We’re not in canvas any more

Jun - 13 2010 | no comments | By

Still obsessed with video. I’ve collected enough software to sink the hd of my first computer several times over. SilentBob bears it all uncomplainingly. Edit, convert, edit, save; my bitty movies are piling up. The duds get deleted — I DO sometimes get rid of useless things. Sometimes.


The third edit of Brick Geek, an opportunistic documentary starring a bricklaying friend, is my best work so far. Though far from a masterpiece, it has some good moments. I worked hard to get the timing right. A lot of work for a mite short of four minutes of final product :).

I would upload it, but the star is out of town and I don’t want to be rude. Meanwhile, a nice, if sloppy, flower and music vid is up on Youtube: A Walk in the Garden. You can’t smell the roses. 🙁

Update on an earlier post — I see by my site log that I’m not the only one who had a problem with MSE’s mpminisigstub.exe (and Comodo firewall). I still don’t know why the unpleasantness ended, which program gave in first. Doesn’t matter much. I fired MSE a couple of weeks ago because it did the unforgivable again. It rudely and peremptorily snatched harmless files away from me, with no hope of recovery unless I have them on a backup CD. Nothing does that to me and gets away with it.

I still recommend it for know-nothing users; it will protect them from even the stuffed tigers, so no harm is done. I just isn’t suitable for ornery old granny-hackers who refuse to run as admin.

The Return of Spring

Jun - 05 2010 | no comments | By

It’s an established fact around here. Actually it’s fading rapidly into summer.. I gathered a few of my accumulated photos and a piece of music that I cobbled up several years ago — and recently edited — to make another practice video. It’s not too bad.

YouTube link

It’s been some time since I went into Obsession Mode with ModPlug Tracker and cranked out dozens of odd bits of music. I’m getting musical again, so watch out. My favorite piece, Kansas Nights, is high on my video to-do list.

Oh look, moving pictures

May - 31 2010 | no comments | By

Long ago I took a filmmaking course at the University of Wisconsin Green Bay. The campus was embryonic in those days. I learned the basic tricks of cinematography with an enthusiastic instructor and a close friend who was mad about animating dinosaurs.

Now, in the digital age, like everyone else, I have a camera that can take both still shots and movies. Until a few days ago I had not gotten around to exploiting my little Canon’s moviemaking abilities. It took the cumulative effect of various upgrades some time to sink in. Suddenly it hit me: Oh, I can do this — I have enough drive space, Windwoes will not hork up because I have sufficient RAM for every process, I have a decent video card. I can eff around!

And so I have been effing around. I am pleasantly surprised at the quality of the Canon PowerShot A550’s performance. IMO it does very well, for an affordable (barely, on my budget, when I got it) point-and-shoot. Of course all depends on the steadiness of my hand and the readiness of my eye, with a good measure of luck thrown in. Anyhoot, the short movie clips I’ve shot so far are at least good enough to play with.

I have lost my YouTube virginity.

I shot these iris pans during a long insomnia session this morning, stitched them together, and uploaded before I crashed. The original shots are much better quality, but bandwidth is a resource that I believe should be used judiciously.

Or — since the embed seems reluctant to function for me right now — Morning Irises

The flowers are just around the corner from my house. The sound is what I live with.

Lost or…what?

May - 26 2010 | no comments | By

It was a day.

The worst of it is not knowing what happened. I remember starting out on the walk back home, I know what direction I was headed. I had thought I could get through that maze of streets. Even if I had to cut through a back yard or two, it should have been possible to make a shortcut to where I was going.

The maze turned out to be more impenetrable than I remembered. There were also dogs. I had to backtrack.

Then things get weird. I was again walking in the right direction, but I was a couple of blocks on the wrong side of a street that I should never have crossed and don’t remember crossing. I know that street. It is the one I should have gone down instead of trying to angle away from it toward my destination. It has several times as much traffic as the side streets that balked me; I always have to wait to cross it. There are familiar landmarks everywhere; I do not remember passing them. There are no streets in the right places. How did I get that far off?

