Sneaky Server Switchover

Posted by me on Saturday, the 16th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 1:22 AM, local time.

So a couple of days ago my old hosting service was about to auto-renew itself and just in the nick of time Adam sent out a note and offered to provide sublet hosting services for a small fee… much much smaller than the fee I was about to automatically pay. I went into action and signed up with Adam and moved all my stuff over to the new servers. After I was sure it all was working*, I updated the DNS servers with the new address and canceled my old hosting services.

* As far as I can tell it’s all working, anyway. That’s the point of this post. If anyone notices that something is not quite working as it should now, please let me know via a comment or an email or something. Thanks!

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Stranger Than Fiction

Posted by me on Saturday, the 16th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 1:17 AM, local time.

So a couple of weeks back, I went to see Stranger Than Fiction, with Will Ferrell. It was surprisingly good. Really good. Now, as a rule, I don’t really like Will Ferrell in movies. I don’t/didn’t think it was the best place for him to be. Don’t get me wrong, I liked Elf and surely I laughed at the appropriate places in the other movies I have seen with him in them, but I had yet to see a serious movie with him in it that I liked. Well, Stranger Than Fiction was a comedy, I suppose, but a serious comedy.

So, as I left the theatre, I remarked to my friends what a good movie it was and that I should blog about it. Well, in my laziness, I have delayed this post. But I finally got back to it. I didn’t want to do the movie the injustice of not being praised on my blog…

So here are the “awards” I would give to Stranger Than Fiction, ignoring all other movies this year, and the fact that the movie was apparently based on a book (it was new to me):

  • Best use of Will Ferrell in a feature film. Ever.
  • Best original screenplay based on a book I haven’t read.
  • Best use of CG overlays in a non-reality duplicating way by a live action film.
  • Best movie based on a meta-book.
  • Best casting of a hot unknown actress as a baker in a long time.
  • Best pointless use of math as a plot device.
  • Best quasi-romantic pseudo-comedy that Might Have Had a Sad Ending.
  • Best film I can remember seeing this year.
  • Best movie about things that can’t actually happen in real life that I chose to remember at the moment.

Did I mention Best use of Will Ferrell in a feature film, ever? Anyway, it was really pretty good. You should go see it. I should go see it again. We all should buy it when it comes out on DVD.

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A Jackknife and Its Packaging

Posted by me on Saturday, the 16th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 12:19 AM, local time.

So, I purchased a small, cheap jackknife today that could theoretically be kept in a pocket. My other jackknives are nice, but a bit too large for casual around carrying. Now, this whole thing is scarcely worth mentioning, except that I found it a bit odd that in order to open all the many levels of packaging around the new jackknife, I found myself needing a jackknife.

This brings to the forefront the problem of too much packaging on today’s products. Seriously people, I don’t want to wade through four shells of hard plastic, and several cardboard backings and frontings, to get to the thing I just bought. Surely so much packaging must increase the price of the item, but here I am, willing to pay an extra dollar for an item that is without excessive packaging. You’d think they’d jump on the opportunity to sell me less for more.

(On a side note, it is possible that the additional packaging is desirable to the store owners. It is a convenient place to put bar codes and price tags and hanging-holes, and increases the physical size of items that might have otherwise fit in a pocket and been difficult to distinguish as unpurchased merchandise. It also makes it clear to consumers that the product in question has not been tampered with and is essentially the exact item that was sent from the manufacturer, and thus hopefully increasing the probability of sale. All these considerations aside, I still hate all that extra packaging.)

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With flour dusted hands…

Posted by me on Thursday, the 14th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 12:09 AM, local time.

So, as I rush to make cookies at this late hour for tomorrow’s food day at work, I have paused to contemplate Christmas Cookies for a bit. Please bear with me.

So, I feel bad for the Blue and Yellow food colors in my set of food colorings, because the only time I use food coloring is for Christmas Cookie frosting, and I find myself tending towards having only Red, Green, and White frostings for these cookies. I noticed this because the amount of Red and Green food coloring left in their respective bottles is much much less than the amount of Blue and Yellow. This year, I have decided to let Blue and Yellow in on the fun, and have made White, Blue, and Green Christmas Cookie frosting batches. (The Green being composed of Blue and Yellow food coloring, of course. Keep with me, people! Also, no one wants to see or eat Yellow frosting. Seriously.)

Frosting aside. Wait. Why? Each year as I make Christmas Cookies (including years ago, when I would help my mother by saving some of the dough from the horrors of the oven…), I have a hard time deciding which is better: the Cookie dough, or the Frosting. Both are most excellent. Of course, this is followed by the difficult and uncomfortable decision of which is worse for my health… But, usually these decisions don’t take all that long before simply being discarded altogether, and I eat both in quasi-equal portion as the full and complete Christmas Cookie (“…And, with their powers combined…”).

Ah, never mind. Everybody knows I like cookies. And you should, too!

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BookMooch. [This title edited to fit your screen.]

Posted by me on Tuesday, the 5th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 8:20 PM, local time.

