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May 31, 2002
Well, it works now, but
Well, it works now, but it's an annoying hack. I had to eliminate the last sentence of my post from the array of possible randmo quotes on the home page. Not a really big deal, but it's frustrating that I couldn't get it to work more sensibly. I'm sure, given time and inclination, I could think of a much smoother way for the whole thing to work, but screw it. I've used too much of my day off doing this already. I'll just be satisfied that I got Movable Type working, and try not to be pissed that I have to type break tags when I want a new paragraph. Maybe a solution to that problem will come to me later. Always good to walk away.

In other news, it's a beautiful day, and I'm not at work. Life is good.
Ugh. Now that the blog
Ugh. Now that the blog is working very nicely, I'm having problems with my random quote grabber for the home page. Movable Type is inserting a mystery new line character somewhere, and it's fucking up my javascript function. It's also a little irritating because I've had to configure this to not convert line breaks, meaning I have to type little break tags when I want a new paragraph.

Like this. Looks seemless to you, but it was more than just hitting return twice.

Anyway, I'm typing this post to test it out.
Announcement: This blog is now
Announcement: This blog is now running on Movable Type. I could go on and on about how amazing a system it is, and how much better than Blogger, and how nice it is to have it all running on my own server, so I will. Ha ha, just kidding.

Thus far, I've made it look exactly like it did with Blogger, but perhaps one day I'll take advantage of the..... drum roll...... POWER OF MOVABLE TYPE. Yes, bow to it's power. You know you're impressed.

On to my 95 other day-off Friday tasks.
May 30, 2002

So, here I go with the movable type. Remarkably easy. Now to get it to look like the old coredump (why?) and import all my old entries.

I got nothing to say.

I got nothing to say. Sad, isn't it?

There's this - http://www.nycbloggers.com/ - but it's not as interesting as it first appears. Try as I might (I don't really try), I can't get into the whole "blogging community". I have enough trouble staying interested in my own mindless ramblings.

May 29, 2002
Memorial Day weekend... Friday morning

Memorial Day weekend...

Friday morning we left Brooklyn for Lewes, Delaware. Zach is down there for about a month, working on his mom's house, and we were planning to meet up with Dave and Cass there and spend the weekend on the beach. And we did. Mission accomplished.

The drive down was great, beautiful cruise down the Jersey shore and then a slow ride across Delaware Bay on the Cape May - Lewes Ferry, the "Best Boat Ride in America". We arrived in time to go out for lobster dinner Friday night with Dave, Cass, Zach and Jesse Tischler. Jesse is an old friend of the family, someone I spent a lot of time with as a small child, but haven't really been friends with since. I see him about once a year at my parents' Christmas party, but that's about it. It was interesting to hang out with him, he's a different kind of guy. Very sincere and thoughtful, I guess you could say, but sometimes almost to the point that it makes you uncomfortable. He tended to disappear for a few hours every now and then too.

Tested out the new sand kit for the volleyball net by playing ball all weekend. Zach was suspicious at first, but we won him over in 10 minutes. Volleyball seems to be a very good sport for that; it's easy enough to be competent that anyone can have a great time right away. I guess it also helps that none of the rest of us are so good that we make it tedious for a beginner. We played, swam, windsurfed, sailed, layed in the sun. It was a fantastic weekend with some of my favorite people in the world. Actually, it was one of the first times in a long time that I really started to feel like leaving New York. It was so nice to be away, in a quiter, more peaceful place, and to be spending time with people who mean a lot to me. I have those people here too, of course, but I often feel like most of the time we spend together is at work, and outside of that, volleyball, but apart from those, not a whole lot. And not always for lack of trying, more perhaps because work takes up far too much time. I'm coming up on 3 solid years at this job. It's a lot more time than I would ever have thought I would spend doing this. On the other hand, I've learned a lot, gained a decent skill, of sorts, and made a handful of great friends. I go back and forth about it all the time; where my priorities should be, why I'm doing this, what I intend to do next. In the end, I think I'll probably struggle with these questions for my whole life, and that's porbably a good thing.

