31 March 2009

Tut Tut: It Looks Like Rain

As Jen has already mentioned, today the rains came. And came. And, as of this writing, are still coming. She tells me that once the Rainy Season settles in, the daily torrent will mostly be confined to midafternoon (much like summer thunderstorm time in Teh Mountains, NC), but that here at the begininning, there's no telling how long it will rain.

So far it's been about six hours, and I have no problem with any of it. I've always enjoyed the sound of rain on a tin roof.

The power has flickered a couple times, which is something that, while I don't love it, I'm certainly used to it, having grown up in the penultimate house on a Rural Electric Authority line. There were times that it seemed like my Dad's sneezes (which, I must admit were prodigious -- not to mention that they echoed through the hills [I'm totally not kidding]) were enough to knock the power out back in the hills in the day.

Had dinner upstairs* with Jen and the girls, and a good time was had by all, with recorder serenades and (virtual) science inventions and more than a little giggling (although I did try to contain myself). And now I'm back downstairs, where it's much cooler, winding down and checking blogs and posting this.

Oh, by the way, if you haven't been by there this evening, stop by Steve's place, and leave some love for him and his family.

*for those who do not know, I'm living in the downstairs apartment of an up/down duplex, so as to allow everybody to grow used to the idea of me being here.

30 March 2009

Cool Earth Hour Pics

From the website Boston.com, comes a series of "Before" and "During" photos from around the world, showing this past Saturday's observation of Earth Hour. Wait for the whole page to load, and then click the individual pics to see them "dim".

Here are the two shots of the Acropolis (that's in Athens, Greece, btw):

Posted Without Comment

(h/t to Bob Cesca)

29 March 2009

The Pressure Is On

Hmmm. It appears that I have been put on notice -- on the hotseat -- the onus is on me -- to post "something of interest". I'm not in a position at the moment to do an essay on amortization, however.

I will say that I enjoyed going to the farmer's market here in San Rafael. Beaucoups fresh fruits and veggies and all kinda stuff. I got some nice looking tomatoes, some new taters and some onions, a hat for to keep the tropical sun off'n my haid, and Jen and I shared a traditional dish from El Salvador, pupusa, which is a flatbread(ish) thing. Corn flour with black beans cooked on a griddle, then a filling with cabbage and (some kind of) meat and a spicy sauce. It was very good and much more of a meal than I thought it would be. I may have to find a recipe.

And now it's time for dinner and then possibly some Harry Potter movie action. B'bye!

28 March 2009

Wherein I Pose A Question

To wit:

Is it still Wal-mart if it's called Hiper Más and it's in Costa Rica? Cause if it is, I totally blew my boycott. But my kitchen is all set up now and I have a chair for the table I built yesterday. Here's a poor photo of the desk:

Also too and?

It gets dark early and fast here. Like 6pm(ish). Remember those views I posted t'other day? North and South? Here they are at night:

27 March 2009

I Love The Smell Of Sawdust In The Morning

So, when Jen got home from work yesterday we went to the neighborhood hardware and lumber store. For those of you who may not have ever been in a Costa Rican hardware store, it's quite different than a Lowe's or Home Depot. First of all, the people who work there know what all the stuff is that they sell. Second, it's set up like an auto parts store in the States -- a long counter, and several rows of shelves behind it where all the stuff is kept. You tell the knowledgeable and friendly (yes, even with my limited Spanish, I could tell) person what you want and he brings it to you.

We went to pick out some lumber with which to build a desk for my computer and also a bed. Most of you know that Jen has a wee li'l car (the Purple Hatchback of... oh, wait I'm not allowed to say the name), and we were buying boards that were between 3.5 and 4 meters (11 1/2 to 13 feet) long, so that would have been a bit of awkward hauling. I noticed that they had a cutting station set up in the back of the lumber yard and Jen asked the nice dude if he would cut the boards to length and he said sure, and we managed to figure it all out and get it done without any 8x10 color glossies with pictures and arrows and a paragraph on the backa each one and also with me only having to say "No comprendo" once.

So, anyway, here's the Pile O' Lumber after we got it home:

Then it was time for dinner, which was Green Food -- and very good.

