Monthly Archives: June 2007

skating

I’ve been putting off writing this post, but I can’t stand it any longer.

In my brief vacation from computers in general, I had a lot more free time and took a good look at stuff that I really wanted to do, but never did do because I’d be sitting in front of the ‘puter waiting for it to entertain me. Well, one thing I finally got off my buns and back into doing is skateboarding. Hard to believe, I know.

Believe it or not, I love skating more than almost anything. I used to skate back in the day, though I was still a beginner back then. I quit after a rather unfortunate accident hurt my head pretty bad, but I’ve always wanted to do it still.

What happened is the other Saturday I was sitting around trying to think of something to do, and as I was thinking about going back to do stuff that I always wanted to do, but never do, skateboarding came to my mind. The same old reason that I’ve been putting it off for so long popped back in my head (“You’re too old”), but this time I said, “Screw it, I don’t care … I enjoy it, I’m gonna do it.” So I went down to the local skate shop, plunked down some cash and bought me a brand new skateboard.

And since then, I’ve been trying to learn to skate all over again. This time I’m actually making an effort and not quitting and even though I realize I suck I’m learning, I am having the freaking time of my life. I’ve never had so much fun.

Sure, there are times when I feel a little awkward, mostly because I’m an old fart out here with the skillz of a 5 year old just starting out, but it’s such a blast that after actually getting out and doing a bit of riding I get over all the anxiety and just plain have fun.

I’ve been trying to go out for at least an hour every night after work, either around the streets near my place or up to Liberty Park, which is a great place to go. What’s really been cool so far is how quickly its coming back to me, and how I think I’m getting better at a decent pace. I’ve never been really good at sports at all, and I’ve always blamed it on poor coordination skills, but if I don’t think about it too much, I manage to do alright and not fall down. That’s really the hard thing there, is to just focus on doing your best and doing it over and over again to train your body. It’s all about patience.

One thing that has helped is YouTube. I can go on there and check out lots of videos of how to do stuff, and see where I am doing something wrong, like positioning my feet or whatever. Something else that has helped a lot is that one sport / activity that I’ve always been naturally good at is roller skating. I’ve been doing that for years on and off, and I’d actually say I’m a bit of a natural when it comes to that. I can boogie and zoom with the greatest of ease, so having that sense of balance has been a big help in learning to skate on a board. It’s easy for me to keep my balance when I’m just on a flat surface. Not a big deal overall, I know, but it gives me some confidence, at least. I’m going to have to start learning how to ollie pretty soon here, and it’s anything that involves air that makes me nervous.

Still, I’m loving every minute of it, and I’m not gonna quit this time. I’m having a ton of fun, and I see people do cool tricks and all I can think of is how awesome that must be to do. I think if I keep practicing every night I’ll be able to make a go out of it.

Another thing I did last night is I went and checked out some of the skate parks. I had no freaking idea that Utah had so many of them! Two, in fact, are really close to where I live. One of them is a block behind the grocery store I go to every week (Fairmont Park). Sheesh, I had no idea! I drove around last night trying to find the two closest ones and my eyes just about popped out of my head when I saw them both. They look to be a lot of fun.

So there you have it. As my little sister says, “you need to find a hobby that doesn’t involve a screen.” Right on. :)

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back in business, mplayer bumpage

Well, my box at home is working again, and to prove it, I bumped a new subversion snapshot of MPlayer into the tree this morning (1.0.20070622). Please note that I made absolutely zero small, minor or other changes to the ebuild, so don’t look for any fancy cleanup other than it’s the most recent code from upstream. The reason I did that was to get the open security bug taken care of, and I can always go back and clean up the less important stuff later.

As far as working on Gentoo stuff goes, I’m planning on taking things slowly. What happens everytime is that I’ll stretch myself too thin, and it quickly becomes un-fun having so much stuff to do, so I need to take a break. My approach this time, I think, is going to be to try and focus on one application at a time, get it completely cleaned up and taken care of, and maybe get some documentation written on it. After that, I can move onto another application and do the same thing. It makes things much easier when you’ve attacked a set of ebuilds for one program and cleaned them up as much as possible, for when you have to come back later and change something it only makes it that much easier.

The first app I want to start on and attack completely is abcde. It’s a great little CD ripper and encoding app, and the more I use it, the more I realize how awesome it is. I’ll write more about it later, though.

I’m also going to cut back on my IRC usage quite a bit as well. One thing I realized I didn’t like when I turned on my box the other day, was that I kept wanting to “check in” on IRC and IM as I was wondering around the house getting stuff done. That kind of nagging thought really bugs me, so I’ll probably only be online if I’m actually sitting at the computer doing something.

