Thursday, November 29, 13:11 CST

You know who's funnier than I am? Like, a lot funnier than I am or will ever be? This guy. It's a good thing I'm trying to be heartfelt, intensely personal, and enlightening with smatterings of technical brilliance instead of funny or my puny ego might not survive the beating of reading something this good.

(Thanks Eric.)

So anyway. I'm heading for KC around 6 tonight. I imagine I'll be back Sunday. This oughta be interesting.

Wed Nov 28 21:26:14 CST 2001

I dropped a couple of files in /bookmarks/. Appropriately enough, they're a good chunk of my bookmarks.

I stumbled across XBEL, an XML bookmark file format for which I seem to have some simple utilities installed. It's fairly easy to convert bookmarks between various browsers (Opera, IE, Netscape/Mozilla, Lynx) and a common format. Conveniently enough, it's also the format used natively by Konqueror.

Don't expect much; I've never liked the bookmark concept overmuch, and I'm too lazy to keep bookmarks in half a dozen browsers useful, let alone consistent. But if you want to look, there they are.

Tuesday, November 27, 16:28 CST

Sitting here surrounded by a pile of books, papers, and footwear. Should do something about that.

Thanksgiving was almost entirely good. We drove two vehicles to Salina, myself and the sisters listening to burned CD's in the parents' newly acquired '98 Lumina. Drove to the Aunt's house (near Valley Center, which in turn is near Wichita) Thursday. There were better than 30 people there, more of the aunts & uncles & cousins than have gotten together for quite a while, it seemed like. We ate for a while. Then there was turkey, and after that, we ate some more. We played football (loosely speaking) out on the lawn. We ate some more. Talked music with my Uncle. Left late and drove back to Salina.

Friday I saw Harry Potter, which is a vastly more competent and faithful production than I should have expected. (Also a kind of patchwork, paint by numbers feeling to the whole thing. But more on that later.) Then we headed to my mom's parents' house, where I slept a lot and talked some with my grandparents, who are deeply sincere and pleasant people even when they're a little nuts. Listened to my Grandma fiddle around with an ancient guitar, and went through old 45's of ancient Country / Western and weird old pop and rock. Sunday we drove sporadically home. I bought a copy of Rudy Rucker's Software at a Barnes & Noble in Lincoln.

Thursday, Jeremy and I are going to head for Kansas City and a Jimmy Eat World / Tenacious D / Weezer concert. Which means that right now I need to hit the library and find an anthropological case study, or something like that, to write a short paper on.

The semester's grinding to a halt here, though I can't for the life of me remember how I've spent it or if I've learned anything. I feel like I'm in some kind of holding pattern, pacing back and forth on endless gray carpet and just waiting for something to happen, willing it to happen, but not quite mustering the energy to make a break. (It's too bad whinging mixed metaphors aren't considered an art form.)

I'm going to go eat, *then* I'm going to check out a book. Then I'll come back here and finish writing this, and then I'll read for a while. Yeah. It's good to have a plan.

Still doesn't account for the pile of stuff on the floor that I was going to do something about yesterday.

Tuesday, November 20, 12:47 CST

Argh!

I'm out of here. Somehow or another, I'll figure out more classes next week.

It got cold again, with a certain air of finality this time. Like maybe there aren't going to be any more 79 degree next-to-perfect days this year. Then again, maybe it's lying. You never quite know around here.

Anyway, tomorrow, I'm going to Kansas. Where it's probably still warm, and I will be around the people who know me best, or at any rate judge me least.

Happy Thanksgiving, people.

Monday, November 19, 23:52 CST

It still isn't mIRC, but then not much is, and KVirc is a better approximation than most of what I've tried. Definitely a step up from XChat, which has been bugging me for a while.

I tried registering for classes today. Of the six I wanted, composing what I've now come to think of as the ideal schedule, I got three. Three, and I can probably get into #4 without much trouble. So before I leave for a much anticipated Thanksgiving break tomorrow, I've got to come up with five or six more hours worth of classes that don't suck and somehow fit my existing schedule. From that fraction of classes which are still open or to which I could convince someone I ought to be admitted.

