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The Book of Merle

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

6:14PM - Memorial Planned

The memorial for Merle_ is going to be :
Saturday May 25, 2013
at The Mystic Dream
1437 N. Broadway
Walnut Creek, CA

If you cannot attend but wish to honor his memory, he would have requested that you do something that he would have enjoyed. Merle_ was not one with strong ties to ritual or tradition.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

8:28PM - Sad news: merle_ has passed away.

[not merle_ posting]

merle_ passed away. He was found by the police on Monday May 13, 2013 after his wife called to say he was missing. He died at home, in his new apartment, apparently while sleeping peacefully.

He was 41 and is survived by his wife who loved him and many friends who are mourning his loss.

There is a memorial planned in Walnut Creek, CA on Saturday May 25, though some details are still being arranged.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

8:00PM - the nostalgia, it burns!

In the computer parts box there is OS/2 v3, which promises to give blazing fast 32-bit performance even in low memory environments with just 4M. The doubling in eighteen months rule is still in full force. I look forward to expecting Exabyte hard drives before official retirement age.

There is also my first MP3 player, a Rio 300, complete with cables and power supplies. I remember listening to Falkenbach on it while walking to work, and later The Donnas. This solid state powerhorse could store between 7 and 12 songs on it at a time! Get back, iPods, you met your match decades ago!

*sigh* So much a geek. I *love* this old perfectly preserved crap!

Current mood: geek side ascendant

7:00PM - the unpacking

The movers arrived, so as well as nine bags of books I have 37 boxes. And a queen bed (man, they're huge!), four tall solid wood shelves, a large flat computer desk and less-flat chair, nice speakers, and.. well, months of sorting and dusting. It feels more and more like home, albeit a home haunted by millions of dusty ghosts that need to be pieced through.

A few boxes are labelled "computer parts" but for the most part they are quite unhelpfully labelled "books". I say unhelpfully, because although they do contain books which are often categorically sorted, I utilized any spare space to place other unsortables.

So, picking box #17 ("books") at random hoping it had the Dresden books, I slit open the lid to find a nice bag protecting the inside. Good on me. Next is a men's plaid nightshirt in original packaging with sales label intact. Uhm. Then, my two copies of Darklands, the best CRPG ever. Cool, those count as books in my mind. Then an original box containing the original install floppies for IBM OS/2 2.0. Erm. Really? The copyright date is 1982, how on earth did I get my hands on these when I wasn't even in high school yet? And why in the world did I bother to save them? Dunno. Then the Lost Treasures of Infocom (want, epi_lj?). Only then did I hit books. Mostly math textbooks with a few fun ones like Maxwell's Electromagnetic treatises and three technical telephone books that would have made a phreaker drool in the late 70s. I know I drooled.

So the moral of the story is mixed. I did an excellent job of packing so nothing would shift around, but a horrific job of labelling. You probably do not want me to help you pack things. I certainly underappreciate my flaccid efforts.

I continue to be flabbergasted at how nice this apartment is turning out to be.

Current mood: dusty

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

8:00AM - the home becomes more of a home

I have yet to post much about my new digs, like how I discovered it, how it is off the beaten path but right next to everything, how much work it entails, how much it will be worth it.. but today is a happy day.

Last night I retrieved many of my loose books. Some are full sets, like Erikson (only eight of the Malazan books fit in a grocery bag!), some are old coding books, others like the Lensman series and first five Berserker books are just "wow, I had this?". Thirty more boxes are coming. How these will all fit on four enormous bookshelves I have no idea. If we all lived in the same area I would do as I threatened to do with my siblings and we'd just rent a library.

I also have a set of Duraware utensils. Not the most amazing but free was a good price, and it looks far better than my mismatched bits. There is some food in the fridge. Haven't figured out the optimal airflow yet, but that'll come. Some art is on the wall (kensan_oni!) for probable porch shelving.

Plus this morning I saw two squirrels in the distance and two ravens who flew pretty close to one of my balconies. I'll have to figure out what ravens eat that I can put out. Carrion would smell bad. Maybe they like crickets?

Now to start sorting all the bills and such into their own folders. Been needing to do that for weeks.

Maybe I'll break open my Morgan-Greer Tarot deck and ask it what today holds. I know what I'll be doing, just not how it'll go or how exhausted I'll be. (the draw: 9 of swords inverted, strength, and world inverted. never gotten any of the major arcana in the past...)

Current mood: happy

Thursday, April 18, 2013

4:00PM - let the coupon barrage continue!

Apparently getting a new apartment (whole other joyous post too long to type now) and filling out a USPS change of address form online, and opting in to one or two coupons with "strict" will-not-share policies about giving your email out, results in a flood of 10% off coupons from every sort of home decor company, including ones you have never heard about.

