Strange Brouhaha

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Put on "Fade To Black"

(I know, it's a cliched exit and it was probably cliched when I did it on the radio back in the day...but whatever.)

If we are being completely honest with ourselves, and we are, my heart has not been in this blogging "thing" for a while. I'm not sure when that started being the case, but it is the case.

I haven't been daily for a long, long time. I don't think I've been terribly interesting since long before that. It was bad enough when I was CNN's most loyal reprint site, but I think day after day of "Ooh, look, a meme!" really killed it for me.

So rather than continue to update sporadically with mildly pithy tales of stuff that happens and stuff I'm thinking about, I'm hanging it up and walking out of the building for the last time.

Thanks for reading, and we'll see you around.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Have a laugh, on me!

Someone at work pointed me at this video by Barats and Bereta.

Which led me to this video by Barats and Bereta...

...which led me to THIS video by Barats and Bereta.

I had a good lunch hour the other day.

Monday, May 05, 2008

As a matter of fact...

  • Yes, I did fail to write a single word for this year's Script Frenzy. Just overtaken by events, I guess. I don't even feel guilty, which is either a good thing or a bad thing.

  • Yes, I did purchase Grand Theft Auto IV on launch day, and yes, I am playing it. Verdict so far: not as strong a beginning as GTA: San Andreas, but it's good so far. I have a feeling the Bad Things are about to happen.

  • Yes, we did watch "This is Spinal Tap" this weekend (The Child was at a sleepover), and yes, it's still funny. "I'm just as God made me, sir!"

  • Yes, I do miss CompUSA. Sure, they had high prices and a fairly lousy selection, but it was the only place a person could go in this town for components. If your computer blew a fan or something on a Saturday afternoon, you could always go to CompUSA and be up and running again. Now, at least around here, there's nowhere. Best Buy doesn't sell parts, and I only use Circuit City for the short-term rental program. This isn't prompted by any purchase I needed to make; I was just talking to someone today and we both realized that it was true.

  • Yes, we watched the Kentucky Derby this weekend. Amazing race, tragic outcome. Even though I was sitting there saying, "At least show the horse collapsing!", I have to agree with NBC's decision to show none of it. There were some very nice articles about Eight Belles today.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I actually went to the mall

It's something I try not to do; the last time I was in the mall was a couple of years ago, I think. I often get mildly humorous stories out of the mall, so I should probably go there more often, but it's so...mall-like. What exactly is at a mall that people need, anyway? Clothing stores, I guess, but what's the point of a "Sleep Number Bed Store" or a Cinnabon?

And the mall kiosks. I don't understand these. $100 Oakley knockoffs? Cheap, crappy weaves and hair extensions? Hermit crabs? Do people buy this stuff? What's the target market here--people with too much money and too little sense? (Don't answer that, I know the answer.) ("Yes.")

The Apple store is in the mall, and since I had my "Genius" appointment, the mall was where I had to go.

What can I was a mall. And the mall is a perfect place for an Apple store: obsessed with outward appearance, expensive, ostentatiously "hip". All of the male employees had a certain look: skinny, short hair, meticulously-trimmed beards or goatees, small rectangular glasses with black frames. (When I went back this morning, I almost wept at the sight of a dumpy guy in an ill-fitting Apple t-shirt because he totally didn't fit "the look" and was, at last, a welcome breath of humanity.)

I shouldn't complain too much; my computer is fixed, and free, since it was still under warranty. And they definitely had some nice-looking external drives. Maybe I'll have to hit after lunch...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I keep saying this, and I never stick to it, but...

...never again, Apple.

I have owned two reliable Apple products in the last 24 years. One of them is a Mac Plus, which would still be running today if I hadn't lost all the system software and hosed the hard disk by letting an 18-month-old play with it, and the other is my iPod Photo, which I've had for several years now and which is still going strong.

This is far outweighed by the large amounts of junk I've worked with, both personally and professionally, that has the Apple logo on it.

It's also outweighed by the somewhat more nebulous sense of personal betrayal I feel whenever I think about having been burned by two processor switches--the 68K-to-PowerPC switch and the PowerPC-to-Intel switch. In both cases, I had bought new machines not too long before the switches were announced. It's more that I feel like I was burned than that I was actually burned, but emotion is the primary source of whatever loyalty Apple has among its fan base and so I think that I'm allowed some emotion in this case.

But back to the large amounts of junk.

