walk it off

it turns out if you report a plate as stolen it goes on the stolen list and it can not be used again for a long time (assuming it’s not recovered). that’s not surprising, but i did find it kind of surprising how almost no one seemed to know how such things work. everyone had to talk to a manager, even at the specialty plates division. but in the end i was told i need to submit a new plate application, along with a copy of the police report and a note explaining my plates were stolen. but fortunately i don’t have to pay any new fees. all this means “h4xr” is retired and i need to submit new plate names. i went through a list with the speciality plates division, and after going through a few i figured i couldn’t get (“fsck” — on the banned list, “rtfm” and “l33t” — already taken) i ended up with a couple that were available. once i submit the paperwork (which means i have to go by the police station to get a copy of the report), i’ll let you know what my new plate is going to be.
friday at work for lunch my group went out for our belated holiday lunch. papadeaux was the place, probably 3 or 4 miles from our office. i’m not too excited by seafood, but i was able to order an andouille sausage po’ boy. i got a cup of coffee and split a dessert afterward. as everyone who knows me knows very well, i’m a slow eater. very slow. so everyone got up to leave, including my ride. since i wasn’t sitting with my ride, i figured there was some car shuffling going on. but then the people i was sitting with got up to leave too. i wasn’t finished with my coffee and dessert, and i hate being rushed, so i told them to go ahead. they said “how are you going to get back?” i replied “don’t worry about it, i’ll figure something out.” “what are you going to do, walk?” i replied again “i’ll figure something out.” so they left. i sat and finished my dessert and drank my coffee, talked to the waiter, then decided i was ready to leave. so i started walking. i ended up walking from around main and 610 to fannin, then up fannin to the first rail stop, where i hopped on the metro mail and took it to the med center/dryden stop. all told i walked probably between 1.5 to 2 miles. (which isn’t as fun or easy in cowboy boots as it is in tennis shoes.) once on the rail, i realized i had several messages, and someone was calling me. turns out my ride had waited outside for me about 15 to 20 minutes, then come in to look for me and didn’t see me (i’d either already started walking or i was in the bathroom), then assumed someone else took me. when they got back to the office they though i was hiding, but then they decided they should go looking for me. when they got in touch with me on the rail, i told them i was getting off at the med center/dryden stop and they could pick me up there if they wanted. everyone at work seemed to think it was really funny that i’d gotten left behind, then walked a mile or two and gotten on the rail. my ride was worried i would be mad at being left behind, so this probably made the situation even funnier to everyone. but i made the choice, and i chose to walk. truth be told, it was more enjoyable to be able to sit and finish my dessert and drink some coffee and relax a bit, then to walk outside for awhile. although after about a mile my legs and feet let me know they weren’t happy about the boots.
i watched full metal jacket again saturday night. man, that is one fine movie.

airport express yourself

a couple of saturdays ago i stopped by the apple store in the mall and picked up an airport express. i’d been waiting for macworld to pass to see if they’d refresh the technology since the express has been out and the same for several years now. they didn’t, but they did drop the price, so i decided to bite. the apple tv looks cool, and would also allow me to play itunes over my home stereo, but i didn’t feel i’d use the $200 more of stuff that comes with the apple tv. (i can always get one later and use the airport express somewhere else though.) i get an education discount, so i was able to get the airport express and a digital optical cable for the price i would have paid for just the express (before tax) before they dropped the price.
i got it home and plugged it in, then i started doing some searches on it related to the linksys wrt54g (version 1.1) i have. i pretty quickly discovered that linksys had included the feature in a firmware update to allow the express to work as a repeater (using wds) with the linksys wireless device. previously, you had to have an airport to be able to do that. my firmware was pretty dated, so i downloaded the most recent version and flashed the linksys. with a minimal amount of effort (following instructions from my google search like this one at rgbdream.com) i was able to get the airport express acting as a repeater, in addition to being able to play itunes over my home stereo. not that the repeater funtion is all that necessary when the devices are about 40 feet apart and pretty much have line-of-sight with each other, but dang it, it’s the doing it that counts and not the functionality.
i have to admit, it’s pretty cool because now in itunes i can pick which speakers i want itunes to play over: local computer, home stereo, or both. so i can listen to soma fm stations (like space station soma – “spaced-out ambient and mid-tempo electronica”, boot liquor – “americana roots music for cowhands, cowpokes and cowtippers”, and illinois street lounge – “classic bachelor pad, playful exotica and vintage music of tomorrow”) in good quality over my home stereo wirelessly from my computer. thanks to this capability, i may finally start ripping my cds into itunes as well.