Should they be transferable and should anyone want some, ask away, I probably have them.

Current mood: discounted

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

10:00PM - play 'em or fold

Why yes, that is me, eating dollar store salty chips off of a china plate. China that has been in my family for over six generations, carefully being dusted and displayed in curios while various people wandered by basking in the glories of rarely used china. If you ascribe to David Brin (which I do not), this china is near the height of perfection and it is time to use it.

Sure, almost two decades of use has put some chips in them (not salty ones), and *gasp* one of the smaller ones broke. A small price to pay to save my relatives from the stayputlust of inheriting them, when every single one said "eww, ugly, no thanks!" when offered the set.

Now I must ponder the use of a gravy pitcher. Gravy belongs on food, not in an odd cup that cannot be microwaved. Silly gravy pitcher!

Current mood: useful

9:00PM - the joys of bad car insurance

(basically saying we hide anything that could go wrong with the car under obscure categories) "This result is not what you would like it to be, but we hope you can understand why no other result is possible."

I do. I completely understand. Before getting into another scrape, get State Farm. Results from the past are inescapable but foreknowledge wins out in the end. Nyaaah!

Current mood: poor

Friday, April 12, 2013

4:00AM - new mecha

Hey.. it's been the 12th here for at least four hours. Where's my Valvrave? Teases.

Update: Oh, I have to wait 6:40. Guess I'll do laundry or eat a snail in the meantime.

Current mood: impatient

Sunday, March 31, 2013

7:00AM - thoughts of peace

Sunup, and the moon is still high in the sky. My two local ravens greeted me without portent but flew up peacefully and then back to the treetops. The cricket was silent: on Friday it chirped all alone in the night, and yesterday there were answering chirps from far away. Perhaps they found each other.

It's a good day, hellacious though it may be at the same time.

I wonder if there is a field of history that looks at the works that an individual thought were important and built or rebuilt them. There must be, for it is obvious. But can one discern why these were primal sources for a person? If I told you that the two best lines in "Praise Him" were the Doctor saying "yes, of course, who else would you be?" and "wait, I wasn't talking about myself", that would give you a more accurate insight -- while on a level of documentation one would not think it one of my favourite episodes (it is not) nor be able to pick out those two bits as being reconstituting for me.

I could easily provide a list of works that have strongly influenced who I am, or resonated with who I am -- and to some level it would give a good impression of my beliefs. It only paints an outline, though.

Anyway. Happy Easter, y'all.

Current mood: thoughtful

Saturday, March 30, 2013

2:00PM - more mail order fun

My local USPS delivery woman appeared yesterday, and talked to me quite angrily. Apparently packages to my name were going to another address and I should fix it. No, she did not know anything about the packages, just that I should fix it. Her look was like one of those Japanese grandmothers who is about to pull out a Broom Artifact of Smiting and start beating you with it.

A guy just drove by and dropped off the missing package. He was glad it got to me, I was profusely glad, and he described his googling and how he found me. Which is tricky since my real name doesn't appear with any addresses so far as I know. But I used to live at MMM XXX, now live at NNN YYY, and it was addressed to NON XXX (where NON does not exist so it went to NNN).

I'm a bit freaked out about how my address was both ultra-mangled and appears as an autocorrection via some unknown service. That can't be good for my credit history. Ah well. One more step towards being on the grid but mildly obfuscated. I just have to be careful about all future orders...

Current mood: bemused

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

6:00AM - slow learners

"I walked the walk for you, babe
Eight thousand miles for you
I dried your tears of pain
Eight million times for you

I’d sell my soul for you, babe
For money to burn for you
I’d give you all and have nothing
Just-a, just-a, just-a, just-a
to have you here by me, because"

Such is the extent of my insanity, my codependence, and my sheer conceit that I cast myself into the pit of darkness, brushing away helping hands as I plummet onto the rocks below, only to find as the tar starts to choke over my broken soul that hands are still there grasping to lift me up.

Abject thanks are insufficient. I shall strive to do better next time, although the feeling that I am unworthy of such selfless saviours remains.

No further comments for now. I go to cry and salvage rather than run away.

Current mood: shattered

Saturday, March 23, 2013

6:00PM - earth hour

Earth Hour is coming up. I don't know where it came from, or why it is not part of Earth Day, but the lights in big cities supposedly go out from 8:30-9:30 tonight. Here in the SF area, at least. I'm in a good enough mood not to wonder what would happen in a city that spans time zones or even DST weirdness. Gonna head out to the nearby park and take pictures before and after since it should be crisp and clear. Then I'll have an excuse to play with GIMP before I start askin' y'all the same question about audio editors, which I want only to have a perverse ringtone. Okay, I guess that question is on the table now...

