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I’m learning more about various logging packages – Log4j for Java and its
Perl port, Log4perl. I’ve gotten tired
of doing ad hoc logging/debug statements in my programs. I think as an
experiment I’m going to look at using both of these packages.

Fat, Greek

I’m finally starting to feel a little better. If this was a workday I
would be up to going to work. My mother-in-law is in town this
weekend, and yesterday we went to see My Big Fat Greek
Wedding
, which I liked quite a bit. I especially like how it
was atypically Hollywood, in that the transition from frumpy girl to
pretty girl was not that dramatic and while pretty enough, the “after”
transformation woman was not a stunner. I get very tired of Hollywood
judgements of beauty, such as The Truth about Cats and
Dogs
, where Uma Thurman is the pretty girl and Janeane
Garafalo is the ugly girl. In almost any other context in the world,
JG would be considered attractive in her own right. I have like John
Corbett for a long time, and thought he did a great job. I expected to
enjoy the movie, but it was quite a bit better than I thought it would
be.

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More SUV stuff, this time from The Car Talk guys, including
the “Need a SUV quiz?” I’d like to see a study on how many accidents
are caused indirectly by SUVs, by the fact that drivers in normal
sized passenger vehicles can’t see around them. My personal SUV goal –
I’d like to see them require a special class of license with a
mandatory SUV driving test. I’m tired of dodging Lincoln Navigators
that cross the center line when their drivers can’t handle
them. Forget terrorism, I have much more immediate risk to my life and
safety posed to me by drivers of Ford Excursions talking on their cellphones.

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I didn’t even write anything in here yesterday because I was too sick
to even focus long enough for it. I had foolishly gone into work and
then faded fast and by lunchtime I was ready to just put my head down
and go to sleep. I came home and watched a couple of those MST3K
episodes on my laptop, with it lying on my belly on the couch. I gave
up the VCD path, just watching the AVI files directly and then
deleting them. It turns out that one I downloaded, The
Incredibly Strange Creatures blah blah Mixed up Zombies
isn’t
what I thought it was. I had already seen that one. For some reason, I
was thinking that was the movie where Rosie Greer got a white man’s
head implanted on his shoulder. On the agenda for today – sleeping,
OJ, and cartoons.

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I do believe that we are at the point in the year where I have to
start thinking about transitioning away from shorts and sandals every
day. Our office is already refrigerated by AC to the point it is
unpleasant (I frequently walk around with a thick sweater over me) so
if I won’t die of heat stroke between the car and the front door, I
guess long pants are the way to go. It’s a shame, because I always
prefer to dress like I’m heading to the beach if at all possible.

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We’re watching the season premiere of The Real World
and within 10 minutes I had decided that I hate all seven people. It’s
been many many years since I enjoyed a Real World show (probably
London was the last one I could stand) but this one is really
bad. Darlene likes them, but I just can’t take it. It’s unwatchable,
with vapid and self-involved people just whining. I guess in that
respect its not so much unlike my weblog.

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On my drive home today, I was behind a PT Cruiser with one of those
advertising car wraps, for a firm named RetroTechs. It had pulp sci-fi
graphics in and around the logo. I looked them up when I got home, and
find they are a Mac and PC support organization (seems like Mac is
their specialty) that is jazzing up their image. They seem to be going
for a Ghostbusters-y/Men In Black kind of branding, where they all wear sunglasses
and skinny ties. Turns out their headquarters is right in my
neighborhood and they’ve been around for 11 years (albeit with a
different name and without the schtick.) Still, how did I miss all
this? Goofy but fun.

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Interesting article in USA Today about the rift between recording
artists and the RIAA – read
it here.
My favorit bit:

“The record companies are like cartels, like countries, for God’s
sake,” singer/songwriter Tom Waits says. “It’s a nightmare to be
trapped in one. I’m on a good label (Epitaph) now that’s not part of
the plantation system. But all the old records I did for Island have
been swallowed up and spit out in whatever form they choose. These
corporations don’t have feelings, and they don’t see themselves as the
stewards of the work. They are making shoes, and then they want to go
to the Bahamas and get a suntan.”

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Music TopicBand of the (some) day(s) entry. The musician is Jason Loewenstein, of Sebadoh
fame. I really like his solo music up here on his download page. I knew some
of Sebadoh’s music, but hadn’t ever heard any of his solo work until a
few days ago. This is another one suggested to my by OpenCola.

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I just got home from a meeting of the executive staff at WREK. I
have proposed they have a “Grand reopening” and am pushing the ball to
get it rolling, at which point they are on their own and I’ll run away
like hell.

TV TopicThe VCD of the MST3K
episode worked well enough, although there were a number of irritating
things about it. The time was off, for one thing, such that the DVD
player thought the 96 minute episode was 77 minutes, and any time
search got scaled accordingly. Also, there were no chapter divisions,
even though I told the VCD program to make one every 5 minutes. The
picture quality was kind of bad, about what you’d expect with a 3rd or
4th generation VHS dub. There were plenty of MPEG artifacts and some
imperfections from the original tape (which was off the air and not
perfect either.) All in all, interesting but I’m not planning on doing
many more.

I’m not sure how early the earliest episode I’ve seen is, but I had
never seen Josh Weinstein as “Larry”, Dr. Forrester’s assistant. The
episode I watched was early in the run (2nd of the first season) and
they weren’t really clicking. I didn’t particularly like JW as Tom
Servo and thought the comments weren’t nearly as funny as I was used
to. The best one was when someone started on fire and Crow remarked
“Immolation is the sincerest form of flattery.” I’ve already
downloaded an episode from season 8, and I’ll try that one and that
might be it for this experiment.

