Tuesday, December 23, 2003

"All You Need is LOVE"

Happy Holidays to all, and best wishes for a Happy 2004!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Missed the Boat

I think my MINI missed the boat at the Port in Northampton. :( That's okay, what can you do?

In my head, I have the vision of my MINI, sitting at the port, by itself, wondering, "Hey, where did everyone go?" :D

I think I'm the only member on the mini2.com forum who didn't make it on today's boat. Now, that's just sad. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be joined by others soon.

Next boat is scheduled for December 29th, and arrives in Southern CA on January 22nd. (24 Days!)

In other news, we went to see "The Return of the King Yesterday"! Man, a great movie. What an amazing trilogy. Epic. Go see it!

Thursday, December 18, 2003

"A Car is Born"

I'm such a dork. Isn't that okay, though? I mean, if you know you're a dork, and acknowledge that you're a dork, doesn't it mean that it's okay that you're a dork?

Today is my new car's birthday! I just called ASK-MINI, and it currently in the last stages of the Assembly stage. It's actually going through the final quality check "as we speak" (said the guy at MINI).

Yesterday, it finished in the Paint Department, and started the Assembly stage.

I'm hoping that tomorrow it will be on route to the port in Southampton. If that's the case, it just may make it on the boat for Saturday's journey across the pond.

"run, little car, run!" (said like Obi-Wan Kenobi to Luke Skywalker in "Star Wars")

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

My car is being made RIGHT NOW! :)

Okay, I'm assuming that no one else out there is really interested in this, but humor me, please.

I figure I can use this as a journal for reference in the future..... :)

Latest status of my car:

Yesterday, Monday December 15, 2003: Body Shop Started
Today, Tuesday, December 16, 2003: Paint Shop Started

The guy at ASK-MINI who I just spoke with said it would be in the paint shop for a couple of days, before going to "Assembly Started" then finally "Production Completed".

I have an estimated Completion date of this Friday, December 19th.

There are two ships sailing from the port in England (Southampton) to the corresponding port here in CA (Port Hueneme - in Southern CA).

The Hyndai (!) leaves on 12/20/03, and arrives on 01/09/04. That would be spectacular, but I don't really think my car will make it on that ship.

The next ship (The Elektra) leaves Southampton on 12/29/03, and arrives in CA on 01/22/04. I think my MINI will probably be on that one.

Isn't it crazy how much information I have about the production of my car? It's really very odd, but I'm enjoying it.

What did we do without the internet? ;)

Monday, December 15, 2003

Disk Warrior

Okay, I just ran Disk Warrior for the first time. I guess it went fine - it found a few problems, and fixed them. It was fast - did everything within 1/2 hour. (that's VERY fast, compared to Norton Utilities' day-long marathon last week!)

I don't think it found/fixed anything too major, so we'll just have to see how it goes over the next few days/weeks. I'd really love to put my 512MB RAM chip back in, but I'm afraid that it was the cause of the initial problems.

Maybe Santa will bring me RAM for Xmas..... :)
Isn't that what all "good girls" ask for?

New Cell Phone!

Ahhhhh............. don't you just love a little retail therapy?

I bought a new cell phone yesterday! It's so cool, and cute to boot ;)

I've been eyeing a new cell phone for a few months now. My 2-month contract was fulfilled a few months ago, so I've been shopping around for new plans and a new phone.

I've been with Cingular over the past 2 years, and have happy with the plans, and coverage so far. Figured I didn't have any reason to switch to another company. Dick and I came up with the bright idea to have a "family plan" instead of 2 separate plans. We added my phone number on to his existing Cingular account, and only have to pay $9.99/month extra, and we share the minutes. This works out quite well - he has plenty of minutes, and neither of us have ever come close to going over. Also, with one account, they only hit you with all of those unexpected monthly taxes and fees once - no need in both of us paying that each month.

So, back to the new phone: It's a Samsung SGHx427. Isn't it cute? It has a pretty good UI Design- which is most important to me. I bought it at Best Buy for $49.99. It was a good deal - the prices for phones at the Cingular store were more pricey, and you had to sign up for a 2 year contract instead of only 1. If you're shopping around for phone plans, or a new phone, check out all of your options before buying it directly from the carrier. Could save you a lot of money, or, at the very least, it's good to know you have more options.

Sunday, December 14, 2003

Just to prove that I do have a social life....

..and that I'm not thinking about my computer, and my new car all of the time....

Last night, we went to Dick's company's Holiday Party.

It was fabulous. really, it was!

