NaBloPoMovember: Day 22

Crap.  Blew right through yesterday.  Forgot all about it until I was drop-dead exhausted.

It’s cold here in Vancouver, which is rare. We’re not used to it.  Okay, *I* am not used to it.  I’m getting over a cold-ish-eque thing I had starting Thursday afternoon.  I’m *mostly* over it, I think.  Never really turned into a cold cold, but was one of those ones that was going to drag me into the abyss for a good week or so.  Still need to be getting more sleep than I have been, but I’m working on it.  Arwen’s got something now, but we suspect it’s just migraine (“just” I said, like it was no big deal).

Some friends came over last night who’re working on having a baby.  It was easy for us, but for them?  It’s work, and money, and time, and heartbreak.  Here’s to hoping they do okay this time around.

Craig Fergusson is currently having a nicely frank (and yet utterly uncomfortable/hilarious) conversation with a Doctor.  He just yelled “You can BREAK your penis?” a few times in a row, which is funny, and I’m really glad CBS lets him push the limits of what you can/can’t say on the air.  I don’t know whether or not CBS actually cares, but I like that for all the sexy flirting and stuff Craig does on the show, he was equally fascinated and alarmed by the conversation.

Oh wow, been listening to the audio book William Gibson’s Zero History and it’s been bending my head.  He writes in a world that I’m equally afraid exists and yet hope is there ’cause it makes walking down the street so much interesting when you’re in a metropolitan space like Vancouver.

Last week, the kids and I were trying to get the PVR going (it’s a hard disc recorder with a DVD burner in it, which comes in handy when you wanna take that tape of the kids singing in the xmas concert and turn it into a DVD for others to watch, AND you wanna be able to record Glee for when your wife’s out…  That’s handy.  Also handy for those “Oh hey, this thing is on TV, and the kids would like to see it, I bet.”

That was the case with some live concert footage of Bobby McFerron from a few months ago.  I’d totally forgotten I’d recorded it, (it’d been on PBS at 1am or something) and when I hit play on it, the kids both went from giggling to literally sitting slackjawed, flabberghasted by what was happening onscreen.  Sure, if you grew up in the 80s and were pummeled by overplay of D0n’t W0rry Bee H@ppy, then hearing McFerron might cause dread.

Watching with the kids gave me new ears, and gave me some new stuff to try next time I’m waiting for the service elevator to arrive at work. Seriously.  Awesome room.  Cement walls, square, 13 foot ceilings.  I get in there and beatbox, and the reverb in the room is RIDONCULOUS.  I’ll have to get a recording of it some time. I can actually get a nice echo loop going along the lines of the Future Sound of London Deseo remixes.

The Future Sound Of London – FSOL Deseo Reconstruction #2 (Radio Edit) – The Deseo Radio Mixes

So, look forward to that.

Also, new picture of me up on the Mo’10 page tonight.  ALSO I need to upgrade some pics from the camera for NON-moustache purposes.

g’nite.  Stay warm.  Hope your lights stay on.

Chatting with a Virus Bot

Guy I used to work with suddenly started talking to me after about a year and a half of nothing.  Looks like he got hit by what we at EA used to call an “MSN IQ Test.”  Gotta give them credit for incorporating that INTO the bot itself. Remember kids, just ’cause someone you know sends you a link, doesn’t make it safe.

ViralBot
1:29 PM
hello!

Zen Render
1:41 PM
Hey man, how goes?

ViralBot
1:42 PM
i just took an iq quiz

Zen Render
1:42 PM
Okay… The one for the interview process at work there?

ViralBot
1:42 PM
Hi!
1:42 PM
yeah, I was brighter than I am

Zen Render
1:43 PM
I suspect that perhaps you’re a bot, or something, instead of actually Mr. (ex-coworker)

ViralBot
1:43 PM
you should look if u can do better than me, http://{badlink}

Zen Render
1:44 PM
Yeeeaaaah… Not so much. {ex-coworker}, sorry you got hit, man. Good luck.

