August 30, 2005

Products that will Change our Lives

Posted in Inconsequential at 3:18 pm by Ian

Because doing a brain implant on the owners involves all kinds of tricky licensing and paperwork.

The texture and firmness of NeuticleNaturals were crafted based on the firmness of actual animal testicles.

Jobs I Do Not Want To Have™

And this keeps getting better. Business is booming

Miller says business is booming, and he’s offering Neuticle T-shirts, key chains featuring a real artificial testicle, and other promotional products.

Emphasis mine.

August 24, 2005

Shredded Steel Wool on Wood #3

Posted in Critical at 11:06 pm by Ian

In this study, the artist contrasts the smooth and natural grain of the wooden table with the rough and jumbled strands of steel to make a statement about the triumph of nature over the infirmities of technology. The placement of the steel above the wood implies both a mastery over and a reliance upon the natural order. The steel itself is stressed and twisted, rent by the ferocious jaws of the artist herself. She celebrates her bestial victory over manufacturism, placing this frayed icon upon a pedestal for all to see.

Expect big things from this up and comer as she moves into other media, including Toilet Papier-Mâché and Hair on Cotton.

…And You’re Ugly, Too

Posted in General at 9:53 am by Ian

It’s a good thing this woman didn’t ask for a second opinion.

August 20, 2005

Misconceptions of the Opera

Posted in General at 9:32 pm by Ian

What a change… you’re really not a bitch.

Your face, Christine, it’s white.
He frightens me.
Be frightened.

August 18, 2005

Why Hardware Companies Should Not Make Software

Posted in General at 9:40 am by Ian

At work, I’ve been learning VHDL, a hardware description language, for a new project I’m working on and have been using Xilinx tools to build. In just a few days, I’ve been amazed at the heights of inoperability that they’ve managed to pack into a single suite of software. A few examples:

  • The default font for editing files was really small. When I increased it, I no longer had a cursor. When I set an external editor as the default, it gives an error message and doesn’t open.
  • The error boxes are quite limited in the space they have, since the path to files in cvs is pretty long, the actual error message is completely cropped off. I get a little error message that says

    /ridiculously/long/path/to/cvs/directory/subdirectory/subsubdire

    . With buttons labeled “Yes” and “No.” Uhmm. Yes?

August 16, 2005

Riposte

Posted in General at 1:57 pm by Ian

The next time someone complains that Macs cost too much, it may be pointed out that they cannot be priced lower for public safety reasons.

August 13, 2005

An Epic Struggle: Epilogue

Posted in General at 5:37 pm by Ian

After my mechanic kept my car for almost an entire week to do a simple smog check and having to do it twice because they didn’t bother to look at the paperwork and notice that it was for the wrong car, I was seriouly inclined not to use them again. This is, you’ll remember, is the same place that threw away my license plate holder, so I considered it their second strike. But they came so highly recommended that I was weak of resolve.

Saturday morning, I stopped for gas on the way out of town. I opened the fuel tank door to find my gas cap missing.

No. Fucking. Way. am I going back there.

Dear Google: This post is about Ayers Automotive in Santa Barbara, CA. It contains reviews of their crappy service and complete incompetence. A collection of posts about problems with them can be found at my Ayers Automotive page. Again, that’s Ayers Automotive of Santa Barbara, CA

An Epic Struggle: Part III

Posted in General at 5:22 pm by Ian

It is determined that I will do the following:

  • Since my mechanic assures me that the car will pass smog as is, I send Win the money and he sends me the title.
  • I go to the DMV and “start the transfer,” a phrase that appears only in the minds of the DMV employees I speak to. Since I made an appointment, I was in and out in about 25 minutes. They had a little red LED scrolling marquee that listed the wait time for those without appointments (about an hour) and those with apointments. After sitting on a chair waiting for them to call my number for about 15 minutes, I began to question the method behind estimating the “approximately 0 minute wait” reported for appointment holders.
  • I then return to my mechanic with the DMV paperwork. He takes the top sheet and sends me on my way.

