July 20, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 2:32 pm

I’ve been meaning to mention this for some time:

Exhibit 1: The newscaster in Batman who gets killed on-air by the Joker’s nerve toxin.

Exhibit 2: Rachel Ray.

I rest my case.

July 18, 2007

I’m Having Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam, Baked Beans, Spam, Spam, Spam And Spam.

Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 10:03 am

This might be a coincidence, but I’ve just received a bunch of spam whose text looks like it was culled from usenet newsgroups I’ve participated in sometime in the past.

Now, that’s quite crafty, and I totally respect evil genius and all, but God Dammit.

July 17, 2007

Domestic Dispute 2.0

Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 11:14 am

I’ve recently misfired a pretty hefty told-you-so while it was pointed right at my wife. It was dark, it went off in my hands, accidents happen, mistakes were made. Let’s not point any fingers here. Anyhow, she doesn’t want to have anything to do with me so here I am to entertain all of you, and then we can all pretend to care about each other in tiny little doses, thousands and thousands of times. Think of it as the long tail of poor domestic-relationship management practices.

I’m sure that we can all get through this difficult time together. Onward!

  • Warren Ellis, whose Nextwave and Planetary series’ are some absolutely fantastic comic-bookery has written a book called Crooked Little Vein. The first chapter of it is here, and it is absolutely mandatory reading.
  • Here’s some container-vessel disaster porn.
  • As a promotion for the upcoming movie, a giant Homer Simpson has been painted next to an ancient pagan land ornament, which has apparently got some pagans quite upset. Those pagans can be pretty uptight that way! Without a doubt, though, the unambiguously for-the-win quote is this:

    “We’ll be doing some rain magic to bring the rain and wash it away.” She added: “I’m amazed they got permission to do something so ridiculous. It’s an area of scientific interest.”

    Translated from indignant-crazy-person to english that reads, roughly, “BBC 1, Pagans 0.” In this cosmic struggle of advertisers versus pagans, though, let us root for the underdogs: go, pagans.

  • I went on a while back about The Wizard Of Oz and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon; It’s now on Youtube, of course.
  • Here’s a tribute to Radiohead’s “OK Computer” that I thought you should know about.
  • Phillip Pullman’s absolutely fantastic His Dark Materials series is being movie-ized, and here’s the trailer for Golden Compass, book one of three. And it looks stunning.
  • This is a portrait of Bruce Lee made entirely of karate chops.
  • This is a map that’s the opposite of truth, but beautiful nonetheless.

There you go. That should drive a truck through your series of tubes for a bit.

July 12, 2007

Linux Power Management

Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 11:38 am

Back in the early nineties, I once put a Powerbook Duo to sleep for weeks. When I turned it back on, there it was, just the way I left it, windows and all, in just seconds.

Now, running Linux on modern hardware I can sometimes get that to work, and sometimes not, and it won’t work at all if I have a USB key or an SD card plugged in, and it might depend on a race condition between two competing power management programs, of the three or four available, and some of the time it will wake back up just fine, and other times not so much…

This stuff should really just work, but getting it to that state is some serious nerd voodoo, if it’s possible at all.

I haven’t figured out how to kill people with my brain yet, so those of you who’d like to suggest that I buy a Mac can for the time being do so with impunity.

July 3, 2007

A Perplexing Truth Made Shockingly Manifest

Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 10:56 pm

What, a particular Zen koan asks, is the nature of a spinning chicken? Somewhat less opaquely, though also less elegantly, one might ask: is one defined by one’s actions, or does one have an innate nature? Is this nature inherent, an immutable thing that you cannot escape or transcend, or can it be shaped by one’s decisions, actions and reactions?

I, for one, have just accidentally spilled beer on my copy of “Time Management For Systems Administrators.”

I’m not sure what that means, but whichever way you want to go, the symbolism is rich.

(Update: And then, strictly speaking, blogged about it.)

July 1, 2007


Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 7:24 pm

Two or three years ago during a trip to my eye doctor, he asked if I wanted to get my retinas photographed. When I asked why you’d do that, he said that they can now take very high-resolution pictures of the back of your eyes, and that they can compare those old shots to new ones as you go along, with the possibility of catching problems early. I’m still not clear on what exactly you do with eye problems once you’ve caught them; I’m really not up to speed on the state of that particular art. Can you trade them in yet? Will they grow new ones for you, in a tank?

Anyhow, he took one look at the pictures that came back and said “Wow.” Which I thought, in hindsight, to be a touch unprofessional, because when a doctor of any kind looks at a test of any kind, having a dry “wow” escape their lips unbidden is just a teensy bit disconcerting. But then he followed it up with “I bet you’ve got a lot of family pictures where you’re squinting in them, don’t you?”

Why yes. Why yes indeed, I do. How do you know that, please?

