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January 31, 2004

iTunes geography time

Number of songs available on iTunes right now that have the following cities in their title:

Albuquerque - 7
Portland -- 11
San Diego -- 14
Boulder -- 14 (though 4 refer to boulders as in rocks or the Dam)
Denver -- 26
Los Angeles -- 33
Seattle -- 35
Atlanta -- 36
Tulsa -- 37
Birmingham -- 41
Dallas -- 51
Boston -- 52
Chicago -- 183

Apparently, Tulsa is more musical than the entire West, and Chicago is... well, Sweet Home Chicago, My Kind Of Town.

Posted by dylan at 01:10 AM

January 29, 2004

Susan's article finally posted

So go read it, why don't you.

Posted by dylan at 10:54 PM

January 28, 2004

A "Mistake"

So, life seems pretty normal and bland, you think. Then, your surf over to ESPN, and there's this headline in the news:

Indians minor leaguer: Gay porn role a 'mistake'

You then realize the mistake is yours for assuming that everything is normal and bland.

Posted by dylan at 10:35 AM

January 27, 2004

Upgrades

The only thing worse than having your Internet service crash right in the middle of an MT upgrade is discovering that the files you were uploading weren't part of the 2.661 upgrade but the 2.64 upgrade... and you were running 2.65 before.

All is well now despite threats issued to both the cable modem and the new router.

I'm getting really, really tired of comment spam. If I get any more I'm going to start charging these spammers $$$ to advertise on my site.

Posted by dylan at 12:21 AM | Comments (2)

January 25, 2004

Strange moviefellows

The Rev offers the following meme:

The challenge: Pick three people--an actor, an athlete, and a musician--who shouldn't be in the same movie, and tell me what movie they shouldn't be in.
I offer: Go for it.

Posted by dylan at 12:00 AM

January 24, 2004

S-A-TUR-DAY! HEY!

And what am I doing? Web design, of course! No, not partying, not on a date, not at a movie... just another weekend night in front of the computer massaging design hacks.

In retrospect, I'm wondering if I'm going too far too fast with these recent Meetup appearances. I don't do well in groups larger than, oh, one. Getting confronted with an absolute zoo last Wednesday was overload. This explains my decision to bail at the earliest opportune moment. Social ineptitude, a way of life for 31.33 years.

Now that I have XP installed, I downloaded iTunes. Musical crack. I'm shocked I've only downloaded six songs so far.

Tonight's playlist: Gillian Welch, Kasey Chambers, Wilco, Old 97s, Jayhawks. I'm in an alt-country mood.

Oh, I put a picture of Susan + Player-In-Oven on the Baby Blog.

Posted by dylan at 10:58 PM

January 23, 2004

Ping pong balls

Captain Kangaroo died. Another figure of childhood gone to history.

When I was 6, I had a pair of green Garanimal cords that I called my "green jeans" after the Captain's sidekick. Over the holidays I bought myself another pair of green cords, though more an olive color and a wider wale, and it reminded me of the Rabbit and Mr. Moose and the ping-pong balls. Next to Mr. Rogers, Captain Kangaroo was the nicest guy on television, and his show was always more non sequitur than the Neighborhood (though I remember Mr. Rogers saying that it was intentional -- he didn't like the slapstick he saw on other kids shows of the time). In some ways, Bob Keeshan was my first comedy teacher.

Another childhood memory dead in the ground. Now I'll have to endure whatever bastard spawn of Barney and the Wiggles my child will attach herself to in the coming years. It's just not the same. It's too fast and too un-subtle.

(I'm well on the way to being a crotchety old man, don't you know.)

Posted by dylan at 12:16 PM | Comments (3)

January 22, 2004

Meetuping

So, two weeks after finally attending a meetup, I did it again. This round was the weblogger group, only someone decided to have the Microsoft meetup on the same night in the same place (Leilani Lanes). Too. Many. People. After that experience, I may not do it again if it's a zoo like that again. I can barely handle being with more than a handful of people; despite my know-it-all attitude and Dean-like foot-in-mouth disease, I'm still the same shy person who used to hide under the bed when company came over.

Met a blogging neighbor last night (I mean, look at the map, we're practically right on top of each other [if you know where to look on the north end of town]). This afternoon I got a comment from here asking who I was. Lesson learned: Nametags, not just for conventions anymore. Or... I should have brought some of my FIVE HUNDRED business cards I never hand out.