Anyway, I’m planning on working on some Gentoo stuff this weekend, so if you have anything in particular you’d like some attention given to, just let me know. I’ll be hanging out in #gentoo-media and #gentoo-mythtv.

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Filed under Computers, Gentoo, MPlayer

xm radio + payola?

I hate to think its true, but it seems like XM Radio has shifted their style again, and I am guessing they probably finally gave into payola schemes (taking money for playing certain songs on the radio).

Whether that’s the case or not, what is definately for certain is that their playlists have changed dramatically. Of the six stations I have pre-programmed on XM1 on my car (I got twelve pre-programmed total for XM alone … I love my stereo), all of which are in the 20s, have started playing the same stupid songs *over and over and over.*

It’s pretty bad. I’d estimate that 50% of the time on one of the channels they are playing something from an extremely short playlist. What happens often enough too is the same song is playing on two stations at the same time. It’s really annoying. I signed up for satellite radio so I wouldn’t have to listen to local stations. Now, pretty much the only difference is not having some commercials of some local bimblot car dealer who thinks its a great idea to take popular songs and rewrite them with crappy lyrics singing about how there’s a great APR deal going on right now.

Just another reason for me to rethink keeping my subscription alive to XM, which is a shame. I really need to buy some CDs of my own and just play those, instead. I know XM Radio has been going through some hard times lately, financially, but please … for the love of whatever, the whole thing that attracted me to getting an account in the first place (and then keeping it) was getting something *different*. I’ve already got plenty of local stations that have never heard of any songs that weren’t in the top twenty between now and 1995, and XM was freaking great when most of the time you’d hear new songs all the time.

What a crock. What’s really sad though, is that even with this, it’s still better than local radio stations, and I’ll probably keep it anyway. Less commercials, no annoying local ads, and especially no brainless morning shows helps out. It’s kind of a shame that they had to settle into the same age old formula of keeping radio dull though on the major channels. I guess someone has to reinvent it, again.

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o hai

This is the funniest lolcat I’ve seen yet … :)

If the joke is lost on you, check out this boing boing article.  Great stuff.

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out of commission

There’s nothing I don’t like more on my blog than posting notices that basically say, “I’m busy, and that’s why I haven’t done anything,” but I think this time probably deserves a chance, since I’m not sure when things are going to be back to normal.

I think I mentioned this in passing in other recent posts, but here’s the story.  About three weeks ago now, I woke up early one morning, went out to my living room and noticed my computer was turned off.  It seemed rather odd to me, considering I hardly ever turn it off, though sometimes I do and just forget.  I came back to it later, and realized that my power supply had died.  That in itself is really odd, since I paid a lot for one of those quiet ones, and I’d had it less than a year.

Anyway, instead of rushing out to replace or get it RMA’d, instead I decided to just live without a desktop for a while, and that’s what I’ve been doing.  Cutting myself off from that has been largely a positive experience.  I needed a break from working on Gentoo and computer projects, and it’s helped curb my idling quite a bit, and I’ve been getting a lot done in other areas of life.

As far as Gentoo goes, I don’t have access to anything right now since everything was on my desktop.  My SSH pubkey is on there, so I can’t work on any ebuilds.  I can check my email through webmail, but last time I looked I had over 2500 new messages, and it broke the webpage.  If you really need to contact me, I’m always on jabber during work hours (sdibb at jabber dot org).  I would point to my contact page, but I accidentally zapped that the other day while upgrading my blog.  Whoops.

In case you’re wondering, I am planning on “coming back” sometime, but for now I’m really enjoying the break.  I’m using my laptop at home to get online, but it has a bare minimum of my preferences setup, so I mostly just use it to check my gmail and that’s it.  As soon as I feel like I’m caught up with things again in life, I’ll get my computer fixed.  I’m going to try and take it easier this time though, as I have a tendency to take on too much and get burned out quickly.  I think maybe what I’ll do is instead of broadly approaching so many areas in the tree, I’ll focus on maintaining a few applications.  Who knows.  We’ll see.

In any event, have a great weekend.  I should be back online for good in another week or so.

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Filed under General, Gentoo

weird movie score track titles

At work I listen to music all the time, since it helps me concentrate. Sometimes though, it’s a distraction so I’ll pause an album that’s playing and come back to it later. What happens a lot is I’ll forget what I’m listening to, but I’ll just resume the playback anyway.

So, audacious has a status icon in the system tray that I use to control everything (pause, skip, exit, etc.). As I went to resume my music, a little window appears that hovers over the desktop telling me which track I’m on, and it says “Centrifuge And Corinne Put Down.” What the crap? Turns out I was listening to the score to Moonraker (which I really like, and have written about before here).

