Monday, February 28, 2005

the old switcheroo

tonight i opened up the new computer case & did three last things:
  1. replaced barry's video card with my new video card
  2. installed second hard drive (which i had just removed from old computer)
  3. flipped HDD LED connector on motherboard (since HDD LED wasn't working before)

and that's it! my new computer is completely assembled. then i cleaned out my computer work area here in the studio and set it all up: hooked the tv signal into my video card (using composite connections rather than the coax i was using before) and hooked the sound card into my rig and my stereo.

the case i picked is so handsome... sleek and black with cute little blue LEDs.

i still have a lot of software to install, so i'm not done just yet, but a major milestone has been reached and the rest is cake.

time capsules

i've been saving these on my hard drive for awhile until i felt like i had enough to post. well, i'll officially be taking that computer offline & replacing it as soon as tonight, so i figured i should post these: more capsule movie reviews! and just in time for oscar season.

i also have one more very special review coming up, whenever i find time to write it: a review of catman in boxer's blow (aka us catman 2: boxer blow). but first, here are some other reviews:

tape: it takes something special to pull off a film with just three actors and one set. but whatever that special something is, richard linklater has. but that's hardly a surprise for a director who can make a film like waking life one day, then make a hollywood vehicle (albeit an entertaining one) like school of rock. (imdb says his next film will be pk dick's a scanner darkly! that should be crazy... too bad it won't use the charlie kaufman script)

the killing: i recorded this due to a recommendation on exbe. i almost deleted it a few times, thinking "when am i going to get around to watching some movie from the '50s about a horse race?" then something would remind me it was directed by kubrick. needless to say it was excellent. dark, noirish, skipping back & forth in time. whenever i see sterling hayden i immediately think of general jack d. ripper: that will probably never change but he was good in this too.

the house of sand and fog: dark, depressing tale of how a bureaucratic mixup ruins the lives of a woman whose house is repo'd & the iranian immigrants who buy it after her. very nicely done. w/jennifer connelly, ben kingsley, & the woman who went on to play "mommy terrorist" on this year's 24 (actual character name: dina araz).

may: this was a rather unsettling film about a ridiculously shy girl who eventually goes crazy. i knew from the tivo description that she would eventually start killing, & i was actually relieved when she did because the stuff before that was more disturbing!

pirates of the caribbean: beautifully shot, fairly well acted, but ultimately silly. but what do you expect from a movie based on a theme park ride?

underworld: beautifully shot, not particularly well acted, needlessly long and complex, & ultimately silly and vapid.

cold mountain: well shot, well acted civil war epic. one of those films where you don't really mind that it's almost 3 hours.

mystic river: dark, suspenseful, brilliantly acted. excellent.

lemony's snicket's an unfortunate series of events: wonderfully executed dark children's tale. somewhat reminiscent of the princess bride if directed by tim burton, though probably not quite as good as princess bride. due to its unfortunately long title, everyone has taken to calling this film "lemony snicket", which is actually the name of the author of the original book. i find that amusing for some reason.

party monster: highly entertaining, stylized film about the dawning of the "new york club kids"... including a gruesome murder! after watching this, it's funny to think that "superstar dj keoki" actually got a record deal.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

i love trashy mp3s

the new mp3 of the week is the mighty mighty benboy's turntable mutilation of the sesame street classic "i love trash"! specifically requested by bobby vomit! download it now.


the new computer is up and running! windows is installing on it as i type this.

as i suspected, the problem was that the motherboard was screwed directly to the case. i had to half-disassemble everything to properly mount it & get all those little "motherboard studs" underneath it properly.

if only the coolermaster instructions had actually stated that i needed to use the studs, instead of simply hoping i would properly decipher the tiny illustration.

and while i did solicit some assistance from barry, i basically did it all by myself... and while i did make a horrible newbie mistake, i was the one who researched it and figured out what the problem was. and i was the one who fixed the problem (though i had my sister hold up the motherboard while i installed some studs underneath it).

windows installation will take awhile, and the other software installation will also. but i now have a new notch in my geek belt: i have built my own computer from scratch.


i have managed to figure out one thing i did wrong: i screwed the motherboard directly to the motherboard base plate.

the coolermaster cavalier is a pretty nice case (though the little metal pieces you have to break off to add drives/cards are sort of flimsy), but the documentation that came with it was beyond awful. for screwing in the motherboard, all it said was "screw in the motherboard using appropriate screws"... i searched & searched & only found four screws thick enough to go into the holes in the case. sure, there were also these weird brass things; they were to screws what platforms are to shoes. but i had no idea what they were or what they were for, and the instructions didn't say, so i didn't use them.

those "motherboard studs" are used to seat the motherboard a few centimeters away from the case itself... i imagine that if the board touches the metal case in the wrong spot, that can reroute the current or even cause a short circuit. logically, this could be the cause of all my problems. (the power supply isn't as strong as i'd like it to be, but 350w should at least be enough for it to boot up!)

i guess tomorrow i get to unscrew and reseat my motherboard, then cross my fingers that it boots...

