January 31, 2006
Four Things

I have been stirred out of my winter blog hibernation to heed Anil's call to answer about Four Things. Far from me to refuse an internet rock star like Anil anything, so I present:

Four Things

Four jobs I've had:

1. Taco Bell food slinger
2. Technician at an electronic warfare company
3. Consultant on building television facilities
4. Technology Exec at Disney

Four movies I can watch over and over:

1. Dune
2. Last Temptation of Christ
3. Apocalypse Now
4. The Fifth Element

Four places I've lived:

1. Harbor City, California
2. Troy, New York
3. Venice Beach, California
4. San Francisco, California

Four TV shows I love:

1. The Wire
2. Deadwood
3. Good Eats
4. The Daily Show with John Stewart

Ten highly regarded and recommended TV shows that I've never watched a single minute of:

1. Battlestar Galactica
2. Lost
3. Desperate Housewives
4. 24
5. Family Guy
6. The Shield
7. Rescue Me
8. My Name is Earl
9. Gray's Anatomy
10. The West Wing

Four places I've vacationed:

1. Macau
2. Cancun, Mexico
3. Yellowstone Park, Wyoming
4. Duck, North Carolina

Four of my favorite dishes:

1. My mother's Chicken Crepes
2. My wife's Turkey Meatloaf
3. Yoshinoya Beef Bowl
4. A souffle for dessert

Four sites I visit daily:

1. Slashdot
2. Yahoo News
3. Gen[M]ay Forums
4. Jason Kottke

Four places I would rather be right now:

1. At home, playing World of Warcraft
2. Disneyland
3. Wapiti Meadows, Idaho
4. In outer space

And now that I have discharged my duty, I hereby tap the following four people to post their lists:

Martin Diggs
Judi (my mother)
Suw Charman
Bill "Squidly" Bessette

Update: Once I posted the list and looked at it, I realized that it should have been four items not ten for the movies... C'est la Vie.

Posted by michael at 10:54 AM | Comments (2)
January 23, 2006
Lazy Monday

Lazy Sunday - The West Coast reply to Lazy Sunday - (via Matt the NBHMF)

"Nothing compares to a guide by Thomas!"

Posted by michael at 11:54 PM | Comments (2)
N51°30.282 W000°08.987

Yes, if you enter that location into your favorite mapping site, you will find that I am in London.

Despite my jet lag, I've already been out shopping for Michele's list of items to return with. The exercise will do me some good.

I've got a week of business here and just arrived a few hours ago. If you're in London, drop me a note.

Posted by michael at 08:48 AM | Comments (3)
January 21, 2006
Big 10

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Zoe's big 10th Birthday.

Hard to believe, but my oldest daughter is 10 years old and rapidly approaching teenagerhood. We had a small family party on her birthday at Farrell's. A week later, we had her birthday party for school friends at the local lasertag facility. Good times.

I think Michele's idea on how to make a birthday for Zoe out of cupcakes is fantastic.

Zoe's big present was a bass guitar. She'd been asking for one for a while and who are we to stand in the way of Rock? She's definetly got the attitude going.

Posted by michael at 07:58 AM | Comments (7)
January 18, 2006
Bead me a shimmering dance

If Jason Kottke likes the animated image of Paris Hilton, he's gunna love Bead Me a Shimmering Dance.

I found the Leslie Hall site a while ago and have been mesmerized by the half frown on her face.

Posted by michael at 06:55 AM | Comments (3)
January 17, 2006

My mother loves playing laser tag. (Note my computer FPS skillz pay off in meatspace.)

Mr. P is full of hate.

Lucas @ dioxidized is not dead.

Joi does a Molten Core run.

Always Be Cobbling. (via Paul via Mike)

Posted by michael at 08:38 AM | Comments (1)
January 13, 2006
Sad Pando

I downloaded Pando, the new file sending hotness, to give it a try.

My brother Matt and I tried sending files and got nowhere. I looked at the support forums, tried opening ports, and other things to get it to work. No dice.

I think Matt summed it up best: "this thing sucks... just doesn't work.... the files are in the queue, but the transfer never starts.... weak....". I have to agree.

Perhaps the 'release in beta' meme should be changed to 'release in beta if it actually works'.

Update May 22, 2006: Read about Happy Pando

Posted by michael at 04:26 PM | Comments (2)
January 12, 2006
Cashing in quarters

Previously, I wrote about my father giving my daughters almost 70 pounds of quarters.

After a bit of thought on how to cash them in, I realized that I was going the CES Show in Las Vegas and that if there is one place in the world that can handle 70 pounds of quarters, it's Las Vegas. I called the hotel I was going to stay at and asked if they would cash the quarters. "No problem sir! Bring any kind of money you want and we'll handle it for you at the Cashier!" Sweet, I was in business.

I made arrangements with Brad to drive to Vegas together and haul the coffee cans of quarters to the desert. To move the quarters around, I brought a set of luggage wheels and tied the cans to it.

After lugging the quarters into the hotel, I made my way to the cashier as Brad took photos. At first, the cashier said she didn't want to cash the quarters. After I told her about my earlier phone call, she reluctantly agreed and began dumping the quarters into the coin counter. She had to change the plastic bag that holds the counted quarters three times.

