Smooth / Not Smooth

  1. I lost my TiVo remote this morning. Not smooth.¬†Ifound it wrapped up in the bedsheets I threw into the laundry earlier. Good thing it didn’t get washed, because whatever would I have done then?
  2. The transition to GMail is done. Smooth. Apple cider diarrhea smooth. There were some issues with it not correctly filing some of my sent mail, but overall I’m very pleased. Now if Google would add a “download as archive/mbox/whatever” option, I wouldn’t be so paranoid about leaving all my junk dangling out there. Maybe it’s time to download more than just headers…

Update: See the first comment on this post for a method of backing up Google mail. That definitely looks like something worth setting up. Also, I was able to move around all my mis-filed sent mail with Thunderbird. Thank gootness GMail exposes their special folders (archive, spam, sent) through IMAP – that’s mui handy. Also, each label shows up as its own virtual IMAP folder, with multi-tagged messages properly duplicated across folders. That’s two extra thumbs up from me. ūüėé



I haven’t worked on my crappy sci-fi novel in months, not one crappy bit, and I’m kind of depressed about that. I’ve got more important worries right now, of course, which is fine for the time being, but the person I am and the person I tell people I am are diverging by the day. Am I a writer, or am I not?

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Changing the circumference of my webisphere

My hobby sites make me sad. They’re a lot of fun and give me a good place to dig around in my PHP and Ruby sandboxes, but they’re a tremendous amount of effort to maintain.¬†They were¬†well worth it to me 14 years ago, when not many¬†people in my little set of concentric circles had the hutzpa to register, set up and administer their own domains. Network Solutions charged about $75 per year then, too, and that was just for the registry. The hosting fees and all the other constant nibbles at my wallet kept me motivitated to stay active with it and do good enough stuff to justify all the various expenses and aggravations involved.

These days things are a ton cheaper. I moved to PairLite last December, and that costs about half of what I was paying each month for my regular Pair account. Plus, since I made the switch not long after they began the new service, I was able to take advantage of the two-for-one offer they had at the time and wound up getting two years of service for $99. Plus, domain registrations at PairNIC are only $16 or $17 per year, and they often have $10 specials for long-term pricing. I bought a 4 year renewal on¬†two of my domains not too long ago for that price. I know there are cut-rate places like GoDaddy that always have the cheaper rates, but saving a couple of dollars isn’t worth what I’d be giving up with PairNIC (yes, I’m quite pleased with Pair and all their offerings… how could you tell?). Anyway, there are so many crappy little cheap hosting providers around now that, coupled with the¬†current bottom-drawer domain pricing and the trend toward effortless (but crummy) website-in-a-box templates that providers supply, there’s really no reason why a person of mediocre intelligence and disposable income couldn’t have his own site, complete with vanity email address. And from some of the stuff out there, it’s apparent that the intelligence level need not even rank as high as mediocre.

Anymore it seems harder and harder to justify the effort of keeping all my webtoys active. The cost isn’t a big factor anymore, like I said, but I¬†currently¬†have neither the time or patience to develop and maintain all the tools and sites and whatnot that have been occupying the bulk of my mental wishlist for many years now. And right now, with my little son demanding as much attention as he does, even having to maintain the simple stuff keeps me peeved most of the time.

I’m working on some things right now that should help reduce some frustrations, and also give me a sense of accomplishment. Big Carter probably thinks there should be ten of them so it’d be a proper list, but unfortunately there are only two. I should probably¬†make the numbers really big so the list will appear longer, but I think I’ll just handle it the way I do everything else: talk about it for a while and not actually do it.

  1. Move all mail handling for from PairLite to GMail.
    Mail storage is eating up two-thirds of my disk quota at PairLite, plus I’m just about sick to pieces of struggling with spam. Switching to GMail will help tremendously on both counts, plus our email addresses won’t have to change.
  2. Use this guy’s thing to merge the file structures of the four WordPress blogs I maintain.
    I almost deleted the word “maintain” there, because what I mostly do is stress about how out-of-date most of them are all the time. With the low traffic they all have, in terms of viewers and active posting, it¬†never¬†really seems worth my time to meddle with them.

