alley, charles village, 9.28

alley, charles village, 9.28

So Todd takes me over to the antique dealer down the street and I find an old Steelcase credenza in Government Green that has absolutely no scratches or fug on it, and I ponder it for an evening and drag Jen up there this weekend to look and we buy it and now it’s in the back of the Scout awaiting delivery to my house. Damn you Todd (just kidding.)

I was considering the nature of things this weekend—bear with me here. I was using bath gel this past week because I ran out of soap (shut up- if you had the schedule I did last week, you’d just want to lie down and nap all day) and the bath gel wasn’t working quite like soap does- the lather was weak, and I didn’t feel like it had actually cleaned anything. I bought soap this Friday and we used it the next morning, and it felt so much better. I realized that soap had become a luxury in that week-long period. So I began thinking of all the things we make do without over the years, and then how much better things seem when we’re able to fix those things. I then made a vow to myself never to let things break down around the house, because I am the personality type who will find a way to make do without things while I tell myself, “Oh, well, I’ll fix that later, but right now I really need to devote my resources to X.” When really, the toilet seat has been broken for two months, there are seventeen unfinished projects around the house, the Scout hasn’t been driven in three weeks, and I had a total of five minutes’ battery time on my cellphone (the batteries were two years old.) When I got new batteries for the cellphone a few weeks ago, all the assorted headaches associated with that old situation dissapeared.

Resolution: Take care of your stuff.

Date posted: September 30, 2002 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »

I stopped over Jason’s house last night to have an OSX intervention; he sat me down and went over all the things he’s learned in a few months of driving around with OSX. I think that was what I needed. He had much the same exerience I did—he hated it for the first month, then began to like it, and then found he couldn’t go back to OS9. Anyway, mad gangsta props to Jason. (PS. if you’re looking to hire a very talented web designer/scripter/man-of-all-trades, call Jason. He’s good and he’s funny, too.)

So Todd has a great idea for a website that would rank entries based on user input. If there’s anybody out there who could contribute some time into some scripting and database work, I’ll front the design and domain costs. I think it would be funny and interesting to see what the different opinions would be. (I’m keeping mum on the details so that other folks don’t steal the idea. let us just say it’s targeted at 28-35 year olds with an appreciation for pop culture.)

Rock the Hell On Dept.:
Soundbitten. Run by a freelance journalist out of S-F, it contains some great articles on a variety of topics, and makes for good reading.

Date posted: September 27, 2002 | Filed under geek, music | Leave a Comment »

I work, work work. I listen to this and this and this. Not in that particular order. Isn’t that just thrilling?

A Thousand Monkeys Dept.: Last night while freelancing, I was finally able to figure out how to configure Adobe Distiller to work through the OS9 Chooser and print out a pretty PDF from Quark. Nick then helpfully suggested that OSX prints out PDFs natively. I resisted the urge to scream. Yes, it’s boring, but it gave me great satisfaction. As a matter of fact, it’s still giving me satisfaction. So there.

The internet is boring today. But they tell us that we “should be getting paid” real soon. For the previous pay period. Yippee.

Date posted: September 26, 2002 | Filed under geek, music | Leave a Comment »

The weather has definitely turned. I opened up all the windows and turned off the CAC last night. Woodsmoke drifted in through the windows and the cats were glued to the screens, sniffing the air. This morning the weatherman forecasted 70 degree weather for the whole week.

I got my official copy of Emperor today, courtesy of Sierra. Nice to have a game I can put up on my shelf and claim some ownership of.

I got an email inviting me to submit an application to meet and marry Beautiful Women of the Phillippines this afternoon. Somehow I don’t think I’m going to take advantage of this outstanding opportunity. (Not that I am dissing the Beautiful Women of the Phillippines, it’s just that I’m already involved. Sorry, Beautiful Women.)

