Television is a medium because anything well done is rare
Fred Allen

Red Flute
Click images for desktop size: “Red Flute” by Unknown
Last week was one of those lost times. Pain, worry and concern blinding me to life.
What I know is that these sort of weeks used to be prevalent. They ran to months. Times where you walk through life Body Heat and it does not touch you. It leaves no remark and accepts no input. I would feel like a hunk of meat and symptoms. I simply endured.
Even the good times, because for some reason I never stop working, even the good times were simply blurred like a 16 mm movie slipping its sprocket holes and showing the sound stripe.
Now those times are rare. Rare enough to notice.
One thing I did this weekend was install Windows on my friends new Dark Art
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Dark Art
MacBook. Ended up staying up most of the night.
The Apple side of things was no big problem, actually no problem at all. It did what it was intended to do and did it fine. But Windows . . . No wonder little geeks sit out there believe they are computer experts because they can work with that clodge of make believe.
I’ve never seen anything so inept and silly as Windows XP. Granted Apple has an advantage in that its OS is designed to work on a restricted set of hardware and Windows is expected to function on any piece of junk that you want to cobble together it still doesn’t justify the inherent stupidity of the OS.
When installing Boot Camp, the Apple app that partitions the hard drive and preps it for Windows, it reminds you that it will be necessary to have Windows reformat the HD. It sets it up as FAT32. Windows might not be able to read to this.
After waiting for 30 minutes the Windows installer asked if I wanted to reformat the drive. It did not give me the option to reformat as FAT32, only as NTFS (another horrible clodge that emulates HTFS). I foolishly decided that it meant that it could read and write the FAT32 fine.
Waiting by Riftsurround (Fran Rivera)
Click images for desktop size: “Waiting” by RiftSurround (Fran Rivera)
It could write to it but couldn’t read it . . . which probably makes sense to Windows only guys. As does the installer not realizing that it could write but bot read the partition.
I found this out because when I rebooted to finish the Windows install I got nothing but a disk read error. I futzed around and tried to fix it but the only solution was to repartition the drive and blank the old partition. Fortunately Boot Camp makes this a no brainer with no risk to the Mac data.
This time I reformatted the drive as NTFS and the install progressed nicely.
The problem with the NTFS file system is that when my friend is in Mac OSX she can read but can’t write to the partition. She can’t save docs to Windows. This is a secondary problem as when the partition is over 32 gig you can’t write to it either (from OSX). Of course Windows is so stupid itBracula can’t read any other file system or OS (even linux). If it were my computer I’d have set it up for 32 gig and used Parallel to run any Windows apps I might need. Of course I also hold to the principal that any tool should be used by the user in the way they see fit.
Now I finally had the Windows actual installer going. It said it would take anywhere from 2 hours to 39 minutes to complete the install!!
I love that sort of accuracy.
It took 50 minutes.
After doing all the password set up I finally got to the screen and was nothing but appalled at the sheer ugliness of the interface. I’d forgotten just how pig ugly it is especially with the inane way it tries to beautify itself. That wasn’t all the issue. It was the way EVERYTHING stopped at all the stupid security fixations.
All the notices were growing tedious. With its huge list of supported machines and hardware it couldn’t find the WIFI card, the sound drivers etc.
Installing the Apple drivers fixed that but it seems rather foolish that Windows can’t find anything.
But its up, running and looking pig ugly. Only took 5 hours.

Lest you think I love Apple blindly I note that the new iPod shuffle is charging A FEE to anyone foolish enough to want to design third party headphones that will work with the thing. So unless you want to pay the Apple tax and an extra premium for premium earbuds your stuck with the cruddy Jimi Hendriz by S4W
Click images for desktop size: “Jimmy Hendrix” by S4W
$29 buck-ers they pack in. This could be Apple’s biggest failure since the Newton.

We took the car in for some warranty work. Nothing at all serious but all annoying. The squeal from the brakes and the constant squeaking, the blown speaker and a funny clunk when you turn off the rear window wiper.
We got a loaner. A Ford Focus that really sucks! But, as my friend says, it’s better than n car at all.
The thing that startles is how easy the whole thing was. The salesman even remembered me! (Which my friend points out is probably an indication of what a pain in the neck I can be.)
We stopped at Taco Bell. My friend had TEN vegetarian tacos. I had a burrito and a quesadilla and her french fries (that came with her Family Taco Meal). The fries were hard for me to eat. She Cinderella didn’t get sick or smelly so the meal was a success.

Sunday I spent getting the yard ready for spring and summer. It was over 50 and sunny. The dogs and I had a good time. I’d clean and then they’d mess it right back up. The gentle dog got into trouble. He got tangled in some dead Virginia Crawler behind the garden gate. He had cornered the stupid cat back there. The cat was taunting him. While he was all tangled it was hissing and swatting at him.
It was a hateful thing for it to do. As I got the gentle dog untangled and the stupid cat saw he was free it took off with the gentle dog in hot pursuit.
The cat went to the defunct bomb shelter. The same one the gentle dog had gotten itself trapped in during the winter. After that escapade I blocked off any easy dog access. Good thing as there’s no doubt he would have dived right in there.
He hates that cat.
I might have to rename the gentle dog. He really hates that cat.

Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are
Kurt Cobain

Strong Bow
Click images for desktop size: “Strong Bow” by Unknown
Yesterday I got a call at 9:30. From the dentist. Telling me they’d had a cancellation. At 10:30.
I told them of course I wanted it but it was a 5 mile 90 minute walk (per google.maps). I rushedBeyond the Forest out. It was nasty cold but the sun was shining.
I made it in 40 minutes.
This wasn’t speed. It was pain driving me on. Even though they’d told me this wasn’t to relieve the pain but it was to extract only 2 teeth to send for a biopsy. Even two teeth missing would relieve some of the pain and maybe even let me chew food.
I was feeling pretty smug when I walked into the office. EARLY. Until I discovered I’d lost my friend’s checkbook . . . I dug through my Book and Oranges by Signac
Click images for desktop size: Book and Oranges” by Signac
pack and only avoided panic by being rushed into the dental chair.
The dentist took my blood pressure. I told her my normal BP was 130 over 80 but in doctor’s offices it usually ran about 160 over 90. Doctor’s make me nervous. It was 180 over 97. We waited 5 minutes and it fell to 160 over 95. Five minutes late it was 140 over 95.
She claimed that was too high to do any tooth extractions. She said I might stroke out on her.
Maybe, but I sort of doubted it. I pointed out that I’d just walked/trotted a pretty fair distance. I was in pain. The pain stressed me and kept me from sleeping well. Doctor’s make me nervous and I think I lost my checkbook. And we were checking to see if my leukemia had come back. I thought this was enough. I figured my BP was going to be high until this was sorted.
She said I’d have to take an oral sedative. It would take about an hour to work and she didn’t have the extra time today. She was starting a weeks vacation Friday (today).
They ma to set up an appointment with an oral surgeon (next door) (being next door was the only Street Cred
Click images for desktop size: “Street Cred” by Unknown
decent part). I went to the Oral surgery and had to answer the usual shaft of questions re: medical history etc.
A nurse took my BP. It was now 130 over 88. (They couldn’t wedge me in at the dentist’s next door. I checked.)
An oral surgeon came in and checked the stuff and said this was too complicated for him. I would have to wait for the Doc who’d studied my x-rays to “consult” with me. Magnanimously he wasn’t going to charge me for his 2 minutes of time spent with me.
I got an emergency appointment for Wednesday at 8:45. Then they’ll decide what to do . . .
In the little town I was in before I had signed all sorts of HIPPA doc’s so that my team of oncologists, GP’s, dentists could freely consult. They also had all of my medical records on theBasket Case central database so they could see anything they needed with a couple of mouse clicks.
This is quick, easy and far less stressful for me. I wrote to my old Team head and was surprised to discover that this wasn’t a state wide program but just a municipal program! Just a small city.
This is what Obama wants to do. While I clearly understand the point of HIPPA and I really get the idea of privacy and not wanting any jerk having access to my medical records this system works easily and well from the doctors all the way to the municipally funded pharmacy. It needs to be done. I think city by city until all the towns and villages are on the database and then bring it nationally. It will save time, money and insure better medical care.
In just this dental thing I’ve spent about 2 hours just repeating medical history and signing documents to let them show the oral surgeon my x-rays. That’s out of about 3 hours I’ve spent with Regret by LawnElf
Click images for desktop size: “Regret” by LawnElf
them in total.
My old small town doctor pointed out that all my files are marked by the fact that I’m sickly I have a huge amount of stamina, and a huge capacity to deal with pain. He also thought that my abnormal bone deterioration probably has more to do with the various chemo’s and he would consider me coming out of remission the least of the possibilities. He sees no reason to not do a biopsy on the teeth, but merely as a precaution.
He confirmed all this with my old records.
So I left the oral surgeons with nothing really accomplished. Except I’d lost the checkbook.
I walked back much slower, kicking over every leaf and piece of garbage.
No joy.
I decided that it probably never made it out of the house and that I’d find it on the floor next to myAtom Age Vampire desk.
No joy.
I had put the leashes on the pups. I was going to use their highly honed hunting instincts to find the checkbook! Or at least have a few laughs at their expense while I looked for it.
My friend called me. She was still in her meeting in the “big city”. Her bank had called her. Someone had brought the checkbook in and dropped it off at a bank branch!!
The pleasures of a small town.
I was still obligated to take the dogs for a walk. They insisted on searching for the checkbook even though it had been found. We had fun.
When we got home I started work on my friend;s new MacBook. I could not get the Migration Assistant to work.
I decided to do the one thing that all guys despise. I called Support.
After about 40 minutes the woman on the other end of the line couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working. I was doing and had done everything exactly right but it would not work. She transferred me to a guy in Cupertino (Apple’s main office). That guy was great. A lot of help. His conclusion was that the old Powerbook’s dead DVD drive was the culprit. That it was dead but did not report to the system as dead had to be the problem. We discussed lightly the best way to get the data swapped across. He actually said that it sounded like I knew what I was doing! Then he gave me his direct line to call if I had any grief.
My issues with the New Apple not withstanding the smartest thing they’ve done is not to outsource Fashion, Sex, Politic and Music by S4W
Click images for desktop size: “Fashion, Sex Politics & Music” by S4W
their customer service centers. I hung up the phone feeling that we’d made a smart purchase.
Moving all the data “by hand” was a long and tedious process but most likely a more accurate way of doing it. Proof being that after I rebooted the new MacBook not only was all the data there but the desktop looked exactly like it did on the old Powerbook. All the little menu items and gooniness that she loves so much were all there and most of them were working flawlessly. There was some very minor tweaking to be done and probably some minot tweaking still to be done but all in all it worked easily enough.
The MacBook is QUICK, lively, responsive all that you could hope. I am jealous.

My little second hand iPod nano seems to be gasping. The little music player is hyper important to me. Music is still the thing that makes some parts of my life bearable. I’m curious about the new Blind Fury shuffle. Not to own. I don’t want a crappy pair of 29 buck headphones and third party headphone rushed out with the extra little controls are going to be over priced and no guarantee of sound quality.
I still covet an iPod Touch but they are still too expensive. Time to start saving up for a new Nano I guess.

I ended the day watching another episode of “King of the Texas Rangers”. A serial I got more out of curiosity. I wanted to see Hall Of Famer “Slingin'” Sammy Baugh. Oddly its become one of my favorite serials. Its consistent and at its worst its wryly amusing. I still love bits like cowboys dressed in full regalia including six guns SKY DIVING! Duncan Renaldo is great and Sammy Baugh is fascinating in the way he moves. He looks beautiful on horseback but then looks cramped and uncomfortable while driving a car, like a machine is trying to confine and restrict his great sense of full on motion.
I only have two episodes until I’ve finished it. This makes me sad. I like the world these guys inhabit.

One clarification. Yesterday I mentioned that three girls I tormented as a kid proposed marriage to me. It should be noted that they were also about 7 years old. My repsonse to their show of affection I reciprocated. I would throw smaller stones at them. And I would never try and put dry ice down the backs of their t-shirts.
I always had a way with the babes.

If you don’t want to die don’t be born
Ryhishiki Tseumoto

Slag Heap by Clarence Carter
Click images for desktop size: “Slag Heap” by Clarence Carter
Yesterday I made a root beer float. I made it in self defense.
It bought back a lot of memories. Ancient memories.Shoot the Piano Player
In our neighborhood a root beer float was called a brown cow. A float with Coke we called a black cow. I have no idea why. That was also the extent of our names and color palette.
When I was a kid one of my best friends was Pete. Pete was trouble, great trouble. As much fun as we had was always trouble.
The kind of fun we had was in our games like “War”. We all had wrist rockets. Tom and Pete and I would climb onto our garage roofs and shoot brads and bent nails at each other. It was exciting and dangerous. We always wore protection: green plastic army helmets.
After a salvo we’d climb down to score (and gather up more ammo). We had a complicated scoring system. Getting both ends of a brad to stick was worth two points, getting one to stick in the helmet was worth a half point. Getting a nail to go through the helmet deep enough to bleed was worth a full point etc.
Tom and I had a game that always appeals to 7 year old boys; stealing girl’s dolls. We would replace the dolls heads with plastic dinosaur heads or earthworms, or pretty much anything that would make girls shriek and threaten to tell our parents on us. They never ratted us out, in fact at least three of those girls proposed marriage.
While we were involved in this Pete came up on his bike. He’d been to the beach (he was a good surfer, even had his own board). Pete was all excited. The Starlight Theater was starting Saturday matinees. Ten cartoons, three Three Stooges shorts and a cheap horror movie. Fifty cents admission!
We were stoked.
Second Story Sunlight by Edward Hopper
Click images for desktop size: “Second Story Sunlight” by Edward Hopper
The premiere show was “Teenaged Frankenstein”, a movie that was already on TV but this was a chance to see it on a big screen with a few hundred of your buddies.
During the boring cartoons and during the slow parts of the movies we all prowled the aisles. The air was thick with tossed popcorn, popcorn boxes, soda cups, the occasional nerd’s jacket. The air was so thick with thrown stuff it was often hard to see the screen. That was cool by us. Everything got dead quiet during the Curly Stooges and whenever the monster was on the screen.
Those Kid’s Matinees were the lynch pin of our weeks for a long time. No experience came close to it for exuberance and fun in the dark until we discovered underground surf films with live bands.
I always had a dollar for the matinees. After admission I had fifty cents left. My special treat was toAlien buy an Eskimo Pie from the vending machine for a quarter and then a soda from another vending machine. A soda in a paper cup.
I’d sit in my seat and meticulously pick off the chocolate coating from the Eskimo pie, i’d pick it off with my teeth, then when I had a glob of melting ice cream, free of chocolate, I’d plunge the ice cream into the cup of soda and have a fancy float. (it was important to get every bit of chocolate off the Pie. I somehow had it in my head that chocolate, ice cream and soda would be poisonous. Pretty much the same way I decided that the top level of jelly or any jelly that had been touched by peanut butter was poisonous.)
That’s what I thought about when I ate/drank my brown cow yesterday. I remembered that and remembered how great it is to be alive.
Yesterday I spoke to the dentist. I thought we were setting up an appointment to get my teeth pulled. They’re not pulling the teeth. The oral surgeon saw my x-rays and sort of freaked.
Shark Underwater
Click images for desktop size: “Underwater Shark” by Unknown
Normally people who’ve gone through chemo or who are in remission have the bone loss in a localized area, it then sort of grows from there. My bone loss is scattered throughout my mouth which is more common to people in the midst of full blown leukemia.
That kind of threw me.
What they want to do is pull one of the teeth and have it biopsyed.
It took a root beer float to ground me enough to decide that they were being over cautious. I’ve been through 4 different chemo trials. Been in remission all four times. Three times I came out of remission.
Calming down I was able to examine my body. I don’t feel anything like the three times prior. No soul crushing fatigue. No deep set agony in my skeleton. There’s just the normal pain I’m sort of used to.Alice In Wonderland
The greatest grief is from my teeth which do hurt pretty terribly. I’m tired but its because of weeks of bad sleep because of the pain in my mouth.
Last night I went to bed with a head that feels like it had been over inflated with a rusty bicycle pump. I got out of bed with the same feeling. I’ve been dealing with leukemia long enough to know that’s Still Life by Huillot
Click images for desktop size: “Still Life” by Huillot
not one of the symptoms.
Unscientifically I’ve decided that the scattered necrotic bone is more a result of the 3 chemo’s and the long term oral chemo that really does seem to have worked.
I’ve decided they’re just being overly cautious. Can’t blame anyone for that especially when its me they’re being overly cautious with!
I need to get these teeth extracted. They are hurting fiercely.