Current mood: aglow

Thursday, March 21, 2013

4:00PM - Psycho Pass ep 22

Oh, yes, the final episode is finally out. 15 hours ago but I was sleeping then. Sometimes life hurls daggers at you and you happen to see one with a shiny apple and deftly catch it in your mouth. I know what my treats for tonight are.

Blueberry sorbet. Opening the amethyst custom ring from the goddess Cinders. And finishing Psycho Pass.

My car may be dead and I may have $4 in the bank, but life is good.

Current mood: giddy

Thursday, March 14, 2013

1:00PM - I love fixed security questions

"In what city was your first child born?" -- damned if I know yet.
"Where did you attend 6th grade?" -- I skipped thats grade.
"What was the name of your first pet?" -- see question #1.

C'mon, dude, let me pick my own questions. If I screw myself over that's my fault. Otherwise any questions I can answer validly can be determined by knowing me or trivial family social engineering. Please stop reading "Top Super Seekret Security For Dummies" books.

Current mood: annoyed

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

8:00AM - what would the world be like without snark?

The morning news had a story about how San Jose is cleaning up homeless encampments. However, the gloriously charming writer gave the reporter this opening line: "There are homeless people living on the street.".

I must admit that it was early enough my first thought was simply *blink*. The mind finally engaged and I cried out in a dry voice "Are there no prisons? And the union workhouses, are they still in operation?".

The prisons out here are of course full, and union workhouses have been commercialized and are now called Walmart, but still, a straight line like that is worth a lot.

Current mood: snarky

Monday, March 11, 2013

10:00PM - useless leftovers

So I had some Shanghaiese food for lunch. Not exactly what I wanted since ong choi is seasonal, but it made for a nice change. The trouble is the leftovers. They did not include chopsticks and I am woefully unstocked in the chopstick department.

Maybe it is because I first learned chopsticks with Chinese food, but aside from soups it feels wrong to me to eat Chinese food with anything other than chopsticks. Yes, it is an idiosyncracy. That's just how I roll. Even with eggrolls...

Edit: Yay, found some crummy breakapart chopsticks! Dinner is saved!

Current mood: less disappointed

Sunday, March 10, 2013

12:00AM - (almost) time for that biannual DST rant

So what would happen if a deviant freak like me wrote the time on a marriage certificate to be at 2:30am today*? Of course it cannot be filed because courts are closed, but drop it off on Monday and see if you can find a dull-witted sleep-deprived clerk to enter it into evidence. At some time it will be entered into a computer, which will happily convert it to an integer. Would it choose 1:30am or 3:30am?

(Yes, I actually am curious, because different kernels might choose differently.)

More to the point would the license be considered valid, or could one argue for a free divorce based on the fact that the marriage could not possibly have happened?

If, as an hourly worker, I checked in at midnight and out at 4am, would I be paid for four hours or three?

Such silly games we play with time.

*Offer only valid in parts of the world. Christians are not allowed to do this because non-existent time makes baby Jesus cry, which violates canon and would cause a time paradox.

Current mood: sardonic

Saturday, March 2, 2013

12:00AM - the witching hour

I attended my second pagan meeting (as in, most people in attendance are pagan, but they're very open) last night. It was fun! Fun in the sense of being with people who discuss issues large and small, bounce back and forth, and both know and accept that they are crazy. Much like the people I met at bad movie night, or cool nerds, or not quite otaku anime fans. They know they are not mainstream, do not mind, and have been in enough situations to know at least subconsciously that everyone carries a certain craziness within themselves -- but have accepted it and can laugh with themselves.

This makes them good potential friend candidates in my book. I wonder what it would be like to be a "normal" person and think of yourself as normal. It must be odd indeed.

Current mood: happy

Friday, March 1, 2013

10:00AM - image manipulation tools?

I have yet to install any image editing software on Laptop Primus. It is probably time to get some. Win7/64.

All I really do is crop things, select similar color regions, and apply gamma or brightness/contrast or level or hue changes within the regions. Blur and sharpen are nice too. Creating pixel-level icons like I use here is nice. Ergo, I do not need much. Probably something free would suffice. Ease of use is paramount; preferably keystrokes similar to Photoshop 4 from way back in the dark ages.

However, it never hurts to have something professional grade. Let us suppose cost is no issue. I will still use a mere fraction of what any tool does. Recommendations, whether free or costly?

Current mood: curious

Thursday, February 28, 2013

7:00PM - thoughts from a minute of watching the history channel v2

If Stan Lee ever dies, who will replace him with cameos in the new wave of Marvel movies? I mean, there's that Ari guy, but if Ari appears then Gibbs will hunt him down. Who's third in the chain?

