pyesetz: (woof)

Oct. 29, day 7: Drive from New York to Ontario

Best Western (Liverpool NY, 2:46am).  Yet another bill-under-the-door.  Only $111.76 for a 2-queen room — and the pool is heated!  Looks like we’ll be back here next time, although the side-by-side beds caused Kid #1 to be quite unhappy with Wifey’s breathing noises.  When we were last here in 2007, the neighbouring airport was very noisy, but no problem this time.

US Postal Service (Liverpool NY, 10:43am).  $4.17 for delivery of an item to New Jersey and for a box to mail it in.  The item is my old E-ZPass transponder, which hasn’t worked since 2009 or so yet they keep charging me $1/month for it.  The return address printed on the transponder is no longer valid, so I had to call them to get the new address.
      I just checked my E-ZPass account balance and an “adjustment” was made to my account on Nov. 4th.  I now have a $50 credit balance.  Anyone wanna place a bet as to whether I ever see that money?

Jo-Ann’s Fabrics (Amherst NY, 1:59pm).  Wifey paid $46.91 for sewing stuff, mostly for Kid #1’s birthday present.

Tops (Amherst NY, 3:00pm).  $134.87 to stock up on inexpensive American groceries for our Canadian pantry.  Includes canned gefilte fish and mass quantities of turkey pepperoni, chocolate baking morsels, and AA batteries.

Tops (3:02pm).  As a thank-you gift for our preceding purchase, the machine spat out a coupon for a 75¢ discount on our next purchase.  Kid #2 noticed a pack of gum for 79¢, so we bought it to use up the coupon.  With tax, the net cost of the gum was 11¢.

Key Bank (inside Tops, 3:02pm).  Get $20 to ensure that we can pay for tolls on the way home, but it turned out that we already had (barely) enough cash — so now we have USD $20 to hold onto for our next trip to the States.  No ATM fee for Key Bank, but $3 fee for our bank plus the exchange rate was $23.07.

Tops lottery vending machine.  Once again, Wifey buys an instant ticket for $1 which wins $2.  She also buys a $2 Powerball ticket for the evening’s drawing (it didn’t win anything).

Wegman’s (Amherst NY, 3:35pm).  $52.63 for salad bar lunch.  Still pretty good, but notably lower quality than last time.  Robert Wegman died eight years ago.  Things change after the founder dies: stores become less distinctive and more like every other store, because that’s the “safe” move for an MBA executive.

Wegman’s (4:48pm).  $463.59 for even more groceries, including mass quantities of boneless chicken breast, peanut butter, horseradish cheddar, Hebrew National® hot dogs, and — as usual — 160 cans of “Wegman’s Solid White Albacore Tuna in Water” (which costs half as much as similar products in Canada).  Wegman’s might not be as distinctive as they used to be, but you can’t argue with their prices!  In fact, they have the same Sea Dog blueberry ale from Maine that I bought at Shaw’s in Massachusetts — but Wegman’s price is about 20% lower.  Oh well.

Wegman’s parking lot.  We bought too much stuff on this trip!  Wifey spends considerable time jamming everything into the trunk.  Eventually she gets it all in *and* leaves enough open space down the middle of the van so the rearview mirror will work.  She is amazing.

Delta Sonic (Amherst NY, 5:38pm).  $50 for gasoline.  This station is very close to Tops and Wegman’s, so we generally stop here before beginning the long drive home.  Once again, prepayment is necessary due to rampant American xenophobia.  No zipcode means no right to a receipt showing how much gas you got for your money!

Canadian border (Queenston ON).  Border guard waives us through, perhaps in part because we have Canadian passports.  Once again, no sales tax on our declared $1000ºº of imported goods!

Our house.  After bringing in the food from the car, I looked in the fridge and said, “Hey, know what we forgot to buy?  Fridge light bulbs!”  Both of them had failed just before we went on our trip.

Oct. 30, day 8: The day after

Country Paws (St. Agatha ON, 10:53am).  $165.20 for a week’s stay at a dog kennel.  That’s $20/day plus tax plus $1 per day to feed him a customer-provided chewable beef-flavoured arthritis pill that’s no trouble at all to administer because he likes it.  And the dog came home with a limp, so either they didn’t actually give him all the pills or he overexerted himself (which he often does at the kennel).

Home Hardware (New Hamburg ON, 3:46pm).  $5.53 for a pair of lightbulbs specially designed to provide “true daylight colour” inside a fridge.

Oct. 31, day 9: The day after the day after

Our house.  Halloween party.  We had only two guests over.  After trick-or-treating and then some trading, each of my kids ended up with a gallon-sized bag filled solely with candies that they actually liked.  What a nice neighbourhood!

