Sadly enough, I've been without any wireless device (excepting the cell phone) until just a little while ago. I find it both encouraging and incredibly absurd that I am posting this from the grilled to order teat of Burger King right now. Apparently I am the only foundling pulling at the burger teat right now because the wireless here is startling fast. There is something profoundly unsettlingly about that although it is new enough not to cost anything. It makes me wonder when fast food places are going to realize that free wifi actually works against the turn over as many seats as possible strategy that most fast food joints employ. The other strange part is that not only is wireless available but actual RJ45 jacks (!) and outlets. The ready accessibility of wifi seems like another bubble waiting to burst despite it being pretty cheap/easy to provide and a pretty powerful draw when choosing between a couple different varieties of generic burger. The other odd part is that it isn't advertised -- I just sat down at a table and spotted the jacks. I'm sorta loving it.
I had to correct any number of excluded verbs and whatnot. The sheer grease of a BK lunch apparently clogged the arteries that feed areas of the brain responsible for grammar and tense agreement. I'm not claiming perfection now, but most of the sentences in this post now feature subject, verb, and object. Yeesh. My eventual plan is to be fully awake and capable of coherent verbiage before three in the afternoon.
We just returned from a trip to the mountains to take part in a wedding. Everything was great: the ceremony was both funny and touching, we had a wonderful place to stay, and got to spend some time with friends that we rarely see. The burn of the whole thing was coming to the realization that I really hate the mountains. Yeah, I know, I'm a total dick and all of that but I had a semi-stupid epiphany while we were killing a couple hours between ceremony and reception in one of those dinky strip-mall-as-a-town places. I was thinking that the elaborate staging of faux-thentic mountain crap is the attraction for many people or at least what gets them to pull off the highway and buy some garbage. It makes my flesh crawl and I miss all of the bullshit and filth of the city when confronted by mountain Disneyland. I can see the mountains from here and I think they look a lot more interesting from far off as opposed to up close where they cannot awe or inspire but are instead pimped out to sell me coffee tables made out of tree stumps or ice cream.
I'm pretty excited to be typing this from my kitchen table. I just migrated here from my couch which allowed a little too much slouching for a ragged old man on a school night. The wireless router arrived today and despite some painful realizations while setting it up -- devices that use embedded Linux often require a Windows box to properly configure them -- I'm pleased to be cordless. That doesn't include the power cable that I have to drag around because my newly acquired Acer has absolute shit battery life worsened by the use of the integrated wireless. But, still, I'm more free, I guess and I could possibly go outside or something (horrible, horrible sunlight) and that is 'better' than the other options.
The Windows install that I did on a dusty old 40G that formerly occupied a bookshelf was a study in misery. I'm more than willing to give most Linux distributions a patient sigh when things work imperfectly because most of the people who work on that software are unpaid joy-drones doing their best to create things that they and we need. MSFT, on the other hand, delivers turd after stinking turd. I spent more time digging up driver CDs that had never even left the sanctuary of their plastic envelopes than doing anything useful. For having Ur-market saturation you'd think that the big-goddamn-crazy-dollars installer might be able to detect a fairly generic NIC, eh? Again, I'm baffled by the length of time that it takes to install an operating system, some card games, and a web browser. So, you wanna play some games instead of actually using your computer? It's all yours. Even if I were to live to be three hundred years old I'd feel like that time wasted was utterly irretrievable. I think I've earned a little piss and moan time since I eat your dog food five days a week.
I also got a used copy of what I think is Sonic Youth's best album, Bad Moon Rising, and was blown away by how weird and wonderful it still is. This edition was some kind of weird reissue with commentary by that asshole Cosloy that makes sure to let you know in fifty different ways how behind the curve your ass is and a bunch of photos. All of the goodies and baddies aside, the desolate space most of the songs on that record contain is still haunting despite the recent glut in Scandinavian soundscape hacks that have seemingly taken over this shelf space while simultaneously being incredibly boring and sounding astoundingly uninspired. Some songs feel like you could roll a Winnebago in there and still have room to maybe assemble a ping pong table out front. Lydia Lunch still sounds like a dog whistle wearing too much lipstick but I can forgive that for a single song. Aging that well is admirable for an album that will old enough to drink next year.
