Hmm. Need to find a good, clean (and hopefully libre) method of getting Reflection X to work with SSH. Right now, it is heavily dependent upon Telnet or the r* commands.. blech. PuTTY is great for just being an SSH client, but if you need to tunnel X sessions, forget it. Perhaps I should just avoid tunnelling and go for direct X connections (ie. Set $DISPLAY to point to the client system rather than server:10 or whatever)..
Anyway, my boss gave me an Internet Security Scanner report about our servers yesterday. ISS guessed the SNMP community name and could change the system configuration. Oh yay. I went through and disabled quite a bit of stuff. At some point, I need to find all of the potentially sharp objects on the servers and make sure that they are safe. (mostly SUID root executables, but perhaps compilers and assemblers as well..)
We have a Linux Mandrake box that had some pretty nifty security stuff built in. I wish RedHat would do that.. However, Mandrake seemed to go a little too far in some places. I mean, should the /usr mountpoint only be readable by root? *shrug* At least it didn't start every service on the planet when I first booted it up. Of course, that system is the fallback fallback. Well, it will be primarily serving NFS shares. Secondary function is being a fallback NIS server. Tertiary function is being the fallback fallback shell server.
Anyway, the security report wasn't terrible, but not as nice as I had hoped. Of course, my Unix boxen were the only ones that didn't have the problem of predictable TCP sequence numbers (if they are not predictable, it is very hard to do complex IP address spoofing). The Novell servers were the worst, with ISS getting 100% of it's guesses correct about the sequence numbers. Most of the NT boxes were around 60%
I still want to work on my bus schedule proggie, but I don't know when I'll get the time. I can't live without my 8-9 hours of sleep (compared to most techies, I'm a total weenie). I might be able to live with less, but then I'd need to be able to sleep in until late (11AM or so). I'd also love to do some work with weather-related programs. You know, something that would send me a message if there's a Tornado Warning or something. I guess I just need to find a decent data source first.. Also, I hope the (U.S.) government will make NEXRAD radar data available publically when the radar contracts expire later this year. Getting hour-late images from Yahoo and other places just sucks. Besides, wouldn't you like to be able to zoom in on the images just like your forecasters do on TV? Or maybe make your very own 3-D flythrough?
It rained tonight, quite hard. It rained much harder a while back, and there was a small leak. Today, it seemed as though the entire wall was leaking, seemingly coming throgh the window, streaming down the walls, and dripping all over. It actually wasn't as bad as that sounds, but I'm sure it will get worse if I don't say something. I'll have to talk to the management tomorrow. Sigh.
I had trouble getting up again this morning. I took a long nap after work yesterday, but then I stayed up very late mucking on IRC and doing other stuff. I decided to telecommute and have ended up having a very unproductive morning. I'm sure I'd be much more productive if I could just find some extra stimuli in my life. At least in High School I was forced to interact with people every day. At college, people aren't crammed so closely together, so they don't interact as much, or at least I don't.
Anyway, spent too much of my time reading Sinfest, which is really funny if you don't mind poking fun at God, swearing, and references to the sexual mentalities surrounding us these days.
I'm going to head out to actually work at work soon. The boss and I are a little worried that our developers are going to start using Microsoft J++ for communicating with the eventually-will-be-installed Oracle database. He gave me a copy of J++ to try out, in order for me to see if it's possible to actually produce something resembling pure Java with it. Unfortunately, my NT box is fairly underpowered, at least for NT4SP5 (P133 w/ 64MB RAM). I'm feeling masochistic, so I'm going to give Win2k a shot. My P166/128MB Linux box is extremely nice and snappy in comparison, though I really need to find a good video card for it (800x600 is becoming tiresome).
I'm displeased with my building's management right now. As I was walking out, I saw that we had a notice slid under the door stating that we owe $50 plus $25 penalty. Dunno what it's for, but I'll have to bring up my leaky wall when we talk to them about it.. Unfortunately, they keep relatively inaccessible hours like 9:00-4:30 or something, so I'll have to come to work late or leave work early some day. Blah.
I think I finally found something to hack on -- porting Secure Locate to Solaris. It's a small codebase, so it shouldn't take too long, though I'll have to read a bunch of man pages to refresh my memory about all of those functions. I think I'll be annotating a lot of source, too..
I'm annoyed with [X]Emacs, and *vi*, so I was looking around for decent editors. gIDE seems to be coming along nicely, and the syntax highlighting actually works (though it seems slow...). Finally, a text editor where I don't have to have a QWERTY keyboard (*vi*) or learn horrendous keystrokes ([X]Emacs). Not perfect, but it's something I can live with.
Oops.. I'd better quit before I start an editor war..
Somewhat disappointed that there was no mention of the multi-State suit against Big Music on the national news tonight. I guess it's not surprising, but it sure seems to prove the biases we believe to be out there these days. In a similar vein, it's amazing what is happening in China. I mean, the son of the President of the country is running a Linux company over there. It's basically impossible for interesting things to not happen because of this.
I've said too much today.. I'll be quiet now.
I've always wondered if someone `famous' used Linux. Someone you'd know from TV or movies.
Also, I wonder why women don't seem to get into Linux or `the community'. Girls are usually a lot more social than guys, so it would seem that this is a really screwed up world we all live in. Then again, the girls I know are highly susceptible to gossip, which can easily destroy social circles..
Hmm. I used `girls' instead of `women'. Blah, I'm not feeling PC today.
Anyway, I'm currently trying to do some wacky NFS sharing that is going to involve mounting loopback filesystems and other weird nonsense. There's probably another solution which is easier, but I haven't found that one yet.
Well, the loopback filesystem trick actually works (the problem was that the disk being shared didn't have enough space left, and it was supposed to be pretty much an exact mirror of another system. Symlinks to another filesystem don't work all that well with NFS, but maybe I could have still found a way..). Never thought I'd find a real use for loopback devices (other than viewing ISOs that haven't been burned and whatnot..). Then again, I guess a loopback fs is an important part of those bootable business cards, among other things.
Spent much of the afternoon mucking with TCP Wrappers on Solaris. Some of the daemons just don't want to run from tcpd.. Annoying..
I see that there are versions of tcpd that support IPv6. Might be fun to play with.. I've been interested in IPv6 for a long time, but it's only now really getting any use on the Internet at large. Debian 2.2 supports it though. Hopefully it will finally start to displace IPv4.
