Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Schrödinger's Talk Show

So I just get home from work, and flip Conan on in time to hear him say "-arles Barkley is on the show tonight". Which means that for a few brief moments, until he added, "He's a big man.", the show existed in a quantum superposition wherein both Charles Barkley and Gnarls Barkley were simultaneously guests.

That is all.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sports Talk: Not just bad college radio, but bad blog material as well!

Am I the only one in the area that actually likes the name "Red Barons" for our baseball team? It's really starting to seem that way, with so many people calling for it to be changed with the team's new affiliation with the Yankees. I've heard a lot of people bring up the fact that Red Barons merchandise "hasn't been selling well". Well, yeah, that's probably because nobody around here really gave a shit about having the Phillies' farm team here. The only time people really showed up for a game was when they were playing the Clippers, the Yankees affiliate. There are a lot more Yankee fans in this area, and if their farm team is playing here, you can bet that the merchandise will sell, no matter what name you put on it. So that argument can really be chucked right there.

Another one I'm hearing is that the current name has "no meaning" today. Uh... hello? Since when was relevance needed to name a baseball team? Columbus? Landlocked city? Team named the Clippers anyway? Yeah, there goes that argument. And it is historically relevant: the name comes from the Scranton Red Sox and Wilkes-Barre Barons. And I know there are so many people who can't appreciate local heritage that are crying "Oh, but that was so long ago! Nobody remembers them noooow!" To which I reply, "THAT'S. THE. FUCKING. POINT. JACKASS."

What do you people want? "The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees?" That sounds like something you'd buy tickets for from an irreputible street vendor in the Bronx. "Yeah, man, I got Yankees tickets right here. Best seats in the house. Sucker." Maybe he'll throw in one of his fine "Rolex" watches, as well.

Miners? Haven't we spent the last 15 years trying to get away from that stereotype?

The only half-decent one I've heard so far is "Highlanders", and even that seems kind of wussy and generic.

I've been fuming about this for a while now, but I finally had to write a rant about it tonight, after doing some snooping around baseball-reference.com and finding out that, many moves ago, in 1919, the team we now know as the Red Barons started out as... the Reading Coal Barons.

Think about that for a minute. We have the only team in baseball whose nickname is an unintentional pun on its original name. That alone makes it a keeper.

One thing we can all agree on, though: the Grump must die.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Friggin' Events

My day, in review:
  • 11:00 AM:Wake up after long night of planning for my radio show. (Yes, despite popular belief, I actually do plan it.) Find myself confronted by even more planning. I hate having a four-hour slot.
  • 12:15 PM: After the usual morning routines, turn on radio to find out that I've missed out on a rare appearance of The Disco Desperado.
  • 12:30 - 3:30 PM: Finish preparing for show, wrestle with Windows while getting files transferred to laptop.
  • 3:45 PM: Leave for station.
  • 3:51 PM: Car stalls out on Birney Ave. Manage to get it halfway pulled into Turkey Hill entrance. Thankfully, someone pulling in stops and helps me push it into the parking lot. He spent some time cursing fuel injection and the way everything on a car is run by computer today. After my experiences, I would have to agree.
  • 3:55 PM: After fumbling through my backpack, realize that my cell phone, which I rarely use and had gotten specifically for this purpose, was in my jacket.

    Which was, of course, at home.
  • 3:56 PM: Asked Turkey Hill cashier to break a $1 bill. Attempted to call AAA on payphone located five feet from the busiest road in lower Lackawanna County.
  • 4:00 PM: Begin waiting for tow truck. AAA says that it sould be there in 20-30 minutes. It begins to rain lightly.
  • 4:50 PM: Truck arrives.
  • 5:35 PM Luckily, we arrive at the dealer just as they were cleaning up shop for the night. Get preliminary diagnosis (timing belt), paperwork done. Called station, hoping that somebody was still there who can give me a ride back into Scrantonia. Pete graciously agrees to clear out some space in his car for me.
  • 5:50 PM: Somehow remember to separate car key from rest of key ring. I usually don't remember things like that until I find myself locked out of my house at 1 AM.
  • 6:30 PM: Arrive at station, proceed to do quick filler show, as I don't feel like trotting out all my usual stuff just for an hour and a half. Lots of mock-French grunting ensues.
  • 8:40 PM: Arrive home, thinking that this long day was finally behind me.
  • 8:41 PM: Enter house, find out that my cat had died.

