November 2006 Archives

I Was Gonna Post Another IM Transcript Here

…but that just would have been really stupid a bad idea.

So instead of a bang, the big project goes out with a gentle sigh.

Exit November; enter December.

links for 2006-11-30

Hi, My Name Is Paul, And I Give Money To Street Mimes

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In the passageway above the 1/2/3 tracks at Times Square, a mime flirts with the passing crowds; in a curious sartorial inversion, a black bustier is worn over a white blouse. From the platforms below, the sounds of a two percussionists duet filter up; one, on a drum set, pounds out thunderous, frenetic hip-hop rhythms while his compatriot hammers out “Hava Negila” on steel drums.

links for 2006-11-29

iPodus Overflowus

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So, the time has come that my iTunes library is bursting at the seams; I’ve got less than 100 MB free on my 40GB iPod (note that the first computer I ever used with a hard drive in it was a IBM PC/XT clone with a keyboard hotswitch to flip it between 4.77 MHz and 8 MHz and a whopping 20MB hard drive).

So, I basically have three ways to go here.

  1. Buy a new 80GB iPod. Pros: easiest thing to do. Cons: I’m supposed to pull $350 out of my ass? Plus, there’s this persistent and completely unsubstantiated rumor that all-new video iPods are “just around the corner.”
  2. Buy a larger capacity replacement drive for my iPod and replace it myself. Pros: Highly geeky and fun, and cheaper than buying a new iPod. Cons: Still not really cheap, per se; no guarantee that it’ll work; non-zero chance that I could break the damn thing.
  3. Deal with it by not loading my entire digitized music library on the iPod.

I’m thinking that until a suitcase full of money falls of out the sky, I’m going to go with option #3.

links for 2006-11-28

Thank God For Chinese Delivery

Today’s fortune actually makes a little bit of sense:

Today it’s up to you to create the peacefulness you long for.

Amen, sister.

Got Beer?

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Taken today at lunchtime.

Photograph by my dad.

links for 2006-11-26

I Have Awesome Friends

links for 2006-11-25

Slowly, The Truth Emerges

PF: [some smart-alec comment about corduroy]
SMM: wiseguy.
PF: who, me?
SMM: yes
PF: i’m shocked that you would issue such a base and scurrilous accusation.
SMM: what a vicious pack of truths.
PF: ok, you got me there.

With More... Intensity

Well, I survived the tryptophan overdose, if only barely (at one point I moved myself to the sofa and zoned out for about 10 minutes—ya gots ta do what ya gots ta do to make it through).

And Black Friday starts in 14 minutes—are you going to line up at midnight to rush the aisles?

See You On The Other Side Of The Tryptophan Haze

Just like every year:

And in other news, yesterday’s entry was brought to you by the words socks, ivory, acorn, mousse, snowman, lavender, cashmere, charmed, quilted, oatmeal, and my friend Nari.

links for 2006-11-22

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Daisy Dukes

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10 very short shorts, for your pleasure:

  1. “Isn’t it true that when you left your house you were wearing socks, but when you came back, you were sockless?” The jury deliberated for less than a day.
  2. It’s a little known fact that elephant tusks are very sensitive; whenever someone plays the piano, somewhere an elephant laughs.
  3. “The acorn must be planted in fertile soil to grow in to a strong oak,” the serious young man with the curly hair said. “You’re so full of shit,” she said.
  4. Janie’s mousse unknowingly ended up as the exact image of Ghot’al, the Xiamaniani Plasma God; interplanetary war could have been avoided if it hadn’t been for dessert at the Webber-Sinclair wedding.
  5. If it hadn’t been for two brave teenagers with a hairdryer, that night would have been known as the Great Hill Valley Snowman Massacre.
  6. A body, a bathtub, expensive bath salts; “I always thought that drowning in lavender was a figure of speech,” said Detective Scott.
  7. Later, when they would look back on it, they would realize that it was the cashmere coat that broke the camel’s back. Unfortunately, she was their last camel and they were 400 miles from the next oasis.
  8. Unshaved, uncouth, and all too often overserved, his standard salutation to strangers was “Charmed, I’m sure.” Inexplicably, they often were.
  9. Two men, white short-sleeved button-down shirts, black ties. “What if we told them… that it’s quilted?”
  10. It may have been the end of the world, but she was going to have her oatmeal mask first. Ragnarok deserves nothing less than healthy skin.

links for 2006-11-21

"Zune" Means...

