Apparently, the Great Email God is mad at me, or my Dad sent another one of his 400-MB picture-laden files, because my server has shut itself down like a bank on a holiday. So if I’m not getting back in touch with you today, it’s not because I don’t love you.

Finally, after one abortive attempt, I got a copy of Retrospect for the Mac (a backup/archival utility) and loaded it on the server at home. Tonight I’m going to back up the entire work volume and then set up a script to do the same every week. I can’t tell you how many copies of file upon file I have, in a frantic attempt to never throw anything away (this includes freelance work from eight years ago, written on software I probably can’t run anymore), or how many times I’ve backed up the same file only to have lost all copies of it in some brainless mixup. Onward, men, to the twenty-first century!

Currently on heavy rotation: The Postal Service. 45 minutes of pure electro-pop bliss. I love this album more each time I listen. (Nothing Better is about as close to bittersweet breakup perfection in a song as I have ever heard.)

Random Links. Atlanta Time Machine. (via kottke) | Wonder what her husband thinks?

Date posted: June 30, 2004 | Filed under housekeeping, links, music | Leave a Comment »

Along the stretch of Frederick Road towards Catonsville, the lawn chairs are blooming. From lowly plastic to luscious aluminum, multicolored varieties crowd the edge of the street, marked with ribbons of tape and twine. Bright beach chairs hug the grass next to the curb, whle stately motel chairs anchor the light poles and mailboxes. Across the street from our house, in front of the rental, several dozen white molded chairs clog the edge of the lawn, blending in perfectly with the weedy landscaping ignored by the tenants. Our lawn is clear (at least as of this writing), but I’ll have to bring the $7 camping chairs out and block off a swath of our frontage before somebody else does. Saturday the front of the house will be crowded with people waiting for the parade, and we’ll have front-row seats.

Date posted: June 29, 2004 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »

1956 Oldsmobile Holiday, Oella, 6.27.04

Jen mentioned something to me the other day that got me excited—she asked if we could go to Assateague this year now that we have the Jeep. Friends, I had completely put aside the idea of camping on the beach again with the Scout off the road; somehow it had never occurred to me that we have 4-wheel-drive again, and the possibility of camping was back in our reach. This week I’m going to blow the dust off the camping gear and set up an expedition for sometime in September.

Huh. Today at work they asked me if I wanted to go to Siggraph in August, which is a surprise; not being the #1 3-D guru here, I figured I was low on the list of priority conference attendees, but somebody above me thinks it’s important to have me there. Of course this means I need to rethink some of my plan for Jen’s birthday, but the thing I had in mind was going to have to wait for the weekend either way. There are some very interesting and possibly interesting exhibits to see.

Recap. Saturday: Had the Jeep inspected—it passed. Bought a ladder, tested ladder, returned ladder and bought a taller one. Cleaned the sprayer, primed and painted the east side of the house. Cleaned out the Taurus. Got some soft serve ice cream with the Wards. Sunday: Finished painting the house, had a tasty breakfast, bought a steel motel table, two camera filters and an Emerson 550 for $21. Drove to Dave’s house and enjoyed some good conversation, Indian beer, and new music (Thanks Dave!) Returned home to a delicious meal from Jen, and planned out a budget. This Morning: Registered and titled the Jeep.

Monday Learning Links. How to Pick a Lock. | MIT open courseware. | Bootable OSX DVD how-to. | Photoshop weathering primer.

Date posted: June 28, 2004 | Filed under geek, house, life, photo, travel | Leave a Comment »

For cold A/C that doesn’t overheat the engine. For working electrical components that don’t flake out randomly. For a tape deck that works. For two cupholders that don’t block the radio. For four working speakers. For comfortable bucket seats that don’t lean. For a hatchback. For a trailer hitch, and the wiring to support it. For a full-sized spare. For a center console. For a factory roof rack. For peace of mind.

At the risk of totally maxing out my bandwidth this month, I’m going to post a bunch of wedding pictures for everyone to look at. This is the first batch—I’m on the eighth envelope out of twenty-six, so there will be more to come.

