Monthly Archives: December 2007

Nerdy Stuff

Brad mentioned the other day that he was wishing for an iPod that he could just stream music to from his computer, so it’d be like a hugely larger collection of music than he normally has. I read about a Google Code project that would let you do it from MacOSX, and then I found this, which says it’ll work from Rhythmbox. Despite having absolutely fantastic taste in blog design: It’s neat, but this is all really kind of a shitty solution.

What I’d like is a device that had wireless (preferably of a variety that can be set up to hook to a wpa secured network so I don’t have to turn off security just for it) and supported UPnP. That way I could set up my UPnP server to serve all of my music, and I could actually select what I wanted to play from the device, instead of just setting up my computer to spew tons of generic, random tracks at me. It’d let you skip stuff you didn’t want to hear without having to go back to the source, etc. Like my own personal shoutcast remote control for my pocket.

While I’m making unlikely-to-be-fulfilled wishlists :

  • I’d like a bluetooth pin utility that wasn’t total crap for linux.
  • I’d like a Samba configuration for my file server that didn’t randomly differentiate when I mount something via CIFS or browse to it in Nautilus.
  • I’d like a full featured http-interface page for VLC that includes turning on and off subtitles.
  • I’d like a couple of 1080i or 720p OTA HD channels in my area that didn’t just play fucking football all the time.
  • I’d like a well documented UPnP server for linux that supported the XBox360.
  • I’d still like a remote controlled DVI or HDMI connected media playing device that supported Xvid/Divx and playing from network-mounted storage.
  • I’d like a blowjob on my birthday.

I guess that’s about all I can think of right now.

Dear pdxgrrl –

When I first signed on to OK Cupid because Fargo harassed me, I answered a few questions and then looked at my results, and I saw your lovely face looking back at me on the very first page of results. 84% match (very nearly the highest match possible for me at the time), and a list of interests that sent chills up my spine. I carefully made sure not to masturbate thinking about you (don’t want to jinx it), and pressed forward to make sure we were meant to be.

But something has changed. I don’t know what it was, but 100 more questions have passed, and I think we’ve grown apart.

You no longer show up on my first ten results, you’re back on page SEVEN! We are now only an 80% match, with 1% enemy! How did this happen? I blame myself. We never talked about it, I never made a point to find out why you hate me now. Was it my stance on polyamory? Is it that I mandate that gay marriage should be legal? I suppose now… I’ll never know.

You should go with your perennial runner up, Meliora84 (2% enemy, that bitch always hated me) and try to find a new life, together, reading crime fiction and having discussions about Rolling Stone. Try to find happiness, as you sink further away from my top 100 matches, and I will try to forget the purity, the power of our unrealized potential love.

Has-Been

Beneath Chuck Norris’s beard, there isn’t a chin, there is only a humorless dick who found god and can’t let an opportunity go past to remind everyone about it.

And now he’s trying to sue a book maker who is pretty fucking righteously in the clear, either by way of the argument that this is parody and therefore fair use, or that it is unreasonable that anyone would believe that Chuck Norris’s tears cured cancer, and therefore protected from “false statements” litigation, not to mention that you’re claiming trademark infringement on your name and likeness, which is again, totally insane. (PS: If you win this, I’m going to trademark my face too.)

Way to go Chuck! You could have parlayed some of this ironic resurgence of fame into something (shit, shill for the Creation Museum : “This is the story of all the creatures I let live”, or Rudy Giuliani : “I too wanted to divorce my wife and live with a group of homosexuals and then throw them under a bus to sell my candidacy to the social conservatives when I thought the time was right” or whatever you wanted to say). You could have gotten a spot on Priceline commercials where you explained that the deals were so good God sent you to make sure there was no monkey business with Satan. But instead you proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that you’re a goober with an axe to grind and zero ideas on how to spend social capital that the internet gave you for free.