Nov. 2, day 11: The last day

Carl’s Jr. parking lot (Waterloo ON).  Presented the items to my furiend, but he didn’t want to do the Furry thing I had in mind, so the whole exercise turned out to be pointless.  He gave me USD $12 for the Cheez-Its and Starbucks (even though he also had Canadian money in his wallet), so now I have even more US cash to hold onto for the next trip.  I gave him the blueberry ale as a consolation prize.

pyesetz: (woof)

Hawthorn Suites (Franklin MA, 3:27am).  Slipped under our door, which is apparently what every hotel does nowadays.  $546.90 for four days’ stay.  At least this time the pool was working.  But the entire hotel was taken over by a wedding party, so we got a “Bedroom studio” (which is not a 1-bedroom at all) rather than the “Bedroom suite” we had wanted for better separation between kidlets and parents.  Staff wasn’t very accommodating, so it’s unclear whether we’ll stay here again.  Perhaps we’ll try another look around online, but we keep coming back here because it’s the cheapest place in Eastern Mass that has suite rooms and (usually) lets us have one.

Shaw’s (Franklin MA, 11:15am).  $44.17 for groceries, including three boxes of Cheez-Its with specific flavours that my furiend had asked for (he loves Cheez-Its almost as much as I do) and also another test-box of “original” flavour for myself (boxes with the same lot number that I tested on day 3 are now sold out).  While in the check-out line, I notice that they are selling cans of “Starbucks Doubleshot Espresso+cream”, which the furiend had also asked for.  It is the last item on my shopping list for him!

Shaw’s (11:20am).  The test-box is fine, so I buy 18 more boxes of Cheez-Its for $31.41.

Hess (Franklin MA, 11:26am).  $30 for gasoline.  This is the first time that a gas station in Massachusetts has discriminated against me due to my unAmerican postal code.  The receipt does not indicate price-per-gallon nor total gallons purchased.
      I used to like Hess in New Jersey.  I do not recall when they started selling gas in Massachusetts.  Wikipedia says it was before 2013, but I suspect it may have been after 2011 or surely after 2007.  Anyway, all “Hess” gas stations will be rebanded as “Speedway” by 2017.

Massachusetts Turnpike.  Tolls.  No receipt.

New York Thruway.  Tolls.  No receipt.

Golden Corral (Colonie NY, 2:32pm).  $41.41 for lunch.  Not as good as we remembered, perhaps because the previous visit had been at dinnertime so they served steak (also it was a different franchisee).  Golden Corral is very proud that they are the world’s largest purchaser of Brussels sprouts, but the sprouts were not cooked very well (or perhaps they would have been better at noon).  The hamburger was quite disappointing.  Still, the salad bar was good and worth the price on its own.

pyesetz: (fire-hunter)
(A₁ is my father’s sister.  She is the only person I knew before my 18th birthday who is both still alive and also still on speaking terms with me.  A₂ was my grandmother’s sister, who died 30 years ago but her estate is *still* unsettled to this very day, because lawyers.)

Interstate 495 (Franklin MA, 12:15pm).  A₁’s house is north of our hotel, so I get on I-495 North even though our pre-printed directions stated that I should use I-495 South to get to I-95 North towards her house.  (I-495 is a semicircle around Exurban Boston and so “North” actually means “clockwise”, while I-95 cuts through Suburbia.)  It is a typical fault of dogs that they can’t grasp the idea of deliberately going the wrong way for awhile in order to get to a spot where they can more effectively go the right way — but humans are supposed to be smarter than that!  It is a typical fault of male humans that they hate reversing direction, so I decide to continue on I-495 North for awhile and then cut over to I-95 — but Exurban Boston is much more built up now than when I was a kid and the roads all have a lot more traffic and stoplights than I remember.  So once again the trip takes *twice* as long as Google Maps had predicted.

Golden Temple (Brookline MA, 1:49pm).  $75.60 for Chinese food to bring over to A₁’s house.  We had told them to prepare the food for 1pm pickup, but thankfully it was still warm enough to eat.

A₁’s house (Brookline MA).  Visit with my aunt.  Unlike previous visits, she did not dismiss her home health aides for the day because she can no longer function without them.  She had a stroke last year and lost much of her hearing.  Also she had pneumonia earlier this year (which was news to us) and has lost most of the remaining function in her one good leg.  But — just like her mother — the mind remains sharp to the end.
      We spent some time talking about her paternal grandfather, who remains relevant because Wifey likes to talk about genealogy online and keeps finding extended family members who are related through my great-grandpa; he was a Shochet who arrived in the USA as a penniless immigrant and then got heavily into real estate and ended up gifting a separate house to each of his children.  To hear my aunt talk, Great Grandpa was also an inveterate liar who could never tell the straight story of why he no longer spoke to his siblings.
      I brought up the subject of the lawyer who grabbed control of A₂’s estate.  Apparently he is still dribbling money to A₁ to help pay for the heavy equipment she needs to help her get in and out of her wheelchair.  He insulted me 20 years ago and I have been waiting for vengeance ever since.  But he’s getting old himself and maybe he’ll die before A₁ does and I won’t have to figure out how to make that criminal let go of the money without having to go to jail myself.  When you’re fighting an evil lawyer, the entire government is against you, even though that guy is associated with one of the largest tax frauds in the history of Massachusetts (according to one newspaper article I found).
      It is unclear how much time A₁ has left, but it isn’t much.  We told her we’ll try to visit again next year.