Kind of along the lines of why we need IPv6, I'm always scared by the DSL and Cable modem setups where you essentially get 25% efficiency WRT addresses. The lower number is the network number, the higher is the broadcast. The two left over are gateway and client IP. Scary..
And this brings me to a question I've had for a long time -- is there a system for NAT in IPv6? Ideally, this won't be necessary, but we all know that the service providers will only want to give you a single address if at all possible, meaning that they can bilk you for cash if you want more than one computer on your connection..
It's raining, and I'm getting interested in how Free Software can be used to distribute weather information. There's a system called EMWIN that I've looked at before, but I don't have the time/money/hardware to play with it. The best way to get info right now is probably to have a satellite downlink. They have a moderately powerful transmitter up there, so the dishes only have to be 2-3 ft in diameter. Not as small as the digital satellite TV dishes, but not exactly huge.
The important thing is that you can get real-time or at least close-to-real-time data, which is often better than what you can say for most of the current Internet sources. With EMWIN, you can get notified of watches and warnings at the same time as or earlier than your local TV and radio stations. Weatherguys.com is largely powered by EMWIN data.
At any rate, I have been wondering if the National Weather Service will make at least some radar data publically available on the Internet after some contracts expire at the end of next month. It looks like they have defined the layout for how things will be on their FTP server. This sort of thing is a prime candidate for mirroring and multicasting.
gtaylor: I've actually been using METAR data as the source for weather info on my home page for quite a while using a modified METAR Perl module. The version I use is laying around on my website somewhere..
At any rate, I seem to be able to retrieve NEXRAD radar data via FTP (wget works, though interactive clients (Netscape, ncftp, etc) can't handle it for some reason). I went looking around and found that the good folks at Goddard Space Flight Center have made some software available (much of it is GPLed) that can render radar data. Still working out some bugs..
In this process, I discovered that my fairly new ReiserFS /usr partition had been (slightly) corrupted. /usr/src/linux/include/asm/param.h had suddenly turned into a binary file, and all attempts to remove it would produce kernel panics and deadlocked processes. Fun. Even better -- reiserfsck wouldn't compile on my system (signal 11). Oh fun. Fortunately, I got it to compile on another box, and ran reiserfsck --rebuild-tree, which scared me a lot with it's warnings of it only being a beta-quality option.
In the end, it appears that all has turned out well, though I think there are a few files missing from that partition (param.h, for example). At some point, I'll have to try and run a RPM verify job, make sure that there aren't huge problems..
Anyway, I'll have to do some debugging with the radar package I downloaded. I think I may be missing a package. Shouldn't configure catch that?
I shouldn't have, but I wrote something to Fred Moody. Cripes. The guy has `sources' that span a continent of hatreds. NT guys that hate Linux. BSD guys that hate Linux. Security guys that say having source code is a risk. Guys that say having source is a good thing. He has managed to make just about the most self-contradictory article ever. Is he insane? Well, I wouldn't blame him for going a little nuts after having to read what many /. trolls sent him, but this goes above and beyond...
Anyway, I shouldn't waste my diary entry on that.
schoen: Yeah, I felt pretty much like that. Didn't get much work done today after seeing that. I was hoping for a good outcome, but the judge couldn't or wouldn't try to test the Constitutionality of it. It'll pretty much go to the Supremes whether we like it or not. Hopefully, the MPAA won't try to completely stall the case (though I expect they will).
On the radar data front, I have been slowly digging up information about data formats. There's a bit here and here. I'm not sure if the data available over FTP is currently being encrypted or not. Apparently, they have designated times when it is not encrypted to facilitate testing of software. The encryption will be removed once everyone is able to receive over FTP or some sort of multicast. There's an older system called NIDS that has to be phased out before everything can be publically available.. Kind of strange. The RSL system apparently can't decode the products that NOAA is currently releasing, and I don't know if it ever will -- it seems to understand a more raw form of data.
Anyway, I hope I'll be able to find some software to decode the stuff that will be available over FTP. Either that, or I'll just have to keep hunting for decent documentation about the file formats...
Grr. I wish Mapquest had an option for making biker-friendly maps and directions. It should basically ignore interstate highways (which are illegal to bike on, unless you have a permit or something), and add bike trails.
I want to go see The Cell tonight. I am still pissed about the MPAA-DeCSS debacle, but I'm in need of some mind-bending.
Went home for a little bit. Tried to go to an `all-school' reunion, which was really dull as I was probably the youngest person there (most people there graduated in the 50's, 60's and 70's, I think). Oh well, got some decent food.
We have this research box at work. I was told that it was for `fraud detection', which I thought meant that it was some sort of honeypot box for detecting crackers (or at least script kiddies). I completely forgot that there is such a thing as financial fraud, which is what the box is for. Makes sense, as the box is in the business school.
Anyway, the main guy that actually uses this box for doing research is apparently back from summer vacation or something. He tried accessing it, but couldn't because there is a rule somewhere on one of our routers blocking that IP (I get `!X's when doing traceroutes from the box). Of course, nobody wants to take the blame/responsibility for it, and I couldn't get the block removed (well, the main networking people said it wasn't their problem, and the guys here say that they didn't do anything either). Changed the IP address, and now we have to see if the DNS entry can be changed..
I hope I will be able to do some more fiddling with radar data, though I don't know if I will be able to do anything this week (Marching Band starts on Thursday), and I don't even know what their schedule is for producing unencrypted data. I might just have to wait until the end of next month.
Well, it turns out that the central networking people foobared -- they actually were blocking the above-mentioned system. I guess it got broken into a month ago. I'll have to see if I can pull down a [rd]ecent Linux ISO of some kind to do a reinstall. Maybe Mandrake..
I had to try and figure out how to back up the system in a reasonable manner. tar is supposed to support running over some sort of remote shell, but none of the commands I tried would work. In theory, you should be able to do something like `tar cvIf user@host:/path/to/archive.tar.bz2 /path/to/archive', which would be really cool, IMHO.
Turns out that other people have had the same troubles I've had using RAID on Linux/[U]Sparc. The disklabels (`partition tables' for you Intel-only folks) would consistently get clobbered on the second and third disks. Best guess is that the Linux RAID code assumes a DOS-style partition table to be there.
Of course, PC partition tables suck anyway. I believe someone should invent or find a better system for Linux to use, with enough room allocated for a good bootloader, and none of that stupid extended partition crap.
