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Rachel
01 November 2007 @ 09:07 pm

This is the costume I wore to work on Halloween....

From the side:


And from the back (note the working propeller):


It took me about 6 hours over two days to construct the boat and decorate it with help from both my mom and dad.  The reason I had to wear this costume is that as part of the Finance Group at my work, we went with a theme costume.  I agreed to be volunteered to construct and wear the boat costume.  Here is the group shot of our Theme Costume....



if you haven't figured out our theme yet, here is a shot of us from the back, which might help...


 

If you still haven’t figured out our group theme....We're a full house....2 Kings (Elvis, King of Rock 'n' Roll & the Burger King) and 3 Queens (Cleopatra, Queen of the Nile; Queen Elizabeth the First and me, the Queen Mary).

 

I thought our costumes were ridiculously good and that we would win the group costume contest for sure.  Unfortunately, we lost to the Operations Group, who dressed up as characters from the video game "Street Fighter."

From left to right: Chun-Li, Balrog, Dhalsim, Sagat, Edmond Honda, Blanka, Ryu, & Guile 



It was the guy who portrayed Blanka by painting his whole body green that got them the win, the judges loved his dedication and sacrifice for his art.

It kind of sucks that we lost -- I spent so much time on making my ship and there were these great little details on it, like a propeller that actually worked, the anchors were held in place with real chain, the smoke in the smokestacks, and not to mention that the colors were right as well -- I mean, I made a pretty accurate representation of the real boat for god's sakes!

 
See here:

 

 

 

 
I mean really -- not to brag too much -- but just compare the boat I made to these pictures and you'll see what I great job I did with my costume.  Oh, well, what’re ya gonna do?  The green dude killed our chances of winning.

 

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Rachel
26 September 2007 @ 10:08 am

So awesome.  47% of the 10 million (!) voters wanted to send Barry Bonds’ “record-breaking” home run ball to Cooperstown with an asterisk stamped on it to acknowledge the fact that Barry Bonds more than likely didn’t come by his place in the annals of history honestly (in other words, he’s a filthy cheater.)

I’m glad to see that people want to make a statement that there are consequences for not playing fair.  And I think the ignominy of having arguably your life’s greatest achievement rest under a cloud of suspicion for all time is a worthy punishment.

 

Perhaps common sense is making a comeback?

 

Nah.



 
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Rachel
24 September 2007 @ 10:07 pm

So, after 12 days, 6 calls and 3 different Trouble Tickets, I finally have the DSL Service that I’ve been paying for since September 29, 2006.

 

I ran a new speed test with the speakeasy site, and I’m getting 2.5M (or 2544 kbps) download and 431 kbps upload speed.  That’s a damn site better than the average of 300 kbps speed I was getting before -- more than 8 times better.

 

Why it had to be like pulling teeth to fix this problem I have no friggin’ idea, but I can finally watch clips from YouTube without waiting for them to download and I can now watch streaming video and listen to streaming audio without buffering delays and connectivity problems.

 

Thank goodness.

 

Now I just need to complain to the Yahoo billing dept. and get them to refund a little something back to me for charging me for over a year without providing the promised service….Like THAT won’t be a total pain in the ass to resolve.  But I am nothing if not persistent.


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Rachel
20 September 2007 @ 11:59 am

My home computer crapped out on Sept. 2 and I had no internet access at home from Sept. 2 through Sept. 12, the horror!

 

I had a guy from the GeekSquad out to the house on Sept. 12, and he worked on my computer from 9:30 am till noon and couldn’t find anything wrong with it, nor could he duplicate the problem, which was that the computer wouldn’t boot up and couldn’t find the hard disk.  By booting up my laptop in “safe mode” (something I was loath to try on my own) he was able to resolve the problem, but nothing’s been fixed and I could easily go through the same issues again.

 

Argh.

 

The GeekSqud guy said that my memory was running really slow which probably contributed to the problems I was having, and that my motherboard was probably dying and I should think about investing in a new computer.  It’s not like my laptop is THAT old.  I hate the fact that nowadays really expensive that should last a while seem to be built to be disposable.  It’s ridiculous.

