EGC Clambake for May 31, 2008 – “Listening and Puking”

Here is the direct MP3 download for the EGC clambake for May 31, 2008. I play a song from Corb Lund; I talk about playing poker and why I love it; I talk about my podcast listening queue and shows that I am both loving and not loving; I talk about my travails trying to get City of Heroes set up on my MacBook; I talk about my first ever teaching gig in the new media world; I tell a story about and then play a song from Boiled in Lead and then walk myself out into the heather to do what needs to be done.

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Links mentioned in this episode:

Nicola and Kelley Tidbits

I occasionally blog about my friends Nicola and Kelley. I realized in my list of things to blog about I had several related to them, so I thought I’d collect them together.

1. Both of them urge people to call the California governor’s office and take the phone poll about whether or not you approve of the state supreme court’s decision on gay marriage. I made my call the other day.

I’ve been blase about the issue since I attended Nicola and Kelley’s wedding in 1993. It certainly caused me no ill effects, and I thought it was one of the loveliest ceremonies I ever experienced. As a side benefit my wife and I had a nice little chat with Charlie Stross, long before he was the famous SF mojombo he is now.

2. Kelley posts that she was one of the people interviewed by It’s short but it captures the essence of her. If you want to get up to speed on what makes Kelley tick, start there but please keep going.

3. Nicola and Kelley will be doing a reading in Los Angeles on Friday May 30th at a Different Light bookstore in West Hollywood at 7:30 PM. They are in town to attend the Lambda Literary awards where Nicola is nominated for best novel. I think she’s won every time she’s been nominated, so I’m betting on her.

4. Many moons ago (like 13 years to be exact) I was Nicola’s first webmaster. I set up and encouraged the Ask Nicola section of the site and for many years I hand formatted the HTML for all the questions and answers. That same section is now it’s own Ask Nicola blog site. Check it out, it’s a lot of fun.

I’m sure if I dug a little more I could find more stuff because they are cool people that do much cool stuff. If you watch my Google Reader shared items you’ll see many items from both of them. Enjoy, netizens!

The Downside of the Cullect Widget

A couple months ago I put the Cullect widget on this blog’s sidebar. I’ve been trying to support Garrick van Buren and Cullect, mostly because he has always been a strong supporter of most or all of my projects and I owe him some karmic debt. There is one problem with that, though. When I first put on the widget, I was in three reading lists and now I’m in two. This is the sort of thing that I hope never matters to me but it subtly eats at me. Who dropped me? Why? Is it because I’m blogging less lately or because I’m blogging about more ephemeral topics with lack of time to tackle big ones? These are bogus questions hardly worth considering but they still pop into my head. I have no intention of dropping the widget but there is a psychic cost to having it that never occurred to me until today.

Bike Weeks

A year ago I posted about Myrtle Beach’s bike week, which quickly devolved in the comments to an interesting but orthogonal discussion of class and gated communities. This year was fairly uneventful. The Harley week seemed to be the mellowest one since I’ve lived in the area. For big portions of the week it would be possible on my daily commute to not realize the bike week was happening. Even hot spots like the area around Suck Bang Blow had a fraction of the traffic I was prepared for. I don’t know why this is, but if I had to hazard a guess it would involve the price of gas.

This week is the Atlantic Beach Bike Rally aka “The Sports Bike Rally” aka “Black Bike Week.” I just dropped the dog off this morning for a bath and went to the beach to kill some time while that went on. Again, there was a little insanity on Ocean Boulevard but not as much as I was prepared for. I misunderstood when they were undoing the one-way traffic pattern. I thought it ended at 8 AM today but it was still on when I got there at 9:30 AM. One thing I like about spending some of my lunch hours driving randomly in the beach area is that now I know ways to avoid traffic better. I was able to get from the south end of Ocean up around Bummz with only a few blocks on Kings Highway, and then from Bummz to the mall seeing hardly any bikes whatsoever.

I live 15 miles inland so the bike rallies don’t cause me much consternation and I have the option of mostly avoiding them if I want to. For me the only real downside of lower turnouts is that I don’t want businesses I frequent to close if they don’t get enough busy seeing dollars to see them through the winter. That’s party of the life of a full-time resident of a tourist town – trying to dole out your business to keep joints open that you want to eat at or shop at in November or February.

Time Machine

Earlier today I bought a Maxtor OneTouch 4 500 GB external drive. I have a LaCie external, but it is smaller than the hard drive of my MacBook so I needed a little more juice than that. My original plan was to plug it in, make a bootable Super Duper backup and then proceed. However, when I plugged it in for the first time I got a dialog that asked me if I wanted to use this drive as the target for my Time Machine backups. I said yes and then it took off. This was quite a bit simpler and easier than I was expecting it to be. For some reason I thought Time Machine only worked with the Apple Time Capsule hardware so this was a pleasant surprise.

