I come bearing blogging news! I have made myself an outline prior to typing so that I can get all my thoughts in and this post stay organized. The bad news (if you want to look at it that way) of course, is that I have a lot that I want to say and so little time and space to say it in. I reckon I'll begin at the beginning.Romanticism in the Air
Being the Romantic I am, I can finally feel the magic in the air as the seasons change at the end of the year and Alabama goes from scorching to (what to us Alabamians anyway) is freezing. Our weather is wild in that until the seasons finally change, it will still be hot in the day but freezing at night. Eventually it will just be freezing and we won't be able to wait for it to warm up again only to repeat the process.
But there's something to be said about it getting cold at the end of the year. If you look at the circle of life, this is harvest time. The work has been done, life has been lived, it's time to claim our rewards, get a little R&R, spend time with loved ones, watch the young'nes grow up and watch ourselves grow old. Of course, Christmas is always looming out there and as a general rule we open our hearts and become a little more tolerant and forgiving. It's a lovely thing to see, especially if people learn to strive to do this all day long just as Ebeneezer Scrooge did. It gives a new meaning to the line I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year 'round. Past, Present and Future--the spirit of all three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons they teach.
Now that I've been on my own for a few years and, through no one's doing but my own, reclused myself from any big crowd or party during these times on the basis that it's mostly for show, I've resolved to get out there this year and do something. For instance, I've lived in the Great Metropolis of Huntsvegas for over four years and yet I've never been to the Botanical Gardens despite the fact that with all of my jobs and schooling I pass them multiple times a day. Therefore, even though I don't celebrate Halloween, I have decided to attempt to make my way out there for whatever they're doing for the holiday and plan to return for Thanksgiving/harvest/autumn and finally for the first time drive through all the lights at Christmas. And before you ask, yes, I was raised believing that Halloween is evil. I still think that there is a lot of demonic influence, but at the same time I'm not uptight anymore about the cute fun that can be enjoyed. That's the biggest thing that I've learned as I've grown older: if you just let go a little bit, you can't begin to hoard the rewards. For God's sake, we're all human and live on the same planet, so let's strive to get along or at least enjoy each other's company while we're all here.
Speaking of events in town, Homer Hickam
(anyone remember October Sky) will be in town next Saturday at the Von Braun Planetarium
. I tried to get more information on the event (like what time of day exactly he was supposed to be there) but I couldn't get a message through because of their bu$ted a$$ Micro$hit. Oh well! I may try to go on up during the day and hope that I'm there when he is.The Computer Doctor is Sick Today
So Dad's having a little trouble with his laptop. Actually, he's having trouble with the Verizon Air Card. He was supposed to bring everything into town on his way to work this weekend, but he forgot everything
at the house. Oops! I went out to Decatur and had dinner with him anyway and Mom is supposed to come have dinner and drop it off Monday night. I'm actually starting to enjoy spending time like this with the familia. My only gripe is that we haven't had a movie night in quite some time and I have several films to share although I don't think that Mom will trust me much longer. Mom thought that The Fountain
was weird, but I think that the real reason that she reacts so my choices is that she sees what I see these films and it unsettles her.
Speaking of computer maladies, my Ubuntu box3n is sick. It started a couple of months ago when I first observed that when I toggled the USB KVM switch, the box3n would immediately power down. This would also happen if you pulled the USB plug from the KVM out of the box or if you pulled either USB device out of the KVM. Well, that isn't precisely accurate. It's true that the box would turn off, but the power light on the front of the case would stay on. Now this is an old HP, so it's a soft switch, which means that you'd have to wait the 5-10 seconds for the damned thing to completely power down whilst holding the power button. But when the box would turn back on, it would immediately power down as described and you'd have to repeat the process several times. Eventually, the thing would actually go through the boot process, but when Ubuntu would attempt to mount the primary drive (post kernel load), the damn thing would power down again. Left alone for long enough however, the box would boot and load correctly.
That is, until last weekend. For whatever dumb reason, I decided I wanted to watch a movie on my 19" LCD instead of on the laptop screen. But instead of just being content with just having the picture, I decided I wanted to control the laptop via the keyboard and mouse on the desk, not on the unit itself. That’s when the box started acting up more then usual. My uptime went from three weeks (I rebooted to load the latest kernel) to three days to less then an hour, but I wasn't doing anything to trigger it.
