music, personal, media comments edit

Weird dream Monday night: I was at a Tori Amos concert where the audience seemed to be only about 30 people. Tori made several costume changes during the show, though I can only remember that one was an old-school cheerleader and one was the Queen of Hearts (though it looked closer to something out of Cirque du Soleil). After the show, she came out into the audience (where I seemed to be the only person) and said, “He’s not dying on a deathbed, he’s living on a deathbed, making facelets for the stars.” Then she handed me a concert program - it was the Who Makes Facelets Anymore? Tour - and walked away.

That’s when I woke up.

I don’t know what a facelet is. I have this weird image of my mind of a charm bracelet that has a bunch of Lego people heads on it with various expressions on their faces. Maybe that’s what it is. I wonder if I made something like that, if people would buy them. Like, on eBay or something. I wonder if Lego sells just the heads of the people.

Now that weird time is over…

Last time I wrote, I had the entertainment center built and the TV was going to be delivered Monday afternoon.

Since then: The TV did, in fact, get delivered on Monday afternoon. I didn’t see it on the web page before, but the TV itself weighs 304 pounds and the stand weighs 69 pounds. That’s 373 pounds (169.2 kg for you metric folks) of TV. Damn, anyway. Luckily, the stand is smooth on the bottom, so I can sort of slide it around on the carpet with a lot of effort.

I got the stereo components all put into the new entertainment center cabinet and all the wires have been run between all the various components and the television. That only took about five hours. I tried to do a reasonable job of cable management, but in the end, there are so many cables and I got pissed off enough that I just sort of let the extra cable do its own thing. I zip-tied stuff as best I could, but there’s just too much to fight. Like one guy against the Huns. Much profanity was to be had, and my knees really hurt now from sitting on them while running cables. That all happened Monday night.

Last night, after helping my dad hook up his new printer, I went home and cleaned up the majority of the mess left behind by the technology transition. I still haven’t read the gigantic user manual that came with my TV and I really need to do that. There are features on there that I want to use that I don’t know how to, and there are some features I don’t even know what they do. Maybe tonight. There are still some big boxes that need to go out to the recycle bin, too.

And there wasn’t enough room in the living room to leave out the rocking chair we have, so I disassembled it so it can go in a closet. Now if only we had room to put it in a closet…

Come hell or high water, I’m going to play something on the PS2 tonight. I mean, that’s a significant portion of why I bought the damn TV anyway.

Speaking of PS2 and cool games, I pre-ordered the Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack box set yesterday. Amazon doesn’t have much info about it, so for info check out the Vice City Radio site, but if you’re going to buy it, why not buy it through me? :) It’s a seven-disc box set. Each disc has all of the music from one of the GTA: VC radio stations. You can buy each disc separately, but hey, I’m down with all of ‘em. I’m always down with the 80’s tunes.

personal, media comments edit

Lots of stuff happened this weekend, culminating in my loss of a hefty chunk of change to the Gods of Technology. But, as usual, let’s start at the beginning, as that’s a very good place to start.

Friday night Jenn and I went to the Hawks game versus Spokane where Spokane promptly thrashed us, five to three. I wasn’t really disappointed, though, since the Hawks really played their asses off. It was a very exciting game, and I congratulate them on a game well played.

Saturday afternoon we went to a wedding reception for one of Jenn’s friends, Connie. Connie’s cool, but I’ve really only met her, uh, twice now, and the only other person I knew there, Derek, another of Jenn’s friends, left almost as soon as we got there. So I really didn’t know anyone at this thing, it was outside during the drizzle, and it was just slightly cold. But the food was really good - which is not something you can usually claim at a wedding reception - so I can’t call it a loss. I filled up my plate like three times with various and sundry goodies. Unfortunately, we were unable to stay for cake (and I did want cake) because we had been there for two hours already and the cake wasn’t going to be cut for another hour after that. Might have been good cake, but I’m not sticking around for hours on end just to have cake.

Saturday night we hung out with my friend Gerb, who is currently attending Western Oregon University to get his degree in Theater Arts. I hadn’t seen him in quite a while, so it was good to have him over to meet the new kitty, visit, and generally hang out. Good times.

Sunday we were going to get done all the crappy housework that we hadn’t finished all week long. I was planning on washing and waxing my car, shopping, finishing up the laundry, and maybe sitting down to watch Monsters, Inc. That is almost, but not completely, exactly unlike what happened Sunday.

Got up, cleaned the shower and the toilet in our bathroom, took a shower, got dressed. So far, so good. Cleaned up the living room a bit, then took a break to play a little Dynasty Warriors 3.