Brad gave me HIV

So, despite the fact that my lazy ass failed to send a gift to Canada until it was too late to conceivably be there for Christmas, Brad sent me the gift of HIV.

Who knew that the cause of AIDS was so adorable and soft? No wonder it’s an epidemic that has ravaged the sexual revolution since I was old enough to have hair on my bad place.

This will, of course, end up in my cubicle at work, to make the folks there wonder. I am Mr. Passive Agressive Co-Worker.

The burrito and the fucking jew lawyer…

So, I have two stories that I feel I need to share.

Growing up in Phoenix, I took it for granded that there would always be a 24 hour mexican food place within a short bike ride from the house. After college came around, and drinking became the thing to do, those same “Betos/Bertos” (so called because of the odd tendency to have a name like “Filbertos” or “Los Betos” or “Alibertos”) became an important weekly destination. The carne asada burrito, fully two pounds of toxic-green guacamole, onions, cilantro, and salty fried meat was the ideal hangover cure, the fatty, crispy carnitas, or eggy machaca would help offset some foolhardy levels of alchohol consumption. A couple of spoonfuls of reconstituted refried beans and a large pepsi would round out what could only be called a meal by the desperately stupid or terribly drunk. If you are what you eat, by the time I turned 23, I was 40% Betos-derived. Possibly more.

Moving to Portland four years ago, I realized there would be sacrifices. I wouldn’t live near Guedo’s Tacos anymore. No more Papago Park mountain bike rides. No more Sunday morning climbs up South Mountain. Aloha Kitchen, gone and forgotten. But I suppose the Betos were so ingrained in me (and there was always a substitute in other towns I had lived, Tucson and San Jose) I never really thought about it.

When I moved to Portland, a series of things happened that obscured this lack of burrito availability. First, I quit smoking. Second, I started riding my bike. Third, my gracious employer dropped my pay $2.50 an hour. Fourth, I moved in with my parents. All of these added up to this: Aaron stopped drinking as much, and almost never went out. Frankly, I was having enough problems with craving cigarettes without the added beer-and-a-smoke trigger, I was trying to get into shape, I had no money to eat out, and my parents weren’t exactly gonna go out and cruise for shitty burros with me.

Now that life has straightened up some, I found that there are a lot of very good mexican food places here in Portland, but nothing that could suit the “It’s 3am and that last beer was a really bad idea” cravings. I believed I was destined to a life of unrequited nocturnal-binge-eating love, never to savor the pickled jalapeno calming my abused gut again.

Until today.

Today, for lunch, I wandered over to 102nd and Halsey-ish and finally worked up the nerve to go into Muchas Gracias, whose entire pitch is “24 hours a day” and “Mexican american food”. They deliver both of those, and a big cambro of midgrade escabeche. It was everything I dreamed it would be, they offered deep fried “Rolled tacos”. Everything had guacamole on it in thick layers. Hefting the monolithic carnitas burrito ($3.80) in my hand, it effortlessly tipped the pointer over from “big” to “lardass”. Fargo ordered a machaca breakfast burrito ($3.50), and I got a side of beans ($1.80 for more beans than I could comfortably eat in a sitting). The carnitas was fried crispy and swimming in a mixture of chopped onions, a light dusting of cilantro (thank the ManJesus), and a double fistful of mashed avocado. The beans were canned or at least dehydration-derived, possessing that skinless brown uniformity that only industrial process can create. The salsas were in the ice tray next to the serve-yourself escabeche (98% carrots, with just a few jalapenos here and there and ornamental onion slices).

I sit here, in elastic waistbanded pants, staring at the still half full container of beans on my desk, in relative ecstasy. Muchas Gracias fully satisfied every bit of my expectations for low-grade industrial chow. My eyes teared up a little, and I think only a little of that is from the pickle juice Fargo squirted in my eye from his pepper.