It was at the new San Francisco Asian Art Museum!!! We knew it was going to be held here for some time now, so we've been holding off going to see the museum, in anticipation of the party.

What an amazing, beautiful space! WOW. they did such a wonderful job there. If you haven't had a chance to go yet, I highly recommend it. The building itself is a gorgeous work of art. The collection was amazing. Go. now. What a treat it was to look around at the exhibits without the regular crowds!

What a great party, too! They served all kinds of yummy food. I mostly ate the sushi (yum) but they also served carved turkey and roast beef, veggie curry, cheeses, etc.,

The had all kinds of great entertainment: Taiko Drummers, a Chinese Lion Dance, and live music. They also had booths set up with palm readers, henna tatoo artists, Chinese calligraphy, etc., Very cool!

File Management

Okay, I LOVE Toast!

No, not the kind you eat for breakfast, although that usually is my breakfast of choice during the week.

I'm talking about "Toast Titanium 5.2". My wonderful friend, Sheri, bought it for me for my Birthday earlier this year. It's made backing my files on CDs so much easier! Painless, actually, which is how it should be.

I'm taking a moment to back-up all of my important files on CD. Dick and I back up our data daily using Retrospect onto our "little" 60GB external drive. (or is it 120 GB? I'll have to check) Anyhow, since I've been having continuous computer problems, I thought I'd better back up again to CD....just in case. You never know, and it's better to be safe than sorry.

I'm going to finish backing up my client and web files, then I'll try running "Disk Warrior" to see what exactly is going on with my little computer.

If you haven't done so in a while, here's your friendly reminder to back-up your data! It's a good time to do it, since it's the end of the year :)

Thursday, December 11, 2003

It's Official: I'm Obsessed

This just in: (and much sooner than I anticipated!)

Hi Trina, thanks for writing MINI.

Congratulations on your upcoming MINI, how exciting for you!

I checked our records and found that your MINI began production on December 8th. It is estimated to have completed production on or by Friday, December 19th. We can view your order up to the point that it reaches the port of exit in England. Feel free to e-mail or call us for the latest update we have for you!

Hang in there, the wait will be well worth it in the end! Happy holidays!

Jen Schuelke
MINI Division
Customer Relations

It seems as if my MINI is being built (right now!) and a month earlier than I was told. How's that for a nice surprise?

It'll still take 4-8 weeks after production to be transported all the way over here from Oxford, but I'm thrilled!

Good Deed

Just so you know that I do more than just sit around, thinking about my new car.........

had a really nice experience yesterday:

I volunteered for an event hosted by The Always Dream Foundation and The Family Giving Tree for underprivileged kids. There were 60 kids in total, representing 4 different groups from around the Bay Area.

It was a very, very cool experience. The kids were able to ice-skate for an hour with Kristi. They were treated to a pizza lunch, then came the special treat: a visit from Santa. Each of the kids had a chance to sit on Santa's lap, take a picture with Santa and Kristi, and took home a couple of gifts.

The event lasted about 3 hours, and was just a great thing to be a part of.

I was so impressed with the staff of volunteers who work with these kids regularly. What a great group of people. I hope they realize what a great job they're doing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Scheduled for Production!

I checked the MINI Owner's Lounge this morning - just to see. Ever since I got my production number last Friday, I've been checking it obsessively to see if there's any change.

good news: this morning, I went from "On Order" to "Scheduled for Production".

Very Cool.

I also have my VIN now.

In addition, I got a nice letter from my dealership today informing me that was Cooper was in Production, and that I could expect delivery in about 6-8 weeks.

That would make me very, very happy :)

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Funny Visual...

(I'm laughing about this right now, and I'm actually doing this!!!)

I'm in the kitchen, making Jacques Pepin's "Split Pea Soup".

I chopping onions, and garlic, listening to "The Best of Aretha Franklin".

It just occurred to me how funny the visual is.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T !!

Extra credit points to the person/people who can remember why the song "Natural Woman" holds a special place in my heart. :)

Computer Issues

My computer seems to be better today.

It's running slower, though. I'm pretty sure that's because it's running on 256MB less RAM than I'm used too. Kind of frustrating. I just want to be certain that it's not running slower because it's still experiencing drive problems.

I was thinking about buying some new RAM - although I'm still not certain that the old RAM was absolutely the problem. We're just assuming it is. Safe assumption, but an assumption, none-the-less.

I thought I'd look into Apple RAM, so if I installed it, it would still be covered under Apple Care. Here's the hitch: the RAM through Apple is twice the price: $200 for 512MB of RAM, vs. the $100 I paid on Amazon.com for Viking RAM. UGH.