ViralBot
1:44 PM
i bet you cant haha
1:45 PM
hey!

Zen Render
1:49 PM
Hello, Bot McBotterperson. Your programmer should have taught you that most people don’t say HI/Hey!/Hello three times in a five minute period.

ViralBot
1:49 PM
i just took an iqtest

Zen Render
1:51 PM
So did I. You failed yours, I appear to have passed mine.

ViralBot
1:51 PM
yeah, I was smarter than I am

Zen Render
1:52 PM
That would be a neat trick, to be smarter than you are. Maybe if you were smarter than you THOUGHT you were, that’d be something, but mostly, you’re just coming off like a broken record.

ViralBot
1:52 PM
you have to look if you can do better then me, http://{badlink}

Zen Render
1:53 PM
What’s ironic is that I know I can do better than you, by not clicking anything at all.

ViralBot
1:53 PM
im sure you cant haha

Zen Render
1:53 PM
Eliza, is that you?

ViralBot
1:53 PM
take it now while i take a shower!

Zen Render
1:55 PM
Let’s see if you know how to respond to anything a human would, shall we?
1:55 PM
Marco!

ViralBot
1:56 PM
BRB!   take that test!

Zen Render
1:56 PM
Eye zuzpekt yoo arr prrapps not Henglitch schpeeking…
2:05 PM
Aww, did you forget what you were doing, and erase yourself? Maybe {ex-coworker}’s shut down the account now.

You Down With LHC? (Yeah, You Know Me.)

View of the CMS Detector before closure, on August 17th, 2008. (Maximilien Brice; Michael Hoch; Joseph Gobin, © CERN) #
Retro Encabulate THAT...

The Large Hadron Collider is this most amazingly technical thing, and yet I have absolutely no idea what it does.  I mean, I get that it’s a thing that catches particles and whips them around in a gigantic circle (27 kms or something, right?) and then they… uh… measure the… trails… um… with the uh… doohickey…

But hegoly sheggit is it pretty.  Reminds me of the tunnels the Canada Line, only with about a billion times the technology.  I’ve been taking transit more often than I’d like lately, but the weather’s been rainy and cold, and I promised myself and my wife that I wouldn’t ride my bicycle if there’s a chance of ice, and as I found of today, it doesn’t have to be icy for people to lose control of their vehicle…

Another five feet, and it would've landed in our boardroom.
Another five feet, and it would've landed in our boardroom.

What you’re looking at there is a parked car turned almost 90 degrees onto the sidewalk, the front passenger tire is torn almost completely off the rim.  Behind that is the car that hit it as it came out of the underground parking lot across the street.  That tree is crowded by our building, so it’s quite lucky nobody was hurt.

What strikes me is that over the course of my lunch with a friend, they cleaned up everything, and as the grey car was being towed away, someone was putting the mailbox back where it belonged.  It was badly beaten.  Dented.  Paint scraped off.  Looking like it lost a fight with car, which it did.  Two cars, in fact.

I want to see the look on the postie’s face at the crack of dawn on Monday morning.

Friday came and went, and for the most part, has felt pretty good.  I think we’re going to play some Rock Band Beatles, or watch a PPV movie (there’s no video store anywhere near here, I don’t think, but at least we don’t have to worry about paying late fees on rented DVDs that end up costing more than just buying the damned thing).

Annnnnnnd the digital cable box just asplode so… Rock Band it is then.

Speaking of DJ Hero (we were? when?) I wonder if the folks at EA who make Skate are laughing about this comic, cringing, or just glad they still have a job at all…

Hadnt thought of that really, you have to have a table for the... turner.
Hadn't thought of that really, you have to have a table for the... turner.

I dunno, where do YOU find them?

This evening I was bombing around Hintertubes looking for clues about a new album by Burial, and was reminded of how I found this weird little bubble of sound in the first place.  Rather, I was reminded how I did NOT find this artist.  I didn’t find them on the radio, or a magazine, or even through a friend, it was something I faceplanted into during a dig in the databases of a record label I knew nothing about.

