January 30, 2004

Movie Postcard

I am creating the postcard image for my movie, and have chosen a design where the text runs at an angle.

But I have somehow broken so many rules of layout design, by combining different text sizes and colors and the like, that I have managed instead to create an optical illusion where no two lines run in the same direction.

Posted by Chris on 01/30/04

A Cashless Society

I have moved one step closer to my dream of a Utopian society by ordering the Chicago Card Plus - or as we Utopians call it, a "CCP" - from the CTA. Now all I have to do is wave this card in the general direction of the turnstile as I whisk through, and I need never touch the filthy paper moneys of an earlier, less civilized age again.

(NOTE: In perusing the archives I see that I actually DID wish for such a card as this.)

Actually, when I dreamt of a cashless society, I was thinking more along the lines of me not having to pay for anything. But this will do until all economies are abolished.

True, I am uncomfortable with the idea of anything automatically making deductions from one of my accounts on its own, but I have confidence. Also, I will carefully monitor its spending habits in the first month, and make sure not to go on any public transportation-riding sprees.

Unless I just really deserve one! WOO HOO! I'm riding Bus 66 ALL... NIGHT... LONG!

Posted by Chris on 01/30/04

The Problem With Having a Silly Password

... is that sometimes you have to reveal it to a help desk person.

  • Web pages that accept a lot of data on one page, only to lose it all when you hit submit because there was an error? May those web pages burn in Hell.

  • It's too cold to blog.

    Posted by Chris on 01/30/04
  • January 20, 2004

    Suspensory Cyclopentane Porn Poetry

    Here for your enjoyment are some poems that have appeared at the bottom of some recent porn-spam emails I've received.

    Why are they including poems in these things? All I can think of is that these words would be all I would see in the email, were my email client not capable of supporting HTML and viewing the pictures. As if the people with plaintext-only email clients somehow have to be shielded from the bitter truth that this email is not actually from a "Quantum R. Steadly" but is in fact UNSOLICITED PORN.

    I believe their authorship is some combination of a random word generator and a non-English speaker monitoring the output. Case in point: Although they've mostly been ads for the Paris Hilton video, and one promising me a MUCH! MORE! POWERFUL! PENIS! there was also one from "Temp Sluts" telling me that some lusty temps (Rorw! Rorw!) were just waiting to "file my dick."

    Now, I can see how to a non-English speaker, a slutty office worker just waiting to "file my dick" might seem like just the kind of naughty double-entendre an American might like. Unfortunately it takes a more nuanced command of the language to know that the idea of someone taking a file to your dick might not be what the average American wants - although you can always be sure that there will be a fetish subculture for whatever you'd want to suggest. But me, I'd have to have MUCH! MORE! POWERFUL! PENIS! indeed for that to be enticing.

    Anyway, onto the poems. But first - a variation of this line appeared somewhere in all these emails:

    something: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry

    What's that about? The Random Word Generator adding its signature?

    The poems:

    Something to think about:
    Calm futon as a secretion walks about the intelligent book,
    Beckoning nude nectars here.

    Made by frogs, hits the chair to cup.

    Where season addresses through living, woefully,
    Its knife marked in the plan of a promise.

    A Poem for your enjoyment:
    Level the wall devoured a stealthy resolution, unexpectedly
    Violin had a counter, which was not at all a child.

    What chilly moose of paper within the ingenious unicorns!
    Demonstrate pits with no rabid girl.
    What creepy year of theater within the lonely utterances!

    And creams enlarge, seducing by returning well yet smoothly,
    Upon flabby books, fly not yet conduct joyfully
    Its harp walked in the spill of a thicket.

    Until moose mark pitifully, the glance destroys as porpoise,
    Peel the queen! Masquerade the gut!

    stupid things: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry

    something: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry

    Something to think about:
    Revolved by hares, tells the hanger to car.
    Serious as of lonely mark as days.
    For each drug, walk of the opaque hare.

    American torch as a creep sees about the putrid vessel,
    Torches like carpenters transmutate allegedly to picnic, pondering
    Ham writes an important queen.

    A Poem for your enjoyment:

    Throwing out, making, walking, telling, spilling,
    And fears live, undoing by addressing slyly yet shortly,
    Of spoons, make the unreal guest, penetrating
    What flabby gut of object within the flabby women!

    But where undoes the worm, as though walls were cheeses, abruptly

    Alas, the counter has spilled quite darkly, catching
    Of stomachs, lift the textured carpenter, addressing
    Enlarging, pondering, striking, showing, transmutating,
    Creep had a spill, which was not at all a pit.

