October 31, 2004

Just finished the dishes, the girls are asleep, and the trick or treaters have stopped appearing at the door. Time to wind down from a long weekend.

The girls had a great time today and happily have the day off from school tomorrow.

Me? I gotta work...

Posted by michael at 10:29 PM
October 30, 2004

Astute Cruft readers will notice that I've changed my moblog from Textamerica to Flickr. There's nothing wrong with Textamerica, but Flickr is much cooler. Far beyond a simple moblog site, Flickr has tons of cool things.

I met Caterina and Stewart, the founders of Flickr, at Digital Foo Camp and was chastised for not using Flickr as my moblog. Previously, I hadn't given it much thought. Flickr seemed like a typical photo site when I first signed up.

When I took a closer look, I was impressed. The way you can see your friend's photos and leave notes right on the picture is really cool. The integration of Flickr into use as a moblog and as a blogging tool is done well. They have good uploading tools for your computer and a simple way to send photos from your mobile phone.

You can check out my photos easily. You can even subscribe to feeds of my photos if you want to, that's what the Atom feed to the right it.

My favorite feature is FlickrLive, the chat page where you can share pictures with others in an IRC style.

So signup with Flickr and add me as a contact. I wanna see your photos. You can find me as Argyle or search for Michael Pusateri.

Posted by michael at 02:11 PM
October 27, 2004
On the town

Los Angeles Cruft readers,

Tonight me and the missus are out on the town drinking and listening to rock 'n roll.

The Twilight Singers are playing at the El Rey Theatre. Be there or sit in front of the blue glow of the computer reading the same old crap on the internet.

See you there.

Posted by michael at 09:21 AM
October 26, 2004
Illegal Downloading

When I was in San Francisco I saw this billboard up in a mall.

I'm not sure how effective this kind of thing is, but the MPAA is spending money on it.

I wonder when we can stop trying to the sue the internet away and start making money on it instead.

Posted by michael at 09:19 PM
October 25, 2004
Two work haikus

Two work haikus written last week in my notebook

A traditional 5-7-5

Fiber to the home.
Fifteen megs bandwidth download.
Can HD porn be far now?

And a 7-5-7

Meeting coffee, essential.
Must keep eyes open.
Less Powerpoint, I beg you.

Posted by michael at 11:10 PM
October 24, 2004
Dinner at a Chinese Wedding

Dinner at a Chinese Wedding, originally uploaded by Argyle.

Here is a shot of the dinner we had last night at Cousin Ming & his new wife Lilly's wedding reception. Click on the picture and you can see what everything is at the table.

Yes, I ate everything that was put in front of me.

Posted by michael at 11:08 PM
Audio Post, especially for you

I made this audio post about something that happened in IRC today. Enjoy.

Click more if you are audio challenged.

Hello, loyal Cruft readers. This is an exceedingly rare audio weblog post. Collect them all.

Tonight on IRC I bet a guy named Phillip Torrone on a terminology issue. He's a technology blogger and has a site at flashenabled.com

I bet him $10 that in a year people wouldn't be using the term "podcast" since not everyone had an ipods. He took the bet. I know I will be victorious when the news gets out about the subliminal neurolingusitic programming Steve Jobs put into the ipods making ipod wearers into mindless drones.

This audio post is a public acknowledgement on the bet.

Let's see where we are on Oct. 24th 2005.

Posted by michael at 10:03 PM
October 20, 2004
Pulp Fiction

This entry is in the style of The Dooce. If you don't read it, you should.

So today was the day to take Precious Daughter #2 to the eye doctor. At the regular eye doctor last month, he mentioned that she had a PROBLEM with her eyes that might require minor surgery. MINOR SURGERY? Nothing is minor about taking a scapel to the eye of my 6 year old.

So an appointment was made to visit the Jules Stein Eye Center at UCLA where the 'best ophthalmologists on the West Coast' are located. After filling out a multi-page form of information that included an essay section on "Why my child deserves your help." and confirming the appointment we were ready for the examination.

Precious Daughter #2 and I climbed into the car around 8:30AM to make a 10AM appointment. It's only about 25 miles from South Pasadena to Santa Monica, but this is Los Angeles on a rainy morning. 90 minutes to go about 25 miles was just about right. As a special treat, we decided to bring the portable DVD player so that she-that-would-get-examined would be a good mood.

The traffic was predictable and using my innate ninja driving skills I wove over to Santa Monica Blvd. escaping the parking lots called freeways. Things were cool with Spy Kids on the DVD player and the street traffic flowing nicely. At about the hour mark I peeked into the rear view mirror and saw a frown.

RUH ROH. I know that look.

"Mira, you doing OK baby?"

"Dada, my tummy hurts."

"OK, drink some water. I'll pull over."

