April 29, 2004
To celebrate their one year anniversary, the iTunes Music Store is giving away a tune a day for eight days "to broaden your musical horizons" and thank users of the store. I got the first two tunes, and don't have very high hopes:
- My Hero - Foo Fighters. Well, I've heard that the Foo Fighters were a great 'alternarock' band, but by this sample, it sounds pretty pedestrian and same-old-same-old to me. Just another MTV rock band.
- Avril Lavigne. I don't remember the name of the song, it's that memorable. Just another teeny-bopper adrenaline pop number. Some of 'em have caught my fancy in the past, but this is just too annoying to me.
Upcoming songs might offer something better. I have hopes (and some trepidation) for the Courtney Love song, tomorrow, and I feel almost certain that I'll like Saturday's tune, from Annie Lennox. As for the remainder, I'm fearful that they're all just more corporate rock with little distinct personality. We'll see. The remaining freebies are from Jane's Addiction, Counting Crows, Renee Fleming and Nelly Furtado. Anyone like these guys?
Posted by dpwakefield at 07:59 PM
April 26, 2004
Unclear on the Concept
I need a checklist of figures of speech Kelly is familiar with. This evening, I was helping her after her shower.
"Where's your hairbrush?"
"It's probably in the bathroom."
"So go get it," I replied.
"I'm wet and cold, and I just got out of the shower, and I had dance class tonight... So could you please look for it?"
I'm hardly the sympathetic type when confronted with a pathetic list like that, so I answered: "I will go look for it, but do you know what this is?" I held up my thumb and forefinger, rubbing delicately together.
"It's the world's tiniest violin, playing just for you."
To which Kelly replied: "Yay!"
If you're old enough, you remember this stuff, rust brown and murky. My Dad used to apply it on a swab to my throat whenever I got a sore throat. It was an all-purpose antiseptic, going on scrapes and cuts in liberal swathes.
It turns out my dentist is insane. She suggested very strongly that I use a Betadine solution in my Waterpik, which I use to irrigate under the gums as a measure against gingivitis. But I use a product called Peroxyl, which is sort of like Listerine, with Hydrogen Peroxide in it's mix. Apparently that's not toxic enough. "We use Betadine here when we scale teeth. Just mix it four-to-one with water."
So I dutifully got some (after the second check-up, when she insisted again). And tonight I tried it out. That is the most foul substance in the Universe! I was spitting for the next hour, and my mouth still feels unnatural. I won't be doing that every night.
I bought an iTrip FM transmitter to go with my iPod, so I could listen to it in my car. I wanted to test it out, so I was looking for an FM radio in the house which I could use. The 'retired' clock/radio in my room that I use for a reference (garish red LEDs show up great in the dark) is retired for a reason. The radio gave up the ghost about ten seconds after I tried to use it.
Then I remembered that I had an old Sony Walkman cassette tape/FM radio that I use occasionally for walks. I grabbed it, turned it on, and it was dead. I tried a fresh battery, and no go. The darn thing died sometime after the last time I used it. And I only found out when attempting to test the new portable music box I had just bought.
Posted by dpwakefield at 09:02 PM
I forgot to mention that yesterday I was priviledged to take Kelly and her friend Emily to see Ella Enchanted. It's a slight movie, funny, irreverant without being snide, anachronistic in the way that so many television mythology shows have become (Xena, anyone?). Overall, I quite enjoyed it.
Funny thing is, just recently I watched Grosse Pointe Blank, recorded off the telly, and I was remarking to Jean that I hadn't seen Minnie Driver anywhere of late. What happened to her? And there she was, in a middling supporting role in Ella. She looks the same as she did seven years ago in GPB. So I looked her up in IMDB, and she's been in a lot of things. Things, I've never heard of, true, but she's working.
Jean suggested that she may be taking work that doesn't require her to travel, so that she can stay near her family. Makes as much sense as anything else, since I think she's a credible actress, not needing to bottom feed, as it were. Still, interesting coincidence.
Posted by dpwakefield at 08:55 PM
April 25, 2004
I made the first of two somewhat pricey purchases today, all part of my nefarious plan! What did I buy? A 15GB iPod. I blame you Tom!
The other purchase is staged over the next couple of weeks. I'm planning on buying a Nikon D70 digital SLR body. I'll use my existing lenses with it, and work on getting familiar enough with it to turn out decent pictures when we go to Disneyland this summer for Kelly's birthday. This is the second time we're doing this, and as last time I used a Olympus Stylus Epic with Disneychrome -- pardon, Fuji Velvia -- I decided to see if I couldn't do something different. True, my old Nikon Coolpix 950 produces images that are adequate to put up on the web. But I want to be able to do that and get some nice-sized prints.
So the plan (a.k.a. rationalization) for this hardware is to take pictures with the D70, download 'em to the iPod while at Disneyland, then process them all back at the ranch. This plan may fall apart at the first sign of trouble, but I have hopes anyway.