    Rulers like cheerleaders kill purportedly to powder, lifting
    Dress the guy!
    Step the glance!
    Tell violins with no gargantuan content. Dive snacks with no funny plan.

    stupid things: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry

    something: suspensory cyclopentane thegn aludra azole squarsonry

    Something to think about:
    And thickets revolve, addressing by quiting negatively yet angrily,
    Cup haunts a prefabricated counter.
    Intelligent resolution as a lion puts down about the turbid drug,
    Laugh rots a loud frog.

    Penetrate year, display along the cheese, peel
    Alas, the promise has quoted quite friendly, solving
    Suits like guys speculate lightly to hole, masquerading
    When nights fly in ethereal lights, the drug lifts,
    Speculate the suit! Write the llama!

    Until rugs revolve purportedly, the acorn sees as laugh,
    Alas, the war has speculated quite darkly, beckoning
    Catch lamps with no raunchy vessel.
    Rot creeps with no bouncy powder.

    Posted by Chris on 01/20/04

    Cincinnati Skeptics

    A great site put together by the Cincinnati Skeptics Association for Rational Thought, featuring, amongst other things, a page of brief refutations and concise rebuttals to the "nonsense of the day."

    I was hoping for something political, but this is fun stuff. It seems to be heavily weighted towards dispelling a lot of the Creationism flim-flam.

    I won't accept what they say about the Piltdown Man, though. I SAW THAT THING, MAN! It was eating out of my garbage can in Yellowstone!

    Posted by Chris on 01/20/04

    January 19, 2004

    Something Definitely Gave

    Review: Something's Gotta Give

    I guess I went to see this instead of "Monster" because I was on my own and knew Ami wasn't interested in "Something's Gotta Give." It went from flat to bad to wretched. I kept thinking - you know, the questions and problems and feelings of a 50ish woman suddenly dating a 60 + man - that previously only dated 20 + hotties - COULD be compelling. Wouldn't it be more interesting to see someone of Diane Keaton's ilk actually deal with that, rather than having to jump through all those gratuitous, obligatory, and predictable screenplay hoops?

    The last hour or so was just embarassing and a waste of two good actors. I tried to have an out-of-body experience by mentally naming every Keaton / Nicholson movie I could. I would have left if I weren't hemmed in on both sides by other customers.

    All this movie needed to actively, completely suck would have been a montage where they all danced to some James Brown song. Oh, it featured a montage, all right, just not a Chris Columbus-type montage.

    And is there anything LESS cinematic than seeing two people send instant messages to one another?

    By the way - I am working and blogging on MLK, Jr. day because we are leaving for Sundance on Wednesday and I need to get some stuff done. Please infer no political statement on my part - I am an active supporter of MLK, Jr.'s tenets and beliefs.

    Posted by Chris on 01/19/04

    No Tree Left Unsniffed

    We've been dog-sitting over the weekend. It's been great having another small four-legged creature around the house that is happy to lay around with and on us.

    It's been a little tough on him, though, because the extreme frigidity of the weather has led to some very quick and to-the-point walks outside. This is tough because Mondo - that is the pup's name - likes to follow a No Tree Left Unsniffed policy on walks. This is funny for the first five trees only.

    Posted by Chris on 01/19/04

    A Crash of Rhinos

    I just read on the elevator Captivate system that a group of Rhinoceri is called a "crash." How cool is that? This prompted a bit of a look-up, which lead me to: http://www.stalking.co.uk/group.html and http://www.npwrc.usgs.gov/help/faq/animals/names.htm.

    Other favorites: a "lounge" of lizards! An "intrusion" of cockroaches!

    This leads me to look up other group names, or "noun collectives," because I am in a lull at work: http://biobase.dk/Embnetut/Personal/venereal.html

    An "eloquence of lawyers" indeed. That sounds like something the lawyers would LIKE for us to say. I suggest instead a "smarminess" of lawyers. Or a "fee schedule" of lawyers. No offense, anyone.

    Other collective nouns I suggest:

    A Hysteria of Project Managers

    A Latte of Yuppies

    An Insolence of Customer Service Reps

    A Myopia of Conservatives

    Posted by Chris on 01/19/04

    January 16, 2004

    Desirably K. Particularize

    I am getting a lot of spam lately trying to sell me not Viagra but a generic variant of it called V-I-A-G-R-A. I imagine that this version of the drug not only makes you a tiger in bed but has the added benefit of being able to slip past a set of Outlook rules designed to catch the regular drug.

