Posts Tagged with "smoking"

Day 1 – Round 2 – Chicago’s O’Hare Airport

October 25th, 2007 at 11:38 am by Diva
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Smoking in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport is proving to be quite the challenge.  There are no longer smoking rooms in the airport, a fact I was unaware of.  It is 85 degrees and smoggy as hell outside where they bannish all nicotine addicts to wither away for their sin.

We had just walked off the plane for our long ass lay-over when I decided it was time to fing the smoking area.  Mom decides to walk with me to find a smoking area out of her need to walk and stretch her legs.

After 30 minutes of searching, I just happened upon a friendly airport employee.  We’ll call him Pedro.  Pedro, a kind worker of the facility, not the airlines, said to me “We don’t have smoking rooms anymore. I would encourage you to slip into a stall in the ladies room and smoke(star wars smoking pipes). It should be okay.”  He smiled.

“Um… yah.  Let me tell ya something, buddy,” I said obviously annoyed already. “It is clearly marked all over this God forsaken place that anyone busted puffing a satan stick in the bathroom will be promptly and stiffly fined.  Not to mention that they would most likely imprison me in the bowels of the airport in some make-shift jail until I confess my sin.  Now why would you tell me to do that.”

“I was just trying to help, Miss.  You can always go outside,”  He said, rolling his eyes and walking away.

Yah, I think Pedro gets kickbacks. I can just see him watching me slip into the bathroom.  Eyes crazed with anticipation. It would go something like this:

“This is Pedro.  There’s a crazy white chick with pink Nike shoes and a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt about to enter stall three to light up.”

Needless to say, I decided to go outside for a smoke. Once.

In order to have this simple pleasure, I had to stand outside, 15 feet from any human activity.  This is pretty much in the path of the fumes from the never ending parade of buses and trams. Eh, mixed with the heat and the smog, I decided to deal with it.  It wasn’t so bad.

What prompted me to hold off my intake of required nicotine level until landing in Deutschland tomorrow was the hassle of going through security over and over and over and over.  Once was enough.

I refused to go through having to remove my shoes, waiting in line to pass them and my purse through the x-ray machine.  Putting my shoes back on and walking a mile back to the gate we were assigned to.   Seriously, I’ll pass.  Got any Nicorette?

What ever happened to designated smoking areas in the dang airport?  You know the glass cubicle of death that even though it was ventilated it resemebled the great town of Los Angeles with a smog bank at bay?

Not That I Smoke Indo…

October 17th, 2007 at 12:14 am by Mark
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     Snoop Doggy Dogg did that Gin & Juice song a few years, and it was apparently quite popular.  *shrug*  Not my thing…

     Richard Cheese follows up the hit with a Lounge version…

     But nothing can beat The Gourds version…

     Now that’s Classic Country…


Properly Toasting a Customer’s Computer 101

April 9th, 2006 at 3:31 pm by Mark
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     I’m one of those guys who’s spent the majority of his life tearing things apart and putting them back together.  Mechanical, electrical, electronic, whatever — been there, done that.  I have a keen respect for all things well-engineered. 
     As far as computers are concerned, I’ve worked on them for so many years, I’ve forgotten more than most techs will ever know.  A lot of people think I charge too much, but I’ve got a reputation for being the Indiana Jones of hardware and software issues.  For anything more that simple grunt work, I’m the go-to guy.  It’s been that way for twenty years and counting.
     That’s why what happened on Wednesday was so bizarre.

     I’ve never screwed up a customer’s computer, which is a real feat.  However, back in ’97, I managed to completely trash a friend of mine’s machine during a BIOS upgrade — and quickly replaced with with a much newer model, much to his satisfaction.
     The other day, I visiited a customer who wanted a bit of training.  All was good, and we were going through all the steps, when the dreaded “Unable to read from Drive C:” popped up over and over.  The hard drive was failing miserably.  I quickly pulled it, and attempted to copy its contents to my notebook using a IDE-to-USB cable, but no dice.  It wasn’t gonna read.
     Eventually, I gave up.  Told him I’d take it, pop another 20GB drive in it and he’d be good to go.
     “Well, clean it out, while you’re in there,” he asked.  The warehouse-style building it’s in has nearly forty years of accumulated dust, and the four inches worth at the bottom of the case was definitely cause for concern.
     “No problem!” I told him.  “I’ll have it back to you in the morning!”