That evening, I go to pick up my car. My mechanic hands me the smog check, and I look at it for about 5 seconds and say “This is the wrong car.” And, indeed, the information presented to me was for my Miata. I guess I forgot to mention step

  • While I’m at the DMV anyway, get a duplicate title for my Miata, since I never got one back when I bought it.

So, the car would have to come back again for the test. I grit my teeth, bitch to my coworkers, and bring it in the next day.

This is where we came into the story, with the car just going back to get its third smog check. I am happy to report that this check came through, although I still have to go back to the DMV.

Dear Google: This post is about Ayers Automotive in Santa Barbara, CA. It contains reviews of their crappy service and complete incompetence. A collection of posts about problems with them can be found at my Ayers Automotive page. Again, that’s Ayers Automotive of Santa Barbara, CA

August 10, 2005

Paint Remover is Hardcore

Posted in General at 8:16 am by Ian

Motherfucker melted through two pairs of gloves to burn a nice little blister onto my finger.

August 8, 2005

An Epic Struggle: Part II

Posted in General at 3:22 pm by Ian

So I take the car back to Win and tell him that, though it’s a lovely shade of blue, there’s no way I’m buying the car until it smogs (how wrong I was). As soon as he has it done, I say, I’ll come back down and do the deal. We agree on a price (for after the smog), because I don’t want to have to continue to haggle later, and I definitely don’t want to drive all the way down there again and have him hold out for another few hundred, and I go back to watch my friends play Magic.

About an hour later, I get another call from Win, who offers to let me take the car now, but not pay for it until it passes smog. Then I can get it smogged and deduct the costs of fixing it from the price we’ve already agreed on. Although skeptical at first, I decide that saving the several hours driving time is worth the slight risk of major hassle in this pseudo-sale, and agree. I write up an agreement that specifies what we’re doing and what the price will be, and then I’m on the road in (not) my new Rav4.

On Monday, I take it into my (now ex-) mechanic (for reasons that will become clear as this story progresses), and explain that it failed the check and to figure out what it needs and give me a call. They don’t get to it that day, so I don’t hear from them until Tuesday.

“It only failed one emissions test, and it doesn’t need to pass this test,” says Sam. “We don’t do this test in Santa Barbara.”

And then I learn about Basic Smog and Enhanced Smog. It seems that Irvine requires additional smog testing that Santa Barbara does not, and it only failed a test that isn’t required for a Basic Smog Certificate. So I called up the Bureau of Automotive Repair, which is in charge of Smog Certification in California, to see if I could get the fact that it had passed all the tests it needed to pass to count.

Of course not.

After having the following spirited exchange with a gentleman at the BAR:
Me: So, it only failed a test that’s not required for certification in Santa Barbara. Is there a way to just use that data?
Him: It failed to pass Smog, so you didn’t get a certificate.
Me: Right, but it only failed because they did a test that wasn’t required.
Him: The vehicle has to pass to receive a certificate.
Me: But it didn’t need that test at all. If they hadn’t run the test in the first place, I’d be good to go.
Him: The vehicle has to pass all the tests to receive a certificate.
Me: No, it doesn’t. It says right here that this test isn’t required for a Basic smog area.
Him: But it failed, so you were not issued a certificate.

RRRRRrrgghgh.

Having already escalated to both bold and italicized arguments, I tried a different tack, eventually discovering that the reason it would have to be tested again is that the Basic Smog tests are not a subset of the Enhanced Smog tests (even though they test the same thing). At this point, I accepted that it was going to have to be retested. I called my mechanic and told them to do it.

An hour later, I got another call from them. They can’t run the test, you see, because the testing equipment is all electronically linked to the DMV, and the DMV computer refuses to run the test because (you guessed it) the car is registered in Irvine, and any fool knows that Irvine requires an Enhanced Smog certificate.

So, to recap:

  • The DMV claims that you must have a Smog certificate from the seller at the time of the sale.
  • In order to get a Smog certificate, the car must be registered in the physical location that requries that kind of certificate.
  • In order to register a car, you must have bought it first.

Only a government agency could come up with procedures this absurd.

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