the lotus position

last weekend i dropped by the briar shoppe in rice village. they’d called me because a new shipment of the lighters i’d been interested in had arrived. instead of waiting a couple of weeks before going in like last time, i headed right over and checked them out. i ended up getting the gun metal version. here’s a link to a site online selling the same lighter: elighters.com – lotus. the picture on there makes it look more bronze than it really is, but you can get a general idea.
since i seem to have gunked up my zippo butane stick lighter using cheap butane, i also went ahead and got some lotus butane (“filtered five times” they said). hopefully that and a bit of care and upkeep will help the lighter to last a long time.

the last two weeks in film

at some point i watched a league of ordinary gentlemen with the potts’. it’s a documentary about the professional bowling association and the changes it has gone through in the last couple of years since it was bought by some ex-microsoft employees and given a new image. it follows a few of the better players through some of the season. they discuss bowling, its history, the changes, etc. i thought it was pretty interesting, although it’s one of those documentaries where it feels like they’re making fun of the subject matter (due to editing) as much as they are documenting it. earlier last week i watched the extras on the dvd by myself before returning it to netflix.
earlier last week i watched bubble. it’s a story of a few people in a small town that work at a doll factory. all unknown actors from the area it was filmed in were used to make the film. it was also done with digital. it runs short, and i didn’t think it was a real strong movie. from watching the extras, i know they basically let the actors use their real lives and experiences in scenes, with just a basic framework and direction for the plot. it’s all an interesting idea, and some aspects of it are good, but overall i came away somewhat ambivalent about the movie as a whole.
also earlier last week i watched samaritan girl. it’s a korean film about two girls who become prostitute and manager in order to save money for a trip to europe. the one prostituting ends up dieing and the other has a hard time dealing with it. her way of coping with the situation drives a wedge between the relationship between her and her father (her mother is dead), and eventually the father finds it impossible to deal with things. while some of the plot seemed kind of unrealistic, i thought the last half of the film was pretty strong and i really liked the way it ended.
saturday night i watched cool hand luke. i’d actually never seen it before. while it’s a somewhat slow paced film, and some of the acting and dialogue is kind of hokey, overall it’s a pretty cool movie. obviously there are things from it that have entered collective culture. what i was kind of surprised by was some of the religious symbolism in the film. i’m not really sure what the implication was, but i can kind of see what some of it might be. anyway, i thought the concept for the character and the way things work out was an interesting take for hollywood. i don’t watch many films from the late 60’s though, so maybe this was a lot more common during that era of film. the car washing scene, while somewhat hokey…or maybe not merely somewhat…was still pretty nice visually. but in the end, i can see how a lot of disenfranchised people could find themselves identifying with the main character, and wishing they could handle life and adversity as well as he does in the film.

no more h4xr?

apparently someone came by last night and tried to steal a bicycle (it belongs to one of the other tenants) that was locked to the carport at my house. i assume that because i noticed the bicycle was in a different position this morning, and there is a place where the rubber-coated wire is almost cut through. having failed at that, they evidently decided to take the license plate from my motorcycle. i noticed something looked different when i got in my car this morning before heading to church, then after looking and thinking for a few seconds i realized what it was. but i waited to call the police until after i got back home.
this sucks of course, but it particularly sucks since it is a personalized custom plate and now it’s in the database as stolen. so i’ll probably have to get something else, and it will probably be hard to find anything i want that isn’t already taken. or if i get it reissued — if they even do that — then i run the risk of getting pulled over, having a gun pulled on me, taken to the ground, and handcuffed before they realize i have a legitimate reissued plate on the appropriate motorcycle. based on that scenario i’m thinking they won’t reissue stolen personalized plates. but who knows? guess i’ll find out this week.

like sands through the hourglass, it is.