Brad tried to take a photo of the actual coin counting but the cashier freaked out. I watched with glee as the count rose and went well over a thousand dollars.

As you remember, my rough estimate was $1,360 in quarters.

After all the quarters were counted, the total was $1,315.70.

Holy crap, that's a lot of money.

The money will be split for the girls to invest for college. By 2014 when Zoe starts college, her $650 might buy a single textbook.

Posted by michael at 11:16 PM | Comments (8)
Seu Jorge & David Bowie

Michele has been watching The Life Aquatic DVD on auto-repeat these days.

She's been listening to the soundtrack album as well and was raving about the Bowie songs that Seu Jorge had covered. I gave a listen, and she's right, it's great.

Seu Jorge is a popular Brazilan musician who played the character Pelé dos Santos in The Life Aquatic. He sings during the film and those songs are on the soundtrack album. For some reason, what he sings are Portuguese versions of David Bowie songs.

As a long time Bowie listener, I can basically sing along in English to his Portuguese versions. I guess his versions became so popular, that he came out with an album soley of his covers of Bowie songs. We got the CD yesterday and it's wonderful.

Do yourself a favor and give it a listen, it's good stuff.

Posted by michael at 10:45 AM | Comments (0)
Something for my Apple loving readers

My co-worker, Cyril, mentioned that Telestream, a company we use at work has just released a FREE WMV for Mac Quicktime Plug-in.

I know that many Mac users are faced with trouble when they want to view WMV files, hopefully this solves the problem.

Telestream is known for fairly good codecs and transcoding, so the plug-in shoudl work great. Apple users, please let me know how it works...

Posted by michael at 08:33 AM | Comments (5)
January 04, 2006
Best newspaper headline of the day

I was reading the LA Times this morning and saw this headline in the food section:

Have we gone blog wild?

Link should be registration free, at least for a while.

The story is about food blogs, but I found the headline funny. From their nice list of links I did find the interesting WhiteTrashBBQ link. Conspicuously absent from the list is LA Foodblogging and A Full Belly.

Posted by michael at 07:05 AM | Comments (1)
January 03, 2006
Falling Sand

You will not be able to stop playing Falling Sand (via BBSpot)

Posted by michael at 09:43 PM | Comments (6)
Sony sneak attack

I recieved this in an email from Amazon tonight.

Greetings from Amazon.com.

We have recently learned that Sony announced a security vulnerability
issue with CDs that have SunnComm copy protection technology. Sony has
made a software upgrade and uninstall option available on their
website to correct the security issue. Affected items include the


Artist: My Morning Jacket
Title: Z

I went out to Michele's car and got the CD and brought it inside. I flipped it over, and sure enough it's got the evilness on it.

Holy crap, I've been haxxored by Sony.

Of course Dear Reader, I haven't really been rootkitted, I never run that software that comes on the CDs.

Now here's the funny part. The whole reason that Sony put this malicious software on the CD was to prevent people from ripping it to files, right?

Without know the My Morning Jacket CD was 'protected' in any way, I did what I do to all my CDs, I ripped it to MP3. I still use Musicmatch Jukebox to rip CDs and I did it again. The music ripped fine, and the MP3s are already on Michele's beloved MPIO player.

So I have to ask Sony, what was the point of all this if I was still able to rip the CD without noticing any of the 'protection' until I got an email tonight?

Anyone know if I can exchange my infected CD for a clean CD?

Posted by michael at 07:14 PM | Comments (1)
January 01, 2006
Red Envelope, California Style

In the chinese tradition, it is common to give red envelopes with money inside as gifts. This is especially big on the New Year. Being part of a Chinese family, these envelopes are well known to us.

My father decided to get into the action this year. He came to our house yesterday and told me to come outside with him. In the trunk of his car was a large red bag. He told me to carry it in. It was very heavy and I asked him what was inside. "You'll see." is all he would say.

He told the girls that this was his version of a New Year's red envelope for them. They opened the lid to find it full of quarters. Thousands of quarters...

For years my father has kept the quarters from his daily change. He had drawers with quarters kept neatly in 35mm film canisters. As you may remember, he also collects Victorinox Swiss Army Classic Knives. He now uses the metal boxes from the knives to hold film canister quarters. It's all very tidy and organized in my father's world.

He wants the quarters to go to the girls, so I'll cash them and deposit them into a savings account for the girls. The girls will take a few canisters to the video arcade, but most are going into their college funds.

I don't know how I'm going to cash them, but I'll figure something out.

I wanted to know how much all the quarters added up to, so I did a few quick calculations. I weighed the quarters and they are roughly 68 pounds. 5 quarters weigh 1 oz.

68 pounds * 16 oz/pound = 1,088 oz of quarters

1,088 oz of quarters * 5 quarters/oz = 5,440 quarters

1,088 oz of quarters * $1.25/oz of quarters = $1,360

Holy crap. One thousand, three hundred and sixty dollars in quarters. That's a lot of saving.

Once I get the quarters counted for real, I'll update you all with the actual count.

Posted by michael at 05:29 PM | Comments (4)