    The best part is the names that have been in the "From:" field on the emails. When spam comes from Nigeria or Romania or maybe somewhere in Micronesia you can usually tell from the labored English. It's like they're trying to make a Haiku out of everything.

    But these names seem to come from somehere else; it's like a really big fan of Charlie and The Chocolate Factory has written a program to generate them randomly.

    I've gotten offers to buy -V-I-A-G-R-A- from the likes of Admiration Q. Mare and Agustin R. Minor. Relished G. Transsexual and Multiplexing F. Cheryl want me to buy the pills! The relatively normal Marquerite Dingmann once sent me an offer, the enticing Manipulator T. Walloons sent me one, but my favorite so far has been... Desirably K. Particularize!

    Posted by Chris on 01/16/04

    The Story of Pyramiditus

    Who is that character in Greek Mythology that, when you looked at him on the right side, he looked fairly normal, but on the left side he looked sort of like a dickhead? With hair shaped like a pyramid and all sort of pointing straight up? Because he - and this is the part I forget - he either angered Hera or maybe he just wore his knit cap on the way to work and his hair wasn't totally dry?

    Seems like his name was Pyramiditus... or Alflafarus... or Dikhedarus? NO! That's wasn't a character from Greek mythology at all! That's ME! I'M the one with the epically-bad haircut!

    Posted by Chris on 01/16/04

    Do It Yourself Spirit & Opportunity

    You think it's easy? YOU do it.

    Posted by Chris on 01/16/04

    Watch the Skies

    Was I wary as I walked to work today? Yes. Will I be wary from now on as I walk that way to work? Yes. Do I realize that the odds of being BULLSEYED by a pigeon (or what must have been a whole flock from the looks of it) TWO DAYS IN A ROW are infinitesimal? Yes. But I still watch the skies as I walk to work.

    There's this one section of the Adams Street Bridge where all the pigeons hang out. It is the most beshitted, befoulled crapified outhang on a bridge ever. Look at them there, all puffed up to keep out the cold. Or are they puffed up out of pride, and bluster? What are you going to do, pal? Shoo us away? We'll just fly back. Smarter dudes than you have taken us on, and we always come back. Rats with wings, fella, RATS WITH WINGS.

    Look at them. Just watching me. One of them is the Ace Pilot that got me yesterday. I tell you it was the Pearl Harbor of pigeon / man encounters. Look for the one all the others are eyeing with new respect - that will be the Red Baron from yesterday. Is it that one? Eyeing me in that beady way?

    I hurry past the bridge, drawing my coat closer, making sure no part of my skin is exposed.

    Posted by Chris on 01/16/04

    January 15, 2004

    A very unfortunate incident

    An incident on the way to work this morning has unfortunately led me to call for the immediate death of all pigeons.

    Anyone caught feeding pigeons (Lady on the Adams Street Bridge - pay attention!) will be placed on bird-poop clean-up detail throughout the city.

    Posted by Chris on 01/15/04

    A "Whatever his motives" coda

    I am still working on "Hovercar" pt. II, because I keep thinking of more points and different ways to say them. But before that I think I need to revisit the "whatever Bush's motives" statement I mentioned before.

    This morning I was talking Marsstuff with wife Ami; she was expressing dismay that after all the misleading Bush has done, he might get to have a Martian colony as his legacy. Her mistrust of him is profound, which I think is understandable. BUT.

    My essential feeling about that remains: if Bush is the one that gets us to Mars, then he rightly deserves that as his legacy. If Halliburton is printed on the side of the rocket that takes the first manned mission there (shudder) because they put up the money, then they deserve the glory that comes from undertaking such a thing.

    But let me be very clear: I'm talking about getting us to Mars in the right way. That means getting us there and KEEPING us there. It can't just be a "flags and footprints" mission, where we go, touch the surface, and then never go back for twenty years. I'm talking about going there with a well-thought out plan for staying there, which must include all the right reasons why.

    "To search for life on Mars" is not a valid reason. "To learn more about the universe" is not a valid reason. Those are splendid, excellent, SECONDARY reasons. They must come AFTER a business case reason if we are to stay there.

    Also: "To make me look like a visionary leader and increase my numbers" is not a valid reason. This one worries me. It would be very easy to call for a Mars expedition that you know a later Democratic leader will have to pay for, but you get the bump in the polls because you said "Mars." It's easy to say you want go to Mars if you know it's probably going to be a Democrat that has to break the news to the country that we can't pay it off.

