Redirection has begun

Posted by Jon Renaut Mon, 28 May 2007 13:49:00 GMT

If you've previously linked to a post here, the link now redirects to the corresponding page that has been moved to Complaint Hub. I will be slowly phasing out this blog, because it's been more trouble than it's worth to keep up two of them.

So, update your bookmarks (Although this URL will redirect to the other one eventually) and resubscribe to the RSS. You don't want to miss anything!

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Combining this blog with my other one

Posted by Jon Renaut Mon, 28 May 2007 03:13:00 GMT

I had one blog. Then I thought it would be cool to have a second. Then I realized that it wasn't cool. It was a pain. So now I'm going back to one.

If you aren't already familiar with it, it's Complaint Hub. All the posts from here have already been moved over. The comments have not yet been moved. I hope to do that soon, but it's kind of a pain to translate Typo to Wordpress, so it's slow going.

I will continue to try and make this transition as seamless for my readers as possible.

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Raw breakfast

Posted by Jon Renaut Sun, 27 May 2007 14:39:00 GMT

Actually pretty good

As many of you may have, I saw Ani's Raw Food Kitchen on BoingBoing the other day. Yesterday morning, we tried her recipe for a Spanish Breakfast Scramble.

I've never really tried raw vegan cooking. I mean, I'm certainly not going to start eating vegan exclusively, but that doesn't mean I can't learn anything from the diet.

Now, before I go any further, let me just make it clear that the wife cooked all this, not me. I just found the website. Well, BoingBoing found the website. Anyway.

So, we tried it yesterday, and it was quite good. "It was better than I thought it was going to be," says the wife. I concur.

The fact that you have to watch the video on her website to learn how to prepare the meal is a pretty annoying way of encouraging you to buy her book, but I suppose I understand. As a result of this, I've done some quick Googling for other raw vegan recipes. Much of what I've found is buried in self-righteous crap - "Oh, you aren't a raw vegan? You probably kick puppies too." But I'll keep looking.

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Yay DMV! Boo Officer Key.

Posted by Jon Renaut Wed, 23 May 2007 22:12:00 GMT

Now, I'm sure Officer Key is just doing his/her job. But that doesn't mean I appreciate the parking parking ticket I got this morning. $100. Failure to register the car in DC. The policewoman at the station on V St. said my guest parking permit should be all I need. Apparently she's a liar. On the bright side, however, I now have official DMV-issued temporary tags. I made it from Pentagon City to Columbia Heights (via Metro) to 95 M St SW (via car), got my tags, back to Columbia Heights, put them on, and back to Pentagon City in three hours flat.

That's two trips to the DMV at 95 M St SW, and two great experiences. Yes, they gave me dirty looks because I haven't registered the car in time. But I didn't wait long, and they took care of my problem for another 45 days. By then I'll have my title, and I'll be able to get real tags.

I really can't say enough about how the DMV has exceeded my expectations. True, my expectations were pretty low. And I don't particularly appreciate the $100 ticket (Not that the DMV gave me that, but they played their role). But I was expecting at least the fourth or fifth circle of Hell when I walked in to the DC DMV, and I got quick and efficient service. The lady at the metal detector even complimented my hemp messenger bag as she searched it.

Well, I guess I can say enough about the DMV. I'm done now.

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No, no, don't kill the infidels

Posted by Jon Renaut Wed, 23 May 2007 03:02:00 GMT

I mentioned a book I'm reading earlier. I said I was "looking forward to reading [the book] and understanding a little more about [Islam] and the culture behind it". Sounds like a good idea, right? Islam has gotten a pretty bad rap lately because of a small but difficult-to-ignore minority, and I feel like I know nothing about the religion and the culture.

Well, it turns out I picked the wrong book. I mean, Robert Payne's "The History of Islam" is an interesting read. But the guy makes absolutely no distinction between "This is an event which many historians agree actually happened" and "This is a conversation Muhammad had with the angel Gabriel". None. Both are presented as fact.

The first time I really got the feeling that Robert Payne was a little wacko was page 32.

Soon there came another revelation: it was right and proper for the faithful to kill the infidels.

What? Kill the infidels? There is absolutely nothing in this book between "There is one God, and Muhammad is spreading his word" and "The faithful should kill the infidels". I'm just not buying that. No one in their right mind looks at that and thinks, "Yeah, that's cool."

Later on, in the chapter on the Caliphs of Damascus, he tells of Sulayman, a guy who loved to eat. Maybe a little too much.

He posessed, like many enormously fat people, a steady driving intelligence.

Okay, that's it. I'm going to finish this book, but I'm going to read it as what it is - a work of historical fiction. I still need a book on Islam. The real Islam. Real information on the history of the religion and the culture, not these fairy tales about decapitations and visions of angels.

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Hello, readers

Posted by Jon Renaut Tue, 22 May 2007 22:57:00 GMT

Dear Wonkette readers:

Uh. . . hey. How's it going? I figure since (with three links since May 3rd) you all make up over 96% of my traffic in the last thirty days, I should say hello.