I think it took me about ten minutes to figure out whether Burial was the name of the song or the name of the band, ’cause there was so little information about this song (it was Archangel, from the album Untrue).  What was really fun was that the person who is Burial doesn’t do interviews, and doesn’t really talk about the process, and probably doesn’t perform live very often (and if he did, I dunno if it would work).

I tend to become loyal to labels, which is odd for me, considering how I’m not really crazy about large corporations when it comes to their treatment of their lesser-known musicians.  Maybe it’s the whole sellout effect.  As soon as they become big, I’m like “ew, too commercial” or something, maybe.

Or maybe I just happen to like this one artist, and don’t know what I’m talking about.

I’m wandering around trying to find a way to get me from A to B, and instead of having some slick way to get me to what I really wanna talk about, I came off slightly snobby and pulled some data (or lack thereof) outta my butt.

Sorry about that.

Ignore the stuff about Burial, I have no idea what I’m talking about.  Burial’s good though, and there *IS* a new album coming, so I’ll be checking that out when it drops.

Here’s what I wanted to say.

About a year ago, Duncan tipped me off to an hour-long mixed set called GlitchBitch, and I was floored.  I’d never heard music like this.  It was different, it was broken, it was funky, and it often had strings in it.  All good things to cram into one set.  After a little digging, I found a playlist, and found out that about half of this amazing set was by edIT.  More digging turned up the album Certified Air Raid Material, which is a stellar piece of audio.  Not quite “all killer, no filler,” but about 75% of the tracks blew the top of my head clean off.

Turned out it was something being called Glitch-Hop, and that edIT was a member of the GlitchMob in California.  Crazy.  That album set up camp on both my iPod and my Blackberry so I was never without those tracks.  Around the same time I started trying to find more of this stuff, and found the wonderfully bent mix “Wonk Funk” by Kper, which had some edIT on it, but also had some interview talky stuff, mentioning J-Dilla, who I’d never heard of.

It’s been about four months of listening to Wonk Funk while cycling and commuting, and I’m still not sick of it, but I can feel it *finally* starting to become a little too comfortable, so it’s time to start digging into this mix, and see what bubbles to the surface.

It’s like finding the food of a new country, which at first is shocking, but once you get used to the flavours, you find that there’s one spice that you don’t recognize, so you figure out what that was, or at least what it might be, and then you try to figure out whether or not you enjoy a lot of it, or just a little.  Then one day, you meet a person who knows all about that sorta food, and they whip up a whole meal of stuff you’ve never heard of, and it’s delicious.

But after a while, you start wondering what else that spice might be in, where else in the world that spice might be used, and that leads to the next step.

I think I stumbled across what’s moving me on to the next step tonight.

I’m pretty sure I’m moving backwards in the timeline on this musician, but I enjoy doing that.  Figuring out how they fit into the audio cosmos is part of what’s so enjoyable for me, ’cause it means I get to find out what “country” that spice is used in, and that’ll take me to wherever’s next.

Next stop: Flying Lotus.  Maybe not new to you, but certainly new to me.  There’s a few albums out, but what caught my ear first was the EP “Reset.”

I’m getting on that bus.  Whee!

Bluesy Monday, That’s the One Day…

Oh man, I just sneezed, and now I instantly have a headache AND feel like I have a cold.  Yaaaaay.

Wow, today was a hardcore Vancouver rainy crapfest.  Welcome to Winter.  Last week was Fall, this week is Winter.  The way Vancouver works though, next week will be Spring, after our obligatory three days of snow (which then becomes slush, and then we’re done).

The moustache for Movember is finally starting to look like a moustache, BUT it’s almost impossible to get a picture of it because a flash washes it out, and NOT using a flash makes everything in the room yellow/orange.  The best part is that it looks sorta dirty-reddish brown to the corners of my mouth, but then goes completely white.  It’s like uh, what, it’s like Hulk Hogan or a two-tone biker or something, but with more crewcut, and less arms.  I dunno.  You guys tell me when you go check out the photos.  While you’re there, make the stupid moustache have a point and donate a few bucks to the cause, mkay?