    And as much as it pains me to say it, the right way to go to Mars may be not going at all right now - at least not in the same year that we have committed to rebuilding Iraq for 72 Billion +. And don't forget Afghanistan. Those that would send us there need to get some consultants in to price out the whole project, and not the ones that priced out the "First Democracy in Iraq Ever" Project, either. Because if we only have enough in the checking acount to do a flags and footprints mission, then we should not go.

    All that aside: we are talking about Mars again, so thank you, Mr. President.

    Posted by Chris on 01/15/04

    LimeWire Remorse

    Let's say there's this guy, and he used to own a copy of this one soundtrack on cassette. And this guy looks everywhere - actual music stores, and online stores like Amazon - and inexplicably this soundtrack by a very popular composer is not available on CD.

    For the sake of argument let's say he really wants this one track from the soundtrack because he's planning a sort of big shindig, and this music would be great for the preshow music selections.

    And in this completely hypothetical situation, out of desperation he downloads a LimeWire client and immediately finds the track in MP3 form. He downloads the file, and it's perfect.

    But being a good person, this freely-acquired music brings him no joy. He is immediately beset by remorse. What should he do? Is there some sort of online PayPal anonymous tipjar where one can make amends for this sort of thing?

    Posted by Chris on 01/15/04

    January 13, 2004

    The Unstoppable Force and the Incurious Front

    From: http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/01/12/timep.oneill.tm/index.html

    "The incurious President was so opaque on some important issues that top Cabinet officials were left guessing his mind even after face-to-face meetings. Cheney is portrayed as an unstoppable force, unbowed by inconvenient facts as he drives Administration policy toward his goals."

    "From his first meeting with the President, O'Neill found Bush unengaged and inscrutable, an inside account far different from the shiny White House brochure version of an unfailing leader questioning aides with rapid-fire intensity."

    "Bush was a blank slate, rarely asking questions or issuing orders, unlike Nixon and Ford, for whom O'Neill also worked. "I wondered from the first, if the President didn't know the questions to ask," O'Neill says in the book, "or if he did know and just not want to know the answers?"

    UPDATE: Arianna weighs in.

    Posted by Chris on 01/13/04

    Rethinking Elton

    OK, I'm not a convert to the sound of Elton John, now that I have surrendered to that demographic (or at least succumbed to Apple Store Impulse Buy Disorder), but friend Scott points out that perhaps my earlier post about him was unfair. Maybe it is not so much that he is overrated, but just overplayed.

    Posted by Chris on 01/13/04

    FattyFat's Cell Phone Ring

    I praise it, because it is a fancy phone that is small with an impressive blue glow when you flip it open, and it can take pictures and I think browse the internet and probably open his garage door, but the ring tone... sounds like a regular phone ring from thirty years ago.

    That is, it sounds like there is a metal rod clanging back and forth between two bells inside it. I love it.

    What I DON'T love are long, complicated cell phone rings that sample some radio hit, and not just the opening bars but the entire thing, and all conversation stops while everyone wonders what device is now playing a loud MIDI version of "Hey Ya," and the owner of the cell phone somehow doesn't remember themselves that they set their phone to make this noise until they suddenly go "OH!" and fish the phone out of their purse, and by now the song has been playing so long that it's on to the part about shake it like a Polaroid picture, and all you want to do is shake the cell phone person like a Polaroid picture because that is RUDE.

    Posted by Chris on 01/13/04

    January 9, 2004

    A few random thoughts

  • This movie poster isn't going to redesign itself. Neither is the theatre venue for the movie premiere going to research and book itself. No - these are two things that I fear will require much manual labor on my part.
  • The PC rebuild went fine. Annoying fallout - educating this fresh copy of XP on how lax I prefer to keep security on my machine. I also have to see a ton of XP pop-up bubbles describing the features all over again.
  • I failed to mention the results of the second visit by DirecTV's designated installation contractor. Mainly because everything went smoothly and well. I now receive TWO digital inputs to my TIVO, so that "Justice League" never need be preempted by "The Daily Show" again. All is right with the world.
  • I actually bought an Elton John album on the Apple Store. There was almost an audible click as I shifted over into the marketing demographic more appropriate to my age. ClearMedia or whatever the Pentaverate / Bilderburg - run conglomerate that controls All Media smiled knowingly, as if to say "It was only a matter of time."

    I still maintain that John is one of the most overrated of rock stars (although not in the Bon Jovi way), but a momentary impulse passed through my brain to hear one of his songs, and since the Apple Music Store THRIVES on momentary impulses, one minute later I owned a digital copy of the "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" album. In the olden days when I had to buy my music in shiny disk form, the impulse to buy Elton John would have disappeared somewhere in the parking lot of Coconuts.