Also, it's entirely possible that a very good system already exists. Maybe BSD disklabels? (do they have that annoying `whole disk' thing too? so strange..) I suppose now would be a great time to do it, since LVM is becoming a more common thing. Also, with 64-bit systems becoming more available (sort of), it'd be a good time to get together with the people who build these systems in the first place to define what the BIOS must do to get a system going, what it doesn't have to do, etc.
I better learn a lot more about this before I keep saying what should and shouldn't happen..
Looks like my `atomic clock' finally synced up again last night. In certain weather conditions, it works great. Other times, it's just terrible. I don't think it had gotten synced for the past several weeks. At least my computers all run NTP ;-)
Nader at Northrop tonight.
Stupid window is leaking again. Thought they fixed that..
A lot of melting snow today..
Before I forget ('cuz I know I will), I have to put down some infatuation-related thoughts.
I wrote a note to one of my friends, mentioning that I really like Sarah. I was hoping he'd have some great words of wisdom, but it didn't really happen. At least he wasn't mean about it or anything. The thing that I wanted to remember was that right now, all she sees is Josh. I'm nowhere near smooth enough to know how to change that, so I don't think that would be a good thing to waste time on.
I figure all I can do is be myself. I should keep trying to figure out how to get to know girls, rather than just waiting for them to walk into my life. I want to ask my friend to try to help me out. If he hears of things looking up for me with Sarah, I hope he'll let me know. I just hope I can accept that it might never happen.
I hope I can start talking about computer stuff in this diary again.. Less stressful..
Reminded yet again that I have very different perception of events when they are happening versus before/after. When Sarah visits, I'm in a different state than when she's away, and I think of her differently.
Sorry for writing this here.. I really need to find a better place to write down this stuff.
I've been meaning to have a diary program of some sort on my computer for ages, but I never got around to writing one (back in my DOS days), and I'm sure that there are umpteen packages for Linux these days. Web interface would be easiest, I suppose. Probably wouldn't be too hard to make one, just have to do it.
Life is sucking, but I picked up some music today. Take off Your Pants and Jacket - Blink 182, and The Invisible Band - Travis. I like most of the Blink 182 CD, and it is up-tempo at least.. I wish they could cut down on the raunch a little, as I really hate getting reminded that I can't get any.. The Travis disc is much more subdued, but still good.
Disappointed yet again by the cost of stuff. I thought I had the grand idea of using a PC104-based system to decode an Ogg Vorbis/MP3 stream in the apartment. I've wanted to have some way to keep music always playing in the apartment, with people voting for what they want, etc. Hopefully a nice random song picker as well. Something that would reduce `train wrecks' that happen when jumping between disparate genres would be wonderful.
Anyway, when I saw the prices one place had for piddly 386 boards with 2MB of RAM, I choked. Perhaps they were old prices, but I was hoping to get the whole thing put together for, say $150. Perhaps sans hard disk.. Anyway, looks like that's not going to happen..
What the hell is with our weather? It's the 17th of December, and there is no snow in Minneapolis.
My first final is tomorrow. Haven't studied yet.
Found out today that the National Weather Service (USA) and the weather service in Canada changed the formula they use for calculating wind chill back in November of 2001. I'll have to go and tinker with some of the weather programs I have so that they do it right..
From the radar, it looks like we're going to have intermittent rain all day today.. I guess I won't have much chance to practice rollerblading outside, so I'll have to be content to roll around on the little patches of linoleum in my apartment and down by the laundry room.
As usual, I read the radar wrong, so now it looks like it probably won't rain very much for the rest of today. Once I changed my prediction, I decided to go outside and try rollerblading a bit more. Perhaps I should have stayed inside.
Never are you more aware that the Earth is not flat than when learning to skate. Well, okay, I shouldn't make it sound so bad—I did manage to roll most of the way around the block. Toward the end, my brain was being less and less helpful, so I decided to finish up by clomping through the grass.
I was kind of disappointed, since I'd hoped earlier to spend much more time outside. Oh well, I've got a lot of other stuff to get done today anyway.
Spent most of the day engaged in battle with a beige Mac G3 computer (it's non-translucent, what's up with that? ;-) That's a somewhat weird machine for a Mac—it has an IDE hard drive, but a SCSI CD-ROM and Zip drive (well, that's what the machine I was working on had). Unfortunately, that machine won't boot off of a SCSI CD drive, so I had to swap it with an IDE one.. And, of course, it's slow, so installing operating systems only takes a day and a half..
I hear that these boxes aren't going to be supported by upcoming versions of Mac OS X. If that's true, I guess Steve Jobs must just be trying to make everyone forget the period of time between when he left and when he came back and brought out the iMac...
I hit an actual traffic jam today coming back from work. Actually, I suppose I hit two of them. Don't really know why—the first one must have been due to a crash on U.S. 52 in or near St. Paul, since that off-ramp was backed up. I hit more traffic as I got close to the Huron exit in Minneapolis. I've had to slow down there before, but this was much worse than normal. Can I blame the Shriners?
Everybody at work was tired today. Maybe it's because of the weather. I was shocked that it was (momentarily) sunny when I left to go home.
Hurricane Isabel is making landfall, so don't be surprised to see those silly television reporters standing out on beaches in the next day or so (I'm sure they've been doing it for a day or so already).
There's just something very strange about someone willingly standing out in the wind and rain, if only to show how hard it is to stand up.
I forget who it was (probably a “reporter” for Channel One), but I once saw someone doing a piece where he stood in a wind tunnel and stood up to hurricane-force winds. The big joke afterwards was that he had so much goop on his head that his hair stayed perfect through the whole thing ;-)
Work was cut short today due to a power outage. Damn you, Hurricane Isa—Uh, wait…
I was hacking away on something with a coworker when it started raining. He kept commenting that he wished the power would go out so he could go home/avoid a meeting. Well, about 10 minutes before his meeting was supposed to start, lighting struck, the lights went out, and my computer screen turned black.
Then everything came back on. Sort of.
About half of the lights were dimly flickering, and some computers and other devices that had been powered on were fading in and out. But, half of the stuff worked just fine. I guess the lightning must have knocked out half of the transformer for our building.
I've never seen a half power brownout event like that before. It was pretty weird seeing some stuff working fine, while other things just got totally messed up.
Let's see. Viagra spammers should be put in jail, and have their cellmates force-fed the stuff. That should solve the problem.
It's been kind of dull around here lately, though I suppose the weather hasn't helped. The cold mixed with frequent light rain puts a damper on things. Strangely, the humidity is low enough for me to be getting severely chapped lips, and the occasional “geek problems.”
