Oops (AKA, The Beeping Saga)

So, this past Saturday, there was a beeping sound in my apartment. This has happened twice since I've lived here, and it has always meant that the smoke detector battery needed to be replaced. It's very irritating because the hours the apartment office is open only overlap with when I'm not at work on Saturday, so I basically always discover this at a time when no one is available to help with it. It's a high-pitched, pretty loud beep about every minute or two, and makes it impossible to sleep within earshot.

On Monday I called the apartment office and told them to replace the battery, and in fact, to replace the batteries on all the smoke detectors. When I got home on Monday, there was a note that they had done this, and also replaced the air filter. However, the beeping was still there.

I had been sleeping on the floor in the next room, with the doors closed and the overhead fan on, since Saturday. This was pretty uncomfortable and made me not sleep very well, but was the only way I could reasonably sleep in my apartment. I continued to do this.

I called them late Tuesday night and left a message, thanking them for responding so quickly but saying the detector still had not been fixed. When I got home on Wednesday, there was another note from maintenance (they leave a note every time they go into someone's apartment) but the beeping was still there.

Thursday I was too wiped out (this was making me sleep poorly and having a negative effect on my mood) and didn't do anything about it. Earlier today, I called again and went on a bit of a rant to the woman who answered the phone, about how it still wasn't fixed, I had been sleeping on the floor, etc. She politely said maybe the smoke detector is broken, and they will send someone again to check it.

About 17:00 today I get a call from the apartment office, and they say the maintenance guys were in my apartment for an hour and the smoke detector is definitely not broken, and could anything else be beeping in my apartment? It's definitely coming from upstairs, they say (where my bed is) but not the smoke detector. They couldn't figure out exactly what it was coming from because they aren't supposed to go through my stuff (and they ACTUALLY DON'T). I say maybe it's coming from an adjacent apartment. They say that sounds unlikely, the walls are pretty soundproof (and in my head I admit yeah, it does sound unlikely, since they'd be getting constant complaints about this and any other noise made by neighbors, but I don't tell them this). I say yes, I will check to see if anything in my apartment could be making the noise and get back to them again if I can't figure it out.

I get home, go through my stuff, aaaaaaaand... I have this fucking carbon monoxide detector that my mom must have given me 5 years ago and that's what was making the beeping the whole time.

I feel like an idiot. I feel especially bad because I got angry with the customer service reps who were doing their jobs, and doing a pretty good job of it too (they never once got frustrated with me that I could tell), for something that was completely my own fucking fault. People like I just was are the exact reason working in customer service sucks.

I kind of want to apologize, but it would have to be “to the staff of Jefferson at 1001 Ross” since I have no idea who I spoke to (names go in one ear and out the other if I don't write them down) or if it was even the same person any two times. And I feel like a card alone would be empty, but I don't know what an appropriate small, splittable gift would be (or maybe that isn't appropriate—I have no idea).

Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds

Just got home from Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds. Even the songs I thought were questionable (Man with the Machine Gun, Opening Theme ~ Bombing Mission) were fantastic. No encore, though. Made sure to buy one of every souvenir item (t-shirt, CD, booklet) this time.

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I obviously haven't posted to LJ in a long time, which is a bit of a shame happening so soon after I got a permanent membership. I tend to view writing in general, and LJ posting in particular, as an extremely large amount of work (at least in prospect) and thus don't do it. Lately I've been trying to treat DPB more like talking, resulting in my posting a lot more. I'm also on Twitter now, but the 140 character limit is a powerful disincentive to complex thought. This post will be mostly musings.

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I realize a lot of the above may sound like complaining, and I don't want to give the impression that I'm miserable. I certainly wouldn't say that I'm thrilled about everything. But I once read a theory that each human has a given set point of happiness to which he will converge as long as his environment remains the same. That may be overstated, but it seems to have a kernel of truth. In that light I would say that I'm doing about as expected: that my stay in Dallas has been rather light on satisfaction but heavy on pay; that I'll try to manage my money (even in the current macroeconomic situation) well enough to set myself up in a situation that better meets my needs; and that hopefully I don't turn out to be quite as hard-to-accommodate-by-virtue-of-being-unusual as I sometimes worry I am.


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I found out two days ago that my cat Clyde had passed away. He had been living with my dad and Nance in Catskill.