Another thing I’m beginning to miss is my childhood notion that my dad wasn’t a racist. I either had some vigorous filtering in place, or he’s become more verbal, or something, because my dad is now batting a thousand. In three visits with him, each time, something has inspired him to indicate it was the work of some mysterious cabal of “fucking jew lawyers” (with an optional “from the ACLU” thrown in if we’ve already used just the plain “fucking jew lawyers” too recently to simply repeat).

I mentioned it to my sister, who hasn’t heard this particular phrase from him, but offered a theory. Ever since finding out that my mother’s father came from jewish people fleeing Europe for the new world, suddenly he has a casual connection to the ethnic group, lending him the ability to use the term, much like friends or spouses of black people are excused to use the term “nigger”. The consensus, however, is that he is going to continue his work in advanced epithetical theory until he can comfortably blame everything on some easily dismissable group that he can claim a personal connection to. Either that, or he’s going to finally start using the word “sandnigger” again, as was his fashion for the early half of this decade.

DVD::Rip Part 2

I finally got DVD Rip to rip a movie (unfortunately I selected the wrong audio track and got the commentary).

1. Cluster mode – Nerd cool but broken as shit. Crashed out with the ever helpful “ERROR” even when I was only running on my local machine.

2. SMP – It doesn’t seem to quite max out the CPU, but it does the job acceptably fast.

3. Options – Here is a major bitch point. This is one of those programs with dozens of options that never really explains what they do. It would be nice if there was a “wizard mode” or “guided mode” that would just take the fucking DVD and make it into an avi, without the random “Rip” and then “Crop” and then “Whatzis” and “Be Candid” sections.

4. Size – I ripped a DVD with zero resize, no cropping, just MP3 audio and Xvid, and it told me the file would be 6GB in size (slightly larger than the DVD). It ended up being 1.4 GB… for reasons I cannot explain.

I’m giving it another shot, because Fargo was able to make a good copy of Godzilla using x264 (and the correct audio track), so I want to see if it’s just me being a tard or what.

Dog update

Short version : Bitey has an e. coli bacterial infection. I am in need of a new vet.

Here’s the rundown.

Last Wednesday night I noticed she was laying around the house a lot and not moving. Thursday when I came home from work, she wasn’t outside waiting for me. I thought she might have a UTI because she was doing a lot of investigating in her crotch, so I figured I’d get an appointment for her in the morning. I called it in and Fargo took her at 10:30.

When he got home, he noticed she was jaundiced, and very dehydrated. The vet took blood and urine samples, and asked if she had gotten into anything. When we both responded that no, there wasn’t anything odd she had gotten into, and no, we weren’t just playing dumb, she asked if there was any standing water outside.

Her first reaction after this was to suggest we take her to another facility. This should have been a clue.

There was much talk made of getting her into an urgent care facility, and getting an ultrasound done, which, beside getting everybody paid a lot of money ($1000 for the urgent care, $600 for the ultrasound), wouldn’t have done much. The only alternative was to leave her at the vet’s office, on the IV, with antibiotics. I agreed to this, to the tune of $700 (a quote which included fucking X-rays, despite none having been taken or, in fact, justified in any way for Bitey’s symptoms). She would be left on fluids and antibiotics overnight at the Vet, and if the next morning she wasn’t doing better, we’d make other plans.

I visited Bitey in the office after work, and went home very upset. She looked awful, her eyes and ears were yellow with jaundice and she was obviously very tired. We talked to the vet some more who made another attempt to get me to spend the $1600 for the urgent care plan, and I again had to deny it. I was treated as though I had walked in and spit on the dog from this moment forward.

We went home and I had to finish up some work, and mysteriously, 20 minutes before their closing time, the doctor has new information to sway me to take the dog to urgent care in southeast Portland. She tells me that the bilirubin numbers in Biteys blood are “higher than she has ever seen in a dog” and that I had better “get right down there”. I explain that I already made the decision against urgent care and will be picking Bitey up. So I get in the car and go to pick up my obviously dying dog. I am not the sort of person who can casually spend $2500 in veterinary bills. I love my dogs, but when I get news that they have exceeded the veterinarian’s experience in care, I tend to take it that they are not long for the world.