Technological advances that have yet to be replicated are due to flying aliens who altered the DNA of Egyptians. Since I have yet to replicate the creation of fire without a match or lighter, I remain unconvinced. The Red Dwarf explanation makes more sense. They had massive numbers of slaves, and massive whips. Hey, that's how high tech companies run, so why not ancient Egypt?

Current mood: silly

4:00PM - the non-posting frenzy

Once again I find myself in that weird situation where there are so many things I want to or need to post about, yet somehow am incredibly busy, so probably many of these proto-posts will half-life before they make it here. Apologies. One of these days I'll try to take a few hours and frenetically catch up. After all, a few hours is more than I seem to sleep during an average night these days...

Current mood: full

12:00PM - belt sizes

Having only one belt makes it easy to keep track of changes in my waist. I've been varying between three and five notches over the last few months depending on whether I am eating decadently or just having fruit and granola bars to save money. Four has remained standard for a while.

Plus or minus those quarter sizes. Halfway between is annoying, but I've moved from four being on the "these slide on easily" to today's "it needs unfastening and refastening". Ah well. I must be saving up fat for the summer...

Current mood: variable

Sunday, February 24, 2013

11:00AM - "Thabang Ramaoka wants to be friends on Facebook"

It's interesting how trivial it is to set up a completely bogus FB account and get random people who want to friend you. It seems to follow weird chains, too. I am currently popular in South Africa, Tehran, and New York. Never been to any of those places...

Current mood: easily amused

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

11:00AM - food combinations and separates

Why is there this consistent urge to mix chocolate and peanuts? I like chocolate, especially with nougat or coconut. I like peanuts, especially in satay sauce, or peanut butter in celery. I do not like chocolate and peanuts together. Maybe I am a freak but I wish they would not be so frequently packaged together.

For separates I am coming to find that kiwis are my fave this time of year. I've always liked them since they first appeared in our rural grocery store, the appeal being "what the heck is this and how do I eat it?". For years I painstakingly peeled kiwis, making them quite messy to consume. Recently someone said she just hacked off the ends and ate them skin-on. It took some getting used to the texture of the skin but it makes them much more accessible as a quick food snack. In fact, I ate two today. And they keep for longer than bananas do...

Current mood: hungry

Saturday, February 16, 2013

7:00AM - cabeza.. mmm...

cellio posts another daf bit with a nice pointer to dealing with the zombie apocalypse.

So in summary, the short answer for how to survive the zombie apocalypse: Take public speaking lessons.

That does make more sense than a shotgun. For lore tells us that just the head is necessary for infection, and destruction of other body parts just makes it a bit harder for them to move. Which also means a huge wheat thrasher would make for a better weapon for cutting them down like, well, wheat.

It might be fun to be resurrected as a Jew in the next life. Which is such a mashup of religions that it prompts me to suggest we need a word like "multipolytheism", implying a belief in a multitude of religions, some of which might have one or more deities. No better term flows from my mind although I am certain such a term does exist.

It also suggests a fun way of stopping the zombie apocalypse: just convert them all to Judaism and watch them become enmeshed in studying the laws, thereby disabling them. Heh. Debating zombies unite!

Current mood: amused

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

1:00PM - landmarks

Stepping outside to get the mail, I saw an old man get into a white van. As he started it up I cried out "nooo!". People in the house came out to see what the problem was. I begged them to stop him and as he drove away cried out "come back, come back!".

For you see, I don't actually know where I live. It is a gray house with other gray houses near it. But this white van is always parked on the street. It is a landmark. When getting rides I tell people "it's just past the white van". Even the schitzophrenic guy with dementia uses it as a landmark: I have seen him see the van, walk around it 1.75 times, rediscover where he is, and continue on.

Such great traumas I have in my life.

Current mood: lost

Monday, February 11, 2013

6:00AM - Korean food and other miscellany

Got to meet with two good friends last night, one of whom would cringe over even being mentioned in public through this level of obscurity, and the other wouldn't care. Anyway, good food, great discussion. Thanks to both of you! I did miss our chats and loved the Korean food which is extinct in Concord.

Market's down, looks to stay down with mild upwards corrections possible on Wednesday or the day after Shopping Day next Monday. Sigh. Good time to invest, bad time to be living off of invested savings.

The pope resigned. This is probably not without precedent but as someone completely ignorant of papal history I do not know of it happening, especially with such a short run in office. Among the top contendors is a black(!) guy from Ghana. Sure, still an old male, but not white.

Apple is being accused of price gouging. Ya think?

Apple is looking into smart watches and Google into smart glasses. It's about time. These should have existed in simple forms a decade ago, and with the powers available these days should damn well exist now. What happened to innovators developing futuristic gadgets that were predetermined in many an old science fiction book? Pfft.