...well, in Quebec, "zoune" and "bizoune" are slang for genitalia.

More practically, though, it seems that "Zune" means "big giant flop".

Black, the most popular color, is #56 on Amazon's electronics bestsellers list. Brown is #126, and white is #364.

In comparison, thirteen different iPod models rank in Amazon's top fifty, and iPods account for 4 of the top six (#1, 3, 5 and 6) sales slots. More importantly, there are three non-iPod MP3 players ranked in the top 50. If Microsoft can't outsell SanDisk...

This, of course, doesn't even cover the fact that Zune's heavily touted wireless sharing actually constitutes Microsoft-endorsed copyright violation, which suggests that they'd be contributorily liable under Grokster.

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Shaken And Stirred

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Well, Casino Royale is a pretty good movie. Some quick notes:

  • The stunts and physicality of the movie is astonishing. This is a much more muscular Bond movie, both figuratively and literally.
  • It’s also a darker and significantly more violent movie than previous Bonds. I’m kinda surprised that it’s still PG-13.
  • Speaking of physicality, when was the last time that a Bond had biceps?
  • The movie sags a bit in the middle over a very high-stakes poker game. And while I’m not really a very good poker player (these two are far better than I, to name two), the poker playing in the high-stakes hands that we see isn’t really very good.
  • Eva Green will have a great career ahead of her, if she can avoid the curse of the Bond Girl.
  • No freaking sharks with freaking laserbeams; when the bad guy captures Bond, all he needs is a rattan chair with the seat cut out and a heavy rope.
  • The body count is pretty darn high.
  • At least one reader of this blog will be tickled to know that at one point, Bond orders a drink made of Gin, Vodka, Lillet, and a lemon twist, and then spends some time pondering what to name it.

Overall, though, it’s a very refreshing change-up in the series. I look forward to the next one.

links for 2006-11-19

Recommended (Or, Sometimes You Can't Trust Computers)

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Amazon suggests that I’d like the following musical artists:

  1. MIDIval PundtZ (I’m not responsible for the orthography)
  2. The Beatles
  3. Niyaz
  4. Sarah Cracknell
  5. Peter Gabriel (specifically, PG 1, Security, PG 2, and PG 3)
  6. Jorane
  7. Stellamara
  8. Artur Schanbel
  9. Hadra
  10. Daniel Barenboim

Last.fm has a somewhat different list:

  • Elton John
  • Bjork
  • Tenacious D
  • Roger Waters
  • Amy Winehouse
  • The Chemical Brothers
  • Gentle Giant
  • Franz Ferdinand
  • Bob Dylan
  • Beck
  • Portishead
  • Jethro Tull
  • Moloko
  • DJ Shadow
  • Faithless
  • The Cinematic Orchestra
  • Beastie Boys
  • Groove Armada
  • Van Der Graaf Generator

Seriously, where’d the Elton John come from?

links for 2006-11-18

Hearts of Darkness

Over dinner the conversation turned to questions of American literature, specifically hardboiled detective fiction.

Dashiell Hammett is in many ways the father of the hardboiled detective. While the famous film version of The Maltese Falcon is hews very closely to the novel, the novel is even more pessimistic and nilhistic, and it’s reflected in the lean, almost underwritten prose.

Hammett was, of course, a huge influence on Raymond Chandler; Philip Marlowe is the spiritual heir to Sam Spade, despite Chandler’s somewhat more florid writing.

The curious thing, of course, is how this bleak, amoral worldview came out of the sunny California of the 1930s and 1940s….

...And They're Starting To Make The Turn...

Well, this is November 16, which means that NaBloPoMo has hit 50%+1, and, in theory, it's all downhill from here (in more ways than one).