 

I don’t want to have to spend a lot of dough on a new laptop and I don’t want to have to learn a new operating system, as apparently, all new computers are now loaded with Windows Vista instead of Windows XP.  I was just starting to get used to using XP after having been on Windows 98 for a long time on my home computer.  Why must everything be constantly upgraded and changed?  It makes me crazy.

 

Another thing the GeekSquad guy said was that apparently I’m not getting all the high speed DSL I’m paying for.  He ran a speed test on my computer (here’s the site: http://www.speakeasy.net/speedtest/) and my download speed varies from as low as 40 kbps to as high as 350 kbps and my upload speed is around 350 kbps.

 

This is comparable to dial-up speed!  

 

I should be getting between 1.5 to 3 Mbps (1500-3000kbps) with a high speed DSL line installed in my house.  So basically, I’m getting about 10%-20% of the speed I should be getting.  No wonder watching clips on YouTube are such a pain in the ass.

 

Why have I been paying for high-speed DSL for the last year and a half if AT&T/Yahoo! is providing me with the equivalent of dial-up access?  So very cranky.  Two calls to AT&T/Yahoo! and it’s still not fixed.  I had a tech out yesterday and it’s still not fixed.  In fact, the tech thinks that my DSL line was built to 384 kbps speed even though it should be a 3Mbps line (which is what I’m paying for).  This means my service has been crap since the day I started paying for it.

 

I’m going to have to have to chat with their billing department to see if I can’t get some kind of refund since they have been billing me for a service that they have never provided.

 

Argh.

 

 

 

 

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Rachel
20 September 2007 @ 10:45 am

Oh my god...

 

I had to take a break from work and do something, anything else.  Hence, writing this journal entry so that I can catch a breather.  I’ve been assembling together three (well one so far) literature racks for displaying the Marketing Literature at work. 

 

They look like this: 36-Compartment Value Sorter Organizer, Gray, and they are exhausting to put together.  Lining up all the little holes to screw the separate pieces together?  Argh.  The holes don’t line up. And if you can, by some miracle, get them to line up, then the screws don’t want to go in straight.  And then, if you can get the screws to go in straight, then you can’t get good leverage to screw in the screws, so the screwdriver slips, and then you take gouges out of your hands and bleed all over the Lit Rack.  And then you have to practically play twister to get all the parts aligned and able to assemble it.  I swear, I broke out into a sweat putting together the first one and my back is aching.

 

The description for this product from Staples.com says, “Fast and easy quick-lock assembly.”

 

Fast and easy my ASS.  Looks like someone at Staples has been smoking crack again.

 

This is not for the faint of heart.

 

Back to work.  ::whimper, whimper::

 

 

 
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Rachel
19 September 2007 @ 09:32 pm

I think this is hilarious.

Visit
this website to help decide what should be done with the baseball that Barry Bonds hit to break Hank Aaron’s all-time homerun record.

I know how I’m voting.   ;o)



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Rachel
18 September 2007 @ 12:48 pm

Last night I went to the Sharks Teal & White game, an intra-squad scrimmage between the players and prospects trying to fight their way on to the team.  Usually, this game is reserved for season ticket holders and group event organizers only, so I wouldn’t normally be allowed to go.  Luckily for me, apparently my work arranged a group outing to a Sharks game last season which put us on the list of people invited to the game, and further luckily for me, the gal who organized the event last year wasn’t interested in attending.  She offered up the invite to my boss, who in turn offered it up to me, knowing that I am one of the people in the office who not only would be interested in going, but would actually be desperate to go.

 

So, all in all this s another example of me being a lucky duck in my new job.

 

The game itself was highly entertaining; the new jumbotron and Message Ring at the Tank are totally awesome.  I was one of the biggest pooh-poohers on the block about the need to install a mega-jumbotron; it kind of struck me as an example of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.  Sure, a new jumbotron would be nice, but there were so many other important things for the Sharks to spend their money on, like the crappy ice conditions and free agents (especially a good d-man now that Hannan has bailed for greener pastures).

 

But after having seen the jumbotron in action, I have to admit, it was pretty dang nice. Like, ridiculously so.