Date posted: September 25, 2002 | Filed under Baltimore, humor | Leave a Comment »

In a rare (and momentary) period of wealth, I ordered a David Sylvian CD for Jen to be delivered to her office. We borrowed one of his other CD’s from our buddy Rob, and she reported back that playing it while working had a beneficial effect on her mental health and productivity. So hopefully this double-CD set will bring her double happiness. Being able to do things like that makes me feel good as well. I love you baby.

I looked at the download log for that UMAX scanner software; it took 5 hours last night for a 21MB file to download. On a clean T-1. Um… guys? you might want to set up a mirror somewhere…

Last night I had the most amazing sensation while in the pool. Even though I had an aluminum tank, fins, bouyancy compensator, mask, wetsuit, and 12 pounds of weights attached to me, I was at neutral bouyancy and floating gracefully through the water, using my breathing to lower the top of my tank under the lane dividers. The regulator worked flawlessly, and the only issues I had were the attempts to clear my mask- it is a hard thing indeed to program your brain to switch valves from exhaling through your mouth to the nose underwater. Next week I’ll need to practice this repeatedly so that I don’t panic in the quarry check-dive.

Some new albums to look into buying on the next paycheck: the new Underworld CD and Dirty Vegas, recommended by Matt. Also to consider: Boards of Canada. Plus, there’s a new Thievery Corporation CD coming out October first. Bonus!

I finally, after a month or so of waiting, ordered three rolls of 620 film from Film for Classics for the stable of old cameras I bought at the beginning of August. I also paid off a bunch of niggling little bills that have been nipping at my heels for a few weeks. When I get the film, I’m going to take a walk on the main drag of Highlandtown and shoot some of the buildings still out there, like the movie theater and some of the storefronts.

Boy, Americans sure are stupid. This story about a woman in Houston who made a store put a fig leaf over a copy of Michelangelo’s David is just mind-boggling. Why are people in this country so damn uptight?

Date posted: September 25, 2002 | Filed under music, photography, politics | Leave a Comment »

korean grocery, 9.22

I’m back in the admittedly flat and boring OS9 right now, for reasons I can’t quite explain to myself. Maybe it’s the comfort of the application menu in the upper right corner, where I can hide any window I want immediately. Maybe it’s the speed of the interface—I’m on a 400Mhz G3, and I notice a slight lag while it figures out what to do. Maybe it’s the way OSX writes three files for every one it works on (iPhoto comes to mind here).

Maybe I’m just getting old; I don’t know. I’ve made almost a ten-year investment in the interface I use every day, and it’s not going to be easy to switch.

Jen and I went to the Korean grocery store this weekend and bought an entire meal’s worth of vegetables, about a pound of sliced rib-eye steak, and assorted other items, and walked out $13 lighter. There is a certain sense of culture shock walking through that store—from the mingled conversations in several different languages to the mind-boggling assortment of exotic fruit, vegetables, and spices, to the old-world butcher and fish market in back—you feel as if you might be strolling through a market in Seoul or even Tokyo.

What happens when you spend all the money you make on opening new stores so that you can make even more money to open more stores? You start knocking down the old ones to make newer ones. Suggestion: Make decent food, train your employees to treat customers better, pay them more than minimum wage, and rebuild the expectations of your client base.

Nate sent this thought along in response to an email I sent about a cartoon that has some people upset:

Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war to whip the citizenry into a political fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.

Julius Caesar, 101 – 44 BC

Date posted: September 23, 2002 | Filed under apple, Baltimore, projects | Leave a Comment »

I used to be a big proponent of UMAX scanners, based on their quality and ease of use. I am now officially pissed off at UMAX, because it’s going to take me an estimated 2 hours to download a 22MB file so that I can use the Astra 2200 I have here. Plus there’s no OSX driver for any of their products.

The local UPN affiliate is showing edited episodes of the Larry Sanders Show on Sunday nights. For somebody who didn’t want to pay for HBO to see the show, it’s great to have it on regular TV.