    And hearing this entire album for the first time just illustrates again how much radio sucks. You can't turn the FM dial at random without coming to rest on someone playing some Elton John song. 97.1 FM in Chicago, after about five minutes of coolness between corporate ownerships, shifted into a program of playing ONLY "Funeral for a Friend" and one of the songs where Peter Frampton blows words into a tube connected to a synthesizer. So the radio corporations decided that Elton John is IT, but then they only play the narrowest selection of his songs available. How can I be 33 and there are Elton John songs I haven't heard? If he's going to be the Chosen One, why not at least branch out and play some of the other songs a little?

  • This has been the week of helping actor friends work on their reels. Accordingly, I bought a Hollywood Dazzle AV / DV bridge so that I could skip making a miniDV submaster between VCR / DVD player and Mac. I love it. Now the information that lived only on a tape can grow up to be a computer file, which is what all things should be. I can go straight from any analog source right into the computer. The Mac is a little finicky about what order you turn things on, but I like it.

    One annoying side-issue: With the DV /AV bridge, there are now some 15 devices plugged into three surge protectors beneath my feet. If this blog goes silent for an extended period, it's probably because the static electricity I'm accumulating all violently discharged at some point, causing me to combust.

    Other ports I wish the bridge had: One for stupid people on one side and smart ones on the other side, so that by using my Hollywood Dazzle I could bridge the gap between their understandings. I'd also like to be able to convert the things Ami sometimes says in her sleep into actual sentences.

  • To each his own, and there's no accounting for opinions, but let's agree that those kids who are really REALLY into Christian rock are somehow misguided. I try to be happy for anyone who is really into something if it doesn't harm me, but somehow it's just creepy to see a stadium full of teenage girls crying over a song called "Let Us Praise."
  • Posted by Chris on 01/ 9/04

    January 7, 2004

    A short radio play


    ~ a short radio playlet ~

    DORIS: Harry, can you come in here please?

    (We hear the whine of large motors and servos. Heavy, metallic footsteps hit the floor as something large moves closer.)

    HARRY: What is it, my pet?

    DORIS: Harry, we need to talk. I've come to a decision. I want you... to take off the exoskeleton.

    HARRY: (sighing with exasperation) Now, love, we've been through this before-

    DORIS: I KNOW we have, Harry, but... I married a MAN, not some walking contraption!

    HARRY: There, there! That's just more of that crazy-talk! Don't you see that the exoskeleton is more than just some "contraption?" It enhances and increases all my physical abilities! Why, this gives me strength far beyond any man!

    (We hear the intrusive sound of Harry's servos throughout.)

    DORIS: Yes, but Harry - you never want to do anything outside the exoskeleton! You never come down out of that harness!

    HARRY: And why would I? Everything I do, I do BETTER now, because of the exoskeleton! Look, I can lift you right over my head -

    (We Doris shriek and a whine of motors as Harry whisks her off the ground.)

    HARRY: -and right back down again without even taxing the capacity of this thing. And I'm not even breaking a SWEAT in here! And you want to talk protection? Try to hit me with something. Go on - throw something at me, right at my face! Do it! It won't get NEAR me!

    DORIS: I don't WANT to throw anything at your face, Harry. Listen, it's just not working out for me. And people are starting to talk.

    HARRY: What? LET THEM! I can lift 500 pounds with this thing! (Motors whine) Tell me how that's not working out. And when I upgrade the pneumatics and motors next week, that'll go up to 1000 pounds! That's half a TON, Doris. They won't be talking to ME, I assure you, not while I'm in THIS thing. How about that? You need your car jacked up while you change the tire? Don't bother getting out the jack, I'LL do it. Half a TON. Tell me how that's not working out!

    DORIS: Not that you could fit into the car anyway.

    HARRY: Who needs a car? With the exoskeleton I can walk faster than you can drive! (We hear the metallic clomping of Harry's giant metal feet around the apartment.) The locomotor system on this thing's the whole POINT!

    DORIS: You're not healthy. You never move on your OWN anymore!

    HARRY: What's healthy? What's healthy? Is lifting 500 pounds this week and half a ton next week not healthy? You tell me.

    DORIS: You're withering up there in that control harness. You need to get some exercise!

    HARRY: The whole POINT of the exoskeleton is so that I don't HAVE to muck about with that sort of stuff anymore. No movement needed! It all runs on thought-impulses!