And, hey, if these things don’t work out, they’ll probably at least give me something good to bitch about here.

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Whipping Vista, sorta…

Vista is crap. Let me just lead with that. I got all excited about the possibility of downgrading to XP, but my hopes were dashed like so many Hobbits on the rocks after reading that Home Premium wasn’t one of the versions included in the offer.

So I’ll have to¬†move my expensive-as-crap XP Pro license from my desktop to my laptop, and I guess just be happy with a KDE desktop downstairs or something. I don’t delude myself that I’ll have time to do that anytime soon, though, so in the meantime I’ll have to be stuck with Microsoft’s most miserable excuse for an OS yet.

Today I learned something new about the crappy thing, though, that brings it a bug’s hair closer to the pathetic/miserable¬†threshold (it still has miles to go before I’ll consider it good enough to be a pathetic OS): how to permanently unblock an application Vista won’t stop bitching about, no matter how many times you uncheck the “always annoy me about this” checkbox or click the “freaking unblock this application” button. It’s a simple fix, really, but to a problem that (in Microsoft’s typical fashion) is remarkably stupid.

This example is a discussion of unblocking the excellent PuTTY SSH/Telnet client, but it should work in most similar situations.

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Optimal LAMEEnc compression settings?

I use CDEx to rip all my audio CDs, and up until now have been using 192Kbit CBR to encode everything via LAME. Of course, all my idiot friends (hi, idiot friends!!) have always made fun of me for using such an “overkill” bitrate. They tell me 128K is plenty, but they must be deaf or summin’, cause those extra 64 Ks make a huge difference to my poorly trained ear.

So I’ve always just ignored them (as I tend to do ’bout most things) and continued to rip at 192/CBR.

But then today I stumbled across an elderly but very interesting blawg posting about one guy’s thoroughly unscientific experimentation with various encode parameters with CDEx/LAMEEnc. He now uses VBR from 192K to 320K because, although he admits it results in even bigger’n’fatter output than CBR at the lower extent of that range,¬†he¬†thinks it’s¬†much closer to the original source. That source, incidentally, is some old Breeders stuff I wish I owned. I used to have a big crush on Kim Deal, even though I thought she was sort of ugly. Weird, eh?

The guy went on to talk about his sensitivity to higher registers, and how that affected his final decision. That’s always been one of my problems, too,¬†even though I suspect I’m starting to¬†develop midrange deafness.¬†I can still always tell when a CRT TV is on, though, because I can hear it whine. I’ll definitely have to play with these settings a little and see if they make a difference to me.

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Devil Muzaak

Little Carter,¬†my little¬†son who just turned two months old, already¬†has a favorite CD. The group is Dogwood, and we’ve been listening to Down the Road over and over and over and over and… well… it calms him down but good, and is a really excellent album to boot. I listened to some old Black Sabbath stuff earlier today, but now I feel all clean again after coming home and listening to some good old accoustic gospel with the boy.

Incidentally, I know I asked for some used Ozzy Osbourne stuff for my birthday, but I feel like I should add restrictions to that request: no Black Sabbath, please. I’m done with it, and have no more need. I guess what I’m looking for is happy 80’s Ozzy. Back when he was singing about fluffy bunnies and not actually consuming them on-stage and whatnot.



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The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?

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Top 11 reasons why I can't move to Canada

My good friend Philbin Dobby (who used to work here in town with my sometimes-buddy Keiler) up and got married to a Canadian girlie a few years ago, and the two of them migrated north, never to be seen again.

OK, well, I’ve seen them once since, but I don’t think that’s¬†quite as dramatic a statement.