Saturday, February 26, 2005

if at first you don't

got everything set up, installed barry's old video card, plugged it in.... motherboard powers up but the monitor gets no signal. and the hard drive doesn't seem to be spinning up.

installed barry's new video card... same result.

brought computer upstairs to try different monitor... same result.

played around with cables, swapping etc... same result.

thought "maybe new hard drive is defective." opened old/current computer to remove its primary hard drive. but the damn thing is screwed in (with phillips screws) on both sides and the hard drive cage, which is supposed to swing out, will not swing out. spend at least 30mins, maybe even an hour, trying desperately to unscrew the screws before giving up on that mission.

plugged new hard drive into power supply of current computer: it seems to power up.

plugged new hard drive back into new computer... it won't spin up and monitor shows nothing.

so... possible scenarios:

1. i hooked something up wrong
2. new hard drive is defective
3. both barry's video cards are defective
4. something else is defective (motherboard?)
5. new power supply is defective or insufficiently powered (it's 350W)
6. ?????

i suppose tomorrow i might be going out to buy a new power supply... though maybe first i will run more tests. i'm giving up for tonight.

parts is parts

everything but my video card arrived early! my new computer is mostly built, except for the following:
  • sound card not installed (i do have it, but haven't opened it yet)
  • video card not installed (see above, though maybe i could hook up barry's card until mine arrives; then i could start installing OS & other software at least)
  • fans not hooked up to power supply (this will take all of 30 seconds once i figure out where to plug what)
  • second hard drive not installed (it's still in this computer & i don't plan to take it out until i'm ready to replace this one: i'm thinking monday or possibly tuesday)
  • ????? (there could be something i'm missing or did wrong, but i can't think of it if so... we'll see what happens when i eventually power up that bad boy)

and i did it all myself, with no help from my hardware-certified brother-in-law (though i did ask him one question and might ask a couple more, or have him run an inspection once i've hooked everything up)

Thursday, February 24, 2005

tattoo pics!

if you've been following along, you already know that connie was here a couple weeks back.

on valentine's day, connie & drove up to muncie so she could get a new tattoo (we chose that date because she was returning home the next day, not because tattooing is particularly romantic). she had it done by bad taste artist, awia member, and tattooist extraodinaire bobby vomit. afterward we went on a double date with bobby & bella.

when connie originally told me that she wanted something themed around indiana (and corn in particular), i knew bobby vomit would flip over the idea because he's all about that stuff. and the final design even incorporates the awia logo: bobby & i concluded that it is the first ever animals within animals tattoo. so naturally i had to post photos as soon as i got them!

these pics are super fresh: taken at the tattoo shop (ground zero in muncie) immediately after it was finished.

click the pic for a larger version (1632x1232)

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

harder than hardware

well that's it: i have now purchased all the hardware for my new computer. although i don't expect to actually have it all until early next week: most of it i ordered online. barry recommended i check out pricewatch and i did, though eventually i still bought most of it through newegg. newegg was not always the cheapest, but it was typically within a few bucks, and it carries more exclusive parts that are hard to find elsewhere.