Yesterday I was jazzed to write about how I had figured out a Fireworks script that automates the resizing and thumbnailing of my photos after I download them from my camera. Between that and my new naming scheme, my turnaround time has gone from nearly infinite to nearly nil. Like I said, I was excited to write about that, feeling a sense of accomplishment, but now that it's been a day, it seems pretty insignificant. I'd like to pursue something that might give me a more lasting satisfaction.

Pictures from the weekend.

Got a brand new tent and a new sleeping bag from my Mom today. I really want to go camping.

May 24, 2002
Ach, we won only 1

Ach, we won only 1 game out of three tonight. Disappointing because we played pretty well, we could have, should have, won, but we just didn't put it together. We're getting pretty tired of losing. I felt like I played decently most of the night, but often not when it counted most. When I had a chance to really put it away, I missed almost every time. Very disheartening. I served okay, I had a couple blocks, but overall, shyte.

A few beers fixed all that.

Got my new drum machine in the mail today. I got an Alesis SR-16 on eBay for a pretty good price. I really want to get to use all of these new music toys, but lately I've had none. Less than none. Tomorrow morning we're off to Deleware to hang out with Zach, Dave and Cass for the weekend. Monday I'll be home with no work. That's my day to get all of this stuff up and running. And by god, I'll record a song. Part of a song. The cat. Something.

Last night we took a nice walk up the Hudson river to Times Square, picked up tickets for a 9:30 showing of Star Wars II, and then went to eat at Chevy's across the street. Twice in one week we ate at a Chevy's and then saw a blockbuster movie. We briefly considered making it a tradition, but quickly decided there aren't nearly enough movies worth seeing, nor enough tequila in Chevy's margaritas, to make it worthwhile. We can think of better traditions than that.

**If you don't want to hear my opinion of the new Star Wars movie, if it'll ruin it for you, stop reading here.**
So, Star Wars. What can I say. It sucked. I feel sort of bad saying it, and I wish it had been better, but really, when taken as a whole, as a movie-going experience, it was extremely below average. The effects are phenomenal, it looks pretty cool, and there are a few nifty fight sequences, but they really amount to nothing more than short little scenes that are interesting for a few minutes. It lacked almost all of the things you need to have a real movie, let alone a good movie; characters, plot, decent dialogue, some kind of real conflict, suspension of disbelief. It's hard to belive that a movie so expensive makes it into theaters in such a state, with some of the lines and scenes that it had. George Lucas has complete control over these films, so in the end it was really quite a validation for the studio system. Maybe sometimes it's a good idea to have people watch a film, read the script, and have some authority to say, "No, wait a minute. You can't leave that line in. People are going to laugh their asses off at that, and that's not what you're going for. It's just ridiculous." It seems like the film is so wrapped up in being super high tech; all digital, all fancy cutting edge special effects, computer generated characters, that they forgot that it's supposed to be entertaining and interesting. That it should make you think about something, make you feel something besides shock and the desire to have your money back. And that's another problem here; this movie will make half a billion dollars or more even though it's really pretty awful. Too bad.

Anyway, if you want to see something, see Spiderman, an infinitely better movie.

May 21, 2002
An update: I spent the

An update: I spent the last hour updating my photo album script to deal better with my new naming scheme. Now it defaults to thumbnail view on each album, doesn't list the file names, and it's configurable as to how many columns of thumbnails it displays. Very cool. Good night.

Okay you monkeys, listen up.

Okay you monkeys, listen up. I'm only going to say this once.

So, lessee.... Oh, to finish the story I was telling last time (when last we spoke...), I did eventually get that card working let Thursday night. I renamed teh ASIO folder to the name Logic was expecting, and there you go. It found the drivers, I plugged in a microphone, and recorded sound. It was like the moon landing. I had recorded sound. I felt like Edison.