There's probably a guttural, massively polysyllabic compound word in German which expresses my feelings at this point. Just assume that I used it, and that it sounded obscene and positively dripped undirected disgust.

I threw a sleeping bag out on the lawn at home Saturday night, and lay under a pile of cats, watching the trickle of meteors for a couple hours. I woke up about 3:30, in time to stare at a bleary gray cloud cover and work on deciding to go in the house and crash on something soft. There was this huge flash. A big one, bright enough to light up the clouds? Must've been. A quarter 'til or so, I could see a star. About a minute after that, the whole sky was as sharp and clear as it'd been all night.

After that, I kind of lost track of time. It couldn't have been long 'til the clouds washed in again, but it was a good not long. There might well be a longish compound word for that one as well. Sense of wonder might do.

Sat Nov 17 01:00:55 CST 2001

Dealing with obnoxious beeping under Linux:

In Vim you can turn on a visual bell mode that flashes the screen instead of doing something audible and annoying. Just :set vb, which I stuck in my ~/.vimrc.

Bash, meanwhile, pays attention to a file called .inputrc, which I hadn't known existed. Here's mine:

set bell-style none
set show-all-if-ambiguous on

bell-style none turns off the bell. (I.e., the bloody obnoxious PC speaker beep.) show-all-if-ambiguous shows all possible completions for an ambiguous completion attempt. Seems more useful than the default.

Friday, November 16, 15:18 CST

Just watched Europa, Europa for German. Not quite sure what to think about that one.

I just remembered that I need to go see if I can figure out why a friend's computer won't boot. Messages about the lack of a system disk are not, as a rule, a good thing.

Lesse. Win98 install CD. tomsrtbt floppy (hope it still works). What else...

15th of november

and here i sit with the windows wide open
not a breath of air moving
and a pretty good sunset going

being all freeform and lowercase in html
doesn't work so well when you gotta pause to type in a <br />
every time you want to break a line

it's been a pretty good day
made better by the new dispatch live album that just showed up
love this stuff

went for an eye exam for a new pair of glasses
having lost the old ones and thinking my eyes are getting worse
which the guy said they aren't, much, and i don't quite believe
maybe i just stare too much at this monitor
(see yesterday's entry)

Wednesday, November 14

For someone who loves computers, I sure do hate them.

I don't mean computers in the abstract sense. I mean it in the specific, concrete, sitting on my desk sense. Filling the world with the endless gray hum of cooling fans, disc access, and high frequency monitor whine, all overlaid with a static of mice and cheap mushy keyboards almost-clicking. Casting everywhere the pale radiance of monitor and light emitting diode. Endless beige and off white boxes, diluted by a few clever calculated colors to distract the raccoon segment of the market, insinuating themselves into every crack and crevice of life's structure with a determination and persistence beyond the ken of mortal man. Like some kind of creeping, all consuming plague. Those computers.

I hate 'em.

I hate the mushy keyboards, and the beige, and the tangled cables snaking everywhere through my room. I hate the constant case-fan hum, the little green glowing LED's, and the insipid .wav's that my roommate's Windows box plays every time it reboots, and even worse, the grating asinine breeeping emitted by my PC speaker every time I hit the top of a buffer in vi, or try to do an ambiguous filename completion in Bash, or look crosseyed at the damn thing.

I'm sick of the time I spend moving this cheap, badly designed little mouse around on the overcluttered surface of my desk, clicking on stuff that I shouldn't need to click on. I loathe typing stuff that I shouldn't need to type, thinking vague thoughts about repetitive stress injury, and why the @#$! isn't this automated anyway? And all the time I simply waste because there's nothing the technology in my life makes it easier for me to do than waste time, when I should be reading a book or screwing around outside in the sun or talking to some random girl or maybe, just maybe, using the computer as the amazingly powerful tool it's supposed to be in order to create something or communicate with someone human.

The hardware grates on my every nerve because the hardware has all the external aesthetic appeal of a giant off-white cinderblock office building full of low-walled cubicles and fluorescent lighting (filtered, inevitably, through yellowing textured plastic covers set between false ceiling panels). And because with each passing year, the hardware grows bigger, louder, uglier, and more bogged down in the useless bloat of the software. My hardware disgust can't hold a candle to my feelings for software.

