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ohio, museum, cincinnati, art deco, architecture

Not about the election

Posted on Wednesday, 5th Nov 2008 at 14:50
Current Mood: workingworking
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
The problem with LiveJournal is that either there's nothing worth talking about, or I don't have time to post, and then by the time I get around to it, I've forgotten all the little details that made it interesting in the first place. The last few weeks have been in the latter box.

I told you I was about finished building a media centre PC, right? Well, after two IDE to CF adaptors failed (one taking the CF card with it, the other catching fire, but at least leaving other components alone), I've decided to start again with an actual hard drive. I've got all the bits I need, but I've not had a chance yet to start again. Maybe this weekend? I've not been slacking, though. In the meantime I've had external drive 1 hooked up to my laptop, and so far I've burned about 650GB of DVDs to it - just last night I did the 8 disks of Life on Mars. It makes a noticeable dent in my collection, but there's still a loooong way to go.

In related news, I've had little reason to turn on the photoshop machine recently (yes, I've been neglecting my photography), and I think it was feeling neglected. So when I tried to turn it on last week, it wouldn't even POST. I couldn't find any good reason why this would be so, so I took it to our local shop to get tested. Apparently, the problem was that the motherboard wasn't properly screwed in, and the weight of the heatsink was causing it to flex more than it should. So I bought new mounting posts and screws and re-seated it, and after a few tries to get the power switch connected back properly, it all seems to be working fine again. Hurrah for science!

We went to the wedding of one of Amy's cousins just across the Kentucky border last weekend. It was fun, and I took some pictures. Hopefully, I'll have a chance to work through my backlog soon, and get some of them online for you.

Amy decided to buy one of those Wii things off eBay. The price isn't great, but it's not bad, considering you just can't find the things in shops.

Anyway, does anyone have one of these? What games do you think we should get for it?

Hallowe'en was a few days ago, and that was fun. Isabella dressed up as a fairy princess, and collected candy from all of her grandmother's neighbours. I think we ate it all on her behalf, though. Since then, she's enjoyed putting the outfit on when she's around the house.

Oh, and we helped out at her daycare's Hallowe'en party, which was fun.

There's an old, dead tree overhanging our bedroom (and Isabella's) that we've been meaning to get cut down for several years now. We finally got someone to come out and look at it, and we got a price, and knocked a bit off if they don't cart the lumber off, because we have a fireplace. So we came home one day to find about a cubic ton of logs in the yard; somehow we'd not realised that this was a big tree...

Anyway, our neighbour has a logsplitter that he's been itching to use, so he's chopping it up into more manageable chunks for us, in exchange for as much wood as he can carry off. Some of it still needs to cure for a while before it'll burn, but we'll not run out of firewood any time soon.

Was there more? I'm pretty sure there was. Ah, well. I'll try and keep this better updated in future.

mondale, democracy, change, election, vote
Posted on Wednesday, 5th Nov 2008 at 06:39
Current Mood: excitedexcited

video, youtube, timing, clapperboard, action

What I've been doing

Posted on Wednesday, 22nd Oct 2008 at 14:39
Tags: , , , , , , ,
wheeler thinks I should post more. And you know what? He's right.

You might have heard me talking about building a home theatre PC, over the last month or so, so I could get my DVD collection off the shelves and onto hard drives? Well, I finally started a couple of weeks ago. The hardware is based around a 2.3GHz dual-core processor, 4GB of memory and a 32GB CF card, with the actual media being stored on a stack of external 1TB drives. The original plan was for it to be running XBMC on WinXP64, but it was painfully slow, for no discernible reason. Right-clicking on the desktop would take several seconds to bring up a context menu, which is just wrong.

So, I got the hardware checked out, and every seems to be fine, which isn't the best answer I could have received, but never mind. Anyway, I decide to install Linux on it, to see if a different operating system will give me a different result. Ubuntu seems to be what all the kids are using these days, and it's easy enough to install, so I use that even though my taste runs more towards Gentoo. And it's still a little slow in places, but for the most part, it works well enough. And then a little digging led me to believe that I can get everything I need under Linux (with one program that I need WINE for), so I started loading it up. I'm still not convinced that it couldn't use memory more efficiently, but it seems to be doing OK.

There have been a few teething issues (I still need to get a new wireless card), but fewer than I thought there might be (there are Linux drivers for the remote control interface), so I'm pretty excited with how it's going. Hopefully, in a few days, I'll be able to give it pride of place in the living room. But that's been taking up most of my non-work energy for the last couple of weeks.