So, I don’t remember who first sent me the link to an article about BookMooch, but it was a while ago and my memory isn’t all that great. Anyway, I thought I would write a bit about it here so others can learn about it as well. As a disclaimer, I have not started using BookMooch, and I am not sure if I ever will, but that’s just me and I know a lot of other people don’t get as attached to books as badly as I do. On the other hand, I do have some duplicate copies (same editions, don’t worry) of books that I might be able to put up on BookMooch to get rid of.

But anyway, that was a horrible introductory paragraph for this piece on BookMooch. BookMooch is a community site where everybody is trying to get books that they want, and trying to get rid of books that they no longer want. Its all free, except that if you send a book to someone else, you have to pay postage fees. So really the site gets no money what-so-ever from you, it just finds you people to send books to, and finds people who you can contact to get books from, as well as providing an easy way to do that contacting. Of course you can read more about it on their site, but the idea is pretty simple.

Here is an example to illustrate (names unchanged, to protect no one):

Let’s say Darcy is done reading some books that she owns. She will probably never read them again, Andy doesn’t want to read them, I’ve already read them, and Adam is too snooty to read them. Well, she simple lists the books on BookMooch as available. Kyle, in Hawaii, is searching around on BookMooch for the next book to read, and finds one of the books Darcy listed and says, “Hey, look, that might be interesting.” So he asks Darcy to send him that book. She puts it in a lovely little mailing box from the post office, pays cheap book rate shipping charges and sends it over to Kyle. Everybody is happy: Kyle has a new book to read, and Darcy got rid of a book she no longer wanted.

There is a point system involved, where the more books you list and then actually send to people, the more points you get. And in order to get a book sent to you, you have to consume a point. So I don’t really know how well the point economy balances out in the end, but its a relatively new site, so they may make adjustments to the point system until it works out to keep people from accumulating all the books (like me) and to try and give a reasonable amount of trust that if you request a book they are going to actually send it to you. But, even if they don’t you don’t really lose much on the deal (though if you are the only person in the system actually sending books, the postage could build up… but I would recommend not sending any more books if people don’t send you the ones you had asked for).

Anyway, its an interesting little community and I think you all should go and try it out. And let me know how it goes. Maybe I can use it to my advantage somehow…

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Why is Google Mocking Me?

Posted by me on Tuesday, the 5th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 1:00 PM, local time.

Based on the last few quotes of the day on my google homepage, I have determined that they are deliberately mocking me and my habits. Here is today’s quote:

To be a book-collector is to combine the worst characteristics of a dope fiend with those of a miser. – Robertson Davies

I mean, seriously, that’s just not nice. I’ve never made disparaging remarks about google, and so shouldn’t have to expect them to make such remarks about me.

On another book related note, I have finally managed to pick up the book club book, Time Enough For Love by Heinlein, again and started reading it. Our first meeting for the book is this Friday, and I have about 200 pages short of where I need to be for it. But, progress was finally made. And, the little short sub-story was very entertaining. It was subtitled as “The Man Who Was Too Lazy To Fail.” It was fantastic. The motivations of this guy seem very familiar… I have heard laziness being called the Engineer’s Disease, and I am no longer ashamed that it is so!

Anyway, my opinion of the book is improving. It has points where it is a bit of tedious crazy Heinlein-ness, but by and large it appears to be shaping up as the kind of book where some old cantankerous fellow is interviewed by a much younger man for insights into life and living in general. One must deal with the old fellow’s occasional oddities and eccentricities, as well as his antiquated notions and not-quite politically correct ideas, but there are a lot of fun, interesting, and useful stories to hear from him.

But, I am not very far in the book, so who knows if it will stay that way for very long.

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Lots of Books

Posted by me on Monday, the 4th day of December, anno domini 2006 at 10:17 PM, local time.

So I found this quote on my google homepage today. Its accuracy is remarkable, yet somehow depressing. Oh well.

Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them! How I need them! I’ll have a long beard by the time I read them. – Arnold Lobel

On another book related note, yesterday, when I foolishly went to the bookstore, I purchased a couple more books, which is unremarkable in and of itself. However, one of these books was a small collection of poems by Tim Burton (whom you might recall from such movies as The Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride). I thought, well, I like his movies, they are touchingly surreal; surely his poetry will be similar. And so I brought it home.

It was definitely surreal. But rather than being touching, most of it was just disturbing. The art was very familiar as Burton’s, the poems were all short doggerel at best, but the topics were downright grotesque. I am slightly disturbed. Note, Kyle, if you are reading this, this is definitely a book that you would enjoy. Everyone else reading this, I would recommend perusing a bit so you are fully aware of Mr. Burton’s psychotic tendencies, but only do so on an empty stomach and only if you are of healthy constitution in general.

On a completely unrelated note, yes, it has been months since I last updated this. Yes, I plan to continue to update it on the same loose schedule. And yes, if anyone still bothers to come here and read these things when updates do happen, I do appreciate each and every one of them.

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