I’ve always found it interesting how the composers decide on the track names for the music scores. In some cases, I have to wonder if they were chosen lately, instead of at the time of the recording. That is, who would have thought back in 1979 to release the soundtrack of a James Bond movie on LP? I doubt the idea really crossed anyone’s mind, and so I assume the track never got titled properly. Or maybe it did, who knows, I don’t know how movie productions work.

I’d guess that in this case the title probably reflects what was going on in the movie at the time. Thinking back to the movie (which I *thought* I remembered pretty well), I don’t remember any centrifuges being used or anyone named Corinne. Maybe it was the names of space shuttles.

Anyway, crazy stuff. I do like it when the musicians get interesting though. A good example is the score for Batman Begins, where each track is named after a species of bat. Good times. :)

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friday night flicks

I keep forgetting to mention this, but if you’re in Salt Lake City (Utah, that is), there’s a great chance to catch some classic films in the park, courtesy of the municipal gov’t.  They are showing seven flicks every friday night in June and July.  Tonight is The Karate Kid at the Gallivan Ampitheatre.

Other movies they are going to be showing are Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Neverending Story (!!@$!@$ asplode!), Back to the Future, E. T., Ghostbusters (!@$ aslpode #2!), and Annie.

As you can see, I’m pretty excited by some of them. :)

The movies are free to watch, just show up at the park and stick it to the MPAA for this free-loving watching wonder.

Here’s the details.  Seeya there!

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tmnt

I went to the dollar theater last night and watched TMNT.  I’d been meaning to see it for a while, but wasn’t really sure if it would be worth my time or not.  I haven’t seen the new cartoon on TV at all, so I wasn’t sure what to expect, if anything.  Turned out, the movie was pretty good.

The animation was really incredible, but beyond that the entire style of the movie was spot on.  The turtles and all the characters just had some really cool moves for an action movie geared towards a young audience.  They would flip around and fight tough and genuinely act themselves.  Their movements were really detailed and natural as far as being in character.  It sucked me in pretty good.

The only thing I didn’t like was that Splinter’s voice actor sounded like a drunken old man.  He was slurring a bit and it was distracting.

The story was really good too, as well as the dialogue.  Most kids movies take a turn here or there and do something just really stupid, but this film didn’t have any of that.  It was well-contained, and “mature” for lack of a better word.  That is, it was obviously written and geared for the 8 to 12 year old audience, and it never left that target.  Really well done.

I, of course, have always loved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  I remember being so excited for the original live-action film to come out back in the day, and I even had a poster of Leonardo.  I had all of the action figures too, which I never collected those as a kid, except for very few G.I. Joe and Transformers toys.   I kept thinking about the movie, too .. I wanna watch the old one again, it’s been a long time, and it was a pretty good drama in its own right as well.

Speaking of which, the drama in this one was really good, too.  I won’t go into spoilers, but the story (about the brothers at least) was solid and pretty cool.  I’d like to watch it again, sometime.

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can't sleep

I have been having a really hard time sleeping lately.  I think it’s been adding up for a couple of reasons.  For one, we don’t have any central air conditioning in my apartment.  The landlord never mentioned that (that I recall) when I signed the lease in November, and it’s been pretty brutal.  Our small building is made of brick, and there are no trees to cover the thing like there is on every other house in the neighborhood.  As such, sitting inside is like hanging out in an oven, since you get cooked to death.  The temperature is always about 5 degrees hotter inside than it is outside.

Last night was really unbearable.  I hadn’t slept the night before very well, and left work early to get some sleep, which in turn made it so I couldn’t fall asleep last night on time either.  The heat wasn’t making things any better, either.  The temperature inside was 83 degrees, and that was with every window open and some fans turned on.  Pretty crazy.  I didn’t fall asleep until 3 a.m. or so, I think, and that was after going to bed about 11:30.  Then I had to rush into work, tired, this morning to finish up a project and the fun cycle starts up all over again.  I’m probably gonna take off just to get a nap so I can catch up, and restart the whole thing.

Last night I thought about taking some sleeping medication to help me fall asleep, but I’ve never taken any, and the whole idea makes me really nervous.  How does something make you fall asleep?  What I’m really worried about is coming to depend on it, since I believe most health problems in life can be solved ourselves by eating right, exercise and of course getting to bed on time.  So I roughed it out and finally fell asleep, but it was brutal.  Today, I’m going to go buy a ceiling fan for my bedroom.  That should help.  Only 3 more months in my lease, and I’m outta there … too bad we’re only at the start of summer.

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