Finished up a couple of levels in the game, then went to my parents’ house to visit and wash/wax my car. My parents decided to go to Ethan Allen prior to us getting there, so I didn’t get to see them, but I did wash my car. I waxed the front end prior to the sun coming out and making the car too hot to finish waxing. I got the front end, which I think is the important part. I can see why people pay other people to wax their cars. That job sucks ass.

While I was finishing up the front end wax job, I got a call from the sales guy (Rod) at Magnolia Hi-Fi. He said that my TV was in, but because of the stupid Port of Portland strike/lockout/whatever that’s going on, they only have three of the sets until the end of the month. Needless to say, I headed down to Magnolia.

Got to Magnolia and waited - seriously - about an hour for Rod to finish up with some other customers who, it looked to me, didn’t actually buy anything. Maybe they did, and I didn’t see it. They did sit up talking by the cash register for quite a while.

When Rod finally got to me, it was probably the easiest sale he made all week. He knew I wanted it, I knew I wanted it, so we worked out a deal where I got the four-year extended warranty for pretty cheap, the TV, and a component video cable so I can see the progressive scan output from my new DVD player.

A lot of people have asked me questions about the TV, so I thought I’d answer them.

Travis’s TV FAQ

  1. Q: How much did you pay for your TV? I heard it was expensive. A: It seems a lot of folks are genuinely concerned for my budgetary needs, and I have to thank them for that concern. Contrary to popular belief, I do not have any credit problems or any difficulties in planning out my budget to make ends meet. But, since you asked, it broke down like this: $2835 - Sony KV40XBR800 TV, with stand $200 - Magnolia Four-Year Performance Guarantee $47 - Middle-tier component video cables $3082 - TOTAL
  2. Q: Why would you spend that much on a TV? A: I like TV. I like my PS2. I like DVDs. Maybe you just bought a computer for $3000. Maybe you just bought a car stereo for $3000. I bought a TV. I like TV.
  3. Q: Why wouldn’t you just buy a rear projection TV like everyone else? A: If you look dead-on at a rear projection TV, it looks great. You ever stand up while trying to watch it? It fades out. Maybe not too much, but it fades. Now start walking toward the side of the TV. The closer you get, the darker the picture gets. That bugs me. There are only three TV types that don’t really do that - LCD, plasma, and tube. LCD is way too expensive. Plasma… I almost did that, but they aren’t quite to the point where the price justifies the performance. Which leaves tube TVs. The Sony KV40XBR800 is the largest tube TV made.
  4. Q: That thing must be huge A: It is, thanks.
  5. Q: What does a TV like that do? A: Lots of stuff. Check out the Sony page on it and read up. You’ll want one, too.

So anyway, I bought the TV and signed up for delivery between 11a and 2p today. I told ‘em that Jenn won’t be there until 12:30p, but Rod said not to worry about it. Fine.

The stand that the TV comes with isn’t big enough to hold all my shit. I have the whole home theater thing - amp/tuner, DVD player, CD player, VCR, digital cable box, PS2, turntable, tape deck… There are two shelves on the TV stand, and for such an immense TV, the stand shelves are two sizes - small and extra-small. I think I can put the cable box and the PS2 on each shelf, respectively, and the rest… uh…

With that thought in mind, Jenn and I went to Fred Meyer, where we found a pretty bitchin’ Sauder home theater system that had all the racks and stuff to hold our crap. Of course, they were out of them at the store we were at, so we ended up going to BFE to pick it up, but it all paid off. They loaded both boxes (it came in two boxes) into my car, and I was homeward bound.

I got home and… shit, that thing was 200 pounds per box if it was an ounce. I don’t know who at Sauder thought it would be a good idea to make it that heavy, but I can envision the conversation going something like this:

Designer: We’ve got this new product that will work wonderfully for folks with larger televisions. It’s got a couple of nice cabinets and a shelf over the top.

Boss: Great! Quality wood?

Designer: Only the best. Inch-thick finished particle board.

Boss: That’s perfect. Package it up.

Designer: I recommend putting this in five boxes - the pieces are too heavy to put in just two boxes. Most folks can’t just heave 200 pounds over their shoulders.

Boss: Fuck that! You’re fucking fired! Two box maximum. Americans are a bunch of pussies anyway. If people were in shape, we’d be able to put it all in ONE box. Just for that, I’m going to make all the pre-drilled screw holes just slightly too small so people won’t get any weaker than they are.

I ended up opening the boxes in the car and taking it upstairs piece by piece. That was, oh, 6:00p. By 10:00p my hands were feeling arthritic and my arms couldn’t move, but all of the stuff was out of the old entertainment center and into the new one. Not hooked up - hey, no TV - but sitting in there so the cats can’t get to it.