Windows sucks. Windows and Office and all that bloated, noxious, undercapable and overdemanding complex. No matter how much it technically improves, Windows will continue to suck from now until the day it finally collapses under the weight of Microsoft's monumental, psychotic arrogance. Or perhaps the day when the unyielding, viciously mundane forces that drive Microsoft's dominance reveal themselves in corporeal form and assume mastery of the world. At least then we could take up arms against them...

You in the back, with the facial hair and the Think Different t-shirt. Siddown. I don't even want to hear it. If there's any corporate entity in the tech world more psychotically arrogant than Microsoft, it's the shiny happy bullshit factory that is Apple. I don't care how cool Apple's tech is, and I really don't care how cool Apple *thinks* their tech is, or their industrial design, or their genius for user interface which, if only their competition would stop ripping them off so incompetently, would free us all from the shackles of mediocrity and exalt our souls, lift us up from the drear muck of our everyday lives, and reveal the dizzying truth: The world's bad graphic designers aren't *really* on crack, they're just tuned into a higher reality through their Macintoshes. A reality where thousands of egoistic Photoshop-monkeys' massed output constitutes a body of work more significant than all Western art prior to the late 20th Century. I just don't want to hear it.

And you lot! You seething mass of mascot toting, code-happy would-be network revolutionaries! What have you really learned? Concede you the moral high ground, the overwhelming advantage of giving everything away, the mindset to be happy about it, and 95% of the software I have any use for. Give you the benefits of the world's biggest network and a set of common enemies who did their part for freedom by creating a universe of mostly open, cheap hardware because they were too busy thrashing the competition in every way they could think of short of firebombing something or marketing a superior product to realize they were sowing the seeds of their own hopefully inevitable destruction...

What are you actually doing with it? Why does every OS in the world still suck so often? And why the hell am I sitting here typing this instead of out getting laid? What, exactly is wrong with this picture? Where's my doughnut!?

(Raccoons, see, are pathologically attracted to bright, shiny objects. Or at least I think they are. I've always been told they are. If you want concrete evidence, how about the bit in Where the Red Fern Grows, easily my favorite Sentimental Boyhood Dog Book With A Devastating Ending, where they trap the 'coon by putting some shiny object at the bottom of a hole drilled in a log and ringed with nails, so that when the coon grasped the object (let's say it was a nickel), it became impossible to withdraw his paw from the hole without being caught on the nails. I remember feeling a horrified fascination at the thought of being trapped that way, perfectly able to escape but unwilling to give up the glittering prize.)

Tuesday, November 13, ~22:00 CST

Jeremy's mom just dropped off a box of Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts. Say it with me: Krispy Kreme. Like Pavlov ringing his little bell. ::drool::

About five minutes ago I finished reading A Scanner Darkly, by Philip K. Dick. Wow. Calling it a novel probably overestimates its coherence and, um, structure considerably. I'd say it was worth the intensely depressing trip anyway.

Eric's rant for the day, mild in tone though it is, echoes thoughts I've been having lately.

For someone who loves computers, I sure hate them.

Because I was going to start a rant with almost that very sentence, I'm just going to lift it outright.

Tomorrow. Somehow, it's 11:28 and all I've done today is read 220 pages and eat doughnuts.

Monday, November 12, 23:59 CST

I read Orson Scott Card's Shadow of the Hegemon over the weekend. It was... Well, it was a disappointment, if not a complete waste. Explaining why would demand more space than I'm going to give it here.

I also read Songs of Stars and Shadows, a collection of short stories by George R.R. Martin dating from some time in the mid-to-late 70's. Mostly good, solid stories. Nothing earth shattering, but a satisfying reminder of why the SF short is one of my favorite forms. And maybe an indicator of how far Martin's come in the time since, to be doing something like A Song of Ice and Fire.

Other than that, I mostly slept and ate. Talked to my Aunt Constance, who was here for her annual Fall visit.

Monday, November 12, 16:40 CST

Music -

  • Lemon Jelly -
  • Restiform Bodies -
  • Dispatch -
    • Just ordered Gut The Van, a fat double live album which ought pretty much to rule.
  • The Guess Who -
    • These Eyes, a best-of kinda CD that looks like a lame greatest hits package, but still features some good stuff.