I wish the sky was clear, then I'd at least have a chance of seeing the Northern Lights. I don't think I've ever seen the aurora..
Looks like I'll be picking up a new headlight for my car next week unless my friend from back home calls me up today to say he has one. I had forgotten to call him about it before yesterday.
Microsoft has made a new command-line interface for Windows. It's called MSH, for Microsoft SHell—but the codename is “MONAD.” This just makes me wonder if the codename was the result of a bad Tupac Shakur joke (or Tupac Amaru, for that matter).
That just brought back some high school memories. It's been a long time…
I should really open my blinds more often.
Home for Thanksgiving. I-94 sucked, but I suppose half an hour from Centennial Hall (where I picked up my brother) to Highway 52 isn't too bad. We have some snow falling now, have to see how that piles up. Anyway, I'm mostly putting something down because of an anecdote my mom had.
Back when IBM introduced a no-smoking policy at the Rochester plant, people were forced outdoors, like anywhere else. The funny thing is that with so many people milling around outside, there were more eyes on the big parking lots there, and car thefts went down. I suppose this is a well-known thing in smoker-dom, but it was news to me…
Well, my parents got a hygrometer for me today, so I can measure the humidity level in my apartment. It was about 25%, but it's slowly climbing now that I've got the humidifier set up.
Ugh. It's amazing how days can go by too fast and too slow at the same time.
A few weeks ago, while the Sun was doing all sorts of strange contortions with energized particles, I signed up for a site that would e-mail me when there is a good chance of the aurora showing up. I thought the thing was broken or something, but I finally got a few messages last night. Too bad it was snowing at the time.
It'd be cool to see the aurora this year. Not as cool as certain other things would be, but hey…
Hmm. It's 7° outside. Supposed to go below zero tonight. Although, I suppose that the colder weather might indicate that there's less cloud cover holding in heat. Everyone remembers that episode of Bill Nye, right?
Heh. I wonder if his show is available on DVD ;-)
I've had this happen a few times: My cell phone is sitting just in front of my secondary monitor. Suddenly, the screen starts twitching and contorting (I think it has some poor shielding). A second later, the phone rings. I wouldn't expect a cell phone signal to be strong enough to disrupt the electron gun of a CRT, but apparently it is.
This monitor has been known to twitch at other times, too. I often take it as an indicator of sunspot/solar wind activity.
Feeling pretty dehydrated today. I might be getting sick, but I think it might be that the cold weather is finally catching up with me. Usually, when the thermometer hits the freezing mark, I get a dry throat and cold for a few days. Strangely, that hasn't happened yet this winter season. Until now, at least. 5 below? Yeah, that should do it.
I suppose things must be different this year since I spend so much time in my apartment rather than shuffling to work or classes, and the moisture level must be higher in here than it would be at the U.
Anyway, this looks like a laundry day, if washing machine hasn't disintegrated since the last time I used it…
Damn. It's a novel thing when I actually need to turn up the thermostat in my apartment. 12 below? Yep, that'll do it. I guess it was -31° in Fargo yesterday morning.
A job would be nice about now, even if it meant standing out in the cold in the morning…
I'm starting to fall into the habit of exercising a bit while watching/listening to TV. Well, I've mostly been putting in DVDs of Family Guy and watching a few episodes in a stretch while I slowly do situps and a few small weights here and there.
Last year around this time, I managed to exercise almost every day for about 6 weeks. There was sort of a difference, not a whole lot, but it all disappeared pretty quickly anyway. I'm not working nearly as hard this time around, but I think my little winter of discontent made certain areas atrophy to a level that is probably unhealthy. I'm a long way from just being normal, apparently even moreso this time around. My back is hurting less, which is a good indication that I should always try to keep up some minimal exercise and maintain those muscles just a little bit, but I know I will feel cramped for time once I get a job again.
Picked up my brother so we could go see Kill Bill Vol. 2. I guess I went away with the impression that Quentin Tarantino is an asshole for requiring two films to put together that story. Some sequences were almost Kubrickian with the level of boredom they introduced. The “fight” scenes were rather anti-climactic in this episode, IMHO.
We had to run back to my apartment after the movie because of the rain. I was annoyed that weather coverage prevented me from seeing The Simpsons then, but channel 9 finally showed the new episode at 11:00.
I didn't think the weather coverage was very. I suppose it might have something to do with it being Sunday evening, though I guess it looked like every channel had their top weather people there except for ch. 11 (or was Ken Barlow hiding behind the curtain?) The people on TV were saying a lot of words, but they weren't conveying information very well.
Hmm, let's see if I can get some sleep tonight.
Not having a job sucks. At least the (literal) grass got greener because of the rain earlier this week.
Interesting weather that we're about to be having, eh? Yesterday, I saw Ken Barlow on channel 11 explain the weirdness that we're going to be experiencing over the next few days. Hard to say if things will actually go this way, but supposedly temperatures will go from 40s and 50s today to 80s tomorrow, then back to 40s and 50s on Thursday. If I remember the explanation right, there was a big blob of hot air out west in California that was going to loop around a big high pressure area in the west and southwest, come north to Washington, east through Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota, and then push south through Minnesota. Then, cold air was supposed to quickly follow from Canada and take away the warm weather again.
If that forecast is right, it's pretty wacky.
Hmm. I got a Norwegian-English and German-English dictionary. Unfortunately, the Norwegian-English one is a lot older than I thought it was. It appears to have last been updated in 1974. It's the same book that my mom has used in the past, so I'd hoped that it would be newer. Oh well, it has both Boksmål and Nynorsk.
I found my electric bill, which is good. I have to pay it soon, which is not so good.
I hope the weather stays relatively cool for a while. I don't want to feel like I have to run the air conditioner anytime soon. I can't afford that.
Well, I can't say that my car is the neatest thing since sliced bread, but at least I still barely break the $20 mark when filling up the tank. I guess if I was driving on fumes, it might hit $25, but I usually don't let it get that low. The tank is only 11 or 12 gallons, but it gets 30 mpg or so to compensate. Not bad for an '88. Of course, I pay for that in the fact that I can't pass worth shit, but hey ;-)
Anyway, I just found out today on Car Talk that GM's Chevy Silverado (aka GMC Sierra) hybrid gets really poor mileage, even considering the fact that its conventional counterpart doesn't do very well either. It only gets 16 mpg city/19 mpg highway in the 4WD version. That's pretty sad, only improving things by one or two miles per gallon. Even on a percentage basis, it's a poor improvement for a hybrid—you get a bigger difference in switching fuel or getting the 2WD version instead. I guess GM is too enamored with hydrogen power to play with hybrid technology very much. Oh well, I guess you can use the standard phrases: “It's better than nothing” and “They need to start somewhere.”