So, this morning, afore Jen headed off to work, we went back and got some nails and bolts and stuff, and then I got to work:

And before long, viola! I have a computer desk:

Some time over the next couple days, we'll get me a chair and then Whoa, Nelly! I'll be ... sitting there doin' stuff.

25 March 2009

Discovery Channeled

Jen is under the impression that she has taken me out of the mountains.

If so, then what the hell, pray tell, be these?

They be, by the way, around 6000' (or close to 1800m) in elevation.

In other words, here there be dragons mountains!!

24 March 2009

23 March 2009

If Anybody Needs Me...

...I'll be here ...

...around 5pm EDT.

/shuts down computer, packs in suitcase, heads to airport, gets on plane to Costa Rica/

22 March 2009

Still Unclear As To What Happened To The Economy?

Michael Rushkoff explains it brilliantly:

With any luck, the economy will never recover.

In a perfect world, the stock market would decline another 70 or 80 percent along with the shuttering of about that fraction of our nation’s banks. Yes, unemployment would rise as hundreds of thousands of formerly well-paid brokers and bankers lost their jobs; but at least they would no longer be extracting wealth at our expense. They would need to be fed, but that would be a lot cheaper than keeping them in the luxurious conditions they’re enjoying now. Even Bernie Madoff costs us less in jail than he does on Park Avenue.

Alas, I’m not being sarcastic. If you had spent the last decade, as I have, reviewing the way a centralized economic plan ravaged the real world over the past 500 years, you would appreciate the current financial meltdown for what it is: a comeuppance. This is the sound of the other shoe dropping; it’s what happens when the chickens come home to roost; it’s justice, equilibrium reasserting itself, and ultimately a good thing. (emphasis original)

(h/t to Blue Gal)

21 March 2009

Saturday Song

Is That A Real Poncho, Or Is That a Sears Poncho?

20 March 2009

Holder of a Place

Went to visit my parents today, and looking at a busy weekend.

More later

19 March 2009

March Madness Is Here!

Have you heard?

It's time to fill out your bracket (click to embiggen)!

What's that? You thought I was talking about basketball? Pish.

Click here to fill in your picks.

Random Python Monty: My Nipples Explode With Delight

18 March 2009

Quote of the Day

"But you know when you give billions and billions of dollars to the Pirates of Penzance you can hardly be surprised if they, you know, spend it on women and grog." -- Jonathan Turley on Countdown last night, pointing out the "vapors" that members of Congress are having regarding the AIG bonuses.

Watch it:

17 March 2009

You Know I Can't Let 17 March Pass Without Posting A Song

Allison Krauss and The Chieftans, Molly Bán.

From the YouTube comments:
"Go raibh céad maith agat as ucht seo. Is maith liom an leagan seo agus is binn an glór atá ag Alison Krauss chomh maith le láidir agus cumhachtach fósta. Cuireann sí áthas ar mo chroí."

What can one add to that?

This Post Has Nothing To Do With AIG

Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina:

Denali, Alaska:

I just thought everyone could use a break from the bs.

16 March 2009

Super Heroed Again!!

Last year it was this post, and now, with a hat tip to Utah Savage, I present to you...

And now you (and I) know.

15 March 2009

Post #912

It's a chilly, rainy Sunday here, and I'm just marking time.

And Dick freakin' Cheney was on TV (and hence, all over the Internets) today, lying and snarling and, well, being Dick Cheney.

Therefore, I have nothing to say.

14 March 2009

Saturday Songs

Davy Sπllane*


and not so:

And, of course, he's playing the uillean πpes**, in honor of π Day.


13 March 2009

Fox's Shepard Smith Goes Off The Reservation

A montage (thanks to Think Progress) of Smith dissing the all-powerful (and completely loopy) Glenn Beck:

I'm pleased to say I've never actually watched Fox News, but I think I remember reading that Shepard Smith has done this sort of not-toeing-the-company-line thing before.

I like it.

(edited to correct spelling of the host's name. Oopsie)

Jon Stewart Flashback

So, the Stewart -v- Cramer (Jim Cramer, of CNBC's Mad Money) is all over Teh InterWebs Tubes, and I'm sure that nearly all of you have seen at least excerpts by now. I'm glad that it's getting such airplay, and I hope it has "legs", as they say in The Business, because Stewart makes some excellent points.