     It was an old machine I’d built back at the end of ’97.  Pentium-II 333, 128 Megs of RAM, 8GB hard drive, 8MB AGP card, and a 128MB Wavetable Sound Card — all the bells and whistles for its time.  But back four years ago, while I was out of the country, some local weiner decided to feed him a line of crap about needing a bigger hard drive (he was only using about 4GB), so he replaced it with a 20GB Fujitsu 3024.
     Now, this local weiner has been a thorn in my side for a few years.  He’s had a habit of low-level formatting every IDE drive he’s ever gotten hands on because he’s a moron.  Every single customer of his has had their hard drives fail because he ends up erasing the bad cluster map when he does that.  Sooner or later, all Hell breaks loose, and the customers start losing data.  It’s purposefully done, so they’ll have to call him back and pay him a little more money.  An underhanded trick.
     And this was the case.  The customer finally ran his disk space up to about five gigs, and it started hitting bad clusters.  Due to issues with the embedded controller, eventually, the FAT table got ruined.

     The next morning, I procured the replacement 20GB drive.  Before installing it, I took the system outside and started blowing the ridiculous amount of dust from every nook and cranny in the machine.  The power supply, of course, was full of it.
     After it seemed sufficient and the air was running through the power supply cleanly, I took it back to the bench and plugged it in.  I turned the machine on.

     The drives spun up.  An acrid smell filled the room.  A tell-tale ribbon of black snaked its way to the ceiling.  There was a pop.  Then there was a hiss.  And then black cloud, which began growing exponentially.
     I sure hell wasn’t going to reach back there and pull the power cord, so I grabbed the case and middle and jerked it away from the wall.  Apparently, that swift motion gave the smoldering power supply just enough oxygen to ignite into flames.

     I’m standing there holding a burning machine, four inches of flame coming out the back, and noxious, black fumes filling the room.  Molten plastic began to drip down into the case, which was quickly become too hot to handle.
    System in hand, I ran downstairs, and outside, and threw the machine onto the balcony.  I’d left my insulated coffee cup just inside the door (as I have a habit of leaving it odd places), and fortunately, it was half full.  I turned the machine front-side up and splashed the cofee over the conflagration.
     It hissed, and the flames abated.  Clouds of grey smoke and steam began to erupt as the smolder cooled and the liquid turned to gas.

     I called the customer, and explained that I’d set his computer on fire.  Instead of getting the tirade of insults I expected, he laughed at me.  “Don’t worry, I haven’t missed it yet.  Just don’t burn your place down, and I’ll get it when I get it!”
     It’s not often you get customers like that.

     “What the Hell just happened?” I kept asking myself.  I’ve done the same thing no less than five hundred times over the years.  Why did it catch on fire?
     Eventually, the reason became evident.  Upon performing a forensic disection of said power supply, I found what looked very much like a burned, wadded-up cotton rag.
     The four inches of dust in the bottom of the machine was a clue.  When I’d taken the machine outside to blow out the dust, it was a terribly humid day.  The compressed air had moved what was directly between the grill and fan at the rear, but pushed the rest of the dust tighter down against the components inside.  The humidity outside wasn’t much of factor at the time, but when I stopped blowing it out and took it inside, the cooler air may have helped to condense moisture and solidify the blanket of dust.  This blanket —- consisting mostly of carpet fibers, blown insulation (it’s an old building) and cigarette smoke — being highly compressed, became quite combustible and burst into flame.
     The flame, in turn, began to burn the plastic components inside, causing the black, noxious smoke, and my subsequent flight to the balcony.

