I got, for the first time, a Nigerian 419 Spam e-mail. Whoopee.

Hey! I have a great idea! Let’s mix three of my candidates for Rooms In Hell and see what happens! (i.e. Cruise ships, Disneyworld, and Contagious Virus in an Enclosed Space.) “It’s a small world, after all…”

Date posted: November 27, 2002 | Filed under general | Leave a Comment »

Will you Bring me one of these for Christmas? P.S. I really want the 10gb model. *sigh.*

Apple did a pair of ‘Switch‘ ads starring Will Ferrell that are funny as hell.

Last night I had the football game on while I was running around cleaning the house. Philadelphia was pasting San Francisco and a big deal was made out of the backup quarterback, who looked remarkably poised and confident. He and his team made a series of plays that most first-string squads would have a hard time completing. He went down hard in the fourth quarter with a dislocated elbow, and his whole team surrounded him on the field as the team medics worked on him. As they carted him off the field, something happened that made me feel really good—both teams walked out and came up to salute him, offering words of support and congratulations on his game.

I used a real nice utility to clean up and reformat a pair of DivX-encoded .AVI files today: DivX Doctor II. Now I can view a bunch of files on the Mac as well as my PC; it’s too bad DivX isn’t supported by Quicktime (or that there’s that niggling .AVI-sound issue as well.)

4:30 PM The rain has started; we shall see if it morphs into snow as promised this evening. I pulled the last herbs from the back garden this morning, but I need a larger pot for the rosemary, which went from a small plant to a ravenous bush over the summer. I have to pick up a turkey at Sam’s Club tonight and do some last minute Home Depot shopping, but all other Thanksgiving stuff is under control.

Date posted: November 26, 2002 | Filed under geek, house | Leave a Comment »

fell's point illustration, 11.21

fell's point illustration, 11.21

So Jen and I went south to St. Mary’s County this weekend to do the pre-emptive Thanksgiving with her folks; for an area with as many possible photo ops as this, you would have thought I could get off my duff and take a few. I didn’t, however. We did come home with two pounds of stuffed ham, though. We shall see what the Irish Yankees think of the local delicacy.

So I’ve been digging on the rawk the past couple of work days; I read somewhere about the Donnas and about the Sahara Hotnights, and I’ve found some good tunes by both of them- Take it Off and A Perfect Mess, respectively.

When Worlds Collide Dept.: Jen and I are preparing for the Meeting Of The Two Families this weekend. We are playing that delicate game of figuring out what to tell one family about the other so that the shock will not be that great. On one hand, from a social observation angle, it would be interesting to just throw them all in a room and sit behind the glass, waiting to see who starts throwing their poo first. But from a different angle, the Please Let Them Get Along voice is not so gently telling us to make a few choice preparatory statements and set it up right. So we are debating the various talking points and their impact on the participants. Has anybody out there got some good stories they’d like to share?

In keeping with the recent 10-20 posts, I enabled the web hyperlinking feature of my account, so you can see where my car is.

Date posted: November 25, 2002 | Filed under family, music | Leave a Comment »

I woke up and did my daily web scan this morning, stopping around at the various sites I like to get a feel for the day. I looked at Slashdot (usually once a day—how many times can you read about why Linux is good/bad/the Almighty ) and found that the article in the Washington Post about 10-20 had been written up. Let’s see what happens…

I also did an illustration for the hell of it last night- it was fun to do the work for Loyola, and I miss working with scratchboard. I took a digital picture of Fell’s Point and made a pretty straight-on cut of the scene. I’ll post it when it gets cleaned up and scanned.

Update: Here’s the new illustration. Originally I was going to post it on the homepage, but I worked with redesigning the page and didn’t like the results.

Looks like my friend Jason has his new blog online; you can find him here. Everybody stand up and introduce yourselves.

Two quick thoughts: Why is Michael Jackson even allowed to have children? And we all knew that Ed Rooney was evil, but could he be that evil?

Date posted: November 21, 2002 | Filed under art/design, friends, projects | Leave a Comment »

Today I have a new playlist in iTunes: the 80’s mix. I’ll list a few of the hits here:

Moments In Love – The Art of Noise
I Want Candy – Bow Wow Wow
Beyond Belief – Elvis Costello
Hyperactive! – Thomas Dolby
Fall On Me – R.E.M.
Pretty In Pink – The Psychedelic Furs
I Got You – Split Enz
Welcome To The Pleasuredome – Frankie Goes To Hollywood

I love this news in Salon (registration or ad-viewing required) about shoulder-launched missiles used against airliners inside the U.S. Guess we shouldn’t have sold all those Stingers to the Afghans back in the Reagan years, huh? (this happy reality courtesy of the folks who brought you supply-side economics and Iran-Contra.)

Date posted: November 21, 2002 | Filed under music, politics | Leave a Comment »

Along the same lines as a very early post about the Globe Poster company here in Baltimore, I found this link to the Hatch Show Print company in Nashville. There’s some really nice work here that I’d like to buy (No, Jen, I’m not gonna buy any scary Aidan Hughes stuff for the house.) There’s also Frank Kozik, the guy who made all the posters for all the bands that I actually cared about. Justin Hampton also makes some beautiful stuff.

