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Monkey Wrench

Monkeyradio... my favorite internet radio station. The quality and choice of music is superior to anything I have found elsewhere. And he doesn't step all over the music with lameass commercials (the way most other internet radio does.) The monkeyradio server has been down for a few days. Computer problems.

The server should be back up soon, guess he's working on it now. Meanwhile he's having various other people do guest DJ'ing --yours truly included. As I write this I'm listening to myself streaming over monkeyradio. By the time you read this of course it might no longer be so, but check it out. I might still be on, and if I'm not, the music will still be cool:

http://groove.monkeyradio.org/


Electric Lotusland

Went out to a club tonight with my brother. Downtown Houston --The Lotus Lounge. Tonight was a monthly bangra night that they have. Was a lot of fun. Took a while to get going. Sat around most of the night admiring the women and checking out some of the characters. Some guys with turbans (I'm sure it's called something else in india) that seemed to be hanging out until things got really jumping. Not sure but it seemed that a couple of them changed into turbans later in the evening.

Anyway we kind of just chilled out until around 1 a.m. or so when the main act came on. That was when it really started jumping. Well, no just before that DJ Impact was playing some good hip hop and bangra mixes. Fun watching people dance. Especially the girls. You have to wonder about those cute indian girls. If they don't have brothers that would kick your ass for even looking at their sister. That's the impression I have of the way things work with that...

The main guys came out and started jamming. People were throwing their hands in the air and it was hard to not just get up and start dancing. So I did. Pretty cool. I spin bangra music a lot when I dj. Mostly people just look at me funny when I do it, though I have had some nice reactions from people. Neat to be in a large group of people that were really enjoying it. I danced my way to almost right in front of the stage where I found one of those turban'ed guys dancing with a cute girl. Their eyes were locked on each other. Some kind of exotic sex dance. I could smell the pheromones.


Freeze Dried Web Site

Hanging around in #knoppix again. It's been a while. Seems like there is some interesting stuff going on in there (as usual.)

Brought my old knoppix site back to life --the one where I was keeping track of all the different stuff I was up to with remastering knoppix. I'd been using knoppix as a base for making my own linux distro. I was remastering the cd, taking off applications that I didn't use a lot and replacing them with stuff that I use all the time. I still use this remaster as the basis of my linux hard drive installs. At least I did until recently. Lately it's just been the latest version of the stock Knoppix. It's come a long ways...

And so has Linux. I think I'll be getting back into remastering the cd. I'll keep track of whatever I do by using my old knoppix site. I'll probably change it so it runs on a wiki. So it's easier to maintain and so I can mess around with a different cms.


Quicktime On Linux

I used to hate it when people emailed me links to Quicktime movies. Seems like everytime someone sends me one I have to go and download the installer all over again. Then I have to put up with those ads... "Upgrade to Pro?"

And there's no external codec so you really can't use it with any apps other than Quicktime itself.

And the poor useability on the Windows version. You click a Quicktime file in the Windows Explorer, Quicktime loads (as you would expect) but then you have to press play on the player. It's like they're not sure you really intended to watch the video, maybe you just wanted to admire the player... Honestly, it's like Apple is trying to tell you: "idiot! why didn't you just buy a Mac!"

My experience has been that it's just not very useful --at least for a windows or linux user. Seriously... I could bitch about this all night.

So, recently I was messing around with scripts for installing Mplayer on Knoppix. After installing Mplayer I was surprised to find that I was able to play Quicktime files. The scripts even installed a Quicktime viewing plugin into Mozilla and Konqueror. Linux really has come a long way. I'm not sure what the legal status is of Mplayer though. Wonder where I would go to find out about that. I remember chatting with Klaus about it once on Knoppix. He was saying that he didn't include it with Knoppix because there are some legal problems with Mplayer. Hmm.

Well... I have to admit that being able to look at Quicktime video on my Linux box is pretty sweet. Here's a few links that Anthony sent me. Warning though --that Ichi The Killer trailer is only for the most hardcore viewer...

Trailer: Ichi The Killer

Beat Takeshi as Zatoichi The Blind Swordsman Matrix Revolutions

(this was seriously slashdotted when I dl'ed the trailer, use wget -c if you can...)


