Wednesday, September 28, 2005

My mom moved out. More details available on request. The biggest impacts this has on me is requiring me to spend more time with my kid, a good thing, and requiring me to keep close ties with my neighbors, another good thing.

I picked my first lock today. It was the Kensington cable lock that secures my laptop to its docking station at work. I attempted to pick the lock Monday; I left work early and needed to take my laptop with me, but couldn't find the key to the Kensington lock. I actually failed to pick the lock, and after some more searching I found the key. I didn't want to get caught in that situation again, so I examined closely how the mechanism worked, and read about exploiting that type of lock on the net.

My tool of choice for picking the lock is a thin plastic strip used in the packaging of boxes of printer paper. Snip a small segment off, feed it into the lock, and twist. This is an improvement, in my opinion, over the other popular attacks, namely the scissors and paperclip, two paperclips, and the toilet paper roll and duct tape attacks. My best time so far with the plastic strip is slightly under a minute. Locksmithing might be a fun hobby, I'll have to put that on my to-do list.

Unfortunately, my to-do list still has items from 1987 on it.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Road trip fun

A few minor goings-on. I won a Voit wristwatch, probably worth about $10, from a video game at a truckstop on the West Virginia Turnpike. I fed the machine a single dollar, figuring I'd get some mindless entertainment while my daughter and mother looked for knick-knacks.

The game was from a new breed of prize games that lets you play for a while and win a small prize, and have the option of continuing and playing for a more expensive prize, or stopping and getting the chintzy one. The actual game was a cheap knock-off of "Snake", where you navigate a snake on a board who gets longer when he eats food that appears randomly. I wasted the first of my two games figuring out the timing, which was unusual, as the snake sped up dramatically the further the joystick was moved. I quickly crashed after only picking up a few bites of food, but used that experience to easily win the second game, opting to stop at the chintzy prize level rather than continue. I couldn't figure out how to select which of the low-end prizes I wanted, hoping for the small teddy-bear on a keychain for my daughter, when out popped the wristwatch.

My mother is a little irritated that I've taken to wearing the watch, since she bought me one for my birthday that cost her more than the dollar mine cost me. Heh.

We were on the West Virginia Turnpike because we were coming back from spending Labor Day weekend in North Carolina with our family down there. Stacey and I missed the annual family reunion because of a commitment to practice that weekend for an upcoming outdoor musical show put on by her voice teacher. She was missed at the reunion, and I promised my Grandmother that we would at least come down for a visit later.

Another odd event that happened was at a Wendy's in Zanesville Ohio, about an hour away from home. We stopped in for a quick dinner, and since it was after dark, all the hooligans were out. Four teenage girls showing off their midriffs and party clothes were at a table being impressed by the antics of a short teenage boy sporting rich-boy-trying-to-look-ghetto clothes, talking on his cellphone to some sort of antagonist. He yells at the phone for a while, and finishes the call with "you want some, punk? Here I come," and then hangs up and turns around to leave, smacking right into me.

He politely mumbles "oh, excuse me, sir," before returning to the table of girls to reiterate that he really-really is going to go fight this guy now, because "this guy thinks he's tough, and I'm sick of it!"

"Be careful," one of the girls worriedly cautions him. Then he leaves. The event was comical, amounting to the same thing as a high-school shoving match done mainly for the spectators to see how vicious and crazy the two "combatants" are. However, I was upset that the boy was so polite to me, and didn't seem to consider it a problem leaving the four girls in an otherwise empty restaraunt with me (my girls were at the connected gas station looking for candy and pop, so for all chumpy knew, I was alone). What am I, not a threat any more? I guess that means I'm getting old. "Excuse me, sir," indeed.