I still have yet to finish setting the thing up or do anything interesting, but it's in the works. That thing was too expensive to lie fallow.

Weekend: Friday night Susan and Zach came into town and we met Liz's friends from Peru at The Ear Inn. A nice place, though a bit crowded at first, but with late-middle-age drunks, one of my favorite kinds. Not nearly as beligerant as 20 something drunks, at least not physically dangerous anyway, and likely to tell strange and senseless stories. One turned around and accused me of being a "Yankees Hater" out of the blue. He was sure he'd heard me whispering in his ear about the superiority of some other team.

Saturday morning was cold and rainy, perfect day for crossword puzzles and pancakes at home. The afternoon cleared up a bit and we went for a walk in Greenwood Cemetary. Liz and I then left with Luke for Point Pleasant, NJ to spend the night before playing in a beach volleyball tournament on Sunday.

The tournament was great, we only won 2 games, but it was great to play, get some exercise, and be in the sun all day. We spent the first night in the still as-yet-unamed bus, saw Spiderman in the suberbs, and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over a tiny harbor with tiny boats. I almost felt like I should have spelled it "harbour".

Tonight I subbed for Team Foo, and had a blast. I must say it was quite nice to be the best player on the team, with all humility. I felt a lot of responsibility to play well, and I think I did for the most part. We didn't win, but did very well considering the circumstances. The other team was huge, at least 11 people, and had a couple of decent players. At least one who could hit pretty hard, and a couple who could block. We played pretty well, and kept all the games close. In the second game we came back from 10-3 to lose by 2 points. It had me thinking how much fun it would be if Channel 61 moved down a division next season. Sure, there's something satisfying about playing at a higher level, and your game probably improves more, but it would be a blast to be the ass-kicking team in the division, to make the playoffs.

Liz and I had a nice conversation about the meaning of life; specifically the nature of motivation, free will, and the soul of animals tonight, and I came to the conclusion once again that I don't know anything. That's okay, I have plenty of opinions.

I finally renamed all of my photos, using my new naming plan, which promises to save me countless hours of irritating work. I'm now naming all of my photos with a simple sequential number. They're sorted into albums with descriptive names, but within each, just numbers. To know what the photo is of, you have to look at it. I really liked having descriptive names for each photo, but it proved unmanageable. It took way too much time to type in a unique name for each of thousands of files, and they would just sit in my "unrenamed" folder for weeks while I put off the dreaded task. Now I can sort them into albums and then just run a script that names them 001, 002, 003 , etc. Simple, boring, but necessary. Naturally, this change caused me to realize other changes I'll have to make to the system, since it relied on the names of the photos somewhat, or at least it displayed them, but now since they're meaningless to read, there's no reason to display them. They don't tell you anything. Now it will have to be all about the thumbnails, which requires a change to the layout of the photo album script. Changing my photo album script will surely make me start to think that I should really finish fixing and updating the admin script, which will lead me to think I should rewrite the whole thing to make it more flexible. You see how these things go.

I'm also revisiting the idea of replacing Blogger as the backend of this blog again. I spent a few days playing with greymatter a few months ago, but abandoned it pretty quickly for no particular reason, but now Luke has inspired me to check out Movable Type, so maybe I'll do that. Maybe later.

May 17, 2002
Yeah, I get a new

Yeah, I get a new project and I start staying up way too late. It's probably not good for me, but it's nice to be working on something. Even something as frustrating as getting this new recording stuff to work.

As yet, I haven't been able to do that. On my PC, the card just hoses everything up. I've tried everything I can think of, changing slots, installing it in every way I can, manually setting IRQs, and all kinds of other incomprehensible crap, but to no avail. It crashes spectacularly every time. I sent an email to tech support and they returned a generic, cut-and-paste "hardware conflict" reply, even though I had explained that I had already tried all of those things. I'll try to either call them or email them again.