It's funny, but I used to do this every day without a prod. Admittedly, I've changed since then, and what I write about has changed a lot (if you want proof, just go here). There's also the time element; it was much easier to blog regularly when I was unemployed (there's a theory that the initial explosion of the blogosphere never would have happened without the post-9/11 recession and the collapse of the first Internet bubble). But still, back then it seem'd that I never lacked for material, be it good, bad, or ugly.

And now, I'm writing about what I'm writing about.

WRITER SHRUGS AND SIGHS, AND PONDERS HOW TO CONVEY A SHRUG IN A TEXT-ONLY MEDIUM. HE SCRATCHES HIS NOSE AND WONDERS IF MICK JAGGER EVER HAD TO DEAL WITH WRITERS' BLOCK. TILTING HIS HEAD FROM SIDE TO SIDE, HE GIVES UP DECIDES TO DEAL WITH IT LATER.

Ah, well. At least I saved the writing about NaBloPoMo post for the day after the 15th.

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Well, This Explains A Lot

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Apparently, Larry King has never used the Internet.

Why does this man have a television show again?

Good News! Bad News!

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Good news! Apple is teaming up with a number of airlines, including Air France and KLM, to add iPod integration to their fleets. Co-incidentally, I’m going to be flying Air France and KLM to and from, respectively, Germany over the winter break.

Bad News! The iPod integration won’t appear on plane until mid 2007, or long after my trans-Atlantic jaunts!

Well, I guess I could cue up the five-act version of Don Carlo and see if the iPod battery can make it through the whole thing…

Memo To Self

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Next time I’m working barefoot in the kitchen, let’s try to avoid dropping a steak knife on my foot.

links for 2006-11-13

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Not That Surprising, If You Think About It

Film composer Basil Poledouris died this past week. While he was best known for his score to Conan The Barbarian, he was a consummate professional, with B-movie credits ranging from feel-good kiddie flicks (Free Willy) to ultraviolent sci-fi fantasias (Robocop).

It’s not entirely surprising, then, that my friends Patrick and Bunche have separately posted their own remembrances of the man.

links for 2006-11-12

11/11

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So I’m standing in (the pretty long) line at Fairway, and a woman of a certain age comes by, eyes the length of the line, exclaims “this is a joke!” and leaves.

It took nearly all my self-control to refrain from saying “No, a joke is when a horse walks into a bar and the bartender says, ‘Hey, why the long face?’”

And in other news, today’s Veterans’ Day in the US and Armistice Day in much of the rest of the world. Honor those who have fought on your behalf.

links for 2006-11-11

What Will They Think of Next?

I’ve been using last.fm for a while—it’s a pretty interesting recommendation engine. Basically, you tell it (via an iTunes plug-in or other third-party program) what you’ve been listening to, and it automagically figures out the kinds of music you like to listen to and what other music you might want to try to give a listen to. This is my user profile. There are also social networking features built-in, but those aren’t important for the purposes of this conversation.

It’s similar in theory to how Amazon makes recommendations; it compares what you listen to to what other people listen to. For example, people who listen to pre-1975 Genesis are likely to listen to Peter Gabriel; similarly, fans of Saint Etienne are likely to also like Goldfrapp or Belle and Sebastian.

There are other similar services out there; Pandora and The Filter are two that take different approaches to same basic problem.

Anyway…

They just launched a new feature—Recommended Events (link only works if you have an account, which is why I added the screenshot). Basically, they take the data they have on your musical tastes and cross-references that against a calendar of upcoming events in your city. And then they just show you the upcoming concerts that it thinks you might be interested in (and it also shows you your friends’ concerts, etc). So, for example, I discovered that Imogen Heap is playing a show at Webster Hall Sunday night.

It’s an automagic personalized concert calendar. How fucking cool is that?

About the only thing it doesn’t have are direct links to where you can buy tickets. Not that it would have mattered; tragically, the Imogen Heap show is fucking sold out. Good for her, sucks for me.

links for 2006-11-10

Dinosaurs Rock

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It seems to be the season for aging rockers to resurface with various degrees of pride.

