Thus revealed, the creature buried its nose in the tire-tilled soil...
December 28, 2008
I don’t want cheese to go with that whine
Category: Serious

Yesterday my laptop started making this weird noise -- a faint whine with stuttering interruptions, almost like high-pitched radio static but nowhere near as loud. At least I think it started yesterday; since I often wear headphones when at the computer, it's entirely possible that it's been going on for some time. Anyway, I googled laptop noise issues and came across a suggestion that I clean the fans, so I grabbed my canned air and blew the dust out of the machine and cooling stand. That caused the machine to stop for a little while -- though it could just as easily have stopped due to the reboot, or because I had the computer off for a bit, or whatever -- but it started up again a little later. Fearing hard drive issues, I ran the dskchk utility. It yielded no errors -- not that that necessarily means anything -- so I don't think the hard drive is failing.

Once the dskchk utility finished, I promptly turned the machine off and went to bed. Now I'm using the laptop again -- and after about 20 minutes of relative silence, the noise came back. I really don't know what to make of it! I'm thinking the fans might be dying on me, though that wouldn't explain why the machine is running several degrees cooler unless they're spinning faster in their death throes or the winter is responsible for the temperature drop. (I'd attribute it to the reduced amount of dust, except that the machine was apparently running cooler even before I broke out the canned air.) According to Notebook Hardware Control, the CPU is even running cooler than the hard drive, which almost never happens. Granted, I'm usually running Firefox with upwards of 50 tabs open and right now I've only got four, but still.

Don't die on me, laptop! 🙁

EDIT: I'd forgotten that I had 18kfanGUI on here! After doing some tests in which I manually stopped and sped up the fans, I have confirmed that the noise is coming from the second one. I guess that's good, since it means the hard drive is mostly safe! And the machine is running pretty cool now what with the winter and the cooling stand (far cooler than it normally ran before I got the stand), so I don't think I'm in any immediate danger of frying my hard drive. Just the same, I'll probably order a new fan this week! It looks like they're about $50 refurbished from Dell with only a 90-day warranty and far cheaper on eBay with a 30-day warranty, so I'll likely go with the latter option. I'm tempted to grab some other upgrades while I'm at it!

-posted by Wes | 2:13 pm | Comments (2)
November 18, 2008
A Stampman Halloween
Category: Serious

The Stampman saga continues -- and apparently more harassment took place on Sunday! At one point he blocked my mother's path in the church and refused to let her pass until she shook his hand. Then, at the Thanksgiving dinner, ol' Stampy made a point of sitting at a table adjacent to my mother's so that his back was to hers. God only knows how much time he spent staring at the back of her head, but, when the churchgoers were asked to applaud our veterans and current soldiers, he turned, leaned over, and slammed his hands together roughly a foot from my mother's ear. The most unfortunate part is that Mom met with the pastor (again) to discuss the Stampman's harassment following the church service, so this latter incident happened after the pastor told him to leave her the frick alone.

Oh, and he left another message on the voice mail tonight -- once again begging Mom to be his friend. Ugh.

The sender and address do not exist.

Anyway, remember the Halloween card I mentioned in the last Stampman entry? Here it is! This is actually the first time I'd actually looked at it -- I wasn't really eager to touch it (and not because he has HIV, but rather because he's uber creepy and I wouldn't put it past him to seal the envelope with jizz or something), so I was working from my mother's description before -- and wow. Wow. Even the envelope is creepy, what with the tiny snowcat creatures and the fact that he's addressed it as being from a fictional sender who lives at a nonexistent address. Yay! (more...)

-posted by Wes | 1:15 am | Comments (11)
November 13, 2008
Threat of the Stampman
Category: Serious

He's called multiple times today -- likely once from his health care service provider (seriously!) and at least twice from a pay phone. He may also have called at least once using a calling card, though we can't say for certain whether those calls (which occur daily from the same 866 number) are from him or a telemarketer.

Anyway, since we obviously didn't answer his most recent pay phone call, he left a short message:

Blocking my phone number is not in your best interests.

...Yes.

-posted by Wes | 9:02 pm | Comments (10)
October 21, 2008
Stampman Forever
Category: Serious

Longtime Wesoteric readers and pals might recall my mother's HIV-positive stalker, whom I've taken to calling the Stampman because of the creepy animal stamps used to decorate greeting cards. Well, he's back. Actually -- technically -- he never went away. He dialed back his activities after Mom was granted a six-month peace order last October, but resumed his calls shortly before it expired in April and has been calling especially often in the last month. Granted, the Stampman hadn't approached his previous record of forty times a day, but he'd gotten a lot bolder.

For example, since she hasn't been answering when his name shows up on the caller ID, he's been calling and leaving inane messages to the effect of "you missed a fantastic cookout; I had two plates!" despite Mom's insistence that he stop calling her altogether. In fact, when she answered the phone about two weeks ago to reiterate the point, the Stampman plainly stated that he won't stop calling until she apologizes to him. During that same call -- and don't ask me how the conversation got to this point; I keep telling her that she shouldn't actually engage him in any remotely extended dialogue -- he apparently mentioned how much he missed being in Vietnam and loved "watching gooks' heads explode."

Anyway, though she tried to get this done last week, it wasn't until yesterday that she was finally able to block the Stampman's number. And guess what? Last night, between 2:30 and 3:00 AM, there were four calls to the house from four different pay phones. Which leads me to believe that this fucker is driving around to pay phones in the wee hours of the night, all for the purpose of harassing my mother. There was even a call from an unfamiliar number in between the third and fourth calls, which I'm betting was somehow from the Stampman too. He's flipping obsessed.

Oh, did I mention that yesterday Mom also received two calls from a neighbor of the Stampman? Apparently he's been telling this woman about various ways in which he's going to vandalize the house and harm my mother at any opportunity he gets, and this woman is willing to testify to that effect if Mom decides to contact the police. This is really, really crazy shit.

-posted by Wes | 6:42 pm | Comments (6)
September 12, 2008
Also, about Sarah Palin…
Category: Linkage … Serious

...am I the only person who thinks she sounds dumb as all hell in this interview with Charlie Gibson? Maybe that's just how she talks, but she sounds like she's reciting these answers from memory rather than actually thinking about and responding to Gibson's specific questions. And then there's this exchange, where she clearly has no idea what Gibson's talking about. I'm totally not impressed, but I wonder how the general public (particularly the people who didn't roll their eyes and groan when she started spewing that lameness about God's plan and quoting the Declaration of Independence) will react. In any case, Sarah, you'd better do some more Wikipedia cramming before that next interview!

For like the sixteenth time this week, I am reminded of these Sinfest strips:

2008-09-06: Imperil The World 6
2008-09-07: Imperil The World 7

I like Roger Ebert's take on Palin as well.

-posted by Wes | 7:12 am | Comments (5)
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