Oh, and the first movie I copied over? The Breakfast Club. With a library of 589 titles, I figure there's something like 1000 DVDs in total to be processed. Could take a while....

crazy americans, america, anglo-american, grand union, compromise

More politics, I'm afraid

Posted on Tuesday, 16th Sep 2008 at 16:09
Current Mood: boredbored
Tags: , ,
I've no desire to make this a political blog, but a couple of things cropped up in my RSS feeds this morning that seemed to go pretty well together:

John Scalzi on "why isn't Obama lying as much as McCain?"

Jim MacDonald on "Can McCain find a bigger lie to tell?"

Oh, and Karl Rove on McCain:
"McCain has gone in some of his ads -- similarly gone one step too far, and sort of attributing to Obama things that are, you know, beyond the '100 percent truth' test."

What does it mean when Rove thinks you're lying too much?

code, programming, computers, perl, adventure!

Looking for advice on a PC case...

Posted on Tuesday, 16th Sep 2008 at 10:12
Current Mood: workingworking
Tags: , ,
I'm looking for a bit of help from those of you out there who know a thing or two about building computers.

I'm planning (not 100% sure it's going to happen yet, though) on putting together a computer to act as a home theatre system, so that I can get all my DVDs off the shelf, and I've got it pretty much specced up, but I'm having problems finding a decent case to put it all in. I looked at low-profile "pizza box" cases, but getting the expansion cards I want in a low profile mount varies between "ridiculously expensive" and "impossible". So I've decided on a micro-ATX cube case, and I currently have my eye on two of them as being the best of a bad lot:
Cut for picturesCollapse )
So, does anyone have any alternatives they'd like to recommend? I need something with four full-height expansion bays and a minimum of two external drive bays (ideally 2× 5.25", but 1× 5.25" and 1× 3.5" would work, too). Large fans preferred over small ones, and I'm not keen on transparent sides. "Cheap" and "nice-looking" would be advantages, but they're not deal-breakers.

Can anyone out there make any decent recommendations? Thanks.

weather, rain, forecasting, sun, snow

A hurricane? In Cincinnati?

Posted on Monday, 15th Sep 2008 at 09:31
Current Mood: workingworking
Tags: , , , , , ,
We got the tail end of Hurricane Ike yesterday afternoon. Winds gusting up to 75mph which, had it been sustained at that kind of level, would have made it an actual hurricane instead of a windstorm. But it was enough to snap off four-inch thick branches off trees in our yard - one landed on the neighbour's fence, but other than that, no harm done - and lifted a few shingles off the roof.

And it took out the power. To, according to the radio, 90% of the local power company's customers were without electricity: 681,000 people. So, after Isabella went to bed, we played The Office trivia game by candle light, which made it tricky to tell what colour different pieces were.

I got into work about an hour late this morning, and there's power and Internets here, so I might as well stay. And Amy called just as I got to my desk to tell me that power was back on at home, which is nice. They were saying on the radio that it might take up to a week to get everything back up an running.

I've slept through worse, to be fair, but it was still pretty freaky.

Oh, and I mentioned dropping my phone in the bath the other day? And how it was working pretty much perfectly? Well, yesterday morning it decided to not be able to power on. It just goes to some rainbow-pattern screen, and I need to take the battery out to turn it off. Hopefully the shop I got it at will be open this afternoon, and I'll be able to get it replaced. But it's not exactly the best time for it to have died...

baby, tiny things, fingernails, babies, Isabella

A couple of things

Posted on Saturday, 13th Sep 2008 at 08:03
Current Mood: awakeawake
Tags: , , ,
Isabella was at her grandmother's on Wednesday night, so Amy and I took the opportunity to redecorate her room a little. We moved the furniture around, added a few pictures, and we had these little wooden cut-out animals, so we added magnetic strips to the back of them and attached them to a whiteboard for her to play with. Nothing terribly major, but not insignificant, either. And then when she came home from school on Thursday and saw her new room for the first time, I think it was the first time I've seen someone literally quiver with excitement. She really seems to like her magnetic animals. Amy has more details.

I got a belt case for my phone, because it's a bit bulky to fit in my pocket. And when I was giving Isabella a bath, it was getting in the way, so I unclipped it.... and it dove straight into the bath. I managed to fish it out, turn it off, dry it off as best I could and left it on a towel overnight. It was a bit screwy in the morning, but now it's almost fine, other than one of the softkeys. But it's an annoyance rather than a problem, so I'm going to live with it. And I've got everything backed up off the phone, in case it goes south after a while.

fascism, alan moore, anarchy, terrorism, politics

The party of family values?

Posted on Thursday, 11th Sep 2008 at 17:25
Current Mood: amusedamused
John McCain seems to be courting the NAMBLA vote.