I've tested everything I have the tools for. I thought it might be the BIOS because if you made changes to the BIOS and then saved and exited, the box would power down as described above and the process would repeat. But I swapped the battery as well as tested without the battery being in and there was no difference in behavior. I thought it could be the primary drive itself failing, but that doesn't make sense; it seems like the OS would still be loaded and I'd get a kernel panic or something. I thought the drive could be overheating, so I took it out of the drive sandwich and put it in direct line of the fan (that was more coincidental then planned). I went from having less then an hour of uptime to almost five, but the drive wasn't hot when the box powered down this time.
My guesses at this point are power supply and/or motherboard. The thing about it being the power supply is that was what was wrong with The Black Widow when she died after four years of faithful service. Now, when you plug something in at this apartment, there always seems to be a flash, so if it's the wiring, I've got big problems on my hands. Know the bastards in management, they'll likely let the apartment burn down before they replace the wiring.
The reason all of this is such a big deal is that I was using my Ubuntu box as a SSH server, a web server, a print server but most importantly a Samba server. All of my music, tools, downloads and hacks are on that machine. The good news is that all of that is on two different hard drives (redundancy will save my ass in this situation). The most devastating loss is the availability of my music. The Winamp library is currently pointed at the Ubuntu box. While I've got everything on my MP3 player and can connect it via USB to the laptop, Windows doesn't recognize it as a drive, and as such I can't add directories. Therefore, if I want to load a score, I have to do it via the library, preferably with a playlist. The other thing that sucks about this is that Winamp play music of off the MP3 player as a stream, so it's not an instantaneous play like it is with it being on the server which sucks because I'm ADHD when it comes to listening to music and I want to listen to what I want to listen to right then and there. Furthermore, when I'm playing DJ, I normally time my additions to the playlist to coincide exactly with the end of the current track.
I went on New Egg and started pricing. I'd have to get an enclosure or two to transfer data from the IDE drives to my SATA drive since IDE is being (finally) phased out, but just under a grand I could have a Core 2 Duo Extreme with 4 MB of cache per core, 4 GB of PC2 6400 Kingston HyperX, and the GeForce 8600GT--512 MB of 128bit GDDR 3. The thing I hate about building this machine is that it would make one hellava Wintel box and would be perfect if I added a Blu-ray drive, but I don't want to be on the Windoze platform anymore. Which leads me to my next point...
I've been looking at Macs for quite some time now, and now seems to be the perfect time to get one. The only thing that I'd want to wait for is Leopard to debut, but that's slated for no later then October 31. I've been thinking of a Mac mini all along, but when I went to the store today to talk it up with the sales people, I found out that it looks like the mini will only do 720p; that was with 1GB of RAM and the 2 Ghz Duo. Hrm. I immediately turned my attention to the iMac and am looking at it more so because there are rumors that the Mac mini will be no more. I finally decided that I want 4 GB of memory, but can deal with a smaller drive. Because of the Unix kernel, I can run SSH and Apache and Samaba and
read my ext2/ext3 drives just fine. Of course, that beast is going to come with a $3500 price tag.
I've considered selling the laptop to make it happen. In fact, I've got a whole bunch of junk that I need to sell and it it's up to me, I'll end up just giving it away. If anyone is interested in listing computer parts, sound boards and like for me, I'll ship them to you if you will list and ship to the customer. I would give you 20% of the profit for your services.Other Filmmakers, Other Films
I am also planning on getting a digital camera sometime early next year. I'm thinking of going the Nikon route because my A/V buddies both have Nikons (D70 and D80 respectively). I've thought about getting the D40 which from Wolf Camera would be $549 stock with an 18-55mm lens. However, there is a $1299 D80 kit that comes with the 18-135mm lens. Now here's the irony: I can get the D40 with both lenses for $918 and either sell the stock lens or keep it as a spare to protect the 18-135. I'll readily admit I don't know the first thing about cameras and lenses but there does seem to be a bit of redundancy that could pay for itself. Photographers, please weigh in on this.
Also, I've got scads of scripts to get written but I can never seem to make the time. The good news is that I have a play that I'm going to adapt which will most likely be my first film. I'll be buying the stage script from Amazon when I get paid this week, so the writing phase of that project should come and go relatively quickly. I think I may go ahead and adapt the play that I do have. As for the big script that I've been working on forever and a day: let's just say that someone has recently given me a lot of inspiration unbeknownst to them and I'm still stewing over the new angles.
I didn't tell you about it, but there's a new internal programming post at work. Perhaps I'll get a chance to blog about it tomorrow night.
I'm still planning to go out to Texas next year. I'm also going to Chattanooga to watch A Dark Knight
in all of its IMAX glory and there may be a documentary next year as well. Details on that to come.