This morning, our smoke alarms started chirping every 108 minutes…I mean 1 minute. Started switching batteries around. Chirp. Vanessa ran over to Walgreens to buy replacement batteries for all alarms. Chirp. Cleaned out all alarms with air can. Chirp. Vanessa called tech support and somehow got disconnected. Chirp. She called them back and they told her to kill the power on the problem alarm because it was probably misremembering the battery charge. Who knows where these things are getting their power from? So we had to turn off our main house power to cut power to alarm, remove battery, and press test button for 30 seconds, then replace battery and turn power back on. This is the undocumented method for returning the Firex 5000 (FADC 120-1182) smoke alarms to their factory settings. I have learned that one of the most irritating sounds in the world is a loud beep every minute. I was almost thinking of another undocumented alarm reset method…ripping the alarm off of the ceiling.

UPDATE: Vanessa says it’s chirping again! Lesson learned, don’t get Firex smoke alarms. This one is only 4 years old. She switched 2 detectors around and it seems to be that socket, so she just unplugged it.

UPDATE: The next day, a friend came over and looked at it for us. He tightened an electrical twist connector in the wall and it seems to be working again.

UPDATE: Years later, the fun returns. I’ve found on one of them that it stops chirping when I leave the battery door ajar. How fun. Anyway, you might try checking the three twisty connections that connect your fire alarm to the power, ground, and alarm network. You have to remove the alarm from the ceiling, unplug it, and pull the wires out enough to examine the connections. If one of the connections isn’t making good contact, it could cause your alarm to be powered only by the battery. I just decided to replace this alarm, since it was only about $10 for a new one on Amazon.


Here is an outstanding free remake of the classic Marble Madness game. That music reminds me of Tron. I hope they make some more levels.

We ended up buying a used Kia Optima with only 4800 miles on it. It had hail damage so it was somewhat cheaper than usual and even has some warranty left on it. Now for a day of car bureaucracy with purchase, emission test, registration, insurance, etc. I’m guessing that in a few days, after we’ve filled out paperwork and Vanessa has waited in many lines, they will make all of this doable from a single webpage. I get so used to the ease of doing things on the web that having to wait in long lines or fill out physical paperwork seems silly to me. As Josh would say, “You’re still using paper? It’s like a baby’s toy!”


We are looking to buy a used car. As we look in the paper, those in our size and price range seem to be exceedingly ugly cars (in my opinion). I think that if we are getting an ugly car, we should try to find the king of them all.

Ah well…guess I’ve never seen a nice family car design. None of them make you think, “Oh, that’d be fun to drive.” I’m missing the point, I think. There is no $10,000 5 seater Lotus Elise.
Here are the top voted ugliest cars in the UK.

We were in Best Buy last night and saw a lot of 80s music compilations for very low prices. Upon close examination, we noticed that the CDs would be labeled in sort of small print, “performed by The Nobodies” or some cover band anyway.


Tax return computed. HDTV haughtily mocks and disdainfully laughs at tax return. Tax return hangs head in shame and pretends it wasn’t even looking at HDTV. I got to play with my grampa’s new HDTV the other night. It had a VGA and DVI input. I shoulda brought my computer to hook up to it. BF2 on a screen that large would probably make me sick though.

Gramma Peny, who’d been staying with us for a few months, has left to visit relatives in Kansas. It was nice to have her with us, and to have her as a Scrabble player. Unfortunately, she polished Vanessa into a razor-sharp and unbeatable player who usually wins. Is it time to escalate the Scrabble cold war to studying word lists? I hope not. Won’t someone please think of the children?

Well, congrats to Kelly and Bethany who have just had their second child. Kelly sent me a link to his photos of the baby. It was quite a contrast in the photo album…from a cat peacefully resting on a sunny windowsill to a pink, screaming, angry newborn.

Sean apparently finds Google video and flickr to be very interesting. I can show him a slideshow of basketball hoops (which he is strangely fascinated with) or a video of dogs playing with a basketball in a swimming pool at his whim. I downloaded this video to the Google player and now he can hit the spacebar to start it over and over and over…as long as I’m in a different room…because if I hear those dogs yapping in that video one more time, I’ll go mad! Mad, I tells ya!

People actually consume silver for medicinal purposes? Wowzers. Wonder if it works as well as mercury. Still can’t beat leeches.


Snacking on Totoy Saging banana chips. They are greatly sweetened and quite tasty.