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TV TopicA friend at WREK forwarded me this link to a New York Times
article about Donald Wildmon’s organization (remember him?) using some
Christian station signals to drown out the evil influence of NPR
(surely nearly as bad as the ACLU, gays, and other groups that caused
the Trade Center attack as per Jerry Fallwell). This is personal to
me, because one of the two stations mentioned is KRVS, the fine folks who syndicated my
radio show for me and all around good people. I just called the
general manager and chitchatted a few months ago. These folks are
downright wonderful people who opened their studios to me based on one
conversation and fronted me to the NPR organization because they liked
my show. Who can ask for better friends? The link to the NYT article
is here
(registration required)

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Technology TopicThis WiFi stuff rocks! I’ve been lying on the couch in the living
room, laptop on my lap, surfing while listening to streaming internet
radio and SSHing into various machines to do tasks. This is the
life. If only I were doing the same thing from the beach, all would be
perfect. I might need a new battery for the Thinkpad, though. It seems
like it just isn’t holding a charge as well as it used to. I might let
it run all the way down to see if that helps clear out memory effects.

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Now it is Sunday morning, rainy for the first time in months, post
rock-and-roll show, and I feel lazy. This feels like a good day to do
nothing, lie around reading books and drinking coffee and listening to
Camera Obscura. We bought the CD last night at Paul’s
show (why not buy it where he gets the most money?) which we both
enjoyed very much. We got there a little after 11 PM, which was when
Paul was slated to go on. Of course, the band before him was still
playing – rock and roll time has little in common with the EDT time
zone. He played mostly songs from the new CD, all of which I thought
were awesome. His band had Lee Cuthbert from the Gentle Readers and
an electric piano player adding to the four piece band he had at the
last show I saw. Even cooler, on songs like “Jeff Lynne”, Lee was the
one playing the “hero guitar parts” with all the ELO flourishes. The
girl gets to be the badass! Yeah! I had thought he screwed me on the
weblog deal, since as of yesterday his website is all new and no
longer links to his free music page. However, it is still there at http://www.paulmelancon.com/freemusic/
so please check it out. Paul’s wife was happy with me, because I had
exact change. I try to please when I can. The members of the band
weaklazyliar surprised him with a huge banner of the album cover,
which they had the audience sign on the back with Sharpies. I wrote “I
never seen nothing like you” and signed, a reference to “Do Ya”, the
ELO song I think he should cover.

After the set proper, a few other guys came up for unrehearsed cover
versions of “Turn to Stone” (which I remembered 80% of the words to,
despite not hearing it in many years), “Barbara Ann” and others I
forget. All in all, a very good evening. I like that we are going out
and doing things like this. I refuse to give in to impending middle
age! I’ll rock till they kick my walker out from under me!

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I am back. I have to say, giving blood at the actual Red Cross
facility kicks ass! Nice comfortable padded couch instead of those
portable lawnchair things, people aren’t so confused. I’ll never go to
another blood drive again. Because this thing is just down the street
from the vet at which I get pills refilled ever 4 weeks anyway, I’ll
just give blood every other time I go to the vet.

Because I was listening to the OTR with a time display, I know that I
gave my blood in just under 5 minutes. I really didn’t have time to
get into the episode before I was done. I listened to more while
eating Nutter Butters than actually giving the blood.

It looks like our national spasm of patriotism might be waning. Either
everyone already gave blood over the last few weeks and are ineligble
or not that many people are showing up on Saturdays to give. I was
there for an hour and saw 3 other donors total, even counting people who
walked in as I was leaving and the lady whose iron was too low to
give. We still need the blood, friends. Give if you can.

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I’m walking out the door to give blood again. This time I have an
appointment and am going to the Red Cross facility, unlike when I was
turned away from the Georgia Tech blood drive. I’m take my iRiver
SlimX and will listen to an episode or two of X Minus One from one of
my OTR CDs. Blood and old time radio, they go together like peanut
butter and bacon.

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Music TopicI said I would make him band of the day more than once, and
here I go. Our repeat BOTD is Paul
Melancon
. Tomorrow night we go to the album release party, at
which I’ll be buying at least one copy, perhaps a spare for gift
giving. You can hear these songs for yourself at his download
page
. “Jeff Lynne” has been up a while and I’ve listened to it
over and over for months. “King Sham” has only been there a month or
so, but my god it is good and catchy. I like the description on the
web page that says “it isn’t just radio friendly, it is radio slutty.”
I fear nowadays even that isn’t enough to get on the radio, but
fingers are crossed.

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From that Zevon story below comes a typical Zevon quote:

“If you’re lucky, people like something you do early and something
you do just before you drop dead. That’s as many pats on the back as
you should expect,” Zevon once told Entertainment Weekly.

Just watched some taped (no Tivo here) Craig Kilborn shows, including
one with Aimee Mann and then last night’s episode with Ben Stein and
Dr. Drew Pinsky talking about 9/11 and our reactions to it. Drew
seemed to be saying that my reaction is not uncommon for people at the
younger end of the scale, that many seem to be ready to move on and
put things behind them. There might be something to that. This is
right about on schedule for the big generational event that galvanizes
the civic generation like Strauss and Howe wrote about in
Generations. Perhaps the younger people are the ones
who are most willing to suck it up and move on, not because they are
heartless or young, but because they are the “rising civics” and
that’s part of the character of their cohort group. Perhaps if it had
happened 20 years ago, it would be the older people who felt that way
and the young people of that time would be lingering. Anyway, I’m
going to practice what I’m preaching and stop talking about 9/11. I am
going to go give blood Saturday, assuming I can get a slot.

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And now apologies have been exchanged and all seems cool again. I’m
glad this is over. I suspect I might be guilty of being a spaz.