Driving is fun. Places that would be an hour away are suddenly five minutes away. I don't condone a lifestyle that requires constant driving but the feeling of independence is awesome. No, I will make no comment on whether or not I can legally drive. Chaos, eh?

Current mood: random

Friday, February 8, 2013

10:00PM - the longest day

Wow, today felt like I ran all over the place constantly, getting nothing done while juggling porcupines. I actually pulled up the list of countries with no extradition treaties with the US again. Most do not appeal. Mongolia? Eritrea? Yemen? You have to be in real trouble to want to go to those places. Equatorial Guinea looked okay. It surprised me that the Marshall Islands are on that list. Aren't they a US territory? That seems like either a wiki mistake or a political one.

I was grateful to talk to an old friend yesterday, who most people find radically paranoid and psychotic but who I feel is cool and just barely towards the edge of normal. Not sure what that says about me, but it seemed like she appreciated being called normal (by me), even though normalcy is a sin in her book. I certainly found it fun.

Current mood: bizarre

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

12:00AM - the other scary box

Got two more packages today. I really must stop ordering things online because the packages are getting larger and larger.

Today's Box Of Intimidation was from Zappo's, weighed ten pounds, and was even larger than the last huge box. It could easily hold the 32" CRT here. This time I knew what I had ordered: two felt hats.

Two hats. The box weighed ten pounds! I fully expected the "felt" to have been made in China out of the finest depleted uranium they had lying around. But I bravely attacked it, cut and ripped all the packaging to shreds, and filled the recycling bin. And I like the hats.

The other package was from Good Vibrations, which amusingly against their public FAQ shipped as being from "Chastity Gallahar" (the FAQ claims "Barnaby Ltd."), which might be an oversight or might be just one more level of obfuscation. Chastity. Heh.

I do worry that if I order a handkerchief online from a new store the box will weigh 50lbs and will not fit through the door. Silly companies.

Current mood: persistent

Monday, February 4, 2013

1:00PM - another job offer out of the blue I will not take

The company has unlimited PTO days, catered food, and you'll get a chance to work with extremely smart people. This is a full-time position with benefits and salary is not an issue at all. There is no salary limit for this position.

Can you say "overfunded south bay startup in initial phases that requires 100hr work weeks"? I knew you could.

Although it is tempting to work one really long day a week and take four days PTO for as long as I can ream them. ;-) But one must have standards. *sigh*

Current mood: doubtful

Friday, February 1, 2013

3:00PM - exception handlers

One of my UPS packages is somewhere in limbo. Usually the status is something like request accepted, in transit, out for delivery, or delivered. This one is in the state "exception":

San Pablo, CA, United States 02/01/2013 7:00 A.M. Late train.
San Pablo, CA, United States 01/31/2013 7:14 P.M. Arrival Scan

I wonder what that means with regards to delivery. My assumption is that it would still be in transit, since that just means they still have it somewhere, but instead of green the label is bright taupe. A late train should not mean "we don't know where it is", just that I won't be seeing it today. Unless they lost the train? Disturbing.

Current mood: confused

Thursday, January 31, 2013

4:00PM - impromptu fun

Thanks for the lunch meet, labelleizzy! It was just what I needed. Hope I didn't cause you to miss your next meeting; it's so easy just to bounce topics with you. Arigato gozaimashita, ma belle amiga.

(and yes, that's how I think, because some words work better in some languages: should one suddenly wake me it is likely a polyglot will come out until my internal translator boots up)

And in unrelated news, when in a hurry I am approaching 5mph walking. And I need to listen to a song and look up an unrelated blessing. And I want a kiwi. Hmm. Kiwi first.

Current mood: happy

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

10:42PM - the box of dread

Last week I ordered some gear from Altamont because, well, I like their 'A' and need to flesh out my hip rich teen surfer wannabe image. It supposedly arrived on Friday, but I was at home on Friday. No doorbell, no knock, and certainly no package delivered at 3:40p. I complained and a new one was shipped out to arrive today. It had not arrived before I had to leave so there was some concern it would also disappear.

Lo and behold, it was there when I came back. Along with a box with a Target logo on it.

The thing is, I checked my Target orders this morning. They were in Missouri and Illinois and UPS Ground is not known for turnaround. Even had they put it on a plane it would not have arrived. This concerns me.

The tracking information shows that both boxes are still sitting back where they were this morning. This scares me.

The box is also huge, over two feet per side. My orders were four wooden coat hangers and a box of dryer sheets. Neither requires a box that could happily house a large tower desktop with a ton of padding. It dominates the bed. This intimidates me.