Wonder what the "liberal" media will have to say about that...

board games, wrong, bad to the bone, gambling, music

Friday 10

Posted on Friday, 5th Sep 2008 at 10:31
Current Mood: amusedamused
Tags: , , , , ,
Today, my DAP has decided that I should mostly listen to movie themes, it appears.

Anarchy in the U.K. - Green Jellÿ
Mohammed's Radio - Warren Zeven
Nothing Else Matters - Metallica
Robot Replica [Metropolis OST*] - Jeff Mills
I Told Ya I Love Ya, Now Get Out [Moonlighting OST] - Cybill Shepherd
Yesterday's Men - Madness
Main Titles [Blade Runner OST] - Vangelis
Ant Man Bee - Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band
Never is Enough - The Barenaked Ladies
Main Title and The Arrival at Naboo [The Phantom Menace OST] - John Williams

*OK, not exactly an original soundtrack, as it was produced about 80 years after the movie, but I can't think of a better way to describe it...

supernatural, a ghost, haunted, faux pas, shakespeare

Did you miss me?

Posted on Wednesday, 27th Aug 2008 at 12:38
Current Mood: workingworking
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
So, I've been neglecting this LiveJournal thing recently. Busy busy, you know. The weekend when the Olympics opened, we went to Raleigh to meet up with some friends. We watched Sinbad of the Seven Seas and ate Krispy Kremes hot off the conveyor belt, and a fun time was had by all. I still haven't had much of a chance to go through the pictures I took. Must get onto that.

And on the way back, we were supposed to fly out of Raleigh at 10:40am, and get into Cincinnati at about noon, but at about 8am, we got a phone call from the airline saying they'd cancelled our flight (due to "weather"), and we'd leave at about 4:30 and, after a short stop in Atlanta, get back to Cincinnati at 8-ish. So, we went to see the 11am showing of The Dark Knight, which was pretty good. And the final leg of the flight was delayed, so we didn't land in Cinci until 9, and didn't get home until 11. Which kind of sucked. It's just lucky that we could get people to look after Isabella that evening on such short notice.

We took the side of Isabella's crib the other day, and replaced it with a short rail that'll stop her falling out, but has room for her to climb out, if she needs to. The next morning, we found her asleep under her bed, but other than that, it's worked out pretty well. Sometimes, when she wakes up from her nap, she'll get out of bed, open her bedroom door and come and find us, which is nice.

I had a birthday last Tuesday, so my age is no longer a power of two. Since then I've been reading an excellent book on the ancient human occupation of Britain. Fascinating stuff. And Isabella got me about eight hours of Star Wars music, which just goes to show how excellent her taste is. The ring tone on my phone is now the main theme to A New Hope. You guys should call me so I can listen to it again ;)

On by birthday, I discovered that it was also the anniversary of a second recent mass murder: I was well aware of the Hungerford Massacre in 1987, which put something of a downer on my 12th birthday, but I recently found out about Carl Drega's shooting spree in Columbia, New Hampshire in 1997. There ought to be a law against things like that.

Amy's grandfather died last week, and was buried over the weekend. I never really got the chance to get to know him as well as I'd have liked, but he was a good man, and I'll miss him. Requiescat in Pace.

On to happier things: Last night, we went to Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse for a birthday dinner. If Michelin covered Cincinnati, I'd guess it would be a two-star restaurant. One-star, at the very least. Elegant without being pretentious, friendly without being personal, and it's been a long time since I've eaten anything as delicious (though I think Amy did better than I by ordering the lamb, which was utterly sublime). If you're in town and not a vegetarian, it's well worth a visit. It's not cheap, but it's worth the money.

I've been listening to the audiobook of The Man who was Thursday as well, recently, and it really makes me want to track down more of Chesterton's books. I hear the Father Brown Mysteries are good? A couple of quotes I found particularly charming:
So you talk about mobs and the working classes as if they were the question. You've got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn't; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all. Aristocrats were always anarchists, as you can see from the barons' wars.

We say that the most dangerous criminal now is the entirely lawless modern philosopher. Compared to him, burglars and bigamists are essentially moral men; my heart goes out to them. They accept the essential ideal of man; they merely seek it wrongly. Thieves respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it. But philosophers dislike property as property; they wish to destroy the very idea of personal possession. Bigamists respect marriage, or they would not go through the highly ceremonial and even ritualistic formality of bigamy. But philosophers despise marriage as marriage. Murderers respect human life; they merely wish to attain a greater fulness of human life in themselves by the sacrifice of what seems to them to be lesser lives. But philosophers hate life itself, their own as much as other people's.

How can you not love a turn of phrase like that?

Speaking of music, spot the odd-genre-out when you rank them by frequency of body parts named:

(I took that picture from Wired; if you click through, you can see how carefully they cropped it...)

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