The longest and worst stretch of the walk was still ahead of me. When I finally got to the top of the hill, my home and my workplace were equally distant. I figured if I went home first, it would be too long before I felt like walking that one extra block. So I took the shortest route to JAK’s Place and revved up a computer to do the newsletter mailing labels. I went home a couple of hours later, after planting some sick looking cucumbers.

Several hours and a short nap later, I’m still wondering where I was. I’ve been looking at maps, crawling over it with google Earth. It’s imposible. But it happened.

I think I have watched too many episodes of The United States of Tara in too short a time.

Green Twitterz and Spam (LOL)

May - 22 2010 | no comments | By

Holy moly, the spam count has risen lately. I have a shneaking suspicion that it has to do with integrating my blog with Facef^ck and Twitter. ‘Sall right, Akismet sorts it out beautifully.

The really sad part is that there haven’t been any funny random-phrase posts. They can be so much fun! Lines like “I shouldn’t be surprizing so hard at that” give me a case of the tickles. Yeah, I’m easily amused.

Whatever the minor consequences — including loss of time — I’ve been enjoying Twitter. It keeps me more on top of a lot of news and a bit more in touch with more people.

In the garden now:


Cheated again!

May - 19 2010 | no comments | By

Yes, again. I paid for a good night’s sleep and all I got was a 2-hour nap. This is worse than usual; four hours is more typical. All you normals out there, please don’t bombard me with suggestions for how to overcome insomnia. NONE OF IT IS RELEVANT. Most of it is old wives’ tales, AFAIC, and the best of it comes off as horribly patronizing. I am not mentally impaired, not inexperienced, not ignorant. I am very aware of what is going on in my own mind and body, accustomed to finding my own solutions to problems, and my success record tops anythig medical professionals have tried to perpetrate on me.

My sleep irregularity has roots unfathomable. It is an irregular irregularity, a chaotic cycle that has no truly predictable pattern. I can often tiptoe around it and achieve some apparent success by timing and regulating my food intake — but there are no guarantees. A day filled with healthy outdoor activity, ending with a light snack at the proper time, and no big worries, may result in too-short sleep, while a good night of 6+ hours may follow a low-down day with a heavy afternoon nap. It’s my body and it’s fucked up. Always has been, always will be. You don’t have my genes or my background, so shut TF up. BS me no BS.

In my early years, my sleep was often disrupted or delayed by my immature parents’ screaming battles. That certainly had its effect on establishing a pattern, or lack of it. However, it’s been a long time since then. 3am is a peaceful time here and now. I am in control of my own life — as much as anyone can be.

Yesterday I could understand the short night. Although I worked hard and could, by “normal” standards, expect to sleep soundly, I anticipated an unusual schedule, and that left a back door open for unconscious sabotage. It was no surprise to suffer what I call the four-hour curse. Today, with no fixed appointments ahead of me, no restraints, a good feeling following a pleasant conversation, I expected something better than a two-hour nap after staying up until after midnight (going to bed earlier is a guarantee of short sleep for me). Yesterday was productive, too. I earned a good sleep. I didn’t get it.

So here I am, having a beer or two and blogging before dawn. There’s a good morning’s sleep ahead, with my head buried under a pillow. If you love your life, don’t call me.

For your irrelevant amusement, here’s my latest desktop screenshot, featuring a bit of my own front yard:

Kind of how I feel sometimes

May - 05 2010 | no comments | By

A short excerpt from Chapter 14 of A Drum Is Empty:

The long tassel of his hair, tied securely by Jesumi, flopped against his shoulders when he turned his head to gawk at his fine companions. It all seemed like a dream. Who was this newborn stranger inside his skin? Certainly not the bad-luck boy who had fled from the Bull band. Ratovin-scatovin, son of Nobody, was no longer. Nor was he the prancing child who made his mother laugh even longer ago. He had entered a third phase, with a future full of unforeseen promise.

Three is a magic number; he could not know what it might bring, but he was ready for any– Woh! He made a hopping recovery from a stumble. Ears hot, he paid more attention to the ground ahead of his feet.