So much so that I carefully moved it to the edge of the floor, where it is both inconvenient and somehow dominates the entire room. This worries me. It worries me that I am so worried about the box. On reflection it worries me that I am worried about being worried about the box. This terrifies me. Perhaps the box contains a Klein bottle of worry, looping around.

Aaaargh! I'm gonna brave up, grab a towel, and open it. Should you never see this post you can assume the worst.

You see a pair of scissors and an intimidating box.
>Get scissors
You have a pair of scissors.
Given your mental state, perhaps you should cut your towel into hankies?
>Bite me
I do not understand.
>Open box
The box is closed.
>Open box with scissors
You have opened the box.
>Look box
You see an open box with a lot of packing material.
>Get packing material
You have a large amount of packing material.
>Look box
You see an open box containing a letter addressed to you in your mom's
handwriting, another box, and a laptop power brick.
...oh. That was nothing to worry about.

Crap. Except there's a box inside the box! Luckily it is smaller and slightly less intimidating. Tomorrow is another day...

Current mood: relieved

8:00AM - NAS suggestions?

I keep wanting to get an NAS then never following through. But right now I want to get rid of all my desktop systems that have not been turned on for more than a few minutes out of the last year, so I'm back in the market. Kinda vague requirements:

Basic necessities: wired and wifi. USB. Multiple drive bays. Compact. Web based configuration although command line for complex things is fine.

Would be nice: bluetooth. RAM cache and drive spoofing for silence. Print server. Torrent support.

Musts: silence! The intent is mostly for backups or occasional streaming so I want the hard drives to spin down and the fan to not be in overdrive. I want my laptop to be louder than it is, and my laptop runs 27-34dB. Spinning down drives after Xmins of no use. Good passive heat emission a plus. Capacity of at least 8T, BIOS/OS able to support much more. At least two drive bays; three is better.

Don't care: RAID (I have not had a drive fail in over a decade). Speed. Hot swap, although it could be nice. Price, to within a certain extent.

Any recommendations? Silence is the hardest to shop for. It seems like there should be options meeting the criteria for around $500.

Current mood: greedy

5:00AM - Psycho-Pass

This must be the first anime show I've picked out independently of fub's recommendations in quite a while. I only found out about it from some catalogs for Japanese gear that dvarin sent me. Thanks, both.

The first episode was okay, setting up an interesting world but not much else. The next one hooked me. Four into it and it's making sense. Very intellectual, so far only fan servicey in the first ep. Violent but few shows about law enforcement are not. I look forward to the main character figuring out whether she serves law or justice. Recommended by me for what that's worth. At the cost of influencing decisions I'm guessing a Fub rating of 7.5 or 8.

Current mood: wanting to start E05

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

7:00PM - interesting rendering

Gmap of bus/walking directions. Now, I'm okay with them not rendering every single twist and turn the bus takes; the area around the BART station is so heinous I am always amazed the drivers can deal with it. But the bus then drops off at California+Cole. The walk should be south to Trinity and west on it. Instead I am to walk diagonally through a bunch of buildings?

The satellite images are even better. Only five buildings that have diagonal holes through them, and I have to walk through part of a swimming pool. I think I'll find my own way for that last leg, thank you.

I have never seen their rendering engine pull this sort of stunt. Perhaps it is based on blocks and can't handle such short walks. So, no big deal, but it looked funny.

Current mood: mocking

Monday, January 28, 2013

10:00PM - wow, that's old

When starting my current job I was annoyed that everyone else had laptops for meetings and I couldn't disconnect mine easily since it was a synergy server. I asked if they had something old, they did, but the battery life was mere minutes. Having replaced my home laptop with my current all-in-one laptop, I brought in the previous laptop and used that to VPN/RDC into the network, since the battery had been well cared for.

I just retrieved it from work since it ended up mostly gathering dust. Booting it up here intending for it to be a client for some local cli/svr coding, I saw it booting.. XP.

I bought it during that small period before Vista was shoved down your throat but while XP Pro was offered -- 2000 Home seemed uncool and 2000 Pro was $$$. XP is old enough that even Windows Update doesn't run anymore! Wow. Maybe I'll Ubuntu it and use it as the server instead...

Or sell it to the home I live in. It can still run circles around their group machine which is so laden with malware and plugins that it can barely open Facebook. It doesn't even recognize its own printer!

Current mood: outdated

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2:00PM - life, it must be fun

According to the fortune cookie I got yesterday: "It's a good thing that life is not as serious as it seems to the waiter.". Since my waitress was not terribly swift and spent most of her time in the back chatting with the chef, my life must be quite simple and frivolous!

