Jen was visiting her father in the L-P city this weekend, so I took the opportunity to make as big of a mess as possible while she was gone. Friday night and all day saturday I spent mudding, taping, sanding and priming the upstairs and downstairs hallway. You’re wondering why I said the downstairs hallway, when I’ve posted pictures of the “finished” product—well, as with any drywall job, you never notice the blemishes until you get the first coat of primer on it, and then suddenly it looks like Ray Liotta’s face. Upstairs, the walls took two coats of primer and about four coats of white paint before they looked clean; now the Phillip Morris White on all the trimwork really stands out in contrast. Sunday I pulled the baseboards in the dining room and braved the fiberglas insulation to run wiring, so when we call the electrician back in, we can get ¾ of the first floor hooked up.

Other than that, four loads of laundry, and a sinkful of dishes, I did nothing. Two solid days of work, bachelor meals, and sleep. But it’s 99% done.

Date posted: February 28, 2005 | Filed under family, house | Leave a Comment »

Somebody busted out the Nerf darts at work today. For anybody who was employed by a certain alma mater of mine (or any dot-com, for that matter), this is a recognizable portent of doom.

<huddles under desk, shivering>

Update: It’s worse than I thought. Todd brought me one of the darts, which has the company name printed on the side for GDC. The timetable for Judgement has been moved forward six months.

The End Of An Era. Growing up on the outskirts of the New York City area, the local TV stations played many commercials aimed at that market. Besides the Broadway musical, Ritz Thrift Shop, and Potampkin Cadillac ads, there was the ever-present jingle for Beautiful Mount Airy Lodge, accompanied by shots of goy vacationers skiing down shallow slopes, doing the overbite shuffle to Engelbert Humperdinck, and lounging in heart-shaped jacuzzis. This, apparently, was the height of luxury. It was to my dismay this morning to read that the whole place is up for auction, including those heart-shaped tubs. (If those tubs could only talk….yeccch.)

Upgrade. Yesterday I took advantage of the lull at work (about half the staff stayed home to take care of their kids) to install Movable Type on my Powerbook. Following a combination of these directions and the included instructions, I had the whole thing running in about ten minutes, with some minor glitches. I’d used the previous 2.X series a couple years ago, and found it easy to use, but the lure of inexpensive bandwidth has kept me decidedly low-tech. Looking around at some options, however, I think I’ve decided to invest in a secondary web address and migrate this log off the domain to a seperate location. This will allow for (finally!) the ease of online content addition, as opposed to hand-coding every log entry; a solution to requests for an RSS feed, a local comments database, a sideblog or two, and other goodies. I’m currently wrestling the CSS included with Movable Type and redesigning the layout, and when I have a clean working layout, I’ll pull the trigger and set up a new site. Suggestions for a new domain name, anyone?

Date posted: February 25, 2005 | Filed under CMS, history, humor | Leave a Comment »

Jay won the whole thing last night, which made Jen and I very happy. I think he’s the only one who didn’t make an ass of himself during the lead-up to the finale, and his work was consistent. Kara’s stuff was beautiful but the shoe thing was uncool, and her ‘handling’ of the situation was unprofessional.

Continuing on the camera thread from yesterday, I was thinking this morning that I need to unpack the 620 cameras and purchase some more film to play with. I’d like to use it to shoot portraits of people, if possible.

It appears the goddamn spammers have found a way to circumvent Mozilla’s ability to suppress annoying popup windows.

Date posted: February 24, 2005 | Filed under entertainment | Leave a Comment »

I’ve not been using my camera these days for anything besides some random shots of the hallway which never seems to progress; it’s a real shame because there are things out there to photograph, but I’ve just not been seeing them. Today, through one place to another, I visited heather’s site (she’s also responsible for the mirror project) and through hers another good photography site. I started thinking about pictures again. I remember when I first got my digital camera and was shooting everything I saw—living in a photogenic area of the city made finding subjects easy. Nowadays, I commute blindly by highway, rarely stopping to search for interesting shots. Instead of just carrying my camera around with me, I need to start using it again. Additionally: How to rig an old digital to take a picture a minute for the old Kodak sitting on the shelf.

Continuing on another thread, I’m rooting for Jay to win tonight, but thinking that Kara will probably take the whole thing.

Helpful Design Link: Fontleech, a site chronicling free fonts for poor designers.

painted hallway, 2.23.04

This morning my neck is a solid chunk of concrete, thanks to the hibernation-mode sleep I got last night. The good news is that the hallway is primed upstairs and 95% ready for a final coat of bright white paint; the bad news is that the entire house is covered in white dust again. Meanwhile Penn has suddenly developed that wierd eye swelling thing where the inside of the eyelid blows up like a balloon and makes him look like a post-match Rocky. This means I’ll have to squirt medicine into his mouth (twice) and his eye once every 12 hours for the next week or so—I think the poor cat is ready to run away from home by now.

My old Blazer bass

I think that’s my old guitar…but I don’t know the girl.