I have never gracefully retired an Apple machine (other than the Mac Plus). Every Macintosh I've ever owned has fireworked or bricked in some way. Two Macintosh LCs suffered catastrophic disk failures; in one case, the hard drive seized with no warning, not even the "Iiiiiii'm dyyyyyinnnnnngggggg" whine that usually precedes such a failure. One iBook G4--same deal, which I covered in detail elsewhere.

More anecdotally: when I worked for the School District, we were constantly sending Macs in for repair. PCs just chugged along. Macs, not so much. Macs required more handholding and setup and massaging; the PCs were far more reliable, and in greater numbers. To this day, I always recommend Dell to people who are buying PCs, because the Dell PCs we used were stone cold solid.

The latest, and I hope final, outrage: the Mac mini that I bought five months ago has turned up a bum DVD drive. It won't mount any DVDs at all--movies or software. The last time I used the drive for DVDs was sometime in March, at which time it worked perfectly. Now, nothing. Oh, it works fine on CDs, but it just kind of chews at DVDs for a few seconds and spits them back out.

Fortunately, it's still under warranty, and I have an appointment at the Apple store in the mall tomorrow to have a "Genius" look at it. So I should be able to get a warranty repair out of the deal. I hope.

(And remember...there were ALREADY problems with this machine when I took it out of the box.)

Still: never again, Apple. I have had enough of your junk. This time, I'll take the hint. And Apple fans--of which I used to be one--I don't want to hear it. Other than the Mac Plus and the iPod, I have never, ever had anything but a disappointing experience with Apple. Never again.

It's bizarre. My computing experience has been totally at odds with reported anecdotal evidence from other people who know what they're doing: Windows ME was rock solid for me; I have no problems with Vista; every PC I've ever owned and/or built has been completely stable. Apple products, on the other hand, which are supposed to Just Work and to help you Think Different and which feature in all of those cute ads with John Hodgman, have been nothing but a headache and a nuisance.

Never again, Apple.

Never again.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Has it really been almost a week?

I suppose it has.

  • I have by now listened to most of "Snakes & Arrows Live". Is it just me, or my speakers, or is the mix really lousy? The drums were way forward. It kind of goes back to the crappy mix on the studio "Snakes And Arrows." Posse member Matt D and I had a discussion about it last June...not that anyone else would necessarily know that.

  • The new computer is now completely outfitted with everything I wanted to install, including something to get music and video on and off my cell phone. iTunes is working correctly, Dawn of War: Dark Crusade plays extremely well, Windows Vista is quick and responsive. I pronounce myself almost completely satisfied. The only glitch, really, is that the wireless keyboard and mouse I'm using are not that great--they suck batteries like you wouldn't believe. But I really need to be able to get them off the desk if I need space, so I don't really want a wired keyboard and mouse. I'm not sure how to solve that one.

  • Apparently, there are people who think that Barack Obama needs to denounce gangsta rap and rappers. You know, because they're black and so is he, and because he's picked up some endorsements from the hip-hop world--which of course, is composed entirely of violent anti-white artists. When John McCain apologizes to the world for all of Chuck Norris' lousy movies, then we can talk. (I was going to say "When John McCain denounces The Mentors..." but he would do just that, and it doesn't really touch on the main point, which is...uh, well, there are actually a lot of points all mixed up in there, such as "John McCain is getting a free pass from the press on all of his idiot endorsers," and "Why are we focusing on bullshit?" I know, that's not particularly insightful, but why waste insight on trivia?)

  • "How do you cram a 1,000-page novel into three and a half hours of stage time?" asks a critic of the Gone With the Wind musical that opened in London recently. Well, it must be possible, because they sure crammed the 1,000 page novel into a (slightly more than) three and a half hour movie that has become an enduring classic. Honestly, I think the play's writer (who was also the composer and lyricist) should probably have adapted the movie instead. I'm no expert on adaptations, and maybe someone who is can correct me, but the movie has already taken care of "the hard part," which is taking the essentially internal world of a novel and translating it into the essentially external, visual world of film.

Here's yet another video that they had on Boing Boing recently. You know, when I started this blog, I was essentially a CNN reprint site...I hope I don't turn into a Boing Boing reprint site.

Anyway, here's a couple of guys on the uke doing the Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop."

Monday, April 21, 2008

Now THAT would be a cool model

Courtesy of Red Ferret Journal, here's a video of a train passing through an outdoor market in Bangkok. The market is set up on the tracks. When the train comes through, everyone moves out of the way. Produce and stuff is left--the train clears it.

The post at Red Ferret actually links to a second video shot from the back of the train of the market setting back up. This is pretty amazing.