In exercise news it was a warm enough day that I went down to the local park to see how far I could jog. Looks like it was a fifth of a mile before I was out of breath and my temples started to throb, but my legs felt okay. Small progress but it would be nice to get slightly more aerobic exercise than walking provides. Maybe I'll work on that beer gut that crept up on me without consuming beer.

Current mood: active

Saturday, January 26, 2013

7:00PM - music report

Angels and Agony seem interesting. I've only listened to three songs, but it feels like synth-goth with messages that don't fit what one would expect from the sounds.

Hmm. Wiki quotes someone who says the same thing only better phrased:

Metropolis Records describes the band's music thus: "Although the music can be dark and melancholic, but still danceable with pumping beats and sequences, the songs have a very positive message."

It came as a suggestion from the one person who commented on my writing "deadmau5" on my knuckles. Sometimes branding comes with benefits.

Edit:The video for "Darkness" is pretty cool. I'm a likin' this group more and more...

Current mood: intrigued

Friday, January 25, 2013

12:00AM - pomegranate blueberry sorbet

Having been nearly out of food for a while (and since the kiwis are incredible), I hit up TJ for the second time in as many days. It is, after all, cold and rainy and cloudy and winter, so one must buy sorbet. Normally I stick with mango, but the pomegranate blueberry was expensive so I splurged...

My only complaint is the labelling. After a kiwi, a banana, and three bowls of lentil soup for supper, I decided to open it for just a taste. The container claimed it held four servings but it really held only one. ;-)

Current mood: greedy

Thursday, January 24, 2013

4:28PM - when it rains, you have groceries

Yesterday, against all weather forecasts that seem to be done by people locked in tiny bunkers with no windows, it started to pour just as I left Trader Joe's. A scattered sprinkle was all that was called for but I was quite drenched on return, being unable to manage four bags of groceries, a bag, and a tiny umbrella.

Returning today since the kiwis were so darn good, of course it was dry until it came time to depart, when the light rain began. Two data points do not define a trend but it was disheartening.

More amusing was the school crossing guard who looked at me incredulously and wondered "You walked all the way from Safeway? That's a hell of a long ways.". I reassured her that I merely reused the bags and had been to TJ. Not that I have not walked to Safeway and back for groceries: it is only three miles each way, well within human possibility. But one becomes accustomed to long walks when it is the only reliable mode of transit.

Current mood: damp

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

3:00PM - war of the words

For quite some time out here there have been measures to ban plastic bags, whether at the city or county or state level. Several have passed locally (although are restricted to large stores). During the current debates I have heard the term "one use bags" instead of "plastic bags".

This is an affront. I just returned from Trader Joe's with four bags of groceries. Two were in Safeway bags that have been used three times, two were Target bags which generally see quite a number of uses, being sturdy of construction and having nicer handles. The only times I do not reuse plastic bags are from takeout (weird side, leakage, or tied too firmly to untie) or from getting leaky meat from the store (in which case if I used cloth it would go into the laundry and where's the environmental savings there, natch?). If anything I reuse plastic bags more often than paper ones because they are easier to stuff into a bag and the handles on paper bags rarely last long.

If the people who get plastic bags do not try to reuse them, shame on them. My guess would be that such people do not reuse paper bags either, so double shame. Banning the bags is not the solution. Training people not to waste is.

Current mood: irritated

2:00PM - nice try, but no cigar

The subject line of the latest thinkgeek deal notification (targetted spam but I allow some):

ThinkGeek's roses are #FF0000, violets are #0000FF...

I do not think this RGB value means what you think it means.

In totally unrelated advice, eating a popsicle while typing on a laptop is a great way to get sticky stuff on your keys, your hands, your shirt, the pile of laundry your laptop is atop... *sigh*

Current mood: sticky

6:00AM - foreign labels

I now own a rare t-shirt from Japan (thanks, you know who!). Nobody here will recognize it, but that's their loss. The cleaning directions, though, use those nice international symbols that really are not international.

The first is a box with "40" on it. The second, a crossed out beaker tube of chemicals. The third shows an iron over something curvy. The fourth and most obtuse has a crossed out circle with water that has beads in it.

The first, then, is likely a max temperature of 40F which is fine since I wash blacks on cold. The second probably means not to use detergent which I will ignore since I skimp on that and for the first washing I want to kill off whatever the flu du jour in Japan is. The third probably means ironing is okay, but I don't do that and certainly not over a corrugated surface. The fourth must mean to line dry -- but the water with bubbles is confusing. Dryers do not get filled with water. Maybe it is a repeat of the first instruction? Maybe it should not have udon or tapioca drinks poured on it? Whatever: I will just line dry it, since that is easy enough and positionally likely.