My friend survived her long excursion for her business meeting. She claims she was so tired she has little idea if the meeting was any good or worthwhile at all. She has a sense it was okay but can’t recall any details!
But her new MacBook arrived! I had to call UPS and roast them a little to get it delivered. They New Hampshire Hills by Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: “New Hampshire Hills” by Maxfield Parrish
expedited it so that it wouldn’t have to sit 10 miles away.
Its a beautiful machine. The glossy screen seems like it might be a hassle in some instances but to look at it is gloriously pleasant.
I was able to partition the drive, to set it up for dual booting into Windows with no problem at all. The machine is super quick.
I’m having a lot more grief trying to use the “Migration Assistant” to move all of her data from the PowerBook to the MacBook. It sees every computer but then just grinds away doing nothing!
I plan to have it done today, one way or another. The “Migration Assistant” would be the easiest way to move over keychains, apps and preference files but I can do it manually if I have to.
I remember when all Apple products just worked . . .

Whoever is happy will make others happy too
Anne Frank

Paper Planes by Mach2Moo I’ve been trying to, well needing to more than trying to, gather together some legal documents.
I got one that really miffed me to get. I don’t think anyone, especially a government, has much right The Lost World to see what’s inside me, or what led me to be where I am.
For one thing, they don’t care about people. They care about votes and retirement plans, their own. No government has ever been able to care about people. Government cares about itself and only responds to people when it has no choice. It reacts only when its own life is at stake. That’s governments nature like all living things its seeks only its own survival.
Like my agent always said; “Don’t trust anyone until you can see what’s in it for them.
So I had to get this document. Had to FAX them a notarized statement attesting to who I was and asserting my right to a copy of this document.
Fair enough. I wouldn’t want any bored jerk having access to this stuff. There’d be no point to it other than some sort of scam or nasty nosiness.
Pavel Lagutin I got the doc and when I looked at it it was the wrong one . . . It was painful to look at. More so when I slowly realized it was the wrong one. It made me feel bad seeing someone else’s pain and loss laid out like that. It made me want to give up.
I got reasonable. I called the government and asked them what was going on. They only paid attention because they had sent me stuff I had no right to. My issues, of course, meant nothing to them. The only issue was that they violated their own self generated laws.
I didn’t expect anything more.
I got to speak to a supervisor. I got threatened because to get this doc I clearly had to say I wasn’t who I said I was. When they got the notarized statement they semi admitted they’d made a mistake, only semi admitted.The Spy Who Came
The super told me something I found deeply interesting. They’d only gone on computers since 2002. They’d had the prisoners, convicts, people in jail do the actual entry.
I thought about Chino and Tehachipi prisons. These aren’t the white collar prisons, or even the high profile crime prisons. These are the fundamental jails. I thought it sort of made sense to have a gang banger type learning data entry. Its an honourable, if deadly boring, job. I asked how much they were paid, like minimum wage, ten bucks an hour or like 15 cents an hour. She wouldn’t tell me. Probably didn’t know. Government employees always find its better to make you feel like you’re treading on thin ice instead of admitting ignorance.
In any event they can’t find the doc. They’ll have to do a physical search. RAH!
There’ll be millions and millions of scraps of paper, all stored in a warehouse. I worked in one of those document warehouse for a week. Thirty foot ceilings with those wobbly steel racks stretching from the floor to the ceiling. I used to think they had little robot arms that would descend from the ceiling. An operator would sit in the booth and type in a name then the robot arms would ratchet on over and pull out the right box and place it on some slate gray table while a guy in slate gray overalls (old records are dusty things) would, without pomp, riffle through and pull out the right document then complete the required 26 forms to show he had removed it, when, for whom and where it would be presently located.
Party Girl Actually its some poor guy, not making enough money, pushing one of those library like ladders down the aisle, the amble up, worry about falling then dump the thing on a table. It sits there until they feel like going through it. If they don’t find it right away it gets pushed to the back of the table to be looked at when the boss is looking at you and you need to look busy.
I despair ever seeing the document, but who knows.
They’re searching today. I have to call them this afternoon.
You know if you’re Irish or Italian or from almost any place that is not America, and you are over seas and you are unlucky enough to get robbed the Embassies for that government will get you a meal, find you some accommodations and try and help you get home with the least amount of stress.
The American embassies were always the worst in the world but during the Bush years they gotThe Red House even worse.
I was scuttling through Trafalgar Square one morning when I was approached by a guy I hardly knew, but I did no him. He was well dressed but looked rough as hell.
He was n London on his honeymoon. He’d been staying in a hotel in Earls Court! Not the smartest place to stay. He’d gotten robbed in his hotel, cleaned out. He was relieved only that he nor wis wife Marvel Heroes were hurt. The hotel chucked him out when he couldn’t pay. (They were only there for a few days before heading on to see the Continent).
He went to the Embassy and the clerks, who are never American, asked him, “What do you expect us to do?”
After fighting for a couple hours to speak to an American he got pretty much the same response, at least this time it was said to him with a Texas accent, which I guess made him feel better.
The extent of the Embassies help to this poor slob was that he could use the Embassy’s address so the credit card companies could send him new cards. They didn’t give him a meal. They gave him a list of homeless shelters . . . They wouldn’t even let him use the Embassy phone to call them.
Hell of a honeymoon. He was lucky, I had enough to spot him a hundred pounds or so, to at least get cleaned up and feed him and his wife.
I never did get the money back, but he did call me when he finally got to go back home, which i something.
The thing is that until Obama changes the face of the people who are the contact we have the Golden Gate Bridge government things are only going to get worse. At the top the people we’ve elected keep getting proved to be corrupt and self serving jerks. That’s the only part of trickle down that Bush allowed, even the small clerks are lazy, venal and totally unconcerned about the people paying their salaries. Why should they care? They won’t lose their jobs by being rude or by doing nothing.
Doing something is the only thing that puts them at risk.

We are getting my friend a new computer. Getting it on the never never. The cheapest MacBook. I was surprised to realize that it is about three hundred bucks cheaper than my 8 year old Powerbook!
The powerbook is still functioning, but it’s 512 meg of ram and 846 mhz CPU are . . . not quite up to it. I might make it into a media server or an eBook, except the battery holds no charge anymore.The Underworld Story
This was prompted by Apple’s upgrades yesterday and by the fact that I did their recommended software updates yesterday and got the dreaded linked files in the B-Catalog. For Windows people that like a corrupt FAT directory.
Apple drives seem to fail faster than WIndows drives, but that might just be me and the fact that its easier to abuse a Mac drive than a Windows drive.
I wasted some time and managed to get everything back up and running without any noticeable data loss. My friend uses the Powerbook for mainly personal stuff. It doesn’t make the data any less valuable. The new MacBook can run Windows (yuk) via BootCamp so it will have some appreciable value in work and maybe getting some clients who can only conceive of working in Windows . . . Since Mac can read Windows files and can also save in a Windows environment I figure Windows won’t be all that much in evidence. It is still an ugly OS and I remain startled by people who still find it synonymous with computers.
I just hope it lasts as long as my relic PowerBook, a relic from when Apple cared about its products.
For me, its daily back-ups and waiting for the internal drive to fail . . . again.

I did manage to finish “The Delightful Forest” last night and stay awake! It was pretty excellent. It ended in one of those “Hero vs the army” style combats. Very cool stuff. Lung Ti is always inspiring.
The final resolution was fascinating. Lung Ti ends up becoming a blood thirsty Toasist holy man! This seems to be intended as a happy ending!

No one needs your love like I do
Gene Pitney

Five O'Clock in Orksland by Mathias Kollros
Click images for desktop size: “Five O’Clock in Orksland” by Mathias Kollros
I’ve been so obsessed with the Great Car Trauma of 2009 and my friends difficult time at work (no problems, just excessive work) that I’ve lost sight of the other things I’ve been doing.Leave Her to Heaven
I made dog treats.
They finally decided that they love dehydrated sweet potato. My puppy loves dried apple. No surprise there, she love plain apple and will beg fiercely when I’m eating one. The gentle dog and the giant dog are more reserved about the dried apple. They only want it when my puppy is still happily eating hers. That figures. They are dogs as well as being my friends and family.
I like making things for the dogs. Not just out of love but because I am always worried about commercial dog food.
Today the Chinese government announced they had sentenced three Dogss by S4W
Click images for desktop size: “Dogs” by S4W
people to death for the use of melamine in baby formula that led directly to an undisclosed mount of infant deaths.
I just hope that its the right three people. I’m opposed to the death penalty but I guess murdering a few hundred kids justifies it as much as Ted Bundy’s death.
I just hope its the right three people and not just 3 schmoes who were following orders from some highly placed party official or some rich businessman. They may have learned that from capitalism, protect the rich who kill for negligent profit.
Because all the American food producers used melamine (a deadly plastic additive that increases the measured protein level of foods when mixed in) to save about 10 cents a bag on their over priced premium food and then suffered no legal penalties for cheating us and killing animals. They made them take the poison food back . . . if it were unopened.
American Flag
Click images for desktop size: “American Flag” by Unknown
Can’t feel too badly about that, after all we also cleared Union Carbide for killing nearly 4,000 in India because it Union Carbide was too cheap to install required safety equipment. Poison gas clouds or saving 10,000 bucks. To the corporate guys theirs no value to human lives, but 10,000 bucks that like a good months wage.
Its an old story which is why I’m nervous about prepared foods. I used a small factory to make my puppy’s food to spec. Here the pet shop makes their own special blend. I feel slightly more secure.
Making my/their own dog treats makes me feel safer. So, its a selfish thing, because, trust me, the dogs don’t much care.
My thumbs have gotten worse. Last night I had to figure out how to open the door with my elbows. Perseverance pays. Took me about 5 minutes. I can’t open most jars.Jail Bait
Odd thing is that this morning my right thumb feels much better and the left feels much worse than the right one ever did. This just goes to confirm my self diagnoses of more neuropathic damage. Livable no that I’m certain what it is.
The pain in my thumbs has one benefit. I don’t like living on pain killers even if the only ones I’ll take are ibuprofen. I usually wait to long to take them only succumbing when the pain gets unendurable. Oddly I can never time it to figure out when to take them to avoid those episodes.
The thumbs start to hurt about half an hour before the big pain comes. So if I take the pills when the thumbs start to ache (and its a very endurable pain) I avoid those blind flashes. It is almost worth it.
The only real problem is in guitar playing. I use my left thumb to mute strings when I play certain chords. This makes that kind of impossible. It just means that I have to execute my right hand with a lot more accuracy. Since I’ve always been a pretty sloppy player in that sense (Mess and finesse) its energy that exercises new muscles.
My left hand is getting stronger and more precise. I’m pleased by that. I was afraid that the muscles wouldn’t respond to exercise and would just atrophy. Its coming along fine. My biggest problems seem to be some of the more extravagant minor chords (which I adore) and some of the crazed 7ths (which I can play around by leaving out a couple of string. Who’d notice?)
I’ve also been rearranging the living room. Not so much rearranging it as tacking down wires and trying to hide them as well as I can. Its hard hammering.
Joan of Ark (Orleans) By Yasushi Nirasawa
Click images for desktop size: “Joan of Ark (Orleans)” by Yasushi Nirasawa
I do get to move all the furniture and unleash the roomba of dirt war upon it. The roomba still fascinates me. If I’m not careful I end up staring at it while it does its work, which sort of defeats the purpose of a vacuuming robot. I’m glad I’m not the only one who this happens to; a lot people comment on it.
So there’s just a light dusty snow this morning. None since I shoveled out the driveway so no forced interaction with jerk neighbors. That’s a good thing.
No luck on finding the ideal car. (Affordable) My friend just wants her old car back. Maybe that will be the way to go. She commented on the fact that the rental is causing her some pain in her arms.
The cat has not defecated in the house for a couple of days. This is another good thing.
My friend has decided that the cat is afraid of me. I could only wish. This morning it came and sat on my foot and yelled at me to let her out. Stupid cat.Killer Tongue
Haven’t seen any decent movies. The Oscar nominations are boring as hell. Even the foreign flics are dull. Danny Boyle getting nominated makes me want to weep. He stinks and “Slum Dog Millionaire” was dull silliness to me.
I always thought Aronofsky’s movies were pretentious tripe. “The Wrestler” came off like a low budget less ambitoius “Raging Bull”. Mickey Rourke was pretty outstanding. I thought Marisa Tomei was incredible and pretty nice to look at. . .
I did find a copy of a film I haven’t seen since it first came out “Truffaut’s” La Nuit Americaine”. I’m semi-afraid to watch it. This movie, as much as Cocteau and Steve McQueen probably made me go for the grad degree in Cinema. I mean, I remember watching this movie about making a movie and thinking, “This is what I need to do!” instead of taking a career I could make a living at . . . I’m afraid the movie will rightly stink and I’ll stare at it and wonder about my own level of sanity then and now. Like running into an old girlfriend on the street it exposes you Luis Royo
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Luis Royo
to more risk of ridicule than pleasure. I’ll probably still watch it.
Also it seems we’re in one of those fallow periods where there seems to be no new music to interest me. Bruce Springsteen doesn’t interest me at all. Which at least gives me the chance to justifylistening to my old stuff.
I like that fine.
ecto, the app I use to layout this site, has sort of stagnated since the developer guy sold it to the big software company. Its still buggy but does what it does well enough to justify hassling with it. I was having a huge problem with it. It was just like taking forever to load. Figured out it was the attachment.plst file. Because there’s so many attachments that file had grown for about 8k to 14 megs. The app insisted on writing and reading that file each time it was loaded and each time I added a picture. I just dumped the file. No ill effects after three days and it runs nice and smoothly again.
A bug I don’t expect to see fixed.
Most people who use Mac’s know about Quicksilver. A nifty little app for launching apps, docs, Louisiana Hussyediting, its kind of remarkable. And its free!
The guy who developed Quicksilver has dumped the project. He’s made it open source but thus far no one seems to have taken it up.
He left Quicksilver for a paying gig with Google. I’m glad he’s making money. He’s developing a Quicksilver replacement for them called “Google Search Box”. It works pretty well and its also free. Well, free only in the sense you don’t have to pay for it.
The search box is dead ugly. Disappointing after the several elegant interfaces you could pick and chose with Quicksilver. Here you can only chose the color of the box. Not any color you want but select from 4. And you have to look at the stupid google logo.
One of its “benefits” is that it searches not only your hard drive but checks the internet as well, mostly launching the browser and the google search. It also launches the app associated with the document when you pull one of those up.
Its buggy, although the 2nd alpha fixes the most annoying things. Its got a long way to go. I’m trying to ignore Quicksilver and use it. Its hard as Quicksilver require no thought from me. Its an app that learns from you as you work so it is always snappy. Google Search Box isn’t there yet at all, but maybe.
And that is all. Time to take my fit dogs for their fit walk.

Even though we have chosen to live at the crossroads of hell we suffer for it everyday
Kazuo Koike

Backyard Fashion
Click images for desktop size: “Backyard Fashions” by Unknown
I’ve decided that the pain in my thumbs is neuropathic.
The only logic I have for this is that the pain has metamorphosed into some of the past neuropathic pains I’ve had. It reminds me most of the left shoulder.Creature From The Black Lagoon
The left shoulder started in a similar way, annoying pain that slowly became excruciating and managed to hide its intent.
I remember that I was driving and raised my arm to wave to someone on the sidewalk. I nearly plowed into an over pass buttress because I was suddenly convulsed with black vision pain. Nine Dragons Wall at Datong
Click image: “9 Dragon Wall at Datong” by Unknown
I really don’t know how close I came to the buttress. I couldn’t see it.
After wards I noticed that if I raised my arm at more than a 90 degree angle from my body the pain was intense and blinding. That was my first discovery of neuropathic pain. Its one of the side effects they don’t really explain to some of the chemo-therapies. Weird thing is that the pain is based in the nerve damage but its so pervasive it effects the muscles as well.
I went on a self prescribed physical therapy. Later at a regular doctor’s appointment they prescribed the same exercises I was already doing but added a couple of new ones so it didn’t feel like a wasted time.
It took about a year for me to get completely rid of the pain, or at least bring it to a low enough level to ignore it.
I think the thumb is worse. For one thing its the first time I’ve not had the pain on my left side. But even though the pain is localized to a much smaller part of my body it was relatively easy to sort of remember not to suddenly raise my left arm over my shoulder. Its hard to remember not to use my right hand to open doors, answer phones and stuff.
Horror by Poze Horor
Click images for desktop size: “Horror” by Poze Horor
I’m going to try and figure out a series of exercises to bring the pain down.
Oddly, except for occasional stabs of pain, the guitar playing is going well . . . I keep working on new songs. Have even taken some tunes and put new words to them. I like that, even if the only “audience” reaction has been, “I’ve never heard that one before” and “That’s not how it goes, is it?” At least they’re listening.
Its been very cold here these past few days. It semi-worries me that I can ignore cold so well. The dogs and I went out for an hour or so yesterday. No ill effects at all.
The only worry about this is that I might ignore something that’s doing me damage. I’ve done it in the past. Just another thing to be careful about.
In the intense cold I’m a little bit concerned that I haven’t seen the skanky cat for three days. With the light snow it would have been easy to see its footprints. I hope its okay and hasn’t frozen to death or something.Cry of the Banshee
I really hope I never see skanky cat again but I don’t want it dead or hurt someplace. I want it to be with someone who thinks its beautiful and not skanky at all, who feeds and strokes it and keeps it warm and save.
Maybe I’ll see it run across the street or something and it will be all sleek and fat and will probably ignore me. Cats are like that.
My puppy’s aunt has suggested that the stupid cat is defecating in the house because its ill.
I don’t think so. It’s stool is very healthy. I’ve certainly had to examine enough of it.
We have to keep the cats food and litter box behind a gate to keep the dogs from rooting around. Now all three dogs really hate the stupid cat. Which is odd because the other cat, who died, they never had a problem with at all, not even when it would come and stand on my shoulder to steal some popcorn. They’d even let the other cat sleep against them with no real Sex and Fashion by S4W
Click images for desktop size: “Sex And Fashion” by S4W
reaction. Nor did they freak out when the other cat would butt in and start eating their food. But they hate the stupid cat.
I’ve watched enough to see that it provokes them quite a bit, sometimes harmlessly but sometimes pretty maliciously. Which is another justification for calling it the stupid cat.
The giant dog in particular takes offense to the stupid cat. When he sees it he’ll follow it. He also likes to lie in front of the gate that protects its food and litter box. I’d suspect that the stupid cat doesn’t see the need for using the litter box and just goes where its convenient for it. I’ve watched it swat the giant dog and leap over it to get to its food. I’d figure it doesn’t see any sense to use that sort of effort to use the toilet.
The latest version of Handbrake, the app I use to back-up DVD’s, has a new pre-set for AppleTV. Its based on CRF (Constant Quality) instead of being based on bit rate. It works extremely well, Darkest Africa1936Bat-Men of Joba.jpg producing better looking files at up to 60% the size! The only drawback to it is that it takes about 30% longer to do so.
Like a two pass H264 encode at 2500 average bit rate with 5.1 sound and ACC stereo would come in at about 2.5 gigs and take about 3 and a half hours to encode.
With the new preset the same movie comes in at about 1.5 gig but took about 6 hours to encode. The smaller file looked BETTER than the larger file. Highly impressive.
I don’t have a video iPod but I’d suspect similar results.
Oh, last night there was a huge crash boom bam. Startled me and got the dogs excited. Seems the neighbor backed his trailer into his house! My friend thought that was pretty funny. Since there was not any real damage, thinking about it, she’s right; it was.
For the first time he didn’t block us out of our house! Probably serendipity and not courtesy. Still, for whatever reason it made me feel better.
In LA there were always some weird guys who kept three revolving cars: The one they drove, the one they were working on and the one they were trying to sell . . . I have no idea why this guy has 5 vehicles for himself. If he were a regular guy I’d ask. It might be educational. Since they have a total value of about $1,400 bucks maybe its 401k hedge . . .
Which is unfair and nasty to think but the rest of today will be spent figuring out the best approach to bureaucrats who have more in common with stupid cats than they do with human beings and coping with my cold. I woke up with the cold at its worst stages. I’ve got Vitamin C and throat lozenges. So I’m entitled.

Doctor said I just need a pocketful of nickels and a juke box to cure all my ills
Carl Perkins

Psychopulse by 4AM One thing I hate about objective opinions is they’re hard to ignore or argue against.
I thought I was holding it together but I guess I’ve been a bit of a jerk these past few days.
Overcompensating. I keep feeling bad, plugging away at the pain pills but I’m still being a jerk.Robot Monster
When that’s the case its always a good idea to find something to pin the blame on.
I chose the cats: The stupid cat that lives with us and the skanky cat who I have to feed who resides in the dog house.
See how easy that is?
I like that cats exist now. I think cats are probably responsible for the recession, Cheny’s ability to torture people and Bush’s ability to Melinda Clarke illegally detain American citizens. And me being crabby. Its all part of a package.
The skanky cat has now moved permanently into the dog house. The dogs don’t even care about it anymore. It has enough sense to not antagonize them and now that I’m putting its food out of the dogs reach they couldn’t care about it at all. Unlike the stupid cat the skanky cat doesn’t try and attack them and then run away thinking its faster than they are.
Cats. Grumble.
I forgot to mention that I’ve updated the film libraries. A bit over 3,300 movies now. Its slower updating thanks to the AppleTV. Where before I had to keep every movie I saw now I can just delete them. I wish I could delete them from my memory as easily. I still have shudders about “Semi-Pro” but I am pleased that I have absolutely no recall of “Eagle Eye” other than the trailer, I can’t remember a thing about it, which is probably a good thing.
I also cleaned a few things up, made corrections that sort of thing. I have to say it: I’m not selling movies or boot legging them. They’re for trade only.
Robert Crumb There’s no copy of “The Dark Knight”, which I thought was a turgid boringly long mess. Heath Ledger will probably get the Oscar. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences loves to give the Oscar to dead actors. I figure because the producers always vote them in. Any footage they have of Ledger become more valuable and dead actors can’t suddenly come back and demand 100 to 1,000 times more money and a percentage of the front end.
I still thought Ledger’s the Joker was a sloppy construction. Thew whole film was sloppy and sprawling in a bad way, like your fat uncle sprawling on the sofa watching baseball on a hot summer day way.
I still also don’t have a copy of “Gladiator”. I didn’t like that one either, even though one of my Seven Samurai better friends chides me over its exclusion. He thinks its the greatest movie ever made. He won’t trade me his copy. He and his girlfriend have just moved and taken on some new teaching positions so his plan to get a 50 inch plasma, and a Blu Ray player just he can watch “gladiator” over and over again have, thankfully, had to be put on hold.
You will find more Asian films, more action and monster movies. Some wannabee surfer thinks my By Kankei taste in movies is elitist. I think its cool that loving Godzilla and Chambara flics is now elitist.
Oh and click on the buttons and things in the movie pages. It will display the posters and descriptions.
After me picking Gene Vincent’s re-release of “The Day the World Turned Blue” and “A Million Shades of Blue” as my album of the year a friend sent me another 2008 re-release. Gene Vincent’s “Born To Be A Rolling Stone”. He’s right that “Rolling Stone” is a better over all album. The music is tighter, there are catchier tunes. “Rolling Stone” has been available for ever in one version or another. I have at least 3 CD’s of it. This new one is the best though. Remastered sweet and clean. They’ve bought up the lovely acoustic guitars and at times Parfume by Roebuck Gene’s voice shimmers. I’ll stick with the “Blue” albums though. Two first time on CD releases on a single disk. That’s very cool.
The album I’d love to see (hear) on CD is the odd one that Gene made in England with the Puppets. They were his band when he played the Blackpool Pier. Every day two shows a day. I think that was a happy year for Gene. The album is joyous, tight and exuberant as the days with the Blue Caps. Its almost all other versions of his hits but they are very very good. Having it remastered in the same way as these two disks would be very welcome indeed. The same with almost any of the Rebel Heart disks. (Reference for dedicated Gene fans – Rebel Heart has about 20 LPs featuring every scrap of Gene’s recordings, including stuff fans recorded in hotel rooms and the like – great stuff.)Secret Beyond the Door

The bowl season is looking interesting. Right now it appears that my opinion of the SEC and Big 12 are more accurate than the presses’. The Sec has decent defenses going against mediocre offenses and the Big 12 has good offenses going up against the worst defenses in the country.
Even Sports journalism has been caught up in the fall of journalism in this country. There won’t ever be another, “All the President’s Men”. They’ll just report the press releases as fact and go along with the hype.
Utah destroying “Number 1” Alabama in the Sugar Bowl and Misissippi dismantling Texas Tech yesterday sort of proves all of that. WHile the Pac 10 going 5-0 in the bowls while being called the worst BCS conference in the nation makes everything look kind of silly.
But nothing touches silliness as much as the NFL’s Wild Card Weekend.
Planning the Attack by Charles Russell I’m not a fan of the wild card games. Runner ups get a chance to go to the Super Bowl? It sells tickets though and I’ll, no doubt, watch all four games so, there you go.
I’m pretty much way out of the season prize but I’ll pick the games anyway.
In the final week of the regular season I picked an astonishing 9 games correctly. My friend, in her abysmal ignorance managed to get SIX games wrong. Pathetic. That she thinks her 10-6 record is superior to my 9-7 picks shows her woeful insight into this beautiful sport.
My picks are in bold.

Atlanta at Arizona – One of the more interesting games. The Cardinals only lost to the New York Giants at home. I’m still picking Atlanta and stunning rookie Matt Ryan. Although I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Cardinals jump out to an early lead and then just build on it this game smellsSpice World more like a shoot out. The Falcons have a better defense and the Cardinals have a better offense. It should be the most fun game. I’m still picking the Falcons because its fun to imagine Matt Ryan marching the Falcons down the field in the final minute on the winning drive.

Indianapolis at San Diego – The Colts are pretty heavy favorites here. Good reason. What is more embarrassing for the NFL, having the 8-8 Chargers when the AFC west or having an 8-8 team in the play offs at all! The Colts have managed to win on sheer will this season. They’re healthy and experienced. Tomlinson and Gates, the two best players the Chargers have sat out of practice this week. Normally that would bother me but the two of them are serious talents and probably benefited from the bye week. Philip Rivers is looking sharp and I can see them winning the shoot out. It took a great drive by Manning to beat them in the regular season. They should have learned something from that game.

Baltimore at Miami – The Dolphins are stoked by going from 1-15 to the play offs! Chad Pennington is stoked because they eliminated his old team from the play offs. The Ravens are angry. Angry because Matt Ryan got rookie of the year over their super rookie Joe Flacco. Angry that no one Beauty Contest Loser gives them a chance to advance to the Super Bowl. In the NFL angry always seems to trump happy.

Philadelphia 30 at Minnesota 27 – I don’t like the Eagles or the Vikings much. The Eagles have the D-Line to contain but not stop Adrien Petersen. They will make a joke of the lousy QB Jackson. The VIkings can pressure McNabb and contain Brian Westbrook but not all day. It should be close but only because the Eagles will let the Vikings dig out of a hole.

With my gaudy 60% accuracy rate at NFL picks only a total wastrel who wants to throw away his money would pay any attention to these picks . . . for amusement of my enemies only. You know who you are!

We all just need a minute

Eaarth Moon by Xviews The weather was just as lousy as predicted. Its cold now. Not frigid but a nasty damp cold that permeates my body even inside.
Even though I did finally successfully get a non-raging fire going in the fireplace the wood is too wetHigh Terrace now for me to take a stab at it again today.
It looks like its going to stay wet through the day until the temps drop own into the 20’s and the snow starts.
I feel like sighing.
Yesterday the dogs were so stoked when we went out for our daily walk that I’m going to take them out again today at the first lull in the weather. They were disappointed they couldn’t knock me down.
Couldn’t sleep well last night. Some of its just my mundane candy_cane.jpg worries. Part of it is that my friend is in pain now from some of her old ailments. I’m a small expert in pain and it bothers me when someone I care about hurts.
A couple of days ago she went on about how happy she was at work. She was stoked that she was making corn brea and that another guy at the office was making vegetarian chili. She was happy about working. I was glad.
Then she got the word that her level 2 boss was resigning effective January. That sort of ruptured her little happy bubble. She knows it will be okay but for now she’s properly saddened. She liked her boss.
Yesterday was more of a set up day to get things done than real accomplishments. I have to bring in the concrete statue that sits on the little blind dog’s place. It seemed heavier than I’d remembered and while I was cursing my body for growing weak I finally got the thing to move and discovered it had frozen to the ground and that there was a good four inches of frozen mud clinging to the base, I guess that’s a positive to the rain. The mud melted off of the statue.
Nineteen and 57 I’m not looking forward to bringing the statue in. I liked it outside. It gave me something peaceful to look at. But my friend tells me that the coming cold could crack and shatter the thing! Rah! I really didn’t know the cold was capable of that much destruction.
I set up the web site to be renewed for another year. This was partially by accident. I thought I was just insuring I had the option to renew. I do as I can cancel the renewal up until December 18th but they charged me for it yesterday.
I guess I’m good with that.
Two software script things with the site. I’ve updated to Movable Type 4.23. This was called a MANDATORY security upgrade for an “unexploited security hole”. Ever since the WordPress part of
The Green Archer
the site was hacked I take those warnings more seriously than I used to.
The upgrade went pretty easily. Tedious as usual but easy enough. I remembered not to just dump things in this time so I didn’t lose configurations and plug-ins like I’ve managed to do almost always in the past.
The new Movable Type actually already had the cgi scripts ready made as executables. That was a relief. It spared me that annoying glitch of finding everything not working and then having to go in and switch attributes and permissions around.
It seems a tiny bit faster and still rock solid. I’m a bit curious as to what the security hole was. On WordPress the hacker was able to use its hole to inject a virus that could have infected the hosting services entire server!
ecto, the software I like and use to do the preliminary layout of my posts was sold to a big company . . . I’m worried about that. It used to be kind of nice to be able to squawk directly to the developer about glitches and problems. I’ve no idea what will happen when a “team” is maintaining it.
The first thing they’ve seem to have done is end the interminable string of beta’s. I think they were up to beta 46 or thereabouts. This is now ecto 3.0. Which seems to mean almost nothing. Maybe there were some fixes but nothing I could notice.
I still use MarsEdit for the final proofing of code and stuff. ecto rules for layout (yes, I really do like Ready For Christmas by SW4 it looking this cramped and messy) but MarsEdit is still the easiest for straight code.
And after living with the AppleTV update I noticed it doesn’t do much for me. The new “features” are pretty blah (playlists with audio and video? I mean, like does anybody care about that?). The only visible thing I’ve seen is that now, in the file listing, it shows a little HD badge next to HD encoded movies . . . I happen to like little badge things but it hardly seemed worth the effort.
BUT, I haven’t fully tested this out yet but 2.3 does seem to have addressed a creepy bug introduced in 2.2. Before a Chinese, Japanese or Korean movie would not play! You had to go into Quicktime and change the properties to English for the soundtracks and video tracks then save the m4a or mp4 file to a .mov file. Pretty stupid and tedious extra work.
I haven’t got the media files yet to do a full test but tracks coded as Korean, Japanese and Chinese I Bury the Living sound tracks and English video tracks play fine. I don’t have any Traditional Chinese tracks or foreign language video tracks to test readily to hand.
For someone like me who watches a lot of foreign movies this is a big deal. Also understand that changing the properties in Quicktime does not change the language! It only trips some flags someplace that tell the AppleTV what to do.
I did realize last night, when we were watching the end of the uber cool “Legendary Weapons of China” that since the AppleTV came into the house I have not even turned on a DVD player! I still like the machine especially with Boxee installed.

There are only two things worth investing in: Power and beauty
Sogo Masashi

Amano Maten It snowed here yesterday.
All day and through the night. I swept 5 inches of it off of the car so I guess its safe to say there was at least five inches of snow.
I Wake Up Screaming They say that this is awfully early for this much snow here. I wonder if they’re just trying to console me, give me a false sense of security.
Funny enough, I don’t much mind the snow. I prefer shoveling the snow and spreading salt and stuff to mowing the grass and raking leaves. I’d rather have a full gardening crew do all of it but for some reason I don’t mind the snow as much. Maybe because its still pretty new stuff to me.
I do point out, with pride, that I’ve not fallen down yet . . . Its early days yet and the dogs are eyeing me, knowing they’ll get their chance.Michael Whelan 7.jpg
Last night I went out in the storm (which is a harsh word for the amount of snow there was but I still thought of it as a storm) and I was momentarily stunned with the peace and calm of it all. The moon really did give the landscape “the luster of midday.” The tree branches all dripped and bowed under the weight of the snow.
It was all very beautiful, peaceful and serene until my puppy and the giant dog decided to plow through the unbroken snow rolling and tumbling while they had their big play fight. They gamboled and tried to get me to join in. They buried their muzzles in the drifts and ate it up like ice cream charging back and forth, looking for good eating snow while occasionally attacking one another for no good reason.
THen they’d come up and push their wet bodies hard against me for some pets and play. My unbroken winter landscape now looked like a battlefield from World War One.
If the dogs weren’t panting and wild eyed with giddy joy it would have been hard to take. I decided I Buttons and Denim liked the busted up yard as much as I liked the pretty painting of the yard as it was before. It meant more than just prettiness and/or a lack of ugliness and concealed messes.
I think that’s the reason that I like the snow more than grass and raking. The dogs love to watch me shovel the snow. They like to dig through each shovel full making sure I’m not discarding something important. They like to watch me grumble and curse and maybe even slip and fall. They like to check ahead and come back to tell me its safe to proceed, and they like to stand obstinately directly in my path to see if they can make me go around them.Invisible Invaders
In other words arduous chores become fun. So that even if I had someone to shovel the snow and plow the driveway I’d still be out there with my nicked up blade shovel with my doggie buddies.