I was planning on actually getting some stuff done tonight, but now I think I'll just go to bed and hope that none of this really happened.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Luxury Condo Update

Previously, on Live from the Mai-King Chinese Restaurant...

Lone busted-up car in front of half-demolished building
May 2006

And now, our progress three months later:

Several slightly better-looking cars in front of same half-demolished building
August 2006

So, as you can see, we now have more than one car parked in front of the half-building! Better looking cars, too! Not only that, but most of them now seem to have their windows intact! Doesn't that just scream luxury? Surely, the throngs of obscenely wealthy Scrantonians are anxiously awaiting the grand opening of this fine establishment! What's that, you say?

Scranton Times-Tribune: 23% of City in Poverty! CMC to Cut 90 Jobs!
Poverty rates double the national average! Job cuts galore! Mission accomplished!

Ah, but surely you don't know about the fine business plans of these entrepreneurs:
  1. Go into a city where white-collar jobs exist only on an NBC sitcom, and build countless luxury condos and upscale boutiques such as pet "centers" that look like something Tsubaki Nekoi would be doing if the whole manga thing hadn't worked out.
  2. ?????
  3. Profit!

This is a foolproof concept! How can you plebeians possibly pan such a patently perfect plan?

Monday, August 21, 2006

And speaking of blasphemy...

I just heard "Happy Happy Joy Joy" used as the theme for a Sara Lee commercial.

My childhood is now officially ruined forever. Thanks.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Calling a Flagrant

From the "have-to-blog-this-before-the-lawyers-kill-it" dept:

(Oops, too late.)

This is just wrong.




To the infinitieth power.

Times 2.

Seriously, folks. Do we not remember what happened when someone did this with the Powerpuff Girls? That's right, Japan actually went and made it! We really don't want such a tragic event to happen again, do we?

*Waits for coast to clear*

*Sets Frieda as new wallpaper*


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Pardon Meow

You know how sometimes, you'll be walking along, and see somebody coming the other way, so you move to one side to get around them. But they move to that side as well, so you move to the other side, but they move at the same time, and it takes you a few attempts to finally get around each other?

I just did that with my cat.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Yeah, thanks for getting flooded, asshole!

What's left of Lonesome Road
What remains of Lonesome Road in Old Forge, after the Lackawanna River made a snack of it during the June 2006 floods.

From the "Why Retail Workers Should be Armed" Dept.

So the Scranton Times-Tribune has an article today about the struggles of the Dollar General store on Lonesome Road in Old Forge, which can be seen in the background of the above photo. Not struggles against rising water, or the road being out, mind you. We're talking struggles by store employees against angry customers. Let's review their plight, shall we?
  1. One week ago, the Lackawanna River surged, flooding the store under several feet of water. Much of the merchandise was, obviously, destroyed, and the store needed a major cleanup as a result.
  2. In addition, the road in front of the store was washed away by the river current, leaving the store inaccessible for almost a week since.
  3. When PennDOT finally built a temporary road around the washed-out portion, it was too narrow for the company's large trucks to navigate, leaving the store unable to replenish its stock, most of which is now waterlogged and unsellable, even if it is a dollar store.

Yet despite all this, there are still pieces of human garbage out there that actually have the gall to complain that the store is closed! From the article:
“Great. Now I have to go all the way out of my way. Thanks a lot,” one man yelled out of his car window before speeding out of the parking lot.
What the fuck do these people expect? "Yeah! Thanks a lot for not miraculously parting the Lackawanna like Moses so I can buy all my dollar store crap right this instant!"

