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Plight Of The Navigation Computer

So, I bought a new car. Most people know that already. One of the stipulations of getting the car, though, was having a navigation system. I know a lot of people are down on GPS things; they’re lazy, they don’t work, they suck, and whatever. I find them quite useful for getting to where I want to go (tempered with some common sense) and nice for finding new places to think about going to but never actually going. In order to fit the navigation system, or “navicomp” as I like to call it, into my budget the dealership opted to have an after market system installed. The only stipulation I had was that the radio/navicomp they installed had to be on par with the Dodge radio.

The system that was eventually installed was a JVC KW-NT30HD. It’s a nice radio. In some ways it’s better than the Dodge but in other ways it isn’t. If you knew how much I didn’t like the Dodge radio this would probably surprise you. But it’s true.

The first thing I did, of course, was try out the navigation system. I was going to visit my brother-in-law, who lives over a hundred miles away from me, and thought it would be the perfect test. I plugged the address into the navicomp and I was off and running.

The first thing I noticed was that I couldn’t hear any navigation prompts. I couldn’t hear anyone telling me to turn right or turn left or make an illegal U-turn. This turned out to be a good thing because when I was about 64 miles away from my apartment I noticed that the damn thing was still telling me to make a U-turn. I thought this was because it wanted me to take a toll road and I opted not to do so.. While the Dodge radio is fairly insistent that you make a U-turn it will, eventually, give up and re-calculate your route. To me, this was a bit out there. The first chance I got, I canceled the navigation but left it on the map view. Then I noticed  that the direction it said I was pointed in was the opposite of what was really the case. So, if I was heading East on highway 290 the GPS was telling me I was pointing West on 290. Roads that I was approaching were showing up at the bottom of the screen and scrolling up. In effect, the navicomp thought I was driving backwards. For miles and miles and miles. Thus, to get the navigation to work correctly I would have to drive in reverse. It turns out that this is highly frowned on by the law enforcement community.

I called the company that installed the radio and tried to explain this. The voice on the other end of the line was highly skeptical. It was something I wasn’t doing, like setting the orientation in the settings menu. I had, actually, done that – close to thirty times hoping it would eventually take. I tried a lot of things. I messed with just about every setting on the radio except for one: the ground polarity. I didn’t want to touch that in case I changed it and it fried the radio.

So, I bring my car in and the guy still doesn’t believe me so we go for a drive. And then he sees it. And he gets confused. Calls to JVC are made. Conversations go on. Back and forth for over an hour. And then JVC tells us to change the ground polarity setting from GND to Battery (I think that was it, it could be the other way around). Bingo! Now the GPS thinks we’re pointed in the right direction, on the correct side of the road, not driving backwards. The voice navigation still wasn’t coming through but a few minutes under the screwdriver and they got that fixed, too.

So, if you happen to have a JVC KW-NT30HD (or, presumably, the KW-NT50HD) and it thinks you’re driving backwards now you know how to fix it yourself.

Social Disasters

It may surprise some people to hear that, until recently, I don’t think I’ve ever been on a “date.” Unless you know me, then it may be apparent. I say this having been married twice. Some people wonder how that’s possible and I say it’s easy. Most people I meet I tend to hang out with, either in a group of people (not so much anymore) or from work. Eventually going out with a group turns into just going out. Not “going out on a date,” just “going out.”

Since it’s been over a year of having little contact with women I idly asked on Facebook if there were still such a thing as “mail order brides.” Back in The Old Days, you see, women would opt to be married to frontier fellows for some reason or another. Maybe they got paid for it, I don’t know. I actually researched this but have since forgotten the major gist of it. One of my research activities was signing up for a Russian mail order bride site (I guess they do still exist, maybe). I didn’t pay for it, but I did sign  up for the free look-around. It’s set up like a regular dating site in that respect: you can view profiles but you can’t send or read messages that you get from the women. However, going through the profiles I noticed that most women knew a minimum of three languages, had some sort of college education, and were generally more well read than I was.

I felt, in fact, horribly out-classed by a group of Russian (and surrounding areas) women who, I supposed, were getting paid to be married off to Americans who couldn’t find a bride any other way. And they’re attractive. Sure, if there were pictures of husky Baltic women in peasant dress who wanted to leave their lives because they were tired of slopping hogs and mending underwear that would be acceptable. But even if I paid for one of these attractive, multi-lingual, college educated brain boxes – what possible reason could they have for wanting to come over here and be my wife? Aside from being KGB sleeper agents? I’m sure I don’t know. But I do check the email account I used to sign up with and my Russian Mail Order Bride Mailbox currently has close to 300 messages in it, so I reckon I must be hot stuff over there.

Continuing my tradition of being cheap frugal I signed up with two free dating sites. Possibly the only two free dating sites. I actually set up a lunch date with a woman. This would be, in effect, my very first date ever.

We met at a restaurant, we talked, we laughed, we ate, we paid the bills, and then she ran out of there like a bat out of Hell and hasn’t contacted me since. I actually have no idea of what I may have done wrong, although I did admit to not liking Harry Potter. And, really, that may have been the problem.

Come to think of it, it wasn’t that I just said I didn’t like Harry Potter. What I actually said was that I had read all the books (except the last one) in the interest of knowing what all the fuss was about and that all the stories kind of ran together in my head, as do the movies. I’ve watched all the movies (except the last two) and I couldn’t tell  you what happened in which movie. And, really, I was kind of against that escapist attitude where someone is put down and altogether normal until a magical experience puts them into a situation where it turns out they’re really very special and probably the best thing to happen to whatever alternate world they end up in. Like the kids in the Narnia Chronicles, or Dorothy from the Oz books, or the kids in the Wrinkle of Time books, or… Hey,  you know what? Harry Potter is a kids series. And, actually, I like the Narnia books, and the Oz books, and the Wrinkle In Time books. Maybe it’s because Harry Potter is kind of a rip-off of the same exact theme but not executed nearly as well? And did you know “Hogswart” was that little troll creature in Labyrinth before being a magical college in the Potter books?

So, anyway, never heard from her again. I’ve come to the unfortunate realization that I will probably never be ready to date seriously and may end up being single for the rest of my life, especially as long as so many J. K. Rowling fans exist.

Music Mix

I got two surprises recently. It turns out The Cars had come out with a new album, Move Like This, earlier in the year. And so did Yes, with Fly From Here.

Move Like This sounds just like The Cars near the end of the 1980s. To me, that’s a good thing. I mean, it’s not exactly like it, but it’s close enough to make you think of that decade of long ago.

Yes’s Fly From Here sounds remarkably like Yes from the 1970s and early 80s. The only down side is that Jon Anderson isn’t on it and the rest of the band kind of totally screwed him over. But if you like 1970s-1980s pre-90125 then you may like it quite a bit.

Rewrites and Sequels

There may be one or two people that have read my short-short story “A Chance Encounter At The Inverted Oasis” out there. Probably one. At one time, though, it was read by many people who I have not kept in contact with and may or may not be on Facebook. Anyway, I’ve decided to finally put it through a re-write. It’s kind of tough for me because while I think it’s my favorite story I’ve written, it’s pretty bad. I’m not sure I can improve on it, either.

Besides that, though, one of the things that people constantly asked me was, “Where’s the ending?” I always said that it was ended. That’s the way it goes. Like it or lump it. Nobody was ever happy with that.

Recently, though, I’ve thought of a continuation for the Waitress. After all, if the old lady in “Dust Motes” could have her dignity, could the Waitress end up with something? So that will be my next writing project after the “Oasis” re-write.

This would probably mean more if anyone knew what I was talking about.