here's what i'm getting. i bought everything from newegg unless otherwise noted. and all links are to manufacturer's website unless otherwise noted.
  • Soltek SL-K8TPro-754 motherboard. with purple accents and cables! have mercy, that's a pretty color. but honestly, i really did pick this board because anandtech had great things to say about the K8AN2E-GR and indeed about soltek in general. i almost got the K8AN2E-GR but because it lacks onboard IEEE-1394 i went for the higher-up SL-K8TPro-754 instead.
  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (socket 754). the athlon 64 is the obvious choice for most desktop systems. i picked the 3200+ because it seemed like the best compromise between price and performance.
  • CoolerMaster Cavalier-3 case (black). coolermaster is a very reputable brand. i really wanted a black case. this one seemed affordable.
  • Kingston ValueRAM PC3200 two sticks of 512MB each. i could've gotten it cheaper from a generic brand, but that's not necessarily a good idea with RAM.
  • NEC ND-3520A dvd burner. maximum pc highly recommended the ND-3500 (it's their current top-ranked burner) and i'm guessing the 3520 is the equivalent OEM model (if not the same model with a different model number).
  • NEC 1231H floppy drive. hell, it's $8 at newegg and it has a black bezel. i need a floppy drive, but don't really care any more about it.
  • Samsung 1213N 120GB hard drive. i decided to go ahead and get a new primary drive for the new machine. this seemed like a good choice. 8mb buffer size is important: much better than 2mb buffer.
  • M-Audio Delta 44 sound card. this is a "professional" soundcard, whereas creative/soundblaster cards are consumer-level. most computer retailers don't sell this stuff. i was all ready to place my newegg order this weekend, but they were out of stock of this card, with an ETA in-stock of 2/22. so i waited & was all ready to place my order yesterday... but it never came in. now newegg's ETA is 2/27. so today at lunch i went to downtown comics in castleton, and stopped by guitar center since it's right there. gc had a delta 44 in stock, so i bought it there.
  • ATI All-in-Wonder 9600XT video card. i went with another all-in-wonder card, since i really like its combination of 3d processing and tv capture capabilities. i was going to order this from newegg, but they raised the price yesterday! i would've bought it there for $190, but not for $207 (now it's back down to $199, but too late... and still $11 more than i paid). so i ordered it from ewiz instead.
  • Epson Stylus Photo R300 printer. i've wanted a printer from this product line ever since i learned about it, since it included built-in cd/dvd printing. no more messing with cd labels: i can print right on the disc face!

it'll be another week or more before i've received all the parts and the thing is actually assembled. but that's fine. now i can focus on something else for a few days.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

hoosier daddy?

indiana state senate passes gay-marriage ban... by a ridiculous 42-8 vote! come on now: we have a lot of homophobic rednecks in the state but it's not 84% homophobes!

fortunately, really discriminating against some--and doing it right--takes years to accomplish.

The Indiana Senate voted overwhelmingly Monday to make a ban on same-sex marriages a part of the state constitution, shipping the controversial issue to the House.

Senate Joint Resolution 7 was approved 42-8 after a brief debate. The measure is expected to pass the House easily, too.

After that, the always-emotional issue must be set aside. Amending the state constitution requires a second vote by a separately elected legislature, which could happen no earlier than 2007. Then the amendment would have to be approved by voters statewide, in November 2008 at the earliest.

Monday, February 21, 2005


here it is, kids!

the awiannounce is now fully automated so you can subscribe yourself, unsubscribe yourself, and even re-subscribe yourself if you're bored!

sign yourself up for the latest awia & stAllio! news at

decisions decisions: sex scandal or drug scandal?

so i started perusing the lefty blogs again, after having been away for awhile, in search of sound clips of the bush drug tapes (see previous post). so far i haven't found any. in fact the lefty blogs don't seem to want to talk about this story too much... they still want to talk about jim guckert (aka "jeff gannon"). indeed, when you manage to find discussion of "the bush secret tapes" on dailykos, most of the comments revolve around whether the bush tapes story is indeed a smokescreen to divert attention away from the guckert story.

but where the progressoblogs focus, the corporate media seems to look away, and vice versa. the corporate media is all over the story about wead secretly taping bush. already it has 391 related links on google news. meanwhile, google news search for "guckert" turns up a mere 476 hits, despite the story being a full week older. and if you look at who is publishing the stories, they generally aren't the big media: E&P, buzzflash, counterpunch, salon, and the occasional big-name place such as the washington post. namely, a bunch of progressive sites and blogs and some of the smaller media.

granted, the tale of guckert/gannon is a deep and intriguing one. since it broke during my vacation, i have to admit that i almost missed it, and learned of the story on the daily show (thanks to atrios for the link, with other good links in the same post).

"jeff gannon" was a regular in the white house press pool since at least feb 2003. he was ostensibly there as a reported for a publication called talon news, which was a branch of an organization called "GOPUSA". he would get called on occasionally, and would offer up a lightweight or softball question.

recently it was discovered that "jeff gannon" was in fact a man named jim guckert ("gookert"). until recently, guckert also apparently worked as a gay escort, with ads soliciting his sexual services on various male escort sites. some of these ads had photos of guckert... and his penis. and text descriptions of his penis.