 

And the Message Ring thing didn't bother me so much because it mostly remained static showing ads and looked pretty much like it used to when the ads were made of plastic with lights behind them.

 

The only thing that bothered me was when they were showing a graphic on the Message Ring with the words "Teal & White Game" with a shark fin racing around the top and bottom ring of the jumbotron and the style of the graphic was "jittery." It just made my eyes go all jittery in my head and made me feel nauseous if I looked at it too long. I swear, if they constantly show these jittery, shaky, caffeinated graphics on the jumbotron and the Ring 'o Death, someone at the Tank is going to have an epileptic seizure. I just hate that kind of stuff.  It makes me seasick.

 

But the HD replays on the jumbotron were really suberb, I must admit.  All I have to say is “WOW.”  It’s gorgeous.

 

(photo courtesy of chumnomore from The Feeder)
 

Before the Teal & White game began we were treated to a kids’ game played by 8-10 year olds.  They were pretty good, but there were many train wrecks and kids tripping over each other and taking each other out and whiffs and failed breakaways.  It was really cute.  How awesome would it be to be 10 years old and get to play a hockey game on real NHL ice?  That must have been pretty special for those kids.

 

After the kids played, they brought the Sharks onto the ice for introductions and began the Teal & White game.  It was so nice to see the boys out on the ice, skating their hearts out.  I am so ready for hockey season to start.

 

One thing I must say, I really do not like the new uniforms the team is sporting this season.

 

 

I can live with the new unis, but even after seeing them in action last night I still don't like them one little bit.  Screw Reebok and their RBK line, they completely suck trying to make NHL uniforms look like NFL uniforms.

 

This is really petty, but I really don't like the bottom hem of the jerseys. They're curved at the bottom like a crescent whereas before they were straight cut across the bottom.  It just looks stupid, like a dress shirt that you forgot to tuck in.  I don't like the tight fit, I don't like the stripes, I don't like the orange, I don't like the numbers on the front of the sweater, I don't like the new logo…

 

 

I don't like the new secondary logo….

 

 

(yeah, tell us how you really feel).

 

The best I can say about them is that they could have been worse. But that's not much of a ringing endorsement, is it?  I hate being a negative nellie, but I just don't like these unis much at all.

 

I just flat out resent the new unis that are being fobbed off on loyal fans by the NHL & Reebok. All that "uniform system" and "8% more aerodynamic" talk is just so much crap. It pisses me off. It's a flat out money grab by the league. If they were honest and up front about that, I might not be so angered. But I really resent being marketed to as if I were an idiotic child.

 

The NHL is famous for constantly fixing that which isn't broken. And in so doing, they cheapen their product by trying to turn it into something it isn't and by ignoring traditions. Hockey is what it is -- let it be what it is instead of trying to redefine it in terms of other, more popular sports.

 

Anyways, that's basically in a nutshell why I hate in the new unis. They represent all that is bad with the league tampering with what is good about the game.

 

But, just because I hate the new uniforms with the fire of a thousand suns it doesn’t mean that I’m not looking forward to the start of the season with baited breath.

 

First preseason game is tonight at Los Angeles, radio only game.  And the first home preseason game of the year is Friday night, for which I have tickets.  Yay!  Hockey’s back!

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Rachel
15 September 2007 @ 10:22 pm

In my last journal entry all I had committed my money to was one little Philadelphia Flyers ticket.  Now I've gone and bought me a Rangers ticket, made hotel reservations in New York and New Jersey and cashed in 25,000 Frequent Flyer miles to fly from SFO to JFK and then from Philadelphia back to SFO.

 

I guess this crazy little road trip idea has become a solid reality.  Now all I need to get is the Islanders ticket and the Devils ticket and I’m all set.  I spoke to a representative from the Devils team and their individual game tickets don’t go on sale until October 15, so I’ll have to wait till then to get my ticket, but I don’t think it will be a problem to get a single ticket to a random mid-week game in February.  Unfortunately, I don’t know when the Isles/Sharks tickets go on sale (and neither do the fine folks at TicketMaster).  TicketMaster is currently selling Isles home game tickets right now, but only for the first half of the season. Nothing after the first week of January is on sale yet.  So, I’ll have to keep checking their site daily to see when I can get me a ticket for the Isles game.