Item: Believe it or not, the surviving members of The Who have come out with a new album, the first one in nearly a quarter-century. Early reports suggest that Endless Wire is pretty decent, though perhaps not exactly Who’s Next or Quadrophenia; still, original music from Townsend & Daltrey is a bargain at any price. It’s clearly not a a case of The Who sells out:

It’s a very dignified, un-embarrassing collection of quality material, well executed. It’s mainly of interest to fans, but they are unlikely to be disappointed. Eight or nine tracks are 2 minutes or shorter—-the second half of the record is a song suite (“mini opera”)—Martin

I haven’t actually heard it myself, though I suspect that situation will change shortly.

As a side note, it should be noted that while The Who has lost a drummer and a bassist, the only surviving members of the Beatles are a drummer and a bassist. A combined reunion tour would be the biggest license to print money since Kim Il Sung got his hands on an intaglio press.

Item: Meat Loaf has launched Bat Out Of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose. Note that this comes 30 years after Mr. Loaf’s first Bat Out Of Hell album. It’s predecessor albums were distinguished by the singles “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” and “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)”. The first single is “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”, and given that it’s cracked Billboard’s Top 10 chart, it looks like Mr. Loaf has found his own printing press full of money. I’d expect a full report to show up sometime soon over at patrickrunkle.com.

Item: Genesis has decided to turn it on again and do a stadium tour of Europe in 2007. Tragically, it’s the power-pop Collins-Banks-Rutherford version of Genesis that’s hitting the road, not the classic Banks-Collins-Gabriel-Hackett-Rutherford lineup.

Apparently Gabriel was approached, but he declined (unless I’m possessed of a misunderstanding, I believe that Peter Gabriel would only agree to tour with Genesis again if some calamity befell his bank account); Hackett then decided that performing as a four-piece would trespass on the image of the most popular version of the band.

I would, incidentally, pay good money to see the classic Genesis lineup perform; it’d be even better if they rebuilt the original costumes they performed in.

Item: The Stooges are back in the studio, recording a new full-length album.

It’s almost like the 70s never left. All we need is a new Steve Miller Band album.

links for 2006-11-09

It's A Mad Mad World

Here’s a much-higher quality version of that amazing Gears of War advertisement (Quicktime video).

Also worth checking out is Linus’ comment on the original post.

CMD-OPT-ESC

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(hey, this is the 2,000th entry on pf.org!)

Rumsfeldresignation.jpg

From BoingBoing via my friend Jen.

The New Black.

According to Google:

  1. _ is the new black, is a catch phrase used to indicate the sudden popularity …
  2. Blood is the New Black artist Milano Chow is having a solo show of her …
  3. Blacker is the new black UK scientists produce one of the darkest and least reflective surfaces on Earth, for use in telescopes.
  4. iPod nano is the new black (and pink and blue and green and silver).
  5. Orange is the new black. The fashion world tries the new post-9/11 reality on for size — and it’s a poor fit.
  6. “Innovation is the New Black” announced Bruce Nussbaum, Business Week’s Assistant Managing Editor in charge of the magazine’s innovation and design coverage …
  7. Therefore, the argument continues, ugly is the new black.
  8. Black is the New Black. Not since the early 1990s has black so dominated fashion runways, but this year’s resurgence is no trip down memory lane.
  9. Bitter is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass,Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the …
  10. Yellow Is The New Black: Essays about IBM Lotus Software.

Paying Down My Karmic Debt Load

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So, not only have I voted today (it’s really easy in my family—just find the column that says “Democratic” and click all the switches), but I’ve also given blood at school.

I just want to know what the APR on karmic debt is…

links for 2006-11-07

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BLT Burger

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I’ve eaten at BLT Burger twice in the week or so that it’s been officially open.

It’s a pretty good burger. Not as good as the Shake Shack, but it’s got a nice crust—something that not a lot of burgers in New York have. Also, the fries they server are fantastic—they’re double-fried and delicious.