Today I stumbled across the Bizarroworld’s version of FailBlog –  Succeed Blog, and along with something I Tweeted earlier about someone starting a dance party that goes from zero to 300 in three minutes.  Now THAT is what you call infectious dancing.  There’s also some insane juggling linked from there.  I mean, I can juggle three balls, and can do it pretty fast, but this guy can do stuff I can’t even track (and this is coming from a guy who has literally juggled oranges on acid*.)  I couldn’t even move my hands in some of those configurations, much juggle at the same time.

I think the thing that drew me to SucceedBlog was that it is all about the most insane, and amazing, and beautiful and truly awe-inspiring moments.  Some of the pictures are just sorta cute, which you could find at ICanHasCheeseBurger, or CuteOverload, but some of the video is just a big ol’ glass of freshly-squozed awesome.  The sorta stuff that makes you glad to be alive, glad to have a heartbeat today, instead of the kinds of things that just make you glad you’re not whoever that is in the cringe-worthy photo.

So yeah, a good find.  I hope they keep going, along with their ilk.  At least for the rest of the Winter.

Also, I watched Human Traffic last night, which is a movie about uh… a bunch of kids having a lost weekend (one of many) and all the stupid stuff they do, but it’s sweet somehow.  Think Trainspotting, minus any blood or overdoses, and a happy ending for everyone.  Two Word Review: Doesn’t suck.

OMIGOD, we’re watching a few minutes of Demolition Man before the Daily Show starts, and we just watched the bit with Dennis Leary going on a tear about having your life controlled by the man, which is fun, but just off his right shoulder is a very young, silent (and puffy-haired?) Jack Black, who looks like he’s maaaaaybe 22… could that be right?

* Hi Mom!

If this keeps up, I’m going to end up vegan and running a Mac

So, after much kvetching and grumping about how it was all going to work, and how was any of this possible, Arwen happily let herself be convinced by a telemarketer to move our phone service to the same company that handles our television.  Unlike my recent excursion into the deep waters of RRSP transfer and 19.75% Visa cards that *I* went though, Arwen simply was nudged that last 1% into making the move.  We were sorta happy, and a little nervous about how VoiceOverIP was going to work, but we were jumping in.

As an added bonus, we also got highspeed for the same price we were already paying at Telus.  Here’s the kicker though.  It really WAS three times faster than we’d had before.  Being the “just stick a cable in it and see what happens” type, I hopped off our Telus network and onto the new ugly Shaw modem to see what would happen, and here’s my result.

Hauling Packets Through the Kestle Run

See those numbers there?  Yes, that’s about 5 megabit.  That means around 500 kilobytes per second.  That means AROUND 10 minutes to download a CD image (and I do a fair amount of that, in my travels as a Linux-boot-CD loony).  The only thing that’d been keeping me with Telus was the whole “They guarantee the speed you pay for” argument, which is all fine and good, unless the speed I PAY for keeps being lowered, with more and more restrictions about what I can and can’t do.

For comparison, here’s our Telus numbers.

Two or so years ago, without warning, and allegedly for my own protection, Telus flipped a bit in their firewall that meant I could no longer run a mail or web server on their services without “going pro,” which meant suddenly paying double ($108/mo) for highspeed at 2.5mbit per second.  So that meant Telus was now literally TWICE as expensive for HALF the speed.  That, and the whole Telus blocking the union that serves them.  Seriously people, th’hell?  Won’t block kiddie porn or hate speech, but when a site shows photos and videos of people breaking the picket lines?  Oh, suddenly Telus is The Deciderer about what I can and can’t get to on the internet.