okay, so a former gay escort (a conservative one, even) in the press pool, directly asking questions of president bush. that sounds salacious, but only in an "another hypocritical gay working for gay-bashers" way, right? but it gets much more curious. guckert seemed to have access to some serious insider info despite the fact that his employer was some fly-by-net publication with no professional or accredited journalists in its employ. this despite the fact that his employer was seemingly not even founded until after he had joined the press pool (founded april, he was there in feb or earlier).

so who is this guy, and how did he manage to not only get into the press pool but get access to secret documents about valerie plame, the iraq invasion, etc? was he a plant? was he sleeping his way to the top? or was the the ultimate success story of a poor young prostitute making his way all the way to the white house (in a sense) before a tragic fall?

americablog seems to be getting the credit for breaking the guckert story (and in fairness, has a big post right up top about bush's secret tapes), and indeed if you want all the data on guckert that seems to be the place to go.

so yeah, it's an intriguing story on several levels, and it seems to keep getting weirder. and the news that "bush smoked drugs" is pretty duh-tastic: everyone has basically known so for years, though he'd never admit or deny it per se. but even if the bush secret tapes story is there to divert attention away from guckert, the secret tapes still deserve some analysis... and there should definitely be mp3s of the tapes (or excerpts) all over the net by now.

come on, people! i can't be the only person on the net with tivo, and if i had been watching a show that aired excerpts from the tapes (as i know some places have), i would have had that shit recorded to my hard drive & possibly online within 5 minutes. but i couldn't find any mp3s online, or even links to the video on abcnews. i refused to sign up for realplayer's all-ass-pass just to see some abc video online, but fortunately right now the "free daily clip" on the site is a 45-second blurb with 20-30 seconds of audio from the tapes, which i have now recorded... but i know there's more to be heard, and i bet more has been broadcast. so where is it? as a sampling buff i am drawn to tales of salacious audio recordings, and i want all the audio i can get off those tapes.

caught on tape

new secret tape recordings of gwbush have come out, clandestinely recorded by "someone he thought was a friend". and they're juicy.

...while standing in the Republican primaries in 1999, Mr Bush apparently ruled out Colin Powell and Tom Ridge as vice-presidential candidates because they favoured abortion rights.

But he refused to bow to conservative pressure on him to criticise homosexuals.

"I'm not going to kick gays because I'm a sinner. How can I differentiate sin?" he claimed on the tape to have told James Robison, an evangelical minister in Texas.

seems like he changed his mind on the gay-bashing issue, since he eventually "came out" in favor of a gay-marriage ban.

but the really juicy material is all the drug-related stuff:

"I wouldn't answer the marijuana question," he says.

"You know why? 'Cause I don't want some little kid doing what I tried."

He feared that any such admission might affect his standing if he won the presidency.

"You gotta understand, I want to be president, I want to lead," he tells Mr Wead.

"Do you want your little kid to say 'Hey daddy, President Bush tried marijuana, I think I will'?"

In response to a remark by Mr Wead that the future president had publicly denied using cocaine, he said, quoted by the New York Times: "I haven't denied anything."

He said that he would continue to refuse to comment on allegations of drug use.

"I am just not going to answer those questions," he said. "And it might cost me the election."

In the tapes, Mr Bush mocks Al Gore, his opponent in the 2000 elections, for admitting to smoking cannabis, and also dismisses him as a liar.

so gore is a liar because he actually admitted his past drug use, while bush is not because he obfuscated? okay then.

but there's more to the tape than marijuana:

"I don't want any kid doing what I tried to do 30 years ago," Bush said in recordings made when he was governor of Texas and aired Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America.""And I mean that. It doesn't matter if it's LSD, cocaine, pot, any of those things, because if I answer one, then there will be another one. And I just am not going to answer those questions. And it may cost me the election."

so is that a tacit admission that he also did coke and acid? sounds like it to me, though some media outlets are only focusing on the pot.

if you hear a loud chorus of clicking, it's probably thousands of bush apolo-bloggers and PR pros trying their damnedest to dismiss and discredit the story... or at least attack the messenger. but the former bush friend and taper doesn't think he's being opportunist:

Wead said he didn't intend for the tapes to become public in his lifetime, but he was forced to release them by his publisher. Wead is the author of "The Raising of a President: The Mothers and Fathers of Our Nation's Leaders," which was published by Atria and went on sale last month.

Wead said he made the tapes as a historical record. He denied that he released them to make money or sell books.

"This book could have been released before the election, driven by partisan sales," Wead said. "The publisher wanted it. I wouldn't let it, and my publicist told me at the time, `That cost you a million dollars.'"

why would a biographer voluntarily give up "a million dollars" worth of free publicity & book sales?