There used to be a tag under this tag but it was cut off. Probably it had other instructions that were offensively in Chinese or would be scoffed at by otakus? Eh. I'll make my best guess. Hundreds of t-shirts cannot be all that different.

Current mood: confused

5:00AM - the road less taken

Yesterday I had a lot of errands and was on foot. Not wanting to backtrack a mile to a major road and use a known path, I looked on google maps the night before and found that the Iron Horse trail (a walking and biking trail) would take me from A to B. So I walked down it. A nice enough underpopulated walk it was, slowly degrading from paved to gravel to dirt, but I continued.

Until I was met with the end of the trail. Road blockades on one side, and one of those "verboten, no access" signs on the other. Two people on bikes approached and I asked if the trail continued. One said yes, pointed, and said it was across. "Across" being across the watershed and a major highway. Feeling miffed I stood thinking and followed them through the warning gate, which was unlocked, to find myself on another gravel road.. which also mostly ended at a bridge overpass. It then became a little dirt section one could duck under to a little impromptu homeless camp under the bridge. I nodded and continued to find another gravel road with no means of egress. Still, I was going in the right direction, so went on hoping to eventually find a way out.

Repeat until there was a little trail and a gap in shrubbery that spat me out into a commercial area back in suburbia. I went to the nearest restaurant, walked in, and asked "where am I?" (because I had forgotten my phone that morning). After some discussion they found a phone with maps and lo! I was about seven blocks away from where I needed to be. Easy peasy.

What did I feel during the journey? Frustration at gmaps for lying to me, and anxiety about making it to my doctor's appointment. One would think I would have been scared and freaked out by wandering alone through hidden homeless camps while walking down a road nobody else was on, but I was not in the least bit worried. I've been in far scarier places. Either my danger detection skills are suspiciously well honed or I am wired in a really bizarre way.

Current mood: introspective

Monday, January 21, 2013

7:00AM - "I didn't do that"

I've taken to tracing out patterns in the frost that has been on the grass out here over the last few weeks. In my haste to take a picture of this morning's, I stepped too close to the edge of the path and heard this glassy noise behind me. I had bumped a cactus leaf and it lay there snapped off because it had frozen overnight.

So much for my respect for nature. *sigh* I was surprised it had frozen without dying given what ice tends to do to cell structures, but I suppose cacti tend to live in deserts where it gets damn cold at night. It had little defense against a damn fool gringo walking past in the cold, though.

Current mood: sad

Saturday, January 19, 2013

3:00PM - steampunk


Yeah, I don't have to own the world, but some parts of it I claim. Who can resist a custom unique steampunk gear necklace made down under? (I missed out on the ring but it sounds like Cinders will be in business for quite a while)

Now I just need a chain to attach to my freakish abstract Japanese watch to make a fob watch.

Current mood: giddy

Friday, January 18, 2013

9:00PM - guess I already have that...

So for completely insane reasons I am being blocked from calling someone by a third party. Neither of us wants this blockage. It seems highly illegal. But for reasons I won't go into she can't easily deny the enforced blockage from her end.

So I went to look at Google Voice to see if I could just set up a fleet of numbers and call from a different one each time (with an identifiable pattern for CID names). Of course, being lazy I googled for google voice and picked the service. It greets me with an account that is already set up:

Google Voice Add - Mountain View, CA
9/15/09 9:51 AM 3 years ago - secondary number called: (xxx) xxx-xxxx
Hello and welcome to Google Voice. Besides the existing GrandCentral features, we've added: SMS, Voicemail transcript, Conference calling and low priced international calling. We hope you'll like those features and the new inbox. Thank You.

Wow. That was eons ago. Huh. Actually I think I started back in the GrandCentral days under invite-only, just never used it. Guess I'll play with my own number and see what it is...

Current mood: surprised

6:00PM - the fame

As I was walking away from the bus, I heard "nice backpack!" from behind me (it's actually a purse but has a backpack-like strap). I looked back, and the young woman said "nice jacket" too, and proceeded to compliment my Van's cap. I thanked her and told her my fashion expert had picked out the look, then showed her the AC/DC shirt saying "well, most of it". Apparently she'd been scoping me out at the previous bus stop and wanted to say something, since she was in school studying fashion. She asked if she could take my picture and I acquiesced.

Now, I shun and fear cameras by nature, from even before people knew about photoshopping. There's too much you can do if you know where someone lives and have a picture of them. Well, there's too much I know how to do, and one always assumes the skills and thought streams of potential evil are greater than one's own. But I could not decline, having never been fashionable.

I'll have to see if the Altamont gear is popular when it arrives. Right after I get someone to ink up my fingers with Deadmau5. Pretty soon people will start carding me for buying lipstick. Unless I cosplay as a member of Orange Caramel...

Current mood: strange

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