Saturday, February 28, 2004

Music again?

Yup, gonna talk about music again. It's in my blood. Or one of those bodily fluids.

Last night I went to see Lisa's boyfriends band, Shockwave Riders. They rocked my house. Specially 'cause they did a Joy Division cover. Their CD will be out Real Soon Now.

After the show we fumbled and stumbled our way to one of those patented Richmond VA Shockoe Bottom places. I can't even begin to explain that, but if you live here, you probably know what I mean. There was more merriment and more beer. There was almost drama, but I think we avoided most of that.

On the way downtown, I was listening to Paloalto. 'cause, you know, I like them. And I was thinking that it's time to make a mix tape. 'course nowadays, I guess that means I have to make a CD instead. Stupid technology.

So my theme is going to be "California." Or probably more specifically "LA." Here are the bands that I have thought of off the top of my head for inclusion on this nebulous project:

Agent Orange
Missing Persons
Black Flag
Palo Alto
Possum Dixon
Mike Watt

Yeah, most of them are either from the 80's or rooted in the 80's. Wanna make something of it?

Anybody out there have any more suggestions?

Friday, February 27, 2004

In yer face, Dubya!

I read about this on another forum, but before copying and pasting from there, I did check the official site for the Congressional Record. Specifically Page 596 of the Record representing a portion of the activities on 2/25/2004. Congressman Jim McDermott is a Democrat from Washington State:


(Mr. MCDERMOTT asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. MCDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, the President’s presidential prayer team is urging us to ‘‘pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to Biblical principles.’’

With that in mind, I thought I would remind the body of the biblical principles they are talking about.

Marriage shall consist of a union between one man and one or more women. That is from Genesis 29:17–28.

Secondly, marriage shall not impede man’s right to take concubines in addition to his wife or wives. That is II Samuel 5:13 and II Chronicles 11:21.

A marriage shall be considered valid only if the wife is a virgin. If the wife is not a virgin, she shall be executed. That is Deuteronomy 22:13.

Marriage of a believer and a nonbeliever shall be forbidden. That is Genesis 24:3.

Finally, it says that since there is no law that can change things, divorce is not possible, and finally, if a married man dies, his brother has to marry his sister-in-law.

10:15 Saturday Night

More like 10:30 Friday morning as I start this, but that's not the point.

Yesterday after Caitlin and I had lunch at the Mongolian BBQ place (mmmmmmmmm), we stopped in at Tower Records. To paraphrase an old saying, it's not as good as it once was, but it's as good once as it ever was. Meaning they just don't have the kind of selection that I'd like to see, but once in a while, I can find something I want. In this case, it was the new box set from The Cure -- "Join The Dots - B-Sides and Rarities - 1978->2001 - The Fiction Years" (longest title ever!). In the accompanying book, Robert Smith is quoted as saying " "The first thing I ever did when I got a new single, was flip it over and play the other side. I always hoped the B-side would give me another version of the artist, something as good as the A-side but somehow different. I expected great B-sides from the artists I loved... "

I'd say that he managed to deliver a lot of those great B-sides with his band. So did New Order, Depeche Mode, The Clash . . . well, you can see where my musical preferences still lie.

And the tap drips, drip drip drip drip drip drip drip . . .

Thursday, February 26, 2004

Adventures in Customer Support

Microsoft and I have kissed and made up. Well, that might be overstating the case. Let's just say they gave me the courtesy of a reacharound. Took me two weeks of e-mails with three different "engineers", but finally Windows Update is working again. Good thing I was persistent and have a little bit of computer knowledge, because the second engineer tried to snow me, but good. Told me that OEM versions of Windows XP often have problems using Windows Update. Ummm, yeah, OK "Dustin." First of all, just about every copy of XP out there is an OEM version, since you can't hardly buy a mass market PC without XP being pre-installed. Therefore, if your little story was true, dont' you think there'd be some mention of it on the web? Little weasel just wanted to get the ticket closed so he could get a gold star or something. Oh yeah, he also told me I'd have to order a CD that had the updates on it. OK, so the CD was free, but according to the order page, it only included updates through October 2003. Nice. What about the hugely critical flaw that was just patched at the beginning of this month? Luckily, the next guy sent me an updated copy of some system file or other and it seems to have resolved the problem. I just have to wait until the next time there's a patch for a critical flaw in XP to see if that's true. And we know there's going to be a next time.

Salon had a scary story about life in the tech support trenches. (Access to the full article requires a subscription or watching a brief ad.) Now I feel bad about all the times I've told my Dad to call tech support. A more amusing take on Tech Support is offered up here. (Quicktime required).