Talk To Me

Decided to setup the kacked chatroom again. I'll be adding a link for it to the sidebar, but for now you can connect here. If it doesn't work for you please let me know what browser version you were using. You can check the version by looking in the menu under help/about.

A friend suggested ircd-ratbox. Setup was straightforward, but I ran into a snag trying to get it to start when the system boots. It was just a matter of adding the following to /etc/rc.local>

su -l ircd -c /usr/local/ircd/bin/ircd

Tried just /usr/local/ircd/bin/ircd but then it complained about not wanting to run as root (imagine that...)

kacked chatroom


Stars Come Out To Fight

Earlier today I was looking at the New York Times and saw what seemed to be a bit of a jab at California. It's the kind of thing that I thought was more typical of The New Yorker. I guess if they have a police chase in Manhattan, it's either in the movies or on foot. Too congested for anything else.

Tonight I'm looking at their site again. Reading up on the big power outage they had. I like this quote from the end of an article about how a lot of people ended up in bars there (since the trains and all were not working):

Debra Nuss of Garden City, N.Y., was stranded at Mustang Sally's at Seventh Avenue and 28th Street.

"I'm standing here in New York and I have no way to get home," she said. "It is really disturbing." At one point, she looked at the starry sky and said, "That is amazing. It's something you just never would dream of seeing in New York."

New York Times: Absence of Lights Fails to Stifle Nightlife


Big Iron

Was in the new Wallmart here in Tomball today. When I moved here they were laying the foundations and then it opened a month ago. Part of a super stripmall that includes an I-hop, Sonic, and it's own gas station--that kind of deal. Don't know much about Wallmart from living in Los Angles. They seem to have them out there, they just didn't seem to be as plentiful. Give it time. Wallmart was one of our case studies back when I was doing business school. One thing that stuck with me (besides the realization that signing up for business school wasn't a great strategy for getting laid) was that Wallmart stock (like GE) has been one of the most consistent gainers.

I was bragging to my daughter after my first visit to Wallmart--telling her how they had their own McDonald's inside. "They all do," she told me. As I was checking out my groceries today the guy told me that it was the fifth largest store in the United States. He went on to tell me that the store included fifty innovations that were not being used elsewhere. The one that impressed me was the lazy susan bagger deal. Basically a...

Hey, ok. Ya caught me talking about Wallmart. Sometimes the simple things... Well, fuck it. There are probably some appropriate words for an occaision such as this but they escape me. And thinking about Wallmart bores the shit out of me.

Went to Frys yesterday with my brother. They had that sale on again. You know the one. The motherboard/chip combo (for those who care, it's an AMD Athlon XP 1800+ and a cheap ECS motherboard.) I been jones'ing for an upgrade. In fact I have deluded myself into thinking I need a mail server. And then there was that motherboard I bought at a yard sale for five bucks. Yeah, so anyway, I couldn't resist the urge to consume. I plunked down my sixty bucks like any good american and then spent the rest of the day and night upgrading my system.

How is it [I hear you ask]? Well... fast. I can do stuff that took a long time in... well, less time than it took before. A lot less time. And did I mention that it's fast? One thing though, it's totally hotter in my room than it was before. Ah well. And when is technology without unforseen consequences?


Bell Weather

As I'm writing thunder is sounding outside the window behind me. Just about an hour ago it was a normal summer day in Houston but then the sky clouded over and it got so dark in my room that it seemed the sun would soon set. I went outside to retrieve the trashcan so it would not fill with water.

Oops, got to run off to the doctor's office to have the staples removed from my scalp. Finish writing this later when I get back...


Ringo Shina

I have seen her name spelled different ways, I guess the only real way to spell it is in japanese. She's my favorite japanese artist. Well, my favorite japanese pop artist. There is some other interesting japanese music but as mentioned in the article you have to wade through a lot of crap to find it.

Got interested in her when I heard some mp3s downloaded off something or other, maybe I found them under a rock. But after that I wasn't happy until I had an actual CD in my hand. The only place I could find that had anything was the Tower Records on Sunset (the original eh?) Ouch, something like thirty bucks to satisfy (at least temporarily) that obsession. A nice album with the loudest song I have ever heard on it--"Identity" starts with a long punk rock style scream. I remember playing it for a bunch of friends outside of Sanamluang (my favorite thai restaurant in Los Angeles) and just laughing.