Shaw’s (Franklin MA, 7:01pm).  $66.06 for groceries, including salad bar for dinner, a cheesecake and a box of cookies for the cousins, Chanukkah candles, a bottle of Barefoot Chardonnay (on sale for $5!), a six-pack of Sea Dog blueberry wheat ale, and two boxes of Sunshine Cheez-Its.
      The Cheez-Its are BOGO; on these trips to the States we usually stock up on Cheez-Its at either Tops or Wegman’s in New York, whichever is cheaper, but obviously they can’t beat this half-off sale.  The store clerk says the sale will run until day 8 of our trip, so we plan to sample these boxes and then come back for more.  We still buy a “test” box of Cheez-Its before buying mass quantities of boxes with that same lot number, even though it’s been years since the last time Sunshine made a bad batch (with a metallic taste).
      The ale is for a furiend whom I’m trying to soften up for (something); he asked me to get him a “surprise” when I visited the States.  He once tweeted that “beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy”.  He often visits New York to buy beer, so I wanted to get him a Massachusetts microbrew blueberry ale that he couldn’t get for himself.  But instead I got the Sea Dog (which is a widely-distributed product from Maine) because it has paw-prints on the bottle caps!

pyesetz: (woof)
Stan Hayward is a nobody.  He has no entry of his own at Wikipedia.  When he talks on Quora (what's up with that site?), it's mainly about his life on the water, but his bio on his own website talks mainly about his work in British film.

I like this Quora article because, while Stan Hayward has done a bunch of different things, he is still a mediocre person like everyone else.

A certain cat who frequents the K-W furmeets seems to think that I can't be real because I know about too many different things.  But I am nearly twice his age, so how could he have a clue about what "too many" would be for my age?  This reminds me of an argument I once heard, that evolution can't be true because five million years isn't enough time for the human and the chimp to have evolved from a common ancestor.  But people can't even grasp what can be done in 20 years, so how can they know anything about what would be a reasonable result from five million years' worth of slow change?

When I was a teen, I wondered how my father could solve crossword puzzles.  How could he know about so many things that seemed to have little direct relevance to his daily life?  But now that I am the age he was then, I find crossword puzzles to be fairly easy — it's mostly the same clues, day after day, year after year, just in different combinations.  Eventually you learn them.
pyesetz: (sozont)
So I was clicking around the Internet and happened upon this website, which purports to be the "real" history of what eventually became the FurnalEquinox conventions in Toronto.  You probably cannot imagine my surprise to find my own name mentioned in the history.  I did WHAT???  I "designed the logo" for CanFURence?  But I'm not a graphic artist!  There must be some mistake.

So I looked through the "Pyesetz" folder of my email.  Unlike for my IRL name, I actually have a nearly-complete record of every email I have ever exchanged as "Pyesetz".  And there it was: a logo for a furry conference, sent without comment from me to the TorFur mailing list.  WTF???  Did I have an m-trans moment and some other personality in my head did that?  And there were a bunch of other emails around that time, between me and Dan Skunk, in which I sound like I'm actually thinking about paying to attend a Furry convention — which I've never done in my life.  Where's the Twilight Zone music?

The real explanation is probably much simpler.  I was a newcomer in Canada and had noticed that government logos tended to have a flag over the 'a'.  When Dan Skunk suggested "CanFURence" as the name for a project he was working on, I thought the logo was "obvious" so I fired up GIMP and made it, as a throwaway post to a mailing list.  I thought nothing further of it — but Dan did.  As to why I was considering attending, it was probably something like: "I'm in a new country, should meet people, how about a FurCon?"  But I didn't go.

I like to think that I have a præternatural ability to not be there when drama happens.  At university I heard several times that bad things occurred (e.g., police action) shortly after I left a keg party.  So I was not there when the shit hit the fan regarding CanFURence/FurnalEquinox.  Perhaps I thought it best to forget that I had ever paid any attention to that project.

It's too bad that the write-up linked above does such a piss-poor job of explaining what actually happened.  People got mad at other people, but why?  The world may never know.
pyesetz: (Default)
Furry

Well, there's the Furry Fandom.  I have received some LJ comments I should answer.  The KW furmeets continue, but I think I'll wait for warmer weather before attending another of those—they meet *outside* at a plaza and then stand around in the cold deciding which restaurant to go into.

Computers

My laptop is working reasonably well, but the suspend/resume performance is disappointing: Linux takes 14 seconds to resume, while Windows gets it done in two seconds.  Unfortunately, the Linux-on-TOUGHBOOK community is much smaller than the Linux-on-ThinkPad community I used to be in, so it's much harder to find and copy the fixes that others have discovered.  Linus recently blogged about how soul-crushingly hard it is to figure out the root cause of a suspend/resume failure and how much better life is after you do it.  (And don't miss his post about Christmas toys!)