It was much nicer back in the old days, when problem "customers" like that were shown the door and told never to come back, lest they be charged with trespassing. Now, all the retail business is done by large chains that hire managers who are too chicken to tell the terminally ignorant to get the hell out. This, in turn, makes it worse for the rest of us to shop, since we're always trying to get around idiots who:
  • Block entire aisles and refuse to move
  • Hold up the register for hours on end haggling the cashier over various expensive items that she swears were all marked 3/99¢ on the shelf
  • Take the motorized carts simply because they are too fat and lazy to walk a few damn feet to the potato chips, leaving none for those who are genuinely handicapped and need them
  • When an employee is assisting you, walk up screaming, demanding that the employee help them instead, despite the fact that you were there first (bonus points if they just need to know the location of an item they just walked by on their way to throw a tantrum)
  • Take items out of other people's carts
  • Allow their filthy, grossly overweight, lice-ridden children to run around the store completely unattended, tripping people, running into shopping carts, blocking aisles, and generally making enough retarded screaming noises to rival the taping of your average MTV show.
  • Are filthy, grossly overweight, and lice-ridden themselves
  • And so on, and so on...
I propose that we find the "man" (note the use of quotes) mentioned in this article. When the land along Lonesome Road is rebuilt, have a cheap, one-story house built alongside the river, and force this guy to move into it. Next time the river floods, we all get together and beat him with bricks for every hour that he is not finished cleaning up and rebuilding said house. Afterwards, we all take turns yelling, "Thanks a lot, jerkwad!", and speeding off his lawn.

It'll be the best national holiday ever!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Impatient for Independence

So it's only July 1st right now, and yet despite this, most of my neighbors are already setting off enough rocketpower to launch a small satellite into geostationary orbit. The air outside reeks of smoke and beer, explosions can be heard from all directions, and I swear I just saw Iraqi security forces patrolling the neighborhood.

Needless to say, I've put the fire department on speed dial.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A Quick Comparison of Operating Systems

From the "This Made Me Late for My Show" Department:

*I plug an ethernet cable into the computer:*


Computer: Ah! An ethernet cable! *Prints a message in a log somewhere*

Me: *Fires up a shell and executes a command to start the ethernet interface.*

Computer: Roight-O! *Starts up ethernet adapter and connects to the network as configured, falling back on DHCP if there's no configuration*


Computer: Ah! Ethernet cable! *Sets up connection the same way the Linux box does, but without requiring any user input whatsoever.*


Computer: Dum de dum...

Me: Uhh... could you connect to the network I just plugged in? Please?

Computer: Hwuh? Wha? Oh, that. Well, you don't have the ethernet cable plugged in.

Me: What the hell are you talking about? I just plugged it in! Hell, your light's even blinking on the switch! Don't tell me there's no cable plugged in!

Computer: Nope. No cable. *Goes back to thrashing the hard drive*

Me: AAAAARRRRRGH! *I go through the entire Windows control panel, looking for any way possible to get this thing to recognize that yes, I did indeed plug in a network cable. When this fails, I fall back on the old Windows standby of rebooting the entire machine and hoping that knocks some sense into it.* Now can you connect to the network?

Computer: Huh? Oh, I've disabled that network interface.

Me: What? How the hell did the interface get disabled?

Computer: Well, you didn't have a cable plugged in the last time, so...

Me: AAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGH! *I once again go through every single network configuration option on the system, all the while cursing Bill Gates and wishing that I had sprung for the Powerbook instead.*

After about 25 minutes of this, I finally got it to recognize that yes, there is indeed a network there, and I managed to get my files transferred by 3:55. That left me a grand total of five minutes to pack my stuff into the car and make the seven-mile drive to the station.