So today, I decided that I should try to get the thing to work on Liz's Mac. It's a fancy-pants G4, and it could use a job. Installing this type of thing is certainly easier on a Mac too, no worries about crazy shit like IRQs and all that nonsense. Just drag the files around and off you go. Or so I hoped. So far, the Mac angle hasn't worked either. I think I have the card installed, and the drivers too, but I can't get Logic (the recording software) to recognize that the card is there. Without that, of course, there's nothing to record to.

So now I'm getting every version of Logic I can find to see if any of them will have this mysterious ASIO folder that I'm supposed to drag the drivers into. It's slow going.

I remain ever vigilant and somewhat confident.

In other completely self-centered news, I sucked at volleyball tonight. I've felt a bit off for both matches this week, and it was frustrating as hell. We still managed to win 4 out of 6 games this week, but I'm not sure that makes me feel any better. Bah, it's a slump, fahgettabadit.

Layoff rumours abound at work once again, but there's not much I can do about that. It's still a relatively fun place to work, but I'm thinking I should start at least thinking about what I'd want to do should I lose this job. I'm thinking a half a year or so of hanging out playing music and playing volleyball sounds pretty good. Maybe some traveling after that. A nice long road trip. Yeah, that sounds preTTy good.

I've also decided, and I know this is getting unbearably exciting, that... you know what? I'm not even going to get into it. It's simply not at all interesting. I gotta think of some new material, this is just getting sad.

May 14, 2002
Another birthday come and gone.

Another birthday come and gone. I'm 28 now. I've never been one to be particularly interested in my age; it doesn't bother me that I'm getting older as it does some of my friends. I have some friends who really don't like it when they're reminded of their age. Or when they have a birthday and you say something like, "Hey, almost 30, huh?", they get depressed. The way I figure, if I wasn't getting older, I'd be dead, so it's best to celebrate it. Sure, I might not be accomplishing everything I'd like to be, I might not be where I'd "hoped" I'd be at this age, but that's ridiculous anyway. Hopefully, I'll never be completely satisfied, and to have specific expectations for where I should be and what I should be doing at any particular time in my life is ludicrous. So screw it and happy birthday to me.

My birthday week ended spectacularly. Liz, all hail The Liz, planned, organized, and executed a surprise birthday party camping trip with a bunch of our friends in western Jersey. When we left the house Saturday with a car full of gear, I was a bit suspicious, but she had me going completely when we arrived at the Mohican Outdoor Center, ostensibly to scope out a spot for her to take her El Puente kids (El Puente is an alternative school in Brooklyn where Liz volunteers once a week). As we walked up the hill to see the group camp site, I was still under the impression that we were going back down the road a bit to meet our friends. I noticed a tent behind the shelter and said, "Oh, there are people back here." Just then, a loud raucous from the woods as Dave, Cass, Luke, Ilio, Cher, James, Patti and Kris strummed guitars and banged on drums to surprise me. It was wonderful. Even though I knew somewhat what was going on, in the end I was completely surprised. Sometimes it's nice to have a girlfriend who's such a good liar. I even bought the fake phone call to Luke from the car.

For the rest of the afternoon, we drank, ate, swam in the freezing lake, and, of course, played volleyball. Naturally, there was a volleyball net anchored to two tires in the field by our campsite. I never noticed how ubiquitous a sport volleyball is until I started playing. As night fell, A.J., Julie and Molly showed up, and we returned to the fire, cooked some more, and sang and played into the night until Scott the Campsite Dude made us stop. It was his birthday too, so we gave him a piece of cake. It's too bad we had to stop, we were just getting into a decent vocal jam.

As predicted, it started raining at exactly 1am, so we all quickly retreated to our tents. My trusty old Eureka leaked on us, though, so it's curtains for that old friend. It was about time for an upgrade anyway. I could easily get into a dangerous outdoor gear habit if I'm not careful. Arguably it's more constructive than some of my other habits.

