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A full day - Blather, Rinse, Repeat
December 14th, 2003
01:24 am


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A full day
I'm sure that I'm in some sort of low-blood-sugar crash mood right now, but one thing I'm fond of is rambling in such moods.

It's been a full day. Generously defining the day as the past 32 hours or so (because I want to, that's why), I've done some good stuff. Now I sit in a dark room, in a comfortable wing-back chair (the purchase of which, I am reminded, was inspired by Lisa, in whose apartment I sat in a similar one some 8 1/2 years ago (is that even right?)) illumined by the web page, as though I were a computer criminal in a movie.

Hm. I think that Keely and I have had this discussion about our chosen careers - how often is YOUR chosen career portrayed in film? And when it is portrayed, is that character sympathetic, much less the protagonist? It's an odd way to measure one's job, admittedly.

On the note of geeky computer stuff (and lending more and more credence to the geek stereotype), I stopped off at CompUSA on the way home on Friday. Not with anything in mind, just to provide myself an opportunity for impulse purchases. I realized that the Firewire cable I kept meaning to buy was an excellent candidate - so I rushed home with a new and fancy cable in hand.

Note to readers who haven't visited my home (any of my residences, really): I have a lot of cables. There's probably something fundamental about my personality that's evidenced by my cable collection. One more wire to add to your Rorschach test.

I celebrated the new cable by hooking up my newish camcorder to my laptop and to my TiVo unit. I proceeded to make a digital recording of an episode of Amazing Stories (the John Cryer one, where he pours the pink and blue chemicals on pictures of women). Surprisingly good quality for rather little effort. God bless technology. Even if it's just archiving John Cryer from 1986.

After having done that, I fiddled a bit more with another semi-related project. I'm a computer graphics/animation geek. (Have been longer than I can remember, probably. Thanks, Dad.) Recently, I've been on a kick to apply some of the gratuitous technology I surround myself with towards rendering some sort of short movie. There's much more (and less) to it than that, but at this point, the content side of this project is much less interesting to me than the technical exercise of lighting up pixels through time in some sort of distributable fashion.

One needs some sort of content, and I've settled on drawing some fractals (you remember fractals? They were geeky and cool - um, they were popular among geeks - maybe 10 years ago). So, I churned out hundreds of still frames onto my hard drive (using wxPython to generate BMPs), I then used BBMPEG(AVI2MPG2) to turn those still frames into a VideoCD compatible MPEG stream. Then, I used vcdimager (on Linux) to create a VideoCD image (which, if it were an ISO, would be handy, but instead, it was a BIN and CUE file). I then managed to use cdrdao (again, on Linux) to burn the disk.

Plopped the piping hot disk into my DVD player, and, dig me, I've got 8 seconds of mathematical nonsense spinning around my TV. I even jotted down notes so that I could reproduce the endeavor, should I actually have something that somebody'd want to watch.

That took me late into the night. I've taken to measuring my sleep habits by what my local NPR station is playing when I climb into bed. If they're playing BBC, that's later than I should go to bed. If they've started playing the East Coast feed of the morning news show, that's absurdly late. This was only(!) a BBC night.

Um, right.

Somehow I managed to fritter away the entire morning (probably making more pictures of the Mandelbrot set, but I'm not so sure now), and I had been telling myself how nice it'd be if I got out of the house before 9 in the morning. I think that it was somewhere around 12:30, but by 1:06 I had sent my sister's Christmas gift off to her, and was ready to grab the last gift from the outstretched palm of Archie McPhee.

But first, and almost as an aside, I had lunch. I ate at Skipper's. I used to really like Skipper's fish and chips. I've always loved their clam chowder. The fish and chips are beginning to disappoint me a great deal these days, but the chowder continues to satisfy. That seems like a metaphor for life if you want it to be.

And then to the funky emporium that is The Outfitter of Popular Culture. I had decided that I needed to buy my mom a Librarian Action Figure. Archie McPhee makes and sells them. I told my GPS gizmo to direct me to Archie McPhee's store in Seattle, and it gave me a rather bizarre route, but I love taking roads that I haven't before (curse you, Robert Frost). Somehow the route I took managed to take me through an incredible amount of traffic, but perhaps that's what one ought to expect on weekends leading up to the holidays.

I found parking, I found the action figure, I stood in line for half an hour waiting to pay for my last Christmas gift, and succumbed to more impulse purchases along the way. I bought a car air freshener that looked like a pair of dice, with that "Casino Smell". That can't be good. By the time I got to the front of the store, I was nearing the end of my proverbial fuse. How did people shop for Christmas without an Internet? I just barely managed to buy one gift at a bricks-and-mortal location. Our forebears clearly came from sturdier stock.

And back home (more traffic, imagine!), took a nap (an old man am I), and then off to a friend's seasonal party.

Hm. One of the guests there was just about falling out of her clothing, and was very happy to demonstrate this. I ended up finding other places to be to help minimize my own gaping. Upstairs, there were two discussions going on - one on religion, one on politics. Again, it says something about me that given the choice of an open shirt, a religious discussion, or a political discussion, the one I was least uncomfortable with was the political discussion. Or perhaps it still needs to be said that normally, I'd cross a street to avoid a political discussion.

After a while, groups of people upstairs shifted, and I fled right around the time that one of my friends was discussing the dynamics in dominant/submissive relationships.

I'm not saying it was a bad party. I had fun, and I met some interesting people.

Hm. I've written several candidate next paragraphs, but killed each in turn. I'm now looking at the past thirtyish hours as a mirror on who I am, and asking myself whether I'm comfortable with my level of comfort or discomfort at various events or activities.

It may not be the best answer, but I choose to duck these questions and go to bed now.

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