Ford's Escape hybrid has been on the drawing boards for a while, and it looks like that's going to be significantly better. The standard vehicle gets 20 mpg or so, and the hybrid versions will bring it up to 35 to 40 mpg. Definitely not bad, though Ford hasn't said what the cost is yet, I guess.
Today was Mother's Day, of course. I got Bowfinger for my mom, since she liked that movie (she's a fan of Steve Martin who hasn't given up on him yet, I guess ;-)
Anyway, we all went out to get a snack at Ben & Jerry's when my parents came up this afternoon. Took some time to find a parking spot, and we ended up just stopping in the Radisson ramp. My brother said that the Oak Street ramp was closed for construction—right on finals week, no less. Maybe he was misinformed, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised if the U decided that finals was the best time to start construction work.
My mom dragged us to Walter Library, where she'd heard that the ceiling was nice, and she figured it might provide good inspiration for quilts. In fact, I bet she's seen the ceiling before, back when I was touring campus and before the guts of the building got ripped out. Anyway, we got a few pictures of the ceiling. We'll see if anything comes of that.
We went out to Como Park, which was just about as busy as I expected it to be. It wasn't totally impossible to find a spot, but it was still pretty busy and took us several minutes. We saw the carousel, toured the conservatory, and then left before the weather started to roll in. The sirens were just starting to go off in Hennepin County as we got to my place, so we tried to check out what the weather people on TV were saying. It still seemed like a lot of chatter with little real useful information.
Anyway, we stayed at my place until the tornado warning expired. A little bit of stuff got blown around, plus a medium-sized chunk of tree across the street came down. We left to get over to Panera, and as we drove past the tree branches, my brother and I dragged them to the side of the road. We had some food, and then my parents headed out to drop my brother back at his dorm room.
So, a fairly typical family interaction. They had to deal with some moderately heavy weather as the went back home, but I guess it only delayed them a few minutes.
Well, what a shiny, happy, sunny day (not). Yesterday was better, at least in the morning. I decided to try driving along the Grand Rounds, though the actual roadway isn't all that well-marked. I also didn't realize that the parkway (for cars) doesn't form a complete loop. Apparently there's a fairly well-defined path for bikes, but not cars. Oh well.
After a few false starts, I headed south from the dowtown area along the path, but I got sidetracked after just a few miles because of the AIDS walk that was going on. I had to detour, sometimes going around in circles and generally having to deal with traffic that I didn't want to. I finally got back on the right path around Minnehaha Park and kept going. I drove by the lakes, though almost got stuck going in circles around Lake of the Isles. Once I got going again, I found that hardly anybody cares about Cedar Lake, and I got a bit of a reprieve from the heavy traffic around all the other lakes.
I finally got lost again when I came across I-94 and a train going by. I'm not exactly sure where I was supposed to turn, but I suppose I would have gotten really confused if I got to the end of the parkway.
Anyway, I ended up driving south on Lyndale, then had to detour again because police had blocked off the roads near the flower shop where a guy got shot. I couldn't tell what was going on at all as I drove past, but I saw a news report later that explained what happened.
Hmm. Time to take a shower, and then I need to run some errands. I need to drop off some more applicant action forms at the U, get change for and then do my laundry, buy some food/beverages for when my brother visits tomorrow, and then probably some cleaning and a few other things.
Heh. Ken Barlow made a funny during the weather tonight on ch. 11. He was outside, where it had started raining. He was handed an orangish-red umbrella, but he didn't like it. He eventually threw it away since he just thought it was silly. Then, it started to rain harder, so he took off the sportcoat he was wearing. He was wearing a light blue shirt underneath. As the rain hit his shirt, the shirt became darker, so the color of his shirt got pretty close to the color of the blue screen. He basically started to disappear.
Anyway, I thought it was funny, but maybe it's just because I was tired.
The radar makes it look like the rain is going to come and go all day, though it looks like it won't rain too hard. There's a circling mass of stuff here. Maybe it'll go away later after the Sun has been heating the tops of the clouds for a while.
I have to help my brother move in today. We'll see how that goes.
I hung out with Adam, Matt, and everyone else who showed up until I left a little after 10:00. I guess it was good I left, since I had forgotten to fill out my rent check. I figured I'd just fill it out after the BBQ in the park, but we ended up going back to Matt's for the rest of the day.
Learned a tiny bit about how Matt's DJing setup works. I might like to try doing that sort of thing as a hobby, but I doubt I'd ever be good enough to get someone to pay me for it or anything.
Mostly, I think I discovered that my conversational skills are probably worse than usual these days. I need to talk to people more often. I should try going to a meetup or two, if I can find good topics.
Hmm. Also, “The Champagne of Beers” doesn't do anything for me. I will now join the legions of people who snicker at those who drink Miller High Life.
Well, on Sunday I headed home for a few days since a friend was in town. We managed to get together on Monday and Tuesday, which is better than the luck we'd been having lately. Anyway, I'm back in the Cities now, and my computer managed to shutdown gracefully in the power outage (grr!)
Anyway, I watched Bowfinger while waiting for my parents to show up during the day on Monday. I hung out with my friend in the evening after he'd come down from Duluth. On Tuesday, I guess I woke him up. Oh well, I kind of figured he'd sleep in longer than he expected to. Anyway, we went to Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, then I gave him a short tour of the new “golf community” in town.
Yesterday evening, I hung out with another friend in the area, though this mostly consisted of me standing around nodding as other people talked. This particular friend is mechanically inclined, so he was replacing part of the front wheel on his car. I held the flashlight for a while, which sucked because it made me a good target for mosquitos. Sucky. I have something like 13 bites on my right arm, which I used to hold the flashlight.
Anyway, I was mostly lazy today, watched some Futurama, had supper with my parents in town, then headed back up to Minneapolis. Some Netflix DVDs were waiting for me, so I popped in Buffalo '66. Woo! Christina Ricci! I'm kind of mixed on the movie itself. Definitely different from your usual movie fare, though I guess it still wasn't really all that far off from some regular plot lines. Probably a worthwhile bit of time spent if you like Christina Ricci at all.