I knew it was motion sickness and the only cure is stopping the car. I flip on the turn signal, turn my head to change lanes and catch sight of Precious Daughter #2 quietly puking up breakfast over herself and the back seat.

Now, I am an experienced Dad with several car puking incidents under my belt. Action is required immediately. Daring anyone to stop me, I lay on the horn (unheard of in LA, signifying an actual incident or a New Yorker in the vicinity) and cross 2 lanes of traffic in about 20 feet to get to the curb.

I hop out of the car, get into the back seat, pick up the STILL PUKING daughter, pull her out of the car, and take her to the curb behind the car.

She pukes little more into the gutter, looks up and says "I'm OK now Daddy." Yeah. Sure you're OK. You're puking into the gutter in West Hollywood like a drunk starlet after a long night.

Fears of choking and imminent death recede and I take stock of our situation, all Macgyver-like. We are both covered in vomit, it's raining hard, we are on Santa Monica Blvd. and our appointment is in 20 minutes. Inside the car I have a half bottle of water, my jacket, and a small backpack of children's toys.

Not much. I am well and truly fucked here. Visions of cackling doctor's office worker crossing our name off the appointment list and six upset grandparents calling to know why I can't get Precious Granddaughter #2 to the eye doctor on time run through my head.

I pop the hatch into the trunk, hoping to find anything helpful. Extra clothes, baby wipes, a towel, anything useful. Nothing but a CD I was supposed to return to the store a couple months ago.

I flip up the side compartment grab the first aid kit, hoping for a miracle. The closest I get is a roll of gauze. I unroll the gauze and wipe her face free of vomit, in the process covering mine. I reach down into the gutter, where the rain water is flowing and wipe them clean. I look up to my right and into the eye of a woman in a car staring at me in disbelief. ANGER. How dare she judge me? I give her my total alpha male, I-will-hurt-you look and she drives away hurriedly.

The girl is still covered in puke and the gauze is floating down the gutter. Last resorts float into my mind, the jacket. I will clean her with my jacket. It already has some puke on it now. I mean if it worked in the muddy streets in the old days it should work now.

I go back into the car to get the jacket and spy a white thing wedged under the passenger's seat. It's a roll of PAPER TOWELS. The good kind I like, Viva. GOD BLESS MY WIFE. She put them in the car for my trip last weekend and I never took them out. SALVATION! This, THIS is the reason that men need to be married. Women are always thinking ten steps ahead and men are only thinking about when is the next chance to eat.

Armed with the bottle of water and the roll of paper towels I get to work cleaning Precious Daughter on the side of the road while she holds the toy umbrella. In a few minutes, she's washed her mouth out and I've got the major debris off of both of us.

We are still stained yellow from the puke (Thank you corn flakes.) and stinking to high heaven. We are soaking wet and 10 minutes until the appointment.

Internet, I am not a quitter. Weaker folk would have turned around and went home, but I am made of hardier stuff. I get the child back into the car and call the Eye Doctor and explain we will be a bit late due to puking and what not. All I need is a FUCKING PLAN.

Driving onward I come up with a plan. All I need is FRESH CLOTHES and I can still pull this off. I remember the scene in Pulp Fiction where Vincent and Jules get new clothes after cleaning the blood stained car and everything turns out OK. FRESH CLOTHES ARE THE KEY.

Where do I find fresh clothes at 10AM in Westwood? I scan the road like a Daddy Terminator estimating the chances of clothing in each establishment. I spy Rite-Aid, one of those pharmacy/mini-department stores and park the car. I roll down a window and tell Puke Covered Daughter to stay put and that I will be right back with new clothes. Her trusting eyes look up and she says, "Remember Daddy, size 6..."

With that advice I run in the rain toward the store. Now I tell you dear Internet, I am usually the kind of guy that fears little from public scrutiny or attention. I usually don't think it's a big deal to scream out loudly in public. But considering that I am soaking wet, covered in puke, and looking to buy clothes at a Rite-Aid, even I am a little nervous.

I blow through the door and see the manager walking by. I stop him and say in my calmest business voice, "Excuse me, where are the clothes. You know, shirts and stuff." He looks me up and down slowly and says "Aisle 16. I think..." Off I run and spot the small rack of tourist T-shirts. I grab the smallest child's shirt I can find and larger one for myself. There are no pants. Fresh shirts will have to do. The both are the touristy Los Angeles, CA shirts with flags and stuff on them. Who fucking cares, they ain't covered in puke.

I grab two large bottles of water and some chewing gum (the girl needs fresh breath don't ya know). I calmly check out, hoping the smell doesn't reach the cashier. Outside I run to the car where I find Precious Daughter #2. The baby stealers did not get her. I pull off her shirt and put the fresh one on. It fits. I unbutton my shirt on the sidewalk and change into my new one. People are walking down the street and I DON'T FUCKING CARE. Haven't you seen a man recovering from a car puking incident before? Parenting amateurs!