Anyway, he¬†toiled in the oil fields of NoCanDu (that’s Northern Canada, for all you non-French-speaking-yuppie types) for a time before finally getting back into his chosen field: create-ery. First, he and his wife, Petra, worked independently for a while, putting¬†out some really neat stuff. Then, fairly recently, he took a wicked gnarly job with a subsidiary of Bill Gates’ Corbis Corp. in Canada, doing UI create-ery.

I know how much he makes, but I’m not supposed to say because it would make Keiler vomit.

The perks are nice – great salary, discretionary cash for personal fitness and office purchases (like, an allowance for whatever he wants), high-end computational machines for both work and home, some of this, a bit of that, a little of the other AND free beer on Fridays. And some things I forgot, too. But what mostly makes me sick is the free beer on Fridays. And I don’t know why. But the twerp started IMing me last week as he was guzzling down a Guinness. Not always my drink of choice, maybe, but it’s good and refreshing and expensive enough to merit a gold on free drink day.

Anyway, so he’s been teasing me about moving to Canada for years now. Something about all Canadians sucking, and how my being there would turn his life around, etc., and something else about my presence causing the sun to shine, and how I was just the best and perfect, or something along those lines. I can’t remember all the arguments now. Then last Friday he cranked up the knobs on me, but still under the guise of jokery. I’d say he kicked it up a notch, but kind of in an Emeril-on-a-drunk sort of way.¬†I think it was the Guinness. All fun, all fun, but the whole time he was encouraging me to watch for open slots at his company, the top 11 reasons¬†why I couldn’t¬†move to¬†God’s deep freeze¬†kept running through my mind (OK, so I didn’t actually think of any of them until later, and as I write this sentence I know of only 3 reasons. But they’ll come, and there will be 11 of them. Big Carter says top 10 lists are fantastic… so 11 should be even fantasticker):

11. I’d have to turn my cats out into the street.
The huge fat one would have a heart attack if we tried to move him that far. He nearly expired during the 10 minute car ride from Mom’s when we first got him, and would most assuredly do so in the future if he had to climb into another box or see another outside or meet another human being. And the smaller ones (just big fat, not huge fat) would be pissy for months.

10. French folks make me nauseous.
They¬†just do. And I get a bad taste in my ears. But I’m full of American-style excuses for that particular bit of causal upchuckery. Until recently I believed that my father’s family came from Germany or thereabouts, and anti-French sentiment was always abundant in the day-to-day of my early life.¬†My recent discoveries tell me that my not-German family were probably French after all, though, and the whole denial thing about that makes me want to keep all the separate more¬†from the fictitious¬†monsters of my troubled past.

9. I’d probably just get deported anyway.
Canadians don’t like me for some reason. Petra tolerates me some because I’m nice to Philby, but¬†not many do. Deep¬†down they know I’m just one of them pesky right-thinking conservative types, and that’s far worse than an unbathed Frenchman.

8. European travel would lose its zing.
The hate always stops pretty quick if the ‘Trashers think you’re not an American. And to me, really,¬†the¬†hate and narrow-mindedness of our loving and open-minded cousins¬†across the many waters¬†is¬†the best part of traveling through Europa. I mean, a visit to the local pub just isn’t quite right if you don’t get a little German, French and/or Italian spittle on you. But that happens even when they’re pleased with you.

7. I’d have to learn to drive on the right side of the street.
I hear them Mounties wouldn’t take too kindly to my alternative driving style.

6. I’d have to sell all my shootin’ irons.
Barack Obama says that when white folks get frustrated, they buy guns. Well, I guess I’ve been frustrated about 6 times now, and I’ve finally got a fairly decent little collection of keepsakes and home defense implements put aside. But of course our friends up-North-a-ways don’t¬†cast too many kindwise glances¬†upon that particular freedom I so enjoy. I wouldn’t want to have to get all moved up yonder just to discover I need to learn to swing the nunchaku. Oh, but wait… those are illegal in Canada as well. Hmm… I guess I’d just have to train myself an attack moose.