Jean has embarked on an admirable mission, to supply Kelly with opportunities to exercise her responsibility muscles. This weekend she let Kelly buy her own Happy Meal (long story short, Kelly wanted a particular stuffed dog toy similar to one she got recently), navigate Borders on her own to locate and buy a Calvin & Hobbes book, call me at work on her own to chat ... you get the idea.
So now when Kelly wants to try something, we have to at least pause, and ask ourselves if this is an opportunity for growth. She did good this weekend, so I'm up for more.
Posted by dpwakefield at 09:51 PM
Cooking Master Boy
Woo hoo! I now have in my possession the first 40 episodes of Cooking Master Boy! Based in an Imperial China of the pre-Industrial era, this show is about as innocent and cornball as you could hope. It's a proud member of the genre which I've only ever seen in Asia, the dueling chef adventure. While the anime was produced in Japan, the fansub I've located uses mostly Cantonese source video, which is appropriate enough, considering the setting. Okay, I know, for mainland China, it should be Mandarin, but you get my point.
There are twelve more episodes to get (it goes to 52), but I may have to be satisfied with 40, considering how long it took me to procure even these. Waiting patiently...
April 18, 2004
Kill Bill, Volume 2
I went with the gang after NOVA to see Kill Bill, Volume 2. It was a great big hoot of a movie. It felt like a different genre from the first volume, and had a whole different pacing. I just recently bought some Sergio Leone music, so it was neat to hear all his music overlaid on a Quentin Tarantino picture.
Another treat for me was sitting through the credits at the end of the movie. Credits were rolled for both movies, and I saw a credit for the first movie that I didn't expect. It appears that Lucy Liu's stunt double was Michiko Nishiwaki, whom I've mentioned here previously. Along with Yukari Oshima, she is one of my favorite female martial artists. Like Yukari Oshima, she's got a patchy film career, with only a few movie credits worth mentioning, often as a villain. I guess in those days, female martial artists were not respected too much.
So now I have to buy the DVD of Volume 1 and look for those stunt double scenes!
Posted by dpwakefield at 09:40 PM
Kelly used to take riding lessons at a Wilsonville riding school. Jean and I were both a bit peeved with them. They were very disorganized, messing up their schedules too often. Kelly would have a class, but they'd have no record of it. We would show up for a class only to find out it had been cancelled, without notifying us. The pain level hadn't quite escalated to the point of cancellation until they recently informed us that we owed them for classes we'd paid for.
I looked online and found that they hadn't posted the check we gave to the riding school. Given their record, we felt certain that these yarboes had lost the check themselves, so we informed them that we'd write a new check, but deduct the $20 stop-payment fee for the original check from the amount. They waffled, suggested that we should just 'not stop payment', ask at our local post office for the missing check, anything but deduct that $20. So we pulled Kelly out of the class. Now they have their $20, but have lost a steady revenue stream from us. What pathetic putzes.
Sunday Jean loaded us into the car to check out a new riding school. It's smaller, located somewhere North of Beaverton. The teacher seemed no-nonsense, and a parent I spoke with said she'd never experienced the level of incompetence we'd seen at the earlier place. Kelly has an evaluation this Thursday. We'll see what turns up. I hope it turns out okay for Kelly, as she says she enjoyed riding, and this school does Western-style lessons, which fit's Kelly's interests better anyway.
Posted by dpwakefield at 09:06 PM
April 12, 2004
Why I Love the Internet, #453So I'm using [NetNewsWire Lite](http://ranchero.com/netnewswire/) to scan through a bunch of weblogs fairly fast, using their RSS feeds. Some fellow mentions that his favorite band right now is [Mermen](http://www.mermen.net/), described as:
Posted by dpwakefield at 09:39 PM
April 11, 2004
Dawn of the Lepus
If you were ever priviledged to see Night of the Lepus, or have seen the original or remake of Dawn of the Dead, you might comprehend my amusement at this candid snap of Jean following Kelly during the Easter egg hunt this morning at our abode. It just tickled me, anyway.
And if you haven't seen either of the above films, as Jean apparently hasn't ... For clarity's sake, the reference was to the notion of Jean being stalked by a giant killer bunny. Jeez people (i.e. Jean), where's your pop cultural education?
Posted by dpwakefield at 08:19 PM
April 10, 2004
My Own Worst Enemy
Thursday night I was horsing around with Kelly. The usual, faux wrestling, tickling, making raspberry noises on each others' skin. As is so often the case when we do this, things got out of hand, only this time, instead of getting a fingernail gouge, I really got slammed. I was wriggling under Kelly's legs, and she pegged me with her heelbone, solidly, in the nexus of nerves in my left jaw joint. Man, did that hurt.