In the winter of 1986, my Dad drove me out to Mt. Kisco to look at a bass guitar listed in the classifieds. I’d just picked up electric bass after playing upright for three years, and it was time to find a beginner’s instrument. We walked up a flight of stairs to a dark apartment building and met with a longhaired, half-stoned dude who took us into his practice room. He had several guitars lined up and handed us the largest of them all, a survivor from the late 1970’s: an Ibanez Blazer, woodgrain with a black pickguard. It had the longest neck of any guitar I’ve ever seen (21 frets), it weighed more than a car, and it had deeper sound than a foghorn. I tried it out with a rudimentary blues line, feeling sheepish and embarrassed, and it sounded good. I don’t know what my Dad paid for it, but we lugged it back to the Rabbit and took it home. On this bass I learned to play, finding it was easier learn jazz than keep up with Geddy Lee (not that I didn’t try.) Later, I bought a Steinberger from my friend, finding its portability and size easier for college, and the Ibanez became second fiddle (pun intended.) Eventually, in the post-graduate purge, I “sold” it to a friend so that his wacky girlfriend could join an all-grrl punk band, and it passed out of my hands. I think the bass in this Microsoft ad could be mine, only because the pickups are white—we had the original pickups pulled and replaced by the music store in town, and for some dumb reason they gave us white—we never bothered to have them switched out. I heard that girl moved to Philadelphia and took it with her years ago, so imagine my surprise when I saw it again. It’s nice to think that maybe one of us got famous. (And thanks, Dad.)

Date posted: February 23, 2005 | Filed under bass, entertainment, history, life, photography | Leave a Comment »

Well, I’d love to tell you good folks that I was able to finish the hallway and clean up the mess, but that would just be too easy. Instead of the three solid days of work I thought I’d put in on the place, reality stepped in and hit me upside the head—Saturday was spent recovering from a walloping hangover due to a late-season holiday party, which required copious amounts of water, comfort food, and videos to fix; Sunday we took Penn to a behaviorist, cleaned up the house and visited with the Brizzis, and Monday I got an even later start but worked up until 11pm.

Unfortunately, there’s a nasty seam right at the foot of the stairs that needs to be feathered out and smoothed, the taping upstairs is more extensive than I thought, Hunter S. Thompson killed himself, it was too wet/cold to get the Scout indoors, and I can’t hold my liquor as well as I used to.

On the positive side, the freelance fairy keeps dumping stuff in my lap, so I’m going to be busy for the next eight or nine months at least.

R.I.P. Over at metafilter, the post on HST’s passing has reached 492 comments at this writing, which must be a record of some kind. In college I got into a Beat/Wolfe/Thompson phase and burned through Fear and Loathing in one feverish night (no small feat, I can testify) which, after reading the Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and drinking a six-pack of Boh, was much more accessible. Later, I read Hell’s Angels and re-read FLLV several times to soak up what I’d missed the first time. Drug user, journalist, gun nut, misanthrope, patriot, American, author, original: his dispatches from the wilderness will be missed.

Date posted: February 22, 2005 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »

The primer is creeping up the stairs and has made its way to the left side of the bathroom door, although there’s a bunch of patching to be done up there. I hung my ass out over the stairs and finished scraping the last of the wallpaper, patched a few more holes, and caulked a bunch of the trim, stopping only for pizza and PBR (now our beer of choice, because it’s tasty and it’s $6.50/12pack.) This morning the sunlight reached all the way down into the hallway, and it made me feel good. Once the ceiling gets a clean coat of paint and the last of the old plaster is covered, it’s going to make a huge difference. I’ll post pictures of the whole thing on Monday, when it’s cleaned up.

Word of the Day: Pulchritude, n. Great physical beauty and appeal, or: an ugly word to describe a beautiful thing.

Date posted: February 18, 2005 | Filed under house | Leave a Comment »

Read this and try not to laugh.

5:09pm. OSX 10.2 is running, albeit slowly, but successfully on Renie’s old beige G3. There are problems getting a DHCP address—smells like the router may have 10baseT support turned off.

Damn The Torpedoes Dept. Jen and I had a very impromptu discussion about our plans to travel to Europe for our first anniversary. Given that the list of stuff we need to get done is as long as my arm—and if I auctioned that arm off on Ebay I’d still not have enough money to pay for it all —we’ve been holding off on making any solid plans. This morning we talked about doing all the stuff we’ve been planning (floors sanded, new bed, etc.) and making reservations for Europe in spite of all that stuff. We’re probably going to just *gulp* charge it and pay it off as we go, because gathering the money together before May doesn’t look like it’s going to happen. (And, honestly, if we didn’t have both vehicles and all our credit cards paid off, there’s no way in hell we’d do this.)

Sigh. If this Scout wasn’t that hideous shade of yellow, I’d actually try to figure out a way to buy it. (Clean Scouts on the East Coast for less than $10k are hard to find.) | I purchased the ‘Texas’ T-shirt for my wife last week, and it showed up yesterday, but apparently ‘medium’-sized women’s shirts are made for three-year-old boys. I own socks that are larger than this shirt. So that gets put in the ‘exchange’ pile.

