Attempt to increase frequency
(24 Nov 2008 at 18:56)
Most of the comments I get about my blog are actually in-person comments about how infrequently I post on it. Isn't that embarrassing? I should do better. Part of the idea of this recent categories thing was that I shouldn't have to worry so much that the posts I make have some level of quality and composition to them. Because if you don't like my posts about XYZ subject you just don't have to add that particular RSS feed to your feed. Ready! Minutia!
Category: Computer Woes made worse by stubbornness On Friday I came back to my computer and I wake the screen and start using the internet or whatever, and then I go to click on something and I'm like where's the damn mouse cursor? Oh, it's stuck in the middle of the screen. Paralysis. So I do all the obvious stuff like reboot and plug and unplug and pray and even sophisticatedly things like BIOS updates and driver updates, all without the mouse mind you, then also the other USB devices are not functioning, like they charge their little batteries but there is no function. Which sucks because (a) I can't install the new iPhone update which fixes some iPhone headaches and (b) I can't draw or make music on the computer and (c) I can't work on one of my secret projects that I was hoping to finish up since it is coming up on its 1 year anniversary approximately and (d) grrr and (e) I'm pretty sure this is a hardware problem so it's not even something I can fix through the powers of troubleshooting or reformatting, i.e. we gotta get a repair dude out here and (f) lots of software is not made for people with no mouses, so I am finding out about all sorts of intriguing tab-orders and figuring out how to write emacs lisp so that I can move and resize the emacs window with brand new key bindings because emacs text editing is one of the only attractive activities when you've got no mouse or joystick or drawing tablet or iPhone 2.2 update, and even in apps that do fully support keyboard navigation e.g. web browsers, there are so many selectable elements that ixnay on individually tab-pressing and so you gotta point your visual gaze at one of the elements and play "focus roulette", whereby you hold down the tab key and watch the selection zip around a few times until you've got the timing down and you release just in time for jackpot! But I actually like this level of creativity in familiar activities, like playing Pacifist Counter-Strike as Edward AK47-hands and (g) I think I actually finished my Pac Tom level 1 project but I can't upload the results from my GPS so that I can make a nice map and share this momentous occasion, so that's a bit of anticlimax for you there. But I tabbed my way to Dell on-line chat support and I was really impressed when I didn't have to walk through any bullshit obvious troubleshooting flowcharts, and in two minutes he was just like, OK I will send you a new motherboard, it will be there tomorrow, and we can send a person out to replace it for you if you want (don't want). Nice! Sometimes it's good to pay for the deluxe service.
Category: Band Level-Up Also: Nels and I played a fairly bang-up open mic night a few weeks ago meaning we felt good about it, and then I was very amused that one of the guys running the open mic thing came up to us right after and was like, "You guys wanna play a local artists showcase?" Which is almost literally what happens when your virtual band is a pretty shitty but not shittiest virtual band in the game Rock Band. So, more positive evidence that video games do in fact prepare you for real life. Anyway we chose the "Yeah, Sure!" option (as my Rock Band buddies will attest I do without even glancing at the terms of the deal) and so we are going to play one of these things in early January and you are all invited of course. Details forthcoming.
Happy voting day! I wrote this T7ES song tonight: Many Happy Returns. Now I am going to an election party.
By the way, if you visit radar.spacebar.org to read Tom 7 Radar (rather than using RSS syndication) you have probably noticed that I have implemented categories and applied them to a lot of old entries. (See for example favorites and album a day.) That's kind of useful since a lot of stuff that I do gets posted only to this weblog and there is no other way to find it. Not at all obvious is that you can also get an RSS feed for any category. Just take the category name, replace spaces_with_underscores, and subscribe to a URL like
to see all the posts having to do with Tom 7 Entertainment System. (Always use the number 1 after rss or it won't work, and the number 5 is the maximum number of most recent posts to show. For most syndication software 5 should be plenty.) I use this to, for example, post customized news feeds on the last.fm pages for my various bands. You can use it for whatever you want, which is probably nothing.
Nels and I played a rock concert as Sick Ridiculous and The Sick Ridiculous at Brianne's birthday party. We were all jazzed up for this one and then beset by a series of runtime failures. Like, in the first song there was feedback (normal, tolerable) and then I got a text message while the song's backing track was playing through the PA off my phone (blunder, but funny) then I broke a string on my guitar, and though I had a spare set of strings I only had the other 5 because I had just replaced that one two days prior. I learned that when a string breaks the whole guitar goes uniformly out of tune (makes sense, since the tension on the neck is reduced); we thought it was Nels so he disappeared to tune and then the next song we were totally not calibrated to one another. But we couldn't give up during that song because that song is about not giving up. We forgot words but that is pretty normal. It was really hot in there too. These are not complaints or excuses, but humorous anecdotes. It seems like it'd be impossible to disappoint these party crowds filled with our friends. In invisible failures: I wasn't recording directly off the PA for the first few songs, and then my guitar mic was off(!) for the rest, so there aren't a lot of usable videos soundwise. This one is just us singin' on the phone:
(Like before, I recommend clicking through to view the HD version or download the original AVI, for maximum quality.) When we are permitted to play a party it is our now publicly proffered deal to write and a perform a new song for the occasion. Usually we just finished writing it so we don't know it and totally blow it in the first performance; this video is our second performance of Unfairbanks. We wrote this for our departing friend George Fairbanks's friend-departing party. It's about the credit crisis. You should know that Sick Ridiculous and The Sick Ridiculous has a good track record of forecasting financial events. This song was written in May. At the end you hear my advice to "sell the shit out of" your stocks, even if it's after hours. Following that advice could have saved you from the worst week of market losses in history. However, past performance does not indicate future gains. (In truth, our only forecasting strategy is whimsical pessimism.)
The song we actually wrote for this event is called Birthday Control, since it's a birthday party. When I'm linking these up, they are links to recorded versions, sure as hell not our live ones. And then there's our new song Sick Day, which actually is a "live" recording of my favorite of our new songs. Live just means one take in my bedroom in this case.
Okay, we'll make this one quick. I spent a lot of time this summer training for races, which cut into this project to run every street. I still occasionally made some progress on that, and now that I'm back in town without any races coming up I'm on it full-time. Like I mentioned last time, the name of the game now is to finish up those scattered spots I've missed and eliminate neighborhoods one at a time, concentrating on the more distant ones first. Newly added to this list are all of the Oakland neighborhoods and Squirrel Hill South, which is the largest neighborhood in the city (by area), and really hilly. Phew! The finished neighborhoods are darkened in above and pink are individual marked-for-death roads. It certainly looks like I'm almost done, huh?
Total distance: 2208.5 miles. Total time: 12 days, 15 hours, 15 minutes.