RIP hunter s thompson

the legendary gonzo journalist has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound

Sunday, February 20, 2005

my new "drinking song"

it's called "drinking song", it's not what you expect, it's brand new, and it's this week's mp3 of the week! download it now!

i'm starting a new mailing list for awia & stAllio! announcements, including show news, mp3s, and of course every new mp3 of the week. i think i'll call it "awiannounce". if you'd like to join, email with "JOIN AWIANNOUNCE" or something like that in the subject line... really, whatever so long as i don't think it's spam & delete it without reading.

Thursday, February 17, 2005


pbs chief pat mitchell has announced that she's stepping down. well, not right away... it's not exactly an immediate resignation: she has simply announced that she won't seek to renew her contract when it expires.

naturally, she says this decision has nothing at all to do with the fact that the whole world now thinks she's full of shit after the fiasco surrounding her decision to pull the episode of postcards from buster that dared to make a passing acknowledgment of the existence of lesbians.

"In fact, had I . . . seen the connection that might be drawn," she said, she would have concluded that "I'd better be sure and say that. It didn't occur to me. . . . I just wanted to be clear that I've got 15 months left on this job and let's make it as constructive as we can."

and if you believe that, you probably believed that her decision to pull the show had nothing to do with the hate mail she received from secretary of education spellings:

Three days before the letter was sent, PBS spokeswoman Lea Sloan was quoted in the Boston Globe saying that Mitchell had reviewed the episode and was satisfied with its contents. "She's seen it; we now feel comfortable," Sloan said.

The day the letter was sent, PBS announced it would not distribute the episode, while insisting Spellings's letter had nothing to do with it.

According to one source with knowledge of the situation, PBS staffers had been prepared to stand behind the episode and were taken by surprise when Mitchell "pulled the rug out from under them."

Sloan told The TV Column yesterday that the reason she told the Globe that Mitchell was satisfied with the content was because Mitchell "was personally comfortable with the episode."

But that weekend, after conversations with a number of PBS stations and "national leadership," Sloan said, Mitchell changed her mind.

The PBS stations, according to Sloan, had asked Mitchell to "please don't put us in the position in which you feed the show to them and then they have to make the call in their communities" whether to air it.

this is the money quote in the article:

Boston station WGBH, which produces "Postcards From Buster," went ahead and aired the episode this month and has offered it to any PBS station that wants it. According to a station representative, about 85 percent of the mail WGBH received on the airing was positive. The rep forwarded one letter to The TV Column, which she said was from a Marine in Iraq thanking the station for providing copies of the episode to other PBS stations. "I don't fight for white, conservative, middle class, heterosexual Americans," the letter said. " . . . I fight so that all can enjoy our inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

news without tables

like the new look for awia news? despite some obvious cosmetic changes, it's still somewhat similar to the previous design. the most significant difference is that i got rid of all the tables. i'm slowly stripping out all the table-based design from the site. so while the awia news design was ostensibly based on a blogger template, over time it has been entirely redone from the ground up, and only the original font choices remain.

so take a look, and while you're there read up about bobby vomit playing the international noise conference this weekend in miami. and download the new mp3s of bobby vomit and unszene playing at brutal cincinnati damage last month!

post-valentine mp3 of the week

it was delayed a couple days by my vacation, but the new mp3 of the week is up!

it's the first ever mp3 from the mighty mighty benboy, and it's a classic. it's a little ditty called "don't put your penis where you wouldn't put your mouth". download it now!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

we are all odd fellows

bad taste show tonight in anderson, indiana at the odd fellows lodge. punk bands, rock bands, an installation by bobby vomit, and sets by stAllio!, unszene, and bobby vomit. should be interesting.

and tomorrow night, listen online to the sound experiment, featuring stAllio! and others.

see awia news for all the info.

i am as healthy as ever; connie is much better although still coughing somewhat. in a few minutes we're going out for dinner with my parents. now i must pack the car.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

at last

connie is here! i picked her up from the airport last night & she is currently resting in the guest room. she is still a bit sick, and barry & i are not totally recovered yet either, but hopefully we can resist spreading too many germs around.

happy birthday connie!

so i'm officially on vacation, and i might or might not post much in the next several days.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

pitchforked in the head

when did drew daniel (of matmos) start writing for pitchfork? and more importantly, why? why, drew, why, in the name of all that's holy? you can't possibly need the money that badly, can you?

