Friday, November 14, 2014

Back in the Habit of Destroying Computers, Toilets

About a year ago, dontEATnachos traded me a computer in exchange for some professional services.*  This thing was pretty rad, and considerably better than my jury-rigged old dog from 2008.  I’ve already managed to break the new kid.  Twice.  I shall relate the story of the new kid in rhyme.**

My old dog still had XPpro, and basically worked, if you can excuse the graphics driver pulling shit fits fairly regularly.***  The hdd’s still had space, the graphics rendered at decent enough quality and framerates, and the processor rarely struggled.  My most recent purchase for this computer was Fallout: New Vegas, and that ran fine, even modded.  The problems were that I was getting some signs that the older of the two hdds was sick, and probably on it’s way to the great scrapyard in the sky,**** and that XP was soon to be left behind to history by Microsoft, while remaining in heavy use by damn near everyone.  I was thinking about saving up for a new machine, and at the rate I was being paid, I would have achieved the savings of a decent 2013-2014 machine by 2077.  Just in time to die, like the secondary hard drive.  Incidentally, the dying hard drive has been previously mentioned on this site.   The dying hard drive only holds…stuff, while the still good drive holds music and the OS.  The only important fact is that my music is safe, for now, and that dontEATnachos gave me a cool new computer.

The new kid is neat,
She has three feet.
The new kid plays games,
But not the bad kind of games that involve your feelings. The good kind of games like Dragon Age.
The new kid is light,
Not 780 pounds like this Alienware machine that I still haven’t fixed.
The new kid wears black,
You don’t give a jack.*****

That’s all the rhymes you’ll get out of me.  Back to the interminable saga about how I shouldn’t be allowed to own computers.

dontEATnachos had graciously included Dragon Age: Inquistion (with all DLC), Red Faction: Something, and a couple other games that I didn’t get to try.  The new kid had a better video card with a working driver, and a large pair of hard drives in a RAID.  The only thing the new kid didn’t have was a wireless internet adapter.  I didn’t need this for a while, I kept the new kid safe and secure by not allowing it to connect to the internet, and left my old dog to slowly gather dust as an internet machine.  Eventually, I got bored of switching from one computer to the other to look up information and tips for Dragon Age.  I thought about running a long cord to the router downstairs, but had to give up when I realized that shoving a wire through the gaps in the floorboards was probably not the best idea in case the landlord decided to visit.******  No problem, I’ll just use my wifi dingle dangle from my old dog.

This was the first mistake.  A couple days after installing the wifi dangle’s driver, the new kid crashed on startup without even blue-screening.  Just powered down like I had pulled the plug halfway through start up.   This kept happening with increasing frequency and sometimes the BSoD would flash on the screen for a brief moment. To get past this, I would just reboot the computer and it would usually work.  I might have to unplug the computer and hit the power to empty the cobwebs in the capacitors, but it would usually boot up fine after a crash or two.  After a couple months, I finally got a blue screen that stuck around and was able to write down the error code.

The error code indicated a wireless device driver was the source of the problem.  So I uninstalled the driver, and installed a brand new version of the driver that was only about three weeks old that was supposed to fix this exact problem with W7.  I rebooted the machine after installing, and that was the last time I was able to do anything on the new kid.  The boot process was completely borked and would not complete at all.  I tried a couple tricks, but nothing would work.  I ended up giving the new kid to the trusted IT contractor we use in my office with the specific instructions that he save the data on the drives before doing anything else.

You can guess what the first thing my guy did was.  After wiping the drives and attempting to get W7 to reinstall, he decided that the hard drives had been damaged in all the months of crashing and rebooting and power cycling.  He said that the RAID driver had also become corrupted and that was bad, as dontEATnachos had said it would be if it were to happen.  I only lost a few thousand words of several different stories, the most recent versions of those stories, and the games which were distracting me from those stories.

About five months after I surrendered the new kid to the tender mercies of my guy, he returned to me a working new kid with two new ssds with equivalent storage capacity, W7 Pro, and the full Office suite.  Shortly thereafter, I backed up my stories to the computer, installed ZoneAlarm, Minecraft, Steam, Fallout: New Vegas, the Orange Box, Goat Simulator*******, Fallout, and Fallout 2.  I was happy, I had my computer again, and I had a third safe place to work on and store my stories.  Or so I thought.

With only one month of successful usage and operation under her belt, the new kid crashed shortly after startup one day.  I rebooted and she worked just fine.  Then she crashed after I loaded a save game in Half-Life 2.  I rebooted and she worked just fine.  I thought it was just an oddity.  These incidents were just a hard crash to black when idling in Windows, and involved a video card stutter and total halt during game play.  Then she crashed during startup.  I started seeing blue screens, with a variety of errors.  Nothing seemed consistent, and everything was still plugged in on the inside of the new kid.  After consulting with dontEATnachos and another friendly professional, canadianLUMberjack, I’m guessing that the new kid’s power supply has died.  I’m wondering if the power strip she is plugged into is still good.  There’s a lamp on the same circuit that dims every now and then.  I’m not a forensic electrician, or any sort of electrician, but I’m moving new kid to a different outlet and power strip after I install the new power supply.