Ack! My super-comfy earbuds are dying! They are the only ear device I’ve ever worn that I could wear comfortably all day. They are slightly shaped, and I’ve been unable to find the same ones in stores. Normal over-the-ear headphones kill your ears with pressure after a while. Ear canal earbuds start to get uncomfortable after a while. What shall I do?

One morning, I caught a bit of a really bad infomercial for Dr. Ho’s Muscle Massager. Dr. Ho would hook up some electrical cables to people and they would spasm eerily as though they were convulsing.


Starting to move top-level content to jigbot.com. Only blog here for now. Grug.

It seems that if you were in the market for an mp3 player right now, the iAudio X5 might be a good choice. A nice small Korean player without all the DRM silliness of an iPod. About 285 for the 30 gig model. Korea seems to be the new Japan at the moment as far as electronics go. The company that makes the player is Cowon…not a name I’d pick for a company.

Here’s an interesting article about the recent DARPA robotic vehicle race and how the winning vehicle did it. I think I’d let a computer drive for me as soon as they are available and affordable. Now that someone has gotten a vehicle to navigate around rocks and static obstacles in the desert, it’s time for the much more difficult task of navigating around insane drivers on the road at high speed. Here’s a bit of code to help out.

if (othercar->wheels->rims == SHINY) && (othercar->sound->bass == LOUD)

Now where’s my Taureg, Volkswagen?


As time goes on, various corporate management has to create new terms for unpleasant things as people catch on to the old terms. For example, getting “fired” to “laid off” to “terminated” to “outsourced”. In the U.K. it was “getting sacked” to “being made redundant”. Perhaps manage-speak offers a method of exclusivity. You only know today’s secret management words if you have to attend meetings all day where they are used. The main rules of grammer in manage-speak are that you get points for tacking unrelated words together and even more points for using a noun as a verb.

UPDATE: Apparently, the 2006 term for “fired” is “left to pursue other opportunities”.

As the bus drove along Central this morning, we passed this building, which is now charred ruins.

On the Evening Sequence radio show, Don Letts has been the stand-in anouncer for a few days. He sounds exactly like Terence Stamps (General Zod). Just wanted to be the first on the web to say this.

This is a good idea. One Linux computer with a dual-head videocard and USB slots for keyboards and mice could support two users at once as though they were on different computers. Someone needs to make such a program for Windows.


On Thanksgiving day, we went to my sister and brother-in-law’s. That evening, my brother and Kyle and I played Risk. We had planned to play a full game. However, it turned into a loooong 3-way stalemate. When one would get too powerful, the other two would attack him, keeping a balance. The dice battles…I don’t know how many times we cast dice. Finally, it came down to a delicate interplay of sleep and outside obligations involving work and guardianship. Ethan decided it was time and he thinned out his forces taking out Kyle. He brought him down to only 3 armies but couldn’t quite finish him off. It was around 2 AM at that point and what 3 cards does Kyle happen to have? Yes, of course, Australia goes from 3 armies to 88! He’s back. We just kinda gave up at that point and said I won since their forces were thinned out at that point…but who knows? Risk could theoretically go on forever! We’re not playing that again without computer dice rolling.

A friend of ours came and helped repair our doorbell. And the secret location of the hidden rebel transformer? On the attic light fixture above the garage.


For months now, I’ve been using earbuds for convenience and comfort when listening to music or PSP. For some reason, I just picked up my big over the ear headphones and am listening to music. This reminds me of something I’d forgotten…bass. It’s fun! I guess my dream headset would be totally comfortable earbuds with lots of good bass and a mic on the cable for games. Most earbuds cause discomfort inside the ears. Big headphones cause outter ear discomfort after long periods and if you have glasses, forget it.

We watched The Goonies last night. Seems the DVD version is a different version than the previous one. Some scenes were added or changed. We thought the funniest part is when Ma Fratelli is chasing the kids through the caverns and is sorta making a breathing sound like a Rottweiler. In the news recently, you may have seen something about a very large giant squid. The squid is included in the movie! Data has to dispose of it using a small cassette player and some pop music. The Goonies R Good Enough video was included on the DVD and there’s a part 2! All this time, I wondered what happened to Cyndi at the waterfall, but I apparently only had part 1 of the video.

It be our anniversary today. 4 years, and good years they be! We be dinin’ tonight on sushi. Avast! Me mum-in-law will watch t’wee lad. Arrrrr! We’re potentially going to the balloon fiesta Saturday. Getting the lad up at 4 AM or whatever insane hour should be an interesting challenge.