My laptop has 512 MB of RAM, which is considerably more than any other computer I've ever owned, but still it seems not to be enough.  When I run Emacs, Opera, Kmail, and OpenOffice all at the same time, there's a whole lotta page-swapping goin' on—so I avoid running OpenOffice.  Apparently all those cute 3-D desktop effects that I've enabled eat up a lot of RAM.  Some sources say that the CF-Y5 laptop is picky about specific chips on memory-expansion cards and only certain cards will work (the ones *they* sell, of course), while other sources say that any old 172-pin PC2-4200 microDIMM DDR2-533 card will work.  These days a 1 GB card costs about $80.  I'm so old, I remember paying $1000 for a 5 MB hard drive!

More problems: occasional failures to repaint one of the GNOME panels after resume, and occasional failures in the gnome-system-monitor app which just stops updating until I change something its “Properties” panel.  My guess is that some inter-process signal is getting lost due to timing issues.  I just want to repaint the screen, but I searched all over Google and couldn't find a simple repaint-the-screen app for X11.  The old twm window manager had a "repaint" menu function, but apparently that isn't supposed to be needed anymore.  So today I received an email from the “emacs-devel” list where somebody complained that Emacs was leaking memory and as proof they provided their output from the xrestop command.  I don't have that command installed, but I *do* have one called xrefresh which begins with the same letters.  Duh!  So now I've set up a menu command for repainting the screen (the problems haven't come up since, so I don't know yet whether this command will fix anything).

And why are there no screenshots for gnome-system-monitor, anywhere on the web, that show its "closed" form where it pretends to be perfmeter?  (See perfmeter screenshot halfway down the page.)  It's like some sort of conspiracy or something...

Politics

Speaking of conspiracies, did you know that the Bush Administration ended last Friday?  That was the last workday for most Bushies, who turned in their badges and went home for the last time.  The government is running on skeleton staff during this MLK Jr. weekend until Tuesday's inauguration.

So Obama flew from Washington to Philadelphia so he could then take the train back.  One pundit, at a loss to explain why the Commander-in-Chief-elect did this, suggested that “His magic carpet was presumably out of order.”  Obama’s official explanation had something to do with following in the footsteps of Abe Lincoln, who killed 600,000 of his own countrymen in an avoidable war, suspended Habeus Corpus, depropertized the slaves of Southern landowners without eminent-domain compensation, and wrote some really nice speeches.

Look, I'm all in favour of having Hope for Obama to bring some Change that the whole world can Believe In, but the guy is obviously a power-mad lunatic just like anyone else crazy enough to run for the presidency.  His nuclear-weapon policy makes perfect sense for a guy who is eagerly looking forward to being in possession of the nuclear football, that magic talisman of Presidential Power, the One Ring of invincibility, the only reason (that I can think of) why nobody ever dared to arrest Bush despite his national-TV admissions of criminal acts.  And WTF is going on with Obama's TARP policy?  So he doesn't want transparency in government after all?

pyesetz: (Default)
I approve this message.

In other news, I attended last Saturday's Blogstravaganza!.  I didn't record the attendee's blognames because Canadian Cynic was collecting those and was supposed to make a post, but no post has been forthcoming.  I wrote to him to ask about it, but Yahoo's computer (which provides both my email address and his) said, "I'm not going to try again; this message has been in the queue too long."  Why is 27 hours "too long"?

Anyway, it was a bit of a pain trying to find the Blogstravaganza! table on the restaurant patio.  Idealistic Pragmatist's expectation that she would be the only female turned out to be incorrect.  In fact, the group ended up with (I think) four girls and six boys.  Of course, being a non-furry meet, there were no tails worn, plushy table decorations, tables full of nondescript college boys *not* being rowdy, or any other obvious indicators of where I should go, so IP ended up calling out "Bloggers?  Bloggers?" to anyone who walked around the patio with a confused look on their face.

Considering that these were supposed to be the "progressive bloggers", there was rather a lack of political discussion.  It was mostly chitchat about the bloggers' personal lives—the stuff that was too inane to post on their blogs.  I tried mentioning C-61 but it seemed nobody had much to say because they'd already discussed it on their blogs.  Also, the name "Stephen Harper" seemed to be a bit of a sore point.  So we mostly just drank pitchers of dark English ale.

At one point, for no obvious reason, a fellow mentioned those fucking furries who put on their suits and, er, "wiggle".  IP silently pointed in my direction.  I explained that very few furries actually have sex in-suit because it's messy and the suits are expensive and hard to clean.  I didn't go into the anonymous gay sex aspect, nor did I whip out my wallet photos of Wifey and the kidlets.

I probably tried too hard to talk linguistics with IP.  When I mentioned Grice's Rule of Implicature, her laugh suggested inappropriateness and lack of context.  She's a sociolinguist, but I don't really know what that means.  Perhaps she is [livejournal.com profile] ozarque's kind of linguist.  I don't like sociologists because they tend to be normative, writing just-so stories to explain why our culture *should be* whatever it currently *is*.  I prefer anthropological linguistics, which may be why I married an anthropologist.