 

I can't believe I'm going through with this, but it looks like I am.

 

Actually, I'm getting kind of excited the more I think about it.  This should be AWESOME.

 

I just hope it isn’t too cold for a weather-weenie like me who grew up in balmy California.  I might have to buy some winter boots.  Most of my shoes are sandals.

 
 
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Rachel
14 September 2007 @ 03:07 pm

So this morning I did a very hair-brained thing. I spent a bunch of money on a foolish whim that now I have no choice but to go through with and see to the end lest my money be wasted on a non-refundable purchase.

So what the heck am I talking about?

ROADTRIP! 

It seems that my beloved Sharks are going to be making a trip back east this season to play against the Atlantic Division (New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins). As soon as the Sharks season schedule came out mid-summer, I noticed that all 5 of these back east games will be played on one road trip for the Sharks instead of in multiple trips back east, and that the first 4 games of the road trip will be played in 5 nights, from February 17-21, 2008.

With that kind of a compact schedule and 3 of the teams playing in the NYC Metro Area that is accessible by public transportation, it seemed like an intriguing idea to possibly follow the Sharks around Metro New York for a few days.

Add in the fact that my favorite aunt lives in Philadelphia and can offer me room and board to see the Flyers play and the road trip gets to be even more feasible. Then you add in the fact that Monday February 18 is President’s Day (work holiday) and I’ve got loads of frequent flyer miles waiting to be used and it seems almost silly NOT to go on this madcap trip.

Here’s my planned itinerary so far: 

Sat 2/16 Fly SJ-NYC, Check in to hotel:

Sun 2/17 Walk to New York Ranger game at Madison Square Garden 1:00 p.m. local time (MSG is 3 blocks away from hotel). Attend game from 1-4 pm, try to gets tickets for Broadway show at 7:00 pm: Spamalot, Lion King, etc.

Mon 2/18 Walk 3 blocks from hotel to Penn Station, take train out to Nassau Coliseum for game @ N.Y. Islanders 2:00 p.m. Think up a famous place to have dinner.

Tues 2/19 Sightsee in NYC

Wed 2/20 Take train from Penn Station New York to Penn Station Newark. Take Taxi from Penn Station Newark to Hotel and check in at 3:00 pm. Take another taxi to New Jersey Devils new arena. Attend Devils game 7:30 pm 7 take taxi back to hotel.

Thu 2/21 Take train from Penn Station Newark to 30th Street Station in Philly; transfer to SEPTA Market-Frankford Line to 69th St. terminal, then to Route 100 rail get off at Ardmore Jct, or Ardmore or Haverford (ask Aunt Chrissy which is the right stop. Drop off bags at Aunt Chrissy’s house. Get back on SEPTA take Route 100 rail to 69th street then transfer to Market-Frankford Line get off at 15th Street and transfer to Broad Street (Orange Line) southbound & get off at last stop, Pattison Ave. Go to Flyers game 7:00 pm, take train in reverse back to the house.

Fri 2/22 Sightsee in Philly, hang with Aunt Chrissy & cousins.

Sat 2/23 Sightsee in Philly, hang with Aunt Chrissy & cousins

Sun 2/24 Fly home from Philly to SJ – if its NOT possible to fly in to NYC and out of Philadelphia per AA frequent flyer rules, then I can either take the train from Philly to Newark and fly out of Newark (which is considered a NYC airport) or ask Aunt Chrissy or one of the boys drive me up to Newark to catch my flight Sunday morning.

So for a while I’ve been sort of mulling this over as an idea I might possibly pursue, but then today I made it a reality. I was given information about an internet presale on Flyer tickets. This morning at 10:00 a.m. eastern time, 7:00 a.m. pacific time, I went online to the Wachovia Center website and bought a single ticket to see the Flyers versus the San Jose Sharks on February 21, 2008. Seeing as how sporting event tickets are non-refundable, I guess I’m now locked into this trip, unless I want to chuck the approx. $100 I spent on a ticket in section 103….

