to that night was hanging with friends despite all the hardware problems (I won't even BEGIN to describe what a nightmare it was trying to network all of the machines...). Someone went to the store and bought some tortilla chips. There was plenty of salsa left in a plastic jar. I love chips and salsa. I totally dug in. No big deal, right? Wrong. When the jar was empty, my friend went to throw it away and then noticed a small expiration date. October, 1997. 1997. I didn't feel so good.

So that was my night. Overall, it wasn't as bad as June 1st, but it was still worth mentioning.