Date posted: September 22, 2002 | Filed under general | Leave a Comment »

fell's point, 9.18

fell's point, 9.18

Credit Suisse First Boston, the scheduled underwriter for the IPO of a company I used to work for, is in big doo-doo for insider manipulation of stock ratings. D’oh! (I spent part of last night reading a copy of Fortune magazine from here at the office about white-collar crime.)

CNN just redesigned their site. Good or bad? Discuss.

Arrrrrrggghhh. I’m still trying to organize my drives with OSX, and it’s becoming a nightmare. Trying to organize all my files in one coherent place, and then having the paranoia that won’t let me throw anything away is a bad mixture. I’m attempting to burn copies of Stuffit archives onto PC discs (I don’t have a Mac burner currently) and then put them away. Meanwhile, juggling three different bootable drives is getting tedious, especially when fonts, programs, and files are all looking in certain places for things they need.

  1. I need a copy of Suitcase or ATM for OSX.
  2. I need a CD burner pronto.
  3. I need an OS how-to book badly.
Date posted: September 20, 2002 | Filed under apple, history, money, photo | Leave a Comment »

One problem I have with OSX: Lack of a UDF format reader. I spend half my time on my Windows machine, and because it has a burner with Roxio’s DirectCD, I burn a lot or stuff onto data CD’s with their software. OS9 has a reader extension, but Roxio hasn’t made one for OSX. Bad move, guys. What’s even worse is the fact that the CD gets swallowed when I insert it and I have to reboot to pull it out. Grrr.

Busy Busy Busy.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve been struggling/migrating from OS9 to OSX in the last few days, and attempting to document the problems/solutions I’ve found so far. As it turns out, I’m on a new project at work and they have given me a new PC to use; it’s a dual 1gHz P3, and it runs Win2000. So I’ve gone from WinNT>Win98>Win2000 in the last year. My head is spinning. I’m also sketching out cityscapes and beginning on some fiction for the backstory of the project.

Meanwhile, we still haven’t been paid.

Here’s a memo to insurance companies and the medical industry: make a simple barcode system for insurance cards. You issue me a card with all my stupid insurance/contact information on a magnetic stripe. I enter your office, and instead of making a copy of it, asking me to fill out the form (15 minutes of my time) and then paying somebody to enter in the information (20 minutes of your time @ $12/hr.), you have a simple stripe scanner which grabs the info off the card in some tab-delimited format which you can import into your data package. How hard is that? And don’t give me static about refusing to provide my Soc number, either. You don’t need that.

Good News Dept.: Dooce is back online. Rock on!

Date posted: September 19, 2002 | Filed under apple, general, links | Leave a Comment »

I got a bunch of info from some friends via e-mail last night on OSX; Mike sent along some good links for reference on OSX, including this site:, which has a wealth of good information listed in a blog-style newsletter format. Thanks Mike. I’m going to print out the hint booklet today! (Plus, via his blog, I found this link to the ipodlounge, where I will read about them until I can afford one myself.)

My PowerBook wakes up from sleep under OSX in about 1/2 a second. Contrast this with the minute or so it took to wake under OS9, an empty screen, and the wait for anything to happen. iPhoto is real nice, and I know there are a million things I need to learn with it. I also know that my old method of organizing files is not going to fly in the OSX world, so we’re going to attempt to go with Apple’s UNIX/user method and see how good it is.

New lexicon Dept.:
The City Paper did their Best Of issue this week, and they named the annoying habit Baltimore drivers have of sitting in their car out in front of a house on your street and blowing the horn: The Baltimore Doorbell.

I watched a good article tonight on domain name squabbles, but it gives me heartburn: Nissan Vs. Nissan. One is a computer dealer, the other is the company that makes the Altima. Apparently the computer company lost a court battle and may lose the domain name- the auto company claimed it diluted their brand. I sure hope it doesn’t lose the fight- they registered in 1994, and in my opinion they should be allowed to keep it.

Date posted: September 18, 2002 | Filed under apple, Baltimore | Leave a Comment »