god, i hate pitchfork... bunch of indie-rock hipsters trying to prove their hipsteria by writing a bunch of "clever" record reviews. unfortunately many of their reviewers seem to spend so much time being "clever" that they seemingly forget to listen to or review the actual records in question. sometimes they do actually seem to "get it" and i'll read a review i agree with. what else could explain a site that give's mc paul barman's paullelujah a 2.0 out of 10? come on, kids. i think of pitchfork as being the spin magazine of the '00s: trendy for trendiness's sake.

so i was reading the pitchfork top 100 albums of 2000-2004. (don't ask why i was reading it when i knew i wouldn't like it. it was probably because someone on imn suggested there was "far too much electronica" and i was like "too much electronica, on pitchfork, a site that reviews maybe 1 electronic record for every 10-20 indie rock record?") that was when i stumbled across the name "Drew Daniel" as one of the reviewers, and sure enough, it is indeed that drew daniel.

of course, the problem with electronica on pitchfork is not that there's too much: it's that most good electronic music these days flies beneath pitchfork's radar. by the time an electronic artist is mentioned on pitchfork, they've pretty much hit mainstream & are already darlings of the indie rock press. and having drew as a staff member does not fix this problem. maybe he feels compelled not to write too much about his buddies; i don't know.

then i saw this blurb, for #67, bodily functions by herbert (reviewed by drew daniel).

I'll never forget when my friend Heather showed me that she could rotate her head and her hips not only in different directions, but at totally different speeds. I just didn't know that you could do that with your body. Which brings me to this album...

arrgh! that's precisely the kind of clever-but-ultimately-ridiculous review that i despise pitchfork for! give me a break!

anyway, one good thing came of that list: it inspired me to listen to radiohead's kid a last night, which is ranked the #1 top album of 2000-2004. i don't think i agree, but it's a good record, anyway.

Monday, February 07, 2005

new mp3 of the week is up

despite my sickness, and despite the terrible download rates i've been getting for the mp3 of the week, i've posted a new mp3 for the week. it's "stobor niklat evij", recorded by me & t'kahr maximm, the first track on perpetual emotion machine.

everybody hurts

warning: unpleasantly scatological blog entry:

bobby vomit posted on friday that he & his family have taken ill. then saturday night, my young nephew ian became ill and was up all night vomiting. then i got an email from connie, who is flying out to visit on wednesday, that she too is sick. and now i seem to be sick as well, cursed with nausea and diarrhea. that three geographically separate households have all been infected at about the same suggests that there are some really nasty germs floating around this season.

i went to bed a bit early last night, after watching the simpsons and american dad after the super bowl. at first i thought i was simply tired from doing various cleaning & tidying around the house (and especially the attic). but quickly it became clear that i was actually ill, as my stomach began to turn. eventually i got out of bed & crawled over to a trash can to throw up.

here's where living in the attic gets to be a pain. as i hunched over the trash can, spewing forth liquid, my bowels loosened slightly from the convulsions. and because the germs had struck me with diarrhea, i couldn't hold it back. i have since soiled three pairs of boxers and pajama pants in that fashion, to varying degrees. at 4am it happened bad enough that i had to hop in the shower to clean up.

i don't feel too bad right now. it has even been a few hours since i had to go downstairs to the toilet (compared to last night, when i'd awake every 90 to 120 minutes with more diarrhea). but i'm not brave enough to try eating anything just yet; i had literally two bites of dry cereal earlier but couldn't hold it down. later i'll probably try to have some soup.

i expect everyone to be mostly recovered by the time connie actually arrives wednesday night. but this still cuts into all my preparation time. i had been counting on having all night tonight & tomorrow to clean up the attic. but i figure i won't have any energy tonight, & possibly not tomorrow night either. so the place won't be as clean as i'd hoped. so be it: connie will understand. i just hope we're all feeling better by then. what tragic timing!

Friday, February 04, 2005

it figures

i think simply mentioning the plain text problem was a jinx that caused it to come back...

never the twain shall meet

playing around with bobby vomit's blawg helped me to realize how to fix my post separator lines so they extend to the edge of the column. see, formerly i had my HR tag inside my tags; moving the HR outside the DIV removes the margin settings from the HR so it extends all the way out. i think it looks better now. maybe you disagree, but if so i don't care.

and i for one haven't witnessed the "plain text" problem in weeks! i suspect that pan's recent server maintenance fixed the problem. let me know if i'm wrong & it keeps happening.

have you been reading bobby vomit's blawg? it is currently my favorite blog. you should read it, and you should leave comments.