We thusly loaded up Jenn’s sister’s truck with the old entertainment center and hauled it over to her place. Merry Christmas, Danelle. :)

I woke up this morning, got in the shower, and am starting to think that my cat has opposable thumbs, and she’s using them to oppose me. The temperature in the shower fluctuated wildly between lukewarm and freezing cold, and the only explanation I have for it is that someone was in the other bathroom turning the hot water on and off. Since we lock her in the bathroom at night (otherwise she cries outside our bedroom door and tears things up - actually destroys stuff - because she’s lonely and won’t play with the other cat), that’s the only thing I can think of. She’s doing it to punish me.

Anyway, that was the weekend. Now I’m just waiting for the TV to be delivered and I will have completed the ordeal that started so long ago with a trip to Issaquah. Tonight, we party!

media, personal, sharepoint comments edit

Wednesday was a loooong day for me. I got up at 6:15a, got to work at 7:30a, started doing after-hours server patches at 5:00p, and finally left work at 1:30a Thursday. I was going to skip out on work Thursday, but I had a lunch appointment with the CTO, so I came in just in time for that and worked a half day after lunch.

Let me tell you, I was dragging Thursday.

I found a new thing I need to get: The Lego Star Wars Star Destroyer. Over 3,000 pieces, this thing is three feet long and two feet wide. I must have it.

The sales guy from Magnolia called me today and told me that the floor model of my TV will be in on Sunday, so I should come by then to check it out. It took long enough, but I’m glad it’s finally here. I’ll go in and check it then, and if all looks good (and I can work out a deal for a stand, too

  • the stand it comes with is too small to hold all my stuff), I’ll get it. Hell, yeah. Big screen, here I come.

I can’t begin to count how many people have sent me this World’s Funniest Joke article, but let me tell you: The joke itself really isn’t the world’s funniest joke. Maybe humor is one of those things that can’t be gained by committee or something. It’s a decent joke and whatnot, but it didn’t have me busting a gut or anything. And now you certainly can’t tell the sonofabitch at a party because everyone’s heard it. I wonder if, by declaring the joke “World’s Funniest,” they’ve somehow destroyed the funny part of the joke, thus making it not the World’s Funniest Joke.

I’ve got like six different support incidents open with Microsoft right now, and for some reason, I feel like either Microsoft has a bunch of blockheaded morons working in its support department or they have a bunch of support personnel who need some training in comprehension skills. My favorite current issue is this:

Installing Internet Explorer 6.0 Service Pack 1 on a SharePoint Portal Server will break certain SharePoint Portal Server functionality.

I know this to be true, just as the sun rises in the east. Tell me if you think I’m off-base in my thinking. Here’s what I did:

I had a perfectly functional SharePoint Portal Server development box. It had all the latest patches on Windows Update except for Internet Explorer 6.0 Service Pack 1. (It had IE6, just not the service pack.) I put IE6 SP1 on the machine. After I did that, the server wouldn’t let me edit items on it that were over a certain length. I got mad and tried to uninstall the service pack, but that didn’t fix it.

I formatted the machine and installed Windows 2000 Server from scratch. I brought it fully up to date on Windows patches. I installed SharePoint Portal Server and all of its respective patches. I got everything back up to snuff - except IE6 SP1 - and it worked. I then installed IE6 SP1 on it and the server stopped working again. “No way,” I thought, “could this be so.” I did it again.

I formatted the machine again and put Windows 2000 Server and SharePoint Portal Server on it, yadda, yadda, yadda. Got it all together and it worked fine. Installed IE6 SP1 on the machine - it stopped working.

Finally rebuilt the box one last time and this time I’ve not put IE6 SP1 on it. It’s working fine.

That feels like pretty conclusive evidence to me that IE6 SP1 breaks SharePoint Portal Server.

What do I get from Microsoft? “Check and see if all of your servers have the same hotfixes.” Yes, you moron, all of my servers are fully up-to-date on everything except IE6 SP1. “Is it my understanding that you have servers on which you don’t see this problem?” Look, numbnuts, I didn’t install it on any other servers because it fucking breaks them. So, no, I don’t see the problem on any of my servers because I didn’t install the damn patch. And, before you ask, NO, I’m not going to “test it out” on my production machines. You have servers over there, you replicate the motherfucker. I did it twice. I swear to you on all you believe holy that IE6 SP1 fucks up SharePoint Portal Server. Take that as gospel and go with it, okay?

I’m getting worked up just thinking about it.

I watched Survivor last night. Eh. I’m glad they got rid of that Jed guy and all, but I am really hoping they get rid of Ghandia pretty soon. She’s got some issues she needs to go home and deal with. At first, I thought she and Ted were going to deal with their little “chemistry” thing on a mature level, and Ted seemed prepared to do that, but then she went too far and started a huge rumor mill, blowing the whole thing out of proportion. No psycho chicks, thank you very much. Vote her ass off.

