A new toy and a couple of horror stories

April 18th, 2017

I recently was given an old Windows XP laptop. As XP is no longer maintained or secure, I’ve decided to play with a Linux-based OS, specifically, Elementary. It ought to be educational.

I’ve also run across a couple of horror-related items.

In the first, Warner Brothers is being sued for big money over the “Conjuring” movies, by an author who claims he has a prior, exclusive, contract with the people who provided the source information. The fun part is, apparently the only way WB can win is by proving the existence of ghosts and witches.

The other involves a family who got together to play a horror-themed desktop game, and ended up with more excitement than they expected. I have a friend who says he has a similar story about watching The Exorcist the first time while attending a conference at Walter Reed.

Catching up a bit

April 12th, 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve been busy at work, I’ve been dragged down by my seasonal allergies (when I’m congested, I can’t use my CPAP), and I’m just getting over a bout of food poisoning (my own fault, embarrassingly). They’re all just excuses, though. I haven’t felt motivated to post, and that’s the real reason.

I did want to mention this past Monday evening, though. I have a number of Jewish friends and acquaintances, and I was invited to a Passover Seder that was held at a local community college. It was a nice evening; I had fun, met some nice people, and ate some interesting food. Couldn’t sing along with anything, but I did get to do a reading.

The amusing (if offensive) portion of the evening was on the way into the venue, though … the local chapter of The Gideons was passing out New Testaments just outside the entrance. Legal, I know, and I’m not arguing that it shouldn’t be; I’m saying it was tasteless and offensive. I know it was important from their point of view, but I still think they shouldn’t have done it.

Well, that wasn’t good news

February 11th, 2017

A friend just emailed me the news that Ed Bryant was found dead yesterday. Ed was a local science fiction/horror author I knew slightly – I’d see him at local conventions from time to time, and he was a neighbor to one of my former co-workers. Nice guy, and not much older than me. Sad to think I’ll never see him again.

RIP Boy Scouts

January 30th, 2017

They’re going to allow girls who identify as boys to join. That’s going to go over really well when they have to share a tent on a camp-out. Then again, do the Boy Scouts still do that? Or is it too retro and manly?

Will the Girl Scouts allow boys who identify as girls to join? If not, why not?

Marble Madness

January 24th, 2017

I heard on the radio news that a truck driver lost 38000 pounds of marbles on the highway near Indianapolis the other day.

I called in and requested this song. The DJ said he’d try to find it, but I wasn’t able to listen long enough to see if he actually did. It’s not quite identical with the news story, but … enjoy.

Is there a reason for this?

January 18th, 2017

I’ve been looking for productivity apps for my phone and tablet lately, because I’ve been wanting to improve my productivity. However, I’m also somewhat concerned about my privacy, so I’d prefer to use applications that don’t require me to obtain an account in order to use them. Most of the Kanban apps require accounts on their service, but I’ve found two that don’t, and I’m checking them out.

I understand that certain applications really do need access to a server in order to implement the full set of capabilities. But riddle me this, Batman … why the hell does an editor require me to sign up for an account? What capabilities does the server provide in this case? I mean, I was able to do search and replace, automatic word wrap and hyphenation, and other such functions back when I was using an Apple II. Is my smartphone less capable? If they’re going to keep my files on their server, no thanks. That’s why I make backups, and that’s why Apple provides iCloud. What’s their value-added here?

I’ve deleted the application, because it doesn’t just have limited capabilities without having an account – it won’t let you use it at all until you sign up for an account. You can’t even find out whether the available help information tells you why the account is needed. I really wish the app store required developers to state whether their app was usable without an account; it would make my selection process easier.

Serendipity, or, The Troubles That Come With Age

January 10th, 2017

Marion and I went cross-country skiing in Frisco last Sunday. It was a beautiful day, but the skiing was a hell of a workout. The temperature was in the upper 30s, and it had been snowing all day. Because of the snow and overcast, it was hard to see the tracks in the groomed trails. I had trouble seeing them at times, depending on the light, and Marion found them by following behind me. Because of the snowing and the relatively warm temperature, the snow was “slow.”

Even going down the steepest parts of the Frisco Bay loop, I had very little glide and no carry. On the steepest downslope near the end of the trail, I couldn’t even coast to the bottom, and Marion was able to shuffle down slowly with her skis pointing straight downhill.

It took us roughly two hours to go around the trail once, which is about twice what it normally takes. As I said, a hell of a workout.

The serendipity comes in because I decided Sunday morning that I was going to need a backpack, so that I would have somewhere to put any layers I removed while skiing. It wasn’t a problem Sunday, but I’ve ended up wearing just a t-shirt above the waist more than once while skiing. The backpack I grabbed is one I’ve used for exercising while walking, and had 20 pounds of weights in it. When I removed the weights, I noticed something else in it as well. It was the 18-55mm lens for my Canon camera, which I’ve been looking for for almost a year. That just goes to show how diligent I am about getting my exercise, I suppose.

In any case, I’ve been looking for it for a long time, because I backed a Kickstarter project over a year ago for the Pulse camera controller from Alpine Labs, and I received it last May or so. Since the only lens I could find was the 70-200mm zoom lens that was on the camera, I really didn’t do anything much with the Pulse until this week.

Today, I tried taking a time-lapse sequence of photos. It worked, but stopped early, and I need to determine why (I have a few ideas). However, I did get over 150 RAW photos of the foothills in Golden that I need to figure out how to stitch into a movie. It wasn’t the best weather for anything that looked impressive, but it was good enough for a first try. I’ll be trying more soon.

Tunesday

December 20th, 2016

I haven’t done any posting in almost a month, and I haven’t done one of these in a long while. We’ll do Christmas music, because it is the season.

A holiday I can enjoy

November 28th, 2016

Today is November 28th. In Japan, it’s unofficially Nice Knee-High Socks Day. This is because the date forms a pun in Japanese. Writing the date as 11/28, or 1-1-2-8, the Japanese for the numbers would be “ichi-ichi-ni-hachi.” Shortening it by dropping the second syllables and adjusting the final sound, you get “ii ni-hai,” or “nice knee-high socks.”

A lot of people post pictures, which I think is nice.

I don’t believe I will attend

November 28th, 2016

Last night, Marion and I went to a local dance studio that has open dancing on Sunday nights. Unfortunately, last night’s dance was cancelled – the studio was closed so that they could supervise rehearsals for an interpretive dance retelling of Star Wars. Yeah, not to my taste.

By the way, a web search for “Star Wars Interpretive Dance” brings up a number of possibly-interesting results.