Mon Nov 12 15:20:52 CST 2001

{bridge}

Found a scanner. Messing with it.

Have I ever mentioned that I sort of hate Photoshop?

Huh. No wonder the surface of the glass on the scanner is streaked with fingerprints. It's impossible to pull anything off of it without touching the glass. And of course they actually show up when I start fiddling with the brightness and contrast on these photos.

Methinks I'll see what I can do with what I've got, and come back later to grab the rest.

Friday, November 9, 14:31 CST

I have a class right now. I'm not there.

Around the time I graduated from highschool, I had a minor epiphany. You know the kind - they nearly always come when some phase of your life is about to end. Suddenly everything clicks. You briefly apprehend the true shape of the universe. It doesn't easily boil down into words; if it did, I doubt it'd be much of an epiphany. I think the shift happens to a lot of people - in this case let's say those for whom time didn't stop the day they graduated - but often I think we fail to register it on a conscious level. It just seems like that's the way it's always been.

Anyway, if I have a point, it's that after my 14 year stint in K-12 public education was over, some part of what I realized was that I should've skipped more class.

It came time to register for classes again this week.

I'd already decided that next is the last semester I'm spending at WSC. I don't mean I'm thinking of going somewhere else. I mean I'm flat out, unambiguously, without question, leaving.

Arguably I should have already done that, but then arguably I shouldn't have come here in the first place. Why cry over spilt beer, right? (Or is it milk over the bridge? Something like that.)

Anyway. I came up with this brilliant plan for next semester: It consists of taking a bunch of art classes that'll probably transfer [somewhere], and thus being well on my way to an art/design minor of some kind, which couldn't hurt to have. Meanwhile, I'm going to read a lot, write a lot, and make a point of not registering for fall classes here. By the time this Summer rolls around, I'm going to know where [somewhere] is, and then I'll go there. I've also decided never again to waste precious hours of my life on a stupid, pointless gen. ed. course, which is a broad statement to be making, but it seems like a good thing to make part of my Master Plan.

So it's not a brilliant plan. But it's a plan. Kinda. And if I do it right, I have a feeling that it might be a little closer than other things to what I will realize I should have done after it's too late to do much of anything about it.

Anyone get the feeling I'm better off thinking this sort of thing than telling the rest of the world about it?

Thursday, November 8, 16:65 CST

Yes Eric, you're pretty much just rambling for the benefit of a couple of friends. You get used to it after a year or three.

Hey, at least you're rambling in consistent depth and volume. That's something of an achievement in and of itself.

Meanwhile, despite my best intentions, p1k3 (like Brennen's Home Page before it), remains a steady trickle of inanity. A largely unrealized vision; something that could be worthwhile, but never quite gets there. I've come to realize that the egotistical, immature, and inane quote I used to have heading the page was always more or less true. My high school British lit teacher, for all that she was a tad unhinged at the time, nailed it on that one.

There's a story there, though not a particularly interesting one. Mrs. Brandow, if you ever happen to read this, you were right. And no, Excalibur really isn't that bad. It's cheesy as all hell, but it's not that bad. I apologize, and humbly suggest that an episode or two of the late, lamented Mystery Science Theater 3000 might provide some extenuating context for my attitude. Not much, but then I've never been all that funny.

Wednesday, November 7, 8:59 CST

You know that scene in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, after Ferris calls Cameron, and he's just sitting in his car?

That's me.

Well, Saalon's making me look bad again. We'll see how long it lasts this time.

I finished reading Connie Willis's To Say Nothing of the Dog yesterday. It was excellent. More about that later.

Right now, I'm going to go eat breakfast.

Sunday, November 4

!

Friday, November 2, 15:00 CST

The Deutsch word for seasons is Jahreszeiten - year times, times of the year... But when I first read it, it struck me (mired as I am in English phonetic convention) as sounding like Seiten - pages/sides. So for a few minutes, I had this wonderful image of seasons as pages of the year.

Oh well. I suppose days are more like pages of the year than seasons, anyway.

Thursday, November 1

Clean slate. Fresh white paper.

Ink...