What he says in the article is true. There seems to be more and more interesting pop music coming out of japan. I used to wonder if it was just that I was acquiring a taste for it or if it was getting better. Of course it was both...

TIMEasia Magazine: Rinngo's a Star


Coin Locker Babies

I started seriously reading Ryu Murakami's "Coin Locker Babies" recently. An excerpt I found somewhere on the web perked my interest and then a few months before I left Los Angeles I checked the book out of the non-circulating reference stacks at the library downtown and read the first chapter. Thatdid it, I had to have the book.

I saw the book once while hanging out at the Barnes and Nobles in "The Grove" there at 3rd and Fairfax in Los Angeles. The Grove is the place with that groovy new Apple store where the staircase is made of thick tempered glass--you see through it as you climb it. Kind of freaky, and not for those who don't enjoy amusement park rides. The staircase makes a good metaphor for the arc of Apple's marketing campaign.

Ryu Murakami interests me. My first knowledge of him was from seeing his film "Tokyo Decadence" (japanese title "Topaz".) The movie seemed to have been influenced a great deal by Lynch's "Blue Velvet"

Simple and confusing at the same time, with several memorable scenes the film was about a day in the life of a Tokyo call girl. It seemed clear too that the film was at least partly inspired by Lynch's "Blue Velvet". Several scene make this clear, most notably one where a women sings into a dildo as though it were a microphone (ala Dean Stockwell's Candy Colored Clown), one with a table full of empty Heinekin bottles, and another where a guy in a park holds a dog's leesh while the dog craps. Maybe you have to have seen Blue Velvet at least fifteen times [like me] to see the connection. Trust me it's there.

The book is hitting the spot. Here's an excerpt:

...TV sounds are all the same; there's no difference between the sound of the wind in Northern Ireland and the wind on a Polynesian island. You can't tell anything unless the air vibrations are produced directly. On TV the original vibrations in the air pass through a microphone to tape, then from the tape they're converted to electrical waves; somewhere in there the real sound dies and all you've got left is electricity. The sound they played for us was probably reproduced somehow, but it was more than just taped; there was something special about it. As far as I can tell, it must've been a mixture of natural sound, something fixed up electronically, and some kind of electronic instrument. There's nothing like that on TV. All you get on TV is pigs squealing...


The Anti Sound Bite

One of the main reasons I maintain a weblog is that it gives me a place to practice writing. Thinking about this always takes me back to the time when I asked a writer for advice. I wanted to know if there was anything I could do to improve my writing. Did she have any tips for me.

She told me it was really important to write everyday. One had to get in the habit of writing. And that the only way to really do it was to write all the time--whether you felt like it or not. Write every day...

"Write even if you're only writing about how you don't want to write. Keep a journal or diary," she told me. It made sense.

My weblog then isn't about self promotion--though this happens as a result. It's about refining my process of thinking and my ability to communicate. A weblog can be a means towards rediscovering the way that our culture used to have intellectual discourse.


Automation Age

Revived some of the automated stuff I was doing with my old greymatter site. Sure seems like a long time ago. The page background is changing on the hour. Later it will only happen at midnight [like it did before.] Got it running every hour right now so I can see more quickly if it will break. Not all of the backgrounds are appropriate for the new look of the site, but then I have not really settled on what the new look of the site is. The way it looks now is just an interim thing-- a cross between the way it looked when it was running on greymatter and one of the phpnuke themes.

Likewise for the quotes. Those are changing every hour but later it will just be done at midnight.

Added a new feature too. Something I've always wanted to have. It's called "recent referers". It shows who's been linking to my site and how many hit's I'm getting from them. Kind of neat. Too bad Michael's sites are down. Curious to see how many hits I get from them.