Accessories. Now that I have a new vehicle with a working tape deck, I need to pick up a few things for the iPod: An auto adapter ($19.95), so that I don’t run the batteries down (and there’s two power jacks in the Jeep!) as well as a new protector ($20) and dock ($30) so that the iPod stays off the floor. Will I be buying any of this anytime soon? Not likely, but that’s why it’s called a wish list. (While I’m at it, let’s just add this to the list.)

Date posted: June 25, 2004 | Filed under cars, links, photography | Leave a Comment »

The happy couple (Hi Shelly!), 5.22.04 ©2004 Shannon Bishop

Last night I started the process of scanning in the cream of the crop of the weddin’ pictures last night to show you good folks. At some point, when I get some free time, I’ll put them up honemoon-style, but for now here’s a preview. (Dang. Am I really losing that much hair?)

Date posted: June 24, 2004 | Filed under photo, photography | Leave a Comment »

You, my loyal readers, have suffered through four years of complaints about my cars—between the soggy love affair with the Scout and the love/hate relationship with the Taurus, you’ve glazed over during my tirades, love letters, repair bills and sob stories. Age and rust have caught up with the Scout, rendering her muffler-less last August during our move to the country. She sits in the driveway, waiting for the Big Bag Of Money to drop from the sky. Meanwhile I’ve sweated through two years of increasing unreliability from the Ford as the transmission slowly ground itself into a spinning nubbin, praying to the Sky Bully (new favorite phrase) to get me home without breaking down on the shoulder of I-83 or somewhere along North Avenue. Yesterday afternoon, I was treated to three unscheduled stops on the side of 695 after being forced to slow in traffic quickly; each time the transmission decided it had had enough and forgot where second gear was. Meanwhile, the heater must be run at full blast to keep the engine from starting a car-b-que.

So it is with great pleasure that I announce a new vessel in the Lockardugan Home Fleet: a 1998 Jeep Cherokee. It has about eight of the ten things I was looking for in a replacement vehicle:

Wants Gots
Cargo space (preferably a pickup) Not a pickup, but more room than the Taurus
4-wheel drive check
4 doors 2 doors
V6 engine check
good gas mileage (shudder) 16 mpg
Toyota (shudder) Jeep
dual airbags check
stick automatic (drat!)
working A/C check!
Inexpensive check

It is also with great pleasure that I announce we have met our first neighbors aged under 70, who sold us the truck. M and S have two young boys, live in one of the houses I’ve lusted after from afar, and strike us as genuinely nice people. We’re looking forward to getting to know them over for dinner this summer.

At the risk of spitting in the eyeball of Providence, it kind of came together perfectly. S put signs in the windows and parked the Jeep on the street last Friday morning; I saw it while limping the Tortoise home that evening, and Monday night we were test-driving. Superstitious fool that I am, I hope the Jeep serves us as well as the Ford (say what I will, that car paid for itself, every penny) and that our new neighbors don’t run screaming into the hills when they get to know us.

Encapsulated Reviews. To the 5 Boroughs: Same as it ever was, like a new version of Hello Nasty. Velvet Revolver: Slash Temple Pilots. Modernized 80’s metal. Shuggie Otis: trippy 70’s funk. A soundtrack to your own personal selfsploitation movie. Big Star: The original. A blueprint for most garage bands that followed. The Killers: Retro-disco rock, not unlike your Franz Ferdinand.

Date posted: June 23, 2004 | Filed under cars, friends, links, music | Leave a Comment »

I loaded iDVD last night and played around with it last night for a few hours—I’m going to burn a DVD and send it up to my folks. It takes some time to get used to the UI, but once I began to grasp the concept behind the layout, it made sense. One nifty feature is the drag-and-drop flexibility between iTunes, iPhoto and iDVD. I created an iPhoto album of all the honeymoon shots, a song playlist in iTunes, and dragged them both into iDVD: Bam. Instant slideshow on DVD, with all the image source files included so that my parents can pull them off the disc and print them if they like. I also re-encoded a Quicktime movie and included that on the disc, but I haven’t tried re-encoding the video clips from my camera yet. Another good resource to look at (if you have four zillion photos, like me) is this article on O’Reilly, which covers backing up your iPhoto library with optical media.