So, hello. I hope you're enjoying it here.

I'm not exactly sure why I've been linked three times this month. It's certainly nice to have people reading what I'm writing. My return traffic hasn't gone up all that much, though, so either I'm not keeping your interest, or you're all using RSS readers, which I'm not tracking.

I really have no idea how I could be failing to keep your interest, though. I mean, who can resist listening to me complain about owning a car in the city? You should all be riveted. And look out - later this week or early next, I expect to make a return trip to the DMV to try and get temporary tags while I wait for my title to arrive. I know you're just shaking in anticipation, but you're going to have to wait.

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Disaster magnet

Posted by Jon Renaut Mon, 21 May 2007 13:06:00 GMT

The guy who lives upstairs in my building must be protecting my car from harm. Since moving into the building in January, he's had his convertible top cut. He had a window broken. He's been ticketed numerous times, and towed at least twice. And last night, a hit-and-run left the whole side of his car smashed.

Now, some might argue that he has a parking spot in back that he doesn't always use. Some would probably have a point. But I like to think that his car is a little magic talisman that attracts minor disaster, leaving my car protected from all evil. Well, I have had a few bumper taps from people parking. But that's an accepted part of living in the city.

I worry about what's going to happen when the new condos at the Columbia Heights Metro station open up. It's already crowded here, and that's undoubtedly going to make parking a nightmare. Zipcar gets more appealing every day.

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Capital One fouls off strike three to stay alive

Posted by Jon Renaut Sun, 20 May 2007 23:34:00 GMT

Capital One may have saved themselves. I called on Friday to find out if they had started the process of sending my title. The first person I spoke to didn't know much, but eventually I was transferred to a woman in the titling department. Seems to make sense, since I was, in fact, calling about my title.

She gave me the usual, "Oh, it's going to take three weeks" speech that I've heard before. But then she asked if I'd like a request for temporary registration or something like that. I've forgotten exactly what she said, but I have it written down at work. She told me they could send that out in 72 hours, and that would let me get some sort of temporary registration so I don't get ticketed.

Now, I'm not sure why no one told me this the first time I called. Well, the first time I called they thought they'd send the actual title in 72 hours, so maybe that's why they didn't share this option. But certainly the person I talked to last week could have offered this. And it remains to be seen whether the DMV will accept this. It was already 3:30 PM when I found this out, and I figured that the DMV phone line would be hopeless at that hour on a Friday. But first thing Monday I'm going to find out if this will help me. If so, Capital One may safely reach base this time, but not without a stern look from the manager.

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Vector Security - still cool

Posted by Jon Renaut Thu, 17 May 2007 21:56:00 GMT

A comment on this post, wondering how I liked our Vector security system, reminded me that I said I'd update everyone with a review after we'd had it for a bit. I suspect the guy who left the comment works for Vector, but that's okay. He didn't try and flood my site with spam or anything, so I think the comment is acceptable.

Anyway, we have no complaints. We haven't asked much of the system, and we haven't had an alarm, but the system has never done anything it wasn't supposed to do, nothing has broken, nothing has malfunctioned. I suppose the real test is what happens if someone tries to break in, or if we accidentally set off the alarm. Luckily, neither of those things have happened.

So, after almost two months, I would still recommend Vector Security. I'd recommend them even more if they got around to sending us our referral bonus since some of our upstairs neighbors signed up on our recommendation.

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Mexico, brothers-in-law, school

Posted by Jon Renaut Thu, 17 May 2007 12:09:00 GMT

It appears my brother-in-law (one of them, anyway) is back in Mexico City. You can tell this because he's blogging again. He goes down there to study atmospheric chemistry, but spends all his time talking about Mexican facial hair.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. I mean, I'm not sure I'd read his blog if it were primarily about atmospheric chemistry. Not because I don't think it's important, but because I know nothing about it. Complaining about the DMV is really more my speed. And something I am intimately familiar with.

Although, whenever I talk to people with post-graduate degrees (Which my wife's family has about a million of) I start thinking I should go back to school. I'm not sure it makes a whole lot of sense for me, though. I have a B.A. in math, and all my professors always encouraged us to go on to grad school. But while I enjoy learning, I was never a particularly good student. I did well here and there when I really got into a class or two, but I was never the type to do those things that you need to do to succeed in school, like my homework. I got away with it for a while. My ninth-grade Spanish teacher graded us 1/4 each on homework, participation, tests, and quizzes. My test and quiz average was about 98% (It may have been higher - I think she gave a lot of extra credit, and I knew the Spanish pretty well), and my homework and participation average was about 40%, so she gave me C's. She even kept me after class once to give me a speech to the effect of, "You know the Spanish. If you would put forth even a minimum effort to actually do the work assigned, you'd be getting A's." It didn't work.

So, I generally ignore the urges to go to grad school, and they go away. Maybe I'll go get a PHD in something weird when I retire. I think that would be fun. I would definitely call my professors "Sonny" and refer to my classmates as "whippersnappers".

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