Another company that needs to learn a little about how to treat customers is Roxio. No, I'm not going to link to them, they suck. A little over a year ago, I wanted a program for CD Writing, and I found a good deal on WinOnCD, from (I thought) a German company called ceQuadrat. Unfortunately, it turns out that said program was somehow owned by Roxio. Still, there was a separate website for WinOnCD that worked just fine until a couple months ago. Now, if you try to go to, you end up at a Roxio page. Go ahead, try it, I'll wait. Poke around on that page, or the "support" pages and you wouldn't even know that they had ever sold a product called WinOnCD. So I sent them an e-mail, asking where I could get some help. They sent me a link to a page that didn't work. Thanks guys. Doesn't anybody even check this stuff before they send it out? I replied to their e-mail, telling them that the link they sent me didn't work. So then they sent me a bunch of phone numbers. In Europe. Did I mention that Roxio sucks? And blows.


Some day I'm going to collect all this on my regular website. Maybe I'll even be able to present stories about companies that get it right. Assuming that is, that there are any. Also assuming that I get off my ass and get that puppy coded and uploaded.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Assimilation is Useless, You Will Be Resisted

Yesterday, in a fit of complete and utter boredom at work, I ended up loading Microsoft Visual Studio onto my PC. Ironic, considering that Microsoft is currently pissing me right the hell off at home.

Still, I guess it won't hurt to learn a little Visual Basic. (Heck, I remember when it wasn't "visual" at all, and we had to write it as BASIC, because it is, after all, an acronym. Back in the day, we had paper tape and teletypes and acoustic couplers. Oh my.) So far, I've written the requisite "Hello, World!" program. (Some day, I'm going to find out just how that became the ubiquitous first program for all languages. I can find a lot of links telling me that it is the ubiquitous first program, but nothing that tells me why. Dammit.)

It's all about being employable, I guess. These days, you gotta have some specific keywords on the resumé; general breadth of knowledge and a willingness to learn doesn't get you too far.

You know, all this could be so easily avoided if I could just buy that winning Lotto ticket.

Monday, February 23, 2004


I went to the gym yesterday morning for the first time in mumblety-three weeks. So, yeah, ow. However, with the Kauai vacation coming up in less than five weeks, I figured I'd better tone up a little. OK, a lot, but there's only so much I can do in a month.

This weekend, I thought a lot about "internet friendships" and how they can be either ephemeral or enduring, or maybe even both. This is mostly because I "stumbled" across an old friend online the other night. We met online nearly nine years ago, and even though he lives in the same geographic area, we only met face-to-face one time. Since then, we've exchanged very sporadic e-mails -- like once or twice a year. Yet on Saturday night, when we started IM-ing, it was like there hadn't been any gap in communication at all. I actually feel pretty good about that. Maybe we'll even get together and have a beer!

Also, Microsoft is pissing me off. Big news there.

Saturday, February 21, 2004

I'll have a bigger and better post later. Or maybe tomorrow.

But this is neat, if only because I've kept a simple paper list of this information anyway:

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Friday, February 20, 2004

Ever since I was a young boy, I've played the silver ball

Ever since I was a young boy, I've played the silver ball.


I even have a machine at home. Gorgar. The first talking pinball machine. He only could speak seven words (You, Me, Speaks, Gorgar, Beat, Hurt, and Got), but through the magic of technology, they could be rearranged in many ways, such as "Me Gorgar, beat me", "You hurt Gorgar", and the best of all, "You beat me". Oh yeah, baby, take that. Feel the power of my mad pinball skillz. It's all very S&M.

Unfortunately, he's not working right now, which is something I need to get taken care of. The good thing is that as I've been researching links for this entry, I've found all kinds of neat resources to help me with that project. Because I really need more unfinished projects around the house.

So anyway, once in a while, I get the urge to go and play, but there are fewer and fewer places to do so. And when I do find a place to play, the machines are usually not set up properly, nor are they well maintained. When I win the lottery, I think I'll open up an arcade with nothing but pinball machines. I'll keep 'em clean, level and generally in good working condition. OK, maybe I'll throw in a couple old school vids like Space Invader, Asteroids and PacMan. But that's it. None of those mega-fighter-kung-fu-action things.

In the meantime, if you know of a good place to play, let me know.

Thursday, February 19, 2004


It begins.

I don't really know that the world needs another blog, and even if it does, I'm pretty sure that mine wouldn't be the one.

And yet . . .

What do I really want to say here? I suppose I'll figure that out as I go. For now, maybe I'll just post a link to something that I think is interesting.

Last night, I went to Flicker, a bi-monthly presentation of short films shot on Super8 or 16mm. I only stayed for the first half though, because a) I wasn't feeling too good and b) my friend Caitlin couldn't make it. Additionally, I felt that I was not wearing nearly enough black clothing to fit in with the rest of the crowd.

That's it then. The first, boring post. Woo. and it's close personal friend Hoo.

(for those playing along at home, that's two Buffy references. I'll try to curtail that tendency.)