Granny Geek Potato Salad

May - 04 2010 | no comments | By

Potato salad

Boil up a bunch of russet potatoes with the skin on, enough water to cover.. Don’t bother to wash them, the dirt will boil off and sink to the bottom.

Take spuds out to cool. Save the water for soup (settle and pour off) or use it to water plants after it cools.

Mix dressing in bowl big enough for all. Couple of big blobs of mayo, 1/4tsp or so of stevia extract, a good slosh of raw cider vinegar. Add fresh chopped chives and stir well. It should be on the soupy side. Optional: salt, pepper, paprika, finely chopped pepperoncini peppers, (your favorite thing here).

Chop the still-warm potatoes in. Discard ugly spots, but keep the peels. Good for ya. Stir it up. If you were very clever, the proportion of dressing to spud is perfect. Let it rest as long as you can bear to before digging in.

This is high-acid stuff, little fear of food poisoning if it’s handled sensibly.

Oh, yeah, you can toss in hard-boiled eggs too. Doesn’t keep as well then, though.

My MSE Security Flaw (not?)

Apr - 29 2010 | no comments | By

I’ve been using Microsoft Security Essentials for a couple of weeks. It has not buggered up my resources (mind you, SilentBob has 4GB RAM and a decent processor) nor destroyed anything essential (unlike McAfee). I can heartily reccommend it for normal lusers users.

With one reservation.

I am using a third-party software firewall. Comodo Internet Security is the only option I had for x64 that was free. It’s quite effective — just DON’T install the antivirus! DON’T! The firewall is great; the antivirus is a millstone. Normally I use ClamWin, a modest scan-on-demand open source AV. My scans are always boring. They’ve been less boring with MSE, which has picked on a number of things that weren’t causing any trouble…souvenirs that I kept quarantined in my own way…but as I said, it hasn’t really hurt anything. The pickiness is very good for the normally unaware user.

But when it updates…. Now I realize that the weird and sneaky way it updates is a good security measure. The problem is, every time it creates its new updater file in a directory with a new name, the firewall sends up a warning. Do I want to let this new EXE run? Both proggies are just doing their job, and I just click the button.

This is where the problem bites. Today, I caught myself clicking the button without reading the message. BAD! Any warning related to an action that I did not initiate must be examined. However, MSE’s daily update makes the “Okay, let it do its thing” reaction habitual for a warning that occurs soon after startup. What if it was something MSE missed? It could. Nothing’s perfect. I don’t trust anything.

There is no way I can tell Comodo to lay off MPMiniSigStub.exe because it is never the same. Names don’t count in the security game, and even if they did, it’s a different folder name each time. I am stuck with this daily warning about something that is there to do good; and if I’m busy, groggy, on the phone — no kidding, the first time, it interrupted a long-distance phone call — I either stop everything and squint hard at the tiny message font or take a chance. I may be fearless, but I’m not much of a gambler.

To flaw is human. *rolls eyes*

May 16 — the daily warning has stopped. Perhaps my firewall has “learned” that the daily odd file is OK. Or maybe it reads my blog.

BTW, MSE is a right beyotch when it comes to irregularities in Windwoes registration. It may pass your Winderz as legal when it installs only to nail you on the first scan. It also likes to turn on automatic updates, apparently. I had some fun recently when I installed it in a more experienced computer. Rolled back to the previous AV and retweaked Windwoes. But as long as your OS is legal and up to date, it is still one of the better free alternatives. Probably the best ever to replace the foistware you get stuck with in a new machine.

Speaking of Twitter….

Apr - 25 2010 | no comments | By

I’ve been in it for over a month now. I like it. Finding new friends, renewing old aquaintance, following interesting links and learning about things I would have overlooked — tons of redeeming social value.

But then there is the Dark Side of Twitter. Individuals whose main objective is self-promotion for profit at the expense of others. MLM whores who will randomly follow anyone in the hope of building their downline. I have one thing to say to these bloodsuckers — Fuck off. Following me will only get you one good slap in the face and a lifetime of being blocked.

Because my tweets are varied, I expect to collect a lot of short-term followers who latch onto some keyword in a search. I check out all followers. If I like what I see, I follow back. If I don’t…see previous paragraph.

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