5. They don’t know how to play hockey up there.

4. It would be a heck of a drive to come see my kinfolk.
I’d be completely cut off from everybody. It’s not like¬†I could¬†just jump in the car and drive for 36 hours to see them anytime I wanted to. Plus, with the price of gas, that would be one expensive trip.

3. I’m not ready for socialized medicine yet.
It’s true. But Obama’s zombies might get him into office this coming November, though (where he would continue to be completely unqualified, but¬†make his peeps feel oh, so warm and fuzzy inside), so¬†this list may become a proper ten-pointer someday soon. One thing’s for sure, though: I might actually consider moving up to Philby’s neighborhood if that ever happens. I’d much rather deal with Canada’s broken healthcare system (which is at least somewhat stable by now) than to go through the birthing pains of the ugly bastard of a social system that would replace our current medical machine.

2. It would be a salary cut for me.
Philbin tells me that a house equivalent to the one I own now would cost more than 3x what mine is valued. the $15k bump I’d get in salary wouldn’t cover that. Plus I’d have to deal with selling this one into a crappy market. Of course, if reason #6 weren’t on the table, I could shoot and¬†prepare my own¬†moose, thus saving big at the grocery store.

1. I would have to go by myself.
Seriously. Lynn just about freaked when I suggested moving to a different part of town once. An out-of-city move would be¬†out of the question for her, not to mention an out-of-country one. And let’s face it:¬†“No”¬†wins every time.¬†

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I’m going off the rails on a crazy train

Not really. But maybe somebody will give me some used Ozzy for my birthday. I don’t own any.

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Big Carter is just adorable

So I took Big Carter out last night for his 30th birthday, and was accompanied by TJ and Douschebag (nope, not his real name — how’d you guess?).

First we went to Doulie’s, a famous grease dive over where midtown intersects the foothills of downtown (aka the trendy ghetto), and stuffed ourselves with burgers and fries and onion rings and fried shrimps and itty bitty little bottles of Coke.

We sort of felt like little puntzes, drinking out of little sissy bottles like that.

Then we went to the Alien Abduction, which is a pretty cool bar at¬†the old train station downtown. They have 200+ different beers to choose from, many of which are on tap, but we only tried 13 of them between us. Or maybe it was only 11… Big Carter kept ordering the same thing, I think.

Yes, he’s sort of a puntz.

TJ ended the night with some queer-as-Seattle apricot ale. I say that not because TJ is a fairy (though he acts that way a good bit of the time) but because Pyramid apparently comes from Washington State.

Yes, he’s also sort of a puntz.

We found a free couch in the “biergarten” area, and most of us snuggled up on it together. Douschebag sat separate, though, which was good. He had a good mackin-on-the-waitress vantage point, and pushed that as far as it would go. At one point I think she asked him if her boobies were too big.

What a puntz.

We sat there for a while, stinking up the place with our magnum-sized cigars, and then the cover band from Waukeegan started up in the other room. It wasn’t good. But then, neither was the conversation it was interrupting.

We were mostly telling Douschebag what a puntz he was.

Then after a spell, a decision was made on high to move the band from the main bar out to the room we were in, and we were asked to vacate the comfy little spot we had stained with beer, cigar spittle and bodily fluids. Very unrighteous. Douschebag complained to the not-owner-but-maybe-manager-or-something-chick, though, and scored us another round on the house.

What a puntz. A helpful one, I reckon, but still a puntz sumprema.

Carter with his puddy tatNot-manager came by later, and by then Big Carter was sitting by himself on a couch they had relocated to the bar area for us. The rest of us were a little too self-conscious to lounge out in the open like that, but Carter’s different in the head, and he had no problem. He was all stretched out and chewing on the little smoldering chub of a cigar he had left, and not-manager thought he looked just like Jason Alexander. “He’s adorable,” she proclaimed, and almost sort of squealed a little bit. “Look how cute he is with his little cigar and poofy little hair. Awww…..”

She thought he was just the cutest little puntz she’d ever seen.

Of course, when I told our waitress her boss thought Carter was a cutie, she finished with, “…Like a little baby!”


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