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Music TopicGoing out tonight for a special evening, to see wonderful Atlanta
musician (and high school friend of my wife) Paul Melancon. I
have been keeping him as an ace up my sleeve as a killer band of the
day. I intended to wait until his new CD came out to use him, but I
decided “screw it, I’ll do it twice!” So, here is his download
page
. These are great, catchy pop songs. The two from his new
album are really unbelievably freakishly good. If you never download
any other thing I suggest, please give these a try. “Jeff Lynne” has
been one of my favorite songs for a while, complete with all the ELO
touches you’d expect in a homage. He just recently put up “King Sham”,
a song that is 20X better than that shit you hear on the radio. His
work is amazing in that it is fresh and contemporary sounding, but at
the same time kind of retro-feeling. I could imagine either of these
songs on a Todd Rundgren album of the 70’s but he wouldn’t be out of
place opening for No Doubt or Matthew Sweet or Incubus. Please, my
dear friends, hear my plea and give this a listen. If you don’t like
it, I’ll give you double your time back.

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I just heard the funniest thing I’ve ever heard on local news. They
were talking about these floating churches on rivers in Russia. The
newscast included the line “Obviously, these churches are perfect for
baptisms.” In most nautical situations, that would be called
“keelhauling” but here it is a baptism.

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Dumbass me, I forgot to publish my last entry yesterday. Oops. I
actually did do a band of the day yesterday. I also forgot to mention
about Make Believe a few days ago that it was my first OpenCOLA
success story. I have a folder with my weblog plus all pages that I’ve
referenced as BOTD and the main page for that record label showed up
as a recommendation. Cool!

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I may not be weblogging or posting to the newsgroups much over the
next week. I’m at one of those climax points (as in climax forests) where to do anything
means not doing another thing. I have enough to do that I could not
sleep in the next two weeks and still be busy. Just a few quick
thoughts for the moment.

I got the Aimee Mann CD I preordered today. It is a beautiful package,
a great CD. If it weren’t for free downloads, I wouldn’t have known it
was available. There’s a datum of no statistical significance for you.

I spoke too soon on that Arin stuff yesterday. Today, they switched over
the other server, so I was back to implementing the new parsing All At
Once in a Big Hurry. I got it done, though. I really have to rewrite
this crappy whois proxy thing that the script is based around –
something my boss downloaded from somewhere.

Dragon*Con starts on Friday. I’ll probably swing by downtown Thursday
night and pick up the registration stuff while it is relatively
easy. That way I can leave work early on Friday and just waltz in. If
I’m not on any panels, I’ll pick the events I want to attend, budget
myself a few hours for the dealers room, an evening to wander around
parties, and not attend the rest of the time. I originally was telling
my wife that I couldn’t do anything that weekend but now I’m changing
my mind. We might go to Rome to visit some kinda-kin of hers. Or maybe
not.

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Music TopicToday’s band of the day is James Kochalka
(Superstar). He’s a cartoonist and a musician and generally a
brilliant freak. His music is lo-fi and so is his cartooning, and I
love it all. One of my first act of unauthorized behind the scenes
machinations with the WREK automation was to add Kochalka’s song
“Monkey vs. Robot” into it. Here is his MP3.com
download page.

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Had an exciting morning here at work. Part of what I do is run a
server that converts IP address to geographic coordinates. We
originally used NetGeo as the
source of the coordinates, but I have since been tasked with parsing
the data from the WHOIS records into coordinates (essentially doing
for ourselves what NetGeo does.) This morning, I walk in to find that
Arin has changed the format of
their records, completely breaking all my parsing and screwing up our
ability to even find the WHOIS records. After a morning of fun and
excitement, I found that they are still operating a server at
ws.arin.net that is the old one that used to be at whois.arin.net. I
suppose I will have to subscribe to all the mailing lists for all the
registries if I don’t want this kind of surprise again.

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Music TopicThis evening I got e-mail from Steve Coleman, the jazz
saxophonist and composer. I had e-mailed him a while back, telling him
that I mentioned him in the weblog, that I’m enjoying his music, and
that I look forward to his essay. He intrigued me by saying that he
basically agreed with my points about their being an
“enthusiasm/visibility” issue that isn’t currently comprehended but
that for him there is a philosophical and spiritual component to his
filesharing that is more important to him than the economic. I don’t
believe I’ve heard this from any artist, so I look forward to his
article with bated breath. The information age surprises me. Can you imagine the equivalent
happening 30 years ago with John Coltrane or Sun Ra? I wonder if I
would get a response if I e-mailed Pharoah Sanders or Sonny Rollins?

