22 October 2004

computer complaints

Lacking anything better to mention, I'd like to take a moment to complain about my computer at work. More specifically, I'd like to complain about using it, as one of my issues is with Microsoft Outlook and another with Last.FM and yet one more with my Wordpress pages and web email.

First, my AutoCorrect doesn't work. For a long time I'd disabled it completely without incident, but lately as I send out more emails I find myself signing them with THanks, MIke and that's unacceptable in a professional environment. Unacceptable to me, that is, as I am constantly barraged with emails rife with typos and the wrong names and all sorts of errors (heck, I've sent one or two myself lately). It just bothers me to make such a fat fingered mistake, and so consistently to boot. Enter AutoCorrect--it was designed for situations just like this, right? Too bad it just calmly ignores my double capitals, even when I have specifically entered every possible permutation of "THanks" down to "TH" and still it mocks me with its inaction. There's no possible way this can be user error other than spending a little too much time on the SHIFT key.

As for Last.FM I've grown somewhat tired of hearing the same music over and over. I'm unwilling to make the effort to listen to new music, though, despite that being the main object of the service; that is, to introduce new music to people based on what they already like (and dislike). I think I'm just to finicky, or just too lazy to go back and hit "BAN" every fifth track or so when they try to slip in some bad reggae or worse.

Also irking me in a vaguely computer-related fashion is the recent onslaught of spammers trying to slip links about casinos, porn, grey market drugs and roulette table plans (I kid you not) onto my pages. They're wasting my server cycles and my own cycles as each one generates an email and a link I must click to destroy them. I'm looking into adding some WordPress plugins to take care of them, but I only care so much.

17 October 2004

oh, my ailing self esteem

What's the fastest way to get to the hospital? Stand in the middle of the road.

Today was something of a rough day for me. That so-called joke was courtesy of me, circa some fifteen years ago.

As I go slowly through the boxes of my childhood stacked in my "computer room" I've come across a number of odd and interesting things. I found high-bounce balls that have cracked. I found incomplete model cars. I found a great many bookmarks, none of which I have ever used more than once. I found plastic knickknacks and puzzles that I'd forgotten and discarded. I found a tape recorder missing several crucial pieces. I also found a couple cassette tapes that were immediately obvious as to their contents.

You see, my parents had given all of us kids tape recorders (and some inherited creativity and imagination) and the desire to use them at an early age. There are probably ten or fifteen cassette tapes floating around bearing our youthful voices in pseudo-comedic sketches and fake commercials.

Well, this particular tape was mostly me solo, and as I listened to it in the car I was not impressed. The twenty odd minutes I heard along the way to the used games and movies place were downright horrible, replete with horrible timing, transparent voice imitations and 130-in-1 Electronics Kit sound effects. Did I mention that most of the "funny" stuff was cribbed from elsewhere, including, if I recall, a number of bad joke books.

Hence the joke at the beginning of this; it's the only thing in the entire forty-odd minutes that made me laugh.

Forty-odd minutes is a long time to be just listening to a cassette tape, and I was in fact also driving at the time. You see, earlier today Jessica and I were out on a mission to get some shelving (and groceries) and maybe even a broom handle (mission accomplished!) whereupon we also went a bit out of the way to drop in on a used cd/dvd/video game place. I had a coupon for getting a free whatever if I bought another whatever of equal or greater value, so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Passing up a nice set of EPs by Belle & Sebastian (because I could find nothing else near it in price to get for free) I finally settled on The Simpsons: Road Rage and Gauntlet: Dark Legends (yes, yes, I know, Scott) for the PS2 for well under the price most places would charge, so I bought them.

It wasn't until I got home that I opened the cases and realized the discs were still at the store. Color me embarrassed.

I'd also not brought along the two Blockbuster rainchecks we had for The day after tomorrow and Man on fire (neither of which I'd be likely to watch if not for the fact that they're free).

So I ate some food and headed back over there to pick up my games. I'd grabbed the cassettes as an afterthought, realizing it'd be easier to listen to them than surf the radio through the north side of Columbus.