Watching the video, and reading reactions around Blogistan, reminded me of Jon's appearance on CNN's Crossfire, and so I thought I'd post that here.

12 March 2009

Random Python Monty: Bruce

Quote of the Day

...because Bush has been “credibly accused” of supporting torture in Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Canada has a legal obligation to deny him entry under Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. The law says foreign nationals who have committed war crimes or crimes against humanity, including torture, are “inadmissible” to Canada. “The test isn’t whether the person’s been convicted, but whether there’s reasonable grounds to think that they have been involved,”

-- Vancouver lawyer Gail Davidson, who wants Dubya either denied entry or, better yet, arrested when he tries to go to Calgary to speechify in April.

All I can say is... Hell, yes!!

(h/t -- this post at Think Progress)

11 March 2009

This May Come As A Shock To Some Of You....

Take the test for your own self!

(h/t to Think Progress -- check out the post)

10 March 2009

I Don't Care That It's Nowhere Near Thanksgiving

WKRP, Turkey Drop, in its entirety. One of the best half hours 24m18s of American TV ever:

09 March 2009

A Post For Spinal Tap Fans

(found at Obamicon.me)

Quote of the Day

An earmark simply is a congressional decision to allocate part of appropriation for a particular purpose. Eliminating the allocation doesn't reduce the appropriation, it simply leaves the allocation decision to a federal department or agency rather than to Congress.
Stan Collender, talking about the bloviating about earmark "reform".

In other words, if earmarks were totally banned, it would not result in one dollar less being spent.

Classical Monday

Today is Samuel Barber's birthday (1910 - 1981). Who is Samuel Barber, you may ask? Well, he's the guy who wrote this:

String Quartet №1 in B Minor, op.11 (2nd and 3rd movements)

And then later adapted it to this:

I doubt there are many people out there who haven't heard this somewhere (including in the movie, Platoon).

And, for those two of you who haven't already clicked away to another blog, here's a choral arrangement:

To me, this is one of the most beautiful and haunting pieces ever written, and will always make me think of a certain theatre production I was once in (thanks, Petulant -- and, Icaia, of course).

08 March 2009

Quote of the Day

Today the Republican Party is rooting for doom. And since the Republicans are now anti-American members of an Obama-must-fail insurgency, lies become a self-fulfilling prophecy: talk doom, and keep the economy in a panic and we may get what we wish for.

Don't conservative Republicans object to the lies? No, because the Republicans don't have any actual and traditional conservative followers left. The Republican base is now made up of religious and neoconservative ideologues, and the uneducated white underclass with a token person of color or two up front on TV to obscure the all-white, all reactionary all backward -- there-is-no-global-warming -- rube reality. Actual conservatives, let alone the educated classes, have long since fled.

Frank Schaeffer in a post at The Huffington Post.

Bonus Content: Schaeffer on the DL Hughley show --

And another of Shaeffer's posts.

07 March 2009

I've Gone Looney... Tunes, That Is

Saturday Video Clip: Just For Jen Version

Saturday Not Video

Why are there no videos of the Tazmanian Devil cartoons on YouTube?

Why, why, why, why?

06 March 2009

I May Never Be The Same Again

Whatever you do, do not go and read this post.

I think I'm gonna be ill.

ETA: Link is repaired.

Mea Culpa

(or wev the correct phrase is)

My comments have experienced a hostile takeover.

I'm trying to correct the problem, but my code is malformed. I hate it when that happens.

This has not been the best tech week in my life, that's for sure.

ETA: Aaaand, we're back to Blogger comments. My suggestion to all of you (and I know it's too late for you Dusty) is to AVOID THE INTENSE DEBATE COMMENTING PLATFORM AT ALL COSTS!!!

CTA*: Tell Congress To Impeach Judge Jay Bybee

Email received this morning:

Dear Friend,

When presidents and federal judges take office, they must swear to support and defend the Constitution. But federal judge Jay Bybee worked long and hard to undermine the Bill of Rights - and to make sure that President George W. Bush could do the same.