After I moved the server up to the fabulous and freakishly service-oriented Fused Network folks, we backed off the Pro package and went back to “standard,” which was only $45/mo again.  Fair enough, we’re back where we started.  Whatever, I’m not running a server any more.  Fine.  Except that now, instead of the 200K/sec I was used to, we seemed to be getting somewhere around 150K/sec.  Actually, it was consistently 159K/s.  Works out to about 1600 in the numbers show in the graphic up there.

Yeah, 1.6MBit.  It was consistent, but consistently crappy.

After a few visits at homes in the area, and doing some testing of THEIR speeds, I found that people on Shaw were getting somewhere between 4500kbit and 7000kbit without paying any more than I was.  And those numbers are all after the “honeymoon” phase with things like free first months, and free super-uber-duper speeds before they put you back to normal.

They lost me as a cel customer after six years because I got a “bare minimum” deal for Arwen and I to have two cel phones, and ended up having a $20/mo deal that actually cost $45, once I added the “extra features” that I suspect most users would consider standard.  (Caller ID, Voicemail, and forwarding TO VOICEMAIL).  I’m sorry, do you know ANYONE who has a cel phone, but only plans on calling OUT?  If I had missed a call during that time (I was unemployed, and needed a cel so I could get out of the house instead of sit at home trying to come up with new ways to NOT just sleep all day), I probably wouldn’t be working where I am now.

And DAMN do I love working where I am now.

and now, for our friends with highspeed and speakers, some music that makes me smile when I’m fighting the proverbial man.

17: What have you been DOING to this guitar?

Just caught a commercial for Guitar Hero World Tour (looking suspiciously like some OTHER three-piece band game by another company who simply bought the development company) but here’s the cooperative cross-over from hell:

Kentucky Friend Chicken.

Really? REALLY? Anybody’s who’s ever been passed the five-buttoned Guitar Hero controller immediately after a particularly sweaty-handed rendition of “Welcome to the Jungle” will know why this is a bad idea. Deep-fried chicken and plastic guitar buttons do NOT mix.

Waiting for the other shoe: Pizza and Wii (oh wait, THAT’S why everyone was spanging their controllers off their $3,000 plasma screens).

Of course, I routinely maw down (or is it mow down?) on licorice Goodies (which are recently GOODIER meaning more licorice and less half-crumbly candy stickettes) while sitting in front of my keyboard at work.

Oh, while doing some other stuff, I ran into a design site that has some stuff that nicely blew my mind for a good five minutes.

Part of the (literally) mind blowing Don't Play With Monkey
Part of the (literally) mind blowing Don't Play With Monkey

Oh, and in my days as a desktop technician, I’ve been called on a number of times to do data recovery for drives that have “died,” or are making horrible clicking noises. For the first time (as far as I know), someone has actually collected all the horrible click, grinding, chirping and buzzing noises hard drives make when they’re playing possum. Now, you just go to this site and listen to the various noises and weird pinging that hard drives make, and then explains what’s probably going on with the drive. (via Hack-A-Day). Might not save your data, but saves you from opening your computer case, sticking the phone in there and saying “So, is that bad?” to the guy at Best Buy.

Oh, and never ever ever EVAR take your computer to a place like Future Shop or Best Buy. Seriously, as much as we hate doing support for our friends (because of the whole “last touchies” thing, we generally don’t want to see you get screwed by some jerkwad at the store, who was selling cel phones yesterday.

And now, based on watching Canada’s Worst Driver season 4, I’ve decided that most of these people should just never drive ever again. I mean, the friends/spouses/children of these bad drivers have put them up to this, but I wonder if they can actually just plain call the cops instead, and say “Uh, yeah, you know what? Bob just shouldn’t be driving any more, like, at all.” How do these people get their licenses in the first place?

Sorta like that comedian I heard years ago, who suggested magnetic darts that you could harpoon into other cars who do stupid things, and the cops would automatically pull over anyone with three or more darts. At 10 darts, they just run you off the road.

Porches, Ferraris, and HumVees ship with two permanent darts.

HEY-O!

Oh, and if you’re in a restaurant, with your family, and you have one of those Bluetooth earpiece things in your ear?