Bowfinger (which I watched on a DVD I'd bought my mom for Mother's Day) was much better than I had expected and Harry Potter was pretty good too, though it could have used a fair amount of tweaking.
There was a lot of rain today at my parents' place. Not as bad as some parts of Minnesota, though. Fortunately, things cleared up while I drove back to my apartment.
Blech. The humidity has hit today, though I suppose it could be worse. There's still reasonable visibility around here, but things get hazy. I know there have been times in the past when I've looked up at the sky and just seen gray. No real distinct clouds or anything, just gray. I suppose that was at a strange time of day, though.
It might be time to turn on the A/C.
My job is slowly getting better, I think. I just came on and got thrown into an issue I really didn't want to deal with. Part of the problem was that it involved Windows. That project has been deferred for now.
I've ridden on the train a few more times. It's still pretty fun—I hope my parents can come up and try it sometime soon, although it still seems pretty silly to just go a few miles on it. Hopefully the rest of the line will be open for Christmas shopping at the mall, but who knows.
My mom sometimes comes up to the mall to visit with one of her friends. They just make it a day of catching up while shopping. I figure I should suggest that the next time she does it (which I figure will probably be next year, but who knows), they should take the train up to Minnehaha Park to hang out for a while, and maybe visit a few more stops. But, it's hard to say. I can't remember if my mom's friend lives in the area or not, so it might not be so fun for her.
The dead trees around my apartment have been cut down now. I noticed it the other day because there was a lot more light than I expected when I walked in after a day of work. I hope they plant something new there. We'll see.
Want to know why it rained today?
Because it's the day after the first time I ever washed my car.
Not that I'm actually complaining—it's just funny ;-)
I walked out to my car after work today and thought, “Hmm. Tornados.” So, we'll see. A big line of crap is showing up on the radar right now, but I don't know how much will come through here. It was a really strong south wind this morning. My car was wobbling around much more than normal as I drove into work.
Unfortunately, my workmate seemed to have a faint bit of that sickening type of BO you sometimes see on old hermit-like guys on the bus. I think it was causing me to sneeze a lot, but it might have just been hayfever or something. I seem to be allergic to something, but I'm not sure what exactly. It seems like a few factors have to be going on at the same time for me to really start sneezing.
Or, the sun just has to come out. Maybe the sunlight affects the nerves in your nose or something.
I went to Best Buy afterward and got some CDs. We'll see if they're any good. I didn't have any list with me, so I didn't have anything to search for specifically.
I want to get a PDA again soon, but I want one that at least has Bluetooth. As far as I know, Palm software still seems to work better in Linux than WinCE stuff (or whatever they call it these days). Unfortunately, I think my requirements will make the device quite spendy (and I probably wouldn't even use any MP3 capability since I'm a Vorbis man myself). I'd probably be best off getting something cheap at Target and spending my money on something important like dual drives so I can get RAID on my desktop (Yeah, it'd just be RAID-1, but I think I need something. Ugh, and I'd probably need to get a PCI IDE card so the RAID doesn't fail whenever I rip CD audio...)
Oh, and Wikipedia is running an article on the Holy Foreskin.
I'm not kidding.
It's overcast outside, but the temperature is relatively warm—enough to make my apartment uncomfortable (hardly surprising—it's been 80° in here in February before). I'll crack a few more windows, but I might have to hit the A/C. Yeesh.
KARE-11 might pull another Let's Bowl out of their hat starting tonight. A sports/comedy/variety program called The Show to Be Named Later (Hmm. Is that "to Be," or "to be"?) will move to the broadcast airwaves. A few episodes of the show were broadcast on the public access Metro Cable Network (channel 6) for a while. They're apparently hoping that non-sports people will be interested in the show (which is good, since I could generally care less about it). It'll be on after Saturday Night Live tonight.
In other news, I wrote an article on KMWB (formerly known as KLGT and, more importantly, KTMA—the source of Mystery Science Theater 3000).
Whoa! I just heard thunder! On January 1st! Cripes, this weather is wacky. (Or maybe it was just the weird 3D effect I finally found on my sound card now that the Linux 2.6.9 kernel actually labels the different chanels in the mixer—that was a long time in coming).
I think Rick's Market may be getting sloppy. Several minor things seem to have cropped up lately—though it might just be that time of year or something. Then again, the place will get torn down at some point this year (Lunds bought the place and is plannng a low-rise development there). Of course, it's also more expensive than Rainbow (or Target), so I should probably start actually driving somewhere to get groceries.
The recent dip in temperatures came at the same time as an illness for me. It might be a coincidence, though I suspect the drop in humidity did it. I get a few sicknesses like this each year, usually one when the temperature first dips to around freezing, then another when it gets to around zero. I coughed/sneezed up phlegm in new and disgusting ways last night (fortunately it's not painful or anything, just gross).
I should have bought more orange juice.
Well, according to whatever source my computer is using for temperature, we got above freezing. Now KARE-11 can stop counting the hours since it went below zero. Sheesh.
I've been getting back into a semi-regular cycle of watching movies from Netflix. I watched The Cooler a few days ago and thought it was pretty good. A bunch of great actors in it, and I guess I've never seen Alec Baldwin in a role like that.
Today I watched Wild Things. At least it had a plot ;-) Yeah, I was hesitant to see it for a long time. I distinctly remember seeing the poster plastered next to the door in Territorial Hall when I was a freshman. It would be hard to find another image that screamed S-E-X so loudly. Given its non-existence in my life, I'm sure I consciously avoided looking at the poster pretty often. What was the thing that finally tipped the balance and caused me to see it?
Yeah, okay, rumors of make-out sessions between Neve Campbell and Denise Richards also had something to do with it, but I'm pretty sure that little tidbit had slipped my mind by the time it was added to my queue. I suppose it's weird for my priorities to be arranged this way, but I imagine it's an agitation-mitigation technique since things like that remind me of what I don't have. Then again, it's tough to feel too strongly when everyone is homicidal.
I finally caught the Battlestar Galactica miniseries on Tuesday and Wednesday, then watched the series begin on Friday. It turns out that the Brits have got a leg up on us Americans for once—the series started airing on Sky One last October. Should I just fire up BitTorrent? Perhaps if I start missing episodes—it's kind of nice to draw it out a bit (though it probably conflicts with when Monk is on).