As for "how do I drum up more readers for my blog?", it seemed the only answer discussed was "join a progressive-blog aggregator".  But my blog is too recherche (which means "research" in French and "affectedly pretentious" in English) and I don't know of any aggregate where I would fit.
pyesetz: (arctic-fox)
  1. I can no longer play the piano.  I actually sat down at one, for perhaps the first time since about 1992 1994 Hanukkah 1995.  I was able to pick out bits and pieces, but couldn't remember enough notes to play anything through.  Also, I kept losing notes on the left paw but not the right, so every other measure or so I would find myself "off by one".  One fur who was present for this said that it sounded like the beginning of a horror movie.  As usual for my musical productions, no recording was made.
  2. Some birds secrete milk to feed their chicksIt's true!  That lactating pigeon is somebody's mommy.
  3. Republicans are so evil, they'll even vote against motherhood, apple pie, and puppies.  Well, against motherhood, anyway.  Apparently the GOP wanted to show its love by voting *for* Mother's Day before voting *against* it.  Up next: a law declaring Satan to be Our Lord And Savior.
  4. Not every lie told on SlashDot is refuted by another commenter, though I suppose I should have known this already.  Today, a commenter claimed that the plaintiff wins in 100% of cases decided by the BC Human Rights Tribunal.  Various respondants suggested that it was because so many of the plaintiffs are Jews.  The Tribunal says their conviction rate is 36% and only 2% of complaints involved "religion or politics".
  5. [Poll #1185879](This question can be skipped, like all questions in LJ polls, while still participating in the rest of the poll.)
pyesetz: (Default)
TorFur (Toronto+area furries) had a meetup at UWaterloo.  The university is out of session this week, so attendance was poor: just [livejournal.com profile] tehpyrex, BigMacD, and "Teddy" whose complete furname I didn't quite catch.  Việtnamese food was had by all, as were a great many jokes and puns based on shared geeky culture.

Things got off to a bit of a shaky start when I talked about my fellow Russian students "during the Cold War", when the other furs present were either babies or not yet born.  But somebody make a joke that included a Start Trek:TOS reference, which I saw in reruns like everyone else, so things got better.

This is my third furmeet in as many months!  If this keeps up, I might actually meet some Canadians, despite my work-at-home job.  Unfortunately, if I meet too many people, my poor memory for faces will likely lead to confusion.  BigMacD's head is shaped similarly to [livejournal.com profile] danruk's; he's a duck and so is Danruk's boyfriend.  Teddy is a professional puppeteer, like [livejournal.com profile] rapidtrabbit, which may be why I keep thinking of him as a rabbit although "bear" is apparently his chosen pheno.  Oddly enough, I had no difficulty thinking of Pyrex as a koala, so I probably won't confuse him with anyone.

Nobody bought my claim to be a dog; it just didn't register with them.  I think they were more willing to buy "arctic fox" (Teddy asked for the Linnaean binomial).  At one point BigMacD gave his quaaack, but I didn't reply.  25 years ago I could do a decent gruuwlf, but it just doesn't come out anymore.  I can still do a reasonable facsimile of a mrrao but I think "cat in a dogsuit" is just too silly for an offline pheno, so I don't say anything.
pyesetz: (Default)
Welcome, [livejournal.com profile] solstice_sings!  I believe this is first time I have ever had an LJ friend living in the same county where I am!

So I sent Solstice an "e-mail" (because that's, like, just how *old* I am) and he suggested that we should chat on IM.  Have you ever seen that adult-literacy ad on TV about the fellow who's told "Sure we'll hire you; just give us a call" and he goes into a phone booth (yes, the commercial is very old) and freaks out in a cold sweat because he doesn't know how to use a rotary telephone so he can't get the job?

I wrote a chat client for VAX/VMS, 25 years ago.  It was only for local users at my Uni and wasn't very popular, but then very few programs were, back in those pre-WWW days.  I've, um, never actually *used* one of these new-fangled GUI clients.  Back in 2005, one coworker wanted to IM me—I got him to do a remote log-in to my Linux workstation and use the write command!

So.  An IM client.  I can do this!  Start up synaptic and search for "chat".  Nothing.  Google for "debian chat client".  Google suggests jwchat.  Go back to synaptic and install it.  Configuration is rather hairy; how exactly do I contact people on AIM or MSN with this thing?  Uninstall.

LiveJournal recommends Kopete, Pidgin, or Psi for Linux chat.  Kopete is a KDE thingy, while I'm mostly using GNOME (except for kmail, which occasionally warns me that I'm at risk of getting pickpocketed because I'm *not* using kwallet, but I digress...)

Go to Pidgin's website.  No Debian package available.  Download the source tarball.  (I think I still have a button that says "Use the source, Luke!" that I wore a few times in high school).  Unpack and configure.  Fail: "XML::Parser perl module is required for intltool".  Uh oh.  When programs want Perl modules, I hardly ever get them working.  I just don't understand why [livejournal.com profile] brad likes Perl so much.  Its dependency system seems rather rickety.  When I install a PHP program, it JUST WORKS™, like Free Software should.  Ah, whatever.  Delete Pidgin source.