Date posted: November 20, 2002 | Filed under art/design | Leave a Comment »

Clue for you: Explain to me why the Democrats are opposing the Homeland Security Bill. Don’t just list what the Republicans say it does. Tell me why McCain has decided to oppose it. Educate me. Don’t patronize me, or merely spit back what the Republican party line is. Show that you have some brains. Meanwhile, I’ll go somewhere else for my news.

So the fax thing isn’t working. Nice of the website, box, and instruction manual to tell us up front that the unit won’t work if you have a modem on the same line. My DSL apparently interferes with the incoming signal, so it’s a waste of time. In the meantime, I’ve signed up for an account with eFax, which at first has worked well for me. unfortunately now, their site is bollixed up so that even if I wanted to upgrade to the pay service (which I’d like to try) I can’t, because paths like www.efax.com/help/inetpub/wwwroot/default.asp just don’t work for some strange reason. May I suggest…?

Take a look at this article: the 100 best albums of the 80’s. Right the hell on. This is music, not the dreck you hear these days. I would go a little less Pixies and Sonic Youth-heavy, but otherwise they get a lot of it right.

Jen’s mom called yesterday to let us both know that the Leonid meteor shower was last night, and won’t be around again until 2098. Luckily, Jen, my mother, sister and I woke at 4am one morning last year, drove up the hill out of Aurora and sat shivering in a field to watch the display. After a brisk 10 minutes or so outside, we returned to the Subaru, sipped hot chocolate, and steamed up the windows. The shower was beautiful. I only hope I can share that experience with my children.

Date posted: November 19, 2002 | Filed under geek, music, politics | Leave a Comment »

My friend John’s startup is featured in an article in the Washington Post. The system he’s selling is about 1/10th the cost of most commercial products anywhere near its class, and it has more features. Take a look at the site and tell us what you think. Disclaimer: I designed the site, and Jen and I designed the logo.

Sometimes I need to quit while I’m ahead. This evening, in the middle of a painting frenzy, I managed to punt a quarter of a can of blood-red paint down my main stairwell with my boot. That was fun to clean up.

We have a fax machine up and running; I called the phone company and got a distinctive-ring number added to the main line for the fax. Easy and painless. It is kind of strange, however, not to have automatic phone-fax-answering machine switching available on this unit (something my circa 1994 thermal unit had.)

Date posted: November 18, 2002 | Filed under art/design, friends | Leave a Comment »

demolition, 11.14

demolition, 11.14

So I have this plumber. His name is George. He came to me recommended by my friends Kevin and Kelly, who were still a little awestruck when they relayed the details of their meeting with him. He showed up at my house and looked at the pipe drain, looked at the backyard, and shook his head. He Did Not Think It Looked Good. I wanted him to say This Doesn’t Look Too Bad, but no. He kicked around the alley for a bit, and left after giving me a quote which made my knees buckle and the blood drain from my head.

Now, in my experience with plumbers, they all remind me of each other. Older, thickly-built men with mustaches who speak little, smoke Marlboro Reds, and look like they could snap you in half for talking the wrong way. George is no exception. He is an older man with a full head of white hair, built like a 30-year-old (he’s in his mid-sixties.) He wears the requisite jeans, work boots, a blue chambray work shirt and a blue Dickies work vest over it. He has no moustache, however. When they passed along his number, Kevin and Kelly called him Curly, and it fits almost perfectly.

Fast-forward to this morning, when he showed up in his blue plumber’s truck to begin demolishing the beautiful patio I spent all summer installing. I had woken early to begin removing brick, and had the entire area prepped before he got there. This surprised him. Even more surprising, I think, was the fact that the skinny guy helped him all day—not just handing him tools, but clearing and hauling the shattered remains of my brickwork, shoveling the soupy dirt over the broken pipe, and loading up his truck when the jackhammering was done. During his smoke breaks, we traded stories and found some common ground. He left as simply as he came, with a curt “Well OK, I’ll see you tomorrow” and was in his truck and gone.

Date posted: November 14, 2002 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »

So I’m waiting here for the plumber, and Miss Utility (the folks you have to call before you dig because “IT’S THE LAW”) to tell me just how bad this whole sewer disaster is. Meanwhile, I’m running around here like I’m on crank getting all kinds of stuff done, attempting to feel like I have control over something.

Meanwhile, I am unhappily doing my best Howard Hughes impersonation by carrying my own urine around in a bottle. Yes, folks, I’ve said it; it’s true. Because when you can’t flush, rinse, run water, or otherwise look at your drain without it overflowing into a stinking puddle of filth on your basement floor, you have to get creative. Luckily my neighbors are nice enough to let me use their bathroom when other events arise. So if I stop over at your house and I immediately run to your restroom, you’ll know what’s up.

Dammit. I just got the estimate.

Date posted: November 13, 2002 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »