All articles, tagged with “et cetera”

the first step in solving a problem…

My tropism toward The Wrong Media Format is really kind of impressive. Take my 60gb of useless Ogg Vorbis files… please! I managed to buy a laserdisc player in 2001, and when it broke replaced it with an actual LaserKaraoke™ player. Somewhere buried in the wreckage of my office is several gigabytes worth of data stored on 100mb Zip™ disks. (Boy, didn’t those seem like the most awesome idea ever in the 18-month window between the death of the floppy disk as a useful medium and the rise of the 10-cent CD-R.) I own an Atari Jaguar, a Dreamcast and two Nuons. It’s a lifelong affliction.

But of all of those poor archiving decisions, none of them had anywhere near the physical effect on my life as the fateful day that, in advance of an upcoming vacation, I walked into a drugstore in Cambridge Massachusetts and somewhat on instinct bought a Kodak Advantix point-and-shoot camera. Yes, in 1998 — just at the dawn of the era of consumer digital photography — I managed to invest myself into the single biggest boondoggle the photo industry had cooked up since the Disc Camera.

…oh wait, I had a Disc camera too. In 1984. Seriously, I have a problem.

Anyway, besides being more expensive than 35mm to buy and process while offering not really any actual advantages over 35mm film other than the storage cartridge and automatic timestamping (which respectively were not much of an advantage at all, and a feature offered by most 35mm point-and-shoot cameras anyway), APS had one particular misfeature that was to become the bane of my existence during my multiple attempts at bringing some order to the slow-motion explosion in a paper factory that I laughingly refer to as my filing system: The Wart.

There it is, the dumbest idea ever implemented by the photo-processing industry. Seven times out of ten, when you got your APS prints back from the processor, they were in an envelope that had this little plastic external blister containing the film cartridge. I’m sure this looked very futuristic and cool the first time anyone got a roll of film back, but the second roll revealed a slight issue: the Wart made it impossible to stack the damn envelopes. Vertical stacking was a physical impossibility: they’d just fall over. Horizontal stacking merely took up twice as much space as necessary, each wart being generally as thick as the actual envelope full of photos itself. The result, inevitably, ended up looking like this:

…and I had multiple boxes like that (four, some of them larger than the one pictured), all taking up space on the floor of my office closet.

Well, I had a day at liberty today, and with the help of several beers, some leftover thai food and a series of increasingly bad movies on HBOZ for background noise (whoever decided to hire Sean Connery to do an impossibly bad Spanish accent to distract everyone from Christopher Lambert’s impossibly bad Scottish accent is one of the great unsung heroes of modern cinema, I tell you), I managed with only the occasional nervous breakdown to condense it all down to this:

That, apparently, is what 10 years worth of bad snapshot photography looks like when organized into to a somewhat more manageable storage format. A lot of the space is wasted, since I was dumb enough to use the “panoramic print” option of the APS system frequently, so the photos have to be stored sideways to accommodate the 11.5”-wide prints, but I can now reclaim several dozen square feet of precious storage space in the office closet and am thus 10% closer to complete victory in Operation Crap Expulsion.

The photos themselves can now begin the next step in the great lifecycle of such things: gathering dust until my heirs toss them into a landfill.

just your friendly neighborhood satan

For some reason, I tend to get a lot of wrong-number SMS messages on my cell phone. For a while, an intermittently hilarious clique of fumble-fingered teenagers in greater Dallas (area code 817) made a point of keeping me (area code 718: you see the problem immediately) in the loop on their goings-ons. A woman in Denver texted me one saturday morning to inform me of the highly unlikely assertion that she was wearing my underwear. (She was embarrassed but gracious when I let her know she’d reached a wrong number.) A different woman in Albany NY (area code 518: same problem again) went so far as to send me a picture of her in her underwear — she sadly did not respond to my highly complimentary wrong-number message.

The last few days, however, have produced what is shaping up to be the undisputed champion:


I have to admit that I’m charmed by how this person makes certain to sign every message as being “from me.” Further updates as they happen.

my life is now officially a warren ellis story

…because I can now say, with complete honesty and accuracy, that I’m friends with the guy who did all of Karl Rove’s dad’s genital piercings.

I don’t recall ordering an extra ration of ambient surrealism for this month, but apparently I got it anyway.

adulthood, apparently, feels like crusty contact lenses

For most of my life, I was the only person I knew who was born on July 30th. (Well, except for Kate Bush, but “knew of” doesn’t really qualify as “know.”)

Then suddenly, all in the last 5 years, I’ve acquired not one, not two, but three friends with the exact same birthday as me. And somehow, they are all stunningly beautiful and generally kickass women. I am taking this as personal validation of my good taste and excellent timing. So happy birthday to , and the blogless but no less awesome Hurricane Kari.

And, of course, happy birthday to me. 35 years and still successfully avoiding the trappings of maturity, but yet with an awesome partner, a wonderful lover, a great job and the best friends in the known universe. I guess this is the long strange trip they warned us all about. No regrets, no complaints.

calling all linguists, polyglots and 14-year old boys

Doctor Horrible needs your help!

art for survival’s sake

Surely one of my friends out there fits the description of being both (A) a fan of Moebius-esque pen-and-ink illustration and (B) interested in speculative art buying. If so (or even if you just fit the former category and might want to buy a few pieces), you should drop my friend Zuma a line: he’s got a bit of a fire sale on, and you’d be doing a good person a solid.


Ladies and gentlemen: mark 31 January 2007 as the day that the Global War on Terror™ made that final jump from “tragedy” to “farce” in a single brilliant display of paranoia, stupidity, cascading overreactions and hilarious fumbling justifications.

(Tip of the hat to for the big graphic, and for the little one.)

whaddaya know, I’ve got minions

Multiple volunteers. You all rock. Thank you.

the most dangerous game

I would have sworn this was a hoax if someone had just told me about it over coffee, but here it is on

Militia OK’d to Shoot Poachers in Africa

In an effort to save the last large piece of pristine savanna in Africa, a band of Wyoming conservationists have received permission from the president of the Central African Republic (CAR) to raise an anti-poaching militia to patrol the eastern fourth of the Texas-size country. Led by Bruce Hayse, a family practitioner from Jackson, the group intends to drive out marauding gangs of Sudanese poachers who are rapidly decimating the region’s wildlife and terrorizing villagers. The conservationists have been given shoot-on-sight authority. (—More—)
Uh, holy crap.

I gotta say… if I were ever diagnosed with something terminal, that sounds like an excellent way to spend my last few months.

help me waste my time more efficiently

A few weeks ago, I did something a little embarrassing: I became the last person in north america to buy a PS/2, and I did it primarily so that I could play Guitar Hero.

That’s kind of sad, and since the PS2 has been out for nearly 5 years now, there are several hundred if not thousand other games available for the platform. Many of them are in the $5-15 bargain bin.

I put it to my well-informed friends: which ones should I buy?

Some calibration:

— I’m already embarrassed enough about having bought the custom controller for Guitar Hero; there will be no more of that. It should be playable with the standard DualShock.

— (Probably) No RPGs, no RTSs, no Fighters. I know Final Fantasy XVIIEXIDFASDFASDF is the bees’ knees, and that Age of Empires is brilliant, but most of them leave me cold. Soul Calibur on the Dreamcast is the only arena fighting game I’ve ever enjoyed.

— First-person shooters on consoles are an abomination.

— Really good design makes me weep with joy. Some games that have done that in the past: Crazi Taxi. GTA3. Soul Calibur. Tempest. Robotron. Dungeon Master II. Zork II. Half-Life. Team Fortress Classic.

Recommend away, please!