Back on the road toward the Eye Doctor, I enter the grounds of UCLA. The car voice navigational computer is goading me deeper and deeper into the unfamiliar campus. I finally park near where I think the office is. Nope. I call on the cell phone to find directions and hear, "Oh my, you are not even close. Keep heading south until you see the building with the white marble columns.

The rain is pouring, we have no jackets, ten or so blocks to walk, and a toy umbrella. I pick up Precious Daughter #2, position the umbrella over her head, and start marching south. THE APPOINTMENT MUST BE KEPT. After what seemed like 20 minutes, I see the 'building with the white marble columns'. I may actually succeed.

We enter the building and take the elevator to the second floor. Wet, in tourist t-shirts, and carrying a Princess Toy Umbrella we approach the front desk. "Oh, I know who you are.", she says and takes my damp paperwork. Relief. It looks like we will succeed.

Life slows down and we have time to play cards.

About a half hour later the best ophthalmologist on the West Coast enters the room and says, "Hello, nice to meet you. How are you doing?"

I reply, "I've had better days"

Epilogue: Precious Daughter #2 will be fine. She has intermittent exotropia in the right eye when looks into the distance. Wearing an eye patch on the left eye for 5 hours a day for six weeks will (hopefully) get the right eye off it's lazy ass and into action. NO SURGERY NEEDED.

Posted by michael at 10:49 PM
October 19, 2004
Playing Werewolf

Archetypical werewolf moment, originally uploaded by fraying.

At Digi Foo, I saw that someone wanted to play the game 'Werewolf' at night. For some reason, I thought this meant some sort of LARPing around. That didn't sound like fun.

I think it was Caterina that said something like "C'mon, it's not stupid, it's fun."

She's right it was fun.

Werewolf is a party game that don't require anything more than a few scraps of paper to get started. You can read the basics here.

Derek snapped this photo of me playing. It was probably 2AM when this shot was taken. I went to bed at 3, but some people stayed up until dawn playing.

Next time I get enough people around, I'm playing the game with them.

Posted by michael at 09:57 PM
October 18, 2004
Segway Races

At Digital Foo, Bruce Gee brought his Segway. He was letting anyone who wanted a chance to ride it. After a bit, we got the bright idea of making a slalom course and timing people.

I videotaped a bunch of it. I present to you Digital Foo Camp 2004 Segway Races (wmv file, 7.6 MB)


Posted by michael at 11:25 PM
October 15, 2004
Digi Foo

After about 8 hours of driving, I've arrived at Digital Foo Camp. I'm not sure what to expect, but it will be geeky, you can count on that.

My tent is up and I'm watching them stock the Foo Bar with booze. I think this could be a long weekend.

Posted by michael at 04:07 PM
October 14, 2004
New locks

Recently, the front door lock had been sticking, so I asked Michele to call the local locksmith to come change the cores on the front and back doors.

The locksmith came this morning and did the work.

As I was heading home, Michele decided to run out with the girls to do a few errands. No big deal, I'll have a little quiet time in the house until they get home.

The only problem is that Michele didn't leave me a new key. The doors are securely locked. So now I'm sitting on the back porch with the laptop waiting for her to come home.

Good thing thing I've got wifi...

Posted by michael at 05:25 PM
October 13, 2004

I was catching up with the various blogs I read after a bit of a hiatus when I stumbled into the latest Los Angeles Blog Scene Tizzy. Evidently LAist made a little slam on blogging.la about the amount of traffic the two sites get.

This prompted a bunch of posts, trackbacks and recriminations bouncing around the small LA blogosphere echo chamber. I mean there's probably 20 people out of 9 million that understand what people are pissed about and all the people involved.

I'm friends with Sean and Jason of blogging.la, and I have nothing against the LAist people (except the name... I mean the thing LA people hate is using NY derived names... GothamIST, LAIST, ChicagoIST? WTF?) I digress.

They both have their good and bad points. They both seem to care about the Grove and I couldn't give a flying fuck. It's all about movies at the Arclight and dinner at Musso & Franks for me and Scarymommy. The Grove is for TOURISTS.

So I looked at the traffic that the humble Cruftbox gets. OMFG, what would you know. My stupid ass weblog about stupid stuff like hot sauce, Tivos, and video games is kicking their ass in the traffic realm.

Lookie here:

In the words of Ali G, Boo-ya-ka-sha ! My slacktastic weblog is beating the commerical venture. Long live the power of haphazard and meandering weblogs!

Sorry if it seems like I'm rubbing their noses in it...

