26 December 2005

The Christmas Post

I almost neglected to put up The Christmas Post; my apologies. (And, my apologies for all the semi-colons tonight; that one was on purpose.)



Christmas was wonderfully dull. After opening our gifts at home (and after smoked salmon and capers on cream-cheese-topped crackers), we got ready to head out.



We were supposed to have the day to ourselves in our new house, but we got invited to J--'s folks place at the sort of last minute and headed over there around lunch. In the long run, it was a good thing because, as J-- remarked, Christmas doesn't feel right until you have to schlep your way to someone else's house, which is so true it makes you want to laugh.



So, we do the parent thing, complete with uncomfortable conversation and then head home.



J-- outdid herself again this year, blowing past our pre-set limits without nary a glance at the total line. Not that I'm complaining, but I think the limit thing is starting to look like a Michigan speed limit: merely a suggestion. And with what wonderful item did she heap shame upon my head for not having gifts in king? This puppy: the I'm-Such-A-Nerd, Alton Brown edition Shun 8" Chef's knife. The blade is at a 10 degree angle which is supposed to be an effort saver, but I have to relearn the knife anyway after the disaster my knife skills have become after years of using my other set, so the angle isn't any more strange than having a good knife again would have been. But boy, is it going to be nice to have a good blade again; I had to cut an onion just to try it out and it was.. ok.. you know what.. I'm geeking out on a knife. Had I even the skill to work under a chef, I would have something to stand on, but I don't so, this is just kind of sad, actually.



I also got a lump of coal in my stocking. Not sure what to make of that.



But, a good Christmas around here. The pets did well; Froggie has destroyed two of his three new toys already, which is a record even for him. We go to the West side over New Years. Can you feel the excitement?

Comments return

I have also turned comments back on, with moderation. If it gets too bad, I may just switch back to WordPress; I'm hearing good things.

It's a Jeep Thing

I am now in the league of happy surburbanites who have a) a house and b) an SUV. Tonight, we bought a 2003 Jeep Liberty. It's the Sport edition, which is the low end, but it halved the milage on our primary vehicle and lowered the payment by almost $80 (I got shafted on my last car purchase).



So, the maroon Jeep now rests comfortably in the driveway, waiting to be insured; everything was closed today. First impressions are good and range from "drives more like a truck" to Happy Dancing in the dealership parking lot. All in all, pretty positive marks for a used car.



Tomorrow: tying up all the loose ends (title, insurance, extra keys and such). Oh, and thanks to the guys at Motorquest of Jackson. Ask for Dennis; he put up with our crap and managed to smile through it (three and half hours in the dealership).

23 December 2005

Rebuilding

I'm rebuilding my computer as one of my Christmas break projects, a long overdue cleaning of the system. And God bless Season Days!

22 December 2005

Microsoft expands support for the interrobang

A follow up to a long-ago post... The coolest symbol now has extended support from Microsoft. The interrobang (a combo of the question and exclamation marks) now has characters is many of the default fonts in Windows that use Unicode (Lucinda Sans, Arial, Palatino, etc..)



If only it would come into common usage. It needs to be included on cell phones for text messaging, or in IM clients.



Link

That Feeling Again

Do you ever watch a movie and sit there, staring at the credits, pretty sure that you missed something? And then, as you talk it over with the other people who watched it with you, you start to realize that none of them, intelligent as they are, caught that it. And then, as the conversation drifts out of discussions about camera angles and lighting, you realize, no, we all did not in fact miss something. It wasn't there in the first place.



That's Primer. Primer is one of those films that was shot so cheaply, you want to believe that there's something meaningful there, something that made it drift onto your list of movies to see. But at it's heart, Primer is the same story you've read about time travel and maintaining the purity of the flow of time, only so convoluted and devoid of direction, you have to fill in the gaps with made up story in order to have the movie make sense.



The clever part of the story is that one of the time travelers wakes the beast in all of us, the beast that realizes that by using the time machine, he can improve the present for himself. But the morality tale of what becomes of family, friends, and self gets lost in the self. The characters are simple until the last, when Aaron (played by the director, Shane Carruth), wings his way out of his life in the present to a world in which he is now prescient of that which will happen (thanks to an alluded-to trick of time travel). No regret, no thought about his wife and child, no connection to his friend Abe, the man who basically handed this new world over to Aaron. Abe is able to completely eschew all aspects of his past life and jump, happily, into a new existence. The complete disregard for any normal, human emotion is as ridiculous as the "science" that leads to the machine's creation.



This movie, for all it's appearances, is not Pi (that would be the other movie shot on under $10K that made it big). Pi had an engaging story, characters you hated or cared about, but at least felt something for, and acting. Primer is a study in misdirection and filmographic minimalism, but not entertaining or deep. It's perfect fodder for the indie circuit, however, so get ready for lots of gushing from people who are pretty sure it means something, but can't tell you what.

20 December 2005

Just so I get this straight...

Adam Curry edits the podcast entry which, unfortunately, he has more than a passing interest in and gets crucified.



Jimmy Wales does the same thing and we're cool with that?



Just so I know who to vilify.



For the record, I tend to fall on the side of argument that Tycho from Penny Arcade expressed recently; there are authorities. Believing otherwise is asinine.

19 December 2005

Quick question

What exactly do you have to eat to have this dream?

You're trapped in a Mexican town (which you know because there are lots of Mexican people around) but it's surrounded by corn. You also know that you have to kill a famous 40's villian 8 times in different settings, since he has 8 lives, by sliding a knife between the 6th and 7th ribs.

Just wondering, because we're never having it for dinner again.

UM Starts Own Record Label

It's called Block M Records; mostly classical, and a little sparse right now. Something to watch, though.

Bloglines down today

Bloglines, my RSS aggregator of choice, will be going down today for around 6 hours (if all goes well) for a data center upgrade. The linked news post basically says that they are a victim of their own success, which is great news for them as a company.

However, I have to wonder why they are moving in the middle of the day? I work on a web application and the consideration to take down the app in the middle of the day just doesn't even happen. How can a major service, owned by someone as big as Ask Jeeves, just shut down in the middle of a weekday?

I hope the move goes well, but come one Ask Jeeves, let's act like you've worked online for a few years.

Bloglines | News

10 December 2005

Free-for-all gets planes load faster

While it seems backwards, I've seen this work. On a recent trip, we flew a budget airline and they were turning planes over (deplaning and boarding the entire plane) in under 30 minutes, something I've never had on Northwest.



Link [via digg]