More than that, though, I want Robb voted off. Just because he’s a cocky asshole. Enough said on that issue.

I have to say that I’ll be slightly disappointed if and when they vote Erin off, though. She’s got quite the rack, if I do say so myself. (Even though she really doesn’t stand out in any other way; she doesn’t talk on the camera, she doesn’t create controversy… she just sort of fades into the background. Hey, maybe that’s her strategy.)

The Hawks are playing Kootenay tonight. Should be a good game. I’ve got my jersey on and I’m ready to go.

music, tv comments edit

I picked up the American Idol Greatest Moments CD this morning after my allergy shots and I’m reasonably pleased. Besides the fact that Fred Meyer had it on sale for $12.97, it’s got some pretty good stuff on it. But I do have a tiny gripe.

The music itself seems somehow… underprocessed. Or something. Have you ever heard a low-budget Christian album? Or maybe someone singing a song along with the demo on a Casio keyboard? The songs sound like that. Like the music in the background is slightly overproduced while the singer got a $10 microphone and a maximum of two takes in the studio. Maybe the mixing is off or something. But it’s bugging me like nobody’s business.

And to top it off, AJ Gil is on this motherfucker, and I can’t stand his nasal Backstreet-wannabe voice. He destroys a perfectly good Stevie Wonder tune. I’m getting worked up just thinking about it.

I’ve been playing a lot of Dynasty Warriors 3 lately with Jenn and it’s been pretty fun. I’ve been building up my character’s strength so I can better defeat some of the single-player levels. We’ve played all the multiplayer levels several times, so now it’s time to play some more of the single-player levels so I can unlock more of the multipayer ones. Lucky for me, she’s got a meeting tonight, so I’ll hammer away at that so next time we play we can try some new stuff.

Jenn is having a similar problem to me in finding a good Alice costume. The only decent one comes in satin, which isn’t even right - I’m pretty sure Alice didn’t run around in Wonderland wearing all satin. Also, I haven’t seen any Alice costumes that have the proper petticoat with them - Alice had a petticoat.

Anyway, that whole thing is a problem. I’m leaning toward the ninja costume more and more, but it would be cool if Jenn could go as Alice. Alice is a hottie.

I exercised extreme willpower yesterday while shopping. The new Harry Potter Legos are in Fred Meyer for 20% off. With Mom’s employee discount, that makes them right affordable. But I had to abstain from purchase, following my new mantra: I’m saving for my TV… I’m saving for my TV… I’m saving for my TV…

Speaking of TV, I found out there’s some sort of strike or lockout or something going on at the Port of Portland and there’s a bunch of stuff just sitting at the dock not being delivered to the stores. Now, normally I’d just pass it off with a “that sucks” and call it good, but I started thinking… Magnolia Hi-Fi is waiting for the TV to come in, and the shipment’s been delayed… My TV is probably sitting on the fucking dock, waiting for some stupid contract negotiation or something to complete. I have a mind to go down there and start something. Deliver my TV already. Damn.

costumes comments edit

While listening to an online seminar about .NET application deployment and sipping water from my Fuck Off mug, I was doing a little searching for Mad Hatter hats.

Now, I’m particular about exactly what color, etc., a Mad Hatter hat should be if it wants to rest atop my hallowed head. It must be green with a dark green band. It must look absolutely identical to the Mad Hatter’s hat in the Walt Disney version of Alice in Wonderland. Not “American McGee’s” Alice. Not some psychedelic wannabe Alice. Walt Disney’s version of Alice in Wonderland. Accept no substitutes.

I can’t find any that fit the description.

I know I saw them when I was at Disneyland umpteen years ago. They were there, and they were perfect. I just can’t find them now.

I found many, many sites selling these psychedelic pot smoker druggie hats that are generally shaped like the Mad Hatter’s hat, but none of them actually is the One True Hat.

I did see one on auction at eBay, but it’s already sold and I don’t even know if it’d fit me.

I looked for a pattern online (could the McCall’s site be any slower?), but no luck.

I did find this costume from BadPlanet.com that is under the “Officially Licensed Disney” section, but… “one size fits most” sort of rules it out for tall, long-armed folks. $49 isn’t a bad price, though. (They also have an Alice costume, by the way. Did I not tell you Alice is a hottie?) I’m not big on the satin thing, but it’s an option. (BadPlanet also has a “spicy women” section in their “Adult Costumes” category. Well worth a look.)

What that amounts to is that it may be easier (and cheaper) to go ninja than it will be to go Mad Hatter for Halloween. Somewhat disappointing, but not surprising.

Something I forgot to mention earlier: The Alias premiere was last night and it rocked. I can only hope they keep up the good work.

Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Jennifer Garner is hot.