Someone please motivate me to redesign this site. It's starting to get awfully... boring.

Posted by dylan at 11:21 PM | Comments (2)

January 21, 2004

The Dean Meme

Howard Dean's campaign is starting to remind me of the Texas football team. All the talent and resources in the world, no one on the sidelines with a clue in their head about how to win a damn thing. (Wonder if Major Applewhite would be interested in managing a presidential campaign....)

Anyway, the meme going around today comes from OTB (with a tip of the virtual cap to the Rev). Write your own version of the Dean WWF Smackdown speech!
Here's mine:

And you know something? You know something? Not only are we going to Puyallup, we're going to La Push and LaConner and Chehalis and Wenatchee and Yelm! We're going to Seattle and Okanagan and Humptulips! And we're going to George and Blaine and Wahaiakum and Redmond! And then we're going to Sequim. So I can learn how to pronounce it! YEEEAAARGH!!

BTW, I will be at the Seattle blogger meetup tonight. Shock. Horror.

Posted by dylan at 08:01 AM | Comments (3)

January 19, 2004

Back from PDX

We went to Portland for one final DINK (double income no kids) weekend away before the baby drops. Of course, Portland means Powells. I offloaded about 20 books for $50 in credit, and I spent about an hour roaming the hugeness of Powells looking for a book or three to take home. I was close to packing it in when I stumbled upon the culinary history section... and a 1961 edition of the Larousse Gastronomique for $20. So, I now have a McGee and a Larousse. I'm not sure what book would make this a triumvirate, but hey, even a 1961 Larousse will keep me entertained for months.

Saturday included a trip to Astoria to see the coast, and today we did some tax-free shopping in Clackamas. Susan now has a new computer that cost a mere $650.

Took some pics as well that will go to the Fotolog (and maybe here, too).

Posted by dylan at 10:23 PM | Comments (4)

January 17, 2004

33

The age of my cousin Mary today. Happy birthday.

The long oyster gray Seattle winter is now approaching its halfway point, according to the calendar -- and the tunes stuck in my head of late. My musical tastes turn towards the slow and melancholy in the latter half of winter.

"Hackensack," Fountains of Wayne (high school nobody pines for classmate who became famous actress)
"This House Is Not For Sale," Ryan Adams (a bleak song about a collapsing relationship)
"Pretty Good Year," Tori Amos (when I can think of Tori Amos without laughing at her pretensiousness, it must be winter. If I can do the same with Fiona Apple, then I need serious meds.)

It's all temporary, of course. By April or so I'll be on to summer songs because THE WINTER DOESN'T END UNTIL THE END OF JUNE HERE. A few people I've talked to around here have said the same things about their musical tastes. Is it true elsewhere?

Posted by dylan at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)

January 16, 2004

1946-1994

Still miss ya, Dad. 10 years.

Blacks and greys in his honor today.

Posted by dylan at 06:55 PM | Comments (1)

January 15, 2004

1 down, 31 to go

Please recall this from the list of New Year's resolutions:

1. Attend a fotolog or blog meetup.
Done.

Dylan accomplishes something. I don't know if I should celebrate or run for the fraidy hole. Speaking of fraidy hole, I can't find that phrase in any dictionary, OED, slang, or otherwise. One of those last fragments of local language that has survived the globalization of English, perhaps?

Posted by dylan at 09:15 AM

January 13, 2004

TiVo is happy again

Gave the TiVo a brain transplant tonight. It's now functioning properly again... and with a 120GB hard drive, twice the size of the old 60GB. Thanks WeaKnees!

Unfortunately, the TiVo now has amnesia, so we're having to remind it of what we like and don't like. That's taking longer than the actual process of setting the TiVo up again.

Posted by dylan at 11:54 AM

January 11, 2004

Computer shopping: a comparison

February 1999: Bought 400 mHz Pentium computer with a massive 64MB in memory, a DVD-ROM drive, and a 6GB hard drive. Cost: $1750.

August 2001: Bought Athlon 1700 computer with 512MB in memory, a DVD-ROM and a 12x CD-RW burner, a GeForce 2 video card, a Soundblaster 5.1, 60GB hard drive, and a Firewire card. Cost: $1500.

January 2004: Wife would like a replacement for the 400 mHz computer she's been using. Priced a Dell 2.66 P4 with 512MB in memory, a DVD+/-RW burner, 120GB hard drive, and onboard sound and video. Cost: $1000.