So, I've been meaning to post something here for what seems like weeks. This could be even more exciting than my typical "I didn't make this world or this motherboard" whine fest since I've recently acquired a whole host of new gadgets and whatnot. Those gadgets have been keeping me busy.
I've always wanted one of these and I finally bought one. They are the weirdest guitars ever because although they look pretty metal (there really need to be a 'metal' tag for HTML that would make your type all spiky and illegible) although not nearly as metal as the atrocities that come rolling out of the B.C. Rich foundry of plywood reinforced axxxes on any given day they actually predate the hyper application of spandex chaps and vowel/consonant transpositions (umlauts/happy-face-makers optional, of course) that dominated MTV in the 1980's. There is a promo still of Steve Miller rocking out one of these bad boys and I'm completely cool with that association. This guitar isn't a true Iceman which has a larger body and would probably bruise the hell out of my spindly little frame. I bought it mainly because I thought it would be fun to have around as a guitar to make all of my purist friends roll their eyes. Turns out that I like this guitar enough that it is displacing both Challengers as my primary instrument. It sounds amazingly clean even with the ridiculous strings I use (.056 - .013) and pushes a lot of volume when I lay into the strings a little harder. It looks goofy as fuck like I should have a crewcut and Vegan Reich hoodie on when playing it but I'm actually fine with that. Now we'll just need to learn a few King Crimson and Voivod covers...
I also bought a Zaurus. I think the Zaurus stands head and shoulders above any other gadget that I've ever owned or even evaluated as the shittiest implementation of a great idea bar none. Eventually I will need to drag its cradle and an extra compact flash card into work with me so I can flash the crappy ROM that resides in its guts at the moment to replace it with something that will actually play nice with other Linux machines. It is next to useless as is. Grrr... I now own more CF peripherals than I ever imagined possible. Until then I might as well yank my clunky old Visor out of moth balls and have something on my desk that doesn't serve solely as a collector of cat hair. It brings to mind the practicality of this other memorable use of Linux.
Yoon and I have matching Acer Aspire 300xxx laptops that just rolled in last week or so from Tiger Direct. I actually tried to order them from NewEgg but finally canceled my order after talking to one the most useless phone representatives in the history of bad shopping experiences:
Me: Hi, I'm calling because there was a problem with some of my billing information.
Evil: Yes, your phone number doesn't match the one on your billing statement.
Me: Uh, my phone number hasn't changed in over four years. I just looked at my account information on my bank's web site and they have the same information that I gave you.
Evil: I guess we'll have to try it again.
Me: So what happens next then?
Evil: Well, either your bank gives us the correct information or your order will automatically be canceled in three days.
Me: Wonderful. Can I talk to a manager or supervisor?
Evil: There is no one else.
Me: Well, in that case, I will take my $1500 fucking dollars and try somewhere else that doesn't wait three fucking days to verify the credit card info incorrectly on a rush order.
Um, so that ridiculous episode aside, I really like the new little boxes. Others have said that they've had trouble getting all of their hardware to work on the same model but I have everything working. All I really did was install hotplug, coldplug, and ndiswrapper. Yoon's is running Debian stable without problems. I'll eventually tackle the wireless issue on her machine as well but I'm pretty happy with the overall impression in the meantime. It's speedy enough for Gentoo's non-installation and seems to operate nearly as quickly as my desktop machine which is precisely what I wanted: a portable version of my desktop with some wireless capability and minus a bunch of blinking LEDs. Doing it for $600 a pop was icing on the cake. The project manager for the Zaurus still needs to be cock punched but otherwise I'm knee deep in interesting new stuff that I will pay for with interest in the coming years.
Even after you've spent countless hours training for spy missions there is one foe you are definitely not prepared for. She waits for your sloppy moves and your pathetic night vision goggles. Although the captain of the ship is too lazy/stupid to implement print quotas, she is merciless and will pay no attention to your excuses.