blue screen of death and taxes

being a homeowner can be a serious pain sometimes, like when you need to fix a leak in your roof and it takes weeks just to get the roofers to show up & give you an estimate (we've now received two, after a full month of waiting around). but it has advantages too: for one, it seems to really increase your tax refund. my refund went up by $400 once i started deducting real estate taxes & the interest we've paid on the mortgage this year.

yes, i filed my tax return last night & i'm getting $1,474 back. that's a nice chunk of change. i decided a month or two back that i would spend my refund on a new computer. sure, it would be nice to put that money into savings (since i've taken a bunch out over the past few months due to repairs & travel expenses) or to go toward fixing the roof (though with our estimates of $700 and $850, i'd have a bunch left over after paying my share of that). but hell, i could use a new machine, and i'll have the money to get one, so i'm doing it. i'm supposed to get a bonus this year as well, & i can always put that money into my savings account.

so in a week or two that money will be direct-deposited & i'll be ready to start buying parts. you can get one hell of a computer for that kind of money, and because i'm picky about what my computer needs to do, i'm picking all my own parts and having my brother-in-law build it.

i'm going to reuse a couple parts from my old machine, though as more time passes the list of parts i plan to reuse keeps shrinking. i will reuse at least one of my hard drives (the data disc, with close to 100gb of audio, video, and images on it), but i'm wondering whether i shouldn't get a new (maybe SATA) primary hard drive... it would suck having to reinstall all my software, but perhaps the benefits of having a clean install of windows etc would outweigh that.

when i first started planning, i thought this would be a mere upgrade (though a major one). we would pull out my old motherboard, video card, etc, and effectively build a newer machine inside my current case. but then i realized something: we'd have to basically tear the whole thing apart to put new guts in the case, & then i'd have a bunch of old-but-still-basically-working hardware lying around. but if i get a new case & build a whole new computer, then my old/current computer will still be in working order to use as a backup, mp3 server, test machine, whatever... it'd need to get a new keyboard, mouse, monitor (unless i buy a new one of those too... which is a bit tempting, since i could give connie my current 17" CRT & get a nice flatscreen for myself), possibly a new HD, and so on, but that stuff is easy enough to come by. i don't know how much use i'll get out of the old thing, but i'd rather have a spare than have a big pile of abandoned parts.

my current "wish list" of parts is posted in this thread on exbe... i'm definitely getting one of the athlon 64 chips and a newer, nicer video card with tv capture capability (tv capture is a deal-breaker). also not listed there (because i won't be buying it at newegg [if i buy anything there: i'm open to suggestions]), i'm pretty sure i'll get a new printer. the epson stylus photo line looks pretty promising: affordable inkjets with the capability to print directly on cdrs! no more messing with cd labels for me (though that would mean that bad taste cdrs would no longer come with bonus stickers).

all that stuff put together is around $1,050. plus i need a new case & i'm sure some other minor goodies. this puts me in the $1100-1200 range, with a few hundred left over in case i want a new hard drive, a new monitor, or something else like that. and of course, my heart isn't set on any of those particular parts, so if you know of better or more affordable options, i'm certaingly willing to consider them.

once my new computer is built, i think it'll finally be time to officially begin working on the new awia full-length. i've been putting that off for way too long.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

rebel without a marriage license

jason west, mayor of new paltz, NY, performed around 24 gay marriages in his town last year. now he could serve jail time because of it.

The rush to write same-sex marriage bans into state constitutions is part of a heated debate that New Paltz Village Mayor Jason West helped ignite last February when he married about two dozen same-sex couples. West, 27, was quickly hit with 24 misdemeanor counts.

But the charges were later dismissed by a town court judge who said there were constitutional problems in banning same-sex marriages.

Ulster County Court Judge J. Michael Bruhn brought back the charges Wednesday, saying public officials cannot pick and choose which laws to obey. He said the case was not about the constitutionality of same-sex marriage, but whether West lived up to his oath of office to uphold the law.

of course, that's blatantly false: every state has dozens of ridiculously antiquated laws on the books that nobody has bothered to obey or enforce for decades. simply googling a phrase such as "silly laws" will turn up thousands of sites like this one or this one that catalog the outrageousness of many of the laws still on our books (though the veracity of some of these sites is extremely questionable).

West faces fines and up to a year in jail if convicted on the misdemeanor counts of solemnizing marriages without a license.

West has maintained he was upholding the couples' constitutional rights — and thus his oath of office — by allowing them to wed.

"If I told those the gay couples, 'No, I can't marry you because you're gay,' I'd be violating the state constitution and I'd be violating my oath of office," West said.