I need to save my pennies, so I don't think I can afford to buy it at the moment.... although, it is, of course, a work expense..... But still.....

Got Comments?

I just put a new feature on my blog.....

Now you can leave comments! :) (thanks to the friendly folks at Haloscan) I noticed this nice feature on Willo's blog and decided to check out how easy it is to install. (answer= very easy)

Hmmmmm.... this should be interesting. I'm curious to see who will actually leave comments.

Is anyone really reading this, anyway?

Now be nice - no mean comments allowed. ;)

Here we go!

Monday, December 08, 2003

computer update

Well, that was a long day!

we *just* got it back up and running.

Really, we've been running some sort of diagnostic program on it for the last 24 hours now.

But, the important thing is: it's working again.

Dick spoke with Pete about it this evening, and he told us that Norton Utilities isn't as good as "Disk Warrior". I'll have to look into that tomorrow.

happy computer :)

Sick Computer

My poor little computer is sick.

I noticed it a few days ago - it was "sleeping" and when I moved the mouse, or pressed a key, nothing happened.

Yesterday, it froze on me a few times - something it had never done since I got it in July.

Uh oh. Time to break out Norton Disk Doctor.

Here's where it really became interesting.....

When I launched Norton Disk doctor, it didn't see my hard drive, so I didn't have the option of selecting my hard drive to be examined. Weird!

I also tried to run the first aid disk doctor program that came with my computer. It only allowed me to view the permission settings, but again, wouldn't allow me to select my hard drive for repair. Big uh-oh!

Finally, I broke out the Norton CD and ran it as my start up disk.
This time it did recognize my hard drive, and I was able to examine it!

I've been working on this since last night, and started running it again this morning.

Bad News: all kinds of kooky things are happening - things I've never seen on Norton before. It's finding several "major errors" in the "directories" section, and does allow me to fix them. However, I'm having some real problems. Every few errors, it might freeze, say it needs to be restarted, or simply quit out of the application.

Good News: every time this happens, and I need to restart my computer, or relaunch the application, it gets further along.

this could very well take all day.

I will call Apple Care later on, but I want to run it through Norton first.

Eek. Hope my little computer can pull through.... I need to get some work done.

And yes, like all good techie-geeks, I have backed-up my files ;)


1:40pm: still working on it.

I remembered (about an hour ago) that my Apple Care program came with a CD that would have some sort of other diagnostic program on it. Indeed it does. We put that in, and it crashed when it was reading through the RAM. This was an "a-ha" moment.

My computer came with 512MB RAM, though it was in two separate 256MB slots. I bought an extra half GB RAM when I ordered the computer. We replaced one of the original 256MB RAM slots with the new 512MB RAM.

We just tried taking out the 512MB RAM, and re-running the TechTool Deluxe program. So far, so good.....

Another UPDATE 4:46pm

Still going.....

It may have been RAM problems, but there's also something else going on.....

As we were running the TechTool Deluxe program, we encountered errors with the volume.... It's running the repair now, but it's taking a very long time :(

at this rate, it still has another couple hours to go.


Friday, December 05, 2003

Finally - new car news!

for those of you who have been keeping track (and i know you are :) ) it's been 3 months since I put my deposit down for my new MINI.

I've been calling the dealership at the end of each month since - they find out at the end of each month how many cars they are allotted to order for the next build month. As I said before, I ordered my car though East Bay MINI, which is the only MINI dealership in Northern Cal that doesn't charge over MSRP. Because of this, they have quite a waiting list.... Each month, they are allotted a (seemingly random) number of cars they can order, which are taken off the top of their waiting list. Make sense?

I've been slowly crawling up the list each month... I knew that going into this month (for the January build) I was 13th on the list. They're average allotment is usually in the high teens, but for the last 2 months, they've only been allotted around 8. (is this more info than anyone reading this needs? probably...)

To add even more craziness, when I called last week (last week of November) they said that they were having computer problems, and couldn't access their allotment numbers. UGH!

Okay, trying to get to the point now....

My order has been placed! I'm very excited. This means that I'm in the January build, which would deliver my car sometime towards the end of February.

Now that I have my production number, I can go to the MINI website and track the production of my car.


And you thought I was obsessed before. It goes from On Order, to Scheduled for Production, Awaiting Transport, En Route, At Distribution Center, then finally to "At Your MINI Dealer". (!)

Crazy man.