man, i haven’t put something on here in almost two weeks. i’d actually written out most of this stuff earlier this week, but firefox crashed and i hadn’t saved it. as a computer guy, i know the most important thing is to save and make backups, because computers flake out. but i hardly ever do it. could be that i’m lazy. or it could be i’m an adrenaline junky, and living on the edge is the way i get my kicks. go ahead and try, you can’t stop me. i’m cuhraaazy!
anyway. let’s see if i can recall what’s been happening with me…
wednesday (jan 10th) after the radio show i picked up aphelia from a motel and we met up with jay lee, jennifer the intern, and barrett and his girlfriend at the big top. aphelia listens to the show and hangs out on irc with us, but much of the time he’s actually asleep because he’s in england so he just logs the stuff. he was in town from england for his job, so he decided to meet up with some of us after the show. i may have to go back to the big top more to see the bartender smile — she has a beautiful smile. but i probably won’t. 🙂
on thursday (jan 11th) i signed up for second life. several people i know through different channels had talked about it, so i figured i should get on and check it out. in second life i’m “phliKtid obscure”. most of the second life world seems to be consumed by gambling/casinos, dance clubs, and sex clubs, but there is some other stuff to be found if you look around. i’ve been on five or fix times since then, and i’ve finally managed get somewhat familiar with the way things work, meet a few people, and find a few places i kind of enjoy hanging out. i’m not much of a gamer, and i’m not into fantasy/role-playing, so for me it’s more like irc with visuals as a bonus. a couple of things i find hilarious are the way the avatars start typing when someone is typing for chat, and how if someone makes a hard landing (from flying, which you can do in second life) their avatar topples onto the ground and then clambers back up. i made my first purchase a couple of nights ago, a set of western shirts. now i need to get some cowboy boots. i can see how people could get addicted to playing it. so far i’ve not found anything compelling, but once i’m on i tend to want to stay in and see what happens or who comes around instead of leaving to do something else. i was the same way back in the day with irc.
anyway, if you’re on second life, send me a message. i don’t have any land, and as of yet i’ve not broken down and given them a credit card to get linden dollars, so don’t be asking me for stuff. ; )
friday (jan 12th) i went into work late because we were doing a maintenance window that night. i got out later than i’d planned, but afterward i went ahead and went over to natalie‘s for a game night. i met a few new people, and saw several people i hadn’t seen in some time (including natalie). pretty much the whole time i was there we played one game…it was fun, but it went on for a long time.
saturday evening i went and saw the lonesome spurs and unknown hinson at the continental club. it was the first show i’d been to in some time. when i got there the lonesome spurs were already playing. it was two folks, a guy and girl, both playing electric guitars (hers may have been acoustic, but i think it was electric). they were using something to create a bass drum beat during songs, but they didn’t have a drummer or any other instruments. it kind of made me think of a country white stripes. the guy was a good guitar player, and the lady made me think of loretta lynn — strong voice, loud, and kind of brash with some attitude. i thought it was a pretty good set, although i felt like a drummer or bass would help fill out the sound some.
ha! i just went to their website and it says “the white stripes of country”. the site compares her to wanda jackson. i can see that since i know a couple of her songs and a bit about her, but it wouldn’t come to my mind because i’ve never really listened to much wanda jackson. that’s something i’ve been meaning to change for awhile now, i just haven’t gotten around to picking up some of her stuff. anyway, check out the lonesome spurs website.
unknown hinson is kind of a schtick thing. the three guys that played appeared to all be older, and they all seemed to be pretty good musicians. it’s kind of a mix of rock’n’roll, rockabilly, and blues. the persona of unknown hinson is kind of a hard drinkin’ rockabilly vampire. i think. the set was pretty good, but the novelty wore off for me after awhile and i left before they finished.
saturday was also my brother’s birthday, but i still haven’t emailed him or tried to call him or anything. at least i already gave him something for his birthday during xmas. (the pipe. remember? i wonder if he’s tried it out yet? maybe i should call him.)
sunday i was planning on going to kaleo, but G-d didn’t wake me up in time. that’s kind of a somewhat-joking position i take, which is that if G-d wants me to go to church in the morning then He will wake me up. so i don’t set my alarm. i woke up sunday and thought i might be able to make it and just be a little late, but then on the way there i was blocked by a marathon. as if G-d not waking me up didn’t prove it, the marathon blocking my way definitely proved that G-d didn’t want me at church. so instead i went to an einstein bagels and had a bagel and some coffee. after church i met up with the hartleys, the potts, sue’s brother shawn, and some friends visiting the potts at lupe tortilla’s for lunch. in the afternoon i went over to first baptist houston for simcha’s dedication. the church had a reception afterward where they served some finger foods and cake. i also met tiffany’s roommate lacey for the first time.
i had monday off due to it being the mlk holiday. i hadn’t realized i had monday off until friday afternoon when i was at work looking at someone’s calendar, so i hadn’t made any weekend plans. besides hanging out at the potts’ house, i don’t remember what if anything i did.
as far as the rest of this week, other than watching a couple of movies (which i’ll discuss in another post) and chatting in second life i don’t think i did much of anything.
last night (friday) i went out to vietopia for happy hour with some folk from work, then we went over to berry hill for some tamales for supper.