I’m not sure that I’ll make it a regular stop, though, as It’s a bit on the expensive side (particularly if you order the $62 Kobe burger).

I’d like to apologize for the lack of pictures; I’m not so good at taking pictures of food I’m supposed to eat, insomuch as I tend to be, at the critical moment, more concerned with consumption than preservation…

Oh yeah, and don’t forget to vote tomorrow, even if none of the races you can vote for are essentially uncontested (e.g. New York City).

links for 2006-11-06

Unintended Consequences

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Halloween.gif

Halloween is one of one of my favorite holidays, for obvious reasons; however, one of the unintended consequences is that it’s usually one of my peak traffic days (for obvious reasons)…

links for 2006-11-05

…was, to be quite frank, irresponsibly hard.

I just hope that everyone else feels the same way (not because I’m a sadist and want people to share my misery, but rather, because the MPRE has a scaled score, if everyone bombs it….)

Tower of Song

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My friend Patrick has posted an eloquent eulogy for Tower Records over at his site.

Tower was done in by many factors — the rise of the big-box retailer, Internet retailing — but, in my opinion, their basic problem was that the discs were simply too expensive. $18.98 for a CD is, let’s face it, a lot of money, particularly when you can get the biggest sellers at Best Buy or Walmart (or, indeed, the iTunes Store) for $9.99. You can get away with charging twice as much as your competitors when you’re selling a product that’s worth twice as much as your competitors; just ask the Mandarin Oriental. Unfortunately, that Nickleback CD does not magically become worth twice as much just because it’s sitting in a rack in a Tower Records instead of a rack at Circuit City.

It’s true that the Internet is the world’s largest music store, with an inventory that dwarfs what any physical location can provide. But there’s still the wonderful feeling of just wandering through a place stuffed with rarities and obscurities (some deservedly so; others less so), the sense of incipient serendipity; the idea that right around the corner will be music that will blow your mind; you just have to find it. After all, sometimes you don’t know that you’re looking for something until you find it.

links for 2006-11-03

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UTube v. YouTube

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Ok, so Universal Tube & Rollform Equipment Corporation, a.k.a. utube.com, is suing YouTube, everyone’s favorite video-sharing site, because the massive traffic from fumble-fingered web surfers has apparently caused their web server to crash multiple times.

Aside from the claim that ‘they’ve had to move their site 5 times’ (a claim that the Netcraft report doesn’t support), it just seems to me that they really shouldn’t have been all that surprised when the 486 they were using as a webserver fell over. OK, I jest—they’re really running Windows Server 2003 (which could be their problem right there), and everyone knows that requires at least at a 133MHz Pentium 1.

The odd thing about the suit is that the relief sought is either

  1. YouTube stop using YouTube.com (yeah, like that’s gonna happen), or
  2. YouTube pay for a new domain for Universal Tube.

Hm. I’m thinking that it just might be cheaper for GooTube to cut the $8.95 check to register a new domain at GoDaddy than to actually litigate this. On the other hand, it seems like it would have been cheaper for Universal Tube to just buy the new domain themselves. On the gripping hand, I think that it makes a lot of sense, from a policy point of view, for GooTube, to adopt a scorched earth policy on frivolous litigation like this. I derive great pleasure from imagining an omnipotent GC directing his minions (is it better to have minions or underlings?) to draw up Rule 11 motions. Plus, I think it’d be fun to read the court documents.

Regarding your offer of settlement, I am reminded that what is best in life is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of the women. Accordingly, your settlement offer is rejected.

Well, that’s how I’d write it, at least.

UPDATE: The Smoking Gun has the complaint.

links for 2006-11-02

Take One Daily With Food

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So here I am starting National Blog Posting Month, aka NaBloPoMo. I’m going for the trifecta by also trying to update my flickr feed and my Vox account daily. And, increasing the level of difficulty, I’m not going to count the automated del.icio.us posts that have as of late made up the bulk of what passes for content on this site.

Keeping me motivated, gentle reader, is your job. How? It’s easy—just comment every day. That isn’t so hard, is it?

links for 2006-11-01

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