The main goals of this endeavor are to get my LaCie data migrated off so I can give it and my old iBook to my wife. The second is so that I can feel comfortable setting up Boot Camp and XP on this laptop. The goal of that is to see if I can once and for all get City Of Heroes running on this machine. Thus far it has failed on both VMWare Fusion and Parallels. Since VMWare can use BootCamp partitions, after I get this set up I will delete my existing VM partition and reclaim some space that way.

Mostly I’m happy that going into this long holiday weekend, the first task I attempted on my long list of things to do was actually significantly easier with a better result than I was shooting for. Here’s hoping to a bunch more like that.

Shut Down

I’m decommissioning a server box that I’ve had for 5 years now. It’s kind of a scary proposition. I’m downloading the final backup just before shutting it down for good. I probably have several gigabytes of worthless crap, but it is worth it if it saves some 4 KB file that turns out to be needed later on.

That server is the one that ran this blog for most of its lifetime. Leaving it is kind of like moving out of a house. Most of what you own is crap but you move it all for fear of missing something you want to keep. Goodbye EV1 server box, formerly the RackShack server box. You served me well, but better before you were bought by the Planet.

City of Heroes

On a complete impulse buy, earlier today I picked up the install DVD for City of Heroes at Big Lots. At least one person on Twitter thought it was odd that I would be involved in such a thing when I’ve gone on record as being underwhelmed by things like Second Life. My problems with Second Life are that the interface sucks and has a serious learning curve, that it is hard to figure out what to do and that the aimlessness of it is a barrier to entry. The conversation goes like this:

Me: “What can I do with this that is interesting?”

Second Life Dude: “Oh, it’s wonderful. You can do anything!”

Me: “Ooooooooooookay.”

As I said earlier, if I’m going to fart around with any MMO, I want to be able to punch bad guys through walls. My hope is that this has enough structure than unlike Second LIfe I’m not stuck wandering around boring things wondering what to do. If anyone reading this wants to join up and do whatever one does with other people, let me know. I have yet to start up the game because I first installed the program it had 1.8 gigabytes of updates to download. I assume that the MMO part means that I can hook up with friends to go on missions or what have you. Come join up with me and we’ll fight bad guys together! I don’t know how to do that yet, so it’s all learning curve.

Update: I’ve tried this under VMWare and Parallels and neither one runs it. This might be an epic, or it might be an EPIC FAIL!

FInal Update: Neither VM solution nor running under Boot Camp allows me to play City of Heroes, so this is done. Sorry guys, it sounded like fun but I am saved from myself by my MacBook.

Migration Remnants

I think the last of my issues from migrating web hosts is now done. I had a few DynDNS domains that I really only use to accept email. I had a Rube Goldberg style setup on Dreamhost that kept the mail flowing but it isn’t possible to do with HostGator. I made a failed attempt to set up these domains to use Google apps but since a free DynDNS domain doesn’t have a lot of flexibility I couldn’t make it work. It might not be impossible but I couldn’t do it. I gave up and just pointed it all to my home Linux box. That’s not as reliable as I’d like but screw it, it’s done now.

I sure hope I am done with this now. Moving webhosts, particularly when you have a lot of odd configurations and freaky domains, sucks almost as much as moving houses.

Gene Colan in Hard Times

One of my favorite comic artists of all time is Gene Colan. He drew Iron Man, a classic run on Tomb of Dracula including creating the Blade character, a stretch on Doctor Strange that I loved, and even worked on Howard the Duck with the late Steve Gerber. In the 80’s Eclipse comics published some wonderful comics that were shot directly from his expressive pencils without an inker.

Sadly, Mr. Colan is now having severe heath problems, including liver failure. You can help out with the expensive pharmaceutical bills by buying art on eBay. Also posted is an appeal to mail a card and an appreciation for what his work has meant to you. I have in the past failed to act on these appeals in time and the next thing I knew, the person was lost. It’s time to act on this one. A card to Mr. Colan is on the way tomorrow.

Groadies I Have Known

I am subscribed to the Large Hearted Boy music and literature blog. Today was a post about the PDX Pop Now festival. The thing that jumps out about that is that the band Jonny X and the Groadies are friends of mine. I’ve known Jonny for 10 years and on the last national tour they did we had a house full of Groadies in Atlanta. Check out their music and if you are in PDX, go see them. You need some midi metal mayhem in your life. I’d be seeing them if I could.

Coffee Break’s Over, Back On Your Head

After the worthwhile insanity of CREATE South and then the less fun insanity of the day job and home repair, there has not been much blogging here in almost a month. Add to that the server woes of recent days, and everything has been underproductive and overdramatic. If you can see this post, that means you’re now on the newer new host. More on that unpleasant topic later.