I’ll take pictures, I know you’re just dying to see those.

* Barter economy is the best economy.
** No, I won’t. Well, maybe.
*** Save early, save often, vault dwellers.
**** My dusty box of hard drives and other computer parts in the bottom of my closet.
***** Good enough.
****** I shouldn’t have been worried about this, that landlord was a slumlord.
******* Brilliant and ridiculous.  Absolutely wonderful.
******** You’re probably also wondering about the toilets thing, I’ll get pictures of that, too.

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Where the fuck is fulsome while all this SCIENCE is happening?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Strange Brew Sunday: New Glarus IIPA`

Since fulsome is completely ignoring all forms of communication, I’ll continue stepping up and slapping him across the face with a suspicious haddock.  The haddock in question this week is New GlarusIIPA.  The flavor and mouthfeel is very similar to a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA, but a little less malty.  At 85 IBUs, it isn’t the most bitter beer I’ve ever had, but it is up there.  The IIPA uses English Maris Otter malt, so that could account for the difference in the malt body.  The hops have a hint of something Belgian, as well as the more usual flavors.  The ABV is 9.75% when bottled, but this, like many New Glarus brews, will condition if stored properly.  I don’t know where it would top out, but if I had a cellar, I would be keeping a couple bottles in a cool, dark place.

Overall Review: Any Given Morning (I would give this the highest recommendation, but the ABV makes it tough to have more than three or four and remain capable of winning an argument.)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Good Time Tunes

While driving from the Middleofnowhere, Iowa, to the Uppermiddleofnowhere, Wisconsin, I wanted to make good time on the roads without risking my life.  I could have downed 75 ounces of coffee and just floored it, but I get jittery after 60 ounces, while also spacing out on extremely productive, but distracting tangents in my internal monologue.  Instead I limited myself to 56 ounces of coffee over several hours, and rotated through my CDs.   Since I know that you are just sweating in anticipation of seeing this list, here it is:

Silver Jews – American Water (Originally recommended to me by a man who will no longer speak to me, but that is what happens to two men with a woman involved.)

The Duhks – Migration (First heard on NPR All Songs Considered {I think, it was a while ago.} and then seen live at Iota.)

Action Painters – Eponymous Album (Seen live as an opener for Olivia Mancini and the Mates, ’80s-esque rock that sounds genuine.)

Architecture in Helsinki – In Case We Die (I should really get their new album {albums?}.)

Old Crow Medicine Show and Various – My Phone (I made an upbeat playlist on my phone, it starts with Cocaine Habit and Tell It to Me by OCMS, and Cocaine Blues by The Man in Black, and then stays at that pace for a while.)

Various Artists – Carondelet (A mix album from an unknown west coast-based blogger, containing everything from The Zutons to The Wrens, with some Canasta, Architecture in Helsinki, and Of Montreal thrown in for giggles.  The music snob who mixed the album helpfully refused to include proper encoding on the tracks, so that those who wished to purchase the respective albums could only do so by listening to every song everywhere to determine the origins.  That’s hipsters for you.)

A lot of the still active bands with sites beyond Myspace have at least one or two free downloads, and I would recommend that you check out the sites except that I am fairly certain that only I and dontEATnachos will ever see this post.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Monsters vs. Aliens

I’ll try to keep the internal narrative to a minimum…

As the presumed recipient of a little recent advice about some unlooked for free time, I am trying to push forward and find some lemonade or maybe even a decent margarita.

Slightly related sidebar: There are a surprising number of categories on this blog about my somewhat erratic posting schedule

In my initial attempt to use up some of this free time, and the completion of the annual WRN never-in-one-place rendezvous — details as they are scrubbed free of any information that might out anyone’s jealously guarded cover IDs and memories float up from the blur of activity, allow me to describe the preview screening I saw last night.

A friend managed to get tickets to a preview screening of Monsters vs. Aliens (MvA) last night and agreed to share them with me if I would go sit in line so we could get decent seats. First off, I have to say the new polarized 3D glasses strike me as much better than the older options. Secondly, it’s been a long time since I have seen another 3D movie so the only thing I remember about them (and this may be wrong) was that the 3D experience was much more specific. Namely, that only certain items at certain times were really presented in 3D. With those caveats in place, I have to say that the 3D in this movie really impressed me. It was much more pervasive than I expected and it was done quite well.