Install Psi via Synaptic.  Looks very nice!  Connects to LJtalk with no problems!  So how about AIM and MSN?  The docs suggest that I have to find a gateway server, but the wiki page that's supposed to list public servers is empty.  Some blogger says he's using jaim.at, so I use that.  The docs suggest that it is possible to connect to the MSN server without having a Passport account with them, but the description for how to do it is obscure.

Wait!  I've got LJtalk!  [livejournal.com profile] rabitguy is available for chat and he's a Linuxhead!  Hey Rocky, watch me pull a Rabit out of this hat!  *r-r-r-rip* Nothin' up my sleeve!  Presto!  I've got instant messaging!  Rabit says Psi is a Jabber-only client and difficult/impossible to use with those acronymic walled-garden chat systems.  He's using Kopete.  Thanks, Rabit!  I'll get by with a little help from my friends...

Uninstall Psi (cause I'm just anal about such things).  Install Kopete via Synaptic.  Works!  Connects to LJtalk.  Has a button to press to get a free AOL chat username, which works.  Connect to AIM.  Add Solstice to my friends list.  It all WORKS!  And Solstice is... offline.  Well, it's Saturday night.  Hours go by and it's just me and [livejournal.com profile] rabitguy and that stupid Frank-the-robot-goat that LJ includes on my friends list, even though the only thing it does is post to your journal anything you say to it; I deleted it and then when restarting Kopete, LJ *insisted* that Frank the cute cuddly mascot goat is my friend, whether I want him or not.  I suppose there's no reason to hope that SUP will be any less dictatorial about these things than 6A has been.

Oh, and also there was [livejournal.com profile] giza, who was online-but-unavailable because he was at a 'wuffmeet'.  So what's a spottycat doing at a... no, I shouldn't ask.
pyesetz: (arctic-fox)
Arrived at [livejournal.com profile] deffox+[livejournal.com profile] dakhun's place only 10 minutes late, which is approximately on time by furry standards.  Then we proceeded to Royal Pizza to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] danruk, [livejournal.com profile] draconic_mith, and Mith's roommate whose name I forget.  Royal is indeed very good.  I got mushroom while everyone else got various toppings derived from pig-meat.  I showed Deffox some example knobs and tubes from my house-wiring.

We then dropped off Danruk's car at Mith's place and the four of us proceeded to the Putting Edge glow-in-the-dark mini-golf.  Our scores were all about the same, but Dakhun asked me how often I played this game and how come I was so good at it???  There was a mini-golf course near my childhood home, but it was outside and had rotating windmills.

Then off to Dakhun+Deffox's place to watch Spaceballs, which is a parody of Star Wars.  When that movie ended it was not yet dark, so Dakhun put on Kung Pow: Enter the Fist, which is a parody of every Kung Fu movie ever made.  It was very funny!  Similarities between the movies
  • Director also acted multiple rôles in film;
  • Poked fun at merchandising (Return of the Killer Tomatoes also did this);
  • Script included forward references to an assumed sequel that was never made.
Deffox and Dakhun did not sit at the TV for the second movie.  The Fox went to his computer station, while the not-Marmot tried to get binoculars focused on Comet Holmes (see also here).  The sky had been predicted to be clear, but was actually full of clouds.  Dakhun finished his setup as the movie was ending.  The comet was rather disappointing through the clouds -- a dim fuzzy ball disconnected to anything else and not moving fast enough to be noticable as a nonstandard celestial object.  I perhaps offended Dakhun (who has a doctorate in Astronomy) by failing to be enthralled at the once-in-a-lifetime astronomical event -- and also perhaps by leaning on one his plushies at the beginning of the first movie.

Then I drove Danruk back to his car, realizing on the way that I had left my laptop behind (I never got around to showing off its über-leet Linuxness).  I also finally got to ask Danruk about making contact with a certain subgroup of furries who engage in certain socially-disrespectable activities (vagueness alert!), only to find out that the roo tries not to associate with such personages (anymore?).  Oh well; guess my radar-ears detected a false positive.  I probably shouldn't have mentioned a certain female four-letter word beginning with 'K'.

Returning to retrieve the computer, I managed to get lost in the myriad one-way streets of downtown Hamilton ON, finally completing my journey after about an hour.  While retrieving the MacGuffin, I found out that Deffox had called [livejournal.com profile] stuffedwithfluf to tell her that I left my laptop behind.  Since she had received a call with my approximately departure time, I didn't bother calling her again and left for home.

My route home involved too many streeets named Main, several named King, and at least two named Dundas.  It also involved both HWY 8 and RR8 (what is it with these Canadians, interleaving two roads with the same number in different numbering systems on the same stretch of asphalt?)  I noticed that downtown Cambridge has completely skipped over Remembrance Day and decorated for Christmas with illuminated evergreen trees lining the main street.

(Concluding paragraph goes here.)
pyesetz: (Default)
I was daydreaming recently about attending the FurAffinity United convention (9-12 August 2007, Central NJ).  I imagined sitting in the lobby with my laptop, whistling for several hours until something decent finally came out.  Of course, that would never happen.  ("Creating a public disturbance", yadda yadda.)