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Technology TopicMore wifi fun. I now have the card set up under Windows 2000 so I need
not even boot into the hated Win98 any more. I’m connecting wirelessly
under W2K so that is nice. When I set this laptop up years ago while
still working for ITRU, I left a few gigs unpartitioned. I just might
install Linux with a Ximian desktop on it. Why not? Nice to have
options and all.

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I’ve been helping a guy I used to work with on some of the IT issues
involved with his hosting of his stock picking website. This required
me to dust off some of the IIS knowledge from my Wellmed and
Intertrust days. I don’t really like working with IIS but I’ll do it
for him. I’m getting a subscription to his site out of the deal so
that is cool.

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This is the first weblog post from my couch! I bought a Linksys
wireless access point and I already have the Linksys wireless card the
IT guy at work gave me. Theoretically, I could replace my Netgear
router with this thing since it has the wireless access plus 4
ports. However, many of the guys at home with Linksys routers have
trouble with the VPN through them. For the time being, I’m just using
it for the wireless stuff but one day I might replace the Netgear with
this thing. So far so good. The only real problem I have is that the
sound seems to have stopped working. I suspect an IRQ collision
between the wireless card and the sound card. I’m not going to hassle
with that just yet. For now, I’m tickled to be connected wirelessly!

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I used to be more active on Usenet than I am now. After a while, it
all seems so pointless. Two groups in particular are symbolic of this
new-found apathy: rec.arts.sf.written and alt.radio.old-time. Both are
ones I used to get a lot out of and contribute to (rafsw more than
arot-t) but now seem kind of full of self-righteous assholes. In
either there are certain actions that seem harmless to me that will
bring out the wolves. In rasfw, it is a writer talking about their own
work, particularly the availability of their own books. My low point
with the group was when the Seeing Ear Theater people, a group who
does nothing but good for SF, announced that their adaptation of
Octavia Butler’s Kindred was available via
RealAudio. You’d think they pissed on Hugo Gernsback’s grave! The
prickly hordes arrived to decry this horrible crassness. Nevermind
that 50% of the posts in the group at any time are absolutely idiotic,
off-topic nothingness, usually smart-assed and pointless replies to
someone else’s smart-assed post. THIS wrong must be stopped. I
killfiled many of the hair-shirt, usenet purity crowd around
them. Most of those filters have expired, but I’ve never really posted
much or even read much since then. I have upfilters on a few people
and topics. I’ll read everything Charlie Stross or Lois Tilton or
Brenda Clough or Lawrence Watt-Evans posts, but that’s about it. Most
of it is of low enough value taht I don’t miss it when it is gone.

In aro-t the hot button topic is
mentioning the sale or even *purchase* of anything to do with old time
radio. It is impossible to say “I have this for sale” without a
furor. One might argue that those are off-topic in a non-marketplace
group. OK, I’ll agree. The same people that protest that protest
people that mention buying things! One guy posted information about
a stack of reels he had purchased at on OT Radio convention. The group
consensus was that he was an asshole for talking about radio stuff
when he wasn’t going to post MP3s of them. Nevermind these are on
reels and he may or may not even have the capacity to do it, unless
you post the stuff you are just bragging (actual words used by a
poster.) To this day, I have more killfile entries in that group than
any other.

The thing that bugs me most is the fundamentalism. I don’t believe in
zero tolerance rules, and this is what exists in these groups (or
would, if they were evenly applied but that isn’t even true.) The
atmosphere that this stuff engenders is a generally chilling effect on
conversation. A few years ago, the late George Alec Effinger made a
post on rasfw, and rather than being greated warmly (as such a great
and friendly guy deserved), a group of the same people who got under
my skin during the above replied with “How do we know that is really
GAE?” It was all too ridiculous, even more because GAE had the most
unique voice in posts I’ve ever run across. Everything he wrote,
whether fiction, e-mail or a GEnie post shone with its own weird
light. The only person who could successfully mimic that would be,
well, George.

I probably have posted fewer than once a month since then, almost always
answering a specific question on a narrow topic. Today I posted in
response to a query about Michael Moorcock reading order. I can’t see
ever really hanging out as a social thing there unless I stop hating
most of the residents so much. Hate is a waste of time and resources
anyway, better to just put that heat elsewhere.