Date posted: June 22, 2004 | Filed under apple, geek, photography | Leave a Comment »

Before: ugly grayish mildew-stained siding After: blue-gray paint applied (except over that damn bush)

1. This morning Jen called me from home with news of a package from the Matejowskys; Lorie took the time to send up some good classical music: Shuggie Otis and Big Star for our enjoyment. Besides being the most photogenic family we’ve ever met, Lorie also made us a beautiful quilt for our wedding present, so they get awarded the Musical Quilting Superhero Trophy. 2. We’re meeting Linda, another friend from Houston, at BWI this evening to catch dinner and a few drinks, which we’re all looking forward to.

I, however, get the loser award for not having called my Dad last night.

Date posted: June 21, 2004 | Filed under friends, house, photo | Leave a Comment »

This weekend was a busy one. Friday night Todd and Heather had us over for steak and sangria; the meal, company, and booze were all excellent. Plans are afoot. Saturday Jen and I got to work on the house—she worked on the inside while I started painting the outside. After settling on a different color (the new one is less blue and more gray, called “Pelican Bay“) I got the front siding painted. Everything was going great until a wasp stung me on the knuckle of my ring finger, which hurt like a bitch. Suddenly, I turned five-years-old and ran downstairs clutching my swelling finger, saying, “guess what just happpened.” Jen calmly applied a paste of baking soda and waited for me to stop grimacing. We celebrated with a tasty homemade stir-fry and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Today we met up with Shannon, our wedding photographer, to look at pictures in Takoma Park at a tasty cafe during brunch. Again, I can’t say enough good things about Shannon and her husband Ganes. The pictures are all phenomenal; minus the obligatory 10% of eyes-closed/stupid face/blurry shots, there are a good 200 star-quality candids in there. Beyond that, there are another 200 that I’d be proud to call my own on a great day. She handed off a beautiful handmade box with prints from each roll archived alphabetically, and an envelope stuffed full of negatives, plus a CD of high-res digital shots. Wow. I’m going to borrow the scanner from work tomorrow and begin the long process of culling and scanning all these good shots.

Getting back to the house after a Target detour, I finished up the front of the house and we relaxed with Friday night’s leftovers (yum). There’s also two bits of news I’m not going to jinx by mentioning just yet, but I think they are a good sign.

Date posted: June 20, 2004 | Filed under friends, house | Leave a Comment »

I have no firsthand experience with this product, but I’m curious to try it out: the Fresh² bulb, which is one of those compact flourescent bulbs coated with a titanium dioxide coating, which creats oxidizers to neutralize odors. It’s $20 for two bulbs, so I may not get around to buying them anytime soon, but… (via cool tools)

I avoided spending $200 on a ladder yesterday, deciding to wait until I need it—I’m going to be painting the front of the house first, and I can reach everything I need to out there with the section of ladder I do have (thanks, Dad—I’m going to bring it back, I promise.) We are a go on the color choice, and I’m looking forward to this job. I think it’ll make a dramatic difference with the front of the house. We also have tentative plans to see our wedding pictures on Sunday. I’m nervous (I photograph poorly, unlike my wife) but excited. Also, I got the Superdrive installed last night in five minutes: open case, two screws, disconnect cables, attach new drive, two screws, close case. Toast immediately saw the drive, although I haven’t loaded iDVD yet—I’m going to try the Ken Burns thing on our honeymoon photos and send my folks a disc.

Uh-Oh.There’s a guy up in New Jersey selling off his entire collection of Scout parts. He has fenders, hoods and windshields for $150 each. This could be dangerous. I’ll know more later.

→ This is a syndicated post from my Scout weblog. More info here.

Date posted: June 18, 2004 | Filed under house, Scout | Leave a Comment »