What am I thinking?

Tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. eastern time, 7:00 a.m. pacific time, tickets go on sale for the Rangers, Islanders and Devils. Guess who’s setting her alarm clock to get up early tomorrow? Then I need to call the airline to book my flights and book the hotels I’ve already chosen and I’ll be pretty much done.

This feels pretty reckless to travel across the country alone to follow a hockey team, but then again, I get 4 weeks vacation every year, life is short, I love hockey, so why the hell not?
 

 
 
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Rachel

More instances of stuff I should have posted here AGES ago.....

 

I went to a midnight Harry Potter Book 7 release party at the local Barnes & Nobel on July 20-21 and I was siriusly unimpressed with the store’s organizational skills.

 

In a nutshell, our event was 1) wait in line outside 2) move inside for party 3) go back outside to lineup again so that we can 4) bring you back inside to line up to purchase the book.

 

The whole thing was a recipe for disaster and tempers were flaring by the time they started selling the book.

 

I took the day off work Friday, July 20 and arrived at the store at 10:30 am to stake a place in line outside, but that was OK because I had very comfy folding camp chair and book 4 on CD to listen to all day. I was among the first people to arrive at the store to line up (number 4 overall). It was a long day, but not unpleasant.

 

A friend arrived to join me in line at 5:00 pm and the two more friends joined us at 6:30 pm.  B&N allowed all the people waiting in line to enter the store to get wristbands around 7:00 pm -- people were given gold numbered wristbands if they pre-ordered the book and blue wristbands if they did not. Blue wristbands had to wait for all the gold wristbanded people to be served before they could get a copy of the book -- my wristband was Group A number 4 (with about 50 people or so per lettered group).

 

So after everyone was allowed in the store we were free to wander, do activities, trivia, and there was a live band as well. The lead singer of the band is named Mark Smith and he happens to also play center/left wing for the San Jose Sharks NHL team, so I was able to indulge in my two biggest obsessions in one night. Yay!

 

The problem with the organization began when it was time to line people up to purchase their books. We were supposed to all go back outside at 10:00 pm and begin lining up in order again to be let into the store, but people were still lined up outside trying to get their wristbands (group J) and the B&N employees did a piss-poor job of herding everyone outside, organizing the lineups, etc. People went outside and hung out right next to the front door, whether they had “A” wristband or “G” wristbands.

 

It took a bunch of us “A’s” yelling at people to back away from the door and form a proper line up, because the B&N staff were simply not doing it, and I was damned if I was going to spend 9 hours queuing up to let someone who showed up an hour before they opened the door to get in front of me. Some of us A’s were getting downright testy, because it was ridiculously mismanaged and disorganized.

 

Finally, there was a group of people who were waiting by the front door who refused to move out of the way of all us A’s and several of us got into nasty yelling matches over it until we finally found out from the people lined up that they were actually allowed in before those of us who rightfully waited in line all day due to being part of a bookclub. Then B&N allowed people who were volunteers to cut in line in front of us, too.


All of this would have been fine if they had 1) given these people different looking wristbands than the ones we had so that we could tell that they had special status and 2) if anyone from B&N had explained to the people who had waited in line all damn day long that they were going to allow a bunch of people to cut in line in front of us. To us who waited, it just looked like there was a huge group of very bold cheaters trying to cut the line. I went from 4th in line to about 25th. Grrrr.

 

Ah, well, it all turned out all right in the end, as I had my book and set of CDs in hand by 12:07 am on July 21 and was home reading by 12:15 am.

 

But still, it’s not as if B&N didn’t have plenty of warning that this book was coming out and they hadn’t thrown plenty of release parties before. Their lack of organization was appalling.

 

I swear I’m not going back there for the book 8 release party.

 

Did I mention that I wore my SugarQuill shirt from CafePress to the HP release party?

 

The evidence:  Fab & Friend say hello to Smitty -- center/left wing for the San Jose Sharks .

 
Smitty's band, the Vinyl Trees, performs at B&N.

 

 
 
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