Blogging is like any form of discipline. When you do it regularly it seems unnatural not to do it and when you go too long without it, then it seems weird to return. I have a Google Reader queue full of stuff I have starred to return to later so I really need to get back and blog some of this crap. I hope to be crazy prolific in upcoming days. Keep me honest, y’all!

Moving Again

I was warned about DreamHost and I didn’t listen. After this blog being effectively down for the last 4 days, I have pulled the plug on DreamHost. At least the service took a dump for me a few days before my 97 day guarantee was up, not after. More later, right now I’m worn out from migrating sites from DreamHost to HostGator. Sigh.

Cyberpunk Rumblings

I’ve been thinking a lot about cyberpunk lately. No matter what its current fate in the literary fashion sweepstakes, I always had a great affinity for the genre and always will. No matter that its original young turks are now all too old and respectable to wield the crowbar with proper leverage. Sadly, the Ramones and the Sex Pistols are in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. It’s the fate of all punks to mellow or die, and they tend to do some of each.

William Gibson will be in my little town tomorrow accepting an honorary doctorate. It makes sense as he was born in this town. I’ve heard smatterings of outrage because apparently he speaks unkindly of Conway SC. He’ll be getting a “Doctor of Humane Letters” which leaves me wondering of they’ve actually read his books. His work has many wonderful virtues but humane is not at the top of the list. They may not have the option to give a “Doctor of Inhumane Letters.” I have Spook Country but haven’t read it yet. I’ve fallen off the Gibson pace in recent years but I still count him as equal influence with JG Ballard and William S. Burroughs in shattering my patterns of thinking and leading me somewhere new.

Bruce Sterling posted a link to a bit wondering if “cyberpunk is dead.” He has some analysis that I love and find applicable in our ongoing food fights as to whether “podcasting is dead” or “vlogging is dead.”

Just for the record, nothing can be “dead” when people have to anxiously declare it “dead.” Once it’s REALLY dead, nobody publicly frets about its deadness. Broadway theater’s been dying for about a century, “belle lettres” has been dying for, gosh, maybe 250 years now. You have to get used to that.

Right on, brother Brucie! Rather than getting pissed off, I’ll just treat the declarations of things I care about as “dead” as a sign of their vitality. From henceforth, such things will be considered self-contradictory just by existing. That was easy. Staples easy button easy, in fact.

Rudy Rucker is so far from a young turk that he’s retired now, which gives him more free time to post weird shit on his blog and blow my mind. He seems like a true case of someone with no off switch. I’m still subscribed to his audio feed and get whatever he chooses to post on it.

And just now I noticed something in common with all three of these guys: all grew up in the south and no longer live there. Gibson: South Carolina and Virgina and now in Vancouver BC. Sterling: Texas and now in Beograde. Rucker: Kentucky and now in California. If only the south made more people weird like these guys, we’d really have something!

Get Out, Hillary Clinton

Reading the news yesterday of the Democratic Primary, an insight hit me. Even though there are ways Hillary Clinton could win the nomination there are none still in play that wouldn’t taint the process, make it feel stolen and drive away all the new energized Democrats who have been signing up for the last six months. She could pull some chicanery with Florida and Michigan or she could appeal to the superdelegates but in either case she plays right into the scumbag Machiavellian stereotype many of us have about her and her husband.

I think this week is the one where the thing many of us feel becomes impossible to miss: HRC would rather be the nominee and lose in November than see her party win. I’ve felt this all along which is why I’ve never had a glimmer of support for her. No one should buy that she cares about the good of the masses when she obviously does not care about the good of even her political allies. If she persists on this this course from here forward, I want to see her lose her senate seat, and there be no chance whatsoever of another presidential run. She and Joe Lieberman can go form the “It’s All About Me” party and have a good ol’ time there. For the people whose primary concern is staunching the bleeding of liberty from our government and Constitution, there are more important things than individual quests for power.


I haven’t really taken an interest in the Democratic primary since John Edwards dropped out. I don’t believe the media talking point that this long primary is “hurting the Democratic party.” I think the opposite is true and that it actually helps in the long run. Despite all that, I’m ready for it to be over. I’m sick of Barack Obama, but not nearly as sick as I am of Hillary Clinton. I never voted for her husband and I sure don’t want to vote for her. Mostly I’m just fatigued by the bullshit, mostly perpetrated by the lazy media in endless service to an ever shifting master narrative. If one thing makes me proud of America, it is the way voters seem to be generally resistant to the manipulation. You go, America!

Free Comic Book Day

We’re out of town visiting my father-in-law in Goldsboro NC so I requested a side trip to the local comic store here for Free Comic Book Day. We got there about an hour before the store closed, so I don’t know if the comics selection was depleted or if they didn’t get the full array of stuff. I’d have liked to have gotten the Hellboy/B.P.R.D comic. Still, it’s hard to complain about free stuff.