On March 2, the Justice Department released a series of legal memos, some authored by Jay Bybee, that made a mockery of the Constitution, and gave the Bush Administration legal cover to wiretap Americans without court approval, to send prisoners oversees where they were likely to be tortured, to use U.S. military forces for domestic purposes, and a number of other actions that previously would have been considered unconstitutional.

For his service, Bybee was rewarded by the Bush administration with a federal judgeship. Working Assets (now CREDO) worked to oppose that nomination, but only 19 senators sided with us, and Bybee was overwhelmingly confirmed. Now that we know the extent of the horrors he authorized - the extent to which he worked against our own Constitution - Bybee must be impeached.

I just took action to tell my representative to impeach Judge Bybee. I hope you will, too.

Please have a look and take action.


*Call To Action

05 March 2009

To Prove I Can See Videos, I'll Post One

I am firmly of the belief that what you (or I) believe is up to you (or me), and your beliefs have no control over me (or vice versa). AKA, your rights end where mine begin.

Ergo, my personal beliefs make no never mind. And the reverse is equally true.

But whatever your belief system, if you are a rational person you should find this funny:

(I got it from Bill, who got it from PZ, who got it from....)

Re: Can't Get Flash Working

Okay everybody, go ahead and point and laugh. Just go ahead and do it.

Oh, you want to know why?

Okay. Well. Ummm. /sigh/

Here's the thing. I installed Linux from the live CD, and all that. And the default browser was something called Konqueror. Which, although it seemed a friendly little browser, wasn't Firefox. So I downloaded and installed (after figuring out how) Firefox. Yay! Happy dance!

Wait. Not so much. Videos don't work!?!? Noooooooo!

And so the three day search to figure things out began. Tried this and that and the other, and determined that Flash Player 10 (for Linux, even) was installed, but Just. Wouldn't. Work.

Searched, tried, pouted, cursed, etc....

Tried Flewellyn's link from my previous post about this (btw, thanks Flewellyn!!) and nothing, repeat nothing could get me videos in Firefox. Oh, they showed up just fine in Konqueror.

I tried another browser (Opera... meh) to see if there was video, and Lo, there was. Now it's getting really frustrating.

Konqueror was too plain, and Opera, well, see above, and dangit, I really like Firefox! Anyway, I did a Google search of "linux browsers" and came to a site that listed eight or ten of them, including Firefox, and -- well, here, let me just show you what it said (emphasis mine):

Firefox [Free]
The most popular open source web browser. Available for all major operating systems and included in all major Linux distributions. Numerous extensions are available..

Yes, Dear Reader, the pre-installed Firefox works just fine. But not knowing it was already there, I installed another copy of it. But the system didn't point to the one I was opening, so none of my attempts were directed where I wanted them to be.

Now I need to figure out which iteration of FF is the one I don't need, and get rid of it.

As it says in my URL, I am such a Phydeauxp. Point and laugh.

04 March 2009

Quote of the Day

"I haven’t actually read the book but my understanding is that in Atlas Shrugged they’re actually building a high-speed rail link from Las Vegas to Disneyland." -- Matthew Yglesias

Pheaux Phyre Phorum: The First Linux Edition

Yeah, I know. MY OS makes no difference in your viewing pleasure, but there it is.

Looking around for better chat interface (especially since I ditched Haloscan), and this is the one that Blue Gal is now using for her Salon on Mondays, so it must be worth trying out.

Shall we?

ETA: Just so you know, when you show up in that chat, you can't see what's already been said. So, just dive right on in.

FINAL EDIT: I'm closing that down for tonight. We'll try again next week, m'kay?

Calling All Geeks

As I mentioned yesterday, I broke Windows on my computer, which kinda sucks.

The upside is, I've wanted to explore Linux for some time, and since Windows no longer works on my computer, this is the perfect opportunity. So, I've installed the OS (Kubuntu 8.10) and figured out how to do things like start Firefox, and listen to online music and vital fun stuff like that. For someone who isn't really a tech-head, I don't think I'm doing so bad.

Except for one thing.