AppleTV did an update last night. Bringing it up to 2.3.
I haven’t installed it yet because it disables and removes Boxee! I’m not sure why Apple goes out of its way to remove 3rd party applications. I read it was doing the same thing to the iPhone.
Seems sort of paranoid controlling to me. It might have something to do with the MPAA or the Networks.
Boxee lets you watch Hula and CBS, Comedy Central et al right on your TV. Since these are already advertiser supported I can’t see the networks much caring about this. Watching them this way there’s no way to skim through the commercials, Big Medicine whereas if I was using a DVR I can zip right through all of that.
I can’t imagine why the networks would want me to be forced to watch their stuff only on my computer.
The MPAA might not like that Boxee allows easy watching of Xvid and DIVX files through the AppleTV. They might view this as condoning or encouraging video piracy.
With the way these same media conglomerates are fighting the idea of DRM free music this short sighted approach is possible.
But since I could set up a cheap old computer and call it a “Media Center” or even use a Mac Mini instead of a TV that would circumvent all of these protections and even make things more available.
In fact over on Engadget a lot of guys are mocking the AppleTV by claiming how their XBox 360’s I Walked With A Zombie and Playstation 3’s can already play all of this stuff without any add ons.
I prefer the AppleTV for several reasons, not least is that its small and near silent. It also adds to my enjoyment in the various streaming modes.
But considering that the latest AppleTV also does not allow re-installing Boxee it seems that the update was mainly just to allow Apple to maintain its paranoid consumer unfriendly control of the things you buy.
I hate that. It stinks of Microsoft.
It also means I won’t be installing the AppleTV update until Boxee figures out how to reinstall itself. That shouldn’t be too long.

I’m not doing great.
I’m not doing badly, just not great.
I’m getting a cold . . . so being in pain and congested with a thick feverish head is a bit much!
Its not that bad though.
I noticed that for about 15 or 30 minutes after I wake up in the morning I’m pain free. SO maybe that’s a good reason to take a nap, a lot of naps!
I’m planning on making matzo ball soup today. My puppy’s aunt sent me a package of matzo ball soup mix. Any modern scientist will tell you that matzo ball soup is the only approved cure for a cold!
So that’s the plan for today. It should be interesting. One place the pups are not a lot of help in is the kitchen. Only because they don’t believe that everything that comes out of the kitchen is not for them.

It’s alright ma, I’m only bleeding
Bob Dylan

Darkness Over Grass
Click images for desktop size: “Darkness Over Grass” by Unknown
I’m not sure if I’m getting old or if I’m dying.
I don’t think I have enough experience in either to say with certainty.
I’ve been pretty bugged by the recent Mcain-Palin rallies. They look like the old Nazi hate rallies. They seem to have no real purpose except to exhort the crowd to a lynch mob frenzy. Not to go out and vote but to go out and hate and kill.
I mean Palin nor McCain have said or done anything about people screaming “Kill him!” and the like. McCain’s odd choice of referring to us as his “fellow prisoners” smacks of inciting to riot. They’re sure not trying to quell the hatred or the explicit racism.
You could be far less cynical than I am and think that the Frankenstein
Click images: “Frankenstein” by Universal Pictures
Republican strategy has gone to the limit of trying to incite on of the more moronic KKK right to lifer bomber types to go and assassinate Obama.
Given the naked loathing that McCain has displayed this is a pretty credible theory. As McCain reminds us he’ a bad pilot with a hard set bigotry. He wouldn’t flinch about walking into the White House in bloody shoes.
Sad but what else explains the non-reaction to a frothing crowd member screaming KILL HIM!”, and then exciting the crowd to attack a black cameraman in the press pit?
I read the Todd Palin written answers to the Troopergate investigation. Boy, he sure runs the government up there. He claims that its just a spouse helping out his wife, but man . . . considering this thing was strained through three lawyers and not a spontaneous answering of questions its pretty chilling.
Not only was he running the government but he was a pretty non-stop gossip. Seems to spend a lot Emi by Skyoon
Click images for desktop size: “Emi” by Skyoon
of time slandering this guy where common sense would say to keep your private matters private.
It stinks a lot of Cheny’s Black Government. This guy would implement that bleak plan pretty fully.

I installed the new AppleTV update 2.2 last week. Its pretty interesting. Some of the features it offers are useless to me. The Genius playlist thing is still just creepy to me.
What it does do that is useful is allow you to view the cast and credits while the movie is playing! This is pretty cool. Its an overlay window, semi-transparent.
The other feature is that it finally utilizes the chapter function of mp4’s. It freezes the frame then opens up the chapter listing making it a simple task to go toConquest Of The North Pole the chapter you want.
this partially addresses the big issue of slow seek times in mp4’s. Its elegant. It works. Its fun and its cool.
But most oddly the update has made a few of my movies unplayable!
The theory is that if iTunes can play it so can AppleTV. The problem appears to be with my movies that have Chinese soundtracks. Apparently when the AppleTV encounters a language (in this case Traditional Chinese) it messes with something that causes the movie to not display, even though it plays the sound just fine . . . What? Yeah.
I’m trying a suggestion and that’s to open the mp4 in Quicktime and then change the coding that calls the soundtrack Traditional Chinese to English. (Under Quicktimes “Movie Properties” menu item) This sets something in the header that apparently fools the AppleTV into playing the file . . . what’s nuts is that it works . . . This is a major foul up in my opinion and typical of the New Apple theory, which is way too much like the old Microsoft Theory – Just run it out there without testing it. Let the consumer find the bugs.
It also works for Korean and Japanese films. I haven’t tried just changing the AAC track and not the AC3 track. I change them both. Its stupid tedious. But it works and is the simplest solution I’ve found until the next AppleTV update.
Before the update I had ATVFlash installed. This enabled me to set up an SSH connection so I could save some music and song files that were lost when the PB crashed. It had some other benefits like Web Browsing on the AppleTV (really stupid in execution) but mainly the ability to play DivX and Xvid files.
Marvel Heroes
Click images for desktop size: “Marvel Heroes”
As a lot of people use it for home movies etc this was very cool and useful.
To get the AppleTV update I had to wipe those apps off the system. But its cool. There a new FREE and open source solution that works much better!
Boxee is freely available via google code. It requires the old USB flash drive and that’s about it.
It installs Boxee and XBMC. XBMC is a mildly interesting. I think it stands for Xbox Media Center. Its Windows roots are really apparent in its clunky interface and “skins” that sometimes work and sometimes forget important functions. (One that comes packaged with it forgot the stop button when watching a movie). Still they extend the usefulness of the AppleTV in little ways (displaying the time and the weather so it can be called up by just a flic of the remote) and big. It also easily handles DivX, Xvid and even Matroska (mkv).
It does not extend or improve the hardware.A Woman's Face Matroska files encoded at larger than 720p or higher than 5000 kb will still stutter and look like hell.
Boxee is based on XBMC but adds some interesting features. It promotes itself as a “social” tool. I’m not too big on social sites. Here it seems that you can recommend films to your “friends” etc. You have to wait for an invitation to join the Boxee network. It took them two days to answer my request. Once you log in Boxee gives you access to several music, TV and Movie sites. Pretty cool stuff, like and CNN. Decent.
It also gives you access to the Internet Movie Archives. You can actually watch and download Public Domain films right from your AppleTV. This is a nice function.
Boxee also connects to IMDB and will tag and annotate your Xvid movies with posters cast list etc.
Click images for desktop size: “Hhhhhmmmmm” by Unknown
Boxee comes with one pre-installed friend. You get to see his recommendations and what he last watched each time you log in. I have no idea how to get more friends or if you’d rally want to.
Boxee uses SMB file shares to connect back to your home computer. SMB is Windows based and a bit less secure than APF file sharing. It also takes a touch more memory but works well enough.
It also easily played the files the AppleTV choked on.
So with these nice clean adjustments I’m still enjoying the AppleTV. Best gift I ever gave someone . . . even if I do seem to use it the most . . .