That’s a ‘poonin’.

12: I’m indirectly annoying people overseas, h’raaaay!

Arwen was going through our inbound links, and found out there’s an IT videoblog overseas (well, maybe not, maybe they’re just both English) that’s using a track (titled He Feels Guilty Now) from my first album as their closing credits. This is seriously surreal, since that track was started some time in ’97 or so, back when I was using a freakin’ DOS program to make 8-track “music” called FastTracker, and wasn’t finished until 1999, for the album “Through the Windows of the Temple.”

I often wonder what the music for certain commercials or radio shows are (Johnny Vancouver and I did a whole podcast about television and movie music), but it seems the folks at www.ITIdiots.com are asked often enough that they put it on the main page of their site.

Music Used By The Shows

Friday, 21 December 2007
We thought that based on the number of requests we receive for information on the ITidiots show music that we would give you all the info and downloads directly from our website.

Opening Credits ITidiots is by FuriousBall and called So Funky It Stinks which you can download here.

Closing Credits ITidiots is by Gecko Temple and called He Feels Guilty Now which you can download here.

HD Car Run is by Samantha Murphy and called I Wanna Go Home which you can download here.

SWEET!

Continue reading “12: I’m indirectly annoying people overseas, h’raaaay!”

N’mo Day 6

Life on Mars should be a very bad show, based on the elevator pitch:

A cop in present-day New York gets hit by a passing car, and wakes up in 1973, still a cop in New York.  There’s some odd crossover from present day (people he knows in 2008 are younger in 1973), and the occasional anachronism (a kid shows up at some point with a Nirvana tour shirt on).

but it’s not.  I dunno much about it (like who wrote it, or whether or not there was a UK version first), but it’s like a grittier version of Quantum Leap.  I mean that in the best possible way.

Whoa, did you know this about Quantum Leap?

Quantum Leap is an American science fiction television series which ran for 96 episodes from March 1989 to May 1993 on the NBC network. The series was created by Donald P. Bellisario, based on a concept originally created for Galactica 1980. This concept was then reworked outside of the Battlestar Galactica framework.    – The Might Mighty Wikipedia

Well now you do (and doing is half the… wait… that’s wrong).  Now that piece of information is lodged into the same part of your brain that holds infinite amounts of 70s lyrics, you’ll never get that part of your brain working right ever again.  You’re welcome.

Continue reading “N’mo Day 6”

Nablopomo Day 3

In which our hero finally sits his two little ones down in front of Star Wars.  It might be the “fixed” version, but it looks pretty good.  When they get older, we’ll get into the whole thing about how the “real” version is the “best” version.  Han shot first, dammit (but in this version they shoot at the same time, and that Greedo is a lousy shot, lemme just say).

Laundry night (writing in bits and pieces while hauling stuff).  Tate and I went to Sport Ball at the West End Rec Center tonight, which meant leaving a little early from work, and hauling butt up the hill on my bike, so I could then walk back down the other side of the hill with Tate.  Cycling’s going really well, I think, since I’ve only NOT rode my bike for maybe four days since starting, and I had a Dr’s note for that.  Really.  Like, specific “No riding a bike for at least a week” kinda instructions.

So, SportBall, or “Dad & Me” class.  Imagine a half-dozen or so kids between 3 & 4 running around with an equal number of dads, all playing sorta-kinda sports.  Each week is a different sport.  The first week was soccer, sorta-ish, and this week was basketball.

Tate *hearts* the running and kicking and throwing, but sometimes his natural inventiveness gets the better of him, and he wants to roll the hulahoop and then chase it WHILE trying to throw the ball through it (to me).

In the control room Luke and the gang hole up in, there are large reddish buckets near the door.  What’s in those things?  Toner for the printers?  Buckets of new helmets?  Wine?  I bet it’s wine.  No wonder the StormTroopers are such bad shots.  They should have all just set their guns on stun, and blue hoopie-thingied the hallways every five minutes.

Continue reading “Nablopomo Day 3”