Note that this was after I had already spent a half hour trying to get Windows to connect to the wireless network for longer than thirty seconds at a time. Also note that I end up having problems like this every single time I'm in a hurry and have to deal with Windows. And people wonder why I always seem so stressed out.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Blowing Rasperries at your Heaven

FuzzyFlakes screenshot

So XScreenSaver (an excellent collection of screensavers for UNIX-ish systems, including Mac OS X) has this saver called "FuzzyFlakes", created by Barry Dmytro, which features multicolored flakes wafting around your screen. Originally, these were pink flakes on a green background, to match the end credits of Azumanga Daioh, which were the inspiration for the screen saver. A few versions later, the ability to specify different or random color schemes was added. However, the new color selection scheme made it impossible to get the original Azumanga-inspired colors anymore. So about a year ago, I posted a patch at the end of this post that would re-enable these colors.

The Azumanga Rave

Anyway, the patch no longer works with the recently released XScreenSaver 5.00, so I've made a new patch to go along with it. I've also included a universal binary for Mac OS X, for those of you who are into that sort of thing. For the patch, you'll need the source code for version 5.07 of XScreenSaver, which is available here. Mac users need to have Mac OS 10.4 or higher. Windows users can go suck Mr. Tadakichi's tail.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Ever Closer to the Dark Side

Mac Desktop Image

So I've been finding myself using the aforementioned Mac more and more lately, to the point where I can now almost consider it my main computer. Despite the fact that I have two much faster computers sitting here.

Is this because of OS X's power, usability, and all-around design? Ehh, maybe a little.

Does this have anything to do with the fact that my Windows box consistently suffers total lockups every time the temperature in my room rises above 70° Fahrenheit and now has to be mothballed until October? Or the fact that every time I run a software update on my Linux box, all of the 11,476 media players on it completely cease to function for at least two weeks until the people maintaining those packages get them fixed up? YES! YES! A THOUSAND TIMES YES! PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS HOLY, GET ME OUT OF THIS HELL!

So yeah, it's pretty much either this or the laptop. And despite the fact that the laptop can theoretically run all three of the operating systems involved (albeit one of them with questionable legality and functionality), I kind of value my wrists, so the Mac it is. Heil Jobs, and all that.

Still, it is a pretty good system to work with, and I'd probably have no problem switching for good, except for one little annoying fact. You see, the model that I have now is an ancient PowerMac, which has been Apple's top-of-the-line. When this machine was manufactured in 1999, it would have cost $3500. As it is, I paid about $250 for this thing on eBay back in January, which is actually pretty low considering that slower systems with much less memory were going for about $250-300 at the time. If it weren't for the Buy It Now price, this one probably would have went for about $350-400.

The reason I mention this is because, for a couple hundred dollars more, I could have just gotten myself a brand now Mac Mini that would have been faster, had iLife and all that other good stuff installed, etc, etc, etc. There's just one little catch: If you ever, for any reason, want to do something silly like... ohh... add another hard drive, put in a better graphics card, or anything like that, you're SOL. As somebody who enjoys tinkering with hardware, and who is offended by the idea of a disposable computer (which is essentially all it is), this prospect irks me to no end.

Then there's the iMac, which not only commits the cardinal sin of integrating the computer with the monitor (Keeripes! A few dead pixels and the whole thing's useless!), but also requires that you be a qualified brain surgeon just to get the case open. Thanks, but no thanks.

So that leaves the Pro line, which, when new, is always way out of my price range, and more computer than I could ever justify buying for myself. Hell, even the refurbished models bottom out at $2000 for just the tower. The only option left for people like me is to buy older machines secondhand, and forget any hope of warranty coverage, packaged software, support for newer features (802.11g... oh, sorry, *ahem*... "AirPort Express™"), and so on. Not to mention that they've been around the block a few times, and have their share of wear, tear, and annoying little problems (Mine wouldn't sleep until I yanked some SCSI cards, for example).

It would be nice if they offered us a lower-end tower that's easy to upgrade as one's needs grow. Judging from the amount of people trying to coax OS X onto non-Apple hardware, there certainly seems to be a market for such a system out there. That prospect even got me interested in the project for a while last year. Of course, Apple, being a hardware company (depending on who you ask), doesn't seem too likely to introduce anything with a lower margin and a longer life span, but a nerd can dream, can't he?