So I already feel like an idiot for not checking the games. I always check stuff like that. Always, always. I even look in the ones I check out at the library. Evidently I'd neglected to do so this time. Anyway I was feeling like an idiot and listening to the high-pitched voice of young Mike, whom I could just picture huddled over my little boombox with the box of miscellaneous pieces (which would provide the sound of breaking glass or an automobile crash) and Electronics Kit at hand. Too bad I hadn't prepared any funny material, because this stuff was painfully unfunny. There have been atrocious Saturday Night Live sketches that caused people to gouge out their eyes to stuff in their ears that were better than this.

Let's just say that my self esteem was not at an all time high.

The store clerks remembered me and found the discs, sending me on my way with a bonus five dollar coupon for my troubles.

I was so touched by their kindness, or annoyed by my lack of comedy, that I forgot again to stop by Blockbuster. Monday's not even until tomorrow.

6 September 2004

in the mix

I have a minidisc recorder, but it's not as convenient or practical as I once thought it would be. That said, it's several notches up on many of my other gadgets, as I do occasionally take it out and use it. I'm not very diligent with making new discs, though, so I rarely have anything new to which to listen. I've got this one mix disc that stands up pretty well, though, particularly for lawn mowing.

Among the songs (alas, no tracklist exists and I'm not willing to listen to it right now to figure it out) are such gems as:

  • "Pistolero" by Juno reactor
  • "Insane in the membrane" by Cypress hill
  • "Fly me to the moon" by Frank Sinatra
  • "I'm not your stepping stone" by the Monkees
  • "The shape of things to come" by Max Frost and the Troopers
  • "FNT" by Semisonic
  • "Damn it feels good to be a gangsta" by the Geto boys

That last one pops up in a lot of places, not the least the Office space soundtrack, and also the movie itself. I noticed, though, that in the film the lyrics are altered from "pussy" to something like "Gucci" in the line "pussy-eating pranksters". I can but wonder what prompted this change.

21 August 2004

party like its 1997

All of my CDs are packed up in boxes still. I plan to build some shelves soon so that I can have all five or seven hundred of them out (I no longer know how many I have) and accessible, but I'm in no real rush. At work I've been using Last.fm, playing bits and pieces of my music collection as well as the occasional recommendation, and I'm pretty happy with it. I created a bogus profile specifically for my playlist. I haven't listened to music logged in under it yet, so it's untainted by other people's tracks. It's all mine.

You see, Last.fm does this interesting thing whereby they stream you the music liked by the people who like what you like. If that sounds too confusing, you can just donate a small sum of money to them and be able to listen to specific people's music, including your own. So I made /codger and threw in the four-hundred songs that sounded appropriate, mostly whole albums at a time. I've had some minor difficulties adding to it while listening under my real account, but that's probably the price I pay for trying to subvert the system. If you wish to do the same, or just to listen to my everyday music mix, give it a spin.

Anyway, two of the artists in my playlist are Cake and Prodigy (or I suppose I should say "The Prodigy"). Years ago, I'd have picked Cake to be my favorite band and Prodigy to be a rather promising artist. In the intervening time Cake's released some two or three albums, and burned out two or three band members, whereas the Prodigy folks did, well, not much at all. I bought Liam's Dirtchamber sessions album, but that was at a time I was particularly susceptible to mix albums.

Oddly enough, by some odd coincidence both groups are soon to be releasing another album. I don't know if I should be excited or not. If I pre-order the new Cake disc I apparently can get a super secret bonus extreme limited edition three track disc, but to do so I need to throw some money at Sony. Thirteen bucks plus shipping, in fact, and it's been a long time since I paid thirteen bucks for a CD.

For that matter, it's been probably since I bought Dirtchamber, and then I think I'd ordered it to get the super secret special digipack edition or something like that. Whatever reason it was, I should've waited since I've seen it many times since used for less than half of what I'd paid, but such is life when one wants to live on the cutting edge of washed-up electronica.

Then again, I do have a birthday approaching. Maybe I could leverage that.