Honestly though, I think the tough part is over - I'm really happy that I actually "know" when it'll be made and delivered.

So, what are the final specs? The only good news with having waited to place my order so long after placing my deposit was that I was able to change my specs constantly without any consequence.

here we go:
MINI Cooper
Chili Red w/white roof and mirrors
Chrome Bumper Inserts
Premium Package: Automatic AC, Dual-Pane Sunroof, On-Board Computer, S-Style Sport Multifunction wheel
CVT (automatic transmission)
15" 8-Spoke wheels
Auto wipers/dim mirror
Silver Wheels
Sports Seats
Cordoba Beige Leather
Anthracite Dash

In all fairness to my dealership (East Bay MINI in Pleasanton) they did give me an estimate of 4-5 months from the time of my deposit to when I might get my car. (1-2 months longer than the other dealerships around here that charge a $1000 mark-up fee)

Okay, that's it for now.

Rest assured, I will keep you posted ;)

♥ Noe's Bad Day

Poor little Noe. She's having one of those very few "bad cat days".

We noticed that she was limping yesterday evening. We didn't know what it was, but thought we'd keep an eye on it. This morning, it wasn't any better, and she was clearly uncomfortable. I decided to call my vet in Milpitas and make an appointment for her today.

Why do I go all the way to Milpitas for a vet when I live in San Francisco? My family has used this vet since the mid-80s. He's seen us through (at least) 5 rats, 2 birds, and 3 cats over the years. Dick and I tried a local vet here in SF, but I didn't like it much - they were a much larger office, appointments were harder to come by, and I usually spent a long time waiting in the waiting room. (which was too traumatic to our kitties, who are vet-phobic)

So, it's off to Milpitas to see Dr. Anderson - he's just wonderful with our little guys.

Unfortunately, (as mentioned before) Noe is especially afraid of the doctor's office. We've had bad visits to the vet (in SF) before where we weren't able to have anything done because she was too upset. (ie: hissing, swatting, etc)

The only solution we were able to come up with was to give her a sedation pill before I drive her down to Milpitas (about 1 hour drive). The pill does a good job of sedating her, although it does make her rather disoriented. This worked well last year, when we brought her in for her annual check up, although we had to put her in "the box" to completely sedate her in order to give her her shots. Truthfully, I think this whole ordeal is far more traumatic on me than it is on her. the way I figure it, she just thinks she's having a really bad dream.... :(

It turns out that Noe had an infected wound on the back of her heel - probably had it for a few days, and it got increasingly worse. The doctor cleaned it up, and gave her an antibiotic shot. He also sent me home with antibiotic pills to give her twice daily for the next 7 days.

Poor little things. She's still pretty disoriented from the sedation. She can't decide if she's really angry, or if she needs to be carried and cuddled. She's probably awfully sore still, too.

I'm experiencing some serious Mama-Cat guilt right now....

Thursday, December 04, 2003

haven't blogged in a while

I know, I know.... what's going on? what happened to the blogging?

I've been a little preoccupied lately - sorry.

We went to North Carolina a couple of weeks ago to visit Dick's family, and to celebrate Dick's father's 70th Birthday! Happy Birthday to Richard Craddock Sr! :) Dick's sister threw a terrific party, full of wonderful friends and family. It was really nice.

Last week was Thanksgiving. We went down to Milpitas to my parent's house. Almost the whole Chow family was there. Dick would say, "That's a lot of Chow". All 4 of my grandparents came down from Stockton, as well as my Aunt, Uncle and family from Cupertino. We played a few games of pool with my dad and my cousin, Kenneth. I suppose I *can* be a decent pool player (having grown up with a pool table and all) but I'm so out of practice these days, that good shots are fairly random....

I'm working at The Gallery (very) part time again! Only going in for two half days a week. Thought it would be in everyone's best interest to revitalize the animation art again! I'll keep you posted. Anyone looking for any art out there? I'm your girl! :)

We had dinner last night with Omar and Lora over at their place. It was really nice. We haven't seen them in a few weeks. We also had a chance to spend time with their new kitty, Misha! He's so cute! He's getting big - around 9 lbs now. He's like a little Claude! So cute. And get this: he plays "fetch"! Dick and I both thought Omar was exaggerating when he told us about it, but we saw Misha in action last night! That cat can play Fetch!

Got my first Xmas present in the mail yesterday! thanks to my dear friend Sher Bear for that! what a nice surprise! We'll (hopefully) get our Xmas tree this weekend, so now I'll have something festive to place underneath it!

that's all for now. at least I've put a little something up :)
more later....