Feh. If anybody needs me, I'll be over here teetering at the edge of the Dark Side, looking fearfully over the ledge. But now, a picture:

Graffiti of Mayor Quimby
...Why Mayor Quimby?
(graffiti from a train car parked on the bridge over Spruce St. in downtown Scranton)

Finally, because I've somehow managed to go an entire page of blog posts without a gratuitous reference to them, here are some actual, 100% true facts about CLAMP:

  • In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. After that, he was stumped, and had to ask Ageha Ohkawa for advice.
  • Mokona can draw over 150 pages in the course of an hour. She can draw over 500 after she wakes up.
  • CLAMP are such accomplished manga artists, that they can miss a deadline three weeks before it even occurs.
  • The ending of Cardcaptor Sakura is the only thing that has ever made Chuck Norris cry. Ever.

Alright, that's it for tonight. Be sure to tune in next time, when we'll have John Goodman, Amy Sedaris, and that guy who won the latest American Idol series. Does anybody remember what his name was? Better yet, does anybody still care?

(Fun Fact: The word "blog" is not in the Blogger spell checker.)

Friday, May 12, 2006

Silly Developers...

Luxruy Car
Luxury Condos
They're building luxury condominiums here.

And by "building", I of course mean that the building in the background has been sitting there half torn-down since February.

Monday, February 20, 2006

I Wish to Register a Complaint

So last night, a customer walked up to my register to return a tub full of dead fish. That left me with 9 defective slips, which I filled out as follows:

Slip 1: Dead.
Slip 2: Ceased to Be
Slip 3: No More
Slip 4: It's a stiff.
Slip 5: Bereft of life.
Slip 6: It rests in peace.
Slip 7: If it hadn't been nailed to the perch, it would be pushing up the daisies.
Slip 8: It's run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible.

I fully expect to be called into the office for a talk any time now.

And what would Brian Carpenter say?

Friday, February 17, 2006

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Just when you think that the University of Scranton has finally hit the absolute bottom of the barrel...

Cheesy architecture!

... they decide to build a 30 million dollar ski lodge. Not only that, but they decide that, gosh, it would be just swell to eliminate two parking lots in order to erect said ski lodge.

Let me just elaborate on why this is a terrible idea: As a part time student, I've spent almost too many years attending the University. I've had to deal with many years of never being able to find a convenient place to park, or even any place to park, on campus. On most days, if you didn't arrive on campus by 9:00 AM, you were usually relegated to parking in the Poly Hi lot, which is on the far far far far far end of campus and involves a walk of at least a half mile (a full mile, if your class was in Hyland) in order to get to your class. This was especially great for those of us who were on tight schedules and couldn't actually make it to campus until about five minutes before the class started.

There were semesters where I have been frequently late for classes because I was driving around looking for a place to park. On many occassions, I have ended up having to skip classes entirely because there was simply nowhere to park in the area. Other times, I've resorted to parking illegally on the street or in the Steamtown Mall lot, and prayed to God that I didn't get towed, while wondering exactly why I plunked down $100 (now $200) on what is essentially a useless bumper sticker.

After several years of this garbage, the University finally got its act together and put some new parking lots in along Mulberry St. and Madison Ave. For the last couple of years, parking hasn't been much of a problem at the University. Now, if you arrive after 9 AM, you're merely relegated to parking on the top floor of the parking garage, which is still a lot better than being stuck in Poly Hi or taking your chances with the Scranton Parking Authority.

But nevermind the fact the commuter students can now make their classes, we have the more urgent problem that the spoiled rich kids from Long Island have to walk around for a minute to find a place to eat! Oh noes! So now, the University is going to eliminate both the Weinberg and Gunster lots in order to make room for a new $30 million ski lodg... err... student center.