In the ‘positive’ column, there’s a fresh white coat of primer on 99% of the downstairs hallway, and it’s begun creeping up the walls to the second floor. There will be some creative ladderwork in my immediate future to clean up the rest of the wallpaper paste, some minor patching, and then we paint. After two and a half months of stumbling through clouds of fine white dust, the end is in sight!

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

Date posted: February 17, 2005 | Filed under geek, humor, Scout, travel | Leave a Comment »

This evening, over a dinner of grilled steak, broccoli, and avocado with PBR in front of a new episode of Lost, I discovered my wife and I shared an adolescent love for Hong Kong Phooey. (One of my favorite memories of my grandma Dugan was sitting at her kitchen table in front of a pair of mini-Frosted Flakes boxes while she adjusted the rabbit ears on the TV so that we could watch cartoons through the snow.)

Gift. Looks like we have next Monday off, which should give me a bunch of time to finish off some projects at the house. At the top of the list: Finishing the hallway, which is creeping slowly toward its conclusion. There’s some finish sanding to be done, some caulking, and then I think we’re ready for paint. I’m also going to take advantage of the forecasted good weather to see if I can’t get the Scout into the garage.

I may have to give this application a try in the next couple of weeks. Apparently it’s a stand-alone app for iTunes which will metatag all of your untagged music, complete with album art. The only hangup I have is whether or not it would overwrite my current custom tags or ratings.

I’m also going to try to install OSX on Renie’s old beige G3 and see if I can make a FrankenComputer out of it, just for fun. (I have no idea what I could do with it right now, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.)

Date posted: February 16, 2005 | Filed under family, geek, history | Leave a Comment »

Album of The Day. Bad Brains, Quickness. Sometimes I forget how hard these guys rock out. (Sometimes I miss the 80’s/90’s.)

Fixing The Little Orange Wagon, Part 2. I spoke with the animal behaviorist this morning and set up an appointment to bring Penn in for a consultation. Thankfully, it’s priced reasonably, and she sounds professional. One thing I didn’t know is that Prednizone (sp?), the medication he’s been on to treat his high white blood cell count, causes many animals to be aggressive. Nice. I’m scheduled for a Sunday morning appointment, barring any other commitments.

Date posted: February 15, 2005 | Filed under music | Leave a Comment »

Christmas in July was great, and I think it lived up to expectations. We were even lucky enough to have snow falling on Saturday morning. I have to shout out to my sister for the new Porter & Cable router (we have two windows just itching to be refurbished with that) and to my pop for the camera tripod. Jen now has an entire library of gardening and cook books to choose from, Renie finally has a digital camera, Mom has a pile of wedding photos, and my Dad has a wireless hub to tinker with. It was great to see everybody, and we even got a visit with Grampy and Vince, who stopped by for bloody marys after church.

While we were there I updated Mom’s iMac—OS9 gave way to OSX, crashing Eudora gave way to, and the lousy Director-based Kodak photo software was replaced with iPhoto. The only hitch was finding that her beige Epson inkjet won’t work with OSX (Epson didn’t bother to write drivers for it.) I will say that I was relieved when easily imported her old Eudora mailboxes and iPhoto immediately recognized her camera. She’s going to have much better luck with her computer now.

Continued Geekery. On the way home, Jen and I played the Dream Casting game, coming up with our list of actors to play in the new Watchmen movie. (Jen hasn’t read the book, so I had to attempt to distill the characters down as best I could for her to understand. I have to bust it out for her tonight to look at.) Apparently somebody found a way to adapt the book (although Terry Gilliam tried to do it and couldn’t—now that would have been a movie). There’s no word on official casting yet, but here’s our list:

Rorschach: William H. Macy Think about it. You need somebody short, sort of average (if not ugly) and able to play a resigned insanity.
John C Reilly This guy is good at the loveable loser (think Magnolia) or frightening maniac. He might be too tall though.
Nite Owl: Skip Sudduth I think he’d be perfect for this role. Paunchy, approachable, believable.
Daniel Baldwin I think it’d be a stretch, but he could pull it off. He’d have to get rid of that annoying Baldwin “I’m too cool for school” thing. (Thanks Todd)
Silk Spectre: Jennifer Connelly I forgot about this one. Perfect. Thanks, Jen.
Mariska Hargitay This was Jen’s first idea, but I’m not entirely sold.
The Comedian: Robert Forster Again, Jen picked this one, and I think she nailed it perfectly.
Burt Reynolds Todd’s immediate choice. I think if he could be reigned in a bit (again, think what Paul Thomas Anderson did for him in Boogie Nights) he’d be perfect.
Ozymandias: Jeff Goldblum Jen sold me on this one-he’s intelligent, he (used to) be built, and he’s taller than you think.
Dr. Manhattan: Matthew McConaughey Just consider it. He’d have to be tall, bald, blue, and nekkid. This guy looks pretty good bald, and we all know he likes to be nekkid and play the bongos…

Extra reading: Wikipedia entry (excellent primer) | The Watchmen annotated guide. Your suggestions?

Date posted: February 14, 2005 | Filed under entertainment, family, geek | Leave a Comment »