    DORIS: Harry. I want you to get out of there. (She begins weeping) I want to be held by human arms, with warmth! Like you used to. I'm tired of feeling that cold metal lying next to me in bed!

    HARRY: Well, that's not going to be a problem as I have now rerouted my body's circulation through the exoskeleton's main armature. That should warm up the chassis a good bit.

    DORIS: You did WHAT?!?

    HARRY: Yes. You thought I wasn't listening to the doctor last week when he was prattling on about kidney failure, didn't you? Well, now I've bypassed my kidneys entirely! Now my bloodstream is routed through this miniature dialysis unit on the exoskelton here. Don't look so squeamish! My blood is purer than yours now! NOT HEALTHY INDEED!

    DORIS: Listen, Harry. Frankly, it's also not very... sexy.

    HARRY: And that wouldn't be a problem if you'd just learn to be more accepting of the exoskeleton I've made for you! You never use it at all! And after all that work I put into it making the sensory ports compatible! How do you think that makes me feel, Doris?

    DORIS: Harry, it pinches around the waist. I told you that.

    HARRY: A simple adjustment, and that pain is gone! Besides, once you begin losing muscle mass as I have, the harness will start to feel better.

    DORIS: Harry, I don't WANT to be able to pick up a thousand pounds and run at 75 miles per hour! I don't WANT to have a standard interface to plug in any digital or analog signal! I want to move around on my own.

    HARRY: Doris, really, I... (Muttering) Stupid human, with your puny muscles and soft underbelly. So easy to dominate!

    DORIS: What a thing to say!

    HARRY: Oh! That's just the exoskelton talking - don't pay any attention!

    DORIS: Don't blame the machine!

    HARRY: No, I mean literally. I've wired my larynx and voice box through the exoskelton's processors, and that must have been a cached comment from earlier. Disregard it, please! Oh - also disregard this next comment, as it is cached from an earlier discussion I was having with a sales representative: With my metal grapplers I could crush your wrist-bones to powder, so get me the cooling fan and be quick about it.

    DORIS: Oh, Davis.

    HARRY: What's that you brought me?

    DORIS: Oh, nothing. It's just a flower from our garden. I was hoping it would remind you of something natural, and not mechanical. But I can see it's useless.

    HARRY: Not at all! Just place it there on the conveyer belt, I'll store it in my access port so that I can process its scent later! How thoughtful!


    Posted by Chris on 01/ 7/04

    Aaaaack! It's REAL:

    Posted by: Pete at March 11, 2004 9:24 AM

    Current Computer Peeves by Platform

    I am a simple man, as are my needs.

    Windows PC

    1. You left "Search From the Address Bar" enabled and now you'll pay for it

    Often when we get a URL wrong it is because we have simply mistyped it the first time. Rather than simply correcting it on the address line, though, we must retype the entire thing or repaste it in there, because Internet Explorer defaults to some internal page that totally wipes out what we typed in the box. So instead of being left with http://www.handeye.ney that could easily be corrected with an additional letter we now have http://search.msn.com/dnserver.aspx?FORM=DNANSblablahblahblah to delete. Why do we even need to search from the address bar? Is Google not the master of all things?

    2. Copying Crap-Out

    Just yesterday I was backing up all my files, which means transferring them to the CD copying machine. But you can rarely move hundreds of files and folders at once, because if Microsoft hits one hiccup during the copy, it will display an error message and stop right there - with no indication of where it left off in the directories. If they can build-in a CD writing program into the OS, how about some sort of file-sync utility that will save all errors for later but get on with the rest of it?


    1. Pretty but Dumb keyboards

    Don't laugh - the Backspace / Delete discrepancy between PC and Mac keyboards is still mystifying to me. I want to be able to delete BACKWARDS and FORWARDS. Such is the extent of my power on a PC, so let it be on the Mac. It's literally taken me twice as log to create this post because I'm doing it on the Mac while my PC rebuilds. I also hit the clear key once, which cleared the entire field with no undo. THAT'S a useful function! Why don't we put all the buttons attached to irrevocable destructive options under a little protective piece of plastic like the red button in missile silos?

    2. iPod song transfer between authorized Macs

    Why can't I buy a song from the iTunes Music Store on Authorized Mac 1, transfer it to my iPod, then take my iPod home and transfer Legally Bought Track to Authorized Mac 2? You can, if you copy the track as a file to the iPod as an external drive - which means you now have twice as much data on precious iPod. It can't be done intuitively through iTunes. Is this resolved in Panther? It's hard to believe the design-conscious Mac folks don't see this as subverting their paradigm.