Speaking of expensive habits, I still have yet to get my recording goodies up and running. I haven't had much time to fiddle with it, though what fiddling I have done has been less than encouraging. I had the stuff installed yesterday, but my computer kept crashing. This morning it lost track of it's boot drive, a very bad thing. I was staring at it, about ready to cry, lamenting my stupidity for not having Emergency Repair Disks (it's on the list.. I'll do it tomorrow), about to face up to the horrible task of reinstalling the operating system and recovering all of my data, when it occured to me that I should probably make sure it's not fixable. I shut old Betty down and ripped that card out, and sure enough, booted right up.

My theory is that it was an IRQ conflict, which is geekspeak and not worth getting into. Suffice it to say, I have another 8 days or so to try to get it working right before we can't exchange it.

May 10, 2002
Bah.. I'm so disapppointed. And

Bah.. I'm so disapppointed. And yet so excited. I'm awash with conflicting emotions. Let me 'splain.

First, we lost all three of our volleyball games tonight. That's bad. But we played pretty well. That's good. I wasn't all taht happy with my playing, but I'm blaming most of it on my possibly broken right pinky. It hurts like hell, it's all swollen and bruised. Also bad.

On to the good.

My fourth-day-of-birthday-week present was an M-Audio Omni Studio, a Marshall MXL 1006 microphone, and a mic stand. So now I've got lots of new toys to play with, and hopefully I'll soon be making beautiful music together. At the very least, I'll be able to record myself doing something, even if it's swearing and kicking the furniture because I can't figure out how all the stuff works. I'm suddenly feeling like my computer will actually be getting some use. It sits here, night and day, running this website and a few other menial tasks, but rarely anything worthy of it's wacky ridiculous power.

I'm not installing anything tonight, though, I'm practicing restraint.

My Monday present was some honey stix, Tuesday was a brand new Therma-rest (much needed), and Wednesday was a Therma-rest easy chair sling. It's been a good birthday week, and still 3 days to go.

Okay, what I was originally going to talk about, the reason I was disappointed, is this: I installed some new statistics reporting, log analyzing software yesterday, so I can better keep track of whose looking at what on my site. Luke had recently posted that he gets anywhere from 80-150 page views a day on his site, and I was feeling jealous. My old way involved tracking individual pages through Nedstat, which had some benefits, but not many. In fact, I can't think of one. I'm now using Awstats, which is cooler for any number of reasons, none of which will I bore you with here. If this kind of thing is your bag (baby), you check it out your own self.

Moving on. With the new tool, I can more easily see how people are getting to my site, whether it's through an external link, a search engine, or what. Some hits are just only hits on assets on my server, not actual page views. Let me explain. If someone links to an image on my site, then when you view their web site, it sends a request to my server for the image, and I record that image hit. Got it? Good. So I saw one weird hit from a random link and I clicked on it. (Man, this story would be so much better if the page was still up.. more on that later). I was instantly confronted with a picture of a man sitting on a giant penis. I mean 7 or 8 feet. Naturally it wasn't real, nor, in all likelihood, his. As I scrolled down, wondering how this page could possibly be linked to my site, I was scanning a treasure chest of pictures of people on, under, and near cartoonishly large penises of every stripe. Paper mache, drivable penis cars, penis snow sculptures, you name it. So I'm scrolling down, thinking there must be some mistake, and about half way down the page, there it is; a picture of me.

(Again, I must reiterate how disappointed I am that this page has been removed. Deeply, deeply disappointed.)

Want to see the picture? Here it is. It's from the sex museum in Amsterdam, taken in 1996 when I was on my way to India with Erik and Zach.

Apparently, someone decided to make a page of pictures showing people with extremely large penises, and there I was, about 10 from the top. I'm so proud.

May 8, 2002
It's hot in here. Our

It's hot in here. Our apartment seems to be about 15 degrees warmer than anywhere else in the city. We've got fans going full blast and still I'm sweating like a.. like a... like a guy who's trying to come up with a good simile.