Even if I put a GeForce 4 card and a SoundBlaster card on this new computer, it'll still be cheaper than the Athlon 1700 I'm currently using. And the thing is, the wife probably doesn't need this much power -- I can order from a company not Dell, cut some corners and get it down to $800. Still, I'd be getting 10 times the computer of the 400 the wife is using for about half the cost.

Posted by dylan at 09:52 PM

I said five times a week

Yet, I only posted four times. Gotta work on that.

Happy birthday a day late to Kat. Hope you weren't too sick and that it wasn't the pile of steaming horse feces your 2001 birthday was.

I've ordered a new TiVo hard drive from weaknees.com that should be here by the middle of next week. I hope it's just the hard drive and not the modem. A new hard drive was $175. A new modem means a new box... $300.

Posted by dylan at 12:52 AM | Comments (1)

January 09, 2004

Rancor

I don't think people in the middle of this country understand how much hatred there is for Dubya on the coasts. It's the flip side of all the Clinton-bashing of the last 10+ years -- the lower the blows, the lower the height the opposition feels it has to hit.

I believe political discourse is now impossible in this country, thanks to the media, the bevy of talk-show moruns out there, and a bunch of writers too lazy to write an interesting and factual column. It's sad when bloggers on both sides have a better grasp on political ideas than the mainstream media.

At times, I wonder if the decay of political discourse has been part of a conservative plot hatched over the last 15 or so years. Declare that the media is biased against you (despite owning said media). Sponsor talk shows and writers that twist the truth and say things out of bounds -- then say the other side is doing it. Those that care rabidly support you and buy into your 1984-esque mindthink. The opposition is clobbered because they don't control the media, and all they can do is sink to your level, further sending Middle America into political apathy. The more of Middle America you can send to the sidelines, the more your rabid supporters can send your guys into office.

Last night on the way home I heard a commentary from some columnist at the National Review. His argument was that because we have an entitlement system, people emigrate to the USA to live off our tax dollar, so we should get rid of welfare. Problem is, he didn't cite any numbers. How many immigrants, illegal or otherwise, are on the dole? He didn't say, he just broadbrushed "bad" immigrants. "Good" immigrants are people who work hard, bad ones come for the dole. Thing is, I don't think I've met an immigrant who came just to live on our welfare system (though I did meet some folks in the UK who were doing just that.) So, based on my anecdotal evidence, he's talking about a handful of people that should be the root cause to 86 welfare, WIC, and Medicaid. Mind you, I don't have the numbers... but my numbers are as good as the ones he cited.

In effect, the GOP is turning into the Democratic party of the late 19th century. They want to rule, not govern. The current crop of Democrats are left wrong-footed and can't form a coherent opposition. Without a coherent opposition, the GOP entrenches and changes the rules to ensure they can maintain power. (Thing is, they already are. Remember those term-limits on committee chairs in the House they promised in 1994? Gone to history, just like every other discussion of term limits.)

This entrenchment is a very, very bad thing. You're left with a government moving towards indifference to what its constiutents really want, consolidation of financial power into a very few, and the possibility of a plutocracy that controls the instruments that allow for self-improvement in American society, such as education. Last time this happened the Progressive movement beat the snot out of the Democratic party, broke up the trusts, and brought about the banes of modern politics -- initiative and referendum. Now... where will the new Progressives come from? Where's our Teddy Roosevelt, our William Taft?

The rancor between right and left is a reflection of the chasm that exists in our society right now. The left and the right won't admit it, but we're dangerously close to severe social disorder in this country. Sure, we've had this sort of rancor before, but I don't remember it being this nasty. The vitriol that's out there makes the Ken Lay/American Spectator view of Clinton look like a polite disagreement.

Posted by dylan at 11:08 PM

January 08, 2004

Terrible news

My TiVo is dead. Hard drive was apparently fried during the power fluctuations we had yesterday. (When snow changes to freezing rain, it sucks.) Now, I have to decide if I'm going to go for the hard route (buy hard drive, try to find ISO of TiVo software that the company is trying to run off the web, put TiVo image on drive, replace old HD with new one) or the easy route (spend twice as much, but image already on drive). Hard route is $75. Easy route is more than twice that.

So, if any of you have a ver. 4.x image for a TCD140060, please let me know....