Today I was reading Stephen Dubner's blogpost about Canada, which led me to Jessica Simpson, which led to Dolly Parton and also Talk:Jessica Simpson, which led to Whistle Register (a.k.a. flageolet).  Yes, I'll do anything to avoid paying work!

Anyway, the whistle-singing I used to do in college is not like "Mariah Carey hitting a C8 note".  It was much lower-pitched and more akin to ventriloquism: forming consonants with the back of my throat while the front made whistly noises.  A few times I tried switching from whistling to singing, but found that to make the same note the usual way required a complete rearrangement of my mouth parts.  Perhaps I could achieve that with practice.  Making the same whistle-note on inhale and exhale requires a rearrangement of mouth-parts, but I got that down pat years ago.
pyesetz: (Default)
WTF is wrong with you guys?  I post a cute little frolic-in-the-flowers meme and what do I get?  Comments about soiling my pants, having a pudendum in my face, and trolling à la Snuhwolf (who has stated that he never uses LJ).  Sometimes I don't know why I bother with this journal.  Once in a blue moon I get some nice comments, like those for the entry Surfing the web, moral judgments, umami.  I suppose I'm lucky to get any response at all.  And I'm with [livejournal.com profile] avenginglioness about LJers who don't comment and don't reply to your comments: they're just deadweight on the friends list.

So now I'm going to post my report for DooDah '05.  I've been holding this back for eight months.  It's not a pretty picture of the fandom, or of me.  And there's no <lj-cut>.  Don't like it?  Unfriend me.  Click on the
button. I won't mind.  I don't need to be in a crowd howling at the moon to feel like I'm a dog; I just am.
 
cut by request from Cassander42 )
pyesetz: (Default)
Welcome to my journal, [livejournal.com profile] danruk!  Someday soon I hope to have something here that's worth reading.  For those of you who think offers of friendship should be rescinded if not accepted within one week, know that Danruk waited several months after I friended him before electing to reciprocate.  Perhaps someday I will be living in his province and can invite him over for a furmeet.

I'd also like to extend a Darmok and Gilead at Tenegra to my new friend [livejournal.com profile] ozarque.  Of course, I realize that her reciprocal LJ friendship is just a courtesy (her FRIENDS and FRIEND-OF lists are almost identical) and does not indicate any serious interest in reading my journal, but still she helped me reach 28 LJ mutual friends!  And I've commented on her journal and not been banned yet!

Recently I discovered that the New Jersey Furs have been holding biweekly furmeets at a bowling alley, just 1½ miles from my house, for over a year!  So I went.  It was a small group this week: just two regulars showed up.  I made it a threesome, which some say is the minimum required in order to deserve the name "furmeet".  So now I get to send out electronic hugs to my new friend [livejournal.com profile] shy_matsi (Oooh!  Another furvert on my friends list!  What will the neighbors think?) and also to [livejournal.com profile] maximous (I hope you move out of my town as quickly as possible! [inside joke]).

So we played three games of bowling.  Each fur won one game.  Since everyfur present was an IT type, there were some geeky comments.  In one game a certain someone (not me!) managed to knock down only one pin with each of his first two balls. So of course the computerized scoring system showed
11
2
for the frame.  The joke was that the score should be ten because 1+1=10 in binary.  Yeah, it was lame, but it was furry!

According to this quiz, my geek score is 1055, which puts me in the category of "Jedi master".  I think that's pretty good, considering that I scored myself rather conservatively (giving myself points only for the major general-purpose computer programming languages, withholding points for "Dr. Who" and "Star Trek" which I no longer watch regularly, etc.)

Okay, now the disgusting perverted stuff.  Recently I've *edit* received some emails and read some fur's journals that seem to display a knee-jerk "kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out" attitude toward pedophiliacs.  I think the paw of tolerance can and should be extended to some pedos.  To avoid getting LiveJournal shut down by the Thought Police, I've stored the actual text of my essay elsewhere (I would put it on an offshore server if I had access to one):
   (In defense of pedophilia).
I don't have any personal experience with pedophilia, but (in typical bleeding-heart liberal form) that doesn't stop me from defending it!  If you actually know something about this stuff, please excuse my inaccuracies.  )
pyesetz: (Default)
Well, I didn't *quite* prove my thesis, but I came close.

My original plan was to arrive at AnthroCon at about 3 PM on the last day.  But "things" happen, so I ended up leaving the house about 15 minutes late.  I brought along some driving directions from MapsOnUs which were, um, totally bogus!  Those guys are usually pretty reliable, but the directions took me to a spot about 5 miles away from the hotel's actual location.  After driving around in a spiral pattern for awhile, I eventually threw the directions away and looked the place up in my dead-tree book of national street maps.  Well, duh!  I sort of knew the area and could have gotten there with no trouble by just winging it, if I hadn't stopped by the computer first, or if I had used AnthroCon's directions instead of those from a generic site.  I wanted computer-generated directions so I wouldn't have to think about how to get to where I was going, but the computers failed me and I actually had to engage my brain momentarily.  An inauspicious start, to be sure.