Three days of volleyball in a row, then orienteering with The Green Guides on Sunday in Jersey, then a 20 mile bike ride yesterday. I'm beat. Tomorrow volleyball rehearsal, then game day Thursday. And this weekend, who knows what kind of shenanigans Liz has planned. Next weekend beach volleyball tournament, then Memorial Day in Delaware. Sheesh. Maybe I should just take June off.

The Green Guides is a group of kids from Inner City Outings (ICO), a division of the Sierra Club, which is, I believe, a division of General Motors. General Motors, in turn, is a subsidiary of the Chubb Group. Really, ICO is a group that works with city non-profits and schools to take inner-city kids on camping trips, wilderness adventures, and other activities they would probably never be exposed to. The Green Guides is a sort of elite group of kids from several of the organizations, the ones who are, how do you say, better, and they're doing more advanced stuff, and leadership training as well. This is the same group that Liz and I did the Wilderness First Aid with.

So, on Sunday I walked with them over the George Washington Bridge to Fort Lee Historic Park in New Jersey where we had a crash course in orienteering, and then completed two courses. When I thought orienteering, I thought we were going to learn general map, compass and navigation skills. In fact, orienteering is a competitive sport. You do use a map and compass, but the goal is to find checkpoints and get back to the start faster than anyone else. It's like a high speed scavenger hunt in the woods. And while we were told over and over how the sport attracts people who care about nature, we saw most of them trampling through the woods with wild abandon, ignoring any kind of trail etiquette, just trying to be faster than their rivals.

We had a good time though, and my team won both courses, I made sure of that.

Hey, dig the detail in this post.. I'm motivated by the fact that some people signed on to my mailing list. I used to feel comfortably like this stuff was just passively sitting here, waiting for someone to come along. Now I'm pushing it at people, albeit at their request, and saying, "lookit here. read this.", so it should probably be at least marginally interesting.

Shirt seen in the village (not by me): Phuck Phish.

May 4, 2002
As long as I have

As long as I have this thing open...

Channel 61 took 2 out of 3 games tonight. We played two nights in a row this week, and better than we've played in a long time. It's so much more fun to win, but it's also more fun to play well. Last night we lost all three but played pretty well and it was stilla good time. For most of us.

I whipped up a long promised coredump feature today; subscriptions!! See that little "subscribe" link at the top there? If you click it, you can fill out a form and subscribe to the coredump mailing list. When I write something new, you'll get an email telling you all about it. Pretty cool. And I learned some new perl stuff doing it. I'm sure the list will be very popular and I'll have hundreds of subscribers in no time. I should add something so I can log where people are from, because I'm sure they'll be from such exotic locales as Baltimore (maybe) and Chelsea. I'd like to think of a way to make it more obvious too, so first-time (and often only-time) visitors would see it and be tempted to sign up. Because once I've got 'em, they'll never leave. It's all about the hook.

In other news, we're very close to the beginning of my week-long birthday celebration. There's some kind of hoo-ha in the works for next weekend, but I'm being kept pleasantly in the dark. I don't think I've ever had someone arrange a party for me that I didn't know about; I think they call it a "surprise party". Come to think of it, I can't remember the last time I had a birthday party at all. Actually, I did have a small surprise party at Washington College once. That was nice; balloons and everything. Dave was wearing a karate headband.

My next project involves the photo album again. I'm going to add an "email to a friend" feature and a link to the original large files stored on the web so folks can order prints. The really funny thing about all of these semi-robust features I'm adding to my website is that a total of about 5 people ever see any of it.

Also had lunch with Frida on Thursday, which was nice. We've both been in the same town for a year and a half, one year less than 10 blocks apart, and this was the first time we'd seen each other. Such is life in New York. I have other friends here that I haven't seen once since I've been back. It also reminded me that I need to get in touch with Laurel. I haven't spoken to her in what seems like forever, and I miss her. I've been pretty slack about being in touch with old friends lately, and it's not like me.

Not with a bang, but with a whimper.