[First digital picture I ever took]

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[Probably the last picture of him, taken on the same camera, which I gave to my dad]

He had been sick, but I did not take it as seriously as I could have, since he's been sick in one way or another for most of his life and it rarely seemed to amount to much. He was about 10 years old.

Also, I'm back from a week in Alaska, which I may write about if I ever get the energy.

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DPB-Con was a week ago now. In lieu of a narrative description of the entire event, which would be exhausting to read and very difficult to write, here are some of the things I did:

  • Stayed up all night the Friday evening before so I could be sure not to miss my 7:00 flight
  • Traveled with only my laptop bag and my max-size carry-on
  • Ate great food without spending a cent (beyond the con fee) until the Friday night dinner
  • Wore my bathrobe as clothing a lot
  • Became reasonably familiar with at least 3 beachgoers / DPBers I hadn't really known previously
  • Got up around 9:00—9:30 consistently, without an alarm
  • Participated to a reasonable degree in 2 of the 3 big parties
  • Played my first game of face-to-face Diplomacy, was the first eliminated, and fell asleep on the couch before the game ended, never finding out who won
  • Played an epic 8 (7 once we lost one person) game of Arkham Horror, which we did finally win
  • Participated in a level 1 World of Warcraft race (the first time I had ever played) and managed to finish despite horrible bear aggro
  • Hung out in a pool the temperature of bathwater in the late evening; it took a lot of force of will to get out
  • Spent the one day of lousy (rainy) weather mostly playing FFXI
  • Spent the day after that (and also, not merely coincidentally, the day after the Outer Space Party) terribly hung over
  • Got drunk on the beach on Jagermeister shots (and one beer)
  • Swam in the ocean
  • Waited until Thursday or Friday to realize that having a camera entailed some obligation to (or at least, benefit from) using it, and tried to make up for it by taking a crapload of pictures
  • Played a little bit of Rock Band on easy and found it more doable than I expected
  • Failed to carry my phone, send many emails or IMs, or interact much with the world away from the beach at all, and was perfectly happy with it that way
  • Helped move stuff or clean up whenever I was asked to, which really didn't seem like much (official volunteerism crowding out unorganized volunteerism? lack of initiative on my part?)
  • Found that my habitual ignorance of sunscreen was only so sustainable, and finally opted to borrow some for Friday on the beach
  • Was switched to a direct flight on American to Dallas, due to the iffiness of Uniteds' flights to Chicago on that day
  • Watched The Ultimate Gift in the airport and Capricorn One on the plane, and arrived home two hours earlier than previously scheduled
  • Chilled out. Realized that these are an incredibly cool bunch of people who, if there's a reasonable way to make things work, will do so (all DPB-proper acrimony notwithstanding). Resolved to come again.


A week ago, I had my first migraine headache (or at least, the first time I identified it as such). It started out with an aura, or visual disturbance. It's very hard to describe this visual disturbance, but it was like my vision was fractured, smeared, and/or occluded in certain parts of my visual field, particularly in my left eye. I was still able to read, but had to move point my eyes in different directions to find places that were still functioning, much like one might do after staring at a bright light. This was actually the most unpleasant part of the experience by far, since at the time I wasn't sure what was going on and something like a stroke seemed a real possibility.

I started reading Wikipedia, and one of the things they said was that auras generally last less than 60 minutes. Sure enough, in a bit under an hour my vision returned to normal, and around the same time I started to get some pain which was completely localized to the right side of my head. It really wasn't that bad, particularly after I took some Excedrin, but as I was also nauseated and I wasn't quite sure what course the thing would take (i.e. whether it would get worse) I decided to go home from work. As it turned out, after a nap of a couple of hours I was basically fine.

One could say that this ought to disturb me, and if it starts to become a regular occurrence it probably will. But my reaction this time was “hey, that's kind of neat”, as I managed to identify it (echoing my self-diagnosis of diabetes many years ago), it followed the pattern to a tee, and it really wasn't that bad anyway.


I haven't posted in a long time, including some things I really meant to write up and never got around to, but I thought it was worth noting that today is my birthday.

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It seems that only being on an airplane, with its combination of computer availability and lack of internet access, is able to convince me to write these entries any more. I don't remember exactly when I wrote my last entry, though I know I was pretty unhappy when I wrote it, and I'm fairly certain that both of my parents' visits to Dallas, as well as the Christmas vacation from which I am now returning, were after it.

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And now, I am back in Dallas for two days, and then off to Pittsburgh for New Year's.