Computer work seems so distant right now. Of course, everything is a little fuzzy at the moment because of my flu-ishness. Well, it's all a matter of my synapses being happy. Good new music and cute perfumed girls are the best antidotes for that. Since element B has been absent for a long time, this kind of explains why I've been so interested in the new radio station that I hope will finally be broadcasting soon. But, they probably won't be the station I want them to be. I'll just have to wait a bit longer.
Recognize this guy? Think hard.
That would be everyone's favorite weatherman, Paul Douglas, circa 1978 at WNEP-TV in Pennsylvania. I guess the 'CCO folks don't do weather from the roof anymore, but he had a good run if he was able to do it for about 25 years. Of course, the WCCO rooftop setup had always been a tacked-on thing anyway, while the KARE setup seems to have been there from the get-go with their Golden Valley studios (well, maybe they had to knock out a wall or something.
It finally started snowing at my apartment at around 8 AM today. I'll always be amazed at how different weather can be between here and my hometown.
I've kind of disappeared from Wikipedia in the last week or so due to...stuff, but it's awesome that they now have more than 500,000 articles. I've made several thousand edits there myself, but they're mostly updates. Many of my contributions are "redirects"—basically aliases or shortcuts—that don't really count as anything. Still, I think I've done some pretty cool things there, like my articles on the Hiawatha Line and the old Twin Cities streetcar system. There have been a few poor design decisions made on the site, but the deficiencies are largely outweighed by other features (in my opinion, anyway). I especially like that I can (usually) just replace spaces with underscores to figure out the URLs of articles.
In other news, my mom reports 22 ½ inches of snow at home. I doubt we have more than 2 at my apartment, but I don't have a good measuring utensil handy. It's pretty remarkable, since they can still watch the same TV stations and listen to (some of) the same radio stations that I do.
Hmm. Flipping through the channels and I come across Amy Pietz on some godforsaken show known as Rodney. I doubt the show will last, but I like her, so I'm glad she's getting some work (she was Annie on Caroline in the City way back when...)
I briefly turned on the A/C today to dissipate some of the humidity in my apartment (and to bring the temp down just a tad). At the moment, I'm not sure if it's better to turn it on again or open the windows. Well, we probably need the rain.
My car stalled yesterday at the end of I-394 (at a stoplight). I had to go the same way again today because I forgot to bring some application materials, and the car stalled again. Fortunately, after the car sat a little bit, I could get going again, but it's weird. Very probably related to the weird lurching it's been doing for a while now.
A total of four calls now for the few dozen applications I put in a week ago. I'd better put more effort into applying for other jobs I guess.
In order to print out my application materials, I had to get a new black ink cartridge for my printer. I tried out Cartridge World, which has a site a few blocks from my place. $13.90 for a cartridge filled while I waited. Seems to work, though it took a little convincing at first.
I should say that when I first saw "Cartridge World" plastered on that building a year or so ago, I thought it was a video game shop.
My tax return was rejected initially. This is because my previous year's Adjusted Gross Income was incorrect, according to the IRS's records. They had received a 1099-MISC from that contracting company I never talked to. Sure wish I'd gotten one. Well, I apparently paid taxes on $1000 more income last year than I had to. Oh well, fifteen minutes of waiting on the phone fixed that fairly easily.
I should give an update. I have a job, for the moment. It might blow over tomorrow (more likely Monday) or in a month. Maybe longer. Who knows. It's contracting.
Over the weekend, I went up to Duluth and back. Actually, that was just Saturday. I attended my cousin's graduation party. The drive up was kind of foggy near the lake, but it was really bad on the way back. Fortunately I didn't have to travel too far to get away from it. On Sunday, I mostly stayed inside to avoid the sun (which saw too much of me last week anyway).
Earlier in the week I'd been taking photos. I visited the top of the Foshay Tower, then wandered eastward into St. Paul. The bus let me off at St. Thomas rather than going through town as I hoped (I randomly picked the one weird variation of route 21 route that cuts back on a half-length trip).
Jumping forward in time, I attended a "meet and greet" for Minnesota Public Radio on Monday. Specifically, it was for 89.3, and potentially being one of those folks that sets up swag tables at shows or hands out goodies to folks at other events. We'll see if I ever do any of that.
Monday evening I got a call asking for a tweaked Word resume, which I sent out the next morning. Within an hour or so of sending that out, I was contracted for a job after a quick lunch meeting. Today I began working. Nevermind that the details are all screwed up.
Well, I shouldn't tell tales out of school, at least not yet. Suffice to say that I was having greater moral difficulties about this than with the potential work at United Defense...
Yeah, we Minnesotans are not so happy that we have to use up natural resources to keep cool, but not all of us have the luxury of leaving a note saying "Too hot, went to lake." Heck, we don't even like thinking about where our food comes from. Well, plenty of folks around here like to get food from co-ops, and like Garrison Keillor says in an opinion piece today:
I [buy from] my local co-op which is run by people who wear clothing made entirely from broccoli and I shop there because everything is organic, which is my version of kosher—it means that someone else has worked out the moral arithmetic so I don't have to worry about it.Hmm. I should probably at least drop by a place or two in Nordeast once Rick's Market finally closes (unless they have some plans to magically stay in business during construction, which I doubt..). Then again, Rainbow is now right on my to and from work, so I'd just be going out of my way to pay more..
I'm not sure which highways are passable in the New Orleans area, though early reports said that U.S. 90 was the only way out of the city. From satellite images, I've seen that Interstate 10 is flooded out to the west within the city (to the east, it's flooded and the bridges are out). U.S. 90 is dry because it's mostly on the other side of the river. And the highway passes right over the convention center. It is, in fact, easier to access the convention center than the Superdome. It's on high ground right next to the river (yeah, leveed river deltas are weird like that), and there isn't any standing water.
I don't know why the National Guard hasn't just commandeered all of the open space across the river (and to the also-dry suburbs west of New Orleans) and started setting up tent cities. Surely that would be easier than trucking people 500 miles to the west. Heck, after helicoptering people from rooftops, you can practically drop them off right next to a new tent, so there wouldn't be random crowds of people left here, there, and everywhere. You can get the flooded areas evacuated with far fewer buses (since round-trips are short), and put less traveling stress on folks. After being stranded for days, I sure wouldn't want to be cooped up in a bus for 7 to 12 to 24 hours waiting to get to food, water, and a roof over my head.