Ulster County District Attorney Donald Williams said he was pleased the judge recognized his prosecution was not about same-sex marriage but "a public official who made a conscious decision to put himself above the law."

sure it's not about gay marriage... mayors go to jail for up to a year all the time for performing marriages without a license, don't they?

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

bush betta have my money

the story of conservative pundits being paid shills for the bush administration is now apparently old hat, hardly worth reporting. hence i didn't discover until now that a third paid-off pundit, michael mcmanus, has been outed, even though the story broke a week ago. mcmanus was paid $10k by health & human services (the same dept that bought maggie gallagher) to promote the bush agenda on marriage, then failed to disclose this when he later wrote about the marriage initiative in his columns.

meanwhile maggie gallagher (shill #2) scrambles to save her good name. she doesn't see any connection between her case and armstrong williams, & is demanding corrections and retractions galore. williams was paid explicitly to pimp bush policies, while gallagher insists she was not (it just worked out that way). yes, there's a subtle distinction there that she's right to point out, but she still failed to disclose her partiality, & thus their stories are fundamentally quite similar.

as usual, sheldon demonstrates that prwatch was on top of this story three years ago & discussed a website called omega list (since expunged) that made selling out to a sponsor as easy as point & click:

On a section of the website that has subsequently been removed, Omega List was quite straightforward about the fact that it pays conservative commentators to endorse clients and their causes. A series of web pages featured conservative radio show host Blanquita Cullum explaining exactly how the system works and how other radio hosts could get in on the gravy. "You do what you do best!" she said. "Get on the air and talk to your listeners! Drive them to your website by conducting a daily survey or a contest on the topic of your choosing." Eberle's "polling wizard" software, installed on the site, would then capture the names of respondents so that they could be hit up for money. "What happens next is a cakewalk," Cullum continued. "Omega will call you with an opportunity to send an endorsement e-mail to your list . . . and receive a royalty for lending your name to a cause, organization or product you believe in. . . . Omega gives you their specialized software absolutely FREE and presents you with an opportunity to earn an extra $25,000 or more annually."

yes, it's just that simple. you too can make as much as $25k/yr just by violating journalistic ethics!

one man who was not getting paid for pimping product is russel christoff. he's the man whose handsome mug has graced jars of taster's choice instant coffee for years. way back in '86, christoff did a photo shoot for nestle, but thought nothing came of it since he was never contacted again.

then one he was shoppin' for some food & up through the ground came his bubbling outrage at seeing his face on a jar of black gold... coffee, that is.

a los angeles court has awarded him $15.6 million in compensation the unauthorized use of his likeness on countless cans of product over several years in at least seven markets (USA, mexico, south korea, japan, israel, kuwait, and canada).

of course, nestle plans to appeal, so christoff still has not been paid and will not be anytime soon.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

sugartime for buster

some good news for buster, the asthmatic bunny whose pbs kids show recently ran into some trouble with bush's brand new secretary of education:

Defying criticism from the secretary of education and their own network, several large PBS affiliates say they will air an episode of the children's show Postcards From Buster that includes a visit to a home with lesbian parents.

Buster the cartoon rabbit is not backing down.

Postcards From Buster, aimed at preschoolers, was pulled from the PBS schedule last week after Margaret Spellings, the new secretary of the Department of Education, denounced the use of federal funds for it. But WGBH, the powerful Boston public television station that makes the series, said yesterday that it will air the program tomorrow.

WGBH offered the episode to other PBS stations and, as of last night, 18 planned to air it, said Jeanne Hopkins, a vice president at WGBH. They include some of the largest stations in the 349-member Public Broadcasting System - such as New York's WNET and KQED in San Francisco.

indeed, the sf chronicle points out that kqed san francisco will play the episode tomorrow (wednesday, 2/2) (hint for connie in case you want to set your vcr, since it might not air in indy):

San Francisco public television station KQED received the episode directly from the producers at WGBH in Boston, and it will premiere at 4:30 p. m. Wednesday on Channel 9. At that time, Bay Area viewers may feel let down by the lack of controversial fodder in the episode. An early look at "Sugartime" shows more minutes spent discussing dairy farms, making chocolate chip cookies and draining sap from maple trees than exploring same-sex unions.

i would love to see a list of all the affiliates that will air the show... in particular i really want to know if it will air on my own affiliate, wfyi (the website suggests it won't, but if it did it'd be a last-minute change anyway & might not be reflected on the site). the boston globe says at least 24 affiliates will air it (i guess they have more recent info than newsday), but who are those affiliates? i want a full list, dammit. if anyone finds one, pass it on.