I cannot get Adobe Flash to install. Do you realize how much flash is used on Teh InterWebs Tubes? People (including me) post videos without any description or anything. And that appears as an empty box, thusly:

Here's what I've tried:
  • Clicked on the above (well, not the picture of it, the actual occurrence). See next bullet point.
  • Clicked on the "Install Missing Plugins" at the top of the window. I'm told that Adobe Flash Player isn't available.
  • Gone to the Adobe website and downloaded the latest Linux version (each of the four possible ones) of flash and installed it. But it doesn't take. Even after restarting Firefox and, indeed, the whole computer.
  • Pouting.
  • Cursing.
  • Gnashing of teeth.

So, anybody out there got suggestions?

Added: I just tried the default browser that came on the install disc (Konqueror), and flash is working there. So, it is installed, just not working with Firefox.

03 March 2009

Rass'n Frass'n Consarn Idjit....

That would be me.

I was doing some computer maintenance last night and somehow deleted a key bit of Windows.

Yeah. Brilliant, eh?

So I don't quite have the BSOD*, but it's close, as the computer didn't come with a system restore disk and the Windows Product Key sticker was conveniently placed on the top of the tower, where Puff used to like to snuggle 'cause it's warm. So the sticker is mostly worn down to nothing. The code that must be entered to "Activate" Windows is long since gone, and I never -- to the best of my recollection -- copied it down anywhere.

Again. Brilliant, eh?

I'm sneaking online right now, to try and find some way out of this predicament, but I just couldn't wait to let y'all know what a doofus I am.

Hmmm. Perhaps now is the perfect time to further explore Linux....

02 March 2009

Couple More Remarks For Today...

First, today was Dr. Seuss' birthday, and the ever-playful folks at Google paid homage to him with this:

Second, if you're not sure what a push poll is, look at this:

Notice how the two questions are asking the same thing? Well, 17% of those asked did not. (second photo found at Volcano Monitors site, found courtesy of comments at the home of that paradigm of True Conservatism, Jon Swift)

But What About All The Comments?

As I mentioned yesterday, one of the changes included with the new look (and name) of the place was to stop using Haloscan. As most of you already know, Haloscan was bought out last summer by JS-Kit. They are supposedly migrating all users to the JS-Kit platform, and, as such, apparently stopped doing support on Haloscan, so the performance of that commenting system has been steadily going downhill. As long time commenters on any site that has used Haloscan know, there have been problems aplenty with Haloscan for some time.

It has pretty much become unreliable for those of us who don't have upgraded (meaning paid) accounts, so I decided to not link this new template to it. I still have the account and can access the comment archives, and all the comments are still there.

I have looked at JS-Kit before (last year when I was first looking for a new platform for the Phyre), but found it to be unwieldy and confusing. They say they're working on it, and it may well become easier to use soon. And if that happens, I can supposedly import all the old Haloscan commments into the new platform, and thereby restore all your glorious ruminations on my posts.

But until I'm sure the new is better than the regular Blogger comment platform? Not gonna change.

I will be looking for something a bit more ... vibrant ... than the Blogger comment platform for use in the Phyre, which, yes, I do intend on continuing, despite my slackitudiness of the past few weeks. A lot of that has been due to wanting an easy and fun commenting platform which Haloscan definitely no longer was.

Anyway, that's what's up with that.

Carry on.

The White Lion Of March

We all know the old saying about March, "In like a Lion/Lamb, out like a Lamb/Lion" (whichever the case may be any given year). Well, I guess this year the "in" is a lion, cause here in the middle of the flatlands of North Carolina we woke up to this:

and this:

and this:

today. From what I read and hear on the radio, the further north you go, the deeper it gets.

I hope that if you're in a place that's getting snow, you a) like snow, b) either don't have to drive or at least not far, and c) have a big ole mug of hot chocolate like I do right now.

Roar on, March!

01 March 2009

Oh! I Almost Forgot!

The new blog title was Jen's suggestion.

And, no more Haloscan!!!

A New Look

So, two years ago today I started this li'l blog. And here we are, about 900 posts and a lot of changes (both macro and micro) later.

So I figured this would be a good time to change the look of the place. I'll be playing around with the layout and sidebar elements for a while, but this is pretty much the new place.

Whattaya think, y'all?