Posted by dylan at 10:21 PM

January 06, 2004

Snow on snow on snow (5 inches worth)

Yes indeedy, the weather people were right. We had some serious snow action today -- according to the oil tank measuring stick, we're at 5" as of 1pm. I took a walk and took some pictures.

City Light right-of-way

(frozen) cemetary gate

shot of bench in Washelli cemetary

It's all supposed to be gone by tomorrow (Seattle snow is convenient in that it melts quickly). Today, though, is a snow day for us.

Posted by dylan at 01:42 PM | Comments (1)

January 05, 2004

A slimy Rose

So Pete Rose finally fessed up to the worst-kept secret in baseball.

Betting on a sport you play in is serious moral terpitude, even if you're not betting on your own team. It looks bad, and it's bad business for the sport as a whole.

I can't believe there are people defending the guy. Players have been banned for life just for putting a bet on a team, and this guy is about to get his plaque in Cooperstown despite admitting he was betting on MLB? Geez.

I've been to Cooperstown and seen the plaques of some real slimeballs -- Cap Anson, a guy who makes David Duke look like Martin Luther King; Ty Cobb, baseball's greatest anti-role model; various womanizers, spitball throwers, cheaters, and folks you wouldn't want to live next door to. They aren't exactly Nobel Prize winners... but none of them bet on baseball. To put Rose's face in the same room as these guys cheapens the value of the Hall -- even for Cap Anson, whose plaque is worth less than the metal it was cast out of.

Baseball is in serious trouble, but putting Rose in the Hall fixes nothing. It just proves that they're grasping for anything that will make them a buck in a climate where the game is seeing more youth turn to soccer than to Little League.

Posted by dylan at 09:12 PM

January 03, 2004

Brr.

Geez, it's cold for Seattle. 26F right now, expecting temps below freezing through Tuesday. Yeah, I know, 26F ain't exactly cold, but Seattle proper only gets a hard freeze once every two or three years. The lowest recorded temp ever was 0F.

Posted by dylan at 11:45 PM | Comments (1)

January 02, 2004

And now, resolution

Here are the 2004 goals. Feel free to hold me accountable or just laugh at my audacity.

Major goals
One
To weigh <190 lbs by Dec 31.

Two
In order to reduce my natural Eeyore-ness, point out the good things about something (an issue, suggestion, project, person) before noting the bad.

Three
Have less debt at the end of the year than when I started.

Four
Survive the birthing process and first eight months of the Player's life with as few blowups as possible.

Minor goals

  1. Attend a fotolog or blog meetup.
  2. Cull the CD collection to a more manageable number.
  3. Cull the books. It's time.
  4. Design someone else's website for profit (freelance).
  5. Design someone else's website not-for-profit.
  6. Memorize one poem, hopefully a short one.
  7. Apply to grad school, take the GRE, write my essay, meet profs and get some faculty sponsorship, track down references.
  8. Figure out life insurance and saving for Player's college.
  9. Write one of the short stories that's been rattling around my head all these years. (Extra credit: Sell it to a reputable journal/mag and make the wife jealous. Extra extra credit: Have it made into a graphic novel and make the wife extra jealous.)
  10. Get the wife a new computer, upgrade current computer to XP, and get the home network stable.
  11. Finish one Dostoevsky novel.
  12. Take a class. Any class. Use my 6 free hours per quarter from work, perhaps.
  13. Have people over for dinner AT LEAST three times this year.
  14. Even more photography.
  15. Make bread or some other baked good.
  16. Make the long-promised mix CD for cousin Mary (and Lemonhead-free).
  17. Make the long-promised mix CD for Kat (Lemonhead-free if she prefers).
  18. Acquire Baby Bjorn. Take Player hiking.
  19. Fix the divots in the front drive with a lot of gravel.
  20. Fix the back door (and bill the landlord).
  21. Find a meaty, interesting magazine. Subscribe to it.
  22. Resolve my pent-up anger with someone who send me a really nasty tell-off letter four years ago then showed up a few months ago and acted as it nothing ever happened.

Website goals

  1. Try to post something new at least five days out of seven.
  2. Redo the wedding section.
  3. Do up a nice baby site.

  4. Redesign the main site.
  5. Increase readership.
  6. Post the California pictures (at long last).

Posted by dylan at 01:59 PM | Comments (3)