He apparently rolls on some slick wheels, too.

Date posted: December 31, 2008 | Filed under humor | 1 Comment »

The Man Who Said No to Wal-Mart. I read this last year and I’ve related the story to about five people–I think it’s a fantastic example of good business sense. (via)

Date posted: December 29, 2008 | Filed under money, shortlinks | Comments Off on The Man Who Said No To Wal-Mart

Streaming satellite radio anywhere in your house – I wasn’t aware there was a standalone XM streaming app. Nice.

Date posted: December 28, 2008 | Filed under music, shortlinks | Comments Off on Streaming XM radio

The holiday season is up on us, and we’re getting prepared for it as best we can. The neighbors have supplied more than enough cheer for us after installing their neon manger scene.

Date posted: December 23, 2008 | Filed under photography | Comments Off on Happy Birthday, Electric Jesus

In the last eight years or so, I’ve had a total of about ten all-in-one iMacs come through Idiot Central in assorted models and colors. I’ve kept my eye out for them here and there because they are usually very cheap, mostly bombproof, and will still run OS X at a reasonable enough speed to be useful. However, ten-year-old circuitry gets finicky after awhile, and like anything else, exhibits personality quirks. I’ve had a handful of first-generation colored versions with wonky old hard drives and dead CD-ROM drives, and slot-loading models with twitchy video and fragile power units just waiting for a brief hiccup in current to fry the motherboard. All have been purchased from Craigslist and flea markets and rummage sales, all were put to good use for various projects (or resold), and over the years they’ve finally bit the dust in one way or another, except for one.

I bought Purple—named for its case color—through an ad in the Pennysaver (yeah, that’s right, this was before Craigslist made it to Mobtown) from a chain-smoking dude in Glen Burnie, who may or may not have acquired it by means illegal, and who certainly sketched me out. Before I had a music server set up on it, it first ran home-automation software here at the house. Then, it was a production webserver. For a while it was my mother’s stand-in iMac when her original blueberry model bit the dust, until we got her a laptop. For the next four years, I stuffed it to the gills with my music collection, and it sat under my desk, dutifully hosting my music library. It’s been opened and closed so many times, I can’t remember what the original configuration ever was. A few weeks ago I humped it into idfive and booted it up after a year of retirement, and it cheerfully resumed its duties without complaint.

Dead iMac

Like the proverbial Timex, it kept ticking, until this week, when it suddenly refused to wake up from sleep. Several attempts to get it to boot from an emergency disk failed, and finally it offered the weirdest possible sign of trouble I’ve ever seen: a shifted, half-blank display of pixels all running for the edges like animals escaping from a zoo. I pulled the drive the other night and booted it from a spare enclosure; it came up immediately and with no problems, which pointed back to problems within the machine itself. Sadly, I pulled the RAM and clock battery out, then buttoned it back up in preparation for a trip to the dump. I have one last iMac in the basement that’s available for a heart transplant; strangely enough, I’ve been meaning to get rid of that one for the last few months every time I trip over it, but providence made sure I was too busy to ever get around to it.

So, farewell, old friend. It’s been a good five years, and you’ve certainly paid for yourself.

Date posted: December 21, 2008 | Filed under geek | Comments Off on Purple Haze.

Is it Christmas?

Date posted: December 19, 2008 | Filed under humor, shortlinks | Comments Off on is it christmas?

Mama just called me to share some excellent news and a video link: Finn just rolled over onto her back by herself!

She wasn’t particularly happy about things afterwards, but that’s because she was due for a midmorning nap.

Date posted: December 19, 2008 | Filed under finn | 4 Comments »

Holy crap! Chrysler is suspending all production of cars for a month. As the mostly satisfied owner of a Jeep (a Chrysler product), I’m a little concerned as to how their implosion might affect me down the line. My guess is not so much, but still… This shit is getting scary.

Date posted: December 18, 2008 | Filed under history | Comments Off on Carpocalypse Wow.

Hi little girl. I began this post way back in November, a few days after Thanksgiving, to be exact, but it’s been a while since then. Time is just flying by, and you’re getting bigger and stronger every day. I can’t believe how much you’ve grown in such a short while; it was only a few weeks ago that I could cradle your head in my palm and your feet wouldn’t touch my elbow. Now they hang down on either side of my forearm, bumping my chest every once in a while as you stir in your sleep. Early this morning, as you laid in bed next to me, trying to fall back asleep, I stared at your little face and thought of all the things that have happened since I wrote to you last.


Thanksgiving has come and gone already. In what is now family tradition, Papa’s family came down from New York for the holiday, and we were able to put you down long enough beforehand to be able to vacuum the floors, clean the bathroom, and cook an 18 lb. turkey, a double helping of stuffing, potatoes, yams, beans, cabbage, and gravy. You even sat in your bouncy chair long enough for us all to eat while the food was still warm. I think Mama must have dosed you with some kind of mild sedative when they got here, because you were on your best behavior the whole weekend. The bouncy chair, normally good for about ten minutes, kept you happy for an hour. Mama put you down at 10, and you didn’t stir until 8 the next morning, which meant our real Thanksgiving came on Friday morning.

That Saturday your Mama’s family came to visit, so we had a whole houseful of relatives around a warm fire, and passed you from lap to lap for as long as you would stay happy. You did really well with all of the new faces, and practiced your pretty smile with everyone. I think you’re just ensuring your inheritance, ’cause as soon as the door closes behind our guests, you return to full-on meltdown mode. What’s up with that?

Saturday evening, Mama put you down on a blanket for some tummy time, and instead of faceplanting in the middle of a piercing shriek, you kept your head on your shoulders and blinked at Mama like you were practicing for weeks. Even after we removed the pillow underneath, you stayed upright and happy, even smiling at us, for several thrilling minutes.

Of course, we knew it wouldn’t last. The Tuesday following Thanksgiving, Mama told me you slept for about thirty seconds; the rest of the day was spent in various states of catastrophe. Wednesday was no better; you spent most of the day in a sustained fit, using sleep only to rest up for the next explosion, and the rest of the week was filed with more of the same. As with everything else, It would be helpful if you could tell us what the problem actually was, instead of giving us that reproachful glare right before you commence to shrieking like a stuck pig.

Mamas girl

Mama did more reading and found some great advice about your sleeping habits, which she then put into practice. The theory goes something like this: The more quality sleep you get during the day, the better you’ll sleep at night. After a number of other small modifications in our routine, we’ve had some incredible progress in your behavior. Granted, you haven’t become the Baby Jesus or anything, but the difference in your attitude is amazing.

Meanwhile, the world around us continues to thrash and convulse its way to ruin; every day the news is bleak, although it seems like everyone is just holding their breath. I’m doing my best to remain positive; we’re only a few days away from Christmas, which is one of my favorite times of the year. I’m so excited to spend it with you and Mama together. I don’t know if we’ll have a real tree this year, or if we’re even going to have time to put up decorations; between my work schedule and your waking schedule, there isn’t much time left in the day to shop, much less install a tree in our living room.


Even if I have to go to the Target to find a 3-foot plastic tree this year, we’re going to have some kind of Christmas. The trick is going to be slowing down enough to enjoy it.

Date posted: December 16, 2008 | Filed under finn | Comments Off on Ten Eleven Twelve Weeks.

mama and baby

Date posted: December 12, 2008 | Filed under finn, photo | 1 Comment »