Michael recently moved his computer/server down into the loft district in downtown Los Angeles. He got to keep the same cable provider but found after getting all setup that they were blocking port 80. No more web server action. He's in the process of switching to DSL so he'll be back up in a week or so. Maybe ten days. Some cable companies really don't get what the internet is all about. They're so used to pumping product down a wire. Product that only moves in one direction. They see anybody that's running a personal web server as a competitor. Fucking bullshit is what I say. Fortunately not all of them are like that.


Bringing Up Baby

My friends Tim and Lisa are going through the process of adopting a baby. Tim recently sent me an email outlining some of his plans for baby. I thought it was fairly humorous and asked him if I could post it on my weblog. The following is excerpted from said email:

I am doing a bunch of house projects right now, centering mostly around "the baby room". Having a little time before a baby arrives, I feel I have the opportunity to thoroughly prepare. To that end, I have devised the following engineered solutions, which so far have not won the general support of, well, anyone. Perhaps you will join me in their appreciation:

1. The number one problem that must be dealt with concerning babies is lack of control of body functions, leading to diapering. The amount of work and materials involved is staggering - by some estimates a baby reqiures 2,000 diaper changes in a year. Of course, the ultimate solution is for the child to be potty trained as soon as possible. I will be looking into the latest Swedish methods to achieve this, but it looks unlikely before the age of six months.

The most distasteful part of a diaper change seems to me to be the smell. Previously, I thought that this would be performed in the bathroom, where a sink resides and where there is adequate ventilation to exchange the entire volume of air in the room in a matter of minutes. Well, now I am informed it will most likely occur in the babies bedroom, which has no ventilation in the winter, when it is too cold to open a window.

Ideal solution: change the baby under a laminar flow hood vented to the outside.

My solution: I have mounted a six inch square fan, the kind used for cooling racks of electronics, on a board which can be wedged into a partially open window so that only the hole of the fan is open to the outside, and it blows air out of the room. The baby changing table is positioned a couple of feet away, and all the smell is carried away.

2. Holding the baby properly is a challenge, especially if it gets all squirmy. This often requires both hands, reducing the capacity to multitask. Ideal solution: baby stays in a sling around the parent. My solution: A large, elbow length glove is sewed onto the back of a baby jumper which the baby wears, so that I can then put on the baby like a glove, preventing spilling the baby, and making it easy to present the baby to visitors for close inspections.

3. Basinets are a large encumbrence and take up a lot of space. My solution: the baby can sleep in a drawer, in the same chest of drawers it will later use for its clothes.

4. As the baby gets older and can move around, it should be allowed to explore the world, but in a safe way. My solution: a movable pen, with no bottom, which can be moved around the yard as one location becomes "soiled" i.e no diapers required. I can do yardwork with the baby without having to worry.


Emergency Room 4 a.m.

Wacked on the head late last night. Wouldn't stop bleeding so had to take a trip to the emergency room. I didn't realize till after the nurse gave me a towel to wash my face--I guess I was quite a site when I walked in--when I was done cleaning my face with the towel, it was covered with blood. No wonder that couple in the waiting room were so insistent about me seeing someone right away. "It's no big deal," I told them, "it just won't stop bleeding."

The doctor asked me if I wanted a local. The way he asked was confusing. Something about four shots or two shots. I repeated back to him what I thought I was hearing: "you can stick me twice for a local and then twice more with the staples, but if I'm not a pussy just go for the staples and then it's just two times you're poking me." He said that wasn't the way he would have put it but that I more or less had it correct. I told him to just staple my head closed.

I go back in 10 days to have them removed.

As I'm writing this I'm listening to the new Plaid album. What's it called, let's see... "Spokes". They are one of the bands in that new genre of glitchy (glitch hop) IDM that I really like. They sound more like a music box than anybody else I can think of.

Boring day. Spent most of the day sleeping. Recovering. It wasn't that big a deal. But couldn't it have happened at a more decent hour? I guess late night is when you're going to make a mistake. When you're (I'm) tired. As much as I slept today I'm still pretty tired. Maybe some exercise is just what the doctor ordered.

I got all the content from the moveabletype site over into this new weblog software. Now I'm working on getting all the stuff from the older phpnuke version of kacked.com imported. Slow going. I have not figured out a way to do it automated. Maybe I should hold off, study a bit more php and then just write a program to do what I want. Yeah... that's the ticket.



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