All you social software types please explain this in terms of the power law or some other corollary about hitting what you don't aim for.

If you want to see more graphs about the hits & trends 'cause you are an infopron addict, click more.

A graph of traffic this month so far

The webalizer info details
Posted by michael at 10:17 PM
October 12, 2004
It just kind of made sense

Six words about Sixapart ain't bad.

A few weeks ago, I spoke to a reporter from the Wall Street Journal about how we use weblog software at work. We probably spoke for a good half hour about how we were using the software.

Today the story about Sixapart and MovableType ran in the Marketplace section of the WSJ. Amazingly my name and a short quote was in the article. Check it out:

For all my blathering they choose six words I said, "It just kind of made sense." as my quote. They call my engineers 'technicians' and they mention us using cameras, which we don't have. But hey, what am I complaining about, I'm quoted in the Wall Street Journal.

Posted by michael at 10:11 PM
October 11, 2004
Took a hit

This morning, we took a power hit in the house. Clocks reset, the lights flickered, the Tivo stayed up, but one computer horked up.

The media server wouldn't reboot after the power hit. Ruh roh. The media server that I've been meaning to back up for months now, but never got around to...

After several computers attempting to boot it, the drive is unresponsive.

I'm afraid it's dead. On it is our entire CD collection ripped to MP3.

Our entire 500+ album MP3 collection gone. Gone.

Maybe I can teach my daughters to rip CDs...

Posted by michael at 12:14 AM
October 10, 2004

Life's had me going in several directions at once recently. It's a good thing. As my father says, "It's better to wear out than to rust." He doesn't say there's time for blogging...

Last week I was in San Francisco to talk about how we use social software at work. It seems that my talk was well recieved, well at least Jeff Jarvis liked it. The Web 2.0 Conference seemed like quite a big deal. The conference was at the Hotel Nikko, an upscale hotel in the heart of SF.

At these kinds of gatherings, I'm something of a cross between a tourist and an object for show & tell. I'm not in the internet business, I'm in the TV business, so I am not as concerned about the latest Google rumor as most of the Web 2.0 crowd. The discussion is interesting, but it's not my lifeblood and I'm not in one of the many startups.

The was a definite vibe in the room. Money. The dotboom is over and the money is flowing back in. Like sharks circling the chum in the water, people are working the room like it's 1999 (cue Prince music...). Discussions of VCs, funding rounds, and customers pervade every corner. The money is getting the greed levels up and people all want a piece.

I meet some cool new people, renewed aquaintences will others and stared at a billionaire. You can see me here, working hard with a bottle of beer in my hand. Click on the Brewster Kahle photo.

Across the street was the Hilton, whose workers were on strike. They were marching, banging drums, and chanting. It's been 10 years since I lived in San Francisco, but it retains the same eclectic feel. The strikers were chanting in Chinese at some points. Only in the City by the Bay...

In other news, Katamari Damacy has taken hold of the household and all four of us are playing it. We finally beat the game and I was able to build a truly huge katamari.

516 meters is good, but I'm told some people can get it up to over 800 meters.

Michele has been busy as well, deciding that now is the time to clean the house of things. She's arranged for a large dumpster to appear and I spent most of the day on Saturday filling it up to the brim. And we still haven't put a dent in the mounds of crap we have.

She also went to Costco and picked up a little Gatorade. I should have known that there is no such thing as a little Gatorade when shopping at Costco.

Here's the outside fridge.

I stopped counting the bottles when I got to 20 and there were plenty more. So if you're thirsty, stop by...

Posted by michael at 11:25 PM
October 07, 2004

After a long blogging hiatus, Being Daddy is back. With a vengeance...

Take a gander at "I Am Elmo."

Classic stuff...

Posted by michael at 11:14 AM
October 03, 2004
Katamari Damacy Rules

Last week I picked up Katamari Damacy. I saw this game at E3 this year. Andy and I agree that it looked like the best game evar.

The game involves rolling a small sticky ball around, picking up objects along the way. As you get bigger, you can pick up bigger and bigger things. You need to get your katamari to a certain size to finish the level.

There is a very Japanese like theme involving the King of the Cosmos (your father, you being the Prince...) and a strange anime family that you see in surreal snippets.

To be honest, I speed through all the translated story line since it makes no sense...

Once you get to the requested size, the King of the Cosmos congratulates you and urges you to get even bigger. The size relationships are accurate, so when you get to be three meters tall, you can pick up people and other large objects. Nothing more satisfying than picking up a pair of large sumo wrestlers.

I love it, the kids love it, even Michele loves the game...

In addition to the single player mode, there is a head to head mode where you can compete. The best is when you can grab your opponent and drag them around.

You should run, not walk, to the game store to pick up this game.

Posted by michael at 10:00 PM