I show up at the office and the receptionist asks me which urgent care facility I will be taking Bitey to, and hands us pamphlets about leptospirosis, with no further explanation. I explain that I won’t be taking her to an urgent care facility. The doctor comes out and says “I think there was a misunderstanding on the phone, I thought you were taking her to urgent care.” I replied that what she meant to say was she hadn’t listened to me on the phone. She asked me to go into the exam room, presumably because Fargo was ruining the Feng Shui or whatever, and we have the exact same conversation, only this time, I explain that I won’t put myself into credit card debt for six months on “We don’t know but we hope more of your money will fix it”. Her only suggestion, after I state that I won’t be spending the money for an ultrasound, is euthanasia. That’s it. The extent of her abilities to diagnose this dog are these two steps: 1. “please go see another doctor” and 2. “kill it”. I explain that I’ll be taking my dog home, so she can spend her last days in comfort and familiar surroundings, and she treats me as if I had just told her I was going to take the dog home and serially sodomize it. This is when I realized that she had simply waited until the end of the day to spring this shit on me in an attempt to force my hand, and I wasn’t responding as she had wanted.

I took Bitey home, and Fargo and I sat on death watch the entire night and next morning. The vet called to “clarify things” because there was a “misunderstanding on the phone” and again urged me to take the dog to urgent care or euthanize it. She decided she would “be blunt” to which I decided to lash out and bitch slap her. She responded that she had only acted with concern for my animals. I explained that she had acted with nothing but contempt for me. She mentioned that she thought it was possible Bitey might have leptospirosis (apparently the receptionist also gave her the pamphlet the previous night) and wanted to test for it, which, despite being a bacterial infection that can come from drinking standing water outside the house which she had asked about and we had mentioned was a possibility, she hadn’t ordered the test for before. I told her she was incompetent, and that she should get that test done NOW because I wanted to know if I was at risk for infection. This would, of course, carry an additional charge.

Fargo and I spent the rest of the weekend on death watch, forcing the dog to drink water and doing as much research as we could. Bitey seemed to respond to the initial antibiotics with more awareness. Monday a coworker who once worked on a farm told me about Terramycin, a tetracycline antibiotic that is available at farm stores. Fargo went to pick some up, because we were willing to try anything. Mid day, the veterinarian’s office calls to tell us that Bitey has an e. coli infection, and they’re calling in a prescription for doxycycline (a branded tetracycline antibiotic, synthetic and by all accounts slightly more powerful than terramycin). Fargo was having problems finding a lab scale which was accurate to tenths of a gram, so I filled the script and we’re shoving them down her neck.

I’m not saying that Bitey is going to get better, because I don’t know. I don’t know how much damage was done to her renal system due to the infection, I don’t know how effective this medication is at reducing the bacterial mass. All I know is that I need a new vet, one that doesn’t look at me like a fucking debit card attached to a dog collar. It wouldn’t hurt if step two in their diagnostic toolkit wasn’t “kill the dog” either.

Google Reader Shared Items

Google Reader, the only RSS reader worth my time, has just pumped up the awesome to 11.

As long as you have a friend in your contacts (I guess this is how it works) with shared items, they automatically show up in your reading list. There seems to be a way to ignore certain users which is nice, depending on how many people in my contact list end up using Google Reader.

I just ended up reading eight things that Brad shared, and a couple of them were so cool I went ahead and subscribed to the feeds.

I’ve been waiting anxiously for this type of social angle to Google Reader since I first noticed that you could share items. With sufficient friends, it would be like a more personal metafilter.

Now, pretty please Google add a one-key keyboard shortcut for sharing items. (Shift? Seriously? Are we out of keys on here already?) Also it wouldn’t kill you to put a “subscribe feed” button right in the shared item, instead of me having to click on the feed link first.