I immediately took some aspirin to keep down the swelling, and the major pain soon ebbed. I don't think I've incurred any sort of TMJ, but the tissue is still sore, when I extend the jaw, or press at that joint. This is only like the twentieth time I've sworn that Kelly and I will not rough house anymore. It just never seems to stick. The irony is that this was the evening after my dental checkup, where I got a sterling grade for dental care!
Posted by dpwakefield at 07:38 PM
April 07, 2004
Joy, Joy Division
Okay, I'd forgotten what a kickass album this really is. Considering the deep black funks I used to pull back then, I'm surprised I lived through a single listen. And yet I remember listening to it many many times, and here I am. Yes, this is a good candidate for most depressing album in the history of rock, but it also shakes and boogies.
I ripped this as soon as I got home, and played the first song on the iLamp. I'd forgotten how damn funky and cool Atrocity Exhibition was! Man am I ever going to waste a few hours reacquainting myself with this CD. But not when I'm feeling depressed, oh no! Only when I'm happy and strong!
Posted by dpwakefield at 08:26 PM
Closer is Closer
Whoo Hoo! I love electronic tracking numbers. The USPS says my cd is in Tualatin, having arrived at 4:03am! So with a little luck, I should be listening to the most depressing album in the history of rock this evening.
Posted by dpwakefield at 07:49 AM
April 06, 2004
A Ghost Is Born
As I work away on my iLamp, waiting for Kelly to finish her shower, a new album is playing in the background. It won't be out until late June, but the band, Wilco, are gracious enough to stream the entire thing, in pretty high quality, across the Internet for my sampling enjoyment. The verdict so far: I will be buying this one.
Oooh! Handshake Drugs is playing right now! This was on their Enhanced EP, and is really nice. They made the digital version of the EP available to fans (like me) who bought Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. I'm a fan for life, I tell ya!
Posted by dpwakefield at 08:06 PM
I dug around on the Internet and found some example code for a way to lock down comments in bulk. With a few changes it worked for my weblog. I'm not turning off comments entirely. Any new post will be open. But the comment spam parasites seem to choose old posts by default, so this will rein them in until MT3.0 gets out. Then I'll probably reverse the closing of comments to allow those rare articulate strangers their voices.
April 05, 2004
My Blog Has Fleas
I really dislike the word 'blog' as a stand in for weblog, but it fit the title, so be it.
I'm sick of the parasites. Sick I say. I allow comments on my weblog so that friends and family can add something to my posts. I even get useful posts from strangers now and then. Unfortunately, the overwhelming mass of comments are what is known as 'comment spam'. This is when someone posts a comment with a link to a commercial site. The comment itself is not related to the post, and is often total jibberish.
Why would anyone advertise their site on a little known weblog? It's Google's fault. Google rates the popularity of web pages by how many other pages link to it. This is the Pagerank algorithm. So spammers post comments on thousands of weblogs, and try to trick Google into believing their websites are popular.
I get between one and five of these faux commments every day, and it's very irritating. I've contemplated closing all comments on my website, but for now, the balance is still in favor of leaving them open. One comment from a friend, or a comment which leads to a new friendship (hi Pascale! hi Ky!) is worth a hundred of these flea bites.
That may not always be so. The frequency of spam comments is slowly increasing. Yesterday I upgraded my site to MovableType 2.661, which implements Comment Throttling. This prevents multiple comments from the same IP address more than once a minute. But of course since the comment spammers use virus driven PCs, the comments come from all over.
MovableType is coming out with a 3.0 version 'soon', which will allow comment approval. Then the only person who will have to see the spam is me. And I will have the satisfaction of denying the spammers access to my weblog entirely. Until then...
My Blog Has Fleaaaaaas!!!
April 04, 2004
Thief of Time
Friday I explained Daylight Savings Time to Kelly. You know, Spring Forward, Fall Back, alleged reasons why it's a good idea. Of course, I may have used words to the effect of 'them' stealing an hour from us each Spring. So yes, Kelly's creeping up on nine years, and has had this experience before, but this year, this year it's personal! She was quite peeved Friday night.
Today we went to the garden store, and if I so much as mentioned Daylight Savings Time, she carped bitterly, and it took a heroic effort to steer the conversation to another topic. I swear, it was like turning an oil tanker. So I guess my work here is done.
Posted by dpwakefield at 08:50 PM
I just finished Singularity Sky by Charles Stross. It was a lot of fun. Superscience and Vingean human Singularity wrapped up in a neat package. At times I thought I was reading Roadside Picnic, since Stross managed to capture that enigmatic and puzzling element of the truly alien. Even if the aliens are probably descended from us, by way of the Singularity.
Next on the menu is a great big brick of a sci-fi novel, which is the first of a trilogy, no less: Revelation Space by Alistair Reynolds. At 500 pages, on loan from the library, it's doubtful I'll finish it before I run through all my renewals, but I hope to at least determine if it's worth buying.
Posted by dpwakefield at 07:12 PM