on the first morning this week that i decided to sleep in an extra hour, that's when the client wrote me an e-mail asking me to give him a call. i didn't even have time to get dressed; as soon as i read the e-mail i grabbed the phone and dialed. it wasn't anything serious, the client just wanted some screen grabs, but i was embarassed that i woke up so late. so i spent the next hour packaging up a dozen screens and sent it away.

tried to fix a few actionscript coding bugs today. i'm actually laying out a lot of stuff directly onto the stage, which presented some problems because it screws up the display list. i got the code to work, but i'm using a few inelegant solutions and i'm not exactly sure what's going wrong to make it not happen again in the future. anyway, made enough progress this week to make up for the weeks of inactivity in late november.

i left the house just once in the late afternoon to check out the coinstar machine in the star market across the street. i had my tub of loose change with me. according to the money jar, i had $21.74. i never used coinstar before, so it took me a few minutes to read the instructions. there's actually a metal cage that reminded me of those slanted deep fryers you see at fast food restaurants. i basically dump all my change into the cage, then lifted it up so the coins fell through a thin slot at the bottom of the slant. sometimes the coins would jam up in the slot and i had to poke them free with my fingers. it's kind of a noisy affair, as the coins rattle inside, being sorted and counted in bulk, with the computer screen tallying up my total like winning money at las vegas slot machine.

i wondered about this and finally had my answer: what happens when you try to trick coinstar with slipping in a few canadian coins? what happens is the foreign money gets rejected in a return slot at the bottom of the machine. i tried feeding the canadian coins back into the coin slot (a candian penny, a dime, and a quarter) and the machine rejected them once again. whatever system it uses it's apparently very smart. it even rejected a badly scarred US penny. once it was all over i hit the "done" button. now i always thought coinstar machines were a ripoff because if you want your coins converted into cash, coinstar charges a 10% fee. the loophole is if you convert your money into a gift certificate from a list of partnership companies, the fee would be waived. just so happens amazon is one of these partners, and since i use amazon for most of my online purchases, i was more than happy to have my change transferred to amazon. i hit the "confirmation" button one more time and i could swear i heard the sound of a modem dialing out. after a few moments of waiting, the machine spit out a non-assuming paper receipt with the amount of coins exchanged and the special amazon gift certificate code.

the amount coinstar calculated was $21.71. note that my money jar said i had $21.74. but substract the few canadian coins and one rejected penny, plus the 5 shiny pennies and 1 nickel i took out earlier (the pennies are for souvenir penny machines, the nickel was a special commemorative jeffersonian coin), that leaves me with just $21.27. so actually, coinstar said i had 44¢ more than my own money jar number. i'm more inclined to believe the coinstar figure is more accurate, especially seeing how it's even able to differentiate canadian coins.

first thing i did when i returned home was i logged into amazon.com and punched in my gift certificate number. sure enough, a credit of $21.71 showed up in my account - like magic! the only thing i regret is i don't have more change to feed to the coinstar machine. it's actually pretty fun, and if you redeem your money as a gift certificate, you won't have to incur the 10% ripoff fee.

i kept on working until it got dark and my motivation completely fizzled away. feeling an overwhelming urge to get relaxed, i took a soak in the bath tub. unfortunately my hot water heater was on a "down" cycle so the hot water was tepid at best. i had to wait 10-15 minutes before refilling the tub again.

for dinner i boiled a thanksgiving turkey drumstick in order to make some stock. i combined it with some chinese noodles for a quick meal.

i saw something weird today: a man was walking by my parked motorcycle when he suddenly turned towards the bike and gave the handlebars a few shakes. the only reason why anyone would do that is to check if the steering column is locked; because otherwise you can just wheel the bike away. was he trying to steal it? motorcycles are hard to steal. they're not like bicycles, where anyone can just take it and ride off. first, you need to know how to ride a motorcycle. next, state law requires a helmet. third, how would you even go about riding the thing if the steering column is locked and you don't have the key to start the engine? the only likely way a motorcycle can be stolen is with a special tow truck that has a harness to lift up the bike. it's not a very quick affair and attracts a lot of attention. *but* if you forget to lock the bike, it can also be pushed onto a truck and quickly taken away. but who leaves their motorcycle unlocked in the city? and who would want to steal my bike, which is probably only worth $3000, and have to go through the complicated process of filing off the VIN numbers and creating a false title?