    Both Platforms (Hardware Issue)

    1. USB, PS2, Firewire ports in the back.

    Posted by Chris on 01/ 7/04

    I am become Cleardrive, Destroyer of Hard Drives

    Not enough space on my C: partition, and there are plenty of spare hard drives here, so why don't I install a second disk in my system and rebuild my work PC?

    The same impulse that led me to build a giant Lego creation and then raze it back down to the living room floor* as a kid is what leads me to insert the Cleardrive disk into my disk drive. It's not enough to just install the OS onto the new drive and use the older partitions as my new data drives! Sure, that would increase my total space, but I must start ANEW! Fresh, new hard drive with that clean hard drive smell!

    So, being the good backup admin that I am, I have backed up all the important data to CD first. Doesn't that feel good? A meteor could crash through the roof and smash my PC now, and it would be OK - I'VE BACKED IT UP. (Just a small meteor, though - the CD is just sitting on my desk right here. Store that data OFFSITE, people, for that added bit of protection!) And now I have just destroyed my computer with Cleardrive. Such power in one little floppy**. Let's hope I didn't forget anything and know where all the installers and serial numbers are.

    *I'll bet in Biblical times it wasn't hubris or the God's surprise creation of many languages that led to the Divine Stop Work Notice on the Tower of Babel - I'll bet they just saw that it had gotten to a certain height, and therefore were ovecome with the KNOCK IT DOWN impulse.

    **Friend Thomas reminded me of the raw power of Cleardrive when I went running to him with a serial number problem this morning and showed me where to grab it. ALL HAIL THOMAS, HELP DESK OF MY LIFE!

    Posted by Chris on 01/ 7/04

    January 5, 2004

    Update on the Ducks, and a note

    I hear from Friend Jessica that a duck's quack DOES in fact echo. She has been in touch with some people who took an aggravated mallard into a canyon for some tests, I think. I am somewhat nonplussed, as I always felt that anomaly would reveal something interesting about the universe.

    Also, note to NASA:

    I'm very pleased with all the activity towards space that I'm seeing, what with the Mars thing and going through the comet's tail and whatnot, but once and for all, I don't want to ever hear again that the primary results of these billion-dollar projects will give us "greater understanding of the origins of the universe." I just don't want to hear it. Greater understandings of the origin of the universe don't make me want to buy action figures or T-shirts. Greater understandings of the origin of the universe don't make kids want to be astronauts. Let's get some actual tangible results that will affect Joe Q. Lunchpail in the hopper, guys.

    Instead, why not tell us how flying through the comet's tail will lead to flying cars and dome-habitats on the Moon and colonizing Mars and laser guns. Also, indicate why is it that a duck's quack WILL echo after years of belief that it wouldn't.

    Posted by Chris on 01/ 5/04

    The "Evoke Haunting Chorus" option

    Some reviews:

    Big Fish - God bless Tim Burton for making the kinds of movies he does I suppose, but "Big Fish" feels basically the same as all his others, except for "Edward Scissorhands," "Beetlejuice," and "Ed Wood" - long on great visuals, but I'm not too interested in the characters. Luckily I have been trained through repeated severe negative reinforcement not to have high expectations of Tim Burton movies, so I can enjoy them for what they do provide.

    "Big Fish" wants to be in that category of modern Southern fable that "Forest Gump" invented, where Dixieland is a sort of magically backward place with comic exaggerations and adorable impossibilities, like a present-day Uncle Remus story. But the difference between "Forest Gump" and "Big Fish" is that I cared a lot more about Forest in between his magical adventures, and I really didn't care at all about Ewan MacGregor's character, nor relate very much to Billy Crudup's character's complaint about his father.

    But congrats to Danny Elfman for keeping his mouse-pointer away from the "Evoke Haunting Chorus" option for this movie score. Nice restraint!

    Paycheck - Honestly, I haven't seen it, but the first thing I asked FattyFat (who DID see it) was, "Did John Woo use a lot of doves in his slow-motion action scenes?" FattyFat laughed and said that there might have been a dove or two.

    More doves! I mean, come ON! At some point it stops being a trademark and just becomes silly! FattyFat improvised a scenario wherein John Woo has a Billy Carter-like brother-in-law in the trained dove business that had me laughing.