unfettered soul…mind…body.

sunday found me at kaleo. the music was nice, and i really found depth and value in some of the things the pastor had to say about revelations 3. afterward, while playing with some of the kids, i experienced a reminder of the fragility of human sanity. a few kids were chasing me around, having a grand time, when dietrich managed to latch onto one of the front edges of my untucked shirt, which he pulled. a split-second rapid-fire of popping pearl snaps later, my chest was laid bare. unfortunately not in the metaphorical sense, but in the much less pleasurable, very real and blindingly pale out-of-shape sense. the room went dark and closed in on me. i quickly clutched my shirt and overshirt around me and stumbled toward a wall to rebutton my shirt and collect myself, analyzing if there were any good way out of this situation. i thought this sort of thing was only supposed to happen to teens at school dances? (although this did happen in a (former) ymca gymnasium…hhmmm….)
it’s really not that i have an issue with my body, it’s that i was trying to protect everyone else. no, really! think of the children! and it’s a house of worship — i didn’t want people having to question their faith in a loving and compassionate G-d. let’s just say i’m nowhere mentally near being able to dance like david did. (and everyone should be thankful for that.)
and to think i was this close to putting a white t-shirt underneath before leaving the house. don’t be misled and dismissive like i was, there is wisdom in the ways of elders. the traditions passed down are sometimes there to protect you, not just restrain you.

movie gluttony

i picked up a few movies over the weekend…

  • blade runner (director’s cut) — ridley scott (warner brothers)
  • the blues brothers (25th anniversary edition) — belushi and aykroyd (universal)
  • finding nemo (2-disc collector’s edition) — pixar (walt disney)
  • full metal jacket — stanley kubrick (warner brothers)
  • the good, the bad, and the ugly (2-disc special edition) — eastwood, leone (mgm)
  • the royal tenenbaums (criterion collection) — anderson (touchstone)
  • the empire strikes back (2-disc limited edition) — lucas (20th century fox)
  • return of the jedi (2-disc limited edition) — lucas (20th century fox)

i’ve been planning on buying blade runner for some time, but i kept hoping they’d release the original cut as well. i decided to give up on waiting and just get this one. the blues brothers is a classic i’ve also wanted for some time but just hadn’t gotten around to getting. finding nemo was one of the movies stolen from 9023 by the pot-smoking kids. full metal jacket is kubrick, and that’s enough. the good, the bad, and the ugly i got because i’ve been wanting some old eastwood westerns for some time and this looked like a cool release of this movie. this copy of the royal tenenbaums replaces the version i let tamara have. she identified with margo a little too closely during those final days of her mental collapse, or embrace of two-faced nature, or defeat by sin, or whatever it was. in fact, a few days before she admitted she was having the affair (and thus obviously while she was having it) we were at target and we bought a coat for her that had a strong visual resemblance to that of margot. i kind of wish i’d had some clue just how much she was behaving like margot. i bought the two star wars movies to get the original versions on dvd. this makes like the third set of star wars i’ve bought…i hope this one lasts.
there were a number of other films that jumped out as me as needing to be in my home collection, but i decided to show at least a bit of restraint. there’s always next weekend…