Nevermind that this now means we commuters will be going back to the days of having to quit our jobs (which we need, because we don't have filthy rich parents to leech from), because we have to get to campus by 8 AM in order to have any hope of making our classes. Nevermind that they could have built an additional parking garage on Mulberry first, in order to prevent another parking crisis. Nevermind that there are a lot of other buildings on campus that need major renovations, including St. Thomas and Loyola halls. Don't even get me started on that hole in the ceiling of the WUSR main studio, through which you can see daylight. I'm sure the FCC will be thrilled if they saw what a crappy roof we have over thousands of dollars of sensitive broadcasting equipment. And yes, we did have a ceiling tile fall during a broadcast. Nevermind all this, because what we really, desperately need, more than anything else, is a fireplace lounge!

This pretty much reinforces an attitude that is very often implied by the University of Scranton: if you are not from Long Island, you are not welcome here. The University has consistently made it clear, through its actions, as well as its unresponsiveness to the needs of commuting students, that the only way for area students to have anything less than a frustrating experience at the University of Scranton is to pay top dollar for a dorm room that's only 10 miles from their house. This new "student" center happens to be the most flagrant declaration of contempt for commuting students yet. The more I look at these plans, the more I think that I'll be finishing my education at Marywood.

Looking back, I probably should have done that to begin with.

Monday, January 30, 2006


So my Japanese instructor handed out a bunch of New Year's postcards from fourth and fifth graders today, celebrating the year of the dog. Three observations:
  1. I did not win the trip to Hawaii. Blasphemy.
  2. A Japanese fourth grader has better drawing skills than I do. This is not suprising. (She was about on par with your average ninth grade American anime fanartist, only without the pretending to be Japanese, and, of course, all the emo crap).
  3. A Japanese fourth grader has better English handwriting than I do. This disheartens me.

Judging by the way she quickly collected the cards at the end of class, I can only assume that one of them did win the trip to Hawaii. Unfortunately, this also means that I couldn't get a scan to put up here, but, eh, you'll live.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

It all started with an iPod...

Well, it seems like it's finally happened. After all these years of managing to successfully avoid it, I now appear to be succumbing to the Dark Side. It all began in November, when I used my "holiday bonus" at work (20% off one item instead of 10%! Aren't faceless megacorporaconglomerates wonderful?) to buy myself a video iPod. It was fine at first, but then I suddenly found myself being overwhelmed by this inexplicable, uncontrollable urge. I didn't know what to make of it at first. As the urge escalated, I found myself doing things that I have never done before. I begain checking Apple rumor sites almost daily. Steve Jobs' MacWorld keynote? Watched the whole thing. All the while, the urge was getting worse and worse. Finally, last week, after a blurry few days of which I remember little besides the eBay logo and lots of cursing at snipers, I awoke to find this sharing a desk with my Linux box:

Powermac G4
Just the thing I need. How nice.

So, yeah, as you can see there peeking out from behind the monitor and under the architecturally-dubious Leaning Tower of Kiseki™ (a Moosic landmark since 2005!), I am now the proud owner of an aging Mac.

Actually, I'm pretty much using this as sort of a training exercise. Now that Apple's switching to Intel (and thus opening the door for things like VMware and WINE, for when I acutally need a Windows program), I'm considering making the switch when my Windows box gets too old to be useable. Seeing how I like to run these things into the ground (I had a 486 Linux box running 24/7 until just last year, for chrissakes), this probably won't be happening for at least a few years. In the meantime, I grabbed myself this G4, seemingly plucked straight out of the hallowed halls of a forgotten University computer lab, judging by the number of labels that were stuck to it at some point or another. It also posesses the strangest CD loading mechanism that I have ever seen:

The CD... err... jaws
I'm your mighty, CD-gripping Jaws of Love, baby!

It's actually a DVD-RAM drive, where the recordable discs would come in their own cartridges. Do we remember DVD-RAM, kids? No? Neither do I. So anyway, there's what I'm going to spend the next few months playing with when I should be doing something productive. Like making timely updates to this blog. With that in mind, here's one last look at Christmas Mokona before I pack the lights up for another year:

Stupid Camera Tricks!
En fuego!

Goodnight, everybody.