    "Legend" Ultimate Edition DVD - I may have gone a little nuts buying shiny disks for myself in the last few weeks. But I'd always wanted this DVD. I was excited to see the "director's cut" of a movie that I've NEVER thought was really great, or maybe even good, but the atmosphere and subject has always been so cool, that I come back to it about once a year. And I realized a more specific reason that I watch it every so often, despite its hokum: Tim Curry as Darkness as the best devil EVER in the best devil makeup EVER.

    It came with two DVDs, the U.S. theatrical release, which is the old, "bad" one, and the European release, which is the new, "good" one. The new, "good" one is cut differently, and has a completely new musical score, or rather, the ORIGINAL score, by Jerry Goldsmith. I'm glad they gave us both versions, because I frankly find it a bit simplistic to present this new version as the Best version of the movie, and now the old one is the Bad version. Because frankly, I find this one to be just a Different version, which is Better in some ways but Still Bad in others. To their credit, Ridley Scott and the other filmmakers profess a lot of love for the Tangerine Dream score (written and produced in just three weeks?!?), but it is lumped in with the "badness" of the earlier version. Which I think is a mistake.

    (And what is it with the U.S. releases of movies being different? What is it about us that we cannot deal with what the Europeans can? Why do we have the "Triplets of Belleville" and not "Belleville Rendezvous?" Why do people think we will not like a "Sorcerer's Stone" as much as a "Philosopher's Stone?")

    The most interesting question about the legend of "Legend" is, how could Scott have possibly have made such a drastic change as getting rid of a Jerry Goldsmith score based on so little (a bad response from a possibly stoned preview audience)?

    Posted by Chris on 01/ 5/04

    Two mysteries of the universe

    Did you know that a duck's quack will not echo, and no one knows why? It's true.

    Did you also know that Sex in the City is considered a good show by some people? It's true. I have actually tried to watch it to fathom the mystery, but I cannot manage to interest myself in HBO's weekly broadcast of grown women playing Barbie.

    Posted by Chris on 01/ 5/04

    Blog of DOOM!

    Friend Jessica, inventress of the playlet, and who makes with the funny on a website I highly recommend , and who I once upon a time had a novel's worth of Instant Mesages with, wrote a while back and pointed out that this has become the BLOG OF DOOM. Did I laugh at the image of Mola Ram ripping out the heart of some feckless customer service representative, then lowering them slowly into a pit of lava? I think you know the answer to that.

    Yes, I have a tendency towards the negative, what with the moaning and the complaining and all that. Maybe 2004 will be a less doomful year, although this mega flu makes it doubtful.

    Posted by Chris on 01/ 5/04

    January 2, 2004

    The Enjoyment of Large Gifts

    All these generous, giving people need to understand something - big gifts are great, and you're very nice to think of me, but I FLEW here to see you, man. I flew on a plane where they gave me 2 cubic centimeters of space to keep my stuff, and that's all I get on the way back!

    Yeah, I could check this thing, but the thing is, I'll only be checking THIS thing you gave me. We only brought 2 cubic centimeters worth of stuff so that we could walk away from the plane with it in our hands, and not have to wait by the conveyer belt for it to probably not show up, because luggage gets LOST. So now because of this big generous gift, and man I'm not disputing that it IS indeed a generous gift, and you are super-nice to think of us, we're going to have to check this thing.

    It sounds like I'm being an ass, because hey - this is a REALLY nice gift! And you are SUPER nice to give it to us! But the airport experience is going to be like, a five-hour ordeal from door to door, and it's bad enough when we just have the 2 cubic centimeters of stuff, meaning all our clothes that we stuffed into spacebags and then vacuumed out the air so they would fit in the 2 cubic centimeters. But now that we have this really big thing which you were very thoughtful to give to us and I am very appreciative of it, and my isn't it an odd size, it's going to be about twice as bad. Imagine the dirty looks I'm going to get for around five hours as I'm knocking perople around in all the lines I'll be standing in!

    My other option is to ship this home. So now all I have to do is to take time out of my vacation and find a post office that is open on the holiday. I also have to repackage this thing so that is is suitable for shipping, which I guess is easy to do, except - hey! The relatives we're staying with don't happen to have any tape of any kind, scotch or shipping! They also don't have any boxes that will fit, they don't really have any paper, nothing. So now let me stop at Target on the way to the post office and get all that stuff, and I guess I can just try to package this thing up in the lobby of the post office?

    I really wanted to spend some more time with Uncle ________ and Aunt _________ since they have to leave soon, but the post office closes in twenty minutes so let me run out and take care of this. But thanks very much for your generosity!

    Posted by Chris on 01/ 2/04