It was after 4PM when I finally arrived at the Con.  The dealers' room was shutting down for closing ceremonies and not admitting any new customers.  The door guards told me that everything else was already shut down and there was nothing further to do at the Con until the ceremonies at 5.  I spent 45 minutes getting nowhere trying to talk to anyone.  There were 2500 furs in the hotel, throngs of them wherever I went, many of them wearing Con badges with names, but the only familiar name I saw was [livejournal.com profile] giza, who seemed super-busy as head of Ops so I didn't want to interrupt him.  I was supposed to meet [livejournal.com profile] mrcougar, but I didn't have his cell-phone number (I could have asked the hotel for his room's phone number, but I forgot that his RL name is now the same as his handle).  I *did* have [livejournal.com profile] tygermoonfoxx's cell number, which I called a few times--eventually I got through to her, but she was busy and didn't have time to meet; I forgot to ask her to call Cougar and ask him to call me.  Do you see a repeating pattern of forgetting things starting to show up here?  [livejournal.com profile] skytech had posted his room number on the message board, so I called him on the house phone--no answer.  I got [livejournal.com profile] sabotlours' room number because I happen to know his RL name (due to *two* snafus with headers on ALF posts in different years), but a roommate answered and said he had already gone down to closing ceremonies.

So I went to closing ceremonies--and found out why [livejournal.com profile] unclekage had complained about some furs just not getting the hygiene message: the auditorium *stank* of hy00mans.  Yeah, furry humans, but still I'm glad I took a shower before heading out to the Con.  Kage is a great speaker, a laugh every minute.  His voice reminds me of Bunsen Honeydew from the Muppets.  But, fundamentally, his talk consisted of thanking everyone in the known universe for their part in making this a great Con (which I hadn't attended) and responding to suggestions from an interminable line of con-goers, most of them insisting on theatrical pontification despite Kage's requests to please hurry up.  For each suggestion submitted by a fur, Kage would patiently explain why the idea was bad because (a) the Con was already perfect; (b) they had tried that before and it didn't work out; (c) they had already thought of that idea but forgot to try it this year; (d) the idea is unworkable due to the realities of the hotel industry and/or the laws of physics; or (e) "Would you like to sign up to be the implementor of your idea?  Solid!  What's your badge number?"  Closing ceremonies were supposed to run 90 minutes, but actually ran for over 130, despite Kage's repeated requests to send suggestions by email.  *sigh* Furries--gotta love 'em!

As the hour approached 7, I started to get anxious.  Sabot had said the Homesteaders would assemble then to connect riders with rides to the restaurant--but he hadn't said *where* they would assemble.  I called his room; no answer.  Skytech's room; no answer.  I checked every entrance to the hotel.  Each had a throng of tail-wearing furs, but no familiar nametags.  I checked with Ops; they'd never heard of the Homestead.  I tried calling Sabot again; the house phones were dead!  I checked each entrance again; some of the throngs had changed but I couldn't read some tags and others were nobody I knew of.  (I actually passed by [livejournal.com profile] kellicjtiger several times during this period, but couldn't read his tag).  My eyes were starting to hurt from trying to read all those tags.  I got even more anxious.  There was just me and this group of furs I couldn't find.  "YOU ARE DINNER" I screamed as I bashed the fish's head against a... wait, wrong story.

Eventually I just gave up and proceeded to the next rendezvous point at the restaurant, driving my empty minivan (specially cleaned for the riders I couldn't find).  My computer-generated directions for this leg of the trip contained a second major error, which I caught by noticing one of those bridge-signs that gives the name of the road you're passing under while on a superhighway (thank you, PennDOT).  As I entered the restaurant parking lot, outside the front door was a crowd of people, some with tails hanging off their butts.  Success!

I parked the car and said hello to Sabot.  He mimed "don't recognize your face".  I pointed to the enlarged LJ icon on my shirt pocket.  Ah!  Somebody remembers me from online!  Then [livejournal.com profile] smrgol_t_kirin said hello to me.  Ye gods, it's an unsolicited conversation!  I guess I've finally arrived at this convention.

Dinner was okay.  Smrgol and I talked about the crap we put up with at work.  At one point Skytech went on a roll and starting streaming off-the-cuff free-association jokes.  Stuff like that.  After dinner, I talked briefly with [livejournal.com profile] innerwolf, who suggested I attend the "dead dog" party after the con.  Then I drove my empty minivan back to the hotel.

The dead dog party consisted of people, many in fursuits, some with their heads off, either dancing or cooling off in front of fans.  Also there was a DJ who needed a serious talking-to from OSHA about acceptable sound-pressure levels.  Smrgol was organizing a card game, so I went to his room, which was quieter.

Smrgol wanted to play Fluxx, so I played it with him and [livejournal.com profile] camstone and [livejournal.com profile] mooivos.  It's a game where every card played changes the rules for playing further cards, eventually resulting in amusing situations (if you're the type to laugh at logic puzzles).  I won the first round I ever played!  Camstone won the second round.  Then it was time to head home before Wifey would start to get worried at 1 AM.

And that was my first-ever Con trip!  Yeah, I'm lame.  I'm really lame.  )

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