Unrelated sidebar: I just watched the “Ultimate Game” episode of Dollhouse while procrastinating during the writing of this post and I was scared to realize that we already have a “Joss Whedon” tag and “Hunting the Ultimate Game”

Overall, I liked this movie. I am pretty much the target audience for the film. It has an inordinate amount of San Francisco scenes and includes voice acting from Will Arnett and Stephen Colbert, two of my favorite actors/comedians. I will admit that the film may be a little to California-centric. Set in Modesto and San Francisco with prominent mentions of the new Peoria, a.k.a Fresno, it really plays to those roots. It does feature a line that I think may well replace “by Grabthar’s Hammer” in my personal lexicon for at least the next six months but I am trying my hardest to refrain from uttering it for at least another week.

My largest annoyance stemmed from the fact that this is a family movie. A four-year-old kid behind spent about fifteen minutes of the movie throwing popcorn at me. That hindered my enjoyment and replaced the fact that it was pretty fun to sit through the first few minutes of the movie where they show-off the 3D magic and the kids gasp as asteroids and comets come ever closer.

The movie doesn’t quite approach the Pixar magic where every scene has some little hidden jewel but instead it feels like the dialogue tries to fill that role and almost every line is a reference to some other cultural moment — E.T., Godzilla, Arrested Development, possibly Peter Gunn — and the possibility for dissecting the dialogue and looking for other little buried treasure references to places in the Bay Area makes me far more likely to go see this movie again than I might expect.

To summarize, go see this movie if you want to see the sci-fi, kid-friendly version of Superbad. In fact, that is a good relation to my feelings for this movie. It has flaws; I wouldn’t give it more than 3 out of 5 stars but yet I will end up seeing it again because there are some superb moments that let the rest of the movie float by on the overall sense of fun and mischief. Also, I am still dying a little bit on the inside from trying not to ruin all of the one-liners while I still can.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Coaxing Fulsome Back?

As most everyone has noticed Fulsome has (I can only assume from his lack of presence) reclused himself to some sort of cave where robots and nanomachines keep him in a state where he has free time in only 15 second intervals.

Unfortunately, this has led to him not ever posting … ever.

So in an attempt to at least to get the occasional update, I’m thinking we’re going to get him involved in some microblogging.  The plan right now is to get him setup with a Twitter account and then modify the little quote above to be ‘Dispatches from Fulsome’ or some such nonsense.  Then Fulsome will be able to update with the observations he’s so well known for.

I know it’s not ideal as I don’t think pictures of burritos will fit in the space except if they’re very tiny[Ed. note, the burrito or the picture … your choice].  Still, we’ve got to try anything to get him to update something.  I mean, it’s like he doesn’t even know we exist anymore.

I’ll be honest and say that I doubt he’s going to actually update it very much.  Don’t worry though, I’ve already thought of that though.  The plan is that since I’ll create the Twitter account he’s going to be using, I can just make up crap and pretend it’s from him.  Everyone’s happy!

Anyway, that’s it for now.  I’ve got to head back and play some more Bionic Commando: Rearmed (or keep working on getting the latest version of the software set for release … I hate configuring package installers!).

Thursday, June 14, 2007

I found my blog keys

They had gotten lost in one of those pesky tubes. Sorry about that…

I will try and think of something worthwhile to tell you but I first wanted to reassure Chuckles and dEn that the FBI hasn’t forgotten about their pet issue…
FBI zombies smaller

Friday, March 30, 2007

Upcoming Movies, or Chuckles Tosses Probably Undeserved Bile on Warner Brothers

While performing actual work today, I stumbled across some interesting information on a number of movies that Warner Brothers is either working on or shelving. (more…)

Thursday, March 8, 2007

That Heidegger Post I Said I Was Going To Write

Martin Heidegger states this idea nicely: “Profound boredom, drifting here and there in the abysses of our existence like a muffling fog, removes all things and men and oneself along with it into a remarkable indifference. This boredom reveals being as a whole.”

Wikipedia is not an acceptable primary source. Yes, this means that I am still gathering information. I did some work and have since realized that I need to read a few books before I can accurately comment on Martin Heidegger’s complex political situation, even the brief version that was given to me as an introduction to Heidegger’s existentialism.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


In addition to certain unnamed projects to which I will only refer cryptically, I am eagerly looking forward to any news about the film production of World War Z. The book was amazing and awesome and so many other words and now that I have heard that the script is being written by Mr. Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski, I am in full on pants-checking anticipatory mode.

The Zombie Survival Guide was really damn neat and thoroughly consistent in ways that I enjoy when reading books or watching movies. World War Z kept that consistency and tossed in a heaping helping of emotion and tension. It was sweeter than a pile of ponies ridden by baby pandas, but if sweet meant super rad and not like the kind of sweet that seems to have infected 3 Bulls of late.