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I’ll be attending two science fiction conventions this fall – Dragon*Con in Atlanta and Orycon in Portland OR. The Dragon*Con
schedule of panels is up, and for the umpteenth time in a row I’m not
actually scheduled on anything, despite filling out in excruciating
detail the programming survery. I’m about tired of this. I may only
attend Dragon*Con for a day or two now that I see how it is going
down. I’ve been declining other things for that weekend, but if I have
no panel responsibilities, who cares when I am and am not there? I’ll
wait until I check in – maybe I’m on programming and just am not
listed on the website. Uh huh.

I’m hoping for a little better at
OryCon. I moderated a panel there a few years ago on literary comics
that was the best panel experience I’ve ever had. It is also notable
for being the time when I gave my first ever autograph of my work,
signing a diskette of my Reality Break ebook. The autograph seeker? My
fellow panelist Larry Niven. He may have just done it to be nice, but
I got quite the kick out of it.

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I don’t believe we have anything on the agenda today. After a few
weeks of serious activity, including cleaning for our house guest, we
just don’t have a lot on the plate today. We might go see Full
Frontal
today, or we might just loaf on the couch all
day. I checked out David Brock’s Blinded by the Right
and am reading that lately. Other than that, I hope for today to be a
battery recharging day.

Ran across this from a random walk – posters for the RIAA education
effort into the evils of downloading, available from Modern Humorist.

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Technology TopicAlthough I should have done this a long time ago, I just got
around to setting up an account with
DynDNS
. I now have dave-slusher.is-a-geek.com pointing to my
house. Here is my
local copy of this weblog.
Pretty slick. If my NetGear router gets
a new IP address via DHCP, it is supposed to notify DynDNS of the new
one. We’ll see if that happens. I don’t think I’ve changed IP address
in the last year, but someday it will happen.

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Music TopicToday’s band is another new one to me. Now that I’ve ran out
of the easy ones that I already knew about, I’m having to dig a little
further to find them. This is a band I’m very glad that I dug
for. They are from my old home of Portland OR, and are called Make
Believe
. I stumbled across their page looking for something else,
and listened to some of the MP3s on their download
page
. I’m hooked. “C’Mon Juliana” is my favorite of the 6 or so
I’ve listened to. Eventually I’ll listen to them all.

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Music TopicTodays band of the day is brand new to me, I just ran across
them today but I really dig the songs they have available. This is the
band Maogojiatta.
I found out about them by cruising through the site of their
publicists. They have two songs available at the site above. I
downloaded both and really like them. “City” has kind of an old
fashioned feel to it, kind of like a Buffalo Springfield vibe. Or
perhaps I’m just tired and talking nonsense. Whatever.

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Last night I spent the evening rushing at my old fraternity, the
Georgia Tech chapter of Zeta Beta
Tau
. Through a series of screwups, the chapter was kicked off
campus three years ago and is only just now ending its exile. I cannot
say that I had any great desire to be attending rush parties into my
mid 30’s, but there you have it. It was good to see my old
compatriots. I still maintain that I look and act significantly less
middle-aged than the rest of these guys.

In some ways I feel the same
about ZBT and WREK – in both cases the main reason for my involvement
was that the organizations were in danger of becoming defunct. It’s the
duty of the current stewards of any such group to keep it alive, out
of respect for the legacy of those who preceded you and as a service
for those who will follow you. I sure hate to see organizations that I
feel fondly towards floundering and in danger of going belly up. I
sure wish that the current custodians of each could handle it without effort
from me but you play the hand you are dealt.

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I’ve been reading some of Paul
Graham’s
writings on Lisp. I had read some time ago his account of
how he used Lisp in Viaweb (later Yahoo Stores) to beat the
competitors. With this renewed interest in Lisp, I had it pointed out
to me that he is now giving away his book
On Lisp
for free. In one of his many articles, he talks about how
pointy-haired bosses always want you to use what they perceive as
being the “hot” language. Towards the bottom of his hilarious essay
Revenge of the Nerds
he includes this little nugget of wisdom:

If you want to trick a pointy-haired boss into letting you write
software in Lisp, you could try telling him it’s XML.

I’m enjoying his essays. I might as well give some Lisp a shot. My
editor program of choice includes a Lisp interpreter anyway, so why not?