logitech harmony remote and sony receiver versus me

okay, so here’s my story about the new remote the potts’ got me for xmas. it’s the logitech harmony remote 676. it’s a universal remote that uses a usb connection to download the codes for your devices from logitech’s website. after entering my stuff and going through the steps, everything basic worked on all of my devices…except my a/v receiver. it’s a sony str-da2000es. i spent a couple of hours over several days mucking around with the remote, trying to get it to control the receiver, but pretty much to no avail. i could get it to change the volume, but not turn it on/off or change inputs. i eventually got frustrated trying to use logitech’s troubleshooting guide and knowledgebase, and repeated attempts at deleting/re-configuring the remote and getting it to “learn” the ir commands from my working remote.
last night a google search turned up a page that said in order to work with universal remotes the sony receiver needed to be in “av1” mode instead of “av2” (the default). for the receiver, you turn it off, then hold down “input mode” and hit the power (I/O) button. each time you do this, it switches between “av1” and “av2”. i then also had to do this on my remote (rm-lg112) so the original remote would work with the device. for it, hold down the “use mode” button and press the main power (I/O) button. you should see “main” or “2nd” show up on the screen. use the easy scroll button to see “main” and push the easy scroll key to select it. use the easy scroll key to select between “av1” and “av2”, then press it to select. the use mode light will blink once for “av1” or twice for “av2”. having done this, i once again went through the online setup process and prepared to enjoy my working remote.
except it didn’t work. bleh. on the good side, it could now turn on the receiver — but it didn’t change inputs, or turn it off. after another hour or more of messing with it, reconfiguring and deleting both activities and the device, i eventually stumbled onto something. the list of what command it would use to change to an input was blank. saying “i have my remote and know what to do”, which meant it was “learning” ir commands, never worked. i did it over and over and it never worked. power toggling never worked correctly either. eventually i chose “i don’t have the remote, but i know what needs to be done” and chose ir commands from the dropdown list. i did this for every input. and it worked! my inputs changed when i changed activities. if it was off it’d turn it on and set it to the right input.
but it wouldn’t turn it off. *sigh* i went back into the online config and told it my remote has a separate button for on and off (which isn’t true) and then instead of telling it i had my remote i told it i didn’t but i knew what needed to be pressed and picked “poweron” and “poweroff” from the drop menus. i then yet again uploaded the config via usb to the remote (for the i-don’t-know-how-many-th time). and FINALLY the basic functions of each device worked, and everything turned on and off at the appropriate points.
the whole thing was certainly a much more painful process than i’d expected, and i had to do roundabout methods that weren’t intuitive or accurate for my remote in order to get it to work. i’m assuming that most people probably just enter their devices and things just magically work, no sweat. but not for me. on the good side, now that i’ve got the basics worked out i can move on to creating all kinds of crazy one-button custom codes to control my a/v devices as a whole.

slacking for christ

i’m maxed out on my vacation time at work, which means my constantly accruing vacation time just disappears. so i took tuesday jan 2nd off. i spent most of the day with the potts’ family. i went to the children’s museum with them in the morning. i’d parked near it for a year or two while working in the medical center, but i’d never gone. it’s pretty cool. unfortunately, there are all these kids there, and it didn’t really seem like it would be right for me to push them away from things so i could play around with the exhibits. we then ate lunch, then we came by the house and i gave jack a number of cans of paint and a bunch of painting supplies to use at his new office. i had a lot of stuff from 9023 that i’d probably never use. i’ve still got a lot of crap from 9023 to give/throw away.
wednesday, i whipped up a new promo for the radio show. there was a request for promos to play during a new 5pm news show, so i put something together and submitted it. i wanted something that would be appropriate for a promo during a news show. here it is. also, the local fox tv affiliate came by the radio show because they wanted to do a segment on the new mac quicktime vulnerability. they’d used jay in the past as an “expert”, so i guess he’s on their call list. anyway, they came by and shot some footage of the guys in the studio room, then they came into the control room to shoot some board shots. the camera guy said they (fox) require him to do it. i guess it’s a standard tv shot for segments about radio. (think about it…pretty much every tv segment about a radio show has the guy(s) on the mics with headphones, and a shot of the board with the dials and knobs and meters and lights and such.) they aired some of the footage, and that’s where i come in…


that’s right, my hands and arms are now famous! if anyone wants to get their picture taken with my hands and forearms, just let me know! for a few bucks, one of my famous hands and arms might even be cajoled into going around your neck or waist for a photo op. you’ll be the envy of your small circle of pedestrian friends!
in the segment, they started the board shot with a close-up of a small sign that’s on the kpft board. i think they used it because it says “kpft” in big letters at the top, but they obviously didn’t pay attention to the rest of the text. it’s advice for djs, and one of the things it says is to not use any of the fcc prohibited words…then goes on to list them all, unobfuscated. so the whole list was aired on the local fox station. granted, if you don’t know it’s there you’d probably not notice. although subconciously you might feel either like cussing or sullied for some reason after seeing the segment.
last night was the geek gathering for the radio show. there was a pretty good turnout. there were some good conversations and laughs. i left around 11pm and headed home. i’d just finished an iced white mocha latte, so i was somewhat wired. i ended up watching tape (discussed in the previous entry), then spent a couple of hours messing with the remote the potts’ bought me for xmas. i’ll give it its own entry.