29 July 2007


Was it here that I mentioned my fascination with photos of abandoned places? In any case, let's pretend that it was, and I am following up on that meme with another link.

Modern Ruins was the first link I discovered in this genre, and I believed it was gone until I stumbled into it again this afternoon via a link from GoodShit. That I spotted it among the parade of undressed young women attests to the fact that my brain and eyes are not yet totally ruined.

Christ almighty, can the fucking cursor stay in the edit box long enough for me to type one goddamned sentence?

I had to switch back to windows, because the sound drivers in linux didn't allow the microphone to work on my laptop, and Sweety-pie disliked the Chinese input system it had (I didn't mind it, but I could list all the Chinese I know on one page, and still have enough space for the source code to said input module). So, I archived everything onto DVD-RWs, found the restore discs (that I made myself because Sony can't afford to pack them in with the $2500 computer), and spent all. damn. day. feeding the same two discs in...and swapping to disc 2...and swapping back to disc one. The progress box would show one program that I didn't want being installed, then we switched the discs, and one program I dreaded trying to uninstall would be put on, etc. I swapped the damn things at least eight times, then spent three hours uninstalling shitware, and rebooting after every. single. action. Then, something made all those little icons next to the clock go away. I tried searching for some good way to fix that, but I still don't know the proper term for them, and all the search results were to pages that said to restore from a previous backup. So, I got the DVDs back out, and started the restore procedure. Did I mention yet that it's Summer? I mean, hot enough to melt the flesh off one's upper body? I went in the other room for a cold drink and to spray myself with water, and when I came back, the machine was just asking for the first swap. I removed Disc 1, and noticed that all the stuff appeared as it should on the desktop. The menu bar also looked correct. So I clicked "cancel" on the box that requested the other disc. I clicked that about 37 times, noticing that it did change what it was asking for each time. Finally, it told me I was done. The machine rebooted, and I had essentially a clean install of XP. No free trial anything. No fucking symantec buggerware. I looked at every directory, turning on the "show hidden files" and "show system files" to make sure they weren't hiding backups of the "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" games someplace.

Of course, now I don't want to install anything. It's like that first snowfall that covers everything. It feels wrong to make the first set of footprints, especially if the ground beneath is as-yet-unfrozen mud. But if the mud isn't frozen, the snow will melt and turn to filthy slush, and so I went ahead and loaded the anti-virus and firewall and other accommodate-the-weakness programs. Even on the way to work in the sewers, you might glimpse a beautiful sunrise.

13 July 2007

The Abandoning of Stereotypes

Ha. Just now when I tabbed down to the type-the-actual-text box, I saw the menu for selecting a font, but the tiny Helveticarrific text tricked my eye into seeing "Fart" and I thought that would be a strange new feature for Blogger to add. I envisioned a control that I would drag to a place in this text, and when you read that part, a cartoon ass would appear and expel a cartoon fart, complete with speed lines and exclamation-marked phonetic sound effects ("Phlabbt!!!")

Anyway, that's not what moved me to post today. I have some links to share, because I know none of y'all can find web pages without guidance, so everyone hold hands, and stay in the crosswalk (that would be a believable name for a "Christian Rock" band that sounded "edgy" or "indy", and those two adjectives would be in bold type anytime Crosswalk was written about, even by less-than-charitable reviewers)

The first of said links is CKAN. It's really a good resource for knowledge of all sorts. I only looked around briefly, but there's at least a good dictionary there, and I recall seeing the word "Dentistry" in the category list.

This is a transcript of a speech by the late Douglas Adams. I won't give away the logic to it, but I will say that it's clever (as if you wouldn't guess that).

Not much of an entry, really. Mostly, just letting people who care know that I'm still alive and not smoking cigarettes. Nope. No smoking. Not one fucking drag. Haven't even been close enough to a cigarette to get a sniff of second-hand smoke. Now if there was a mechanism to convert nervous tics to electricity, they could light this entire goddamned city for free off me.