“Take a look at this.”

So, it turns out that the back of most people’s eyes are a healthy, saturated pinkish red color. Mine? Not so much. Pale, pale pink, just this side of a bloodless yellow. Not an indicator of much of anything, apparently, (vampirism is sadly right out but given my stature, thinning hair and predisposition towards the precious, it loves us, I am at some risk of gollumism) but just the root cause of the fact that I find bright lights extremely uncomfortable. Which is, should tell you, true, hence the pictures.

A few days ago, I picked up some of these, Nike’s amber-tinted contact lenses; and I’m pretty surprised. The contrast of objects, the details that I can suddenly see in them is insane – stuff just jumps out at you, sharply focused and in stark, bold contrast to its surroundings. I can see thick, deep texture in clouds that I couldn’t see at all before, see detail in motion that I couldn’t even begin to make out. Can people with normal eyes see that stuff? I sure can’t; most clouds are just bundles of flat gray-white glare to me, but with these things in it’s all I can do not to just stare. At almost anything, really, like I was missing something all this time.

It’s so wierd, because the tradeoff is all the colors I’m not seeing “correctly”, whatever that means. Some blues become teal, others bright green. Gold becomes, greyish, or bright ruby red, and various browns and whites turn into high-contrast sepiatones that are hard to describe. Green plants, around dusk, turn an odd purplish-white.


On top of that, maybe the best thing about them is that I can put sunglasses on over them, and all of a sudden I can look at the whole wide world without having to squeeze my eyes three-quarters of the way shut.

I’m a fan, is all I’m saying.

June 30, 2007

I Will Find You

Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 5:03 pm

Dear Home Decorators Of The World, Hear This: Paint over wallpaper is a capital crime. It is so wrong, so wide and deeply understood to be wrong that even though it should be enough to let you hang from the gibbet of your own terrible taste, a truly just society would draw your punishment out, anointing you with a weak solution of vinegar and water and scraping you right down from dwindling flesh to slowly bleaching bone.

Especially if you’ve painted over the wallpaper you put on the ceiling. I mean, Jeebus, who does that? Honestly, come on.

June 27, 2007

The Converse May Not Be True

Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 7:26 pm

I often wonder if people who blow stuff up for a living want to come home and unwind by methodically fixing dumb, trivial little problems on absurdly tight deadlines for disproportionately high stakes. I comfort myself periodically with the idea that they might.

June 25, 2007

High Fidelity 2: High Definition

Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 1:45 pm

On the off chance that there’s another Linux pariah reading this: tell me, how does one watch HDTV in Linux these days?

I should start off by saying that I’ve got a Hauppauge HVR-950 USB dongle here, plugged in and working – a miraculous little widget, incidentally, which I will endorse at great length in the future – but I’m looking a program that will let me watch TV (both high- and standard-def) in a little window on my screen.

So far:

  • Mythtv isn’t the right answer. It doesn’t run in its own window, it runs full screen, or rather, starts to run full-screen for a quarter-second and then noisily dies, pulling X down with it. Crashy!
  • tvtime isn’t the right answer – no sound, standard-def TV only.
  • Xine-hd might contain the right answer within it, but the interface is such a goddamned crime scene that I have no way of knowing. Four years later it’s the same shitty skinned interface, designed by and for second-generation crack babies; not a damn thing has changed, as far as I can tell. Not a confidence-builder.
  • Anything that runs from the console is not the right answer, and
  • Buying a Mac is not the right answer.

But I can’t find anything else that isn’t in one of those categories, so all I have is a bunch of half-working semisolutions. Which is, I suppose, the Linux Way. Anyone? Beuller?

June 22, 2007

Birds, Bees, Creeping Horrors, Etc.

Filed under: Uncategorized — mhoye @ 2:49 pm

“I have no idea what we’re seeing right now, but I have a feeling it’s
really, really wrong.”
– Stan, South Park

I’m cleaning out my junk mail folder and it is saturating my brain with horrific images brought on by the bizarre, alien euphemisms that spammers now employ to worm their way past my filters. And it occurs to me that somewhere in the world, some young person’s first glimpse into the sewer that is consenting adulthood is going to come not from sex-ed classes, swiped copies of playboy (so retro!) or even just a regular old birds-and-bees talk from mom and dad, but from this cesspool of psychosexual depravity that your mail client works hard to keep you from seeing.

And as a result, some parent out there, I’m sure even as we speak, is having the most horrifically awkward conversation in the history of the universe.

“Dad, what’s a hymen cracker?”
“… a what, now?”
“Would mom love you more if you had a bigger piano?”
“We don’t own a piano.”
“Oh. Is farm fun what happens when you punch a donkey?”

Good luck, people-I-know-who-are-now-or-about-to-be-parents. Your courage astounds me, and I salute you.

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