Well, I suppose staying in the area wouldn't be so great, simply because of mosquitoes and heat. There'd also be the threat that a levee on the river could breach. Still, simply getting to dry land makes things easier by orders of magnitude, and it would give people—both the rescuers and the rescuees—a chance to catch their breath while better shelter is arranged elsewhere. There's actually electricity across the river.
Hmm. Who knew that Paul Douglas's real name is Douglas Paul Kruhoeffer?
It's still January (barely). It's been raining since sometime this afternoon. I was out in it for quite a while, mostly trying to find a place with a copier. Since Snyders moved to their temporary location, they've cut back hours (closing at 1 PM on Saturday, closed Sunday).
Ross Raihala at the Pioneer Press has an interesting article comparing 89.3 The Current, Drive 105, and Cities 97. Among the findings: Over a period of one afternoon drive-time hour for each of three days, 89.3 didn't play music by one artist more than once. Also, I'm not sure if this math is right, but apparently KCMP had about 7 minutes 30 seconds of non-music time per hour (DJ banter, promors, news), while Drive came it at around 13:15, and Cities 97 at almost 14 minutes.
Hmm. A moment ago I turned on Drive 105 for the first time in a while (since 89.3 was doing their weekly installment of Redefinition Radio), and caught Bloc Party's "Helicopter"—which was promptly described as a "Drive Exclusive". Sheeya right! That's a big reason I'm sick of commercial radio—everyone has to be "Number 1!" or "Today's Best Music!" or something else that is just total marketing bunk.
Anyway, on to other things. Last night, I set up a system for responding to SSH attacks using syslog-ng, SEC, and a small script I wrote up. I described my setup in an e-mail to TCLUG. I've gotten some responses, and it seems that most people have decided that different approaches suit their needs. I just set it up in a way that made the most sense to me.
Today is the fishing opener, according to my calendar. No wonder it's cold and overcast.
I went to see Gomez play at the Quest last night. Very loud. The opening act was interesting because he used a sampler to loop and layer music. So, by the end of a song, you had a guy effectively playing four instruments with another four layers of vocals, though he's just standing with the microphone at the time.
Gomez played for a long time, I think it added up to two hours with the (first?) encore. I was really annoyed at first because it took about 45 minutes to get from the opening act to the main show, but I suppose I can't complain with that big of a set.
Wow, the group is ten years old. I had no idea...
Wow, the rain was crazy last night. Extremely heavy—it made me think of the stories old classmates of mine told of being up in the Boundary Waters when it starts coming down in torrents so strong that you can't see your hand in front of your face. I was trying to drive, but could barely see the road and other cars aside from their lights.
Of course, the story starts earlier in the day when my fuel light finally decided to come on (it took over 550 miles for that to happen ;-) so I was on my way to fill my tank at the same place I'd used last time, up at Dale and County Road B. Of course, I tried to take MN-280 to MN-36 to get there, which I shouldn't have done because of all of the fair traffic. Eventually I made my way along County B2 to Dale, then headed south. The rain slowly got worse, but I was hoping to dodge the worst of it. I didn't.
Seconds after I started pumping fuel, the rain kicked up. I was under a big roof, but the wind meant that I had to shield myself with the pump. Well, no careful topping off the tank this time! Anyway, I grabbed the receipt and jumped in the car. I figured I could just waste some time by writing down the info I needed for future mileage calculations, but the rain was still pounding by the time I got done. Of course, the windows had fogged up by this time, and I was not having much luck remembering how the defoggers work...
Well, I got my windshield to start to clear up, and pulled out onto Dale. I started heading home, but I could barely see anything. I was only going 20 miles per hour since everything in front of me was just a gray blur. About half a mile later I found myself driving through a few inches of water that had collected in a dip, which was a surprise. I decided that I didn't want to drive into any more water I couldn't see, so I pulled over into someone's driveway and just sat listening to the radio for several minutes.
Finally, it began to let up, so I put the heater on full blast to clear the windshield and get going again. It was still raining fairly heavily until I got to Larpenteur, at which point things finally began to clear. I'm rather glad that I'd decided to pull over, though, since there was a lot of standing water on Larpenteur. Well, I just moved into the (higher) center lane and was able to get through without trouble, though I saw that another person in a minivan hadn't been so lucky earlier (they had apparently stalled, and the van was stopped just after making it through). I figured I'd better avoid taking the twisty Lexington Parkway through Como Park and decided to take Hamline south (since Snelling was probably a parking lot because of the fair and the rain. Fortunately Hamline is on relatively high ground so there weren't any troubles there.
Once I got home, it was pouring again, but not quite as bad as before. I made sure to park on high ground, even though it wasn't really necessary since the rain stopped a few minutes later. Anyway, definitely one of the hairiest experiences I've personally had when driving.
Well, I'm just very very very glad I wasn't in Northfield last night. Their community news site has a number of pictures of what happens when you get baseball-sized hail. Eek!
I haven't seen video of it, but the transcript of Keith Olbermann's 9/11 rant is getting passed around by a lot of people.
Um. The weather was nice for a little while today. There were actual shadows while I was out to lunch. Too bad that the place I was walking to, Quizno's at University Village, has now closed. They always seemed busy enough to me, but I guess not. But then again, there's a new building going up across the street—maybe they got a better deal over there.
It was quite cool in the morning, though. I'm really glad that my car has an auxiliary heater—I can feel warm air within about 90 seconds, though my commute is still too short for the cabin to actually warm up. But hey, that's what the heated seats are for ;-)
Hmm, the tip of my nose has been getting a little ticklish feeling for the last several days. A little odd.
The weather turned out nice today. I wasn't so sure where it'd end up since my car was completely covered in dew this morning (hence my previous comment about defoggers).
I went to Fargo for the weekend to visit Grandma and show off my wheels. My car did well on the trip—it can get there with only half a tank. I filled up there, so and looks like I got a shade under 40 mpg for a combined cycle of about 40% city/60% highway for my trip up and the weeks preceding. The driving wasn't bad for the most part until I came back and had to wait in traffic while folks passed a road sign that was broken. Eh? That's nothing. Ah well, that spot is always bad anyway—just before I-94 gets three lanes in each direction.
It just feels like there should be snow.
An unanticipated benefit of having faux-leather covering on the seats in my car is that I hardly ever have to deal with static electricity discharges when I get out of it. Well, either that or the heating elements in the seat provide some grounding to keep the static charges in balance... Anyway, I've never really been a fan of leather(-like) seating, but if it really prevents static buildup, I'll probably end up opting for it in future cars that I own.