12 July 2007

Li'l Brudder: Homeless & Unemployed

OK, so I was writing an email to my brother (hereafter referred to as Li'l Brudder) with a couple of video links, then I remembered that he is, for a few days, unemployed and homeless. That is, he is changing jobs (with two or three weeks off in between) and moving to a new house (having to vacate the old one two weeks before he can move in to the new). So most likely, he can't see the internet, as he's cowering under a newspaper while a silhouette of a hobo menaces the entire park until near dawn when the old stereotypical Irish-American cop tells him to move along before decent folk get a fright during their morning constitutional.

The first of the aforementioned links is "Lucifer" by Rockbitch. Imagine the original "Star Trek" guest actresses making a lesbian activist cable access show. It's actually a bit stranger than that, but I can't adequately explain how much, so go look. I'll watch your purse until you get back.

The other link is Stacy: Attack of the Schoolgirl Zombies. Two things really struck me as odd with this (OK, many more, but two bear mention). First is how nonchalant, even cheerful, the girl seems when she says, "My name is Eiko. I'll probably die in about a week, then I'll become a Stacy!" They could have put in subtitles that read, "My Mom says that she'll take me to Disneyworld if I pass Algebra!" and I would not have doubted it for a moment. The second thing I want to mention is the last few frames, when the subtitles read: Coming August 18...... Near Death Happiness Late Show. I want so badly to steal that name. I would even renounce my former promise not to start another band, if I could call said band "The Near-Death Happiness Late Show." Hmm. Someone did phone and tell me that she found a microphone for me. That's the truth. After installing linux, I discovered that the built-in microphone and camera on the monitor screen/lid didn't work, so I started looking at what was available, and the best price over at Hy-Mall was also the one with the best frequency response numbers (30-17,000Hz). But ever the economically skittish one, SugarCheeks told me to wait. I was convinced that she was just putting me off and hoping I would give up the idea, and about to go pay 70 kwai, when she phoned to tell me she found a good mic for 20 that had the same specs. I'll find out in a couple of hours how the sound is, and if it works with Skype (the listed justification for buying such a thing was to use Skype under linux).

"Oh, Tenderfoot, I feel like I'm at a crossroads of my life, and there's like, an IHOP on one corner, and a Denny's on the other... Can you give me some sound financial advice?"

02 July 2007

Then came the last days

The semester is very nearly finished. Grades only need to be printed, signed, and given to the people in that little room where the classroom keys used to be kept. I feel like I slept through the whole thing. There's all those hand-written notes I made while in class, detailing who was naughty and who was nice, that seem to indicate I was present and conscious, but I honestly can't recall much of anything. Every third page includes a deprecating note about the text book*.

Over the weekend, I installed Xubuntu on my laptop. It's more efficient than Ubuntu's standard release. I didn't like not being able to turn off gnome. I'm not sure I love XFCE, but when I started looking for the latest Slackware release and googling Linux from Scratch, She Who Must Be Obeyed mentioned that we share this machine, and I had to finish whatever I was doing in time for her to do some "real work".

All told, the installation took an hour from booting the CD to configuring our PPPoE, Chinese language support, and "windows-only" printer. I promised Dearest that, after I fetched something cold to drink, I would explain how to reboot the machine into XP. In the time it took for me to retrieve a cold one, she figured out how to use all the software she cared about (Firefox, OpenOffice, and an MP3 player I didn't know was installed) and would probably have gone on to hand-tune the kernel if other tasks not been more pressing.

Recently, I came to the realization that I could search for images now. In the old days, I used to look at newsgroups for new wallpaper or images that might connect to things I was writing. So, the idea that Flickr might conveniently give me all the images of "abandoned" that I could handle was a pleasant surprise. Damn, what will they think of next, a way to download music?

I've meant to mention Philosophy of History for a while now, but never seem to remember it while I am at the computer. It's an excellent resource for information about history. Look down the page a bit for "Reference Resources" and there's about every royal family ever documented.

* Seriously, why do the textbooks have to uniformly suck? The piece of crap we were given this semester was, at best, good for a laugh when the matching exercises went in ways I'm certain the authors never envisioned. In 12 chapters, they included 8 discussions of Elvis Presley, including activities requiring students to stand up and tell everything they knew about him (the students took turns standing, saying "Nothing" and then sitting back down).