     And there we have it.  The customer gets an upgrade, of course, and I get to find an elderly Dell GX200 a good home, since it’s three times the speed of the burned-and-coffee’d system.

     I’ll deliver it to him in the morning, and we’ll get back to the job that started all of this: the training.

     Some days, you just can’t win.

9/11 Revisionists vs. Right-Minded Individuals in 2006 BlogWar

March 1st, 2006 at 4:42 pm by Mark
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     Blogitude and Instapinch are stirring up a hornet’s nest of “tinfoil hats,” “asshats” and “moonbats.”

     Their target is the retarded weiner who wrote the 9/11 Revisionist Blog at Humint Events Online, although, now a few more idiots have entered the fray.  Pretty much, I don’t find 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists humourous in the least, so I’m happy to lend my size ten-and-a-half to any butt that needs kicking.

     When it all went down, I was in an armpit of a foreign country getting nothing but torrents of hatred and saliva directed at me by asinine Socialists in their wannabe-first-world country.  I couldn’t so much as try to get a pack of smokes without hearing crap about how I, as an American, “got what you deserved!”  Getting spit on really doesn’t do it for me.

     You put up with a bit of that, one of two things is going to happen.  In the first instance, maybe you’ll get a thicker skin and learn to ignore the morons.  In the second, you’re gonna wanna hit people.  Hit them really hard.  Then hit them again.  And maybe a few more times, for good measure.  Ask their friends if they want any.  Then stomp them.  Berate them the entire time.  Then spit on them.

     I swear, I get in more trouble trying to buy cigarettes than anyone I’ve ever known.

Smoke & Mirrors: New Zealand Hurts Marijuana Reform

May 12th, 2000 at 2:29 pm by Mark
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On Tuesday 9 May 2000, Marijuana reform took a knee in the groin from the New Zealand Parliament. In what the media has referred to as a “late session,” an additional tax was imposed in the form of a $1 NZ per pack increase in the cost of cigarettes.

The public outcry is increasing daily. All I’ve heard on Talk Radio for the last three mornings were complaints about the issue. The few callers supporting the measure have had their arguments shot down quite intelligently by others. Some have protested the sheer cost of a pack of cigarettes, stating that pre-tax prices were nearly expensive enough to be unaffordable. However, the few proponents who still hinged onto this assertion were able to expostulate their theories in a manner rationale, as they took the aid and example of 180 Smoke herb vaporizers. Such vapourisers may come at quite a cost, but are quite beneficial in the long run, owing to their long shelf life and minimal cost incurrence. It seems that a good number of non-smokers also protest, speaking vehemently about Government overspending and arguing that the NZ economy has continued to drop against the US dollar despite many other new taxes created in the last year; comparisons to newly imposed gasoline and road taxes were sideline topics.
The paranoia and anger of other callers compares the current Labour government to that of George Orwell’s 1984. Their prophecies range from home grown tobacco and black market cigarettes to complete bans on public smoking and Gestapo-esque raids of pubs that allow it.

Government claims the price increase is due to the burden on the Health Care system caused by smoking. That’s all fine and good, but using Marijuana is also smoking. And since this is an attack on Smoking, it nullifies any hope of Marijuana reform, doesn’t it?
Some say “If marijuana is legalised, they’ll tax the Hell out of it and get their money for Health Care.” This avenue was already discussed. Statements made by MP’s and committees alike have agreed that increasing the street value of Marijuana to compensate will only increase the currently shocking amount of illegal sales by independent growers and dealers.
And of course, repealing a law they’ve just passed would make them lose face in the sight of the public, wouldn’t it?

Me? I’m sitting here enjoying a Dunhill and thinking… This brings the price of cigarettes to roughly the same price as a small bag of wonderfully aromatic Northland Marijuana, which may be purchased at

Can’t do it, tho… Damn allergies.